Saturday, November 16, 2013

REVIEW: "The Wicked Wallflower" by Maya Rodale


The Wicked Wallflower (Bad Boys & Wallflowers, #1)
The Wicked Wallflower by Maya Rodale
(Bad Boys and Wallflowers #1)
For Ages 18+
Historical Romance
Avon -- October 29, 2013
Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Purchased from Amazon

THEMES
Love Triangle, Faux Engagment

SUMMARY
Lady Emma Avery has accidentally announced her engagement—to the most eligible man in England. As soon as it's discovered that Emma has never actually met the infamously attractive Duke of Ashbrooke, she'll no longer be a wallflower; she'll be a laughingstock. And then Ashbrooke does something Emma never expected. He plays along with her charade.

A temporary betrothal to the irreproachable Lady Avery could be just the thing to repair Ashbrooke's tattered reputation. Seducing her is simply a bonus. And then Emma does what he never expected: she refuses his advances. It's unprecedented. Inconceivable. Quite damnably alluring.

London's Least Likely to Misbehave has aroused the curiosity—among other things—of London's most notorious rogue. Now nothing will suffice but to uncover Emma's wanton side and prove there's nothing so satisfying as two perfect strangers…being perfectly scandalous together.

FIRST LINE
"Any minute now Lady Emma Avery's life would truly begin."

MY THOUGHTS

Introduction
The Wicked Wallflower is the first in an intriguing-sounding new series that mixes historical and contemporary romance.  It will consists of three historical romance novels that are "written" by the protagonist of a set of contemporary novellas.  The "author" bases her novels on her own love life and the short stories show where the inspiration came from.

I have been reading Maya Rodale ever since her debut novel, The Heir and the Spare, and have enjoyed all of them.  So I was definitely excited to try her new series especially when I learned about the different approach she is taking with these books.

What I Liked

  • I love a good wallflower/rake romance which is one of the reasons I was drawn to this book.  The meeting of opposites (in society's mind) is always intriguing.  Emma and Blake are an example of a couple that shouldn't work, but they ended up being perfect for one another.
  • The hero, Blake, stole the book for me!  I love it when rakes get their comeuppance and he took his feelings for Emma in stride.  I thought his obsession with his Difference Engine and his past made him more than just a pretty face.  Plus it was awesome that he was the first one to reveal his feelings!
  • Female friendships are another thing that I love to see in books and the one between Emma, Olivia, and Prudence was well-written.  The scene where the girls drink too much sherry and write the infamous letter sounds like hang-out sessions that I did with my best friends.  I'm interested to see how their friendship develops as more of them get married.
  • The Fortune Games was such an entertaining concept!  I am a reality show fan so I appreciated the finer details that Rodale threw in there like the bizarre points tallying to the abrupt evictions.  It was just a nice way to force Emma and Blake to spend time with each other after announcing their "engagement" away from the distractions of London.
  • Aunt Agatha was my second favorite character because she is what I want to be when I get to be her age: confident in my self and not afraid to say what I want when I want to.  Her relationship with Blake was especially touching.

What I Didn't Like

  • I am just not a fan of love triangles in any genre.  Even though with this being a historical romance, the reader knows who will get the girl in the end and I just found myself being annoyed with that whole plot point.  I wish more time had been spent on the obvious couple getting to know more about one another than dealing with the "who will she choose" question.
  • In connection with the above point, I really started to get annoyed with Emma towards the end.  I know she had convinced herself that she was in love with Benedict, but I wanted to smack her in the head when she kept going back and forth between the two men.  I wanted her to just make a decision and stick with it.  I actually started feeling bad for Benedict because of the way she was stringing him along.

My Conclusion
I thought this was an adorable love story between two likable people.  It is light-hearted (for the most part) and I appreciate the skill involved in writing something like that.  Definitely got what I expected with this one and am looking forward to reading more of the series.

4 STARS

FAVORITE QUOTES
"It's not the fortune, I swear to you," Blake said.  "It is because I want you to look at me the way you look at Benedict.  Because I want someone who will challenge me at every turn.  I constantly crave your kiss.  And I want someone who drives me utterly mad in all the best and worst ways.  That someone is you." (page 260)

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. The Wicked Wallflower
1.5. The Bad Boy Billionaire's Wicked Arrangement (Coming 2013)
2. Wallflower Gone Wild (Coming 2014)
2.5. The Bad Boy Billionaire's Girl Gone Wild (Coming 2014)

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