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Andrew Smith
Gameboard of the Gods
Richelle Mead
Burning Up (Berkley Sensation)
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Love and Other Perishable Items
Laura Buzo
The Orphan Master's Son
The Taming of the Rake - Kasey Michaels The Taming of the Rake is first in a series about the three Blackthorn brothers. The oldest son of a marquess and an actress, Beau's parents never married, leaving their sons with the unenviable title of bastard. After a marriage proposal goes sour, Beau leaves England to make his fortune. He returns years later wealthy and successful with a plan to get back at the man who humiliated him years before. As the younger sister of the woman whom Beau's attentions were the focus of all those years ago, Lady Chelsea was there the night that Beau left England after her brother Thomas shows him exactly what he thinks about a bastard asking for his sister's hand. Years later, Thomas is set to marry Chelsea off to the detestable Reverend Francis Flotley. To avoid her fate, she goes to Beau with a plan that will satisfy both of their desires. By marrying her, Chelsea can escape her family and Beau will have his revenge.There wasn't anything particularly bad about this book but neither does it stand out. It was a quick read, and the characters are ok. It was an interesting twist that all the brothers are bastards but that it was a choice by their parents not to get married and make them such. They were educated and brought up well but in a very unconventional household. Beau is smart and charming but I couldn't help but be a bit disappointed in him. Given the title of the book, I was expecting more rakish behavior. He is, however, is quite the gentleman. He accepts Chelsea's proposal when he doesn't really need to and tries to keep her reputation in tact as they head to the altar. His brother Puck is one of the highlights of the book. He is hilarious and provides some levity to the proceedings. Jack, the middle brother, also makes an appearance, though he is a bit of a mystery.Unfortunately I wasn't a huge fan of Chelsea. As a child, Chelsea shows signs of being intelligent and kind. Fast forward a few years and that child is gone, replaced by a young women who, though clever, is immature and selfish. She comes up with the crazy scheme of running away with Beau because she wants to escape a bad marriage. While I don't blame her for not wanting to go through with the marriage, it is obvious that doesn't really think about the consequences of her plan. She shows up at Beau's house and forces him into a corner with her proposal. Though he does get revenge on Thomas, he also has to enter into a marriage that he wasn't prepared for with a woman he barely knows. There is also the possibility of a fight or duel happening if Thomas catches up to them. But Chelsea doesn't think about any of this when she runs off to Beau's house in the middle of the night. By the end of the book, she does become a bit more bearable, but not by much.In the end I think the main problem with the story is that I didn't feel any real connection between Beau and Chelsea. Besides their shared past, they don't have much in common. Chelsea is childish and bossy most of the time and her feelings towards Beau feel more akin to a girlish crush than true love. As for Beau, I can't figure out why he would fall in love with Chelsea.Though I am interested in the other two Blackthorn brothers, I probably won't be continuing on with this series.