Tag: Outlander

A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean

Posted February 8, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Historical Fiction, Romance / 10 Comments

A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLeanTitle: A Rogue by Any Other Name (Goodreads)
Author: Sarah MacLean
Series: The Rules of Scoundrels #1
Published: Avon, 2012
Pages: 386
Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance
My Copy: Audiobook

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

After a broken engagement and years of disappointing courtships, Lady Penelope Marbury has all but given up on finding love. That was until she married the Marquess of Bourne, a prince of London’s underworld, a man cast from society into nothingness who is out for revenge. This wasn’t a marriage of love but convenience, Bourne married for the dowry and Penelope to avoid scandal and to ensure her sisters wouldn’t suffer the same fate.

You can guess how the story goes. He wants to keep Penelope away from his world and his underground gambolling house. She is bored, he is a prick. She wants adventure, hot sex and happily ever after. That is how regency romances work, right? Well, it does in this case with Sarah MacLean’s A Rogue by Any Other Name. I feel like I need to go back to my review of Outlander and pretty much cover the same issues again. The whole fantasy verse reality issue; my wife loves Outlander but I know her well enough to know she doesn’t really want someone like Jamie. In reality, if you were in a relationship with Jamie (from Outlander) or Michael Lawler (the Marquess of Bourne) you would be in an abusive one.

People are probably wondering why I decided to read A Rogue by Any Other Name; it wasn’t because it won the RITA Award for Best Historical Romance in 2013 because I don’t care about awards. There are a few reasons. Obviously I needed a romance novel for the Literary Exploration Reading Challenge. I know I could have gone with a literary romance novel but I was curious about Sarah MacLean mainly because she often talks about the intersection of feminism and the romance genre but also because the sex scenes are hot. Why not find out for myself?

Interestingly enough there was a very feminist vibe in this novel along with the whole cliché romance story arc. Penelope is portrayed as a very strong willed woman, willing to stand up to Michael’s stupid behaviour. She was in a situation where she had to think about her family and to avoid the scandals she made the choice to marry. The novel has a lot of other examples of feminism but what I liked about this book was the fact that most of the women were feisty and strong minded; they didn’t let the men control them. At times the men may think they are in control but they had no idea what they had gotten themselves into.

When it came to the sex scenes, yes they were hot and steamy but the fact that MacLean avoided most of those flowery euphemisms was what stood out to me. There were some cringe worthy phrases but as a whole the words seemed fitting. I know sex scenes are an important factor in deciding on which romance novels to read so I will say they were erotic, but there weren’t enough of them. Most of the time Penelope was the lonely wife and Michael didn’t want to corrupt her innocence, even if she was begging to be corrupted. However this is book one in The Rules of Scoundrels series so I’m assuming sex will be a more common thread in the next two books.

I’m not sure what the appeal is with romance novels but I will continue to try them. Personally I’m not that interested in reading more from The Rules of Scoundrels  series but maybe I’ll try book one of her other series, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (just because I like the name). Sarah MacLean’s written style is pretty good, the plots are pretty basic but she makes up for that with strong women and steamy sex. There is a black strip along the right hand side of the book cover; does anyone know what that means? If you are a fan of romance then I’m sure Sarah MacLean is someone you should be reading; it is better than the Outlander series.


Top Ten Tuesday: Most Intimidating Books

Posted July 2, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Top Ten Tuesday / 0 Comments

I don’t normally participate in Top Ten Tuesday, which is a book blogger meme that is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. But due to not having a post planned today and the fact I couldn’t resist the topic today, I thought ‘why not’. I suspect most people are going to go for the big classics that people expect you to read, so I thought I might add some other books too. So in no particular order;

10. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Have you seen Liberal Arts? There is a scene where Jesse (Josh Radnor’s character) decided to read an unnamed popular vampire novel (Twilight) just so he can properly see what is wrong with it. I feel like I might have to do the same.

9. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
I don’t really enjoy reading Fantasy, so I’m not looking forward to these high fantasy novels.

8. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
I watched the miniseries and was so bored, but that could be because Eddie Redmayne has no facial expressions.

7. Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey
I’m expecting that my experience to this book will be similar to that of The Book Thief. Everyone loves it and I’ll think it was overrated.

6. Anything by D.H. Lawrence
After my hatred for Lady Chatterley’s Love I’m too afraid to try this author again.

5. Finnegans Wake by James Joyce
Have you tried to read this one?

4. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
I was satisfied with the ending of The Hunger Games, I don’t feel the need to continue except there is a movie coming out.

3. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Heavy stuff, but someone’s got to read it.

2. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
My wife loves this book and I don’t want to end up hating books she loves (see Outlander)

1. In Search of Lost Time (Remembrance of Things Past) by Marcel Proust
Long and unfinished, I’m not sure what to expect from this one.


Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Posted March 18, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Historical Fiction, Romance / 0 Comments

Outlander by Diana GabaldonTitle: Outlander (Goodreads)
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander #1
Published: Dell, 1991
Pages: 870
Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance
My Copy: Audiobook

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Claire Randall found herself time travelling from 1945 to 1743. She was just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon but then she walks through an ancient stone circle and finds herself in the midst of a war torn Scotland being raided by the Highland clans. She finds a young Scot warrior and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire.

Contrary to popular belief, I didn’t read this book along with the Vaginal Fantasy book club; I did it because this is my wife’s favourite series and I needed a romance novel for the Literary Exploration challenge. I’m not really a fan of romances (Wuthering Heights is still the greatest Romance of all time) so I wasn’t sure what I was getting into here but be warned, even though I want to talk about all the things that didn’t work for me, it doesn’t mean this wasn’t an enjoyable read.

First of all I want to talk about Claire Randall; here is this strong former combat nurse that finds herself in the past. While she is scared and confused I never felt that her desperation was believable; I felt like the inner turmoil of Claire never really played out and I was left to believe she wanted to be there. Also she is suppose to be portrayed as a strong independent woman but all I saw was a loud mouth nag that put up no fight and just married Jamie with no reluctance at all.

Jamie Fraser suffers from instalove; as soon as he saw Claire he was madly in love with her. Then when they finally got married, the virgin becomes the greatest lover known to man; how is that possible? Also Jamie is supposed to be this great Scottish warrior but all I ever see him do is get into trouble and winding up caught or with severe wounds. Not to mention the abuse towards Claire; sure it was a sign on the time to discipline his wife but this isn’t sexy and is just over done.

Finally the plot; I tend to think this book goes in a repetitive circle, which consists of sex, more sex, conflict, sex, being caught, wife beating and then more sex. This is the entire plot arc and it keeps repeating itself for over 800 pages. Makes me wonder what makes a romance novel, I never felt there was an ounce of romance or love; just lots of sex.

I know this is a series of a great love between Jamie and Claire and there was a flicker of this from Jamie but never felt that come through from Claire. I wonder if sex is a substitute for love here or does this reflect more in the books that follow. Apart from everything I didn’t like about the book, the characters and the writing was pretty good. I wanted more inner conflict from Claire as0 the narrator but that is just a personal preference. I’m always interested in the inner thoughts of a protagonist, especially when they find themselves in an unusual situation.

I’m not sure if I will continue the Outlander series but I would like to think that the romance starts in the next book. I’m curious to know if this is the case; I’m a little hesitant to invest in another 800 pages if it’s just more of the same. Romance novels are not really my thing, but I did like the slight speculative fiction element with the time travel. I hope that aspect of the plot gets explored in greater detail with the other books. Now I’m curious to read The Time Travellers Wife and see how it compares.


Monthly Review – January 2013

Posted January 31, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Monthly Reading / 0 Comments

As the first month of 2013 comes to a close, it has been amazing to see how much excitement people are having towards both The Shadow of the Wind and the Literary Exploration Reading Challenge. For those who don’t know about the reading challenge, there is still time to join in the fun, so check out my introductory post here.

I’ve been off to a flying start this year, I’ve read twenty books, a feat I’m not sure how I managed, but I’ve had so much fun doing so. Nine of those books go towards the Literary Exploration Reading Challenge and you can find my own record of the challenge here. I’m thinking about trying to read two books for each genre this year and I’m keeping a record of every book and which genre it best fits into on that page as well, just to see which genres need more attention in my exploring.

Highlights of the month for me include; the highly talked about Wool by Hugh Howey, the bittersweet Big Ray by Michael Kimball and the existential The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. But the one I really thought deserves high praise is Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day, a novel of great beauty, decorum and love lost. I haven’t reviewed these books yet but keep an eye out, they will come. So what have you been reading this month?

Monthly Reading

  • Big Ray by Michael Kimball
  • Black Vodka: Ten Stories by Deborah Levy
  • Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis
  • Gangster Squad: Covert Cops, the Mob, and the Battle for Los Angeles by Paul Lieberman
  • In the Midst of Death by Lawrence Block
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
  • Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding
  • Revenge: Stories by Yoko Ogawa
  • The Big Nowhere by James Ellroy
  • The Dark Winter by David Mark
  • The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke
  • The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists by Gideon Defoe
  • The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Silver Linings Play Book by Matthew Quick
  • The Sins of the Fathers by Lawrence Block
  • The Toe Tag Quintet by Matthew Condon
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
  • Wool by Hugh Howey