Better Living Through Chemistry: 50 WAYS TO RUIN A RAKE by Jade Lee (audio)

50 Ways to Ruin a Rake


50Ways_RuinRake-238x238Book 1 in the Rakes and Rogues series

by Jade Lee
Narrated by Charlotte Anne Dore
Publication date: Jun 16, 2015
Running time 11 hrs

Also available in a mass market paperback and in e-book formats
Sourcebooks Casablanca | 384 pages | May 5, 2015

Audio Book provided by Tantor Audio for review purposes. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own unless otherwise noted.


Mellie Smithson is trapped in the country with no suitors and no prospects on the horizon except, perhaps, the exasperating—although admittedly handsome—guest of her father. Unwilling to settle, Mellie will do anything to escape to London . . .

Trevor Anaedsley’s grandfather has cut off his funds until he gets engaged. Beset by creditors, Trevor escapes to the country—ostensibly to visit his old tutor Mr. Smithson—where he meets Smithson’s lovely daughter Mellie. The obvious solution is suddenly before him—but will this fake engagement go as Trevor and Mellie plan? Or will they find that even the best laid plans often go awry?

Contains mature themes.


My Take Oblong


Mellie is a “bluestocking”  who has invented a way of whitening muslin that’s made her family a mint.  Now she has invented something that will make more money for her family and they are pushing her to marry her poetic, but lumbering cousin, Ronnie to keep it all in the family. Her family is quite intent on this and she is intent against it, but with no other men around, she needs to get to London and find a man who is not Ronnie.

Mellie would like to travel, marry and then have a family, but she also wants to have the fruit of her labor: control over the money produced through her intellectual property.

Trevor and Mellie have known each other a long time; most of that time each wanted her father’s attention and each became resentful of the other.  When he drops in, throwing off her uncle’s and cousin’s plans, they  hit on the fake engagement plan and without her father’s blessing head off to London for the “season” so Mellie can be educated into  the ways of a duchess.

I found myself feeling quite indignant about her family trying, more or less, to steal from her; force her into a marriage she doesn’t want and try to bully her using her late mother’s depression. I rather wanted Jade Lee to take it farther; to make more of it than she did.

There’s a little cross over from another series by Lee, Bridal Favors, with the overlap at the ennobled owner of a dress shop. According to the author, it is part of that world, but the print publisher has decided to make it a new series. The characters of the Duke and Duchess are from  the last book: What the Groom Wants and another character, Lady Helene, is from Wedded in Scandal.

I found myself quite suspicious of Mellie’s sponsor for the season, a friend of her fake fiance.  After all, why wouldn’t she herself be looking to marry Trevor.  I figured she had an ulterior motive. Actually, everyone in the story seems to have an ulterior motive.

I didn’t really get what happened between Trevor and his family in the course of the fake engagement.

I listened to this while I moved mulch and it proved to be an enjoyable distraction. The narration was fine, the accents and voices were consistent, if not perfect ∞ I thought Ronnie sounded a bit too much like the village idiot. But I generally enjoy Charlotte Anne Dore’s narrations. Her voice is just a tiny bit  raspy which gives it a sultry edge.

The end game of the story is kind of ridiculously,  fantastically madcap; Lee just let her imagination go wild. Really, really wild.  I found it very original, funny, and a little over the top.

All in all this is what I call a great read for a summer day when you want  something hot with a funny edge.


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