The Rules of Love by Cara Malone is another fun little romantic romp with a side of hot sex thrown in. Maxine Saddler has exactly one friend at college as she goes for her post-graduate degree in library science. And Mira became her friend despite Max’s social problems, rather than anything Max did to become friends. So when Ruby Satterwhite shows up on campus in pursuit of her own post-graduate degree in library science, Max knows there’s no way the popular, beautiful woman would ever look twice at her. This knowledge seems to be supported by Ruby’s reaction to their initial conversation, when Max’s Asperger’s once again made the interaction derail and left Ruby looking at her with loathing.
Ruby’s got problems of her own. She’s been dumped by her long-time girlfriend because she decided to go to graduate school so far away. Now she’s nursing a broken heart, while trying to make new friends at a school where she’s surrounded by strangers. And the hot butch who’s her only competition for the post of President of the Student Library Organization is extremely rude and blunt, and has an in with the old President, Mira.
A class project forces the two to work together, and the initial attraction flares up again. But can Ruby leave behind the girl who broke her heart? And can Max figure out the rules of love in time to win Ruby’s attentions?
I have to admit that Max was the biggest reason I wanted to read this book. I was extremely interested in a character who had trouble with social cues, and never seemed to get the subtleties of sarcasm and tact. Max has found that when she follows certain rules for social interactions, whether she understands the rule or not, she can arrive at a more positive outcome than if she follows her own preferences. She’s been studying the rules of love for quite some time now, jotting down notes in her ubiquitous spiral notebook as she observes romantic interactions. She’s never had the opportunity or the desire to use them herself, until she met Ruby.
Ruby seems at first to not be the nicest person in the world. Part of that is an understandable reaction to Max’s perceived rudeness, and part of it is that she’s still trying to recover from the bruised heart she’s received from her high school sweetheart breaking up with her. She’s feeling lost, and alone, and definitely out of her element, and her response to Max is understandable. I was a little upset with her decision to use Max as a way to get over her ex, until I realized that it was more of a lie to herself that would give her permission to indulge in something she wasn’t emotionally ready for at the time. That lost feeling lasted a little longer than I wanted it to, but Ruby came through in the end, and her ability to see the sweet heart under all of Max’s social brusqueness made her the perfect person to teach Max some new rules.
The Writing Style
Once again, Malone has written an enjoyable, light, and easy to read book. Once I started, I quickly became invested in the characters, and couldn’t put the book down.
I really liked the chemistry between Max and Ruby. Both tried to ignore their attraction, and even when they first gave in to it, there was a certain edge of hostility to their initial forays. And yet neither could stay away from the other, and it made me really think that there’s always someone out there for everyone.
Again, the only con for me was Ruby’s initial decision to use Max to get over her ex. That seemed kind of shallow and mean. But I noticed that even when she tried to keep that in mind during their first encounter, it was difficult for Ruby to believe it herself. There was just too much emotion creeping in, and she’s just not that bad of a person.
If you’re looking for a quick, sweet, romantic read, this is a perfect choice.
Excerpt from The Rules of Love by Cara Malone
“You know, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that Max is hot,” Lydia said, narrowing her eyes at Ruby.
“What? What’s that got to do with anything?” Ruby asked, stuttering slightly over her words and blaming the alcohol.
“All I’m saying is you spent a lot of time talking about her tonight. It seemed like quite a few topics led back to Max,” Lydia teased as she started to take a few steps away, heading toward her car parked down the street. She pointed at Ruby and added in a sing-songy tone, “Thou doth protest too much.”
“I… doth not,” Ruby objected, but Lydia just shrugged and turned around. Ruby muttered it again to herself. “I doth not.”
Then she sighed and made the short trek back to campus, across the quad and to the graduate dorms. It was a nice night with clear stars in the sky and a crisp breeze that brought a slight chill to her cheeks and nose, but the only thing Ruby was paying attention to was that accusation. It was ridiculous – Max was sarcastic and uptight and the complete opposite of Ruby. And even if Ruby did like Max, which was a hard no, it was pretty clear that Max detested her.
But damn it if Lydia wasn’t right about one thing. Max was hot. Something about her – the galaxies she held in her eyes, the cut of her jaw, the way she carried herself, the fit of her shirt around what was clearly a tight body – made the drunk version of Ruby want to sink her teeth into Max.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781521294963
Cara Malone Online
Note: I received a free review copy of The Rules of Love by Cara Malone. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.