Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)'s Reviews > Against the Rules

Against the Rules by Linda Howard
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Apr 11, 10

it was amazing
bookshelves: category-contemporary-romance, owned-copy, silhouette-intimate-moments-rom-sus, favorite-or-autobuy-author, favorites, western, lovers-reunited, unrequited-love, possessive-and-or-jealous-hero, hero-in-pursuit, hero-pretty-awesome, tortured-hero, widow
Recommended for: Linda Howard fans, Vintage contemporary romance fans, Modern western romance readers
Read from April 10 to 11, 2010 , read count: 1

I can't believe I never read this book before. I really enjoyed it. I love the feel of a modern western. I'm addicted to this theme. I thought Rule was such an intense, rugged, sexy, appealing hero. He was raw and dominant, like many of Linda Howard's heroes. But he never stepped over the edge to domineering bully, for me. He had a vulnerability and a need for Cat that made my heart flutter. Cat is a heroine that I could sympathize with. She spent so many years running scared from her overwhelming attraction for Rule, a man who swooped in and took control of her father's ranch after he died. And he took control of her, stepping in as a sort of surrogate guardian. Although he feelings for her were far from avuncular. Their interlude when she was seventeen and he was in his twenties didn't strike me as wrong (although legally it is), because there was a deep connection there that seemed to spark out of control. It didn't have a sleazy, Lolita vibe for me. I think it was handled very well by Ms. Howard.

The western ranch setting appealed to me. I loved the descriptions of working on a horse-breeding ranch. But it didn't overshadow the love story, merely forming a backdrop that helped to better characterize Rule and Cat. I so wanted to be there on that ranch, as I read this story.

Cat's marriage wasn't delved into overly much, but it sounds like it was a happy one. It is nice to have a character have been happily-married, and the deceased spouse not treated as the bad guy. And the fact that she was fated to love Rule so much more didn't mean that she couldn't have loved her husband.

Rule's intense love and feelings towards Cat really won me over. There are few types of heroes that I love more than heroes in pursuit. He was really intent on getting her to stay, and somewhat ruthless in his seduction, but that was just fine with me. It makes the romance all that more thrilling for me. I love a man who goes after the woman he wants.

The reviews for this one by others are kind of low. I guess I'm in the minority here. I would actually add this to my list of faves by Linda Howard. Sometimes her alphas can be domineering brutes to me, and that makes some of her books less enjoyable. In the case of Rule, he was done so well, that his alpha and dominant nature was a highly enjoyable part of this book. It might be that Cat didn't come off as being bullied by him. She was susceptible to him, no question about it. But he was probably just as much in her thrall. Their relationship had a mutuality in the level of love and attraction they held for each other that made the alpha/possessive tendencies of Rule feel right. And Cat definitely showed some jealous/possessive tendencies towards him, as well.

The sensual elements were well-done. Something about the way the category romances that were written in the 80s that I love. The books had the chemistry and the fiery love scenes that I like, but they aren't over the top, where you wonder, are these people really in love, or they just having some explosive sex? You can feel the love in the private moments. But that's just my opinion, and you know how much opinions are worth.

I'm really glad I had the chance to finally read Against the Rules. It's worth its weight in gold for this reader. It's going on my Linda Howard keeper shelf.
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 107) (107 new)

Zeek I remember this being one of my least favorite older LH's ...

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) I actually really liked it. But I'm a sucker for westerns and cowboys. LOL.

Why didn't you like it?

Zeek ya know-I'd have to re-read it... it's been a long time, I just remember it not being one of my favs. I think the hero was a little too hardnosed even for me! Unless I'm confusing it for another? I might have to dig out my copy! haha!

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) He's a little little hard-nosed, but it totally made sense why he was that way, with his past. I feel that way about Gray in After the Night. I feel like I could put a hit on him. :)

I think I may be a little more tolerant on dominant heroes that I used to be. Maybe that's part of it?

Ally72 Super review Danielle! I haven't read any of Linda Howard's books yet, but I am anxious to get to her very soon (especially MacKenzie's Mountain).

Karen Great review, Danielle. I have this in my TRB...I need to read it soon!

message 7: by Linds (new)

Linds I haven't read any Linda Howard's yet, I'll probably start with MacKenzie's Mountain, that seems to be a favorite...

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Thanks, Ally and Karen. Linds, I have to say that Mackenzie's Mountain is a great way to start with LH.

Rossy Fantastic review, Danielle! I'm going to have to try this author soon.

Auntee Great review, Danielle! I wish I can remember reading this one.:)
Your review made it sound so good...maybe it's time for a re-read.:)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Thanks, Rossy and Auntee. Rossy, I think you'd love LH. Auntee, I think I might have to go on a LH glom now. :)

Rossy Already ordered 3 books from her, Danielle. Shawna keeps recommending her so i have to see what she's talking about. I want to order this one though, i love me some hot cowboys!

Auntee I'd love to go on that LH glom with you Danielle! If only I didn't have such a high TBR mountain...:(

message 14: by Zeek (last edited Apr 12, 2010 04:35AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Zeek First off- for those that havent read her... omg what a treat your in for. Mackenzie's Mountain- ALL the Mackenzies- are some delicious reading!

Danielle- I loved After the night, tho I know some people really had a hard time with Grey. Not me- grrrr!

Ya know, I simply can't remember much about ATR, other than remembering it wasn't one of my favs- I will honestly have to reread to see if that's true or still true. (Hey a LH reread is no hardship for me!) I do know my least favs were An Independent Wife and All the Glitters- two of her earliest novels. (They were just BORring!) But The Mackenzies and The Kell Sabin books? STILL some of my all time favorite romances! OH and Heart of Fire? WOW is that one a fun one too- in fact Kresley Coles's latest IAD sorta reminded me of it! :) (Son of Morning is still a top fav too and it's really the closest she's gone to PNR!)

Now her newer releases are not near as good- she, like so many of my old favs, changed their style, got tamer, and just plain ol' blah, imo. sigh I do miss me those

message 15: by Zeek (new) - rated it 4 stars

Zeek Danielle- Elizabeth Lowell did a setting similar to this with her Mackenzie/Blackthorn series. I adored those books have your read them??

Granite Man & Warrior: Granite Man\Warrior

I'd have to look to see which book is first ...

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Hey, Zeek. I will have to reread After the Night and see if he still inspires murderous thoughts in me. Sarah's Child is not a fave, definitely. Rome was a real jerk, IMHO. I haven't read Heart of Fire. It's on my list to read. I have quite a few of hers I haven't getten to yet.

I loved EL's old stuff: Fire and Rain, Granite Man, Warrior, and Outlaw. I also loved her medieval series. She has some hard alpha men, most def. I agree that some of the older authors' newer stuff doesn't have the same zing.

Auntee, I'm going to pace myself and integrate some LH into my reading, slowly but surely. I find it works best to mix up the same author with other books.

Rossy, I think LH is a big fave amongst us romance readers. She's one of my original contemp faves.

Rossy Zeek wrote: "First off- for those that havent read her... omg what a treat your in for. Mackenzie's Mountain- ALL the Mackenzies- are some delicious reading!

Danielle- I loved After the night, tho I know so..."

Ah Zeke, why are you torturing me?! There are FIVE books in the Mackenzie series. *whimpers* I really shouldn't get those....

Rossy Just found some of her books on ebook pretty cheap at BOB. I guess my will is weak!LOL

message 20: by MelissaB (last edited Apr 12, 2010 03:57AM) (new)

MelissaB Zeek wrote: "First off- for those that havent read her... omg what a treat your in for. Mackenzie's Mountain- ALL the Mackenzies- are some delicious reading!

Danielle- I loved After the night, tho I know so..."


I don't remember this one either but I don't think I liked it at all! An Independent Wife and All That Glitters are my least favorite older LH's along with Sarah's Child.

I love the Mackenzie's, the Kell Sabin series (Midnight Rainbow, Diamond Bay, Heartbreaker, White Lies), Heart of Fire, Dream Man, Kill and Tell, Open Season, Mr. Perfect, Duncan's Bride and After the Night. I also like Loving Evangeline, Now You See Her, To Die For, Drop Dead Gorgeous and The Touch of Fire.

Avoid at all costs: Cover of Night and Angel Creek

Rossy - you can get the entire Mackenzie series in a bundle on Kindle, so then it's kind of like one book.

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Great review! I've not read anything by Linda Howard, but it sounds like she's right up my alley.

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Rossy, what BOB are you talking about?

message 23: by Zeek (last edited Apr 12, 2010 04:39AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Zeek BOB ::giggle::

Wow, I can't believe so many of you haven't read her oldies! FOr the longest time I couldn't get enough of LH- I STILL reread her books all the time! Diamond Bay has got to be one of the best category romances ever written- LOVE me some Kell Sabin!- with Mackenzie's Mountain a very close second.


Oh to be discovering these for the first time!

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish LOL Rossy and I have been discussing a different type of BOB on another thread, but I don't think THAT BOB is where she gets her books. LOL

message 25: by MelissaB (last edited Apr 12, 2010 05:10AM) (new)

MelissaB Zeek,

I reread my favorite LH's all the time and try to get newer romance readers to try her. She was amazing! I am not a fan of her newer watered down stuff though.

I also like Lowell's older western contemporaries, though her heroes were jerks sometimes!

For those who want to try Linda Howard out, I recommend starting with:
Mackenzie's Mountain
Dream Man
Heart of Fire
Midnight Rainbow
Open Season
Duncan's Bride
Mr. Perfect
After the Night
Kill and Tell

message 26: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Great review Danielle! I've never read any books by Linda Howard, I'm usually not that into Westerns but your review makes me want to read it! I also can't resist a hero that goes after what he wants! It's one of my all time favorite types of heroes-- he stops at nothing to get his woman! Love it!!

message 27: by Karen (last edited Apr 12, 2010 06:22AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Karen I love LH's older books too, but I'm reluctant to try the newer books because of all the bad reviews. I read Death Angel and it was a real stinker.

Rossy MelissaB wrote: "Rossy - you can get the entire Mackenzie series in a bundle on Kindle, so then it's kind of like one book."

I did get it in a bundle, it was so much cheaper that way. Not from kindle though since i have a Sony ereader.

Rossy UniquelyMoi *~*Dhestiny*~* wrote: "Rossy, what BOB are you talking about?"

Books on board, sweetie. Get your mind out of the gutter!LOL

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish My mind has taken up permanent residence in the gutter! LOL I hadn't heard of Books on board. I'll check it out.

Rossy Thanks for the recs for newbies, Melissa. A few i ordered in paperback but i'm going to see if BOB has the Kell Sabin series. It seems you all liked those as well, and i think i saw them in ebook format there.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Thanks, Dhestiny and Cheryl. Melissa posted a good list of where to start with LH, although I'd add this one, as well, especially if you like heroes in pursuit. I don't remember All That Glitters very well. I'd have to reread it. I think the hero in An Independent Woman is a real caveman, so I wouldn't say it was a fave. I don't hate it, though. I actually liked Shades of Midnight, although the characters are a little more rural/country-mentality that I normally like in a book. I raised my eyes when the hero had a gunrack on his truck. It reminds me of my family in Alabama and some folks I went to school with. Not bad, just not what this suburban girl is used to.

I started Loving Evangeline, but I put it down because Robert is the King of A-holes. I have it with my LHs to read, so I'll try again, when I feel like reading a jerky hero.

Rossy UniquelyMoi *~*Dhestiny*~* wrote: "My mind has taken up permanent residence in the gutter! LOL I hadn't heard of Books on board. I'll check it out."

You should. They have special all the time and you get rewards back for all books purchased.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Oh, Lady of the West is good. But the hero is a real jerk. He smacks the heroine really hard. I never forgave him for that. And I think she was pregnant at the time. Don't quote me on that, though.

Rossy I don't think i want to read about a hero like that. Being alpha and possesive, i can take but not abusive.

message 36: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Thanks Danielle! I made a note of all the books you and Melissa listed!

message 37: by Zeek (last edited Apr 12, 2010 10:15AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Zeek Robert makes up for it in the end of LE, Danielle, and he remains quite memorable. I also liked LOTW even tho many couldn't handle the hero. Personally that book is all about the secondary romance between the heroine's sister (Or cousin?) and the hero's brother!

Yeah Shades was VERY rednecky- people STILL can't decide if the h/h's relationship is considered incestuous because they were somehow related- altho I swear it was only thru marriage??

message 38: by MelissaB (new)

MelissaB I don't like A Lady of the West

Loving Evangeline was good but not a favorite for me. Robert was a bit of an azz but I still liked the story.

Shades of Twilight - not high on my list at all due to incest and a doormat heroine

message 39: by Zeek (new) - rated it 4 stars

Zeek Duncan's Bride- which came before LE and features Robert's sister is another goodie!

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Oh, I love Duncan's Bride. That's part of why I was disappointed with LE. Robert didn't seem like such a jerkwad in that one. I'll give it LE and Robert another try, though.

Cheryl, let us know what you think of LH.

Rossy, I don't mind a hero who's a bit jerky, ala Diana Palmer, but I don't like physically abusive and uber-alpha/bossy/domineering heroes very much. Diana Palmer's heroes usually just say mean things to the heroines. I haven't read one where they abuse her or push her around physically. Although she has a few heroes on my list that I want to take a shovel to. I like to see a jerky hero grovel and make up for being that way. If he does repent well, we're usually good.

Rossy Me too, Danielle.

Rossy Danielle, help me to understand Cat a bit better because right now i want to slap her. I swear am half way through the book and the woman is touching on all my pet peeves.LOL

She keeps distracting me from the scenes am reading when i have to keep reminding myself, that there are women who would react this way in real life. It's hard to like her though when my mind is set in Romancelandia.

message 43: by MelissaB (new)

MelissaB Haha Rossy, a lot of really early LH books can drive you crazy with the way the H/h acts. A few of us LH fans were just having a discussion on Amazon about the books most people don't like because of jerky heroes and weak heroines: All That Glitters, An Independent Wife and Almost Forever. I would recommend trying out her "middle" books first - not the initial ones with 80's jerk heroes or the later suspense but look at the nice later 80's and 90's with protective alpha males and smart capable heroines.

I don't remember this book at all beyond a basic feeling of not liking it.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) In what way is she bothering you? Is she too passive for you?

I like your comment about real world versus Romancelandia.

Here's my approach. I don't think all women are and should be kickbutt heroines. Some women have different strengths and rationales. That doesn't make them weak. I like to see a spectrum of different kinds of heroines, because it becomes stereotyped to always have the same heroine who'd react to every situation the same way. I'm not judging anyone here. This is just my basic reading philosophy.

What I don't like to see:

*A heroine who is so low in her self-esteem that is willing to allow a so-called hero to abuse and abase her.
*Heroines who have no sense of self-preservation or the ability to think through a situation rationally.
*Woe is me heroines who refuse to get pass their emotions and make decisions for their welfare.
*A complete mixmatch in the heroine and the hero, in which one is so dominant over the other that it becomes not a relationship but a slave and master situation.
*The other thing that I do when I read these older romances is I put them into perspective with the time in which they were written, which is something that Melissa hit on. Women in the 70-80s, even 90s are not going to react the same way as women do now. Remember that these women were raised by mothers who lived in the 50s with the homemaker/women in her place mentality. And romances at this time were more conservative in their views. They aren't going to show bra-burning women in the early 80s.

I hope that doesn't sound like a lecture. It's not. It's just my approach.

I get pretty frustrated with the way heroines tend to be called doormats and weak all the time without an understanding of the perspective and the time in which the story was written.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) I know that I'll come to blows with fans of After the Night, but I felt that Faith was not a strong heroine in the sense that she allowed herself to become sexually enthralled by a man who didn't respect her or care about her until well into the book. I had a big problem with that. But I tend to prescribe to the believe that I can't see someone being attracted to/falling in love with someone they don't fundamentally like or respect. I don't get that, at all.

message 46: by MelissaB (new)

MelissaB No matter what I think in the end, LH writes a book that brings a strong response and that is a good thing. I may hate Rome in Sarah's Child but the book is still good enough to draw me in and have emotions toward the characters.

Have you read An Independent Wife Danielle? I am interested in your thoughts on that one. Mine are mixed.

I like softer sweeter heroines too. I just want them to have self-esteem and self respect so they hold true to themselves. I see where you are coming from with Faith. I agree Gray was an azz and needed to grovel, my liking is more for the entire book than the romance itself - the book was emotional, sexy and intense. I really liked Faith too (though she might have deserved better than Gray, he was her lifetime crush and love).

message 47: by Zeek (new) - rated it 4 stars

Zeek people really have issue with Grey- but I loved his intensity and thought she handled him very well- I also have no problem imagining her handling him just fine in their future together. I liked Faith. Sure he pushed her, but I think it showed strength for her to pull herself out of the situation she was in and start her own business AND not become a bitter b*itch to boot, so I forgave her for falling in love with him! I would MUCH rather see this, btw, than a smart mouthed heroine hopping from bed to bed. Just sayin.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) I completely agree with you about liking LH for the intensity in her books. That's what I love. I like books that make me feel emotions and I clearly see the emotional connections of the characters. I read An Independent Wife a while ago. I didn't like some of the messages in it. I really have trouble with books that say a woman has to give it all up for love, even her self-respect. True love causes a person to embrace the person they love, flaws and all. You want the best for them, so you wouldn't want them to have unhealthy, destructive habits. But their quirks should appeal to you, don't you think?

I think I might feel the same way about An Independent Wife I as I expressed about After the Night, but also, I have issue with how you can love someone and want to change them into someone else? Freedom of expression/to be whoever you are is important for me. I don't want a man who wants to change me into someone else that fits his life better. Those kinds of stories aren't romantic to me, which is why I'm not fond of Plain Jane Makeover stories. I need to re-read it to answer your question, but I'll make a note on it.

I also agree with you about softer/sweeter heroines who have self-esteem and self-respect. Strength is not bitchyness to me. I think this boat gets missed a lot when some authors write "so-called strong heroines."

message 49: by MelissaB (new)

MelissaB I think I may need to reread After the Night! Grey is one intense sexy man.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Zeek, I can't stand sleazy, loose heroines with loud-mouths and bad attitudes. Nothing appeals to me there. You raise some good points about After the Night. I will reread it and see if I still want to murder Gray.

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