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A Rational Arrangement

(Arranging Paradise #1)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  285 ratings  ·  51 reviews
“But these are vital aspects of marriage. If one cannot discuss them, what's the use in meeting at all? It's like trying to decide what you'll have for dinner without mentioning food.”

Wisteria Vasilver does wish to marry. Truly. But though she lives in Paradise, arranging a match is full of traps and pitfalls for the unwary ... or perhaps just for her.

Nikola Striker, L
Kindle Edition, 642 pages
Published June 23rd 2015 by Delight in Books
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  285 ratings  ·  51 reviews

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Alexis Hall
I had a couple of misapprehensions about this book going on, which I think might be partly on me and partly on the book itself. The first was that I didn’t quite realise it was fantasy (which, despite the slightly fantastical characters names, isn’t super clear from the blurb). The second was that it was, like, a gazillion pages long.

And, um, I honestly don’t think it needed to be a gazillion pages long? Because a lot of it exposition and a lot of it is character work that doesn’t impel the prim
Jul 28, 2016 rated it did not like it
There are two main problems with this book as I see it: 1) there is a significant disjuncture between what this book is being billed as and what it actually is and 2) this book badly, badly needed an editor (and I mean an actual editor, not the half dozen beta readers cited in the acknowledgements). The first issue can be easily rectified. At the time of this review the book is being billed as a regency-esque romance with slight paranormal or fantasy overtones built on the common plot device (pa ...more
This book is such a pleasure of a romance. In a Regency flavored culture set after the fall of another world in a new "Paradise," Rowyn meticulously builds cultures, history, religions, a wider world, and a magic systems with as much beauty as the plot, characters, and love story.

I stayed up all night reading.

The heroine, Wisteria, is going right on my favorite heroines list. Wisteria brave, kind, moral, and with the keenest of minds. She falters and is big hearted. She is somewhere on the autis
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a very good fantasy story with lots of historical vibes included.
I think the author did a great job creating this world, letting the reader read between the lines about politics, biology, society and religion (of sorts).
The main characters are very appealing, very likable and everything in their slow burn romance was also interesting and addictive.
I just think some situations were dragged a little too much while throughout the more than 600 pages and at the last 100, for instance, things
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
DNFed at 19% which is quite frustrating as I liked the characters and premise a great deal. But my goodness this book needs a SOLID EDITING. By which I mean pruning out the massive amounts of excess detail about the most dull things possible which weighs down the book.

For example, I don’t need two full pages on the history of someone’s title and why he’s called using one sort of nomenclature whereas his father’s title uses a different sort. It won’t matter to the plot, the characters, or the for
Susan Kornfeld
Aug 23, 2015 rated it did not like it
Honestly, I was expecting great things from this book. Instead it is a rather steamy affair relying on the old trope of the proper-looking but truly lusty librarian type. Yes, it's nice that despite genders and triangles love finds a way to triumph, but everything was telegraphed so far in advance that it was just a matter of turning pages until the expected events happened. There was a torture scene that caused something of a religious crisis in one of the main characters, but it was easily res ...more
Jul 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really liked it--until the last 25%

The positives:
1. Wisteria. She's a singular and wonderful character. I don't think I've read another book about someone who is both rational and passionate, but it makes for fascinating interactions between her and the other characters.
2. Blessings. The idea of people being born with certain gifts bestowed on them by the 'Saviour' (which seemed to be another name for God) was intriguing, as was the fact that the same gift varied from person to person. I like
Sarah Wynde
Jul 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
This book showed up in my also-bought list on Amazon twice and the second time, I clicked. It sounded interesting enough that I read the Look Inside. I came very, very close to stopping there -- there's a graphic m/m sex scene within the Look Inside that goes on forever (or at least it felt like it) and while I know that there's a vast audience of slash readers for whom that would be just the thing, I'm not one of them. But I was interested in the female character, Wisteria, and I wanted to read ...more
Jul 18, 2015 added it
Shelves: indie
So I picked this one up on a whim, free, and didn't look too deeply into what it was about. It's a fantasy with some people, right?

Then I started reading it and went, "oh, regency fantasy of economics! Cool!" and then I kept reading and went "Ohhh, giant sentient cats! Cool!" and then I kept reading and went "OH BOY that's certainly a sex scene I am too young skim fasterrrr," and kept reading and went "Oh, magical healing powers! Cool!". That was most of the book.

Really cool world. Sex that cert
Mar 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Pleasantly Surprised

In truth, I am a bit baffled by how this book is marketed as it leaves out all of the things I found most interesting/appealing about the story. Neither the cover nor the description indicates that this is a fantasy, complete with magic and giant sentient talking cats. It's never hinted at that this is a love triangle open to polyamory. While these things came as an unwanted surprise to some of the low score reviewers, I found myself pleased... but even in my enjoyment, I wil
Jun 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: june-2020
There’s a diamond in this book, but it’s smothered by the occasional downside to self-publishing. On the surface, the author did everything right. Great cover, no blatant typos, solid plot, well-developed characters, unique world building elements. Unfortunately, this is where I plug the need for an impartial substantive or developmental editor IN ADDITION to beta readers. Because this book’s biggest problem is that it’s about a third too long, and not every reader is going to be happy to wade i ...more
LG (A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions)
Nikola Striker, the Lord of Fireholt, is being pressured by his parents to marry. They have settled on Wisteria Vasilver for him. The match would probably save his family from financial ruin, but Nik really doesn't want to marry, and Wisteria's looks aren't to his taste in any case. Her personality, though... After Wisteria inadvertently offends his parents, Nik finds himself thinking about her more than he expected. Her tone and facial expression are impossible to read, but her words are refres ...more
Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A Rational Arrangement is as much fantasy as it is romance, with a delightful, well imagined world, vivid characters that are easy to relate to, and a thoroughly engaging story. I will not ruin it with an unnecessary summary when in all actuality you could, and should, just read it for yourself. Though I did need my Kindle's wonderful, built in dictionary (I love that thing) I rather enjoy authors who use language well, and even challenge the reader to learn something, without being over the top ...more
Feb 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Stayed up until 2am to finish this book--it was so good! I have a soft spot for Jane Austen-style stories, but this was so much more--fantasy/sci-fi, giant cats as servants/friends, magical Blessings, mind healing, a VERY intriguing female protagonist, psychology, business, law, being an outsider, love, trauma, TWO bi characters, polyamory--and some very well-written sexy scenes! Genre-defying and great :D
Madison Schaeffer
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really, really enjoyed the good parts of this book. Honestly, I'd give it like 4.5 stars, because my opinion was 90% positive. Good characters! Awesome magic! (Some really REALLY thoughtful insights into mental health and the treatment of it.) The protagonists are well characterized and likable. The great cats are, in fact, great. And polyfi? I am all about polyfi! Which was very well done. I was delighted. Basically? This book is delightful.

But. And there must be a but. This book could have b
May 21, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 11, 2020 rated it liked it
The synopsis above did not give me a full idea of what I was letting myself in for with this book. At first, I thought it was set in Regency England, but it is actually set in an imaginary world called Paradise that has a similar social structure to the Regency and Victorian periods with fantastical elements added. The main ones are Blessings and greatcats. In this world, certain people have been given Blessings for either healing or working with natural objects. This is where greatcats came fro ...more
I enjoyed this so much, staying up until 5am reading and then rolling out of bed at noon to finish. I love Wisteria and Nikola and the world building. Justin is a bit of a twat, and I hope there is more about his mind shapes and working on his anger in the next book, but he did show remorse and put in work on his anger issues.

I've seen other reviews that didn't like all the world building but that is EXACTLY what kept me engrossed. It's a lovely magical realism Regency sort of world. I also real
Dec 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
I feel like a significant number of my reviews are opining about how x book is like fanfiction. And if enough books are like fanfiction, am I actually right that this is not a style often found in published literature?
Obviously I think I’m right (lol) and I ALSO think that as writers cut their teeth in fanfic and grow into writers while reading fanfic, the storyshapes more common to fanfic begin to permeate the mainstream.
Fanfic cares about details, fanfic is episodic, fanfic is not a single pl
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was definitely For Me. Fascinating world building, the most interesting fictional religion since Bujold's Five Gods, GIANT SENTIENT CATS, Regency-esque manners and mores, and three characters who I have so many feelings about. Wisteria! I love Wisteria, she's the best, I love her brain, her confusion at navigating social situations. Nik! I love Nikola, he's the best, he tries so hard to be good. Justin! I love Justin, he's the best, I want to give him a big hug and I'm so happy he has ...more
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I haven't had this much pleasure reading a book this long possibly in my life (don't at me Asoiaf).

The relationship took so long to develop that at one point I had to walk away from the honest expression of emotions, which is not like me, but I had a lot of fun waiting.

Two things kept this from being a 5 for me:
1) the greatcats. I like giant talking cats as much as (more than) the next person, but I was profoundly uncomfortable with a whole class of creatures capable of speech and reason being m
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I didn't realize I wanted more romantic fantasy (fantasy romance?) until I read this. It has everything I'm looking for in a good fantasy: intriguing world building, fascinating magic/religious system, and solid characterization, plus delightfully steamy sex scenes. My only complaint was the jarring tone shift for a section in the middle of the book with intense depictions of PSTD and the events that caused it. With the overall cheerful and relatively low stakes rest of the book, I wasn't expect ...more
Jun 23, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marsha Valance
In this light-hearted "Regency" romance set on a colony planet where intelligent giant cats serve as both transportation and bodyguards, an autistic young woman declines to choose between a wealthy lord and a poor one with a "blessing" (gift) for mind-healing. Instead, she marries them both--and they then marry each other. ...more
Jennifer Nennifer
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous book. worth reading for the great cats alone! Everyone I suggested it to who read it LOVED it. Great characters, fascinating religion/world, excellent plot. In case you don't read other reviews - if gay sex is going to bother you, you won't like this. ...more
Shelly Cerullo
Nov 13, 2018 rated it liked it
A fairly delightful book, although I have to mark it down a star because the pacing for the second half of the book felt rushed, almost as though the author had originally planned for it to be spread out over two or three books and elected to edit everything into one volume.
Jean the book nerd
Sep 24, 2020 added it
Shelves: dnf
DNF at 22%

And from the part I did read, I skipped a lot of passage. Just too many details, too much informations at once. Normally I like detailed and extensive world building, but here it was just boring. And all this talk religious talk about the „Saviour“... definitely not for me
May 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Maybe three and a half? Enjoyed it, with a few niggles.
Shantia Shaver
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Different but good

This was a well written, unconventional love story and I could not put it down. I bout the second book to see how far these three go.
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
Meh, not inspiring.
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