Reviews

Rules of Arrangement, by Maren Mackenzie

belliz4's review

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3.0

*I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

'Rules of Arrangement' by Maren Mackenzie is the story of Adelaide Wright, a 22 year old college senior, who is paid by fellow students to write their papers for them. When Declan, her T.A and blast from the past, finds out about her highly illegal side hustle he blackmails her into seducing Jack Nolan, a wealthy, almost 40 year old art dealer who screwed Declan over. Adelaide enters into a complicated relationship with Jack and begins to question what she's been told with what she experiences.

The book is some sort of blackmail/heist mixed in with a lot of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' vibes (contract and toxic love interest-wise, not BDSM). The novel deals with serious issues surrounding mental health, family, toxic power struggles in relationships and attempted suicide as a sub-plot which I think should have been more of a focus but what was shown was mostly (aside from the toxic power struggles) well-done.

I have mixed feelings about this book. While I enjoyed reading it, there were parts that felt very serious that were not focused on long enough and then parts that were drawn out and had me itching for the scenes to end. It was a very quick read and a good debut novel. I'm interested to see more from Mackenzie in the future and to see how she'll grow as an author.

caitevacc's review

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5.0

I absolutely LOVED this book! I’m bias because I actually live in Connecticut, but I love this story and the woven tale composed of thrill, romance, and mental health. Adelaide is such a lovely character, I was rooting for her from day one. I was also wildly surprised with how much I loved the family dynamic and felt it to be realistic (aside from the NFL boyfriend aspect)! Recommending this to all my friends for when it comes out.

kaitlynmayberry's review

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5.0

Oh my god. Is this one of my new favorite books??? I think it may be. I haven’t slept, eaten, or done any of the things I need to get done because I have been just so sucked into this book. The writing was just so so so good. I’ll admit i don’t like 3rd person POV and books that’s arent duel POV but honestly this worked. Just everything about this was perfect for me. Something about it just felt so real? Like I wasn’t actually reading? I truly don’t know how to explain it all I know is I now have a pit in my stomach because it’s over and I loved it so much. Jack was the perfect hero and the plot was unlike one I’ve read before. Overall- READ THIS!!!

bookwormsandbiblios's review

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4.0

I'm not going to lie, when I first started reading this book, I was a little worried. The plot seemed a bit muddled— it was a classic "enemies to lovers" trope, that seemingly threw in some academia and mental illness. But I was pleasantly surprised! The characters were engaging, although I felt that Jack was a little too unlikeable, Declan a little too likable, and Adelaide could have used a tad more character development. The spice was spicy with clear chemistry between Addie and Jack. The book definitely gave me Beauty and the Beast vibes, but make the Beast a grumpy art dealer, and Beauty a down on her luck college student - in that aspect, it was more like Cinderella.

There were a few things that kept me from giving this book five stars: the pacing was off with the ending feeling rushed and it may have benefited from sensitivity reader when tackling the issue of mental illness. That being said, I think the portrayal of how people speak and think about mental illness was fairly realistic. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys contemporary romance. It’s a quick read, that balances drama and romance, and has a satisfying ending.

Overall though? A good debut novel! I would definitely read other things by this author!

tsubramaniam's review

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if you told me this had started out as Fifth Shades of Gray New Adult fan fic, I’d have believed you in a heartbeat. Or maybe that’s just where my mind goes when older rich businessmen present college seniors with relationship contracts and then they end up falling for each other but they each have someone in their life who complicates things so that they can’t be together easily at first. That being said, I feel like many books have tried to do what Rules of Arrangement achieved: a fast-paced scandalous little peek behind the scenes of the glitzy art world. If Kat from Heist Society had stayed at her boarding school from the first book I imagine this is what that alternative universe might have looked like: still grifting, trying to figure herself out and determine what family looks like, just in a slightly different milieu. A heist story without a theft. A hardened protagonist you can’t help but root for. Every time Addie wrestled control of her narrative from the men in her life, even if it was just a fraction of choice, I cheered internally.

lynseyscott's review

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5.0

I cannot overstate how much I loved this book. I was drawn in by the summary and the gorgeous cover and I was not disappointed.

Some highlights:
- The description and emotion of the family dynamic; families are complicated, especially when dealing with trauma and grief. I thought that the author did a great job of showing three different perspectives from Adelaide, Michael, and Samantha of how humans deal with family loss.
- Balance of the relationship between Jack and Adelaide. I had so much fun seeing Adelaide challenge Jack when he's seemingly surrounded by yes-people. The chemistry was off the charts.
- The pacing and development of the story was wonderful. I was never bored and always looking forward to what the next chapter would bring. I also appreciated the element of mystery in recovering the paintings as well as Jack and Adelaide's past.
- The plot was really unique and I so appreciate a romance book that doesn't have a high degree of predictability through it. Obvi I want an HEA in any book, but this was a serious page turner because I genuinely did not know what was coming next. I was so invested in all of the characters and found myself rooting for all of them.
- Jack. Everything about Jack. Period.

tl;dr: Maren Mackenzie knocked it out of the park with this novel!!

Thanks to NetGalley and the author for a copy of this book!

philatcs's review

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3.0

**3.5

thank you netgalley for this arc which I received in exchange for an honest review.

this was SO much better than i thought it was going to be.

the romance was great. i loved addie and jack. it was interesting, steamy and entertaining throughout and overall just a fun read.

there was serious issues discussed which i didn’t expect which gave it some added depth and the characters didn’t seem at all one dimensional.

enjoyed this! would be willing to read other books by this author.

gwechman's review

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4.0

This is a book that makes you forget all about your reading slump. It is compelling, gives you just enough spice, and is glamourous and scandalous all at the same time. I grabbed this off of NetGalley based on the cover, and I'm glad I did. I enjoyed all of the drama and emotions that this brought up. I finished it in one sitting and it was a great way to kill an afternoon and a reading slump!!

Heads up there are a couple of trigger warnings to be aware of: attempted suicide (not graphic), parental death, and blackmail. I apologize if there were some that were present that I didn't include.

cicialexa's review

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4.0

Thank you Netgalley and publisher for providing me this book in exchange for an honest review. The things that drew me into requesting this book was the description and lovely book cover. After I was approved it took me a little bit to officially pick it up but shortly after I quickly was sucked into this book. You get introduce to three main characters in this series Addie, Jack and Declan. Addie is a college student looking to find a way to afford paying for her schooling. She does so by writing papers for other college students. She eventually gets caught by her TA Declan and instead of turning her in he plans to use her to get back paintings that were stolen from him. This is where Jack comes along a much older man who runs art galleries and expos and the person who stole Jacks paintings. Addie is informed that Jack makes contracts with women so he can have a piece of arm candy and she can get paid. As the story progresses so do the demands and relationships within the book. Everyone in the book has a secret or two and its only a matter of time before something gets out and could ruin everything for Addie.

I really enjoyed the writing in this book and for the most part I enjoyed the characters and getting to know them. I rate this book 4/5 stars and if you like age gaps, blackmailing, contracted relationships this book is for you.

dakotasbookshelf's review

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3.0

Thanks to netgalley for sending me an arc of this book. This book took me by surprise. It had a really interesting storyline. One that ive never read before that got me HOOKED. I never wanted to stop reading it. The only reason its 4 stars is because the age gap was hard for me to look past. Neverless i loved the characters though.