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text 2016-08-26 20:53
Wrap Up: From the Ballroom and Beyond: A Limited Edition Regency Box Set
From the Ballroom and Beyond, A Limited Edition Nine Book Regency Romance Box Set - Julie Johnstone,Christi Caldwell,Jane Charles,Catherine Gayle,Rose Gordon,Ava Stone,Jerrica Knight-Catania,Deb Marlowe,Claudia Dain
A Scandalous Past - Ava Stone
More Than A Governess - Jerrica Knight-Catania
Twice a Rake - Catherine Gayle
The Love List - Deb Marlowe
Bargaining With a Rake - Julie Johnstone
A Reluctant Rake - Jane Charles
His Jilted Bride - Rose Gordon
Much Ado About Dutton (More Courtesan Chronicles) - Claudia Dain
My Lady of Deception (Brethren of the Lords Book 1) - Christi Caldwell

 Well, I have certainly learned my lesson - No more box sets of novels unless they are trilogies or less and written by the same author. If I want to go searching for a new author to read, I will stick with anthologies of short stories. There was more downs than ups, although I did find a new favorite author (Deb Marlowe) and two other authors to keep trying in the future (Ava Stone and Jane Charles). I know who to stay away from too, despite their pretty covers with beautiful dresses.

 

The authors used all self-published works in this box set; some forgot to use a copy editor (and in some cases, story editor) which is one of the standard marks against reading self-published works. I still take the risk of reading self-published works because I never want to miss out on a possible great story just because traditional publishers didn't want to sell it. One thing for self-published authors to keep in mind when adding their work to a box set - use the first story/novella/novel in the series, not one from further down the series!

 

Another issue I had with this ebook was that there was no way to skip around and read a story from further in the box set; each story had to be read before going on to the next story, so DNF was not much of an option. I wish there was a table of contents that linked a title listed to the page the story starts on.

 

Here is a recap of my ratings for each book in the box set and a link to the reviews:

1. A Scandalous Past (Scandalous #4) by Ava Stone 2.5 stars review

2. More Than a Governess (Wetherby Brides #2) by Jerrica Knight-Catania 3 stars review

3. Twice A Rake (Lord Rotheby's Influence #1) by Catherine Gayle .5 star review

4. The Love List (Half Moon House #1) by Deb Marlowe 4 stars review

5. Bargaining with a Rake (Whisper of a Scandal #1) by Julie Johnstone 1 star review

6. A Reluctant Rake (Tenacious Trents #5) by Jane Charles 3.5 stars review

7. His Jilted Bride (Banks Brothers Brides #3) by Rose Gordon 1 star review

8. Much Ado About Dutton (More Courtesan Chronicles) by Claudia Dain 0 stars review

9. My Lady of Deception (Brethren of Lords #1) by Christi Caldwell 1 star review

 

I am so burnt out on Regency romances right now, that is another reason I am glad to be starting MM and OB's Halloween Bingo soon.

 

 

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review 2016-08-26 20:32
Review: My Lady of Deception by Christi Caldwell
My Lady of Deception (Brethren of the Lords Book 1) - Christi Caldwell

Trigger Warnings: Graphic violence, mentions of past violence, threats of rape, some sexual assualts

 

Way too much violence, especially violence toward the heroine, for my taste. Chapters upon chapters of abuse and violence made me almost give this book up at chapter 10. There was also huge amounts of emotional and verbal abuse thrown around. And you can forget about a meet cute - both the heroine and hero meet while being prisoners (although with different roles and privileges). That first sex scene when they were still prisoners had a very quasi-Stockholm Syndrome feeling to it that just turned my stomach. Once the couple escape (separately), there is no emotional journey that leads to growth, just a lot of PTSD that leads to still more darkness.

 

So the hero finds the heroine after two years and they wed within two days of re-uniting. Right....The whole marriage goes on with both of them lying and deceiving each other and when they find out some of the truths, more abuse! At this point I am seriously skimming, trying to find a redeemable character (thank goodness for Suzanne the maid and Tony the younger brother of the hero). Needless to say, I didn't buy one iota of the couple's HEA.

 

The writing is overly melodramatic and repetitive (if the heroine bit the inside of her cheek ONE MORE DAMN TIME I was going to throw my NOOK across the room). Also the writing is in desperate need of a better copy editor, as there is more than a few missing words and punctuation. The hero was an asshole and the heroine was a sad, pathetic doormat. 1 star for a great maid and brother-in-law.

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text 2016-08-21 22:29
#boutofbooks Reading List
His Jilted Bride - Rose Gordon
Lowcountry Bordello - Susan M. Boyer
My Lady of Deception (Brethren of the Lords Book 1) - Christi Caldwell
Lowcountry Book Club - Susan M. Boyer
Much Ado About Dutton (More Courtesan Chronicles) - Claudia Dain
Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital - Sheri Fink

 

Bout of Books

 

 

When I posted my sign up post for Bout of Books cycle 17, I really only had a rough draft of my reading goals, as it was still weeks away. Now it is hours away from the start, here is my official list:

 

1. His Jilted Bride (Banks Brothers Brides #3) by Rose Gordon (Regency box set)

2. Lowcountry Bordello (Liz Talbot #4) by Susan M. Boyer

3. My Lady of Deception (Brethren of the Lords #1) by Christi Caldwell (Regency box set)

4. Lowcountry Book Club (Liz Talbot #5) by Susan M. Boyer

5. Much Ado About Dutton (More Courtesan Chronicles) by Claudia Dain (Regency box set)

6. Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink (I only plan on starting this by the end of the read-a-thon, but I do want it done by the end of August).

 

To everyone doing Bout of Books this week - good luck!

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text 2016-08-11 16:26
#BoutofBooks Sign Up and Goals
His Jilted Bride - Rose Gordon
Much Ado About Dutton (More Courtesan Chronicles) - Claudia Dain
My Lady of Deception (Brethren of the Lords Book 1) - Christi Caldwell
Her Christmas Earl: A Regency Novella - Anna Campbell
The Van Alen Legacy - Melissa de la Cruz
Bout of Books
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 22nd and runs through Sunday, August 28th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 17 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog- From the Bout of Books team

 

To quote 70s era Aerosmith, "I'm back in the saddle again," and joining Bout of Books for cycle 17 (August 22-28, 2016). I felt I did really well in the cycle 16 (save for choosing a non-fiction book that slowed me down), and I hope to use BoB to help me push through to a strong finish with my other reading challenge, COYER-Summer Vacation edition.

 

Goals:

1. His Jilted Bride (Banks Brothers Brides #3) by Rose Gordon

2. Much Ado About Dutton (More Courtesan Chronicles) by Claudia Dain

3. My Lady of Deception (Brethren of Lords #1) by Christi Caldwell

    The above books are the last of the Regency box set.

 

4. Her Christmas Earl: A Regency Novella by Anna Campbell

    I am planning this story to be read on August 25th in a nod to counting down to Christmas.

 

5. The Van Alen Legacy (Blue Bloods #4) by Melissa de la Cruz

    I just want to finish this book and then take a break from the series for a while.

 

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text 2016-08-01 18:35
August 2016 Reading List
His Jilted Bride - Rose Gordon
My Lady of Deception (Brethren of the Lords Book 1) - Christi Caldwell
Much Ado About Dutton (More Courtesan Chronicles) - Claudia Dain
Lowcountry Bordello - Susan M. Boyer
Lowcountry Book Club - Susan M. Boyer
Say Yes to the Death: A Debutante Dropout Mystery (Debutante Dropout Mysteries) - Susan McBride
The Carousel Painter - Judith McCoy Miller
The Mercy of the Sky: The Story of a Tornado - Holly Bailey
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe - Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind, Survive Everyday Parenting Struggles, and Help Your Family Thrive - Tina Payne Bryson,Daniel J. Siegel

My Hubby turns the big 3-0 today!!

 

After taking a two month break, I am ready to tackle the last three books in the Regency box set. This month is cycle 17 of Bout of Books.

 

Regency Box Set:

1. His Jilted Bride (Banks Brothers Brides #3) by Rose Gordon

2. My Lady of Deception by Christi Caldwell

3. Much Ado about Dutton by Claudia Dain

 

TBR Read Down:

4. Lowcountry Bordello (Liz Talbot #4) by Susan M. Boyer

5. Lowcountry Book Club (Liz Talbot #5) by Susan M. Boyer

6. Say Yes to Death (Debutante Dropout #6) by Susan McBride

7. Revelations (Blue Bloods #3) by Melissa de la Cruz

8. The Van Alen Legacy (Blue Bloods #4) by Melissa de la Cruz

9. The Carousel Painter by Judith Miller

 

Non-fiction Challenge:

10. The Mercy of the Sky by Holly Bailey

11. The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon 

12. The Whole Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson

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