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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 2016-08-24 17:12
Started strong
Capturing Forever - Erin Dutton

I was happy with the first 70% or so and feeling like this would be the book that would make me fall back in love with the author's work. But then it all fizzled out with lack of communication that didn't feel authentic to the character and a rushed ending. 


I'm sure I'll try another book by Erin Dutton because I can't seem to stop.

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text 2016-08-24 14:52
Reading progress update: I've read 82%.
Capturing Forever - Erin Dutton

And now I'm rolling my eyes and shaking my head. Damn it! 

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text 2016-08-24 14:13
Reading progress update: I've read 73%.
Capturing Forever - Erin Dutton

I had pretty low expectations since the last several books from this author didn't come close to wowing me but I'm involved with these characters and enjoying the book. 

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review 2016-08-24 13:36
Review: Much Ado About Dutton (More Courtesan Chronicles) by Claudia Dain
Much Ado About Dutton (More Courtesan Chronicles) - Claudia Dain

Just how horrible a reading experience this was for me? I have a massive headache just remembering this shit pile enough to write a review. Out of the twenty-three chapters, I quit somewhere in the middle of chapter twenty, so I am calling this read. 


There are no highlights, no one redeeming thing about this novel.


Reasons for Hate:

1. The writing needs an editor in the worst way. Not just a copy editor (although a C.E. should charged double for working on this), but a story editor to kill about 9/10ths of the characters in the story. Too much characters being horrible to each other and not one plot line to speak of. Needed another editor to cut down on some long-ass winded sentences that took up an entire paragraph.


Also the writer thinks she is clever with her dialogue and "insights" into heterosexual relationships borne out of manipulations and game-playing of the Regency era - more like badly written erotica set in Regency England.


2. The Characters:

Dutton - Man from the title is an idiot and has very aggressive views of sex that lead to what we now call Rape Culture.


Anne, Lady Staverton - TSTL who thought she was clever but kept making things worse among the characters. She had her sights set on making Dutton her lover, then dumping him. She was way in over her (empty) head. I wanted to punch her in the throat throughout reading. Never ending sequence of changing eye colors - first it was grey, then emerald green (to go with her red hair of course!), then hazel, then pewter, then I gave the fuck up caring.


Sophia - half-English, half-Native American courtesan who rose through the ranks and married a titled man who left her a widow. Now she is back in London and ready to find her next prey, er husband. Anne's mentor.


Elizabeth Grey - Native American niece of Sophia and the human punching bag for London's high society matrons, widows, and virgins. The abuse she took was ridiculous.


George Grey - Native American nephew of Sophia and a "good" Native American, who knew, appreciated, and displayed English manners. He was the cute Beatle. Didn't stand up for his sister ONCE. In fact, often he was part of the pile-on.


Bunch of Bitches (Jane, Eleanor, Louisa, Penelope, Toni, Bernadette, half the fucking city) - they gossiped and hated on each other. Way too damn many of them. Absolutely no need for any of them in terms of plot or character development.


Bunch of Sad Sacks (Ruan, Riathby, Quinton, the other half of the fucking city) - they gossiped and talked about horses. Way too damn many of them. Absolutely no need for any of them.


3. There was no other plot line other than Anne getting Dutton into bed so she could have sex with him then throw him out and ignore him until he begs her to love him. Ditto Sophia/Ruan. Elizabeth was supposed to go after Mr. Prestwick, but she was not having any of this English society shit. Bunch of the other female characters were horny/lonely and into manipulations and game-playing.


4. The non-stop racism directed toward Elizabeth Grey/Native Americans. Seriously, this author gave us both macro-aggression and micro-aggression on the racism thing. Even her brother and Sophia threw her and their race under the bus in order to look more appealing to the English. Fuck all of them.


5. This "storyline" was about the length of a novella or short story. A full length novel with this flimsy "storyline" was a tedious bore at best and rage inducing at worst.


Needless to say, I will never read anything by this author again. This is a prime example of erotica dressed up in a historical time period being promoted/sold as historical romance. 0 stars.


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