Romantic Fiction, Reality Shaping and The Work

Mari

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
But it would be great to read the whole series - from the start!
The story in general is one story of that particular duke, but it is also a culmination of the whole series!

So just to be clear, IMO, I would recommend the whole series, build from the start, because in this (as well as in other series), characters are interconnected and it would be a pitty in general to skip the book or start from the middle or not to finish the series.

🙂
 

Laura

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For those who do not have English as a first language, but DO manage to communicate pretty well, I would recommend reading the English versions if possible. If you read them on kindle, you have the advantage of the dictionary for any word you do not know. I rather suspect this approach will manifest a huge boost in English proficiency. PLUS, all the books are available in English, but not all of them are available in other languages.
 

Approaching Infinity

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I agree with your reason for stopping "Undercover Duke", but I think if you had finished the book you might have discovered that the elements of his troubled depravity crumbled away in the face of love.
Agreed. Thankfully, that reference only remained a suggestion, and didn't show up again. I'm on book 9, and while I don't like the writing as much as Balogh (and Scarlett Scott), I will say that for the most part, each book is a bit better than the last.
 

whitecoast

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I really enjoyed the subplot of book 5 of the Survivor's Club. Book 6 was extremely heart-wretching once we got to the denouement.
I honestly didn't see the ending coming, and how twisted Stanford's wife's brother truly was. I was used to seeing more villainous characters in Survivor's Club than Courting Julia, but wow. Thinking this, I really started to question my discernment about character disturbance.

I started book 1 of the Sons of Sin series, and I agreed with Ark's assesment about Jonas being kind of a baby 2/3 through, although Sidonie isn't exactly innocent herself. I was informed that the other men in the series were more consistently mature in character than Jonas so I'll stick with it. Reading my first Anne Gracie book after a ton of Mary Balogh, the former's open use of the F word shook me to the core, but darn if she doesn't really try and crowbar up that kundalini energy. And I mean and pages and pages! Versus maybe a page or two in Balogh. My goodness.
 

jhonny

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Hi,
Could You help me a bit here?
I am looking for story about a man who do not understand woman. Who had a lot of illusions about relationship, women, also about being a man. Something about a jerk who does not listen to anyone and reality hits his head until he finally (hopefuly) sees possibility of love.
... what else... maybe also a story about marriage of convenience and about fears of both husband and wife?
Have You noticed a story with such features?
I would be grateful if You could help me find a stories like that.

Like you, I also was looking for some patterns in this reading project at the beginning, things I thought it would be interesting for my "reading taste", but since this wasn't my favorite reading, I decided to start without any expectations. To my surprise, I found far more than I expected.

Having said that I would recommend you The Huxtables series by Marie Balogh, and The Mackenzie's series by Jennifer Ashley.
Whatever book or series you decide to start in this project I'm sure you'll enjoy it ;-)
 

Laura

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FOTCM Member
I started book 1 of the Sons of Sin series, and I agreed with Ark's assesment about Jonas being kind of a baby 2/3 through, although Sidonie isn't exactly innocent herself. I was informed that the other men in the series were more consistently mature in character than Jonas so I'll stick with it. Reading my first Anne Gracie book after a ton of Mary Balogh, the former's open use of the F word shook me to the core, but darn if she doesn't really try and crowbar up that kundalini energy. And I mean and pages and pages! Versus maybe a page or two in Balogh. My goodness.

LOL! Wait until you read Elisa Braden! Her series about the Huxley family, starting with Annabelle, is both stimulating and emotionally wrenching combined with some really funny scenes.
 

Chu

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I am looking for story about a man who do not understand woman. Who had a lot of illusions about relationship, women, also about being a man. Something about a jerk who does not listen to anyone and reality hits his head until he finally (hopefuly) sees possibility of love.
... what else... maybe also a story about marriage of convenience and about fears of both husband and wife?
Have You noticed a story with such features?
I would be grateful if You could help me find a stories like that.

I second Alana's suggestion! Basically all of them.:lol: And you know? Part of the process when reading these books (for me at least), is to DISCOVER: Discover what you don't want to do, as much as what you do want to do. Discover what is important, as opposed to what doesn't really make you happy even if you thought it was a "must" in a relationship. Discovering who you are, what moves you, what doesn't. And lots more.

It sounds to me like you are entering this project with a defeatist attitude and lots of self-criticism, looking for a "formula" to fix things. But we are complex beings! That's why you can't find one single "Book of life" that teaches you how to do everything right. It is about discovering and learning as you go, as well (very often through suffering). So if you can, try to read these books with curiosity, letting them do their work in the background, not trying to control the process so much.
 

Gaby

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After finishing the Survivors Club, I started reading Julia Quinn's series on The Bridgertons. It's wonderful! She's funny, has a far richer vocabulary (for non English natives, I highly recommend the kindle version for easy use of the dictionary) and the psychological depth is excellent. For me, it's like a combination of Elisa Braden and Mary Balogh. I read the first book so far though - The Duke and I.

I was pleasantly surprised on how the heroine was able to stand up for the truth in the relationship and how that helped him get over his haunting past.

:lkj: :-)
 

Adaryn

The Living Force
Update on my reading:
Gracie's Marriage of Convenience series was sweet, the 4th book being my favourite: I really liked George and the dynamic between her and the Duke.
Gracie's books are pleasant reads, more on the lighter side for me, though I shed a couple of tears during certain scenes, which weren't so much about the main protagonists as about the ordeal of poor veteran soldiers and their wives and families who were bereft and left to fend for themselves after the Napoleonic wars. I took my time to finish the series as I found the stories weren't as gripping as some others I read before (like Seven nights), so I read at a leisurely pace. I'd describe the experience of reading her books as "comfortable", like a nice walk in a beautiful, tidy garden, where the path is quite safe. Pretty, but somewhat lacking in 'substance' (for me).

After that series, I went back to Balogh - the Gilded Web, which I finished yesterday. Talk about substance! While the Marriage of Convenience series felt like an enjoyable ride on a merry-go-round or as said above, a walk in the garden, the Gilded Web is more akin to a roller-coaster or an adventurous, dangerous hike in the wild. More realistic, more poignant, more harrowing, more everything. Very painful, yet I couldn't stop reading, wanting to know how the characters would resolve their conflicts and finally reach the much anticipated happy ending. But even though Balogh's stories all have a happy ending, I'm always left with a bittersweet feeling after finishing her books. She dissects human emotions without any complacency, and she's so terrifyingly accurate. You know it's never gonna be "happily ever after" as in fairytales. The couples may have found happiness together, but the story goes one. There will still be struggles, conflicts, heartache and loss. As in real life. I don't get that bittersweet feeling with Gracie.
Balogh describes both the horror and the beauty of the human condition and human struggles so perfectly that reading her books somewhat feels like torture. And I can't even say that I personally related to the characters' struggles. I don't know how to describe it. It's just that the feelings and emotions are so real, I mean it feels so real that it's very hard to distance oneself and to just superficially "enjoy" the reading. Not that the point is to distance oneself, mind you. I couldn't even if I tried.
Can't wait to read James and Mad's story and am bracing myself for that future "ordeal". But yeah, as Alana wrote, what a story, what a writer! In all the authors I've read so far, Balogh's really the best.
 

primeaddict

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
I am looking for story about a man who do not understand woman.

A man finds a magic lantern on a California beach, he picks it up and rubs it, poof the genie appears. The genie being so happy to be free again, granted the man either one big wish or 3 small ones. After some thought the man said he would prefer one big wish and that would be a bridge to Hawaii. He said that he is afraid of flying and he could go surfing in Hawaii anytime he wanted on his magic bridge, without fear. The genie said that such a bridge was impossible and he could have another wish that the genie could possible accomplish. The man said that he has not been very successful with women so could he give him the secret of understanding women? To which the genie said how wide do you want your bridge??? :lol2:
 

Andrian

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Update on my reading:
Gracie's Marriage of Convenience series was sweet, the 4th book being my favourite: I really liked George and the dynamic between her and the Duke.
Gracie's books are pleasant reads, more on the lighter side for me, though I shed a couple of tears during certain scenes, which weren't so much about the main protagonists as about the ordeal of poor veteran soldiers and their wives and families who were bereft and left to fend for themselves after the Napoleonic wars. I took my time to finish the series as I found the stories weren't as gripping as some others I read before (like Seven nights), so I read at a leisurely pace. I'd describe the experience of reading her books as "comfortable", like a nice walk in a beautiful, tidy garden, where the path is quite safe. Pretty, but somewhat lacking in 'substance' (for me).

After that series, I went back to Balogh - the Gilded Web, which I finished yesterday. Talk about substance! While the Marriage of Convenience series felt like an enjoyable ride on a merry-go-round or as said above, a walk in the garden, the Gilded Web is more akin to a roller-coaster or an adventurous, dangerous hike in the wild. More realistic, more poignant, more harrowing, more everything. Very painful, yet I couldn't stop reading, wanting to know how the characters would resolve their conflicts and finally reach the much anticipated happy ending. But even though Balogh's stories all have a happy ending, I'm always left with a bittersweet feeling after finishing her books. She dissects human emotions without any complacency, and she's so terrifyingly accurate. You know it's never gonna be "happily ever after" as in fairytales. The couples may have found happiness together, but the story goes one. There will still be struggles, conflicts, heartache and loss. As in real life. I don't get that bittersweet feeling with Gracie.
Balogh describes both the horror and the beauty of the human condition and human struggles so perfectly that reading her books somewhat feels like torture. And I can't even say that I personally related to the characters' struggles. I don't know how to describe it. It's just that the feelings and emotions are so real, I mean it feels so real that it's very hard to distance oneself and to just superficially "enjoy" the reading. Not that the point is to distance oneself, mind you. I couldn't even if I tried.
Can't wait to read James and Mad's story and am bracing myself for that future "ordeal". But yeah, as Alana wrote, what a story, what a writer! In all the authors I've read so far, Balogh's really the best.
I'm reading as well Balogh's Dell/web series, I've almost finished the 4th book and I totally agree that while reading the series it feels like a real roller-coaster of deep and real emotions.

The most difficult book for me to read has been the Devil's Web, the story of James and Mad.
That has been a tough ride for sure. Even if I tried to enjoy reading without applying any judgment on the characters sometimes I caught myself a little bit too much identifying myself with the characters thus finding difficult to get through the story. Still I've found the story of James and Mad very interesting and emotionally satisfying.

It's my favorite story from the series from the point of view of the emotions one experiences while reading the book.
 
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