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review 2017-11-29 20:13
Smoke Through the Pines (Night Fires in the Distance, #1.5)
Smoke Through The Pines (Night Fires in the Distance Book 2) - Ruben Moule,Sarah Goodwin,Alan Moore

This novella is set between the first and second books in this series and starts up right where the first book, Night Fires in the Distance, ends. Laura and Cecelia are heading north after the disaster that laid waste to the prairies, hoping to start over. They have no plans, just a grim determination to get away from their former life and the sorrows they left behind there. They eventually decide to try their luck in Minnesota, where the loggers are destroying nature for profit. Where's Treebeard when you need him? *clears throat* Anyway, things don't go as planned and they have yet more troubles to face as winter comes on. And Laura and Cecilia finally get to have some sexy times. <3

This still needs an editor, but other than that, I really enjoyed this. I did see in reviews for the second book, One Nation Afire, that it ends in a cliffie and focuses more on Laura's daughter Rachel, so I'll hold off reading that one until book 3 is out.

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review 2017-11-29 03:23
Night Fires in the Distance (Night Fires in the Distance #1)
Night Fires in the Distance - Sarah Goodwin

I had no idea what to expect from this and I was pleasantly surprised. Two pioneer women, one running from her husband and the other trapped in an abusive marriage, are trying to make it work on the prairie. This is set at some point in the 1800s, pre-Civil War as there's still slavery, and the characters have the attitudes of white settlers that you'd expect to encounter in those times, which is not always favorable to native peoples or other people of color. This is not revisionist, PC-friendly history, so be aware of that if that'll make you uncomfortable reading this. 

 

Life on the prairie was dire in those days and this doesn't soft glove the details. Laura's husband is a massive douchebag and treats his wife and children like the property they were considered to be. Cecilia tries her best under unfavorable circumstances and while she doesn't back down from the challenges in front of her, she's not always brave at the crucial moments and makes mistakes that are believable for someone new to prairie life and farming in the Wild West. 

 

Given the times and that female sexuality was completely ignored in those days (unless you were prostitute), I had no problems believing that these two women wouldn't have had the opportunities or means to question their sexuality. I don't see this as gay-for-you at all, and the way they come together over their shared struggles and loneliness made it believable. (There's no sex, for those who care; their relationship is quite chaste here.)

 

The details and research that went into this are amazing, and the characters are all starkly drawn and vivid. The dual POVs are a nice way to see what each MC is experiencing, and for the first half of the book, you get two or three chapters in a row with Laura, then switch to Cecelia for the same number of chapters. When the second half of the book comes and their POVs switch off every chapter it becomes clear that there isn't enough of a distinction in their voices to remember who has the POV in each chapter.

 

There are some typos in the first half, but they get much more numerous in the second half. Punctuation is the biggest culprit, but there are also missing words and misused words ("thought" instead of "though" for instance). This book could really use the benefit of a good editor. Still, the writing and prose is strong enough that I was mostly able to overlook this, but I'm knocking off half a star for the poor editing.

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review 2017-10-21 17:30
The Innocent Auction - DNF @ 25%.
The Innocent Auction - Story Perfect Editing Services,Victoria Sue

Contrived scenes to give the MCs forbidden but tepid smooching scenes, zero build up to any kind of relationship and zero chemistry despite all the lusting between them. Bored now.

 

There is an attempt at a plot though, so that's nice, but honestly, I've read much better master/servant fanfic than this back when I was absorbing every Frodo/Sam slash fic I could get my greedy little hands on. Plus, the constant bad grammar (was stood, had sat) and missing punctuation killed this story even before I got to this:

 

"...his skin taught..."

 

Um...sorry, honey, but skin cannot be taught. It has no brains to be learning with! It can however be taut.

 

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review 2017-10-15 16:32
Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu
Carmilla - Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

 

After my re-read of this classic, I  give Carmilla 3.5 stars. I loved the atmosphere and the language, even if I thought it was a bit too flowery at times.

 

I know that it's wrong to judge a work of this age by today's standards, but man, everyone in this book seemed stupid and too naive to be believable. The whole time, I was thinking "My God, man, wake up!"

 

I'm glad I re-read this one but I think that shall be it for me with Carmilla.

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review 2017-10-05 19:00
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, narrated by Elizabeth Klett
The Age of Innocence - Edith Wharton

 

I loved the story, but I didn't care for the narrator very much.

 

I can't add to the reams that have already been written about this novel. I adore Edith Wharton, at least-what I've read so far, and I admire her powers of observation and her wit. I wouldn't have lasted five minutes in what passed for high society in New York City in the mid 1870's. There was so much gossip, so much repressed emotion and so much...phoniness. UGH.

 

I enjoyed this book even though I saw the movie many years ago, because as usual, the book has more depth and in this case, more scathing commentary hidden between the lines. As compared to The House of Mirth, The Age of Innocence at least has a happier ending, though I guess it depends on how you look at it. Society was definitely happier, but I'm not so sure that Newland Archer or Mrs. Olenska were.

 

Recommended for fans of Edith Wharton's work, stories of the gilded age and high society, or just plain fans of a good story.

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