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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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review 2017-06-29 18:08
Rag and Bone (Rag and Bone #1)
Rag and Bone - K.J. Charles

KJ Charles is a great writer, and this is one of her only series I'm aware of where one of the MCs isn't a raging blowhole. We've got Ned and Crispin, who certainly have their conflicts to work out, since Ned doesn't trust magic and Crispin is trying to unlearn so bad magical practices he was taught by his first mentor. They care about each other, and support each other, but they have their hangups and their insecurities and much of this is about how they navigate a relationship with each other given all these conflicts. That doesn't even bring into account that if the wrong person finds out about their relationship, they could end up in jail or hung. 

 

Crispin finally finds a new teacher who is interested in helping use his magical abilities, and while this is a bit too close to the prequel's plot, there is a mystery involving the strange deaths of some rag and bottle store owners to help detract from that. There's a lot of tension built into the climax, and it doesn't just fizzle out afterward, since there are still other issues to resolve.

 

Since I've only read the first book in the Magpie Lord series, I only recognized Stephan Day from that series here. I'm sure there were others, but it wasn't necessary to have prior knowledge of them, or even of Day. If you know the other characters' backstories, you'd obviously get a lot more out of seeing them, but if you don't know then you're not going to be confused or lost.

 

I hope Ms. Charles writes more about these two. I love her writing, but since I'm allergic to her douche MCs I usually avoid her books. This series is the exception.

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review 2017-06-28 18:45
The North Water by Ian McGuire, narrated by John Keating
The North Water - Ian McGuire,John Keating

 

The North Water is a savage, harsh, gory, dark fiction story taking place mainly on a whaling vessel in the 19th century. Ever moving north in search of the dwindling whale population, the realities of life are hard enough for these men, never mind the serial killer/child molester hiding among them.

 

I listened to this on audio and the narrator John Keating was most excellent. I would love to hear more of his work in the future.

 

I enjoyed the hell out of this brutal story, but it's not for everyone. Be aware that Mr. McGuire takes an unflinching look at the whaling life- and it was very, very unpleasant for just about every character in the book. If you're okay with that type of thing, then I highly recommend The North Water.

 

*I was able to listen to this one on audio thanks to my awesome public library.*

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review 2017-03-19 15:52
Man & Monster (The Savage Land, #2) by Michael Jensen
Man & Monster (The Savage Land: Book 2) - Michael Jensen

 

 

Man & Monster (The Savage Land, #2) is a blast of an historical fiction, m/m romance, horror novel!

 

Cole ("Cold-Hearted") Seavey meets up with the characters from Man & Beast (The Savage Land, #1) , out on the Ohio Frontier, circa 1799. (Namely John Chapman, (Johnny Appleseed), and Pakim, (our handsome Delaware Brave). Pakim rescues Cole after he finds him badly injured as the result of an attack. An attack from what is the question; especially after this creature begins to attack Hugh's Lick-the small settlement that is closest to John Chapman's claim.

 

Soon the reader is fully engrossed in the story of this town, its inhabitants and whatever the thing is that's hunting them. The characters are so solidly drawn, they're vivid in my mind. I was happy to see John Chapman again, (I didn't know that he was going to be in this one!) and Cole turns out to be anything but cold-hearted. He soon develops feelings for Pakim and together with John Chapman and others, they struggle to defend themselves against what Pakim believes is a Wendigo.

 

The real meat of this story was the mystery of the Wendigo. I have always had a fondness for creatures of legends of myth, and Wendigos are near the top of my list. Native American cultures are fascinating and so are the stories they told to each other. The author's research into these and into the norms and taboos of the white frontier-folk of the time really shines through and rings true.

 

With many exciting action scenes and twisty turns of the plot, Man & Monster turned out to be a lot of fun, even though it's wayyyy out of my wheelhouse. To me, it's always the story that is paramount, and in that regard, Michael Jensen delivers.

 

Highly recommended to fans of historical fiction, m/m romance, and HORROR!

 

You can get your copy here: Man & Monster (The Savage Land: Book 2)

 

*I received a free e-copy from the author in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.* **In addition, I consider this author to be an online friend. This did not affect the content of my review.**

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