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review 2017-12-15 01:43
Homecoming by Beverly Jenkins
Homecoming - Beverly Jenkins

This is the first novel by beloved doyenne of the historical romance genre, Beverly Jenkins, that I have read.  I was concerned.  Everyone loves her so much and my track record with hugely loved and highly touted works is iffy at best.

Well, I liked the premise.  A second chance at love type of thing, with a school teacher, headmistress, and a buffalo soldier.  Mature characters both.  Lydia comes back to her childhood home from Chicago and crosses paths with Gray Dane, her first love.  Turns out that his love for her as well as hers for him hasn't dimmed, but most probably grown.  So we have some angst, some winsomeness, sexiness, and some humour.  It should all work.  Yet...

I wish I could say I adored the book, but colour me not overly impressed. Mostly with the style of writing.  Very flowery, especially in the love scenes.  For instance, I don't think I'd ever heard/read about one's nipples being dazzled by a lover's fingers, but now I can say that I have.   Also, some of the dialogue didn't work for me, at times I found it stilted and at times it just sounded a wee bit too modern.  And I don't know, there was just something about the writing that felt dated and unrefined (?) to me.  (And not because it's a historical, sillies!)  So I checked.  This novella was published in 2007 according to the author's website, as part of the Gettin' Merry anthology.  Okay, 10 years ago.   Maybe that's why.

Anyway, I have another Beverly Jenkins in my TBR, a more recent one - Forbidden- from 2016.  Hopefully I'll enjoy it more.  :)

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review 2017-12-14 22:21
First fiction by Baldwin.
Go Tell It On the Mountain - James Baldwin

First he wrote, and first I've read, though I did read The Fire Next Time and Notes of a Native Son previously.

 

As with his non-fiction, the man's ability to put together a perfect sentence, and then string those sentences together into a heart-stoppingly beautiful paragraph, and then do it again is never not going to amaze me. Same with his insight and how he can pin characters like insects and examine their make up to the minutest level. Everything he says about people feels true to people I've known, even though I've known exactly zero black evangelicals in the 1900s. Someone could probably say something keen about how universal the specifics are, and that someone would probably be Baldwin, it isn't me.

 

The structure felt a little unbalanced, and I would have liked the last act to be a little longer. We start out following the life of a boy living in New York, then after getting to know him flashback to his parents' generation for most of the rest of the book. What we learn informs how everyone was acting in the first part, but then it never really comes back around and the conclusion is left open (which may be the point). However, each section was very strong on its own merits. I'd like to read at least the first section again to see how it all fit together.

 

Did anyone else think that the main character had a major crush on the male youth minister? Or was that just me reading in that it was semi-autobiographical?

 

I'd like to read more of Baldwin's fiction, but am less interested in Sad Gays than I probably should be. Anyone have recs?

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review 2017-12-14 18:16
Review: "Undertow" (Whyborne & Griffin, #8.5) by Jordan L. Hawk
Undertow: A Whyborne & Griffin Universe Story - Jordan L. Hawk

 

~ 4 stars ~

 

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text 2017-12-14 15:15
Reading progress update: I've read 6%.
For Castle and Crown - Sian Ann Bessey

After Updraft, I wanted to read something on the lighter side. So I pushed my current TBR aside and started this one. 

 

It's a Netgalley find, a historical fiction with some romance. An easy read.  Enjoyable so far.

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi at 7 p.m. !!!

 

I'm more than a little excited. 

 

 

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review 2017-12-14 04:23
Summerwode (The Wode #4)
Summerwode (The Wode) - J. Tullos Hennig

Gah! Cliffhanger! NOOOOOOO! And I have no idea how long I'll have to wait for the next one. Going by the time between previous installments, two years maybe? :( Unless she pulls a George R.R. Martin or Diana Gabaldon, then maybe ten years? :P Thankfully, I don't see her doing that.

 

 

This picks up a few months after the end of Winterwode. Gamelyn is still entrenched in the Templars, having to suppress himself again and letting alter-id Guy de Gisbourne take over the reins for him, with all the complications that comes with. Robyn's once again has no idea what's up with Gamelyn because Guy's not a man to share his plans, and Marion's just trying to hold her little family together. Of course, forces are in movement that are determined to see Robyn's little band of merry men ended one way or another, and whether foe or potential friend and ally, playing the game could end their way of life for good or ill.

 

There are things here that would normally drive me crazy, except that it's so perfectly in character that there really is no other way it could've gone down. There's no manipulation of characters of OOC moments to force plot points, like other authors would depend on. We've come to know these characters over three previous books, and while my hand itched to smack Gamelyn upside the head several times - and Will and occasionally Robyn - it was clear and understandable why everyone behaved the way they did.

 

This was as strongly written as ever, and it's also well edited despite this being DSP. My one complaint is that it felt a tad overlong. In particular, that whole cliffhanger ending, while certainly compelling, felt like it was resetting the board too much. There was already a threat there hanging in the shadows to give an ominous ending to the book while the characters still got to enjoy life for a little bit, so the last few chapters really could've been held off to kick off the next book with a bang, at least in my opinion. 

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