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review 2019-12-27 16:27
A delightful gem of a book
The Lark - E. Nesbit

Apparently E. Nesbit, of the Psammead, the Bastables and the Railway Children, also wrote at least a few books for adults (although this felt more YA, or even, shudder, NA, than anything else). Who knew?


This book is adorable. It had a distinct Anne of the Island vibe, which is my favorite of all of the Anne Shirley books, with the two main characters, Lucilla and Jane (cousins) being pulled out of school by their guardian because he has done a bunk with basically all of their money. All they have left is a house left to them by an aunt, and 500 pounds in the bank. As it's 1919, and immediately post-WWI,  this is actually a significant sum, but it's still not the fortune they believed they had inherited.


“Everything that's happening to us—yes, everything—is to be regarded as a lark. See? This is my last word. This. Is. Going. To. Be. A. Lark.”


says Jane, & Lucilla falls in with Jane's plans.The two girls move into the cottage, start a market garden, take in Pigs, or Paying Guests, meet a couple of young men, there are high jinks and failures and successes. It is unrealistic in the extreme, but it's so charming that I just didn't care. This is my last word. I. Just. Didn't. Care.


There are hints of reality that intrude. Of the two young men, one, Mr. Dix, is a former POW who can't find a job because England was doing a really terrible job of supporting it's returning soldiers. Jane and Lucilla are confronted with the shocking reality of the prospects for these young when they, on a whim, hire him as their gardener. And, there are references to the unconventionality of their behavior.


Interestingly, the book doesn't actually end with Jane and Lucilla married, or even engaged. Jane is definitely coupled up, but isn't ready to marry, and Lucilla's prospects are even more obscure.


This is one of the Furrowed Middlebrow titles that has been dug up and republished by Dean Street Press, and it's available in both print and on kindle. Their kindle prices, in particular, are extremely reasonable. I think I paid $2.99 for my ebook copy. I've liked everything I've read from this imprint, and have several others available on my kindle. If you enjoy early-twentieth century British women writers who wrote light fiction, in the vein of D.E. Stevenson or Angela Thirkell, you might enjoy this.

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review 2018-12-24 01:48
Lark! The Herald Angels Sing (Meg Langslow Mystery, #24)
Lark! The Herald Angels Sing - Donna Andrews

What can I say - I love this series because it features a strong woman MC, with strong supporting characters, solid family relationships and tons of humor.  The Christmas ones have become an annual tradition (no pressure Ms. Andrews) I look forward to every year, and I always save them to read in the day or two before Christmas.  


This year's involved a baby in a manger, a paternity allegation, and some dark dealings in a neighbouring county that lead to some very dangerous events in the lead up to Christmas. The mystery was pretty much over by midway, and the rest of the book was more rescue mission with shades of three stooges.  


The finale was ... the very best kind of holiday wishful thinking.  This was definitely Andrews taking the opportunity to create the kind of reality she'd like to see and I loved it; it was outrageous and wonderful.  Not my favorite of her Christmas books, Duck the Halls still holds that place of honour, but an excellent, festive read nonetheless. 

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review 2017-12-06 14:39
Auf der Suche nach den eigenen Wurzeln
Das Geheimnis des Winterhauses: Roman - Sarah Lark,Tina Dreher

Für die 37-jährige Ellinor Sternberg kommt das Geständnis ihrer Mutter Gabriele überraschend: Sie beide sind nicht mit dem Rest der Familie blutsverwandt, denn Großmutter Dana wurde als eine Art Pflegekind angenommen. Nur durch Zufall, nämlich durch die Nierenkrankheit ihrer Cousine zweiten Grades, wird dieses lang gehütete Geheimnis offenbart. Ellinor, die als wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin an der Wiener Uni arbeitet, ist neugierig und beschließt, sich auf die Suche nach ihren Wurzeln zu machen. Ihr Weg führt sie nach Dalmatien und Neuseeland. Doch diese Reise bringt nicht nur ihre Gedanken, sondern auch die Ehe mit Künstler Gernot durcheinander.

„Das Geheimnis des Winterhauses“ von Sarah Lark beschreibt eine tragische Liebesgeschichte und ein großes Familiendrama.

Meine Meinung:
Der Roman ist in mehrere Teile untergliedert, die wiederum in weitere Kapitel unterteilt sind. Dabei geht es um unterschiedliche Orte und Zeitebenen. Neben dem Wien der Gegenwart gibt es Rückblenden in die Jahre 1904/05 sowie 1918 bis 1920. Sie sind im Wechsel angeordnet. Auch ein Tagebuch ist in das Buch integriert. Diese Struktur ließ sich für mich sehr gut nachverfolgen und hat für willkommene Abwechslung gesorgt.

Auch der flüssige, sehr angenehme Schreibstil und die facettenreiche Sprache sind mir positiv aufgefallen. Allerdings hat es einige Seiten gedauert, bis mich die Geschichte inhaltlich packen konnte. Später jedoch konnte ich das Buch nur schwer zur Seite legen, da mich die Autorin mit den überraschenden Wendungen in ihren Bann ziehen konnte. Gut gefallen hat mir auch, wie nach und nach einige Geheimnisse aufgedeckt wurden.

Mit Ellinor dreht sich der Roman um eine sympathische Protagonistin, deren Erleben und Gefühle nachvollziehbar und glaubwürdig auf mich wirkten. Auch die übrigen Figuren sind interessant und reizvoll gezeichnet. Die Landschaftsbeschreibungen konnten mich ebenfalls begeistern.

Sehr interessant fand ich auch, dass man durch den Roman gedanklich in ferne Länder reisen und viel Neues lernen konnte – beispielsweise über die Kauri-Bäume. Dadurch bot das Buch nicht nur Unterhaltung.

Sehr ansprechend sind das Cover und die Gestaltung des Buches.

Mein Fazit:
Mit „Das Geheimnis des Winterhauses“ ist Sarah Lark ein kurzweiliger Roman gelungen, der nicht nur historische, sondern auch spannende Elemente hat. Eine empfehlenswerte Lektüre.

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review 2017-09-01 19:51
Daredevil vol. 18: Cruel and Unusual by Brubaker and Lark
Daredevil, Vol. 18: Cruel and Unusual - Ed Brubaker,Greg Rucka,Michael Lark,Mike Perkins

Okay, you know what? We're gonna talk about what I feel is the most insidious trope involving female characters in writing, and specifically in genre writing. Is it  the act of "fridging," the death of a female character in order to torment and further develop the character of their male love interest? Well, that's pretty close, and something that Daredevil in particular is rife with. But that's a trope that's called out, often--so often, as a matter of fact, that it's amazing that writers still fall back on it.


No, I'm talking about the Mary Sue. Oh, you say, but Mary Sues are talked about all the time! Yeah, I'm not talking about female-written and/or created power fantasies. I'm talking about the male created Mary Sue, the sexual fantasy of their perfect woman.


And this brings me to Dakota North in this run of the comic. Yeah, her name is Dakota North. And you know what else? She's a former world famous runway supermodel turned tough talking New York P.I. who perfectly matches Matt's wit, and calls him out on his shit in the most awesome way ever!


And I just facepalmed writing that, let alone reading it in the comic. It's obnoxious, and as someone who always tries to see the absolute best in every female character, it's possibly the most alienating thing a writer can do. Because it's not for me. At all.


And it makes me feel worse to see Milla, a character who started out as independent and funny, sweet, interesting, and a match for Matt in the Bendis run, so obviously demeaned and discarded because the writer was in no way interested in sexually. And there's a whiff of ableism to the whole thing, to the entire Brubaker run, frankly, to make the blind woman without the superpowers helpless and whimpering, and then destroy her mentally because Brubaker just doesn't want her around.


Also, as awesome as it should have been to see Matt called out on his selfish behavior towards Milla, the characters all do it in a way that doesn't at all defend or benefit Milla, and that most contemptible of phrases is uttered, by your friend and mine Dakota, "Get over it."


Yeah, Matt needs to get over himself a little. But the writing is too weak to do it in any sort of satisfying way. I'm rereading Waid's run at the moment, and there's one moment in it where Matt seems more genuinely affected by Milla's situation than he ever does in Brubaker's entire run, during the storyline itself.

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review 2017-09-01 19:30
Daredevil vol. 17: Hell to Pay vol. 2 by Brubaker and Lark
Daredevil, Vol. 17: Hell to Pay, Vol. 2 - Ed Brubaker,Michael Lark

Okay, so I was going to make this another huge, rage-filled review, complete with panels as examples, etc. And that was just too draining. So I'm just going to go over the basics with this: Milla, under the influence of Mr. Fear's gas, which made Milla insane and also somehow made him into the Purple Man instead of a second-rate Marvel version of Scarecrow from the Batman comics, sorta kinda tried to kill someone she felt was threatening her relationship with Matt, and she's going to be charged with murder, because everyone on the subway platform apparently heard her yell DIE BITCH but neglected to note that she was a blind woman flailing at the air, and that it was actually Lily, trying to avoid Milla, who inadvertently knocked the man in front of the train. Brubaker both wants you to forget that Milla wasn't directly responsible, but also make certain that she wasn't, which is highly confusing.


The panels of Milla in the hospital are painful. Foggy and Matt talk about her in third person right in front of her, and when she loudly objects, they do that, SHHH YOU'RE JUST HYSTERICAL sort of thing that infuriates women about men. Honestly, if I showed these to women who had no idea about the situation, they'd guess that a husband was trying to gaslight his wife, it's that bad.


Well, Matt's a lawyer, so he gets her released into his custody, and she doesn't do anything but try to hurt herself. But, guess what? Lily shows up again, and her pheromone comic book nonsense suddenly makes Milla lash out against a totally innocent woman, her nurse, which is not at all indicative of what we've seen of her behavior to this point. And, as with all Daredevil trauma and tragedy, Matt makes everything about himself as his wife is stuck in Hell in her own mind.


And then the crowning jewel of the nastiness of this comic is the panels at the end, to show that Mr. Fear has truly won, that he is basically running the prison where he's been put away, including one where he has a female guard in a sexy Halloween costume parody of a cop's uniform, spread seductively on his bed because, again, he's made himself the Purple Man and she's scrambling to throw herself at him. So we end with rape, implied consistent. 


And Ed Brubaker is trash.

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