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Search tags: set-in-1900-1919
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review 2017-08-09 02:30
The Moonlit Garden (Audiobook)
The Moonlit Garden - Alison Layland,Corina Bomann

This was a pleasant surprise! Especially for an Amazon First selection since usually those books are not that great. This is translated into English, but I didn't notice any awkward phrasing to the translation was well done. 

 

I wasn't sure what I was getting into with this one, except that at some point there'd a moonlit garden :D so I was just going along for the ride and it was a good one. Lily owns an antique shop in Berlin and one day an old man comes in, hands her an old violin, tells her it's hers and leaves. The rest of the book goes back and forth between Lily trying to solve the mystery of the violin and Rose, the violin's original owner, a master violinist in the earliest part of the 1900s.

 

There's enough left out in the historical parts to keep the mystery moving in the current timeline. It's just nice to have a mystery that doesn't revolve around murder for a change, and trying to figure out how all the pieces fit together. And while parts of this take place in England and Germany, a good chunk of it takes place in Sumatra, Indonesia, which was also a nice change of pace as I don't often come across books set in Asia.

 

The narrator has kind of a soft voice but it didn't bother me too much. I do wish she had more range in her voices, especially for the men since despite some slight differences to their accents, it was difficult to tell them apart because they all sounded so similar. She does a somewhat better job differentiating the female voices. 

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review 2017-07-14 03:51
A Room With a View (Audiobook) - DNF @ 38%
A Room with a View - E.M. Forster

This is partly my fault, and partly the book's fault.

 

My fault - For some reason I thought this was like Rear Window, and that the movie was an adaptation of this book??? The movie has a guy with view outside his room, okay! I've never seen it, I just know about it through pop culture and the last time I heard anything about it was years ago, so I forgot the title. So I saw this book, and went hey! I should read that and then I can watch the movie, or rewatch that episode of Castle at least. Hahahaha! Nope. There is a murder, but that's about the only thing these two have in common. So incorrect expectations are totes my fault.

 

Book's fault - Bored now. Women were repressed in ye olden times. Did you know that? This is complete news to me. *sigh* Just a bunch of talking heads, characters are self-important and annoying (well, I guess Lucy's alright) and NOTHING HAPPENS. Walk around the countryside and talk. Next day: walk around the countryside and talk. Next day: Drive around the countryside and talk. Talk talk talk talkety talk talk. This is a British romance so boring even Hugh Grant wasn't in the movie adaptation. It's that bad!

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review 2017-06-06 03:06
Draakenwood (Whyborne & Griffin #9)
Draakenwood (Whyborne & Griffin Book 9) - Jordan L. Hawk

I probably should've at least skimmed the previous book before reading this one, because I didn't remember it nearly as well as I thought I did. Thankfully, the author provides enough background info/reminders that I wasn't completely lost, as the plot is very much reliant on the events in Fallow. 

 

This was a fun ride. I continue to be amazed that Ms. Hawk can keep these characters and this world fresh - and still be picking up steam for more down the road! Griffin and Ival's relationship is as strong as ever, there's a new police chief in town determined to "shake things up" and cause problems for our protags, and we've got the Endicotts back in town causing their own special brand of disturbance. 

 

What I loved most about this, besides all the typical stuff, is how much Whyborne's relationship with his father has changed - and how his father himself has changed as a result of that. I never thought I'd actually like Niles, but he's come a long way from his first appearance in this series. Percival has also grown so much from the first book, and while he sometimes regrets the loss of his quiet simple life, he knows these changes are inevitable and can't be denied or ignored. I won't say any more on that though.

 

To end:

Librarians are the coolest.

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review 2017-01-05 05:36
Their Eyes Were Watching God
Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston

Quick note on language: The phonetic spelling of the accents and dialects was a bit hard to get into at first, though thankfully growing up in the US, I'm at least familiar with the accent and know how it's supposed to sound like. It didn't take long to get into the rhythm of the story. Anyone who thinks that the language barrier might be a detriment to them should probably check out the sample first.

This is a truly enchanting story. I really enjoyed the sort of metaphorical writing that is used here to describe the story and the feelings and thoughts of the characters. There's a poetical quality to it and gives the story an unique voice so that the narrative almost becomes another character. The characters themselves are richly written and fleshed out with ease as we follow Janie as she navigates life's ups and downs. Janie isn't a perfect character. She has her flaws, as do all the characters here, but she represents the women who were raised in the generation after slavery, who were trying to fit themselves into a life that wasn't sure what to do with them. Everyone else has great ideas of what she can do with herself, how she can better herself - or better the men around her. She doesn't always make the best decisions, but she does eventually find her life and her reason for living.

This is a book of its time. Misogyny is commonplace and men are expected to beat there wives, so there is a lot of casual discussion about that. It also addresses the split in the black community itself, the divide based on how white a person is perceived to be based on how mixed they are - and the more mixed the better. There's the hypocrisy of society's expectations vs society's mores, which are often different sides of the same coin. The narrative doesn't judge any of these characters, just shows them to us and lets us decide what to think of them - which is a much harder thing for an author to do than you might think.

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review 2016-08-14 22:16
Fallow (Whyborne & Griffin #8)
Fallow (Whyborne & Griffin Book 8) - Jordan L. Hawk

This was another fun adventure spent with Whyborne and Griffin. I can't believe this is book 8 of this series and it still feels fresh and has momentum to continue. I love seeing how Whyborne and Griffin grow as individuals and together from book to book. 

 

The plot is sufficiently creepy as in other books, as Griffin is called back to his hometown Fallow, KS to warn his mother about a threat to the town. It was hard to see Griffin hoping so much that he could reconcile with his mother, even after she threw him away for being with Whyborne and "living a sin." She's pretty awful and while she clearly loves Griffin, it's not the unconditional kind of love a mother should have for her child.

She doesn't get much better as the story progresses either. She may have regrets, but that doesn't erase her actions or the damage she caused. 

(spoiler show)

 

Not everyone in Fallow is quick to judge Griffin, as he runs into an old friend shortly after arriving to find the town suffering from drought and half-dead. As Whyborne and friends race to find out what is the cause of the troubles in Fallow, they uncover a more sinister plot that threatens not just Widdershins but the world. I actually wish there had been a little more time devoted to this plot, as it felt more like it was tacked on to Griffin's plot, but as it will carry over to the next book I wasn't too bothered by this. 

We finally have a villain who did not go gentle into that good night, so it'll be interesting to see where that leads in the future.

(spoiler show)

 

There was another subplot involving Whyborne's connection to Widdershins and the vortex. I couldn't really get into this one. Maybe because I was fuzzy on how the previous book ended, or maybe because I thought Whyborne was being a melodramatic dolt in regards to Griffin and how he would react. Honestly, I thought Griffin already knew all about the things Whyborne was worrying himself over,

about Widdershins collecting its own and about Whyborne being tied to the vortex, nay actually being a part of the vortex

(spoiler show)

so getting near the end and realizing that no, Griffin hadn't quite connected all the dots after all was yet another strike against this plot. Griffin's too smart not to have figured all this out, but once it is spelled out for him, he wastes no time in assuring Whyborne that he's okay with it - as should've been clear to Whyborne this whole time. 

 

Once again, we also get to switch POVs between Whyborne and Griffin, and I love that this has become a standard in the last couple of books. It's vital now to understand what Griffin is thinking and feeling, and how he processes information. It also allows Hawk to have the characters split up and action taking place on two different fronts that can be followed simultaneously, rather than summarized later.

 

As for that cover... I really disliked it when I first saw it. Now... it's okay, but I still think the sepia tone of the previous covers set the mood of these books far better. And it's really grating that neither of these guys look like Whyborne or Griffin, and I can't even tell who is supposed to be who. If Griffin had the lighter hair color he's supposed to have and if Whyborne's hair stuck out all over like it's supposed to be, that would help a great deal in identifying them. Right now, they're just a couple of strangers on a pretty cover. (Ok, I just saw the guy in front is holding fire in his hands, so I guess he's Whyborne - he was the one I was assuming was Griffin. Whoops. Yeah, not loving the new look for our men here.) =/

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