logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: victorian
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
text 2017-11-20 19:49
16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Square 4
The Unyielding - Shelly Laurenston
A Wreath of Snow: A Victorian Christmas Novella - Liz Curtis Higgs
The Berlin Wall: 13 August 1961 - 9 Nove... The Berlin Wall: 13 August 1961 - 9 November 1989 - Frederick Taylor
Forgotten Voices of the Great War - Imperial War Museum,Max Arthur

Square 4, Part 1: Penance Day

Book: A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs

Task: 5.5 Theses of Book Blogging

 

1. Don't sell ARCs. Donate them to a charity or stock a free little library with them, but don't sell them. I don't read ARCs for a bunch of personal reasons, yet I feel really sorry for the authors who have their ARCs sold.

 

2. Stop the "real" books versus e-Reader/app debate. We all know you are just doing it for page views/social engagement and it is a tired argument. Some bloggers bring this up at least monthly so their numbers look good - ESPECIALLY on FB. Reading is reading and some readers have disabilities/conditions that technology has helped to read more/read again. The argument is classist and ablest and I will unfollow a blogger in a hot minute if I start seeing this.

 

This goes double with audible books. Some people like to read and do crafts/garden/cook/clean at the same time and a lot of them don't have the time in their day to schedule all the things as individual tasks.

 

3. Don't be afraid to review/talk about books from your personal stash, freebie books found in the Nook or Kindle store or even *gasp* the books from your local library. In the daily push to promote NEW! sometimes bloggers get burnt out. Give yourself permission to once a month write about those long cherished books and why they hold/don't hold up. Don't lose your blog's personality in the quest to look good for publishers/blog tour operators.

 

4. Don't be afraid to address serious topics in your review. Authors really need to get over having their book babies get criticized for racism, homophobia, etc that the reader finds. Authors should coral their fans and let's not start in with death threats and slurs directed at the book blogger. And GR/BL, Twitter, and FB could give a helping hand to the blogger/reviewer when shit hits the fan.

 

5. Don't feel the need to be on every social media platform so that your blog gets noticed. Seems like an awful lot of work in creating and maintaining a page on FB for your blog for nothing, since a lot of FB's algorithim will keep your post/page hidden from readers feed. Twitter is one big garbage dump fire. Other platforms seem more in line with helping book bloggers.

                         5.5 However, if a blogger really likes a social media platform, say Instagram, and enjoys coming up with photos of books and bookish stuff, MORE POWER TO YOU. Honestly I am a big fan of "bookstagram" and love to see what you guys and gals come up with. Keep them coming!

 

***************************************************************************************************

Square 4, Part Two: Thanksgiving

Book: The Unyielding by Shelly Laurenston - I read it but my review got eaten by BL's bug fixing and I don't feel like re-writing my review. I gave it 5 stars and will probably gush about the entire series for at least the rest of the year.

 

Task: Picture of my new books. The family and I went to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford on Veterans' Day/Armistice Day (cause we know how to party, lol) and let's just say I can't be left in a museum gift shop by myself....I picked up The Berlin Wall 13 August 1961 - 9 November 1989 by Frederick Taylor; most likely the inspiration was seeing a piece of the Berlin Wall on display at the museum.

 

On a different day earlier in the month I went shopping at my favorite local charity shop for a White Elephant gift for the upcoming library staff and volunteer holiday party. I picked up Forgotten Voices of the Great War: A New History of WWI in the Worlds of the Men and Women Who Were There by Max Arthur.

 

 

 

 

 

Total points for this square: 4

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-11-13 22:08
That Inevitable Victorian Thing: Or, Austen in the future.
That Inevitable Victorian Thing - E. Russell Johnston Jr.

Do you like regency stories? Ones with coming out balls for young ladies, elaborate teas, and awkward exchanges between suitors while they try to remain proper? Do you, in fact, love all that stuff but wish those stories had more diversity in their casts? Yes? Then you should read this book. It has all of that and more, and captures that light floaty tone impeccably.

I, however, don't particularly care for any of those things, which is why this book didn't blow my socks off. It's not you, book, it's me. The premise really intrigued me on this one - I was expecting much more of a sci-fi influence. Really though, it just feels like a regency romance with some technology and alternate history sprinkled in. Which is totally fine, but not what I was hoping for.

There's a lot to love about this book. The diverse cast was refreshing. The world was interesting. The tone was carefully crafted and the prose decent. And I will say I quite liked the ending, which is why I'm giving the book as many stars as I am. I can already tell this is going to be a lot of people's favorite book of the year. As for me it wasn't really my cup of tea. If you're looking for intricate sci-fi and cultural analysis this one might be a miss for you. If you want a fluffy yet diverse regency romance then snap this one up post-haste.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-11-12 13:17
Review: A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs
A Wreath of Snow: A Victorian Christmas Novella - Liz Curtis Higgs

This book was slated to be one of my December/holiday reading list book, but it fit in so well with the book theme for Penance Day in the 16 Tasks of the Festive Season I read it a month early.

 

As the book opens, Meg has just left her parents' home in Stirling and is making her way to the train station to head back to her home in Edinburgh. Meg couldn't take another minute of her passive-aggressive family, and after reading this story I don't disagree with her action. Unfortunately, Stirling is in the midst of a serious blizzard and the train is delayed...until a minor accident in route to Edinburgh makes travel difficult. Meg is forced to walk back to Stirling and into the den of a seriously dysfunctional family.

 

Gordon Shaw, a Stirling native who left in disgrace, had an interview in Stirling and is already itching to leave the town after the interview finished. He was on the same train as Meg and struck up a relationship with her when the train accident left them both stranded in the town they were hoping to leave. Turns out their pasts were very much tangled and bringing "Mr. Gordon" home would take a lot of maneuvering.

 

This book would have been better had Meg and her family accepted Shaw's first 100 apologies and if Meg hadn't said "I'm sorry" to her abusers every time she turned around. There was some serious gas-lighting going on in Meg's family. While Shaw was truly sorry for what happened 12 years ago to Meg's brother, no one wanted to forgive him because without their anger they had nothing. Until of course dear brother's injury was revealed to be a long con. Then everything was just so water under the bridge and we always did like that Shaw fellow.....spare me. I did believe in the Meg and Gordon's relationship and hoped that when they marry, they stay out of Stirling.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2017-11-10 08:30
Friday Reads - November 10, 2017
It Had to Be You - Delynn Royer
The Toymaker - Kay Springsteen
Through Waters Deep - Sarah Sundin
A Wreath of Snow: A Victorian Christmas Novella - Liz Curtis Higgs
The Unyielding - Shelly Laurenston

I haven't done one of these in at least two months. So what's up with me? I quit the PTO board (along with the person who held the president position, who is a friend) due to unethical behavior by a few members and by the principal and certain school staff. The position took a good 50 hours of my week and all I got was mistreatment and devaluing my work. Honestly I am not even bitter at this point; I kept my friendship intact with the other departing member and I can renew my passions that had to be put aside while others demanded my emotional, mental, and physical labor.

 

Parent teacher conferences were this week; my son's struggles with reading will require him to see a reading specialist once or twice a week (within the school day). In all other areas he is progressing at the right pace, so I'm glad his teacher is seeing the problem now and he will get the help he needs. My daughter's teacher wants her to attend one more day each week, as the teachers and specialists now see where her issues lie more fully than during the assessment phase and are tweaking her IEP. Again, it is because of dedicated teachers that my kids are getting the help they need. I treated the kids to donuts and flu shots, then took them to the toy store to see what they wanted to put on their Christmas list. No time like the present, as a friend and I are going to take advantage of the observed holiday today and go Christmas shopping in Cambridge while our hubbies take care of the kids. On Saturday we plan on going to Duxford's Imperial War Museum (one of five Imperial War Museums in England; 3 are in London and 1 is in Manchester). We are also planning on attending one of the Remembrance Sunday events this weekend.

 

As I mentioned in a book review earlier, I have decided to return to school to get my masters degree in library and information sciences. Right now I am just deciding which online program(s) I want to apply to and what the requirements are to apply. I am volunteering at my base library again (I go when my daughter is in school) and the librarians there are happy to teach me more of their job, so I will have a few years of experience "working" in a public library.

 

Reading-wise, it is all about the 16 Tasks of the Festive Season. I am having such a good time finding books from my huge unread pile that fit themes for the squares. I have one task to do, now just need to read some books. I am organizing my tasks and reading for the challenge by having each square's books and tasks in one post. Hopefully it will be easier to read and keep track of.

 

My currently reading shelf:

1. It Had to Be You by Delynn Royer - part Harlequin historical romance, part murder mystery set in the 1920s. (Square 1 All Saint's Day - black and white cover)

 

2. The Toymaker by Kay Springsteen - historical romance with class differences. (Square 1 Calan Gaeaf - heroine is named Ivy)

 

3. Through Waters Deep (Waves of Freedom #1) by Sarah Sundin - WWII romance between British Navy hero and American Navy yard worker heroine (Square 2 Bom Om Tuk - water on the cover)

 

4. A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs - Victorian romance with a hero that feels lots of guilt and shame for something he did in his past. (Square 4 Penance Day - plotline featuring characters feeling guilt)

 

5. The Unyielding (Call of Crows #3) by Shelly Laurenston - Nothing says community like 9 clans based on Viking mythology coming together to save the world from Guilveig and preventing Ragnarok! (Square 4 Thanksgiving - book about community)

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-10-24 22:28
A sobering picture of the Victorian era and a must read for those interested in social history
Childhood and Death in Victorian England - Sarah Seaton

Thanks to Alex from Pen & Sword for providing me with a review paperback copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

After working as a forensic psychiatrist for a number of years, I guess death and what brings it about is something I’ve given a fair amount of thought to. I have always been more interested in social history, and the everyday lives of people in other historical periods than I am about battles, war, etc. (I am intrigued by some of the people who get to make the decisions and fight in the battles, but not so much by the actual specifics). Old records being what they are, the adage about the two things that are certain in life, death and taxes, comes to mind. And although the subject of the book might appear particularly morbid, examining death records and other information about the deaths, in particular of children, tells us a great deal about what society was like at the time. Because what more important for the future of a nation than its children?

I live in quite an old village and one can find gravestones from three or four centuries back and I could not help but notice that many of those buried in the Victorian period were babies and very young children. Sometimes there were families who lost quite a number of children in quick succession. And although I had read about poor sanitation, deaths at birth, and illnesses of the period, and I knew that life for poor children was harder at the time, I had never spent much time reading about it. When I saw this book I felt perhaps it was time I did.

In the introduction, the author explains that she had a similar experience to mine. While researching newspapers and archives for another book, she came across many items about dead children and thought they deserved to have their stories told.

Although the book is respectful and tries to bring to light what the conditions were like, the nature of the material can make for a hard reading. I won’t go into details, but if you are very sensitive you might want to look away now or stop reading.

Seaton divides her book into five chapters.

Chapter one: Industrial Mishaps and Misdemeanours, brings home how hard life what for poor children, especially (but not only) orphans, children who ended up in the workhouse, and who were working from as young as four. And we’re not talking about easy jobs. They went to sea, working in fishing boats (yes, many drowned or were severely abused, beaten up and killed), the mines (opening and closing air shaft for hours on end, and quite a few died when there was flooding, some not far from where I live), textile factories (crushed by the machines), chimney sweeps (yes, no Mary Poppins romanticism here. Small kids could go up the chimneys easily and sometimes burn inside too)… The author notes that the laws changed, first increasing the age at what children were allowed to start working (the Ten Hour Bill in 1832 stated that no child under 9 could work and those under 18 should not work for longer than 10 hours per day and only 8 on Saturdays), and later insisting that all children should have access to education, and that helped avoid the worse of the abuse (that was not considered abuse at the time).

Chapter two: Accidents. It is strange to read this chapter and imagine a time when mothers might go out or go to work and leave their children under the care of another child, only a few years older than his or her charges, when children would play in a room with a live fire and no protection (there are a large number of deaths by fire), or would go out and play by a river and drown, or be run over.

Chapter three: Poverty, Paupers and Health, centres on matters of health, illnesses, poor diets, and also the fact that many illegitimate children were sent away to women who usually would take many children for money, feed them little or nothing, and keep what were called ‘baby farms’. At the time it was common to give children laudanum if they felt unwell, and many of them died of opium overdoses. As the author notes, while nowadays there are many services and programmes offering information and help to new mothers on how to bring up a child, and there is support in place, charities, welfare services, doctors and midwives who offer practical advice and support, that was not the case at the time, and even children from well-off families could die in circumstances that seem incredible to us now.

Chapter four: Manslaughter, Murder and Circumstantial Evidence, is a particularly hard one to read. The author notes that some of these crimes remind us that some things don’t change much and there are incidents that are remarkably similar to recent ones, but the chapter includes from murders where the criminal was clearly mentally disturbed, to others that caused outrage for their cruelty. At that point in history the police were becoming a better organised and official body and they were starting to use techniques that would allow them to trace evidence and use it to catch the criminals (newspapers used to wrap body parts with names or addresses on it feature prominently). This is a horrific chapter, but one that would be of interest to mystery writers considering setting their novels in this historical period.

 Chapter five: Newborn and Early Infant Deaths. Many of these are the result of illegitimate births, with young mothers who usually had hidden their pregnancy and at the moment of birth got desperate, out of options and with no support. But there are also cases of women who offered their services ‘adopting’ children only to neglect them or actively kill them. It is of note that although newborn and infant deaths were very high at the time, very few of these were reported as homicides.

The author concludes that although at the beginning she talks about modern children having little freedom compared to their Victorian counterparts, we must acknowledge that the circumstances have changed for the better and now society puts a lot of emphasis on protecting children. There is the welfare state, better transportation, many of the illnesses that decimated children have disappeared or can be cured…  (Of course, the book looks at the subject in Victorian England, and the comparisons are to current circumstances in the UK. We all know not all societies are respectful of children’s lives even today).

This is a hard book to read. It does paint a sobering picture of the Victorian era, as it centres mostly on those whose stories were not important enough to make it into the big chronicles and the Historic books in capital letters. The author uses newspaper articles to illustrate the specific cases she chooses, but also archival materials. The book offers detailed accounts of the events, and reflects the opinion of the time, leaving most of the personal comments or interpretations to the beginning or end of the chapters, although she mostly lets the facts speak for themselves. We read witness testimonies, coroner’s reports, inquests, all fairly objectively reported, but the nature of the material makes it poignant.

The paperback version contains pictures, mostly illustrations from newspapers, but also photographs of the period and some modern ones of some of the locations, in black and white.

This is a well-researched book that would be of interest to people researching the social history of the Victorian period, particularly as it pertains to the treatment of children, to writers looking for background on the period, but it is not a light read or a standard history book of the era. It goes to show that truth can, and it often is, more terrifying than fiction.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?