White is for witching, a colour to be worn so that all other colours can enter you, so tI read this for the Diverse Voices square for Halloween Bingo
White is for witching, a colour to be worn so that all other colours can enter you, so that you may use them.
Creepy, intriguing, mysterious, frustrating, and melancholy, White is for Witching had a very strong start that sagged a bit in the middle and then ultimately puttered out into its own enigmatic mysteries.
Miranda can’t come in today Miranda has a condition called pica she has eaten a great deal of chalk—she really can’t help herself—she has been very ill—Miranda has pica she can’t come in today, she is stretched out inside a wall she is feasting on plaster she has pica try again:
To me, the house (and any real or imagined non-human inhabitants) is the sun with Miranda being Mercury, her twin brother Eliot as Venus, and their father Earth. Secondary characters such as a friend Miranda makes at college called Ore would be a moon of Mercury and the housemaid Sade could be a comet. This is an odd way to place the characters but I don't want to spoil too much of the story but still give an idea of the story's placement of characters.
The way this story is written and structured is different, povs from mainly Miranda, Eliot, and the house (yes, the house has a pov), flow in and out with blips from Sade, Ore, and maybe a couple other minor ones I am forgetting. You need to be on your game to fully understand who is talking but even then, things can get confusing with possible unreliable narrators and not knowing what is real and mental health issues.
The horror of the story is that there is a house that is possibly haunted, maybe by a soucouyant (a witch in Caribbean folklore), maybe by a curse on the female line of a family, and maybe simply a daughter that lost her mother and is spiraling down a mental health destructive hole. This story centers on women, their strengths and weaknesses; Eliot plays a good sized role but he is still clearly on the sidelines along with his father who is ineffectual in his drowning grief for his wife.
They were naked except for corsets laced so tightly that their desiccated bodies dipped in and out like parchment scrolls bound around the middle. They stared at Miranda in numb agony. Padlocks were placed over their parted mouths, boring through the top lip and closing at the bottom. Miranda could see their tongues writhing.
The beginning had me captured with Eliot leading us into the story about how his mother died and how his sister is withering away because she seems only able to eat chalk. From Eliot's point of view it seems more like a mental health issue with occasional povs from the house and Miranda popping in to make you believe in the shiver going up your spine. The middle starts to transition to more of Miranda's point of view, her struggles with her mental health and the house, along with looks at Miranda's female ancestors.
When Miranda leaves the house for a little while is when the story started to lose me a bit. Sade and Ore get added to the story, I thought Ore was too late of an additive and even though she brought an outside look and probably worked to more definitively answer the mental health or truly haunted question, I missed the atmosphere of the house and Eliot with Miranda.
“I’m to go home. The house wants me,” she cried. The moonlight made her look blue. It made her look as if she was dead. She opened my window and sat herself on the ledge; she dangled her bare legs over it. We were four floors up.
I don't know how many have watched the tv series The Leftovers but this story gave me the same kind of feelings. Majorly intriguing start, with questions, mysteries, and interesting characters everywhere, only to maybe out write themselves and end up leaving a lot up in the air in a way that devalues the story.
As far as giving you the heebie jeebies, this will definitely do it, some scenes had me looking hard into dark corners in my house. As far as the characters sticking with me, probably not, as they didn't quite become fully fleshed out to me. I do know I would love to see this made into a limited series, Netflix get on that, the psychomanteum room scenes would be chilling good.
That was the first and last time I’ve heard my own voice....more
She gave the guards a nod as she went through. It didn’t occur to either of them to stop her because witches, like beekeepers and big gorillas, went where they liked.
Part of the Discworld but also the Witches series, Granny, Nanny, and Magrat run and steal the show. I would describe this as kind of a Monty Python take on Macbeth and Hamlet (with a little bit of King Lear, Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel, and probably splashes of more I missed). If you're a reader of the Discworld, you'll be ready for the little bit chaotic, humor, brick wall bleakness, and underlining too true takes on humanity.
A kingdom is made up of all sorts of things. Ideas. Loyalties. Memories. It all sort of exists together. And then all these things create some kind of life. Not a body kind of life, more like a living idea. Made up of everything that’s alive and what they’re thinking. And what the people before them thought.”
We start off with the murder of a King, who becomes a ghost, our three witches taking a baby from soldiers, the new mad King and his reveling in her evilness wife, and a wise fool. Even though the witches normally try to stay out of things, Granny decides that she needs to set things to rights and have the true heir on the throne. I enjoyed the first half, which was more Macbeth, than the magically fast forward 15 years Hamlet like second.
The duke smiled out over the forest. “It works,” he said. “The people mutter against the witches. How do you do it, Fool?” “Jokes, nuncle. And gossip. People are halfway ready to believe it anyway. Everyone respects the witches. The point is that no one actually likes them very much.”
Shining through and underlining all these seemingly chaotic going-ons, are some excellent hot takes on propaganda and how history is recorded, by who, why they are writing events and figures the way they are, and how this influences and shapes future attitudes. This is an aspect of history that I don't think is talked about enough, questioning the motives behind historical recorders.
“But I’m his Fool,” said the Fool. “A Fool has to be loyal to his master. Right up until he dies. I’m afraid it’s tradition. Tradition is very important.” “But you don’t even like being a Fool!” “I hate it. But that’s got nothing to do with it. If I’ve got to be a Fool, I’ll do it properly.” “That’s really stupid,”said Magrat. “Foolish, I’d prefer.”
Granny is the immediate stand-out in this but the Fool is the dark horse. In all this spoofing, he has some of the most thought provoking quotes; they bordered on dystopian at times. I couldn't help reading this through a current political climate lens and it hurt at times reading the scenes with the Fool, the new King, and his wife. Even when we get the second part of the witches work to change things, it doesn't end up quite to their preference but maybe for the best? This would be a great book club selection as I highlighted the heck out of this and could have endless discussions about it.
I've mentioned before how humor is a tough one for me, so that hurt my overall enjoyment along with the frenetic/chaotic tone pushing against my more structured self. Many friends have said this is one of their favorites from the disc world and I can see why, the three witches will delight you, I felt the second half let them down a bit. Even though things may not have worked out exactly like Granny wanted, I leave you with some inspiration from her,
Granny Weatherwax was often angry. She considered it one of her strong points. Genuine anger was one of the world’s great creative forces. But you had to learn how to control it. That didn’t mean you let it trickle away. It meant you dammed it, carefully, let it develop a working head, let it drown whole valleys of the mind and then, just when the whole structure was about to collapse, opened a tiny pipeline at the base and let the iron-hard stream of wrath power the turbines of revenge....more
I've been posting my reviews online for about 10yrs now, I know I've liked books that could have some problematic characters, actions, and storylinesI've been posting my reviews online for about 10yrs now, I know I've liked books that could have some problematic characters, actions, and storylines (This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, comes to mind) but as I get older and in our current climate, I'm really having to challenge and make decisions on what I'll go along with for the sake of the story.
Suddenly he bellowed and vaulted out of the tub. Reaching down, he closed his fist around her mane of hair and hauled her up with him. Furious, dripping water and rage in equal proportions, he shoved his angry face toward hers. His voice was surprisingly mild. She would have preferred shouting.
I wish I could say that this would have stopped me in my tracks at 25yrs old as it did at 35yrs old, but I'm not sure. All I know is that currently, it made me immediately put the book down. This is the "hero" acting towards the heroine.
They were high school sweethearts who ran away to get married but her parents forced them to get an annulment because they thought the hero was too poor and other-side of the tracks. They meet back up at their 10yr high school reunion where the hero not quite so teasingly demands a wedding night. They are being hot and heavy when the heroine tries to put the breaks on and she then tells him why she stayed after the reunion broke up at his house, the charity she helps wants to buy some land the hero owns. He gets angry because he thinks she was using her body to get a good deal on the land. He then basically holds her hostage claiming he'll sell her the land if she lives at this house as his concubine.
It's a hurt revenge angle that was seen quite often in '80s romance, along with the endless descriptions of fashion (the heroine has an eel skin purse and matching heels!). After this scene, there really was no hope for me to ever connect to the hero, he physically assaulted the heroine in my eyes. I skim read the rest of the book (I rate books whether I read fully, skim, or dnf, it is the way I keep track of books so don't @ me) and wasn't all into the heroine still wanting the hero to love her.
Everyone has their own opinions but please, let's all agree that this was assault/abuse and call it as so....more
“It’s a death gris-gris, and as its counterpart in the hands of the Voodooienne is unwrI read this for the Southern Gothic square for Halloween Bingo
“It’s a death gris-gris, and as its counterpart in the hands of the Voodooienne is unwrapped slowly, day by day, it is supposed to cause the cursed one to sicken and die by degrees."
This started off with so much promise but ultimately didn't deliver on delicious Gothic feel. We started off with a sheltered, innocent heroine who is swept away by a dark scarred hero to his on the edge of the bayou plantation. There we meet his at odds with mother, still wearing black for the death of his years long dead uncle, his maybe jealous vengeful cousin, a possible voodoo using maybe ex-mistress, a creepy overseer, a parental but maybe shady housekeeper, and a paralyzed unable to speak father. The red-herrings are all over the place.
The atmosphere was set nicely with descriptions of the bayou, heat, bugs, and general out in the middle of nowhere. There was a voodoo scene with the slaves performing a ritual that was kind of creepy but other than that, there wasn't enough played around with to make you wonder if the heroine was losing her mind or if the voodoo was real.
The heroine and hero basically spend no time together, which I thought was kind of odd, so you're not reading this for the romance aspect. There wasn't enough creepy, spooky feel for a Gothic either; the mystery has the heroine in bed for most of the book.
Helene, that arrogant, time-ravaged beauty, had been in love with her husband’s brother, so in love that ten years later she could still weep her heart out over a mask of his dead face. Her husband’s brother, a married man with a son, a man who was shot to death in a duel with his nephew, Helene’s one son!
I kind of got the feeling the author was going for a nothing proves more terrifying than family dynamics. I can't really dispute that.
The mystery could have been better if the heroine would have been able to move around more and the characters given more depth, basically this needed a higher page count as the basic storyline and atmospheric writing was there. The ending gave us a villain info-dump as to why and how that gave it super flop feel and red-herring characters simply deflated like balloons. I can't really recommend this one because the Gothic mystery and the romance was severely lacking, maybe if you like your heroines reclining in bed because of bruised ribs and possible poisonings and/or voodoo curses. *I almost forgot to mention the jaguar! Yes, there is a jaguar that lurks around, two or three mentions but it is there, lol....more
“No, no! Don’t go.” She retreated to her bed as she spoke. “But why must I stay over here?” “We hardly know each other, miss,” he said with affected a“No, no! Don’t go.” She retreated to her bed as she spoke. “But why must I stay over here?” “We hardly know each other, miss,” he said with affected affront. “Keep your distance, if you please.” Mariah choked back a snort of laughter. “You’re afraid of me?” “A wise man never underestimates a woman."
I enjoyed this one but the romance felt a bit insta with our hero kind of going all-in with the heroine from simple seeing her. The heroine is instantly intrigued with the hero but with the vast majority of their meetings taking place for only a couple minutes at a time in her bedroom at night, I didn't really believe in their life long connection. The heroine is the one who really pushes for them to be together but her infatuation had a twinge of rich girl rebellion for the wrong side of the tracks guy.
The mystery, our hero is a spy, was a bit muddled as the circle of spies and their leaders wasn't flushed out quite enough, I struggled in the beginning learning who was who and what was what. Half-way through it becomes decently clear who the villain is and in such a way I think our hero should quit his day job, he was missing the picture for too long.
My favorite part of this was the author's sneaking political commentary, the romance genre is the best at this. Had a different feel to it, probably due to its little older publishing date 2009, but the hero and heroine didn't have the amount and depth of interaction I typically hope for....more
Something was definitely fishy about Randy Terns’s death, and at least one of his children thought he deserved to be murdered.
Cozy mystery isn't a genre I usually spend a lot of time in but I've dabbled and the ones I've dabbled in, tend to have a "cozy" calm, mysterious but relaxing feel to them, not so here.
The only time the heroine isn't on the go or jumping here and there, is when she is asleep, which doesn't last long. She's in town to take over her grandmother's matchmaking business but doesn't quite have the touch but doesn't matter since she only focuses on that for about 3% of the story. One of her neighbors was found dead in the kitchen and she thinks (?? I guess but she never seems totally sure even though she is running around trying to solve the "murder") he was murdered.
What follows is a story that felt incredibly manic and held together with rubber bands and flimsy plot threads. Why does such a small town, I don't think they even have a 20 person police force (they don't have their own 911 call center) have a multi-million dollar new station? This is the first in the series but like my complaints about Angelfalls, you still have to craft story that provides depth in regards to characters and plot in book one.
There is a love triangle but with one guy that barely is a pencil sketch and the heroine only seems to like because he is hot and the other that seems like the clear future winner. I'm not quite sure what the heroine saw in the pencil sketch (besides good looks) and I'm not sure what either guy saw in the heroine. The murder mystery was convoluted as all get out and had a reveal dump at the end.
This was so manic and jumbled I felt like I was lost in a bouncy castle. I don't think I'll be continuing on in the series, especially since I am not a fan of love triangles, they always seem to be dragged out way to long.
Bonus point for having Rottweilers in the story but point deduction for having them be growling frightening beasts. ...more
I read this for the Classic Horror square for Halloween Bingo.
it might not then be too fanciful to say that some houses are born bad.
I read this for the Classic Horror square for Halloween Bingo.
it might not then be too fanciful to say that some houses are born bad.
Apparently, I do think it is too fanciful because I felt this book was way more of this,
“I think we are only afraid of ourselves,” the doctor said slowly. “No,” Luke said. “Of seeing ourselves clearly and without disguise.” “Of knowing what we really want,” Theodora said.
Instead of getting eeked out by the supernatural trying to creep into the story, I was completely focused on Eleanor and what seemed like her emotional and psychological bid and try for freedom. She is introduced as the daughter that took care of her mother until the mother's death and now resides with her sister but still lacks autonomy and agency. When she gets a letter in the mail asking her to come stay at a house, what a more adjusted person would turn down, she jumps at, grasping at it in a sense of freedom to get away from her life.
Don’t do it, Eleanor told the little girl; insist on your cup of stars; once they have trapped you into being like everyone else you will never see your cup of stars again; don’t do it; and the little girl glanced at her, and smiled a little subtle, dimpling, wholly comprehending smile, and shook her head stubbornly at the glass. Brave girl, Eleanor thought; wise, brave girl.
This ended up being one of the most important and emotional scenes to me. Eleanor wanting the girl to make a different choice than she did, choosing to live her life the way she wants to, something Eleanor hasn't done. I have a lot of questions about this story, lol, but a big one is later on Theodora is talking about Eleanor drinking from her cup of stars and Eleanor talking about missing it. So, my big question is, was this a clue to how Eleanor manifested scenes, was this actually a flashback to a moment in Eleanor's life where she pinpoints things went off track for her and on her journey to freedom, she recreates the scene and makes (the little girl not drinking out of the cup) a different choice? It seems like an important clue that Eleanor had a cup of stars and the little girl she "saw" did too. I don't know, maybe I missed something or am reaching. Thinking this way though, lead me more down the path of Hill House instances being or coming from Eleanor's head.
No, she thought, I don’t like it here. it’s awful and I don’t want to stay; but there was nowhere else to go,
This story was so much more about the human condition to me than paranormal, which I think is kind of annoying, I don't want to I "read this wrong" but I think I missed some pleasure others got out of it. Theodora always represented what Eleanor envisioned as ideal and why she spent so much time with her and why her clothes were and room were attacked. But were they? The newcomers of the dr's wife and Arthur walk in the room and claim everything is fine. Talking about mass hysteria in the other Halloween Bingo book I am reading made me think that was what was happening at times, with Eleanor, Theodora, Luke, and the Dr. freaking each other out, remember, the newcomers never heard the loud noises from the night everyone was scared. The anticipation wave from the group seemed to be thinking this is a haunted house, waiting for something to happen, wanting something to happen to simply get it over with, and then creating things that were happening.The blood on the walls confuses me the most because Luke saw it first, probably the biggest argument towards paranormal for me.
Peace, Eleanor thought concretely; what I want in all this world is peace, a quiet spot to lie and think, a quiet spot up among the flowers where I can dream and tell myself sweet stories.
Eleanor was just so incredibly tragic for me and I think building up to psychotic breakdown. Her trip towards freedom wasn't working out quite like she thought, she has the big rejection from Theodora and while she doesn't seem to be able to quite get along with people, she doesn't want to be alone, and she simply can't handle going back to her sisters. This story just really screamed American women around the '50-'60s, seeing autonomy but not having the foundation to get there and maybe even fear of what it would be like. One of my other favorite scenes was when Eleanor was talking with Luke and thinking about the questions people ask each other and how it is discussed about what people want others to know about them and what people want to tell others; more human condition stuff to me. I enjoyed the contrast too of Luke just being handed the house and women to an extent and just selfishly expecting it as his due; how women have to fight for things and men just naturally expect them issues going on here.
I am really doing it, I am doing this all by myself, now, at last; this is me, I am really really really doing it by myself.
The ending was so sad for me and this line cuts with how attempted suicide and suicide (in letters) victims talk about making that final choice and feeling finally empowered that they have finally taken control. I know some people who think more along the lines of paranormal will think it was the house driving her to do this and I can definitely see an argument for that also but I see it more as the psychotic break crash.
“Walled up alive.” Eleanor began to laugh again at their stone faces. “Walled up alive,” she said. “I want to stay here.”
I saw Eleanor as making the choice to kill herself because she was too scared to go out and live life, even though she desperately wanted to. Her whole life living with her mother, probably an argument for co-dependency there and then semi-transferring the dependency to her sister and then failing in transferring it to Theodora.
I feel like I have more questions after I read the book, lol. Why didn't Eleanor remember Theodora for a few minutes there towards the end? This weird moment thinking about Theodora: I would like to watch her dying, Eleanor thought, and smiled back and said, “Don’t be silly.”
The others experiencing some of the "hauntings" of the house, the creepy caregivers (but apparently the housekeeper was completely normal around the dr.'s wife), the planchette readings, and what did Theodora see during the picnic are all questions I don't have answers for. Maybe I need to give way for some paranormal. Overall though, this book was really only ever about the frightening ways our minds can control us....more
There is still no cure for EL, and its rise and subsequent disappearance is still regarded as something of a mystery.
I have heard of this before but only in the obscure and morbidly fascinating sense, think more horror movie than documentary. The unknown-ness of this one draws me and repels me away. Reading about how it affected people's personalities, bodily functions, and sent them into comas is frightening.
If you are interested in following a line of thought on interrelated diseases, though, some scientists today think that EL is related to streptococcal bacteria, so that’s a fun thing to consider when you get strep throat.
I have never heard and this and can I just say WHAT?!? Reading about how adult's showed after effects of Postencephalitic Parkinson’s disease which led them to L-dopa as a cure and how it initially worked, the woman waking up from a coma years later and thinking it was early 1940s when it was late 1960s, was wild. I think this "plague" was added to just scare the crap out of everyone as there is still no known cure but I guess it hasn't made any more appearances? This is one I'm going to have to investigate further because how freaking wild that it seems to suddenly appear in 1916 and disappear in 1920s. I guess I'd put my bet on Aliens.
Somewhere between 60 and 80 percent of lobotomies were performed on women, despite a greater percentage of men being institutionalized.
This probably shouldn't have been included in a plague book but it is important to discuss, so I'll allow it. I'm against lobotomies, so I had no problem how the author discussed Freeman, the physician behind the start, procedure, and craze of them. The accounts of how he went about them, snipping here and there, until he got the desired amount of not quite comatose in patients, is horrifying and rage inducing.
A charismatic demagogue was elevated and trusted because he was captivating and because researching facts, as well as listening to dull doctors who have done their homework, is hard and time-consuming.
This quote, I can't tell you how much I feel this quote down into my soul right now. Reading about how women who were listed as menopausal or hysterical, by doctors that didn't even converse with them but rather their husbands and given over to Freeman for lobotomies had me fighting tears. This chapter was all about making sure there are committees, watchdogs, or the like in place to stop charismatic, mad medical field individuals from dazzling people with their "science".
Well, herd immunity works for most diseases only if about 80 to 90 percent of the population is vaccinated. With some diseases, like measles, a 95 percent vaccination rate is necessary.
Again, vaccinate your kids.
I have to say, I'm not sure I knew Polio came from contaminated water or food, kind of like typhoid. That is how well we eradicated it, I didn't even know what caused it! The author talked about live virus and killer virus vaccines and the rivalry between Salk and Sabin to get there. I've heard of Salk before because of how he used unwittingly mental health patients for clinical trials, which the author mentioned but after saying he should be considered close to a saint. I'm not quite there on him but I'm a grey shades person and as long as you mention the shitty aspects I don't have a problem stating all the good he also did. Seems wild in today's atmosphere of people dying because the price of their insulin is too much money that he didn't patent his vaccine but I'd like to read more on the legalities of if and how he could have. My favorite part of this section was the focus on how representation matters and how FDR gave hope and pride to fellow Polio survivors.
Those who had AIDS survived because they, like Mr. Crumpton’s No Nose’d Club for syphilitics, founded groups like the Gay Men’s Health Crisis and ACT UP to fight for their right to live. They supported one another. They protested. They yelled. They made people extremely uncomfortable.
I'm not a scientist or in the medical field, so there was definitely new information for me to gain from reading this. I went in thinking this was going to be a drier, informative read but realized very early on that my expectations needed to be changed. This is more of a coffee table book where casual readers can just pick it up and learn some interesting facts that will either make them popular on trivia night or send them down a drier text reading rabbit hole.
The author has a sarcastic, pop culture heavy tone that could turn some people off as we discussing real horrible deaths but I'm a bit of a gallows humor gal myself, so except for a couple times, I wasn't put off or offended. I do think the pop culture references are going to date this and age it out of future circulation.
All in all, I learned some facts, was intrigued to research some, and enjoyed this more surface look into diseases. This book is not for experts in the field but the average person could definitely get something out of it. However, if you're an anti-vaxxer, you'd probably get huffy over the author's constant reminder that you should probably reevaluate your thinking (I completely agree with her)....more
I'm not usually an audio book person, the one person reading with just changing voice doesn't distance characters enough for me, so when I saw this waI'm not usually an audio book person, the one person reading with just changing voice doesn't distance characters enough for me, so when I saw this was an ensemble cast, I jumped all over it.
I watched the show on Starz before listening to this and was pleasantly surprised at how closely the show follows the book, for the first 1/3 or so. I thought the beginning was endlessly fascinating but as the story goes on, my gods do the tangents get plentiful and looong. I started off listening really closely to the stories being told by the townsfolk Shadow encounters, thinking there was hidden meanings, clues, or foreshadowing but after more stories about moose, I just couldn't do it.
Listening to an ensemble cast was ear catching but listening to this "author's preferred" text, which I'm taking to mean little to no editing, gave it a very plodding pace. I think the show did a fantastic job cutting out what dragged for me and instead of having Shadow's wife kind of disappear for a good amount of time like she does in the book, having her travel with Mad Sweeney (view spoiler)[So, mad sweeney dies in the book and I wanted to freaking riot, love that character. Am madly hoping the show deviates hard from this (hide spoiler)] to keep the audience's relationship growing with her.
Again, I'm not an audio book person, so the feeling of the story dragging along and having pointless stories told by secondary characters, could have been amplified by the format. I thought the voice actors did a great job verbalizing their parts and thought it added a lot of fun to the story. I think I have to give the nod the tv series, though. Here's to hoping for a second season....more
I've, mostly, given up on Ashley as her writing style/voice more often than not, constantly draws me in with promise but never delivers. This was a KiI've, mostly, given up on Ashley as her writing style/voice more often than not, constantly draws me in with promise but never delivers. This was a Kindle Freebie and Random Number Generator picked it out of the abyss.
An Ashley hero calling the heroine "babe" and/or "baby"? NEVER. (She has an English accent so he also calls her Duchess)
"Executed a perfect 3 point turn". Why did I read this sentence over and over again? Was Ashley a driver instructor in a former life??
Sandwiched between the "babe" calling, three-point turning, and drama ending was some honest to god deep emotional issues (domestic violence, rape, disabilities) that get broached but never fully developed. Ashley's ability to incorporate these issues and emotions are what tempt me to keep reading her (the promise I was talking about) but ugh, no development. These issues almost start to seem sensationalized and click-bait reading because Ashley doesn't develop the issues and characters.
The ending, my god, the ending. Drama after sensationalized drama. The repeat situations our heroine found herself in got to be tedious and one of the villains ended up being portrayed cartoonish.
I can see why Ashley is popular and I can see why she in not popular. All I know is, my kingdom for an Ashley hero to speak in full coherent sentences....more
The beginning of this was really enjoyable, there was a great eerie Gothic tone that had mysteries and villains seemingly in the shadows everywhere with our young, extremely sheltered heroine Juana betrothed to a lunatic. Unfortunately, the mysteries and villains get wrapped up perfectly quickly and a lot of things happen disappointingly off-screen.
The middle introduces new villains but again, dealt with pretty quickly and from there things kind of meander into an unceremoniously mellow with added too perfect bow moment ending. The romantic relationship between the leads started off with some heat, spark, and burn as they clashed but then in Bodice Ripper fashion the hero rapes the heroine (the author clearly writes this as rape with minimal Juana foggily in her mind thinking her body could be responding) and with not a lot of emotional growth/connection featuring later in the story between the two, I lost their beginning chemistry.
The author did a fantastic job of setting the place and time, there was some inserted political talk, but my favorite was Juana's personal growth. Juana goes from being a, purposefully, sheltered naive girl to a solid capable woman and the author did a wonderful job showcasing all the bumps in the road it took her to get there. ...more
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
When his godfI received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
When his godfather leaves his house to him, Hartley's reputation gets banded about in less than complimentary terms. Feeling shunned, Hartley finds himself losing servants and becoming a bit of a shut-in. Sam just wants to see his brother and his friend Kate finally get married and when he learns Kate fears a scandalous painting of her becoming public knowledge, he sets out to find it for her. When Hartley and Sam meet, the spark is instant but circumstances, emotions, and life are going to give them a bumpy road.
Hartley went utterly still as he contemplated how thoroughly ruinous this was going to be for both of them.
Second in the Seducing the Sedgwicks, a series following along the Sedgwick brothers, this book focuses on Hartley, the brother who is deeply conflicted about how he sees trading sexual favors with his godfather for money to help his family. He doesn’t like to be touched and has a little bit of a prickly personality. Maybe because Sam was such a strong character but Hartley didn't leap off the pages for me. He's pretty self-contained and we do get a couple scenes with two of his brothers that highlight his personality but overall, he didn't grab me.
There was no reason for Sam to be thinking of Sedgwick at all, in fact. He wasn’t even that handsome unless you had a liking for fragile-looking men with fussy clothes.
Sam was the character that shone the brightest to me, he's a strong character but in the most gentle of ways. He has a similar shy, hidden aspect of his personality like Hartley, which due to their sexuality in their place and time is a necessity, but he also has rise to the front proclivity for, simply, caring. It is not an overdone martyr syndrome but no thought, generous, and loving way he makes his choices. The way he acts, responds, and encourages Hartley, is what make this story shine and will fill your heart.
And while only a fool would believe that a kitchen table supper between a rich man, a black boxer, and a three-legged dog could be the beginning of something good, maybe Sam was more foolish than he thought.
The writing showcased here is good and the ease of conversations and interactions between the main couple and secondary characters is the escape into fictional worlds above average quality that will suck you into the world. The first in the series, It Takes Two Tumble, I thought did a great job with the emotional growth in the lead's relationship, here I found that aspect lacking in the beginning. Hartley and Sam's sexual relationship develops pretty quickly, the emotional layers were a ways behind and as a consequence, I found their romance lacking. The sexual play scenes start very early and then when they do have a more solid emotional connection, I thought their sex scene was a bit short and abrupt and didn't deliver the impact (Hartley overcoming his touch issues) I was wanting to feel. The ending did provide some wonderful simple talking between Sam and Hartley that I wish had replaced some of the earlier sex scenes as I felt this showed their attraction and closeness more.
Nobody should have that kind of power over anyone, no matter how much money they had or if they had a title in front their name.
This story is heavily about relationships, the outer story and catalyst for getting Sam and Hartley together involving paintings is made to seem important only to be casually pushed to the background for most of the story and then a little rushed importance at the end. The secondary characters are superb (love Alf, Hartley's sort of valet) and add immensely to the story and world. This is one of the more realistic fiction romances with social issues realistically playing a role. If you're looking for a lot of action or adventure, this wouldn't be it but if you want sweet and aching emotion, you'll want to dive in....more
"The marks that are on me will be there all my life, not to be hidden by overlong hair, or by clothing, so that no one asks any awkward questions. They will always be there and even if they were not, even if it were possible to be rid of them it would not matter. Because they are nothing to what is on the inside."
Written in a different tone, think languid, poetic, and atmospheric, and voice, think internal/emotional, this story felt quite unique and unlike a lot of romance books. I'm usually a fast reader but this story made me slow down and take breaks, instead of my read in one to three sittings. The tone can drag you down at times as a lot of the action takes place from our hero and heroine's internal thoughts but it ramps up the emotional aspects. The writing style won't be for everyone but if you can let the characters and setting seep into you, you'll enjoy and get lost in Rowena's struggle to survive as a woman in limited power and the thrall Wulf she buys to help her.
The author did a good job with the power dynamics, Wulf is the slave but as a man and more strength than Rowena, he has his own sense of power. Their relationship was slow burning and sparking at different turns and as most the story depends on them together, their chemistry does not disappoint. Rowena was a great heroine who acknowledges and uses what powers she has and while I liked Wulf, I would have liked his backstory to have been revealed earlier, would have filled out his character more.
You will definitely enjoy the historical aspect of the story. The author does an incredible job setting the time and place with harvest festivals mentioned, terminology, and even an inclusion of King Ines (who I think gets overshadowed by Alfred the Great too often).
There's heat, passion, and betrayal in this one. I enjoyed going to a different time and place and while the tone and slower pace may not be for everyone, if you're looking to escape the typical romance, this one would fit the bill....more