Sunday, February 17, 2013

Fifty Shades of Grey - Mommy Porn has a ways to go if it wants to be good

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1)Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don't even know where to begin with this one, other than to realize that I can probably skip the summary since I seem to be the last 30 something woman in the world to read this.

First, the writing is to the point of being obnoxious. Not annoying obnoxious, just outright bad obnoxious, which I guess does actually make it kind of annoying. This novel's beginnings as novice fan fiction is blatant to the point of hilarity at points, and I have to agree that a large part of it's popularity lies within the digital revolution that allows readers to indulge in erotic subject matter discreetly. I think the age of the characters and Christian's role as the uber-wealthy young CEO is another huge draw - right along with the picture of the story in my imagination, I couldn't help but picture your typical all-American middle aged woman getting lost in the daydream of being 22 again and finding her own Christian Grey, while also lost in the personal question of what she would do if he ever actually walked through her door.

Despite the overall bad writing though, I cannot lie that I still felt like there was a magnet pulling me back. Oddly, it was story that drew me in and not the illicit sex, even though the story itself was rather weak and the worst part of the bad writing. I do have to admit that it was definitely fun to picture what I would want my Christian to look like (and then picturing him in the gray flannel pants, yum) but I'm certain I am in the gross minority in that the sex got redundant. Not the scenarios themselves, they were creative and probably the best writing in the entire book, I just think I'm probably not the erotica type. About halfway through each of them, I just wanted to get back to the story, and then found myself wishing there was a more substantial story. A small conundrum that hopefully book 2 will help enlighten a bit.

Aside from the actual content itself, I listened to the audio version of this book and cannot refrain from comment on that - why does every person reading the character of a naive/innocent young woman feel the need to read her voice as though she is a dimwitted airhead? Every book I listen to that has late teens-early twenties female characters seems to be this way, and this one is made even worse by the pathetic attempt at reading her voice as "sultry" and "innocent" at the same time. Note to anyone reading books for audio....air headed "valley girl" is NOT sultry, NOT innocent, and NOT enjoyable! On a positive note, I started the audio of the second book this afternoon, and I'm pretty sure someone else told her this as well because I have noticed a marked improvement. Still not great, but definitely better.

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sweethearts - Much deeper than the whimsical title

SweetheartsSweethearts by Sara Zarr
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


"Because love, love is never finished. It circles and circles, the memories out of order and not always complete"

This one line basically sums up this book, the story about a teenage girl dealing with the loss in grade school and reemergence during her senior year of high school of her childhood best and onetime, only, friend. After his departure, she reinvented herself to avoid getting lost in herself, and when he returns she must come to terms with who she is, was, and will become while also trying to understand the abuse and hardship that led to his leaving in the first place. All at once, they are grappling with having grown apart, yet still in some ways being exactly where they left off, and also trying to discover what they mean to each and the roles they will or will not ultimately play in each others lives.

This touching story evokes memories of friends found, friends lost and friends rediscovered. It touches on a kind of love that many don't understand, or choose to acknowledge, as it is about as far from black/white as you can get. As much as many of us do not like to admit, some love is so firmly rooted in the gray areas that it will never be fully understood. This can be a torment, but can also be a blessing and a lesson, which is what this novel wants to say. And while teenagers of course do not know it all (as many of surely thought we did back then!) the world as seen through the naive eyes of young adults can sometimes be the most thought provoking, and Sara Zarr does a wonderful job of channeling this innocence.

This is a easy read without much challenge or overly exciting writing to it, but where it lacks in those areas it definitely makes up in substance and thought provoking ideas.

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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Weekend Wanderings - Dog Sledding!!

Any Friday where you get a hall pass from the office has the potential to be a wonderful day, but it may be a while before I top yesterday's "work" day!

On a beautiful and snowy February day, I traded the business casual attire, desk chair and nice warm office for wooly pants, mittens and and sleeping bag in the basket of a dog sled for an adventure into the hills of Tom Miner Basin with Yellowstone Dog Sled Adventures. A worthy trade? Without a doubt.

Our day started with meeting our guide, Josiah, who drove us the rest of way up to our starting point. During the ride, he told us about the type of dogs we would be using (primarily Alaskan huskies) as well as some of the big differences between the common types of working dogs (Alaskan huskies can go 150 miles in a day, where Malamutes go, well, about 35....). We also learned a little bit about his company and their dogs - rather than breeding their own dogs, their owner prefers to get dogs from racing kennels in Alaska where they often end up with too many dogs and nothing to do with them. Not only does this practice prevent unnecessary breeding, but it also allows these "extra" dogs to keep doing what they love and not ending up in a shelter or with someone who does not understand them and their need to work. After a day with these dogs, I can't imagine one of these guys or gals being happy living in a place where going for a walk or throwing the ball around was their source of exercise!

When we reached the point where we would begin our trip, we were able to watch Josiah hitch up the sled teams while he gave us instructions on safety and how the drive the sleds, of which we had 2 different types. Tamarak and I had a traditional sled, with a large basket in front and the driver standing behind. The other was taking by Linda and our guide, and had a smaller basket in front and room for 2 drivers in the back. This unique sled type is much less common (in fact these guys are the only ones in the area to use them) but allows novice wimps like us the opportunity to drive the sled, but still having our guide there to help out...basically Driver's Ed for dog sledding! We voted that Tamarak would drive her own normal sled (she does drive for a living, right?! Sure, it's trucks and snowcoaches, but who's worrying about semantics here?) and Linda and I were perfectly content going along for the ride. While Josiah was getting them set, we got to meet all of our dogs and see a little bit of the personality in each of them. Tam and I had a team of blondies - our lead dogs Dogwood and Rodick, who were followed by Krypton and Brie, our red-headed stepchild Drago (aka, our only non-blondie, a recent transplant from Alaska) and Peanut and Argon brought up the rear.

Once the dogs were ready to go (and they very vocally told you that they were ready!) we were off into the hills of Tom Miner Basin. The trip is about 8 miles round trip and follows the road up past the Tom Miner Campground on the Sunlight Road. The trip in starts out fairly flat and then begins climbing. When they are climbing, the dogs seem to be getting too tired and stopping, but in fact many times it is just that they can't tell whether the pulling got harder because of the uphill or because their driver has the brake on telling them to stop. You give them a little pip of encouragement to let them know they can keep going, and the energy jolt comes one to where Tam thought they were going to leave her behind a few times! There are of course regular rest breaks for them throughout the trip, but after they have eaten some snow and rolled in it for about 3 seconds, they seem raring to go already. Our comic relief on these stops was Argon, aka the Alaskan Jumping Bean....

Once we reached the top of Sunlight Road and it was time to head back down, Josiah's words of wisdom were simple - take it slow! After such a long rest (in their eyes, at least!) the dogs were ready to hit the road and the downhill would just spur them on even fast. Even with a foot firmly on the brake, the first stretch of downhill was like a wild natural roller coaster and the dogs seemed to be having the times of their lives. I, on the other hand, would have a prime candidate for the amusement park cameras that catch you mid-scream on the roller coaster free fall. Don't get me wrong, it was awesome and exhilerating, but I can become somewhat of a chicken when I feel like I'm flying through a tree tunnel. Tam did not seem quite as afraid as I was, because she was pretty liberal with leaving the brake along...which became a bit more evident when she dumped me in the snow. Near the bottom of the biggest downhill, there is a sharpish turn to cut across to another trail - we had a bit too much speed when we hit it and into the soft fluffy snow I went. Our safety instructions had been that, in the event of tipping over, to NOT reach out of the sled but just let yourself fall. Once you fall, get out of the basket and grab the sled so the dogs don't try to run off (fortunately, the tipped over sled creates enough resistance to keep them at least momentarily in place). So, I sat in the sled and felt like a slow motion movie camera as I gently tipped over into the snow. Later on, Tam told me that I had looked quite funny, sitting serenely as me and my pink poof ball hatted head tipped over as it was the most natural thing in the world. And then I was stuck, since she picked a pretty deep patch to throw me into.

The rest of the trip was uneventful, other than of course the awesome dogs, company and surroundings. When we returned our starting point, we were able to play around and pet all of the dogs while they each waited their turn to be unharnessed. They truly were such a loveable bunch, and few of them certainly had that puppy dog "pet me, pet me!" face perfected.

All told, our trip was about 3.5 hours and what an amazing way time it was. Definitely something I would do again :)

Sleeping in Eden - Be Careful What You Plan For.....

Sleeping in Eden: A NovelSleeping in Eden: A Novel by Nicole Baart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

*NetGalley ARC*

The premise of this novel seems at first be a mystery with a few emotional entanglements thrown in for good measure, but it really is so much more than that. It explores young love and survival of marriage, the truth and consequences inherent in the expectations that we set for ourselves and others, and how the choices we make can connect us to others both near and far.

Lucas Hudson is a small town Iowa doctor with a struggling marriage; Meg Painter is a small town teenager struggling with being a teenager. Through parallel story lines, we get to know these two characters with seemingly nothing in common.

Many of the emotions and lost connections that have led the current state of Lucas' marriage can be drawn back to the disappearance of Angela Sparks. As a social worker, Angela was the first case that Jenna Hudson took on when moving to the small town of Blackhawk, IA - she grabbed Jenna's heart, and took a piece of it with her when she disappeared. Eight years after her disappearance, Lucas is drawn into a mystery that he feels can change his world when Angela's father commits suicide and the remains of a young woman are found buried in the clay floor of his barn right beneath his hanging, lifeless body. Absolute in his mind that he has found Angela, and that this discovery can alter the course of his wife's grief, and in turn his marriage, Lucas consumes himself with putting a name to the bones.

In a different world, Meg Painter is going through the growing pains of being a teenage girl. She falls in love with her best friend, Dylan. Her neighbor, Jess, falls in love with her. Lies, jealousy and missed opportunities cobble together the path that each of their lives take, shaping the adults that they will become, and sending Meg directly into the path of Lucas' investigation.

These characters are well written and developed with surprising detail in such a short period of time, and the situations are raw and believable. Unfortunately though, I felt like the amount of time devoted to character development pulled away from the story in some cases. Several areas felt as though the actual situation was rushed through in order to get back to the emotional details, and the culmination of the story a bit anti-climatic after such a beautifully written and intriguing build up.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

2013 Reading Challenge!

I'm only a month behind on starting this, but who's counting, right? Well, me, but counting books since that's all that matters! 

The Challenge, what I have read to date, and ideas I have TBR:

Century: One book from 1913/one book from 2013
  1.     The Aviator’s Wife - 2013
  2.     The Sinner’s and the Sea - 2013
  3.     Sons and Lovers - 1913
Genre: Read 13 Books from favorite genre (in my case, historical fiction)
  1.     The Aviator’s Wife
  2.     The Sinners and the Sea
  3.     Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker
  4.     The Sinner’s and the Sea
  5.     Wolf Hall
  6.     City of Women
  7.     The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon
  8.     .
  9.     .
  10.     .
  11.     .
  12.     .
  13.     .
Author: Read an author who has written at least 13 books   
  1. Charlaine Harris - 13th Sookie book in May!
Novel Ideas: Read 13 books recommended by The Novel Ideas
  1.     Slammed
  2.     Tell The Wolves I’m Home
  3.     Unbroken
  4.     City of Women
  5.     .
  6.     .
  7.     .
  8.     .
  9.     .
  10.     .
  11.     .
  12.     .
  13.     .

Bookshelf/TBR: Read the 13th book on the bookshelf and the 13th book on the TBR list - My        bookshelf  isn’t quite organized enough to count, so for this one I’m going to do the 13th book from both the top and bottom of my TBR list....
  1.     Bottom (oldest) - Crime and Punishment (ouch!!)
  2.     Top - The Distance Between Us
Series/Title: Read a book with 13 in the title or the 13th book in a series
  1.     Dead Ever After - Sookie #13
GROWING DUST!!: Read 13 books owned for 1+ years
  1.     .
  2.     .
  3.     .
  4.     .
  5.     .
  6.     .
  7.     .
  8.     .
  9.     .
  10.     .
  11.     .
  12.     .
  13.     .

    Grand Total: 65 books - 9/65....56 to go!

Of course I could never find the time to read a different book for each one (unless of course I gave up working, bathing, eating and doing housework...I would love the benefits of not eating, but I'm pretty sure the other three would not fly with those around me) so there will definitely be some crossover between the categories. Let the reading begin!

Point of Retreat - Loved Falling in Love with These Guys!

Point of Retreat (Slammed, #2)Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

To be entirely honest, this actually made me enjoy Slammed even more - It's a bit odd though, because I think I actually like Slammed more overall, but it was this book that brought it out in me because I really like the overall story. I can't quite bring it up to 5 stars because there are a few things that still just gnawed at me, but its one of those that I just really enjoy letting myself get sucked into and those will always have a place in my heart.

I started this book last night...and finished it last night. And I'll be honest, I almost stopped reading about halfway through because I was thinking "WTF?! THIS is going to be the BIG DRAMA of this book?". I was seriously concerned that I had just wasted several hours of my evening. Thankfully though, it came through for me. I'll admit...there were tears. I want another

But as I said, a few beefs. First, while I ultimately liked this second book being from Will's POV, it was tough to get used to and I had to re-read several spots because I was reading the "I's" to mean Lake. Second, I'm not quite sure I have been able to buy into the fact that two people in the exact same position would ever find each other so easily, let alone be perfect for each other, but I guess that is why they call it fiction, right? Third, I hated that there weren't as many slams! I LOVED them in Slammed. Yeah, I get that it's a different book, but it was such a main point of the first book that it was sad to not see as many, and when they did appear it was in pretty predictable places/ways. Last but not least....(view spoiler)[ the entire part of the plot with the car accident and Lake's recovery was very heartwarming and all, in fact I think I would rather have seen a bit more of that and a bit less of the jealousy "she loves me, she loves me not" storyline, but who recovers from massive brain injuries and surgery in a month? I'm not a brain surgeon so maybe that is right on, but to me it seemed a little over the top. (hide spoiler)]

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Tell the Wolves I'm Home - Death, Pain, Loss and Grief in a Beautiful and Poignant Package

Tell The Wolves I'm HomeTell The Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don't even know where to begin with a review of this book except to say that it was beautiful, painful, courageous and very difficult to read. But please do not take this to say that it is not an exceptional novel - the difficulty is not in that is bad, but rather that it takes so many terrible, heart wrenching and unthinkable subjects and forces you to SEE them, while at the same time realizing that you love these characters so much that you don't even care how hard it is to read. It often feels as though this novel is about nothing but death and pain, but I think the truth that should be taken from it is that while life is hard and painful and death is guaranteed, those who live their lives waiting and worrying about dying are wasting time that can be spent living.

June is 14 years old in 1986-87 - as a quiet, shy and somewhat quirky teenage, who of course has the beautiful and seemingly perfect old sister, Greta, to live up to, she finds her best friend and only real confidante in her Uncle Finn, an artist in New York City. But Finn's life is cut short by AIDS and June's world falls into a tailspin. In June's youthful mindset, she is not yet able to realize the pain that also befalls her family, and selfishly feels that the pain of losing Finn is hers and hers alone. Her relationships become more strained, particularly with her sister. She seeks solace in taking the leap of meeting and growing close to Toby, himself battling AIDS and, like June, is lost without Finn. Through the months following Finn's death, June is faced with truths she never wanted to admit, new knowledge of her family that can either tear them apart or bring them closer than ever, and the realization that the world does not in fact revolve around her. Her eyes begin to open to new concepts of love and loss and the fact that everyone is flawed, human - including herself. You can feel her standing at the bridge that separates her life of naive innocence from that of self-awareness and impending adulthood.

This is a coming of age story that centers around death, grief, confusion, growing, love, self-realization and acceptance of life and death, all through the eyes of a 14 year old girl who is of course also struggling with the normal trials and tribulations of being, well, a 14 year old girl. June is the central character, but all of the characters and the story itself are so well developed that you almost forget at times that this is her story and it just becomes their story.

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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Slammed - Easy and Youthful but still Deep and Engaging

Slammed (Slammed, #1)Slammed by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I started this 7+ hour audio last night and finished it the afternoon, so I guess I'll have to admit that I enjoyed it quite a bit. Sure, there were some things that irked me (including the narrator since it was audio - I was picturing how the structure of much of the writing would have looked on paper and I would have read it differently and thus possibly enjoyed it even more).

The story focuses on the possible relationship between Layken and Will, the instant and insurmountable bond between their little brothers, Kel and Callden (sp? It was audio!) and the emotion and hardship filled reasons for them to have ever met in the first place. There were times when I found eighteen year old Layken to be a bit immature, which bothered me at first considering the author was trying to sell me on her fateful relationship with 21 year old Will (we all know how much difference a few years can make when you're that age!) but I realized later on that this actually helped me to think of her as real. It was kind of refreshing that she didn't quite fit into the protagonist cliche that has been dragging me down lately, particularly in many YA novels. She was pretty instead of being the plain-jane little sister. She seemed to be of relatively normal intelligence, not the super smart and geeky sibling that "just didn't fit in". She was confident, not constantly in the shadow of the "better" sibling and sitting aside waiting to be noticed and appreciated. She actually seemed like a pretty normal teenager. Will, on the other hand, was definitely the way too good fairly tale. While that bothered me at first also, I had to remind myself that these guys really do exist in the world. Granted, most 21 year olds are definitely NOT to this stage, but he has also experienced a lot more of life's ups and downs than any 21 year old I have ever known.

There were also a few elements of the story that were a bit of stretch in the believability category, but it was overall engaging and enjoyable. There were many places that pulled at the heartstrings and many others that were laugh out loud funny. The supporting characters, particularly Kel and Callden, were easy to fall in love with. Their 9 year old views on the hardships faced by their families were also so refreshing and enlightening. Their coping mechanisms were something that can only be successfully utilized by the young and innocent - oh to be 9 years old again!

But please folks, can we get over this new concept of completely random names? Layken? Callden? A girl named Eddie? Really?! One of these alone would have been OK, but to pile them all on into one book is a bit excessive. Is this a way of trying to make them more memorable? If so, it certainly worked, but not in the right way. My memory of a character will ultimately boil down to if they were actually a well written character, good or bad, and all I'm going to remember about their name was that it was stupid.

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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Weekend Wandering....Thoughts - Are You Ready for Some FOOTBALL?!

This weekend has not involved any entertaining wandering yet, and given that I am the host for the SuperBaugh/HarBowl tomorrow, it looks like most of the wandering will be them coming to me and me happily enjoying a weekend of laziness.

Lazy weekends do lend time for lazy, meandering thoughts though, and the topic of mine this weekend has been Dad's recent defection from the world of civilized football fans (yes, I just used civilized and football fans together...we really do exist!).

You see, I was raised in Oregon where there is no pro football, so most folks either liked the Seahawks or a team of their own choosing that had no geographical relevance to their current location. Mom was raised in Colorado and Dad had lived there for a good bit as well, so for our family it was the Denver Broncos. I have been a Bronco fan since before I was old enough to remember what football even was, and it feels wrong to even think of anyone else. Being a Bronco fan when I was growing up and learning to love them - primarily the late 80s to early 90s, also meant one other HATED the 49s. More specifically, you hated Joe Montana, but since they could replace the 49s logo with is face and people might not even notice, it was all the same to us. We all have that one team that just really frosts you, and for me, thanks to the once wise teachings of DAD, that will always be the 49s.

Now as far as I'm concerned, hating a team is just as important as loving one, and comes with very similar qualifications. First and foremost, you are suspended from the club if show any sign of being the teetering fair weather fan when your team is sucking wind. Second, you are kicked out forever if you all of a sudden become superfan again once they improve (if you are a fan of a team who ever does improve that is, and a lover of say, the Browns....). Hating a team falls under the same rules - you don't get to change your mind. If you hate a team for 30+ years, you had better go on hating them for 30+ more. Fair weather hater is just as bad as fair weather fan.

Alas, though, I cannot seem to get this concept through the thick head of my father. Since he graced me with the news last week that he will be cheering for the 49s tomorrow, because he loves "Super K" and they have a great coach, I have repeatedly tried to explain this to him. Two of his goods friends also joined in (though I think their motivation was more out of enjoyment at seeing me worked up and the fact that they are from Baltimore than out of actual desire to help me, but I'm not going to look the gift horse in the mouth!). Even my threats of making him watch the game through the living window if he so much as attempts to bring the blasphemy of cheers for the 49s into my house was just met with laughter. "You have to roll with the times, Leah" he laughs. "Things change" he says. "Sure I hated them, but they are a different team now" he argues. So Dad, does that mean that I can decide tomorrow that I don't like the Broncos anymore? And then change my mind in 5 years, because they will be a different team then? "NO!!!" he bellows. "It doesn't work that way, you can't change your mind like that if you are a real fan" he continues. EXACTLY Dad, you just made my point. I left that last conversation with the a big smile, but I have a feeling it's going to be gone tomorrow when he is pounding on the door and shouting at me to let him into the house......

The Sinners and the Sea: The Untold Story of Noah's Wife - Biblical History Without Being Preachy, Creative Without Being Cheeky

The Sinners and the Sea: The Untold Story of Noah's WifeThe Sinners and the Sea: The Untold Story of Noah's Wife by Rebecca Kanner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

*NetGalley ARC*

Even the most challenged in knowledge of biblical history such as myself have heard the story of Noah’s Ark, but Rebecca Kanner takes the story much deeper by imagining the actual personalities of Noah and the sons who are typically mentioned only in brief, and introducing us to the wife who, until now, we have been left to wonder about her actual existence.

Told through the eyes of Noah’s wife, left unnamed by her family due to a birthmark on her face that was considered by the people of that time to mean her marked by a demon, she lets us join her life from her scorned childhood through the aftermath of the flood. The hardship of life in biblical times is not glossed over, and each and every character is portrayed with a strong sense of self and purpose. Noah comes across as brash, the sons all unique in their personalities ranging from loving and caring to methodical and brutish and “Wife”/”Mother”, as she is called in absence of a name, is entirely honest about all of it. There were several times that I very much disliked some of the characters, but I always still cared for them because they seemed truly human.

The biggest downfall to this book though is unfortunately the beginning and first impression. The story starts out much too slowly, as though Kanner had not found the rhythm yet. It also came across as quite preachy - I doubt this was her intention, but my earliest impression was unfortunately to wonder whether this book I thought would be along the genre lines of The Red Tent was actually a Christian novel. I mean not disrespect to the genre of Christian novels, but it is not my preference and was not what I expected when I picked up the book. Chance was on my side though, and in an unexpected spare 15 minutes I decided to give it one last chance to catch my attention and that little amount of time took me just far enough.

But please don’t be dissuaded by the roughish start, it is definitely a worthy read!

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One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd - Somehow Beautifully Written but Can't Rise to the Occasion

One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May DoddOne Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus
My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Definitely did not live up....

The overall story itself was acceptable - interesting enough to where I actually finished the book, but nothing to write home about (beyond here, of course!). The overall book was mediocre to fair at best.

The writing was eloquent, detailed and very descriptive. But for me, this is actually part of the problem with this book. We are learning the story of May Dodd, an upper-class white woman who escapes wrongful incarceration in a mental institution to join a rag tag group of other women. These women are being taken from the mid-west and essentially traded to men of Northern Cheyenne nation in an attempt to assimilate the "savages" with the "superior" white world, and May has the foresight of bringing writing supplies so we can learn the story through her journals. This premise is great, but the journal entries are written in a way that reads like any regular novel written in the first person. I don't claim to be an expert on the journaling styles of the late 19th century, but it seemed pretty unbelievable to me when entire conversations were quoted verbatim, sometimes a month after the fact and writing seemed so scripted, as a novel would, rather than the free-form thoughts I would have liked to get from a purported journal. I actually think this novel would have been much more enjoyable to me, without changing a thing, had it not been presented as persona journals - the story itself would have still had enough interest, but I would not have been hung up on the fact that really couldn't buy into that these were supposed to be journals. There were also several areas where her writing seemed to change so much that it felt like another person had written that piece. It all came across as disjointed and somewhat unbelievable.

My other beef is with the historical accuracy of some of the basic facts. Little Wolf is a Cheyenne who I have actually read about, and is the first to jump to mind in this regard. Something did not quite fit my memory in May's description of him when they first met so Google gave me a little boost. In May's initial description, she describes him as older but not more than 40. However, Little Wolf was born c.1820 so that would have put him in the area of 55 when May met him in 1875. Sure, age does not mean you have to look a certain way, but in my mind this is a difference she should have seen. Then, in the final section written by Brother Anthony, he describes Little Wolf as being well into his 90s when he died in 1904. Not only was he actually in his mid-80s when he died, a man who May had described as around 40 in 1875 would have only been about 75 in 1904. Yes, these are just two details and is probably splitting hairs, but one thing that gets my blood boiling is poor research and inconsistency. Fiction or not, if you are going to base part of your story on any real person or event, I expect that you can at least get the basic timeline correct. In addition to nagging at me as I read, it also takes away the author's credibility in the sense that I very much enjoy learning from historical fiction, and when I can't trust that the basic facts are correct then it takes a lot away from it for me.

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