Book Review: Conor’s Way by Laura Lee Guhrke

Posted November 11, 2016 // 0 Comments
Book Review: Conor’s Way by Laura Lee Guhrke

Okay okay okay. Suspiciously green 90’s book cover aside, Conor’s Way is not a book to be missed. Trust me, you need this book in your life. This novel takes on everything I love about the romance genre, and Laura Lee Guhrke executes everything to perfection. This, right here, is why I read romance novels and why I love them so damn much. So let’s lay the scene. In the […]

Book Review: Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler

Posted November 8, 2016 // 2 Comments
Book Review: Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler

At its core, Wild Seed seems to be a novel about a patriarchal society’s eugenics program. It is also a story about a woman and her conflict with an amoral mass-murderer. It’s a wearisome, and often hopeless, text. It’s hard to discuss and even harder to digest. Butler is, of course, a magnificent author and it’s only to her credit that she’s written such a complex, ambiguous narrative. For herself, […]

Book Review: A Respectable Trade by Philippa Gregory

Posted November 5, 2016 // 0 Comments
Book Review: A Respectable Trade by Philippa Gregory

In historical fiction circles, Philippa Gregory is not generally recognized for her accuracy or seriousness. Her books are high on drama and glamor, and her reputation is for, at the very least, embroidering the details. I’ve read one of her Tudor novels, and it was perfectly fine, though it lacked staying power or memorability. A Respectable Trade is not like Gregory’s Plantagenet or Tudor books. It is, rather, a genuine […]

Tolkien, problematic faves, author intent

Posted October 31, 2016 // 2 Comments
Tolkien, problematic faves, author intent

This semester I’m taking my capstone class for my English degree. What this course is usually consists of some reflective work and then whatever else the professor want’s to focus on: romanticism, modernity, or, in my case, The Lord of the Rings. Not gonna lie, I’m a pretty huge fan of Tolkien, which I’ve never really written about here on Respiring Thoughts before. When I say huge, I mean my […]

Book Review: These Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner

Posted September 15, 2016 // 0 Comments
Book Review: These Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner

I feel like pioneer fiction has seen its peak come and go already; with a few exceptions, it’s not nearly as popular or common on new release lists as it used to be. But for those of us who grew up imagining themselves in a covered wagon alongside Laura Ingalls and Jack the bulldog, pioneer fiction will always be worth reading. Thus, Nancy E. Turner’s These Is My Words, published […]

Leafing Through Lit: Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Posted September 13, 2016 // 0 Comments
Leafing Through Lit: Uncle Tom’s Cabin

I absolutely love so-called “Classic” literature, and this feature was born of that love. Leafing Through Lit is my way of spotlighting and commenting on old-school lit. This is not a formal review, per se, though it might have similarities in format. However, I won’t attempt to be nearly as objective as usual in this feature, so mostly I’ll talk about my feelings related to books and stories. Uncle Tom’s […]

Book Review: Marrow Island by Alexis M. Smith

Posted September 10, 2016 // 0 Comments
Book Review: Marrow Island by Alexis M. Smith

From Alexis M. Smith, author of Glaciers, comes Marrow Island, an exciting, much-anticipated sophomore novel that falls into the growing climate-themed post-apocalyptic subgenre. Unfortunately, this book did not live up to expectations in any way, really. Smith’s prose, characters, and storyline were all lackluster, and upon reading the final chapter I was left with no lasting impression. Another reviewer used the word “anemic”, and I think that’s a very fitting […]

What I’ve been up to: Europe edition

Posted September 5, 2016 // 1 Comment
What I’ve been up to: Europe edition

Reading has…not been a priority for me over the past year, and that probably isn’t going to change anytime soon. But. Sorry not sorry, you know? I’ve been doing ~other things~ like tramping all over Spain and Italy for two months. (And by “all over” I basically mean wherever I could catch a decently-priced bus that didn’t take longer than 10 hours.) And now I’m back in the States and […]

Book Review: The Exchange of Princesses by Chantal Thomas

Posted August 11, 2016 // 1 Comment
Book Review: The Exchange of Princesses by Chantal Thomas

Exploring the initially optimistic (but ultimately dismal) marriages of two 18th century princesses, Chantal Thomas’s The Exchange of Princesses is a well-researched investigation of royal marriages and their consequences. Alternating chapters tell of Infanta Marianna of Spain and Princess Louise Élisabeth d’Orléans, two prepubescent girls who are sent abroad to marry young kings, sight unseen. Neither marriage ends happily, and the author explores why, and additionally attempts to shed light […]

Book Review: Isabella: The Warrior Queen by Kirstin Downey

Posted August 9, 2016 // 0 Comments
Book Review: Isabella: The Warrior Queen by Kirstin Downey

For the modern reader, Isabel the Catholic is a difficult figure. She stands out for being a truly powerful female monarch in a time when women had little agency or freedom; she also stands out for being the figurehead of some truly horrific actions—the religious persecution of the Inquisition and the all-out genocide of the Americas. I had hoped that Kirstin Downey would find some measure of fair representation in […]

Book Review: Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert Massie

Posted August 8, 2016 // 2 Comments
Book Review: Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert Massie

Robert Massie’s biography of the final days of the Romanov dynasty is full of detail, atmosphere, and evident research. I wouldn’t say that Nicholas and Alexandra covers one of my favorite historical eras or explores the lives of my favorite historical figures, but I absolutely cannot fault the author’s work here. There is a reason Massie won a Pulitzer, and his vast talent is on display in this book. What […]

Book Review: The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine

Posted May 25, 2016 // 1 Comment
Book Review: The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine

Sparkling, boozy, and surprisingly subversive: in The Girls at the Kingfisher Club, Genevieve Valentine retells The Twelve Dancing Princesses with feminist, 1920s flapper flair. From the cramped attics of their cruel father’s townhouse to the smoky basement speakeasies, this book follows Jo “The General” and her sisters as they take their lives into their own hands through dance. Written in unique (and highly parenthetical) prose and with excellent attention to […]