I am currently reading Charles Dickens' Martin Chuzzlewit and recently finished Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. Juxtaposed to their trailing sentences, I have recently read several authors and teachers of today who advise making sure that sentences do not exceed so many words or so many lines on a Microsoft Word page. Now, I think it's pretty obvious that the days of Austen's mile-long sentences, speckled with an ellipses here, a semicolon there, and several dashes all over, are long gone; readers do not like having to stop and catch their breath all the time. But dictating the "proper" length of all sentences and cutting one's structure to fit that is not the answer, either.
Strunk and White's Elements of Style advises against these sorts of cookie-cutter sentences and call them 'singsong' and 'mechanical' in their symmetry. A full paragraph of simple sentences is monotonous for the reader and tends to lead their mind (my mind, at least!) to the poor quality of the writing, rather than the point the author was attempting to make. Thus, Strunk and White advise this:
"If the writer finds that he has written a series of loose sentences, he should recast enough of them to remove the monotony, replacing them with simple sentences, by sentences of two clauses joined by a semicolon, by periodic sentences of two clauses, by sentences (loose or periodic) of three clauses - whichever best represent the real relations of the thought." (The Elements of Style, Principles of Composition #18)
In other words, vary the length and structure of your sentences.
Now, there is a place for several brief sentences, especially in expressing sarcasm, the tenseness of a moment, or something of the kind. But we have to make sure that our brevity counts for something in the scene, so we should not go wild with chopping all of our sentences into "bite sized chunks." Keep it reasonable - there is no need to go Jane Austen and run a single sentence out for half a page - but not repetitive.