Book Review

Book Review: A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander #6) by Diana Gabaldon

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical Fiction Romance
Length: 993 pages
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Publisher: Delta
Release Date: September 27th, 2005
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A Breath of Snow and Ashes continues the extraordinary story of 18th-century Scotsman Jamie Fraser and his 20th-century wife, Claire.

The year is 1772, and on the eve of the American Revolution, the long fuse of rebellion has already been lit. Men lie dead in the streets of Boston, and in the backwoods of North Carolina, isolated cabins burn in the forest.

With chaos brewing, the governor calls upon Jamie Fraser to unite the backcountry and safeguard the colony for King and Crown. But from his wife Jamie knows that three years hence the shot heard round the world will be fired, and the result will be independence — with those loyal to the King either dead or in exile. And there is also the matter of a tiny clipping from The Wilmington Gazette, dated 1776, which reports Jamie’s death, along with his kin. For once, he hopes, his time-traveling family may be wrong about the future. 

HURTS SO GOOD.

That’s this series so far to me. Heart strings continually pulled, near-death moments, kidnappings, murders, the threat of war, oh my goodness, how do I even keep up? How do I even look away? The answer: YA DON’T. I have been swept up in another great Outlander installment and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I love the slow pace and intricate story telling. The ability for this book to span hundreds of pages and an immense amount of information, yet keep me enthralled is no small feat. This series is a gem.

Jamie and Claire y’all. How I continue to love them more and more. Oh yes, I will say there romance is timeless. I can’t get enough of them fighting for each other, being together, working as one, and more. Same with Bri and Roger. Good heavens I’m hooked on them too, and now I NEED TO KNOW WHERE WE GO FROM HERE.

I don’t know where book seven will lead, but I’m here for the ride. This review is short because it feels impossible to cover so much and convey to y’all to read it (without spoilers at this point). It’s entrancing, and will have you completely wrapped up.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction romance
  • Language: some strong throughout
  • Romance: a handful of scenes ranging from kissing to open-door love scenes (brief and extended)
  • Violence: see TW/CW below; physical altercations, guns, thievery
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: rape, sexual harassment, sexual assault, slavery, torture, kidnapping, arson, murder (including a pregnant woman), suicide attempt, suicide ideation [I know I have missed some; please research and take caution before reading this series]

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Book Review

Book Review: Code Name Hélène by Ariel Lawhon

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical Fiction
Length: 464 pages
Author: Ariel Lawhon
Publisher: Doubleday Books
Release Date: March 31st. 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

This book is based on the life of Nancy Wake, an Australian expat who worked as a reporter for Hearst in Paris just before WWII and later as a spy for the British. Lawhon throws readers into the middle of the action, as Nancy, under the alias Hélène, prepares to parachute from an RAF plane into France to help the Resistance in 1944, carrying in her head memorized lists of vital data, including bridges targeted for destruction and safe house addresses. After she lands, the story flashes back eight years, as Nancy struggles for respect and recognition as a journalist; despite her firsthand observations of Nazi brutality in 1930s Vienna, her editor is reluctant to publish a story about what she’s seen. Frequent jumps in time draw out the arc of Wake’s remarkable life; despite her statement early on that women’s weapons of warfare were limited to “silk stockings and red lipstick,” by the end she’s proven herself skillful at physical combat as well.

I’M CRYING.

Oh, I have found another book to make me cry and hug it to my chest upon closing. I loved this one that much.

Nancy Wake is a flippin’ bada**. I loved the way she was portrayed in this historical fiction version of her life. It was magnificent. Her ability to stay brave and courageous in the face of such horrid evil.

I love the converging timelines and how this kept me on my toes. It’s some tiny word/big page writing, and yet I never felt like it dragged. Ever. The absolutely beautiful writing combined Nancy’s story with dialogue and descriptions of the French countryside. It was truly a new tale for historical fiction in the World War 2 sub-genre. I know it’s often said that there are too many WW2 books, but this one proved that all wrong.

Nancy’s romance with Henri was, EVERYTHING. Oh my goodness I love him so much. I was smitten with his love and devotion to Nancy (and hers with him). I love a beautiful portrayal of marriage. They never gave up on each other and I couldn’t help but cry at the ending of the war.

This is without a doubt one of my new favorites in historical fiction. I loved getting to read the author’s note at the ending about the real Nancy Wake and I want to learn more about her and her missions. What a powerful woman.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical Fiction [WW2]
  • Language: some strong throughout (often in French)
  • Romance: kisses; one fade out closed door scene
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: this is a book about war; a lot of violence and murder; mentions of rape, horrendous war crimes (descriptive and intense)

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Book Review

Book Review: Intertwine (House of Oak #1) by Nichole Van

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Historical fiction romance / Time Traveling
Length: 300 pages
Author: Nichole Van
Publisher: Florenza Publishing
Release Date: February 27th, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Time is not a river. It is a vast cosmic sea. Where each life exists as rippling circles on its surface, past and future being eternally present. And occasionally, one expanding ring intertwines with that of another, weaving the lives of two people together…

In 2012, Emme Wilde can’t find the right guy. She wants to feel that swept-off-your-feet dizziness of true love. But so far, her dating life has come up short. Star Trek geek? Nice but too serious. Hippy artist? Cute but too vulnerable. Instead, Emme obsesses over the portrait of an unknown man in an old locket. Granted, a seriously dreamy guy with delicious, wind-swept hair she just itches to run her fingers through. But still. Dead men may be great listeners, but they are not exactly boyfriend material. Emme travels to England, determined to uncover his history and conquer the strong connection she feels.

In 1812, James Knight has given up finding the right woman. All he wants is someone to share his love of adventure. Instead, his life has become a Shakespearean drama. His brother languishes in a tragic star-crossed romance. His beloved sister clings to life, slowly dying of consumption. But then he finds a beautiful mystery woman, dripping wet and half-dead, beneath a tree on his estate. Now if he can uncover her history, perhaps adventure—and romance—will find him at last.

MOSTLY CHARMING.

This has been sitting on my TBR for YEARS. I can’t even remember who recommended it and why, but there it sat until I was reminded that it was there. I wasn’t wholly disappointed, so that’s fine.

The very first thought I had was this is like Outlander. We have a time-traveling woman fall in love with a man from 200 years prior. I couldn’t help but compare the two. There were some different aspects to the story though, which allowed me to enjoy this for what it was.

I thought the romance was cute, and I was enjoying the development of it. They had some charming banter, and even in insta-love world it wasn’t bad. What frustrated me was the amount of time skipping that happened. Weeks would go by between each chapter and apparently the couple was more in love! Yes, that does make sense, but I wanted to see those interactions!!?

It kind of cracked me up how easily James accepted Emme’s time traveling ways. He was a charming character though and I thought he was precious. The ending was cute and everything I thought it needed. I wish I had known prior that this is a STANDALONE that’s part of a series (different main character for each book). I know this would have helped me accept the timeline a lot more smoothly.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction romance + time traveling
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses

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Book Review

Book Review: Voyager (Outlander #3) by Diana Gabaldon

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical fiction romance
Length: 870 pages
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Publisher: Delta
Release Date: December 1st, 1993
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Their passionate encounter happened long ago by whatever measurement Claire Randall took. Two decades before, she had traveled back in time and into the arms of a gallant eighteenth-century Scot named Jamie Fraser. Then she returned to her own century to bear his child, believing him dead in the tragic battle of Culloden. Yet his memory has never lessened its hold on her… and her body still cries out for him in her dreams.

Then Claire discovers that Jamie survived. Torn between returning to him and staying with their daughter in her own era, Claire must choose her destiny. And as time and space come full circle, she must find the courage to face the passion and pain awaiting her…the deadly intrigues raging in a divided Scotland… and the daring voyage into the dark unknown that can reunite or forever doom her timeless love.

BEST ONE [YET].

Ahhhhhh.

It’s official.

I’m involved.

Like, REAL involved in Claire and Jamie.

It’s fine. I’m fine. BUT CAN WE JUST GET SOME HAPPY MOMENTS FOR THEM? Goodness, my heart is in my throat every chapter wondering who’s jumping out next with a knife and a gun. Okay okay, I do admit there’s plenty of good moments too, but wow, do they live a life of danger.

I just loved how this story unfolded. I hated waiting for that reunion, but FLIPPIN’ LOVED how it went down. That’s how you reunite lost loves. Claire and Jamie treat each other with such love, respect, and fire. FIRE. I appreciate that there’s nothing held back. They have their conversations out there in the open, and come what may, they continue to love each other body and soul.

Not to mention that Jame purely angered MY soul with his shenanigans. Yes yes, explained away well, doesn’t mean I can’t have my feelings over it. I thought it was a good twist and definitely amped up the story as a whole. Also my sweet babe Fergus, all grown up! He’s one of my favorite side characters. Which makes me think that his ending is going to be make me sob, so let’s hope that doesn’t happen. I’ve got quite a few books to go.

With 870 pages, you’d think I’d have A LOOOOT to say. And I do, but I don’t. It’s one of those big books you sink into. Reading it takes as long as it does, but you’re not even noticing because the story has you wrapped up. That’s one of my favorite things about big sagas. I’m allowed to wholly immerse myself in the world and characters and feel the depth of the story.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; a few love scenes ranging in detail from little to quite a bit
  • Violence: poison, swords, pirate attacks, ship wrecks, physical, murder, knives
  • Trigger warnings: sexual assault on a minor; sexual assault; intense depictions of slavery (specifically in the West Indies)

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