Book Review

ARC Book Review: Georgana’s Secret by Arlem Hawks

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical Romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Arlem Hawks
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Release Date: January 12th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

1811, HMS Deborah

A Regency romance on the high seas.

As a young girl, Georgana Woodall dreamed of beautiful dresses, fancy balls, and falling in love. However, when her mother dies, she cannot face a future under the guardianship of her abusive grandmother and instead chooses to join her father on his ship disguised as his cabin boy, “George.”

Lieutenant Dominic Peyton has no time in his life for love, not with his dedication to His Majesty’s Royal Navy claiming his full attention. Determined to prove himself to his new captain, he strives to be an exemplary officer and leader. When he sees the captain’s cabin boy being harassed by the crew, he immediately puts a stop to it and takes the “boy” under his wing. After discovering a number of clues, Dominic deduces that George is really a woman. Knowing that revealing the cabin boy’s secret would put her in serious danger from the rowdy crew, Dominic keeps silent and hides his growing affection for her.

Georgana is quickly losing her heart to Dominic’s compassion and care but is convinced nothing can come of her affection. She cannot continue to live her life on the sea, and having already missed too many seasons in London, her chances of being welcomed back into polite society and finding a suitable husband have slipped away.

Thank you to Shadow Mountain Publishing for a copy of Georgana’s Secret in exchange for a review.

A HIGH SEAS SECRET ROMANCE.

I was fairly swept away by this tale. I found it full of adventure, some daring antics, and a romance. A great combination for an affair on the high seas.

The development of the connection between Dominic and Georgana was sweet. I liked how it grew out of friendship, but that also her secret didn’t stay secret too long. I hate when it’s dragged out and then leaves me flustered when everything comes out. This worked really well in that there was still plenty of time for them as well as the story as a whole.

I loved Georgana’s strong yet reserved nature. Trying to do the best she could in the situation she ended up in. Her nature to reach out rather than fight back was great, but I definitely loved when she fought back too. She and Dominic really had chemistry from the get go and I adored their banter and tender moments.

This was filled with a lot more than a bunch of people on a ship. I liked having scenery changes with landings, crossings with other ships, and back at home. This mix up kept everything from getting too stagnant and like I was stuck on a ship. It’s a regency story that has a vibrant and different setting.

I enjoyed the sweet little epilogue at the end and felt satisfied with how things worked out for all of the characters.

Overall audience notes:

  • Regency Proper Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: ship battles, physical altercations, severe wounds and illness

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Book Review

Book Review: The Fiery Cross (Outlander #5) by Diana Gabaldon

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical fiction romance
Length: 979 pages
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Publisher: Delta
Release Date: November 6th, 2001
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

New York Times bestselling author Diana Gabaldon mesmerized readers with her award-winning Outlander novels, four dazzling tales featuring eighteenth-century Scotsman James Fraser and his twentieth-century time-traveling wife, Claire Randall. Now, in this eagerly awaited fifth volume, Diana Gabaldon continues their extraordinary saga, a masterpiece of pure storytelling that is her most astonishing Outlander novel yet….

The year is 1771, and war is coming. Jamie Fraser’s wife tells him so. Little as he wishes to, he must believe it, for hers is a gift of dreadful prophecy—a time-traveler’ s certain knowledge. Claire’s unique view of the future has brought him both danger and deliverance in the past; her knowledge of the oncoming revolution is a flickering torch that may light his way through the perilous years ahead—or ignite a conflagration that will leave their lives in ashes.

A MIDDLE BOOK.

First and foremost, I love this series. This book? A bit slow compared to the previous four.

I felt like it took until 600 pages before I was really wrapped up into it. While that’s clearly a long time to wait, It’s still just a book I can listen to and really get into. I like listening to the narrator. I love hearing the story and even when things aren’t as eventful, I enjoy being in the mundane-ness because I love Claire, Jamie, Roger and Bri.

There was a lot of random (to me) love scenes. I don’t inherently have a problem with them, I just personally like them to fit into the story rather than feel like they’re put their for page time. These felt more page time which is what took so long before the drama really started going down.

I liked what The Fiery Cross set up. Getting closer to the Revolutionary War is only going to increase many story lines and plots. There’s plenty of loose ends running around that I’m excited to get to the next book. Especially because one of my FAVORITE characters is back!!

For 1,000 pages I know I should [could?] have a lot more to say, but this series thrives off of keeping things as spoiler-free as possible. Since this is book 5 of 8 (or maybe more now!) I want to keep it brief.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction / romance
  • Language: some strong throughout
  • Romance: open and closed door scenes throughout
  • Violence: battles, physical, guns, hangings, animal attacks, snake bites, murder

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Book Review

Book Review: Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4) by Diana Gabaldon

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical fiction romance
Length: 904 pages
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Publisher: Delta
Release Date: December 30th, 1996
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In this breathtaking novel—rich in history and adventure—The New York Times bestselling author Diana Gabaldon continues the story of Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser that began with the now-classic novel Outlander and continued in Dragonfly in Amber and Voyager. Once again spanning continents and centuries, Diana Gabaldon has created a work of sheer passion and brilliance….

It began at an ancient Scottish stone circle. There, a doorway, open to a select few, leads into the past—or the grave. Dr. Claire Randall survived the extraordinary passage, not once but twice.

Her first trip swept her into the arms of Jamie Fraser, an eighteenth-century Scot whose love for her became a legend—a tale of tragic passion that ended with her return to the present to bear his child. Her second journey, two decades later, brought them together again in the American colonies. But Claire had left someone behind in the twentieth century—their daughter, Brianna….

Now Brianna has made a disturbing discovery that sends her to the circle of stones and a terrifying leap into the unknown. In search of her mother and the father she has never met, she is risking her own future to try to change history … and to save their lives. But as Brianna plunges into an uncharted wilderness, a heartbreaking encounter may strand her forever in the past … or root her in the place she should be, where her heart and soul belong.

FAVORITE ONE [YET].

I’ve sat on this review for awhile because sometimes I feel like it’s hard to write a review over a book you LOVED and when it’s 900 pages. That’s a lot to cover?!

This might be my favorite Outlander book [yet]. This was also the first one I listened to on audio! Such a great combination. The narration was solid and really brought the book to life. Claire and Jamie were amazing again (no surprise) and I love the simplicity of the story in that, we’re following their lives. Even if the story itself is crazy complicated. I enjoy seeing how life progresses for them and watching them choose each other over and over again.

Some of my new favorites are definitely Roger and Brianna. I might have been more invested in them for this book. I’m smitten for a good love story and this was definitely good. Plenty of intrigue, banter, and romance for them. I was surprised where the story went and love how everything clicked together.

There’s a hundred different things that happened throughout this. Moments that made me smile, one’s that made me enraged, and others that brought tears. I love the writing and the way these stories flow over time. Magical and exhilarating with many, many things in between. I’m trying to intentionally keep this vague because I don’t want to spoil this (and previous books). Plenty of things keep happening here so it was a great continuation of the series!

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; a handful of open and closed door scenes (with ranging levels of detail)
  • Violence: physical, swords, guns, explosions, sickness, murder, see trigger warnings for more
  • Trigger warnings: [I know I have missed some and I apologize for those I did miss, please research before choosing this series, nothing is left out in regards to detail and some of the awfulness of this time period]: multiple depictions of enslaved Africans and racism (setting from 1760’s), lynching, death from an abortion attempt, animal attacks, rape, racism involving Native Americans, sexual assault, hate crimes

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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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