Book Review

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: December 2021

Hellooooo the end of the year. Wow did I end the year with a lot of reads. All of those short Christmas novellas added up! Even if only a few were okay.

Favorite Reads: All My Rage, The Mistletoe Motive, Project Hail Mary, ACOTAR [reread], Faking Under the Mistletoe [reread], Tokyo Ever After, The Bird and the Sword [reread], Our Violent Ends, Lore Olympus [reread]

Least Favorite: Falling Under the Mistletoe, Kiss the Girl

  • Falling Under the Mistletoe by Evelyn Mae
  • [ARC] Hunt the Stars (Starlight’s Shadow) by Jessie Mihalik
  • [Novella] (Not so) Alone for Christmas by Jenny Proctor
  • [Novella] The Mistletoe Motive by Chloe Liese
  • Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone (Outlander #9) by Diana Gabaldon
  • A Shadow in the Ember (Flesh and Fire #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  • A Loyal Heart (An Uncertain Choice #4) by Jody Hedlund
  • Christmas As We Know It by Sarah Sutton
  • Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown
  • [ARC] Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead (Finlay Donovan #2) by Elle Cosimano
  • Year of the Reaper by Makiia Lucier
  • Lake Mistletoe by Amber Kelly
  • [ARC] Mr. Wrong Number by Lynn Painter
  • Dreams Lie Beneath by Rebecca Ross
  • [ARC] All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir
  • Kiss the Girl (Creekville Kisses #2) by Melanie Jacobson
  • Hail Mary by Andy Weir
  • Charting Stars (The Nine Realms Tales #1) by Micheline Ryckman
  • Eight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis
  • Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon
  • [Reread] A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR #1) by Sarah J. Maas
  • Come Back to Me (Come Back to Me #1) by Mila Gray
  • [Reread] Faking Under the Mistletoe by Ashley Shepherd
  • Tokyo Ever After (Tokyo Ever After #1) by Emiko Jean
  • [ARC] Always Jane by Jenn Bennett
  • If the Shoe Fits (Meant to Be #1) by Julie Murphy
  • On These Black Sands (Aisling Sea #1) by Vanessa Rasanen
  • [Reread] The Bird and the Sword (The Bird and the Sword Chronicles #1) by Amy Harmon
  • The Twelve Dogs of Christmas (Pine Hollow #1) by Lizzie Shane
  • The Holiday Switch by Tif Marcelo
  • You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManus
  • Our Violent Ends (These Violent Delights #2) by Chloe Gong
  • [Novella] Silver Bells and Secrets (Twelfth Night Novellas #1) by Laura Rollins
  • [Novella] Stranded Ranch by Cindy Steel
  • [Novella] Believe Me (Shatter Me #6.5) by Tahereh Mafi
  • [Graphic Novel] Lore Olympus: Volume One by Rachel Smythe
  • This Shattered World (Starbound #2) by Amie Kaufman
  • A Trial of Sorcerers (A Trial of Sorcerers #1) by Elise Kova

How did reading go for you in December?

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Book Review

Book Review: Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (Outlander #8) by Diana Gabaldon

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical Fiction
Length: 825 pages
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Publisher: Bantam
Release Date: June 10th, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

It is June 1778, and the world seems to be turning upside-down. The British Army is withdrawing from Philadelphia, with George Washington in pursuit, and for the first time, it looks as if the rebels might actually win. But for Claire Fraser and her family, there are even more tumultuous revolutions that have to be accommodated.Her former husband, Jamie, has returned from the dead, demanding to know why in his absence she married his best friend, Lord John Grey. Lord John’s son, the ninth Earl of Ellesmere, is no less shocked to discover that his real father is actually the newly resurrected Jamie Fraser, and Jamie’s nephew Ian Murray discovers that his new-found cousin has an eye for the woman who has just agreed to marry him.

And while Claire is terrified that one of her husbands may be about to murder the other, in the 20th century her descendants face even more desperate turns of events. Her daughter Brianna is trying to protect her son from a vicious criminal with murder on his mind, while her husband Roger has disappeared into the past.

BEST OF THE SERIES.

Yup. I said it.

Best of the series.

I loved this book so much. It was a combination of being with these characters for so long, getting some storylines I was hopeful for and it ending on a note I could definitely live with. All of these things made for such a perfect novel.

I really recommend this series on audio! It’s the same narrator for all 8 books and she does a fantastic job. The characters feel alive and I think that’s what has helped me love them all the more.

Wowww do I love Jaime and Claire. One of my all time OTPs. These two do NOT give up on each other and I am always here for them. I love their unfailing faith in one another. Their stubborness to remain together in the direst of circumstances and the way they cling together when everything else has fallen apart. A couple I will love always.

All of these other characters, Bri and Roger (+their kids), Fergus and Marsali, William, Ian and Rachel, John Grey and others, have my heart. I love how well adapted everyone is. There’s so much to even just the side characters that the books themselves feel incredibly tangible. Like these people really were there. I love the clear effort and research that goes into each of these novels.

I’m so excited to hear that there’s another book coming eventually. I will be allllll over that one too! One of my favorite historical series ever!

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction / romance
  • Language: strong throughout
  • Romance: multiple open door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of loved ones (child, pet, and adults), war, PTSD, slavery, attempted rape, sexual assault, sex with a minor, suicide, murder, abortion [these books contain many triggers and intense content, I know I may have missed some of them, please research before choosing to read this series!]

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Book Review

Book Review: An Echo in the Bone (Outlander #7) by Diana Gabaldon

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical fiction romance
Length: 830 pages
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Publisher: Bantam
Release Date: June 22nd, 2010
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In this new epic of imagination, time travel, and adventure, Diana Gabaldon continues the riveting story begun in Outlander.

Jamie Fraser is an eighteenth-century Highlander, an ex-Jacobite traitor, and a reluctant rebel in the American Revolution. His wife, Claire Randall Fraser, is a surgeon—from the twentieth century. What she knows of the future compels him to fight. What she doesn’t know may kill them both.

With one foot in America and one foot in Scotland, Jamie and Claire’s adventure spans the Revolution, from sea battles to printshops, as their paths cross with historical figures from Benjamin Franklin to Benedict Arnold.

Meanwhile, in the relative safety of the twentieth century, their daughter, Brianna, and her husband experience the unfolding drama of the Revolutionary War through Claire’s letters. But the letters can’t warn them of the threat that’s rising out of the past to overshadow their family.

Diana Gabaldon’s sweeping Outlander saga reaches new heights in An Echo in the Bone.

ENJOYING THE RIDE.

If you haven’t noticed this already, the Outlander series is a slow-burn type of read. There’s power in the mundane things Gabaldon writes about and the high action scenes. It really feels like a true story of Claire and Jamie’s lives. Every little tid-bit. And I love every little tid-bit.

One of the things I noticed here was that a lot of the travelling was cut out. Not upset with that at all. I like that they quickly crossed an ocean or land. It made the story move a bit better and consistently.

I yet again love everyone here. Claire and Jamie (especially Jamie) have my heart. They really have a romance that stand the test of time. I love Bri and Roger. And really liked having two timelines again. Lord John Grey was also in here a lot more and I love his story too. I’m just smitten all around with this cast.

I’ve been mostly listening to these on audio and have really liked the narrator. She does an amazing job to where even when I’m reading a physical copy I can hear the voices of characters in my head. It’s really brought to life and I can’t wait to be caught up on this series soon!

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses to open scenes
  • Violence: depictions of war (Revolutionary War), physical, depictions of Claire acting as a surgeon (removal of body parts, lots of blood/gore)
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: I say this for every Outlander book, I apologize if I may miss some of the warnings because they’re generally many: PTSD from war, kidnapping, child endangerment, slavery, murder, animal attacks, loss of loved ones, accidental manslaughter, remembrance of stillborn child and miscarriages, and potentially more

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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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