Book Review

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: August 2020

Is 2020 over yet? Asking for a friend.

In the reading world, I did get through quite a few books, with some five stars. So that’s something! A lot of upcoming releases as well.

Favorites this month: You Have a Match, From Blood and Ash, and Heart Bones
Least favorites: Harley in the Sky, Between Shades of Gray

  • Hitching the Pitcher (Belltown Six Pack #1) by Rebecca Connolly, Sophia Summers, and Heather B. Moore – (☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts (Steampunk Proper Romance #4) by Nancy Campbell Allen – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • [ARC] Crazy Stupid Bromance (Bromance Book Club #3) by Lyssa Kay Adams – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Intertwine (House of Oak #1) by Nichole Van – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • [ARC] You Have a Match by Emma Lord – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • From Blood and Ash (Blood and Ash #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • The Royal We (Royal We #1) by Heather Cocks – (☆☆ 1/2)
  • Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Brown – (☆☆☆)
  • The Extra (The Extra Series #1) by Megan Walker – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Heart Bones by Colleen Hoover – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Kingdom of Sea and Stone (Crown of Coral and Pearl #2) by Mara Rutherford – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • The Fiery Cross (Outlander #5) by Diana Gabaldon – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Jade City (The Green Bone Saga #1) by Fonda Lee – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Adorkable by Cookie O’Gorman – (☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Mistletoe and Mr. Right (Moose Springs, Alaska #2) by Sarah Morgenthaler – (☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys – (☆☆☆)
  • Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Bright Raven Skies (Sweet Black Waves #3) by Kristina Perez – (☆☆☆☆)

What were some favorite books you read in August? Lets talk in the comments!

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Book Review

Book Review: Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2) by Diana Gabaldon

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical fiction romance
Length: 743 pages
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Publisher: Bantam
Release Date: July 1st, 1992
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From the author of Outlander… a magnificent epic that once again sweeps us back in time to the drama and passion of 18th-century Scotland…

For twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland’s majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones …about a love that transcends the boundaries of time …and about James Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his ….

Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire’s spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart …in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising …and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves.

TALK ABOUT SOUL CRUSHING.

I was warned 100 times over that the ending would make me sob and that it would rip my heart out. I can’t say I sobbed (which I will explain why), but I definitely had plenty of emotions coursing through me with that finale.

Okay, why I didn’t cry. The set-up. I wish organization of the book was a bit different. That was my only complaint for this book and I’m curious how the next novels will continue. By adding in the present time section in the beginning it already gave me an inkling as to what was going to take place over the book. So by the time it happened, the writing was beautiful and made me invested, BUT, I also knew what was coming and with 6 more books [currently, I heard she’s writing a 9th one] there’s clearly more to the story.

Jamie and Claire. Ohhh I’m starting to love their relationship more and more. Since it was incredibly rocky at first I struggled to connect with them. Now that I’ve got nearly 2,000 pages of them together, I’m feeling it. Jamie is bold, brash and incredibly tender-hearted. He smooths my soul and makes me want to throw things at him (I feel you Claire). It’s a great combination that keeps me wanting more. I love Claire’s nature and passion. Still think she’s crazy for choosing to stay in Scotland, but it’s fine. Claire makes her own path and I will follower her gladly.

SO MUCH HAPPENED in this book. Oh wow, I could barely keep up, even with it being a slower read. What I finally started grasping by the end was the understanding of the aristocracy and royalty in France, Scotland, England, etc. I don’t know much about this history and the amount of people that are included can be a wee bit mind-boggling. Now that I have a firmer knowledge I think subsequent books will go much more smoothly.

Truly another fantastical tale. I am smitten with all thing Scottish now.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kisses/make-outs; a few detailed love scenes
  • Violence: battles, swords, be-headings, hangings, physical; see trigger warnings
  • Trigger warnings: rape, sexual assault, miscarriage, mentions of abortions (by a side character, not Claire); PTSD for prior sexual assault and rape [There are a lot and I apologize if I missed any]

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Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: June 2020

Halfway through the year!

I’m really happy I read 7 books this month! Things are still moving slowly, and that’s okay. I’m getting the books read that I need too and enjoying a handful of others. Excited for the second half of the year.

Favorites of the month: Beach Read and Drums of Autumn
Least favorite this month: Dawn till Dusk

  • Time of Ours Lives by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya #1) by Hafsah Faizal – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Beach Read by Emily Henry – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] The Damned (The Beautiful #1) by Renee Ahdieh – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Dawn till Dusk (Genesis Crystal Saga #1) by Tyffany Hackett and Becky Moynihan – (☆☆ 1/2)
  • My Calamity Jane (The Lady Janies #3) by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows – (☆☆☆)
  • Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4) by Diana Gabaldon – (☆☆☆☆☆)

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Book Review

Book Review: Outlander (Outlander #1) by Diana Gabaldon

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical fiction romance
Length: 630 pages
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Publisher: Dell Publishing Company
Release Date: June 1st, 1991
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

WHERE DO I BEGIN?

One of my closest friendships began over a discussion of Outlander. I wasn’t super open to trying it out, she was a huge fan. Thus, worlds collided. After some great discussion (and the fact she got this book for me for my birthday), I can now say, I’m a fan.

This book can be a lot for others and I know it has turned away a lot of people. It’s definitely not for the feint of heart because it discusses many hard subjects and in a different time period. If you are okay with reading about difficult topics (see Trigger Warnings for a full list) I would recommend this book because the story itself is only beginning. I will also say (as I was warned) you must give this book 200 pages. It takes that long to set-up the story and give you the necessary background to start to understand the history. Once I made it there things really picked up and I was swept up in the romance between Jamie and Claire.

I think Claire has got to be one of the most level-headed people to be dropped into a different time period and to just go with the flow so well was awe-inspiring. I loved her personality, practicality and stubbornness. She is such a match for Jamie. Speaking of Jamie, my sweet soul, he took awhile to grow on me. I struggled with some of his scenes, but the further I got to know him [and understand the time period] the more things made sense. He’s a strong character with so many good qualities. Gabaldon doesn’t shy away from hard conversations and takes the times to explain them out through the characters.

The setting caught my attention too. I have not read any books set in the Scottish Highlands of 1743. What a time to choose. This has made me really interested in looking up more information about the time period too. The rolling hills and castles, soldiers and kilts, it’s all has an air of romanticism with a reality dose of war. The villain in this story with have your blood boiling and angry at everything. I was surprised at the amount of animosity I felt towards him. I do love when a book can bring out a wide range of emotions.

I am completely caught up in where this will go next. I loved the progression of Jamie and Claire’s love story and can’t wait to get more of them. There’s plenty of action, politics, romance [of course] and backstabbing to make you keep flipping pages. It’s a hardy book, but worthy of the time.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: many love scenes that are more descriptive (but only a little explicit) in nature
  • Violence: skirmishes, guns, knives, words, poison, torture, animal attacks, physical
  • Trigger warnings: rape, attempted rape, suicide, suicide ideation, sexual assault, domestic abuse (I apologize if I missed any, there are a lot so please research before reading this!)

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