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Fiction Groupie Archives

These are my writing posts from my former blog, spanning 2009-2012. To see new writing posts, click on the blog tab above. To see these archived post organized by topic, click "For Writers" above.

Entries in review (2)

Thursday
Aug202009

Outlander: A Review (finally!)


Title: Outlander

Author: Diana Gabaldon

Genre: Historical Romance/Time Travel

Rating: ★★

Back Cover (from Amazon):

The year is 1945 and Claire Beauchamp Randall, a former British combat nurse, is on holiday in Scotland with her husband, looking forward to becoming reacquainted after the war's long separation. Like most practical women, Claire hardly expects her curiosity to get the better of her. But an ancient stone circle near her lodgings holds an eerie fascination, and when she innocently touches one of the giant boulders, she's hurtled backward in time more than two hundred years, to 1743.

Alone where no lady should be alone, and far from the familiar comforts of her other life, Claire's usual resourcefulness is tested to the limit. The merciless garrison captain so feared by others bears an uncanny resemblance to the husband she has just left behind. Her own odd circumstances expose her to accusations of witchcraft. And the strands of a political intrigue she doesn't understand threaten to ensnare her at every turn.

But of all the perils her new life holds, none is more disquieting than her growing feelings for James Fraser, the gallant young Scot she is forced to marry for her own protection. Sworn by his wedding vows to keep her from harm, Jamie's passion for Claire goes beyond duty. As she struggles with the memories of another lifetime, she is forced to make an agonizing and fateful choice, and learns ultimately that a man's instinct to protect the woman he loves is as old as time.

REVIEW:

Okay, so I'm sure you guys have noticed Outlander sitting in my "Reading Right Now" window of my sidebar for what seems like forever. This book is LONG--650 pages. I am not one that has a problem with a long book. (One of my favorite books ever, It by Stephen King, is 1000 pages if I remember right.) However, this is the first book I read on my new Kindle and not being able to see the dent in pages as I read made it seem longer.

If I'm completely honest, there were points in this book that I wanted to stop. I would be right there, ready to quit, then the action would pick up and I would stick with it again. I am one of those people that hates to not finish a book. It pains me. This book has a huge following and I have heard so many people recommend it, so I felt like I needed to push through.

So was it worth it? Totally. The characters are wonderful and the love (and banter) between Claire and Jamie is epic, for lack of a better word. After staying in their story so long, I feel like they are family members. I told my husband to not be surprised if I started answering questions with "Aye" and calling my son a "bairn" or "wee laddie" because I felt like I had been living in the Scottish highlands for weeks, lol.


Things that made me happy:

--The male protagonist, Jamie, is such a great character. He's not a bad boy. He's tough, stoic, and fiercely loyal. But also very sweet (and innocent in many ways). It makes him beyond endearing, not to mention sexy.

--Claire is a tough chick is can go toe to toe with the tough highlanders. The banter between her and Jamie made me laugh out loud at times.

--Even though this is a series, it did not end on a huge cliffhanger. Some things were untied, but the end was very satisfying. If after 700 pages, I landed on some major unfinished business, I would have been more than a little peeved.

--I felt like I visited another place in time. This was my very first historical romance, so I didn't know what to expect. But in the end, it was if I had taken a journey.


Things I didn't love:

--This book did not need to be this long. Many things could have been cut. Descriptions could go on a little long. I skimmed a lot of those pages.

--The beginning was slow, then there were a number of points in the book that dragged.

--Keeping up with all the different plots, historical references, and political intrigue was a bit difficult at times

--Sometimes the fact that the two got caught in so many bad situations was a bit unbelievable. It's like the first season of the show 24 when Keifer Sutherland's daughter kept getting herself in trouble--"what terrorist is Kim going to get captured by this week?"

Favorite Quotes:

"No wonder he was so good with horses, I thought blearily, feeling his fingers rubbing gently behind my ears, listening to the soothing, incomprehensible speech. If I were a horse, I’d let him ride me anywhere." --Claire

"Murtagh was right about women. Sassenach, I risked my life for ye, committing theft, arson, assault, and murder into the bargain. In return for which ye call me names, insult my manhood, kick me in the ballocks and claw my face. Then I beat you half to death and tell ye all the most humiliating things that have ever happened to me, and ye say ye love me." He laid his head on his knees and laughed some more. Finally he rose and held out a hand to me, wiping his eyes with the other. "You're no verra sensible, Sassenach, but I like ye fine." --Jamie


Overall: Do I recommend this? Aye. (Sorry couldn't resist.) I think this is a winner. I fell in love with the characters and am tempted to go on to the next in the series (which I think is 880 pages, whew). Although, I will need a break. This book has convinced me that I need to open up my mind to historical romance, something I never gravitated toward before.

Have any of you read this? If so, what are your thoughts? What's your favorite historical romance?


Monday
Aug102009

Something for Everyone: Reviews



It's been a while since my last book review. Why is that? Well, as you can see from my right sidebar, I am currently reading
Outlander. This is the first book I've read on my brand spanking new Kindle. So, having no actual book in my hand, I had no idea the sheer size of the book. I'm the kind of girl who can get through a normal sized book in a few days (if not in one day), so when I kept reading and reading and the percentage meter on the Kindle wasn't increasing very much, I looked up the page count. The paperback comes in at 650 pages! Okay, so needless to say it's taking me a while. I hope to be done by the end of this week.

So instead of one detailed review like normal, I decided to select my top non-YA picks from my last few months of reading. If you want to check out my YA picks, I have an earlier post on those.

Romance:

by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Back Cover:
Dear Reader, Being trapped in a bedroom with a woman is a grand thing. Being trapped in hundreds of bedrooms over two thousand years isn't. And being cursed into a book as a love-slave for eternity can ruin even a Spartan warrior's day. As a love-slave, I knew everything about women. How to touch them, how to savor them, and most of all how to pleasure them. But when I was summoned to fulfill Grace Alexander's sexual fantasies, I found the first woman in history who saw me as a man with a tormented past. She, alone, bothered to take me out of the bedroom and into the world. She taught me to love again. But I was not born to know love. I was cursed to walk eternity alone. As a general, I had long ago accepted my sentence. Yet now I have found Grace-the one thing my wounded heart cannot survive without. Sure, love can heal all wounds, but can it break a two thousand year old curse? Julian of Macedon

Review: I know most avid readers will look at this selection and say "well, duh." This book is a classic in paranormal romance and has spawned a long running series by Sherrilyn Kenyon. But as I talked about last week, I didn't read straight romance for a long time, so this was new to me. This book is a great example of why I was such an idiot to avoid romance for so long. The story was funny, touching, and romantic. Add in the paranormal element and greek gods, and I was sold. ★★★★


by Erica Orloff

Back Cover:
Everyone loves shock jock Julian Shaw…except the guy who shot him.

The raunchy radio DJ expects the dark tunnel, white lights—even his late grandmother greeting him at the pearly gates. Instead, he gets a coma, a spirit guide named Gus and a pushy demon with a deal. His assignment: Katie Darby.

Katie Darby's best friend just stole her guy! Now she's losing her mind.

All she really wants to do is stay in mope mode, but it feels as if someone is watching her, whispering strange thoughts into her head, making her say and do things she would never normally consider. And it's actually making her life better!

Now Julian wants another chance to prove he's a good guy. But he just might have to sell his soul to the devil to get
Review: This book was so much fun. Think Howard Stern (but good-looking) gets assigned to be a woman's guardian angel. There are angels and demons and Albert Einstein and ABBA music (which scrambles God's listening in ability, ha). Plus, the love story is very touching underneath all the humor. Great beach read. ★★★★

Suspense/Psychological Thriller (with a literary bent):

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Back Cover:
Richard Papen arrived at Hampden College in New England and was quickly seduced by an elite group of five students, all Greek scholars, all worldly, self-assured, and, at first glance, all highly unapproachable. As Richard is drawn into their inner circle, he learns a terrifying secret that binds them to one another...a secret about an incident in the woods in the dead of night where an ancient rite was brought to brutal life...and led to a gruesome death. And that was just the beginning....
Review: This book has been described as a murder mystery in reverse. This novel was a bestseller a few years ago, but I missed it at the time. So on a trip to the used book store one day, I picked it up. I have to say that this book was one of those that I didn't know how to feel about it after I read it. It is not a light read. I was utterly engaged throughout the book (which is quote long) and felt drawn in to the setting and characters. And after it was done, it kept me thinking about it. That is what I'm basing my ratingon. ★★★1/2


Suspense/Mystery:

Killer Takes All by Erica Spindler

Back Cover:
The White Rabbit beckons you to follow him, down the rabbit hole, into his world. He's a deceiver, a trickster. You won't know what is truth and what is a lie. He aims to best you. Beat you. And when he does, you die.

A friend's brutal murder turns former homicide detective Stacy Killian's life upside down. Unwilling to trust Spencer Malone, the overconfident New Orleans detective assigned to the case, Stacy is compelled to return to the investigative role she had fled.

The investigation leads Stacy and Spencer to White Rabbit, a cultish fantasy role-playing game. White Rabbit is dark, violent -- and addictive. As the body count mounts, they find themselves trapped in a terrifying game that's more real than life and death. Because anyone can die before the final moment when White Rabbit is over . . . and the killer takes all.

Review: I discoverd Erica Spindler when I was in college after hearing she was a local author (I was still living in Louisiana at the time). I haven't read a book by her that I haven't enjoyed. Fast-paced suspense stories, sometimes with a dash of romance, that keep you reading into the night. This one was the last I read, but you can't go wrong with any of hers. ★★★★


Horror:

Nazareth Hill by Ramsey Campbell

Back Cover:

A rebellious teenager's tense relationship with her father liberates fearsome monsters of English history. Amy Priestly has always dreaded 'the spider house, ' as she privately calls the abandoned Nazareth Hill monastery. When she and her father, Oswald, move into an apartment in the newly gentrified 'Nazarill, ' her fears are reinforced by the building's gloom--crawly things seem to crouch in its shadowy hallways. Worse, her father is becoming increasingly tyrannical

Review: I found a recommendation for this book somewhere and decided to give it a try. It is no longer in print, but Amazon has used copies. I love a good horror story. I'm not the type of girl who avoids the scary movies, I seek them out. So know that this is the perspective I'm coming from. If you don't like to be scared, then this probably isn't for you.

This story isn't an in your face monsters and murderers kind of thing. The story builds tension slowly, giving an overall sense of dread and creepiness. The house is a character in and of itself. The book is not a happy one and didn't end with sunshine and butterflies, but it stayed with me for a while after I finished it. ★★★1/2


Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance:


Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood Boxed Set by Charlaine Harris

Back Cover (Dead Until Dark):
Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. Until the vampire of her dreams walks into her life-and one of her coworkers checks out....

Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn't such a bright idea.


Review: Okay, so everyone and their mama has probably reviewed these, but I had to mention them. These books are great: vampires, were-animals, shapeshifters, fairies, maenads, witches! Plus, super hot romance mixed in with the murder mysteries. I these books and I True Blood (the tv version of the books). If you haven't read these, you're missing out. Don't just watch the show.★★★★★

There you go. Hope you check some of these out. Let me know what you think of my picks.

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