It is pretty safe to say that Darynda Jones' Charley Davidson series are among my most favourite. I just adore Charley, her bestie Cookie, her uncle Ubie and well just about every other character along the way...dead or alive.
I was so excited that when book 5 came out. I waited for the perfect time to read it. I read it so quick, devoured it and then went into a bit of a withdrawal knowing I'd have a long wait for book 6 so I just ended up doing a re-read of the entire series...again.
I went back to book 1 and read straight through the series including another re-read of Fifth Grave Past the Light. Well I'm still pinning for book 6 but I am happy I got a good fill to hold me until then.
As each book progresses along, we learn right along with Charley what she is capable of and we all fall more in love with Reyes with each book too. Reyes is so in love with Charley that it makes me smile every time there is an interaction between them. We also learn more and more about the Son of Satan too. Still lots of mystery there to under cover.
Each of the books had a great mystery to solve. I have to admit that when her apartment was full of all the ghost women, it was very creepy and disturbed. Those poor women!
In Fifth Grave Past the Light we are given a lot more foresight of what is to come courtesy of the newly informed P.I. Garrett Swopes. Her investigator friend, Swopes, sure provided a lot of background too. I actually highlighted this piece because I think it is a great indication.
"According to his prophecies, you will recruit a warrior, a scholar, a prophet, gatekeeper, a warden, and a couple of other figures"
Well we know that her precious ghost rottweiler, Artemis will more than likely be her warrior since she can kick demon ass and perhaps the newest character, Nic could turn out to be the prophet but as you can see, lots of Charley Davidson goodness to come. Can't wait!
Teasers: Ozzy GPS, Sticky note messages, Royal Daughter of Light, one million dollar bet for double or nothing(less)
EPIC! All books can be summarized as EPIC. Wanted to re-read the books so I can finally read ICED. Done and I can say I loved them just as much as I d...moreEPIC! All books can be summarized as EPIC. Wanted to re-read the books so I can finally read ICED. Done and I can say I loved them just as much as I did the first time around. I currently have a January long blog giveaway for an AUTOGRAPHED hardcover of ICED. Can & US only (too expensive to ship) http://anotherlookbookreviews.blogspo... (less)
According to Goodreads, Devil in Winter is Lisa Kleypas' most popular book. Oh yes, that is a very accurate assessment. Devil in Winter was a fabulous historical romance. It is the 3rd book in the Wallflower series. I had not read the two previous books, Secrets of a Summer Night or It Happened One Autumn but you can bet that I will be reading them soon.
I don't like reading books out of order but I had a gift card and out of the Wallflower series, Devil In Winter was the one I wanted to read the most. It can be read as a stand alone but I really felt I missed excellent points and story plots from the previous book, It Happened One Autumn. It appears that Sebastian was a main carry over cast member and his actions in It Happened One Autumn is what sets the main stage in Devil in Winter.
Sebastian is a rake of all roguish rakes. He is selfish, sarcastic and even a bit witty. Now although he held those less than satisfactory qualities, I found the smile he put on my face with his comments, allowed me to forgive him a bit more than I probably should. Of course, not having read, It Happened One Autumn my view may have been different.
Evie is a red headed wallflower and by all accounts she seems to be the most shy of her group of friends. The reason I chose to select the graphic at the top is because that is exactly how I pictured her. I thought it was a near perfect representation of what I imaged. I love when the cover art matches the characters closely.
From a personality perspective, I liked Evie. Women of the time (London 1843) rarely had opportunities to make life decisions for themselves. Evie concocted a plan and as outrageous as it was, it was a means to an end. It was rather brilliant if not desperate.
Devil in Winter will go down as the best loss of virginity scene. It was emotionally charged and moving. I loved it. It was right then that I fell for Lord St. Vincent. It was also then that Sebastian fell for Evie too.
I think it would be hard to redeem a character from a previous book that was not well liked. Sebastian did a nasty action in It Happened One Autumn that shouldn't be easily forgiven. I totally love that Lisa Kleypas didn't take the normal easy route and give Sebastian a wicked abusive up-bringing to explain his behaviour. Sure he had some sad moments but he was spoiled as he admitted and instead of harbouring on why his character was rakish, the story more focused on his changing behaviour. I really liked that. I also liked that it wasn't just an overnight change but rather a gradual change.
A couple of things that I think Devil in Winter did miss out on. I thought there would be more attempts from Evie's wicked family to abduct her. I just really wanted them to really pay for what they did to her. Also, I was curious why there was no lawyer or will reading ceremony. Maybe because it was not needed since all was left to Evie by her father but for some reason, I felt it was missing. Also, it didn't really feel winter out to me. It was a cold carriage ride back from Scotland but that was about it for the winter season.
Evie was the best thing to happen to Sebastian and visa-versa. They were perfect for each other's souls. They didn't intend it go that way but I loved how hard their feelings hit each other. What a pleasure Devil in Winter was to read!
Teasers: hot brick for carriage ride, an early Cam from Mine Till Midnight was in the book a lot (squee), flirtatious billiard game, emotional shaving scene
*Update* Just read it again and I loved it even more this time around as I have now read all the books in order. Amazing series. Highly recommend!(less)
First thing I said to myself after finishing my first re-read of An Echo in the Bone is, 'what was I thinking?!?!' The reason for my self reprimand was because the first time I read this amazing book, I was not pleased. I was not pleased at all. In fact I rated An Echo in the Bone low. Now after just finishing it for a second time and then plugging my Kindle into the wall for a full recharge, I am stunned by my first Goodreads review and I'm about ready to kick my butt and replace with this one.
Admittedly Echo in the Bone is not my favourite of the series but it is still well deserving of my highest rating possible. I found Echo in the Bone not as emotionally charged or as angsty as the other books in this stellar series.....that is until you get to the end. There are so many cliffhangers dangling from the end of this book that I hope Diana Gabaldon gets so tired of hearing about fans needing the next book pronto that she never leaves a cliffhanger of this magnitude again. I yi yi yi!
What Echo in the Bone does deliver is a close factual account of what life would have been like for the soldiers/militia/army and citizens during the American Revolution war. I walk away with a deep appreciation of the what the people on both sides of the war experienced. The amount of research that went into Echo in the Bone is staggering.
There are numerous story lines within Echo in the Bone and it is easily followed and paced perfectly. I immensely enjoyed reading each and every one.
The Roger and Bree story line was well set and planned. I loved that they emotionally struggled a bit when they have returned to Lallybroch. It is a reasonable assumption that they'd have to learn to discover their place and concur the "what's next?" dilemma. Other than the obvious cliffhangers left with the family, I find I am extremely curious and Mandy and her connection with Jem. Small children have an odd way of trying to explain their feelings but I think there is something special with Mandy and Jem. Perhaps it is the seed that was planted way back in Voyager regarding a certain Fraser Prophesy? Regardless, I am desperate to be caught up on the numerous cliffhangers left with the readers.
Young Ian and Rachel's story line brings me delight. I want nothing more than to have Ian come to terms with himself. Even though Friend Rachel is peaceful Quaker, she is a spitfire and I adore her. I very much want to read how they manage on.
William. Oh what a way to end the book! I felt I was in utter anticipation the entire book just waiting for a big moment. It was like a fire bomb when that moment came. When is that next book again?
The biggest story line that threw me for a complete loop was Jamie, Claire and Lord John. Not to reveal any spoilers but I must say, even the second time through Echo in the Bone, I was astonished. I usually don't like to read spoilers of the next book but I must admit, I shall now go forth to see if I can find any tidbits about the next book to hopefully get some more clues about how it all works out. (less)
I stayed up late last night. 3 am on a work night is not a great idea. I’ve read A Breath of Snow and Ashes (ABOSAA) twice before so it’s not like I didn’t know how it was going to end. I just get so immensely pulled into the eighteenth century with the Fraser's that I simply couldn't put it down. Doing a re-read of the Outlander series is a time consuming effort and a commitment worth every missed meal and having my bum constantly fall asleep from sitting for great lengths of time.
When I got to the end of ABOSAA, I reflected on what I had read since the beginning of the novel and I am just astonished by how much story is compacted into one book. Outlander just blows my mind as no other series does.
My main observation during this re-read is discovering how much I really really like Bree, Jamie & Claire’s daughter. I have no idea why she annoyed me before. Ok, annoy me might be a bit too strong but I guess I just didn’t care for her storyline as much. I remember that previously I had skimmed through the lots of the Roger and Bree storylines (as well as other secondary characters since I was so rabid for anything and everything Jamie and Claire) and that just proves how awesome re-reads of stories can be. I was foolish. By breezing through Bree & Roger’s chapters, I was in essence missing important components of Jamie & Claire's life.
In feel ABOSAA is one of the most emotional books of the series. It really pulled at my heart strings and invokes a lot of frothing at the mouth outrage by me. This outrage is directed at certain characters that even as I write this, angers me. By this stage in the series the reader is already so emotionally invested in the characters that I find the sense of worry is hightened on the slightest conflict. I always felt during reading ABOSAA that the wonderfully warm magic family bubble that was built on Fraser Ridge could burst at any moment and have everything come crashing down.
The imminent American Revolution was always on the cusp of conversations and I loathed the visits from Major MacDonald as much as Claire did. I admit that the Regulation/Loyalists and how the war is prepared for the reader is amazing. Jamie must walk such a tight line and break to one side. I found from a historical perspective, I was much more interested this time around.
The constant drama at the Fraser Ridge community never leaves the reader bored with the setting. Funerals, sickness, abductions, brutality, fear, pregnancy, suspicion, religion, Indians, master manipulation (don’t get me started on Malva and Allan Christie) and just the daily grind of a hard life of operating a farm in the eighteenth century; all made for a masterfully crafted story. Each chapter felt like its own story yet they all were woven together intricately and they fed off one another. I was never lost.
After staying up late reading ABOSAA (and then dreaming about it) today I just feel heavy. I feel fulfilled however I am so happy that ABOSSA was not the last book. I am not ready to let go of the Frasers’ or the MacKenzies. (will I ever?) The next book is Echo in the Bone. I have only read it once. My first read through was rushed and I really skimmed through that book desperate for Jamie and Claire scenes. I actually rated it a lot lower than all of the previous books and I do remember being rather disappointed. So on that note, I am ready to dive in now with a completely fresh and new perspective.
Random comments - *sniff* Do we ever hear anything more about Josh again?, Oh Ian how I adore you, Marsali is probably the hardest working woman ever written, MALVA!(less)
I ventured forth with a re-read of Drums of Autumn because I had just finished doing a re-read Voyager. I honestly didn't plan for a re-read of the Outlander series right now but I sorta just fell into it after reading and reviewing The Scottish Prisoner. I am so glad I did.
I remember that when I read Drums of Autumn the first and second time, I did enjoy it but because I was so anxious to read anything and everything about Jamie and Claire, I'd skip through a lot of Roger and Bree story lines. This time around I didn't. I just sat back and really took my time and thoroughly enjoyed every chapter and every character. It was fabulous. I feel like I have now just experienced Roger and Bree on a different level.
I do remember being so pleased that when Diana Gabaldon wrote Bree, that she didn't just do a carbon copy of Jamie and Claire. Yes she had Jamie's looks and some of his mannerisms but Bree is definitely her own person. I also have to remember that she is young and she will make mistakes that young people will make. I found I appreciated that trait of hers more this time and I was way more forgiving in some of the things she did and how she did them.
Drums of Autumn is quite fabulous. So much happens in this book but not in an angsty, heart palpating way. A lot of character growth and the story moved forward by leaps and bounds. I think back to all the scenes that happened in Drums of Autumn and I am blown away by how much time had passed.
Claire delivered some of my favourite lines in Drums of Autumn.
"You're a walking inducement to harlots," I said. "Stick by me; I'll protect you."
"He's much sneakier than I thought," I said. "Practically Scottish."
"Actually, it's your kilt that make me want to fling you to the floor and commit ravishment," I told him.
"May the Lord deliver me from stubborn Scotsmen!" I said.
And a Jamie quote worth noting.... "Your face is my heart, Sassenach," he said softly, "and love of you is my soul."
The building of Fraser Ridge really provided an excellent foundation for the North Carolina setting and a true appreciation of what the first settlers encountered.
If reading Voyager was about Jamie and Claire's reunion, then Drums of Autumn was about Jamie meeting his daughter, Bree. The anticipated scene was fabulous and I wouldn't change a thing. Without a doubt, that encounter was my favourite scene in the entire book. Followed closely by birth of Jemmy. I adore that the birth was a wee bit of a family event.
I also found that I enjoyed more of the Indian interactions this time around. I was still very impacted and my heart was heavy for Ian. I found Ian was on my mind a lot and I was ever so thankful that Diana Gabaldon included that letter from Ian to Jamie and Claire while they were attending the Gathering.
Of course I need to move on to The Fiery Cross now. I am quite excited about it since that book was my least favourite of the series and now I am thinking after this experience, I will enjoy it that much more.
Teasers: Stephen Bonnet the pirate, bear attach and fought off with a fish, Bree's engagement to Lord John, birth of Jemmy and the biological puzzle that goes along with him(less)
What. A. Ride. This was a re-read for me. I think I've read Voyager about four times now but I've never reviewed before. So this is my first time with pen to paper (so to speak) on my thoughts of Voyager.
Outlander (book 1) will always have that special place in my heart as being one of my all time favourite books. After all that is the book that started it all and was my introduction to Jamie and Claire's world. However out of the Outlander books, I think Voyager is my favourite of the series. Voyager is one adventure after another and just when you think your palms can be dry for a second, something else happens. As I said at the beginning, what a ride.
There is this one little line in Voyager that perfectly outlines Jamie and Claire for me. It gives me the biggest grin every single time I read it.
"Damn ye, woman! Will ye never do as you're told?" "Probably not," I said meekly.
One of the reasons I adore Claire is that she is so amazingly smart, clever and has unbreakable loyalty to Jamie. However, there are times where even I want to ring her neck. I think Voyager had me wanting to ring her neck a few times. I completely understood every single decision she made, but it I still could not understand why she went through with them. Now tell me, does that sentence even make sense?? I was even arguing with myself. Ha! Having said that, what a boring book it would be if Claire wasn't Claire. I simply just adore her.
There are not enough words to capture my love of Jamie. He is sensible, calm, brave and not shy about his devotion to Claire. The man is the package. Oh he has his flaws, but those imperfections actually perfect him. The thing is, I am seriously smitten with Jamie but I love him to be with Claire. They are my fiction super couple.
Voyager takes us on a journey starting at present day Scotland through to 1746 Edinburgh and then on to Lallybrook (sigh, oh Lallybrook), off to Paris, aboard a ship to the West Indies, Jamaica & other various tropical islands to the final exciting resting stop on a wee bit of a cliffhanger at the end of Voyager. Which is why although I have read the series many times over, I'm off to start Drums of Autumn.
Although I dont' think Voyager is the most emotional book of the series, my heart experienced heaviness quite a few times. I had a lump in my throat here:
"He gave you to me," she said, so low I could hardly hear her. "Now I have to give you back to him, Mama."
"It isn't Geordie," I said. My voice was higher than usual. "It's me," I said. "Claire"
...and I can't quite put to words what I was experiencing with the acts of of the English soldiers following Culloden, the outrage with Frank wanting to take Bree from Claire, my mouth dropped open when Jamie was flogged again in prison, the nervousness of when Jamie was hiding in closet right after Ian was born. At this point in the book I am not even half way. I haven't even touched on the kidnapping of Ian or the shock of a certain wedding. A super duper rollar coaster I tell you. A true voyage of emotions.
It wasn't all sad and distraught by no means. Just the sheer fact of Jamie and Claire's reunion and togetherness was paralleled above and beyond anything bad that could happen. There were some extreme highs too. *grins*
"I must have ye, or die."
I was not expecting one of the return of a certain character from Outlander nor do I wish to spoil if you are first time reader. Blew_me_ away. Even knowing it is coming, it still does not contain my feelings.
Voyager is not a stand alone book. I would not recommend anyone reading it before Outlander or Dragonfly in Amber. I would recommend if you haven't read the books, you get going and start. They are not light reads. They are not romances. They are emotional roller coaster rides that will never let you forget the characters Jamie, Claire and the country, Scotland. I think Diana Gabaldon should get some sort of shares for how many visitors a year Scotland receives due to this series.
So tell me, have you read any of the books? Have I made you slightly curious? (less)
Dragonfly in Amber marks the last of the re-reads in the Outlander series for me. Yes, yes I know I did it all backwards but I did start off with The Scottish Prisoner ( a spin off Lord John Book) and not the first book Outlander. In actuality, if you are a new reader, Dragonfly in Amber should be your second book. It doesn't matter how many times I read this series, I fall in love with the characters all over again.
Of all the books in the Outlander series, I refer to Dragonfly in Amber as the "meaty" book. Let me explain; in the first book Outlander, our beloved characters Jamie and Claire are really just getting to know each other until halfway through the book. For the second half of that book they are truly in love. Jamie knows Claire's secret and then a major climatic ending results in a lot of healing power between the pair. The meat of their loving relationship really flourishes in Dragonfly in Amber. These are extremely eventful times as Jamie and Claire seek out to change time and history by hopefully preventing the disastrous Rising of 1745. They are in a constant struggle to plot and ploy all over Paris and Scotland to thrawt the efforts of Bonnie Prince Charles. It is a constant state of deception and Jamie and Claire only have each other to turn to.
Ok short pause to insert this beautiful piece of art that was completed by a fan of Diana Gabaldon, Captivated2
Ok onward with the review..
This bond that Jamie and Claire had built between them was so strong that even after twenty years of separation, a day does not go by that Claire does not think about Jamie. Oh wait, I moved ahead a wee bit.
You see, after a gratifying ending with Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber starts off with a beautiful but clearly aged Claire RANDALL knocking on the door of a historian, Roger Wakefield. With Claire's twenty year old, tall, ginger-haired daughter Brianna in tow, the reader is shocked out of the skin and hastily checks Amazon to make sure that Dragonfly in Amber is in fact, book 2.
With squinty and challenging eyes, the reader moves forward wondering what the heck in going on and then it all falls together. After the initial shock of "Oh My God" wears off, the reader is lead through the life and times of Jamie and Claire Fraser right up to the day before the fateful and immensly disastrous battle of Culloden. Oh yes, I still get my kleenex ready for this part.
What a journey! What love! What a freaking awesome story! The biggest warning I shall pass along to the good readers is to make sure you have book 3, Voyager handy right after Dragonfly in Amber is done. You are going to literally put down Dragonfly and pick up Voyager. (less)
There are some books & some series that readers mentally plan out and make time for re-reads. For me, that is the Outlander series. I've re-read Outlander a few times and once again I got that Scottish itch that it was time to have another go'round. It all started with the new release of The Scottish Prisoner and then I just had to continue on from there. I naturally went straight to Voyager after The Scottish Prisoner because I just had to read about Jamie and Claire's reunion. My heart was feeling heavy regarding their 20 year separation and Voyager healed that gap. Well then of course, I had to read about Brianna and then so on and so on. Once I completed Echo in the Bone, I wanted to go back to the beginning and thus, that brought me back to Outlander where it all started.
I was fortunate to win a copy of Outlander in an audiobook format during a fun blog hop. I have only listened to an audiobook twice before so this chance was a treat. I loved it and I loved the opportunity to listen to the Scottish Gaelic words being pronounced. I am sure I'm not the only faithful Outlander reader who was mispronouncing Loaghaire's name incorrectly. It appears as though that wasn't the only Gaelic word or name I was mispronouncing.
The Outlander story itself was spell-blindingly beautiful as always. Even though I had read the book a few time previously it amazes me on the little things that I had missed before. I found myself smiling at certain points as I was experiencing them for the first time. I did not remember the scene where Claire sprinkles a line of sand grit into Capt. Jack Randall's wig and closes the cabinet to leave for him to find later. I loved encountering scenes like that.
Listening to an audiobook was an interesting experience. It was a new sensation to have been read to. Sometimes I felt so soothed by by the sound of Davina Porter's heavenly voice that I drowsed off and woke later from a nap that I was not expecting. Other times I was pleased to have an exciting scene paced out for me and read so clearly that I didn't miss any of the minor details that usually rush up in the excitement. I find that sometimes when I'm reading a most anticipating scene, I read so fast with my heart beating like a drum that I can end up missing parts. With the expertly paced and toned voice of Davina Porter, I was forced to endure these scenes like an action movie and I was so grateful for it. That rush is probably the reason that I had missed the "sand in wig" scene before with Claire in Randall's office.
One of the things that I was worried about regarding listening to an audio book was how could I keep track of all the voices and accents. Particularly how would I feel about Jamie's voice being portrayed by a woman? Rest assured, this confusion was never an issue. Davina Porter is clearly a gifted narrator. She eased through numerous conversations held between men & women and of varying United Kingdom accents. She seamlessly voiced through Scots and cultured English and even voiced through the less cultured English used by the lower level garrison soldiers. It blew me away listening to all the conversations and how she effortlessly she switched. Incredibly impressive to be sure.
The one thing that was different from my previous impression vs the audiobook was at times with Claire. I found listening to the voice of Claire, Davina Porter seems to portrays her as being so incredulous. When I hear Claire in my mind saying, "What for?" I hear just here a slight English accent talking. But when I hear the version of Davina Porter speak Claire's voice, "What for?" comes out as an exasperating or incredulous or the most ridiculous thing Claire has ever heard. Mostly it is probably my own minor experience with hearing an English accent but it seems like Claire was in a constant state of unbelieving or annoyance. Regardless, it was pleasurable to hear her to come to life.
I highly recommend if you get the opportunity to listen to Outlander on audiobook, you give it a try. I was extremely pleased that I had won a copy and I will be glad to listen to it again in the future. (less)