Orphan Train tells the story of two different orphans in two different times, with both people coming together in 2011, though now one is a4.25 stars.
Orphan Train tells the story of two different orphans in two different times, with both people coming together in 2011, though now one is a ninety-one-year-old wealthy widow and the other is a seventeen-year-old girl doing community service so as to stay out of juvie. Vivian is the old woman and Molly is the goth teen who’s been in more foster homes than she cares to remember, but who now has a fairly stable place to live with Ralph and Dina. I say fairly because while she gets along well with Ralph, she often clashes with Dina, a staunch right-winger who tries to foist her beliefs on Molly, and Molly has just attempted to steal a beat up copy of Jane Eyre from the library, hence the need for community service.
Vivian and Molly are brought together by Molly’s boyfriend, Jack, whose mother, Terry, cleans for Vivian. It’s during Molly’s fifty hours of community service that she learns that not only can appearances be deceiving, but that she and Vivian have more in common, and that Vivian has had a much harder life than Molly, than the teen ever imagined.
Told in chapters alternating between 2011 and Vivian’s early life, beginning in 1929, we learn how the now elderly woman came to be an orphan and how her life unfolded to a certain point in her life. I really thought I’d be more interested in Molly’s story and was initially a bit disappointed when I realized that much of the book would focus on Vivan’s life. It didn’t take too long before I found myself getting annoyed when we were jolted back to the present, I became so engrossed in Vivian’s early life.
Though Molly’s life was no where near as difficult as Vivian’s to this point, she has dealt with things kids and teens shouldn’t have to, and despite her failed attempt at theft, she remained a good person with morals and standards that she wouldn’t compromise for anyone now. I just don’t understand why, in many books, authors feel the need to make teens without families so lacking in self-respect, particularly when they’re younger. I mean, if some idiot really thinks she’s in love with someone when they’re high school-aged, that’s one thing, but doing it, especially for the first time at the age of sixteen for a free tattoo, particularly with someone who’s not only old enough to know better but someone who could be brought up on statutory rape charges, is ridiculous. Simply because she wasn’t that attached to it. Uh-huh. Yeah, sounds like a perfectly healthy, normal reason to have sex for the first time. Aside from her occasional stupidity, which obviously speaks to some issues she’s had from having a dead father and a shitty mother (unless I read something wrong or can’t do the math, her mother was fifteen, likely even fourteen, when she got knocked up. Charming), Molly was a very decent character who didn’t simply go along with the crowd and who didn’t really care what others thought, though she did care a lot about what Jack and especially Vivian’s opinions.
Vivian’s story is pretty heartbreaking in the beginning, and even after her life becomes more stable, she never really feels a close connection to anyone. Of course I had a pretty good idea where her story was heading and hated what I knew was to come. But it was nice to see how invested Molly was in Vivian and her life, both past and present, and the ending really was heartwarming. ...more
There are spoilers for the first book in this review.
Well, I was definitely taken aback when I started reading this book. I started flippin4.25 stars.
There are spoilers for the first book in this review.
Well, I was definitely taken aback when I started reading this book. I started flipping around to find a list of the books in order because I thought I must’ve bought the wrong one, but no, Dragonfly in Amber starts out in the 1950s? with Claire and her nineteen-year-old daughter, Brianna, taking a trip back to Scotland. After I picked my freaking jaw up off the floor and started reading, I got really into this part of the story, despite a small part of my brain still screaming “What the fuck?!”, and was a bit disappointed when we jumped back to the 1740s, though I knew it would eventually happen if we were to find out what went on to bring Claire back to the 20th century.
When we’re reunited with Claire and Jamie in 1744 France, Claire is pregnant with their first child, Jack Randall is presumed dead and Jamie’s still an outlaw wanted by the English. However, they’re now focused on making sure Prince Charles doesn’t manage to get the financial backing needed to attempt to return to Scotland and reclaim the throne he believes is his while not showing themselves to be traitors to the Jacobites. Of course all sorts of other things are going on with Jamie and Claire, including court intrigue, the introduction of a young boy in their lives and Claire being labeled as being more than just a simple healer, among other things, making for a fast, easy and quick read (if you have the time to sit and read it for a day or two straight, not just at lunch or during commutes), despite the length of the book. It also helps that the scene shifts back to Scotland (frankly, I was getting sick of the self-involved nitwits in Paris) and what appears to be the coming war between Scotland and England.
I really liked Roger Wakefield, the professor (and Reverend Wakefield’s adopted son) who helps Claire and her daughter, and who also learns about her secret, the one that Frank apparently didn’t believe when Claire returned home.
As much as I love these characters, especially Jamie, it seems at least one of them has to do something to make me say, “Are you fucking kidding me???!!!” at least once. Claire’s WTF moment came when she (view spoiler)[had to petition King Louis for Jamie’s freedom from the Bastille. Now, the usual payment is a bonkfest with the slob, but when Claire helps him determine who is guilty of practicing sorcery, either the Comte St. Germain or Monsieur Raymond, of course with the assistance of the latter, I thought services have been rendered, free Jamie. But no. The pig still expected Claire to put out, which SHE FUCKING DID!!!! If you can call the perfunctory probing by the little (literally) pig putting out. Seriously? I’d be like, dude, I will rain all sorts of supernatural hell down on you (since he thinks she’s La Dame Blanche) if you even think of touching me or not helping my husband. (hide spoiler)] I just thought it was ridiculous, gross and unnecessary. I would’ve also done everything in my power to bring about the French Revolution decades before it happened or something equally awful (like a scorching case of syphilis) and made sure the little fuck knew who to send the thank you note to.
As for the other characters, I loved seeing Jenny and Ian again. The relationship that they have with each other and with Jamie especially is fantastic. I really enjoy the interactions between the siblings and how Jamie and Ian act like not only best friends, but siblings as well. Murtagh continues to be a great, solid character and I liked the introduction of Fergus, though part of his backstory and time in Paris is tough to read about and what happened in Paris with Jamie is completely understandable (view spoiler)[Frank or no, I would’ve killed the bastard on the spot (hide spoiler)].
While the battle only takes place during the last third of the book, it all moves quickly and was portrayed well. Despite some initial successes by the Highlanders, the war was brutal and didn’t disappoint in showing the realities of battle, especially back then. However, in the back of my mind I kept thinking, “What the hell happened and how did Claire get back?!” and how the hell did (view spoiler)[Jamie end up dying at Culloden (hide spoiler)], something we find out about early on and is a total pisser, while we’re with Claire in the 20th century. It seems like Claire should have known enough to keep certain things from happening, so finding out how everything went down made me want to jump to the end of the book many times, though I refrained from doing so and was very glad I didn’t because I was richly rewarded at the end. Thank goodness I had already ordered the next book in the series, which I’ve already begun reading.
Though Jamie and Claire do things that are sometimes too stupid to be believed, most of what takes place in the books seem very realistic (yeah, you could say some stuff isn’t plausible, but historic figures become historic for a reason!) and is never really dull. For as long as these suckers are, they move very quickly and never fail to hold my attention. I’m looking forward to continuing with Claire and Jamie’s story in Voyager. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
No way. No. Fucking. Way. I don’t care how much Claire was used to being in less than civilized conditions, having been dragged all over th4.25 stars.
No way. No. Fucking. Way. I don’t care how much Claire was used to being in less than civilized conditions, having been dragged all over the world by her Uncle Lamb, an archaeologist, I don’t know how you could choose to live the rest of your life without movies, TV (if they didn’t have it then, they soon would), current books, music, pants, antibiotics, toothpaste and in an attempt to keep this list shorter, last but definitely not least, electricity and running water. I don’t care how hot Jamie is, it wouldn’t be happening. Try to find a way to drag him back with you, but staying in 1744 would most not be an option I’d even consider for a second.
I’m not going to do a huge rehash of the story, but Claire Randall and her husband, Frank, have taken a vacation to Scotland to reconnect after having been separated for years by World War II, as they haven’t spent too much time together since they were married shortly before the outbreak of war. While visiting the stones of Craigh na Dun by herself, Claire touches the stones and is transported back to 1743. One thing leads to another and she ends up under the protection of the clan Mackenzie. Protection also meaning observation because they’re not sure she isn’t an English spy. However, she proves to be a useful healer and is quickly put to work at Castle Leoch, where these member of the clan reside.
At times I felt things got a bit dramatic and mushy, but these passages weren’t long and are easily overlooked. And if you love mushy, you won’t have a problem with this at all. And a couple of things seemed highly unlikely. First, I’m not sure you could successfully rouse someone from a fever the way Claire attempted, unless, of course, it was not only the fever keeping you down but more the lack of desire to live. Though if you’re going to go about it, I suppose the way she chose would have the highest success rate. Secondly, if I had been Jamie, I would’ve totally (view spoiler)[broken my word to Randall and not only not let him touch me, but I would’ve killed him. And I’m was more than a little pissed at Claire for not trying to take him out herself. For all of the times that she’s strong and acts tough, there are just as many times where she plays the weak woman who just can’t do anything. And the coup de grâce, Jamie putting his fucking arms around Randall??!! Seriously, dude?! I don’t give a shit what issues the guy has, or how messed up he is, if he just degraded me in every fucking way possible, the only thing I’d be putting around him would be my hands around his neck (feel free to start singing Three Simple Words by Finch if you know the lyrics)! (hide spoiler)].
One of the great things about the present day being set in 1945 is that, even though this book was written over twenty years ago, it’s not at all dated, it actually reads like it could have been written this year, which was a nice surprise, I still thought something might not hold up after so many years, but luckily, my fears were unfounded.
I’ll admit that I started reading this book because I began watching the Starz series and was surprised how closely the first episode or two mirrored the book. I was glad when small things started happening that weren’t in the book, just to shake it up and keep it interesting. Truth be told, I sometimes have to put the freaking subtitles on when some people are talking because damned if I can understand what they’re saying, so having read the book, I can figure out what they’re saying (charmer or Beaton being an example) and even follow the plot much better than I would have if I hadn’t read the book, though I think either way you’d be fine watching the series.
While, judging from the first book, at least, this is ostensibly a story about a romance between Claire and Jamie, there’s a whole lot more going on here than romance and sex, it’s by no means a bodice ripper. There’s a ton of history, machinations within the clans, a whole lot of evil in the form of Black Jack Randall and, despite the occasional foray into sap, good writing that is easy to get lost in. Whether you watch the Starz series or not, I can easily say I recommend picking up a copy of Outlander if you want to read an engrossing historical novel (I refuse to call it a romance!). ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I’ve really enjoyed this series so far. I’d been wanting to read Royal Street since it came out but never got around to picking them up. In4.25 stars.
I’ve really enjoyed this series so far. I’d been wanting to read Royal Street since it came out but never got around to picking them up. In the past month I’ve grabbed and read all three so quickly that I didn’t really have time to write reviews for the first two but there will be spoilers for the first two books in this review.
Drusilla Jaco, otherwise known as DJ or sometimes Dru, is a practicing Green Congress wizard who also happens to have elven blood in her through both of her parents’ bloodlines, hence the wooden stick she can use to amp up her magic, an elven relic courtesy of her father, Gerry (whose death I’m still pissed about. He had the potential to be a great character but turned out to be the clichéd bad guy who thought he was a good guy), that chose DJ to wield it. The last book surprised me in that three years took place between the events of the first book and the sequel. With the third in the series, only weeks have passed since the events that took place in it. This time, it seems an historical undead serial killer is on the loose and it’s up to DJ and her partner and shapeshifter, Alex Warin, to find and stop him. Of course, a huge complication arises, one that may not only affect her ability to solve this case, but also her entire life. To make matters even more difficult, DJ’s best female friend, Eugenie, has quickly become involved with a mysterious man who, though he seems nice on the outside, obviously knows more about DJ than he’s letting on and is definitely hiding something about himself, something that could also change DJ’s life forever.
As for the secondary characters, I’m so happy that Ken is finally clued into what’s going on. Though he has more of a storyline here, it’s still not huge, but his interactions with everyone should increase since he’s let in on the not-so-little secret everyone’s hiding and they should have easier and more access to cases, now that Ken’s on board. Someone else finds out about the supernatural world the hard way, but I like this turn of events as well and think it will make for more interesting storylines down the road.
Though I know the reasons for Jake pulling a disappearing act for basically the whole book, I didn’t like his absence. Though at the beginning of the series there was a will-they-or-won’t-they aspect to their relationship, I never got the feeling that he was ever really in the running for DJ’s affections, as it seemed pretty clear that Alex, Jake’s cousin, was going to be the love interest here, at least the first one.
I never knew who I wanted DJ to get together with, she had a number of options with Alex, Jake, Jean and even Rene was an outside possibility, but I always sort of leaned toward Jake, despite the fact that the last book made it pretty clear this wouldn’t be happening anytime soon. I know this series is about DJ and I don’t necessarily want spin-offs, but I’d love it if one of the future books would focus largely on Jake, as he’s an interesting character with a number of issues to deal with and, dammit, he deserves a good love interest! I’d also love something focusing on Rene, as he’s also a terrific character and I don’t want DJ becoming the whore of New Orleans and hooking up with all of these guys just to get more of a storyline for them. That’s not to say I don’t like Alex, I do, he’s a great character and partner for DJ, but there’s just some spark missing for me. I’m not going to throw my fists to the sky and scream “NOOOOO” at the top of my lungs if they end up together, but I think it’ll kill an amazing friendship.Despite my wavering feelings of who I wanted DJ to end up with, I think the person who would be best suited with her is Rand. His storyline really ratcheted the action and plot more than a notch and had introduced a number of interesting plotlines down the road. I don’t know why, but DJ and Rand together are terrific, they actually have the spark I feel is missing in the other relationship, I just don’t know what sort of chance he has what with things with Alex heating up the way they do.
I really enjoy this series. This book had a ton of action and surprises coupled with a great storyline and a growing cast of characters that continue to be interesting. With such a diverse group of pretes and with the borders down, there are a ton of stories to be mined by Johnson and so far she’s done a great job of mixing things up. I can’t help but wonder if we’re going to get a bigger story involving the vampires relatively soon, particularly because we’re introduced to the vampire regent this time around. ...more
Alice Davis’ life has crumbled right before her eyes. She’s been top of her class and aiming for the Ivy League her whole life, so when her4.25 stars.
Alice Davis’ life has crumbled right before her eyes. She’s been top of her class and aiming for the Ivy League her whole life, so when her early acceptance application to Yale is denied, she plummets into a downward spiral that leads her to, of all things, running.
I can’t believe I was getting (view spoiler)[choked up (hide spoiler)] over a freaking rat. But the relationship Allie has with Walter is so sweet, they’re just adorable together and it really comes across how much they mean to each other. That said, though I have more respect for them after reading Rats and have no problem with someone wanting one as a companion animal, I think I’ve seen one too many of the little buggers running around the subway to feel that I’d really like to get up close and personal with one.
I also loved Walter-the-Man. And I loved that at a certain point she realizes it’s a little weird to call someone this, even though she did it partly to differentiate between her rat and the family friend, partly out of habit and, I think, partly to annoy Walter-the-Man. He’s hilariously inappropriate and her relationship with him is funny and touching, especially when he goes off on a tirade when she’s moping,
I loved reading about Allie learning about running. Though I always say I’m not a runner because I haven’t entered a race seriously in years (though before a recent injury, maybe the cause of said injury, I did start upping my mileage to train for a half-marathon) and don’t get all excited about all things running like serious runners do, I was familiar with everything Allie was experiencing and learning about and some of it had me cracking up. One note. There is absolutely no need for, and it grosses me out to even type this, snot rockets. In the winter, most jackets have pockets. For the summer, buy shorts with pockets. And for the love of all that is holy and unholy, put tissues in them.
I think the book would have resonated with me more if Allie had come off as older. She’s almost eighteen but at times she just came across as a bit young. Then again, at other times she definitely came across as older, and I liked this side of her better. While her family and best friend had a harder time with Allie’s self-centeredness regarding her attempt to gain early acceptance to Yale and finally her rejection, though they dealt with it and didn’t give her grief about it, I had a harder time when she showed a complete lack of consideration for her mother regarding her birthday, particularly when her parents do and buy absolutely everything for her, and with her lack of interest in what was going on with Jenni’s life. On the other hand, while she may have seriously dropped the ball this time around and been very insensitive to boot (not sure if she’s always like this or it’s a one-time thing), I thought Allie should have been pissed at her mom for doting so much on Jenni and treating her with more affection and more like a daughter than she did her own daughter.
Miles was cute, sweet and funny but was just lacking in a little something for me. I kind of want to say depth, but we find out about the relationship he has with his grandmother, which is really sweet and definitely out of the norm for teenage guys nowadays (or maybe any time). I guess I didn’t really get a sense of his thoughts and feelings, maybe having a chapter or two from his point of view would’ve helped with that. But overall, he was a wonderful character and really helped Allie take a better look at her world and how she was acting, as did, I think, running and Joan, the woman who ran a local running store and was friend’s with Allie’s mother. And what he said right before he kissed her? Soooooo cute!
This was a really sweet, fun and at times moving read that should resonate with most people; runners, those with companion animals, people who have dealt with rejection and more, I hhighly recommend it! ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more