Showing posts with label diana gabaldon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label diana gabaldon. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

What I Was Reading When I Wasn't Here (and, Hi!)

And Lord knows it's been a while since I've been here!

Sorry for the protracted absence, reader friends.  I told ya this was likely to happen though, what with me in school, and child in school, and toddler in full force, and making time for me + husband, and running, and this freaking election (don't even get me started), and just EVERYTHING.  All the things.  There are too many things.  So yes, I have been absent.

However, I have been reading!  I just haven't been blogging about it!  Which has been weird (since I've blogged about EVERY book I read between August 2012 and...6 weeks ago), but also very liberating.  I just fly through books when I have the time, and don't worry about how I will review them.  It's rather wonderful, in fact, even though I know that doesn't bode real well for the blog...though I'm still staunchly NOT shutting it down, for whatever that's worth.

Anyway, instead of full-on reviews, I thought I would highlight the best of what I've read lately, in a very short and sweet list...plus let you know about the one book I've been reading forever, but have yet to DNF.

The Best of What I've Read Lately (with exceedingly short descriptions):

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

RELEVANT IMMEDIATELY.  READ NOW.

The Mothers by Brit Bennett

New release by a debut author, the hype in the blogosphere was justified.  Plus, I like pretty things, and the cover is a very pretty thing.

In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10, both by Ruth Ware

Mystery and debauchery!  Lots of red herrings!

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (my first Christie!)

The queen of Mystery and Debauchery and Red Herrings!  I was not disappointed.

Why I Run by Mark Sutcliffe

Runners need to read this one.  It helped me get out of a running slump and pushed me to sign up for a marathon (again).  More on that in another post...

And...The Book I Have Been Reading Forever:

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

I dunno guys.  I am starting to think this series is not for me.  Been at this since August?  September?  I still have 300 pages to go.  Determined to do it, but it might be a while before I think about picking up the third installment.

So, readers, catch me up...what are you reading lately?  Have you read any of the books I listed above?  What should be next on my ever-expanding TBR list?

Also, send Joe Biden memes.  All the Joe Biden memes.  #UncleJoe

Sunday, April 24, 2016

It's Time to Talk About OUTLANDER!

Hello, reader friends!!  I know, I fell off the face of the Earth, AGAIN.  Lots going on in our household lately--all good things, no worries, but it's left very little time for blogging.  (Even this post was pre-written, as I am running the Flower City Half Marathon today--WOOHOO!!)  That said, I've been chomping at the bit to talk with you all about Outlander by Diana Gabaldon!

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I finally decided to tackle this much-talked-about tome.  I've had a copy on my shelf longer than I've been married (9 years this year, woop!).  I think there were two things that kept me from picking it up right away: the length (800+ pages, in a series of books that are ALL 800+ pages, feels like a huge commitment) and the genre (historical fiction is OK by me, but romance is not my forte).  However, the time had come.  I had to see for myself if the hype was warranted.

(A quick synopsis for those unfamiliar with the novel, from GoodreadsThe 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.)

As the novel opened, I was off to a slow start.  Getting to know Claire and her husband Frank was interesting, but not particularly captivating.  Then the time travel thing happened, and I was kind of ehhhhhhhhh about that whole piece of it.  Don't get me wrong, time travel done well is a cool plot element (The Time Traveler's Wife is still one my favorite novels), but I didn't know if I really loved how Gabaldon worked it into the story here.  Plus, I felt like Claire acclimated to her new environment (200ish years in the past) WAY faster than I'd think is normal.  (But what do I know, right?  When was the last time I traveled to 1700's Highland Scotland?)

ANYWAY.  I tried to let all this slide.  I was in for the long haul here, and I had to believe there was more in store.

(Okay, there was definitely more in store, there were still 600 pages left.)

After Claire time traveled and settled into her new home at Castle Leoch, that's when things turned over for me.  Gabaldon's period details, plus Claire's sassy attitude, AND the ever-so-delightful introduction of Jamie Fraser, turned this into a totally different novel for me.  I was totally on board.  And, I'm happy to say, completely taken with Claire and Jamie's romance.  I love how it has this constant undercurrent of "but what about Frank?!" as you wonder about the husband that Claire left behind.  Can't wait to see more of that in the rest of the series.
The Jamie Fraser memes out there are just hilarious.
I don't want to give any spoilers for others who haven't read it, but by the end of the book, I was completely taken.  100% on board the Outlander train.  I did have a lot of hesitations, both before I started reading and within the first several chapters, but I was happy to see all of those hangups dashed by the time I reached the final page.  That said, while I think readers who don't often read romance could still enjoy this book, it would be awfully hard to like it if you don't have a thing for historical fiction.  That's definitely the dominant genre here, and the details that drive it make up many of the 800+ pages.

I have a few other books I'm hoping to tackle in the coming weeks, but Dragonfly in Amber (part 2 of this series) is already sitting on my night stand...so the series will continue!  :)  Much thanks to all of my friends that pushed me to read this one.  Now to decide if I want to make time for the TV series as well...

Monday, February 29, 2016

A Leap Day 'What Are You Reading?'

Um, more like what am I NOT reading this week?  I've had a whole bunch of fun reading adventures going on lately.  Time to share!

What am I reading now?  Currently reading 3 different books...I know, craziness.  I've been trying to avoid multiple books at the same time lately, because it fries my brain and usually ends up making me dislike at least one of the books because I'm not paying it enough proper attention.  But sometimes you just can't stop yourself.  The three I'm currently immersed in:

1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: Been on my TBR for YEARS, been listening to many many friends telling me how I need to read it for YEARS, and have been avoiding it...for yes, years.  I've heard great things, but the books in this series are so long, it felt like a giant commitment to start.  Not sure what finally pushed me to go for it, but I'm easing into them.  I'm about 150 pages in and have to be honest--I don't see the hype yet, but it's still very early on.  I enjoy historical fiction but I'm not a big fan of romance, so I could see this going either way for me.  I'll push on and let you know what I think at the end.

2. The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer: Just started this for a TLC book tour.  A mystery/thriller involving a mom and her missing daughter sounds like a good match for me!  Too early to give much of a reaction, but you'll have a full review in a couple weeks.

3. The Walking Dead: Compendium 1 by Robert Kirkman: I've mentioned here a few times that I LOVE LOVE LOVE The Walking Dead (TV show).  I knew about the comics and always meant to pick them up, but just never got around to it.  I finally put the first compendium (collection of the first 48 issues) on hold at the library and picked it up this week.  I'll admit that I was likely pushed into this by my curiosity over Negan, who is being introduced to the show soon and all the comics fans are FREAKING THE FRICK OUT over.  Plus, I'm just really excited to see the differences between comic and TV!

Up next?  After all that reading, I've got a couple books from the library that I'm hoping to get to: The Last Pilot by Benjamin Johnscock, and The Vacationers by Emma Straub.  If I like Outlander, I'd like to try the second book in the series (Dragonfly in Amber).  And I also have another TLC tour for the end of March, All Stories are Love Stories by Elizabeth Percer.

The reading is GOOD right now, people!  What are you reading this week?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The To-Be-Read Tag

I have seen this fun little questionnaire pop up on a lot of blogs lately, and while I haven't been tagged specifically, many bloggers have just said that they invite anyone reading it to play along.  I will take that as my invitation to participate!  :)

1. How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

I suppose my only "official" TBR pile is the one I keep on Goodreads.  However, it is OUT OF CONTROL and doesn't even include everything I want to read, because I kind of gave up on it long ago.  I suppose my true TBR pile is rather infinite. 

2. Is your TBR mostly print or eBook?

I'd say mostly print.  But I have a boatload of eBooks on my Kindle waiting to be read...so many, in fact, that I've forgotten which ones I own already (oops).
 
3. How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

Changes by the day!  Sometimes I want a classic, sometimes I want a backlist title from a favorite author, sometimes I want to pick from the TBR Book Baggie, sometimes I want an ARC...the list goes on.
 
4. A book that’s been on your TBR list the longest?

If you go by my Goodreads list, The World According to Garp by John Irving has been there the longest.  I've owned a paperback copy from my mom for ages, and have yet to make time for it.

5. A book you recently added to your TBR?

One of the most recently added to my Goodreads list is Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.  I am excited to get that one soon.

6. A book on your TBR strictly because of it’s beautiful cover.

I don't really look at covers much, to be honest!  I wouldn't say it's beautiful, per se, but I enjoy the eye-catching cover of Mira Grant's Symbiont (book 2 in the Parasitology series)...it's on my TBR list, even though I've heard this sequel is hugely disappointing.

7. A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading.

Probably World Without End by Ken Follett.  It's the sequel to The Pillars of the Earth, which I didn't even particularly like...why is this on my list, then??

8. An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for.

Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer.  It comes out this April.  I would read Krakauer's grocery list, if he'd let me have the privilege.
 
9. A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read but you.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.  I get continually reminded by MANY people that I should have read it by now!
 
10. A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you.

See above answer! 

11. A book on your TBR that you’re dying to read.

I can only pick one?  How about Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple. 

12. How many books are on your Goodreads TBR shelf?

1078.  I told you it was out of control.

Feel free to jump into this little questionnaire, if you haven't already!  Tell me about your TBR pile, friends!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Top Ten Books I'm Not Sure I Want to Read

It's been a long time, friends!  But I thought today's Top Ten Tuesday topic (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) was an interesting one, so it's time to jump into the fun.  This week's focus is...

Top Ten Books I'm Not Sure I Want to Read

You know, books you bought but now aren't sure you want, books that get tons of hype and you feel like you SHOULD read them but are kinda iffy about, etc.  We've all got books on our lists like that!

1. World Without End by Ken Follett

Several years ago, I read Pillars of the Earth, back when EVERYONE was reading Pillars of the Earth.  And it was...okay.  I liked it, but it was kind of slow and tedious and OMG LONG.  And now I feel like I have to read the sequel...even though I kind of don't want to.

2. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Or really any David Sedaris book.  I read Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim a few years ago, and was so excited to laugh out loud, like everyone told me I would.  Aaaaand...I didn't.  I just did not get the Sedaris hype at all.  I feel like I need to give him another try though, because SO many people adore his work.  I'm just not super pumped about giving it a second chance.

3. 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James

I have read just enough excerpts from this book to feel like I can comment on my opinion of it with some authority.  (If you are unclear on my opinion, please feel free to go over to the search bar on the right side of my blog, search for 50 Shades, and enjoy the biting commentary that I have shared here over the years.)  However, there is a part of me that feels like I should read it, because EVERYONE has read it, and if I'm really going to pan it, shouldn't I read it cover to cover?  Even if it might make me die a little inside?

4. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

This is a tough one to admit!  I've owned this book (and the next 4 in the series) for something like 5 years now, and never touched them.  I bought them because I heard so many rave reviews, how could I not read them?  But...historical fiction (especially LONG historical fiction) is really hit-or-miss with me.  (See book #1 in this post.)  And it's such a long series...am I ready to commit?  It all seems so daunting.  (Katie from Words for Worms, I see you bursting at the seams over there, please feel free to unleash in the comments.)  :)

5. A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin

See: everything I said about Outlander.

6. The Dark Tower series by Stephen King

So hard for me to admit!  Because everyone knows I just adore Stephen King.  However, I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan of his books that have a heavy sci-fi bent.  Like, Insomnia was kind of painful for me.  Even The Stand was a little tough at times (but was saved by the more solid "real life" story of those that survived Captain Trips).  King says this series is his magnum opus though...how can I avoid it?

7. Extras by Scott Westerfeld

I read the Uglies trilogy a few years ago, and overall I really enjoyed it.  I saw that Extras is a companion novel to the trilogy, taking place after Tally's story is over with a new set of characters.  I feel compelled to read it because it's related to the Uglies trilogy...but I'm not sure I'm on board with a totally different protagonist after following Tally for 3 novels.  I feel this way about pretty much any "companion" novel to a solid trilogy.  Sometimes authors need to quit while they're ahead.

8. MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood

This is book #3 in the MaddAddam trilogy.  I read Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood a couple of years ago.  I liked them, but didn't love them.  Honestly, I read The Year of the Flood because I felt like I had to after finishing Oryx and Crake.  Now I feel the same about MaddAddam.

(This post is teaching me that I have a lot of guilt issues to get over regarding my tendency to not finish series.)


9. The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

Or pretty much any Philippa Gregory that I haven't already read.  Back in 2008, I discovered her work with The Other Boleyn Girl, and got fully ADDICTED.  I ripped through a ton of her books and adored them.  However, I think it was a case of burnout, because after a while I felt way overloaded on her stuff.  A lot of it reads somewhat similarly, so I got a little tired of her material.  Since then, I've looked at her other releases with a vague sense of yearning, but also a bit of uncertainty...will I enjoy it, or am I going to think it's too much of the same again?

10. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

This is described as the Japanese version of The Hunger Games, which is why it's been on my TBR list.  It actually came out a few years before HG, but is way, way gorier (so I've been told).  Hence my hesitation.  I am outrageously curious about this novel, but not quite sure I'm ready for the blood and guts.  Same goes for the movie version!

Readers: what books are YOU unsure about reading?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Can't Believe I Never Read

It's time for a little Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!  Today we get to pick any past topic, so I went with

The Top Ten Books I Can't Believe I Never Read

1. Any of John Irving's books

I know, I know.  I really need to get on this.  The World According to Garp is the book that's been on my Goodreads TBR list the longest.

2. Bitter Is The New Black by Jen Lancaster

I hear amazing things about Jen Lancaster all the time!  I love funny books!  Why have I not read this yet?

3. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

I have it sitting on my bookshelf at home, it's been recommended to me a million times.  I don't have a good excuse.

4. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Haven't seen the movie either.

5. Salem's Lot by Stephen King

As a King fan, this one is the hardest to admit.  I plan to rectify that soon, in time for Halloween!

6. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

All the Banned Book Week talk about this book is making me feel like I need to move it up the TBR list.

7. The Devil In The White City by Erik Larson

Another book that is recommended to me all the time.  And I loved Larson's In The Garden of Beasts!  I need to get to this.

8. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Apparently I did not have a normal childhood, if I managed to miss this.

9. A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle

See above comment.

10. Moby Dick by Herman Melville

It just feels like something I need to read.  As a reader.

So, what books can you not believe you never read?  Also, feel free to leave me shaming comments.  They will motivate me to read these books!!
 
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