Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Congress of Secrets by Stephanie Burgis

Standalone
340 p.
Publisher: Pyr
Published: 11/1/16
Source: From publisher for review
In 1814, the Congress of Vienna has just begun. Diplomats battle over a new map of Europe, actors vie for a chance at glory, and aristocrats and royals from across the continent come together to celebrate the downfall of Napoleon…among them Lady Caroline Wyndham, a wealthy English widow. But Caroline has a secret: she was born Karolina Vogl, daughter of a radical Viennese printer. When her father was arrested by the secret police, Caroline’s childhood was stolen from her by dark alchemy. 
Under a new name and nationality, she returns to Vienna determined to save her father even if she has to resort to the same alchemy that nearly broke her before. But she isn’t expecting to meet her father’s old apprentice, Michael Steinhรผller, now a charming con man in the middle of his riskiest scheme ever. 
The sinister forces that shattered Caroline’s childhood still rule Vienna behind a glittering faรงade of balls and salons, Michael’s plan is fraught with danger, and both of their disguises are more fragile than they realize. What price will they pay to the darkness if either of them is to survive?
My thoughts:

I really enjoyed Stephanie Burgis's last historical novel, Masks and Shadows (review linked) so I was thrilled that this one came in the mail for review. This is based on some historical events (Congress of Vienna) and people ( for example Pergren, a villain in the book, was a real villain in life). The author even suggests books at the end of the story if you would like to further your education on the time or people of the book.

Of course not everything is based on truth and usually that is the part that I enjoy. I would have thought the alchemy would have drawn me in... well, it did, but what really captivated me was the mystery. Caroline was the mystery. Her past, present, and what she wanted all intermingled with the political intrigue of the time period.  How those puzzle pieces came together is what really what had me turning the pages of this book.

There are other POVs within the book which enhances the political mystery as well as brings to light other aspects that Caroline did not and could not have known or expected. One of them is the viewpoint of Michael who was an old trusted friend whom she felt abandoned her. You also get a viewpoints of Emperor Francis and Peter who is part of an actors group caught up in the intrigue. These viewpoints are well placed and so it wasn't confusing to the reader.

Without revealing what happens I have to say I really enjoyed the ending. I did not want to put it down and it was quite satisfying, especially with our main character, Caroline. This is a solid mystery with some paranormal happenings to enhance the threat. I give this book 4 stars.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Seriously Shifted by Tina Connolly

Series: Seriously Wicked #2
240 p.
Publisher: Tor Teen
Published: 11/1/16
Source: From publisher for review
A sparkling new adventure about teen witch Camellia and her mother, wicked witch Sarmine, introduced to readers in Seriously Wicked 
Teenage witch Cam isn’t crazy about the idea of learning magic. She’d rather be no witch than a bad one. But when a trio of her mother’s wicked witch friends decide to wreak havoc in her high school, Cam has no choice but to try to stop them. 
Now Cam’s learning invisibility spells, dodging exploding cars, and pondering the ethics of love potions. All while trying to keep her grades up and go on a first date with her crush. If the witches don’t get him first, that is.
Can’t a good witch ever catch a break?
My thoughts:

I had not read the first book in this series and I had a feeling I would be okay skipping it. I was so you should have no problems if you haven't read the first book (although I know it's gotten good reviews).  I did read her Ironskin series and enjoyed them so that was another reason I took a chance on this book, plus I was in the mood for something light.

The book as a whole is YA but it reads quite young. I would think that mature MG kids could read this one with no problems. While the themes weren't too mature, there was some alcohol in the book even though Cam was against underage drinking. I would probably suggest those that are on the fence about letting their kids read it try it first before deciding. If nothing else you will have read a entertaining book yourself.

Within the story Cam is determined to be a good witch despite being surrounded by "wicked" witches. She considers her mom a wicked witch (her mom concurs) but she is more like someone who wants her way and feels she knows what is best for everyone else. So... borderline evil. She finds that her mom's friends want to play a game in destroying her friend's lives but with an unexpected truce with her mom she figures out the most evil witch's end game and how to save everyone around her. She should be quite exhausted after trying to outthink everyone.

The secondary characters work and I really think they enhanced the story. I really liked her circle of friends and it was nice that she was able to let several of them in on her witchy secret. Sometimes the secret trope gets old quickly so that was a refreshing part of the story.

I give this book 3 1/2 stars. I enjoyed the friendship and the fun in dealing with a wicked witch while finding out what truly makes a good witch. I also enjoyed the end tidbits with the spells she had to figure out as well as her morality good witch list.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy US Thanksgiving

Thanks for visiting the blog, and for being great bookish friends!
For those celebrating have a great time and lots of good food. For the rest, happy Thursday! 

๐Ÿฆƒ

Also please care and have a thought to those that are facing some scary times right now. I thought this video was beautiful which actually has a Thanksgiving theme to it.
You might have to sit through a commercial first. Sorry about that.

Filmmaker Frank Chi captures young Muslim Americans reading letters written by Japanese Americans during their time held in internment camps in the midst of World War II. (Frank Chi/ Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center)
๐Ÿ’—

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Arts and Crafts Corner: Holiday Crafting


I've been complaining that the holidays come WAY too soon, but in crafting it can begin as early as July (Christmas in July... sound familiar?) to get everything done. I've been doing a few things and I thought I'd share.

 The first thing is actually for me. Had to try this out and see how it works. 

EOS holder:

This holds those EOS lip balms. I could not resist this one. Too funny! :)

I had mentioned that I used the glow in the dark embroidery on my wreath. I also did that to these unicorn skelanimals. I tried to get a pic of them. If you squint just right... you may be able to see it (you might have to click on the pic to make it bigger)...

I also made some key FOBs for the vet's office:
For the vets, vet techs and office workers. They get to decide who gets what... although some are more obvious than others. :)

And last for today is some key FOBs I made for a cousin and his boys. They love the ninja turtles and so I made all the colors. They get to chose who gets what color. :)

So, anyone crafting for the holidays already? I'm not done yet... *wipes sweat off of brow* ;) Will have more of these posts as I start to take pics. :) I'll try to do better pics.
๐Ÿ’

Got a question as to what to do besides donations. Here are some actions:

1. Call Senator Lindsey Graham's office at (202) 224-5972, push 2 if you get the recording. Tell the staff member "I support Senator Graham's investigation into Russia's participation in the election of Donald Trump."

I have not been able to get a hold of someone yet. Both mailboxes have been full as of this writing.

2. Call the House Oversight Committee tell them you support the call for a bipartisan review of Trump's financials and conflicts of interest. (202) 225-5074.

Still haven't been able to get it through... yet.

3. Call Paul Ryan's office and take his survey about the Affordable Care Act. You'll hear a short pause (sometimes the dead air is more than a minute), then press 2 to opt into the survey. You'll a short speech about Ryan's stance, then press 1 to support the ACA. (202)-225-0600. You don't have to talk to anyone here, it is all a recording.

4. Find your representatives. Calling is best as I posted a link (HERE) who is a Republican staffer and tells you how you get heard. House Representatives: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ and US Senate: http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/

5. Sign the petition for Standing Rock at the ACLU's site: HERE. The DOJ's comment line is: (202) 353 1555 

The fact that the mailboxes are full. That is good. Keep trying!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Soapbox with a Marvel Review in the Mix: AKA My Cape is in the Wash

Heh... get it? ๐Ÿ˜„

Well, I'm still processing, still angry and still here. There have been some issues that have come about that I cannot be silent about. I apologize to those that find it triggering but I cannot stay silent anymore. The first part, if you missed it, about the election and why I'll have the puppy giveaway in Dec. is HERE.

Sore Loser?


With people being named for important powerful positions the fears of many people are now becoming real. This isn't about being a "sore loser" it is about REAL fear coming true. The #notmypresident protest is partially about not being able to support someone who ran on abhorrent ideals. They cannot say that the racist, misogynistic, and xenophobic rhetoric he spouted during the campaign is ok in any way at all. However there is real value in questioning (not demeaning) the protest and reminding people to not resort to violence. He is the president elect. We must now turn toward vigilance against demagoguery, racism, misogyny, and hate. Turn your energy toward that. Call your representatives.

Need more reasons people are afraid? Let's start with just a couple of the people that will be a part of his team. One member of the "transition team" under Pence that Trump has named. He is Kris Kobach. He penned one of the most racist legislation to go through AZ requiring that people looking a certain way to carry papers to prove that they are US citizens. Steve Bannon who has been named as the White House Chief Strategist is the other worry. He has been known to have had Trump's ear throughout the campaign. Both have been known to work with white supremacists (who have come out as happy for this appointment) and Bannon even has a website with white nationalist, anti-semitic, and misogynistic views called Breitbart. Even Paul Ryan (who actually seemed reasonable at times during the campaign but has recently refused to decry Bannon) has just decreed that Medicare will become privatized. And yes, there is still no solid plan to replace the ACA. No, I don't believe that parts of it will stay and I will not count on it. Those that he is moving into place want to eliminate it first and decide what to do about it later. I do still hope to be pleasantly surprised but don't believe it will happen. They won't allow it.

There are other reasons that are coming to light that have confirmed the fears of a lot of people. This is just a tiny bit of it. So, no, it is not the same thing as when Obama took office. He did not run on a campaign of exclusion (even if you felt that way, his campaign still didn't run with that rhetoric). He extended a hand, many people feel that Trump has already extended a fist. It is hard to give someone a chance when on the campaign trail people did give him several chances. They would try to correct him by telling him he really didn't mean "that", they tried to help him understand why what he said was painful. His response was to double down on his initial argument. As I said before in my last post, he has already hurt people.

There is also the social reasons to worry. This article also echoes some of my sentiments: It's Not Melodramatic to Fear for Our Safety.

And to those that compare one hate against another, know this: There is no contest to be won and anything done out of hate is just plainly wrong. That kind of comparison is used to distract from any real discussion. Any reasonable person would denounce any sort of violence. You already know that.

This is one of a million explanations, articles and social media statuses explaining why people feel this way. This should no longer be an unknown factor as to why people are reacting in this manner.

Also, I would like to address one thing that has been coming across from all sides of the equation. It is that the liberals were somehow silencing the radical conservatives. I want to make it clear, right now, that the predicament we are in is the fault of EVERY US CITIZEN even if the reasons for that fault are different. I also firmly believe that many didn't say who they were voting for because they knew that to side with the horrible things Trump was saying was wrong even if that wasn't why they voted for him. I think this tweet actually sums up how I feel about this issue:

And still, I do think they deserve a seat at the table. I want them at the table. They are valuable because they are human. They deserve their non-hate fears and issues to be heard. I have heard that people felt bullied into accepting change, so let that be your topic but change your tactics. We can't force anyone to sit at the table and you can't force anyone else to accept what we see is hateful. Let me also make this clear: I've not talked to one person who believed that everyone who voted for Trump was racist, sexist or against LGBTQ groups (and yes, I know that person exists but they aren't the majority). However...
That is how many of us are feeling at the moment.

AND if you still don't get it, here is another way of looking at it: The Cinemax Theory of Racism by John Scalzi

The Positives

Yes, I do want to always include these. Not so we ignore the negatives, but so we can increase the positives.

Heard of the #safetypin movement? There have been some legitimate criticisms of it. One opinion is HERE. While I agree with some points of the article, I do believe that there is value in it. Another thoughtful article is HERE which actually reflects more of my view of the safety pin. Don't wear one unless you actually plan on helping someone in some manner if they have experienced marginalization. It is supposed to be a pin of action. Action doesn't mean confronting a dangerous person (that may not be safe for anyone involved), but it can mean just sitting next to the person and coming forth with words of support. Bearing witness (filming) and be willing to become a witness in a police report. Make sure the victim is okay. Also, realize that this does not give you permission to become a bully yourself. Do not become the monster you are fighting. Also, don't expect someone marginalized to feel safe because you wear a pin. I see it as more of a signal that you do not support what is going on. Your actions or lack of action will define the rest of your statement.

✨Let me give you an example. My mother, who is a person of color, was getting some very angry stares and was even confronted in a angry way while going to the grocery store. We had arguments about her going alone while the election was running and after an angry confrontation she finally started taking my dad to the store with her. After the election we were all more nervous and she agreed to still take my dad with her. All 3 of us have been wearing the safety pin. My mom has seen a shift in attitude. She noticed that someone would see the pin and then they would be extra helpful. We were first worried it would have the opposite effect. I'm thankful that they made sure my mother felt welcome. So, it even works in "reverse". 

✨People are donating money to Planned Parenthood in Pence's name.

✨The ACLU is seeing record support and will be stronger for it when fighting for our rights.

✨Various leaders in different states are standing up to what he has proposed (like mass deportation and I think the list will get longer as it goes on- both in leaders and in issues). The governor in my state has already drawn a line in the sand about mass deportation. I suspect he will also reject registration of different groups as well (yes, there is historical precedence for similar legislation in my state and the rejection of it).

✨There is a way to get your representatives to hear you. Remember they represent YOU even if you voted for the "other person". Check out Emily Ellsworth Explains How to Get Congress to Listen if you haven't seen it yet. Yes, I have already called about the Bannon and Kobach appointments.

✨People are paying attention to some of the wrongs going on in reservations in the US. Standing Rock has gotten attention. The level this one is at is unprecedented.

✨Consider this: Shedding light on what was already present but hidden in the shadows is a GOOD thing. Sometimes things need to get worse before it can heal. It is the nature of a lot of things. You cannot heal what you do not acknowledge.

✨The Obama/Biden memes:

Heh... I needed these, I don't know about you. There are also a lot more out there. People keep makin' them! ๐Ÿ˜‚ Share 'em if you got 'em. *snort*

Getting back into the Groove:

So, back to some reviews...

I've not been reading although I do have some reviews of books I've read and reviewed but not posted. I just cannot find the ability to lose myself in reading. I needed more stimulation so I decided to binge watch Jessica Jones who just about everyone was praising.


Yea, this was fabulous. Just dark enough for my mood but doesn't drag you deeper. Jessica is the perfect anti-hero and the introduction to Luke Cage was perfect. David Tennant plays the perfect bad guy and it was also a series that will keep you on the edge of your seat. You won't get bored with this one. It had me from the first episode. Warning to some people who don't like it, it does have sex and violence in it.

Of course then I had to binge Luke Cage:

Okay, I was so happy to get some background on Luke. Plus the gratuitous shirtless parts he had to endure wasn't too bad. ๐Ÿ˜‰ My only problem with it was that despite the diverse cast it still had very stereotypical aspects to it. I also didn't quite feel the danger until about episode 8 although the mystery of Luke was preserved and kept you wanting to know more. He was pretty invincible until then and that aspect of danger was needed to bring his character out fully. I also didn't like it when he was a womanizer but when he started to trust he shined and you will swoon. I still want him together with Jessica (the other show totally ruined my idea of him with someone else) but I did like the other possible romantic relationships he might have. Darn it. LOL Also, same warning as Jessica Jones.

I'll be hitting Daredevil next even though it was a bit backwards. It's the fault of those that wanted me to see Jessica Jones before that one. Yea, that's it... their fault. LOL There will also be other Netflix episodes of Marvel characters and some are supposed to work together in other series. If you have been liking the superhero movies then do try these. They are addicting. 
๐Ÿ’ฅ

PS. Please do SOMETHING. Call your representative. VOTE in the next election. It could even be more crucial to vote in 2 years than in 4. 

It's your superpower. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Puppy Birthday Giveaway Preparation Post: The US election and how it leads to the giveaway

This was going to be a post about asking for help with my puppy giveaway. The US election has turned it upside-down so while I will still hold the giveaway but I will do something different. I've written this post several times and I hope I do make some sense. Also the election is why I've gone a bit MIA. Will try to come back but I may need more time to process. Also apologies to those that don't like to talk politics. I usually don't, but I did think it was necessary to give some things a voice. I also apologize for the length.

The US Presidential Election

Because people's emotions are so high, I've seen several calls for respectful disagreement. I agree with this. Unfortunately, I've also seen it used as a way to shut people up. Speaking to those that have used it that way and just want people to calm down and stop talking, you have to listen to the pain, the hurt and the fear before you can even start to change it. Yes, that is actually for both sides. It doesn't mean agreement but how else could we know what direction to take to get people to calm down? How else would we understand what road to take to change? Let me make this clear, this doesn't mean you have to tolerate hate. I do have one example where at least one person tries to start a real dialog in a real way. Take a moment to check out these videos if you like. It is Van Jones going into Gettysburg to talk to people with various affiliations but mainly Trump leanings. No one ends up agreeing but in a very small way some find a little common ground. It doesn't solve anything, but what becomes clear to me is that what is needed is mutual respect for the other and people need to hear the other's fear. Everyone is seems fearful. All are about 10 min and while there were no great epiphanies save one: we can still converse civilly.

The Messy Truth
All videos on his blog (go from the bottom to the top to get them in order) HERE

Please don't advocate for silence in this issue(s). I also think I and others should have the space to say why we are scared with this outcome as long as this is also done with respect. Remember respect does not equal agreement but does treat people as human. I believe we MUST acknowledge what harmful things have been happening both in the past and right after the election. To ignore it we go backwards and I refuse to do that. Hatred thrives in the dark where people refuse to acknowledge it exists. Also to those that have experienced more hatred of late, know that there are people who have your back. Who know this is wrong. For those that haven't experienced it, please pay attention. Do not be willfully ignorant at what is going on. Pay attention to everything. Listen. The fact that the whole presidential race was fought with Trump speaking with  misogynist and racist and hateful promises, speech, and horrible historical comparisons should also never be ignored. We need to acknowledge that his presidential race has already hurt people.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

I've never been scared with an outcome from a US election. This election was the exception. Several things scare me but what scares me the most (and for the sake of brevity I'll only mention 2) is something I just spoke about. The fact that hate groups now have a solid and open foothold for political legitimacy again. However there is an easy way to combat this. Vote. There is one fact that people don't recognize: Politicians do not pay attention to "the people" they pay attention to voters. This is how groups get power. This is why it is important to VOTE in EVERY election from here on out. You need to make your voice louder than these groups. This is how to fight this now. VOTE. The presidential election is not the only important election out there.

Another scare turned reality? The downfall of the ACA. Not to get into details but this program has literally saved my life and others and has helped thousands of people no matter how you feel about it.  Yes, I am quite aware of the problems within the ACA and so we need to FIX it not eliminate it. I'm hoping there will be something reasonable in it's place, but I'm not hopeful. I've seen what so far has been suggested in taking it's place (and I'm not talking about the "best plan" but ones that actually have merit and also why I call for fixing it not eliminating it) and it does not compare nor cover everyone currently helped by the ACA. I have never felt confident that I would be able to keep this program since it has been constantly under attack and I was always aware that this may happen at some point, but I just hoped it wouldn't be so soon. And to be honest, I'm not so sure if  I'm scared at this point but resigned.

The Positives

You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
Maya Angelou
I hope you agree that these are positive things happening and please feel free to add more in the comments. The reason I felt I needed to list these is because if all you see is negative you are less likely to do something to change it. By seeing something positive, you know you aren't alone and you know that there is still good to be preserved. Perhaps know that there is something you can do no matter how small. This isn't a "here is some positives so shut it", but "here is some positives so go out and create some of your own". 
  • There has been people recognizing that there will be people who will feel forgotten once again, maligned and in physical danger. This is important to those who feel invisible in this country. It also hasn't happened on this scale before.
  • These people are reaching out to others and are encouraging everyone to do the same. I am not listing groups of people as others have since I would eventually miss important groups by mistake. You don't need a list, just go out and reach out. I'm trying to do that here.
  • Women have found their voice about sexual assault and are speaking up in record numbers. One conversation that caught my attention was on twitter about the FIRST time as a female you were groped. I think it is an important distinction that it doesn't say if or when but first. It shows how much prevalence there is in this type of sexual assault. Btw, I think I was around 9 or 10 years old. 
  • I don't believe that we will go back to these hate groups in having the power they once had. I think this is more of a wake up call for a lot of people. Hate will NOT win but it has awoken people to reality.
  • The anger of good people speaking out about why this is wrong, how it affects their self and others. Yes, anger can be a good thing.
  • Things like this actually can create opportunity and bring factions of people closer together in the face of hatred. I've seen it in every situation in recent history. I've already seen it with what I've already stated.
  • Those that have power are lending their voice to those that have less. 
  • More people are paying attention. Know that what is going on is nothing new. People have been dealing with this kind of hate all along and have survived. This kind of hate cannot continue as long as there is light and knowledge shined on what is going on.
  • There are people currently formulating plans on what to do to make the world around them better for as may people possible. Like I said, I think we were just handed a wake up call.
And this leads me to my determination to not let the negatives get the better of me and I decided to go ahead with...


Yea, I think I need to see good things. This isn't about "getting over it" but being proactive about change. In the past I usually I have people do something for animals. It could be money, time or  supplies, but it could have also been a simple form of kindness given to that animal or it's people. Check out what people did in years past (link). This year I think I'll extend it to everyone. This means any kindness extended to anyone on the planet (animal OR human). I think we all need to see some kindness. Reading what people have done always helps me when I'm getting a bit of the blues during this time. I think we all can use some kindness no matter who you voted for and don't forget those around the world. The prize will unfortunately be US only (postage... ugh) and will be something that I've made. Hope you will like it. It's not a huge prize (I wish it could be bigger) but I just wanted to do something fun that recognizes what things you can do for others. If you would like to help, let me know. There are so many good organizations out there that need some attention (check out the link list in the animal links tab under the header). 

Yes, what I'm doing here is very small. What I'm doing here may even be insignificant in the scheme of the whole.... however, it is what I can do at the moment, so I will. 

No matter what, please just do a kindness to another. We need it now.

The giveaway will officially start in Dec and I'll make a post with the details.

๐Ÿพ

Monday, November 7, 2016

Story Genius by Lisa Cron

Genre: Language/Writing
288 p.
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Published: 8/9/16
Source: Blogging for Books for review
Story Genius is a foolproof program that saves writers from penning hundreds of pages only to realize that something's not working and they have to start again. Informed by story consultant Lisa Cron's science-based insights into how story structure is built into the architecture of the brain, this guide shows writers how to plumb the nitty-gritty details of their raw idea to organically generate a story scene by scene. Once writers reach the end of Cron's program, they will have both a blueprint that works and plenty of compelling writing suitable for their finished novel--allowing them to write forward with confidence.
My thoughts:

While I don't think there is a lot of "brain science" (aka neuroscience) within the book, it does give a small introduction to the concept. This was the main reason I picked it up, but I was still not disappointed. I think she would have lost people with more science, but I still feel there needed to be a bit more.

I did like how she took a look at your average creative writing class and took apart what we have all been taught. She states that we are taught language but not storytelling. I have to say she is not wrong on that aspect. For example, story prompts are often "what if" examples (I remember these in grade school and high school) but the story doesn't often start there. With no background, no knowledge of what is motivating the character the story often lags and goes nowhere. In fact, it often skips the point of the story. As I was reading this section I saw that in reviewing books I do look for the point and not the "what if" aspect of the story. So, I think she was right on in this emphasis.

She did provide several story examples of what she was teaching but I found myself skimming these. They were often boring and just belabored the point rather than emphasized it. Still, I did like that she gave examples within the book.

I give this book 4 stars. While I wouldn't say it fixes the problems people have with writing a novel, it does fix some elements in creative writing that doesn't work. I think it really helps someone with an idea to start in developing a story. I highly recommend it to those that want to write or, like me, wanted a greater understanding of the process.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Voyager by Diana Gabaldon

Series: Outlander #3
870 p.
Publisher: Delta
Published: 12, 1, 1993
Source: TBR pile
From the author of the breathtaking bestsellers Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber, the extraordinary saga continues. 
Their passionate encounter happened long ago by whatever measurement Claire Randall took. Two decades before, she had traveled back in time and into the arms of a gallant eighteenth-century Scot named Jamie Fraser. Then she returned to her own century to bear his child, believing him dead in the tragic battle of Culloden. Yet his memory has never lessened its hold on her... and her body still cries out for him in her dreams. 
Then Claire discovers that Jamie survived. Torn between returning to him and staying with their daughter in her own era, Claire must choose her destiny. And as time and space come full circle, she must find the courage to face the passion and pain awaiting her...the deadly intrigues raging in a divided Scotland... and the daring voyage into the dark unknown that can reunite or forever doom her timeless love.
My thoughts:

I have absolutely loved the first book. I will recommend that book to everyone. I had a lukewarm feeling with the second book but still liked it despite the plot holes. Um... this one. Well, let me say it took me FOREVER to finish the book and even when I liked it more toward the end I was sort of tired of it but refused to not finish it. Now don't let me discourage you as I was in a bit of a reading slump and I also suspect that this played a part in how I felt. So, do take what I have to say with that in mind.

THIS WILL HAVE SPOILERS as I didn't know how else to talk about it. Knowing this, and you are okay with it proceed... otherwise skip to the last paragraph.

I was giddy trying to figure out how Claire and Jamie would get back together. You go from what they figured out happened to Jamie and then you get details of that in the past. Everything was a bit slow but all worked for me. Then they got back together and I thought it would really take off from there. The action didn't quite work for me, but I cannot say it was slow. Suddenly our Jaime who lives by his moral code has no problems becoming a smuggler which would be fine if there was no other choice to feed his family and tenants. However, even though this was suggested, it really didn't quite make it no other choice for me. It was still a minor niggle for me however.

Skipping to them going back to Lallybroch and this is where I have my biggest problem. In fact I almost stopped reading it. Here is the big spoiler: He married Laoghaire! Okay, I would actually have understood if he slept with her because he was lonely and grieving and she was still after him... but married? Um... no. This makes no sense to me even with the weak explanations given as to why. It would have made more sense that he was like a father to her girls because they needed someone rather than marrying Laoghaire. This does not make sense with the Jaimie we knew in the last 2 books. Besides he couldn't even stand the sight of her previous to Culloden. Even if he didn't know how she tried to have Claire killed, he knew she had a hand in making her life miserable (and I don't buy that he didn't have a clue that she tried to kill Claire since he acted otherwise). How he handles it is even worse and I was upset at how easily Claire forgives him. *sigh*

Things proceeded from there and started settling me down. However, the plot holes didn't end for me and when they were in Jamaica some of the characters they introduced were quite interesting but just didn't get as fleshed out as I would have liked. How they suddenly fit into the scheme of things became too convenient and the reintroduction of a character we thought was dead just didn't quite make sense either. This part wasn't horrible but it just felt like a plot twist that was just didn't quite work for me. Also things ended in a much too easy manner but I will say at least it felt complete despite the cliffie-like ending.

I give this book 2 stars. I will continue with the series as I didn't hate the ending and even though I didn't love how the characters were portrayed, it felt like it was trying to get back on track to what I previously enjoyed about the series.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

On My Wishlist: The Awakening by Amanda Stevens


The Awakening 
by Amanda Stevens
Publisher: Mira
Published: 2017
Shush…lest she awaken…

My name is Amelia Gray, a cemetery restorer who lives with the dead. An anonymous donor has hired me to restore Woodbine Cemetery, a place where the rich and powerful bury their secrets. Forty years ago, a child disappeared without a trace and now her ghost has awakened, demanding that I find out the truth about her death. Only I know that she was murdered. Only I can bring her killer to justice. But the clues that I follow—a haunting melody and an unnamed baby's grave—lead me to a series of disturbing suspects.

For generations, The Devlins have been members of Charleston's elite. John Devlin once turned his back on the traditions and expectations that came with his birthright, but now he has seemingly accepted his rightful place. His family's secrets make him a questionable ally. When my investigation brings me to the gates of his family's palatial home, I have to wonder if he is about to become my mortal enemy.
Oh yes, I need this now. 2017? Jan 1, 2017? LOL One can wish. :D

What are you wishing for this week?