Tag Archive: france



Virgins (Outlander, #0.5)Virgins by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In my attempts to soothe my addiction to all books Gabaldon, I found this, a short story sequel. Thank goodness I found it on Libby as I would have been very disappointed to have spent any money on it.

I was so used to Davina Porter’s voice that this new narrator was harsh and not as easy to follow. I could not tell who was who. Allan Scott-Douglas has a great accent to help make the story feel Scottish. And though having a male voice for the males, I think Davina could have done this better.

The story is quite forgettable. I had hoped for more about how Ian lost his leg, but it was even before that happened. I don’t know that we gained anything about the characters that we didn’t already know.

Please don’t take it from me, there are lots of five-star ratings for this book, so I don’t want to discourage you from trying it out for yourself. It could just be a moment in my life that didn’t fulfill me as I hoped.

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Les MisérablesLes Misérables by Victor Hugo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Frederick Davidson (Narrator) made this an easier ‘read’ than my last try, the unabridged paperback copy in the 80s. He made the French words sound proper, though I wouldn’t know if they were true French; still, it was far better than my inner voice trying to pronounce them out. He did a great job with different male characters. On the other hand, he did children and female characters appallingly. This book could have used two narrators, a female actress for the children and women, and, sure, Frederick Davidson for the men.

The first time I read it was my intro to all things Les Miserables. I have since learned to play and sing all the music and have watched every version of the story possible. So this listen brought with it layers of meanings and music. At one point, I even put on Pandora on the Les Miserable channel. But it was distracting because it was out of order.

This read also brought a world perspective far different from the 80s. A pandemic and financial life that seems to rival any Victor Hugo had seen and portrayed makes this far less sad. Not everyone has it bad in the book, and the same now. Those with money don’t do so badly, but the majority work hard for low wages and low respect. And we have an illness that threatens the lives of everyone, especially the poor.

Still, I think everyone should read this. Someday I would like to have actual French literacy and a true understanding of France post-Napoleon.

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Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2)Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If my mind has not been very focused. This book may be the cause. Lack of sleep. Not because of worries. Nope, I just couldn’t stop reading/listening to the book.

I had the Audible Whispersynched with the Kindle version. Davina Porter did a marvelous job of narrating the story. Hers is not the sweet voice of the actress who played Claire Randall in the TV series. But Ms. Porter has the versatility to play all the characters perfectly.

The show did a good job following the books. The only thing I miss in the reading is the music.
That’s okay. I can Sing Me A Song of a Lass That Has Gone…

This story is captivating either way. I love getting involved in the history presented. I wish I were better versed in world history, especially France, and the British Isles. I know the next book will bring me into the founding of the United States of America. So that gives me a timeline I know, somewhat.

Since I read the book after watching the show, I wish I could have read it first. Not that the show is missing anything. I just like visualizing the story for myself. Now the people and places are fixed by the show.

At any rate, it is a good read, even if you’ve seen the show. It will keep you engaged in the story. I can’t wait until I can afford book three.

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Five Minutes in HeavenFive Minutes in Heaven by Lisa Alther

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a ride! Not exactly rollercoaster, but not merry-go-round either. From the beginning, I like the main character, Jude. She is one who doesn’t belong in the world, but finds her way, anyway. She is flawed and confused, with good reasons. I wanted to root for her to win each of her obstacles.

From Tennessee to New York to France and back, Jude struggles with her demons, longing for love to return to her as pure as she put it out. Rarely does it find her. Mostly because of her own insecurities and lack of role-models, love floats out as a fantasy. Never to be achieved.

I picked this version of the book up from Amazon, Kindle Unlimited (which is in fact limited, as you can only have ten ‘checked out’ at a time). I kind of wished I had the Audible version or the Whispersync to go along, but I managed okay without.

My biggest complaint is the French. Not the people. Just the use of the language with no definitions available to the reader. If you only took Latin, Spanish and German in your language classes, French isn’t a language you even have books for. At least that’s how it is in my house. So I had to ignore the language and hoped to get the gist. I hate when authors do that to the reader. It stinks of a superiority to the reader. It wasn’t necessary. If you are conveying a story to the reader. and most of the book is in English, why not continue in that language in the last third of the book?

And the ending? Wish I had been given a grown up, matured, version of Jude when she comes home at last! The last part ended in the same way, that the other two sections had ended. Wondering what next. Still, it was worth the read.

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Immutable (Ripple Series Book 5)Immutable by Cidney Swanson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Once again, I am sad. I am nearing the end of a great series. It has been so much fun to read the Rippler series by Cidney Swanson. You may remember her name from the Mars series I went so crazy about.

The Rippler series isn’t space travel but I consider it to be sci-fi rather than fantasy as the condition that causes one to ripple into invisibility is caused by a certain gene, as I understand it. Scientists discover these genes and work with a multitude of medications to control the side effects and or the people that are able to vanish. As in all groups of people there are good scientists and bad/evil scientists. The results push the main characters and plot of this series.

What I don’t yet do like about this series is that even though you have the oldies but goodies from former books, each book or so introduces a new point of view. The reason I like it is because you can travel to new places and see things you might not have had Ms. Swanson kept the same main character for all the adventures. I like getting to know characters in their depth so that is why I don’t like a new character every time. I know, I’m hard to please. 🙂

At any rate, what I am left with is a case of wonderment. What if one could go invisible, hide in walls or in plain sight? What if one could read another’s thoughts? And how fun would it be to hitch a ride in an airplane anywhere in the world by hiding in the wall? And not only can you be invisible, but you can fly! Or you can take a dip in the ocean with a school of dolphins and not get wet or cold. These are just a few adventures the main characters have in this series.

I’d say try either the Rippler series or the Saving Mars series if you want to have some fun.

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The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy, #3)The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This series was so much fun that I wish I could go back and read it again, right now! I miss the characters and the wonderful voice of Jennifer Ikeda. This series is best read with the narration. The experience is over the top!

Anyone who knows me knows I am not into vampires. Okay, I watched Vampire Diary for a while but it was because of the witch more than anything else. So had this not started with A Discovery of Witches, and had my cousin not recommended it, I might not have gotten into this series. And the witches sure do kick b*** in this series, so I wasn’t let down.

Even writing this is giving me a sense of remorse that it is over. Gosh, what a sentimental mush brain, huh? But how else can I tell you how good this series is?

I do have a complaint about the whispersync of this book. For some reason, it would skip over the bottom of each paragraph. But that didn’t stop me. I just signed onto my Audible and played the story from there and read it on my tablet. Yeah, I had to turn pages, but I hardly noticed as the story moved me forward.

I noticed that there were the slightest threads left undone. Nothing drastic, but it had me hoping there would be more to this series. Oh, and the last couple chapters felt rather anticlimactic, but I wasn’t complaining. It just gave me more time with the family. This was the perfect read for the Halloween season, but it would hold its own over any other set of days too.

Do read it! I think you’ll enjoy it, too!

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Blue Is the Warmest Color
Blue Is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I actually finished reading this a few days ago but… well… life happened and I haven’t been on the internet much. Good things, friends, furniture acquisitions, etc. So now that things are settling down, I feel I can revisit this wonderful book.

Let me start with what I didn’t like. The font. Though I loved the cursive feel that reflected entries in the diary of this teen, the font was just too small to read in large chunks. I think if I could have read faster and more, I would have been much more emotionally invested.

The story wins five stars plus. It introduces to us the way many of our youth discover their sexuality. The pain of being called names just for attempts at love. And this during the most vulnerable time of our lives: adolescence. Hopefully parents and teachers read it to see how they might help kids go through this as graceful as possible. Hopefully, the judgement will die as folks learn that people are people and love is just love.

The illustrations were marvelously done. I loved the subtlety of color gradually introduced after the blue haired sweetie. This stays in my permanent collection as I know I will want to read it again and again, just to enjoy the drawings.

Because I couldn’t leave the story behind, I had to find the movie on Netflix streaming. It is in French with subtitles so I have taken my time watching/reading it. Actually, I have to say I am watching a bit before sleep every night as it is the quietest time so I can pay attention; fewer distractions for me at that time of night. The actresses are well selected and … the French can make a better movie than we Americans with all our hang-ups. I feel this may be the movie to watch over and over and teach myself French–among other things. 😉

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