Tag Archive: romance



Written in My Own Heart's Blood (Outlander, #8)Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thought that book 7, Echo In The Bone, was my favorite of the Outlander books. Nope. Written in My Own Heart’s Blood wins. It was fantastic!

Regardless of the time the characters land in they all grow and help us learn the rules of Gabaldon’s Time Travel.

What can I tell you that won’t spoil it for you?

As usual, there is a lot of research evident in the reading and as one supposes, there are instances of poetic license, which Diana Gabaldon admits that she has it framed on her wall.

The most exciting part of the book is as Breanna talks about Doctor Who in a chapter called, Thank You For The Fish. (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy). Now I really wish I had a TARDIS so I could play in all three universes.

And I wish I could move on to book 9 but my Audible credits don’t come until the middle of the month. A quick note about why I read by Audible most often now. Actual reading is impossible for my eyes. It seems a tracking issue. So I use a lot of Kindle Text-to-Speech. Though TTS works well for most books when there are other languages involved I want to hear the words pronounced correctly. Davina Porter is able to range the language barriers and character ages and sexes with apparent ease. I love listening to her.

If you get the chance, the books are as good if not better than the shows, and the Audible versions are the best of all the worlds. Enjoy!

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An Echo in the Bone (Outlander, #7)An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book may be my favorite of all the Outlanders. Maybe because of how I chose to read it nearly 24/7. After all, I had reached the skinny-mini underbelly of all streamings–teen or young people who look like Barbie Dolls going through the samo-samo life issues. Give me some older adults, women of all shapes and colors, real people, not Hollywood-mothers, whores, or weaklings. Not enough streaming of strong women holding up half the world. So back to reading the only way I could. Audible.

Also, I was making scrubbies and washcloths while listening. That helped me ‘hear’ better.

By constant reading, I could stay in the story better. And family members came and listened with me on occasion. So it wasn’t a lonely process.

At any rate, I loved watching the cast of the characters struggle with life and time travel issues and historical moments. I especially loved the parts about Brianna and Roger at Lallybroch recovering letters from Claire and Jamie. And though I used to find Willy obnoxious, I think I clicked with him this time. And I grew more in love with John Grey. How nice to see good, honest, quality men portrayed.

I tried to find something else to read last night as my bedtime read but couldn’t resist looking for more Outlander. Now I am listening to book 8, Written In My Own Heart’s Blood.

Time to lower my reading goal as I seem stuck in tome reading. I love it! I hope you get the chance to read these. Oh, and Davina Porter does so many voices so well. I still wish for more actual actors for sometimes Bri and Claire sound the same, and all the children sound the same, and Roger, even with his sore throat, sounds like other men. Still, for one person covering so many people, Davina is fantastic!

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A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander, #6)A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Wow! Am I finally finished with this book? It is the longest book I think I have ever read. I don’t think it needs to be that long, either.

Look. Don’t get me wrong. I still love the story, the characters, the concept of the time travel element. I just found the length unbearable with the thousands of books I have on my TBR shelf.

It is fun to explore the early days in America with the characters. I have to admit that I loved the time in Scotland the most, so this book is missing that aspect.

The other problem that I had with this book is the magical narrator, Divina Porter, just couldn’t handle all the characters. Now that Brea is an adult, she sounds like Clair. Now that Roger is an adult, he sounds like Jamie. All the children sound the same. Maybe if I could read at the same time as listening, I could sort them out. But that is not possible for me and my eyes.

The last thing I need to point out, in case it counts for your reading the book is, I am already reading book 7, so…

It is worth the read. Stay with it. There are little rewards in the story. And in this crazy world, a sweet time-travel romance can calm the worries that like to strike at bedtime.

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The Fiery Cross (Outlander, #5)The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These are such great books. The story continues. And now I can watch the current series on TV. But…

Until this book, Divina Porter, the narrator of all the Outlander books, was able to change the voices for most of the characters enough that a listener could tell who was talking. Now with Bree and Roger and Ian grown, they all sound like Clair and Jamie. If my eyes could handle the tracking I would try to have the book or Kindle version open to track who is speaking. Instead, I have to back up a bit to see if I can find out. Or I just keep listening and finally, context will indicate who had just been the speaker. That throws me out of the story.

Is it me, or is this book a little less exciting? I know with Covid19 all around and the stress that has caused us all, it may be playing a part in my attention levels. I may have to reread the series later when life returns us to quieter minds. So I will try not to affect my rating on this issue. I still loved it and have already downloaded the next book. I can’t wait to see how Jamie and his men adjust to the American Revolution. What if you were on the wrong side of history and knew it but couldn’t do much about it as no one but you had access to future history? Yeah. What a conundrum! Great writing, Diana Gabaldon!

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Drums of Autumn (Outlander, #4)Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oops! I nearly forgot to review this one. I just moved into the next read (a library book).

I really wish I would have read this before the series on television. I liked the rhythm of the story better. I like the viewpoints presented here as Clair’s rather than Bree. It is different not having the information that comes with the daughter making the voyage back in time and back to America.

I think we got into Roger’s head a little more, too. It doesn’t take away from the show. It is actually interesting the take the directors and actors took the storyline without losing the story.

No spoilers here. Just glad I read (listened to the Audible) it and can’t wait to get into the next one!

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Voyager (Outlander, #3)Voyager by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Whew! These books are long. But good. This review is for the Audible version. After you get used to her, Davina Porter, narrator, you will find her voice versatile and natural for this story. One of my reasons for using this method to read these books is pronunciation. There are words in Gaelic or French and a couple of other languages that I wouldn’t know how to say, and text-to-speech would garble.

I don’t usually like to read a book after watching the show. I like to form my ideas of the characters before I see a director’s point of view. But so far this series translates nearly directly. It makes me proud of the show and the author of the book. It seems each of the scenes in the show was in the books. The only difference in this one is Gilly (not sure of the spelling–Audible doesn’t have written word.) I won’t spoil it for you. I actually like the book version over the show. But both work.

I can’t wait to listen to book four. And I’m looking forward to the next season of the show.

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Holly and Ivy: A Lesbian Holiday RomanceHolly and Ivy: A Lesbian Holiday Romance by T.B. Markinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, this was cute. I think it is a nod to Nottinghill. It is rom-com with an LGBT leaning. There is a fun holiday feeling to it like Nottinghill. I don’t want to give a lot away. But if you like this kind of story it is fun.

I do love how T.B. Markinson writes. Her characters feel real. I’m not so sure about the millionaire. I’ve not been one nor do I know any personally, but it was Ms. Markinson’s story so it was where her characters led her.

I just didn’t want to finish with her world when I finished her combination book. So this filled the bill.

I can’t wait to read more from her.

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A Clueless Woman (A Woman Lost, #0)A Clueless Woman by T.B. Markinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I finished this book. I’m involved in writing NaNoWriMo, so it’s taken me a while to get the review. In between, I went ahead and read book one and am now involved in book two. I had already read the first and second book, and I remember really liking them.

I don’t know if it’s because how long ago I read them, or if it’s the Star Wars phenomena. Let me explain. I remember watching the first three Star Wars movies back in the 80s. They were fantastic movies. They were full of philosophies you could live by. The characters were strong, people you care about. But the prequels. I can’t give you words for this. I can only shake my head. Was it time between watchings? Was it the addition of new irritating characters? Need I say Jar Jar Binks? I don’t know.

It had been a while since I read books one and two. But I thought I remembered them enough to try to read from the prequel on. What I remember as a character I truly loved in my first read was a troubled, abused, weak character in the prequel. Would I have felt this way had I not read the first two books before? Had I started with the prequel before reading the others, would I have cared what happened to the character next?

Wait! That is not to say the character wasn’t appealing. That is not to mention the writing was not good. That is not to say this kind of warning for others who might find themselves in similar situations shouldn’t find their way out. Strong characters, personalities, can find themselves in abusive relationships. And I care for many friends who have fallen into these situations. They were still exciting, loving, deserving of love people. So maybe it is the fact that I remember a strong character from future books and can’t handle seeing her go through such pain.

Would I have handled it better if I read the prequel as an insert into the series as a flash-back? I think I might have done better that way. I don’t want this review to go against the author and her fantastic writing. So instead of rating this as a three-star grade, I will pull it to a four-star. It probably deserves more, but I have to be honest with my feelings about it, too. I do love the characters in this series.

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London Holiday (Americans Abroad, #5)London Holiday by Miranda MacLeod
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a fun little book! Need a beach read or a nod to fairy tales with a twist? This is it. Though it was a little predictable, I still couldn’t go to sleep until 3:00 in the morning as I wanted to see what would happen.

In our crazy cyber-gossipy world, a princess and a journalist fall in love, quite by accident. Fun and adventure happen, lots of London is explored.

Beyond these words, I am afraid I will ruin your discovery of this gem if I tell you more. This book was just a lightweight read to fill the moments between heavier books. I probably won’t read it again but I am now a fan of this author and will read more by her. Enjoy!

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Deception (Southern Comfort #3)Deception by Lisa Clark O’Neill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is book three of the Southern Comfort series. But it isn’t the same people continuing a story but other secondary characters who were in the past books telling their story to continue in time.

There is a bit more romance and it leans on NA rather than YA. The crime was harder to take, too. Still, overall, I liked the story.

If you like crime and suspense stories this series is for you. I have to admit that since I read before sleep, this wasn’t for me. No, I couldn’t just back away and go to sleep. The fears came with me. I couldn’t seem to find a stopping place where I thought the characters would be safe without me.

The writer was excellent in how she kept the reader in the book. Even so, I doubt I will read the rest of the series. Let me know if you do and how you like them.

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