Review: Outlander

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Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In late 2015, I saw a book in Barnes and Noble (Written in my Own Heart’s Blood) by Diana Gabaldon and thought “This sounds amazing.” I picked it up (and it was nearly 1000 pages in harcover) and suddenly realized it was the most recent book in a series with books that were all practically a thousand pages long. I can’t read a series book without doing it in order, so I put it back on the shelf and said “Another time.”

Fast-Forward to 2016…

I sign up for the 2016 Reading challenge: 52 books in a year (1 a week). I can do it. Great start in January. Epic fail in February with 0 additions. Get myself started again in March. Epic fail in April with 0 additions. Epic fail in May with 0 additions.

OK, I’m not one to easily fail so I get myself back on track in June. June is going well, I’m averaging about 1 book every 4 to 5 days so that I can catch up by September. I finish reading a book in late June and realize I don’t have anything new to read… I head downstairs to my building’s small library and peruse the shelves (about 1000 books to choose from).

I see Outlander. I decide to buckle down and read the nearly 1000 page paperback version. I can do this. I can’t get it done in a week.

It took a little longer as I added in a last minute family visit / trip where I didn’t read for about 4 days… (but still had a great time!)

And I loved it! I suspend my disbelief at some things and at the amount of necessary repeated violence… then think perhaps I am a little whiny given what these characters go through without complaining. Could I take that much blood loss and hits? Vanity would probably kick in and I’d likely not make it through.

I am excited to read the series, but I need to catch up on my 2016 Reading Challenge before I take on another 1000 page book. Target: November when I hope to be almost ahead of where I should be with my 44 of 52 books at that point.

Read it. It’s part historical fiction, part fantasy (the whole time portal thing), part romance (without too much focus on it) and part pure character study.

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Review: The Nest

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The Nest
The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This novel fits right in with my own choice of writing: family dramas. And it doesn’t disappoint. the family feels very real — a little too much drama / secrets for one family, but then again, it did keep me interested.

It has something for everyone, characters to love and characters to hate. I am disappointed in one of the 4 children especially since I don’t feel we got a good ending for this person’s post-book life.

But still, this is a good read and I will look for more by the author. I didn’t give it a higher mark only because I felt the story for the one character was a bit unfinished and the ending didn’t seem to be the right one for me.

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Review: A Skeleton in the Family

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A Skeleton in the Family
A Skeleton in the Family by Leigh Perry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3 1/2 stars to A Skeleton in the Family! In my scale, a 3 means it was good and I liked the book but not thirsting to read the author’s next release whereas a 4 notes that it was a really good book and I’m definitely ordering the next one. This one gets a 3 1/2 as given the premise (a talking skeleton!), I was quite surprised by my ability to suspend any disbelief at how this occurred and just go with the story; however basic the plot was, I’m curious if we’ll ever find out why the skeleton could talk so I gave it between a 3 and a 4! By the way, I rarely give out a 5 unless I can’t even put the book series down — you know — passing up dinners with friends, skipping movies, not sleeping much until I finish the current book, etc. Doesn’t happen all that often but when it does, I am hooked!

If you are able to just go with the fact that the main character has a best friend who is a skeleton, and that no one else (well mostly no one else) knows he can talk, then you have a stronger chance of wanting to stick with it. The plot was basic but keeps you interested. The main character isn’t trying to figure out a murder for just any reason — she wants to help Sid rather than out of boredom or curiosity on keeping up the sleuthing like in so many other cozies.

I’m interested in what happens next but probably won’t get back to it until next year after I finish my 2016 Reading Challenge.

Good start – thanks Leigh Perry!

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