Friday, July 25, 2014

Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Audiobook, Digital Download, Unabridged
Published July 2006, Recorded Books

Source: purchased on Audible

About the Book

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is 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 stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach--an "outlander"--in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clans in the year of Our Lord...1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigues and dangers that may threaten her life...and shatter her heart. For here she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire...and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

My Review

This was a really difficult book for me to get into. I started it on audio years ago. Gave up on it a few times but finally picked it up again for a Instagram RAL. I mostly just listened to it on my drives to and from ceramics class in the city when I was on my own. Not really one I could listen to with the little girl in the car with me. 

I finally finished after a solo three hour drive to my parents house Wednesday and I still don't get the appeal. It was such a long book, with very long sections of nothing happening.  

I wanted answers to the many questions I had. How Claire ended up time traveling? Can she return home? Was it Jaime that she saw outside her window? What is Frank doing back home? What is the appeal of the Jamie and Clare relationship?

Well, that last one is really for other readers, I guess.

I don't know. I just didn't get it, I guess. And I was so excited to read a book about time travel and Scotland. So sad that it just didn't resonate with me.

Could it be that I listened to it on audio? I kept picturing Claire as a much older woman due to the voice of the reader. Seemed like an older woman.

 Would I have enjoyed it more had I read it myself? Maybe, but we shall never know. I don't think I will be giving it another try.

Happy Reading!

 FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Favorite Photo Friday

I absolutely love this photo of the little girl at the San Francisco Zoo. My sister took it and I just think it is pretty amazing. The little girl's silhouette, the light at the end of the tunnel. Beautiful.

She took more great photos during her visit last weekend. Perhaps I will share another next week. 

Happy Friday!

 FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Review: The Bone Church by Victoria Dougherty

The Bone Church by Victoria Dougherty

Publication Date: April 15, 2014
Pier’s Court Press
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction/Thriller/Suspense
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Source: sent by publisher in exchange for review, NetGalley

About the Book
In the surreal and paranoid underworld of wartime Prague, fugitive lovers Felix Andel and Magdalena Ruza make some dubious alliances – with a mysterious Roman Catholic cardinal, a reckless sculptor intent on making a big political statement, and a gypsy with a risky sex life. As one by one their chances for fleeing the country collapse, the two join a plot to assassinate Hitler’s nefarious Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, Josef Goebbels. 
But the assassination attempt goes wildly wrong, propelling the lovers in separate directions. Felix’s destiny is sealed at the Bone Church, a mystical pilgrimage site on the outskirts of Prague, while Magdalena is thrust even deeper into the bowels of a city that betrayed her and a homeland soon to be swallowed by the Soviets. 
As they emerge from the shadowy fog of World War II, and stagger into the foul haze of the Cold War, Felix and Magdalena must confront the past, and a dangerous, uncertain future.
My Review
I really enjoyed following Felix and Magedelena on their journey to freedom and safety. I was definitely rooting for them. It just seems so hopeless, but their love for each other is strong as is their determination to survive. The characters they meet are all very interesting and untrustworthy but they still must put themselves in their hands.

A great historical drama, set in a country that I had not read before during this time period. I liked this new setting for a WWII drama. Different than what I have read before. It is a favorite time period for me in my reading so I definitely got immersed in the story and setting. 

Can't wait to read more by Dougherty. 

Buy the Book

About the Author
Victoria Dougherty writes fiction, drama, and essays that often revolve around spies, killers, curses and destinies. Her work has been published or profiled in The New York Times, USA Today, International Herald Tribune and elsewhere. Earlier in her career, while living in Prague, she co-founded Black Box Theater, translating, producing and acting in several Czech plays. She lives with her husband and children in Charlottesville, Virginia.

For more information, please visit Victoria Dougherty’s WEBSITE

You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Happy Reading!

 FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Favorite Photo Friday

Sea Ranch, CA
July 2014

Every summer since 2000, the hubby's family has been going to Sea Ranch for a nice relaxing weekend on the coast. We stay in the condo once owned by the architect, Charles Moore, who designed the buildings here. They blend into the landscape. Clean lines, sun-washed wood sidings, eclectic interiors.

This family of architects love it and so do the non-architects. We look forward to this weekend every year.

Happy Friday!

 FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Review: Keep Quiet by Lisa Scottoline

Keep Quiet
Publised April 2014, MacMillan Audio

Source: giveaway win through Reading Group Choices 

First, about the audio...

Ron Livingston narrates Keep Quiet and, I have to say, I was impressed. He is very good with voices for all the different characters and the pace is nice and quick, but not too fast. Reading/Listening went very quick. It was easy to listen to and get sucked into the story on my 45 minute commute into the city every Thursday for ceramics and during my 3 mile walks. 

Now, about the story...

Jake and his son Ryan find themselves on the side of the road after hitting a jogger trying to figure out what to do. Call the police or leave the scene of the crime? A quick decision to save his son's future turns into a nightmare for their whole family while they attempt to "keep quiet". 

What seems like a story of morals and guilt changes to more of a suspense thriller with the introduction of a mysterious stranger. There is a lot going on but all is quite entertaining and I found myself talking/yelling at these characters who have difficulty making the right choices. They definitely weren't the easiest characters to like.

In the end, I think there should have been more consequences. This story felt too happily wrapped up. It all worked out a little too well for me. It was entertaining, however, and found myself unable to stop listening many times. 

Can't wait to hear what my other book group members thought of it. 

Happy Reading!

 FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Review: Queen of Hearts, Vol 2 by Colleen Oakes

Queen of Hearts, Volume Two by Colleen Oakes
Publishing Date: July 22, 2014 by SparksPress
Source: from publisher in exchange for review
An Exiled Princess.
An Ancient Tribe.
A Dangerous Stranger with Unknown Loyalties. 
This book starts off exactly where Volume one left off. Dinah is on her own in the forest running for her life. She has only her father's large horse-like beast for company and her supplies are running low. She is a princess after all, and is finding it hard to imagine that she will survive much longer on her own. The surprise arrival of a Spade and his offer to help is suspicious, but what chance does she have without him? With him she learns to survive, who to trust and who to fear. 

The beginning moves a little slow but once she is found by Sir Gorrann, and makes her way to the Yurkei, the action begins and the story continues. The last half of the book reads quickly and is thoroughly entertaining. Dinah becomes stronger. Fiercer. She prepares herself for the inevitable confrontation with the king and fight for her crown.

About the author:

Colleen Oakes is the author of the Elly in Bloom series and the YA fantasy Queen of Hearts Saga, both published via SparkPress, a BookSparks imprint. She lives in North Denver with her husband and son. When not writing, Colleen enjoys swimming, traveling, and immersing herself in nerdy pop culture. She is currently at work on the last Elly novel and her second YA fantasy series, Wendy Darling.

Connect with the author:

·       Facebook:
·       Twitter:
·       Website:  
·       Goodreads:

Happy Reading!

 FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.