Thursday, April 5, 2018

Book Review: Voyager (Outlander #3) by Diana Gabaldon

Title: Voyager
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander #3
Publisher: Delta
Publication Date: 1993
Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance
Length: 870 pages


Synopsis: 
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: 
Warning:
Possible spoilers since this is the third book. Read at own risk! 


Where do I even begin with this? I started Outlander last year and have fallen hard for this series. They're well written, well researched, and have one hell of a whirlwind romance as well. Jamie Fraser is literally the dream book boyfriend. 
But, you know, I'm really reading it for the history. And stuff.  Mmhmm. 


This kind of felt like two different stories. A wrap up from the first two books, and an entirely new story altogether that ends up being quite the voyage. But I'm glad of it, because I got the backstory from the 20 years spent apart, and an adventure to continue their story. 

Voyager starts off 20 years later.  Claire is now a surgeon and she and her daughter, Brianna, visit Scotland, meeting up with Roger Wakefield, a historian, where she finally tells her daughter about her real father from 200 years in the past and also finds out that, oops, he never did die in that bloody battle like he planned to. So, he's spent the last 20 years doing basically everything I never thought a perfect fictional character like Jamie would do (seriously, I was very very disappointed in some of his decisions.) I mean, come on, Jamie! Of all the godsdamned people in the world, you chose that conniving, evil little thing and then you don't even let Claire know?! Jamie almost went the way of Ross Poldark and made my shit list with that giant mistake. But Claire forgave him. Kind of.  (I felt like that conflict was too unresolved.)


And then... everything gets turned on it's head. Because of course it does. Jamie and Claire have this uncanny ability to stir up, cause, and find themselves in trouble every time they turn around or meet someone new.
Jamie's nephew, Ian, is kidnapped by pirates and Jamie and Claire must sail to the West Indies to try and save him before he is sold into slavery. Through rough seas, plague ships, more kidnappings, being separated, and soooo much more but every moment of it was a grand adventure.
We are introduced to new characters, surprised by a few older ones, and in the end, left with an all new adventure on the horizon, and in a new world. So, of course, I cannot wait to start Drums of Autumn because this series is just too addictive. 

My Rating:  5 stars

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Book Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Title: Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, lgbt, Romance
Length: 303 pages

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

Literary Awards: 
National Book Award Nominee for Young People's Literature (2015)
Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Debut Goodreads Author & Young Adult Fiction (2015)
William C. Morris YA Debut Award (2016)
Milwaukee County Teen Book Award (2016)
Pennsylvania Young Readers' Choice Award Nominee for Young Adults (2017)
Lincoln Award Nominee (2017)
Evergreen Teen Book Award Nominee (2018)

Synopsis: 
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn't play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone's business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he's been emailing, will be compromised. 

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon's junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he's pushed out--without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he's never met. 

My Thoughts: 
I don't really want to describe a book as cute, but this was definitely that. Boy slowly falls in love with mysterious internet person. Boy has his sexual preference outed to the entire school. Boy deals with life and ends up with the cute boy.
This is contemporary young adult at it's finest. There's plenty of high-school drama, teen angst, love, and all the things in between. I have to say that it was written well and engaging enough for me to overlook the school setting.

I had no idea I would love this so much. By the end I was smiling like an idiot. Simon & Blue are now on  my OTP list (which literally has maybe 4 or 5 couples on it because this is not my area of expertise). Simon was thoroughly adorable throughout the book and I couldn't help but root for him. 

I've seen nothing but rave reviews for the recently released film adaptation so hopefully I'll get a chance to see it soon! 

My Rating: 5 stars!!!!!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Book Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Title: Everything, Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon
Publisher: Delacourte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Length: 307 pages


Literary Awards: 
Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Debut Goodreads Author, and for Young Adult Fiction (2015)
Soaring Eagle Book Award (2016)
Milwaukee County Teen Book Award Nominee (2017)
Missouri Gateway Readers Nominee (2017)
Pennsylvania Young Readers' Choice Award Nominee for Young Adult (2017)
Evergreen Teen Book Award Nominee (2018)

Synopsis:
My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I'm allergic to the world. I don't leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla. 

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He's tall, lean and wearing all black--black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. 

Maybe we can't predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It's almost certainly going to be a disaster. 

My Thoughts:
Can we just start off with saying that the synopsis for this book is just terrible. Perhaps it's because this is not my typical type of read and that definitely does not appeal to me at all. That synopsis makes me wonder why I read the book in the first place.
The reasons I did?
- I like to read the book before watching the movie

- I found it secondhand for around 50 cents
- The formatting makes it a super quick read
- It fit into the criteria for a book challenge I'm doing 

I actually ended up really enjoying this. It was one of those cute books filled with book references and with a quick burn romance that has some major issues that you can't help but get sucked into til it's resolved. It did get a little rediculous, cliche, and was totally predictable basically all the way thru, but there was something simple and appealing about it. 

It's also a bit eye opening to mental health and disorders and how extreme they can be and how far people to go to keep their children safe. Helicopter parenting gets a bad rap these days but apparently you can take it harmful extremes. 

Maybe Netflix will add the movie some day so I can actually watch it. 

My Rating:  4 stars

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Can't Wait Wednesday #25 - Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young


Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa @ Wishful Endings and spotlights the books we are excited about and have yet to read. This meme is based on Waiting on Wednesday which is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine.

I can't wait for...

Sky In The Deep 
by Adrienne Young


Expected publication: April 24, 2018
by Wednesday Books

Goodreads

Synopsis:

Ond Eldr. Breath Fire.

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield --her brother, fighting with the enemy-- the brother she watched die five years ago. 

Faced with her brother's betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family. 

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother's friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she's spent her life hating. 

-------------

This has a 4.5 star rating on Goodreads right now and I've had a few people recommend it to me already so I'm pretty intrigued. I'm all for female characters that can kick ass and Eelyn and the clans sound like a tough breed. Hopefully there will be some great fight scenes and I'm even slightly intrigued by the romance angle. Definitely looking forward to this! 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Book Review: Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2) by Diana Gabaldon

Title: Dragonfly in Amber
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander #2
Publisher: Bantom
Publication Date: (originally) July 1, 1993
Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance
Length: 754 pages
Format: ebook
Source: owned/borrowed 


Synopsis:
From the author of Outlander... a magnificent epic that once again sweeps us back in time to the drama and passion of 18th-century Scotland...

For twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland's majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones... about a love that transcends the boundaries of time... and about James Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his...

Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire's spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrugue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising... and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves.

My Thoughts: 
Much like the first book, this one took me at least 30% to really get into. I love historical fiction and Gabaldon's writing is lovely so I still enjoyed the beginning but it just wasn't as action packed until about half way through. 

I took a break from this for about half a year, thanks to library holds and my very long reading slump, but once I started it again, I was hooked. I'm not always thrilled to read romance novels but this series has sucked me in thanks to the history, the writing style, and the characters. Claire and Jamie are such an amazing couple; always building on each other's strengths and persevering despite their differences. 

In Dragonfly in Amber, Claire and Jamie head off to France to do what they can to stop the inevitable battle on Culloden Moor that Claire knows will wipe out the Scottish highland clans, including Jamie's. There's plenty of political intrigue and, of course, Jamie and Claire can't help but attract all sorts of trouble and sordid characters. They are basically magnets for All The Things. Seriously, there's just so much going on in these books is almost impossible to get bored with them. 

Beware that the end of this book is like one big, odd cliffhanger and you will literally not be able to go on about your life without wondering what happened and what will happen. I started Voyager right afterward because I could not stand not knowing. These books are that good though. 

My Rating: 4.5 stars

Saturday, March 17, 2018

2018 Challenge Round Up

Lazy Day Lit's 2018 Challenge Round Up

I wasn't planning on joining in on a ton of challenges this year, especially since getting on the blog has been a hassle so far, but I feel better about my progress when I keep track so here it is! 


2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Stacy Renee has read 24 books toward her goal of 52 books.
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12/26




My sign up post & progress

Jan
1. The Alchemist
2. The Borrowers
3. Caraval

Feb
4. Dragonfly in Amber
5. The Color Purple
6. Like Water for Chocolate

Mar
7. Everything, Everything
8. Voyager
9. A Wrinkle in Time
10. Demelza
11. Rad Women Worldwide



I'm also going to be (attempting) to keep track of other things here such as new to me authors and more.

New To Me Authors

Paulo Coelho
Mary Norton
Stephanie Garber
Neil Patrick Harris
Alice Walker
Winston Graham
Laura Esquivel
Becky Albertelli
Nicola Yoon
Kate Schatz
Melissa Albert
Audrey Coulthurst


1001 Books to Read Before You Grow Up

The Borrowers


Book to Movie Adaptations 
(old & upcoming)


The Alchemist (upcoming)
The Borrowers (old)
Dragonfly in Amber (tv series)
The Color Purple (old)
Ross Poldark (tv series)
Like Water for Chocolate (old)
Simon vs. the Homo Sapien Agenda (upcoming)
Everything, Everything (old)
Voyager (tv series)
A Wrinkle in Time (old & upcoming)
Demelza (tv series)


Friday, February 23, 2018

YA Book Review: Ever the Brave by Erin Summerill

Ever the Brave
(Clash of Kingdoms #2)
by Erin Summerill
Published December 5th 2017
by HMH Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Length: 454 pages

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Book Depository

Synopsis: 
Ever the Divided. Ever the Feared. Ever the Brave.
After saving King Aodren with her newfound Channeler powers, Britta only wants to live a peaceful life in her childhood home. Unfortunately, saving the King has created a tether between them she cannot sever, no matter how much she'd like to, and now he's insisting on making her a noble lady. And there are those who want to use Britta's power for evil designs. If Britta cannot find a way to harness her new magical ability, her life--as well as her country--may be lost.
The stakes are higher than ever in the sequel to Ever the Hunted, as Britta struggles to protect her kingdom and her heart. 

My Thoughts:
I didn't quite love the first book, Ever the Hunted, and focused on the things that bothered me in my review, but I was still hopeful that the sequel would be worth reading. The cliffhanger made me want to continue this series and now that I'm finished, I'm glad I did. That ending created so much emotional conflict in this book that I kind of fell in love with the characters and couldn't wait to find out what would happen next. 

While I felt that the first book was a bit slow and full of almost nothing but traveling scenes, the pacing and plot in Ever the Brave was quite fast and seamless. I did not fly through it because I had to take several breaks, but when I was reading it, I never wanted to put it down and loved every moment of it. 

I really enjoyed the main character, Britta Flannery, who is more at home in the woods (the Evers) and is mostly considered an outcast among the townsfolk despite that her father was a well-known and loved bounty hunter for the king. She's tough, snarky, and more than capable at wielding a bow and arrow. 
Cohen is her childhood friend whom was apprenticed to her father to become a bounty hunter as well. 
In Ever the Brave, we have a new pov from that of the young King of Malam, Aodren, who sees Britta as more than just the standoffish girl who saved his life. The bond they now share thanks to the Channeler magic she used may be the cause, but a friendship starts between them nonetheless.

My only complaint this time around is the love triangle that left me madly guessing who would end up with who. It definitely built the tension and added drama but that's not what bothered me so much as 'love interest #1' having flashbacks that make him look bad and second guess himself. Right off the bat, it made him seem like he couldn't compete with 'love interest #2' and it made the narrative a little frustrating, but I will admit that I really enjoyed the story despite that and thought it was executed pretty well. 
I'll also admit that the ending made my heart sing. 

I just realized there is a third book coming out in 2019 called 'Once A King' but I'm so conflicted about it because I thought this was one of those happy endings that didn't need to be added to. Perhaps the author has more to tell about secondary characters and the future of the two countries. I guess we will see if my interest holds out that long.