Glow by Megan E. Bryant Book Review (Spoiler-Free)

Glow.jpg

Glow is a young adult novel by Megan E. Bryant that sheds light on a dark time in American history. Julie (Jubilee) Chase, a high school graduate who was looking forward to attending College only to have it postponed due to her mother’s debt issues. When the bank was about to foreclose on their mortgage, Julie cashed out her college fund to buy the house. She harbors resentment towards her mother for having to lose her college fund, putting her dreams on hold, while her mom seems to not be bothering to find a job. Julie’s friend Lauren is from a well-to-do family and is off to college leaving Julie behind. This creates a rift between the two, bringing the worst out of the both of them. Attempting to salvage their friendship they head off for a fun day of shopping (Lauren’s idea), and Julie buys a painting at Lost and Found consignment store. When darkness blankets Julie’s room the painting reveals a glowing secret artwork that ignites her curiosity. She becomes obsessed with finding more paintings by the same artist, and attempts to re-create the technique. Julie has no idea that the technique involves the “radium girls” who unknowingly poisoned themselves while painting numbers on watch dials used to help soldiers see the time more accurately during WWI.

Bryant uses fictional characters inspired by real history to tell the story of the “radium girls.” The perspective shifts back and forth from Lydia in 1917-1918 to Julie in modern time. We hear Lydia’s story from letters she writes to her beloved Walter who has gone off to war. Lydia has an incredible weight upon her shoulders at 16 years old. Her older sister Liza helps Lydia get a job at ARC painting watch dials with a magical glowing substance. The same magical powder used to make the paint is also sold as a cure for practically all ailments.

While running an errand at the local college Julie meets Luke (Lucien), a chemistry student  working at the college over the summer. Their friendship evolves as he helps her figure out how to create the glow-in-the-dark paint.

Through Julie’s research and Lydia’s letters we learn the heart-wrenching story of the Grayson sisters. There are parts of the story which are descriptive and vivid. I will admit that I cried twice while reading this page-turner.

I do have a couple of complaints. For one, why is Julie friends with Lauren? Lauren is selfish, stubborn, and rude. I feel like the tension between Lauren and Julie was unnecessary to the plot.

I also find it strange that Julie didn’t suspect the glow-in-the-dark paint used on the vintage artwork. She researched how to create the paint, yet somehow didn’t stumble across the possibility of radioactive ingredients.

There were a couple of times where the dialogue felt a bit clunky, and I also think Lydia’s letters are a little unbelievable. I don’t know anyone who writes complete back-and-forth dialogue while recounting an event in a letter.

Even though a couple small areas were bothersome, this is an extremely important story to write, to read, and to share. Glow is an incredible story that sheds light on the hideous greed of some companies who put profit above health, giving opportunity for brave people to sacrifice, and fight for what’s right.

Expected Publication: September 1st, 2017

Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company

I received an advanced copy in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you Brandi from Flutter Communications, the publisher, and NetGalley, for allowing me to review.

The Goblin Market poem is mentioned in the story, so of course I had to find it and read it 🙂

Goblin Market Poem

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Radium_Corporation
“The United States Radium Corporation was a company, most notorious for its operations between the years 1917 to 1926 in Orange, New Jersey, in the United States that led to stronger worker protection laws. After initial success in developing a glow-in-the-dark radioactive paint, the company was subject to several lawsuits in the late 1920s in the wake of severe illnesses and deaths of workers (the Radium Girls) who had ingested radioactive material. The workers had been told that the paint was harmless.[1] During World War I and World War II, the company produced luminous watches and gauges for the United States Army for use by soldiers.

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August TBR

Dress Codes for Small TownsI’m writing this blog post on Tuesday, so by the time this gets posted on Thursday I will probably have read Dress Codes for Small Towns.

Harper Collins kindly sent me a free digital copy for review.

Dress Codes for Small Towns

by Courtney Stevens

On Sale AUGUST 22nd, 2017!
http://www.harpercollins.ca/9780062398512/dress-codes-for-small-towns

Faking Normal author Courtney Stevens delivers a contemporary realistic John Hughes-esque exploration of sexual fluidity in the small-town South.”

Remnant Population

Remnant Population

By Elizabeth Moon

I’m on page 168 and will be finishing this after I read Dress Codes for Small Towns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lightning ThiefThe Lightning Thief: Graphic Novel

By Rick Riordan and Robert Venditti

My daughter borrowed this one from the library and said it was really good, so I’m hoping to fit this read in before it’s due back.

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Potter and the order of the phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

By J.K. Rowling

I’ve been reading the Harry Potter books aloud to my kids, started this one awhile ago. Lately, they’ve been more interested in reading to themselves (growing up too fast). I’ve renewed it from the library so will be reading this tonight before bed with the munchkins.

 

 

 

Drawing of the Three.jpg

The Drawing of the Three (The Dark Tower #2)

By Stephen King

I re-read The Gunslinger last month and quite enjoyed it, so on to the next book of the series. The movie comes into theater on Friday, August 4th, 2017!

 

 

 

 

A bold and dangerous family

A Bold and Dangerous Family

By Caroline Moorehead

I was kindly sent a free digital copy for review.

On Sale October 2017

“Renowned historian Caroline Moorehead paints an indelible picture of Italy in the first half of the twentieth century, offering an intimate account of the rise of Il Duce and his squaddristi; life in Mussolini’s penal colonies; the shocking ambivalence and complicity of many prominent Italian families seduced by Mussolini’s promises; and the bold, fractured resistance movement whose associates sacrificed their lives to fight fascism. In A Bold and Dangerous Family, Moorehead once again pays tribute to heroes who fought to uphold our humanity during one of history’s darkest chapters.”

Dead Girls and Other Stories.jpg

Dead Girls and Other Stories

By Emily Geminder

I was kindly sent a free digital copy for review.

On Sale October 2017

“With lyric artistry and emotional force, Emily Geminder’s debut collection charts a vivid constellation of characters fleeing their own stories. A teenage runaway and her mute brother seek salvation in houses, buses, the backseats of cars. Preteen girls dial up the ghosts of fat girls. A crew of bomber pilots addresses the sparks of villagers below. In Cambodia, four young women confuse themselves with the ghost of a dead reporter. And from India to New York to Phnom Penh, dead girls both real and fantastic appear again and again: as obsession, as threat, as national myth and collective nightmare.”

What’s on your TBR this month?

July Wrap Up

The Books of Magic

The Books of Magic

By Neil Gaiman

Illustrated By: John Bolton, Scott Hampton, Charles Vess, Paul Johnson

Published January 2013 (first published 1993)

Genre(s): Graphic Novel, Fiction, Fantasy

My Review: The Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman #spoilerfree #bookreview #fantasybingo

 

Little Deaths

Little Deaths

By Emma Flint

Published January 2017

Genre(s): Fiction, Mystery, Historical, Thriller, Crime

My Review: Little Deaths: #SpoilerFree #BookReview

 

 

 

The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1)

By Stephen King

Published October 2016 (First published June 1982)

Genre(s): Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction

The Gunslinger by Stephen King #FirstChapterFirstParagraph

My Review: The Gunslinger Book One of #TheDarkTower by #StephenKing

 

 

 

 

 

The Edge of EverythingThe Edge of Everything

By Jeff Giles

Published February 2017

Genre(s): Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance

My Review: The Edge of Everything By Jeff Giles #spoilerfree #bookreview

Mid-Year #BookTag #TagTuesday

Technically Mid-Year was a few weeks ago, but I’ve seen this tag all around Youtube and thought it would be a fun way to see how my reading is going this year. I tag anyone who wants to do this Tag: the questions are at the bottom in a list for easy copy/paste.

Original Tag Creators:
ReadLikeWildFire https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03gz6k0IB-Y
Earl Grey Books https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_Wh0rPGfRg&t=6s

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2017.

The Essex Serpent

 

The Essex Serpent

By Sarah Perry

Here’ s the link for my review: The Essex Serpent Book Review – Spoiler Free

 

 

 

 

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2017.

I’ve only read one sequel so far this year!

library of souls

 

Library of Souls (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children Book 3)

By Ransom Riggs

My review Library of Souls: Third Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #bookreview

 

 

 

 

 

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

Dress Codes for Small Towns.jpg

 

Dress Codes for Small Towns

By: Courtney Stevens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

Sleeping Beauties.jpg

 

Sleeping Beauties

By: Stephen King and his son, Owen King

In this spectacular father-son collaboration, Stephen King and Owen King tell the highest of high-stakes stories: what might happen if women disappeared from the world of men?”

Expected Publication: September 26, 2017

Book Tour Updates and More: www.stephenking.com

 

 

5. Biggest disappointment.

wyrd sisters

 

Wyrd Sisters

By: Terry Pratchett

A lot of people recommended this one to me, and it was just okay. Here’s my review: Wyrd Sisters Spoiler-Free Book Review

 

 

 

 

 

6. Biggest surprise.

Outlander

 

Outlander

By: Diana Gabaldon

I wasn’t sure I would like this one, and have been putting it off for years. I thoroughly enjoyed the book AND the first season of the TV show (on Netflix). I can’t wait to continue this series! Here’s my review: Outlander: Spoiler Free Book Review

 

 

 

7. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you)

dianagabaldon

 

Diana Gabaldon

www.dianagabaldon.com

Diana Gabaldon on Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Newest fictional crush.

August Flynn from This Savage Song, by Victoria Schwab. My Review: This Savage Song #spoilerfreebookreview #borrowathon

This Savage Song

9. Newest favorite character.

fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-1476282246-custom-0.jpg

 

Newt Scamander from “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”, written by J. K. Rowling. His character is quirky, smart, and mysterious. I can’t wait to learn more about his past, and hopefully learn more about his interactions with Dumbledore and involvement at Hogwarts.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to find them

 

My Review: Fantastic Beasts #SpoilerFree #BookReview

 

 

 

10. Book that made you cry.

A Tapestry of Tears

 

A Tapestry of Tears

By: Gita V. Reddy

My Review: A Tapestry of Tears #SpoilerFreeBookReview

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. Book that made you happy.

momswhodrinkandswear

 

Moms Who Drink and Swear

By: Nicole Knepper

My Review: Book Review: Moms Who Drink and Swear: True Tales of Loving my Kids While Losing My Mind

 

 

12. Favorite book to film adaptation you saw this year.

Jamie and Claire marriage

 

Outlander TV series (I watched on Netflix)

 

 

 

 

 

 

13. Favorite review you’ve written this year.

Thirteen Reasons Why #spoilerfree #bookreview

 

14. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

LOVE the cover of Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King!

Bazaar of Bad Dreams.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Dark Tower Book Series.jpg

I have an ARC to read:

A Bold and Dangerous Family in Edelweiss by HarperCollins.

A bold and dangerous family.jpg

Fantasy Book Bingo (Reddit) r/Fantasy Challenge:

  • Non-Fiction Fantasy Related Book
  • Fantasy Novel on “To be read” list for over a year
  • Award Winning Fantasy Novel
  • Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic/Dying Earth
  • r/Fantasy Big List 2016 Under-read/Under-rated
  • Horror Novel
  • Fantasy Novel featuring a Desert setting
  • Re-use any r/Fantasy Bingo Square
  • Self-published fantasy novel
  • Fantasy Novel published in 2017
  • Sequel: not the first book in the series
  • Novel by an r/Fantasy AMA(Ask me anything) Author or Writer of the Day
  • Fantasy of Manners
  • Fantasy Novel Featuring Dragons
  • New Weird
  • Fantasy Novel Featuring Seafaring
  • Steampunk
    • Five Fantasy Short Stories
    • Novel by an author from an r/Fantasy Author Appreciation Post

    Getting Too Old For This Crap: (50+) Protagonist

 

Dewey Decimal NonFiction Challenge

  • A book with Dewey Decimal 400-499
  • 600-699
  • 800-899
  • 900-999

 

A TO Z CHALLENGE — LOCATION EDITION

Book with location starting with the letter J, K, U, X, Y, Z

 

The questions:
1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2017.
2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2017.
3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.
4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.
5. Biggest disappointment.
6. Biggest surprise.
7. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you)
8. Newest fictional crush.
9. Newest favorite character.
10. Book that made you cry.
11. Book that made you happy.
12. Favorite book to film adaptation you saw this year.
13. Favorite review you’ve written this year. (Booktube version: Favorite video you have done so far in this year)
14. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)
15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

 

Little Deaths: #SpoilerFree #BookReview

Little DeathsLittle Deaths, a debut novel by Emma Flint, is a mystery crime thriller inspired by a true story (Alice Crimmins case). Flint mentions two books in the acknowledgments which were also inspired by the Alice Crimmins case, The Alice Crimmins Case by Kenneth Gross, and Ordeal by Trial by George Carpozi Jr. Little Deaths is a new book published in 2017 by Hachette Books.

We learn a lot about the main character, Ruth Malone, in the first chapter. She is telling us how much life has changed now that she’s in prison.

First chapter, first paragraph:

“On the rare nights that she sleeps, she is back in the skin of the woman from before.

     Then: she rarely slept neat in a nightgown, pillows plumped, face shining with cold cream. She sometimes woke in a rumpled bed with a snoring figure beside her; more often she woke alone on the sofa with near-empty bottles and near-full ashtrays, her skin clogged with stale smoke and yesterday’s makeup, her body tender, her mind empty. She would sit up, wincing, aware of the ache in her neck and of the sad, sour taste in her mouth.

    Now she wakes, not with the thickness of a headache or the softness of a blurred night behind her, but with forced clarity. Her days begin with a bell, with harsh voices, clanging metal, yelling. With the throat-scraping smells of bleach and urine. There’s no room in these mornings for memories.”

Ruth Malone used to be a cocktail waitress living in Queens, New York, 1965. She was recently separated from her husband, Frank, and was struggling to take care of her two kids Frankie (almost six years old) and Cindy (four years old). Ruth was a poor, proud woman who felt like she’s had a harder life than anyone else. She wears too much makeup, moves in a sexy, smooth way that enabled her to get almost any guy she wanted. Ruth cheated on her husband, with Lou Gallagher, and was also sleeping around with Johnny Salcito. Lou was using her as arm candy, while Johnny was madly in love with her.

Ruth and her kids lived in a cramped apartment building neighborhood with lots of nosy women like Carla Bonelli on the third floor, Sally Burke’s prying mother in the next building, and Nina Lombardo next door.

At times I loved Ruth for her spit-fire attitude, but most of the time I disliked her choices, especially how she put herself before her children. For example, she kept their bedroom door latched at night (claiming it’s for their safety), and doesn’t unlatch it until she has gotten dressed, had coffee, a smoke, and walked the dog Minnie. On July 14th, the day everything changed, it was 9:10am by the time she unlatched the kid’s bedroom door. I have two kids, and I can’t even imagine doing that. When my eyes open in the morning my first thought for the past ten years is to check on my kids.

And the sight of her hand in front of her, lifting the latch, pushing the door. And again, and again, every moment since: the slow sweep of the white-painted wood, and the widening expanse of light, and her hand falling to her side through the weight of the still air, and her voice catching in her dry throat. And the room beyond. Empty.” (page 21)

When her kids are reported missing, Sergeant Devlin and his noobie partner Detective Quinn immediately blame Ruth, and become obsessed trying to discover evidence to prove her guilt.

Pete Wonicke, one of the newer journalists writing for The Herald, scores the missing children story thanks to his quick-thinking. Pete’s boss Friedmann instructs him to ignore the truth and write the story that readers want to hear.

“”Readers want three things, Wonicke.” He ticket them off on his fingers. “They want to see the money. Or the lack of it. To feel envious, or superior.”

Another finger, bent back. “They want sex. There’s always a hot dame. Or a dame we can work up into hot. There’s always an angle we can use.”

A third finger. “And every story needs a bad guy. Every story needs fear.”

On the day children go missing at 1:30pm, little Cindy is found dead. On July 25 Frankie is found dead. And we begin to believe that maybe Sergeant Devlin was right. Maybe Ruth did kill her children.

Over the next three months the cops and Pete follow Ruth’s every move. The cops are trying to find that final piece of evidence that will allow them to make an arrest. Pete is talking to everyone who every knew her, her ex husband Frank, or her lovers Lou and Johnny. He’s fallen madly in love with Ruth and believes she is innocent.

At the end of November, three months after her son is found dead, Ruth is arrested for the murders of her children and the trial begins. The courtroom proceedings are exciting, and surprising.

I whipped through the pages so fast wanting to know who did it. I constantly shifted back and forth on Ruth’s innocence. GREAT novel, my only complaint is that we don’t find out for sure who did it until the last ten pages. The ending felt quite rushed to me, and I would have liked another 30-50 pages for resolution.

If you like stories inspired by true crime, or mystery thrillers, you’ll love this quick read.

The Essex Serpent Book Review – Spoiler Free

The Essex Serpent is a slow, seductive, mysterious, historical literary fiction novel set in the Victorian era.

The Essex Serpent

 

The Essex Serpent

By Sarah Perry

Published 2016

The Essex Serpent #FirstChapterFirstParagraph

This tale begins on New Year’s Eve. A drunk man wanders to the edge of Blackwater estuary, flirting with the idea of going for a dip, he suddenly catches a glimpse of “something vast, hunched, grimly covered over with rough and lapping scales” (page 5). He is later found dead, with his head turned 180 degrees.

Time is marked by the tide,
Time is served in jail,
Time can be wasted and lost,
Time is money,
Time passes no matter how we try to stop it.

“In a Circle Line carriage, Westbound, fitful lights showed The Times had nothing happy to report, and in the aisle a bag spilled damaged fruit. There was the scent of rain on raincoats, and among the passengers, sunk in his upturned collar, Dr. Luke Garrett was reciting the parts of the human heart.” (page 13) Dr. Garrett, a 32 year old man with short stature and a lopsided gait, is traveling to the funeral of his patient, Michael Seaborne, who died from cancer of the throat. Mr. Seaborne’s wife, Cora, is our main character. She is a tall, strong, not slender, gray-eyed, independent woman who does not mourn for her abusive husband. While Mr. Seaborne was ill many nurses walked out on him, one claiming he was the devil. With Mr. Seaborne dead, Cora has been born again, and is free to pursue her passion for science. Their eleven year old son Francis has some odd characteristics, and I suspect he is on the Autism spectrum. Francis has had the same nanny since birth, a thirty three year old woman named Martha.

While caring for Mr. Seaborne, Dr. Garrett has fallen in love with Cora. She thinks of him as a friend, but doesn’t return his romantic feelings. She travels to Colchester with Martha and Francis for some peace and quiet. Martha and Cora meet Thomas Taylor, who tells them a story about the earthquake that shook the Essex Serpent from it’s hiding place. They run into Charles and Katherine Ambrose who were also visiting Colchester. Charles was once a colleague of Cora’s late husband, Michael.

Charles tells Cora about the Essex Serpent while enjoying pastries at a café. “Three hundred years ago or thereabouts a dragon took up residence in Henham, twenty miles northwest of here. Ask at the library and they’ll show you the leaflets they nailed up round the town: eyewitness accounts from farmers, and a picture of some kind of leviathan with wings of leather and a toothy grin. It used to lie about basking in the sunshine and snapping its beak (its beak, mind you!), and no one thought much of it until a boy got his leg broken. It vanished soon after, but the rumors never did. Every time crops failed or the sun eclipsed, or there was a plague of toads, someone somewhere would see the beast down on the riverbank, or lurking on the village green. And listen: it’s back!” Charles then tells Cora about the man who had washed up on shore New Year’s Day with a broken neck. This convinces Cora she must go to Aldwinter and search for the serpent in hopes that she can make a great scientific discovery. Katherine suggests Cora meet up with the Ransome family while in Aldwinter.

William Ransome is a reverend, married to Stella, and they have three children named Joanna, John, and James. Will does not believe in Darwin, or the Essex Serpent, and tries to convince Cora and all other believers in town that there is nothing to be a afraid of.

Henry Banks believes his lost rowing boat is a result of the Essex Serpent. His daughter Naomi Banks is friends with Will’s daughter Joanna.

One of the most interesting characters is Mr. Cracknell, who lives on the edge of the marsh. During the past three years he has lost his wife, sister, and his son. He has witnessed some strange happenings and also blames them on the serpent.

In April Cora, Martha, and Francis move to Aldwinter, which enables Cora to become quite good friends with Will and his family. As Will and Cora strengthen their relationship everything else falls apart.

The Essex Serpent may be a slow-burning story, but you’ll be on the edge of your seat trying to figure out if there really is a monster terrorizing the small town.

 

As soon as I finished the book I wanted to go back and start it all over again. (In fact, I did go back and re-read the first 100 pages). This is a story in which you’ll see something new each time you read it. Sarah Perry developed authentic friendships that change with time and circumstance. I highly recommend you give this one a read – I have a funny feeling that it will be picked up and made into a movie. Such a great story about good vs evil, love, family, lust, loyalty, guilt, fear, and how time creates the ebb and flow changing everything in its wake.

Outlander: Spoiler Free Book Review

Outlander is Diana Gabaldon’s debut historical fiction, romance, adventure, Sci-Fi, fantasy novel published in June 1991. It’s the first book in a series that has also produced novellas, graphic novel, spin-off book series, and a tv show (the first two seasons can be found on Netflix).

“In a remarkable debut – vigorous, eloquent, and wholly original – Diana Gabaldon fuses a wry modern sensibility with the drama and passion of the eighteenth century, and vividly brings to life a heroine whose journey through time forces her to make an agonizing and fateful choice.” (part of the book cover blurb)

 

It’s 1945 in Scotland, and many are celebrating the end of the war. Claire, a royal army nurse, is off on a second honeymoon with her husband Frank, a history professor. They’ve been married for seven years, but have spent the majority of those years apart due to the war.

Claire and Frank witness a strange moonlit dance at a stone circle. The next day Claire returns to the site in order to fetch some flowers she spied the previous day. While doing so she hears a buzzing noise coming from the stone. As she lays her hands on it she is transported two hundred years into the past.

Moonlit stone circle.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The past is a very different country, boiling with rumors of the Jacobite Pretender’s Rising, beset with ignorance and superstition, ravaged by pestilence and disease. Alone where no lady should be alone, and far from the familiar comforts of her other life, Claire’s usual resourcefulness is tested to the limit. The merciless English garrison captain so feared by others bears a disturbing resemblance to the husband she has just left behind. Her own odd appearance and even odder behavior expose her to accusations of witchcraft. And the strands of a political intrigue she doesn’t understand threaten to ensnare her at every turn” (part of the book cover blurb)

Jamie Fraser.jpg

From IMDB

A group of Scottish warriors save her from being raped. In this group of Highlanders is Jamie, a tall, broad, muscular,  fetching young warrior with blazing red hair and sky blue eyes. Believing she may be a spy, the Scots take her with them back to Castle Leoch. When Claire sees a castle that was nothing but remnants the last time she saw it, now at it’s best, she realizes she was most likely in the 18th Century.

Castle-leoch-still-1.jpg

Outlander Wiki page

Claire plots her escape, so she can find the magical stones which can take her back to 1945. As she gathers info, waiting for the perfect moment, she is forced to marry Jamie in order to keep her from harm. Jamie takes to calling her Sassenach – which means “Englishman” or “Outlander”. Their marriage gives them permission to admit to the love they have had for each other since they first met.

Jamie and Claire marriage.jpg

IMDB

“Claire is forced to choose between the future she has left and the past she now inhabits. And, having been plunged into an adventure that is at once unimaginably bizarre and unmistakably real, she learns an unforgettable lesson: that a man’s instinct to protect the woman he loves is as old as time.”

At 627 pages, with small lettering, Outlander is quite a lengthy novel packed with big themes; love, lust, trust, infidelity, sexual harassment, rape, domestic abuse, war, and adventure highlighting the fact that there are always good and evil people, no matter what time period we find ourselves in.

Gabaldon did a fantastic job conveying the Scottish accent in the dialogue. I could clearly picture every character’s appearance and voice. Her writing is positively splendid. I often found myself reading aloud, attempting to imitate accents. The words nicely slip off your tongue. I didn’t notice any awkward sentences (something I am guilty of doing at times and hence notice in other people’s writing). Here is a passage that I found quite striking:

“There was a feeling, not sudden, but complete, as though I had been given a small object to hold unseen in my hands. Precious as opal, smooth as jade, weighty as a river stone, more fragile than a bird’s egg. Infinitely still, live as the root of Creation. Not a gift, but a trust. Fiercely to cherish, softly to guard. The words spoke themselves and disappeared into the groined shadows of the roof.”

hugh munroOne of my favourite characters has quite a small part, and I wish we got to know more of him. Hugh Munro is an interesting man with a “jack-o-lantern” grin, orange-brown leathery skin, and bright blue eyes. His broad shoulders are off balance with one higher than the other, and he speaks sign language because he had his tongue cut out. He can also write Latin, as he was once a school teacher. I mean – doesn’t he just sound fascinating!? I could read an entire novel about his life.

There were some strange fantastical moments thrown in to this story which I feel weren’t necessary such as Claire seeing the Loch Ness “waterhorse”. I also had a really hard time getting over the fact that Jamie beat Claire and somehow she’s to blame. The fact that he hit her violates the oath he took at their wedding that he would protect her until his last drop of blood. I could write an entire blog post on this topic…in fact, in University I wrote an entire research report for an Anthropology class about domestic violence in Medieval England. But that discussion is for another place, another time. 😉

The TV show follows the novel pretty closely, with some liberties taken from parts of the plot, and the ending was slightly altered. The casting director chose quite well for Jamie’s part, he is exactly as I had imagined in my mind. I had imagined Claire to look and speak differently, and at first I didn’t like the Claire in the TV show, but within a few episodes she grew on me.

I recommend both the book and the TV show to anyone who enjoys an adventurous story, filled with love, war, and sex (at times graphic).  ***warning*** There are many scenes of graphic violence, including flogging, injuries, and rape.

May TBR

What I plan to read this month 🙂

Share your TBR in the comments!

lonely hearts hotel

 

The Lonely Hearts Hotel

By Heather O’Neill

Goodreads Blurb:

“With echoes of The Night Circus, a spellbinding story about two gifted orphans in love with each other since they can remember whose childhood talents allow them to rewrite their future.

The Lonely Hearts Hotel is a love story with the power of legend. An unparalleled tale of charismatic pianos, invisible dance partners, radicalized chorus girls, drug-addicted musicians, brooding clowns, and an underworld whose economy hinges on the price of a kiss. In a landscape like this, it takes great creative gifts to thwart one’s origins. It might also take true love.

Two babies are abandoned in a Montreal orphanage in the winter of 1910. Before long, their talents emerge: Pierrot is a piano prodigy; Rose lights up even the dreariest room with her dancing and comedy. As they travel around the city performing clown routines, the children fall in love with each other and dream up a plan for the most extraordinary and seductive circus show the world has ever seen.

Separated as teenagers, sent off to work as servants during the Great Depression, both descend into the city’s underworld, dabbling in sex, drugs and theft in order to survive. But when Rose and Pierrot finally reunite beneath the snowflakes after years of searching and desperate poverty the possibilities of their childhood dreams are renewed, and they’ll go to extreme lengths to make them come true. Soon, Rose, Pierrot and their troupe of clowns and chorus girls have hit New York, commanding the stage as well as the alleys, and neither the theater nor the underworld will ever look the same.

With her musical language and extravagantly realized world, Heather O’Neill enchants us with a novel so magical there is no escaping its spell.”

Outlander.jpg

Outlander

By Diana Gabaldon

Goodreads Blurb:

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just 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 circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.”

The STonekeeper's curse

 

The Stonekeeper’s Curse
Book 2 of the Amulet series
Graphic Novel
By Kazu Kibuishi

Goodreads Blurb:

“In this thrilling sequel to AMULET #1: THE STONEKEEPER, Emily and her brother Navin head for Kanalis, a beautiful and mysterious city of waterfalls, where they hope to find the antidote for the poison that felled their mother. That cure lies in the eggs of a giant serpent atop Demon’s Head Mountain, but the kids’ archenemy, Trellis, is headed for the peak, too. A battle that will engulf all of Kanalis is looming. It’s up to Em to triumph over evil while controlling the amulet’s power . . . without losing herself!”

Illuminae

Illuminae

By Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Goodreads Blurb:

“This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.”

The Friday Night Knitting Club

 

The Friday Night Knitting Club

By Kate Jacobs

Goodreads Blurb:

“Once a week, an eclectic group of women comes together at a New York City yarn shop to work on their latest projects – and share the stories of their lives…

At the center of Walker and Daughter is the shop’s owner, Georgia, who is overwhelmed with juggling the store and single-handedly raising her teenage daughter. Happy to escape the demands of her life, she looks forward to her Friday Night Knitting Club, where she and her friends – Anita, Peri, Darwin, Lucie, and K.C. – exchange knitting tips, jokes, and their deepest secrets. But when the man who once broke Georgia’s heart suddenly shows up, demanding a role in their daughter’s life, her world is shattered.

Luckily, Georgia’s friends are there for encouragement, sharing their own tales of intimacy, heartbreak, and miracle making. And when the unthinkable happens, these women will discover that what they’ve created isn’t just a knitting club; its a sisterhood.”

April Reading Wrap Up

Books I read in April 🙂

library of souls

Library of Souls
by Ransom Riggs

“The adventure that began with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and continued in Hollow City comes to a thrilling conclusion with Library of Souls. As the story opens, sixteen-year-old Jacob discovers a powerful new ability, and soon he’s diving through history to rescue his peculiar companions from a heavily guarded fortress. Accompanying Jacob on his journey are Emma Bloom, a girl with fire at her fingertips, and Addison MacHenry, a dog with a nose for sniffing out lost children.”

My review for Library of Souls

 

murder by family

 

Murder By Family
By Kent Whitaker

Kent Whitaker’s story of how an unknown assailant opened fire on his entire family, killing his wife and teenaged son, and how his heart-wrenching decision to forgive begins a journey toward redemption and faith when he discovers that the one responsible for the attack is his other son.

My Review for Murder By Family

 

Turning

 

Turning

By Jessica J. Lee

At the age of 28, Jessica Lee–Canadian, Chinese, and British–finds herself in Berlin. Alone. Lonely, with lowered spirits thanks to some family history and a broken heart, she is ostensibly there to write a thesis. And although that is what she does daily, what increasingly occupies her is swimming. So she makes a decision that she believes will win her back her confidence and independence: she will swim fifty-two of the lakes around Berlin, no matter what the weather or season. She is aware that this particular landscape is not without its own ghosts and history.

My Review for Turning

The Only Child

The Only Child

By Andrew Pyper

The #1 internationally bestselling author of The Demonologist radically reimagines the origins of gothic literature’s founding masterpieces—Frankenstein, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Dracula—in a contemporary novel driven by relentless suspense and surprising emotion. This is the story of a man who may be the world’s one real-life monster, and the only woman who has a chance of finding him.”

My Review of The Only Child

 

Dragon Teeth

 

Dragon Teeth

By Michael Crichton

Into this treacherous territory plunges the arrogant and entitled William Johnson, a Yale student with more privilege than sense. Determined to survive a summer in the west to win a bet against his arch-rival, William has joined world-renowned paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh on his latest expedition.  But when the paranoid and secretive Marsh becomes convinced that William is spying for his nemesis, Edwin Drinker Cope, he abandons him in Cheyenne, Wyoming, a locus of crime and vice. William is forced to join forces with Cope and soon stumbles upon a discovery of historic proportions.  With this extraordinary treasure, however, comes exceptional danger, and William’s newfound resilience will be tested in his struggle to protect his cache, which pits him against some of the West’s most notorious characters.

My Review for Dragon Teeth

A Tapestry of Tears

 

A Tapestry of Tears

by Gita V. Reddy

Set in the early nineteenth century, A Tapestry of Tears is about female infanticide, and the unmaking of tradition. If a woman gives birth to a female child, she must feed her the noxious sap of the akk plant. That is the tradition, parampara. Veeranwali rebels, and fights to save her offspring.
The other stories span a spectrum of emotions and also bring to life the varied culture and social spectrum of India. Woven into this collection is the past and the present, despair and hope, and the triumph of the human spirit.

Click here for my review of A Tapestry of Tears

 

 

 

 

Dragon Teeth #BookReview #SpoilerFree

Dragon TeethMichael Crichton, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Jurassic Park, returns to the world of paleontology in this recently discovered novel—a thrilling adventure set in the Wild West during the golden age of fossil hunting.
Goodreads Blurb

When HarperCollins sent me a complimentary Advance Reader’s E-Proof of Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton for review I was convinced that I wouldn’t enjoy it all that much. A book about Paleontology in the Wild West isn’t something I would have ever selected to read. By the end of the first chapter I was hooked.

Dragon Teeth is a thrilling historical fiction novel set in 1870’s, before the Wild West was “conquered”. After a terrible first year at Yale, William Johnson, a young man from Philadelphia and grandson of a Scottish immigrant, accepts a bet of $1,000 proposed by Harold Hannibal Marlin to go West on an expedition with Paleontologist Professor Marsh. The expedition was expected to be about 2.5 months long, but for William it ended up consuming a year of his life.

Professor Marsh’s arch rival is Professor Edward Drinker Cope. Marsh is a paranoid man who believes Cope is always spying on him. They are two Paleontologists competing in the strange new world of finding fossils, and naming undiscovered species of dinosaur.

William is given a list of supplies he’ll need, which include a knife, revolver, and rifle. That alone is enough to tell you that the next few months will be life-changing and life-threatening.

Some of the characters in Dragon Teeth were based on real people, and actual events.

Edward Drinker Cope was a “paleontologist who discovered approximately a thousand species of extinct vertebrates in the United States and led a revival of Lamarckian evolutionary theory, based largely on paleontological views.” https://www.britannica.com/biography/Edward-Drinker-Cope

Othniel Charles Marsh “spent his entire career at Yale University (1866–99) as the first professor of vertebrate paleontology in the United States. In 1870 he organized the first Yale Scientific Expedition, which explored the Pliocene deposits (2.6–5.3 million years old) of Nebraska and the Miocene deposits (5.3–23 million years old) of northern Colorado.” https://www.britannica.com/biography/Othniel-Charles-Marsh

Wyatt Earp was a “legendary frontiersman of the American West, who was an itinerant saloonkeeper, gambler, lawman, gunslinger, and confidence man.” https://www.britannica.com/biography/Wyatt-Earp

Charles Hazelius Sternberg “was an American fossil collector and amateur paleontologist.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Hazelius_Sternberg

William Johnson, is an entirely fictitious character who undergoes a tremendous attitude change throughout the novel. There are themes of Greed vs Downfall, Betrayal, Heroism, Sacrifice, and Isolation. During a time when Americans were at war with Native Americans, before the Wild West was won, this novel was bound to be a page-turning thriller.

 

Also by Michael Crichton:

Westworld originalWestworld is an American science fiction–thriller media franchise. It began in 1973 with the release of the film Westworld, written and directed by Michael Crichton. It depicts a technologically advanced, Western-themed amusement park populated by androids that malfunction and begin killing the human visitors.

It was followed by the sequel film Futureworld (1976).

In 1980 there was a short-lived television series, Beyond Westworld. A new television series from HBO, based on the original film, debuted on October 2, 2016.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westworld

Jurassic Park book

 

Jurassic Park is a 1990 science fiction novel written by Michael Crichton, divided into seven sections (iterations). A cautionary tale about genetic engineering, it presents the collapse of an amusement park showcasing genetically recreated dinosaurs to illustrate the mathematical concept of chaos theory and its real world implications. A sequel titled The Lost World, also written by Crichton, was published in 1995. In 1997, both novels were re-published as a single book titled Michael Crichton’s Jurassic World, unrelated to the film of the same name.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jurassic_Park_(novel)

 

 

For more info about Michael Crichton’s work visit http://www.michaelcrichton.com/