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review 2017-07-21 16:57
Seven Stones to Stand or Fall
Seven Stones to Stand or Fall: A Collection of Outlander Short Stories - Diana Gabaldon

A few of these I've read already, so I'll be lazy and link to those reviews. ;)

 

The Custom of the Army - 2 stars


https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/524842810?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

 

The Space Between - no rating

 

I didn't bother getting this when it was originally released solo and I'm glad I didn't. I don't have much interest in Joan, and even less interest in the Comte St. Germain, nor did I ever once wonder what happened to the guy or what his backstory was. So this was one long bore and I skimmed a lot of it to get to the important plot points. It was nice to see Mother Hildegard, but her role here is pretty much just cameo and doesn't make up for the rest.

 

A Plague of Zombies - 4 stars


https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1900984342?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

 

A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows - 5 stars


(No review for this one though. Sounds like a good reason for a reread.)

 

And reread I did and loved it just as much as the first time. Roger's father, Jerry MacKenzie, is unexpectedly launched back in time when his plane crash lands, and he goes through hell and back to get back to his time and his family. We get a few scenes of what's going on with Marjorie and baby Roger, but most of this is focused on Jerry. It's beautifully and heartbreakingly written, because if you've read the Outlander books you already know what everyone believes to have happened.

 

Virgins - 3 stars

 

Jamie and Ian are mercenaries in France. There's a lot of anti-Semantism in this one, as Gabaldon doesn't shy away from the prejudices of the time, and even our protags are guilty of it. The Jewish characters themselves though do not appear - at least to me - to be caricatures or stereotypes. Some of the Scottisms seemed strange - Ian's constantly referring to Jamie as a "wean" - I didn't think their age difference was all that great, so it felt odd. There's also this whole subplot with one of the other mercenaries who makes Gregor Clegane look like a fluffy kitty.

 

A Fugitive Green - 4 stars

 

Minnie and Hal's first meeting! I was intrigued by the backstory we got about Minnie in The Scottish Prisoner, so getting to see a more detailed telling of it was great. Minnie's wonderful and resourceful, and we even get a brief (too brief, I thought) subplot of Minnie's mom and her quest to find her. That was rather melodramatic - the mom's backstory that is - and I kept feeling like there was something more there going on than we heard

because nuns getting pregnant is not exactly unheard of so why exactly did Minnie's mom go mad because of it?

(spoiler show)

 

The ending also felt a bit rushed, so I hope this isn't the last exploration we get into these characters' backstories.

 

Besieged - 4 stars

 

Man, John can't even leave an assignment without getting pulled into a war. :P This is an interesting follow up to A Plague of Zombies, as John's still temporary military governor of Jamaica and trying his darnedest to resign that post. Enter his stepfather with some harrowing news. Loved seeing Tom Byrd again, and it was neat to see how Rodrigo is dealing after being zombified. There's your ingrained racism of the time, what with the slavery and all. I've never liked John's pragmatic view of slavery, but it is what it is, I guess? At least here, that pragmatism is a help to them.

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review 2017-04-08 05:59
Lord John and the Private Matter - Diana Gabaldon

I've never had anything negative to say about Diana Gabaldon's writing. There was no aspect of Lord John and the Private Matter that I found susceptible to criticism. I've read the novellas out of order and have found them entertaining in their own rights. Since reading Written in My Own Heart's Blood especially my love for Lord John has only increased. He's a steadfast friend, an honorable member of the military, and generally the most charming and genuine character one could have pleasure of reading. While the first half of the novellas tend to be confusing given the number of subplots, Gabaldon always concludes her stories with a thorough "reveal" scene in which explanations are given. I will say, the ending of this one wasn't as satisfying as that in Lord John and the Haunted Soldier

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review 2017-04-02 15:10
La croce di fuoco
La croce di fuoco (La straniera, #8) - Valeria Galassi,Diana Gabaldon

Le mie belle aspettative si sono desolatamente infrante in una marea di pagine inutili, piene di avvenimenti minuziosamente descritti ma che non aggiungeranno nulla alla storia.

 

Alla fine, verso le ultime 100 pagine, succede qualcosa di interessante, ma viene tutto descritto rapidamente per lanciare l'esca  (sì credo proprio che la Gabaldon ci veda come tanti pesciolini) per comprare il prossimo libro della saga.

 

Peccato, la storia di Claire e Jamie mi è subito entrata nel cuore, ed anche quella di Brianna e Roger, ma  l'idea che l'autrice voglia allungare il brodo a scopi puramente commerciali è troppo chiara.

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review 2017-03-30 13:36
Book Review: Drums of Autumn
Drums of Autumn - Diana Gabaldon

It's been about 3 years since I read the last book in the series, and I honestly have no idea why I waited so long to continue! I just finished watching the 2 seasons of Outlander that deals with the first two books, so that's what prompted me to pick where I left off... but I honestly couldn't remember a single thing about the 3rd book except that it involved pirates and they washed up on the shores of America... even after reading the wiki for book 3 I still had trouble remembering, though I'm 100% sure I read it and enjoyed it! Luckily the wiki reminded me enough to not be completely lost, and there were also a couple of references and reminders in DoA, so at least I don't feel like I have to re-read it to know what's going on... not that re-reading it would be a bad thing, but my Reading Challenge would suffer immeasurably.

DG is a brilliant storyteller and has such a way with words that you don't even notice the pages flying past. Even though this was another monster sized book, I didn't feel like it was that long. Not a lot of huge exciting stuff happened, though at the same time, a lot of exciting things happened in a normal run-of-the-mill daily life in the 1700's kind of way...

Drums of Autumn picks up after Jamie and Claire wash up on American shores, and chronicles their years there. You've got slaves, Red Indians, Immigrants... and all the drama that goes along with it. It's another fascinating look at the history of a place, and this was very close to the beginning years of modern America. Generally it's a well known history, so it's nothing that you didn't really know, but DG goes into much more detail for a closer look at customs etc.

The characters are still lovable and it felt like catching up with old friends. Jamie is still his hard-headed self and Claire is still feisty. We're also seeing much more of Brianna and Roger this time around, while other characters like Fergus fades into the background. That's the one thing that GB does that I don't really like -- she spends a lot of time building characters, and then she discards them. I guess I can live with that as long as Jamie stays front and center <3

There was a lot happening in this book, and I'm guessing that I'll probably forget a lot of it over time as I did with Voyager. There were scenes that made me cry and Jamie made me laugh more than once. The part where (view spoiler) was so well done that the tears were rolling down my cheeks while I was laughing and my heart filled with emotion. I wasn't that worried during the "stressful" bits because you kind of know that nobody is really in life danger, but still... I actually really want to read the next book and find out what happens with Ian and his situation. Ian and Rollo has definitely grown on me and I hope to see more of them in the next book.

On the other hand, we have Lord John who I never really liked, though I don't actively dislike him either. I think he's a cool dude though, and his actions during this book did endear him to me quite a bit. He's definitely a more complex character than can be addressed in Jamie and Claire's books, though I've read a couple of the Lord John stories, but they weren't great tbh...

Jamie Fraser is still my favorite book-boyfriend, and although I usually don't like the female characters, I find myself really liking Claire. Even Bree is pretty cool. I think what makes them so likeable is the fact that they are flawed. Jamie is high-handed and stubborn and I would sometimes like to kick him in the shins. Claire is hot-headed and doesn't think before talking or acting, and sometimes you just feel like shaking her. But at the end of the day you love them, and the love they share feels more real than many other "romances" out there.

I would really recommend this series to pretty much everyone, though I wish DG would cut out some of the excessive stuff. It really doesn't need to be these huge long books, and most of the time they can probably be split into various other books! Still though... read it!

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review 2017-03-06 02:22
A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon
A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Audiobook - Audible Download) - Davina Porter,Diana Gabaldon

I almost feel like Claire and Jamie are family.  We have been through a lot together over the years and it seems like things never really get any easier do they?  This was my first time through this book and I went ahead and did the audio instead of reading the paper version.   This was a really long audio.  Too long if I am being honest.  I love Jamie, Claire, Brianna, Roger, and the whole gang but I was really ready to move on to something else by the time I finished this audio.  Don't get me wrong this story is really good and I am glad that I listened to it but it almost exhausted me at a point.

These books are a little different than what you would normally read.  I always tell people that most books deal with a certain problem and have a definite story arc.  Books in the Outlander series are very character driven and they don't focus on any particular plot point.  It is really just all of the things that happen during this period in Jamie, Claire, Brianna, and Roger's lives.  You do need to read this series in order because things from previous books do tend to pop up from time to time.

So much happens in this book.  Like I said, Jamie and Claire feel almost like family so when bad things happen to them, I really tend to feel it.  Bad things do happen in this book.  Things that made me want to cry, things that made me laugh, and things that made me mad.  I do really like how Jamie and Claire's love for each other never wavers and even now that they are older, they still have a very healthy sex life.

Davina Porter does a fabulous job in narrating this book.  The voices and accents that she uses for all of the main characters have remained very consistent over the course of the series.  I find it amazing how well she handles the male voices.  Her Jamie is just perfection.  I like how much emotion really shows in her voice as she reads this story.  I am able to listen to her voice for hours at a time without ever tiring of it.

I would highly recommend this series to others.  This is a series that I plan to revisit from time to time because the characters are so wonderful and the writing is so well done.  I will be continuing with this series in the near future.

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