Tuesday, July 29, 2014

More Outlander...and Other Guilty Pleasures

Although I didn't post anything for two months, I was still reading.
Never fear, I will always be reading!!

So let's get caught up on a few of the books I covered, shall we?

After finishing Divergent, I actually read the 5th book in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander Series, The Fiery Cross.  This book was a whopper!  It added another thousand pages (*gasp*) to the saga of Jamie and Claire.  The thing is, I love Jamie and Claire, and I love reading about them, but this time I felt there were parts of the book that were a little drawn out.  (Which is funny, because I'm sure a lot of people will argue that five 1000 page books of any single story is rather drawn out.)  The main thing that pushed me through it was that I needed to return it to the guy who let me borrow it.  (Ha.)  That, and I really wanted to get through the series to be ready for the 8th book, Written in My Own Heart's Blood, that came out last month.

Although it wasn't my favorite installment of the series, I am still helplessly addicted to the story and will most definitely read on.  I love Diana Gabaldon's writing style and the way she makes me live the story along with the characters.  And real life has slower seasons along with the busier ones...right?  So, I enjoy experiencing both the slower and busier seasons of life on Fraser's Ridge as well.  It makes it real, yo.  ;)

I already have the next book, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, waiting for me on my shelf since I bought it as soon as I finished this one.  Once I finish my stack of library books, I am looking forward to reading it.

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Every morning I receive emails from BookBub and BookSends with eBooks that are currently available for free.  Never one to resist such a bargain (it's free!), I have nearly filled up my iCloud storage with these eBooks.  As a way to thank the author (and publisher), I always make a point to review the books both here and on Goodreads.

Winter Song, by Jennifer McMurrain, is one of the books I downloaded for free.  This is a book worth paying for!  (I think it's $2.99 now on Amazon, and it is totally worth it.)  Chalked up under my "guilty pleasure" category of books that are a quick read, I finished it in only a couple nights...since it was hard to put down.  At first I thought the plot might be cheesy (one of the main characters is a ghost), but I decided to read it anyway since I love Susanna Kearsley's paranormal love stories and because she has opened me up to reading stories of that genre.  To my delight, the book was well written and I really liked the characters… even the ghost, despite his faults.  :)

The story is a paranormal romance (I know, I know…but give it a chance!) about a woman who loses her fiancé in a boating accident.  Grieving, she decides to pursue the dream they had together of fixing-up and running a bed and breakfast, not realizing that he is still with her and watching over her.  As she gets closer to Noah, the handyman she hired to help her fix up the B&B, her deceased fiancé gets angry and tries everything to ruin their relationship since he is unwilling to let her go.

Overall, it is a sweet story and it's not too racy (which I like).  It has plenty of emotion and even a bit of a twist at the ending.  So, yes, I do recommend Winter Song to anyone who loves a good romance!

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Another great book I picked up while it was available as a free download was Peter Cunningham's The Sea and the Silence.  This book had mixed reviews, but its description on Goodreads caught my attention:

"A powerful novel from one of Ireland's best writers on the turbulent birth of a nation, and the lovers it divides."

How can I not download this one?  I love history, I definitely love Ireland, and, of course, I love lovers.  And the description goes on to call the book "an epic love story."  So I was excited to read it despite the fact that people seem rather divided by either loving it or hating it.

I am one of those who loved it, but I didn't love it until I read the entire book.  It seems that most reviewers (on Goodreads) who didn't like it are readers who didn't finish the book.  Finish the book, people!!!  It is a book you don't fully appreciate until you reach the end!!  I promise!  And then, when you do reach the end of the book and you still don't like it, I will listen to your opinion.  I will admit the first half of the book isn't as captivating as the second half.

The first half tells the story of a woman named Iz (our heroine), and her failing marriage.  Even though that was reason enough for me to continue the story, I appreciate why people may want to give up on the book prematurely.  Admittedly, the first half is not exactly riveting, yet it is crucial to know before reading the second half of the book.  It is in the second half where the reader learns about Iz at a younger age and where the plot quickly speeds up.  This is when the turbulent history of the Irish comes in and when we begin to fully understand Iz, her early years, and what lead her to be who she is in the first half of the book.  When you finish, I believe you will be surprisingly satisfied with the book.  I know I was, and it earned the book 4 stars from me.

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