Book Review: Written In My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon

WrittenInMyOwnHeartsBloodDianaGabaldon

Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander  is my favorite series. Seriously. Favorite. Series. Ever. I’m thrilled that Outlanders will come to life as a series on the Starz network August ninth, and I’m even more excited I finally got a chance to read the latest book in the series, Written In My Own Heart’s Blood (Delacorte Press, 848 paes, $35.00).

If you’ve never read the series, explaining it is complicated. There’s time travel, a beautiful love story, and excellent character development – but there’s so much more. Way too much to explain here. Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (AKA WIMOHB) is the eighth book in the series, so there’s a lot of back story. This one picks up where the action of the last book, An Echo In The Bone left off. At this point in the series Claire, who is a a time traveler from the 20th century currently living in 18th century America, believes Jaimie (her husband – he’s super hot and sometimes wears a kilt) is dead as a result of a failed voyage from Scotland to the States. Circumstances have forced Claire to marry Lord John Grey, Jaimie’s best friend, in order to remain safe in 1778 Philadelphia.

Written In My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon on Mandy Boles Life between books

Jaimie comes back and Claire is shocked to learn that he didn’t die. Their reunion is short lived as George Washington asks Jaimie to serve in the war. You can’t really say no to George Washington, right? Gabaldon’s depiction of life during wartime is fascinating as always, and she describes battle with such detail that I felt like I was fighting and working alongside Jaimie and Claire. I love the many descriptions of the medical procedures Claire performs on the sick and wounded. I can’t imagine how many hours of research Gabaldon must have done just to get the details of the battles and surgical procedures correct.

The secret concerning William’s true father finally comes out in this book. I would like to have seen more interaction between Jaime and William, but I assume the next book will explore their relationship further.

Written In My Own heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon Mandy Boles Life Between Books

Brianna, Jaime and Claire’s daughter, and her husband Roger (they and their two children are also able to travel through time) are living in the 1980 Scotland at the beginning of the book when things go horribly wrong. Roger travels back to he past because he believes their son Jem has been kidnapped and taken back to the 1700’s. Back in the 1980’s Brianna discovers that Jem is still in the present and must figure out how to reunite her husband with the family while dealing with problems on her homefront. The Roger/Brianna storyline has been my favorite in the last couple of books. I wish Diana Gabaldon would consider writing a spin off series featuring the couple.

Gabaldon’s story of enduring love through time is captivating. She ends the book with a tease that left me on the edge of my seat for the next book in the series. I have a feeling I’ll be on the edge of that seat for at least a few years since writing such detailed novels understandably takes years to do. Written In My Own Heart’s Blood, is a page turner! Readers who enjoy historical fiction and time travel romance will love Written in My Own Heart’s Blood.
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Fell free to comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts about WIMOHB or any other book in the Outlander series.

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The dress I’m wearing in the photos above is by Cynthia Vincent. Click on the graphic above to shop the Cynthia Vincent site for lots of pretty clothes.:)

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Book Review: The Unfailing Light (Katerina Trilogy Book Two) by Robin Bridges

The Unfailing Light by Robin BridgesTitle: The Unfailing Light (Katerina Trilogy Book Two)

Author: Robin Bridges

320 pages, Published by Delacorte Books For Young Readers

Robin’s Info: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Buy The Book: Amazon

Summary:

Lush and opulent, romantic and sinister, The Unfailing Light, Volume II in The Katerina Trilogy, reimagines the lives of Russia’s aristocracy in a fabulously intoxicating and page-turning fantasy.

Having had no choice but to use her power has a necromancer to save Russia from dark forces, Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, now wants to forget that she ever used her special powers. She’s about to set off to pursue her lifelong dream of attending medical school when she discovers that Russia’s arch nemesis–who she thought she’d destroyed–is still alive. So on imperial orders, Katerina remains at her old finishing school. She’ll be safe there, because the empress has cast a potent spell to protect it against the vampires and revenants who are bent on toppling the tsar and using Katerina for their own gains. But to Katerina’s horror, the spell unleashes a vengeful ghost within the school, a ghost more dangerous than any creature trying to get in.(Summary provided by Delacorte Books For Young Readers.)

My Thoughts:

The Unfailing Light by Robin Bridges is book two in the Katerina Trilogy. I read book one, The Gathering Storm, this past January, and I absolutely loved it! So, I was really looking forward to The Unfailing Light. Jam-packed with action, adventure and romance, The Unfailing Light did not disappoint. Book two picks back up in Russia in the year  1889 with Katerina learning she will not get to attend medical school yet, because the empress thinks she will be safer spending an extra year at Smolny Institute for Young Noble Maidens. Katerina is not pleased, but she knows she must keep herself safe in order to be able to serve the tsar with her necromancer ability.

The Unfailing Light takes place mostly at the Smolny Institute where Katerina is basically trapped by the empress’s protection spell for the entire school year. It might sound boring to be trapped within the walls of your school, but this is no ordinary school. Smolny is being haunted by a terrifying ghost and there is a werewolf for Katerina to deal with. So, Katerina must deal with the werewolf and ghost on top of worrying for the safety of the tsar and for that of George, the tsar’s son who is studying in Paris and Katerina’s secret love interest. Oh and I forgot to mention – Katerina is unable to use her powers within school grounds because of the protection spell cast by the empress.

I love this series so much! I am fascinated by Imperial Russia, and stepping into Katerina’s world makes me feel like I’m getting a giant bear hug from a Faberge egg. Bridges makes the architecture, clothing, and customs of Imperial Russia come to life for her readers. Add vampires, fairies, witches, werewolves, and a necromancer into the mix and the result is a young adult novel that is a whole lot of fun! I can’t wait to read the final book in the trilogy, and I highly recommend the first two books in the series to adult and teen readers.

Many thanks to Robin Bridges for including The Well-Read Wife on The Unfailing Light tour. Be sure and check out the other stops on The Unfailing Light tour listed below!

September 24th: Smitten Over Books

September 25th: Casey’s Crew

September 26th: Much Ado About Books

September 26th: The Streetlight Reader

September 27th: Infinite Reads

September 28th: The Hiding Spot

September 29th: Girls *Heart* Books

October 1st: Mom Reads My Books

October 2nd: Magical Urban Fantasy Reads

October 2nd: The Book Review Club

October 3rd: The Book Review Club

October 4th: Kimba Caffeinated

October 4th: My Life is a Notebook

October 5th: My Life is a Notebook

October 6th: Candace’s Book Blog

October 7th: Reader Girls

October 8th: Bookish

October 8th: Peace, Love, Books

October 9th: YA Bibliophile

October 9th: Reader Girls

October 10th: Wastepaper Prose

October 10th: Imaginary Reads

October 11th: Imaginary Reads

October 12th: Well Read Wife

October 15th: Libby Blog

October 16th: Cracking the Cover

October 17th: A Bookish Libraria

October 18th: A Novel Review

October 19th: In the Best Worlds

October 20th: Tripping Over Books

FTC Disclosure Statement: I received a complimentary review copy of The Unfailing Light from the publisher. I also receive a small commission from any purchases made by clicking through the Amazon links throughout the site.

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A Book Review: Starters by Lissa Price

Starters by Lissa PriceTitle: Starters

Author: Lissa Price

352 pages, Published by Delacorte Books For Young Readers

Release Date: March 13, 2012

Lissa’s Info: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Buy The Book: Amazon

Summary: In the future, teens rent their bodies to seniors who want to be young again. One girl discovers her renter plans to do more than party–her body will commit murder, if her mind can’t stop it. Sixteen-year-old Callie lost her parents when the genocide spore wiped out everyone except those who were vaccinated first–the very young and very old. With no grandparents to claim Callie and her little brother, they go on the run, living as squatters, and fighting off unclaimed renegades who would kill for a cookie. Hope comes via Prime Destinations, run by a mysterious figure known only as The Old Man. He hires teens to rent their bodies to seniors, known as enders, who get to be young again. Callie’s neurochip malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her rich renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, even dating Blake, the grandson of a senator. It’s a fairy-tale new life . . . until she uncovers the Body Bank’s horrible plan. . . . (Summary provided by Delacorte Books For Young Readers.)

My Thoughts:

Well kids, here it is: the next big dystopian series. That’s right. I’m calling it. Mark my words. This will be the next Hunger Games. That is, Starters by Lissa Price will be the next Hunger Games if people read it, and I sincerely hope they do. It’s great.

Starters has many elements that will grab the attention of young readers. There is a post war setting: Everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty perished during the war, and children without grandparents or guardians to watch over them must fend for themselves. The unclaimed children and teens (called “starters”) live in fear of “enders” (senior citizens) sending them to institutions that serve as work camps for unclaimed youth. There is a creepy business called Prime Destinations that allows starters a chance to make money: Prime Destinations allows teens to make money by renting their bodies out to enders. It is run by a creepy person known only as “The Old Man.” Did I mention The Old Man and Prime Destinations are creepy? Oh, I’ve said that a bunch already?  Imagine if someone rented your body and you had no idea what went on while they were using it. That’s pretty creepy. There is a romantic storyline: Callie has a couple of possible romantic interests. First, there is Michael. Michael is in the same situation as Callie. He is an unclaimed minor, and he is helping Callie and her little brother survive. Callie has another romantic interest named Blake. He is a senator’s grandson and he is a hottie. I’m very much team Blake. (Yes, even though there is a disturbing revelation at the end, I am still team Blake. You have got to read this book. It’s awesome!) The romantic storyline is well written. It doesn’t over power the main storyline. There is a lot of action in this book: Starters is a thrilling and suspenseful read. I literally had no idea what was going to happen next. This book was not just another sappy info. dump. Stuff happens in it. There is a wonderful, female protagonist: The main thing that makes this book work is the protagonist Callie. She will do anything to take care of her brother. She is a likable and relatable heroine.

Starters will also appeal to teens on the younger end of the YA spectrum in addition to older teens and adults. The book does not contain cursing or sexual situations. There is just a little mild violence. So parents should feel comfortable letting preteens read it. It is a book that truly lends itself to a wide variety of readers. Run to your local bookstore and get a copy of Starters by Lissa Price today!

FTC Disclosure: Please assume that I received any book reviewed or mentioned on the site for free from the publisher. Also, if you purchase books by clicking the Amazon links throughout the site, I get a small commission.

 

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Book Review: The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges

The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges CoverTitle: The Gathering Storm (The Katerina Trilogy, Vol. 1)

Author: Robin Bridges

400 pages, Published by Delacorte Books For young Readers, YA

Robin’s Info: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Buy The Book: Amazon

Summary:

St. Petersburg, Russia, 1888. As she attends a whirl of glittering balls, royal debutante Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, tries to hide a dark secret: she can raise the dead. No one knows. Not her family. Not the girls at her finishing school. Not the tsar or anyone in her aristocratic circle. Katerina considers her talent a curse, not a gift. But when she uses her special skill to protect a member of the Imperial Family, she finds herself caught in a web of intrigue.
An evil presence is growing within Europe’s royal bloodlines—and those aligned with the darkness threaten to topple the tsar. Suddenly Katerina’s strength as a necromancer attracts attention from unwelcome sources . . . including two young men—George Alexandrovich, the tsar’s standoffish middle son, who needs Katerina’s help to safeguard Russia, even if he’s repelled by her secret, and the dashing Prince Danilo, heir to the throne of Montenegro, to whom Katerina feels inexplicably drawn.
The time has come for Katerina to embrace her power, but which side will she choose—and to whom will she give her heart? (Summary provided by Delacorte.)

My Thoughts:

Winter Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia

The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges is simply breathtaking. An adventurous tale set in St. Petersberg Russia in the year 1888, The Gathering Storm tells the story of a teen necromancer, Katerina, who is trying to come to terms with her powers. To further complicate matters Katerina is the Duchess of Oldenburg and must simultaneously hide her powers and fend off suitors while trying to keep the royal family safe.

Cathedral

Teens and adults alike will be fascinated by the cultural differences between the modern world and 1880’s Imperial Russia. Katerina longs to study medicine after she finishes high school and the difficulties regarding women studying medicine during that time period are highlighted in the book. I was so happy to see a paranormal teen protagonist who is not just wrapped up in the moment fighting against evil forces but who is also thinking about her future as well. Katerina’s love of medicine and her tendency to help the doctor patch up soldiers at the hospital fascinated me. My husband is a doctor, so I thought the descriptions of medical procedures in the 1880’s were quite interesting.

Katerina is a necromancer, but she does not yet know how to control her powers. When others find out about her dark secret, she finds herself pursued by  faeries, vampires, and even another necromancer that are all related to or associated with the royal family in one way or another. I thought this was an awesome concept. Faeries, necromancers and vampires in Imperial Russia? Awesome. Can someone please write a book like this about the modern British Royal family? Please include vampire Pippa if you do!  Bridges’s writing will captivate young readers with descriptions of lush period fashions and the elaborate balls that provide a backdrop for much of the action of the novel. The Gathering Storm is book one of a fantastic new YA trilogy. Get your copy today!

Click here for a chance to win a signed copy of this awesome book!

Just realized I am finished writing the review and didn’t even mention the vampire moths. How could I not mention the vampire moths?! You’ll just have to read The Gathering Storm to find out why they remind me of this:

Silence of The Lambs Poster

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