Jill aka Jo (sireesanwar) wrote,
Jill aka Jo

O Little Town & Dragonfly in Amber (More December Reads)

Here are two more books I managed to finish in December but have had next to no time to comment on them due to my mom's health which has improved dramatically. She's virtually good as new. So here they are...

Title: O Little Town
Author: Don Reid
Pages: 285
Rating: no titleno titleno titleno titleno title
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Christmas 1958: Elvis is on the radio, Ike is in the White House, the Lord is in His holy temple . . . but there is no peace in Mt. Jefferson.

In a small town where everybody seems to know everybody, there are still a few secrets. Three families find they are connected in ways they never suspected: an angry teen, a dying man, a lonely wife, a daughter in trouble . . . just ordinary people, muddling their way through ordinary challenges. Marriage. Illness. Bad decisions. Friendship. Faith. Forgiveness.

Spanning three generations, O Little Town is a reminder that people still make mistakes, forgiveness can still be granted, and people still rise to the occasion and do the right thing. This tender tale of love and redemption will touch readers' hearts.

I originally decided I wanted to read this because the premise of the story seemed to be about one event that really effected everyone and you were apparently going to get everyone's take on what was happening. Turns out that isn't exactly what it was.

I can't say the book was one I would recommend for someone to rush out and read and yet it wasn't a bad book either.

I felt, that as the reader, we were stepping into these people's lives as a ghost watching and listening to everything going on. You are privvy to their thoughts, feelings and memories as they react good or badly to the situations in their own lives. A teenager acting out after discovering something about her parent, an old man's reactions and memory after getting some hard news, the reactions of parents who's own children bring them surprising life changes. All these things we see, good and bad.

I did feel the story flowed well and the characters seemed to have mostly distinct characterizations. Though there were times I couldn't remember who was married to whom.

Though admittedly what I liked most was that it seemed when the book ended you were just drawing away from these people, like a ghost or angel which had just been checking in and was now moving on.

Title: Dragonfly in Amber
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander, 2
Pages: 743
Rating: no titleno titleno titleno titleno title
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For nearly 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 Jamie 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 intrigue-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.

Diana Gabaldon isn't new to me anymore. I fell in love with her writings the first chapter into Outlander. She is a superb writer who really makes everything come alive and I would definitely read anything she's written.

Jamie and Claire's adventures continue in France in an attempt to thwart Charles Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) from leading the Scottish uprising that ended at Culloden and resulted in the English hunting down the clans and destroying them.

Claire believes that with the knowledge of what will happen she has a duty to try and stop it. In the middle of all of this is the continuing love story of Jamie and Claire who get to spend more alone time together, just exploring each other's natures. We also get to see the wonderfully crafty mind of Jamie and Claire both as they come up with plots to thwart Charles.

While I really like this book, I would say it isn't as good as Outlander simply because I do enjoy their times in Scotland and in this book it is so short. The battles and intrigues really bog things down at times but the twists and turns, surprises and shocks really propel you through the story to and end you suspect with the opening chapter and dread with every advancing page.

The supporting characters are more developed as are enemies. This really brings a whole new depth through the trials of the beloved characters. We also get to see a little bit more of the day to day life of this married couple which I must admit is something I truly love about it. In Outlander, Claire and Jamie are moving through just being married and all the problems of different clans. In their own house (well his uncles but he's not home) in France, they are just being and that makes things a little more interesting. We get to see Claire through a pregnancy and the little fights Jamie and Claire go through to strengthen their love.

Both Jamie and Claire's characters really have room to flex and grow in this story and we are introduced to two new characters: Brianna and Roger.

Brianna is the daughter of Claire and Jamie but has been raise to believe Frank Randall is her father. The point of this book is that Claire tells her the truth about her paternity which gets interesting to say the least. I wouldn't say this book develops Brianna well but I know for a fact that later books will as she's isn't as important to this story as Jamie and Claire.

Roger is a character we actually meet in Outlander when he is just a child. Now full grown, Claire goes to him to find out something from history past only to reveal to him how he is tangled in her time traveling web. Roger is developed only slightly more than Brianna because Claire and he bound over her story and he's the type of person to believe something fanciful like time travel. He also becomes the go between for mother and daughter. He gets a lot more interesting in books to come too.

This truly is a great story but if you plan on reading it make sure you have Voyager handy. Believe me you will need it.
Tags: books, books: reviewed, genre: action adventure, genre: christmas, genre: drama, genre: historical fiction, genre: mystery, genre: time travel, outlander, ~author: diana gabaldon, ~author: don reid, ~rating: 3, ~rating: 5

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