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April 21 2016 @ 02:32 pm
Recent Reads: Fever Series, Last Caged Book,2 More Outlanders and more  
Reading Challenge: 10 of 50

Title: While You Were Mine
Author: Ann Howard Creel
Pages: 302
Rating: no titleno titleno titleno titleno title
Links:
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Description:
Everything she loved could so easily be lost.

The end of World War II should have brought joy to Gwen Mullen. But on V-J Day, her worst fear is realized. As celebrating crowds gather in Times Square, a soldier appears on her doorstep to claim Mary, the baby abandoned to Gwen one year earlier. Suddenly Gwen is on the verge of losing the child she has nurtured and loves dearly.

With no legal claim to Mary, Gwen begins to teach Lieutenant John McKee how to care for his child, knowing that he will ultimately take Mary away. What starts as a contentious relationship, however, turns into something more, and Gwen must open her heart to learn that love means taking chances.

While You Were Mine paints a vivid portrait of 1940s New York and tells an enchanting tale of the nature of love and trust.


Thoughts:
First, I'd encountered Ann Howard Creel before when I read The Magic of Ordinary Days. I loved that book and really hadn't thought about finding anymore of Creel's work. However, this one popped up on my Amazon Prime and I downloaded it.

Typically, I don't read the books I get for free from Amazon or I wait a long time but the idea behind this book intrigued me so I read it right away and I'm so very glad.

The idea is that Gwen's roommate during WWII, abandons her baby with Gwen who can't fathom the idea of giving the sweet child to the orphanage. Gwen instead keeps the baby and raises her on her own mostly (babysitting help from a friend upstairs). However, on V-J Day, Gwen returns home to find a soldier standing on her doorstep looking for Alice (the roommate). Gwen knows immediately it is her sweet Mary's father and explains everything to him. Now Gwen must teach John how to take care of his child, all the while, knowing soon she will lose the little girl she's come to love as her own.

This story was rife with emotion for me. The idea of loving a child so much and then having to give it back to a biological parent is very hard. I've never experienced such a thing but I imagine it to be devastating. Granted here Gwen hadn't adopted Mary. She was just caring for her until something changed but realized quickly she loved Mary and never wanted to give her up.

Gwen spend a great amount of time with John teaching him about his child. The best part is John doesn't want to snatch Mary from the only mother she's ever known and let's Gwen continue to care for Mary until Mary is comfortable with him.

I loved the way Creel portrays the aftermath of the war and it's toll on the soldiers and citizens. Creel goes so far as to point out the things you couldn't get during the war and how that changed after.

Creel includes Gwen's new roommate in the story, giving Dot her own story which is full of hardship. Dot's husband doesn't deal with his "shell shock" well and it leaves a strain on her relationship. I do wish there had been more about Dot but I'm wondering if Dot got a book... I should look for it.

The thing I had the hardest time with was the idea of Alice. A woman so selfish as to abandon her child in such a manner. There is a huge difference in a woman who knows her own limitations and gives a child up for adoption and what Alice did. At first, you almost want to sympathize with Alice to some degree but the more you learn about her the less you like her and the more you despise her.

This like The Magic of Ordinary Days needs to be a Hallmark movie.


Title: Finding Fraser
Author: KC Dyer
Pages: 388
Rating: no titleno titleno titleno titleno title
Links:
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Description:
Sometimes searching for true love can be a little...Outlandish.

I met Jamie Fraser when I was nineteen years old. He was tall, red-headed, and at our first meeting at least, a virgin. I fell in love hard, fast and completely. He knew how to ride a horse, wield a sword and stitch a wound. He was, in fact, the perfect man.

That he was fictional hardly entered into it.

At 29, Emma Sheridan's life is a disaster and she's tired of waiting for the perfect boyfriend to step from the pages of her favorite book. There's only one place to look, and it means selling everything and leaving her world behind. With an unexpected collection of allies along the way, can Emma face down a naked fishmonger, a randy gnome, a perfidious thief, and even her own abdominal muscles on the journey to find her Fraser?


Thoughts:
Honestly, what do some of the more "devoted" Outlander fans think? Especially the single ones? We want our own Jamie and we look for his traits in the men we have or meet. Well, this is how I feel about Jamie. Maybe some fans don't feel the same way. So that is exactly what 29 year old Emma Sheridan is after. Her own version of Jamie.

Emma closes up her American life for a trip to Scotland where she hopes just stepping foot will bring her closer to kilt wearing men, dashing warriors, and Jamie Fraser. But her hopes, and mine, were a bit dashed to find out that modern Scots don't go around in their kilts everyday, the closest thing to a warrior is at the Highland games and Jamie Fraser is a work of fiction. Sad, no?

Emma goes from Chicago, to New York and then to Scotland where to goes from site to site enduring humiliation, robbery, bad luck, and then to cap it off a not so Jamie-like man.

What I loved most about Dyer's writing was that she seemed to embed herself in the less rational way some of the Jamie lovers think. We want Jamie and so we are looking for his doppelganger/clone. Dyer gives Emma a mantra of "What would JF do?" and in most cases it isn't what the man in Emma's life is doing.

One thing that struck me is that if Dyer is a fan she's gotten a fact wrong. There is a big moment in Voyager (fans know what I mean) that Dyer places in the second book Dragonfly in Amber. This seemed like a huge oversight for a fan of Gabaldon. Though it seemed to me even Emma didn't seem to really remember half the Outlander story. I don't know if that was a way to rely less of Gabaldon's work or just a lack of memory recall or research.

What struck me most was that our Jamie Fraser loving Emma also seemed to not understand, as she moved through Scotland, that Jamie and the world of Outlander were very much fiction. Though I suppose you could chalk that up to fanaticism.

Emma's biggest mistake in her journey is looking for the Jamie Fraser she sees in her mind rather than attributes that make Jamie so beloved. She's looking for a redheaded Scot rather than a loyal, brave, intelligent, loving and good man. It does take Emma some time to realize this error.

Most of all, I liked that in the end the love story unfolding here was based more on real attributes rather than an idea from a book. And to top it off, I feel Emma fell more in love with Scotland than anything else.
Title: Drums of Autumn
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander, 4
Pages: 880
Rating: no titleno titleno titleno titleno title
Links:
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Description:
It began at an ancient Scottish stone circle. There, a doorway, open to a select few, leads into the past—or the grave. Dr. Claire Randall survived the extraordinary passage, not once but twice.

Her first trip swept her into the arms of Jamie Fraser, an eighteenth-century Scot whose love for her became a legend—a tale of tragic passion that ended with her return to the present to bear his child. Her second journey, two decades later, brought them together again in the American colonies. But Claire had left someone behind in the twentieth century—their daughter, Brianna....

Now Brianna has made a disturbing discovery that sends her to the circle of stones and a terrifying leap into the unknown. In search of her mother and the father she has never met, she is risking her own future to try to change history ... and to save their lives. But as Brianna plunges into an uncharted wilderness, a heartbreaking encounter may strand her forever in the past ... or root her in the place she should be, where her heart and soul belong....


Thoughts:
Why this book? At the end of the last book we are left after Jamie and Claire are shipwrecked but safely in America. I found myself curious as to whether or not Young Ian would be going back to Scotland and what Jamie and Claire would be doing in the new world. Also, once I read the back of the book and realized that Brianna was braving the stones and was going to meet Jamie... I was begging to read it.

Diana Gabaldon really grabs you and brings you into the world she writes about making it very difficult for you to set down the book and do anything. I always seem to find myself wondering what will happen next and this is the 3rd time I've read this book.

We really get to see the development of Roger and Brianna. We get to see a new depth to both characters as they overcome obstacles and deal with everything life throws at them.

So many of these books have a different feel. Outlander was a mild fantasy and love story while Dragonfly was definitely the political and royalty book. Very high society. Voyager was the adventure but I think Drums is more the transition from high action to real life for these characters. This isn't to say there isn't action, intrigue and some mystery going on but Jamie and Claire carve out a foothold in North Carolina and start a home, putting Jamie in charge of tenants again.

As the description says, Brianna goes back in time but it is glorious to see her interaction with Jamie's family in Scotland and then the grand moment when Jamie and Brianna meet. It is so worth the time though I admit with this book being longer, it is difficult in some parts.

Another character we get to see start to really develop is Young Ian, which has become a favorite of mine. We really get to see an echo of Jamie in him.

Well worth the read.
Title: The Fiery Cross
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander, 5
Pages: 979
Rating: no titleno titleno titleno titleno title
Links:
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Description:
The year is 1771, and war is coming. Jamie Fraser’s wife tells him so. Little as he wishes to, he must believe it, for hers is a gift of dreadful prophecy—a time-traveler’s certain knowledge. Claire’s unique view of the future has brought him both danger and deliverance in the past; her knowledge of the oncoming revolution is a flickering torch that may light his way through the perilous years ahead—or ignite a conflagration that will leave their lives in ashes.

Thoughts:
This is my least favorite of the entire series of Outlander books and yet I give it a 3. It tells you something about the series. Diana Gabaldon is an excellent writer who deserves the recognition that she gets and more.

Now, the reason for the 3 is that the beginning of this book and some of the fighting and war scenes in this book are long and drawn out. They are hard to get through. And yet just when you feel like Diana has left the story to tell you about the scenery, something grabs your attention and makes you gasp or make some other involuntary noise.

This book, so like the others, is filled with intrigue and obstacles that make Jamie, Claire, Brianna and Roger's lives more interesting than they have a right to be.

I feel like this is more Roger's book as one of the biggest things in the series happens to him and we get to see the results and change go through him.

Diana has a great talent for writing for these characters and is wonderful at her portrayal of small children. Jemmy is great as is Germaine.

I do feel at times that Diana uses more words than are strictly necessary but at the same time it is why you feel like part of this world.

I would highly recommend this series of book and I would say stick it out when some parts become a little too descriptive because the end result is always worth it.
Title: Betrayed
Author: Amber Lynn Natusch
Series: Caged, 7
Pages: 265
Rating: no titleno titleno titleno titleno title
Links:
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Description:
They’re gone…

When Ruby discovers what really happened the night of Alan Beauchamp's murder, one thing becomes very clear: time is running out for the people she loves. As she unravels the web of lies and deceit around her, Ruby reveals an unthinkable truth. One with dire repercussions for all.

Can Ruby pull together all the supernatural aspects of her life to foil a diabolical plot, or will she fall victim to an evil unlike any other she has faced?


Thoughts:
The Caged Series is well worth the read. And now that it is completed you will be able to enjoy the binge read rather than wait for each one. Major plus. I'm pretty sure I've rated them all 5 stars except this one.

Here is the thing. Part of me feels Natusch was so ready to end the series that this one lacked something essential to Ruby. Ruby repeated her self so many time and the conversations seemed repetitive in the extreme. There was a lot of stand around and explaining everything though I don't know that I actually feel everything was resolved. But Ruby got a happy ending and that is what I wanted.

Despite the story feeling a little shoved together, the great characters were still there as were the emotions, the friendships and all that comes with Ruby and her patchwork pack.

I might not have totally loved this installment but overall the series is excellent and for supernatural fans this is a must read.
Title: Feverborn
Author: Karen Marie Moning
Series: Fever, 8
Pages: 436
Rating: no titleno titleno titleno titleno title
Links:
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Description:
When the immortal race of the Fae destroyed the ancient wall dividing the worlds of Man and Faery, the very fabric of the universe was damaged and now Earth is vanishing bit by bit. Only the long-lost Song of Making—a haunting, dangerous melody that is the source of all life itself—can save the planet.

But those who seek the mythic Song—Mac, Barrons, Ryodan and Jada—must contend with old wounds and new enemies, passions that burn hot and hunger for vengeance that runs deep. The challenges are many: The Keltar at war with nine immortals who’ve secretly ruled Dublin for eons, Mac and Jada hunted by the masses, the Seelie queen nowhere to be found, and the most powerful Unseelie prince in all creation determined to rule both Fae and Man. Now the task of solving the ancient riddle of the Song of Making falls to a band of deadly warriors divided among—and within—themselves.

Once a normal city possessing a touch of ancient magic, Dublin is now a treacherously magical city with only a touch of normal. And in those war-torn streets, Mac will come face to face with her most savage enemy yet: herself.


Thoughts:
I can't believe I'm going to say it but I like this installment less than all the others. I'm not sure I can put my finger on what it was about this book. Maybe that we'd been mislead until this point about what Jada was exactly. Is she the split personality of Dani? Yes or no? I could overlook this and still rate the book a five bu then Moning tossed another WTF moment at us.

Mac is minding her own business being invisible when she sees Alina. Okay no big surprise, it isn't the first time some Fae has made her see her dead sister, the very reason she's in this mess in Dublin. But then Mac runs right into her and she seems to be real. But in true Mac (annoying as hell) fashion, she ignores it. She doesn't want to bother thinking about something that will upset her so she puts it out of her mind. Um, Mac that could be important.

But honestly, Mac does have something else to worry about. She's invisible, someones shooting at her and hunting her, she is possessed by the Sinsar Dubh and Dani has a split personality.

Okay let's get to that. Dancer comes into the mix and right away tells them all to accept Dani for who she is now... Jada. At first you want to smack him upside the head but then he makes the point that Dani/Jada needed a fresh start because she endured God knows what when no one was looking for her. She then everyone starts thinking about that and accepting Jada is Dani but more grown up and sporting a new name (remember she doesn't like hers). One problem down.

Mac is being shot at. Oh wait Jayne comes to the rescue and pretty much quells those rogue Guardians.

She's invisible. Wait she's not anymore. Wonder why?

It is the book, it is going to take her over and kill everyone.... Ryodan and Barrons think that isn't the case. They think, and in turn we are lead to believe that make only has knowledge of the book inside her. Problem is we and Mac remember her killing a Guardian when she first became possessed. Is she or isn't she possessed?

So now the plot of this book waffles back and forth on whether or not she's really possessed... maybe the book is tricking her? Toss in Cruce. Wait what about the Seers... okay then too. Let's barely explain anything about Daegus and Christian and focus on Mac's problems which honestly, I'd thought she'd grown a brain when she outsmarted the books several books back but nows she's the same Ms. Lane Barrons was always yelling at. How did that happen?

I mean there is a lot about this I would have accepted because I love KMM but Mac slipped. She went from gradually learning and finally coming around to having some guts and some instinct and now just seems to be back and square one.

And while I think KMM is going to explain the Alina Thing at some point, it was super frustrating to gloss over it mostly in this book when it was rather a major story point.

But I did enjoy the moments with Jada/Dani and her Silverside buddy.... and how rattled she makes Ryodan.

So 4. I can't believe how frustrating this book was or that I got to 89% of the Kindle book and the rest was just filler stuff and not story. Grrrr.
Title: The Viking's Captive
Author: Julia Byrne
Pages: 320
Rating: no titleno titleno titleno titleno title
Links:
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Description:
Rorik can't leave the exquisite beauty, lying beaten and helpless in an English manor hall, in the vicious hands of her husband. So he carries her away to his ship. But is Rorik intent on saving her - or having her for himself? Yvaine, is wary of her warrior rescuer. She is his captive - and it's palpably clear what payment Rorik seeks as his reward...

Thoughts:
It sounded better then it ended up being. Yvaine is taken from her abusive husbands home by a fierce Viking. Of course, Yvaine is upset that she's been kidnapped from her country and will quite possibly be a slave to a Viking. Rorik is captivated by Yvaine the moment he sees her. He doesn't want a slave but a wife.

Yvaine and Rorik go back to his home where a lot more happens which most seems contrived. The story wasn't terrible but things ran along the predictable line and while I'm a sucker for a love story this one just seemed to be a lot of big hulking man and weak woman.

Not that great.