The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

I've been into historical fiction since I read The Bronze Horseman (WWII Russia), learning just a little bit of history without having to read bulky non-fiction history books is my kind of thing. Though this had more fiction than I would have liked. I got to say I was a little confused at the beginning of this book, probably due to the fact that I was trying to read it while taking care of a newborn, but as the baby got settled I got into the book more and more. By the end I couldn't put it down (even though it has some major flaws). If any of you read Diana Gabaldons' Outlander, this is right up your alley (Outlander is much better in my mind).  It takes place in Scotland as well, but in the early 1700s. Although I did like this book, and I couldn't put it down, after I finished it I was quite angry with the way it ended. But you have to read it to find out. It's kind of a love-hate thing. 

     An OK book, Im not gonna spoil it for those who didn't read the book yet, but as a mother, I was almost crying (it's still just a book), and even after it was done and over with, I just couldn't let it go. I still can't, I wish I could rewrite the ending. Maybe thats how people behaved is the 18th century, but I just can't stomach it. The author does a good job describing the scenery but when it comes to character building she needs a little help. I just could not get into the characters lives, it seemed rushed, we barely get to know some of the characters, and I know it's fiction, but I just can't help but feel like most of the characters are fake. At first I was more drawn to Carries side of the story, but later on Sophias' life seemed more real than Carries. I don't know, it just didn't sit well with me that Carrie's life had to be so parallel to Sophias. To me it seemed like they were fighting for my attention. What ever happened in Sophias life happened in Carries. The books seemed too clean and precise. I would like the lives of both of the girls to be a little more chaotic. It seemed like everything was planned to the last detail. And I didn't really believe in the whole ancestral memory thing, for some reason I can believe in time travel but not this. It just seemed too far fetched. Like that author didn't want to use time travel since it's been done so many times and she came up with this. For me it just didn't work. Not to say that I didn't enjoy the book, I just didn't like when Carrie would go into one of her "trances" when the memories were coming through. She seemed more psychotic to me.

The ending is a bit too predictable, and doesn't seem realistic, I would have liked to be surprised. I was not. Instead I was shocked by the stupid choice Sophia makes.  So overall it's a good book to read if you don't focus on all the negative things about it, and really it's supposed to be read for fun, it's not a serious book. I would still recommend it.

Drums Of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon

This is the fourth book in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. And while I loved the first three this one dragged throughout most of the first half. Then we get some great action, and then it slowly fizzles out again. I don't know, maybe it's because I don't care for Brianna that much. But her story is just not as compelling as Claires. I felt like she was getting in the way some of the time. The characters pretty much stay the same from the third book, there are a few more, but noting exciting really happens. It didn't keep me glued to the book like the others did. I still read it pretty quickly, but I think that was because I kept hoping something will happen. Also Roger is really bugging me. He's like a fish out of water, just doesn't seem to fit into the story. When I first met Roger I never expected to dislike him that much. Hopefully he redeems himself in the next books.

So the story goes like this. Claire and Jamie end up in the colonies after their adventurous voyage, here they try to start a new life, while Brianna is left in Boston all alone. And while all alone she keeps searching for her parents wanting to find out if they are still alive, if Claire has made it back to Jamie. She ends up stumbling on some information that sends her back to the stone circle, in the effort to try to change history she meets dangers and heartbreaking events that alter her own life forever. Overall the book wasn't bad, I guess you can't put that many events into a persons life before it really becomes fake. And I guess that's what Diana was trying to achieve, just to show us the normal day to day life of Jamie and Claire. Nothing special. Still good though, and I will recommend it if you read the previous ones. 

Voyager by Diana Gabaldon

Diana Gabaldon really knows how to tell a good story, her attention to detail and character development are amazing. This book is the third in the Outlander series.I wasn't sure how she was going to pull off having a 20 year separation between Claire and Jamie, but she did a great job. You do get to know what happened with each of them during those long years. And anticipate the reunion. Lots of shocking secrets are revealed and when Laoghaire makes an appearance I wanted to scream at the book. We also meet a chinaman and get to know Roger and Brianna more and I think this is where Lord John makes his official arrival into the series. (By the way Lord John has his own series by Diana Gabaldon) The first half of the book ties all the loose knots, but the second half is spent on a voyage to save young Ian who was kidnapped (I think by pirates). And that's really where the actions starts, but I personally preferred getting to know what they were up to for those 20 years. If you fell like it startes dragging when they are on the ship, don't worry and just keep reading, the ending picks up with some twists and turns.Dianas' characters really come to life, and like I've said before, she makes you feel like you're part of the book and not just reading it. I couldn't put it down, I literally carried it with me room to room around the house. I can't recommend this series enough. I just looooove it. Hopefully it will continue to rock my socks off. There are quite a few more to go. 

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

"With her now-classic novel Outlander, Diana Gabaldon introduced two unforgettable characters — Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser—delighting readers with a story of adventure and love that spanned two centuries. Now Gabaldon returns to that extraordinary time and place in this vivid, powerful follow-up to Outlander....
 
For 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 James 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...."

Despite all the romance that goes on in this book, it's really a historical fiction, the reader gets to explore 18th century Scotland, from the  King Louis XV of France to the Jacobite Uprising of 1745 in which Bonnie Prince Charlie unsuccessfully tries to reclaim the throne of Scotland and England. And not only that, we also get to know the lives of regular people as well, down to the workings of hospitals and medicine at that time. Which in itself is amazing, how without modern medicine Claire is healing people with plants and herbs. I felt like I was learning a lot. There are also a lot of twist and turns as we discover more ancestors and how many of the characters seem to connect with one another. But aside from all the history in this book, it still focuses on Claire and Jamie's love. We see them grow more and more toward each other in a realistic way. And it makes us feel like we're in this relationship too. Not just reading about it, but that is mostly through the massive amounts of research Gabaldon did for these books. And you will definitely not be disappointed with the humor, sometimes I would have to stop reading because I was laughing so much. She has found that special way of making the characters feel normal, and real. Like we're in the same room with everyone, you can clearly imagine what everyone is doing, wearing and the facial expressions they make. It really makes you fall in love with all the characters of this book.  Jamie has a strong male role, he's the hunky Scot who protects Claire at every step, who is not afraid to die for what he believes in, and he will take unexpected risks for his own reasons. But don't think that Claire is a girly girl. She is a strong woman too. And stubborn just as much as Jamie. She is healing people left and right, which results in it's own problems. Yet they are so down to earth, you can't help but love them. So I'm recommending this book to everyone. Especially if you read the Outlander, it does not loos any of it's charm.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

This book is amazing, so many historical details about Scotland that I had no idea ever existed. And the story is something else, there is love, loss, war, romance, lots of sex ( so I wouldn't recommend it to younger readers), imprisonment, family, and of course time travel. It makes you feel for the characters as they face what is in front of them, many times they risk everything, and that's what makes this story feel so real. At the beginning I was kind of hesitant about this book being all that great, but as I kept reading I kept wanting more. I couldn't get enough. Clairs life has really taken a 180º turn, but is it for the better? I think so. And I guess I'll find out more as I read more of the series. Yes people this is just the first book. The are seven! And I have already started on the second. 
 
I found this book through other peoples reviews of The Bronze Horseman, which is another great great book. A lot of readers said they were looking for something similar in nature to TBH and this is it. So without hesitation, really, I ordered the whole series. And good thing I did, after finishing this one I wouldn't be able to wait for the next book. 
 
And there is even talk of a series based on this book. Lets hope it goes through.