An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon

This book on the other hand started out great, I was super excited to find out what happens to Brianna and Roger and how they are living their life, and we do get to see it, at least some of it. Most of the book is focused on John Grey and William. (Doesn't John Grey have his own series. Why is he taking over this one too.) I go to admit, I did skip quite a few chapters because I DID NOT want to read about William, I have no interest in him, so he's a grown boy and in the war, who cares. I don't that's for sure. It was really difficult to enjoy this book, I read a quickly as I could so I could move on to something else. Will not be starting Written In My Own Hearts Blood for a while, I need a break from their boring life. Diana Gabaldon  needs to focus more on the actual story and the details that matter, not the sex life of 60 year old, I don't want to know anymore what Claire's breasts look like and how Jamie likes to touch her butt. So that is all, I won't go into detail much more, because if you read this book you must have read the first one, and if you read the first one you know that the story is good, it's just the 1300+ pages that really get in the way.  Let me know how you felt about these books. And do you recommend me reading the next one soon. It's already sitting on my shelf, ready to be picked up, but I don't think I'm ready yet.

The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon

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.
Once again Diana Gabaldon shares with us the world of Claire and Jamie, now settled on the Ridge, their life takes on a different turn, as grandparents. But life on the ridge isn't as peaceful as they hope it to be.
 
I have been in LOVE with this series since I read the description of it on Amazon two years ago, the first three I read in just a couple days, COULD NOT put them down. But once the fourth book came out, things went down fast. Curiosity still won over and I still keep reading, but I can't wait till it's over.
 
This book has so far been the worst book in the series, for me at least. It took me over two years to finish it. I put it down and didn't pick it up for a long time. I just couldn't do it. There was too much unnecessary information and detail that blinded the main story. I don't even know what the main story was, there was nothing interesting going on in this book, only preparations and political choices. I understand that we have been with these characters for years now, but do we still need to hear about their sex life. Over and over again. Don't get me wrong I still love this series, but it is just wayyy too long. 
I would still recommend this book to everyone who started this series, and everyone should start reading Outlander right now. Because this is the best series ever. 

Children of Liberty by Paullina Simons

It's not what I thought this book was going to be about. Yes, it's a prequel to The Bronze Horseman trilogy, it's about how Alexanders parents met, and that's just it, it's about how they met and ended up together, but it's not about their life with each other. I hear there will be another book to tell that story.
Nonetheless it's not a bad story, just not what I was looking for. The characters are good but they still have to grow on me, I think it would be better if this was part of the next book, instead of a separate book. But I do like how we get to see them and how they grow up, in what kind of families and homes. It's a good book, if you read The Bronze Horseman then you will like this either  way.

 

The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks

I really wanted to read this book, mostly because I wanted to see the movie, and I have to read the book first. Well what a disappointment that was. Usually I like Sparks' books, but this one was just too fake. Come on, a soldier finds a picture that saves his life and then he decides to find the girl in it. And she falls in love with him. I don't think so. Sure things happen and you can say "it's fiction, it's not supposed to be real". But at a little more reality would be good. I would categorize it as "fiction/fantasy/inyourdreams". It was cheesy and I couldn't wait to finish it so I could watch the movie. Well the movie was just as bad. It was just bad. No other thing to say about it. I did however like Clayton, even though he was the bad guy, he seemed to be more interesting to me, he wasn't as polished as everyone else in the book.
Thibault of course is an ex-Marine, good looking, great with kids, loves dogs, handy with tools everything that a real man is not. Im not saying that there aren't any great guys out there, but he was a little too far fetched. Elizabeth was also too polished, the great mom, cares only about her kid, takes care of her grandmother, attractive, even is nice to her douche ex. Just too perfect. Yes it has a very surprising ending, I was almost done and than BAM, it just slapped me in the face. But it still sucked. I think it has to do with the fact that I'm not in dreamland anymore. I used to be in a crappy relationship, so I would read these romance books to kind of escape reality, and imagine that I had a good and happy relationship. Well that didn't work. Only way out was to end it. And that's what I did. So I guess now when I read this cheesy romance stuff it does nothing to me. I don't have to imagine that it's good, because it is.
I don't know if I'd recommend this book to anyone, maybe hardcore romantics only.

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. 

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.

The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks

This book is a sequal to The Notebook, Wilson is married to Noah and Allies daugher, Noah is a creekside, where he and Alle moved to once her memory started to get worse. Noah is still the same as ever, big romantic with The Leaves of Grass always by his side and a new friend by the pond.

After forgetting his 29th wedding anniversary Wilson is convinced his wife Jane is not in love with him, and with the romance gone from their relationship they seem to have drifted apart, especially since their kids moved out of the house. And with their daughters wedding being planned in just 10 days, he is desperate. Wilson tries to rekindle that fire that has died down over the years. And even with Noah, the romantic, he still has a hard time expressing this true feelings through words. He doesn't know how to tell his wife he loves her. Even though he knows his love has only grown over the years. Now he has to find a way to win her back. This book is exactly what you would expect from Nicholas Sparks, easy to read, romantic, makes you wish you were part of the book, and a great surprise ending. It almost made me cry, and I'm not much of a crier, but I did smile like an idiot, so happy for the ending. I wonder if this will be a movie too.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I loved this book, the characters are very believable and their personalities are witty and funny, at least on the Bennet side. Mrs. Bennet is obnoxious enough to make you laugh, and she dramatizes every little thing. Mr. Bennet on the other side is more collected and likes to poke fun at his wife, in a discrete way. The Bennet sisters are all over the place. Elizabeth, although not the oldest seems to have her life figured out. She is the most sensible and intelligent of all her sisters. She likes to speak her mind and doesn't care what others think of her. Jane the eldest, said to be the beautiful one, is more reserved than the rest. Mary Bennet is the third daughter, she is best described as a bookworm. Lydia and Catherine are both gossipy, immature and care only about their selves, when they aren't chasing boys.
The story mostly revolves around Elizabeth, and how her quick judgements of others are proven wrong. 
The story starts out with a rumor that a wealthy gentleman, Charles Bingley is moving into Netherfield Park, it causes Mrs. Bennet to overreact with hopes to marry one of her daughters off to the new resident. After they are acquainted with their new neighbor, they are introduced to his friend Mr. Darcy, who at first impression is stuck up, arrogant and rude. Which makes Mrs. Bennet even more anxious. Elizabeth on the other hand is not interested in the man who doesn't seem to be interested in anyone besides himself. She soon finds out that his Pride and her Prejudice against him have more in common than she thought. 
 
The book is a perfect example of a classical story, told with perfect suspense. I'd say it's a classic comedy about teenage love. Sometimes you forget it was set in the 19th century. 
 
The 2009 movie is pretty good, and follows the book to a good degree, although I didn't see any of the other versions. But when I watched "Becoming Jane", which is supposed to be about Jane Austen, I couldn't help but think either someone based Pride and Prejudice on her life or vice versa. 
 

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

This book was great, really easy to read. Maybe too easy, there wasn't a lot of description in setting and characters, but the story came across beautifully. I wouldn't say I loved it —the movie was much better— but I did like it enough to give it 5 stars. My opinion might have been clouded by the fact that I already saw the movie 5 times.

This story is about two teenagers, one rich one poor, who fall in love one summer only to be separated for 15 years. When they meet again the love they had is stronger then ever. And that's pretty much all there is to it, if I give out more I feel like I'm telling the whole story again. It's really fast paced, you will read it in one sitting. Some say it's not worth all the hype but I think Nicholas Sparks meant for it to be this way. They way life flies by when we are in love is just as quick as the story. Sure the movie added some things that weren't in the book but it didn't go away from the main idea. That even teenagers can fall in love, no matter what the circumstances. And are able to survive it all.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

My first Jane Austen book, and I gotta say it was a little difficult to get used to her writing, all those proper words. I found that it was easier to do a little bit of an english accent. But it was really good, my opinion is a little ruined because I saw the movie before, and kept picturing the actors instead of paying attention to how Jane wanted me to imagine the characters. The story itself was good. Very easy to understand and follow.  It's about sisters, and falling in love, and how sometimes even though we put our hearts into something, it doesn't always work out the way we hoped it would.
We get to experience the heartbreak of two young girls, sisters and how that heart slowly begins to love again. It a good book for teenagers, and I will highly recommend it to any girl looking for an easy light romance read. Plus it's a classic Jane Austen, you can't get better then that. I will be reading all her novels really soon.

Anna Karenina By Leo Tolstoy

Tolstoy is a master of the written word, he has the ability to completely engage the reader into the lives of his characters.

"All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way," is the first sentence of the book, and this is really what the whole book is about, how each character strives for happiness because they feel unhappy. It examines the way people view their problems, families and how they strive to resolve their issues. The book is not necessarily all about Anna, it's about all the people she knows and the story is told from all of their perspectives. You get to know each character on a deep and personal level, their fears and their hopes come to life, and even though it's set in the 19th century Russia, we can relate to each character on some level. It's no wonder this book is said to be the best of the best. It's not a very easy read, as Tolstoy mixes romance with Russian politics and socioeconomic problems, but once I finished the book I understood why he did it. It's to make the reader more aware of all the issues that were going on at the time, everything influences our lives, even if it is politics, people are effected by all that is going on in their country. And the character Levin is deeply involved in farming so the socioeconomic issues are important to understand.  The book really needs to be read to be appreciated, and I really wish I hadn't seen the movie after I finished reading this, it just ruined it for me. The book is so much better then all the movies made from it so far. I loved this book, too bad I knew the ending before I started it, but it still did the job, I read a few chapters a day, it was a bit difficult to wrap my head around all these characters and all their problems, with a lot of details and imagery. But the story is beautiful, it takes time to understand.

A Hidden Affair by Pam Jenoff

This book was good, not as good as it's prequel, Almost Home, but it was good nonetheless. I didn't like the ending as much, probably because since I started the first book I was hoping for a different one. But the writing was good, easy to read and understand.

It picks up right where the previous book ended, when Jordan is on a quest to find out what happened to Jared the College boyfriend who faked death. While on her mission she comes in contact with a man who is looking for the same woman that Jared is associated with. They join forces in order to find them. Although Jordan has some difficulty trusting this man, and finding out he has lied to her about his job, she brakes their bond and sets off alone. And soon she finds the answers, and more, that she is looking for. Yes I rate it a 3 star, because it didn't seem as suspenseful as Almost Home, and the ending could have been better. But overall it was a good book, and I think I'd still recommend it to some.

One Day by David Nicholls

I am very happy I came across this book. I highly recommend it. At first I couldn't get used to the way it was written jumping a year ahead in every chapter but once it picked up speed I couldn't put it down.

It starts out with Emma and Dexter graduating from a University in Scotland, her always having a crush on him, and him being the usual bad boy never noticing her. It's July 15th and from there every chapter is on July 15th of the following year. The anniversary of they they they officially met.Each year is different, one happy one sad, you know life. But it's nice to see how their lives are changing through the 20 years. Emma and Dexter become friends, best friends in fact, and constantly you are hoping they will end up together, even though they are total opposites. He's the crazy outgoing, party till he drops kind of guy and she is more reserved and I would say shy. The author does a great job of describing these characters and the scenes. I felt like I was watching a movie. It's an easy read, although the some of the English phrases confused me at first.

So without giving too much away I highly recommend this book if you enjoy romantic comedies. You will laugh and you will cry. And the best part. The movie is coming out in two weeks.