Sunday, December 4, 2011

The New Lord John Book...

I really think I have a Diana Gabaldon addiction.  I know a lot of people that don't care for the Lord John books because they aren't Jamie and Claire, and they aren't written in quite the same style.  For me, I just love reading Diana Gabaldon's writing.  Her characters are so alive to me, and funny, and quirky, that I think I would read just about anything she put down on paper, probably even her grocery list.

With that said, yes, I finished The Scottish Prisoner.  I've had people ask for my opinion, to see if it's worth reading, and I will say, yes, it's worth reading if you need to get a Jamie fix, but if you really don't like the Lord John books, not reading this isn't going to leave you lost when the next Outlander book comes out.

(Not a reader?  Let me explain, Diana Gabaldon has written a seven book series (starting with Outlander) featuring Jamie and Claire.  She has also been writing a series of "shorter" novels about a character from the Outlander novels (Lord John) that do not feature Jamie and Claire.  The two series are very different, despite having many characters in common.  Because I'm madly in love with Ms. Gabaldon's writing, I've read all of her books and enjoyed them all thoroughly, but for many, the Outlander books with Jamie and Claire are enough for them.)

The Scottish Prisoner is a Lord John book that is actually split between Lord John and Jamie Frasier.  It takes place during Jamie's stay at Hellwater while he is a paroled prisoner after the Jacobite Rising.  This book fills in some gaps in the relationship between Jamie and John that had, up to this novel, been unaddressed.  Honestly, I think there's a lot more Jamie in this book than John, but I'm not complaining.  As usual for a Lord John book, there's mystery, murder and detective work in store.  While it's perhaps not one of the better Lord John books from a storyline perspective, it's a really great addition for filling in some background about Jamie Frasier and his friendship with Lord John.  And, really, anything with Jamie Frasier in it is fine with me.  It's impossible not to fall in love with him.  Impossible.

So, if you're on the fence about this one, but a big Gabaldon fan, I say read it.  You'll get a Jamie fix and get some interesting background that applies to the Outlander novels.  Plus, you've got to give Lord John some credit for being the funniest homosexual 18th century crime solver in literature.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Scottish Prisoner

'I would not piss on him was he burning in the flames of hell,' Grey said politely.
One of Hal's brows flicked upward, but only momentarily.
'Just so,' he said dryly. 'The question, though is whether Fraser might be inclined to perform a similar service for you.'
Grey placed his cup carefully in the center of the desk.
'Only if he thought I might drown,' he said, and went out.

I LOVE Diana Gabaldon!  So excited to have a copy of The Scottish Prisoner!!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Inheritance Thoughts

It's been a busy few weeks, so I've been a bit lazy in writing on this blog.  But I really do want to share my thoughts on Inheritance by Christopher Paolini.  I'm going to try to do it without spoilers, but if you haven't read it, and are planning on it, don't say I didn't warn you...

The series up to this point, has been the story of Eragon and his dragon Saphira battling the evil empire that has taken control of the country Eragon lives in.  Eragon works with rebels, as well as other "species" of citizens, like dwarves, elves and werecats (no, it's not important to know what a werecat is, just go with it.)  The story is a classic good vs. evil tale, very "Lord of the Rings"-ish.  This last book tries to wrap everything up nicely, but in my opinion, is a little lacking.  Obviously, good triumphs evil, though I won't tell you how, and Eragon becomes a hero.  But despite that, the ending is very sad.  I don't want to give it away, so it's really hard to write this, but it seems like Paolini is purposefully leaving enough loose ends so that he can tell another tale.  Which is fine, if he wasn't selling this book as the last in the series.  I think there would have been better ways to leave himself openings for more tales than just failing to resolve loose ends and provide a less than satisfying conclusion.  I don't like ending books feeling depressed, and that's how I felt at the end of Inheritance.

While writing this, I looked over a few reviews of the book from just regular readers like myself, and I see that many people feel the same way I do.  Too many loose ends and a depressing ending.  I did read also that Paolini has written that he might return to these books someday to continue writing, which validates my first thoughts, but "maybe" returning to write more shouldn't be an excuse for such a weak conclusion.

I will say that this book was actually really enjoyable to read.  It reads very much like the other three books and had the ending been a bit better, I would be singing nothing but praises for the book.  And while I know that we can't always have perfect endings or happy endings, in books or life, I really felt that this book dropped the ball.  I guess I'll just have to hope that Paolini does decide to write another book to answer his fan's questions, because I'd like to re-read the series again some day, but I'm not going to bother until he can provide me with some answers!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Good Grief: A Good Read

Today I finished Good Grief by Lolly Winston.  It was a really good, funny/heart breaking/heart warming story of dealing with grief.  The story is really funny, with a great central character who is really struggling with the loss of her husband.  While at times you feel heart broken for her and the breakdown she suffers, you can't help but enjoy her sense of humor, however dark it may be.

As she slowly starts to recuperate, she reinvents her life and the people she surrounds herself with.  The sense of humor remains, but now it seems like she's laughing at herself right along with you as she tries to deal with giving away her husband's clothes to Goodwill and go back to working, even if it is a waitressing job.

While I hope that I don't encounter that kind of grief for a long, long time, I enjoyed reading about a strong character who did manage to overcome it, laughing about it the whole way through.

(Side Note:  I've decided to stop posting on this blog everyday.  It's not what I originally had in mind, and I wasn't enjoying the way I was writing.  Maybe next year I'll have better luck with NaBloPoMo, but not this year.)

(Another Side Note:  I'm anticipating the arrival of Christopher Paolini's Inheritance in the mail tomorrow, don't expect to hear much from me for the next few days!)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Sonnet Lover

So today I finished The Sonnet Lover by Carol Goodman.  It was really, really good, and made for a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  The story was about Rose, an English Professor at a small New York College, who agrees to go to Italy for the summer to help investigate a mystery surrounding hidden sonnets, the identity of Shakespeare's Dark Lady and the murder of one of her students.  The story has mystery and suspense, as well as love and betrayal, but the best part are the sonnets.  A large part of the plot revolves around trying to connect a story between William Shakespeare and the woman who was the Dark Lady in his sonnets, and a woman in Italy writing sonnets to her lover.

The storyline in this book is really enjoyable, and thoroughly appealed to my dorky English Major past.  The sonnets were beautiful and made me want to pick up a book of Shakespeare's sonnets and spend the rest of my evening immersed in beautiful language.

Books like this make me wish that I could write something creative.  Or even something scholarly.  Anything like that would appeal to my inner dork...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Maybe I'm Not Crazy...

A quick post tonight, since it's been a long day and I'm ready for bed...

I make a lot of book recommendations to my family and no one ever, ever, listens to me.  But this week I finally got both my husband and my stepson to listen to me.  It's pretty much miraculous.  Don borrowed the audio book for The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins from the library and after he finished it he had to admit that it was really goof.  He even put the next in the series on hold!

Encouraged by Don's response, I recommended Marcus start it this week since he had some free time.  Since Marcus doesn't ever read, seriously EVER, I was flabbergasted one night when I discovered he hadn't in fact fallen asleep in his room doing homework....he was willingly reading!  If Suzanne Collins ever reads this, she should see that as some seriously high praise.

Needless to say, I'm pleased my recommendation has been well received, hopefully they'll start to listen to me more often!  (Hahahaha, that would be the day....)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I Miss You Books...

When I decided to start a book blog, it was partly because I was reading 2-3 books per week and I wanted an outlet to share what I was reading.  Ironically, since I started the book blog, I've barely been able to read a book every two weeks.  What happened??  Well, a large part of it has been the result of a lack of books.  I rely on the library for a lot of what I have been reading lately, and between unavailability of the books, and unavailability of my husband to get to the library for me, I've been struggling to get my hands on interesting reads.  That's not all though, it seems that life has been getting busier and finding time to read has been challenging.  Something always seems to come up the second I set aside a few moments to read.  And even now, as I stumble through yet another blog post, I'm using up precious minutes that could be spent reading.

For now though, I think I'm ok with the trade off.  Once things settle back down I'm sure I'll find time for my favorite hobby.  And in the meantime, I'm really enjoying the daily goal of writing a blog a day.  They may not be interesting or well written, but it's a daily accomplishment, and sometimes that's just what I need.

P.S.- I'm slowly muddling my way through The Sonnet Lover by Carol Goodman.  As soon as I get more than 50 pages into it, I'll give a report!