Monday, October 14, 2019

Review: Outlander

Outlander Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Perhaps I am late to the show... I mean the book was written originally in 1991. If I had run across it then, I am sure I would have read it. I have always had a thing for time travel and highlanders.

This book... I love it with some restraint.

I really enjoy the natural curiosity of Claire Randall. She has a unique personality. She is very much an independent woman and fits well in the mid 40s where feminism is beginning. She respects her husband but makes her own choices.

This personality of hers is ultimately what causes the situation that brings about her going back in time.

Now.. to be absolutely honest. The historical accuracy of male female relationships in the mid 1700s is most likely dead on. Men treated women as possessions. Yes, even sexy, highlanders. There are a few instances that sexual assault is an issue. As soon as Claire is sent back to 1743 Captain Jack Randal assaults her thinking she is a tramp. Is this politically correct? No. Is this acceptable? No. This is a story. This is character building. Are there lewd comments by the band of travelers that save her from the Redcoat captain? Yes. Do they act on it? No.

Historically, I believe Gabaldon kept to what very well could have happened. Claire finds herself in a position no faithful married woman that is strong-willed would ever want to be in. She does see that she has to compromise simply in order to survive. I don't say this to justify anything that was in the book. But, if you are going to read historical fiction, you have to have an understanding of the time period.

There is rape. There is spousal abuse. There is violence. There is talk of witchcraft.

Given that this book was originally written in 1991, it is written beautifully. I do not care for the end of the book because it is too graphic in my opinion. Watching the Starz series I have to skip the last 2 episodes because of it. But it is realistic to the time frame.

Gabaldon did her research and you can see it when it comes out. She makes Claire's character believable. Claire never gave up on returning to Frank, she survived. In surviving she ended up falling in love. Jaime can be a brut. Claire causes a change in him as their relationship deepens as well.

In all honesty, I am surprised with society as it is today that the series has had a resurgence. Except, Game of Thrones is pretty big too.

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Friday, October 11, 2019

Review: Something Like Family

Something Like Family Something Like Family by Heather Burch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Growing up in a tough environment, believing that you have no family other than your mom who isn't the most stable person, can have an impact on your life.

Rave Wayne was that kid. His mom was a drug addict. She never stayed in the same area too long and so she and Rave were always moving from town to town. And then one day, she left him.

Rave was on his own from the age of 17. He had to scrape by and hope he would make it. The problem there is he has a tendency to get in trouble. At the age of 22, he finds himself in a situation that leaves him willing to take a chance. That chance happens to be with a guy named Phil that claims he knows Rave's grandfather and is seeking to connect them.

This isn't a fairy-tale in that estranged family members reunite and they all live happily ever after. This is a situation where individuals realize there is more to life than just themselves.

I enjoyed this book, it was different from others that I have read by Heather Burch, but it was good. I was left wanting more. The character development is good. The relationships are good although I feel one is rushed because of the situation, not a love interest.

This is a quick read, and it brings satisfaction.

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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Review: Coral

Coral by Sara Ella
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
PLOT: I really enjoyed the idea of this story. The idea plays off of Hans Christian Anderson's "The Little Mermaid", only not quite. The hint to The Little Mermaid is what piqued my interest in reading this story. I was not disappointed, I was enthralled. Many fairy tales that we know today have been rewritten so that there is a happy ending or to show that things always work out for the hero/heroine. This story, Coral, may have you trying to figure things out all the way to the ending.
Of course there is a love story, most all fiction books have that element. Unlike fairy tales of the modern era, the girl doesn't immediately throw herself at the boy. I appreciate that. There is a lot of mental health enlightenment in the story and I feel like this can be a good book to open up discussion. I would not just throw this book at my teen and say enjoy. The story emphasizes the truth that mental illness is a disease.
While the main character of the story works through rejection and abandonment, she is also afraid to trust anyone. She experiences shocking tragedy and is sent away to live with somebody else. While she is going through the struggles she becomes mistrusting and one could even say bitter. She pushes everyone that does care away, finding herself Then just as things are looking better, tragedy strikes again. Will she get her fairy tale ending? Will she succumb to depression and anxiety?
Coral - a mermaid that just doesn't quite fit in with her family, or perhaps it's with the society her family is a part of. On top of that, it appears she may very well be infected with the dreaded... Disease. This disease looks like emotions to humans, but to a mermaid can be fatal.
Brooke - a girl that lives in a group therapy home. She is fighting depression and anxiety while attempting to push everyone around her away.
Merrick - seemingly the guy that has it made, but he rebels against the expected. He believes he knows what is really going on in his family, but does he? Perhaps meeting a girl that isn't so much unlike him will open his eyes.
WRITING STYLE: Once it is understood how the story is going the only issue I had disappeared, but to lay it out there... The story is written in first person point of view but from the perspective of three different viewpoints. It is clearly marked as to whose view, I just don't prefer the style. In this instance it does not take away from the story.

Overall I enjoyed the book. I did find myself having to face some of my own emotions and feelings while reading it. It is a good tool to use to reach out and to educate about mental health issues.