Review (Emotional Rant) ~ Outlander

outlander

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

Goodreads * Amazon

My 4.5 Star Review

Just. WOW. I don’t even know where to start with this review…So many thoughts. So many feelings. Emotional overload…

I am really late starting this series, but the fact that this series has lasted this long and has so many fans, speaks for itself. Where do I fall among these fans. Hmm. I’m still not sure. I just honestly don’t know how I feel about this book. It’s horribly amazing really.

I’m going to do things backwards here and start with the negatives. First, I didn’t think the writing was wonderful – grammatically speaking. Two, sometimes I got confused. But, she means for you to be confused and slowly reveals the answers. This just tends to drive me crazy while I’m confused. Third, Claire got on my nerves so bad at times that I wanted to reach in and slap her. Seriously. She drove me crazy! Fourth, I think the horrible scenes outshine the good ones. Now I don’t mean horribly written. I’m talking ***SPOILERISH*** grit, gore, evil, unspeakable horrible vivid rape and murder. Stuff so horrible I wanted to vomit. I still feel sick.

That leads me to what is good, though. Diana is one heck of a storyteller. I just don’t even have words for how amazing. I was bored the first couple of chapters, but then I found myself so engulfed in this story that God help the man that tried to pry my kindle out of my hands. The scenes were so very gripping and dramatic. My pulse was constantly racing, heart constantly pounding. I wonder how many calories I burned off just reading this book. Jamie completely stole my heart. Diana made me fall for him so completely that I am hating her for what she put him through. It’s fear, and hope, and outrage, and hope, and hate and anger and hatred, and then a little more hope. I’m just still drowning in it all. I honestly can’t say that I’ll pick up the next book. I don’t know if I can handle it. Just. UGH!!!!

The good just wasn’t enough to make me forget. To help me cope.

Warnings: If anything disturbs you, I’ll go ahead and say don’t read this book because it’s probably in here.

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S0, for those of you Outlander lovers out there. I’d love to hear your thoughts here. I feel like I’m drowning in it. I feel like I need to pick up a fluffy and shallow romance, and I usually don’t go for those kind of books.

Happy Reading,

Alison

Review ~ The Book Thief

book thief

Title: The Book Thief

Author: Markus Zusak

Publication Date: March 14, 2006

Genre: Historical Fiction

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery.

So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

My ****4.5 Star**** Review

LOVED this story! Markus is one heck of a storyteller!! I was completely enthralled! Liesel is the main character and she has quite the story to tell, but you also get the story of several other characters in smaller ways. However those small ways still pack a HUGE punch!!

As a matter of fact, it’s the minor character Max that I was most taken in by. Max writes little stories for Liesel as he’s hiding out in her basement, and it’s these little stories that touched my heart more than anything. There’s just so much beauty in the words.

You can count on this being an emotional read! There are times that you’ll feel elated, terrified, and even horrified. You’ll cheer some on, while wishing you could stomp others out.

You will have to mourn some terrible losses and you’ll rejoice in some victories.

This is one powerful story! I highly recommend this to all fans of historical fiction!!

Happy Reading,

Alison

Teaser Tuesdays #17 ~ The Book Thief

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Today my teaser is from ~ The Book Thief

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p.134

Books everywhere! Each wall was armed with overcrowded yet immaculate shelving. It was barely possible to see the paintwork.

p. 245

“There’s a Jew in my basement.”
“There’s a Jew. In my basement.”

I love a good historical fiction, and though I’m not quite halfway through this one, it is soooo good!

What’s your teaser this week?

Happy Reading,

Alison

Review ~ A Tale of Two Cities

tale

‘Liberty, equality, fraternity, or death; — the last, much the easiest to bestow, O Guillotine!’

After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille, the ageing Doctor Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There the lives of two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil roads of London, they are drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror, and they soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine.

My *****5 Star***** Review

As is usual for me when reading a new classical author, I struggled through the first little bit just aquainting myself with the language. Then it I must confess that I continued to struggle because I couldn’t yet see how all of the little pieces Dickens gives you are woven together. Oh, but when it started to all come together it was absolutely AMAZING!

This story is full of love ( and sacrificial love – the greatest of all), hate, revenge, and so many other raw emotions. I am so very thankful that I stuck with it through the hard parts, as it was so worth it reading the final page with tears running down my face.

This is also a great novel in that it opens a door into the hearts and struggles of those that suffered through the dark times of the French Revolution. I feel like I have a better grasp on that time period than ever before. You witness the struggles the citizens faced beforehand, their reactions, and the consequences of it all.

I feel the need to personally thank Cassandra Clare. If it hadn’t been for her characters debating Sydney and Charles, I don’t know that I would have picked this book up. So, a many great thanks to you, Cassandra!!!

Happy Reading,

Alison

Review ~ Hope at Dawn (Of Love and War #1)

Hope at Dawn

In a Time of War, Love is the Inspiration.

With her brothers away fighting the Great War overseas, Livy Campbell desperately wants to help her family. Her chance comes when she meets a handsome stranger who lands her a job as a teacher in a place far from her parents’ farm. But the war casts a long shadow over the German-American town that Livy now calls home—and the darkness will test everything she thought she knew about family and love . . .

More than anything, Friedrick Wagner wants to be part of his adopted country’s struggle for peace. But when the bitter animosity between Germans and Americans soon turns citizens against newcomers, friend against friend, he will do whatever it takes to protect Livy from the hysteria that grips their town. As tragedy—and dark secrets from the past—threaten their future, Friedrick and Livy have one chance to stand up for what’s right . . . and one chance to fight for their love.

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My ****4.5 Star**** Review

This story takes place during WWI, a time period I haven’t read too many books set in. It seems many authors prefer to write about WWII for whatever reasons. I’m a huge fan of historical fiction, and this book did not disappoint.
It’s set in the U.S. and focuses on the struggles of the German Americans during the war. To make things interesting, a forbidden love affair is formed. We get both Livy & Friedrick’s point of view. Livy’s brothers are both fighting in the war against the Germans, and Friedrick is a German American unable to go to war because of his father’s illness. You get to witness first-hand the trials they both face from their side of the fence. It’s a wonderful Christian romance full of wisdom that is still applicable today.

*I received a copy via NetGalley and Forever (Grand Central Publishing) in exchange for an honest review.*

About the Author ~ Stacy Henrie

Stacy Henrie

Stacy Henrie has always had an avid appetite for history, fiction and chocolate. While she had a goal to write and publish a book one day, she turned her attentions first to graduating with a bachelor’s degree in public relations. Not long after, she switched from writing press releases and newsletters to writing inspirational historical romances as a stay-at-home mom. Stacy loves reading, interior decorating, romantic movies, and most of all, laughing with her husband and three kids. She appreciates the chance to live out history through her characters, while enjoying all the modern conveniences of life in the 21st century.
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5778153.Stacy_Henrie
Website: http://www.stacyhenrie.com

Happy Reading,

Alison

Taking Vengeance ~ Promo Blitz

Taking Vengeance

Historical Fantasy

Blurb

Furious Half-Elven parents, Mariah and Ashton, seek vengeance for brutal attack on their daughter by vicious Sea Raiders.

In a tale older than time itself, Taking Vengeance tells a story about the strength and conviction of a mother’s love against those who would harm her family. After witnessing centuries of fighting and chaos against her people and her own bickering with Linden, the ruler of the Far Isles Half-Elven, Mariah has withdrawn from politics to seek a peaceful life as a healer.

But Mariah’s peace is short lived when Sea Raiders attack her daughter’s family, leaving her at death’s door. The act of bigoted cruelty plunges Mariah into despair. Her grief is sensed by Ashton, her partner who is far away spying on their southern enemies, and he uses his elven magic to rush to her side. The couple’s rage boils over at the outrage. Ashton urges Mariah to belt on her sword and seek vengeance against their daughter’s attackers.

Mariah discovers the Sea Raiders wield a strange new magic that threatens all they hold dear. But can she convince Linden that their country is in danger before it’s too late?

Taking Vengeance is a tale set in the world of the Far Isles Half-Elven, who constantly fight among themselves even though they’re beset by enemies on all sides.

    PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon * B&N * iBooks * Kobo * Smashwords

Excerpt

The Half-Elven patients and their families cowered against the walls, increasing Mariah’s anger at the stupid clod who dared to growl at her. Their audience rolled their eyes like nervous horses, fearing what the combatants might do. They pulled what energy they could from the air to strengthen their protective shields. Mariah’s skin itched from the static raised by their efforts. But she focused her attention on the ruler who had once been one of her closest friends.

In a voice a third as loud as Linden’s, Mariah said, “Calm down, you fool. You’re disturbing the patients.”

“Blast your patients. I’m warning you.” Linden’s face turned red. “Get your nose out of my business.”

“I was just consoling the girl.”

“My affairs don’t concern you.”

“Elysianna deserves better than being dropped cold by a coward.”

Linden’s face grew redder. “By the Fates, I wish Ashton was still here to put a leash around your neck.”

“Well, he isn’t here.” Mariah controlled her sigh, hiding her sorrow at her ring-mate’s absence. “You sent him spying on our southern enemies.”

Mariah took a deep breath, ready to yell back at Linden’s next comment.

The hall’s head healer appeared in the doorway that lead to the consulting rooms, her hands folded in front of her. A scowl darkened her face. “Quiet, the two of you. Take your disagreement elsewhere.”

Thick silence spread over the room.

“She rules here. Go drill your troops or something.” Mariah whispered. “I came here to help not cause the patients discomfort.”

The force of Mariah’s glare pushed Linden towards the door. He stomped away, looking as mulish as he had when his father forced him to clean the byre as a boy. Mariah shooed him on his way as if her hands were a broom.

Her face calm in spite of her thumping heart, Mariah turned. “Who’s next?”

No one moved until a small boy touched her hand. He looked up at her sideways, ready to run. “My granny’s tooths hurt.”

With a closed-lipped smile hiding her pointed front teeth, Mariah clasped his hand. “Shall we stop them from hurting?”

“That’d be nice, Lady. Then she can chew ham again. She does enjoy a nice slice of ham.”

About the Author ~ M.K. Theodoratus

MK Theo

Comics first hooked M. K. Theodoratus on fantasy. When she discovered L. Frank Baum’s first Oz books, the strong female characters drew her into the possibilities of alternate worlds. Then, she stared writing in grade school when a teacher assigned a short story lesson. The assignment was incomplete at 25 pages, but she finished the book by the next summer. The Children’s Librarian, the only other person who’s read it, thought it well-done.

Theodoratus has enjoyed at least four writing careers, including non-fiction. Now she writes fantasy … mostly because it amuses her. Theodoratus writes in the world of her grumpy Far Isles Half-Elven, often featuring Mariah del Oesti or Renna of Ren Creek. She also explores other magical worlds of ghosts, gargoyles, and Fae. Most of her newer stories are set in Andor where demons prey on humans. You can read more about her fantasy at http://www.mktheodoratus.com

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/PCGy87

Twitter: http://twitter.com/kaytheod

Blog: http://kaytheod.blogspot.com

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/114959381917569899950/posts

GoodReads : https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5067004.M_K_Theodoratus

Happy Reading,

Alison

Becoming Lady Lockwood ~ Book Blast & Giveaway

Becoming Lady Lockwood

Synopsis

Amelia Beckett is delighted to be a widow. Married by proxy to a man she’d never met, Amelia recognizes that a fortuitous entry into widowhood frees her from meddlesome chaperones and matchmakers. Heiress to her mother’s sugar plantation in Jamaica, she happily anticipates working in a man’s world, with the additional credibility of her new title: Lady Lockwood. But with the arrival of Captain Sir William Drake, her plans quickly go awry . . . William has traversed the Atlantic with one purpose. If he cannot prove that Amelia’s marriage to his brother was a fraud, she will be entitled to a sizeable portion of his family’s estate. He is determined to return this duplicitous Lady to London for an official hearing, and he carries with him a letter that will ensure her cooperation . . . Left with no choice, Amelia joins the captain on his return voyage to England, and the two quickly find that ship life does not allow for evasion. Amelia and William are ceaselessly thrown together, and amidst fierce storms and ocean battles, what began as antipathy seems to be evolving quite unexpectedly. But as they draw ever closer to their destination, will the impossibility of their circumstances shatter any hope of a future together?

Praise for Becoming Lady Lockwood

“Moore does a lovely job of showcasing sizzle in this must-read for fans of regency and historical romance.” ~ Foreword Reviews

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Deseret Book

Excerpt

The crew released more sails as the breeze quickened, and Amelia watched, craning her neck as her island home, Jamaica, the pearl of the Antilles, gradually became no more than a small green mound on the horizon. A wave of homesickness washed over her. The ship rolled on the larger ocean waves, and she realized that her discomfort was not strictly limited to nostalgia. She was growing increasingly seasick.

Just as she reached this realization, she heard steps coming toward her and turning saw Captain Drake approaching.

“Miss Becket, you are looking most unwell. I must insist you take to your quarters and lie down.”

Even though he was completely correct, and her stomach was threatening to empty itself, the lack of compassion in his demeanor put her on the defensive.

“Indeed, Captain Drake. While I am touched by your concern for my well-being, I have no intention to retire, as I am feeling quite well.” The ship pitched again, and Amelia’s stomach pitched along with it.

“I assure you, my concern is for the deck of my ship and for my crew charged with keeping her ­in shipshape condition.”

Did the man’s arrogance know no bounds? Amelia felt her head spin in a wave of dizziness, and the captain grabbed onto her elbow.

“Your face is green, Miss Becket. I insist you take to your berth.” He spoke sharply, turning to the marine next to her. “Corporal, fetch Dr. Spinner to Miss Becket’s quarters.”

She wrenched her arm from his grasp. “Captain, I am not in the least ill.” She spoke through clenched teeth, afraid that if she opened her mouth, the contents of her stomach would make a most unwelcome appearance. She rested her hand in a manner that she hoped appeared casual against the netting of hammocks lining the rail of the ship. But truthfully, besides her determination not to allow the captain to order her about, it was the only thing holding her up.

Amelia nearly swooned with relief as Sidney Fletcher hurried toward them. “Miss Becket, are you unwell?” He held her elbow in the same manner as had Captain Drake a moment before, and Amelia leaned against him. “Will you allow me to escort you to your quarters then?”

“Thank you, Mr. Fletcher. That would be most welcome. How very gentlemanly of you.” She looked toward Captain Drake and narrowed her eyes.

A slight smile tugged at the corner of the captain’s lips, and Amelia found that it infuriated her. But when she opened her mouth to tell him so, her stomach betrayed her, and she was horrified to see her breakfast splatter over Captain Drake’s shiny boots.

Amelia and Captain Drake stared at each other in disbelief for one mortifying instant before she felt her stomach clench again and pressed her gloved hands against her mouth.

“A bucket!” Captain Drake bellowed.

Giveaway Time!!!

small giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 8/5/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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About the Author ~ Jennifer Moore

jennifer moore

Jennifer Moore is a Passionate reader and writer of all things romance, helping her find balance with the rest of her world, which includes a perpetually traveling husband and four active sons, who create heaps of laundry that are anything but romantic. Jennifer has a BA in linguistics from the University of Utah and is a Guitar Hero champion. She lives in northern Utah with her family. You can learn more about her at authorjmoore.com. The author’s first book, Becoming Lady Lockwood, is a regency romance centered on the British navy during the Napoleonic Wars of the early 1800s.

Website * Twitter * Facebook

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Happy Reading,

Alison

To Catch a Spinster ~ Promo Blitz


To Catch a Spinster – PROMO Blitz
By Megan Bryce
Historical Romance
Date Published: June 2012

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Come back to a time when manners are everything and rules are made to never be broken. Come back to a time when men are in charge and women do what they are told…
Yeah, that never happened.
Welcome to Megan Bryce’s Regencyland, where ladies with backbone get what they want. Where a woman can thumb her nose at rules and care little for convention, and yet somehow, unexpectedly and most reluctantly, find love.
To Catch A Spinster
Olivia Blakesley, self-proclaimed spinster extraordinaire, is quite happy with her life. She has her studies and her duties, what need does she have of a husband? With five sisters married she knows the reality does not live up to the promise, and does not need to personally experiment with the state to know she would be ill-suited to it. However, she finds herself envious of at least one aspect of marriage. But to experience the physical side of marriage, one doesn’t need a husband, all one needs is the right man…
Nathaniel Jenkins knows his duty. Marry a young girl from a respectable family and father an heir, no matter how cold the endless parade of suitable girls leaves him. But a shocking proposal from a scholarly spinster leaves him wondering if unsuitable is just what he’s looking for. Can he convince his spinster that marriage is the greatest experiment of all?

Excerpt

Miss Olivia Blakesley watched as her youngest sister was married and thought, “That does it, old girl. You are officially on the shelf.”

Truthfully, she wasn’t quite yet. But at the ripe old age of seven and twenty, with two older sisters and three younger sisters all married, she was close enough. What man would want the sister who had been left behind? More importantly, why would she want the man who would want her?
She wouldn’t. So it was a good thing she had her studies and responsibilities. She was fairly certain she would have gone stark raving mad these last eight years waiting for a suitor who would never come if she hadn’t started studying the stars or helping her father with the accounts. Not exactly respectable activities for a gentle young woman, but she enjoyed them.
Her mother blamed those activities for her current matrimonial-less state. What woman would rather sneak outside to paint stars than flirt with a beau? What woman who was at least pretending she wanted to get married would wear those high-necked, front-buttoned, somber-colored old maid rags?
Olivia handed her mother, who sat sniffling in the pew beside her, a clean handkerchief.
“Thank you, Olivia. I can always count on your handkerchief to be dry at weddings, can’t I? I don’t understand how you can be so emotionless.”
“I’m not emotionless, and you should be grateful as you now have two handkerchiefs to drench.”
Olivia’s father winked at her as he patted his wife’s hand. “It’s not as if this wedding was a surprise, my dear.”
No, Eugenia had been promising that she would be snatched up the quickest since Prudence had taken nearly two years in the marriage mart. Eugenia had lasted a mere two months. The Blakesley sisters were nothing if not goal-oriented.
Olivia had her own goals and, unfortunately for her mother, they did not include catching a husband. Even so, she did not want to die inexperienced in love, estranged from her sisters because they knew something she didn’t.
Lust.
She did not want to die a virgin spinster aunt, caring for her aging parents.
It would be much better if she could die an experienced spinster aunt, caring for her aging parents.
She glanced at the cross hanging above the vicar’s head. Dear Lord, what was she considering? Was she really thinking of. . .
No. It was a sin. And she was in a church, for heaven’s sake.
But as her father was wont to say: In the course of life, some commandments must be broken. For emergencies. For science.
Thou shalt not kill. Definitely one to be broken in an emergency.
Thou shalt not worship any graven images. A few might say that Olivia worshiped her Dutch-made telescope. For science, of course.
Honor thy father and mother. She had never been any good at that one.
Thou shalt not commit adultery. . .
Well, she just wouldn’t choose a married man. This was, after all, a scientific emergency.
She was not going to die an old maid.
Olivia looked back at the altar. Her beautiful sister in her lace-trimmed ivory satin wedding gown beamed at her new husband, who looked down at her with obvious love and a little bit of panic. Olivia would never have that. She would never fall in love. Never have someone to depend on– only herself.
She nodded. So be it. If she could not have everything, she would have something. If she could not have love, she would have lust. She would find someone to teach her desire.
Amen.

Giveaway Time

About the Author ~ Megan Bryce

MeganBryce sits in front of a computer all day making up stories for a living. Which means she is not nearly as interesting (as well as tall, svelte, and/or dressed) as her characters. She gets bored quickly and just can’t be bothered with anyone in her head who doesn’t make her laugh– which translates into fun books, outrageous situations, and witty characters who will leave you laughing and gasping for more.

Website: www.meganbryce.com