Review: A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

GoTTitle: A Clash of Kings

Author: George R. R. Martin

Publishing Information: May 28th 2002 by Bantam

Genre: Adult, Epic Fantasy, Adventure

Series information: Book two in A Song of Ice and Fire

Format: Hardcover, 761 pages

Source: Purchased for my e-Reader

Recommended For: Fans of high fantasy novels and readers who don’t mind picking their jaw up off the floor.

Time is out of joint. The summer of peace and plenty, ten years long, is drawing to a close, and the harsh, chill winter approaches like an angry beast. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who held sway over and age of enforced peace are dead…victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns, as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms prepare to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war.

As a prophecy of doom cuts across the sky—a comet the color of blood and flame—six factions struggle for control of a divided land. Eddard’s son Robb has declared himself King in the North. In the south, Joffrey, the heir apparent, rules in name only, victim of the scheming courtiers who teem over King’s Landing. Robert’s two brothers each seek their own dominion, while a disfavored house turns once more to conquest. And a continent away, an exiled queen, the Mother of Dragons, risks everything to lead her precious brood across a hard hot desert to win back the crown that is rightfully hers.

Wow! We made it through two books of this epic series! For those of you who have stayed strong with me, give yourself a pat on the back, this is a serious accomplishment and I am proud that we have made it this far! Go #SOIFRA!!

As we all know, Game of Thrones just concluded it’s third season, which means that for the first three books I haven’t been as surprised as some of our other readers. I think this is a really fun thing because it gives me a different feeling while reading the books, that being said, I can’t wait to go into the rest of the series “blind,” to what is coming. With that in mind, I found that reading A Clash of Kings really provided some much needed detail on many of the characters and their motives. I was especially affected by the THINGS that came up that I knew to be foreshadowing events in future books, specifically book three. I was literally taking pictures of parts to send to Amy, who has already read the series with little notes like “This is interesting,” and “EEP!” because it is a totally new experience to know what is coming next (in detail) prior to reading!

In terms of characters, I still love Dany, and Tyrion is still totally awesome, though in all honesty, I wasn’t extremely blown away by anyone in this book. My love for Jon kind of wavered, he is brooding, for sure, but he is becoming a little too good for me. Sigh. I am LOVING the Bran storyline, and I can’t wait to see how he grows with THINGS, and admittedly, I still read through Catelyn’s chapters as fast as I can. I will say that I am glad to be reading about the “other” families living in this world. The Greyjoy Family has definitely become more prominent in my mind (grumblegrumble), and I am intrigued to see what is up with the Bolton Family (though I know some stuff from the show and OH EM GEE.)

When reading epic fantasy novels I tend to fall right into the world, to where I am thinking and dreaming of it more often than not. Westeros is no different for me, these are the books that I am reading while on my lunch, or in line at the post office. I can’t get enough of them, and if there is one thing that I am taking away from this series, it is:

Valar Morghulis.

Read Along Schedule: A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin


I will now be taking over hosting duties! Here’s a bit of information about A Storm of Swords, including our reading schedule for July and August! I am pretty excited about this one since I hear it is a tad different from the HBO show, and after watching this season, specifically after watching “The Red Wedding”, I just can’t wait to see the emotions that this one is going to bring.

6307964A Storm of Swords: by George R.R. Martin

Series: A Song of Ice and Fire #3

Publisher: Bantam Books

Publication Date: March 4, 2003

Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage as violently as ever, as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey, of House Lannister, sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the land of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, the victim of the jealous sorceress who holds him in her evil thrall. But young Robb, of House Stark, still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Robb plots against his despised Lannister enemies, even as they hold his sister hostage at King’s Landing, the seat of the Iron Throne. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world. . .

But as opposing forces maneuver for the final titanic showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost line of civilization. In their vanguard is a horde of mythical Others–a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords. . .

Reading Schedule:
July 6-13: Prologue to Tyrion II (Chapter 12)
July 14-20: Tyrion II to Arya IV (Chapter 22)
July 21 – 27: Arya IV to Tyrion IV (Chapter 32)
July 28 – August 3: Tyrion IV to Dany IV (Chapter 42)
August 4 – 10: Dany IV to Arya XI (Chapter 52)
August 11 – 17: Arya XI to Jaime VII (Chapter 62)
August 18 – 24: Jaime VII to Jaime IX (Chapter 72)
August 25-31: Jaime IX through Epilogue (end!!)

Let me know if this schedule is confusing or wrong, it isn’t easy with a book that has so many formats and pages!!

For more information on this read along, check out my intro post, anyone can join! Also don’t forget to join the Twitter chat using #SOIFRA ! Happy reading!!

Review: A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

6984678Title: A Game of Thrones

Author: George R. R. Martin

Publishing Information: August 1, 1996 by Bantam

Genre: Adult, Epic Fantasy, Adventure

Series information: Book one in A Song of Ice and Fire

Format: Hardcover, 790 pages

Source: Purchased for my e-Reader

Recommended For: Fans of high fantasy novels and readers who don’t mind picking their jaw up off the floor.

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

As you may know, I am reading the entire Song of Ice and Fire series for an amazing read along. This book is MASSIVE and is filled with ALL THE THINGS so I don’t want to even come close to spoiling ANYTHING. Therefore, instead of a traditional review I am going to just provide you with my THOUGHTS on the book, the characters, and the epicness that is this series.

*I am just going to say before we begin that I KNOW that I am not on the same page as everyone for the most part. I usually love the villains, and dislike the characters everyone else loves. *shrugs* I’m a Slytherin so one can only assume that I would be a Lannister as well.

I am a huge fan of the TV show Game of Thrones, and I was worried that I would be bored by the first book because I heard that it was so well done that the book and show were extremely alike. I’m not going to lie to you, HBO did an amazing job with season one of the show, and they were very alike. However, I am so relieved and thrilled to tell you that the book was so much better. I absolutely adored the way that the reader was able to get into the character’s minds and know what they were going through. I especially felt this way about Sansa, who I had a very hard time liking in the show. As I neared the end of the novel, I really felt for Sansa and I was surprised at the strength that she was able to show, I will definitely look at her differently while watching the show from now on.

Speaking of amazing characters, I LOVE DAENERYS. She is amazing in the book and the show and I WILL NOT SPOIL but WOW does she turn into a BAMF. Tyrion is fantastic, I love how witty and strong he is despite his disabilities. I also love Jon Snow with a deep burning in my being. Also Ghost. I can’t even. *dies*

I actually really like Cersei in the show, I know, I KNOW, she is appalling and “evil” but I don’t care I think she is strong and awesome (creeptastic elements aside), and I was kind of sad that we didn’t see her as much as we do in the show. Eddard is, of course, loyal and amazing. Arya, pigheaded and strong, yet she still bothered me, though not as much as she does on screen. Catelyn kind of annoyed me, I know she is supposed to be strong, and she totally is, but for the most part I was questioning everything that she did. Also I was happy to see that I enjoyed Bran more in the novel, I think this was largely because of ALL OF THE DIREWOLVES, YO!! I hope to see a lot of growth with his character in the future novels.

Anywho, in terms of plot, WE HAS IT. So many things happened and even though I knew most of them were coming I was still like “sayyy whaaa” at a lot of parts. I am absolutely giddy to see where things go. Many friends who have read the series in its entirety have told me on more than one occasion to not get too attached to the characters, and to be quite honest, I am equally excited and so scared to continue on. I will positively have hysterics if something happens to Ghost one of the direwolves.

In short, I loved the book.

Winter is coming, you guys, and I can’t wait for it.


Read Along: A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin


This March, some fabulous bloggers and I are embarking on what is sure to be the most epic of journeys. That’s right friends – we are tackling A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE by George R.R. Martin!

We have all desperately wanted to read the series for a while, but let’s be serious – those are some big books, and frankly, it’s scary (I mean, I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m scared..) After realizing we were not alone in our desire (and wariness) to read this series, we decided to set up a (casual) A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE READ-ALONG.

This goal of this read-along is  for each of us to be able to read the series, with fellow bloggers to lean on and help cheer us through! Anyone and everyone is welcome to join us, as we will be having Twitter chats (#SOIFRA) while we read. We’re also hoping to set up an email thread per book where we can discuss all the things that are happening – and because we don’t want to get all spoilery for others.

Each book currently out in the series will be read over a period of two months, and every two months a different blogger will be “hosting” the read-along on their blog. You can check out the schedule below:

A GAME OF THRONES – Hosted by Alexa over on Alexa Loves Books from March-April

A CLASH OF KINGS – Hosted by Cass over on Books with Cass from May-June

A STORM OF SWORDS Hosted by ME here at Books Take You Places from July-August

A FEAST FOR CROWS – Hosted by Kristina over on Gone Pecan from September-October

A DANCE WITH DRAGONS – Hosted by Brittany over on The Book Addict’s Guide from November-December

If you do feel like joining us in the read-along or if you have already read the book and want to chat along with us, let us know! We would love to hear from any of you! The idea is that we are keeping it casual so that everyone can enjoy the novels without getting too overwhelmed!

Head over to Alexa’s blog to read more about A Game of Thrones and to find our reading schedule for book one in the Song of Ice and Fire series. Also feel free to use our hashtag,  #SOIFRA on Twitter or grab our button on the side!


“My life is yours.” Outlander Week Six

Outlander Read-along

Chapters 36-41

We made it!! YAAYYY! I know it was harder to get through this book for some of us but overall I am thrilled to have participated in this read-along with you all!! I would definitely do it again! I am having a hard time deciding how I feel about the book at this moment so I will let the questions speak for me!

1. Jaime has the worst case of seasickness. Do you get seasickness or motion sickness? If not, is there something else that makes your stomach a bit queasy?

I have really only been on one of those ferry things while still sitting in my car during a rather SCARY storm so yes, I did get sick but I am not sure if it would happen if I was on a regular ship or not…Also, I hate to fly so I am debating going on some mini cruises to see how I hold up so I can have some way to travel :]

2. How did you handle reading the details of Jamie’s torture at the hands of Randall? Did you blame Jamie for anything that happened during the encounter with the captain? If you were Claire, how do you think you would have taken hearing about the abuse from your husband? What did you think of Claire’s method’s to get Jamie to start healing psychologically from his wounds from Randall (when she filled his room with opium and simulated another attack by the Captain)?

Honestly this part REALLY bothered me. I really don’t become sickened or horrified by anything while reading (or watching) but child molestation and rape are two things I cannot handle. I was enjoying the book (though some parts did make me rather angry) but this was too much for me. If I was Claire I would have been disappointed that Randall was killed by livestock and not killed at my own hands. I CAN NOT IMAGINE being on the listening side when someone I adore was recalling this trauma. I also kept thinking WTF while she was simulating another attack on him. I don’t even know how that idea crossed her mind to be honest and it really didn’t feel believable to me but kind of bothered me as much as the story of what happened at Randall’s hands..

3. This cover:

Outlander Special Edition

“history, warfare, medicine, sex, violence, spirituality, honor, betrayal, vengeance, hope and despair, relationships, the building and destruction of families and societies, time travel, moral ambiguity, swords, herbs, horses, gambling (with cards, dice, and lives), voyages of daring, journeys of both body and soul…you know the usual stuff of literature.”

Which of the above elements of Outlander were you most looking forward to? Which did you enjoy the most while reading? Which did you enjoy the least while reading? Which did you just not care about? Any of these do you which there were more of? Or less of?

I was pretty much excited by all of it and I love my stories filled with hope, despair, love and okay, some sexytimes!! I wanted more from the time travel (why didn’t we hear more about Geilie??) and would have enjoyed a little more joy and a little less religion and rape.

4. Share with us your overall thoughts on Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Your favorite quotes, scenes, and/or your favorite words that had you searching for a dictionary. If you haven’t been marking your favorite quotes/passages, you can find Outlander quotes on Goodreads.

I don’t even know how to answer this question to be honest. There were parts I was smiling at the book and really loving Jamie and Claire and there were parts where I hated them both. I have to say that by the end Claire did redeem herself for me somewhat and I thought her to be a lot stronger than she had been. Looking back the parts that bothered me about the story (RAPE, RAPE RAPE!!) nearly outweighed the good parts. I read a lot of books that rip your heart out and mend it back together and honestly I am not sure that this story has mended me properly. I know its a series and I know that things aren’t always tied up neatly and I know that complete happy endings don’t always happen but after finishing last night I was let down and not happy about the book as a whole. I really am disappointed because I really did want to LOVE this series.
As for favorite quotes, don’t mind if I do:

“I had one last try.
“Does it bother you that I’m not a virgin?” He hesitated a moment before answering.
“Well, no,” he said slowly, “so long as it doesna bother you that I am.” He grinned at my drop-jawed expression, and backed toward the door.
“Reckon one of us should know what they’re doing,” he said. The door closed softly behind him; clearly the courtship was over.”

He was laughing so hard at this point that he had to gasp for breath between phrases. “Jamie…I said…for all she’s a Sassenach bitch…with a tongue like an adder’s …with a bum like that…what does it matter if she’s a f-face like a sh-sh-eep?”
I tripped him neatly and landed on his stomach with both knees as he hit the floor with a crash that shook the house.
“You mean to tell me that you married me out of love?” I demanded. He raised his eyebrows, struggling to draw in breath.
“Have I not…just been…saying so?”

“Where did you learn to kiss like that?” I said, a little breathless. He grinned and pulled me close again.
“I said I was a virgin, not a monk,” he said, kissing me again. “If I find I need guidance, I’ll ask.”

There are more I’m sure and yes, I know they all revolve around Jamie and sexytimes but don’t judge me, those were my favorite parts of the book 😀

5. Are you going to continue with the series or are you done after Outlander? For those of us who are new readers of this series, any predictions? Do you think participating in the read-along helped or hindered your experience with the story? For those of you who’ve already read Outlander and books beyond, how much did you enjoy (or not enjoy) this re-read?

Ahh this is a tough one…I am still debating. I liked the books enough to possibly continue on with the series but I don’t feel like I need to go grab them all right now and read them. I think the read-along may have hindered me in a way because I definitely looked at the books with a more critical eye. I really don’t know if I will go on, it’s too new.

*Bonus #1* Take the Outlander QUIZ on Goodreads and tell us how you did!*

I got an 86% woo woo

*Bonus #2* Claire is able to visit the library at The Abbey. Share with us pictures or a description of your own personal drawing of your dream library. Feel free to share more than one. Some of you may even have a Pinterest board full of inspiration, please share!

First, a non sexytime quote from Outlander that I loved: “Overall, the library held a hushed exultation, as though the cherished volumes were all singing soundlessly within their covers.”
To answer your question:


Yes, my dear beast. Yes, we do.

“Like iron to true North”: Outlander Week Five

Outlander Read-a-long

Chapters 29-35

Well, we are almost near the end! I have to admit, I might just read ahead now and finish the book. I honestly am not sure if I am going to be continuing on with the series or not. I am enjoying this book to an extent and I think I would have enjoyed it more if I wasn’t being such a critic because I had to rehash my opinions in the answers each week. It really makes me realize why I cannot STAND Claire. This week also made me adore Jenny/Ian even more and LOATHE Dougal. Guy needs a nice face-punch in my opinion.

1. We are now settled into life at Lallybroch. What are your impressions of this place, and Ian and Jenny Murray? How do the stories of Jamie’s life here growing up shape your feelings toward him?

I really like Lallybroch, I found it to be relaxing and really loved how it molded Jamie and Claire’s relationship in a different way. I also LOVE Ian and Jenny so really more time with them just made me ridiculously happy. Jenny is the kind of leading lady I can get behind, she is strong and knows how to use her intelligence and wiles to her advantage. I also loved the the part where Jenny was describing what it feels like to be pregnant, it made me smile.

2. What do you think of the story of what really happened between Jenny and Jack Randall? Could you have been as bold as Jenny? Does this change your understanding of Randall? 

I wasn’t really surprised by this story though I was surprised she hadn’t told Ian earlier as it didn’t really seem like a big issue to me. I like how Jenny gauged the situation clearly and knew that fighting back with force (which I would have probably done) would likely result in her death. She was able to learn enough about Randall to know that her being afraid and fighting back would have encouraged him further so another win for Jenny in my book!

3. For the second time, we see Claire warning a Fraser about future events. Do you think this is wise? Or does this mess with history/the space-time continuum/the natural order of things? 

Time travel is something I am not so familiar with so I can’t really say my opinion on the matter. I think that Claire holds back enough information and really takes heed to only tell those who she believes will listen and make choices intelligently based on her information. Also, who is to say that Claire going back in time isn’t really part of the bigger picture anyway? There is no way to know if she wasn’t meant to travel back in time and spill the beans!

4. Do you consider Claire brave or foolish for going after Jamie? Would you be courageous enough to go into enemy territory to try and save the man you love?

It is both brave AND foolish in my opinion. However I am almost positive that I would do the same in her situation. What is there to live for if he dies? Go back to Frank? Stay here with Dougal? Ahh, no thanks. I’d rather be dead I think. Not to mention the fact that you would always be wondering if you could have done something to save him. I think it would be a bit more foolish if she didn’t have all of the help that she does but regardless it is one of the moments where I did agree with what Claire was doing.

5. Jamie makes a gut-wrenching decision in Chapter 35. Do you blame Claire for putting him in that position? What kinds of repurcussions do you expect?

Ranty pants time! All I kept thinking of the ENTIRE time before Randall walked in was why Claire wasn’t scouring the room for weapons and a place to hide or at least stand ready near the door to take Randall down when he walked in. Wasn’t she JUST talking about how important the element of surprise is? I can somewhat understand trying to get Jamie free first but really it would have made so much more sense if she had waited to the side to ambush Randall as he came in, she clearly knows how to kill a man and Randall PROBABLY has the key to let Jamie free! So, yeah, I pretty much do blame Claire for putting him in that position and then SITTING ALONE NOT WATCHING THE BODY as Jamie was trying to save them both. Yet again, had she looked about and realized that RANDALL IS NOT DEAD she could have oh, I don’t know, KILLED HIM? Or at least made certain he was unconscious and therefore couldn’t get up and PUT A KNIFE TO HER THROAT!!! UGH! Disgusted all around. Then in the next scene she kills a wolf. I literally don’t understand how she is able to recover these memories that help her survive but its like common sense and rationalization of the present moment fails her. Cripes, woman! LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES!!

You’re nice to croodle wi’: Outlander Week Four

Outlander Read-a-long
Week Four: Chapters 16-28
Not sure what this is all about? Here’s the deal…
The read-a-long is going to go from June 11th to July 23rd on Mondays and more information can be found here.
Whewww these chapters were LONG this week and I feel like SO much happened! Not that I am complaining, I enjoyed most of them and they certainly gave me a lot to think about! I love the introductions of the new characters and I fell in love with Ian Murray, Jenny and Grannie MacNab almost instantly.


1. How do you feel about Claire disobeying Jamie and the resulting punishment he brings forth on her for this? Do you feel that Jamie’s punishment was justified by the fact that everyone was put in danger by Claire’s actions? Finally, did Jamie’s vow with Claire’s dagger do anything to sway your thoughts or change your mind on how you initially feel/felt about his punishment? 
I read ahead last week and my first thought upon reading the part where he “punishes” her was conflicted. Part of me was like “THAT’S RIGHT WOMAN, MAYBE NOW YOU’LL STOP BEING SO DAMN STUPID!!” Upon further thought (and re-reading) I have to say that overall I don’t agree with the beating as punishment. I actually think that it might have worked to a point with Claire but the fact that Jamie “lost his temper” and beat her A LOT is not okay. That being said I do have to mention that I can count on one hand how many times I was beaten with my dad’s belt, I can also tell you exactly what I did and that I never, ever pulled any of those stunts again. So again, you can see, I am conflicted with my answer. For the sake of the story, I agree with what happened and I can see that it is fitting to the times, however, it is not something I can condone. 
Jamie’s vow at the end of this section proved to me that he knew that he did wrong and being that he doesn’t ever go back on a vow means he won’t do it again. I believe I can forgive him but as I stated before it is a little unsettling that he lost his temper in such a way.
2. Just for fun, what was your reaction to the suspicious black spot Claire spotted on the floor near the area where Jamie was sleeping? Did you have any theories to what it might have been before it was revealed to be a _____? 
Honestly, I just kept thinking “Can you kill the damn bug, Claire?!”
3. With regard to the ‘changeling’ baby Claire and Geilie spotted in the wild – if it were you back then and you happened upon a changeling baby in the wild in a circumstance such as this, do you think you’d have reacted most like Claire or Geilie? Explain.
Okay, I read A LOT. My favorite author is Juliet Marillier and celtic lore is one of my favorite things. Therefore, as soon as Claire was all “Geilie, there’s a baby!” I was thinking, “Don’t do it!” and of course, SHE DID. I am a compassionate human and of course there would be a part of me that would wonder about this poor baby being left alone. However, the other parts of me would be taking in the whole picture here, including the time in which I am currently living. Therefore, I think I would have walked the other way as soon as I saw what was going down. I can tell you that I am ONE HUNDRED PERCENT positive that once Geilie explained the situation to me I would not have argued and gone BACK! This is the kind of stuff that makes me utterly loathe Claire. She is written as this strong and intelligent character and she is utterly ignorant and juvenile. I really barely even felt bad for her when she was being tried as a witch because she is so STUPID! I wouldn’t trust Laoghaire further than I could throw her AND Jamie told her to stay AWAY from Geilie. She deserved the whole thing.
4. Share your thoughts on Geilie Duncan. Is there anything that surprised you about her story or were you suspicious of her from the beginning?
I was a tiny bit suspicious of her from the beginning, she had this side to her that seemed not so nice and at dinner when Claire asked if his stomach was better and she was all casual about it I was like “Yeah, she’s definitely poisoning him.” I do have to say that I was extremely surprised by the mark on her from the smallpox vaccine. I actually can’t really stop thinking about who she is and where she came from which is pretty marvelous because really this book has yet to blow me away. I was also pretty surprised at the whole twist with Dougal, THAT I did not see coming!
5. Your thoughts on Jamie’s LAST REASON for wanting to marry Claire – the one he had been so secretive about. GO!
Jamie is nearly the only redeeming quality for me at this point and I love, love, LOVED this moment between Claire and Jamie. I loved that she was surprised by his affections and I love that he managed to tell her how much he loves her while still being a little bit of a jackass. I have a soft spot for this sort of affection as my boyfriend told me he fell in love with me the moment we met. Funny, all I remember is asking him why the f he kept staring at me like he’d never seen a woman before 😀
But I digress, this scene was entirely endearing and as mentioned, Jenny is one of my favorite characters. I fell in love with her at this moment:
Returning to pick up her embroidery basket, Jenny sailed in at this point and stood eyeing her brother with some amusement. “And what are you up to, young Jamie me lad? she inquired, one eyebrow up.
“I’m makin’ love to my wife,” he panted, breathless between giggling and fighting.
“Well, ye could find a more suitable place for it,” she said, raising the other eyebrow. “That floor’ll give ye splinters in your arse.”
This whole scene kind of redeemed Claire for me and made me see that both Jamie and Claire have flaws (one maybe more than the other) but they compliment one another and that there really is love between them.

"Dangerous thing, infatuation." Outlander: Week Three

Outlander Read-a-long
Week Three: Chapters 15-21
Not sure what this is all about? Here’s the deal…
The read-a-long is going to go from June 11th to July 23rd on Mondays and more information can be found here.
I am still really enjoying this book though I don’t think it will be one of my favorites I can still appreciate it as a romantic distraction. I was beginning to like Claire a bit more and after this chapter when she saves herself (you go girl!) I had convinced myself she was high on my kick ass female character list. HOWEVER, as the chapters went on I started to seriously dislike her AGAIN and I really don’t know if there is any going back. The part in which the men teach her to fight was one of my favorite parts of the story thus far and as always Jamie still makes me swoon all over the place.
1) We FINALLY get to the scene we’ve all been waiting for. You know what I’m talking about–yay sexytimes! What were your impressions? Was it what you were expecting? Or did you want more? 
Ohh this chapter was all that I had wanted and more! I just LOVE how sweet Jamie is and when he tells Claire, “I said I was a virgin, not a monk, if I find I need guidance, I’ll ask.” I just about died. I think it was just the right amount of descriptions and so forth. I read a lot of adult books that go into DETAIL and even though sometimes I appreciate it, it’s nice to have a bit of  a balance.
2) I know that some readers thus far have been bothered by the fact of Claire being married to Frank but still being involved with Jamie, despite the different time periods. Does their time as newlyweds change anyone’s opinion of that? If not, now what are you thinking of the situation?  
Frank is totally out of my head at this point. I absolutely adore the way this romance is blossoming between the two and it seems very realistic to me. Claire and Jamie didn’t fall head over heels at once and decide to get married. They got married out of necessity and Claire talks in length about infatuation and this was one of my favorite parts from the chapters this week. I can appreciate their romance and really enjoy that they are growing to trust one another and I have no doubt that this infatuation will inevitably turn into love.
3) What did you think about the “waterhorse” that Claire saw? Why do you think Peter was so spooked? And what do you think this means for Claire? 
I LOVED the story of the waterhorse but when Claire was going up to the water I kind of saw it coming and rolled my eyes a bit. I think that being that it is a legend even in this time Peter probably thought Claire was  somehow connected to the waterhorse or perhaps the lovely wife. Regardless, he seems afraid of her which I believe shows that in his mind she has some connection with either the legendary beast or some form of witchcraft. Methinks I see some foreshadowing happening…
4) If you were Claire and you were knowingly in the vicinity of the stones, would you have done the same thing she did?  
I really don’t think that I would. First of all, I think she is happier here than she ever was with Frank so why even try to leave? Second, the woman CONTINUOUSLY comes this close to being raped because she is a woman (weak in their eyes) and can’t control herself. Okay so you have a dirk that you now know how to use, can you use that against an army? I don’t think so, Claire. Finally, I have no doubt that Jamie would take her to this place, she doesn’t even need to explain the situation just ask to go there and I bet he would bring her because it is clear that he just wants to make her happy! He is in this for the long haul and he is honorable and therefore will live up to his vows. This part of the story really made me dislike Claire right after I was starting to like her again! I am a very outspoken woman as well but seriously, learn from your mistakes.
5) What do you think about Captain Randall? How do you think the family resemblance between him and Frank affects Claire and particularly her relationship with Jamie? 
I HATE CAPTAIN RANDALL!! I like Claire’s bravery at first but then it just seemed rather foolish to me considering how much power he holds over her. I believe I would be unnerved if this man, who could be my husband’s twin, was acting the way Randall did but I like to think I’d keep my head in the game and just handle the situation as it presented itself. I don’t really see how Randall’s likeness to Frank affects Claire and Jamie’s relationship and besides a few thoughts it seems Claire knows that Randall and Frank are two separate people. This whole episode annoyed me in a few ways, you were in the room by yourself so explain why you took the time to ruin the Captain’s things instead of, oh I don’t know, GETTING THE DIRK OUT OF YOUR SKIRT?! It’s really juvenile how she acts here and THANK GOD Jamie rode in at the right moment to save the day! I totally see this ending in a showdown where Jamie kills Randall and therefore, Frank in the future. YAH!

It’s not too late to sign up for the Outlander read-along! Check out my post to find out what its all about and to learn more about the upcoming schedule!

Swoons Galore! Outlander: Week Two

Outlander Read-a-long
Week one: Chapters 8-14


Not sure what this is all about? Here’s the deal…

The read-a-long is going to go from June 11th to July 23rd on Mondays and more information can be found here.

Last week I mentioned that I was thrilled that Outlander was living up to my expectations and that I was happy at how engaged I was while reading the story. After this week’s reading I have to say that I am LOVING this book and I want to hug those lovely bloggers who started this read along. I actually had to stop myself from reading ahead this week (I might have cheated a little) and I cannot wait to see what happens next. The characters being introduced are becoming fleshed out and interesting and I actually felt real rage upon Claire and Randall’s second meeting. I LOVE WHEN BOOKS MAKE ME FEEL FEELINGS!!
1.  Claire has been given the task of healer at the castle. She must adapt her nursing skills for the time and learn what herbs and etc will cure each particular ailment that is presented to her. Do you have any home remedies that were passed down to you (cure for a cold, bee sting or what have you)?
My family comes from Germany, I am nearly 100% German – except for that little blip on my family tree I talked about last week- so we have some very interesting cures for ailments. I’m not going to get into details but my gram used herbs for hot flashes, and beer, liquor, garlic and honey to cure everything else. There have been some stories about urine being healthy for you, I have heard both on wounds and also by ingesting it. My gram is a tad facetious at times so I take this one with a grain of salt! (see what I did there? :P)
2. What do you think would be the biggest challenge of living in the past? (Clothing, hygiene, food, etiquette or etc.)
Most DEFINITELY hygiene. They say that Henry VIII only bathed when he was born and when his attendants got him ready for his funeral. Uhhh WHAT?! Knowing his “escapades” throughout his life I am appalled that the guy didn’t bathe obsessively. How did he gain so many wives/mistresses? I get that he’s the king but c’mon ladies, have some standards! But I digress…back to the main point, I would need to bathe. My hair would need to be washed on AT LEAST a weekly basis over here and I would have to be smelling nice. I think I would love the clothing, the food wouldn’t bother me and I like to think I am a quick learner so with the exception of being the “lesser sex” I could adapt to the etiquette as well.
3. Do you have a favorite character, scene or quote so far? If so, share it with us.
I am liking Claire significantly more and more as each chapter progresses. I was appalled at the second meeting between Claire and Randall and when she was all “your wig is crooked.” I about died but I also wanted to reach through the book and slap him around a bit! RAGE! I also really like Dougal, but let’s be serious, Jamie is obviously my favorite character. One of the parts that had me melted into a puddle is when they are actually getting married and both Claire and Jamie are acting as a sort of support for the other. “Bear up, lass, It’s not long now. Say the words after me.” I was all “awwwww” and such. I loved the whole wedding scene, DG definitely painted a nice picture of Jamie all dolled up and when he gave Claire the pearls that belonged to his mother I swooned a little. I also have some favorite lines from chapter 15 (Don’t you judge me for reading ahead!) but I won’t post them here because that is for next week!
4. What did you think about the addition of the blood bond in the wedding ceremony? Is this something you would do with the one you love?
I liked it in relation to the story and I think that it will definitely heighten their “bond” throughout the series but it is not something I would enjoy doing. I can’t help but think of the germs but maybe I’m just not romantic enough!
5. Are you reading along closely with the scheduled chapters or are you ahead or behind?
I am being such a good little reader and staying close to our schedule! I do have to admit though, I saw some read along friends who were all talking about “kilt dangling” in chapter 15 and I immediately picked up my book and read chapters 8-15 and OH. EM. GEE. I am so glad that I did. The good stuff? IT’S ALL THERE! We will talk about that next week so I won’t get into it here but it was totally everything I had hoped it would be.

It’s not too late to sign up for the Outlander read-along! Check out my post to find out what its all about and to learn more about the upcoming schedule!

Read Along Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: Week One

Outlander Read-a-long
Week one: Chapters 1-7
Not sure what this is all about? Here’s the deal…The read-a-long is going to go from June 11th to July 23rd on Mondays and more information can be found here.
So far, this book is everything that I had hoped it would be. I am enjoying the fact that it isn’t jumping right into a dalliance between Jamie and Claire and I really like the strength and independence Claire shows from the beginning. I am anticipating continuing on with the story and I foresee having a hard time keeping myself from reading ahead in the challenge! 

1. Outlander is a well-known book. Before you cracked it open, what were your expectations or assumptions about this story? Or did you jump into it with a blank slate? 

I have to say that I had VERY high expectations when starting this book. This is a series that has been pushed on me for YEARS AND YEARS by my family because they are CONVINCED that I will just love them. I have to say that though my expectations are extremely high, I have not been disappointed. You know how sometimes you build something up so high that it ends up falling short? Sorry, Hunger Games fans they were not as good as I expected – this has thankfully, not been the case with Outlander! I know we are only 7 chapters in but I am pretty enthralled at this point and I am DEFINITELY invested in the relationships currently growing.

2. Claire’s husband, Frank, is fascinated with learning more and more facts about his family tree, which extends back pretty far. Do you or anyone in your family keep a family tree? How many years/generations back does it go? If not, have you ever considered or attempted to create one?

I have actually recently started taking advantage of the ancestry software available at my public library. I recently got stuck a few generations back on a woman named “Sarah” on my dad’s side. From what I understand, I have Native American roots and Sarah was a common name given to women who carried somewhat “different” names and backgrounds. I am so intrigued now to find out who this “Sarah” is in my family and am currently waiting for some records to be sent to me from Pennsylvania so I can continue on with my search!

3. How did you find Claire’s initial conclusion as to her surroundings after waking up from going through the stones? Did you think that was a reasonable conclusion?

I honestly don’t think it is something that would have crossed my mind. She seemed a little flustered and then was like “Well they suddenly started to film a movie at the exact spot where I am standing!” I can appreciate her trying to rationalize and thought her to be very intelligent but it is definitely not something that I would have thought up!

4. How about her composed, rational way of dealing with the fact she’s traveled back in time. Did you find it believable? Do you think you would have acted the same way?

As I was finishing up the chapters from this week I was thinking that I would like to think that if I was thrown into the same situation I would handle it with the same grace and intelligence that Claire is using. However, I don’t know if that is how things would really go, as I have to assume there would be a slight freak out sesh commencing upon seeing kilted men barreling toward me. I am a pretty tough gal and I know I would be a tad distracted by the red-haired, accented, kilted man but I also know that I would need a few moments to rock/cry in the corner.

5. At this point in the story, what are your feelings or expectations on Claire and Jamie? Is Frank still a factor for you?

Honestly I might be a terrible person but Frank really isn’t a factor for me at this point. He definitely seems like he isn’t enough for Claire in many ways and though I know my friends don’t always enjoy listening to my prattle about different literature/Shakespearean plays, they at least try to listen. It seems like when Frank speaks Claire is all “oh he is being an intellectual again, how tedious,” and then she just stops listening. She needs someone who excites her and I just don’t think he is the guy. I have HIGH expectations for her and Jamie though!

Bonus Question: Frank encounters a man outside of the inn where he and Claire are staying. He is afraid it might have been a ghost. What do you believe it was? Do you have any predictions or suspicions on what that was about?

This one is a toughie and I find it fascinating. Could it be Jamie, traveling to the future? The rogue, Jonathan Randall? Or perhaps someone from Claire’s time who knows a bit about what is to come. I am very excited to find out!

It’s not too late to sign up for the Outlander read-along! Check out my post to find out what its all about and to learn more about the upcoming schedule!