Review: Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins

23277959Title: Until We Meet Again

Author: Renee Collins

Publishing Information:  November 3rd 2015 by Sourcebooks Fire

Genre: Time travel, romance, science fiction

Series Information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 322 pages

Source: Received an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss

Recommended For: Readers looking for a romantic, easy read with a swoony male and bittersweet ending

The gist here is that Cassandra is staying with her family in a beach house that was inhabited by Lawrence and his family in 1925. The issue, of course, is that Cassandra does not live in 1925 and by some form of magic they are able to travel through time and meet on the beach behind the house. Cassandra does some sleuthing and finds out some information that insinuates that Lawrence’s life may be in jeopardy. The two are faced with wondering if they should save his life and therefore alter time (we’ve all heard this before, eh?) and of course inevitably, they fall in love.

I had a hard time with Cassandra, she was moody and pretty dramatic. I suppose that she fit into that “moody teenager” stereotype but I had a few moments where I was feeling a bit old reading her parts. I really enjoyed how her parents were present, the story felt much more real with the inclusion of the “normal” family dynamics that were presented. Lawrence has his own drama, and the two connect in a really sweet way. I would have appreciated a bit more from the secondary characters, I definitely think that it would have fleshed out the novel a bit more.

As I am revisiting my thoughts on Until We Meet Again, I am reminded of how while reading I kept thinking how nothing was really happening, but I was still invested in the story. I am unsure if this is a good or bad thing, to be honest, but despite the admittedly slow parts I still couldn’t put this novel down. The ending was bittersweet. I wish things played out differently, but can’t see how they feasibly could have. I will say that despite the insta-love factor between these two, I totally fell for their romance and enjoyed the novel overall.

Shelf Talker: After finishing, I wasn’t sure how to feel. I loved this book but kept reading it with this thought of impending doom. Admittedly, not much happened throughout, yet I couldn’t tear myself away. I liked the characters, especially Lawrence (swoon) and major props for no invisible parents! This one is definitely recommended for someone looking to fall into a love story and get lost for a while.

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Author Interview and Giveaway!

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Hello, my lovelies!! I have something very fun in store for you today! You might remember that I read and loved Amber House a while back, and I recently had the opportunity to read its sequel, Neverwas. Well, I am excited to announce that today we have the authors of this lovely trilogy answering a few burning questions about the series AND to celebrate the release of Neverwas they are allowing some of us bloggers to help them in hosting a giveaway for a signed first edition of Neverwas! First, an interview with the lovely ladies behind the trilogy!

Let’s get the basics out of the way, what can readers expect from Neverwas?

A very different side of Amber House.  The House functions as a prism through which Sarah can examine varying facets of herself and her family.  Book I Sarah was in a darker place emotionally — more lost, more isolated.  That contributed to a manifestation of the House as being more eerie and haunting.  After time changes at the end of AMBER HOUSE, Sarah has a different life, and a different host of issues to face.  The House, obviously, reflects that.  This book is more suspenseful and psychological — it deals directly with the ramifications of Book I.  Questions of free will versus destiny, duty to those we love versus duty to self, that which survives and persist versus those things that must fall away, and how one person can impact countless others.

There are so many scenes that stick out in my mind from both Amber House and Neverwas, the echoes in particular stand out for me, do you have a favorite scene from either of the novels?

There are a few scenes we really wish we could just magically be in.  In AMBER HOUSE, the boat race, and the masquerade for Sarah’s birthday.  In NEVERWAS, the heist probably tops the list.

If I was describing Amber House I would use words like gothic, paranormal, mystery.  Neverwas has these same elements but to me, it really feels more like a work of historical fiction. Was the writing process different for each novel? Did you find that one came more easily to the page?

AMBER HOUSE was originally a much longer novel, and set in the NEVERWAS dystopian timeline.  The decision was made to excise the NEVERWAS elements, so readers could focus more clearly on Sarah and the (admittedly large) cast of supporting characters.  But AMBER HOUSE was always building to NEVERWAS and its storyline, because its mysteries and revelations are necessary to the third act, OTHERWHEN.

It is also a goal of ours, that each book represents a different genre or focus.  While the core themes certainly stay constant, the unique properties of the House afford us the opportunity to plop our characters into starkly different environments.  That’s part of the fun of a time travel series.

I read up on how the idea of the Amber House Trilogy came to be (thank goodness Tucker was hunting after some ancestry information!), and it seems like the idea really grew out of all three of you collaborating. Can you talk about the writing process; do you think it is easier or harder to have three minds working on something so huge? Do you all have your own areas of expertise?

The House as a time-altering device, the time-defying romance between Sarah and Jackson, the dark ties binding the Harris, Hathaway and Parsons families together — these were additions to the early draft of the story found in that 30-old-box in the attic, which we can honestly say only evolved after long discussions in our living room over cups of coffee and tea.  Our plan of attack, as it were, is usually to cloister ourselves away, work and re-work an outline until we all agree on the elements, and then delegate out scenes to write.  When it comes to this project — a central mystery with clues hidden throughout thirteen generations’ worth of character story lines, in addition to an alternate history and the world-building that goes hand-in-hand with that, all underscoring the protagonist’s emotional arc — having three people (plus an editor) helping to keep track of everything goes a long way toward getting these books done in a year or so, rather than two or three years.

In Neverwas, I noticed that Jackson was described as a type of “guardian angel,” and an unwavering partner to Sarah as she searches through the past. I think it shows that Sarah and Jackson’s relationship goes beyond teenage romance.  Were there any partnerships that you had in mind while writing theirs?

Jackson and Sarah’s lifelong friendship-type connection is based on one within our own family — Lundi and Loré Moore, the couple we dedicated the books to.

But there is one obvious difference: the thing about Sarah and Jackson’s connection in Books I and II is it is built on the foundation of Jackson’s visions:  he has seen Sarah and himself live a lifetime together.  He knows Sarah better than she knows herself; he has seen her at her best and at her worst and loves every aspect of her.  For Jackson, his relationship with Sarah isn’t just a “teenage romance,” or a means to an end to get his parents back.  Every vision he has ever had at Amber House has revolved around her — he has grown up knowing Sarah is the one true love of his life.  In that way, there relationship may echo those of classic Gothic romances, where the couple are bound to each other beyond time.

I know we are looking into the future here, but do you have any ideas on what is next after The Amber House trilogy concludes? Do you think you will continue to work together on future novels?

We’re working on solo projects, but can state for certain that two stand-alone collaborations — one a fantasy with a male protagonist, and one a romance-adventure set against the backdrop of Greek mythology — are in various stages of completion and are part of a larger all-encompassing fictional world we intend to establish as the setting for all our projects, past and future.

EEP! I am so excited for ALL OF THE THINGS. I cannot wait to see how the series concludes. Now, for the clue and information regarding the givewaway…

Puzzle Piece 05

In NEVERWAS, Sarah must piece together the mystery of her forgotten past with the help of clues left behind by her great-grandmother, Fiona Warren.  For readers interested in the chance to win a signed first-edition hardback of NEVERWAS — with an exclusive hint for what’s in story for Sarah in the final book, OTHERWHEN, hidden inside — visit each blog on the tour for the month of December, collect the various lines from the poem, arrange them in the proper order, and submit the final sonnet by New Year’s Day for a chance to win the special copy of NEVERWAS!

 Authors2014

KELLY MOORE is a New York Times best-selling author, former litigator, and single mother of three. Her latest project, the young adult fiction series THE AMBER HOUSE TRILOGY, co-written with her two daughters and based loosely upon her own family history, examines fourteen generations of Maryland women and their ties to the past, present, and future.  The first book in the series was nominated for the 2014 Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award for its realistic portrayal of characters with autism; Moore is outspoken about her inclusion in the autism spectrum, and is dedicated to autism awareness.

TUCKER REED is an award-winning fiction and nonfiction writer.  She has been recognized on the national level for her short stories, essays and poetry.  She is also a notable political blogger and has appeared on CNN, CBS, ABC and HuffPost Live, as well as featured in articles published by TIME magazine, Marie Claire magazine, Ms. magazine, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and The Guardian, among numerous others.

LARKIN REED is a professional photographer, currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in filmmaking. In 2013, Reed established her own multimedia production company, and has subsequently produced and directed several short films.

Whew! Exciting, am I right?! For more information about the series, or the giveaway, visit The Amber House Blog! Make sure to check out the other blogs to gather your clues! The next stop on the tour will be at Annette’s Book Spot! Oh, and stay tuned for my review of Neverwas! Happy reading, my friends!

“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!

Outlander Read-a-long

 
June 11 – July 23
 
 
 
The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is 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 stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach–an “outlander”–in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigues and dangers that may threaten her life…and shatter her heart. For here she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire…and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

I’m sure half of you are rolling your eyes at me thinking about how drastically I do NOT need to add another challenge to my list and the other half is just happy that I am finally taking the plunge and reading a book that they have been pushing on me since I was a youngin’ first blurring the lines between YA and Adult Lit. Outlander is a book that I have been wanting to read for a LONG time, in fact, it was featured on my Top Ten Tuesday list last week as one of the books I can’t believe I’ve never read. I was overjoyed when this read-a-long was brought to my attention and I am very excited to participate!!

Here’s the deal…

The read-a-long is going to go from June 11th to July 23rd on Mondays and the schedule and hosting blogs are as follows:

Monday, June 11th:

Questions for chapters 1-7 announced at Gone with the Words

Monday, June 18th:

Questions for chapters 1-7 answered & questions announced for chapters 8-14 at Stalking the Bookshelves

Monday, June 25th:

Questions for chapters 8-14 answered & questions announced for chapters 15-21 on Tangled up in Blue

Monday, July 2nd:

Questions for chapters 15-21 answered & questions announced for chapters 22-28 on Into the Hall of Books

Monday, July 9th:

Questions for chapters 22-28 answered & questions announced for chapters 29-35 on Logan E. Turner

Monday, July 16th:

Questions for chapters 29-35 answered & questions announced for chapters 36-41 on The Reading Housewives

Monday, July 23rd:

Questions for chapters 36-41 answered on Gone with the Words. The end.

Special thanks to the participating blogs for hosting this awesome read-a-long and getting my butt in gear to read a series I am convinced I will LOVE!!