Two New Reviews From Our Local Book Reviewer

By Adventures in Obsessive Reading 

Author: Diana Gabaldon
Page Count: 642
Rating: B
Keywords: Time Travel, Romance, Scotland, Relationships, Adventure
Genre: Romance, Historical Fantasy Romance
Narrator: Davina Porter
Duration: 32 hours and 43 minutes
Younger Readers: Explicit content: sex, rape, beatings, drinking, murder, etc. Not for children. 

I read this one both on my Kindle and listened to the audiobook over the course of five months, mostly listening on the long drive to and from work. Due to the amount of time it took me to read this I do not necessarily remember the beginning of the book well, only my feelings towards it.

As many other reviewers have recommended, I watched the first season of the Starz Outlander series. This truly influenced how I perceived the characters and gave me a better visual to work with as far as the setting went. Doing this also helped me keep better track of the timeline.

A couple of months after watching the show I started reading. Initially, I was extremely bored. I had the same issue as when I watched the TV series, an intense dislike for Claire Randall. However, after the first 200 pages the story begins to pick up and Claire is actually far more likeable in this book than she ever was for me in the show. From here the book is an intense rollercoaster of romance, action, and peril. 

This is truly a genre transcending series. Some would say the explicit sexual scenes, which are far steamier between Jaime and Claire than Frank and Claire, that are repeated quite frequently would clearly mark this as a romance/erotica. However, there is a good amount of attention paid to the fantasy elements of Scottish folklore as well as a focus on the history of WWII moving to 18th century Europe. This combination makes for a unique and enjoyable reading experience.

Claire is…an interesting character. She comes across as reckless, a know it all, and thoughtless for others. This selfishness had me cringing for a long amount of time as she constantly puts others in danger. As she grows accustomed to her new life in the past she begins to soften. Her increased understanding makes her easier to sympathize with. If her development continues, book two in the series should be truly enjoyable.

Jaime is a troublesome character to decide if I like him or not. He is of course traditionally romantic and strong in his devotion. His adoration of his wife is clear in much that he does. Descriptions of him physically paint a massive and extremely attractive, young Scottish man. The norms of 18th century marital behaviors will cause many to hesitate in liking him. Remembering that his actions are accurate for the time in which he supposedly lived and that he proves himself adaptable to Claire’s feelings should help those that would traditionally write him off as a villain.

Secondary characters are abundant in this series. At times I had trouble keeping track of all the clansmen. Despite, this they add depth and intricacy to the story that could not have been achieved otherwise. They aid in submerging the reader even more thoroughly in this complex world. 

Davina Porter was phenomenal. If it had not been for her narration there is no way I would have been able to enjoy the book as much or get through my original struggle. She is perfectly emotional when necessary but never over the top. Her Scottish accent when speaking in the voices of other characters is fantastic rather than gimmicky while her English accent works perfectly for Claire as it sounds natural in its intensity and strength like the character herself. Her ability to switch between them without hitches or awkwardness made the listening experience for me.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and am glad to have read it but I did not love the book in whole. I believe other readers would enjoy it thoroughly. It is a fun, romantic, and perilous ride that will drag your emotions in every direction.

Our Kind of Cruelty
Author: Araminta Hall
Page Count: 288
Rating: C
Format Read: Hardcover
Genre: Thriller
Keywords: Obsession, Kink, Murder
Kid Appropriate: Not at all

I chose this as my Book of the Month. Creepy stories with possibly warped perceptions are some of my favorite reads. They make you think and leave your mind racing even after you’ve put the book down.

This one had a good start to it. You felt like you were inside Mike’s mind and felt his mental state shifting further and further away from stability as he watched V. Unfortunately, this promising beginning fell a bit flat. The second half of the book drags on for far too long and the ending was just bleh.

I don’t regret reading it but wish I’d gone in with lower expectations. If you’re interested in this sort of twisted story line I would recommend picking up You by Caroline Kepnes.