REVIEW

Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

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Hi guys,

daylight saving times gives me so much more motivation than winter time, so I try my best to write more full reviews again. Let’s start with this one – Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I’ve read this book in German, so if there are translation mistakes with the names, I’m sorry. I tried my best in research 🙂 Also, this Review contains (evil) SPOILERS. I’m sorry, I really couldn’t help myself.

outlander feuer und eis

Book Information

Title: Outlander – Fire and Stone
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Type read: Paperback
Pages: 1104

Published in: May 4th 2015 (first published on June 1st 1991)
Published by: Knaur Taschenbuch

Plot
Located after the second world war, Claire Randall arrives with her husband Frank at Inverness in Scotland, for a late honeymoon. Both coming from the war, remembering it fresh, the time at the Highlands is much needed. While Frank is the most eager about history, especially in genealogy, Claire loves to wander around in town, exploring it and getting to know more about Herbalism. When Claire and Frank visit Craigh Na Dun, a stone circle at a hill close to Inverness and witness a ritual from old Scottish times, she feels that something has happened there. Later, Claire comes back for a herb at Craigh Na Dun and feels a power drawing her to one of the stones. When touching it, Claire feels that something has changed. She gets raided by a Redcoat, a man who just looks like her husband Frank and is saved by a Highlander, who takes her to his group where Claire realises that she has landed in 1743.

Opinion
First things first, I have watched the first season of Outlander before I read the book. The TV show is very close to the book, so if you watch or read Outlander there is a possibility to get spoilered. Just to leave you warned here.

Setting
Now, let’s start with the environment of Outlander. The book is set in Scotland in the middle of the 18th century, whereas the English invaded Scotland and the Scots hate the British. Especially if you are a wanted man and hated by the federal corporal of the English colony. This is the case for Jamie McTavish aka Fraser, who got punished for multiple reasons by Jonathan Randall, an anchestor of Frank Randall, Claire’s husband. Claire will get to know Jamie pretty soon after she gets rescued from Jonathan Randall. The historical background of this book seems very accurate when it comes to behavorism, Clans and believing in black magic and witches in this time set. Which is cool, at least for the reader since you feel like it is the real deal and nothing pulled along to fit the story.

Characters
It’s a very rough story when it comes to the characters. It gets very heavy both when it comes to hateful punishment or romance. Where in fact I was more okay with the violence than with the romance, since the romance seemed more like a rape-mance, which didn’t quite fit in the picture I have with Claire being an emancipated 20th century woman, but okay. It probably fit into the 18th century but still.

Also, after watching the TV show and reading the book, I still can’t stand Jamie, the main character next to Claire. At once, he really seems like a good and nice Highlander guy and suddenly throwing everything off by having to be the man in this marriage. And Claire pulling off an Anastasia Steele and simply going with it. He was so stubborn and he always said he had to protect Claire and BLABLABLA. He pretty much did an awful job at that by getting himself halfway killed while Claire probably would be able to carry herself blindfolded and with one hand. I’m not kidding. And then he had to punish her because she endangered herself. Why. Why. Why. Loving her but having to beat her up? That might be 18th century etiquette but Claire isn’t from that time and somehow went with it. All this isn’t getting in my head. 

The villain
I mean, how twisted is it from Diana Gabaldon to make a guy the evilest of all evil men to look like Claire’s loving husband Frank? That’s super messed up and probably not good for Claire’s mind. Frank, an English Redcoat with a loving hate for Jamie, is a man that doesn’t know that he his evil and this is the good kind of villain. Reading about him made my stomach turn because ew, that man. You will be prepared but you won’t be prepared. This man gets under your skin from the first phrase he says.

Last but not least, the story
Personally I think the book could be shorter since there were passages in it that dragged on forever. The writing isn’t bad at all, I actually loved it a lot. I just recognized at some point that it got too much. I loved the Scottish scenery, since I’ve been to Scotland myself (even Inverness) and I could imagine myself being there. Still, I don’t know if I want to continue reading the books or watching the TV show, since watching it is not as time consuming as reading it (it took me a month to finish the book).

Conclusion
I would recommand Outlander to everyone who loves a historical romance, packed with action, a little fantasy element and a dash of mystery. That’s why I give Outlander by Diana Gabaldon 4 out of 5 stars, simply because I enjoyed it even if there are characters I can’t stand at all and even if it dragged at some points. It’s been a beautiful read.


I’ll leave the trailer for the first season of Outlander with you 🙂

 

Anyone here who has read or watched Outlander yet and can tell me if it’s worth to continue the series?

xo Annina

Also visit me on Facebook, TwitterInstagram and Goodreads 🙂 !

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| Book Cover is from Goodreads |

 

 

 

 

 

REVIEW

Review: Strungballs by Mike Russell

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Hi guys,

I’m here with a review that you possibly could like if you loved reading The Giver! It’s called Strungballs by Mike Russell and it is my first book that I’m not reading for a challenge this year, wohoo. Let’s start.

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Book Information

Title: Strungballs
Author: Mike Russell
Genre: Fiction, Dystopia
Type: Kindle eBook

Published on: November 3rd 2016
Publisher: StrangeBooks

Plot
10-year old Sydney awakes in a 4x4x4m room on a 2x1x1m bed, awaiting for an event yet unknown to the reader. Suddenly a machine appears, cutting out a flesh cube out of his chest and puts in a Strungball into the now existing hole.

The reader learns that Sydney lives in a city, which is made of one corridor and 999 rooms, full of people who dedicated their lives to donating flesh cubes to their protecting city wall, a skin made of the population’s flesh. These people, Sydney’s father and mother included, act like smiling robots that do everything for the greater good.

But when two boys from Sydney’s school beat him up because he doesn’t have the newest Strungball anymore (since apparently a strungball gets renewed every five days or such), Sydney gets to know Albert, the doctor of the city.

Albert asks him weird and doubtful questions about the being of serving for the city and the greater good of Strungballs. With this doubt planted into Sydney’s mind, the young boy starts to look beyond his current life and notices that there is far more to archive than being a Strungball advertiser.

Cover
Personally I think the cover needs some more work because it leaves an impression of some cheap novella story, which is not the case with this one. A change of typography would help already. It is a rather funny, strange font in which the cover would fit the publisher, yet not so much the story. Yes, the story is strange on its own, but still. I would have preferred a more dystopian approach.

Opinion
If you approach this novella with the thought that it is from a publisher called StrangeBooks you will be better prepared for what is going to happen within the next pages. The whole world around Sydney is a very weird one with parents you would love to punch because they love to repeatetly say “good” in as many occasions as possible, considering every single action of their beings towards the greater good, the Skin outsider of their city, protecting them from the Others. More or less the Others are people that live without a cube cut out of their body and a Strungball stuck in it.

My main question has been for a while: How do they cut a cube-hole into you and putting a ball in it? I mean, that had to bleed a lot, right? Maybe the cube in my imagination was far too big to be logical, but it bothered me. Anyways, thank everyone in the Strungball universe for making us meet Sydney at a point in his life where he was already doubting this whole Strungball business. That made him a good guy. Also the story had enough time to introduce us to the world the boy was living it.

Yet I felt like the story was a bit weirdly paced. It felt like a good while (and needed time) to introduce the reader to Sydney and the world. Then the point came where Sydney realized all kind of things (I don’t want to spoil) and suddenly action happens speed-as-lightning fast. I had to repeatedly read same paragraphs to recognize and process in my brain what was actually going on (oh dear, it’s not a kids novel, aboard ship!). It gets abstract and confusing and I think I have to re-read it to actually get it. If there is a way to actually get it and the author just doesn’t want to mess with our brains.

These things said, Strungballs could have been a nice full novel with a better world building and explainations. Maybe there’s an after story to that ending? Maybe another twisted sidestory than Sydney’s? On the other side, it had characteristics of The Giver, but that’s easy to say with an novella.

Conclusion
I give Strungball by Mike Russell 4 out of 5 stars. It’s a rather 3.5 star but since it turned out better than expected, yet it has been a little bit too strange for me, I’ll leave it with 4 stars. I embraced the strangeness.

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I have given an honest review in exchange for this novella. Thank you StrangeBooks for that!

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I hope you enjoyed reading this review! Have you read something by Mike Russell yet? If not – are there any similar stories to this one you have read? I’d like to know 🙂

xo Annina

Also visit me on Facebook, TwitterInstagram and Goodreads 🙂 !

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| I got the cover from StrangeBooks |
REVIEW

Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

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Hi guys,
hopefully back from a weird reading slump and no reading strategy, here I am with a full book review.

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Book Information
Title: Everything, Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Type: eBook
Pages: 310

Published on: September 15th 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Plot
Maddie Whittier has never had normal teenage experiences or vacations, because she has never left the house for almost 17 years. That’s because she is very sick with SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency), a sickness that is triggered by various influences from the outside. It can be a type of soap, type of grass, type of anything. And if that chemical triggers the sickness, it’s going down for Maddie.
So naturally, she is not leaving the house when her mom made sure she had everything she needed inside. A air conditioner and encloser that circulates fresh air every four hours, tutors that teach her and entertainment, such as books and games. But when a new family moves in next to Maddie, with a teenage son Maddie starts to fancy, her world turns upside down.

Opinion
I think the plot started out nice, was average in the middle, got better towards the end and was average at the ending again. The thing that probably annoyed me the most is that she could almost do whatever she wanted without getting sick. How could a super sick person get not easily sick? It made no sense. Lesson learned, since there are times where you have to finish a book to actually understand actions. Ha, news, right? Still, Maddie was never read as a disabled person, which is on one hand great (I sound like a douche pointing this out) on the other hand she never really struggled with anything. That made me forget that this story was anything beside a teenage romance and made me lose interest in it.

Olly for example just seem to exist to be the love puppy to Maddie. Maddie was a bit better as a character since the reader actually got to read her inner thoughts and such, so more depth for that. Maddie loved to read and write, had an tutor in architecture…and that’s it, since her thoughts were rolling around Olly the rest of the time. She wasn’t caring that her mom cared for her loads, she  never cared that she might get sick from being with Olly, nothing. At least have some respect towards your sickness, okay? That’s far past the motto: “You might be disabled, but you can still live!”. With everything considered, she had a wonderful family and never experienced abuse (you will excuse me if you have read the ending).

Olly on the other hand was living with an abusive father that hit Olly’s mother who is too scared to say anything or even leave him (I would have a long time). He barely talked about it and instead was making sure Maddie was okay. Maddie on the other hand asked him if he was alright, never going further, never caring more. Them together, that’s all both of them were counting for (and me, rolling my eyes at them). And chatting to each other, wondering what Maddie and Olly were doing wasn’t making a super interesting book. Especially since I realized from the very beginning that they would end up being together because it was obvious.

If all the things mentioned above weren’t enough for a 3 out of 5 rating, the plot twist made sure of it I wasn’t considering a 2 out of 5 stars. It just felt off and a little bit pulled out of nowhere. I mean it made sense considering facts but I still think there could have been a better solution for it.

Conclusion
A simple read with an unusual take off and a slow plot. That’s why I give Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon 3 out of 5 stars.

xo Annina

Also visit me on Facebook, TwitterInstagram and Goodreads 🙂 !

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| Cover is from goodreads |
BOOK TALKS

Read in February 2017

Hi guys,

I have finally managed one book I have put off for so long – The Bone Clocks! It is a very pretty looking but, but the content was heavy for me. Let’s see more about that later!

Books I have managed to read this February:

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  1. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
  2. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (Full Review)
  3. Let it Snow by Maureen Johnson, John Green and Lauren Myracle
  4. Love, Rosie by Cecilia Ahern
  5. Dead Zone by Stephen King
  6. Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell

the bone clocks

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
3 out of 5 stars

The reason I only gave it three out of five stars is that the written english language has been more difficult for me and that there hasn’t been happening much. The story evolves around Holly Syke, starting at age 16 when she’s running away from home and her baby brother gets missing. Years are passing by and Holly slowly gets interwoven in strange events that explain what has happened to her little brother years ago. On the way, we get to meet two other characters that let us see their point of view and make the reader understand the world they are situated in. Large book with beautiful language, but not too much plot.


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Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
3 out of 5 stars

A nice breezy story about the possibilities that can be done when having to relive the same day over and over. Which is happening to Samantha Kingston, sixteen years old, on Valentine’s Day. Reviving each day, she has to find out what makes her stay within the same day and realizes that live might not just be evolving around her own.
I’ve given this book three out of five stars because I didn’t quite like the characters that were in the story. Samantha, although getting better as the story evolves, seems like this super obnoxious and popular girl who would love to squish everything beneath her feet, same with her three best friends. It just felt a very stereotypical story, wouldn’t there have been the mysterious red line through the story asking how Samantha could get out of her loop.


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Let It Snow by Maureen Johnson, John Green and Lauren Myracle
3 out of 5 stars

This book follows three short stories, each written by one of the mentioned authors. They all are situated around christmas time and the characters of the different stories are somewhat connected. The first one follows Jubilee, a girl who had to leave her home at christmas eve to get to her grandparents in Florida by train since her parents got in jail over fancy christmas decoration. The second one follows a group of three teenagers, who leave their movie night in the middle of a snowstorm to have a party at a waffle house. The third story follows a girl who has to find herself (and a teacup pig) after a very horrible mistake and a bad break-up.

It seems all random but really is just connected when you never guessed it at first. They are very cute characters and stories altogether, but seemed all a too shallow and the same for me. Yes they are short stories, but personally I think there could have been more depth. It’s best read around Christmas or snowy days.

 


love rosie

Love, Rosie by Cecilia Ahern
4 out of 5 stars

A story told in letters and chats, Love, Rosie tells a life story about Rosie, a girl who gets to grow up with her best friend Alex. Within these letters, chats and e-mails we get to see Rosie from child to teenager, to adult and realize that maybe she has feelings for her best friend when it seems all too late.
It’s been a really lovely read, same with the letter and chat elements. Telling a story by simply letting the characters tell it seemed like such a nice and different idea. Also the characters have been sympathetic and genuine and I felt simply at home while reading it.


dead zone

Dead Zone by Stephen King
5 out of 5 stars

Because I’m biased like this. No, for real, Dead Zone has been one of my favorite books by Stephen King so far! Yes I give all of them five stars, but I’d say Stephen King books are within a whole other rating level for me.
It’s about a young man called Johnny Smith who has premonitions about events, mostly when he touches other people. Then one evening, he’s in a car accident and has to lie in a coma for five years. He wakes up, but has a really hard time coming back to his old live. By then, the premonitions barely had been there, but now are stronger than ever before. And with these premonitions comes a great power (and great responsibility), since he touches a candidate at an election campaign and foresees that this man will start World War 3 if someone isn’t planing to stop him.


winters bone

Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell
3 out of 5 stars

A short book which has been hard for me to read, thanks to the excessive language and very southern slang (it sounded southern to me although it is not). Also I didn’t quite like the pace of this book, which almost made me gave it 2 out of 5 stars. Other reviews talked me out of it, pointing at the language of the book and its metaphors.
It’s about a girl called Ree, living in a shed with her mentally ill mother, two brothers and a sister. Her father, a crystal meth cooker and dealer, went missing and has to show for a court date in a week. Since the father, Jessup, has signed over the shed to Ree, who isn’t of age yet, Jessup has to show up in court or else the family will lose the house. With that in mind, Ree starts her search for her father that seems more and more hopeless the longer the search continues.


I’m glad to see that I read more book than I actually think I am, so this is a good thing for me considering the amount of books I loaded myself with this year. Let’s see what March will bring!

Popsugar Reading Challenge: 6/30
Popsugar Reading Challenge Advanced: 2/12
Personal Challenge: 3/13
Goodreads Challenge: 10/60

xo Annina

Also visit me on Facebook, TwitterInstagram and Goodreads 🙂 !

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| covers are from goodreads |