Kim’s Review of Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4) by Diana Gabaldon

doadgFour books in and The Outlander Series has quickly become one of (if not my favorite) book series. Each book refuses to be boxed in to any specific genre, allowing Diana Gabaldon to continually exceed her reader’s expectations. In Drums of Autumn, the fourth in the series, we find Jamie and Claire beginning to settle in mid 1760s America, while their daughter Brianna and her historian friend Roger continue to unravel their feelings for each other in the late 1960s.

From Goodreads:

It began at an ancient Scottish stone circle. There, a doorway, open to a select few, leads into the past—or the grave. Dr. Claire Randall survived the extraordinary passage, not once but twice.

Her first trip swept her into the arms of Jamie Fraser, an eighteenth-century Scot whose love for her became a legend—a tale of tragic passion that ended with her return to the present to bear his child. Her second journey, two decades later, brought them together again in the American colonies. But Claire had left someone behind in the twentieth century—their daughter, Brianna….

Now Brianna has made a disturbing discovery that sends her to the circle of stones and a terrifying leap into the unknown. In search of her mother and the father she has never met, she is risking her own future to try to change history … and to save their lives. But as Brianna plunges into an uncharted wilderness, a heartbreaking encounter may strand her forever in the past … or root her in the place she should be, where her heart and soul belong….

With every Outlander book Jamie Fraser takes another piece of my heart and claims it as his. I never thought I’d ever utter those words for anyone other than Fitzwilliam Darcy, but Jamie is my favorite character that has ever been written. Every book gives us another sliver of the enigma that is Jamie Fraser. His strengths, his weaknesses. The depths of his love for Claire, for his family. He truly is the very best of men.

While the events of the book moved a little slow for me at first, the last 600 pages really flew by. Within each Outlander book I’ve found that there is a chapter that just suddenly clicks. Once that click happens the pages and story fly by faster than you realize. For the last 680 pages I didn’t even move from my chair. I became so enthralled by this story and the twists and turns Gabaldon was taking me on. The more thorough introductions to Roger and Brianna were welcome (and surprising) additions as well.

I’ve been told that the series jumps the shark a bit beyond Drums of Autumn, but I’m determined to continue. After all, who doesn’t want more Jamie Fraser?

4 out of 5 Stars

This is my twenty-fourth completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge

Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon
Random House Publishing (2004)
eBook: 928 pages
ISBN: 9780440335177

Kim’s Guest Review of The Pursuit of Mary Bennet by Pamela Mingle

tpombpmIf you’ve often thought that Mary Bennet from Pride and Prejudice has been neglected in the Austen fan fiction world, listen up. My latest review for Austenprose is on The Pursuit of Mary Bennet by Pamela Mingle and it’s all about Mary!

I can happily tell you that Mingle gives Mary a story well worthy of her character.

For a direct link to my review, click here!

This is my thirteenth completed review for the Pride and  Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge

This is my twenty-third completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge

Kim’s Guest Review of My Own Mr. Darcy by Karey White

momdkwMy latest guest post for Austenprose is on My Own Mr. Darcy by Karey White.  It’s a contemporary romance influenced by, you guessed it, Pride and Prejudice!

In My Own Mr. Darcy we’re treated to the conundrum of a romance where the heroine finds the man of her dreams and another man who seems to completely take her heart.  She must decide which man is truly the one for her, and whether her dream man is what’s truly best for her heart.

You can read my full review here!

This is my twelfth completed review for the Pride and  Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge

Emerald Green (Edelstein Trilogie #3) by Kerstin Gier

emkgSo I’ve been harping on all of you to start reading the beautifully covered Edelstein Trilogie for months now (seriously those covers are GORGEOUS.) I hope you listened to me, because here comes my spiel on book three, Emerald Green, just released in the US on October 30th!  (If you’re in need of recaps of Ruby Red, book one, and Sapphire Bluebook two, just click on the titles for direct links to my previous reviews.)

From Goodreads:

Gwen has a destiny to fulfill, but no one will tell her what it is.

She’s only recently learned that she is the Ruby, the final member of the time-traveling Circle of Twelve, and since then nothing has been going right. She suspects the founder of the Circle, Count Saint-German, is up to something nefarious, but nobody will believe her. And she’s just learned that her charming time-traveling partner, Gideon, has probably been using her all along.

This stunning conclusion picks up where Sapphire Blue left off, reaching new heights of intrigue and romance as Gwen finally uncovers the secrets of the time-traveling society and learns her fate

As expected, Emerald Green wowed me page after page with its never-ending twists and turns.  The action, adventure, intrigue, danger, and romance that hooked me when I first began Ruby Red was definitely still present here.  Gwen’s narrative voice was just as funny as ever, but we also get a glimpse of the hidden depths to her personality.  She’s intelligent and good at problem solving.  She can think on her feet, as evidenced in several conflicts present in Ruby Red, Sapphire Blue, and Emerald Green.  I also enjoyed getting to know Gideon better.  He’s always been present, but on the outskirts of the story a bit.  He steps into his own in Emerald Green and proves that he isn’t just a pawn being moved by the Elders.  He definitely becomes a character worthy of your affection in this conclusion.

The only things that disappointed me were the translations and the ending.  The trilogy was originally written in German, then translated to English.  Unfortunately, some of Emerald Green reads as if this translation is incomplete, which in turn took me out of the story at parts.  Besides that, the ending seemed a bit unfinished.  You spend three books investing yourself in these characters, their lives, their tragedies and triumphs, only to end with what I felt was a weak ending.  I don’t mean that the book ended in a way I was unhappy with, but the characters’ stories aren’t really wrapped up.  The main conflict is concluded, but there is no final conclusion to the lives of all the other characters we’ve met along the way.  Despite this, I do believe that this conclusion to the Edelstein trilogy was a fitting end to a great story.  If you’ve followed Gier’s works thus far, you won’t be disappointed in how action packed the conclusion is.  If you’re new to the series, I highly suggest that you start with Ruby Red.  It’s an adventure you won’t want to miss!

4 out of 5 Stars

This is my seventh completed review for the Color Coded Challenge

Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier
Henry Holt and Co (2013)
Hardcover: 464 pages
ISBN: 9780805092677

Kim’s Review of Glittering Promises (Grand Tour Series #3) by Lisa T. Bergren

gpltbSeveral months ago I had the pleasure of reading Glamorous Illusions and Grave Consequences, the first two books in Lisa T. Bergren’s Grand Tour series.  The drama immediately took a hold of me, sweeping me with it to Europe.  I was mesmerized by the fashions, the characters, and non-stop action.  For several months I anticipated the release of the conclusion of the trilogy and was pumped when Glittering Promises finally appeared on Netgalley.

From Goodreads:

America’s newest heiress must decide if her potential fortune is rationale enough to give up her freedom and all that God is leading her toward. And when her newly-discovered siblings are threatened with ruin, her quandary deepens. Then as Cora nears Rome, more journalists are track the news story of the decade—“Copper Cora,” the rags-to-riches girl—and want to know more about her family and the men vying for her attention. Meanwhile, a charming Italian countess decides that if Cora isn’t going to claim Will’s heart, she might just try…

Sadly, I was a bit disappointed with this final chapter of the Grand Tour series.  After the tumultuous first two books I was expecting a story that would be moved along by an action-filled plot, not one of repetitive relationship misunderstandings.  I don’t mean that I was expecting 47 kidnapping scenarios, or robberies, or anything of that sort.  I just meant that I was expecting the plot to be more about the conclusion of the tour, and a conclusion to the crimes of book one and two, rather than Cora’s decision over who she was going to love.  Having a few misunderstandings when it comes to the romantic side of the story is acceptable, but when it becomes the only device used to move the plot, it can get slightly stale.

On the other hand, I enjoyed the character development of Cora and her siblings.  Seeing them hone their strengths, accept their weaknesses, and become adults responsible for their own futures was a reward for sticking with all three books in the series.  Cora’s journey was unarguably the most well done of all.  The complete transformation from books one through three was incredibly well written and probably my favorite part of the whole series.  This book would have been a total win for me if the plot had more moving it, but I can’t say I’m not satisfied with the trilogy’s conclusion.  The final plot twist in this book really shocked and surprised me (Bergren sure knows how to keep you on your toes!)  If you’re looking for a clean historical fiction that focuses on finding one’s self, this series is a sure bet.

3 out of 5 Stars

This is my twenty-second completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge

Glittering Promises by Lisa T. Bergren
David C. Cook (2013)
eBook: 496 pages
ISBN: 9780781410854

Special thanks to David C. Cook publishing for my review copy via Netgalley!

Kim’s Guest Review of Steampunk Darcy by Monica Fairview

Steampunk Darcy Cover SMALL AVATARYou can find my latest guest review over on the Austenprose blog! It’s on Monica Fairview’s Steampunk Darcy, a steampunk novel inspired by Pride and Prejudice. If you’re wondering what steampunk is, let me tell you.  It’s a mixture of the Victorian Era, steam inventions of the industrial revolution, post-apocalyptic/dystopic worlds, and a modern sense of invention.  It’s an amazing genre to say the least.  Check back in on Wednesday, when Fairview will be on the blog discussing the genre.

For a direct link to my review, click here.  As an added bonus, Austenprose has six copies you can win!

This is my eleventh completed review for the Pride and  Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge

Kim’s Review of Born of Persuasion (Price of Privilege #1) by Jessica Dotta

bopjdPride and Prejudice, Persuasion, and Jane Eyre are my three favorite novels.  It’s no surprise then that a novel being marketed with Austen’s humor and the dark drama of a Brontë novel immediately made it on to my must-read list.  Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta is a unique combination of these two opposite traits, and definitely seemed like something I couldn’t pass up.

From Goodreads:

The year is 1838, and seventeen-year-old Julia Elliston’s position has never been more fragile. Orphaned and unmarried in a time when women are legal property of their fathers, husbands, and guardians, she finds herself at the mercy of an anonymous guardian who plans to establish her as a servant in far-off Scotland.

With two months to devise a better plan, Julia’s first choice to marry her childhood sweetheart is denied. But when a titled dowager offers to introduce Julia into society, a realm of possibilities opens. However, treachery and deception are as much a part of Victorian society as titles and decorum, and Julia quickly discovers her present is deeply entangled with her mother’s mysterious past. Before she knows what’s happening, Julia finds herself a pawn in a deadly game between two of the country’s most powerful men. With no laws to protect her, she must unravel the secrets on her own. But sometimes truth is elusive and knowledge is deadly.

I was at first very iffy about my feelings towards this book.  Born of Persuasion is the first in the Price of Privilege trilogy and is written with a serious amount of foreshadowing.  I think what made me feel so conflicted with all the foreshadowing is that much of it is foreshadows books two and three (it is a trilogy after all.)  While I enjoy dark drama (hello, I love Jane Eyre!) I sometimes became lost in what was going to be future story and what was the present story.  By the end of the novel, however, I had become so mesmerized by the characters that the foreshadowing issues fell away.  In fact, by the end I was eagerly anticipating the next two novels.  The final third of the book flew by must faster than the first two-thirds, and before I knew it I was ready for round two (book two, Mark of Distinction, has a possible publication date of early next summer.)

Dotta’s writing truly shines with all of the crazy plot twists and turns.  Just when you think you’ve figured out a plot line or a character, something shifts and you’re left trying to piece it all together again.  It’s evident that the gothic-ness of Brontë’s writing and social humors of Austen’s writing were inspirational for Dotta.  Born of Persuasion truly feels like a book that the two women could have worked on together.  Julia herself is a cross between Jane Eyre, Elizabeth Bennet, and Anne Elliot (to say the least).  So, if you’d love to see this pseudo-collaboration firsthand, pick up a copy.  Janeites and Bronte fans (as well as historical fiction fans) will love it!

4 out of 5 Stars

This is my twenty-first completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge

Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta
Tyndal House Publishers (2013)
Paperback: 435 pages
ISBN: 9781414375557

Special thanks to Silver Seas PR for my review copy!

Kim’s Review of Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson

bjdIf you were to ask me what my absolute favorite genre to read is I’d tell you historical fiction in a heartbeat.  I love being given the opportunity to read about a period of time I’ll never experience.  I also enjoy being given the opportunity to learn what the culture of the period was.  When I learned that Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson offered me these chances and more, I instantly sent in a request to review it.

From Goodreads:

Kate Worthington knows her heart and she knows she will never marry. Her plan is to travel to India instead—if only to find peace for her restless spirit and to escape the family she abhors. But Kate’s meddlesome mother has other plans. She makes a bargain with Kate: India, yes, but only after Kate has secured—and rejected—three marriage proposals.

Kate journeys to the stately manor of Blackmoore determined to fulfill her end of the bargain and enlists the help of her dearest childhood friend, Henry Delafield. But when it comes to matters of love, bargains are meaningless and plans are changeable. There on the wild lands of Blackmoore, Kate must face the truth that has kept her heart captive. Will the proposal she is determined to reject actually be the one thing that will set her heart free?

Set in Northern England in 1820, Blackmoore is a Regency romance that tells the story of a young woman struggling to learn how to follow her heart. It is Wuthering Heights meets Little Women with a delicious must-read twist.

I am completely and utterly in love with this book.  There is no simpler way to put it.  The characters, the setting, THE WRITING – it’s all exquisite.  Donaldson’s writing drew me in from page one.  I became completely mesmerized by Kate’s struggle as a woman in the early 1800′s.  Her struggle for freedom, independence, and love was written in an entirely realistic manner.  The anxiety and anger she feels over her lack of independence was clearly laid out before me.  As a reader, I felt the cage she was trapped in just as much as she did.  Kate’s struggle of trying to hide her true feelings for Henry nearly killed me.

Kate and Henry are just fascinating characters.  Henry is this beautiful old-fashioned gentleman with a (in my opinion) modern way of thinking.  He wants Kate to have her freedom and go to India, even at great cost to himself.  Their story is equal parts tragic and romantic.  Heart-warming and heart-breaking.  The journey Donaldson takes us on in Blackmoore is filled with twists and turns, humor, romance, intrigue, and above all, personality.

I highly recommend checking out Blackmoore, especially if you’re a fan of Austen, Bronte, or Gaskell.  I’m so impressed (and in love) with this book that I’m heading out this weekend to get myself a copy of Donaldson’s debut novel Edenbrooke.  

5 out of 5 Stars

This is my twentieth completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge

This is my sixth completed review for the Color Coded Challenge

Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson
Shadow Mountain Publishing (2013)
Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN: 9781609074609

Special thanks to Shadow Mountain Publishing for the review copy I received via Netgalley!

Kim’s Guest Review of Mr. Darcy’s Guide to Courtship by Fitzwilliam Darcy & Emily Brand

mdgtcfdMy latest review went live over on the Austenprose blog! This time I reviewed a HILARIOUS book entitled Mr. Darcy’s Guide to Courtship.  Guess who wrote it? None other than Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy himself!

Complete with guest sections from Caroline Bingley, Mr. Collins, and George Wickham – this was one book that had me laughing from cover to cover.

For a link to my complete review, click here.

This is my tenth completed review for the Pride and  Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge

Kim’s Guest Review of When They Fall in Love by Mary Lydon Simonsen

wtfilmlsMy latest review is up on the Austenprose blog today! It’s on Mary Lydon Simonsen’s newest novel When They Fall in Love.  The book gives Elizabeth and Darcy a second chance several years after Darcy’s disastrous first proposal!  The book primarily takes place in one of my favorite places…..Italy! (My review includes a few photos from my own trip to Florence!)

For a direct link to my review click here

This is my ninth completed review for the Pride and  Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge

This is my eighteenth completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge