Finding the Courage to Read On…

Hi there! As followers of my posts know, I adore series reads. I love bonding with a character, or set of characters, and following their struggles through adversity.

I don’t think I’m alone in this. In fact, most avid readers I know stick with similar authors and auto-buy, auto-read whatever is next in a series.

But, sometimes, I’m conflicted. I’m afraid to pick up a latest book, unsure that I’ll love the sequel. Do this ever happen to you?

I’ve read the entire Outlander novel series–years ago, before they made it a TV series. Before I started blogging, in fact. And there were two books in the eight volume series that really upset me. That made me want to stop reading. DRAGONFLY IN AMBER and ECHO IN THE BONE. For the former, there was just so much tension and heartbreak, watching Jamie and Claire’s love strengthen and develop and get stomped on time and again. The only reason I came back was the end. The end held so much possibility! ECHO was different. ECHO ended so precipitously that I wanted to throw the book across the room when I got to the final pages.

That’s a danger for series authors–that readers will be so incensed that they will turn away. Another is ennui.

It takes time to write a sophisticated series, one with sufficient plot and character development that it can carry a story over several volumes. Gabaldon has many times stated it takes her “2-3 years to research and write” one of her tomes. For authors, there are so many unexpected challenges to writing such a work. When you only plan a single book, you write shorter arcs and you resolve them in a reasonable time frame. Unresolved plots leave readers unsettled, and frustrated. That was my experience with ECHO. I wanted a clear happy ending, and all the characters (except Ian) seemed to be in disarray. For me, this was unacceptable.

I did love the eighth novel in the series, WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD, and felt the end was sufficient to satisfy me–an avid and grateful fangirl. There’s a collection of novellas coming out in two weeks, SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR FALL, and a ninth novel is planned–GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE. I’m trepidatious, especially about the novel. What an ominous title!!

My fears don’t end at Gabaldon’s Outlander. I have had several sequels languishing on my iPad, waiting for me to turn the first page. SHELTER THE SEA by Heidi Cullinan, sequel to CARRY THE OCEAN, my fave book of 2015, has been burning me for two months now, every time I open my Kindle app. And, THICK & THIN by Charlie Cochet! It’s been calling to me since February… And…some sexy rock romances from Olivia Cunning, too! Not to mention the TWO menage romances by JA Huss that I can’t seem to open for fear I’ll love/hate them. My goodness.

I made a pact with myself to clear some of my backlogged books, which means I’m going to reader-up and crack these books! Hopefully, I’ll have some new faves to gush over soon.

Stay tuned..and feel free to tell me what series have you exhilarated/terrified to read on!

How Do I Love Diana Gabaldon? Let me count the ways….

Hi there! Today’s book, WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD, or WimoHB as I will dub it throughout, by the classy professor-turned-mega-rockstar-author Diana Gabaldon, is THE BOMB! Please indulge my moment of gushing fangirlishness. Have you read Outlander, the first book in the series? I dare say I might could quote sections for you. I have purchased that book four times. For myself. And the copies keep straying away, all to the good. #Karma….

Anywho, WimoHB is not for the faint of heart. It is also not for the uninitiated. It’s book 8 in the series. You gotta read the other seven for this to make sense.

imageAbout the book:
WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD is the eighth novel in the world-famous OUTLANDER series. In June of 1778, the world turns upside-down. The British army withdraws from Philadelphia, George Washington prepares to move from Valley Forge in pursuit, and Jamie Fraser comes back from the dead to discover that his best friend has married Jamie’s wife. The ninth Earl of Ellesmere discovers to his horror that he is in fact the illegitimate son of the newly-resurrected Jamie Fraser (a rebel _and_ a Scottish criminal!) and Jamie’s nephew Ian Murray discovers that his new-found cousin has an eye for Ian’s Quaker betrothed.

Meanwhile, Claire Fraser deals with an asthmatic duke, Benedict Arnold, and the fear that one of her husbands may have murdered the other. And in the 20th century, Jamie and Claire’s daughter Brianna is thinking that things are probably easier in the 18th century: her son has been kidnapped, her husband has disappeared into the past, and she’s facing a vicious criminal with nothing but a stapler in her hand. Fortunately, her daughter has a miniature cricket bat and her mother’s pragmatism.

The best of historical fiction with a Moebius twist, WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD weaves the fibers of a family’s life through the tapestry of historical drama.

My Review:
Okay, so I will preface this review with a few TRUE FACTS:
TF#1–I have read all Outlander novels (excepting THE SCOTTISH PRISONER) multiple times.
TF#2–I have a child with the middle name James, in homage to Jamie Fraser.
TF#3–I’m 98% sure reading Gabaldon books increases fertility.
TF#4–I threw my copy of ECHO IN THE BONE across the room the first time I finished reading it.
TF#5–I totally forgave Diana for making me throw EitB BECAUSE Written in my own Heart’s Blood is SO FREAKING AWESOME THAT I MAY HAVE TO STALK Ms. Gabaldon in order to get pieces of the next book ASAP.

Here’s the thing: Outlander is an epic undertaking. It will break your heart. It will move you to love, to anguish, to violence. Or, maybe that’s just me… 😉

In this latest installment, Jamie and Claire are reunited–this after Claire had thought Jamie lost in a shipwreck. Oh, and after she had married Lord John Grey–a notable friend of Jamie and a gay man (though his sexual preference is not generally known). Jamie was enraged, understandably, and gravely wounded Lord John in fisticuffs. Reconciliations are reached, but tension remains.

Jamie’s bastard son William has discovered his tainted lineage. He’s wrung out with anger, and embarrassment. How can he accept his role as a British earl, if his true father was a Scottish outlaw? Throughout the book he has multiple encounters with both Lord John–his adoptive father–and Jamie. William learns he must accept himself, as himself, and this seems to happen. Hooray! I so want to love William–and I really really do.

Roger and Briana and Jem and Mandy all come to good ends–following some extremely harrowing times in 1980 and 1737. Just loved how that storyline got fixed up. And, I’m starting to warm up to William Bucchleigh these days.

Ian Murray and Rachel Hunter make the most fun odd couple. How does a Scots-Mohawk convince a Quaker virgin he’s The One? I guess with a very big stick… Rachel’s fervent logic and patience is the perfect foil for Ian’s impetuousness.

I was so glad to see the movement of the family through the colonies in the midst of war. The battles weren’t epic, but the emotions were tense throughout. I especially loved Jamie’s resignation to General Washington. Poignant, for sure.

The resolution is exactly what I’d HOPED for–and I’ll say that, yes, there is TOO much coincidence in this book, but I DO NOT CARE BECAUSE I WANT MY HAPPY ENDING DAMMIT!


I am energized and expectant for the next book–without any of the dread I’d felt over “MOBY” as Gabaldon called this work-in-progress. I’m big enough to admit that I can be wounded by my reading. I love some characters too much some times. (This is why I can’t read GOT–too many casualties!)

Interested? You can find WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD everywhere. Quite literally. It was the NY Times best seller in it’s first week. So, if Walmart and Target have sold out and you can’t wait six weeks to get it through your local library, you can search Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. They’ll get it for you, toot-sweet.

imageAbout the author:
Diana Gabaldon is the author of the award-winning, #1 NYT-bestselling OUTLANDER novels, described by Salon magazine as “the smartest historical sci-fi adventure-romance story ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting “Scrooge McDuck” comics.”

The adventure began in 1991 with the classic OUTLANDER (“historical fiction with a Moebius twist”), has continued through seven more New York Times-bestselling novels— DRAGONFLY IN AMBER, VOYAGER, DRUMS OF AUTUMN, THE FIERY CROSS, A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES, AN ECHO IN THE BONE, and WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD, with more than twenty-six million copies in print worldwide.

You can find Diana on her website, Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!