Bookit Review: Christina & the Rebel Affair

 Title:  Christina and the Rebel Affair (Book 6 of the Scandalous Series)
Author: R. Linda
Publication:  October 16th 2018 217 pages
Edition:  Kindle (via Kindle Unlimited)
Genre:  Romance
Rating:  C
Bookit 2009 #3

Previously reviewed:  Bailey | Indie | Kenzie | Harper | Audrey

Oddly enough, this story actually does Audrey a better job then the book she starred in.  We see more of the after effects of her trauma, and how those around her help her deal with it.  The leading lady of this novel is Christina, however, who is a call back from Bailey’s novel.  In Bailey’s novel, Christina had been her best friend who betrayed her by sleeping with Bailey’s boyfriend Chace and then being completely horrible to her. 

This book brings her back as supposedly having grown up and become a better person.  She meets Bennett over spring Vacation and the two hit it off only to find out that Christina is Bennett’s teacher after taking over for Bailey when the later is going on Maternity leave.  The problem with this book, beyond being a little weird with the teacher/student thing is that it almost seems like the author can’t decide if Christina is supposed to be likable or not.  Bennett on the other hand seems almost too good.  He’s made out to be the perfect friend and perfect “boyfriend” material.  In the end I don’t really find myself interested in either of them, more interested in the already established characters, particularly Bailey and Ryder who were in the first book.  Audrey and Bennett’s relationship is basically in a weird status where they are best friends but also perhaps a bit codependent and perhaps not healthy for any of their other relationships.

The book also alludes to the return of the villain of the series Chace in a future book.   My guess is Jack might be the next leading character for the series, but we will see.  Nothing has popped up so far so it looks to be still in production.

My final grade is C.  I feel this book could have had a bit more depth to it, and it could have gone further then just the last couple chapters in showing how Christina had changed.  Also, there is references to things that aren’t really fleshed out that perhaps could have been to make Christina’s motivations more clear. 

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Bookit Review: Audrey & The Hero Upstairs

Title: Audrey and the Hero Upstairs (Scandalous Series #5)
Author: R. Linda
Publication Date: July 31st 2018 216 pages
Edition: Kindle (Via Kindle Unlimited)
Genre: Romance
Bookit 2009 #2

Rating: C+

(previously reviewed: Bailey | Indie | Kenzie | Harper )

This is one of the series I think I always imagine I liked better when I see a new book comes out and I end up reading it and realising it wasn’t as good. In this book, the focus changes to Audrey, the woman who in a previous book Nate & Brody saved from a devastating house fire that killed her family. Audrey has a lot of issues to deal with which is apparently is something that disappears once you have a boyfriend. I imagine that was not what the author intended to get across (given what I have read in the next book) but I feel like Audrey’s book should have dealt more with her helping herself by getting help for her issues rather then the awkward relationship with Brody.

I did not hate this book. It was a light read, and I didn’t find anything particularly bad to complain about other then it focusing more on the idea of the relationship solving things. But this a romance, so I’m going to excuse it for the moment. I do have to admit that given Audrey’s age and her trauma, some of the other character reactions seem a little unbelievable. Like her foster parents being okay with everything. But this novel is only 216 pages, so perhaps the length is part of the reason some of this wasn’t developed more.

But then again, the next book in the series is about A student/teacher relationship (he’s 18 at least). I think perhaps it is time to either end the series or focus on the couples already in the series.

Also maybe just retcon the fact that it takes place in California, because over the course of the series it was clear the author was not from California. Or the United States. This story has people handing an 18 year old a glass of wine like its no big deal (which I honestly agree with, but its against the law in the US). I’ve read a bit of the next book and it has someone offering a 18 year old free beer as an incentive to work at his establishment, which would probably cause him to lose his license to sell liquor. (I’m not entirely sure about CA’s laws but its likely). Had it not expressed in the first book that it was California It probably wouldn’t throw me so much when I read it. It’s not necessarily something that would stop me from reading but it stops the flow when I do read it.

So my end assessment is that it was okay – but not going on my greatest hits list.

Bookit Review: Drums of Autumn

 Title: Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4)
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Genre:  Romance/Sci-Fi Fantasy
Published:  December 30th 1996 (1088 pages)
Edition:  Kindle 
Rating:  C

(Previously reviewed:  Outlander | Dragonfly in Amber | Voyager)

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October Arrives!

October is a pretty busy month for me, but I’m hoping to get back on the schedule I had for myself for this blog with three weekly posts on Monday/Wednesday/Friday.  Since I wasn’t sure what to write about first to kick off the month, I decided to doa  general post about what is coming up.

This month is going to have a couple Halloween/Dia de Muertos themed posts, as well as the normal book reviews, movie reviews, and hopefully at least 2 new Women of History posts. It is also Nano Prep Month, so it might be shorter posts as I focus on doing the prep work for Nano (for those who aren’t familar, visit the Nano Website).  That will be the focus next month, so I’m also going to try and get ahead on posts so that I have them pre-scheduled rather then writing them as I go since I’ll be working (for once) on an original novel next month.

As for the Bookit-reviews, I’ve made the decision to reduce my goal to 30 books.  I think the original goal of 52 is not achievable at this point.  Hopefully I can achieve the new goal.  I’m also starting to write down a list of books I’ve bought and haven’t read yet to start 2019 off (and finish off this year a bit too).  If you have any recommendations for books I should read, please let me know.

Hope you are all having a lovely Fall so far.

Bookit Review: #22 Voyager

Title:  Voyager (Outlander #3)
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Publication Date: October 2004 (Originally 1993
Genre:  Historical Romance/Science Fiction/Time Travel
My Final Grade:A

So far, Voyager is my favorite of the Outlander books.  This is for several reasons.  One, it has multiple point of views, even though Claire’s POV is still told in first person while everyone else is told in third person which can be a bit awkward at times.  It gives us a better sense of how Jamie views things, as well as Roger and Brianna who play major roles in this story, and even more so in the next book, Drums of Autumn.  It also varies away from some of the troublesome aspects of the first two books, although not completely.

Voyager begins in the 1960s with Brianna, Roger and Claire searching for the truth about Jamie.  They found out he survived Culloden, and follow the trail down to finding him as a printer under an alias.  As they search, we get to see the story from Jamie’s point of view of the missing years.   We also wrap up a few lingering questions from the first book, and get a few flashbacks to Claire’s life with Frank and Brianna over the last 20 years.

Brianna eventually convinces her mother to go back, and the bulk of the book is Claire’s adventures in the mid 1760s, including traveling from Edinburgh, to Lallybroch to eventually Jamaica and the American Colonies.  This book also explores several different types of relationships.  It brings back Lord John Grey, who was featured as a teenager in Dragonfly but now is a Major in the British Army. He is in love with Jamie (as it appears most of the characters are – another criticism I have of this series), but unlike the previous two homosexual characters isn’t portrayed as a horrible person.

I was slightly uncomfortable with the portrayal of Yi Tien Cho, in a related notion.  I couldn’t tell if it was the character himself or the fact that it was a portrayal of the first major minority character for the series (outside of Joe Abernathy who is barely seen).  However, from what I have found out, he is loosely based on a real person and perhaps some of that comes from that.  Still, I wasn’t sure if the portrayal was fair or not.

The relationships in this book that are explored are the several different types of family.  It explores the idea of adoption/step-parenting (Jamie & Claire with Fergus, Frank with Brianna,  Jamie with the McKimmie girls. Roger Wakefield & his great-Uncle, John Grey & Willie), Multigenerational (Jenny, Ian and the Murrys), separation (Jamie & Brianna as well as Jamie & Willie) amongst some.  It also takes into consideration the aftereffects on Claire’s relationships outside Jamie – like with Jenny and Geillis.

While this book is still full of misadventures, and Jamie & Claire are rarely in a moment of calm, it does seem to be happier (outside of Ian) and some issues are addressed instead of either of the main characters pushing it aside like has happened in previous books.  It also has a decrease in the amount of sexual violence that seemed to be prevalent in the previous two books.  There is one scene towards the end with Yi Tien Cho that was concerning in regards to sexual violence but in comparison to the other novels this book is quite an improvement.

My final grade is A.

Bookit Review #21: Dragonfly in Amber

Title: Dragonfly in Amber
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Published: October 2004 (current edition) (original Print in 1992)
Genre: Romance/Sci-fi & Fantasy/Historical
My grade: B

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Bookit #20: Outlander

Title: Outlander (Part 1 of the Outlander Series)
Author:  Diana Gabaldon
Publication:  2004 (ebook) 1991 (original Publication)
Medium:  Kindle eBook
Grade: A

NOTE:  Some minor spoilers for the TV show and a trigger warning for rape.
Many months ago a good friend of mine told me I should read Outlander. It did in fact seem right up my ally as far as books I like to read (History, science fiction, mystery and romance), but I kept pushing it off.  But I finally watched the first season of Outlander last month and decided to read the book.

Usually I read the book first, then watch the TV show/Movie based on it.  However, this time I did not.  It did allow me to appreciate some of the narrative changes the TV writers made.  The show is relatively close to the events of the book up till the last few episodes, although they expand on things in some places and leave out others.

I am not a big fan of first person, as Outlander is (from Claire’s POV).  There are some exceptions though (such as the Hunger Games) and Outlander has ended up being one of them despite the fact that I wish some of it was in Jamie’s pov.  The story is about Claire Beachamp-Randall, a combat nurse from WWII.  She’s visiting Scotland with her husband in an effort to reconnect after the war when she is accidentally whisked from her time (1945) to another (1743).  She finds it difficult to adjust to live 202 years before what she knew, and it causes a few adventures.

Writing wise, it’s not the best novel I ever read, but it kept me interested.  As I said, some of the narrative changes in the early episodes of the show made sense to fill in some of the gaps in the book.  It smoothed things out as it were,  However, later changes made less sense.

I’m also not sure how historically accurate this book is, but it kept me interested enough that I didn’t really need to know – though I did look some of the outside characters like the Duke of Sandringham (Not a real guy) and Lord Lovat, Jamie’s Grandfather (actually a real guy).  A lot of the characters are interesting, even if they are fairly minor.   Black Jack Randall is creepy in all his scenes (which makes me feel sorry for his great-great so forth grandson Frank), and Dougal I can’t get a hold on whether he is someone I shouldn’t mind or someone I should place in the enemy column (Both in the TV show and the book.  More so the TV series).

I know that the next book takes place in France but I will miss the lovely characters of Castle Leoch and the Scottish Highlands.

My only real issue with the book is that rape is used a bit too often as a cause for drama.  Some of it makes sense with the characters used (mainly Black Jack Randall) but other times it just seems repative and even more uncomfortable it is by default.

I am glad my friend convinced me to read this, and I’m looking forward to reviewing Dragonfly in Amber (book 2) soon.  I feel this is also a book that once I finish the series I’ll be back to re-read and connect some of the dots I missed the first time around.

As a final note, the book is not nearly as R rated as the TV-show (since it is on STARZ) ended up being.  There is a lot more fade to black.  Still, it is an adult romance novel, so I would probably not let your younger kids read it yet.