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Archive for August, 2010

postheadericon TLC Tours – Diana Gabaldon’s An Echo in the Bone Giveaway and Review

Red Barn Blue Skies welcomes TLC Tours and Diana Gabaldon for An Echo in the Bone Giveaway and Review.
Diana Gabaldon An Echo in the Bone Giveaway at Red Barn Blue Skies
Welcome to those of you new to Red Barn Blue Skies and welcome back to old friends. I hope you all enjoy my review of this wonderful book and be sure to enter the giveaway that Ms. Gabaldon and her publisher have generously offered one lucky reader.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon at Red Barn Blue Skies
I am extremely honored to have been chosen to participate in this book tour celebrating the paperback reprint of Diana Gabaldon’s latest addition to the Outlander series, An Echo in the Bone.  I have been a fan of hers since she first starting putting excerpts on the Lit Forum of Compuserve way back in the very early nineties.  I fell in love with her “Red Jamie” then and still have a mad passion for him and his love story with wife Claire.  My husband and I even used a variation of their wedding vows in ours!
An Echo in the Bone:  Jamie Fraser is an eighteenth-century Highlander, an ex-Jacobite traitor, and a reluctant rebel in the American Revolution.  His wife, Claire Randall Fraser, is a surgeon – from the twentieth century.  What she knows of the future compels him to fight.  What she doesn’t know may kill them both.
With one foot in America and one foot in Scotland, Jamie and Claire’s adventure spans the Revolution, from sea battles to printshops, as their paths cross with historical figures from Benjamin Franklin to Benedict Arnold.
Meanwhile, in the relative safety of the twentieth century, their daughter, Brianna, and her husband experience the unfolding drama of the Revolutionary War through Claire’s letters.  But the letters can’ warn them of the threat that’s rising out of the past to overshadow their family.
Diana Gabaldon’s sweeping Outlander saga reaches new heights in An Echo in the Bone.

My Thoughts:

*I am trying to do a thorough review without accidentally dropping any spoilers for those readers new to the Outlander series.  I apologize if I do give something away, it’s not intentional as I want newcomers to meet Jamie and Claire fresh, as I did those many years ago.
An Echo in the Bone is the 7th book in the extremely popular Outlander series.  The saga chronicles the life and adventures of Claire Randall Fraser and Jamie Fraser.  When we were initially introduced to Jamie and Claire in the first book, Outlander, they were both in their early twenties.  In this latest book, some thirty years later, they are starting to acknowledge their age and that time is creeping up on them.  Jamie is still quite the hero and Claire is still getting into scrapes that he must rescue her from, it just takes them a bit longer to get over the aftermath of their escapades.
I really enjoyed An Echo in the Bone.  Ms. Gabaldon has remained true to form with superior character development and fabulous settings.  By the end of the book (each of the books, actually), the reader feels that they really know these people personally and that this is more of a diary than a fictional novel.  Her characters come to life and make you feel what they’re feeling.  You worry for them just as you would your own family member and cheer their victories.

 Historical Accuracy

The historical facts are painstakingly researched for accuracy while still allowing the author room to interweave the fictional Jamie and Claire into the timeline.  First, we accompanied them during the Jacobite uprising and the ’45 and we’re now traipsing through the American Revolution along with them.  We need to stay sharp as there are chance meetings with Dr. Franklin (yes, Benjamin Franklin) and other notable figures in the history of America’s bid for independence.
One of the author’s methods of delivering vital information in this book was through letters from Claire in the late 1700s to her & Jamie’s daughter Brianna, in the 1980s.  I won’t get into how they are in different eras as it will give too much away.  The way the letters both give the reader needed details as well as pave the way for current events, is extremely effective and useful.  The sentimental and homesick feelings it stirs up in both Brianna and her husband, Roger carries over to the reader as well.
I’m not going to go any further with my details of the book.  This is one of my favorite books of the year and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves romance, history, fiction and any combination of the three.  There are some sexual situations in the novel, but they are tastefully done.   Being that this is set during a war, violence also comes into play at times.  I have to admit that I pretty much didn’t do anything but read this amazing book over a weekend.  I’m fortunate that my husband is also a big fan of this series, so he took care of the household so I could immerse myself in Claire and Jamie’s world.

Any one of these outstanding books can be read as a highly entertaining, stand-alone novel, but I suggest you start with Outlander and read them in order. Each successive book leaves you with a deeper knowledge of Claire and Jamie’s history and story.

Diana Gabaldon at the Red Barn Blue Skies

If you would like to read more about the author, check out Diana’s website or find her on Facebook.  She has a graphic novel coming out this fall that is the retelling of Outlander, from Jamie’s point of view.  I can’t wait!
There is also more coming out about Lord John Grey, a then minor character we first met in the second book, Dragonfly in Amber.  His own storyline has developed into a secondary, stand-alone series that is equally excellent.


Thank you to Lisa at TLC Book Tours for including me on this great tour.

An Echo in the Bone Giveaway

Diana Gabaldon An Echo in the Bone Giveaway at Red Barn Blue SkiesNow, I’d like to thank Diana Gabaldon and her publisher for providing a copy of An Echo in the Bone for one of you lucky, lucky readers.  The contest closes at midnight, PST on Wednesday, September 1st.  I will draw one winner who will have 48 hours to respond.  Another winner will be drawn if I don’t hear from them.
The drawing is open to followers of this blog who are residents of the United States and Canada only.  No PO boxes please.  Just comment on this post and tell us if you’ve read or heard of Diana Gabaldon and Outlander before and what you think.  That’s it!  Good luck 🙂

~ If you don’t want to wait to get started, you can click on the cover of any of the books above to be taken to the corresponding page on

Disclaimer:  I received this book from TLC Tours for purposes of a review.  I received no monetary compensation and all words/thoughts/opinions are 100% my own.  I am an affiliate and may receive a small percentage from any sales made through my affiliate links.

postheadericon I Married the Chicken Whisperer

Sorry I’ve been off the grid for a bit.  I’ve been reading and reviewing up a storm over at One Book Shy as well as doing a lot of varied stuff around here.  Some of that includes watching the hubby’s baby chooks grow up FAST!  (Notice they are now HIS – it’s a love affair.)  The girls are doubling and tripling in size every week it seems.  Except for Midge, I think she is either a Banty/Bantam or just a runt.  Either way she is a tiny terror.  She beats up and bullies the bigger girls.  They all seem to tolerate the little tyrant.  She also has a thing for pecking at my toenails….

Midge (r) next to the “normal” sized girls
Now that the chickens have full use and access to the entire chicken run, it was getting a bit interesting trying to get them all into the coop at night.  It was a 2 person job until the middle of last week.  Something finally clicked and they all figured out that nighttime = bedtime!  We ~ usually HE ~ just have to go out now and close the little trap door & they’re all snug in the coop until morning.  Yay!
These are some of the photos Mr. MoonCat, aka “The Chicken Whisperer” took for us yesterday evening.  Can you believe how much they’ve grown in a week? BTW, the hubby has HUGE hands so for reference, it takes me two hands to hold the hens that are posing for his photos..
Messy eaters
Henrietta Hen
Stella the “Chicken Whisperer’s” favorite girl
Do I sound jealous?
ALWAYS eating..
Nap time


postheadericon CSN Stores Giveaway Winner

Thank you all for participating in the giveaway from the great folks at CSN Stores.  You know I’m a major fan of theirs! I’m also hoping that you will all stick around as we have a lot more coming up here at MoonCat Farms in the near future. So on to the drawing….

Our lucky winner is:

I want the Alpen Outdoor 20X50 mini spotting scope
Congratulations Stephanie!  I’m sure this scope will come in handy in your outdoor adventures.
And no, I’ve never had a rattlesnake poop on me 🙂


postheadericon Friday the 13th Woes and A Recipe

Friday the 13th has not usually been a day of bad happenings for me.  Or if it was, I  just didn’t put my troubles and the date together..

This one was completely different.  I was in the middle of my shower, head full of shampoo..when the water quit.  As in, there was no more.  AT ALL!  I was so ticked.  I was already running late to get Dad to a doctor’s appointment but I managed to get most of the suds out of my hair, not all.  The Scottish-Irish temper overflowed in a hurry that morning..To make an extremely long story short, we had no water ALL DAY as the pump company had to come out to drop the pump another 100 feet.  Lovely!

Since I had been dealing all week with the fact that the well WENT DRY at the ranch last week, I was not in the mood to mess with it here as well.  Mr MoonCat dealt with them quite nicely so we did have water by Friday night.

~~They’re starting to drill a new well at the ranch tomorrow to the tune of about $10,000 that we don’t have laying around BTW!  Thank goodness for wonderful neighbors and friends.  My dad’s closest neighbor Adolph had his well go out about 6 years ago.  Dad had him hook up to our well until they could get his new well drilled (took them 2 months due to the rainy season).  So when Adolph found out what happened, he immediately grabbed Dad and told him he WOULD be hooking up to his well until it was taken care of.  We are so grateful to him.  If he hadn’t have stepped up, we have been hauling water in several times a day for all of the horses and cattle, etc.  Good neighbors are more precious than gold!

The absolute worst part of Friday was that when hubby went out that afternoon to help the pump guys, he found one of our little Barred Rock babies dead.  She was laying outside of the chicken run area near the garden.  We never have figured out how she got out as the entire area is fenced and covered.  Personally, I think she may have squeezed through the ONE section that has chain link with no chicken wire and couldn’t find her way back in.  We are remedying that now, but I was so sad and upset.  I have grown way too attached to the little feathered fiends.

About the only good thing we DID have on Friday was this for dinner:

Can we all say YUMMMM?
This was so easy and quick. Did I also say DELICIOUS??? I pigged out. The tomatoes, basil, and chives are from my garden. It took me about 5 minutes to prepare (the cheese was already sliced). I don’t recall what it is called as I had it scribbled down on an old receipt. But here goes:


  • 1 lb fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 4 large ripe tomatoes
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped chives
  • Sea salt to taste
  • White pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup virgin olive oil
Slice the mozzarella and tomatoes into 1/4″ slices. Alternate the cheese, tomato, and basil in a circular pattern around the side of a serving platter (or a quiche dish works very well!). Sprinkle the chives, salt and pepper over the top. Just before you are ready to serve, drizzle the olive oil over the top of the dish. Serves 8.
While not required, I served this with fresh French bread – still warm. It was outstanding. Try it!
Don’t forget the CSN Stores $50 GC drawing ends today!



postheadericon Shutterfly Winners!

Sorry for the delay in getting our winners posted.  Without further ado, your winners:


Congratulations:   #4 – Cindy and #2 – Sandra
I will be sending you emails shortly!
Don’t forget to enter the CSN Giveaway – it ends in 5 days 🙂