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Posts Tagged ‘book review’

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 One Book Shy

…..of a Full Library

That’s the name of my new blog, One Book Shy of a Full Library. I decided to start doing the majority of my book reviews on a separate site in order to try to keep with the theme of pets, gardening, and “just life” here at MoonCat Farms Meanderings.

I love to read and have been having a blast doing book reviews. I was one of “those” kids when I was in school who loved doing book reports. If I enjoyed a book, I told EVERYONE about it! So now I’ve found a niche where people actually WANT to hear my “book reports”. The best part is that I will also be doing a lot of book giveaways there too! Please come look around and tell me what you think!

In case you’re wondering, I am still planning on doing selected book and other product reviews and giveaways here too, but I am only doing books on One Book Shy. I am really hoping that you will all check out the new blog and follow along with me as I read my way into someday having a Full Library of my own! Happy Reading…

postheadericon Winner – Anjan Book Giveaway

Congratulations to Nydia!  You’re the winner of this lovely book, Anjan by Larus Einarsson.  I’ll email you shortly for your mailing address.  Thank you for all for your comments and great summer reading suggestions – I’ve added them all to my list!

Don’t forget to enter the drawing for The Love Ceiling which ends 6/30.  We’ll also have the contest to name the colt Wedgie coming up for my 200th blog post – stay tuned my friends 🙂  Congrats again Nydia.

For those of you who didn’t win this time, Anjan is available HERE from Amazon.

postheadericon TLC Book Tours: The Love Ceiling Book Review and GIVEAWAY

I’d like to welcome all of you who are stopping by MoonCat Farms for the first time via the TLC Book Tour.  I hope you’ll enjoy this review and will stay and get to know us a bit.  Thank you as usual of course to our regular visitors and friends!
I was thrilled to be included as one of the tour hosts for the lovely author, Jean Davies Okimoto and her book: The Love Ceiling.
From the publisher:
After the death of her Japanese American mother, sixty-four year old Anne Kuroda Duppstaad finds the courage to confront the toxic legacy of her father, a famous artist and cruel narcissist, and begins pursuing her life-long dream to become an artist in her own right.
The Love Ceiling draws readers into the soul of a universal theme for women:  the pull between family and creative self-expression.  It is the story of a woman, a daughter, a wife, a mother and a grandmother, and a journey into creativity.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with the publicists touting the book as a “coming of age novel for readers over 50…60…70…80…90…!”  I’m in my early 40s and I could see bits of myself in both the main character (64 yr old Annie) and her daughter Cass who is 32.  I would definitely change that blurb to include the 30 and 40 somethings as this book really does cover issues facing women in each of those decades as well as the older generations.  I’ve read several other glowing reviews of the book with many of the women even younger than I feeling the same way – “It’s For Us Too!”
One of my favorite spots in the book is something that I took to heart:
Ninety year old Martha Jane is setting up her easel and clips a small card to the top.  The card is hand lettered, in spidery script:
“Use the talent you possess,
For the forest would be silent
If no birds sang but the best.”
She notices Annie watching and explains, “It’s like a Bible verse for me.  I want to remind myself of this each day before I begin, otherwise, one can lose faith – even at my age.  I certainly won’t be Grandma Moses, but I can’t let that stop me, now can I?”
The author flawlessly weaves such tender and important moments into the story.   She introduces us to some lovely characters who we were left wanting more of (such as Martha Jane and their artist-turned mentor Fred).  But she also balances this out with the true-to-life, not-so-nice people who populate all of our lives.
The relationship between Annie and her dying mother as well as the relationship with her abusive father really highlight the influences parents can have on their children’s adult life.  This plays out as well when we start seeing things from daughter Cass’s perspective and the relationship she has with her own parents, Annie and Jack.  It’s interesting and dismaying when both Jack and Cass dismiss Annie’s part-time job as something small and frivolous.
The initial idea of the book comes from the author’s personal experience with an older aunt who was an accomplished painter.  When Ms. Okimoto visited her, expecting to see a bright, lovely studio – she was dismayed to find that her aunt was painting in a dimly-lit basement.  The title comes from the main character’s weary reply to a question from her husband:
‘”There’s a glass ceiling for women, Jack,” I stared at my painting in the dim light next to the washer and dryer. “And it’s made out of the people we love.””

I think so many women will end up doing as I did and reading this book in one day.  I became so enamoured of Annie and her story that I only surfaced for drink and restroom breaks and went back to catch up with her immediately.  If I were to have to find something negative or possibly less-than-glowing, it would be that I was left wanting more.  Of course this would actually seem a positive to me as it shows that the author has woven a fine story that you want to continue being a part of.

There is a reader’s guide at the end of the book that I think would be great for book clubs.  A lot of different discussions could be sparked by various points in this book.  The author has been involved in chats with book clubs across the country and can be contacted via her website.

Read more about the author Jean Davies Okimoto and be sure to check out the other great reviews The Love Ceiling has been receiving on the Jean Davies Okimoto’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Tuesday, June 1st: Book Club Classics
Wednesday, June 2nd: Patricia’s Wisdom
Thursday, June 3rd: Dolce Bellezza
Monday, June 7th: Lit and Life
Wednesday, June 9th: Rundpinne
Monday, June 14th: Joyfully Retired
Thursday, June 17th: Luxury Reading
Monday, June 21st: Erasing the Bored
Wednesday, June 23rd: MoonCat Farms Meanderings
Thursday, June 24th: carpe libris reviews
Monday, June 28th: Feminist Review
Wednesday, June 30th: Crazy For Books

Jean Davies Okimoto has graciously offered a copy of The Love Ceiling to one lucky MoonCat Farms reader.  I will announce the winner on June 30th.  Please leave a comment letting us all know what the last book is that you read.  PLEASE BE SURE TO LEAVE A WAY FOR ME TO CONTACT YOU.  You can gain extra entries by blogging about, tweeting, and/or posting about this review and drawing on Facebook.  Just be sure to let me know what you’ve done to get the extra entries!  If you don’t want to wait for the drawing, The Love Ceiling can be purchased on-line.  It would make a thoughtful gift for the women in your life.

Thank you so much to Endicott & Hugh Books, Jean Davies Okimoto, Lisa and Jennifer for this great opportunity and lovely book.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. The opinions expressed here are 100% my own. I was under no obligation to offer a positive review and received no monetary compensation. The author has provided a copy of the book for the giveaway.

postheadericon Anjan – A Book Review and Giveaway



Larus Einarsson
I recently received this delightful book from the publisher for my review.  I enjoy fantasy and epic type stories so she felt that this would be a match for me.  She was right.
From the start you’re drawn into another world (several actually, since the worlds of humans, elves, and that which is hidden is separated by a thin veil.)  The story starts with Kata, a young white witch who is destined for great things.  We follow her from the world of elves into the human realm where she meets up with the man who will aid her in the care and upbringing of a child named Anjan.  Anjan is foretold to be an integral part of a prophecy that will affect all of the worlds.
I don’t want to give too much away, because this is a lovely story full of warmth and adventure.  I think it will be a treat for readers of all ages who enjoy a world tinged with magic and classic good vs. evil.  (I especially enjoyed the fact that Kata works heavily with herbs – a woman after my own heart!)  This book is an easy read and at 216 pages, not too much of a heavy time investment.  I was happy to see that the author is planning on continuing with Anjan’s saga in later volumes.  More information about the author and an actual excerpt from the book can be found at
I am offering my gently read copy of Anjan up for one lucky MoonCat Farms reader.  To enter the drawing, just tell me the name of another book you think I might enjoy reading this summer.  I’ll draw a winner on Friday, June 25th.  Good luck and good reading.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. The opinions expressed here are 100% my own. I was under no obligation to offer a positive review and received no monetary compensation. The giveaway prize being offered is the review copy I received.