Monday, May 20th, 2013. CD9. Yo. It’s been a hot minute, right? I just haven’t really had much to say lately, I guess. I’m still working through some things, where I am having trouble getting excited for this cycle. I have chunks of time where I feel a little indifferent, but I’m trying. That being
:: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon ::
I first picked this book up 11 or 12 years ago, at the insistence of my then-boyfriend’s mother. You see, I had low self-esteem, he was the king of Douche Bagastan, and she felt badly that I was sticking around and putting up with it.
She offered me this book, and a few of the others in the series to take my mind off of the persistent douchebaggery.
Boy, oh boy did it work!
I cannot even begin to explain to you the depth of love I have for the characters so artfully crafted in the pages of this book. Diana Gabaldon is colorful and descriptive in her writing, and paints an amazingly clear picture of life in a different time.
Seriously. You feel like you’re there, corset so tight it’s squeezing the Highland air right out of you.
The story starts out in 1945 where you meet Claire Randall, a nurse in WWII Britain. Claire is newly married, and just beginning to settle down into a post-wartime life with her husband, Frank, when they take a vacation to the Scottish countryside.
During said vacation, Claire stumbles into some old, strange, powerful magic in the form of Stonehenge-esque standing stones, and is transported back 200 years into the middle of the Jacobite Rising. In her confusion, she is taken into custody by a group of rebels, including one James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser: the hottest Scot to ever parade his kilted arse around the Highlands.
The first book in the series, Outlander, tells the story of the relationship forced upon Jamie and Claire, and what they do with it in order to survive. There are ups and downs, of course, both on the battlefield and between the sheets.
Don’t write this off as smut, though!
Diana Gabaldon has done her homework. Not only is her writing exceptionally crafted, but her historical facts are accurate and intricate. She plays with the details a bit, but just because the history books don’t include a Jamie Fraser doesn’t mean he wasn’t there… right?
This is an epic tale, and the first book is just that – the beginning. There are some portions of the story that move a little slowly due to the author’s excessive descriptions of historical battles, period politics, and clan relations in 18th century Scotland. If you can move through these sluggish bits, you’ll be rewarded with pages and pages of words that have been carefully woven into a beautiful and intricate tapestry of a love story.
I remember moving through the first book pretty quickly, and onto subsequent continuations as well throughout the years. There are currently seven books in the series, and the eighth is due out next year.
I. Cannot. Freaking. WAIT.
In anticipation, I am re-reading the entire series starting today.
And no, I’m not a frequent re-reader… Only with the books I love this much.
Diana Gabaldon is an inspiration. She is the kind of writer I would love to be one day. She is a true artist, and these books have taken on a life of their own in their readership.
If you want to step into an achingly beautiful world filled with historical battles, brave men, strong women, complex relationships, and a healthy portion of lust and love, then give Outlander a shot.
Ye wilna be sorry, lass.
:: Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James ::
I know. I can’t believe I got sucked into reading this series either.
I had just heard about it from so many people that I had to give it a shot… And knowing that there was a serious steam-factor helped too.
Hey, don’t judge! Robot Sex is real, and a serious danger to the Sexy Time portion of a marriage – especially when TTC!
Okay, so the book.
First, I should say this: I am a grammar and structure snob. I’ve said it before, but this book and its sequels really brought that to light. I was under the impression that all authors were professionals that retained the services of editors who wouldn’t dare let a manuscript out of their hands until it was grammatically perfect.
I was wrong about that.
Some authors start out their writing ideas online in a community with other aspiring writers, and go on to self-publish. Even if they go through a small publishing house, the use of editors can be limited. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this path to authordom, however one should really do one’s homework before releasing something like this onto the masses.
Now I know.
E.L. James started this book in a similar community. Actually, after having done a little research, it turns out that the author originally started this story as Twilight fan fiction, and then went on to change the names and story to a less vampire-and-werewolf-y tale. Once you get a handle on the characters though, you can really see the influence shine through.
The author is also British, and writes about wholly American places and characters. I’m pretty sure she learned everything she knows about Seattle from watching Grey’s Anatomy, too. You will see some strange word placement and conversation throughout, and you can attribute that to the fact that authors should write about what – and where – they know.
The first book starts out with a clumsy, socially awkward new college graduate named Anastasia Steele, who stumbles into the office of a slightly older, smoldering hot millionaire CEO, Christian Grey.
Basically, he is enthralled for reasons unknown, and stalks and intimidates Ana until she agrees to have dinner with him.
Ana is inexperienced in many ways… I’ll let you just go ahead and guess how.
Anyway, Christian pursues Ana and after a few meetings rife with sexual tension as thick as pea soup, he reveals to her that he wants a relationship.
Only, not the kind you think.
Grey wants Ana to be his submissive. And inexperienced, socially retarded Ana, goes back and forth with her Inner Goddess about the choice for chaaaaaaapters on end.
Don’t get me wrong, the story was hot, but hot damn! I wanted to strangle that girl on SO many occasions.
Just bang the hot millionaire, mmkay? Jeez! Like it’s that hard!
(…that’s what she said.)
So the book goes on to chronicle the growing relationship between Christian and Ana, and the struggles (heh) they have trying to deal with his control issues and her not-liking-to-be-controlled and yet kinda-liking-to-be-tied-up issues.
The subsequent follow-ups, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, continue to play out the story of their relationship, and the drama that follows Christian from his dark past. I will say that the second and third books have much more of a viable plot line than the first… and still lots of intense boom-boom.
Oh, and one more thing:
Ana cannot say vagina. At first it’s kind of funny. And then it’s all like, DUDE…. It’s just a vagina! Get ON with it!
And so, with all that being said, I enjoyed the story.
I also enjoyed the sex.
Both in the books, and in my real life due to the books.
Hot. Hot. Hot.
So hot, I tore through all three books in 10 days.
(The husband still maintains that these were the best 10 days of his life.)
I think better stories with more depth and heart have been written, however, and I will go onto review other books I’d recommend before these.
However, if you’re looking for some summer
erotica fluff to read, and something to gossip about at the office water cooler, then give these books a shot!
What’s the worst that could happen?
Oh. Well, yeah. You could have a tragic BDSM accident and a very awkward encounter with the fire department as you try to explain to them how you zip-tied yourself to the bed posts waiting for your man to get home, and then remembered you left the oven on.
So, please. Read and enjoy, but react with caution. 😉
Just trying something new around here… Since I’m still waiting to see my new RE, I have a bit of time on my hands.
Also, since I’m not peeing on every stick in sight, that helps free me up for reading, too.
I figured that because I love reading so much, and because so many of you may also need little distractions from this journey on occasion, I’d start posting some reviews of books I’m reading, have read in the past, and just plain love.
I’ll be honest. I’m a bit of a grammar snob. There are good stories out there that have been edited poorly, and I have trouble looking past that.
Hopefully by posting these Book Club entries, I will be able to turn you on to new authors and books, and in turn, get some great suggestions from you!
And so, here goes nothin’…
:: The Unidentified Redhead by Alice Clayton ::
I started this book on Wednesday evening, and had ripped through the entire thing in one night. Now, mind you, I did NOTHING else. I barely ate. I stayed up late. I did take one short break to ravage my husband after a particularly steamy chapter, and then I was back at it. 😉
Needless to say, I rather enjoyed this book.
The story is about a woman in her early thirties (I can relate…) who has made the monumental decision to move out to LA to build an acting career for herself after many years out of the spotlight. The character, Grace, is spunky and sarcastic, snarky and full of swears.
I’m serious. Like a sailor and a truck driver had a gorgeous ginger child.
Grace meets a young actor named Jack through her best friend, a Hollywood agent. The two start a very cute, very steamy romance early in the book, and face challenges together throughout the story.
Blah, blah, blah. You’ve read these stories before. Meet, fall in love, sexy-times, turmoil, make-up sexy-times, happy ending.
This is not that book.
Well, it is, and yet there’s so much more to it…
Alice Clayton describes her writing style as comedic erotica. She has a real knack for capturing the way her character thinks. And she puts it on paper without preamble or pretentious language. Grace is real, flaws and all, and you feel as though this is someone you could be friends with in real life.
The writing is smart and sassy, and the author’s liberal use of profanity and comedy make this a truly enjoyable read.
I have been recommending this book, and its sequel, The Redhead Revealed, to friends who are currently suffering from Fifty Shades of Grey hangovers. It’s not as intense, but the love story (and steam-factor) are definitely there.
Oh, but these books do fall behind the Shades of Grey series in one way: Grammatical structure. Thank the MLA heavens, but this author knows how to build a sentence and use correct grammar! Oh, and she also didn’t constantly refer to her character’s vagina as there.
Thank you, Alice. Truly.
If you’re looking for something light and breezy to read by the pool, let me recommend this series! As I said before, I breezed through the first book in one night, and finished the second yesterday. The third book in the series is due to come out next spring, and I cannot wait to be reunited with George and Gracie.
Oh, and if you’re TTC like me, and fed up with robot sex, this is a pretty good way to get back into the swing of things, ifyaknowwhatImean.
And I’m betting you do. 😉