Captain Tuttle’s #CBR5 Review #8 – Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

Ah, the second book in the Outlander series. Still lots of peril, sex, peril, history, travel, sex, and peril. And some battles. But mostly sex and peril.

I don’t think I’m spoiling anything here: the book opens with Claire in Scotland, which is where we left her. Except it’s the 1960s, and she’s with her adult daughter. So right away we know that at some point she went back. Claire is back, trying to find her witchy friend, and also trying to find out what happened to all her Highland friends. Her daughter doesn’t know what happened to Claire, and doesn’t take it well when she finds out. So Claire tells her (and their new friend, the adopted son of the local priest from the first book) what happened after Claire decided to stay in the past with Jamie.

The story takes us to France, Paris, Versailles, and back to the Highlands. Claire and Jamie get involved with Bonnie Prince Charlie, King Louis, and various other historical figures. They try to avert the war with England, but (as the Doctor says), some points in history are fixed, and I guess that was one of them.

I’m going to take a break from this series for a while. The books are so bloody long – not to say they’re not fun to read, but they just seem endless at times. I definitely enjoy the historical aspects, there’s a lot that I never learned in school, which makes me want to do research. I love research.

pyrajane’s review #2: Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

KindredThe plot should have led to an amazing book.  It’s 1976, it’s Dana’s 26th birthday, and things are looking good.  She’s married to a white man named Kevin, they’re in their new home, they’re both ready to write more books, and things are really quite great.

Then she gets dizzy and wakes up near a river where she sees a white boy drowning.  She leaps into the water to save him and is incredibly confused when a she turns and finds a gun pointed in her face with an angry white man yelling at her.  Turns out she’s traveling to the past to the time of her slave ancestors.

And it was such a letdown.  I wanted this book to be awesome, and it wasn’t and I’m sad.

Read more about how this should have been an awesome book over at my blog.

Rochelle’s #CBR5 Review #5: Tanglewreck by Jeanette Winterson

Silver is 11, an orphan, and lives with her mean Aunt, Mrs. Rockabye in Silver’s sprawling ancestral mansion, Tanglewreck.  Something has gone horribly wrong with Time and a sinister man shows up at Tanglewreck looking for a clock called the Timekeeper.  Silver is a ‘child of prophecy’ and only she can find the Timekeeper.

I wanted to like this book so much more than I did.  I couldn’t let go of the feeling that it was a lot like Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials.  The main character is a slightly feral child, who is the only one who can bring something about.  There is a coldly beautiful woman, who takes an interest in the child.  She also experiments on children.  There is a boy who becomes her traveling companion.  There are alternate times and universes, and a few popes.  Sadly, there are no talking polar bears.

It is a well written book.  I just couldn’t let go of the Pullman comparisons.

Captain Tuttle’s #CBR5 Review #3 – Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

I read this book years ago, and didn’t realize that it was the beginning of a series. I’ve heard/seen a few others talking about the whole Outlander thing, and coincidentally found my original paperback copy, which promptly fell apart when I opened it. Luckily I figured out how to do the library book on the Kindle thing, so I was pretty happy about that.

It’s a romance/time travel/historical novel. We start with Claire and Frank, reconnecting after WW2 by re-honeymooning in Scotland. She was a nurse, and is interested in plants and herbal remedies (remember that for later). She goes exploring, and steps through the rocks of a henge. Instead of just walking through, she hears weird sounds, and ends up 200 years in the past. She (coincidentally?) encounters her husband’s ancestor, who’s not such a nice guy; then she falls in with a bunch of Scots.

Claire acts and talks like a modern woman, and uses her medical/herbal knowledge to help people out, including young and studly Jamie Fraser. They fall for each other, and oh my goodness, do they have lots of the sex. Gabaldon gets pretty detailed with the naughty bits. Claire and Jamie go from peril to sex to peril to sex, and back to peril again. It gets pretty tedious after a while, and it’s an awfully long book, but I figured I was in for a penny, in for a pound.

Outlander is not an un-put-downable book, but it’s plenty serviceable, especially if you like the romance aspect of it. The historical element is interesting as well – Gabaldon also gets pretty detailed about life in 18th century Scotland. I had to look up a few things, just to make sure I understood what was going on. If a book makes me want to look something up, then it’s ok in my books (so to speak).

Awake and Awkwards’s CBR5 Review #1: Shark Hunting in Paradise Garden by Cameron Pierce

What do sharks, Vatican robots, mannequins, cults, monoliths, dracula fish, time travel and a battle hungry vegan have in common?  The Garden of Eden, that’s what.  Leave logic behind you when you pick yourself up a copy of Shark Hunting in Paradise Garden by Cameron Pierce, and prepare to have your mind blown.

Shark Hunters tells the story of a group of religious pilgrims seeking out the Garden of Paradise after an invite from Adam and Eve. When they arrive, they find the garden full of sharks.  Are you still with me?

Delving into the genre of Bizarro Fiction is a task not be taken lightly. Understand before even opening a page you are about to read what is the equivalent of a B-Grade Horror movie. If you lack the ability to look outside of the box and take a book for what it is, you may find this is not your style of read. The pure randomness and vulgarity of the first paragraph left my mouth gaping, and my mind screaming at me to turn back now and start reading something that made a bit more sense.  For those that make it past the first few chapters that read like ideas drawn out of a hat at random, you are bound to find the deeper criticism of religion that lurks beneath the surface. At face value, you have an incredibly gory tale of people getting dismembered, rebuilt, occasionally turned into mannequins, and most excellently devoured by floating land sharks. What you find between the lines is a commentary about following your religion out to very end of the world, and how far you are willing to go or what you will give up in your quest for your salvation.  Perceptions of God run a muck in a projectile vomiting good time, and the ending leaves you with a feeling of “Oh, it did make sense, I think…”

Besides, even if it doesn’t, you still just read a book about floating land sharks.  I’ll high five to that. All in all, I give the book 3 out of 5 stars.