Monthly Book Binge: August & September

So, I skipped the Monthly Book Binge last month but I can only blame myself. I chose a monster(s) of a book.

But trust me, I’ve been busy reading!! There’s an awesome public library in my town, so of course I’ve been finding myself there, perusing the New Arrivals and even some of the bibliographies. I’m a sucker for a good bibliography.

So here’s what I’ve been reading in the past 2 months.

outlander 2

Outlander – Diana Gabaldon

Jamie Fraser, Claire Randall, Jack Randall, Frank Randall . . .  it’s not easy to create legendary characters who pack a punch with every line, but Gabaldon makes it look as sweet as a piece of strawberry shortcake.

The story follows the life of Claire Randall who, after spending the last four years as a combat nurse, is on a second honeymoon to rekindle her marriage after the war. While in Scotland, she stumbles upon a standing stone circle and inexplicably ends up transported through time – back into 1743 and smack dab in the middle of a country being torn apart by war. Suddenly, she’s a Sassenach – an “outlander”- who must blend if she wishes to survive.

Jamie Fraser is more charming in writing, if that’s even possible. Every time I read his name I just want to swoon like a Victorian woman who’s seen too much sun. I’m further ahead in the television series so, while I love the book just as much, I may not catch up anytime soon. I did the same thing with Game of Thrones, and George R.R. Martin is still sitting with a bookmark a third of the way through his pages. Sorry George R.R. Martin.

Outlander isn’t just men prancing around in kilts. It’s a story thick with complex history, bloody rebellion, bitter turmoil, and never-so-simple love.

But the kilts are great too.

Series 3 of Outlander is out now on STARZ.


The Lighthouse – Allison Moore

Do you ever get a bad feeing about something? A bad feeling about something that’s going to happen?

Allison Moore’s The Lighthouse, was shortlisted for The Man Booker Prize – an annual literary award given to the best original novel written in the English language and published in the U.K. And, after turning page after page of Moore’s novel, I certainly see why.

At first, Futh’s sad life seems to be nothing but mundane and a series of rather unfortunate events. At the beginning of the novel, he has decided to hike part of the Rhine river through Germany, walking from town to town for the duration of a week. Throughout his hike, he remembers the events in his past that would eventually lead to the end of his marriage. Futh’s seemingly sad life isn’t as mundane as it first seems.

Plus, the ending had me practically diving for my phone so I could look up other people’s analysis. The last few pages will have you screaming no, no, no over and over in your head, but there’s nothing you can do but sit back and watch the worst unfold right before your eyes.

people in the castle

The People in the Castle – Joan Aiken

This short story collection is exactly what it says – a master blend of supernatural fiction and children’s literature. Aiken creates stories filled with wonder, suspense, and just the right amount of horror.

“Wildly inventive, darkly lyrical, and always surprising . . . should be cherished.”—Publishers Weekly

My favorites were “The Portable Elephant”, “A Leg Full of Rubies”, and “The People in the Castle”.

Upon further research, I discovered that Joan Aiken was an absolute writing machine. In her lifetime she wrote over 100 books and won both the Guardian and Edgar Allen Poe awards. She also wrote sequels to popular Jane Austen novels. Recently, I’ve been trying my hand at strange and mysterious short stories, so this was right up my alley.

Writer’s Tip: always read what you want to write. And then read some more.


King’s Cage – Victoria Aveyard

Victoria Aveyard strikes again.

I reviewed her first book in the series, Red Queen, here on my Monthly Book Binge: June. However, King’s Cage is the third book in her series and the successor to Glass Sword.

It was great returning to the mind of Mare Barrow, a young girl forced to be the face of the revolution between Reds and Silvers as she discovers that, despite her red blood, she also has the power to control electricity.

What I like most about Aveyard’s style of writing is that it’s loaded with imagery, which makes sense, as Aveyard is a former graduate from the Writing for Film & Television program at University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. It certainly reads like a screenplay, which isn’t a bad thing in this case. Aveyard has created a whole new world. Between intense battle scenes and tension filled political meetings, I can picture the film unraveling in my head like magic. In fact, Aveyard already has a movie deal in place, so we’ll be seeing much more of Mare Barrow, Cal, and Maven in the future.

Aveyard’s done a good job at testing my morality – is it even possible to like a villain so much? But am I feeling empathy or pity? Even I don’t know. All certainly does burn in King’s Cage.

You bet I’ll be reading book four.

I’m always up for suggestions! Leave your favorite books in the comments below.

Don’t forget to keep on reading!! Xx


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