5 of 5 stars to ‘Voyager’ by Diana Gabaldon


Beyond the shores of Scotland

Twenty years after Claire left Jamie Fraser at the standing stones, she returns to Scotland to share the truth with her grown daughter Brianna. In divulging her history, she discovers that her true love did not, in fact, die on the battlefield at Culloden. Now she must choose between a future with the daughter she loves dearly, or one with the man she has pined for all these years apart.

There are very few writers who can carry off a series of more than three books and still keep the reader begging for more. I must admit to being skeptical after ‘Dragonfly in Amber’ – I mean, Jamie and Claire have lived through it all already, haven’t they? Yet Ms Gabaldon has managed to once again create a heart-breaking, riveting, dangerous adventure.

In this installment of the Outlander series, Gabaldon takes us beyond the shores of Scotland in the seventeenth century. We get a taste of the trade routes, colonies and dangers of overseas travel, contrasted starkly with the amenities and ease of travel of the nineteen sixties.

The real hardships of Jamie’s life seem that much greater against the comforts of Brianna and Claire’s time and yet their emotional distance and turmoils appear equal. These are two souls that have truly become one. I was concerned that the time apart and separate experiences would have created an irreconcilable rift between Claire and Jamie. But their love is true enough to span centuries. In fact, the time apart made their reunion that much sweeter. I loved getting to see Jamie and Claire fall in love all over again and get to know the new people that they have become.

Rich history, offset by sweeping descriptions of the natural beauty of the new colonies and heart-wrenching emotional dilemmas, interspersed with century-spanning romance and heart pounding action, makes ‘Voyager’ a must-read for any self-respecting Scot-lover, historian or book addict.

Ten reasons to love Kindle

Love my Kindle

Ten reasons to love Kindle

‘Nothing beats the smell of a crisp new book, or an old one for that matter.’
There are many arguments for and against modern reading devices. Here are a couple reasons why I prefer my Kindle to a traditional print book:

1. Space. There is nothing more beautiful than a room covered in floor to ceiling shelves of leather bound books. Sadly, not many of us live in castles like Belle, and space comes at a premium. With my Kindle, there are no limits to the amount of books I can keep on my virtual shelves.
2. Read wherever you go. Going on holiday? Not sure which book to take along? With my Kindle, I can take them all and I won’t need an entire suitcase for my collection. With the Kindle app downloaded on my phone, I can even read in the doctor’s waiting room and easily sync to my last place on Kindle.
3. Affordable. Before my Kindle, I had a limited budget for my purchases of reading material. With Kindle books retailing anywhere from $2 and up, the sky’s the limit! Authors are also frequently running Kindle promotions, offering their books at half price or even free, so the cost of reading has dropped exponentially, allowing me to read much more for my money.
4. Easy to hold. Many people rave about the feel of a print book in their hands. They love the smell and the crackle of the pages as they turn. I’m a lover of technology. There is nothing better than the feel of a light-weight Kindle that turns pages silently with the slightest movement of your thumb. It fits perfectly into my hand, and my bag!
5. Backed up. The threat of loss is probably not foremost in most people minds, but when you’ve been burgled once or twice, it gets you thinking. Granted, very few burglars will likely be interested in a copy of ‘Pride and prejudice’, but there are others ways to lose things too. Fire, borrowing to friends who don’t return or simply misplacing things are common reasons for the loss of print books. Thankfully, with my Kindle, every purchase is backed up on Amazon’s servers and I can delete and download onto my device as I please.
6. Personalized text size. Ever bought a book and then opened to the first page and discovered you need a magnifying glass to read it? With Kindle, I can change the size of the text at a touch to match and manage my eyesight and desired pace.
7. Sample before you buy. Most Amazon ebooks have a ‘sample before you buy’ feature. I’ve found that you can often tell by reading the first few pages of a book whether or not you’re going to like it. Amazon allows you to read the first few chapters and even download it before you fork out the purchase price.
8. Non-glare screen. With the advent of the tablet and the Kindle reading app, many people are switching to one device only. I like the idea, and have tried it out myself, but found the back-lit screen of an iPad is hard on the eyes, especially late at night when I do most of my reading. The Kindle also has a backlight for reading in the dark, but the quality of the screen is probably the closest thing you’ll ever get to a traditional print book.
9. Save the trees. Resources are precious and it’s our responsibility to preserve them for future generations. Cutting and processing millions of trees for the paper we use and waste is not helping matters much, so I’m doing my little bit to save the planet by using my Kindle instead!
10. Battery life. At the rate I use them, very few of my devices have a battery life that lasts even a day. Kindle boasts upwards of a week of battery life, even with me reading a few hours every day.
I may sound like an Amazon saleswoman, but take my word for it – any product that gets me excited enough to write about it is pretty awesome. You can drop me off on an island with just my Kindle any day!

3 of 5 stars to ‘My Champion’ by Glynnis Campbell

My champion

Amazing vocabulary

Linet de Montfort has a chip on her shoulder. She’s determined to wreak revenge on the Spanish pirate who has wronged her father, but she hasn’t reckoned on his terrible retaliation. Abducted by a dangerous pirate, Linet must rely on one man to save her.

Duncan de Ware is the self-employed defender of the commoner. When he witnesses the abduction of the golden-haired wool merchant by a notorious pirate, he appoints himself her savior. Thrown together in the chaos aboard the pirate ship, Duncan soon finds that Linet is more than just a damsel in distress. He is in grave danger of losing his heart to her, but can he break through her haughty superiority?

I’m a sucker for damsel in distress stories. They’re romantic and easy to escape into. This one has many of the requirements for a good romance. The heroine is arrogant and strong, although she often gets herself into difficult situations and sometimes makes silly decisions. Duncan is humble, heroic and handsome. There is danger, hot romance and a touch of emotion. And yet – I found it difficult to immerse myself in this novel. There was something distant about the characters that made them seem a little too contrived and predictable at times. Still, I enjoyed the story.

One of the things that really stood out was the vocabulary. Campbell makes use of some lovely archaic words – I even had to look up a few – and I love shiny new (or old!) words. I also enjoyed the references to Linet’s trade, the colors, scents and textures.

Overall, entertaining!