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Coni has commented on (19) products.

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
The Husband's Secret

Coni, June 15, 2014

I mostly wanted to read this story to learn about the secret. I had to know. As I went along in the book, it became less important about the actual secret. I wanted to know how the three main women and how all the people in their lives would deal with the news of the secret. I was surprised I hadn’t been spoiled about the secret before I had a chance to read the book, but I think the reason was that isn’t the main point of the book. It is really about how this secret has shaped the lives of these people and how learning about it affects other people. It really shatters reality for some people and reading about how they deal with it is what kept me reading.
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Outlander (20th Anniversary Edition) (Outlander) by Diana Gabaldon
Outlander (20th Anniversary Edition) (Outlander)

Coni, June 1, 2014

I’ve had a good friend talk about this book for years. Romance isn’t really a genre that I read. She had mentioned it had to do with time travel (briefly) and there was a lot of action and adventure in the Scottish Highlands. I still stayed away since romance isn’t a genre that I’m all that interested in. I don’t mind if romance is part of a bigger story, but I have never been into those bodice-ripping books that I used to see my mom read growing up. I used to go for the Edgar Allan Poe books that were on the bookshelf instead. What got me to finally read a romance? It was a genre that my Twitter book club (#1book140) decided to read. I'm glad I read it though since it changed my mind. Not so much about romances, but at least about this series.

The novel starts out in 1945 where a former combat nurse, Claire, is slowly getting to know her husband on their second honeymoon since they were separated for many years due to the war right after they were married. While wandering in Scotland on their vacation, she touches a rock that sends her back in time by 200 years to the Scottish Highlands. Since it is unclear for some time what has happened to her, when she does realize it, she is far away from that rock and has no way to get back to her own time, if that is even the way to get back to where she belongs. She pretty much stuck living in a much different time.

What I enjoyed about the book was that Claire was already very independent woman in 1945 and does not care if she is not acting the way people think women should act in the past. She is very stubborn though and at times, selfish. It’s those stubborn, selfish acts that end up hurting some people, but she does eventually realize what she’s done.

The action scenes were really well written. For a long book, I read it fairly quickly since there was always some crazy mess Claire got herself into. I had to know what was happening next. For a good portion of the book, I wouldn’t have even classified it as a romance except that there is tons of sex in this book. It takes place all the time. These parts of the book were my least favorite, mostly because they could have been better written. I rolled my eyes at some of the descriptions, but then I’ve read better sex scenes in Clive Barker novels. Some scenes were quite sweet and I thought those were better.

There was one scene between Claire and Jamie that I had issues with when I read it. Jamie was very violent towards Claire and it almost had a misogynistic tone, but not quite. I could see the reasons why it happened (and to get into them would give too much away for those that haven’t read it), but did love that she fought back and was pissed about it for a long time. Then in one scene, she proclaimed she loved him and seemed to forget all about what had just happened to her. That’s when I had a big issue with it since it seemed like she played into the battered wife role who forgives the abusive husband because he really loves her. Later on, I was pleasantly surprised when she brought it up again since she obviously still had issues with it. They verbally fought and then talked it out before finally moving on with both sides understanding each other more. That’s when I could finally move on too.

The book is a violent one, especially what happens with Jamie towards the end of it. It is pretty gruesome for a romance book. I would almost forget it was supposed to be a romance first and foremost until one of those sex scenes popped up again. Even though I still am not really interested in the romance genre as a whole, I am interested enough in this book series to want to continue reading more of it.
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The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
The Luminaries

Coni, February 25, 2014

Set in 1865-1866 in New Zealand during the gold rush, 13 men try to solve a bunch of local mysteries, involving a opium-addicted whore, a missing prospector, a recently deceased man with a wife that no one knew about and a scarred man that no one likes. This is a long book, but it is necessary to cover all the story taking place between those men and all those other people.

I had no idea New Zealand had a gold rush so that was educational. This book is written like a Victorian-era book with each chapter giving a teaser about what it will be about. It is a bit like Charles Dickens without all the annoying Dickens bits (no unnecessary words!).

It seemed to have a bit of a slow start but once one of the men started sharing his part of the tale to a guy, it picks up and doesn't stop. Hearing people telling their versions of stories and piecing it all together into a much larger story was fun. There was some astrological stuff that didn't make much sense to me and wasn't really explained so I skipped over that. I still enjoyed the overall story.

When some of the backstory was pieced together by the men, the story shifts to real time where you learn even more about what happened from the other players. After that, the story wraps up with parts that the men never knew. It was a nice summary of the entire story, even though I still had a few unanswered questions at the end. Did I miss the answers in this 800+ book or were that not answered? Hard to tell.
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Divergent (Divergent Trilogy #1) by Veronica Roth
Divergent (Divergent Trilogy #1)

Coni, February 25, 2014

I had no intention to read a Hunger Games knock-off. I kept hearing it was good and when I read what it was about, it did intrigue me, even though the factions seemed arbitrary.

It is easy to compare it to Hunger Games with the dystopian future and kids being trained to fight and kill each other. The fighting and violence in Divergent was much more realistic than Hunger Games. The action scenes are really well written. While I viewed the Hunger Games as a parable about where we as human beings are as a society today, the society in Divergent doesn’t seem realistic in comparison. The factions were as arbitrary as I feared. It was as if people only had a portion of their personality, skills and attributes instead of being more well-rounded which is how I view people.

Also there was really no explanation of why the world was set up that way, what happened to make it that way, and what was behind the fences that they alluded to in this first book. Since there are two more books, I feel like that will all come out in the next two books so I’ll give it the benefit of doubt.

Even with those drawbacks, this book was a fast read. I really wanted to know what would happen next. It was highly entertaining and I know I’ll be reading the next two. I think it achieved its goal.
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(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)

A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire #3) by George R. R. Martin
A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire #3)

Coni, February 25, 2014

It is not the book’s fault that it took me almost a year to read it. It is long but I did start reading it when I started watching the third season of Game of Thrones. I wanted to be surprised in the show so I stopped reading the book until it was over. Then I struggled since I knew overall what happened for half of it. I do enjoy the book as much as the show. It is different in a good way. I love knowing the back story more in the books. I feel like I know the motivations for some of the characters better.

Once I got past the Red Wedding part in the book, I debated stopping until I watched season 4 of Game of Thrones but then I had to know what happened next. The last part went very fast for me. So much happens. It is so good. I can’t wait to see it on screen.

I enjoyed this book overall compared to the first two. The first book set up many characters before moving on to the scandal and action. The second book seemed to recover from all the shocking ends to the first book and set up all the action for the last third of the book. It really dragged in the middle. This book did not drag at all. Things had been set up. We just had to watch it all play out. It was better than I expected. Many times, I yelled out, “No way!” when I read a certain part. This is what epic novels should be like.
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