Review: The Cracked Spine by Paige Shelton 

  
Book-lover Delaney from Kansas answers a Help Wanted ad placed by a Scottish bookshop owner. When she arrives in Edinburgh, she realizes she’s getting more than she bargained for: Treasures, ghosts, and new friends keeping closely held secrets. 

When Delaney finds herself in the middle of a murder mystery, she does some amateur investigating… and there her adventures get real. 

I loved the bookshop setting, the streets of Edinburgh, and especially Delaney’s Pub across the street with the good-looking, kilt-wearing, half-smiling, full-on charming pub owner. 

I could’ve done without the dialogue being written in Scottish dialect and the contrivances trying to convince me that Delaney really loved books. Both were off-putting, and I almost didn’t read past chapter one. I think the story would have flowed a little better – especially in the beginning – had the author not tried quite so hard to prove her points. 

Once I accepted the Scottish dialogue and allowed myself to skip over anything repetitive, I started to love Delaney and her new friends. She left her home for a new experience — and she really dove into it head first. Gotta love that courage. 

Take a trip with Delaney in Edinburgh. You’ll get into her head and help her solve a mystery. And keep an eye out for the handsome Scot across the street. 

-calliope

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Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

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It’s so difficult to ponder this book after reading it that I have to hurry and write the review so I can forget about the book.

Outlander is about Claire, a English woman from the 1940s, pulled into an adventuresome, fun, dangerous, romantic quest in 18th century Scottish Highlands.

I loved every second of 90% this book: Horseback riding through the forests, stereotypical Scottish dialogue, ripped clothing, filth, the challenges of being a female who knows medicine and healing, lots of rough men stealing and working and saving people… An arranged marriage that was full of unspoken love, family ties of numerous clansmen, illegitimate children, crime, detention and escape, and of course a really really bad villain with an ancestral tie to Claire’s husband. What’s not to love in this beautiful saga?!

One thing ruined the entire book for me. The ENTIRE book. I’m talking about making the book go from 5 stars to 2. It nauseated me and left a bad taste in my mouth. The chapter was gratuitous and over the top in my opinion. There was a day of rape. I can accept that as part of the story. I can’t tolerate the retelling of the day-long rapes to one’s spouse, including not only every physical detail but EVERY anguishing psychological and emotional detail. I just don’t believe that any spouse would or could tell their loved one what Gabaldon wants me to believe Jamie told Claire.

Had I known that was coming I would have completely skipped the chapter, pleasantly read the very end, and given Outlander 5 stars.

The one scene ruined the entire book for me. How disappointing.

-Calliope

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