Outlander (Outlander #1) by Diana Gabaldon

Friday, May 25, 2018


3.7 out of 5 stars

Outlander is not what I expected it to be. Now before the lot of you that have actually read and really loved Outlander come after me with pitchforks and proclaim me a witch, hear me out. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but I felt like there just so much going on theme-wise and plot-wise. In addition to the time-travel concept in the book, there was also a brief witch trial, which I didn't think made all that much given the grand scheme of things. Every time something big was happening I thought, "Wow, this must be the climax/pivotal point of the story!", when it usually wasn't. I think that's what bothered me so much about the witch trial scene, for the most part. There were too many problems to be solved: there was the mystery of Claire's time-travel, Jamie's issue with Jonathan Randall. and then the witch trial thrown in somewhere in the middle of the storyline.

Another thing I didn't expect was the plethora of sex scenes in Outlander. I mean, I knew Claire was going to marry Jamie even before I started reading the book and that there would inevitably be a scene or two of that nature, but boy was I wrong. I felt like I was met with one every few pages, I got a little bothersome at some point. If I wanted to be bombarded with such scenes I would have simply reread The Bride by Julie Garwood. One of my favorite things about this book is the writing. Diana Gabaldon has to be one of the best writers and storytellers I have come across in all of my years of reading. I distinctly remember thinking that while the rest of the world population suffers from inarticulation on occasion, Diana Gabaldon must not, ever. I honestly cannot compliment her writing enough! Despite the neutral rating, I truly believe I will enjoy the rest of the series more than I did Outlander. As I write this, (not simultaneously, but you know) I'm currently reading Dragonfly in Amber, the second book in the series and I am enjoying it much more! I'm loving it! FYI: I bought books 3-6 in advance 😁

2018 Book Haul #1!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

This is my first ever book haul on the blog! I always watch book haul videos on Youtube created by avid book readers like myself, and find them very entertaining so considering I bought a good number of books this year thus far, I thought I'd write a book haul post showcasing the books I've purchased. This how it'll all go down: I'll list each book and disclose why and/or for how long I've wanted to buy it. I'll list the books in the order I plan on reading them in. Lastly, I will link the books to their listings on Book Depository! (I'll try to list the editions I myself have purchased)

1. Outlander (Outlander #1) by Diana Gabaldon

I had wanted to read Outlander for the LONGEST time. I remember seeing a billboard advertising the then not-yet-aired Outlander television show and being very excited about it. Shortly thereafter, I found out that the show is an adaptation of a series of eight books and decided to put off watching it until I read the books. I actually finished reading this particular book a few days ago (I ate it up!). I gave it a 3.7-star rating. I had read a quarter of the book when I realized that it was not what I expected it to be. I have yet to review Outlander, but I will do so in a few days, so be on the lookout for it!

2. Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2) by Diana Gabaldon

I'm halfway through Dragonfly in Amber and I am LOVING it! All of the political intrigue and drama Outlander lacked, Dragon in Amber is simply filled with. At the very start, the reader is thrust into Claire's Randall/Fraser's (b. Beauchamp) world and is bombarded with...events that lead the reader to ask questions about said events as well as their very own existence. 

3-6. Voyager, Drums in Amber, The Fiery Cross, & A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander 3-6) by Diana Gabaldon

I combined these four together because I intend to read them in consequence and have nothing much else to say about them. I'm very excited to see what's in store for me!

7. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

I've been meaning to read War and Peace for a good while now, along with Anna Karenina. I live for stories about aristocratic Tsar-ian Russia and am very much looking forward to reading this. It's worth noting that I once started reading Anna Karenina (after I watched the 2012 film adaptation) but was forced to temporarily put it down because of schoolwork (it was a borrowed library book). I don't think I got very far, I might have read a mere twenty percent of the book. I've heard that War and Peace is a very dense book and have strategically placed it after the Outlander books and before a less heavy book for the sake of balance. I'm very excited to read it!

8. Jane Austen: Seven Novels (Barnes and Noble Omnibus Leatherbound Edition)

Ah! I FINALLY HAVE POSSESSION OF THIS BEAUTIFUL BOOK! Out of all of the books mentioned in this haul, my beloved leatherbound Seven Novels was the one I was most excited for. Let me explain: After I read Pride and Prejudice a few years ago (my first Jane Austen read, I might add) I was reading the synopses of multiple Jane Austen novels on the Barnes and Nobles website when I happened to stumble upon this beauty! I was a broke high school student so I could not immediately purchase it and it wasn't high enough on my priority list to warrant asking my dad to buy it for me, so I forgot about it for a time. Fast-forward to a few weeks ago when I found it in my university B&N bookstore. I saw it, squealed, realized I didn't have any money on me and swore that I would go back to buy it as soon as I got the chance. And I did! You might understand my obsession if see the physical book in person. It's quite heavy, but I plan to take with me on every long-distance trip I make.

9-10. The Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien

I combined these two because 1) I've watched all of the films on which both books are based and; 2) I had both in my Kindle library at one point, when I was subscribed to Kindle Unlimited. I was debating with myself on whether I should place these subsequent to War and Peace, before Pride and Prejudice, and haven't quite decided if I'm going to read them after War and Peace rather than before P&P, so items 8 and 9-10 are interchangeable, reading-wise. I also started reading The Fellowship of the Ring about a month ago, when I had it in my Kindle library, but never finished reading it.

11. The Silmarillion by J.R.R Tolkien

Admittedly, I didn't know The Silmarillion even existed until a few weeks ago. I was watching one of Tim Hickson's LOTR related videos on his channel Hello Future Me (check it out, he makes great, well-thought-out content!) when I discovered it through one of his references in the video. He hailed it as his favorite Tolkien book, so I was determined to read it myself. The Silmarillion isn't a story much like The Lord of Rings or The Hobbit. It's one that reveals the events that lead up to the creation of Middle Earth and the beginnings of the Tolkien world as we know it. It's more a history book than anything else, from what I've gathered. I know I've said the following about most of the books on this list, but I simply cannot wait to read it!

I wanted Tolkien's Unfinished Tales to be on this list, but I decided I'll just order it after I've finished all or most the books presiding on this list. 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4) by J.K Rowling

Monday, May 21, 2018

5 out of 5 stars

Firstly, I did not expect for half of the events of Goblet of Fire to happen at the Quidditch World Cup! I get that we needed the game in order to be introduced to the Death Eaters, (because how else would the characters and readers become acquainted with them, they can't exactly attack the school) and don't get me wrong I enjoyed reading about it, but I felt it dragged on for a little longer than it should have. While I will always genuinely be fond of the movie, I thought the events of the book played out much better than they did in the film. Granted, Dobby randomly showing up to give Harry the gillyweed right before the second task was a little strange, but everything else transpired rather nicely. 

As usual, Rowling's writing and story-telling are exceptional. I'm always in awe of the way she weaves scenes and connects storylines. I'm especially fascinated by the way she excels at subtly foreshadowing ideas and events books ahead!

Monthly Wrap-up: April 2018

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Good day, dear friends! I meant to write and publish this month's wrap-up yesterday, but you know, schooling. April was mostly non-eventful, and I have no complaints to make today with the exception of one: the weather. Is it just me, or has the weather we've been graced with in the month of April been unusually cold? The climate change of early to mid-April was nothing out of the ordinary, but come late April, I was shocked to find that the temperature fluctuated between a high of the 40s and 50s. What?

In the last couple of days, I've been reflecting on the dedication of time on multiple projects and responsibilities and contemplating how best to divide my time to various things. I've come to the conclusion that on one thing per day isn't really the way to go, for me personally, and what I have found is that committing myself to a limited number of diverse goals per day ensures productivity. So, going forward I will devote some time of the day to schoolwork, but later that same day I'll work on the blog, getting some reading done (leisure, I don't want to any read more neuroscience literature than I have), and maybe even play video games (wishful thinking).


  • With the exception of the newest season of Westworld, I haven't watched any new shows lately. In the past month, I've rewatched Legend of the Seeker, the television show based on Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth, which, I might add, is still my favorite show to this day. I'm continuing my Naruto Shippuden binge marathon, and am currently on episode 320 (there five hundred episodes in all, so I'm slightly more than halfway done). I've watched a few episodes of Game of Thrones and New Girl here and there, but I really want to rewatch Downton Abbey. I miss that show.

    The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

    Friday, April 27, 2018


    4 out of 5 stars

    In anticipation of season 2 of Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale which airs on the 25th of April (which I'm only just now realizing is in two days!), I decided it was finally time to publish my review of the book. Now, when I review books, I usually (successfully, if I do say so myself) attempt to critique world building, character development and arcs, and writing rather than how the narrative makes me feel. Allow me to elaborate: while I do recognize that it is necessary to explain how books whose subjects are sensitive topics such as racism, sexism (which this story does explore), homophobia, etc. I think it's important to avoid putting emphasis on how the anecdote made you feel (for instance, The Handmaid's Tale was especially dark and made me feel depressed) lest it affect how you rate the book. 

    I point I was trying to make above was more of a reminder for me to consciously avoid making the mistake of doing what I mentioned than anything, but if it's advice that's helpful to you, then by all means, heed it! On that note, my thoughts on the book are as follows: this was not my first Margaret Atwood book, believe it or not, I read but have not yet finished (at the time of this post's publication) Hagseed, an installment in the Hogarth Shakespeare series of Shakespeare retellings by various authors (some of which include Anne Tyler and Tracey Chevalier). After reading The Handmaid's Tale, I noticed that Atwood's narrative writing feels distant and almost strictly matter-of-factly. I didn't sympathize with the characters as well as I would have if the writing allowed for the reader (specifically, me) to be more sympathetic. That said, the writing did match the theme and atmosphere of the story, which leads me to believe that maybe this particular writing style was intentional on the author's part rather than by default. In any case, it works for the story.