Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

It’s been way too long since I’ve posted about something I’ve read! I don’t have a good excuse really, and there was a good amount of time in February? when I was reading pretty regularly. I think it was around this time that the new season of Outlander was premiering so it was hard for me to keep up with what was going on in the timeline of the show verses what I was reading in the first book. Life just got away from me I guess, but I finally picked it back up and finished!

I’ve been a fan of the Outlander television series for a little while now. Of course this meant that I would have to read the books eventually, but there were always other books that I wanted to get to first. It didn’t help that there are so many Outlander books in the series, and that I knew that they were pretty long.

I finally decided to take them on and I’m so glad that I have, or at least I’m glad that I’ve started.

For those who have watched the show but haven’t read the book, the show did a fantastic job of sticking to it’s source material. From what I can remember the storyline follows what happened in the book almost exactly.

I can’t remember if it left off in the same place or if part of the first book was included in the second season. Part of me feels like it did because there’s just so much that happens I can’t possibly imagine squeezing it all into one season of a series. I might have to go back and re-watch just to check.

This story is so exciting and has so many parts, it’s really hard to even write about the plot and how I felt about all of it. I’m not even going to try.

I will say that I really enjoyed getting to see Claire and Jamie fall in love all over again. They’re just so great together, right? I am curious what the books will be like and if we’ll get to see more of the time when Claire went back to the present. I’m interested in knowing more about what it was like for Frank all the time that Claire was away and I feel like it was just a very short amount of time in the tv series.

I’ve already purchased the second book and I’m hoping to get through this one a little faster. My goal is to read them all by the end of the year, but we shall see.

One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus

I should start this out by saying I was a little hesitant to read this book. I read One of Us Is Lying because I really enjoyed the TV adaptation on Peacock, and the book was just as good. After I finished the book, I realized that the second book in the series wasn’t so much about the original characters but about Maeve and a new group of people that go to Bayview.

At the end of the show, it seemed like the next season would be a continuation of the original Bayview Four’s stories. The book ended differently, so it makes sense that their stories have mostly ended, but I still wanted more of them.

They do make appearances throughout the second book, but the story isn’t about them anymore. This time, the focus is more on Bronwyn’s sister Maeve and her group of friends. A new Simon impersonator has come into the picture and is playing games of Truth or Dare with the students of Bayview.

I was surprised to find how much I really did enjoy this book despite my earlier hesitations. The new characters were interesting and the revelations of secrets kept me reading chapter after chapter. The story had a pretty good twist that was different enough from the first book to keep it interesting. Would definitely recommend continuing the series if you’re a fan of the show and have read the first book.

I’ve seen things about a third book coming in 2023, and I’m pretty sure I’ll read that as well.

The Bridgerton’s Second Epilogues

So! I noticed after reading The Duke and I that there was a second epilogue at the end of the book. I did a little research and found out that there were second epilogues written for each of the books in the Bridgerton series. It seemed like Daphne’s was spoiling a little bit about the other books, so I decided to put off reading them all until I had finished all of the books.

Since they were all so different, I’ll just list my thoughts about each of them.

The Duke and I: It was so nice to see Daphne and Simon older, with another baby on the way. It was so nice to see them still so happily married, though I wouldn’t expect anything different. I also liked how it finally showed us what was in the letters, even though they weren’t really important at all. It felt like a nice way to end their story.

The Viscount Who Loved Me: This second epilogue was really fun. It was cool to see Anthony and Kate still messing with each other, and nice to know that the Bridgerton’s all get together for their annual game of Pall Mall.

An Offer From a Gentleman: I’m glad we got to see Posy have a happy ending. Benedict’s story was probably the least interesting, though I did like the appearances that he and Sophie made in the other books. I didn’t feel like there was anything else that needed to be added to their story, so it was a nice twist to add in a little happily ever after for Posy.

Romancing Mr. Bridgerton: I’m SO glad that we got to experience Penelope revealing herself as Whistledown to Eloise. Though I wish it hadn’t been spoiled so that we could get Eloise’s genuine reaction when Penelope told her. I feel like it would’ve been different, but I’m also happy with how it turned out.

To Sir Phillip, With Love: Again it was nice to have the story from another viewpoint here. We got to see what happened with Amanda Crane as she found herself a husband. It was cute, but I would’ve liked to know more about Eloise and Phillip.

When He Was Wicked: I’m so happy that this one was included. It was super disappointing for Francesca and Michael to not have a baby by the end of their story. The readers really needed this happy ending. It was sweet to see them happy and finally to have their own baby. It was also interesting that they were able to keep it a secret from her mother for so long.

It’s In His Kiss: This one might be my favorite. I’m so glad that Hyacinth finally found the jewels. It was funny that she had never given up and that her daughter had known about them the whole time. I appreciated that she let her mother find them instead of just revealing that she had them all along.

On the Way to the Wedding: This one was kind of unnecessary. Basically it just told us that they had a lot of kids and that it was kind of dangerous by that point that they were continuing to have babies. It was interesting that they had named their children after all their siblings. Will there be a second generation of Bridgerton’s with the same name?

Overall, the second epilogues were enjoyable. I appreciated how some of them tied up loose ends and gave a little insight into the future of the Bridgerton’s.  Definitely unnecessary to have this as a second book, but I guess I understand for people who had read the books before the second epilogues were written. I feel like it should be mentioned though, that Happily Ever After is just the collection of second epilogues, because it’s a bit confusing what it actually is.

To Sir Phillip, With Love by Julia Quinn

I can’t believe I’m already finished with the fifth book in this series. They’re so easy to read, I swear I’m just flying through them.

I love Eloise. She’s the perfect character. She’s smart, she stands up for herself, and she doesn’t let people disrespect her in any way. In the last book we did see Penelope stand up to Colin a little bit, but Eloise takes that to a whole new level. She refuses to be disrespected.

On a side note, apparently I’m a spinster since I’m 29 and unmarried. Is that a bad thing? The books kind of make me feel like it’s a bad thing.

Anyway, I really enjoyed this story. Phillip took awhile to open up and see Eloise as more than just a mother to his orphaned children, but I like them together and thought that they were a good match.

I think it’s because I saw myself in Eloise a little bit. She’s too realistic to just accept a “sweep me off my feet” type of love match. She needs someone who challenges her and who she can respect on other levels. She doesn’t necessarily need the romance, she wants someone who she can have an intelligent conversation with and someone who respects her for her intelligence. I felt that.

I really hope that the show makes it this far. I think it’s only been renewed up to four seasons, so that would be Penelope and Colin’s story I believe.

The one thing I’m really interested about with the show’s adaptation is the storyline with Marina. In the show, she’s Penelope’s cousin and she ends up with Phillip Crane after he realizes she’s pregnant with his late brother’s child. In the book she also ends up with Phillip after George dies, though the children belong to Phillip.

Marina has such a strong storyline in the show, it would be a shame for her to have the same fate as book Marina. I’m curious to see how this plays out, especially because Phillip’s children play such a huge role in his marriage to Eloise.

I’m a little sad that I’m more than half way through the books. Are the prequels good too? I might have to read those as well.

An Offer From a Gentleman by Julia Quinn

This might be my least favorite of the Bridgerton series so far…

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, because I did. It just wasn’t any special kind of love story. It reminded me of Cinderella in a lot of ways and I’m sure I’m not the first one to think this. There were too many similarities. The masquerade ball so no one would recognize her, the evil stepmother, two stepsisters, being a servant to them after her father died. It was basically just a re-telling of the fairy tale with Benedict Bridgerton as the prince.

It wasn’t a bad re-imagining of the story, but it was just so unoriginal that it wasn’t exciting to read. I still read it quickly, but mostly because I know Penelope and Colin’s story is next and I wanted to get through this as quickly as possible.

I know the show has been renewed for four seasons, so I’m hoping they improve on this story. That’s really all I have to say about it. I hope the rest aren’t as lazy with the creativity and writing.

The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn

I blew through the second book in the Bridgerton series. They’re definitely not quality literature, but they’re easy to read and the stories are very enjoyable.

I’m sure whoever writes the show has read the books and has written the characters to match their personalities exactly. Knowing who plays Anthony in the show and imagining Kate as Simone Ashley made it fun.

It’s interesting to me how they’ve diversified the cast in the show, but how it still works. I’ve seen Simone Ashley in Sex Education and based on that I think she’s going to be perfect in this role.

Part of me didn’t expect to love Anthony and Kate’ s story as much as I loved Daphne and Simon’s. Anthony wasn’t exactly my favorite character in the show, so maybe that played a role in it, but reading his story definitely made me understand the man better.

There really isn’t much to say about the book. It was a good love story. It was interesting how they came together and the chemistry was amazing once again. I’m sure that’ll be a theme throughout the rest of them as well. Violet approves of love matches after all, so all of her children must find love, right?

I’m sure I’ll be back soon with my thoughts on the third installment. I’m already half way through it as I type this.

The Duke and I by Julia Quinn

You knew this was coming, right? I can’t resist reading the books when I love the adaptation. To say that I love Bridgerton would be an understatement. I’ve watched it twice already and, honestly after reading this I need to watch it again.

I loved this book. I literally could not put it down. I’m not surprised at all that they made this into a TV series, it’s so good!

I won’t pretend that there’s anything intellectually stimulating about this book, but it’s fun and exciting and easy to read. It’s definitely a nice break after the last two, which were very serious and made me think and question so many things in my life.

I just love Daphne and Simon. The characters and their chemistry are so well written. They’re not perfect people and they find each other and it’s just so obvious that they’re meant to be. How could you not love their love story?

There really isn’t much to write about this. If you loved the show, you should definitely read the book. The show follows the story line closely, but it adds their thoughts and give more insight to what was going on.

I think there are 9 books in the Bridgerton series. If you hated it you’ll probably want to avoid my page for awhile. There’s no way I’m not going to read them all.

Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian L. Weiss M.D.

I’m really glad that I decided to read this after reading Only Love Is Real. Part of me wishes that I would have read this first because I feel like it really helps to understand how Dr. Weiss got involved in past life regression through hypnotherapy.

It was crazy to me how he just sort of stumbled onto this. While reading, you get this sort of “meant to be” feeling about Catherine and Dr. Weiss coming together. Like he was the one who was supposed to hear her messages and she needed him to help resolve her trauma.

The fact that she was able to resolve these issues in her current life by re-visiting her past lives was kind of amazing. It makes you really wonder how many thing in your current life are influenced by these subconscious experiences.

I really like, and connected to, the idea that each lifetime has these experiences that you’re meant to learn from. It’s interesting that once you die there’s this period of rest and reflection with the “masters” where you sort of come to realization of what you were supposed to learn and what you carry with you from those experiences. From what he wrote, it seems like there’s some consciousness of what you still need to learn and that you will choose your next path based on that.

I feel like we kind of accept that life has a path for us and when things don’t work out it’s because they weren’t meant to be. Maybe this is because we have this subconscious “knowing” of what we picked for this lifetime and we know that it isn’t part of the process.

It was interesting again to see her recognizing people in her current life from her past lives. It’s nice to have that idea that people who are important to you will keep recurring in your lifetimes. Death and loss don’t seem as final.

I guess the real take away from reading this book is that life isn’t always in your control. You can do your best, but things may happen to you that you don’t understand and can’t control. These things happen as lessons and it’s important to remember that you’ll grow from those experiences. Everything has meaning, and when you can learn and accept these things you’ll just come out even better in the end.

I definitely still want to do some type of past life regression. It’s so interesting and I’ve always had ideas of what I experienced in my past lives. It’d be so cool just to see if any of those things really happened and to maybe understand things a little better. I also would totally love to see if I recognize anyone in my current life from the past and what the relationships were. Seriously if anyone is reading this and knows where I can get this done, let me know!

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

I really enjoyed this book. I watched the Hulu adaptation probably about a year ago and really loved it, so I’ve had this book on my list to read for awhile.

The show did a really good job adapting the story for the screen. There were definitely a few changes made, but I don’t think they messed with the story much at all. I did think it was interesting that the author never specifically mentioned Mia and Pearl’s races, yet the show made the decision to make them African American. It’s interesting to me that they did this because I feel like it hinders where the story could have gone.

***MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD***

Something that was really interesting in the book was how Izzy felt that Mia could have been a better mother to her than Elena. She loves spending time with Mia, she listens to the things that Mia teaches her, she even at one point says that she fantasizes that Mia is her mother.

Honestly because I watched the show first I pictured Mia and Pearl as being African American, so reading this was the first time that I realized that oh, if she thinks she looks enough like Mia to possibly be her daughter than that means that Mia must be white.

I’m sure that race was changed in the show to draw even larger differences between Mia and Elena. I thought Kerry Washington was perfect in the show, so I wouldn’t change it, but when adaptations do this I feel like we need to question the change and why it was made. Wouldn’t it have been more shocking to Elena that a woman who looked like her chose this lifestyle? Did we really need to make a black woman this sort of nomad who’s perceived by Elena as being unstable with the way she lives her life? The book already deals with elements of race, so did it need this added layer of racism?

It’s definitely interesting to think about and adds more to the discussion when reading the book, but I can’t help but wonder if doing this was really necessary to the story.

Also, I feel like it really hinders them from creating a second season of the show. At the end of the book, Izzy is headed to Mia’s parents’ house. She knows everything about Pearl and Mia’s brother and her parents from the file her mother kept and she’s looking for Mia by going to her parents.

If I was a writer for the show and wanted to create another season, I could definitely see a situation unfolding where Izzy (who’s around the same age as Pearl) tells Mia’s parents that she’s the baby. It would definitely create a conflict and force all of the characters to come together again, but since they have different races this wouldn’t be something that they can do now.

Maybe they have other ideas, and I don’t think the show has been renewed yet, but I do wonder if this was part of the conversation. Anyone else think the same?

Bullet Journal – April Cover Page

Happy April! We’re being productive this month and getting things done, so here’s a somewhat earlier than usual monthly cover page!

I’m honestly not sure why I chose this quote to act as the cover page this month. I think at the beginning I was being a little sentimental about some past things and I had shared this quote on social media back when I was in my feels about it. I just really like this quote. I know Sylvia Plath is kind of depressing sometimes, but she definitely had a way with words. I should probably read more of her work…

This month actually started out on a good note. Easter seemed super early this year, didn’t it? We didn’t get everyone together like we usually would, but I got to see my aunts and my cousins, which was fun. It’s always good to catch up with family and we always have a good time.

I don’t really have a lot going on this month, but I kind of like that. I feel like it’s good sometimes to not have plans and to be able to relax and just enjoy the moments as they come. I’m actually reading a book that’s sort of about this, so look out for a review in the next week or so!

Things are looking pretty good honestly. I’m loving the nicer weather and I’m dying to be tan again! I’m also planning on going somewhat blonde again at the end of the month, so I’m excited about that. Things are good 🙂