Book Connections

Book to Screen

I am not a huge viewer, I mostly read, but I do see the occasional movie and TV series. I love some adaptations of some books, Anne of Green Gables comes to mind – all versions of viewing  I would happily sit down and watch every so often. Here are five books I’ve read with their screen version thoughts.

book cover I have read all the Outlander books and will read another if or when it publishes. I have the first two DVD’s of the screen version and its on TV too at the moment. And…  so far I  haven’t been able to be a fan of the screen version. I know of many who love it on screen, I know Diana Gabaldon is closely linked to the screen version, but I just prefer the book world.

book cover I am in process of reading Pride and Prejudice but have previously viewed a couple of on screen versions. I have really enjoyed both and would watch again. I think a screen version done really well can lead me to a book and in this case that’s how it worked.

book coverVirgin River series is another set of books I’ve enjoyed and followed through as they were written. I’ve watched most of Season 1 of the onscreen version but fell by the wayside. I know Season 2 is due out soon. I may give it a go, just to see.

book coverThis is a middle grade book I read to my class when I was teaching and we all loved it. Well I gave it five stars anyway! So when I heard there was a movie out for it I wanted to see it. But I never got to the movie theatre for it. However one day it was on TV and I was there for sure. I thought it was done well, held to the spirit and theme of the book and I’d watch it again and re-read the book – I did leave my copy behind in the classroom when I left but can always get another!

book coverLastly one book I read a while back that I don’t remember that well, set around WW2 and  in letter form. I didn’t fall for it as much as many other readers have, but when the movie was on TV I thought I’ll give this a go. I haven’t yet viewed it but have it recorded.  I am anticipating that it will be good and will help me visualise how this all worked out and I suspect and hope it may lead me to re read the book.

So how about you. Is there a screen version that has led you to a book or a book that has led you to the screen version?


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Book Connections

Pre-Internet Authors Still on my Shelves.

The internet opened up a huge number of authors for me. Suddenly there was Amazon and various second hand book stores all over the world I could access books from. I could see via an author board what readers were reading. Facebook and Goodreads hadn’t quite come into my places to go but they soon would.

Here are some authors who still sit on my shelves from pre-internet times.

Jean Auel

book coverThis series started out in the 1980’s and they were in our shops and so accessible to me. I read them all except for the last one which didn’t seem to be that successful. I don’t have this book any longer but three of the later ones I do.


Rosamunde Pilcher.   book cover

Being English all of her books were in our shops as they came out. I picked up Winter Solstice as one of the ones that happen to be on my shelf but I read so many of hers.

Susan Howatch. book cover

Another British author so of course her books were in the shops too. I really got hooked by her Church of England series and followed it right through.


Diana Gabaldonbook cover
An American author but her books were in our shops right from the start so no problem. I started reading this series back then and am waiting for the next book!  The first one here was called Cross Stitch but later on was named Outlander.

Andrew Greeley

book coverI read a number of books by this author, not sure how I came to find out about them. Usually romance and mystery with a Catholic/religious flavour. Haven’t read one for years, should try one to see how I go with them these days.

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Book Connections

Series and Authors I Treasure


As readers we all most likely get hooked into series we love. I have quite a number of them and another day I’ll post some more. Most of them other readers have hooked me into. I’ve just read a post and I’ve ordered #1 in a cozy mystery series from the library. It’s not my wheelhouse of reading but… I just might get hooked.

Outlander Series.

book cover Back in 1994 it all began for me. I was teaching and I can’t remember how I chose this book, but I did. On the staff another teacher was hooked too and we often talked about that Scottish Highlander Jamie. It’s time travel at its very best.

I have read everyone in the series since. Some of them are very long but I’ve loved them, sometimes skipping a few gory parts. There are eight books so far and number nine is in the wings “Go Tell the Bees I am Gone.” This series is outstanding in audiobook form and I have reread some of the books this way as well.

I once went to the city and listened to Diana Gabaldon speak after one of her books came out and she was visiting our country. She was very interesting as a speaker.

The Troubleshooters

book cover The Troubleshooters is fast paced romantic suspense. The characters carry on from book to book, with one character mostly to the forefront.  There are about seventeen main books in this series – I have them all. I want to do a reread at some point.  Navy seals – what’s not to like!

I learned about this series from readers on the Susan Elizabeth Phillips readers’ board before it disbanded and went to Facebook. There were always great recommendations there and I really expanded out into USA authors through  that.

Suzanne Brockmann has moved on to film making I think and no more books in recent years.

Virgin River

book cover Once I was stymied what to read. Nothing satisfied me. I’d read a little online about Virgin River and I thought well I’ll take a chance. This was pre-Kindle days. So I bought a second hand copy I think on the Thriftbooks website. The rest is history. I was hooked and ever after that I bought every one that came out. Mostly via Amazon I think

It’s set in a small town in North West America, and each book explores the lives of new characters while maintaining some of the previous ones. It’s romance with sometimes a little suspense thrown in. Another series I’d happily reread. And I am enjoying the Netflix series of it.

I loved it and since then pretty much have read everything Robyn Carr since.

Shenandoah Album Series

book cover

There are five books in this series and I loved them all. They are what I guess are Women’s Fiction. They explore various issues and have very memorable characters. This series started me on my love of quilting.


I have reread most of them via audiobook which is really excellent via this format as well.

I had discovered Emilie Richards as an author myself by picking up one of her books at a book fair. Not one of this series but it started me on the road of looking out for her books. Now I wouldn’t miss anything she writes.

Pys/Changeling series

book cover The Pay/Changeling series I was slow to take up. I read others comments on the SEP board and was semi tempted. I thought it would be too hot for me. I saw a copy of one of the books in a staff members bag and I asked her about the series. She lent me some of the first ones.

I was hooked. I loved these shape shifters and the mysteries and evil they had to contend with. Nalini Singh has built this world so well. I didn’t think I’d like shape shifter books but this series is just so much fun, plus heart warming and heart reaching.

I am still reading all the new ones now as they come out. I want to do a reread!



So what would be one of your favourite series?

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Written in my Own Heart’s Blood. Diana Gabaldon

Written in my own heart's blood book cover.

Written In My Own Heart’s Blood
Diana Gabaldon
Publisher: Orion Books
Date: June 10th
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 814
Genre:Historical Fiction
Source: Own book
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In June of 1778, the world turns upside-down. The British army withdraws from Philadelphia, George Washington prepares to move from Valley Forge in pursuit, and Jamie Fraser comes back from the dead to discover that his best friend has married Jamie’s wife. The ninth Earl of Ellesmere discovers to his horror that he is in fact the illegitimate son of the newly-resurrected Jamie Fraser (a rebel _and_ a Scottish criminal!) and Jamie’s nephew Ian Murray discovers that his new-found cousin has an eye for Ian’s Quaker betrothed.

Meanwhile, Claire Fraser deals with an asthmatic duke, Benedict Arnold, and the fear that one of her husbands may have murdered the other. And in the 20th century, Jamie and Claire’s daughter Brianna is thinking that things are probably easier in the 18th century: her son has been kidnapped, her husband has disappeared into the past, and she’s facing a vicious criminal with nothing but a stapler in her hand. Fortunately, her daughter has a miniature cricket bat and her mother’s pragmatism.

My thoughts
In the interests of complete disclosure I will just say from the beginning I am a big fan of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series.  Written in My Own Heart’s Blood was everything this fan was waiting for.  I had meant to reread the previous book Echo in the Bone, before I read this one – but you know even though it was over four years since the last one, I was soon back in the world of Claire and Jamie.  I remember at that time being quite distressed that Jem was left in a tunnel – and was going to be there until I could read the next book.  Just one of the cliff hangers that we readers were left with.
I am happy to say this book resolved that little issue!  However because Jem is missing his Dad, Roger has gone off into the past looking for him and ends up in a time that was just a little freaky – and with a surprise meeting with someone he never expected to meet.  Meanwhile Brianna is beside herself with worry for the safety of herself and her children.  
Meantime back in America in 1778 when the British Army are withdrawing from Philadelphia, there is the reuniting of Claire with Jamie, and as you can imagine he is not impressed with John Grey’s marriage with Claire. He takes a very Jamie approach to the matter!  William as well is not coping well with the revelation that his actual birth father is Jamie.  It has devastated him.  William’s story was not resolved by the end of the book and it will be interesting to see where this goes.  I loved his care for two camp followers.
The setting in war torn Philadelphia is very real, I love how Diana Gabaldon has little facts and descriptions that are so real.  I am not that well acquainted with this time in history and I found myself jumping on line to search out information on this general and that one and how some traitors were involved. 
When I am reading one of these books I find my surroundings fade into the background, I feel like I am there, the sensory details, the characters, the dialogue – all combine to make this so real.  This book doesn’t have too much violence – that is in comparison to a couple of the others in the series. However where there is a Jamie and Ian, life is not going to be calm and easy going, there are a few parts where I shuddered.  
I felt rather satisfied by how everything worked out, I have to say I didn’t feel left hanging on a hook, like I did at the finish of the last one.  All my favourite characters ended up in my favourite setting – and theirs.  The last scene in the book brought a catch to my heart.  I am sure there is more to be told, but I can wait until about 2018 or 2019, when hopefully the next one will be published.
10 stars
War/Military fiction – American War of Independence

The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel

Book Cover of The Exile by Diana Gabaldon

The Exile
Diana Gabaldon
Illustrator: Hoang Nguyen
Publisher:Del Rey. Ballantine Books
Date: 2010
Format: Graphic Novel
Pages: 224
Genre: Historical Fiction/Time Travel
Source: Own book

After too long an absence, Jamie Fraser is coming home to Scotland—but not without great trepidation. Though his beloved godfather, Murtagh, promised Jamie’s late parents he’d watch over their brash son, making good on that vow will be no easy task. There’s already a fat bounty on the young exile’s head, courtesy of Captain Black Jack Randall, the sadistic British officer who’s crossed paths—and swords—with Jamie in the past. And in the court of the mighty MacKenzie clan, Jamie is a pawn in the power struggle between his uncles: aging chieftain Colum, who demands his nephew’s loyalty—or his life—and Dougal, war chieftain of Clan MacKenzie, who’d sooner see Jamie put to the sword than anointed Colum’s heir.

And then there is Claire Randall—mysterious, beautiful, and strong-willed, who appears in Jamie’s life to stir his  compassion . . . and arouse his desire.But even as Jamie’s heart draws him to Claire, Murtagh is certain she’s been sent by the Old Ones, and Captain Randall accuses her of being a spy. Claire clearly has something to hide, though Jamie can’t believe she could pose him any danger. Still, he knows she is torn between two choices—a life with him, and whatever it is that draws her thoughts so often elsewhere.

My thoughts
Before I began, I happened to look at some of the reviews on Goodreads – very mixed and some very low. Oh no, I thought to myself.  However this book had cost me quite a bit – hardback, had been sitting on my shelf for a few years now, and lastly I am a diehard fan of the Outlander series.  I also needed to read a graphic novel for a challenge and this one fit right into that category.

The story itself covers the first part of the novel Outlander or Cross Stitch as it was titled when I read it back in 1994.  It is a long time since I read this novel, although I have listened to the audio as well for most of the books.  I really liked this version, it refreshed my mind about the characters and plot line right back at the beginning.

I thought the artwork was superb, and I was fascinated with the pieces at the beginning and end of the book, that detailed why Diana Gabaldon had tried a graphic novel, and the communication that went backwards and forwards between her and the artist.  In short, I was not disappointed.  I loved it.

It made me think of the TV series that is being made at present.  I am not sure that we will see it down here in New Zealand.  Diana Gabaldon has a huge fan base here, but our TV buyers are rather stingy.  I can hope that a DVD version will come in the Pal Zone 4 version, or that it will downloadable in some way.
                                                       5 stars