Next in the series of #amreading is EMILY ST. JOHN MANDEL.

Emily St. John Mandel

Ms. Mandel is originally from British Columbia but now resides in New York City with her husband. She is the New York Times best-selling author of four novels, including:

  • Last Night in Montreal (2009)
  • The Singer’s Gun (2010)
  • The Lola Quartet (2012), and
  • Station Eleven (2014) [2014 National Book Award Finalist & Winner of the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award]

STATION ELEVEN takes place in a pre and post-apocalyptic setting, but it’s primary focus is on the psychological adaptation of five individuals in separate parts of the world. I am a fan of post-apocalyptic themes and very much enjoyed STATION ELEVEN, but I know this genre is not for everyone. I happened upon the book on my own, but I’m not surprised to find glowing praise from two writers I greatly admire. Perhaps the two authors below will encourage you to give it a try.

“Absolutely extraordinary.” — Erin Morgenstern, author of THE NIGHT CIRCUS

“Even if you think dystopian fiction is not your thing, I urge you to give this marvelous novel a try. . . . [An] emotional and thoughtful story.” — Deborah Harkness, author of the ALL SOULS TRILOGY
Continue reading #amreading: EMILY ST. JOHN MANDEL

#amreading: LAUREN OWEN

The second in the series of #amreading is LAUREN OWEN.

Ms. Owen is a 28-year-old native of Yorkshire with an MA in Victorian Literature. Her debut novel, primarily set in Victorian London, is entitled THE QUICK. It’s been compared to such works as the ALL SOULS TRILOGY (of which I am a hearty fan) by Deborah Harkness who contributed a lovely accolade on the book cover, Erin Morgenstern‘s THE NIGHT CIRCUS (which I absolutely adore) and THE HISTORIAN by Elizabeth Kostova (which I’ve not yet read but have added to my TBR list). Continue reading #amreading: LAUREN OWEN


The first in the series of #AMREADING is Christina McKenna.


Ms. McKenna is a best-selling author from Northern Ireland. I have not yet read her first book, MY MOTHER WORE A YELLOW DRESS; MEMORIES OF AN IRISH CHILDHOOD in which she describes a tumultuous and haunted upbringing. Her real-life experiences, growing up with an oppressive father and a compassionate mother, resonate in her fictional writing, creating a raw and realistic portrayal of life in picturesque County Derry and perilous Belfast during Ireland’s most troublesome times. Ms. McKenna brings each of her characters to life in a way the reader is certain the good folk of Tailorstown actually exist.  Continue reading #amreading: CHRISTINA MCKENNA


Outlander fans are always looking for ways to entertain and amuse themselves during the harrowing dry spells. While we all love pictures of our Jamie and Claire, or just Jamie (admit it), re-reading our favorite series of books by Diana Gabaldon, talking, tweeting and blogging about Outlander, I thought I’d take the opportunity to introduce new novels I’ve recently discovered and authors who I believe deserve more recognition than they are currently receiving.

Many of my readers responded with kind comments to the recommendations I made in Jamie’s last Top 30, so I’m creating a new blog category: #AMREADING. I hope you enjoy the collection of books I propose for your toppling TBR pile. I have a very wide base of interests, but they tend to center around historical fiction and non-fiction for the most part.

However, I do love me a good science fiction novel and have quite a few on my own TBR list. I’ll get to them soon and perhaps do a special SCI-FI #AMREADING post.

When it comes to romance novels, I’m very picky about what I read. I’m not simply looking for steamy sex scenes or gooey romance. I want to laugh. I want to think. I want to care. I want to be surprised even though I know the hero and heroine will end up together eventually. I want to fall in love with them as they fall in love with each other.

Regarding mysteries, I crave a heaping quantity of suspense. I’m not adverse to gore, whether it’s a description of a medical procedure, such as an autopsy, or a serial killer’s fetish, such as – I’d better not say. Not admitting I enjoy the latter, but if it’s written well and conducive to the storyline, I don’t mind at all. I’ll be sure to add the appropriate warning for those of you with a squeamish stomach.

Have no fear. When Outlander ramps back up, I’ll be here to add my own brand of humor to Season 2. Until then, let’s see what discoveries we can make together.

Jamie’s Top 30 Awkward Moments from #Outlander S1 Pt2

How’s everyone surviving the long slump between Outlander seasons? I spent the past few months discovering new stories and fascinating characters by authors with beautiful, sometimes spine-tingling, imaginations. Here’s a brief sampling of my summer findings.

I kicked my reading frenzy off with American Sniper by Chris Kyle and Scott McEwen. It’s an eye-opening account of war and its toll on the soldiers fighting for each other and their country. Amid the descriptions of events we can only ever imagine, the late Mr. Kyle also showed off his sense of humor, creating a well-balanced autobiography. A highly recommended read.

Next, I read an extraordinary, turn-of-the-twentieth-century tale about the sacrifices of love in a world of magic, entitled The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. The ethereal atmosphere and multiple characterizations are vivid and breathtaking. Ms. Morgenstern’s writing enables the reader to be more than a spectator and makes you wish the fictional spectacles could be made real. If you read only one new novel this year, make it The Night Circus.

I also read about the hardships and bravery of two young women  – estranged sisters – during  the Nazi occupation of France in World War II, entitled The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. The concurrent stories are solid, heart-wrenching and historically realistic, but I found the telling to be a bit disjointed in places, as if more than a single writer authored the novel. It’s a compelling look at the war behind the front lines of battle, revealing the desperate and brutal struggle for survival among the civilian population.

Along the way, I discovered a well-established Scottish author who is new to me – Peter May. He has an illustrious career as a storyteller and has written several novels. I am particularly engrossed with The Lewis Trilogy. It follows the contemporary story of a Scottish detective, Fin Lewis, who returns to his childhood home in the Outer Hebrides after a twenty-year absence. The writing is superb, the scenery bleak, the characters broken. Mr. May gives a down-and-dirty look at life in Fin’s small village.

Wonderful books and authors all, but Blake Crouch has kept me enthralled with his suspenseful novels for the last few weeks. I first read the Wayward Pines Trilogy, which was adapted earlier this summer into a single season television series starring Matt Dillon. The show was very good, but the books are great – if you like a mixture of scary, gory, and mysterious. I’ve read several of his other books, but Mr. Crouch’s Andrew Z. Thomas/Luther Kite Series currently has me hooked. If you’re looking for a good ol’ adrenaline-pumping read, any of his books will do.

None of these books seem to have a connection with Outlander, but if you think about it, Outlander is a story about sacrifice, hardship love, war, Scotland, and has a mixture of suspense with a dash of gore. Perhaps I haven’t strayed so far from my favorite series of books by Diana Gabaldon, after all.

I’ll stop yakking now, and get on with it.

During this Outlander dry spell, I decided to whip out the Top 30 and dust it off. Luckily for us – though not so luckily for Jamie – I identified a bounty of awkward moments for Sam Heughan to showcase his acting talents. Hopefully, I can conjure a chuckle or two out of you as you take a stroll down memory lane. Here presented are my choices for Jamie’s Top 30 Awkward Moments from Outlander Season 1, Part 2.

30: Jamie’s Awkward Submission Moment from Ep116: TO RANSOM A MAN’S SOUL – Don’t know if this is awkward so much as devastating. Whatever you call it, it’s the worst moment of Jamie’s life – thus far.


Continue reading Jamie’s Top 30 Awkward Moments from #Outlander S1 Pt2

All Souls Con

For Outlander fans who are also fans of the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness, I decided to share with you the fun I had at the first (fan orchestrated) All Souls Conference held in Beverly Hills on Saturday, September 12. This is not a comprehensive report, by any means. It’s merely a sharing of my favorite moments.

For those who know the series, you can skip this paragraph and the next. I am not a fan of most paranormal-type stories. I have nothing against them, they simply do not hold my interest for the most part. I made an exception when I picked up A Discovery of Witches, the first book in the All Souls Trilogy, because it had received several rave reviews. Yes, it has witches. It has vampires. It has demons. It has magic. It has science. It has history. It has adventure. It has action. It has romance. It has time travel. Continue reading All Souls Con

Outlander at Comic Con San Diego 2015

I’m posting these Comic Con quick-bits for those of you who are not big on social media but love Outlander. Today in San Diego, Executive Producer Ron D. Moore (as Batman above), author Diana Gabaldon (as Darth Diana above), stars Caitriona Balfe (as Princess Leia above) & Sam Heughan (as Jon Snow above), and Co-Executive Producer (and first time panelist) Maril Davis participated in an Outlander panel where they drank whiskey, put on make up and talked about Season 2.

Most disappointing news of the day: No new casting announcements. Thus, we continue the restless Roger Mac and Brianna watch.

Biggest news of the day: Diana Gabaldon is penning at least one episode for Season 2, but does not plan to make another cameo appearance.

Most exciting news of the day: The second half of Outlander Season 1 is currently available for DVD and blu-ray pre-order, due for release on September 29.

Biggest tease of the day: Diana has already written the final scene of the Outlander book series. Yes, die-hard fans already know that, but she revealed today she showed the scene to Ron and Sam.

Courtesy of Flicks and the City, here’s the Comic Con Outlander Q&A panel for your enjoyment:

Continue reading Outlander at Comic Con San Diego 2015

If you have a quirky sense of humor, you and I will get along just fine.

Inverness Outlanders

Inverness fans of the Outlander books and TV series

Terry Dresbach

An 18th Century Life

Outlander Ambassadors

Spread the News and Share the Most Awesome Story Ever Told

Dear Outlander

Love Letters to Outlander


If you have a quirky sense of humor, you and I will get along just fine.

OUTLANDER Italy ~ Il #1 Sito Italiano

If you have a quirky sense of humor, you and I will get along just fine.

Outlander - La serie di Diana Gabaldon

If you have a quirky sense of humor, you and I will get along just fine.

Great Scot!

Cultural Musings of An Outlandish Nature


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