December 31, 2012

Review: Be Still by Tania L. Ramos

When Jack learns he is dying, he attempts to restore the relationship with his son. As Jack struggles with living, an unlikely friendship forms between self-proclaimed archenemies, Travis and Jack's close friend, Dr. Amity. After a serious accident, Travis finds he must make the harsh decision whether his father will survive on life support or be taken off and left to die. Meanwhile, Jack is thrust into an enchanted world somewhere between life and death where he is reunited with his dead wife and daughter—but not everything is as spectacular as it seems.

This emotional story follows the journey between a son seeking the truth and resolution from an absent father before it’s too late, and a father caught between living and dying, who must mend relationships on both sides while confronting his own guilty demons.

My Thoughts:
I was super exited to read this one because I went to elementary school with the author. Be still is kind of two stories in one. It's the story of Jack's son Travis making peace with his father before his death and the story of Jack in the "in-between" while he's on life support.

I enjoyed both stories but Travis' drama seemed to drag on too far at the end. The resolution seemed like it would have been more natural if it happened earlier in the book. I was really sucked into the beginning of the story but lost a bit of steam finishing the end. Jack's part of the story was a lot more engaging.

I also loved the elements of supernatural. They were well done and not over the top. Overall the book is very well written with beautiful descriptions. 

My Recommendation:
I recommend this one for anyone who loves a good contemporary romance.

December 19, 2012

Review: The Journey by John A. Heldt


Seattle, 2010. When her entrepreneur husband dies in an accident, Michelle Preston Richardson, 48, finds herself childless and directionless. She yearns for the simpler days of her youth, before she followed her high school sweetheart down a road that led to limitless riches but little fulfillment, and jumps at a chance to reconnect with her past at a class reunion. But when Michelle returns to Unionville, Oregon, and joins three classmates on a spur-of-the-moment tour of an abandoned mansion, she gets more than she asked for. She enters a mysterious room and is thrown back to 1979.

Distraught and destitute, Michelle finds a job as a secretary at Unionville High, where she guides her spirited younger self, Shelly Preston, and childhood friends through their tumultuous senior year. Along the way, she meets widowed teacher Robert Land and finds the love and happiness she had always sought. But that happiness is threatened when history intervenes and Michelle must act quickly to save those she loves from deadly fates. Filled with humor and heartbreak, THE JOURNEY gives new meaning to friendship, courage, and commitment as it follows an unfulfilled soul through her second shot at life

My Thoughts:
In June of this year I read book one in the Northwest Passage series, The Mine (read my review), and loved it. I thought the writing in The Mine was a bit choppy at first but none of that was evident in The Journey. From page one the writing flowed smoothly and the story was well paced.

I'm sure that most of us have said "what if" at some point in their lives. I've never regretted becoming a mom at fifteen but occasionally I've wondered what I would be doing today if I didn't get pregnant when I did. In The Journey, Michelle Richardson gets that chance and uses her knowledge of the future to steer her younger self, Shelly, onto a much different path. I don't agree with some of Michelle's choices 100% but I can see why the author chose to let things play out the way they did. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the characters and felt a connection with most of them. The ending was pretty shocking but I loved it!

If you've read The Mine, you'll also notice a small cameo in The Journey by the lead character Joel, which I thought that was awesome.

My Recommendation:
Overall this was a great read and I highly recommend it for anyone who loves romance with just a hint of suspense.

December 9, 2012

Review: Double Blind: A Novel by Brandilyn Collins

Twenty-nine-year-old Lisa Newberry can barely make it through the day. Suddenly widowed and a survivor of a near-fatal attack, she is wracked with grief and despair. Then she hears of a medical trial for a tiny brain chip that emits electrical pulses to heal severe depression. At rope’s end, Lisa offers herself as a candidate. 

When she receives her letter of acceptance for the trial, Lisa is at first hopeful. But—brain surgery. Can she really go through with that? What if she receives only the placebo?

What if something far worse goes wrong?

Written in the relentless style for which Brandilyn Collins is known, Double Blind is a psychological thriller with mind-bending twists. Lisa faces choices that drive her to the brink, and one wrong move could cost the lives of many.

My Thoughts: 
Double Blind is a unique suspense read. The premise is a technology that I truly believe is plausible in the near future and the suspense was perfectly spaced. The only reason why I didn't rate the book 5 stars is because the ending was a little bit of a let down. The motive behind everything was weak for such a strong plot line. 

I also liked the way the Christian elements are worked into the book. It's not too over the top or pushy so that if you're not a Christian the book is still enjoyable. 

My Recommendation: 
I recommend this one for anyone who loves suspense. 

November 28, 2012

Review: Darklandia by T.S. Welti

Manhattan, 2147

Seventeen-year-old Sera Fisk gleefully celebrates the death of her 114-year-old great-grandmother, the last Atraxian alive who still remembers what New York was like before Felicity.

There is only one principle of Felicity: Suffering is optional. Those who disagree or forget this principle, as Sera's father did, are detained and "purified". Through the use of the Darklandia virtual reality and mandatory water rations, the Department of Felicity has transformed metropolises all over the country into happy, obedient communities.

Inspired by her great-grandmother's last words, Sera stops drinking the water rations and is soon recruited by Nyx into a rebel organization in the midst of planning a full-scale attack on Darklandia. When Nyx attempts to override the Darklandia system, he stumbles upon shocking information about Sera and her family. After years of living in a haze of virtual reality and drugs, Sera finds herself running from a powerful surge of raw emotions and a government agency intent on keeping reality a secret.

My Thoughts:
In my opinion the book started out kind of sketchy. The action just started up with no buildup or character development but once I had a clear idea of what was going on and who the main players were I quickly got sucked into the story.

The future laid out in the book is very realistic. In most dystopian stories I find the trajedy of the future a little hard to swallow but the Felicity way of life actually seems like a possibility to me. That alone made the book a bit more enjoyable than other dystopian novels I've read.

I've seen a few reviews that has people genuinly upset over the ending but I actually enjoyed it. It made me want to go back to the beginning to see If I missed any of the signs.

My Recommendation:
I recommend this one for all dystopian readers.

November 18, 2012

Review: Devil's Gate: A Kane Pryce Novel by F. J. Lennon

Some places are doomed to be haunted . . .

Twenty-eight-year-old Kane Pryce used to have one of the strangest jobs in the world—capturing and exorcising spirits from people’s lives. After the stress of the job finally got to him, he left ghost hunting and has been busy reinventing himself as the lead guitarist of a band on the brink of success. But it isn’t long before Kane is asked to investigate a case involving Pasadena’s infamous Suicide Bridge, and gets sucked back into the supernatural realm. A mysterious force is luring hopeless victims to their death off the bridge, and Kane must discover what power is keeping the lost souls trapped there.

As Kane uncovers the sinister, deadly secrets of the bridge, he spirals into the dangerous, shadowy world of the occult—the seedy underground world of the Hollywood music scene, tumultuous romances, and maddening journeys into the shattered minds of suicide victims. With the Soul Trap as his only defense, Kane must combat evil supernatural forces on a spiritual battlefield, a place between life and death, where the fate of his own soul hangs in the balance.

My Thoughts: 
In 2010 I read the first book in the Kane Pryce series, Soul Trapper (my review), and absolutely loved it. I couldn't wait to read this next installment and it didn't disappoint.  Lennon weaves a real bridge in Pasadena, California and some if it's urban legends into the story (read a bit about the real bridge here) which makes it the perfect place for Kane's next foray into the supernatural underworld. Growing up in Los Angeles made this book all too real for me. I've driven over the bridge in the story and have been in many of the locations mentioned. That made the book a fun read in addition to the engaging storyline. 

Again you can't help but think of Kane as a lovable loser. This time around he's on the brink of stardom  but working on this soul trapping case just might end his dream before it begins. Eva, his love interest in Soul Trapper is still around despite the way things ended and Kane alternates between trying to win her back and alienating her for good. The rest of the characters in the book bring so much life to the story and I loved every one of the (demons excluded LOL).


Devil's Gate is an incredible suspense read that I highly recommend but if you haven't read Soul Trapper, start there so you don't miss any part of this amazing series!

October 10, 2012

Review: Death of a Neighborhood Witch by Laura Levine

Halloween is just around the corner, and between cauldrons of candy and a deliciously cute new neighbour, Jaine Austen is struggling to resist her sweet tooth. But this year, her once humdrum neighbourhood seems to be handing out more tricks than treats...

When her faithful feline Prozac unwittingly scares to death a parakeet belonging to the neighbourhood's resident curmudgeon, Jaine finds herself knee-deep in toil and trouble. The cantankerous Hollywood has-been once played the part of Cryptessa Muldoon, television's fourth most famous monster mom. Now a bitter, paranoid old dame, Cryptessa spends her days making enemies with everyone on the street, and accidental bird killer Jaine is no exception. 

So when the ornery D-lister is murdered with her own Do Not Trespass sign on Halloween night, the neighbourhood fills with relief - and possible culprits. With a killer on the loose, Jaine hardly has time to fall under the spell of her yummy new neighbour Peter. 

As the prime suspect, she summons her sleuthing skills to clear her name and soon discovers that everyone has a few skeletons in their closets - and the motives for murder are endless. Could it have been Cryptessa's next door neighbours, the barracuda husband and wife realtors whose landscaping Cryptessa had bulldozed? Or the seemingly sweet old lady whose beloved dog was the object of Cryptessa's wrath? Or perhaps the crotchety actress was done in by her own nephew in a desperate attempt to get his hands on her money? As the masks come off, Jaine's search for sweet justice turns up more questions than answers. 

And just when she thought nothing could be scarier than her run-in with a tortuous Tummy Tamer, she closes in on the killer and learns the true meaning of grave danger...

My Thoughts: 
Death of a Neighborhood Witch is book eleven in the Jaine Austen Series. I've only read one other book in the series, Killing Bridezilla (my review) and didn't feel as if I was missing anything. It's so fun to read a clean and innocent cozy mystery every now and then and this one fits the bill.

Jaine is hilarious and the many different ways she justifies her over-eating and snack habit makes me giggle.  When you add in the many side characters like her gay neighbor who competes with Jaine for the hot guy that just moved in down the block, the busy-body across the street and Jaine's own snarky cat you get a well written murder mystery.

If there was any down-side to the book it was the fact that Janie was a suspect in Cryptessa's murder but didn't seem too worried about it. That kind of stayed in the back of my mind throughout the book and I just wish it was addressed differently. Other that that it was a great light read.

I recommend this for anyone who loves a well written cozy with fun side characters.

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October 7, 2012

Review: The Devil's Fan Club By Mark Kirkbride

Twisted twins meet a man at a nightclub who tempts them with the prospect of joining a criminal circle – yet there’s a catch.

Seventeen-year-old twins James and Louise meet enigmatic Nick at Hell nightspot. He's been questioned by police in the hunt for the serial killer terrorising West London and they suspect it is him. But he appeals to their rebellious natures by tempting them with the prospect of joining a secret society, the Devil’s Fan Club, and they are ripe for corruption. So even when they learn that members must commit a crime and theirs is the ultimate one, they are enthralled. Half-believing they’ve met him, they go over to the Devil’s camp. And rather than trying to catch a killer, they cover for one.

Yet while they yearn to join Nick’s club, the task is too dreadful to complete. The killer gets closer. And James fears Louise will be next.

But sometimes the most fertile breeding ground for evil is innocence...

Uncompromising, dark, irreverent, psychological thriller The Devil’s Fan Club taps into the midbrain, and stays there.

My Thoughts: The Devil's Fan Club is the perfect book to read around the Halloween season. It's seriously creepy. Not a scary horror book but a supremely devious book that makes your skin crawl.

This story centers around an extremely disturbed family. You've got the perfect storm living under one roof. There are the dysfunctional parents, a younger daughter that talks to an imaginary friend, a pretty and young nanny and the above mentioned twisted twins.

The story that follows weaves the characters in and around each other in the most diabolical ways with an ending that fits the story to a tee. Bravo Kirkbride!

Recommendation: I recommend this for anyone who loves a good psychological thriller.

October 3, 2012

Review: The Ruins of Lace by Iris Anthony


Lace is a thing like hope.

It is beauty; it is grace.

It was never meant to destroy so many lives.

The mad passion for forbidden lace has infiltrated France, pulling soldier and courtier into its web. For those who want the best, Flemish lace is the only choice, an exquisite perfection of thread and air. For those who want something they don't have, Flemish lace can buy almost anything-or anyone.

For Lisette, lace begins her downfall, and the only way to atone for her sins is to outwit the noble who know demands an impossible length of it. To fail means certain destruction. But for Katharina, lace is her salvation. It is who she is; it is what she does. If she cannot make this stunning tempest of threads, a dreaded fate awaits.

A taut, mesmerizing story, The Ruins of Lace explores the intricate tangle of fleeting beauty, mad obsession, and ephemeral hope.

My Thoughts:

The Ruins of Lace immediately captured my attention. The story is set in 16th-century France when lace was banned and follows the story of seven characters who were affected by it. Just from reading the blurb I was intrigued and the book did not disappoint. Anthony's well researched storyline pulled me in from the very beginning and I became so caught up in the story that I googled the banning of lace so I could read more about the real events regarding the ban.

I had strong feelings, both good and bad, towards several characters in the book. You know when a book makes you hate a character so much the author has done an amazing job.

I do have to admit the book has a very surprising ending though. I can't figure out if there will be a sequel or if the author just left those threads hanging for the reader to draw their own conclusions but I can honestly say that I hope it's the former.


I recommend this one for anyone who loves fully researched historical fiction.


September 24, 2012

Review: Charlie's Trips by Jack Felson

Product Description: A tornado sweeps through an area of the deep Midwest and takes away a teenage soldier, Charlie Bradshaw, who's hurled into space-time and ends up 21years later, on the West Coast, off San Francisco. He's found on a beach, alive but unconscious. As he emerges from a 2-day coma, he has a vision and prediction: another disaster, a big earthquake. But he doesn't know he's on TV camera. He doesn't know either that his memory has gone 'reverse'. There are many other things he's still unaware of...

Written in a straight, very cinematic style, "Charlie's Trips" is an insolent tale of science-fiction that plays with several literary and cinematic myths (notably "The Wizard of Oz") as it introduces us to a new kind of hero: an 'amnesic psychic', able to see into the future when he lost his past. As it also asks us this question: is it possible to live in 'reverse' mode?

My Thoughts: Initially I was a little disturbed by how young Charlie was and thought it was way too unrealistic that he was in the military at the age of 16. I wondered why the author didn't make the character just a couple of years older to make the story more realistic but when the rest of the story unfolded I could see the reasons behind the author's decision to make him so young.

I really enjoyed the storyline and turn of events however I didn't rate the book higher because the writing didn't flow very well in my opinion. It was a bit choppy and the dialogue seemed very forced in some instances. Also the ending was just a bit too abrupt. I actually thought some of the book just got chopped off of the ebook version I was reading instead of leaving a cliff hanger.

My Recommendation: I recommend Charlie's Trips for anyone who loves sci-fi but I'd possbly wait for the next book in the series so it's a seamless read instead of being left wondering if the book is really over.

September 5, 2012

Review: Painting by Numbers by Tom Gillespie

Day after day, Jacob Boyce – faltering academic and failing husband – visits a 17th century allegorical painting which hangs in a Glasgow art gallery. By using a series of measurements and calculations, he attempts to create a mathematical theory that will decipher the code locked into its canvas.

As more of the painting’s hidden secrets are revealed, and he meets a mysterious young woman, Jacob’s life spirals into chaos.

The object of his obsession has begun to move.

Painting by Numbers is a dark, surreal thriller that follows one man’s relentless pursuit into an old truth buried deep within.

My Thoughts:

Have you ever read a book that makes you want to read it all over again once you get through to the end? Painting by Numbers is just such a book. I read the last page and I immediately wanted to start over again so I can see if there was anything that pointed to the shocking ending.

From the opening scene I was sucked into the story and was eagerly turning the pages. Jacob is such a tragic character and even though you can see where his downward spiral is heading you can't help but hope that things turn around for him. When they don't your left guessing how he pulls himself out of the mess he's made.

It's been a couple of weeks since I finished Painting by Numbers and the ending still haunts me. I recommend this one for anyone who loves a shocking suspense thriller.

September 3, 2012

Review: The Long Earth by Stephen Baxter & Terry Pratchett

Product Description:

The possibilities are endless. (Just be careful what you wish for. . . .)

1916: The Western Front. Private Percy Blakeney wakes up. He is lying on fresh spring grass. He can hear birdsong and the wind in the leaves. Where have the mud, blood, and blasted landscape of no-man's-land gone? For that matter, where has Percy gone?

2015: Madison, Wisconsin. Police officer Monica Jansson is exploring the burned-out home of a reclusive—some say mad, others allege dangerous—scientist who seems to have vanished. Sifting through the wreckage, Jansson find a curious gadget: a box containing some rudimentary wiring, a three-way switch, and . . . a potato. It is the prototype of an invention that will change the way humankind views the world forever.

My thoughts:

The book synopsis doesn't really explain what the book is all about but in a nutshell it's about the invention of a box that allows anyone to shift into a parallel earth which becomes known as "stepping". The story follows a few characters, the main one being Joshua who actually has the ability to step naturally.

Joshua and a computerized being called Lobsang, set to stepping to find out just how many earths there are and learn more about the different beings who populate these other worlds.

Having only read one other Terry Pratchett book and none from Stephen Baxter I didn't have any expectations other than a great sic-fi read. I was very disappointed with The Long Earth because the story was hard to understand at first and when I finally was able to make sense of the storyline the authors seem to go in too many directions at once. Then when things are finally getting good there isn't any inkling of a climax or resolution to the story, just a weak cliff hanger.

My Recommendation:
Since I am not familiar with either author's works I don't know if being a fan would be a pro or con for reading this book but as a light sci-fi reader can't really recommend The Long Earth as a must-read. I'd save this one for a library read or borrowed from a friend.

August 29, 2012

Review: Dead Anyway by Chris Knopf

One afternoon Arthur Carhcart comes home to find his wife held at gunpoint by an unknown man that forces his wife to provide him with answers to five questions. Once he receives the answers both Arthur and his wife are shot and left for dead. Arthur's wife is killed instantly and although Arthur was shot in the head he lives.

Now Arthur is intent on finding out who killed his wife and why so he convinces the detective on the case to allow him to pretend he was killed and goes on the hunt.

Dead Anyway has a really great premise but unfortunately for me the story line was just too unbelievable. Arthur is a mild mannered market researcher who is dealing with limited functionality from being shot in the head and once he goes on the hunt for the killer he becomes some bad ass that hunts down killers for hire.

It seems like every time there's an obstruction he easily overcomes it even though he can barely handle elementary math. Need money? Purchase a super expensive vintage guitar collection to sell off one by one for money. Need a disguise? Become an expert in costume make-up. Need a way to get someone to talk? Expertly build a diabolical cage with the equipment conveniently available to him. Need a bit of help ? Easily get someone you've just met to abandon her life and become your partner-in-crime. Overall it was just to unrealistic for my tastes and even though there is a good enough cliff hanger to intrigue me I won't be reading the next book in the series.

August 9, 2012

Review: Sex, Murder and a Double Latte by Kyra Davis


When a mystery writer cries bloody murder, everyone blames her overactive imagination . . .

Thriller scribe Sophie Katz is as hard-boiled as a woman who drinks Grande Caramel Brownie Frappuccinos can be. So Sophie knows it's not paranoia or post-divorce, living-alone-again jitters, when she becomes convinced that a crazed reader is sneaking into her apartment to reenact scenes from her books. The police, however, can't tell a good plot from an unmarked grave.

When a filmmaker friend is brutally murdered in the manner of a death scene in one of his movies, Sophie becomes convinced that a copycat killer is on the loose -- and that she's the next target. If she doesn't solve the mystery, her own bestseller will spell out her doom. Cursing her grisly imagination (why, oh, why did she have to pick the ax?), Sophie engages in some real-life gumshoe tactics. The man who swoops in to save her in dark alleys is mysterious new love interest Anatoly Darinsky. Of course, if this were fiction, Anatoly would be her prime suspect . . .

My Thoughts:
Sex, Murder and a Double Latte was my book club's August pick but it has been on my to-read list for a while now. I assumed the book was going to be somewhere along the lines of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series but I was a little disappointed. Sophie and her numerous friends have the potential to be hilarious but the writing just never gets to that level.

There was a huge build up to make you think one person is the murderer but you can see from a mile away that Sophie is wrong and it just seemed forced that she kept on with that line of thinking.

Overall I did enjoy the story and characters but I just wish there was a little more humor. I'm still going to give book two, Passion, Betrayal and Killer Highlights, a try and hope Davis works out the kinks.


I recommend this one as a library read for anyone who likes light, cozy-like mysteries.

August 8, 2012

Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn


Marriage can be a real killer.

One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong.

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River.

Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet? With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.

My Thoughts:

The premise of Gone Girl is somewhat of a "ripped from the headlines" tale. I can easily picture one or two famous husbands in recent years that Nick could have been modeled after. That in itself makes the story believable.

Between Nick's narration and Amy's diary you learn that the marriage wasn't as perfect as it looked to the outside world but then things are shaken up and you're led down a completely different path that I didn't see coming at all. I was on a roller coaster ride thinking one minute that Nick killed Amy and thinking the next minute that she is either still alive or someone else killed her. Flynn is a master at zig zagging through the story while keeping the reader guessing the whole time.

The only reason my review is not 5 stars was the ending. Considering how masterfully crafted the rest of the story is I was severely disappointed by the way the book ended. It's almost as if a different author finished out the last chapter.

My Recommendation:

I recommend this one for anyone who loves the perfect whodunit.

August 5, 2012

Widow's Web by Jennifer Estep

I used to murder people for money, but lately it’s become more of a survival technique.
Once an assassin, always an assassin. So much for being plain old Gin Blanco. With every lowlife in Ashland gunning for me, I don’t need another problem, but a new one has come to town anyway. Salina might seem like a sweet Southern belle, but she’s really a dangerous enemy whose water elemental magic can go head-to-head with my own Ice and Stone power. Salina also has an intimate history with my lover, Owen Grayson, and now that she’s back, she thinks he’s hers for the taking. Salina’s playing a mysterious game that involves a shady local casino owner with a surprising connection to Owen. But they call me the Spider for a reason. I’m going to untangle her deadly scheme, even if it leaves my love affair hanging by a thread.
My Thoughts:
After book six in the Elemental Assassins series, By a Thread, I started to wonder where the series would go now that Gin's nemeis, Mab Monroe, was dead but wonder no more. Estep just shook things up in a surprising way. Once again Gin is kicking ass and taking names but this time we learn that the bad guy isn't always what he seems and Gin makes a new friend however that tenuous friendship causes all sorts of trouble for Gin and someone close to her.
If you've been reading my reviews for any amount of time you might already know that Estep is one of my all time favorite authors. She's published in 3 different genres and I've read all her books and short stories and absolutely love her characters and story lines. With that being said there have been a couple of books that didn't meet my expectation and I even almost gave up on her Mythos Academy YA series but her writing is just so great that she always comes back with another awesome book that brings me back into the fanatic realm. I recommend everything Estep writes and highly recommend this series starting at book one, Spider's Bite, so you don't miss a juicy bloody detail.

July 18, 2012

Review: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Deborah Harkness exploded onto the literary scene with her debut novel, A Discovery of Witches, Book One of the magical All Souls Trilogy and an international publishing phenomenon. The novel introduced Diana Bishop, Oxford scholar and reluctant witch, and the handsome geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont; together they found themselves at the center of a supernatural battle over an enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782.

Now, picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending, Shadow of Night plunges Diana and Matthew into Elizabethan London, a world of spies, subterfuge, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the mysterious School of Night that includes Christopher Marlowe and Walter Raleigh. Here, Diana must locate a witch to tutor her in magic, Matthew is forced to confront a past he thought he had put to rest, and the mystery of Ashmole 782 deepens.

Deborah Harkness has crafted a gripping journey through a world of alchemy, time travel, and magical discoveries, delivering one of the most hotly anticipated novels of the season.

My Thoughts:

I loved A Discovery of Witches (read my review) and was eagerly awaiting Shadow of Night but was a very dissapointed with the story. Diana and Matthew travel back to 1590 to search for Ashmole 782 and to find someone to help Diana get control of and learn how to use her magic more but the story just went off on historical tangents and almost no progress was made in either endevour until the very end. Several famous historical characters were thrown in to make the book more interesting but really I would have appreciated more story line dealing with Diana's magic and the search. The was just too much fluff and not enough meat in this story for me to enjoy this one as much as A Discovery of Witches.

Even with all that being said I'm still interested in reading the final book of this trilogy hoping that we finally get some resolution to the problems Diana and Matthew face.

I wouldn't exactly recommend this one to anyone who hasn't read book one but if you have I'd say to save this one for a library read.

July 11, 2012

Review: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

I'm changing up my review format a bit. Instead of always trying to make up my own synopsis I'm going to provide the book blurb, my thoughts and a recommendation. I'm borrowing this format from one of my favorite authors, Jennifer Estep and changing it up a little.

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

My Thoughts:
Because of the popular HBO series I've been hearing a lot about The Game of Thrones recently but it never really peaked my interest because I'm not a huge fan of historical shows. Then my brother told me that the show was based on the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin and I was quickly searching out more information on the books. I got sucked in so fast that I also and started in on Season 1 of the TV series. 

I instantly got hooked by the book and absolutely fell in love with the Stark family. There are so many wheelings and dealings and shenanigans that it's easy to get caught up in all the madness. I also love that it's very realistic. I don't know if it's very much a secret anymore but some VERY unexpected characters die and it was shocking but fits perfect with the story so you know it had to happen.

The one thing that I didn't enjoy was just my own difficulty with remembering who's who with all the many families and characters. The numerous names were just a little overwhelming but in no way diminished how awesome this book is. I can't wait to devour book two!

As of now I'm on episode 6 of the first season and I have to say that the series follows the book pretty closely and I love the fact that I can now clearly picture the characters in my head as I read.

I recommend this one for anyone who loves powerful historical fiction.