Monthly Archives: May 2014

Book Review: The Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1)

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Author:  Deborah Harkness

Genre: Fiction

Summary: Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism.

Review:  There were things I absolutely loved about this book…and things that I didn’t.

Deborah Harkness has created an interesting world in which there are four species: humans, witches, vampires, and daemons. I loved the way she built this world, along with all the rules and regulations. I also love the magical caste system and the specifics of each species. She has put a unique spin on witches, vampires, daemons, and the way they interact in the world together. That got me hooked right away.

I also loved the female lead character, Diana. I loved that she was a historian and that Deborah really showed you the ins and outs of an alchemical historian. It made me want to get my PhD! The male lead character, Matthew, wasn’t so bad either, if not a bit too stereotypical.

I was on my way to finishing this book in less than a week when suddenly the “romance” novel appeared. The middle of this book is a romance novella. I’m not a romance reader, never have been, but maybe in the future. But not now. So, needless to say, the story seemed to veer away from the tension and the magic and the mystery. All that was sais was “i love yous” and “swoon”. And I had to stop. It wasn’t my cup of tea. (You’ll get that pun later).

Finally, near the end, the romance let up a bit and the tension came back. Not fully, but it did. I’m on the fence about finishing the trilogy. Like I said, Deborah put a great twist on the magical creatures and their rules, and I do love the plot of the story. I just can’t handle the romance stuff…

Recommendation: Borrow from your local library first

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Cheers!

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Book Review: Killer Instinct

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Author:  S.E. Green

Genre: YA Thriller

Summary: She’s not evil, but she has certain… urges.

Lane is a typical teenager. Loving family. Good grades. Afterschool job at the local animal hospital. Martial arts enthusiast. But her secret obsession is studying serial killers. She understands them, knows what makes them tick.

Why?

Because she might be one herself.

Lane channels her dark impulses by hunting criminals—delivering justice when the law fails. The vigilantism stops shy of murder. But with each visceral rush the line of self-control blurs.
And then a young preschool teacher goes missing. Only to return… in parts.
When Lane excitedly gets involved in the hunt for “the Decapitator,” the vicious serial murderer that has come to her hometown, she gets dangerously caught up in a web of lies about her birth dad and her own dark past. And once the Decapitator contacts Lane directly, Lane knows she is no longer invisible or safe. Now she needs to use her unique talents to find the true killer’s identity before she—or someone she loves—becomes the next victim…

Review:  WOW! I couldn’t put this book down. Amazingly written and filled with nonstop action. S.E. Green knows tension. The entire book is full of rising tension, action packed scenes, and a well crafted plot. I have to admit, I was trying to figure out the mystery the entire time. The ending was wonderfully drawn out and had a great twist!

Most thriller’s are action-based, and Killer Instinct is no exception. Lane aka Slim aka the Masked Savior is constantly getting her hands dirty. But Green brings in two more layers. One is Lane’s stream of consciousness. Readers learn about her “urges” as she feels them and as she figures out her own view on them. She is extremely analytical about the whole thing, and very self-controlled. 

The second layer Green brings to this YA thriller is more of a subplot. Though Lane doesn’t have the same emotions as a normal teenage girl, she still has the capacity to feel for others. Readers will see that she is not merely acting on her urges, but acting on her sense of justice. She defends those who can’t defend themselves. She feels more for the innocents or the weak than she does for herself. This caring quality is what gets her stuck in a twisted game of lies, blood, and murder. She must decide whether to accept her inherent urges or to take charge of them.

Recommendation: Get your hands on this ASAP

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Cheers!