Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Review: A Discovery Of Witches and Wishlist Wednesday

Happy Wednesday my little book elves!

I really want to get straight on to the review, so not a lot of prefacing today!

Though, I do want to say that because I was so excited about posting this review up, I went ahead and decided to skip MY Wednesday Wishlist post today in favor of the review.

However, I will still participate in Pen to Paper's "Wishlist Wednesday" below.

Enough chatter! Review!

REVIEW:
A Discovery of Witches
by Deborah Harkness
      
Title: A Discovery Of Witches
Author:  Deborah Harkness
Genre: Modern Paranormal
Publication:   2011
Pages:   579

Synopsis:
 

A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.

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.


I picked up this book and read a few pages. Then I put it down. I left it for a long time, and it waited for me patiently. I picked it up again. I read a few more pages. Then I put it down again and left it for a long time. Still, it waited.

Finally one day I picked it up and when I began to read I just couldn't stop. It stayed by my side for days, happily keeping me company during break-time and keeping me awake at night. The book had me in its grasp. Finally, at the halfway mark, I couldn't bear the little-by-little anymore and I spent 6 happy hours finishing up the read.

I honestly wish I could tell you that I will be able to even begin to give this book the review it deserves. It has been a long...oh so long... time since I have fallen so absolutely head over heels in love with a book. 



It took me 5 books into the series to love Sookie Stackhouse as devoutly as I do now. 



Cinder was great and is surely one of my recent favorites, but it didn't rock my world. 



The last time I remember feeling this strongly about a book was Harry Potter, and you fans out there know what that feeling is like. 



The tingling in your fingers when you feel the weight of the work in your hands. You flex your toes in anticipation when you open the pages back to your marker (the one you put in when the world got in the way). Other than the necessities, such as breathing, you avoid all other involvement with life just so you can finish the unfathomably spectacular literary journey you've embarked on.

*sigh*



Diana is a 30-something witch. We're speaking literally here. The woman is brilliant (it really helps that the AUTHOR is brilliant because the intelligence really translates), of decent good looks, and of a mind set that includes "I am queen over my own life, body, and mind".

She's a human-wanna-be. She won't use her magic. Period. She wants a normal life with no magical ties. Why? Because her parents were brutally murdered when she was 7 years old, and she grew knowing that magic was the reason they were taken from her.

So she contents herself with the dull routines of life, throwing herself into academics to become a professor of alchemical history.

But, oops! Diana is exceptionally powerful, and she's leaking magic. And... another big oops here... she unwittingly calls up a manuscript that hasn't been seen in hundreds of years that is said to hold the key to "creature" creation. Think The Origin of Species for paranormal beings.

Now everyone's eyes are on her, including those of a handsome, ancient, vampire named Matthew.

Matthew's got a few things going for him (okay, try everything) but he's SOL in love. When he joins the band to meet Diana and find out about the Manuscript he ends up with more than he bargained for in the feelings department.

Now they're on a quest to get their hands on the manuscript before anyone else and they've got an army from all sides after them because of their involvement with each other. Apparently Witches and Vampires are never supposed to mix. It's socially taboo.

This book is full of history, random/obscure knoweldge about pretty much everything, a fantastic romance, a great moral about love crossing all boundaries, and finally a masterfully developed plot line that keeps you turning the pages.

The characters are colorful and tangible. In the nearly 600 pages of this book, the reader will REALLY get to know Diana, Matthew, and the slew of family and friends that gather to stand up for them against the face of an impossible enemy... prejudice. 


I found myself reading and rereading the paragrahps because there was so much going on in each and every little exchange. Gobs of information is present in pretty much every corner of the story and the exchanges between characters are often so erudite that I have to take a moment to absorb everything being said. 


That, however, is not a negative to this work. The presentation of all of this information doesn't make the author come off pretentious at all. I get involved in the learning, and the knowing, and the discovering the story through references to historical figures that I had no idea existed.

The philosophy and psychology in this book are also phenomenal. "Group Think" is touched upon, along with the concept of ancient laws still governing modern people-groups.

This would be such an incredible book for a book-club, especially one that is very discussion oriented because I believe that there's a lot there in the work that can't be drawn out just from reading it to yourself. I wish I had the opportunity to really sit down with another reader and hash out all of the intricacies of this work. 


It may have vampires and witches in it.... and it may contain a lot of the romance novel aspects... but GEEZ is it a treasure trove of discussion topics!

I desperately adore this book and I'm on the waiting list to get the second book in the trilogy, "Shadow of Night", at my local Library.

Part history book, paranormal field guide, romance, and mystery this book will appeal to a vast number of people.

Maybe you!
Age Group Rating:

There's only one moment in the entire book, a page or two, that might be a little on the rated R side, but nothing graphic. So I would say this book is good for ages 16+.

I HIGHLY recommend "Discovery of Witches" to you and I say...

READ READ READ!!!


 

That's all for today's review, my loves.

Below you'll find "Wishlist Wednesday". As I stated above, I was so anxious to get this review posted that I went ahead and bumped my "Wednesday Wishlist" 5 book post this week. 




* Wishlist Wednesday *
(Pen To Paper)  
I participate in this fantastic little meme hosted by Pen to Paper.

Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop where we will post about one book per week that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added (it's entirely up to you), that we can't wait to get off the wishlist and onto our wonderful shelves.
CURRENTLY my most wished for book on my wishlist is :







Soulless


Title:  Soulless
Author: Gail Carriger
Genre: Historical/Supernatural
Publication: October 1, 2009
Pages: 365

Synopsis:

First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire - and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?



As I said during my last Wednesday Wishlist post... Vampires and soulless women in a steam-punk England? Well, Yes please. I'm especially intrigued over the 'soulless' part, and I can't wait to find out how the author plays that one out. This one seems fun, energetic, and mysterious so I'm all in. 

I've seen this book listed as a wish-list item, or a favorite item on a few other blogs... so I'm really hoping to get my hands on this one soon!


I hope that everyone has a very happy Wednesday!

6 days until Christmas!

Until Next Blog,

Read On!
POST DIVIDER

Review: The Rebel Bride

Hello my dolls! 

The following review is not intended for all audiences. No gory details, but this book was pretty bad and there was a particular reason why,  which I'm going to discuss openly. So if the discussion of forced intimacy bothers you, just skip this one.

ROMANCE  REVIEW
"The Rebel Bride"
Catherine Coulter
      
Title: The Rebel Bride
Author:
 
Catherine Coulter
Genre:
Historical Romance
Publication:
  March 7, 2006
Pages:
  384

Synopsis:
 
THE UNLIKELY YOUNG LADY

Clearly young Lady Katharine Brandon was a beauty, with her rich auburn hair, striking green eyes, flawless face and form. But a beauty was one thing Katharine clearly had no interest in being.

She dressed in a young man's breeches, practiced dueling with pistol and rapier, gambled with cards, defied her father's commands and evaded all suitors.

Imagine Katharine's surprise when the fabulously wealthy, notoriously pleasure-loving , Julien St. Clair, Earl of March, demanded her as his wife. Imagine her dismay when her father asked and received his pricefor yielding her to this man. But no one in all of English society could ever imagine what could happen when a lord who would not be denied and a woman who refused to be mastered turned marriage into a game in which it took far more than love to conquer all ....




 


In general... it was slow, predictable, and aggravating. Not to mention that it is downright offensive to have a the main male character rape his wife... and then that be okay later.

There you go. I think that aside from the fact that it was pretty slow and the story itself wasn't that interesting... I just had a really big problem with how domineering and overpowering the main male role was. It wasn't endearing, he wasn't being overprotective... he actually destroyed his wife emotionally in some grand master plan to get her to love him. Wow.

Not to mention that this woman didn't want to get married in the first place. So now she's been forced into marriage and she's been forced into the marriage bed (okay, might I also add that the husband pretended to be a stranger and ABDUCTED her? So the main female role had NO IDEA what was going on. How is that sexy?)

Oh, and we find out towards the end that that our main character had been raped as a child, but the author makes sure that the "husbands" actions actually help her heal from her past trauma. Uh... What?

I wanted to slap the main male role throughout the entire book.

Ok, but see.. you know what makes EVERYTHING better? A baby. She's pregnant and now the whole world is happy.

Ah, but wait. Because her husband is an ass, she ends up running her horse right into a bush (or something, can't recall) and flies off, causing a miscarriage. ALL OF THIS HAPPENS and the book ends happily with the two goopily in love. Right.  

I guess I just can't get past how unlovable the main male role was. He didn't just posture... he was legitimately a jerk. At least he had the decency in the end to fell bad about his behavior, but I say damage already done.

It's just not believable that a woman could still fall head over heels in love with a man that put her through that kind of misery.

Plus, I don't like the way he yells at her and gets away with that kind of behavior. He's always raising his voice and demanding that she do this or that, and regardless of the fact that she's supposed to be stubborn and strongwilled she still gets jerked around. Bravo for such  an inspiring love story  Ms. Coulter. Bravo indeed.

I haven't read any of Coulter's other books. Honestly, I plan on picking up a few others. I doubt that this woman's Romances became so popular if they were all that bad.

Every author with long series will have one or two duds, surely. So, I cast no judgement on Ms. Coulter as an author. I just didn't like this book very much. Hopefully the next one will change my mind about her writing.



Anyway. I don't recommend this one. Try one of her others, and I will too.



Okay, not the most pleasant of posts today. I just had to rant about this.

Alright. So that was our Tuesday Romance post. I'm not going to keep the Romance reviews confined to just Tuesday but at least you'll know when exactly you can expect one.

Well my love doves! You all have a great Tuesday and come back tomorrow for WEDNESDAY WISHLIST!

Until Next Blog,

Read On!


Auggie-Talk Romance Ratings: 

Soul Mates:
A spectacular romance! A Must Read!


Forever Love:
One of the goodies! Highly Recommend!

Puppy Love:
Enjoyable, but a dime a dozen.
No Chemestry:
A blah read. No spark.

The Dud:
Waste of time. Not Recommended.
POST DIVIDER