RSS

Monthly Archives: July 2015

A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness

image

Synopsis:

Diana Bishop, of the Salem Bishops, is a scholar of Alchemy. Her research has taken her to Oxford to the Bodleian Library. While studying manuscripts for a key note address, she stumbles upon an enchanted manuscript and breaks the spell keeping the book from prying supernatural eyes. However, Diana has turned her back on magic, so she quickly dismisses the manuscript and returns to her work. She has no idea that breaking the spell cast on the book will now invite all manner of supernatural beings into her life. Mainly one very powerful vampire.

Review:

Where do I start… How about by saying I started this book not knowing it was a romance. I knew there was a romance in the novel but not that it was going to take over the actual plot of the story. 

Second, I was really enjoying the writing and the direction of the story until I started thinking, “I think I’ve read this before.” Well, turns out I have. This author named Stephenie Meyer wrote the same novel. This was literally Twilight for adults. For this reason alone I stopped reading this book. I liked Twilight but I don’t want to read it again.

Third, there are so many “borrowed” ideas in this story that I don’t know what to think about it. People say it reminds them of Anne Rice but that is probably because the lead character is much like Jessie from The Queen of the Damned. There are others but I don’t feel like picking this book apart.

The only reason I gave this book three stars is that the writing itself is quite good. Easy flow, great description,atmospheric. I just wish I hadn’t made the connections to the other works…

Favorite Quotes:

“Sorry, we’ve got ghosts.” 
― Deborah Harkness, A Discovery of Witches

“Are you smelling me?” After yesterday I suspected that my body was giving him all kinds of information I didn’t want him to have.

“Don’t tempt me,” he murmured.” 
― Deborah Harkness, A Discovery of Witches

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed (Albert Einstein)” 
― Deborah Harkness, A Discovery of Witches

“And happiness is always louder than sadness.” 
― Deborah Harkness, A Discovery of Witches

Recommendations:

Twilight – Stephenie Meyer
The Vampire Chronicles – Anne Rice
Goddess of the Sea – P. C. Cast
Dark Witch – Nora Roberts

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

The Blade Itself – Joe Abercrombie

image

Synopsis:

Copied from Goodreads.

Logen Ninefingers, infamous barbarian, has finally run out of luck. Caught in one feud too many, he’s on the verge of becoming a dead barbarian – leaving nothing behind him but bad songs, dead friends, and a lot of happy enemies. 

Nobleman Captain Jezal dan Luthar, dashing officer, and paragon of selfishness, has nothing more dangerous in mind than fleecing his friends at cards and dreaming of glory in the fencing circle. But war is brewing, and on the battlefields of the frozen North they fight by altogether bloodier rules. 

Inquisitor Glokta, cripple turned torturer, would like nothing better than to see Jezal come home in a box. But then Glokta hates everyone: cutting treason out of the Union one confession at a time leaves little room for friendship. His latest trail of corpses may lead him right to the rotten heart of government, if he can stay alive long enough to follow it. 

Enter the wizard, Bayaz. A bald old man with a terrible temper and a pathetic assistant, he could be the First of the Magi, he could be a spectacular fraud, but whatever he is, he’s about to make the lives of Logen, Jezal, and Glotka a whole lot more difficult. 

Murderous conspiracies rise to the surface, old scores are ready to be settled, and the line between hero and villain is sharp enough to draw blood.

Review:
I have waited a few days to give my review, simply because I didn’t know how to write one for this novel. I loved the individual stories in this book but they have, just now, at the end, come together. Therefore, the story actually went nowhere. I know there are two other books, but I was left tossing my hands in the air… And possibly the book.

In this book I also hated most of the characters, but in a good way. Almost every character in the book is one you just can’t stand but are drawn to none the less.

The story rabbit trails in some spots and there are a few unnecessary plot lines (at this point) but all in all it makes for a fantastic read. Just don’t expect to be able to stop after this one book. You will be sorely disappointed.

Favorite Quotes:

“Has it ever occured to you, Master Ninefingers, that a sword is different from other weapons? Axes and maces and so forth are lethal enough, but they hang on the belt like dumb brutes. But a sword…a sword has a voice.
Sheathed it has little to say, to be sure, but you need only put your hand on the hilt and it begins to whisper in your enemy’s ear. A gentle word. A word of caution. Do you hear it?
Now, compare it to the sword half drawn. It speaks louder, does it not? It hisses a dire threat. It makes a deadly promise. Do you hear it?
Now compare it to the sword full drawn. It shouts now, does it not? It screams defiance! It bellows a challenge! Do you hear it?” 
― Joe Abercrombie, The Blade Itself

“But that was civilisation, so far as Logen could tell. People with nothing better to do, dreaming up ways to make easy things difficult.” 
― Joe Abercrombie, The Blade Itself

“Hard words are for fools and cowards.” 
― Joe Abercrombie, The Blade Itself

“History is littered with dead good men.” 
― Joe Abercrombie, The Blade Itself

“Hurray’, shouted Glokta. ‘Porridge again!’He looked over at the motionless Practical. ‘Porridge and honey, better than money, everything’s funny, with porridge and honey!” 
― Joe Abercrombie, The Blade Itself

“It’s hard to stay calm when you’re terrified, helpless, alone, at the mercy of men with no mercy at all.” 
― Joe Abercrombie, The Blade Itself

“Something dug into the Bloody-Nine’s back, but there was no pain. It was a sign. A message in a secret tongue, that only he could understand. It told him where the next dead man was standing.” 
― Joe Abercrombie, The Blade Itself

“There are few men with more blood on their hands than me. None, that I know of.
The Bloody-Nine they call me, my enemies, and there’s a lot of ’em. Always more enemies, and fewer friends.
Blood gets you nothing but more blood.
It follows me now, always, like my shadow, and like my shadow I can never be free of it.
I should never be free of it.
I’ve earned it.
I’ve deserved it.
I’ve sought it out.

Such is my punishment.” 
― Joe Abercrombie, The Blade Itself

Recommendations:

Wizard’s First Rule – Terry Goodkind
The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss
The Black Prism – Brent Weeks
The Way of Kings – Brandon Sanderson

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

How I Approach Reading

I have come to find I approach reading in the same way that I approach food. That may sound odd but hear me out.

I am not a big meat eater. In fact many would go so far as to call me a pseudo-vegetarian. You know, not really one but I mimic their ways often. However, give me a big ole pile of seafood and it will be gone almost instantaneously. Now, red meat I can usually do without but I will get a craving for a big juicy steak every now and then. On that note, my favorite food is stew! I love all the hearty veggies and the hunks of meat thrown in.

How does this apply to the way I read? I LOVE books that have a good solid story line without all the fancy trimmings much like a stew. Give me Stephen R. Lawhead, Charlaine Harris, Kim Harrison and Lilith Saintcrow. If I can put it away in just a few days and still be satisfied with the meat of the story I am truly happy. Now, I am also a seafood eater. While it is no steak, there is still some meat/protein to be had. Sometimes I just want a meaty story without all the decadence of a steak. This is when I reach for Robin Hobb, Sara Douglas, Laurie Halse Anderson, Jennifer McMahon and Dean Koontz. But, as I’ve said before, pseudo-vegetarian. What I gravitate towards are the lighter things, not they they hold that special place in my heart like some of the others do, I just enjoy reading them. The list I have for those authors is so long that I’ll just name a few: Nora Roberts, Amanda Stevens, Richelle Mead, Cate Tiernan, Amanda Hocking, etc. Those are the stories that make me want to keep reading all day. The ones I may get something out of or I may not. Doesn’t matter, it was good for me and I enjoyed it. Then we have the fruit. I love fruit but apparently when it comes to books, the fruit must also make me cry. If I am going to real something sweet it better be heartwarming and all around just adorable, ie Kristin Hannah (She is my go to fruit source… Just saying). Then there is the ever indulgent Nutella. My Nutella (and I promise, this is a food group in my house) are Laurell K. Hamilton, Kresley Cole, Gena Showalter, P. C. Cast, Karen Marie Monning, etc. No, I never jumped on the 50 shades bandwagon nor do I intend to. I like stories. All I’m going to say about that.

Now, let’s get to the steak. I know I said I’m not much of a red meat eater but it is generally because of the way it makes me feel. It is so heavy that after I eat it I need a nap… Or a belly rub… Something. It makes me lag that day and the next. It sits on my belly and weighs me down. Also, the gristle. Its impossible to chew and it gets stuck in your teeth and you always have to spit it out. Keep in mind, I didn’t say I didn’t like the taste. In fact a good steak is hard to beat… Or even a good burger for that matter. My red meats are Terry Goodkind, Patrick Rothfuss, Terry Brooks, Brandon Sanderson, Joe Abercrombie, Anne McCaffery, and the list goes on.

These are the books that give me a hangover. They are SO good it is hard to move on from them. They leave you thinking and they keep you wondering. They are so full of underlying plot you are still left rifling through it days later. You tackled the beast and now you have to walk away. You’ll come back to it, but some other time. These, however, are the books that you grow on. That you need every once in a while. That my mind craves.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 11, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

image

Summary:

A young boy named Daniel is living in a post Spanish Civil War Barcelona with his antique book dealer father. His mother has recently passed and he finds solace in the books he clings to. That is until he comes across a novel written by Julian Carax. The book moves him and touches him so deeply that he sets out in search of the rest of his works only to find out that they have been destroyed. Daniel quickly gets sucked in to Carax’s dark past.

Review:

I wanted to love this book. I am so sad to say that the only thing I enjoyed were the ridiculous statements made by Fermin. At least they made me laugh. 250 pages and where is the plot? I read this novel for my Gothic Novel Book Club and I’ll be completely honest, this is not what I consider Gothic. At best it is a poor substitution. Superfluous and pedantic are the two best words I can come up with to describe Zafon’s writing. This book just was not for me.

Favorite Quotes:

“Fools talk, cowards are silent, wise men listen.” 
― Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

“Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens.” 
― Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

“Once, in my father’s bookshop, I heard a regular customer say that few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart. Those first images, the echo of words we think we have left behind, accompany us throughout our lives and sculpt a palace in our memory to which, sooner or later—no matter how many books we read, how many worlds we discover, or how much we learn or forget—we will return.” 
― Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

“Never trust anyone, Daniel, especially the people you admire. Those are the ones who will make you suffer the worst blows.” 
― Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

“Destiny is usually just around the corner. Like a thief, a hooker, or a lottery vendor: its three most common personifications. But what destiny does not do is home visits. You have to go for it.” 
― Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

“Bea says that the art of reading is slowly dying, that it’s an intimate ritual, that a book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us, that when we read, we do it with all our heart and mind, and great readers are becoming more scarce by the day.” 
― Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

“There are few reasons for telling the truth, but for lying the number is infinite.” 
― Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

“Presents are made for the pleasure of who gives them, not the merits of who receives them.” 
― Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

“. . .sometimes one feels freer speaking to a stranger than to people one knows. Why is that?”
“Probably because a stranger sees us the way we are, not as he wishes to think we are.” 
― Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

Recommendations:

Inkheart – Cornelia Funke
(Only thing I have read that is similar)

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Blood Song – Anthony Ryan

image

Synopsis:

Vaelin Al Sorna has destiny written in his stars. From the ripe young age of ten his path is laid before him when his father, Battlelord of the Unified Realm, drops him at the doors of the Sixth Order. The Order teaches him battle skills and places boys in his life he comes to know as brothers. But there is something different about Vaelin. He has a keen understanding of Battle, so much so that he becomes even more infuriated that his legacy as Battlelord won’t be realized. However, Vaelin will blaze his own path and become a name for himself beyond what anyone could have anticipated.

Review:

How do you write a review for a book that instantly became your favorite? I am completely in love with this book. I began reading fantasy not too long ago and I have come across some gems but this one takes the cake. Without being superfluous or pedantic Ryan is able to weave a truly great tale of adventure, war, and destiny. I have blazed through this and the second novel and can’t wait to pick up the third.

Favorite Quotes:

“When he visited the stables he found Spit also had a welcome waiting. It lasted a full two minutes and Master Rensial stated confidently it was the longest fart he had ever heard a horse produce.” – Anthony Ryan, Blood Song

“I’ll fight but I won’t murder. His boyhood resolve coming back to him, the promise he had made to himself after saving them in the wild. I’ll kill men who face me in battle but I won’t take the sword to innocents. It felt hollow now, so naive.” – Anthony Ryan, Blood Song

“A fool is any man who doesn’t think he is a fool.” – Anthony Ryan, Blood Song

Recommendations:

The Blade Itself – Joe Abercrombie
Mistborn – Brandon Sanderson
The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss
Wizard’s First Rule – Terry Goodkind

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Eye of the World – Robert Jordan

image

Synopsis:

Copied from Goodreads.com

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

Review:

OK, there is a reason I copied the synopsis this time. After 800 pages, I still don’t know what the story was supposed to be about. I like adventure stories just as much as any fantasy fan but I was SO underwhelmed with this novel. There is really no more to say…

Favorite Quotes:

“Violence harms the one who does it as much as the one who receives it. You could cut down a tree with an axe. The axe does violence to the tree, and escapes unharmed. Is that how you see it? Wood is soft compared to steel, but the sharp steel is dulled as it chops, and the sap of the tree will rust and pit it. The mighty axe does violence to the helpless tree, and is harmed by it. So it is with men, though the harm is in the spirit.” 
― Robert Jordan, The Eye of the World

“She’s not for you, nor you for her; at least, not in the way you both want.” 
― Robert Jordan, The Eye of the World

Recommendations:

Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin
The Way of Kings – Brandon Sanderson
Wizard’s First Rule – Terry Goodkind
The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 4, 2015 in Uncategorized