Thursday, July 09, 2020

Book Review: The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3)

Author: Deborah Harkness
Publisher: Penguin Books
Release Date: July 15, 2014
Page Count: 561
Chapter Count: 41
Source: Own
Format: Paperback
Read Between: June 23 - June 26, 2020

What did the witches once discover? Why was the secret encoded in a mysterious manuscript called Ashmole 782 and then chased through the centuries by daemons, vampires, and the witches themselves? How can spellbound witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont fulfill their love and their mission, on contested ground and with the weight of their very different histories pulling them apart?

Diana and Matthew time-travel back from Elizabethan London to make a dramatic return to the present - facing new crises and old enemies. At Matthew's ancestral home, Sept-Tours, they reunite with the beloved cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches - with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency.

Opening Sentence:
Ghosts didn't have much substance.

Review:

Warning: There may be Spoilers below!

To be 100% honest, I wanted to love this 3rd book in the All Souls Trilogy. In the end however, It just didn't fully pan out for me. Was it a good book? Yea, it was okay and had it's shining moments. But it also had a lot of parts that fell flat for me. Once more, just like from the second book, I felt like there were a lot of added elements in this book that didn't fully mesh with the characters that had been created from the first book. As well as elements added to other characters (*cough* Gallowglass's love interest *cough*), that really were just not needed. Also the death of a certain character, just didn't really seem necessary for the story building and felt more like it was done just to bring an element of struggle and or heartbreak to the characters to "show" them the real danger they are in for following the path that they are on. Don't get me wrong, I am not opposed to author's killing off characters in a series, as long as that death truly has a purpose and helps to develop the story along, but this death really didn't serve much of a purpose but to just paint the two killers as more of a villain in the book (though this had already been accomplished in the first book).

By the end of the book, I was also no longer a fan of Matthew at the main male character of the book. I can understand keeping secrets, doing shading things, being over protective and "beast-like" towards your mate/significant other, especially when we are reading a book about paranormal creatures. But the way that Ms. Harkness did it with Matthew's character in 'The Book of Life', made Matthew come across as domineering, prick-like, underhanded and over.. untrustworthy. And while I understand that this in a lot of ways may have been done to really show how Matthew's "blood rage" really affected him, I was also not a fan of the whole "blood rage" idea when it was first introduced in the second book as it so clashed with the Matthew that was painted for us in the first book. It just really made it feel like Ms. Harkness did not fully understand all of her characters as she started writing this series and the farther along she got in writing the series, she just threw in other elements to the characters that she liked in the moment or came up with as the story developed that didn't follow along with what had already been established. Honestly, I was wishing for the "second" guy to get the girl, though of course at this point with Diana pregnant with twins this wasn't going to happen. 

I didn't mind the secondary romances that popped up in this book and honestly hope that we get a better look into those romances (beyond the 4th book that I know is out there in the world for Marcus/Phoebe - of which I'd read mixed reviews on as well). Hopefully we get a book for Chris/Miriam (if that pans out) and something for Gallowglass and Fernando and especially Jack. Jack of all the characters in this entire series deserves SO much more happiness then Ms. Harkness has given him so far in this series. 

Overall, though there were 3 main points that frustrated me in this series:

1 - The fact that Benjamin was built up as the "ultimate" villain to Matthew and Diana's happiness outside of the Covenant (that conveniently had a member that was a vampire/witch and descendent of Benjamin *eyeroll*) that Diana brought to their side to fight Benjamin. Why was it written in as such a necessity for them to get the Covenants "okay" to bring him down when they had already went against them in everything else (with them being together and having children together)... They are breaking the other "laws", why not break the others? But okay.. Anyways, my issue is that through the 3rd book, he's shown as the main character and a vampire who they have not been able to find in centuries since he was disowned by the de Clermont's... in within a few characters / days of them looking for him, they are able to track him down to his "lair" with his other children, infiltrate and murder his clan and Diana takes it out like it was nothing....

2 - Diana is all of a sudden a badass with her powers and in full control of them... Um.. did I miss something?? Like yea, she got some training when they were in 1590 in the second book, but by the end of that book when they went back to modern times, she was not in full control and still didn't fully understand her power or her firedrake's power. Also, for all intents and purposes, while she understood what controlled her bound magic (courtesy of her parents), she was still bound... how is a bound witch using all of her power like it's nothing??? I thought this was done to prevent a witch from using their power's ever again and yet... here she is using them. What is it??? Because she is this magical "rare" weaver, she's able to get around that rule. And by the end of the book without going through further training or control of her power, she's using it all to defeat Benjamin like it's nothing.... ummmm....

3 - This is my biggest pet peeve of the entire series.... Where's the end??? Or the over all wrap up...? We went through what was originally a TRILOGY, and at the end... SO MUCH IS LEFT UNANSWERED... What happens to Domenico and Gerbert?? Do they get what is coming for them? What happens to Satu, beyond having her power bound? What happens to the creatures as a whole if the Covenant is no longer in control to confine them from "keeping their distance from other creatures??". Is there a cure or fix for blood rage? What comes of dear, sweet Jack!!! I don't know if Ms. Harkness is planning on wrapping up a lot of things in the 4th book or if the 4th book was even planned as this is stated as a trilogy... But honestly if that is the case... why are you using Marcus/Phoebe's book to answer all these unanswered questions from Matthew/Diana's book? Things should be wrapped up in their storyline, that way the 4th book can focus on the story of Marcus/Phoebe and not on things that should have been wrapped up in the prior 3 books. 

This series wasn't horrible and I've read a lot worse series then this... But honestly I don't feel like the 2nd two books in the trilogy really held up to the promise that the first book painted. Which is rather disappointing. 


Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Teaser Tuesdays (22)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, that used to by MizB of Should Be Reading.
After coming back from blogging in 2012/13, I do not see that the meme is any longer being hosted.
So... I'm going to bring it back!! && host it here!!

 Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a random page
3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page 

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!



My teaser this week is...


Her small, milky eyes rake over me from the top of my head to my toes, and her mouth purses. "I thought it best we speak privately before you go and do something foolish," she says.

~Pg. 135, Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Book Review: Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2)

Author: Deborah Harkness
Publisher: Penguin Books
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Page Count: 577
Chapter Count: 42
Source: Own
Format: Paperback
Read Between: June 20 - June 23, 2020
Buy It: Amazon / B&N 

A Discovery of Witches introduced Diana Bishop, Oxford scholar and reluctant witch, and vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont. Drawn to each other despite long-standing taboos, these two otherworldly beings found themselves at the center of a battle for a lost, enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782. 

Book two of the All Souls trilogy plunges Diana and Matthew into Elizabethan London, a world of spies and subterfuge, and a coterie of Matthew's old friends, the mysterious School of Night. The pair's mission is to find traces of Ashmole 782, but as the et of Matthew's past tightens around them they embark on a very different - and vastly more dangerous - journey.


Opening Sentence:
We arrived in an undignified heap of witch and vampire.

Review:

*Sigh*... What can I say... As much as I really enjoyed reading 'A Discovery of Witches', the first book in the All Souls Trilogy, 'Shadow of Night' the second book in the series, just really was not my favorite. Now, don't get my wrong, there were parts of this book that I did rather enjoy, unfortunately though there were more parts that I really did not like. The biggest misstep for me with this second book in the series is I really did not feel as if it moved the story line along in a fashion that felt genuine to me and it actually worked more for me starting to dislike Matthew's character more then anything. The second reason for them to go to the past besides them hiding was to try and find the manuscript, and it took and yet I was through 2/3's of the book before a real attempt to find the book was even started. Also, I felt like there were a lot of elements that were added to Matthew's character that just really did not mesh with his character that was built up for him in the first book.

The start of the book worked just fine. It made sense for Diana and Matthew to escape to the past and for them to use her ability to time walk as a means for them to hide until she was able to built up her witchy strength and even for them to find some answers about Ashmole 782 that they couldn't find in their present times. It was a lot of events from the middle to the end that I didn't really care for. 

And can I say, from the very beginning I did not like Kit Marlowe, which was rather disappointing as I went into this book thinking I was going to like the addition of his character. On top of that, why the hell did his character remain in the book after the first time that he betrayed his "best friend" Matthew. I understand why he did it, jealousy can be a deadly beast especially when its because of someone you "love". But as a vampire is supposedly so dang possessive of his mate/wife, why then did Matthew allow Kit to keep coming around after thy returned to London? I understand not messing up the time line (which was already being done regardless simply by them being in the past), but this allowed Kit to betray Matthew and Diana twice more, with the each one endangering Diana's life even more with each betrayal. 

By far my favorite characters in this book, at least as new additions were Phillipe, Jack and Gallowglass (ohhh sweet Gallowglass... by the end of the book he was my favorite character of the series). In the section of the book that Diana and Matthew spent in France at Sept-Tours with Phillipe, I did not initially like the over-bearing character of Phillipe and his need for control over his whole family. However, as the book proceeded it became a lot more clear that he was doing what was best for his family and Matthew and making huge sacrifices to keep them safe. No one is perfect, and Phillipe by far has his faults, but in the end he was able to see farther into the future to do what was needed to protect his family, then even Diana or Matthew could (even with the being from the future). Sweet little Jack.. I loved how Diana gave him a chance and brought him into their little fold of a family in London. In his short life he has obviously experienced a lot of hardships and he deserves to finally have some measure of peace. Though I did have a feeling that we will some how be seeing more of Jack in the next book. He has become to entangled and a part of both Diana and Matthew for him to simply die out in the series. && gallant Gallowglass, being so excepting of Diana from the very beginning and trusting of Matthew (even knowing it was a different version of him then the one that it should have been). 

While I understood them being in the past to hide the fact that the majority of the book also excluded the characters of the book that we came to love in the first one was also annoying, especially when the majority of the new characters that were introduced were not that interesting and knowing that they would not be around for the third book (except for a few), made it difficult to get invested in them. By half way through the book I was extremely frustrated with the passing of the book, Diana was supposed to be building up her power as a witch and finding a powerful witch(s) to train her (as well as finding the manuscript) and none of this had even been completed yet. I felt like I learned more about the history of 1590, then the book progressing and more of a story being written. I understand that Ms. Harkness is a historian, but I'm not reading a history book, I'm reading a paranormal romance, that is what I would like to be reading. 

There were good parts to this book and I enjoyed Gallowglass and Jack and look forward to seeing how their characters development in the next book. But unfortunately there were more negatives then positives for me in this second book and by the last 100-150 pages I was just reading to get through the book not for the pleasure of the story. 


Saturday, July 04, 2020

Stacking the Shelves (7)


Is a meme hosted by - Tynga's Reviews & Reading Reality
This is where you can showcase all the book(s) you got over the past week.!.



Happy Fourth of July Everyone!

I hope everyone has had a great day and that in some compacity you were all able to celebrate and enjoy the Holiday. Here in Arizona, where I currently reside, we have been having a spike in the virus over the last several weeks and most of the celebrations for us have been canceled. While I know it can get one down having to be secluded in ones homes, I like the saying "better safe then sorry"! I everyone reading this have been safe while still enjoying the Holiday. But, onto brighter and a much happier top... Below are the beautiful books that I have gotten over the past week.






Look at these beauties that I got! Funny enough though, it wasn't until I was loading these up for the blog post that I realized how dark of the covers are. Not necessarily the stories contained within the pages, but the front covers are definitely dark. But still so beautiful.

I am currently reading 'Serpent & Dove', and am really enjoying it so far. The moment I saw this book on the Goodreads website I was instantly drawn to it and after reading the synopsis about the book, I went and bought it that night from Amazon (along with the other 4). I'm currently on page 100 of about 500+ in the story and have already laughed out loud quite a few times. It is turning out to be a great debut book from writer Shelby Mahurin.

Below I will leave a link for all of the books to their Goodreads page if you would like to read more about them and see further reviews on them. =D

Serpent & Dove
Ash Princess
Sky in the Deep
The Light at the Bottom of the World
A Curse so Dark and Lonely

Stay safe everyone! & have a great day everyone! <3

Friday, July 03, 2020

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



Author: Deborah Harkness
Publisher: Penguin Books
Release Date: February 2011
Page Count: 579
Chapter Count: 43
Source: Own
Format: Paperback
Read Between: June 18 - June 20, 2020

Deep in the heart of Oxford's Bodleian Library, Diana Bishop - a young scholar and the descendant of witches - unearths an enchanted alchemical manuscript. Wanting nothing to do with sorcery, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery has set a fantastical underworld stirring, and soon a horde of daemons, witches, and other creatures descends upon the library. Among them is the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, a vampire with a keen interest in the book. Equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense, A Discovery of Witches is a mesmerizing and addictive tale of passion and obsession that reveals the closely guarded secrets of an enchanted world. 

Opening Sentence: The leather-bound volume was nothing remarkable.

Review:

I was first introduced to the All Souls world via Facebook, crazy enough. I kept scrolling past ads for a TV shows that showed magic (and witches) and kept catching my eye. So I finally downloaded the app and paid the small monthly fee and started watching the show. I binge-watched it in one day. Though, this wasn't necessarily a hard feet as it was only 8 episodes long, but I was hooked. And I wanted to know what else this world had to offer me. What can I say, I've always been a sucker for "forbidden" love stories. I knew going into the TV shows that it was a book series, so after loving the shows, I went on Amazon that night and bought the trilogy box set (much cheaper that way).

Then started the waiting game and twiddling of my thumbs waiting for it to arrive.

A Discover of Witches was my first book back into the world of imagination and the magic of paranormal storytelling since the long hiatus I have taken from reading. The last book I had read was back around 2017 (WAY to long for a lover of books and a person who dreams of being a published author... but unfortunately life can get in the way at times).. Anyways, onto the actual review.

I truly enjoyed A Discovery of Witches and the book (of course) went into so much more depth and explaining of the world, then the TV shows could in 8 episodes. Diana Bishop is a witch that is doing everything she can to deny her heritage and focus all of her energy on her academic career and to a certain point she is doing an amazing job of it (or so she thinks). She has a tragic childhood, like most heroines do, but still has a loving support system in her Aunt (and her partner). While Diana is doing research in Oxford, she happens upon a book that will change the course of her life. It is shortly after the events of her finding this book that we are introduced to Matthew Clairmont (vampire) who over the last several decades has been doing DNA research and trying to figure out something vital to him and all creatures (witches, vampires and daemons). Why is it that all creatures are slowly dying out? And wouldn't you know it, Matthew has been searching for the very book that Diana has just so happened upon, a book that many creatures have been searching for... not just for decades, but for centuries. This "spellbound" manuscript may be the very answer to saving all creatures, but it will only appear for Diana, and she wants nothing to do with it. 

But now that other creatures are aware that the book has finally made a reappearance, some of them are aiming for Diana. Some will try and help her, some will try and force her, but it seems all of them want the book for their own devious reasons and not all of these are for the benefit of other creatures. 

We come to find that the creatures of the All Souls series do not all get along and/or tolerate each other. There are long histories of grievances between "the races" and even laws against them having "inter-creature" relationship's. However as Diana's and Matthew's paths continue to cross and get intermingled with one another, a friendship is forged. Matthew quickly comes to figure out that there is something different about her and her magic and there is something not quite right (besides his desire of her and her blood... I am hello... he is a vampire... falling in love... we all know how vampires love that blood the most). And while Matthew is slowly convincing Diana to trust and work with him, and protecting her from creatures that mean to use her by force, Diana slowly comes to learn that maybe vampires are not the evil creatures that she has always been lead to believe they are. During this road to friendship, and a few funny/exciting/thoughtful outings together (their first time at Yoga being my favorite), Diana and Matthew come to truly trust one another, and then what do you know... a "forbidden" love is born. And the fight to defend themselves, their families and their right to love one another begins. Because their are a lot of powerful creatures out their aiming to tear them apart and to get their hands on the book that can change their world.

Overall this book was a great first book in the All Souls trilogy. It did a great job of introducing the characters, developing the relationships and building of the story, as well as really showing how the connection between Diana and Matthew turned from one of tentative friendship to that of a raging romance. However, I did feel like once they had committed to each other, it went from 20 to 80 all at once. It was like a slap in the face. I know love can be all encompassing and strong, easily in the beginning but this bordered on obsession territory. However, besides this small fact, Deborah Harkness' take on a world of hidden witches, vampires and daemons living upon us was a gem to read. There were similar parallels from other paranormal books I have read, but there was also enough of a difference to make it feel like a whole new world to delve into. There was plenty of action (some of which were heart-wrenching), especially when Diana was captured and tortured by her own fellow witches. As well as introduces to secondary characters that were relatable and helped progress the story along. I came out of this book truly enjoying it and it's characters and looking forward to reading the second book in the series. There were somethings in the book that didn't make a ton of sense and/or could have been improved upon, but they were minor and did not detract from the overall book. 

I would highly recommend getting your hands on this one and getting to know Diana and Matthew, and the world that they live within. And once you complete it, watch the TV series as well. It is definitely well worth the read. 


Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Stacking the Shelves (6)

Is a meme hosted by - Tynga's Reviews
This is where you can showcase all the book(s) you got over the week.



This post will actually encompass the books that I have gotten over the last 2 weeks or so. This is my first post back on this blog since around 2012/2013 and I am extremely excited to be getting back into blogging and the reading community.


All Souls Trilogy


A Court of Thorns & Roses Series






At this time I have finished reading 4 of these books and will be working on getting the Book Reviews up. I am currently reading ACOMAF (in which I kinda ruined the big plot twist in the book and it's making it harder for me to read the book. I need to come to terms with the change, which so far I'm still no okay with, lol). I have some more books that will be arriving tomorrow from Amazon, but I will save those for next week's post. That post will also be back to being posted on Saturday's like Tynga does on her blog.

I hope you have all been well during this crazy time and can not wait to see the books you have all gotten your hands on.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

W.W.W. Wednesdays (44)

W.W.W. Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.
To play simply answer the questions below:

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead. It is the second book in her spin-off series VA series, Bloodlines. So far I am enjoying it. It is interesting getting to know Sydney's character even better as well as the development of Jill, Eddie, Adrian and Angeline. Of course, I think I would love anything that was written by the brilliant Richelle Mead, who happens to be my favorite YA author (even adult author) at the present time. I will be ordering The Indigo Spell (the 3rd book in the series) pretty soon, seeing how The Fiery Heart (the 4th book) will be coming out shortly in November. I can't wait to see where else this series has to take me.

I haven't currently finished any book. I just got back from a hiatus from reading. Due to a move and some family problems that popped up, I was unable to read like I had been. However, I am now back on a schedule to were my reading can once again be accomplished. Which is a good thing seeing as how I have 30+ books waiting for me to read them.

What do you think you'll read next?
Next, I am going to be reading Whispers at Moonrise by C.C. Hunter. It is the 4th book in the Shadow Falls series. One of my favorite series. An interesting fact (that I didn't think about until just currently) is that I actually just moved RIGHT outside of the place that this book takes place... Spring, Texas. I am less then a 20 minute drive from it. To think that vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, faeries... and other such beings live so very close to me... LOL. One day I will have to take a drive out there and see how it is. I look forward to reading this book. I was actually sent Chosen at Nightfall the 5th and final book in this series by St. Martin's Griffin themselves. An ARC copy of it. I am so incredibly honored by them that they would give me the chance to read it early. I am kinda bummed to see this series coming to an end as well though. However, I am sure the clever mind of Ms. Hunter will be coming out with another series to capture my fascination with soon enough. 

What about all of you? What book(s) are you currently reading? What book(s) did you recently finish reading? What book(s) are you going to read next?

Comment below and be sure to leave me the links to your blogs so that I can go and check out your posts as well.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (21)

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they will post a 'Top Ten List' for them and bloggers alike to answer and it's always a different list question to answer.

There is some music below for your enjoyment.

This week's Top Ten to answer is:

 to read when you need something light and fun

I have a few different books that I light to read when I just need something light and funny. Below is a list of some of the ones I have enjoyed most... (In no particular order)

1. The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade:
This one was a fun enjoyable read. I actually enjoyed it a lot more then I was expecting to. It was sweet to see to completely different people coming together to understand one another and help each other out. As well as seeing (or reading in my case, lol) a romance blossoming between them. I have the next book in the series that I still need to get to. I look forward to reading it and seeing where Ms. Kade takes this sweet book.

2. Wings by Aprilynne Pike
Okay, so I know that this book doesn't have the best reputation. And I have read a lot of negative reviews on it. But for myself, I rather liked it. Just like the one above, I have the next book in the series that I have yet to get to, but I look forward to reading eventually. Team David all the way.

3. Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs
LOL!! This book follows the same as the two above. It was a sweet enjoyable book, light and fluffy. One that I enjoyed more then I was expecting. I look forward to reading the next one in the series.

4. Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
Granted this book would be considered a lot more serious then the three above it. I still find this one to be a really relaxing read for me. It's a book whose main character I can associate with and understand on a very personal degree, because a lot of the things that she goes through in this book I have experienced myself. I haven't gotten to any of Ms. Kenneally's other books based in this same universe but I look forward to reading them as well one day.

5. Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch
This one has a LOT more action and mayhem then the four above it. But it is just such a FUN read. As well as it's sequels. Ms. Koch is definitely my favorite author when it comes to right humorous books. Her writing style is ingenious when it comes to wittiness. If you are looking for a great laugh while still reading something with a ton of action, this series would definitely be my first suggestion for you.

>.> mmmm... Well it seems like once again I won't be able to complete a full list for you all. Making this list has made me realize that I don't really read many "light and fun" books. Most of the books I read have a lot of heavy elements to them. Maybe because each one teaches me something different so I don't mind the heavy elements that much.

What about all of you? What books do you read when you just need something light and fun? Be sure to leave your links below so that I can check out all of your lists.


Girl on Fire by the lovely Alicia Keys.
I've had this one stuck in my head for a few days.
Domo Arigato for visiting my blog.