Posted in Fantasy, Liked It, paranormal, Rated LI

A Discovery of Witches

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Author:     Deborah Harkness

Genre:       Fantasy

Rating:     LI

Synopsis:

Deborah Harkness’s sparkling debut, A Discovery of Witches, has brought her into the spotlight and galvanized fans around the world. In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and a descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, deep in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont.

Harkness has created a universe to rival those of Anne Rice, Diana Gabaldon, and Elizabeth Kostova, and she adds a scholar’s depth to this riveting tale of magic and suspense. The story continues in book two, Shadow of Night, and concludes with The Book of Life.

Bluestocking’s Opinion:  In Ms. Harkness’ book there are three magical races: witches, vampires, and daemons.  All three magical races stand out in a crowd.  Diana Bishop comes from a very distinguished family of witches; unfortunately she shows little magical talent.  All that changes when she pulls Ashmole 782 from the library archives to aid her in research for an upcoming lecture she is to give.  This sets in motion a series of events that forces Diana return to her magical roots.

One thing that was interesting about this world was the rampant prejudices that each magical races held about other races.  Diana in that respect is very different.  Because she has next to no magical ability (or so she thinks), she views herself as human.  These races have a covenant that forbid fraternization.  There are some hefty penalties if you violate it.  But it isn’t clear why.  But one thing is certain, the key to why the covenant was created in the first place can be found in Ashmole 782.  Unfortunately, only Diana can recall the book, but she doesn’t know how she did it, and others intend to use her or destroy her in order to get that book.

I didn’t find out about this book until after the third book was released.  I see why so many book bloggers were raving about it.  It was very interesting.  I think what I liked the most of the history of alchemy that the author included in her story.

The book also has one of the best quotes I’ve ever read.

It begins with absence and desire.
It begins with blood and fear.
It begins with a discovery of witches.

 

 

Posted in Loved It, Rated LI, Sci-Fi Friday, Science Fiction, Space travel, Star Trek, Uncategorized

Star Trek Voyager: a Pocket Full of Lies

 

Author:   Kirsten Beyer

Genre:      Science fiction

Rating:     LI

Synopsis:

 An original novel set in the universe of Star Trek: Voyager from New York Times bestselling author Kirsten Beyer—and the sequel to Atonement and Acts of Contrition!

The Full Circle Fleet has resumed its unprecedented explorations of the Delta Quadrant and former Borg space. Commander Liam O’Donnell of the U.S.S. Demeter makes a promising first contact with the Nihydron—humanoid aliens that are collectors of history. They rarely interact with the species they study but have created a massive database of numerous races, inhabited planets, and the current geopolitical landscape of a large swath of the quadrant. When an exchange of data is proposed via a formal meeting, the Nihydron representatives are visibly shaken when Admiral Kathryn Janeway greets them. For almost a century, two local species—the Rilnar and the Zahl—have fought for control of the nearby planet Sormana, with both sides claiming it as their ancestral homeworld. The shocking part is that for the last several years, the Rilnar have been steadily gaining ground, thanks to the tactics of their current commanding officer: a human woman, who appears to be none other than Kathryn Janeway herself… 

Opinion:  Time travel and the multiverse.  This sort of thing can give you a headache if you think about it too much.  Fortunately I enjoy it.  This book involves three of the species from the episode A Year of Hell.  For those of you not familiar with the episode, Voyager encountered a species called the Krenim. A Krenim scientist have created a Weldon that was capable of erasing objects, people, civilizations from time.  The scientist was trying to make his people the most powerful species in the sector.  But by erasing species (enemies) it had some unintended side effects namely his wife and Provence was wiped out.  This scientist had created temporal shields for his ship so they would not experience the effect of the changes being made.  They spent a couple of hundred years trying to undo the damage before Voyager stumbled onto them.  Voyager was a wild card that threw the temporal calculations off.  So naturally he tried to destroy Voyager.  It was a rough year for the drew, but in the end Janeway destroyed that ship erasing it from the timeline and thereby resetting everything.

Once the timeline was restored, the Krenim didn’t tamper with the timeline as much.  But there was two particular species that they were hell bent on annihilating- the Zahl and Rilnar.  This book explores why the Krenim wanted to destroy these species.
As far as the other Janeway, well if you’ve read Star Trek Voyager: the Eternal Tide, then you know that every Janeway in the multiverse died on the exact same day.  This othe Janeway died but then was revived.  Very interesting as to why this occurred.  Let’s just say our favorite letter of the alphabet is back. 

We catch up with Tom and B’lanna who have had a son Michael Owen.  The book explores more the aftermath of the effects on Nancy Conlon after her brutal alien takeover in Atonement ( I need to post this review).

Anyway, it was a very enjoyable read.  

Posted in Fantasy, Rated LI

A Storm of Swords

A Storm of Swords

Author: George R. R. Martin

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: LI

Synopsis:

Here is the third volume in George R. R. Martin’s magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings. As a whole, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Magic, mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill these pages and transport us to a world unlike any we have ever experienced. Already hailed as a classic, George R. R. Martin’s stunning series is destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.

A Storm of Swords

Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage as violently as ever, as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey, of House Lannister, sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the land of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, the victim of the jealous sorceress who holds him in her evil thrall. But young Robb, of House Stark, still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Robb plots against his despised Lannister enemies, even as they hold his sister hostage at King’s Landing, the seat of the Iron Throne. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world….

But as opposing forces maneuver for the final titanic showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost line of civilization. In their vanguard is a horde of mythical Others–a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the SevenKingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords. . .

Bluestocking’s Opinion: If you have seen the show, this is the third season. This book has the Red Wedding and the Purple Wedding amongst other things. This book a few new players enter the series, namely the Tyrell family. Also we meet the famous Tywin Lannister. We do find out a few new secrets such as who sent the hitman to kill Bran Stark. We also find out who killed John Arryn. It appears that Joffrey might be the ultimate cause of the War of the Five Kings.

I was a little bit disappointed because there was no mention or discussion regarding the history of the Others. I really wish the author would give us something! Also I would love to know who Coldhands really is and how he can be alive when his heart no longer beats. I really with Sansa would grow a spine and become a bigger player in the game. She just sits there like the perfect lady. **sighs**

Posted in Mystery, Rated LI

Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas

Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas

Author:     Stephanie Barron

Genre:     Mystery

Rating:     LI

Synopsis:

Jane Austen turns sleuth in this delightful murder mystery set over the twelve days of a Regency-Era Christmas party.

Christmas Eve, 1814: Jane Austen has been invited to spend the holiday with family and friends at The Vyne, the gorgeous ancestral home of the wealthy and politically prominent Chute family. As the year fades and friends begin to gather beneath the mistletoe for the twelve days of Christmas festivities, Jane and her circle are in a celebratory mood: Mansfield Park is selling nicely; Napoleon has been banished to Elba; British forces have seized Washington, DC; and on Christmas Eve, John Quincy Adams signs the Treaty of Ghent, which will end a war nobody in England really wanted.

Jane, however, discovers holiday cheer is fleeting. One of the Yuletide revelers dies in a tragic accident, which Jane immediately views with suspicion. If the accident was in fact murder, the killer is one of Jane’s fellow snow-bound guests. With clues scattered amidst cleverly crafted charades, dark secrets coming to light during parlor games, and old friendships returning to haunt the Christmas parties, whom can Jane trust to help her discover the truth and stop the killer from striking again?

Bluestocking’s Opinion:  One of the things that I really liked about this book, is the whole 12 days of Christmas concept.  I mean there is a song, but I really never thought about why there were 12 days of Christmas.  The author does give some background information about the fact that the 12 days of Christmas stems from the pagan feast Saturnalia.  Pagan-ness aside, I think we should totally go back to celebrating 12 days of Christmas.  In this country, at least, all people do is work and more work.  I think we need to get back to the good old days of actually taking time off.  Some of the role playing games sound really fun!

In this book, we got to meet Jane’s curate brother James and his wife Mary who definitely seems (according to the author’s perspective) to be the template for Mary Elliot Musgrove.  We also get to see Jane’s childhood home at Steventon.  From the description given, this wasn’t some little clap-trap house.  I’ve seen a couple of sketches online as to what the house used to look like.  It was quite sizeable!!  It’s too bad the house isn’t in existence now.

Well, the mystery itself was as good as ever.  The author did her usual job.  As usual, solving the mystery involved exploring the characters of the characters.  There were a few riddles that I got a kick out of trying to solve.  I didn’t figure out who had done it.  Not that this is suprising. Another excellent read by Stephanie Barron.

Oh!  you can download a reader’s guide in to creating a Jane Austen Christmas.  I wish I had purchased the book a couple of days before Christmas so that I could have tried some of the ideas.  Ah well!  There is next year!

Posted in Detective, Liked It, Mystery, Rated LI

Murder on the Orient Express

On the way back from Syria, Hercule Poirot takes the Orient Express. Oddly enough the train is very crowded for the time of year. While on the trip, Poirot is approached by a Mr. Ratchett who tries to hire Poirot to be his man sort of. Poirot doesn’t like the look of Ratchett and refuses. On the second night of the journey, Poirot hears a noise coming from Ratchett’s compartment, but later hears the man respond to the conductor’s question that nothing was the matter. A number of strange things happen that night including a woman in a scarlet kimono who bumps the door to his compartment. Oh yes! the train is stopped due to a snow storm.
The next morning, Poirot discovers that Ratchett is dead a victim of 12 stab wounds. The wounds are all different types-some deep and some shallow, some by a right handed person and some by a left handed person. Trying to solve the crime is quite a job because there seems to be a lot of evidence. It points to various people, and when part of the evidence is found in Poirot’s own cabin, its clear than some if not all of the evidence has been planted.
The strange thing about all the people in this particular car is the amount of nationalities present- Italian, Swedish, Russion, German, and a Scotsman. The only place to find that kind of diversity would be America. As it turns out, Ratchett’s true name is Cassetti. Years before, Cassetti kidnapped a 3 year old named Daisy Armstrong who was also an heiress. He asked for ransom, but killed the child anyway. The girl’s mother went into premature labor and died along with the child. The girl’s father committed suicide. The maid was suspected and jumped out of the window. She was cleared later on.

I’m not going to tell you who did it. I hope I told you enough to intrigue you! This was a convoluted mystery.

Read more…

Posted in Liked It, Rated LI, Sci-Fi Friday, Science Fiction

Enemies and Allies

Kevin is at it again. If you weren’t aware, Kevin wrote a book that came out last year called The Last Son of Krypton. I didn’t get around to reading that one. But I received this one in the mail, courtesy of Bostick Communication.
This story is when the Man of Steel meets the Dark Knight. The story starts off with quite the bang. If you read my Tuesday Teaser, then you know that Batman is set up by the Gotham police because they view him as an outlaw. I personally think that’s a bit rich coming from all of them as the Gotham police force is corrupt as anything.
Soon after this, Bruce Wayne, the playboy owner of Wayne Enterprises, is interviewed by none other than Clark Kent and Jimmy Olson for a feature in the Daily Planet. The story then follows Clark back to Metropolis where we see him save the passengers on a sinking ferry.
Then of course, you’ve got to throw in Lex Luthor who is as usually trying to take over the world; and let’s not forget Lois Lane who is a no nonsense woman trying to make it in a man’s world.
Batman and Superman get off to a pretty rough start. Superman catches Batman sealing from Lex Luthor. Superman being the someone naive man that he is thinks that Batman deserves his criminal reputation. Batman thinks that Superman is one of Luthor’s henchman.
Both men show a good deal of character growth in this novel. Bruce Wayne realizes that his playboy imagine has been empowering Luther Corp. He must take the more responsible role to keep the world safe. Clark Kent on the other hand realizes that he has a devastating weakness- kryptonite. He is also fighting his feelings of isolation; he literally is an alien. He has no sense of identity with his people and no ties to his heritage. Both men overcome their initial reticence to one another and realize that at times they will need to work with one another to keep the world safe.
This story was vintage Batman and Superman. This story takes place during the Cold War. Perry White is the editor of the Daily Planet. I had to laugh when he kept popping out with “Great Caesar’s Ghost.” Although I do like Batman, I’m more of a Superman kind of girl due to Smallville. This book differs from that story line greatly. The Clark Kent of Smallville has lost a lot of his naivete by the time he begins working for the Daily Planet. In addition, he has fought Doomsday, met Kara (his cousin), defeated Brainiac and others from the Phantom Zone. So he knows a lot more about his heritage. He considers himself human.
But for all of those who remember Batman and Superman from the good old days, this book will be right up your alley. Which brings me to the best part of the review- A GIVEAWAY!
Harper Collins was kind enough to send me TWO books. Obviously, I’m keeping one for myself, but I’m giving one away to one of you lucky readers. To enter the raffle, leave a comment. This contest will be open for 3 weeks. I should add that this would probably be a great Father’s Day present.

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Posted in Advanced Review, Liked It, Rated LI

Summer on Blossom Street

This was a refreshing, light read. Especially after reading Travis Thrasher’s Ghostwriter. This is the 5th book in the Blossom Street series. Lydia Goetz owns A Good Yarn in Seattle Washington. She has decided to start up the Knit to Quit class. Everyone who joins wants to quit something and start a new chapter in their lives.

Phoebe Rylander joins the class to get over her unfaithful, manipulative ex-fiance.
Alix Turner joins the class to quit smoking so that she and her husband can have a baby.
Bryan Hutchinson “Hutch” the local executive of Rainier chocolates joins the class for stress relief purposes.
In addition to the details of the class members lives, the book tells the complications in the lives of Anne Marie Roche, who has adopted a little girl, and Lydia herself who ends up an unexpected foster mother to a 12- year old.

This was a great read. It was very similar to Marie Bostwick’s A Single Thread. It was told from 5 different points of view, but it was still easy to follow. What was more impressive is that I actually cared for the characters in a short period of time. I found myself, saying “No Phoebe! Forget him! Be strong!” and that sort of thing. So if you are looking for an inspiring read, pick this one up.

This book will be available for purchase in May!!
Reviews this week
Ghostwriter
Beings in a Dream
Here are the following Hatchette Book Giveaways
The Girl Who Stopped Swimming
The Turnaround

Read more…

Posted in Advanced Review, Liked It, Rated LI

The Nine Lessons

August Witte has never wanted children. He doesn’t feel that he is capable of being a good father because he had the worst father imaginable. His father London is an avid golfer and appears to value golf as much as life. He also values the game more than he values his son.
Of course, August’s wife Erin ends up pregnant. Of course she would, because what kind of story would it be if a man like August didn’t have to face his fears. So like many men who find themselves in such a position, he decides to blame someone and that someone happens to be his father.
Oddly enough London agrees to teach him about golf. He will give a lesson for every month of Erin’s pregnancy. In exchange, August gets his father’s diary written on the back of golf scoring cards. These cards contain memories of his mother, who died when he was a small child.
At first the games seem to be just about the game of golf. But August quickly realizes that many of life’s lessons can be learned from the game of golf. As the months progress, August learns a great deal about the game, life, and his mother. He also learns a lot about his father- how much his father loved him. Is August finally prepared to be a father- no, but then again who is? But the most important and final lesson that he learns from his father is to get down on his knees a pray.
What an awesome book. It was really different to read a book about impending fatherhood from a man’s perspective. I definitely learned what not to do to my husband when pregnant. I knew that the whole nine months experience was different for men, but I forgot how different. They don’t experience the morning sickness, swollen ankles, and odd cravings; but they also don’t get to feel the constant movement of the baby. Maybe men would be less apprehensive if they had that 9 months of bonding that the woman does. Anyway, it was food for thought. This would make an excellent father’s day present, especially for a father-to-be.

This book is available for purchase May 5, 2009

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