Posted in Fantasy, Liked It, paranormal, Rated LI

A Discovery of Witches

9780143119685_p0_v4_s192x300

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.

 

 

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Posted in Loved It, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Wayfarer

9781484715765_p0_v3_s192x300 Author: Alexandra Bracken

Genre:   Science Fiction

Rating: L

Synopsis:

Etta Spencer didn’t know she was a traveler until the day she emerged both miles and years from her home. Now, robbed of the powerful object that was her only hope of saving her mother, Etta finds herself stranded once more, cut off from Nicholas-the eighteenth century privateer she loves-and her natural time.

When Etta inadvertently stumbles into the heart of the Thorns, the renegade travelers who stole the astrolabe from her, she vows to finish what she started and destroy the astrolabe once and for all. Instead, she’s blindsided by a bombshell revelation from their leader, Henry Hemlock: he is her father. Suddenly questioning everything she’s been fighting for, Etta must choose a path, one that could transform her future.

Still devastated by Etta’s disappearance, Nicholas has enlisted the unlikely help of Sophia Ironwood and a cheeky mercenary-for-hire to track both her and the missing astrolabe down. But as the tremors of change to the timeline grow stronger and the stakes for recovering the astrolabe mount, they discover an ancient power far more frightening than the rival travelers currently locked in a battle for control. . . a power that threatens to eradicate the timeline altogether.

From colonial Nassau to New York City, San Francisco to Roman Carthage, imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, New York Times #1 best-selling author Alexandra Bracken charts a gorgeously detailed, thrilling course through time in this stunning conclusion to the Passenger series.

Bluestocking’s Opinion: I didn’t realize that this was the conclusion to Passenger.  I assumed that this was the middle book in a trilogy. I guess I should have read the synopsis on the back of the book.  So what did I think?  I loved it.  A lot of ground was covered in this book, but it didn’t feel rushed.  It was very interesting to learn that the ability to time travel was a direct result of alchemy.  Usually you read about alchemy changing things into gold or giving eternal life; although there was some eternal life after a fashion in this book.  I’m a little bit sad that this series is over; however the ending does leave it open for the author to be able to return to this world at some point.

Posted in Fantasy, Loved It, Young Adult

Three Dark Crowns

Author:   Kendare Blake 

Genre:     Fantasy 

Rating:    L

Synopsis:

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.
But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.
The last queen standing gets the crown. 

Opinion 

It’s been a while since I found a series that I really enjoyed. This series will take sisterly rivalry to the next level.  The story centers on a set of Queen triplets- Arisnoe, Mirabella, and Katherine. Each of them is born with a gift.  Their queen mother knows what their gifts are from birth. Mirabella is an elemental. Katherine is a poisoner, and Arisnoe is a naturalist. The only problem is that of the three, Mirabella is the strongest with her gift.  Arisnoe and Katherine are so weak they are almost giftless. Each Queen is raised with people who can train them in their gift.

The story details life for each of the queens leading up to their sixteenth birthday.  Each of the families raising the queens have grown to love them and are desperate for each to survive and become Queen. Two of the sisters seem to accept their fate.  However, Mirabella doesn’t want to kill either of her sisters.

A plan is devised to give Mirabella a bloodless victory, but it backfires. Then the year starts, and all three queens want vengeance. 

But there is one tiny problem. Arisnoe discovers after an attempt by Katherine to poison her that she isn’t a naturalist. She’s a poisoner. 

So that begs the question, if the Queen knows the gifts of the triplets upon birth, how On earth did she get the triplets gifts mixed up?  Was this the design of the Queen?  Did someone switch two of the triplets on purpose?  However this happened, this is shaping up to be a fight like none other.  I think all of the queens might be the most powerful of their true gifts, and they will be more than evenly matched. 

Posted in Rated E, Sci-Fi Friday, Science Fiction, Space travel, Star Wars, Uncategorized

Star Wars Bloodlines

9780425286784_p0_v1_s192x300 Author:

Claudia Gray

Genre:

Science Fiction

Rating:

Exceeded my expectations

Synopsis:

WITNESS THE BIRTH OF THE RESISTANCE
 
When the Rebellion defeated the Empire in the skies above Endor, Leia Organa believed it was the beginning to a lasting peace. But after decades of vicious infighting and partisan gridlock in the New Republic Senate, that hope seems like a distant memory.

Now a respected senator, Leia must grapple with the dangers that threaten to cripple the fledgling democracy—from both within and without. Underworld kingpins, treacherous politicians, and Imperial loyalists are sowing chaos in the galaxy. Desperate to take action, senators are calling for the election of a First Senator. It is their hope that this influential post will bring strong leadership to a divided galaxy.

As the daughter of Darth Vader, Leia faces with distrust the prospect of any one person holding such a powerful position—even when supporters suggest Leia herself for the job. But a new enemy may make this path Leia’s only option. For at the edges of the galaxy, a mysterious threat is growing. . . .

Opinion:

I’m not ashamed to admit that I am a Star Wars Legacy fan!  I’m not happy about the fact that they did away with the expanded universe and decided to rewrite everything.  So I was not looking forward to this book.  I intended to dislike it on principle.

Therefore, I was quite surprised to discover that I actually enjoyed it.  How odious it is to end up liking something one is quite determined to hate.

This book takes place about 6 years prior to the Force Awakens; so some 20 odd years have passed since Return of the Jedi.  Unfortunately the New Republic is just as ineffective as the Old Republic.  The only difference is that with the Old Republic there were several factions.  In the New Republic, there are only those that are pro- central government, and those who are against.  Because there is no leader, nothing gets done. Injustices occur and no one can decide to do anything about it.  But someone is using this to further their own ends.

The ending was a bit anti-climatic.  If you’ve seen the movie, then you know that the First Order is the bad group.  This story really explores how another “empire” was formed so soon after Palpaltine was destroyed. You also see the beginning of how Ben Solo ends up becoming Kylo Ren.

One thing that this book deals with that you really don’t see in the expanded universe series is how people react to finding out that Luke and Leia are the children of Darth Vader.  In the expanded universe, Luke and Leia’s action in the Rebellion seems to separate them enough from their father that no one has any problems electing Leia as the leader of the New Republic, but in this new universe people are terrified.  The fact that Luke and Leia suffered so much at their own father’s hands is a fact that a lot of people overlook.

Anyway, the book was well written.  It will be interesting to see where this new universe takes us.

Posted in Loved It, Science Fiction, Uncategorized, Young Adult

Passenger

Author:  Alexandra Bracken

Genre:   Science Fiction

Rating:  L

Synopsis:

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles, but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods-a powerful family in the Colonies-and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, his passenger, can find. In order to protect her, Nick must ensure she brings it back to them-whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home forever.

Opinion:

So I saw this book in the Young Adult section in Barnes and Nobles.  The description was very interesting.  You know how much I enjoy time travel novels.

This series is about people who are born with the ability to travel through time. It is not clear who the progenitor giving them this ability is, but this gift runs through families.  Etta has been kept from this life by her mother for a reason, but is thrust into the center stage without explanation or training.  It seems that each of these families has a “heirloom” for better word, and one man wants it in order to save a lost love.  See these passages through time only go to certain  years and there are many rules about where/when travelers can go.  This man, the head of the Ironwood clan, hid his first wife in a time where no passages connected in order to protect her as the traveler families constantly war with one another.  Well someone planned well and was able to kill the woman and there was nothing that Ironwood could do to rescue his wife.  However, the heirloom of Etta’s family can change that.

This is a grand adventure novel, and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the novel.  Things ended at a really shocking point.  I do like the fact that one of the main characters is a young man of color.  Right now, it is shaping up that he’s going going to be the lead character in at least the next book.

Posted in Historical, Loved It, Mystery, Uncategorized

Jane and the Waterloo Map

Author:     Stephanie Barron

Genre:      Mystery, cozy

Rating:    L

Synopsis

November, 1815. The Battle of Waterloo has come and gone, leaving the British economy in shreds; Henry Austen, high-flying banker, is about to declare bankruptcy—dragging several of his brothers down with him. The crisis destroys Henry’s health, and Jane flies to his London bedside, believing him to be dying. While she’s there, the chaplain to His Royal Highness the Prince Regent invites Jane to tour Carlton House, the Prince’s fabulous London home. The chaplain is a fan of Jane’s books, and during the tour he suggests she dedicate her next novel—Emma—to HRH, whom she despises.

However, before she can speak to HRH, Jane stumbles upon a body—sprawled on the carpet in the Regent’s library. The dying man, Colonel MacFarland, was a cavalry hero and a friend of Wellington’s. He utters a single failing phrase: “Waterloo map” . . . and Jane is on the hunt for a treasure of incalculable value and a killer of considerable cunning.

 

Opinion

It’s been far too long since Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas was published.  For those of you who don’t read a lot of Austen, one of her books, Emma was dedicated to the Prince Regent, a man Austen was known to dislike.  The beginning of this book explores how Jane ended up dedicating her book to this royal.  In this book we are introduced to the character James Stanier Clarke, who bears a passing resemblance to Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice (though by this point in the timeline, this book has already been published.) There were some interesting character developments in this book.  For starters, Jane seems to have replaced Lord Harold Trowbridge with her regard for Mr. Raphael West (who was introduced in the last book).  It’s really not surprising.  Both men possessed formidable intellects.  In addition, both men were secret agents.  Also, Jane’s niece Fanny plays a part in the investigation.  It seems as though Jane might actually have a real sidekick.  Although Jane was close to her sister, Cassandra wasn’t the sort to have the adventures with Jane.

The Waterloo Map.  I was really hoping that there was such an item that was lost in the antiquities of time.  Alas, it is not so!!!  But what a thought, that Napoleon might have concealed a treasure in Russia during his retreat.

I’m beginning to get a little bit sad with regards to this series.  About 4 of Jane’s novels have been published.  So that means we are getting nearer to her death, and nearer to the end of this series.

With regards to this book, I decided to read it quite slowly and savor it, particularly as it will be a while before the next book comes out. I did not figure out who dunnit until the very end.  I was pretty shocked actually.

This was a great read.  I loved it!

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 Loved It, paranormal, Paranormal, Rating, Speculative, Uncategorized

The Chess Queen Enigma

Author:     Colleen Gleason

Genre:      Mystery, Paranormal, Speculative

Rating:    L

Synopsis:

Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes never meant to get into the family business. But when you’re the sister of Bram and the niece of Sherlock, vampire hunting and mystery solving are in your blood, so to speak.

In this third installment of the Stoker and Holmes series, Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes have reluctantly agreed to act as social chaperones and undercover bodyguards for Princess Lurelia of Betrovia, who has arrived in London to deliver a letter that details the secret location of an ancient chess queen that’s been missing for centuries. But when the letter—which will heal a centuries-old rift between England and the Betrovians—is stolen out from under Evaline and Mina’s watchful eyes, the two girls are forced into a high-stakes race to ensure they find the chess queen before anyone else does.

Opinion

I really liked this book.  The story is starting to have a major arc in the Anhk.  I sense a crisis coming though.  The Anhk is really fighting for equality for women.  I think both Mina and Evaline are going to come to a crossroads with respect to this.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Mina ends up turning briefly to the dark side so to speak.

 

Posted in Fantasy, Liked It

A Storm of Swords

A Storm of Sword

Author: George R. R. Martin
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: LI
Synopsis:

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 Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords. . .

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.

Opinion: Still no Others!!! I hope I’m not spoiling it for anyone, but THE RED WEDDING. Oh my goodness! I could not believe Walder Frey. I mean, I can sort of understand you being slighted because you didn’t get to marry off one of your daughters, grand-daughters, or great-grand daughters, but touchy much!!! Anyway, my only consolation is that Walder will undoubtably be killed off before the series ends. Hopefully, it will be something very painful or humiliating to make up for what he did.

Also, I’m looking forward to see what Lady Stoneheart gets up to in the future books. Hopefully, she will disposed of Walder Frey.

Posted in Liked It, Mystery

The Moonstone Legacy:  The Age of Aquarius

Author: Tony Wild and Diane  de Gunzburg
Genre: Mystery
Rating: LI
Synopsis:

In a sacred caved high in the mountains of northern India, a white-haired hermit sits cross-legeed, and signs his final testament: “George Abercrombie, 1874…”. In present-day England, fourteen years old Lizzy Abercrombie’s mother dies in a tragic accident on the full moon. But was it really an accident? LIzzy discovers that her death may be linked to a mysterious family curse. Determined to solve the mystery, her quest takes her from the doomed Anglo-Indian mansion on the Yorkshire moors to India where she uncovers the terrible truth about her ancestor and a stole inheritance. But her discoveis put her in mortal danger from a ruthless enemy.  

Opinion:  This was the last book of the trilogy.  This part of the book details the actions Lizzie takes to deal with the Moonstone once and for all.  She seems to succeed, but with the Moonstone, you never know what the next adventure will be.  

The second and third books seemed like they belonged together.  The first one, I dunno, seemed more like a set up for the other books.  Although this book was a decent read, it was my least favorite of the three books.  I really liked the first one the best.