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, 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 Loved It, Speculative, steampunk

Waistcoats & Weaponry

Waistcoats & Weaponry

Author: Gail Carriger

Genre: Speculative, steampunk

Rating: L

Synopsis:

Sophronia continues her second year at finishing school in style–with a steel-bladed fan secreted in the folds of her ball gown, of course. Such a fashionable choice of weapon comes in handy when Sophronia, her best friend Dimity, sweet sootie Soap, and the charming Lord Felix Mersey stowaway on a train to return their classmate Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland. No one suspected what–or who–they would find aboard that suspiciously empty train. Sophronia uncovers a plot that threatens to throw all of London into chaos and she must decide where her loyalties lie, once and for all.

Gather your poison, steel tipped quill, and the rest of your school supplies and join Mademoiselle Geraldine’s proper young killing machines in the third rousing installment in the New York Times bestselling Finishing School Series by steampunk author, Gail Carriger.

Bluestocking’s Opinion: I think what I liked most about this book is that fact that there was finally a tie-in to the Parasol Protectorate series! Last book we got to see Lord Akeldama, but I wanted there to be some overlap with plot. Finally, we got to see the effect of Lord Maccon leaving the Scotland pack and how Niall became the new leader even though he wasn’t an Alpha. I’m really interested to see where the author is going to go with the whole Pickleman plot. I don’t recall seeing them in the Parasol Protectorate series. Perhaps Sophronia deals them a heavy blow so they go underground? That would be interesting. I’m hoping by the end of this series we will see Sophronia’s story tie into that of Alexia’s. Anyway, this was a great read. I love the school’s slogan of “sovereign, sovereigns, or seduction.” Words every woman should live by.

I really want one of those bladed fans like what Sophronia has in the picture.  It’s practical for cooling oneself as well as defense and attack.

Other books in the Series Etiquette & Espionage and Curtsies & Conspiracies

Posted in cyberpunk, Loved It, Speculative

Cress

Cress

Teaser:

And, Sybil, should you find these perpetrators, I order their immediate deaths. I cannot be bothered with trivial arrests and trials on my wedding day.

Author: Marissa Meyer

Genre: Speculative

Rating: L

Synopsis:

In this third book in Marissa Meyer’s bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and prevent her army from invading Earth.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl trapped on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s being forced to work for Queen Levana, and she’s just received orders to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is splintered. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price than she’d ever expected. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai, especially the cyborg mechanic. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

Bluestocking’s Learned Opinion: I really enjoyed this book. The action is definitely starting to pick up. As you can tell from the cover, Cress represents the cyberpunk version of Rapunzel. Hopefully, she won’t be “frolicking” with her rescuer like the actual Rapunzel did. I really enjoyed the fact that Cinder is starting to embrace her destiny as Luna’s rightful queen. I thought it was very interesting that the disease that was afflicting Earth was really a form of biological warfare on the part of Levena. Even more interesting is that the Lunar aren’t as safe as had been previously assumed. I’m not sure how many books are left in this series, but I’m hoping that Levena ends up being torn apart by her own people. That would be poetic justice.

Posted in Advanced Review, Dystopia, Liked It, Speculative, Uncategorized

Paradigm

Paradigm

Author: Helen Stringer

Genre: Dystopia

Rating: LI

Synopsis:

“If I ask you to do something, will you do it?”
“Maybe.”
“Maybe?”
“Well, I don’t know what it is yet. But I’m guessing that death is the alternative, so I’m prepared to be reasonable.”
Sam Cooper is seventeen. He drives a cherry red 1968 GTO that he won on a bet, and spends his days exploring the open roads of the great American West. He should be living the teenage dream, but post-collapse America is a hard place to survive.

The United States is long dead, basic resources are getting scarcer, and no one on Earth has seen the stars since before he was born. Vast tracts of the country are now empty as people huddle together for safety.

In all this chaos, Sam has survived on his wits and occasional luck. But a visit to the walled and prosperous Century City results in a split-second decision that changes everything. Soon Sam is on the run from the ruthless Carolyn Bast, and by something much more dangerous: MUTHA-a powerful artificial entity that has been watching and waiting for Sam’s return from the barren outlands. Sam unknowingly carries the key to something MUTHA can’t live without, something so dangerous that others are willing to kill him, or worse, to ensure that the great plex never possesses it.

Sam can’t stay one step ahead of them forever. His only hope is to unravel the secrets of his peculiar past and awaken the incredible power that sleeps within-because even in his beloved GTO, without the truth, Sam will never succeed in outracing the nightmare to come.

Bluestocking’s Learned Opinion: Beware artificial intelligence. Any time you create a machine that can think and reason for itself, there is always the danger that it is going to get out of your control pretty much just like an actual human being will. The only thing is that a computer can out think humans; so planning a couple steps ahead really isn’t going to work. The ending of this book really didn’t seem like an ending to me. It seemed like the story could continue. Maybe it will.

Posted in Loved It, Speculative, steampunk

Curtsies & Conspiracies

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Teaser: “I’m certain it isn’t. Now, let go of the young viscount this moment and behave like a proper lady!”

Author: Gail Carriger

Genre: Speculative, steampunk

Rating: L

Synopsis:

Overview

Does one need four fully grown foxgloves for decorating a dinner table for six guests? Or is it six foxgloves to kill four fully grown guests?
Sophronia’s first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing! For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy–won’t Mumsy be surprised? Furthermore, Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners.

Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers’ quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ship’s boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a field trip to London than is apparent at first. A conspiracy is afoot–one with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. Sophronia must rely on her training to discover who is behind the dangerous plot-and survive the London Season with a full dance card.

In this sequel to New York Times bestselling Etiquette & Espionage, class is back in session with more petticoats and poison, tea trays and treason. Gail’s distinctive voice, signature humor, and lush steampunk setting are sure to be the height of fashion this season.

Bluestocking’s Learned Opinion: This was a fun read. I blew through it pretty quickly. I enjoyed this book a lot more since I read the Parasol Protectorate series. Some of the characters in that series are much younger in this book. I’ve been trying to determine whether Sophronia appears in the Parasol Protectorate under a different name. I’m not seeing it thus far if she is in the earlier series. The other thing I’m trying to understand is why Sigheag was sent to a finishing school that specializes in espionage. The whole point of this school seems to produce graduates who will have some sort of assignment in addition to having a position in society. Perhaps as the series progresses the reader will get to see what Sidheag’s post graduate mission will be.

I thought adding the all boys school to this book was an interesting plot line; particularly since the school in question produces evil geniuses. I hope there is more collaboration between the students feom both schools in the future. I think the author used this plotline to establish a future love interest for Sophronia, but time will tell if that angle is correct.

I have to say, one of the things I really enjoy about this series is the names! Shrimpdittle, Dingleproops, Plumleigh-Teignmott, Bumbersnoot- these are some great character names. Some of the names are quite lyrical. I think I mentioned it before, but I will definitely be naming my dog Bumbersnoot.

Anyway, this was another great read. I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in this series.

Posted in Liked It, paranormal, Speculative

The City of Bones

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When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing — not even a smear of blood — to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?
This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know….

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

Why don’t parents tell their kids the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? It would save themselves so much trouble in the end. A few years ago, I predicted fallen angels or Nephilim would be the next big thing in young adult literature. The term Nephilim refers to a mating between fallen angels and humans. Ms. Clare does something new with the term. In this series, Shadowhunters are a mixture of human and angels. Shadowhunters were created when the angel Raziel mixed his blood in a cup and had some knights drink it. The purpose of these new warriors was to safeguard the world against demons. The Shadowhunters are stronger and faster than humans, but they are aided by angelic runes that give the wearer additional abilities, some permanent, some temporary.

I enjoyed the series. The last “Nephilim” series I read was Hush, Hush. It was nice change. I think my favorite characters in the book were Simon and Luke. Ok, so my fascination with Luke is that I found out that Aidan Turner would be playing his character in the movie. I liked the author’s concept of warlocks, vampires, and fairies namely that they all have some demonic origins. I thought the author was making some interesting statements about racism. I’m hoping that this gets explored some more in upcoming books.

The movie was so-so. I liked the casting, but the script could have been a lot better. I read through this series as well as the Infernal Devices series in a couple of weeks. Definitely a series to read.

Posted in Loved It, paranormal, Young Adult

Something Strange and Deadly

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Teaser:

“Like Jie, I didn’t—couldn’t—avoid stepping on the corpses. My ankles and heels rolled and sank as we progressed forward.”

Author: Susan Dennard

Genre: Paranormal, Young Adult

Rating: L

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Eleanor Fitt’s brother is missing. And when she discovers that the Dead are rising in Philadelphia and wreaking havoc throughout the city, she knows that her brother is involved.

So Eleanor enlists the help of the Spirit-Hunters. This motley crew, hired to protect the city from supernatural forces, is after the necromancer who has been reanimating corpses. Their skills can save her brother. But as Eleanor spends time with the Spirit-Hunters, and their handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. Now not only is her reputation at risk, but her very life may hang in the balance.

For some odd reason, I had the hardest time grasping the concept that this book took place in the US. I don’t know why! Maybe I was subconsciously thinking about, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. This is definitely a zombie story. It is different from other zombie stories in that the thing causing the zombie-ism is necromancy rather than some disease.

I liked the author’s concept of magic. There are different forms of magic for example necromancy versus voodoo. People seem to be born with innate ability for different branches. Like many fantasy books though, necromancy is always very bad!

This book, in addition to being paranormal, is also part mystery. From the beginning of the book it becomes clear that the dead rising have to do some thing with Eleanor’s missing brother, but it is not clear what. It’s also unknown why the necromancer is awakening the dead. The author had a few red herrings thrown in there. There were a couple of characters that I suspected. I think I figured out who the necromancer was 3/4 of the way through the book.

I did like Eleanor’s character. She had a lot to deal with like poverty and disgrace of her sather’s past actions. Surprisingly, she was kind hearted and gracious despite all of it. The mother I could not like! As far as I am concerned she was trying to pimp her daughter out in a societally acceptable manner. I think I kept thinking this was set in England because of the whole impoverished lady having tho marry the wealthy gentleman.

Oh there was this one funny reference in the book to the Grecian bend. In case you were wondering, back in the 1820’s this stance became popular in the US. It was considered fashionable. A woman was supposed to have her butt poked out and her chest out and tilted downward. It was supposed to be enticing to men. As you can imagine, this stance worked well with the bustle, Well I tried the pose based solely on the description; I didn’t cheat and google a picture. Let me tell you what! My dog was watching me, and even she was giving me funny looks! It was so ridiculous! Not to mention provocative! I can’t believe people back in the day encouraged women,unmarried, to present themselves that way!

There is a second book called A Darkness Strange and Lovely. That review will be up next!

Posted in Advanced Review, Blog Hop, Loved It, paranormal, Uncategorized

Chasing Memories

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Author: Tia Silverthorne Bach

Genre: Paranormal

Rating: Rated LI

Synopsis:

There isn’t another way; not now. The others are coming. I can’t let them have you…

Seventeen-year-old Reagan has a problem: She can’t remember what happened the night her brother was taken.

Now, the dreams haunting her from the incident are becoming more intense by the day. All the while, the lines between what’s real and what’s a product of her paranormal-obsessed mind are becoming blurred.

Is she losing her mind or has she just stepped into a world she thought only existed in books?

Caught in a web of worried parents, competing boys, Wiccan relatives, protective amulets, and psychiatrist babble, Reagan must determine the truth before it’s too late.

This book was too short. Just when things started picking up, it ended. I hate that about series! At first I wasn’t sure if Reagan was losing her mind. Things happened so fast the night her brother was taken. I really didn’t see how her memory of that night was longer than originally portrayed.

Anyway, it was clear that Reagan had stumbled into some sort of battle between werewolves. I can’t wait to see how that turns out. Also there is the whole Wiccan aspect of the story. It wasn’t clear that Reagan’s grandmother was aware of whether werewolves exist. I thought that was unusual. In most paranormal books everybody knows about all the other creatures.

Can I just tell you how much I dislike Reagan’s mother! I understand the desire to protect your children; however, having your child committed is going way beyond. I don’t understand people who go through such lengths to deny the truth. And the one love interest made me become quite violent. I was ready to shake Reagan. I don’t understand attraction to those type of guys.

Anyway, the series promises to have a lot of conflict- good vs evil werewolves, daughter vs mother vs grandmother, psychotic boyfriends….
I did like the surprise at the end of the book. I always think its great when the people you think are gone aren’t really gone.

This was a great first book in a series, and I’m quite eager to see how the rest of the series goes.

As you can see from the picture above, I’m part of a blog tour. Here is the rest of the info.

Tia Silverthorne Bach’s Web Site:
http://depressioncookies.com/

Tia Silverthorne Bach’s Author Blog:
http://depressioncookies.blogspot.com/

Tia Silverthorne Bach’s Book Review Blog:
http://etjrmbach.blogspot.com/

Tia Silverthorne Bach’s Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/tia.bach.author

Tia Silverthorne Bach’s Twitter:
https://twitter.com/Tia_Bach_Author

Tia Silverthorne Bach’s Goodreads:
http://www.goodreads.com/TiaBach

Chasing Memories Goodreads:
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17909317-chasing-memories

Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tribute-Books-Blog-Tours/242431245775186

Chasing Memories blog tour site:
http://chasingmemoriesblogtour.blogspot.com/

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Posted in Dystopia, Rated D

Sever

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Author: Lauren Destefano

Genre: Dystopia

Rating: D- Didn’t hate it; but didn’t like it either.

Synopsis:

Time is running out for Rhine in this conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Chemical Garden Trilogy.

With the clock ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidated house, though the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them.

Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future—and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain.

In this breathtaking conclusion to Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, everything Rhine knows to be true will be irrevocably shattered.

Bluestocking’s Learned Opinion: I was really disappointed in the ending of this book. Rhine started this series as such a fighter. And she grew into being more of a fighter. Then she finally finds her brother and goes back to being a wus. She fell right back into her old family role. She didn’t fight the system, she became a willing participant in feeding society’s obsession with finding a cure.

The reader does find out what a “Chemical Garden” is. It was pretty anti-climatic. Rhine’s paretns bred she and her brother because they were on a path to a cure. Liden’s father used their research plus Rhine’s DNA to essentially engineer a virus that would lead to a cure.

Honestly, the character that I ended up being most impressed with was Cecily. Her character was more of a mewing child. She was annoying in the extreme, but she had the guts to do what Rhine didn’t do- kill the father-in-law. Of the three sister wives, she changed the most.

I would recommend reading the book just so you have an ending to the tale, but don’t be expecting an ending like The Hunger Games or The Maze Runner series.