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.

 

 

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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 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 Loved It, paranormal, Speculative, steampunk

Etiquette & Espionage

Etiquette & Espionage
Etiquette & Espionage

Teaser:

Until that moment, the bonnet had been rather smart– red with black velvet ribbons and crimson ostrich feathers. The addition of trifle, it must be admitted, made it less smart.

Author: Gail Carriger

Genre: Speculative, steampunk, paranormal

Rated: L

Synopsis:

It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.
Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners–and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but the also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage–in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education.
Set in the same world as the Parasol Protectorate, this YA series debut is filled with all the saucy adventure and droll humor Gail’s legions of fans have come to adore.

Bluestocking’s Learned Opinion: This book was fantastic. I’ve seen a number of people reviewing the Parasol Protectorate series, but I had yet to pick up a book by Ms. Garriger. I was quite a page turner. Even though I had never read any of the books in the other series, I didn’t have any trouble following the “world” in which the book was written. I am curious whether any of the characters in this series appeared in the prior series. I have to say that I would love to go to a school that was on a hot air balloon! Because I read this book, I’ve now decided to name any dog I get, Bumpersnoot. I liked the main character of the book Sophronia. She was very spunky. I thought it was pretty funny that by the end of the book, Sophronia was becoming more a “lady” despite her abhorrence of turning into her older sister Petunia. I hope that the rest of the books in the series centers around a different character.

Posted in Loved It, paranormal, Speculative, Young Adult

Twilight

Isabella Swan moves to Forks, Washington to live with her dad after her mother remarries and relocates. She has to settle into a new school and a new way of life. And Forks- well, it’s the kind of town where everyone knows everyone’s grandparents and the like.
The school thing isn’t too bad though. Although she didn’t have to many friends in Phoenix where she had lived, she attracts a great deal of attention at her new school. What is even more difficult for her to comprehend is that there are a number of guys that are vying for her attention. Then she seems them in the cafeteria. They are the Cullens family, and they were the most beautiful people she had ever seen. The five Cullen children were adopted by Dr. Carlisle and Esme Cullen, who were also beautiful.
Bella has the fortune of sitting next to Edward in her biology class. But he, uh, reacts with a surprising amount of distaste. Throughout the class, he leans away from like he is offended by her odor; and later he goes as far as to try to re-arrange his schedule so he doesn’t have classes with her. Next Bella knows, Edward is missing from class for the rest of the week. But when he comes back, he is quite polite and gentlemanly towards her. Thus the cat and mouse game begins. Edward is quite fascinated by Bella because he finds her difficult to read. She on the other hand can hardly keep her wits about her whenever she looks at his glorious face! Then Edward saves her from what would have been a horrible car accident (one of the boys in her class lost control of the car on ice and nearly plowed into her). Then she realizes that Edward is not all that he seems. He’s incredibly fast. To top it all it seems that there is an Edward sized dent in the boy’s car. Her own personal superman? Or something else? One thing is for sure, Edward’s family seems a wee bit annoyed about his heroics. Further still Edward is rather ambivalent about answering Bella’s questions as to how he saved her.
Spoiler Alert
Bella figures out the answer to her question from a “campfire” story told by Jacob Black. The fact that Edward is a vampire doesn’t freak Bella out. She is more than tolerant; she’s downright accepting. Edward takes her to meet his “family.” He and Carlisle (his surrogate father) tell her the history of how the Cullen family came to not hunt humans…

Carlisle was born shortly before the time of Oliver Cromwell. His father was a minister who hunted “demons.” It seems as though Carlisle’s father saw demons everywhere much like those in the Crucible. Carlisle carried on after his father, but was a lot more reasonable. But he did find some real vampires. On the night he and his followers attacked, an elderly vampire attacked him. Carlisle hid, but turned into a vampire soon after. Appalled by what he had become, he tried various ways to kill himself. After not eating for a long period of time, he attacked a herd of deer and discovered a way to satisfy his need to feed without becoming a monster. The Cullen clan is the largest vampire clan outside the Volturi (an Italian clan).
Some vampires have gifts. Edward can read minds (well of everyone except Bella). His “sister” Alice is able to see the future. Jasper can influence the emotions of those around him.

Anyway, as part of her day with the Cullen family. She watches them play baseball. In the midst of the game, another group of vampires show up- James, Victoria, and Laurent. These hunt humans. When the get a whiff of Bella’s scent, the hunt is on as far as James is concerned. A dangerous cat and mouse game ensues with the whole Cullen clan acting to protect Bella and her parents. They get James in the end, but Bella nearly dies.

I was reluctant to read this series. I heard many people going on about it. But, I’m not into pop literature so I resisted. What changed my mind? Well I listened to this podcast called Fire and Ice. I was looking for book review podcasts. Anyway, the four teenage girls were drooling over Edward. Ok! Drooling doesn’t begin to cover it. So I purchased the first one. The rest is history…

Bella- I was annoyed with this girl. That’s not bad. I think a good book is one where you can become irritated with the characters. She was just so irritatingly not observant. I figured out pretty quickly that Edward was a vampire. I mean Meyer does follow Bram Stoker in that vampires are these irresistibly beautiful people. And ok, I get that he’s drop dead gorgeous. But come on, you can’t control yourself better than that? And for crying out loud, love is fine but why would you throw you’re life away to be “undead” for all eternity. Edward, although lovely, is the first man sees ever fancy herself in love with. What’s the rush? Take some time to figure out who you are first?
Edward, is quite the cultured gentleman. As SIP noted, there was the Jane Austen reference to Edward Ferrars and Edmund Bertram. Actually he reminded me of the character Lucian in Underworld. I can sort of see why the girls were swooning over him. Anyway, he is a lot more rational about Bella’s humanity. It’s good someone has their wits about them.

There was one tiny thing I didn’t like. WHAT WAS UP WITH THE LACK OF NECK BITING IN THIS BOOK??? I mean no one died. I was hoping that with the introduction of James, Victoria, and Laurent someone would get it. But nope, no one died. To me that is the hallmark of a vampire novel-that someone dies. I was hoping for some chills.

The book was extraordinarily well written. It was told from Bella’s point of view. My understanding is that Ms. Meyer is going to write this novel from Edward’s perspective. That may be quite interesting, especially the hunting scenes. Stay tuned for New Moon which is the next book in the series.

Word on commenting: Apple is in the process of transferring everything to a new domain web.me.com There is just one problem, if you’ve accessed my site through web.me.com/bluestocking_bb you will not be able to leave a comment. So kindly change the address to web.mac.com/bluestocking_bb…(rest of the permalink address) Basically swap the me for mac. When the domain change is complete, I’ll inform you. Thanks.