A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) by Deborah Harkness

Summary

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Characters

I was not very fond of Diana for most of the book. Her strong points seemed more like flaws most of the time. Made it really hard to connect and like her. Michael was another creature all together. I found his chapter very enjoyable…and then I was like, why aren’t there more? It is like it introduces him and his point of view and then abandons it for over half the book. I liked a lot of the supporting characters but some of them were a little bland. There were also a few times it felt like it left Diana’s point of view which was confusing.

Plot

Diana doesn’t want to be a witch. Her parents are dead because they were witches but her magic isn’t listening very well. Which is only made worse when she stumbles onto the Ashmore and then a vampire. A love story wrapped in a historical bow with a dash of magic and mayhem.

This plot winds around and constantly says it is going to do one thing and then does something else. It would be like going shopping for milk but getting distracted by bread and then the eggs because we might need those too. The story was never straight forward so be prepared.

Overall

For what this book was…it was way too long. I nearly quit reading this book multiple times, only sticking with it because I was so impressed by the research and the fact that it had been recommended to me. I enjoyed it overall but I won’t be reading any more of the series. Amazing amount of research was done to make the historical aspects seemingly flawless. It was punctuated by a romance that would have been more enjoyable if it had been more believable. I get being attracted quickly and even loving quickly but they jumped into the deep end super quickly and I just had a hard time jumping into the deep end with them.

Rating

3.5 Stars (round down)

If you love the writing of historical novels that have paranormal romantic plots, this is a must read. It just wasn’t for me.

Where I got a copy?

Purchased at a local bookstore—Fireside Books.

Advertisements

Vermilion Tears by Tia Lee

Summary

Vermilion Tears is a gothic paranormal novel set in Victorian times. Lydia comes from humble beginnings living with her family in New Haven. Her life gets turned upside down when she is on a train to New York City to start her new life. Lydia is attacked by supernatural creatures she didn’t even realize existed. Now a supernatural being herself, she finds herself fleeing from a brutal captor and trying to keep her family intact. Will she be caught or will she succeed in escaping and restoring her family?

Characters

Lydia is a leaf caught on the wind of change. She seems to go with the flow…not always making the best of decisions. At first I wasn’t sure if I’d like her or not. What I can say is that after she turns and is a captive, I finally felt like I got to know Lydia’s character. Edgar and Ruben were interesting supporting characters. I’d also like to mention that I had a hard time with multiple chapters being in first person, which may have further contributed to some very confusing POV shifts. As a side note: I hated Edgar’s lengthy monologues and it really hampered my overall like of them.

Plot

I love Gothic novels, especially Victorian era with a paranormal twist. Penny Dreadful always comes to mind when I see this genre. This book is no different. There were aspects of the plot I just loved. The paranormal aspect was absolutely nailed – it had all of the fan favorites. Not to mention the witches! Loved them. I actually was really enjoying the novel despite its flaws…until the epilogue. It felt rushed, choppy, and I felt like I got whiplash at the sudden change. All of which would have been great earlier in the book. I love when books surprise me, but this felt like a last minute addition to set the stage for a second book.

Overall

There were some historical inaccuracies and some of the conversations were just a little too modern to be believable in the time. Such as they ordered a Bloody Mary in the mid-1800s. Since this is marked as a historical novel, I feel it is important to point this out. That being said if you can overlook the flaws historical aspects, you’ll enjoy the plot like I did. Still loving the paranormal aspects of the story the most! Honestly I wondered once to twice why this wasn’t written in a more recent time frame.

The setting was well developed, which was why I could picture many of the scenes in my head. That being said there were many parts of the plot that felt too convenient. I struggled with how the characters knew some of the information. For example, when Lydia is attacked she immediately knew it was a vampire. I thought this was alternative history where people are suspicious of the supernatural and believe in it, but not that it is a every day place. Perhaps I missed this but some of the leaps the characters make in figuring things out was a stretch more than once.

Rating

3 Stars

It was okay. Strong paranormal story with some needed work in plot and character development. Felt more like a paranormal thriller or suspense, rather than a historical novel.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Loved by a Killer by C.F. Rabbiosi

Summary

Raina loved performing upon the London stage, but one night she found herself dancing for only HIM. She froze, and looked to the balcony where the gaslights flickered dimly over his shadowy form. If only she had known that this beautiful monster would soon rip her away from everything in the world SHE EVER LOVED, perhaps she wouldn’t have lingered so long.

Lord Marcus Loxley loved being a blood thirsty predator, but one night his gallivanting brought him to his knees in front of HER. If only he had known what would happen when she danced, that she would remind him of someone who was everything in the world HE EVER LOVED, perhaps he would have turned away.

As he drags her deeper and deeper into his depraved world of torture and violence, she begins fighting her own darkness that threatens to consume her everyday. And oh, how it begs to be released. And though she knows it’s wrong, she desires her captor anyway.

Until she begins falling for someone else…

Meanwhile, prostitutes are being butchered in the streets and she begins to fear: Is her dark lover, the one she is bound to, The Ripper?

With an accurate account of the creepy, gaslit times of London and real Jack the Ripper crime scenes, LOVED BY A KILLER is an exciting read from start to finish. Warning: Hot sexual content and graphic gore. Language.

Characters

There are really two main characters: Raina and Marcus. Marcus is exactly what he is, without remorse, though he does try to change. He is a very depraved individual but that is somewhat to be expected from a very old vampire. I appreciated the complexity of the characters. Raina at times felt like a leaf on the wind. Being pulled this way and that until closer to the end where she takes a stab at making her own happiness.

There were lots of other POVs throughout the book, which was very confusing sometimes because they just changed suddenly. It was very confusing at times because I’d think I was following one character but then suddenly it is another character’s POV. The worse was between Marcus and Raina.

Plot

This book is filled with fascinating plot lines. The big problem was there were too many of them – which I normally like but not all of them felt necessary in this instance. They might be necessary later in the series but some of them wrapped up and kind of felt like they didn’t fit the rest of the story. That being said there were some awesomely described macabre scenes that were super epic. There is the main plot of Marcus wanting to possess Raina, Jack the Ripper, and all of his past coming back to haunt him.

Furthermore there were historical inaccuracies and verbiage that took me out of the era of the book. A ripe example is near the end she takes off her dress by using a zipper. Problem is the zipper wasn’t used widely in clothes until after the 1900s, but Jack the Ripper terrorized London in 1888.

Overall

I wasn’t sure if I liked this book. I really liked Raina and I was sucked in at the beginning but my interest quickly waned. This was partially because I found myself disliking both Marcus and Raina (although I warmed up to her closer to the end but never fully liked her again). I also felt some of the gore and scenes were unnecessary – like repeatedly making a point that was well done the first time. In the end the middle part of the book felt long. However, the sudden and unexpected change at the end was very rewarding.

Rating

3 Stars

Loved the beginning and loved the ending, but struggled through the middle. This book has a lot to offer, but needs some work and is not for the faint of heart. This is dark, but entertaining.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.