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

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) – Deborah HarknessTitle: A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) by Deborah Harkness
Publishing Info: February 8, 2011 by Penguin
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy, Vampires
Date Completed: September 21, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

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.

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A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES was not what I thought it would be. Diana, the main character, is a witch but she’s a badass historian and is determined to earn her achievements in life her own way and not just by using magic for everything. For that reason (and of course, other reasons that we learn later), she avoids using any magic whenever possible. Things get complicated (naturally) in part because the urban fantasy world of A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES also includes vampires and demons and the three different supernatural species don’t really play nicely together. Diana meets vampire Matthew Clairmont on the day that all hell starts breaking loose (of course, the two are connected in many ways) and there we have our love interest as well.

So why didn’t A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES work for me? I basically felt like I was reading the entire Twilight Saga wrapped up in one book and made for adults. Granted, I haven’t read a lot of vampire books so any parallel reminds me of Twilight but there was sooooo much stuff and constant reminders that I just couldn’t shake it. I don’t know if this is one of those things where I don’t read a lot of vampire books and this is just common vampire lore but I first read about these plot lines in Twilight or what, but either way, I just felt like they really mirrored each other in a lot of ways. Just the fact that there was such a prominent vampire story line at all really bothered me. I was hoping this would be a lot witchier in terms of magic and plot, but bother were more focused on the vampire/non-vampire interactions and we spend way more time learning about vampire history and behavior than we do about the witch culture and coven history.

I also just felt like this book should have been WAY shorter. There were several long passages about things that could have been included in some world-building moments (like a scene about vampires going hunting where Diana is watching and Matthew isn’t even there) and many conclusions could have been brought about sooner. There were also a lot of secrets in this book (fair) but so many were brought up in a way where it was presented to Diana and people just flat out refused to tell her anything for no good reason. Matthew was way too overprotective for my tastes and it started to bother me. Diana was such a strong personality before she met Matthew, determined to earn everything herself and not skate by on magic, and then once Matthew is in the picture, there are a lot of inconsistencies where she wants him to do all the protecting for her and won’t try to start using her magic while still maintaining that she’s a strong personality who won’t take no for an answer. I had a hard time with the ways she fell apart and the instalove (and INSTA MARRIAGE ew) that just didn’t feel natural in this book. Things just really didn’t feel like they unfolded naturally and I was missing those good world-building chunks to explore this world and felt like there was far too much romance too quickly when we’ve two more books ahead of us.

I just really didn’t like the pacing at all and that beautiful mystery and tension from the first few chapters quickly dissipated, leaving a romance that I just wasn’t feeling in its intended intensity. I’m not sure if I’ll continue the series because of how it ended, adding in yet another supernatural concept when it could have been so beautifully focused on the witchcraft side of things. Pushing that to the side made it feel like it should have been Matthew’s story instead of Diana’s, and I get why it is Diana’s but I wanted to see much more of HER history start to unfold. It was there but there was just far too much vampire in this novel for me.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Witchy books. I love witchy novels and it was fun to see another witchy concept.
Left Me Wanting More: Consistency. I just hated how Diana didn’t feel like the same character that she was in the beginning. I hated that she became weak and needed saving once a man came into the picture.

Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion

This one didn’t really work for me, but SO many people do love it. I would say maybe check with some other trusted reviewers, or just take the plunge and give it a try! I thought for sure this would be a hit and things just felt apart.

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BOOKS LIKE A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES

             

Fortnight of Fright 2015 | The Vampire Combat Field Guide

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Welcome to our third annual FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT event!
October 17th – October 31st, 2015

Thanks for checking out the THIRD annual edition of FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT where Alyssa (Books Take You Places), Amy (Tripping Over Books), and I bring you two full weeks of Halloween-related posts! We’ve invited bloggers, authors, and book lovers alike to share their favorite things about Halloween and we feature a new person and post each day. 

Today, I’m sharing some details about THE VAMPIRE COMBAT FIELD GUIDE by Roger Ma!


Fortnight of Fright 2015 | The Vampire Combat Field GuideTitle: The Vampire Combat Field Guide by Roger Ma
Publishing Info: October 6, 2015 by Penguin
Genres: Adult, Horror, Paranormal
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: October 15, 2015

In The Vampire Combat Manual, Roger Ma, the nation’s preeminent expert in undead warfare, prepared the average citizen to defend against a brutal vampire attack. But without appropriate training, even the most adept slayer of bloodsuckers can be left vulnerable.
Therefore, the Institute for Undead Combat Studies has once again created an essential practice handbook for anyone seeking to avoid serious injury, infection, or death at the hands of a vampire. This comprehensive guide includes:
*Detailed illustrations to aid in identifying various types of the undead and their vulnerabilities, as well as anatomical drawings you can color to promote knowledge retention
*Interactive mental and physical exercises that will teach invaluable fighting techniques and prepare you for battle
*Work pages to hone weapon selection, defensive and offensive techniques, and precise staking strategies
*and much more!
With the proper preparation, no one need fear death by exsanguination or an eternity spent in darkness. Learn to ward off these bloodthirsty creatures while you can—or say good-bye to your days in the sun…

When I received an email from Penguin Random House about THE VAMPIRE COMBAT FIELD GUIDE.. and that it was a coloring book!? Well I surely couldn’t say no to that! I thought it would be the perfect way help kick off A FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT! This was actually my first foray into adult coloring books and I have to say… it was a lot of fun! Possibly a bit more gory than what I might normally aim for in coloring book but I did say yes to a vampire combat guide!

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A vampire guide is exactly what you get here! It was fun to see the details and instructions on how to best defeat a vampire — from the best approach based on your stature, to best weapons to use, and even staking techniques. If you’re a vampire or horror nut, this is probably a super fun guide and you get to color too!

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I was actually hoping for a few more coloring opportunities since it is advertised as a coloring book. Every page is open white space, ready for your crayons, markers, or whatever medium you choose to color in each illustration but some didn’t really call to me like they were supposed to be colored in.

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Overall, it was really enjoyable and so much fun to read through and color in! It was absolutely perfect for Halloween and so much fun to experience! Thanks again to Penguin Random House for sending it along!

First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson #1) – Darynda Jones

First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson #1) – Darynda JonesTitle: First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson #1) by Darynda Jones
Publishing Info: February 1, 2011 by Macmillan
Genres: Adult, Paranormal
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: November 15, 2012

    Charley Davidson is a part-time private investigator and full-time grim reaper. Meaning, she sees dead people. Really. And it's her job to convince them to "go into the light." But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (like murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she's been having about an entity who has been following her all her life...and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely. But what does he want with Charley? And why can't she seem to resist him? And what does she have to lose by giving in?
With scorching-hot tension and high-octane humor, First Grave on the Right is your signpost to paranormal suspense of the highest order.

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FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT was definitely a laugh a minute! Charley Davidson is snarky and witty and a whole lot of fun. I really enjoyed her character and found her talents interesting. I haven’t really read any reaper/grim reaper stories so that was a new idea for me and I liked learning how Charley was able to communicate and interact with the dead. It also made for quite a few funny moments since the other characters weren’t able to see what she could!

What I never really got on board with was the whole Reyes story line. I was interested in finding out “what he was” — and I wasn’t disappointed when I found out — I just didn’t like how he was integrated in the story. The whole not-in-corporeal-form-but-still-having-steamy-hot-sex-scenes? Yikes. For some reason that just kind of bothered me. I guess I could see how the author was making it possible, but I still didn’t feel like it was possible. I also found it rather disturbing that Charley took away an attraction from her first encounter with Reyes in which he (mildy) physically assaulted her and threatened to rape her. So yeah, I was creeped out by that.

While I enjoyed the first book, I’m not sure I’ll pick up the second. I was let down with how the book ended and I’m not sure I’m interested in picking up the story line again. It was interesting to find out about, but I’m sure the Reyes story line will continue and we’ll delve further into that, but I don’t like his relationship with Charley and I think it’s kind of weird so I might pass on reading more of these books.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

Lorelei King did a pretty great job! She was really fun and her tone suited Charley’s character perfectly. Some of her male voices sounded the same, but shoot, it’s hard for a woman to make any male voices different when there are so many! The book breezed by with her narration though and she was a lot of fun to listen to.

character_breakdown1Charley: Charley was a hoot! She’s very sarcastic, witty — you name it — she’s a fireball! I actually had a lot of fun getting to know her character though she did get on my nerves a few times, but mostly when dealing with Reyes.
Reyes: A mystery wrapped in an enigma. I’m glad we finally find out “what he is” at the end of the book and I wasn’t disappointed by the reveal, but I still don’t like how Darynda Jones wove his character in the story. The immediate and awkward-for-me-to-listen-to romance between him and Charley felt almost forced sometimes, like she knew that’s what she wanted it to be so why not throw it in all at once? I didn’t like how a lot of his character felt forced (at least to me). A lot of things felt like there were placed here and there and it didn’t make a lot of sense sometimes. Just my personal opinion!

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Library read

It was fun! I don’t know if I’d go out and buy it and I’m not sure if I want to continue the series (just so many other things to read) but if this sounds like your kind of book, worth picking up!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT