A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

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

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. (Goodreads)

The book starts when Diana Bishop discovers a bewitched manuscript,called Ashmole 782, in a library at Oxford. It has been lost for centuries and soon all kind of witches, daemons and vampires are trying to get it. One of them is Matthew Clairmont, a scientist who is also vampire.
Diana is from a powerful family of witches but after her parents’ death she has refused to use her powers. But when things starts to take dangerous turn she learns that she can’t ignore her heritage anymore.

Book is told from Diane’s point of view and it worked here. She’s strong, brave, intelligent and she’s historian. What’s not to like? It was interesting to see how she grew during the book, fing herself again and learning to control her powers.

Matthew is over 1000 year old vampire who takes interest in Diana. At first he is just looking for Ashmole 782 but soon finds that he can’t keep her out of his thoughts. But vampires and witches aren’t supposed to be together as they are about to find out. I liked Matthew and the chemistry between him and Diane. Sure he had this medieval thing about protecting women and stuff but I thought he was still quite adorable.

There was quite a lot talking about DNA and alchemy and I have to say that it went way over my head. But it was still interesting and it didn’t made m enjoy it any less.

And there was a finnish witch called Satu Järvinen :) That doesn’t happen often and just made me happy. Of course she was one of the bad guys but you can’t have it all, can you? She kinda leaves a lasting impression on Diane, not to mention traumas.

I really liked this book! I liked the first half book better with Matthew and Diane getting to know eachother. In later part things started to move much faster and while it was fun it didn’t feel the same.

A word of warning: the books has much detailed telling about things. How wine or food tasted and or smelled and their reactions to it. So if you’re not into that kind of thing you should be warned.

4,5/5
Published: Viking (2011)
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 579
Source: library

The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong

The Reckoning (Darkest Powers Trilogy 3) by Kelley Armstrong

Chloe Saunders is fifteen and would love to be normal. Unfortunately, Chloe happens to be a genetically engineered necromancer who can raise the dead without even trying. She and her equally gifted (or should that be ‘cursed’?) friends are now running for their lives from the evil corporation that created them.

As if that’s not enough, Chloe is struggling with her feelings for Simon, a sweet-tempered sorcerer, and his brother Derek, a not so sweet-tempered werewolf. And she has a horrible feeling she’s leaning towards the werewolf…

Definitely not normal. (Goodreads)

Chloe, Tori, Derek and Simon are safe now with Andrew, a friend of Simon and Derek’s father. Andrew introduces the kids to group of supernaturals (necromancer, witch and shaman) hoping they could teach the kids and helping them to control their powers. They don’t seem to believe that the Edison Group is actually trying to kill them. And when they found out how powerful the kids really are without training, things are starting to go from bad to worse.

Chloe has always been little too nice and I’m happy she’s finally learning to stand up and not letting others run her down. She finally stands up to Derek who seems to take out his frustrations on Chloe more than anyone else. Derek has his first Change and I love how supportive Chloe is about the thing. But I found it little funny how well she seems to understand Derek in his wolf form. How many different snort/frown can a wolf have? I love it how in books everyone knows what others are thinking and how eyes seems to show everything…

Tori has made some growing up and while she’s still bitchy she seems to be more part of the group. And the thing about her dad was so unexpected! I wish there would have some more information on that.

Simon wasn’t much in the book and it seemed his only purpose was to be a part of a love triangle. But for once the triangle didn’t bother me and the guys weren’t really fighting each other for it.

I still wish there would have been more about their powers. Like why were they given the experiences? What was the ulterior motive?

I enjoyed the book but it left the feeling that it was unfinished. As far as I know there’s no more books but I could be wrong though.

4/5
Published: Orbit (2010)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 391
Source: my own

The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong

The Awakening (Darkest Powers Trilogy 2) by Kelley Armstrong

Chloe Saunders is on the run
and raising hell. Literally. 

Chloe Saunders is not your average supernatural teenager. Genetically altered at birth by a sinister team of scientists, she can barely control her terrifying powers. Now the team that created her has decided it’s time to end the experiment. Permanently.

Now Chloe is running for her life along with a charming sorcerer, a troubled werewolf and a temperamental young witch. Together they have a chance for freedom – but can Chloe trust her new friends? (Goodreads)

The Awakening starts from where The Summoning left. Chloe, Tori and Rae has been recaptured by the Edison Group. Chloe and Tori escapes and starts to search for Derek and Simon. After they are reunited they decides that the best solution is to look for a family friend of Derek and Simon who could help. They’re trying to learn to control they’re new powers and to figure out what was done to them.

It’s been some time since I read the first book and didn’t remember these were so much fun!

Chloe is trying to learn how to control necromancy and her power just seems to grow. She’s also trying to accept what she learned about her Aunt who was always there for her.

I like her , and the fact that she doesn’t come complete idiot when a boy is around, and she is starting to believe in herself more. Sure she does some stupid decisions that leads her needing to be rescued but still. From the first book she has had a crush on Simon who is this nice, thoughtful guy but there is also Derek who most of the time is kinda rude at everyone but at times is kind and caring.

I liked Simon and thought he was fun but Derek is the mysterious one. Chloe understand him and helps him with his struggle with the wolf. And I can’t feel hoping there would be more between the two!

I wish we would have been told more about how the kids have been genetically altered. It’s told that they were but never more than that. And it doesn’t come clear what is supposed to be normal so you don’t really know how different the kids really are.

Personally I found it interesting when we found out that Simon has diabetes. It doesn’t come across often in the books and not with something about medication plan explained. And even though it’s not a big deal in the story, there is still the proper information.

I really enjoyed this and it was kinda quick read too. Can’t wait to start Armstrong’s adult serie too!

4/5
Published: Orbit (2009)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 357
Source: my own

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Nightshade (Nightshade 1) by Andrea Cremer

Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she’ll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters’ laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything–including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice? (Goodreads)

Calla is the alpha female of the younger generation of her werewolf pack. In Calla’s world there are werewolfs called the Guardians who serves witches called The Keepers. The Keepers are in war with Searchers who used to be part of The Keepers. Calla has always known her future: to bond with Ren, the alpha male of the other pack, and to form a new pack with him. But when their packs are beginning to merge, things start to change.

When Calla is on a patrol she comes across human hiker, Shay, being attacked by a bear and can’t let him die. But when Shay turns out to be a new student in Calla’s school things are about to get complicated.

I’m glad to tell that I loved this book! I’ve read so many great reviews and I feared I would end hating it and I’m glad I was wrong.

Calla is strong, has a sense of duty and knows what is expected of her. She has been raised as a warrior and isn’t afraid to speak her mind. I liked her and the fact that she wasn’t a damsel in distress waiting for someone to save her.

And of course there is the love truangle.
Ren is the young alpha male of the Bane pack – hot, womanizing and he’s used to girls fallin’ at his feet. But he is lot more insecure about Calla than he pretends to be. I may or may not have a liitle crush on him…

Then there’s the human boy Shay. There’s something about him that Calla can’t let him die and ends up saving him against every rule. I kinda liked him but had some problems too. He keeps insulting the werewolves and can’t understand Calla’s loyalty to the Keepers. And he has problem with the tradition of bonding with someone who’s been chosen to be your mate. Because Calla’s should be able to choose for herself and of course Shay is the right one for that. I thought he was little selfish at times.
Don’t get me wrong, I liked Shay but I could have lived without him too. I liked Ren and I think he was much better for Calla and didn’t understand the need for love triangle. I just wanted more Calla-Ren scenes.

I’m surprised that there wasn’t any characters who really annoyed me. Because I didn’t hate Shay but just didn’t like him to be with Calla. And I would have liked to read more about Mason and Nev. Now there would have been a story!

I’m looking forward reading the next book and I’m hoping there will be more Ren in it!

4/5
Published: Atom (2011)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 454
Source: library

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium (Delirium 1) by Lauren Oliver

They say that the cure for Love will make me happy and safe forever. And I’ve always believed them. Until now. Now everything has changed. Now, I’d rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie. (Goodreads)

When people turn 18 they’ve procedure to cure themfrom a disease called love, or amor deliria nervosa. Love is the reason that made evything to turn into chaos and a cure was developed. The feeling of love for a best friend, a parent, or a pet is not tolerated.

Lena can’t wait for her procedure but then she meets Alex. At first she’s horrified at the feelings she now has but slowly starts to question the way of life. She has always wanted to be happy and ordinary and the procedure is the answer to that. But what if there is another way?

I haven’t read many dystopian books before and I’m surprised how much I liked this. And I think the idea of love thought as disease is interesting.

It started little slowly but things starts to go swiftly little by little. I actually liked Lena. At first she is rather insecure and feels like she is in her best friend Hana’s shadow. Hana is the type that catches all the attention at first and then there is Lena’s mother’s suicide that still cast a shadow on Lena’s life. I loved to see that Alex made her start believing in herself more. But when Lena’s procedure starts to approach she starts to think about running off with Alex .

While I liked the book there was few things that bothered me. I would have liked to learn why the government suddenly started to force everyone to be cured. It was said love and feelings was the reason for wars and that people were unhappy but I kept thinking if there was something that really set things off.

And it’s said that it’s dangerous to take the procedure before you turn 18 because of side effects but then later on we’re told that some people who has gotten the deliria is forced to take procedure earlier. It kinda came out like it’s a normal thing when just before it’s stated to be dangerous.

But all in all it was fascinating reading and I’m looking forward reading more of her books!

4/5
Published: Hodder & Stoughton (2011)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 393
Source: library

The Tudor Secret by C.W. Gortner

The Tudor Secret (The Spymaster Chronicles 1) by C.W. Gortner

Summer 1553: A time of danger and deceit. Brendan Prescott, an orphan, is reared in the household of the powerful Dudley family. Brought to court, Prescott finds himself sent on an illicit mission to the king’s brilliant but enigmatic sister, Princess Elizabeth. But Brendan is soon compelled to work as a double agent by Elizabeth’s protector, William Cecil, who promises in exchange to help him unravel the secret of his own mysterious past.

A dark plot swirls around Elizabeth’s quest to unravel the truth about the ominous disappearance of her seriously ill brother, King Edward VI. With only a bold stable boy and an audacious lady-in-waiting at his side, Brendan plunges into a ruthless gambit of half-truths, lies, and murder. Filled with the intrigue and pageantry of Tudor England, The Tudor Secret is the first book in The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles. (Goodreads)

Brendan Prescott was abandoned as a baby and he was brought up in the Dudley family. Living with the Dudley boys isn’t always easy and they makes sure that Brendan knows he’s just a foundling. When he’s 20 he is brought to court to be squire to Robert Dudley. Soon an errand for Robert takes Brendan to meet Princess Elizabeth. She makes quite an impression and soon Brendan finds that making Elizabeth safe doesn’t go well with serving the Dudleys. It doesn’t take long for him to come to the attention of William Cecil and finds himself to be a spy in exchange to learn who he is.

I truly enjoyed this and almost read it in a day. I adored Brendan and I loved watching how he grows from the quite innocent boy to more mature and intelligent young man. Living in the court isn’t always easy and you find yourself growing tougher.

I also loved Peregrin and it was great that Brendan found someone to watch he’s back.Robert was vain, short tempered and kind of a bully but it was refreshing to see that side of him. He certainly had ambition. I loved how Elizabeth was portrayed and how she came through as a person and friend.

While the book takes certain liberties and I admit having a thing for historical accurancies, I didn’t have problems with this one. It’s mystery and not straight historical novel and it’s stated in the author’s notes.

Great book and it seems you can never go wrong with Gortner and I can’t wait for the next book in the serie!

4/5
Published: St. Martin’s Griffin (2011)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 327
Source: publisher

Fallen by Lauren Kate

Fallen (Fallen 1) by Lauren Kate

Seventeen-Year-Old Luce is a new student at Sword & Cross, an unwelcoming boarding/reform school in Savannah, Georgia. Luce’s boyfriend died under suspicious circumstances, and now she carries the guilt over his death with her as she navigates the unfriendly halls at Sword & Cross, where every student seems to have an unpleasant—even evil—history. It’s only when she sees Daniel that her life looks a little better. But Daniel has a secret which will put their lives in danger… (Goodreads)

Luce was in a fire where her boyfriend died and she gets shipped to a new school for troubled kids. On her first day there Luce sees Daniel and she gets the feeling they’ve met before but he makes it clear he doesn’t want anything to do with her. And then there’s this other guy who wants her…

I really wanted to like this more. I mean with this gorgeous cover you would hope the book lives up to it. And it made me sad that it didn’t and kept waiting it to get better which never happened.

Luce was ok but when she was near Daniel or Cam I just wanted to slap her.I mean I get she’s swooning for them but really… With back cover saying it’s the “ultimate love story” I was expecting some sparks. But I didn’t feel anything between Luce and Daniel. He spends nearly whole book running away from her and telling he doesn’t want her stalking and harassing him. He made it so clear and yet she she can’t let it go and goes into stalker mode. If I was being mean I’d called that pathetic. I couldn’t feel anything between them.

And then there’s Cam who’s supposed to be this charming, popular guy and of course he seems to know always how Luce feels and what she wants. They just gave me the creeps. Plain and clear. He gave me the feeling that he was 50+ old slimey guy after teenager. But maybe that’s just me.

And there wan’t lot going on. I kept waiting something to happen and when we learn about flallen angels I thought finally! But that didn’t really go anywhere and all we hear is that Luce can’t hear everything at once because it’s such a shock. Really?! At the ned there is a battle but we don’t see it so it kinda fell flat too.

Of course the school is supposed to be highly secured place where some wearstracking bracelets but still people just seems to sneak around when they feel like it.

In the end I felt there was too much telling and too little showing. But I’m saying again that I loved the cover.

2/5
Published: Doubleday (2009)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 452
Source: my own

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Graceling (Graceling Realm 1) by Kristin Cashore

In a world where people born with an exceptional skill, known as a Grace, are both feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of a skill even she despises: the Grace of killing.

Feared by the court and shunned by those her own age, the darkness of her Grace casts a heavy shadow over Katsa’s life. Yet she remains defiant: when the King of Lienid’s father is kidnapped she investigates, and stumbles across a mystery. Who would want to kidnap the old man, and why? And who was the extraordinary Graced man whose fighting abilities rivalled her own?

The only thing Katsa is sure of is that she no longer wants to kill. The intrigue around this kidnapping offers her a way out – but little does she realise, when she takes it, that something insidious and dark lurks behind the mystery. Something spreading from the shadowy figure of a one-eyed king… (Goodreads)

When Katsa was 8 year old she accidently kills her cousin and she learns that she has the Grace of killing. Her uncle King Randa uses her to punish everyone who displeases him and Katsa learns to hate him for this. Katsa organizes a Council that tries to help people and it is the Coucil’s job to rescue the King of Lienid’s father whe he’s kidnapped. While on the rescue Katsa meets another Graceling with matching fighting skill who turns out to be Prince Po of Lienid and looking for his missing grandfather.

I have some mixed feelings about this one. I enjoyed it but I’m still having problems writing my feelings about it.

I liked Katsa, she was tough and nice but I felt that I was supposed to be more scared of her than I was. And at times she was more childish than 10 year old Bitterblue who acts much older than her age. And if you can’t feel pain then why make such a huge thing about hairpins digging into scalp?

But I liked Po (what kind of name is that?) and Raffin. Po was so cute and fun and loved the way he understood Katsa.

It wasn’t bad and I liked it but guess I was again expecting something more. I have Fire also so I’m curious to see how that one goes.

3/5
Published: Gollancz (2009)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 371
Source: my own

By Fire, By Water by Mitchell James Kaplan

By Fire, By Water by Mitchell James Kaplan

Luis de Santángel, chancellor to the court and longtime friend of the lusty King Ferdinand, has had enough of the Spanish Inquisition. As the power of Inquisitor General Tomás de Torquemada grows, so does the brutality of the Spanish church and the suspicion and paranoia it inspires. When a dear friend’s demise brings the violence close to home, Santángel is enraged and takes retribution into his own hands.  But he is from a family of conversos, and his Jewish heritage makes him an easy target. As Santángel witnesses the horrific persecution of his loved ones, he begins slowly to reconnect with the Jewish faith his family left behind. Feeding his curiosity about his past is his growing love for Judith Migdal, a clever and beautiful Jewish woman navigating the mounting tensions in Granada. While he struggles to decide what his reputation is worth and what he can sacrifice, one man offers him a chance he thought he’d lost…the chance to hope for a better world. Christopher Columbus has plans to discover a route to paradise, and only Luis de Santángel can help him. (publisher)

Luis de Santángel is chancellor to King Fernando (Ferdinand) of Aragon but he is also a third generation Christian, converso, but when the Spanish Inquisition starts in full force it’s not safe to have Jewish connections. At the same time Luis grows curious about his Jewish heritage and starts to see theologian in secret but soon catches the eyes of inquisitor and soon finds out that he or his family isn’t safe.

We also hear the story of Judith, a Jewish silversmith, who catches Luis’ eyes. Luis falls in love with her but is he willing to give up everything for her?

I’m not very familiar with Spanish Inquisition or Jewish religion and the little I know about Inquisition comes from reading Katherine of Aragon’s childhood. It is not a pleasant subject giving the worst example of humanity but it’s fascinating in a horrible way.

By Fire, By Water is certainly very thought provoking and well researched. While the books has lot of religious themes and has theological discussions it manages to not sound preachy.

It’s not action packed but gives one man’s journey while trying to find who he is and remaining true to himself.

The only minor problem I had was with the time. I wish it would have been stated better how much time had went on or mentioned on what year was going on.

What a great debut from Kaplan! I truly enjoyed this and couldn’t put it down.Can’t wait to read more from this author!

5/5
Published: Other Press (2010)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 284
Source: from author for review

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush 1) by Becca Fitzpatrick

A SACRED OATH
A FALLEN ANGEL
A FORBIDDEN LOVE

Romance was not part of Nora Grey’s the plan. She’s never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how hard her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch comes along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Patch draws Nora to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora’s not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is and seems to know more about her than her closest friends. She can’t decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For she is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen – and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost Nora her life. (Goodreads)

Nora Grey’s life changes when she gets new lab partner, Patch. She can’t stand him and at the same time is afraid of him. Her suggestion of a new partner is turned down and eventually she starts have major crush on him. But then stuff starts to happen and it seems Patch might be behind them.

There was some hype about this some time ago and witch such a great cover I just had to try it too. And I’m little surprised how much I liked this! Not great and had it’s falts but I did enjoy it.

Wasn’t huge fan of Nora herself. Bit boring and too naive, or should I say too teen? After she nearly runs ove a guy, her house is burned, nearly shot to death etc. absolutely never tell your parents, police or any adult because that would be stupid. Instead go to this huge investigating mode and speaking of that, the bar scene with wigs and all was so stupid. Seriously, when you are trying to find out about a guy you think is behind trying to kill you maybe your questions shouldn’t be:

“Do you know if Patch has ever had any restraining orders?
Does he have a history of stalking?
Does he have a girlfriend?”

But of course she can’t help but be in love with this mysterious guy! Whatever…

I found this kinda hilarious. When she sees Patch’s scars her first though is: “He must be fallen angel!” Seriously?? That’s your first thought? I have to remember this when I next time see someone with scars…
And naturally when she googles fallen angel the first page up is what se needs. Why this never happens to me?

But I liked Patch. I thought he was funny and I liked his sense of humor. I liked the idea of fallen angel and I wanted to learn more of his background.

For YA novel with such hype this was really good since I don’t usually like those. And good enough for me to read the next book.

3,5/5
Published: Simon and Schuster (2009)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 391
Source: my own