A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

SYNOPSIS

A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.

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.

Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism.

THOUGHTS & RATING

⭐⭐⭐⭐

“It begins with absence and desire.

It begins with blood and fear.

It begins with a discovery of witches.”

This was highly recommended by a good friend of mine and since we have the same taste in books I immediately got the whole series. BUT as the awesome reader that I am (note the sarcasm) I wasn’t able to get into it until last year.

This was a perfect blend between fantasy, history, science and a little bit of mythology. I was so amazed at how Matthew Clairmont’s brain works and it felt like I was not just reading for entertainment but also learning A LOT from it. The historical references the author has put into the story was another plus for me and as a history geek I devoured every information.

Not gonna lie I wasn’t the biggest fan of Diana at first. With her not accepting what she truly is, being in denial of everything and relying on other people to protect her but at the last few pages she began to change into the badass female character I enjoy reading about.

I would also like to give credit to the rest of the characters. Ysabeau, Marthe, Marcus, Miriam, Sarah, Emily, Hamish etc were all very unique and unforgettable in their own way. I love how this characters were not outshined by the main ones and was able to be a huge part of the overall story.

I have also recently finished the 1st season of the tv show and seeing my favorite characters come to life was such a joy. I’m not usually a fan of book to movie/tv show adaptation but I did really enjoy this. Matthew Goode as Matthew Clairmont was spot on!

This book was such a captivating tale that instantly caught my attention and challenged my imagination from the very first page. It was full of magic, action, romance and supplied unlimited knowledge and I loved every part of it. It might be a bit slow at first but it got better as you continue reading it. Definitely one of the best books I have read last year and can’t wait to get to the last book of the series.

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

SYNOPSIS

Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honoured for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Territories, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.

Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince, the leader of a campaign against her people.

As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for.

THOUGHTS & RATING

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Don’t worry,” I said. “These men are good. They’re going to heal the world.”

Read this last year and it definitely got me back on track!

The characters, or the “cavemans” which I like to call them (you’ll know when you read it), was what I fell inlove the most in this book. Belen the overprotective poppa bear, the very entertaining “monkey’s” Loren & Quian, Flea who thinks and acts older than his age and of course we have Kerrick – the bastard.

I feel like Kerrick has the most character development in this book. When I started reading this I absolutely HATED his attitude and everything about him, but as the story progressed and he started changing, my heart also slowly opened up to him.

Avry was such a soft-hearted and kind person that sometimes I want to go inside the book and shake her. Tell her to give more importance to her life. But she’s also a strong willed character who wouldnt just stand by and watch the people close to her get hurt.

The world building and magic system is another thing that amazed me while reading this book. Maria V. Snyder has a way with words and makes you feel like your there in the book with them gallivanting through the forest to get to Ryne, learning more about the magic they have and sitting front row while Kerrick and Avry argue. And let me tell you..insta-love was NOT present at all! 😂 I need to get to the second book of this and continue my adventure with Avry and the cavemans. 💜

Spring Cleaning Book Tag 🌸

I was catching up on blog post earlier this week and saw this and thought “Why not?”

I wasn’t tag for this or anything but I was interested to do it after reading Kat’s post over at her blog Life and Other Disasters.

This tag was originally created by Jen over at Book Syrup on youtube (sorry the link isn’t working anymore).

1. the struggle of getting started: a book/book series that you have struggled to begin because of its size?

Hands down The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon! I mean did you guys see how HUGE this book is? It has about 830 pages! But I did really like it buuuuut… I haven’t finished it yet. 😅 I think I have about 200-300 pages left but I haven’t picked it up yet (I should really do that).

2. cleaning out the closet: a book and/or book series you want to unhaul?

I have been debating on unhauling my Warcross Duology by Marie Lu for quite some time now. I did really enjoy the 1st book but the 2nd book just didn’t do it for me. My expectation was so high for this since this was the first book I’ve read and liked that contains the element of a game in the story. But every time I think of letting them go… I just can’t. 😅

3. opening windows and letting fresh air in: a book that was refreshing.

Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend is still the most refreshing and magical book I have read so far. This was the book that made me start reading middle grade and it was also one of the books that got me off of my reading slump. Highly recommend it if you are looking into trying middle grade books. 🥰

4. washing out sheet stains: a book you wish you could rewrite a certain scene in?

I was stuck in this for awhile and I was looking at the books on my shelf and then realize… Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco. If you have read this book I think you know what scene I mean. I don’t want to say anything else cause I don’t want to spoil it but OH MY GOSH… it still irritates me when I remember it.

5. throwing out unecessary knick knacks: a book in a series that you didn’t feel was necessary?

Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi. (Actually the following 3 books.) Don’t get me wrong I LOVED the first 3 books in this series and I was so excited when I first got Restore me but I have heard mixed things about the following books and I just didn’t want to ruin the love I had for this series. I am still debating on reading this and I feel like every time I look at my shelf it stares at me cause I haven’t really opened it since I got it.

(And it’s a bit unsettling since it has an eye in the cover. 👀)
6. polishing the door knobs: a book that had a clean finish?

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi. I recently finished this book and for a standalone fantasy I felt very satisfied with the ending. We all know that fantasy books usually has 3 or more books in it cause of all the world building, plots, characters and so on but I really loved and enjoyed reading this. I didn’t feel that it was lacking at the end of it cause I felt like it tied up everything nicely.

7. reaching to dust the fan: a book that tried too hard to relay a certain message?

For this I can’t really think of anything. 😅

8. the tiring yet satisfying finish of spring cleaning: a book series that was tiring yet satisfying to get through?

The All Souls Trilogy (minus the 3rd book) by Deborah Harkness. First off I haven’t read the last book yet AND I didn’t choose this cause they were bad or anything. I actually really really LOVE this and it has become one of my all time favorite series! It’s just that… they were super long (700+ pages) and very intimidating. I felt like I was back in college while reading this cause of all the scientific stuff it has in it that made my brain malfunction a bit at times. But the historical aspect… enjoyed every bit of it.

Also I really need to watch the series ASAP!

That is it for today’s tag! What do you guys think? Have you read the books I have mentioned? Agree or Disagree? Let’s talk in the comments down below! 😊

Feel free to do this tag if you want to! 🌸

Elle(s) by Kid Toussaint, Aveline Stokart (Illustrator)

SYNOPSIS

Elle is just another teenage girl… most of the time. Bubbly and good-natured, she wastes no time making friends on her first day at her new school. But Elle has a secret: she hasn’t come alone. She’s brought with her a colorful mix of personalities, which come out when she least expects it… Who is Elle, really? And will her new friends stand by her when they find out the truth? 

THOUGHTS & RATING

⭐⭐⭐

First of all this is one of the most beautifully made graphic novel I have ever read. The art was very colorful and it made reading more enjoyable.

Basically Elle was a new student in her school. She was very bubbly and friendly so it wasn’t a shock for people to like her and everything was going well. She had friends, she was excelling in school and she was finally fitting in until everything went down.

Honestly going in to this I didn’t think it will delve into mental illness that much, but for a 100 page novel it did capture my attention and made me realize how serious mental health is. I can’t even imagine how hard it was for Elle to cope with all the stress and having to be aware of the different personalities you have in yourself but can’t do anything about it.

Besides Elle I really liked the character of Maelys. Everyone needs a friend like her. Someone who won’t give up on you cause of your mood swings and will always have your back no matter what.

It did end to fast and I feel like more should be said but it is a first in a series and I can’t wait to read the next books.

Thank you to @netgalley and @EuropeComics for this ARC Ebook. All reviews and opinions are fair, honest and my own.

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

SYNOPSIS

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations. The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

THOUGHTS & RATING

⭐⭐⭐⭐

“That’s the choice. I love him, with all that, because of all that. On purpose. I love him on purpose.”

Read this wonderful book last year and now I understand why it was the Goodreads Choice 2019 winner.

This story revolves around the relationship of Alex Claremont-Diaz, the First Son of the United States and Prince Henry George Edward James Fox-Mountchristen-Windsor (that was a mouthful of a name) of Britain. They consider themselves each others longtime nemesis so every time they meet nothing turns out right.

Everything started when they had to stage a fake friendship cause of an issue that happened during the royal wedding. They still constantly banter with each other which made me laugh and grin while reading their conversations. But then as time goes by and they get to spend more time with each other, feelings changed and they realized that they were paying attention not because of hate but because at the start they already felt something inside.

Their characteristics are COMPLETELY OPPOSITE from each other. Alex is a very passionate, eager and “out there” kind of guy while Henry on the other hand is very reserved and sticks to what the norm is. But even though they were so different they balanced each other all the time. Henry was able to help Alex open up to him and calm him down while Alex helped Henry to realize that his happiness also matters.

This is a rom-com book but at the same time it also focused on the relationship of the characters with their family and friends, accepting once self and not being afraid of change.

(Also there are some STEAMY scenes so be ready for that! 😉)

All in all I absolutely LOVED and enjoyed this book. Highly recommended!

Bookshelf Time Capsule Tag

I was thinking earlier on what to post for today and saw Regan’s video at PeruseProject do this tag and immediately thought of doing it myself.

This tag was originally created by Jesse over at JessetheReader on youtube.

1. Give us an overview of your shelves and tell us where they are from?
2. Which shelf on your bookshelf is your favorite?

Definitely my Brandon Sanderson and Rick Riordan shelf. Two of my favorite authors in the world. I think I spent the longest time arranging this part cause I wanted it to be the highlight of my main shelf. I do plan on collecting all of their books and I feel like one shelf wouldn’t be enough for all of them. 😅

3. Do you keep every book you read or do you ditch the ones you don’t end up loving?

As much as I want to keep ALL of the books I buy I do need to be practical. If you asked me before if I ever plan on giving away my books my answer would be a definite “NO” but now I can proudly say that the remaining books in my collection are favorites and books I haven’t been able to read yet. Books I didn’t like or feel like I won’t be rereading at all I either sell or giveaway.

4. What do you do when your bookshelf’s fill up?
I STACK THEM! 😅
5. do you have an organization method or is there an organization method that you’ve been wanting to try?

As of now I organize my shelf by genre/alphabetical. Rainbow shelf is one I would really want to try out but when I did it before it didn’t quite turn out the way I wanted to cause I had limited colors for the rainbow.

6. How often do you reorganize your shelves and how do you approach it?

Since moving I haven’t reorganized my shelf yet but before I guess I try to change it up once or twice a month. Depends on my mood really. What I usually do is remove every book on my shelf and go from there.

7. is there a shelf in your bookshelf that bothers you no matter what?
Definitely this shelf. It’s just too tall to fit normal size books so it looks quiet awkward and weird. 😅
8. Which book color dominates your shelf?

Black 🖤

9. What’s the most damage book on your shelf and give us a story time as to how it got that way?

I usually keep all my books in good condition but this fell of recently from my shelf while I was packing up all my books for the move. It bothered me for awhile but I didn’t think it would be practical to get a new copy.

10. Do you have any books on your shelf that have major printing errors?

None that I know of.

11. WHAT’S THE UGLIEST SPINE ON YOUR BOOKSHELF THAT STICKS UP LIKE A SORE THUMB?
THIS SERIES! I don’t know what the deal is with changing covers EVERY. SINGLE. RELEASE! I mean… WHY?!
12. IF YOU DON’T ALREADY HAVE YOUR DREAM BOOKSHELF, WHAT DOES YOUR DREAM BOOKSHELF LOOK LIKE?
I had this photo on my phone for so long cause I am planning to have this exact same one made for when I move into my own place.
13. What’s the tallest book on your bookshelf?
14. what’s the smallest book on your bookshelf?

I have a ton of mass market book and I think those are the smallest books I own.

15.What book is your most prized prossession?
This is my BABY! Rhythm of War SIGNED edition by the one and only Brandon Sanderson. Need I say more?
16. what’s a book that make you slip back in time to a past memory once you see it on your bookshelf?
This is actually the first EVER book I bought with my own money back when I was in college. Bought this at our local booksale with my college friend and from there my collection started to grow.

And that is it for todays post & tag. I actually really enjoyed this tag and I feel like I will be coming back here in the future (when I have my own library 😉) and just reminisce and see how much more my collection grew.

Feel free to do this tag if you want to! 🌻

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

SYNOPSIS

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind–she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed–this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales. 

THOUGHTS & RATING

⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Nothing changes, Vasya. Things are, or they are not. Magic is forgetting that something ever was other than as you willed it.”

The first thing that came into my mind when I started reading this was of all the fairy tales I have heard and read since I was a kid. This was such a refreshing take on the usual plots of fantasy nowadays. Everything about it felt so magical but also very dark at the same time.

The book doesn’t just thrive because of the setting but also cause of the different characters you read about along the way. Everyone is so different with one another. Different beliefs, thoughts, emotions, goals, dreams etc that every one of them will be remembered throughout the book.

Vasilisa “Vasya” is a great protagonist for this book. Since she was little you can see how headstrong she is and very different from the girls in her village. She would rather have fun outside in the forest than stay indoors waiting for her prince.

Another character I loved was Morozko (Winter King). Even though he fully comes out at the last parts of the book he left a very big impact on me. He and Vasya (surprisingly) has a lot of chemistry even though there was just a few chapters of them talking and being in each others presence. I can’t wait and see how the relationship they have grow in the next books.

The Bear and the Nightingale was beautifully written, lyrical and a fantasy that will make you want to reread your favorite fairy tales and I highly recommend it.

April TBR

Last night I have chosen the books I will be reading from my TBR jar filled with different prompts. I got this idea and the prompts from one of my favorite booktuber Riley over at Riley Marie. This was actually one of the best way I have discovered on choosing the books I want AND need to read cause there are prompts like owned for more than 3 years or published on 2015 etc.

So below are the 6 books I want to read with their corresponding prompts. 📚

  • Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (The Winternight Trilogy #1) “page number” – with this I had a random number generator and set it between 300-600. 308 was the final number and BATN has 312 pages (closest I could find)
  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee (Montague Siblings #1) “title that starts with _____” – again I have a random letter generator and it ended with G. (let’s just ignore “the”)
  • These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong “Folklore/Mythology/Retelling” – obviously I had to pick my current read for this.
  • The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi (The Star Touched Queen #1) “hardcover”
  • To Sir Phillip, With Love by Julia Quinn (Bridgertons #5) “historical”
  • The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken (Prosper Redding #1) “middlegrade”

March Wrap Up

First wrap up post for this blog!

For the past months I have been reading a ton of historical romance books cause I had a huge fantasy slump since last year. This has actually brought back my love for historical romance and made me discover such amazing titles.

For the month of March I have read a total of five books which is better than I expected AND it helped me catch up with my reading challenge. It’s a good thing I read thru historical romance very fast cause its very easy for me to get into and well… you can never go wrong with romance right?

So without further ado this are the books I have read for this Month. 🖤

  1. The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare (Girl Meets Duke #3) ☆☆☆☆☆
  2. The Duke Heist by Erica Ridley (The Wild Wynchesters #1) ☆☆☆☆
  3. Between the Devil and Desire by Lorraine Heath (Scoundrels of St. James #2) ☆☆☆☆
  4. Surrender to the Devil by Lorraine Heath (Scoundrels of St. James #3) ☆☆☆
  5. Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco (Kingdom of the Wicked #1) ☆☆☆

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson

SYNOPSIS

A young woman living in a rigid, puritanical society discovers dark powers within herself in this stunning, feminist fantasy debut.

In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement.

But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.

Fascinated by the secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her.

THOUGHTS & RATING

⭐⭐⭐⭐

“People do foolish, reckless things when they’re desperate to find ways to escape themselves”

The Year of the Witching was one of my priority books to read for this month. I don’t really read a lot of horror books but when I heard about this I instantly thought “I want to read that” and I was glad I did.

The book revolves around Imanuelle Moore’s role between the conflict of four powerful witches who dwells on the Darkwood and the religious authorities of Bethel led by the Prophet. Not gonna say anything more than this cause I don’t want to spoil the fun of reading it. 😉

I applaud Alexis Henderson for the way she blends supernatural with the real. She didn’t just focused on the witchcraft itself but also showed real themes such as racism, oppression and abuse. Immanuel’s development thru out the story as a feminist heroine was so satisfying to read about while the world building and the setting was my favorite of it all. It made me not want to put the book down but at times everything just felt so vivid that I had to take a few breaks within reading to calm myself.

If your looking for something dark, gothic, bloody, witchy read this is the book for you. 🖤