Fantasy/Paranormal · Fiction/Science Fiction · Romance

A discovery of witches – Deborah Harkness

41952734| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: 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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My thoughts:

“The only thing I discovered was that no matter what “world” you try to place a romance story in, if you do not decide one thread to follow, it will not succeed.”

At first I thought this would be a solid five star book. But then I got a couple of hundred pages in and the author has completely abandon the original plot. That took away a star but thinking, hey it can still be good. Reading a couple of hundred more pages and now even the “love” story is so over dramatic that I started to wonder, wasn’t this supposed to be an adult romance and not a YA? Goodbye another star. I’m over 400 pages into it and it feels too late to stop now and I keep hoping for Harkness to take her common sense together and save it in the end. It can’t be possible that so many of my people on Goodreads love the book but me however not so much. I feel the need for this to be a success. However that never happens and it even gets worse.

I was hoping for an action filled, non-cheesy, paranormal romance with some substance. What I got was a highly dramatic, slow and puzzling love story, cloaked in the “discovery” of witches, vampires and daemons. Written like an YA book with every angst filled thought possible but with an analytic mind, a lot of history and details. The only thing I discovered was that no matter what “world” you try to place a romance story in, if you do not decide one thread to follow, it will not succeed. It was all over the place and Harkness should have stayed with the alchemical manuscript and the dynamic of the world with witches, vampires and daemons and left it at that.

Even though it ended quite interesting with some time traveling and other loose threads, it is not enough for me to feel the need to pick up the second book in the series. I will more likely watch the series instead, but don’t count on it.

Fantasy/Paranormal · Young, New adult/College

Nevernight – Jay Kristoff

34503674| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: Mia Covere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.

Destined to destroy empires, the child raised in shadows made a promise on the day she lost everything: to avenge herself on those that shattered her world.

But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, and Mia must become a weapon without equal. Before she seeks vengeance, she must seek training among the infamous assassins of the Red Church of Itreya.

Inside the Church’s halls, Mia must prove herself against the deadliest of opponents and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and demons at the heart of a murder cult.

The Church is no ordinary school, but Mia is no ordinary student.

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My thoughts: This book is marked as a young adult fantasy. Me personally, I would not categorize it as a YA. It is way darker, gorier and explicit than other YA books I have read. And that is probably why I liked it so. There were some rough language but nothing embarrassing or cringe which I often find YA to be. I would place this one in the late young/adult epic fantasy. Thought you should know if you expected something else. 😉

The book is fantastic. It is dark, funny and witty to a degree it is on the border to sarcasm and irony. There is an interesting narrator, funny with a dark sense of humor and all the footnotes (Which I hear so many hate) is such a strong complement to the story without the impression of an author droning away on details. Strong and deep characters with interesting history and personality. Complex and wonderful world building. Notice that it is a man who is the author. Not much lovey-dovey. More strait to the point in a detached kind of way but still capturing and at some points heartbreaking.

Refreshing. Can nothing other than recommend it to whoever wish to read some epic fantasy. If you are new to the genre I would recommend it as an starter before you go into something heavier like, for an example, Robin Hobb, which I also have read some books of.

Fantasy/Paranormal · Fiction/Science Fiction · Mystery/Crime · Thriller/Horror

The seven deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton

41807223| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?

At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed–again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend–but nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that will appeal to fans of Kate Atkinson and Agatha Christie.

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My thoughts: Oh, so many feelings. I was looking forward to be reading this. It intrigued me and when I started, it felt like a mix between a classic Agatha Christie, dinner murder mystery and the movies like groundhog day and the cube. This is one of those books that seem to be impossible to give a deserving rating to. It all depends on what I’m focusing on.

If I would rate the concept, writing skill and character build-up it would be a solid 5 stars. It is just perfect and such a joy reading. Even though we are talking about a lot of characters and a lot of details, it was still fully possible to keep track of them all. At some points I was a little confused to be honest, but Turton skillfully included small details here and there to remind us readers where we were and what it was about.

If I would rate the general plot and ending I would give it a two star. The build-up of the story was so big and thrilling that the ending was just an anticlimactic balloon, losing all its air. Not at all what I had expected and quite frankly a little tame when compared to the rest of the book. And in the middle I found myself stagnant due to that the story didn’t progressed forward. And I didn’t find myself that into it to be honest. Specially since you never really get to know the whole truth outside of Blackheath. I would have liked that.

Then that I also had such problem focusing can also be a reason for my conflicted feelings and low rating. I have had a couple of bad weeks but that is not unusual for me and if a book is good it will keep me captured either way. Anyway, after a lot of thinking and sorting my feelings I land on a solid 3 stars. If possible I would give it 3.5. I did like it overall, but I didn’t love it and it certainly was not amazing in my opinion.

Fantasy/Paranormal · Fiction/Science Fiction · Romance · Young, New adult/College

Throne of glass – Sarah J. Maas

40512568| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: Meet Celaena Sardothien. Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake. She got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament – fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?

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My thoughts: I’m a little disappointed actually. I know I can’t compare this to the ACOTAR series but it is hard not to. And to be honest, this is not what I expected from an author like Maas, who where one of my top favorite author in 2018. Very underwhelming after years of hearing that this is THE YA series to read. I expected more and not to walk away with an unsatisfying feeling.

Every reviewer and booktuber I follow loved Celaena. I however did not. She is arrogant, mean, lame and high on herself. She is such an over hyped character that it is a disappointment to read the book about her. To be that young, for having had such a hard life and after a year as a slave in the most notorious salt mines, you would expect her to be more humble toward life and not as vain and shallow. Her and most of the characters have no dept, no smooth development and the plot is slow and quite overrated. Maas have been raised to the skies for her strong, female protagonists and deep YA relations, but I saw noting of that here.

There is some attempt to romance and love/triangles but that just fell flat. It is not good. Nothing that got my heart pumping or the need to keep reading. You really get to know Dorian and Chaol and they both are so much better in my opinion than Celaena, which is supposed to be the main heroine character to love and follow. There is nothing unique or original. And the plot is just weird. There is some questionable decisions and there is more of a telling the story than showing the story. All the action and important parts, where jump over and later retell so that we, the readers, knew what had happens since last. No, not good.

To be honest I do not know if I will continue the series. At first I gave the book three stars but after a night’s sleep and the time of writing this review, I realize that I was too generous and lowered it to two. It is not as bad as a one star rating but certainly not as good as a three. It wasn’t as mind-blowing as I expected and it was nowhere near as well written as the ACOTAR series. Both in the character development, plot and settings.

Is it worth more of my time?

Fantasy/Paranormal · Romance

Lover awakened – J.R. Ward

42900| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly war raging between vampires and their slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers like no other – six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Of these, Zsadist is the most terrifying member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

A former blood slave, the vampire Zsadist still bears the scars from a past filled with suffering and humiliation. Renowned for his unquenchable fury and sinister deeds, he is a savage feared by humans and vampires alike. Anger is his only companion, and terror is his only passion—until he rescues a beautiful aristocrat from the evil Lessening Society.

Bella is instantly entranced by the seething power Zsadist possesses. But even as their desire for one another begins to overtake them both, Zsadist’s thirst for vengeance against Bella’s tormentors drives him to the brink of madness. Now, Bella must help her lover overcome the wounds of his tortured past, and find a future with her…

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My thoughts: You got to love those angst filled, save him, save her, type of romantic suspense books. This one is even in the paranormal category. I absolutely love the characters. I love how vulnerable they are even though they are vampires. They can easily be hurt or even die. I liked Bella a little less than I thought I would. She seemed so much older in the last book where you meet her. But she is a lot younger than you though and that shines through. In some occasion I liked it, in others not so much. Zsadist, gosh I hate the names in this series, was such a complicated character. He is deep with a lot of hurt in him. He is so far gone that even himself thinks he is a goner. But no, there is so much more in his core, just waiting and it certainly gave the whole book some serious depth. The history, memories and relationship with his brothers and friends certainly makes the book come alive and the building of future books is so greatly done. I did however not like Phury’s part of the plot that much. But I do not need to get into that. I do hope, when I come to his book, that it will be a lot better than I feel it would be right now.

Overall this is a page turner. It is exciting, captivating and astonishing. very little predictability and a lot of questions who you get all the answers to. It ended just perfect, with happy tears and all. And no cliffhanger. 🙂

Fantasy/Paranormal · Romance

Lover eternal – J.R. Ward

35729| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly turf war raging between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Possessed by a deadly beast, Rhage is the most dangerous of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

Within the brotherhood, Rhage is the vampire with the strongest appetites. He’s the best fighter, the quickest to act on his impulses, and the most voracious lover-for inside him burns a ferocious curse cast by the Scribe Virgin. Owned by this dark side, Rhage fears the time when his inner dragon is unleashed, making him a danger to everyone around him.

Mary Luce, a survivor of many hardships is unwittingly thrown into the vampire world and reliant on Rhage’s protection. With a life-threatening curse of her own, Mary is not looking for love. She lost her faith in miracles years ago. But when Rhage’s intense animal attraction turns into something more emotional, he knows that he must make Mary his alone. And while their enemies close in, Mary fights desperately to gain life eternal with the one she loves…

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My thoughts: Warning for a small rant. I will try to keep it on the down low. It was a good book. A real page turner. But not as good as the first book and as I’m thinking now, not as good as the third book. Yes I had to jump right into the next one since it ended on a cliffhanger and I just had to know how it would end.

I never really fell for the characters. The love story is overused and quite predictable. When the side characters are more interesting than the main characters, there is clearly something not working for me. I didn’t really like Mary and Rhage didn’t do anything for me. I remember Rhage, from the first book, as a funny, sexy, devilish, and charming character. Now he is just whiny and feels sorry for himself. Yeah, yeah! You have a curse. Boohoo! Get over it and move on. You have had a couple of hundred years so you should have been miles ahead by now. But yeah, it was just so repetitive.

I really liked the plot however and how the lessers had a big part and how all the other characters just built up to the story of the third book. It was interesting and quite captivating. The ending came a little fast but it made it easy for me to just throw myself right into the next one.

I really like Wards writing and her version of Vampires which feels just so right. This one was not a favorite but I still like the series and hopes the third one will be even better.

Fantasy/Paranormal · Romance · Young, New adult/College

Strange the dreamer – Laini Taylor

36187690| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: THE DREAM CHOOSES THE DREAMER

Since he was five years old, Lazlo Strange has been obsessed with the mythical lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to go in search of it. Then a stunning opporunity presents itself – in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legandary warriors – and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

 

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My thoughts: I’m finally DONE! Thought I never see the day. It is so slow and what the heck is I missing? Did I even read the right book because quite frankly, I can’t see what’s all the raving about. It is so dark. Incredibly dark and slow and with a terrible ending. Not a series I wish to continue to say it frankly.

I got through it and I did like parts of it to be honest. Other not so much. And I had such issues getting into it. I got to around 150 pages and had to put it down for several weeks before I could start it again. And only because I’m waiting on the January book club book that should be here any day now and I’m trying not to start anything new.

The world of Lazlo and Weep is certainly one heck of a good writing. I give you that. The environment and descriptions of both characters and history is wonderfully done and I really liked the character Lazlo. I can see the charm and maybe understand why others like this so much. For me personally it just never hit home. I’m not much for those heavily angst-ridden, young adults, fantasy themed books that are so popular nowadays. I need some velocity to get hooked in that kind of themed book. Like the ACOTAR series for an example. That had everything I wanted, needed and sought for. This one? Not so much.

Fantasy/Paranormal

Santa Claus: The King of the Elves – B.C. Chase

36021329.jpg| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: Meet Santa Claus, the epic hero. From internationally bestselling author B.C.CHASE comes an imaginatively fantastical take on the man in red featuring a brilliant host of classic and original fantasy creatures including dwarves, dragons, goblins, and of course elves. This not-to-be-missed allegorical tale of courage, determination, and selfless love has been critically acclaimed as an instant classic destined to be passed down for generations to come. Also available as an abridged children’s edition.

 

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My thoughts: What a bad book. I’m so sorry Chase but this was not good in my opinion. The writing is terrible and it is really hard to read. Keep in mind that I read books with more than 1000 pages as if it was a magazine and English is not even my first language. I should not have this kind of problems. I’m not the only one who had troubles either. This was elected to be the December book in our book club. All of us (sure we are not that many) had trouble. I’m not even sure the others even finished it because they as me, struggled so much. But since it was a book club book and I also run this review blog, I wanted to finish it. I so wanted to like it and gave it a chance after chance. There was nothing fun about it and now I regret that I didn’t DNF it early on. Because god damn this was boring. And I payed 8 dollars for this.

The idea of an darker Santa story was intriguing and maybe it would have been a lot more fun to read if not for the writing. For me it felt like Chase tried to make it more than it was with a complicated way of writing. This is not Kafka, Chaucer, Mellville or Tolkien we are talking about. Books should not be hard. They should be enjoyable and fun to read. Don’t destroy it with a veil of sophisticated texts that clearly just isn’t you. I did not feel the author at all. There was no soul and for me, in my opinion, this one is just not worth the time.

Fantasy/Paranormal · Fiction/Science Fiction · Thriller/Horror

The Fireman – Joe Hill

29875363.jpg| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: The fireman is coming. Stay cool.

No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies—before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe.

Harper Grayson, a compassionate, dedicated nurse as pragmatic as Mary Poppins, treated hundreds of infected patients before her hospital burned to the ground. Now she’s discovered the telltale gold-flecked marks on her skin. When the outbreak first began, she and her husband, Jakob, had made a pact: they would take matters into their own hands if they became infected. To Jakob’s dismay, Harper wants to live—at least until the fetus she is carrying comes to term. At the hospital, she witnessed infected mothers give birth to healthy babies and believes hers will be fine too. . . if she can live long enough to deliver the child.

Convinced that his do-gooding wife has made him sick, Jakob becomes unhinged, and eventually abandons her as their placid New England community collapses in terror. The chaos gives rise to ruthless Cremation Squads—armed, self-appointed posses roaming the streets and woods to exterminate those who they believe carry the spore. But Harper isn’t as alone as she fears: a mysterious and compelling stranger she briefly met at the hospital, a man in a dirty yellow fire fighter’s jacket, carrying a hooked iron bar, straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known as The Fireman, he strolls the ruins of New Hampshire, a madman afflicted with Dragonscale who has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted . . . and as a weapon to avenge the wronged.

In the desperate season to come, as the world burns out of control, Harper must learn the Fireman’s secrets before her life—and that of her unborn child—goes up in smoke.

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My thoughts: This is the type of book you wished Goodreads had the ability to give half stars to. Because I do not feel the book is worth four stars, but it is not as bad as a three stars either when I think about it as a whole. However I do not feel this was a consistent read. After N0S4R2 (which I freaking LOVED) this was a major snoozefest and I’m sad to say that I was so bored some of the parts that I’m now amazed that I actually continued.

The beginning was so good. I loved the whole burning plague, dystopia where the earth is on the brink to unravel plot. It was well thought out, written, interesting, capturing and skillfully described. I loved the characters and the more day to day business you was a part of. Then around two, three hundred pages in, it started to fall. The characters was now even better but the day to day business certainly started to drag. And worse it got, the longer I read. There was some highlights in the middle of the book that did capture me, but mostly I was more or less waiting for stuff happening. I was bored out of my mind some times and this is a great example of the saying “Longer does not equal better” .

And the ending, how am I even going to be able to describe my thoughts and feelings about the ending. There is so much but at the same time so little happening that I can’t wrap my head around it. Not after all that I have already read. And it was by far not satisfying.

So to be honest, I loved some parts of it, others bored me. But I did love N0S4R2 so I know he will make it.

Fantasy/Paranormal · Mystery/Crime · Romance · Suspense · Thriller/Horror

If looks could kill – Heather Graham

731806.jpg| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: Madison Adair didn’t witness her famous mother’s brutal murder. But she saw it. Saw the gloved hand…felt the knife strike…knew her mother’s terror.

That was a lifetime ago. But the nightmares have returned; only, this time they’re of a faceless serial killer stalking women in south Florida. A killer she can’t see but who knows she is watching. Surrounded by her family, Madison knows she should feel safe, but she doesn’t.

And how much can FBI agent Kyle Montgomery protect her, when he can’t let go of the past they’ve shared? Madison is Kyle’s only link to the killer, but can they find the truth before the killer strikes again? Because sometimes, it’s what–or who–you can’t see that holds the greatest danger….

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My thoughts: Nah! Nothing for me. Quite the same as always. Horrible history, broken hearts, murder mystery, stalker, new killings, FBI, macho man, irritating female protagonist and a situation that just feels dumb. Come on, they hardly talk but they do argue a lot. About the same thing over and over. If they actually had talked early in the beginning, the arguing would probably not have been as bad. And I probably would have liked the book a lot more.

It was a fast read without any real depth. The murder mystery was quite interesting, but you didn’t receive any clues to who the killer are so the whole guessing game for me fell flat. Oh Graham certainly tried to make other characters seem guilty but it was too obvious so I actually dismissed them from my “who the killer is” list early on.

Not overly fawn over the characters either. There is some stuff happening that just make you lose the respect for that character and creates a situation that is just awkward. To be quite frank, Kaila and Dan (two side characters) relationship and short chapters about them, are the one thing I actually liked and felt had the most depth. And the book was not even about them.

It is probably time to realize that Graham is not an author for me. I have read five of her books but not one of them have received a higher rating than 3 star. Average rating is 2.8. It is time to spell the flowers and confess to myself that it doesn’t matter how much the synopsis appeal to me, she is just not an author that I like to read. Unfortunately.