Reviews

Book Review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

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“A Discovery of Witches” is Deborah Harkness’s debut novel and tells the story of Diana Bishop, a young scholar and a descendent of witches, who discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, deep in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. The manuscript’s reappearance summons a fantastical underworld full of witches, vampires and daemons, which she navigates with the help of vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont.

PLOT

Unfortunately, most of the plot was pretty boring and the story just dragged on quite often. Especially the middle part of the book was super slow and many things were described in way too much detail. But at the end of the novel it was hinted that they’d have to go on a quest soon. That quest is something I would’ve already liked to see in this book because I just felt like most of “A Discovery of Witches” was one big filler to get to the action that wouldn’t happen until the sequel. Something I really liked about this story though were the details about things like alchemy, biology, the history of witches and so on and I felt like you could really see that the author knew what she was talking about. I haven’t really had any touching points with those topics in real life since leaving high school, so I learned quite a lot of things while reading this novel.

CHARACTERS

The two main characters are Diana and Matthew. Diana is a witch and Matthew a vampire and I had my problems with both of them at the beginning of the book. During most of the first two thirds of the novel Diana was mostly being kind of dumb, annoying and sometimes even pretty naïve but she then started changing a little towards the end of the book and I started liking her a bit more. The same goes for Matthew though it wasn’t his characteristics that made me dislike him, but the fact that I couldn’t stop thinking about Edward Cullen whenever he made an appearance during the first half of the novel. He was just giving off such strong twilight vibes and I was so scared that wouldn’t change though thankfully it did and now I actually even like him a bit better than Diana. The romance between the two though was once again your typical case of insta-love and while I’ve seen worse cases, that still really disappointed me because I’d hoped to see an interesting love story between the two. But I  have to say that I really liked most of the side characters just like Marcus, Sarah or Em and of course Tabitha (Sarah’s cat) whose behavior made me laugh quite a lot.

WRITING STYLE

Deborah Harkness’s writing style is pretty descriptive and even though it made the story drag on quite a bit, I also really liked getting so much information sometimes. Overall, I would say this book was well written though I think she’s definitely not one of those authors that has a unique writing style you would recognize immediately.

OVERALL

All in all, I was a bit disappointed by this novel and it just didn’t meet my expectations. Due to the fact that it dragged on so much, it was a really slow read and I sometimes had to push myself to even continue reading the book. I have to say though that the last 20% of the novel definitely made up a bit for the rest of it and that things got a little more interesting then. There were also certain scenes in the rest of the novel that I really enjoyed and I think the side characters made the novel a lot better than it would’ve been without some of them. So overall, this is a solid 3 stars for me.

WILL I CONTINUE THE SERIES?

Even though this series won’t be on top of the list of series I still need to complete, I think I’ll definitely still give the second book a try. Like I said, the end of this book made it look like the next book would be a lot more interesting than this one and there’s also the TV show that is coming out later this year and I really don’t like watching an adaptation without having read the books first.

Have you already read “A Discovery of Witches” & what did you think about it? 🙂

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Top Ten Tuesday // Red, White and/or Blue Covers

I’ve seen the top ten Tuesday everywhere recently but have never participated in it so far which is going to change today. The Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, so check out her blog for more information! Today’s topic is Red, White and/or Blue covers because of July 4th coming up. As a German, I could’ve now given this a spin by choosing books with my own country’s colours, but I don’t own any yellow books and honestly can’t think of any yellow covers that are remotely pretty. So I’m instead going to give it a spin by showing you some blue, white and red books I want to read this summer, instead of some that I’ve already read!

  1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  2. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  3. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
  4. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas
  5. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  6. You by Caroline Kepnes
  7. All Of This Is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor
  8. Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
  9. Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
  10. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

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Have you already read any of these books and what did you think about them? 🙂

ARC Review · Reviews

ARC Review: Kiss of the Royal by Lindsey Duga

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Synopsis

In the war against the Forces of Darkness, the Royals are losing. Princess Ivy is determined to end this centuries-long conflict once and for all, so her new battle partner must succeed where the others failed. Prince Zach’s unparalleled skill with a sword, enhanced by Ivy’s magic Kiss, should make them an unstoppable pair—but try convincing Zach of that.

Prince Zach has spent his life preparing for battle, but he would rather be branded a heretic than use his lips as nothing more than a way to transfer magic. A kiss is a symbol of love, and love is the most powerful weapon they have—but try convincing Ivy of that.

With the fate of their world on the line, the battlefield has become a testing ground, and only one of them can be right. Falling for each other wasn’t part of the plan – but try convincing their hearts of that.

My Review

*Thanks again to Entangled Publishing for sending me an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.* 

I really liked the premise of “Kiss of the Royal” and was intrigued by the idea of a world where kisses were used as some form of magic to protect or heal other people, lift curses and much more. And overall, I have to say this book definitely turned out to be a very quick and enjoyable read but it also had its flaws.

Some of the things I liked about this book were for instance the characters. They were well developed, and I really began caring for them after some time. I also liked the world building in this book and all in all, the plot was pretty interesting. But you were also able to tell that this was the author’s debut novel and I think there still is a lot of room for improvement when it comes to her writing style. But I’m sure she’ll continue improving with every book she publishes in the future and I most probably won’t have this problem anymore when reading her third or fourth book. 

Another thing that bothered me was that, while the plot was interesting, it could’ve been even more interesting if some parts of the story had been a little more complex. Especially the “big battle” at the end was over way too fast which bugged me a little even though it was probably better for my heart. Furthermore, I also think the romance was incredibly predictable. From the start you know who’s going to end up with each other and how their love story would play out. Like I said, I really liked the characters, so I’d really hoped the few romantic scenes in this book would make me swoon which they just didn’t.

Ultimately, I decided to give this book three out of five stars because despite everything that bothered me, I still enjoyed reading “Kiss of the Royal” and will definitely keep an eye out for future books by this author.

Reviews

Book Review: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

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Synopsis

A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

 

My Review

Before I started reading “An Enchantment of Ravens”, I had really high expectations for it. I always try to not expect anything from books, especially not from hyped ones and this was definitely one of those books I remember being all readers talked about around the time it came out last year, but people have continuously been comparing it to the ACOTAR series by Sarah J. Maas, so naturally I thought it would be just as gripping as those books. Well, long story short, that wasn’t the case and I have to say that “An Enchantment of Ravens” was easily one of the most boring books I’ve ever read. It was so boring, I couldn’t even get myself to finish it and DNFd it around the 65% mark.

One of the first things that began bothering me right from the start of this book is that I personally felt like its premise was way too similar to ACOTAR. Both books revolve around a female main character who is a mortal and the male main character who is a high fae (in ACOTAR it’s the high lord of the spring court and in AEOR it’s the autumn prince). In both books the girl does something forbidden which is why she’s taken to the respective court to “pay” for her mistakes. The problem is that Maas has written a book that is interesting and has plot twists that managed to surprise me while Rogerson’s book literally managed to make me fall asleep.

There was simply nothing interesting about this novel. The main characters were bland and I couldn’t have cared less about them. Isobel reminded me of a 12-year-old girl and was incredibly annoying while Rook felt like an 80-year-old grandpa which just made their relationship super weird for me. I also quite quickly realized that I would once again encounter one of my biggest bookish pet peeves: insta-love. Believe me, I’m not giving anything away by saying that they declare their love for each other about 40% into the book because you can literally see this coming from the start. It was definitely one of the most frustrating moments in the book because at that point they barely knew more about each other than their first names which I don’t even think were their real ones.

As I’ve mentioned before, I DNFd the book about 100 pages after their love declaration because following that, there was mostly just lots and lots of talking about the mortal world and the faerie world while they were travelling to the autumn court. I do understand that this was probably done to make sure the reader understands the differences between both worlds, but the dialogue just wasn’t well done and I was mainly just cringing at the awkwardness of some of the conversations. That was if I wasn’t falling asleep while listening to the audiobook and some of the seemingly endless descriptions of parts of the forest they wandered through.

So all in all, the plot of this book was underwhelming, the main characters were obnoxious and the faeries in general were portrayed in a way that they seemed about as pretty and likeable as the troll in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I’m so disappointed because I really wanted to like this book as much as many other people apparently liked it but I just can’t give it more than one star. However, I just want to say that I don’t think Margaret Rogerson is a bad author just because I didn’t enjoy her debut novel. There were indeed a few, albeit small, passages in there that were well written and showed that she seems to have a talent for writing and I think she could write an amazing novel once she thinks of the right plot and the right characters.

Have you already read “An Enchantment of Ravens” and did you like it? 🙂

 

Reviews

Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

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Synopsis

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.

A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

My Review

‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ is a book I’ve been meaning to read for years now and I was so happy I finally got around to it. I decided to read it in October because I expected it to be a creepy read that would get me in the mood for Halloween, but instead I was thoroughly disappointed. I wanted to love the book so badly due to how hyped it is but in the end, I had to DNF it at 51% because I just couldn’t get myself to read another page of it.

The first half of this book was incredibly boring and extremely slow. I know that some people enjoy reading slow books and I don’t usually have a problem with a book being slower than most others but I had so many moments in which I put the book down to take a break because nothing was happening at all. I also really liked the idea of the book prior to reading it and think it would’ve had a lot of potential if it had been done in a different way. I kind of just don’t understand why this is an entire trilogy if the first book is so slow that it might’ve been better to put part of the second book into the first one.

I was also very intrigued by the photos included in this book and thought they would add a lot to the story. But after reading most of the book, I feel like the photos actually interrupted my reading flow and I could’ve sometimes done without them. For one, I felt like someone had just found the photos and decided to build a book around it. I often felt like the author just needed to find some sort of story for the photo even though it didn’t really work with the rest of the book and felt a little far-fetched or redundant. Furthermore, I also didn’t like how each of the photos was thoroughly described before I turned the page and was able to take a look at it. I would’ve preferred it if I had had the chance to look at the pictures myself, discover all the little details about it and imagine my own story for the character before reading the author’s version of it. Reading through thorough descriptions of several photos and then turning the page and seeing all of them in a row just really interrupted the story for me and it just began to annoy me after some time.

One more thing that made me DNF this book was the main character. For me, main characters are an important part of books because I get to follow their story. And if I don’t like a main character, the plot can be incredibly well done and I still won’t be able to thoroughly enjoy it. Unfortunately, the main character from MPHFPC was arrogant and so ungrateful, I just wanted to throw the book out of the window. He’s such a brat and literally takes everything for granted. He is constantly complaining about his job at a drug store (which he has because he’s going to inherit part of the company one day) and also constantly complains about his parents (even though they do everything for him, allow him anything and even pay for a three-week trip to the UK to look at a freaking house). There are people out there who are struggling with money and much worse problems in their life and he still thinks everyone else got it better than him. I understand that authors don’t always want to create characters that everyone falls in love with but this was just so infuriating and unnecessary.

All in all, I just didn’t enjoy this book and can’t give it more than 1 out of 5 stars. But I just want to say that I don’t want to stop any of you from giving it a try anyways. This has received a lot of amazing reviews already and there are people out there who love it a lot. So maybe you might love it even though I hated it. We all have different tastes in books and I don’t want to sound like I’m telling everyone to not touch this book or hurt anyone who’s loved this one a lot.

Have you already read “Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children” and what did you think about it? 🙂