Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy Book Two)

Title: Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy book two)

Author: Deborah Harkness

Published: Headline Publishing Group

Year: 2012

“It began with a discovery of witches…”

Shadow of Night

Historian Diana Bishop, descended from a line of powerful witches, and long-lived vampire Matthew Clairmont have broken the laws dividing creatures. When Diana discovered a significant alchemical manuscript, she sparked a struggle in which she became bound to Matthew. Now the fragile coexistence of witches, daemons, vampires and humans is dangerously threatened. Seeking safety, Diana and Matthew travel back in time to London, 1590. But they soon realise that the past may not provide a haven…

OK so it took me a little over a year to read the whole book. It’s a big book. It’s a slow book. It has a lot of content and characters and if you’ve read the first one and thought there was a lot of tedious conversations and a lot of history you’ll find it hard to believe there is even more in this one. Now you probably think i hated the book, but i didn’t! I just really struggled to stay focused on it. It isn’t a book you can just pick up one afternoon and read the whole thing. There’s a lot going on and a lot to process so i found myself getting overwhelmed quite regularly and had to put it down and pick it up either a couple of days or even a couple of months later, hence it taking me so long to complete it.

Matthew and Diana travel back in time to Elizabethan London and Diana learns a lot more about Matthew straight off the bat. ‘”Just who are you, Matthew?” I hadn’t thought to ask him before we departed.’ This sentence really sums up A LOT about their relationship. Diana realising she has been a bit reckless and learnt virtually nothing about the man she is now magically tied to, not that it changes the way she feels about him.  We are introduced to new characters, members of the School of Night which include Christopher Marlowe (who is a Daemon who goes by the name Kit), Walter Raleigh, Thomas Harriet, George Chapman and more. The historian that Diana is can barely contain her excitement and disbelief that Matthew not only know these people but is friend to them as well! I enjoyed the name dropping in the beginning but they didn’t end up adding much to the story/plot which was disappointing. I’m really glad Deborah didn’t write everything in Elizabethan English, it would have grown tedious quickly. I found it very clever of her to explain how much Diana was struggling with it, that was enough reference for me. Gallowglass, Matthews brother, became my favourite character virtually as soon as he was introduced mostly because of his relationship with Diana that blossoms so naturally.

The reason they traveled back in time finally comes back into the picture, they need to find a witch professor to teach Diana her magic. They find one and it goes about as well as you’d expect (not well at all) and now Diana may be in even more danger. So now they have to leave and go somewhere safer and find someone else to teach her, they end up travelling to Sept Tours and the Village of Saint-Lucien and we’re introduced to Matthew’s vampire father, Phillippe, who i adore instantly. Not all of Matthew’s family that we meet are as likable, some i downright hated.

Diana learning her magic, how to weave the strands of time and discovering she has a fire-drake were all interesting points in the story. There were a few twists and unexpected turns, more travelling to different places like Prague and discovering all the different things Matthew was involved in. I’ve read a lot of other reviews for this book and most disliked the ending, i myself found it was well suited and made me curious to what would come in the final book. Part of the ending also made me quite emotional, Diana went through so much in this book which you don’t really full take in at the time, so when she is finally reunited with loved ones you can’t help but feel for her. Speaking of the end of the book, there is a list of all the characters (because there are so, so many) and descriptions of them so if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed like i was, flip to the back of the book and you’ll find your way back on track. I wish i had known about the list when i first read it!

Book two didn’t grab me like the first did, i’m glad i persisted and finished it though because book three is just stunning so i’ll be posting a review for that very soon.

Rating out of 10: 6

You can find book two here: Shadow of Night

 

 

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy Book One). Book Review.

Title: A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy Book One)

Author: Deborah Harkness

Year: 2011

Published: Viking Penguin

‘Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript. 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.’

Discovery of Witches

This book, this series, has everything you could possibly want in a story. Love, history, libraries, witchcraft, adventure, time travel and more. If you love tales the likes of Harry Potter or Twilight you will enjoy this read, especially as it’s a more adult version of those stories. I absolutely adore book one, I’ve read it three times now and it just gets better and better each time. Deborah writes so well, she makes you feel and she makes you connect to the characters on a level no other author has done to me before. Okay now in saying that i did also have some issues, mostly with one vampire in particular, our male lead, Matthew Clairmont who is an attractive professor of biochemistry and neuroscience. He spends far too much time bossing Diana around, growling at her and everyone else (he is a generally mopey character as he’s been alive a long time and has had quite a depressing past). He controls her, essentially, and she just lets him so that’s a bit of a problem for me because come on, she is a scholar, she’s a freaking witch! And she’s letting a vampire tell her what to do? It’s just a bit unrealistic to me.

The other issue i had was the book is a little bit too long and too much time is spent on arbitrary things like what Diana is eating for instance. I feel a good 200 pages could have probably been cut, especially since this is the first book in a series. Too many adjectives used, i mean do we really need 5 different ways to describe the taste of a cup of tea or wine? Not really. I understand it’s a way to help you be in the moment but you can do that with a sentence.

Diana is such a powerful character in the beginning and i love her family, her Aunt and Aunt’s partner are so eccentric, so loving and funny. They all care so much for each other and are fiercely protective, especially when meeting Matthew. Witches and Vampires aren’t supposed to fall in love and be together, the congregation won’t allow it so when Diana brings one “home” to her Aunt you can bet she wasn’t too impressed. What i wish hadn’t changed was Diana’s independence, falling in love doesn’t have to mean giving up yourself which is exactly what she does. This is a journey of self-discovery for her and yet she is more enamoured with discovering the dark secrets Matthew has than being in awe of the magic she possesses.

There is a scene in the story that really got under my skin and i think you’ll know exactly which when you read it, it was heart stopping and had me wondering if there would even be a happy ending. One thing Deborah writes really well is the romance and “sex scenes”, she gives you a sense of true desire while keeping it relatively PG (these scenes reminded me a bit of Twilight actually).

This book got so many mixed reviews, a lot of negative ones too, which i think is because this is not an easy read, and the people who gave it negative reviews probably thought it was. There is so much depth, both in characters and in the rich history. Deborah has clearly done her research and managed to seamlessly incorporate true history into fiction, a feat few authors accomplish. All i can say to those who start this book and struggle, don’t give up too soon, it is so worth getting through it, especially to get to the third and final book which is an absolute masterpiece.

Rating out of 10: 8.5

You can find book one here: A Discovery of Witches

You can find book two here: Shadow of Night (book two) 

I’ll be putting up a review for Book Two shortly.

 

 

Face the Fire (Book Three in the Three Sisters Island Trilogy). Book Review.

Title: Face the Fire

Author: Nora Roberts

Published: Piatkus

Year: 2001

“The Truth is finally revealed…”

Nora Roberts Face the Fire

Mia Devlin, sister, witch, savvy businesswoman and all around amazing being is our centre for book three. Years ago she loved with her whole heart, Sam Logan and Mia shared an incredible bond built on passion, legend and fate. Until one day he fled Three Sisters Island and left Mia alone, mending her heart and promising to never love another again. Mia is facing her toughest challenge yet as Sam returns to Three Sisters, determined to win back Mia’s heart. But Mia is determined too, or just stubborn, but she will not admit her feelings for him, she will not risk letting him back in and having her heart torn out all over again. And yet she must, if she is to fulfil her fate and save Three Sisters Island, she needs to join her magic with his and break the centuries-old curse or doom them all.

My second favourite book of the series. Mia is amazing. I need Mia’s house on the cliff and fairy garden, i picture it so clearly each time i read about it. Mia and Sam’s love story is so passionate and so heartbreaking, it had me in tears several times. Mia is the kind of person and witch i would want to be. I was so content with the way Nora brought this series to a close but i was so sad it was the end! I’ve read this series multiple times now and it just gets better each and every time. I fall in love with the characters and the stories over and over again. Even the people of Three Sisters, you don’t know much about them but you still care deeply for them. There are very few books I’ve read where characters insignificant to the major story have had an effect on my heart. I feel full of magic when i read these books and i hope you do too.

You can find the closure to the Three Sisters Island Trilogy here: Face the Fire

You can read my review to Book One here: Dance Upon the Air. Book Review.

You can read my review to Book Two here: Heaven and Earth (Three Sisters Island Trilogy Book Two). Book Review.

Rating out of 10: 10

Heaven and Earth (Three Sisters Island Trilogy Book Two). Book Review.

Title: Heaven And Earth

Author: Nora Roberts

Published: Piatkus

Year: 2001

“A hidden secret old as the elements themselves…”

nora roberts heaven and earth

Deputy Riley Todd is the focus of book two, she is a no bullshit, straight up bad ass. Riley is the sister of Zack, love interest of Nell from the first book. Riley and Zack are the officers on Three Sisters, their family has lived there for decades. Our other main character focus is MacAllister Booke or Mac for short. New to the island, his profession of studying the impossible and the strange, has brought him to Three Sisters. One of our other recurring characters, the beautiful Mia Devlin, is the subject of his interests that brought him to the island. Extensive research has showed she is the current island witch. Deputy Todd’s initial reaction to Mac is not so favourable, only time will tell on that one. One thing Riley is adamant against is anything to do with magic. She just wants to live a quiet, peaceful life as deputy sheriff but her powers hiding beneath her tough exterior are even more powerful than she can imagine, and her control is constantly slipping which scares her to death.

Book two didn’t grip me the way the first did, i think i just couldn’t relate as well to Ripley as i immediately did to Nell. Still a very enjoyable book, suspenseful where you need it to be, frustrating in others. Ripley’s constant denial of her powers gets a bit exhausting (for her and the reader). The book does it’s job and furthers the story of the other characters to get you ready for the big finale that is book three. Nora writes exquisitely as usual, i truly cannot fault her as an author. I’ll be posting a review on book three shortly.

You can find book two here: Heaven and Earth

Rating out of 10: 7.5

Dance Upon the Air. Book Review.

Title: Dance Upon the Air (Three Sisters Island Trilogy Book One)

Author: Nora Roberts

Published: Piatkus

Year: 2001

‘Sometimes it takes a stranger to unlock your heart…’

Dance Upon the Air

Easily in my top 5 books of all time, the pages and cover of my copy are so worn because I’ve read it at least 15 times. I read this book when I want to feel inspired, when I’m feeling like I’m not the strong woman I know I am and when I need a dose of magic from my fellow sisters. Nora Roberts is my favourite author of all time. I own just about all of her books. I love the way she writes, I love what she writes about, I particularly love her trilogies, especially when they’re centred around magic. Nora uses the same formula for most of her books, but rather than becoming lackluster and predictable, they continue to shine and thrive.

‘She had died so she could live…’

Our first main character goes by the name of Nell Channing, though that wasn’t always the case. Nell is creating a new life for herself, she’s travelled many miles and felt a magnetic pull to Three Sisters Island, a quiet, peaceful place perfect for new beginnings. I love following Nell’s journey, I love the way she thinks and feels and acts. I felt a kinship to this character from the get go, almost as if we were actually sisters. Nell stumbles across a book store-café and gets the job of cook there. She meets a handsome young cop by the name of Zack Todd. The Todd’s have lived on Three Sisters for many generations. Though on edge due to his profession, Nell can’t deny the sparks between them and cautiously explores her feelings for him. Nell discovers that the island suffers from a terrible curse, one that can only be broken by the descendants of the Three Sisters, the witches who settled on the island back in 1692. With the help of two other strong, gifted women, Nell must find the power within to save her new home, her new love and herself.

We’re joining Nell in her journey but we also have some extremely strong and interesting supporting characters, people you immediately love and care for. I cannot praise this story enough, it has everything you could possibly want in it, magic, romance, suspense, not to mention some adult scenes… You will fly through this book, you will devour it hungrily as if you’ve been starved for your whole life not knowing that this story is what you needed to satiate your hunger. As soon as you’ve finished I guarantee you’ll be picking up book two, Heaven and Earth, immediately.

You can find book one of the Three Sisters Island Trilogy here: Dance Upon the Air

Rating out of 10: 11!

2018 Reading List

My goal for 2018 is to read 100 books, doubling my amount from 2017. To hold myself accountable i thought i’d post my read-so-far list here. I’ll also add links to those I’ve posted reviews for so far! I’m a little behind on my goal, i have about 5 books i’m reading right now, i can’t help but switch between books sometimes. You’ll notice a recurring theme of authors, once i find an author i love i try to read everything they’ve ever produced. I’d love to hear about what everyone else has been reading, feel free to leave your list in the comments!

  1. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
  2. Golden Age (Shifting Tides Book One) by James Maxwell
  3. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Manisalco
  4. Hunting Price Dracula by Kerri Manisalco
  5. Year One by Nora Roberts
  6. Cargo by Jessica Au
  7. Silver Road (Shifting Tides Book Two) by James Maxwell
  8. The Liar by Nora Roberts
  9. Designer by Marius Gabriel
  10. Fired up, Frantic and Freaked out by Laura VanArendank
  11. Copper Chain (Shifting Tides Book Three) by James Maxwell
  12. Don’t Tell by Karen Rose
  13. Iron Will (Shifting Tides Book Four) by James Maxwell
  14. Society of Wishes by Elise Kova Society of Wishes. Book Review.
  15. Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gartner
  16. What Happened by Hilary Clinton
  17. Earth is Hiring by Peta Jean Kelly
  18. The $1000 Project by Canna Campbell
  19. Air Awakens (Book One of Air Awakens Series) by Elise Kova
  20. Fire Falling (Book Two of Air Awakens Series) by Elise Kova
  21. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (12th re-read) by J.K.Rowling
  22. Earth’s End (Book Three of Air Awakens Series) by Elise Kova
  23. Water’s Wrath (Book Four of Air Awakens Series) by Elise Kova
  24. Crystal Crowned (Book Five of Air Awakens Series) by Elise Kova
  25. The Devil’s Disciple by Glenn Meade The Devil’s Disciple Book Review
  26. Throne of Glass (Book One) by Sarah J. Mass
  27. Crown of Midnight (Book Two) by Sarah J. Mass
  28. The Witches of Blackbrook by Tish Thawer The Witches of Blackbrook (Book One of Series). Book Review.
  29. What Manner of Love is This? by Dani Daniels What Manner of Love is This? Book Review.
  30. Empress Orchid by Anchee Min

The Witches of Blackbrook (Book One of Series). Book Review.

Title: The Witches of Blackbrook (Book One of Series)

Author: Tish Thawer

Publisher: Amber Leaf Publishing

Year: 2015

“Through space and time, sisters entwined. Lost then found, souls remain bound.”

Witches of Blackbrook

Three sisters escape the Salem Witch Trials when the eldest casts a spell that hurtles their souls forward through time. After centuries separated, fate has finally reunited them in the present day.

I flew through this book, it literally took me 4 and a half hours to read it, i was so hungry for the magic on these pages, I haven’t read a book so quickly since the Twilight series. Tish Thawer takes us on a magical but complicated journey into the lives of three sister witches. Katrine, now known as Trin, is the eldest and is living with Kit who she has found in every new life her soul leads. Together, over many centuries, they search for their other sister but something has been blocking them from finding her. Trin works as a massage therapist, using her magical powers for good. One day Trin meets a cute, local policeman named Jason and finds out he has a cousin, Caris. Immediately Trin feels a kinship with them, a magic spark if you will.

Tish takes us on a journey into their lives, she writes well, though the dialog does feel forced and somewhat stiff at times. We learnt quite a bit about Trin in this first novel but not much about the supporting characters. We are taken back and forth through time with Trin’s memories and flashbacks which were interesting and it was good to imagine the family dynamic they had in the past, it made me feel hopeful she would get to experience that again in the near future.

All in all I found it to be an enjoyable read and I look forward to seeing what comes next for Trin and her sisters and how this series ends. I’m really hoping we delve deeper into the supporting characters in book two, I’d love to know more about Caris. I’d definitely recommend this series for young adults, the older souls will probably find the writing to be a bit too young for them.

You can find Book 1 here: The Witches of Blackbrook Book 1

Rating out of 10: 8.5