A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

“It begins with absence and desire.
It begins with blood and fear.
It begins with a discovery of witches.”

3/5 stars.
Hardcover, 579 pages.
November 15, 2018 to November 29, 2018.

I have committed a crime against books and against readers with my thoughts on this novel. How I came upon reading this book is through a smaller sin but it is the decision I made afterwards which is what makes me truly abominable. I discovered this book after watching the first season of the TV series based on the book trilogy. So my first book crime is that I read the book AFTER watching the TV show. Before I share my guilt about my most atrocious book crime, let’s discuss the book further.

Diana is a witch, though she has spent her whole life denying her heritage and her abilities. All she has ever wanted was to live a normal life and for her to reach her career goals based on her own merit. She left the US to pursue schooling in the UK as soon as she could as to escape the pressure of her aunts, who also raised her. Diana’s parents were both witches too but they were murdered when she was quite young, or so she was told. Diana’s family history and her heritage start to unearth themselves after Diana pulls a unique book out from the library. The book is magically embued and she quickly returns it after feeling its power. Shortly after, creatures of all kinds start to pester Diana. Demons. Witches. And especially vampires. All of who want to get their hands on this book and she doesn’t know why. The book has apparently been missing for centuries and she has been the only one who has been able to recall it.

Diana starts being pursued by a tall, dark and excessively handsome vampire named Matthew, which causes some concern for her friends and family due to the dark history between the two species of creatures. However, something is different about this vampire and Diana doesn’t feel threatened by him, in fact, he seems to want to help her. Diana cautiously enters into his confidence after some of her own kind turn on her and something more than friendship begins to develop between the two of them. Relationships between creatures of different species are forbidden but as the two fall for each other.  Now the congregation of creatures is after them and the book that Diana found. The two of them now must try and unravel the mystery surrounding Diana’s past, her heritage and the book that could be the key to the future of all the creatures.

Sounds like a really great concept right? That’s because it is but I have to admit the idea was not executed as well as I was hoping. The writing goes on tangents and isn’t very organized. This writing style was also confirmed to me when I attempted to read the second book in the series, Shadow of Nightwhich I could not finish as it was a disorganized mess. An editor clearly had a heavier hand in the completion of this novel making it readable and thank goodness, as this concept could have been completely ruined.

Here is where I commit my biggest atrocity and it pains me to say this… but… THE TV SHOW WAS BETTER! There I said it. And when I say better, I mean a lot better. Like infinitely better. The show took this great idea that the author had and polished it up and made it all shiny and awesome. I have no regrets because it’s true. I like the character of Diana more in the TV series as she seems stronger and more independent and the love story that develops between her and Matthew is an intense slow burner that felt realistic and was a pleasure to watch. The Matthew in the books is just too perfect and I found myself rolling my eyes with the romance that developed in the book.

Needless to say, I will not be pursuing the books series further. I will, however, continue to watch the TV series as I anxiously await the return of the second season. If you find the plot of this book intriguing and you want something smart and intelligently done, I would recommend the TV show.  This book wasn’t terrible but it just didn’t compare to the organized and streamlined show that came after it.

 

Frostbitten by Charlotte Stein

A quick erotica read for those who like strong female leads and are partial to vampires and threesomes.

Vampire erotica; is it as terrible as it sounds? Yes and no.

2/5 stars.
ebook, 110 pages.
Read Oct 28, 2016.

A big thanks to Netgalley for allowing me an ARC edition of this book to review. I picked this book as I had previously read Control by the same author and I thought that was a pretty killer piece of erotica. For the record, what I define as a good piece of erotica is one that is decently written and contains more sex than romance. Because let’s be honest, if I wanted something romantic, I’d read romance. I read erotica because I want to read about some steamy sex.

Cora is a nurse who has the hots for her co-worker Zeke. He makes her uncomfortable. To the point where she isn’t sure she loves being around him or can’t stand it because she feels she is constantly embarrassing herself. However, things are taken to a whole other level when at the Christmas party the whole building explodes. Cora finds herself remarkably alive and captive by Zeke and his very cold and serious friend Merrick. She also seems to have an insatiable thirst for blood and desire for her two gorgeous captors.

I found this brief novel very disappointing. The writing felt rushed and poorly composed and did not compare to the previous book I had read by this author.On top of that I found the sex scenes rushed and lacking their desired effect, which is unfortunate as the context had the potential to be really steamy. I mean, come on, two guys and one woman? Heck yeah! Sadly, this book failed to deliver.

The one thing I was sure I would not like was the vampire theme but I actually feel that this is the one thing the author did well. The theme wasn’t too over the top and tastefully done. However, the romance at the end was icky. Just too cheesy for me. I do, however, appreciate how the author makes her female characters strong and independent which, is probably what I enjoyed so much about Control.

Overall I would recommend this book for those looking for a quick erotica read with a strong female read and are partial to vampires and threesomes.