Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

The story is set around 'The Blue Ridge Madam' - a mansion in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina that was built by Willa Jackson's once well-to-do family. The house is being restored as a historic bed and breakfast and with the restoration comes the unearthing of secrets. Add to these secrets a romance or two, truly likable characters.
 It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather and once the finest home in Walls of Water, North Carolina—has stood for years as a monument to misfortune and scandal. Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite Paxton Osgood—has restored the house to its former glory, with plans to turn it into a top-flight inn. But when a skeleton is found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, long-kept secrets come to light, accompanied by a spate of strange occurrences throughout the town. Thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the passions and betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover the truths that have transcended time to touch the hearts of the living.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy) by Deborah Harkness

This is the 2nd book of the All Souls Trilogy.  I completed this book in August but am just now getting around to entering all my book reviews.
Deborah Harkness, a professor of history, has crafted a gripping journey through a world of alchemy, time travel, and magical discoveries.  She has become one of my favorite writers.

Shadow of Night picks up a second after A Discovery of Witches ends. We join Matthew and Diana in their time jump to the 1500s where their goals are to 1) find a witch to train Diana and 2) find the mysterious Ashmole 782. 
As the book opens we find Diana and Matthew entering Elizabethan London, where Mathew is part of the mysterious School of Night, a group that counts Christopher Marlowe and Sir Walter Raleigh among its members.  It was wonderful to get lost in sights and smells of Elizabethan history.

I couldn't get enough of Discovery of Witches so it was no surprise that I was a bit disappointed in the Shadow of Night.  It is still an excellent book and well written, but Discovery is a VERY tough act to follow.  I found disappointment in Matthew as he kept too many secrets but I was still enthralled with Diana.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy) by Deborah Harkness

I loved this book.  I enjoyed reading it so much I made myself slow down and stop every so often so I could enjoy the story longer.  I've never done that while reading a book before. 
I actually finished this book in July, but just getting around to posting it since I've been on hiatus.
It all begins with a lost manuscript, a reluctant witch, and 1,500-year-old vampire. Dr. Diana Bishop has a really good reason for refusing to do magic: she is a direct descendant of the first woman executed in the Salem Witch Trials, and her parents cautioned her be discreet about her talents before they were murdered, presumably for having "too much power." So it is purely by accident that Diana unlocks an enchanted long-lost manuscript (a book that all manner of supernatural creatures believe to hold the story of all origins and the secret of immortality) at the Bodleian Library at Oxford, and finds herself in a race to prevent an interspecies war. A sparkling debut written by a historian and self-proclaimed oenophile, A Discovery of Witches is heady mix of history and magic, mythology, and love (cue the aforementioned vampire!), making for a luxurious, intoxicating, one-sitting read.