The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness

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I haven’t been this intrigued with a series in a long time. Thank goodness, I let A Discovery of Witches sit on my shelf for the past year. There is no way I could have waited patiently for the conclusion to this trilogy until now. I managed to read all the books in almost a week. All my spare time was devoted to reading. I needed to satisfy my curiosity. This series can very well go on my favourite list.

This trilogy has everything I love about reading- witches, vampires, daemons, romance, magic, time traveling, history, mystery, mythology… Sadly, no werewolves though.

The story surrounds a witch named Diana Bishop and how she discovers a long lost missing book which everyone believes is the book of life. The discovery of the book leads Diana to encounter a vampire, Matthew Clairmont and the whole forbidden love story starts. There are rules in their world where species cannot mix, thus Diana’s and Matthews relationship is doomed. Not going to lie, their whole relationship reminded me of Twilight but I feel like Diana is much stronger character than Bella ever was. This book is better thought out version of Twilight if you want to put it that way but it has so much more. Twilight focused strictly on Bella’s and Edwards relationship while All Souls Trilogy focuses on the hunt for truth of the world and how the beings came to be, what makes them different, appreciation of literature, etc.

I love the fact that Diana is a librarian and she has the access to all these significant books. That’s how she stumbles upon the book of life.  I love how the author uses real historical figures and events. I love history but I am not that familiar with the Middle Ages. I actually got to learn some new facts and it just makes you appreciate the book even more. It did get confusing when in the second book, Diana and Matthew, travelled to the sixteen hundreds and the school of night characters were introduced.

There were some slow moments in the books. I wished that I could have fast forwarded through those parts. I do understand why little boring scenes are essential to books though. It gives the readers a time to debrief on what has happened but haha I don’t care.

I wished that the second book did not focus entirely on the 1600s. It stretched out too long and it was pointless. Harkness could have managed in three hundred less pages and perhaps added more time traveling to more significant events.

I am happy with the conclusion to the trilogy but wonder what will happen next. Is Matthew going to kill himself once Diana passes or is she going to be turned into a vampire so that they could live together?

Spoiler- I am disappointed with the fact that everything is to blame on Benjamin. He is too much of a minor character, insignificant, to bring everything to a conclusion. I hoped that there was something bigger at play.

This trilogy is an exciting read. I do recommend it to others.

Love, Maryana

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Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid

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My reading skills are obviously mortifying this year. I cannot even comprehend how six months have passed and I barely read anything. This makes me very upset. But between working, school, and going out, who has the time?

Anyways, I won’t waste any more time writing about my self-disappointment this year… Okay, one last thing. I am trying to get my groove back into reading. Haha 😛

I just finished reading Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid. What made me pick up this book was the review by J.K. Rowling. Once she approves than its obviously good.;) When I started reading the inside of the cover, right away I thought it was one of those generic books since it started with seventeen year old…I didn’t realize that it was a modern remake of Jane Austen’s novel until few lines in.  Mind you, I only read one Jane Austen novel, Emma, which I did a review on last year. I knew the title of the book sounded familiar, I just didn’t realize right away that it was a Jane Austen’s book. After reading this one, I definitely want to get my hands on the original.

I’ve heard that many people who did read the original Northanger Abbey found that this book was a sad excuse for a revised modern version. I can’t agree or disagree because once again I haven’t read the original. I found that the story was interesting, nothing too crazy. I was seriously expecting some supernatural stuff with the amount of vampires being emphasized. This wasn’t the case, even though it would be pretty cool to make some of the Jane Austen’s characters vampires. I’m sorry, I’ll love vampires forever. I liked them before twilight came out and I still like them now. I think.

Spoiler Alert

I’ll start off with stating the things I didn’t like about the story and don’t know if they were part of the original. I wish my neighbours were as lovely as the Allen’s who would take me on a vacation for a month. Realistically, this never happens. I could definitely relate to Cat and her eagerness for adventure. She is portrayed as the kindest person you would know. I really didn’t think so though. I found that she was rude sometimes and still got away with it. I understand how annoying John Thorpe must have been since he never got a clue that she wasn’t into him but in his defence, I did feel like she was leading him on. She was also rude to Bella too even before the thing with Jamie happened. Also I got really annoyed with the way she reacted when Henry found her snooping in their “restricted” area.  Bottom line, I don’t think Cat is as nice as others believe her to be. Not sure how that is relevant to anything but whatever this is my review.. Oh those modern text messages in abbreviation were annoying too. Does anyone actually use all the slang like that? It is hard to follow how quick the couples get engage but that is the story staying true plotline, I assume. Overall, this book is dramatic, if you enjoy that or not. Oh I should mention some of my favourite parts like when Henry questioned about what does the word “cool” mean and how it can pretty much describe everything and nothing at all. I also enjoyed the ending even though it felt a little bit rushed.

I think McDermid did a wonderful job bringing the novel up to date. It really did exhibit some of the usual YA novel themes and expectations.

Love, Maryana

Emma by Jane Austen review

This is a must read according to my friend Kat, who has gifted me with this novel. 9781454901334M

Many people say this is the best of Jane Austen’s novels and has become everyone’s favorite, as in the case of my friend.

I, on the other hand, cannot say that this is my favorite of Jane Austen novels because this is the first Jane Austen novel I have read. I did take a while. I originally started reading it this January but I didn’t really get into it. I picked it up again few weeks ago, determined to finish it. Again, it didn’t really capture my attention until the last one hundred pages, where things became very interesting.

I am going to admit that it was challenging to read and I zoned out completely at some points. I had to read Sparknotes to see what I missed. 😛 But I did like reading it when it wasn’t dull.

I love the early 19th century society with all its formality.

I actually like Emma’s character a lot as well. You either love her or hate her. I loved her character because I found it easy to connect with her.  She exhibits an ordinary girl to whom everyone can relate to at some point. I’m sure at some point in our lives we think we can play cupid and try to match a couple like Emma does with Harriet and Mr. Elton. Also at some point in our lives, we also think we’ll never get married and will rely on our parent’s fortune for the rest of our lives like Emma plans originally. The only thing I did not like about Emma is that, towards the end she changes her relationship with Harriet because of their class rank after everything they’ve been through. Emma really cares about her reputation and her status but I desire to think that, that it is because of the society she was born in and how she was raised. I do not understand how people blame Emma for being spoiled and thinking of herself too highly. It is not like she spoiled herself.

I also would have liked to see more of Emma’s and Mr. Knightley’s relationship. There wasn’t anything romantic in the novel but that is the usual for the classics.

I’ve heard that Jane Austen based Emma on herself. I think that is very interesting because we not only get to know Emma’s character but how Jane Austen was in real life.

I think this was a very good book to read and it had the nice Happy Ever After ending. I haven’t read many classics that end happily and that didn’t have many deaths. This was definitely a first.

I am glad for receiving this book and reading it.

I give it for 4/5 of my liking.

Plot 4/5

Writing 5/5

I need to set up a better rating system! Next post!

Kisses, Maryana