Monday, May 16, 2011

Book Club Review - A Discovery of Witches

A few months ago, my girlfriends and I finally decided to form our own book club. We have all been hanging out and talking about what we were reading for over three years now, and thought that maybe we would make it official.

I was flattered that the first book we read was Indivisible (of course they all have signed copies!), but I’ll be honest…I didn’t read it. I just can’t bring myself to read it after pouring so much into it. What I did read, the whole time I thought, “Ugh! I should have done it this way…” The good thing was that I knew what happened in the story, so that was fine.

The next book we chose was Water for Elephants. I had already read it twice (the most recent time just a month earlier). This was a fun one because we all went to see the movie together and then went to dinner and talked about the book and the movie.

The rest of our list came about at the first meeting. There are seven of us, so we went around the table and each offered up our favorite book. We have been giving each other recommendations for books over the past three or so years (I got them all hooked on BDB, and they in turn gave me Stephanie Plum), so it should be fun to find out what their favorite books are.

We started our group halfway through January, so now with the first two books and each of our seven favorite books, we needed two more.

I am on Goodreads daily, and had seen two books that were getting either terrible reviews or people absolutely adored them. I thought those would both be great additions to get the reaction of seven women whose opinions I respect and rely on.

We decided to do one for May and one for December with our favorites in between.

So, the book we chose for May was Deborah Harkness’ A Discovery of Witches.

The reviews that I had read on this book were either glowing or horrible. I had read that it was a “grown up Twilight” and that was what intrigued me the most. It’s no secret that I am a Twidork (my entire office is a shrine!), so this was a book that I really wanted to read. This is the story of an uneducated (in the magic sense) witch, Diana, who tries to hide from her powers by over achieving in science (modern magic?) and a centuries old vampire, Matthew, whose secrets define who he is. When the two find each other all hell breaks loose as they dare to defy the laws that govern them by falling in love.

First, a warning that there will be spoilers, so if you don’t want to know, stop reading!

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure if I like this book or not. Maybe I’ll know by the end of this review??

It took me a long time to really get into and care about this book. Because I read on Kindle, I talk in percentages now, so I would say that it was over 50% of the book that was really tough to get through. The funny thing is that in my book club, only three out of the seven of us actually finished it. The common thing was that they couldn’t stay awake while reading, and I suffered from the same thing. The average was about four pages before eyes started closing and heads started bobbing. It took me WEEKS to get through the first half of the book, and three days to get through the last half.

Let me say that I LOVE Matthew! He is that yummy combination of totally controlled and tortured that I love in my vampire (Z girl to the bone!). I loved the historical aspects of Matthew and the stories. Matthew’s mother won me over as well, and really liked too.

The story of Diana and Matthew (once they finally realize they actually have a story) is beautiful and frustrating in equal measure. It is what kept me reading. I am a sucker for the cat and mouse of romance, and Harkness does this very well in this story.

Was it a more adult Twilight romance as “advertised”? I have to admit that I was hoping for more in the sexing department when I read that analogy. Don’t get me wrong, there is some “bundling” that put it in the grown-up category, but after reading Ward and Kenyon, I have a whole no perspective of what an “adult” vampire story should be. I did like their romantic times, however, and look forward to more in the future books.

What didn’t I like?? I was not a fan of Diana’s character in the beginning. For the first half of the book she is wishy washy, unrelatable, and frustrating. By the end, however, I understood why she was that way in the beginning as her past and the past of her family is slowly revealed.

The other issue that I found with the story was that new things kept getting thrown in, and at a point I kind of felt that it was over the top. When Diana takes Matthew home, the Bishop house is a strange “living” thing that actually becomes a character and plays significant role in the story. And while I think that it would be really cool to have a house that makes guest rooms when someone is coming to visit (I have TONS of family coming in this weekend and to have an already made up room would be awesome), I thought that it was more that the author needed a way to explain some things.

Now there are two more books to come in this series, and when we were talking, one of my girlfriends asked if I was going to read the next one. I have to. I want to know what happens!

So, in the end, I know that I’ll keep reading the series, but I still don’t know how I feel about this book? One of the other women who finished is actually in the process of re-reading and says that it is much better the second time. Apparently all the alchemy information makes a lot more sense and isn’t something that you just have to wade through on the second round. So, maybe I will give that a shot and that will help me decide if I like it or not. I mean one of my favorite movies of all times is Dazed and Confused, and I hated it the first time I saw it…

And, it's Monday - that means Meet an Author Blog Hop!!

YAY!! It's time for the wonderful blog hop started by author Lisa Sanchez

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READERS: Follow as many authors as you like. Just follow the Linky list and hop from author to author. The idea is to find as many "new to you" authors as you can, and hopefully some great new reading material as well. Leave a comment! We'd love to chat with you!


•Follow the Meet an author Monday host (Cali Cheer Mom) along with any of the wonderfully talented authors on the list.
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  1. Ooh, I like that strategy of picking books for book club that people either love or hate - should lead to spicy discussion, eh? But yeah, probably would be better if everyone FINISHED the book.

    I haven't been able to read Three Daves since publication either! I know I'd be cringing the whole way through. Do you think having books out there in the world is what's making these next WIPs so difficult? Like, this time we're pre-thinking it being in print and so we're being cautious?

  2. I'm following from the hop. Great site!

  3. I've read about this book and thought it might be something that would interest me. I currently have 10 paperbacks, a hard back and 2 ebooks waiting to be read. Oh hell, I'll add this to my list. :-)

  4. Jessica, I'm in two book clubs and I love them. One of the clubs has a different host each month and the host chooses the book for the next month. I'm thinking of choosing Room or Revolution when I host next week. I find your strategy of choosing a book with extreme responses. I try to read the selected book before choosing it but I don't always have time. Goodreads has really made the selection process easier though! Jen xx

  5. Whoops, meant to say I find your strategy of choosing a book with extreme responses to be INTERESTING! :)