The intimidating TBR Tag

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So… guess who still can’t string thoughts together to form a coherent review? This girl. So my answer is… you guessed it… another book tag! Hopefully this gets the creative juices flowing.

Original tag creator is  Lindsey Rey but the original video seems to have been taken down. I grabbed this tag from A Book Utopia on youtube. I just realised that this is the third book tag that I’ve been inspired to do because of Sasha. Thanks Sasha.

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What book have you been unable to finish?

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I desperately wanted to like this book. I carefully selected it due to good reviews and the fact that it had won several critical acknowledgements. I began it on a train journey over a year ago. Usually I whiz through books on train trips, but I really struggled trying to concentrate enough to truly get into it. I would like to have another crack at this book and see if I can finish it off, unfortunately, I think this book may get pushed down the rungs due to the other books that I would like to read more than this one.

 

What book do you have yet to read, but just haven’t had the time?

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This book, much like it’s predecessor is intimidatingly meaty. Just looking at this book, I know it will demand a lot of my time. Shannon’s stories are inherently complex and gripping and if this book is like the first, it can’t be rushed. This is a prime vacation book, but as I haven’t been on one recently, and am not likely to until the end of the year (new job and adult life and all that), this book will continue to sit ever tempting on myself. I know this book is going to be good, and I want to give it the appropriate justice and time.

 

What book do you have yet to read because it’s a sequel?

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I quite liked book 1 in this series. Fresh, and innovative, Leigh really sucked me in to the world of the Grisha. I know from other reviews, that the whole series is quite good, especially the spin off series. As hungry as I was for this sequel when I had finished the other book, I was on a book buying ban at the time, and exercised severe self restraint. When my book buying ban broke, this book fell back a few notches on my to read list due to several very, highly anticipated books suddenly becoming available at around the same time. I have purchased this recently and it has made it onto my list, but the priority to read it has slightly diminished.

 

What book do you have yet to read because it is brand new?

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I am desperate to read this book. I would have read it already if I was not struggling to find a copy available in my country. All books come to Australia mightily delayed, and this is one of those books, much to my horror. My usual online haunts have proved futile- sold out each time I look- and book stores remain frustratingly bare. The cover is so pretty that I would like a physical copy of this book. The epic quest continues. I shall not give in. This book will be mine.

 

What book do you have yet to read because read another book by the same author and didn’t enjoy it?

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I read the first book in this series at the end of 2011. I’ve had this book since I read the first one, and after the initial excitement of starting the first book was over, I realised, I didn’t actually like Hand’s style of writing. I was going to give the second book a go but since the end of 2011, my reading tastes have switched and the idea of diving into this book now frankly gives me the shivers. I had held out in the hopes of eventually braving it and just speed reading to find out if certain characters were alive, but now I think I may as well just pass this book on to someone who will actually read it and enjoy it.

 

What book do you have yet to read because you’re just not in the mood for it?

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Just by looking at this book, you know it’s going to be a dark and heavy ride. A hefty tome, I have always been rather intimidated by this book. I still really want to read it, and look  at it longingly every now and then from my book shelf. Up until recently, I haven’t really swung in the direction of Fairy tale re-tellings as the mood vanished soon after asking for this book for Christmas a few years ago. Over the last year I’ve begun to sink my teeth into the sub-genre, so hopefully this book will be read soon.

 

What book do you have yet to read because it’s humongous?

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The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon has had me locked in for the last few months, and I’ve loved it, but the books are soooooooo long. Like just when you think the first book is long, they begin to beat themselves as they move through the series, shifting up 100 pages more each time. My copy of voyager weighs in at over 1000 pages. OVER 10oo PAGES! That’s enough to make any bookworm begin to sweat. But I think that’s some of the Outlander series’ appeal; they challenge you. You go on these epic and meaty journeys that last for weeks and you love it the whole time you’re reading, you’ve just got to take that first step and jump over. I read the second book alongside the airing of season 2 so I was always one or two chapters ahead of the tv series. That put me through book too a lot quicker than expected;- I finished book two a month ago and the series on TV is still airing. It’s almost tempting now to wait on this book for a while as the TV series hasn’t begun filming yet, but I’m so desperate to know what happens (major cliff hanger at the end of book two guys), that I will probably pick up this book sooner rather than later.

 

What book do you have yet to read because it was a cover buy that ended up having not very good reviews?

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I was so excited for this book when it came out. Our queen J.K moving into a new genre? Heck yes! Sign me up! But as it took a while to get my hands on a copy, the hype had well and truly died down and the criticisms began coming in as I became ready to read it. I’ve heard a mixture of reviews from a variety of different personality types and ages. It tends to be that people in my age group who had been apart of the Harry Potter Generation were slightly disappointed with the quality of the writing. This is always bound to occur when a beloved writer strikes out with something different, but it was still enough to perturb me into holding off reading it.

 

What is the most intimidating book on your TBR?

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This is just one of those books that strikes awe into you. There are two different groups of people around this book; those that absolutely adore this book, and those who haven’t read it. This should encourage me to actually read it, but it’s actually done the opposite. This book intimidates the heck out of me. I would really like to read it and I definitely will, it’s just trying to get over the sheer cleverness that is so intimidating. It’s a goal of mine to read it this year. Hold me to it.

 

Who do I tag?

I tag absolutely everyone! If you want to do it- go ahead and do it! Post a link of the post where you do in the comments so that I- and everyone else- can read it! Looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with!

Review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

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A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness 

or: SOMEONE GET ME ON THE NEXT PLANE TO LONDON STAT!

Goodreads     ||     The Book Depository

 

Synopsis: Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. 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. Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos.

What is more interesting than vampires and witches in Oxford? Clearly nothing. Everyone else go home, Deborah Harkness has just won at life.

I LOVED this book.

This is one of those books that sucks you in so deep you scarcely even realise you’re addicted until you look at your clock and realise its 11:30pm and you have to get up at 6:30am. This book’s pull is so tantalizingly gentle and mesmerizing that it’s almost as if Matthew is whispering suggested advice in your ear.

I’ve always wanted to study at Oxford- it’s one of those dreams you know will never happen but you wish like hell for it anyway- and Harkness brought me there, swathing me in loving prose and dense descriptive language.

Harkness has a unique writing style that reeks of the pragmatism of someone who learned to write through essays and scholarly styles. Yet while this should lead for a dry book, it doesn’t. Her writing is carefully paced and all paragraphs carefully constructed. Conversation between all characters is effortlessly natural at the same time not prone to monologues or un-realistic cues. Action happens in the same way life happens; the characters don’t know what’s going on and struggle to find their place.

And that’s what I like about Harkness’ writing; she doesn’t play the all-knowing author. There’s none of that arrogance that sometimes lingers when the author plays the ‘great puppet master’; Harkness shows a humility and respect in her writing that’s obvious from page one and made me respect her from the very beginning.

This book is incredibly detail dense. Harkness takes pains to develop the story at a grass root level, leaving in swaths of ‘pointless’ days for Diana, including the human things – like daily exercise and endless hours at work- that most authors shy away from or cut out as it doesn’t suit their grand plan. Don’t be put off, this makes everything work. You don’t resent Harkness for leaving this in; it allows the audience to become very connected to Diana, and makes the story live, breath and feel like it COULD happen.

Harkness, doesn’t present the glamour witches and vampires that we are used to. She revels in their weirdness. Witches aren’t the hobbled old granny-crone, nor are they the glam child wonder that we are suffocated with;- there rather presented as real, run of the mill people who just so happen to have a different sense of the world. Harkness’ witches are more wiccans than actual supernatural beings. And I bloody loved it.

The vampires were rude, stuck in their ways and struggled with food. I loved it.

The deamons- an interesting new addition to the mythological world from Harkness- much like the witches, felt real enough that it’s easy to imagine passing them on the street in real life.

And that’s where the power of this book lies. Harkness has created a dual world that has such strong tethers to actual life, that she seduces you into thinking that all of it, has the possibility of being true. She seduces you through witty one-liners, a complex and deeply intriguing plot that just keeps flip flopping, and very very detailed descriptions and prose.

Harkness is a world builder, and the world she built for this story is so tempting that it’s hard to tear yourself from the pages. This is a monster of a book, and upon receiving it, I was more than a little intimidated. But I barely noticed the 800 pages that I churned through in two weeks. This such an intriguing story and I was so compelled to work out the mysteries and why things worked, that I found myself at the end before I realised I had past half way.

I am more than a little desperate to find out what happens next;- the cliff hanger absolutely sucked me dry (HA. Get it?) but as I’ve been on a self imposed book buying ban (which I failed miserably) since early March, I’ve had to tough it out since finishing this book in early march. The next book- what appears to be another significant beast- I’m hopping to read in the next few months. Harkness has set up a very interesting series and I am really hoping that the next book doesn’t let me down and does this one justice.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go look at pictures of the Oxford campus and cry because I can’t attend.