A Discovery Of Witches - A book review

A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.

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. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the
Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism.

*Ahem*  I beg to differ with that last paragraph there...

The book was good, BUT it left a lot to be desired for me. I enjoyed the historical aspects mixed in with the fantasy genre and I did enjoy the characters - even if Diana was a little irritating (I mean COME ON who wouldn't want to use magic!!) My problems with this book do no lie in the story per se, but more in the telling of it. The friendship/courtship of Matthew and Diana was drug out painfully, chapter after chapter.... the details of the scents in the wine they drank, the fragrance of the food, blah flipping blah!! Then, once the book really started picking up, the action felt very rushed in the last 1/4th of the book. This is nearly a 600 page book - it's a whopper folks - and I felt cheated by the rushing of the action. Now, nothing that I can find right now indicates that this woman is going to write another book (I am not sure I would even read it if she did), but she left herself WIDE OPEN at the end to be able to continue with the plot in another novel or 2, 3 or 10 (or however long she'd like to drag it out).

I always hate being caught off-guard by a cliffhanger. There is this book that I read in high school, which is now infamous with me in a very small circle of friends, because the last line is "And maybe they did." REALLY? I read 800 pages for AND MAYBE THEY DID???? I prefer my fiction to be wrapped up and tied with a neat little bow at the end, so I am sure you can imagine my un-bloggable reaction when I finished this book, as it ends, basically the same way, with this elusive, perhaps they made it... type of ending. *sigh* What's a girl to do?

And just a point of annoyance in the summary up there - I really don't think one should compare books to the Twilight novels. I concede that yes, they are addicting fantastic stories, and I am a self-confessed Twi-hard. However, the writing in those books is elementary and I would never want my novel compared to them in a literary sense. The writing in this book is at a much, much, much higher level, so it does have that going for it.... 

Christmas 2011

Oh my dear neglected blog. December has been the whirlwind month I expected it to be, and even more, since I have gotten sick, sleep-deprived, and jet-lagged all in the past 3 weeks. Unfortunately, my blog is the area that has suffered most. Well, no more! I am finally going to post some unfortunate iphone pics of our Christmas decor (which has been up since before Thanksgiving, but I am pretty sure some people would have sent out a lynch mob after me had I posted these sooner!)

 Brandon often balks at my 'no colored lights' rule and my 'matchy-matchy' decorating approach, but I don't have a lot of sentimental Christmas stuff from my past. (I have promised him a 2nd tree with colored lights and handmade ornaments when we have kids, I am not a total Christmas snob!) But for now, my trees look like this:
Our Tree

I knew I really wanted to do a contrast of silver and the natural burlap fibers, then Alli and I went to the Kane County Flea Market. Oh man, there was an entire display that was like my dream Christmas decor. I swear these women had been inside my head!! It was fantastic! I snagged my stockings and the window frames for my mantle at the flea market.

The wreath was made by me, inspired by Pinterest (of course) and you can read about that here. I also made some of the larger ornaments. Hopefully I can post some better photos of the ornaments later. There are some covered in tulle, feathers, and twine. I love the way this turned out. I actually got the idea for the window frames on the mantle from a Home Depot commercial of all things.

I also have (but not pictured) a couple greenery wreathes hanging on either side of my couch with a feathered ornament hanging in the center and another plain green wreath replacing my fall wreath with a white feather stuck on it. :) 

And here is me as Sugarplum Mary the elf, Mrs. Claus's personal assistant. Oh the things I do for my job... I love it. Please don't mind the TV tray in the foreground... I was rushing the photographer.

Now here is Izzie, getting into the holiday spirit. I ordered these Christmas tutus from an etsy shop, Tutus N Shirts for Dogs and I love them! The dogs were more excited about the bones that came in the package, but this is just all kinds of Christmas cuteness! Happy holidays everyone!!

Happy Birthday

Today is my dear husband's 25th birthday, and I won't see him until Friday. I am sad that we can't be together on his birthday, but probably shouldn't whine about it too much since we did just spend a week in Hawaii. So, rather than be pitiful and sad, I wanted to write a love letter of sorts to him. So, in honor of his 25 years, I have compiled a list of 25 things that I love about him.

25 things I love about my husband, in no particular order: 

His baby blues
His smile
His dedication
His “Pollyanna” mentality about life
His passion for what he believes in
His silly side
The way he makes me laugh
The way he holds me when I cry
His love for our “furry babies”
The way he sings in the shower
The way he sings to me
His fashion sense
His absent-minded professor-ness
The way he can cook an omelet
His thoughtfulness
The way he laughs at me
His hard-working nature
His smile
His thirst for knowledge
The way he teases Nana
His love for his family
His steadfastness
His imagination
His openness to adventure and change
His hugs

Happy birthday baby.