Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Music, Magic and Intrigue: A Book Review on City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte

Sarah Weston has decided to work a summer job at Prague Castle cataloging music manuscripts. After her mentor was reported to have committed suicide while working the same job, Sarah decides to work on determining whether the suicide was the truth or if something else happened to the professor. As the mystery starts to unravel, Sarah is left in the middle of the turmoil, working on who to trust and what her professor was working on before his death. Working with time-travel, music and centuries of secrets, Sarah has to figure out the truth behind the work at the museum and live to tell about it.

I've spent a few days working through my thoughts on this book. I was hoping for a lot of time-travel, magic and mystery. That's not necessarily what I encountered in this book. Instead, I got a book that seemed part mystery and part romance, with a little bit of magic thrown-in. The time-travel could have been an incredible aspect to this story but in the end I got the feeling that it was meant more for fun, like when the characters get to see Beethoven's interactions in the past at Prague Castle, which is enjoyed more for the fact that the characters can SEE Beethoven as opposed to the clues they are meant to find by encountering Beethoven. It's also determined to be caused by a drug, created from a formula that has disappeared over the centuries. Eventually the "time travel" is used as a means of finding the formula to make more of the drug that enables the time travel in the first place and if the main characters manage to find the clues that focus on the "mystery", its more of an afterthought than anything else.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Ties that Bind: A Book Review on The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

Willa Jackson is determined to put her past behind her, including her connections to her family's former mansion, the Blue Ridge Madam, which they lost after encountering financial troubles in the 1930s. Paxton Osgood has taken on a new project: restoring the Blue Ridge Madam, a landmark southern family plantation home, and turning into a inn. Previously happy to keep their distance from each other, Willa and Paxton find their lives thrown together after the restoration unearths a skeleton buried beneath a peach tree on the property. Determined to discover the truth and understand this long buried secret, Willa and Paxton must work together to understand the circumstances surrounding the skeleton and how their new friendship is a powerful force ready to transform their lives for the better.

I've been keeping up with Sarah Addison Allen's books for the last few years, at least since the publication of The Sugar Queen back in 2008. I've honestly enjoyed each of them and The Peach Keeper is the latest release, making a total of four books available now by the author. Allen creates a special brand of magical realism in her novels with enough of the supernatural to appeal to the reader but is also grounded enough in reality to come across as not only endearing stories but also as believable circumstances for those more skeptical readers.