Mary Lawrence – Death of an Alchemist

Death of an Alchemist
Death of an Alchemist
Author: Mary Lawrence
Series: Bianca Goddard Mysteries #2
Publishing date: 26 January 2016
Publisher: Kensington
Status: to-read

In the mid sixteenth century, Henry VIII sits on the throne, and Bianca Goddard tends to the sick and suffering in London’s slums, where disease can take a life as quickly as murder…

For years, alchemist Ferris Stannum has devoted himself to developing the Elixir of Life, the reputed serum of immortality. Having tested his remedy successfully on an animal, Stannum intends to send his alchemy journal to a colleague in Cairo for confirmation. Instead he is strangled in his bed and his journal is stolen.

As the daughter of an alchemist herself, Bianca is well acquainted with the mystical healing arts. As her husband, John, falls ill with the sweating sickness, she dares to hope Stannum’s journal could contain the secret to his recovery. But first she must solve the alchemist’s murder. As she ventures into a world of treachery and deceit, Stannum’s death proves to be only the first in a series of murders – and Bianca’s quest becomes a matter of life and death, not only for her husband, but for herself…

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Sophie Perinot – Médicis Daughter: A Novel of Marguerite de Valois

Médicis Daughter - A Novel of Marguerite de Valois
Médicis Daughter: A Novel of Marguerite de Valois
Author: Sophie Perinot
Publishing date: 1 December 2015
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Status: to-read

Winter, 1564. Beautiful young Princess Margot is summoned to the court of France, where nothing is what it seems and a wrong word can lead to ruin. Known across Europe as Madame la Serpente, Margot’s intimidating mother, Queen Catherine de Médicis, is a powerful force in a country devastated by religious war. Among the crafty nobility of the royal court, Margot learns the intriguing and unspoken rules she must live by to please her poisonous family.

Eager to be an obedient daughter, Margot accepts her role as a marriage pawn, even as she is charmed by the powerful, charismatic Duc de Guise. Though Margot’s heart belongs to Guise, her hand will be offered to Henri of Navarre, a Huguenot leader and a notorious heretic looking to seal a tenuous truce. But the promised peace is a mirage: her mother’s schemes are endless, and her brothers plot vengeance in the streets of Paris. When Margot’s wedding devolves into the bloodshed of the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, she will be forced to choose between her family and her soul.

Médicis Daughter is historical fiction at its finest, weaving a unique coming-of-age story and a forbidden love with one of the most dramatic and violent events in French history.

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Murakami Haruki – After Dark

After Dark
After Dark
Original title: アフターダーク
Author: Murakami Haruki (村上春樹)
Publishing date: 2004
Publisher: Kodansha
Status: completed

A short, sleek novel of encounters set in Tokyo during the witching hours between midnight and dawn, and every bit as gripping as Haruki Murakami’s masterworks The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Kafka on the Shore.

At its center are two sisters—Eri, a fashion model slumbering her way into oblivion, and Mari, a young student soon led from solitary reading at an anonymous Denny’s toward people whose lives are radically alien to her own: a jazz trombonist who claims they’ve met before, a burly female “love hotel” manager and her maid staff, and a Chinese prostitute savagely brutalized by a businessman. These “night people” are haunted by secrets and needs that draw them together more powerfully than the differing circumstances that might keep them apart, and it soon becomes clear that Eri’s slumber—mysteriously tied to the businessman plagued by the mark of his crime—will either restore or annihilate her.

After Dark
moves from mesmerizing drama to metaphysical speculation, interweaving time and space as well as memory and perspective into a seamless exploration of human agency—the interplay between self-expression and empathy, between the power of observation and the scope of compassion and love. Murakami’s trademark humor, psychological insight, and grasp of spirit and morality are here distilled with an extraordinary, harmonious mastery.

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My impression:
I started reading this book for real last night. Expected, I finished it today.

I don’t have much to say as always when it comes about Murakami’s book. His stories always makes me think about many things about my life – what was before, what is now and what can be in the future.

The plot showed the life of different people, strangely connected with each other. Mari & Takahashi, Eri, Kaoru etc. – all of them have different lifes, but they find each other through one night.

Short book, but interesting. Thoughtful. Give it a try!

General note: 7/10

Edition read: След мръкване (Bulgarian edition)
Publisher: Colibri
Translation: Vladimir Germanov
ISBN: 978-954-5299-49-0

Rachel Schurig – Lovestruck in London

Lovestruck in London
Lovestruck in London
Author: Rachel Schurig
Series: Lovestruck #1
Publishing date: 19 May 2013
Publisher: Rachel Schurig through CreateSpace
Status: completed

Lizzie Medina went to London to reinvent herself. Tired of being the quiet baby sister, and in no hurry to settle into a boring existence in suburbia, she escapes from home at the first opportunity. When she settles in London for a year of post-graduate studies, Lizzie is sure she’ll be able to start a whole new life. Immerse herself in the books she loves. Explore a new country. Work on her dream of writing a novel. She might even be able to find a little bit of excitement for once.

But falling unexpectedly in love with up-and-coming actor Thomas Harper causes Lizzie to re-think… everything. Just as she’s convinced herself this small-town girl from the Midwest can handle this great adventure, Thomas’s career suddenly explodes to superstar levels, and Lizzie finds herself forced to navigate the fame game of red carpets, catty co-stars, gossip magazines, and paparazzi. When she wished for a new life, she had no idea it would be anything like this!

Lizzie must now determine if her love — and her confidence — are strong enough to get her through the complications of dating a movie star. Even if she and Thomas are able to pull through before she has to leave London, how will she deal with the inevitability of returning to a life at home that no longer feels like her own? Will she follow her family’s wishes or follow her heart? Will the Lizzie she discovered in London be strong enough to help her pursue her dreams?

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My impression:
This book is a nice love story…

I bought this book in September last year and it was stored in my Kindle for lots of time, until one night while waiting for somebody at the airport to come back from London, I suddenly discovered I have it there. And as London is one of my favorite cities and I was there before 2 years and already miss the city, I decided to to start this book.

It started very interesting for me as I love to read such stories and the whole book was pretty nice. I enjoyed the walks and touristy explanations, even though some of the crossing sounded impossible.

The story is sweet. Lizzie at first looked like it can never exsist, because she had no idea of the celebrities, but later I reminded myself that I’m in the exact current situation, knowing only Japanese celebrities, so why not… Lizzie…

Thomas Harper is a movie star, who liked a normal girl. That so expected thing when it comes to such books. He plays in the movie adaptation of the Darkness series, which for me is absolutely Dark Angel series by Keri Arthur. And he is gorgeous.

Anyhow, if you want to read sweet love story, little bit travel guide and celebrities – this is your book.

General note: 5.5/10

Mary Lawrence – The Alchemist’s Daughter

The Alchemist's Daughter
The Alchemist’s Daughter
Author: Mary Lawrence
Series: Bianca Goddard Mysteries #1
Publishing date: 28 April 2015
Publisher: Kensington
Status: to-read

In the year 1543 of King Henry VIII’s turbulent reign, the daughter of a notorious alchemist finds herself suspected of cold-blooded murder…

Bianca Goddard employs her knowledge of herbs and medicinal plants to concoct remedies for the disease-riddled poor in London’s squalid Southwark slum. But when her friend Jolyn comes to her complaining of severe stomach pains, Bianca’s prescription seems to kill her on the spot. Recovering from her shock, Bianca suspects Jolyn may have been poisoned before coming to her — but the local constable is not so easily convinced.

To clear her name and keep her neck free of the gallows, Bianca must apply her knowledge of the healing arts to deduce exactly how her friend was murdered and by whom — before she herself falls victim to a similar fate…

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Anne Rice – Blood And Gold

Blood And Gold
Blood And Gold
Author: Anne Rice
Series: The Vampire Chronicles #8
Publishing date: 9 October 2001
Publisher: Knopf
Status: to-read

The Vampire Chronicles continue with Anne Rice’s spellbinding novel, in which the great vampire Marius returns.

The golden-haired Marius, true Child of the Millennia, once mentor to The Vampire Lestat, always and forever the conscientious foe of the Evil Doer, reveals in his own intense yet intimate voice the secrets of his two-thousand-year existence.

Once a proud Senator in Imperial Rome, kidnapped and made a “blood god” by the Druids, Marius becomes the embittered protector of Akasha and Enkil, Queen and King of the vampires, in whom the core of the supernatural race resides.

We follow him through his heartbreaking abandonment of the vampire Pandora. Through him we see the fall of pagan Rome to the Emperor Constantine and the horrific sack of the Eternal City itself at the hands of the Visigoths.

Bravely, Marius seeks a new civilization in the midst of glittering Constantinople, only to meet with the blood drinker Eudoxia. We see him ultimately returning to his beloved Italy, where after the horrors of the Black Death, he is restored by the beauty of the Renaissance. We see him become a painter living dangerously yet happily among mortals, giving his heart to the great Botticelli, to the bewitching courtesan Bianca, and to the mysterious young apprentice Armand.

Moving from Rome to Florence, Venice, and Dresden, and to the English castle of the secret scholarly order of the Talamasca, the novel reaches its dramatic finale in our own time, deep in the jungle where Marius, having told hi slife story, seeks some measure of justice from the oldest vampires in the world.

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Ishiguro Kazuo – The Buried Giant

The Buried Giant
The Buried Giant
Author: Ishiguro Kazuo
Publishing date: 3 March 2015
Publisher: Knopf
Status: to-read

“You’ve long set your heart against it, Axl, I know. But it’s time now to think on it anew. There’s a journey we must go on, and no more delay…”

The Romans have long since departed and Britain is steadily declining into ruin. But, at least, the wars that once ravaged the country have ceased. Axl and Beatrice, a couple of elderly Britons, decide that now is the time, finally, for them to set off across this troubled land of mist and rain to find the son they have not seen for years, the son they can scarcely remember. They know they will face many hazards—some strange and otherworldly—but they cannot foresee how their journey will reveal to them the dark and forgotten corners of their love for each other. Nor can they foresee that they will be joined on their journey by a Saxon warrior, his orphan charge, and a knight—each of them, like Axl and Beatrice, lost in some way to his own past, but drawn inexorably toward the comfort, and the burden, of the fullness of a life’s memories.

Sometimes savage, often intensely moving, Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel in nearly a decade is about lost memories, love, revenge, and war.

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