Tuesday, December 18, 2012

City of Dark Magic, by "Magnus Flyte"

From Amazon.com:
Once a city of enormous wealth and culture, Prague was home to emperors, alchemists, astronomers, and, as it’s whispered, hell portals. When music student Sarah Weston lands a summer job at Prague Castle cataloging Beethoven’s manuscripts, she has no idea how dangerous her life is about to become. Prague is a threshold, Sarah is warned, and it is steeped in blood.
     Soon after Sarah arrives, strange things begin to happen. She learns that her mentor, who was working at the castle, may not have committed suicide after all. Could his cryptic notes be warnings? As Sarah parses his clues about Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved,” she manages to get arrested, to have tantric sex in a public fountain, and to discover a time-warping drug. She also catches the attention of a four-hundred-year-old dwarf, the handsome Prince Max, and a powerful U.S. senator with secrets she will do anything to hide.
     City of Dark Magic could be called a rom-com paranormal suspense novel—or it could simply be called one of the most entertaining novels of the year.
City of Dark Magic, by Magnus Flyte (who is really two female authors), is a really fun book. I read some reviews stating that the reader could not get into the book because it was so unbelievable. True. It is. It is crazy and full of unbelievable characters and events...and I loved it. I loved reading this book because it was all of that! City of Dark Magic is just fun. If I were reading about the same heroine in a book by a literary fiction author, then I would feel the need to analyze her situation and choices...but not so in this book. Just have fun with it, and you won't regret the experience!

Basically, the plot revolves around Sarah Weston, a PhD student in music at an American university. In a single day, she receives the news that her dissertation director has died while researching and working in a private collection in Prague and that she is now up for the newly vacated position. She receives her invitation from a cryptic dwarf who arrives at her apartment and leaves strange symbols on her ceiling; in spite of these circumstances (which would probably scare most people from taking the trip), Sarah boards a plane and ends up in Prague. Her adventures there involve a prince, her child prodigy student and her Latino escort, Beethoven's "Immortal Beloved" letters, time travel, a corrupt US senator and her past KGB associations, and alchemy. Not to mention a certain reliance on the Infant of Prague. So, crazy? Yes. Unbelievable? Absolutely. But fun?? OH, YES. Really, give this one a try. It wasn't the best book I have ever read, but I had so much fun reading it.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Saturday, December 15, 2012

I graduated!!! YAY!!! Officially a PhD now!!

This is me right after the ceremony...

And even though his eyes are closed, this is my one of my favorites! It was so special to graduate with my cousin Jeff, and I am so proud of him!

Also, to Jessica: for taking photos and being an amazing cousin and person. I LOVE YOU. (And that gift was AWESOME!!!)
To Arturo: Thank you so much for lunch! You are such a wonderful person, and we love you, too!!
To Jeff: You always make me proud, but sharing this day was amazing. I love you and know you will do amazing things.
To Ginny, Ron, Chuck, and grandma: Thank you so much for coming (though, of course, you obviously came to see Jeff, too!!). I appreciate your love and support so much. These last six and a half years have had so much stress and joy, and you have seen me through it all.
To Jeanne and Theron, Laura and T: Though you couldn't be there today, I felt you in spirit! Thank you so much for all of your love and support, and I can't wait to see you over the holidays!!
To Larry: Thank you so much for all of your love and support!
To Melanie, Josh, and Mylee: Thank you for everything!!!  You are wonderful friends/family!
To Kelly: You have been through it all with me, too. I can't thank you enough. 
To James, Kiara, Mike, Lisa, and countless others: THANK YOU for your kind words and support!!! I appreciate it so much!
To all of my teachers and professors: You are so important to me and to the world. You helped get me to this day. Thank you.
To my all of my other family and friends...I could go on forever, but know that I think of each of you individually: Thank you, thank you, thank you. You mean the world to me.

Especially to my mom and dad: Thank you for getting me through this. Your love and support, compassion and kindness have meant everything to me. From the first book to the last, it has always been about and for you. I love you. I can't believe that all three of us saw this day. I feel so grateful. XOXO

And, finally, to Elizabeth Lemon: We talked about this day for so many years. It doesn't feel right without you, but I know you see me. I love and miss you, and thank you for everything.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Blog Happy

I decided that I will be writing my reviews on this site from now on. My "Friendly Reader" site annoys me. I will be continuing to update my Victorian Blog and my Alabama Book blog with reviews of material directly related to Victorian Britain and Alabama, respectively. Otherwise, all other reviews will appear here!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing Me

This "Top Ten Tuesday" prompt is brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish. Check them out!

Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing Me

1. Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan

2. Monkeys with Typewriters by Scarlett Thomas

3. Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Oppel

4. Cleopatra's Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter

5. Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

6. Shadow's Claim by Kresley Cole

7. Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

8. Iced by Karen Marie Moning

9. Cold Fire by Kate Elliott

10. Death in the Floating City by Tasha Alexander

Monday, December 03, 2012

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

A wonderful reader of this blog worked some photo editing magic and cleaned up one of my scanned images! I love it! Thank you so much! This is one of my favorite photos, so I am very happy to have an improved version! Thanks, Chris! Check out Chris's wonderful photos at this LINK.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Dad enjoying his celebrity...

Today, Dad and I met with Sylvia Parker so that he could sign a copy of his record "Crazy Date" and some photos. The record and one of the photos will be auctioned off soon to raise money, and dad was happy to help. If you haven't seen one of my previous blog posts about the song, you can read Sylvia's great article about it (and my dad) here.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

This is for Jessica...

I was so excited when my cousin Jessica was born. There are about five years difference between us, and I couldn't love her more if she was my sister. I found these photos and just had to scan them in. No other images could capture my adoration for this tiny new addition to our family. And I feel the same way today.