If you're a sucker for a vampire (pardon the pun!) then you'll love A Discovery of Witches.
Likewise if you enjoy historical fiction or are interested in the birth of scientific thought.
Diana Bishop is a historian who specialises in the history of science. She's also a witch, descended from a long line of celebrated and powerful witches and wizards on both sides of her lineage. Studying in Oxford to prepare for a keynote address on Alchemy, Diana inadvertently finds a long lost manuscript said to hold the secret of the origin of witches, vampires and daemons.
The discovery of this manuscript puts Diana in grave danger, and as a reluctant witch who has never learned to harness her powers, she needs help to protect herself. Enter a tall, dark stranger...
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which I bought as a school holiday treat for myself. I tried hard to ration out my reading time to make it last, but here I am not half-way through the holidays and I've finished it already! I passed it on to Alana because I think she'll enjoy it too.
Much of the action is set in libraries - perfect for me! Along the way, Diana comes into contact with many old and valuable books, and explores them for clues to explain the source of her power and the relationships between witches, vampires, daemons and humans. If you have read Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code etc) and enjoyed his exploration of symbology, then you'll find the discussion of Alchemy and the illustrations and poetry employed by ancient scholars fascinating.
If you've ever fallen in love with an overprotective and morally upstanding vampire (Edward anyone? Stephan?) then you'll truly appreciate Matthew Clairmont. A knight who hunts animals rather than humans and has senses so acute that he can smell what Diana is thinking...what's not to love?
This book is the first of a trilogy and certainly ends leaving you wanting more. Damn that cliffhanger ending!