Book Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Title: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
Author: V.E. Schwab
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Year Published: October 6, 2020

Date finished: May 7, 2022

“Be careful what you ask for, be willing to pay the price. And no matter how desperate or dire, never pray to the gods that answer after dark.” ~Estelle

This was a marvelous book full of magic, anticipation, heartbreak, and love. Once you are pulled into the story, it’s hard to stop reading.

When the book first came out, I had wanted to read it and so checked it out from the library. I got a few pages in and couldn’t get into it. My mind just wasn’t there. The book expired and I waited a year to recheck it out (because I was busy). When I checked it out, again, I was busy, so the book expired and I missed my chance. I checked it out one more time and told myself that if I can’t get to it this time, then maybe it wasn’t meant to be. Luckily, I had just finished a book and had reading time on hand, so I gave it another chance.

How I wish I hadn’t given up the first time because this is a wonderfully written book. It opens with Addie in the early 1700’s. She’s young and curious and wants to know about the old gods from an old woman neighbor. As Addie becomes an adult, her parents want her to get married, but she’s not ready—especially not ready to marry a man who recently lost his wife and has two young children. On the day of her wedding, she runs into the woods and asks the gods to help her.

“I want a chance to live. I want to be free. I want more time.” ~Addie

The darkness speaks to her and tells her he can’t grant her what she wants, but she is determined and tells him he can have her soul when she is done. He agrees and her wishes are granted.

Addie lives a very long life. She finds things to do and places to see, but it’s lonely because no one remembers her. One day, she goes to a bookstore and meets a man named Henry. When she returns a book to exchange for another, Henry remembers her, and that changed everything.

“Everyone wants to be remembered.” ~the darkness

I truly enjoyed this book. The characters were well thought out, the dialogues were beautifully done, and the storyline was executed excellently. I might say that it did start out a bit slow, but it picked up pretty fast. It was a strangely thought-provoking story. It made me think about what I’d wish for if I were granted a wish in exchange for my soul. I’m not sure I’d wish for anything, but it’s very tempting. One thing I really liked about the book is that there are references to artwork that Addie is in, a few are done without her knowing it like the painting of her on the shore by a famous painter. I loved the way they were presented. It really piqued my interest because I almost thought they were real, that they were actually of her!

Who should read this book: The book reminded me of Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and the movie, The Age of Adaline. I found some similarities between those books and this one. So, if you’re into any of those stories, you’ll probably enjoy this one. The character “darkness” reminds me so much of the main character, Lucifer, in the T.V. series, Lucifer. For some reason that’s how he appears in the book to me, however, I don’t think darkness is meant to be portrayed as the devil. He feels more like the reaper. Also, the book is being made into a movie, so if you’re anything like me and prefer to read the book before seeing the movie, you might want to get on it.

Btw, I ended up buying a hardcover. Just couldn’t help it.

Unboxing Falcon Travelers’ Book of Faerie Traveler’s Notebook + Photos

I’m so excited to finally have this beautiful leather notebook cover in my hands! I ordered it early in February, and because this is a small business owned by Monique (aka Lady Falcon) and Martijn in the Netherlands, I expected some wait time. The company is called Falcon Travelers and they make leather traveler’s notebooks and folios. What’s unique about them is that they not only make your basic leather notebooks/folios, but they also make artistic-work notebooks.

The one I ordered is called “Book of Faerie.” I had been visiting their website for awhile and at one pointed wanted to get their “Pendragon” notebook cover, but by the time I was ready to order, the Pendragon leather was no longer available, however, something else caught my eye, and it was this very lovely engraved book-style cover.

I got it in the classic B6 size. Classic means there are no pockets. I regret not getting pockets because I’ve actually come to really like them, but I still love this one without pockets, nonetheless.

Book Review: General Jack and the Battle of the Five Kingdoms

Title: General Jack and the Battle of the Five Kingdoms
Author: David Bush
Genre: Fantasy
Year Published: October 28, 2020

Date finished: February 14, 2022

It’s been a while since I’ve read an anthromorphic story and it’s mainly because I haven’t found one that I liked. General Jack and the Battle of the Five Kingdoms by David Bush was an excellent read that portrayed animals with humanistic traits very well. I was surprised at how well this was done.

The story is about a cat named Miaow and written from the perspective of Miaow for the most part. Miaow tells us his life story and how he came upon a two-legged creature (a human) named General Jack. General Jack takes good care of Miaow and Miaow grows to respect him and love him. The story is set in a world before our time, where war was prominent, and winning battles meant control/power over all the other animals. Miaow was very strategic in the way he fought and planned his attacks. He knew which animals to befriend and which ones to stay away from. However, he wasn’t perfect and made mistakes at choosing certain animals to help him. Later, the story is told from another perspective: Miaows grandson. The grandson tells us about what he thinks of his grandfather’s legacy and of General Jack as well. It’s very fascinating.

Overall, this was an excellent read. There were some minor structural errors but not anything to stop me from reading. The story itself was well thought out and the pacing was perfect for a YA story. The information at the end of the book about all the real wars and bible references were phenomenal. I learned a lot just from that section. It was wonderfully organized and explained, and to use all that information to create such a beautifully told story is a plus. Well done and well worth the read.

Who should read this book: Anyone who enjoys stories where animals are given humanistic characteristics such as “The Mouse and the Motorcycle,” “James and the Giant Peach,” and “Watership Down.”

Book Review: The King’s Death

Title: The King’s Death
Author: Ed Cannon  
Genre: Fantasy
Year Published: May 31, 2019

Date Finished: January 5, 2022

I didn’t read the first book because this book could be read without having read it. In this story, Silik becomes king and must defeat the enemy. He is granted help from magical healers who are able to provide information as to how to take down the enemy. Silik needs all the help he could get and because he is respected by members of the previous king’s entourage, he has the upper hand. It still wasn’t easy for him though. There were still evil forces in the works that could take him down.

There’s a lot to take in, in this story. The pacing is fast with mostly telling of who’s doing what. You don’t really get to know the characters too well. I’m not sure if that was intentionally done or if it was just overlooked. Either way, the story itself was still very enjoyable. There was a sense of fear that Silik may not succeed in defeating the enemy. Even he himself, at times, gave the feeling that he may not survive. I’d say, Silik was the most well-thought-out character. He was concerned for those he knew and tried to protect them as much as he could. The action and fight scenes were great. I truly enjoyed them and wanted more.

Overall, this was a great read. The lineage chart, the breakdown of the laws of magic and types of gods were beneficial and excellent to have as reference. The map was well-illustrated and easy to understand. If you’re into fantasy with magic and good versus evil, you don’t want to pass this one up.

Who should read this book: If you enjoy slow moving, fast paced writing (telling), with lots of characters, this one’s for you.

Book Review: Gold Spun

Title: Gold Spun
Author: Brandie June
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Published: June 8th, 2021

Date finished: September 17, 2021

Gold Spun by Brandie June is a Rumpelstiltskin retell about a 17-year-old girl named Nora who finds herself in a mess after rescuing a fae. The fae gifts her with a golden thread and promises to return to her every time she calls upon him. Excited about this golden thread, in her haste, Nora comes up with a plan to make money using it. This captures the attention of the prince who tells her if she could spin a room full of straw into gold, he’ll marry her. If not, she’ll pay a heavy price.

It’s been a long time since I read Rumpelstiltskin, so I had to search it up and brief through it. Gold Spun follows the storyline somewhat but with slightly different characters. I like the idea of the fae and the way he was portrayed. He felt likeable, yet you couldn’t really tell if he was trustworthy, so there was a mysterious edge to him. The prince at first seemed cocky and full of himself, but he turned out likeable. His affection for Nora made him protective and supportive and a real gentleman. As for Nora, I liked that she was always quick on her toes. She doesn’t give up and she has so much love in her for her family and the villagers. However, I also found her a bit childlike. I think she was meant to be intelligent and brave and was supposed to play it down, but I didn’t get that. I wanted her to be a little more mature for someone who was responsible for a lot of things.

The overall story was enjoyable. I love retells and Gold Spun did an excellent job with it. I found the love triangle just so cute. Also, Ms. June’s writing style is flowy and smooth and makes you want to keep reading.

Who should read this book: All lovers of retells, love triangles, and fairytales. This was a truly fun read with magic, faeries, royalty, and everything you could ever ask for in a fast-paced young adult fantasy romance story.

Note: I was given this book to read and review but the opinion is purely my own.

Added to My TBR List

The other day, I downloaded eleven ebooks onto my Kindle. They were free, so why not? There were so many to choose from but I only picked these ones because anymore and I’d probably get too overwhelmed to read any. They are all sci-fi and fantasy genres and are all by independent authors. I’ve slowly shifted from reading mostly traditional to mostly indie because I find indie a little more refreshing and enjoyable these days. I still read traditional. I think I have about four traditional books on hold at the local library. It’s just so amazing to have access to all these books!

Book Review: For the Wolf

Title: For the Wolf
Author: Hannah Whitten
Genre: Fantasy, Grimdark
Year Published: June 2021

Date finished: May 12, 2021

For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten is a dark fantasy about a forest that takes from the living. The main character is a nineteen-year-old girl named Red who has a special power within her and she’s afraid to hurt family with this power she doesn’t think she can contain. The forest is where she thinks she could do more to help her family and the town’s people. Secondary characters are her sister and the Wolf.

At first, I thought this was going to be a retell about Red Riding Hood, but it is far from it. The only thing similar to that story is pretty much Red’s crimson cape. However, there are other fairytales that are depicted in this story in a sort of retell, such as Beauty and the Beast. It’s done well with its own unique twist, so it keeps you curious.

Overall, I thought it was a good read. It’s slightly on the fast-paced side with some excellent world building. At times I felt Red appeared a little younger than her age, so I wasn’t super clear if this was going to be a young adult novel or not. About halfway through, it was clear it wasn’t young adult just by the writing style and the grimdarkness of it.

Who should read this book: If you’re into fairytale retells or just fairytale style stories, this is for you. There is magic, romance, friendship, family. There is also a love triangle but it’s subtle and done very well, I’d have to say.

Note: This book was sent to me for free to review, but the opinion is purely my own.

Book Review: Exile

Title: Exile
Author: Martin Owton
Genre: Fantasy
Year Published: 2019

Date finished: April 20, 2021

Exile by Martin Owton is a fantasy novel about a man named Aron who was exiled from his home and ends up being asked to protect an earl’s son. Things seem to go smoothly until a brawl ensues and suddenly nothing is going as planned.

This was a good read. I enjoyed the world building. It felt dark and dreary and medieval. No one could be trusted which I felt really made this story exciting. The main character was likeable. He came across almost perfect until danger hit and then his faults appeared. I thought that was well done. Some of the other characters were also nicely developed.

This is one of those stories where the pacing is consistent, and the actions aren’t so overly exciting all the time. There are exciting and action-packed scenes that are thrown in at the right time to create that tension and rush, but it’s kept to a minimal. I found that nicely done.

The only thing that bothered me, and it might not be an issue for you, was that I received an ebook copy from the author and for some reason the spacing was off. At times, the book was double-spaced, and other times, it was single-spaced. I also found a lot of grammatical errors. Often, if there are between one and three, I’ll let it go because that’s not enough to need to mention, but when there’s about six plus, it can get annoying. Normally, when I come across this many errors, I won’t continue reading, but the errors were found later in the story and I’d already invested time into the characters. This was so unfortunate because it impeded a smooth read. Other than that, the story itself was excellent.

Who should read this book: Anyone who enjoys a good story with a hero and magic. It’s rare to find a simple fantasy these days without too much gore or too much romance and whatnot. I find that sometimes stories get too complex or there are too many subplots, and the end doesn’t really tie everything together. This book is your clean-cut, simple fantasy with a touch of grimdark magic, and with an ending that leaves you satisfied.

Book Review: The Phantom of Faerie Mountain

Title: The Phantom of Faerie Mountain
Author: E.M. McIntyre
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Middle-grade
Year Published: 2015

Date finished: April 9, 2021

The Phantom of Faerie Mountain, by E.M. McIntyre is a young adult/middle-grade fantasy story about a fourteen-year-old girl named Abby who finds herself in a world of magic and mystery.

This was a really fun read! Abby is a curious girl with a big heart. She’s not afraid of danger and will do whatever it takes to find out the truth. She also learns some secrets about her own family and herself.

This is a great story for young readers. It would also be a great bed-time story to read to the little ones. The dangers, the friendships, the talking dog, etc. all play an important role in Abby’s journey. I really liked Rory’s character. I loved his accent.  

Who should read this: Everyone. It’s the kind of book that takes you away from reality and into a fun magical world. There’s no gore or deadly violence so all can enjoy it.