Tag Archives: victoria schwab

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue: A Review

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab
My rating: 5 of 5 star

I loved this book, like I thought I would. It is a beautiful, heart-breaking, clever story filled with intrigue and mystery with just the right touch of magic.

Addie Larue is a girl from the 1700s France who wants to escape from her mundane life on the day of her wedding to a man she doesn’t love. She makes a deal with a god of darkness who gives her immortality with a catch, no one who meets her remembers who she is after she leaves. Since both of her parents forget who she is, she is forced to strike out on her own, and there begins her adventure.

The god of darkness who she made the deal with continues to pop in and out of her life. You see, if she decides she no longer wants this immortal life of anonymity, he gets her soul. But when she enters a book store in New York City three hundred years after her deal, a man remembers who she is, and it begins a whole new exciting and heartbreaking journey.

The definitions of love, loss, death, and dying are what I am here for.

I really resonated with the character of Henry with his lack of direction and the full, big feelings he feels. I don’t get the storms he deals with, but I understood a lot of what drove his character and why he made the decisions he does. It is a beautiful depiction of mental health and depression.

If you like a little historical fiction mixed with magic and romance, this book is for you. It was a wonderful ride, one that I will definitely re-read in the future!

There is a profanity in the book. Sexual content includes kissing and sex scenes, not super graphic but definitely steamy. Violence includes stabbings, starvation, suicide attempts and of course, seeing others die around you, losing family members, etc.

A Conjuring of Light: A Review

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab
My rating: 5 of 5 star

This is the third book in Schwab’s Shades of Magic trilogy. Since I try not to reveal any spoilers for the entire series, this review will be short.

The book begins right where the last book left off, which was expected since that is how the first and second book transitioned as well. It was action-packed, everything from the previous books are coming together and this one took off running.

There are some character deaths, both main and secondary characters. In retrospect, I did find that the author really honed in on a lot of these characters in this book so that when their abrupt end happened, I felt emotion. But she weaves them all together beautifully, and I cared for all of the characters in the end.

The ending was messy but so good. Imperfect, but filled with hope. Not saying I would have wanted it to end in another way, but the author doesn’t tie up everything neatly, allows the characters to still have flaws at the end that affect their relationships, and I really liked the lack of a happily ever after for everyone. It worked well for this story.

Of course, I loved these books. I love this author. I love what she does with her characters. I love the fast moving plot. I love the world she created. She is one of my favorite authors, and I look forward to continuing to read her backlist as well as any future stories she may create.

There is a profanity in the book. Sexual content includes kissing and roaming hands, described genitalia and suggested oral sex, but nothing is too graphic or steamy. Violent content includes lots of death, either by sword or magic. There are also mentions and displays of familial abuse.

Gift Ideas for Christmas

Christmas is coming. I mean, some people have had their decorations out all month. And I know that gift lists are already being shared. If you are looking to add to your list or are looking for a gift idea for someone else, I may be able to help. I have read a lot of books this year (and some in years past) that I think are very noteworthy and would make great gifts

For the kid selections, I will preface this with the fact that these books are based on my own experience of having a toddler. Here are some of our favorites this year.

I try to buy a new Christmas book every year, and this year my favorite children’s book author released one in September called All The Colors of Christmas! In a nutshell, it’s a beautifully illustrated, beautifully written book full of nostalgia and the real meanings of the Christmas season listed by color.

The Truly Devious series by Maureen Johnson is a double murder mystery set in an elite boarding school. Each of the three books in the series reveals a little more of the clues of each mystery, one set in the 1930s and one present day. The character growth and inclusion in this series is stellar. I wrote about the first one here.

Neal Shusterman’s The Arc of the Scythe series is a bit more science fiction. It faces the ideas of death, mortality, love, and humanity in a three book series. It also strives to be inclusive as well. While the ending wasn’t what I expected, it was still a fun ride. The first book’s review is here.

The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton, which is more of a straight historical fiction based on a hurricane that Florida in 1935. It follows three different women as they are searching for different things within their lives, defining what freedom really is in a post-WW1 America.

For a literature friend, or someone who loves Jane Austen books, The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner is an absolute delight. There is the trigger warning of pregnancy loss, but I felt that it was appropriate and well done. I wrote more about it here.

The last three are my favorite authors, so any from them I would recommend, but here are a few ideas.

Deborah Harkness who wrote the All Souls Trilogy. She is a professor and historian which comes across in her books in a beautiful way. I first read Discovery of Witches back in 2014 and wrote this review.

VE Schwab, or Victoria Schwab, is also an amazing author who writes YA, Adult, and Middle Grade. There are so many I could recommend. Most of her books are in paranormal or fantasy genres. Her middle grade series starts with the City of Ghosts which is excellent, and the next (and I think final) book in the series is coming out soon, so it would be a fun series to read straight through!

Erin Morgenstern hasn’t written as many books, but the ones that she has are amazing, lyrical fantasies. I would recommend Night Circus first, though her books are not connected. I just felt like the Night Circus was a little easier to follow for someone who hasn’t read her before.

This year there have been a lot of books about race and racial justice, and a lot of suggestions in this category from years past. I haven’t read nearly as many as I would have like, but if you have someone in your life who is reading these topics, I would recommend How to Be Antiracist by Ibram X Kendi. It follows his own journey in social justice, people who inspired him and mistakes he made.

Another book in this category that leans more towards history, particularly within the church is The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby. I learned a lot about the evolution of the church in America, both white and black.

And finally, Burnout by Emily and Amelia Nagoski has to have been my all time favorite book this year. It changed the way I saw stress and how I was contributing and sabotaging my own life. Game. Changer.

There are so many books that I loved this year, that it was hard to suggest just a few books. What are some books you have enjoyed this year?

A Darker Shade of Magic: A Review

A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

To be fair, this is my favorite author.  I have yet to find a book she wrote that I didn’t just completely love.  I actually heard about her when the third book in this trilogy was coming out, but the library (the place I go to check out new authors) didn’t have this trilogy.  So, I read The Archived and loved it.  And now I’m finally getting a chance to read this series.

I totally get the hype.

The story is set in London, well four Londons, each in a different world.  They used to be connected by doors that anyone could go through for a visit.  Magic was liberally shared between the worlds.  But now, the doors have been sealed, and only a special type of people, the Antari, are able to move between them.

Kell is an Antari.  He can’t remember his childhood, and all he knows is the family that he belongs to, the royal family of the Red London.  Red London still has a good balance of magic.  Grey London has no magic (and is our world set in a time that still depended on horse carriages), White London consumes magic, and Black London was consumed by magic (hence the sealing of all the doors in an effort to get it all under control).

Kell has a bad habit of smuggling things to each of the different worlds, and one of these items is found to be extremely dangerous.  Lila Bard, a gray-worlder, is a thief who pickpockets Kell and finds herself a part of the adventure to get this item to a safe place.  But there are others who would use this item for worlds domination, hence the plot thickens.

By the end of the book, I was heavily invested in these characters.  The plot was fast-moving and the adventure was fun.  It definitely left it open for the next book in the series, but I just love Schwab’s characters.  They are beautiful and flawed.  They don’t make perfect choices, but they have a deep set of values that help them navigate when it counts the most.

It does have profanity throughout the book.  There is one brief sex scene, but it isn’t detailed.  There is a lot of violence (one of the major qualities of White London), so expect torture and murder, conversations about murder, and a small trigger warning for cutting.

Like everything else I have read from this author, I really enjoyed the beginning of this series.  I am looking forward to reading the next one soon!

Tunnel of Bones: A Review

Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this sequel to City of Bones. It’s a middle-grade book written by Victoria Schwab, my favorite author. While I don’t normally read middle-grade, I know I’ve liked everything written by her, so I will probably read anything written by her (I have a huge backlist to get to). Still, I had a fun time reading the second book in this series and will try to review it spoiler-free. The main plot of the series is about a girl named Cassidy who, after a near-death experience, can see ghosts and enter the Veil. Her best friend is a ghost named Jacob. And her parents have a ghost hunting TV show that brings them to the most haunted places in the world, much to Cassidy’s (and Jacob’s) dismay.

My favorite part about this series is the history that is woven into the story. The first took place in Edinburg, Scotland and this one took place in Paris, France. I’ve been to Paris, so reading about places I’ve visited was pretty cool. Although, I probably wouldn’t visit the spooky Tunnel of Bones, personally. They did include some of the highlights of the city, including Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre. My favorite ghost story was the one about the man in the black coat at the Jardin de Luxemborg, which is an actual ghost story. The author really immerses you into the culture and views of the city.

I also liked how each story is building off of the other. In the first book, Cassidy has to learn to trust other people, and I felt like Jacob learned this lesson in the second book. There are questions from the first book that are clearly answered in this one, and we have questions at the end of this book as well. The final book is set in New Orleans, which is where I grew up. It is the perfect spooky destination, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the author will do with it!

There is no profanity or sexual content. There is a good bit of mild violent content. Considering this is a book about ghosts and death, that should be assumed. Great series and a big recommendation from me!

Favorite Books of 2018

Reading has slowed down significantly as the holiday season arrived.  Plus, I’ve been spending a good portion of my time in November putting together furniture.  Still, I thought it would be fun to look back over the books that received five stars.  I definitely saw some trends that I thought I would share with you.  All of the links will send you to my reviews of each book.

Favorite New Author:  This year, I started following Victoria “V.E” Schwab on social media.  I had heard of her books, and that people really loved them.  So, I started with The Archived series, which I checked out of the library.  I absolutely loved both The Archived and The Unbound.  Which led me to pre-order her new middle-grade book, City of Ghosts, which I again, of course, loved.

Favorite YA Books: In addition to the above books, I also really loved a few newer authors, as well as a couple of authors I was already familiar with their writing.  Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi introduced me to a new African mythology, and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas was a poignant and beautiful contemporary novel about grief and racism.

I also thoroughly enjoyed Thunderhead (the second book in the Scythe series) by Neal Shusterman and Library of Souls (the third book in Mrs. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series) by Ransom Riggs.  I’ve read Unwind by Shusterman many years ago, which I liked.  I’ve also been reading Riggs’ series for a couple of years now and plan to read this next book (which I already own) Map of Days that continues the story of his Peculiar series.

Favorite Adult Books: All of the adult authors I enjoyed this year were new to me.  The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern was an impulse buy that I really enjoyed and probably prompted more impulse buying this year than I have in a long time.  How to Stop Time by Matt Haig made me tear up at the end.  It actually answers the question of how to stop time through this fictional, magical story.  And What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty was a surprise because it wasn’t the main story that made me love it so much, but the subplot of her sister and infertility that kept me turning the pages (and I think I cried at the end of this one, too).

Favorite Non-fiction/Memoir: Kathy Khang’s book Raise Your Voice is a perfect narrative of this moment in history.  It challenged the reader to face the excuses used to stay quiet when we need to speak up.  And on a completely different level, Anne Bogel’s book, I’d Rather Be Reading, was a perfect collection of essays for any reader to relate to.

All of these authors have inspired me in so many different ways and prompted me to see life from new perspectives.  I think they have all taken a part in shaping me this year, and I look forward to seeing what new favorites will come into my life next year!

What are some of your favorites? 

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab: A Review

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City of Ghosts
by Victoria Schwab

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my third book written by Victoria Schwab that I’ve read (which I’m trying to slowly remedy) and I absolutely loved it. It made me want to visit Edinburgh, Scotland. It’s the first middle-grade novel that I have read in a long time, but since I have enjoyed everything she has written so far, I was happy to add this to my read list.
The story is about a girl, Cass, who had a near-death experience and now sees ghosts, namely her best friend Jacob who is a ghost. And her parents also happen to be writers of the paranormal (though they do not see ghosts). So, when they get an opportunity to travel to Scotland for a documentary, they do. And her adventure begins.
The plot moves along quite fast, and it is a very easy read (I read it in less than 24 hours which is big since I have a baby). And there are questions that aren’t answered in this book that I hope will be answered in later books. I’m looking forward to the next one.
There is no profanity in the book. And there are no sexually explicit scenes, in fact, there really isn’t any romance at all which I found refreshing and appropriate for the target audience. There is violence, namely ways that people die. Cass is able to enter the veil and see ghosts playing out their deaths over and over again on a loop. It’s not explicit, but it definitely was sad.
If you want a good mystery wrapped up in a beautifully descriptive city, with a little spooky thrown in, then I would highly recommend this book.

The Unbound by Victoria Schwab: A Review

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The Unbound
by Victoria Schwab

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this sequel to The Archived by Victoria Schwab. I’m going to try to do this spoiler free, but it’s important to read the first book before this one. The two plots are very connected.
Speaking of plot, this book was really well paced for me. I enjoy a pretty fast-paced read. While the first book really explored the Narrows and the Archive, this one was more about how much being a Keeper affected Mckenzie’s life. The last book was over the summer, and this one was during the school year. So, we have a new cast of characters that she meets as she starts at her new school.
Like the last book, this one also has a mystery to solve, and Mac has to learn, again, to believe in herself and out-strategize the enemy. There are some triggers to self-harm to be noted. There is also an almost assault as well.
There isn’t any profanity in the book that I can recall. There is some sexual content with kissing and touching, like the face, hair or arms, nothing graphic. Also, there is violence in this book, lots of fighting and attacks. There is mention of blood, cuts, and the aforementioned cutting, but nothing completely graphic or detailed.
Overall, it’s a great series. I really like the world that was created and the characters. I would have liked to see more of the Archive characters play a role, but I understood that this was a focus more on the Outer world. Another recommend!

September Favorites

Each month seems to be going by so quickly!  On to my September favorites!

Book of the Month

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This was my first book written by Victoria Schwab that I’ve read, and I absolutely loved.  I wrote a review here.  I’ve already read two more books by this author.  Reviews coming soon!

Baby

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I think I, unfortunately, passed on my allergies and sinus issues to my son.  These Boogie Wipes

really came in handy this month!

Beauty and Fashion

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On a whim, I found these Garnier Fructis hair masks at Target and decided to try them.  I used it once a week and loved the avocado mask for the frizziness due to the humid weather here in Texas.  I just got the papaya mask to try next.  I can really tell a difference after using it, even into the next day (I don’t wash my hair every day so a product that lasts two days or more is worth talking about!).

Entertainment

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I watched this movie the day after I posted my August Favorites.  And I would have changed it if I could.  I absolutely loved The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  It’s about a community, books, and World War II on a little island between England and France in the English channel.  I loved all of the characters, but Amelia was my favorite.  The book is definitely on my Want to Read list now.  Five stars.

What are some favorites you have been enjoying this month?

All disclaimers have now moved to my About Me page.

The Archived: A Review

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The Archived by Victoria Schwab

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was my first V.E. Schwab book, and I really enjoyed her writing. This particular story is about a girl named Mackenzie who inherits this job from her grandfather as a Keeper. Apparently, when someone dies, a record of them is created in the Archive in the form of a body that looks like what they did before they died. Sometimes these records, or Histories, “wake up” and get lost in the space between the Archive and the Outer (the real world) called the Narrows. So, it’s up to the Keepers to get them back to the Archive. But something is going wrong and a lot of the Histories are mysteriously waking up. So, it’s up to Mackenzie to figure out what’s going on before it’s too late.
There are a few triggers. Of course, the story is about people dying, and it opens with Mac’s family moving into a renovated hotel to an apartment complex after her brother dies. It also addresses grief and loss.
The plot is fast moving, and the world is built pretty well. There were definite twists and reveals that I enjoyed. I wasn’t ever sure just where the author would take the story. The chapters are short and the writing enabled it to keep a fast pace.
I really enjoyed Mac’s transformation throughout the book. She goes from an isolated loner to learning how to trust herself and others. Also, her grief transformation is good as well.
There wasn’t any profanity, which was a nice change from the other recent YA novels that I’ve read. I’m not sure if this is normal for her, but it was nice to see.
There are violent components, mentions of blood and several fight scenes in the book since the Histories don’t always go back to the Archive willingly.
There is romance in the book, but it’s mostly kissing. There is a scene with touching, but touch is a theme in the book. Keepers can see the thoughts and memories of a person they touch unless it is a History which gives off nothing but silence.
I’ve already picked up the second book in this series, and I’m excited to get back into the world. I highly recommend this book.