Book Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – V. E. Schwab

Book Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – V. E. Schwab


Release Date:
6th October 2020
Publisher: Titan Books
Pages: 560
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly approved me for an E-ARC on Netgalley
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever-and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore, and he remembers her name.

In the vein of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Life After LifeThe Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is New York Times bestselling author V. E. Schwab’s #1 New York Times Bestselling Author genre-defying tour de force.

Review

V. E. Schwab is one of my favourite authors and while I haven’t read all of her back catalogue yet, I’ve loved every single one that I’ve read. Going into Addie LaRue I had the highest expectations and I already thought this was going to be a five star read. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue isn’t just a five star read though, it’s without a doubt my favourite book of 2020 and possibly my favourite book of all time. If you take one book recommendation from me it would be to pick this one up.

The story follows Adeline LaRue a young woman desperate to escape life planned out for her – a small village, marriage and children. In a desperate attempt to gain her freedom she sells her soul to be made immortal, however there’s a catch – Addie will live forever but she will be forgotten by everyone she meets. We follow Addie through her lifetime until almost three hundred years later when she meets a boy named Henry in a used bookshop, who remembers her name.

I’m not sure I have the words to convey how much I loved this book. V. E. Schwab has such a beautiful lyrical writing style and it shines in this story. I loved the two timelines of Addie in the present and Addie in the past. It’s quite a slow paced story, but it absolutely fits the tone and the atmosphere.

This truly is a brilliant story and part of the reason I think I loved it so much is because of the terrific protagonist Schwab has created. As you follow Addie you become so attached to her, it was fascinating seeing her grow as a character and adapt to her life as an immortal. She’s a clever and determined character and even when she thinks of giving up she still picks herself up and continues.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a compelling tale, full of love and heartbreak. It’s the perfect story to get lost in. There’s already been quite a lot of hype about this one but it is absolutely deserved. A magical tale from start to finish, I did not want this one to end and I cannot wait to see what V. E. Schwab does next.

Book Review: The Doors of Eden – Adrian Tchaikovsky

Book Review: The Doors of Eden – Adrian Tchaikovsky


Release Date
: August 20th 2020
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 608
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

They thought we were safe. They were wrong.

Four years ago, two girls went looking for monsters on Bodmin Moor. Only one came back.

Lee thought she’d lost Mal, but now she’s miraculously returned. But what happened that day on the moors? And where has she been all this time? Mal’s reappearance hasn’t gone unnoticed by MI5 officers either, and Lee isn’t the only one with questions.

Julian Sabreur is investigating an attack on top physicist Kay Amal Khan. This leads Julian to clash with agents of an unknown power – and they may or may not be human. His only clue is grainy footage, showing a woman who supposedly died on Bodmin Moor.

Dr Khan’s research was theoretical; then she found cracks between our world and parallel Earths. Now these cracks are widening, revealing extraordinary creatures. And as the doors crash open, anything could come through.

Review

The Doors of Eden is the clever and compelling tale of two girls who looking for monsters on a remote moor. While there something strange happens and only one comes back. Reeling from the loss of her friend, Lee is shocked when she discovers that Mal has returned from where she disappeared too. Whilst Lee is attempting to understand what’s really going on, MI5 agent Julian Sabreur is working on discovering who is behind an attack on physicist Kay Amal Khan. He has very little clues except that whoever is behind it might not be human. As Julian begins to learn more about Khan’s research into parallel Earths, they soon learn that their Earth might not survive much longer.

This is my first time reading a full length novel from Adrian Tchaikovsky – I’ve read his novella Firewalkers and some of his short stories – and it was such a wild ride of a tale. This is a fast paced and complex tale, full of incredibly creatures and mind bending science. Tchaikovsky has such a brilliant writing style and the story is packed to the brim with action, adventure and humour – the story grips you from the very first chapter and doesn’t let you go till the very last page.

The story is told from the points of view of several different characters and each one was well developed. I really liked Lee and Mal, it was really interesting seeing them attempt to reconnect after all these years as well as deal with everything going on around them. My favourite character was definitely Kay Amal Khan though – she’s a brilliant scientist but she’s also an incredibly sarcastic and kick ass character.

The world building is well executed in this story and despite there being multiple threads to the story Tchaikovsky weaves them together seamlessly. There is quite a lot of science involved but it’s also really accessible for those that don’t read too much science fiction. The Doors of Eden is a gripping read and one that takes the reader on an adventure though many worlds, encountering many brilliant creatures. If you’ve been curious about this one I’d definitely recommend picking it up.

Blog Tour: The Trials of Koli – M. R. Carey

Blog Tour: The Trials of Koli – M. R. Carey


Series:
Rampart Trilogy #2 (See my review of book one here!)
Release Date: September 17th 2020
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 445
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

The Trials of Koli is the second novel in M R. Carey’s breathtakingly original Rampart trilogy, set in a strange and deadly world of our own making.

Beyond the walls of Koli’s small village lies a fearsome landscape filled with choker trees, vicious beasts and shunned men. As an exile, Koli’s been forced to journey out into this mysterious, hostile world. But he heard a story, once. A story about lost London, and the mysterious tech of the Old Times that may still be there. If Koli can find it, there may still be a way for him to redeem himself – by saving what’s left of humankind.

Review

The Book of Koli was one of my favourite books of 2019 and I’ve been eagerly anticipating the release of book two in the series. The first book ended on such a cliffhanger that I was desperate to find out what was going to happen to Koli next. The Trials of Koli is even more compelling and addictive and I absolutely did not want it to end.

Picking up after the events of book one, the story follows Koli as he continues on his journey across this dystopian landscape where everything is dangerous – even the trees are trying to kill you. Koli is such a brilliant protagonist and it’s fascinating seeing him as he continues to grow, to understand what happened to the world around him. He’s changed so much from the young boy we first meet in the beginning of The Book of Koli. The Trials of Koli gives the reader an opportunity to learn more about the world and what went wrong and I really enjoyed this expansion on the world building. Book two also features Spinner as a POV character which I did not expect – it was really fascinating seeing everything from another person’s perspective.

Just like The Book of Koli, this instalment is quick paced and difficult to put down. Over the course of the two books I’ve become quite attached to Koli as a main character and you really root for him to survive and succeed in such a difficult world. All the characters are well created in this world and I think the fact that you want Koli to survive so bad is a mark of that.

The Rampart Trilogy is shaping up to be a really incredible series and I honestly can’t wait to see what happens in The Fall of Koli. I’m so pleased that the final book is due for publication in March because I am dying to know how it ends. The Book of Koli is a clever story that’s incredibly well executed. If you haven’t had the opportunity to pick up this series now is the perfect time before the release of book three in 2021.

Book Review: After the Silence – Louise O’Neill

Book Review: After the Silence – Louise O’Neill


Release Date:
September 3rd 2020
Publisher: Riverrun Books
Pages: 439
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

Nessa Crowley’s murderer has been protected by silence for ten years.
Until a team of documentary makers decide to find out the truth.

On the day of Henry and Keelin Kinsella’s wild party at their big house a violent storm engulfed the island of Inisrun, cutting it off from the mainland. When morning broke Nessa Crowley’s lifeless body lay in the garden, her last breath silenced by the music and the thunder.

The killer couldn’t have escaped Inisrun, but no one was charged with the murder. The mystery that surrounded the death of Nessa remained hidden. But the islanders knew who to blame for the crime that changed them forever.

Ten years later a documentary crew arrives, there to lift the lid off the Kinsellas’ carefully constructed lives, determined to find evidence that will prove Henry’s guilt and Keelin’s complicity in the murder of beautiful Nessa.

In this bold, brilliant, disturbing new novel Louise O’Neill shows that deadly secrets are devastating to those who hold them close.

Review

After the Silence is the dark and brilliantly told story of the small island of Inisrun which was devastated by the murder of Nessa Crowley at the Kinsella’s party ten years ago. The islanders believe they know who killed her, but it was never proven and the murderer walks free. Ten years later a film crew from Australia arrive to film a documentary about the murder that shook the islanders and perhaps also uncover the truth about what happened that night.

I’ve previously read Louise O’Neill’s The Surface Breaks and while this was a completely different kind of story it was just as compelling and unforgettable. O’Neill brings you right into the heart of Inisrun, getting to know the villagers and the events that led to the death of Nessa Crowley. I loved the way the story was written, flitting between the present day and the past with some parts told in an interview style. O’Neill has a really captivating writing style and it was so easy just to get lost in this story.

The story is a tense one and focuses particularly on domestic abuse. It was a chilling read and one that will stick with the reader long after they’ve finished reading. The story has a few twists and turns – ones I wasn’t particularly expecting. After the Silence feels like an incredibly well researched and executed tale, with really fascinating and complex characters. We mainly follow Keelin Kinsella, who on the surface has it all – she’s wealthy, has the perfect husband and two beautiful children. But there’s so much more going on behind the scenes and I think Louse O’Neill portrayed that perfectly.

After the Silence is much more than a typical psychological thriller. It’s a dark and fast paced story and one that fans of Louise O’Neill are sure to love.

Blog Tour: The Bone Shard Daughter – Andrea Stewart

Blog Tour: The Bone Shard Daughter – Andrea Stewart


Series:
The Drowning Empire #1
Release Date: September 8th
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 448
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

In an empire controlled by bone shard magic, Lin, the former heir to the emperor will fight to reclaim her magic and her place on the throne. The Bone Shard Daughter marks the debut of a major new voice in epic fantasy.

The emperor’s reign has lasted for decades, his mastery of bone shard magic powering the animal-like constructs that maintain law and order. But now his rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire’s many islands.

Lin is the emperor’s daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace of locked doors and dark secrets. When her father refuses to recognise her as heir to the throne, she vows to prove her worth by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic.

Yet such power carries a great cost, and when the revolution reaches the gates of the palace, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her birthright – and save her people.

Review

As soon as I read the synopsis for The Bone Shard Daughter I knew it was going to be a book I would love. The premise sounds fascinating and coupled with that absolutely stunning cover, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy. The Bone Shard Daughter is an absolutely incredible debut, and without a doubt one of my favourite books of the year.

The story is set in a world where the emperor uses bone magic to ensure his continued rule. He refuses to acknowledge his daughter Lin as heir to his throne and she will do anything she can to learn the forbidden bone shard magic and prove she is worthy. But rebellion is stirring in the kingdom and when it arrives at the palace Lin has to give everything to save her people.

I absolutely adored this book. It’s a fast paced tale that’s brilliantly executed and incredibly clever. There’s absolutely tons of action and I honestly never wanted this book to end. The world building is truly superb and I was completely fascinating by the magic system in this story. The idea of bone shard magic felt so unique and it was such a dark bloody magic to witness. The story is full to the brim with magic and revolution with a touch of romance.

The story features a number of different POV characters and I felt that they were all well created and developed. I really liked Lin and Jovis and I thought Stewart did an excellent job of giving each POV character a unqiue and compelling voice. Some of the characters are told in first person perspective and some in third – I thought this might have been a little jarring but actually worked incredibly well in the story.

The Bone Shard Daughter is an absolutely magnificent read and I’m so glad there’s more to come in The Drowning Empire series because I cannot wait to dive back into this incredible world. If you’ve been intrigued by this one I definitely recommend picking it up – you won’t be disappointed.

Blog Tour: Misfits – Hunter Shea

Blog Tour: Misfits – Hunter Shea


Release Date:
September 8th 2020
Publisher: Flame Tree Press
Pages: 288
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

During the height of the 90s grunge era, five high school friends living on the fringe are driven to the breaking point. When one of their friends is brutally raped by a drunk townie, they decide to take matters into their own hands.

Deep in the woods of Milbury, Connecticut, there lives the legend of the Melon Heads, a race of creatures that shun human interaction and prey on those who dare to wander down Dracula Drive. Maybe this night, one band of misfits can help the other. Or maybe some legends are meant to be feared for a reason.

Review

Misfits is the dark and gruesome tale that follows five friends who are outcasts in their small town of Milbury Connecticut. When one of their friends is attacked the group decide to take matters into their own hands and seek justice. The woods surrounding the town are home to the legendary Melon Heads. When the two groups collide they think that perhaps they can be of use to each other – but at what cost?

This is my first Hunter Shea book and it was such a dark and brutal read. It was a perfect horror story to get engrossed in and one I couldn’t tear my eyes away from. It had me on the edge of my seat right from the outset and it definitely creeped me out on more than one occasion. The story is quite a violent one, with plenty of brutal and bloody moments.

I really liked Shea’s writing style and it was really easy to sink into the story. The story is set in the 90s grunge era and it was fascinating seeing that come alive in the story. I really liked the group of misfits in this story and I found myself getting attached to them quite early on. I was rooting for them from the beginning and hoping they would survive the night.

The story is a gruesome one, but it is a well executed tale and it’s absolutely perfect for some late night Halloween reading. I loved the way that Shea used the idea of the local legend, creating a story that is an entertaining horror read. If you’re looking for something fast paced, full of action and plenty of horrifying moments, Misfits should definitely be your next read.

Book Review: Dead Rock Stars – Guy Mankowski

Book Review: Dead Rock Stars – Guy Mankowski


Release Date:
14th September 2020
Publisher: Darkstroke
Pages: 209
Find it on: Goodreads. Amazon.
Source: The author kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

Emma Imrie was a Plath-obsessed, self-taught teenage musician dreaming of fame, from a remote village on the Isle of Wight. She found it too, briefly becoming a star of the nineties Camden music scene. But then she died in mysterious circumstances.
In the aftermath of Emma’s death, her younger brother, Jeff, is forced by their parents to stay at the opulent home of childhood friends on the island.
During a wild summer of beach parties and music, Jeff faces up to the challenges that come with young love, youthful ambition and unresolved grief. His sister’s prodigious advice from beyond the grave becomes the only weapon he has against an indifferent world. As well as the only place where the answers he craves might exist…

Review

Dead Rock Stars is a clever and compelling tale that follows a young boy named Jeff who is reeling from the death of his sister Emma – a star of the Camden music scene who dies in mysterious circumstances. While forced to spend the summer on the Isle of Wight, Jeff discovers his sisters diary that will help to guide him through the challenges of first love and growing up.

This book is completely unlike anything I’ve read before and manages to pack so much into one story – it is a coming of age novel, but also an exploration of grief and a mystery all rolled into one. Mankowski weaves the different elements to create a story that is heart wrenching and addictive. The thing I found most fascinating in this book are the brilliant characters Mankowski has created. Jeff is trying to come to terms with the death of his sister, his parents have abandoned him while they too cope with Emma’s death. We see glimpses of Emma through her diary and she too is a complex and interesting character.

I really enjoyed the diary aspect of the story and it was brilliant to see the Camden music scene come alive in Mankowski’s words. I found the diary entries particularly gripping as we see Emma’s lifestyle become more and more reckless. This is a very powerful story and one I didn’t want to put down. This is my first book by this author but it definitely won’t be my last. If you’re looking for a compelling read to keep you engrossed during the dark autumn months this should definitely be on your wish list.

Blog Tour: The Trouble With Peace – Joe Abercrombie

Blog Tour: The Trouble With Peace – Joe Abercrombie


Series:
The Age of Madness #2 (See my review of book one here!)
Release Date: September 15th 2020
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 540
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Conspiracy. Betrayal. Rebellion.
Peace is just another kind of battlefield…

Savine dan Glokta, once Adua’s most powerful investor, finds her judgement, fortune and reputation in tatters. But she still has all her ambitions, and no scruple will be permitted to stand in her way.

For heroes like Leo dan Brock and Stour Nightfall, only happy with swords drawn, peace is an ordeal to end as soon as possible. But grievances must be nursed, power seized and allies gathered first, while Rikke must master the power of the Long Eye . . . before it kills her.

The Breakers still lurk in the shadows, plotting to free the common man from his shackles, while noblemen bicker for their own advantage. Orso struggles to find a safe path through the maze of knives that is politics, only for his enemies, and his debts, to multiply.

The old ways are swept aside, and the old leaders with them, but those who would seize the reins of power will find no alliance, no friendship, and no peace, lasts forever.

Review

The Trouble with Peace is the eagerly awaited second instalment in Joe Abercrombie’s Age of Madness trilogy. Book one A Little Hatred was a five star read for me and it made it to my top reads of 2019. The Trouble with Peace was one of my most anticipated releases of 2020 and I had the highest of expectations going in. After just a few pages I was completely sucked back into this world and ended up staying up way past my bedtime to finish this incredible story.

The Trouble with Peace picks up not long after the events of book one. I won’t say too much about the plot as it is the second book in the series but it is full to the brim with political intrigue, secrets and betrayals, war and fighting. It’s a fast paced read and one I couldn’t put down. Like the characters in Abercrombie’s previous books they are incredibly complex and fascinating. I love watching how they adapt and grow over the course of the two books and Savine is rapidly becoming one of all time favourites – she’ll do whatever it takes to win and she doesn’t care who stands in her way.

Like his previous novels The Trouble with Peace contains plenty of violence and gory scenes but there’s also plenty of clever dialogue and sharp humour. It’s a brilliant second book in the series – a complex tale with an intriguing plot, full of flawed and fascinating characters. Whilst you can technically read this trilogy without having read The First Law books, they are some of my favourite books of all time and I highly recommend picking them up before reading these ones. If you’ve read A Little Hatred already, The Trouble with Peace should absolutely be next on your reading list. I can already say for certain that this will be in my favourite books of 2020 and I cannot wait to see where Abercrombie takes the story in The Wisdom of Crowds.

Blog Tour: Orfeia – Joanne M. Harris

Blog Tour: Orfeia – Joanne M. Harris


Release Date:
September 3rd 2020
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 240
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

When you can find me an acre of land,
Every sage grows merry in time,
Between the ocean and the sand
Then will you be united again.
(Inspired by The Child Ballads 2 & 19)

So begins a beautiful and tragic quest as a heartbroken mother sets out to save her lost daughter, through the realms of the real, of dream, and even into the underworld itself.

But determination alone is not enough. For to save something precious, she must give up something precious, be it a song, a memory, or her freedom itself . . .

Beautifully illustrated by Bonnie Helen Hawkins, this is a stunning and original modern fairytale.

Review

Joanne Harris is one of those auto-buy authors for me so when I heard she was releasing another novella inspired by the Child Ballads I was incredibly excited to read it. I absolutely devoured A Pocketful of Crows and The Blue Salt Road so I couldn’t wait to see what she would write next. Orfeia is the beautiful and moving tale of Fay, a mother who has lost her daughter. Whilst out for a run she slips into another London where she learns that her daughter lingers in the halls of the Hallowe’en king. Fay must navigate this dangerous dream realm to enter the halls and rescue her daughter.

Like the previous two stories, Orfeia is an incredibly lyrical story, full of beautiful prose. Harris creates a fascinating world in Orfeia and the reader quickly becomes enveloped in the story. It’s quite a quick read but it packs a punch, it’s definitely the kind of story that will having you thinking about it long after you’ve finished reading. This story is such a mesmerising one and I enjoyed every minute of it. Our main character Fay is an excellent protagonist, she’s strong willed and determined to reach her daughter – no matter the cost.

This beautiful retelling is a must read if you love whimsical fantasy stories and it has some absolutely stunning illustrations. If you’ve read the other books in this collection then you absolutely have to pick this one up. If you’ve not yet had the chance to read them they’re absolutely perfect for reading in the autumn and you can binge all three. I loved every second of this book and I can’t wait to see what Harris writes next.

Blog Tour: The Year of the Witching – Alexis Henderson

Blog Tour: The Year of the Witching – Alexis Henderson


Release Date:
July 21st 2020
Publisher: Bantam Press
Pages: 320
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law. Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy.

The daughter of a union with an outsider that cast her once-proud family into disgrace, Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol and lead a life of submission, devotion and absolute conformity, like all the women in the settlement.

But a chance mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood that surrounds Bethel – a place where the first prophet once pursued and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still walking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the diary of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.

Fascinated by secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realises the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her . . .

Review

The Year of the Witching is the dark and compelling tale of the town of Bethel, a religious community in which the Prophet’s word is law. Immanuelle does her best to follow the town rules, but she is always looked on as the daughter of a forbidden relationship between her mother and an outsider. When Immanuelle ends up in the Darkwood and is gifted the diary of her mother, she unleashes a great threat on Bethel and to stop it she must learn the dark truths behind the Church and its history.

I absolutely loved this book. It’s exactly the kind of book that hooks you from the very beginning and I did not want to put this book down. Henderson has created such a fascinating world and this book is full of beautiful writing and a tense, uneasy atmosphere. It’s an intense story and it’s the perfect read for a dark autumn evening. I’ve seen this book described as ‘The Handmaid’s Tale meets Salem’ and I don’t think I could sum it up any better myself.

The story is well paced, giving the reader a chance to understand the world and religion of Bethel. I really liked the characters – Immanuelle is a great protagonist, growing from a meek young woman just hoping to blend into the background to someone strong and powerful, standing up for what she believes in. I similarly liked Ezra and Leah, I thought they were both really interesting and well fleshed out. The Year of the Witching is a very impressive debut novel and I can’t wait to see what Alexis Henderson writes next.

This feminist tale is an addictive read and I ended up reading it in a single day. I particularly loved the dark horror moments in the Darkwood, when Immanuelle comes face to face with the legendary witches. This is a brilliantly captivating tale and one I would highly recommend. The Year of the Witching will have you on the edge of your seat, and almost certainly reading past your bedtime.