Books · Fantasy · Favorites · Fiction

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

My Rating: 6 out of 5

A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.

A young woman makes a deal with the darkness to have more time. What she ends up with is three hundred years. Three hundred years where nobody remembers her name or her face. Three hundred years and absolutely no way to leave a mark upon the world.

Then, one day, Addie stumbles into a bookstore and everything changes…

This was a beautiful – tragic, but beautiful – story about life, consequences, and the gift of time. It is a story about how far humans will go just to be remembered.

This story blew me away. I was expecting more of fantasy story, but this was part fantasy, part historical fiction. We get to glimpse Addie’s life over the course of three hundred years, from her early years in France to modern day New York City. Addie has lived through it all. She’s fought her way through wars, has watched the world grow and change, has watched history and culture being made. Addie has lived a dazzling, yet lonely life, with no one’s company except for that of the devil who cut her a deal.

When Addie meets Henry she finally finds someone who understands her and sees her for who she truly is. Their story is a touching one, about two people struggling to be loved and to be seen in a world that too easily forgets.

The relationships in this book are deep and complex. While I loved all of them, my favorite was that between Addie and the world itself. In the course of three hundred years she learns to navigate the world, survive during harsh times, yet still finds beauty and awe everywhere she looks. Addie has such a realistic and humble perspective on what it means to really live and I greatly admire her for it.

Adult · Books · Fantasy · Favorites · Sci-Fi

Book Review: Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Gideon the Ninth (The Locked Tomb, #1)

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.

(Goodreads)

Holy mother of skeletons, this book was utterly brilliant. Gideon is the delightfully tough, raunchy, and sarcastic anti-hero that we all need. She’s gone from orphan, to warrior-in-training, to cavalier under the servitude of the Ninth House. Despite her hardships and her failed escape attempts, she remains motivated and strong when the weakest of bones would crumble. The relationship between Gideon and her necromancer, Harrow, is a rocky one, but the dynamic between the two characters is captivating. It’s disastrous and infuriating, and, yet, you can’t help but root for the two to get their shit together and get on the same page.

The competition and the events surrounding it are thrilling. It’s incredibly difficult not to get sucked into learning more about the characters of each of the different houses. The competition is shrouded in mystery and murder. It feels like a mash up of Clue meets Lovecraftian horror with a lot of skeletons.

I found it a little difficult to follow the backstory of the Ninth House and the empire in the beginning, which is my only real complaint. The story manages to be dark, imaginative, and hilarious with a main character you instantly want to befriend. Definitely my favorite book of the year, so far.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Favorites

Book Review: Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire

44804083

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

When Jack left Eleanor West’s School for Wayward Children she was carrying the body of her deliciously deranged sister–whom she had recently murdered in a fit of righteous justice–back to their home on the Moors.

But death in their adopted world isn’t always as permanent as it is here, and when Jack is herself carried back into the school, it becomes clear that something has happened to her. Something terrible. Something of which only the maddest of scientists could conceive. Something only her friends are equipped to help her overcome.

Eleanor West’s “No Quests” rule is about to be broken. Again.

Goodreads

I was pretty excited when I heard this book was coming out and that we would be returning to the Moors – the setting we had been first introduced to in Down Among Sticks and BonesWhile I have immensely enjoyed all of the books in the Wayward Children series, I felt like the Moors was the one world that was still shrouded in the most mystery. Getting to go back and discover a little more of it was an absolute treat.

The tables have turned and Jack is no longer trying to save her sister, Jill. The complicated and strained relationship they already share is further explored in this book in a way that will make you question who you’re supposed to be rooting for. In addition to Jack, some familiar faces from Miss West’s school make a reappearance. Christopher, Sumi, Cora, and Kade once again jump into the role of playing the fearless heroes, even though it’s not their own worlds they are trying to save.

As always, McGuire does a spectacular job at immersing the reader in a world that is both beautiful and terrible. The concept of death is fleeting. Love knows no boundaries. And there is nothing that a little bit of lightening can’t fix. By the end, you’ll wonder if everything you thought you knew about “monsters” has been wrong.

 

 

Books · Fantasy · Favorites · Fiction

Favorite Books of 2019

Hello, friends! I hope you’re all surviving this holiday season. I know I’ve been on the quiet side lately, in terms of blogging, but I hope to get back in the swing of it next year. I guess I just haven’t had much to talk about lately. This time of year usually stresses me out quite a bit, so I tend to be a little more reserved. I don’t even have any new book reviews to share at the moment, as I’ve been rereading a few of the Harry Potter books in preparation for my upcoming trip to Wizarding World. (Omg, I can’t wait!)

goodreads

Since we’re about to start a new year, how about a little recap of my favorite books from 2019? As of right now, I’ve read 53 books out of my Goodreads  goal of 47 books. I’m hoping to finish up Half Blood Prince over the next couple of days and bring that number up to 54.

I read some fun books this year, but not too many of them blew me away. (Was I just being picky or did I just miss out on some good ones? I’m not sure.) In no particular order, here were a few at the top of the list:

 

What were your top books in 2019? Anything great that I missed out on and need to check out next year?

 

Books · Favorites

Spooky Book Recs (pt. 3)

Greetings ghouls and gals! I hope spooky month is treating you well so far. I’ve been keeping busy making new decorations for the house and getting my costume ready. Anyone want to take a stab at what I’m going to be this year? I’d give you a hint, but my choice is a pretty ineffable one. 😉

I’m not ready to give my costume away yet, but check out the new skeleton earrings I got:

72291013_10105142657979405_2803742805308997632_n

Need some more suggestions for spooky reads for this month? It’s time for spooky book recommendations, part 3! (Check out pt. 1 and pt. 2 here)

22136611The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – You guys knew this one was coming, didn’t you? This book is one of my favorites of all time, not just during Halloween season. The Graveyard Book tells the story of Bod, a young boy who is raised by the ghostly inhabitants of the cemetery after his parents are murdered. It’s a beautiful story about life, death, and all the lessons learned during both. Bod’s journey from childhood to adulthood, aided by his ghost friends and family is a beautiful and creative one that will leave you wanting to read it every year.

17873946

 

 

Marina by Carlos Ruiz-Zafon – When Oscar meets Marina at the creepy old house down the street, he’s taken on a wild and unexpected journey into the macabre. After witnessing a mysterious lady in the cemetery shrouded in black, they get thrown into a web of mystery and horror as they try to discover the woman’s bizarre secrets. If they can’t uncover her secrets soon and stop the forces working against them, the city of Barcelona and their own lives may be at risk. (Check out my full review here)

 

Honorable mentions for the vampire enthusiasts:

  • The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

 

 

Books · Fantasy · Favorites

The Ultimate Fall Read

Today we’re going to talk about a very special Fall book recommendation. It is the ultimate book recommendation, in my opinion, and I’m sure that my long time readers will not be surprised in the slightest. You’ve heard me talk about it plenty of times before, so I apologize if you’re tired of hearing about it, but I just can’t help myself. Every year, when the weather starts to cool off and the leaves change my brain takes me to Hogwarts.

That’s right, we’re talking about the Harry Potter series again. 😛

This year, my love of this beloved series feels even more appropriate to share, not only because it’s Fall, but because of some exciting news that I have…

48d334790b04ec328099d555f632e0fd

I’M GOING TO THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER. *squeeeeeeee* After ten years of waiting, I finally got tickets to go see the magical settings of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley in Orlando. It won’t be for a few more months, but in the mean time I plan on re-reading some of the books in preparation.

And what better time to read the series than Fall?! I’m not calling this a “spooky” book recommendation because that would be inaccurate. (To check out some of my spooky book recommendations, check out these pots: pt. 1 and pt. 2) Every time I read the series though I can’t help but think about Fall, due to how many great scenes there are in the book that take place during the season: the back to school fervor, Fall visits to Hogsmeade, and Halloween feasts in the Great Hall. Plus, with appearances by trolls, ghosts, and werewolves it just feels very appropriate for this time of year. Make sure you have a giant mug of butterbeer and some pumpkin pasties on hand when you read this one!

anigif_sub-buzz-765-1473878164-6

 

Books · Fantasy · Favorites · Fiction

Book Review: Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett

846092

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

‘Death has to happen. That’s what bein’ alive is all about. You’re alive, and then you’re dead. It can’t just stop happening.’

But it can. And it has. So what happens after death is now less of a philosophical question than a question of actual reality. On the Disc, as here, they need Death. If Death doesn’t come for you, then what are you supposed to do in the meantime? You can’t have the undead wandering about like lost souls. There’s no telling what might happen, particularly when they discover that life really is only for the living…

Goodreads

As humans, we are often taught to avoid and fear death. In Terry Pratchett’s world, you kinda want Death to be your best friend. Death is just one character in The Reaper Man, but he is the catalyst for the events that take place throughout the book. As his name suggests, he is the literal bringer of death and, afterlife be damned, he wants to start living. 

When Death decides to retire from his career the entire world gets thrown out of balance. People and wizards, like old Windle Poon, can’t even die properly anymore. It’s up to Windle, his new undead friends, and a group of bumbling wizards (of the living variety) to put a stop to all the madness.

I enjoyed all the characters in this story, but Death was by far my favorite. He was insightful and by far the most wise, despite having a childlike innocence at times. His relationships with Miss Flitworth, Binky, and the Death of Rats were surprisingly touching. Pratchett’s achievement at personifying death in such a way that makes you both laugh and really think about the importance of life was sheer brilliance.

 

Books · Favorites

Spooky Book Recs (pt. 1)

Greetings, fellow book nerds! I’m back from our awesome vacation out west (Post coming soon!) and I’m ready to jump into spooky season. Today I’m going to share a few of my favorite Halloween/Fall themed books, just in case anyone else would like to join in and have a hauntingly good time.

6283504

Coraline by Neil Gaiman – When Coraline’s parents move her into a new house she can’t help but explore every single inch of it. Most intriguing is the fourteenth door in the house, which contains nothing but a brick wall behind it. To Coraline’s surprise, she opens to door one day and discovers a passageway to a house that mirrors her own. Things look like they are better in this new house until Coraline realizes that her new “parents” intend to trap her there forever.

39352771._sy475_

 

 

 

 

Cassidy Blake series by Victoria Schwab – Cassidy’s parents are famous ghost hunters. They drag her from place to place so they can track down supernatural life forces and record it for their tv show, The Inspecters. What her parents don’t realize is that Cassidy is the only one who can actually see ghosts, including her best friend, Jacob. As a middle grade series, this might not be the scariest for adult readers, but it’s still a fun one to check out. They’re steeped with ghost lore and rich history of the settings where the books take place. So far, my favorite book in the series is Tunnel of Bones. I loved the elegant descriptions of Paris and the creepy catacombs! (Check out my review of City of Ghosts)

Stay tuned for part 2, coming very soon! In the meantime, creep it real.

No photo description available.

Favorites · Television

Jessica Jones: The Anti-Hero We All Need

4ea348e76acdb19ee1990198ad17611f3ceb2512

About a month ago I began watching Marvel’s Jessica Jones on Netflix. It was a total whim. I’ve heard of it before, but didn’t really know what it was. Both Game of Thrones and Big Bang Theory had ended. I’d already watched all of Good Omens and Stranger Things season three hadn’t been released yet. I needed a new show to binge on.

About 20 minutes into the first episode of Jessica Jones I hopped on social media and demanded an answer: Why did nobody tell me how amazing this show is?! 

Jessica Jones is a super-powered P.I. living in New York. She’s strong as hell, angsty as a person can be, and has an intimate relationship with the bottom of the whiskey bottle. Jessica is as flawed and real as they come, which is what drew me to her immediately. The show begins in the aftermath of Jessica’s escape from manipulative super-villain, Kilgrave. Even a year after his death, Jessica is still haunted by her time spent under Kilgrave’s control, in which he was controlling her mind and her actions, forcing her to do unspeakable things.

xtvb5uulctkuvznrbdvt

The cast of characters is exquisite. Patsy Walker, aka Trish, is Jessica’s adopted sister and famous television personality. Upon first meeting her, Trish looks like she’s going to be a boring, stereotypical “friend” type. But, oh, I was so wrong about that. The relationship between the two is a rather complex one and later becomes a huge part of the story line. (Those of you who are familiar with the world of Marvel comics will be delighted to see this crossover of Patsy Walker/Hellcat.)

Luke Cage (who also has his own show on Netflix) shows up in season one as a fleeing friend/romantic interest of Jessica’s. We’re also introduced to neighbor and ex-junkie, Malcom, crooked attorney Hogarth, and Jessica’s adoptive and emotionally abusive mother, Dorothy. Of all the characters we meet though, Kilgrave was by far my favorite.

David Tennant has been a favorite of mine since I was first introduced to him as the 10th Doctor. Even if I had never heard of him before, I would have immediately become a fan after watching his brilliant performance as Kilgrave. In my opinion, he’s possibly one of the most chilling villains in the Marvel universe. He has the ability to take over people’s minds, which, of course, he uses for horribly nefarious and twisted purposes. As if the psychological trauma of what Kilgrave did to her wasn’t bad enough, Jessica learns that it’s possible he’s still alive. Can she really trust anyone else, knowing that they might be under his control? Can she even trust her own judgement?

tumblr_inline_o8q36sbalm1tnywua_1280.png.cf_

Seasons two and three were also fantastic (although season one was my favorite), with new superheroes/anti-superheroes and bad guys alike. We learn more of Jessica’s backstory and how she came to possess her powers. There’s incredible character development, not just with Jessica, but across the board. Relationships are explored, strengthened and broken apart. Mistakes are made. Lives are lost. Shit gets real. Through it all, Jessica remains the bad ass that New York can count on again and again, whether she wants it or not.

Books · Favorites · graphic novels

The Chillling Adventures of Sabrina: Comics vs. Show

23308488._sy475_

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Back in 2018 Netflix premiered The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and fans of the original show from the 90s (myself included) rejoiced. It was apparent right off the bat that this newer version of Sabrina was hardly anything like the family-friendly version we remembered. It was a darker – much darker – filled with occultism, satanic rituals, orgies, murder, and the Dark Lord, Satan, himself.

I don’t know if everyone was pleased by such a huge shift in nostalgia, but I ate season one up. I enjoyed the newer, more twisted iteration of Sabrina, possibly even more than the original show. Back in the spring, Netflix released a second season, which, to my delight, was just as good as the first. It wasn’t until season two came out that I found out that the show was actually based on a comic series, set in the Archie universe. Recently, I picked up a copy of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: The Crucible (vol. 1) to see just how the two compared.

There are some major differences between the comic and the television show. The comic, believe it or not, is even darker and more mature than the show. The story arch is similar: Set in the 1960s, Sabrina is a half witch on the verge of turning sixteen. The eve of her dark baptism is approaching – the occasion in which Sabrina signs her name in the Book of the Beast and fully commits herself to Lord Satan – but, naturally, she has some conflicting feelings. Is she really ready to give up her friends, boyfriend, and all that she’s come to know in the mortal world?

giphy

I really liked the comic version of Sabrina. Her mortal friends and boyfriend were a little less present than they were in the show, which I actually preferred because I found them a little annoying at times. (Both versions of Harvey are boring and too white bread for me.) There was more Salem in the comic and he actually talked, just like the original 90s version. More talking cats is always a win for me. I also liked the crossover with Riverdale and Archie characters (I was also delighted to see Sabrina make an appearance in the Afterlife with Archie graphic novel.), although I don’t think this would have worked in the show. Sabrina’s backstory is quite different here and far more fucked up. Her parents aren’t dead this time. Rather, her mother is trapped in a mental hospital and her father is trapped inside a tree. There’s less misogyny than the show. We don’t really learn much about the coven the Spellmans belong to and there’s no Father Blackwood contending for a spot as the biggest douchebag in the series. Thankfully, Madam Satan (disguised as one of Sabrina’s teachers), is still present, following her own agenda and meddling in all of Sabrina’s affairs in a deliciously wicked way. Even without the brilliant performance of Michelle Gomez, comic version of Madam Satan is just as satisfying.

So far, there’s only one graphic novel and there’s some speculation as to whether or not there will be another. For now, I’ll keep my fingers crossed and just have to wait for Netflix to make another season to tide me over.