Book Review

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

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Fantasy / Historical Fiction / Romance
Length: 489 pages
Author: V.E. Schwab
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: October 6th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

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

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.

WORTH THE HYPE.

Without a doubt. If you’ve been on the fence about reading this one (like I was), give it a try.

I feel like this review will be hard to put into words because there’s so much here!! Holy cow, I wanted to highlight every other paragraph in this book. I loved the internal conflict and resolutions, the characters, the story and drama, how the further I went the more enamored and unable to put it down it became.

It does start off a little slow yes, but I found the more I read it settled in. This is a journey, more than the story itself, of Addie, Henry and Luc. Goodness, I can’t help it, I LOVED Luc. I really wish there was more to his background. What a complex character from the get-go. Henry was fantastic as well. He and Addie fit together like puzzle pieces and it was hard not to fall to pieces by the end. I adored Addie too. The resilience to go 300 years with the deal she made was unbelievable. These three working together and apart brought it home. This is a heavily character driven story. The wider plot isn’t as much there as it is about what these characters mean to each other.

Addie had absolutely beautiful writing. It draws you in immediately. Filled with so many moments that will pull at every heart string. I was feeling every little thing by the time those last few chapters rolled around. It’s an interesting conclusion that left me with some questions, but also satisfied. I closed the book knowing just how magnificent of a story I’d finished.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy / Historical Fiction / Romance
  • Language: a little throughout
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; a few closed door & a few little detailed open door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: attempted assault, abuse, loss of a loved one, substance abuse, depression, suicidal ideation, attempted suicide

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Book Review

Book Review: A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander #6) by Diana Gabaldon

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical Fiction Romance
Length: 993 pages
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Publisher: Delta
Release Date: September 27th, 2005
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A Breath of Snow and Ashes continues the extraordinary story of 18th-century Scotsman Jamie Fraser and his 20th-century wife, Claire.

The year is 1772, and on the eve of the American Revolution, the long fuse of rebellion has already been lit. Men lie dead in the streets of Boston, and in the backwoods of North Carolina, isolated cabins burn in the forest.

With chaos brewing, the governor calls upon Jamie Fraser to unite the backcountry and safeguard the colony for King and Crown. But from his wife Jamie knows that three years hence the shot heard round the world will be fired, and the result will be independence — with those loyal to the King either dead or in exile. And there is also the matter of a tiny clipping from The Wilmington Gazette, dated 1776, which reports Jamie’s death, along with his kin. For once, he hopes, his time-traveling family may be wrong about the future. 

HURTS SO GOOD.

That’s this series so far to me. Heart strings continually pulled, near-death moments, kidnappings, murders, the threat of war, oh my goodness, how do I even keep up? How do I even look away? The answer: YA DON’T. I have been swept up in another great Outlander installment and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I love the slow pace and intricate story telling. The ability for this book to span hundreds of pages and an immense amount of information, yet keep me enthralled is no small feat. This series is a gem.

Jamie and Claire y’all. How I continue to love them more and more. Oh yes, I will say there romance is timeless. I can’t get enough of them fighting for each other, being together, working as one, and more. Same with Bri and Roger. Good heavens I’m hooked on them too, and now I NEED TO KNOW WHERE WE GO FROM HERE.

I don’t know where book seven will lead, but I’m here for the ride. This review is short because it feels impossible to cover so much and convey to y’all to read it (without spoilers at this point). It’s entrancing, and will have you completely wrapped up.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction romance
  • Language: some strong throughout
  • Romance: a handful of scenes ranging from kissing to open-door love scenes (brief and extended)
  • Violence: see TW/CW below; physical altercations, guns, thievery
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: rape, sexual harassment, sexual assault, slavery, torture, kidnapping, arson, murder (including a pregnant woman), suicide attempt, suicide ideation [I know I have missed some; please research and take caution before reading this series]

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Book Review

Book Review: Code Name Hélène by Ariel Lawhon

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical Fiction
Length: 464 pages
Author: Ariel Lawhon
Publisher: Doubleday Books
Release Date: March 31st. 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

This book is based on the life of Nancy Wake, an Australian expat who worked as a reporter for Hearst in Paris just before WWII and later as a spy for the British. Lawhon throws readers into the middle of the action, as Nancy, under the alias Hélène, prepares to parachute from an RAF plane into France to help the Resistance in 1944, carrying in her head memorized lists of vital data, including bridges targeted for destruction and safe house addresses. After she lands, the story flashes back eight years, as Nancy struggles for respect and recognition as a journalist; despite her firsthand observations of Nazi brutality in 1930s Vienna, her editor is reluctant to publish a story about what she’s seen. Frequent jumps in time draw out the arc of Wake’s remarkable life; despite her statement early on that women’s weapons of warfare were limited to “silk stockings and red lipstick,” by the end she’s proven herself skillful at physical combat as well.

I’M CRYING.

Oh, I have found another book to make me cry and hug it to my chest upon closing. I loved this one that much.

Nancy Wake is a flippin’ bada**. I loved the way she was portrayed in this historical fiction version of her life. It was magnificent. Her ability to stay brave and courageous in the face of such horrid evil.

I love the converging timelines and how this kept me on my toes. It’s some tiny word/big page writing, and yet I never felt like it dragged. Ever. The absolutely beautiful writing combined Nancy’s story with dialogue and descriptions of the French countryside. It was truly a new tale for historical fiction in the World War 2 sub-genre. I know it’s often said that there are too many WW2 books, but this one proved that all wrong.

Nancy’s romance with Henri was, EVERYTHING. Oh my goodness I love him so much. I was smitten with his love and devotion to Nancy (and hers with him). I love a beautiful portrayal of marriage. They never gave up on each other and I couldn’t help but cry at the ending of the war.

This is without a doubt one of my new favorites in historical fiction. I loved getting to read the author’s note at the ending about the real Nancy Wake and I want to learn more about her and her missions. What a powerful woman.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical Fiction [WW2]
  • Language: some strong throughout (often in French)
  • Romance: kisses; one fade out closed door scene
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: this is a book about war; a lot of violence and murder; mentions of rape, horrendous war crimes (descriptive and intense)

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Book Review

ARC Blog Tour and Book Review: The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba (The Cuba Saga #4) by Chanel Cleeton

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Historical fiction + Romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Chanel Cleeton
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: May 4th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

At the end of the nineteenth century, three revolutionary women fight for freedom in New York Times bestselling author Chanel Cleeton’s captivating new novel inspired by real-life events and the true story of a legendary Cuban woman–Evangelina Cisneros–who changed the course of history.

A feud rages in Gilded Age New York City between newspaper tycoons William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer. When Grace Harrington lands a job at Hearst’s newspaper in 1896, she’s caught in a cutthroat world where one scoop can make or break your career, but it’s a story emerging from Cuba that changes her life.

Unjustly imprisoned in a notorious Havana women’s jail, eighteen-year-old Evangelina Cisneros dreams of a Cuba free from Spanish oppression. When Hearst learns of her plight and splashes her image on the front page of his paper, proclaiming her, “The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba,” she becomes a rallying cry for American intervention in the battle for Cuban independence.

With the help of Marina Perez, a courier secretly working for the Cuban revolutionaries in Havana, Grace and Hearst’s staff attempt to free Evangelina. But when Cuban civilians are forced into reconcentration camps and the explosion of the USS Maine propels the United States and Spain toward war, the three women must risk everything in their fight for freedom.

Thank you to Berkley and Netgalley for an eARC in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own!

BEAUTIFUL STORY.

I have continually enjoyed reading Cleeton’s historical fiction books. They take me into a time of history that I know little about and add a dash of romance that I appreciate. This was another solid combination of both.

There’s three points-of-view in this story (as in her previous). Sometimes I wish the novel as a whole was longer so that I could get more of each woman’s story. The backgrounds and nuances of each character are remarkedly different and it’s easy to get caught up in what’s happening.

This time period of Cuba trying to break away from Spain was really great to learn more about. I hope to research some more because I feel like this only skimmed some of the surface. I had no idea about the dominating world of journalism at the time and the truly terrible conditions Cubans were facing from Spain. One of my favorite parts of the historical fiction genre is the inspiration to further gain knowledge on the time period and people brought to life.

Not to mention, I always love the subtle romances that work their way into my heart. They aren’t generally a heavy part of the plot, but it gives some hope and angst to the book. It’s the best little touch that I think always fits well.

My only major complaint was the pacing. I would get into one story line then jump too quickly to a different one. Or things would be too slow for too long which had me begging for some more action segments. Besides this, a really beautiful novel. I look forward to continue reading Cleeton’s books!

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses, closed door scenes
  • Violence: battles, wars, physical altercations, gun violence, kidnappings, ship explosions
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: being jailed without cause, reconcentration camps, losing loved ones, having to give up a child for a time (her child does come home eventually!), attempted sexual assault/rape, lewd remarks to women

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