Review: The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab

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Goodreads | Waterstones

The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.
If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.
And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life. But when an actual stranger-a boy who seems to fade like smoke-appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.
The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.
As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know-about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy
.

I’ve been putting off this book for a while as I was a little hesitant about how much I would enjoy it. With The Invisible Life of Addie Larue grabbing top spot and being my favourite book of 2020, I am now so worried about not loving her other works quite as much. But although this didn’t quite match up, I still absolutely loved it!

The Near Witch is part fairy-tale, part love story, part nightmare. It opens on a scene where the main character, Lexi, is telling her little sister a bedtime story, and the book never strays far from that tone. Reading this book has the feeling of going on a rambling journey and becoming enchanted by a creepy tale. This definitely ended up being darker than I expected but in a gentle way that wasn’t too intense or overwhelming, and I really liked it. It was creepy in the way fairy-tales can be, rather than a typical horror!

Maybe one day the words will pour out like so many others, easy and smooth and on their own.

One of my favourite things about V.E. Schwab is her incredible writing. The writing in this was mystical and beautiful and I adored it. She chooses every word purposefully and it shows, and I feel like that’s the reason it took me slightly longer to read than I expected, as I wanted to make sure I really absorbed every part of this book and every single word on the page.

The writing also showcased the amazing world this book is set in. Near is a village on moorland, surrounded by rolling countryside and forests. I loved the vibe this gave off with the creepy, foggy, vast moor and forests, with cottages few and far between. I could picture the world so clearly and it felt like the perfect setting for this story. I also really liked the main characters and that bubbled along in the background of this story. And I could really empathise with how Lexi was struggling with how those around her were acting throughout this story.

Right now they take pieces of me with them.

Overall, this was a beautiful and haunting tale that I really enjoyed reading. It also had such an incredible atmosphere which I loved.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #37

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga where we share books we’ve bought or received this week. Find out more and join in here!

Hi all! I’ve been a little better at buying books recently, but I have something very exciting to show you all today! My lovely boyfriend Mark gifted me a book for Valentine’s day that I am so, so happy and excited about. I have been looking for the Owlcrate version of The Invisible Life of Addie Larue for a while now, and I’d almost given up on being able to find one I could afford. I was just trying to convince myself I didn’t need this beautiful edition, when Mark gave me this one. I couldn’t believe it!

Image result for owlcrate the invisible life of addie larue
Credit: bookishluna.com

This is the beautiful back cover of the book, with the front cover being similar to the American hardback. I can’t wait to see them next to each other on the shelf!

What have you bought this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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

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Goodreads | Waterstones

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.

This is the kind of book that grabs you from the first page and doesn’t let go. It draws you into the pages until you know nothing else, and you are left gasping for air. It shakes you up and makes you never, ever want it to end. This book was astounding. Beautiful. Clever. Brilliant. And I will never have enough words to describe how much I adored it. After all, the hardest reviews to write are the ones for the books that you fall in love with.

This book follows Addie LaRue, a girl who is cursed to be forgotten. Until one day, after nearly 300 years of wandering the earth without leaving a mark, she meets a boy who remembers. Told over those 300 long years of Addie’s life, we flit between everywhere she has been, and modern day New York, where she meets Henry, who remembers her name.

Being forgotten, she thinks, is a bit like going mad. You begin to wonder what is real, if you are real. 

This is a romance. A mystery. A historical fantasy. It is so many things, but in every way it is utterly encapsulating and absolutely breathtaking. I fell for Addie’s story and the way she wandered the earth, learning more about herself with every situation she found her in. She was broken by the curse she was under, but also stronger and a lover of life because of it. Her story was unlike anything I’ve ever read before, and I couldn’t resist the urge to know what happened to her.

It is about the world and wandering it, friendship and love, life and death, loss and hope. It is a beautiful narrative of a girl who longs to be remembered, and a boy who longs to forget. The prose is written in such a way that I wanted to savour it as it if it was the last chocolate on earth, and I also wanted to keep on turning the pages. It was truly enthralling, and so intense.

After all, how can a thing be real if it cannot be remembered?

I wish I could tell you how much this book made me feel. Intrigued. Sorrowful. Overjoyed. Infatuated. Heartbroken. Hopeful. I sobbed more than I ever have at a book before, but was still left with a warmth in my heart that I don’t think will ever leave. I have always struggled to pick out a favourite book, but V.E. Schwab, you may have just gone and done it. Thank you so much for such a breath of fresh air, that I just want to push into the arms of every reader I come across, and tell them to read it, savour it, let it take you on this wild, beautiful ride.

I will say your name, Addie LaRue. I will carry you with me and I will not forget.

I remember you.

★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

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Goodreads | Amazon

Cass can pull back the Veil that separates the living from the dead.
When Cass’s parents start hosting a TV show about the world’s most haunted places, the family heads off to Edinburgh. Here, graveyards, castles and secret passageways teem with restless phantoms.
But when Cass meets a girl who shares her “gift”, she realizes how much she still has to learn about the Veil—and herself. And she’ll have to learn fast. The city of ghosts is more dangerous than she ever imagined.

I was drawn to this book for a few reasons: 1. It has such a pretty cover, not going to lie. 2. It’s has such an intriguing synopsis. 3. I’ve never read a VE Schwab book before, and I thought MG might be a good introduction!

And I definitely wasn’t wrong. I don’t usually read middle grade at all, but it didn’t stop me from really enjoying this one. I read it in just over a day, and I just know I would have loved it in my pre-teen years!

‘”Stories have power,” she says.’

This book was so much fun and overall a great adventure. I’ve never visited Edinburgh myself, but this book has made me want to. It seemed to capture the history and essence of the city, and it was so atmospheric. The fact Cassidy was visiting a city for the first time herself too made it even more of an adventure, which I loved.

City of Ghosts is such an entertaining novel, fast paced and full of action. I really couldn’t put it down, even though the plot was definitely predictable for an older reader. Unfortunately this brings me to my only criticisms, this book lacked depth. Not much, I just wish the characters were a little more fleshed out and the plot a bit more intricate. It’s totally what I expected from a MG book and I completely understand the reasoning behind it, but that’s my opinion as an older reader.

‘”So long as you belive them.”’

Saying this, however, I still found depth in some of the more poetic lines and passages, and the relationships Cassidy had. Her somewhat complex relationship with Jacob was so interesting to read about and I’m interested to see where it heads in the further novels. I also found her relationship with her parents well written, and I really liked the scenes with her parents. They led such interesting lives themselves!

Overall, definitely a very enjoyable read, just lacking a little depth and leaving me wanting more. I’d definitely consider re-reading this around Halloween!

★★★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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