The king! In the form of man: Reviewing Birds of Paradise by Oliver K. Langmead

Hi everyone! January may be as dreary as ever, but I hope you are still doing all right. I have been on the lookout for this book for a while and finally managed to find a copy in Barnes and Noble’s. It seems like a lot of the books I want aren’t available in mainstream book stores. I have to turn to Amazon and I’d really rather not contribute to Amazon any more. I don’t about the rest of you, but I am looking into buying books from alternative places. If you have any online book retailers that deliver relatively quickly, I (and I’m sure others) would love to know. I did preorder Hellbent, the sequel to Ninth House, and will review that one in the near future. Now, let’s discuss Birds of Paradise.

Content Warning: Violence, Gore, Some depictions of racism, Some graphic descriptions of death, Loss/Grief

Adam, the first man, has been wandering the Earth for centuries up on centuries. He is tired and just biding him time with random jobs, among other distractions. He has seemingly found peace until another former resident of Eden, Rook, sends him on an investigation to find his brother, Magpie. When Adam finds Magpie, he also finds out that remnants of Eden are turning up all over the world and Magpie asks for help recreating the Garden. Thrilled at the thought of rebuilding his beloved home, Adam is thrilled at the opportunity. As he journeys across America and the British Isles, he, with the help of other animals, must work quickly to gather the last pieces of Eden before they fall into the wrong hands.

I honestly couldn’t think of what this book reminded me of until I found a blurb comparing it to American Gods, and that is when I realized why I enjoyed this book so much. Birds of Paradise has a surreal, dreamlike plot with plenty of poignant moments. Oliver K. Langmead introduces interesting philosophical quandaries throughout Adam’s journey. If you are a little concerned about whether this book is religious or not, it is not necessarily religious nor does it preach any particular message. Langmead focuses on an important, but often forgotten, figures in Biblical lore in a way that draws you and doesn’t let you go. I loved how wild this book was, while still having a well – structured narrative. This is a book made me wish I had some book club I could talk about this to. What I’m really trying to say is: absolutely give this book a read. It is unique, thoughtful, and profound in all the best ways.

Blood and Roots and Magic: Reviewing The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina by Zoraida Cordova

Hello everyone! Wow, I am on a roll with these books. It’s nice not being so mentally exhausted all the freaking time. I am not perfect, though, and like to re-watch my favorite shows far too often. That doesn’t stop me from powering through my TBR pile. Without further ado, let’s talk about The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina.

The Montoya family is used to magic and not knowing where it comes from. It provided them a good life but also created rifts. When their mysterious matriarch, Orquidea, tells them to come to collect their inheritance, they find her being transformed into a tree. She leaves them with mysterious gifts with no further explanation. Seven years after Orquidea’s transformation, cousins Marimar, Rey, and Rhiannon, find themselves in danger as a mysterious figure is seemingly hunting them down for their gifts. Determined to learn the truth, they decide to travel to Ecuador to find what their grandmother left behind and it will change their lives forever.

I went into this book blind and enjoyed what I found inside. Zoraida Cordova crafts a fast-paced, magical, and touching story of a family being reunited after a tragedy. I thought the magic was portrayed beautifully and the mystery of the plot kept me intrigued. I wouldn’t exactly call this book a mystery novel, but it definitely has that exciting quality, while not losing its heart to thrills. It is a relatively short novel, but it is certainly impactful. If you are looking for magical realism or a story about family bonds, then I would go ahead and read this one because it has everything and then some.

Don’t You Wish You Were Here?: Reviewing The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

Hi everyone! As always, I hope you are all doing well. I’ve been enjoying the highs and lows of the summer season. I meant to do a birthday post but got a little caught up. Now, I know I tend to read a lot of dark books and I will continue to read even more of those. That doesn’t mean I’m completely opposed to a happy ending here and there. This is another recommendation via “BookTok,” if I’m being completely transparent. With that being said, let’s talk about The House in the Cerulean Sea.

Linus Baker is a plain, practical man who is a caseworker for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth (DICOMY). Outside of that, his life is quiet and a bit boring. That all changes when he is approached by Extremely Upper Management, who give him an important task: he must travel to a distant orphanage and observe a potentially dangerous child. Linus arrives on the island to find a mysterious group of children and their equally mysterious caretaker, Arthur Parnassus. The longer he stays on the island, the more Linus uncovers about what hides there and soon he must make the most important choice of his life.

This was a nice, fluffy read with plenty of delightful characters and fun, magical elements. I enjoyed the immersive environment that this novel presents. Klune pays great attention to detail with the overall atmosphere of the books. Something about Klune’s writing was vaguely nostalgic to me. The novel’s tone is rather reminiscent of books I read as a kid with an ever so slightly more mature message. I am, admittedly, a sucker for the “found family” trope and enjoyed the way that it was portrayed in this novel. If you are looking for a romantic bit of escapism, I would say give this novel a read if you are so inclined.

Be careful what you ask for, be willing to pay the price: Reviewing The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

Hello everyone! As always, I hope you are doing well. I am on a serious reading kick right now. Maybe it’s because I have stumbled across a bunch of YouTube videos of people reading up to 100 books in year. I wish I could be that productive but we will settle on a few for now. This is not my first time reviewing a book by V.E. Schwab and you are welcome to read my reviews of her other novels. Let’s add another to the list then, shall we?

In a moment of desperation, Addie LaRue made a deal with a devil. She will live forever but she will never be remembered. For three hundred years, Addie has survived and traveled with the devil at her heals. Everything changes when she meets Henry, who remembers her. Now, Addie seeks to uncover the truth of her curse and to try to undo it at all costs.

If you want a slow burn romance, then this is the novel for you. V.E. Schwab always takes great care when it comes to fantastical details while still keeping a focus on the relationships between the characters. The magical realism made this novel all the more enjoyable. While romance is normally not my jam, the relationship between Henry and Addie was endearing as they were both fleshed out on their own. When they came together, their relationship was endearing. The book is fairly long but the pacing is steady, with most of the chapters being between one to five pages long. It is certainly reminiscent of a fairy tale, which made the novel all the more appealing. Overall, this is another winner from Schwab when I honestly wasn’t expecting to enjoy this novel as much as I did.

The only way to learn is to live: Reviewing The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Hi everyone! How’s everything going with you? Well, I hope it’s good. As I might have mentioned before, I typically don’t pick books to read based on their popularity. Sometimes, the hype is worth checking out and that is why I picked up The Midnight Library. This book has shown up on just about every “top books of 2021” list and, while I have been burned before by those lists, I was intrigued enough to give this one a chance. So, let’s talk about The Midnight Library.

Nora Seed has lived a miserable existence full of regret and self – pity. One particularly bad day spurs Nora to take drastic measures. She finds herself in the Midnight Library. This library, however, is full of books that show her the other lives she could have lived if she had made different decisions. With the help of the enigmatic librarian, Nora decides to explore the possibilities and see how they have affected her and those she cares about. But she must make a decision before time runs out, answering the question: what is the best way to live?

As someone who worries about the future, this book helped me put a lot into perspective. Nora’s journey is one that most people can relate to, which is why many of you will be able to connect with this book. Haig explores a lot of interesting philosophical questions but doesn’t do so in a way that is depressing or confusing. Haig shows that life is indeed a mixed bag of both good and bad in a way that realistic. Though the novel has a quick pace, it still fits in many valuable and touching moments involving a relatable protagonist. Overall, I was impressed with this book and can confirm that this novel is worth the hype. The Midnight Library is relatable, touching, and profound in its exploration of life’s possibilities.