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New Fiction Book Reviews: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, It All Comes Back to You, & More

Our book reviews of the month include fantasy, historical fiction, mystery, YA, romance, and more!

FICTION BOOK REVIEWS OF THE MONTH

For our fiction book reviews of the month, we have lots of fantastic books for you to choose from and read. Our new fiction reviews include All That Is Secret by Patricia Raybon, Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer, Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab, It All Comes Back to You by Farah Naz Rishi, and The Orphan Witch by Paige Crutcher.

Book Reviews Fiction: Featured image of the book reviews of the month - it shows a collage of book covers
Book Reviews – Fiction

You can also check out our other recent full-sized book reviews, including John Eyre, The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart, and The Merchant and the Rogue.

ABOUT REVIEWS OF THE MONTH

At The Silver Petticoat Review, we switch between movie/TV reviews and book reviews – ideally once a month (sometimes more, sometimes less). This time, we’re sharing fiction book reviews. These reviews are shorter reviews than the standalone full-size reviews we also regularly write. 

You can read all the book reviews or click on the title below that interests you in the links below.

(Note: The full-sized book reviews link to separate pages). 

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases, meaning we may earn a commission if you purchase from one of our links. If you see a * next to a link, that means it is an affiliate link. As The Silver Petticoat Review owners, we select products we love and think you’ll like too. Please read our disclosure for more information.

BRIEF BOOK REVIEWS FICTION: 

All That Is Secret – An Annalee Spain Mystery by Patricia Raybon (Mystery, Historical Fiction, Romance, Suspense, Christian Fiction, Clean Romance)

Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer (YA, Fantasy, Romance)

Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian (Fantasy, Retellings, Fairy Tales & Mythology, Arthurian, Historical Fantasy, Romance)

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab (Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Contemporary Fantasy, Romance)

It All Comes Back to You by Farah Naz Rishi (YA Contemporary, Romance, Rom-Com, Coming-of-Age)

The Orphan Witch by Paige Crutcher (Fantasy, Witches, Paranormal Romance)

FULL BOOK REVIEWS FICTION:

The Matchmaker's Lonely Heart Book Cover

‘John Eyre’ Book Review: An Entertaining New Jane Eyre Retelling (Historical Fiction, Gothic Romance, Paranormal, Retelling, Clean Romance, Horror)

‘The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart’ Book Review: This is a Charming New Historical Mystery (Historical Fiction, Romance, Mystery, Romantic Suspense, Clean Romance)

‘The Merchant And The Rogue’ Book Review: This Is A Fun And Enjoyable Read (Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Victorian, Mystery, Clean Romance)

FICTION BOOK REVIEW ONE

All That Is Secret (An Annalee Spain Mystery) By Patricia Raybon

All That Is Secret book cover

Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Genres: Mystery, Historical Fiction, Romance, Suspense, Christian Fiction, Clean Romance

Publication Date: October 5, 2021, by Tyndale House Publishers

Official Synopsis

From award-winning author Patricia Raybon comes a compelling new historical mystery series, a riveting puzzle confronting the hidden secrets of class, race, family, and love.

Can an amateur detective solve the cold case mystery of her lost father’s murder?

In the winter of 1923, Professor Annalee Spain—a daring but overworked theologian at a small Chicago Bible college—receives a cryptic telegram calling her home to Denver to solve the mystery of the murder of her beloved but estranged father.

For a young Black woman, searching for answers in a city ruled by the KKK could mean real danger. Still, with her literary hero Sherlock Holmes as inspiration, Annalee launches her hunt for clues, attracting two surprising allies: Eddie, a relentless young white boy searching for his missing father, and Jack, a handsome Black pastor who loves nightclub dancing and rides in his sporty car, awakening Annalee’s heart to the surprising highs and lows of romantic love.

With their help, Annalee follows clues that land her among Denver’s powerful elite. But when their sleuthing unravels sinister motives and deep secrets, Annalee confronts the dangerous truths and beliefs that could make her a victim too.

BOOK REVIEW BY AMBER:

Fans of female detective stories rejoice; a new fabulous female character has entered the mix: Meet Professor Annalee Spain – a smart young Black woman who leaves everything behind to solve the mystery of her father’s murder.

All That Is Secret is a clever page-turner with a swoony romance that will please romantic mystery fans. It is a Christian novel, but it has a broad appeal – so even if you don’t typically like Christian novels, you might still enjoy this one.

The mystery is intriguing, the characters appealing, the slow-build romance perfect, and the setup for future novels just about right (leaving some future secrets to solve).

The novel transported me into 1923 Denver, a city full of danger, corruption, racism, and murder. It’s a fascinating historical setting with fast-paced twists that engage from start to finish. Sure, the book isn’t perfect, but it is an entertaining read overall!

I think Raybon has a promising detective series on her hands that fans of historical mystery and romance should appreciate. I will absolutely read the second book in the new book series.

Adaptation Recommendation: 

All That Is Secret should be a TV show in the style of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries with a mix of good mysteries and romance on the side. I’d definitely watch it.

Content Note: There is murder, racism, and some violence in the book. But it is all very mild with a PG feel. The romance is wholesome.

Four corsets rating
Five Vintage Hearts Rating
REVIEW TWO

Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer

Defy the Night book cover

Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

Genres: YA, Fantasy, Romance

Publication Date: September 14, 2021, by Bloomsbury YA

Official Synopsis

Instant New York Times Bestseller!

From New York Times bestselling author Brigid Kemmerer comes a blockbuster fantasy series, perfect for fans of Holly Black and Victoria Aveyard, about a kingdom divided by corruption, the prince desperately holding it together, and the girl who will risk everything to bring it crashing down.

Apothecary apprentice Tessa Cade is tired of seeing her people die. King Harristan and his cruel brother, Prince Corrick, ignore the suffering of their people and react mercilessly to any sign of rebellion, even as a sickness ravages the land. That’s why she and her best friend Wes risk their lives each night to steal the petals of the delicate Moonflower, the only known cure. But it’s not enough to keep everyone she loves safe-or alive.

When Prince Corrick commits an act of unspeakable cruelty, Tessa becomes desperate enough to try the impossible: sneaking into the palace. But what she finds there makes her wonder if it’s even possible to fix their world without destroying it first.

Brigid Kemmerer’s captivating new series is about those with power and those without . . . and what happens when someone is brave enough to imagine a new future.

BOOK REVIEW BY AUTUMN:

From the best-selling author of A Curse So Dark and Lonely series comes another epic romantic fantasy. In Defy the Night, the kingdom of Kandala is divided by class and corruption. It’s a world where only the rich can buy medicine to save family members from a deadly virus.

But Tessa Cade, a secret rebel, isn’t going to just let it happen. Instead, with her partner, she steals medicine from the rich to give to the poor. (Definitely some Robin Hood influence here.)

But as the prince’s brutality and deaths worsen, Tessa decides to confront Prince Corrick only to discover that politics are way more complex than she ever realized. Perhaps Prince Corrick isn’t as awful as she believed?

Overall, this is a swoony and fast read that will keep you up reading late in the night. Fans of The Cruel Prince will love this one.

Adaptation Recommendation: 

As this is book number one in a series, it would adapt well as a series of high-budget fantasy films.

Content Note: Some violence and kissing scenes. Overall, a wholesome read.

Four and a half corsets rating
Five Vintage Hearts Rating
REVIEW THREE

Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian

Half Sick of Shadows Book Cover

Genres: Fantasy, Retellings, Fairy Tales & Mythology, Arthurian, Historical Fantasy, Romance

Publication Date: July 6, 2021, by Ace (Penguin Random House)

Official Synopsis

The Lady of Shalott reclaims her story in this bold feminist reimagining of the Arthurian myth from the New York Times bestselling author of Ash Princess.

Everyone knows the legend. Of Arthur, destined to be a king. Of the beautiful Guinevere, who will betray him with his most loyal knight, Lancelot. Of the bitter sorceress, Morgana, who will turn against them all. But Elaine alone carries the burden of knowing what is to come–for Elaine of Shalott is cursed to see the future.

On the mystical isle of Avalon, Elaine runs free and learns of the ancient prophecies surrounding her and her friends–countless possibilities, almost all of them tragic.

When their future comes to claim them, Elaine, Guinevere, Lancelot, and Morgana accompany Arthur to take his throne in stifling Camelot, where magic is outlawed, the rules of society chain them, and enemies are everywhere. Yet the most dangerous threats may come from within their own circle.

As visions are fulfilled and an inevitable fate closes in, Elaine must decide how far she will go to change destiny–and what she is willing to sacrifice along the way.

BOOK REVIEW BY AUTUMN:

This magical and feminist retelling of King Arthur lore tells the story of the seer Elaine and how she uses her visions to try and prevent the famous ending. Can she change destiny? Prevent the affair, Morgana’s betrayal, and Arthur’s death?

Here, Elaine comes out of the shadows as the hero of the story. Not to mention, Morgana and Guinevere also shine in this medieval fantasy.

With clever twists, 3-dimensional female characters, romantic knights, and a refreshing take on King Arthur, Half Sick of Shadows is a readable book and fascinating retelling about a tragic figure in literature.

Every sentence invites you into Elaine’s world of Avalon and Camelot. Magical and brilliantly retold, Half Sick of Shadows will keep you spellbound from the beginning to a thrilling end.

So, enjoy the love story with Lancelot, enjoy the action and magic, and immerse yourself in the visions of the Lady of Shalott.

Adaptation Recommendation: 

Half Sick of Shadows would make an excellent movie full of action and romance. Arthurian tales adapt well to the big screen, and this story would be unique.

Content Note: There is an implied sexual relationship between Lancelot and Elaine but nothing explicit. There are a couple of disturbing violent scenes. Trigger warning: Suicide.

Click here to read our book club announcement for more on the book.

Five corsets rating
Four Vintage Hearts Rating
REVIEW FOUR

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

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue book cover

Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Contemporary Fantasy, Romance

Publication Date: October 6, 2020, by Tor Books (Macmillan)

Official Synopsis

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

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.

BOOK REVIEW BY AUTUMN:

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue may be one of the most unique contemporary fantasy novels I’ve read recently. In the story, Addie LaRue makes a bargain with a devil for immortal life. But she didn’t think about her deal carefully.

Giving up her soul at the end of this Faustian deal is no real bargain. Instead, it’s more of a curse, a curse to be forgotten by everyone she meets, even her family. From the early 1700s of France to the modern day in New York City, Addie La Rue lives on the sidelines with no one to know her or even speak her name.

Every man or woman she falls in love with over the years will never remember her. But she protests in small ways, leaving impressions in art and music across time.

But that all changes when she meets a bookseller named Henry, Henry, who remembers her and can say her name. They fall in love, but Henry has secrets of his own.

In the meantime, a considerable part of the story is her relationship with the devil character named Luc. Does he love her? Does Addie love him? It’s a dark and toxic romance but makes for an interesting read.

Overall, the story of Addie LaRue is vividly told with lyrical writing, immersive historical detail, and deep characterization. That said, don’t come here for the love story (sometimes Addie spends perhaps too much time reminiscing about her sex life over the years).

I don’t love the love story or Henry, for that matter, who is bland and uninteresting. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is more of a tale of immortality. This is the story of Addie LaRue.

Adaptation Recommendation: 

An epic movie adaptation would work best for this creative and unique novel.

Content Note: There is strong language sprinkled throughout the book. Furthermore, in Addie’s past, she had to prostitute herself to survive. There are few scenes of sexuality.

Four corsets rating
Three corsets rating
REVIEW FIVE

It All Comes Back to You by Farah Naz Rishi

It All Comes Back to You Book Cover

Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Genres: YA Contemporary, Romance, Rom-Com, Coming-of-Age

Publication Date: September 14, 2021, by Quill Tree Books (HarperCollins)

Official Synopsis

Two exes must revisit their past after their siblings start dating in this rom-com perfect for fans of Sandhya Menon and Morgan Matson.

After Kiran Noorani’s mom died, Kiran vowed to keep her dad and sister, Amira, close—to keep her family together. But when Amira announces that she’s dating someone, Kiran’s world is turned upside down.

Deen Malik is thrilled that his brother, Faisal, has found a great girlfriend. Maybe a new love will give Faisal a new lease on life, and Deen can stop feeling guilty for the reason that Faisal needs a do-over in the first place.

When the families meet, Deen and Kiran find themselves face to face. Again. Three years ago—before Amira and Faisal met—Kiran and Deen dated in secret. Until Deen ghosted Kiran.

And now, after discovering hints of Faisal’s shady past, Kiran will stop at nothing to find answers. Deen just wants his brother to be happy—and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep Kiran from reaching the truth. Though the chemistry between Kiran and Deen is undeniable, can either of them take down their walls?

BOOK REVIEW BY AMBER:

If you were to take elements of You’ve Got Mail, mix it with Much Ado About Nothing, and When Dimple Met Rishi, you’d find It All Comes Back to You. It’s a charming desi YA rom-com about two exes that is really more of a coming-of-age novel than anything else. 

Farah Raz Rishi writes delightful prose full of authentic Muslim cultural references, entertaining plot twists, excellent characterization, and all with a distinct and engaging voice. Both teens and adults will enjoy this book – although be aware that It All Comes Back to You really is more of a realistic novel with romantic elements than a full-blown romance.

RELATED: When Dimple Met Rishi, a Sweet and Compelling Love Story

As far as the romance angle goes, the two main characters were at times frustrating (in part due to overzealous Parent-trap like scheming to break up a potential marriage and other misunderstandings), but ultimately, I rooted for them to find their way through the challenges of life – and hopefully back to each other. 

Overall, if you’re looking for an emotional YA story with romance and layered characters, you can’t go wrong with It All Comes Back to You

Adaptation Recommendation: 

A Netflix movie would be perfect for this book – adding to their already growing teen romance movie collection.

Content Note: While there is nothing explicit in this novel, there is strong language (including some ‘f’ words), anxiety, emotional abuse, and the death of a parent.

Four corsets rating
Three Vintage Hearts Rating
REVIEW SIX

The Orphan Witch by Paige Crutcher

Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

Genres: Fantasy, Witches, Paranormal Romance

Publication Date: September 28, 2021, by St. Martin’s Griffin (Macmillan)

Official Synopsis

A deeper magic. A stronger curse. A family lost…and found.

Persephone May has been alone her entire life. Abandoned as an infant and dragged through the foster care system, she wants nothing more than to belong somewhere. To someone. However, Persephone is as strange as she is lonely. Unexplainable things happen when she’s around—changes in weather, inanimate objects taking flight—and those who seek to bring her into their family quickly cast her out. To cope, she never gets attached, never makes friends. And she certainly never dates. Working odd jobs and always keeping her suitcases half-packed, Persephone is used to moving around, leaving one town for another when curiosity over her eccentric behavior inevitably draws unwanted attention.

After an accidental and very public display of power, Persephone knows it’s time to move on once again. It’s lucky, then, when she receives an email from the one friend she’s managed to keep, inviting her to the elusive Wile Isle. The timing couldn’t be more perfect. However, upon arrival, Persephone quickly discovers that Wile is no ordinary island. In fact, it just might hold the very things she’s been searching for her entire life.

Answers. Family. Home.

And some things she did not want. Like 100-year-old curses and an even older family feud. With the clock running out, love might be the magic that saves them all.

BOOK REVIEW BY AUTUMN:

Persephone May has no one, and strange things always happen to the people nearby. With no family, no friends, and boyfriend, Persephone is excited to be invited to Wile Island by someone she once knew.

Here, she not only discovers family but also learns she’s a witch, a witch who may have the power to break a terrible curse.

As she learns to control her magic, she enters strange worlds and dimensions, meeting a man in a magical library who can’t leave. Of course, romance deepens between them during her visits.

In the meantime, an evil is emerging as a feud deepens between family members on the island. Can Persephone save everyone and break the curse before it’s too late?

Overall, The Orphan Witch is a cozy and entertaining magical story perfect for fans of Alice Hoffman or The Secret Circle. While imperfect (some parts drag slightly in the middle), this story about sisterhood is an enjoyable, witchy read. Plus, the last third of the book is fantastic.

Adaptation Recommendation: 

A film adaptation would be perfect for this cozy read!

Content Note: There’s some cursing in the book. Nothing overly graphic.

Four corsets rating
Four Vintage Hearts Rating

Are you interested in reading any of these books? Have you read any of these fiction books before? What did you think? Do you agree with our book reviews? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


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By on October 16th, 2021

About Amber Topping

Amber works as a blogger/writer full-time and fell in love with stories and imagination at an early age. She has a Humanities and Film Degree from BYU, co-created The Silver Petticoat Review, contributed as a writer to various magazines, and has an MS in Publishing from Pace University, where she received the Publishing Award of Excellence and wrote her thesis on transmedia, Jane Austen, and the romance genre. Her ultimate dreams are publishing books, writing and producing movies, traveling around the world, and forming a creative village of talented storytellers trying to change the world through art.

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