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Month: December 2020

Book Review: The Answer Is…: Reflections on My Life by Alex Trebek

Book Review: The Answer Is…: Reflections on My Life by Alex Trebek


The Answer Is…: Reflections on My Life by Alex Trebek
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jeopardy was a huge part of my childhood. It seemed like every time I visited my grandparents, which was everyday, Jeopardy was on. It’s how I learned to embrace my huge thirst for and retention of useless trivia. Because it’s not totally useless if it could potentially help you win on Jeopardy one day, right? It’s why the only team I joined in school was Quiz Bowl, and why Quiz Bowl captain was one of my favorite things to list on college applications. It’s part of the bond I share with the aforementioned grandparents, who are two of my favorite people on the planet. And Alex Trebek has been the face of it all for my entire life. News of his passing hit my family hard, as he felt more like a friend than a celebrity. He is mourned and will be deeply missed by legions, myself and those I love most among them.

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Book Review: Dragon Mage (Rivenworld, #1) by M.L. Spencer

Book Review: Dragon Mage (Rivenworld, #1) by M.L. Spencer

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ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Cover art illustrated by: Sutthiwat Dechakamphu

Cover designed by: STK.Kreations

Dragon Mage by M.L. Spencer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Rivenworld (Book #1)
Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 986 pages (Kindle)

Published: 8th January 2021 by Stoneguard Publications (Self-published/Indie)


This was awesome. Spencer takes everything we love about classic epic fantasy and put it into Dragon Mage, transforming the novel into an incredible, epic, and satisfying fantasy book.

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Book Review: The Guest List by Lucy Foley

Book Review: The Guest List by Lucy Foley


The Guest List by Lucy Foley
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Mysteries are one of those hit-or-miss genres for me. Sometimes I’m able to guess the big twist or outcome or both within the first 100 pages, and then lose my patience with the rest of the narrative and the cast for not getting there faster. Sometimes the author includes wild twists for the sake of sensationalism that come out of left and field couldn’t have been predicted. Both types of mystery novels drive me a little crazy. The Guest List was neither of those. Told in a way that leaves you guessing without the sensationalism and populated with an interesting group of characters, I was invested through the final pages.

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Book review: Asperfell by Jamie Thomas

Book review: Asperfell by Jamie Thomas

Asperfell by Jamie Thomas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Book #2 is being written, no information on the name of the series yet

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Published: February 18th 2020 by Uproar Books

ARC received via Netgalley in exchange for an honest opinion. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and the quotes included may have changed in the released copy.

 

What an utterly charming and engrossing debut.

<blockquote><i><b>“Whispers in the dark.
The dead keep the secrets of the living.</b></i></blockquote>

Asperfell was a surprising and enchanting tale, and made even more so by the flawless writing. Jamie Thomas took a risk with her prose. With its classic sophistication, it could have come across as pompous or out of fashion. But instead, it felt surprisingly fresh and suitable to the atmosphere (in the first half rather regency-inspired and then bordering on gothic in the second half). The writing flew seamlessly and elegantly and retained a classic charm with no trace of the dullness or prolixity that makes some classics so unapproachable or difficult to read.

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Book Review: The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

Book Review: The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

Genre: Mystery, historical fiction

Published: 1st October 2020 by Raven Books (Bloomsbury Publishing, UK), 6th October 2020 by Sourcebooks Landmark (US)


Atmospheric as hell and brilliantly crafted, Stuart Turton’s sophomore release, The Devil and the Dark Water, was one of the best mystery novels I’ve ever read, and it solidly cemented his status as a must-read author for me.

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Book Review: The Lives of Saints (Grishaverse) by Leigh Bardugo

Book Review: The Lives of Saints (Grishaverse) by Leigh Bardugo


The Lives of Saints by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an audio copy of this book from the publisher, Macmillan Audio, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

“I was never truly awake until I began to dream of other worlds.”

The Lives of Saints is a fascinating collection of short stories about, well, the lives of saints, that I’m sure will add greatly to the world building of Bardugo’s Grishaverse. Incredibly reminiscent of books about the lives of Catholic saints, but with more of a fairytale feel, I found the collection charming. I loved the combination of religious and fantastical. The stories are formulaic in the best sense of the word. A collection like this in the real world is supposed to be for spiritual edification first and entertainment second, so I can only assume that’s the feel that Bardugo was going for. However, these were far from dry, and were without a doubt entertaining.

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Book Review: The Captive by Fiona King Foster

Book Review: The Captive by Fiona King Foster


The Captive by Fiona King Foster
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, Ecco, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Captive is a compelling, intriguing thriller. The plot moves along quickly. Rustic noir isn’t a subgenre I’ve come across before, and that mixed with the slightly dystopian setting kept me interested. The writing was solid. Unfortunately, it left me dissatisfied.

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Book Review: Hollywood Park by Mikel Jollett

Book Review: Hollywood Park by Mikel Jollett

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Hollywood Park: A Memoir by Mikel Jollett

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Standalone

Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir

Pages: 384 pages (Hardcover)

Published: 26th May 2020 by Celadon Books


A heartbreaking and beautifully written memoir.

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Book Review: The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

Book Review: The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton


The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Devil and the Dark Water is a wonderful spin on a nautical mystery in the style of Sherlock Holmes. Featuring a stellar cast, a rich and atmospheric setting, chilling brushes with the supernatural and a grippingly paced plot, this was everything one could possibly hope for from a mystery novel. I found it incredibly clever, satisfyingly twisty and deliciously suspenseful. And it had an ending I didn’t see coming. Honestly, I couldn’t ask for more.

“Questions are swords and answers are shields… I’m begging you, armor yourself.”

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Book Review: Escaping Dreamland by Charlie Lovett

Book Review: Escaping Dreamland by Charlie Lovett


Escaping Dreamland by Charlie Lovett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an audio copy of this book from the publisher, Blackstone Publishing, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This time of year, all I want to do is cozy up with a book that’s going to suck me in and keep me distracted from the cold. And there’s nothing cozier in my opinion than a literary mystery. Any time a book or an author takes centerstage in a plot, I’m excited. That excitement often leaves me disappointed, as I tend to expect too much of these books for some reason. But sometimes I get my hands on a book that delivers. Escaping Dreamland is one such book. This is the first Charlie Lovett novel I’ve read, but it certainly won’t be my last.

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