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Author: Celeste

Book Review: Ghosts of Harvard by Francesca Serritella

Book Review: Ghosts of Harvard by Francesca Serritella


Ghosts of Harvard by Francesca Serritella
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher (Random House) and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Ghosts of Harvard completely blew me away. At its core, it houses such a poignant window into mental illness and the victims it leaves behind when those struggling with it take their own lives. The portrayal of grief is brutal and beautiful and real. And yet this story is so much more than that. As she explores the Harvard campus on which her brother took his own life, Cady is faced with a plethora of mysteries. While her brother’s last days consume her from the start, she also finds herself digging into the university’s past as she grapples with fear over her own future. Ghosts of Harvard is a brilliant and seamless bridging of so many ideas and genres. I am in awe of how much research went into the writing of this book, and how Serritella was able to convey so much without a single aspect feeling forced. She struck a perfect balance in so many ways, and she truly gave the world a gift through the publication of this novel.

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Book Review: The Girl and the Stars (Book of the Ice, #1)

Book Review: The Girl and the Stars (Book of the Ice, #1)


The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher (Ace) in exchange for an honest review.

“Many babies have killed, but it is very rare that the victim is not their mother.”

So begins Mark Lawrence’s newest novel, The Girl and the Stars. As always, Lawrence knows how to captivate an audience and set the tone for the book all within the first sentence. We know immediately that Yaz of the Ictha, our perspective character, is an uncommon child. On the Ice, difference can be a death sentence. And not just because those differences often render their bearer vulnerable, but because children who are too different, broken in the eyes of their elders, end up being tossed into the Pit. And that is the end that Yaz envisions for herself with a hard clarity. But when the time comes for her to face the push that will send her into the abyss, things go differently that she had always imagined. What she fully expected to be the end of her story turned out to be its true beginning.

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Book Review: Heroes: The Greek Myths Reimagined by Stephen Fry

Book Review: Heroes: The Greek Myths Reimagined by Stephen Fry


Heroes: The Greek Myths Reimagined by Stephen Fry
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher (Chronicle Books) and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Stephen Fry is such a treasure. There’s something about his style of storytelling that can make even the most grotesque tales a delight to read. And when given the opportunity to listen to him reading his own words, I never pass it up. His verbal storytelling is even more entertaining than his writing, and I so enjoyed being able to simultaneously read and listen to this book and its prequel, Mythos.

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Book Review: Beach Read by Emily Henry

Book Review: Beach Read by Emily Henry


Beach Read by Emily Henry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beach Read is basically a Hallmark movie but better. Way better. If I were asked to describe the book in one word, that word would be: AWWW. It was sweet and heartfelt and incredibly funny, with enough drama and depth to keep itself from becoming overly saccharine. The romance was made even better by the fact that it was between two writers.

“And that was the moment I realized: when the world felt dark and scary, love could whisk you off to go dancing; laughter could take some of the pain away; beauty could punch holes in your fear. I decided then that my life would be full of all three.”

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Book Review: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Book Review: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett


Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bel Canto is a beautiful novel. I’ve never read Ann Patchett before, but I quickly became infatuated with her storytelling over the course of this novel. To be completely honest, this was a 5 star read until the last ten pages. I shouldn’t have been so blindsided by the climactic events. The story does, after all, revolve around opera. But I was indeed blindsided. I feel slightly scarred. It was still a great book, and one that I might even read again someday, but the list of people to whom I would recommend it shrunk significantly in those last pages.

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Book Review: The Iliad by Homer

Book Review: The Iliad by Homer


The Iliad by Homer
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Hallelujah. It’s over. Well, at least The Iliad is, though the story continues in The Odyssey. I had forgotten how much the beginning of this epic sounds like a giant group of toddlers fighting over toys. These toddlers just happen to command warships and armies, and the toys happen to be women they view as war prizes. Frankly, it’s disgusting. If these idiotic “heroes” would just view women as actual people who can make their own decisions instead of pretty toys over which to wage war, every single event in this story could have been avoided. Had they just asked Helen who she wanted to be with and respected that decision, hundreds of lives would have been saved. The amount of bloodshed over the “taking” of this woman is just insanely wasteful, even if it’s fictional.

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Book Review: The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison

Book Review: The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison


The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher (Tor) and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Angel of the Crows is basically Sherlock fan-fiction. I can’t even say it’s thinly veiled, because it isn’t veiled at all. And I am completely okay with that.

“I may be on the side of the angels, but don’t think for a second that I am one of them.”
– BBC’s Sherlock

There were a couple of pretty big twists here and there, but for the most part this book is a collection of faithful retellings of some of Doyle’s original Sherlock Holmes stories. A Study in Scarlet, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Sign of Four, The Adventure of the Speckled Band, and more are covered in this collection. The still unsolved case of Jack the Ripper, which has been included or alluded to in many secondary works about Holmes written by other authors, is the thread which ties all of these separate cases into one cohesive narrative. But what sets this book apart from other Sherlockian stories outside of Doyle’s original canon is the author’s truly fascinating addition of the supernatural. This is not mere whiffs of supernatural in and around certain cases. Addison created a world in which the supernatural runs rampant and is accepted as reality but civilization at large.

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Book Review: Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

Book Review: Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson


Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nothing to See Here is one of the funniest books I’ve read in a long time. The tone is just hilarious. Lillian, the perspective character, is absolutely bonkers and I adore her. She’s tough and kooky and always afraid that she’s going to mess things up, and I just want to be her friend more than anything. This book is short and breezy without being shallow, and it completely transported me into this beyond weird circumstance in the midst of normalcy.

“I wasn’t destined for greatness; I knew this. But I was figuring out how to steal it from someone stupid enough to relax their grip on it.”

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Book Review: The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah

Book Review: The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah


The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

I came into The Great Alone expecting an adventure story. While there was indeed adventure in these pages, I found so much more than that. Hannah gives her readers a peak into not only Alaska, but into love in all its forms and scope and limitless variety. We see the love of a child for their parent and a parent for their child, and how far each would go to protect the other. We see romantic love so twisted that it becomes deadly to at least one party, and romantic love so strong and pure that it can conquer the worst adversities. We see the love that can grow within a community, and how family can form among completely unrelated people. And lacing all of these loves together, we see the love that nature can foster within a human heart, even when said nature is just as brutal and dangerous as it is stunningly beautiful.

“I think you stand by the people you love.”

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Book Review: Dear Edward, by Ann Napolitano

Book Review: Dear Edward, by Ann Napolitano


Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I loved this book. The story ended up being so much more hopeful than I expected. Edward’s journey from normalcy to survival to learning to live again is incredibly encouraging to anyone who has ever undergone trauma. Because no matter what we’ve faced in our lives, next to none of us have ever undergone a tragedy quite like the one Edward endures.

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