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Author: Celeste

Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #2)

Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #2)

Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“There are some lessons that must be written in scars.”

Grey Sister is an action-packed thrill ride that packs a heavy emotional punch. It’s everything a second book in a trilogy should be. So many writers miss that mark when it comes to a middle book, but not so with this series. There was not a single chapter that felt boggy or unimportant to me; I was entranced by every page. Lawrence took the story and relationships he crafted in Red Sister and managed to make them both more playful and more poignant and, most importantly, more powerful. I have never come across another fictional character to whom friendship is more important and personality-defining as it is with Nona Grey. I think this quote illustrates that importance beautifully:

“Those…are my friends and I would die for them. I would face a terror for them that I haven’t the courage to stand against on my own behalf.”

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In an Absent Dream (Wayward Children, #4)

In an Absent Dream (Wayward Children, #4)

In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. While I appreciate the gift, the giving of it in no way impacted my opinion.

“Your name is your heart, and you don’t give your heart away.”

In an Absent Dream is heartbreaking in the most beautiful way. McGuire gives us a story that early readers of the Wayward Children series already know ends in tragedy, but she does so in a way that maintains both interest and, amazingly, hope. I honestly didn’t think Down Among the Sticks and Bones could be topped, but I stand corrected. What a way to start off 2019.

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Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #1)

Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #1)

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“It’s not until you’re broken that you find your sharpest edge.”

Upon rereading both the novel and my review of it, I stand beside every word written below. This is a phenomenal story that has catapulted itself into the company of my very favorite books.

I was late to the Mark Lawrence game. And I was missing out. Red Sister is Lawrence’s seventh full-length novel, and the first in a new series entitled “Book of the Ancestor.” Reading his other trilogies has definitely made its way onto my agenda, because this book was fantastic. I am so insanely excited to continue reading Nona’s story.

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I Hate Fairyland: Book One

I Hate Fairyland: Book One

I Hate Fairyland: Book One by Skottie Young
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I laughed so hard while reading this. And grimaced. And laughed some more.

Imagine that, as a six-year-old girl (work with me here, guys), you stumble into a portal leading to a magical realm called Fairyland. It’s a marvelous world of cuteness and candy, and the residents are pleased to share it for a little while as you complete your quest. What quest, you ask? A quest for a key, the only way to unlock the door back to your world. There’s only one problem:

You really suck at quests.

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Of Blood and Bone (Chronicles of the One, #2)

Of Blood and Bone (Chronicles of the One, #2)

Of Blood and Bone by Nora Roberts
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am completely blown away by Nora’s newest venture. Chronicles of the One is a perfect blending of post-apocalyptic dystopia and epic fantasy. The fact that Nora, after decades of writing romance laced with tendrils of the supernatural, would take such a giant leap into writing a radically different story, is commendable. The fact that she not only pulled it off by absolutely nailed it commands respect. She has mine.

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Year One (Chronicles of the One, #1)

Year One (Chronicles of the One, #1)

Year One by Nora Roberts
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You had me scared there for a while, Nora, but you came through. Just in a way that was different from what I was expecting.

Have you ever picked up a book by an author you love and when you start reading it you keep having to remind yourself that said author wrote it? That was what I struggled with at the beginning of this book. Yes, the writing style I had come to love was still undoubtedly present. There’s just something about Nora’s prose that always resonates with me. As I’ve stated in previous reviews of her work, Nora’s novel’s are like a bubble bath for my brain; they’re what I turn to when I’m stressed or sick or just in the mood for comfort.

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Leverage in Death (In Death, #47)

Leverage in Death (In Death, #47)

Leverage in Death by J.D. Robb
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

There is something about Nora’s writing, both as herself and as J.D. Robb, that hooks me from the first sentence and doesn’t let me go until I’ve read the final chapter. So it’s no surprise that Leverage in Death worked incredibly well for me and broke my first ever (and hopefully last!) reading slump. While I’ve picked up some great books in the past month, nothing grabbed me enough to entice me further into its pages. I should’ve known that Nora would prove to be the cure to my dilemma.

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Rise of the Mystics (Beyond the Circle, #2)

Rise of the Mystics (Beyond the Circle, #2)

Rise of the Mystics by Ted Dekker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rise of the Mystics truly elevates Dekker’s body of work, somehow both shattering and fulfilling the core of his Circle series. The issues that I had with The 49th Mystic, namely that the dialogue often felt stilted and that certain elements of Rachelle’s journey seemed too convenient, weren’t present here. I don’t know if there was a legitimate change or if I had just been reading starker prose than normal, but Dekker’s actual writing style seemed greatly improved, as well. There was a flow to his prose that has been missing for a while, and the plot seemed to flow more naturally instead of feeling forced to take a certain path. I also really appreciated that this book picked up exactly where the first book ended, and that Dekker provided a quick recap of important events from The 49th Mystic at the beginning. Both of these decisions show a thoughtfulness in regards to the reader that authors sometimes overlook, and I respect authors when they take the time to include things like recaps and casts of characters and glossaries.

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The 49th Mystic (Beyond the Circle, #1)

The 49th Mystic (Beyond the Circle, #1)

The 49th Mystic by Ted Dekker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ted Dekker will always have a very special place in my heart. His stories have inspired me and shaped my faith since I was a teenager, and I’ll always be grateful to them for the way they revealed truth to me in new and vibrant ways. His books will always have a shelf in my house. I can’t tell you how excited I was to hear that Dekker was returning to the world of the Circle, the series that impacted my faith more than anything else outside of the Bible I’ve ever read.

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The Amityville Horror

The Amityville Horror

The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There’s no place like home. As long as that home isn’t trying to eat you.

This book proved true the idea that, sometimes, fact is stranger than fiction. I had no earthly idea before last week that this was (billed as) a nonfiction book. Seriously?! I’ve always had this fascination with the macabre and the unexplained, so I would’ve read this book long ago had I known that it wasn’t entirely fictional. (Yes, I’m aware that the book has since been proven to be only loosely based on the truth, but it’s way more fun to pretend that it’s true while reading it!) I think there’s a reason the fictional horror genre is so successful and draws so many readers and viewers; horror speaks to the fear we have of the unknown and the unexplainable. We like the thrill of watching or reading worst case scenarios while knowing that we are safe from them.

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