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Author: Celeste

Elevation

Elevation

Elevation by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Gravity is the anchor that pulls us down into our graves.”

Elevation is not your typical Stephen King book. First of all, it’s a tiny thing clocking in at fewer than 150 pages. Compared to most of King’s published works, that’s insanely short. He does have some wonderful novellas and short stories, but when a man known for publishing doorstoppers like IT, 11/22/63, Under the Dome, and The Stand publishes something that can be read in a day, it seems like a pretty radical difference. Second, this is not a horror story. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely strange, but it didn’t strike me as horror. Instead, it was bittersweetly moving, focusing on friendship and its ability to get us through even the toughest of times.

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Foundryside (Founders, #1)

Foundryside (Founders, #1)

Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“All things have a value. Sometimes the value is paid in coin. Other times, it is pain in time and sweat. And finally, sometimes it is paid in blood.

Humanity seems most eager to use this latter currency. And we never note how much of it we’re spending, unless it happens to be our own.”

Foundryside is radically different from Bennett’s Divine Cities series, which served as my introduction to his work. There was an almost flippant lightness to this book, whereas the Divine Cities novels had a philosophical weight to them that gave them immense power and a lasting presence in my mind. I thoroughly enjoyed Foundryside, but it’s not a book I’ll still be mulling over weeks or months from now.

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Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m going to be honest; this isn’t a book I really intended on reading. Contemporary and chick lit aren’t genres that I visit very often, unless they’re written by Nora Roberts. The only reason I decided to pick this up is because I want to watch the HBO series, and I have this thing about not watching a show or movie until I read the material that inspired it. Whatever my reason for giving it a try, I’m very glad I did. I would have been missing out. Big Little Lies is fun and insanely addictive, perfect for reality television junkies or anyone who loves watching train wrecks and happily ever afters in equal measure.

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Wild Country (The World of the Others, #2; The Others, #7)

Wild Country (The World of the Others, #2; The Others, #7)

Wild Country by Anne Bishop
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“We are here. We are different but we stand united to protect our home. We are different but we protect our families by blood or by heart. We are different but not alone. Never alone.

We are here.”

Wild Country is a fun return to a world I came to love years ago, but from a side that felt fresh and new and even more dangerous than the original series. It was more vicious than preceding books, though it still maintained the simplicity that first made this world so appealing. However, the brutality and setting hardened some of the softness that made the original series so intriguing, and the inclusion of more sex and language than was used in previous books gave this new community a more jaded and less trusting level of interaction than the Courtyard that so entranced me in Meg Corbyn’s story.

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Finders Keepers (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #2)

Finders Keepers (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #2)

Finders Keepers by Stephen King
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I had no plans to pick this book up because I was so disappointed in Mr. Mercedes, the first book in the trilogy. (You can read my Goodreads review of that book here.) My major complaint with that book was its blandness; it just felt incredibly forgettable to me. Not so with Finders Keepers. In this story we have a much more multifaceted plot and, even better, a plot that revolves around books!

I’m a huge sucker for books about books. Even though Finders Keepers is at its core a suspense and a crime drama, fiction played a huge role in the story. A Salinger-esque author has hidden himself from the world, but continues to handwrite more stories and poems and essays, locking the notebooks away in his safe instead of sharing them with the public. When he’s murdered and the notebooks go missing, the author becomes even more cloaked in mystery.

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Bloody Rose (The Band, #2)

Bloody Rose (The Band, #2)

Nicholas Eames
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

The world is big, the young are restless, and girls just want to have fun.

Bloody Rose made me feel all of the feelings; I want to follow Tam’s lead and sing its praises from the rooftops. Kings of the Wyld was incredibly fun, and I expected the same from its followup, but Eames managed to pull on my heartstrings with Bloody Rose in ways that his first novel did not. I picked up Bloody Rose excited to embark on an Easter egg hunt for classic rock and other pop culture references. While I found what I was looking for in spades, Eames delivered so much more than that. I read the last twenty pages or so through a veil of tears, which is the opposite of what I expected going in.

“Glory fades. Gold slips through our fingers like water, or sand. Love is the only thing worth fighting for.”

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The Mist

The Mist

The Mist by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Mist is another of King’s works that, like Carrie, has become such an integral part of society’s collective consciousness regarding fear that it’s become almost cliche. And, as with Carrie, my visit to the Mist completely altered my perception of a story I thought I knew. In my opinion, it went a long towards explaining why King chooses to end stories the way he does, which I’ll get into later. All that being said, The Mist is a quick little journey into the frightened mind, a dissection of mob mentality and the way fear plays itself out within a group of strangers who are thrown together by sudden and unexplained danger. It’s disturbing and thoughtful and does a fantastic job of putting readers in the shoes of its characters.

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Kings of the Wyld (The Band, #1)

Kings of the Wyld (The Band, #1)

Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Man, this was so much fun!!

First of all, I love classic rock. Like, a lot. Seriously, the soundtrack of my childhood consisted largely of Queen, Journey, Styx, Foreigner, and other bands of their ilk. Saturday mornings are still meant for “Your Love” by The Outfield and “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield.

So, when my friends started gushing about a fantasy novel filled with musical references from one of my favorite eras, and promising that it was funny to boot, I added it to my list. But something else always seemed to grab my attention, and it stayed unread on my list for months. That is, until my lovely friend Petrik sent me a copy as a surprise early Christmas gift. With my very own copy in hand, I finally cracked KotW open. And I’m so glad that I did!

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Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer, #2)

Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer, #2)

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Muse of Nightmares is another lovely display of Taylor’s craftsmanship. It continues a story that is pretty and romantic and moving, a story that began in Strange the Dreamer, the other half of this duology. Unfortunately, it didn’t pack quite the same punch as its predecessor. Don’t get me wrong; it’s still a lovely novel. But the first novel was stunningly tangible, and this follow-up felt more like a phantom of that loveliness instead. Which is a comparison that is appropriate on multiple levels, as you’ll see if you choose to read this. And you definitely should read this, if you’ve read Strange the Dreamer. While I might not think it was quite as strong as the first installment, it still provided a satisfying ending encased in Taylor’s exquisite prose.

“It was better than any story he’d ever read. It was like being inside a story and writing it all around you, and not alone but with someone who just happened to be as magical and beautiful as a fairy tale made real.”

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Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

Upon a second reading, I absolutely stand by everything I wrote in this review. Strange the Dreamer remains one of the most beautiful, lush novels I’ve had the pleasure of reading. The romance is star-crossed, which I’m not usually a fan of but which was heartbreakingly lovely in this story. I love this book so much and am so excited to start the next installment. Side note: I listened to the audio version for my reread and it was gorgeous. I highly recommend the audio if you plan to reread this. Now, on to the original review!

This was probably the most romantic story I’ve ever read. I read and really enjoyed Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, but this book was far superior in every way. The characters, the plot, the setting, and the romance were captivating. The writing itself was among some of the most exquisite I’ve ever had the pleasure to read.

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