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Author: Celeste

Book Review: Beartown (Beartown, #1) by Fredrik Backman

Book Review: Beartown (Beartown, #1) by Fredrik Backman


Beartown by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Hate can be a deeply stimulating emotion. The world becomes easier to understand and much less terrifying if you divide everything and everyone into friends and enemies, we and they, good and evil. The easiest way to unite a group isn’t through love, because love is hard, It makes demands. Hate is simple. So the first thing that happens in a conflict is that we choose a side, because that’s easier than trying to hold two thoughts in our heads at the same time. The second thing that happens is that we seek out facts that confirm what we want to believe – comforting facts, ones that permit life to go on as normal. The third is that we dehumanize our enemy.”

I would’ve never picked up this book had I not enjoyed another book of Backman’s so much. But Beartown couldn’t have been more different from A Man Called Ove; honestly, I wouldn’t have even guessed they were by the same author. That being said, they were both masterfully done. A Man Called Ove made my heart swollen and tender in the best way. Beartown shattered my heart and sharpened the fragments into deadly shrapnel that threatened to rip into those I love. It absolutely wrecked me. And not at all in a healthy, cathartic way. No, I wasn’t myself the entire time I was reading this. I was barely suppressed rage.

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Book Review: The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep

Book Review: The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep


The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H.G. Parry
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher (Orbit US/Redhook) in exchange for an honest review.

It’s.
Not.
Fair.
I know that life isn’t.
But stories are. Or if they’re not fair, they’re not fair with purpose.
I wish I could tell better where stories end and life begins.

Sometimes you just need to escape into a good book. But if you’re Charles Sutherland, sometimes you inadvertently facilitate the escape of fictional characters into the real world. Imagine being able to read out your favorite character from a story and have an actual conversation with them. That sounds like a dream come true for most bookworms, but it’s been a nightmare that Rob, Charley’s big brother and our first person perspective character, has spent his life trying to avoid. He’s had to clean up Charley’s fictional messes a multitude of times throughout his life, but the current fictional mess they find themselves in is the zaniest and more far reaching, and frankly the most dangerous, that the Sutherland family has ever faced. Their world is going to be changed forever if they can’t figure out a way to thwart what’s coming.

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Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing

Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing


Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have very strong feelings regarding Southern fiction. I love Louisiana and the entirety of the American South. In my opinion, there’s something magical and incredibly atmospheric about the South. However, I also see the failings of the area, the poverty and lack of education and propensity to hate whatever is different. It’s the kind of place where people will bend over backwards to help a person in need, but only if said person is an accepted part of the community. People who are different are often met with ignorance, distrust, and judgment, and that’s if people decide to notice you at all. Southerners are old pros at pretending a problem doesn’t exist if they can just ignore it hard enough. Thankfully, my community has grown past this, and it far more accepting of those of different religions and ethnicities and sexualities than we were even a decade ago. Even here in the South, things can change.

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Book Review: Wanderers by Chuck Wendig

Book Review: Wanderers by Chuck Wendig


Wanderers by Chuck Wendig
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I really want to like this book. I tried so hard. But I just ended up actively disliking it, which makes me sad.

Wendig bit off something really vast with this novel, and he actually executed it very well. It’s been billed as an epic saga, and that’s a fair description. Wanderers is as large in scope as the novel it is most commonly compared to, Stephen King’s The Stand, and mirrors the novel in other ways, specifically in its inclusion of an apocalyptic epidemic, its varied cast of characters, and its cross country journey on foot. However, Wanderers was far more hopeless, to the point of nihilism. The elements that should have been hopeful ended up being among the darkest and most disturbing. Don’t get me wrong; there were moments of loveliness. But overall it ended up leaving me with a bad taste in my mouth. I also deeply hated the ending, and that further impacted my view of the book.

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Book Review: Under Currents by Nora Roberts

Book Review: Under Currents by Nora Roberts


Under Currents by Nora Roberts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m sure most everyone who follows my reviews has noticed this by now, but I really love Nora Roberts. I don’t tend to read all that much in the contemporary or romance genres, but she’s my exception. I’ve been reading my way through her back catalogue since I was fifteen or so, and for the past ten years have been reading her new releases as soon as I can get my hands on them. Now, she’s one of the few authors who is an insta-buy for me. While Under Currents didn’t blow me away, it was another strong offering that demonstrated to me once again that Nora seems incapable of producing a dud. She’s just awesome.

“The couldn’t take who we are away from us. We’re who we are despite them.”

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Book Review: The Sword of Kaigen (A Theonite War Story)

Book Review: The Sword of Kaigen (A Theonite War Story)


The Sword of Kaigen by M.L. Wang
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

I am so incredibly thankful to have made some wonderful book friends, and to be able to blog with those friends about the books we read. Whether we love the book or hate it, we’re going to share our opinions with each other. Often we polish up our opinion and make it as tactful as possible before sharing it with the world through our reviews, but behind the scenes we get to share exactly how we feel with each other, no matter how raw our viewpoint. Because of these backstage experiences, I know when a book truly blows one of my friends away, what book makes them struggle for words strong enough to express the love they have for it. The Sword of Kaigen is one of the best examples of this, and not one but three of my co-bloggers absolutely adored it with their entire being, so much so that they had trouble finding the words. I can’t think of a stronger endorsement than that. And I’m thrilled that their love for this book is now one more thing that we share.

“Better to die sharp in war than rust through a time of peace.”

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Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Time only blunts the pain of loss. It doesn’t erase it.”

I wasn’t immediately charmed by Eleanor Oliphant, but she completely won me over. Eleanor is a woman on her own, and she does just fine living her life alone, thank you very much. She comes across as awkward and prickly, but beneath the surface she longs for relationships more than she’ll let herself believe. But it’s hard to let anyone in when, beneath your hard exterior, you’re battling against a plethora of issues, from childhood trauma to suppressed grief to raging pain. As long as she adheres to her rigid schedule and keeps everyone at arms length, she can ignore the emotions churning within her. And if she keeps herself mildly drunk over the weekends, she can pretend that she’s completely fine.

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Book Review: A Man Called Ove

Book Review: A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

I remember when A Man Called Ove first took the book world by storm as a book in translation that everyone should read. Judging from the cover and synopsis, it didn’t at all seem like it would interest me. I’m not normally a lover of contemporary slice-of-life fiction. Give me dragons and magical libraries and quests to save the world from imminent doom any day of the week. As with everything, there have been notable exceptions, but A Man Called Ove didn’t strike me as a contender for that role. I can’t believe how wrong I was. This is a book that I loved so fervently that I honestly don’t have much to say about it. My words won’t be able to do it justice.

“Men are what they are because of what they do. Not what they say.”

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Book Review: Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader

Book Review: Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reading a book about books are among the coziest experiences a bookworm can have, in my opinion. Even if you don’t share all or many or any of the author’s views on books at all, there’s something about the knowledge that this person took the time to write an entire book for the soul purpose of expressing their fervent love for the medium that produces instant camaraderie between writer and reader.

“I have never been able to resist a book about books.”

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Book Review: The Dry (Aaron Fawk, #1)

Book Review: The Dry (Aaron Fawk, #1)

The Dry by Jane Harper
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

If I were asked to describe this book in one word, I would reply with a single syllable: meh. The Dry is a lauded debut with a respectably high rating, but I was obviously missing something. It wasn’t a bad book, I just couldn’t quite manage to connect.

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