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Author: Celeste

Fairy Tale (The Temple Chronicles, #0.5)

Fairy Tale (The Temple Chronicles, #0.5)

Fairy Tale by Shayne Silvers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fairy Tale is the prequel to the Nate Temple Chronicles by Shayne Silvers, and is the first piece I’ve read from the series or the author. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The snark level here is exactly what I’m looking for when I choose to read urban fantasy. When I start gravitating toward UF, my life is generally becoming hectic in some sense. I go to UF because I know that I will almost always deliver fast-pasted, well plotted stories with a dynamic cast of characters and, in the best case scenario, a plucky protagonist who wields sarcasm as a weapon whom I can look forward to revisiting again and again as UF series tend to be long in installments instead of hefty books.

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Carrie

Carrie

Carrie by Stephen King
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

In a sense, Carrie is the book that launched a thousand nightmares. This was King’s first ever novel and, while not his scariest, we would have never been exposed to the tales that have terrified millions without it. I feel that Carrie deserves respect for that reason alone, but I confess that I was hesitant to pick it up. Often, when you find an author you love later in their career, going back to their first published forays into their craft can be a bit disappointing as their writing abilities have improved or at least changed over the course of that career. I needn’t have worried. Every page completely entranced me, and I was engaged through the very last page.

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I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life

I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life

I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’d Rather Be Reading is a light, sweet little ode to books and the joys they contain. Though the cover is lovely and the title immediately resonated with me, I might never have known it existed if not for the author’s podcast. For those who are unaware, Anne Bogel runs a popular blog by the name of Modern Mrs. Darcy, as well as my very favorite podcast appropriately named What Should I Read Next? On this podcast, she interviews book lovers from all walks of life and readerly tastes. After giving us a chance to get to know these readers a bit she asks them to tell her three books they love, one book they don’t, and what they’ve been reading lately. Using these answers, Anne gives each person a list of three books they might love in hopes they will choose to read at least one of these next.

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Magic for Beginners

Magic for Beginners

Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Something I’ve noticed over the course of my recent reading life is that, if you’re in the mood for weird, you should definitely look into short story collections. Some of the strangest and most memorable fiction I’ve read in the past five years or so have been short stories. This is not a format I thought I enjoyed, as I prefer to dig more deeply into a story than twenty pages or so can accommodate.

Honestly, I probably never would have given short stories the chance they deserved if it weren’t for the fact that I started writing my own, and the fact that Neil Gaiman reads his own collections in their audio format. For those of you who aren’t aware, Gaiman has an incredibly smooth, sultry, expressive reading voice, very similar to Benedict Cumberbatch in my opinion. Listening to him read his own work is a fantastic auditory treat.

Because I’ve enjoyed Gaiman’s short stories so much, I decided it was time to try out some other authors known for their short stories. After doing some research, I decided on Kelly Link, as she’s a big name in both the short story form and the literary fantasy and horror genres. I’m so glad I did. While I didn’t love every story in this collection, there were quite I few that I really enjoyed. Below I’ve given each story its own tiny review. Overall, I think they came together to create a strong collected work.

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Relic (Pendergast, #1)

Relic (Pendergast, #1)

Relic by Douglas Preston
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

My introduction to Preston and Child was unfortunately lackluster. I found Relic to be solidly okay, the literary equivalent of tuning into a television show just to let it serve as background noise. While the premise was interesting and isn’t something I’ll be forgetting anytime soon, I just couldn’t make myself care. There were two main contributors to this lack of interest: poor characterization and an overabundance of science.

Let me start with the science first. This is very much a personal preference thing. Anytime a book begins getting very scientific in its content, I just start tuning out. It’s why I stay away from hard science fiction. I know that many people love when there is science present to back up a wild claim that is central to the plot, as it helps readers suspend their disbelief in the moment.

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Holy Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #3)

Holy Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #3)

Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

I received an advanced copy of this novel from the publisher. While I am thankful for the gift, the giving of it had no impact on this review. All views below are completely my own.

Holy Sister keeps you on the edge of your seat from the first page. It’s an incredibly smart conclusion to a standout, action-packed series, with heartbreak and triumph mingled on nearly every page. I can’t remember the last time I felt so satisfied upon finishing a book.

“Some lessons must be written in scars.”

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You

You

You by Caroline Kepnes
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I turn on my Kindle and there you are. Waiting for me. Teasing me with your lovely cover and interesting premise. Taunting me.

“I’m a show on Netflix now,” you say. “I’ll understand if you just want to watch me instead of reading me first.”

But you know I won’t do that. You read me as clearly as you know I’ll be reading you. You tease me because you know I can’t help but give into you.

Dirty, compelling, popular

You.

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The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia, #2)

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia, #2)

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Once a king or queen of Narnia, always a king or queen of Narnia.”

This book has always been so special to me. I know that a lot of people read it as children without knowing about the allegorical aspects, and that some of these people feel tricked or even betrayed when they learn of those elements as adults. These readers were there for the fantasy of the story, and for it alone. I came to Narnia for wholly different reasons.

This review is really going to be more of an exploration of my faith and how this book impacted it. While I definitely am not trying to preach at anyone, you might want to avoid the rest of this review if you’re triggered by or sensitive regarding overtly Christian topics.

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Never Die

Never Die

Never Die by Rob J. Hayes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In honor of its impending release, we wanted to remind everyone about Rob Hayes’ new standalone, Never Die. What better way to do that than reviewing it again?

Never Die is hands down the best book Rob Hayes has written to date, and this is coming from someone who has really enjoyed everything I’ve read from him. It’s been a while since a book was so addictive that it kept me up late into the night because I needed to read just one more chapter, and it was an experience I relished with this book. It’s undoubtedly one of the best Asian-inspired fantasies I’ve read, as well as one of the best self-published works I’ve come across. His title as winner of SPFBO (Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off) 2017 is well deserved.

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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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