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Author: Celeste

Skeleton Crew

Skeleton Crew

Skeleton Crew by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Stephen King is such a master storyteller. I’ve come to love him over the past few years, and I now count him among my favorite authors. I have to agree with the masses, however; King tends to fall flat when it comes to endings. Thankfully, that’s not really an issue when it comes to short stories. They’re not supposed to really end, which I think is a huge boon in King’s favor. As with Night Shift, the first of King’s short story collections I read, Skeleton Crew was chockfull of the interesting, terrifying, and uncomfortable. While not every story was a resounding success, there were far more hits among these twenty two installments than their were misses, and a handful of these stories will be staying with me for a good long while.

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The Ten Thousand Doors of January

The Ten Thousand Doors of January

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher (Orbit/Redhook) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

“Listen, not every story is made for telling. Sometimes just by telling a story you’re stealing it, stealing a little of the mystery away from it.”

The Ten Thousand Doors of January is quite possibly the most achingly beautiful novel I’ve ever read, and I find it mind-boggling that anything this lovely could possibly be a debut novel. There are a scant handful of novels I’ve experienced in my life (The Name of the Wind, The Resurrection of Joan Ashby, and The Night Circus come to mind) that were breathtaking debuts of this caliber, and they remain my very favorite books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. I’m so incredibly happy to add Alix E. Harrow’s novel to that list.

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Future Home of the Living God

Future Home of the Living God

Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

I wanted to like this book way more than I actually did. There were elements that I really enjoyed, don’t get me wrong. The premise was great, and the writing was masterful. It just didn’t land, unfortunately. While I didn’t hate this book, neither was I able to love it. It wasn’t bad; it was merely forgettable.

“We are so brief. A one-day dandelion. A seedpod skittering across the ice. We are a feather falling from the wing of a bird. I don’t know why it is given to us to be so mortal and to feel so much. It is a cruel trick, and glorious.”

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The Passage (The Passage, #1)

The Passage (The Passage, #1)

The Passage by Justin Cronin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Passage has been on my TBR list for years, but for some reason has always been pushed to the side in favor of something newer and shinier. Which is strange, because it contains a lot of elements that I really enjoy, or at least enjoy reading about, like vampires and the world spiraling into a dystopian apocalypse. Better late than never, I suppose. Once I finally picked this up, I was engrossed.

Before she became the Girl from Nowhere—the One Who Walked In, the First and Last and Only, who lived a thousand years—she was just a little girl in Iowa, named Amy. Amy Harper Bellafonte.

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Conversations with Oscar Wilde: A Fictional Dialogue Based on Biographical Facts

Conversations with Oscar Wilde: A Fictional Dialogue Based on Biographical Facts

Conversations with Oscar Wilde: A Fictional Dialogue Based on Biographical Facts by Merlin Holland
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I received an electronic copy of this book via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

“Give a man a mask and he will tell you the truth.”

I’ve adored Oscar Wilde for most of my life. My parents used to buy my six Great Illustrated Classics every Christmas, and my favorite of these when I was about eight was The Picture of Dorian Gray. I can’t even count how many times I read that little abridged classic, but I would say that number is in the literal dozens. In fact, I loved it so much that I was afraid of reading the unabridged classic as an adult, for fear that it wouldn’t measure up to the book I had loved so much as a child. I couldn’t have been more wrong, while the illustrated classic of my childhood gave me the story, it didn’t deliver Wilde’s prose. I had no idea what I was missing. Today, Wilde’s original, unabridged novel is one of my very favorite classics I’ve ever read.

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The Silent Patient

The Silent Patient

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Her silence was like a mirror—reflecting yourself back at you. And it was often an ugly sight.”

I feel that the domestic noir mystery novel has become almost cliche at this point. After Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl took the world by storm, a multitude of others poured forth that followed the same formula, whether by chance or purposeful emulation. I would consider The Silent Patient part of the same genre, but refreshingly different from many of its compatriots. The setting, the narrator, and the twists all felt unique, and combined in a way that actually surprised me. I especially enjoyed the psychology element, and the way the author ensured that we could see mental health issues and therapy from the points of view of both patients and doctors. Also, I appreciated the inclusion of an Ancient Greek play, and its importance to the plot; this addition felt very cultured, and made me immediately interested in learning more about said play.

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A Brightness Long Ago

A Brightness Long Ago

A Brightness Long Ago by Guy Gavriel Kay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this book electronically via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

“I knew, once, a woman diamond bright and two men I will not forget. I played a part in a story in a fierce, wild, windblown time. I do have that. I always will. I am here and it is mine, for as near to always as we are allowed.”

This is only the second book I’ve read from Guy Gavriel Kay, but I feel secure in stating that I’ve never come across another author who has his way with words. There’s something about his prose that is both breathtakingly lovely and oddly jarring. In A Brightness Long Ago, Kay paints with his words, writing something that is lush and poignant and real enough to touch. This novel is somewhere between historical fiction and low fantasy, and Kay straddles that divide with great finesse.

“Perhaps it is true of every life, that times from our youth remain with us, even when the people are gone, even if many, many events have played out between where we are and what we are remembering.”

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The Troupe

The Troupe

The Troupe by Robert Jackson Bennett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“What I’m going to do up here, kid, is tell you a story. Like all stories, it’s an attempt to make sense of something larger than itself. And, like most stories, it fails, to a certain degree. It’s a gloss, a rendition, so it’s not exact. But it’ll do.”

I’m going to see Paranormal Cirque this weekend and am insanely excited. In anticipation, I picked up The Troupe. While not about a circus, it is about a vaudevillian troupe, which is similar in feel. And though not exactly in the horror genre, I know from experience with his Divine Cities trilogy that Robert Jackson Bennett often weaves horror elements into his novels, and he does so deftly. I’m so incredibly glad I picked up this book. Because as excited as I am about seeing Paranormal Cirque, I already know that The Troupe will stay with me longer than any performance could. It turned out to be an absolutely beautiful story, and I read the last sixty or so pages through a haze of tears.

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Othello

Othello

Othello by William Shakespeare
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Yesterday I had a random hankering for some Shakespeare. Weird craving, I know, but it just hits me every once in a while. However, I feel like I can’t fully appreciate any of his work by simply reading it. So what I do is grab my giant collection of his plays, plug in either a film or dramatized audio version of whichever play I’ve chosen, and read along. Shakespeare never intended for his work to be read; it was written to be performed. Since it was a rainy afternoon, I could afford to devote three hours to simultaneously reading and listening to Othello, and it was by far the most I’ve ever enjoyed this particular play.

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Storm Cursed (Mercy Thompson, #11)

Storm Cursed (Mercy Thompson, #11)

Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher (Ace) in exchange for an honest review. While I’m incredibly thankful, all opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

I was ecstatic to receive a copy of this book. First of all, Briggs’s Mercy Thompson series served as my gateway into truly appreciating urban fantasy. I had previous exposure to the genre, having binge read many of the Anita Blake novels (until it devolved into nothing but orgy after orgy), a handful of the Black Dagger Brotherhood books, and the first five of Moning’s Fever series. While I enjoyed these books in the moment, I always viewed them as junk food, something to be consumed and forgotten, leaving nothing behind but a vague literary equivalent of a stomach ache from overindulgence.

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