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Category: Celeste’s Reviews

Book Review: The Rise of Magicks (Chronicles of the One, #3)

Book Review: The Rise of Magicks (Chronicles of the One, #3)


The Rise of Magicks by Nora Roberts
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There’s something about a culmination that makes me hesitate. Whether it’s a fear that the ending won’t live up to my expectation or a desire for the journey to never end, it leaves me inclined to never finish anything. Not in life, mind you; I’m incredibly dependable and the opposite of a procrastinator when it comes to reality. But when it comes to entertainment, I’d rather let the story live on unfinished in my mind than risk a final chapter that sours something I grew to love. Constant Readers of Stephen King can relate, I’m sure; though I love his work, the endings are rarely satisfying. However, there are some authors I always trust to really deliver with their endings, and Nora Roberts is high up on that list. She knows how to stick the landing every single time. The Rise of Magicks is no exception, and has actually shot this series into my list of best loved series of all time, alongside The Kingkiller Chronicle and The Stormlight Archive.

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Book Review: As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride

Book Review: As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride


As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was such a delightful experience. Nonfiction isn’t anywhere near by genre of choice, but The Princess Bride is among my favorite movies of all time, so I decided to give it a go. Also, Carey Elwes is an absolute treasure. But even the fact that the book was the backstory of one of my favorite movies as told by its lead actor wasn’t enough to entice me into buying a copy of this book. Until I came across the audio version. Let me tell you, I jumped right on that, especially once I learned that Carey Elwes himself, along with the majority of his Princess Bride co-stars and those who were involved with filming, directing, writing, and producing the movie, narrated the audio. Getting to hear these people, whose work together has been delighting countless viewers for over 30 years, talk about their experience with the movie was a wonderful experience. It just made me appreciate even more this movie that has been so special to me for nearly half of my life. So many lines from this story have worked their way into my family’s vocabulary and, while that is in large part due to the brilliance of Goldman’s writing, the voices in which we heard them spoken are what have kept them in our heads for well over a decade.

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Book Review: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Book Review: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern


The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

“We are all stardust and stories.”

I adore The Night Circus, and have been eagerly anticipating Morgenstern’s sophomore novel for eight years. I really should have tempered my expectations. The Starless Sea is the type of book that, in the beginning, I believed would strong feelings. You should either love it and be completely entranced by the atmospheric quiet of the tale, or be bored to tears by the apparent lack of action and a more common pacing. That’s what I expected when I read the first few pages. Unfortunately, if fell short for me. Instead of either loving or hating it, I mostly just find myself disappointed by it.

“If all endings are beginnings, are all beginnings also endings?”

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Book Review: Alexander X (Battle for Forever, #1)

Book Review: Alexander X (Battle for Forever, #1)


Alexander X by Edward Savio
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had never heard of Alexander X or its author before picking this up. It’s not something that would have ever come across my radar. My decision to purchase it was twofold. First, it was an Audible Daily Deal. It’s hard to pass up a less than $4 audiobook, no matter what it is. Second, Alexander X is narrated by Wil Wheaton. In my opinion, narrator really matters when it comes to audiobooks. If you’re going to have someone talking in your ear for 6, 13, 27 hours, it needs to be a voice you like. No matter how wonderful the story, if I don’t jive with the narrator I’ll abandon an audiobook in a heartbeat, promising myself that I’ll try it again one day in a visual format. I have a list of narrators I love, and Wheaton is a name on that list. On the flip side of this, the best narrator in the world can’t save a lackluster story. Happily, Alexander X was a fun, addictive, and pretty darn original story that was paired with a wonderful narrator.

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Book Review: Best Served Cold (First Law World, #4)

Book Review: Best Served Cold (First Law World, #4)


Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Grimdark isn’t my thing. I prefer my fiction hopeful, with good at its heart even when bad things happen. That being said, I’ll give anything a shot if it’s well crafted, and I’ve read some pretty incredible fantasy novels that throw hope out the window and bask in their darkness. The best in the grimdark business has to be Joe Abercrombie, hands down. He has a way of creating characters and plots that really shouldn’t work for me, but that shine in spite of their dark cores. I loved the First Law trilogy enough that I was actually hesitant to read the standalones set in the same world, because I didn’t see how Abercrombie could possibly top or even match the greatness he achieved with that original plot and cast of characters. I needn’t have doubted him. In Best Served Cold, Abercrombie not only gives us a compelling plot but a wonderfully engaging cast of new and returning characters.

“Good steel bends, but never breaks. Good steel stays always sharp and ready. Good steel feels no pain, no pity, and above all, no remorse.”

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Book Review: The Library of the Unwritten (Hell’s Library, #1)

Book Review: The Library of the Unwritten (Hell’s Library, #1)


The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’d like to thank NetGalley and the publisher (Ace) for providing me with a complementary copy of this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

“No story is insignificant.”

Books are one of the most magical of mankind’s creations. Our ability to tell ourselves stories, to reshape reality and craft worlds of our own using nothing more than ink and page and the random scribblings we’ve agreed on as an alphabet, is in my opinion one of our most human capacities. Every life is a story, and those who write have been gifted with the rare talent for immortalizing the tales that live inside their minds. But what about the rest of us? What about those of us whose minds are filled with stories that we never find time to jot down, or authors who pass away with a multitude of tales still living inside them that never made their way onto shelves next to their kin? Where do those stories go? Do they die along with us, or does the world find a way to keep them? According to Hackwith, it’s the latter.

“Stories are, at the most basic level, how we make sense of the world.”

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Book Review: Full Throttle: Stories by Joe Hill

Book Review: Full Throttle: Stories by Joe Hill


Full Throttle by Joe Hill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Vary rarely do I review the audio of a book. Though I’m a big audiobook reader/listener, I tend to swap between the physical and audio versions of I’m reading and generally just review the actual book itself, not the audio production. There have been a few notable exceptions, most especially Daisy Jones & The Six, but those exceptions are few and far between. Today, I have another exception to add to the list with Joe Hill’s most recent short fiction collection, Full Throttle. And it was such a strong collection! There were only two stories that I really didn’t care for and two that I felt were just okay, as opposed to the nine stories that were either 4, 4.5, or 5 star experiences.

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Book Review: Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Book Review: Lock Every Door by Riley Sager


Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It took me over a week to read the first 150 pages of this book. Then I read the last half in an evening. While it took a while for the story to really get off the ground, the back half of the book was truly addictive and I couldn’t stop reading. Even when I should have been asleep.

From the beginning, we know things have gone horribly wrong for our narrator, who has been apartment sitting in the most illustrious residence in New York City. The Bartholomew is insanely famous, having been the home of countless celebrities over the decades. When recently unemployed Jules stumbles across an opportunity to live in the glamorous building while she gets back on her feet, and actually get paid a thousand dollars a week to do so, it’s too good a chance to pass up. But the Bartholomew isn’t what it seems, and the learning the truth behind the famous gargoyled facade could prove dangerous. Or even fatal.

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Book Review: The Secret Commonwealth (The Book of Dust, #2)

Book Review: The Secret Commonwealth (The Book of Dust, #2)


The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Pullman has created something so special with Lyra’s world and the mythos of other worlds he set up in the original His Dark Materials trilogy. La Belle Sauvage, the first installment of this spin-off trilogy, took us back to Lyra’s beginning, giving up the wild story of her infancy and the two children who rescued her. This second installment fast forwards to years after the events of the original trilogy, when Lyra is grown, having just tipped over the cusp of adulthood. The final events of that first trilogy haunt her still, but she is convincing herself more and more that those events aren’t quite true. As she falls into the trap of rationality Pantalaimon, her dæmon, rebels against her loss of imagination. From there, the plot goes wild.

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Book Review: Misery by Stephen King

Book Review: Misery by Stephen King


Misery by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

October is all about the spooky for me, and King is my preferred supplier. I’ve read roughly a third of his body of work and, while I’ve enjoyed all of them for the most part, most of them have been suitably creepy without actually scaring me. Exceptions to this have been Revival and IT the first time I tried to read it. I can now add Misery to that list. This book legitimately gave me nightmares while I was reading, because, though not probable, every event in the book is actually possible.

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