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Category: Celeste’s Reviews

Book Review: Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy

Book Review: Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy

Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher (Flatiron Books) and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Migrations is a beautiful, heartbreaking, defiant literary fiction debut. While McConaghy has written SFF in the past, this work is something entirely new for her, and you could feel the passion and anger pouring off of every page. I’ve never read any of her SFF novels, but I might have to give them a go. Because the woman can really write.

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Book Review: My Favorite Thing is Monsters, Vol. 1, by Emil Ferris

Book Review: My Favorite Thing is Monsters, Vol. 1, by Emil Ferris


My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Vol. 1 by Emil Ferris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beautiful. I had no concrete expectations for this going in, but My Favorite Thing is Monsters is hands down the most unique graphic novel I’ve ever read. The story, the art style, and the character development where all absolutely brilliant. I was incredibly moved by it.

“Never let anyone’s darkness provoke you into your own midnight.”

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Book Review: If It Bleeds by Stephen King

Book Review: If It Bleeds by Stephen King


If It Bleeds by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve honestly come to believe that King can simply do no real wrong in my eyes. And I’m still baffled by this turn around, as I vividly recall years of my life when I couldn’t get past the first chapter of anything he wrote. Whatever the catalyst for this change in taste might have been, I’m grateful for it. King is now firmly planted among my favorites. While not every book or story is a masterpiece, they’re all enjoyable. This newest collection of his is no exception. Below are micro-reviews for each of the four stories contained in this collection. Even if I didn’t adore them all, I had fun reading them.

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Book Review: The Angel’s Game (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #2)

Book Review: The Angel’s Game (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #2)

The Angel's Game
The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (translated by Lucia Graves)
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

For close to a decade I’ve thought that The Shadow of the Wind was one of the most brilliant novels I had ever read. I had no idea that it was a preamble, setting up for an even bigger story. And I truly believe that The Angel’s Game just scratched the surface; I can feel in my bones that there’s far more to come. I’ve also been reliably informed by TS and Petrik that all of the questions I found left frustratingly open at the end of this book will indeed be answered later in the series, which does nothing but add to my excitement.

“Poetry is written with tears, novels with blood, and history with invisible ink.”

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Book Review: A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians by H.G. Parry

Book Review: A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians by H.G. Parry


A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians by H.G. Parry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an eARC of this book from the publisher (Orbit/Redhook) and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians is a truly brilliant example of alternative history. Parry managed to stay completely faithful to the persons and events that make up the true history of this time period while deftly adding in the existence of magic and exemplifying how that existence might have impacted the French Revolution and the British fight to abolish the slave trade. Historical figures like William Pitt, William Wilberforce, Toussaint Bréda L’Ouverture, and Maximilien Robespierre are all exquisitely portrayed both as individuals that really existed and fictional characters whose minds were are invited to explore. Parry balanced this contrast beautifully. She could have rewritten history in a way that made it somehow less. She could have stayed so true to history that the narrative felt more like a nonfiction text than a novel. But she did neither of those things. She was able to bridge that divide in a way that both informs and inspires, that encourages both historical curiosity and fantastical imaginings. I’m truly in awe of what she was able to do with this novel.

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Book Review: A Time of Courage (Of Blood and Bone, #3)

Book Review: A Time of Courage (Of Blood and Bone, #3)

A Time of Courage
A Time of Courage by John Gwynne
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

“Truth and courage are the banners I live by. Love, loyalty and friendship shall be my guiding light. I will be the bright star in the night sky, the candle in the darkness. The defender of the innocent, protector of the weak. I will bring hope to the lost, give my life for the helpless. With Truth as my shield, and Courage as my sword, I shall stand against the darkness. From this day on, until the time of my death.”
— The Oath of The Order of the Bright Star.

I firmly believe that John Gwynne is one of the most gifted, powerful fantasy authors of our age. In the course of this trilogy and the quartet preceding it, Gwynne was able to create a world that feels as real as our own. The lore he wove into each book was fascinating and completely transportive. He crafted a compendium of characters for whom I cared so deeply that I rejoiced and wept with them as if they were my friends in reality instead of merely fictional. And don’t even get me started on his action-scene prowess. The fact that he can keep a battle going for 200 pages and keep everything in such incredibly clear focus that boredom has no hope of setting in and tension is so well maintained that I never once felt tempted to skim is an incredible accomplishment that I don’t think has been matched by any other author I’ve read outside of Brandon Sanderson. I honestly don’t know that anything about the series as a whole or this book in particular could’ve been improved in any way. In A Time of Courage, Gwynne penned an incredible finale that moved me deeply and left me feeling weepy and exhausted and content.

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Book Review: The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

Book Review: The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune


The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Change often starts with the smallest of whispers.”

How many books have been written proclaiming that different doesn’t mean wrong? Countless. And yet that message is still just as desperately needed, if not moreso, than it’s every been. We live in a world divided, a world in which diversity is still viewed with suspicion by many fronts. But though we still have a long way to go, inclusion and acceptance of those different than ourselves has come a long way over the course of the past century. While it may seem as though we’ve taken a step back in recent years, we’ve actually come so far that we’re better able to recognize our failings than ever before. Just as waking a sleeping limb is painful but necessary in order for our body to properly function, being able to see the areas in which we’re lacking is painful but necessary if we want to keep moving forward into a world in which people are valued for their souls and dreams instead of cast out for being different. After all, aren’t our differences what make us beautiful? The world would be a boring place if we were all carbon copies of one another. I for one am thankful to live in a world in which uniqueness abounds.

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Book Review: The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #1)

Book Review: The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #1)


The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“There are worse prisons than words.”

The planet lost an incredible talent today. Carlos Ruiz Zafón, the author of this truly magnificent book, lost his battle with cancer, at the age of 55. Zafón had a brilliant, gorgeous way with words, and told stories in a way that sink into your bones and stay with you long after you read the last pages. Though he left the world too soon, he left behind him an amazing legacy in the novels that have touched countless readers across our world, which have been translated into more than 40 languages. I’m so thankful to have read and been touched by The Shadow of the Wind, and I’m grateful to have the rest of his catalogue in my future.

“Well, this is a story about books.”
“About books?”
“About accuse books, about the man who wrote them, about a character who broke out of the pages of a novel so that he could burn it, about ta betrayal and a lost friendship. It’s a story of love, of hatred, and of dreams that live in the shadow of the wind.”

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Book Review: Sea Wife by Amity Gaige

Book Review: Sea Wife by Amity Gaige


Sea Wife by Amity Gaige
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

“Where does a mistake begin?”

This is the opening line of Amity Gaige’s newest novel, Sea Wife. We know from the very beginning that something terrible has happened. We just don’t know the specifics of what or how. The story is told largely from two perspectives: Juliet in the present and her husband, Michael, in the past through the captain’s log he kept during their sailing year. There are a few different mysteries woven through the plot, but I felt that the story largely centers around what makes a marriage, and what ends one. Sea Wife is a deep, beautifully written novel with enough pace to the plot to maintain investment while also discussing timeless topics in fresh ways.

“Tears or sweat—so many stories end in salt water.”

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Book Review: The Mothers by Brit Bennett

Book Review: The Mothers by Brit Bennett


The Mothers by Brit Bennett
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

“The weight of what has been lost is always heavier than what remains.”

The Mothers is a powerful, moving picture of a how a secret can wreak havoc on a person, a family, a church, a community. An action that seems to only effect one person never does. Instead, even the smallest decisions can have far-reaching consequences, small ripples that grow into tidal waves.

“After a secret’s been told, everyone becomes a prophet.”

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