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Category: Celeste’s Reviews

Watership Down

Watership Down

Watership Down by Richard Adams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve been a huge fantasy reader since around fifth grade. So how on earth did I miss Watership Down while I was in school? Did our library not have a copy? Was its reputation as a “classic” a deterrent to friends who might have told me of its existence? Whatever the case, I had never even heard of Watership Down until the later years of college. The people who raved about the book then were generally hipster guys, beating everyone else over the head with their favorite novel. Obviously, that was a huge turn off for me. So I never picked up this book until this month (October of 2017), for a bookclub I recently joined. Man, do I regret waiting so long. On the other hand, it’s pretty amazing to discover what would have been a childhood favorite as an adult, and be able to embrace it as a new favorite that can stand proudly next to older favorites on your bookshelf.

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Chemistry (Stella Blunt, #1)

Chemistry (Stella Blunt, #1)

Chemistry by C.L. Lynch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you put Warm Bodies and Twilight in a blender and add a heaping helping of sarcasm, you would end up with Chemistry. It’s billed as a “sassy, body-positive, snarky twist on Twilight,” and it is absolutely the truth. I love the Twilight Saga and probably always will; it’s incredibly addictive and one of my ultimate guilty pleasure reads, even though I know it’s problematic on multiple levels. But Lynch added an element to her parody that was missing in the original; humor in droves. While Twilight might make you giggle or roll your eyes in places, it never made me physically bust out laughing, which this book did countless times.

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The Legend of Eli Monpress (The Legend of Eli Monpress, #1-3)

The Legend of Eli Monpress (The Legend of Eli Monpress, #1-3)

The Legend of Eli Monpress by Rachel Aaron
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

The Legend of Eli Monpress is such a classic romp of a fantasy tale. The world building was solid, the magic system entertaining and fascinating. I love the idea of every single thing on earth, from rocks to grass, from rivers to wind, having a consciousness of its own.But what made the story for me was the cast of characters. There was a lot of character development here, especially in the form of the relationships between characters. Miranda and Gin, Josef and Nico, Eli and, well, everything, were all such fun relationships to read about. I’m a big fan of motley crews, and Eli’s ragtag group is about as motley as they come.

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The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1)

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1)

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are very few books that combine both plot and prose in a way that burrows into my soul and becomes part of me. The Name of the Wind is one of those few.

“It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.”

Plenty of books touch me and move me. There are stories that enchant me and carry me away from reality. There are writers whose prose I meditate upon as I read, choosing a handful of sentences to store within myself like a private lyrical bouquet so that I can recall the beauty of said prose always. There are authors whose creativity and craftsmanship I trust so much that I will purchase anything they write and consume it with pleasure.

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City of Kings

City of Kings

City of Kings by Rob J. Hayes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Rose has decided that she will become queen of the Wilds or die trying, and the Black Thorn is dead set on doing everything in his power to keep his heavily pregnant wife happy. For the most part, this story takes place over the course of a week as Rose and her Thorn lead their army of misfits in a siege of the last city holding out against Rose’s reign. Her goal is to take the city before her daughter is born, and to slaughter the remaining blooded families hiding within the walls. The problem? The city is impenetrable. But Rose will accept no excuses, even legitimate ones, and she will have that city, even if every man and woman fighting for her is slaughtered in the process.

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City of Blades (The Divines Cities, #2)

City of Blades (The Divines Cities, #2)

City of Blades (The Divine Cities, #2)City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Dying nobly is preferable to living savagely.”

I’m completely blown away by Bennett’s world building. City of Blades thrilled me and surprised me and cut me to the quick with its rich character development and lore. I cared so much about the characters, and felt every emotion they felt as I read. Bennett’s world is unlike any I’ve ever come across; he absolutely excels at creating both empathetic characters and compelling mythology and history to add a depth and uniqueness to his writing that I believe to be rare.

“O, the things we kill for our dreams, forgetting all the while we shall wake up to find them naught but dust and ash!
What fools we are to pretend that when we walk to war we do not bring our loved ones with us.”

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The Family Tabor

The Family Tabor

The Family TaborThe Family Tabor by Cherise Wolas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Actual rating: 4.5 stars, rounded up.

This was such a beautiful, heartbreaking story.

Wolas once again made me feel deeply for people comprised of ink, who have never and will never draw breath in reality. I’ve never come across another author who has quite her way with presenting the inner thoughts of a fictional character in such a moving, gripping fashion. I feel like I know the Tabors more intimately than many of the flesh and blood people in my life, and almost certainly better than the Tabors know themselves.

“Who among us is ever as good as they can be, as they want to be? And isn’t the effort what’s most important, the pursuit in that direction, that the good we discover in ourselves we claim, or reclaim, and use wisely and well, and spread it around, pass it on?”

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The Resurrection of Joan Ashby

The Resurrection of Joan Ashby

The Resurrection of Joan AshbyThe Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I honestly need more than five stars to give.

“She was no longer writing about tragedies that blew apart peoples lives, but about something else entirely: how dreams could keep hope alive and fresh.”

Getting this book was kind of a big deal for me. Okay, it was a really big deal. This was the first physical ARC I ever received. I’ll be honest: being asked to review this book made me feel kind of special, which was a large part of the reason I accepted it. When the book was delivered, I was tentatively excited, but I wasn’t going to hold my breath that it was going to be any good. And I wasn’t going to lie and say that it was amazing if it wasn’t, though I would’ve tried to soften the blow the best I could, because I hate to hurt anyone’s feelings, even if the author never read my review. But it turns out that I needn’t have worried. The Resurrection of Joan Ashby was everything that literary fiction should be; it took the mundane and elevated it with stunning prose and tremendous character depth.

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The Chemist

The Chemist

The ChemistThe Chemist by Stephenie Meyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a book I honestly had no intention of reading.

I really enjoy Meyer’s YA books. They’re a little trashy, but they’re fun and addictive in a teenage soap opera kind of way. Twilight will always be one of my guilty pleasures. But I honestly didn’t think she could handle writing an adult spy thriller. I mean, it requires so much more research and finesse than a vampire/werewolf love triangle, right? The foreshadowing that was so present in the Twilight Saga would have to be done away with, because a thriller with no surprises isn’t really a thriller. The characters would have to be radically different from those she’s known for. I didn’t think she could do it.

I was wrong.

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City of Stairs (Divine Cities #1)

City of Stairs (Divine Cities #1)

City of Stairs (The Divine Cities, #1)City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Time renders all people and all things silent. And gods, it seems, are no exception.”

I have a confession to make. I purchased this trilogy in February of 2017, even preordered the final installment though I hadn’t read the first two. I just knew that it was a trilogy that I would love based off of the synopsis. There is nothing in the realm of fiction that I love more than unique religions and overt philosophizing. While setting and characterization and plot and prose are what make a book function, the books that make me happiest are those in which religion and philosophy play a vital part. However, even though I was almost positive that I would love Bennett’s trilogy, I kept putting it off for some reason. Petrik finally convinced me to give in and read it, and I’m so thankful that he did. It was everything I hoped it would be and more.

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