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Book Review: The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Book Review: The Secret History by Donna Tartt


The Secret History by Donna Tartt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Secret History is one of those books that I’ve been meaning to read forever. According to my Kindle account, I purchased a copy more than five years ago; somehow, I just never got around to reading it. It’s one of those books that sounds so perfect for me that I’m afraid to read it for fear of it failing to meet the irrationally high expectations I have for it. When my co-blogger Emma informed me that it was one of her favorite books ever, I decided to take the plunge. I’m so glad I did. Far from failing to meet my absurd expectations, The Secret History blew them out of the water and is now happily ensconced on my favorites shelf.

“Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it. And what could be more terrifying and beautiful, to souls like the Greeks or our own, than to lose control completely?”

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Book Review: Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children, #2)

Book Review: Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children, #2)


Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Some adventures being easily.

It is not hard, after all, to be sucked up by a tornado or pushed through a particularly porous mirror; there is no skill involved in being swept away by a great wave or pulled down a rabbit hole. Some adventures require nothing more than a willing heart and the ability to trip over the cracks in the world.

Other adventures must be committed to before they have even properly begun. How else will they know the worthy from the unworthy, if they do not require a certain amount of effort on the part of the ones who would undertake them? Some adventures are cruel, because it is the only way they know to be kind.

Portal fantasy is among my favorite things, and Seanan McGuire excels at creating new realms. This book was just as good as Every Heart a Doorway, and yet managed to be completely different in tone and the method in which the story was told. This is the story of Jack and Jill, the identical twins from Every Heart a Doorway, before they were cast back through their door and relegated to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. The novella can be viewed as a prequel or a standalone story in the same series. It should most certainly be read, because it has much to say in its less-than-two-hundred pages.

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Book Review: Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children, #1)

Book Review: Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children, #1)


Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There was still something unfinished around her eyes; she wasn’t done yet. She was a story, not an epilogue.

This was my third time reading this, and I have loved it even more with each rereading. Seanan McGuire created something magical with this novella. I’m not one to judge a book by its cover, but that’s exactly what attracted me to this book in 2016. A random door in the middle of a forest is the stuff of daydreams, and I had to see if the story inside was as captivating as the cover. It was. Everyone who has every felt like they didn’t fit in should read this book. It’s a love letter to dreamers and outcasts, and a declaration that everyone should have the freedom to be exactly who they are, without worrying about the disapproval of others.

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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: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Book Review: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley


Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.”

The origin of this novel is almost as famous as the book itself. A group of friends seek to outdo one another with their ghost stories. Mary, the youngest and least famous of the group, writes not a ghost story but a brief novel that has far outlived the works of every other member of the party, and that is often cited as the first science fiction novel. I recently attended a lecture on Frankenstein, in which the lecturer pointed out that there was no real science present in the novel as Mary had not been well educated in the subject, and so cannot really be considered science fiction. While I admit that she has a very valid point, I still believe that Frankenstein is indeed science fiction because the plot could not have existed without some nebulous and unexplained scientific discoveries, and helped propel this speculative genre into the popularity it still enjoys today. Even though Shelley was poorly educated in the sciences, she created something that continues to entrance and repel members of the scientific community hundreds of years after she first penned her only famous work of literature.

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In Defense of IT: Chapter Two

In Defense of IT: Chapter Two

I’ve heard so many mixed opinions on IT: Chapter Two.  I adored the first IT (not the Tim Curry one, the 2017 one), so I was super hesitant to even give Chapter Two a try, fearing that it would sour its predecessor in my mind.  I bit the bullet and watched it anyway, and now I am both confused and just a little angry with the internet.  Chapter Two was AMAZING.  How anyone could watch that movie and not think it was incredibly well done is beyond me.  It was thoughtful and well balanced and more than I even hoped it would be.  

**Beware: Mild spoilers ahead, because I didn’t know how to write this without referring to the ending.**

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Book Review: The Sword of Kaigen (A Theonite War Story)

Book Review: The Sword of Kaigen (A Theonite War Story)


The Sword of Kaigen by M.L. Wang
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

I am so incredibly thankful to have made some wonderful book friends, and to be able to blog with those friends about the books we read. Whether we love the book or hate it, we’re going to share our opinions with each other. Often we polish up our opinion and make it as tactful as possible before sharing it with the world through our reviews, but behind the scenes we get to share exactly how we feel with each other, no matter how raw our viewpoint. Because of these backstage experiences, I know when a book truly blows one of my friends away, what book makes them struggle for words strong enough to express the love they have for it. The Sword of Kaigen is one of the best examples of this, and not one but three of my co-bloggers absolutely adored it with their entire being, so much so that they had trouble finding the words. I can’t think of a stronger endorsement than that. And I’m thrilled that their love for this book is now one more thing that we share.

“Better to die sharp in war than rust through a time of peace.”

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Book Review: A Man Called Ove

Book Review: A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

I remember when A Man Called Ove first took the book world by storm as a book in translation that everyone should read. Judging from the cover and synopsis, it didn’t at all seem like it would interest me. I’m not normally a lover of contemporary slice-of-life fiction. Give me dragons and magical libraries and quests to save the world from imminent doom any day of the week. As with everything, there have been notable exceptions, but A Man Called Ove didn’t strike me as a contender for that role. I can’t believe how wrong I was. This is a book that I loved so fervently that I honestly don’t have much to say about it. My words won’t be able to do it justice.

“Men are what they are because of what they do. Not what they say.”

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Recursion by Blake Crouch

Recursion by Blake Crouch

Recursion by Blake Crouch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m so amazed by Blake Crouch. With Dark Matter, he enthralled the reading world with a wild plot and breakneck action. With Recursion, he proves that Dark Matter wasn’t a fluke. Crouch delivered a level of intensity that I’ve rarely encountered in the written word via a fascinating, disturbing premise. More surprisingly, he crafted a romance unlike any I’ve ever read. After reading Recursion, Crouch has become an insta-buy sci-fi author for me.

“Nothing can be controlled. Only endured.”

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The Martian

The Martian

The Martian by Andy Weir
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Life is amazingly tenacious.”

Science fiction isn’t usually my thing. There are exceptions; I loved Dark Matter and the Red Rising series and the Illuminae Files. Ender’s Game remains one of my favorite books from my childhood. But usually with science fiction I have to love the characters and plot enough to look past the science, or science has to be barely present. In The Martian, science and math have starring roles, and the book would’ve been less without them. Because in Mark Watney’s situation, science and math were the greatest tools he had with which to ward off death. And Watney’s story is quite possibly my favorite science fiction novel I’ve ever read.

“Astronauts are inherently insane. And really noble.”

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