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Book Review: Rhythm of War (The Stormlight Archive, #4) by Brandon Sanderson

Book Review: Rhythm of War (The Stormlight Archive, #4) by Brandon Sanderson


Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

Rhythm of War is hands down my favorite book of the year, and I’ve read some truly incredible books over the course of 2020. At the moment, it’s also my favorite fantasy book I’ve ever read. That title has been held by The Name of the Wind for over a decade, but in Rhythm of War Sanderson has usurped it.

Humans are a poem. A song.
For ones so soft, they are somehow strong.
For ones so varied, they are somehow intense.
For ones so lost, they are somehow determined.
For ones so confused, they are somehow brilliant.
For ones so tarnished, they are somehow bright.
Radiant.

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Book Review: Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Book Review: Anxious People by Fredrik Backman


Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was very much on the fence about picking up this book. I loved A Man Called Ove and Beartown, but I wasn’t sure I cared to read about a hostage drama. I’m so glad I took the plunge, because Anxious People was incredible. Brilliantly written. It doesn’t quite have the charm of A Man Called Ove or the emotional weight of Beartown, but it’s a pretty great marriage of both. The prose managed to be both amusing and deeply philosophical in the same sentence, which I found incredibly impressive.

“They say that a person’s personality is the sum of their experiences. But that isn’t true, at least not entirely, because if our past was all that defined us, we’d never be able to put up with ourselves. We need to be allowed to convince ourselves that we’re more than the mistakes we made yesterday. That we are all of our next choices, too, all of our tomorrows.”

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Book Review: Beyond the Point by Claire Gibson

Book Review: Beyond the Point by Claire Gibson


Beyond the Point by Claire Gibson
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

I’m not sure I can even express how wildly Beyond the Point surpassed my expectations, but I’m sure going to try. I’ve always had a lot of respect for our military, and for the people who sacrifice their time, dreams, bodies, and lives in its service. I also have a lot of empathy for the family of those who serve, as I can’t even begin to imagine how terrifying it must be to watch someone you love with your entire being fly into a war zone, and how insanely stressful it must be to wait and hope for their return. But this book has increased all of those feelings for me. Witnessing military life from the inside, from the perspectives of three girls as they graduate high school, attend West Point, and embark on their careers thereafter, made for a moving and eye-opening experience.

“Some wounds are invisible. It doesn’t mean they’re not real.”

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Book Review: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Book Review: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig


The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices… Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?”

This is the premise of The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s newest novel. I’ve never read anything by Haig before this book, but I can guarantee that this oversight will be addressed. Because The Midnight Library was wonderful. There’s incredible philosophical depth packed into relatively few pages. And for a book that begins with a suicide attempt, it ended up being surprisingly positive and uplifting. Not only is it a thoughtful novel, it inspired deep contemplation within the reader, but in a way that is comfortingly gentle for the times in which we’re living.

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Wizard and Glass by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Dark Tower has completely captured my heart and mind. I feel as though I am part of the gunslinger’s ka-tet, making the trek right along with them. And so far, it’s one of the most fulfilling literary journeys I’ve ever embarked upon. Wizard and Glass did nothing but reinforce that feeling.

“And now, all these years later, it seemed to him that the most horrible fact of human existence was that broken hearts mended.”

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Book Review: Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance, by Ruth Emmie Lang

Book Review: Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance, by Ruth Emmie Lang


Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can’t remember the last time I was so utterly charmed and delighted by a story. Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance reads like a middle grade novel for adults, and I need more books like this one in my life. There is a wholesome, wonderful innocence to the story that won me over immediately. I’ve never been a fan of the word “precious,” but that term perfectly describes Lang’s debut novel.

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Book Review: The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower, #3)

Book Review: The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower, #3)


The Waste Lands by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

And the award for creepiest train in all of literature goes to…

“Don’t ask me silly questions
I won’t play silly games
I’m just a simple choo choo train
And I’ll always be the same.

I only want to race along
Beneath the bright blue sky
And be a happy choo choo train
Until the day I die.”

Stephen King has had a place among my favorite authors for 3 or 4 years now. But over the span of this book and its predecessor, The Drawing of the Three, he’s edging remarkably close to becoming not just one of my favorite authors, but my hands down favorite. Right now he’s in a three-way tie with Brandon Sanderson and Nora Roberts, but Wizard and Glass might actually change that if it holds a candle to The Waste Lands. I’ve heard that the back half of the Dark Tower series pales a bit in comparison to the first 4 books, so I’m trying to keep my expectations low, but this is shaping up to be my favorite series of all time.

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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: 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 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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