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Book Review: The Hunger, by Alma Katsu

Book Review: The Hunger, by Alma Katsu


The Hunger by Alma Katsu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Readers know how this book will end before even starting the first chapter. After all, the Donner Party is one of the most famous factual examples of cannibalism in the Western world. If you’re reading a book about the Donner Party, you know without a doubt that things aren’t going to end well. No matter how these characters strive toward their goal, you know most of them will not only not make it to the end, they will end up being eaten by the members of the party who remain. Because of this, every page of Alma Katsu’s The Hunger ratchets up the tension and unease as you close in on the inevitable outcome.

“Evil was invisible, and it was everywhere.”

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

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

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Cemetery of Forgotten Books (Book #1 of 4)

Genre: Historical fiction, Mystery

Pages: 506 pages (US Kindle edition)

Translated Edition Published: 2004 by Weidenfield & Nicholson, Orion Books (UK) & 2004 by Penguin Books (US)


An astonishingly engaging story within a story type of novel; the passion for books and reading introduced in the first chapter was just an appetizer before all the interconnecting twists and turns.

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Book Review: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Book Review: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Standalone

Genre: Historical fiction, Mythology, Retelling

Pages: 389 pages (UK Kindle edition)

Published: 5th September 2011 by Bloomsbury (UK) & 6th March 2012 by Ecco (US)


Beautifully heartbreaking and tragic, Madelline Miller’s first novel burst with palpable emotions.

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Book Review: City of Girls, by Elizabeth Gilbert

Book Review: City of Girls, by Elizabeth Gilbert


City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I don’t know why I decided to pick up City of Girls. Historical fiction isn’t one of my go-to genres. I don’t care all that much about fashion. I’ve never read anything by Elizabeth Gilbert. But something drew me to this book and I decided to give it a whirl because I was in the mood for something outside of my norm. Thankfully, I thoroughly enjoyed myself while reading it. City of Girls was definitely delivered the “something different” I was craving.

“You must learn in life to take things more lightly, my dear. The world is always changing. Learn how to allow for it.”

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Book Review: Camelot by Giles Kristian

Book Review: Camelot by Giles Kristian

ARC provided by the publisher—Bantam Press—in exchange for an honest review.

Camelot by Giles Kristian

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Genre: Historical fiction

Pages: 450 pages

Published: 14th May 2020 by Bantam Press


It is not easy to re-lit the fire of hope when everything feels bleak.

I’m a HUGE fan of The Warlord Chronicles trilogy by Bernard Cornwell and Lancelot by Giles Kristian himself; I consider these four books the holy grails of Arthurian retelling novels. I won’t lie, these books are so incredible that I have pretty much settled with the thoughts that there won’t be a better Arthurian novel than them, even if that book is a new novel written by either Bernard Cornwell or Giles Kristian. And I am very confident in this bold claim. But please don’t let this statement steer you into thinking that I wasn’t excited for Camelot. This follow-up sequel to Lancelot is one of my most anticipated books of 2020, and Giles Kristian was able to deliver another beautifully melancholic Arthurian retelling that I’m sure will captivate fans of Lancelot.

“There is still a flame and that flame can become a fire which will wake the gods.”

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Book Review: The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead

Book Review: The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead


The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I so wanted to like this book. I appreciate and respect it, but it left me cold.

The enslavement of African Americans in the United States and the horrific ways in which they were treated is one of the two most heinous sins (alongside our treatment of Native Americans) in our national past. I have never been able to fathom how people could treat others as less than human over such a minor difference as skin color. And the fact that these slave owners viewed themselves as good and kind and “Christian” is one of the most appalling and ludicrous things I’ve ever heard. The systematic oppression and abuse of any subset of humanity, whether they are set apart by gender or religion or sexuality or something as simple as a different pigmentation, is so opposed to the teachings of Jesus that I am baffled by how anyone who considers themselves to be one of His followers can possibly rationalize it.

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Book Review: Circe by Madeline Miller

Book Review: Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe by Madeline Miller (Read by Perdita Weeks)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Stand-alone

Genre: Historical fiction, Mythology

Published: 10th April 2018 by Little, Brown and Company US, 19th April 2018 by Bloomsbury Publishing UK.


Mythology has captured the imagination of children and adults alike, forming the earliest stories ever told in the history of humankind. Of those known all over the world, Greek mythology is probably one of the most popular and well-known. But as fascinating as mythology can be though, it is often told in an omniscient and detached manner. Even great tragedies may not necessarily move us that much when events and characters were often related in a matter-of-fact, or even textbook-style, approach.

“I will not be like a bird bred in a cage, I thought, too dull to fly even when the door stands open.”

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Book Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

Book Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

The Ten Thousand Doors of January
Ten Thousand Doors of January cover

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Stand-alone

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Published: September 12th, 2019 by Orbit (UK) & September 10th, 2019 by Redhook (US)


“…there are ten thousand stories about ten thousand Doors, and we know them as well as we know our names. They lead to Faerie, to Valhalla, Atlantis and Lemuria, Heaven and Hell, to all the directions a compass could never take you, to elsewhere.”

I have been watching my cats lazing about in the warm, reposeful afternoon sun. Languid stretches and lazy yawns and leisurely rolls. Complete comfort and contentment. The sheer bliss of surrendering to the moment evident in their eyes. Melting, mellow happiness. Felicity.

That is the feeling that came over me upon finishing this book, and I basked in every second of its warmth. Lyrical. Stunning. Beautiful. Spellbinding. Richly imagined. Eloquent. Wistful. A riotous swirl of adjectives, all apt and all applicable. The Ten Thousand Doors of January is an emphatically stunning debut by Alix E. Harrow, delivering a tale that speaks to one of humanity’s oldest fantasies – visiting another world.

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Book Review: Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

Book Review: Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood


Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Alias Grace isn’t what I expected. I suppose I thought this would be similar to Atwood’s most famous novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. And it was in some ways, especially in the tone of the main character. Though I can’t quite call Grace a protagonist, as Offred is in the aforementioned classic of dystopian literature. What I wasn’t expecting was very well researched historical fiction.

“Murderess is a strong word to have attached to you. It has a smell to it, that word – musky and oppressive, like dead flowers in a vase. Sometimes at night I whisper it over to myself: Murderess, Murderess. It rustles, like a taffeta skirt across the floor.”

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Book Review: The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

Book Review: The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes


The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I was so hesitant to pick up this book. I’ve only read one other book by Moyes, Me Before You, and was absolutely infuriated by it. Not because it was a bad book, mind you; on the contrary, it was incredibly compelling and introduced some characters for whom I came to care deeply. But I felt so emotionally manipulated by the ending that I seriously considered burning my copy. I didn’t, because I consider book burning akin to sacrilege, but in my opinion the ending that Moyes chose to go with felt like it was chosen not because it served the plot, but because it was shocking and memorable. I hated it with my entire being. I don’t believe myself to be a reader who demands happy endings, but the final scenes of Me Before You felt like a right hook when I was expecting a warm handshake or something of the sort.

“… some things are a gift, even if you don’t get to keep them.”

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