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Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer, #2)

Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer, #2)

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Muse of Nightmares is another lovely display of Taylor’s craftsmanship. It continues a story that is pretty and romantic and moving, a story that began in Strange the Dreamer, the other half of this duology. Unfortunately, it didn’t pack quite the same punch as its predecessor. Don’t get me wrong; it’s still a lovely novel. But the first novel was stunningly tangible, and this follow-up felt more like a phantom of that loveliness instead. Which is a comparison that is appropriate on multiple levels, as you’ll see if you choose to read this. And you definitely should read this, if you’ve read Strange the Dreamer. While I might not think it was quite as strong as the first installment, it still provided a satisfying ending encased in Taylor’s exquisite prose.

“It was better than any story he’d ever read. It was like being inside a story and writing it all around you, and not alone but with someone who just happened to be as magical and beautiful as a fairy tale made real.”

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Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

Upon a second reading, I absolutely stand by everything I wrote in this review. Strange the Dreamer remains one of the most beautiful, lush novels I’ve had the pleasure of reading. The romance is star-crossed, which I’m not usually a fan of but which was heartbreakingly lovely in this story. I love this book so much and am so excited to start the next installment. Side note: I listened to the audio version for my reread and it was gorgeous. I highly recommend the audio if you plan to reread this. Now, on to the original review!

This was probably the most romantic story I’ve ever read. I read and really enjoyed Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, but this book was far superior in every way. The characters, the plot, the setting, and the romance were captivating. The writing itself was among some of the most exquisite I’ve ever had the pleasure to read.

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Connections in Death (In Death, #48)

Connections in Death (In Death, #48)

Connections in Death by J.D. Robb
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t know that I’ll ever find another series that feels as much like coming home as this series. Which is pretty amazing, considering all the murder.

I’ve made my love for Nora Roberts and her pen name abundantly clear over the course of my book reviews, but let me just reiterate that I absolutely adore everything she writes. There’s a flow to the prose that, while lovely, sucks me into the story in such a way that the words just disappear. That’s even more abundantly true in regards to the In Death series. Eve Dallas and Roarke and the family they’ve unwittingly built from friends and coworkers are all so insanely well developed by this point that they actually feel more real to me than many living, breathing people. Connections in Death marks the 48th full length novel in this series, and it’s still such a joy to get to revisit the characters and catch up on what’s been going on in their lives since the last book.

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Leverage in Death (In Death, #47)

Leverage in Death (In Death, #47)

Leverage in Death by J.D. Robb
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

There is something about Nora’s writing, both as herself and as J.D. Robb, that hooks me from the first sentence and doesn’t let me go until I’ve read the final chapter. So it’s no surprise that Leverage in Death worked incredibly well for me and broke my first ever (and hopefully last!) reading slump. While I’ve picked up some great books in the past month, nothing grabbed me enough to entice me further into its pages. I should’ve known that Nora would prove to be the cure to my dilemma.

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Celeste’s Top 10 Books of the Year So Far (January 1st, 2018 – July 31st, 2018)

Celeste’s Top 10 Books of the Year So Far (January 1st, 2018 – July 31st, 2018)

So far, 2018 has been a wonderful reading year for me. I’ve found new favorite authors, and had the opportunity to read new work from authors I’ve loved for years. Of the 93 books I’ve read and reviewed this year, I gave 76 of those at least a 4 star rating on Goodreads. The books I’ve chosen have been overwhelmingly successful for me. When Petrik mentioned each doing a Top 10 from the books we’ve read so far this year, I jumped at the suggestion. But now, looking at the books I have to choose from, I’m regretting my decision. How on earth am I going to choose just ten out of the dozens of fantastic books I’ve read so far this year?! All I can do is my best, right?

To help narrow things down, I’m going to follow the same rules Petrik used for his list:

  • Rereads don’t count.
  • One book per author.
  • Not every book was published this year.
  • Other than the top spot, these are in the order I read them instead of any ranking.

Every book below is one I rated 5 complete stars. Links to my full Goodreads reviews will be provided within each mini-review. Without further ado, here are my favorite books of the year to date!

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My Plain Jane (The Lady Janies #2)

My Plain Jane (The Lady Janies #2)

My Plain Jane (The Lady Janies, #2)My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book so much.

Seriously. So. MUCH.

There aren’t enough comedic novels out there that don’t edge irritatingly into silly. This book, and the preceding book, are two of the funniest things I’ve ever read. They don’t take themselves too seriously, but the humor doesn’t overwhelm the plot. Both have made me laugh out loud with their pop culture references and plethora of awkward moments. I hope the authors write one of these on every famous Jane from history and literary, and that they move on to another first name from there. Maybe Elizabeth or Lucy or Alice or something. I wish that, some day, there would be dozens of these books, just lining book shelves and waiting to brighten someone’s day.

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