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Book Review: If It Bleeds by Stephen King

Book Review: If It Bleeds by Stephen King


If It Bleeds by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve honestly come to believe that King can simply do no real wrong in my eyes. And I’m still baffled by this turn around, as I vividly recall years of my life when I couldn’t get past the first chapter of anything he wrote. Whatever the catalyst for this change in taste might have been, I’m grateful for it. King is now firmly planted among my favorites. While not every book or story is a masterpiece, they’re all enjoyable. This newest collection of his is no exception. Below are micro-reviews for each of the four stories contained in this collection. Even if I didn’t adore them all, I had fun reading them.

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Celeste’s Top 12 Books of the Year So Far (January 1st, 2020 – June 30th, 2020)

Celeste’s Top 12 Books of the Year So Far (January 1st, 2020 – June 30th, 2020)

The featured image above was specifically designed by Felix Ortiz for Novel Notions’ Top Books Lists. His work is amazing, and we feel incredibly fortunate to have been favored with it. Thank you so much, Felix!

If you’d like to see a list of everything I’ve read so far this year, you can click here to see my year in books for 2020!

So far, 2020 has been an incredible reading year for me. Between January 1st and June 30th I read right around 75 books, and have found a number of new favorites. I haven’t read as much fantasy this year, but I still managed to find some wonderful new stories that I know will stick with me for a long time to come.  Thank goodness for books, right?  I don’t think I could’ve gotten through the dumpster fire that was the first half of 2020 without them. It was incredibly difficult to narrow my list down to twelve books, but I finally managed it. There will be a handful of honorable mentions at the end of this post, for those I just couldn’t bare to not include. I’m taking a page from Petrik and following three rules for my list:

1. Only one book per author.
2. Rereads don’t count.
3. The books were new to me, but didn’t have to be published this year.

Once again, I’m ranking my reads. That being said, every single book on this list was a 5 star read and I highly recommend them all.  You can view my full review of each book (including the honorable mentions) by clicking the link  in each title.  And now, without further ado, here are my favorite books of the past six months.

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Book Review: The Talisman, by Stephen King and Peter Straub

Book Review: The Talisman, by Stephen King and Peter Straub


The Talisman by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve been reading a lot of King lately. Very rarely do I binge read a particular author. I feel the need to mix things up in my reading life or I find myself burned out and unable to appreciate a book I should love because I’ve consumed too much of the same thing in a row. I might love pizza, but I would find it far less palatable if I had to eat it for every meal. I feel the same way about my literary diet. So I’m a readerly butterfly, flitting from author to author and genre to genre as they grab my attention. However, this is my fourth King novel in a row, and it’s the fourth in a row I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. I think that’s because each of these four novels, whether King penned them alone or with the aid of a co-author as with this book, vary drastically from everything else I’ve read by him. And yet what makes them so incredible is the way they tie into each other and refer back to things King wrote before them and foreshadow books he would write after.

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Book Review: The Eyes of the Dragon, by Stephen King

Book Review: The Eyes of the Dragon, by Stephen King


The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Eyes of the Dragon is billed as both King’s only high fantasy and his only novel that could be classified as a children’s book. I wasn’t sure how successful he’d be with either of those things, but now I really wish he would write more of both. This book so radically exceeded my expectations that, even though I’ve come to passionately love King’s work, I couldn’t help but be surprised. I loved everything about this, and it’s the first King novel I’ve ever read that I could comfortably recommend to literally anyone of any age.

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Book Review: The Drawing of the Three (The Dark Tower, #2)

Book Review: The Drawing of the Three (The Dark Tower, #2)


The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved everything about this book. I’m not really sure why I’m surprised by this, but I am. I expected to like The Drawing of the Three in the same way that I liked The Gunslinger, but I love it with the same ferocity I do The Stand. It is, in my opinion, the most powerful and successful entry into the portal fantasy subgenre since C.S. Lewis penned The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Yes, it’s really that good.

“Because the difference between seeing and not seeing can be the difference between living and dying.”

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Book Review: The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, #1)

Book Review: The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, #1)


The Gunslinger by Stephen King
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”

So begins what Stephen King considers his magnum opus, The Dark Tower. The line above is among the most well known opening lines in modern literature, and it perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the short novel. This first installment, The Gunslinger, is the only book in the series I’ve read before, and I knew I needed a refresher before I dove any deeper into The Dark Tower. While The Gunslinger isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, with areas that drag and a last quarter that goes too hazily ephemeral to maintain an emotional connection, it’s a fun and very original introduction into what I’ve heard is an incredibly powerful and unique series.

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Celeste’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2019)

Celeste’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2019)

The featured image above was specifically designed by Felix Ortiz for Novel Notions’ Top 20 Lists.


If you’d like to see more stats about my reading year, click here.

The literary world was kind to me this year.  In 2019, I read over 115 books, and a ton of those have been 4 or 5 star reads. It was incredibly difficult to narrow my list down to my top 20 books, but I finally managed it. There will be a handful of honorable mentions at the end of this post, for those I just couldn’t bare to not include. I’m taking a page from Petrik and following three rules for my list:

1. Only one book per author.
2. Rereads don’t count.
3. The books were new to me, but didn’t have to be published this year.

For the first time, I’m ranking my reads for the entire year. That being said, every single book on this list was a 4.5 or 5 star read and I highly recommend them all.  You can view my full review of each book (including the honorable mentions) by clicking the link in each title.  And now, without further ado, here are my favorite books of 2019.

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Book Review: Full Throttle: Stories by Joe Hill

Book Review: Full Throttle: Stories by Joe Hill


Full Throttle by Joe Hill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Vary rarely do I review the audio of a book. Though I’m a big audiobook reader/listener, I tend to swap between the physical and audio versions of I’m reading and generally just review the actual book itself, not the audio production. There have been a few notable exceptions, most especially Daisy Jones & The Six, but those exceptions are few and far between. Today, I have another exception to add to the list with Joe Hill’s most recent short fiction collection, Full Throttle. And it was such a strong collection! There were only two stories that I really didn’t care for and two that I felt were just okay, as opposed to the nine stories that were either 4, 4.5, or 5 star experiences.

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Book Review: Misery by Stephen King

Book Review: Misery by Stephen King


Misery by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

October is all about the spooky for me, and King is my preferred supplier. I’ve read roughly a third of his body of work and, while I’ve enjoyed all of them for the most part, most of them have been suitably creepy without actually scaring me. Exceptions to this have been Revival and IT the first time I tried to read it. I can now add Misery to that list. This book legitimately gave me nightmares while I was reading, because, though not probable, every event in the book is actually possible.

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Book Review: The Institute by Stephen King

Book Review: The Institute by Stephen King


The Institute by Stephen King
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

“Great events turn on small hinges.”

I love Stephen King. This has not been a lifelong truth, and my infatuation began a mere 5 or so years ago. Since then, I’ve read a third of his body of work, and I’ve been largely impressed. While I do believe that King would benefit from a harsher editor, and that he often fails to stick that landing with his endings, Stephen King has an incredible mind. The plots he dreams up, and the characters he creates to populate those stories, are pretty spectacular and always feel original. While I’ve enjoyed everything of his I’ve read at least in part, some of his books are more successful than others. The Institute is just such a book. The plot was disturbing and vaguely supernatural without seeming implausible. The cast of characters was beautifully fleshed out and varied. And the ending didn’t suck!

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