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Author: Celeste

Book Review: The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

Book Review: The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo


The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher, Tordotcom, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was immediately intrigued when I heard that a fantasy retelling of The Great Gatsby told from Jordan Baker’s perspective was in the works. I’ve always been fascinated by The Great Gatsby, both by the characters and Fitzgerald’s writing style. It’s not the most accessible of novels, despite its brevity, but there’s something magnetic about it, much as there is that same special magnetism surrounding the title character himself. I was very interested in seeing how these characters translated in the hands of another, with magic added to the mix. The author did a pretty great job capturing the tone and feel of the original while still making the story their own.

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Book Review: Olympus, Texas by Stacey Swann

Book Review: Olympus, Texas by Stacey Swann

Olympus, Texas by Stacey Swann
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

The premise and cover of Olympus, Texas immediately grabbed my attention, but I wasn’t expecting anything earth-shattering. I figured I was in for an interesting story that would hopefully keep me engaged but which I would most likely forget about soon after. I was incredibly mistaken. It’s closing in on mid-June, and I can unequivocally say this is the best book I’ve read so far this year. And I started off the year with The Labyrinth of the Spirits, which blew my mind. I can’t believe I found this book even more impactful. Not only was the story excellent and the characters impeccably crafted, this book was a masterclass on the psychology of fictional beings who have been around for millennia without being this thoroughly exposed and explained. I feel like an entire college class could be taught on the Greek pantheon using Olympus, Texas as a textbook. It’s incredible, and it changed the way I think about stories I’ve known for decades.

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Book Review: Legacy by Nora Roberts

Book Review: Legacy by Nora Roberts


Legacy by Nora Roberts
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

When will I learn? I’ve read over 200 Nora Roberts novels, and yet every once in a while I will still read a synopsis for an upcoming novel of hers and decide that I’m not sure I’m going to love that one. So instead of preordering, like I generally do for her new releases, I place a hold with my library. That’s what I did with Legacy. And now I have to buy it anyway, because I loved it.

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Book Review: The Shadow of the Gods (The Bloodsworn Saga, #1) by John Gwynne

Book Review: The Shadow of the Gods (The Bloodsworn Saga, #1) by John Gwynne

Shadow of the Gods
The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher, Orbit Books, in exchange for an honest review.

The Shadow of the Gods was one of my most anticipated books of 2021. I adored both The Faithful and the Fallen and Of Blood and Bone in their entirety, and I couldn’t wait to see what new world Gwynne was going to create outside of the Banished Lands, which until this point had served as the setting for every novel he’s penned. And he didn’t disappoint. The Norse-inspired Vigrið is a fantastic setting, one I’m sure will only become more and more interesting as the series progresses. However, as with his previous series, the setting and premise might draw a reader in, but the characters are what keeps said reader invested.

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Book Review: The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

Book Review: The Maidens by Alex Michaelides


The Maidens by Alex Michaelides
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher, Macmillan Audio, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The premise for The Maidens immediately piqued my interest. A ritualistic murder on a prestigious college campus, with a Classics professor and his select group of all female students, known as the Maidens, at the center of the intrigue? Yes, please. I love dark academia, especially when combined with the study of Ancient Greek and classical literature. I went in hoping form something along the lines of The Secret History, which I absolutely adore. But I liked what this book pretended to be far more than what it actually was. If that makes sense. Alas, The Maidens fell a bit flat for me.

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Book Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Book Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman


The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Ocean at the End of the Lane was the very first Gaiman book I ever read. I’ve sense read nearly everything he’s written, and have discovered that my favorite way to ingest his stories is via audio when he reads the books himself. His voice is divine, and I’ve found that listening to him tell his own stories adds to the magic for me. So what better way to revisit the novel that first charmed me into reading his work than by trying it on audio? It was the right decision. I was once again transported into this nameless boy’s childhood adventures, and Gaiman’s voice merely added to the charm of the tale.

“Words save our lives, sometimes.”

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Book Review: From a Buick 8 by Stephen King

Book Review: From a Buick 8 by Stephen King


From a Buick 8 by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From a Buick 8 was way more interesting than I expected. Honestly, this is one of the few novels in King’s backlist that I would have had no qualms skipping if it hadn’t been on the suggested expanded Dark Tower reading list I found here. I had no desire to read about a supernatural car. Freaky inanimate objects don’t really do it for me. Most of the time, anyway. I should’ve remembered the topiaries in The Shining. Because this unnatural Buick ended up being pretty darn creepy. I was expecting Christine or James Dean’s Little Bastard. That’s so not what was delivered.

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Book Review: Bag of Bones by Stephen King

Book Review: Bag of Bones by Stephen King


Bag of Bones by Stephen King
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

As I’ve been reading through King’s back catalogue, I’ve come across very few of his stories that hadn’t been spoiled to some extent for me, simply by the culture in which we live. While I had never read The Shining or Pet Sematary or ‘Salem’s Lot, I had some idea what was going to happen because they’re so present in our collective cultural psyche. The same could be said for Carrie, and Misery, and IT, and so many other King novels. But Bag of Bones? I went into this one completely blind. And as with Needful Things and Rose Madder, other books of his that I knew nothing about, it was more impactful because of my lack of exposure. It’s not among my favorite King books I’ve read, but Bag of Bones will be sticking with me for a while.

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Book Review: Near the Bone by Christina Henry

Book Review: Near the Bone by Christina Henry


Near the Bone by Christina Henry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher, Berkley Publishing Group, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Near the Bone is the story of Mattie, a young woman living alone on a mountain with her abusive, much older husband. Something isn’t right on the mountain. Something besides the abuse Mattie can never seem to escape. A new creature has made the mountain its home. It’s huge, a master at staying hidden, and far too intelligent to be a bear or any other average predator. Can Mattie find a way to escape them mountain, and leave both of her monsters behind?

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Book Review: The One by John Marrs

Book Review: The One by John Marrs


The One by John Marrs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The concept of soul mates is not one that I believe in. I love my husband with every single fiber of my being, but I can’t fathom there only being one right person out there for anyone. There are too many things that could potentially go wrong. What if your soul mate dies of cancer before they graduate high school? What if they live halfway around the world? Those kinds of questions are just scratching the surface of what Marrs explores in The One.

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