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Author: Celeste

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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Book Review: Darkdawn (The Nevernight Chronicle, #3) by Jay Kristoff

Book Review: Darkdawn (The Nevernight Chronicle, #3) by Jay Kristoff


Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am completely blown away by this trilogy. Finding a series that I love all the way through is rare for me. And I just found one to add to that very exclusive list. There’s a bloody beauty to Mia’s story. A vulgar elegance, if you will. The world Kristoff created here managed to be both stark and lush in equal measures, and something about that dichotomy resonated strongly with me. As did Mia. Her heartache, her rage and fear and determination, all felt honest. I found her and her journey utterly captivating.

“I am a daughter of the dark between the stars. I am the thought that wakes the bastards of this world sweating in the nevernight. i am the vengeance of every orphaned daughter, every murdered mother, every bastard son. I am the war you cannot win.”

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Book Review: We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

Book Review: We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker


We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker
My rating: 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.

We Begin at the End has been on my radar since my co-blogger Emma read it and loved it last year. Petrik and TS decided to pick it up as well, even though it’s not something within their usual genre wheelhouses. Again, they loved it. But they warned me that it was heartbreaking and, since I had been going through a particularly rough patch in my life, I held off until I felt like I was emotionally strong enough to handle it. I’m so glad I did, because I can say without a single qualm that it will be only my list of favorite books read in 2021, but the heart-wrenching emotion of it would have kept it from the same list last year. It really pays to wait until the right moment to read this type of book, and I’m glad I had friends to caution me in that regard.

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Guest Post: Tower of Straw, or Fleeing Hobbiton, by author Yaroslav Barsukov

Guest Post: Tower of Straw, or Fleeing Hobbiton, by author Yaroslav Barsukov

Hey there, bookworms.  Today we have a guest post from Yaroslav Barsukov, author of the newly released Tower of Mud and Straw.  It’s a tight and polished and highly unique debut, and I think fantasy fans will find it to be a breath of fresh air.  In celebration of his recent publication, here is a post Barsukov wrote for Novel Notions discussing a bit of the inspiration behind his debut.  Enjoy!

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Book Review: Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1) by Jay Kristoff

Book Review: Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1) by Jay Kristoff


Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can’t quite figure out why I waited so long to read this book. This might be in part due to the fact that it’s labeled, quite wrongly in my opinion, as young adult. The only thing young adult about this book is the fact that young adults serve as the main characters. Whatever the case may be, I’m incredibly glad I finally decided to read Nevernight, and that it turned into a blog wide reading/rereading/rehashing event. I was utterly captivated by this bloody, beautiful, snarky story and the equally bloody, beautiful, snarky cast.

“Never flinch” A cold whisper in her ear. “Never fear. And never, ever forget.”

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Rock Stars on the Record by Eric Spitznagel

Rock Stars on the Record by Eric Spitznagel


Rock Stars on the Record: The Albums That Changed Their Lives by Eric Spitznagel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

What’s a song that changed your life? One that moved you, inspired you, broke down a wall within you and helped you grow? What song can bring back a memory as sharp as a snapshot, bringing you back to a time and place and smell and one prismatic moment any time you hear the first notes playing through a speaker? I don’t think any other art form on the planet can so deeply evoke sense memories and wildly variant emotions that music. While I love books with every fiber of my being, it’s music that has the most power to move me. And I think this is true for far more people than realize it. Music is the language of the soul, and it’s fascinating to see what speaks to the hearts of different people. Especially those who move others with their own music.

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Book Review: Outlawed by Anna North

Book Review: Outlawed by Anna North


Outlawed by Anna North
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Outlawed is an alternate history in which a Great Flu wiped out 9/10ths of the U.S. population, the country fell apart, and now a woman who can’t pop out babies to rebuild that population is branded a witch and hanged. As a barren woman myself, this premise hit incredibly close to home for me. I loved seeing how all of these women dealt with such superstition and blatant inequality.

“People cry witchcraft whenever they don’t understand something.”

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Book Review: The Labyrinth of the Spirits (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #4) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Book Review: The Labyrinth of the Spirits (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #4) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón


The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

For years, I thought The Shadow of the Wind was a standalone novel. When I learned that wasn’t the case, I ignored that information for more years. I thought The Shadow of the Wind was pretty nearly perfect on its own, and didn’t need expanded upon. I’ve read some marvelous books that should have been left alone, that had further books tacked on later that didn’t measure up to the first, and somehow manage to tarnish that first book. I didn’t want that to happen to my magical experience with The Shadow of the Wind, so I just ignored the rest of the series for a long time. But then, I found a gorgeous copy of The Labyrinth of the Spirits, the last of the quartet, on sale. I had to buy it for the cover alone, because it just captivated me. But I still didn’t think I intended to read it, or the two books between it and that first novel I had so loved.

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