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Author: Celeste

Book Review: The Wind Through the Keyhole (The Dark Tower, #4.5) by Stephen King

Book Review: The Wind Through the Keyhole (The Dark Tower, #4.5) by Stephen King


The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“The stories we hear in childhood are the ones we remember all our lives.”

The Wind Through the Keyhole is a story within a story within yet another story. It’s a Russian nesting doll of a book of the highest class. No, the highest caliber is a more fitting description, I suppose, for this gunslinger’s fairytale. I loved it in the same way I loved The Eyes of the Dragon, but perhaps even more fervently. Actually, I did something I don’t recall ever doing before; I left a bookmark right at the beginning of the fairytale portion when I re-shelved the book, so I could flip it open and read just that section whenever I choose.

“Sometimes I feel the world has come loose of its moorings.”
“It has,” I said. “But what comes loose can be tied tight again…”

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Book Review: The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz

Book Review: The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz


The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I was drawn to The Plot by the cover. I try not to judge books by their covers, but the double entrendre of this one, with the book on the book cover and a burial plot in the background of the title, immediately captured my attention. And I did very much enjoy the layers of this story within a story, this nesting doll of layers that Korelitz presents here. But when the premise revolves around the writing of a book with a completely unique plot, one which is not a variation of the same handful of plots we’ve told and retold since before written language came to be, you don’t expect to guess the twist. Alas, that was my experience. The Plot sets out to deliver something new, and does to an extent, but I feel that it promised more than it was able to deliver.

“Good writers borrow, great writers steal. —T. S. Eliot (but possibly stolen from Oscar Wilde)”

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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: 5 of 5 stars

Exquisite. That is the first word that comes to mind as I consider The Song of Achilles. Miller is a truly gifted author. The ways in which she was able to breathe new life and depth into characters who have been part of our collective consciousness for millennia is awe-inspiring. The story of Achilles and the Trojan War is one I have consumed in a plethora of formats and reiterations, but the way Miller tells the tale is without comparison.

“I am made of memories.”

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Book Review: A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #4) by Sarah J. Maas

Book Review: A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #4) by Sarah J. Maas


A ​Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Once again, I am absolutely shocked by how much I adored this book. While I loved A Court of Mist and Fury fiercely, I felt that A Court of Wings and Ruin didn’t quite measure up in comparison, and that A Court of Frost and Starlight was weak and forgettable compared to the rest of the series. I had just about decided that I would end my experience with the series there, but my brother changed my mind. He just binge-read all of ACOTAR and told me that ACOMAF had been his favorite until he read this one, which he thought was by far the strongest of the series. I didn’t really see how it could measure up to ACOMAF, but we rarely disagree when we read the same books. And he was so right. A Court of Silver Flames is just badass in every way. While not quite as romantic as A Court of Mist and Fury, A Court of Silver Flames surpasses it in girl-power, intensity, and spice level. I read furiously and enjoyed every minute.

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Book Review: A Narrow Door (Malbry, #3) by Joanne Harris

Book Review: A Narrow Door (Malbry, #3) by Joanne Harris


A Narrow Door by Joanne Harris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a digital copy of this novel from the publisher, OrangeSky Audio, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A Narrow Door is one of the smartest, most interesting and sympathetically voiced pieces of crime fiction I’ve read in a very long time. The only other modern book in the genre I’ve enjoyed this much was We Begin at the End, but this book had more in common with The Maidens and The Divines, both of which disappointed me last year. It was a perfectly paced, pitch perfect blend of mystery and academia that captivated me from the prologue through to the epilogue. I hung on every word. This is a story that felt so incredibly real, which such a delicious building tension, that I thought about it almost constantly when I wasn’t reading it. It found its way into my dreams, which has become a rare thing as I’ve gotten older. And the ending was something that, in hindsight, I might should have been able to see. Especially considering the opening. But I didn’t.

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Book Review: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Book Review: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik


Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I could not have started the year off with a more pleasant surprise. I read another of Novik’s high fantasy novels, Uprooted, in 2016 and…I was not a fan. While I didn’t loathe it with every fiber of my being like Petrik did, it took me a couple of months to trudge through 435 pages. That’s not my general reading experience. There were a lot of things I really didn’t like about that book and, because of that dislike, I was skittish about picking up Spinning Silver . But, as I own both a physical and digital copy, I knew I was going to have to pick it up eventually. So when Petrik suggested we do a buddy-read as soon as the new year started, I jumped at it. He, Eon, TS, Haifa and myself all started it together, and the consensus has been overwhelmingly positive. Spinning Silver is a thoughtful, intricate, powerful novel that is one of the most atmospheric books I’ve ever read. I’m incredibly glad that we gave Novik another try.

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Celeste’s Top 21 Books of the Year (2021)

Celeste’s Top 21 Books of the Year (2021)


At last, 2021 is drawing to a close.  Or, as I like to call it, 2020 part 2.  While the year wasn’t the best, I did have a pretty great reading year.  According to Goodreads, I read 110 books this year.  According to my own spreadsheet, I read 192.  That 82 book difference is comprised largely of various long, spicy romance series that I didn’t want to have to review because I was consuming them so quickly, so I made the decision to not include them on Goodreads.  But I wanted to acknowledge them here.  This was the year of the romance novel for me.  Romance has never been my genre of choice, but I found so much solace in it this year.  For the first time, I truly understand why there are so many dedicated romance readers out there, and now I happily consider myself one of them.  Four novels on this list are romances, in fact.

While I read a metric ton of romance, I think I read fairly widely this year.  This list includes fantasy, mystery, thriller, horror, sci-fi, and literary fiction.  One of the biggest common denominators on this list is actually Greek mythology.  I’ve always loved mythology, and this year I read some amazing books retelling some of those myths in fun and refreshing ways.  This is something I hope to find even more of next year.

As always, I’m following Petrik’s example here.
– One entry per author. (But not always only one book.  I’m cheating this year.  You’ll see what I mean.)
– Rereads aren’t included.
– The books on this list were new to me, not necessarily new. They might not have been published this year, but this was my first time reading them.
– All of these books were either 4.5 or 5 star reads for me.

Links to my Goodreads reviews of each book will be included below. And now, without further ado, here are my favorite books of 2021!


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Book Review: Krampus: The Yule Lord, by Brom

Book Review: Krampus: The Yule Lord, by Brom


Krampus: The Yule Lord by Brom
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Picking up Krampus: The Yule Lord started out as a bit of a joke. I was reading A Christmas Carol, which has been my Christmas tradition for about a decade now, and decided to balance it out with something completely different. I went into Krampus fully expecting a horror novel that ripped Christmas apart. What I got was wildly different and infinitely more powerful. This book was profound and though-provoking and so much more emotional than I anticipated. Strangely enough, Krampus ended up being one of my favorite books of the year, providing a depth and nuance to famous and infamous figures that surprised me, as well as giving me a cast of new characters to root for. I have never been more pleasantly surprised by a book with such a disturbing cover. Which was also done by Brom. The man is an incredible artist.

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Book Review: Where the Drowned Girls Go (Wayward Children, #7) by Seanan McGuire

Book Review: Where the Drowned Girls Go (Wayward Children, #7) by Seanan McGuire


Where the Drowned Girls Go by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

“There are worlds where death itself is malleable, where anything can be rewritten, be undone, if the right approach is taken. Worlds where the air bleeds words and lightning can rewrite the past.”

Reading McGuire’s newest Wayward Children novella has become something of a Christmas tradition for me over the past few years. While my reading experience has varied book to book, it’s always cozy and enjoyable and transportive. I request very few ARCs, but this series is top among them and I’m always elated to receive the next installment. I was cautiously excited about Where the Drowned Girls Go, as it’s a pretty direct followup to my least favorite novella in the series, Beneath the Sugar Sky. However, this newest novella was absolutely fantastic; so much so, in fact, that it made me want to go back and reread Beneath the Sugar Sky to see if my opinion of it had changed. Where the Drowned Girls Go was a thoughtful, different addition to the series, and builds on and links every single one of its predecessors.

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Book Review: The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

Book Review: The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood


The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book, y’all. It was seriously just the sweetest thing. I’m going to be transparent and tell you that I didn’t think I’d be super interested in The Love Hypothesis when I first heard of it. I’m not a science person. Like, at all. But I am a Star Wars person, and I thought something about the cover looked familiar. When I heard that this book was originally Reylo (Kylo Ren and Rey) fan fiction, I could see it immediately in the cover art. I’ve always been a sucker for fan fiction in multiple fandoms, so my curiosity was understandably piqued. And I am so, so incredibly glad that I chose it as my Book of the Month pick, because it was absolutely delightful.

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