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Category: Celeste’s Reviews

All the Colors of the Dark by Chris Whitaker

All the Colors of the Dark by Chris Whitaker


All the Colors of the Dark by Chris Whitaker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received an advance digital copy of this novel from the publisher, Crown Publishing, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

We Begin at the End was one of my very favorite books of 2021. It was one of the two best crime fiction novels I had ever read, alongside Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby. A third is now joining their ranks. All the Colors of the Dark is an absolutely brilliant example of crime fiction. It’s heavy and hard and heartbreaking, but it ends on such a strong, vibrant note of hope that it makes the darkness of the journey feel worth it.

“I just wanted to show you that sometimes things survive despite the harshest of odds.”

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The Girl Who Kept the Castle by Ryan Graudin

The Girl Who Kept the Castle by Ryan Graudin


The Girl Who Kept the Castle by Ryan Graudin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received an advance digital copy of this novel from the publisher, Quill Tree Books, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Girl Who Kept the Castle is the epitome of cozy fantasy, especially for middle grade to young adult readers. It feels like being dropped into a Studio Ghibli movie — in fact, one of the regions of the kingdom is called Ghibli. (And the capital city is Retnec, an anagram of center. Can you guess where on the map that city might reside?) There are lots of tiny nods to other classic fantasy stories, like the works of Tolkien and Diana Wynne Jones. But even outside of the fun little Easter eggs, this is a delightful book in its own right. (I stated above that it’s cozy fantasy, but it might be more fitting to call this cozy-adjacent. Because while the setting and storytelling feel very cozy, there are definite stakes to this tale.)

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When Among Crows by Veronica Roth

When Among Crows by Veronica Roth


When Among Crows by Veronica Roth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received advance digital copies of this book and audiobook from the publishers, Tor Books and Macmillan Audio, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

When Among Crows is the first Veronica Roth book I’ve read since throwing Allegiant across my living room over a decade ago. I really enjoy her writing style but felt desperately betrayed by that book, and so I haven’t picked up anything by her since then. However, the premise of When Among Crows fascinated me, and a standalone novella sounded like a relatively safe way to dip my toes back into the pool of her work. This proved to be a great decision. While I didn’t quite love When Among Crows, I did have a lot of fun with it. Is it a perfect novella? No. Is it worth picking up? Absolutely.

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Book Review: The City of Stardust by Georgia Summers

Book Review: The City of Stardust by Georgia Summers


The City of Stardust by Georgia Summers
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I received an advance copy of this novel from the publisher, Orbit/Redhook, in exchange for an honest review.

The description for The City of Stardust captivated me as soon as I read it. Here’s what hooked me: “A young woman descends into a seductive magical underworld of power-hungry scholars, fickle gods and monsters bent on revenge to break her family’s curse in this spellbinding contemporary fantasy debut.” There are so many things that grab me in that little synopsis. A “seductive, magical underworld?” Sign me up. “Power-hungry scholars?” Forever and always. Fickle gods and family curses? Yes, please. While I did get all of those things, the story itself didn’t land quite as solidly for me as I had hoped it would.

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Book Review: Bride by Ali Hazelwood

Book Review: Bride by Ali Hazelwood


Bride by Ali Hazelwood
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

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

I can’t remember the last time I read a 400+ page book in less than 24 hours, but that was exactly my experience with Bride. I was pretty excited when Hazelwood announced her first foray into paranormal romance. And somewhat hesitant. While I thoroughly enjoyed The Love Hypothesis, I haven’t been able to get into any of her work since. I was hopeful that a shift in genre would change things, and I was absolutely correct. Bride had me in its thrall from the very first page. I couldn’t put it down.

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Book Review: Starling House by Alix E. Harrow

Book Review: Starling House by Alix E. Harrow


Starling House by Alix E. Harrow
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received an advance digital copy of this novel from the publisher, Tor Books, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I think I found my favorite book of the year.

Starling House was my most anticipated book of 2023. Which is saying something, as there were so many excellent books published this year. But Harrow’s debut, The Ten Thousand Doors of January, is my favorite standalone novel of all time, so my expectations were sky high. Those expectations could have set me up for failure. They didn’t. While the two novels couldn’t be more different, Starling House is just as powerful and beautiful as The Ten Thousand Doors of January. It just has much sharper teeth.

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Book Review: House of Odysseus (The Songs of Penelope, #2) by Claire North

Book Review: House of Odysseus (The Songs of Penelope, #2) by Claire North


House of Odysseus by Claire North
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

Ithaca was one of my favorite books of 2022. However, I was thrown at the end of the book when I discovered that, unlike most Greek myth retellings, it was not a standalone novel but the first of a trilogy. I have been eagerly awaiting House of Odysseus since finishing those final pages of Ithaca, and am thrilled to announce that it lived up to its predecessor in every single way. This series follows the story of Penelope during the 20 year absence of her husband, King Odysseus of Ithaca. Ithaca presents this story from the perspective of Hera, Queen of Queens, as she observes what’s going on in Penelope’s life and how those happens overlap with the last days of Clytemnestra, Hera’s darling. House of Odysseus picks up where Ithaca left off, but now from the perspective of Aphrodite as her favorite, Helen, weaves her way back into Penelope’s story.

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Book Review: The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer

Book Review: The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer


The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Middle grade novels are one of my favorite things. I love the optimism, the wholesomeness, the knowledge that (more often than not) everything is going to work out in the end. There’s a purity to books written for children that will always resonate with me, no matter how old I get. When I can find an adult novel that delivers those same vibes, I’m beyond excited. And that is exactly what The Wishing Game is, in my opinion: it’s a middle grade novel written for grown-ups.

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Book Review: Witch King by Martha Wells

Book Review: Witch King by Martha Wells


Witch King by Martha Wells
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

As soon as it was announced, Witch King immediately intrigued me. I loved the title and the cover and the premise, and while I’ve never read anything from Martha Wells, her Murderbot Diaries series is highly loved and lauded by those I trust. I’m much more of a fantasy reader than a sci-fi reader, so when I saw that she was writing a fantasy, I knew that I wanted to read it as soon as possible. And I’m happy to report that, in spite of those sky-high expectations, I was not disappointed. Witch King is a high-octave quest through a very original world littered with compelling characters, captivating locales, and some deeply disturbing magic and monsters. But, at its core, it is the ultimate story of found family, one of the best I’ve ever read.

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