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Tag: 3.5 stars

Book Review: Upgrade by Blake Crouch

Book Review: Upgrade by Blake Crouch


Upgrade by Blake Crouch
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

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

When I received an email announcing not only the galley release of Upgrade, but my randomly pre-approved status for it, I was ecstatic. I legitimately squealed. Dark Matter and Recursion were both instant favorites for me, so I couldn’t wait to read whatever Crouch had written next. Then I read the synopsis, which immediately brought to mind the movie and subsequent tv series, Limitless. I loved both iterations of the story, so my excitement swelled even larger. But Upgrade took that basic premise and encompassed not only the radical expansion of the mind, but of the workings of the body, as well. Even more amazing!

“The greatest threat to our species lies within us.”

However, whether due to my irrationally high expectations and excitement or the fact that I might not have been quite intelligent enough for this book, Upgrade left me feeling vaguely disappointed. While still a good story, it didn’t pack the same punch for me as its two predecessors. Subjectively, at least. Remember that this is strictly my opinion from my own experience with the book. No doubt this will be on several Best of 2022 lists. It just won’t be on mine.

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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: Between Two Fires by Christopher Buehlman

Book Review: Between Two Fires by Christopher Buehlman

Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Between Two Fires by Christopher Buehlman

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: Standalone

Genre: Horror, Historical Fiction, Fantasy

Pages: 432 pages (US Hardcover edition)

Published: 2nd October 2012 by Ace (US)


A bleak historical fantasy/horror about life, death, faith, and hope.

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Book Review: Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

Book Review: Ariadne by Jennifer Saint


Ariadne by Jennifer Saint
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Jennifer Saint penned a lovely, if depressing, novel in Ariadne. It will definitely appeal to the same audience that loved Madeline Miller’s Circe. However, there was some magic imbued into Miller’s work, some fierce beauty behind the pain, that wasn’t present in this novel. It felt like viewing a work of art through a fog instead of clear glass. While it was a very well written mythological retelling, I couldn’t quite love it.

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Book Review: Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King

Book Review: Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King


Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I read this book and wrote big portions of this review while ill. So if it doesn’t make a ton of sense, that’s why. In my defense, the book made less and less sense as I read it, the stories flowing less effortlessly and feeling more forced. Which is common with King. Sticking the landing just isn’t his strength.

Out of all of the Stephen King books I’ve read, this one is by far the strangest, at least in terms of set-up. It’s not a novel, per se, nor is it a collection of short stories. These interconnected novellas become more and more dependent on one another as they progress, telling different facets of the same story in a way.

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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: The Dragon’s Path (The Dagger and the Coin, #1) by Daniel Abraham

Book Review: The Dragon’s Path (The Dagger and the Coin, #1) by Daniel Abraham

The Dragon’s Path by Daniel Abraham

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Dagger and the Coin (Book #1 of 5)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 577 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 7th April 2011 by Orbit


There’s a charm in Abraham’s writing and the stories he tells that just keeps me coming back for more. And the same can be said for The Dragon’s Path.

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Book Review: Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

Book Review: Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

ARC provided by Goodreads & the publisher—Scribner—in exchange for an honest review.

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: Standalone

Genre: Historical fiction, Science fiction, Literary fiction

Pages: 656 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 28th September 2021 by Scribner


Cloud Cuckoo Land is more ambitious and complex than All the Light We Cannot See in every possible way.

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Book Review: The Broken God (The Black Iron Legacy, #3) by Gareth Hanrahan

Book Review: The Broken God (The Black Iron Legacy, #3) by Gareth Hanrahan

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ARC provided by the publisher—Orbit—in exchange for an honest review.

Cover art illustrated by: Thea Dumitriu

The Broken God by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Black Iron Legacy (Book #3 of 5)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 578 pages (Paperback edition)

Published: 20th May 2021 by Orbit (UK) & 18th May 2021 by Orbit (US)


The Broken God continues The Black Iron Legacy’s reputation as one of the most imaginative ongoing fantasy series right now.

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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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