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Book Review: City of Stairs (The Divine Cities, #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett

Book Review: City of Stairs (The Divine Cities, #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett

(This is a repost of an old review I wrote in May 2018)

Cover art illustrated by: Sam Weber

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series:The Divine Cities (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Urban fantasy, Post-apocalyptic, Horror

Pages: 452 pages (US paperback edition)

Published: 9th September 2014 by Broadway Books (US) & 2nd April 2015 by Jo Fletcher Books (UK)


A truly wonderful start to a trilogy and one of the most original world-building I’ve ever had the chance to experience in a novel.

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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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Petrik’s Top 10 Books of the Year So Far (1st January-30th June 2021)

Petrik’s Top 10 Books of the Year So Far (1st January-30th June 2021)

Click here if you want to see the list of all the books I’ve read so far this year: Petrik’s Year in Books (2021)

Between 1st January 2021 until 30th June 2021, I’ve read and reviewed 51 books (25k pages).

Please read this first. There will be three rules I set in this list in order for me to give appreciation to more authors rather than having only a few authors hoarding this list. These rules allow me to highlight more authors, and at the same time, I’ll also be able to include both new and older books (many of them still need attention) that I read within this year.

  • Rereads aren’t included.
  • One book per author.
  • The books listed here are not all exclusively published this year; the list consists of the top books I read for the first time within this year. Non-2021 published books on this list will have their first date of publication included.

Do note that although there’s a rank to this list, I HIGHLY recommend every book/series listed below because I loved all of them immensely, and they received a rating of 4.5 or 5 out of 5 stars from me. Without further ado, here are the top 10 books I’ve read this year so far! (All full reviews of the books listed can be found on Novel Notions and my Goodreads page.)

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Book Review: Hellmouth by Giles Kristian

Book Review: Hellmouth by Giles Kristian

I have a Booktube channel now! Subscribe here: https://www.youtube.com/petrikleo

Cover art designed by: Stephen Mulcahey

HELLMOUTH: A novella by Giles Kristian

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Standalone

Genre: Historical fiction, Horror

Pages: 52 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 19th February 2021 by Giles Kristian (Self-Published)


Hellmouth is a bloody terrifying blend of historical fiction and horror.

“In the absence of light, darkness prevails”

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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: Rose Madder by Stephen King

Book Review: Rose Madder by Stephen King


Rose Madder by Stephen King
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

This is one of those King books I honestly didn’t expect much from. It’s not one commonly listed as a favorite, or even mentioned that frequently from among his works. I can’t say I would’ve thought to pick it up had I not been so invested in the extended reading list for the Dark Tower. But it was next on that list, so I found myself a copy. Now I’m incredibly glad I picked it up. Though not perfect, Rose Madder is now one of my favorite King novels outside of The Stand and the main Dark Tower series. Talk about a protagonist you can root for.

“It ain’t the blows we’re dealt that matter, but the ones we survive.”

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Book Review: Wizard and Glass (The Dark Tower, #4) by Stephen King

Book Review: Wizard and Glass (The Dark Tower, #4) by Stephen King


Wizard and Glass by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Dark Tower has completely captured my heart and mind. I feel as though I am part of the gunslinger’s ka-tet, making the trek right along with them. And so far, it’s one of the most fulfilling literary journeys I’ve ever embarked upon. Wizard and Glass did nothing but reinforce that feeling.

“And now, all these years later, it seemed to him that the most horrible fact of human existence was that broken hearts mended.”

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Book Review: Insomnia, by Stephen King

Book Review: Insomnia, by Stephen King


Insomnia by Stephen King
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

This isn’t my favorite King novel I’ve ever read, but it was a fun, very interesting ride. If you’re planning on a journey to King’s Dark Tower, this one is absolutely essential. Not only are the concepts of ka and ka-tet integral to the plot of the novel, the Tower itself makes brief appearances. And while I didn’t look it up for fear of having important future plot points spoiled for myself, I’m almost positive that two important new characters in the main series were introduced in this book.

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