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Book Review: Night Came with Many Stars by Simon Van Booy

Book Review: Night Came with Many Stars by Simon Van Booy


Night Came with Many Stars by Simon Van Booy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

I had few expectations of Night Came with Many Stars when I received the ARC on NetGalley. It’s not a book that had been on my radar at all; I hadn’t heard it mentioned on any of the sites and podcasts I follow for book news. I was immediately and completely captivated by the prose. But that’s not to say that said prose outshone the story itself, which was equally engaging. I knew very little about this book going in, and was pleased to discover that it was actually a multi-generational family saga. However, it’s a family saga presented in a way that felt fresh and unique. I ended up loving everything about it, and am so thankful for whatever serendipity brought it to my attention.

The writing style, especially in the first few chapters, is breathtakingly pretty, and very unique. I was reminded of Where the Crawdads Sing, but only slightly. The further the story progressed, the more clearly original it revealed itself to be. The author employs some truly unique metaphors and similes that had me going back and rereading (and re-listening) to lines, just to get my head completely wrapped around the comparisons. Every single one of them worked, even though I would never have come up with them myself.

I love the juxtaposition in perspectives and time periods. Life was so radically different for a thirteen year-old girl in the 1930s than it was for a boy of the same age in the 80s. This is a fact that anyone would know if they took a moment to think about that scenario, but the back-to-back jumping between the two drove that truth home on a far deeper level.

I also loved how the author kept pace as he swapped between these two perspectives. We see Carol and Samuel alternatively at similar ages and stages of life, which just further drives home how different their lives were based on gender and time period. And yet there were some beautiful parallels, as well. I very much enjoyed watching both of them grow.

What makes a family? Does shared blood mean more or less than love developed over the course of years? Watching Carol slowly build herself a family without noticing, and watching Samuel grow to appreciate his own family more and more, was absolutely lovely. The side characters in this story were just a beautifully full of life as the main characters, with a couple of notable exceptions. I found anyone with a villainous role in the novel to be a bit two-dimensional, but even that decision served the story well. While I loved all of the supporting cast, I developed a serious soft spot for Eddie and Joe, in particular.

Night Came with Many Stars is a hopeful, beautifully written story with a lot of depth and even more heart. I didn’t expect to be adding it to my list of favorite books of the year, but that’s exactly where it landed. Also, I can’t recommend the audio version highly enough. I’ll definitely be buying myself a physical copy in the near future. This is a book that deserves a place on my favorites shelf.

You can purchase this book from: Blackwell’s | Bookshop.org (Support Independent Bookstores)Amazon US | Amazon UK | Audible | Libro.fm (Another way to support independent bookstores!) | Book Depository (Free shipping worldwide!)

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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 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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Book Review: We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

Book Review: We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

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

We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Standalone

Genre: Thriller, Literary fiction, Crime fiction

Pages: 344 pages (Kindle)

Published: 26th March 2020 by Zaffre


Melancholic, compelling, and so beautifully written.

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Book Review: The Orchard by David Hopen

Book Review: The Orchard by David Hopen


The Orchard by David Hopen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

“…some find God while trying to lose Him…others lose God while trying to find Him.”

I have a terrible weakness for dark academia novels, which I didn’t even realize was a thing until very recently. I read the O.G. of the genre, Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, first the first time at the beginning of this year. I can’t believe I waited so long to read it, but it immediately became an instant favorite. I also adore any book that delves deep into religion or philosophy or, even better, the intersection of both. David Hopen managed to combine both the academic setting and the religious contemplation that I love so much in his debut(!!) novel, The Orchard.

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Book Review: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Book Review: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig


The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices… Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?”

This is the premise of The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s newest novel. I’ve never read anything by Haig before this book, but I can guarantee that this oversight will be addressed. Because The Midnight Library was wonderful. There’s incredible philosophical depth packed into relatively few pages. And for a book that begins with a suicide attempt, it ended up being surprisingly positive and uplifting. Not only is it a thoughtful novel, it inspired deep contemplation within the reader, but in a way that is comfortingly gentle for the times in which we’re living.

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Book Review: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Book Review: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke


Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lovely. Odd, incredibly odd, but lovely both in spite of and due to the oddity. There’s an elegance to this book that feels like a rarity. For a novel that is less than 300 pages, Piranesi is quite the slow burn. The first half of this short book took me four days to read. Not that it was boring, mind you. It was meditative, inviting you as the reader to mull and ponder instead of racing forward to see what happens next. But then I read the second half in one sitting. When things finally picked up in the narrative, my attention never wavered.

“The Beauty of the House is immeasurable; its Kindness infinite.”

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Book Review: Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy

Book Review: Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy

Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher (Flatiron Books) and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Migrations is a beautiful, heartbreaking, defiant literary fiction debut. While McConaghy has written SFF in the past, this work is something entirely new for her, and you could feel the passion and anger pouring off of every page. I’ve never read any of her SFF novels, but I might have to give them a go. Because the woman can really write.

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Book Review: Sea Wife by Amity Gaige

Book Review: Sea Wife by Amity Gaige


Sea Wife by Amity Gaige
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

“Where does a mistake begin?”

This is the opening line of Amity Gaige’s newest novel, Sea Wife. We know from the very beginning that something terrible has happened. We just don’t know the specifics of what or how. The story is told largely from two perspectives: Juliet in the present and her husband, Michael, in the past through the captain’s log he kept during their sailing year. There are a few different mysteries woven through the plot, but I felt that the story largely centers around what makes a marriage, and what ends one. Sea Wife is a deep, beautifully written novel with enough pace to the plot to maintain investment while also discussing timeless topics in fresh ways.

“Tears or sweat—so many stories end in salt water.”

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Book Review: The Mothers by Brit Bennett

Book Review: The Mothers by Brit Bennett


The Mothers by Brit Bennett
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

“The weight of what has been lost is always heavier than what remains.”

The Mothers is a powerful, moving picture of a how a secret can wreak havoc on a person, a family, a church, a community. An action that seems to only effect one person never does. Instead, even the smallest decisions can have far-reaching consequences, small ripples that grow into tidal waves.

“After a secret’s been told, everyone becomes a prophet.”

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