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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: Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby

Book Review: Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby


Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book, y’all. Razorblade Tears broke my heart and kept me on the edge of my seat in equal measures. It’s a superb piece of crime fiction with powerful messages about racism, sexuality, and accepting your loved ones for who they are, no matter how different they might be, before you run out of chances. It’s about vengeance and justice and learning that you can still grow even when you’ve been set in your ways for longer than you can remember. It’s about family, both that which you’re born into and that which you build for yourself along the way. It’s about grief and how, sometimes, you don’t even feel like you deserve to feel it. Above all, this is a story that felt honest and real and true at its core, despite being a work of fiction.

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Book Review: The People We Keep by Allison Larkin

Book Review: The People We Keep by Allison Larkin


The People We Keep by Allison Larkin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one of those times when I’m really thankful for Book of the Month. For some reason, The People We Keep isn’t a book I’ve really heard mentioned anywhere else. If it hadn’t been one of BotM’s options, I might have never heard of it, much less picked it up. I’m so incredibly thankful that I did, though. The People We Keep is a heartbreakingly beautiful story that perfectly balances sorrow and joy. With a diverse cast of larger-than-life characters and a protagonist that I not only rooted for but wished I could pluck from the pages and adopt, this book filled my heart to the bursting point and gave me an even greater appreciation for all of the wonderful people in my own life.

“We have people we get to keep, who won’t ever let us go. And that’s the most important part. That’s what’s true.”

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Book Review: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Book Review: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles


A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Gentleman in Moscow is a book that has been on my shelf almost since its publication in 2016. I’ve heard remarkable things about Towles’s style and characterization. However, I had also heard that it was a quiet book, a slow story softly told, so I decided that I would have to be in just exactly the right mood to pick it up. I was so wrong. While I understand the quiet description, as the plot follows our protagonist after he is sentenced to a life of house arrest within the walls of Moscow’s Metropol Hotel, it was by no means slow. Yes, the story was obviously constrained in setting by our main character’s confinement, but his life was still so tremendously full that I never felt like that pace wasn’t being propelled forward quickly enough. A Gentleman in Moscow is a beautiful, moving, utterly charming story, with characters who won my heart completely and prose that I wanted to sink into and live inside forever.

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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

Cover art illustrated by: Nico Delort

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Standalone

Genre: Fantasy, Retelling

Pages: 480 pages (US Hardcover Edition)

Published: 10th July 2018 by Del Rey (US) & Pan Macmillan (UK)


If Uprooted is my Hell, then Spinning Silver is my Heaven.

Five years. It’s been exactly five years since I’ve read Uprooted by Naomi Novik. Honestly speaking, I never intended to read Spinning Silver. I consider Uprooted one of the worst fantasy novels I’ve read, and I had no motivation in trying out more of Novik’s works for five years. However, after hearing from many readers—one of them being my friend, Elliot Brooks—who disliked Uprooted that Spinning Silver worked wonderfully for them, my curiosity was piqued. And then, another good friend of mine—Mary—who also disliked Uprooted decided to sent me a copy of Spinning Silver. She said that Spinning Silver is one of the best standalone novels she has ever read. So here I am, nodding my head and adding my opinion to their praises; they were all 100% right. Spinning Silver is one of the best standalone novels I’ve read. This high rating you’re seeing is not a fairytale. It’s well-deserved, and Spinning Silver rightfully deserves the gorgeous cover art (US edition) illustrated by Nico Delort.

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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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Book Review: To Ride Hell’s Chasm by Janny Wurts

Book Review: To Ride Hell’s Chasm by Janny Wurts

Cover art illustrated by: Janny Wurts

To Ride Hell’s Chasm by Janny Wurts

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Standalone

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy

Pages: 704 pages (Mass market paperback edition)

Published: 1st January 2002 by Harper Voyager


A great fantasy standalone that will make you know how it feels to live for five days in a fantasy world.

This is the first time I read Janny Wurts’s solo work; prior to this, I’ve read The Riftwar: Empire trilogy that Wurts co-write with Raymond E. Feist within this year. The Riftwar: Empire trilogy, to me, has become one of my favorite trilogies; I am stunned that it took me this long to finally get around to reading that trilogy. Janny Wurts is often well known for her work on Riftwar: Empire trilogy and her magnum opus: Wars of Light and Shadow. I’m fully intended to read her magnum opus but before I get around to reading Wars of Light and Shadow, I thought it might be better for me to read her standalone novel first. The reason behind this is that many fans of her works have mentioned that it’s better to read To Ride Hell’s Chasm first to get an idea of Wurts’s prose, which is significantly more difficult than the one in The Riftwar: Empire trilogy, and they’re not wrong on this. I will talk about this more in the review below.

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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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