Celestial Carousel

Hello! Welcome to the BookLikes page of the book review blog Celestial Carousel! Here I'll share snippets from Celestial Carousel and take part in whatever other miscellaneous shenanigans I like.

Star Trek Volume 6: After Darkness

Star Trek Volume 6: After Darkness (Star Trek - Ryan Parrott This title was provided complimentary from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Check out more of my reviews at Celestial Carousel!

I‘ve never read a Star Trek comic book before, to be honest, but as a huge fan of the franchise and as someone who has most definitely seen the recent movie that the events of this comic book are a sequel to, I felt pretty qualified to go into this without having read previous installments in the comic book series.

Right off the bat, the art style is beautiful. The renderings of the Enterprise, the crew, and space itself were well-executed. The author’s writing style lent itself well to the Star Trek universe. The comic reads like a Star Trek movie. Kirk’s voice was a fantastic representation of his voice in the new movies. I especially loved the banter between Kirk and Bones–that’s always been one of my favorite aspects of Star Trek in any medium–and Chekov, with his “Keptin!” and “Wulcan” was just perfect.

The storyline itself was interesting, compelling, and kept me reading. I really enjoyed it–especially reading about the Gorn again! Though definitely a different entity from the films, I felt this comic book tied in well to the (alternate) universe already established in the two newest films.

After reading this, I’m definitely interested in picking up other installments in the Star Trek comic book series, especially those created by this team.

The Bone Season

The Bone Season  - Samantha Shannon Check out more of my reviews at Celestial Carousel!

This book seems to have taken the book blogger world by storm as of late, with its author being lauded as the next J.K. Rowling, and if I told you that wasn't enough to make me pick up this book as soon as I was able to get my hands on it, then I would be a liar.

It becomes evident almost immediately that, while completely captivating, The Bone Season isn't Harry Potter. Not by a long shot. In fact, the only similarity I can think of is that both series truly have fantastic world-building. So many details are laid out in this book in a manner that's clear, believable, and not the slightest bit overwhelming. Being that I read The Bone Season in eBook format, I wasn't able to clearly see the chart of voyants or the map of Scion London, and the glossary in the back of the book was essentially useless to me--but the context in which the author's created words are given left little room for doubt in their meanings, and when I did get to the glossary (by, you know, actually finishing the book), I was already familiar with the meaning of most--if not all--of the words.

The main character, Paige, is well-developed, and I loved her for her loyalty to her friends, her protectiveness over Liss and the Harlies, and her strength, of course... but I loved her more for her weaknesses. I loved that she longed for the protection of her friends in the syndicate, but at the same time proved that she's no damsel-in-distress. Reading her history and her childhood spread throughout the book was heartbreaking and gave you true insight to the events that molded Paige into who she is in the book's present.

Now, let's get down to the thing that's really bothering me--the romance. It's not just me being a cynic; I really couldn't buy into the relationship between Paige and Warden. It felt contrived. I saw no chemistry. I would have expected a sort of strained friendship between the two of them by the end, sure, but certainly not random make-out sessions. Maybe if their feelings had come to light in a later book I would have been better pleased with the way it unfolded, but I legitimately would have preferred if there had been no romance in this book at all. And the fact that the Rephaim ultimately ended up being some sort of mystic, otherworldly vampires? It cheapened the rest of the story for me.

Coming in at over 450 pages, one might think that The Bone Season would be a chore to work through, but this book was addictive, whether I approved of the romance or not.

A Halloween Treat

A Halloween Treat & Edward Gorey's Ghosts - Edward Gorey Read more of my reviews at Celestial Carousel!

The first half of the book, A Halloween Treat, has each page marked not with a page number, but with a letter in the word “Halloween”, and is filled with cute and creepy illustrations–some paired with brief speech-bubble stories–culminating in the final page (the “n” of “Halloween”, as it were) with the creepiest image of all.

The reverse side of the book, Edward Gorey’s Ghosts, may well be my favorite–though this half is solely comprised of illustrations. The images are captivating and beautiful, mostly in sketched black-and-white, though a few images feature a small contrast of color for an eye-catching effect. Each illustration really does tell a story, whether spooky, scary, or even sorrowful–and I was left wishing I knew more about each panel.

This was, admittedly, my first Edward Gorey experience, but I feel confident in saying that it won’t be my last. Though short on words, this two-in-one book would be a delightful addition to anyone’s Halloween repertoire.

Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey

Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey - Fiona,  Countess of Carnarvon I received this book courtesy of the publisher for reviewing purposes.

Though certainly fascinating and well-researched, I wasn't able to connect with this book. I likely would have enjoyed it more if I had read the previous installment before starting this one. I may purchase the book and try again once I have done so.

It's like TV in your head!

Why I love reading


Palace of Spies

Palace of Spies - Sarah Zettel

This title was provided by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group for review purposes. 


Of all the things I learned reading Palace of Spies, one thing stood out the most–never underestimate a girl with a fireplace poker.


Palace of Spies captured my attention from the start with its rich history, clever girls, and promise of mystery.


Peggy is a compelling heroine with a fun personality. I enjoyed her wit and following along as she unraveled the mysteries at court, making mistakes along the way, but never losing sight of what she thought was morally right. I loved the cast of supporting characters (especially Mrs. Abbott, Lord Tierney/Mr. Tinderflint, and Matthew) and the way their own stories unfolded around Peggy.


Something that did bother me, however, was that Robert wouldn’t immediately realize that his paramour was an entirely different person than the last time she had been at court! I understand that Francesca had (supposedly) been ill and that no one had any reason to suspect she had been replaced by someone else entirely, but I found it very odd that he couldn’t recognize that this wasn’t the girl he had fallen in love with, even if they did bear similarities.


While the ending resolved many questions, it also left a fair few unanswered–and that’s exactly the way it should be with a book like this. I was pleased to discover that some of my own revelations had been right all along–and just as pleased to discover that some had been completely wrong! I look forward to reading future installments in Peggy’s story to find out the answers to these lingering questions.


Overall, this book was a fast-paced, fun read full of clever quips and period-appropriate characterization, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!


Read more reviews at Celestial Carousel.

Source: http://celestialcarousel.com/2013/09/24/book-review-palace-of-spies-sarah-zettel
Reblogged from Great Imaginations:
Reblogged from Parajunkee:

Celestial Carousel Moves to BookLikes!

I discovered BookLikes today and was so thrilled to create my account and start cataloging my library here! It's a beautiful site and the import process has been a breeze.


Keep your eye out for future reviews and posts both here and on the full Celestial Carousel site!

The Waking Dreamer

The Waking Dreamer - J.E. Alexander Sadly, I wasn't able to read this book to completion. Though a very interesting concept, I found the writing to be dense and difficult to work through. It just wasn't for me. :(

The Pentrals

The Pentrals  - Crystal Mack

This title was provided by Apologue Entertainment (via NetGalley) for review purposes.


Okay, okay. I'll admit it--I judged a book by its cover. The cover art caught my eye immediately, and once I read the synopsis, I knew I had to read The Pentrals. The concept is so unlike anything I've read, and I was really curious to see how the author pulled it off!


Right off the bat, I had a hard time connecting with this story until the switch took place. The narrative from Antares' point-of-view felt a little hollow (and rightly so, I guess--I mean, she is a shadow). There are only so many times that you can describe the way a shadow shadows someone before it gets a little stale.


Things pick up once Violet and Antares trade places, but my biggest problem with this book (and it's always a big problem with any book) is that I still wasn't able to connect with the characters. I didn't feel for Violet or Antares. The reader follows Violet for only a brief while before she's suddenly plastered to the floor beneath Antares' shoe, after which period of time we don't really get any taste for her personality again throughout the book.


As for Thomas... I couldn't love Thomas at all. The author doggedly enforces how wonderful he is--good-looking and beloved and a star athlete and a perfect boyfriend--and I just couldn't buy it. I was far more interested in Ben and Sam than most of the main cast of characters (though Ben's total 180° turn after his confrontation with Thomas and Violet bothered me, too).


Another thing that bothered me was the mirripulation concept. While I'm sure it would be horrible to see your face so horribly disfigured and grotesque (and I do appreciate what's going on, metaphorically), and we certainly have no reason to doubt what we see reflected in a mirror... didn't anyone think to, I don't know, touch their face and feel that they didn't have scabs and protruding veins and things? Or ask someone they trust, "Hey, does this look like a rash or something?" instead of just assuming that their family and friends were just not bringing it up for the sake of their ego? Because I certainly would have.


The end is where this book finally caught me. I was captivated by the details of Antares' previous life (and death?) and her connection to Ben. The culminating of all the events so far finally added up to something I could get into and honestly, despite some of the predictable plot devices sprinkled throughout, I am curious to know what happens next.


Read more reviews at Celestial Carousel.

Source: http://celestialcarousel.com/2013/09/14/book-review-pentrals-crystal-mack

The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars - John Green

I‘ve avoided reading this book for so long. At first, my hesitation was due to deciding to finally pick up a copy while shopping at Target… and discovering that it was an autographed and Hanklerfish’d copy. I snatched it up, of course, but found myself unable to mar such an awesome piece of Nerdfighter history by doing such a blasphemous thing as reading the book.


Eventually, a friend heard about my predicament, bought me a copy, and promptly informed me that I had no more excuses, and that I needed to read the book (the fact that said friend has still not read this book is irrelevant).


Last week, I decided it was time to face my fears (and, inevitably, tears) after nearly a year of procrastination and just read the thing. I finished earlier this afternoon, and… well.


The Fault in Our Stars is, as a whole, a difficult book to review. If I rate it too high, I’m a blind fangirl who refuses to see the book’s faults. If I rate it too low, I’m a cynic just looking for an excuse to put down a popular book. I suppose this can be said for any book review, but it just feels so much bigger with a book as widely loved as this.


After I finished this book, I sat in front of my computer to write the review and cried. Just cried. It wasn’t the love-and-loss of Augustus and Hazel’s brief relationship. It wasn’t the death. It wasn’t even Gus’s letter to Hazel. It was the little lines and observations throughout that resonated with me about life and death and everything in-between. I have, after all, lived bits of this situation in a bit of reverse, as a child caring for a parent with a chronic and debilitating illness. I’m familiar with the grief and the waiting and the calm and the grief.


Like many other readers, I did have issue with the conveyance of Hazel and Gus (…and Isaac and other characters, to be honest). They felt a little too altogether pretentious–like they were a collective Manic Pixie Dream Cast. I enjoyed the wit, of course, but I couldn’t fall in love with the characters the way I would have liked because I was constantly hyper aware of how similar they all were.


However, on the topic of characters, I do think Peter Van Houten was fantastic–the idol who turns out to be such a hugely flawed individual–who we eventually discover to be a man so wrecked with grief. There’s a line that he says toward the end of the book that just struck me because it is, in my experience, absolutely true: “Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you.” He is undoubtedly my favorite character of the book because of his thoroughness… and that fact makes me a little sad.


In spite of this book’s heart and its best intentions, it fell flat for me. There was something hollow about the story, and I’m finding myself racking my brain for why I just can’t seem to love it the way most people seem to.


Read more reviews at Celestial Carousel.

Source: http://celestialcarousel.com/2013/09/02/book-review-the-fault-in-our-stars-by-john-green

The Weight of Souls

The Weight of Souls - Bryony Pearce

This book was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes.


The description of The Weight of Souls immediately captured my attention. So many aspects of the plot interest me--ghosts, curses, murder mystery, and ancient Egypt? In one book? Sign me up! I was all the more pleased to find myself still interested once I started actually reading. I found myself excitedly telling friends about the plot, which isn't something I often do. I look forward to the book's release so the aforementioned friends can read it for themselves!


The characters in The Weight of Souls are what really made the book for me. I enjoyed reading about every one of the characters, and appreciated the thought that went into each of them. I particularly liked the reality of the strain Taylor's curse had on her friendships and her relationship with her father (as well as the conflicted and changing stance her father held on the curse Taylor and her mother shared). The romance in this book was a slow, believable transition, and the challenges Taylor and Justin face make their situation so unique and interesting to read about.


The events leading up to the end of this book were action-packed and, when done, left me wanting more. I'm dying (I couldn't resist) to know more about the Darkness and to learn what will happen to all the souls Taylor and her family have Marked.


Overall Thoughts: This book was an enjoyable read with complex, believable characters and an engrossing story. I look forward to future installments about Taylor Oh--and reading more from Bryony Pearce, in general!


Read more reviews at Celestial Carousel.

The Geek's Guide to Dating

The Geek's Guide to Dating - Eric  Smith

This book was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes.


Love is confusing enough for the well-adjusted. For geeks, it can be downright impossible. Enter The Geek's Guide to Dating.


I'll be completely honest with you: At first, I thought this book was fiction. I had assumed upon first glance that it was a YA book chronicling the misadventures of a geek in pursuit of a girl. I was definitely wrong, and I am delighted that I was. Filled cover-to-cover with geeky anecdotes and 8-bit illustrations galore, The Geek's Guide to Dating is a helpful companion in the world of dating that puts it all in plain English for the rest of us.


This book was rife with geeky pop culture references of all kinds that had me laughing along and nodding in agreement with what the author was saying. Most references were familiar to me, but those that were unfamiliar were explained (though not dumbed-down), and I appreciated that. As stated early on in the book, after all, there are many different kinds of geeks--and it's not just for guys, either. Though aimed at a male audience, the book addresses the female reader now and then, and most of the chapters in this book could/do apply to the fairer sex.


Overall Thoughts: This was a highly enjoyable read (whether you're single, married, or not even looking to date--honestly!) for geeks of all kinds. When it comes to dating, it's dangerous to go alone! Take this book!


Read more reviews at Celestial Carousel.

Rogue Touch

Rogue Touch - Christine Woodward

This book was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes.


Confession: I watched the X-Men movies for the first time just a few months ago. Prior to that, the only thing I knew about any of the X-Men was that they were, well, superheroes. I was immediately drawn to Rogue, though, for a multitude of reasons--not the least of which that we share a home state.


Rogue Touch is, of course, vastly different than the storyline I saw in X-Men, but that's to be expected. The book follows Anna Marie--newly christened "Rogue" by her strange new traveling companion James/Touch--as she and Touch are on the lam, both on the run for reasons neither is ready to explain to the other.


In fact, the on-the-road portion of this book spans about 200 pages (I checked). I found myself growing a little tired of it at times, as Rogue and Touch found themselves in similar predicaments over and over, be it hacking an ATM for funds or narrowly escaping Touch's futuristic assailants. However, a great deal of Touch's back story is revealed over this period of time, and the relationship between Rogue and Touch blossoms in a slow, natural way--something I can appreciate amid the world of "insta-love" in so many of the novels I've read.


The biggest issue I really had with this book is that at times I felt like it really focused more on Touch than Rogue! While I can't say too much without revealing spoilers, a great deal of the latter part of the book centers around Touch's predicament. Rogue is certainly a strong enough character to carry her own story; I'm not sure why she was given a "co-star" as prominent as Touch.


I do have to admit that this book addresses the heartbreak and the true heart of Rogue in a way I hadn't seen before or expected. Rogue Touch offers a peek into the soul of this tormented girl--a girl who unwittingly destroyed the life she knew with a single kiss, a girl who is beginning to see that she isn't a monster--and a girl who's realizing that she hasn't seen everything the world has to offer her just yet.


Overall Thoughts: Though I would have liked to have seen more non-roadtrip matter, and I would have liked to have seen more of this story centered around Rogue herself, I did enjoy this book. The story is told in a very detailed, captivating manner, and the style of storytelling feels as though you're hearing it from Rogue herself. While I wouldn't necessarily recommend this story to someone looking for a good story about this female superhero, I would recommend it to someone looking for a good story, period.


Read more reviews at Celestial Carousel.

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