chat loading...

All Book Reviews

The Maze Runner
Dashner, James
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

I had originally picked this book to read because the movie is very popular.
I thought that the book would live up to the hype the movie had. It wasn't a bad book by any means, I was just expecting more. Most of the parts were predictable, but there were one or two things that weren't. It had fairly easy vocabulary considering how long the book was. I felt that this book was more geared toward guys with its derogatory terms like "klunk"(poop).
Overall, this is an average dystopian book.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Mikayla B.
Mr. Splitfoot
Hunt, Samantha
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

20-something-year-old Cora is dissatisfied with her life. She’s bored of her office job, she still lives with her mother, and she’s just found out that her tumultuous affair with an older, married man has left her pregnant -- and he’s not as enthusiastic about the child as she is (to understate the matter). Then her long-missing Aunt Ruth shows up at her house, mysteriously mute, and draws her into an epic cross-country journey on foot. Chapters alternate between the present, as told by Cora, and the past, as told by Ruth, detailing her childhood with her adopted brother in an orphanage run by an abusive religious cult, their career pretending to channel the dead, and the long road that led her to her niece’s door a decade later. There’s an eerie, supernatural tone throughout the book, but I wouldn’t say that it’s a horror story, and I thought it was a surprisingly tender, thoughtful look at family and finding one’s place in the world. I stumbled across this book by chance and I was glad I picked it up. It’s a quick read with admittedly little in the way of action that nonetheless managed to keep me turning pages like it was a thriller.

Reviewer's Name: Lauren
The Grapes of Wrath
Steinbeck, John
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is incredibly human and moving. I had to read it for school but I really enjoyed it and fell in love with most of the characters (except Connie who left his wife). If you have the time, just sit back and enjoy it.

Reviewer's Name: Caitlyn
Genres:
Uprooted
Novik, Naomi
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is incredible. It has fascinating characters and a plot that will keep you guessing. My only thing with this book is that there are two inappropriate parts that I was not at all expecting. You can easily see them coming and skip them and if you skip them it does not affect your understanding of the plot or anything. Just skip them, especially younger readers. I have read the Temeraire series (which is the best series in existence) by Naomi Novik and it did not have a single inappropriate part so this surprised me in the novel; however, you should still read this book. After you've read it, you will have forgiven the inappropriate parts (if you're like me and do not like inappropriate parts in books) and truly have enjoyed yourself. Then, when you are done read the Temeraire series because that is even better than Uprooted.

Reviewer's Name: Caitlyn
Awards:
Genres:
Highly Illogical Behavior
Whaley, John Corey
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In the middle of school one day, Solomon Reed took off all of his clothes (save his boxer shorts) and climbed in the school fountain. He went home from school, and then he didn’t leave his house again for the next three years. But aside from the agoraphobia that led to crippling panic attacks, he was pretty happy.

Enter Lisa. Even though she hasn’t seen Solomon since the day he climbed in the fountain, she’s thought about him a lot. So when the opportunity to get a scholarship to the school of her dreams hinges upon an essay about her experience with someone with a mental illness, she decides she’s going to do whatever she has to to become part of Solomon’s life. But as she and her partner Clark become closer and closer friends with Solomon, she realizes that “fixing” Solomon may not be possible, or even something that she wants to do at all.

This is the second John Corey Whaley book I've read (Noggin being the other one), and his books will now be automatically put on my TBR list - he's funny, he has a simple and accessible way of writing, and he manages to pull at your heartstrings while usually making a really good point. I actually liked this one better than Noggin, which is saying something, because I quite enjoyed that read. The mental illness angle is a hugely interesting one, and Whaley doesn't fall into the same trap that some authors do in which their character is magically healed by the end of the book. Ultimately, this is a coming of age tale for Simon and Lisa, and it's a great one. The character development supersedes the plot, which is fine, but it's the reason that I didn't give the book 5 stars.

I would highly recommend this book to readers of any age who enjoy contemporary fiction, John Green or Sarah Dessen. 4 stars - I really really liked it (maybe that's 4.5 stars).

Reviewer's Name: Britt
Genres:
An Abundance of Katherines
Green, John
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I've always loved John Green's books and "An Abundance of Katherines" is no different. Colin Singleton just graduated from high school when his 19th Katherine dumped him. Once Hassan, Colin's best friend finds out, they decide to go on a road trip to get Colin's mind off of things. They make a few pit stops until they reach Gutshot, TN where Hassan point out the grave of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. When they get out of the car to see it, they meet someone who will change the entire road trip. This book was filled with surprise after surprise and every chapter left you wanting more. This book was definitely one of my favorites.

Reviewer's Name: Layla
Awards:
Genres:
Inkspell
Funke, Cornelia
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Inkspell by Cornelia Funke is the sequel to the book Inkheart and is
well worth reading. This book is just as well written as the previous book and has the same well drawn characters, along with epigraphs at the beginning of each chapter as before, though as before it can be somewhat predictable.
It’s a serious book with some heavy themes but it’s much more interesting than Inkheart because it takes place in a world of fantasy. It continues the adventures of Meggie, her father Mo, her newly reunited mother Resa, and the many other characters of Inkheart. It begins when the homesick fire dancer Dustfinger finds a person to read him back into the world of the fictional Inkheart where he was accidentally taken from by Mo. Unfortunately, Meggie, who has long been fascinated by this world, follows him, and one after another most of the characters find their way from this world to the world of Inkheart. There they find many surprises, the biggest of which is that the fictional world no longer follows the course set out for it by its author Fenoglio. Suddenly everyone is forced to accept the fact that they may just be caught up in a story of which they have no control.

Reviewer grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Grace O.
The Mysterious Affair at Styles
Christie, Agatha
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

When I was a teen, I read all of Agatha Christie's books and developed my love of mysteries! When I was a teen reading the mysteries set in England and other far off places, they seemed so exotic! But I always enjoyed the characters and trying to figure out who done it! After listening to the first in the Hercule Poirot series, the mystery still stands! Set during WWI, wealthy Emily Cavendish-Inglethorp is found dying of strychnine poisoning. Who did it? The younger husband? The step-sons? Or someone else after her fortune? I was intrigued and trying to figure it out the whole time! Knowing more about Agatha Christie's life and about the mystery genre in general, I enjoyed
the book even more the second time around!

Reviewer's Name: Melissa
Genres:
Divergent
Roth, Veronica
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Divergent is a fantastic book about a 16 year old girl named Beatrice who lives in a society where there are 5 factions, groups of people who believe in upholding and strengthening one certain asset of their personality. The Candor are honest, Dauntless are brave, Abnegation are selfless, Amity are peaceful, and Erudite are intelligent. Now Beatrice gets to choose to devote herself to one of those factions for life. Which one will she choose? She thinks this is an easy question until she discovers something shocking about herself that she must hide from everyone. Will her secret be safe, or will she suffer the consequences? This was an amazing book. I would definitely recommend this book for anyone.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Nicole B.
Red Queen
Aveyard, Victoria
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I couldn’t put this book down. I thought that this young adult book had a unique take on segregation. The elite silvers looking down on the red slaves made me think of some real life situations. Just like its unique take on segregation , this book also had some unique characters. Mare, the main character was very relatable and realistic. The cover of this novel suits the story perfectly and portrays it well. It’s no wonder why this book is so popular. If you like action packed young adult books with a major plot twist, then this is the one for you.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Mikayla B.
Genres:
Legend
Lu, Marie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

June Iparis is a prodigy trying to avenge her brother. Day is a criminal trying to save his family from the plague. Their paths cross when Day accidentally ends up killing a member of her family - and she decides to track him down. Legend is an exciting thrill-ride you won't be able to put down! Every chapter ends with a crazy new plot twist. June and Day are likable protagonists you'll be rooting for the whole time. I highly recommend this
book for the thrilling adventure and amazing writing.
Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Gillian P.
Twilight
Meyer, Stephenie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Bella, a regular girl from Phoenix, decides to live with her dad in Forks, WA for the rest of high-school while her mom and step- dad travel for her step- dad's job. When Bella starts to settle down in Forks a strange boy named Edward catches her attention. Who is Edward? And why does he act so strange around Bella? I'd rate this book a 5 out of 1 to 5 because it was romantic, dramatic, and had some action. I could relate to Bella because we both are terrible at sports.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Gabrielle F.
Saiyuki
Minekura, Kazuya
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

This is a manga series. Yes, those comics with the characters with big eyes and a lot of drama. For those of you who haven't picked up a manga series or bothered to watch the impressive anime series that are often made out of them, don't be so quick to judge this thrilling, artistic, and funny form of entertainment. These short books prove to be very helpful to those looking for an adventure but find difficulty in focusing on a sea of words. With anime you get something extremely aesthetic to the eye as well as an amazing, quick adventure. There are manga series for everyone no matter their preference: girly shojo, action, horror and more. I have just started reading this adventurous series Saiyuki which is a beefed up adaption to the actual fable. In Shangri-La (a place where heaven and earth combine and demons, called youkai live in harmony with humans), youkai are going berserk and it is up to a team of four young adult males to find out why. As a smoking, gun wielding, cursing priest, a monkey god, a water spirit, and a chi manipulator head West, they find all sorts of trouble that causes them to show off their skills, and run away from all of their equally haunting pasts.
Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Summer W.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Adams, Douglas
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

When Ford Prefect, an undercover alien that got stuck on Earth, realized that Earth would soon be blown into smithereens, he and his human friend, Arthur Dent, escape and embark on an adventure through space. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy parodies other sci-fi novels, which is enjoyable for those who are experienced with that particular genre. This novel is very light-hearted, simple, and it doesn't really get too serious anywhere. The humor is random and ridiculous (in a good way), and it really was what made the book. All of the characters had strong and eccentric personalities with their own little quirks that make them special; they were all very engaging. It's a pretty good classic (that's why I chose to read it in the first place), it's very quotable (and who doesn't like quotes?), and fast-paced. It might seem a little immature to a select few, but the amount of people who like it heavily outweigh the ones who don't.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Miriam X.
In the Sanctuary of Outcasts: A Memoir
White, Neil
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

I admit, I didn't know much about leprosy before reading this book. I didn't realize that patients were segregated from society. I thought the disease had been eradicated decades ago! I was impressed with how Neil White told the story of the patients at Carville. Unlike the prisoners housed there, they didn't feel sorry for themselves. They just went on with their lives despite their disease. There was no reason to feel sorry for them.

What I didn't like about the book was Neil White's personal story. I do feel he was remorseful for taking money from innocent people to pay for his big dream of being a magazine publisher and living large. I just didn't like the examples he used when he was trying to express regret like when the first black family moved into his neighborhood or how he blackballed fellow students from joining his fraternity. The worse example was when White discussed how the patients had been disfigured by the disease and how he could "relate" because of the scar on his forehead. That passage really bothered me.

Reviewer's Name: Melissa
The Short Drop
Fitzsimmons, Matthew
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Short Drop was recommended to me. I finally got around to reading it and was blown away! The book is a mystery/thriller. The basic plot is that the vice president's daughter was kidnapped. Who kidnapped her? What happened to her? This is a mystery that went on for 10 years until Gibson Vaughn, who grew up with the vice president's daughter, is asked to help solve the mystery. There is a lot of action and many twists and turns!
Just when I thought I knew where the story was going, it changed and I found myself wondering how it was going to end. I liked that Matthew Fitzsimmons didn't tie up all of the loose ends and now I have to wait until fall to see
if he picks up any for the next installment in the series! Definitely a fast read and well worth your time!

Reviewer's Name: Melissa
Illuminae
Kaufman, Amie and Kristoff, Jay
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Kady and Ezra are citizens of the Kerenza colony - an illegal mining colony in a remote corner of the universe. One day, the colony comes under attack from rival mining company Beitech. Kady and Ezra manage to escape on two of the three spaceships that survive the attack. Unfortunately, in the process of escaping Kerenza and battling Beitech's ships, the Kerenza ships are massively damaged and unable access their jump drives to escape to the nearest jump station. The remaining Beitech ship is chasing the Kerenza ships through space in order to eliminate ALL survivors from the Kerenza colony.

Illuminae is a collection of the electronic communications between Kady and Ezra juxtaposed with a variety of different things: ship diagrams, dialog between the different ships' commanders, Wikipedia type pages, video
transcripts, thoughts from the AI controlling one of the ships, pictures of victims, etc.

I have really mixed feelings about this one. First, I really enjoyed the layout of the book. I'm not sure that I've read anything quite like it; I guess I would maybe label this as a more modern take on the epistolary
format. Some of the pages (usually when they were in space) were prose set to artwork, which was really cool to see. However, the layout was not easy to read on a kindle - luckily I had the book checked out as both a physical book and an eBook which I would recommend as the book itself is basically an anvil.

I really liked the plot of the first 54% (thanks, eBook!) of the book, and then it went a little off the rails for me. At this point, the book kind of changes from a mystery/exploration of the use of AI to an episode of the
Walking Dead set in space, which is decidedly not my thing. The last half of the book is actionactionaction, which never gives the characters or the readers a chance to breathe. The characters themselves are pretty generic sarcastic teens - I thought they were both pretty funny, but their personalities weren't really developed much beyond the snark. Oh, and the romance. I know I'm not the intended audience, but the romance felt forced, melodramatic, and icky. I skimmed those parts...because gross.

I don't think I'll check out the next book as I was not a fan of the last half of Illuminae, but I did really enjoy the reading experience. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a really unique sci fi read with a
healthy helping of romance. 3 stars. I (mostly) liked it.

Reviewer's Name: Britt
Written in Red
Bishop, Anne
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is the first in a series by Anne Bishop focusing on a world where humans and "others" try to live together. The "others" can take on whatever form they feel comfortable with and are trying to understand this "new predator" species (humans). A girl who sees prophesies turns both worlds upside down when she escapes her human "handlers" and takes a job in one of the "others'" courtyards. Excellently written, characters well rounded and "alive". So far there are 4 books in this series and I've read them all - recommend them highly for anyone from young adult to aged and still curious. You'll love the characters in this series and the "world" they live in.

Reviewer's Name: Pauline
Awards:
After Alice
Maguire, Gregory
1 star = Yuck!
Review:

The book follows Ada (Alice's friend who does rate a mention in the original) as she tumbles down the rabbit hole after Alice (see what Maguire did there?). In between chapters about Ada in Wonderland, we follow the goings on of Ada and Alice's families above ground. I wanted the book to be Alice in Wonderland meets Downton Abbey, and that is definitely not what I got. The parts in Wonderland were ok, though Ada's character was never developed, and as such, I didn't actually care if she was stuck in a zoo forever with the White Queen or whatever. The above ground parts were painfully boring - even though Maguire added Darwin as a character, which could have been fascinating! We basically follow various housekeepers and Alice's sister Lydia as they traipse around searching for the lost children. Exciting it was not. There was also a ton of completely pointless social commentary - for example, its not exactly shocking that there would be lots of racists in Victorian England.

Oh, and to add insult to injury, Maguire writes as though he's just ingested a thesaurus.

This is the second Maguire book that I've read and hated (I was not very fond of Wicked either), so I believe it will be my last. 1 star.

Reviewer's Name: Britt
The Wings of the Dove
James, Henry
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Would you like to read slower? Would you like to read a novel slowly, I mean in a good way, meditatively, obsessing less about the plot? That is probably my favorite thing about reading Henry James, especially his novel The Wings of the Dove. It is totally character driven. Yet what emerges out of this kind of storytelling is suspense and narrative curiosity, the usual cause and effect of a complex, satisfying plot grouped together with some choice
subplots.
Since it was published in 1902, with a story set fairly close to the time, it is a classic Victorian novel told in James’ very unique and, at the same time, typical prose of the era. This contrast is part of the fascination reading it. You feel it resting on Hawthorne but anticipating Joyce. (In no uncertain terms, the language is certainly nothing like the patchy prose of this choppy review!) The style is aristocratic, philosophical, contemplative. To describe it in one word, I would choose the word Consciousness. It’s so hypnotic at times you might wonder if it is really his brother William James the psychologist-philosopher whispering it in your ear.
And last: there is a raciness embedded in it but without the modern explicit details. You won’t feel like you need a shower afterwards.

Reviewer's Name: Trent
Genres:

Pages