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All Book Reviews

Murder at Brightwell
Weaver, Ashley
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Amory Ames has left her philandering husband for a vacation by the sea with her erstwhile fiance on the pretense of talking his younger sister out of marrying her dastardly fiance. After a day of vacation, the dastardly fiance is murdered and the erstwhile fiance is suspect #1. Amory is convinced her old fiance is innocent, and works to clear his name.

At first, I was not at all sold on this book. The beginning is very slow and weighed down by constant descriptions of the sartorial choices of the many characters. The main character also initially comes off as a bit of a prickly doormat. Fortunately, about halfway through the book, the pacing picks up, the story gets really interesting, and our main character gets much less annoying. Her relationship with her husband, however, never ceases to be annoying because...did people not talk to each other in 1930s England? It was an unapologetically unhealthy relationship that was ultimately frustrating to read and was left (purposefully) unresolved at the end.

I don't read a ton of mysteries, but this one ended up being a lot of fun! Its kind of like an old school mystery where there is a cast of characters/suspects in one setting and you KNOW one of them did it...but which one? Based on what other readers have said, it's Agatha Christie-esque. I was able to guess the "who" but not the "why", and the book ended up being entertaining enough that I immediately checked out the sequel, Death Wears a Mask. I'd recommend it to mystery lovers who like their mysteries with a historical setting and a touch of fashion. 3 stars.

Reviewer's Name: Britt
Awards:
A Work in Progress
Franta, Connor
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

A Work in Progress is an inspiring and well thought book for his targeted audience. Connor Franta is a well known YouTuber and this book is a memoir of his life. It goes in depth about his past, present, future, fears, etc. Connor is trying to find himself and he tells his readers to do the same. The concept of this autobiography is beautiful because he reaches out to the viewers and audience who have the same or similar struggles like him and helps the people who are having a hard time finding themselves in the world. Reading this book rethinks how you want to live your life and reach for your goals.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Jade D.
The Lost Hero
Riordan, Rick
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Lost Hero is a Percy Jackson series with new characters but without Percy himself. I loved the third person point of view and the three point of views from Piper, Leo, and Jason. Even though it is written in third person, the main targeted character is specialized well and in detail. Jason goes on adventures and quests without knowing himself which adds to the strong character development he will obtain later in the book. Greek and Roman mythology are perfectly mushed into this book. Riordan took aspects from the original Percy Jackson book and altered them to fit the plot of this book. This is not a five star because the story itself felt a little too similar to The Lightning Thief.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Jade D.
Four: A Divergent Collection
Roth, Veronica
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I loved this book because it was a spin-off of the Divergent series. If you like dystopia and a different point of view, this book is just for you. The book goes in detail of Tobias Eaton's life in four different sections or chapters. I think it's amazing to be able to look into another character's background, especially after reading all three Divergent books in Tris' point of view. In the novella, you get to see Four's abnegation side before he moved to Dauntless. You see how scared he was and the steps that make him who he is later in the book. There is a lot of foreshadowing to compare to the original books and the spin-off. The reason why I gave it a four stars though, is because I felt as if Four could've had more emotion and thought because when I read it, it felt as if I was just reading the behind the scenes and not how he was REALLY feeling.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Jade D.
Moon Over Manifest
Vanderpool, Clare
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book definitely deserves its Newbery Honor Award. It tells an intricate story about a girl moving to a small town called Manifest in a captivating way. At the end of every chapter, I was left wanting more. The author didn't tell you everything and you had to piece the clues together. I liked that there is a point of view of someone during WWI because usually books are set in WWII. I recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction.
Reviewers Grade:8

Reviewer's Name: Mikayla B.
Genres:
A Criminal Magic
Kelly, Lee
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

After the 18th amendment passed, magic became illegal. Shine, an addictive hallucinogen created as a by-product of sorcery, is the main reason behind the prohibition. So, of course, a seedy underworld of gangsters trafficking in shine immediately springs up, and it is embroiled in this underworld that our two main protagonists, Joan and Alex, accidentally and not-so-accidentally find themselves. As they are both sorcerers, Joan and Alex must figure out how to use their sorcery to survive the crime syndicate and it's machinations.

This is a fun fantasy read that is fairly original in it's premise and setting, with likable and believable characters. The premise does most of the heavy lifting, as gangs set in the 1920s trafficking magic gives Kelly lot to work with. She doesn't disappoint. The gangsters are pretty fearsome and the body count ratchets up quickly. The pacing is tight, and the magic is both deadly and beautiful. Joan is a performer, and the descriptions of the performances themselves are somewhat bewitching.

I did have a few problems with the book. First, while the two main characters were fleshed out and developed, almost none of the other characters got any development, and those that did were then basically ignored for the rest of the book. So when the secondary characters started dying, I didn't really care all that much. And then there's the relationship between Joan and Alex. I didn't mind it at first, but it did that thing that relationships in books often do of getting too serious too fast. It's not instalove, but it's instalove's cousin or something. I also felt that aspects of the 20s were wasted on this book - I wanted more flappers, insane clothing, and awesome music. We really only got the gangsters and the cigarette smoking.

For all it's problems, this fantasy novel was ultimately a great read. The ending was pitch perfect, and left the door open for a sequel. I'd recommend it to light fantasy readers looking for something without a ton of substance that is endlessly entertaining and a little different. I'd probably give it something like 3.5 stars, but since that's not an option, we'll go with 4. I quite liked it.

Reviewer's Name: Britt
Walchak, Shelley
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

A fishing book about an incredible woman fly fisherman.

Reviewer's Name: Paul Castenholz
The Archangel Project
Graham, C.S.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

An exhilarating novel that puts you directly into the shoes of young October Guinness in a race against time and a fight against the government. When a man named Lance Palmer comes to October in her small New Orleans abode, she expects he's a good guy with his claim of being with the FBI, but she couldn't be more wrong. With motivation and determination, Lance Palmer and his crew will do anything to get rid of October because of her unique talent that could potentially leak extremely confidential information regarding the well being of the globe. Will she be able to ever live a normal life again? Will she ever outrun her past? With the help of ex-special ops and CIA agent, Jax Alexander, she just might. With gripping current events and a sense of constant danger, this book is extremely eye-opening and thrilling.
Reviewers Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Logan H.
My Seventh Grade Life In Tights
Benjamin, Brooks
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

All Dillon ever wanted to do was dance. His dance crew would never teach him more moves, and his dad didn't approve, so when opportunity knocked he auditioned for a scholarship to one of the best dance academy's in his city; Dance-Splosion. He enters the competition, but his friends don't approve. This book was not your typical high school movie, it shared some qualities, but was still great. This book deserves a 4/5.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Emily T.
Genres:
The Face On The Milk Carton
Cooney, Caroline
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Each day a new face appears on the milk carton. No one gives it much thought. Especially not plain old Janie Johnson. Until one day she sees HER picture on the milk carton. After this she works hard to discover the truth. This book will give you chills of suspense. The book was bit strange at parts, but the overall plot was amazing. I give it a 3/5.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Emily T.
Walk Two Moons
Creech, Sharon
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

On her way to Ohio to find her mother Salamanca, and her grandparents journey across the country to get there. On the way Sal tells the story of Phoebe Winterbottom a peculiar girl she met. I rate this a 5/5. The hidden messages really gives this book depth. Such as the irrationality of Phoebe, but also how Sal can understand her friend. They don't have a perfect relationship, which makes it very realistic. I recommend you read this, it's filled with suspense, action, and drama you won't be able to put it down.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Emily T.
Upside Down in The Middle of Nowhere
Lamana, Julie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

It's late August, 2005, Armani Curtis can think nothing more about her tenth birthday, not even warnings of the storm can shake her, that is until she see's her parents shaken up. Suddenly, the party she has been waiting for, has to be cancelled, and Armani finds herself in the middle of Hurricane Katrina, stuck in the attic, and is floating around the whole city of New Orleans.
And just when it seems nothing could get worse, water and supplies are running out, her brother isn't able to breath, now her brother and father are stuck in the water somewhere, and she is stuck in the middle of nowhere without her mother. Now Armani needs to be responsible more than ever, and make the decision to stay put as her mother had told her or leave her mother behind and get on a bus to somewhere far away with her sisters and brother, without almost half her family.

I read this book because I wanted to understand what it would've felt like to be in Hurricane Katrina, the author also get's through to the reader's emotions, but also revisits a historic event that changed a lot of people's life.
Reviewer Age: 12

Reviewer's Name: Isabella P.
The Silver Crown
O'Brien, Robert
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Ellen Carrol, wakes up one morning to find a silver crown on her bed, but as soon as she leaves her home, she finds that her house burns down, along with her family, and she even witnesses a murder by someone with black clothes and green shoes.
Suddenly, she is on a journey to find her Aunt Sarah who is her only family left, but on the way there she escapes a kidnapper (several times), and meets an 8 year old named Otto. She then continues the rest of the journey, along with Otto, while being chased by the kidnapper (who happens to be the man with black clothes and green shoes).
Otto and Ellen then find a strange place, where there Otto is taken, and Ellen is willing to risk herself to find Otto and get out of that place. But if she does, she might never be able to get out of whatever this place is, and if she doesn't she could possibly still be in danger of the kidnapper that searches for her crown, that she still has no idea why, and what it is.

This book, Silver Crown, shows a lot of mystery, and adventure which is mostly why I read this book, but it also comes with things that you think happened for this reason, but it actually was because of this reason. If you like to read adventure or mystery books, this book is the right one for you.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Isabella P.
Beautiful Creatures
Garcia, Kami
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Beautiful Creatures introduces 2 characters who end up being helpful to each other in a small town called Gatlin.
Ethan Wates, has a dream to leave Gatlin, and go explore the world, as long as it's as far as possible from Gatlin. But, he keeps having the strangest dream about a beautiful girl, who knows him, and he hasn't even met her.
Lena Duchannes, just moved to Gatlin, and is struggling to hide her power that keeps on growing stronger because of a curse that has cursed her family for centuries.
When Ethan, first see's Lena, he is suddenly interested in her, and tries to find out who she is. But when he finally discovers what she has been trying to hide, he puts himself in a puzzle that he refuses to get out of because of his love for her. With school, home, and the curse, this story has a ending, that could change there lives forever.

I liked reading this book because it always had an adventure, but also added mystery at the beginning and towards the end of the story. But it could've been better if the author of this book could've added more suspense at the beginning of the book.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Isabella P.
Awards:
The Walking Drum
L'Amour, Louis
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Walking Drum by Louis L’Amour is the story of the twelfth
century adventurer Mathurin Kerbouchard and his journey to find and rescue his father who had been captured at sea. His journey takes him all across Europe and into the Muslim world, a world of culture and science that is much different than the squalid life of Europe. It is a lively story, full of exciting characters, vivid description of life in the Middle Ages, and daring exploits that climax at the infamous Valley of the Assassins. Throughout the book are many historical facts thrown in by Kerbouchard as he narrates his travels which I found interesting, but someone who is simply looking for an adventure book might find them tedious. I would definitely recommend this book to someone who loves history and travel, because it satisfied some of my own wanderlust with its vivid description of the splendors of an age long gone.
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Grace O.
Neil Flambe and The Crusader's Curse
Sylvester, Kevin
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Neil Flambe may be a very annoying person, but at least he's got his nose and his talent for cooking to back it up. But then all the sudden his talent starts to take a turn for the worse. At his restaurant, Chez Flambe, all of his food is being taken back, he get's complaints from his costumers, and all the sudden his restaurant has been forced to close down due to reports of food poisoning. Then to add on to all of his problems, Neil discovers that there is a family curse that has stopped Flambe chef's for centuries. Now he is being forced to go into a chef cook-off and could lose everything if he makes one mistake. Neil suddenly has stepped into a mess that even, he thinks, he can't cook his way out of.

I picked this book because as I first read this book, I couldn't put it down.
The author pulled me into all of the problems of the story making me engaged in the story quickly and slowly showing me how it was going to end.

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Isabella P.
Smile
Telgemeier, Raina
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This is one of my favorite books because it is a true story and it shows that you are not the only one that goes through hard situations. Smile is about a girl and how she needs braces and she is not looking forward to that and on top of that a horrible accident happens making it so that she needs to do more with her mouth than just get braces. She also goes through friend problems, boy problems, and the problems of peer pressure from the people around her. I like it because the problems are not about one person that saves the world it is about one girl going through real life problems.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Paige C.
The Battle for Wondla
DiTerlizzi, Tony
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is the third and last book of the Wondla series. I like this book because it is set in another time in Orbona a planet that was once known as Earth. It tells the story of a young girl named Eva Nine, and how she grew up in an HRP Sanctuary where she is learns how to survive in a long forgotten word. When she finally goes out into the world she learns that all she though about the planet she was on is wrong. The whole series is about this one girl and how she grows and learns on a long trip of self discovery.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Paige C.
Prisoner B-3087
Gratz, Alan
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I thought that this was a really good book. It is based on the life of a true Jewish person who lived through the Holocaust. It tells you about all of the horrible things that the Nazis did to the Jews during the Holocaust. Even though there are some very bad things that happened during this time that this book tells you about, it is good to sometimes remind ourselves about this so that it never happens again. The main character goes through several concentration camps and manages to survive until the end of the war. The U.S soldiers eventually come into the last camp that the main character is in and rescues all of the Jews. This book shows how much stress and pain people are able to endure. Overall, this was a great book and I would strongly recommend it to anyone who wants to know what the holocaust was like and who would just like to remind themselves of what happened to the Jews during world war two so that they can help ensure that it will never happen again.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Kai K.
Genres:
Star Wars: Aftermath
Wendig, Chuck
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This was a great book. I would strongly recommend it to anyone who is curious about what happens after star wars episode VI and VII. It does a great job about filling in the gap between those two episodes. It is about a small diverse group of people: a lady named Norra, her son, a bounty hunter and an imperial defector who take the fight right to the empire and attempt to stop it's reign once and for all. The empire has been severely weakened when the rebels blew up the death star for the second time and the imperials are having a summit meeting to gather together and regroup their forces and attempt to map out the future for the empire. Meanwhile the rebels have renamed their selves the New Republic and are attempting to bring democracy back to the galaxy but still have the problem of the empire's remaining forces. Even though the death star has been destroyed once and for all, the empire still has a few remaining star destroyers and a super star destroyer that are challenges for the rebels. Overall, this was a great book and it is defiantly a must read for any Star Wars fan.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Kai K.

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