Goodreads Choice Award/Nominee

Book Review: From Blood and Ash

From Blood and Ash
Author: 
Armentrout, Jennifer L.
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

JLA is always a great storyteller, but in this series, she particularly excels in the world-building aspect. So much detail, such rich storylines, such well-developed characters. It is great for fantasy lovers, but still accessible enough for those not accustomed to reading fantasy. I recommend this book to everyone I talk to!

Reviewer's Name: 
Erin S.

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars
Author: 
Green, John
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Two teens, one struggling from cancer, one a cancer survivor, meet and start becoming close. The struggles of cancer, the chance of death, the fear of not leaving a mark on the world and so much more make their relationship hard at some points. John Green is a fantastic author who really draws you in. You get really invested into the characters and their lives and you start to feel their pain. This book will make you laugh, smile, cry, and jump up and down and it’s amazing. I would definitely recommend!

Reviewer's Name: 
Rylie

Book Review: To All the Boys I've Loved Before

To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Author: 
Han, Jenny
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

I've heard a lot about this book, so I decided to try and read it. What I enjoy about this book is that it could relate to a quite a few teenagers, and it has a bit of every genre. It's sad but happy, weird but funny, and dramatic but real. I could safely say, that this was one of the best books I've read this year. It starts off with a sixteen year old girl, Laura Jean. She was always a very good kid, listening to her parents and having good grades. Her older sister, Margot, was one of her best friends. She was just about to move to college, so she broke it off with her boyfriend, Josh. Seeing this, Laura got devastated because Josh had always been like a part of the family. Josh was upset too, since they've been together for two years. Laura thinks it's all just temporary and her sister would want to get back together with him. Margot soon was thinking about it, until she heard something from Josh. Something about her sister. This got her furious. I'm going to let you read about that by yourself. Later along in the book, like every other teenage girl, Laura has those few people that she's liked over the years. For those few guys, she's always wrote love notes for them and hid them away in a box, so she could know why she liked them, but forget about them because they were in the past. Until one day, when everything changed... Read to find out what happens.
Reviewer grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: 
Trisha

Book Review: Mexican Gothic

Mexican Gothic
Author: 
Moreno-Garcia, Silvia
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Noemí Taboada is a beautiful socialite who loves wearing opulent purple gowns, riding in a convertible and smoking French cigarettes. A woman of her station, as the novel relates, "was expected to devote her time to the twin pursuits of leisure and husband hunting." Instead, this strong-willed, intelligent and brave woman seizes an opportunity not realizing it could lead to her demise. Neomi’s father receives a disturbing letter from his niece and recent newlywed Catalina. The frenetic message suggests a mysterious doom awaits Catalina, who may need psychiatric help and a divorce, a scandal the businessman wants to avoid in 1950s Mexico City. So Neomi negotiates her way into a chance to attend graduate school – rare in a country when women could not vote – in exchange for heading to the isolated High Place, a distant Victorian mansion once funded by now-depleted silver mines. Once there, she must find out if the letter is nothing more than “female hysteria” as Neomi’s father assumes, or something more sinister.

Moreno-Garcia does a wonderful job sprinkling in the antiquated language of classic Gothic horror to pace this atmospheric creeper while Neomi’s dread about the Doyle family and its hideous patriarch mounts, as does her dueling desires to stay and garner graduate school or flee for her own sanity. The oppressive feel of dead, rotting High Place hints at a history of violence, madness and even darker secrets as the 320-page novel’s protagonist soon finds out. Once there, she meets the drugged Catalina’s menacing and alluring husband, who worms her way into her dreams, which are becoming an evermore disturbing mix of lust and horror. Her only ally is the family’s youngest son, who seems a decent fellow, but hides secrets of his own. Follow along as the amateur sleuth learns more about High Place, its exploitive colonial past and its unique power as the novel – equal parts Daphne du Maurier, Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft –speeds toward a satisfying, albeit gory conclusion.
Awards: 2020 Goodreads Choice Awards Best Horror

Reviewer's Name: 
Joe P.

Book Review: The Midnight Library

The Midnight Library
Author: 
Haig, Matt
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Matt Haig's unique novel The Midnight Library ponders the infinite possibilities of life. It is about a young woman named Nora Seed, who lives a monotonous, ordinary life and feels unwanted and unaccomplished. One night, her despair reaches a peak and she commits suicide. But the story doesn't end there--Nora gets a chance to experience various ways her life could've unfolded had she made slightly different choices. She finds herself in a place called the Midnight Library, which exists between life and death and is filled with books in which lie endless parallel lives she might've lived; she is given the chance to undo her regrets by trying out these lives, starting right where her alternate self would've been on the night she ended her life. While in the Midnight Library, Nora lives hundreds of lives and becomes hundreds of different versions of herself--some she'd never even fathomed--but she is faced with a difficult decision. She must decide what she is willing to sacrifice in order to live permanently in one of these 'ideal' lives, where they seem perfect for a time but, as she realizes, there are really new sets of challenges awaiting. Nora's exploration of herself is captivating as she attempts to discern what is really important in life.

This novel is very well-written and thought-provoking. Nora's emotions are deeply portrayed, and I was captivated by the depth of Haig's storytelling. While the concept is simple, it drew me in as a reader and encompassed so many different emotional experiences that come with life. I spent much of The Midnight Library reflecting on my own life and the decisions I've made, as well as looking to the future and imagining the infinite possibilities--this is a sign of a talented author. While I appreciated the depth of this novel, sometimes it took on a repetitive, almost pedantic tone when an important idea was already clear but kept being elaborated on--this was common when life lessons came up. There were also attempts to make Nora's life-jumping seem scientifically possible, with reference to quantum physics, and I didn't think this was necessary, as the focus was on Nora's life and personal growth. Overall, I very much enjoyed The Midnight Library. The character development, setting, and plot are engaging, while also discussing important themes such as mental health.

I would recommend The Midnight Library to teens and adults alike. It's a short, worthwhile read that will get you thinking and have you on the edge of your seat. And it may just awaken you to how much unlocked potential you have!

Reviewer's Name: 
Alexa

Book Review: Unlocked

Unlocked
Author: 
Messenger, Shannon
Rating: 
2 stars = Meh
Review: 

I was honestly kind of disappointed with this book, and it felt like a cash grab to me more than anything. I've been enjoying the Keeper of the Lost Cities series for years and I was looking forward to this release as much as any other, but it was anticlimactic, to say the least. As advertised, the majority of the book isn't actually story, but "exclusive Keeper details" that had me excited at first, but after I read the book, felt more like the author had copy and pasted her world building document. I understand that world building is fun and that she wants to share all these interesting details she's come up with, but most of it was information people already know if they've read the rest of the books, and I'm disappointed she mixed it in with a book in the series, forcing everyone to buy unnecessary content when the only actual series content is a short novella at the end that's hardly able to advance the plot. I wish that, if she wanted to release an extra world building book, she had done it separately from the yearly release so that people can read it if they want, but don't have to. The novella though, that actually continued the series, was great! I loved the alternating point of view between Sophie and Keefe.

Reviewer's Name: 
Elanor

Book Review: Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass
Author: 
Maas, Sarah J.
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Throne of Glass is about an 18-year old assassin named Celaena Sardothien. She was put into the slave camp, Endovier, to serve her sentence. As Celaena stays in Endovier, the King of Adarlan holds a competition to find his personal assassin. Celaena as well as other assassins from the area have come to compete. If she wins, she wins her freedom from Endovier and the freedom to live in the Kingdom.

The author, Sarah J. Maas, does an amazing job giving each of her characters throughout the book a very deep back story that impacts the plotline of Throne of Glass as well as the later books in the series. She gives the book lots of details and twists while adding bits of humor. The protagonist Celaena is very humorous and relatable while also being a strong, confident female lead. All in all, I would highly recommend this book.

Reviewer's Name: 
Natalie

Book Review: Empire of Storms

Empire of Storms
Author: 
Maas, Sarah J.
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The book Empire of Storms is the 5th or 6th book (depending on which way you read it) in the Throne of Glass series. The protagonist Aelin Galathynius is beginning to learn of the important part she will play in the war against Maeve and Erawan as she learns the history of her ancestor’s past. Rowan Whitethorne, Aedion Ashryver, and Lysandra journey with Aelin to find allies to aid them in the war. Manon Blackbeak, heir to the Blackbeak throne, calls a meeting with Erawan to discuss what their next step will be. Erawan orders her to fly with her 13 other witches and bring Dorian Havilliard to him. Manon has sent the niece of one of Erawan’s cruel follows with a Wyrd Stone to find Aelin.

This book was very well written. The author, Sarah J. Maas really starts to take details that were mentioned in the first few books and really starts to make them key elements of the plot. The book is very interesting as all the characters began to meet each other and form alliances. If you choose to read this book, the ending is very sad and has a major cliffhanger, but it is so worth the read. The whole series is amazing.

Reviewer's Name: 
Natalie

Book Review: Clockwork Angel

Clockwork Angel
Author: 
Clare, Cassandra
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The book Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare follows the protagonist Theresa (Tessa) Gray. She has just moved to London to live with her brother after her grandmother’s death. Upon arrival, two elderly ladies pick her up saying that her brother sent them. The ladies whose names are Mrs. Dark and Mrs. Black take Tessa back to their house. Tessa quickly finds out that her brother didn’t send them. They try to force her to change. Being from New York and the mundane realm, she has no idea what they want her to become. After about six weeks of being forced to change, a young Shadowhunter named William Herondale saves her from the ladies and takes her to a safe haven. From here on out, Tessa begins to learn of the Shadowhunter world and all it has to offer.

Clockwork Angel, being the first book in Cassandra Clare’s series, The Infernal Devices, does an amazing job of hooking the reader within the first few pages. The Infernal Devices is somewhat of a prequel series to the original series, The Mortal Instruments. Cassandra Clare creates a very interesting and thorough job of creating a plot that doesn’t give everything away too soon. The characters are also very believable and relatable. All in all, I would recommend reading The Mortal Instruments before The Infernal Devices because there are small details that will make the Clockwork Angel even more interesting and enjoyable.

Reviewer's Name: 
Natalie

Book Review: Cinder

Cinder
Author: 
Meyer, Marissa
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The book Cinder by Marissa Meyer follows Cinder, a cyborg in New Beijing. Cinder is a mechanic in the futuristic city of New Beijing. She lives with her adopted mother Lihn Adri and her two adopted sisters Peony and Peral. One day, while she is in the market square, the Prince Kai of the Eastern Commonwealth, comes to visit her about his droid. The droid Nainsi had key information about the lost princess, Selene, of Luna. With the new disease Letumosis spreading rapidly around the globe, a cure needs to be found immediately.

The futuristic retelling of the classic tale Cinderella was truly amazing. There were lots of hints at the original story that were incorporated into the plot consistently. Marissa Meyer even includes the ball at the end of the book with her own twist on the tale. All in all, the book was truly amazing and very engaging.

Reviewer's Name: 
Natalie

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