Other Award(s)

Demon Copperhead

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Demon Copperhead
Author
Kingsolver, Barbara
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

I have been a Kingsolver devotee since 1988's 'The Bean Trees', have read everything she has published and have attended two book readings. It follows that anytime she publishes a new work I am immediately on it. While she has an incredibly wide-ranging ability to create memorable characters from Taylor Greer to the Poisonwood Bible daughters to Dellarobia Turnbow, this title character is without a doubt the most jarring. Kingsolver is back to her Appalachian roots in this first-person saga of Damon who is a victim of the inept foster system and his own resulting bad choices. I vacillated between heartbreak for the cascading tragedies he suffers and yelling at the page, "What are you doing???" In Kingsolver's talented hands we move back and forth between rooting for this broken child and disliking the person he becomes. I found it to be her grittiest novel and it took me some time to adapt to the language, yet it was completely necessary for Damon to tell his tale. (If you have not read Dickens' David Copperfield take a few minutes to go online for the synopsis and character summaries.) Even as she forced me to step outside my long-standing expectations of her novels, Kingsolver remains my literary hero.

Reviewer's Name
Debi
Genres

Where the Crawdads Sing

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Where the Crawdads Sing
Author
Owens, Delia
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

I enjoyed this book a lot. A lot. I saw the movie first. At that time, I didn't even know it was a book. I enjoy this story a lot. I like the time hopping of seaming two different stories that merge into one.

What I loved the most, was how descriptive this book is. Beautifully descriptive.

When I finished the book and I read some of the negative reviews because I wanted to know what people didn't like about the book. While yes, some of the characters don't seem realistic or act overly cheesy, to me, that didn't bother me. I didn't think about those things while listening, because I was so enamored by the story.

I'd highly recommend listening to the book. Cassandra Campbell is a phenomenal voice actor.

There were some parts that were a little triggering (domestic violence and sexual assault), but thankfully I knew they were coming because I saw the movie, and those scenes didn't last long.

Reviewer's Name
Ollie
Genres

Travelers in The Third Reich

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Travelers in the Third Reich
Author
Boyd, Julia
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

Travelers In The Third Reich tells the stories of some people who lived in Germany during the second world war. The book shows the horrors of life in Germany at the time by describing the hangings and executions through the eyes of the people that were there. It also talks about the politics and economy during the war and how it changed the lives of the German civilians.

Reviewer's Name
Dave

Among the Hidden

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Among the Hidden
Author
Haddix, Margaret Peterson
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

In a future where the Population Police enforce the law limiting a family to only two children, Luke has lived all his twelve years in isolation and fear on his family’s farm, until another “third” convinces him that the government is wrong.

The book is a dystopian world set in present day where teenagers are able to come together in crisis to try and change the government and let their voice be heard. I chose to read this book back in third grade and still remember to this day how good it was. The elements of the book were enticing and had me looking forward to what was next. It gave great arguments of why the government is wrong and how the rich, called “barons,” get to do what they want. As a kid I didn’t have any negative thoughts, and if I were to pick it back up, I would still have good thoughts about it. This book is part of the Shadow Children collection, with seven books in it and each of the books get better. People who enjoy adventure, plot twists, and exploring different perspectives would like Among the Hidden.

Reviewer's Name
Janeika

The Hunger Games

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The Hunger Games
Author
Collins, Suzanne
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

I loved this series! As a big sister, I was hooked the moment Katniss said "I volunteer!" It is a great read about hardship and rebellion. How one person can make a big difference even without intent. I have read it with my oldest and will read it with my youngest at some point. But this is the book that got me reading again and I love to read it over and over.

Reviewer's Name
Carla

The Wind Through the Keyhole

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The Wind Through the Keyhole
Author
King, Stephen
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

Backstory can often be a difficult element to work into a series. To keep the action in the present and moving forward, there’s rarely time to go into the background of the characters, let alone the main character of the series. This is why side stories like Fairest and The Wind Through the Keyhole exist. There’s a subtle need to explore the troubled past of a main character, but to get into the depth of their backstory requires a significant amount of words that won’t fit into already full books in the main series.

In The Wind Through the Keyhole, Stephen King lets the reader see the origins of Roland the Gunslinger. What’s interesting here is that King does so in a series of nested stories, almost evoking something from Inception (2010) or Cloud Atlas. After all, a single story hardly affects real people but is instead a string of interactions that themselves were influenced by the past events of other characters’ lives. And while knowing these stories doesn’t add to the whole of the Dark Tower series, they confirm some things that Roland alluded to from his past.

With many moments in the core Dark Tower series being used to show character development for the rest of the members of the ka-tet, The Wind Through the Keyhole provides the foundation for the titular Gunslinger that was mostly missing from the main series. Considering that King wrote this book almost a decade after the series concluded, it’s no wonder that the universe of Mid-World feels as rich as ever in this side story. Adding this mid-series book after the fact meant that King still had more to clarify and The Wind Through the Keyhole definitely delivers.

A Dark Tower side story with plenty of character background, I give The Wind Through the Keyhole 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name
Benjamin
Genres

Ophie's Ghosts

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Ophie's Ghosts
Author
Ireland, Justina
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

Kids ages 9-12 who are looking for a little mystery, intrigue and lots of ghosts will find just what they need in Ophie's Ghosts by Justina Ireland. Ophie discovers she can see ghosts the night her father was killed by a mob of townsfolk when they found out he voted. She and her mother go to live with her aunt in Pittsburgh and there her aunt helps Ophie understand the depth and seriousness of her new found gift.

Reviewer's Name
Barb

The Song of Achilles

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The Song of Achilles
Author
Miller, Madeline
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

The Song of Achilles was written in 2011 by American writer Madeline Miller. It is an adoption of Homer's Iliad and is a retelling of the great Greek warrior Achilles. The tale is told from the perspective of Patroclus. The novel follows the romantic relationship between Patroclus and Achilles as it is written in the novel.

*"He is half of my soul, as the poets say."*
*Madeline Miller, by using their relationship, is trying to show the role of men in ancient Greek society and how homosexuality was viewed in that era. The most pleasing thing about this novel is Miller's poetic writing and how beautifully she has painted the vivid picture of the emotions of all the characters, and it has taken me into another world while I was reading.
There are some debates that have been going on for centuries until today. For example, the relationship between Patroclus and Achilles has been debated for centuries, and still there is no clear evidence of whether they were lovers or close comrades. The second one is that Helen was the cause of the Trojan War, and destroying thousands of ships and men just for a woman is foolishness. As Dr. Faustus says:

*"Was this the face that launched a thousand ships and burnt the topless towers of Ilium?"*
Mean by there, is she that much beautiful that kings are willing to destroy anything?

The novel also contains many themes. The first one is *"honour and pride".* Achilles fights for his honour because he wants his name to be remembered, in the same way Agamemnon and Menelaus fight for their pride, which they lost when Helen was kidnapped by the king of Troy. For Greeks, honour and pride is everything, and they prefer to sacrifice their lives over honour and glory. They believe that sometimes violence is needed to prove one's pride. As it is set down in the text:

" *The sons of Troy are known for their skill in battle, and their deaths will lift your name to the stars."*

The second major theme is *impulse to show power*. Achilles, Agamemnon, and Menelaus fight for power and want to have control over their lives; one of the biggest reasons for participating in battle is to showcase their power. Besides this,the powerlessness of women like Helen, Briseis, and Deidmeia can be seen in the novel. Agamemnon treats Briseis badly as a wench or a war prize, and also, Helen is forced to choose a husband even though she doesn't want a husband.

*To conclude* , the novel is a wonderful piece of literature and deserves to be read because the way Medellin Miller has described all the events and feelings of all the characters makes you feel the same.

Reviewer's Name
Muhammad N.

Love in the Time of Serial Killers

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Love in the Time of Serial Killers
Author
Thompson, Alicia
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

There was no way I was not going to read a book with the title of Love in the Time of Serial Killers! It did not disappoint. It is an unconventional romance with friendship, mourning, and true crime thrown in. Phoebe is a PhD candidate(she's writing her disseration on the true crime genre) who has to spend the summer in Florida helping her brother Connor clean out their childhood home after their father passes away. For Phoebe it is very complicated - she was estranged from her father and has unpleasant memories of her childhood. On top of that she suspects her neighbor Sam is a serial killer! Since I am a fan of true crime, I enjoyed how the author wove in facts about real true crime in the story. If you like quirky romances and a fan of true crime, you will enjoy this book.

Reviewer's Name
Melissa
Genres