All Book Reviews

Frankly in Love
Yoon, David
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Frankly in Love by David Yoon tells the story of a Korean-American high
school senior named Frank Li. Frank’s parents only have one rule when it
comes to dating--date a Korean girl. But Frank finds himself in love with a
white girl, and in a crazy attempt to hide their relationship from his
parents, he teams up with his friend Joy Song to orchestrate a wild fake
dating scheme. However, along the way, Frank finds himself wondering if he
really knows what love is after all. I enjoyed reading this book. It was
deeper than just a teenage love story. It held both the expectations of
Korean parents for their kids and Frank trying to find his place, feeling
neither Korean or American enough. Some of the character’s choices
weren’t really the best and sometimes they can be extremely awkward, but
overall it was still an enjoyable read. I recommend it not only for the
romance but everything else it touches.

Reviewer's Name: Cora
The Obsidian Tower
Caruso, Melissa
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Obsidian Tower still fills Readers with Mystery….and Dread…..

4 Stars. Bit dramatic for my taste.

This book is about a young woman living in a world of magic, where the
world is divided up by people who have different kinds of magic. Ironically,
she lives in the section of people with life magic, but she possesses the
magic to kill… An outsider, rejected by her parents, she was made the
warden of the Obsidian Tower by her grandmother, who saw promise in her. I
loved this book for the magic, and the realistic fear of people passing her,
afraid to touch her. Lonely she is, she keeps going because the Obsidian
Tower needs her.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
Genres:
Lone Survivor
Luttrell, Marcus
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is incredible! Lone Survivor is the firsthand account of
Marcus Luttrell, a Navy SEAL, who served in the Middle East. In an attempt to
kill a notorious al Qaeda leader, Luttrell and his team are ambushed leaving
him as the only survivor. Lone Survivor shows the courage, bravery, strength,
and valor of Marcus Luttrell and every other Navy SEAL. This book is truly
inspiring and will make you grateful for all of the US Armed Forces. I highly
recommend this book for everyone.

Reviewer's Name: John
Genres:
Book Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Rowling, J. K.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban is about Harry’s 3rd year at Hogwarts. Along with friends Ron and Hermione, Harry investigates the case of Sirius Black, an escaped prisoner from Azkaban, the wizard prison. Sirius Black is believed to be one of Voldemort's allies, and he is the only wizard ever to escape Azkaban, so he is definitely powerful. Harry Potter then overhears that Sirius Black wants to kill him.

This book is full of creeps and chills, like in one part, the train to Hogwarts is stopped because of terrible flying things that can suck out your soul. Because of these soul-suckers, Harry almost dies, but in the end, Harry learns a lot about himself, his parents, and friends (both of his, and his parents’).

But this book is still full of interest. In a memorable moment, Harry Potter flies on a Hippogriff, which is a hybrid between a horse and eagle. In another part, The Prisoner of Azkaban goes from fantasy to sci-fi, because of time travel, where Harry goes back in time to save himself.

With the adventurous and scary parts in perfect balance, this book is a good read, and personally, it is my favorite book in the whole series.

Reviewer's Name: Gurman S.
Genres:
Saving Red
Sones, Sonya
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Saving Red is about a girl named Molly who is trying to finish her community service hours for school and to do that, she is helping do the homeless count for her city. Here is where she gets her first glimpse of Red, a girl who cannot be much older that Molly herself, on a sleeping bag and twitching and screaming throughout a bad dream. Molly gets a sudden feeling that she needs to help this girl. A friendship soon develops between the two girls because Molly wants to help Red get back to her family. That is until Molly discovers that Red may need more help than Molly originally thought. Molly is motivated to help Red because of past guilt. Molly soon learns that Red is not the only one who needed saving.

This book is one of my personal favorites because it is so interesting, and it keeps me wanting to read it. The book is written in verse so it is really easy to read and it was quick to finish. Saving Red is a very heavy book so I would suggest this book to high school students and mature middle school students.. Whats cool about this book is that every poem could be read on its own and still make sense. This book was really good, super quick, makes you think and leaves you wanting more.

Reviewer's Name: Emma M.
Thunderhead
Shusterman, Neal
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Citra and Rowan have diverged into lawful and lawlessness. Since Citra was selected to become a scythe she began to glean with Scythe Curie meanwhile Rowan went off the grid. Though there had been rumors of a Scythe gleaning other Scythes, who became known as Scythe Lucifer. Fighting the corruption of the Scythedom in their own ways, Citra and Rowan continue to learn what the mortal age world was like.

This book is better than the first book, “Scythe” because the Thunderhead excerpts between chapters add more complexity and depth to the story. Also inmthe first book the perspective switches were a lot less climatic, both main characters were in relatively similar situations. In this book the different perspective adds more suspense to the book, and perspective. The side characters were not static in this book, a lot more about them is reveled in this book. “Thunderhead” also had good foreshadowing that was sometimes a bit too obvious. The main thing this book lacked like the first book of the series was detailed descriptions. It almost makes the book seem more like a movie because it’s all action. Overall though I would recommend it to those who read “Scythe” and want to continue the series since this book is better.

Reviewer's Name: McKenzie
Hour of the Bees
Eagar, Lindsay
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Hour of the Bees is about a girl, Carol, who has to spend the summer helping her grandpa, Serge, whom she's never met. Her grandpa suffers from Dementia, and wants "Carol-een-a" to learn about her roots. While Carol's older sister, Alta, is complaining, and her parents are trying to sell the farm house, she bonds with her grandfather over fairy-tales centered around a life-giving tree.

The storyline does progress a little slowly, and the supporting characters don't change or have a major impact on the plot, but despite the small imperfections, I did not regret reading this book! I liked how the ending was very unexpected and captivating, and how easy it was to bond with the main characters. I recommend this book to people of all ages. Thank you for reading :)!!

Reviewer's Name: Aztin
Genres:
Cry, the Beloved Country
Paton, Alan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Cry, the Beloved Country is a very good novel. It depicts the lives of Reverend Stephen Kumalo and white landowner, James Jarvis, during a time of turbulence in their lives. All of the characters in the novel are extremely well written and the character development is superb. The conflict in the novel feels very realistic and thrills the reader. The moral decisions and emotions faced by the two protagonists feel very weighty and captivate the reader. Overall, the book is a great novel that I would recommend to anyone.

Reviewer's Name: Steven
Awards:
Escape Clause
Sandford, John
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Escape Clause is a fast paced mystery book about the search for two missing tigers from a local zoo. This book features Virgil Flowers who is the main investigator in charge of finding the tiger thief and must hold him accountable before it is too late. This book not only focus on the tiger case but takes a deep dive into Virgil Flowers background and personal affairs. I chose this book as it was suspenseful and had many twists and turns. Escape Clause is a thriller and will keep the reader up all night.

Reviewer's Name: Ananth
The Prodigy
Feinstein, John
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Prodigy is a fantastic and well crafted sports fiction novel about a promising young golf athlete. Frank Baker is a 16 year old golf superstar who is getting nationwide attention from the professional golfing world. Frank is eager and desires to play college golf at a college of his choice but his pushy father pressures him to go directly to the pros. His father aspires to gain a fortune from his son playing in the big leagues and wants it as soon as possible. This book beautifully blends Frank's life on and off the greens and makes the readers feel as if they are experiencing Frank's dilemma. I chose this book as I enjoy reading sports fiction. The Prodigy captures parental pressure on young athletes exceptionally well and the shocking decision Frank makes at the end of the book.

Reviewer's Name: Ananth
The Reversal
Connelly, Michael
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Are you looking for an escape route out of these tough times that the world is facing right now? Then try reading this crime fiction thriller " The Reversal". Mickey Haller is a prominent defense lawyer who surprisingly decides to be part of the prosecution team for one of the most brutal crimes ever committed. Jason Jessup is convicted of a heinous crime that was committed nearly 20 years ago but the evidence was inconclusive to put him behind bars in the first trial. Can Mickey Haller and the Los Angles Police Department gather some crucial clues and evidence to find out whether Jason Jessup is the mastermind behind this crime or not? Mickey Haller must find out before it too late.The Reversal is a legal thriller that has an excellent plot and forces the reader to pay close attention to every single detail. I would highly recommend this book and it's a great read.

Reviewer's Name: Ananth
All Fall Down
Carter, Ally
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

All Fall Down is a unique read that will grip the readers throughout the story. Grace lives in a US embassy in a foreign country because her grandfather works there. Grace's mom was killed in an accident and her dad left the family when she was only a baby. She has a hunch that her mother was killed and has a notion that the killer is lurking around close by . Grace wants to find out who her mother's killer was and wants them to pay for it. She makes lifelong friendships with other kids living in other embassies, but Grace also faces animosity along the way. All Fall Down is a great read and hooks the reader until the end.

Reviewer's Name: Ananth
Awards:
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
Doyle, Arthur Conan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes is a masterpiece of short stories. Sherlock Holmes continues to dazzle readers with his incredible deductions in these eleven short stories. From the beginning of Holmes' career in "The Gloria Scott" to large-scale crimes in "The Naval Treaty," the Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. The introduction of Sherlock's brother, Mycroft, and his most notorious nemesis, Professor Moriarty, ensure that readers will be captivated by these stories. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes is phenomenal and I highly recommend it for any fan of Sherlock Holmes or crime fiction.

Reviewer's Name: John
Scythe
Shusterman, Neal
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In a world where AI, artificial intelligence, known as the Thunderhead controls the world and has gifted humanity immortality, it gave humans the responsibility of death. Immortality is possible with the nanites embodied in cells to help cells replenish forever. Scythes are the only people that kill or nicely put glean. Citra and Rowan are selected by a scythe to apprentice and the discover the reality of human nature and the burden of death.

I think this is a good book, conceptually it’s definitely a step up from your typical dystopian book but it isn’t my favorite book for other reasons. There is a guy and a girl main character and they have to defy the expectations of society, creating romantic tensions which is pretty typical. The book lacked detailed descriptions which would have enhanced the action by creating more suspense. The biggest reason it is not my favorite is smalldetails that are don’t logically make sense. With the all knowingThunderhead it would make sense that technology would allow teleportation and other advancements. All these little details ultimately make the book only 4 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: McKenzie
The Toll
Shusterman, Neal
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Great Resonance has occurred and everyone has become unsavory, meaning they can’t communicate with the Thunderhead. That is except for one person, the Toll. Since no one can speak to the Thunderhead no one knows why they have become unsavory leaving the world in confusion. What most people don’t know is Endura the Scythe ring of islands sank when all the systems failed, or were instructed to fail. The leaders of the Scythedom drowned and Citra and Rowan are nowhere to be found.

The other books in the Scythe series had somewhat obvious endings while in “The Toll” I really didn’t know how the series would end which created a nice suspense in the book. Just when I thought things couldn’t get worse or the characters Citra and Rowan things get worse. The excerpts from the Thunderhead and the founding Scythes created a lot of foreshadowing and had each founding Scythe had a unique voice and quirks which was a nice detail. This book still lacks detail of the setting, clothing, and appearance of the characters like the other two books in the series but in this book it especially lacked detailed emotion. There was a Romeo and Juliet like relationship between Citra and Rowan, they were each other’s weakness, and would save the other even it meant sacrificing themselves. However the emotion and reasoning on why they are so in love is unclear. Other than training as apprentices together and kissing once in the first book the author doesn’t really describe why or how they fell in love. This book had
a lot going on at once it was hard to understand how much time had passed or what was happening when. Overall the theme of this series is advancements don’t make humans lose their humanity, no matter how perfect a world there will be those who chose corruption and power, and those who chose to live a simple quiet life.

Reviewer's Name: McKenzie
Educated
Westover, Tara
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Growing up on the prairie in the past meant you were mostly isolated from the rest of society for better or worse. In the 1990s growing up in isolation in the U.S was very rare. Most people lived in cities, or suburbs, or small farming communities. Tara Westover was part of this abnormality. She grew up in rural Idaho and was homeschooled and rarely spent much time without her family. Which causes her to believe almost everything her parents and,siblings believed but when she began college she learned a lot more about the world than what she ever knew before.

I don’t typically pick up a memoir but this one was very highly recommended so I decided to give it a read. I thought the beginning was a bit slow but once you get through some of the background it becomes important in later portions of the book. I thought the book had a really good message and very unique perspective. It made me think a lot about how the school system could be improved and how outdated some of the typical school experiences are. I would recommend this book to teachers, school administrators, parents and students since they are so involved in education. I think it would be a good book to read at school and discuss as well.

Reviewer's Name: McKenzie
Real Artists Don't Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age
Goins, Jeff
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

I’m a little conflicted with this book’s message, mostly because it downplays its definitions at the beginning of what an “artist” really is. It would be nice to make a living on my writing, but this book isn’t about how to do that. In fact, I’m already the artist that this book describes: someone who sells their creative hobby while pursuing it on weeknights and weekends. I have a full-time job, so my art isn’t my primary profession like the term “starving artist” is meant to invoke. Sure, there are bits of useful advice sprinkled throughout this book, but it wasn’t anything I hadn’t already picked up by now.

Perhaps the audience for this book is the individual who is thinking of taking a considerable risk and quitting their job to jump wholly into being an artist? Any more, the current Millennial mindset of “hustles” makes this an old way of thinking. We don’t have just one job: we have many, which we also juggle with our relationships and our hobbies. Furthermore, with online communities bringing together like-minded creative individuals with no limitations of geographical separation, some of the advice in this book is already dated three years after it was published.

Even if I already knew a lot of the advice in this book, it was encouraging to know that I’m on the right track for the artist I want to be. There are plenty of examples of successful artists in this book that give me hope that I’m doing the right things to advance my artistic career. It even filled in a few gaps that connected pieces of information I had learned but hadn’t put together yet. In the end, being an artist is a mindset, and it’s not a binary “all or nothing” that we used to consider it. Hopefully, we can soon retire the “starving artist” moniker because many artists don’t make a living on their art.

Fairly evident advice for a redefined group of artists, I give Real Artists Don’t Starve 3.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Gaiman, Neil
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

It’s nice to know that Neil Gaiman can write engaging, modern fairy tales that are longer than the short story format. The Ocean at the End of the Lane was a delight to read, and I can see some parallels to other famous middle-grade fantasies (the Narnia series came to mind here and was mentioned in the book). Everything about this story made sense, and the character and the world-building were top notch—which I’ve just come to expect from Gaiman’s work. Truly, he continues to be the modern fairy tale maestro. One of the unique aspects of this story was how it seamlessly integrated the magical and the mundane. So often, these types of fairy tales transition to a world of magic and leave the boring, ordinary world behind. Not so in The Ocean at the End of the Lane. If anything, using the supernatural to explain some of the challenges of our childhoods helps sell the storytelling here. Sure, there are moments in magical places, but the majority of the book has cleverly-hidden magic present in the real world. It’s easy to have everything in a realm be magic; it’s much more challenging to mix the two.

I will warn those who would want to read this to their children that perhaps the children should be a little older, or you should be prepared to explain some of the content in it. Nothing is graphic, per se, it’s just better to know how to answer any questions when adult situations are described through the lens of a young boy’s experience. Of course, anyone who’s read any amount of Gaiman would know that his fairy tales are more on the “adult” side of things. However, if you haven’t dipped your toes into Gaiman’s writing before, this is an excellent place to start.

A wonderful fairy tale mixing of fantasy and reality, I give The Ocean at the End of the Lane 4.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
Genres:
Book Cover
Strauss, Ethan Sherwood
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

If you are even mildly interested in sports then The Victory Machine is a must read for you. The Victory Machine is a humorous, firsthand account about the cut throat and ruthless business of professional basketball. This book in particular covers the rise and fall of the Golden State Warriors dynasty. It features some unforgettable and colorful conversations between management and the players. The Victory Machine covers the ins and outs of the complexity of running and managing a pro basketball team.

This book makes the readers feel as if they were also present when big decisions were being made in the war room. I disliked that the author focused too much on Kevin Durant and not as much on the overall team. Overall The Victory Machine is an easy and straightforward read and I highly recommend it.

Reviewer's Name: Ananth S.
Genres:
Book Cover
Rowling, J. K.
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets is a continuation of Harry’s journey in the wizardry school of Hogwarts. The book basically starts when messages appear on the wall. These messages say that the "Chamber of Secrets" has been opened and that the "heir of Slytherin" will kill all students who are muggles. These threats are found after attacks on some students that leave everyone in the school scared. Harry starts his own little investigation with his friends, Hermione and Ron.

The book is full of mystery, but it has its share of funny too, like a new professor, Gilroy Lockhart, thinks that he is the best at everything, as he shows off to his students including Harry, Hermione and Ron. Eventually, Professor Lockhart, ends up humiliating himself many many times in front of his pupils.

In another part, Harry and Ron decide to use an enchanted flying car to get to Hogwarts from summer break. Just as they arrive at Hogwarts, the car begins to break down and they end up crashing into a tree that swings its branches wildly. Harry and Ron somehow survive, but eventually get detention.

So, overall, it is a good read, but personally, it is my least favorite book in the series.

Reviewer's Name: Gurman G.

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