chat loading...

All Book Reviews

 Adaptation
Lo, Malinda
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Adaptation is a science fiction novel, the plot kept me engaged throughout the whole story and the author did a good job of introducing the characters. I really recommend this book for readers who haven't enjoyed reading science fiction in the past (like me) because this book isn't hard to understand and it is a fairly fast read.

Reviewer's Name: Emma Reeves
Awards:
Dive In!  A Topsy-Turvy-Say-It-Out-Loud Underwater Adventure
Recess Monkey
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of fun and laughter we had with this book. I expected it to be lame, but it was a fun read-aloud. It's an interactive book where you end up sounding like you're an undersea explorer, holding you breath as you dive in, and participating in silly shenanigans. We had a great time with it.

Reviewer's Name: Carol
Stanley Will Probably Be Fine
Pla, Sally J.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Stanley is a whiz at comics trivia. Comics provide him with comfort when life becomes overwhelming and lately that's been all of the time! The principal at Peavey Middle School is obsessed with school safety and preparedness and this stresses Stanley out. He's able to escape from the school drills by spending them in a "safe room" where he creates a safety superhero, John Lockdown.

Stanley's best friend, Joon, wants to win VIP passes to Comic Fest by entering a Trivia Quest treasure hunt. While they begin as partners, Joon soon ditches him. Stanley decides to enter anyway to prove he can tackle his worries. As he faces the overwhelming and challenging day, he thinks, "What would John Lockdown do?"

Reviewer's Name: Carol
Genres:
Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding
Liukas, Linda
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Ruby has a huge imagination. She can do anything she puts her mind to and hates to be told what to do. She struggles when the instructions aren't clear. Join Ruby on her adventure as she completes a challenge that her dad leaves when he's away and put your imagination to work. Hello Ruby:
Adventures in Coding is half storybook, half activity book. It teaches the basic concepts like breaking problems into smaller ones, thinking outside the box, and finding patterns that are useful in coding through storytelling and activities.

Reviewer's Name: Carol
Genres:
Get Out of My Bath!
Teckentrup, Britta
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In this interactive book, Ellie the Elephant is taking a bath.
She’s having a great time until other animals come to join in the fun.
Help her out as she tries to get the bath to herself again.

Reviewer's Name: Carol
How to Wash a Woolly Mammoth
Robinson, Michelle
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Michelle Robinson has created a step by step guide to help you wash a woolly mammoth. There are some tricky parts to beware of such as the fact that woolly mammoths have terribly tickly tummies. The illustrations are wonderful and help you imagine the perils of washing a mammoth. Great fun for young readers!

Reviewer's Name: Carol
Night Owl
Yuly, Toni
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Night Owl loves staying up late. As he says goodbye to the daytime, he realizes that he can’t see Mommy Owl. He listens closely and hears different things, but not Mommy Owl. Finally, he hears the nicest sound of all – Mommy Owl. Using onomatopoeia and simple pictures, this delightful picture book encourages language and listening skills.

Reviewer's Name: Carol
Digby Takes Charge
Church, Caroline
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Digby is the new sheepdog and he's having trouble getting the sheep to do what he asks. He tries different ways until his farmyard friends teach him the value of one little word - please. It's a great reminder of the power of please (and thank you).

Reviewer's Name: Carol
Awards:
You Can Fill a Swimming Pool With Your Spit!  The Fact or Fiction Behind Human Bodies
Mason, Paul
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Each of us is living in a human body, but just how well do we understand how it works. The body is complicated and there are so many so-called facts about it. This book examines the fact or fiction behind some of the craziest myths. For example:
Are toilet seats really cleaner than computer keyboards?
Is it possible to be scared to death?
Are 1/4 of your bones really in your feet?
So while many of these facts may not be useful, they are interesting and, at times, revolting. You may learn something new about the human body.

Reviewer's Name: Carol
Genres:
The Martian
Weir, Andy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Martian was a great book, and I loved it! This book is about a man (Mark) that goes to Mars. when a sand storm hit the HAB hard Mark and his crew decide it is to dangerous to stay or the MAV will tip. When the crew make it to the MAV they realize that mark is not with them. They want to find him but it is just not safe. Mark is stuck on Mars with no means of contacting Earth. Can he survive?

Reviewer's Name: Anneka S.
Wolf by Wolf
Graudin, Ryan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Wolf by Wolf takes place in an alternate reality where the United States never fought in World War II, and Hitler was left undefeated. The book focuses on a jewish girl named Yael. She had been experimented on while in a internment camp. As a result of being experimented on she can change her appearance . Years after her escape she plans to kill Hitler. Looking and acting as Adele Wolfe Yael enters a race known as the Axis Tour. The Axis Tour was cross continental motorcycle race, with rough terrain, and many other challenges. Yael hopes to win the Axis Tour and have the chance to dance with Hitler. This dance could be her chance to kill Hitler. Will Yael survive the challenges of the Axis Tour? Will she win the Axis Tour? Most importantly, doe shse kill Hitler? All of these questions are answer in Wolf by Wolf.

I was recommended this book by friends so many times I had to read it. Ryan Graudin developed Yael's background slowly, revealing more about her throughout the book. Just when you think you know Yael you discover more of her past, and learn about a new "wolf". While I did enjoy the slow development of Yael's background I disliked the beginning of the book. The Axis Tour didn't start until until a few chapters into the book. Which made the book boring at first. However once the Axis Tour portion of the book began the plot became more interesting and complex. While the book focuses on Yael I also enjoyed Felix Wolfe, and Luka Lowe. Yael's relationships with both Luka and Felix make the book more realistic and the plot more complicated.Once the book reached its climax I couldn't put it down. I had to know how it ended. If you are interested in a book with a balance of good characters and action this perfect for you. If your read this book I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Reviewer's Name: McKenzie W.
Fangirl
Rowell, Rainbow
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Cath is moving away to college, but she doesn't feel anywhere near like an adult. In fact, she doesn't even entirely feel like she belongs in this world. Cath is obsessed with the Simon Snow series, i.e. the most famous series of novels ever written chronicling the adventures of a group of teenage wizards. She is one of the most well-known fan fiction writers in the entire Simon Snow fandom, earning tens of thousands of readers on each chapter. Her twin sister, Wren, used to help her write and fangirl over Simon with her, but lately they've grown apart. Despite going to the same college, Wren decided against sharing a dorm with Cath and is growing irritatingly close with her assigned roommate. By the contrary, Cath's roommate is unpleasant and distant and constantly has her handsome and annoyingly friendly boyfriend around their room. Every week, Cath escapes by writing in the library with a charming fellow English major. Even with her anxieties over the new experiences of college and writing stories using her own characters always in the back of her mind, Cath wrestles with her relationship with her sister, her dad's fragile mental state, romance, and trying to find herself.

Reviewer's Name: McKenna R.
Divergent
Roth, Veronica
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Divergent is part of a 3-book series. It's about a 16 year old girl named Beatrice Prior who lives in a Dystopian society. There are five factions, Candor, Amity, Dauntless, Erudite, and Abnegation, each of which represent and practice one virtue that the government believes to be the causes of war when they are lacking. When each child in the society reaches the age of 16, they must choose one faction to dedicate their lives to. An aptitude test displays to them which faction they would most belong in, however, Beatrice comes out as Divergent, someone who contains the attributes of more than just one faction. Being Divergent is a threat toward the society and the government, and if they find out you're Divergent, you will be killed.

Divergent is a moving story based on the character Beatrice Prior who goes through a series of events that help her to determine who she is and where she belongs. We watch her struggle with insecurity and doubting herself, a common struggle throughout all teenagers, and we see her overcome them. She becomes confident in herself and her decisions, just like we must all learn to do.

This book is honestly one of my favorites. It's packed with action and suspense, while at the same time it inspires and teaches. It's unique and different from other action stories and definitely keeps the reader intrigued. However, I'd recommend it ages 12+. There's a decent amount of violence, some of which might be hard to read for some kids, and a few other scenes and questionable content that might not be age appropriate for children under the age of 12. Overall however, I loved this book and strongly recommend it for teens.

Reviewer's Name: Ella S.
Bodyguard: Recruit
Bradford, Chris
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Connor Reeves is in the Battle of Britain Junior Kickboxing Tournament champion with a promising career ahead of him. All of that changes when he sees a kid being beat up in an alley. With his father’s selfless blood running through his veins, Connor doesn’t hesitate to come to the victim’s aid. One fight later, he goes with some cops who invite him to join a secret organization called Guardian. Guardian specializes in the protection of high-risk, wealthy targets. Everyone is shocked when his first assignment is to protect the President’s daughter, after barely any training. This book is filled with suspense as Connor solves the clues to rescue her. I would highly recommend this book and book series to all middle school readers.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Lola F.
Highly Illogical Behavior
Whaley, John Corey
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Highly Illogical Behavior is a story about a boy named Solomon Reed who not only has severe panic attacks but also has a fear of the outdoors which is known as agoraphobia. Lisa Praytor remembers the last time she saw "the boy in the fountain" in junior high when he had a panic attack and fell into the water fountain. She never knew him but she'd always wondered what had happened to him and where he went. This was the last time Solomon had gone outside for three years...it was better that way. He was safe from all of the world's craziness and despite his loneliness Solomon was happier living indoors because it was quiet and mundane and there was nothing for him to worry about. A girl named Lisa Praytor cannot wait to get out of the small town of Upland. One day Lisa saw an ad for Solomon's mother's dentistry practice in a newspaper so she immediately scheduled an appointment hoping to hear about how Solomon is doing. Lisa is interested in psychology and has to do an essay on her experience with mental illness. so she thinks that if she can meet Solomon and get him to slowly go outside and get over his agarophobia she would have a killer essay and would get accepted into a college that was far, far away from the small town of Upland. This book is one that is very hard to put down. The characters are very well-developed and all likeable in their own unique way. It's a quick read but nevertheless emotional and heart-filled.

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth P.
Genres:
The Fires of Heaven
Jordan, Robert
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Fires of Heaven is the fifth installment in the fourteen book series, The Wheel of Time. It is simply incredible how Robert Jordan keeps writing these amazing novels. The Fires of Heaven is certainly not as good as the first three books, but it is still a great book. It contains intrigue, suspense, and one of the longest battle sequences so far. All the characters are still unique and interesting (especially Mat), and the storylines are still fresh. I would recommend this book to anyone currently reading the Wheel of Time series, and would recommend the series to any fans of high fantasy.

Reviewer's Name: Peter C.
Genres:
Stargirl
Spinelli, Jerry
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This past semester I took a children’s literature class that introduced me to a plethora of young adult novels; “Stargirl” by Jerry Spinelli being one of them. Because of the curious title I decided to borrow the book from the library. I am so glad I did.
Jerry Spinelli’s book “Stargirl” tells the story of an unusual teenage girl who, after homeschooling her entire life, starts attending Mica High School in a small, Arizona town. The book is narrated by Leo, a regular teenage boy who becomes very interested with this peculiar new girl at his school. This peculiar girl goes by the name “Stargirl”. She confuses most of the school with her whimsical and unpredictable personality.
The way Jerry Spinelli tells his story through Leo, a regular kid, makes the reader feel as if they are one of the students at Mica High School noticing Stargirl for the first time. The unusual and sometimes startling things she does spark your interest and occasionally make you squirm in your seat. Stargirl is unlike anyone, and that is what makes her so fascinating; not only to Mica High School students but also to the reader. The story was not only great, but the message the book conveyed is very important. The book makes readers think about how often they adjust their personality and actions just to please those around them. It pointed out how rarely people are truly themselves anymore because of societal pressures.
Overall the story definitely made an impact on me and I would recommend this book to anyone who has a hard time being themselves because of pressures others have placed on them (Side note: I would recommend this book to anyone in general as well). The only reason I have decided to give this book 4 stars instead of 5 is because of the ending. Without giving any spoilers I will say that I love unexpected endings, but this one did not settle well with me. Nevertheless, I still loved almost the entire story and I will be reading it again in the future.

Reviewer's Name: Ashlyn P.
Genres:
The Lord of the Rings
Tolkien, J. R. R.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

A stout story, a rich song, a tale for all times. Tolkien heard the gorgeous music of narrative, with all its valleys and hilltops, with all the grit of the fight, all the glory of overcoming, all the long, drawnout parts of day-in and day-out small faithfulness. He heard a musical narrative and he composed a symphony. But like all great masterpieces, one’s affections and tastes must be enlarged and strengthened to enjoy wine this strong. Such a stout story is not for the faint in heart. In an era where our literary sensibilities are cheapened by bland paperback fiction, reality TV, inane tweets, texts, and Facebook posts, we are a society easily pleased by cultural fast food, and we often can’t appreciate with the robustness of a story told this well. There are answers in this story to questions we’ve never thought to ask. This story explores places in the heart we’ve never thought to search, depths of the human soul we’ve never considered worth pluming. If we don’t resonate with this story it is because there is much that the author wants to tell us that we are not yet ready to hear.

Search the world over, and I don’t believe you’ll find another piece of fiction as epic, as moving, as heart-transforming, as the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. What sets the literary genius of Tolkien above most other authors of fiction is his ability to make his imaginary world shine with such brilliance that the affections of the heart will come to love its shores, its stories, its struggle to stay in the light. Story is one thing that cannot be faked by a shallow writer. Either an author has within him an tale of inspiring beauty, of struggle, of overcoming, of fighting and conquering, of living and dying for what one believes in—or he does not—and what comes out instead is flat, bland, one-dimensional.

But if one is willing to be a patient learner, one can have one’s mind and heart expanded by being a slow and thoughtful reader. If your heart does not sing by the end of the book, if you do not have a new resolve to overcome the evil in your own heart, if you are not transformed to live for truth and beauty by the end, then I wonder that you have a pulse.

The only precaution I give you is the peculiar feeling of sharp disappointment that will pang you as you read the last line of last volume, knowing that the book is over and there will never be another like it. The only solace I allowed myself was the thought that soon my children will be at an age to appreciate it and I can relive the volumes through their imaginations. Be prepared to mourn for the series' finitude even as you enjoy every brilliant page.

Reviewer's Name: Leslie Taylor
Notes From the Tilt-a-Whirl
Wilson, Nathan D.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is an Ecclesiastes-type project. In some ways, you could say it comes to the same conclusions as Ecclesiastes. There is nothing better than to simply enjoy life, says the sage. Woven throughout this delightful commentary on the world in which we find ourselves living, runs the same thread of truth. This world is full of enough mystery and wonder to fill infinite life times; so wake up and discover it. Don't become numb to the inescapable miracles everywhere you look.

With wit and humor, you will find yourself agreeing that humanism and materialism are the most bazaar and ridiculous of all philosophies. They are too inane to even warrant serious discussion. How does Wilson deals with someone like Nietzche? "I want to ruffle his hair. I want to take the poor Lutheran boy's head in my hands and kiss his creased forehead." This is perhaps a good illustration of this book's intentions. Wilson ruffles the hair of all philosophies which turn deaf ears to the noise that all creation is loudly proclaiming: there is a creator.

One can almost imagine a serious-minded humanist bursting into laughter while reading this and realizing how deliberately closed-minded he has been all his life.

But Wilson not only opens our eyes to the wonders of God's design in creation, but tackles the mysteries of suffering, pain, and hell head on. He does not try to neatly sum it all up for us in trite sayings, but instead simply stares reality in the face. You will not find any sugar-coating in this book. An atheist once asked Wilson, "So do you really think I'm going to hell?" Wilson promptly answered, "Don't you want to? You won't have to be with God there. Whereas you would have to be with God all the time in heaven." In the end, Wilson concludes, everyone will get what he truly desires.

This is enjoyable reading, much like the book of Ecclesiastes, and at times, could be categorized with the stream-of-consciousness genre. But it was refreshing, humorous, and most of all starkly truthful. You will be enlightened and refreshed!

Reviewer's Name: Leslie Taylor
The Death of Ivan Ilyich
Tolstoy, Leo
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end leads to death.”

This short story was a moving reminder to me of the potential that a narrative has to move the soul to understand things that propositional truths have failed to convey.

All Ivan’s life, the realization that he would someday die was something that he believed theoretically, but he could never quite make the fact real to himself. Other people would die, yes, but the reality that he would someday have to die, and also perhaps suffer some before death took place, had no reality to him, no real meaning, no authenticity to his mind.
Until…one day he found that he was in fact dying.

This came as a deranged shock. He had never truly considered the matter seriously. What was happening seemed strange, foreign, out-of-place. He continually tried to deny the fact that he was dying, but a gnawing pain in his side, that daily grew stronger despite being seen by all the top doctors, was his constant reminder that death, his very own death, was real and imminent.

Much of this short book relates mundane details of Ivan’s life: how he met his wife, his occupation, the people he spent time with, and what gave him joy in life. But rather than these details being tedious, they fascinated me because they showed how the small, seemingly insignificant choices of a man’s life are what make a man. And every line of this story is full of meaning as it leads up to a definite point, like any great work of fiction ought to do.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end leads to death.” Ivan’s story draws one in because Ivan is not a “bad person,”
by society’s standards. He keeps only the best society, he follows all the rules of decorum, he does not commit crimes or murder or steal. His conscience never bothers him. He is faithful to his wife, provides for his children, and makes sure that everything in life runs smoothly and quietly.
He rarely raises his voice, and he suppresses his anger whenever his wife makes a scene. He sees himself as the perfect gentleman.

But pain has a way of bringing to the surface what lies deep within a man’s heart. And it is not until the pain reaches a fever pitch, that Ivan, for the first time in his entire life, is able to see clearly what has been true his entire life.

I highly recommend this short book!

Reviewer's Name: Leslie Taylor
Genres:

Pages