This book is awesome! I love how it is set in Ancient Greece and how Marcus is a quick thinker. I also enjoyed that Tata does not believe in monsters and magic. If you want action and a quick read, this is a great book. They should make this into a movie!
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a prequel story taking place before the events of the hunger games, and is about president Snow before he becomes president. This book was interesting because it shows Snow as a mentor to a tribute from district 12 during the tenth annual hunger games. You also hear a lot about Snow’s internal monologue which can get a little creepy because some of his actions actually make sense despite them being twisted. The book was a lot longer than any of the original hunger games books so it was a little slow which made it boring at times, but it was interesting to see Snow slowly morph into the twisted and feared villain he is later. The love story in the book was also strange because Snow would be the last person you would think of to show compassion and even Suzanne Collins can confirm this throughout his internal monologue. Overall, I think this is a great book to read if you enjoyed the hunger games series and there is a movie adaptation coming out this November which was one of my reasons for reading it.
Reviewer Grade: 8
We were liars is a young adult drama/thriller. It’s about the seemingly perfect Sinclair family and their summer private island. Cadence Sinclair is the heir to the Sinclair fortune and going to the island during the summers is what she looks forward to during the year. However, after an accident and two summers missed on the island, Cadence returns with little memory and a suspicious feeling.
This was an overall good book to read. It got a little slow at times, but it was not predictable and kept me on the edge of my seat. I will say I was expecting a predictable ending but the plot twist completely blew me away! It’s also not very long and a quick read but with a lot of emotions. E. Lockhart did a good job at making me feel things. I laughed, I cried, and had more than one jaw dropper. I would rate it a 3 just because it got a little boring and confusing, but I would recommend!
Reviewer Grade: 8
This book was the absolute perfect ending to the Lunar Chronicles! There was so much action and fairytale elements in the book that were all easy to follow, and fun to read! Marissa Meyer was a genius when she incorporated an adaptation of a sci-fi Snow White, while still be able to keep the story flowing and add growth to the characters. It is important to read the series in order, but Winter was by far my favorite in the series!
Although George Orwell crafted a rather interesting dystopia, the story he built around it largely fell flat. It was apparent throughout the novel that Orwell was more of an essayist than a storyteller; he was more interested in explaining the structure of his setting to his audience rather than showing them how that structure affects the story. 1984 suffers from hundreds of pages of blunt exposition-dumping that disconnects the reader from the characters and plot. While there is significant payoff at the end, the rising action was rather lacking in weight as the main character spends more time describing the logistics of the 1984 world rather than where he fits in it. Some aspects of Orwell's famous dystopian are intriguing, like the use of Newspeak or the new family dynamics, though it is overall disappointing.
A Good Girl's Guide to Murder presents readers with the skeleton of a mystery novel while somehow excluding most of what makes a mystery novel compelling. Holly Jackson dives straight into the disappearance of Andie Bell at the beginning, ignoring all conventions of suspense of build-up. The disappearance is approached from a strikingly detached perspective, though, in contradiction, many of the key figures in the case are life-long friends of the narrator. This apparent lack of motive from Pippa rocks the very foundation of the novel, and readers have difficulty connecting with such a character. Jackson hastily attempts to patch this by claiming an emotional stake in the matter, but in Pippa's actions, she is all but sensitive. Her investigation is greatly reckless, unrealistic, and absurdly convenient. The mechanical nature of Pippa's progress only further disconnects the reader from the story, and it renders the suspense and climax completely arbitrary.
Looking for Alaska details the story of a kid who, in his pursuit of something new and, in the aim of sucking the marrow out of life, fails to recognize the plain truths of the people around him. He is entranced with the interesting world of Culver Creek, the mystical boarding school of his father's youth. He aids his roommate in pranks and grows closer with friends Lara, Takumi, and mysterious Alaska, all the while oblivious to her deep underlying hurt. At its heart, Looking for Alaska is about being blinded by one's own expectations to the point of pushing away important friends. The story itself, though somewhat meandering in its execution, is quite well-written, and John Green portrays a realistic, captivating, and unique cast of characters.
The sole way to describe Demon Copperhead by Barbra Kingsolver is a long, dark coming-of-age narrative. Demon Copperhead, born and raised in the southern Appalachian mountains by a single drug-addicted teenage mother, is seemingly designed for failure the moment he was born. Throughout his childhood, Demon confronts an abusive stepfather, an addicted mother, exploitive fosters, and selfish friends. As he faces a life of mistrust, inadequacy, and poverty, Demon relies on his wits to survive. While the book is lengthy, there is never a dull moment or lull in the plot, and the characters within the narrative are dynamic, adding depth to the story. The writing style effectively lures the reader into the constructed world of Lee County.
Warning: this book contains depictions of rape and violence. If either of these are sensitive topics for you, I would reccomend finding a different book.
"The Handmaid's Tale" is a story about a country that rises after the fall of America. In it, traditional gender roles are enforced by the government. Women are forced into the role of Wives, Marthas (women who clean the house), Aunts (women who are in charge of other women), and Handmaids (women who have sex with men to give them children). Offred has been taken from her husband and child, put into reducation, and forced to be a Handmaid for a commander. She makes her way through the new world while trying to keep fragments of her sanity, individuality, and happiness.
The descriptions in this book are incredible, almost poetic. The charcters in this book are all well defined, and feel like real people. Offred was a standout to me. Though she is the hero in the book, there's an inherent selfishness in her character. She has an affair with a married man. She decides not to help the resistance. She constantly mocks a woman who has been raped. Oftentimes stories will try to make a dystopia seem worse by making their protagonists innocent and pure. By making Offred so flawed, it draws attention to the fact that this treatment is unacceptable no matter who it's being done to.
The worldbuilding of Gilead is haunting. Margret Atwood has said that everything she put in "The Handmaid's Tale" has happened in history somewhere. That's probably part of why this book feels so real. Though it might seem unbelievable that a society could collapse and revert to such archaic values, looking into real life societal collapses makes it seem much more feasible.
I could talk about this book for far longer, but that would be unwise. In summary, "The Handmaid's Tale" is a wonderful, if not unsettling, read. I would reccomend it to fans of speculative fiction, anyone interested in learning about gender equality, and anyone who can handle a thought provoking read. As I said in the beginning though, this book can be upsetting at parts, so judge for yourself if you can handle that.
Against all odds, Lydia and her son, Luca, survive a brutal cartel massacre, leaving them with only one option: to embark on a dangerous and arduous journey to seek safety in the United States. American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins is a harrowing story about the survival, resilience, and hope of migrants fleeing north to the United States. Cummins skillfully captures the hardships, fears, and hopes of these characters, providing a window into the harsh realities faced by those making the perilous trek north. American Dirt humanizes the migrant experience by creating empathetic and multifaceted characters, illustrating the diversity within the migrant community and their shared aspirations for a better future.
Ever read a book that made you physically hungry? For me, that book is Crying in H Mart, a beautifully written memoir of loss and cultural identity mended together with the power of food and memory: the author, Michelle Zauner, a half-American half-Korean, struggles to navigate her cultural identity. Throughout the memoir, Zauner delves into her childhood memories, the times spent in Korea with her family, and the lasting influence of her mother's teachings. Her descriptions of traditional Korean dishes, their preparation, and the emotions tied to them are not only mouthwatering but also serve as a metaphor for the soul-stirring nostalgia she seeks to preserve. It is a book that stays with you long after the last page, reminding us of the preciousness of family, culture, and love.
I read this book during middle school and recently reread the series. The book is about a boy named 'Gregor' Gregor falls into a laundry shoot with his sister and finds himself in a new world with a quest. He searches for his dad. He's learns to survive in this new environment picking up new skills and learning this new worlds rules.
I loved the idea of the 'Underland' a world with completely different creatures and how they interact with each other. I loved the story filled with giant animals like bats, rats, and cockroaches. How it goes into detail how Gregor and the people of the Underland get around in the dark. And how the lack of light affects their appearance. The book is very detailed and the well thought through.
The book is definitely worth a read. This book is a part of a 5 book series. Each book provides a new challenge for Gregor. And the last book just leaves you wanting more
Reviewer grade: 11
With this book series becoming a show, I was interested in reading the books, and I am glad that I did! These books follow a young girl named Belly who grows up with family friends at their beach house. The series tells the story as they all get older, and their bonds that break and grow back together. It is a comfort book that I would definitely recommend. I would recommend this book to young teenage readers, about 14+. I gave this book a rating of 4 stars because the characters were beautifully written, with you learning something new about the characters each time you turned the page. I personally enjoyed some of the flashbacks in time that detail when Belly was a kid at the beach. It has a sweet comforting feeling. I did not give this book 5 stars because it did take me a bit longer to read since there weren't many twists or turns that kept me super intrigued. At least not in the first book, but in the last two books the drama, and romance definitely keep you interested. If you are looking for a slow-burn comfort romance series for young readers, this is the book/series for you!
I loved this book! The detail in these stories was terrific and made the book a lot easier to follow. The story was entertaining and kept you on the edge of your seat at some parts. My only dislike about this story is that in the beginning of the book when Patroclus is naming all of the different Greek gods and demigods and such, so many names did get a bit confusing. It was a bit hard to follow but only lasted for about the first chapter and was an easy read after that. I rated this book 5 stars because the Greek mythology base in the story was very interesting, and you grew to love the characters as you read it. It made me smile, laugh, and cry. Genuinely a great book. In my opinion, this book is meant for young adult readers, I would say 15+ in my opinion. It does contain some violence but nothing too graphic and one brief sexual content scene but does not go into much detail. Would definitely recommend it!
One of my favorite books so far. The book is full of twists and turns and one of the most gripping story. I loved most of the characters.
Every chapter showed us a new suspicious person. Every chapter changed the perspective towards each character. I loved this series. At last it's not a book of black and white, there were so much gray ...
While we mostly know Jules Verne for his science fiction stories, it's hard to miss the fact that his books are also quite adventurous. Even though Michael Strogoff: Courier to the Czar isn't one of his famous works, it may be one of his best. This book was something my father wanted his children to appreciate, and now that I've read it a few more times, I truly understand how ahead of its time it was.
Even if Michael Strogoff isn't explicitly a science fiction novel, Jules Verne still sneaks plenty of science into this race across Russia to save the life of the Czar's brother. Of course, since it is an adventure novel, Michael Strogoff certainly has a lot of adventure between Moscow and Irkutsk, with some scenes feeling like they were pulled out of a modern action film. The tension of sneaking behind enemy lines to deliver an important message never lets up. I don't want to give too much away, but there are quite a few well-written twists that show Verne's mastery of this "Russian James Bond."
Of course, there are still some tropes that are an artifact of the time when it was written. Cultural stereotypes are present and the age difference between Michael (a 30-year-old man) and Nadia (a 16-year-old girl) is uncomfortable considering how the story ends. Also, Verne describes Michael as this specimen of a man that borders on eye-rolling machismo. Still, there are plenty of interesting characters, including Alcide Jolivet and Harry Blount, who provide some humor in an otherwise serious adventure. If you like Jules Verne books, you'd definitely like Michael Strogoff.
A hidden gem of a Jules Verne adventure, I give Michael Strogoff: Courier to the Czar 4.5 stars out of 5.
"The Sword Defiant" by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan is the greatest exploration of what lies beyond the "happily ever after" that I have ever read. There are two main protagonists; Aelfric the Lammergeier and his sister, Olva. Aelfric, or Alf, is a member of the most famous adventuring party, called the Nine. They famously defeated a malevolent force of darkness 20 years before the events of "The Sword Defiant". Large elements are immediately reminiscent of a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. However, rather than focusing directly on battles, duels, and direct combat, Hanrahan instead uses these 20 years to explore how a world is altered after a massive war through Alf's perspective. My least favorite part of "The Sword Defiant" was when Olva was the primary focus. Olva's sections take an even larger step back from action, but the purpose of Olva is unclear even after the climax. I struggled to understand the purpose of Olva. She appeared to just be a thing that Alf needed to protect, or she appeared to be just a tool for the author to see the world from the view of a commoner. This leads to the best part of the book: the world-building. Every single detail about the environment, the populace, culture, class division, species division, species interaction, species history, magic, and more felt important to understand. Each of those elements were also explored, typically through Alf. The Nine have their own interesting backstories, and each member also represents an archetypal Dungeons and Dragons character. Too many beautiful interactions occur between members to present but even the smallest remarks are hitting on the previously mentioned elements of world building. There are the typical fantasy races like Dragons and Dwarves, but there are also the stranger ones like Vatlings and Witch Elves. When Gundan (a dwarf) talks about the Elves, it's always something negative. When anyone ever mentions Peir (the dead one who sacrificed himself 20 years ago), they always talk about his best characteristics. The ending will make that interesting, as well as the development of the secret villain in the end. All in all, this would have been the best fiction book I have read this year if it wasn't for the slog also known as Olva's sections.
Reviewer Grade: 11
Scott O'Dell's novel, Island of the Blue Dolphins, is a fantastic book about a girl named Karana who has to learn to survive on an island all by herself. She goes through many sad and painful experiences, but also exciting and interesting ones. Karana meets many animals, and has to make a new life on her own at the island. I think this was one of the best books I have read this year, because of its unique plot and thrilling events. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves animals, survival, and adventure.
Reviewer Grade: 8
"Murder on the Orient Express" by Agatha Christie is pure murder mystery. It starts off innocently enough when Mr. Ratchett is found having been stabbed in his sleep, but the case quickly becomes more and more complicated. Hercule Periot has to struggle to find the true culprit in the mystery that gets more tangled by the second.
The characters in this book are all rather good. While none of them have outstanding depth, they are all interesting and well defined. Hercule is, of course, the standout. His methodolgy is always fun to read. The suspects cannot be discussed without getting into spoilers. Even the victim is interesting to read about.
Most readers will probably know the twist of the book (which I will not be spoiling). Still, it's wonderfully set up, and almost every piece of evidence contributes to the climax in some way. New evidence is constantly presented throughout the story. At times it was a bit hard to follow, but I'm notoriously bad at following along with mysteries.
Nothing in this story is particularly deep, but it doesn't need to be. It's just a captivating mystery story. One of Agatha Christie's best.
When I picked up The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang, I sought a good, possibly wonderful, fantasy book, as one would expect from a New York Times best-selling author. What I was not expecting was to be enlightened and disturbed to the same degree within its 544 pages. Now let me back up; The Poppy War is a historical and grimdark fantasy that draws its plot from mid-20th-century China, with the main conflict based on the Second Sino-Japanese War. The book provides insight into the brutality of war and its aftermath. While the book is based on the Second Sino-Japanese War, the author does a wonderful job constructing an immersive plot and charming characters taking creative liberties to make the book a story of its own. I would highly recommend this book.