All Book Reviews

The Summer I Turned Pretty
Han, Jenny
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

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!

Reviewer's Name: Ashley
Awards:
The Song of Achilles
Miller, Madeline
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

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!

Reviewer's Name: Ashley
Good girl's guide
Jackson, Holly
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

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 ...

Reviewer's Name: Subhashini
Strogoff
Verne, Jules
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

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.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
The Sword Defiant
Ryder-Hanrahan, Gareth
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

"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

Reviewer's Name: Ryder
Genres:
Island of the Blue Dolphins book jacket
O'Dell, Scott
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

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

Reviewer's Name: Ella
Murder on the Orient Express book jacket
Christie, Agatha
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

"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.

Reviewer's Name: Rose
The Poppy War book jacket
Kuang, R. F.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

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.

Reviewer's Name: Lucia
The Guest List book jacket
Foley, Lucy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Hidden motives, secrets, and lies are the backbone of Lucy Foley’s thriller, The Guest List, and did I mention drama? From the moment you open the book, drama spills out, but in a good way. The characters are the point of the book. Their problems its lifeblood. The Guest List is not solely about the murder but all the threads connecting the cast of characters to one another in some elusive way. And the mystery is cleverly interwoven with all the lies and personal issues, so you won’t know who did it until the end. Even if you do figure it out, the characters have so much more to offer than just their motive. Foley creates characters you will hate, pity, and love. Totally recommend.

Reviewer's Name: Lucia
The Exiled Fleet book jacket
Dewes, J. S.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This is the sequel to Dewes' "The Last Watch". This book unfortunately no longer has the same antagonist. That conflict was resolved in the first book, so my favorite part of the last book is no longer a factor. This is not, however, the reason that I only gave this book a 4/5. I did not enjoy the content overload provided in "The Exiled Fleet". I enjoyed the increase in character development, but it lead to simply too much information. This also led to situations that only felt like they were there to develop one character before being cast aside. An example would be the airlock situation between Rake and Snyder. It felt really good to conclude the relationship between Cavalon and Snyder, but I wish there was more with Snyder before the entire book shoved more information and content about the next biggest thing. The content overload was my least favorite part of this book. My favorite part was, ironically, the character development. Rake dealing with trauma over Griffith, Cavalon's relationship with his grandfather, and the surge of sudden Jackin development. It's difficult to explain how my least and most favorite parts of "The Exiled Fleet" were the same, but it makes sense when the book is read.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Ryder
Where the Crawdads Sing book jacket
Owens, Delia
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Where the Crawdads Sing, written by Delia Owens, detail the fictional account of Kya and her survival in the marsh of North Carolina. After her mother is beat one too many times by her father, Kya's mother leaves, leaving Kya to fend for herself - against her abusive dad and the wilderness. Kya learns the value of self-reliance, she falls in love with the marsh and its functions and importance to the ecosystem. She also, however, feels the urge of having human company, and her adventures of falling in love (and back out) are incredibly detailed and heart wrenching. My favorite part about this book was the imagery; the way simple things, like leaves falling off of a tree, were described it felt as if I was standing right next to Kya, watching the leaves fall with her.

Reviewer's Name: Finn
An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations book jacket
Smith, Adam
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Wealth of Nations, written by Adam Smith, is the precursor to modern economics as we know it. Smith delves into seemingly everything, from why taxes on gold are less than silver (the answer: because gold, unlike silver, is easily refineable and is far more valuable per ounce. if a high tax on gold were to occur people would have an incentive simply to hide the gold which would be easy because it is smaller to hide/can be hid in a purer form) to how specialization gives way to most profit (for example, 10 men each creating their own pins would be far less efficient that 10 men creating the same pin. Creating the same pin could be divided into smaller tasks, with one person primary repeating one task. This would allow for far more efficiency than individuals doing all the parts of pin making - cutting the wire, flattening the head, attaching the head, sharpening the head, etc - by themselves. The only reason I gave it a four was because of the difficulty I had reading it. When reading, I needed to stop and use the dictionary almost every page because I did not know words. I would definitely not recommend this for a reader looking for a leisurely read. It was anything but.

Reviewer's Name: Finn
The Call of the Wild book jacket
London, Jack
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

"The Call of the Wild," written by Jack London, is a novel set in Yukon, Canada during the Klondike Gold Rush. Buck, a rather large, domesticated dog, is stolen from his comfortable life and sold into the brutal world of sled dog teams in the harsh wilderness. Buck quickly learns to adapt to his new environment, tapping into his primal instincts as he navigates the challenges of survival. He forms a bond with John Thornton, a kind-hearted prospector, but Buck never feels free, and he contemplates breaking his friendship with John Thornton to escape into the wild. I enjoyed the book because I am an animal lover and I liked reading about the events that Buck endured. Subsequently, I would recommend this book to animal lovers because, after all, it is about a dog and his strive for freedom.

Reviewer's Name: Finn
The Notebook book jacket
Sparks, Nicholas
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

"The Notebook", by Nicolas Sparks, is a fictional love story about Noah Calhoun and Allie Hamilton. They are each other's first love, but societal pressures and World War II separate them, leading Allie to become engaged to another man. Allie, before getting married, visits Noah to see if she is making the right choice. However, she soon realizes that she never stopped loving Noah and becomes torn over Noah and her fiance. I enjoyed the book, however, sometimes the conversations seemed forced and stereotypical. I would, however, recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good love story

Reviewer's Name: Finn
Genres:
hp sorcerer
Rowling, J.K.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Harry Potter was an incredibly amusing read, with amiable characters that truly made the story stand out. This novel is a must-read for people of all ages. It has an air of mystery, is captivating, and provides entertainment. The book portrays real-world events in a fantasy world.
The characters, including the main character Harry Potter, are relatable and undergo character development while making mistakes. One of the great features of the novel is how each character has their own unique strengths and weaknesses, and each one has a distinct way of feeling. For instance, Neville Longbottom is a shy boy, but his loyalty to his friends and his house team is unwavering.
Harry Potter is a book that can be enjoyed by all ages, as it accurately portrays the struggles that come with different stages of life. Even though Harry is a wizard, his teenage problems are relatable to those of a typical teenager. As a reader, you can judge the characters in the book based on the tone of the novel. Relationships are also a significant feature of this novel and are portrayed differently depending on the type of relationship. For example, the relationship between a sibling and a friend is distinct but can be differentiated only by the tone or mood portrayed accurately.
This book is an absolutely enchanting experience, overflowing with captivating magical creatures, spells, and enchantments that will undoubtedly keep readers completely engaged. The characters are exceptionally well-crafted and relatable, while the plot moves at a fast pace, leaving the reader on the edge of their seat.
The author's vivid and immersive writing style transports readers into the heart of the story, allowing them to experience it as if it were their own. At Hogwarts, Harry befriends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The trio works together to unravel the mystery surrounding the Sorcerer's Stone. In their quest to counter Voldemort's plan to use the stone to regain his body, Harry and his friends embark on a perilous adventure.
Overall, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is a timeless classic that continues to interest and entertain readers of all ages. It is a must-read for anyone who loves fantasy, adventure, and magic. I highly recommend this book to anyone who hasn’t read it yet.

Reviewer's Name: Sam
hp prisoner
Rowling, J.K.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the third book in the Harry Potter series. This book is a must read if you enjoyed the previous two books.

Harry Potter, a wizard going into his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, has a connection to the escaped serial killer, Sirius Black. Black now is thought to be trying to murder Harry Potter on behalf of Voldemort. Dementors are sent to the campus of Hogwarts in order to keep students safe from Black. Hermione is juggling taking 12 classes and being busier than ever. Her cat is set on killing Ron's sick rat creating tension in the trio. Professor Lupin, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, helps Harry cope with the awful affect the dementors seem to have on him. Meanwhile, Harry tries to discover the tie between Black and himself.

I read this book because I was a fan of the previous two books in the series. The characters and setting in this book make it easy to fall in love with. The author uses imagery to make it feel as if you are really there with the characters. This made the book an absolute blast to read. The ending tied everything together and prevented loopholes in the plot. I disliked the ending in the regard that Harry didn't get his happily ever after.

Reviewer's Name: Reese B.
Rowling, J.K.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the third book in the Harry Potter series. This book is a must read if you enjoyed the previous two books.

Harry Potter, a wizard going into his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, has a connection to the escaped serial killer, Sirius Black. Black now is thought to be trying to murder Harry Potter on behalf of Voldemort. Dementors are sent to the campus of Hogwarts in order to keep students safe from Black. Hermione is juggling taking 12 classes and being busier than ever. Her cat is set on killing Ron's sick rat creating tension in the trio. Professor Lupin, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, helps Harry cope with the awful affect the dementors seem to have on him. Meanwhile, Harry tries to discover the tie between Black and himself.

I read this book because I was a fan of the previous two books in the series. The characters and setting in this book make it easy to fall in love with. The author uses imagery to make it feel as if you are really there with the characters. This made the book an absolute blast to read. The ending tied everything together and prevented loopholes in the plot. I disliked the ending in the regard that Harry didn't get his happily ever after.

Reviewer's Name: Reese B.
The Wild Truth book jacket
McCandless, Carine
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

"The Wild Truth" is Carine McCandless' follow-up to Jon Krakauer's "Into the Wild". Carine McCandless wrote this novel after being pained by the reactions to "Into the Wild", especially the general opinion on Chris McCandless' self-inflicted exile from common society. This book succeeds in explaining more of Chris' life before his hitchhiking escapade. These sections were my favorite part of the book: unfortunately, they were mostly only present in the beginning. I struggled to pull through the longer sections where Carine explained her own life. Parts felt unnecessary, other section dragged on too long, and even more just felt completely unrelated to Chris or "Into the Wild". I wanted to read this book to understand Chris. I enjoyed learning about Carine, but I was reading for Chris. I'm quite lucky that I can't relate to large parts of this book. "The Wild Truth" really drags the reader along to help them understand the terrible abuse in the McCandless family. I can understand the difficult parents; I can relate to the family drama, constant switching between divorce and being back together, etc. that Carine had to live through. Regardless, this book stepped too far away from "Into the Wild" in a way that I did not enjoy. However, this book was still informative about the general McCandless family. There are absolutey readers in the world who can take more from this book than I could, but I will never consider this one of my favorite books.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Ryder
Animal Farm book jacket
Orwell, George
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Animal Farm is a book where animals on a farm represent the Russian Revolution. The animals rebel against the farmers to try and escape cruelty and be free. But, it doesn't end up going as planned, and things start to go wrong on the farm. I thought that this book was very educational and it was interesting to see how people, who were represented by the animals, can change so fast. I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in history and the Russian Revolution.

Reviewer's Name: Ella
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy book jacket
Adams, Douglas
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy was a funny but interesting book. The book is about aliens destroying Earth to make way for an intergalactic bypass, and it follows a few characters trying to survive the universe that they've been put into. There were also many comedic moments, including strange things that the characters need in order to survive and be safe out in the galaxy, such as a towel, which is really important. The only thing I didn't really like about this book was that it was really difficult to understand at times. There were lots of confusing moments and new things just kept coming. But at the end of the book most of it started to make sense. Overall I thought this book was a great read if you like humor and are interested in space.

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Ella