All Book Reviews

Losing Hope
Hoover, Colleen
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Losing Hope is about a guy named Dead Holder meeting a troubled girl named Sky. This book continues from Hopeless, a book in Sky's perspective. Losing Hope is in Dean's perspective, as it reveals the truth about Dean. We find out that Holder had been stressed about the girl because he couldn't save her from grave danger. Because of this, his life has been filled with guilt and anger over himself. This book was very interesting when I started to read, but when I kept going, I realized that it might be for an older and more mature age level, as there might be some things I don't completely understand. Also, it could be slightly disturbing to younger readers because of how Dean is addicted to stalking and searching for her, which is odd. I will probably continue reading the book when I'm older, so I could get the complete context of it. Overall, it's a very interesting book and good book for older readers.
Reviewer's age- 14

Reviewer's Name: Trisha
The Book of Lost Friends
Wingate, Lisa
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book was not necessarily easy to read but it was so well done:it juxtaposes the two time lines and the main characters with aplomb and great sustained suspense. 1888 vs 1988 racism and the differences and the shameful similarities. Fascinating characters, great plotting and page turning suspense. Thought provoking and a really good read. Really glad I read this.

Reviewer's Name: Susan I.
Batman Vol. 1: The Court of Owls
Snyder, Scott
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

In Batman Volume 1: The Court of Owls, writer Scott Snyder crafts an interesting mystery for Batman to solve. And while Snyder's storytelling is great, so is Greg Capullo's artwork. I really enjoyed this comic, and I liked the mystery of the the Court of Owls. In the comic, Batman discovers that a mysterious organization has been ruling Gotham City from the shadows for years, and he has to take them down. This excellent Batman story introduces new characters, such as The Talon and Harper Row. One of favorite parts of this comic was that instead of just fighting criminals, Batman has to solve a mystery. The Snyder and Capullo Batman series is one of my favorites, and in my opinion, Batman Vol. 1: The Court of Owls is one of my favorite comics I have ever read. I think that this volume is a great start to Snyder and Capullo's run on Batman.

Reviewer's Name: Camden
Batman. Last Night On Earth
Snyder, Scott
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Batman: Last Knight on Earth is the stunning end to Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's epic Batman run. This amazing comic ties in things from all over Snyder and Capullo's run, from The Court of Owls to Endgame to Bloom. In this story, set sometime in the future, Bruce Wayne wakes up in Arkham, to discover that the world has drastically changed from what he remembers. Earth is now basically an apocalyptic wasteland, and Gotham City is now being controlled by a mysterious villain called Omega... And so Bruce sets out on a journey to try to find out why the world is like this, and to take back Gotham from Omega. As a huge fan of Snyder and Capullo's run, I really enjoyed this comic. This story can function on its own, but really its the continuation, and the end, of the New 52 Batman series, and this story especially ties in things from Endgame and Superheavey. (Batman Vols. 7 &8.) Like the Court of Owls story, this comic was also a mystery story, because Batman has to gradually piece together the why the world is like this, and he also begins to discover who Omega is... Snyder and Capullo make an epic finish to their amazing run.

Reviewer's Name: Camden
Catching Fire
Collins, Suzanne
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

SPOILERS FOR THE HUNGER GAMES!

Catching Fire by Suzane Collins is recommended for 11 and above. This book involves the Hunger Games, in which people have to kill each other until one person is left who will be the victor. The main characters in this book are Katniss Everdeen, Gale, and Peeta. Katniss and Peeta are both friends because they were chosen as the two tributes from District 12. They both made a team and won the 74th Hunger Games. Peeta and Katniss were living together happily until the Quater Quell, (75th Hunger Games). This year tributes will be chosen from the group of victors from previous years. I personally liked this book. Although this book involves a lot of blood and fighting, it is intense and fun to read.

Reviewer's Name: Pranav
Rage of Dragons
Winter, Evan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Winter cultivates a nearly tangible world with his words and skillfully executes almost anything that he writes. Taken from African mythos and culture, the story follows Tau, a member of one of the lower caste systems, who starts with only ambition but uses it to fuel what he achieves and what he does. Almost everything in this book is tied together. The caste system is directly related to the magic system, while the magic system is tied to political structures, and those structures are then connected to the plot. I think the biggest strength in this book is the characters. Each is created with understandable motivations, and each with aspirations that maybe aren't so noble. Everyone feels very real when reading this book, and even the politics are linked logically. Winter displays how much Tau sacrifices for his goals, and how much he's suffered for it. And afterward, he's not much of a hero. He still has the same goals, but is driven by things that aren't as pure. I would definitely recommend this book, and it seems to have promising leads to the coming sequels.

Reviewer's Name: Noah
Genres:
The Fifth Season
Jemisin, N. K.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In the post-apocalyptic Stillness, where nothing is Still, N. K. Jemisin creates a cast of interconnected characters, an intriguing plot, and a fantasy world that masterfully entails factions, a magic system, and history that is weaved into the current time of the book. Jemisin goes through three different perspectives, but still maintains a sense of total engagement and interest for the reader. We follow the stories of these three, and with each learn how much of a curse each blessing can be. This series is very real and doesn't shy away from concepts that would be expected from societies in such a situation, but at the same time, is surprising in a number of ways. I really enjoyed this book; I gasped internally several times throughout, from plot twists, reveals, and realizations, and enjoyed almost every part of The Fifth Season.

Reviewer's Name: Noah
Hounded
Hearne, Kevin
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Hounded is the first book in the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne. The series follows Atticus O'Sullivan, the last druid on earth living in Tempe Arizona. Atticus draws his power from the earth and has many encounters with gods, deities, and monsters. The series is in 1st person, and Kevin Hearne's writing style shines through Atticus's wit and intelligence. The story is incredibly gripping, imaginative, and fresh. Every book maintains such a strong story and writing I never found difficulty imagining the scenes with great detail.

Reviewer's Name: Judah
The Fourteenth Goldfish
Holm, Jennifer L.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Fourteenth Goldfish is about a girl whos grandfather finds a way to be young again. When Ellie's grandfather shows up at her doorstep as a teenager, her life gets crazy. Her grandfather found a cure to aging, but can't get into his lab due to the fact that he is unrecognizable. Ellie, her grandfather, and a couple of friends must get the T. Melvinus from the lab, before it is relocated to Malaysia.
This book was awesome. While it isn't a middle school level book, it is a great quick read. It is entertaining and was easy to read. Everyone should read this book.

Reviewer's Name: Mackenzie
Lord of the Flies
Golding, William
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

William Goldings Lord of the Flies is a classic read. It follows a group of British schoolboys stranded on an island after being shot down. Over their span on the island, with no adult supervision, the children start separating into their own groups, based on their priorities on the island, and their personalities. The entire book looks at a lot of Freudian theories, and the moral conciseness of people stripped of a society. The psychological elements involved in the book are written quite flawlessly, and there is a good balance of action, and story throughout the book. In my opinion, the book is quite unpredictable and is a very valuable read no matter the audience.

Reviewer's Name: Judah
Genres:
Of Mice and Men
Steinbeck, John
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men is quite the definition of a classic book. The two main characters, George and Lennie wander around Soledad California in the 1930s, pursuing their dream of owning their own farm. Throughout the book, there is a lot of conflicts involving Lennie, who battles with intellectual disabilities. Of Mice and Men does a fantastic job of highlighting the ups and downs of a relationship, especially when George is left to a lot of "caretaking" roles. The book was not excessively predictable, however, this is a definite element of foreshadowing that could add predictability. The entire story involves the idea of pursuing your dreams, as well as the difficulties people ran into during the great depression, and some of the sexism, racism, and overall discrimination. I think that this is a very important topic to bring awareness to, especially during the time, and I believe that Of Mice and Men does a great job illustrating that.

Reviewer's Name: Judah
The Girl from the Other Side: Siúil, A Rún, Volume 1
Nagame
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I started reading this book because I found the art style appealing. I continued reading because I found the storyline to be different and intriguing. The story features two main characters: Shiva and Teacher (Sensei). Teacher finds Shiva, a little girl, in the woods and cares for her as she waits for her auntie to return for her. The curse that Teacher suffers from is transmitted by skin contact, which prevents him from being able to touch Shiva and leads to interesting situations. Teacher must attempt to protect Shiva, both from the curse he bears and from outside forces that wish to bring her harm.

This book surprised me by creating a strong connection with the characters. It showed the reasoning behind the actions taken, but also revealed that unwise actions had negative consequences. Teacher's lies are intended to keep Shiva safe, but they endanger her more than he could have foreseen.

Teacher was relatable, to an extent, because it can seem appealing to conceal or lie about things in order to make people feel comfortable. However, when the truth gets out, it can damage relationships and endanger the person you were trying to protect.

The Girl From the Other Side: Siúil, A Rún Vol. 1 was one of the best books I've read all year. I would highly recommend reading it!

Reviewer's Name: Haven
Awards:
The Art of Impossible: A Peak Performance Primer
Kotler, Steven
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

As the title would suggest, "The Art of Impossible", by Steven Kotler, prescribes a regime for achieving what he calls the "Infinite Game". In other words, achieving goals to continually improve, even in ways that might be considered impossible. Kotler depicts what top performers do on a daily, weekly, and yearly basis, and even adapts such habits into ways the average reader can understand and implement them. And while he does so in a systematic and understandable fashion, he also goes in-depth into the science behind each of the things he says. Although it sometimes gets deeply analytical, it never stops being intriguing. There are some parts that aren't completely family friendly, but the content remains solid.

Reviewer's Name: Noah
Machine
Bear, Elizabeth
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Machine is a sci-fi space opera set in the same universe as Ancestral Night, but with completely new characters and a new writing style. It revolves around a trauma doctor, LLyn, a specialist in search and rescue. Her body has a flaw, however. She deals with nerve-drilling pain, a side-effect of living on a backwater planet with no medicine, and relies heavily on an ai-driven exo that supports her and hides her pain. When an assignment brings her to the far reaches of space, she discovers a relic of the ancient Earth. A generation ship. Sent when earth was thought to have no hope of survival, this relic has drifted across space a time, with all of its crew in cryo-sleep, and its shipmind ravaged and torn by conflicting imperatives. This book is a great read for lovers of sci-fi and mystery.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
Red Rising
Brown, Pierce
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

4 stars(Good, but not enough conflict)
Red rising is a sci-fi book set in the far future, where caste systems are a given and the lowest caste, red, is forced to mine Mars to make way for other, higher castes. The book follows the perspective of a red, Darrow, who lives a completely familiar yet grueling life as a helldiver. As he toils in the mines and in the life of an unfortunate red, his entire life is picked up and tossed in the garbage as his wife first dies, then he is inducted into a mysterious society known as the Sons of Ares, where the truth of his former life is revealed to him. I didn't like this book because there's little to no challenge to him in the overall story, but I also find this book strangely calming. I suggest this book to anyone looking for a story of growth, strategy, friendship, and betrayal.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
Shadow and Bone
Bardugo, Leigh
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo is an amazing venture into a wonderful magical universe. I don't read a lot of fantasy, and Shadow and Bone was the perfect re-introduction to the genre. The world building is some of the most beautiful and detailed I've ever read. In this universe, magical people known as Grisha have the power to manipulate matter. Etherialki summoners can manipulate air, water, or fire. Materialki Fabrikators can manipulate materials and chemicals, and Corporalki are divided into healers and heartrenders, which have the capability to slow or speed heart rates, and are essentially the most feared Grisha.

Ravka, a country inspired by tsarist Russia, is divided in two by a swath of darkness known as the Shadow Fold, which is populated by frightening creatures known as volcra that prey on humans. The Shadow Fold and volcra have made crossing from landlocked East Ravka to the ocean ports and trade routes of West Ravka nearly impossible. The only hope to destroy the centuries-old Shadow Fold is a myth of the Sun Summoner, a Grisha with the ability to summon sunlight and destroy the darkness and the monsters.

Alina Starkov is an orphan and a mapmaker in the non-Grisha army. At the beginning of the story, she and her best friend, Mal, a tracker, are chosen for a voyage across the Shadow Fold. During the crossing, Mal is attacked by volcra and Alina reveals the ability to summon sunlight. She is the Sun Summoner, and suddenly everything in her life changes.

Alina is brought to the capital of Ravka to train as a Grisha, making the acquaintance of the Darkling, the only Grisha with the ability to summon shadow and darkness; a descendent of the one who created the Shadow Fold. The Darkling believes he and Alina have the ability together to destroy the Shadow Fold, and reunite Ravka. What follows is a wild ride full of twists and turns and beautiful magic.

This book is so addictive and page-turning that I read the last 30% in one sitting. This book is the first in Leigh Bardugo's Grishaverse collection, and it does feel like a first novel. There are simple sentences and some classic YA tropes, such as a love triangle and a 'chosen one' narrative. However, despite the inclusion of YA plot staples, I have read all of those tropes boiled down to a very simple level in other books, and here I believe that Bardugo elevated them to something more. All of the characters were delightfully fascinating. There was not black-and-white, good-and-evil characters, all had some elements of good and bad in them that made them fascinating to ponder over. Alina's spunk and sarcasm added to her character wonderfully, and the Darkling's true motives and character will keep readers on their toes until the last page. In addition to Alina and the Darkling, a wonderful cast of side characters is introduced when Alina begins training with other Grisha, most notably Genya, Alina's closest Grisha friend, who is a unique Tailor who can manipulate appearances. Genya, for all her beauty she created for herself, has her own dark backstory that adds great depth to her character and the story. The logistics of Grisha power are a bit hard to understand, but as seen through Alina, who also does not really understand them either, it makes the mystery and lore around the magic system even more fascinating. Once the orders and powers of Grisha become clear in your mind, the story really takes off.

This book gets under your skin and stays with you. I found myself constantly thinking about the plot and the wonderful characters and setting that became familiar and comfortable. The best feeling when reading a series is wishing that the world of the book is the one you lived in, and I experienced a lot of that feeling while reading Shadow and Bone. I am a very analytical reader, but I did not care about the writing simplicity because this was such a good story. This book has it all-- romance, magic, a touch of a dystopian world, friendship, and fantasy. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys any of those genres and someone looking for a gentle introduction into the fantasy genre-- a genre filled with so many universes and powers and creatures that it is easy to get overwhelmed finding what is really worth reading.

Shadow and Bone is a highly enjoyable book filled with great, layered characters and a delightful magical world. I look forward to reading more of Leigh Bardugo's books.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Allie
Stalking Jack the Ripper
Maniscalco, Kerri
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I absolutely loved this fast paced murder mystery! With awesome likeable characters to an exciting plot, this book has it all. A good murder mystery should always have an exciting ending, and this book did not disappoint. I was totally engrossed in this master piece from start to finish, and cannot wait to start the second one. Stalking Jack the Ripper blew away my expectations and more.
Reviewer Grade: 9.

Reviewer's Name: Sage
Artemis Fowl. The Lost Colony
Colfer, Eoin
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

A good fantasy series knows that it needs to keep building its lore as it progresses past its first few volumes. Some might start to sag around the fifth volume, but The Lost Colony doubles down and introduces a whole new species into its universe: demons. The fact that these creatures are both tied to the fairies that have comprised the series up to now and have their own set of rules that tracks with traditional demon lore is a testament to the research that went into this series.

Of course, introducing demons into the series this late in the game isn't necessarily what makes The Lost Colony good. Rather, it's the introduction of a rival for Artemis—who also has the potential to be a rival in love against Holly Short. The last few books in the Artemis Fowl series felt like an episodic "deus ex machina" that didn't change much in the grand scheme of the main character's life. The Lost Colony recognizes it's time for Artemis to grow up and pushes a surprising ending with the potential for character growth in subsequent books.

I'm actually a little surprised that it took five books to get to this point. Most of the character development had been simmering beneath the surface for quite a few books before this one. However, introducing a new character in the form of a demon imp certainly helped keep the focus on more interesting things while also minimizing some of the more childish moments (which are still there, as this is a series for children). Overall, The Lost Colony seems to be a turning point in the Artemis Fowl series, and I look forward to where it goes from here.

Fresh worldbuilding and character development for the Artemis Fowl series, I give The Lost Colony 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
Ancestral Night
Bear, Elizabeth
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Ancestral Night is a book set in the far future, where our equivalent of supercomputers are built into people's brains and alien races have made a siblinghood with Humans. This book follows a salvage specialist that uncovers an ancient spaceship that mysteriously malfunctioned and then vented the crew into space. When she discovers who caused it, how it was caused, and why it was caused she is deeply disgusted. I enjoy this book because of the feel of Sci-fi that is real, and the mystery of the ancient races lost to time.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise
Gemeinhart, Dan
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is about a girl and her father who are constantly on the road, living in a bus, trying to save a memory. When Coyote Sunrises mom and sisters died her father couldn't stand the memories, so they got on the road. 5 years later, Coyote finds out a park her, her sisters, and her mom created a memory box is getting destroyed and being made into some buildings. Coyote must get to Washington, without her father knowing, from Florida within a week if she hopes to get that memory box. I really liked this book. It was a great mix of emotions. I felt happy, nervous and sad throughout the book. I would rate this book a 9/10.

Reviewer's Name: Mackenzie