Thrillers/Suspense

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder

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Good girl's guide
Author
Jackson, Holly
Rating
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

Book Review: Michael Strogoff or The Courier to the Czar

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Strogoff
Author
Verne, Jules
Rating
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.

Book Review: The Guest List

Author
Foley, Lucy
Rating
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

Book Review: Five Total Strangers

Author
Richards, Natalie D.
Rating
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review

"Five Total Stangers" is a book by Natalie D. Richards about a road trip gone wrong. Desperate to get home to her mother, Mira accepts a car ride from four strangers. However, missing items and rising tensions make Mira wonder just what she's gotten into.

Overall, this is a fine book and an easy read. The characters aren't particularly deep, but they all have somewhat compelling backstories and personalities. I wouldn't consider them likeable, but I think that's the point. It adds to the uncomfortable atmosphere. There was a character twist that seemed to come out of nowhere to me, but admittedly I'm particularly bad at predicting twists. Mira is the standout character, having an interesting struggle between needing to get home and not wanting to be in this situation.

The plot falls a bit flat for me. Specifically the pacing. Some stuff goes missing and they spend half the book arguing about it. Then everything goes crazy in the last 40 or so pages. Putting that aside most of the 'spooky' events are fairly standard, without much twist on them. The only exception is one scene where they try to figure out who grabbed the steering wheel and who was driving normally.

I would reccomend this book to horror fans and people who have a lot of free time to kill.

Reviewer's Name
Rose

When No One Is Watching

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When No One is Watcing
Author
Cole, Alyssa
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

A thriller that takes an already scary concept - the systemically racist practice in real estate known as red-lining - and makes it into a more tangible threat. In an historically black neighborhood, Sydney is still grieving the loss of her mother when her neighbors start disappearing one by one. Can she figure out who is behind the accelerated changes of her neighborhood before it's too late?
This book has some genuinely terrifying moments, particularly when the narrative is breaking down the historical practices of red-lining, gentrification, systemic racism, slavery, and the shifts of old practices into new formats. It brings these concepts forward in an approachable way (unlike my review, probably).
This book is a thriller-romance with a John-Wick-esque style by the end. So if you're into social commentary with the just-right amount flair of romance, this is for you! My only frustration is the ending felt a tad bit rushed...but overall, it was satisfying.

Reviewer's Name
Meagan

Book Review: Sleeping Giants

Author
Neuvel, Sylvain
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

Sylvain Neuvel's "Sleeping Giants" is the first book in a series of three fantastic novels about alien technology and what it means to be human. This book was lent to me by my father, so I knew it had to be amazing. I was not wrong in that assumption. My favorite part about this book is likely the most divisive part: the format. This book is explained in an interview format, between each character and a mysterious interviewer that is developed further in the later installments of this series. At first, I wasn't sure if I would like how jarringly different this format is; sometimes it is noticeable when the author wanted to convey some important information, but the constant interview made the information difficult to show. It wasn't exclusively interviews; occasionally a mission log was used for variety's sake. My least favorite part of the book is actually what wasn't included in the book. It sounds picky, but I think that this book had room for more. The cliffhanger, while masterfully executed, came too soon. Not enough happened before the book ended, so I was left immediately scrambling to acquire the other 2 books in the series. The book, and especially the series as a whole, is absolutely surprising at nearly every step. Characters assumed narratively immortal die, and enemies turn into friends that save the world in the third book. Each character had interesting flaws and contrasting personalities, so each character introduced to us through the mysterious interviewer felt like someone you could meet walking down the street. All in all, this book is definitely one of the best books I have read this year.

Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name
Ryder

Book Review: We All Fall Down

Author
Richards, Natalie D
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

Romance, thriller, and horror all wrapped into one. Natalie D Richards does it once a great with a book you won't be able to put down until the final page. When two best friends in love have a falling out over a fight at a party it seems nothing could bring them together again. Except for the bridge that is. Strange things keep bringing them back to the place of the party and back to each other. Lock on bridges and hearts hold mystery but the views of both parties is being clouded by their own mental struggles. This is a very emotional book and capitating one that I can't wait to read again. Readers enjoy and beware of the bridge.

Reviewer's Name
McKenna

Book Review: The Initiation

Author
Babu, Chris
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

The moment you open the book your going to be immediately thrown into the story. A deadly plague has overtaken the world and the few thousand humans left reside in what used to be Manhattan; now called New America. From Drayden (the main characters) perspective we get to see that New America has a tight hierarchy. All citizens of New America get one chance to elevate above the area they were born, and the stories spread around this "chance" make most pass it up. Drayden though, he has decided to play New Americas deadly game.

Reviewer's Name
Xzavier

Book Review: The Westing Game

Author
Raskin, Ellen
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

The Westing Game is a very eventful book with lots of twists and turns. It starts out as a novel about an old rich man who ‘died’, Sam Westing. All of his heirs live in Sunset Towers and are competing in a game he made. In his will, Westing claims that one of the people that resides in the tower killed him. All of his relatives get assigned another family member they have to work with as a partner. The groups start finding and solving clues, one leading to another and making each family suspect each other throughout the whole game. His heirs are hoping to gain control of his business and win millions of dollars through the game, which they will split with their partner. I really liked this book because of all the mystery and obscure details that lead you to the answer. Who set the bombs? Who REALLY killed Westing? Why did Turtle cover up for Angela? Did he even die? Are Sam Westing, Sandy McSouthers, Julian Eastman, and Barney Northrup hiding something? The suspense draws you in, and leaves you wanting more and questioning everything. I would highly recommend this book for any young and curious reader.
(Grade 7)

Reviewer's Name
Katherine

Book Review: This Body's Not Big Enough for Both of us

Author
Cantero, Edgar
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

This Body's Not Big Enough for Both of Us is a wonderfully witty Jekyll-and-Hyde-esque tale of crime, passion, and sibling squabbles. Adrian and Zooey Kimrean are twins forced to share the same body: the same brain, the same limbs, the same life. After establishing a Private Eye business to utilize Adrian's deductive analysis and Zooey's creative skills, the two are thrown into the path of a mob war. Can they learn to work together, or will their self-destructive self-sabotage spell the end for the both of them?
This book is insane. It's absolutely insane. It's a rollercoaster of emotions, plot points, and story trajectory, and I loved every minute of it. The mastery of the book comes in large part from Cantero himself, and his mastery of humor and pacing and personality. Every character, especially the two main leads, seem to explode from the page. The book acknowledges the tropes of the detective story, and a lot of it plays into it, but there are also some wonderful subversions in the simple act of giving two-dimensional characters a lot more depth than they usually warrant. Very few characters are taken for granted. Beyond that, there's a beautiful vibrancy to the dialogue, and it highlights the unique character dynamics that emerge from the story. The story takes full advantage of its goofy premise, using it for all the drama and humor and plot fodder that it can. Both the hilarity and the absolute tragedy that is the main character's situation is wonderfully balanced. The jokes about it have some of the best slapstick and back-and-forth I've seen in a book. The sorrow of it was genuinely moving, and wasn't undercut or dragged out. Finally, even the writing was wonderful. The imagery was gorgeous, the prose was moving, and the general comic air of the book make the serious parts hit that much harder.
There are some problems with the book. Yes, the wildness of the plot can detract from the mystery. Sure, the humor can be crude and the ending was pretty conflicting. But I don't care. I read this book in a straight 48-hours and I wish it could've lasted for hundreds of hours more. It's a masterclass in characterization, dialogue, humor, and out-of-the-box writing. All in all, I'd recommend this for anyone who wants detective stories, mob wars, unlikely friendships, fantastic action, and one of the most interesting sibling dynamics you'll ever see!
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name
Eve