Mystery

Book Review: Full Moon: A Novel of the Dresden Files

Full Moon: A Novel of the Dresden Files
Author: 
Butcher, Jim
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

I haven’t read a lot of the urban fantasy genre, but series like Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files is what I’ve come to expect. There’s a certain amount of logic that goes into combining fantasy elements into modern settings, and—if done well—can bring a story to life. Fool Moon (a delicious play on words, if I do say so myself) continues to take the noir twist from Storm Front and applies Harry Dresden’s magical skills against werewolf foes. Perhaps Storm Front wowed me with the concept of a detective magician so much that I thought Fool Moon was slightly weaker in comparison.

For starters, I felt there were too many factions to keep track of in this book. Half the time, I was trying to remember if the werewolves in question were the good guys or the bad guys. Granted, the ambiguity of the factions’ intent helped drive the plot, but they all felt so similar that I had difficulty telling them apart from each other. I was also somewhat confused with what was happening in the climactic battle, even if it eventually made sense. Additionally, there was a scene in this book that basically forced Dresden to make some obvious connections without it having to come quite as naturally as I would have liked.

All this being said, I did appreciate how the story integrated most of the common lore surrounding werewolves. Nothing was entirely cliché, but it was comforting to be able to see how certain well-known elements of how werewolves work helped to maintain the fantasy continuity. If specific topics like werewolves were handled this well by Butcher, I cannot wait to see how other fantasy elements are seamlessly integrated into this alternate Chicago.

An excellent fusion of fantasy and modern setting with a few weaknesses, I give Fool Moon 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin W.

Book Review: Wilder Girls

Wilder Girls
Author: 
Power, Rory
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The Raxter School for Girls is located on a secluded island off mainland America. They have been under quarantine for over a year because of the "tox" that has infected the students and teachers there. The tox gives the girls strange mutations like a hand covered in scales, two hearts or two spines, but it can also kill them. There are few students or teachers left on the island, and with little food and dwindling supplies it's a struggle to survive. Hetty is just trying to keep herself and her friends alive long enough for someone to find a cure but when one of her friends, Byatt, go missing Hetty takes it upon herself to find her and learns that things on the island aren't all that they seem to be.
This book is mainly told in two perspectives, Hetty and Byatt. I like this because it gives more insight to other parts of the story. I enjoyed being in Hetty's head. It was interesting to see her look back at her time before Raxter and to see the reasoning behind the decisions she makes. I also liked reading about this new world the girls are living in.
The ending was left very open ended which was kinda annoying. I also think the characters could have more personality outside of how they have been affected by their circumstances. They often lacked depth

Reviewer's Name: 
Savannah

Book Review: A Good Girl's Guide to Murder

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder
Author: 
Jackson, Holly
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Five years ago in Pippa's small town Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend Sal Singh. Everyone believes the case is closed, but Pippa isn't sure. When she decides to look more into the case for her senior capstone (thesis) project, she discovers secrets about the case someone in her town wanted to keep hidden.
The plot of this book was very interesting and fast-paced. It wasn't predictable and the twists at the end were surprising. I really liked Pippa (or Pip) as a character. I appreciated her dedication to her friends and how they would be affected by her investigation. Also because she didn't take things at face value and looked into them more deeply before making a conclusion.
Some things I didn't like about this books is that Pip was a bit unethical in her investigation. She broke into houses, pretended to be a reporter and other people involved with the murder to get the information she needed. Also I had to suspend by disbelief at some parts because it was kinda hard to believe that a seventeen year old with little to no prior investigative experience was so much better then detectives at their job.

Reviewer's Name: 
Savannah

Book Review: How I Became a Spy

How I Became a Spy
Author: 
Hopkinson, Deborah
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

On his very first assignment as a civil defense messenger in World War II London, Bertie Bradshaw finds the diary of a spy lying in the street. He eagerly reads about the young spy’s training and how she parachuted into France to assume her new covert role. Things soon begin to sound dangerous as one by one her fellow agents are captured by the Nazis. Then the diary suddenly changes into code.

Bertie decides to trust a gutsy American girl, Eleanor, and his best friend David, who is Jewish, with the secrets in the diary. In a race against time, they must try to decode the final messages and then track down not only the spy who wrote them but also the traitor who is leaking information to the Nazis - information so vital that it will affect the success of the invasion of France and the lives of countless allied agents.

I immediately felt affinity for Bertie because he is a believable thirteen-year-old, forgetting his helmet and his training at first but then gaining courage and confidence as the story progresses. Bertie is also struggling with what seem to be panic attacks, stemming from the bombing of his house and the separation of his family, which makes his determination all the more admirable. I also enjoyed Little Roo, Bertie’s trained rescue dog, who has more to do with the success or failure of the venture than you might think.

Reviewer's Name: 
Cynde

Book Review: Uncaged

Uncaged
Author: 
Sandford, John & Cook, Michele
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Uncaged is about how an animal rights group breaks in to a high profile animal testing facility. This facility is notorious for abusing, torturing, testing, and genetically modifying animals.The group is lead by Odin and Rachel and they want to expose the animal cruelty going on in the lab. After the break in the animal rights group was able to take videos and pictures as well get their hands on important flash drives, and rescue a monkey from the lab. Many members were killed and several were injured, and the operation was a disaster. Can the group decode the flash drives, rescue the animals, and remain safe from the lab's goons, before its too late? This book was not predictable and it was a great read.

Reviewer's Name: 
Ananth

Book Review: The Fallen Architect

The Fallen Architect
Author: 
Belfoure, Charles
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Douglas Layton was a famous architect and a hero until the balcony of London’s Britannia Empire Theater collapsed. The balcony caused many to lose their lives and Douglas Layton served prison time for it. After serving his time in prison Douglas is on a mission to find out who was truly responsible for this tragedy. He gets a job at the same theater and gets a brand new identity to disguise himself. Douglas gathers more evidence that this incident was intentional. He must tread the water carefully and not let anyone figure out who he is. Fallen Architect is a suspenseful mystery book that will grip the reader's interest and will have them craving for more.

Reviewer's Name: 
Ananth

Book Review: The Escape Artist

The Escape Artist
Author: 
Meltzer, Brad
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Nola is the army's painter and a solider. She was working on a top secret military mission in Alaska before she died. She got on a military plane and it crashed killing everyone on board. Zig works at an Air Force base and finds out that Nola is miraculously still alive! Nola saved Zig's daughter a long time ago and Zig will do anything to find and be reunited with Nola. Can Zig get to Nola first before her enemies do? This book is a fast paced thriller that will engage the reader.

Reviewer's Name: 
Ananth

Book Review: The Hound of the Baskervilles

The Hound of the Baskervilles
Author: 
Doyle, Arthur Conan
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The Hound of the Baskervilles is another outstanding Sherlock Holmes novel. After wealthy landowner Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson must investigate the rumors of an otherworldly hound with glowing eyes and jaw. The Hound of the Baskervilles once again showcases Sherlock Holmes brilliant deductive capabilities and the mental chess-match he plays with villains. However, this novel also shows Dr. Watson's wit and all that he has learned throughout his years with Holmes.
This gripping adventure will keep you on your toes and leave you guessing until the very end. I highly recommend this book for any fan of classic mystery novels.

Reviewer's Name: 
John

Book Review: The Last Flight

The Last Flight
Author: 
Clark, Julie
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The Last Flight is a thriller filled with many unexpected plot twists and cliff hangers. Claire is married to an affluent man named Rory. Everyone is jealous of Claire as they believe she has everything in life. Little does the world know about Rory's temper and abusive behavior. An unexpected meeting at the airport changes everything for Claire. At the airport, on the way to Puerto Rico, Claire meets another woman Eve who also seems to be in a dire situation. Just before Claire's flight is set to depart the two woman swap tickets and Claire is now headed to Oakland and Eva is on her way to Puerto Rico. As Claire arrives in Oakland she finds out that the flight to Puerto Rico crashed in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with no survivors. Claire is now stranded in Oakland with no money, and must live the life of a complete stranger who has some dark secrets. This book is a great read and it will keep you at the edge of your seat.

Reviewer's Name: 
Ananth

Book Review: Careless Whiskers

Careless Whiskers
Author: 
James, Miranda
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Careless Whiskers is the twelfth book in the Cat in the Stacks Mysteries. It takes place in Athena College in Athena, Mississippi where Charlie Harris' daughter and son in law, teachers of theater at the college, are putting on a production of Careless Whispers, starring Luke Lombardi a semi-famous actor who has a bad relationship with Charlie's daughter Laura. Following over the top pranks on Luke, he is murdered on opening night in the middle of the performance, and his co-star Laura is the prime suspect. Charlie needs to find out who would go to such extreme lengths so he can prove his daughter's innocence. The book is pretty good but it can be a little slow in parts.

Reviewer's Name: 
Emily

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