Goodreads Choice Award/Nominee

Book Review: Steelheart

Steelheart
Author: 
Sanderson, Brandon
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

With this book full of action and suspense, Brandon Sanderson incorporates sci-fi with drama and it comes together like a peanut butter jelly sandwich with milk. In a world of superhuman beings called Epics, David, an orphan living in Chicago, tries to survive where Epics roam rampant. Steelheart, the tyrant, controls all Epics and every part of the city; water, light, and law enforcement. The only part that isn’t controlled is the Reckoners who try to take out every Epic while being anonymous and secret. David, inspired by the Reckoners, soon finds himself part of the battle against the Epics. With this action-packed thriller, will David and the Reckoners take back Chicago or will the Epics be victorious?

Reviewer Age: 15

Reviewer's Name: 
Aiden F

Book Review: Barking up the Wrong Tree

Barking up the Wrong Tree
Author: 
Barker, Eric
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

In his book Barking Up the Wrong Tree, Eric Barker explains secrets to success in many areas of life. Using the latest in scientific research, he explains how to "find work-life balance using the strategy of Genghis Khan, the errors of Albert Einstein, and a little lesson from Spider-Man", how to lower stress and increase self love, and move through life more happily

Among other lessons, Mr. Barker teachers readers why most of what they previously believed about success is "wrong". Then he goes on to explain how they can improve themselves and their lives through lessons provided by unlikely - but entertaining - sources.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking to improve success in their lives. It is an excellent, helpful, and humorous read that will be good for any age range 16 and above.

Reviewer's Name: 
Rebecca D

Book Review: The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season
Author: 
Jemisin, N. K.
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

It’s been a while since I’ve read a fantasy book with such a unique magic system in place. I truly enjoyed the amount of thought that went into a world where the main source of power was that of the earth itself. From magma to solid obelisks, the ability to control the vibrations of the planet (either to amplify or dampen) had an interesting and logical follow-through in its characters and storyline. I’m honestly looking forward to eventually starting the next book in the series since the world was built so well. It’s no wonder that it ended up winning the Hugo Award for that year.

While I suppose The Fifth Season is also partly a pseudo-post-apocalypse story, it was only shown in small snippets and references here and there. Consequently, this would make this story almost “modern fantasy” in comparison to some of the classics. Additionally, this would explain some of the character elements added with little to no explanation or relevance to the plot. It sometimes seems like the sexual encounters and fluid genders of these characters are included o merely hit a checkbox of “inclusivity.” Sure, people who relate to these characters feel like their represented, but if these traits don’t affect the plot, then it doesn’t matter about their sexuality at all.

I also found the bold choice of second-person POV to be a bit jarring when it spliced in the more traditional third-person narrative. Initially, I thought these segments were striking in the way that it pulled me into the story. That was until I was given a name and a purpose and any number of other traits that made the “you” in the story into a character that was basically repeated throughout. I get how these different characters interacted to tell a much broader story (which is again, part of the book’s strength) I just didn’t care for the reader’s identity to be given to them via the second person POV.

A uniquely written and crafted fantasy with one or two minor flaws, I give The Fifth Season 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin W.

Book Review: The Way of Kings

The Way of Kings
Author: 
Sanderson, Brandon
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The highlight of The Way of Kings is assuredly the masterful world building. Sanderson manages to craft a fantastical and believable world with unique quirks and mountains of lore. With an exciting narrative to boot, this book (over a thousand pages long) tends to threaten other menial activities such as sleep. Though occasionally losing momentum through its frequent shift of character viewpoints, The Way of Kings is definitely a worthwhile read with compelling characters and gripping action.

Reviewer's Name: 
Evan T

Book Review: Becoming

Becoming
Author: 
Obama, Michelle
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The book is compelling and Michelle is a very interesting read. It's refreshingly honest and shows their true struggles. And I can relate to how she feels about politics. Michelle is grounded and illuminating giving the book a lot of value.

Reviewer's Name: 
Cheryl T.

Book Review: Chomp

Chomp
Author: 
Hiaasen, Carl
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Chomp is a book written by Carl Hiaasen. I would rate Chomp five out of five stars. In Chomp, Wahoo’s mom is on a trip working in China. The main character, Wahoo, and his dad, Mickey, get hired for a TV job. Their family is tight on money, and they are trying to pay off the mortgage of their house. While Wahoo’s mom is in China, he and his dad go on a rollercoaster of exciting events working for the show. It has a very exciting plot and swallowed me into the book. It is a funny tale about the love for animals. I enjoyed the character’s humor and how Wahoo reacted to tough problems. I loved this book and would recommend it to others. It is in a series, but it is a standalone book. I would recommend reading all of the other books in this fantastic series. The author is an amazing writer. That is why I would recommend Chomp to you.

Reviewer's Name: 
Hayden S

Book Review: The Unexpected Everything

The Unexpected Everything
Author: 
Matson, Morgan
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The Unexpected Everything, by author Morgan Matson, is a novel with an underlying that sometimes life doesn't go as planned, but that's okay; sometimes even the unexpected things are the best and most enjoyable things you ever experience. The main character of the Unexpected Everything is a girl named Andie. Her life has been pretty rough for the past years. With a father who is a congressman, she feels like she has to always put on a sort of "facade" and this is something that seems to be constricting for her.
Andie's mother, whom she loved dearly passed away a few years back from ovarian cancer and, even though it's been quite a while since her death, Andie still hasn't come to terms with this loss. Andie has some plans for this summer. She is going to take a premed course, as she hopes to find a career in medecine in the future. However, when her plans change, Andie is flustered and realizes that her vision of this summer has now fallen apart, and she has no choice but to make new plans. This book is fun, cute, and full of adventures as well as drama. I have now read all of Morgan Matson's books and love them! I'd recommend this novel to anyone who is into romcoms, adventures, or anyone who is looking for a fairly easy read. You won't be able to put this book down!

Reviewer's Name: 
Elizabeth P

Book Review: The Help

The Help
Author: 
Stockett, Kathryn
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The Help is a novel set in Jackson, Mississippi during the early 1960's, written by Kathryn Stockett. The main character, Eugenia 'Skeeter' Phelan, is a aspiring journalist who lives with her parents and has no intention of starting a family like all of her friends; what she really wants is to be a writer. She decides to take a big risk and interview the help--the African American women who work in the households of white families to make a living--and write about their experiences. Kathryn Stockett's novel follows the lives of three women: Skeeter and two African American women: Aibileen and Minnie. The Help is spectacularly written and very accurately depicts society during segregation. It will make readers laugh out loud, cry, and connect with the characters. The plot is unpredictable and enjoyable, told through several perspectives which creates the perfect character development.
I strongly recommend this book to all readers who enjoy historical fiction.

Reviewer's Name: 
Alexa H

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Author: 
Rowling, J.K.
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

To all readers wondering what happens after Harry leaves Hogwarts, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child gives an interesting take on the idea. This is a play script, written by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany. It is about Harry's son, Albus--who is sorted into Slytherin--and his best friend, Scorpius Malfoy. In an effort to bring back someone from Harry's past, they travel through time and make some major mistakes--even bringing back the darkness that Harry vanquished. This book is about the bond between friends and family. Although it is creative and definitely makes an effort to continue the Harry Potter legacy, the story seemed forced the plot wasn't enjoyable.

Reviewer's Name: 
Alexa H

Book Review: The Daylight War

The Daylight War
Author: 
Brett, Peter V.
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

I’m glad to see that it only took two books for Peter V. Brett to cut down on some of the extraneous flashbacks and exposition in the Demon Cycle series. While whole chunks of The Warded Man could have been cut with nothing significant lost in the process, and The Desert Spear had what appeared to be an unrelated storyline that weaved through the narrative, The Daylight War has a minimal amount of this “fluff.” Granted, there is still some amount of world-building that helped to explain yet another aspect of this setting, but it’s minimal in comparison to its predecessors.

Additionally, I already knew this series was an adult fantasy from my experience with The Warded Man and The Desert Spear. These are tame when compared to the third entry in the series. The sex in this book made the previous two look like nuns in comparison. Sure, it could be argued that it “adds to the plot” in a few spots, but I’m just used to it at this point. At any rate, the differences between the two different cultures hearken back to the European and Middle-eastern cultures that undoubtedly influenced them, which also would explain the adult nature of these books.

As for the plot, the first two books seemed to set up the far superior plot in this book. While The Warded Man followed one deliverer’s path, and The Desert Spear explored an equally-gifted deliverer from a different culture, The Daylight War revealed how similar—and how different—these two men are. I don’t know if I liked the “mindreading” aspect of these individuals’ new power, as it seemed a little like lazy writing at times, but the addition of the warded skills to take on a severe threat from the demons was entertaining as always.

An adult fantasy that has finally cut a lot of the fluff of its predecessors, I give The Daylight War 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin W.

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