All Book Reviews

Keeper of the Lost Cities
Messenger, Shannon
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is a book about a girl who finds out she's an elf. She is brought into the lost cities by Fitz, another elf. Every elf in this world has a special talent: Conjurer, Mesmer, Vanisher, Guster, and the forbidden: Pyrokenetic. Sophie, the girl, finds out that she is a Telepath. She can read minds! And she has to stop the mysterious white fires that are burning in human cities. Could a Pyrokenetic be setting them?

Reviewer's Name: Madeline
Awards:
Genres:
Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau
Berne, Jennifer
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This biography of Jacques Cousteau uses beautiful pictures to illustrate the text. It introduces us to the tiny baby born in France and names Jacques. It chronicles his love of water and how his passion for the ocean developed. It shows us how he dreamed to becoming a “manfish” with the ability to breathe underwater and explore. He grew to be one of the greatest oceanographers in the world and a champion of the sea. The book is both inspiring and magical.

Reviewer's Name: Carol
Awards:
Interrupting Chicken
Stein, David Ezra
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Papa is trying to read little red chicken a story at bedtime, but she keeps interrupting. She can’t help herself! She inserts herself into the story of Hansel & Gretel. She jumps into the story of Little Red Riding Hood. She changes the story of Chicken Little. Will little red chicken ever stop interrupting and go to sleep? Find out when you read this story.

Reviewer's Name: Carol
The Clue Is in the Poop: And Other Things Too
Seed, Andy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Using the clues they've left behind, you can learn to track and identify animals and this book will help. It will introduce you animal tracking through observing what's left behind whether it is poop, tracks, or more. You'll learn about what animals eat (and therefore, what you might find in their poop). You'll learn fascinating facts about a variety of animals and start on your way to become a wildlife detective.

Reviewer's Name: Carol
Outrun the Moon
Lee, Stacey
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I tore through this book. Mercy is strong and inspirational, but also displays characteristics not normally seen in fictional characters. All of the girls seem ahead of their time and are well-rounded and friendly. Mercy does not have everything handed to her on a silver platter, and she must work for what she wants. This book is realistic, fits the time period, and is very interesting.

Reviewer's Name: Brenna D.
Genres:
The Point
Dixon, John
2 stars = Meh
Review:

***THIS BOOK WAS RECEIVED FROM THE PUBLISHER***

With the rise in popularity of the superhero genre, it was only a matter of time before it leaked into other genres. While some genres like steampunk (like in The Esper Files ) make for an interesting twist, others like military YA sci-fi are so similar as to be just one other entry in the zeitgeist. The problem with this is that other, more famous handlings of supernatural superpowers bring much more to the table than books like The Point (which doesn’t necessarily add much to either genre on the whole).

As far as I could gather, there are only three or four different “types” of mutants in The Point: telekinetic, pyrokinesis, super strength, and “other” (like dream manipulation and energy storage, the latter of which was reasonably original). I suppose franchises like X-Men and One Piece, which give each of their unique characters unique superpowers and rarely (if ever) repeat themselves, is what ruined this book for me. This only added to the sense of the faceless military machine presented in this book, as few characters stood out to me at all.

Furthermore, I didn’t like the main character at all. Sure, most YA (and this is mature YA at that—an oxymoron, I know) start with a character who needs to undergo growth by the end of the story. However, I don’t need a main character that’s so fully flawed for so long that I end up hating her before she even learns anything. This, added with numerous questions I had that were never answered, plenty of redundant and boring sections, and the fact that I wholeheartedly agreed with the villain meant that I didn’t particularly like this book.

A book that’s likely trying to cash in on superhero and/or YA trends, I give The Point 2.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
Foundation and Empire
Asimov, Isaac
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

One of my qualms with the start of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series was how different the stories were from each other. Each was set in the same universe but failed to have much of a cohesive narrative that tied them all together. While Foundation covered five different short stories, its sequel, Foundation and Empire managed to whittle this method of storytelling down to twonovellas. The result was a clear improvement in clarity and focus as each half of this book only covered a single plot each.

In Foundation and Empire, I finally was able to read a story that stuck with me in this series. Up until this point, I probably couldn’t tell you the premise of any of the short stories in Foundation, let alone the plot of the first half of this book. However, once this book transitioned over from topics that were more in line with science into ones that had a more fictional bend, I found the narrative to be much more enjoyable. It’s almost a shame that the whole book wasn’t an exploration of the universe presented in the second half.

Even if it took a book and a half for me to warm up to this series, I could honestly say that “The Mule” piqued my interest and will likely contribute to my continued reading of the Foundation series. This was probably because this particular half of the book introduced a clear antagonist to the story. It’s not that other stories in the series up until now didn’t have antagonists, it’s more that they weren’t an individual villain up until now. Now things are getting interesting!

A natural evolution of Foundation and an improvement on its predecessor, I give Foundation and Empire 3.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
Foundation
Asimov, Isaac
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

For years, people have asked whether or not I have read the penultimate science fiction series that is Isaac Asimov’s Foundation. Up until now, I could not say that I had. While I knew the series by its name, I hadn’t ever heard any comparisons or even knew what these books were about. This probably should have been my first indication of what to expect. I wasn’t expecting anything other than its notable status as a pillar of classic sci-fi. If anything, the fact each “section” of Foundation is its own short story says volumes about the origin of the genre.

Set within the same universe, Foundation follows five different groups across the timespan of a couple hundred years. Asimov explored a few different concepts and spent most of this book in world-building mode. I’ll applaud his ability to remain fairly consistent across these different stories, but the fact that there isn’t much that ties them together is the main issue I have with this book. Because they’re mostly five separate short stories, there’s not too much “action and consequence” between the different sections. This is what I would expect from a book with a standard three-act structure plot.

Additionally, I think the science fiction stories I tend to enjoy lean more on the “space opera” side than where Foundation lies. The fact that Foundation dives so deep into heady—and often controversial—topics like religion, politics, and economics is probably what lost my interest. Sure, there are some neat applications of technology that drives these topics. However, since it felt more like an academic lecture instead of an entertaining read, I glossed over a lot of the details. Maybe the other books in the series remedy this but for Foundation I just kind of felt “meh” about it.

An OK start to a highly-lauded science fiction series, I give Foundation 3.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
Princess Truly in I Am Truly
Greenawalt, Kelly
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Wonderful book! There are 4 in this series so far. I hope PPLD completes their collection of this series.

Reviewer's Name: Aisha Y.
A Storm of Swords
Martin, George R. R.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

If things hadn’t already turned dark in Westeros, they certainly do in A Storm of Swords. The complicated political situation in the end of A Clash of Kings gets even more complicated as this third book dives into complex armies, weddings, wars, and so much more. George R. R. Martin’s writing may be dense, but I have never encountered a fantastical world as deeply developed as his. A Storm of Swords is jam-packed with intrigue and excitement, and it left me wanting more. I would recommend this book even if you have already seen the show; reading the books adds a whole new dimension to the characters, the plot, and the world.

Reviewer's Name: Sabrina J
The Alchemist
Coelho, Paulo
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Alchemist is the story of Santiago, a shepherd boy, who goes on a journey to find treasure he saw in a dream. It is a story of philosophy and self-discovery, and its open-ended style leaves a lot of room for interpretation. That is the beauty of this book; every reader will get something different out of it. I found The Alchemist to be very inspirational and calming, as well as immensely interesting. This quick read is great food for the soul.

Reviewer's Name: Sabrina J
Awards:
The Fate of Ten
Lore, Pittacus
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Mogadorians have invaded. Earth is falling under Setrakus Ra's rule. However, new hope has arisen for the Loric, new Garde have arisen. Now the new Garde must choose whether they will fight with the Loric or if they will fall to the Mogadorians. The epic saga continues with another exciting adventure. Pittacus Lore continues to twist the plot in new and exciting ways that will keep you engaged. I highly recommend this page-turner to any middle or high school aged reader.

Reviewer's Name: John B
Suite Francaise
Nemirovsky, Irene
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Suite Francaise is an interesting book detailing the experiences of multiple characters and what they face as they evacuate Paris and deal with the German occupation of France. I read this book for school but still found it very interesting. It was a bit slow at first with exposition of characters in almost every chapter. I did enjoy getting to see how different classes reacted to having to leave their homes and what they faced afterwards. Not only does Nemirovsky use multiple characters to show the difference in experience, but also her use of imagery and figurative language add to the essence of struggle. Overall, I enjoyed this book but wouldn't have chosen it myself.

Reviewer's Name: Maddie K.
Awards:
Maus II: A Survivor's Tale
Spiegelman, Art
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Maus II, the sequel/continuation to Maus, continues the story of Vladek Spiegelman told by his son in the form of a comic book. This book is amazing because, just like the first, it uses an animal metaphor to easily show the reader who is who in the story. Maus II takes a darker turn because Vladek is now in the depths of Aushwitz. I love these books and their creative outlook on the War and the Holocaust. No other historical book has made me this intrigued and want to continue reading.

Reviewer's Name: Maddie K.
Walk Two Moons
Creech, Sharon
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The book, Walk Two Moons, by Sharon Creech is a rich and wonderful novel. The seemingly simple, yet complex read explores the self-discovery of thirteen-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle. While exploring her cultural heritage and past, the main protagonist relays over several dark and tragic events. While these events can make the book depressing at times, they hold valuable lessons and the book doesn't linger on them for too long. Every single character in the book is incredibly developed through the many stories told, and they fit the plot well. Overall, I would recommend this book to older readers and maybe younger ones, as the book is a decent length and pretty intricate.

Reviewer's Name: Steven L
Genres:
The 57 Bus
Slater, Dashka
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The book, The 57 Bus, by Dashka Slater, is quite the moving novel. The author does a great job of solidifying the main characters, Sasha and Richard, and develops there characters in a beautifully realistic way. The sudden transition for just normal everyday life to a calamity also flows well with the book. The fact that this story actually happens is also very interesting. Overall, The 57 Bus is a fantastic book and I would recommend it to anyone. The novel is a decent length but will have you engrossed in it until the end.

Reviewer's Name: Steven L
The Lightning Thief
Riordan, Rick
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

In the first book of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, The Lightning Thief, Percy the protagonist has been accused of stealing Zeus’ Lightning bolt. Percy must get it back to avoid all out war among the gods. Along the way he makes some new friends and meets some strange characters.

This book is one of the best books I have ever read. This book is very unpredictable. My favorite types of books are the ones that are unpredictable and this one has one of the best twist ever in a book. This book did well in the bookstores and was made into a movie. However, in my opinion, the book is substantially better than the movie. The book has lots more parts that are really funny and the movie leaves out great parts of the story. I would recommend this to anyone interested in mythology as it is based on Greek gods and their over the top stories. Yet, this is an excellent book and is good for almost everyone, even if you are not a Greek mythology expert because it is pretty easy to follow along.

Reviewer grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Alexander M
Storm of Lightning
Evans, Richard Paul
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

In the Michael Vey series, book four, Storm of Lightning, the resistance movement against the Elgen has been compromised. Micheal must prevent the Elgen from taking over the small island nation of Tuvalu. Hatch, the antagonist, is working to take over the world and wants to use Tuvalu as his base of operations. Since the island has no army and only a few police to defend themselves the island people are nearly helpless. Hatch plans on using his fleet of battleships to initiate a naval invasion of Tuvalu and quickly rid the island of the police force that is protecting it. Michael and his friends work on a plan to stop the naval invasion and destroy the boats before they make landfall. This book has some easily predictable moments, but is still very interesting and fun to read. My favorite part is when Michael and his friends nearly fail to accomplish one of the important parts of a plan they had made together, I would highly recommend this book and series to anyone who is into science fiction and fantasy because this book combines the two very well. However, make sure to read the first 3 books in the series first so this book is easier to follow and understand.

Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Alexander M
Hunt for Jade Dragon
Evans, Richard Paul
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The 4th book of the Michael Vey series begins with Michael and his friends returning to a secret base. The reason they have returned is because they are preparing to go find and rescue a girl named Jade Dragon. She had been captured by the antagonist Dr. Hatch. The reason she was held captive is she is considered a genius and is able to solve problems the Elgen have had for many years. The part of this book I liked the most was when one of the plans that Michael and his friends come up with goes well. This is unexpected because most of the time his plans go very wrong. This book was not very predictable, which I enjoyed. There is no part of this book I would say I didn’t enjoy. This book is definitely worth reading and is slightly better than the 3rd book in this series. Overall this entire series is worth reading because the further into the series you go the better the books get.

Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Alexander M
Battle of the Ampere
Evans, Richard Paul
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

In the book, Battle of the Ampere, Michael, the protagonist, finds himself attempting to rescue his friends as he is the only one not being held captive by the Elgen. This book is good but predictable at times. Hatch, the antagonist, has captured the Elgen fleet and is beginning his quest for world domination.The part I liked the most was when Michael’s plan fails and he comes up with a new and better plan. The thing I liked the least is how predictable it is. This book is one of seven books in this series, and it was not the best in the series. However, this book is still worth reading and the entire series is definitely worth reading and very good.

Reviewer Grade:9

Reviewer's Name: Alexander M

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