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Category Archives: Reviews – Staff

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The Eyre Affair – A Review

Posted on July 15th, 2014 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff
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The Eyre Affair

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

Read by: Anna/Central Teen Room

Thursday Next is a Literary Detective. She tracks down stolen books. But this isn’t your garden variety detective novel. It’s easy to slip into a book and meet the characters. Likewise, it’s easy for characters to slip out of books and into our world. So, what happens when Jane Eyre gets kidnapped from her novel? Thursday Next is on the case and ready to get her back.

I started this book with high hopes. I love books. I love detective novels and mysteries. Putting them together, should then be a no-brainer for a fantastic book. Or a series. Unfortunately, right from page one, this book wasn’t doing anything for me. Jane Eyre doesn’t actually go missing until page 300 (out of 374). This baffled me, as the title suggests the first thing to happen on page one would be Jane going missing. A lot happens before she does go missing, though I felt like someone threw me in a bottle of soda and shook me up a little what with the time traveling, flash backs, visiting characters in books, book characters coming out of books, moving, meeting family, chasing a bad guy, getting shot, meeting old friends, meeting new coworkers… you get the idea. I also felt like I needed to research different events in history I was unfamiliar with, in order to understand whether the characters were talking about an altered event or the actual thing as it happened, and that threw me out of the story as well. If you’re a history buff, you shouldn’t have a problem with this aspect of it. That being said, I know people who have read, and enjoyed, the entire series. It seems to be one of those series you either like or you don’t. Someone said the reader probably needs to be in the right “head space” to read this and maybe that was part of my problem. I’m not really sure. All I know is that I just couldn’t get into it, and therefore, I ended up not enjoying it as much as I’d hoped to.

Man o’War: A Legend Like Lightning – A Review

Posted on July 7th, 2014 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff
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Man O War

Man o’War: A Legend Like Lightning by Dorothy Ours

Read by: Anna/Central Teen Room

This is the story of one of the greatest racing horses to ever live. His name was Man o’War, and he was born in 1917. But this book isn’t just about the great horse, also known as Big Red for his colorful coat. Because surrounding him are the people that made his racing career happen and the other horses who raced against him. Everyone had a hand in his career, whether they were directly related to his farm or not. This book chronicles every race he ever participated in, whether he won or lost, giving minute details so his victories are well understood to have been above and beyond what the other horses were doing.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about this horse and his triumphs as I am an avid horse lover. However, this is not the book for a casual reader as the information can be quite dense and maybe even hard to get through at times. Nevertheless, if horses and horse racing is your thing, this is a fantastic read. Ours gives enough information to explain things to those who are not entirely familiar with horse racing, before rushing on to discuss the races, almost as if the book were a race itself. But it’s not a race. It is a slow read, though for sure the parts describing each race will have the reader on the edge of their seat. In short, I enjoyed it immensely, but it was not an easy read.

A Study in Scarlet – A Review

Posted on June 30th, 2014 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff
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Study in Scarlet

A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Read by: Anna/Central Teen Room

Sherlock Holmes is one of the most famous literary detectives of all time and this is the book that introduced him to the world in 1887. It’s hard to believe that this character, along with his sidekick Dr. John Watson, continue to be just as popular over 100 years later, but two current television shows and many movies easily prove that these characters are as enduring as time itself.

A Study in Scarlet starts us off with Dr. John Watson, having returned to London from the war in Afghanistan he is in need of a place to live and can’t afford one on his own. A friend of his recommends Sherlock Holmes as someone who is also seeking a roommate. John knows nothing about the police profession or the science of deduction, but he’s about to learn when the local police ask for Sherlock’s assistance in solving a most bizarre murder. A man is found dead, with no apparent wounds on his person. Just how did he die? And who is the murderer? Sherlock doesn’t reveal his clues until the end, but the story takes us all the way to Salt Lake City, Utah and back to London again before the end.

This was a fantastic murder mystery that easily shows just how important all the little details at a crime scene are. Through John Watson, we learn how Sherlock solves crimes using what he terms the Science of Deduction. It’s also a very short book, split into two parts, each seven chapters long. It was a breeze to read. The only thing I’m still not sure about, was the abrupt shift from London to Utah without any heads up. Then we’re stuck in Utah for five chapters before we get back to London. However, everything does tie neatly together in the end. I highly recommend this for anyone who enjoys reading murder mysteries. This is not a book to miss out on!

This book is also on the Boston Public Schools Grade 9-12 summer reading mystery list, for anyone searching for a good read for school.

 

 

The Face Of Fear – A Review

Posted on June 24th, 2014 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff, Teen Services
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The Face Of Fear

The Face of Fear by Dean Koontz

Read by: Anna/Central Teen Room

Graham Harris was once a strong mountain climber, risking his life on the toughest mountains around the world. But one fall from Mount Everest has ruined his climbing career. His new found fear of heights has taken over his life. However, Graham is now clairvoyant. Ever since that fall he realizes he can see things before they happen. Gruesome things he would rather know nothing about. When he starts seeing the death of more women to a stalker known as The Butcher, the police seek out his help. Then he sees a vision of his own murder.

This was creepy as all heck. Creepy, dark, mysterious, and scary. All of the above. The Butcher is not someone you want to meet in daylight, much less in dark. Who is the butcher? I can’t tell you that or it would spoil the story. But I can tell you he’s someone you wouldn’t hesitate to let into your house if you didn’t know his secrets. Much like Dean Koontz’s other works, The Face of Fear is a fast paced read that cannot be put down. If you enjoy suspense, and a dash of gruesomeness, this is the book for you. Koontz knows how to spin words to keep readers in their seats and staring at the pages as they fly by.

Something Wicked This Way Comes – A Review

Posted on June 18th, 2014 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff
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Something Wicked This Way Comes

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

Read by: Anna/Central Teen Room

This is the story of two best friends: Will and Jim, both thirteen-years-old. When a carnival comes to town, Jim, ever the adventurous one, is drawn to it in a way that scares Will. For there is something indescribably WRONG about this carnival, though neither of them can figure out what it is. They only know that it threatens the very fabric of their lives. But how? How does it threaten them? And can they seek help from their parents? From their teacher? From the police? Who will believe them? Perhaps no one. But that’s a risk they might have to take.

It took me a bit to get into the novel, a few chapters at least, before I felt like I was submerged enough not to want to put it down. Aside from this, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Have you ever had disagreements with your best friend? Those times when, in public, your friend rushes off to do something you feel is terribly wrong? Or maybe you’re the one who wants to rush off to do something and your friend is trying to hold you back? That was a lot of this book. Where Will is proud to prevent bad things from happening, Jim views that prevention as cowardice. Will only wants to protect Jim and the rest of the town, but Jim doesn’t want that protection. As they argued, as one rushed off and the other called after him to stop, I felt as if I were there with them, feeling what it must have felt like for Will when Jim wanted to go his own way in the world, directly into darkness. The carnival was creepy. And it took my favorite ride, the carousel, and turned it into something that should never exist in this world. I’ll never ride a carousel again without thinking of this book. Yes, this is a dark, mysterious, story full of suspense and wonder. But it’s not magic that saves the day, that drives back the darkness, and that was the clincher as to why I really liked this book. Of course, it was also well written, and carried you along on a rough tide until it finally deigned to set you down on the beach feeling storm tossed, ragged, and glad to see the sun shining again.

This is a horror/suspense novel that can be found on the BPS Summer Reading 9-12 grade Mystery list for 2014.