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Posts Tagged ‘Summer Reading’

A Study in Scarlet – A Review

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

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

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

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.

A Big Little Life – A Book Review

Posted on July 16th, 2012 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog by Dean Koontz

Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room

This is the story of Trixie Koontz, the beautiful, smart, funny, and generally awesome dog belonging to well known author, Dean Koontz. All these years, I’ve heard about Trixie, but I didn’t realize just how special she was until I read this book. That dog was great at calming other dogs down in the middle of a vet hospital visit. She refused to throw up on a hard-to-clean carpet. She was a perceptive dog  who knew when on the tennis ball hunt that one had been left behind.

This was an amazing story of an amazing dog. I laughed out loud until I cried. And then I cried so hard I sobbed. A truly wonderful book that any dog lover should read. Even if you’re not a Dean Koontz fan, you’ll love this book, and you’ll hopefully come to realize (if you haven’t already) just how special dogs really are. Especially dogs like Trixie Koontz.

A final note, for those who are keeping track, this is the third book out of eight in my personal summer reading list. Wondering myself if I can make it to the eighth book by the end of August… crossing my fingers!

 

Childhood’s End – A Review

Posted on June 12th, 2012 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clark

Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room

You may recall that I chose to read this book for my summer reading list. This is the story of what would happen if an alien race took over Earth and it’s humans, if that race gave us peace and prosperity, but took away our children without asking. In this novel, the idea is the protagonist and antagonist, not any one character, not even something like disease is the antagonist.

I have to say I was expecting a little more action. But instead, the people accepted their fate. At first, nothing happens, people have parties, they chat about boring things, and get too used to lots of technology. One man dares to be different,  he dares to escape into the stars to find the home of the alien race that controls them. But when he returns to Earth 80 years later, he finds that he’s the last man on Earth. The ending is hard to take. I kept wondering what I would do if I were in his situation, and all I could come up with is that I would go crazy insane without other people.

This was not a book I enjoyed at all. It was a hard read and I had to force myself to get through it, even as skinny as it was. Even so, this book is a classic of science fiction literature, and many people the world over love it. I guess it really depends on what you prefer to read. Just don’t expect action heros to save the day in the end.