Thursday, August 14, 2014

House of Silk review by Ananya S.

Review of The House of Silk

It is winter 1890, and Sherlock Holmes and his good friend, Dr. Watson, are relaxing by the fire. Suddenly, they are interrupted by a mysterious man who appears – a client. The man, Mr. Edmund Carstairs, proceeds to tell Holmes and Watson about The Flat Cap Gang, a criminal group in Boston. The gang had murdered a man and destroyed several precious paintings. Carstairs, wanting justice, had hired police to track the gang down; all of the members were subsequently caught, except for one…and that one member wants revenge… Intrigued by Carstairs’ story, Holmes and Watson are drawn into the darkest corners of 19th-century London. Slowly, the case itself only becomes more confusing as the stakes are raised higher; eventually, Holmes comes to hear of the “House of Silk.” Despite many warnings, he and Watson investigate the mysterious and dangerous name; however, the consequences of their curiosity could prove to be fatal…
The House of Silk, by Anthony Horowitz, is a satisfying albeit dark novel. The mystery is very well developed, with clues subtly slipped into the text. Horowitz includes many unexpected plot twists, but none of them seem far-fetched, and all fit with the storyline. Additionally, Horowitz has a good grasp of the Holmes-Watson dynamic; this, along with his tone, makes The House of Silk feel like an authentic Sherlock Holmes story. Overall, The House of Silk is a dark yet enjoyable read.

~Ananya Swaminathan 

Thursday, August 07, 2014

8/7/14



This is the sequel to Anna Dressed in Blood and finds Cas desperate to figure out what happened to Anna after she sacrificed herself to save him & his friends.  When he finds out that she is in Hell, being tortured by Obeahman he is determined to find a way to rescue her.  But doing so will mean going against some very powerful entities....and might cost Cas his life......
Blake has written a worthwhile sequel that is creepy and awesome and ends satisfyingly.  I love the characters and their interactions and am hoping for more adventures of Cas and his friends....but even if I don't get them, I will savor the time I spent with them in these two books.

We Were Liars is a classic example of an unreliable narrator......Cadence isn't intentionally misleading anyone, she genuinely can't remember what happened the summer everything fell apart.  The reader is along for the ride as she tries to untangle the knot that is memory & the things not-said by her well meaning family.  The ending isn't one that I expected but that made me savor the journey even more......definitely read this.....it was really, really good.


Scar Boys is the name of the band that Harry is a part of......in the initial stages, we are told that this story is a (rather long) essay to a "faceless admissions guy" about who Harry is.  Along the way we learn about how Harry got his horrible scars, his tortured psyche and also his journey into being healthier and stronger.  I love all the musical references, with the chapter titles being song titles as well as the music being an element that ties everything together.  Technically this is historical fiction as it takes place in the 80s *cringing a bit because I was THERE and it doesn't feel that long ago*  but it doesn't feel historical as much as it feels relevant......really about growing, and pain and heartbreak....and rock and roll......this is a really, really good books that should be enjoyed by more people.....read it and pass it along   =)  Saleena

review of Born Confused by Simran B.

Born Confused Review by Simran B.

Plot Summary:  Dimple Lala is just a 17 year old girl in New Jersey, struggling with the one question we all face during these teenager times. Who am I? She is caught in between two different worlds, trying to find the perfect balance and harmony between them. She feels as she is too Indian for the Americans, and not Indian enough for her own heritage. As the book progresses, Dimple realizes that it doesn’t have to be an either-or choice. She understands that she can be both, and discovers the balance she was once looking for. She understands that she doesn’t have to be embarrassed to express her Indian culture, and realizes that being different is perfectly fine.  

Along side with the issue of trying to discover who you are, Born Confused deals with the issue of trying to live up to your parents’ expectations. This issue is a crucial part of the book, as at the beginning Dimple fails to understand what her parents truly want of her. Albeit, as the book continues on, Dimple develops a closer relationship with her parents, and realizes they are not all that different from her, and can surprisingly relate to what she is going through.

At the same time, the books hits on the issue of maintaining relationships, as Gwyn, Dimple’s best friend suddenly just assumes that Dimple has a perfect life, due to still having parents that are still together and love each other, and as to having an intact family. However, Gwyn fails to see that while this is true, all of this does not equal to a perfect life. As I mentioned before, Dimple is going through some tough times of her own, such as the “identity quest” to discover who she actually is and how she fits inside this world. This issue of maintaining relationships, and the way that Gwyn suddenly jumps to the conclusion of Dimple having a perfect life, is a fantastic way to incorporate the message of “things aren’t always what they seem, especially if you are looking in from the outside”.

Now, while there are several other key points in the book, these are only three of them. (After all, how can I tell you the others? That would just be spoiling the book for you! You’ll have to read the book to find out the rest!)
Overall, Born Confused is a wonderful book of a typical teenage struggling with several issues in her life and trying to deal with them all. While the book is a bit lengthy (500 pgs), and takes a while to take off, it is filled with enriching detail, and is one that will keep teenagers engaged. Once the book takes off, you will definitely get hooked, and will just want to keep reading! Now, what are you waiting for? Go ahead, grab this book of the shelves, and start reading!

*A side note* While reading this book, keep your mind open, and be prepared for the unexpected!


book review from Ananya S.

Review of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (book)

It’s been a year since Lucy and her older brother, Edmund, have last visited the magical land of Narnia. As Peter is preparing for college and Susan is in America, the two siblings are forced to stay with their obnoxious younger cousin, Eustace. One of Eustace’s favorite pastimes, in fact, is mocking Edmund and Lucy about the “imaginary” land of Narnia…until a painting on the wall comes to life. Finding themselves on the ship of King Caspian, Edmund, Lucy, and Eustace (the latter not so enthusiastically) join the crew on a journey to the end of the world.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is, however, largely Lucy’s and Eustace’s book. It is through them that Lewis explores his most significant themes, such as temptation, change, and faith. Eustace, originally annoying and selfish, is tempted by cursed gold and transforms into a dragon. After observing the crew’s support and his cousins’ compassion for him in his cursed state, he vows to become more helpful and considerate. Lucy, meanwhile, discovers a book of spells; one of these spells could make her the most beautiful girl in existence…but would ultimately lead to the destruction of worlds. As we discover Lucy’s inner conflicts and insecurities, we are also exposed to her unwavering faith in Aslan, the creator of Narnia; when the ship is in its darkest hour, it is Lucy who saves the crew with her belief in Aslan.
Through thorough characterization of Lucy and Eustace, C. S. Lewis, the author of The Chronicles of Narnia series, explores the ideas of loyalty, temptation, faith, redemption, and (ultimately) of growing up. Overall, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is both an interesting beginning to the adventures of Eustace in Narnia and a satisfying conclusion to those of Lucy and Edmund.  


~Ananya Swaminathan

Ananya Singh, 11th Grade Book Review of Embassy Row by Quinn Fawcett

Ananya Singh, 11th Grade Book Review of Embassy Row by Quinn Fawcett Everyone is familiar with the amazing duo of Sherlock Holmes a...