Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Review of Young Sherlock Holmes: Death Cloud by Ananya S.

Review of Young Sherlock Holmes: Death Cloud

Sherlock Holmes is an intelligent fourteen-year-old who leads an ordinary sort of life. As his mother is ill, his father serves in the army, and his brother pursues a career, Sherlock is sent away to the countryside to live with his aunt and uncle. Here, Sherlock meets an eccentric tutor named Amyus Crowe, and his life takes an extraordinary turn. During an outdoor lesson with Amyus Crowe, Sherlock stumbles upon a body. His interest piqued, Sherlock finds an overwhelming desire to solve the mystery behind the body and the strange “cloud of death.” Sherlock’s curiosity takes him from country fairs to dark corners of London as he pieces together a murderous plot that threatens his best friends…and the whole of Britain.
Death Cloud by Andrew Lane is a suspenseful read filled with red herrings. Its riveting plot keeps readers interested until the very last page. Additionally, Lane includes interesting character development; when characterizing Sherlock, he doesn’t focus too much on the strengths or weaknesses of the character. He instead tries to offer a more balanced portrait of Sherlock. Lane also makes Sherlock more relatable to today’s teenagers. Furthermore, Virginia Crowe, Amyus’s daughter, is portrayed as modern in terms of her views on gender equality, despite the fact that she grows up in a time period when women are expected to wear dresses and become housewives. Overall, Death Cloud is a thrilling start to Andrew Lane’s Young Sherlock Holmes series.

~Ananya Swaminathan

Thursday, September 18, 2014

looong overdue post from Saleena 9/18/14

Ok, so between vacation & generally being crazed this summer, I haven't posted as much as I should have....so here is what I have read in the last few weeks.....

This is a book that was sitting on my TBR (to-be-read) pile for awhile, I got it at Book Expo in May.  I am very sad it took me so long to read it, as it was truly a great read.  It is a quick biography and an inside view of why Don't Ask Don't Tell was a horrible governmental policy; as well as how the repeal of that policy has affected the military personnel.  It is written by Stephen Snyder-Hill, who is best known for asking a question about the policy to the Republic candidates at the Republican convention, and being booed by the entire group of attendees...and since it was a video question, it & the response quickly went viral.  Stephen is matter-of-fact in his delivery of events, much as you'd expect a soldier to be; and he details how he and his husband have become gay rights advocates, although they never set out to be.   I really enjoyed this book, I think it speaks to teens, adults and anyone who wonders what it's like to live in the closet....and it is also a great tool to show that just being gay doesn't mean you can't be anything you like (and you don't have to fit a Hollywood stereotype).

The Twelve-Fingered Boy is quite an adventure to read.....it starts off in a juvenile detention center, and then follows the two boys after their escape as they try to escape and evil mastermind using only their own mental powers.....Jacobs has written a great tale of woe & super-powers...it's like a comic book, but without the pictures (and I mean that as a compliment).   Fast paced, lots of adventure and an ending that leaves you chomping at the bit to read the sequel....highly recommended.

This is a biographical novel about Louis Michaux....and it is informative and amazing....in fact, my only problem with it, is that it is a biographical novel...which means MOST of it is factual, with a few liberties taken to add conversations they know about but don't have copies of, things like that....but what it means in reality (and in a library) is that it's a hard sell.....it's not just facts, it's not just fiction but a mix....my hope is to get people to read it, and then encourage them to research and find out which is which.....I had no idea who Louis Michaux was, and now that I've read of his fight to improve literacy in Harlem, to improve the lives of African Americans in the 60s and his passion for his books, I need to find out more.   Everyone needs to read this book, it's important not to forget individuals who influenced a generation, including Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.  ....and countless others who aren't famous but had their lives vastly improved by one man who insisted that they learn their history and read more books.

Savage Fortess is a fun, fast read for anyone jonesing for a new Percy Jackson book.....=)  This one used the Indian pantheon of gods, and a reluctant hero who fulfills a prophecy.   I really enjoyed it, and I think teens who love mythology based fiction will too.

Finally, I read (and re-read) the five first Birds of Prey trade paperbacks, and plan to finish catching up (once I replace the two middle volumes someone lost....sigh).   I love Oracle, she is a badass librarian and these books are just fun to read.

That's it.....go out & read people!!!

Amal Unbound Book Review by: Raheem Ahmad

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