Wednesday, November 14, 2018

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 and John Watson. Together they face the world and solve crimes. However, not many are familiar with his older brother Mycroft Holmes. He is rarely mentioned in the original series by Arthur Conan Doyle and many readers, including me, have wondered what more there is to the mysterious Mycroft Holmes. Well, you're in luck! This series by a pair of authors under the pen name Quinn Fawcett do just that. The first book Embassy Row follows the journey of Mycroft as he embarks on a secret mission for the British government. This book was written in the perspective of Guthrie who is his assistant. They share the same relationship that Sherlock and John have. This book was quite a treat. Since I am a huge fan of the original series I decided to give this one a chance. Even though this series is not written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle the style of writing is very similar. The plot was quite interesting. However, there were some parts that I was not a fan of such as the little character build up. I wish the authors revealed more things about the characters themselves instead of only focusing on the plot. All in all, this book was a pleasurable read and I will be sure to read the next two books. If you are a die hard fan of anything Sherlock Holmes then make sure to give Embassy Row a read!
Final Rating: 4/5

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Ananya Singh, 11th Grade Book Review of Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Ananya Singh, 11th Grade
Book Review of Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

This unique tale follows the journey of a young yet ambitious girl named Zelie. She is a maji and therefore possess’ magic. One of her most recognizable traits is her long silver hair, a signature trait of all maji. She lives in the Kingdom of Orisha. Unfortunately, the king of Orisha has snatched magic from all the maji in an incident called the Raid. In the process, Zelie lost her mom and has never been the same. Since the Raid, Zelie has been living under the radar, secretly practicing magic with a group of individuals that want to bring magic back. Throughout her life, all the maji have been treated poorly and Zelie finally decided that enough was enough. She embarks on a trip to retrieve 3 sacred objects in order to bring back magic. Along the way, she faces countless battles and is forced to work with people she never thought she would meet. Does she succeed? Read the book to find out. Coming from someone who is not an avid reader, this book was different. It was engaging which encouraged me to read it to the very end. The exciting plot and the development of the characters make this book a definite read. I was able to connect with Zelie despite not facing the same things she faced.If you’re a fan of fantasy books or just have some free time be sure to pick up Children of Blood and Bone.
Final Rating : 4.5 out of 5

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Winter Glass by Lexa Hillyer; review by Zoya Khurram

Zoya Khurram, 10th grade
Book Review of Winter Glass by Lexa Hillyer

Aurora is separated from the dream world, Sommeil, after its leader is killed by the faerie queen Malfleur. She vows to kill Malfleur while her half-sister Isabelle joins forces with Prince William to win against Malfleur’s army of Vultures. Amidst this chaos, Isabelle comes into possession of an unbreakable glass slipper which is the key to her mysterious lineage and birth mother. This story follows the bond of sisters and explores how love can come in many forms.
Hillyer takes a creative spin on the classic Sleeping Beauty and adds layers of complexity with love triangles. She fully develops the characters and the reader is able to clearly see a profound difference in the characters by the end of the novel. Something refreshing about this novel was the strong emphasis on sisterly love and the relationship between Isbe and Aurora. Saying all this, I found the novel lackluster. Lexa Hillyer is a poet and this is evident in her writing. She barely uses conjunctions such as “and” and “because” in order to create a more fast-paced read, but this choppy sentence structure loses its charm after a while and becomes frustrating to read. Additionally, instead of flashbacks and anecdotes, she flat out types what happens. For example, if someone is feeling sad she says “Isbe is sad” instead of describing her emotions. This really affects the book because a lot of possible interesting parts are made dull and there are overdramatic outbursts by the characters that made me cringe.
I rate this book 3.0 out of 5. I would recommend it to anybody who likes the classic YA book

Starstruck by Jenny McLachlan; review by Zoya Khurram

Zoya Khurram, 10th grade
Book Review of Starstruck by Jenny McLachlan

Pearl is used to being the center of attention and has the school musical’s lead role in the bag and gets to kiss Jake Flower. Suddenly, new-girl Hoshi arrives and steals her part, friends and Jake’s affections.
This book is a cute, light read. The language is simple and easy to understand and you really understand the mean-girl perspective through the protagonist Pearl. This book is geared towards girls eight and up, therefore it was hard for me to fall in love with the book due to its simplistic nature.
I rate this book 4 stars out of 5. I would recommend it to young girls in need of a sweet love story.

Shattered Realms: Stormcaster by Cinda Williams Chima; review by Nora Abdelfattah

Name: Nora Abdelfattah
Grade: 10th
Tittle: Shattered Realms: Stormcaster

Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Rating: 3/5: Decent novel
In a sudden whirlwind of chaos amid mystery, life can thrust anyone into a different world.  For Evan, an orphaned, magemarked, 13 year-old pirate lad, as such is the case.  He's lived a life as adventurous as any low-ranking pirate in the land of the Seve, Realms, but when his ship is overrun by Celestine, the land’s cruel and ruthless overlord, he finds himself on the run.  Through betrayal and danger, the lad discovers his mage (magic-induced) power: Stormcasting. The seas, winds, and skies are Evan's to command. Even with his power, however, Evan is not safe. For four grueling years ahead, power, love, and magic will be Evan’s to conquer.
The novel introduces new characters, return old heroes, and bring the tyrants into knees so the Seven Realms may once again be safe and just.  There’s an armada of characters waiting to be met, and a rollercoaster of events waiting to spiral down. The book is mad and complex when it comes to building lore, and a surprise seems to lurk around every corner.   
Honestly, this story is quite a decent, interesting, creative one! Characters, character arcs, vivid descriptions, bejeweled writing, and occasional themes manifest a fantastic piece of writing!  Though most characters have well-relayed personalities, many do stay static, and the story lacks a theme. Nevertheless, the adventures within the book and emotionally-driven plotline really called for a  great story!  

The Queen's Rising by Rebecca Ross; review by Nora Abdelfattah

Name: Nora Abdelfattah
Grade: 10th
Tittle: The Queen's Rising

Author: Rebecca Ross
Rating: 4/5: Great novel
Romance, war, magic, passion: all rolled into a colorful, multi-flavored piece of literature.  What is this book, aside from interesting, vivid, creative, and downright thrilling? Empires and blood clash, and all falls into chaos around Brienna, a seventeen year-old girl seeking refuge in Magnalia house.  For the average girl in the realm, Brienna is quite a peculiar case. Lovers from two rival kingdoms: Maevana and Valenia, brought Brienna into the world. Now, the two empires are threatened by war. Adding to the boiling blood, Brienna’s father desires to hunt down his half-blooded daughter. For now,  the Magnelia house seems to be the safest place for Brienna to dwell. Amidst the turmoil, Brienna struggles to follow a fate of bloodline, or a fate of passion. Whichever path she chooses, adventure no doubt will follow.    

Hands down, The Queen Rising is AWESOME!  The beauty of this book is its description, plot, writing style, character arcs, intense lore, and so on.  It's a cleverly crafted storyline and universe which draws in and engages the audience..though some writing does tend to go over the top.. There is no novel like The Queen’s Rising.  It’s unique and different in so many ways, and its feel is almost impossible to describe in words. Mystifying, romantic, fiery: the novel is one of a kind.  

The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli; review by Nora Abdelfattah

Name: Nora Abdelfattah                                            

Grade: 10th
Tittle: The Last Namsara
Author: Kristen Ciccarelli
Rating: 5/5: Phenomenal Novel 

        Asha, daughter of the dragon king, is cursed.  The's marked to be the next Iskaari...the next spirit of moonlight, death, blood,  despair, and everything evil...much unlike the Namsara, the world's embodiment of sacred life, light, and love.   Being Iskaari is not exactly a fate Asha wants, but it's the one she's bound too.  Similarly, she is bound to a cruel overlord as his betrothed, and its only a matter of time before she is his oppressed lover.  Yet, the new Iskaari is given a chance to escape her cruel fate: slay one of the most malevolent, feared dragons known to man, and she will remain a maiden.  For all her years in life, Asha has grown a reputation  as a formidable dragon-slayer.  She lures the beasts out with stories...a treacherous and dangerous weapon her father forbade her from using.  Yet, Asha is on the verge of the beginning of her own tale of bloodshed and battle.  She must fight for her justice and freedom.  Perhaps, in that way,  Asha can flourish from the dark shells the Iskaari's carry, and find within her the spirits of live and light. 

White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig; review by Yashaswi Bhati

This is Yashaswi Bhati,a freshman 9th grader ,South Brunswick High school.

Title : “WHITE RABBIT” by Caleb Roehrig

This is the second book after “Last Seen Leaving” debut mystery by Caleb Roehrig. This book is a nail biting Y/A thriller in every sense of the word. An engrossing murder mystery which kept me on the edge of my seat for the whole time I was reading the book. I had no idea who the murderer was until the very end of the book. 

The plot takes place over the course of one night, as the main character Rufus young,heartbroken,rage prone  gay, was dragged from one dangerous situation to another as he investigates the murder of a rich kid with the prime suspect being his half sister.

What I don’t like about the book is that it felt quite rushed. The whole book took place in the span of less than twelve hours, plus there were these flashbacks which made it very hard at times connecting me with the story or any of the characters for that matter. 

Overall I enjoyed reading this thriller/suspense book. It has its flaws, but  for the most part I was always intrigued. So if you like murder mysteries  and twisty characters this book is for you. 

I give this book a rating of 4 ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️Stars out of 5.

Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein; review by Sulphia Iqbal

BOOK REVIEW : Shuffle, Repeat

By Jen Klein


NOTE: Apparently this author writes for Greys Anatomy so you know it’s got to be good : )

I hate to hype books, but I have to say Shuffle, Repeat has got to be my favorite contemporary, ever. How do I know this?

It's because Shuffle, Repeat is the only one I´ve read more than once, and I enjoyed the novel the second time around as much as I had the first.

It surprises me that I liked this book as much as I did. Especially because it has the same cliques that you can find in most contemporaries:

  1. The leads of the story are childhood friends until something goes wrong over a misunderstanding.
  2. Once the two split, the male lead goes to become the popular guy at school while the girl is not so popular.
  3. The guy and girl hate each other's guts, until they are forced to interact after years of silent treatment.
  4. The popular guy, who has preserved this bad boy image, is actually, unbeknownst to basically everyone, a cinnamon roll who is too pure for this world. The bad boy image is, of course, based on a school-wide misunderstanding.
  5. They refuse to flat-out refute these misunderstandings.
  6. The girl hates his guts because of this bad boy image, but her defenses shatter when she realizes his true personality.

The story is not very unique, and neither are the characters, but I was still really invested in the novel. We are introduced to June, our female MC, who wants nothing but to get high school over with it and face the real world. She’s a great student and she can’t help but look down on those who aren’t as smart her, or seem to be that way. Oliver, on the other hand, is all about emersing himself in the high school experience. While June finds no importance in high school events such as football games or Prom, Oliver is all about them. This is where their differences begin.

June and Oliver’s moms are best friends and they decide to have Oliver drive June to school every. day. Since June doesn’t have a drivers licence yet, she has no choice but to listen and our two leads find themselves arguing over everything on the ride to school. At first, it’s over what music to listen to. Soon, they’re arguing over whose perspective on the value of high school is more true. As a solution to this music problem, they come up with a game: whenever one of them makes a good point regarding their view on the importance of the high school experience, that person earns a song of their choice for the car ride playlist. Because that’s how people usually solve arguements, right?; )

As their competion for dominance in their shared playlist progresses, Oliver and June get more comfortable with each other. Pretty soon, they’re acquintances and maybe even friends. Of course, there is the drama preventing them from actually getting together, like any other contemporary, but it doesn’t take the spotlight away from Oliver and June hilarious interactions.

What’s great about June and Oliver is that their feelings are genuine and progressive; it’s not a quick transformaton from hating each other one second to each other’s confidents regarding their darkest and deepest thoughts. I was so invested in their banter and how they gradually became closer and closer, that all cliques were forgotten.

Also, if anything the senior pranks in Shuffle, Repeat alone should be enough to have you wanting to read this novel.


“Their sound is rough but that’s the point. It means something. It’s real”
― June on Punk Rock

“It’s power ballad, June. They were wildly popular”
― Oliver on 80’s Hair Metal

Despite its very obvious plot, Shuffle. Repeat was good enough to have me reading in twice. Simply put, it is fun to read. It will make you smile because these characters can be hilarious and cry  because some of them are perfect and you know they can never be real ( ahem Oliver ). If you are into Sarah Dessen and Kasie West books, I gurantee you will love this novel.

Check it out at the library and goodreads :

RATINGS: 4.5/5

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: Book 3 The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan; review by Mahesh Yandrapu

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: Book 3 The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan

The Ship of the Dead is about a story of Magnus Chase stopping the whole world from ending. They do this by Magnus Challenging Loki to a flyting. Magnus sails toward Loki's ship Nagalfar. Along the way, he needs to find Kvasir's mead which contains contents so poetic he could destroy Loki. First Magnus and Alex find Uncle Randolph's notebook containing how to find the mead. Next, Blitzen, Hearthstone, and Magnus find the Whetstone and by killing the dragon-like Mr. Aldermen. Following that, Magnus goes to the Suttung's doors to find the Kvasir’s Mead. Finally, they head for the ship of the Dead. Magnus Challenges Loki for a flying and he wins the verbal fight. They sail for the Field where they will die. Finally, they meet up with their godly parents and the other gods. They get fabulous prizes and they go back to Valhalla. Magnus then gets kissed by Alex. Magnus gets a boon, which is anything he wants. He takes Uncle Randolph's mansion and turns it into Chase Space. A home for The Homeless. And they lived happily ever after.  Until the day they die. Which is Ragnorak

This book was a very adventurous tour of the Norse gods. Rick Riordan writes many great epics about these novels. Whether it is Greek, Norse, or Egyptian. This book is hilarious and a book that will want to read again and again.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Shadow Girl by Liana Liu ; review by Sanah Sanduja

I loved reading Shadow Girl. The plot was terrifying and captivating in all ways possible. The characters all had different personalities and the settings were described in so much detail, it made me feel as if I lived there. Mei goes on an intense journey by leaving her hometown for a whole summer to tutor a young girl at a private island. Mei lives with her mother and has never left her for more than a weekend. The dialogue of the protagonist, Mei, was very interesting to read because the author would provide not only what she says, but what she is really thinking inside. This book truly had me hooked from the beginning, and the end had me begging for a sequel. I would rate this book an extraordinary and amazing 5

Love is Both Wave and Particle by Paul Cody; reviewed by Sanah Sanduja

Love is both Wave and Particle was an interesting book told by several perspectives. It was very confusing due to the fact that the author does not provide quotation marks nor who is speaking. Because of this, it was difficult to decipher what was actually said by who, especially since many different characters became narrator at different times. Aside from the dialogue, the novel was about a very sweet love story between two extraordinary people. The two people that fall in love have been through a lot, and are brought together for a special assignment at school. Although they have completely different lives, they have much more in common than they think they do. This book is engaging right from the start up until the last line. I would rate this novel a 4. 

Whisper by Lynette Noni reviewed by Vanditha Krishnan

Whisper by Lynette Noni
reviewed by Vanditha Krishnan

Lynette Noni effortlessly combines Stranger Things and the Divergent trilogy in her new young adult and science fiction novel, Whisper. Although I am not a big fan of science fiction, Whisper has changed my opinion for the better. This book is one you will never be able to stop reading; the plot is just so unique, and each and every character is quirky and lovable.

Something that just makes Whisper so much more special when compared to other books is its narrator, who we know as “Jane Doe.” Captive and imprisoned in Lengard, a psychiatric facility, Jane refuses to tell anyone her real name, since she does not speak. The officials at Lengard go to great lengths to pry for more information about Jane and her background, but she has successfully been silent for more than two years -- far longer than any other resident in the ward. Jane simply has no clue as to why she is in Lengard in the first place; she is only told that the facility is for extraordinary people like her. Unfortunately, Jane gullibly believes these lies and continues to remain silent. Things seem to be going as per routine until Jane realizes that she is assigned to a new evaluator -- Ward. The two gradually become friends, something that feels odd to Jane, as everyone she has come into contact with has been cold and distant. Jane, who doesn’t have close friends at Lengard, finds her icy exterior slowly chipping off when she talks to Ward. Ultimately, by the end of the novel, Jane finds the truth and understands why she is imprisoned and controlled by the government. The question is, does she ever know whom to trust?

This book captivated me from the start; the plot was enthralling and unique. I have to admit, as soon as I started reading, I found Jane weak and annoying, but she certainly became admirable by the end of the novel. It’s such a shame that it took nearly 100 pages for her character to develop.

I would give Whisper a rating of 3.5 stars out of 5, but that’s only because of the rather slow plotline towards the beginning and Jane’s initial nature. Honestly, I felt like 75% of the novel was action-packed and exciting, but the background and the descriptions of Lengard itself were a bit too dry for me. Overall, though, I would love to read the next book in this duology. I guess I just have to wait until it comes out.

Someday, Somewhere by Lindsay Champion reviewed by Vanditha Krishnan

Someday, Somewhere by Lindsay Champion
reviewed by Vanditha Krishnan        

There are few novels that are heartbreaking yet beautiful at the same time. A tale of opportunity, love at first sight, and music, Lindsay Champion has outdone herself with her standalone debut Someday, Somewhere. This novel is just one of those rare books you cannot seem to put down.

Someday, Somewhere starts off by introducing Dominique and Ben, two teenagers with completely different lives that intertwine at one single moment. Dominique is a second-generation resident in one of New Jersey’s poorest areas, Trenton. She works long hours at her mother’s failing laundromat business while managing school, but hopes for much more in the future. On a class trip to Carnegie Hall, Dominique listens to a young violinist, Ben, whom she is immediately attracted to. Dominique believes that Ben’s life is perfect, due to his financial situation and privilege, but little does she know that he has a multitude of struggles he deals with as well. After many awkward conversations and frequent visits to New York City, Ben and Dominique fall in love. However, both of the characters find that they are keeping secrets from each other.

I loved reading this novel. The pace was perfect, and it was not as cheesy as other contemporary novels are. The dual perspectives in Someday, Somewhere enhanced the plotline even more. There were a few moments where I was frustrated at Dominique, especially for some of her actions, but by the end of the book, I realized that her flaws made her a better person. I was able to relate to the story much more than I realized, and the characters felt real to me. One thing I wish was done differently was the insta-love. I found it odd that Dominique and Ben seemed to immediately fall for each other. In my opinion, the beginning of the story could have been extended a bit further.

I would give this book 4 stars out of 5, only because of my uncertainty towards the beginning. Readers with an interest in music would especially appreciate Lindsay Champion’s interpretation of love at first sight. I would definitely recommend this novel to other teens, and I hope to read many more books by the same author.

More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer reviewed by Vanditha Krishnan

More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer
reviewed by Vanditha Krishnan                     

A wonderful book is one you cannot put down; it is a novel that engrosses you with its emotions and touches your heart. More Than We Can Tell, by Brigid Kemmerer, has, in my opinion, surpassed the standard for a “wonderful book” and deserves its own category for its excellence.

This tearjerker begins by introducing you to the two main characters, Emma and Rev. Both of them face difficulties in their home lives, but they share more than they think. Emma Blue loves to code. She develops her own video game, which requires a great deal of effort, but hides this from her parents, due to the fact that they believe that coding is a waste of her time. Her father appears to disregard Emma’s interests, while her mother pushes Emma towards becoming a doctor like herself. Emma’s only solace comes from playing video games, but she also has to deal with getting verbally bullied online by other players, just because she is a girl. Then we meet Rev Fletcher, who is introduced in Kemmerer’s earlier novel Letters To The Lost. Rev, unlike Emma, is dealing with emotional issues from the past. Despite trying to forget about his childhood days, Rev often gets reminded and finds himself in a downward spiral of emotions. His loving adoptive parents and friend Declan try to help, but Rev appears to be inconsolable. That is, until he meets Emma.

This story ranks high on my list when compared to other novels. Rev’s compassion and ability to truly love despite his circumstances make him one of my favorite main characters. Emma was a bit hurtful at first, but she eventually grew on me. The fact that she did not judge Rev towards the beginning of the story showed her true character. Emma and Rev's friendship that eventually blossomed into a first love was simply heartwarming. They found comfort from each other and embraced it immediately.

I enjoyed reading More Than We Can Tell. On a scale of 1 to 5, I would definitely give this book the highest rating; that is, a 5. Kemmerer’s novel made it easy to fall in love with Rev and Emma, as well as their trust for each other. This poignant novel, along with its many messages to the reader, deserves to be much more famous than it is today.

Because You Love to Hate Me: Tales of Villiany (various authors) ; Review by Yashaswi Bhati

Book Title :   “Because you love to hate me:tales of villainy “    

My review:” Because You Love to Hate Me :13 tales of Villainy “ is a collection of thirteen fairy tales but from villains point of view .
It contains stories of pain,sorrow & heartbreak.These stories are kind of related to story of “Wicked:The life and times of the wicked witch of the west by Gregory Maguire“ and “Maleficent “by Elizabeth Rudnik where they tried to show the other side of classic fairy tales.
This book was kind of hit or miss for me,as some stories were amazing & loved reading them while others were meh,they just didn’t feel that villainous at all.
Overall if you like books on villains,this book is a treat for you.
I’ll give it a 3 star ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️rating out of 5 stars.

You Won't Know I'm Gone by Kristen Orlando; review by Yashaswi Bhati

Title : “You won’t know I’m gone “

This is the second book in “ The Black Angel” chronicles after “You don’t know My name “ by Kristen Orlando.

It’s a great spy read with lots of thrill and action.The Orlando ‘s writing is stunning and descriptions are perfect.

The story revolves around the main character who is a seventeen year old girl named “Reagan Elizabeth Hillis “,who is expected to follow her parents footsteps in joining the worlds most powerful top secret agency “ The Black Angels”.
Reagan is a wonderful character full of determination and rough edges which fits with the situation and makes her quite believable.
Everyone else that’s featured in the story plays a role  directly or indirectly linked to Reagan and leave their mark discreetly.

Overall ,I loved reading this book and would highly recommend to all those who are looking for a fun ,thrilling and emotional ride.
I would give this book a rating of 4 stars. ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐

Book: Devils Unto Dust Author: Emma Berquist Name: Sourabh Anumolu

Book: Devils Unto Dust                     
Author: Emma Berquist

Name: Sourabh Anumolu

Willie Wilcox lives in a old town named Glory with her three siblings who she takes care of. Her mother died to disease while her father is a gambler who is not home often.  Glory is run by a corrupt judge who cares more about money than the welfare of people. Willie must protect her siblings from any harm including shakes (bloodthirsty, mindless zombies) which are common in the dessert. However problems arise for Willie when her  father steals a large amount of money from McAllister who is a shake hunter,  leaving her to pay it off. With only having a week of time to pay if off, and the threat of safety to her siblings, she hires two hunters to travel to Best to find her father and bring him home. Willie and the two hunters set off to find Willie’s father when, Micah, Willie’s younger brother and Sam, Micah’s friend tag along. Over the course of the journey, the group encounters many groups of shakes posing a big danger to any one of them if they are bitten or infected. They manage to get to Best, and find her father after searching for a long period of time. They start to head home when they are attacked by a large group of shakes leading to the loss of a important member of the group and with Willie being left behind. However the hunters and Sam return to bring Willie home because it is the hunters job to fulfill their contract. They manage to get home, and solve the debt by telling McAllister that her father is dead.

I enjoyed reading this book because the plot featured a variety of genres like horror, dystopian, and post-apocalyptic. The plot had many important events one after another, and even if the reader thought it was going to end, it still continued. In addition, the book has a interesting backstory which made the reader want to continue reading to find out because the author did not give the whole backstory in one part of the book but instead gave it in certain parts where there suspense and tension making the book better. Overall the book was well written compared to other books because of how of the plot was set up , and that there a overall feeling of suspense and tension to keep the reader on the edge and to keep them engaged.

Rating: 4/5

Review on Lamentations Sophia Milla

Review on Lamentations
Sophia Milla

 Each book that we encounter has a different impact on us-- whether if it’s for us to laugh, to learn, or maybe for us to cry. One collection specificially holds about sixty-six books that have these different purposes. Surprisingly, this collection is The Bible itself. While the Bible takes a general reputation of being a book focused on God’s holiness, that isn’t actually its sole purpose! Throughout the book are tons of songs, wise sayings, visions and funny stories. Believe it or not, there are even jokes that can be found in the Bible!
            Anyways, that’s just a quick glimpse on what the Bible holds. Looking specifically, there is one book in the Bible that has a mix of emotions. That book is called Lamentations.
By the title itself, Lamentations seems like an awfully sad book. It definitely starts on that note. The author of the book is an older guy known as Jeremiah, who walks down the streets of Jerusalem, the holy city. The city recently suffered from a fall after the Babylonians came and plundered it.
He observes the city by writing “How lonely sits the city that was full of people!” (1:1).
Jerusalem was in a desolate state. The city had nobody to help it, and the people within it had been led away into slavery. How awful! But it gets worse. All of the beauty the city once had is now gone, and even children and parents have been separated. Not only loved ones are suffering, but even those of the highest classes are suffering, such as princes and priests. All the people within it thought that God has left them; the God that loved Jerusalem dearly. People cry out to Him, realizing the punishment of their constant sin and carelessness. It was a punishment that resulted in the fall of kings, and mothers  eating their own children! The author, Jeremiah, observes all of this and cries out to his God about his deep agony and broken spirit. Why was all this injustice happening? Jeremiah wondered about the injustice he himself received, as many people were targeting him for the truth he told. He knew in advance that Jerusalem would fall, and it was his job to prophesy what would happen. As Jeremiah writes on about the ways he has suffered, there is one important word he mentions in the midst of it all, which is yet. There was something present in Jeremiah’s life that opposed all the suffering and pain he was going through. He had a spark of hope in his life, and that was putting all of his hope in God. How could he put his hope in the God that allegedly abandoned his people? No; Jeremiah knew that God did not abandon his people. He wrote, “Though [God] brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love” (3:32). Even though Jersusalem was suffering in a town filled with desolation and starvation, God was planning to restore them. His anger only lasts a moment; and the falling of Jerusalem was that moment.
            My Opinion:
            This book was definitely one that really opened my eyes when it came to dealing with hardships. When we go through tough times, we can easily doubt that things will get better. We can feel hopeless, and as if nobody can save us from the pit that we are in. What’s incredible is that, it’s okay to feel like that naturally! People aren’t supposed to be excited when they’re struggling, or when something awful happens in their lives. Who would be happy after dealing with loss, or with rejection? Jeremiah himself was a guy who was very truthful and bold, and even he felt hopelessness. But through it all, he put all of his hope in what was always his hope: God. Even if not all of us believe in God, or any powerful beings, it is so key to remember that there is always hope, even if there is a speck of it. That “yet” in the midst of all the sufferings listed in Lamentations is an important factor of our lives. There is better coming. There is restoration coming. I love knowing that. I had to remember that even in the hardest times of my life. If I didn’t know that there was always hope present in my ups and downs, then I probably would be in a corner right now crying, dwelling on what happened. But because there is hope, we have the ability to look and move forward, being the strongest that we can be.

Friday, April 06, 2018

The Gower St Detective: The Mangle Street Murders by M.R.C. Kasasian Book Review by Arnavi Narnaware

The Gower St Detective: The Mangle Street Murders by M.R.C. Kasasian
Book Review by Arnavi Narnaware

Set in the lavish yet poverty-stricken streets of London in 1882, this is the first of Ms. Middleton and Mr. Grice’s extraordinary cases. March Middleton’s enticing narrations give the reader a taste of how life was back then, when there was no technology to solve cases and people relied on intelligence, wit and cold hard evidence.
March is an intelligent young woman in her early twenties. She has a kind nature and she lives her life independently and freely. With her quick wit and bold nature, she knows how to get around tough situations. Look closely, and you will see that she is mysteriously different than most women, and there is more to her than meets the eye. After her father dies, March decides to accept her godfather’s offer to live with him. She has a buried dark past that is yet to be uncovered, therefore he is unfamiliar to her and he may even be dangerous. With no family left and the determination to find out more about herself, she moves from her little house in Dorset to her godfather's mansion in London. Sidney Grice is a renowned personal detective with a very long experienced past. He is well-known for his ability to catch criminals and solve cases, all well as his rude nature and eye for money. He lives alone with only a young and slightly oddball maid (Molly) and a cook (Cook) who barely comes out of the kitchen. Regardless of his grumpy character, many people respect him, for he is a miracle of a man and he has a unique way of seeing EVERYTHING in the world. He can read people like books, pointing out even the tiniest detail, careless of how good or bad it is. He is the number one detective you would go to if you wanted justice, and you would be ready to pay him any price because that’s just how good he is. Even with his arrogance and the consistent insults that he throws like bricks, he will never fail to WOW anyone he meets. Soon March arrives, and everything is turned topsy-turvy. Right away, Grice points out her smoking and gin-drinking habits, which he disapproves of. He takes one glance at her boots, and he narrates her life-style to her, obviously bored by the easiness of it. But, unlike others, she is not impressed and able to retort cleverly to her godfather’s shrewd remarks. Of course, this does not stop Sidney Grice from being irritated, but the two make a unique combination that is sure to amuse anyone who looks in on their relationship. Not long after March arrives, Grice is presented his next case. Grace Dillinger, an attractive older widow, shows up at his house in desperation. Her son-in-law, William Ashby, has been accused of murdering his wife, Sarah Ashby, in the small house that they shared. Grace believes with all her heart that William is innocent, and begs Sidney Grice to look into the case. Grice listens coolly, and after ignoring the widow’s frightened pleas, he names his price. When he finds out that she has nothing to offer him, he dismisses her. Business is business right? Nope, not when it comes to March Middleton. Irritated by the ego of her new guardian, March feels for Grace and she insists that she pay the fee, but on one condition - she can help out on the case too. Grice declines right away, but after a lengthy argument, he finally compromises. Sidney Grice and March Middleton, detective and ward, set out to solve this bizarre and brutal murder case. New characters and possible suspects are introduced. Clues pop up everywhere. Shocking secrets are discovered. Finally, all the puzzle pieces are assembled and the ghastly truth is revealed at the end. In this book, one thing is for sure - you will never see it coming!
My opinion:
This may be obvious by now, but I seriously, seriously love this book. I couldn’t help but write a biased summary. My favorite character is Sidney Grice, the detective with an impossibly large ego. He is a rare individual, and honestly I think he’s a cool dude. There were countless times when I marveled at his skill and laughed at his insults. It’s a 5/5 from me, and I recommend you read it too! This book is perfect for people who like mystery and secrets; it is a mystery/realistic fiction series for young adults but parts of the book involve romance, adventure, comedy and other interesting subjects. One thing that may bother some readers is the detail that is put into it. Details are a great spect of this book, but sometimes the scenes that are described are gory. Those parts may not be your favorites, but other than that, it is a very addicting book. If you read it and like it as much as I do, you should check out the rest of the books in the series too!

Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, review by Nina Soukhanovskii

Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton.  A Quote to Consider: “With a shiver of foreboding he saw his marriage becoming what most of...