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!

Thursday, April 05, 2018

4/4/18 reviews from Saleena

This looks like a picture book, but is chock full of interesting information about how exotic fish sales are encouraging ecology in the rainforest.  A quick and interesting book that I definitely suggest.

 I actually borrowed the audio of this (I love those digital downloads!) which had Neil reading his own book...and he is VERY good at reading as well as writing (not a common thing, trust me).  I enjoyed the myths (I always do) and some I was familiar with, some I wasn't....but the journey was definitely worth the time.

I honestly wasn't sure what to think of this book.  It seemed like it was going to be another angsty book where teens whine about things; but Sedoti instead examines the dynamics of a town and a society where wishes ACTUALLY come true, on your 18th birthday...but one never knows what will happen.  The teen, Eldon, is conflicted and not sure what to do...and his actions have far reaching consequences.  I enjoyed this more than I thought I would and it was much deeper than expected...always a good surprise.

I love crows.  I find them fascinating.  I wish this book didn't look like a little kid book, because it really isn't.  Turner takes the reader on a journey to meet the crows of New Caldonia, which are exceptionally smart and the photographs by Comins are amazing.
I enjoyed learning more and really wish that this book would be turned into a documentary....I would watch it over and over.

I wanted to like the Cartographer's Daughter....and I did, kind of....but I also kind of found it annoying.  I'm not sure if it was the back and forth between magical and realism (which is fine, but it wasn't always clearly defined, which isn't)...or what.  The basic story is that a young girl lives on an island ruled by a dictator who is awful.  When the protagonist's father is taken as a prisoner, she disguises herself as a boy and goes to the Governor hoping to exchange her help for her father's freedom.  A journey is undertaken to the forbidden side of the island (which isn't really explained), and they encounter many strange things resulting in the native islanders taking back their home from the Governor and his cronies.  It was a fine story, but lots of plot holes and not quite enough depth.

This is a retelling of Much Ado About Nothing set in the 20s around the bootlegging industry.  George does a good job juggling the scenarios and the characters.  I wish that I had felt more attached to the characters, but all in all; not bad.

I have always enjoyed Russell Freedman's books.  He does a lot of research and delivers intelligent information in a truly readable style.  I learned a lot from this, and I thought I understood the Vietnam War; but there was so much more.  Lots of pictures and background make this a wonderful research tool but also just incredibly easy to read and immerse yourself.

Broken World is a sequel and I had not read the previous book, Marked Girl.
That lack of knowledge definitely affected the reading as I had no connection to the characters and the ways they had grown or some parts of the story seemed very disconnected (but again, maybe because I was unfamiliar).  It was an interesting concept, traveling between worlds & magic combined ....nothing outstanding about it but nothing horrible either.

Amal Unbound Book Review by: Raheem Ahmad

Amal Unbound Book Review by: Raheem Ahmad Aisha Saeed’s Amal Unbound is about a girl named Amal who lives in pakistan and goes to school...