“See Me” by Nicholas Sparks Book Review

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Review by: dancingforever27
This month, I read the novel See Me by Nicholas Sparks. Sparks has published around twenty books, and ten of them have been produced into movies such as The Notebook. This book surely does account to the exquisite love story of those other pieces of literature.

This narrative focuses on two characters through alternating third-person omniscience that varies each chapter.

Colin Hancock is the leading male character with a history of impulses that have gotten him in trouble with the police. He has been granted, by the authorities, five year probation to erase all of his criminal records, but a single petty offense could have him locked up for all of his charges.

Maria Sanchez, on the other hand, is a working daughter of a family that immigrated from Mexico. Speculated, everything in her life is met with awards, recognition, and success. She works at a law firm in Wilmington, North Carolina. Eventually, the reader comes to find out that this job has caused her trauma with their brutally aggressive cases.

In the first chapters, the reader is able to observe how the characters come to find one another, simply described as quite standoffish. The scene is set to be a rainy night where Maria has a flat tire on a stretch of road with little to no cars. Colin approaches Maria, tattoos and bruises laced across his body, offering assistance.She is immediately frightened as she suspects he could take her life without anyone knowing out in the middle of nowhere. Colin notices her terror and allots a large space in between them for her comfort, which helps her later trust him.

Shortly enough, the two twenty-eight year olds meet again and their love story begins. They are able to test how horrid tragedies, mainly involving a stalker, can either bring them together, or make them part ways.

All in all, this story has a roller coaster of a plot line, where every chapter has a new addition to the mystery of who is leaving mysterious signs for Maria.

This book also demonstrates consistency in many cases, especially through characters’ actions, to make it more compelling to the readers. Barney, one of Maria’s bosses, always stands or sits up straighter when he is feeling nervous or on the wrong side of an accusation. Colin frequently says “Okay.” whenever there is an open ended statement requiring advice or further explaining. This tells the readers that he does not provide life assistance or advice, is always honest, and excepts the limits of what people will confess to him.

With the fact that Sparks used great character development, made careful decisions when choosing what actions those people would perform that stay true to their identity, and provides a love story while menacing messages are  produced, I would absolutely rate this book 10/10.

(This book will be rated for somewhat older audiences for intimacy. However, nothing is ever described in detail and is mainly only referred to.)

Ages 14+

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The Leaf Reader (Book Review)

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Review by: apiazza4

The day Andrea Quinley went missing, all of the problems started. The town Colesbury didn’t think much of the disappearance. After a few months without finding anything they concluded she was gone for good and stopped the search. Some people like Matt Cotrell don’t want to give up that easily, so as a last resort he has his fortune read to find out where Andrea is.
Marnie Wells has been a fortune teller ever since she found a tea leaf reading book on her grandmother’s shelf. Marnie has fun doing the readings and she knows they aren’t real, but her customers start to believe in her abilities. When Matt comes to her seeking answers, she assumes he is just there to make fun of her, but when his reading comes true he keeps coming back for more. Matt shows Marnie some e-mails he received that say they are from Andrea, and soon they are trying to solve this mystery together.
Matt gets a tip in an e-mail and they find a body, but now they are more confused than ever. Together Matt and Marnie uncover more and more secrets about what happened. When they figure it out, the criminal is someone no one expects.
I liked The Leaf Reader by Emily Arsenault because it was full of surprises and I couldn’t put it down. I recommend this book because it was a great mystery that left me guessing. until the end.

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

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Review by: jacksonwf

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is probably the least detective-novel-like detective novel I have ever read. Written by Douglas Adams, the same author behind Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, this novel has much of the zany, humorous tones of Adam’s other writing. This story brings up ghosts, aliens, time travel, music, and a horse all into one hilariously good tale. I recommend this book to anyone looking for an enjoyable read this summer.

At first, Adams brings up a bunch of seemingly unconnected stories and characters from a woman who was stood up to an electric monk riding a horse. After a while, the stories become more and more interconnected, as Dirk Gently believes everything is. As a holistic detective, he doesn’t concern himself with what most detectives would consider vital, such as fingerprint powder or actual evidence, yet somehow ends up solving the case and, of course, saving the world.

Although this book may seem to make very little sense, as it does not make much sense, I would still recommend it as it is supposed to be humorous, and in so the lack of sense is part of the humor of the story. In the end, the plot line is still resolved and all of the loose ends tied, and the manner in which it is done is clear, yet it may still seem impossible to the average person. But Dirk Gently doesn’t believe in eliminating the impossible, thus making the story much funnier than your normal case. I find it amazing how he is able to tie in everything from dodo birds to ghost aliens all into one not very long book. This is a good read for anyone looking for something less serious for their summer reading list.

The Pearl Thief (Book Review)

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Review by: apiazza4

Julia Beaufort-Stuart is the granddaughter of Sandy Murray, Earl of Strathfearn, and the descendant of a queen. They are a very wealthy and respected family, but when Sandy dies and leaves behind a lot of debt, the Stuarts have to sell the house and all his artifacts.

The family is staying at the house as the new owners get it ready to become a school to sort out any last minute problems. Julia gets there three days before her family is expecting her, so they don’t realize anything is wrong when she gets attacked. Waking up in the hospital, she doesn’t remember anything that happened, but when she gets home she realizes that her accident may not have been an accident. An employee of her family, Dr. Housman, went missing the same day Julia was in the hospital, and she has a theory they were attacked by the same person.

Euan McEwen found Julia unconscious and brought her to the hospital, and she thinks he and his sister, Ellen, might be able to explain what happened to her. The McEwens are Travelers, which means they are nomadic and are treated terribly. She notices how hard their life is so she tries to help, but it is getting more difficult because the cops blame Euan for the attacks.

Julia and the McEwens go on adventures and discover more secrets to help solve the mystery. When a body shows up the cops are just as lost as they were before because the body is so mangled they can’t actually tell the identity. It is assumed that the body is Housman because the cops didn’t find anything to prove otherwise. Now everyone is a suspect but the real criminal is someone no one expects.

I liked The Pearl Thief  by Elizabeth Wein because it was thrilling with a new surprise on every page. I recommend this book because it is a wonderful mystery.

My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry Review

Review by: Shipperprincess52

Stars- 3/5

Summary- It won’t be so bad when you’re there, says my new husband before kissing me on the mouth. He tastes of Rice Krispies and that strong toothpaste of his which I still haven’t gotten used to. I know, I say before he peels off to the bus stop on the other side of the road. Two lies. Small white ones. Designed to make the other feel better. But that’s how some lies start. Small. Well meaning. Until they get too big to handle.
When young lawyer Lily marries Ed, she’s determined to make a fresh start. To leave the secrets of the past behind. But then she takes on her first murder case and meets Joe. A convicted murderer whom Lily is strangely drawn to. For whom she will soon be willing to risk almost anything.
But Lily is not the only one with secrets. Her next-door neighbor Carla may be only nine, but she has already learned that secrets are powerful things. That they can get her whatever she wants. When Lily finds Carla on her doorstep sixteen years later, a chain of events is set in motion that can end only one way.
Thoughts- It was really good. I especially like Lily because she works hard and was pretty calm when something bad happened to her. Some of the events in the book made me really mad, but other times the book made me really happy. It gave me a whole bunch of emotions. I suggest this book for people who like mystery, sadness, death, and romance.

Age- 14+

Book Review: “The Maze Runner” by James Dashner

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The Maze Runner” is the first book in the trilogy written by James Dashner. The book starts with a boy named Thomas in a lift surrounded by crates and boxes. He felt nauseated as if the lift has been going on forever. Suddenly it stopped and the hatches were opened. The boy was helped out of the lift; and he had just entered the glade, a small heaven surrounded by a giant stone maze. A group of boys were in a circle around him staring at him. “Welcome to the glade greenie, come on I’ll show you around” said one of the boys in the group. Soon he was shown the entire expanse known as the glade and the jobs he could do. While being there he met a friend named Chuck and made an enemy with another boy named Gally. The next day another subject came up the lift. This time it’s a girl. In her hand she held a note that said “she’s the last one” and she said “everything is going to change”, then she went into a coma. In time, Thomas was chosen as a runner. His job was to run through the maze and map it constantly. The girl woke up after about a week and a half in coma. She said how she had triggered the ending. Just then parts of the sky turned an eerie shade of gray.

James Dashner very slowly revealed the plot details giving the book a kind of mystery. This mystery gave the reader an unfinished puzzle which was revealed even more as the story progressed.

The Maze Runner is often compared to another book the “Hunger Games” written by Suzanne Collins. These two books are similar in many ways as the stories in both books took place in a dystopian society, they both have to do with children, and they both have antagonists who are doing things for the better good.

Arjoneel

Lockwood and Co.

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Of the first few hauntings I investigated with Lockwood and Co. I intend to say little, in part to protect the identity of the victims, in part because of the gruesome nature of the incidents, but mainly because, in a variety of ingenious ways, we succeeded in messing them all up. There, I’ve admitted it! Not a single one of those early cases ended as neatly as we’d have wished. Yes, the Mortlake Horror was driven out, but only as far as Richmond Park, where even now it stalks by night among the silent trees. Yes, both the Gray Specter of Aldgate and the entity known as the Clattering Bones were destroyed, but not before several further (and I now think unnecessary) deaths. And as for the creeping shadow that haunted young Mrs. Andrews… wherever she may continue to wander in this world, poor thing, there it follows too. So it was not exactly an unblemished record that we took with us, Lockwood and I, when we walked up the path to 62 Sheen Road on that misty autumn afternoon and briskly rang the bell.          – The Screaming Staircase, chapter one

Is it possible to be terrified, laughing and baffled at the same time? Well, this series by the acclaimed author Jonathan Stroud proves that it is. Lockwood and Co. is set in a reality where the Problem is rampant. Ghosts walk the streets of England at night, and they’re definitely not harmless Casper types, requiring teams of young ghost hunters (the only ones who can sense them) to put their lives on the line and destroy them. Lockwood and Co. is an agency of these ghost hunters, composed of new member Lucy Carlyle, forced by a strange series of events to come to London, annoying George Cubbins and the mysterious, charismatic Anthony Lockwood.

The first book in the series, The Screaming Staircase, is a thrill ride that describes the first unusual case of the Company.  Their adventures follow the ghost of a murdered girl whose case (if it’s ever solved) can save their floundering business, a string of strange and increasingly dangerous attacks, the horrifyingly haunted Combe Carey Hall, and a killer with an interest in keeping the girl’s case unsolved. I couldn’t put it down, and it’s become my favorite book in its class.*

*By its class, I mean snarky, refreshingly terrifying alternate-universe mysteries with a steampunk edge.

The second book, The Whispering Skull, hinges on an interesting discovery of Lucy’s and a bizarre and deadly new case, with an unlikely villain and even more unlikely ghosts. I can’t spoil it, but it involves some unsavory characters, another murder and the black-market trade of the relic-men. It’s a worthy sequel that even surpasses the first, with whiplash-inducing plot twists, heart-stopping scares and a neatly packaged ending that still leaves you wanting more.

You do get more, with the recently published third book, The Hollow Boy, which I haven’t read quite yet. But I have great expectations.

The story’s writing feel is guaranteed to have you mentally snickering at the clever humor and sarcastic outlook of Lucy Carlyle, who unfolds their adventures with precise and brilliant descriptive language. Every character, especially Lucy, Lockwood and George, is three-dimensional and relatable. The world they live in is a vividly described place not very different from ours, with interesting inter-agency rivalries top spice up the hunting even more. 

These books are good for brave eleven-year-olds or older and fans of mysteries, adventure, horror, dystopian (possibly) or steampunk.

They’re not too scary to read before bed, but they give you delicious nightmare fuel. They have that delightfully shivery feeling that you get sometimes, when you’re terrified, excited and about to cry from book-induced nervous tension and/or major character death at the same time.^ They make you want to grab a bag of chocolate and get under the covers, because you want to read them for the nineteenth time. These are classic mystery AU in the making, readable, relatable and full of so many plot twists they look like a corkscrew. I give the Lockwood and Co. series a 9/10. 

Queen Glory

P.S. Goodreads review

^Order of the Phoenix, anyone?