The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

The Royal WeThe Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It must be hard to be Pippa Middleton. OK, yes, on the plus side, the world’s press has declared her “the rear of the year,” which will be something to look back fondly on once time and gravity have made their mark. But that same press constantly follows her around, stalking her on her way to work, to dinner, to a night out with friends, analyzing her fashion and romantic choices, and finding them both wanting.

And why? Pippa hasn’t particularly done anything of note to attract the press. She’s an attractive daughter of wealthy parents, but there are plenty of those. What’s brought Pippa to their attention is her sister, or more specifically, her sister’s husband. And while Duchess Kate has ten times the paparazzi and complications in her life, she also gets the staff, the police protection and, you know, *the crown.* And more importantly, she’s the one who chose this. Pippa just got dragged along.

While Pippa seems to have handled the transition with only a few PR kerfuffles, her analog in Jessica Morgan and Heather Cocks’ “The Royal We” doesn’t fare quite so well.

The book is narrated by her twin, Rebecca ”Bex” Porter, an American taking a semester abroad at Oxford, who ends up rooming down the hall from Britain’s most eligible future king. The story is told in flashback from what we assume is Bex’ wedding night, so I went into this thinking I knew exactly what it would hold. But Cocks and Morgan take this beyond the expected frothy chick-lit. Since we generally know where things are heading, we’re focused not so much on what will happen, but why did this happen, and how does everyone feel about it. We’re introduced to Prince Nick and his brother Freddie, Nick’s university friends, along with Bex’ twin Lacey, the Pippa stand in. All of these characters are clearly based on real-life counterparts (down to Freddie’s ginger hair and playboy ways), with plenty of fun references thrown in for fans of Cocks and Morgan’s fashion blog.

My only quibble is that the authors keep telling me how everyone is feeling without showing it very much. Bex tells us that they’re hanging out and getting close, but we don’t actually get to see very much of it. So when he makes a passionate declaration of his love, it feels like it comes out of nowhere. Even after their relationship has begun, we just hear Bex talk about how much they’re in love, but most of the scenes we actually get to see are of them fighting or him treating her badly, so it’s a little hard to believe in this fairy-tale romance. I also had a hard time with how Lacey was treated – she’s described in the first third of the book as the perfect twin, hard-working and driven, so her sudden change of character once she actually appears is a bit jarring.

But those were really minor problems in terms of how much I enjoyed this book. The story is completely compelling and enjoyable, and left me hoping that Cocks and Morgan will follow-up on the love story – they’ve got to produce and heir don’t they?~Ms Schoen

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A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Teenage Feyre is out hunting, looking to feed her starving family, when she accidentally/not accidentally kills a wolf. Or is it a fairy wolf? (Or is it a faerie wolf, because this is THAT kind of book).

In retribution for her crime, Feyre is taken from her home-bound father, and useless, spoiled sisters, to the land of the Fae. Her captor, Tamlin, is a high lord of the Fae and has claimed her life as vengeance. Tamlin can change shapes into a furred beast-like form, and keeps his claws when he returns to his Fae state, along with a powerfully muscular body, strong jaw, and a strange animal mask. (I pictured him looking kind of like Hugh Jackman as Wolverine).

The trouble with basing your book on a fairy tale is that we all know how the story is expected to play out, and unless you’re doing something wildly creative with it, or have amazing writing, it can get kind of boring. The retelling of beauty and the beast is pitched as adult fantasy, but it felt much more like a bodice-ripper to me. Most of the energy is spent on Feyre trying to figure out her feelings for Tamlin, and his for her. I wasn’t at all surprised to see that relationship develop, and was actually much more interested in the back story of the war between the humans and the Fae, which was mentioned multiple times, but never really explained in a way that made sense of the character’s actions. Fans of fantasy and romance will probably enjoy this.~Ms Schoen

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Student Review: The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton (reviewed by Reagan V.)

The OutsidersThe Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After reading The Outsiders by S.E Hinton you won’t want to even walk outside anymore. The Outsiders shows real world problems that could occur through a fictional story. I felt that The Outsiders is a terrific book, one of my favorites, because of all the action and real life events that occur in it. The Outsiders is about a kid named Ponyboy, who is a part of the lower class gang called the Greasers that have a major problem with the upper class gang the Socs. We see the gangs’ acts of violence when the Socs gang up on Ponyboy and Ponyboy said, “I was bewildered. I killed him. I had a switchblade and I was scared they were going to beat me up” (173). The action is a little gory but is really good, and the book has a great story line. If you like realistic action or just are into retro based things, then this a book for you. This book always leaves you wanting more, no matter where you stop in it. The Outsiders will make you want and not want to live in that time period to do all the cool stuff that happens and all the bad. ~ Student: Reagan V.

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Student Review: The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green (reviewed by Ariella R.)

The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Interested about young love? Some sad and touching moments? This book is for you. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green is about a girl named Hazel, who is a cancer patient, and her struggle with illness. She’s had cancer since a young age, and her parents thought it would be good for her to go to counseling groups. At the group, she meets a boy named Augustus Waters, who dealt with leg surgery shortly before. The two begin talking and soon become very close with each other. They start dating and trading their favorite things such as books. They both read the same book and travel to meet the author of Hazel’s favorite book.The part I liked a lot was when Hazel wasn’t self-confident about herself but Augustus proved her wrong: “‘I’m in love with you, I am.’ He was staring at me, and I could see the corners of his eyes crinkling. ‘I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.’” This is my favorite quote because Hazel thinks that Augustus doesn’t really like her, but he tells her he does in this long message. It sends out a positive message and makes her feel good about herself. Green makes this sound really real and relatable, because there are relationships in our world where the couple isn’t perfect. I would recommend The Fault In our Stars because it’s interesting and well written for young adults. ~ Student: Ariella R.

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Student Review: Foul Trouble, by John Feinstein (reviewed by Maliek M.)

Foul TroubleFoul Trouble by John Feinstein

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you like basketball, you’re in luck because Foul Trouble is the book for you. This novel is about a young African American kid named Danny born in a tough town growing up with his mother and his siblings. I think this book is really extraordinary because it paints a vivid picture into how much practice you have to go through to be a great basketball player in college. For example, John Feinstein explains how Danny is going to play in his next game: “Sitting in the backseat of his father’s jeep, Danny Wilcox was fantasizing about the moves he was going to make going head to head against the top high school basketball player” (1). In this part of the book Danny is thinking about how he is going to play in front of some scouts. If you were in the predicament that Danny was in I’m sure you would want to work hard and produce for your family, and that is what Danny did. In addition this book shows you some of the consequences of making mistakes many teenagers make. I absolutely recommend that you read this book. You will enjoy this read if you have love for the game of basketball. ~ Student: Maliek M.

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Student Review: We Should Hang Out Sometime, by Josh Sundquist (reviewed by Ada K.)

We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a true storyWe Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a true story by Josh Sundquist

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Are you having trouble with your love life? Well, in Josh Sundquist’s autobiography We Should Hang out Sometime, you might find out how to save your love life. We Should Hang Out Sometime is a book about the life of a cancer survivor and his experience with love. Josh Sundquist is about 10 years old when he gets cancer, and fortunately he survives. On the other hand, he has to get his leg amputated, which makes him different from every other child. Josh has always been home schooled by his parents because they were afraid that Josh’s missing leg would make kids laugh at him and think of him differently from everyone else. But when he starts public school, he begins to get interested in girls. When Josh eventually gets the chance to ask out a girl, it doesn’t turn out the way he expected it to, and he tells us that “Sarah and I “went out” for twenty-three hours” (41 Sundquist). Relationships tend to either last for a lifetime, or a couple of months, but usually not 23 hours, so Josh had a pretty bad start. This book is a great read for people who enjoy romance and cheesy love stories, but at the same time, it is heartbreakingly hilarious. ~ Student: Ada K.

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Student Review: In Deep, by Terra Elan McVoy (reviewed by Lydia G.)

In DeepIn Deep by Terra Elan McVoy

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Have you ever thought about how you would react if your best friend betrayed you? The main character in Terra Elan McVoy’s In Deep faces this situation and struggles with how it affects her life. The novel is clearly written and explains the challenges that the main character deals with throughout. Brynn is a competitive swimmer in high school. Her life revolves around swimming until her friend’s flirtatious boyfriend puts her friendship and relationship at risk. Brynn ends up having to choose between her swimming career and her friendships when she gets tangled up in her social life. We see her struggle with this choice when she says, “Except I don’t float. Instead I lie there in bed, thinking of Charlie, and Grier, and Van trying to push us all, and stupid Gavin and his mind games, and how I called Kate a sheep” (240). McVoy also excels at portraying the character’s stormy emotions. I recommend In Deep to anyone who loves sports and teen drama novels. Once you start reading you won’t be able to stop. Student: Lydia G.

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Student Review: Brian’s Winter, by Gary Paulsen (reviewed by Jordan E.)

Brian's Winter (Brian's Saga, #3)Brian’s Winter by Gary Paulsen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Have you ever wondered what it is like to survive on your own in the wild, with no experience and no way to call for help? Brian’s Winter, by Gary Paulsen, a young adult novel, takes you to the cold dead of winter alone, with the limited supplies Brian has brought with him. We first met Brian in the prequel Hatchet, where he survived for an entire summer in the Canadian wilderness after a terrible plane crash. Now he is back, and willing to push his survival skills to the limit to prove to himself that he can survive in any season. Brian’s Winter was a page turner, never slow or boring. When a bear came into Brian’s camp it “slipped forward and used both front paws to pack Brian in a kind of ball and whap him down to the edge of the water” (19). This event happens early in the book, and makes you wonder what other challenges Brian has to face. Paulsen does an excellent job of putting the reader in a real life situation without everyday resources where you must always be aware of your surroundings. Brian’s Winter also captures the feeling of being on your own and independent. I highly recommend this book for those who enjoyed Hatchet and are into survival books. After reading this you should have gained some knowledge on how to survive in the cold heart of winter, which is important in Boston at this time. ~ Student: Jordan E.

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Student Review: Assasin’s Creed: Renaissance, by Oliver Bowden (reviewed by Anddy G.)

Assassin's Creed: Renaissance (Assassin's Creed, #1)Assassin’s Creed: Renaissance by Oliver Bowden

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What would you do to take vengeance for those you have cared for? Assassin’s Creed: Renaissance by Oliver Bowden is a story that will lead you to the truth, keep you at the edge of your seat and will make you wonder how it all wraps up. The story is set in Florence, Italy during the 15th and early 16th century. A young man named Ezio Auditore, a man with a fiery charisma who was known for his noble family name, has only known the life of a banker and a delinquent. But later his family name was slandered by their closest friends the Pazzi family, and Rodrigo Borgia accuses them of being traitors and murderers. With the help of Leonardo Da Vinci, Niccolo Machiavelli and many others, Ezio seeks vengeance on those who had betrayed his family and redeem its name. The book leads to betrayal, sorrow, suspense, and an amazing secret that will make you never believe in what you hear again. This book will as well leave you astonished making it feel as if you were there.

I would recommend this book to my teacher Mr.Rinaldi a History teacher who may enjoy this book due to its historical accuracy.” The truth is written in blood.” ~ Student: Anddy G.

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Student Review: The Sea of Monsters, by Rick Riordan (reviewed by Peter C.)

The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #2)The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Have you ever wondered what hell looks like? Well, Rick Riordan paints a pretty vivid picture of it in The Sea Of Monsters: the first time Percy goes into Hell there are huge walls of fire-red lava. I like this book because I thought it was funny at some parts and full of action. For example, when they were fighting the cyclops, he says “Blaaaaaah!¨ and Percy tells us, ¨Polyphemus bleated just like this, and swung at me with his tree.” Percy and his friends Annabelle and Grover have to go to Tartarus in order to get the golden fleece, which is believed to heal anything. They need the fleece because the tree at their camp is dying and without the tree there would be no forcefield around their camp to protect them from the monsters. Read the book and find out if they succeed! If you like Greek mythology then this is the perfect book for you; you will be talking about it for the rest of your life. ~ Student: Peter C.

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