Tag: Read + Review

Read + Review: Unpunished Murder: Massacre at Colfax and the Quest for Justice by Lawrence Goldstone

Unpunished Murder by Lawrence Goldstone is the story of one of the most tragic mass murders in United States history, and how this crime went almost unpunished, despite the best efforts of the many lawyers and attorneys who worked to bring the almost 200 dead justice. This crime was the tragedy at Colfax, where many black men were massacred for no reason at all apart from their skin color. The story not only focuses on this one event but also goes back to the evil roots of slavery in the U.S, and brings to light the dark, underlying theme of racism that that this country was built upon.

Honestly, I really enjoyed this book, and would highly recommend it. Even though the book is non-fiction, the author still finds a way to keep the book from becoming too bland. The story is masterfully written, and is well paced, instead of like a lot of these types of books that I have read, where all the information is just thrown at you at once. There is actually character development, entertaining plot lines, and much more, while the author still keeps the book 100% realistic and clearly presents the facts. The only problem I had was that near the end, the book was a little slow, with all of the court cases, but that too was still entertaining. The grim tone of the events in this book are presented in a way that anyone can understand, and I think that is perfect in a book like this, which is trying to inform the everyday person about the awful things that have gone down in history.

The most memorable parts were probably the ones leading up to the tragedy. I thought the small details were quite interesting, and the way the characters interacted were sometimes amusing, but other times completely horrifying and disgusting. This added elements to the story that made it seem more realistic, and I even found myself rooting for the lawyers trying to jail the men who committed the murder.

Reviewed by Aryan Ahmed, Glen Allen Library

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Read + Review: Archenemies by Marissa Meyer

Archenemies is the sequel to Renegades, a duology-turned-trilogy series set in a war-torn city brought back to its former glory by a collective group of humans with superpowers, known as the Renegades. Nova, a part of the anti-Renegade group called the Anarchists, has her reasons to hate the Renegades. She infiltrates the Renegades by joining them undercover and meets Adrian, a boy hiding his own his alter-ego- the Sentinel. Nova won’t admit it, but she’s starts to develop feelings for Adrian. As the sequel unfolds, a new bioweapon is being developed by the Renegades, which can permanently take away one’s power. This presents a new problem to Nova, the Anarchists, and Adrian, as their lives are on the line, allies being taken away one by one.

I thoroughly enjoyed Archenemies a lot, with the unanticipated twists and superhero antics rarely seen in actual novels. The plot was incredibly deep, with almost all the pieces from the first book finally coming together in Archenemies. The characters developed a lot of personality, though I felt that the focus on Nova and Adrian, and the budding romance between them, was too much to the point where the rest of the diverse cast was largely ignored. Sadly, Archenemies was missing some of the fun interactions between the minor characters seen in the previous book. I also felt that the majority of the most compelling events in the book were packed into the ending of the book, with the middle just full of filler and fluff to make the book seem initially stuffed with content. With the lack of non-superhero graphic novels in the market nowadays, this is one of the most solid books I’ve ever read. As someone who enjoys reading superhero-themed graphic novels, I would definitely recommend Archenemies for those who enjoy similarly themed books. However, readers should read Renegades before Archenemies, otherwise they may be confused.

To be fair, the most memorable part about the book was during one of the patrol missions, in which Nova and Adrian are the only ones awake while the rest of their teammates are sleeping. This put me at ease, mainly because up until that point, the book’s events were fast-paced and had me at the edge of my seat. Thus, it felt like a momentary break from their life-risking vigilantism. The casual interaction in this scene made me remember that they were still regular teenagers, although with enhanced superpowers.

Reviewed by Allyson Tham, Twin Hickory Area Library

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Read + Review: A Room Away from the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma

Sabina Tremper has always longed to go to Catherine House, a refuge for women, ever since she heard the stories from her mother. So when her mother sends her away for a month, Sabina finally has the opportunity to escape to Catherine House. She steals cash from her mother, grabs Catherine House’s phone number, and races off to the place of her dreams. Upon arrival, she meets a mysterious girl named Monet who is as strange as she is extraordinary. On her first night, she quickly learns that Catherine House is not ordinary, but instead filled with a strange power. As the weeks progress, she discovers that her new home holds a danger and secret beyond her wildest dreams.

The words weaved into this thrilling tale make it seem as if the pages were an enchantment themselves. I especially enjoyed how the author created a suspicious air throughout the novel to keep the reader hooked. Furthermore, there were several peculiar events at every chapter, leaving the reader to solve the mysteries alongside Sabina. The book constantly keeps me quivering in excitement, which is something I admire in books. Lastly, the characters consist of a wide range of personalities, keeping the story interesting to read.

A memorable event of Sabina’s story is found in the beginning of the book. Sabina sneaks off to a party, where she is beaten up by her stepsisters and their friends, causing Sabina to appear at Catherine House’s doorstep covered in bruises and a black eye. Another unforgettable event is how Sabina lies down in the middle of the road after getting beaten up, cursing her fate. There are many miserable events in this book, which is what makes the story truly unforgettable.

Reviewed by Soumya Khadye, Twin Hickory Area Library

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Read + Review: The House in Poplar Wood by K.E. Ormsbee

This book was about two brothers, Felix and Lee Vickery, who live in the same house serving as apprentices for different Shades, or the human forms of Death and Memory. The brothers are separated by an Agreement due to the fact that Death and Memory are rivals, and Lee lives with the Mom while Felix lives with the Dad. Felix and his dad, who are forced apprentices of Death, mysteriously cure patients with the help of Death, and the whole town normally stays away from them due to their exotic personality. However, one girl, named Gretchen, becomes curious about the events happening at their home, called the Poplar house. For some unknown reason, her family had always intensely hated the Vickeries, and she doesn’t know why. Gretchen is a summoner of rites, meaning she can cast spells and communicate with Shades. However, when Death goes on a rampage and suddenly starts taking innocent lives, she must work with the two brothers to figure out what is happening before mass murder occurs. The setting takes place in a small town called Booney Ridge.

Frankly, I thought the book was really bad. The plot was too dragged out, and at times, there was no motive behind the characters’ actions. Also, the book was very boring due to the fact that no exciting events happened for a long time, and it was like that for almost half the story. I also thought that the author did not provide enough detail to understand a deep analysis of a character and their personality. When reading, it was foreshadowed that everyone knew some secrets, but they were never even revealed at the end. The plot was also messy and the author continuously switched character perspectives more than he should have. Overall, I really didn’t like anything about this book and thought it was a waste of time.

One memorable thing about the book was the suspense, which was one thing the author did well. Whenever the characters discovered a clue for their mystery, that clue led to another clue and I was curious to see what they would find. However, I really did not read anything that memorable.

Reviewed by Aaryan Asthana, Twin Hickory Area Library

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Read + Review: Dreamfall by Amy Plum

The book Dreamfall was about a fictional experimental insomnia treatment that went horribly wrong when an earthquake struck twice, cutting off all power. The 7 patients that volunteered for this experiment (all having severe cases of insomnia) ended up in a dream world together where they have to relive each other’s nightmares, without being able to wake up, and don’t remember anything about the experiment. These patients are Ant, Cata, Fergus, Sinclair, Brett, BethAnn, and Remi. On the other side is Jaime, a student who is taking notes and studying this experiment and observes what is happening from the outside world. The story itself is trying to get the kids awake and alive on both sides of the story.

I liked this story as it not only covers a real medical condition but also a type of story you would only see in a horror movie. The story was truly horrifying to me as I always had nightmares that had me left behind to die, except I usually woke up before I die. It is truly terrifying to think of a world where your nightmares don’t end when you are about to die and let you feel the pain and horror of it. Though the plot was horrific, this crazy idea of being stuck was what I liked the most about the book. The commonality of having a nightmare is what makes you feel connected to the story, to reflect on your own nightmares and imagine how it would feel to instead be left with it instead of waking up. This feeling also reflects on the characters, as they react to their own nightmares with fear too, just like the reader would.

The most memorable part of this book is the idea of it. Being stuck in a nightmare with no known escape and no memory of how you got there is a scary thing. After all, nightmares are simply manifestations of things you fear the most in your dreams. It’s just that these manifestations are tailored to scare you specifically.

Reviewed by Jaewon Cha, Twin Hickory Area Library

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