Book Review – The Essence by Kimberly Derting

The Essence was officially released on January 1, 2013. I wasn’t immediately hooked by the fantasy/magic elements in The Essence. The first couple of chapters are Charlie adjusting to life as Queen. I found myself having trouble remembering who the side characters were and spent a lot of time in the first two chapters evaluating as Charlie goes to riding lessons and fighting lessons, etc. I was completely hooked with the re-emergence of the Sabara plot at the end of chapter 2. The story really takes off from there with mysteries, assassins, spies, kidnapping, betrayal, dancing, soul mates, new powers, and murder. Early on in the story, a character from book 1 was killed off. I wasn’t emotionally attached to the character .In The Essence there is a spy among Charlie’s inner circle who reports back to one of the other queens. I narrowed down the identity of the spy to two people, but I really thought it was the other person. After the surprising plot twist involving Brook in book 1, I thought the spy could have been either person. The spy’s identity wasn’t necessarily a surprise, but I was guessing most of the book. A sweet, heart-wrenching soul mate story is interwoven into this book. I am a sucker for a soul mate story, and I desperately hope the soul mate arc from this book will eventually have a happy ending. It’s one of the things not completely resolved in this book. I know I probably shouldn’t want them to get their happy ending, but I do. Maybe a redemption story. I would gladly sacrifice the queen who hired the assassin so the soul mates could be happy. (Also, I’m really curious the reasoning behind what happened to their baby(ies) in the soul mate arc. There has to be a major reason behind that. Obviously something bad would happen. Perhaps Charlie is a relative? Not sure. But I hope it all is explained in the next book.) Brook, Charlie’s best friend and commander of her army, had a number of segments from her point-of-view in this book. They were necessary to the plot, but I didn’t really feel the same passion and connection to her part of the story as Charlie’s and the soul mate side plot. Brook also has a love interest plot in this book, but I didn’t connect to it like I did the other two. That may have been because she was not the main point-of-view. Or perhaps part of it was because I suspected one of her love interests was the spy and didn’t want to feel too close to the spy who would cause trouble. Many second/middle books suffer from bad endings – the book being chopped into half for book 2 and 3. That’s not the case for The Essence. The main plot for the book ends and a lot of the side plots reach some form of resolution. The ending doesn’t have the same celebratory feel from the ending of book 1, but it wraps up well. All in all, I think the book was very well-done. I loved it, especially the soul mate side-plot.

Reviewer: Kiryt

Book Review – The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks

 

This book is about an girl who is an art student at the local university (Sophia). She just got out of a bad relationship and is saved by a bull riding cowboy (Luke) at a local country western bar, but the book isn’t just about them it is also about a 91 year old man who got into a bad car accident. Luke and Sophia end up hanging out and exchanging numbers. Throughout the book they start to date and fall very quickly in love. Their relationship is put to the test when he refuses to stop bull riding to earn enough money to save his family’s farm, bull riding is a sport that could kill him because of previous accidents. The elderly man (Ira) in the car accident, swerved off the road and fell off the side of the mountain into a tree. He is stuck in his seated position and looses consciousness. When awakens he is visited by an image of his wife (Ruth), and her “ghost” pushes him to stay alive by going through the story of their very long beautiful marriage. Ira and Ruth were also art collectors and had millions of dollars worth of art pieces. The cowboy eventually quit bull riding because he knew how much it would kill his mom and girlfriend if they lost him. Luke took Sophia up to his cabin to spend a weekend together, on the way home coming down the mountain Luke spotted Ira’s car on the side of the mountain and they called an ambulance for help. In the hospital Ira asked Sophia to read a letter his dear wife Ruth wrote him.  Ira died later in the hospital but before he did, he decided to put his art collection up for auction. Sophia’s art professor managed to get her a few tickets not knowing it was Ira’s art until Luke and her read about it in the paper. The first piece put up was a beautiful painting of his wife Ruth, no one was bidding on it so Luke did. After he won the bid a man came up to the podium and said that the auction was over. Luke and Sophia were then taken upstairs and were told that because Luke bought the first piece that he ended up buying all of it. It was Ira’s wish. The farm would be saved by selling some of the collection. Luke and Sophia could be happy and not have to worry about keeping the farm afloat. 

 

I really did enjoy the story, if you are a hopeless romantic this book is for you. It takes you on this roller coaster ride of emotions, these characters were really well created. You want to cry with them and laugh with them, their pain and happiness is yours. Nicholas Sparks does a fantastic job of showing that relationships aren’t easy and when the going gets tough you can’t just leave. He shows that love is the most powerful thing in the world. I recommend this book to every hopeless romantic who need a good read. 5/5 stars :)

Reviewer: Aleigha

Book Review – Red Glove by Holly Black

Red glove is the second book in the fantasy series by Holly Black called Curse Workers, and was published in 2011. In Red Glove we follow the life of Cassel Sharpe who is a transformation worker which means he can transform anything he wants into something different, including people. Cassel is from a family of workers who con people, and who have strong ties with one of the biggest crime families, the Zacharovs. Part of this family is a girl he loves, Lila, who was cursed to love him and so acting on his feelings leaves him feeling as if he’s taking advantage of her. Cassel’s life is very dangerous and it’s difficult for him to know who exactly he can trust. When Cassel is asked by the feds to work with them, he’s forced to look into his dark recent past that he can only remember in fragments. If he tells too much to the feds, he could single-handedly ruin his family’s life and his future. During this time, Lila’s very threatening father wants Cassel to work for him in his murder business. Throughout the story, Cassel definitely grows as a person as he is burdened by everything terrible in his life. All the characters in Red Glove are very unique from each other and have their own personality and ways of dealing with various things. The overriding theme in Red Glove would have to be family tragedies, death, and pain of all forms. I would recommend Red Glove for people who like light, suspenseful books filled with crime. I give this book 4/5 stars.

Book Review – I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

 I am Malala was very fascinating to read as it is the phenomenal story of not only a girl, but a nation overturned by comprehensive terrorism, the struggle for girls’ education, and how even in a society where when boys are born celebrations arouse, and when girls are born they are hid away from the world, Malala was raised with respect and equality.Who is Malala ? On Tuesday, October 9. 2012, a fifteen year old Pakistani girl had been shot through her left eye socket when riding the bus home from school. Very few expected her to survive but this girl was given another chance at life and had miraculously recovered. This extraordinary girls’ recovery led her down a dwindling path from a secluded village in Northern Pakistan to the most well known city in the world, New York where she continued to raise awareness of the Taliban’s nature. Malala is the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize and is the winner of Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize. I Am Malala will make you value the importance of life and motivate you to do some good in this world, as the power of one’s voice can inspire change on a global scale. This is Malala. I would recommend this book for anyone who is interested in the fight for education or who is interested in reading about the fight for justice. The writing level for this book is good for light reading, however the content goes beyond deeper than the surface of its words.
Reviewed by: Ashwini

Book Review – Bzrk by Michael Grant

The book I read for my book report was ‘BZRK’ by a famous author Michael Grant. In my point of view this is a really good book if one wants to read a futuristic, war story. The plot is set in the near future and is a story about a war for control of the human mind. Main characters of the book were two conjoined twins, Charles and Benjamin Armstrong. Both of them are owners of the Armstrong Fancy Gifts Corporation and have a set goal in their lives. Their goal is to turn the world into their vision of utopia. They want a place where there’s no war, conflict, hunger and NO FREE WILL. Opposing them is a guerrilla group of teens with a code name of ‘BZRK’ which gives the book its title. They also have a mission and they are determined to successfully complete it. They are fighting the twins to protect the right not to be messed up and to remain HUMAN. This looks like an ordinary war but as one reads further they figure out that this is no ordinary war. Weapons are deployed on the nano technology level. The worst part of this war is that the battle ground is the human brain itself. There is no one that could be trusted in this battle and no stalemates: its victory, or madness. The best part of this book is that it unfolds with hurricane force around core themes of conspiracy and mystery. The book plays around with insanity and changes realities all the time. Personnel choices play a huge role in this book. Which side should one choose in these dark hours? And how far is one willing to go to win this battle? These questions go on till the end of the book and I think were still not answered at the end either. I would recommend this book for anyone that loves reading mystery and science fiction novels.

Reviewer: Arman

Book Review – The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

“The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman, was published in 2008. It is a fictional book about an infant that luckily escapes his crib when he was a toddler, wandering off in to the local graveyard where multiple ghost’s agree to take care of the stray boy and “teach him their tricks”. The story was told from the perspective of the little boy whilst growing up, and the struggles that he faced and made him to develop into the person he became at the end of the book. The setting of this book means everything to the plot of the book; if they hadn’t been close to the graveyard as the boy snuck out of his crib, he would’ve never met the ghosts that raised him and brought him into becoming the person that he is. In my personal opinion the book is a 4/5 and is especially good if you’re just looking for something light to read.

eBooks now available through our Library

eBooks are now available to read online, or to check-out using your Surreyschools login.  You can read books from your mobile device or a computer.  See Ms. Cameron in the library if you need your Surreyschools login.

Click on the link below for full instructions on reading eBooks from the North Surrey Library.  Enjoy!

eBooks