Monday, February 22, 2016

Jax's Lightspeed Review of 'Book Scavenger' by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

Welcome to Jax's Lightspeed Reviews. These are just like any other of my regular reviews, though they're much quicker to read through and write - hence the title. The review is split up into 5 pieces: The story overview, the positive elements of the book, the negative elements of the book, a final verdict, and a recommendation level.

Today's book: 'Book Scavenger' by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

"Life is a game, and books are the tokens."

The Story:

Book Scavenger is split into 3 main plot pieces that work around each other. In this story, a fictional game exists called 'Book Scavenger', where patrons can hide books for others to find in the real world, then pinpoint their book's location using a clue system built into the 'Book Scavenger' website. The admin and leader of the Book Scavenger games, Mr Garrison Griswold, is often considered the self-proclaimed 'Willy Wonka' of the book industry. Griswold starts plans on a new sub-competition of the game, where players will have to track down one of many copies of 'The Gold-Bug' (which is a REAL book by Edgar Allen Poe), which contains clues to where a special prize is located in San Fransisco. However, Griswold is mugged by a group of thugs prior to the start of the competition, causing the new game to be postponed.
      ...then we get to the other main character of the story: Emily Crane, a passionate player of the Book Scavenger game. Emily's family has a dream to live in each state in the U.S. at least once for a full year, and their next stop is - coincidentally, - San Fransisco. Once Emily and her family arrives, she meets up with James, a puzzles enthusiast, and they find a mysterious Gold-covered version of 'The Gold-Bug'. Emily doesn't make much of it at first because nobody actually knows of Griswold's cancelled game, but once she finds out a secret lying within the book, she starts a quest to complete the game - with the help of James, of course.

The Good:

Book Scavenger is the best kind of Fiction because it's a completely plausible story. The whole tale is obviously made up, but because of how clever the Book Scavenger game within the story actually is, it could easily be played in real life. In fact, the official website for this story has a mini-'Book Scavenger' built into it that you can play right now! Check this link:   Sure, there aren't many books hidden around our Lake County area as of right now, but we could change that, couldn't we? I challenge all of you readers to hide at least 1 book within the next few weeks and record it on the website. Think you're up to the challenge?
      The primary genre of Book Scavenger, 'mystery', is implemented to perfection here. It's fun to keep up with all of the puzzles that Emily and James encounter on their quest to finish The Gold-Bug's hidden adventure, and it's not very hard, either. There were at least 2 or 3 times within the book where the main characters stumbled upon a new step they couldn't solve, even though I already had a hunch on how to solve it. I like this style of the 'mystery' genre better than the stereotypical 'Sherlock' kind of mystery because they feel interactive.

The Bad:

I didn't have any immediate distaste with Book Scavenger, but on the other hand, not too much about the story really struck me. In easier terms, I couldn't find any flaws in the book that detracted from the experience, but aside from the fun setting of the book and the mystery aspects, the writing itself is rather run-of-the-mill. Not much about the story stands out from other tales of this caliber.
      As a side note, there's a very weird mis-match of plot twists near the end of the book. I don't mind plot twists, but in this case, at least 3 twists occur within the same chapter. This kind of writing can throw you off, and it should especially be avoided during the climax of the story.


Book Scavenger is a simple story at face value, but the simplicity of the story helps contribute to how fun it is to read. Pick this one up if you can, and if you get a spare book and some time, try out the Book Scavenger game online! Or, perhaps you should wait for another month to do that, since it is still winter right now...

Recommendation Rating: Moderate (Read it if you can!)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Ashley's Review of Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Do you like to reading fantasy books with a twist? Then you would like to read the book, Cinder. It is easy to like and easy to read. Reading also helps improve your learning skills. It is important to read and learn about books.

About The Author
Marissa Meyer is the author of The Lunar Chronicles. This series is a four book series with one novella. It is also a bestselling series. Before she became a author, she was a book editor. The other stories she wrote are short stories. She is 31 years old now. She is now writing a new book based on super heroes. Now that you know about the author, you should learn about the book.

About The Book
The first book in The Lunar Chronicles is Cinder. It is about a cyborg girl named Cinder. It takes place in a time that war may come. The setting is mostly in New Beijing. Humans, androids, and cyborgs all live together on Earth. Also, people with magical abilities live on the moon. They are called lunars. There is a lot of tension between the lunars and people on Earth, enough to cause a war. Now that you know about the book, you should know how much it has in common with its fairytale.

How Close The Story Cinder And Cinderella Are Related
Many books are based on something. In this case, the whole series it is based on fairy tales. In the book Cinder, she has two step sisters and a step mother. She had a nice step father who died. Also in the story, a ball is hosted. In all of the book in this series they each have something similar happen to them as it did in the fairytales.

About The Fairytale
In the fairytale Cinderella a girl named Cinderella’s mother dies. Her father then remarries. When Cinderella’s father dies her new stepmother and step sisters becomes very mean. They make her do all of their work and chores. Then she goes to a ball that she is forbidden to go to, with the help of a fairy god mother, and meets a prince. Then after the ball the goes back home leaving the prince behind the palace. Later on, the prince comes looking for her using the shoe she left behind. In the end, they get married and live happily ever after .

That was my book review on the book Cinder and the fairy tale that goes along with it.
Thank You
For Reading
This Review

Sources, “Marissa Meyer”, “Cinder”, “Cinderella”

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Want to read more about the world of the Lunar Chronicles? Check out Lily's review of the last book in the series: "Winter"

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Carry On Written by Rainbow Rowell Snarky review by Lily W.

Carry On
Written by Rainbow Rowell
Snarky review by Lily W.

So Rainbow Rowell, we meet again, only this time your ending isn't half bad but the book itself
sucks beyond suck. If you couldn't tell I don't like this book, well I'll make it clear it was awful. I promise no spoilers for this first part of the review (to warn those of you who have not yet read it.) but honestly it doesn't matter if you carry on reading this because it was so gosh darn awful I want you to save your precious life from reading this awful excuse of fiction. Ok I'm especially harsh today so sorry about that but this is as close to a journal as I'll ever get so I promise to be honest about my opinions. For those of you intending to read this please stop reading the review now, but also keep in mind that I AM WARNING YOU IT IS SO AWFUL IT WILL MAKE YOUR BRAIN HURT. Alright now onto why I think all these awful things.

So Fangirl was a pretty good book, funny, not too heavy, but weird ending. I'm starting to notice a pattern with Rainbow Rowell’s books too. So like the first 150 pages or so the main character wanders around with no purpose but telling us some backstory from their life (you know instead of making life easier for all of us and just starting at the beginning) and basically just making me want to hit my head against the wall because I began reading another weird Rainbow Rowell book, I should have learned by now you'd have thought? Then everything changes for the main character when he/she realizes their true love is right there and goes from zero interest to must stick my tongue down this guy/girl’s throat immediately me life depends on this make out session! Like in Carry On Simon didn't even think he had a thing for Baz but he just thought yo there's a dude freaking out about to kill himself in a forest fire, you know what will make him feel better right about now? Me deciding to “snog” him without actually knowing if he has interest in kissing boys or girls and not previously thinking even for a second if I myself was interested in kissing boys or if I was interested in just this one. Because kissing people when they are having a magical mental breakdown makes sense. But anyway back to the pattern. Now that they are sure they have true love within fifteen minutes (because that's how love works) something complicates things. (Ok I feel like I should mention that Attachments doesn't quite follow this pattern, that book was basically saying that reading someone else’s email and falling in love with them is okay and not creepy and stalkerish in anyway. No that's sweet, because it's not like there are creepers out there and cyber stalkers but anyway sorry tangent) So something HUGE comes to complicate the two love birds, weather it be your weird eleven year old magic sucking self come to kill your bloodsucking boyfriend, or it's just the guy you like ended up kissing some other chick or something to that affect(Fangirl), and that HUGE conflict
really makes it difficult for the love birds to be love birds. Than they get through the complication
and get to an ending that really doesn't actually wrap up the story, it just ends. Like she was
going to write an ending, but didn't hit save before she shut off her computer and she lost all the
progress and was like screw it I'm done with this crap.

So in Carry On we are basically reading the equivalent of The Deathly Hallows or The Last
Olympian but without actually reading the several books before it. Like you just skip to the end.
At least in Harry Potter and Percy Jackson we got explanations, in Carry On we are just told this
is how this works and there is no good reason other than magic. Ok? What KIND of magic, what
is the backstory on this, why should I blindly believe that this book represents magic? Because
you start with Simon killing one goblin (like one monster thing the whole book? And he claims to
have slayed several in the past like this is normal? And one never really pops up again accept in
flashbacks? And he briefly just rode a dragon? Come on!) we just assume that the precedent for
being told the bare minimum of how this world works will be enough to help us get by and
understand completely what's happening. Let me just say, J. K. Rowling can write spells that
could sound silly (wingaaadiumleviosaaa), but it doesn't sound stupid because there's
reasoning, whereas Rainbow Rowell is all like You can't touch this because song lyrics now
have the power to be powerful? And what's all this crap about a musician having to have a
voice, what about mute or deaf magicians? Like for real I refuse to believe that in this world of
many many magicians that they all can speak and hear perfectly well. They are human too.

Not only are we thrown into a strange place in full on story mode without any idea what the heck
is going on or how anything is happening, but did Rowell seriously never hear about copyright? I
mean I know J. K. Rowling doesn't own the idea for wizard schools but come on! A British
wizardry school, a super smart and loyal girl bestie, orphaned brunette who is the chosen one ,
evil mysterious roommate with widows peak ( Draco anyone?), a kindly groundskeeper who is
tearful and cares for animals all the time? I mean seriously (but not Siriously...that guy’s dead)
how dumb do you think I am? Like I don't think you even had to have had watch the movie to
catch this! How is Rainbow Rowell not being sued at this very moment? Is she? If she is I really
wanna know. Anyway how can you rip off Harry Potter and not include RON? He was great, a
poor friend for poor Harry but Ron showed him what it was like to have a perfectly dysfunctional
family! Then you give Penelope Hermione’s attitude and characteristics and just make her have
Ron’s family dynamic? Did you not rip off Ron just for the purpose of not having another guy be
competition for Baz?

And what was up with Agatha anyway? What was even her purpose? Was it to be the Ginny of the Carry On universe? Because if so I wanna say how brave and powerful Ginny was in Harry Potter and point out Agatha is nothing like that. And for real I can understand that she wanted nothing to do with magic but then why would she befriend the most powerful magician out there? And then date him? And break up with him? And basically just say you don't want a normal happy ending then move to California to live a normal happy ending life? Good for you to following your dreams but you also totally left Simon, Penelope, and Baz for dead because you were too busy running away to care about possibly keeping them safer. And Baz, could you get more vampire cliche? Widows peak? Evil rich guy? And why does every book with a gay main character automatically make sure he has had a disappointing childhood because their parents don't accept their gayness? Like isn't there any other way to give someone a dramatic backstory? I mean I guess watching his mother pretty much incinerate herself after he himself was bitten by a vampire wasn't enough right? He couldn't manage to have a loving supporting family? And the dude is totally 100% no doubt Draco Malfoy.

And then Simon. Dude is an orphan who will pretty much never know who his parents are (never seen that one before right?). And then he totally was visited by his dead mother, but confused her for Baz’s dead mother, and never found out that he not only killed the Mage but the Mage was literally his father! No wonder Penelope used the these are not the droids you are looking for spell at the end to hide Simon’s for no reason devil wings, because the Mage was Darth Vader and Simon is Luke. And I haven't even seen Star Wars and I know that!

And so the story was seriously lacking story and like plot and other important stuff like I don't
know character development? The whole story can pretty much be summed up with this: if
Draco had a crush on Harry all along and then Harry randomly decides to kiss him. Than the
climax is a lame excuse of an action sequence in which Hagrid is killed by a weird Dumbledore
and Harry gives away all his magic to save the world from himself causing future harm but not to
actually fix the mess he unintentionally made. And kills Dumbledore by accident and will never
know he was really his father. Then Draco and Harry get all cuddly in front of Hermione's and
she starts to suspect that perhaps Harry and Draco are cuddly instead of trying to kill each other
DOWN A FOREST. Like for real I'm not trying to sound like a homophobe here trust me that is
not at all the message I am trying to get across, what I am trying to say is even with my limited
understanding of love one does not suddenly flip a switch in their brain and say yep I hated you
yesterday by now want you to be my soulmate. And this is just for Simon, I know Baz always
had a thing for Simon so he's ok in this instance. But also from what my gay friends have told
me one doesn't just all of a sudden think I'm gay . It's something they come to accept over time,
or always knew. Simon at the ending was still very clearly confused as to why he decided to kiss
Baz in the first place, so why hasn't he tried to figure it out yet? BECAUSE RAINBOW ROWELL

And whatever happened to Nicodermus anyway? And like everyone else? Was that part of the
book you forgot to save on your computer before it shut down too? And then is Penelope’s mom
is now Professor McGonagall because she took over after the Mage died. For no reason other
than well she seems ok to be headmistress and we need a sassy woman to run the school to be
a true Harry Potter rip off.

Anyway I didn't like this book all that much and have almost nothing good to say about it except
that the cover art was ok? Oh and one more thing I don't think Harry Potter used as many British
specific words to convey the idea of it being British. Like only an American would exaggerate it
that much. Plus every character used the f word like it was seriously the only possible way to
convey annoyance, anger, or sadness. Like I don't mind cussing but that was a bit excessive
towards the beginning of the book. You would think an actually author would be able to afford a
thesaurus! Anyway I hope you enjoyed this review more than I enjoyed the book have a magical

Monday, February 1, 2016

Spartan News Network- Season 2 Episode 1

Two of our Teen Advisory Board members were the anchors for the Spartan News Network (Season 2 Episode 1) back in the fall.

Their segments (singing and all) give you a pretty good idea of what our TAB meetings are like...

Great job guys!