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The Shadows We Hide
by Allen Eskens

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This is the sequel to The Life We Bury (also very good). At first I struggled with the blatant naïveté of Joe, the protagonist, especially after reading the first book. But it didn't deter me and I appreciated his character more as the book went on. Both books teach you a lot about how complicated and unfair life is but also the positive power of hitting rock bottom, the power of forgiveness, and doing the right thing, no matter the cost. I think this makes Joe a good man, even if he doesn't think so. He shortcomings are shadowed by how honest and fair he is. Throughout the book you might try to predict how it will end but the author does a good job keeping you on your toes and you might not see this ending coming. I think you might think it could go one of two or three ways and then the author might introduce another couple ways. Definitely worth the read.

A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor Signed
by Hank Green A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor Signed

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4.5 stars! A thrilling end to the April May saga. The ending confused me a bit, and so did a specific characters lack of major involvement in the story, but overall it was a thrilling book that once I began reading, was difficult to put down. There are many quotable moments, and there is a lot to be said on the future of the world and on one person holding too much power. I felt that the story was both anti-climactic and very very very climactic. Overall, a very enticing and enjoyable read in which the book nearly stuck to my fingers whenever I'd pick it up. For the first book I've ever had to wait to have be released, the wait was worth it.

A Court Of Thorns And Roses Series
by Sarah J Maas

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This is one of my GOAT book series. The characters are so fleshed out, the dialogue is hilarious, the woman writes a mean fight scene. They just announced the release date for the next one and I don't know how I'm going to survive until next January.

Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close
by Jonathan Safran Foer

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I'm very ambivalent towards this novel, but not in a bad way. I am stuck between good and neutral. Admittedly, I did not particularly enjoy this book more so than the average read. However within the last 50 pages, I found myself feeling incredibly human, which is something I haven't felt in a while. I've learned to become an escape artist with myself, and for a moment I was able to come back from that. I loved some of the quotes, and occasionally I'd find a one off passage that I'd adore. But over all, I don't really like this as a book. I could understand what was going on just enough to finish it and come out of it with something rather than nothing. I don't regret reading it, but I don't think I would have necessarily picked it up if it weren't assigned for my AP summer reading. I also felt as though this was less than a book and more a snippet of the human experience. I feel like the reader was put in place halfway through the actual story, and was only keyed in to a small piece of the main character as well as the story. It was more of a piece of life rather than a novel, which I both appreciate indefinitely, and kind of am stuck shrugging my shoulders at. Very ambivalent, but given that I enjoyed some one offs, 4/5 stars

Ballad Of The Songbirds And Snakes
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I really enjoyed this book. It was very interesting to read the background of President Snow during his teenage years. You can even grow to like him for a bit during the novel. Of course, if you read the trilogy you know he turns out. I have so many questions and thoughts on different connections between this new story and the first 3 books. It really tempted me to reread the other books, but since my reading list already is quite long, I settled for rewatching the movies.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore
by Robin Sloan

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Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore was the kind of book that had me hooked at its title. It wasn't what I was expected, but then again I wasn't quite sure what I was expecting. Upon reading the first 20 pages, I was a bit uninterested. There were a few lulls in the text at some points(mostly the coding talk, which I couldn't understand) and there were some points where I simply found myself getting easily distracted (however, the characters, it seemed, were always just confused as me until the end and that was something I could appreciate). But come upon pages 50-100, well now I just gotta keep going to see how it ends. Upon reaching page 200, I was eager to finish and things quickly picked up from there. While having some very important philosophical points and fun mysteries, Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour bookstore was a fun read that was intriguing and somewhat thought provoking. It was not very intense which is something that I appreciated, given just finishing The Deathly Hallows for the first time. I needed an easy and kind of *shoulder shrug* why not read, and although I initially wanted a great deal more from this book(and still kind of do) it was a break that I didn't realize I needed. All in all, this book was in the okay-pretty good range, so I'd give it about 3.5 stars. But from the chapter "A Really Big Gun" and on, I was fully focused and had to stick along for the ride. From "A Really Big Gun" and on, I'd give it a solid 4 stars. If you are looking for something with similar energy alongside this book, I'd recommend An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green.

Rising Storm
by Erin Hunter

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Rising storm was a great book with a lot of twists and turns. It so perfectly displays a once great leader's decent into madness, while also keeping you on the edge of your seat during the battle scenes. The writing is good enough to really make you feel what the characters feel, and holds one of my favorite death scenes in the series.

Survivors
by Terry Nation

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I knew of this book and the TV series that was based on it pre-pandemic, but reading it now has just confirmed how surreal this all is. The premise of the book is there is a virus that ends up wiping out most of mankind and tells of the people who survive to make a new life for themselves. (Think Walking Dead minus the zombies.) You see how some people stay true to who they are, while others struggle to reinvent themselves, for better or for worse. It was published back in 1976 so it is slightly dated, but it is easy to apply the premise to what it going on today. The TV series (the newer one from the BBC) took some liberties but also still a good companion follow-up to the book.

A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor
by Hank Green

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I thought this book was a good way to tie up all the loose ends of the last one. The new character POVs were nice, especially Carl’s. I was a little apprehensive to see April and Maya get back together, but I think if April works on her self-esteem and can consequently treat other people better, it will work out. I would have liked for Robin to be more involved and I wish he had chapters of his own. Otherwise, this book was wonderful. It was paced well, April’s return and her character development were perfect, and getting to look further into the main characters’ lives was interesting and needed. Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot and will read it again.

Buried Deep
by Margot Hunt

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Plain and simple, it just wasn't very good. First of all, the main character was extremely naïve and annoying. Listening to the things she said made me just want to shake her. And the story was anticlimactic. It was pretty much laid out for you from the start and there was a little twist at the end that was surprising but not exciting, like twists in many books. Wasn't worth the read so I'm glad it was short. I didn't give it one star because I've read worse.


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