Cassandra’s review of Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

six-of-crowsSix of Crows by Leigh Bardugo takes place in the same world as her famous Grisha Trilogy. This time the setting of focus is Ketterdam, a city in Kerch. The story involves a team of thugs and thieves who try to infiltrate the tightly guarded Ice Court in Fjerda in order to retrieve a scientist who has knowledge of a deadly weapon. The team consists of six teenagers with very unique backgrounds. The story is written in the perspective of almost all of the characters. During the story, a lot of character interaction and development takes place, but Six of Crows contains plenty of suspenseful action too!

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy. Six of Crows has a very developed world (the maps in the first few pages are really helpful throughout the story) and a very detailed magical system. I would also recommend this book to anyone who likes more than one main character and events that take place in more than one perspective. It is a third person omniscient point of view. All of the characters contain flaws which make them even more connectable and likable. Additionally, the characters contrast each other very well, and there are good pairings among them.

Cassandra rates this book 5/5 stars

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Cassandra’s book review: Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl

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Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl playfully accounts a seventeen year old girl, Althea,’s attempts at finding a wealthy marriage partner. Althea must marry well in order to support her family and her eroding castle. Sadly, Althea lives in a small Yorkshire town called Lesser Hoo where the number of eligible suitors are dwindling down (especially since Althea managed to chase them all away). Suddenly, the handsome, young Lord Boring comes to Lesser Hoo, and Althea formulates a plan that would ensnare Lord Boring into her hands. Of course, Lord Boring’s business manager, Mr. Fredericks, seems to have his own ideas…

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a cute, lighthearted romance that is set in the Victorian era. Keeping the Castle is filled with witty remarks, and the main character is not to be trifled with. Additionally, the story is filled with funny moments (I laughed out loud several times). The ending is especially satisfying.

Cassandra rates this book 4.5/5 stars.

Paul’s Review of Lincoln’s Spymaster by Samantha Seiple

51hcmenaqcl-_sx330_bo1204203200_This book covers the career of Allan Pinkerton, the so-called first private-eye of America. He starts off as a cooper, but unknowingly becomes a detective when helps the town sheriff capture some people making counterfeit money. Known for a new, uncorrupt way of apprehending criminals, he soon becomes famous in succeeding to bring many criminals to justice. However, he is soon called for his biggest job yet: to protect Abraham Lincoln from Southern, secessionist assassins. Short on time, he puts the top detectives in his agency, the first to include women, on the job. Their clever, but life-risking and nerve-wrecking, plan safely brings Lincoln to Washington D.C. for his inauguration. During the Civil War, Pinkerton’s Agency works for the federal government as spies to gather Southern intelligence and capture those aiding the South, such as “Rebel Rose” Greenhow. In addition, he opens up his home as a station on the Underground Railroad, aiding slaves running north to freedom. The second part of the book describes Pinkerton’s life after the war in arresting outlaws, such as the Reno Brothers Gang and the James-Younger Gang, who had been robbing from banks and trains. Again, Pinkerton is able to bring an end to them through his expertise in the field, though he had problems along the way, such as public lynching of the robbers before they had a free trial; however, this time, his sons, following in the dangerous road of their father, work alongside him. Unfortunately, Pinkerton’s health gets the better of him, but he still continue his work with great passion, this time from his desk. On July 1, 1884, he breathed his last, yet his legacy lives on even to this day; he had essentially created the art of detective work, which greatly influences the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States of America.

I would recommend this book to people who enjoy reading about detectives, suspense, nail-biting stories, historical fiction, lesser-known history, or the Civil war or mid-19th century time period. This is a very readable book, very simply written, yet very detailed and dramatic. The story is written as if it were fiction. The book include real photos of letters, posters, people and drawings from that time and more, all contributing to the true history aspect, while keeping the reading from boring. Frankly, these intermittent images and spacious printing provide a breathing points for the reader from falling asleep, but rather stay engaged in an exciting plot. Irrelevantly, this book also has an index to help one find something specific they want to read.

Paul rates this book 5/5 stars

Marilyn’s Book Review:Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie

41xsaot8vdl-_sy344_bo1204203200_In this riveting tale of love interlaced with the oppression from the cultural revolution in China, readers will find their souls keenly empathizing with the journey of two boys being re-educated in rural China as their eyes open to jagged mountain cliffs, illegal western works (such as that by Balzac), and finally a Little Seamstress. As they encounter the different types of people on the mountain, from the ruthless headman who has a fancy for fine things, to the old man living in the outskirts, the two boys grow both mentally and spiritually.

Anyone who is interested in learning about the Cultural Revolution from a firsthand perspective is strongly recommended to read this bestseller.

Marilyn rated this book 3/5 stars.

Ms. Robertson’s Review of Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

This story follows Simon Snow, his roommate and nemesis Baz and his best friend Penny on their journey to finding and defeating, “The Insidious Humdrum”. The Humdrum is eating magic and it needs to be stopped before all the Magic and Mages of this world disappear too. The characters move between the magic and non-magical worlds where they find themselves in precarious and challenging situations. What is equally interesting is the underlying romance happening alongside the adventure. The characters push on tirelessly and you will find yourself frequently wondering who will survive to the end.

I would recommend this book for an individual that enjoyed the world of Harry Potter and Magical characters. The reader should also be aware this book seamlessly incorporates current real world relationship situations and content. I enjoyed the read immensely.

Ms. Robertson gives this book 4/5 stars.

Cassandra’s Book Review: Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

9780765350374Elantris by Brandon Sanderson evolves around three main characters: Raoden, the Crown Prince of Arelon, Sarene, the princess of Teod, and Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest. In the center of the story lies Elantris, a ruined city that was once the star of Arelon. When Raoden is claimed by the Shaod and turned into an Elantrian, he is sent into the “cursed” city where he tries to restore the city to its past glory. Meanwhile, Princess Sarene moves from Teod to Arelon because she is engaged to Raoden only to find out that her husband “died”. Sarene now must find a place for herself in Arelon and counter Hrathen’s attempts to convert the entire country into Fjordell. Watch as everything unravels in a wonderful stand-alone.

I would recommend Elantris to anyone who likes fantasy. Elantris is a really good book that has a highly developed plot. It would be suitable for anyone who likes a detailed magical system and plenty of plot twists. Also, all of the main characters are highly intelligent, and it is entertaining to see their logical approaches to solve each problem. This story also examines the different qualities in a religion. All in all, Elantris is good for anyone who would like to explore a wonderful fantasy world that has many themes which connect to our current world.

Cassandra rates this book 5/5 stars.

Cassandra’s Book Review: Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson

912bxq17yhblShadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson continues the story that began inĀ The Alloy of Law. The story evolves around Waxillium Ladrian, his sidekick Wayne, and the young constable Marasi. After solving the mystery from the previous book, Waxillium is faced with an even more entangled mystery that seems to tie into the “big picture”. In this book, references to the firstĀ Mistborn series are made and old characters make their appearance. Kandra, the powerful creatures who act as Angels for Harmony, play a central role in Shadows of Self. Waxillium must find a certain kandra who turned to the “dark side”. Of course that kandra is not going to give up without first wreaking havoc on Elendel. (P.S. The motives of the kandra will make sense once you start reading it.)

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy and mystery, though one should read the The Alloy of Law first and then read the Shadows of Self. This book was a very good continuation of the first book. Truthfully, I liked the second book better than the first. Shadows of Self has more connections to the old Mistborn series, which I really liked.

Cassandra rates this book 5/5 stars.