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Read + Review: The Friend Scheme by Cale Dietrich

Amazon.com: The Friend Scheme (9781250186997): Dietrich, Cale: Books

You can reserve a print copy here and an eBook copy here!

Matt Miller is a high-school student with a big secret: his father is the head of one of the biggest mobster families in the city. His secrets don’t stop there. Matt grapples with the fact that he will never live up to the son his father has raised him to be, a ruthless and cold killer who hates the Donavans’ his family has been fighting with for years. With these doubts in mind, he ends up meeting a boy named Jason who begins to see Matt as the person he really is. This connection between the two boys turns from romantic to dangerous as new plots and secrets reveal themselves and Matt must make a choice to stay loyal to his family or to reveal who he really is.

I found myself relating to the main character, Matt, a lot of times when reading the book. I think the author did a great job narrating his feelings and writing his journey. The book goes into detail the inner crisis he has within himself and the struggle between making his family proud or choosing his own path in life. The plot reminded me of Romeo and Juliet as it was about two boys from opposite sides of a war who fall in love with each other. I appreciated how Matt was able to finally find himself and figure out what he wanted to do with his life. I felt proud in the end when he realized that a life of crime wasn’t permanent for him and that he could stand up to his father and choose his own destiny.

A thing I found memorable about the book was the plot twists that had me gripping the edge of my seat. I also appreciated how the relationship between Jason and Matt wasn’t rushed at all and was taken slowly. One thing I did dislike though was that it felt as if it was too fast paced and lacked emotion at some point. Especially towards the end when the biggest conflict of the book gets quickly resolved, I wanted more detail going into that. I also wanted Matt to spend more time trying to fix his strained relationship with his father. The dialogue also seemed awkward in some parts, as it went over the same point multiple times.

Reviewed by Tasnia, Libbie Mill Library

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Cook With Amber by Amber Kelley

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Cook with Amber: Fun, Fresh Recipes to Get You in the Kitchen by Amber Kelley and Jamie Oliver discusses and encompasses a variety of recipes that are designated for a diverse selection of events, as well as multiple eating occasions throughout the duration of a day, such as breakfast and lunch, as well as dinner. Regarding the introduction of the book, Kelley supplies several suggestions and advice concerning novice cooks, as the introduction consists of advice and procedures regarding knife safety, as well as safety and protection regarding the ability to utilize an oven. Within the various chapters of this book, such as cuisine and dishes regarding breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Kelley introduces a wide range of nutritious and natural recipes, and she also incorporates a section that is designated for a specific ingredient of her recipes, such as garlic, quinoa, or avocado, as the component of the recipe contains multiple health benefits, which encourage the reader to invest in the ingredients in order to create a dish or cuisine. Additionally, a section of the recipes that are included within this book is also devoted to the seasons, such as summer and spring, as well as events, such as parties, gatherings, or campouts. A chapter of this book is also devoted to recipes that are suitable for a family, which consist of recipes that illustrate dishes that originated from within Kelley’s family, such as her mother’s “creamy chicken stew”, as well as her grandmother’s “okonomiyaki”, which resembles a Japanese pancake. Throughout the contents of this book, Kelley incorporates various suggestions and ideas regarding dessert and skincare, and she also introduces her skincare routine, as well as her morning routine. Towards the conclusion of this book, Kelley supplies recipes and ideas regarding an extensive variety of desserts and drinks that are nutritious and natural, contrasting the common perception of drinks that contain a large concentration of sugar. Concerning the conclusion of this book, Kelley discusses her skincare routine, as well as her techniques and materials, such as an “acne-taming cinnamon face mask”, a “cleansing body scrub”, and a “gentle face scrub”. Regarding the recipes within this book, Kelley also supplies detailed instructions and measurements in order to successfully create the dish that is being described. Therefore, Cook with Amber: Fun, Fresh Recipes to Get You in the Kitchen by Amber Kelley, and Jamie Oliver, contains an extensive selection of recipes regarding various occasions.

Regarding the content of this book, I thought that it was quite comprehensive and informational, as it provided a large concentration of information regarding nutritious ingredients that could be utilized and incorporated into a variety of meals that are designated for a wide range of occasions, such as cuisines that are designated for breakfast. Kelley also includes nutritious ingredients, such as garlic and sweet potatoes, that are able to be incorporated in a variety of dishes, such as a “one-pot pasta with tomatoes, greens, and garlic”, concerning the subject of dinner, and “cinnamon thyme sweet potato puree.” Moreover, this book was also intimate, as well as insightful and enlightening, as it encompassed an introduction that discussed the correct method of utilizing a knife for the purpose of cooking, and I was also able to obtain new and previous knowledge from the chapters of this book as well, as I had previously not realized that quinoa is categorized as being a grain, and I also previously did not realize that it contained a high amount of fiber. Additionally, this book also contained an extensive selection of nutritious and natural dishes, and it also provided detailed and clear instructions and measurements regarding the recipe and the process of creating a dish, implying that it also served as a convincing publication, as it encourages the reader to attempt to create one of the dishes within this book. Regarding the plot of this book, I perceived it as being beneficial, as it included a wide range of dishes that were applicable for several occasions and events, and it also provided information regarding nutritious ingredients. Therefore, this book was informational and encouraging, as it provided direct and clear instructions regarding the ingredients that are required to create a dish, and it also provided a diverse selection of nutritious recipes for multiple occasions.

One memorable thing about this book was that it encompassed an introduction that discussed advice and suggestions regarding novice cooks, as she stated that it was acceptable to create dishes and cuisine that was considered to be enjoyable and that Kelley also stated that she advised novice cooks to cook courses and dishes that are perceived as being enjoyable, as she believes that the most rewarding component of the act of cooking is consuming the product. Another memorable moment within this book regarding the introduction is that Kelley stated that it is crucial to begin the process of cooking by creating simple dishes, as it is a sufficient method of experiencing and learning the process of cooking dishes. This was also a memorable aspect of this book since it indicated that a sufficient dish does not require a large number of ingredients and that it is possible to create an appetizing course that utilizes a few ingredients. Moreover, within this book, Kelley encouraged novice cooks to request help concerning necessary circumstances, and she also stated that novice cooks should attempt to utilize methods of preparing food that is more efficient, such as utilizing their hands to separate leaves of lettuce. Regarding components of this book that I liked and disliked, I liked that this book contained specific and extensive instructions regarding the recipes, and I also liked that Kelley included natural and nutritious ingredients within her recipes, although an aspect of this book that I did not enjoy was that some of the recipes lacked the pictures that usually depicted the product, which could cause the reader to doubt the appearance of the product and potentially assume that the recipe was performed incorrectly.

5-stars-2

Reviewed by Grace, Twin Hickory Library

 

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The Things She’s Seen by Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina

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Beth Teller was a girl that was tragically killed in a car accident when she was a teenager. Since her death, the only person that has been able to see and communicate with her (in a spirit-like way) is her father, who works as a forensic investigator. He has been unable to live the same way he used to while she was still alive, so Beth persists him to return to his normal life by working again. The case he is given is related to a fire that burnt down a school house in a remote Australian town that left behind very little evidence. As the difficult investigation unfolds, both Beth and her father must deal with problems regarding the committed crime and what will happen to the two of them in the near future.

The aspect of this book that I found the most fascinating was the difference in the way the story was told by Isobel Catching as opposed to Beth. In the story, Catching is a girl who is viewed as a possible witness for the crime in which Beth’s father is investigating. The only time she speaks is when Beth and her father visit her in the hospital, but she never flatly states what she saw with her own eyes like Beth does. Instead, she tells her side of the story in a poetic, metaphorical way that is another story on its own. With Catching’s interesting first-hand recollections of the event in question and Beth’s interpretations of the real world, the story is truly complete.

Through reading this book, I learned to understand the importance of how literature can define that cultures that they represent. Elements of this specific novel were taken from Aboriginal cultures in Australia, and other similar stories written about different cultures show the rest of the world what values they hold and unique aspects of their society. Readers of these stories, additionally, can gain a new perspective and understand a little more about the world around them.

4-stars

reviewed by Griffin, Gayton Library

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Sword and pen by Rachel Cain

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Sword and Pen: The Great Library Series, Book 5, written and composed by Rachel Caine, discusses the experiences and journeys of Jess Brightwell, as well as his desire and intention to remove the Archivist from his position of power, as the Archivist had opposed the Great Library. Furthermore, Christopher Wolfe, a scholar of the Great Library, was also designated as being the guardian of Jess, as his twin brother, Brendan, had perished. One of Jess’s allies within this story, Dario Santiago, who originated from Spain, is a member of an exclusive family, although Jess and Dario did not completely trust each other, as they did not maintain a consistent friendship. Although Jess had attempted to infiltrate the office of the Archivist, he had ingested a poisonous gas, that limited his breathing. Regardless, Jess was transported to a Medica, who supplied him a mask that would permit Jess to breathe more efficiently, though the Medica stated that the function of the mask would degrade, as Jess utilized it.  Another essential character, Niccolo Santi, is also a crucial commander of the Great Library, and he also aims to preserve it by aiding the remaining members of the group, which consists of Wolfe, Jess, Khalila Seif, Glain Wathen, Morgan Hault, an Obscurist, Thomas Schreiber, an inventor of the automata, and Anit, the daughter of Red Ibrahim, a character who served as an associate to Jess. Therefore, Jess, as well as his allies, endeavor to remove the influence of the Archivist.
I thought that this book was conflicted and turbulent, as it focused on a large number of characters that were central to the plot and events of the story that is occurring throughout this book, as well as the entirety of the Great Library Series. Furthermore, I also thought that this book was quite dramatic. Moreover, my opinion regarding the central characters of this book, which consist of Jess, Santi, Scholar Wolfe, Glain, Morgan, Khalila, Thomas, Anit, and Dario, is that this book exceeds the number of central characters in a story, implying that the characters would no longer be memorable since I was unable to remember all of the details and characteristics of some of the characters. Regarding the plot and the setting of this series, I believe that all of the characters’ unique roles and purposes are designated to represent the setting and the plot of the story, which occurs within the Great Library of Alexandria, as Wolfe is a scholar of the library, while Santi is a commander of the High Garda, and Thomas is an inventor, who attempts to analyze the structures of the automata, which were designated to destroy intruders. Moreover, concerning the setting and the plot of this story, I believed that the plot was quite intricate, as it encompassed a large variety of characters and events.
One memorable thing about the book was the moment of the book was the connection between Thomas and Jess, as Thomas was offering to risk his life to ensure that Jess remained alive. Moreover, this also implies that Thomas was aware that Jess was a central asset to their plan and intention to disable the Archivist and remove him from his position of power. Therefore, this indicated that Thomas was willing to challenge himself in order to ensure that Jess would remain alive. Regarding aspects of this book that I liked, I liked the various personalities and roles of the characters that were present within the book and the writing style were also effective, as the perspective of every chapter of this book was based on a different character, so I was able to experience the plot of the book from various perspectives, which caused the book to appear more exciting and conflicted. This also indicated that the book appeared to be more interesting since I was able to be introduced to a variety of opinions regarding all of the characters. However, aspects of this book that I disliked were the large number of central characters that were present, as well as the consistency of the setting of the series.
4-stars
Reviewed by Grace, Twin Hickory Library
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Mindfulness and Meditation: handling life with a calm and focused mind by Whitney Stewart

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Mindfulness and Meditation: Handling Life with a Calm and Focused Mind by Whitney Stewart discusses and conveys the significance of mindfulness, as it expresses the importance of comprehending your emotions regarding stressful events or situations. This book also states that meditation is characterized by the ability to remain poised and intent while maintaining a relaxed and calm disposition and mind since this will cause an increase regarding the aspects and structures of the brain that are associated with the ability to retain memories and the processing of information, such as gamma waves within the brain, as they are considered to be the swiftest classification of brain waves. Moreover, another essential benefit and aspect of meditation are that it increases the amount and level of happiness within the brain, as it activates the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is connected to happiness. Multiple examples and positions of meditation are presented throughout this book, as it describes the correct position regarding meditation, as well as various methods to perform it, such as the “Lotus”, “Half Lotus”, “Burmese”, “Chair”, “Seiza”, and “Prone”. Additionally, Buddhism, an ancient tradition and religion that originated within Asia, is perceived as being an essential aspect of Buddhism, as it provided the foundation for meditation and mindfulness, as the founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama, had observed multiple instances of sicknesses and pain that was considered to be an aspect of suffering within human society, which caused him to depart from his previous position within society, a prince, and attempt to experience and endure the conflicts and difficulties that the members of society had encountered, although this caused him to engage in meditation, which allowed him to eventually attain enlightenment. The Buddhist religion also inspired several people that were mentioned throughout this book to adopt the Buddhist religion. Throughout this book, multiple instructions and suggestions are included to explain the various types and components of meditation and mindfulness. Therefore, this book expresses the importance of mindfulness and meditation through various suggestions and ideas that are presented.

Regarding the content of this book, I thought that it was quite extensive and informational, as it provided multiple examples and suggestions regarding mindfulness and meditation, and it also encompassed detailed explanations regarding the steps that are required to effectively perform meditation, such as assuming control concerning emotions by focusing on your breathing, as it will gradually relax your mind. Moreover, this book was also quite personal, as well as convincing, as it included interviews from teenagers, concerning the subject of social media, as well as methods regarding coping with stress. Additionally, this book also served as an insightful novel, regarding methods and categories of meditation that is designated to remove the influence of detrimental thoughts, and it also provided information and advice regarding attempting to ensure happiness, as well as coping with painful experiences. Regarding the plot of this book, I considered it to be insightful and thoughtful, as it incorporated multiple benefits of meditation, such as an increased level of focus, as well as an increased level of happiness. This is indicated by the frequency of ideas, suggestions, and advice that are present throughout the book, as well as the pictures that illustrate the various positions for meditation. Therefore, this book was quite insightful and informational, as it discussed the benefits of meditation, and it also supplied a variety of questions that encourage mindfulness and meditation.

One memorable thing about this book was that it stated various factors and aspects that could potentially result in happiness, such as engaging in exercises, experiencing sunlight and nature within the environment, and by engaging in a sufficient amount of sleep. This was a memorable moment regarding this book, as it implied that it was quite simple to increase the levels of happiness within your life. Furthermore, this book also provided advice and suggestions regarding the various factors that can increase happiness, as it stated that exercise possesses the ability to increase the production of chemicals within the brain, such as dopamine, that is associated with happiness. Moreover, this book also included various sections that offered examples and instructions regarding methods that increased happiness, such as recalling a joyful memory or engaging in compassion regarding oneself. Regardless, aspects of this book that I liked were that it incorporated multiple examples of mindfulness, as well as methods of ensuring happiness, although an aspect of this book that I disliked was that it uses a variety of contrasting fonts and colors throughout the book, which could potentially produce an unnecessary distraction, as the various fonts could potentially cause the reader to divert all of their focus regarding one section of the book, instead of focusing on all of the sections of the book.

5-stars-2

Reviewed by Grace, Twin Hickory Library