The Glittering Court
Young Adult / June 16, 2016

Glittering Court #1. Author: Richelle Mead. Summary: The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court. Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training, and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court. When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and then when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor. But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would…

Interesting Times
Adult / June 16, 2016

A Discworld Novel. Author: Terry Pratchett. Summary: There are many who say that the art of diplomacy is an intricate and complex dance. There are others who maintain that it’s merely a matter of who carries the biggest stick. The oldest and most inscrutable (not to mention heavily fortified) empire on the Discworld is in turmoil, brought about by the revolutionary treatise What I did on My Holidays. Workers are uniting, with nothing to lose but their water buffaloes; warlords are struggling for power – and what the nation wants, to avoid terrible doom for everyone, is a wizard. Rincewind is not the Disc’s premier wizard – in fact, he can’t even spell ‘wizard’ – but no-one specified whether competence was an issue. And they do have a very big stick… (Goodreads Summary) My Thoughts: An intriguing premise as usual – and a little variety of scene, as most of the action takes place in a new continent well away from Ank-Morpohk, even if the central city is still heavily premised. Content Review: Sexual content: “I keep telling him, it’s rape the women and set fire to the houses.” (Neither of these actually take place.) Describing a man’s innocence/naiveté, “He…

Randoms
Middle Grade / Juvenile / June 16, 2016

Randoms #1. Author: David Liss. Summary: Zeke Reynolds has spent much of his life dreaming of going where no man has gone before, imagining exactly how one might do it and what one might find, and adding to that with the imagination banks of other such people. In other words, he’s a hard core sci-fi nerd. And it all pays off when he finds out aliens are real, and they’ve selected him among a few others to spend a year on another planet and demonstrate Earth’s capabilities. But life in space is just as dangerous as the movies make it look, and Zeke will be pushed to his limit just to survive. My Thoughts: A fun, action-packed read. Lots of sarcasm, humor, and tropes all abound. Content Review: Sexual content: None. Language: 6 bloody. Violence: Kid is “smashed around” by an older bully. One alien ship vaporizes another. Ship is hit by a missile, flung around, and various crew members are hurt by the turbulence. Some sparring matches, one in which a girl is badly hurt. One character strikes and kicks another multiple times, and is finally knocked out by a blow to the face. Character stabs another through the…

Rites of Passage
Young Adult / June 16, 2016

Author: Joy N. Hensley. Summary: Sam McKenna, daughter of a Colonel and only girl in a military family, has never yet turned down a dare. That’s partly why she’s here now, in the first girl-class at the military academy. Bring it on, boys. She’s ready for the exercise, the orders, and the hardships. She’s ready for prejudice and insults. But she’s not ready for the coldness from her brother, the romance developing between her and her sergeant, and most of all the over-the-top hostility and hints that there’s something more going on behind all the threats and efforts to get her out. Will she make it through in honor of her brother, or will this be the first dare she’s backed out of? My Thoughts: I have problems with large amounts of swearing. That slowed me down. Putting that aside, I thought this would have been a better story without the secret group hiding behind the scenes and trying to get her out. Sure, it ratchets up the tension as they begin to figure things out, but it shifts the conflict. The beginning of the story, where the plot is centered around Sam striving to show her excellence at this…

Ptolemy’s Gate
Young Adult / June 16, 2016

Bartimaeus #3. Author: Jonathan Stroud. Summary: Nathaniel is now an established member of the British government. Far from improving, his life is worse than ever, as he struggles with ever-mounting problems. Rebellion is fermenting at home, the war with the colonies is going badly, and mysterious attacks still plague the city. Bartimaeus is no better off. Kept in the earthly realm too long by his paranoid master, the djinn has lost much of his strength and cannot hold out much longer. They’re both going to need the help of Kitty and her knowledge to unite once more – long enough to save their country, at least. Content Review: Sexual content: Djinn appears as a naked ogre – in conversation, his summoner punishes him for impudence with a pulse of flame that “singes his private bits”. Some attraction between two characters. Language: 5 hell, 1 derogatory name. Violence: Two assassins accidentally stab each other. Djinn breaks the necks of two assassins attacking him. Policewoman killed by an electric stick. Djinn kills some men with flame. Character magically imprisons a djinn within a man’s body. Woman killed/eaten off screen by a djinn. Girl knocked unconscious by magic. Man is dissolved by a…

When You Reach Me
Middle Grade / Juvenile / June 16, 2016

Author: Rebecca Stead. Summary: By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. They know where it’s safe to go, like the local grocery store, and they know whom to avoid, like the crazy guy on the corner. But things start to unravel. Sal gets punched by a new kid for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment key that Miranda’s mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then Miranda finds a mysterious note scrawled on a tiny slip of paper: I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own. I must ask two favors. First, you must write me a letter. The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realizes that whoever is leaving them knows all about her, including things that have not even happened yet. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she’s too late. (Goodreads summary) My Thoughts: A rather sweet, sad character-driven look at time-travel. It was a quick read, although I was a little confused at certain parts, and honestly…

The Great Gilly Hopkins
Middle Grade / Juvenile / June 16, 2016

Author: Katherine Patterson. Summary: Watch out world! The Great Gilly Hopkins is looking for a home. She’s a foster kid who’s been angry, lonely, and hurting for so long that’s she’s always ready for a fight. Be on the lookout for her best barracuda smile, the one she saves for well-meaning social workers. Watch out for her most fearful look, a cross between Dracula and Godzilla, used especially to scare shy foster brothers. Don’t be fooled by her “Who me?” expression, guaranteed to trick foster parents, teachers, and anyone who gets in her way. (Goodreads Summary.) Content Review: Sexual content: None. Language: 18 hell, 10 d***, 10 exclamations of ‘God’, 1 bloody. One suggestion of a derogatory term – leaving a blank space in a rhyming lyric. Violence: Character snatches a ball and starts a play-ground scuffle.

Snuff
Adult / June 16, 2016

A Discworld Novel. Author: Terry Pratchett. Summary: According to the writer of the best-selling crime novel ever to have been published in the city of Ankh-Morpork, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a policeman taking a holiday would barely have had time to open his suitcase before he finds his first corpse. And Commander Sam Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch is on holiday in the pleasant and innocent countryside, but not for him a mere body in the wardrobe. There are many, many bodies and an ancient crime more terrible than murder. He is out of his jurisdiction, out of his depth, out of bacon sandwiches, and occasionally snookered and out of his mind, but never out of guile. Where there is a crime there must be a finding, there must be a chase and there must be a punishment. They say that in the end all sins are forgiven. But not quite all… (Goodreads summary.) Content Review: Sexual content: There are statues of near-naked men and women decorating a mansion. A lady explains that maids are forbidden to even look at high-ranking guests because of previous unfortunate incidents when they were overawed by the privileges of hot-blooded…

Hope Was Here
Middle Grade / Juvenile / June 16, 2016

Author: Joan Bauer. Summary: When Hope and her aunt move to small-town Wisconsin to take over the local diner, Hope’s not sure what to expect. But what they find is that the owner, G.T., isn’t quite ready to give up yet – in fact, he’s decided to run for mayor against a corrupt candidate. And as Hope starts to make her place at the diner, she also finds herself caught up in G.T.’s campaign – particularly his visions for the future. After all, as G.T. points out, everyone can use a little hope to help get through the tough times… even Hope herself. (Goodreads summary.) My Thoughts: This was a fun, refreshing read. I’ve never read a book before where a character was proud of being a waitress, but it was cool having her professional. Hope Was Here is a straight-forward read about an adolescent girl struggling to hold onto hope through difficult circumstances, and teenagers pulling together to help the community. Content Review: Sexual content: MC’s mother says she doesn’t know who the father was. One kiss. Language: 2 exclamations of ‘God’ Violence: Off-screen, a man is jumped and beaten up – a couple of ribs broken.  

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Young Adult / June 16, 2016

Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1. Author: Laini Taylor. Summary: Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low. And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war. Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out. (Published summary – it’s just so perfect, I couldn’t write you anything better.) My Thoughts: On my second read-through, I’m not quite as sure what captured and pulled me in so hard. After all, on the surface this story has a number of elements that I disdain in general. The main character and love-interest are both literally inhumanly beautiful. They feel an instant connection, and love follows…