Shadows of Self
Adult / June 16, 2016

Mistborn #5. Author: Brandon Sanderson. Summary: Shadows of Self shows Mistborn’s society evolving as technology and magic mix, the economy grows, democracy contends with corruption, and religion becomes a growing cultural force, with four faiths competing for converts. This bustling, optimistic, but still shaky society now faces its first instance of terrorism, crimes intended to stir up labor strife and religious conflict. Wax and Wayne, assisted by the lovely, brilliant Marasi, must unravel the conspiracy before civil strife stops Scadrial’s progress in its tracks. Content Review: Sexual content: Passing innuendo in conversation from streetboys. A woman at cocktail party is wearing a dress “missing most of its top half”. Well-informed lady comments that a nobleman is cheating on his fiancé. Kandra wearing a cocktail dress that exposes cleavage draws a gun out of her breast. (Literally. Kandra control their flesh.) Language: 33 d***, 30 hell, 7 derogatory terms. Violence: Outlaws shoot at a man. Man’s throat slit. Man killed by arrow to the neck. Characters find a body nailed to the wall. Quite a number of firefights (gun battles).

Making Money
Adult / June 16, 2016

A Discworld Novel. Author: Terry Pratchett. Summary: It’s an offer you can’t refuse. Who would not to wish to be the man in charge of Ankh-Morpork’s Royal Mint and the bank next door? It’s a job for life. But, as former con-man Moist von Lipwig is learning, the life is not necessarily for long. The Chief Cashier is almost certainly a vampire. There’s something nameless in the cellar (and the cellar itself is pretty nameless), it turns out that the Royal Mint runs at a loss. A 300 year old wizard is after his girlfriend, he’s about to be exposed as a fraud, but the Assassins Guild might get him first. In fact lot of people want him dead. Oh. And every day he has to take the Chairman for walkies. Everywhere he looks he’s making enemies. What he should be doing is . . . Making Money! (Goodreads summary.) My Thoughts: One of his more obvious lessons but possibly more inventive topics, as the basic nature of economics is taken and woven into a fast-paced fantasy plot. Content Review: Sexual content: Two characters find a closet full of “inventive erotica” instruments. There isn’t really description of the contents, but…

The Golem’s Eye
Young Adult / June 16, 2016

Bartimaeus #2. Author: Jonathan Stroud. Summary: At only fourteen, Nathaniel is a rising star: a young magician who is quickly climbing the ranks of the government. There is seemingly nothing he cannot handle, until he is asked to deal with the growing Resistance movement, which is disrupting London life with its thefts and raids. It’s no easy task: the ringleader Kitty and her friends remain elusive, and Nathaniel’s job-and perhaps his life-are soon at risk. As the pressure mounts, he is distracted by a new series of terrifying attacks in the capital. But is it the Resistance again, or something more dangerous still? To uncover the perpetrators, Nathanial must take desperate measures: a journey to the enemy city of Prague and-worse-summoning once again the troublesome, enigmatic, and quick – witted djinni Bartimaeus. (Summary from Goodreads.) My Thoughts: Nathaniel has gone downhill since the last time we saw him, caught up in the competitive and oblivious world of the magicians. Bartimaeus is just as humorous as ever, though, and we have a new character now, Kitty. Still good, still fast-paced, and I have a feeling the last book will make up for any deficiencies here. Content Review: Sexual content: Two djinni…

Red Scarf Girl
Middle Grade / Juvenile / June 16, 2016

Author: Ji-li Jiang. Summary: On Ji-li’s twelfth birthday, her world changed, although she didn’t realize it at the time. The cultural revolution in China had begun, and the abolishment of the “Four Olds” began to pick up momentum. This non-fiction biography of one child’s experiences from twelve to fourteen in China is a moving personal portrayal of a historical period. My Thoughts: I found this documentary very down-to-earth and moving. The horrors of the revolution are presented simply, through a child’s eyes. In a way, this book shows what true heroism is; it follows a young girl who does not fight in a grand resistance, doesn’t go on secret night missions, doesn’t even understand really what’s going on around her and why it’s happening. Confused and alone, she still tries to support her blacklisted family, refuses to break from them, and remains silent in the face of interrogation. This, I think, is real-life heroism. Content Review: Sexual content: None. Language: 10 d***, 1 derogatory term. Violence: Houses are forcibly searched, certain kinds of goods destroyed. Young men force an old man to kneel in the sun until he faints. Character hears the news that a woman jumped out a window…

In Real Life
Young Adult / June 16, 2016

Author: Jessica Love. Summary: Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since 8th grade. They talk for hours on the phone, regularly shower each other with presents, and know everything there is to know about one another. There’s just one problem: Hannah and Nick have never actually met. Hannah has spent her entire life doing what she’s supposed to, but when her senior year spring break plans get ruined by a rule-breaker, she decides to break a rule or two herself. She impulsively decides to road trip to Las Vegas, her older sister and BFF in tow, to surprise Nick and finally declare her more-than-friend feelings for him. Hannah’s surprise romantic gesture backfires when she gets to Vegas and finds out that Nick has been keeping some major secrets. Hannah knows the real Nick can’t be that different from the online Nick she knows and loves, but now she only has night in Sin City to figure out what her feelings for Nick really are, all while discovering how life can change when you break the rules every now and then. (Summary from Goodreads.) My Thoughts: I’d recommend this if you enjoy drama, angsty romance set in Las…

The Beginning Place
Adult / June 16, 2016

Author: Ursula K. LeGuin. Summary: Fleeing from the monotony of his life, Hugh Rogers finds his way to “the beginning place”–a gateway to Tembreabrezi, an idyllic, unchanging world of eternal twilight. Irena Pannis was thirteen when she first found the beginning place. Now, seven years later, she has grown to know and love the gentle inhabitants of Tembreabrezi, or Mountaintown, and she sees Hugh as a trespasser. But then a monstrous shadow threatens to destroy Mountaintown, and Hugh and Irena join forces to seek it out. Along the way, they begin to fall in love. Are they on their way to a new beginning…or a fateful end? My Thoughts: Wasn’t really to my taste at all. I never connected with the characters, who are both very interior-developed types without much explanation, and the plot was never explained. Content Review: Sexual content: Simple statement that a man in bed fantasizes about a waitress, imagines suckling at her breasts, and so pleasures himself. Father tries to sexually molest his step-daughter multiple times, and she tries to never be alone with him. Unmarried man and woman engage in sexual intercourse. Language: 6 scatological terms, 5 d***, 3 derogatory terms, 2 hell, 1 F-word…

The Green Glass Sea

Green Glass #1. Author: Ellen Klages. Summary: Dewey Kerrigan is tired of secrets, but she has learned to live with them. At eleven years old in 1943, she has accepted that much of her father’s life is classified, for he is at work on “The Gadget”, a project so secret the military base they live on officially doesn’t exist. Fascinated by science and mechanics, she has always been something of a loner. Suzie never wanted to be a loner. Isolated as she is on the military base, she tries to be friends with the “popular girls” equivalent, but their personalities just don’t mesh. She’s a little bit curious about ‘Screwy Dewey’, as the other girls call her, but she’s not going anywhere near her, lest the other girls reject her. Until the two girls are thrown together in a surprising turn of events… and meanwhile, almost unbeknownst to the children, their parents are changing history as they create the top secret Gadget. My Thoughts: Because Suzie and Dewey are isolated from the war in a remote research base, and know very little about their fathers work, the war does not form a major part of the story despite the time-period….

The Amulet of Samarkand
Young Adult / June 16, 2016

Bartimaeus #1. Author: Jonathan Stroud. Summary: Nathaniel is a boy dealing with many problems. As a magical apprentice, he was taken from his parents at five and given new magician caretakers. His teacher is cold and hard, and looks down on him; only the kindness of his wife makes it bearable. Publicily humiliated at age eleven, Nathaniel has been studying feverishly for a year and is ready to enact his revenge. First, he’ll summon a fourth-class djinni… Bartimaeus is a five-thousand year old djinni, and he knows that Nathaniel knows nothing of problems. Enslaved by one magician after another through the years, magically bound to carry out their bidding over anything else, all he wants is a bit of rest. Instead, an impudent twelve-year old has mastered the spells to control him, and now orders him to steal the Amulet of Samarkand. Bartimaeus knows exactly how much trouble they’re both plunging into… but what can he do? He’s only a djinni. My Thoughts: It took me a little while to warm up to the characters, neither of whom are particularly likeable. The first-person narrator has a particular knack for wry humor of a new sort, often building up a purple-prose…

Pyramids
Adult / June 16, 2016

A Discworld Novel. Author: Terry Pratchett. Summary: It’s bad enough being new on the job, but Teppic hasn’t a clue as to what a pharaoh is supposed to do. After all, he’s been trained at Ankh-Morpork’s famed assassins’ school, across the sea from the Kingdom of the Sun. First, there’s the monumental task of building a suitable resting place for Dad — a pyramid to end all pyramids. Then there are the myriad administrative duties, such as dealing with mad priests, sacred crocodiles, and marching mummies. And to top it all off, the adolescent pharaoh discovers deceit, betrayal – not to mention a headstrong handmaiden – at the heart of his realm. (Goodreads summary.) Content Review: Sexual content: Character says his mother was a concubine. Character sometimes wonders how he was conceived, since his dreamy father and mother rarely notice each other. Some scantily dressed handmaidens. Some innuendo. Language: 30 bloody, 21 d***, 15 derogatory terms, 5 hell Violence: Man jumps off well to his death. Some threatened violence that doesn’t come to anything.

The Snow Goose
Adult , Young Adult / June 16, 2016

Author: Paul Gallico. Summary: Rhayader fled to the marshes because of the cruelty of others, who see only his ugly countenance and body. There he lives, quietly, alone, feeding the wild birds and tending the lighthouse. Then, one day, a young girl walks into his life carrying a wounded Canadian snow-goose, and everything changes. My Thoughts: A quiet, pretty tale with lovely description and a bitter-sweet feel. Content Review: Sexual content: None. Language: 5 bloody. Violence: None on-screen. There is spoken account of a war-scene, with bombs falling and shrapnel flying. There is also spoken mention of a dead body.