See How They Run
Young Adult / June 23, 2016

Embassy Row #2. Author: Ally Carter. Summary: For the past three years, Grace Blakely has been desperate to find out the truth about her mother’s murder. She thought it would bring her peace. She thought it would lead her to answers. She thought she could put the past to rest. But the truth has only made her a target. And the past? The only way to put the past to rest is for Grace to kill it once and for all. On Embassy Row, power can make you a victor or a victim; love can turn you into a fool or a fugitive; and family can lead you forward or bury you deep. Trust is a luxury. Death is a very real threat. And a girl like Grace must be very careful about which secrets she brings to light. (Published summary.) My Thoughts: Ally Carter maintains a tense atmosphere and well-written characters, but I found this book less engaging than the first. Grace still makes sense as a character, but being in her head with her constant intense emotion began to be overwhelming. More, it seemed to me that there was genuinely less action this time. Grace is an passionate…

Night Watch
Adult / June 23, 2016

A Discworld Novel. Author: Terry Pratchett. Summary: ‘Don’t put your trust in revolutions. They always come round again. That’s why they’re called revolutions. People die, and nothing changes.’ For a policeman, there can be few things worse than a serial killer at loose in your city. Except, perhaps, a serial killer who targets coppers, and a city on the brink of bloody revolution. The people have found their voice at last, the flags and barricades are rising…And the question for a policeman, an officer of the law, a defender of the peace, is: Are you with them, or are you against them? (Goodreads summary.) Content Review: Sexual content: Man caught bathing in a commotion comes out in public naked- fairly quickly rectifies the situation. Although not explicitly, a round-a-bout exposition by a character brings out that there are prostitutes on the streets, generally called seamstresses. Language: 45 d***, 38 bloody, 19 derogatory terms, 14 hell Violence: Rain of huge hail injures a few people caught out in it. Robbers attack a man, get a garrote around his neck; he’s then rescued, but we don’t see what happens to the robbers. Character is attacked by a robber with a knife, drives…

This Is Where It Ends
Young Adult / June 23, 2016

Author: Marieke Nijkamp. Summary: 10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve. 10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class. 10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open. 10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting. Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival. (Publisher’s summary.) My Thoughts: This could have been an amazing book. It wasn’t. Despite the frequent flashbacks from different points of view, which both confused me as to who had what sad backstory and also slowed the action down greatly, none of the characters became sharply defined in my mind. I had trouble keeping track of whose pov I was in at the time, and what sort of backstory they had with the shooter, because they often seemed similar. The shooter’s backstory was explored a little through the other characters, but his real motivation and phsychology was never brought out – at least I hope so. The other option is that the meager information we got was…

The Elegance of the Hedgehog
Adult / June 23, 2016

Author: Muriel Barbary. Summary: Renee is the concierge of a wealthy apartment house in the center of Paris. Witness to the lavish and disparate lives of the rich around her, she hides her true intelligence from them. Pretending to be addicted to television and looking no further than her own doorstep, she studies art, philosophy, music and Japanese culture in the privacy of her apartment. Paloma is an unusually thoughtful twelve-year old, who has come to the conclusion that life is meaningless and she can do nothing better than remove herself from it. Although prone to fits of melancholy and possessing a superiority complex, she sees much deeper than the average twelve-year old, but hides this fact from all. The two will only be drawn to open up and discover each other at the arrival of a Japanese man named Ozu who will change both their lives. My Thoughts: I have seen multiple reviews deploring the lack of plot and the constant philosophical rambling. Myself, I could see why this would get annoying; but as it was, this aspect I actually enjoyed. The reflections from both povs were interesting, although Renee’s more so, and you mostly have to accept that…

Paranormalcy
Young Adult / June 23, 2016

Paranormalcy #1. Author: Kiersten White. Summary: Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours. But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures. So much for normal. (Goodreads summary.) My Thoughts: Let’s do things backward for a change – we’ll start with the ugly, move on to the bad, and then to the good. The Ugly: The fairy. Reth, with his glamor and apparent power to seduce at a single touch, was *extremely* creepy, and not in a good way. The Bad: The plot’s clichéd, the almost-instant-love more so, and the main character far too fluttery. Okay, that was a harsh summation, but I’d say it’s fairly correct. I’m really tired of beautiful main characters falling in ‘love’ mostly over appearances. In their defense, though, they did actually talk together about themselves and their interests. A little. Now, the main character, I think some people will really connect with. It’s a personal…

Heroes of the Valley
Young Adult / June 23, 2016

Author: Jonathan Stroud. Summary: Halli Sveinsson has grown up in the House of Svein, listening to the legends of the heroes as all his forefathers did. His is a peaceful society where the violence of the past has been outlawed and disputes are settled by the Council. But young Halli has never quite seemed to fit in with the others. Bored with the everyday chores and sheep herding, he can’t help himself from playing practical jokes on everyone, from Eyjolf the old servant, to his brother and sister. But when he plays a trick on Ragnor of the House of Hakonsson, he goes too far, setting in motion a chain of events that will forever alter his destiny. Because of it, Halli will have to leave home and go on a hero’s quest. Along the way, he will encounter highway robbers, terrifying monsters, and a girl who may finally be his match. In the end, he will discover the truth about the legends, his family, and himself. My Thoughts: Heroes of the Valley follows an interesting theme, juxtaposing myth with reality, and bringing out the discrepancies between legend and the past. This is the story of a boy who wants…

The Bands of Mourning
Adult / June 23, 2016

Mistborn #6. Author: Brandon Sanderson. Summary: The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metalminds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set. (Good reads summary.) My Thoughts: Having realized that Sanderson switched genres on purpose, I’ve been enjoying this cycle rather more. Also, I realized suddenly that Steris has sneakily had a lot of character development – she’s become much more awesome, without changing her personality at all. Content Review: Sexual content: Man changes in the room with his betrothed, but she turns her back. [In searching three taverns] No luck, though her backside did get three separate comments, so there was that. Some innuendo in speech (i.e. Wayne trying to make people uncomfortable…

Unseen Academicals
Adult / June 23, 2016

A Discworld Novel. Author: Terry Pratchett. Summary: Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Ankh-Morpork, where we lay our scene…’ Football divides the city. Each area has its own team – and rivalry means supporters never mix. Until a Dimwell fan falls for a Dolly Sisters girl. And now an ancient bequest means the wizards of Unseen University must win a football match, without using magic. Luckily they’re coached by the mysterious Mr Nutt (and no one knows anything much about Mr Nutt, not even Mr Nutt, which worries him, too). As the match approaches, four lives are entangled and changed forever. Because the thing about football – the important thing about football – is that it is not just about football. (Published summary.) Content Review: Sexual content: 5 instances of innuendo. Young man remembers being told that love-poems are a means to an end – getting a young lady to take all her clothes off. He is still confused over this. Football team the night before is ordered that “there will be no sexual congress”. Language: 27 bloody, 15 d***, 14 derogatory terms, 11 hell, 3 scatological terms Violence: Character hits another in the chest with a club….