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….

The View From Saturday
Middle Grade / Juvenile / June 22, 2016

Author: E.L. Konigsburg. Summary: Nadia, Noah, Julian and Ethan all have one thing in common; they make up Mrs. Olinkski’s sixth-grade Academic Bowl team, which has beaten the sixth-graders, the seventh-graders, and is now up against the eighth-graders. But they have more than that in common. Each of them has completed a journey to bring them here, each of them know something about themselves they didn’t a year ago, and they all know something Mrs. Olinski doesn’t yet: why she chose them as her team. My Thoughts: One of those slightly confusing books that leave me wondering whether I didn’t quite get the meaning, or whether it wasn’t there in the first place. The children’s four stories weave together in an interesting manner, but… it all seemed vague and not-quite-defined what we’re seeing here. Content Review: Sexual content: A musician on being asked how he can stand to practice the same piece over and over again, replies: “Why don’t you ask me how I can stand making love the same woman over and over again?” Language: None. Violence: None.  

All Fall Down
Young Adult / June 22, 2016

Embassy Row #1. Author: Ally Carter. Summary: Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things: 1. She is not crazy. 2. Her mother was murdered. 3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay. As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her — so there’s no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door, who is keeping his eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands. Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can’t control Grace — no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn’t stop it, Grace isn’t the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down. (Goodreads summary.) My Thoughts: Grace was an intense, and very interesting, character. She certainly had problems;…

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…

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…