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…

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…