Young Adult / July 31, 2016

Riders #1. Author: Veronica Rossi. Summary: Eighteen-year old Gideon Blake is bound and drugged in a government facility. They want to hear his story, and it’s clear he’s not going anywhere until they do, so he begins to narrate the events of the past month of his life. After the parachuting accident where he should have died, Gideon woke up with strange powers no one can explain but a mysterious girl, who tells him he’s War, and he needs to reunite with the other three incarnations of the horsemen of the Apocalypse. Shifting back and forth between the past story of battling demons, running for his life as he tries to figure out what’s going on, and his present situation, Gideon’s problems begin to interweave, past and present becoming a single dangerous strand. The most important question of all now is – can he survive? My Thoughts: Weird. And confusing, very confusing. But the interweaving of past and present narrative was done very well and creatively. And the horses were awesome. Content Review: Sexual content: Some kissing. Language: 20 scatological terms, 22 hell, 7 d***, 8 anatomical terms, and 3 derogatory names. One rude hand gesture. Violence: Some hand-to-hand fighting…

Young Adult / July 30, 2016

Passenger #1. Author: Alexandra Bracken. Summary: Violin prodigy Etta Spencer has given up everything for her music – hobbies, friends, and dating. But in one devastating night she is snatched from her life and thrust into a strange new one with no one she knows. Can Etta navigate the currents of time, escape the manipulative lord who has forced her services, and get back to her mother? But as more and more secrets are revealed, the question begins to change as Etta wonders: how deeply is her mother mixed up in this, and does she want to return to her old life? Content Review: Sexual content: Women on the streets in low-cut dresses, one asks man if he’s looking for a place to sleep and he says he’s spoken for. Some intense kissing. Man thinks to himself that “he has known lust before”. Worried man asks in a roundabout way whether a woman is a bought concubine to her companion. A fade-to-black couple of paragraphs where unmarried teen girl & boy engage in sexual intercourse. Language: 44 d***, 20 bloody, 20 instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain, 15 hell, 12 derogatory terms. Violence: Sea-men and pirates fight hand…

Young Adult / July 29, 2016

Author: Alex Flinn. Summary: I am a beast. A beast! Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright. I am a monster. You think I’m talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It’s no deformity, no disease. And I’ll,stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can break the spell. Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly. (Published summary.) My Thoughts: This retelling of the Beauty and the Beast is set in the present and narrated from the point of view of the Beast, but beyond that is quite faithful to the story. This is rather creepy, because while a daughter in exchange for a man’s life is a turning point in a fairy tale, it’s a lot weirder in modern times. The main…

Young Adult / July 28, 2016

Splintered #1. Author: A.G. Howard. Summary: Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now. When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her best friend and secret crush, or the striking but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own. (Published summary.) My Thoughts: This retelling of the Beauty and the Beast is set in the present and narrated from the point of view of the Beast, but beyond that is quite faithful to the…

In the Hand of the Goddess
Young Adult / July 27, 2016

Song of the Lioness #2. Author: Tamora Pierce. Summary: Disguised as a boy, Alanna of Trebond becomes a squire, to none other than the prince of the realm. But Prince Jonathan is much more to Alanna; he is her ally, her best friend, and one of the few who knows that she’s really a girl. Now it will take all of Alanna’s skill, strength, and growing magical powers to protect him from the mysterious evil sorcerer who is bent on his destruction, and hers! Content Review: Sexual content: Character wonders what sex is like. Character flirts with other characters. The prince and some girl – “Soon they were sleeping together- sometimes.” Multiple kisses. One character starts to undress another, but she stops him. Language: 2 d***, 2 derogatory names Violence: Two sword fights to show skill, both of which devolve into a serious fight. One battle, in which character helps heal the wounded and sees a friend die. Sorcerer uses spell to nearly kill character.

Young Adult / July 26, 2016

Author: Joelle Charbonneau. Summary: One by one, the teens in Nottawa, Wisconsin, join the newest, hottest networking site and answer one question: What do you need? A new iPhone? Backstage passes to a concert? In exchange for a seemingly minor task, the NEED site will fulfill your request. Everyone is doing it. So why shouldn’t you? Kaylee Dunham knows what she needs—a kidney for her sick brother. She doesn’t believe a social networking site can help, but it couldn’t hurt to try. Or could it? After making her request, Kaylee starts to realize the price that will have to be paid for her need to be met. The demands the site makes on users in exchange for their desires are escalating, and so is the body count. Will Kaylee be able to unravel the mystery of who created the NEED network before it destroys them all? My Thoughts: While the violence got brutal and the main character was not totally likeable, the writing was excellent. Suspense built expertly, and I couldn’t put it down. A rather dreadful look at want vs. need and human greed. Content Review: Sexual content: Low. One girl wears a low-necked shirt to flatter herself for…

Here There Be Dragons
Middle Grade / Juvenile / July 25, 2016

Author: Jane Yolen. Summary: A lovely collection of dragon stories and poems, some fairy-tale, some original, and some verging on the eerie. Most illustrated beautifully. Content Review: Sexual content: A boy trades kisses with a girl so she’ll give him food. A hinted-at off-screen make out. Language: 2 d***, couple of made up terms. Violence: Everything is fairly non-graphic. A man is killed instantly by a dragon. Various animals killed by the same animal, and we are told it stole an infant. Dragon burns alive. A dragon fight in which neither is severely hurt, but there are some wounds.

Moth Flight’s Vision
Middle Grade / Juvenile / July 24, 2016

Warriors Super Edition. Author: Erin Hunter. Summary: Set after the events of the Dawn of the Clans prequel arc, this Super Edition follows WindClan’s first medicine cat, Moth Flight, on a quest that changes the shape of the warrior Clans forever. The five warrior Clans are newly formed, and the forest is at peace—but in WindClan, one young cat is troubled by strange visions that will lead her to a destiny no cat could have predicted. My Thoughts: Somehow, the super editions have always seemed better than the other Warriors books. They focus on one individual cat, usually following them through much of their life, and draw a much more moving and character-driven story than the main arcs, which flip through clans and cats and are plot-propelled. Moth Flight’s Vision did not disappoint. We are drawn along with Moth Flight as she journeys from young, foolish cat to responsible healer, as her heart breaks and she struggles to trust Starclan, and as she ultimately develops the strength to do what must be done no matter how hard. Along the way readers of the first series will notice the customs and laws of the later clans coming into existence… the rules…

The Fifth Elephant
Adult / July 23, 2016

A Discworld Novel. Author: Terry Pratchett. Summary: When duty calls, Commander Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork constabulary answers—even if he doesn’t want to. Now, he’s been invited to attend a royal function as both detective and diplomat. The one role he relishes; the other requires, well, ruby tights. Of course, where cops (even those clad in tights) go, alas, crime follows. An attempted assassination and a theft soon lead to a desperate chase from the low halls of Discworld royalty to the legendary fat mines of Uberwald, where lard is found in underground seams along with tusks and teeth and other precious ivory artifacts. It’s up to the dauntless Vimes—bothered as usual by a familiar cast of Discworld inhabitants (you know, trolls, dwarfs, werewolves, vampires, and such)—to solve the puzzle of the missing pachyderm. Which, of course, he will . . . after all, solving mysteries is his job. (Published summary.) Content Review: Sexual content: 4 instances of innuendo. Language: 31 d***, 18 bloody, 17 hell, 13 derogatory terms Violence: Robbers ambush a coach; several are shot with arrows in the arm and leg, one in the throat. A man’s death by assassin suggested, but the scene is cut short. Character…

The Anatomy of Curiosity
Young Adult / July 22, 2016

Authors: Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, Brenna Yovanoff. Summary: In an unassuming corner of Brooklyn, a young woman learns to be ladylike, to love context, and to speak her mind from a very curious sort of tutor. // In a faraway land convulsed by war, a young soldier hears the desert’s curious hum as he disarms bombs with the person he doesn’t know how to love. // In a place so shriveled by drought that any drowning is a curiosity, a young writer tries again and again to tread water beneath the surface of a vast and unusual sea. (Published summary.) My Thoughts: This story collection is designed for young writers / those interested in writing, in that each author explains a little about her writing processes and includes notes in the margins of the stories. These notes were quite interesting, but the stories stand strong alone whether or not you’re interested in the writerly side. The stories were unusual and vivid. Each had a different style, as is expected in a collection of different authors, but they all employed an unusual premise and striking imagery. An excellent, imagination-catching collection with bonus notes. Content Review: Sexual content: “As Petra disembarked the…