The Girl with All the Gifts
Young Adult / August 19, 2016

Author: M. R. Carey. Summary: Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her “our little genius.” Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad. Content Review: Sexual content: One soldier to another: “Maybe pick a fight with someone or get laid”. A man internally thinking about how life has it in for him, thinks that the “first girl who ever let him roll her” gave him a disease, the second became pregnant and he abandoned her before realizing the depth of his feelings. Character (man) is too exhausted to fantasize about the glimpse he caught of a woman partly clothed. Scavenging for food, a soldier finds a shelf of pornographic magazines….

Calvin
Young Adult / August 18, 2016

Author: Martine Leavitt. Summary: As a child, Calvin felt an affinity with the comic book character from Bill Watterson’s Calvin & Hobbes. He was born on the day the last strip was published; his grandpa left a stuffed tiger named Hobbes in his crib; and he even had a best friend named Susie. Then Calvin’s mom washed Hobbes to death, Susie grew up beautiful and stopped talking to him, and Calvin pretty much forgot about the strip—until now. Now he is seventeen years old and has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Hobbes is back, as a delusion, and Calvin can’t control him. Calvin decides that Watterson is the key to everything—if he would just make one more comic strip, but without Hobbes, Calvin would be cured. Calvin and Susie (is she real?) and Hobbes (he can’t be real, can he?) set out on a dangerous trek across frozen Lake Erie to track down Watterson. (Goodreads summary.) Content Review: Sexual content: Low. Two kisses, a boy and girl sleep in the same tent alone through necessity, one mention during a (compliment? Discussion? Hard to tell) of the part of the brain that stimulates sexual impulses. Language: Very low. Violence: Some school-boys steal…

Supernaturally
Young Adult / August 17, 2016

Paranormalcy #2. Author: Kiersten White. Summary: Evie finally has the normal life she’s always longed for. But she’s shocked to discover that being ordinary can be…kind of boring. Just when Evie starts to long for her days at the International Paranormal Containment Agency, she’s given a chance to work for them again. Desperate for a break from all the normalcy, she agrees. But as one disastrous mission leads to another, Evie starts to wonder if she made the right choice. And when Evie’s faerie ex-boyfriend Reth appears with devastating revelations about her past, she discovers that there’s a battle brewing between the faerie courts that could throw the whole supernatural world into chaos. The prize in question? Evie herself. So much for normal. (Published summary.) My Thoughts: Almost nothing happens in this book, especially on-screen. Evie goes to school and complains about how boring normal life is after all; she lies to Lend about any number of things and goes on a couple of dates with him; and gets nearly killed several times in company with Jack, but this is nothing new. I was quite disappointed with the loss of interest. Content Review: Sexual content: Some kissing, mostly off screen….

The Door Into Summer
Adult / August 16, 2016

Author: Robert A. Heinlein. Summary: Electronics engineer Dan Davis has finally made the invention of a lifetime: a household robot with extraordinary abilities, destined to dramatically change the landscape of everyday routine. Then, with wild success just within reach, Dan’s greedy partner and greedier fiancée trick him into taking the long sleep – suspended animation for thirty years. Content Review: Sexual content: The female villain is discovered to have been married to multiple husbands in various parts of the country. In future clothing-styles the increased exposure of skin is given a comment in passing. Male character accidentally ends up in a nude camp once. Language: 16 d***, 3 hell, various exclamations of ‘my God!’ Violence: Main character is drugged at one point, there is a vicious fight between a house-cat and a couple. Other issues: Main character is drunk when the story begins.

Book of Enchantments
Young Adult / August 15, 2016

Author: Patricia C. Wrede. Sumary: This short-story collection is composed of ten fantasy short stories, ranging from humorous to bitter-sweet. Unicorns, magic swords, curses, chipmunks and more populate the pages of these tales. My Thoughts: As always with short story collections, the tone and quality of individual stories fluctuates a bit. As a whole I found the book lighthearted, fun, and leaning towards the younger side of the audience. All the stories are set in a classic medieval fairy-tale setting, with the exception of two modern-day stories. Patricia has a wonderful sense of humor, keeping even the silliest stories interesting enough to hold the attention; but she is quite capable of writing a more serious fairytale, as shown in The Lorelei and The Earthwitch as well as others. My single favorite story was Stronger Than Time, a bittersweet retelling. Content Review: Sexual content: A man tries to marry his daughter off without her consent. Language: 2 d*** Violence: One rabbit is killed and eaten by werewolves. An invading army is killed wholesale, but very little description. A man cuts off his own hand.  

Mirrored
Young Adult / August 14, 2016

Author: Alex Flinn. Summary: Beauty is the key to everything. At least, that’s how it seems to Violet—ugly, bullied, and lonely. To be beautiful, in her eyes, is to have power and love. And when Kendra, the witch, teaches Violet how to use magic, she may finally get what she wants. For Celine, beautiful since birth, her looks have been a hindrance. She discovers that beauty is also a threat—especially to her stepmother, Violet, who doesn’t want anyone sharing the attention she worked so hard to get and who will do anything to be the fairest of them all. But beauty isn’t only skin deep and love isn’t based on looks alone. And though Violet and Celine may seem to be completely opposite, their lives are almost… mirrored. Content Review: Sexual content: Some kissing. Character watches a television show that has “drinking and whoring” and a “hot blond dragon chick who gets naked a lot”. Gossip that an obnoxious teen star mooned school kids out the window of his limo. Some innuendo. Character has her first period. Language: 14 scatological terms, 13 derogatory names, 5 anatomical parts, 1 d***, 1 acronym Violence: Boys throw rocks at a girl, knock her…

Duckling Ugly
Young Adult / August 13, 2016

Author: Neal Shusterman. Summary: Cara is so ugly, mirrors would rather break than show her reflection. Not even her own parents can deny her ugliness, and nothing can make up for the cruelty of her schoolmates. Tormented and tortured by the shallow people of Flock’s Rest, Cara’s life is miserable. Then Cara receives a shimmering note from some exotic place suggesting that there’s more to her than meets the eye. Cara wonders if her destiny has something to do with her recurring dreams of a beautiful green valley where the people are so accepting, her ugliness doesn’t matter. Soon, Cara discovers that her valley of dreams is real. It’s a place where the ugliest of ducklings can become swans. A swan, however, can have a serious taste for revenge . . . deadly revenge. (Published summary.) My Thoughts: Like much of Neal Shusterman’s work, it walks the line between interesting and downright creepy. Or possibly slips over that line a little bit. A fast little allegory. Content Review: Sexual content: The Fountain of Life renders woman unable to have children. Language: One hell, one exclamation of ‘oh God’ Violence: One catfight between two girls.  

First Test
Young Adult / August 12, 2016

Protector of the Small #1. Author: Tamora Pierce. Summary: Keladry is the first girl to take advantage of the decree that permits girls to train for the knighthood. She is tall and strong for her age, but she has more than just strength and drive going for her. She has a legacy of Yamani training and a fierce desire to protect all in need, whether it’s a drowning kitten or an unarmed man. The only thing that can stop Kel is Lord Wyldon, the training master of pages and squires. He does not think girls should be knights. So while he is forced to train her, Wyldon puts her on probation for one year. It is a trail period that no other page has to endure and one that separates the friendly Kel even more from her fellow trainees. But Kel is not someone to underestimate… My Thoughts: It almost seems like this would be better in the middle grade section, except for the occasional violence. The protagonist is ten, the prose is simple, there are no problems. (Perhaps the eating of kittens automatically bars a book from middle grade.) However, I still enjoyed it. Kel has satisfying spirit and…

Dreams of Gods and Monsters
Young Adult / August 11, 2016

Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3. Author: Laini Taylor. Summary: By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz. Common enemy, common cause. When Jael’s brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love. But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz … something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world. What power can bruise the sky? (Published summary.) My Thoughts: It’s a little unsettling at first that we have a new view point,…

The Color of Magic
Adult / August 10, 2016

A Discworld Novel. Author: Terry Pratchett. Summary: The Color of Magic is Terry Pratchett’s maiden voyage through the now-legendary land of Discworld. This is where it all begins — with the tourist Twoflower and his wizard guide, Rincewind. On a world supported on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown), a gleeful, explosive, wickedly eccentric expedition sets out. There’s an avaricious but inept wizard, a naive tourist whose luggage moves on hundreds of dear little legs, dragons who only exist if you believe in them, and of course THE EDGE of the planet… (Published summary.) Content Review: Sexual content: Three instances of innuendo. Passing mention of young women and dryads wearing next to nothing. Language: 7 hell, 5 bloody, 4 d***, 1 derogatory term Violence: A tavern fight takes place. Two instances of characters being knocked unconscious. One character receives minor burns from a dragon.