Soldier
Young Adult / January 31, 2017

Talon #3. Author: Julie Kagawa. Summary: The price of freedom is everything. When forced to choose between safety with the dragon organization Talon and being hunted forever as an outcast, Ember Hill chose to stand with Riley and his band of rogue dragons rather than become an assassin for Talon. She’s lost any contact with her twin brother, Dante, a Talon devotee, as well as Garret, the former-enemy soldier who challenged her beliefs about her human side. As Ember and Riley hide and regroup to fight another day, Garret journeys alone to the United Kingdom, birthplace of the ancient and secret Order of St. George, to spy on his former brothers and uncover deadly and shocking secrets that will shake the foundations of dragons and dragonslayers alike and place them all in imminent danger as Talon’s new order rise. (Goodreads summary) My Thoughts: Feels like this series has gone downhill. Talon was a fun action-romance with a twist, and it worked well that way. But now Julie Kagawa is combining dystopia with romance, and as so often, it doesn’t work. Ember is agonizing over her love-triangle choice while she ought to be thinking about her plans, her loyalties, her brother….

Swarm
Young Adult / January 30, 2017

Zeroes #2. Author: Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deborah Biancotti. Summary: They thought they’d already faced their toughest fight. But there’s no relaxing for the reunited Zeroes. These six teens with unique abilities have taken on bank robbers, drug dealers and mobsters. Now they’re trying to lay low so they can get their new illegal nightclub off the ground. But the quiet doesn’t last long when two strangers come to town, bringing with them a whole different kind of crowd-based chaos. And hot on their tails is a crowd-power even more dangerous and sinister. Up against these new enemies, every Zero is under threat. Mob is crippled by the killing-crowd buzz—is she really evil at her core? Flicker is forced to watch the worst things a crowd can do. Crash’s conscience—and her heart—get a workout. Anon and Scam must both put family loyalties on the line for the sake of survival. And Bellwether’s glorious-leader mojo deserts him. Who’s left to lead the Zeroes into battle against a new, murderous army? (Published summary) Content Review: Sexual Content: Looking for advice with his girlfriend, character thinks, “As an added bonus, Jess was a girl, and she was into girls.” This turns out to…

Talons of Power
Middle Grade / Juvenile / January 29, 2017

Wings of Fire #9. Author: Tui T. Sutherland. Summary: The war is over. The false prophecy has been fulfilled. But the dragonets still have enemies. A dark evil, buried for centuries, is stirring. And a young NightWing may have had the first true prophecy in generations . . . Something is coming to shake the earth Something is coming to scorch the ground Jade Mountain will fall beneath thunder and ice Unless the lost city of night can be found. (Published summary) Content Review: Sexual Content: None. Language: None Violence: Two eggs found crushed, killed. One dragon enchants a mop to whack another dragon over the head. Dragon threatens to kill her sisters. One dragon slashes another with its claws. Some magical control of other dragons, changing their perceptions or directly forcing them to action; some mind-reading.

Speak
Young Adult / January 28, 2017

Author: Laurie Halse Anderson. Summary: Melinda’s place in the high-school hierarchy was set before she ever set foot in the building. Because of the shame of calling the police on a wild summer party, none of her friends will speak to her, and Melinda is alone except for the friendly new girl. Confused by her own thoughts, wounded by past events and despairing of any hope for highschool, Melinda isolates herself further, withdrawing into her mind and becoming more and more silent. Unless she can find new depths of resolution within herself she will vanish into the background for the rest of highschool – or perhaps collapse in on herself under the confusion and depression she fights. My Thoughts: There’s no gorgeous prose or rich-drawn multi-character arcs or exciting action scenes. Nothing I might normally look for. But that’s partly why the power of this painful, plain, and even occasionally funny story caught me. It’s told in a teenage girl’s voice, a girl I can identify with and imagine being, even as she retreats into silence and confusion. By the time it was revealed what had really happened to her, I had already guessed – but this didn’t abate the…

Rose Under Fire
Young Adult / January 27, 2017

Code Name Verity #2. Author: Elizabeth Wein. Summary: While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women’s concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that’s in store for her? (Goodreads Summary) My Thoughts: Rose Under Fire is closely based on historical accounts of the concentration camp, and it is a heart-wrenching, painful, beautiful account of human suffering and hope. Elizabeth Wein pulls no punches in her writing, and if anything this was almost harder than Code Name Verity. Content Review: Sexual Content: Prisoners are forced to strip naked in front of male + female guards to be examined and shower. Prisoner says she was arrested after being accused by her boss because she refused to sleep with him, and that after arrest he raped her. Language: 7 derogatory terms, 5 F-words, 5 d***, 2 bloody Violence: See Sexual Content above for some sexual violence. It should be noted there is enough violence that not all…

The Forgetting
Young Adult / January 26, 2017

Author: Sharon Cameron Summary: What isn’t written, isn’t remembered. Even your crimes. Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person’s memories – of parents, children, love, life, and self – are lost. Unless they have been written. In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn’t written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten. But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence – before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her. (Goodreads summary) My Thoughts: Definitely an interesting premise with room for lots of discussion. I didn’t feel like the scope of the actual story…

Extreme Makeover
Young Adult / January 25, 2017

Author: Dan Wells. Summary: Lyle Fontanelle is the chief scientist for NewYew, a health and beauty company experimenting with a new, anti-aging hand lotion. As more and more anomalies crop up in testing, Lyle realizes that the lotion’s formula has somehow gone horribly wrong. It is actively overwriting the DNA of anyone who uses it, turning them into physical clones of someone else. Lyle wants to destroy the formula, but NewYew thinks it might be the greatest beauty product ever designed–and the world’s governments think it’s the greatest weapon. (Goodreads Summary) My Thoughts: Not the type of story I ‘enjoy’, with characters I disliked and ethics I could not agree with, (as you might imagine the situation brought the worst out in people) but the apocalyptic concept was clever. Dan Wells took an odd scenario (DNA-rewriting lotion) and took it through all the logical, and perhaps less-than-logical, permutations the greed of man would convert it to. Content Review: Sexual Content: “This is a very tight industry,” said Sumy. “Everyone in health and beauty is in bed with everyone else,” (this is presumably metaphorical). Man approached by hookers on the street. Some fairly intense kissing, man thinks of/wishes for sex. World-leaders…

Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection
Adult / January 24, 2017

Stormlight Archive #2.5. Author: Brandon Sanderson. Summary: The collection includes eight works in all. The first seven are: “The Hope of Elantris” (Elantris) “The Eleventh Metal” (Mistborn) “The Emperor’s Soul” (Elantris) “Allomancer Jak and the Pits of Eltania, Epsiodes 28 through 30” (Mistborn) “Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell” (Threnody) “Sixth of Dusk” (First of the Sun) “Mistborn: Secret History” (Mistborn) My Thoughts: Definitely an excellent addition to the cosmere. In the Arcanum Unbounded we get both new bits of story for characters and settings we’ve already seen, completely new stories on worlds we have not yet explored, and a good number of hints for even the densest of readers (such as myself) on the connection between Sanderson’s different story worlds. Content Review: Sexual Content: “She no longer wore her dress, and was wrapped in leathers that only just covered up her most intimate parts.” One kiss. “[The grain] was snatched up quicker than a pretty whore in Bavland.” Language: 19 d***, 19 hell, 5 derogatory terms Violence: Characters fight some monsters. Character remembers finding a little girl in the ruins of the murder of her family, soaked in blood (survivor, not killer). Blood-mage cuts a girl’s arm each day to…

Raising Steam
Adult / January 23, 2017

A Discworld Novel. Author: Terry Pratchett Summary: To the consternation of the patrician, Lord Vetinari, a new invention has arrived in Ankh-Morpork – a great clanging monster of a machine that harnesses the power of all the elements: earth, air, fire and water. This being Ankh-Morpork, it’s soon drawing astonished crowds, some of whom caught the zeitgeist early and arrive armed with notepads and very sensible rainwear. Moist von Lipwig is not a man who enjoys hard work – as master of the Post Office, the Mint and the Royal Bank his input is, of course, vital… but largely dependent on words, which are fortunately not very heavy and don’t always need greasing. However, he does enjoy being alive, which makes a new job offer from Vetinari hard to refuse… Steam is rising over Discworld, driven by Mister Simnel, the man wi’ t’flat cap and sliding rule who has an interesting arrangement with the sine and cosine. Moist will have to grapple with gallons of grease, goblins, a fat controller with a history of throwing employees down the stairs and some very angry dwarfs if he’s going to stop it all going off the rails… (Published summary.) Content Review: Sexual…

Manxmouse: The Mouse Who Knew No Fear
Middle Grade / Juvenile / January 22, 2017

Author: Paul Gallico. Summary: The brave little Manxmouse is on a special journey. But can he survive fearsome foxes, terrified elephants and cats big and small to reach his destination? The Manxmouse is one-of-a-kind. He’s the strangest little mouse you’ll ever see, with bright blue fur, huge rabbit ears and a distinct lack of tail. But Manxmouse doesn’t mind being different. He knows that destiny awaits him, and so Manxmouse sets out on an exciting adventure. He meets tigers and hawks and dastardly pet-shop owners, but there’s someone he dreads and desires to meet more than anyone else. The someone who has been waiting for him all along…the Manx Cat. (Published summary) My Thoughts: I remember really liking this when I read it as a younger kid, but on a second read through I found it less interesting. The plot is disjointed, moving from mini-adventure to mini-adventure as Manx wanders through the world. The writing style is clearly aimed at younger children, as are the characters. Overall I’d say a fun story with a nice moral for younger children. Content Review: Sexual content: None. Language: None. Violence: Cat pounces on mouse, and hawk picks the mouse up, but both are…