No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished
Young Adult / January 21, 2017

Heartstrikers #3. Author: Rachel Aaron. Summary: When Julius overthrew his mother and took control of his clan, he thought he was doing right by everyone. But sharing power isn’t part of any proper dragon’s vocabulary, and with one seat still open on the new ruling Council, all of Heartstriker is ready to do whatever it takes to get their claws on it, including killing the Nice Dragon who got them into this mess in the first place. To keep his clan together and his skin intact, Julius is going to have to find a way to make his bloodthirsty siblings play fair. But there’s more going on in Heartstriker Mountain than politics. Every family has its secrets, but the skeletons in Bethesda’s closet are dragon sized, and with Algonquin’s war looming over them all, breaking his clan wide open might just be the only hope Julius has of saving it. (Published summary) My Thoughts: Julius has changed a lot since we first met him. Remember, back in Nice Dragons Finish Last, his niceness wasn’t exactly a philosophy – just his personality. He was just the runt of a litter, getting kicked off his computer for not being blood-thirsty and ambitious…

Taken
Young Adult / January 20, 2017

Author: Edward Bloor. Summary: BY 2035 THE RICH have gotten richer, the poor have gotten poorer, and kidnapping has become a major growth industry in the United States. The children of privilege live in secure, gated communities and are escorted to and from school by armed guards. But the security around Charity Meyers has broken down. On New Year’s morning, she wakes and finds herself alone, strapped to a stretcher, in an ambulance that’s not moving. She is amazingly calm – kids in her neighborhood have been well trained in kidnapping protocol. If this were a normal kidnapping, Charity would be fine. But as the hours of her imprisonment tick by, Charity realizes there is nothing normal about what’s going on here. No training could prepare her for what her kidnappers really want . . . and worse, for who they turn out to be. (Goodreads summary.) Content Review: Sexual content: Describing a girl with fake hair, nails, etc., the narrator wonders if “fake boobs” are far behind. Narrator mentions boy in her class whose medication, as a side effect, keeps him in a “perpetual state of sexual excitement”. Some description of Edwardian games that involve kissing, and in comment…

The Morrigan’s Curse
Middle Grade / Juvenile / January 19, 2017

Eighth Day #3. Author: Dianne K. Salerni. Summary: Evangeline’s younger sister, Addie, is working with the dangerous Kin who originally kidnapped her. They value her power, and they’re willing to teach her more, an irresistible offer. She doesn’t understand the true consequences of the work – the devastation they mean to unleash on the world by undoing the eighth day spell. Jax, meanwhile, is frantic to help, to get her out of there, but entangled in his promises. As usual, he’s in trouble again, having somehow claimed a powerful artifact that won’t rest until it kills. As the battle between Kin and Transitioners comes to a head, both sides race to accomplish their opposing goals, manipulating meanwhile by the sinister figure of the Morrigan. My Thoughts: The Morrigan’s Curse picks up straight away where the previous book left off, providing no back information. (This is good or bad depending on how recently you read the last book.) Action-packed and definitely fast moving, the story felt almost too hasty – the characters had no time to think and neither did the reader. The narrative went back and forth, for the most part, between Jax and a new view point, Addie. Jax…

Twisted
Young Adult / January 19, 2017

Author: Laurie Halse Anderson. Summary: High school senior Tyler Miller used to be the kind of guy who faded into the background—average student, average looks, average dysfunctional family. But since he got busted for doing graffiti on the school, and spent the summer doing outdoor work to pay for it, he stands out like you wouldn’t believe. His new physique attracts the attention of queen bee Bethany Milbury, who just so happens to be his father’s boss’s daughter, the sister of his biggest enemy—and Tyler’s secret crush. And that sets off a string of events and changes that have Tyler questioning his place in the school, in his family, and in the world. (Goodreads summary) Content Review: Sexual Content: Boy ogles some girls in bikinis who are conducting a car wash. “I wasn’t supposed to think about that [death], but it was like porn. The idea would sneak in, and then I was off.” Narrator is aroused by a pretty girl. Narrator: ‘Hannah pealed off the shirt Mom made her wear and revealed a scrap of fabric that was just barely keeping her boobs under control.’ Girls all over the highschool dress very scantily one day, and the boys are…

Trickster’s Choice
Young Adult / January 18, 2017

Daughter of the Lioness #1. Author: Tamora Pierce. Summary: Trickster’s Choice is a follow up to the Song of the Lioness series, but completely stand-alone and with few spoilers. It follows Alanna’s daughter, Aly, who has ambitions to be a spy but is forbidden the dangerous work. Kidnapped by pirates and sold as a slave, she makes a deal with a god to protect the family she is thrown in with, after it comes under suspicion by the king. Content Review: Sexual content: Aly is told by her mistress that her master will back her up if she refuses to sleep with someone. She thinks she doesn’t know what she wants to do with her virginity, but it’s not give it away to a random man who was attracted by her face. It is mentioned that a certain attractive visitor sleeps with many slave girls. One of the family daughters is furious when she realizes the same man, while courting her, has been having intercourse with one of the slaves. Aly mentions kissing different boys at home for fun. Romantic: A raven-turned-man wants to court Aly, suggests they build a nest and have nestlings, and kisses her on several occasions. Language:…

Wolf by Wolf
Young Adult / January 17, 2017

Wolf by Wolf #1. Author: Ryan Graudin. Summary: Her story begins on a train. The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule. To commemorate their Great Victory, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s Ball in Tokyo. Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance has given Yael one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female racer, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move. But as Yael grows closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission? (Goodreads summary) My Thoughts: Wolf by Wolf is an action-packed…

Empire of Ivory
Young Adult / January 16, 2017

Temeraire #4. Author: Naomi Novak. Summary: Tragedy has struck His Majesty’s Aerial Corps, whose magnificent fleet of fighting dragons and their human captains valiantly defend England’s shores against the encroaching armies of Napoleon Bonaparte. An epidemic of unknown origin and no known cure is decimating the noble dragons’ ranks–forcing the hopelessly stricken into quarantine. Now only Temeraire and a pack of newly recruited dragons remain uninfected–and stand as the only means of an airborne defense against France’s ever bolder sorties. Bonaparte’s dragons are already harrowing Britain’s ships at sea. Only one recourse remains: Temeraire and his captain, Will Laurence, must take wing to Africa, whose shores may hold the cure to the mysterious and deadly contagion. On this mission there is no time to waste, and no telling what lies in store beyond the horizon or for those left behind to wait, hope, and hold the line. (Goodreads summary.) Content Review: Sexual Content: Mating is arranged between dragons (actual mating takes place off-screen). Unmarried woman discovers herself pregnant, later marries the father. One character asks a woman to marry him, with the context making it obvious that they sleep together. Language: 43 d***, 1 hell, 1 F- Violence: Dragon shot…

Crucible of Gold
Young Adult / January 15, 2017

Temeraire #7. Author: Naomi Novak. Summary: For Laurence and Temeraire, put out to pasture in Australia, it seems their part in the war has come to an end just when they are needed most. But perhaps they are no longer alone in this opinion. Newly allied with the powerful African empire of the Tswana, the French have occupied Spain and brought revolution and bloodshed to Brazil, threatening Britain’s last desperate hope to defeat Napoleon. And now the government that sidelined them has decided they have the best chance at negotiating a peace with the angry Tswana, who have besieged the Portuguese royal family in Rio—and thus offer to reinstate Laurence to his former rank and seniority as a captain in the Aerial Corps. Temeraire is delighted by this sudden reversal of fortune, but Laurence is by no means sanguine, knowing from experience that personal honor and duty to one’s country do not always run on parallel tracks. Nonetheless, the pair embark for Brazil, only to meet with a string of unmitigated disasters that force them to make an unexpected landing in the hostile territory of the Incan empire, where they face new unanticipated dangers. (Published summary) Content Review: Sexual content:…

Blood of Tyrants
Young Adult / January 14, 2017

Temeraire #8. Author: Naomi Novak. Summary: Shipwrecked and cast ashore in Japan with no memory of Temeraire or his own experiences as an English aviator, Laurence finds himself tangled in deadly political intrigues that threaten not only his own life but England’s already precarious position in the Far East. Age-old enmities and suspicions have turned the entire region into a powder keg ready to erupt at the slightest spark—a spark that Laurence and Temeraire may unwittingly provide, leaving Britain faced with new enemies just when they most desperately need allies instead. For to the west, another, wider conflagration looms. Napoleon has turned on his former ally, the emperor Alexander of Russia, and is even now leading the largest army the world has ever seen to add that country to his list of conquests. It is there, outside the gates of Moscow, that a reunited Laurence and Temeraire—along with some unexpected allies and old friends—will face their ultimate challenge…and learn whether or not there are stronger ties than memory. (Goodreads summary) Content Review: Sexual Content: Two dragons mate off-screen. Dragon worries about his captain marrying, so another dragon suggests concubines. Language: 7 d*** Violence: Men swordfight, then wrestle. Brief altercation between…

Mechanica
Young Adult / January 13, 2017

Mechanica #1. Author: Betsy Cornwell. Summary: Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home. But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last. (Published summary.) My Thoughts: So. Steampunk-Cinderella. Apparently a bunch of people had problems with slow pacing, but I don’t have problems with that usually, so it was fine. I loved Mechanica: her independence, her determination, her strength. I loved (parts of) the ending, and its message. Cinderella taking care of herself, and choosing her own fate? Oh, yes. But… it did fall a little flat. We have so much interesting build-up with the fae, and the possible war,…