Elite
Young Adult / March 23, 2017

Hunter #2. Author: Mercedes Lackey. Summary: Joy wants nothing more than to live and Hunt in Apex City without a target on her back. But a dangerous new mission assigned by her uncle, the city’s Prefect, may make that impossible. In addition to her new duties as one of the Elite, Joy is covertly running patrols in the abandoned tunnels and storm sewers under Apex Central. With her large pack of magical hounds, she can fight the monsters breaking through the barriers with the strength of three hunters. Her new assignment takes a dark turn when she finds a body in the sewers: a Psimon with no apparent injury or cause of death. Reporting the incident makes Joy the uncomfortable object of PsiCorp’s scrutiny—the organization appears more interested in keeping her quiet than investigating. With her old enemy Ace still active in Hunts and the appearance of a Folk Mage who seems to have a particular interest in her, Joy realizes that the Apex conspiracy she uncovered before her Elite trials is anything but gone. As the body count rises, she has no choice but to seek answers. Joy dives into the mysterious bowels of the city, uncovering secrets with…

The Star-Touched Queen
Young Adult / March 22, 2017

Author: Roshani Chokshi. Summary: Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen? Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire… But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself. (Goodreads summary) My Thoughts: While normally romance isn’t my thing, The Star-Touched Queen felt more like a…

The Snow Child
Adult / March 21, 2017

Author: Eowyn Ivey. Summary: Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart–he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm, she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season’s first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning, the snow child is gone–but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them. (Goodreads Summary) My Thoughts: Think fantasy x Jack London. I loved it. The description and the characters’ perception both bring out the harsh beauty of the wilderness, but that beauty morphs here and there…

Holding Up the Universe
Young Adult / March 20, 2017

Author: Jennifer Niven. Summary: Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything. Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone. Until he meets…

Dragonfly
Young Adult / March 19, 2017

Author: Julia Golding. Summary: Princess Taoshira of the Blue Crescent Islands is appalled when she is ordered to marry Prince Ramil of Gerfal. And he’s not too pleased, either. She is used to a life of discipline, ritual, and splendor. He is used to hunting and carousing. They hate each other on sight. But both of their countries are under threat from a fearsome warlord, and the only chance of peace is to form an alliance. When Tashi and Ram are kidnapped, they fear there’s no escape–from their kidnappers or from each other. Can they put aside their differences long enough to survive ambush, unarmed combat, brainwashing, and imprisonment? And will the people they meet on their adventure–including a circus strongman, a daring rebel leader, a sinister master of spies, and the best female fighter they have ever seen–help them or betray them to the enemy? (Published Summary.) My Thoughts: The writing style seemed oddly simplistic, leaning rather heavily towards telling instead of showing, including even the classic signs (like excessive ‘ly’ adverbs). However, I enjoyed the actual story and characters. Golding contrasts three cultures, with different degrees of separation – from extremely different to only minor differences – and…

The Chaos of Stars
Young Adult / March 18, 2017

Author: Kiersten White. Summary: Isadora’s family is seriously screwed up—which comes with the territory when you’re the human daughter of the ancient Egyptian gods Isis and Osiris. Isadora is tired of living with crazy relatives who think she’s only worthy of a passing glance—so when she gets the chance to move to California with her brother, she jumps on it. But her new life comes with plenty of its own dramatic—and dangerous—complications . . . and Isadora quickly learns there’s no such thing as a clean break from family. (Published Summary.) My Thoughts: The Chaos of Stars is a fun, light-hearted read for when you need something fluffy. There’s nothing amazingly inventive or new about the presence of Egyptian god/ess parents, but they do add humor. The thing you have to accept is that this is actually a story about Isadora making real friends, exploring her passion (interior design. How awesome is that?) and falling in love. There’s theoretically a save-the-world theme running behind the scenes, but it doesn’t really work; recurring nightmares through six-sevenths of a book, then an abrupt final bad-guy reveal and subsequent defeat, are not enough to make that an actual plot arc. Overall nothing special,…

Dragon Slippers
Middle Grade / Juvenile / March 17, 2017

Dragon Slippers #1. Author: Jessica Day George. Summary: Poor Creel. She can’t believe her aunt wants to sacrifice her to the local dragon. It’s a ploy to lure a heroic knight so that he will fight the dragon, marry Creel out of chivalrous obligation, and lift the entire family out of poverty. Creel isn’t worried. After all, nobody has seen a dragon in centuries. But when the beast actually appears, Creel not only bargains with him for her life, she also ends up with a rare bit of treasure from his hoard, not gold or jewels, but a pair of simple blue slippers-or so she thinks. It’s not until later that Creel learns a shocking truth: She possesses not just any pair of shoes, but ones that could be used to save her kingdom, which is on the verge of war, or destroy it. (Goodreads summary) My Thoughts: Dragon Slippers is usually shelved in the middle grade section, but I find it a fun fantasy read even for older readers. There’s humor, tension, and dragons – what more could you ask? Content Review: Sexual Content: Girl walking alone runs into a band of young men. She decides not to pray…