Pyramids
Adult / June 16, 2016

A Discworld Novel. Author: Terry Pratchett. Summary: It’s bad enough being new on the job, but Teppic hasn’t a clue as to what a pharaoh is supposed to do. After all, he’s been trained at Ankh-Morpork’s famed assassins’ school, across the sea from the Kingdom of the Sun. First, there’s the monumental task of building a suitable resting place for Dad — a pyramid to end all pyramids. Then there are the myriad administrative duties, such as dealing with mad priests, sacred crocodiles, and marching mummies. And to top it all off, the adolescent pharaoh discovers deceit, betrayal – not to mention a headstrong handmaiden – at the heart of his realm. (Goodreads summary.) Content Review: Sexual content: Character says his mother was a concubine. Character sometimes wonders how he was conceived, since his dreamy father and mother rarely notice each other. Some scantily dressed handmaidens. Some innuendo. Language: 30 bloody, 21 d***, 15 derogatory terms, 5 hell Violence: Man jumps off well to his death. Some threatened violence that doesn’t come to anything.

The Snow Goose
Adult , Young Adult / June 16, 2016

Author: Paul Gallico. Summary: Rhayader fled to the marshes because of the cruelty of others, who see only his ugly countenance and body. There he lives, quietly, alone, feeding the wild birds and tending the lighthouse. Then, one day, a young girl walks into his life carrying a wounded Canadian snow-goose, and everything changes. My Thoughts: A quiet, pretty tale with lovely description and a bitter-sweet feel. Content Review: Sexual content: None. Language: 5 bloody. Violence: None on-screen. There is spoken account of a war-scene, with bombs falling and shrapnel flying. There is also spoken mention of a dead body.  

Witches Abroad
Adult / June 15, 2016

A Discworld Novel. Author: Terry Pratchett. Summary: Once upon a time there was a fairy godmother named Desiderata who had a good heart, a wise head, and poor planning skills—which unforunately left the Princess Emberella in the care of her other (not quite so good and wise) godmother when DEATH came for Desiderata. So now it’s up to Magrat Garlick, Granny Weatherwax, and Nanny Ogg to hop on broomsticks and make for far-distant Genua to ensure the servant girl doesn’t marry the Prince. But the road to Genua is bumpy, and along the way the trio of witches encounters the occasional vampire, werewolf, and falling house (well this is a fairy tale, after all). The trouble really begins once these reluctant foster-godmothers arrive in Genua and must outwit their power-hungry counterpart who’ll stop at nothing to achieve a proper “happy ending”—even if it means destroying a kingdom. (Goodreads summary.) My Thoughts: Usually, the melting-pot style retellings that try to cram as many fairytale references into one story as possible are just annoying. They’re scattered and random, and I don’t like the stories being reduced to a passing paragraph or two around the protagonist as he/she continues on his/her way. Witches…

Wuthering Heights
Adult / June 15, 2016

Author: Emily Bronte. Summary: Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine’s father. After Mr Earnshaw’s death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine’s brother Hindley and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries. (Goodreads summary.) My Thoughts: I was somewhat disappointed by this classic. A teenage girl sneaking out against parental orders to meet with her disappointing boyfriend… there are many books to find that in. The writing, of course, was good, but beyond that it was not what I expected. Still, if you like family drama and romance, this may very well be the book for you. Content Review: Sexual content: Some kissing between man and woman, each married to someone else. Language: 20 d***, 3 derogatory names, 2 hell Violence: Dogs fling a man down, but do not injure him. One boy throws an iron weight at another, knocking him down. Narrator tells us one boy was often bullied. A girl pinches, then…

Thief of Time
Adult / June 11, 2016

A Discworld Novel. Author: Terry Pratchett. Summary: Time is a resource. Everyone knows it has to be managed. And on Discworld that is the job of the Monks of History, who store it and pump it from the places where it’s wasted (like underwater — how much time does a codfish need?) to places like cities, where there’s never enough time. But the construction of the world’s first truly accurate clock starts a race against, well, time, for Lu Tze and his apprentice Lobsang Ludd. Because it will stop time. And that will only be the start of everyone’s problems. Thief of Time comes complete with a full supporting cast of heroes and villains, yetis, martial artists and Ronnie, the fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse (who left before they became famous). (Goodreads Summary) My Thoughts: I can’t think of anyone better than Pratchett to write about time, with all the confusion and déjà vu and paradoxes that comes with. And yes, don’t worry – he got in all the requisite puns one would imagine when thinking of managing time. Content Review: Sexual content: 3 instances of innuendo. Language: 32 d***, 6 hell, 5 bloody, 4 derogatory terms Violence: Man is…

The Alloy of Law
Adult / June 11, 2016

Mistborn #4. Author: Brandon Sanderson. Summary: Centuries after the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is on the verge of modernity – railroads, electric street lights, and skyscrapers. Waxillium Ladrian can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will. After 20 years in the dusty Roughs, in the city of Elendel, the new head of a noble house may need to keep his guns. (Goodreads summary.) Content Review: Sexual content: A few crude jokes. A lord’s daughter presents a proposed document to a man that would lay out their courtship and marriage – she mentions that it specifies “no more than three conjugal encounters per week and no less than one, until an heir is produced” and it is also brought out that the document allows “mistresses and dalliances” under certain terms. Man notes that women seem to wear much lower necklines than they did when he was a child. Bandit pats woman down – “She bore it with a deep blush, particularly when the patting changed to a few solid gropes.” Characters searching bandit hideout find a packet of “nudie pictures”. Language: 35 d***, 7 hell, 5 derogatory names Violence: Many characters are shot,…

Thud!
Adult / June 9, 2016

A Discworld Novel. Author: Terry Pratchett. Summary: Koom Valley? That was where the trolls ambushed the dwarfs, or the dwarfs ambushed the trolls. It was far away. It was a long time ago. But if he doesn’t solve the murder of just one dwarf, Commander Sam Vimes of Ankh-Morpork City Watch is going to see it fought again, right outside his office. With his beloved Watch crumbling around him and war-drums sounding, he must unravel every clue, outwit every assassin and brave any darkness to find the solution. And darkness is following him. Oh . . . and at six o’clock every day, without fail, with no excuses, he must go home to read ‘Where’s My Cow?’, with all the right farmyard noises, to his little boy. There are some things you have to do. (Goodreads summary.) My Thoughts: Although all the Diskworld novels are much alike in their light-hearted ingenuity, comedic tone, and occasional critiques, they still vary in my interest. Thud I liked much better than others. The secondary reason is probably because the comedy is much more serious – this book is not just laughing at the wild vagaries of this world, it’s laughing with tears in…

The Hero of Ages
Adult / June 7, 2016

Mistborn #3. Author: Brandon Sanderson. Summary: Tricked into releasing the evil spirit Ruin while attempting to close the Well of Ascension, new emperor Elend Venture and his wife, the assassin Vin, are now hard-pressed to save the world. This adventure brings the Mistborn epic fantasy trilogy to a dramatic and surprising climax as Sanderson’s saga offers complex characters and a compelling plot, asking hard questions about loyalty, faith and responsibility. My Thoughts: Parents may wish to note that there is discussion of multiple different religions and questioning of them, and some beings are presented who may or may not be gods within the story. Content Review: Sexual content: Two characters are in a ‘relationship’, but haven’t bothered to get married because they think the world’s ending. Character grumbles “He didn’t recruit me. I was pulled by my balls into this little fiasco.” Seven brief kisses. Language: 16 d***, 10 hell, 3 derogatory names. Violence: Most is fairly non-detailed. Due to several major battles some incidents have been left out. One kandra is burned by acid. Multiple koloss killed in a sword fight. Inquisitor’s head is smashed. Prisoners are locked in a building, which is then set on fire. Character’s sword…

The White Witch
Adult / June 2, 2016

Author: Elizabeth Goudge. Summary: A lyrical, introspective tale set in 17th Century England, when Cavaliers struggle with Puritans for the king and throne. The story revolves around characters on both sides of the war. On the puritan side, we have a half-gypsy healer with hidden depths, Froniga the white witch. She struggles with her pride and her love for a Catholic. The local squire of her town, Richard, is also a Puritan; he fights his own cowardice and anger as he tries to discern where he really belongs. Froniga’s lover, Yomen, and a young nobleman friend of his, Francis, are both Catholic. The war will test bonds of friendship and love to the limit as it tears them apart, even as the fire purifies and builds them back up again. My Thoughts: It’s easy to tell that this is an older book from the very first page. Where agents and editors now tell authors to “hook readers in the first paragraph” and “keep the action moving”, The White Witch comes from a writing period in which readers were more patient, and appreciative of detail. Elizabeth Goudge takes her time starting, indulging in rich scenic descriptions and narrator-perspective backstory. Beautiful prose…

The Well of Ascension
Adult / May 27, 2016

Mistborn #2. Author: Brandon Sanderson. Summary: The Lord Ruler has been vanquished. But Kelsier, the hero who masterminded that triumph, is dead too, and now the task of building a new world has been left to his young protégé, Vin, the former street urchin who is now the most powerful Mistborn in the land, and to the idealistic young nobleman she loves. She is now venerated by a budding new religion, a distinction that makes her intensely uncomfortable. Even more worrying, the mists have begun behaving strangely, and seem to harbor a vaporous entity that haunts her. Stopping assassins may keep Vin’s Mistborn skills sharp, but it’s the least of her problems. Luthadel, the largest city of the former empire, doesn’t run itself, and Vin and the other members of Kelsier’s crew must learn a whole new set of practical and political skills to help. It won’t get easier with three armies now vying to conquer the city, and no sign of the Lord Ruler’s hidden cache of atium, the rarest and most powerful allomantic metal. As the siege of Luthadel tightens, an ancient legend seems to offer a glimmer of hope. But even if it really exists, no one…