The Glittering Court
Young Adult / June 16, 2016

Glittering Court #1. Author: Richelle Mead. Summary: The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court. Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training, and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court. When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and then when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor. But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would…

Rites of Passage
Young Adult / June 16, 2016

Author: Joy N. Hensley. Summary: Sam McKenna, daughter of a Colonel and only girl in a military family, has never yet turned down a dare. That’s partly why she’s here now, in the first girl-class at the military academy. Bring it on, boys. She’s ready for the exercise, the orders, and the hardships. She’s ready for prejudice and insults. But she’s not ready for the coldness from her brother, the romance developing between her and her sergeant, and most of all the over-the-top hostility and hints that there’s something more going on behind all the threats and efforts to get her out. Will she make it through in honor of her brother, or will this be the first dare she’s backed out of? My Thoughts: I have problems with large amounts of swearing. That slowed me down. Putting that aside, I thought this would have been a better story without the secret group hiding behind the scenes and trying to get her out. Sure, it ratchets up the tension as they begin to figure things out, but it shifts the conflict. The beginning of the story, where the plot is centered around Sam striving to show her excellence at this…

Ptolemy’s Gate
Young Adult / June 16, 2016

Bartimaeus #3. Author: Jonathan Stroud. Summary: Nathaniel is now an established member of the British government. Far from improving, his life is worse than ever, as he struggles with ever-mounting problems. Rebellion is fermenting at home, the war with the colonies is going badly, and mysterious attacks still plague the city. Bartimaeus is no better off. Kept in the earthly realm too long by his paranoid master, the djinn has lost much of his strength and cannot hold out much longer. They’re both going to need the help of Kitty and her knowledge to unite once more – long enough to save their country, at least. Content Review: Sexual content: Djinn appears as a naked ogre – in conversation, his summoner punishes him for impudence with a pulse of flame that “singes his private bits”. Some attraction between two characters. Language: 5 hell, 1 derogatory name. Violence: Two assassins accidentally stab each other. Djinn breaks the necks of two assassins attacking him. Policewoman killed by an electric stick. Djinn kills some men with flame. Character magically imprisons a djinn within a man’s body. Woman killed/eaten off screen by a djinn. Girl knocked unconscious by magic. Man is dissolved by a…

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Young Adult / June 16, 2016

Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1. Author: Laini Taylor. Summary: Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low. And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war. Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out. (Published summary – it’s just so perfect, I couldn’t write you anything better.) My Thoughts: On my second read-through, I’m not quite as sure what captured and pulled me in so hard. After all, on the surface this story has a number of elements that I disdain in general. The main character and love-interest are both literally inhumanly beautiful. They feel an instant connection, and love follows…

The Golem’s Eye
Young Adult / June 16, 2016

Bartimaeus #2. Author: Jonathan Stroud. Summary: At only fourteen, Nathaniel is a rising star: a young magician who is quickly climbing the ranks of the government. There is seemingly nothing he cannot handle, until he is asked to deal with the growing Resistance movement, which is disrupting London life with its thefts and raids. It’s no easy task: the ringleader Kitty and her friends remain elusive, and Nathaniel’s job-and perhaps his life-are soon at risk. As the pressure mounts, he is distracted by a new series of terrifying attacks in the capital. But is it the Resistance again, or something more dangerous still? To uncover the perpetrators, Nathanial must take desperate measures: a journey to the enemy city of Prague and-worse-summoning once again the troublesome, enigmatic, and quick – witted djinni Bartimaeus. (Summary from Goodreads.) My Thoughts: Nathaniel has gone downhill since the last time we saw him, caught up in the competitive and oblivious world of the magicians. Bartimaeus is just as humorous as ever, though, and we have a new character now, Kitty. Still good, still fast-paced, and I have a feeling the last book will make up for any deficiencies here. Content Review: Sexual content: Two djinni…

In Real Life
Young Adult / June 16, 2016

Author: Jessica Love. Summary: Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since 8th grade. They talk for hours on the phone, regularly shower each other with presents, and know everything there is to know about one another. There’s just one problem: Hannah and Nick have never actually met. Hannah has spent her entire life doing what she’s supposed to, but when her senior year spring break plans get ruined by a rule-breaker, she decides to break a rule or two herself. She impulsively decides to road trip to Las Vegas, her older sister and BFF in tow, to surprise Nick and finally declare her more-than-friend feelings for him. Hannah’s surprise romantic gesture backfires when she gets to Vegas and finds out that Nick has been keeping some major secrets. Hannah knows the real Nick can’t be that different from the online Nick she knows and loves, but now she only has night in Sin City to figure out what her feelings for Nick really are, all while discovering how life can change when you break the rules every now and then. (Summary from Goodreads.) My Thoughts: I’d recommend this if you enjoy drama, angsty romance set in Las…

The Green Glass Sea

Green Glass #1. Author: Ellen Klages. Summary: Dewey Kerrigan is tired of secrets, but she has learned to live with them. At eleven years old in 1943, she has accepted that much of her father’s life is classified, for he is at work on “The Gadget”, a project so secret the military base they live on officially doesn’t exist. Fascinated by science and mechanics, she has always been something of a loner. Suzie never wanted to be a loner. Isolated as she is on the military base, she tries to be friends with the “popular girls” equivalent, but their personalities just don’t mesh. She’s a little bit curious about ‘Screwy Dewey’, as the other girls call her, but she’s not going anywhere near her, lest the other girls reject her. Until the two girls are thrown together in a surprising turn of events… and meanwhile, almost unbeknownst to the children, their parents are changing history as they create the top secret Gadget. My Thoughts: Because Suzie and Dewey are isolated from the war in a remote research base, and know very little about their fathers work, the war does not form a major part of the story despite the time-period….

The Amulet of Samarkand
Young Adult / June 16, 2016

Bartimaeus #1. Author: Jonathan Stroud. Summary: Nathaniel is a boy dealing with many problems. As a magical apprentice, he was taken from his parents at five and given new magician caretakers. His teacher is cold and hard, and looks down on him; only the kindness of his wife makes it bearable. Publicily humiliated at age eleven, Nathaniel has been studying feverishly for a year and is ready to enact his revenge. First, he’ll summon a fourth-class djinni… Bartimaeus is a five-thousand year old djinni, and he knows that Nathaniel knows nothing of problems. Enslaved by one magician after another through the years, magically bound to carry out their bidding over anything else, all he wants is a bit of rest. Instead, an impudent twelve-year old has mastered the spells to control him, and now orders him to steal the Amulet of Samarkand. Bartimaeus knows exactly how much trouble they’re both plunging into… but what can he do? He’s only a djinni. My Thoughts: It took me a little while to warm up to the characters, neither of whom are particularly likeable. The first-person narrator has a particular knack for wry humor of a new sort, often building up a purple-prose…

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.  

Seventeen
Young Adult / June 16, 2016

Author: Booth Tarkington. Summary: A seventeen-year old young man, William Baxter, becomes infatuated with a young lady by the name of Miss Lola. He must content with fellow lads, an exasperating little sister, and the decrees of his parents – and Miss Lola is only staying for the summer! My Thoughts: Quite well done as a satire, I thought. However, I couldn’t stand either of the main characters, neither Lola with her baby talk and retinue of boys, nor William with his moping and showing off. Content Review: Sexual content: None. Language: 15 ‘Ye Gods’ exclamations, 4 d***, 2 darn, 1 derogatory term Violence: Second hand story that a suit was worn by a man who cut off a lady’s head.