Author: Marieke Nijkamp. Summary: 10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve. 10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class. 10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open. 10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting. Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minute...

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Author: Brandon Sanderson. Summary: Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elant...

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Finishing School #3. Author: Gail Carriger. Summary: Class is back in session…. Sophronia continues her second year at finishing school in style–with a steel-bladed fan secreted in the folds of her ball gown, of course. Such a fashionable choice of weapon comes in handy when Sophronia, her best friend Dimity, sweet sootie Soap, and the charming Lord Felix Mersey hijack a suspiciously empty train to return their chum Sidheag to her ...

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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:...

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Heist Society #2. Author: Ally Carter. Summary: Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life. Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world. That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners. There are only three problems. First, the gem ...

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Author: Neal Shusterman. Summary: Cara is so ugly, mirrors would rather break than show her reflection. Not even her own parents can deny her ugliness, and nothing can make up for the cruelty of her schoolmates. Tormented and tortured by the shallow people of Flock’s Rest, Cara’s life is miserable. Then Cara receives a shimmering note from some exotic place suggesting that there’s more to her than meets the eye. Cara wonders if her destiny has...

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Young Wizards #2. Author: Diane Duane. Summary: It all begins one summer night at a Long Island beach, when thirteen-year old Nita is nudged by a friendly dolphin and summoned to the aid of a wounded whale. Using their wizard powers, Nita and her sidekick, Kit, walk on the moonlit water to a distant sandbar, and there find S’reee, a whale-wizard who has been attacked by sharks. Content Review: Sexual content: Due to shapeshifting, the two end ...

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Six of Crows #2. Author: Leah Bardugo. Summary: Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam t...

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Lockwood & Co #2. Author: Jonathan Stroud. Summary: Lockwood & Co. hasn’t made much progress, for a rival agency keeps swooping in on their cases. Finally Lockwood makes a deal in exasperation – the next time they have a case in common, whoever solves it first will win, and the other must post a public declaration of inferiority. And soon after, they’re both called in to help excavate a suspicious coffin. Things get strange when it’s r...

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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:...

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House of Many Ways
Middle Grade / Juvenile / January 4, 2018

Howl’s Moving Castle #3. Author: Diana Wynn Jones. Summary: Charmain Baker is in over her head. Looking after Great-Uncle William’s tiny cottage while he’s ill should have been easy. But Great-Uncle William is better known as the Royal Wizard Norland, and his house bends space and time. Its single door leads to any number of places—the bedrooms, the kitchen, the caves under the mountains, the past, and the Royal Man...

Castle in the Air
Middle Grade / Juvenile / January 3, 2018

Howl’s Moving Castle #2. Author: Diane Wynn Jones. Summary: Far to the south of the land of Ingary, in the Sultanates of Rashpuht, there lived in the city of Zanzib a young and not very prosperous carpet dealer named Abdullah who loved to spend his time daydreaming. He was content with his life and his daydreams until, one day, a stranger sold him a magic carpet. That very night, the carpet flew him to an enchanted garden. Ther...

We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Adult / January 2, 2018

Author: Shirley Jackson. Summary: Merricat Blackwood lives on the family estate with her sister Constance and her Uncle Julian. Not long ago there were seven Blackwoods—until a fatal dose of arsenic found its way into the sugar bowl one terrible night. Acquitted of the murders, Constance has returned home, where Merricat protects her from the curiosity and hostility of the villagers. Their days pass in happy isolation until cousin Ch...

The Knights of Crystallia
Middle Grade / Juvenile / January 1, 2018

Alcatraz Vs. the Evil Librarians #3. Author: Brandon Sanderson. Summary: In this third Alcatraz adventure, Alcatraz Smedry has made it to the Free Kingdoms at last. Unfortunately, so have the evil Librarians–including his mother! Now Alcatraz has to find a traitor among the Knights of Crystallia, make up with his estranged father, and save one of the last bastions of the Free Kingdoms from the Evil Librarians. (Published Summar...

Howl’s Moving Castle
Middle Grade / Juvenile / December 31, 2017

Howl’s Moving Castle #1. Author: Dianne Wynn Jones. Summary: Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: t...

Wild Bird
Young Adult / December 29, 2017

Author: Wendelin Van Draanen. Summary: 3:47 a.m. That’s when they come for Wren Clemens. She’s hustled out of her house and into a waiting car, then a plane, and then taken on a forced march into the desert. This is what happens to kids who’ve gone so far off the rails, their parents don’t know what to do with them any more. This is wilderness therapy camp. The Wren who arrives in the Utah desert is angry and ...

2017 In Bullet Points
Outside the Reviews / December 24, 2017

2017 summed up in one bullet list of Important Events!   Took my first solo cross-country trip, plane flights and all, to see my best friend. Complete with very-nearly-missing a flight. Acquired a baby sister by nefarious means. Already feels like she’s been here forever! Got a pixie cut for the first time. Won my first short-story contest in June. Acquired my driver’s license: so I could drive to the library. Went t...

2018 Blogging Challenges
Outside the Reviews / December 21, 2017

Challenges, you say? ‘Tis the season to make unreasonable goals and take on a whole new pack of challenges. Ha, just kidding. I’m starting out small this year with just three blogging/reading challenges, all aimed at different aspects. First, there’s the awesome 2018 Discussion Challenge, hosted by It Starts at Midnight and Feed Your Fiction Addiction. The goal here is to do more “discussion” posts, inst...

Renegades
Young Adult / December 18, 2017

Renegades #1. Author: Marissa Meyer. Summary: Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice. The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies―humans with extraordinary abilities―who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew. Nova ...

Left Neglected
Adult / December 16, 2017

Author: Lisa Genova. Summary: Sarah Nickerson, like any other working mom, is busy trying to have it all. One morning while racing to work and distracted by her cell phone, she looks away from the road for one second too long. In that blink of an eye, all the rapidly moving parts of her over-scheduled life come to a screeching halt. After a brain injury steals her awareness of everything on her left side, Sarah must retrain her mind ...