Soldier
Young Adult / January 31, 2017

Talon #3. Author: Julie Kagawa. Summary: The price of freedom is everything. When forced to choose between safety with the dragon organization Talon and being hunted forever as an outcast, Ember Hill chose to stand with Riley and his band of rogue dragons rather than become an assassin for Talon. She’s lost any contact with her twin brother, Dante, a Talon devotee, as well as Garret, the former-enemy soldier who challenged her beliefs about her human side. As Ember and Riley hide and regroup to fight another day, Garret journeys alone to the United Kingdom, birthplace of the ancient and secret Order of St. George, to spy on his former brothers and uncover deadly and shocking secrets that will shake the foundations of dragons and dragonslayers alike and place them all in imminent danger as Talon’s new order rise. (Goodreads summary) My Thoughts: Feels like this series has gone downhill. Talon was a fun action-romance with a twist, and it worked well that way. But now Julie Kagawa is combining dystopia with romance, and as so often, it doesn’t work. Ember is agonizing over her love-triangle choice while she ought to be thinking about her plans, her loyalties, her brother….

The Forgetting
Young Adult / January 26, 2017

Author: Sharon Cameron Summary: What isn’t written, isn’t remembered. Even your crimes. Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person’s memories – of parents, children, love, life, and self – are lost. Unless they have been written. In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn’t written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten. But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence – before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her. (Goodreads summary) My Thoughts: Definitely an interesting premise with room for lots of discussion. I didn’t feel like the scope of the actual story…

Extreme Makeover
Young Adult / January 25, 2017

Author: Dan Wells. Summary: Lyle Fontanelle is the chief scientist for NewYew, a health and beauty company experimenting with a new, anti-aging hand lotion. As more and more anomalies crop up in testing, Lyle realizes that the lotion’s formula has somehow gone horribly wrong. It is actively overwriting the DNA of anyone who uses it, turning them into physical clones of someone else. Lyle wants to destroy the formula, but NewYew thinks it might be the greatest beauty product ever designed–and the world’s governments think it’s the greatest weapon. (Goodreads Summary) My Thoughts: Not the type of story I ‘enjoy’, with characters I disliked and ethics I could not agree with, (as you might imagine the situation brought the worst out in people) but the apocalyptic concept was clever. Dan Wells took an odd scenario (DNA-rewriting lotion) and took it through all the logical, and perhaps less-than-logical, permutations the greed of man would convert it to. Content Review: Sexual Content: “This is a very tight industry,” said Sumy. “Everyone in health and beauty is in bed with everyone else,” (this is presumably metaphorical). Man approached by hookers on the street. Some fairly intense kissing, man thinks of/wishes for sex. World-leaders…

The Jewel
Young Adult / November 25, 2016

The Lone City #1. Author: Amy Ewing. Summary: The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring. Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life. Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence… and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for. (Published summary). My Thoughts: You know, I thought the dystopia dichotomy was doing quite well, if a little trite, until the completely unnecessary romance…

The Roar
Young Adult / October 23, 2016

Author: Emma Clayton. Summary: A pair of twins have been separated, one thought dead, but both still feel a link with the other. It proffers unexplainable information as strange things start happening on one side of The Wall – and on the other, the second twin is imprisoned, furious with knowledge of deceit and trickery but unable to react. My Thoughts: The Roar seems almost aimed for middlegrade rather than YA, with a simpler and more ‘tell’ style of writing and a correspondingly simple premise/explanation. No doubt its dystopian aspect is what bumped it up. Still, an enjoyable read. Content Review: Sexual content: None. Language: Frag/fragging Violence: Plane fight, two planes are destroyed. Virtual reality games in which airplanes are destroyed. Robot fish and seals are killed. One character is shot in the thigh. One boy nearly strangles another. Mind control via implants. Love Triangle: No.  

Genesis
Adult , Young Adult / October 5, 2016

Author: Bernard Beckett. Summary: Genesis is a dystopian story with a twist. It explores questions such as: what does it mean to be conscious? Can a robot be alive? The whole story takes place over four hours in a single building, through the narration of a student testing for entrance to The Academy. It leaves you with many more questions than answered. My Thoughts: Genesis can feel a bit slow at parts on the first time through, as there isn’t much action. What action there is comes through the story told in dialogue, and all happened some time ago. But the book isn’t that long, and the ending turns everything on its head. The second read through is completely different, as you see and ponder things that went right past your attention before. I thought it was a very interesting and thought-provoking read. Content Review: Sexual content: A transcript conversation has a character saying he would “Like a woman. Right here, right now. You could watch.” Language: Two f***, three scatological terms, one a** Violence: One character shoots another, there is a (told, not shown) fight in which eleven men are killed. It is mentioned that early prototypes of robots…

Hunter
Young Adult / August 6, 2016

Hunter #1. Author: Mercedes Lackey. Summary: To Joyeaux Charmand, who has been a Hunter in her tight-knit mountain community since she was a child, every Cit without magic deserves her protection from dangerous Othersiders. Then she is called to Apex City, where the best Hunters are kept to protect the most important people. Joy soon realizes that the city’s powerful leaders care more about luring Cits into a false sense of security than protecting them. More and more monsters are getting through the barriers, and the close calls are becoming too frequent to ignore. Yet the Cits have no sense of how much danger they’re in—to them, Joy and her corps of fellow Hunters are just action stars they watch on TV. When an act of sabotage against Joy takes an unbearable toll, she uncovers a terrifying conspiracy in the city. There is something much worse than the usual monsters infiltrating Apex. And it may be too late to stop them… Content Review: Sexual content: Two kisses. A hug. One character playfully warns another that gossip runs rife, and if she’s not careful the vid-feeds will have her and her mentor a couple. Woman mentions having a wife. Character remembers…

Crewel
Young Adult / July 19, 2016

Crewel world #1. Author: Gennifer Albin. Summary: Incapable. Awkward. Artless. That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: She wants to fail. Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen to work the looms is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to manipulate the very fabric of reality. But if controlling what people eat, where they live, and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested. Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and used her hidden talent for a moment. Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her dad’s jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape. Because tonight, they’ll come for her. My Thoughts: This should have been a good read. It really, really should have. Spinners who weave time and space to create their reality… a girl…

Island of Fire
Middle Grade / Juvenile / May 1, 2016

Unwanteds #3. Author: Lisa McMann. Summary: The magical world of Artimé is gone. The Unwanteds have no food, no water, and no hope. And everyone is looking to Alex Stowe for answers. Overwhelmed and feeling totally helpless, Alex knows it’s up to him to find a way to restore Artimé, rescue his captive friends, and free Megan from her voice-stealing necklace of thorns – three impossible tasks. But could help lie with the silent, orange-eyed newcomers? Meanwhile, Alex’s twin brother Aaron continues to build his army in the stark land of Quill, preparing for the ultimate showdown with the Unwanteds. But a shocking twist reveals that Alex and Aaron share a common enemy more dangerous than either could have imagined… (Goodreads summary.) Content Review: Sexual content: One kiss, some talk about whether a character ‘likes’ specific girls. Language: 4 crud Violence: Two men snatch food from a boy and run. A prisoner is kept tied up in the cupboard most of the day. A girl who was captured is dragged away and the boy has to be kicked down to keep from following them out. High priest sends his own father to be executed, but then rescinds the order. A…

Island of Silence
Middle Grade / Juvenile / April 30, 2016

Unwanteds #2. Author: Lisa McMann. Summary: The battle is over. The magical barrier between the dreary land of Quill and the fantastical world of Artimé is gone. Now residents of both places are free to mingle, but tensions are high. The artistic warriors of Artimé struggle to forgive those in Quill who condemned them to death, while the Quillens attempt to recover from the shock of Artime’s existence, the loss of their leader, and the total collapse of their safe, orderly world. 14-year-old Alex Stowe has recovered from his physical wounds since his death-defying role in Artime’s victory, but his confidence is shattered. He battles self-doubt after Artimé’s beloved mage, Mr. Today, makes a stunning request, which is further complicated by the mysterious arrival of two silent, orange-eyed teenagers. Meanwhile in Quill, Aaron is devastated by his fall from grace and seething with anger toward his twin brother Alex. Spurred by rage, Aaron recruits a team of Restorers and devises a masterful plan of revenge that will return him to power…if no one gets in his way. My Thoughts: Lisa McMann has ratcheted up the tension another notch, bringing Aaron in much more prominently and giving us a little more…