Young Adult / June 24, 2017

Talon #4. Author: Julie Kagawa. Summary: Dragon hatchling Ember Hill was never prepared to find love at all–dragons do not suffer human emotions–let alone the love of a human and a former dragonslayer, at that. With ex-soldier Garret dying at her feet after sacrificing his freedom and his life to expose the deepest of betrayals, Ember knows only that nothing she was taught by dragon organization Talon is true. About humans, about rogue dragons, about herself and what she’s capable of doing and feeling. In the face of great loss, Ember vows to stand with rogue dragon Riley against the dragon-slaying Order of St. George and her own twin brother Dante–the heir apparent to all of Talon, and the boy who will soon unleash the greatest threat and terror dragonkind has ever known. Talon is poised to take over the world, and the abominations they have created will soon take to the skies, darkening the world with the promise of blood and death to those who refuse to yield. (Published Summary.) My Thoughts: Just a fluff-fantasy read because I hate not-finishing series. Simultaneously aggravated and delighted that Kagawa brought one of the characters ‘back from the dead’ (really just a…

Young Adult / February 19, 2017

Everlife #1. Author: Gena Showalter. Summary: Tenley “Ten” Lockwood is an average seventeen-year-old girl…who has spent the past thirteen months locked inside the Prynne Asylum. The reason? Not her obsession with numbers, but her refusal to let her parents choose where she’ll live—after she dies. There is an eternal truth most of the world has come to accept: Firstlife is merely a dress rehearsal, and real life begins after death. In the Everlife, two realms are in power: Troika and Myriad, longtime enemies and deadly rivals. Both will do anything to recruit Ten, including sending their top Laborers to lure her to their side. Soon, Ten finds herself on the run, caught in a wild tug-of-war between the two realms who will do anything to win the right to her soul. Who can she trust? And what if the realm she’s drawn to isn’t home to the boy she’s falling for? She just has to stay alive long enough to make a decision… My Thoughts: The concept was good. It had all the components for a metaphor. Firstlife is only a preparation for death, when we enter the everlife… where millennium will be spent on one side or the other….

Beautiful Darkness
Young Adult / January 8, 2017

The Castor Chronicles #2. Author: Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl. Summary: Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan’s eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there’s no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town’s tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems. My Thoughts: The first three-quarters of the book were just as bad as the first. The last quarter… well, it might have had something to do with how late the evening was getting. However, it was significantly more interesting and actually enjoyable. I’m also intrigued, wondering where the new developments will go, with the two changed to Light and the one new incubus. The magic edges close to Dark magic sometimes, which does not please me. After all, there’s the dark side. And there really doesn’t seem to be a religion at all. There is still a good chance I’ll continue with the series though, if only…

Young Adult / December 26, 2016

Splintered #3. Author: A.G. Howard. Summary: After surviving a disastrous battle at prom, Alyssa has embraced her madness and gained perspective. She’s determined to rescue her two worlds and the people and netherlings she loves. Even if it means challenging Queen Red to a final battle of wills and wiles . . . and even if the only way to Wonderland, now that the rabbit hole is closed, is through the looking-glass world–a parallel dimension filled with mutated and violent netherling outcasts. My Thoughts: I have major problems with the ending here. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. A.G. Howard has taken would could be a wonderful premise, woven it completely around the tension of a love triangle, and finally… completely failed to resolve this plot in any meaningful way. Content Review: Sexual content: Afore mentioned fairies. Girl in what is – basically – a bikini, has clothes painted on her by a boy. Two characters lie on ground together kissing. Two characters’ clothes dissolve, having been originally made of paint, and they are left in nothing more than underclothing. They end up kissing each other in this state. One completely confusing incident where a boy sends…

Young Adult / December 25, 2016

Splintered #2. Author: A.G. Howard. Summary: Alyssa Gardner triumphed over her trials in fairyland and made her way back to the human world. Now she’s ready to stay there, with the boy who’s earned her trust and the mother she barely knows yet. But when Morpheus shows up, everything goes wrong. Alyssa’s forced to keep him off, try to open herself to Jeb, explain herself to her mother, all while maintaining appearances at school despite dangerous signs appearing everywhere. And that’s not even counting her struggle to keep her dark-netherling half down. Can Alyssa do it? Will she be forced to abandon the human world once again for the world in which she is a dangerous queen… and worse yet, will she leave her human half behind? Content Review: Sexual content: Girlfriend thinks briefly about the fact that she’s a virgin, while she knows her boyfriend lost his virginity at 16. Boy brings girl to a secluded, romantically decorated spot and she wonders if he wants to “bring their relationship to the next step”. One character often uses innuendo, mostly teasing. Girl gets excited because she thinks her friend spent the night with her boyfriend (didn’t). Two occasions were girl/boy…

Seven Black Diamonds
Young Adult / October 28, 2016

Seven Black Diamonds #1. Author: Melissa Mar. Summary: Lilywhite Abernathy is a criminal. Her father’s “unconventional” business has meant a life of tightly held secrets, concealed weaponry, and a strict code. But Lily’s crime isn’t being the daughter of a powerful mob boss. Her guilt lies in the other half of her DNA—the part that can coax ancient rumors from stones and summon fire with a thought. Lily is part fae, which is a crime in her world. From the time before she was born, a war has been raging between humanity and fae. The Queen of Blood and Rage, ruler of both the Seelie and Unseelie courts, wants to avenge the tragic death of her heir—a death that was the fault of reckless humans. Lily’s father has shielded her from the repercussions of her ancestry…until she is sent to the prestigious St. Columba’s school, straight into the arms of the Black Diamonds. Mysterious, glamorous, and bound together in their mission but constantly at odds, Zephyr, Creed, Will, Roan, Violet, and Alkamy are a Sleeper cell of fae, planted in the human world to help destroy it from within. With covers as rock stars and celebrity children, the Black Diamonds…

The Woman Who Rides Like a Man
Young Adult / August 2, 2016

Song of the Lioness #3. Author: Tamora Pierce. Summary: Newly knighted, Alanna of Trebond seeks adventure in the vast desert of Tortall. Captured by fierce desert dwellers, she is forced to prove herself in a duel to the death — either she will be killed or she will be inducted into the tribe. Although she triumphs, dire challenges lie ahead. As her mythic fate would have it, Alanna soon becomes the tribe’s first female shaman — despite the desert dwellers’ grave fear of the foreign woman warrior. Alanna must fight to change the ancient tribal customs of the desert tribes — for their sake and for the sake of all Tortall. Content Review: Sexual content: “Some of the most intelligent women I knew growing up were prostitutes.” Multiple kisses. Girl moves her things into a man’s bedroom. Possibly implied sexual intercourse? If so, it’s vague enough implication I couldn’t be sure. Language: Low. Violence: Sword fight with hillmen in which several hillmen are killed. Magical fight, in which several hillmen are killed. Multiple foiled magical attacks, shaman dies from overusing his life force in magic. Man dies of illness.

Young Adult / July 28, 2016

Splintered #1. Author: A.G. Howard. Summary: Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now. When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her best friend and secret crush, or the striking but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own. (Published summary.) My Thoughts: This retelling of the Beauty and the Beast is set in the present and narrated from the point of view of the Beast, but beyond that is quite faithful to the…

In the Hand of the Goddess
Young Adult / July 27, 2016

Song of the Lioness #2. Author: Tamora Pierce. Summary: Disguised as a boy, Alanna of Trebond becomes a squire, to none other than the prince of the realm. But Prince Jonathan is much more to Alanna; he is her ally, her best friend, and one of the few who knows that she’s really a girl. Now it will take all of Alanna’s skill, strength, and growing magical powers to protect him from the mysterious evil sorcerer who is bent on his destruction, and hers! Content Review: Sexual content: Character wonders what sex is like. Character flirts with other characters. The prince and some girl – “Soon they were sleeping together- sometimes.” Multiple kisses. One character starts to undress another, but she stops him. Language: 2 d***, 2 derogatory names Violence: Two sword fights to show skill, both of which devolve into a serious fight. One battle, in which character helps heal the wounded and sees a friend die. Sorcerer uses spell to nearly kill character.

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…