Greenglass House
Middle Grade / Juvenile / February 14, 2017

Greenglass House #1. Author: Kate Milford. Summary: It’s wintertime at Greenglass House. The creaky smuggler’s inn is always quiet during this season, and twelve-year-old Milo, the innkeepers’ adopted son, plans to spend his holidays relaxing. But on the first icy night of vacation, out of nowhere, the guest bell rings. Then rings again. And again. Soon Milo’s home is bursting with odd, secretive guests, each one bearing a strange story that is somehow connected to the rambling old house. As objects go missing and tempers flare, Milo and Meddy, the cook’s daughter, must decipher clues and untangle the web of deepening mysteries to discover the truth about Greenglass House-and themselves. (Goodreads summary) My Thoughts: Greenglass House was lying around the house when I picked it up, and I didn’t realize it was middle grade at first (a good sign), not because of adult content but because the writing style was actually interesting and non-condescending. Our two main characters, Milo and Meddy, start investigating a seemingly minor mystery just to pass the time – but the further they go, the more tangled it gets, and the events at the house only add to it. As more questions are raised, their quest…

Beautiful Redemption
Young Adult / January 10, 2017

The Castor Chronicles #4. Author: Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl. Summary: Is death the end . . . or only the beginning? Ethan Wate has spent most of his life longing to escape the stiflingly small Southern town of Gatlin. He never thought he would meet the girl of his dreams, Lena Duchannes, who unveiled a secretive, powerful, and cursed side of Gatlin, hidden in plain sight. And he never could have expected that he would be forced to leave behind everyone and everything he cares about. So when Ethan awakes after the chilling events of the Eighteenth Moon, he has only one goal: to find a way to return to Lena and the ones he loves. Back in Gatlin, Lena is making her own bargains for Ethan’s return, vowing to do whatever it takes — even if that means trusting old enemies or risking the lives of the family and friends Ethan left to protect. (Goodreads summary) Content Review: Sexual content: Some kisses, flirting. Language: 4 scatological terms, 4 uses of hell, 2 derogatory names, 1 d*** Violence: One paranormal killed by sunlight, one killed by garden shears to the heart, one killed by fire, and one killed by having…

Beautiful Chaos
Young Adult / January 9, 2017

The Castor Chronicles #3. Author: Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl. Summary: Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena’s Claiming. Even Lena’s family of powerful Supernaturals is affected – and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What — or who — will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin? For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He’s being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn’t by Lena – and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself — forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn’t know why, and most days he’s too afraid to ask. Sometimes there isn’t just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there’s no going back. And this time there won’t be a happy ending. (Goodreads Summary) My…

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…

Beautiful Creatures
Young Adult / January 7, 2017

The Castor Chronicles #1. Author: Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl. Summary: Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever. Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them. In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything. (Goodreads Summary) My Thoughts: If you’ve ever wondered what paranormal romance is like, I think you can read this to get a feel as to what it’s all like. It manages to embody almost all the clichés. MC is stuck in a boring little town, plans to get out as soon as possible. Until a new kid moves in, of course – a gorgeous, strange new kid whom nobody else likes at all. Cue the insta-love….

Ghostly Echoes
Young Adult / January 1, 2017

Jackaby #3. Author: William Ritter. Summary: Jenny Cavanaugh, the ghostly lady of 926 Augur Lane, has enlisted the investigative services of her fellow residents to solve a decade-old murder—her own. Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, Detective R. F. Jackaby, dive into the cold case, starting with a search for Jenny’s fiancé, who went missing the night she died. But when a new, gruesome murder closely mirrors the events of ten years prior, Abigail and Jackaby realize that Jenny’s case isn’t so cold after all, and her killer may be far more dangerous than they suspected. Fantasy and folklore mix with mad science as Abigail’s race to unravel the mystery leads her across the cold cobblestones of nineteenth-century New England, down to the mythical underworld, and deep into her colleagues’ grim histories to battle the most deadly foe she has ever faced. (Goodreads summary.) Content Review: Sexual content: One kiss. Language: 3 d***, 3 derogatory terms, 1 hell Violence: Man tries to steal life-force from another character. Nixie attacks people with water. Ghost throws bathtub around and smashes it through a wall. MC comes across a couple of kids tormenting a girl and drives them off. Other: There’s a transgender…

Beastly Bones
Young Adult / December 17, 2016

Jackaby #2. Author: William Ritter. Summary: I’ve found very little about private detective R. F. Jackaby to be standard in the time I’ve known him. Working as his assistant tends to call for a somewhat flexible relationship with reality . . . In 1892, New Fiddleham, New England, things are never quite what they seem, especially when Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, R. F. Jackaby, are called upon to investigate the supernatural. First, members of a particularly vicious species of shape-shifters disguise themselves as a litter of kittens. A day later, their owner is found murdered, with a single mysterious puncture wound to her neck. Then, in nearby Gad’s Valley, dinosaur bones from a recent dig go missing, and an unidentifiable beast attacks animals and people, leaving their mangled bodies behind. Policeman Charlie Cane, exiled from New Fiddleham to the valley, calls on Abigail for help, and soon Abigail and Jackaby are on the hunt for a thief, a monster, and a murderer. (Published summary.) Content Review: Sexual content: One kiss Language: 4 d***, 1 derog Violence: Characters find dead bodies. They find carnage (blood and splinters) of what used to be animals. Find man badly wounded by monster…

Jackaby
Young Adult / November 23, 2016

Jackaby #1. Author: William Ritter. Summary: Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane—deny. (Published summary.) My Thoughts: The premise is rather hackneyed. An eccentric detective and his clever assistant, off to solve the crimes even the police fail on? It’s been done before. Kind of a lot. But the paranormal aspect is new, and Ritter’s grasp of mythology is admirable. Rather than going with the cliched paranormals that are everywhere right now, like vampires and werewolves, he’s taken in their lesser-known cousins to weave an unusual murder mystery. And even if cliched, Jackaby was an interesting, amusing, and…

Endlessly
Young Adult / September 5, 2016

Paranormalcy #3. Author: Kiersten White. Summary: In Endlessly, pink-loving, butt-kicking Evie has way too much on her to-do list. Paranormals are begging her to open a faerie gate so they can leave the human world, something Evie’s not sure she has the power to do. The Dark Queen is torturing humans and must be destroyed. On top of all that, Evie’s prom is coming up. She’s not sure what to wear, and, oh, yeah, her shape-shifting boyfriend, Lend, has been cursed so that he falls into an enchanted sleep whenever he and Evie are in the same room…and even Evie’s ex-boyfriend, the faerie Reth, can’t reverse the dark magic. An epic battle is looming, and the choices Evie makes will determine the fate of whole paranormal world—and her own life. (Published summary.) My Thoughts: Morally, what Reth does is wrong. He manipulates and lies to Evie, using her for his own purposes. But… yeah, his summary of her behavior when she confronts him is exactly on. As he points out, Evie is more interested in her boyfriend than helping the paranormals of the world. As they beg for the help only she can give them, she whines about how hard…

Supernaturally
Young Adult / August 17, 2016

Paranormalcy #2. Author: Kiersten White. Summary: Evie finally has the normal life she’s always longed for. But she’s shocked to discover that being ordinary can be…kind of boring. Just when Evie starts to long for her days at the International Paranormal Containment Agency, she’s given a chance to work for them again. Desperate for a break from all the normalcy, she agrees. But as one disastrous mission leads to another, Evie starts to wonder if she made the right choice. And when Evie’s faerie ex-boyfriend Reth appears with devastating revelations about her past, she discovers that there’s a battle brewing between the faerie courts that could throw the whole supernatural world into chaos. The prize in question? Evie herself. So much for normal. (Published summary.) My Thoughts: Almost nothing happens in this book, especially on-screen. Evie goes to school and complains about how boring normal life is after all; she lies to Lend about any number of things and goes on a couple of dates with him; and gets nearly killed several times in company with Jack, but this is nothing new. I was quite disappointed with the loss of interest. Content Review: Sexual content: Some kissing, mostly off screen….