A Dragon of a Different Color
Young Adult / August 1, 2017

Heartstrikers #4. Author: Rachel Aaron. Summary: To save his family from his tyrannical mother, Julius had to step on a lot of tails. That doesn’t win a Nice Dragon many friends, but just when he thinks he’s starting to make progress, a new threat arrives. Turns out, things can get worse. Heartstriker hasn’t begun to pay for its secrets, and the dragons of China are here to collect. When the Golden Emperor demands his surrender, Julius will have to choose between loyalty to the sister who’s always watched over him and preserving the clan he gave everything to protect. (Published Summary.) My Thoughts: Well, I enjoyed it, but A Dragon of a Different Color wasn’t as good as the previous books. I imagine Rachel Aaron had all this awesome worldbuilding done that she really wanted to give her readers… so she tied plot twists to each discovery, and crammed them all together. And it was exciting and fun and illuminating, but – it was also crammed. It felt like the entire book was just a series of twists and reveals, with never enough down time to process the new reveal or even to just enjoy the new characters introduced. The…

The Girl with All the Gifts
Young Adult / August 19, 2016

Author: M. R. Carey. Summary: Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her “our little genius.” Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad. Content Review: Sexual content: One soldier to another: “Maybe pick a fight with someone or get laid”. A man internally thinking about how life has it in for him, thinks that the “first girl who ever let him roll her” gave him a disease, the second became pregnant and he abandoned her before realizing the depth of his feelings. Character (man) is too exhausted to fantasize about the glimpse he caught of a woman partly clothed. Scavenging for food, a soldier finds a shelf of pornographic magazines….

Nice Dragons Finish Last
Young Adult / June 15, 2016

Heartstrikers #1. Author: Rachel Aaron. Summary: Julius Heartstriker has just been tossed out of his parent’s home, where he spent most of his time in his bedroom online. He’s in the big city now, with a job offered by his older brother – searching for a missing person. All this sounds quite normal. Julius, however, is a dragon. He may quite literally be killed if he doesn’t accomplish this task, a last chance to prove himself, and the runaway he’s hunting for – a dragoness – will be enspelled and dragged back to her home. Julius had better shape up fast and figure out which way his life is going, with help from a feisty human-mage, (no, she’s not my human, mother), his mysterious seer brother Bob whose predictions come true 80% of the time and are un-understandable 100% of the time, and another brother, Justin, the brawn of the outfit. My Thoughts: A fun, fast-paced read. The characters are distinct and interesting, from our main character – an unfortunate nice dragon born into a savage brood – to the FMC, with her dangerous past and determination and distinctly quirky housing and work arrangements. The setting is also unusual and vivid;…

Alas, Babylon
Adult / May 16, 2016

Author: Pat Frank. Summary: “Alas, Babylon.” Those fateful words heralded the end. When a nuclear holocaust ravages the United States, a thousand years of civilization are stripped away overnight, and tens of millions of people are killed instantly. But for one small town in Florida, miraculously spared, the struggle is just beginning, as men and women of all backgrounds join together to confront the darkness. (Summary from Goodreads) My Thoughts: A compelling post-apocalyptic survival story. More than the inferno and devastation men have brought to the world, this is a story about character and personality. A story about men who harden and adapt to a new world, and men who would rather die when everything they know is gone. There’s no quick, easy solution. No cavalry to come to the rescue. Their world is irrevocably changed, flung backwards in time, and Survive or Die is once more the motto. Content Review: Sexual content: Character thinks she catches another character spying on her with binoculars while she’s changing. “Everybody knew that Randy dated lots of girls, and not all of them virgins.” A couple of kisses. Describing a woman, character says her ‘hobby was men’. One unorthodox marriage. Language: 26 d***,…