The Night Circus
Adult / February 4, 2017

Author: Erin Morgenstern. Summary: Since youth, Celia and Marco have been trained to compete, even if in what they don’t really understand. Now the Night Circus has manifested, a magically beautiful travelling circus that enchants and dazzles spectators at night and vanishes in the morning. It is the unusual battleground for these two – but they have different ideas than their masters. Celia and Marco think collaboration might be better than competition, and that love is always better than hate. But they’ve been locked into this competition for too long… and everything, from the circus to the lives of its workers, hangs in the balance. My Thoughts: This is an unusually styled story. Not only does it span two decades, but it quite deliberately moves back and forth between showing and telling. Much is hinted at, outlined by a silhouette, but even in the end left untouched. In the end, I liked it. Although she may have an odd style, Erin Morgenstern has a skilled hand on the prose, and this became a dreamy beautiful work. The lack of information at times could be frustrating, but the book in itself was like the night circus; moving from one act to…

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….

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….

The Thirteen Days of Christmas
Uncategorized / January 4, 2017

Author: Jenny Overton. Summary: Annaple Kitson dreams of romance and being swept off her feet, so her family hatch an elaborate plan to help her sweetheart, Francis Vere, win her hand in marriage. When Francis arrives on Christmas morning with a partridge in a pear tree, Annaple is delighted! But that is only the first day of Christmas… My Thoughts: An absolutely delightful romance short! The rich-man-sweeps-village-girl-off-her-feet plot has been done before, but Jenny Overton puts a new twist on it. Annaple isn’t impressed by Francis’ wealth and ships, but she is a die-hard romantic, and through the conspiracy of her siblings Francis begins a new courting tactic on Christmas day. Thence ensures chaos and confusion, as Francis completely revamps their home, filling it with romantic animals, hiring carpenters to add a romantic pool and stream, and going so far as to hire performers to arrive outside her door each morning. Annaple goes through delight, irritation, horror, and all the way back at her lover’s devotion. A perfectly clean read for the kids, and highly amusing. Content Review: Sexual content: None. Language: None. Violence: None.  

Young Adult / December 27, 2016

Splintered: Extras. Author: A.G. Howard Summary: Alyssa Gardner went down the rabbit hole and took control of her destiny. She survived the battle for Wonderland and the battle for her heart. In this collection of three novellas, join Alyssa and her family as they look back at their memories of Wonderland. Content Review: Sexual content: Man stares indecently at girl, tries to force himself on her. Girl remembers boy forcing a kiss on her. Girl looks forward to her wedding night. Her betrothed comes into her changing room while she’s only wearing underthings. Wife mentions playing strip-chess with her husband. One birth. Some kissing. Fairies mentioned in past Splintered reviews. Two newly-weds consummate their marriage, no description, just a single sentence. Some kissing, and some verbal innuendo. Language: 4 bloody, 4 hell, 1 d***, 1 scatological term. Violence: One practice sword fight. Girl remembers boy forced a kiss on her, she bit off the tip of his tongue and broke his thumb. Character lifts girl by neck. Spiders choke a man, he stumbles backward and out a window. Boy is transformed into a monkey by poison. Character catches a tiny fairy, questions her using the nearness of iron, which is…

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…