The Glittering Court
Young Adult / June 16, 2016

Glittering Court #1. Author: Richelle Mead. Summary: The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court. Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training, and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court. When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and then when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor. But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would…

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Young Adult / June 16, 2016

Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1. Author: Laini Taylor. Summary: Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low. And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war. Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out. (Published summary – it’s just so perfect, I couldn’t write you anything better.) My Thoughts: On my second read-through, I’m not quite as sure what captured and pulled me in so hard. After all, on the surface this story has a number of elements that I disdain in general. The main character and love-interest are both literally inhumanly beautiful. They feel an instant connection, and love follows…

In Real Life
Young Adult / June 16, 2016

Author: Jessica Love. Summary: Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since 8th grade. They talk for hours on the phone, regularly shower each other with presents, and know everything there is to know about one another. There’s just one problem: Hannah and Nick have never actually met. Hannah has spent her entire life doing what she’s supposed to, but when her senior year spring break plans get ruined by a rule-breaker, she decides to break a rule or two herself. She impulsively decides to road trip to Las Vegas, her older sister and BFF in tow, to surprise Nick and finally declare her more-than-friend feelings for him. Hannah’s surprise romantic gesture backfires when she gets to Vegas and finds out that Nick has been keeping some major secrets. Hannah knows the real Nick can’t be that different from the online Nick she knows and loves, but now she only has night in Sin City to figure out what her feelings for Nick really are, all while discovering how life can change when you break the rules every now and then. (Summary from Goodreads.) My Thoughts: I’d recommend this if you enjoy drama, angsty romance set in Las…

The Beginning Place
Adult / June 16, 2016

Author: Ursula K. LeGuin. Summary: Fleeing from the monotony of his life, Hugh Rogers finds his way to “the beginning place”–a gateway to Tembreabrezi, an idyllic, unchanging world of eternal twilight. Irena Pannis was thirteen when she first found the beginning place. Now, seven years later, she has grown to know and love the gentle inhabitants of Tembreabrezi, or Mountaintown, and she sees Hugh as a trespasser. But then a monstrous shadow threatens to destroy Mountaintown, and Hugh and Irena join forces to seek it out. Along the way, they begin to fall in love. Are they on their way to a new beginning…or a fateful end? My Thoughts: Wasn’t really to my taste at all. I never connected with the characters, who are both very interior-developed types without much explanation, and the plot was never explained. Content Review: Sexual content: Simple statement that a man in bed fantasizes about a waitress, imagines suckling at her breasts, and so pleasures himself. Father tries to sexually molest his step-daughter multiple times, and she tries to never be alone with him. Unmarried man and woman engage in sexual intercourse. Language: 6 scatological terms, 5 d***, 3 derogatory terms, 2 hell, 1 F-word…

Seventeen
Young Adult / June 16, 2016

Author: Booth Tarkington. Summary: A seventeen-year old young man, William Baxter, becomes infatuated with a young lady by the name of Miss Lola. He must content with fellow lads, an exasperating little sister, and the decrees of his parents – and Miss Lola is only staying for the summer! My Thoughts: Quite well done as a satire, I thought. However, I couldn’t stand either of the main characters, neither Lola with her baby talk and retinue of boys, nor William with his moping and showing off. Content Review: Sexual content: None. Language: 15 ‘Ye Gods’ exclamations, 4 d***, 2 darn, 1 derogatory term Violence: Second hand story that a suit was worn by a man who cut off a lady’s head.  

The Girl With Borrowed Wings
Young Adult / May 16, 2016

Author: Rinsai Rossetti. Summary: Controlled by her father and bound by desert, Frenenqer Paje’s life is tediously the same, until a small act of rebellion explodes her world and she meets a boy, but not just a boy–a Free person, a winged person, a shape-shifter. He has everything Frenenqer doesn’t. No family, no attachments, no rules. At night, he flies them to the far-flung places of their childhoods to retrace their pasts. But when the delicate balance of their friendship threatens to rupture into something more, Frenenqer must confront her isolation, her father, and her very sense of identity, breaking all the rules of her life to become free. My Thoughts: This romance contrasts adventure with familiarity, freedom with safety. It’s not deep, nor life-changing, nor epic. It’s just the story of a boy and girl falling in love, intertwined with the story of a girl trying to escape the walls of abusive authority even as she struggles to understand who she is without those rules. I loved Sangris, wild and laughing and caught, through every aspect. I enjoyed Frenenquer’s voice, with her knack of description and lovely quotes. And I enjoyed the slow development of the romance. Too many…

The Siren
Young Adult / May 1, 2016

Author: Kiera Cass. Summary: Years ago, Kahlen was rescued from drowning by the Ocean. To repay her debt, she has served as a Siren ever since, using her voice to lure countless strangers to their deaths. Though a single word from Kahlen can kill, she can’t resist spending her days on land, watching ordinary people and longing for the day when she will be able to speak and laugh and live freely among them again. Kahlen is resigned to finishing her sentence in solitude…until she meets Akinli. Handsome, caring, and kind, Akinli is everything Kahlen ever dreamed of. Falling in love with a human breaks the Ocean’s rules. But for the first time in a lifetime of following the rules, Kahlen is determined to follow her heart. Sexual content: Girl wears revealing dress, a couple men stare at her in bar. Character is aware that a friend-siren has “affairs” with men on land. One kiss. Character reveals to another that she has a daughter, although she was never married. My Thoughts: A kind of cute romance story with an interesting character in the form of the Ocean, but it takes the trend of insta-love over the top. Kahlen has only…

The Forbidden Wish
Young Adult / April 23, 2016

Author: Jessica Khoury. Summary: Zahra, jinni of the lamp and prisoner of old, is released from her lamp for the first time in centuries when Aladdin finds it. Haunted by the death of the only friend she ever had, Zahra must try to keep herself from growing too attached to Aladdin as she waits for him to choose his wishes… especially when the jinni king offers her freedom in return for help rescuing his son from the humans. But as the two go through trial and hardship together, hiding Zahra from the flautists who would imprison her and moving Aladdin into place to start a revolution, Zahra begins to realize she has failed in the worst way possible. And her king is coming to exact his payment. Zahra must make her decision, give her alliance and risk her life for one side or the other, once and for all. My Thoughts: A fluffy, rather middling retelling of the story of the lamp. It is set in a desert/kingdom type, but not Arabia; it is clearly a new world by the author. This actually seemed a good choice. Had Khoury gone ahead and set it in Arabia the potential for failure…