Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection
Adult / January 24, 2017

Stormlight Archive #2.5. Author: Brandon Sanderson. Summary: The collection includes eight works in all. The first seven are: “The Hope of Elantris” (Elantris) “The Eleventh Metal” (Mistborn) “The Emperor’s Soul” (Elantris) “Allomancer Jak and the Pits of Eltania, Epsiodes 28 through 30” (Mistborn) “Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell” (Threnody) “Sixth of Dusk” (First of the Sun) “Mistborn: Secret History” (Mistborn) My Thoughts: Definitely an excellent addition to the cosmere. In the Arcanum Unbounded we get both new bits of story for characters and settings we’ve already seen, completely new stories on worlds we have not yet explored, and a good number of hints for even the densest of readers (such as myself) on the connection between Sanderson’s different story worlds. Content Review: Sexual Content: “She no longer wore her dress, and was wrapped in leathers that only just covered up her most intimate parts.” One kiss. “[The grain] was snatched up quicker than a pretty whore in Bavland.” Language: 19 d***, 19 hell, 5 derogatory terms Violence: Characters fight some monsters. Character remembers finding a little girl in the ruins of the murder of her family, soaked in blood (survivor, not killer). Blood-mage cuts a girl’s arm each day to…

Stars Above
Young Adult / January 5, 2017

Lunar Chronicles: Extras. Author: Marissa Meyer. Summary: The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories—and secrets—that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies? My Thoughts: Marissa Meyer allowed the setting to fade into the background this time, confident that her readers are familiar with it. The characters, however, are every bit as vivid as before. She delves into the past, revealing the history behind certain occurrences and relationships, then jumps forward once more with the last story. Overall they rounded the story out beautifully, but my one complaint was that one or two of the stories were quite disjointed, jumping into the past, than the future, than back to present – it was as though Meyer’s publishers decided to go ahead and publish all the extra bits of info she had. The Little Android alone was not related to the main stream of the series, but it was one of the more clearly-defined stories with its own sharp arc and bittersweet conclusion. And the wedding… the wedding managed to be…

Water
Young Adult / October 17, 2016

Tales of Elemental Spirits #1. Author: Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson. Summary: Seven tales describe magical beings that inhabit our waters. Some are familiar mer-people; some as strange as as a golden eye in a pool at the edge of the Great Desert Kalarsham, where the mad god Geljdreth rules; or the unknowable, immense Kraken, dark beyond the darkness of the deepest ocean, who will one day rise and rule the world. (Goodreads Summary) My Thoughts: I was kind of disappointed. The stories were fairly interesting, but they all felt just a little flat. Content Review: Sexual content: Girl comes upon her betrothed cheating on her: “Robert was lying there, with a very pretty girl. The very pretty girl had no clothes on.” Some kissing. Language: None Violence: Girl’s grief-ridden father falls into alcoholism, then beating her – this is told rather than shown. Sea-monster strikes boat and sinks it. Love Triangle: None.  

Book of Enchantments
Young Adult / August 15, 2016

Author: Patricia C. Wrede. Sumary: This short-story collection is composed of ten fantasy short stories, ranging from humorous to bitter-sweet. Unicorns, magic swords, curses, chipmunks and more populate the pages of these tales. My Thoughts: As always with short story collections, the tone and quality of individual stories fluctuates a bit. As a whole I found the book lighthearted, fun, and leaning towards the younger side of the audience. All the stories are set in a classic medieval fairy-tale setting, with the exception of two modern-day stories. Patricia has a wonderful sense of humor, keeping even the silliest stories interesting enough to hold the attention; but she is quite capable of writing a more serious fairytale, as shown in The Lorelei and The Earthwitch as well as others. My single favorite story was Stronger Than Time, a bittersweet retelling. Content Review: Sexual content: A man tries to marry his daughter off without her consent. Language: 2 d*** Violence: One rabbit is killed and eaten by werewolves. An invading army is killed wholesale, but very little description. A man cuts off his own hand.  

Here There Be Dragons
Middle Grade / Juvenile / July 25, 2016

Author: Jane Yolen. Summary: A lovely collection of dragon stories and poems, some fairy-tale, some original, and some verging on the eerie. Most illustrated beautifully. Content Review: Sexual content: A boy trades kisses with a girl so she’ll give him food. A hinted-at off-screen make out. Language: 2 d***, couple of made up terms. Violence: Everything is fairly non-graphic. A man is killed instantly by a dragon. Various animals killed by the same animal, and we are told it stole an infant. Dragon burns alive. A dragon fight in which neither is severely hurt, but there are some wounds.

The Anatomy of Curiosity
Young Adult / July 22, 2016

Authors: Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, Brenna Yovanoff. Summary: In an unassuming corner of Brooklyn, a young woman learns to be ladylike, to love context, and to speak her mind from a very curious sort of tutor. // In a faraway land convulsed by war, a young soldier hears the desert’s curious hum as he disarms bombs with the person he doesn’t know how to love. // In a place so shriveled by drought that any drowning is a curiosity, a young writer tries again and again to tread water beneath the surface of a vast and unusual sea. (Published summary.) My Thoughts: This story collection is designed for young writers / those interested in writing, in that each author explains a little about her writing processes and includes notes in the margins of the stories. These notes were quite interesting, but the stories stand strong alone whether or not you’re interested in the writerly side. The stories were unusual and vivid. Each had a different style, as is expected in a collection of different authors, but they all employed an unusual premise and striking imagery. An excellent, imagination-catching collection with bonus notes. Content Review: Sexual content: “As Petra disembarked the…

A Glory of Unicorns
Middle Grade / Juvenile / June 11, 2016

Author: Collected by Coville. Summary: A beautiful collection of unicorn stories. Clean and sparkling for little girls, to be sure, but these are not namby-pamby rainbow pets. These unicorns blaze like fire and run like the wind, and humans who dare touch them burn and bleed, taste heartbreak and loss, and are changed forever. Content Review: Sexual content: None. Language: None. Violence: Low, non-graphic.