Ancient One, by T.A. Barron (book review) – forest & livelihood both in peril

book cover of The Ancient One by T.A. Barron published by Puffin | recommended on BooksYALove.comA vanished people,
towering trees of mystery,
a chance to save the world…

Now out in paperback for its 25th anniversary, Merlin Saga author T.A. Barron’s tale of a young teen striving to complete a perilous quest even as she mourns her parents’ deaths is an adventure and a celebration of the interconnectedness of life, as it weaves together old secrets, ancient peoples, time travel, and an evil bent upon conquering the world.

When have you stood strong against wrong?
**kmm

Book info: The Ancient One / T.A. Barron. Puffin Books, 2016 (paperback); Philomel Books, 1992. [author site]  [publisher site]  [author video about book] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: At her aunt’s Oregon home, grieving teen Kate helps Aunt Melanie try to stop out-of-work loggers from destroying a newly discovered redwood grove and is hurtled back in time to meet nature beings and Native peoples who are struggling to prevent an evil force from overtaking their world. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Send to Kindle

Girl About Town, by Adam Shankman & Laura L. Sullivan (book review) – Hollywood, guns, greed

book cover of Girl About Town by Adam Shankman & Laura L. Sullivan published by Atheneum Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comOh, to be a movie star!
Oh, to have enough to eat, at last!
Oh no! Murder witnesses have few choices…

This story set in the early days of “talkies” during the Great Depression is told by rising starlet Lulu (formerly Lucille in the Lower East Side tenements) and by Freddie the hobo (otherwise known as the richest man in America’s sole heir) after they both witness killings that change their lives.

Head on over to Hollywood to see how their paths intersect far from their New York City homes and former social circles, as murder and mystery go from script to reality in Lulu’s latest film.

Girls, guys, guns, gosh….
**kmm

Book info: Girl About Town / Adam Shankman & Laura L. Sullivan. Atheneum Books, 2016.   [Adam’s bio] [Laura’s Facebook] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: On the same night in 1931, two teens witness murders in the Big Apple – she is whisked away from slum to Hollywood while he leaves luxury behind to hit the rails as a hobo.

Elevated from poverty to movie starlet, Mob murder witness Lulu must keep quiet so her family in New York City will stay alive.

Running away from his wealthy family, Freddie bums his way from New York to California, trying to escape the murder he saw committed in his own home.

On the set of “Girl About Town” in Hollywood, a prop gun suddenly fires a real bullet into a rival starlet, and Lulu pulled the trigger!

All the smoke and mirrors, gossip columnists and sugar daddies, rising stars and wannabees of Hollywood’s golden age get the full cinematic treatment as Lulu and Freddie try to find out who loaded that gun and who wants them both to pay for someone else’s crime.   (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Send to Kindle

Hearts & minds are unsure – Audiobooks on love & memory

This week’s free audiobooks from SYNC delve deep into hearts and minds, asking why we cannot control them.

From today (6/23/16) through Wednesday, you can download either or both of these complete audiobooks and listen to them as long as you keep them on your computer or electronic device.

Thank you, publishers!

CD audiobook cover of Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan | Read by Nicholas Robideau and a full cast Published by Full Cast Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.comBoy Meets Boy (download link here)
by David Levithan
Read by Nicholas Robideau and a full cast
Published by Full Cast Audio

The path to love twists and turns, even at Paul’s high school where gender is a non-issue (cross-dressing quarterback and motorcycle-riding cheerleaders are just everyday pals) as he is smitten by new guy Noah who barely looks his way.

 

Donny’s Brain (download link here)Cd audiobook cover of Donny's Brain by Rona Munro | Read by Paul Fox, Jared Harris, Siobhán Hewlett, Moira Quirk, Sophie Winkleman Published by L.A. Theatre Works | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Rona Munro
Read by Paul Fox, Jared Harris, Siobhán Hewlett, Moira Quirk, Sophie Winkleman
Published by L.A. Theatre Works

After a terrible auto crash, Donny cannot remember the past 3 years of his life. What to do when he knows his long-ago ex-wife, but not his steadfast girlfriend?

Can we ever presume to know someone else’s innermost self?
**kmm

Send to Kindle

Museum of Heartbreak, by Meg Leder (book review) – why can’t it all stay the same?

book cover of Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comThe perfect trio of friends,
all that she needs in life,
but not all that they need…

Pen seems such a clinging friend, sure that a romance from her favorite classic books will magically appear. But when she finally realizes that life changes, despite all her efforts to make time stand still, she discovers that you usually have to create happy endings yourself.

Ask for this new release at your local library or favorite independent bookstore to see if carefully cataloging significant items makes heartbreak any easier to bear.

Mementos of broken relationship – save or toss?
**kmm

Book info: The Museum of Heartbreak / Meg Leder. Simon Pulse, 2016. [author Twitter]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As her best friends Audrey and Eph embrace other relationships, Penelope cowers in familiar routines until she ventures to handsome Keats’ party and finds herself heartbroken more than once.

Pen stumbles across their New York City high school’s literary magazine club after Audrey starts hanging out with snobby Cherisse after French Club.

Eph’s dad works with Pen’s at the Museum of Natural History; the dinosaur skulls may wait in that attic, even as dinos hide in all Eph’s amazing cityscape sketches.

Beautiful boy Keats actually talks to Pen! (how can he be bad, Audrey?) Junior year might be okay after all … maybe.

Why do her best friends need other friends?
How do they know Keats isn’t a nice guy?
Why is change so difficult for her?

As Pen reflects on new guy and old friends, she must come to terms with the impermanence of things and the depths of her own feelings.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Send to Kindle

Amy Snow, by Tracy Rees (book review) – posthumous treasure hunt & possibilities

book cover of Amy Snow by Tracy Rees published by Simon & Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.comA beautiful, stubborn only child,
an abandoned baby,
a defining friendship during a too-short life.

As young Queen Victoria begins her long reign and railroads start crisscrossing England, nearly-grown Aurelia and Amy get glimpses of freedom and possibilities that have long been denied to women of their era.

Read the first chapter here free (thanks, Simon & Schuster!) as young girl Aurelia discovers infant Amy in a snowbank and begins a friendship that will transform both their lives.

A treasure hunt (with cipher and code along the way), a journey (past despair and expectations), and a promise – but is it worth it for Amy to follow Aurelia’s posthumous clues?
**kmm

Book info: Amy Snow / Tracy Rees. Simon Schuster Paperbacks, 2016.  [author Twitter]  [publisher site]  [author interview video] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When wealthy young girl Aurelia insists on keeping abandoned baby ‘Amy’, both grow up to defy the roles set for them by British society as Aurelia’s early death sends Amy on an unchaperoned cross-country journey to fulfill her last wishes.

Diagnosed with a fatal heart condition at 16, Aurelia escapes being married (what terrible men as suitors!) and escapes from Hatfield Court to travel briefly, leaving 10 year old Amy without her only friend, misunderstood by the servants, and much despised by Lady Vennaway.

Upon Aurelia’s death at 18, Amy receives her friend’s sketchbook, a little money, then a secret packet just before she’s banished from Hatfield. A letter from Aurelia tells her to travel to London! on one of those new trains! to find a bookshop? where Amy will locate more instructions.

As Amy meets people whom vibrant Aurelia befriended during her travels, she starts to come out of her shell, consider what might have kept Aurelia away from home so long, and even begins thinking about what may lie ahead for herself.

Will Amy ever discover the tiniest detail about her parentage?
Why don’t some of Aurelia’s traveling letters match up with the places that she visited?
When, oh when will this traveling end so that Amy may be free to discover her own future?

An exciting historical novel that celebrates friendship, chances, choices, and love.

Save

Send to Kindle

Fiction shows difficult truths in free audiobooks

More free audiobooks from SYNC so you can read with your ears!

Each download period runs from Thursday through Wednesday, so grab this pair of strong stories now – you have free use of them as long as you keep them on your computer or electronic device.

CD cover of audiobook How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon | Read by Cherise Boothe, Shari Peele, Kevin R. Free, Patricia R. Floyd, Avery Glymph, Korey Jackson, Hubert Point-Du Jour, Peter Jay Fernandez, Ezra Knight, Myra Lucretia Taylor, Brian Hutchinson Published by Recorded Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com How It Went Down (download here June 16-22)
by Kekla Magoon
Read by Cherise Boothe, Shari Peele, Kevin R. Free, Patricia R. Floyd, Avery Glymph, Korey Jackson, Hubert Point-Du Jour, Peter Jay Fernandez, Ezra Knight, Myra Lucretia Taylor, Brian Hutchinson
Published by Recorded Books

I recommended this many-voiced story in early 2015 here – still relevant, alas still being repeated.

Black teen Tariq is shot by white Jack – now police, neighbors, family, and friends of both men try to untangle this not-so-simple tale.

The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (download here June 16-22)CD cover of audiobook Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson | Read by Alan Bomar Jones Published by Tantor Media | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by James Weldon Johnson
Read by Alan Bomar Jones
Published by Tantor Media

As the first fictionalized memoir published by a black author, this compelling look at the life and travails of a biracial man strongly influenced many authors of the Harlem Renaissance and rings true today.

How can fiction help us reflect on real life?
**kmm

Send to Kindle

Arena, by Holly Jennings (book review) – virtual reality, too-real pain

book cover of Arena by Holly Jennings published by Ace Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comVirtual reality is safe combat, right?
Not in this future professional gaming league!

Oh sure, VGL gamers only die digital deaths in this near-future tournament, but every kick and sword strike causes true bodily pain. And when the lines between reality and the Arena start to blur… watch out!

Go to the publisher’s site here to read an excerpt as you port into the Arena with Kali, facing pain and death from more than just game opponents!

Would you fight in virtual reality if you could feel the pain?
**kmm

Book info: Arena / Holly Jennings. Ace Books, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As first-ever female captain, Kali wants to lead her virtual gaming team to the top, but when Nathan’s death in real life erases him from VGL record books and she starts to flip uncontrollably between reality and game-world, the teen begins to question this system that entertains the masses with make-believe sword duels that leave marks on the gamers.

New teammate Rooke challenges Kali to lead using The Art of War and other books that she studied with her Chinese family as a child – but is a tournament win all that he wants from her?

Keep the viewers happy – put on a great show as you win!

Keep the sponsors happy – party hard in public after you win!

Keep the team owner happy – train even harder so that you win more!

This near-future world celebrates the illusion of winning as camouflage for its too-real problems of addiction, rage, and control.

Send to Kindle

Love and Gelato, by Jenna Evans Welch (book review) – Italy! Family! Really??

book cover of Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.com Travel abroad!
Meet her missing dad!
Read mom’s journal and wonder if…

After her mom’s death, Lina is bombarded with changes – moving to Italy where her mother studied photography in college, meeting the dad she never knew, maybe even falling in love!

But it’s all so fast, and the entries in her mom’s journal are like a puzzle that she must solve, even if the answers raise more questions!

Family secrets – unearth them or let them stay hidden?
**kmm

Book info: Love and Gelato / Jenna Evans Welch. Simon Pulse, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Leaving Seattle for sunny Italy, Lina mourns her late mother, worries about meeting her father for the first time, and is sure that going to school in a new country will be terrible, until her dad’s co-worker brings the journal that Mom kept while she was a photography student here and Lina meets the cute Italian-American guy next door.

Mom’s journal brings up so many questions – what does “I made the wrong choice” mean?

Her dad Howard is a nice man, but why doesn’t Lina have even one physical feature like him?

Ren helps her find all the places Mom mentions in her journal, but is he just interested in Lina as a friend?

Not just a simple “American teen in Europe for summer meets true love” story, Lina’s search for answers as she tries to find a future without Mom is by turns heart-wrenching and hopeful. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Send to Kindle

Apart and together – 2 voices tell the tales, audiobook-style

The 2016 free SYNC audiobooks program continues with a pair of stories told in two voices.

Your free download of these 2 complete audiobooks begins Thursday (June 9, 2016) and ends late night Wednesday (June 15, 2016). Once you have downloaded them, you can listen to them with the free Overdrive app (used by many libraries) as long as you keep the files on your computer or electronic device.

Bookmark the SYNC site now so you can download great audiobooks all summer long: http://www.audiobooksync.com/

CD cover of audiobook I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson | Read by Julia Whelan, Jesse Bernstein Published by Brilliance Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.comI’ll Give You the Sun (download here)
by Jandy Nelson
Read by Julia Whelan, Jesse Bernstein
Published by Brilliance Audio

In their early teens, twins Jude and Noah are so close. What happened to make them nearly strangers at age 16? Each has half the story and all the pain – can they find a way to become whole again?

 

Zac and Mia (download here)CD cover of audiobook Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts | Read by Kristin Condon, Nicholas Mondelli Published by Dreamscape Media | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by A.J. Betts
Read by Kristin Condon, Nicholas Mondelli
Published by Dreamscape Media

Cancer patients Zac and Mia couldn’t be more different, but when they’re released from their Australian hospital, the teens discover that they must be together, each relating their tale of their newfound friendship.

Two novels each told in two voices – what changes our relationships?
**kmm

Send to Kindle

Positivity Kit, by Lisa Currie (book review) – better your life, better yourself!

book cover of The Positivity Kit by Lisa Currie published by TarcherPerigee | recommended on BooksYALove.comGood times,
great memories,
just waiting to uplift you!

Seize the happy moments, large and small, that have made you chuckle and nearly snort milk out your nose.

Map out what you’re looking forward to most in the future.

Memorialize your favorite snack foods and Good Choices Made in Life So Far.

Happy book birthday to The Positivity Kit! Ask for it today at your favorite independent bookstore so that you can list, doodle, and chronicle your way to a happier and more positive you.

Share a “recent moment of pure joy” in the comments, please!
**kmm

Book info: The Positivity Kit: Instant Happiness on Every Page / Lisa Currie. TarcherPerigee, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Create “instant happiness on every page” of The Positivity Kit as you record wonderful experiences, thoughts, and joys using its interactive and intriguing prompts to look past boring days and bad moods.

Capture perfect moments – Favorite quotes from favorite movies, Top 20 countdown of the Best Moments of My Life So Far, wish list & got list – with your favorite pen and colored pencils, so that you can page back through this witty do-it-yourself book whenever you need a pick-me-up.

Whether it’s the 7 New Holidays that you’re introducing this week, the Ongoing List of Things I Like About Myself, or your illustrated packing list for an Escape to Paradise, every happy thing that you doodle, jot down, color, and list will contribute to your future positive outlook on life and your current grin as you remember and celebrate.

Keep The Positivity Kit on your bedside table to end your day in gratitude for the good things you’ve experienced, to derail negative thoughts on sleepless nights, or to start your day on an uplifting note – all experienced and documented by you yourself!

Send to Kindle