In early days of Oz, A Fiery Friendship works for good, by Lisa Fiedler, illustrated by Sebastian Giacobino (book review)

book cover of A Fiery Friendship, by Lisa Fiedler, illustrated by Sebastian Giacobino, published by Margaret McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comWhen Glinda was a schoolgirl
and the Brick Road didn’t shine brightly,
Oz existed, long-historied already…

Every well-known story has a “before” – before the crisis threatens, before the heroes awaken, before the epic battle.

Gabriel Gale’s Ages of Oz series brings us the “before” for Glinda the Good and other citizens of Oz, before Dorothy and Toto followed that familiar yellow brick road, as “the Royal Historian of Oz” allows another to be called “author” so these stories can be published in our world.

Look for book 2, A Dark Descent, in May 2018 as A Fiery Friendship comes out in paperback.

How do you know when a convenient alliance becomes a friendship worth fighting for?
**kmm

Book info: A Fiery Friendship (Gabriel Gale’s Ages of Oz, book 1) / Lisa Fiedler, illustrated by Sebastian Giacobino. Margaret McElderry Books, 2017. [illustrator site] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: On her Declaration Day, Glinda’s future becomes less certain, as the Scroll doesn’t reveal her foretold occupation, her mother is imprisoned for magic by the Witch of the South, and the young teen is contacted by a secret society intent on reclaiming Oz from its four wicked rulers.

The yellow-hued land of Quadling under Asphidina is only golden for those favored by the Harvester queen, who forbids magic use by most.

Glinda can rescue her mother from Asphidina’s floristic prison – if the magic cards briefly seen have seeped into her very being.

Locasta from purple Gillikin land and Sam from another world entirely – youth joining her to fight ancient Wickedness.

Secrets uncovered will free the four lands of Oz from their bondage – if these friends survive long enough!

First in a series recounting the long-ago history of Oz, Glinda’s new friendships mingle with old prophecies, setting the stage for the Yellow Brick Road story so well-known to us. Followed by A Dark Descent.
text and illustration from A Fiery Friendship by Lisa Fiedler, art by Sebastian Giacobino, published by McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Away to Mars, maybe – Love, Ish, by Karen Rivers (book review)

book cover of Love, Ish,  by Karen Rivers, published by Workman | recommended on BooksYALove.comPreparations for Mars mission – ongoing.
Hoping for rain – always.
Missing her best friend – must cut that memory off. Entirely.

Everything was easier before Tig moved away! Now Ish has to cope with a brain tumor and seventh grade without him…

Find this March 2017 release at your local library or favorite independent bookstore to see how Ish’s applications to the Mars Now program are received.

When your best friend moves away, what next?
**kmm

Book info: Love, Ish / Karen Rivers. Algonquin Young Readers, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Certain that she will someday be selected for a Mars mission, 12 year old Ish lists everything that she’ll miss about Earth, like former best friend Tig and the island on their drying-up California lake, and what she won’t miss, like how Tig never calls from Oregon and the cancer that started hurting her brain and how her sister hates her.

No denying that starting seventh grade is terrible without Tig here, or that Ish was surely adopted with cute older sister Elliott because they were a package deal.

No good reason that Mars Now has rejected Mischa Love’s application 47 times, or that new friend Gavriel can’t be a girl if he wants to be.

A brain tumor the size of a brussels sprout – not Ish’s favorite vegetable.
Radiation treatments – Ish doesn’t like her red hair, but she doesn’t like it falling out either.
Dreams of Mars, all the dreams – never let them stop!

Maybe it will finally rain here in Lake Ochoa again, and maybe Ish can squash that tumor, and maybe she can get to Mars with Tig…

Her soul dangerously called by Song of the Current, by Sarah Tolcser (book review)

book cover of Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser, published by Bloomsbury | recommended on BooksYALove.comAs the river-gods sing, boats are safe on the river,
but they aren’t singing to her yet…
will they deny her?

Following in her father’s footsteps should be easy, but Caro hasn’t been Gifted yet, months and months past time. She will have to captain their boat anyway, and the dangers are more than just sandbars and river pirates now!

What has come to you later than you expected?
**kmm

Book info: Song of the Current / Sarah Tolcser. Bloomsbury, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: By carrying a secret cargo aboard her family’s river wherry to a seaport, Caro hopes to save her father from unjust imprisonment, but the teen soon finds the crate in her boat’s hold is worth more than mere gold and may cost her life!

Soon, the river gods will sing in Caro’s blood, as they’ve done in all the Oresteia wherry captains in her family’s long history… long overdue, but perhaps soon.

The country’s ruler demands that a heavy crate go now to a sea island, and it falls to Caro and crewmember Fee to take it, out of the safe bends of the river, away from the pirates also seeking it, onto the too-deep ocean waters.

Forbidden to open the crate, Caro does…
Seeking assistance from her mother’s family, Caro dares…
Believing this strange young man’s outlandish story, Caro risks…

The fates of two nations collide on a quiet riverbank, as a young woman who wants only to captain her wherry must travel further than she ever dreamed and face dangers she never imagined in order to save her father’s life and find justice amid webs of political intrigue and glimmers of love. (followed by Whisper of the Tide, May 2018)

Chaos of Standing Still, grief-numbed as life moves on, by Jessica Brody (book review)

book cover of The Chaos of Standing Still by Jessica Brody, published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comSurvivor’s guilt
Constantly seeking answers on her phone –
Will Ryn stay stuck on what happened last year forever?

A year ago, a month ago, even a day ago, Ryn couldn’t have imagined that she’d be smiling (okay, be made to smile by guy who’s also hiding pain) on the anniversary of such trauma.

How do two teens stranded in an airport by New Year’s Eve blizzard make one another’s lives better in such a short time? Read the first chapter here free (courtesy of publisher) as Ryn and Xander meet, very much by accident.

Advice on moving on after stunning events?
**kmm

Book info: The Chaos of Standing Still / Jessica Brody. Simon Pulse, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Stranded in an airport on New Year’s Eve, she worries for the millionth time about that unread text message from her best friend, but Ryn can’t open it, can’t move past losing Lottie 364 days ago, doesn’t want to be alone or with anyone for that terrible anniversary. Xander would rather be blizzard-bound in the Denver airport than be with his famous child-expert parents or stay at the faraway school where they sent him.

Maybe not so random that Ryn and Xander get their identical Dr. Who phones mixed up. Or that he’s the first person she really begins to tell about how lovely, zany Lottie made Ryn’s boring, predictable life so much more. Or that she is the one person who might see Xander for himself instead of as a biracial extension of his celebrity parents.

That flight attendant looks just like Lottie, grown-up… the last career wish of her ever-changing list.

Ryn’s parents moved to different cities after the divorce…like leaving Portland would erase tragedy.

When the runways are cleared for departure, what future will Ryn and Xander be flying toward?

Geology trek with Lowriders to the Center of the Earth, by Raul the Third & Cathy Camper (book review)

book cover of Lowriders to the Center of the Earth by Cathy Camper, art by Raul the Third, published by Chronicle Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comEarthquake! ¡Terremoto!
It’s all shaking!
…and their cat is missing!

Time to travel again with Lupe, Elirio, Flappy, as the Lowriders follow their friend Genie deep into the earth, down into the realm of Mictlantehcutli, Lord of the Dead.

The same author-artist team brought us Lowriders in Space, which I recommended here. Check out the book trailer videos for both books, too!

How far have you traveled to help a friend?
**kmm

Book info: Lowriders to the Center of the Earth (Lowriders, book 2) / Cathy Camper; illustrated by Raul the Third. Chronicle Books, 2016. [author site] [illustrator site] [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When an earthquake frightens Genie cat away from the garage, the Lowriders race to find him, right into a volcano filled with mythic creatures of Central America!

Trickster Coyote tries to keep the friends trapped in a corn maze with his outrageous puns, but they follow Genie’s terrified meows toward territory of legends.

Can impala master mechanic Lupe steer the lowrider safely through Earth’s Outer Core?
How can octopus Flappy distract La Llorona so they can sneak into the Realm of the Dead?
Will Mictlan’s love of bones keep them there forever?

This graphic novel is the Southwest itself, with Spanish words jumping into every sentence like Elirio the mosquito zings around every danger, footnotes and endnotes explaining all like Lupe keeps the Lowriders team working together, and Raul the Third’s art bringing details from the oldest of stories to today’s wrestling and dip-drop lowrider cars.

Fossil-hunt feud & love – Every Hidden Thing, by Kenneth Oppel (book review)

book cover of Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel published by Simon & Schuster BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.comIn the West, huge discoveries await!
Giant bones, tremendous deadly teeth,
and only one searcher can be the first to find them!

Early days of paleontology in America were more rough and tumble than scientifically sedate, and this two-voices tale of double-crosses, dangerous digging, and surprising love captures the race for fame and naming rights so well.

Read the first chapter here, courtesy of the publisher (I love when this free peek is offered!), then head to your local library or independent bookstore to continue the search for bones…really big bones.

Ever fallen in love with ‘the enemy’ – according to your family and friends?
**kmm

Book info: Every Hidden Thing / Kenneth Oppel. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Their fathers racing to uncover dinosaur fossils in the West, Rachel and Samuel seek their own prizes from the prehistoric world – she to be recognized as a scientist in her own right, he to find the first complete T. Rex skeleton – but treachery on Native American lands and their own fathers’ feud may bury their dreams.

It didn’t start with the fistfight between two learned paleontologists at the Academy, and it didn’t end there, because Rachel Cartland’s father had sneaked one fossil set from the New Jersey bog where Samuel Bolt’s father was digging, then denied Bolt a teaching post at Yale, then finally leapfrogged the Bolt team to the Badlands where Pawnee hunted and dinosaur bones waited to be found.

Bones sent to Mr. Bolt hint of the location of T. Rex at last – why is Prof. Cartland heading the same place with his army of helpers?

Despite warnings from his scout, Cartland and company vandalize a Sioux death memorial – does the professor care nothing for humans?

Both teams spy on the others – will this rivalry result in more injuries, damaged priceless specimens, death?

Told alternately by Samuel and Rachel, this tale of the adventurous early days of paleontology includes the discovery of unknown dinosaurs, legends come to life, and love amid the dust of the frontier.

K/drama-inspired, I Believe in a Thing Called Love, by Maurene Goo (book review)

book cover of I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maureen Goo, published by Margaret Ferguson Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comGrades = stellar!
Extracurriculars = outstanding!
Romance = zero, zip, zilch.

Once she sees Luca, Desi is ready to make him fall in love with her – and she has the perfect step-by-step plan in her dad’s extensive K Drama series video collection!

Read the first chapter here (thanks to publisher!), then head to your local library or independent bookstore for this 2017 novel and its many, many kinds of drama.

Any dating ‘flailures’ on your love-life list?
**kmm

Book info: I Believe in a Thing Called Love / Maurene Goo. Margaret Ferguson Books, 2017.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: With a plan, she can do anything – so Desi decides that cute new guy Luca will become her first-ever boyfriend, through the tried-and-true steps from the Korean dramas that her father loves so much – what could possibly go wrong?

Super-student, soccer star Desi is determined to get into Stanford, honoring her late mother and making her dad proud. But in the romance department, she’s had zero success.

Moody artist Luca’s arrival at her California high school makes Desi willing to risk yet another possibly humiliating try at flirting and relationships.

But wait! What if she simply used the steps that every Korean drama romance follows?

Despite warnings from her best friends (who’ve seen too many of her flirting ‘flailures’), Desi outlines her “K Drama Steps to True Love” and goes after Luca!

Flat tire blowout, romantic boat ride turned rescue, graffiti-enhancement missions… what?!

First kiss, yes! First boyfriend, likely! (as long as Luca doesn’t find out that Desi is directing their every move toward love…)

Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow in 1909 London, by Katherine Woodfine (book review)

book cover of Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine, published by Kane Miller Books  | recommended on BooksYALove.comSuch a fancy new department store!
How lucky that Sophie landed a job there in Ladies’ Hats!
How dreadful that the prized Clockwork Sparrow was stolen…and that Sophie is a suspect!

And how very fortunate that orphaned Sophie finds allies in the store who help her solve the mystery and are willing to risk crossing paths with the evil Baron of 1900s London’s crime underworld!

The author introduces her Sinclair’s Mysteries in this video (love listening to her British accent!) and takes us to real-life London locales which inspired them.

How do you stand by your friends in difficult times?
**kmm

Book info: Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow (Sinclair’s Mysteries, book 1) / Katherine Woodfine. Kane Miller Books, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Locked-room mystery, mysterious strangers, and even stranger deliveries make Sinclair’s Department Store of London an intriguing place to work in the early 1900s, but teens Sophie (Ladies’ Hats, recently orphaned) and Lillian (dress model, between acting jobs) discover that a missing clockwork bird holds dangerous secrets within its jeweled feathers.

How can apprentice porter Billy help the police?
Is the Clockwork Sparrow more than a beautiful music box?
Why is underworld crime boss The Baron involved?

First in the series featuring our determined young ladies and their friends in high places and low neighborhoods as they deal with ciphers, codes, churlish villains, and social class.

Twin decisions = You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone, by Rachel Lynn Solomon (book review)

book cover of You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comGrandma died from this terrible disease,
Now their mother has it (rather, it has her in its grip) –
do the twins have Huntington’s Disease, too?

What a way to start their senior year, waiting on the genetic testing results… Both girls have their lives all mapped out, but what if this incurable neurological disease is part of their future, too?

Scroll down on this page to read the first chapter, by Adina, courtesy of the publisher, then ask for this January 2, 2018 release at your local library or independent bookstore.

Better to get the test and know for sure, or wait it out?
**kmm

Book info: You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone / Rachel Lynn Solomon. Simon Pulse, 2018. [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Adina loves playing viola, Tovah takes AP courses for best pre-med college admission, and both twins worry about whether they’ll inherit the disease that’s stealing away their mother’s life – this genetic test at age 18 will be the pass/fail for life.

The Seattle teens may look alike, speaking Hebrew and English at home, but they are so different – Adina sharing her Israeli-born mother’s love of old movies, Tovah as big a Nirvana fan as her dad and with him drawn deeper into their Jewish faith.

When the test shows that Adina has Huntington’s disease and Tovah doesn’t, the gap between them begun by an earlier incident widens, and the sisters struggle through senior year separately – Adina ardently pursuing her music and her mid-20s viola tutor while Tovah waits anxiously for acceptance to Johns Hopkins and decides she may finally have time to be with artistic Zack.

As their mother’s neurological symptoms worsen, Adina becomes certain that hers will begin early.
As the university admissions office is stubbornly silent, Tovah wonders if her years of hard work were enough.

Told in alternating chapters by the sisters, this story of faith, hopelessness, and hope spans a year of loss and love.

Dad? Dad? I am Right Where You Left Me! by Calla Devlin (book review)

book cover of Right Where You Left Me, by Calla Devlin, published by Atheneum BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.comMissing after earthquake,
Dad’s been kidnapped!
CIA says don’t interfere

No way that photographer Charlotte and Mom will sit on their hands and wait for Dad to be freed, some far-off day!

What a crazy time to fall in love, to sidestep friends’ advice to ignore Josh, to have senior year deadlines looming while waiting and waiting to hear about her journalist father!

Read the first pages here (free, courtesy of the publisher), then ask for this Sept. 2017 release at your local library or independent bookstore – remember, Small Business Saturday is Nov. 25th!

When is it time to take matters into your own hands?
**kmm

Book info: Right Where You Left Me / Calla Devlin. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When Charlotte’s reporter dad goes missing in the Ukraine after an earthquake, she’s ready to jump on the next plane and search for him – until the CIA says he’s been kidnapped by rebels, and any interference by the San Francisco teen or her Russian-born mom will doom him.

Dad’s disappearance shatters her senior year planning college together with best friend Emma and her contentment as school newspaper photographer (on staff with long-time crush Josh!), and Charlotte fears that Mom may retreat into depression that even baking and baking won’t prevent.

Why can’t the ransom be paid to free Dad?
Will Mom ever fully recover from losing Charlotte’s big sister to crib death?
Is Emma right that dating Josh would harm Charlotte’s future?

Love and loss continue to intertwine in Charlotte’s life, as she pushes past her own cautious nature to discover which expectations are worth leaving behind – for her happiness and her family’s future.