Making friends or Papa’s best cakes – PIE IN THE SKY dreams? by Remy Lai (book review)

book cover of Pie in the Sky, by Remy Lai. Published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Everything is different,
no one understands –
moving to a new country is so hard!

Jingwen feels like like an alien when Mom moves him and little brother to Australia, especially when Yanghao picks up English so much faster than he can. Or maybe a ghost, since his classmates hardly include him in anything because he’s so quiet.

Only remembering Papa’s special cakes makes him happy (and sad), so he decides to bake each one, just as Papa taught him back in the family bakery after all the plain, inexpensive ones were done.

Why did Mama decide to emigrate, even after Papa died?
Why can’t Jingwen understand English better? Why?
Will he be held back at school to be in little brother’s class next year!?

Illustrated middle grade novel with so much heart! (and fantastically yummy descriptions of Papa’s cakes)

How can we understand others when words don’t connect us?
**kmm

Book info: Pie in the Sky, by Remy Lai. Henry Holt and Company Books for Young Readers, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Extraordinary life stories – listen up! #audiobooks for all

Most of us would say that we lead unexceptional lives. That’s why we’re so intrigued by celebrities and folks whose lives are anything but ordinary.

This week, we get to listen in on the lifestories of superstars in the world of sport and the world of art, with two free audiobooks from AudioSYNC (thanks again, publishers!).

Click on a title below by Wednesday 17 July 2019, follow the easy directions at the AudioSYNC page, and you can keep the downloaded free audiobook on your device as long as you wish.

CD cover of Becoming Kareem,  by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar | Read by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Published by Hachette Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Becoming Kareem, by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Read by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Published by Hachette Audio

US basketball legend recounts his life from boyhood in New York through his professional career and onward as an activist for social change, sharing the many lessons learned from his mentors.

CD cover of Vincent and Theo,  by Deborah Heiligman | Read by Philip Fox Published by Dreamscape Media  | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Vincent and Theo, by Deborah Heiligman

Read by Philip Fox

Published by Dreamscape Media

The Van Gogh brothers shared dreams and heartaches throughout their lives, with Vincent leaving their family home to pursue his art and Theo later giving him a place to stay and work in Paris. Based on their lifetime of correspondence.

What other biographies would you recommend?
**kmm

All’s fair in love & baseball?? STEALING HOME, by Becky Wallace (YA book review)

book cover of Stealing Home, by Becky Wallace. Published by Page Street | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The players are on the field,
concession stand is busy –
time to play ball!

Ryan lives and breathes her family’s minor league baseball team every summer, planning to become the first female general manager in the league after college.

Young players don’t stay in the minors long on their way up to the Texas Rangers in the big leagues, so Ryan swears she’ll never date one, but there’s something about just- arrived Campbell…

Whoa! Mom wants to sell out her half of the team?! Even though it’s hard work to get sponsors and pay the bills, the 17 year old loves what the team brings to their small Texas town and will find a way to stop this!

Happy book birthday today to Stealing Home!

How hard would you work to save your family’s dream?
**kmm

Book info: Stealing Home / Becky Wallace. Page Street Publishing, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

With her math journal & new friends, she’s SOLVING FOR M – #MGlit by Jennifer Swender, illustrated by Jennifer Naalgichar (book review)

book cover of Solving for M, by Jennifer Swender, illustrated by Jennifer Naalgichar, published by Crown Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Mom rushes to doctor appointment not on their calendar,
The fifth grade art teacher thinks drawing isn’t important,
Mika isn’t in any classes at all with her BFF!

But Mr. Vann’s math class turns out to be more fun than she could imagine -“One to a customer! Bonus points! Show your work, thinkers!” Mika really likes sketching her artistic math journal entries and makes new friends who love science puns and ballet.

Uh-oh…that small mole on Mom’s leg isn’t a small problem after all – how many cancer treatments until everything is okay?

Why does the principal always come by Mr. Vann’s class when they’re loud and moving around to demonstrate a math problem?

Why is their school advertising for a new fifth grade math teacher?

Grab this debut novel now and see Mika’s math journal as she works out problems numeric and otherwise. Read a sample chapter free here at the publisher’s website = one of my favorite 2019 titles!

If old friends don’t equal now-friends, how do you solve for new friends?
**kmm

Book info: Solving for M / Jennifer Swender, illustrated by Jennifer Naalgichar. Crown Books for Young Readers, 2019. [author site] [illustrator site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Death repeats itself – murderous tales to read with your ears!

Americans are drawn into deathly peril and ghostly intrigue in England with this week’s pair of free, professionally produced audiobooks from AudioSYNC.

Choose one! Choose both! Just be sure to click on the title below and download before they roll off the free list on Wednesday 10 July 2019.

CD cover of The Name of the Star, by Maureen Johnson, Read by Nicola Barber Published by Brilliance Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The Name of the Star, by Maureen Johnson

Read by Nicola Barber

Published by Brilliance Audio

A Jack the Ripper copycat begins terrorizing London just as Rory arrives at boarding school from her small Louisiana town.

Why is she the only witness who can see the killer?

CD cover of The Canterville Ghost,  by Oscar Wilde | Read by Rupert Degas Published by Naxos AudioBooks | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The Canterville Ghost, by Oscar Wilde

Read by Rupert Degas

Published by Naxos AudioBooks

The ghost of Canterville Chase mansion is having little luck in frightening the American family who has moved in.

Time to rattle more chains and start spooking harder!

Any copycat crimes or ghostly encounters in your travels abroad?
**kmm

Our freedoms secured by INVISIBLE HEROES OF WORLD WAR II #YAlit by Jerry Borrowman (book review)

book cover of Invisible Heroes of World War II, by Jerry Borrowman. Published by Shadow Mountain | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Battling uphill against relentless gunfire,
Surviving tropical torture camps,
Building a bridge today & blowing it up tomorrow…

So many World War II stories concentrate on the big-name heroes we saw in our history textbooks, but thousands upon thousands of people with their own talents, strengths, and courage helped the Allies win.

Meet individuals like photojournalist Dickey Chapelle who made a name for herself as one of the first ’embedded journalists’ during the War and socialite Nancy Wake who worked for the French Resistance, taking escaped Allied prisoners to safety by train, right under the noses of the Nazis in Vichy France.

This book also notes the heroism of groups such as the Nisei Japanese-American Purple Heart Battalion fighting in Europe while their families were interned in concentration camps in the US, the Navajo Code Talkers whose top-secret service went unrecognized for decades, and the combat engineers keeping the US Army moving over land, marshes, and rivers.

The author of Compassionate Soldier (I recommended it here) brings us another good balance of personal stories and collective histories, rarely discussed and well-known, all worth discovering.

What under-told stories of heroism might be found in your family’s old letters, photo albums, and tales shared at family gatherings?
**kmm

Book info: Invisible Heroes of World War II: Extraordinary Wartime Stories of Ordinary People , by Jerry Borrowman. Shadow Mountain, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

The link between WILD AND CROOKED surprises everyone, #YAlit by Leah Thomas (book review)

book cover of Wild and Crooked, by Leah Thomas. Published by Bloomsbury | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Old scandals have their own life span,
roles of tragic hero and heartless villain already set –
but what if there’s more to the story?

Son of a murdered man, Gus tries to push past cerebral palsy‘s effects on his body and small-town gossip about his moms, but high school is still brutal.

Called back to dad’s hometown after Grandma’s stroke, Kalyn enrolls in school using another name, her dad being a murderer in prison and all that.

Of course, Gus and Kalyn meet and become friendly before they figure out the connection… and that’s just the start of this wild ride of secrets, outright lies, tangled friendships, and squinting at the truth.

Ever befriended someone whose past needs forgetting?
**kmm

Book info: Wild and Crooked / Leah Thomas. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019. [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Also by this author: Because You’ll Never Meet Me – no-spoiler recommendation here

Getting schooled? #YAlit to read with your ears!

For some kids, high school will be the best years of their lives – but only for some kids.

Being bullied for being different is the reality for too many kids, and this week’s free AudioSYNC audiobooks bring us some of their stories.

Remember, after you click the title (FREE now through Wednesday, 3 July 2019) and download the professionally produced audiobook, you can keep it as long as you like.

CD cover of Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass,  by Meg Medina | Read by Roxanne Hernandez Published by Candlewick on Brilliance Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, by Meg Medina

Read by Roxanne Hernandez

Published by Candlewick on Brilliance Audio

Piddy doesn’t even know who Yaqui is, but her relentless bullying erodes the teen’s self-confidence bit by bit, affecting her schoolwork and her relationships.

CD cover of Heretics Anonymous,  by Katie Henry | Read by Michael Crouch Published by HarperAudio  | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Heretics Anonymous, by Katie Henry

Read by Michael Crouch

Published by HarperAudio.

An atheist teen is less than thrilled to move (again) and attend Catholic school. Feminist Lucy (aspiring priest) introduces him to others who don’t fit in at St. Clare’s – maybe Heretics Anonymous is his safe place, too?

What can you do to keep people safe?
**kmm

How can he love her, the most WICKED FOX? by Kat Cho (YA book review)

book cover of Wicked Fox, by Kat Cho. G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

An evil man’s soul sucked dry under Seoul’s full moon,
a human teen attacked by a goblin nearby,
who exactly is the new girl at his school?

Jihoon’s carefully cultivated disdain for schoolwork and academic status hides his insecurities about being abandoned to grandmother’s stern and loving care.

New student Miyoung tries to be unremarkable, but her supernatural beauty and strength alert the haters, like at the half-human spirit-fox’s last school.

Only by feeding on the gi life-force of humans can Miyoung and her full-gumiho mother stay immortal – now a detective is finding a pattern in ‘random’ murders during each full moon.

Both fatherless, their mothers distant, feeling so alone in the world… as their paths cross and recross – during full moons and at school – Jihoon and Miyoung start to fall for one another.

But Miyoung uses her greatest secret strength to save Jihoon during an attack which leaves his grandmother in a coma and both teens vulnerable to forces seeking to destroy them!

The legend of the nine-tailed gumiho’s origin threads through this tale of love and sacrifice – Happy #bookbirthday to The Wicked Fox!

How much would you give up to save someone you loved?
**kmm

Book info: Wicked Fox (Gumiho, book 1) / Kat Cho. G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Tales a-wandering – to read with your ears!

Another summer Thursday, another pair of great FREE audiobooks to download at AudioSYNC!

Click on a title below and follow the easy instructions to get your own copy to keep (yes, you can have both) by Wednesday, 26 June 2019.

Thanks to all the publishers who provide us 28 professionally produced audiobooks during this summer program.

CD cover of Astray,  by Emma Donoghue | Read by Khristine Hvam, James Langton, Robert Petkoff, Suzanne Toren, Dion Graham Published by Hachette Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Astray, by Emma Donoghue

Read by Khristine Hvam, James Langton, Robert Petkoff, Suzanne Toren, Dion Graham. Published by Hachette Audio

Four centuries of wanderers – drifters, lovers, refugees, emigrants, runaways, criminals – tell their stories all over North America, from puritan times to now.

What do their tales tell us about ourselves today?

CD cover of Olivia Twist,  by Lorie Langdon | Read by Pearl Hewitt Published by Black Hills Audiobooks | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Olivia Twist, by Lorie Langdon Read by Pearl Hewitt. Published by Black Hills Audiobooks

Raised as a boy-thief in a London orphanage, teen Olivia is now a society hostess with a soft heart for slum kids. She reminds Jack of someone he once knew, back when he was the Artful Dodger of thieves. What now?

Which has been your favorite audiobook so far?
**kmm