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Do they dare seek the MALAMANDER?! by Thomas Taylor, art by Tom Booth (MG book review)

book cover of Malamander, by Thomas Taylor, art by Tom Booth. Published by Walker Books US/Candlewick | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Secrets throughout the seaside town,
shoes neatly abandoned on the shore,
a man with a boat hook for a hand!

Winter winds moan across the shipwreck just off the pier and whip snow through Eerie-On-Sea’s cobbled streets, as Violet bursts into Herbie’s office and demands to no longer be lost.

The young Lost-and-Founder of the Grand Nautilus Hotel hides the girl from his ever-angry hotel manager and a sea captain who stabs his boat-hook hand through wooden trunks seeking her!

Her parents vanished from this hotel and left infant Violet behind 12 years ago – will Herbie help her find them?

An Eerie Book Dispensary postcard is her main clue – will its mechanical monkey prescribe a book for Violet with more information?

A writer in town says that her father’s research on the Malamander was inaccurate – why is he trying to find the unpublished manuscript?

Someone (or something) is attacking those who dare ask questions about the legendary Malamander fish-man, and the two orphaned young teens must connect all the story-threads before they are the next victims!

Just published in the US yesterday, Malamander is first in a series set in this creepy English town filled with memorable characters.

What local legends do your friends tell stories about?
**kmm

Book info: Malamander (Legends of Eerie-On-Sea, book 1) / Thomas Taylor; illustrated by Tom Booth. Walker Books US/Candlewick, 2019. [author site] [illustrator site] [book series site] [publisher site] Review copy, display pages, and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

2 pages: end of chapter 28 showing Herbie leaping to another rooftop as harpoon speeds toward him and Violet, and start of chapter 29 "Silver-Tipped"

They rejoice in being STRANGE BIRDS together! by Celia C. Perez (MG book review)

book cover of Strange Birds, by Celia C. Perez. Published by Kokila Books PRH. | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Endangered bird feathers as a prop,
a social club with no social awareness,
time to stop this nonsense!

Waiting out her parents’ transatlantic divorce arguments, Lane decides to take summer at her wealthy grandmother’s palatial Florida estate from boring to bold by inviting other 12 year old girls to form a secret club.

Ofelia’s overprotective Cuban-American parents want the budding journalist to stay safe, quit being so inquisitive, and certainly not apply for news-writers’ camp in New York City.

Helping her grandfather research connections between their Bahamian roots and local citrus growers leaves Aster plenty of time to cook up new dishes while Mom’s overseas in the Army.

As youngest sister, Cat is her society-conscious mother’s final chance to have a Miss Flora in the family, but she’d rather watch living birds than sit in boring club meetings.

The new friends decide to challenge the tradition of Miss Flora wearing a ceremonial hat with feathers from endangered birds – it should be in a museum!

All their low-key protests – stickers, lawn flamingos at the Flora clubhouse – get taken over by the Flora leader for publicity! How can this eclectic crew make the townspeople understand the importance of protecting local birds in peril?

Happy book birthday to Strange Birds, now available at your local library or independent bookstore.

**kmm

Book info: Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers / Celia C. Perez. Kokila Books, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

THE TROUBLE WITH SHOOTING STARS & scars & moondust & memories, by Meg Cannistra (MG book review)

book cover of The Trouble With Shooting Stars, by Meg Cannistra. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The car wreck changed everything,
healing is so slow –
can fractured relationships be mended too?

More operations ahead for Luna after the accident that left Dad in a wheelchair and the 12 year old with big facial scars under a treatment mask.

Her new neighbors are truly magical, as young Alessandro and Chiara ignore Luna’s scars and take her up with them in their zeppelin to brush the dust from the Moon and stars, as all spazzatrici do.

Only Uncle Mike understands how she needs to keep drawing every night when the pain won’t let her sleep – and that the spazzatrici are real.

She can’t stand to see the pity in Tailee’s eyes, stops returning her best friend’s phone calls, wants things to just be normal again.

Would stardust make Dad less sad about not working in their Italian-American family deli?

Could a shooting star grant Luna’s wish for healing if she caught one?

Sail up from Staten Island to help place new stars in their constellations and enjoy the drawings that Luna delivers to other neighbors in this magical tale – happy book birthday to The Trouble With Shooting Stars!
**kmm

Book info: The Trouble With Shooting Stars / Meg Cannistra, art by Dana Wulfekotte. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Love, food & stories = HUNGRY HEARTS anthology, edited by Elsie Chapman & Caroline Tung Richmond (YA book review)

book cover of Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love / edited by Elsie Chapman & Caroline Tung Richmond. Published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Sweets to tempt away a bitter spirit,
pastries that bring emotions to the surface,
family recipes and secrets to ignore or embrace…

Welcome to Hungry Heart Row, that multicultural neighborhood just across the Yarrow River from a bustling city – an eclectic collection of shops, apartments, and restaurants that reflect new tastes and old flavors, longstanding family traditions and recent changes, tales often-told and episodes never before shared.

I rarely re-read fiction because there’s so much in my to-be-read queue, but I found myself enjoying entire stories once again as I dipped back into Hungry Hearts to find morsels to tempt you with!

This yummy anthology includes interconnected stories by Elsie Chapman, Caroline Tung Richmond, Sandhya Menon, S. K. Ali, Rin Chupeco, Anna-Marie McLemore, Rebecca Roanhorse, Sara Farizan, Jay Coles, Adi Alsaid, Sangu Mandanna, Phoebe North and Karuna Riazi (meet all the authors here on the publisher’s webpage).

Cooking from the heart – what’s your favorite dish?
**kmm

Book info: Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love / edited by Elsie Chapman & Caroline Tung Richmond. Simon Pulse, 2019. [Elsie’s site] [Caroline’s IG] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Magical books to read with your ears as AudioSYNC summer ends

Our magnificent summer of free audiobooks from AudioSYNC and publishers ends with with a magical pair of stories to read with your ears!

Click on the title for the free download page before late-night Wednesday July 31, 2019. You can keep these free audiobooks on your device and listen whenever you want.

Thanks again to the publishers who’ve provided over 2 dozen free professionally produced audiobooks this summer through AudioSYNC!

CD cover of Akata Witch,  by Nnedi Okorafor | Read by Yetide Badaki Published by Tantor Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Akata Witch, by Nnedi Okorafor Read by Yetide Badaki Published by Tantor Audio

Sunny is mocked in her parents’ Nigerian town for being born American, albino, a girl who loves soccer. The 12 year old discovers that she’s a “free agent” born to non-magical parents and becomes part of a quartet of young people studying magic seen and unseen. Soon it’s up to them to catch an evil criminal, ready or not!

CD cover of All the Crooked Saints,  by Maggie Stiefvater | Read by Thom Rivera Published by Scholastic Audiobooks | recommended on BooksYALove.com

All the Crooked Saints, by Maggie Stiefvater Read by Thom Rivera Published by Scholastic Audiobooks

Under the Colorado desert stars, miracles are waiting to happen in Bicho Raro, where the Soria family lives. Cousins Beatriz, Daniel, and Joaquin can see the love, happiness, peace that others need – but their own lives and thoughts are not so clear. Two strangers arriving bring changes, perhaps even for the cousins whose help they seek.

What magical tales and audiobooks are your favorites?
**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.

Her future fractured for THE BONE CHARMER, by Breeana Shields (YA book review)

book cover of The Bone Charmer, by Breeana Shields. Published by Page Street Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

No, she doesn’t want to be a seer through bone-charming like her mother and grandmother!
Yes, a thief is stealing family bones, taking away memories forever!
Maybe she can avoid a future she dreads, maybe a future is choosing her.

As breaks the bone, so her future path divides, and 17-year-old Saskia lives both lives, as tutor in her hometown paired with charming Declan (her best dream) and as apprentice bone charmer paired with gloomy Bram as both train their magical abilities in the capital (her worst fear) – but one path must become a dead end.

Perhaps the bone broken during Saskia’s kenning can be mended and her dual lives after that day become one – but that requires darker magics and secrets hard to keep.

In a world where visions are granted through ancestral bones, master bone charmers like Saskia’s mother and late grandmother can see only the past or the present or the future – but someone longs for the forbidden power to see all three and will gladly kill Saskia in either timeline to get it!

Happy book birthday to The Bone Charmer ! Request it now at your local independent bookstore or library.

Which vision gift would you choose – past, present, or future?
**kmm

Book info: The Bone Charmer / Breeana Shields. Page Street Publishing, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Supernaturally, she is both THE CANDLE AND THE FLAME, by Nafiza Azad (YA book review)

book cover of The Candle and the Flame, by Nafiza Azad. Published by Scholastic Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Djinn of order and of chaos battle in the human world that is home to neither in this adventurous tale, while family loyalties are tested, and a young woman receives an unsought gift that can break boundaries if it doesn’t fracture her first.

Through the Name Giver, ifrits can come from their world to help humans defend theirs from the ravaging Shayateen whose dark night of slaughter left only three survivors hidden in an entire city.

But when the Name Giver is compromised in the now-repopulated city of Noor, its ifrit Emir and human maharajah face a greater peril.

How does the Fire of ifrit Ghazala come to human survivor Fatima who never knew her?
Can the Emir help Fatima navigate this unknown convergence?
What lurks in the opulent halls of the reluctant maharajah’s palace?

Each time the muezzin’s call sounds over her beloved city of a thousand nations, Fatima prays for their safety, yet again…

Happy book birthday to this extraordinary tale of magic, relationships, and the importance of being seen.

What’s in your name?
**kmm

Book info: The Candle and the Flame / Nafiza Azad. Scholastic Press, 2019. [author interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

May the Fourth be with you! TRAGEDY OF THE SITH’S REVENGE, by Ian Doescher (book review)

book cover of William Shakespeare's Tragedy of the Sith's Revenge, by Ian Doescher, published by Quirk Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Today is Free Comic Book Day, so find your nearest participating comics store here and get there fast, before the excellent selection of free comic books runs out!

It’s also Star Wars Day – a good opportunity to point you to another volume in Ian Doescher’s Shakespearean retellings of the Star Wars movies… read ye now the Tragedy of the Sith’s Revenge (movie episode three).

Yes, our valiant Chewbacca appears in this volume (farewell too soon, actor Peter Mayhew), as do many characters good and evil from the episodes in this series before and after this one:

The Phantom of Menace (part 1), The Clone Army Attacketh (part 2), William Shakespeare’s Star Wars  (part 4), The Empire Striketh Back  (part 5), and The Jedi Doth Return (part 6).

Doescher has also penned part 7 The Force Doth Awaken and part 8 Jedi the Last, all Shakespearean and all faithful to the movies.

And as I wrote in 2015:
Why speak just now of this most-worthy tome,
Why note it not upon its natal day?
Mark well today’s harmonious date, kind one,
And may the Force be with us all, I pray!
**kmm

Book info: William Shakespeare’s Tragedy of the Sith’s Revenge (Star Wars Part the Third) / Ian Doescher. Quirk Books, 2015. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Can EVANGELINE OF THE BAYOU stop the evil? #mglit by Jan Eldredge (book review)

book cover of Evangeline of the Bayou, by Jan Eldredge. Published by Balzer+Bray | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Gator-skin boots with silver tips,
brain full of remedy recipes,
heart full of worries…

Evangeline has to be braver than ever when the otherworldly forces affecting their client in the too-busy city send Gran to the hospital, leaving the haunt-huntress-in-training to complete their mission – with the help of Julian, who will have to push past his self-imposed limits to save his mother.

Johnny revenants from Civil War battlefields and bayou banshees are easy to banish compared to the evil preparing to pounce on the Crescent City!

Is there a power within you that you’re just waiting to manifest?
**kmm

Book info: Evangeline of the Bayou / Jan Eldredge; illustrations by Joseph Kuefler. Balzer + Bray (Harper Collins), 2018. [author site] [artist site] [publisher site] Review copy won in contest; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: In the city on a mission with her haunt huntress grandmother, twelve year old Evangeline longs for their bayou cabin and hopes that her own abilities stabilize before the supernatural menace stalking New Orleans gains full power!

With Daddy working offshore and Mama dead before Evangeline could know her, it’s up to Gran to teach her every skill needed to be a haunt huntress who expels shadow crouchers and dixie demons from the parish.

In their big city house (on a corner – unlucky) Mrs. Midsomer’s sickness worsens at night, Mr. Midsomer is so upset that he’s leaving Mardi Gras float details to others in his Krewe, and their adopted son Julian rigidly adheres to rules of his own making.

All symptoms point to the bite of a rougarou, perhaps from the same powerful werewolf clan that attacked Gran years ago, and the moon will be full very soon!

That black grim follows them to the city – whose death is it foretelling?
Her thirteenth birthday is nearing – where is Evangeline’s familiar?

Evangeline and Julian must track down the alpha rougarou before it’s too late for Julian’s mother and all of New Orleans!