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Classic tales retold – read with your ears!

Get ready for week 3 of Audiofile SYNC season by registering free here.

Every Thursday through Wednesday this summer you can download either or both featured audiobooks onto your Sora shelf and listen to them online whenever you like.

If you miss any AudioSYNC titles during their free download time, just check your local public library or independent bookstore.

This week: classics retold take us back to vital roots of relationships:

CD cover of Never Look Back, by Lilliam Rivera | Read by Almarie Guerra, Samuel Maria Gomez. 
Published by Recorded Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Never Look Back (free Sora download 5/5-5/11/22)
by Lilliam Rivera | Read by Almarie Guerra, Samuel Maria Gomez
Published by Recorded Books

This retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth centers Afro-Latinx characters in the Bronx today: upbeat, suave Pheus who serenades all the girls and Eury who’s troubled by the spirits that haunt her after she survived Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

swirled lines divider lipart http://www.clipartpanda.com/clipart_images/mondays-throughout-the-day-17164159
CD cover of When Morning Comes, by Arushi Raina | Read by Jamie Bloch, John Fleming, Patience Mpumiwana, Tony Ofori. Published by ECW | recommended on BooksYALove.com

When Morning Comes (free Sora download 5/5-5/11/22)
by Arushi Raina | Read by Jamie Bloch, John Fleming, Patience Mpumiwana, Tony Ofori
Published by ECW

Romeo and Juliet set in the apartheid struggles of 1976 South Africa: a white boy from the best school in Johannesburg falls in love with a black girl from the poor side of the city in the time leading up to the bloody Soweto Youth Uprising for racial justice.

What other classic retellings would make great audiobooks?
**kmm

divider clipart http://www.clipartpanda.com/clipart_images/mondays-throughout-the-day-17164159

W is for weaving & crafting with NETTLE & BONE she must master to stop great evil, by T. Kingfisher (book review) #A2Z

book cover of Nettle & Bone, by T. Kingfisher. Published by Tor | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A kingdom threatened,
no prince as heir,
daughters as pawns… or not.

Third daughter of a king with no sons, 15-year-old Marra is hidden away at a convent, remaining within its walls for years and years, as her older sisters are married in political alliances to save their tiny kingdom.

The weaving and healing skills she learns there will serve her well as now-grown Marra flees the security of Our Lady of Grackles, seeking ways to save her sister from the brutal prince of the Northern Kingdom.

She travels far and then farther to find the powerful dust-wife who communes with the dead and has the magic she needs. The spell requires Marra to make a cloak from nettles and cursed wool, to fashion a dog from bones, and bring moonlight in a jar – three impossible tasks (and she does them).

Away they go to kill the prince – Marra and Bone Dog, the dust-wife and her demon-possessed hen, through enchanted marketplaces and haunted lands, releasing from ensorcelment a man who unwisely slept in a fairy fort.

Secrets of the Northern Kingdom lie deeply buried in the crypts beneath its palace – danger and doom.

Its king lost in madness, the terrible prince rules with an iron fist and paranoia.

How to infiltrate the crypts? How to steer all blame from Marra’s sister? How to escape with their own lives?

A princess exists solely for the kingdom’s benefit, but not Marra…

Just published yesterday (4/26/22) – read the first two chapters on the publisher’s website here, free!

What non-traditional princess story is your favorite?
**kmm

Book info: Nettle & Bone / T. Kingfisher. Tor, 2022. [author info] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

M is for THE MAN OF THE MOON AND OTHER STORIES FROM GREENLAND, retold by Gunvor Bjerre & Charlotte Barslund, art by Miki Jacobsen (book review) #A2Z

book cover of The Man of the Moon and Other Stories From Greenland / retold by Gunvor Bjerre; translated by Charlotte Barslund; illustrated by Miki Jacobsen. Published by Inhabit Media | recommended on BooksYALove.com

So many folktales, you’ve heard over and over, with slight variations and “happily ever after” to soothe modern listeners.

Not so with this collection introducing us to long-ago stories from Greenland that most folks nowadays have never encountered.

These stories told by elders and parents during the long, dark Arctic winters reflect the difficulties of living in brutally cold terrain where one mistake during a hunt can doom a whole village.

Many begin with “Once upon a time…” like “The Wild Geese Who Made the Blind Boy See” as they punished his greedy grandmother and “Manutooq, Whose Daughters Drifted to Akilineq on an Ice Floe” after their father abandons them on a hunting trip.

It was dangerous to ignore warnings – don’t shout at a harpoonist hunting in their qajaq (kayak) like “The Old Man Who Trapped Children Inside a Rock” and never be rude toward a shaman or else their helper spirits can’t help you find “The Witch Who Abducted Children in Her Amauti.”

Some stories give the history of why things are, like why the Sun and “The Man of the Moon” are never seen at the same time and “The Great Fire, or How the Mussel Came to Be” a coveted food source.

Hunger and death are frequent visitors, and stories of orphans are common – some grow up to be good hunters who provide for all (even after constant bullying), others don’t survive their childhood (even with the help of supernatural beings).

There’s an Inuktitut-English glossary in the back, and illustrations help us place these stories in their habitat of sea and ice, white bears and seals, rocks and snow.

Inhabit Media is based in Nunavut, the northernmost province of Canada, publishing books in English and languages of the First Peoples.

What’s the most unusual “once upon a time” story that you’ve heard?
**kmm

Book info: The Man of the Moon and Other Stories From Greenland / retold by Gunvor Bjerre; translated by Charlotte Barslund; illustrated by Miki Jacobsen. Inhabit Media, 2016. [artist info] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

A is more adventure than THE ACCIDENTAL APPRENTICE expected, by Amanda Foody (MG book review) #AtoZchallenge

book cover of The Accidental Apprentice, by Amanda Foody. Published by Margaret McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

No running, no dirt,
nothing exciting –
especially no magical beasts!

One of Dullshire’s many, many rules: stay away from the Woods after one of its Beasts attacked the village and killed Barclay’s parents.

Forced into the Woods, Barclay encounters Viola, a Lore Keeper whose trap summons a Beast that chases him… no, that runs with him! A wolfish Lufthund that chooses to bond with the 11-year-old orphan!

No place for him now in rules-restricted Dullshire, Barclay goes unhappily with Viola to the magical town of Sycomore, filled with all sizes of Beasts and all kinds of people.

Barclay hopes that a Master can remove his Mark, the golden tattoo where the Lufthund dwells when not out in the world, but it’s not so simple.

Only if he places first in the Exhibition testing new Lore Keepers will he have any chance of losing the Lufthund!

Most youth preparing to test are jealous that such a powerful Beast chose to bond with a boring outsider, but Viola and a few others decide to help him learn some Lore so he has a chance to pass.

Barclay must quickly discover how he and his Beast can work together, avoid the bullies who will sabotage his Exhibition matches, and decide how much he’ll risk to go home.

So many fantastical Beasts, so many Lore Keepers with different abilities, so many chances to fail – or to win!

First in the Wilderlore series, followed by The Weeping Tide .

Which of your personal skills would you want your Beast to amplify?
**kmm

Book info: The Accidental Apprentice (Wilderlore, book 1) / Amanda Foody. Margaret McElderry Books, hardcover 2021, paperback 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

SECRET OF THE STORM is… a tiny kitten? by Beth McMullen (MG book review)

book cover of Secret of the Storm, by Beth McMullen.  Published by Aladdin Books S&S | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Sad without Dad,
best friend ghosting her,
does she hear meows in the storm?

In this foggy coastal California town, Cassie just trudges through her days at middle school, avoiding the Popular Posse that took away her best friend, ignoring comments about her non-fashion sense.

Volunteering at the public library is the only bright spot in Cassie’s life, as Mom is still not-all-here after Dad’s death, even when cool Ms. Asher partners her with geeky Joe, whose tech skills have finally made the bullies leave the Black boy alone.

When the tweens rescue a tiny black kitten during a wild storm, life gets more interesting. How did Albert survive when lightning struck that dumpster? Cassie takes him home and is amazed at how fast and strong he is!

More unusual weather events in town, Albert’s water bowl steaming when he plays in it, and a strange symbol appearing on Cassie’s closet door – the same symbol that’s on the notebook that Ms. Asher hides when anyone comes near!

Scorch marks on her bedroom carpet, an old college friend ranting to Ms. Asher about storms and dragons, mysterious events in their town’s history – Joe and Cassie (and Albert) need more information so they visit the library… after hours.

When little kitten Albert comes to Cassie’s defense during a slumber party (best friend’s mom said she had to be invited), there are suddenly flames, screaming popular girls, and a viral video…of a dragon!

The police start asking questions, Ms. Asher’s friend is threatening them, and they have to leave town with Albert – now!

When have you and your friends stood up for someone who needs help?
**kmm

Book info: Secret of the Storm (Secret of the Storm, book 1) / Beth McMullen. Aladdin Books/Simon & Schuster, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

THE COMING STORM of mayhem & magic – can they stand against it? by Regina M. Hansen (YA book review)

book cover of The Coming Storm, by Regina M. Hansen. Published by Atheneum | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Magic in their music,
mysteries in the sea,
strange things on land, strange…

Fishing families on Prince Edward Island live and die by the rhythms of the sea, so young fiddler Beet isn’t scared of it, but she’s wary of shapeshifters and other mystical things said to live under its waves, waiting…

The teen’s beloved cousin is lost at sea in early 1949, appearing to her that night as a ghost playing their uncle’s violin in one final sad tune, just as his son is born. All the more reason for Beet to practice and become the best fiddler on the island.

Beet and baby Joseph hear a woman’s so-haunting song from just over the next dune, perhaps the same song that her uncles heard in 1918 after they followed a beautiful gray horse, then found Sarah and her dead husband on the beach.

Trying to save their horse in 1900 during a terrible storm got the Doucets swept out to sea, and her niece from the States inherited their place. They say the Mrs. stayed youthful and lovely into her forties, then her health suddenly declined despite all her husband’s money.

It’s Marina Shaw who owns the gray horse that Beet and Joseph start to see when they walk the shore, a fancy-dressed lady who knows more about folks here than a newcomer should.

Can Beet and her friends find out who Marina really is?
What’s hidden on the tiny offshore island?
Where has toddling Joseph gone?

Seventeen years and seventeen years and seventeen years…this lyrical story jumps between time periods as mythic creatures and an evil secret threaten all in their island town, with the smallest chance that music and love can overcome many decades of wrongdoing.

What’s your favorite legendary creature of the sea?
**kmm

Book info: The Coming Storm / Regina M. Hansen. Atheneum, 2021. [author site] [author interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

VAMPIRES, HEARTS & OTHER DEAD THINGS in her life, by Margie Fuston (book review)

book cover of Vampires, Hearts & Other Dead Things, by Margie Fuston. Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Vampires are real,
cancer is too-real,
she can solve this…

Pancreatic cancer is stealing away her dad – fellow enthusiast of all things undead, he and Victoria were thrilled when vampires revealed themselves on live TV, both ready to go find one after public outcry forced them back into the shadows. Her big sister and mom never understood their enthusiasm.

He didn’t cancel their graduation trip to New Orleans though, and asks her to go look for vampires and bring him pictures of everything. In Dad’s place will be her classmate Henry, former best friend (former almost-more-than-best friend) so the California teen isn’t there alone.

Victoria has a checklist of places to visit – the Ursulines convent, St. Louis cemetery – anywhere she might glimpse a vampire and convince them to help her. Being undead is better than being dead, right?

Late-night wanderer Carter introduces her to the vampire Nicholas, who gives Victoria a list of challenges to accomplish that will prove she’s ready to give up her life for undeath. Henry is not amused, thinks Carter and Nicholas are frauds, but won’t let her run around the Crescent City alone.

The first message tucked in a poetry book at a quaint shop directs her to eat beignets while wearing black and take as proof. Ah, some words are underlined in the book, too.

Returning to the shop, Victoria finds the next challenge – break into a certain house and steal something? More words underlined in the poem…

How much will Henry actually help her?
Why does she suddenly long to sketch and paint again?
Will Nicholas truly honor his agreement?

Before he got sick, Dad even looked like Bela Lugosi in the classic vampire movies – she would do anything to save him, anything!

While you’re getting this debut novel about hope and grief at your local library or independent bookstore, check out these vampire tales I’ve recommended:

  • The Hunt, series by Andrew Fukuda (my review of book 1)
  • Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts, by Nancy Campbell Allen (more here)
  • Elatsoe, by Darcy Little Badger (loved it!).

What’s your favorite vampire story?
**kmm

Book info: Vampires, Hearts & Other Dead Things / Margie Fuston. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2021. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Who is she truly, THE GIRL FROM THE SEA? by Molly Knox Ostertag (Graphic novel review)

book cover of The Girl From the Sea, by Molly Knox Ostertag. Published by Graphix/Scholastic | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Slipping off the rainy cliff,
Hitting her head,
Drowning, sinking…saved by a kiss!

Morgan can’t wait to escape from her Atlantic island town and be herself. The 15 year old Korean-Canadian tries so hard to fit in at school, agree with her boy-crazy best friends, channel her clothing designs into acceptable styles … exhausting.

Summer with her grumpy little brother and recently divorced mom becomes a little better because Keltie is there, the selkie who saved her from drowning! They’d met in the sea when Morgan was young, and Keltie’s been watching the shore for her ever since.

Now true love’s kiss has granted Keltie her landlegs, and she wants to be with Morgan, whose friends aren’t so sure about this new girl who loves sparkly clothes instead of the latest fashion.

Stolen moments together in secluded coves, Keltie explaining that she’s the only selkie of her generation, wondering what their future together might be like….

But a huge tourist boat plans to hug the island’s shoreline for summer excursions, endangering Keltie’s seal family – and the parents of Morgan’s friend Serena own it!

Can Keltie stop the boat from getting too close to the rookery?
Can Morgan keep her friends and Keltie, too?

This graphic novel by the creator of the Witch Boy trilogy explores friendship and family, plans and destiny. Find it at your local library or independent bookstore today!

Do you agree with Morgan’s mom: “You have to risk letting your life get messy to get to the good parts” (p. 151)?
**kmm

Book info: The Girl From the Sea / words and art by Molly Knox Ostertag . Graphix/Scholastic, 2021. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Follow the PIPER, they must! Graphic novel by Jay Asher & Jessica Freeburg; art by Jeff Stokely (book review)

book cover of Piper, by Jay Asher & Jessica Freeburg; illustrated by Jeff Stokely; inks by Gideon Kendall; colors by Triona Farrell; lettering by Ed Dukeshire. Published by Razorbill | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Overrun by rats!
Leaders at wits’ end!
Help, help!

Made deaf as a child by bullies, Maggie tries to avoid Hameln town. The young woman is content to stay in Agathe’s cottage and write far-fetched tales with the older woman for their own amusement.

But the leaders of Hameln aren’t smiling as the rat population thrives, eating their stored grain and biting people (especially after the ratcatcher’s poison kills all the cats instead).

Along comes a piper in mismatched clothes who promises to rid the town of rats… for a price.

Maggie is a bit enchanted by the piper, even if she cannot hear him playing. She shares with him the story of her family’s downfall at the hands of powerful locals whose evildoings are always hushed up.

Can the piper really save Hameln?
What if the town leaders renege on their deal?
Skilled this piper is, so very skilled…

A well-imagined and wonderfully drawn graphic novel retelling of the Pied Piper story! (yes, by that Jay Asher)

What other retellings of favorite tales do you recommend?
**kmm

Book info: Piper / Jay Asher & Jessica Freeburg; illustrated by Jeff Stokely; inks by Gideon Kendall; colors by Triona Farrell; lettering by Ed Dukeshire. Razorbill, 2017. [Jay’s site] [Jessica’s site] [Jeff’s site] [publisher site] Personal collection; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Historical tales with Chinese roots – read with your ears this week! (audiobooks)

Time to download this week’s free audiobooks from SYNC so you can read with your ears!

Remember that although these complete audiobooks are only available from Thursday through Wednesday, you have free use of them on your device as long as you keep them on Sora shelf – more info here.

CD cover of audiobook Descendant of the Crane, by Joan He. Read by Nancy Wu, published by Dreamscape | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Descendant of the Crane (download free – May 13-19, 2021)
by Joan He | Read by Nancy Wu
Published by Dreamscape

Suddenly ascending to the throne when her father dies, Princess Hesina’s search for his murderer puts the young woman in contact with her soon-to-be subjects outside the palace walls.

Is the soothsayer’s forbidden magic telling the truth? Will the secrets of investigator Akira endanger them both?

CD cover of audiobook Monkey, by Wu Ch'eng-en, translated by Arthur Waley. Read by Kenneth Williams | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Monkey (download free May 13-19, 2021)
by Wu Ch’êng-ên, Arthur Waley [Trans.] | Read by Kenneth Williams
Published by Naxos Audiobooks

This 16th century Chinese classic includes demons, gods, and spirits who stand in the way of a priest traveling West to acquire sacred Buddhist texts for his emperor.

Su Wukong, the Monkey King himself, accompanies the priest on his long journey in this abridged version translated into English in 1942 and recently recorded.

What tales reflecting China are your favorites?
**kmm