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Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky: Myths of Mexico, by David Bowles (book review)

book cover of Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky: Myths of Mexico, by David Bowles. Published by Cinco Puntos Press | recommended on BooksYALove.comGods walk the earth,
demigods arise, humans also,
in the lands we now call Mexico.

As a single narrative, this recounting of the traditional tales of creation and learning, good and evil, progress and conquest runs from the pre-dawn of the First Age through the rise of civilization with the Toltecs, Maya, and Aztecs to the coming of the Spanish whose swords and diseases killed so many and whose religion silenced these stories.

Encounter Aztec and Maya names that you might recognize, like Kukulkan and the ancient city of Chichen Itza, and many more whom you need to meet (some from as far away as possible, like god of war Huitzilopochtli).

Other mythic traditions we should pay more attention to?
**kmm

Book info: Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky: Myths of Mexico / David Bowles. Cinco Puntos Press, 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: The myths threading through the ancestral memories of Mexico’s native peoples are brought together here in an entrancing narrative that spans the five ages.

World-shaking jealousy between bright-burning Heart of Sky and knowledge-bringing Feathered Serpent raged over millenia, the Hero Twins journeyed down into the lands of Death, the gods toyed with human kingdoms throughout time to turn peaceful allies into feuding neighbors – so many stories of loyalty and betrayal wind through the history of the place now called Mexico.

Discover the origin of the mosquito and spider monkey, learn how the Mixteca-Cloud People were born of river trees and challenged Lord Sun himself, wonder as eagle, wolf, and jaguar journey with Ce Acatl Quetzalcoatl as willing sacrifices to the temple where his bloodthirsty uncles await.

Weaving together separate Toltec, Maya, and Aztec traditional tales with accents from Purepecha, Zapotec, and many more kingdoms, this deeply researched story-stream begins before humankind existed and ends with the near-erasure of the peoples of Mesoamerica by Spanish conquistadors.

On ghosts, in the laundry – Sheets, by Brenna Thummler (book review)

book cover of Sheets, by Brenna Thummler. Published by Cub House/Lion Forge | recommended on BooksYALove.com Mom’s gone forever,
Dad’s drifting…
where did this ghost come from?

Junior high has enough challenges, but now Marjorie has to make sure her little brother eats (not just junk food) and run the laundry business by herself.

Maybe having a ghost around is better than dealing with the local man trying to cheat her out of their house/laundromat!

Find this August 2018 book at your local library or independent bookstore or comic shop.

Any ghosts you’d like to meet?
**kmm

Book info: Sheets / Brenna Thummler. Cub House/Lion Forge, 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: A schoolgirl in mourning and a tale-telling new ghost unexpectedly meet in this graphic novel that explores endings and beginnings.

Marjorie keeps the family laundry going when her father cannot cope. Never mind that she should be concentrating on her junior high assignments instead of “no starch, get that spot out, I need it today” customers – or Mr. Saubertuck’s demands that she sell out so he can build a yoga spa in their small Pennsylvania town.

Wendell brings a new story to every DYE meeting, but still isn’t ready to share with the other ghosts how he died. Never mind that it’s forbidden to even walk near the train connecting the worlds of living and dead – or to sneak a ride and arrive wind-blown in Marjorie’s laundry.

Ghosts aren’t real! If they were, Marjorie’s mother would have drifted by to comfort her little brother and dad, of course.

So how can Marjorie see little-boy-ghost Wendell?

Why could Wendell get back to the living world?

Why can’t he remember what’s important about this lakeside town?

As Halloween approaches and Mr. Saubertuck pressures Marjorie to sell their home and business, maybe a young ghost with holes in his memory and a young woman with a huge hole in her heart can find a way to heal together.

Treachery & danger for the Twice Dead! by Caitlin Seal (book review)

book cover of Twice Dead, by Caitlin Seal. Published by Charlesbridge Teen | recommended on BooksYALove.comBrought back from death far from her country,
forced to become a spy,
even though she believes necromancy is heresy!

Not just resurrected, Naya was murdered – was she in the wrong place at the wrong time or was she assassinated?

Fellow wraith Corten knows her as a servant girl indentured to the necromancer who also sang him back to life following his early death – will he understand why she had to keep her true identity hidden?

An undead love story with deceit and treachery…
**kmm

Book info: Twice Dead (Necromancer’s Song, book 1) / Caitlin Seal. Charlesbridge Teen, 2018.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Murdered in a foreign port, Naya is horrified to be resurrected as a wraith who can change her form but may not be able to change her fate as an unwilling spy.

Death isn’t the end in Ceremor, a land that her sea captain father often visits, but the Talmiran teen still shudders to be among so many undead returned to this world by necromancers.

Now she is the abomination, a spirit body resurrected by runes inscribed on her bones, needing only the aether life-force of the living as food.

Forced to masquerade as a servant, Naya learns from Corten how to exist as a wraith, finding him a bright spot in a strange place, especially when they discover her unusual powers.

Who ordered her murder and resurrection?

Who wants to shatter the fragile peace between Ceremor and Talmir?

Is dying again the only way to escape?

First book in the Necromancer’s Song series, filled with intrigue, rune-powered devices, and treachery!

A little witchy, a lot of Undead Girl Gang! by Lily Anderson (book review)

book cover of Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson, published by Razorbill | recommended on BooksYALove.comUnsolved deaths of teen girls!
BFF didn’t commit suicide, Mila knows…
Now, to find the right spell to bring her back…

But of course, things don’t go the way that the teen Wiccan planned, and soon there are three zombie-like girls in their small town (two of whom she and Riley really couldn’t stand when they were alive), trying to figure out who killed them before they die for good in a week!

And the undead girls – whether they like each other or not – must stay close to Mila or their bodies go back to eewww…

Any other not-quite-zombie books to recommend?
**kmm

Book info: Undead Girl Gang / Lily Anderson. Razorbill, 2018.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Bringing back her best friend Riley from the dead was a little easier than Mila expected, but when her spell also calls back two classmates they can’t stand, the California teen finds herself with three undead teen girls who won’t stay out of sight during the seven days they have back on earth find out who killed them all.

What if their families see them?
What if they can’t solve the mystery?
What if Mila’s coven is right about this spell being wrong?

Tales of outcasts, then and now – audiobooks with shivers!

This year’s program of free audiobooks from SYNC is nearly over, so grab these eerie tales before Wednesday (19 July 2018), so you can listen to them any time on your computer or electronic device.

Click the link for either or both of these professionally recorded audiobooks, download for free, then read with your ears using the free Audible app.

CD cover of How to Hang a Witch, by Adriana Mather | Read by Adriana Mather Published by Listening Library | recommended on BooksYALove.comHow to Hang a Witch (download here free from 12-19 July 2018)
by Adriana Mather
Read by Adriana Mather
Published by Listening Library

A teen descendant of witch-persecutor Cotton Mather moves to Salem and is taunted by girls who are Descendants of those witches and haunted by a centuries’ old ghost – a curse? or worse?

 

The Scarlet Letter (download here free from 12-19 from July 2018)CD cover of The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne | Read by Donada Peters Published by Listening Library | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Read by Donada Peters
Published by Listening Library

The classic tale of personal strength in the face of societal expectations – Hester Prynne won’t name the father of her child and must wear the A of adultery in 1642 Boston.

Other Massachusetts-based stories to recommend?
**kmm

Witches, curses, tragedy dark and deep – to read with your ears!

Dark tales for stormy summer nights in these two free audiobooks from SYNC!

Or listen to these tragic stories in bright sunlit days later by downloading either or both now and saving them on your computer or electronic device.

CD cover of Macbeth, by William Shakespeare | Read by Josh Cooke, JD Cullum, Dan Donohue, Jeannie Elias, Chuma Gault, James Marsters, Jon Matthews, Alan Shearman, André Sogliuzzo, Kate Steele, Kristoffer Tabori, Joanne Whalley Published by L.A. Theatre Works | recommended on BooksYALove.comMacbeth (download here free from 28 June- 4 July 2018)

by William Shakespeare

Read by Josh Cooke, JD Cullum, Dan Donohue, Jeannie Elias, Chuma Gault, James Marsters, Jon Matthews, Alan Shearman, André Sogliuzzo, Kate Steele, Kristoffer Tabori, Joanne Whalley

Published by L.A. Theatre Works

“The Scottish play” of three witches, murder, and dark tragedy – recorded by full professional cast with live audience.

The Curse of Crow Hollow (download here free from 28 June- 4 July 2018) CD cover of The Curse of Crow Hollow, by Billy Coffey | Read by Gabe Wicks Published by Thomas Nelson | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Billy Coffey
Read by Gabe Wicks
Published by Thomas Nelson

When four teens encounter an old woman who laid a curse when her husband died, a sickness begins striking folks in Crow Hollow – Appalachian witchcraft or worse?

Have you read either of these spooky titles before?
**kmm

N is Name of the Blade calling Mio to danger & love, by Zoe Marriott (book review)

US book cover of Name of the Blade, by Zoe Marriott, published by Candlewick Press | recommended on BooksYALove.comGrandfather said she would become guardian of this katana at age 16, as Yamatos have done for over 500 years.

Surely it’s okay if Mio takes the ancient sword from its hiding place a little early, while Mom and Dad are away…

Monsters and gods, worlds of humans and spirits, from Japan to London to the depths of despair to first love – the katana connects them all to Mio as she struggles to master herself and the legendary blade’s powers.

Glide into Mio’s no longer boring life by reading the first chapter here free (courtesy of the publisher). Yes, all 3 books of the trilogy are available in the US!

Family secrets – what to share?
**kmm

Book info: Name of the Blade (Name of the Blade trilogy, book 1) / Zoe Marriott. Candlewick Press, 2014. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

M is Messenger with psychic gift she doesn’t want! by Carol Lynch Williams (book review)

book cover of Messenger by Carol Lynch Williams, published by Simon & Schuster BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.comHer Gift arrives at age 15!
For cookery or fixing any hair, like her aunts?
Oh no! Not talking to ghosts?!

Maybe Evie will be the one Messenger in her family line who doesn’t have a psychic gift…nope! The Florida teen can see and hear and communicate with dead people!

How can that girl Tommie get into their house without Evie’s momma and stepdad hearing her?

Should Evie really kiss cute Buddy from across the street?

Wild thunderstorms, seeing dead people, and going to a new high school – what a birthday week!

Yes or no for seeing dead people yourself?
**kmm

Book info: Messenger / Carol Lynch Williams. Paula Wiseman Books (Simon Schuster), 2016 (hardcover), 2017 (paperback). [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

E is the END with Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza, by Shaun David Hutchinson (book review)

book cover of Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson, published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comHer virgin birth – science proves true.
Toys speaking messages from Beyond – also true.
People snatched by a sky-portal when she heals others – ditto.

Elena didn’t ask for healing powers, or for a drunken stepfather, or for inanimate objects to channel divine instructions to her since childhood.

But in author Hutchinson’s odd Florida (setting of his At the Edge of the Universe , my pick here) strange things happen regularly.

What is stealing away people? Why? Where do they go?

Maybe it’s a better place than Elena’s high school and now-constant demands that she heal people.

Fiction or science fiction? (or fantasy?)
**kmm

Book info: The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza / Shaun David Hutchinson. Simon Pulse, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Is ARROW OF LIGHTNING power enough? by Joseph Bruchac (book review)

book cover of Arrow of Lightning by Joseph Bruchac published by Lee and Low  | recommended on BooksYALove.comBecome the hunters, not the hunted.
Avoid the monsters, human and otherwise.
Survive without killing the human ones?

So many genetically-modified creatures are out to get Lozen, Hussein, and the others who’ve escaped from the Ones who torture for fun. Perhaps she can protect her family and friends without taking a human life…

As Killer of Enemies (my review here) in the tech-blasted future, Lozen had to obey the Ones, or her family would be killed.

Along the Trail of the Dead, Lozen’s family is larger and the dangers are immense.

Arrow of Lightning is a super wrap-up of this #ownvoices trilogy – Lozen is on my heroes list.

To save your family, what lengths would you go to?
**kmm

Book info: Arrow of Lightning (Killer of Enemies, book 3) / Joseph Bruchac. Lee and Low Books, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.