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Memory Girl, by Linda Joy Singleton (fiction) – can she stay herself?

book cover of Memory Girl by Linda Joy Singleton published by CBAY Books  | recommended on BooksYALove.comLife is too interesting to follow every rule.
Why must she be just a vessel for others’ memories?
Why can’t Jennza remain herself?

Centuries after a mind-virus wiped out humanity, only ShareHaven island research station remains, where no one ever dies. Each 25 years, carefully stored memories of Lost Ones are implanted into youth as lucky Families choose, their specific talents once again in this small world.

But Jennza wants to remember her explorations of the forbidden seashore and its amazing creatures, not have her 15 years of life overrun by decades of someone else’s memories through memdenity. Perhaps scientist Lila is hinting that this is possible. Maybe that’s how Nate survives outside the Fence…

What memories would you keep, above all others?
**kmm

Book info: Memory Girl / Linda Joy Singleton. CBAY Books, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: No one dies on ShareHaven in the centuries after mind-virus, but if 15 year old Jennza wants to be more than just a body for someone else’s life-memories, her time is running out.

When she’s Chosen by a Family known for practical hard work, Jennza knows she’ll miss sneaking over the safety fence to the sea cave creatures and mysterious boy Nate, as her own memories will be submerged by the memdenity of a Lost One whose skills are now needed.

Murder strikes their island stronghold, Jennza spots Nate inside ShareHaven, and someone else sees her secret.

How can Nate live outside the Fence where terrible beasts prowl the night?
Who is helping Jennza try to contact Nate?
Why does Daisy in her new Family hate the Milly whose memories Jennza will receive?

This future tale brings a few twists into the carefully ordered world that Jennza and her 14 born-mates must navigate as old minds that lived centuries ago are put into their young bodies.

Under Their Skin, by Margaret Haddix (book review) – the other kids in class aren’t…

book cover of Under Their Skin by Margaret Peterson Haddix published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com Locked bedrooms,
stepsiblings they can’t ever meet,
of course they must investigate!

Moving to a new house when Mom remarries, Nick and Eryn don’t understand why their new stepsister and stepbrother only come over when they aren’t there… very strange that Jackson and Ava don’t go to their school either. In a city this small, it shouldn’t be too hard to find out why Mom and Michael are hiding them…

First of a duology, Under Their Skin should be available at your local library or favorite independent bookstore now (book 2 is scheduled for April 2017 – can’t wait!!).

What indeed makes us human?
**kmm

Book info: Under Their Skin (Under Their Skin, book 1) / Margaret Peterson Haddix. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: After Mom’s remarriage, Nick and Eryn discover strange things about the new stepsiblings they’ll never meet, even though they live in the same town. But as the 12 year old twins start trying to find Ava and Jackson (who should go to their school, but don’t), they discover unsettling truths about what they’ve learned in school (like history being not true) and their parents (not exactly flesh and blood relatives) and the whole world (they exist because of what??!?).

Why are Mom and Michael keeping Jackson and Ava away from Nick and Eryn?
What is so secret that Mom can only tell them inside a snow fort during a blizzard?
Is every adult in the world keeping secrets from the younger generation?

So if robots or androids or cyborgs could cry and love and imagine, wouldn’t they be human, theoretically speaking of course… First in a duology about humanity’s hope for survival. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Arena, by Holly Jennings (book review) – virtual reality, too-real pain

book cover of Arena by Holly Jennings published by Ace Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comVirtual reality is safe combat, right?
Not in this future professional gaming league!

Oh sure, VGL gamers only die digital deaths in this near-future tournament, but every kick and sword strike causes true bodily pain. And when the lines between reality and the Arena start to blur… watch out!

Go to the publisher’s site here to read an excerpt as you port into the Arena with Kali, facing pain and death from more than just game opponents!

Would you fight in virtual reality if you could feel the pain?
**kmm

Book info: Arena / Holly Jennings. Ace Books, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As first-ever female captain, Kali wants to lead her virtual gaming team to the top, but when Nathan’s death in real life erases him from VGL record books and she starts to flip uncontrollably between reality and game-world, the teen begins to question this system that entertains the masses with make-believe sword duels that leave marks on the gamers.

New teammate Rooke challenges Kali to lead using The Art of War and other books that she studied with her Chinese family as a child – but is a tournament win all that he wants from her?

Keep the viewers happy – put on a great show as you win!

Keep the sponsors happy – party hard in public after you win!

Keep the team owner happy – train even harder so that you win more!

This near-future world celebrates the illusion of winning as camouflage for its too-real problems of addiction, rage, and control.

S is Stone Rider, racing for better future, by David Hofmeyr (book review)

book cover of Stone Rider published by Delacorte | recommended on BooksYALove.comRide out of town or die there.
You and the byke as one being,
the desert ready to eat you both…

If Adam can win the treacherous Blackwater race for a one-way ticket to Sky-Base and luxury, without being attacked by gangs trying to race their way to freedom too, or ambushed by bandits, or captured by the mythical Nakoda…

Love, death, and motorcycles that contain the essence of every owner who’s ever ridden them in this futuristic desert world.

Could you gamble it all for one chance to be free?
**kmm

Book info: Stone Rider / David Hofmeyr. Delacorte Press, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Only way to Sky-base and the good life from the grubby town where the Colonel owns everything and controls everybody? Gotta win the Blackwater Trail race through unforgiving desert with bandits, cannibals that might not be myths, and a hundred other riders on their motorcycles that are part living things.

Adam has lost his father and his brother, all reasons to play it safe gone now. When the stranger Kane keeps the Scorpion gang from stealing Adam’s entry fee for the race, maybe the teen has a ally…

Will Adam survive long enough to tell Sadie how he feels?
Can he remember all race lore that his brother told him?
Who is Kane, really?

In this future world, there is no future as long as the Colonel has control of the mines and the people – unless Adam can ride his way to freedom.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Q is quantum Bounders, teens in space, as weapons? by Monica Tesler (book review)

book cover of Bounders by Monica Tesler published by Aladdin | recommended on BooksYALove.comFinally heading for Earth Force Academy,
in space at age 12!
Away from the bullies, at last…

Bred especially to be Bounders, Jasper and other 12-year-olds find themselves grudgingly assisted at Earth Force Academy and challenged to master the alien-shared tech needed to bound, but why exactly the military Earth Force decided that young teens with ‘unusual neurodiversity‘ were the best pilots for this alien world-jumping is rather… suspect.

In future America,

**kmm

Book info: Bounders / Monica Tesler. Aladdin, 2016. [author site] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Genetically specialized for interstellar ship bounding, 12-year-old Jasper is glad to escape earth-school bullies and learn to use alien quantum tech at the Academy in space, but he and his pod-mates start wondering why they were bred to become quantum pilots for the military….

(One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Temple of Doubt, by Anne Boles Levy (book review) – truth too strong for doubter priests

book cover of The Temple of Doubt by Anne Boles Levy published by Sky Pony Press | recommended on BooksYALove.comOnly the Temple spells can heal,
medicines are forbidden –
what can a young herbalist do?
Well, save the world, for starters…

Hadara’s questioning nature is constantly tested in a world where only the god Nihil is allowed to doubt, especially when its priests force her to help them search for a fallen star that they claim is evil.

Grab this recent release at your local library or favorite independent bookstore and travel to a world where being uncertain can be deadly.

Doubts… what’s your strongest?
**kmm

Book info: The Temple of Doubt / Anne Boles Levy. Sky Pony Press, 2015. [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: On a world where doubt is a god’s privilege alone, a less-than-devout teen helps the priests search for a fallen star and is caught up in a tangle of faith and politics that endangers her family and her own sanity.

Hadara resents the priests of Nihil, ever ready to punish her family for herb-gathering instead of relying on the capricious god of doubt to heal through unreliable spell-casting.

When a star falls from the sky and Azwan high priests from the far-off capital need her help to navigate the Wild, the teen and her mother must obey. Hadara’s reaction to one of their soldiers is unexpected, as is the sudden contact by the Gek people of the Wild and the mysterious illness now sweeping through Port Sapphire.

Was it a only falling star or something far more deadly?
Can Hadara keep her healing secrets from the Azwans?
Can she keep the Azwans’ spells away from her family?

Learning her grandparents’ long-hidden legacy, watching the foreordained path of life in her remote town veer wildly off-course, Hadara must hold true to her own beliefs in the face of authority and try to survive until her own birthday. First in a series. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Willful Machines, by Tim Floreen (book review) – big worries for First Son, first love

book cover of Willful Machines by Tim Floreen published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comRogue robots,
attacks on America,
risky new love (trumps all the threats!)

Artificial intelligences gone self-aware are US government prisoners, or so AI-in-the-cloud Charlotte claims, as she directs terrorist robot attacks against their captors who are legislating flesh-and-blood as the only humans.

Intrigued by hot new student Nicolas, closeted Lee weighs following his heart against the daunting expectations of his presidential father and war-hero grandfather in this near-future adventure-love story.

What makes a being human?
**kmm

Book info: Willful Machines / Tim Floreen. Simon Pulse, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Constantly watched by bodyguards and dronecams, Lee completes his robotic creations and endures boarding school for future world leaders, until new student Nico steals his heart and a self-aware computer threatens world peace – what should US President’s teen son do now?

His mother killed by humanoid robot Charlotte that she helped to create and his father propelled to the Presidency by the resulting Human Values backlash, Lee can’t imagine what his war-hero grandfather/headmaster or dad would do if they discovered he was gay.

But so-hot Chilean transfer student Nico looses Lee’s tightly-boxed heart as they evade surveillance for stolen moments alone – until Lee’s clever robots turn against them, controlled by Charlotte who demands release of imprisoned 2B humanoids.

Can Lee really trust Nico?
Is Charlotte acting alone?
Just how different are humans and self-aware machines?

At the gothic elite school built atop a waterfall, secrets long-buried threaten not only Lee and Nico’s happiness, but humankind’s role on earth in the not-so-distant future.

 

Scorpion Rules, by Erin Bow (book review) – hostages for peace or pawns in greater game?

book cover of The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow published by Margaret McElderry Books | BooksYALove.comTo keep the peace,
no price is too high –
if children are the hostages.

Four hundred years from now, the artificial intelligence Talis ensures world peace by holding rulers’ heirs as hostages – attack another country for its water, and your heir is executed on the spot.

A new alliance brings a new boy to the remote Canadian prairie where princess Greta has spent a decade lived for years as schoolchild hostage, and he doesn’t plan on staying there quietly…

Happy book birthday to The Scorpion Rules  – fittingly, yesterday (21 Sept.) was International Peace Day.

Erin Bow also wrote mystical Plain Kate (my no-spoilers review here), and her tale-spinning of a former time works well in this too-possible future narrative.

A bitter and breathtaking view of world peace at great cost.
**kmm

Book info: The Scorpion Rules / Erin Bow. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2015. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Hostage princess Greta prays that her country stays at peace so she stays alive, but a new Child of Peace is ready to gamble away his life in this water-poor future where omniscient AI Talis holds all the cards.

Humanity can no longer wage war from a distance, 400 years after nearly nuking itself extinct, as Talis holds rulers’ heirs hostage throughout childhood, executing any whose home country attacks another.

Yet newly arrived teen Elian doesn’t care to follow Talis’ strict rules, and Greta gradually begins to question the generations-old method of peacekeeping too.

She’s spent years at this remote Canadian location with other royal youth, learning from AI tutors and working to raise their own food – how can Elian become part of their group so quickly?

Her roommate and first love Xie counsels patience as Elian’s foolish remarks (and threats to Talis) earn him terrible scorpion shocks from their proctors and raise new feelings in Greta.

Surely Greta will survive these last few months until her 18th birthday and return to the palace in Halifax – unless the new confederacy that sent Elian as hostage is a threat to her mother’s kingdom…

Elian’s favorite historical person is Spartacus, Talis decides to communicate directly with Greta, and long-quiet concerns suddenly flare to life – nothing for the Children of Peace will never be the same.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Hunter, by Mercedes Lackey (book review) – against monsters, against deceit

book cover of Hunter by Mercedes Lackey published by DisneyHyperion | BooksYALove.comHer gift and her hounds, against evil.
Rift between worlds admits monsters,
as does envy and fear…

In this future time after the Diseray blasts, the barrier between humanity and the Otherworld is weaker, the monsters of myth are getting stronger, and Joyeux knows that Hunting them to protect the remaining citizens is her duty and her calling.

So why is it like a media circus in Hunter headquarters? Do the citizens think these creatures are make-believe? And who is covering up reports that the deadliest monsters are appearing inside the city’s unbreakable walls?

The story and writing are great, even if the title is rather humdrum. Head to your favorite local library or independent bookstore to request this Sept. 1 release.

**kmm

Book info: Hunter / Mercedes Lackey. Disney Book Group, 2015. [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Called from the remote Mountain to protect citizens from constant monster attacks, Joyeux finds that her magical skills may not help her cope with reality TV hovercams, living in Apex city, or the traitor within its walls.

Joyeux was sent by her uncle to the off-grid monastery after she was orphaned, later discovering her magical talent for hunting the mythological monsters that prey on what’s left of humanity.

Citizens watch the Hunters’ daring attacks on dedicated vid-channels, safe indoors – will Joy ever get used to being followed constantly by videocams?

She and her mystical hounds patrol Apex with her mentor, finding small monsters appearing inside the city walls faster than they can exterminate them – why hasn’t this upward trend been noted already?

And now some large monsters are getting through the city’s impenetrable defenses – who is helping them and why?

Dealing with big egos at Hunter headquarters and the suave attentions of her uncle’s assistant with psychic abilities, Joy’s concern about the city’s fate grows daily as Ketzels, Gazers, Vampires, and worse monsters converge on Apex – with a human’s assistance.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

5 to 1, by Holly Bodger (book review) – girls valued, men as chattel

book cover of 5 To 1 by Holly Bodger published by Knopf Books for Young ReadersEach girl-child is cherished,
every boy-baby expendable,
the old land’s prejudices reversed –
yet is this more fair?

“The girl problem” – created by cultures valuing male heirs so much that girl babies are discarded, leaving a vast imbalance of men to women when that generation wants to marry – is turned on its head in the fictive land of Koyanagar which walled itself off from (probably) India in 2042 to protect its females.

Yet not every girl in this women-dominated society believes that boys should fight on stage to be lifelong husbands, tasked with fathering girls. And not every impoverished boy believes that becoming a housebound husband with extra food is worth the price that their society demands.

Have you experienced “the girl problem” personally?
**kmm

Book info: 5 to 1 / Holly Bodger. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Three days to decide their fates – a privileged young woman and the 5 boys competing to become her husband and provide daughters – in a series of unfair Tests that two of these 17 year olds are determined not to win!

In this walled country of Koyanagar, women are valued, unlike the land which they separated from in 2042, where so many girl babies were discarded that only 1 in 5 boys could find a wife.

Sudasa is 17 now and must choose a husband at her Test, where she finds that her powerful grandmother has ensured that the teen’s only male cousin is competing against 4 uneducated boys for her hand!

Boy number Five doesn’t think the contests are fair either – because he doesn’t want a life of tame luxuries as a house-husband. He’d rather stay with Abba in their poor coastal village and find a way over the deadly Wall to search for his mother who couldn’t get back inside when its gates closed forever a decade ago.

In Sudasa’s poetic voice and Five’s carefully reasoned tones, the three days of Tests in intelligence, skill, and sport grind on.

Can he find a way to escape both marriage and certain death as a wall-guard?
Can she escape her grandmother’s plotting and choose her own future?
Do any of Koyanagar’s other 200 girls turning 17 this year feel trapped too?

Like a funhouse mirror, the 5 to 1  ratio of girls to boys in this fictional future country points out the disappearing girls in cultures today which value male heirs over all else.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)