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Can she be both HEALER & WITCH without peril? by Nancy Werlin (MG/YA book review)

book cover of Healer & Witch, by Nancy Werlin. Published by Candlewick Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A family of healers,
an unlooked-for skill,
now her future is uncertain…

A healer relieves pain with herbs and treatments – wouldn’t removing a painful memory from the mind also be healing? But this action in 1531 France will definitely not be seen as a gift from God!

Soon after her beloved grandmother’s death, 15-year-old Sylvie leaves her mother as lone healer for their village, departing to seek a teacher to help her tame this new skill.

Martin decides to travel with her, having no skill at his family’s trade – now Sylvie has to feed a growing young boy and keep them both safe.

In the market town, they find a healer who knew her grandmother and tells Sylvie where she might find a teacher – a long, dangerous journey away.

Of course, the healer’s friend Robert whose caravan is going to Lyon is the same young man that Martin insulted at the market…

Can the merchant’s caravan avoid robbers on the way?
Will this Madame du Bois help Sylvie learn to contain her gift?
What’s the connection between Robert and Madame and…the archbishop?

The divide between being a healer or a witch is thinner than one of Martin’s red hairs, and Sylvie must decide for herself where to make her stand. Read the first chapter here free, courtesy of the publisher.

Have you ever wished to see inside another’s mind?
**kmm

Book info: Healer & Witch / Nancy Werlin. Candlewick Press, 2022 [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image by Jade Zhang courtesy of the publisher.

THE FIRE STAR jewel is missing – will these your courtiers be next? by A. L. Tait (YA book review)

book cover of The Fire Star (Maven & Reeve Mystery, book 1), by A. L. Tait. Kane-Miller Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A wedding almost delayed by goats,
a new squire for the groom,
a reluctant lady’s maid for the bride…

Rennart Castle is swirling with preparations for Sir Garrick’s wedding to Lady Cassandra – and rumors that its Airl will oppose the new King who is using the kingdom’s wealth for himself alone.

Reeve’s training in court etiquette and observing people should help Sir Garrick through this new situation – and is the 16 year old’s final chance to become a knight himself.

Maven now waits upon a young noblewoman displeased to be marrying a lowly knight. Not long ago, Maven also wore fine clothes, but the teen’s family has fallen upon desperately hard times.

The priceless Fire Star gem always goes to the family’s youngest daughter upon her betrothal – never to a son – and that is what Lady Cassandra brings into this marriage. The Airl will soon demand that she gives it to his headstrong daughter.

When the Fire Star is stolen before the wedding, Reeve and Maven find themselves searching for clues in the castle and countryside new to them both.

Is the secret Birch Circle of women involved?
Why is the Airl’s daughter taking so many risks?
Can Maven’s forbidden ability to read and write stay hidden?

Told in alternating chapters by the two teens, The Fire Star takes us to a medieval land where their detecting skills can save the castle household and perhaps the entire kingdom! Followed by The Wolf’s Howl (info here).

What part of courtly life would you like to experience for yourself?
**kmm

Book info: The Fire Star (Maven & Reeve Mystery, book 1) / A. L. Tait. Kane-Miller Books, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Searching for THE LOST RYU, dragon of his memory, by Emi Watanabe Cohen (YA book review)

book cover of The Lost Ryu, by Emi Watanabe Cohen. Published by Levine Querido | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Kohei still dreams of being three years old at the last dragon parade, holding his smiling grandfather’s hand as huge winged Western dragons flew overhead and sinuous Japanese ryu dragons strode along Osaka’s streets at the end of World War II.

His maternal grandfather was so angry about Kohei’s father dying soon afterward that he made the boy take his mother’s family name – maybe Ojiisan would be happy if he had a big dragon again, bigger than ryu Yuharu who rides on Kohei’s shoulder.

Isolde moves in downstairs, with her Japanese-American mom, Polish-American dad, and winged dragon Cheshire (very small, Kohei is so disappointed) – imagine starting middle school in a new country and language!

When Ojiisan is suddenly hospitalized, Kohei decides that he must bring a ryu to him. Isolde never knew her grandparents who died in concentration camps in the United States and Poland during the War, so she wants to help.

Venturing into Papa’s study, Kohei finds details about how ryu are hatched, so he and Isolde travel to the faraway New Ryugyu-jo where their dragons will help bring a special ryu into the world.

When the biggest ryu Kohei has ever seen snatches the baby ryu, of course he has to follow and save her!

His memories shift like a kaleidoscope as Kohei learns more about his father’s and grandfather’s pasts.

How far, how far will we go to bring comfort to those we love?
**kmm

Book info: The Lost Ryu / Emi Watanabe Cohen. Levine Querido, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

In a world GONE DARK, the prepper skills she longs to forget may save them, by Amanda Panitch (YA book review)

book cover of Gone Dark, by Amanda Panitch. Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books /Simon & Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Forget how she got away,
just think of the future,
till it all goes dark.

Zara and her mom have a better life in southern California, five years gone since they escaped from her father’s survivalist compound back east.

Computer games instead of skinning squirrels? What teen girl wouldn’t leave behind such a hard life? But her father’s voice still echoes that the world is ending soon… no wonder Zara has panic attacks.

Then the sporadic power outages become a nationwide blackout, and civilized behavior vanishes, just like Dad predicted. When a huge stranger barges into their darkened house and calls for Zara by name, the 17 year old knows it’s time to leave.

Unable to get Mom to safety, Zara and her best friends head away from the coast, trying to outrun the threatening stranger and avoid danger on the road.

A Mormon fortress welcomes them, but can they ever leave?
More people join the group as they travel – can they stay safe together?
If they reach the hidden compound, can they survive its border traps?

This future where the electric grid fails large-scale could be tomorrow, just like the difficulties that Zara and friends endure in a world gone dark.

What’s your emergency plan for disasters?
**kmm

Book info: Gone Dark / Amanda Panitch. Margaret K. McElderry Books /Simon & Schuster, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Can he shoot a deer or not? It’s HUNTER’S CHOICE, by Trent Reedy (MG book review)

book cover of Hunter's Choice, by Trent Reedy. Published by Norton Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Family tradition,
careful practice,
fear of failing!

He has been waiting so long – taking hunter safety classes, getting his deer hunting license, practicing and practicing – because even if this is his very first hunting trip, twelve-year-old Hunter knows you get just one good shot at a deer.

Hunter’s granddad built a lodge on their property in the mountains above their Idaho town, so his family knows the streams where deer like to drink and where a bear might hang out.

His cousin Yumi brings their classmate Annette for the weekend so she can write about hunting for the school newspaper and give Yumi a buffer between her dad and his post-Afghanistan war PTSD.

Hunter might have a little crush on Annette, so his nerves about this important milestone get worse. On their first night, Grandpa, Dad, and Uncle Rick tell stories about past hunts and time here together – reminders that hunting is more than getting venison for the freezer.

“For the time that we’re hunting, everything else, all the frustrations and bull crap from the outside world don’t matter,” (pg.101) Grandpa says as they head out for the evening hunt.

Can Hunter let go of his worries and focus on spotting a deer?
Can Yumi understand what her dad is struggling with?
Will Hunter actually choose to kill a deer?

The author’s experiences fill this book with authentic details, from safe gun handling to field-dressing a deer, as he shares the decisions every hunter must make.

First of three interconnected books set on McCall Mountain – great for fans of Hatchet, hunting, fishing, and the woods.

What’s your favorite outdoor activity with family?
**kmm

Book info: Hunter’s Choice / Trent Reedy. Norton Young Readers, 2021 hardcover, 2022 paperback. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

What is stalking cryptid healer SORCELINE & her classmates? by Sylvia Douye & Paola Antista (Graphic novel review)

book cover of Sorceline, by Sylvia Douye; illustrated by Paola Antista. Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Studying mythic creatures,
learning how to heal them,
all she’s ever dreamed of!

Late to her first cryptozoology class because her guide was eaten en route, Sorceline is thrilled to be on the Isle of Voon, but the Professor’s assistant (a vampire who can endure sunlight…) calls the teens outside where a gorgon lies unconscious!

Brooding, quiet Merope knows the correct first response, so he will care for the gorgon who needs unicorn blood to survive.

When Tara goes missing during their night field trip to find a unicorn, everyone is worried; when a pile of shattered glass is found in her place, they’re worried and puzzled – what creature can do this?

Zombie pixies? Everyone knows pixies never come out at night, but one bites Sorceline who yells insults, then watches in horror as it turns into glass!

The Professor said that only one of these six students would become his apprentice – who or what is trying to eliminate some of the competition?

Sorceline’s gift is identifying magical creatures with just one look – can she help the Professor find what he needs to cure those turned into glass? Or is she the cause?

Alcide is smitten with Sorceline, utterly obsessed – is he a real teenager or a mythic creature himself?

Originally published in France as a three-part bande dessinee, Sorceline was just released in the US last month – stunning art with so many mystical creatures on the eerie island!

How do you maintain friendships while competing for the same goal?
**kmm

Book info: Sorceline / Sylvia Douye; illustrated by Paola Antista. Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2022. [illustrator site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Magic & music together are forbidden – should SOFI AND THE BONE SONG change that? by Adrienne Tooley (YA book review)

book cover of Sofi and the Bone Song, by Adrienne Tooley. Published by  Margaret K. McElderry Books / Simon & Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Winter won’t go away,
talent isn’t always rewarded,
what else will Sofi endure? (don’t ask…)

After years of obsessive practicing, long-motherless 16 year old Sofi’s perfect performance is upstaged by an untutored young woman who didn’t even bring a lute to the Guild audition, yet wins apprenticeship to the ruling lute Musik, Sofi’s own father.

Lara didn’t use a Paper to perform, or all would have seen the spell inked into her skin – music is the only craft forbidden to use the Paper spells sold by the king.

When Sofi’s father suddenly dies, Lara must immediately qualify to be the lute Musik by traveling through the country and performing specific complex songs in certain towns – songs that Sofi knows and Lara doesn’t.

Away the two young women go with the Musik’s lute made of bones, through their ever-winter land, knowing that some Musiks of the Guild want Lara to succeed, but if she fails, perhaps Sofi has a chance at her life’s dream.

Why did the seasons stop changing when they were babies?
Is Lara using illegal magic to learn this complicated music so fast?
Will the malfunctioning Papers sold to neighboring kingdoms lead to war?

Rivalry becomes companionship and so much more, as Lara and Sofi begin to truly understand the magic of their musical gifts and their growing bond with one another.

What instrument would you play if magically given the skill?
**kmm

Book info: Sofi and the Bone Song / Adrienne Tooley. Margaret K. McElderry Books / Simon & Schuster, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

They must find more LITTLE MONARCHS, butterflies vital for humanity’s survival! by Jonathan Case (Middle Grade graphic novel review)

book cover of Little Monarchs, by Jonathan Case. Published by Margaret Ferguson Books / Holiday House | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Sun-sickness wiped out mammals,
some humans survive underground,
can any ever see daylight again?

By 2101, only two people on Earth can survive sunshine – young Elvie and scientist Flora who’s caring for the 10 year old while Elvie’s parents travel onward as the team perfects a cure for sun-sickness.

Monarch butterflies carry the needed ingredient on their wings, so Flora and Elvie follow their migration south along what used to be the western USA, scavenging from former cities, foraging wild foods, and avoiding known underground settlements.

Elvie documents nature and schoolwork in her journal, while Flora tests and retests ways to make larger quantities of the monarch wing-scale medicine that prevents sun-sickness.

After an earthquake, they find a small boy near an abandoned settlement, so Flora gives him a dose of medicine and they keep going. Elvie left behind a note and some medicine, in case anyone returns to look for little Sito.

Wow, his family does follow them and wants to travel along – safety in numbers, right? Right?!?

This outstanding graphic novel documents their perilous journey to meet up with Elvie’s parents, as well as the natural wonders and survival skills that she records in her journal.

In our time, monarch numbers are dropping dramatically, so planting native milkweed along their migration route can make up for some habitat loss.

Do monarchs migrate through your region?
**kmm

Book info: Little Monarchs / Jonathan Case. Margaret Ferguson Books / Holiday House, 2022. [author site] [book site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Your front-row seat to excitement with dramatic audiobooks – free!

We’re at the halfway point of this summer’s SYNC season – have you set up your free SORA shelf yet? Find out more in the SYNC FAQs.

The free download time for each thematic pair of professionally produced audiobooks is Thursday through Wednesday. If you miss that window, check your local public library or independent bookstore for highlighted titles.

Big thanks to participating audiobook publishers who give us 99 years to listen to these great adventures and true stories through SORA.

And now, the curtain rises – it’s time for present and future drama with two full-cast recordings of stage plays!

CD cover of Paradise, by Laura Maria Censabella | Read by Medalion Rahimi, Jeff Marlow. Published by L.A. Theatre Works | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Paradise (free Sora download 6/9-15/2022)
by Laura Maria Censabella | Directed by Anna Lyse Erikson | Read by Medalion Rahimi, Jeff Marlow
Published by L.A. Theatre Works

A shy, brilliant Muslim student challenges her high school science teacher with a mysterious past to help design a scientifically accurate experiment to measure the effects of love on teenagers’ minds and bodies.

Questions of faith, science, trust, and culture affect their search for answers and for truth. Listen to a conversation with the director at https://soundcloud.com/latheatreworks/paradise-bonus-content-a-conversation-with-laura-maria-censabella.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/206957/paradise-by-laura-maria-censabella-read-by-medalion-rahimi-jeff-marlow/

image of swirling lines from http://www.clipartpanda.com/clipart_images/mondays-throughout-the-day-17164159
CD cover of Tangent Knights 1: Caprice of Fate, by Christopher L. Bennett | Read by Richard Rohan, Elaine Yuko Qualter, Bianca Bryan, and a Full Cast. Published by Graphic Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Tangent Knights 1: Caprice of Fate (free Sora download 6/9-15/2022)
by Christopher L. Bennett | Read by Richard Rohan, Elaine Yuko Qualter, Bianca Bryan, and a Full Cast
Published by Graphic Audio

In 2046, New Avalon’s all-pervasive technology is controlled by one woman. When advanced nanotech armor invades her own daughter Cory, Herrera tries to control Cory and make her into a hero against tangent parallel Earths.

But this fan of Japanese tokusatu fighting games has her own ideas about being a superhero. As Caprice, she and peacekeeper Tangent Knights will fight against cyborgs brought from other dimensions by her mother! (first in a series) Check out the audio trailer at https://youtu.be/O7jygJ5qDl0.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/203852/tangent-knights-1-caprice-of-fate-by-christopher-l-bennett-read-by-richard-rohan-elaine-yuko-qualter/

What play would you like to hear as an audiobook?
**kmm

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

Just a little fun for Kenyan boys or PLAYING A DANGEROUS GAME? by Patrick Ochieng (MG book review)

book cover of laying a Dangerous Game, by Patrick Ochieng. Published by  Accord Books /Norton Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

His baba has been promoted by the Railway, so now 10-year-old Lumush and little sister Awino can attend the Hill School, a big step up from their neighborhood school in 1970s Kenya.

More homework, less time to hang out by that old rusted car with his buddies, playing pata potea or dreaming up stunts to do – Mama is so happy this opportunity has finally come.

But everyone at Hill School except Lillian treats him with suspicion, his friends think he’ll become stuck up, and cute Nijah frets that he’ll get distracted by the Hill girls.

Ripe zambarau fruits tempt the boys to climb the tree at the ghost house; a dare sends them back at night to spy on the ghosts of the white woman and her daughter who died there!

The friends hear all the gossip as they ramble the neighborhood – medicine stolen from the dispensary, bags of coffee beans disappearing from railway cars, a delivery lorry stolen.

What will the thieves target next?
Do ghosts always smell like cigarette smoke?
What’s hiding in the junkyard?

Wander the Railway Estates with Lumush and his friends as they try to solve the ghost house mystery without becoming ghosts themselves!

Lumush tries to be a good Hill School student and also a good friend to his buddies as their manhood ceremonies approach, holding onto good times in the neighborhood even as his parents and teachers insist that his school success now will determine his entire future.

What landmark in your town has ghosts?
**kmm

Book info: Playing a Dangerous Game / Patrick Ochieng. Accord Books /Norton Young Readers, 2021. [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.