Tag Archive | A2Z

Z is for Zlatka, making Paper Hearts secretly in Auschwitz (book review) by Meg Wiviott

book cover of Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott published by Margaret K. McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comForbidden in Auschwitz:
humanity, relationships, possessions,
and yet…

Her life forfeit if discovered, Zlatka rises above despair in the death camp by celebrating another year of friend Fania’s life with a paper origami heart, crafted in secret.

See the actual paper heart today in the Montreal Holocaust Museum – how fragile things like paper and hope can survive such hate…

As National Poetry Month closes, this novel in verse based on a true story of friendships opens our hearts.
**kmm

Book info: Paper Hearts / Meg Wiviott. Margaret K. McElderry Books, hardcover 2015, paperback 2016.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Pulled from their Jewish families in different Polish hometowns to this terrible place, this death camp, young women Zlatka and Fania find hidden ways to bolster their spirits as they try to stay alive.

The guards turn girl against girl, and girls try anything to get another ration of moldy bread. Forced to work as slaves in a German metal factory making bomb casings instead of bowls, Zlatka and Fania and a few others do their best to be human to one another.

Watching the seasons pass, praying to Adonai in whispers no one can hear. As winter comes near, Zlatka decides to make a card for Fania, because a birthday – or any day – is a gift too precious to ignore.

Can the young women barter enough bread to get a piece of paper or pencil stub?
Can they keep this secret from Fania and the guards?
Will they live or die or keep existing in between?

Zlatka and Fania each tell their story through chapters of poems, enduring and persevering because friendship can make its own family in the midst of horror and despair. Based on actual people and events at Auschwitz Concentration and Extermination Camp during World War II, this novel in verse celebrates the best and the worst of humanity.

Y for Alexander Yates’ tale of loss & belonging in The Winter Place

book cover of The Winter Place by Alexander Yates published by Atheneum | recommended on BooksYALove.com Dad’s sudden death,
fast move to never-seen grandparents’ home – in Finland,
that man, everywhere, and the ghost bear…

Dad made sure that Tess and Axel learned Finnish from their late mother’s childhood book collection, but they weren’t at all prepared to wind up with their maternal grandparents far away in Finland, visited by its mythic spirits.

And the mysterious man who visits them on both sides of the Atlantic, the brown bear where none should be, and the ghost wheelchair that only Axel can see? Who could be ready for that?

Visit the book’s page here on publisher’s website and scroll down to read an excerpt as you begin to discover how Tess and Axel wound up in The Winter Place.

Where is the home of your heart’s memory?
**kmm

Book info: The Winter Place / Alexander Yates. Atheneum, hardcover 2015, paperback 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Sent abruptly to live with never-met grandparents in Finland after Dad’s death, Tess and little brother Axel find themselves farther from their rural New York home than they could have ever imagined, as ghostly creatures continue to visit Axel and draw them both into mysterious places that could steal them from reality forever.

Mom died when Axel was tiny, so Tess is navigating her teen years with just their offbeat professor father (who jousts at the faire each summer). Losing Dad suddenly propels the siblings to Finland to live with grandparents they don’t know, yet the Keeper who visited them in the woods at home finds them in the forest there, also.

The ghostly wheelchair following Axel is truly the Hiisi of Finnish folklore, and the brown bear spotted in their backyard perhaps is Mom’s spirit wandering in search of…

Why do ghost objects keep pestering Axel?
How many times may Tess or Axel cross over that fine line between death and life?
Will they be able to help Mom’s spirit find peace?

The strangeness that follows them from Axel’s first sighting of the bear to the fortress ruins near a Finnish lake sets this mourning sister and brother on an otherworldly path that may not lead back to the mortal world.

X for X-factor kids, the Randoms on space station, by David Liss (book review)

book cover of Randoms by David Liss published by Simon Schuster  | recommended on BooksYALove.comChosen for intelligence,
leadership,
and weirdness…

Of course, an intensive school on space station requires the best and brightest students from every known civilization – so why is sci-fi nerd Zeke the fourth kid on Earth’s team?

Because our popular sci-fi movies and television shows were preparing us for the actual alien tech that’s out there!

Look for Randoms in hardcover or paperback at your local library or independent bookstore now before grabbing book 2, Rebels. Book 3, Renegades, hits the shelves in September 2017.

What does your favorite sci-fi teach us about life and friendship?
**kmm

Book info: Randoms (Randoms, book 1) / David Liss. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, hardcover 2015; paperback 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  [author video] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Recruited by the President for school on a space station, sixth grade gamer and average kid Zeke didn’t expect to be shunned by his fellow Earth students (all incredibly brilliant), visit other planets (picking up more teams for the competition), or discover that his favorite sci-fi shows were based on real alien technologies!

Then the attacks begin!

Earth’s future in the Confederation is at stake, so why was Zeke chosen?
How can he help his team succeed when they want him to stay away?
Can he level up enough that the US government will keep their promise to cure Mom?

Filled with quotes and references to all the science fiction movies, TV shows, games, and books that we love (or hate), Randoms is a rip-roaring ride into interspecies and intergalactic interactions. First in the trilogy, followed by Rebels (book 2) and Renegades (book 3).

W for Wilde and weird as 2017 AudioSYNC season begins! (audiobooks)

WOW! It’s already AudioSYNC season, where audiobook publishers provide two FREE professionally narrated audiobooks through SYNC every week through August so you can read with your ears!

Note that these complete audiobooks are only available for free download from Thursday through Wednesday as noted. However, you have free use of them as long as you keep them on your computer or electronic device

Each week will feature a classic tale and a current one, related thematically. We begin with horror… just click on the link after each audiobook title and follow the easy download instructions.

CD cover of The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde | Read by Greg Wise Published by Naxos AudioBooks | recommended on BooksYALove.comThe Picture of Dorian Gray (download here)

By Oscar Wilde
Read by Greg Wise
Published by Naxos AudioBooks

Gray sells his soul’s purity to a painting in exchange for immortal youth and beauty, but must endure seeing the portrait become hideous as his character degrades.

 

The Dead House (download here)CD cover of The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich | Read by Charlotte Parry, Christian Coulson Published by Hachette Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

By Dawn Kurtagich
Read by Charlotte Parry, Christian Coulson
Published by Hachette Audio

Discovery of the diary of a girl who never existed reopens the decades-old case of that deadly fire at Elmbridge High school – five students died, Carly vanished, there was no Kaitlyn, where’s the truth?

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

V is Vân Ước, wishing hard for love in Cloudwish, by Fiona Wood (book review)

book cover of Cloudwish by Fiona Wood published by Poppy  | recommended on BooksYALove.comWish for love, wish for happiness,
wish to stand out as an artist,
wish to fit in at her new school…

Vân Ước worries about so many things – her mother’s deepening depression as the anniversary of her parents’ escape from Vietnam nears and how to fit in correctly as a scholarship student at her Australian private high school.

And her wishes – becoming an artist instead of a doctor (her parents’ dream), being with handsome rower Billy (her craziest dream) – seem to be coming true after that creative writing class…

Read chapter one here, courtesy of the publisher, then search for Cloudwish at your local library or independent bookstore.

What’s your highest wish?
**kmm

Book info: Cloudwish / Fiona Wood. Poppy, 2016.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [podcast with author] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Dreams of being with handsome Billy are fruitless; dreams of making her living as an artist get Vân Ước through tough days. But the Vietnamese Australian teen may have a chance at both, if the guest creative writing teacher is right!

The transition from her Sydney immigrant neighborhood where she shares strong coffee with her lesbian-in-waiting best friend to the private school where she’s a scholarship student is jarring, as is Billy’s transformation from popular prankster to nice guy in their International Baccalaureate classes.

When a tiny bottle marked ‘wish’ just vanishes into her skin during a creative writing seminar, odd things begin to happen to Vân Ước – like Billy really paying attention to her – in a good way!

Will she be able to magically change her parents’ expectations for her future?
Can Mama’s depression be cured, years after that traumatic journey from Vietnam?
What would Jane Austen do in all these strange, changed situations?

Her name means ‘cloudwish’ – and maybe, just maybe, her dearest wishes and dreams could come true.

U = Unbreakable Code, by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman (book review) – hot book hunt or literary fire bug?

book cover of Unbreakable Code by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers  | recommended on BooksYALove.comCoded messages in books,
ships beneath buildings,
an arsonist who must be stopped!

Emily and James are always on the hunt for books hidden by fellow Book Scavenger fans, but when coded clues in particular volumes link up with revenge-fueled fires at listed hidden-book sites, they decide to solve the mystery… but the fire bug is watching them!

Happy book birthday to The Unbreakable Code! You can read this second adventure in the series by itself, but will enjoy it even more if you get the full background in book one, Book Scavenger (my no-spoiler recommendation here).

Be sure to visit the Book Scavenger game website if you want to report a found book or register a book to hide yourself – there are hundreds hidden all over the USA!

What ‘lost treasure’ from a favorite author would you like to find?
**kmm

Book info:The Unbreakable Code (Book Scavengers, book 2) / Jennifer Chambliss Bertman, with illustrations by Sarah Watts. Holt Books for Young Readers, 2017. [Book Scavenger site]  [author site] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher, via Edelweiss.

My book talk: The unbreakable code? As Emily and James seek out hidden books in the Book Scavenger game, the middle schoolers discover a secret message that sets them hunting for information on Gold Rush ships buried beneath San Francisco’s skyscrapers and the code that author Mark Twain said could never be broken.

But someone with a grudge is setting fires at Book Scavenger hiding places and doesn’t want the young teens to discover the next fire site…ever.

What does their teacher (and fellow Book Scavenger) know about the code – and the fires?
Why must they help with the school dance now when they want work on this mystery?
Ciphers, codes, clues – which ones to follow?

As the fires strike closer to what’s important to Emily and James, they must decide who to trust and how far they can go on their own. Second book in the Book Scavenger series, following Book Scavenger.

T is The Last Tree, by Denise Getson – final hope for desert Earth?

book cover of The Last Tree by Denise Getson published by CBAY Books  | recommended on BooksYALove.comAble to make water where there is none!
Mutation? Gift?

Generations after the Devastation of chemical and biological weapons nearly wiped out life on Earth, mutations may be nature’s way of keeping humanity around, perhaps to save the very last tree in the whole world, hidden where the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers once flowed.

Look for the first book in the series, Dry Souls (my no-spoiler review here), to visit Kira’s world as she first discovers her affinity for water in this parched future Earth.

How far would you go for friendship?
**kmm

Book info: The Last Tree (Dry Souls, book 2) / Denise Getson. CBAY Books, 2016. [author’s Facebook]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Kira isn’t sure how she can call water through solid rock into places where it once flowed, but the United Territory Council government will stop at nothing to capture her and find out how she can bring forth water when all land is desert.

The teen must stay free so she, Tuck, and J.D. can rescue friend Tamara and continue their stealthy mission to get Kira near old lakebeds to call their waters back.

When she is asked to help a special tree, how can Kira say no?
Is this last tree in the entire world truly the Tree of Knowledge?
But how can she keep her family of friends safe from the UTC?

Kira’s adventures in the dry and toxic world introduced in Dry Souls, book one of the series, continue as she jumps across the world from danger into world-altering risks.

S for San Antonio and so many authors!

logo of Texas Library Association 2017 Annual Conference txla.org

TXLA2017 logo courtesy of Texas Library Association

By the time you read this post, I will have

– listened to Cory Doctorow, Carmen Agra Deedy, and Chelsea Clinton speaking to thousands of enrapt librarians at the Texas Library Association Annual Conference in San Antonio,

– toted dozens and dozens of ARCs (advance reader copies) all over the gigantic convention center and to my hotel, as I asked publishers’ representatives which forthcoming books they adored in-house, but might get overshadowed by the season’s “big books” and blockbusters,

– and even succumbed to the lure of acquiring a few completed books signed by authors, both brand-new and deservedly famous, despite the extra weight of hardcovers and acid-free paper.

Life in the world of books and ideas and imagination is very good!

But the libraries that serve us all are threatened by drastic funding cuts at the national and state level.

Please, please, click on those links to find ways to tell legislators how libraries make a difference in your community and your life – it will take all our voices to change their minds.

What’s your best library story?
**kmm

R for reach in Rocks Fall Everyone Dies, by Lindsay Ribar (book review) – family secrets, magic, doom

book cover of Rocks Fall Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar published by Kathy Dawson Books  | recommended on BooksYALove.comRemoving a troublesome memory
or unneeded physical attribute,
easy enough to do for Aspen’s family.

Using his ‘reach’ to steal thoughts or feelings or fears from others to keep the Cliff from falling on Grandma’s town?

Aspen sometimes can’t believe the ritual works, but the lure of snipping out someone’s memory for his own benefit is very, very hard to resist.

Go to the publisher’s website here to read an excerpt of this spooky tale (free!); the eerie paperback edition releases on June 6, 2017.

Would you reach into someone else’s memories and take one away?
**kmm

Book info: Rocks Fall Everyone Dies / Lindsay Ribar. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Summer vacation in upstate New York is no holiday for Aspen, as the teen discovers that his family’s rituals for keeping the Cliff from falling on Three Peaks are more sinister than he ever imagined.

Being able to ‘reach’ into someone’s memories or passions or skills and remove one, just by touching an important object, is his family’s secret skill, but the townspeople don’t know how the things they leave at the May Day tree are used, to heal faults in the Cliff… and more.

Is family story true, about how they became bound to the Cliff which gave the gift of reach?
What if Aspen doesn’t want to help with the ritual any longer?
And that rule about ‘never steal from family’ when you reach – why?

Superstitious tokens at the May Day tree and the power to remove memories, skills, even life itself – the Cliff and this family have a long, dark history together!

Quick! find a Q name to reach 26 Kisses, by Anna Michels (book review)

book cover of 26 Kisses by Anna Michels published by Simon Pulse  | recommended on BooksYALove.comBreak-up recovery strategy #1:
Kiss boys,
Kiss lots and lots of boys!

“No one stays with their high school girlfriends,” he said.

Veda decides that kissing her way through the alphabet – with absolutely no attachments – will surely heal her broken heart this summer, until…

Find 26 Kisses at your local library now or pre-order the May 2017 paperback from your favorite independent bookstore.

How would you mend a broken heart?
**kmm

Book info: 26 Kisses / Anna Michels. Simon Pulse, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: After Mark dumps her, Veda knows that summer in their Michigan resort town will just be agony. So that she doesn’t rebound into another relationship, best friend Mel suggests that Vee smooth out the painful edges by kissing 26 boys – one for each letter of the alphabet.

Top secret! Don’t tell anyone, especially their best friend Seth, who might be falling for Mel.
Don’t kiss the same guy twice! Only so many days of festivals and nights of lake beach parties before summer ends.
No attachments! Easy as cherry pie, until quirky co-worker Killian is so charming and funny and all.

Between Mel and Seth spending all their time working on music, Killian’s love for all things George Bernard Shaw, and her divorced parents’ weird dynamic, Veda still tries to keep it cool and kiss through 26 – will she make her goal with her friendships and dignity somewhat intact?