Tag Archive | Alaska

Read American #ownstories – with your ears

Hurry to get this week’s pair of free audiobooks from SYNC to read with your ears for Independence Day and beyond!

Click the link following the title to download either or both these complete audiobooks before Wednesday night (5 July 2017), then listen to them whenever you like, as long as you keep them on your computer or electronic device.

CD cover of American Night: the Ballad of Juan Jose by Richard Montoya, Developed by Culture Clash and Jo Bonney | Read by Richard Montoya, Keith Jefferson, Todd Nakagawa, Sean San Jose, Kimberly Scott, Herbert Siguenza, Tom Virtue, Libby West, Caro Zeller Published by L.A. Theatre Works | recommended on BooksYALove.comAmerican Night: the Ballad of Juan Jose
(download here free through 5 July 2017)
by Richard Montoya, Developed by Culture Clash and Jo Bonney
Read by Richard Montoya, Keith Jefferson, Todd Nakagawa, Sean San Jose, Kimberly Scott, Herbert Siguenza, Tom Virtue, Libby West, Caro Zeller
Published by L.A. Theatre Works

After studying so hard for his citizenship exam, Juan is visited by a parade of American historical figures in his dreams – live performance with large cast, music, and lots of pop culture references.

 

My Name is Not Easy
(download here free through 5 July 2017)CD cover of My Name is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson | Read by Nick Podehl, Amy Rubinate Published by Brilliance Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Debby Dahl Edwardson
Read by Nick Podehl, Amy Rubinate
Published by Brilliance Audio

In a 1960s Alaskan boarding school where youth are forbidden to speak their Native languages and cross-cultural friendships are discouraged, five boys tell their own stories of loneliness and hope.

What tales of freedom do you recommend?
**kmm

Exposure, by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes (fiction) – Predictions, fame, love, death

book cover of Exposure by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes published by Merit Press
Competitive pals Duff and Duncan,
Three masks predict doom,
Bloodstain that will not wash away…
in an Alaskan high school instead of medieval Scotland.

Welcome to the second book in Askew and Helmes’ Twisted Lit series, definitely as brooding as Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” which inspired it, as dark as the long winter nights in Skye’s hometown of Anchorage, as dangerous as Beth’s desperation to rise above her modest beginnings.

If you know the “Scottish play” well, some twists here will still surprise you; if not, you’ll find that the plotline is largely faithful to the original, so you will have a better chance of following all the action in the play when you read it yourself.

How far should ambition take us? How far is too far?
**kmm

Book info: Exposure (Twisted Lit #2) / Kim Askew and Amy Helmes. Merit Press, 2013.  [Kim’s website]  [Amy’s website]   [publisher site]   [book series trailer]

My Recommendation: Skye would rather be home in Anchorage, but how could she stay after what Craig did? A boyfriend who killed someone…

The summer that he moved north for his dad’s job, cute sophomore Craig hung out with Skye, but once school started, he was rapidly drawn into the popular clique. Skye would much rather hide out in the art room than listen to Beth and her posse giggle and posture. Just one more year, then she can get out of here…

As photographer for the school paper, Skye at least gets to see Craig through her telephoto lens at hockey games. The team was lucky that he’d turned out to be a great power forward since their star player Duff had suddenly gone to Scotland as an exchange student. Rumor has it that former girlfriend Beth had something to do with that, but now she’s all over Craig.

Skye wishes that everything were as easy as developing film (yes, she’s old school about that). Then she could un-separate her parents, un-commit to going to prom with dorky Lenny, un-hear the eerie predictions coming out of the Native Yu’Pik masks worn by her three best pals for their art project.

She told Craig that the party in the woods would only be a drunkfest, but came along anyway just to make his social-climber girlfriend mad. When flashlight tag in the snow begins, Skye retreats to the jeep, never dreaming that she’d overhear Beth telling him they’d keep it all a secret, never imagining that hockey player Duncan would be found dead beside the half-frozen creek the next day or that the police would still be investigating weeks later.

Life sort of goes on at school after Duncan’s death, with the crush of college applications, protests against chopping down its 200-year-old courtyard tree, the Running of the Reindeer and other efforts to keep the long Arctic winter at bay. Beth is sure that she and Craig will be Prom King and Queen, despite her increasingly bizarre behavior.

How can Skye go away to college if Mom and Dad really do split up? Money was tight before they separated…
What’s the secret that Beth and Craig are keeping? It seems to be eating away at them…
Are the answers in Skye’s huge collection of senior year photos? Those eerie predictions might be right…

A modern retelling of Shakespeare’s Macbeth under the Northern Lights, this sinister tale uses quotations from “the Scottish play” as its chapter headings in Askew and Helmes’ second book of the Twisted Lit series.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

T for Traitor’s Son, by Hilari Bell (fiction) – ecology, mythology, and rescue

His father turned away from his heritage.
His grandfather turned away from his son.
He’s a city kid who avoids the wilderness even more than his dad shuns his Native Alaskan roots, and it’s up to him to turn back ecological disaster.

This parable about a possible future world mixes bioengineered plant plagues with Native American/First Peoples/Native Alaskan mythology and symbols as a reluctant hero must decide whether to get involved in the struggle to rebalance the earth’s ecology using a medicine pouch and ley line nodes and other stuff that freaks him out, like that raven.

The Raven Duet begun in Trickster’s Girl  brings fresh awareness of humankind’s effects on our ecosystems as we read this second book to see if the Traitor’s Son will really come through. We’d better make every day Earth Day.
**kmm

Book info: Traitor’s Son (The Raven Duet, book 2) / Hilari Bell. Houghton Mifflin, 2012. [author’s website] [publisher site]

My Recommendation: The leather pouch that she tosses to him must be contraband, drugs, something illegal. Jason can’t imagine any other reason that the teen would risk being shot – with real bullets – to get it over the Alaskan border. He certainly couldn’t imagine that it was the only hope for healing the Earth.

He’s only at the border station to pick up his father’s client and drive him back to Anchorage in the vintage electric sportscar he loves so well. Lots of well-earned perks for a Native Alaskan lawyer who was willing to leave his village and defend a lawsuit that made anyone less than one-fourth Native blood – like his own son Jason – ineligible to inherit Native properties and made his people call him a traitor.

Maybe it’s time to visit his grandparents again, Jason thinks, especially after he dreams of an old Native woman who warns him of a young man coming to steal the leather pouch. Then the new Native girl at his school starts him thinking about heritage and ecological disaster and even nature (strange for a city boy like him).

Odd, disturbing things happen when Jase visits his grandparents’ Native village, each one proving that the girl Raven is right about the earth’s ecology falling further out of balance. When she transforms herself into a real raven, Jase begins to believe she might really know what the medicine pouch can do to heal the earth.

How much is this city boy willing to risk to see if she’s right? Being only three-sixteenths Native Alaskan, can he truly step into the spirit world to fight? Traitor’s Son completes the story begun in Trickster’s Girl in this high-tech, high-security future United States whose only hope is the magic recounted in ancient folklore. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.