Tag Archive | behavior

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.

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!

Growing up female in USA: Our Stories, Our Voices – edited by Amy Reed (book review)

book cover of Our Stories, Our Voices. Edited by Amy Reed, published by Simon Pulse. | recommended on BooksYALove.comGirls have been marginalized,
belittled, abused, attacked, ignored –
time to tell the stories and fight injustice!

Strong personal essays by Martha Brockenbrough, Jaye Robin Brown, Sona Charaipotra, Brandy Colbert, Somaiya Daud, Christine Day, Alexandra Duncan, I.W. Gregorio, Maurene Goo, Ellen Hopkins, Stephanie Kuehnert, Nina LaCour, Anna-Marie McLemore, Sandhya Menon, Hannah Moskowitz, Julie Murphy, Aisha Saeed, Jenny Torres Sanchez, Amber Smith, and Tracy Walker bring a wide range of young female experiences together in this book, begun in the wake of 2016 election.

You’ll recognize some names from my recent recommendations of their fiction – like Amy Reed – The Nowhere Girls,
Julie Murphy – Dumplin’,
Maureen Goo – I Believe in a Thing Called Love,
Sandhya Menon – When Dimple Met Rishi, From Twinkle With Love
and others from books you’ve encountered in libraries, bookshops, and friends’ collections.

Meet them, hear their voices, find your voice, vote whenever you can!
**kmm

Book info: Our Stories, Our Voices: 21 YA Authors Get Real About Injustice, Empowerment, and Growing Up Female in America / edited by Amy Reed. Simon Pulse, 2018. [editor site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Growing up female in the US became even less safe after the 2016 elections, but personal essays by 21 YA authors can bring readers empathy, empowering messages, and a measure of hope mixed with sparks toward moving forward.

Intersectionality – being female and (non-white, immigrant, LGBQT, disabled, fat, bullied) – is the reality for many of these authors who may or may not have transformed their shame, anger, or sorrow into wide-open political activism.

Essays can cover subjects which are very difficult for some readers, so the Editor’s Note specifies which titles discuss abuse, sexual assault, and racist violence.

Read these experiences and seek out others, consult the resources given, be aware of the powers each of us has to steer the future, make your voice heard.

Hope the journey is worth it for Charlie and Me: 421 Miles from Home, by Mark Lowery (book review)

US book cover of Charlie and Me, by Mark Lowery, published by Yellow Jacket Books| recommended on BooksYALove.com

US cover

UK book cover of Charlie and Me, by Mark Lowery, published by Yellow Jacket Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

UK cover

It was the best vacation their family ever had,
Charlie loved the dolphins, Martin loved the sea…
Just have to go back, recapture the good times!

Most middle grade guys wouldn’t voluntarily take their very individual younger brother on a very long train trip, but Martin isn’t most guys: his extremely different brother has been his annoyance and best friend since Charlie’s premature birth ten years ago.

So if Charlie would be happiest seeing the dolphins again at the seacoast hundreds of miles away, then that’s what Martin will do! No need to involve ever-sad Mum and always-working Dad – not the same since that vacation…

Us or UK cover – which do you prefer for this journey saga?
**kmm

Book info: Charlie and Me: 421 Miles From Home / Mark Lowery. Yellow Jacket Books (Bonnier), 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Getting back to the Cornwall seaside town where they saw the dolphins will make Charlie so happy that 13-year-old Martin takes all his savings, puts their favorite Christmas cookie tin in his pack, and heads to the train station with his neurologically special little brother – later, they’ll update their parents…

If the Dolphinwatch app is correct, they can get to the coast just in time…
As long as the railway police don’t stop them, like Mum and Dad would have if Martin had told them his plans…

Will the Angry Girl they meet on the third train (or maybe fourth) help them or not?
What if they run out of money on the way or Charlie has another asthma attack?
Can Martin really pull this off for his best-bud, pain-in-the-youknowwhat, dolphin-obsessed little brother?

Each chapter begins with the distance traveled (mostly in the right direction) and one of Martin’s poems as the two brothers traverse England on this singular journey.

Teen tales of Love & Profanity, bullying, friendship, and more (book review)

hardback book cover of Love & Profanity, edited by Nick Healy et al. Published by Switch Press | recommended on BooksYALove.comTeen angst and adoration,
family, friends, love, work –
40 true stories from authors you know and authors you’ll want to meet.

The book’s subtitle explains it all: “a Collection of True, Tortured, Wild, Hilarious, Concise, and Intense Tales of Teenage Life” and its subject index includes Stories about… Authority Figures, Being Sneaky, Friends-Bad, Friends-Good, and much more.

You can find this eclectic book at your local library or independent bookstore as the 2015 hardcover or 2016 paperback (2 different covers).

What personal story would you be bold enough to share?
**kmm

Book info: Love and Profanity: a Collection of True, Tortured, Wild, Hilarious, Concise, and Intense Tales of Teenage Life / edited by Nick Healy, with Kristen Mohn, Nate LeBoutillier, and Lindsy O’Brien. Switch Press, 2015 (hardcover), 2016 (paperback) [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Writers share vignettes from their teen years in this collection of autobiographical short stories, ranging from mild to wild, mundane to life-altering, divided into four “Love and” sections – profanity, physics, madness, and apologies.

By including YA authors we recognize like Kwame Alexander, Carrie Mesrobian, and Jon Scieszka alongside new-to-us writers like essayist Joey Franklin and science writer Esther Porter, we see a wide range of teen experiences from different genders and sexualities, regions of the US, economic and social conditions, and family configurations.

The subject index itself portrays teenage life, noting Stories About… Being Helpful (or Not), Bullying, Cars, Crushes, Romance Gone Wrong, Siblings, Struggling to Fit In, Working, and much more.

Prophecy? really… My So-Called Bollywood Life, by Nisha Sharma (book review)

book cover of My So-Called Bollywood Life, by Nisha Sharma, published by Crown Books for Young Readers| recommended on BooksYALove.comChair the prestigious student film festival,
Attend NYU Film School with the love of her life…
then it all falls apart!!

Raj knows the prophecy, knows that he’s Winnie’s destined true love – so why is he with Jenny?!

Why does he get to chair the film festival when Winnie needs that honor on her film school applications?

Wait, is her best friend keeping secrets now? Is her own Bollywood movie-loving life suddenly a dud?

Meet Winnie as you read the first chapter free on the publisher’s website, then head for your local library or independent bookstore to see if her prophesied true love bursts into her life in the best Bollywood movie tradition!

Any prophecies come true for you?
**kmm

Book info: My So-Called Bollywood Life / Nisha Sharma. Crown Books for Young Readers, 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Meet her great love before she turn 18? Ha! When Winnie finds “perfect boyfriend” Raj with another girl, all she has left for their senior year is Film Club, but their new advisor is taking Raj’s ideas instead of hers!

Not the Film Festival chair this year? She needs that on her resume for NYU Film School application!

Her writing about great Bollywood movies will never be a career? Raj is such a jerk!

Could Dev be the one prophesied for her? Winnie’s birthday is getting nearer, but she doesn’t want to rush…

Dramatic events at the Festival fundraiser dance have the whole school abuzz, the Indian community in their New Jersey town wonders about the prophesy, and Winnie must use the best of Bollywood’s plot twists to make everything turn out right.

Baseball (and bullies) and The Rhino in Right Field, by Susan DeKeyser (book review)

book cover of Rhino in Right Field, by Susan DeKeyser, published by Margaret K McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comBaseball practice needs a flat open space,
so the city park is a great place!
But sharing the outfield with the zoo can be beastly!

Nick and his buddies love baseball, practicing whenever and wherever they can (no Little League yet in Wisconsin in 1948). They’re thrilled when the new owner of the town’s pro team promises a chance for kids to be on the field for opening day! (or is it just for boys?)

Read the first chapter here to meet Nick and the rhino (free, courtesy of the publisher), then head to your local library or independent bookstore for the rest of the story.

Your close encounter with unusual animals and/or minor league baseball?
**kmm

Book info: The Rhino in Right Field / Susan DeKeyser. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2018.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: For the chance to be Mudpuppy batboy for day, 12-year-old Nick will do anything – work harder in Pop’s shoe repair shop, help uncle Spiro with mysterious errands – as the baseball team’s new owner plans an extravaganza for Opening Day.

That bully Pete thinks he’ll be chosen batboy, but Nick can win this contest based on essay-writing and baseball skills – if only his Pop would sign the permission slip… hmmm

He and Ace practice fielding with Penny (wow, can she throw!), hoping Nick’s baseball won’t wind up in the rhino enclosure (again).

His Greek immigrant father is sure that working hard in the family shop is Nick’s destiny, but Uncle Spiro wants to make his own way in post-World War II Wisconsin.

Where will Nick be on Opening Day – in the Mudpuppy dugout or listening on the radio in the shoe shop?

Rapists called to justice by The Nowhere Girls, by Amy Reed (book review)

book cover of The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed, published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comGang-raped her and made sure no one believed her.
Bragging online and planning their next moves…
Popularity won’t save these guys any more!

Moving to a new town during high school is no fun, but when Grace discovers that the girl who lived in this house was forced to move away because her rapists were popular guys and that the same guys are targeting other girls, she’s determined to find a way to stop them.

Read chapter one on the publisher’s website (free) as this story begins in the middle, after Lucy is assaulted and before The Nowhere Girls take action to stop sexual attackers from ruining lives in their school and community.

Relevant, so very relevant now…

Your standing up for a vital issue moment?
**kmm

Book info: The Nowhere Girls / Amy Reed. Simon Pulse, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When Grace learns that the popular guys who gang-raped Lucy are still preying on girls and bragging about it online, she wants justice for the girl they shamed out of their small Oregon town and safety for the girls still here, but how?

With new friends Rosina (loves girls and punk music, not her uncle’s Mexican restaurant) and Erin (loves marine biology and Star Trek, feels like an android), they form the “Nowhere Girls” and anonymously invite every girl at Prescott High to resist the toxic sexist culture that has no consequences for the guys.

Can they warn girls in surrounding towns about these guys?
How can they convince adults that these assaults are real crimes?
What if no one comes to the secret meeting?

Breaking the dangerous status quo, creating solidarity among teen girls for safety – it’s time that The Nowhere Girls were everywhere!

The raiders are coming! Evangelina Takes Flight with her family, by Diana J. Noble (book review)

book cover of Evangelina Takes Flight, by Diana J. Noble, published by Pinata Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com Pancho Villa‘s rebels are coming!
Carry what you can and flee – or be killed!
But refugees aren’t welcomed when they cross into Texas…

So much for 13-year-old Evangelina to cope with now – a girl trying to steal her suitcase on the train (with grandfather’s secret box inside!), store signs in the Texas town that say “No Mexicans” (where can they buy food?), and wondering if they can ever go home to Mexico (is anyone safe there?).

The story is set in 1911, but many things still resonate today in the borderlands.
**kmm

Book info: Evangelina Takes Flight / Diana J. Noble. Pinata Books/Arte Publico Press, 2017. [author Facebook]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Pancho Villa and his rebel soldiers are coming? As big sister celebrates her quinceanera before the family flees their northern Mexico rancho, Evangelina worries about little Tomas’ recovering so slowly from a scorpion sting, whether grandfather can travel north with them, what they will find at her aunt’s house in Texas.

By mule wagon, with the men herding their best cattle on another trail, Evangelina’s mother gets the children to the crowded train station, but the journey onward is anything but smooth, and the Texas border town holds no welcome for refugees.

Why is wailing woman La Llorona coming into her dreams?
Will the townspeople’s prejudice keep her and Dr. Taylor from saving lives?
What is in the box grandfather gave her for safekeeping?

Evangelina might even be brave enough to attend the town meeting where rich white people are demanding that only white children can attend the school!

Riding for justice, on dinosaurs! Dactyl Hill Squad, by Daniel Jose Older (book review)

book cover of Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel Jose Older, published by Arthur A. Levine Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comCivil War with dinosaurs,
Free black orphans eluding kidnapping slavers,
Actors, mystery, adventure – and pterosaurs, too!

Visit the book website for the Rescue Run video game and ride dinos like Magdalys and Mapper did! Cool map of their New York City, too.

Which dino or ptero would you ride?
**kmm

Book info: Dactyl Hill Squad / Daniel Jose Older. Arthur A. Levine Books, 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Civil War, New York City, dinosaurs everywhere – everyday life for Madgalys and friends at the Colored Orphans Asylum is shattered when riots break out and kidnappers attack!

The wonderful theater for black actors is torched, the orphanage is next, so they escape on a brachyosaur, heading for the free black neighborhood across the river, and the Afro-Cuban girl discovers that she can hear and understand the dino’s thoughts!

Riding pteros to gather information, each kid’s skills will be needed as they work together with Dactyl Hill residents to rescue kidnapped orphans from the corrupt judge who’ll send them into slavery.

Who’s this Mr. Reed noted in the orphanage register?
Can Magdalys really communicate with all types of dinos?
Will she see her soldier brother again?

First in an alternative history series, with youth fighting for justice, despicable villains opposing them, and dino battle beasts on both sides of the war between slave states and freedom.