Tag Archive | beliefs

IT’S A WHOLE SPIEL: Love, Latkes, and Other Jewish Stories, edited by Katherine Locke & Laura Silverman (YA book review)

book cover of It's a Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes, and Other Jewish Stories, edited by Katherine Locke & Laura Silverman. Published by Alfred A. Knopf | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Feeling too Jewish or not Jewish enough at school, summer camp, at another family’s Seder dinner, on a Birthright trip to Israel in college…

In this short story collection, young adults embrace, question, and reexamine their Jewish faith as it connects (or doesn’t) to their childhood, their family, their sexual identity, their now, and their future.

Raysh hopes to overcome her fear of drowning (again) in “He Who Revives the Dead”, while Miri’s first meeting with her new boyfriend’s parents is interrupted by an earthquake and “Aftershocks.”

Short stories by Dahlia Adler, Adi Alsaid, David Levithan, Elie Lichtschein, Katherine Locke, Alex London, Goldy Moldavsky, Hannah Moskowitz, Matthue Roth, Lance Rubin, Dana Schwartz, Laura Silverman, Rachel Lynn Solomon, and Nova Ren Suma.

“Judaism is about seeing the world for what it is and being part of a community that is greater than the sum of its parts,” reminds actress Mayim Bialik in the foreword.

Each story in this anthology is one of those parts, a vivid and varied kaleidoscope of experiences, meeting new people, and watching old friends change.

Find the print version or ebook at a library near you with WorldCat.

What part of yourself do you share with a new friend?
**kmm

Book info: It’s a Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes, and Other Jewish Stories / edited by Katherine Locke & Laura Silverman. Alfred A. Knopf / Random House, 2019. [Katherine’s site] [Laura’s site] [publisher site] Personal copy; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Who’s fighting against ONYEKA & THE ACADEMY OF THE SUN? by Tọlá Okogwu (MG book review)

book cover of Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun, by Tola Okogwu. Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

People in their British town look at her in 2025 and just see voluminous hair, not Onyeka the person…

When the middle-schooler saves her best friend from drowning at the swimming pool – with her hair – Mum finally admits that Onyeka is a Solari with psychokinetic superpowers inherited from her missing father, whose enemies chased Mum and Onyeka out of Nigeria.

Her uncontrolled powers are making her dreadfully sick, so back to the world’s tech capital of Lagos they go, so Onyeka can learn how to harness her Ike at the Academy of the Sun, and Mum can search for her father.

The Solari come to the Academy as children and secretly train to use their powers for the good of their country, so Onyeka is already behind her age-mates. Is that why her roommate Adanna is so grumpy at her?

Holographic rooms, AI teachers, physical training so each Solari can master their own type of Ike – Enhancer, Emitter, Transformer, or Psionic – and someday become Protectors. Hassan and Niyi become her friends as she tries to learn fast.

But Onyeka gets sicker every time she uses her Ike, Mum is suddenly out of contact, and Rogues with Ike powers attack the Academy!

Who’s this Dr. Naomi who worked with her father at their research lab?
Has the Academy director taught them honestly about how the Solari came to be?
Will Onyeka survive to her birthday next month?

Fast-paced, heart-stopping adventure in this debut novel, followed by book 2 in the series: Onyeka and the Rise of the Rebels (more info here) on 30 May 2023, same day as the paperback edition of book 1 in the USA.

What superpower would you choose?
**kmm

Book info: Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun (Onyeka, book 1) / Tọlá Okogwu. Margaret K. McElderry Books, hardcover 2022, paperback 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Meet magical creatures in compelling stories with AudioSYNC (audiobook recommendations)

Encounter wonderful and wondrous magical beings in this week’s AudioSYNC free audiobooks.

Be sure to download either or both audiobooks into your Sora shelf by Wednesday 24 May 2023 – free!

You can sign up for a free Sora account and see the entire AudioSYNC season here.

Here are this week’s tales of magical creatures, in our world and theirs.

CD cover of Keeper of the Night, by Kylie Lee Baker | Read by Rebecca Yeo
Published by Dreamscape

Keeper of the Night book 1 (free Sora download 5/18-24/2023)
by Kylie Lee Baker | Read by Rebecca Yeo
Published by Dreamscape

Ever-searching for her banished mother, Ren is a collector of deceased souls. The near-immortal teen travels from England to Japan on her quest, encountering mortals and magical creatures. Who’s on her side? Can she escape the rest?

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/205506/the-keeper-of-night-by-kylie-lee-baker-read-by-rebecca-yeo/

swirling lines clipart http://www.clipartpanda.com/clipart_images/mondays-throughout-the-day-17164159
CD cover of Out of the Blue, by Jason June | Read by André Santana, Neo Cihi. Published by Harper Audio

Out of the Blue (free Sora download 5/18-24/2023)
by Jason June | Read by André Santana, Neo Cihi
Published by Harper Audio

During his month-long quest on land, Crest must decide whether to return to the sea as a mer or live as a human. Meeting lifeguard Sean is eye-opening for the non-binary mer. As their relationship grows, Crest and Sean consider what their future might be.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/214852/out-of-the-blue-by-jason-june-read-by-andr%C3%A9-santana-neo-cihi/

So many tales of magical beings – what others do you recommend?
**kmm

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

MYTHOLOGY CLASS for fighting Philippine monsters! by Arnold Arre (Graphic Novel review)

book cover of The Mythology Class: Where Philippine Legends Become Reality, by Arnold Arre. Published by Tuttle Publishing | recommended on BooksYALove.com

“All of you are worthy to join her quest. We need you!” said the ghost lady in their dreams.

Friends at University of the Philippines get an invitation to join a mythology class meeting off-campus, and their teachers are time travelers from the past!

Nicole’s thesis about the myth of Bathala’s creation of the worlds – human and mystical – was slammed by her professors, but now she learns it’s true.

Now enkantos have been released into our world, some benign and others incredibly evil.

A perilous transfer has gone wrong, and the most dangerous foul-mouthed enkantos are gathering beneath the largest shopping mall in Manila to begin their reign of terror!

It’s up to these students to learn how to fight and capture all kapres to be returned to their spirit world – by spear and arrow, dance and music, knowing when to challenge and when to flee.

Lane’s telepathic skills get just a little better, Nicole is amazed by legendary Kubin’s emergence from myth into now as a young warrior, and Gina allows herself to be convinced by a tiny kapre that it should stay right here.

A super-concert at the mall? Uh-oh…

Throughout all the training and chases and battles, Rey and Misha keep quarreling, each hoping the other will apologize so they can get back together.

Arre introduced the Mythology Class characters in 1999, later collecting all issues into this omnibus edition; Tuttle Publishing has brought the full 2014 version across the Pacific for the first time.

What mythological being would you be brave enough to meet?
**kmm

Book info: The Mythology Class: Where Philippine Legends Become Reality / Arnold Arre. Tuttle Publishing, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Dare she travel ROAD OF THE LOST into lands of fae? by Nafiza Azad (YA book review)

book cover of Road of the Lost, by Nafiza Azad. Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Helping a girl trapped as a stone statue cracks Croi’s glamour, making the brownie visible to courtiers in the human palace!

The 17 year old flees back to her guardian’s home in the Wilde Forest, and the Hag gives her two books about the fae – why?

Croi, who isn’t a brownie after all, cannot resist the summoning spell taking her away from the Forest to the Otherworld of fae and dryad and pixie.

With the other half of herself now awakened (and talking so much in her mind), Croi won’t be completely alone. Perhaps she’ll meet the young man Iriel who invades her dreams as he searches for the Forever King’s descendants.

As she travels in strange lands whose magick is dwindling, Croi meets a dryad with a desperate request, a catkin seeking his kidnapped brothers, a fire princess leading a rebel army, and a pixie with attitude.

Who sent Croi to the Wilde Forest as a child?
Why is this summoning spell calling her into the Otherworld?
What is Iriel’s part in all this?

Many want the high fae Robber Queen to lose her power over the Otherworld at the upcoming Saol ceremony – the battle is on!

By the author of The Candle and the Wind, recommended here.

Which being of legend would you want to meet?
**kmm

Book info: Road of the Lost / Nafiza Azad. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Z is for Zahra and THE LOVE MATCH: who to choose? by Priyanka Taslim (YA book review) #A2Z

book cover of The Love Match, by Priyanka Taslim. Published by Salaam Reads | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Zahra, her widowed mother, grandmother, and little sister and brother are squeezed into a tiny city apartment, thankfully in the largest Bangladeshi community in the US.

Every Muslim deshi auntie in Paterson joins her mom in trying to set up Zahra with the right young man. Everyone knows that marrying into a rich family will solve every problem, as the popular Bengali natok dramas show through music and extravagant dances.

But the recent grad wants true love, like a Jane Austen novel – someone who adores her for herself, not for her auspicious social connections to Bangladeshi royalty or her mother’s amazing dressmaking skills.

Enough that Zahra has to work for a year to support her family while her besties head away to college. For now, she’ll keep drafting her novel, and someday she’ll finally study creative writing at Columbia University, someday…

Oh dear! Amma agrees with the wealthy Emon family that their son Harun and Zahra are a perfect match!! The 18 year olds decide quickly that they’re not suited for each other, but will go on several dates (with chaperones) to make their parents happy.

Meanwhile, every shift working together at the Pakistani chai shop brings Zahra and cute Nayim closer. He’s just arrived here in New Jersey, is staying with the imam, and loves music (more fun than Harun’s model-building and bearded dragon).

It is nice to be friends with Harun, even if there’s no spark between them. It’s lovely to be with Nayim at the deshi community picnic, even though he won’t discuss his family back home. It’s hard to watch her best friends excitedly prepare to move away for college, so hard.

Nayim or Harun?
Fairy tale or practicality?
Secrets?! More secrets?!

Trying to balance family expectations with her own dreams makes Zahra wonder if this summer will be a happy Dhallywood natok or a tragic one!

What’s your favorite literary love match?
**kmm

Book info: The Love Match / Priyanka Taslim. Salaam Reads/ Simon & Schuster, 2023. [author site] [author interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Y = Time loop? Time warp? SEE YOU YESTERDAY, by Rachel Lynn Solomon (YA book review) #A2Z

book cover of See You Yesterday, by Rachel Lynn Solomon. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Just great – her high school nemesis is her new college roommate, and a guy in Physics volunteers her to answer a basic question that she doesn’t know.

Investigative reporting that turned Barrett’s whole high school against her isn’t good enough for the campus newspaper – full stop on her career plans.

Don’t even ask why she’s tagged in every photo of a frat house fire… worst Wednesday ever!

The next morning she wakes up to… Lucie moving in again? The first day of Physics and rude Asian guy and humiliating interview again? What is going on?!?

Somehow, she and Miles (the Japanese guy) are both stuck in a time loop – and he’s been repeating this same day for two months!

As they try over and over again to escape this not-great day, the teens discover commonalities (their Jewish heritage, wanting to tell stories that matter, love of classic movies) and differences (his parents are professors, her mom and soon-to-be stepmom run a stationery shop, she’s fat and he’s not).

Doing good deeds, skipping class, asking a retired professor about theoretical time travel – what’s going to break this cycle?

Or do they want to stay in this one September day forever, together?

Another love story set in Seattle by the author of Today Tonight Tomorrow (I recommended here) and We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This (see more here).

What day in your life would you want to experience on repeat?
**kmm

Book info: See You Yesterday / Rachel Lynn Solomon. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

W is for wonderful AudioSYNC summer – reading with your ears starts NOW! #A2Z

Once again, audiobook publishers have teamed up to give us two FREE professionally produced titles through AudioSYNC every week for a summer of great listening, starting today!

Each theme-related pair of audiobooks will be available for one week (Thursday-Wednesday) so I will alert you about new titles for all 13 weeks.

You’ll need to download the free Sora reading app (instructions and sign-up link here) if you don’t already use it with your school or library.

It’s all free, and once you save either or both weekly selections to your Sora shelf, you can read them with your ears whenever you like – no expiration dates.

AudioSYNC summer begins now, with these two titles about the Freedom to Know:

CD cover of TOP SECRET: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers. Published by L.A. Theatre Works | recommended on BooksYALove.com

TOP SECRET: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers (free Sora download 4/27-5/3/23)
by Geoffrey Cowan, Leroy Aarons | Read by John Heard, Susan Sullivan, James Gleason, and a Full Cast
Published by L.A. Theatre Works

Dramatization of the Washington Post’s publication of the secret Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War and pushback from the Nixon White House – recorded with a live audience.
https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/38585/top-secret-by-geoffrey-cowan-leroy-aarons-read-by-john-heard-susan-sullivan/

CD cover of YOU CAN'T SAY THAT! Writers for Young People Talk about Censorship, Free Expression, and the Stories They Have to Tell. Published by Brilliance Audio / Candlewick | recommended on BooksYALove.com

YOU CAN’T SAY THAT! Writers for Young People Talk about Censorship, Free Expression, and the Stories They Have to Tell (free Sora download 4/27-5/3/23)
by Leonard S. Marcus [Ed.] | Read by Tom Parks, Roxanne Hernandez, Arthur Morey, Janet Metzger, Thom Rivera, Susan Dalian
Published by Brilliance Audio / Candlewick

A noteworthy collection of YA authors share their experiences of their books being challenged for ‘controversial issues’ – Matt de la Peña, Robie H. Harris, Susan Kuklin, David Levithan, Meg Medina, Lesléa Newman, Katherine Paterson, Dav Pilkey, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, Sonya Sones, R. L. Stine, and Angie Thomas.

I recommended the 2021 print book earlier on BooksYALove.com here

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/198953/you-cant-say-that!-by-leonard-s-marcus-ed-read-by-tom-parks-roxanne-hernandez/

How many audiobooks do you read in a year?
**kmm

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

U is UNOFFICIAL GUIDE TO THE ANCIENT EGYPTIAN AFTERLIFE, by Bastet the Cat & Laura Winstone (Nonfiction book review) #A2Z

book cover of The Unofficial Guide to the Ancient Egyptian Afterlife, by Sophie Berger & Laura Winstone. Published by Cicada Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Mummies and pyramids – we modern-day people know some things about ancient Egypt’s afterlife.

However, for the real inside story, we need a tour guide like Bastet the cat who will explain all of its important rules and symbolism.

“My pre-death career was as Pharaoh’s cat,” says Bastet, as he introduces the major gods (like his namesake) who placed the pharaohs as rulers over Egypt, as well as the four sons of Horus who guard those who have died.

After death, ancient Egyptians believed that the soul split into two parts, reuniting in the body nightly. Mummification was perfected to preserve bodies and prevent a second, final death.

Bastet the cat gives us a detailed (but not gory) tour through mummification’s steps and the meanings of the many symbols placed on each mummy’s coffins and sarcophagus.

Everything a person needed in life will also be required in their afterlife, so ancient Egyptian tombs contain food, clothes, furniture, and mummified cats for good luck. The walls are painted with servants, animals, more food and entertainments.

The journey to the Land of the Dead is perilous, so our guide shows ancient ones everything they need to get there safely!

Travel along with knowledgeable and witty Bastet to learn the symbolism of scarab beetles, what shabti dolls are, and why both legs are shown on Egyptian paintings of people.

Lavishly illustrated in the two-dimensional style that we associate with hieroglyphics and paintings inside pyramids, this book cleverly conveys familiar and little-known information about ancient Egyptian beliefs and practices.

Ever tried writing your name in hieroglyphics?
**kmm

Book info: The Unofficial Guide to the Ancient Egyptian Afterlife / Sophie Berger & Laura Winstone. Cicada Books, 2022. [publisher interview] [illustrator site] [publisher site] Review copy, page image, and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

pages 1 & 2 of The Unofficial Guide to the Ancient Egyptian Afterlife, by Sophie Berger & Laura Winstone. Published by Cicada Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

S is for Sun and Rook, SPELL BOUND in magical emergencies! by F.T. Lukens (YA book review) #A2Z

book cover of Spell Bound, by F.T. Lukens.  Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Magic is real – fact.
Cars still don’t fly – sad.
You’ve got magic or not – great or so, so sad.

Just-graduated Edison misses his late grandmother’s magic and needs a job, so he asks the most powerful sorcerer in the city, Antonia Hex. Because her magic fries out electronics, the owner of Hex-a-Gone cursebreaking services hires the tech-savvy 16 year old, dubbing him Rook.

The non-magical teen has invented a secret device that displays the spell-powering ley lines that only magic-wielders should be able to see. Antonia isn’t a fan of the Consortium that makes all the magical rules, so this is…interesting. But according to teenage Sun, ever-clad in black and apprentice to sorcerer Fable, that Spell Breaker device is going to get Rook into big trouble.

Rook and Sun see each other on big jobs where Antonia and Fable must (grudgingly) work together to fix things like singing mice in apartment walls. And meet for coffee while Sun finishes their summer school homework before apprentice hours with Fable. And venture to his grandmother’s house together, Spell Breaker in hand…

Can Antonia really teach magic to Rook?
Will the Consortium find out?!?
What did happen to her last apprentice?

Chapters by Rook and by Sun recount the growing fondness between the teens, in contrast to the deepening feud between Antonia and Fable, with the Consortium’s iron fist ever-looming over all. (watch out for that enchanted doormat with a bad temper)

Just published! Modern-day magic by the author of In Deeper Waters (more here) and So This is Ever After (recommended here) – anything they write, I want to read!

If you could cast just one spell, what would you choose?
**kmm

Book info: Spell Bound / F.T. Lukens. Margaret K. McElderry Books/ Simon & Schuster, 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.