Tag Archive | beliefs

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?
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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!

Can her Sleepless knight find the assassin? by Sarah Vaughn & Leila Del Duca (book review)

book cover of Sleepless, by Sarah Vaughn and Leila Del Duca. Published by Image Comics. | recommended on BooksYALove.comHer father dead, a new king crowned.
Her destiny unclear, her life in peril!
O, that she could read the stars as her mother does, so far away!

As a royal daughter, Lady Pyppenia (Poppy to her friends) knows she has little control over her future, but she hadn’t imagined falling in love with her protector!

See the first few pages here (thank you, artist preview service) to meet Lady Poppy, her late father, and the Sleepless knight Cyrenic who swore to protect her by staying ever-awake (burning the candle of his own life at both ends). Her adorable long-eared animal friend Bini has an important role in this multicultural story, too.

If healing now would take away time from the end of your life, would you do it?
**kmm

Book info: Sleepless / Sarah Vaughn, illustrated by Leila Del Duca, with Alissa Sallah and Deron Bennett. Image Comics, 2018. [artist Twitter] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Shadows deepen in Harbeny as assassins target Lady Pyppenia, teen daughter of the late king and Mrebeshi star-reader Amena, under the protection of a magically Sleepless knight.

Each minute that Cyrenic is Sleepless removes time from his life; the strength of his bond to Lady Poppy may weaken his hold on the present as well, just as three attempts are made to kill her!

The new king orders lovely dark Poppy as companion to his pale daughter just arrived from Etland, but can the cousins ever become friends?

Princess Rellen will someday become queen, while Lady Poppy never could – why is Lord Helder wooing them both?

Poppy just wants to leave Harbeny and go back to her mother’s country – what reason does King Surno have for keeping her here?

May the Stars watch over Lady Poppy amid court intrigue, and Time keep her Sleepless knight Cyrenic in the present as his increasing drifts into the past could rob him of full attention to the dangers of now in this richly colored graphic novel collecting volumes 1-6 of the ongoing comic series.

Orphaned now, One Shadow on the Wall to guide him, by Leah Henderson (book review)

book cover of One Shadow on the Wall, by Leah Henderson. Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com His late father’s voice lends advice,
His late mother’s spirit appears in silence.
Can he honor his promise to keep the family together?

No social safety nets in Mor’s Senegal village, just fishing nets, small boats, and the gang of bullies who ran away from home and threaten to steal any food he is given or money the 11-year-old can earn for his sisters’ schooling.

To meet Mor and his sisters just after their father’s burial, read chapter 1 on the publisher’s website free.

Look for this as 2017 hardcover or June 2018 paperback at your local library or independent bookstore.

When resources are scarce, how can you be resourceful?
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Book info: One Shadow on the Wall / Leah Henderson. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017 hardcover, 2018 paperback. [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Guided by his parents’ spirits, eleven-year-old Mor strives to keep his family together, braving bullies, the sea’s perils, and well-meaning neighbors in their Senegalese fishing village – will it be enough?

So little food left when they are orphaned – how to feed his sisters?
Men also seek work – who will hire a young boy?
His brilliant sister’s school fees are due – can he stop the bully gang from stealing what he can earn?

When his former best friend tells Mor that joining the gang is the only way to keep his sisters safe, he must make a hard choice and live with its consequences.

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!

Body double or weapon for justice? Impostors, by Scott Westerfeld (book review)

book cover of Impostors by Scott Westerfeld, published by Scholastic | recommended on BooksYALove.comOne daughter loved by all, one never seen,
the ruthless dictator created them as his tools,
but the twins may have other ideas…

First of four promised books set in the Uglies future world, Impostors should be available at your local library or independent bookstore…unless the twins’ father suppresses them all!

Hoverboards, nanotech everywhere, the chance to not repeat the past’s destructive selfishness – what rebellions are you planning?
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Book info: Impostors / Scott Westerfeld. Scholastic Press, 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Frey lives only as body double and protector for her twin sister Rafi, just as their dictator father decrees.

When he agrees to an alliance with another state, it’s warrior-trained Frey who is sent to the Palafox family, masquerading as elegant Rafi – but why?

Open conversations, art, and laughter – no spy dust in Victoria sending every word and gesture to the government, as in Shreve?

Col Palafox is a First Family son with hidden talents – would he stay near Frey if he knew she wasn’t really Rafi?

Tally shattered the broken Uglies/Pretties system years ago, but “she isn’t coming to save us.” It’s up to rebels and rebellious youth like Frey and Col to stop their world from descending into war!

Light ever has a shadow – The Crescent Stone, by Matt Mikalatos (book review)

book cover of The Crescent Stone by Matt Mikalatos, published by Tyndale | recommended on BooksYALove.comNo cure for her lung disease,
so little time remains –
how should she live to make the most of it?

Who could blame Madeline for making a bargain with the shimmering man who promises that if she leaves this world for just a year, the teen’s fatal lung disease will vanish?!

However, there’s more to the story, including a grieving classmate who goes with Maddy to the joyously bright magical kingdom and now must fight their war against an impoverished and bitter nation, one night soon with no magic to protect her, and beings of many descriptions and temperaments.

Bargain to avoid death or stand fast?
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Book info: The Crescent Stone (The Sunlit Lands, book 1) / Matt Mikalatos. Tyndale, 2018. [author site]  [series website] [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: A year serving the beautiful Elanil in exchange for curing her fatal lung disease sounds like a worthwhile bargain to Madeline, but when she and classmate Jason leave behind our world for realms of magic and war, they rethink their choice – between battles and luxury, alliances formed and broken, secrets kept and told.

Being acclaimed by competing nations as “the one foretold” to save them, Maddy worries about Jason on the front lines with his war unicorn, her boyfriend left behind on human Earth before she could tell him about leaving, and what other unexpected things will be required during her year of service.

If the vicious Scim warriors can capture her, the Elanil kingdom will be in dire peril.
If Maddie heeds the advice of other nations, both could fall.
If she isn’t true to her agreement with the Elanil, this breath will be her last…

First in a series with many good questions and few answers yet!

Doing good? The Unlikelies will try… by Carrie Firestone (book review)

book cover of The Unlikelies by Carrie Firestone, published by Little Brown BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.comDeclared “hometown heroes”
Just a photo op
Or a chance to actually make a difference?

She never dreamed that working again at the farmstand would lead to her saving a baby’s life or becoming part of a diverse teen group who find ways to stealthily help those being bullied or trying to right decades-old wrongs!

Look for this not-just-another-boring-summer novel in hardcover or paperback at your local library or independent bookstore.

When does positive action become heroism?
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Book info: The Unlikelies / Carrie Firestone. Little Brown BFYR, hardcover 2017, paperback 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Hailed as a hometown hero, 17 year old Sadie copes with nightmares about rescuing the baby as she and new friends band together to push back against bullying online and in person.

Summer before senior year was supposed to be supposed to be boring with her best friend working far away, but meeting other teens on Long Island noted for their positive deeds takes Sadie in directions she never anticipated.

Gordie runs a day program for developmentally-delayed adults, Jean-Pierre teaches young artists, Alice does glamour photo-shoots for shelter dogs, and Valeria coordinates a massive school supply drive – how does her single brave (or impulsive) act to keep a drunk dad from driving away with a crying baby measure up to all that?

On his death bed, longtime farmstand customer Mr. Upton sends Sadie on a mission to erase his father’s bad acts – this is way more than the positivity that ‘the Unlikelies’ are unleashing against internet trolls and bullies…

And her crush on Gordie from junior high? The more that the Unlikelies are together – working with each other’s projects, figuring out how to honor Mr. Upton’s request, helping Alice find Izzy as heroin takes her down – the more that flame rekindles.

What secrets should remain hidden? Read with your ears to find out!

It’s already our final week of free audiobooks from SYNC for summer 2018!

Download by clicking the link after either title (or both!), save to your device, then listen whenever you like.

If you missed any of the free downloads, check for those titles at your local library through WorldCat (https://www.worldcat.org/).

Big thanks to the audiobook publishers who allow us to download their professionally produced works during this great program every summer!

CD cover of Monstrous Beauty, by Elizabeth Fama | Read by Katherine Kellgren Published by Macmillan Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.comMonstrous Beauty (download here free 19-25 July 2018)
by Elizabeth Fama
Read by Katherine Kellgren
Published by Macmillan Audio

Perhaps knowing more about the ancestress reputed to be a mermaid will help 17-year-old Hester figure out why love has equaled death for women in their family for generations…

The Lost World (download here free 19-25 July 2018) CD cover of The Lost World, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle | Read by Glen McCready Published by Naxos Audiobooks | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Read by Glen McCready
Published by Naxos Audiobooks

Dinosaurs in South America? Of course intrepid British scientists in the early 20th century will journey there, facing many perils along the way! A late-career story by the author famed for his Sherlock Holmes books.

What were your favorite AudioSYNC audiobooks this summer?
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