Tag Archive | blogathon2014

Brave girls in unexpected situations – free SYNC audiobooks this week!

A teenage spy falling in love!
An orphaned girl sent to do a boy’s farm job!
Two great stories to read with your ears this week, courtesy of AudioSYNC!

You can download either or both free audiobooks beginning today through Wednesday 25 June 2014 at the SYNC site. Then you can listen to them any time that you like,  as long as you keep those files on your computer or electronic device.

CD cover of I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You By Ally Carter Read by Renée Raudman Published by Brillance AudioI’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You (download here – USA & Canada only)
By Ally Carter
Read by Renée Raudman
Published by Brillance Audio

Enrolled in spy school for teen girls, Cammie faces her toughest challenge yet when she falls for a regular teenage guy. (read chapter 1 here free)


Anne of Green Gables (download here)CD cover of Anne of Green Gables By L.M. Montgomery Read by Colleen Winton Published by Post Hypnotic Press
By L.M. Montgomery
Read by Colleen Winton
Published by Post Hypnotic Press

A plucky orphan girl brings new life to the rural Nova Scotia farm where she is mistakenly sent; the first book in the classic series (read here free).


Can you identify with what Cammie and Anne are facing in their new situations?

Breakfast Served Anytime, by Sara Combs (book review) – geek camp, cryptic clues, big questions

book cover of Breakfast Served Anytime by Sarah Combs published by CandlewickSearching for signs,
learning to read people,
trying to read her own heart.

Lots more than advanced academics at UK‘s summer camp for the best and the brightest, Gloria discovers – it’s the people who make the difference.

Read chapter 1 here for free (yay!), then head for your local library or independent bookstore to get this April 2014 title, and find out how GeekCamp and time together at the diner changes Glo and her new-found friends.


Book info: Breakfast Served Anytime, by Sara Combs. Candlewick, 2014. [author’s letter to her teenage-self]    [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Searching for signs to guide her future, Gloria goes to “geek camp” just for the collegiate experience, but comes home with so much more.

Armed with her newly-begun Book of Ephemera and her namesake-grandmother’s copy of To Kill a Mockingbird,  Glo chooses “Secrets of the Written Word” as her camp course, content to leave her phone and computer home all month.

Cryptic messages from their Written Word professor send Glo, Calvin, Chloe, and Mason (such an annoying guy!) all over campus and town, including the college founder’s tomb and the Egg Drop Inn, which becomes their favorite hangout.

Chloe is creative, Calvin is a philosophical polymath, but is there more to big-gestures Mason than mere dramatic flair? Will they ever meet Professor X in person before Geek Camp is over? Hmm… being around Mason is starting to grow on her.

Questions of “Big Coal” versus protecting the environment, dorm drama, the blue Morpho butterflies which fill the summer, and the wacky daily interactions of Professor X’s quartet of Word students fill Glo’s letters home to Carol – but will the full-ride in-state scholarship for campers override the best friends’ plans to escape Kentucky for NYC after graduation?  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Fan Art, by Sarah Tregay (book review) – just admiring his own best friend, or more?

book cover of Fan Art by Sarah Tregay published by Katherine Tegen BooksTo prom or not to prom?
Stay quiet or speak up?
Let love slip by or be bold?

Jamie’s last semester of high school is fraught with problems as the quiet guy tries to support artistic freedom in a conservative school district and realizes that he has a huge crush on his best friend.


Book info: Fan Art / Sarah Tregay; illustrated by Melissa DeJesus.  Katherine Tegen Books, 2014.  [author site]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Fighting to include a gay comic in the school magazine, Jamie won’t allow himself to admit his new-found feelings for longtime best friend Mason until it’s almost too late.

He promised Challis that he’d get her manga short comic into the Gumshoe, promised Eden that he’d pose as her prom date to appease her “no daughter of ours is lesbian” fundamentalist parents, and promised himself that he’d be out of their Idaho hometown before he was out to anyone besides his embarrassingly supportive family…

But the literary magazine’s staff rejects the comic, Eden’s big brother questions whether theirs is a real date, and Jamie silently agonizes as Bahti and Mason flirt endlessly in the limo and beyond.

Why didn’t he just agree to go with Mason to the mountain condo and avoid the prom altogether?

When Jamie decides to sneak the comic into the Gumshoe final printing, he’s prepared for fallout from the other staffers, but things get way out of hand at graduation.

Haiku day!

sketch of open book with flowing bookmark by ee from openclipart.org

bookflow by ee – (c) openclipart.org

Flames, raised swords, a kiss,
Snow, spaceships, secrets, revolt –
pass me that book, please!

So many different elements and themes in upcoming BooksYALove recommendations, but I could only fit this many into a single poem.

Happy haiku day for Blogathon 2014!

Strange Fruit: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History, by Joel Christian Gill (book review) – graphic novel

book cover of Strange Fruit by Joel Christian Gill published by Fulcrum BooksA cycling champion,
a chessmaster,
a marshal who memorized arrest warrants –
lives of purpose whose stories are rarely told.

Nine “Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History” come to life through Joel Christian Gill’s unique art in this graphic novel, originally a series of mini-comics.

Gill took the name for his comic series from Abel Meerpol’s “Strange Fruit” about lynchings in the South, hauntingly performed by Billie Holiday.

Ask for Strange Fruit at your local library or independent bookstore – they may have to order this June 3rd #diversebooks release, but it’ll be worth the wait.

Any suggestions for Gill to include in volume 2?


Book info: Strange Fruit, Volume 1: Uncelebrated Narratives from Obscure Black History / Joel Christian Gill.  Fulcrum Books, 2014. [author blog]  [publisher site]  [video interview] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Seven outstanding men and two groundbreaking institutions are featured in this graphic novel of little-told stories from African-American history.

Included are lawman Bass Reeves, who arrested 3,000 dangerous criminals during his 30-year career in Indian Territory, and Marshall “Major” Taylor, the Black Cyclone, fastest cyclist in the world in 1899, first black champion in any sport.

Henry “Box” Brown escaped from slavery by being packed in a crate for 27-hour wagon journey. The Noyes Academy in New England (1835) was the first integrated school, but townspeople drove them out.

From the original black pro basketball star to a magician’s greatest illusion, become more familiar with these lives which made a positive difference, despite prejudice.

My Faire Lady, by Laura Wettersten (book review) – can Ren Faire cure a broken heart?

book cover of My Faire Lady by Laura Wettersten published by Simon Schuster BFYRTankards of mead and turkey legs!
Bold knights and comely maidens!
‘Tis the Renaissance Faire, indeed!
(p.s. no cell phones in the Middle Ages!)

Trying to cure her wounded heart, Rowena leaves town to become a face painter at King Geoffrey’s Faire, discovering more about herself as she spends the summer with knights, troubadours, jugglers, artists, and musicians.

Read for yourself just how Ro gets herself out of the house and into the Faire  in this free excerpt.

Been to a Ren Faire lately?


Book info: My Faire Lady / Laura Wettersten. Simon & Schuster BFYR, 2014.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk:  Rowena takes an out-of-town summer job to avoid seeing her cheating boyfriend and finds herself growing as an artist among Ren Faire performers, catching the eye of a handsome knight and a whip-cracking genius.

Kyle’s “I like someone else” makes Ro’s job at the small town mall unappealing, so she becomes a face painter and serving wench at King Geoffrey’s Faire, living onsite all summer, trying to stay in medieval character.

Clad in corset and flowing skirt, Ro works on her art beyond face painting, flirts with Christian the knight, and even learns to ride a horse. Her new friends Will, bullwhip performer heading to MIT, and Suze, who works in the tavern with Ro, are second-generation Ren Faire folk who show her the ropes.

Her friends think she’s just running away from Kyle , her parents think she’s looking for unique experience for her college application, and her own foot-in-mouth might  lose Rowena the summer fling that could heal her battered heart.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

The Taking, by Kimberly Derting (book review) – aliens or the government: who’s the enemy?

book cover of The Taking by Kimberly Derting published by HarperTeenAbducted by aliens,
Awakening in her hometown years later,
What’s different, except everything?

Kyra can’t remember anything about the past 5 years, except that flash of light. She’s stayed 16, everyone else has grown older – is that why the National Security Agency wants to take her away?

Read the first chapters of The Taking  here for free (gotta love publishers who do this!) and you’ll be itching to discover why Kyra was taken and what happens next.


Book info: The Taking (The Taking, book 1) / Kimberly Derting. HarperTeen, 2014.  [author site]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Returned to her hometown five years later but not one day older, Kyra struggles with changes in family and friends, but must flee when government agents try to imprison her.

Her high school classmates are now in college, her parents divorced, her mom remarried (a baby brother? after all this time?). No one truly believes that she can’t remember anything about the time she was gone, no one except her dad and her boyfriend’s younger brother; Kyra has stayed 16 for five years and Tyler has finally caught up with her.

The aliens took her memories, leaving her with super-fast reflexes, amazing strength, and ability to heal in mere moments – but did they leave her anything else?

On the run from National Security agents who want to experiment on her, Kyra and Tyler are trying to get to a safe place … if there is one. First in new paranormal/ sci-fi series. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Brave women of WWII in free SYNC audiobooks

This week’s free audiobooks from SYNC feature women who risked everything to save others from Nazi brutality and the horrors of World War II.

Download these free full-length audiobooks before Wednesday June 18, and you can listen to them for as long as you have them on your computer or electronic device.

CD cover of Code Name Verity By Elizabeth Wein Read by Morven Christie & Lucy Gaskell Published by Bolinda AudioCode Name Verity  (download here)
By Elizabeth Wein
Read by Morven Christie & Lucy Gaskell
Published by Bolinda Audio

Captured by the Gestapo when their  plane crashes in occupied France, young British spy Queenie survives her friend Maddie, but for how long?

CD cover of The Hiding Place By Corrie ten Boom, John Sherrill & Elizabeth Sherrill Read by Bernadette Dunne Published by Christian Audio
The Hiding Place (download here)
By Corrie ten Boom, John Sherrill & Elizabeth Sherrill
Read by Bernadette Dunne
Published by Christian Audio

The memoir of Dutch Resistance heroine who helped many Jews escape from the Nazis and later became a noted evangelist.

Such tales of bravery against terrible odds! Which one will you download first?

Target Practice, by Mike Maihack (book review) – Cleopatra in Space! Talking cats! Alien war!

book cover of Target Practice: Cleopatra in Space #1 by Mike Maihack published by GraphixGood aim, quick reflexes,
sneaking out of class,
yes, Cleo is sure the rules don’t apply to her!

We all know about Cleopatra as queen of Egypt, but imagine her teen years – with time travel and intergalactic war and talking cats as teachers (yes, 15 year olds in the future have to go to school…)

Sample this action-packed graphic novel here free (thanks, Mike!), then head to your local library or independent bookstore for the rest of the tale.

Alas, we’ll have to wait until April 2015 for the second in this #diversebooks series: The Thief and the Story.

So, alternate history – thumbs up or thumbs down?


Book info: Target Practice (Cleopatra in Space #1)  / text and art by Mike Maihack. Graphix, 2014.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Curiosity sends Cleopatra from ancient Egypt to outer space where the teen is hailed as savior of the galaxy – if she survives training school!

If she hadn’t slipped away from boring algebra (does a queen really need math?) for slingshot practice with her pal Gozi, then 15-year-old Cleopatra wouldn’t have found the old temple or the glowing tablet there which transported her from the ancient Nile Valley to the future, where talking cats explain her prophesied arrival.

At Yasiro Academy, Cleo learns alien languages (yawn), algebra (snore), and target practice (ray guns!) as she prepares for intergalactic war against Xerx who is capturing all knowledge stored electronically – and their sector is next!

First graphic novel in the Cleopatra in Space series, Target Practice  shows the young queen-to-be facing danger from school dances, warring aliens, and her own impetuous nature.   (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Expiration Day, by William Campbell Powell (book review) – created or birthed, what makes human?

book cover of Expiration Day by WIlliam Campbell Powell published by Tor TeenI’m definitely human.
Wait! I’m not?!
But I feel human…

As a rare human child, Tania knows that her humanoid robot classmates will go back to the factory at age 18. Shocked to discover that she too is just a teknoid, she’ll fight to stay alive past her Expiration Day!

Tania addresses her diary (read free excerpt here) to alien Zog, whose observations surprisingly appear among her musings on playing bass guitar and doing a Shakespeare play with nearby boys’ school.

Rather eerie to discuss this book just after a computer passed the Turing Test for the first time, tricking researchers into thinking it was a real 13 year old boy!


Book info: Expiration Day / William Campbell Powell. Tor Teen, 2014.  [author site]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk:  In the 2050s when humans so rarely have babies, music-loving Tania suddenly discovers that she’s a robot and decides to fight to stay alive past her mandatory recycling date.

The global fertility crisis couldn’t end adults’ longing to have children to love,  so teknoids were created.Each is reused or reprogrammed by the Oxted factory at age 18.

For Tania, that means no more playing bass with her band, no more Shakespeare performances, no more helping Dad navigate their shared grief over Mum’s recent death…

But she feels so human, with burning philosophical questions in her heart and such a desire to study psychology at university!

Taking Oxted to court to break their “lease” of Tania to Dad is their only option – could their desperate ploy work?  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)