Tag Archive | books

Do they dare seek the MALAMANDER?! by Thomas Taylor, art by Tom Booth (MG book review)

book cover of Malamander, by Thomas Taylor, art by Tom Booth. Published by Walker Books US/Candlewick | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Secrets throughout the seaside town,
shoes neatly abandoned on the shore,
a man with a boat hook for a hand!

Winter winds moan across the shipwreck just off the pier and whip snow through Eerie-On-Sea’s cobbled streets, as Violet bursts into Herbie’s office and demands to no longer be lost.

The young Lost-and-Founder of the Grand Nautilus Hotel hides the girl from his ever-angry hotel manager and a sea captain who stabs his boat-hook hand through wooden trunks seeking her!

Her parents vanished from this hotel and left infant Violet behind 12 years ago – will Herbie help her find them?

An Eerie Book Dispensary postcard is her main clue – will its mechanical monkey prescribe a book for Violet with more information?

A writer in town says that her father’s research on the Malamander was inaccurate – why is he trying to find the unpublished manuscript?

Someone (or something) is attacking those who dare ask questions about the legendary Malamander fish-man, and the two orphaned young teens must connect all the story-threads before they are the next victims!

Just published in the US yesterday, Malamander is first in a series set in this creepy English town filled with memorable characters.

What local legends do your friends tell stories about?
**kmm

Book info: Malamander (Legends of Eerie-On-Sea, book 1) / Thomas Taylor; illustrated by Tom Booth. Walker Books US/Candlewick, 2019. [author site] [illustrator site] [book series site] [publisher site] Review copy, display pages, and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

2 pages: end of chapter 28 showing Herbie leaping to another rooftop as harpoon speeds toward him and Violet, and start of chapter 29 "Silver-Tipped"

Long-lived lies unravel – THE UNDOING OF THISTLE TATE, #yalit by Katelyn Detweiler (book review)

book cover of The Undoing of Thistle Tate, by Katelyn Detweiler. Published by Holiday House | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Deadline time!
Final book manuscript due to her editor now…
but she’s not the author, not by a long shot!

Floundering in his own publishing woes after the car crash that killed Thistle’s mom, her dad puts the homeschooled young teen’s name on his big, big manuscript based on her short, short story – and it’s a hit!

A few years down the road, with the last book of the series almost complete, Thistle can almost see the finish line – no more book tours in ‘Lemonade Skies’ themed outfits, no more questions about ‘her’ plots and ‘her’ characters.

Thankfully, she’s always had neighbor Liam to talk to – best friend and secret-keeper ever, now maybe more…

During an appearance at her hometown Philly bookstore, Thistle is asked by a young man to visit his very ill sister, and she veers off Dad’s script by going to the hospital.

Is she falling for Oliver and his family?
Will Dad meet the deadline for the final book in time?
Why did she ever let all this get started?

Happy book birthday to The Undoing of Thistle Tate ! Ask for it NOW at your local library or independent bookstore.

Ever have a ‘little secret’ burgeon into something uncontrollable?
**kmm

Book info: The Undoing of Thistle Tate / Katelyn Detweiler. Margaret Ferguson Books: Holiday House Books, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Supernaturally, she is both THE CANDLE AND THE FLAME, by Nafiza Azad (YA book review)

book cover of The Candle and the Flame, by Nafiza Azad. Published by Scholastic Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Djinn of order and of chaos battle in the human world that is home to neither in this adventurous tale, while family loyalties are tested, and a young woman receives an unsought gift that can break boundaries if it doesn’t fracture her first.

Through the Name Giver, ifrits can come from their world to help humans defend theirs from the ravaging Shayateen whose dark night of slaughter left only three survivors hidden in an entire city.

But when the Name Giver is compromised in the now-repopulated city of Noor, its ifrit Emir and human maharajah face a greater peril.

How does the Fire of ifrit Ghazala come to human survivor Fatima who never knew her?
Can the Emir help Fatima navigate this unknown convergence?
What lurks in the opulent halls of the reluctant maharajah’s palace?

Each time the muezzin’s call sounds over her beloved city of a thousand nations, Fatima prays for their safety, yet again…

Happy book birthday to this extraordinary tale of magic, relationships, and the importance of being seen.

What’s in your name?
**kmm

Book info: The Candle and the Flame / Nafiza Azad. Scholastic Press, 2019. [author interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Authors & illustrators share their childhood works in Our Story Begins, edited by Elissa Brent Weissman (book review)

book cover of Our Story Begins, edited by Elissa Brent Weissnman. Published by Atheneum/Simon & Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Looking forward to a new year,
looking back over the past –
writers and artists do this, too!

You’ll recognize so many of your favorite authors and illustrators of works for kids and young adults in the “About the Author” section at the publisher’s webpage for this book!

So think about the stories you wrote in earlier years, the comic strips you drew, the plays that you put on for your family, the news reports that you made as a kid.

A new year, new opportunities, what will you begin?
**kmm

Book info: Our Story Begins: Children’s Authors and Illustrators Share Fun, Inspiring, and Occasionally Ridiculous Things They Wrote and Drew as Kids / edited by Elissa Brent Weissman. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, hardcover 2017, paperback 2018. [editor site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: “When did you start drawing? When did you know that you wanted to write books?” These frequent questions from young readers are answered by 25 of our favorite authors and illustrators – with examples of their very early works – in this anthology which will inspire a new generation of creators.

A grade-school photo from each author and illustrator begins their chapter which includes reproductions of their childhood stories or drawings in crayon, pencil, pen, or typing.

There’s a photo of author Elissa Brent Weissman as a kid with Gordon Korman at his book signing, then turn to Korman’s chapter to read his fifth-grade speech “How to Handle Your Parents”.

Kwame Alexander’s mom still has his first-ever poem (to her on Mother’s Day) framed in her living room. Thanhha Lai and her family fled Vietnam during her childhood, but she can still recite the story-poem “A Bird in a Cage” that she told her mother over and over.

Illustrators’ talents as kids ranged from polished (Grace Lin) to rudimentary (Jarrett J. Krosoczka – graphic novels), and several authors say that they copied their favorite writers’ styles in early stories – all continued to work at their craft and work to be published.


Another AtoZ Challenge completed!

2018 logo for AtoZ blogging challengeHappy May!

Happy Children’s Book Week! (yes, this includes #yalit!)

And another April A-to-Z blog challenge completed!

That’s 25 books and 2 audiobooks from A to Z recommended in one month – yay!

After a short break for a long journey, I’ll be back with more recommendations of great YA books that you probably won’t find on the bestseller lists.

Remember to bookmark the AudioSYNC website for free audiobooks all summer. You can even request a weekly text reminder to check the new titles!

Always glad to hear about your favorite YA books.
Thanks for reading!
**kmm

It’s A to Z Challenge time again!

logo for 2018 Blogging A to Z ChallengeAs I do every spring, I wonder whether I should sign up for the April A-to-Z blogging challenge.

Each April from 2012 to now, I have successfully written and posted 26 different blog entries running from A through Z on 26 days of that most hectic month.

Such a great opportunity to move books from my “to be reviewed (someday)” shelf into your view!

But tons of work to cover so many by writing a completely original synopsis for each book, along with links to related real-life info, as I usually do.

So this year’s April A to Z Challenge will feature super-short book intros and full links to publisher and author so you can find these great books for yourself.

The huge list of participating bloggers is available at https://atozchallenge.wordpress.com/ – the range of subjects covered is amazing!

And away we go to April – no fooling!
**kmm

Is ARROW OF LIGHTNING power enough? by Joseph Bruchac (book review)

book cover of Arrow of Lightning by Joseph Bruchac published by Lee and Low  | recommended on BooksYALove.comBecome the hunters, not the hunted.
Avoid the monsters, human and otherwise.
Survive without killing the human ones?

So many genetically-modified creatures are out to get Lozen, Hussein, and the others who’ve escaped from the Ones who torture for fun. Perhaps she can protect her family and friends without taking a human life…

As Killer of Enemies (my review here) in the tech-blasted future, Lozen had to obey the Ones, or her family would be killed.

Along the Trail of the Dead, Lozen’s family is larger and the dangers are immense.

Arrow of Lightning is a super wrap-up of this #ownvoices trilogy – Lozen is on my heroes list.

To save your family, what lengths would you go to?
**kmm

Book info: Arrow of Lightning (Killer of Enemies, book 3) / Joseph Bruchac. Lee and Low Books, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Always #teamme says Brooding YA Hero! by Carrie DiRisio & Linnea Gear (book review)

book cover of Brooding YA Hero by Carrie DiRisio, illustrated by Linnea Gear. Published by Sky Pony Press  | recommended on BooksYALove.comYou’ve read him a million times –
eyes like gems, attitude = #teamme,
Why’s he writing a book instead of starring in one?

Indeed, Broody McHottiepants has made the leap from Twitter sensation to published author (well, creator Carrie has), and as he gives advice to aspiring main characters, he wonders why he’s not in an Author’s book right now.

Maybe his Evil Ex-Girlfriend could help our self-centered bad boy figure that out – if he’d only change and listen!

Reading about Broody’s favorite (predictable) plot twists can show us what great YA writing really is.

Who’s your favorite (non-trite) YA hero?
**kmm

Book info: Brooding YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character (Almost) As Awesome As Me / Carrie DiRisio; illustrated by Linnea Gear. Sky Pony Press, 2017. [author site] [illustrator site]   [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Every YA novel has its hero and its supporting characters – can one ever become the other? As Broody McHottiepants waits in New Story City for an Author to write him into his next heartthrob role, he decides to write an advice book (between admiring glances into his own mirror) for minor characters who aspire to his lofty status as Brooding YA Hero.

Interrupted often by his Evil Ex-Girlfriend (who only wants him to see past old tropes and tired stereotypes), Broody catalogues the usual features of young adult fiction – from character arc to literary devices – as he continues to wait for an Author (which should have happened by now…).

Tweeting as @BroodingYAHero was easy (140 characters, then back to describing his marvelous eyes), but writing a whole book is tiring and makes Broody think, despite his superficial gorgeousness and shallow personality.

Why does the YA world look so ‘white bread’ as evil Barbi says?
Can’t a selfish bad-boy star in every novel?
How much longer must Broody wait for an Author to write him in?

Looking at the too-common settings, plot twists, and happily-ever-afters of formulaic YA fiction, Broody and Barbi show readers what to look for in the best of today’s YA writing.

Must get to Dragon’s Green! by Scarlett Thomas (book review)

book cover of Dragon's Green by Scarlett Thomas published by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.comGrandfather didn’t really teach her magic,
Dragons don’t really eat lovely young ladies,
Kids can’t really go to the Otherworld or Underworld…

These are just a few of the wrong, wrong, and very wrong things that “everyone knows” in Effie’s post-Worldquake England, with its throttled-down technology and disdain for magical arts.

Perhaps she and her friends from the Tusitala School for the Gifted, Troubled, and Strange can use the ring, spectacles, and other objects that Grandfather left to Effie in their search for answers that someone or something is trying to hide from them!

What kharakter in this alternate Worldquake universe are you?
**kmm

Book info: Dragon’s Green (Worldquake, book 1) / Scarlett Thomas. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  [book series website] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Magical thinking and bravery may help Effie and her school friends outwit the man who stole her grandfather’s magical library, but only the eleven-year-old herself can use his ring to travel to the Otherworld and solve the mystery of Dragon’s Green (and save the world).

Ever since the Worldquake five years ago disrupted the internets and made technology erratic (and perhaps killed Effie’s mother), grandfather Griffin has kept to himself. Of course, Effie’s father and stepmother know that magic is not real (except that it is, and Griffin had begun teaching it to Effie before his demise).

Effie learns more about the unscrupulous man who claims that Griffin’s priceless ancient books belong to him and glimpses what their true powers might be, as she begins to make friends with classmates at her unusual school.

Why are Maximilian and Wolf suddenly brave against their tyrannical teachers?
Who in the Otherworld would willingly become a dragon’s favorite meal?
How can someone be the last reader of a book?

Effie, Lexy, Raven, Maximilian, and Wolf each have to master their gift from the small bag left by Griffin – without letting the magical item master them – if their Realworld is to remain safe from the darkness of the Underworld in this first book of the Worldquake series.

U = Unbreakable Code, by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman (book review) – hot book hunt or literary fire bug?

book cover of Unbreakable Code by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers  | recommended on BooksYALove.comCoded messages in books,
ships beneath buildings,
an arsonist who must be stopped!

Emily and James are always on the hunt for books hidden by fellow Book Scavenger fans, but when coded clues in particular volumes link up with revenge-fueled fires at listed hidden-book sites, they decide to solve the mystery… but the fire bug is watching them!

Happy book birthday to The Unbreakable Code! You can read this second adventure in the series by itself, but will enjoy it even more if you get the full background in book one, Book Scavenger (my no-spoiler recommendation here).

Be sure to visit the Book Scavenger game website if you want to report a found book or register a book to hide yourself – there are hundreds hidden all over the USA!

What ‘lost treasure’ from a favorite author would you like to find?
**kmm

Book info:The Unbreakable Code (Book Scavengers, book 2) / Jennifer Chambliss Bertman, with illustrations by Sarah Watts. Holt Books for Young Readers, 2017. [Book Scavenger site]  [author site] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher, via Edelweiss.

My book talk: The unbreakable code? As Emily and James seek out hidden books in the Book Scavenger game, the middle schoolers discover a secret message that sets them hunting for information on Gold Rush ships buried beneath San Francisco’s skyscrapers and the code that author Mark Twain said could never be broken.

But someone with a grudge is setting fires at Book Scavenger hiding places and doesn’t want the young teens to discover the next fire site…ever.

What does their teacher (and fellow Book Scavenger) know about the code – and the fires?
Why must they help with the school dance now when they want work on this mystery?
Ciphers, codes, clues – which ones to follow?

As the fires strike closer to what’s important to Emily and James, they must decide who to trust and how far they can go on their own. Second book in the Book Scavenger series, following Book Scavenger.