Tag Archive | California

Last True Love Story, by Brendan Kiely (book review) – memory lane or memories lost?

book cover of The Last True Love Story by Brendan Kiely published by Margaret McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comLosing motivation,
losing opportunities,
losing memories – forever?

Before Alzheimer’s takes everything away from his grandfather, Ted promises to get him back East, to where Gpa and Gma were married – even though the teen poet can’t drive and Gpa must stay at Calypso. Enter guitar-playing Corrina yearning to escape her adoptive parents’ demands to conform – road trip time!

(Today, I’m at a funeral for yet another person whose time with children and grandchildren was stolen away by this terrible disease, despite all their love and excellent care… )

What’s your favorite road trip story?
**kmm

Book info: The Last True Love Story / Brendan Kiely. Margaret McElderry Books, 2016.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Teddy would do anything for the grandfather who raised him, but a roadtrip to the church back east where Gpa and Gma were married is impossible, until Corrina says road trip and the teen poet says yes.

Of course, they can get to Ithaca from Los Angeles before Alzheimer’s takes away Gpa’s memories of Gma his true love, with the help of Ted’s hard-rocking classmate Corrina (who can drive) and Mom’s car (she can’t use it when overseas for business all the time) and the magic of GPS.

Some days on the road are good, like when Corrina plays the music that Gpa and Gma loved when he was a Marine in Vietnam or when she opens up to him about being adopted from Guatemala and not meeting her white parents’ career expectations.

Other days aren’t so good, like when Gpa thinks Teddy is not his grandson, but his son who died in a car crash near Ithaca, leaving behind his California wife, child, and bitterness.

Can Teddy capture this last story in the Hendrix Family Book so he can tell it to Gpa again and again?
Will Corrina’s guitar or Teddy’s poetry keep them safe?
Can they really get to Ithaca before a Silver Alert gets them?

Love and family, truth and half-truths, a road trip worth every bump and mile. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Voices above the majority crowd to read with your ears!

This week’s free audiobooks from SYNC speak in voices from beyond and within America’s bordersso you can read with your ears!

Remember that although these complete audiobooks are only available from Thursday through Wednesday, you have free use of them as long as you keep them on your computer or electronic device

CD cover of The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez | Read by Yareli Arizmendi, Christine Avila, Jesse Corti, Gustavo Res, Ozzie Rodriguez, Gabriel Romero Published by Random House Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.comThe Book of Unknown Americans: a novel (download here 4-10 August 2016)
by Cristina Henríquez
Read by Yareli Arizmendi, Christine Avila, Jesse Corti, Gustavo Res, Ozzie Rodriguez, Gabriel Romero
Published by Random House Audio

As the Riveras travel to the USA so daughter Maribel has a better life, voices from Latin America tell their tales meet them during their exodus and in their new land.
 
Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War (download here 4-10 August 2016)
CD cover of audiobook Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin | Read by Ray Porter Published by Listening Library  | recommended on BooksYALove.comby Steve Sheinkin
Read by Ray Porter
Published by Listening Library

In the early 1970s reporter Daniel Ellsberg tracks down secrets about the USA’s involvement in the Vietnam War, risking his own life and liberty to disclose government disinformation to the American public.

How can listening to stories beyond the mainstream help you understand more?
**kmm

Conviction, by Kelly Loy Gilbert (book review) – baseball, prejudice & revenge?

book cover of Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert published by Hyperion Teen | recommended on BooksYALove.comJust an accident,
Dad didn’t mean to kill him.
What happened to our bargain, God?

Braden just wants to pitch his high school team to the state Finals again and get drafted for a pro baseball team.

But he hadn’t considered that his radio talk-show dad would be jailed for running over the Mexican-American cop who crossed him a while back…
Or his long-gone big brother would come back to keep Braden out of foster care…
Or that he could be called as a witness in Dad’s trial…
Or having to face the cop’s nephew on the ballfield…

Go to the publisher’s website here and click on ‘Sneak Peek’ for a free pdf download of the book’s first chapters, then grab this compelling book at your local library or independent bookstore.

Prayers or promises?
**kmm

Book info: Conviction / Kelly Loy Gilbert.  Hyperion Teen, 2015. [author’s Facebook]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Braden was in the car when his dad ran over the cop, but the high school junior can’t imagine being called to testify in the religious talk show host’s trial or having his big brother back home 10 years after Trey left their small California town or trying to calmly pitch to the cop’s nephew in the most important game of the season.

How can Dad say he loves God and then hate people just for being different?
Why doesn’t anyone talk about Braden’s mom leaving when he was a baby?
Can Dad’s lawyer really suggest what he should say at Dad’s trial?

Convolutions of baseball practices and worried prayers and trying to ignore the media and wondering what really drove Trey away from his best friend Kevin (the pastor’s son) … as the trial and baseball playoffs loom just ahead.

Girl About Town, by Adam Shankman & Laura L. Sullivan (book review) – Hollywood, guns, greed

book cover of Girl About Town by Adam Shankman & Laura L. Sullivan published by Atheneum Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comOh, to be a movie star!
Oh, to have enough to eat, at last!
Oh no! Murder witnesses have few choices…

This story set in the early days of “talkies” during the Great Depression is told by rising starlet Lulu (formerly Lucille in the Lower East Side tenements) and by Freddie the hobo (otherwise known as the richest man in America’s sole heir) after they both witness killings that change their lives.

Head on over to Hollywood to see how their paths intersect far from their New York City homes and former social circles, as murder and mystery go from script to reality in Lulu’s latest film.

Girls, guys, guns, gosh….
**kmm

Book info: Girl About Town / Adam Shankman & Laura L. Sullivan. Atheneum Books, 2016.   [Adam’s bio] [Laura’s Facebook] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: On the same night in 1931, two teens witness murders in the Big Apple – she is whisked away from slum to Hollywood while he leaves luxury behind to hit the rails as a hobo.

Elevated from poverty to movie starlet, Mob murder witness Lulu must keep quiet so her family in New York City will stay alive.

Running away from his wealthy family, Freddie bums his way from New York to California, trying to escape the murder he saw committed in his own home.

On the set of “Girl About Town” in Hollywood, a prop gun suddenly fires a real bullet into a rival starlet, and Lulu pulled the trigger!

All the smoke and mirrors, gossip columnists and sugar daddies, rising stars and wannabees of Hollywood’s golden age get the full cinematic treatment as Lulu and Freddie try to find out who loaded that gun and who wants them both to pay for someone else’s crime.   (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

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Kidney Hypothetical by Lisa Yee is Y (book review) – perfect senior year turned upside down

book cover of The Kidney Hypothetical by Lisa Yee published by Arthur A. Levine Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com One big “what if?” question,
One not-so-smooth answer,
One life plan crumbling away…

Higgs is content to follow the detailed plan for his future – early admission to Harvard, becoming a dentist like his father and grandfather – but everything goes sour with that random question just before graduation.

Then he meets free-spirit Monarch and things take a different path utterly and entirely.

How do you bounce back when a slip-up derails your plans?
**kmm

Book info:  The Kidney Hypothetical, or How to Ruin Your Life in Seven Days / Lisa Yee. Arthur A. Levine Books, 2015. [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: For Higgs, his future as a Harvard-educated dentist like his dad (and as planned for his deceased older brother) is all set, until his answer to a hypothetical question starts a chain reaction of awful at his California high school and brings wild and wonderful Monarch into his life just before graduation.

 

Thanks to the Mansfield/Richland County Public Library staff in Ohio for their great book trailer videos, including this one. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

E for Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (book review) – allergic to everything but love

book cover of Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon published by Delacorte | BooksYALove.comCan’t ever leave her house,
Any particle could kill her,
but love can stop your heart, too…

Such a rare medical condition, yet Maddy has survived her severe autoimmune diseases to reach age 18, just as new neighbors move in next door to her airlock-sealed house, and she can see Olly there.

Surprising turns (this book reached bestseller status before I got to write about it – oops), longing for change, and a chance to love.

If you suddenly became allergic to something wonderful, how would you cope?
**kmm

Book info: Everything, Everything / Nicola Yoon. Delacorte Press, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [author video interview] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Medically fragile Maddy is no longer content to stay airlocked into safety when Olly moves next door, and the teens strike up an enticing online friendship.

Her severe autoimmune disorders were diagnosed in childhood shortly after Dad and her brother were killed, so Maddy has lived in a sealed house for years, tutored online, cared for by her doctor mother and longtime nurse.

At 18, she knows she will never go away to college or learn to drive, but is content with the arrangements that allow her to stay relatively healthy… until Olly and his family move next door.

What would it be like to touch someone besides Mom and Carla?
How can Olly share the world with her without killing her?
What if the truth is only partly true?

A friendship story, a love story, with health report charts and emails and doodles – about everything Maddy thinks she knows and wants to know. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Jillian Cade: (Fake) Paranormal Investigator, by Jen Klein (book review) – eerie stuff unbeliever gets schooled

book cover of Jillian Cade-Fake Paranormal Investigator by Jen Klein published by Soho Teen | BooksYALove.comElectronic gadgets to “see” spirits – check.
Computer-savvy cousin with adventurous streak – yep.
Belief in the paranormal – nah.

Jillian’s disgust with her charlatan dad fleeing home for “research” after Mom’s death doesn’t stop her from taking new cases for Umbra Investigations – just because ghosts and demons aren’t real doesn’t mean she wants to starve.

But this new (cute) guy at school and new missing person case are weird, very weird…

Be sure keep an eye out for Jillian Cade: (Fake) Paranormal Investigator, published on Sept. 1st… and for otherworldly creatures, just in case.

**kmm

Book info: Jillian Cade: (Fake) Paranormal Investigator / Jen Klein. Soho Teen, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Not believing in spooks or demons doesn’t stop Jillian from running the family paranormal business, but the teen may get more than pizza money when the cursed boyfriend case takes her and too-smart new student to LA’s seedy side.

Keeping her dad’s dubious investigation service going while he’s off chasing secrets in the wake of Mom’s agonizing death does let Jillian eat, but the high school junior’s next case is full of shocks – a client who holds back vital information, a cute new guy who knows too much about occult phenomena, and an obituary dated six months in the future, her own!

How can she “be survived by sister Rosemary” when she’s an only child?
Why did Corabelle report her boyfriend missing after just one day?
What’s the real story behind Sky’s sudden appearance at her school?

Creepy things are definitely camped out in LA, ready to wipe out anyone who trespasses in their territory – of course, Jillian soldiers on to find that disappearing boyfriend and who’s behind that scary obituary. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Never Always Sometimes, by Adi Alsaid (book review) – high school cliche or best idea ever?

book cover of Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid published by Harlequin Teen | http://BooksYALove.comNever be a teenage cliche.
Never do what’s expected.
Never take rules too seriously…

Somehow, the list of “Nevers” that best friends made just before high school (so they would stay originals) isn’t as iron-clad when they unearth it during that interminable spring semester of senior year, so they decide to make each “never” into “always”.

“Never be recognized by your lunch spot”
“Never hook up with a teacher”
“Never pine silently after someone”

Read the beginning of this August 2015 title free here, courtesy of the publisher, to meet Dave and Julia and their “nevers” list.

What “I’ll never…” statements have you reappraised in your life?
**kmm

Book info: Never Always Sometimes / Adi Alsaid. Harlequin Teen, 2015.  [author’s tumblr]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Best friends Dave and Julia decide to do every “never” on their long-time list during the final months of high school, but the California teens might wish that some rules had stayed unbroken so their hearts would stay that way, too.

The pair want to stay original (like Julia’s ever-roving birth mom) by avoiding the typical cliches in high school – running for student office or dyeing your hair a rainbow color – and they’ve stuck to that list for nearly four years. Suffering now from senioritis,  it’s time to break all those rules!

From Julia “hosting a beer party” when her dads were gone to Dave and his brother helping her create the ideal lunch spot at school, the ten items on the list start getting crossed off.

When Dave becomes interested in Gretchen, Julia realizes that “never date your best friend” is the rule she most wants to break – but is it too late?

Never…expect Julia’s mom to visit when she promises.
Always…remember their favorite bench overlooking Morro Bay.
Sometimes…rules are there for a reason, but sometimes they’re not.

Friendship, love, and choices fill this funny and sad book as the two best friends have to find out which expectations are worth any risk.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

MPH, by Mark Millar (book review) – street drug faster than speed

book cover of MPH by Mark Millar, art by Duncan Fegredo, published by Image ComicsTrapped in Detroit slum,
finding a magic pharmaceutical way out,
with a ticking clock to fuel their Robin Hood ways.

One bottle of MPH lets Roscoe, Rosa, Chevy, and Baseball run and rob faster than the human eye can see. Those 31 little pills help them ransack the banks that made millions by sending jobs overseas, give money to the downtrodden, and get the whole FBI on their trail.

Positive visualizations, a taste for the finer things of life, and a sense of duty to do some good for others while the MPH lasts – not your everyday thievery with these young folks who know their fast-running time is limited and that adding anything to this amazing drug could end it faster.

Phenomenal artwork, use of color, and panel placements (there’s this one I’m remembering – epic!) make MPH a must-read graphic novel; check out the alternate covers, too.

If you could slip between raindrops without getting wet, where would you go?

**kmm

Book info: MPH / Mark Millar; art by Duncan Fegredo. Image Comics, 2015.  [author site]   [illustrator site]   [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher, via NetGalley.

My book talk: A mysterious drug gives super-speed powers to four friends who leave behind the drugs and guns of their Detroit neighborhood to rob big banks, give money to the needy, and grab the good stuff before that tiny bottle of MPH is gone – but where did it come from?

Learning that his boss set him up for a drug bust to get his girlfriend, Roscoe is finally desperate enough to take a pill from the prison pusher, a pill that freezes time so that the young man can escape and run miles before the next second ticks.

The young man easily convinces Rosa, her brother Baseball, and longtime pal Chevy that MPH will let them take what they want, share with those who need it, and still be richer than Roscoe’s vision board ever promised – as long as they can do it before those 31 pills are gone.

Robin Hoods on a nationwide robbery spree, the four are chased by the FBI who have an unlikely ally in a man who’s spent 30 years in solitary confinement.

No warning labels on this bottle, so adding drugs, alcohol, or jealousy could be deadly….  Graphic novel greatness.

 

Geography of You and Me, by Jennifer E. Smith (book review) – postcards from the road?

book cover of The Geography of Me and You by Jennifer E. Smith published by Little Brown Books for Young ReadersConversation while stranded in an elevator,
exploring the city as the blackout continues,
but having just met, they must travel in opposite directions!

This long-distance “wondering what if?” story should be at your local library or independent bookstore – if not, ask for it! Jennifer also wrote The Statistical Probability of Falling in Love (my no-spoiler recommendation here).

Read the first chapter here (thank you, Poppy Books!) for the stuck-in-elevator meeting that starts it all.

Surprise someone by sending them a postcard today!
**kmm

Book info: The Geography of You and Me / Jennifer E. Smith. Little Brown Books for Young Readers, 2014 (hardcover); Poppy Books, 2015 (paperback). [author site]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Stranded in an elevator during a blackout before moving away from New York City, Owen and Lucy send postcards from places they travel and think of each other more and more.

Owen wouldn’t even have been in the elevator if he and Dad hadn’t fled Pennsylvania after Mom died. Lucy had ridden this elevator for 16 years without getting stuck – why now, when her jetsetting parents are in Paris and her brothers away at college?

Lucy’s dad accepts a position in Scotland, not exactly the London job that her British mom had hoped for. Owen’s dad decides that they should head west, find a job somewhere away from NYC where they cannot see the stars.

No smartphone or email for Owen, by choice – he sends Lucy postcards from the road. He meets a beautiful girl at Lake Tahoe, and yet…

Each postcard spurs a lengthy email from Lucy, full of her life in Scotland, excluding mention of the handsome rugby player who’s interested in her, however…

When Lucy’s family gathers for a wedding near San Francisco where Owen’s dad is trying to get a job, the pair will get to see each other after all these months, but what if…

Does absence truly make the heart grow fonder?
Is “wish you were here?” ever enough?

A tale of travel, love, and learning from the author of The Statistical Probability of Falling in Love.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)