Tag Archive | death

It’s not fair! Teens incite THE PEACH REBELLION post-WWII, by Wendelin Van Draanen (YA book review)

book cover of The Peach Rebellion, by Wendelin Van Draanen. Alfred A. Knopf | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Over a decade since coming to California during the Dust Bowl days, her tiny brothers dying of sickness and buried under a creekside tree north of here, and folks are still calling Ginny Rose’s family “Okies” after World War II, despite all their hard work.

After her first day working at the peach cannery, a flat bike tire detours the 17 year old to Peggy’s peach farm where she meets banker’s daughter Lisette.

Wow, Papa and Mama tell Ginny Rose to keep half her wages for new school clothes and her future! Her sister Anna Mae is aghast at the idea of being left behind with their deeply depressed mother

Peggy’s big sister opens the teen’s eyes to truths about the family peach farm, very unwelcome facts that explain why Doris hasn’t brought her baby back to visit.

Lisette’s fancy new house? Her father’s bank foreclosed on his good friend’s house, then the banker bought it instead of stopping the seizure?!

Ginny Rose discovers Babyland in the cemetery, where the tiniest children are buried – could she bring her little brothers here, for good?

The three teens from very different parts of society find a common purpose as Peggy and Lisette decide to help Ginny Rose on her quest!

Told in alternating chapters by Ginny Rose and Peggy during the sweltering summer of 1947.

Which friends would help you with a challenge?
**kmm

Book info: The Peach Rebellion / Wendelin Van Draanen. Alfred A. Knopf /PRH, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

ONCE THERE WAS…some magic, a monster, a miracle? by Kiyash Monsef (YA book review)

book cover of Once There Was, by Kiyash Monsef. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Her best friends try to help, but Marjan is sleepwalking through life since Dad was killed by who-knows-what recently in their California home. She’s trying to juggle sophomore classes and Dad’s struggling vet practice and her anger and grief.

Wait, her Pakistani father didn’t just treat dogs, cats, and birds – he was a veterinarian for creatures out of myth and legend?! And “the work” is Marjan’s now, because she’s inherited his gift of knowing precisely how to care for them, wherever in the world they are.

People who live with these amazing creatures contact Marjan through the secretive Tea Shop group. Off she goes to see a griffon in England reaching the end of its very long life, an incontinent house gnome a few hours from home.

Into Dad’s vet office comes a young woman named Malloryn, a self-taught witch whose grey fox is ill. She’ll stay with Marjan for the mythic nine-tailed fox‘s lengthy treatment, maybe disperse the house’s gloom and bad aura.

Um, this ultra-rich Horatio guy isn’t collecting mythic creatures to appreciate them, like Malloryn loves Zorro or cute Sebastian’s family loves the griffon who chose his family generations ago. There’s something dark about Horatio, and Marjan wants to stay far away from his underground menagerie of faerie and stone giant and deadly manticore – every Persian tale her father told her, come to life.

Tea Shop believes that magical creatures’ contentment influences the overall good for humanity. As many creatures have disappeared lately, things are worsening in the world – and they want to find the missing.

Horatio keeps requesting her help with his creatures – can she safely stay away?
Dad was preparing for a trip to Ithaca, New York, when he was killed – will Marjan find any answers there about his death?
Sebastian wants to help her – what can two teenagers do against age-old problems?

“Once there was, once there was not…” Tales told by her father punctuate the action and peril – read the first chapter here free on the publisher’s website.

What’s your favorite mythic creature?
**kmm

Book info: Once There Was / Kiyash Monsef. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Scary times – who will be brave? (audiobook recommendations)

Frightening or challenging? You decide with these professionally produced audiobooks respinning fairy tales as our AudioSYNC summer winds down.

You have until Wednesday 19 July 2023 to download either or both audiobooks into your Sora shelf. Get all the details here.

Not your everyday experiences…

CD cover of The Lantern's Ember, 
by Colleen Houck | Read by Piper Goodeve. Published by HighBridge Audio

The Lantern’s Ember (free Sora download 7/13 – 7/19/23)
by Colleen Houck | Read by Piper Goodeve
Published by HighBridge Audio

Guarding the Otherworld’s entrance for centuries, Jack is startled when young witch Ember slips through its gates.

Doesn’t she realize its true dangers? Dare he leave his post to save her? How could he not?!

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/229597/the-lanterns-ember-by-colleen-houck-read-by-piper-goodeve/

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CD cover of Red Hood, by Elana K. Arnold | Read by January LaVoy.
Published by Harper Audio

Red Hood (free Sora download 7/13-7/19/23)
by Elana K. Arnold | Read by January LaVoy
Published by Harper Audio

For 16-year-old Bisou, one transcendent evening encompasses her first period, first encounter with the pleasures of sex, memories of her mother’s bloody death, and a stalker whose wolf-form hides a terrible classmate.

Red Riding Hood retold with emphasis on feminine instincts in the face of male toxicity.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/173189/red-hood-by-elana-k-arnold-read-by-january-lavoy/

What edge-of-your-seat tale would you recommend?
**kmm

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Oracle’s prophecy, a WOLFISH connection – danger! by Christiane M. Andrews (MG book review)

book cover of Wolfish, by Christiane M. Andrews. Published by Little Brown | recommended on BooksYALove.com

In their cave of mists, Oracle and Apprentice tell the future, but young Alba won’t repeat the waters’ most dismal words to rob poor peasants of a little hope.

Alas, Alba does speak truth to one boy, eleventh in the royal succession and suddenly the new king, about his joyless reign being cut short by his sibling and a beast.

Later visions show her that the king’s mother soon after birthed twins who were swiftly taken from the palace, yet all are told that her child was stillborn … where were the king’s siblings taken?

In the mountains, little Rae helps her adoptive parents watch their sheep, growing strong on their love and sunshine and Mop’s songs.

In the forest, a wolf-child learns to hunt and revel in the scents around him, as furred and swift-running as his litter-mates.

At the cave entrance, a young priest guarding them at night reluctantly teaches Alba how to write, and she records her vision of the twins for the priests’ library.

One day, Rae sings the song she senses in hillside breezes and sees a wolf, whose attack is stopped – by another wolf! The defending wolf allows Rae to tend his wounds, and somehow they truly see one another…

Alba’s writing is discovered, and she is banished. Now what? Now where?

To her first market day in the town, Rae and her parents go, not knowing that the king ordered all children of the twins’ age – and hers – captured!

Can Alba and Rae and the wolf escape the king’s anger and make their own futures come true?

A lyrical tale of the magic of songs and of being known, seen, loved.

Would you want to know your future?
**kmm

Book info: Wolfish / Christiane M. Andrews. Little Brown, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Lives lived loud and clear – historical fiction to read with your ears! (audiobook recommendations)

Our AudioSYNC offerings this week take us into different times and different places with well-crafted historical fiction audiobooks that begin with murder!

You have until Wednesday 12 July 2023 to download either or both of these professionally produced audiobooks into your Sora shelf. Get all the details here.

Now tell me… what did they do next?

CD cover of The Boy in the Red Dress, by Kristin Lambert | Read by Sophie Amoss. Published by Listening Library

The Boy in the Red Dress (free Sora download 7/6-7/12/23)
by Kristin Lambert | Read by Sophie Amoss
Published by Listening Library

Murder on New Year’s Eve! In 1929 New Orleans, the Cloak & Dagger speakeasy and LBGTQIA haven features Marion in drag – who is now suspected of murder.

His best friend Millie (teenage niece of the club owner) is determined to prove his innocence and find the real killer.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/179183/the-boy-in-the-red-dress-by-kristin-lambert-read-by-sophie-amoss/

swirling lines clipart http://www.clipartpanda.com/clipart_images/mondays-throughout-the-day-17164159
CD cover of This Rebel Heart, by Katherine Locke. Read by Kathleen Gati, Steven Jay Cohen. Published by Listening Library

This Rebel Heart (free Sora download 7/6-7/12/23)
by Katherine Locke | Read by Kathleen Gati, Steven Jay Cohen
Published by Listening Library

After her parents are murdered in 1956, young Hungarian woman Czilla is eager to leave the country and its repressive regime.

She finds allies in a man seeking his missing lover, an angel of death, and others primed to revolt for freedom.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/213314/this-rebel-heart-by-katherine-locke-read-by-kathleen-gati-steven-jay-cohen/

Best historical fiction book you ever read?
**kmm

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Can she OUTRUN THE MOON & fate through education or luck? by Stacey Lee (YA book review)

book cover of Outrun the Moon, by Stacey Lee. Published by Penguin | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Mercy wants better for her little brother than backbreaking laundry work, but she needs more education than their poor middle school can offer so she can start a business.

The teen negotiates her way into a semester scholarship at St. Clare’s School for Girls, the best in 1906 San Francisco, determined to brave anti-Chinese prejudice on the way to her dreams.

In return, Mercy promises snobby Elodie’s father a meeting with the Benevolent Association to apply for permission to sell his very fine chocolates in Chinatown…

Oh, how she longs to help her boyfriend Tom find his way into the sky instead of becoming an herbalist doctor like his father!

What if the headmistress decides Mercy isn’t worthy to be at St. Clare’s?
What if the Benevolent Association won’t consider their request?
What does her mother see when she foretells their futures?

Earthquake! The St. Clare’s girls escape to Golden Gate Park and, with Mercy’s practical skills, try to help others fleeing collapsed buildings and fires.

Her family! Their families! What now?

Outstanding historical fiction from the author of The Downstairs Girl (recommended here).

Are you prepared for a natural disaster?
**kmm

Book info: Outrun the Moon / Stacey Lee. Penguin, hardcover 2016, paperback 2017. [author Facebook] [publisher site] Personal collection; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Neighbors at war, peril under THE WEIGHT OF OUR SKY, by Hanna Alkaf (YA book review)

book cover of The Weight of Our Sky, by Hanna Alkaf. Published by Salaam Reads | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Underdogs win in an election,
Status quo pushes back –
Deadly fighting in the streets!

The small good-luck counting actions of childhood became full-blown obsession when her father died. Now 16-year-old Melati protects her mother through counting rituals as the djinn within her shows gruesome images of how Mama will die if the teen doesn’t do them perfectly (always in threes, always).

These days, in 1969 Malaysia, she and best friend Saf love new music, enjoy the street food in their Malay neighborhood, come home when the sunset call to prayer sounds. They’re at the movies when fighting about the recent election turns violent with Chinese and Muslims and Indians attacking each other’s communities – run, run home!

Improbably rescued by a Chinese auntie, Melati is panicked at Mama not knowing where she is, at leaving Saf behind, at being with Chinese people she’s always been warned not to trust…

The djinn inside Melati reproaches her constantly, Auntie Bee’s two college sons Frankie and Vincent argue about who started the fighting, and Uncle arrives home after seeing fires all over Kuala Lumpur.

Oh, 24-hour curfew! Rioters are burning everything, and soon Auntie Bee’s house is packed with her neighbor of all faiths – how long will the food last?

Frankie is eager to fight against the Malays; Vince loves music and understands a little about how it helps Melati drown out the djinn’s terrible words.

Is there any way to get back to Melati’s mom? Wherever she and Vince travel on his motorbike, one of them will be the outsider and in danger!

Malay, Chinese, and Indian groups all worked together to declare independence from Britain 12 years ago – why can’t they govern together now?

In Melati’s time, mental illnesses like OCD were ignored, not treated, so she is doing the best that she can during unbearable stress.

The debut novel by the author of Queen of the Tiles (recommended here).
**kmm

Book info: The Weight of Our Sky / Hanna Alkaf. Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster, hardcover 2019, paperback, 2021. [author site] [publisher site] Personal copy; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

WHEN THE ANGELS LEFT THE OLD COUNTRY, following the faithful, by Sacha Lamb (YA book review)

book cover of When the Angels Left the Old Country, by Sasha Lamb. Published by Levine Querido | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Studying the Talmud with an angel should keep the demon too busy to make trouble in the nameless tiny Polish village, but Little Ash manages to hear all the gossip. Many Jews have left for America, but still no word from Essie, the baker’s daughter.

In the town of Belz, 16-year-old Rose now runs the dry goods store for her distractable father, hiring lovely best friend Dinah as clerk. They’ll keep their families afloat and save enough to go to America! Dinah has not noticed that Rose is as fond of her as the young Torah scholar visiting the store is.

The villagers assume that Little Ash and the angel are young men, glad that the pair can go to Warsaw where Essie was last heard from. Oh, that emigration agent is a scoundrel, cheating so many, even killing some, like that rebbe from Belz! Little Ash will make very sure that the agent harms no one else, ever.

And so it is that they are on the steamship dock with Rose, whose year-long plan was smashed when Dinah announced her engagement. The trio watch each other’s belongings in the crowded steerage deck and pray that all aboard stay healthy enough to pass inspection at Ellis Island.

The angel carried along the rebbe’s books, hoping to bring them to his daughter. The murdered rebbe appears to the angel, saying that they must have kaddish sung for him at the earliest moment possible, lest his spirit wander forever!

Rose longs to meet kind-eyed Essie whose photo was in the letters stolen by that evil agent.

And so it was that the three friends became separated at the immigration station, as the angel was passed first because those letters showed a relative’s address.

Can the angel get Little Ash and Rose released from Ellis Island?
Can they find Essie and save her from the ‘shop boss’?
What place will they carve out for themselves in this new world?

Obligation and challenges, friendship and love – those who tried and dared, may their memory be a blessing.

What stories of arriving in new places do you tell?
**kmm

Book info: When the Angels Left the Old Country / Sacha Lamb. Levine Querido, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

AudioSYNC brings us thieves’ tales – to read with your ears! (audiobook recommendations)

Clever, devious – it’s time for some sneaky stories with this week’s AudioSYNC free audiobooks.

Remember to download either or both audiobooks into your Sora shelf by Wednesday 31 May 2023. All your AudioSYNC downloads are yours to read for 99 years, as long as you keep them on your Sora shelf.

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

Let’s see what these scofflaws are up to…

CD cover of Arsene Lupin versus Herlock Sholmes, by Maurice Leblanc | Read by David Timson. Published by Naxos Audiobooks

Arsene Lupin versus Herlock Sholmes (Arsene Lupin, book 2) (free Sora download 5/25-5/31/23)
by Maurice Leblanc | Read by David Timson
Published by Naxos Audiobooks

Gentleman thief Arsene Lupin is the prime suspect in the disappearance of a blue diamond, leading famous English detective Herlock Sholmes and his assistant Wilson to Paris. Can they catch this master of disguise and recover the jewels?

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/187516/arsene-lupin-versus-herlock-sholmes-by-maurice-leblanc-read-by-david-timson/

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CD cover of Mask of Shadows, 
by Linsey Miller | Read by Deryn Edwards. Published by Dreamscape

Mask of Shadows (free Sora download 5/15-5/31/2023)
by Linsey Miller | Read by Deryn Edwards
Published by Dreamscape

Of course, Sal steals that audition poster – they want to be right in the middle of the group auditioning to be one of the queen’s assassins. Not to become a member of the Left Hand – but for revenge!

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/131498/mask-of-shadows-by-linsey-miller-read-by-deryn-edwards/

What’s your favorite good story about a person choosing to live on the wrong side of the law?
**kmm

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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.