Tag Archive | England

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.

W for Wilde and weird as 2017 AudioSYNC season begins! (audiobooks)

WOW! It’s already AudioSYNC season, where audiobook publishers provide two FREE professionally narrated audiobooks through SYNC every week through August so you can read with your ears!

Note that these complete audiobooks are only available for free download from Thursday through Wednesday as noted. However, you have free use of them as long as you keep them on your computer or electronic device

Each week will feature a classic tale and a current one, related thematically. We begin with horror… just click on the link after each audiobook title and follow the easy download instructions.

CD cover of The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde | Read by Greg Wise Published by Naxos AudioBooks | recommended on BooksYALove.comThe Picture of Dorian Gray (download here)

By Oscar Wilde
Read by Greg Wise
Published by Naxos AudioBooks

Gray sells his soul’s purity to a painting in exchange for immortal youth and beauty, but must endure seeing the portrait become hideous as his character degrades.

 

The Dead House (download here)CD cover of The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich | Read by Charlotte Parry, Christian Coulson Published by Hachette Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

By Dawn Kurtagich
Read by Charlotte Parry, Christian Coulson
Published by Hachette Audio

Discovery of the diary of a girl who never existed reopens the decades-old case of that deadly fire at Elmbridge High school – five students died, Carly vanished, there was no Kaitlyn, where’s the truth?

Have you read either of these spooky titles before?
**kmm

Into the Dim, by Janet B. Taylor (book review) – time travel into danger

book cover of Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | recommended on BooksYALove.comMom is not dead?
Just trapped in the past,
One chance to rescue her…

Hope’s photographic memory is no fluke, but an essential part of her heritage as a Viator time traveler. And she’ll need it to complement her hasty training in knife-fighting and proper lady’s behavior before the team’s one-shot trip to 12th century England.

When Outlander author Diana Gabaldon praises a time travel book, you know it’s something special.

Read the first few chapters here courtesy of the publisher, and you’ll be hooked on Hope’s story – past and present. The sequel is due in May 2017, so start your journey Into the Dim now….

If you could travel into the past, where/when would you go?
**kmm

Book info: Into the Dim / Janet B. Taylor. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Hope is relieved to discover that Mom didn’t die in that earthquake, startled to learn that her mother is trapped in the 12th century, and completely unprepared to time-travel back to Eleanor of Aquitaine’s court to rescue her!

After Mom is declared dead in an earthquake, her adoptive dad’s family in Arkansas wants to ‘stop this homeschool nonsense’ that allows Hope to edge past her crippling phobias and harness her photographic memory.

Luckily, her never-met Aunt Lucinda invites Hope to Scotland, where the teen learns of her Viator lineage which enables her aunt and others to travel – carefully, very carefully – back in time, as her mother did. But Mom missed the rendezvous and is stranded in the time of King Henry II.

Ley lines, costumes, computers, training in martial arts, languages, and customs – all necessary to make that single trip back to a certain time and place. One chance per Viator, that’s it.

Can Hope master enough skills to pass as a young lady traveling with chaperone?
What does handsome neighbor Bran Cameron suspect about her aunt and the Viators?
Why did Mom bolt back into time without telling her?

First in an exciting time-travel series where one false move could undo Hope’s sanity, the Viator secret, and the world’s history. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Manga Classics : Emma, by Jane Austen (book review) – matchmaking & secrets

book cover of Emma by Jane Austen & Manga Classics published by Udon Entertainment | recommended on BooksYALove.comMatchmaking – so satisfying!
Seeing friends happy – so delightful!
Her own future so dull – oh, dear…

Emma is sure that her matchmaking will result in happy marriages for everyone in her social circle, but she will care for her elderly father instead of ever marrying. Of course, love has other plans, and secrets, too!

Enjoy the first chapter of this lively manga here free, courtesy of the publisher, then get your own copy at your favorite local library or independent bookstore.

Especially interesting are the information sections about adapting the classic text (available in full here) for use with this graphic format and creating these manga characters as reflections of each personality.

Another in Udon Entertainment’s great Manga Classics series, like Pride and Prejudice (my review here) and The Scarlet Letter (my review here), that will help first-time readers and long-time fans alike become more familiar with the characters and plots of classic stories while reading each author’s original words – back to front, of course.

So, what matchmaking have you witnessed lately?
**kmm

Book info: Emma / Jane Austen; adapted by Stacy King; art by Po Tse. Udon Entertainment, 2015.  [series Facebook page]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Ensuring the happiness of her friends through matchmaking leaves Emma Woodhouse little time for dreaming of her own future through marriage, but secrets and changes add to the complexities of her social circle in the English countryside.

Why is Mr. Fairfax so changeable around Emma?
Who sent Jane a piano as a gift?
What if Emma’s friends all marry and leave her alone?

Jane Austen’s 1815 tale of matchmaking and misunderstandings gains graphic form through Po Tse’s manga art, while Stacy King selects just the right passages from the classic text as each character speaks and thinks.

Escape from peril to danger! Journey onward with free audiobooks

Tales of difficult decisions and travel travails in this week’s free audiobooks from SYNC.

Nearing the end of this great summer program, so please download either or both books (click on link following title) before Wednesday 3 August 2016, so that you can listen free as long as you keep them on your computer or electronic device.

CD cover of audiobook Juba! by Walter Dean Myers | Read by Brandon Gill Published by HarperAudio | recommended on BooksYALove.comJuba! (download here 28 July – 3 August 2016)

by Walter Dean Myers
Read by Brandon Gill
Published by HarperAudio

After Mr. Juba dances for appreciative crowds in England at the behest of Charles Dickens, the black freedman must decide whether to return to America where he could be captured and enslaved.

Pennies for Hitler (download here 28 July – 3 August 2016)CD cover of audiobook Pennies for Hitler by Jackie French | Read by Humphrey Bower Published by Bolinda Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Jackie French
Read by Humphrey Bower
Published by Bolinda Audio

Escaping from Nazi Germany, Georg becomes George as this child of British professor is smuggled to England, then Australia, leaving behind family and friends, encountering prejudice and possibilities.

What to do when it’s not safe to stay, dangerous to leave?
**kmm

Amy Snow, by Tracy Rees (book review) – posthumous treasure hunt & possibilities

book cover of Amy Snow by Tracy Rees published by Simon & Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.comA beautiful, stubborn only child,
an abandoned baby,
a defining friendship during a too-short life.

As young Queen Victoria begins her long reign and railroads start crisscrossing England, nearly-grown Aurelia and Amy get glimpses of freedom and possibilities that have long been denied to women of their era.

Read the first chapter here free (thanks, Simon & Schuster!) as young girl Aurelia discovers infant Amy in a snowbank and begins a friendship that will transform both their lives.

A treasure hunt (with cipher and code along the way), a journey (past despair and expectations), and a promise – but is it worth it for Amy to follow Aurelia’s posthumous clues?
**kmm

Book info: Amy Snow / Tracy Rees. Simon Schuster Paperbacks, 2016.  [author Twitter]  [publisher site]  [author interview video] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When wealthy young girl Aurelia insists on keeping abandoned baby ‘Amy’, both grow up to defy the roles set for them by British society as Aurelia’s early death sends Amy on an unchaperoned cross-country journey to fulfill her last wishes.

Diagnosed with a fatal heart condition at 16, Aurelia escapes being married (what terrible men as suitors!) and escapes from Hatfield Court to travel briefly, leaving 10 year old Amy without her only friend, misunderstood by the servants, and much despised by Lady Vennaway.

Upon Aurelia’s death at 18, Amy receives her friend’s sketchbook, a little money, then a secret packet just before she’s banished from Hatfield. A letter from Aurelia tells her to travel to London! on one of those new trains! to find a bookshop? where Amy will locate more instructions.

As Amy meets people whom vibrant Aurelia befriended during her travels, she starts to come out of her shell, consider what might have kept Aurelia away from home so long, and even begins thinking about what may lie ahead for herself.

Will Amy ever discover the tiniest detail about her parentage?
Why don’t some of Aurelia’s traveling letters match up with the places that she visited?
When, oh when will this traveling end so that Amy may be free to discover her own future?

An exciting historical novel that celebrates friendship, chances, choices, and love.

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K for Kenny & the Sword of Kuromori, by Jason Rohan (book review) – summoned to Japan against evil

book cover of Sword of Kuromori by Jason Rohan published by Kane Miller Books | BooksYALove.comMysterious messages and mythic messengers,
motorcycle ninjas and undead attackers,
dream visions and the end of the world?

Kenny never dreamed that his granddad’s diplomatic work in post-war Japan would bring him face-to-face today with villains (human and otherwise) who try to keep the teen from stopping worldwide destruction.

Check out the book’s Facebook page for a tour of sites and monsters found in book 1.  I’m traveling in Japan this summer, so I will see torii gates and temples, but hope that I don’t encounter any nukekubi!

Any multi-tailed foxes in your dreams?
**kmm

Book info: The Sword of Kuromori / Jason Rohan. Kane Miller, 2016.  [series Facebook page]  [publisher site]  [author interview] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Kenny thinks he’ll finally meet up with his grieving father in Japan, but the British teen finds himself detained by government officials, rescued by his grandfather’s old allies, and expected to prevent the world’s destruction using a missing sword… in just nine days!

Maybe it starts with the raccoon-thing on the plane that only he can see, or maybe when the police stop him at the Tokyo airport, or when he’s snatched from them by a ninja on a motorcycle…

His grandfather’s connections with Japan from decades past help Kenny locate the fabled sword that shares his last name so he can learn its secrets and tap into its powers, for he is the only one who can stop a slumbering dragon from being awoken to destroy the world – it is prophesied.

Messages from spirit world allies arrive in his dreams, the daughter of grandfather’s old friend teaches him martial arts moves and essential Japanese phrases, and mythic beings try to kill them in broad daylight!

Who exactly is threatening the USA west coast with a tsunami?
How can an old sword stop an unearthly weapon?
Will Kenny ever see his dad again?

First in a series filled with Japanese culture and mythological creatures, questions about loyalty and family, plus lots of adventure and humor. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

B for Both of Me, by Friesen (book review) – they meet, yet only 1/2 of him remembers her

book cover of Both of Me by Jonathan Friesen published by Blink |booksYALove.comCounting stars,
traveling light and often,
avoiding entanglements, until…

Scam artist teen always on the move meets an artistic young man with two personalities and a near-psychic knowledge of what she’s running from – how can Clara resist trying to tap into what Elias “sees”?

But Clara never planned on falling for Elias or struggling to understand his dissociative identity disorder or making a road trip toward answers that could imperil them both.

Completely different worlds from the dystopia that Friesen brought us previously in Aquifer  (my notes here), the Salem that calm Elias wanders through in his mind, the minutely ordered existence that angry Elias tries to catalog, and the everyday world that Clara longs to leave behind.

Is there ever just one personality inside you?
**kmm

Book info: Both of Me / Jonathan Friesen. Blink, 2014.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Dual-personality Elias somehow knows more about her past than Clara wishes to recall, but their journey to verify the answers stretches both young people’s affection and endurance – and Elias’ hold on reality.

(One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Blackthorn Key, by Kevin Sands (book review) – apprentice in danger, kingdom at risk

book cover of The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands published by Aladdin | BooksYALove.comHorrific killings,
Apothecary victims,
Cult of assassins?

As an apprentice, Christopher has learned many codes and secrets, but a hidden message left by his master will lead the young man into perilous danger – worse than his surreptitious gunpowder experiments or the ailments that bring fellow Londoners into Blackthorn’s apothecary during King Charles II ‘s reign.

Happy book birthday to The Blackthorn Key!

**kmm

Book info: The Blackthorn Key / Kevin Sands. Aladdin, 2015. [author Twitter]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Christopher must use everything he’s learned from his master to solve gruesome murders in 17th century London, but the young apothecary apprentice and his best friend soon find themselves embroiled in dark mysteries threatening the kingdom itself.

Master Benedict has taught Christopher to read and solve puzzles and think for himself. But as the ritualistic murders targeting apothecaries get closer to their shop, the orphan worries when his master stays out late at night.

When his master leaves a secret message, Christopher and his best friend Tom the baker’s son begin investigating, searching for the hidden power worth killing for.

Will Christopher’s skill with codes be enough?
Can they find answers without alerting the King’s Men?
Is there truly a cult of assassins in the Merry Monarch’s kingdom?

Clever ciphers and codes blend with shudder-inducing remedies and everyday details of grimy city life in this debut novel as best friends risk so much to unpuzzle a long-hidden secret.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Travel in the elegant age as you read with your ears

Summertime is a great time to travel the world when you download this week’s free audiobooks from SYNC and read with your ears!

Download of these two free complete audiobooks begins today (Thursday, July 9th) and continues through Wednesday. Remember that you have free use of them as long as you keep them on your computer or electronic device.

Ready to travel during adventurous times? Just click on the title to go to the download page (super easy to do):

CD cover of The Explorers Club  by Nell Benjamin | Read by Jack Cutmore-Scott, Carson Elrod, David Furr, John Getz, Martin Jarvis, David Krumholtz, Lorenzo Pisoni, Jennifer Westfeldt, Matthew Wolf Published by L.A. Theatre WorksThe Explorers Club
by Nell Benjamin
Read by Jack Cutmore-Scott, Carson Elrod, David Furr, John Getz, Martin Jarvis, David Krumholtz, Lorenzo Pisoni, Jennifer Westfeldt, Matthew Wolf
Published by L.A. Theatre Works
In 1879 London, the male-only Explorers Club debates admitting a woman to their ranks. Full-cast audio with music includes humor and a possible international incident.

Around the World in Eighty DaysCD cover of Around the World in Eighty Days  by Jules Verne | Read by Michael Prichard Published by Tantor Audio
by Jules Verne
Read by Michael Prichard<
Published by Tantor Audio

If Phileas Fogg and his valet can journey completely around the world in a mere 80 days, Fogg keeps his fortune… however, travel in the 1870s holds its fair share of perils and adventures!

Where have you traveled through stories lately?
**kmm