Tag Archive | faith

Your front-row seat to excitement with dramatic audiobooks – free!

We’re at the halfway point of this summer’s SYNC season – have you set up your free SORA shelf yet? Find out more in the SYNC FAQs.

The free download time for each thematic pair of professionally produced audiobooks is Thursday through Wednesday. If you miss that window, check your local public library or independent bookstore for highlighted titles.

Big thanks to participating audiobook publishers who give us 99 years to listen to these great adventures and true stories through SORA.

And now, the curtain rises – it’s time for present and future drama with two full-cast recordings of stage plays!

CD cover of Paradise, by Laura Maria Censabella | Read by Medalion Rahimi, Jeff Marlow. Published by L.A. Theatre Works | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Paradise (free Sora download 6/9-15/2022)
by Laura Maria Censabella | Directed by Anna Lyse Erikson | Read by Medalion Rahimi, Jeff Marlow
Published by L.A. Theatre Works

A shy, brilliant Muslim student challenges her high school science teacher with a mysterious past to help design a scientifically accurate experiment to measure the effects of love on teenagers’ minds and bodies.

Questions of faith, science, trust, and culture affect their search for answers and for truth. Listen to a conversation with the director at https://soundcloud.com/latheatreworks/paradise-bonus-content-a-conversation-with-laura-maria-censabella.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/206957/paradise-by-laura-maria-censabella-read-by-medalion-rahimi-jeff-marlow/

image of swirling lines from http://www.clipartpanda.com/clipart_images/mondays-throughout-the-day-17164159
CD cover of Tangent Knights 1: Caprice of Fate, by Christopher L. Bennett | Read by Richard Rohan, Elaine Yuko Qualter, Bianca Bryan, and a Full Cast. Published by Graphic Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Tangent Knights 1: Caprice of Fate (free Sora download 6/9-15/2022)
by Christopher L. Bennett | Read by Richard Rohan, Elaine Yuko Qualter, Bianca Bryan, and a Full Cast
Published by Graphic Audio

In 2046, New Avalon’s all-pervasive technology is controlled by one woman. When advanced nanotech armor invades her own daughter Cory, Herrera tries to control Cory and make her into a hero against tangent parallel Earths.

But this fan of Japanese tokusatu fighting games has her own ideas about being a superhero. As Caprice, she and peacekeeper Tangent Knights will fight against cyborgs brought from other dimensions by her mother! (first in a series) Check out the audio trailer at https://youtu.be/O7jygJ5qDl0.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/203852/tangent-knights-1-caprice-of-fate-by-christopher-l-bennett-read-by-richard-rohan-elaine-yuko-qualter/

What play would you like to hear as an audiobook?
**kmm

divider clipart http://www.clipartpanda.com/clipart_images/mondays-throughout-the-day-17164159

O is for ALL OUR HIDDEN GIFTS with cards, candle, dark waters! by Caroline O’ Donoghue (YA book review) #A2Z

book cover of All Our Hidden Gifts, by Caroline O'Donoghue. Published by Walker Books US | recommended on BooksYALove.com

In-school suspension (again),
Storeroom clean-out (boring),
Tarot card deck…hmmm.

Falling behind in high school, Maeve longs for the days when her four much-older siblings lived at home so she wasn’t Mum and Dad’s only focus.

The tarot cards she found in the school basement storage are more interesting than her classes, for sure, especially as she studies more about them online.

Soon her circle of acquaintances at their all-girls school is asking her to do tarot readings for them, with pal Fiona as scheduler, earning Maeve some pocket money and a tiny bit of popularity.

It all goes bust after a unique card appears in a reading for her former best friend Lily. Maeve doesn’t know what it means, so she left it at home! When quiet, hard-of-hearing Lily says it’s all done just for attention, Maeve snaps that she wishes that Lily would disappear. That’s the last time anyone sees Lily…

The police have questions for Maeve several days later; so does Lily’s big brother Roe whom Maeve began talking to just as this tarot thing began. Of course, the headmistress confiscates the tarot deck.

Days crawl along with no progress, as slow as the river Beg through their Irish city. Maeve’s dreams include gender-fluid Roe and his band, the mysterious Housekeeper on the unique card, and eventually Lily by the river. And the tarot deck brings itself to Maeve’s house.

Is the Housekeeper more than ink on a card?
Who will believe that she has taken Lily?
How can the three teens bring her back without losing themselves?

The power of wishing, the power of hope, the power of learning to love your true self – don’t miss this UK novel brought to American readers by Walker Books US – in hardcover now, paperback release in May 2022 – read the first chapter here, free courtesy of the publisher.

What hidden gift has graced your life as you’ve gotten older?
**kmm

Book info: All Our Hidden Gifts / Caroline O’Donoghue. Walker Books US, 2021. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Searching on THE SUPER MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF FREDDY YATES, by Jenny Pearson (book review)

book cover of THE SUPER MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF FREDDY YATES, by Jenny Pearson. Published by Norton Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A missing dad still alive?
Time to go find him!
Here’s the plan, guys…

Grams’ death leaves Freddie and his stepdad all alone their English town, but her final message solves a lifelong mystery – the name of his long-gone biological father!

Best pals Ben and Charlie agree to take the train with him to Wales as their last fun weekend before they’re dragged off to summer activities that their families love (and they despise).

The eleven year olds’ quick trip turns into an adventurous trek – missed connections, a new destination, an onion-eating contest, a bicycle-built-for-two, and emergency change into superhero costumes to elude a jewel thief!

Can they keep convincing their parents that they’re just at a sleepover?
Why did Freddie’s dad never try to contact him?
Why didn’t they bring more underwear?

Their teacher said it was a miracle that their class made it through the school year, but Freddie, Ben, and Charlie encounter real miracles aplenty in this hilarious debut novel.

When does your search become a mission?
**kmm

Book info: The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddy Yates / Jenny Pearson. Norton Young Readers, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Oh, such joy! ONCE UPON AN EID, edited by S.K. Ali & Aisha Saeed (book review)

book cover of Once Upon an Eid, edited by S.K. Ali & Aisha Saeed. Published by Amulet Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Watching for the new moon to appear,
Special foods enjoyed for generations,
Gifts and love and faith and joy!

Muslims observe the two Eid holidays with celebratory traditions as varied as the world is wide.

New clothes can be a hallmark of Eid – even as cousins Hawa and Fanta disagree about which style of dress is “Perfect” during the African community’s Eid parties in New York City or Makayla worries that friends will make fun of her new-ish abaya from the second-hand store in “Creative Fixes.”

Gifts” make Eid special for Idrees who begins understanding that giving is more important than getting, and a young man saving up for a new bike is repeatedly reminded by his grandmother that his name “Kareem means ‘generous’. “

The same foods every year are family traditions, so when big sister is busy, it’s just “Yusuf and the Big Brownie Mishap”, and Nadia quietly goes to the bakery for their favorite pastries while Mama sleeps after chemo in “Don’ut Break Tradition.”

Despair lifts when a kind Greek villager helps Bassem “Searching for Blue” bring the taste of Eid love to his refugee camp, and a grieving father helps his daughter try to make the “Taste” of Mama’s special lontong, always cooked by heart in their Malaysian apartment instead of written down.

Going high above the City of Boundless Light, “Seraj Captures the Moon” marking the end of Ramadan in a graphic novel illustrated by the same artist who sketched the chapter headings and book cover showing young people preparing for Eid from Canada to the US to Australia.

Fifteen Muslim authors bring us stories that reflect the wide range of community and family traditions for celebrating Eid – all with food, all with love, all with renewed hope.

What says home and hope to you?
**kmm

Book info: Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices / edited by S. K. Ali and Aisha Saeed; illustrated by Sara Alfageeh. Amulet Books, 2020. [S. K. site] [Aisha site] [Sara site] [publisher site] Personal copy; video and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

THE TROUBLE WITH SHOOTING STARS & scars & moondust & memories, by Meg Cannistra (MG book review)

book cover of The Trouble With Shooting Stars, by Meg Cannistra. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The car wreck changed everything,
healing is so slow –
can fractured relationships be mended too?

More operations ahead for Luna after the accident that left Dad in a wheelchair and the 12 year old with big facial scars under a treatment mask.

Her new neighbors are truly magical, as young Alessandro and Chiara ignore Luna’s scars and take her up with them in their zeppelin to brush the dust from the Moon and stars, as all spazzatrici do.

Only Uncle Mike understands how she needs to keep drawing every night when the pain won’t let her sleep – and that the spazzatrici are real.

She can’t stand to see the pity in Tailee’s eyes, stops returning her best friend’s phone calls, wants things to just be normal again.

Would stardust make Dad less sad about not working in their Italian-American family deli?

Could a shooting star grant Luna’s wish for healing if she caught one?

Sail up from Staten Island to help place new stars in their constellations and enjoy the drawings that Luna delivers to other neighbors in this magical tale – happy book birthday to The Trouble With Shooting Stars!
**kmm

Book info: The Trouble With Shooting Stars / Meg Cannistra, art by Dana Wulfekotte. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Why now? Karma Khullar’s Mustache, by Kristi Wientge (book review)

bok cover of Karma Khullar's Mustache, by Kristi Wiengte, published by Simon Schuster Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

17 dark hairs on her upper lip?
Middle school starts Monday!
What to do!?!?

Her big brother wants a mustache, not 11 year old Karma, but it looks like she is taking after her Punjabi father instead of her blonde mother – and the boys in her grade won’t stop teasing her about it!

The author grew up in an Ohio neighborhood like Karma’s before traveling the world and now lives with her Sikh husband and their children in Singapore.

What can we do as individuals to keep teasing from becoming bullying?
**kmm

Book info: Karma Khullar’s Mustache / Kristi Wientge. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, hardcover 2017, paperback 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Karma is the only girl at middle school with dark hairs on her upper lip, the only person who brings dal and chappatis for lunch, the only one with a stay-at-home PhD dad – and now her best friend has moved into the popular crowd… so alone with her problems, her worries about the mustache, her sadness after grandmother’s death.

Her blonde mother won’t have advice about getting rid of this mustache, even if she weren’t so busy with her new job.

Her big brother is too busy arguing with Daddy about not becoming a doctor to ever see Karma’s problems.

Half-Sikh, half-Methodist, all confused when her teacher asks Karma to tutor the new girl who stole away her best friend!



Names They Gave Us – enough against chaos? by Emery Lord (book review)

book cover of Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord published by Bloomsbury | recommended on BooksYALove.com She did everything properly,
all promises kept on her side of the bargain,
but evidently God has other plans for her mom…

Asked by her own parents to be counselor at a different camp, while Mom recovers at their family’s church camp just around the lakeshore – Lucy is angry at God for letting the cancer come back and at her boyfriend for ‘pausing’ their relationship for summer.

If she can salvage even a scrap of comfort from working with little kids who spend the summer at Daybreak to escape terrible situations…

This mid-May 2017 novel is stirring, honest, and powerful – faith isn’t always strong, past history is often murky, and the future is never promised to anyone.

(personally, I think the title has no relevance to the story at all. Wonder why @EmeryLord agreed to it – but authors don’t have total control over titles and rarely have a say about the cover art).

Have you ever bargained with God?
**kmm

Book info: The Names They Gave Us / Emery Lord. Bloomsbury Teens, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: All Lucy wants is summer at her parents’ church camp so she can get over Mom’s cancer returning and her boyfriend ‘pausing’ their perfect relationship, but the midwest teen finds herself at another camp nearby, where worry and hope (and Jones) wrestle for her attention.

The counselors and the campers at Daybreak all carry heavy burdens of past circumstances – Mom thinks this is better for Lucy than being with her between chemo sessions?

Just a mile between both camps so Lucy can still hear Dad’s sermons every Sunday – why does that distance seem to change constantly all summer?

Deepening friendships with fellow counselors during their summer together, especially with Henry Jones – can she have a crush on him, so soon after Lukas?

Big concerns affecting her littlest campers, fretting over chemo effects, wondering if she can remember every tiny detail about Mom, huge secrets revealed and memories made. God didn’t keep his side of Lucy’s bargain to keep Mom healthy, but perhaps Lucy doesn’t have to stay mad at him forever.

My Basmati Bat Mitzvah, by Paula J. Freedman (book review) – Bollywood plus Hebrew School?

Book cover of My Basmati Bat Mitzvah by Paula J. Freedman published by Amulet BooksHebrew school – check.
Bollywood movie DVD collection – check.
Punjabi and Yiddish grandparents at the same celebration – oy vey!

It’s worth a special trip to your favorite local library or independent bookstore to meet Tara and friends in My Basmati Bat Mitzvah if you like

  • interesting family dynamics
  • a look into two different cultural heritages
  • guys and gals who are trying to sort out relationships and other complicated things
  • middle school experiences that are both funny and typical
  • a strong-minded main character who still has big questions
  • conversations about faith and God that aren’t self-righteous sermons
  • chances to be “both X and Y” instead of having to be “either X or Y”

Samosas at the bat mitzvah reception and chilies in the matzoh ball soup? Count me in!
**kmm

Book info:  My Basmati Bat Mitzvah / Paula J. Freedman. Amulet Books, 2013.  [author site]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Tara just wants to add a hint of India to her bat mitzvah ceremony, to stay friends with her best friends, and to win the robotics contest – how can this all be so hard?!

The twelve-year-old loves her Yiddish-speaking Gran and her Punjabi grandpa, Bollywood movies and cheezy monster flicks, the Diwali and Hanukkah festivals of light that each side of her family celebrates.

Attending Hebrew school in preparation for her bat mitzvah at age 13, she’s confused about God – better talk to Rabbi Aron some more. And she’s confused by best buddy Ben-O’s sudden blushes and breath mints, by the class clown’s attentions, by Rebecca wanting to be best friends with her and that snooty Sheila at the same time.

A mishap with an heirloom sari and continuing jibes that her Indian mother’s conversion to Judaism didn’t really make her Jewish collide with problems on the robotics team and a glimpse into Sheila’s not-so-perfect purple life in the hectic weeks leading up to her bat mitzvah.

How can she balance new friendships and old?
Why are boys so weird now?
Can she really mix India and New York City in her bat mitzvah?

The importance of family traditions and questions about faith thread through this coming-of-age story like the golden threads in Daadiji’s beautiful sari.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Killer of Enemies, by Joseph Bruchac (book review) – mind, heart, death in future

book cover of Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac published by Tu BooksTechnology gone,
New monsters join the old,
Hungry for the people’s blood.

Read this desert-based dystopia for Lozen’s warrior woman spirit, her respectful killing skill, and her tenacious love for her family.

For a taste of  the dangers and monsters that Lozen faces inside and outside Haven, try chapters 17-19 for free here.

Then ask for Killer of Enemies  at your local library or independent bookstore now- you won’t want to miss it!

**kmm

Book info:  Killer of Enemies / Joseph Bruchac. Tu Books, 2013. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Lozen can sense the monsters on both sides of the compound’s walls and kill the mutants outside skillfully. But those holding her family hostage inside…can only be eliminated with a skill that the teen isn’t sure she has.

The land of Lozen’s Apache ancestors survived the Cloud from space which wiped out all technology, but so many people perished. The privileged Ones who survived meltdown of their implanted enhancements have holed up in secure places and gathered small armies, ‘recruiting’ those with blacksmithing or hunting skills to add to their power.

With her family held hostage in “Haven” Lozen must hunt the freakish Cloud-magnified animals who can batter down the former prison’s walls. The four Ones ruling Haven don’t know that the teen can sense the gen-mod monsters’ thoughts, as well as those of most humans.

Carefully-made plans for her family’s escape from the insanity of Haven may have to accelerate when the Ones declare her only friend is a traitor and plan to execute him.

Can she sway their decision without exposing her telepathic powers?
Can she get her family out of Haven before it’s too late?
Can a monster-killer save herself?

Weaving traditional Chiricahua beliefs with a new Stone Age power struggle, the Killer of Enemies  must remember her heritage while she strives to live long enough to have a future.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Gated, by Amy Christine Parker (book review) – safe from evil world…perhaps

book cover of Gated by Amy Christine Parker published by Random HouseInside the gates, it’s safe.
Outside, the evil world will end soon.
Or maybe it’s the other way around.

The messages that Pioneer began receiving from The Beloved in space during 9/11 have sent an entire colony of families to create their own Armageddon-proof underground Silo against the coming endtimes.

Inside the Community’s gates, Lyla’s mother still mourns a long-ago kidnapping, shooting practice uses human-size targets, and no outside TV, radio, or magazines are allowed in – sanctuary or captivity?

Doomsday cults are nothing new, but Lyla’s future is now, and it’s not at all what Pioneer promised!  What a page-turner!

**kmm

Book info: Gated / Amy Christine Parker. Random House, 2013.  [author Facebook page]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Pioneer comforted Lyla’s parents after her sister’s kidnapping and the 9/11 attacks, led them to establish the Community to survive the imminent endtimes, will keep them safe from the world’s evils… maybe.

Lyla has grown from shy little girl to inquisitive teen in this pastoral place of horses and friends and meadows and shooting practice on human-shaped targets. Yes, Pioneer expects everyone to defend the Community when the Earth’s rotation reverses soon and these chosen ones go into their underground fortress to wait out the chaos.

Despite Pioneer’s efforts, the Community hasn’t completely escaped the notice of nearby townspeople during their monthly supply runs. In fact, the sheriff has just come for a visit to make sure everyone is within the gates of their own free will.

When Lyla is chosen as tour guide for the sheriff’s teenage son, she begins thinking about the outside world and finds Cody in her dreams (even though Will is her intended now).

A small mistake on her part leads to disastrous results as Pioneer shows the Community outside news that confirms his prophecies are coming true now!

“This is not a drill!” Pioneer thunders – but Lyla doesn’t want to believe that the endtimes have arrived in this novel about belief, lies, and faith.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)