Scorpions, ancient statuettes, learning how to make mummies, not your average childhood!
Amun Ra tries to be a normal teenager despite his mom’s mummy obsession and switching schools between Egypt and Washington DC. And the bad guys trying to steal a priceless statue, don’t forget them…
This is the first young adult fiction book published by AUC Press, well-known for its scholarly works on Egyptology, as shown by the narrow page margins and smaller typeface than used in most books for teens.
Beyond those printing quirks, the story is full of adventure and humor with chapter titles like “A Dead Mouse in Every Bag” (Mum teaching mummification at his second grade birthday party) and “Murder by Papyrus” (with Mum at a London academic conference before eighth grade).
The American and Egyptian authors live and work within sight of many places that Amun Ra visits with his classmates or on archaeological digs with Mum, and their family and friends acted out scenes in the book for the photos that the teen tapes onto pages of his story.
Any parental embarrassments that turned out to be helpful in the end? **kmm
Book info: Fun Things To Do With Dead Animals: Egyptology – Ruins – My Life / Eden Unger Bowditch & Salima Ikram. AUC Press, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Named for an Egyptian god, traipsing from dig site to research station with Mum, wondering how his life would be now if his dad had lived – Amun Ra would rather not have mummified dogs on the kitchen table, but probably wouldn’t enjoy the boring one-place life of his classmates in either Cairo or Washington DC.
In junior high, he endures Mum’s embarrassing museum tour with his class, encounters unscrupulous people trying to steal priceless antiquities, and stumbles onto an ancient toilet system (don’t ask how, please).
Amun-Ra’s journal includes snapshots and a few flashbacks (mouse-mummifying kits at his 2nd grade birthday party) as the young teen tries to keep up with his friends on two continents, keep jackals (animal and human) away from Mum’s excavations, and decide what he wants to do with his own future.
Book info: Boy Band of the Apocalypse (Boy Band of the Apocalypse, book 1) / Tom Nicoll, illustrated by David O’Connell. Kane Miller/EDC Publishing, 2019. [author site] [artist site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Witnessing the world’s most popular boy band secretly murder their lead singer puts Sam in a tough spot as the British thirteen year old is tapped to stop Apocalips from destroying the world!
After reluctantly attending the concert with her best friend, Sam’s feisty little sister is suddenly a total Apocalips fan, like those bullying Heatherstone quadruplets in Sam’s class… very out of character.
Now that Sam knows Apocalips is intent on conquering the world with a new lead singer, he is forced to audition despite his shaky voice and bad dancing. Genius pal Milo’s invention will help with the singing, and Sam’s boring accountant parents will help with the dancing – really?!
Fame and fortune are his – if Sam can survive the weirdest audition ever and find the secret of Apocalips’ mind-control before it’s too late for everyone!
Loves gold – check. Lives in gated community – check. Breathes fire – not your average rich teen girl!
Being the youngest following super-talented brothers is rarely easy, and being told she can’t attempt the coming-of-age quest means that Sky will try even harder.
Gold sings to her blood – yep, wyvern is the more socially acceptable name for were-dragon.
Her impulsive nature wars against the detailed planning needed to successfully steal the artifact that Mom coveted, but Sky is determined to succeed, with a little help from her friends.
What’s your favorite family-first story? **kmm
Book info: Fire & Heist / Sara Beth Durst. Crown Books for Young Readers, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Sky wants to restore her family’s status within their exclusive Colorado mountain community, so she does what any 16-year-old wyvern would – attempt the heist scripted by Mom and get back their gold, all their gold and more!
Human on the outside, dragon on the inside, Sky longs to complete her first quest and erase some of the shame brought on her family by Mom’s disappearance during a heist gone wrong.
Luckily, that arcane artifact is in a vault in her boyfriend’s family mansion so he must know ways around the chief were-dragon’s magic protections.
Unluckily, Ryan dumped Sky when her family’s worth plunged at the Reckoning. So much for being soulmates.
Curiously, a human girl at school might be able to help, if only Sky were allowed to tell her that wyverns live right here…
A caper story, a friendship story, a betrayal story, a family-first story – soar with Sky as she uncovers deep secrets high in the Rockies.
Robots to do our chores andfight our wars… Who’s giving the orders here?
His dad took all their savings and disappeared – now he expects Charlie and this girl with the odd name to break a serial killer out of prison to help them save the world…hmmm. Adventure and moral dilemmas!
Read an excerpt from the book here, free courtesy of the Scotland-based publisher.
Artificial intelligence is more than robots or household answer-giving devices – as AI keeps evolving, will pesky high-maintenance, environment-spoiling humans be worth keeping around? **kmm
Book info: It’s Only the End of the World / J. A. Henderson. Kelpies Edge/ Floris Books, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My Book Talk: The girl hiding in his closet has a message from Dad who left last month – Charlie must stop an evil corporation from ending the world!
Charlie’s boring parents were radical computer hackers before he was born, exposing corporate crimes – now Dad is back at it and has uncovered terrible things about Manticorps, including a serum giving superhuman strength to soldiers (and accidentally to Charlie).
Problematic that Daffodil can’t remember anything about her past and didn’t know that ‘Frankie’ giving her info was an artificial intelligence created by Manticorps.
The two Scots teens have to trust that Dad and Frankie are working for the good guys now, on the run as Manticorps’ hired assassins close in – because Frankie has been implanted in Daffodil’s neck!
If AI has advanced this far, perhaps it’s only the end of the world for humans… what has money-hungry Manticorps invented?
When it is time to act decisively, do you have the knowledge you need? **kmm
Book info: Wild Blues / Beth Kephart; illustrated by William Sulit. Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/Atheneum, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Staying with her uncle in his Adironacks cabin during Mom’s radiation treatment, 13-year-old Lizzie and her friend Matias get caught up in a prison break and problems bigger than all of them.
Mom says don’t tell her brother about the cancer, so Lizzie bottles that news inside as she and Uncle Davy visit estate sales for the amazing finds that made him TV-famous.
Best find? Kephart’s Camping and Woodcraft, the book that Lizzie studies all summer, survival and nature skills at their finest.Matias is nearby at his summer cabin with his Salvadorean parents who adore Lizzie too, wishing that the growth hormone shots would have made him taller by now so he could stop using arm-crutches…
And just over the ridge is the prison, where two killers escape – with outside help – setting off a manhunt in the woods where Matias has become lost during a sudden storm! Or was he kidnapped?
What if Uncle Davy gets lost searching for Matias? How long will the convicts keep a boy who can’t run? Why won’t the authorities let Lizzie help search?
Based on a real New York prison break, Lizzie powerfully and lyrically recounts the summer’s events as a victim impact statement.
Gold calls to her,
like the Sirens call sailors on her ship,
like a friendly voice finally calls her from the castle…
Dangerous waters ahead for the golden-hued daughter of King Midas, restored from entrapment as a living gold statue to human form by a sacrifice that ages her father and keeps her locked away.
Only she can retrieve his stolen treasure trove and save his life – but at what cost to herself and superstitious companions?
This retelling of the King Midas story sails the seas, bringing Kora closer and closer to the stolen gold which could trap her once again.
What have you wished for and ultimately were glad not to get?
Book info: A Touch of Gold / Annie Sullivan. BlinkYA, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Locked away for years after sacrifice saved her from being a statue forever, golden-skinned Kora must travel foreign seas to save her father Midas’s kingdom.
Her uncle will gladly marry Kora off in an alliance to bolster the kingdom, if anyone is brave enough to see if she’s inherited her father’s Touch.
King Midas is slipping deeper into madness after his Touch-made treasures are stolen – can Kora bring them back before it’s too late?
The gold hoard’s call to her is as alluring as the Sirens’ song is to sailors – can she resist keeping it for herself?
Every person hides secrets – are any as dangerous as Kora’s glittering abilities?
As long as her gloves keep gold from touching her skin,
as long as Duke Royce can help her find her father’s treasures,
as long as her best friend and cousin Hettie believes in her…
perhaps the Touch won’t consume Kora after all.
Luvander reluctantly joins forces with three other adventurers also heading for the fabled treasure hidden deep within the Dragon’s Maw caverns.
Hmm… why does she love roast meat and riddles so much?
Who’s the guy stalking them, with that Wanted Dead or Alive poster in hand?
Elves in battle, creatures of water, and beings of fire – time and again, Luvander is asked “Who are you?”
We join her story in volume 1 as the team journeys “Into the Dragon’s Maw,” then go further afield on land and sea with “Treasurehearts” (each volume collects 5 issues of the continuing comic).
Any adventurous blood singing in your veins?
Book info: Into the Dragon’s Maw (Scales & Scoundrels, vol.1), Treasurehearts (Scales & Scoundrels, vol. 2) / Sebastian Girner, art by Galaad, lettering by Jeff Powell. Image Comics, 2018. [author site] [artist Tumblr] [publisher site] Review copies and cover images courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Meet one who hunts treasure, another seeking a lost brother, a prince looking for adventure, and the bodyguard sworn to protect him on the quest in this graphic novel series set in a medieval world of magic and no little mayhem.
Luvander bows to no one during her ongoing treasure hunt, Dorma brings her dwarven guiding talents to the team, the prince wants to see beyond his kingdom while completing his adulthood challenge, and Koro must stand between him and excessive folly to get him home in one piece.
They traverse a land where dragons fiercely guard their treasure, misfortune takes many a peasant from their family, and bandits eagerly take hostage any well-to-do travelers crossing their territory.
Finding the legendary hidden treasure cave called The Dragon’s Maw is much easier than successfully avoiding its traps and perils – not even a bespelled dragon gives up one bit of its hoard without a fight!
Can Dorma find her brother who also sought to go “Into the Dragon’s Maw”?
What is the strange language Luvander speaks to statues down there?
If they escape with treasures, what curse might the team set loose on the world?
Surprises and secrets continue in volume 2 “Treasurehearts” as more of Luvander’s true self is revealed, the treasure hunters are hunted, and fire battles against the balance of power.
As a single narrative, this recounting of the traditional tales of creation and learning, good and evil, progress and conquest runs from the pre-dawn of the First Age through the rise of civilization with the Toltecs, Maya, and Aztecs to the coming of the Spanish whose swords and diseases killed so many and whose religion silenced these stories.
Encounter Aztec and Maya names that you might recognize, like Kukulkan and the ancient city of Chichen Itza, and many more whom you need to meet (some from as far away as possible, like god of war Huitzilopochtli).
Other mythic traditions we should pay more attention to?
Book info: Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky: Myths of Mexico / David Bowles. Cinco Puntos Press, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: The myths threading through the ancestral memories of Mexico’s native peoples are brought together here in an entrancing narrative that spans the five ages.
World-shaking jealousy between bright-burning Heart of Sky and knowledge-bringing Feathered Serpent raged over millenia, the Hero Twins journeyed down into the lands of Death, the gods toyed with human kingdoms throughout time to turn peaceful allies into feuding neighbors – so many stories of loyalty and betrayal wind through the history of the place now called Mexico.
Discover the origin of the mosquito and spider monkey, learn how the Mixteca-Cloud People were born of river trees and challenged Lord Sun himself, wonder as eagle, wolf, and jaguar journey with Ce Acatl Quetzalcoatl as willing sacrifices to the temple where his bloodthirsty uncles await.
Weaving together separate Toltec, Maya, and Aztec traditional tales with accents from Purepecha, Zapotec, and many more kingdoms, this deeply researched story-stream begins before humankind existed and ends with the near-erasure of the peoples of Mesoamerica by Spanish conquistadors.
Civil War with dinosaurs,
Free black orphans eluding kidnapping slavers,
Actors, mystery, adventure – and pterosaurs, too!
Visit the book website for the Rescue Run video game and ride dinos like Magdalys and Mapper did! Cool map of their New York City, too.
Which dino or ptero would you ride?
Book info: Dactyl Hill Squad / Daniel Jose Older. Arthur A. Levine Books, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Civil War, New York City, dinosaurs everywhere – everyday life for Madgalys and friends at the Colored Orphans Asylum is shattered when riots break out and kidnappers attack!
The wonderful theater for black actors is torched, the orphanage is next, so they escape on a brachyosaur, heading for the free black neighborhood across the river, and the Afro-Cuban girl discovers that she can hear and understand the dino’s thoughts!
Riding pteros to gather information, each kid’s skills will be needed as they work together with Dactyl Hill residents to rescue kidnapped orphans from the corrupt judge who’ll send them into slavery.
Who’s this Mr. Reed noted in the orphanage register?
Can Magdalys really communicate with all types of dinos?
Will she see her soldier brother again?
First in an alternative history series, with youth fighting for justice, despicable villains opposing them, and dino battle beasts on both sides of the war between slave states and freedom.
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