Tag Archive | kidnapping

Sword and Verse, by Kathy MacMillan (book review) – ink + paper = death??

book cover of Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan published by HarperTeen | recommended on BooksYALove.comTaught to write by her late father.
Captured, now teaching the future king,
A slave in danger… and in love.

This land where higher order writing is reserved for the monarch has indeed rewritten history after conquering her home islands, Raisa discovers, as her good memory of Father’s lessons and her terrible curiosity reveal hidden scrolls’ secrets – but no one would believe what a slave says, even if she is the heir-apparent’s tutor!

Read an excerpt here for free, courtesy of the publisher, then look for this suspenseful January 2016 tale at your local library or independent bookstore.

Love or justice – which is the better choice?
**kmm

Book info: Sword and Verse / Kathy MacMillan. HarperTeen, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Suddenly a royal tutor in the conquerors’ land, slave Raisa must be careful not to show that she knows how to read, not to betray other Arnath slaves as they plan to escape, not to let Prince Mati see how she feels about him, even as she finds shocking information in old scrolls that could overturn everything.

Why can only the King use higher order writing to communicate with Qilara’s gods?
What treacheries are being plotted in the palace?
How can Raisa stay calm during Mati’s betrothal ceremonies?

As the slave Resistance gains strength and outside enemies threaten Qilara, Raisa must balance what she wishes for and what she has discovered in the history of the gods if she hopes to keep her head attached to her neck or any shred of Mati’s affections. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

S is Stone Rider, racing for better future, by David Hofmeyr (book review)

book cover of Stone Rider published by Delacorte | recommended on BooksYALove.comRide out of town or die there.
You and the byke as one being,
the desert ready to eat you both…

If Adam can win the treacherous Blackwater race for a one-way ticket to Sky-Base and luxury, without being attacked by gangs trying to race their way to freedom too, or ambushed by bandits, or captured by the mythical Nakoda…

Love, death, and motorcycles that contain the essence of every owner who’s ever ridden them in this futuristic desert world.

Could you gamble it all for one chance to be free?
**kmm

Book info: Stone Rider / David Hofmeyr. Delacorte Press, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Only way to Sky-base and the good life from the grubby town where the Colonel owns everything and controls everybody? Gotta win the Blackwater Trail race through unforgiving desert with bandits, cannibals that might not be myths, and a hundred other riders on their motorcycles that are part living things.

Adam has lost his father and his brother, all reasons to play it safe gone now. When the stranger Kane keeps the Scorpion gang from stealing Adam’s entry fee for the race, maybe the teen has a ally…

Will Adam survive long enough to tell Sadie how he feels?
Can he remember all race lore that his brother told him?
Who is Kane, really?

In this future world, there is no future as long as the Colonel has control of the mines and the people – unless Adam can ride his way to freedom.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

F for fear in France with a Drop of Night and deadly peril, by Stefan Bachman (book review)

book cover of A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachman published by Greenwillow Books | BooksYALove.comEscape the adoptive family,
Tap into unusual skill set,
Die in an underground palace of terrors?

Anouk hates so much about her sophisticated adoptive parents, perfect little sister, and their polished life. The chance to join an exclusive teen research team in France is too good to pass up… and definitely too good to be true.

Read the first chapters of A Drop of Night here courtesy of the publisher, and get hooked on this diverse crew of teens assembled for a supposed archaeology exploration… into a death trap.

Can you ever really outrun the past?
**kmm

Book info: A Drop of Night / Stefan Bachman. Greenwillow Books, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Lured to the French countryside by the promise of a unique historical exploration, 17-year-old Anouk gladly escapes her posh New York City family and finds herself in a subterranean chateau filled with mysteries and death traps.

Maybe the five teens were picked for their various skill sets, but Anouk, Will, Jules, Hayden, and Lilly start wondering about Project Papillon’s true motives soon after they arrive at the remote French chateau with armed guards (and no cellphone service).

Why is Sapani Corporation relying on these kids to explore a historical site that’s been sealed for over 200 years?
Who is controlling the fighters they encounter underground and the hideously deadly puzzle rooms they must get past?
What if Professor Dorf isn’t the only one watching them down here?

The story alternates between the viewpoints of Anouk in the present day and Aurelie during the French Revolution as more secrets about Palais du Papillon and its frightening purpose are revealed. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Uprooted, by Naomi Novik (book review) – magic vs. the evil of the Wood

book cover of Uprooted by Naomi Novik published by Del ReyOnce a decade,
one girl taken away
by the Dragon…

A less-than-perfect teen girl and a coldly distant wizard meld magics to save their valley and kingdom from the evil which pushes the devouring Wood over the land in this tale of their difficult partnership amid treachery with a long, long memory.

Be sure to visit the publisher’s website here so you can read the first chapter.

Find this May 2015 release at your local library or local independent bookstore and lose yourself in Nieshka’s world… but don’t go near the Wood!

**kmm

Book info: Uprooted / Naomi Novik. Del Rey, 2015. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As the Dragon untangles Agnieska’s magical skills, the young woman finds that mastering them will catapult her into court politics, too-close encounters with the magical Wood, and disruption of all that she holds dear.

To keep the valley safe from horrifying nearby evils, the wizard called Dragon takes a young maiden every ten years, never to return. At least her family knows she’s alive, unlike those whose loved ones have been captured and absorbed by the Wood.

After Agnieska rescues her best friend from the Wood and helps her master expel its corruption from Kasia, Prince Marek vows that his army – and the Dragon’s magic – will rescue the queen from her years-long captivity there, little realizing that his rash actions will aid their rival kingdom and the evil of the Wood.

What evil changed a borderlands forest into such a terrible force?
Can Nieshka find answers in the royal magicians’ hall?
Will her family ever be safe in their village so near the Wood?

From the author of the Temeraire series comes a story with hints of Baba Yaga, threads of eastern European folktales, and the struggle of good versus evil at its core. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Ink and Ashes, by Valynne E. Maetani (book review) – Dad’s secrets, her peril

book cover of Ink and Ashes by Valynne E. Maetani published by Tu Books | BooksYALove.comStepdad knew their late father?
Business trips were really what!?
Is that black SUV still following us?

When Claire discovers that her long-dead father was part of a Japanese organized crime gang, her whole world begins shaking – and here come the bad guys who want to make sure that the Utah teen goes under for good!

If your local library or independent bookstore doesn’t have this summer 2015 release on the shelf, ask for it!

Family secrets – key to one’s own history or ticking time-bomb?
**kmm

Book info: Ink and Ashes / Valynne E. Maetani. Tu Books, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Claire’s search for answers on the tenth anniversary of her father’s death inadvertently alerts the yakuza to her family’s location – and the race for survival is on!

The Japanese-American teen can’t believe that her stepfather knew her father and never told her, that a simple phone call could unleash a horde of bad guys intent on wiping out her family, that best buddy Forrest could think of her as more than a friend…

The letters that Claire wrote to Otochan in the years after his death appear throughout the book, as the straight-A student weathers accusations of cheating at school, uncovers many strange things about her late father, and must rely on her group of guy-friends more than ever when objects symbolizing death start arriving at her Utah home.

Why would Mom lie about her father’s past?
Why does the Japanese crime gang care about her family after all this time?
Can she stay alive long enough to figure out Forrest?

Action, intrigue, friendship, love, and revenge – watch out for black SUV following you!  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Hush, by Donna Jo Napoli (book review) – Irish princess, kidnapped by Vikings?

original book cover of Hush by Donna Jo Napoli published by Simon SchusterStolen from her homeland,
once a princess, now a slave,
silent, always keeping silent…

Sisters fleeing the Vikings who seek revenge on their royal father are separated when the elder is kidnapped and taken far from their homeland of Eire.

Melkorka soon realizes that her captors fear what they can’t understand, so she speaks not a word, neither as greeting nor as she binds her fellow slaves’ wounds.

Perhaps she will not die as a slave. Perhaps she will see Brigid and their parents once again.

Look for this tale of the power of voice at your local library or independent bookstore – it was re-released in December with a different cover.

What would induce you to stay silent?
**kmm

Book info: Hush: An Irish Princess’ Tale / Donna Jo Napoli.  Paula Wiseman/ Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2007, paperback 2014.  [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Kidnapped after treacherous Northmen attack her father’s stronghold, princess Melkorka’s vow to stay silent until she returns to Ireland is severely tested by the perils of her slavery and her captors’ behavior.

A lighthearted shopping trip to the city leads to heartbreak for the king’s family, as prince Nuada is gravely wounded and his father demands satisfaction from the Vikings. Sent away from the dangerous meeting, Melkorka and Brigid are ambushed, with only the younger sister getting free.

As the slave ship sails away from Eire, Melkorka promises herself that she’ll return home and that she won’t speak to her captors until then.

Working alongside her fellow slaves, growing to understand the Viking languages, listening and never saying a word, the young woman fascinates those who have stolen her away but cannot control her spirit.

A companion book to Hidden,  this Irish princess’ tale evokes a long-gone world of earlier history and the inestimable power of words. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

I Am Princess X, by Cherie Priest & Kali Ciesemier (book review) – missing friend, comix clues

book cover of I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest, art by Kali Ciesemier, published by Arthur A Levine BooksTwo wreck victims, only one body in the car,
dreams of her best friend swimming to safety,
nightmares because she didn’t…

May knew in her gut that the fish-nibbled body found with Libby’s ID wasn’t her best friend, the other outsider who’d drawn Princess X to go with May’s stories from grade school onward.

Nightmares for 3 years, then a shiny new Princess X sticker shows up near their favorite coffee shop – you can start reading their story in a free excerpt.

Here’s the comic that sprang from the world that the two friends created in younger years, but it’s only part of this mystery/missing my best friend story.

Have you got the guts to search for the lost keys that could bring your friend back from wherever?
**kmm

Book info: I Am Princess X / Cherie Priest, art by Kali Ciesemier. Arthur A. Levine Books, 2015. [author site] [artist site] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: New Princess X art is appearing after its artist was declared dead, so co-creator May is on the hunt, trying to find Libby using webcomic clues and neighbor dude’s tech skills before “The Needle Man” finds them!

Her best friend and comic co-creator supposedly died 3 years ago, but through her parents’ divorce and moving yet again, May still dreams that Libby escaped the sinking car. In Seattle with her dad for the summer, the teen is surprised to see Princess X stickers and graffiti in places where she and Libby hung out.

Sure that Libby is drawing Princess X again online, May asks tech whiz Patrick to help her uncover exactly who is behind the webcomic, but his research alerts a dangerous predator.

Is Libby truly alive and sending Princess X messages to May?
Can May and Patrick interpret and follow the clues in the comic?
Can they outrun “The Needle Man” before he kills again?

This novel about friendship blends with a graphic novel celebrating empowerment for a wholly satisfying story about trust, sacrifice, and persistence. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak, by Brian Katcher (book review) – comics, quizzes, and captures

book cover of Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher published by Katherine Tegen BooksAt a comic-con, he’ll be happy.
Finally away at college, she’ll be overjoyed.
Trouble… who wants that?

When 13-year-old Clayton slips out of the QuizBowl team hotel for his first comic-con, Ana is terrified – if she loses track of him, their hyper-protective parents will disown her like they did when big sister stepped out of line.

And when things go sour during their search for Clayton at WashingCon, Zak boggles at constants that could end and possibilities that arise- without cons in his life, what else would a certified geek do?

Happy book birthday to The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak,  your invitation to explore the world of comic-conventions, gaming, and love among geeks. For some how-to from the female perspective, try The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy recommended here last week.

So, be honest – Star Wars or Star Trek?
**kmm

Book info: The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak / Brian Katcher. Katherine Tegen Books, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Chasing her little brother through a comic-con wasn’t on Ana’s list of ways to stay perfect, but with the help of cute slacker Zak, she may get the QuizBowl team back together before curfew… or maybe not.

If no-effort Zak wants to graduate, he must serve as QuizBowl alternate during weekend of Seattle’s biggest comic convention, even though he’d already planned out every moment in geek paradise.

If super-achiever Ana wants to please her parents and not get thrown out of the house like her big sister, she’s got to win this QuizBowl tournament, even though it’s no fun anymore.

If her whiz-kid little brother Clayton wants to check out WashingCon because Zak said it was cool, he’s gonna go, because why not?

The search for Clayton jumps from Ana’s world of well-rounded student activities to Zak’s universes of cosplay and card games to the death, as t-shirt slogans, a backpack mixup with deadly consequences, and the clock ticking down to QuizBowl curfew send them all racing through the night.

Zak’s old friends, Ana’s new enemies, and a cross-cultural wedding (Trek or Wars, the eternal con question) punctuate the pair’s growing appreciation for one another’s strengths and charms, as they chart their progress (or lack thereof) in alternating chapters.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

E for Etherworld, by Claudia Gabel & Cheryl Klam (book review) – escape from virtual paradise turned hell!

book cover of Etherworld by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam published by Katherine Tegen BooksEscape from polluted world to nature paradise through virtual reality!
It’s simple, it’s safe… it’s addictive.

Regan has mourned her father’s death for too many months, watched his fabulous virtual reality creation be exploited by young protege whose mother is profits-first, realized the dangers of Elusion – and discovered that Dad may be alive!

All she has to do is enter Elusion undetected, tweak technical stuff beyond her understanding, and pray that new boyfriend Josh is really on her side…

Just published on March 31st, Etherworld  is the answer to the potential and peril begun in Elusion  (my no-spoiler recommendation here) which recently came out in paperback – so you can read them both now!

**kmm

Book info: Etherworld (Elusion, book 2) / Claudia Gabel & Cheryl Klam. Katherine Tegen Books, 2015.  [Claudia’s website]  [Cheryl’s website]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Missing teens and a criminal conspiracy – if Regan can escape from Elusion using her father’s Etherworld technology, she can prove that the virtual reality system makers knew its addictive dangers, unless they get her first!

In pollution-clogged 22nd century test cities, some teens who hacked their Equips to stay in Elusion far past the safe time limits have disappeared, but the escape-to-nature vr will still be released nationwide.

Regan travels into Elusion with her boyfriend Josh, whose sister is among the missing, as they follow clues that Regan’s father is still alive. Warnings from the Elusion creator’s protege Patrick don’t ring true once they learn that his mother falsified Elusion’s safety data so their company could make millions.

Elusion’s ads say that nothing can harm you in an Escape since your body isn’t really there, but Regan and Josh discover that’s not true! A vicious predator follows them from Escape to Escape, safe havens become traps, and they meet others who cannot be in a two-person Escape, yet are.

Returning from Elusion will land her in the psych ward, staying there may unhinge her mind… but finding her father is worth the risk.

This exciting sequel to Elusion  (my review here) examines the limits of loyalty, the dangers of greed, and the potential good and bad that any new technology can bring. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Searching for Sky, by Jillian Cantor (book review) – from island innocence to modern conflict

book cover of Searching for Sky by Jillian Cantor published by BloomsburyMoving to Island as babies,
surrounded by beauty and bounty and love –
swept away unwillingly into modern life!

Of course, an island paradise would be better than the strife and hustle of city life, but to discover that deceit and death were used to get baby Sky and toddler River to Island in the first place?

Pick up this May 2014 release at your local library or independent bookstore to see how Sky and River adjust to modern life, or if they even can.

And read the letter than the author wrote to her teen self on the Dear Teen Me site – wise words.

**kmm

Book info: Searching For Sky / Jillian Cantor. Bloomsbury, 2014.  [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Taken from their remote Island home where only four lived to the frantic noise of California, teens River and Sky must learn to cope with modern life and discover whether the world’s truth is their own.

On Island, River’s father Helmut and Sky’s mother Petal taught them all the skills of life – fishing in Ocean, counting, storing food in Shelter. But Helmut and Petal ate mushrooms and died, just before Sky’s 16th birthday.

Then a boat came and took them to the California place where Petal once lived. Now Sky and River are separated, and Sky must live inside a house-box with her mother’s mother and listen to Searching for Sky, by Jillian Cantor (book review) – from island innocence to modern conflictpeople who try to teach her about money and murder and reading.

Only Ben next door listens when she wants to visit Ocean, to not be called Megan.

Are these things the people say about Helmut true -murder and kidnapping?
Where has River gone?
Can Sky find any way to be herself again?

From innocence to confusion, Sky must suddenly grow up in a world she never imagined as she grapples with terrible truths and irresistible lies. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)