Tag Archive | LGBTQ

Love Blind, by C. Desir & Jolene Perry (book review) – bucket list before blindness

book cover of Love Blind by C Desir & Jolene Perry published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comGoing blind or singing solo?
Confronting Mom or DJing solo?
Lists of true fears, open to true friends?

As Hailey faces encroaching blindness and Kyle faces up to his failure to protect best buddy Pavel, they meet at school and begin inching toward the uncertainties of their futures as they mark items off their personal lists of fears.

Lots of bumps along this relationship road, especially as Kyle kicks himself for allowing anyone else to help Hailey jump into intimacy.

This book in two voices is written by C. Desir (I recommended her Other Broken Things here) and Jolene Perry (check out my recommendation of Stronger Than You Know  here) whose characters in difficult situations are real, heartfelt, and honest.

Meet mostly-fearless Hailey and so-shy Kyle in this free excerpt, courtesy of the publisher.

What fear is on your list-to-conquer?
**kmm

Book info: Love Blind / C. Desir & Jolene Perry. Simon Pulse, 2016. [Christa’s site]  [Jolene’s site] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As her eyesight deteriorates, Hailey starts a list of fears to conquer and urges new friend Kyle to do the same. While the Chicago teens start facing their fears head-on, other emotions begin to color their relationship.

When Kyle’s dad left, all the warmth at home did also. Kyle couldn’t protect best friend Pavel from horrific bullying. How can he help Hailey with her fears list… when he’s falling in love with her?

Her guitar and her music – at least those will be left for Hailey when glaucoma takes all her sight. But how can she face a future where she’ll never see the faces of her moms or be able to truly see Kyle?

Told in alternating chapters by two authors known for their strong characters in difficult situations, Love Blind explores friendship, love, and getting beyond reasonable fears to tackle the truest ones.

How to Be You, by Jeffrey Marsh (book review) – life on your terms, as YOU

book cover of How to Be You by Jeffrey Marsh published by Tarcher Perigee  | recommended on BooksYALove.comStereotypes need not limit you,
perfection is a myth,
learning to respect and love yourself is priority #1!

“Growing up fabulous in a small farming town” wasn’t easy for Jeffrey, but they learned to listen closely to the voice inside, become more confident, and stand up publicly as anti-bullying champion, calling on others to do the same.

Just published on Tuesday (2 August 2016), How to Be You is a question-asking, color-outside-the-lines, story-sharing personal journey that can help you “stop trying to be someone else and start living your life” as the subtitle states.

Be sure to visit the publisher’s website here to read an excerpt opening the book and experience Jeffrey’s writing style and backstory.

What is holding you back from expressing your true self?
**kmm

Book info: How to Be You / Jeffrey Marsh. Tarcher Perigee, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Reject perfectionism and others’ expectations as you learn How to Be You in this engaging journey of self-discovery and self-connection.

Jeffrey embraces gender-neutral pronouns, created the #NoTimeToHateMyself and #DontSayThatsSoGay online conversations, and revels in sharing stories of hero/ines who transcended race, age, and other stereotypes.

Discover more about owning your own emotions, letting go of always being in control, and getting used to not knowing everything with this book of stories, writing prompts, fill-in charts and coloring vignettes. Especially useful: reframing the excuses you make to avoid new possibilities as positive qualities in your personality.

Coming of age tales to read with your ears

This week’s free audiobooks from SYNC examine growing up and discovering yourself.

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

Click the link for either or both titles for the quick and free download.

CD cover of audiobook Fat Angie by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo | Read by Angela Dawe Published by Brilliance Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.comFat Angie (download here July 14-20, 2016)
by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo
Read by Angela Dawe
Published by Brilliance Audio

Mom demands weight loss, school is terrible, as Angie alone believes that her POW sister will come home from Iraq. When ultra-cool girl KC moves to her small Ohio town and sees the true Angie, life gets a lot more real in this not-traditional rom-com. (great book trailer here!)

 
On the Jellicoe Road (download here July 14-20, 2016)CD cover of audiobook On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta | Read by Rebecca Macauley Published by Bolinda Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Melina Marchetta
Read by Rebecca Macauley
Published by Bolinda Audio

Can senior Taylor keep order at between her boarding school classmates and the kids from nearby Australian town while she tries to piece together exactly why her mother abandoned her six years ago?

What other coming-of-age titles would you recommend?
**kmm

Conviction, by Kelly Loy Gilbert (book review) – baseball, prejudice & revenge?

book cover of Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert published by Hyperion Teen | recommended on BooksYALove.comJust an accident,
Dad didn’t mean to kill him.
What happened to our bargain, God?

Braden just wants to pitch his high school team to the state Finals again and get drafted for a pro baseball team.

But he hadn’t considered that his radio talk-show dad would be jailed for running over the Mexican-American cop who crossed him a while back…
Or his long-gone big brother would come back to keep Braden out of foster care…
Or that he could be called as a witness in Dad’s trial…
Or having to face the cop’s nephew on the ballfield…

Go to the publisher’s website here and click on ‘Sneak Peek’ for a free pdf download of the book’s first chapters, then grab this compelling book at your local library or independent bookstore.

Prayers or promises?
**kmm

Book info: Conviction / Kelly Loy Gilbert.  Hyperion Teen, 2015. [author’s Facebook]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Braden was in the car when his dad ran over the cop, but the high school junior can’t imagine being called to testify in the religious talk show host’s trial or having his big brother back home 10 years after Trey left their small California town or trying to calmly pitch to the cop’s nephew in the most important game of the season.

How can Dad say he loves God and then hate people just for being different?
Why doesn’t anyone talk about Braden’s mom leaving when he was a baby?
Can Dad’s lawyer really suggest what he should say at Dad’s trial?

Convolutions of baseball practices and worried prayers and trying to ignore the media and wondering what really drove Trey away from his best friend Kevin (the pastor’s son) … as the trial and baseball playoffs loom just ahead.

Hearts & minds are unsure – Audiobooks on love & memory

This week’s free audiobooks from SYNC delve deep into hearts and minds, asking why we cannot control them.

From today (6/23/16) through Wednesday, you can download either or both of these complete audiobooks and listen to them as long as you keep them on your computer or electronic device.

Thank you, publishers!

CD audiobook cover of Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan | Read by Nicholas Robideau and a full cast Published by Full Cast Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.comBoy Meets Boy (download link here)
by David Levithan
Read by Nicholas Robideau and a full cast
Published by Full Cast Audio

The path to love twists and turns, even at Paul’s high school where gender is a non-issue (cross-dressing quarterback and motorcycle-riding cheerleaders are just everyday pals) as he is smitten by new guy Noah who barely looks his way.

 

Donny’s Brain (download link here)Cd audiobook cover of Donny's Brain by Rona Munro | Read by Paul Fox, Jared Harris, Siobhán Hewlett, Moira Quirk, Sophie Winkleman Published by L.A. Theatre Works | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Rona Munro
Read by Paul Fox, Jared Harris, Siobhán Hewlett, Moira Quirk, Sophie Winkleman
Published by L.A. Theatre Works

After a terrible auto crash, Donny cannot remember the past 3 years of his life. What to do when he knows his long-ago ex-wife, but not his steadfast girlfriend?

Can we ever presume to know someone else’s innermost self?
**kmm

X on the map, any map for Girl From Everywhere, by Heidi Heilig (book review)

book cover of The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig published by Greenwillow | recommended on BooksYALove.comTime traveling,
On a pirate ship,
If there’s a map, she can go there!

Just imagine a Gifted young woman navigating the Temptation and her interesting crew to any port present or past, nations long-swallowed by history, mythic lands – all so that her father the captain can find a way to undo her mother’s death… and perhaps undo Nix herself!

I listened to Heidi speak on a debut YA authors’ panel last week at TxLA, and she was just as funny in person as in this offbeat author interview video.

Sail into your local library or independent bookstore for the February 2016-published first adventure in this two-part sea saga (Heidi is indeed working on the second book now, she assured us!).

If you could travel to any place at any time, where would you come ashore?
**kmm

Book info: The Girl From Everywhere / Heidi Heilig. Greenwillow Books, 2016.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [video author interview] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As her father seeks to undo her mother’s death, 16 year old half-Chinese Nix guides their time-traveling pirate ship to ports real and imagined, encountering mythic creatures and real robber barons, wondering if his quest will undo her as well.

She can guide the Temptation to any port on any map, fictional or factual, so onward goes the ship, seeking every possible cure that could keep Nix’s mother from dying in childbirth – if Slate could only find the map for the exact 1886 Honolulu where they lived.

A crowded 1774 Calcutta market where just-a-friend Kashmir rescues her, sugar barons who want to depose the king of Hawaii, today’s Coast Guard with questions for the grand wooden sailing ship in New York harbor – Nix, Slate, Kash, Rotgut, Bee and her ghost-wife Ayen travel through time and oceans on the captain’s quest.

If her mother survives childbirth in her timeline, what happens to Nix?
Is there room for love when a pirate ship can’t put down roots?
What treacherous waters must Nix cross to fulfill her own dreams?

First of a two-part adventure that spans time, tides, and every human emotion, The Girl From Everywhere wants to remain in existence, despite her father’s longing to undo her past. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

W is We Are All Made of Molecules, by Susin Nielsen (book review) – stepfamily is big step for him

book cover of We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Neilsen published by Wendy Lamb Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comFinally having a sister will be nice, Stewart thinks.
No, getting a nerdy stepbrother is awful, Ashley thinks.
How is this blended family thing going to work?

A genius with digestive issues and a so-so student who’s a social climber now have to share a house and a high school – not easy.  Add in the new guy on the basketball team with a mysterious past (Ashley’s secret crush!) who attacks Stewart in phys ed, plus Ashley trying to keep the truth about her parents’ divorce a secret – not easy at all.

This laugh-aloud look at serious issues will be released in paperback on May 10, 2016 – if you can wait that long to read it!

Must moving forward mean leaving the best of your past behind?
**kmm

Book info: We Are All Made of Molecules / Susin Nielsen. Wendy Lamb Books, 2015 (hardcover); 2016, Ember (paperback).  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Stewart understands why his dad wants to remarry after Mom’s death, but the gifted 13-year-old is uncertain about his new stepsister’s popularity and academic problems when he transfers to her Vancouver high school, despite her wishes.

Adding Stewart’s favorite quirky possessions to his 14 year old stepsister’s sleek modern house is a balancing act, as is his nerdy presence at Ashley’s school where she’d rather study celebrity gossip than her textbooks.

A handsome new guy on the basketball team, the chance to become school mascot and a Mathlete, not-so-subtle mean girl comments – so much change in high school!

Can Stewart hold onto some of his mom’s molecules among so many new things?
Can Ashley keep the whole school from knowing that her dad is gay?
Why do parents have silly rules about no parties while they’re gone?

Told in alternating chapters by Stewart and Ashley, this Canadian family story brings humor to the often-tricky worlds of high school, stepfamilies, and identity. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

P is brother’s Personal Effects & personal secrets, by Kokie (book review)

book cover of Personal Effects by EM Kokie published by Candlewick | recommended on BooksYALove.com Dad is a bully, no secret there.
Brother is a war hero,
his secrets run deep.

His big brother T.J. joined the Army and got killed in Iraq, and Dad still wants Matt to enlist after high school. Surely something in his service footlocker will tell Matt why T.J. told him never to enlist…

This strong debut title won several awards and has been out in paperback for a while, so you should be able to find it at your local library or independent bookstore easily. (I read an advance copy long, long ago, just found it while moving bookshelves… sigh).

How well can you truly know someone?
**kmm

Book info: Personal Effects / E.M. Kokie. Candlewick Books, 2012 (hardcover), 2014 (paperback). [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Matt doesn’t know what to make of the letters he finds in T.J’s footlocker, the one they finally sent home from Iraq, long after the closed-casket funeral.

Since then, it’s been an eternity of being Dad’s punching bag, of hearing that the Army is his only option in life, even after T.J. warned Matt to never, ever enlist.

But he needs answers, what the shrinks call ‘closure’ about his big brother’s death, so the Pennsylvania teen takes a road trip (never mind that he should be studying for junior year finals) to the Ohio return address on all those love letters to T.J. and finds out that he really didn’t know him at all.

Family ties he never imagined could exist, wondering if his best friend Shauna will ever be anything more, imagining the freedom to choose his own future…

Willful Machines, by Tim Floreen (book review) – big worries for First Son, first love

book cover of Willful Machines by Tim Floreen published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comRogue robots,
attacks on America,
risky new love (trumps all the threats!)

Artificial intelligences gone self-aware are US government prisoners, or so AI-in-the-cloud Charlotte claims, as she directs terrorist robot attacks against their captors who are legislating flesh-and-blood as the only humans.

Intrigued by hot new student Nicolas, closeted Lee weighs following his heart against the daunting expectations of his presidential father and war-hero grandfather in this near-future adventure-love story.

What makes a being human?
**kmm

Book info: Willful Machines / Tim Floreen. Simon Pulse, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Constantly watched by bodyguards and dronecams, Lee completes his robotic creations and endures boarding school for future world leaders, until new student Nico steals his heart and a self-aware computer threatens world peace – what should US President’s teen son do now?

His mother killed by humanoid robot Charlotte that she helped to create and his father propelled to the Presidency by the resulting Human Values backlash, Lee can’t imagine what his war-hero grandfather/headmaster or dad would do if they discovered he was gay.

But so-hot Chilean transfer student Nico looses Lee’s tightly-boxed heart as they evade surveillance for stolen moments alone – until Lee’s clever robots turn against them, controlled by Charlotte who demands release of imprisoned 2B humanoids.

Can Lee really trust Nico?
Is Charlotte acting alone?
Just how different are humans and self-aware machines?

At the gothic elite school built atop a waterfall, secrets long-buried threaten not only Lee and Nico’s happiness, but humankind’s role on earth in the not-so-distant future.

 

Scorpion Rules, by Erin Bow (book review) – hostages for peace or pawns in greater game?

book cover of The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow published by Margaret McElderry Books | BooksYALove.comTo keep the peace,
no price is too high –
if children are the hostages.

Four hundred years from now, the artificial intelligence Talis ensures world peace by holding rulers’ heirs as hostages – attack another country for its water, and your heir is executed on the spot.

A new alliance brings a new boy to the remote Canadian prairie where princess Greta has spent a decade lived for years as schoolchild hostage, and he doesn’t plan on staying there quietly…

Happy book birthday to The Scorpion Rules  – fittingly, yesterday (21 Sept.) was International Peace Day.

Erin Bow also wrote mystical Plain Kate (my no-spoilers review here), and her tale-spinning of a former time works well in this too-possible future narrative.

A bitter and breathtaking view of world peace at great cost.
**kmm

Book info: The Scorpion Rules / Erin Bow. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2015. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Hostage princess Greta prays that her country stays at peace so she stays alive, but a new Child of Peace is ready to gamble away his life in this water-poor future where omniscient AI Talis holds all the cards.

Humanity can no longer wage war from a distance, 400 years after nearly nuking itself extinct, as Talis holds rulers’ heirs hostage throughout childhood, executing any whose home country attacks another.

Yet newly arrived teen Elian doesn’t care to follow Talis’ strict rules, and Greta gradually begins to question the generations-old method of peacekeeping too.

She’s spent years at this remote Canadian location with other royal youth, learning from AI tutors and working to raise their own food – how can Elian become part of their group so quickly?

Her roommate and first love Xie counsels patience as Elian’s foolish remarks (and threats to Talis) earn him terrible scorpion shocks from their proctors and raise new feelings in Greta.

Surely Greta will survive these last few months until her 18th birthday and return to the palace in Halifax – unless the new confederacy that sent Elian as hostage is a threat to her mother’s kingdom…

Elian’s favorite historical person is Spartacus, Talis decides to communicate directly with Greta, and long-quiet concerns suddenly flare to life – nothing for the Children of Peace will never be the same.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)