Tag Archive | love

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.

Depression cured by baking 100 Days of Cake!? by Shari Goldhagen (book review)

book cover of 100 Days of Cake by Shari Goldhagen published by Atheneum BfYR | recommended on BooksYALove.comLow-key job at pet store,
Golden Girls reruns for comfort,
should make anyone happy enough, except…

Mom’s offbeat depression remedy (“just bake the perfect cake!”), therapist’s soothing talk (and he is just so cute!), trying not to disappoint friend Elle and new co-worker Alex (but sometimes even putting on her sandals is too much effort) – Molly isn’t exactly reveling in her summer before senior year as depression digs its claws into her.

Find the May 2017 paperback or 2016 hardcover at your local library or independent bookstore to see how Molly copes with change, her bake-happy mom, and trying to throw off the crushing load of depression during all 100 Days of Cake.

When is it okay to pass on advice that might be more placebo than not?
**kmm

Book info: 100 Days of Cake / Shari Goldberg. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2016 (hardcover), 2017 (paperback).  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: The waves of depression keep getting deeper for Molly during summer before senior year, as the Florida teen wishes that therapy really would help her, longs for her so-cute therapist, and wants everything to stop changing so she has time to get better.

Her successful hairdresser mom is certain that the 100 Cakes Challenge will perk up Molly, her best friend Elle is easing away, and FishTopia’s owner wants to sell out.

Without their job together, what will happen to her sorta-relationship with Alex?
How can she think about the SAT and college choices when she’s too tired, all the time?
Why can’t she just spend all day talking about music with dreamy Dr. B?

Ooey-Gooey Butter Cake (very gooey), Wedding Cake with Fondant (extra-lumpy), Asian Bubble Tea Cake (would her late dad like that one?) – one hundred cakes, one hundred summer days, one million chances to try again…

Asteroid approaching?! Learning to Swear in America, by Katie Kennedy (book review)

book cover of Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy published by Bloomsbury | recommended on BooksYALove.comJust ‘on loan’ from Moscow University,
till JPL can divert the asteroid…
is ‘forever’ a reasonable loan length?

Russian physics prodigy Yuri is intent on winning the Nobel Prize, but working with NASA to prevent an asteroid from wiping out the Pacific Rim will keep him busy in California for a few weeks – not his last weeks on earth, he hopes! And then he meets Dovie…

Find this funny and fierce July 2016 hardback release at your local library or pre-order the July 2017 paperback from your favorite independent bookstore (no affiliate links here – indie booksellers deserve all our business).

If the end of our world was approaching, what would you do?
**kmm

Book info: Learning to Swear in America / Katie Kennedy. Bloomsbury USA Childrens,’s Books 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Yuri will just return to Russia to continue his antimatter research after helping NASA prevent an asteroid from obliterating the US West Coast, but when the 17 year old physics prodigy discovers that they might not let him leave California…

Eighteen days to impact – Yuri meets the asteroid team he will work with…and a lovely mysterious girl.

Yes, he will take Dovie to her prom (such a strange American high school custom) and visit her odd hippie family (more strange customs) and find a way to stop the asteroid (if only his team would listen to him).

No, the young PhD won’t let anyone at Moscow University steal his research toward the Nobel Prize or be forced to stay in California against his will!

Counting down the days to impact – the math, the physics, the public doesn’t know true danger… as Yuri falls in love.

Her future? It Started With Goodbye! by Christina June (book review)

book cover of It Started With Goodbye by Christina June published by Blink | recommended on BooksYALove.comNot her fault!
Not fair!
Not the worst thing after all?

Tatum’s unwarranted ‘house arrest’ after (former?) BFF Ashlyn’s big mistake plus petsitting to pay the fine and all those community service hours sweltering outdoors… the only good things about this summer are her growing design business (and flirting with one particular client), getting to know Abby (so much ivy to eradicate!), and having grandma Blanche (how could uptight stepmother be this free spirit’s daughter?) at home.

Happy book birthday this week to It Started With Goodbye!

How to draw the line between supporting a friend and enabling them?
**kmm

Book info:  It Started With Goodbye / Christina June. Blink YA Books, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Attacking overgrown vines wasn’t Tatum’s plan for summer, but starting her design business online (and flirtatious emails with SK) might make ‘house arrest’ and community service a bit more bearable.

After her BFF’s bad judgment puts the Virginia teen completely under her rigid stepmother’s supervision while Dad is overseas, only pet-sitting or doing community service can get Tate out of the house shared with perfect stepsister Tilly, the ballet prodigy. Luckily, they don’t know how happy Tate is that Tilly’s grandmother Blanche is here for the summer.

Interesting to become friends with Abby and Hunter – will they ever act on their growing attraction?
Exciting that her TLC Design is getting clients online – who is SK and will she ever meet him?
Still sad that Ashlyn won’t acknowledge her part in that fiasco – will she ever answer Tate’s emails?

A bit magical having abuela Blanche on her side – almost like a Cinderella story!

Y for Alexander Yates’ tale of loss & belonging in The Winter Place

book cover of The Winter Place by Alexander Yates published by Atheneum | recommended on BooksYALove.com Dad’s sudden death,
fast move to never-seen grandparents’ home – in Finland,
that man, everywhere, and the ghost bear…

Dad made sure that Tess and Axel learned Finnish from their late mother’s childhood book collection, but they weren’t at all prepared to wind up with their maternal grandparents far away in Finland, visited by its mythic spirits.

And the mysterious man who visits them on both sides of the Atlantic, the brown bear where none should be, and the ghost wheelchair that only Axel can see? Who could be ready for that?

Visit the book’s page here on publisher’s website and scroll down to read an excerpt as you begin to discover how Tess and Axel wound up in The Winter Place.

Where is the home of your heart’s memory?
**kmm

Book info: The Winter Place / Alexander Yates. Atheneum, hardcover 2015, paperback 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Sent abruptly to live with never-met grandparents in Finland after Dad’s death, Tess and little brother Axel find themselves farther from their rural New York home than they could have ever imagined, as ghostly creatures continue to visit Axel and draw them both into mysterious places that could steal them from reality forever.

Mom died when Axel was tiny, so Tess is navigating her teen years with just their offbeat professor father (who jousts at the faire each summer). Losing Dad suddenly propels the siblings to Finland to live with grandparents they don’t know, yet the Keeper who visited them in the woods at home finds them in the forest there, also.

The ghostly wheelchair following Axel is truly the Hiisi of Finnish folklore, and the brown bear spotted in their backyard perhaps is Mom’s spirit wandering in search of…

Why do ghost objects keep pestering Axel?
How many times may Tess or Axel cross over that fine line between death and life?
Will they be able to help Mom’s spirit find peace?

The strangeness that follows them from Axel’s first sighting of the bear to the fortress ruins near a Finnish lake sets this mourning sister and brother on an otherworldly path that may not lead back to the mortal world.

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

V is Vân Ước, wishing hard for love in Cloudwish, by Fiona Wood (book review)

book cover of Cloudwish by Fiona Wood published by Poppy  | recommended on BooksYALove.comWish for love, wish for happiness,
wish to stand out as an artist,
wish to fit in at her new school…

Vân Ước worries about so many things – her mother’s deepening depression as the anniversary of her parents’ escape from Vietnam nears and how to fit in correctly as a scholarship student at her Australian private high school.

And her wishes – becoming an artist instead of a doctor (her parents’ dream), being with handsome rower Billy (her craziest dream) – seem to be coming true after that creative writing class…

Read chapter one here, courtesy of the publisher, then search for Cloudwish at your local library or independent bookstore.

What’s your highest wish?
**kmm

Book info: Cloudwish / Fiona Wood. Poppy, 2016.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [podcast with author] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Dreams of being with handsome Billy are fruitless; dreams of making her living as an artist get Vân Ước through tough days. But the Vietnamese Australian teen may have a chance at both, if the guest creative writing teacher is right!

The transition from her Sydney immigrant neighborhood where she shares strong coffee with her lesbian-in-waiting best friend to the private school where she’s a scholarship student is jarring, as is Billy’s transformation from popular prankster to nice guy in their International Baccalaureate classes.

When a tiny bottle marked ‘wish’ just vanishes into her skin during a creative writing seminar, odd things begin to happen to Vân Ước – like Billy really paying attention to her – in a good way!

Will she be able to magically change her parents’ expectations for her future?
Can Mama’s depression be cured, years after that traumatic journey from Vietnam?
What would Jane Austen do in all these strange, changed situations?

Her name means ‘cloudwish’ – and maybe, just maybe, her dearest wishes and dreams could come true.

Quick! find a Q name to reach 26 Kisses, by Anna Michels (book review)

book cover of 26 Kisses by Anna Michels published by Simon Pulse  | recommended on BooksYALove.comBreak-up recovery strategy #1:
Kiss boys,
Kiss lots and lots of boys!

“No one stays with their high school girlfriends,” he said.

Veda decides that kissing her way through the alphabet – with absolutely no attachments – will surely heal her broken heart this summer, until…

Find 26 Kisses at your local library now or pre-order the May 2017 paperback from your favorite independent bookstore.

How would you mend a broken heart?
**kmm

Book info: 26 Kisses / Anna Michels. Simon Pulse, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: After Mark dumps her, Veda knows that summer in their Michigan resort town will just be agony. So that she doesn’t rebound into another relationship, best friend Mel suggests that Vee smooth out the painful edges by kissing 26 boys – one for each letter of the alphabet.

Top secret! Don’t tell anyone, especially their best friend Seth, who might be falling for Mel.
Don’t kiss the same guy twice! Only so many days of festivals and nights of lake beach parties before summer ends.
No attachments! Easy as cherry pie, until quirky co-worker Killian is so charming and funny and all.

Between Mel and Seth spending all their time working on music, Killian’s love for all things George Bernard Shaw, and her divorced parents’ weird dynamic, Veda still tries to keep it cool and kiss through 26 – will she make her goal with her friendships and dignity somewhat intact?

O for Oregon, home to Crystal, Amber & impossible plans in Speed of Life, by J. M. Kelly (book review)

book cover of Speed of Life by JM Kelly published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt BFYR  | recommended on BooksYALove.comIdentical twins share so much –
genetics, mindset, memories,
even a baby…

Crystal and Amber have promised each other that they’ll graduate and get out of this terrible neighborhood, for baby Natalie’s sake. No way that college is even possible, let alone one for auto restoration, Crystal’s ultimate dream career.

Find Speed of Life at your local library or favorite independent bookstore to see if the twins can make it out of their low-rent, low expectations neighborhood… together.

When have you reached far, far for a dream?
**kmm

Book info: Speed of Life / J.M. Kelly. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: It’ll take both Crystal and Amber to raise the unexpected baby, keep up with school and work, and become the first women in their hard-scrabble family to ever graduate from high school – that’s the plan, that’s the promise.

But the twins didn’t expect that Crystal’s good grades and love of auto restoration might give her a chance to go further than a decent apartment in a less-bad part of Portland.

Or that working full-time at their aunt’s tavern would be more appealing to Amber than staying in school, where the childcare center allowed them both time to work.

Or the cute guy at the body shop would help Crystal get ready for the SAT, not knowing about baby Natalie or the sisters’ struggle to make ends meet.

N for Rachel Neumeier, writing of the war coming to Mountain of Kept Memory (book review)

book cover of The Mountain of Kept Memory by Rachel Neumeier published by Saga Press  | recommended on BooksYALove.comWar on the horizon,
her country’s sometime-god is neutral.
Kick-ass princess leaps into web of diplomacy and deceit.

If Oressa and her brother can stymie the ambition and treachery of their father the King, there’s a tiny chance of avoiding invasion by neighboring country.
Maybe the mysterious Kieba who watches over the dead gods’ memory will help them.
Maybe the brutal princes from across the sea won’t arrive.

Read an extract of epic fantasy The Mountain of Kept Memory here (courtesy of the author) to see how Oressa – and her country – got into this predicament of plagues, princes with visions of conquest, and powerless gods.

What place of power would you like to eavesdrop on?
**kmm

Book info: The Mountain of Kept Memory / Rachel Neumeier. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the author.

My book talk: The King will allow invasion, if it gives him the magic he craves, but his daughter Oressa won’t let Carastind become a slave state. With her princely brother’s help, the young woman travels to the Kieba’s spell-woven mountain domain, looking for answers that will save her homeland.

Lusting for power, the invading princes may unleash catastrophe.
Observing from a distance, the Keiba may act or may not.
Seeking peace for Carastind, Oressa may become a hostage.

A classic high fantasy with its large cast of characters (each with their own agenda regarding the dead gods’ memories) and swirling alliances, The Mountain of Kept Memory holds secrets dark, surprises deep, and worlds within its stone heart.