Tag Archive | magic

Ready, set, go deliver DRAGONS IN A BAG! by Zetta Elliott (kids’ book review)

Book cover of Dragons in a Bag, by Zetta Elliott, art by Geneva B. Published by Yearling-Random House | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Follow the rules to stay safe,
avoid trouble,
keep your eyes open!

Jax doesn’t need a babysitter! The Black 9 year old isn’t happy that he has to stay with old Ma while Mom is in court to fight being evicted.

Hmm…he is intrigued when a squirrel zips into Ma’s apartment and tries to feed whatever is in Ma’s big handbag, the thing that came from Madagascar, something that Ma needs to deliver elsewhere – very special lizards!

There’s a transporter in Prospect Park?
The lizards are really dragons?
Ma is a witch?!

Maybe Jax can help Ma as her apprentice, if he follows the rules: keep the dragons in their case and never feed them.

When a problem with the transporter lands Jax and the baby dragons back in Brooklyn without Ma, he enlists the help of his best friend Vik to get the dragons safely to their new home in another dimension.

First in a series, followed by The Dragon Thief !

What mythic creature would you like to see in your town?
**kmm

Book info: Dragons in a Bag / Zetta Elliott; illustrated by Geneva B. Yearling/ Random House, 2018. [author site] [artist site] [publisher site] Personal purchase; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Great powers…at what cost? Thrilling tales to read with your ears!

Adventure, peril, grand reward, danger – this week’s pair of free audiobooks from AudioSYNC take us far beyond our everyday world.

Use the links with each title to download these professionally produced audiobooks before late night Wednesday 17 June 2020.

They’re listenable through the Sora app for your phone or tablet as long as you keep them on your Sora shelf – more details here.

CD cover of Mark of the Raven, by Morgan L. Busse. Read by Jaimee Draper. Published by Oasis Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Mark of the Raven (download here free 11-17 June 2020)

by Morgan L. Busse. Read by Jaimee Draper. Published by Oasis Audio

Lady Selene of Ravenwood walks through people’s dreams to gather information or manipulate their desires and fears.

But what if the young woman’s inherited powers are instead causing death? First in the Ravenwood Saga series, a world of seven ruling houses, conflict, love, and turmoil.

CD cover of Easy Prey, by Catherine Lo. Read by Nick Mondelli, Elizabeth Cottle, Jack Meloche. Published by Dreamscape Media | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Easy Prey (download here free 11-17 June 2020)

by Catherine Lo. Read by Nick Mondelli, Elizabeth Cottle, Jack Meloche. Published by Dreamscape Media

One student uncovered a teacher’s racy photos and shared them, but who?

Super-nerd Mouse who would do anything to get to MIT (and away from his father)? Super-charmer Drew whose athletic charm easily gets girls’ info and sexy photos? Super-rebel Jenna who wants justice after someone leaked her photos and ruined her good name? A mystery in three voices, past and present.

How would you deal with deep secrets and deep powers?
**kmm

It calls them all – A SONG BELOW WATER, by Bethany C. Morrow (book review)

book cover of A Song Below Water, by Bethany C. Morrow. Published by Tor Teen | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Every Siren is a Black woman,
her magical Call irresistible,
a danger that the majority wants to contain…or silence.

Tavia and Effie share secrets and worries as the Black almost-sisters navigate high school while growing into their individual powers.

To Portland, Effie is ‘the girl from the park’ who survived when sprites turned her playmates into stone statues years ago.

Trying to strangle the siren-voice out of herself at age 11 didn’t work, but coming here from California gave Tavia a chance to start over, away from her grandmother’s revealed Siren legacy.

When Effie moved up the hill from her grandparents to stay with Tavia for school, a gargoyle arrived too, perching on the roof whenever the teens are home.

Tavia stays quiet except in choir, for her siren-voice is too powerful and compelling for everyday people to deny. But when she’s stopped for driving while Black – did the other cop hear her Call to be released?

It’s almost Ren Faire time, where Effie is the mermaid Euphemia, so she practices her underwater dance at the pool, missing her late mom and their shared love of Faire performing more than ever.

Does Effie’s constantly itching skin mean she’s becoming a mer for real?
Is an electronic silencing collar in Tavia’s near future?

They know that attending the community protest of a young Black man’s death at the hands of police could quickly turn dangerous, especially when a celebrity who just revealed she’s a Siren arrives…

Effie’s hair has a mind of its own, Tavia seeks her grandmother’s counsel through water, family secrets begin to unravel.

Happy book birthday to this story of self-discovery and speaking to power! Request A Song Below Water now at your local library or buy from an independent bookstore directly or through bookshop.org for home delivery.

Where can you use your voice for good, right now?
**kmm

Book info: A Song Below Water / Bethany C. Morrow. Tor Teen, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Unwise love and unforgivable secrets to read with your ears! (audiobook reviews)

Forced together by circumstance, forced apart by society, choosing to remember…or forget.

This week’s pair of audiobooks bring us a mother and daughter’s modern then-and-now story and a fantasy enemies-to-lovers (maybe) tale.

Download either or both titles to your phone or tablet using the links below so you can listen whenever you like through the Sora app.

These are available on the AudioSYNC site free through Wednesday evening 3 June 2020. If you miss the free download for any of these featured audiobooks, check your local library or school library.

CD cover of In Search of Us, by Ava Dellaira. Read by Adenrele Ojo.
Published by Brilliance Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

In Search of Us (free download 28 May- 3 June 2020)

by Ava Dellaira. Read by Adenrele Ojo. Published by Brilliance Audio.

Mom says her black father died before Angie was born, but new information about him sets the mixed-race teen on a road trip to California, with her ex-boyfriend!

Marilyn’s own love story as a teen in the 90s derailed her career as actress and photographer, but what brought her and baby Angie to New Mexico?

CD cover of Serpent & Dove,  by Shelby Mahurin. Read by Holter Graham & Saskia Maarleveld. Published by HarperAudio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Serpent & Dove (free download 28 May- 3 June 2020)

by Shelby Mahurin . Read by Holter Graham & Saskia Maarleveld. Published by HarperAudio.

Escaping her coven, Louise tries to survive in the city by her wits alone. “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” guides Reid as he hunts them down.

When Lou and Reid are caught in a compromising position, they must marry or else!

When is it time to let secrets remain secret?
**kmm

Intertwined these three, THE MERMAID, THE WITCH AND THE SEA, by Maggie Tokuda-Hall (book review)

book cover of The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea, by Maggie Tokuda-Hall. Published by Candlewick Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

To stay alive, to stay together,
to realize that there’s more to life…
to risk everything?

Killing a man ensures their place on the pirate ship, as dark-skinned Alfie’s little sister Flora becomes Florian in the Nameless Captain’s crew of cutthroats who enslave passengers and harvest mermaids in spite of the Pirate Supreme’s decree.

Daughter of Imperials, Evelyn has never pleased her haughty parents, only wishes to stay with her adored young maid, is sent away in arranged marriage to an officer far across the seas. The teen’s possessions are packed into her coffin, for she will never return to the capital.

Aboard the Dove, Florian is set as Evelyn’s guard against the rapacious crew, gradually becoming fond of the rich young lady (whose heart is captured too), hoping that the Captain’s command to imprison all passengers never comes, marveling at her rapport with the new-caught mermaid.

The Sea will punish those who steal her mermaids, the Witch will draw the tales from Florian’s blood, the Pirate Supreme will stop the Nameless Captain – but will Evelyn and Florian be alive to know?

Japanese names, clothing, and traditions strand through this newly-published debut novel of conquests, colonies, love beyond expectations, and undercover history-changers.

When do you know that your ‘you’ is right?
**kmm

Book info: The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea / Maggie Tokuda-Hall. Candlewick Press, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

R is for Red and ALL THE IMPOSSIBLE THINGS, by Lindsay Lackey (middle grade book review)

book cover of All the Impossible Things, by Lindsay Lackey, published by Roaring Brook Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Her life is a storm,
mom blown off course,
counting days till she’s home…

Red swirls through the foster care system after drugs send Mom to prison and Gamma can’t take care of the middle-schooler anymore.

So hard to control the wind whispering under her skin when she gets upset, the storm clouds that gather above when she is angry!

Maybe it’ll be okay at the Grooves’ place in the Colorado countryside with their petting zoo and giant tortoise and goats who can climb trees.

Her new neighbor Marvin’s online ‘Kitchen Kahuna’ show features his Hawaia’an heritage, but their small-town classmates aren’t adventurous eaters.

Can Red dare to hope this might be a safe place?
How many more letters before Mom writes back?
What if the magical wind inside them both roars out?

Red keeps researching bumblebees and other “impossible things” on the list that she began with her grandmother, trying to find out how to make “live with Mom forever” come true.

Meet Red in the first two chapters of this debut novel of magical realism, free from the publisher here.

How do you work past things that seem impossible on the surface?
**kmm

Book info: All the Impossible Things / Lindsay Lackey. Roaring Brook Press, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

M is for MERMAID MOON, as she seeks her mother, by Susann Cokal (book review)

book cover of Mermaid Moon, by Susann Cokal. Published by Candlewick Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Born of land and sea,
young magic, true heart,
her mother is hidden…

Of all the merremind, only Sanna has no mother to guide her in mermaid ways. Her flok remembers only that she was born of a landish woman who fell in love with her seavish father and that their elder-witch laid a forgetfulness spell on all.

Now 16, Sanna has apprenticed long to the elder-witch, learned making and unmaking, and trudges ashore on aching new feet to find her mother and her destiny.

Her blood unwittingly reddens a wall of white roses, her presence gives hope to the poor village cruelly ruled by the Baroness, and Sanna’s half-seavish beauty unfortunately snares the ruler’s son.

With a heart darker than the Thirty-Seven Dark Isles’ bedrock, the Baroness will use bitter bone magic and her hidden eye to complete her grand plan and escape these cold seas – Sanna is the long-awaited key…

Can Sanna escape the magic net now trapping her in the castle?
Will she see past time’s blur and recognize her mother soon?
How long will her mermaid clan wait for her to return to them?

As the villagers pray to the Queen of the Sea statue transformed in the church, Sanna must find her heart’s answers before time runs out!

Told in several voices, Mermaid Moon is a March 2020 book that will take you far away to Sanna’s flok and the dark rock-bound castle of secrets.

What childhood mystery would you unlock if you could find its key?
**kmm

Book info: Mermaid Moon / Susann Cokal. Candlewick Press, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Demon-fed magics & the SORCERY OF THORNS! by Margaret Rogerson (book review)

book cover of Sorcery of Thorns, by Margaret Rogerson. Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Can a book be evil or good if no one reads it?

Elisabeth knows only life in the Great Library where the most evil grimoires are caged and triple-locked, hoping to someday earn the rank of Warden and ever keep these sorcerous books from harming her land.

Now someone begins releasing the demons from these dread tomes to wreak havoc – but who and why?

Fantasy, horror, mystery… could you resist the whispers of promised power and keep the grimoires locked up?
**kmm

Book info: Sorcery of Thorns / Margaret Rogerson. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Deeply dangerous Grimoires imprisoned in the Great Libraries are being set loose upon the land of Austermeer – the Wardens suspect high sorcerers, the sorcerers know better.

Raised in a Great Library, Elisabeth hears the beings trapped within the bindings and pages of every grimoire.

Unable to prove that someone else freed the horror at Summershall, the teen is taken by sorcerer Thorn to the capital for trial.

Demon-fed magics, paper-whispered madnesses, treachery, loyalty, love, and the fate of the world!

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.

Magical books to read with your ears as AudioSYNC summer ends

Our magnificent summer of free audiobooks from AudioSYNC and publishers ends with with a magical pair of stories to read with your ears!

Click on the title for the free download page before late-night Wednesday July 31, 2019. You can keep these free audiobooks on your device and listen whenever you want.

Thanks again to the publishers who’ve provided over 2 dozen free professionally produced audiobooks this summer through AudioSYNC!

CD cover of Akata Witch,  by Nnedi Okorafor | Read by Yetide Badaki Published by Tantor Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Akata Witch, by Nnedi Okorafor Read by Yetide Badaki Published by Tantor Audio

Sunny is mocked in her parents’ Nigerian town for being born American, albino, a girl who loves soccer. The 12 year old discovers that she’s a “free agent” born to non-magical parents and becomes part of a quartet of young people studying magic seen and unseen. Soon it’s up to them to catch an evil criminal, ready or not!

CD cover of All the Crooked Saints,  by Maggie Stiefvater | Read by Thom Rivera Published by Scholastic Audiobooks | recommended on BooksYALove.com

All the Crooked Saints, by Maggie Stiefvater Read by Thom Rivera Published by Scholastic Audiobooks

Under the Colorado desert stars, miracles are waiting to happen in Bicho Raro, where the Soria family lives. Cousins Beatriz, Daniel, and Joaquin can see the love, happiness, peace that others need – but their own lives and thoughts are not so clear. Two strangers arriving bring changes, perhaps even for the cousins whose help they seek.

What magical tales and audiobooks are your favorites?
**kmm