Tag Archive | magic

Ancient One, by T.A. Barron (book review) – forest & livelihood both in peril

book cover of The Ancient One by T.A. Barron published by Puffin | recommended on BooksYALove.comA vanished people,
towering trees of mystery,
a chance to save the world…

Now out in paperback for its 25th anniversary, Merlin Saga author T.A. Barron’s tale of a young teen striving to complete a perilous quest even as she mourns her parents’ deaths is an adventure and a celebration of the interconnectedness of life, as it weaves together old secrets, ancient peoples, time travel, and an evil bent upon conquering the world.

When have you stood strong against wrong?
**kmm

Book info: The Ancient One / T.A. Barron. Puffin Books, 2016 (paperback); Philomel Books, 1992. [author site]  [publisher site]  [author video about book] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: At her aunt’s Oregon home, grieving teen Kate helps Aunt Melanie try to stop out-of-work loggers from destroying a newly discovered redwood grove and is hurtled back in time to meet nature beings and Native peoples who are struggling to prevent an evil force from overtaking their world. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

More than meets the eye – audiobook encounters

Appearances mask the inner being all too well in this week’s free AudioSYNC novels.

Click the book title to go straight to the AudioSYNC download page for it, but hurry! This pair of free complete audiobooks will only available for download from Thursday through Wednesday (May 26 – June 2, 2016).

Once you’ve downloaded an AudioSYNC audiobook,  you can listen to it any time, as long as you have it on your computer or electronic device.

CD cover of Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone | Read by Amy Rubinate Published by Ideal Audiobooks | recommended on BooksYALove.comEvery Last Word
by Tamara Ireland Stone
Read by Amy Rubinate
Published by Ideal Audiobooks

Carefully hiding her OCD from her clique, Samantha is introduced to her school’s secret Poet’s Corner by quirky Caroline and discovers a new side of herself, a cute guitar player, and a major threat to her sanity.

I just LOVED this book, recommending it here last August!

Egg and Spoon CD cover of Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire | Read by Michael Page Published by Brilliance Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Gregory Maguire
Read by Michael Page
Published by Brilliance Audio

How does a wealthy family’s train journey to visit the Tsar intersect with a poor Russian family’s road to starvation, via the chicken-legged house of witch Baba Yaga?

People are not always (or often) the same on the inside as on the outside – listen and learn?
**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)

M is Madly & magic & oh my! by Amy Alward (book review)

book cover of Madly by Amy Alward published by Simon & Schuster BFYR | BooksYALove.comA love-poisoned princess is dying,
rarest ingredients needed for the cure,
the Wilde Hunt is on!

Princess Evelyn is utterly, totally, Madly in love – with herself! Now Nova’s best spell-creators must discover the unwritten, illegal love potion recipe so the antidote can be found.

Samantha races against other potion-makers like royal boyfriend and family rival Zain to save the Princess, while trying to save herself from falling in love with Zain. Hmmm… maybe that’s mere magic, too.

Would you ever use a love potion?
**kmm

Book info: Madly (Potion Diaries #1) / Amy Alward. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Born potion-maker Samantha must outwit competitors to create the antidote for Princess Evelyn’s love potion turned deadly and outsmart her own heart as she tries not to fall in love with the princess’s almost-fiance Zain – who is also her greatest rival on the Wilde Hunt for rare ingredients.

This first book in The Potion Diaries series sees Sam discover secrets from the time before Zain’s family cornered the potions market with synthetics, worry over her younger sister’s magic Talent, taste adventure and danger beyond Nova’s borders, and turn away from love… if she can. Princess Evelyn gets her chapters, too, as the love potion draws her deeper into its power. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

K for Kenny & the Sword of Kuromori, by Jason Rohan (book review) – summoned to Japan against evil

book cover of Sword of Kuromori by Jason Rohan published by Kane Miller Books | BooksYALove.comMysterious messages and mythic messengers,
motorcycle ninjas and undead attackers,
dream visions and the end of the world?

Kenny never dreamed that his granddad’s diplomatic work in post-war Japan would bring him face-to-face today with villains (human and otherwise) who try to keep the teen from stopping worldwide destruction.

Check out the book’s Facebook page for a tour of sites and monsters found in book 1.  I’m traveling in Japan this summer, so I will see torii gates and temples, but hope that I don’t encounter any nukekubi!

Any multi-tailed foxes in your dreams?
**kmm

Book info: The Sword of Kuromori / Jason Rohan. Kane Miller, 2016.  [series Facebook page]  [publisher site]  [author interview] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Kenny thinks he’ll finally meet up with his grieving father in Japan, but the British teen finds himself detained by government officials, rescued by his grandfather’s old allies, and expected to prevent the world’s destruction using a missing sword… in just nine days!

Maybe it starts with the raccoon-thing on the plane that only he can see, or maybe when the police stop him at the Tokyo airport, or when he’s snatched from them by a ninja on a motorcycle…

His grandfather’s connections with Japan from decades past help Kenny locate the fabled sword that shares his last name so he can learn its secrets and tap into its powers, for he is the only one who can stop a slumbering dragon from being awoken to destroy the world – it is prophesied.

Messages from spirit world allies arrive in his dreams, the daughter of grandfather’s old friend teaches him martial arts moves and essential Japanese phrases, and mythic beings try to kill them in broad daylight!

Who exactly is threatening the USA west coast with a tsunami?
How can an old sword stop an unearthly weapon?
Will Kenny ever see his dad again?

First in a series filled with Japanese culture and mythological creatures, questions about loyalty and family, plus lots of adventure and humor. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

C for compassion – in a Valkyrie maiden of death? by Kate O’Hearn (book review)

book cover of Valkyrie by Kate O'Hearn published by Aladdin | BooksYALove.com War! Glory! Valhalla!
Death. Separation. Loss.
Soul-harvest is a tricky business.

After seeing warriors of all eras battle endlessly for fun and glory in Valhalla, the youngest Valkyrie thinks humans are all war-crazed savages.

But her promise to a dead soldier takes Freya and her raven companion to Chicago, and human school with its bullies, and being hunted by Odin’s own Dark Searchers for breaking the law!

Read the first chapter here (courtesy of the author) and meet Freya as she faces a destiny that she longs to change.

Struggling against “the way it’s always been” – yes?
**kmm

Book info: Valkyrie / Kate O’Hearn. Aladdin, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Allowed to visit Earth only when reaping valiant warriors’ souls, young Freya defiantly escapes Valhalla to fulfill a soldier’s last request, but at what cost?

As the youngest Valkyrie battle-maiden, Freya is reluctant to interact with humans as they die during their petty wars. Her first soul-harvest may be her last as she agrees to help Tyrone’s family in Chicago, against Odin’s law.

Trying to camouflage her wings, listening to her raven companion (a little), helping kids stand up to school bullies – so far so good, until she begins interfering with Angels of Death, and Odin discovers that she’s on Earth!

Can she protect Tyrone’s family without giving away her identity?
Is Loki the trickster on her side or not?
How far will Odin go to retrieve this absent Valkyrie?

First in a series that brings Norse legend oh-so close to modern Midgard/Earth. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Hunter, by Mercedes Lackey (book review) – against monsters, against deceit

book cover of Hunter by Mercedes Lackey published by DisneyHyperion | BooksYALove.comHer gift and her hounds, against evil.
Rift between worlds admits monsters,
as does envy and fear…

In this future time after the Diseray blasts, the barrier between humanity and the Otherworld is weaker, the monsters of myth are getting stronger, and Joyeux knows that Hunting them to protect the remaining citizens is her duty and her calling.

So why is it like a media circus in Hunter headquarters? Do the citizens think these creatures are make-believe? And who is covering up reports that the deadliest monsters are appearing inside the city’s unbreakable walls?

The story and writing are great, even if the title is rather humdrum. Head to your favorite local library or independent bookstore to request this Sept. 1 release.

**kmm

Book info: Hunter / Mercedes Lackey. Disney Book Group, 2015. [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Called from the remote Mountain to protect citizens from constant monster attacks, Joyeux finds that her magical skills may not help her cope with reality TV hovercams, living in Apex city, or the traitor within its walls.

Joyeux was sent by her uncle to the off-grid monastery after she was orphaned, later discovering her magical talent for hunting the mythological monsters that prey on what’s left of humanity.

Citizens watch the Hunters’ daring attacks on dedicated vid-channels, safe indoors – will Joy ever get used to being followed constantly by videocams?

She and her mystical hounds patrol Apex with her mentor, finding small monsters appearing inside the city walls faster than they can exterminate them – why hasn’t this upward trend been noted already?

And now some large monsters are getting through the city’s impenetrable defenses – who is helping them and why?

Dealing with big egos at Hunter headquarters and the suave attentions of her uncle’s assistant with psychic abilities, Joy’s concern about the city’s fate grows daily as Ketzels, Gazers, Vampires, and worse monsters converge on Apex – with a human’s assistance.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J. Maas (book review) – as payment to the Fae, she lives

book cover of Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas, published by BloomsburySo her family won’t starve,
so the land of her new prison will live,
so an impossible love can grow…

So that her ungrateful family will live, Feyre goes with the beast to Fae, even though entering that magical land will kill her – and does not die.

The beast shapeshifts into a handsome fae prince who grows to appreciate the young human woman. As passion blooms between Tamlin and Feyre, dark forces are plotting to enslave both worlds.

Published on May 5th, this first blockbuster in the series of the same name should be readily found at your local library or independent bookstore – get on the waiting list, if you need to!

How much could you sacrifice for your family’s well-being, for love?
**kmm

Book info: A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, book 1) / Sarah J. Maas. Bl0omsbury, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [author video] Review copy from book fan and author Claire Caterer; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Centuries’ old truce broken by her uncanny aim, Feyre willingly becomes sacrifice to protect her family, little realizing that she will arrive in Fae not to die, but to live, love, and save her enemies’ magical land.

Desperate to keep her feckless father and spoiled sisters alive, she shoots a wolf going after the same deer in the winter woods. But it’s one of the shapeshifter fae who rule the North, and the human girl must pay for his life with her own.

Given the option to leave humanity behind and live forever beyond The Wall dividing the two realms, Feyre is taken to Fae by shapeshifter Tamlin, the wolf’s best friend and a prince in his own right. Contrary to all she’s been told, the young woman isn’t made a slave, doesn’t die of magic poisoning,and is encouraged by Tamlin to draw and paint – after all, she’ll live in Fae forever.

Whispers of dark Fae magic that seeks to conquer all beings reach Tamlin, and what Feyre overhears spurs her into action.

How can her tracking skills help uncover the traitor?
How can she resist the passion building between her and Tamlin?
Why should she even try?

First in a new fantasy series by the author of The Throne of Glass series, the fate of all realms hangs in the balance as evil warps time and minds to suit its purpose.

Keeper, by Ellen Jensen Abbott (book review) – unite against evil or perish

book cover of The Keeper by Ellen Jensen Abbott published by SkyscapeA conquered evil rises again,
former enemies must become allies,
and one teen girl must lead them.

In Watersmeet, Abisina searches for the father she never knew (my review here).

In Centaur’s Daughter, she leads creatures seeking peace in a war against the White Worm (my review here).

Now, she must convince her allies to truly trust one another, or lose their world to absolute evil!

**kmm

Book info: The Keeper (Watersmeet, book 3) / Ellen Jensen Abbott. Skyscape, 2013.  [author site]  [publisher site]   Review copy from the author; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As evil arises with renewed powers, Abisina strives to unite centaurs, fairies, humans, dwarves, and fauns, despite their mutual distrust.

Vicious creatures streaming from the newly opened rift in the barrier mountains attack those fleeing Watersmeet and other settlements, but that’s only the beginning. If only the young woman knew what form the Worm would inhabit this time!

When Abisina requests the fairies’ help in battling the Worm and its marauding army, their queen’s daughters give conflicting reports of her mission, and one claims for herself Abisina’s necklace of power – will the folk of the land be able to overcome the evil forces without it?

Now, armed only with her faith in love, the shapeshifter and her ragtag band of friends and former opponents make a last stand against the evil trying to blight their world forever.

The tale begun in Watersmeet and The Centaur’s Daughter concludes in this finale filled with battles, intrigue and fantastic creatures. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Who’s missing? Mysteries & frights to read with your ears!

Time to download this week’s eerie pair of free audiobooks from SYNC so you can read with your ears!

Yes, these are complete audiobooks available from Thursday through Wednesday, and they’re yours until you delete them from your computer or electronic device.

If you miss the free download time for any works mentioned, you can find buying info at http://www.audiobooksync.com/  Check your local library, too!

CD cover of A Corner of White  by Jaclyn Moriarty | Read by Fiona Hardingham, Andrew Eiden, Kate Reinders, Peter McGowan Published by Scholastic AudioA Corner of White
by Jaclyn Moriarty
Read by Fiona Hardingham, Andrew Eiden, Kate Reinders, Peter McGowan
Published by Scholastic Audio

Missing persons, interconnected worlds with uncrossable barriers that Madeleine and Elliott somehow get past! I recommended this first book in trilogy on BooksYALove here in 2013.

DraculaCD cover of Dracula  by Bram Stoker | Read by David Horovitch, Jamie Parker, Joseph Kloska, Alison Pettitt, Clare Corbett, John Foley, David Thorpe Published by Naxos AudioBooks
by Bram Stoker
Read by David Horovitch, Jamie Parker, Joseph Kloska, Alison Pettitt, Clare Corbett, John Foley, David Thorpe
Published by Naxos AudioBooks

The vampire tale that started it all, read by an outstanding actor cast, complete and unabridged!

Have you read either of these changed-world titles before?
**kmm