Tag Archive | Massachusetts

What secrets should remain hidden? Read with your ears to find out!

It’s already our final week of free audiobooks from SYNC for summer 2018!

Download by clicking the link after either title (or both!), save to your device, then listen whenever you like.

If you missed any of the free downloads, check for those titles at your local library through WorldCat (https://www.worldcat.org/).

Big thanks to the audiobook publishers who allow us to download their professionally produced works during this great program every summer!

CD cover of Monstrous Beauty, by Elizabeth Fama | Read by Katherine Kellgren Published by Macmillan Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.comMonstrous Beauty (download here free 19-25 July 2018)
by Elizabeth Fama
Read by Katherine Kellgren
Published by Macmillan Audio

Perhaps knowing more about the ancestress reputed to be a mermaid will help 17-year-old Hester figure out why love has equaled death for women in their family for generations…

The Lost World (download here free 19-25 July 2018) CD cover of The Lost World, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle | Read by Glen McCready Published by Naxos Audiobooks | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Read by Glen McCready
Published by Naxos Audiobooks

Dinosaurs in South America? Of course intrepid British scientists in the early 20th century will journey there, facing many perils along the way! A late-career story by the author famed for his Sherlock Holmes books.

What were your favorite AudioSYNC audiobooks this summer?

Tales of outcasts, then and now – audiobooks with shivers!

This year’s program of free audiobooks from SYNC is nearly over, so grab these eerie tales before Wednesday (19 July 2018), so you can listen to them any time on your computer or electronic device.

Click the link for either or both of these professionally recorded audiobooks, download for free, then read with your ears using the free Audible app.

CD cover of How to Hang a Witch, by Adriana Mather | Read by Adriana Mather Published by Listening Library | recommended on BooksYALove.comHow to Hang a Witch (download here free from 12-19 July 2018)
by Adriana Mather
Read by Adriana Mather
Published by Listening Library

A teen descendant of witch-persecutor Cotton Mather moves to Salem and is taunted by girls who are Descendants of those witches and haunted by a centuries’ old ghost – a curse? or worse?


The Scarlet Letter (download here free from 12-19 from July 2018)CD cover of The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne | Read by Donada Peters Published by Listening Library | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Read by Donada Peters
Published by Listening Library

The classic tale of personal strength in the face of societal expectations – Hester Prynne won’t name the father of her child and must wear the A of adultery in 1642 Boston.

Other Massachusetts-based stories to recommend?

A is for Alcott, in The Revelation of Louisa May, by Michaela MacColl (book review)

book cover of The Revelation of Louisa May, by Michaela MacColl, published by Chronicle Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comWhy does she have to run the household instead of writing?
And keep their Underground Railroad stop functioning (and secret)?
And discern a suitor’s true nature without her mother’s guidance?

Yes, this is that Louisa May, author of Little Women and Little Men, as a teen tasked with keeping house for her sisters and philosopher father during the summer when her mother worked away from home to support the family, rather than writing.

MacColl’s historical fiction about literary women, like Emily Dickinson in Nobody’s Secret (my recommendation here), is worth adding to your list.

Which author or poet would you like to read more about?

Book info: The Revelation of Louisa May: a Novel of Intrigue and Romance / Michaela MacColl. Chronicle Books, 2015. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Her parents’ dreams or hers? American Panda, by Gloria Chao (book review)

book cover of American Panda by Gloria Chao, published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comGraduate from best college for prestigious career,
Marry the right person, have many sons…
why is everything already set in stone?

Mei’s parents don’t understand that she wants some traditions of Taiwan and some of America, that she will survive if she doesn’t follow their exacting standards. But what if they disown her, as they cut off all contact with her brother?

Read the first chapter here for free (thank you, Bustle!) to get into Mei’s world, the world of her demanding parents that will stifle her own dreams.

When to break free of the “correct” path?

Book info: American Panda / Gloria Chao. Simon Pulse, 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: The path meticulously mapped-out by her Taiwanese-American parents has led Mei to MIT, but the 17 year old now must decide how far from their dreams she can venture in search of what she truly wants.

She uses hand sanitizer constantly, the mere idea of cadavers makes her squeamish, and biology class bores her – why do her parents insist that she must become a doctor?

When older brother Xing announced his engagement, Baba and Mama disowned him because Esther might not be able to give them grandsons, completely erased him from their lives – how can Mei tell them she’s dating a Japanese-American guy from California?

Dancing set her apart from other Asian students applying to MIT, so her parents allowed it just until her acceptance letter arrived – why can’t she tell them what joy it brings her and that she’s teaching dance classes on weekends?

Fast-tracked to college by her parents’ demands, Mei never dated in high school, never chose her own path – maybe with Darren’s support and affection, she can break away from their rigidly traditional expectations without breaking herself.

N for Nightbird, by Alice Hoffman (book review) – secrets, community, threat?

book cover of Nightbird by Alice Hoffman published by Wendy Lamb BookxA family curse,
the lure of night and flight,
secrets kept and truths discovered…

Nightbird was published just this week; you can read chapter one here for free.

Hoffman’s magical realism shines here as it does in her Green Angel (my review) and Green Witch (my review), asking questions about love and curses and understanding.

And the wonderful Pink Apple Pie that Twig’s mother bakes? The author kindly provides a recipe here for those of us whose apple trees were not planted by Johnny Appleseed himself!

Should we hide what others might not understand about us?

Book info: Nightbird / Alice Hoffman. Wendy Lamb Books, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [author video] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As her day-hidden brother soars nightly over their small New England town to taste freedom, thirteen-year-old Twig wishes for friendship, little realizing that the witch’s curse on their family may link both their dreams.

The finest apple pie baker ever, her mother retreated from New York City to the family apple farm when Twig’s father left them, hiding James in the attic where his wings wouldn’t remind the folks of Sidwell about the curse on the Fowler family.

Twig is delighted when teen sisters Julia and Agate from the city move in next door, is devastated when townspeople seriously set to hunting the Sidwell Monster as James flies nightly, is determined to discover the truth about the generations-old curse that gave James his wings.

Will Twig’s mother ever feel safe in her own home town?
Who – or what – else roams the Montgomery Woods besides James?
Can love heal an ancient wrong?

Become a Nightbird  with James, delve into history and happiness with Twig and Julia, and find out why this charming town has a sudden grafitti problem in this magical tale. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Forget Me, by K.A. Harrington (book review) – not his twin! who is he?

book cover of Forget Me by KA Harrington published by GP Putnam's SonsFacial recognition software,
social media, hidden identities,
why did it tag her late boyfriend as another guy?
Maybe Morgan didn’t know Flynn as well as she thought…

Just released on Thursday (that’s really odd; most books are Tuesday releases) August 7, 2014, Forget Me  is a slight departure from Kim’s paranormal books like her Clarity series (my no-spoiler recommendation of book 1 here) with an eerieness all its own. See for yourself with this free excerpt of the first two chapters.

Could you forget someone that you truly loved?

Book info: Forget Me / K.A. Harrington. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2014.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When a social media site tags her late boyfriend’s photo as the face of a teen in a nearby town, Morgan is stunned. When Evan says he got an anonymous warning to stay away from her, they’re puzzled. When accidents start targeting them both, they race to solve the unfolding mystery before they’re the next victims!

Morgan’s Massachusetts home town is withering away after a deadly scandal shut down major employer Stell Pharmaceuticals. Her best friend is suffering from her parents’ unemployment, their favorite amusement park is abandoned, and time with her loner boyfriend Flynn is her only comfort – until he’s killed in a hit-and-run.

Weeks later, she uploads her only photo of Flynn onto FriendShare, which tries to tag it with another guy’s name! Finding out about Evan is simple, discovering that he’s received a photo of her with a warning to avoid her at all costs is weird, learning that his family is part of Stell is disconcerting.

Sneaking into the amusement park to retrace Flynn’s last steps, they uncover more secrets and more threats. A page-turning mystery in the fog. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Half Life of Molly Pierce, by Katrina Leno (book review) – mind unhinged or memories unleashed?

book cover of The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno published by Harper TeenHer blackouts are more frequent,
suddenly waking up somewhere else,
so disorienting… or is it something more?

There’s a secret about Molly that many people know, but she hasn’t allowed herself to even glimpse it – until now.

Happy book birthday to The Half Life of Molly Pierce!  Find it soon – this distressed teen’s gradual self-awakening is mesmerizing.

How long could you keep someone’s deepest secret – from themself?

Book info:  The Half-Life of Molly Pierce / Katrina Leno. HarperTeen, 2014.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [author video interview] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: A total stranger calls Molly by name as he dies, triggering flashbacks even more confusing than her frequent blackouts since last year’s almost-suicide.

Abruptly regaining consciousness somewhere different is frightening – how did she get from her Massachusetts high school to the family bookstore in a heartbeat?

Why does the guy in the motorcycle wreck ask her to ride in the ambulance with him, calling her name as he bleeds and bleeds, begging her to call his brother like they’re all friends?

With Sayer at his brother’s funeral, Molly thinks he really knows her, that she was close to Lyle, but why can’t she remember them?

As memories of Lyle and Sayer begin flashing into her mind, Molly finally tells her therapist about the blackouts and is shocked to discover that Alex already knows and that only she can unravel her own self-deception.

Discover what the worried teen’s mind is trying to hide from herself in this tense psychological novel.


Clarity, by Kim Harrington (book review) – psychic gift or curse?

book cover of Clarity by Kim HarringtonIt’s a mystical Monday. What’s your ideal summer job? Bet it’s not like Clare’s, where “the family business” uses the psychic gifts of the Ferns.

Her brother loves summer, when he can romance the visiting girls – what local high school girl would date a guy who gets messages from dead people?

The Ferns can tell tourists about hidden things which have happened in the past, but the new psychic in town starts taking away their customers by promising that she can predict the future.

Add a murder to the summer crowds during an election year, and suddenly Clare’s gift for psychometry is in demand by the local authorities.

Kim Harrington says that Perception (Clarity #2) is due out in March 2012. Hope YA paranormal fans can wait that long! (She’s also writing a middle grades detective series, due out next summer).

Book info: Clarity / by Kim Harrington. Point (Scholastic), 2011. [author’s website] [author’s blog] [publisher site] [book trailer]

My Book Talk: Just another summer at the family psychic business, where Clare sees what happened with an object by just touching it, brother Perry sees spirits, and Mom hears people’s thoughts. They can’t predict the future, but Cape Cod tourists wanting answers keep them in business.

Too bad the town residents aren’t as accepting of the Ferns – Clarity and Periwinkle (named by hippie parents) have been bullied and scorned ever since their gifts began to manifest. Just another year of high school and they can escape to somewhere else… especially after Clare’s only boyfriend cheated on her.

A murder – the first in decades –shocks everyone on the Fourth of July weekend. The mayor is up for re-election and asks Clare to help the police find clues. So she’s stuck with the mayor’s son (her ex-boyfriend) and the new detective’s son (completely anti-psychics) as she visits the murder scene… and finds that Perry was with the woman before she died! He assures Clare that he did not kill the woman, but they’re not sure that the police will understand visions instead of evidence.

On tourist row, a new psychic arrives, saying she can foretell the future and luring clients away from the Ferns. Perry disappears when a witness states that he was seen leaving a restaurant with the victim. Clare’s worst bullies boast about inside knowledge, then vanish.

How can Clare keep working with Justin when she still can’t forgive him? How can she convince Gabe that her visions are the truth (without telling too much)? Can Clare find the real killer without becoming the next victim? (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)