Thursday equals a pair of related new titles in the AudioSYNC program, both free for you to download before Wednesday night, 13 May 2020.
For each audioSYNC book you choose, be sure to hit ‘Borrow’ on the Sora app (downloaded on your phone or tablet). Then it will be checked out to you for 35,996 days or 100 years – enough time to listen to all 26 selections of summer 2020!
Secret Soldiers: How the US Twenty-Third Special Troops Fooled the Nazis (info here)
A year after his close-knit group of friends ruptures, Danny worries about his future as an artist after high school. When the California teen discovers a box of secrets in Dad’s closet, everything his immigrant family has told him comes into question, too.
How do we camouflage our true intentions from others? **kmm
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.
The before and the after of the Berlin Wall speak to you in this week’s free AudiobookSYNC selections!
In one title, a fictional family divided in 1961 by the Wall echoes the plight of thousands of Germans during the Cold War, while a nonfiction examination of the Cold War’s end and the fall of the Wall shows long-awaited reunions.
Choose one, choose both! Just be sure to download before Wednesday 29 May 2019 so you can read with your ears as long as you retain the audio file on your device.
Big thanks to the publishers for making each week’s pair of professionally produced audiobooks available to us – free!
Suddenly, her father and brother are on the western side of the new wall dividing Berlin! The guns of East German soldiers threaten Gerta, Fritz, and their mother constantly as hope of reunion dims and even neighbors cannot be trusted. There is just one chance for freedom – Gerta and Fritz must tunnel under the Wall!
President Ronald Reagan’s provocative 1987 speech in West Berlin called on Mikhail Gorbachev of Russia to tear down the Wall, which fell just two years later. This book uses information from Western and Soviet sources to chronicle the beginning of the end of the Cold War.
What literal or figurative walls have you seen change in your lifetime? **kmm
Just ‘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?
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.
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!)
My book talk: Struggling to support her parents during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam, Hanneke quietly acquires rationed goods for clients, but the teen is startled when she’s asked to find a missing Jewish girl amid constant deportations and disappearances.
How can she locate Mirjam without alerting the authorities?
What caused the young woman to leave the safe house, anyway?
Oh, why did Hanneke encourage her boyfriend Bas to join the Dutch Navy, just before it was crushed by the Nazi invasion?
Cautiously introduced to the student resistance by Bas’ brother Ollie, Hanneke now has even more reason to steer clear of the Germans in her beloved city and the local sympathizers who will betray neighbors to stay in the Nazis’ good graces. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.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?
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…
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?
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)
The snow-laden landscape speaks,
the wolves howl in delight or despair,
a girl and her mother understand them all…
Re-wilding a wolf after its failure to be a calm good-luck charm in an aristocratic household is what Marina and Feo do, but the local commander puts more value on the Tsar’s elk than on any human life.
Arrest, prison, execution – Feo must rescue her mother, accompanied by a very young Russian soldier who’d rather be a dancer and the three wild wolves whose range includes her remote home in the snowiest woods.
“Black had eaten three toes, which, technically, had belonged to an English lord. Her wolves, Feo thought, were a bunch of the most beautiful criminals.” (p. 18)
I usually donate my review copies to school libraries, but I am keeping this one for myself!
Are you brave enough to fight injustice where you live?
Book info: The Wolf Wilder / Katherine Rundell. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2015. [author interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Preparing tamed wolves to live free again is Feo’s joy and job, but the general interpreting the Tsar’s wishes arrests her mother for their work, and it’s up to the girl and her wolf friends to rescue her in this lyrical tale of friendship and bravery.
Russian aristocrats believe that a wolf in the house brings good luck, but dare not kill one that won’t become a docile pet. So those wolves are sent to Marina and daughter Feo who help them become wild again.
General Rakov blames the wolf wilders for every wolf attack and arrests Marina when she continues the rehabilitation work that society demands.
Suddenly the young girl is left near their burning house with a newborn wolf pup, young teen Ilya who doesn’t want to be a soldier anymore, and three local wolves who consider Feo part of their pack.
Six days until Marina’s trial – can they travel fast enough in the winter storms?
Asking for help – can revolutionary Alexei rouse his village against harsh Rakov?
Finding a way into the walled city and prison – what will Black, White, and Gray do among so many humans?
This must-read story of friendship, love, and grit hides difficulties behind snow-covered trees, awakens compassion amid frosty hard times, and celebrates the best of loyalty against cruelty. (One of 8,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)
A black detective from California begins investigating murder in a small Alabama town during desegregation in the 1960s – this is the off-Broadway production based on the novel which was adapted into award-winning movie and television series.
Other tales of discrimination-fighting that you’d recommend?
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