Tag Archive | military

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.

Coming of age tales to read with your ears

This week’s free audiobooks from SYNC examine growing up and discovering yourself.

Remember that although these complete audiobooks are only available from Thursday through Wednesday, you have free use of them as long as you keep them on your computer or electronic device.

Click the link for either or both titles for the quick and free download.

CD cover of audiobook Fat Angie by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo | Read by Angela Dawe Published by Brilliance Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.comFat Angie (download here July 14-20, 2016)
by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo
Read by Angela Dawe
Published by Brilliance Audio

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!)

 
On the Jellicoe Road (download here July 14-20, 2016)CD cover of audiobook On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta | Read by Rebecca Macauley Published by Bolinda Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Melina Marchetta
Read by Rebecca Macauley
Published by Bolinda Audio

Can senior Taylor keep order at between her boarding school classmates and the kids from nearby Australian town while she tries to piece together exactly why her mother abandoned her six years ago?

What other coming-of-age titles would you recommend?
**kmm

Girl in the Blue Coat, by Monica Hesse (book review) – find her before the Nazis do?

book cover of Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse, published by Little Brown Teen | recommended on BooksYALove.comLast of her family, gone from a locked room,
Nazis seeking her and so many others…
Closed eyes? Despair? Resistance!

Not the same thing at all, Hanneke’s very quiet black-market activity versus being asked to find a Jewish girl in Amsterdam before the German invaders do!

This World War II story invokes the tenacity of hope even as neighbors collaborate with the enemy and long-time friendships falter.

Last year, I walked the Amsterdam streets that Hanneke slipped through like a shadow and that Anne Frank longed to freely walk again…
**kmm

Book info:  Girl in the Blue Coat / Monica Hesse.  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2016.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [Q &A with author] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

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)

P is brother’s Personal Effects & personal secrets, by Kokie (book review)

book cover of Personal Effects by EM Kokie published by Candlewick | recommended on BooksYALove.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?
**kmm

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…

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)

Wolf Wilder, by Katherine Rundell (book review) – wolves, friends, revolution!

book cover of The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell published by Simon Schuster BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.comThe 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?
**kmm

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)

Courage vs. discrimination – audiobooks free this week!

This week’s free audiobooks from SYNC feature courage in the face of racial discrimination, ready for you to read with your ears!

Remember that although these complete audiobooks are only available from Thursday through Wednesday, you have free use of them as long as you keep them on your computer or electronic device.

Click on a title to go straight to its free download page at AudioSync – download only requires your name and an email address.

CD cover of Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles  by Tanya Lee Stone | Read by J.D. Jackson Published by Brilliance AudioCourage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles
by Tanya Lee Stone
Read by J.D. Jackson
Published by Brilliance Audio

During World War II, the first American black paratroopers fought a little-known Japanese attack on the West Coast, as well as widespread prejudice throughout the US military.

A great YA novel considering the Triple Nickles from the viewpoint of a black officer’s son is Jump Into the Sky,  by Shelley Pearsall (my recommendation here).

John Ball’s In the Heat of the NightCD cover of John Ball’s In the Heat of the Night by Matt Pelfrey | Read by Ryan Vincent Anderson, Michael Hammond, Kalen Harriman, Travis Johns, James Morrison, Darren Richardson, Tom Virtue Published by L.A. Theatre Works
by Matt Pelfrey
Read by Ryan Vincent Anderson, Michael Hammond, Kalen Harriman, Travis Johns, James Morrison, Darren Richardson, Tom Virtue
Published by L.A. Theatre Works

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?
**kmm

Lois Lane: Fallout, by Gwenda Bond (book review) – Metropolis, new reporter, online dangers

book cover of Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond published by Switch PressStay out of trouble,
don’t get involved…
when a friend is being bullied?
Yeah, right.

Lois Lane is a born investigator, and her Army dad’s latest move puts her into a virtual reality mystery at her newest school – yes, that Lois Lane and the Daily Planet  and an online-only friend who calls himself SmallvilleGuy.

Read the free prequel short stories here (look below the book cover on left), then head to your local library or independent bookstore to get Lois Lane: Fallout.

When have you stood up against bullying?
**kmm

Book info: Lois Lane: Fallout (Lois Lane, book 1) / Gwenda Bond. Switch Press/Capstone, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Unnerved by the tech gang at her newest school, fledgling reporter Lois investigates its hush-hush ‘field trips’ and uncovers dangers that her online pal SmallvilleGuy and her Army general father can’t ignore.

She promised herself to fly under the radar at Metropolis High, but Lois can’t stand bullies. The Warheads move in unison, finish each other’s sentences, and work on a special virtual reality project off-campus. Now, they want to ‘assimilate’ computer whiz Anavi who feels them pressing on her mind.

Recruited by editor Perry White for the Daily Planet’s new teen reporting team, Lois investigates the Warheads, finding weird connections between the principal and a local research lab.

While new friends on the Scoop team back her up during her research, her online friend SmallvilleGuy (who is he, really?) warns Lois about ARL and its virtual reality plans.

Can Lois keep Anavi safe from The Warheads?
Are their minds truly connected?
Will she ever meet SmallvilleGuy outside the virtual reality game worlds?

A smart and subtle prequel to the Superman saga that we all know so well, Lois Lane: Fallout  balances high-tech gone wrong with friendship done right.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

When Books Went to War, by Molly Guptill Manning (book review) – readers in WWII trenches

book cover of When Books Went to War by Molly Guptill Manning published by Houghton Mifflin HarcourtIn transports, tanks, and trenches,
packed into troopships and training camps,
ready to read while waiting to fight!

During World War II, librarians were determined to get books into soldiers’ hands. When publishers agreed to help, millions of pocket-sized Armed Services Editions of classics, plays, memoirs, and novels were eagerly shared by service people, sparking a reading culture that led to large participation in GI Bill higher education opportunities after the war’s end.

The ASE program also spurred the paperback publishing that we know today, you’ll learn from this fascinating book. The author provides a free excerpt here so you get a taste of her engaging prose style.

If you could only have a handful books with you during stressful times, as these fighters did, which titles would you choose?
**kmm

Book info: When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II / Molly Guptill Manning. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [author video interview] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Fighting World War II with more than bullets and bombs, an armada of pocket-sized free books created a positive “war of ideas” and values as they were eagerly read and shared by American soldiers and sailors around the globe.

Librarians began collecting books for American troops in the war’s early days, but couldn’t gather and ship enough suitable volumes for the demand. Working with publishers and authors, a compact format reprinting of classics, popular novels, memoirs, plays and other reading material was developed, using very small print and less paper.

The program put Armed Services Editions of over 1300 separate titles into the hands of countless soldiers, sailors, and airmen during its 3-year existence, with these pocket-books being shared and shared again all over the world.

This fascinating book recounting the history of these little books of big ideas also highlights the Council on Books in Wartime’s efforts to prevent censorship of ASE titles and the impact that this program had in preparing America’s fighters to become higher education students when the war ended.

 

D for Heather Demetrios – I’ll Meet You There (book review) – choose love or escape from sad hometown?

book cover of I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios published by Henry HoltEndure dead-end hometown one last summer,
escape to art school and freedom…
if only it were that easy.

Skylar can’t leave her alcoholic mother now, doesn’t want Josh to face his PTSD alone, but how can she give up her dream of college?

This strong novel tackles questions of responsibility and abandonment, duty and fear, almost-good-enough and too-good-to-abandon as Sky’s narrative is punctuated with Josh’s often-anguished thoughts.

Don’t miss the author’s letter to the reader here and the book’s first chapters that she shares for free.

Have you known a serviceperson who returned from war-front duty unchanged?

**kmm

Book info: I’ll Meet You There / Heather Demetrios. Henry Holt, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As Skylar endures one last summer before college, her growing attraction to a young Marine disabled overseas and her mother’s inability to cope with life could strand the teen artist in her rural California hometown.

Math-genius Chris and artistic Sky have vowed to escape this agricultural backwater, heading for opposite coasts on big scholarships in just a few months. It’ll be hard leaving best friend Dylan (who’s never known that Chris adores her) and her baby, but it would be unbearable to stay in Creek View.

Sky and Chris drop by the as-usual-drunk weekend party to welcome home her former co-worker just returned from Afghanistan, but no one told her that brash, womanizing Josh had left his leg behind, as well as his self-confidence.

Counting down the days until she leaves for college, Sky is stunned when Mom loses her fast-food job and crawls back into the booze bottle where she’d retreated for so long when Dad died in a drunk-driving wreck.

Josh begins working at the Paradise hotel with Sky again, between therapy appointments, and they fall into an uneasy companionship that could become something more. Motel-owner Marge’s son died in the war before she moved here, so she understands when Josh suddenly freezes as a car backfires nearby.

The parts are coming together in the collage that Sky’s creating for Marge – more of the ‘California quirky’ that’s making the Paradise its own destination – but Sky can’t put her mom’s life back on track, can’t figure out where she and Josh fit into one another’s lives, and can’t see how she can give up her dreams or go after them either.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)