Tag Archive | mothers

Is Lulu next? Murder Among the Stars, by Adam Shankman & Laura L. Sullivan (book review)

book cover of Murder Among the Stars by Adam Shankman & Laura L. Sullivan published by Atheneum | recommended on BooksYALove.com “Be your true self!”
“Act like a star!”
“Stay alive!” Two out of three’s not bad…

Lulu hasn’t been in 1920s Hollywood long, but she knows there are schemers who’ll do anything to get a role with the big movie studios – absolutely anything!

After her run-in with gangsters, hidden identities, and murderous gossip in her first mystery as Girl About Town (my no-spoilers review here), the New York native has her eyes wide open and her exit route planned during this raucous extended audition turned deadly.

Glitz, glamour, and gore – ready for your close-up?
**kmm

Book info: Murder Among the Stars (Lulu Kelly mysteries, book 2) / Adam Shankman and Laura L. Sullivan.  Atheneum Books, 2017.  [Adam’s bio]  [Laura’s Facebook] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk:  Playing footsies with a corpse wasn’t what Lulu had expected at this elegant dinner, but the young actress finds even more bizarre things during the weekend-long audition for a movie contract, as she’s drawn into another mystery in 1920s Hollywood.

Imagine being wealthy enough to build a California castle, to own a menagerie with a real lion, to flaunt your mistress in Society, to give expensive gifts to every guest without blinking an eyelash!

For newspaper and movie magnate William Randolph Hearst, this extravagant house-party is just a simple favor for writer Anita Loos, until actresses start being murdered.

For new-to-Hollywood Lulu Kelly, it’s her chance for a starring role, if the 17 year old can outlast the other twenty starlets trying to win over WR and Marion.

For Lulu’s boyfriend Freddie the private eye, this huge party at the remote estate means too many suspects and too many motives for blackmail and murder.

Why is WR’s 10 year old niece Patricia so interested in crimes and murders?
How can anyone believe that the first suspect nabbed for the first murder did it?
Who invited mobster Sal to this party and does anyone know his connection to Lulu?

Dive into the intrigue and gossip of movie legends in this second Lulu Kelly mystery, as silver screen secrets become oh so deadly.

How is videogame rehab a Cure for the Common Universe? by Christian McKay Heidicker (book review)

book cover of Cure for the Common Universe by Christian McKay Heidicker published by Simon Schuster BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.com Plays videogames more hours than any full-time job,
Sees sunlight on alternate Thursdays (maybe),
Why would they send him to game-addiction rehab?

And just minutes after Jaxon meets a real, breathing teen girl who agrees to go out with him! Quick – how can he level up and prove that he’s cured and get to that date?!

Read an excerpt here, courtesy of the publisher, then go find your own Cure for the Common Universe at a local library or independent bookstore – just out in paperback this month!

What’ll they throw you into rehab for??
**kmm

Book info: Cure for the Common Universe / Christian McKay Heidicker. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, hardcover 2016, paperback 2017. [author site] [publisher site] [author video] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Banished to a rehab center for videogame addicts, 16 year old Jaxon is desperate to escape in time for his first-ever date with a girl in the real world, but earning his way out could involve actually talking about being abandoned by Mom – no other way to level up?!

Not his fault that his parents divorced when he was just 8 or that his mom’s addictions always make her forget he’s coming to visit or that he is escaping from his stepmother’s perfectionism by living in the videogames that he so loved playing with Mom…

Hustled away to the desert rehab center, Jaxon meets teens who truly are videogame addicts (he isn’t, just likes playing them 60 hours a week in summer) and tries to figure out how he can get back to Salt Lake City in just four days so he can meet Serena (no cellphone, no FaceBook) for their date (first date, first girl who laughed with him instead of at him).

Doing chores earns points, doing dumb stuff loses points for you and your guild (yep, using different names and being in guilds is not like gaming at all – ha!).

Earn enough points, and you can go home from v-hab (again, not at all like gaming – ha!)

But no one in the whole two-month history of Horizons has earned their way out in just 4 days – and that’s what Jaxon has to do, if he wants to see Serena… (was any gaming reward worth this much??)

Soup, Aurora, Meeki, Zxzord, and Fezzik want to help their guildmate get to that golden date with Serena, but he’ll have to see beyond his own limitations first.

People aren’t only Saints and Misfits – some are monsters! by S.K. Ali (book review)

book cover of Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali published by Salaam Reads  | recommended on BooksYALove.comThe darkness is crushing her,
Attacker masquerading as righteous,
Why can’t anyone see it?

Janna can cope with being considered a nerd because she studies or different because she wears the hijab at public school, which her remarried dad says is “too religious”.

But when the guy who assaulted her keeps her in sight at every mosque activity and is welcomed at friends’ homes, her fear grows – and she doesn’t want to be afraid anymore!

This June 2017 debut novel would be better titled as Saints and Misfits and a Monster, as Janna’s attacker stalks her in plain sight of everyone who sees only his pious exterior.

How can you support someone in Janna’s situation?
**kmm

Book info: Saints and Misfits / S. K. Ali. Salaam Reads, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Mom is the only divorcee at the mosque, brother Muhammad is is taking a year off from college, and Dad cannot understand why Janna wears the hijab – this school year cannot end fast enough for the Illinois teen who loves her friends greatly and is being stalked mercilessly.

Pleasant things: elder-sitting Mr. Ram with his poetic mind, laughing at Nuah’s jokes, daydreaming about cute Jeremy who’s in no school cliques, re-reading Flannery O’Connor.

Less-pleasant: explaining at school that she’s fine wearing hijab on hot days, her BFF’s continued cluelessness about how Janna absolutely cannot date, competing on Islamic Quiz Bowl team (tricked into it!), chaperoning Muhammad and Sarah as they begin spending time together (Saint Sarah as future sister-in-law?!)

Most unpleasant: watching popular kids bully people who are a little different, trying to avoid Farooq of the so-pious Noor family, finding photos online of herself with uncovered hair and tagged with her name!

What’s worse – having a crush on a non-Muslim boy or memories of a ‘pious’ Muslim boy’s assault crushing her?

The imam’s answers to emailed questions are both witty and wise – will Janna take the advice given by her uncle as she edits it for the mosque’s website?

Farooq seems to be everywhere, all the time – will she ever be able to forget what he did to her?

Sometimes saints aren’t so good and the not-good-enough are better than their detractors – it’s up to Janna to decide where the lines are drawn in her own life.

Must get to Dragon’s Green! by Scarlett Thomas (book review)

book cover of Dragon's Green by Scarlett Thomas published by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.comGrandfather didn’t really teach her magic,
Dragons don’t really eat lovely young ladies,
Kids can’t really go to the Otherworld or Underworld…

These are just a few of the wrong, wrong, and very wrong things that “everyone knows” in Effie’s post-Worldquake England, with its throttled-down technology and disdain for magical arts.

Perhaps she and her friends from the Tusitala School for the Gifted, Troubled, and Strange can use the ring, spectacles, and other objects that Grandfather left to Effie in their search for answers that someone or something is trying to hide from them!

What kharakter in this alternate Worldquake universe are you?
**kmm

Book info: Dragon’s Green (Worldquake, book 1) / Scarlett Thomas. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  [book series website] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Magical thinking and bravery may help Effie and her school friends outwit the man who stole her grandfather’s magical library, but only the eleven-year-old herself can use his ring to travel to the Otherworld and solve the mystery of Dragon’s Green (and save the world).

Ever since the Worldquake five years ago disrupted the internets and made technology erratic (and perhaps killed Effie’s mother), grandfather Griffin has kept to himself. Of course, Effie’s father and stepmother know that magic is not real (except that it is, and Griffin had begun teaching it to Effie before his demise).

Effie learns more about the unscrupulous man who claims that Griffin’s priceless ancient books belong to him and glimpses what their true powers might be, as she begins to make friends with classmates at her unusual school.

Why are Maximilian and Wolf suddenly brave against their tyrannical teachers?
Who in the Otherworld would willingly become a dragon’s favorite meal?
How can someone be the last reader of a book?

Effie, Lexy, Raven, Maximilian, and Wolf each have to master their gift from the small bag left by Griffin – without letting the magical item master them – if their Realworld is to remain safe from the darkness of the Underworld in this first book of the Worldquake series.

Nine, Ten: a September 11 Story, by Nora Raleigh Baskin (book review)

book cover of Nine, Ten: a September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers  | recommended on BooksYALove.comA beautiful day for travel on September 9th,
nice weather in much of the USA on September 10th.
On September 11th, planes were crashed into buildings…

Many young folks today have no personal memories of the Twin Towers falling – or weren’t even born yet.

By seeing this history through the eyes of four different kids whose paths briefly crossed just before those terrible events of 9/11, we get viewpoints beyond the television images and news stories.

You can find the 2016 hardcover or May 2017 paperback at your local library or independent bookstore.

Were you alive on that fateful day in September 2001?
**kmm

Book info: Nine, Tenn: a September 11 Story / Nora Raleigh Baskin. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, hardcover 2016, paperback 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: On September ninth, many people came through the Chicago airport – Sergio heading back to New York from the math awards, Aimee leaving with Dad for their new life in California while Mom races away on business, Naheed waiting for family arriving to stay with them in Ohio, Will tiredly helping Mom get his sisters to the next plane home to Pennsylvania after a vacation they didn’t want.

On September tenth, Sergio was so mad at his deadbeat dad that he skipped school and met a police officer (the wrong way), Aimee is struggling to find her place in a new school where everyone else’s parents are in the movie business, Naheed faces even more questions about wearing the hijab at middle school, and Will keeps flashing back to the way his truck-driver dad died a year ago.

On the morning of September eleventh 2001, the world changed for everyone, as the World Trade Center towers crumbled not far from Sergio’s Brooklyn school, as Aimee woke up very early California-time to phone Mom before her New York City business appointment, as Naheed decides it’s safer for her to find little sister and walk home together instead of hearing kids say “terrorist Muslims” on their, bus as Will feels the plane crash into a nearby field as skips school to think about Dad.

By September 2002, everything is different for everyone.

Arranged marriage? No way! When Dimple Met Rishi, by Sandhya Menon

book cover of When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon published by Simon Pulse  | recommended on BooksYALove.comApp developers’ camp – yes!
Time away from Mamma’s nagging – yes!
Greeted as “my future wife” by some guy – no way!

Utterly furious at her parents about this arranged marriage they never mentioned to her, Dimple isn’t ready for the feelings that grow between her and Rishi in San Francisco as they try to win the camp competition as a team.

Find this May 2017 release at your local library or independent bookstore – you just have to meet Dimple and Rishi for yourself!

Arranged marriage today – relic of the past or possibility of a harmonious future together?
**kmm

Book info: When Dimple Met Rishi / Sandhya Menon. Simon Pulse, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Surely if Dimple wins this young web developers’ challenge, her mamma will stop insisting that the California teen will find her “ideal Indian husband” at Stanford this fall. When Rishi coincidentally finds Dimple at InsaneCom, she is furious to discover that their parents have arranged their marriage – and that he thinks it’s wonderful!

No makeup no glitter Dimple won’t let tradition-loving Rishi woo her – but he is sweet and articulate and even a bit charming.

Deeply romantic Rishi is sad that Dimple can’t see their wonderful future together – but maybe he can help her win the app contest now.

As Dimple and Rishi spend more time together, their attraction grows – but how can it go further when they’ll be on opposite coasts for college?

Family expectations and complications, technical issues and too much coffee, new friends with old problems – looks like InsaneCom will live up to its name for Dimple Shah and Rishi Patel!

Why so candid? Because You’ll Never Meet Me, by Leah Thomas (book review)

book cover of Because You'll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas published by Bloomsbury Teen  | recommended on BooksYALove.comElectricity flares in rainbow colors – and will kill Ollie.
Moritz has no eyes, yet is not blind.
And a doctor suggests that they correspond…hmmm

Find this penpal story like no other in hardcover or paperback at your local library or favorite independent bookstore. And there’s a sequel!
**kmm

Book info: Because You’ll Never Meet Me / Leah Thomas. Bloomsbury USA Childrens, hardcover 2015, paperback 2017.   [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: One is allergic to electricity, the other is kept alive by a pacemaker – two very different teen boys become more than brothers or best friends through postal mail, uncovering a secret past that endangers them both.

Ollie must stay in a forest cabin, far from any US city because the tiniest bit of electricity sends him into life-threatening seizures, and says that being 14 and alone is extremely boring.

Moritz, seeing with his ears only, lives with his adoptive father in a busy German city, has a pacemaker for his fluttering heart, and at 16 is beyond bored with his schoolmates.

A doctor sets them up as penpals, so the guys begin telling one another their life stories through trans-Atlantic letters.

Their childhoods were quite strange, with parents gone missing and medical lab mishaps, and real-life friendships today are very difficult. Ollie misses Liz, who’s given up hiking in their woods for the normalcy of high school. Moritz finds a tenuous connection with Owen and his sister Fieke as bullies target all three of them.

These letters exchanged by Ollie and Moritz start encouraging each other to dare to live a little, even if it’s dangerous – as dangerous as the secret past that their shared memories begin to reveal.

Followed by Nowhere Near You.

End of our world with The Strange Round Bird? by Eden Unger Bowditch (book review)

book cover of Strange Round Bird by Eden Unger Bowditch published by Bancroft | recommended on BooksYALove.comKidnapping? Already happened.
Puzzles with world-shaking answers? Did some.
Partnered with parents to save humanity? Ohhh…

Hopefully, you’ve met Noah, Wallace, Faye, Jasper, and Lucy as they investigated The Atomic Weight of Secrets (my no-spoiler review here) in early 1900s America and then traveled to Italy with them (and the mysterious men in black) to study The Ravens of Solemano (reviewed here) in the further adventures of the Young Inventors Guild.

Happy book birthday this month to The Strange Round Bird!, the conclusion of this exciting trilogy as our five amazing young people are promised a reunion with their talented parents in Egypt… but the evil Komar Romak has followed them again!

Where do you dream that adventure will take you in this world?
**kmm

Book info: The Strange Round Bird, or the Poet, the King, and the Mysterious Men in Black (Young Inventors Guild, book 3) / Eden Unger Bowditch. Bancroft Press, 2017.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [book Facebook page] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Arriving in Egypt means reuniting with their beloved parents, but evil forces are intent on preventing the Young Inventors Guild from joining them to solve a mystery which will save humanity from destruction!

An ancient manuscript holds clues about the “strange round bird” – is it the same bird from their childhood song?

Even more mysterious men in black are here in the Cairo castle with the five children and their parents – what is their true purpose?

Noah’s mother is kidnapped from the opera stage – can he rescue her without endangering their mission?

Racing through the marketplaces of Cairo, delving into mysterious secrets, seeking answers without waiting to be ‘old enough to help’ – this thrilling conclusion of The Young Inventors Guild series must overcome the ultimate evil to save the world.

Names They Gave Us – enough against chaos? by Emery Lord (book review)

book cover of Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord published by Bloomsbury | recommended on BooksYALove.com She did everything properly,
all promises kept on her side of the bargain,
but evidently God has other plans for her mom…

Asked by her own parents to be counselor at a different camp, while Mom recovers at their family’s church camp just around the lakeshore – Lucy is angry at God for letting the cancer come back and at her boyfriend for ‘pausing’ their relationship for summer.

If she can salvage even a scrap of comfort from working with little kids who spend the summer at Daybreak to escape terrible situations…

This mid-May 2017 novel is stirring, honest, and powerful – faith isn’t always strong, past history is often murky, and the future is never promised to anyone.

(personally, I think the title has no relevance to the story at all. Wonder why @EmeryLord agreed to it – but authors don’t have total control over titles and rarely have a say about the cover art).

Have you ever bargained with God?
**kmm

Book info: The Names They Gave Us / Emery Lord. Bloomsbury Teens, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: All Lucy wants is summer at her parents’ church camp so she can get over Mom’s cancer returning and her boyfriend ‘pausing’ their perfect relationship, but the midwest teen finds herself at another camp nearby, where worry and hope (and Jones) wrestle for her attention.

The counselors and the campers at Daybreak all carry heavy burdens of past circumstances – Mom thinks this is better for Lucy than being with her between chemo sessions?

Just a mile between both camps so Lucy can still hear Dad’s sermons every Sunday – why does that distance seem to change constantly all summer?

Deepening friendships with fellow counselors during their summer together, especially with Henry Jones – can she have a crush on him, so soon after Lukas?

Big concerns affecting her littlest campers, fretting over chemo effects, wondering if she can remember every tiny detail about Mom, huge secrets revealed and memories made. God didn’t keep his side of Lucy’s bargain to keep Mom healthy, but perhaps Lucy doesn’t have to stay mad at him forever.

Risking it all to earn a Full Ride scholarship, by Margaret Haddix (book review)

book cover of Full Ride by Margaret Peterson Haddix published by Simon Schuster BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.comHiding out in a new town,
new name, old worries,
if anyone ever finds out about Daddy…

After her dad is imprisoned for computer fraud, his lawyer helps Becca and her mom forge new identities in a faraway town. But it’s going to be so hard for the teen to keep their secret when her future after high school depends on her academic past.

You can find this suspenseful book about decisions and risks at your local library or independent bookstore in hardcover or paperback.

How far should innocent family members suffer for a criminal’s actions?
**kmm

Book info: Full Ride / Margaret Peterson Haddix. Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2013 (hardcover), 2014 (paperback).  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: The certainty of college for Becca starts slipping away the moment her father is convicted of computer crimes, just before she starts high school. Racing far away from his Atlanta prison (ten years!?), she and Mom take their new identities (courtesy of Daddy’s lawyer) to an Ohio suburb and lay low.

Three staying-unremarkable years later, it’s time for SATs and college choices, and Becca decides to visit her dream school Vanderbilt (Daddy’s favorite) as her friends tour Southern universities.

How can she pay for any college without completing financial aid forms?
Could she win the Court Scholarship – a full ride?
But what if it’s one of Daddy’s scams that kept money in hiding?

Who to trust, how to live so that no one connects them with Daddy’s nationally reported crimes, how to think about a future past high school – Becca and Mom think they have it under control, but…