Tag Archive | non-US author

Supernaturally, she is both THE CANDLE AND THE FLAME, by Nafiza Azad (YA book review)

book cover of The Candle and the Flame, by Nafiza Azad. Published by Scholastic Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Djinn of order and of chaos battle in the human world that is home to neither in this adventurous tale, while family loyalties are tested, and a young woman receives an unsought gift that can break boundaries if it doesn’t fracture her first.

Through the Name Giver, ifrits can come from their world to help humans defend theirs from the ravaging Shayateen whose dark night of slaughter left only three survivors hidden in an entire city.

But when the Name Giver is compromised in the now-repopulated city of Noor, its ifrit Emir and human maharajah face a greater peril.

How does the Fire of ifrit Ghazala come to human survivor Fatima who never knew her?
Can the Emir help Fatima navigate this unknown convergence?
What lurks in the opulent halls of the reluctant maharajah’s palace?

Each time the muezzin’s call sounds over her beloved city of a thousand nations, Fatima prays for their safety, yet again…

Happy book birthday to this extraordinary tale of magic, relationships, and the importance of being seen.

What’s in your name?
**kmm

Book info: The Candle and the Flame / Nafiza Azad. Scholastic Press, 2019. [author interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

May the Fourth be with you! TRAGEDY OF THE SITH’S REVENGE, by Ian Doescher (book review)

book cover of William Shakespeare's Tragedy of the Sith's Revenge, by Ian Doescher, published by Quirk Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Today is Free Comic Book Day, so find your nearest participating comics store here and get there fast, before the excellent selection of free comic books runs out!

It’s also Star Wars Day – a good opportunity to point you to another volume in Ian Doescher’s Shakespearean retellings of the Star Wars movies… read ye now the Tragedy of the Sith’s Revenge (movie episode three).

Yes, our valiant Chewbacca appears in this volume (farewell too soon, actor Peter Mayhew), as do many characters good and evil from the episodes in this series before and after this one:

The Phantom of Menace (part 1), The Clone Army Attacketh (part 2), William Shakespeare’s Star Wars  (part 4), The Empire Striketh Back  (part 5), and The Jedi Doth Return (part 6).

Doescher has also penned part 7 The Force Doth Awaken and part 8 Jedi the Last, all Shakespearean and all faithful to the movies.

And as I wrote in 2015:
Why speak just now of this most-worthy tome,
Why note it not upon its natal day?
Mark well today’s harmonious date, kind one,
And may the Force be with us all, I pray!
**kmm

Book info: William Shakespeare’s Tragedy of the Sith’s Revenge (Star Wars Part the Third) / Ian Doescher. Quirk Books, 2015. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Tragedy, tragedy! Hear now the tales…on audiobooks.

Is evil inherent in every person?
Or must you be with others to become bad?
Listen to this week’s tales to find out!

Here’s our new Thursday-Wednesday pair of FREE professionally produced audiobooks from AudiobookSYNC .

Click on the CD title link you want, enter your name and email address at the AudioSync page, then download either or both professionally produced audiobooks to enjoy for as long as you keep the file on your device.

CD cover of Othello,  by William Shakespeare | Read by Ewan McGregor, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kelly Reilly, Edward Bennett, James Laurenson, Tom Hiddleston, Alastair Sims, David Mara, Michael Hadley, Michael Jenn, Michelle Fairley, Martina Laird Published by Naxos AudioBooks | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Othello, by William Shakespeare.

Read by Ewan McGregor, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kelly Reilly, Edward Bennett, James Laurenson, Tom Hiddleston, Alastair Sims, David Mara, Michael Hadley, Michael Jenn, Michelle Fairley, Martina Laird. Published by Naxos AudioBooks

Othello’s raging jealousy and Iago’s sly treachery thunder and whisper through this tragedy, with original music complementing Shakespeare’s classic play.

CD cover of You,  by Charles Benoit | Read by David Baker Published by Full Cast Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

You, by Charles Benoit. Read by David Baker. Published by Full Cast Audio

The tedium of underachieving Kyle’s sophomore year is broken by the arrival of new guy Zack, cruel and quirky. Boredom and blood in this thriller told completely in second-person… what will You do next, Kyle?

Can someone evil ever be redeemed?
**kmm

I = THE ILIAD, illustrated! by Gareth Hinds (graphic novel book review)

book cover of The Iliad; a Graphic Novel Adaptation, by Gareth Hinds. Published by Candlewick Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

After The Odyssey
comes the war against Troy,
and the gods have chosen sides!

As with his adaptation of The Odyssey, Hinds quotes the important speeches that drive the story forward and transmutes the voluminous descriptive text into his illustrations.

Keeping track of so many names and affiliations in the classic Greek tale is so much easier with Hinds’ distinct armor and headgear, color-coding, and layouts.

The ugly business of war in colorful garb…

Who was right in the Trojan War?
**kmm

Book info: The Iliad: A Graphic Novel Adaptation / Gareth Hinds. Candlewick Press, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

F is FUN THINGS TO DO WITH DEAD ANIMALS for Amun & his Egyptologist mom! by Eden Unger Bowditch & Salima Ikram (MG/YA book review)

book cover of Fun Things to do With Dead Animals, by Eden Unger Bowditch & Salima Ikram, published by AUC Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Scorpions, ancient statuettes,
learning how to make mummies,
not your average childhood!

Amun Ra tries to be a normal teenager despite his mom’s mummy obsession and switching schools between Egypt and Washington DC. And the bad guys trying to steal a priceless statue, don’t forget them…

This is the first young adult fiction book published by AUC Press, well-known for its scholarly works on Egyptology, as shown by the narrow page margins and smaller typeface than used in most books for teens.

Beyond those printing quirks, the story is full of adventure and humor with chapter titles like “A Dead Mouse in Every Bag” (Mum teaching mummification at his second grade birthday party) and “Murder by Papyrus” (with Mum at a London academic conference before eighth grade).

The American and Egyptian authors live and work within sight of many places that Amun Ra visits with his classmates or on archaeological digs with Mum, and their family and friends acted out scenes in the book for the photos that the teen tapes onto pages of his story.

Any parental embarrassments that turned out to be helpful in the end?
**kmm

Book info: Fun Things To Do With Dead Animals: Egyptology – Ruins – My Life / Eden Unger Bowditch & Salima Ikram. AUC Press, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Named for an Egyptian god, traipsing from dig site to research station with Mum, wondering how his life would be now if his dad had lived – Amun Ra would rather not have mummified dogs on the kitchen table, but probably wouldn’t enjoy the boring one-place life of his classmates in either Cairo or Washington DC.

In junior high, he endures Mum’s embarrassing museum tour with his class, encounters unscrupulous people trying to steal priceless antiquities, and stumbles onto an ancient toilet system (don’t ask how, please).

Amun-Ra’s journal includes snapshots and a few flashbacks (mouse-mummifying kits at his 2nd grade birthday party) as the young teen tries to keep up with his friends on two continents, keep jackals (animal and human) away from Mum’s excavations, and decide what he wants to do with his own future.

B is for BOY BAND OF THE APOCALYPSE! by Tom Nicoll, art by David O’Connell (YA book review)

book cover of Boy Band of the Apocalypse by Tom Nicoll, published by Kane Miller EDC | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The band everyone loves!
Lead singer leaves? Oh, no!
Now the world is doomed… really.

Music reaches into our very souls at times, and this boy band will use their songs to control as many teen souls as they can – unless rather unmusical Sam can infiltrate Apocalips and stop them!

At least that’s what the prophecy says…

Another fun British import brought to the US by Kane Miller Publishing – and yes, the second book is available now: Boy Band of the Apocalypse: Washed Up.

Prophecy, destiny, or free will?
**kmm

Book info: Boy Band of the Apocalypse (Boy Band of the Apocalypse, book 1) / Tom Nicoll, illustrated by David O’Connell. Kane Miller/EDC Publishing, 2019. [author site] [artist site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Witnessing the world’s most popular boy band secretly murder their lead singer puts Sam in a tough spot as the British thirteen year old is tapped to stop Apocalips from destroying the world!

After reluctantly attending the concert with her best friend, Sam’s feisty little sister is suddenly a total Apocalips fan, like those bullying Heatherstone quadruplets in Sam’s class… very out of character.

Now that Sam knows Apocalips is intent on conquering the world with a new lead singer, he is forced to audition despite his shaky voice and bad dancing. Genius pal Milo’s invention will help with the singing, and Sam’s boring accountant parents will help with the dancing – really?!

Fame and fortune are his – if Sam can survive the weirdest audition ever and find the secret of Apocalips’ mind-control before it’s too late for everyone!

Stolen from Sinclair’s! MYSTERY OF THE PAINTED DRAGON, by Katherine Woodfine (book review)

book cover of Mystery of the Painted Dragon, by Katherine Woodfine. Published by Kane Miller Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A famous painting!
A locked-door theft!
A dread criminal threatens everyone…

Better than the “Boy Detective” penny thrillers that Billy reads, the cases that the young employees of Sinclair’s (amazing, astounding) Department Store all seem to have terrible villain The Baron at their core – but why is he targeting Sophie and Sinclair’s in particular?

This is third in the Sinclair’s series set in 1909 London, following The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow (my review here) and The Mystery of the Jeweled Moth (here).

Many strands come together in the fourth book, The Mystery of the Midnight Peacock (fireworks! hidden passageways! The King visiting Sinclair’s Department Store!), so ask for the whole paperback set at your local library or independent bookstore.

Which friends do you want by your side when there’s a mystery to unravel?
**kmm

Book info: The Mystery of the Painted Dragon (Sinclair’s Mysteries, book 3) / Katherine Woodfine. Kane Miller/EDC Publishing, 2017. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Sophie and Lil are on the case again when a famous painting is stolen from Sinclair’s Department Store in 1909, and the investigative teens suspect that London criminal mastermind The Baron is involved.

Snobbish art critic Mr. Lyle allows sudents of the Spencer School of Art to assist with the exhibition at Spencer’s, where a rare dragon painting loaned by the King himself holds a place of honor.

Art school instead of university? Lil’s brother Jack is hiding his enrollment at the Spencer from his parents – scandalous!

Hobbled as much by the expectations of British society as by her crippled leg, Leo eagerly escaped her parents’ country estate to attend art school in London. New friends, new opportunities, an attack in the train station?

Leo and Jack join the team as Sophie (ladies’ hats), Lil (dress model and actress), Jack (stable hand), and Billy (office boy and avid reader of detective fiction) work on their third case together as ruthless crime boss The Baron moves ever closer to his prize.

Is her life in Nazi England part of THE BIG LIE? by Julie Mayhew (book review)

book cover of The Big Lie, by Julie Mayhew. Published by Candlewick Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

England conquered by Germany,
Generations of babies for the Fatherland.
Such a vision! Such a nightmare!

Of course Jessika listens and learns from her parents, so influential in their English town neighborhood and so important in the Party!

Even though it’s 2012, not even her expert ice skating can take her outside the Reich, away from her inevitable future as wife and mother, away to any place where she can love whoever she pleases.

I enjoy alternate history – this Big Lie is so believable that it’s truly frightening.

What historic event would you change to improve our now?
**kmm

Book info: The Big Lie / Julie Mayhew. Candlewick Press, 2017. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Liberated by Germany during her great-grandparents’ days, the England where middle sister Jessika lives is ruled by the Nazi Party, yet the teen fights to squelch her own feelings and doubts before trouble takes over.

The idea that an American singer would perform in London for the first time in 70 years – at the Reich’s invitation – enrages Jess’s father, annoys her ice skating coach (such lapses in concentration, Jessika…), and thrills her classmates beyond all measure, especially when those most loyal to the Party are invited to sing and march on stage for the concert!

Perhaps the Fuhrer himself will attend the concert and see how dedicated her squad is!

Maybe preparing for their performance will let Jess be closer to fascinating GG without anyone reporting the girls for unsuitable friendship.

But her best friend questions why suddenly this ‘decadent music’ is allowed instead of banned, and Clementine’s family accelerates their timetable for escaping the Party’s brutal control.

And it could be that Fisher knows something more as they practice and practice… the Storm Troopers are determined to know everything about everyone involved with the explosive concert!

Alternate history brings a chill as the Reich rules Britain in 2012.

Who’s pursuing Spindrift and the Orchid so rare? by Emma Trevayne (book review)

book cover of Spindrift and the Orchid, by Emma Trevayne. Published by Simon Schuster BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Objects of immense power,
flung to the corners of the world –
together, they are too strong. And yet…

“…the history of Lux, the city spread out around her, was fascinating to Spindrift since it wasn’t her history. She had come here when she was young, after the accident. The sea was her home; she only lived here,” above Grandfather’s shop of curiosities and treasures (p.6).

When he allows her to read mother’s letters, of course the teen will start looking for the final treasure that her parents were voyaging to claim when their ship sank and someone placed baby Spindrift and a glass orb in a small boat that drifted to shore.

Her world is not ours, but much too familiar is the lust for power that drives the person trying to steal the only thing left to Spindrift by her parents.

Where is the line between one’s destiny and being fated to walk into disaster?
**kmm

Book info: Spindrift and the Orchid / Emma Trevayne. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Within the glass orb, the orchid-woman promises that all Spindrift’s wishes can be granted, as Grandfather reveals that her parents paid the ultimate price to find the black orchid and someone begins stalking the orphan girl, willing to do absolutely anything to control the rarest of all magic orchids!

Spin was born on her parents’ ship as they sailed the world in search of unusual goods; now she is landlocked in Lux where her mother’s father sells unique items, where the Seven Sages established order and justice long ago before they transformed.

Reading the letters sent by her mother to Grandfather during her travels, Spin begins to see why the glass orb containing the orchid-woman is important and why someone is trying to take it from her!

As Grandfather prepares to take Spindrift and her best friends on a holiday trip, she learns more about why the orchid-woman is trapped in the orb – can she be freed?

Donning bespelled wings, Spin flies with Clemence and Max as they follow clues from her mother’s last letters – why did the ship sink so near the shore with no other survivors?

There are other orbs with their own powers – did her parents lose their lives hunting for them or because they found them?

In this world of alchemy and power, Spindrift searches for answers on land and sea as the evil collector hunts her.

She must gather all of THE HIDDEN STAR stone! by K. Sello Duiker (book review)

book cover of The Hidden Star, by K. Sello Duiker. Published by Cassava Republic Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Math is her best subject,
collecting stones a fun hobby –
the newest one is special, maybe magical!

South African parents warn kids to stay indoors all night so the creature called Zim won’t take them away. This is true in Nolitye’s shanty neighborhood where children are disappearing!

Her mother says neighbors are wrong about her late father’s amazing abilities, the school bullies steal her tiny lunch every single day, the local stray dogs are talking to her – and she finds a special stone that makes her feel giddy with joy!

Someone else wants that stone’s power, the full power of all its pieces that Nolitye is finding….

Published after the author’s early death, this tale of myth, reality, folklore, and family is worth requesting at your local library or indie bookstore – if they don’t have it, they can get it for you!

What would you wish, holding this hidden star?
**kmm

Book info: The Hidden Star / K. Sello Duiker. Cassava Republic Press, 2017. [author obituary] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Math is easy, avoiding the school bullies isn’t, but young Nolitye and her best friends are called on a difficult quest to save their South African neighborhood from an evil wizard’s control.

The lovely stone that Nolitye finds gives her such happiness. Then a mysterious woman stops time to tell her its secrets and that the eleven year old must collect its missing pieces before the wizard can gather them!

The stray dogs warn Nolitye to stay indoors one night – do they know who is stealing away children from their Soweto township?

Why does only Nolitye see that Ma Mtonga’s necklace is a living snake?

Can Nolitye, Bheki, and Four Eyes find all the pieces of the stone and stop the evil ones?

Her mother’s behavior suddenly changes, the neighbours think the mythical Zim may be the kidnapper, but only Nolitye and her friends know the truth!