Tag Archive | religion

Can she be both HEALER & WITCH without peril? by Nancy Werlin (MG/YA book review)

book cover of Healer & Witch, by Nancy Werlin. Published by Candlewick Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A family of healers,
an unlooked-for skill,
now her future is uncertain…

A healer relieves pain with herbs and treatments – wouldn’t removing a painful memory from the mind also be healing? But this action in 1531 France will definitely not be seen as a gift from God!

Soon after her beloved grandmother’s death, 15-year-old Sylvie leaves her mother as lone healer for their village, departing to seek a teacher to help her tame this new skill.

Martin decides to travel with her, having no skill at his family’s trade – now Sylvie has to feed a growing young boy and keep them both safe.

In the market town, they find a healer who knew her grandmother and tells Sylvie where she might find a teacher – a long, dangerous journey away.

Of course, the healer’s friend Robert whose caravan is going to Lyon is the same young man that Martin insulted at the market…

Can the merchant’s caravan avoid robbers on the way?
Will this Madame du Bois help Sylvie learn to contain her gift?
What’s the connection between Robert and Madame and…the archbishop?

The divide between being a healer or a witch is thinner than one of Martin’s red hairs, and Sylvie must decide for herself where to make her stand. Read the first chapter here free, courtesy of the publisher.

Have you ever wished to see inside another’s mind?
**kmm

Book info: Healer & Witch / Nancy Werlin. Candlewick Press, 2022 [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image by Jade Zhang courtesy of the publisher.

Celebration and rogue spirits? She needs A GIRL’S GUIDE TO LOVE & MAGIC, by Debbie Rigaud (YA book review)

Book cover of A Girl's Guide to Love & Magic, by Debbie Rigaud. Published by Scholastic Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

This year, the West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn falls on Cecile’s 15th birthday, and her vodouista aunt Tati Mimose promises it will be epic!

What the Haitian-American teen really wants is for Tati Mimose and her devout Catholic mother to be friends again, but Grandma Rose’s death last year didn’t bring the sisters back together…

All of Caribbean culture is on display for the Parade – national flags on every car, food from every island, and music, music everywhere! Superstar singer Papash will perform, then be interviewed by Tati Mimose with Cecile as her guest!!

Her parents’ restaurant has a corner booth on the parade route, she’ll be running more food over, meeting Papash (!!), and enjoying her birthday with best friend Renee – best day ever, made better when she runs into her crush Kwame on her way to meet Mimose.

Ooh, something has gone very wrong at Mimose’s tarot card reading for a man in Kwame’s building, and a dread spirit has taken over her aunt’s body!

Cecile, Kwame, and Renee research how to eject the spirit, then dart through the Parade crowds, trying to keep Mimose in sight as they gather the ingredients needed.

Can Cecile do the Vodou spell correctly?
Can they keep the spirit from getting close to Papash?
Will Kwame like her at all after this wild day of chases and spirits?

It’ll take plenty of magic for Cecile to make everything right on this special day for her family and Caribbean community.

What annual cultural tradition is your favorite?
**kmm

Book info: A Girl’s Guide to Love & Magic / Debbie Rigaud. Scholastic Press, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Ignoring WOUNDED LITTLE GODS doesn’t mean they’re gone, by Eliza Victoria (book review)

book cover of Wounded Little Gods, by Eliza Victoria. Published in USA by Tuttle Publishing | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Gods of wind, of death,
spirits of dew and seedlings and soil –
unheeded, unneeded by modern life…

Regina was so glad to escape her hometown in the Philippine countryside, even if her first job out of college isn’t world-changing.

Hanging out in new co-worker Diane’s apartment, waiting for rush hour to subside, Regina notices many books on eugenics and terrible experiments on human beings – what a strange conversation they lead to!

Diane never returns to work, and Regina finds a hand-drawn map in her bag – a map of her hometown in detail, with notes in Diane’s writing, showing buildings that aren’t there and a big X and two persons’ names.

Regina makes a quick trip back to Heridos to ask her parents about it – they say a doctor at the hospital has a similar name, and aren’t there just trees on that part of Ka Edgar’s old farm? A phone call to her much older brother Luciano isn’t any help either. Hmmmm….

Trekking through the summer humidity to the abandoned farm, Regina finds hidden buildings (Center for Heredity and Genetics!?) – and a woman who says that Diane is late in returning. No, Florina can’t leave her little house to help Regina look for her…

Well, the young doctor says he doesn’t know anything about that Center, but a lady in the waiting room sees that map and exclaims that she was detained there as a child! Clara retells nightmarish stories of small bodies under white sheets, but now there are only woods where Regina found the Center recently….

As Luciano hurriedly drives to Heridos, two gods appear in his car, asking about his sister and offering their help – oh, he remembers how that went the last time…

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past,” said American writer William Faulkner – how very, very true for everyone connected to that Center for Heredity and Genetics!

With its storyline based on too-real human experimentation centers, this Finalist for the National Book Awards in the Philippines is available for the first time in the US now.

Where do you see the older ways amid the busyness of today?
**kmm

Book info: Wounded Little Gods / Eliza Victoria. Tuttle Publishing, 2022 (US), 2015 (Philippines). [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

B is their band BARAKAH BEATS (don’t tell her parents!), by Maleeha Siddiqui (MG book review)

book cover of Barakah Beats, by Maleeha Siddiqui. Published by Scholastic Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

First year in public school!
Big building, confusing schedule,
best friend ignoring her?

After memorizing the entire Qu’ran, 12-year-old Nimra finally moves from private Islamic school to the same Virginia public middle school that her BFF Jenna attends – is she really ready?

She’s excited about the chance to take art class (if she can convince her conservative Pakistani-American parents), but not happy that Jenna pays so much more attention to other friends.

Her quiet noon prayer is interrupted by some eighth grade guys in the band room – a Muslim boy band?! The whole school is obsessed with Barakah Beats, and they’re inviting her, a new seventh grader, to join?

Beliefs about music vary throughout Islam, but for Nimra’s family, playing instruments or singing isn’t acceptable. Maybe the band will accept the new logo she drew instead of being mad that the young hijabi can’t sing with them…

Her new friend Khadijiah’s big brother is in Barakah Beats. She says they really, really want Nimra in the band to sing and to write new lyrics.

If Nimra practicing with the band makes her cool to Jenna’s friends, but she never performs in public, that would be okay, right?

Oh, of course Barakah Beats is performing at the fundraiser for refugees! And the entire Muslim community will be there, including her parents!

How can Nimra dare sing in public?
Why can’t her parents view music like other Muslims do?
Why can’t Mom and her grandparents agree on the right way to do anything?

Nimra’s heart is in turmoil about keeping her new Muslim friends while defying her family to regain Jenna’s friendship.

What long-held dream are you willing to go for?
**kmm

Book info: Barakah Beats / Maleeha Siddiqui. Scholastic Press, 2021. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Romance & relationships – listen in with free audiobooks!

Time to download this week’s love-filled free audiobooks from SYNC so you can read with your ears!

Save these complete audiobooks to your Sora shelf (FAQs here) free! from Thursday through Wednesday, then listen to them at your leisure – the loan period is 99 years!

The Henna Wars (free Sora download 8-13 July 2021)
By Adiba Jaigirdar
Read by Priya Ayyar
Published by Listening Library

When Flavia comes back into Nishat’s life, the Irish-Bangladeshi teen is smitten with her.
But for their high school business competition, both young women decide to showcase their henna skills.
Can they get past the competition to see if their relationship will bloom? Will Nishat hide her feelings for Flavia to keep her family happy?

Saints and Misfits (free Sora download 8-13 July 2021)
By S.K. Ali
Read by Ariana Delawari
Published by Listening Library

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!

(Recommended on BooksYALove: https://booksyalove.com/?p=8819 as well as the sequel, Misfit in Love, just published in May! https://booksyalove.com/?p=12109)

More love stories, please?
**kmm

Can you create a new future for yourself? Audiobook stories bring us more!

Last century and this century – two young men take steps to secure their futures in this week’s free audiobooks from SYNC.

Remember that although these complete audiobooks are only available for free download from Thursday through Wednesday, you can listen them on your phone or device any time as long as you keep them on your Sora shelf (FAQs here).

CD cover of audiobook The Magic Barrel by Bernard Malamud | Read by Sheldon "Shelley" Berman, David Cromer, Marge Kotlisky, Naana Potok, Malcolm Rothman, Jensen Wheeler. Published by LA Theatre Works | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The Magic Barrel (free download 27 May – 2 June 2021)
by Bernard Malamud | Read by Sheldon “Shelley” Berman, David Cromer, Marge Kotlisky, Naana Potok, Malcolm Rothman, Jensen Wheeler
Published by L.A. Theatre Works

The Yiddish matchmaker’s envelope brims with prospective wives for those who seek out her expertise in 1950s America.

This classic short story explores her magic barrel of possibilities for a shy young rabbinical student looking for a bride, so certain in his faith and so uncertain about his future.

CD cover of audiobook Of Beetles and Angels:  A Boy's Remarkable Journey from a Refugee Camp to Harvard, by Mawi Asgedom | Read by Mawi Asgedom
Published by Hachette Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Of Beetles and Angels: A Boy’s Remarkable Journey from a Refugee Camp to Harvard (free download 27 May – 2 June 2021) by Mawi Asgedom | Read by Mawi Asgedom
Published by Hachette Audio

The author narrates his memoir of escaping war-torn Eritrea with his family and the long journey from Ethiopian refugee camp to the United States.

His decision to treat all people as angels (even if they were disguised as hard-cased beetles) buoyed his faith and brought him to academic success.

Does your future hinge on chance or can it be changed by your determination?
**kmm

She writes hopeful, worried LETTERS FROM CUBA to war-darkened Poland, by Ruth Behar (MG book review)

book cover of Letters From Cuba, by Ruth Behar. Published by Nancy Paulsen Books/ Penguin Random House | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Cross the wide ocean,
earn money slowly, slowly –
bring family to safety – soon, soon!

Papa went first to Cuba, trying to make enough money so their whole family could escape the increasing peril of merely being Jewish in Poland.

Esther is the oldest child, ready to travel across the sea and help Papa grow their savings faster, 11 years old on a ship crossing the Atlantic in 1938, writing letters to her sister Malka in an old notebook until time to send them.

Always-summer Cuba means sandals instead of woolen stockings, a small village in the hills away from the city, walking and walking with their peddler’s packs to sell goods throughout the countryside where the air smells like candy from the sugar mills.

As Esther learns Spanish, she’s befriended by Francisco Chang who came from China to his uncle’s store, Doctor Pablo and Senora Graciela whose daughter died young, and Manuela’s formerly enslaved grandmother who honors the gods of her African ancestors.

Angry sugar mill owner Eduardo thinks she and Papa don’t belong here, so the young woman takes refuge in the poems of Juan Marti shared by Senora Graciela as Esther designs and sews stylish cotton dresses that become popular in Havana.

Can she make enough dresses by herself to fill the orders?
Can they earn enough money to get their family here soon?
As Europe rejects Jewish people, will Cuba still welcome them?

As powerful people like Eduardo begin echoing Hitler’s anger and lies, Esther and Papa work hard and pray harder to bring their family to safety!

What letters have shared family stories with you?
**kmm

Book Info: Letters From Cuba / Ruth Behar. Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House, 2020. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

MISFIT IN LOVE all by herself? by S. K. Ali (YA book review)

book cover of Misfit in Love, by S. K. Ali, published by Salaam Reads | recommended on BooksYALove.com

She’s ready for yes,
he’s already moved on –
great summer now not-so-great…

Her brother Muhammad’s nikah wedding celebration will be the perfect time for Janna to tell Nuah that his year away at college confirmed she’s finally ready to be together, but there’s hardly a quiet moment as the small Muslim ceremony has become a 300-guest extravaganza at her Indian-American dad’s fancy Illinois lakeside estate!

Between her young half-brothers’ ice cream truck obsession, wondering who her best friend’s date is, and Sarah’s attempts to rein in her fiance’s over-the-top additions to the party, hijabi Janna’s stress levels are rising as family connections and conflicts swirl.

Sarah’s cousin Haytham is a so-charming singing poet, family friend Layth is a brooding young man, and Janna’s long-divorced Egyptian-American mom is suspiciously happy to see a handsome college classmate and his teenage daughters.

Has dad always been such an anti-Black racist?
Is mom’s happiness on hold till Janna leaves for college?
How can everyone have a happily ever after except her?

The story begun in Saints and Misfits (recommended here) continues as Janna tries to envision a future much different than her dreams. By the author of Love From A to Z (recommended here).

Happy book birthday to Misfit in Love!

How to you know when it’s time to let go of a dream?
**kmm

Book Info: Misfit in Love: a Saints and Misfits Novel / S.K. Ali. Salaam Reads – S&S, 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Stories of humanity & facing change – read with your ears

Time to read these explosive stories with your ears – after you download this week’s free audiobooks from SYNC!

Grab these audiobooks free during their Thursday through Wednesday run, and you have free use of them on your device as long as you keep them on Sora shelf (up to 99 years)- bookmark the FAQs here.

CD cover of audiobook Alive: Generations Trilogy, book 1,
by Scott Sigler, Read by Colleen Delaney and a Full Cast. Published by GraphicAudio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Alive: Generations Trilogy, book 1 (download free – May 20-26, 2021)
by Scott Sigler | Read by Colleen Delaney and a Full Cast
Published by GraphicAudio

Young people awaken from long-sleep in space – alone in a metallic world with dangers around every corner.

With no memories to rely on, the group must work together to survive in this sci-fi thriller.

CD cover of audiobook What Makes Us, by Rafi Mittlefehldt. Read by Graham Halstead. Published by Brilliance Audio/Candlewick | recommended on BooksYALove.com

What Makes Us (download free May 20-26, 2021)
by Rafi Mittlefehldt | Read by Graham Halstead
Published by Brilliance Audio/Candlewick

Eran’s passion for social justice leads him to protest increased police traffic stops in Houston – and brings his long-gone father’s alleged terrorist activities into the public spotlight.

How can Eran reconcile his father’s choices with the ways that society is now treating the Jewish teen?

When the future is a blank slate, how do you choose the right path?
**kmm

Historical tales with Chinese roots – read with your ears this week! (audiobooks)

Time to download this week’s free audiobooks from SYNC so you can read with your ears!

Remember that although these complete audiobooks are only available from Thursday through Wednesday, you have free use of them on your device as long as you keep them on Sora shelf – more info here.

CD cover of audiobook Descendant of the Crane, by Joan He. Read by Nancy Wu, published by Dreamscape | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Descendant of the Crane (download free – May 13-19, 2021)
by Joan He | Read by Nancy Wu
Published by Dreamscape

Suddenly ascending to the throne when her father dies, Princess Hesina’s search for his murderer puts the young woman in contact with her soon-to-be subjects outside the palace walls.

Is the soothsayer’s forbidden magic telling the truth? Will the secrets of investigator Akira endanger them both?

CD cover of audiobook Monkey, by Wu Ch'eng-en, translated by Arthur Waley. Read by Kenneth Williams | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Monkey (download free May 13-19, 2021)
by Wu Ch’êng-ên, Arthur Waley [Trans.] | Read by Kenneth Williams
Published by Naxos Audiobooks

This 16th century Chinese classic includes demons, gods, and spirits who stand in the way of a priest traveling West to acquire sacred Buddhist texts for his emperor.

Su Wukong, the Monkey King himself, accompanies the priest on his long journey in this abridged version translated into English in 1942 and recently recorded.

What tales reflecting China are your favorites?
**kmm