Tag Archive | series

Blind Guide to Stinkville, by Beth Vrable (book review) – she’s not ‘that blind’, right?

book cover of A Blind Guide to Stinkville by Beth Vrabel published by Sky Pony Press | recommended on BooksYALove.comLearning her way around a new town with limited sight,
coping with albinism in the sunny South,
wondering if Mom’s depression will ever lift…

Maybe Alice is right to think that she will never feel at home in the small paper mill town of Sinkville.
Or maybe she can find connections that will make her new life less stinky.

Travel to Alice’s new town today by visiting your local library or independent bookstore where you can find A Blind Guide to Stinkville as 2015 hardcover or 2016 paperback. Watch for its follow-up title, A Blind Guide to Normal, too (published in October 2016).

Do we let our first impressions of others make them ‘other’ to us?
**kmm

Book info: A Blind Guide to Stinkville / Beth Vrabel. Sky Pony Press, 2015 (hardcover), 2016 (paperback). [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Moving to a small South Carolina town means new challenges for sight-impaired Alice, but as she tries to get people to not see her as different, she discovers new friends and connections that are at risk when her parents discuss sending the 12 year old to school for the blind.

If people want to think that her farting Shi Tzu is a Seeing Eye dog, Alice won’t correct them.
If her best friend back in Seattle is suddenly busy with parties and boys, Alice can’t do much about that.
But when Mr. Hamlin may be forced into a nursing home, mean girl Eliza lies about Tooter attacking her, and Dad spends even more time at work as Mom retreats into depression, Alice is ready to fight!

Writing her essay for the local contest will fix everything…unless it can’t.

Followed by A Blind Guide to Normal, this story of unlooked-for changes and hopeful new beginnings finds “not that blind” Alice finding new perspectives and friendships. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Into the Dim, by Janet B. Taylor (book review) – time travel into danger

book cover of Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | recommended on BooksYALove.comMom is not dead?
Just trapped in the past,
One chance to rescue her…

Hope’s photographic memory is no fluke, but an essential part of her heritage as a Viator time traveler. And she’ll need it to complement her hasty training in knife-fighting and proper lady’s behavior before the team’s one-shot trip to 12th century England.

When Outlander author Diana Gabaldon praises a time travel book, you know it’s something special.

Read the first few chapters here courtesy of the publisher, and you’ll be hooked on Hope’s story – past and present. The sequel is due in May 2017, so start your journey Into the Dim now….

If you could travel into the past, where/when would you go?
**kmm

Book info: Into the Dim / Janet B. Taylor. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Hope is relieved to discover that Mom didn’t die in that earthquake, startled to learn that her mother is trapped in the 12th century, and completely unprepared to time-travel back to Eleanor of Aquitaine’s court to rescue her!

After Mom is declared dead in an earthquake, her adoptive dad’s family in Arkansas wants to ‘stop this homeschool nonsense’ that allows Hope to edge past her crippling phobias and harness her photographic memory.

Luckily, her never-met Aunt Lucinda invites Hope to Scotland, where the teen learns of her Viator lineage which enables her aunt and others to travel – carefully, very carefully – back in time, as her mother did. But Mom missed the rendezvous and is stranded in the time of King Henry II.

Ley lines, costumes, computers, training in martial arts, languages, and customs – all necessary to make that single trip back to a certain time and place. One chance per Viator, that’s it.

Can Hope master enough skills to pass as a young lady traveling with chaperone?
What does handsome neighbor Bran Cameron suspect about her aunt and the Viators?
Why did Mom bolt back into time without telling her?

First in an exciting time-travel series where one false move could undo Hope’s sanity, the Viator secret, and the world’s history. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Birth of Kitaro, by Shigeru Mizuki (book review) – Japanese supernatural Yokai!

book cover of Birth of Kitaro by Shigeru Mizuki published by Drawn & Quarterly | recommended on BooksYALove.com Last of the ghost tribe yokai,
helped by his magic hair (and dead eyeball dad),
fighting evil beings in Japan!

While I didn’t meet any (obvious) supernatural beings during my recent trip to Japan, I am delighted to share this first volume in a new English translation of Shigeru Mizuki’s Kitaro series. The Japanese manga master died in December 2015, leaving a legacy of yokai tales and other graphic novels, which Drawn & Quarterly is bringing to western readers.

Visit the publisher’s page here to download a free excerpt of Kitaro’s adventures. Next book in the series arrives soon!

Any supernatural folk in your neck of the woods?
**kmm

Book info: The Birth of Kitaro (Shigeru Mizuki’s Kitaro) / Shigeru Mizuki; text translated by Zack Davisson. Drawn & Quarterly, 2016. [artist’s obituary]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Fighting evil creatures is Kitaro’s specialty, but the one-eyed spirit boy and his eyeball-father aren’t always sure that the people of Japan are worth battling monstrous beings of legend.

Single-eyed newborn Kitaro digs out of his mother’s grave and quickly finds himself embroiled in struggles with malicious yokai who want to overrun modern Japan.

Can half-cat, half-girl Neko Mutsume help him outwit greedy Nezumi Otoko?
How long will his late father’s spirit animate the eyeball?
What’s the best way to banish a frightful buru-buru haunting the mountain highway?

Kitaro’s wooden geta sandals clip-clop away from each supernatural encounter, and a letter in just the right forest postbox will always bring him back, as these 7 episodes from his earliest manga appearances show. First in a series, with new English text by Zack Davisson complementing manga master Shigeru Mizuki’s well-loved illustrations.

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Lois Lane: Double Down, by Gwenda Bond (book review) – crime, corruption, conspiracy!

book cover of Lois Lane: Double Down by Gwenda Bond published by Switch Press | recommended on BooksYALove.comMobster-controlled doctor,
conspiracy theorist with a grudge,
just another day in Metropolis…

Yes, that Metropolis, where student reporter Lois Lane is tracking down city corruption, worrying about online pal (maybe more?) SmallvilleGuy, and trying to keep a low profile at school, while learning how this ‘being a friend’ thing works (Maddy has a twin?).

Second in the series, but if you haven’t read Lois Lane: Fallout (my no-spoilers recommendation here) you can still enjoy Double Down as backstory to the well-known Superman saga.

Any advice about friendship for moved-too-many-times-to-count Lois?
**kmm

Book info: Lois Lane: Double Down (Lois Lane, book 2) / Gwenda Bond.  Switch Press, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  [author interview video] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher; all opinions are my own.

My book talk: When Lois discovers her best friend’s twin in a perilous situation, the student reporter begins to unearth a diabolical doctor’s connection to Metropolis’ underworld while a conspiracy theorist online threatens her friend Smallville Guy.

It should have been a routine news story about a young mural artist, but Lois finds Maddy’s too-cool twin sister delirious and searching for a mysterious doctor in Dante’s slum neighborhood.

‘The Boss’ controls this slum, rumor says, along with much of Metropolis behind-the-scenes, so Lois’ nose for news is on the hunt – is the new mayor in his pocket?

Her online friend SmallvilleGuy is concerned about new predictions of ‘flying man’ sightings, as reported on their favorite discussion site – how could Insider01 really know?

Maddy and Melody say that the supposed ‘twin connection’ is just a myth – why is Melody seeing through someone else’s eyes now?!

This second installment of the Superman backstory as told from Lois Lane’s teen point of view is a race to uncover corruption in the city and save her friends’ sanity.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

X on the map, any map for Girl From Everywhere, by Heidi Heilig (book review)

book cover of The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig published by Greenwillow | recommended on BooksYALove.comTime traveling,
On a pirate ship,
If there’s a map, she can go there!

Just imagine a Gifted young woman navigating the Temptation and her interesting crew to any port present or past, nations long-swallowed by history, mythic lands – all so that her father the captain can find a way to undo her mother’s death… and perhaps undo Nix herself!

I listened to Heidi speak on a debut YA authors’ panel last week at TxLA, and she was just as funny in person as in this offbeat author interview video.

Sail into your local library or independent bookstore for the February 2016-published first adventure in this two-part sea saga (Heidi is indeed working on the second book now, she assured us!).

If you could travel to any place at any time, where would you come ashore?
**kmm

Book info: The Girl From Everywhere / Heidi Heilig. Greenwillow Books, 2016.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [video author interview] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As her father seeks to undo her mother’s death, 16 year old half-Chinese Nix guides their time-traveling pirate ship to ports real and imagined, encountering mythic creatures and real robber barons, wondering if his quest will undo her as well.

She can guide the Temptation to any port on any map, fictional or factual, so onward goes the ship, seeking every possible cure that could keep Nix’s mother from dying in childbirth – if Slate could only find the map for the exact 1886 Honolulu where they lived.

A crowded 1774 Calcutta market where just-a-friend Kashmir rescues her, sugar barons who want to depose the king of Hawaii, today’s Coast Guard with questions for the grand wooden sailing ship in New York harbor – Nix, Slate, Kash, Rotgut, Bee and her ghost-wife Ayen travel through time and oceans on the captain’s quest.

If her mother survives childbirth in her timeline, what happens to Nix?
Is there room for love when a pirate ship can’t put down roots?
What treacherous waters must Nix cross to fulfill her own dreams?

First of a two-part adventure that spans time, tides, and every human emotion, The Girl From Everywhere wants to remain in existence, despite her father’s longing to undo her past. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Q is quantum Bounders, teens in space, as weapons? by Monica Tesler (book review)

book cover of Bounders by Monica Tesler published by Aladdin | recommended on BooksYALove.comFinally heading for Earth Force Academy,
in space at age 12!
Away from the bullies, at last…

Bred especially to be Bounders, Jasper and other 12-year-olds find themselves grudgingly assisted at Earth Force Academy and challenged to master the alien-shared tech needed to bound, but why exactly the military Earth Force decided that young teens with ‘unusual neurodiversity‘ were the best pilots for this alien world-jumping is rather… suspect.

In future America,

**kmm

Book info: Bounders / Monica Tesler. Aladdin, 2016. [author site] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Genetically specialized for interstellar ship bounding, 12-year-old Jasper is glad to escape earth-school bullies and learn to use alien quantum tech at the Academy in space, but he and his pod-mates start wondering why they were bred to become quantum pilots for the military….

(One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

K for Kenny & the Sword of Kuromori, by Jason Rohan (book review) – summoned to Japan against evil

book cover of Sword of Kuromori by Jason Rohan published by Kane Miller Books | BooksYALove.comMysterious messages and mythic messengers,
motorcycle ninjas and undead attackers,
dream visions and the end of the world?

Kenny never dreamed that his granddad’s diplomatic work in post-war Japan would bring him face-to-face today with villains (human and otherwise) who try to keep the teen from stopping worldwide destruction.

Check out the book’s Facebook page for a tour of sites and monsters found in book 1.  I’m traveling in Japan this summer, so I will see torii gates and temples, but hope that I don’t encounter any nukekubi!

Any multi-tailed foxes in your dreams?
**kmm

Book info: The Sword of Kuromori / Jason Rohan. Kane Miller, 2016.  [series Facebook page]  [publisher site]  [author interview] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Kenny thinks he’ll finally meet up with his grieving father in Japan, but the British teen finds himself detained by government officials, rescued by his grandfather’s old allies, and expected to prevent the world’s destruction using a missing sword… in just nine days!

Maybe it starts with the raccoon-thing on the plane that only he can see, or maybe when the police stop him at the Tokyo airport, or when he’s snatched from them by a ninja on a motorcycle…

His grandfather’s connections with Japan from decades past help Kenny locate the fabled sword that shares his last name so he can learn its secrets and tap into its powers, for he is the only one who can stop a slumbering dragon from being awoken to destroy the world – it is prophesied.

Messages from spirit world allies arrive in his dreams, the daughter of grandfather’s old friend teaches him martial arts moves and essential Japanese phrases, and mythic beings try to kill them in broad daylight!

Who exactly is threatening the USA west coast with a tsunami?
How can an old sword stop an unearthly weapon?
Will Kenny ever see his dad again?

First in a series filled with Japanese culture and mythological creatures, questions about loyalty and family, plus lots of adventure and humor. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Hunter, by Mercedes Lackey (book review) – against monsters, against deceit

book cover of Hunter by Mercedes Lackey published by DisneyHyperion | BooksYALove.comHer gift and her hounds, against evil.
Rift between worlds admits monsters,
as does envy and fear…

In this future time after the Diseray blasts, the barrier between humanity and the Otherworld is weaker, the monsters of myth are getting stronger, and Joyeux knows that Hunting them to protect the remaining citizens is her duty and her calling.

So why is it like a media circus in Hunter headquarters? Do the citizens think these creatures are make-believe? And who is covering up reports that the deadliest monsters are appearing inside the city’s unbreakable walls?

The story and writing are great, even if the title is rather humdrum. Head to your favorite local library or independent bookstore to request this Sept. 1 release.

**kmm

Book info: Hunter / Mercedes Lackey. Disney Book Group, 2015. [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Called from the remote Mountain to protect citizens from constant monster attacks, Joyeux finds that her magical skills may not help her cope with reality TV hovercams, living in Apex city, or the traitor within its walls.

Joyeux was sent by her uncle to the off-grid monastery after she was orphaned, later discovering her magical talent for hunting the mythological monsters that prey on what’s left of humanity.

Citizens watch the Hunters’ daring attacks on dedicated vid-channels, safe indoors – will Joy ever get used to being followed constantly by videocams?

She and her mystical hounds patrol Apex with her mentor, finding small monsters appearing inside the city walls faster than they can exterminate them – why hasn’t this upward trend been noted already?

And now some large monsters are getting through the city’s impenetrable defenses – who is helping them and why?

Dealing with big egos at Hunter headquarters and the suave attentions of her uncle’s assistant with psychic abilities, Joy’s concern about the city’s fate grows daily as Ketzels, Gazers, Vampires, and worse monsters converge on Apex – with a human’s assistance.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J. Maas (book review) – as payment to the Fae, she lives

book cover of Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas, published by BloomsburySo her family won’t starve,
so the land of her new prison will live,
so an impossible love can grow…

So that her ungrateful family will live, Feyre goes with the beast to Fae, even though entering that magical land will kill her – and does not die.

The beast shapeshifts into a handsome fae prince who grows to appreciate the young human woman. As passion blooms between Tamlin and Feyre, dark forces are plotting to enslave both worlds.

Published on May 5th, this first blockbuster in the series of the same name should be readily found at your local library or independent bookstore – get on the waiting list, if you need to!

How much could you sacrifice for your family’s well-being, for love?
**kmm

Book info: A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, book 1) / Sarah J. Maas. Bl0omsbury, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [author video] Review copy from book fan and author Claire Caterer; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Centuries’ old truce broken by her uncanny aim, Feyre willingly becomes sacrifice to protect her family, little realizing that she will arrive in Fae not to die, but to live, love, and save her enemies’ magical land.

Desperate to keep her feckless father and spoiled sisters alive, she shoots a wolf going after the same deer in the winter woods. But it’s one of the shapeshifter fae who rule the North, and the human girl must pay for his life with her own.

Given the option to leave humanity behind and live forever beyond The Wall dividing the two realms, Feyre is taken to Fae by shapeshifter Tamlin, the wolf’s best friend and a prince in his own right. Contrary to all she’s been told, the young woman isn’t made a slave, doesn’t die of magic poisoning,and is encouraged by Tamlin to draw and paint – after all, she’ll live in Fae forever.

Whispers of dark Fae magic that seeks to conquer all beings reach Tamlin, and what Feyre overhears spurs her into action.

How can her tracking skills help uncover the traitor?
How can she resist the passion building between her and Tamlin?
Why should she even try?

First in a new fantasy series by the author of The Throne of Glass series, the fate of all realms hangs in the balance as evil warps time and minds to suit its purpose.

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)