Tag Archive | stepfamily

Are they cursed by THE GHOST OF SPRUCE POINT? by Nancy Tandon (MG book review)

book cover of The Ghost of Spruce Point, by Nancy Tendon. Published by Aladdin | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Keeping track of the moon in his journal – check.
Learning to moderate his anxious tendencies – sort of check.

June in their remote Maine coastal village means two things to 12-year-old Parker: best friend Frankie arrives from the city to spend her summer, and tourists come to his family’s inn for relaxation and Mom’s incredible cooking.

Frankie is finally here, but the tourists aren’t. Only grumpy neighbor Mrs. Gruvlig would be pleased to have fewer people on Spruce Point – has she reawakened the curse that brought the sailing ship Westward to wreck upon its rocks long ago?

The whole Kids Confidential Meeting – Parker, little sister Bailey, their cousins from across the bay, and Frankie – brainstorm ways to save the inn, like more advertising and Mom leading cooking classes.

Unceasing rain in usually bright June, dangerous-to-touch moths eating all the oak leaves, road to the inn flooding – it must be a curse!

What are those floating green blobs of light in the cove?
Who (or what) is leaving things in the kids’ treehouse?
Why is there a ghost in Mrs. Gruvlig’s yard?

Maybe the sailors who died in the wreck of the Westward are causing the troubles or maybe it’s closer to home!

What’s your favorite ghost story?
**kmm

Book info: The Ghost of Spruce Point / Nancy Tendon. Aladdin / Simon & Schuster, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Classic tales retold for modern listeners (audiobook recommendations)

Week two of AudioSYNC season brings us re-imagined classic tales.

Download either or both of these professionally produced audiobooks into your Sora shelf by Wednesday- free!

FAQs on getting a Sora free account and the entire AudioSYNC season here.

Now, on to this week’s selections, to read with your ears!

CD cover of The Family Chao, by Lan Samantha Chang | Read by Brian Nishii.
Published by Recorded Books

The Family Chao (free Sora download 5/4-10/23)
by Lan Samantha Chang | Read by Brian Nishii
Published by Recorded Books

After 35 years as restaurant owners, their Wisconsin town still considers the Chao family as outsiders. When the patriarch is found dead, his three sons go on trial for his murder! A retelling of The Brothers Karamazov.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/210657/the-family-chao-by-lan-samantha-chang-read-by-brian-nishii/

CD cover of Faraway: Fairy Tales for the Here and Now, by Rainbow Rowell, Nic Stone, Soman Chainani, Ken Liu, Gayle Forman. Published by Brilliance Audio

Faraway: Fairy Tales for the Here and Now (free Sora download 5/4-10/23)
by Rainbow Rowell, Nic Stone, Soman Chainani, Ken Liu, Gayle Forman | Read by Rebecca Lowman, Kate Rudd, Robin Eller, Alexander Cendese, Timothy Andrés Pabon, Andrew Eiden, Michael Crouch, Neil Shah, Fajer Al-Kaisi, Graham Halstead, Jess Nahikian, Frankie Corzo, Josh Bloomberg, Greg Chun, Brian Holden, Kimberly Woods, Ryan Jordan McCarthy
Published by Brilliance Audio

Five modernized fairy tales: “The Prince and the Troll” with the so-captivating voice; “Hazel and Gray” in love in a dangerous forest (Hansel & Gretel with a twisty twist); “The Princess Game” with many suspects interviewed by the police; “The Cleaners” of others’ memories, but not skilled in their replacement; “The Wickeds” as in wicked stepmothers – plural!

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/193263/faraway-by-rainbow-rowell-nic-stone-soman-chainani-ken-liu-gayle-forman-read-by-rebecca-lowman-kate-rudd/

What audiobooks on the AudioSYNC summer list are you looking forward to most?
**kmm

divider clipart http://www.clipartpanda.com/clipart_images/mondays-throughout-the-day-17164159

Y = Time loop? Time warp? SEE YOU YESTERDAY, by Rachel Lynn Solomon (YA book review) #A2Z

book cover of See You Yesterday, by Rachel Lynn Solomon. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Just great – her high school nemesis is her new college roommate, and a guy in Physics volunteers her to answer a basic question that she doesn’t know.

Investigative reporting that turned Barrett’s whole high school against her isn’t good enough for the campus newspaper – full stop on her career plans.

Don’t even ask why she’s tagged in every photo of a frat house fire… worst Wednesday ever!

The next morning she wakes up to… Lucie moving in again? The first day of Physics and rude Asian guy and humiliating interview again? What is going on?!?

Somehow, she and Miles (the Japanese guy) are both stuck in a time loop – and he’s been repeating this same day for two months!

As they try over and over again to escape this not-great day, the teens discover commonalities (their Jewish heritage, wanting to tell stories that matter, love of classic movies) and differences (his parents are professors, her mom and soon-to-be stepmom run a stationery shop, she’s fat and he’s not).

Doing good deeds, skipping class, asking a retired professor about theoretical time travel – what’s going to break this cycle?

Or do they want to stay in this one September day forever, together?

Another love story set in Seattle by the author of Today Tonight Tomorrow (I recommended here) and We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This (see more here).

What day in your life would you want to experience on repeat?
**kmm

Book info: See You Yesterday / Rachel Lynn Solomon. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

G is for Graham, seeking RARE BIRDS, friendship, and answers, by Jeff Miller (MG book review) #A2Z

book cover of Rare Birds, by Jeff Miller. Published by Union Square Kids | recommended on BooksYALove.com

In Mom’s Florida hometown for the summer, waiting…

She and 11-year-old Graham have gone from hospital to hospital as doctors try to fix her heart condition – this is the final stop, the last chance, waiting for a transplant.

They’ll stay with Mom’s long-time friend Dom who stored her keepsakes, like her birding journal, even though his son Nick isn’t keen on sharing a room with Graham.

Graham does make a friend his age in the hospital – Lou knows its ins and outs as she’s there with her dad.

Lou lives near Dom’s house, so during their non-hospital time, they learn to handle a canoe and explore the waterways, looking for the birds in Mom’s journal, finding the places that Mom and his late father went during high school.

Can they sight the rare Snail Kite and win the youth birdspotters’ contest?
Why doesn’t Nick want to help with his dad’s house painting business?
Will Mom’s time in this hospital turn out okay?

Friendship and family, learning new things and making new goals – a summer to make memories.

What’s the most unusual creature you’ve ever seen in the wild?
**kmm

Book info: Rare Birds / Jeff Miller. Union Square Kids, 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Sisters sharing DRIZZLE, DREAMS, AND LOVESTRUCK THINGS, by Maya Prasad (YA book review)

book cover of Drizzle, Dreams, and Lovestruck Things, by Maya Prasad. Published by Hyperion /Disney | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Four sisters,
four seasons,
five chances for love…

For the past decade, the four teen Singh sisters have lived in the Songbird Inn on Orcas Island, where their widowed father met and married Pop as they renovated the old property together. But three years ago, the girls’ beloved stepdad died, before he could see their dream named as “the most romantic inn in America” for its unique seaside weddings.

Nidhi has planned her senior year and beyond in great detail as she will head to pastry school in Paris after graduation, with boyfriend Matt. A tree crashing through her bedroom brings Grayson and construction crew to the inn – how will his secret artistic passions affect her carefully ordered life this fall?

Avani has spent the winter avoiding Francisco after a date mix-up, not so easy when his family supplies produce and goat cheese to the inn daily. Her grief for Pop lingers even as Dad begins seeing Amir, so she decides to revive his beloved Winter Ball in his memory, finding that Francisco’s help can make it happen.

Spring on the is photographer Sirisha’s favorite season, and hosting the Thousand Shores theater troupe at the Inn makes it even better – brown girls, queer girls, stories turned and retold. And beautiful Brie leaves her tongue-tied, even as the young actress tries to help Sirisha find the story that will help her photos win the San Juan Snaps contest.

Queen of Romance – Rani’s deep love of romance novels has helped her twin Avani and her older and younger sisters find happiness this past year. As they prepare for the biggest summer wedding of all, which inn visitor will be her happily ever after – socially-conscious Vikram, fun and sporty Leo, or Raj who didn’t kiss her last summer?

A wonderful year in Washington’s Pacific Northwest with the Singh family as they work through past issues with family still in India, decide what their futures might look like, and host a parade of interesting guests in the beautiful inn that they call home.

Where would you build the best inn ever?
**kmm

Book info: Drizzle, Dreams, and Lovestruck Things / Maya Prasad. Hyperion, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Look again – THAT WAY MADNESS LIES: 15 OF SHAKESPEARE’S MOST NOTABLE WORKS REIMAGINED, ed. by Dahlia Adler (YA book review)

book cover of That Way Madness Lies: 15 of Shakespeare's Most Notable Works Reimagined / Dahlia Adler, ed.
Published by Flatiron Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Ah, the Bard!
His classic plays.
retold and retold – now with a twist!

A brooding bad boy becomes obsessed with a young ballerina from a rival high school – Romeo and Juliet, told completely in text messages.

Finally! Among the everlasting whiteness of the Fairy Court, the brown girl stolen from the mundane world as a baby sees another indigenous person in a gender-queer Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Not madness but anger drives Anne to unmask the vampire who killed her father, allowing her uncle to marry Mother for control of Elsinore in 1892 – the journals and letters of an educated young woman rewind the Hamlet narrative.

This anthology includes reimaginings by YA writers (famous and rising)

Dahlia Adler (The Merchant of Venice),
Kayla Ancrum (The Taming of the Shrew),
Lily Anderson (As You Like It),
Patrice Caldwell (Hamlet),
Melissa Bashardoust (A Winter’s Tale),
A.R. Capetta and Cory McCarthy (Much Ado About Nothing),
Brittany Cavallaro (Sonnet 147),
Joy McCullough (King Lear),
Anna-Marie McLemore (A Midsummer Night’s Dream),
Samantha Mabry (Macbeth),
Tochi Onyebuchi (Coriolanus),
Mark Oshiro (Twelfth Night),
Lindsay Smith (Julius Caesar),
Kiersten White (Romeo and Juliet),
Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka (The Tempest)

Each story is introduced by a quote from Shakespeare’s work, and often followed by author’s notes.

Shakespeare wrote in the everyday words of his time; these reimagined works bring his works into our time with clever twists and setting changes (outer space, a school dance, a rooftop greenhouse).

What’s your favorite quotation from the Bard?
**kmm

Book info: That Way Madness Lies: 15 of Shakespeare’s Most Notable Works Reimagined / Dahlia Adler, ed.
Flatiron Books, hardcover 2021, paperback 2022. [editor site] [publisher site] Personal copy; cover image courtesy of the author.

See them in new ways – STRAW INTO GOLD: FAIRY TALES RE-SPUN, by Hilary McKay (MG book review)

book cover of Straw Into Gold: Fairy Tales Re-Spun, by Hilary McKay, illustrated by Sarah Gibb. Published by  Margaret K. McElderry Books/ Simon & Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Never insult fairy godmothers,
kindness makes the path easier,
curses can flip to blessings…

The fairy tales that we’ve heard over and over can be retold, modernized, role-switched, or set in other lands, yet we recognize their core stories every time.

This collection of “Fairy Tales Re-Spun” charmingly presents a double-handful of familiar tales using non-classic viewpoints, like the new teacher whose writing assignment at a backwoods school results in “What I Did in the Holidays and Why Hansel’s Jacket is So Tight (by Gretel, age 10)” – truth or fiction?

Cinderella finds a friend in Buttons and helps him shine boots for the prince who’s turned away from royal society to tend “The Roses Around the Palace.”

A stuffy bureaucrat is more concerned about keeping his town tidy (and his coffers full) than paying the agreed price to that motley-looking Piper for luring away all those horrid rats… so very quiet now at “The Fountain in the Market Square.”

Enjoy these ten fairy tale retellings, including lesser-known stories “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” and “The Swan Brothers” (also the basis for A Rush of Wings, by Laura E. Weymouth that I recently recommended here).

Which fairy tale is your favorite?
**kmm

Book info: Straw Into Gold: Fairy Tales Re-Spun / Hilary McKay, illustrated by Sarah Gibb. Margaret K. McElderry Books, hardcover 2019, paperback 2020. [author site] [illustrator bio] [publisher site] Personal copy; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Listen to African Voices this week on AudioSYNC – free!

It’s finally Audiofile SYNC season! Register free here, then you can download two audiobooks into your Sora shelf free every week (Thursday-Wednesday) through the summer.

Keep either or both of these professionally produced audiobooks on your Sora shelf online so you can listen anytime, on any device.

Enjoy this week’s African Stories, African Voices:

CD cover of The Perfect Nine: The Epic of Gikuyu and Mumbi, by Ngugi wa Thiong'o | Read by Benjamin A.  Onyango. Published by Brilliance Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The Perfect Nine: The Epic of Gikuyu and Mumbi (free Sora download 5/5-5/11/22)
by Ngugi wa Thiong’o | Read by Benjamin A. Onyango
Published by Brilliance Audio

The origin of the Gikuyu people of Kenya is masterfully narrated in this poetic and stirring creation story adventure.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/188758/the-perfect-nine-by-ngugi-wa-thiongo-read-by-benjamin-a-onyango/

http://www.clipartpanda.com/clipart_images/mondays-throughout-the-day-17164159
CD cover of This Book Betrays My Brother, by Kagiso Lesego Molope | Read by Jacqui Du Toit. Published by ECW Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

This Book Betrays My Brother (free Sora download 5/5-5/11/22)
by Kagiso Lesego Molope | Read by Jacqui Du Toit
Published by ECW Press

Thirteen-year-old Naledi stays quiet about her brother’s crime until she realizes years later that the truth must be told in their South African community.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/186126/this-book-betrays-my-brother-by-kagiso-lesego-molope-read-by-jacqui-du-toit/

What other African stories would you recommend?
**kmm

Z is for ZERO O’CLOCK in Covid-19’s early days, by C. J. Farley (YA book review) #A2Z

book cover of Zero O'Clock, by C. J. Farley. Published by Black Sheep/ Akashic | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Mysterious plague,
not fiction, not science fiction,
how will it end?

Geth’s hometown, New Rochelle, New York, is ground-zero for the Covid-19 pandemic in USA, as the entire world hits the pause button in March 2020.

The sixteen year old and her best friends are unhappier to miss next weekend’s Broadway show than about school being closed for two weeks (more teleteaching, more homework… ugh). Diego is the star quarterback, so that’s his ticket to college. Tovah is tiny and mighty and a math genius; Geth is sure that they’ll both be accepted to Columbia soon.

Two weeks’ closure keeps stretching out, stores in ‘the containment zone’ are running out of essentials, and the neighborhood foxes are scavenging boldly as trash pickup is delayed and delayed again. After each face-touch, the Black teen washes her hands for safety (her OCD compulsions are getting companions now).

Worrying about her mom working at the hospital, the Native American teen who’ll be isolating with them in their little house (Mom’s boyfriend’s stepson?), whether prom will be cancelled – Geth gets more stressed by the day, clinging to her friends’ text messages and BTS songs as a lifeline.

Neighbors dying of Covid at home, friends hospitalized on ventilators, the President saying there’s nothing to be concerned about… .

Why are they still reading The Plague for English class?
Who’s trying to sabotage Diego’s football scholarship?
What advice would her late father have?

Three months, a million emotions, thousands upon thousands of deaths – then 8 minutes 32 seconds of video that sparked a movement.

How do you look back on the early days of the pandemic?
**kmm

Book info: Zero O’Clock / C. J. Farley. Black Sheep/ Akashic, 2021. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

V is for VIOLETS ARE BLUE, Wren and her makeup are, too, by Barbara Dee (MG book review) #A2Z

book cover of Violets Are Blue, by Barbara Dee.Published by Aladdin / Simon & Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.com

New town, new school,
same Mom, new stepmom,
same worries, plus some…

They move the summer after the divorce, after her sixth grade sort-of-friends abandon her, after Wren starts learning to do special effects makeup, after Dad marries pregnant Vanessa in faraway Brooklyn.

Wren hides the high-quality makeup that Vanessa buys so she can create mermaids and super-characters like KatFX videos show. Mom adds a lock to her bedroom door to keep the cat out… huh?

When her skills catch the attention of new friends, Wren is asked to do makeup for the school play – turning snooty Avery into so-green Elphaba might be fun.

Kai is really talented – draws superheroes, runs sound and lights for the play. Wren hopes he doesn’t really have a crush on her.

Mom’s an ER nurse on different shifts, sleeps all the time she’s home, pill bottles under the sink… now she’s missing work.

Why can’t Wren make KatFX’s mermaid instructions work?
How can she keep Kai as just a friend?
Why did Dad say she could call him about anything?

Seventh grade year is full of tension for Wren as she tries to balance two families and navigate too many changes at the same time.

When someone you love is in trouble, how do you know when to help?
**kmm

Book info: Violets Are Blue / Barbara Dee. Aladdin / Simon & Schuster, 2021. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.