Tag Archive | summer

Language of Stars, by Louise Haws (book review) – poetry or pre-med prose?

book cover of The Language of Stars, by Louise Hawes published by Margaret K. McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comWhat Mom wants, what Dad demands,
What her boyfriend plans,
When is it her turn to decide?

Mistakes – telling Fry about the Baylor House, trying to please Dad at work, imagining that Mom would allow her off the pre-med career path.

Possibilities – writing poetry with Rufus Baylor himself, finding the ‘me’ instead of only ‘us’ with Fry, discovering her own poetic voice.

So many wonderful (and on-their-way-to-better) poems in this book!

Got a poem to share in the comments?
**kmm

Book info:  The Language of Stars / Louise Hawes. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Sarah should have talked Fry out having a party at remote historic house in their North Carolina coastal town, but after the house is terribly damaged, her dad is even angrier at her than usual, and the partying teens are sentenced to summer school plus house restoration, she is startled to find their class taught by the reclusive poet whose summer home was wrecked and that she has a gift for words, a gift that may take her far from the med school future that her mom has planned out for her.

Filled with poetry – from the first written in many years by “the Great One” to those created during class together to the gems that Fry texts to Sarah while she’s working at her dad’s fancy restaurant – and revelations, The Language of Stars speaks love, second chances, redemption, and hope.

Summer of Sloane, by Erin L. Schneider (book review) – no more us, now who is she?

book cover of Summer Of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider published by Disney-Hyperion  | recommended on BooksYALove.comSloane’s best friend is pregnant!
By Sloane’s boyfriend!
Oh, leaving town is definitely an excellent idea!!

Even with a broken hand from punching Tyler in the nose, she can enjoy the beach with her twin brother at Mom’s house in Hawai’i, pretend she doesn’t care about her former friends (girl- and boy-) in Seattle (if they would please quit texting and calling and emailing with excuses for why it happened!), and start over as just Sloane, instead of eternally being half of a duo.

She didn’t plan on an attraction to Finn that maybe might be more than a summer fling… on the beach, you’ve got to watch out for the biggest waves.

Have you ever re-invented yourself when moving to a new place?
**kmm

Book info:  Summer of Sloane / Erin L. Schneider. Disney Hyperion, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When Sloane’s best friend Mick gets pregnant by Sloane’s boyfriend, the Seattle teen is more than ready to head to Mom’s Hawai’i home and try to find her true self with no summer romance! Swim lessons for scared-of-water young Luce are doable, even with her wrist cast, but staying away from her big brother Finn is nearly impossible.

Punching Tyler in the nose? Satisfying, if hand-breaking.
Ignoring texts from him and Mick? Difficult, but necessary.
Falling for Finn? Uh-oh…

As her Hawai’i pal Mia declares it “the summer of Sloane” to reinvent herself as single and happy, she tries to shut out the past, even as Finn is reminded of it always by his aloof father. And the days of summer count down, one by one…

One Paris Summer, by Denise Grover Swank (book review) – out of tune with romance

book cover of One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank published by Blink Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comDad is remarrying in Paris,
new French stepsister hates her,
No way she will find love in the City of Light!

Sophie is so mad at Dad for leaving them behind, for not following through on promised piano, for… everything!

More complex than the usual ‘summer romance in a romantic city’ story, Sophie has to work through her feelings of abandonment, apprehension about auditions and college costs, and misunderstandings with her own brother (and all the French teens in Camille’s group, all of them!) as she decides if a summer love is worth potential heartbreak.

Paris – alone or with a special someone?
**kmm

Book info: One Paris Summer / Denise Grover Swank. Blink, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Meeting him was the best part of her summer in Paris, but since Matthieu is friends with the new stepsister who hates Sophie, even the prospect of using his mom’s piano to practice for upcoming auditions loses its luster.

And with her former crush traveling over to stay with her brother Eric for a few weeks (Dad is trying to make peace after leaving them behind in South Carolina after the divorce), it’s all going to get complicated… really, really complicated!

Is it okay to like Matthieu when he was Camille’s friend first?
When will Dad understand that abandoning his kids for a fancy French wife is unforgivable?
Why can’t she clear her mind and just practice, practice, practice for music scholarships?

Mixed messages from Matthieu may be more than errors in translation when Sophie’s emotions swing wildly during One Paris Summer as first love may be just around the corner.

Love and Gelato, by Jenna Evans Welch (book review) – Italy! Family! Really??

book cover of Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.com Travel abroad!
Meet her missing dad!
Read mom’s journal and wonder if…

After her mom’s death, Lina is bombarded with changes – moving to Italy where her mother studied photography in college, meeting the dad she never knew, maybe even falling in love!

But it’s all so fast, and the entries in her mom’s journal are like a puzzle that she must solve, even if the answers raise more questions!

Family secrets – unearth them or let them stay hidden?
**kmm

Book info: Love and Gelato / Jenna Evans Welch. Simon Pulse, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Leaving Seattle for sunny Italy, Lina mourns her late mother, worries about meeting her father for the first time, and is sure that going to school in a new country will be terrible, until her dad’s co-worker brings the journal that Mom kept while she was a photography student here and Lina meets the cute Italian-American guy next door.

Mom’s journal brings up so many questions – what does “I made the wrong choice” mean?

Her dad Howard is a nice man, but why doesn’t Lina have even one physical feature like him?

Ren helps her find all the places Mom mentions in her journal, but is he just interested in Lina as a friend?

Not just a simple “American teen in Europe for summer meets true love” story, Lina’s search for answers as she tries to find a future without Mom is by turns heart-wrenching and hopeful. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl, by Melissa Keil (book review) – end of the world? with pastry?

book cover of Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil published by Peachtree | recommended on BooksYALove.com School days are over,
future looms ahead,
till Doomsday countdown starts?

Alba never expected
(a) sleepy Eden Valley as gathering place for the just-announced end of the world, 10 days from now,
(b) then-chunky pal, now-hunky TV star Daniel to return after years away,
(c) best friend Grady really expecting them to move to college at summer’s end,
(d) all of the above, plus a demand for vegan choices at Mum’s bakery (where they live, too).

Surely she can become an award-winning graphic novelist with her Cinnamon Girl character without leaving everything she loves about their little back-country town…

Published in Australia in 2014 and brought to the USA by Peachtree Publishers in 2016, the longing and love story of Cinnamon Girl is so worth asking for at your local library or independent bookstore – you’ve got to find out if the world ends, right?

So, the world ending – caused by humans, nature, aliens?
**kmm

Book info: The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl / Melissa Keil. Peachtree, 2016.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Alba and Grady have been best buddies forever, but when a psychic’s ‘end of the world’ pronouncement names their little Australian town, the recently graduated teens must cope with strangers in the pasture and old friends with new perspectives, as she wants everything to stay the same and he longs to head for college.

Can’t she be a brilliant graphic artist without leaving her tiny hometown?
If her dad hadn’t died in a motorcycle crash and Grady’s dad hadn’t fled for the city, what would life be like now?
Wait, is old pal, now TV actor Daniel flirting with her? Grady is acting so weird these days…

Each chapter is headed with a panel from Alba’s graphic-novel-in-progress as her sorta-superhero Cinnamon Girl also copes with time passing too fast, enjoys terrible television shows, worries about the impending apocalypse, and stars in the Albany Bakery’s scrumptious menu.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Road trip tales – time to read with your ears!

Time for a road trip? Tales of escape from and escape to are ready for you read with your ears with free audiobooks from SYNC!

If you download them before late night Wednesday (25 May 2016), you can listen to these complete audiobooks any time using your computer or electronic device.

Click on the title to get to its download site, or visit SYNC to see what’s available this summer week: http://www.audiobooksync.com/

CD audiobook cover of 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith | Read by Kirby Heyborne Published by Tantor Media | recommended on BooksYALove.com100 Sideways Miles
by Andrew Smith
Read by Kirby Heyborne
Published by Tantor Media

Measuring time as the distance that the earth travels during each minute, epileptic Finn longs to escape being just a character in his father’s epic SciFi novel, so a road trip with his best friend to find Finn’s lost love is in order.
This Boy’s LifeCD audiobook cover of by Tobias Wolff | Read by Oliver Wyman Published by HighBridge Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Tobias Wolff
Read by Oliver Wyman
Published by HighBridge Audio

In this memoir chronicling his mother’s continued flight from abusive relationships, Wolff puts a darkly comedic spin on his battles with the terrible men in her life during his teen years.

What road trip would you write about?
**kmm

Unexpected Everything, by Morgan Matson (book review) – summer plans? poof, woof & wow!

book cover of The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson published by Simon Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.comShe’s got it all planned:
internship, great college, med school…
until step one is revoked!

Andie loves her checklists, her plans to become a doctor, her best friends – and sticks to short-term boyfriends.

Then her fancy internship gets yanked away, her politician father is suddenly home from DC, she lands in a summer job far outside her experience or comfort zone, and she meets Clark…

Happy book birthday week to The Unexpected Everything!  This is a great summer read, like Matson’s Since You’ve Been Gone  (my no-spoilers recommendation here) and Second Chance Summer  (more here) with less road trip, but just as much self-reflection and heart.

What do you do when a perfectly crafted plan falls apart?
**kmm

Book info: The Unexpected Everything / Morgan Matson. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  [author video] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When problems at her congressman father’s office cause her pre-med internship to vanish, Andie is forced out of her structured life of success checklists and into a summer job as a dog-walker (never had a dog), wanting to stay around new guy Clark (never mind her 3-weeks-only rule for boyfriends), and trying to keep her best friends in sync as an outside relationship threatens to dissolve their group.

A world-famous author in their midst?
Dad home in Connecticut all summer instead of away in Washington DC?
A long-time crush keeps his distance, or does he?

An epic scavenger hunt, bridging the father-daughter gap 5 years after Mom’s death, emojis-only text message challenge, a committed relationship (wait! this is Andie we’re talking about…) – such an unexpected summer before senior year!  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy (book review) – big heart, big-boned, beauty queen?

book cover of Dumplin' by Julie Murphy published by Balzer + Bray | booksYALove.comBeauty pageants are for Barbies,
Only perfection allowed –
says who?!

Happy book birthday to Dumplin’ as Willowdean decides that the size of her heart matters more than the size of her thighs when pageant season arrives.

Glad that the author finally made it to Texas herself, although breaking the name of our state flower into two piece for the pageant title is dang near treasonous.

Today is also “Sing It Out Day” – how appropriate! Dolly Parton‘s 40 albums and self-acceptance inspire Willowdean to “go big or go home” – what inspires you?
**kmm

Book info: Dumplin’ / Julie Murphy. Balzer + Bray, 2015.   [author site]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: A small Texas town beauty pageant gets a big shake-up as non-traditional contestants enter, led by sizeable and sassy Willowdean who’s ready for new things and her share of love.

Mom relives her Miss Texas Blue Bonnet days each year, helping slim cheerleaders prepare for the pageant as her own daughter enjoys being fat and almost happy.

Dumplin’ (oh, Mom, drop that nickname, please!) moons over handsome Bo at work and wonders if she’ll get stuck in this small town like recently deceased young Aunt Lucy whose size finally kept her housebound.

Willowdean and Lucy loved Dolly Parton’s songs and self-acceptance, so when classmates say the pageant isn’t for her, the teen decides it’s time to challenge the system – and so do other not-gorgeous girls from school!

Hone your talent? Time for a roadtrip to Aunt Lucy’s favorite music venue!
Find the perfect dress? Hello, vintage stores!
Get an escort for the pageant? Oh… maybe Bo?

She’s not entering the pageant to piss off Mom, but this sassy sweetheart and her new friends have read all the rules and know it’s their right to try – in front of the whole town.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Summer of Chasing Mermaids, by Sarah Ockler (book review) – voice lost, heart found?

book cover of The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler published by Simon TeenA singer with no more voice,
a young mermaid expert ignored,
a dutiful son without a plan B…

No surgical procedure can ever restore Elyse’s voice, but time spent with the funny (cousin and her outspoken BFF), the darling (mermaid-obsessed young Sebastian), and the heartbreaker (Christian does what??) may start the healing of her musical soul.

Ockler writes of another summer of enormous changes in The Book of Broken Hearts  (my recommendation here).

If your greatest talent/gift/strength were taken away forever, how would you cope?
**kmm

Book info: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids / Sarah Ockler.  Simon Pulse, 2015. [author site]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: After a boat accident robs Elyse of her singing voice, she lands in her aunt’s tiny Oregon town where the Trinidadian teen finds herself falling for the wrong guy and caring too much about the shady mayor’s big plans.

Leaving her twin sister in Tobago was so hard, but staying to watch Natalie continue the singing career which had been theirs together was impossible.

The warm Caribbean stole her voice; perhaps the chilly Pacific currents can heal her soul. But if Elyse ignores her cousin’s warnings about heart-breaker Christian or helps the summer guy’s little brother search for mermaids, the sea may try to claim her forever.

A bet between the mayor and Christian’s dad puts Aunt Lemon’s home and gallery in jeopardy, as whichever son wins the Pirate’s Regatta will win the property it stands on.

Will the mayor’s desire for money turn off-the-beaten-path Atargatis Cove into just another tourist town?
Can Christian and Elyse rebuild his sailboat in time for the regatta?
Can Elyse face down her fear of being on the water again and help him win?

Of course, sweet little Sebastian should be able march in the Mermaid Parade, and the property developers must be stopped, and Elyse should decide if she can afford to lose her heart…  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Second Chance Summer, by Morgan Matson (book review) – can’t run away from sorrow forever

book cover of Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson published by Simon SchusterFive years later,
nothing has changed,
yet everything has changed,
still running away from hard choices.

Should things that you did or said as a 12 year old still grab you by the gut?

After 5 summers away, middle-child Taylor is not happy to be returning to the lake house where she’ll encounter Henry and Lucy and the unfinished business they all share.

And the reason that Dad wants a final family summer together is even worse…

From the author of Since You’ve Been Gone,  another story of summer transformation, recommended here.

Who should you connect with before those “thousand moments are gone”?
**kmm

Book info: Second Chance Summer /Morgan Matson. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2012, paperback 2013. [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher via PulseIT.

My book talk: Stunned by her father’s sudden cancer diagnosis, Taylor must return to their lake house where her decisions as a tween alienated her from best friends…forever.

Between her genius older brother and ballet star younger sister, Taylor feels so average. But the high school junior evidently has uncommon talent for avoiding tough emotional situations, like the ones she abandoned five years ago at the lake.

Now Dad wants one last family summer together in the Poconos, to make the most of the few months he has left.  Taylor knows that she’ll run into Henry (her first kiss!) and Lucy (best friend ever, until…), but this time, there’s no running away.

Who wouldn’t embrace a second chance to mend a friendship or fall back in love?
What better time to appreciate parental strength and let them know it?
So why is it all so hard for her?

A life-changing Second Chance Summer  from the author of Since You’ve Been Gone.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)