Tag Archive | theater

K/drama-inspired, I Believe in a Thing Called Love, by Maurene Goo (book review)

book cover of I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maureen Goo, published by Margaret Ferguson Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comGrades = stellar!
Extracurriculars = outstanding!
Romance = zero, zip, zilch.

Once she sees Luca, Desi is ready to make him fall in love with her – and she has the perfect step-by-step plan in her dad’s extensive K Drama series video collection!

Read the first chapter here (thanks to publisher!), then head to your local library or independent bookstore for this 2017 novel and its many, many kinds of drama.

Any dating ‘flailures’ on your love-life list?
**kmm

Book info: I Believe in a Thing Called Love / Maurene Goo. Margaret Ferguson Books, 2017.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: With a plan, she can do anything – so Desi decides that cute new guy Luca will become her first-ever boyfriend, through the tried-and-true steps from the Korean dramas that her father loves so much – what could possibly go wrong?

Super-student, soccer star Desi is determined to get into Stanford, honoring her late mother and making her dad proud. But in the romance department, she’s had zero success.

Moody artist Luca’s arrival at her California high school makes Desi willing to risk yet another possibly humiliating try at flirting and relationships.

But wait! What if she simply used the steps that every Korean drama romance follows?

Despite warnings from her best friends (who’ve seen too many of her flirting ‘flailures’), Desi outlines her “K Drama Steps to True Love” and goes after Luca!

Flat tire blowout, romantic boat ride turned rescue, graffiti-enhancement missions… what?!

First kiss, yes! First boyfriend, likely! (as long as Luca doesn’t find out that Desi is directing their every move toward love…)

Girl About Town, by Adam Shankman & Laura L. Sullivan (book review) – Hollywood, guns, greed

book cover of Girl About Town by Adam Shankman & Laura L. Sullivan published by Atheneum Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comOh, to be a movie star!
Oh, to have enough to eat, at last!
Oh no! Murder witnesses have few choices…

This story set in the early days of “talkies” during the Great Depression is told by rising starlet Lulu (formerly Lucille in the Lower East Side tenements) and by Freddie the hobo (otherwise known as the richest man in America’s sole heir) after they both witness killings that change their lives.

Head on over to Hollywood to see how their paths intersect far from their New York City homes and former social circles, as murder and mystery go from script to reality in Lulu’s latest film.

Girls, guys, guns, gosh….
**kmm

Book info: Girl About Town / Adam Shankman & Laura L. Sullivan. Atheneum Books, 2016.   [Adam’s bio] [Laura’s Facebook] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: On the same night in 1931, two teens witness murders in the Big Apple – she is whisked away from slum to Hollywood while he leaves luxury behind to hit the rails as a hobo.

Elevated from poverty to movie starlet, Mob murder witness Lulu must keep quiet so her family in New York City will stay alive.

Running away from his wealthy family, Freddie bums his way from New York to California, trying to escape the murder he saw committed in his own home.

On the set of “Girl About Town” in Hollywood, a prop gun suddenly fires a real bullet into a rival starlet, and Lulu pulled the trigger!

All the smoke and mirrors, gossip columnists and sugar daddies, rising stars and wannabees of Hollywood’s golden age get the full cinematic treatment as Lulu and Freddie try to find out who loaded that gun and who wants them both to pay for someone else’s crime.   (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

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S is Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli (book review) – secret admirer? too many options!

book cover of Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli published by Balzer + BrayA secret correspondent,
in this age of tell-all social media?
Too romantic for words!
But who can it be?

Hard to blame Simon for wanting to keep all drama in theater class, but he knows that mysterious “BlueGreen” of flirtatious e-mails is a guy at his school and really, really wants to meet in person.

That is, if he can keep his best friends from exploding at each other and outwit a blackmailing classmate who wants to out him before he’s ready.

This early-April release should be in your local library or independent bookstore – if not, ask for it!

Simon says the ‘homo sapiens agenda’ is that straight and white are the norm options, but he believes there should be no default setting for a human being! What do you think?
**kmm

Book info: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda / Becky Albertalli. Balzer+Bray, 2015. [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher via Edelweiss.

My book talk: Simon has a bit part in the play, but when a classmate threatens to publish his flirty emails with an anonymous guy at school, the Georgia teen must decide whether to step up to protect the sweetest guy he’s never met or set up his best friend Abby on the most awkward date ever.

As ‘Jacques’ he shares favorite music and deepest dreams with ‘Blue’ but they haven’t met in person. No one will probably care when Simon comes out publicly, but Blue hasn’t come out either, so letting nerdy Marty put their relationship on Creekwood High’s gossip tumblr isn’t the junior’s decision to make.

Best friend Abby has a huge crush on best friend Nick (who is completely oblivious), Blue wants to keep his growing relationship with Simon as email-only, and Oliver Twist rehearsals are getting strange as Marty always tries talking to Abby and Simon wonders who, who, WHO is Blue?

As hints about their true identities creep into their emails (Blue is Jewish, Jacques has two sisters), the guys discuss coming-out to their families, music to dream of the future by, and whether they should stay forever unknown to each other.

Wait, not ever get together in person?
Is this a love story or a tragedy? Simon sighs… (One of 7,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

M is mystery at Enchantment Lake, by Margi Preus (book review) – unspoiled forest is motive for murders?

book cover of Enchantment Lake by Margi Preus published by University of Minnesota PressA treasure under enchantment,
unspoiled northwoods beauty,
a killer determined to own it all?

Francie is not a NYPD detective, but she played one on television, and that’s more mystery-solving experience than the local sheriff seems to have!

As deaths keep piling up (each by a different cause), even her eccentric great-aunts’ unique food combos (curry with a side of pickled beets, anyone?) can’t distract the teen from worrying that they will be the next victims.

A departure from the author’s acclaimed historical fiction Heart of a Samurai (my recommendation here) and Shadow on the Mountain, this first book in the Northwoods Mystery series is equally well-written, with interesting characters and setting.

Death by hot-dish? What casserole would you choose for your last meal?
**kmm

Book info: Enchantment Lake (Northwoods Mystery, book 1) / Margi Preus.  University of Minnesota Press, 2015. [author site]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When her great-aunts say that they’re in danger, Francie leaves summer drama camp in New York City to find mysterious deaths and rumors of treasure in the remote Minnesota lake town where it’s assumed that the 17 year old orphan can solve all mysteries because she played a kid detective on TV.

On the far shore of deep Enchantment Lake, eccentric Astrid and Jeannette tell Francie that city folks want a road through the peat bog so more mansions like the Fredericksons’ can be built. Property owners along the right-of-way have been dying oddly, and local real estate man Buck Thorne is pressuring their heirs to sell.

At the latest victim’s funeral, a poisoned casserole kills Buck, and the suspect list grows since everyone in town owns a serving dish made by the local potter.

What was Buck going to tell Francie about her long-lost mother?
Why does Buck’s stepson need so much money suddenly?
Can young law intern Nels help make any sense of these recent deaths?

Uh-oh, Francie’s grandfather demands that she return to drama camp or he’ll stop paying her expenses! But how can she when her aunt is arrested for Buck’s murder, a little boy who gets grimy every night goes missing, and someone tries to sink her kayak – with her in it!  First in the Northwoods Mystery series. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Love, Lucy, by April Lindner (book review) – Italy, love, goodbye forever?

book cover of Love, Lucy by April Lindner published by PoppyOne last summer of freedom,
the beauty and glory of Florence,
the excitement of love…

And then Lucy must give up her theater dreams to become a business major, or her father won’t pay for college at all! Hard choices…and Jesse back in Italy so hard to get in touch with.

Read the first 2 chapters on the publisher’s website free here as you listen to the author’s Love, Lucy  playlist, and you’ll be whisked away to Florence with Lucy, love just around the corner.

This modern interpretation of E.M. Forster’s classic A Room With a View  comes from the author of Catherine (based on Wuthering Heights – my review here) and Jane (Jane Eyre).

Could you give up true love for family demands?
**kmm

Book info: Love, Lucy / April Lindner. Poppy, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Giving up her dream of being an actress is hard for Lucy, but giving up the young man she loves so her dad will pay for college is heartbreaking – must she really choose?

Her ever-practical father reluctantly allows Lucy to backpack through Europe with Charlene after high school graduation, in trade for Lucy majoring in business (which she hates).

When Lucy meets Jesse in Italy, she delights in the beauty of Florence, the shimmer of Tuscan sunlight, the warmth of his kisses. However, her troubadour intends to continue traveling abroad, playing his guitar, not returning to his family in New Jersey any time soon.

So it’s a tearful goodbye at the train station, a sad flight back to dad’s alma mater. Spying a poster for theater tryouts puts some pep in Lucy’s step – why can’t a business major be in a play?

How can she reconcile her father’s demands with her love for performing?
Why hang out with college boys when she can’t stop thinking about Jesse?
Will she ever see him again?
(One of 7,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Since You’ve Been Gone, by Morgan Matson (book review) – daring to-do list & a mystery

book cover of Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson published by Simon Schuster BFYR4. Break something.
8. The backless dress. And somewhere to wear it.
11. Hug a Jamie.

If timid Emily does all 13 daring (for her) things on live-in-the-moment Sloane’s epic summer list, will her suddenly-gone BFF return? Maybe with cute Frank’s help…

You’ll want to grab this summer tale at your local local library or independent bookstore today so you can find out if Emily completes Sloane’s list and what she discovers about herself along the way.

What would you add to a gotta-do-this list for your best friend?
**kmm

Book info: Since You’ve Been Gone / Morgan Matson. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2014.   [author site]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: The letter with no return address brings Emily her only clue about Sloane’s sudden disappearance  – a to-do list that her vivacious best friend promises will make an epic summer.

With her parents in a playwriting haze and little brother Beckett sulking about missed vacation, Emily is on her own to check off the adventures on Sloane’s list – with help from her new running partner Frank (Captain Responsible to pal Collins), while his girlfriend is away for the summer.

Ride a horse!? Kiss a stranger?! Facing her fears and making new friends in their coastal Connecticut town as she works through the list will surely bring back her best friend – but where is Sloane now? And what about her runs and shared playlists with Frank when summer ends? (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Expiration Day, by William Campbell Powell (book review) – created or birthed, what makes human?

book cover of Expiration Day by WIlliam Campbell Powell published by Tor TeenI’m definitely human.
Wait! I’m not?!
But I feel human…

As a rare human child, Tania knows that her humanoid robot classmates will go back to the factory at age 18. Shocked to discover that she too is just a teknoid, she’ll fight to stay alive past her Expiration Day!

Tania addresses her diary (read free excerpt here) to alien Zog, whose observations surprisingly appear among her musings on playing bass guitar and doing a Shakespeare play with nearby boys’ school.

Rather eerie to discuss this book just after a computer passed the Turing Test for the first time, tricking researchers into thinking it was a real 13 year old boy!

**kmm

Book info: Expiration Day / William Campbell Powell. Tor Teen, 2014.  [author site]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk:  In the 2050s when humans so rarely have babies, music-loving Tania suddenly discovers that she’s a robot and decides to fight to stay alive past her mandatory recycling date.

The global fertility crisis couldn’t end adults’ longing to have children to love,  so teknoids were created.Each is reused or reprogrammed by the Oxted factory at age 18.

For Tania, that means no more playing bass with her band, no more Shakespeare performances, no more helping Dad navigate their shared grief over Mum’s recent death…

But she feels so human, with burning philosophical questions in her heart and such a desire to study psychology at university!

Taking Oxted to court to break their “lease” of Tania to Dad is their only option – could their desperate ploy work?  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Honor and betrayal in SYNC audiobooks this week

If you like stories filled with suspense, betrayal, and tension, then you’ll love this week’s free audiobooks from SYNC!

Free downloads of these complete audiobooks are only available through Wednesday June 11. However they’re yours to listen to as long as you keep them on your computer or electronic device.

CD cover of  All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill read by Meredith Mitchell published by Tantor AudioAll Our Yesterdays
By Cristin Terrill
Read by Meredith Mitchell
Published by Tantor Audio
(US & Canada only)

Time travel, loyalty, deception, and love – this is a race with dire consequences for the loser.

 

Julius CaesarCD cpver of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare read by Richard Dreyfuss, Kelsey Grammer, Stacy Keach, JoBeth Williams and a Full Cast published by L.A. Theatre Works
By William Shakespeare
Read by Richard Dreyfuss, Kelsey Grammer, Stacy Keach, JoBeth Williams and a Full Cast
Published by L.A. Theatre Works

Betrayal, ambition, and murder in ancient Rome – the Shakespeare classic performed by an all-star cast.

Which perilous tale will you download first?

**kmm

Tales of power, parents, and kings in SYNC audiobooks this week

Powerful kings, vengeance and justice – Time to download this week’s free audiobooks from SYNC so you can read with your ears!

Click on each title to go directly to the SYNC download page for it and follow the easy instructions there.

CD cover of Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge Read by Elizabeth Knowelden Published by Harper AudioCruel Beauty
By Rosamund Hodge
Read by Elizabeth Knowelden
Published by Harper Audio

Betrothed since birth, Nyx plans to slay the evil ruler when they marry – Beauty and the Beast retold.

Oedipus the KingOedipus the King by Sophocles Read by Michael Sheen Published by Naxos AudioBooks
By Sophocles
Performed by Michael Sheen and full cast
Published by Naxos AudioBooks

Classic tragedy follows Oedipus as he solves the Sphinx’s riddle and commits terrible crimes before becoming king.

Remember that although these complete audiobooks are only available from Thursday through Wednesday, you have free use of them as long as you keep them on your computer or electronic device

Bookmark the SYNC site now so you can download great audiobooks all summer long: http://www.audiobooksync.com/
**kmm

Ask Again Later, by Liz Czukas (book review) – 1 prom, 2 dates, too crazy!

book cover of Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas published by Harper TeenHelp out the shy tech guy with a secret?
Console the newly-dumped jock senior?
Stick to the “No Drama Prom-a” plan with her pals?

When even the Magic 8 Ball can’t tell Heart which Prom date to choose, she just flips a coin!

Discover which date she goes with and why the junior avoids all romantic relationships in this fun read.

Would you allow a coin toss to decide something with potentially huge consequences?
**kmm

Book info: Ask Again Later / Liz Czukas. Harper Teen, 2014.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Flipping a coin to choose her prom date gives Heart two very different evenings, certainly not the “No Drama Prom-a” that she’d expected!

Her theater pals know she doesn’t do relationships since her teen-mom walked out when Heart was a baby, so they all planned to dance at Prom as a group of friends – no pressure.

But shy Ryan from backstage asks her to be his date, since his parents don’t know he’s gay (in fact, Heart is the first person he’s told) – how sweet!

Then her big brother’s best friend gets dumped, so Phil wants Heart to go with Troy the jock – it’s his senior Prom, after all.

She can’t decide who to go with, the Magic 8 Ball is on the fence, so she finally flips a coin and…

Will her drama friends, especially pianist “Schroeder” who calls her “Spleen” instead of Heart, be okay if she chooses one of the guys? They did ask her first, sort of…

Alternating chapters detail Prom Night as Ryan’s date (amazing tux) and as Troy’s date (those seniors sure do drink hard) – will Heart and her vintage dress survive it all or will Prom win? (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)