Tag Archive | travel

Making friends or Papa’s best cakes – PIE IN THE SKY dreams? by Remy Lai (book review)

book cover of Pie in the Sky, by Remy Lai. Published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Everything is different,
no one understands –
moving to a new country is so hard!

Jingwen feels like like an alien when Mom moves him and little brother to Australia, especially when Yanghao picks up English so much faster than he can. Or maybe a ghost, since his classmates hardly include him in anything because he’s so quiet.

Only remembering Papa’s special cakes makes him happy (and sad), so he decides to bake each one, just as Papa taught him back in the family bakery after all the plain, inexpensive ones were done.

Why did Mama decide to emigrate, even after Papa died?
Why can’t Jingwen understand English better? Why?
Will he be held back at school to be in little brother’s class next year!?

Illustrated middle grade novel with so much heart! (and fantastically yummy descriptions of Papa’s cakes)

How can we understand others when words don’t connect us?
**kmm

Book info: Pie in the Sky, by Remy Lai. Henry Holt and Company Books for Young Readers, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Extraordinary life stories – listen up! #audiobooks for all

Most of us would say that we lead unexceptional lives. That’s why we’re so intrigued by celebrities and folks whose lives are anything but ordinary.

This week, we get to listen in on the lifestories of superstars in the world of sport and the world of art, with two free audiobooks from AudioSYNC (thanks again, publishers!).

Click on a title below by Wednesday 17 July 2019, follow the easy directions at the AudioSYNC page, and you can keep the downloaded free audiobook on your device as long as you wish.

CD cover of Becoming Kareem,  by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar | Read by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Published by Hachette Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Becoming Kareem, by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Read by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Published by Hachette Audio

US basketball legend recounts his life from boyhood in New York through his professional career and onward as an activist for social change, sharing the many lessons learned from his mentors.

CD cover of Vincent and Theo,  by Deborah Heiligman | Read by Philip Fox Published by Dreamscape Media  | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Vincent and Theo, by Deborah Heiligman

Read by Philip Fox

Published by Dreamscape Media

The Van Gogh brothers shared dreams and heartaches throughout their lives, with Vincent leaving their family home to pursue his art and Theo later giving him a place to stay and work in Paris. Based on their lifetime of correspondence.

What other biographies would you recommend?
**kmm

All’s fair in love & baseball?? STEALING HOME, by Becky Wallace (YA book review)

book cover of Stealing Home, by Becky Wallace. Published by Page Street | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The players are on the field,
concession stand is busy –
time to play ball!

Ryan lives and breathes her family’s minor league baseball team every summer, planning to become the first female general manager in the league after college.

Young players don’t stay in the minors long on their way up to the Texas Rangers in the big leagues, so Ryan swears she’ll never date one, but there’s something about just- arrived Campbell…

Whoa! Mom wants to sell out her half of the team?! Even though it’s hard work to get sponsors and pay the bills, the 17 year old loves what the team brings to their small Texas town and will find a way to stop this!

Happy book birthday today to Stealing Home!

How hard would you work to save your family’s dream?
**kmm

Book info: Stealing Home / Becky Wallace. Page Street Publishing, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Death repeats itself – murderous tales to read with your ears!

Americans are drawn into deathly peril and ghostly intrigue in England with this week’s pair of free, professionally produced audiobooks from AudioSYNC.

Choose one! Choose both! Just be sure to click on the title below and download before they roll off the free list on Wednesday 10 July 2019.

CD cover of The Name of the Star, by Maureen Johnson, Read by Nicola Barber Published by Brilliance Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The Name of the Star, by Maureen Johnson

Read by Nicola Barber

Published by Brilliance Audio

A Jack the Ripper copycat begins terrorizing London just as Rory arrives at boarding school from her small Louisiana town.

Why is she the only witness who can see the killer?

CD cover of The Canterville Ghost,  by Oscar Wilde | Read by Rupert Degas Published by Naxos AudioBooks | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The Canterville Ghost, by Oscar Wilde

Read by Rupert Degas

Published by Naxos AudioBooks

The ghost of Canterville Chase mansion is having little luck in frightening the American family who has moved in.

Time to rattle more chains and start spooking harder!

Any copycat crimes or ghostly encounters in your travels abroad?
**kmm

Tales a-wandering – to read with your ears!

Another summer Thursday, another pair of great FREE audiobooks to download at AudioSYNC!

Click on a title below and follow the easy instructions to get your own copy to keep (yes, you can have both) by Wednesday, 26 June 2019.

Thanks to all the publishers who provide us 28 professionally produced audiobooks during this summer program.

CD cover of Astray,  by Emma Donoghue | Read by Khristine Hvam, James Langton, Robert Petkoff, Suzanne Toren, Dion Graham Published by Hachette Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Astray, by Emma Donoghue

Read by Khristine Hvam, James Langton, Robert Petkoff, Suzanne Toren, Dion Graham. Published by Hachette Audio

Four centuries of wanderers – drifters, lovers, refugees, emigrants, runaways, criminals – tell their stories all over North America, from puritan times to now.

What do their tales tell us about ourselves today?

CD cover of Olivia Twist,  by Lorie Langdon | Read by Pearl Hewitt Published by Black Hills Audiobooks | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Olivia Twist, by Lorie Langdon Read by Pearl Hewitt. Published by Black Hills Audiobooks

Raised as a boy-thief in a London orphanage, teen Olivia is now a society hostess with a soft heart for slum kids. She reminds Jack of someone he once knew, back when he was the Artful Dodger of thieves. What now?

Which has been your favorite audiobook so far?
**kmm

FOUR THREE TWO ONE…survivor’s guilt may explode, by Courtney Stevens (YA book review)

book cover of Four Three Two One, by Courtney Stevens. Published by Harper Teen | recommended on BooksYALove.com

An art installation,
recreating the NYC bus bombing
where they almost died with the others…
almost.
Is almost enough or too much?

A year after an angry white boy explodes himself on a sightseeing bus, the four teen survivors are still trying to piece their lives together:

Golden and Chan – young sweethearts from the same Kentucky commune,
Caroline – from New York wine country, unable to escape vicious Simon,
Rudy – former athlete, now wheelchair-bound in Florida.

A medic who helped them away from the burning bus has spent the past year honoring the victims online and will soon unveil the rebuilt bus with their families’ memories – on the very street where it happened.

He asks people who can’t attend to donate scholarship money for the survivors and invites Golden, Chan, Caroline, and Rudy to be there.

Can they really face that bus where 19 others died?
Can they undo their connections to the bomber’s choice to bomb that bus at that moment?
Can they move forward, alone or together, ever?

Golden’s tennis partner Becky arranges the road trip that will get them all to NYC for the ceremony…ready to remember or not.

How have you worked through being a survivor?
**kmm

Book info: Four Three Two One / Courtney Stevens. Harper Teen, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Home= empty, camp =more, NO PLACE LIKE HERE, by Christina June (YA book review)

book cover of No Place Like Here, by Christina June. Published by BlinkYABooks | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Dad’s lies catch up with him,
Mom’s depression is so deep,
what’s the appropriate quotation for this?

No summer with friends for Ashlyn after being unfairly sent to boarding school last year for just being in the wrong place at the wrong time!

While Dad is in prison for tax evasion and Mom’s taking spa treatments to cope, Ash has to work at summer camp with the cousin she hasn’t seen since they were little kids.

Actually it’s a retreat center in the Pennsylvania woods, worlds away from her DC suburb… who knows what she’ll be doing or how her rarely-visited family will treat her.

Her aunt and uncle welcome her warmly, cousin Hannah will show her everything at the center, and surely summer will pass smoothly so Ashlyn’s parents will let her transfer home for her senior year.

Of course the newest employee gets the most boring jobs (sports equipment checkout for family reunion? yawn), but even she can tell that the recently hired director isn’t keeping up with essentials.

Flirting with lifeguard Marcus and ziplining with Baxter are definite high points; visiting Dad in prison isn’t.

Will the camp owner listen to Ashlyn’s concerns about the director?
When will Dad’s stern voice stop invading her thoughts?

We met Ashlyn last summer in It Started With Goodbye (my no-spoiler recommendation here) as she and best friend Tatum made small choices with big consequences – now see what’s next (like this same summer for T’s stepsister recounted in Everywhere You Want To Be (more here)).

How have you turned a bad situation into a better one?
**kmm

Book info: No Place Like Here / Christina June. Blink YA Books, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

From away to here? LOVE FROM A TO Z, by S. K. Ali (YA book review)

book cover of Love From A to Z, by S.K. Ali, published by Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Hate-filled rhetoric in class – by the teacher!
Unwelcome diagnosis = uncertain future.
This isn’t the time to fall in love, but…

Zayneb clashes with her anti-Muslim teacher one time too many, is suspended from her Indiana high school, and sent early to visit her aunt in Doha for spring break – taking along her marvels and oddities journal – as her friends keep investigating the teacher’s extremist connections.

Adam has dropped out of university in London, devoting every moment to creating before multiple sclerosis robs the feeling from his hands, just as it did for his late mom – now heading home to Dad and little sister in Doha, with his marvels and oddities journal and guitar.

Her aunt and his dad work at the same school, so Zayneb and Adam officially meet each other at a teachers’ party, then socialize with his friends, as a group of course.

Adam keeps his diagnosis secret – how could Dad cope with another loss?
Zayneb mourns for her grandmother – what’s this new news about her death while in Pakistan for a wedding?
Spring break is short – can Adam finish the art installation for his sister before he cannot do anything with his hands?

Long-term, long-distance – their possibility of a forever-relationship might be an oddity or a marvel or impossible…start their story with chapter one, a free excerpt on the publisher’s website.

From the author of Saints and Misfits, which I recommended here.

When have you squeezed much happiness into a small timeframe?
**kmm

Book info: Love from A to Z / S. K. Ali. Salaam Reads, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Teens starting anew – strong stories to read with your ears (audiobooks)

With a support network, difficult times can be easier – but what if you’re trying to reboot your life when those closest to you want to pull you back down?

This week’s pair of free audiobooks from AudioSYNC bring us the stories of teens who’ve hit rock-bottom and are trying to clamber back up from terrible relationships and hard circumstances.

Download by clicking on the title and following the easy instructions. If you save your AudioSYNC books during their free week, you can keep them as long as you want!

CD cover of The First Time She Drowned,  by Kerry Kletter | Read by Jorjeana Marie Published by Penguin Random House Audio/Listening Library | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The First Time She Drowned – by Kerry Kletter

Read by Jorjeana Marie. Published by Penguin Random House Audio/Listening Library

Thrown into a mental hospital at 16 by her mother, Cassie is now a legal adult, ready to go to college and push aside her mother’s toxic ‘love’.

But memories try to pull her down, allow her mother to ooze into her life – can she survive it all again?

CD cover of Wild Bird,  by Wendelin Van Draanen | Read by Alex McKenna Published by Penguin Random House Audio/Listening Library | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Wild Bird, by Wendelin Van Draanen

Read by Alex McKenna. Published by Penguin Random House Audio/Listening Library

Wilderness therapy camp is 14-year-old Wren’s last chance to find her way clear from the drugs and questionable relationships she dove into when her family moved to a small town.

Eight weeks in the desert – to clear her mind, to find her way back into her family, to find ways to be happy with herself….

How can you support someone trying to move forward in life from dire problems?
**kmm

Torn in two, reunited – Berlin & its wall in audiobooks

The before and the after of the Berlin Wall speak to you in this week’s free AudiobookSYNC selections!

In one title, a fictional family divided in 1961 by the Wall echoes the plight of thousands of Germans during the Cold War, while a nonfiction examination of the Cold War’s end and the fall of the Wall shows long-awaited reunions.

Choose one, choose both! Just be sure to download before Wednesday 29 May 2019 so you can read with your ears as long as you retain the audio file on your device.

Big thanks to the publishers for making each week’s pair of professionally produced audiobooks available to us – free!

CD cover of A Night Divided,  by Jennifer A. Nielsen | Read by Kate Simses Published by Scholastic Audiobooks | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A Night Divided, by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Read by Kate Simses.
Published by Scholastic Audiobooks

Suddenly, her father and brother are on the western side of the new wall dividing Berlin! The guns of East German soldiers threaten Gerta, Fritz, and their mother constantly as hope of reunion dims and even neighbors cannot be trusted. There is just one chance for freedom – Gerta and Fritz must tunnel under the Wall!

CD cover of Tear Down This Wall: A City, A President, and the Speech That Ended the Cold War,  by Romesh Ratnesar | Read by Wes Bleed Published by Oasis Audio  by Romesh Ratnesar | Read by Wes Bleed Published by Oasis Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Tear Down This Wall: A City, A President, and the Speech That Ended the Cold War, by Romesh Ratnesar

Read by Wes Bleed. Published by Oasis Audio

President Ronald Reagan’s provocative 1987 speech in West Berlin called on Mikhail Gorbachev of Russia to tear down the Wall, which fell just two years later. This book uses information from Western and Soviet sources to chronicle the beginning of the end of the Cold War.

What literal or figurative walls have you seen change in your lifetime?
**kmm