For four years, every morning began with their snarky texts, and every school event was completely Rowan vs. Neil.
After four years, everything comes down to now… now what?
At their Seattle high school, Rowan and Neil have competed for the top spot in everything from student council to recycling, all to earn the honor of valedictorian.
Concentrating on competition this last semester has kept Rowan from spending time with her best friends, even as Keely and Mara became a couple – they’ll have all summer to catch up, right?
Howl is her last chance to one-up Neil, as the senior class scavenger hunt ranges across the city, tagging-out classmates until only one remains.
Near-tags and crazy coincidences cause Rowan and Neil to partner up, hoping to split the cash prize for college costs.
Can Rowan and Neil overcome their rivalry to win Howl? Why didn’t they know each other was Jewish? Might they actually like each other…really like each other?
As Howl continues, the pair shares secret plans (a name change?) and secret worries (is romance writing a real career?) while keeping watch for other students – 24 hours, so many plot twists and turns!
Read an excerpt here from this love story in Seattle that’s a love story to Seattle, courtesy of the publisher. From the author of You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone (recommended here).
What’s your favorite Happily Ever After? **kmm
Book info: Today Tonight Tomorrow / Rachel Lynn Solomon. Simon Pulse, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher, via NetGalley.
Miracles are unpredictable, a gift that’s useful or not, in her town, Miracles are real.
Every year a Glimmer Creek resident gets a trace of magic after surviving a danger, and no one knows why a particular person gets their Miracle.
Rosie knows Miracles aren’t a legend, so the seventh grader is going to interview them all for her Festival movie instead of investigating the Lost Train Treasure, like Henry wants.
But not every Miracle holder wants to talk about their experience, Henry and Cam can’t help with every filming session like they used to, and time to finish her documentary is running short.
Mama and Rosie are the perfect pair – why won’t the Sheriff stay away? Her long-gone dad is filming nearby – why won’t Mama ever let him visit? Cam is so busy with the soccer team – what if she doesn’t have time for Rosie anymore?
If Rosie could just have her own Miracle – she would bring home her movie actor father, become a noted film director, keep her two best friends forever…
Read chapter one here for free, thanks to the publisher.
What’s your happily-ever-after movie ending? **kmm
Book info: Forever Glimmer Creek / Stacy Hackney. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Gail’s shadow slips away on her twelfth birthday, as big sister Kay sleeps away her life in new sadness, and then Kay’s shadow leaves too, and Gail must find them both or lose Kay forever!
Oh, their shadows head for Oyster Cave! She’s heard stories about the caverns – kids wandering in their underground maze for days in that deep darkness where selkies leave their skins to walk among land-folk.
Mhirran and Francis are at ease in Oyster Cave’s tunnels, helping Gail get unlost, but the sister and brother aren’t so helpful about the shadows.
Despite the storm heading for their small Scottish island, Gail has to keep searching – in and out of the cave tunnels, through the forest toward the two Storm Sisters rocks standing tall off the rocky shore.
Why did Francis leave an endangered freshwater pearl on the map he drew in the cave dirt? Is Mhirran right about the secrets her brother is hiding in his workshed? How can Gail become a marine biologist if she’s afraid to swim without Kay?
The storm, the map, the waterfall, the secrets, their shadows – it’s up to Gail to puzzle out everything before Kay’s self slips away too.
When someone you love is hurting, how do you know what will help them? **kmm
No, she doesn’t want to be a seer through bone-charming like her mother and grandmother! Yes, a thief is stealing family bones, taking away memories forever! Maybe she can avoid a future she dreads, maybe a future is choosing her.
As breaks the bone, so her future path divides, and 17-year-old Saskia lives both lives, as tutor in her hometown paired with charming Declan (her best dream) and as apprentice bone charmer paired with gloomy Bram as both train their magical abilities in the capital (her worst fear) – but one path must become a dead end.
Perhaps the bone broken during Saskia’s kenning can be mended and her dual lives after that day become one – but that requires darker magics and secrets hard to keep.
In a world where visions are granted through ancestral bones, master bone charmers like Saskia’s mother and late grandmother can see only the past or the present or the future – but someone longs for the forbidden power to see all three and will gladly kill Saskia in either timeline to get it!
Cursed by the inexorable ocean, Claimed by the Cuban heritage never discussed, where is Rosa called to go?
Their unborn daughters never knew their fathers who died in the tumultuous seas…her grandmother and mother are so alike, yet so different.
Mimi is the healer and solid cornerstone of their Florida town, where Mama occasionally wanders back from her art commissions, where Rosa decided to stay after a childhood on the road, where her grandmother’s beloved Cuba is the shared heritage of many, and the sea’s curse on men loved by the Santos women is very well-known.
Rosa is fast-tracking high school to make sure she gets into a college with study abroad in Cuba (why doesn’t Mimi want to go back or even talk about her homeland?) and will never, ever date a sailor (ever).
When Port Coral’s festival loses its sponsor and developers threaten to buy up the waterfront, Rosa’s legendary organizing skills help her neighbors find their own way to bring tourist dollars to town and bring young sailor Alex into her life.
Everyone knows you don’t date Santos women, yet baker Alex dares…and Rosa dreams of happy endings, for once.
When have you gone against ‘common wisdom’ and come out ahead? **kmm
Book info: Don’t Date Rosa Santos / Nina Moreno. Disney Hyperion, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Loves gold – check. Lives in gated community – check. Breathes fire – not your average rich teen girl!
Being the youngest following super-talented brothers is rarely easy, and being told she can’t attempt the coming-of-age quest means that Sky will try even harder.
Gold sings to her blood – yep, wyvern is the more socially acceptable name for were-dragon.
Her impulsive nature wars against the detailed planning needed to successfully steal the artifact that Mom coveted, but Sky is determined to succeed, with a little help from her friends.
What’s your favorite family-first story? **kmm
Book info: Fire & Heist / Sara Beth Durst. Crown Books for Young Readers, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Sky wants to restore her family’s status within their exclusive Colorado mountain community, so she does what any 16-year-old wyvern would – attempt the heist scripted by Mom and get back their gold, all their gold and more!
Human on the outside, dragon on the inside, Sky longs to complete her first quest and erase some of the shame brought on her family by Mom’s disappearance during a heist gone wrong.
Luckily, that arcane artifact is in a vault in her boyfriend’s family mansion so he must know ways around the chief were-dragon’s magic protections.
Unluckily, Ryan dumped Sky when her family’s worth plunged at the Reckoning. So much for being soulmates.
Curiously, a human girl at school might be able to help, if only Sky were allowed to tell her that wyverns live right here…
A caper story, a friendship story, a betrayal story, a family-first story – soar with Sky as she uncovers deep secrets high in the Rockies.
A less-than-perfect teen girl and a coldly distant wizard meld magics to save their valley and kingdom from the evil which pushes the devouring Wood over the land in this tale of their difficult partnership amid treachery with a long, long memory.
Be sure to visit the publisher’s website here so you can read the first chapter.
Book info: Uprooted / Naomi Novik. Del Rey, 2015. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: As the Dragon untangles Agnieska’s magical skills, the young woman finds that mastering them will catapult her into court politics, too-close encounters with the magical Wood, and disruption of all that she holds dear.
To keep the valley safe from horrifying nearby evils, the wizard called Dragon takes a young maiden every ten years, never to return. At least her family knows she’s alive, unlike those whose loved ones have been captured and absorbed by the Wood.
After Agnieska rescues her best friend from the Wood and helps her master expel its corruption from Kasia, Prince Marek vows that his army – and the Dragon’s magic – will rescue the queen from her years-long captivity there, little realizing that his rash actions will aid their rival kingdom and the evil of the Wood.
What evil changed a borderlands forest into such a terrible force?
Can Nieshka find answers in the royal magicians’ hall?
Will her family ever be safe in their village so near the Wood?
From the author of the Temeraire series comes a story with hints of Baba Yaga, threads of eastern European folktales, and the struggle of good versus evil at its core. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)
A 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?
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)
What to do with that earring who’s lost its mate?
Hmmm… you’ve saved all the beads from that broken necklace…
There’s got to be a way to showcase that stunning sea glass without drilling holes in it!
With some crafting tools, wire, and jewelry “findings” (clasps, jump rings, etc.), you can turn these assorted bits into great jewelry – elegant or funky, casual or ooh-la-la.
Sarah Drew shares techniques and ideas from her successful handmade jewelry business in England so that you can let your imagination transform parts, pieces, and pearls into wearable art.
With lots of color photos and instructions, this Zest Books paperback hits the shelves on June 26, 2012, so zip in to your favorite independent bookstore then, and ask your local library to order it, too.
When folks start asking to buy your one-of-a-kind jewelry, be sure to grab Kenrya Rankins’ Start It Up (recommendation) so you can build a great business plan for your new enterprise.
Book info: Junk-Box Jewelry: 25 DIY Low-Cost (or No-Cost) Jewelry Projects / Sarah Drew. Zest Books, 2012. [author’s website] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My Book Talk: If you want to create new jewelry from interesting bits and pieces, then this is the book for you! Sarah Drew provides clear instructions and diagrams for basic and intermediate wire-crafting techniques, plus twenty-five innovative jewelry concepts from funky to fancy.
Once you have a few very basic tools and the right kind of wire and jewelry fittings from the local craft department, then you’re ready to start looking around your house, rummage sales, and even the beach for the colored, sparkly, smooth or shiny items that will feature in your creations.
Perhaps you’ll start mastering your wire techniques by remaking old beads into a new Retro-Bauble Bracelet or a fanciful Bling Ring. A Vintage Lace Choker has white glue as its secret ingredient, ornamented by a few well-placed reclaimed beads or faux gems.
You’ll learn how to suspend a beautiful stone as a pendant without drilling a hole in it, go green by making your own colorful tube-beads with magazine photos for a Newsstand Necklace, and turn hardware store finds into “charms” that will make your Toolbox Bracelet unique.
With a little practice, you can crochet wire into fanciful Cuff Bracelets or twist and twirl it around pearl-beads to fashion an intricate Art Deco Bracelet. For the prom or that special night out, create Elegant Earrings and a Juliet Headband to match your favorite outfit.
Once you’ve learned these basic jewelry techniques, you’re only limited by your imagination and the intriguing pieces of old brooches, sea glass, silk flowers, and thrift-store treasures that you find! (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)
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