Tag Archive | US author

Ghost tours? Really!? Just Kill Me, by Adam Selzer (book review)

book cover of Just Kill Me by Adam Selzer published by Simon Schuster BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.comGhosts aren’t real,
Money worries are,
Being a ghost-tour guide will be easy…

Surely her new bosses aren’t serious about making their exclusive ghost tour stops even more haunted by helping senior citizens leave this world a bit early?

You can find the hardcover now at your local library and independent bookstore, with paperback release of Just Kill Me scheduled for late August 2017. (and, yes, the author does run ghost tours in Chicago!!)

Ever visited the death site of someone famous?
**kmm

Book info: Just Kill Me / Adam Selzer. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, hardcover 2016, paperback 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Ghost tours in Chicago are truly a cut-throat business, Megan discovers as she begins working for Cyn and Rich, who may just be creating a few new ghosts of their own to compete with the big companies.

Megan grew up in a funeral home (a “black diaper baby”), is comfortable with death (naturally), doesn’t believe in ghosts (ditto), but does need a summer job after high school graduation – perfect for the ghost tour biz (as long as Mom doesn’t find out).

As she learns the stories behind famous crime scenes, infamous murder sites, and secret haunted spots, Megan wonders if Cyn and Rich really see the spirits they point out to tourists.

When new ghosts appear on the tour just after her bosses take their nursing home patients on evening outings, she ponders the coincidences.

Cyn continues commenting on Megan’s resemblance to a flapper who mysteriously disappeared in the 1920s, so it’s time to dig into history and get her secretive online-but-no-photos girlfriend to help unravel the mystery… before it’s too late!

Survive his own Bloodline of violence? by Joe Jimenez (book review)

cover of Bloodline by Joe Jimenez published by Arte Publico Press | recommended on BooksYALove.comOphelia wants him to stop fighting at school,
Uncle wants him to start really fighting, for money –
Hope and despair are always fighting within him…

Ask for this powerful #ownvoices story at your local library or independent bookstore as Abram thinks lyrically of his embattled present while trying to avoid remembering his family’s past or dreaming too much about a future beyond it.

Can we fight destiny, our DNA, our desires?
**kmm

Book info: Bloodline / Joe Jimenez. Pinata Books/Arte Publico Press, 2016.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Calls to fight ring louder than any teacher’s voice, as 17-year-old Abram struggles to be worthy of Ophelia’s love, to live beyond his family history, to make it past junior year.

“Not all boys need fathers. Better to have no man around than to have a bad one, don’t you think?” says Becky (p.2)- so why did his grandmother invite Uncle Claudio, her son with the long police record, back into their lives again, despite her girlfriend’s advice?

“Be a man!” – what does that mean in their worn-down San Antonio neighborhood? In the dank boxing gym with Uncle? In the world?

“Blood is thicker…” – will Ophelia know if Afghanistan swallows her deployed mother? Is Abram doomed by his parents’ DNA?

Abram forcibly remains in the present moment, as his past brings overwhelming fears and the future beyond tomorrow is too hazy to see, as the cold November rains pelt down and days grow shorter, so much shorter.

Civil War dangers remain in Crossing Ebenezer Creek, by Tonya Bolden (book review)

book cover of Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tonya Bolden published by Bloomsbury | recommended on BooksYALove.comFreed by Yankee soldiers!
Not all believe in emancipation.
What does the future hold for former slaves?

Read this book – for the joy that freedom brings.
Read it – for the sorrow that war brings.
Read it – for our shared humanness, as Mariah and Caleb fall in love, despite all.

Every time I see Ebenezer in a church name, I will surely remember this story.

Can hope remain when trust runs thin?
**kmm

Book info: Crossing Ebenezer Creek / Tonya Bolden. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Freed by the Yankees, Mariah and her fellow enslaved persons travel along with the Union Army, but not all soldiers believe they should be free.

The young teen girl rejoices when Capt. Galloway says “You now own yourselves” and promises to keep them free on their journey – away from Miss Callie’s strident commands and slave-driver Nero’s brutal whip.

Caleb lived through the Burning of Atlanta and now forages for Sherman’s Army. Meeting Mariah and little Zeke strains his “no attachments” resolution (and the young man is secretly glad).

How can Mariah keep her simple little brother safe?
Why are some men in the Union Army if they think slavery is right?
Mariah dares to dream of a future, not alone – but what secret does Caleb hide?

Told in alternating chapters by Mariah and Caleb is the story of past slavery and longing for full freedom, but first they must survive the upcoming showdown between Union and Confederate forces.

They need pollution-escape, WANT a better life, by Cindy Pon (book review)

book cover of Want by Cindy Pon published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comPollution haze blankets future Taipei,
Rich wear super-filter-suits,
Have-nots just die – why must they?

No brakes on corporate villainy, no chance of escaping poverty, no wonder Zhou’s assembled-family of friends will risk everything to take down Jin Corporation (even his heart…).

Read the beginning of Want here, courtesy of the publisher, then go to your local library or independent bookstore for this June 2017 release.

Earlier this month in Long Beach, Cindy told me that she is working on the sequel!

What are you doing to make the world better for all?
**kmm

Book info: Want (Want. book 1) / Cindy Pon. Simon Pulse, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: To be in Taiwan now means blue sky is ancient history and humanity is one virus away from disaster.
To be ‘mei’ – a have-not – means dying early from pollution and preventable diseases.
To be ‘you’ – privileged, rich – means life-protecting suits, luxury, and ease.

The ransom money will pay for the tech that ‘mei’ Zhou and friends need to infiltrate and destroy the corrupt Jin Corporation.
The sleep-spell drug will ensure that ‘you’ Daiyu will forget that Zhou kidnapped her, brought her to his garden hideout.
Then Zhou masquerading as ‘you’ Jason must pretend that he and Daiyu have never met, ignore their growing attraction, get what he needs to blow apart her father’s suit-technology empire.

Everyone in Jason’s team has lost loved ones due to Jin’s greed which keeps pollution levels high and the cost of life-saving drugs even higher.
All are willing to risk death to give the ‘mei’ majority opportunities for a better life.
Just one chance for 18 year old Jason to get past the best tech in the world, just one…

Terrifying future tales – to read with your ears

This week’s free audiobooks from SYNC may be fiction, but they bring up possibilities vivid enough to scare you to pieces!

Click the link for each book and download before Wednesday (7/26/17),  so you have them on your computer or electronic device for listening now or later.

Thanks again to all the publishers who’ve let us download their great audiobooks all summer long through AudiobookSYNC!

CD cover of Gone (Gone, book 1) by Michael Grant | Read by Kyle McCarley Published by Tantor Media | recommended on BooksYALove.comGone (Gone, book 1) (download here free from 20-26 July 2017)
by Michael Grant
Read by Kyle McCarley
Published by Tantor Media

Suddenly, everyone over 14 is gone. Hunger and bullies – not gone. Scary new talents – on the rise. Civil behavior – declining fast. Mutating animals, fights over leadership – do Sam and friends have any chance of survival?
 

The One Safe Place (download here free from 20-26 July 2017)CD cover of The One Safe Place by Tania Unsworth | Read by Mark Turetsky Published by HighBridge Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Tania Unsworth
Read by Mark Turetsky
Published by HighBridge Audio

Leaving the farm after Grandfather dies, Devin hopes he’ll find safety and food in the city, or maybe be lucky enough to go the abandoned children’s home. But he finds the home is no safe place for any kid, especially one with his special abilities.

Have you read either of these dystopian tales before?
**kmm

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We are what we eat?? Listen up!

How much should we worry about the effects of the foods we crave? This week’s free audiobooks from SYNC pair a fictional story with fascinating research so you can read with your ears!

Click the link after either title (or both!) to download these complete audiobooks – for free – from Thursday through Wednesday (13-19 July).

Then you can listen whenever you want – just be sure to keep the files on your computer or electronic device.

CD cover of Sugar by Deirdre Riordan Hall | Read by Tara Sands Published by Brilliance Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.comSugar (download here free from 13-19 July 2017)
by Deirdre Riordan Hall
Read by Tara Sands
Published by Brilliance Audio

Sugar doesn’t want to be fat or take care of her housebound morbidly obese mom in their run-down trailer. When a new guy at the 17 year old’s New Hampshire high school actually listens to her instead of mocking – what now?
 

The Dorito Effect: the Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor
(download here free from 12-19 July 2017)CD cover of The Dorito Effect by Mark Schatzker | Read by Chris Patton Published by Dreamscape Media | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Mark Schatzker
Read by Chris Patton
Published by Dreamscape Media

Perhaps it’s not the exactly carbs and fat we eat that are ruining our health, but the man-made flavors added to them that make us eat more and more. Fascinating research on chemical food flavors may be interfering with our bodies’ ability to choose nutritious foods.

What food has your own research led you to avoid?
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Can they escape The Gauntlet’s deadly game of blood and sand? by Karuna Riazi (book review)

book cover of The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi published by Salaam Reads | recommended on BooksYALove.comAn old board game comes to life,
little brother rushes in and vanishes!
All puzzles must be solved to rescue him…

Although that wooden box looks like an outdated game, the dangers of entering “the Gauntlet of Blood and Sand” are very real – but how else can Farah get Ahmad back?

True friends Alex and Essie go with her – not the birthday party that any of them expected!

How far would you go to help your best friend?
**kmm

Book info: The Gauntlet / Karuna Riazi. Salaam Reads, 2017. [author Twitter]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Escaping her 12th birthday party for just a moment to open her aunt’s gift, Farah and her best friends find themselves transported from New York into an exotic board game that they must win in order to find her little brother Ahmad and to stay alive!

A good Bangladeshi girl would welcome her new classmates to the party, but Farah would rather play games with little brother Ahmad (letting him win keeps his ADHD tantrums to a minimum – a Mirza family rule).

Quietly creeping upstairs with Alex and Essie from her old neighborhood, Farah unwraps “The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand” and the ancient-looking game comes to life. Ahmad vanishes into the gameboard, just as Aunt Zohra says that it ruined her life at age 12!

Of course, Farah, Alex, and Essie must play the game to save him, but if they don’t solve each puzzle in time, none of them will escape the Gauntlet.

Who can they trust in the souk marketplace?
What otherworldly perils will the teammates face next?
How will they find Ahmad in this multi-level city made of sand?

A lifetime of playing board games may help Farah, Essie, and Alex outwit the Architect’s deadly puzzle challenges – if he doesn’t cheat! (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Memories and expectations – listen in….

This week’s free audiobooks from SYNC tell of memory and expectations, with teens with so much of their futures riding on now.

You can download each title pair (just click on the link below) from Thursday through Wednesday, then you can listen to them as long as you keep them on your computer or electronic device.

Single-narrator audiobooks or full-cast productions with sound effects? This summertime @AudioSYNC free program lets to try many genres of books – for free!

CD cover of Remember to Forget by Ashley Royer | Read by Will Lasley Published by Blink | recommended on BooksYALove.comRemember to Forget
(download here free from 6-12 July 2017)
by Ashley Royer
Read by Will Lasley
Published by Blink

Sent to Dad’s house in Maine from Australia to shake his depression, Luke isn’t sure he wants to “get over” his girlfriend’s death or to talk again or to meet anybody (especially the girl who reminds him of someone…)
 
Rebuttal
(download here free from 6-12 July 2017)CD cover of Rebuttal by Jyotsna Hariharan | Read by Phoebe Strole, Michael Crouch, Nina Mehta, a Full Cast Published by HarperAudio | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Jyotsna Hariharan
Read by Phoebe Strole, Michael Crouch, Nina Mehta, a Full Cast
Published by HarperAudio

A 2nd place at debate tournament gets Alex to her dream writer’s workshop, but she needs a debate partner. Passing AP Biology gets Jeremy closer to becoming a doctor (his parents’ dream), but he needs a tutor.  Helping each other will be easy, right?

Expectations can be a heavy burden – how do you cope?
**kmm

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Read American #ownstories – with your ears

Hurry to get this week’s pair of free audiobooks from SYNC to read with your ears for Independence Day and beyond!

Click the link following the title to download either or both these complete audiobooks before Wednesday night (5 July 2017), then listen to them whenever you like, as long as you keep them on your computer or electronic device.

CD cover of American Night: the Ballad of Juan Jose by Richard Montoya, Developed by Culture Clash and Jo Bonney | Read by Richard Montoya, Keith Jefferson, Todd Nakagawa, Sean San Jose, Kimberly Scott, Herbert Siguenza, Tom Virtue, Libby West, Caro Zeller Published by L.A. Theatre Works | recommended on BooksYALove.comAmerican Night: the Ballad of Juan Jose
(download here free through 5 July 2017)
by Richard Montoya, Developed by Culture Clash and Jo Bonney
Read by Richard Montoya, Keith Jefferson, Todd Nakagawa, Sean San Jose, Kimberly Scott, Herbert Siguenza, Tom Virtue, Libby West, Caro Zeller
Published by L.A. Theatre Works

After studying so hard for his citizenship exam, Juan is visited by a parade of American historical figures in his dreams – live performance with large cast, music, and lots of pop culture references.

 

My Name is Not Easy
(download here free through 5 July 2017)CD cover of My Name is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson | Read by Nick Podehl, Amy Rubinate Published by Brilliance Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Debby Dahl Edwardson
Read by Nick Podehl, Amy Rubinate
Published by Brilliance Audio

In a 1960s Alaskan boarding school where youth are forbidden to speak their Native languages and cross-cultural friendships are discouraged, five boys tell their own stories of loneliness and hope.

What tales of freedom do you recommend?
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Is Lulu next? Murder Among the Stars, by Adam Shankman & Laura L. Sullivan (book review)

book cover of Murder Among the Stars by Adam Shankman & Laura L. Sullivan published by Atheneum | recommended on BooksYALove.com “Be your true self!”
“Act like a star!”
“Stay alive!” Two out of three’s not bad…

Lulu hasn’t been in 1920s Hollywood long, but she knows there are schemers who’ll do anything to get a role with the big movie studios – absolutely anything!

After her run-in with gangsters, hidden identities, and murderous gossip in her first mystery as Girl About Town (my no-spoilers review here), the New York native has her eyes wide open and her exit route planned during this raucous extended audition turned deadly.

Glitz, glamour, and gore – ready for your close-up?
**kmm

Book info: Murder Among the Stars (Lulu Kelly mysteries, book 2) / Adam Shankman and Laura L. Sullivan.  Atheneum Books, 2017.  [Adam’s bio]  [Laura’s Facebook] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk:  Playing footsies with a corpse wasn’t what Lulu had expected at this elegant dinner, but the young actress finds even more bizarre things during the weekend-long audition for a movie contract, as she’s drawn into another mystery in 1920s Hollywood.

Imagine being wealthy enough to build a California castle, to own a menagerie with a real lion, to flaunt your mistress in Society, to give expensive gifts to every guest without blinking an eyelash!

For newspaper and movie magnate William Randolph Hearst, this extravagant house-party is just a simple favor for writer Anita Loos, until actresses start being murdered.

For new-to-Hollywood Lulu Kelly, it’s her chance for a starring role, if the 17 year old can outlast the other twenty starlets trying to win over WR and Marion.

For Lulu’s boyfriend Freddie the private eye, this huge party at the remote estate means too many suspects and too many motives for blackmail and murder.

Why is WR’s 10 year old niece Patricia so interested in crimes and murders?
How can anyone believe that the first suspect nabbed for the first murder did it?
Who invited mobster Sal to this party and does anyone know his connection to Lulu?

Dive into the intrigue and gossip of movie legends in this second Lulu Kelly mystery, as silver screen secrets become oh so deadly.