Tag Archive | villains

He escaped? Again!? Good thing we know HOW TO CATCH A POLAR BEAR, by Stacy McNulty (MG book review)

book cover of How To Catch a Polar Bear, by Stacy McNulty. Margaret K. McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

This summer will be great!
Until his buddies get jobs,
no time to play baseball…

Wow, Frosty the polar bear escaped from the city zoo! If he gets out again, Ace and Penny will watch for him on their early-morning paper route – if the boss doesn’t fire Penny for being a girl.

Since his best pals are so busy now, 12-year-old Nick helps Uncle Spiro at Sparky’s frozen custard shop. If only competitor Happy Harold would quit bugging Spiro – Milwaukee is big enough for them both…

The zookeeper offers Uncle Spiro the frozen custard concession inside the zoo for the summer! If they can just find someone over age 14 to run the stand with Nick as helper…

Oh, no! Happy’s Custard sets up a cart right outside the zoo entrance, undercutting Sparky’s price and selling a third flavor! If Nick and Mama can just invent a unique flavor and compete with that sneak Happy and bullying classmate Pete who works for him…

Hurray! Their favorite radio personalities are so pleased with Sparky’s “Frosty Freeze” custard that they decide to broadcast from the zoo for all the Fourth of July festivities. Hope those frozen custard-loving monkeys and Frosty behave…

There are plenty of reasons that signs say “Don’t Feed the Animals” all over the zoo in summer 1948! If only people heeded them…

The rollicking follow-up to The Rhino in Right Field, recommended here.

What’s your favorite hot weather treat?
**kmm

Book info: How To Catch a Polar Bear / Stacy McNulty. Margaret K. McElderry Books / Simon & Schuster, 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

It’s not fair! Teens incite THE PEACH REBELLION post-WWII, by Wendelin Van Draanen (YA book review)

book cover of The Peach Rebellion, by Wendelin Van Draanen. Alfred A. Knopf | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Over a decade since coming to California during the Dust Bowl days, her tiny brothers dying of sickness and buried under a creekside tree north of here, and folks are still calling Ginny Rose’s family “Okies” after World War II, despite all their hard work.

After her first day working at the peach cannery, a flat bike tire detours the 17 year old to Peggy’s peach farm where she meets banker’s daughter Lisette.

Wow, Papa and Mama tell Ginny Rose to keep half her wages for new school clothes and her future! Her sister Anna Mae is aghast at the idea of being left behind with their deeply depressed mother

Peggy’s big sister opens the teen’s eyes to truths about the family peach farm, very unwelcome facts that explain why Doris hasn’t brought her baby back to visit.

Lisette’s fancy new house? Her father’s bank foreclosed on his good friend’s house, then the banker bought it instead of stopping the seizure?!

Ginny Rose discovers Babyland in the cemetery, where the tiniest children are buried – could she bring her little brothers here, for good?

The three teens from very different parts of society find a common purpose as Peggy and Lisette decide to help Ginny Rose on her quest!

Told in alternating chapters by Ginny Rose and Peggy during the sweltering summer of 1947.

Which friends would help you with a challenge?
**kmm

Book info: The Peach Rebellion / Wendelin Van Draanen. Alfred A. Knopf /PRH, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Get THE JUMP on invading oil company! by Brittney Morris (YA book review)

book cover of The Jump, by Brittney Morris. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

They know Seattle, street by street, edge to edge, even belowground. No one is better at digital scavenger-hunting than Team JERICHO.

Jax, cryptologist, Black vegan – why should the community garden his parents founded be replaced by an Roundworld oil refinery?

Yas, parkourist, gay hijabi – her father’s Pakistani-American convenience store is losing business to Roundworld’s HQ cafeteria.

Spider, tech-whiz, social justice warrior – thankful that Mom and her Korean restaurant staff support his transitioning.

Han, cartographer, autistic – brother working for Roundworld, Dad’s livelihood threatened by its pipeline.

When “The Order” posts a puzzle whose prize is “power” during protests against Roundworld, JERICHO decides to accept the challenge!

Can they solve The Order’s puzzle before Team Royal?
Will it allow the teens to stop Roundworld from placing an oil refinery in their neighborhood?
What does “the game is anarchy” in The Order’s first clue really mean?

The four long-time friends take turns telling this complex tale of clues, loyalties, greed, and consequences.

By the author of The Cost of Knowing, recommended here.

How are you reacting against injustice near you?
**kmm

Book info: The Jump / Brittney Morris. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

A quest, an escape, SOMETHING CLOSE TO MAGIC is needed! by Emma Mills (YA book review)

book cover of Something Close to Magic, by Emma Mills. Published by Atheneum | recommended on BooksYALove.com

When Aurelie’s feckless parents used up all their money, she was forced to leave school and magic lessons to become apprentice to a miserly baker.

Use her Seeker skills again? Dashing finder Iliana convinces her to try – for a percentage of the bounty. Everyone knows that each magic spell used has a consequence of opposites…

They set out through the dreaded Underwood to find Elias, son of a royal servant. Along the way, Aurelie is pulled underground by an ancient being, rescued by Quad (a troll friend of Iliana), and has a vision of Elias nearby.

But instead of Elias, the three young women find Prince Hapless’s coach under attack!

To throw off the kidnappers, they continue roundabout in the Underwood, rather than take Hapless directly onward to the Scholar’s City. The prince is funny and nice and honest about being a very terrible student of magic, only living up to his court-given royal name now and again.

What?! The newspaper says Iliana and Aurelie kidnapped Hapless! But the attackers wore palace guard uniforms… something’s fishy.

They magically change the prince’s appearance and head for the capital instead. He and Aurelie hate to part, but promise to write… back to boring real life.

When Iliana appears at the bakery several weeks later, worried about a plot against Hapless at his sister’s ball, Aurelie must decide – see the man she knows she cannot be with or abandon her chance to become a master baker.

A pretender grabbing for the throne, unrequited affections, old magic and new magic – a worthy tale indeed!

What magic spell would you choose, if you knew it could boomerang?
**kmm

Book info: Something Close to Magic / Emma Mills. Atheneum, 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Siku and the Zambezi River, connected forever, until the KARIBA dam! by Daniel & James Clarke (Graphic novel review)

book cover of Kariba, by Daniel & James Clarke. Published by Catalyst Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Great river spirit Nyaminyami dies and is reborn every epoch; this rebalancing time of Rumuko is near.

But Zimbabwe’s cities need electricity, so the giant Kariba Dam will block the Zambezi River soon. That is, if the Italian engineer and her team can get past the problems created as a greedy British manager tries secretly to trap Nyaminyami!

Siku lives with her father and auntie on the river and feels at home under its waters. Her dreams of flood and disaster and a giant snake get stronger – Baba says she must resist them, especially as he goes to work at Kariba.

The 11 year old doesn’t know that when she was a baby, Baba found her in an ancient place behind a waterfall and has continued to ignore the supernatural beings calling for Siku’s help with Rumuko.

River pirates attack Siku’s home just as a floatplane taking the engineer’s son to Kariba stops for fuel! The two young people escape in the plane, following Siku’s beloved river toward the dam, and her visions increase.

Of course, the pirates pursue – even on land! What do they want with Siku?

Evidence of Nyaminyami’s presence behind the near-complete dam is undeniable – can it truly be captured?

The Shonga people will be displaced when the lake begins rising behind the completed dam – can Siku help them stay in their homeland?

Happy book birthday this week to Kariba, another stellar addition to Catalyst Press’ catalog of African books published for North American readers.

What stories are told of the river spirits near you?
**kmm

Book info: Kariba / Daniel & James Clarke. Catalyst Press, 2023 [author & illustrator interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Scary times – who will be brave? (audiobook recommendations)

Frightening or challenging? You decide with these professionally produced audiobooks respinning fairy tales as our AudioSYNC summer winds down.

You have until Wednesday 19 July 2023 to download either or both audiobooks into your Sora shelf. Get all the details here.

Not your everyday experiences…

CD cover of The Lantern's Ember, 
by Colleen Houck | Read by Piper Goodeve. Published by HighBridge Audio

The Lantern’s Ember (free Sora download 7/13 – 7/19/23)
by Colleen Houck | Read by Piper Goodeve
Published by HighBridge Audio

Guarding the Otherworld’s entrance for centuries, Jack is startled when young witch Ember slips through its gates.

Doesn’t she realize its true dangers? Dare he leave his post to save her? How could he not?!

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/229597/the-lanterns-ember-by-colleen-houck-read-by-piper-goodeve/

swirling lines clipart http://www.clipartpanda.com/clipart_images/mondays-throughout-the-day-17164159
CD cover of Red Hood, by Elana K. Arnold | Read by January LaVoy.
Published by Harper Audio

Red Hood (free Sora download 7/13-7/19/23)
by Elana K. Arnold | Read by January LaVoy
Published by Harper Audio

For 16-year-old Bisou, one transcendent evening encompasses her first period, first encounter with the pleasures of sex, memories of her mother’s bloody death, and a stalker whose wolf-form hides a terrible classmate.

Red Riding Hood retold with emphasis on feminine instincts in the face of male toxicity.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/173189/red-hood-by-elana-k-arnold-read-by-january-lavoy/

What edge-of-your-seat tale would you recommend?
**kmm

divider clipart http://www.clipartpanda.com/clipart_images/mondays-throughout-the-day-17164159

Oracle’s prophecy, a WOLFISH connection – danger! by Christiane M. Andrews (MG book review)

book cover of Wolfish, by Christiane M. Andrews. Published by Little Brown | recommended on BooksYALove.com

In their cave of mists, Oracle and Apprentice tell the future, but young Alba won’t repeat the waters’ most dismal words to rob poor peasants of a little hope.

Alas, Alba does speak truth to one boy, eleventh in the royal succession and suddenly the new king, about his joyless reign being cut short by his sibling and a beast.

Later visions show her that the king’s mother soon after birthed twins who were swiftly taken from the palace, yet all are told that her child was stillborn … where were the king’s siblings taken?

In the mountains, little Rae helps her adoptive parents watch their sheep, growing strong on their love and sunshine and Mop’s songs.

In the forest, a wolf-child learns to hunt and revel in the scents around him, as furred and swift-running as his litter-mates.

At the cave entrance, a young priest guarding them at night reluctantly teaches Alba how to write, and she records her vision of the twins for the priests’ library.

One day, Rae sings the song she senses in hillside breezes and sees a wolf, whose attack is stopped – by another wolf! The defending wolf allows Rae to tend his wounds, and somehow they truly see one another…

Alba’s writing is discovered, and she is banished. Now what? Now where?

To her first market day in the town, Rae and her parents go, not knowing that the king ordered all children of the twins’ age – and hers – captured!

Can Alba and Rae and the wolf escape the king’s anger and make their own futures come true?

A lyrical tale of the magic of songs and of being known, seen, loved.

Would you want to know your future?
**kmm

Book info: Wolfish / Christiane M. Andrews. Little Brown, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Lives lived loud and clear – historical fiction to read with your ears! (audiobook recommendations)

Our AudioSYNC offerings this week take us into different times and different places with well-crafted historical fiction audiobooks that begin with murder!

You have until Wednesday 12 July 2023 to download either or both of these professionally produced audiobooks into your Sora shelf. Get all the details here.

Now tell me… what did they do next?

CD cover of The Boy in the Red Dress, by Kristin Lambert | Read by Sophie Amoss. Published by Listening Library

The Boy in the Red Dress (free Sora download 7/6-7/12/23)
by Kristin Lambert | Read by Sophie Amoss
Published by Listening Library

Murder on New Year’s Eve! In 1929 New Orleans, the Cloak & Dagger speakeasy and LBGTQIA haven features Marion in drag – who is now suspected of murder.

His best friend Millie (teenage niece of the club owner) is determined to prove his innocence and find the real killer.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/179183/the-boy-in-the-red-dress-by-kristin-lambert-read-by-sophie-amoss/

swirling lines clipart http://www.clipartpanda.com/clipart_images/mondays-throughout-the-day-17164159
CD cover of This Rebel Heart, by Katherine Locke. Read by Kathleen Gati, Steven Jay Cohen. Published by Listening Library

This Rebel Heart (free Sora download 7/6-7/12/23)
by Katherine Locke | Read by Kathleen Gati, Steven Jay Cohen
Published by Listening Library

After her parents are murdered in 1956, young Hungarian woman Czilla is eager to leave the country and its repressive regime.

She finds allies in a man seeking his missing lover, an angel of death, and others primed to revolt for freedom.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/213314/this-rebel-heart-by-katherine-locke-read-by-kathleen-gati-steven-jay-cohen/

Best historical fiction book you ever read?
**kmm

divider clipart http://www.clipartpanda.com/clipart_images/mondays-throughout-the-day-17164159

Traverse A WILDERNESS OF STARS to save humanity, by Shea Ernshaw (YA book review)

book cover of A Wilderness of Stars, by Shea Ernshaw. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

An unmistakable omen,
Time to leave safety,
Time to find the stars’ secrets.

Every night, Vega and Mom talk about all the stars they can see from their secluded valley, including the constellation tattooed on the teen’s neck.

When Vega sees a dreadful omen in the skies and Mom dies, it’s time to go away – for Vega is the last Astronomer and must find the Architect to save their world.

Together, they can find a cure for the fast-spreading sickness that takes sight and hearing before death.

If she can stay clear of the star-branded Theorists who believe the Astronomer can help them end the world quickly…
If that young man truly knows where to find the Architect…
If the Architect and the Astronomer can get to the sea…

Hunted by Theorists, going quietly around dusty near-ghost towns where her face is on wanted posters, Vega moves quickly with teens Cricket and Noah, now the Last Architect.

Vega’s affection for Noah grows as they travel stealthily across the hostile wilderness toward the sea, even as she worries about the secrets of his past.

Will their knowledge – passed down orally for generations – be accurate enough to save their world?

**kmm

Book info: A Wilderness of Stars / Shea Ernshaw. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Neighbors at war, peril under THE WEIGHT OF OUR SKY, by Hanna Alkaf (YA book review)

book cover of The Weight of Our Sky, by Hanna Alkaf. Published by Salaam Reads | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Underdogs win in an election,
Status quo pushes back –
Deadly fighting in the streets!

The small good-luck counting actions of childhood became full-blown obsession when her father died. Now 16-year-old Melati protects her mother through counting rituals as the djinn within her shows gruesome images of how Mama will die if the teen doesn’t do them perfectly (always in threes, always).

These days, in 1969 Malaysia, she and best friend Saf love new music, enjoy the street food in their Malay neighborhood, come home when the sunset call to prayer sounds. They’re at the movies when fighting about the recent election turns violent with Chinese and Muslims and Indians attacking each other’s communities – run, run home!

Improbably rescued by a Chinese auntie, Melati is panicked at Mama not knowing where she is, at leaving Saf behind, at being with Chinese people she’s always been warned not to trust…

The djinn inside Melati reproaches her constantly, Auntie Bee’s two college sons Frankie and Vincent argue about who started the fighting, and Uncle arrives home after seeing fires all over Kuala Lumpur.

Oh, 24-hour curfew! Rioters are burning everything, and soon Auntie Bee’s house is packed with her neighbor of all faiths – how long will the food last?

Frankie is eager to fight against the Malays; Vince loves music and understands a little about how it helps Melati drown out the djinn’s terrible words.

Is there any way to get back to Melati’s mom? Wherever she and Vince travel on his motorbike, one of them will be the outsider and in danger!

Malay, Chinese, and Indian groups all worked together to declare independence from Britain 12 years ago – why can’t they govern together now?

In Melati’s time, mental illnesses like OCD were ignored, not treated, so she is doing the best that she can during unbearable stress.

The debut novel by the author of Queen of the Tiles (recommended here).
**kmm

Book info: The Weight of Our Sky / Hanna Alkaf. Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster, hardcover 2019, paperback, 2021. [author site] [publisher site] Personal copy; cover image courtesy of the publisher.