Tag Archive | Virginia

Desert Dark, by Sonja Stone (book review) – school for spies, time to die?

book cover of Desert Dark by Sonja Stone published by Holiday House | recommended on BooksYALove.comBrilliant students wanted,
Puzzle-solving a plus.
Survival through graduation not guaranteed…

Whoa! Full tuition for boarding school for math genius problem-solvers? And across the country from her cheating boyfriend, too? Best idea that cryptographic whiz Nadia has heard in a long time, till she arrives at… a secret Black Ops academy, funded by the CIA, with a killer double-agent on campus!

The first chapters (provided here free by the publisher) set up the dangerous world that Nadia finds herself in.

How far can you run from heartbreak?
**kmm

Book info: Desert Dark / Sonja Stone. Holiday House, 2016.  [author site] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Recruited for an exclusive boarding school where her math abilities will be prized, Nadia discovers that Desert Mountain Academy covertly trains students for CIA black ops careers. When rumors of a double-agent on the remote Arizona campus prove true, suspicion falls on the newly-arrived Virginia teen whose mother is Lebanese.

Nadia is overwhelmed with martial arts and Mandarin, trying to master firearms and survival skills with the other juniors in her team – and resisting her attraction to their senior leader, Jack.

Teammate Damon is willing to help her catch up, but socially-challenged Alan (grandson of a Jewish Mossad agent) is openly skeptical, sure that she’ll bring down the team.

Her germophobic roommate Libby is hiding something – is it about the girl whose death opened a spot for Nadia after the semester had begun?

Chapters by Nadia, Libby, Jack, and the mysterious double-agent tell of assassination attempts (yep, plural), gradual team bonding, survival training, academic challenges, and a growing romance – if Nadia can survive her first year at Desert Mountain Academy!

P is photo-vigilante now herself Endangered, by Lamar Giles (book review)

book cover of Endangered by Lamar Giles published by Harper TeenClick! A compromising photo.
Click! A clever caption.
Click! Posted for all to see and mock and condemn.

Biracial ‘Panda’ makes herself unremarkable at school, submitting just-average work in digital photography class, ensuring that no one can link her to the scandalous photo-blog showing the worst sides of hypocritical students who pose as model citizens.

But someone knows that Panda is Gray Scales, and that someone has decided that mere cyberbullying isn’t enough punishment for those students at all!

This sometimes-uncomfortable look at the fine line between justice and revenge will be published on Tuesday, April 21, so ask for it at your local library or independent bookstore.
**kmm

Book info: Endangered / Lamar Giles.  Harper Teen, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher via Edelweiss/Abovethetreeline.

My book talk: Anonymously using her photo skills to expose classmates whose fine reputations belie their true bad behavior, Lauren finds herself being stalked by ‘Admirer’ who threatens to unmask the Virginia teen’s identity.

Mocked in elementary school for her appearance, Lauren was comforted by the panda stories told by her German mom and black father. But her chosen nickname of Panda stems from an attack on her reputation in early high school, which started her quest for justice through her anonymous photo-blog.

Even her best friend Ocie (nicknamed by Panda for her OCD tendencies) doesn’t know that Gray Scales is Panda; they boo the good-on-surface baddies who are exposed there and cheer for their half-black selves (Mei is half-Chinese).

When Panda’s latest post results in more than just the predatory teacher being fired – because the “Admirer” who discovered Gray Scales’ identity physically attacks the girl involved – the stakes suddenly get much, much higher.

Deleting the Gray Scales website doesn’t stop the Admirer…
Listening to the ideas of the first guy she shamed doesn’t seem so bad…
Going from overlooked at school to being held responsible for a death she didn’t instigate is awful…

When does a quest for justice become an excuse to attack? The Admirer makes sure everything is final!  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

J is Juliette and Abram in Finding Mr. Brightside, by Jay Clark (book review) – death, drugs & dog hair

book cover of Finding Mr Brightside by Jay Clark published by Henry Holt Books for Young ReadersTheir parents had an affair and died together.
They really don’t talk to each other.
But sometimes, accepting an invitation really is the way to move on…

Juliette’s mom got her hooked on Adderall before the accident, Abram is zonked out on Paxil to get over his dad’s betrayal, both plan to help the other get off the meds – neither plans to fall in love.

Cue up the author’s “while I wrote this book” playlist, weigh the merits of Taco Bell vs. Orville Redenbacher popcorn, and enjoy Juliette and Abram learning more about themselves and one another while they’re Finding Mr. Brightside.

Can you still love your parents once you realize they’re just human?
**kmm

Book info: Finding Mr. Brightside / Jay Clark.  Christy Ottaviano Books-Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: A year after the accident, Juliette and Abram find themselves hanging out and possibly romantic – if they can just get past the affair that resulted in the death of his dad and her mom, the meds they take to deal with the grief, and the unhappiness of his mom and her dad seeing them together.

Being in the same school and Virginia subdivision, they’ve managed to ignore each other – brisk and efficient Juliette driven by Adderall and comfortably scruffy Abram so becalmed by Paxil that he doesn’t even play tennis anymore.

Trying to clear out their deceased parents’ clothes doesn’t really work, a road trip to his family’s rarely-used beach house in South Carolina gets strange, and maybe Juliette’s dad will finish his novel after 20 years… nah.

Moving from emotionally numb to finishing up their senior year with a wee bit of enthusiasm, Juliette and Abram tell their story in alternating chapters with growing affection, dog hair, and much popcorn.   (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

War hits hard in SYNC audiobooks

What does war do to us? Listen in as two young men in different eras of US history – past and future – experience it firsthand in this week’s free audiobooks from SYNC.

Download these free complete audiobooks are before Wednesday, August 6th, and you can read them with your ears as long as you keep them on your computer or electronic device

CD cover of Divided We Fall By Trent Reedy Read by Andrew Eiden et al. Published by Scholastic AudioDivided We Fall (download here)
Available only in USA, Canada, & the Philippines

By Trent Reedy
Read by Andrew Eiden et al.
Published by Scholastic Audio

When a young National Guardsman’s gun misfires, it sparks a chain reaction of violence which could tear apart the USA in this near-future political thriller.

 

The Red Badge of Courage (download here)CD cover of The Red Badge of Courage By Stephen Crane Read by Frank Muller Published by Recorded Books
By Stephen Crane
Read by Frank Muller
Published by Recorded Books

The Civil War’s bloody realities eclipse a young man’s lifelong dream of being a soldier as the Battle of Chancellorsville begins.

Will mankind ever learn from the violence of the past?
**kmm

Brave girls in unexpected situations – free SYNC audiobooks this week!

A teenage spy falling in love!
An orphaned girl sent to do a boy’s farm job!
Two great stories to read with your ears this week, courtesy of AudioSYNC!

You can download either or both free audiobooks beginning today through Wednesday 25 June 2014 at the SYNC site. Then you can listen to them any time that you like,  as long as you keep those files on your computer or electronic device.

CD cover of I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You By Ally Carter Read by Renée Raudman Published by Brillance AudioI’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You (download here – USA & Canada only)
By Ally Carter
Read by Renée Raudman
Published by Brillance Audio

Enrolled in spy school for teen girls, Cammie faces her toughest challenge yet when she falls for a regular teenage guy. (read chapter 1 here free)

 

Anne of Green Gables (download here)CD cover of Anne of Green Gables By L.M. Montgomery Read by Colleen Winton Published by Post Hypnotic Press
By L.M. Montgomery
Read by Colleen Winton
Published by Post Hypnotic Press

A plucky orphan girl brings new life to the rural Nova Scotia farm where she is mistakenly sent; the first book in the classic series (read here free).

 

Can you identify with what Cammie and Anne are facing in their new situations?
**kmm