Tag Archive | writing

Blind Guide to Stinkville, by Beth Vrable (book review) – she’s not ‘that blind’, right?

book cover of A Blind Guide to Stinkville by Beth Vrabel published by Sky Pony Press | recommended on BooksYALove.comLearning her way around a new town with limited sight,
coping with albinism in the sunny South,
wondering if Mom’s depression will ever lift…

Maybe Alice is right to think that she will never feel at home in the small paper mill town of Sinkville.
Or maybe she can find connections that will make her new life less stinky.

Travel to Alice’s new town today by visiting your local library or independent bookstore where you can find A Blind Guide to Stinkville as 2015 hardcover or 2016 paperback. Watch for its follow-up title, A Blind Guide to Normal, too (published in October 2016).

Do we let our first impressions of others make them ‘other’ to us?
**kmm

Book info: A Blind Guide to Stinkville / Beth Vrabel. Sky Pony Press, 2015 (hardcover), 2016 (paperback). [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Moving to a small South Carolina town means new challenges for sight-impaired Alice, but as she tries to get people to not see her as different, she discovers new friends and connections that are at risk when her parents discuss sending the 12 year old to school for the blind.

If people want to think that her farting Shi Tzu is a Seeing Eye dog, Alice won’t correct them.
If her best friend back in Seattle is suddenly busy with parties and boys, Alice can’t do much about that.
But when Mr. Hamlin may be forced into a nursing home, mean girl Eliza lies about Tooter attacking her, and Dad spends even more time at work as Mom retreats into depression, Alice is ready to fight!

Writing her essay for the local contest will fix everything…unless it can’t.

Followed by A Blind Guide to Normal, this story of unlooked-for changes and hopeful new beginnings finds “not that blind” Alice finding new perspectives and friendships. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Language of Stars, by Louise Haws (book review) – poetry or pre-med prose?

book cover of The Language of Stars, by Louise Hawes published by Margaret K. McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comWhat Mom wants, what Dad demands,
What her boyfriend plans,
When is it her turn to decide?

Mistakes – telling Fry about the Baylor House, trying to please Dad at work, imagining that Mom would allow her off the pre-med career path.

Possibilities – writing poetry with Rufus Baylor himself, finding the ‘me’ instead of only ‘us’ with Fry, discovering her own poetic voice.

So many wonderful (and on-their-way-to-better) poems in this book!

Got a poem to share in the comments?
**kmm

Book info:  The Language of Stars / Louise Hawes. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Sarah should have talked Fry out having a party at remote historic house in their North Carolina coastal town, but after the house is terribly damaged, her dad is even angrier at her than usual, and the partying teens are sentenced to summer school plus house restoration, she is startled to find their class taught by the reclusive poet whose summer home was wrecked and that she has a gift for words, a gift that may take her far from the med school future that her mom has planned out for her.

Filled with poetry – from the first written in many years by “the Great One” to those created during class together to the gems that Fry texts to Sarah while she’s working at her dad’s fancy restaurant – and revelations, The Language of Stars speaks love, second chances, redemption, and hope.

Sword and Verse, by Kathy MacMillan (book review) – ink + paper = death??

book cover of Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan published by HarperTeen | recommended on BooksYALove.comTaught to write by her late father.
Captured, now teaching the future king,
A slave in danger… and in love.

This land where higher order writing is reserved for the monarch has indeed rewritten history after conquering her home islands, Raisa discovers, as her good memory of Father’s lessons and her terrible curiosity reveal hidden scrolls’ secrets – but no one would believe what a slave says, even if she is the heir-apparent’s tutor!

Read an excerpt here for free, courtesy of the publisher, then look for this suspenseful January 2016 tale at your local library or independent bookstore.

Love or justice – which is the better choice?
**kmm

Book info: Sword and Verse / Kathy MacMillan. HarperTeen, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Suddenly a royal tutor in the conquerors’ land, slave Raisa must be careful not to show that she knows how to read, not to betray other Arnath slaves as they plan to escape, not to let Prince Mati see how she feels about him, even as she finds shocking information in old scrolls that could overturn everything.

Why can only the King use higher order writing to communicate with Qilara’s gods?
What treacheries are being plotted in the palace?
How can Raisa stay calm during Mati’s betrothal ceremonies?

As the slave Resistance gains strength and outside enemies threaten Qilara, Raisa must balance what she wishes for and what she has discovered in the history of the gods if she hopes to keep her head attached to her neck or any shred of Mati’s affections. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love, by Sarvenaz Tash (book review) – Romance or reality at ComicCon?

book cover of The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.comPlanning the best day ever at New York ComicCon!
Telling her how he truly feels about her!
Getting cut off by a random guy…

Next-door neighbors and comic creators together, Roxy and Graham enjoy fan fiction based on the Althena universe, keep their grades up, and can’t wait to go to ComicCon! (p.s. That’s where he will tell her how much he cares for her – until Devin crashes their group!)

Don’t wait till BookCon at NYCC to pick up this June 2016 release! Visit at your favorite local library or independent bookstore today to see if Roxy and Graham get any tips from famous cartoonists and if she ever figures out how he feels about her!

Been to a Con?
**kmm

Book info:  The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love / Sarvenaz Tash. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016.  [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Graham realizes that he’s fallen for girl next door/ best friend /comic co-creator Roxy, but his plans to tell her on the perfect New York ComicCon day are foiled by a handsome British student.

It’s a miracle that famously reclusive artist-author Zinc is scheduled to appear at NYCC, years after his legendary Althena comic went dark. It’s a tragedy that a cool Brit runs into their group and decides to tag along while flirting with Roxy!

Graham and Casey can grab those limited-seating tickets for Zinc, right?
How can Graham convince Roxy to sneak past her conservative parents and skip school for another day of ComicCon?
Is there any way to get her away from Devin without looking like a jerk?

Somehow, this real-life relationship stuff is so much more complicated than the ones that he and Roxy write and draw in their comic series or any of the romantic comedy movies that Graham’s late mother loved so much. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Museum of Heartbreak, by Meg Leder (book review) – why can’t it all stay the same?

book cover of Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comThe perfect trio of friends,
all that she needs in life,
but not all that they need…

Pen seems such a clinging friend, sure that a romance from her favorite classic books will magically appear. But when she finally realizes that life changes, despite all her efforts to make time stand still, she discovers that you usually have to create happy endings yourself.

Ask for this new release at your local library or favorite independent bookstore to see if carefully cataloging significant items makes heartbreak any easier to bear.

Mementos of broken relationship – save or toss?
**kmm

Book info: The Museum of Heartbreak / Meg Leder. Simon Pulse, 2016. [author Twitter]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As her best friends Audrey and Eph embrace other relationships, Penelope cowers in familiar routines until she ventures to handsome Keats’ party and finds herself heartbroken more than once.

Pen stumbles across their New York City high school’s literary magazine club after Audrey starts hanging out with snobby Cherisse after French Club.

Eph’s dad works with Pen’s at the Museum of Natural History; the dinosaur skulls may wait in that attic, even as dinos hide in all Eph’s amazing cityscape sketches.

Beautiful boy Keats actually talks to Pen! (how can he be bad, Audrey?) Junior year might be okay after all … maybe.

Why do her best friends need other friends?
How do they know Keats isn’t a nice guy?
Why is change so difficult for her?

As Pen reflects on new guy and old friends, she must come to terms with the impermanence of things and the depths of her own feelings.

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Amy Snow, by Tracy Rees (book review) – posthumous treasure hunt & possibilities

book cover of Amy Snow by Tracy Rees published by Simon & Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.comA beautiful, stubborn only child,
an abandoned baby,
a defining friendship during a too-short life.

As young Queen Victoria begins her long reign and railroads start crisscrossing England, nearly-grown Aurelia and Amy get glimpses of freedom and possibilities that have long been denied to women of their era.

Read the first chapter here free (thanks, Simon & Schuster!) as young girl Aurelia discovers infant Amy in a snowbank and begins a friendship that will transform both their lives.

A treasure hunt (with cipher and code along the way), a journey (past despair and expectations), and a promise – but is it worth it for Amy to follow Aurelia’s posthumous clues?
**kmm

Book info: Amy Snow / Tracy Rees. Simon Schuster Paperbacks, 2016.  [author Twitter]  [publisher site]  [author interview video] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When wealthy young girl Aurelia insists on keeping abandoned baby ‘Amy’, both grow up to defy the roles set for them by British society as Aurelia’s early death sends Amy on an unchaperoned cross-country journey to fulfill her last wishes.

Diagnosed with a fatal heart condition at 16, Aurelia escapes being married (what terrible men as suitors!) and escapes from Hatfield Court to travel briefly, leaving 10 year old Amy without her only friend, misunderstood by the servants, and much despised by Lady Vennaway.

Upon Aurelia’s death at 18, Amy receives her friend’s sketchbook, a little money, then a secret packet just before she’s banished from Hatfield. A letter from Aurelia tells her to travel to London! on one of those new trains! to find a bookshop? where Amy will locate more instructions.

As Amy meets people whom vibrant Aurelia befriended during her travels, she starts to come out of her shell, consider what might have kept Aurelia away from home so long, and even begins thinking about what may lie ahead for herself.

Will Amy ever discover the tiniest detail about her parentage?
Why don’t some of Aurelia’s traveling letters match up with the places that she visited?
When, oh when will this traveling end so that Amy may be free to discover her own future?

An exciting historical novel that celebrates friendship, chances, choices, and love.

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Positivity Kit, by Lisa Currie (book review) – better your life, better yourself!

book cover of The Positivity Kit by Lisa Currie published by TarcherPerigee | recommended on BooksYALove.comGood times,
great memories,
just waiting to uplift you!

Seize the happy moments, large and small, that have made you chuckle and nearly snort milk out your nose.

Map out what you’re looking forward to most in the future.

Memorialize your favorite snack foods and Good Choices Made in Life So Far.

Happy book birthday to The Positivity Kit! Ask for it today at your favorite independent bookstore so that you can list, doodle, and chronicle your way to a happier and more positive you.

Share a “recent moment of pure joy” in the comments, please!
**kmm

Book info: The Positivity Kit: Instant Happiness on Every Page / Lisa Currie. TarcherPerigee, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Create “instant happiness on every page” of The Positivity Kit as you record wonderful experiences, thoughts, and joys using its interactive and intriguing prompts to look past boring days and bad moods.

Capture perfect moments – Favorite quotes from favorite movies, Top 20 countdown of the Best Moments of My Life So Far, wish list & got list – with your favorite pen and colored pencils, so that you can page back through this witty do-it-yourself book whenever you need a pick-me-up.

Whether it’s the 7 New Holidays that you’re introducing this week, the Ongoing List of Things I Like About Myself, or your illustrated packing list for an Escape to Paradise, every happy thing that you doodle, jot down, color, and list will contribute to your future positive outlook on life and your current grin as you remember and celebrate.

Keep The Positivity Kit on your bedside table to end your day in gratitude for the good things you’ve experienced, to derail negative thoughts on sleepless nights, or to start your day on an uplifting note – all experienced and documented by you yourself!

More than meets the eye – audiobook encounters

Appearances mask the inner being all too well in this week’s free AudioSYNC novels.

Click the book title to go straight to the AudioSYNC download page for it, but hurry! This pair of free complete audiobooks will only available for download from Thursday through Wednesday (May 26 – June 2, 2016).

Once you’ve downloaded an AudioSYNC audiobook,  you can listen to it any time, as long as you have it on your computer or electronic device.

CD cover of Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone | Read by Amy Rubinate Published by Ideal Audiobooks | recommended on BooksYALove.comEvery Last Word
by Tamara Ireland Stone
Read by Amy Rubinate
Published by Ideal Audiobooks

Carefully hiding her OCD from her clique, Samantha is introduced to her school’s secret Poet’s Corner by quirky Caroline and discovers a new side of herself, a cute guitar player, and a major threat to her sanity.

I just LOVED this book, recommending it here last August!

Egg and Spoon CD cover of Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire | Read by Michael Page Published by Brilliance Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Gregory Maguire
Read by Michael Page
Published by Brilliance Audio

How does a wealthy family’s train journey to visit the Tsar intersect with a poor Russian family’s road to starvation, via the chicken-legged house of witch Baba Yaga?

People are not always (or often) the same on the inside as on the outside – listen and learn?
**kmm

Gena/Finn, by Hannah Moskowitz & Kat Helgeson (book review) – friends in fandom

book cover of Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz & Kat Helgeson published by Chronicle Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comA television show that they adore,
Creative juices flowing in words and art,
Completing the story arc, like their friendship completes them…

I heard authors Hannah (Not Otherwise Specified, which I love) and Kat last month at TxLA as they discussed fandoms, friendship, and writing this book together totally through chat and email – so good.

Ask for this April 2016 release at your local library or independent bookstore. And for more on real-life fandoms and cons (“Up Below” is a fictional TV show), look for Sam Maggs’ Fangirls’ Guide to the Galaxy  which I recommended here.

And it’s National Readathon Day, too!! Share what you’re reading today with hashtag #Readathon2016.

Fandom or obsession? Discuss.
**kmm

Book info: Gena/Finn / Hannah Moskowitz & Kat Helgeson. Chronicle Books, 2016.   [Hannah’s site]  [Kat’s site] [publisher site]  [authors’ video] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Brought together online by the fanfic and fanart that they create for a beloved TV show, two young women bond immediately and experience friendship’s highs and lows as other relationships falter.

Fanfic stories by Evie (short for Gena’s online name) that fill in the gaps in their favorite TV cop show inspire Finn (for Stephanie) to start drawing again. Sharing her art with Evie leads to numerous email and chat exchanges as recent college grad Finn and high school senior Evie find so much in common.

Big questions link into the backstory for their mutual admiration:

Should Finn really have followed boyfriend Charlie to California after college?
Is getting into an Ivy League school truly in Gena’s best interests?
Why won’t Gena stay in the room with cast members of “Up Below” when this fancon is the reason she and Finn traveled from opposite coasts to meet in person?

Told entirely in texts, chat windows, emails, fanfic, fanart, and journal entries, this coming of age story celebrates the passion of fandoms, the strength of women’s friendships, and the unlikelihood of completely outrunning one’s past.

 

Unexpected Everything, by Morgan Matson (book review) – summer plans? poof, woof & wow!

book cover of The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson published by Simon Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.comShe’s got it all planned:
internship, great college, med school…
until step one is revoked!

Andie loves her checklists, her plans to become a doctor, her best friends – and sticks to short-term boyfriends.

Then her fancy internship gets yanked away, her politician father is suddenly home from DC, she lands in a summer job far outside her experience or comfort zone, and she meets Clark…

Happy book birthday week to The Unexpected Everything!  This is a great summer read, like Matson’s Since You’ve Been Gone  (my no-spoilers recommendation here) and Second Chance Summer  (more here) with less road trip, but just as much self-reflection and heart.

What do you do when a perfectly crafted plan falls apart?
**kmm

Book info: The Unexpected Everything / Morgan Matson. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  [author video] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When problems at her congressman father’s office cause her pre-med internship to vanish, Andie is forced out of her structured life of success checklists and into a summer job as a dog-walker (never had a dog), wanting to stay around new guy Clark (never mind her 3-weeks-only rule for boyfriends), and trying to keep her best friends in sync as an outside relationship threatens to dissolve their group.

A world-famous author in their midst?
Dad home in Connecticut all summer instead of away in Washington DC?
A long-time crush keeps his distance, or does he?

An epic scavenger hunt, bridging the father-daughter gap 5 years after Mom’s death, emojis-only text message challenge, a committed relationship (wait! this is Andie we’re talking about…) – such an unexpected summer before senior year!  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)