FREE audiobook downloads?!?

syncIf you aren’t already downloading ebooks and audiobooks from your local library, you should probably get on that… like yesterday!  Once you have that established, though, there are additional sources of free downloadable ebooks and audiobooks you can look into.  And, if you love YA, you will love SYNC — http://www.audiobooksync.com — a free summer audiobook program for teens 13+.  I know I am technically not a teen anymore because the world prefers to see my age rather than my heart, but I think the “+” has me covered! 😉

This week’s selections are Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire and Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone.  Though I already read Every Last Word, I totally loved it and may listen to it just to see how the experience compares.  I have always intended to read Egg & Spoon but still haven’t gotten around to it, so I will surely listen to that one first.  (And I am sure I will be reviewing it on this blog before the summer is over.)

Happy Reading!

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman

these-broken-starsThe Icarus is a luxury spaceliner; it’s basically an entire city flying through space at hyperspeed.  Many of the people aboard are among the social elite, but none are quite so famous as Lilac LaRoux — daughter of the man whose engineering company is responsible for the manufacturing of the Icarus, terraforming planets, etc.  It’s rather funny, then, that Tarver Merendsen — famous in his own right by his “war hero” status — doesn’t know with whom he is flirting when he meets Lilac.  All he really knows is that this girl is beautiful and not *quite* like the rest of the socialites he’s encountered.  After a brief period of flirtation, nevertheless, Lilac decides to shoot him down so that she can get the eventual heartbreak over with.

It’s rather unfortunate, therefore, when the Icarus experiences technical difficulties and Lilac and Tarver end up in the same escape pod.  Unsure where in the galaxy they could be, with very little in the way of supplies and without any way to contact anyone else, the two have to find a way to get along well enough to work together on both survival and coming up with a rescue plan.  My only complaint about this story is that we *know* right from the beginning that they will, in fact, get rescued.  (Based on the fact that Tarver is being grilled about his interactions with Miss LaRoux, there is no doubt that they will find a way to eventually communicate with someone back home and get picked up.  It was only a matter of when and how.)  I highly recommend this book to people who enjoyed Beth Revis’ Across the Universe trilogy.

Happy Reading!

Infinite In Between by Carolyn Mackler

infinite-in-betweenI’m always amazed when authors can take several different characters and tell one story through their various points of view — especially when they are so very different as the characters in this story.  Here, we have five different teens who meet for the first time at their high school’s freshman orientation day and write letters to themselves to open again when they graduate.  Zoe is the daughter of a famous movie star [who is in and out of rehab], and she’s afraid that people only ever want to talk to her to find out more about her mom.  Jake isn’t quite sure where he stands now that he opened up about his true feelings for his [formerly?] best friend Teddy and bailed on football.  Mia is so unsure of herself that she keeps trying to reinvent her persona with the hopes that she will eventually “find” a Mia she can be comfortable with.  Gregor is a band geek who is hoping for “more” out of his high school experience — especially if that “more” would involve Whitney.  And Whitney is the pretty/popular girl who seems to have it all while she actually feels like her life is coming apart at the seams.

We follow these characters in their journey through high school and witness how even the smallest of bonds and seemingly minor interactions can actually make a big difference in people’s lives.  My only problem with this book is that it felt a little too condensed.  It felt like there could have been more character development and more interaction if only there were time…  I almost wish it had been stretched out into a series so we could get more details from each year.  Who knows?  Maybe there will be some novellas released to give readers extra background and to fill in the gaps of each school year.  (A girl can dream, can’t she?!?)

Happy Reading!

100 Days by Nicole McInnes

100-daysAgnes and Moira are just about as opposite as two girls can be, at least as far as appearance is concerned.  Agnes is tiny, frail, and pretty much looks like a little old lady [because she has a medical condition called Progeria].  Moira, on the other had, is rather big.  Too big, as far as she and the school bullies are concerned.  Her bigger size is definitely a benefit of their friendship, though, because she can be a bodyguard of sorts for Agnes — who might be safer if she were homeschooled but prefers to live as “normally” as possible by attending public school.  Boone is a guy they both used to be friends with in elementary school, but something happened that caused the girls to stop talking to him.  When fate leads them to, unexpectedly, start spending time together again, their past seriously complicates the present.  Agnes appears to think Boone deserves a second chance, but Moira seems determined to keep Boone from getting too close again.  Since they’re all-too-aware that Agnes has already exceeded the standard  life-expectancy of a kid diagnosed with Progeria, though, Moira and Boone begrudgingly give in to Agnes’ pleas to spend more time together.

This book would be a great conversation-starter for so many topics — friendship, bullying, and body image just to name a few.  I won’t lie and say that this is an easy read, because it’s clear from the start that Agnes doesn’t have long to live and that Moira and Boone already have some major issues they’re dealing with.  I will say, though, that I think McInnes did a fantastic job of weaving together these characters in a story that is both believable and capable of providing some hope and direction to teens who might be handling difficult situations in their own lives.

Happy Reading!

With Malice by Eileen Cook

with-maliceJill Charon can’t remember anything that happened in the past six weeks. When she first awakens from her coma, in fact, she is initially concerned that she is waking up with a terrible hangover and that her mother will find out she was drinking the night before. Imagine her shock, then, when she discovers that she is actually waking up in the ICU after a horrific car crash.  Jill is worried that her parents won’t let her take her scheduled trip to Europe now that she has a broken leg, but that’s not really a concern.  You see, she doesn’t need a speedy recovery to go to Europe because she already took the trip — and the car accident actually took place in Italy.  To make matters worse, her parents are acting very strangely and being weirdly quiet about the accident.  Why?  Because her best friend died in that accident… And many people believe that Jill purposely crashed the car. Will she ever be able to recover the memories she lost?  How will she be able to move on with her life if she never remembers?  And what if Jill *does* start to regain her memories only to uncover something she would rather not remember?

Happy Reading!

Into the Wild by Erin Hunter

warriorsThank goodness my son started reading this series and insisted that I join him!  All these years, I have been under the mistaken impression that the Warriors series was a lot like Redwall but with cats.  Yes, there are rivalries and battles, but this is much more realistic than the very fantastic (in both senses of the word) Redwall series.  Rather than being set in some fantasy world in which anthropomorphized animals build their own cities and battle against other anthropomorphized animals, this is a story about a house cat named Rusty who longs to live in the wild and joins a clan of feral cats called the ThunderClan.  There are actually four clans of cats, and they have co-existed for a long time by following the rules and boundaries laid out by their ancestors.  The balance of the clans is threatened, though, as the ShadowClan grows stronger and encroaches upon the hunting grounds of the ThunderClan.  With all the action, adventure, and mystery, it’s no wonder I’ve had kids asking me for these books for so long…  I just wish I would have followed their lead and read this sooner.  If you’ve made the same mistake and haven’t yet read these books, I highly recommend you add this to your reading pile soon.

Happy Reading!

Reckless by Cornelia Funke

recklessI first became acquainted with Cornelia Funke’s writing when I read Inkheart.  I quickly fell in love with her rich descriptions and quirky characters.  I was disappointed when that trilogy came to an end because I had so enjoyed living in that fantasy world with Meggie and Farid…  So how is it, then, that I managed not to read this book until nearly SIX years after it was published?  Let’s just say that I have a terrible habit of ordering books that are sure to be popular, based on book reviews and the reading tastes of my library’s patrons, and then not getting to them when I select my own reading materials.  I mean…  I *know* that I ordered Reckless and Fearless when I was still a full-time librarian, but I just didn’t manage to read them myself.  For the record — there are just WAY too many amazing authors out there for me to juggle these things in a way that won’t cause me distress! #LibrarianProblems

Fantasy readers who enjoy a blending of magic and the “real” world will definitely want to read this book.  Jacob Reckless has a magical mirror through which he can access another world.  He has always loved to go there to have adventures and to gather treasures he could bring back home, but his love for the Mirrorworld is tested when his brother, Will, sneaks through as well.  Will is cursed and begins transforming into a Goyl (a creature with skin made of stone).  With the help of his friend Fox — who can shapeshift between her human and fox forms, Jacob sets out to find a way to break the curse before it’s too late.

Happy Reading!