Friday, March 22, 2019

MG Book Review: Charlie Hernández and the League of Shadows

Charlie Hernández and the League of ShadowsCharlie Hernández and the League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reposted from my review on Kidliterati.

Charlie Hernandez’s parents are gone. While waiting at child services for placement, he discovers tiny horns sprouting from his head and recalls the stories his abuela told him night after night, especially those about the Morphling, the myth about a young hero who always defeats his nemesis—an evil twice-cursed witch—by manifesting some kind of an animal trait.

But those were just made up stories.

No longer sleeping at the police station, he’s placed temporarily with the elderly doll collector, Mrs. Wilson, and just when life begins to feel normal again, feathers sprout up all over his body—at middle school! Thinking fast, Charlie ditches into the office and finds a long-sleeve sparkly snow jacket in the lost and found. Wearing a ski jacket during the afternoon in Miami shouldn’t bring any unwanted attention.

Then he runs into Alice-the-Terrible, 6-foot-tall-fastball-crushing all-state softball player—and she wants the locket he’s wearing. The one thing he has left of his mother’s.

Not while Violet Rey is around—super-sleuth-school-newspaper-reporter—with the megawatt smile stops Alice in her tracks. The same girl he’s crushed on since first grade. Turns out, Violet has admired Charlie’s father, the animal geneticist, ever since his presentation on the harm in breeding dogs, she even used it for the school paper. Violet is very curious about his mother’s locket and knows it’s an antique (her father owns a pawn shop). Is there anything Violet doesn’t know? But it’s locked and Charlie’s unable to open it. Violet has a look and it clicks open in seconds. Inside, they find a miniature map, with the same horns and feather insignia Charlie sees everywhere.

Together, they make an unlikely team, and go underground with the tiny map, in search of answers to where Charlie’s parents are, and they come face to face with supernatural villains, myths and folklore from all over the Spanish-speaking world.
Conversations with a calaca, and La Llorona, the weeping woman, after following the glowing orbs of La Luz Mala, deep into the woods, among many others. Charlie discovers the stories his abuela told him were true. Was she preparing him?

An exciting, fast-paced Middle Grade adventure! With friends standing up for each other and working together. I loved Violet’s character and the skills she has when they’re needed and Charlie’s self-deprecating humor. Rich in cultural mythology, and so much fun! For further study of these fascinating tales, the glossary of Spanish folklore is a good starting point. Perfect for fans of Percy Jackson, or anyone who loves magic, adventure, and tracking down a mystery.

View all my reviews

Monday, February 25, 2019

YA Book Review: What the Woods Keep by Katya de Becerra

What the Woods KeepWhat the Woods Keep by Katya de Becerra
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reposted from my review on The Kidliterati Blog.

Hayden has just turned eighteen, and she’s living on her own for the first time, when she gets a call about the will her mother left. Though her mother is technically missing, not dead.

“My mother remains elusive, in the periphery of my vision—there and not-there, dead and alive, like Schrödinger’s theoretical cat, its state altering the moment I focus on it. It’s been a decade since I last heard Mom’s voice …”

The dreams of her wearing full body armor and riding a horse while leading an army through the fog and ravaged cities, crying We’ll rise again have returned, and what’s with the white ravens that keep appearing in her dreams and real life? Hayden has a lot of questions.

It’s suggested that she keep mum about the will and not mention anything to her father, which may not be difficult considering he’s a physicist with his head buried always in his work. Even though he’d lost his tenure, due to outrageous claims about Nibelungs and multi-dimensional pathways and string theory.

Thank goodness, for her roommate, Del Chauvet, French-Senegalese Brooklynite, and her constant determination to give her a makeover or find her a date, especially since the last one left Hayden stranded. But Del has something special planned for her 18th birthday.

Memories and whispers in a foreign tongue, and Hayden’s mother watching from behind the dark trees surrounding her childhood home wearing a sad smile, as if she knows what’s coming. Hayden’s therapist, Dr. Erich reminds Hayden that those memories are long gone. But Hayden needs answers.

Hiding the will from her father, Hayden and Del leave their Brooklyn apartment to visit her childhood home in Promise, Colorado, and search for the gifts her mother left with the cryptic message:
She needs to listen with her blood. My second condition is that Hayden uses my gifts to destroy my darkest secret—my hidden treasure, my heaviest burden.

When Hayden struggles to understand, she interprets things using theoretical physics, and the author does this beautifully at the start of each chapter with musings of the metaphysical, the forces of gravity, and Murphy’s Law, and how it relates to Hayden’s life.

My kind of genre-mash-up, that twists urban fantasy and science fiction with the creepy factor that comes with a dark woodland mystery along with a gripping pace and self-sacrificing friendships. Quite unlike anything I’ve read before. I’d recommend this book for mature YA readers.

View all my reviews

Monday, January 28, 2019

Creating Another Future .... in my Fantasies.

Do you like science-fiction 🚀 and/or fantasy? How do you feel about anthologies? You can order any of these in print or ebook on my website KL Hallam 

                         Duotrope informed me that I had a good acceptance rate.  wink. wink.

If you love Science Fiction and stretching the possibilities of reality, perhaps Issue #13 of Alien Dimensions paying tribute to Dr. Who and strong female characters will interest you!  Read my 5k short story “Charger Nine”.

Or my homage to Mary Shelly's Frankenstein in Alien Dimensions # 16


I created G.L.O.R.I.A., to be more than a fire weapon.
GLORIA was my monster. 


My Science Fantasy "Over and Over"  was featured in the debut issue of Fantasy Short Stories Anthology. 

Future Earth: 22X. The last of the dreamers are brought back from death, but only those who hold memories and can recreate a new future for the dying human species. 

The links on my website will also take you to either B&N or Amazon Whichever you prefer. 

"The path of the imagination lead to perfect knowledge"  ~ Not sure who said this, maybe something I imagined because I've had it in my mind for years. 

Today I found Einstein's quote:

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution."

 I'm here for the evolution!   
 Happy Reading!     

Monday, January 14, 2019

YA Book Review: Ignite the Stars by Maura Milan

Ignite the StarsIgnite the Stars by Maura Milan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reposted from my review on Kidliterati 

Year 8922.

Ia Cocha: Sovereign of Dead Space, Rogue of the Fringe Planets, Blood Wolf of the Skies, the most dangerous criminal in Commonwealth history, and she’s seventeen.

Feared by all—except for maybe the refugees she’s saved in several battles across the universe, among them: the Dvvinn, the Juorti, Makolian, and the Tawnies, all refugees of the Commonwealth, and they’re discriminated against.

Student Brinn Tarver discovers the Blood Wolf is a girl just like her. Brinn hides her identity and her blue refugee hair to blend in with the Commonwealth, or risk persecution. Even if her mother doesn’t hide her blue Tawny hair anymore, Brinn isn’t ready to expose her secret. “She might be a Citizen, but that didn’t matter—the prejudice still exited.”

When Ia Cocha is captured by the Commonwealth and sentenced to fight with the Royal Star Force, she becomes Brinn’s roommate. Brinn is outraged, but soon learns they have much in common, even a brother they’d die for.

We meet Knives, the head flight instructor of the Royal Star Force and son of the cruel General Adams. He carries a deep sadness and Ia Cocha is drawn to him.

Ia Cocha makes a deal with the General to set the Tawny refugees free as she fights for the RSF, where she can survey the entire space academy, its uranium core, and send blueprints to her brother while awaiting rescue. But things don’t go as planned, and Ia has to accept the harm she’s brought to others.

Written from three POV’s, this book is fast paced—you’ll rip through the All Black, view the stars and spaceships—and Ia Cocha is a force to be reckoned with, so is Brinn, both fierce women with death-defying skills. Some of the best action scenes I’ve read, and with its outstanding pace and gripping tension, you’ll fly through this book. There are protests, propaganda, and The Sanctuary Act. The plight of the Commonwealth refugees, as they fight for justice, and a home, parallels the struggle refugees face today.

View all my reviews

Friday, January 4, 2019

Protest As Performance Art?

That's my definition of the type of daily protest I've been doing over the last two years through our National Nightmare while living and trying to breathe with a Kremlin installed POTUS. 

Whether riding my bike with signs.

Wearing protest buttons every day. 

Stepping in for our most vulnerable citizens and calling out bigotry or injustice -- even if you have to fight family members and I have.  (no photo for this one) 

Calling out criminal behavior by sending postcards to the White House.

Standing my ground when men (with privilege) bowl past me while I'm jogging, (as if I'm the one who should move) or when they shout obscenities while I'm riding my bicycle thinking they're the bike path police. And when they speak over you --- speak even louder! I live with three boys and getting a lot of practice with this.

Or Protesting. How many protests have we gone to over the last two years? I've shared photos of those I've attended in previous posts.
This is from the NYC #TaxMarch in February 2017! 

And a myriad of other more personal ways to protest or call out injustice in daily life. And I've never been one to keep my mouth shut. Not in real life.  

Because, ultimately, this is what I believe:

In the haste of writing this post during the day-job hours, I may have forgotten a few ideas. I'll return to add those later. 

What are a few ways you've protested when you've come up against injustice? Because unfortunately, this isn't going to end soon enough. We have to stay vigilant and protect our most vulnerable citizens! Even after Dump45 leaves our White House. 

"If we want peace we have to fight for justice." 

Fill the recesses of hate throughout this country with compassion and unity, with kindness and understanding. ~ those to me, mean love. 
And LOVE Rules. 
Stay Strong kind-hearted friends, this fight for justice isn't over yet. Make your daily living a protest by speaking out, standing up, and protecting each other.  

AND ... 



Wednesday, December 26, 2018

MG Book Review: Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel José Older

Dactyl Hill SquadDactyl Hill Squad by Daniel José Older
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reposted from my review on Kidliterati. 

It’s 1863 at the Colored Orphan Asylum in New York City. Magdalys Roca is not listening to the matron who insists on caller her by the wrong name. Magdalys only answers to her real name, the way her brother said it, like a song, the brother who’s now fighting in the Union Army.

But the Triceratops is waiting to take her and the other orphan children to the Zanzibar Theater to see the only all-black Shakespearean company in New York perform the Tempest. Magdalys decides she not going to allow the matron’s stubbornness have her miss out.

It was only a few years ago that New York passed a law granting black citizens the right to dinoride.

Dinosaurs are everywhere. Iguanodons extinguish lanterns before the dawn. Commuter brachys. Stegosaurs lug supplies and microraptors deliver messages, while most of the trikes and raptors have been sent south to the Confederates.

Magdalys had no idea why anyone would want to keep her from dinoriding just because of the color of her skin.

On the way to the theater, Magdalys is surprised when she discovers the dinosaur listened to her. That it can hear her thoughts! But she’s keeping it a secret for now.

A riot breaks out and the theater is torched. Pandemonium in the streets, people are murdered, people Magdalys cares about. She narrowly escapes with her life and a few others. But there are more orphans to save before the Kidnappers Club sends south to be sold into slavery. Magdalys and the others barely escape and soon find friends in Brooklyn who will help them rescue the captured children and stop the worldwide kidnapping ring.

They weren’t just abandoned orphans anymore — they were part of something.

What a magnificent and wild ride! True events are written within an alternative historical setting, with maps of early New York City. A fun and absorbing way to learn about history and experience the joy of riding dinosaurs to combat evil.

View all my reviews

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Teenage Activist Speaks the Dire Truth. Are You Listening?

This Swedish teenager just wrecked U.N. climate negotiators. 

Fifteen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg addressed the U.N. plenary last night in Katowice, Poland, condemning global inaction in the face of catastrophic climate change.

“You say you love your children above all else, and yet you’re stealing their future in front of their very eyes,” the towheaded, pigtailed activist said to the assembled dignitaries. Then, Thunberg addressed world leaders directly, telling them she didn’t come to the conference to beg. “You have ignored us in the past, and you will ignore us again.”

“The suffering of the many pays for the luxury of the few”

Warning: You may cry listening to this brilliant and magical girl.

Democracy Now  
(link to full the story) 


Teen Climate Activist Greta Thunberg Has Been Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize! 

Go, Greta!  Thank YOU! For standing up and doing what most grown-ups cannot.  We need to breathe the air on Earth, eat the food, and drink the water.  Get the picture.  Earth is our Paradise!