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Results 1 - 25 of 141,565
1. HAT WEEK: Happy Birthday, Madame Chapeau and David Roberts’ previous life as a milliner

What’s a life without love, even if that love is a bit wonky and not quite what you expected?

1403988049Madame Chapeau, the latest creation from the finely paired team of Andrea Beaty and David Roberts, does her best to send little flights of joy and love out into the world, by making hats that perfectly match each of her clients. She’s imaginative, attentive and playful with what she creates, and her customers are delighted. However, poor Madame Chapeau lives alone. There clearly once was someone important in her life, but now, on her birthday she is left dining without close company.

What makes it even harder to bear is that her most treasured hat has been lost en route to her solo birthday meal. Passers-by try to help by offering their own hats to Madame Chapeau, and although their kindness is appreciated. nothing is quite right.

But then up steps a secret admirer, who has been watching Madame Chapeau for some time. A young girl, clearly fascinated by the hats Madame Chapeau creates, offers the milliner a little something she has been working on. It’s rather odd, but this gift has been made with much love and turns out to be the best sort of birthday present Mme Chapeau could have wished for. A new friendship is formed and – one suspects – a new hat maker begins her training.

Detail from Happy Birthday, Madam Chapeau. Note the hat that Madame Chapeau is wearing and compare it with the hat in the photo below of David Roberts' mum.

Detail from Happy Birthday, Madam Chapeau. Note the hat that Madame Chapeau is wearing and compare it with the hat in the photo below of David Roberts’ mum.

This is a whimsical and charming book which celebrates creativity, generosity and thoughtfulness from start to finish. Beaty’s rhyming text tells a heart-warming tale, but Roberts’ detailed and exuberant illustrations steal the show. With lots of famous hats to spot (look out for Princess Beatrice’s hat, for example, or Charlie Chaplin’s Derby) and fabulous fashion, food and architectural details to pour over, this book rewards repeated readings. Happy Birthday Madame Chapeau is a joyous, life-affirming read and if that isn’t enough of a reason to seek it out, do read Maria Popova’s commentary on the subtle message this book has about diversity and cultural stereotypes.

We brought Happy Birthday, Madame Chapeau to life by customizing our own hats with pom-poms (these play an important role in the book).

chapeau1

Beanie type hats, plus some colourful craft pompoms make for some enjoyably silly headgear – perfect as winter approaches ;-)

chapeau2

chapeau3

I wonder what David Roberts would make of our hats? I ask this because it turns out he was himself a milliner before he became an illustrator. From a young age he had an interest in fashion, making clothes for his sister and her dolls, before going on to study fashion design at college. From this, a special love and skill with hats grew – a love and eye that can clearly be seen in his Madame Chapeau illustrations. I asked David if he would share a little about his love of hats, how it developed and what he finds so enjoyable about making hats. Here’s what he had to say:-

One of the first hats David Roberts made  - for The Clothes Show competition in 1993.

One of the first hats David Roberts made – for The Clothes Show competition in 1993.

“As a kid I was fascinated by Mrs Shilling, and the hats her son David made that she wore to Ascot. They were so theatrical that it would make the news! I loved how she wore these amazing and often bizarre creations with such style and elegance – even if the hat was ridiculous she never looked ridiculous in it.”

David Shilling with his mother Gertrude Shilling. Photo: Sidney Harris

“So when I had the option to do a course in millinery while studying for a degree in fashion design at Manchester Polytechnic, I jumped at the chance, and from then on I was hooked.”

David Roberts' sister in the hat he made her for her wedding day.

David Roberts’ sister in the hat he made her for her wedding day.

“I love the sculptural aspect of millinery; a hat can be so individual, so singular, a one off. It’s so exciting to have all your elements to create a hat, cloth, wire, glue, buckram, feathers, beads, tulle, net and just let something evolve in your hands. It can turn in to anything really – an abstract shape or something natural like a plant or a flower.”

Stephen Jones, surrounded by some of his hat creations, London, circa 1985. Photo: Christopher Pillitz

“I worked for Stephen Jones for 5 years make his couture hats , where I learned so many skills. And although I loved making his imaginative creations, I stared to realise that I wanted to try my hand at illustrating children’s books – the other great passion in my life.”

This hat is one David Roberts made for his partner Chris (modelling it here). David used this as one of the hats in Madame Chapeau's shop.

This hat is one David Roberts made for his partner Chris (modelling it here). Do look out for it in Madame Chapeau’s shop!

“I am glad I made the step in to illustration, but I do still love to get the wire and beads and feathers out to make a hat once in a while. Madame Chapeau came about when the author Andrea Beaty heard that I had once been a milliner: She wrote the text for me and sent it from Chicago in a hat box! I was utterly captivated by it and enjoyed illustrating it and indulging myself once more in the wonderful world of millinery.”

This is the hat David Roberts gave to Madame Chapeau to wear. It is one David made for his mum to wear at his sister's wedding.

This is the hat David Roberts gave to Madame Chapeau to wear. It is one David made for his mum to wear at his sister’s wedding.

My enormous thanks to David for sharing some of his millinery background with us today. His passion for hats shines through in his gorgeous illustrations for Happy Birthday, Madame Chapeau. Don’t take my word for it – go and find a copy to enjoy yourselves!

3 Comments on HAT WEEK: Happy Birthday, Madame Chapeau and David Roberts’ previous life as a milliner, last added: 10/30/2014
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2. Suzanne Bloom Is A Foolish Optimist

Author/Illustrator Suzanne Bloom

Author/Illustrator Suzanne Bloom

Suzanne's Newest Book

Suzanne’s Newest Book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome author/illustrator Suzanne Bloom for the final post of our four-part series. If you are a new or aspiring children’s picture book author (or illustrator), I hope you have found some inspiration and encouragement in the last three posts, and I hope that continues today. This week I ask Suzanne about quiet stories, writer’s block, and how to keep from getting discouraged.

I discovered I have something in common with Suzanne, besides our love for picture books. We have both been told by editors that our work is quiet. I wasn’t quite sure what that meant the first time I heard it. Is that good? Bad? What? Since the editor who told me that my story was quiet didn’t seem interested in acquiring it, I surmised that quiet must be bad. And if that’s the case, then my story must be bad, and my writing style must be bad, and maybe I’m not cut out to be a picture book writer. See how easily that self-doubt creeps in?      

What I have learned since then is that quiet doesn’t equal bad. It is a certain style of writing, and a lot of my work is written in that style, but it’s not bad, it’s just harder to sell to today’s publishers, who seem to want quirky, funny, quick-paced, action-packed, stories. That being said, quiet books are still being published, just not as much. And if you truly want to, you can rework your story into something a little less quiet.

Suzanne, what does an editor mean when he/she says a story is quiet? And how do you feel about quiet stories?

Is it quiet because nothing happens? Do your characters have a problem to solve? Is there a beginning, middle and ending? Have you left space for the reader to make discoveries? What distinguishes your story from the mile-high pile of other manuscripts?

A formidable editor said, in a tone I couldn’t pin down, “You write quiet stories.” Was she kindly dismissing me? Maybe. But, being the foolish optimist, I chose to interpret it as a definition. Yes, indeed! I write quiet stories. My stories are about the little bumps on the road of friendship. They are about friends working things out. They hold moments of emotional truth for the listener and the reader. Think about The Quiet Book (by Deborah Underwood). Deborah Underwood’s “list” text coupled with Renata Liwska’s illustrations is absolutely delicious. It’s sly and tender and true. As visual learners, children look at books more carefully than adults do. This is a boon for illustrators who can amp up the level of detail suggested by the text.

Thank goodness for editors. We need them as surely as they need us. A manuscript needs a champion to shepherd it though the gauntlet of financial decisions, list requirements and the multitude of other manuscripts.

Yay, there is a place for quiet picture books in the world. Now, for those of you who get writer’s block, you’re not alone. We will all be afflicted with it from time to time. And we all deal with it in our own ways. Personally, I tend to wait it out for a while. I will often read and reread everything I have written for that story up to that point over and over again until I get unstuck. If that doesn’t work, then I’m usually done for the day. Let’s see what Suzanne recommends.

Suzanne, how do you combat writer’s (or illustrator’s) block? 

Is it inertia or page fright? No matter. Cook something, clean something, completely reorganize your kitchen cupboards, wax the car, weed the garden, walk the dog, conduct a search for the best carrot cake in a four state area, read every writer’s blog you can find, think about starting a blog, open the fridge 8 or 9 times to see if anyone made you something yummy.
Fill your days with Productive Procrastination Projects until you can no longer stand the avoidance, and think maybe that little opus on your desk or PC looks like a better option. Write around the block – scribble, doodle, sketch until that shaky, snaky line looks like an idea.
Alas, that idea may have a mind of its own. More than once the story I started gets elbowed aside by one that’s more insistent or fully formed. In the schoolyard that is my brain, my stories do not stand in a straight line. Oh no, they jostle and shove and argue over who is the line leader, except for that pouty one in the back who refuses to say a word.

Great advice, Suzanne! Now, how do you keep from getting discouraged in the highly competitive world of children’s picture book publishing?

On this emotional and professional roller coaster, there’s a nasty twist called the Spiral of Second Guessing followed by the Plummet of Self Worth. It seems to last forever but is over pretty quickly. Ride it out.
At the beginning of every project and sometimes again in the middle it becomes clear that I’ve forgotten how to draw and write. This story stinks and why would anyone ever read it? And it doesn’t even matter because who cares, anyway!
We are so hard on ourselves.
When I get discouraged, I call someone who loves my work and is not a family member. I call a treasured writer friend. We commiserate and whinge a little but then as good friends do, we remind each other of our successes, dedication, and how we are so much more suited to this than being the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or any other of many, many options.

If you are a writer, illustrator, or both, thank you for working to put something beautiful into the hands of children.

Thank you, Suzanne, that last line sums it up perfectly. That’s really what it all comes down to, if writing children’s picture books is in your blood, if it’s a part of you that you can’t imagine being without, and you long to put something beautiful into the hands of children (and there’s nothing more beautiful than a picture book), then don’t give up, don’t quit, don’t get discouraged, your dream can come true. You can be published. Keep writing, keep submitting, keep improving, and keep the faith. Believe me, I know! 

Suzanne Bloom was born mid-century in Portland, Oregon, which accounts for her love of overcast days. She moved to Queens, New York in time to finish kindergarten. Her first book We Keep a Pig in the Parlor was published in 1988. She has authored and illustrated many more books since then including The Bus for Us (2000) and the popular Goose & Bear series, which includes A Splendid Friend Indeed, Treasure, What About Bear, Oh! What A Surprise!, Fox Forgets, and her latest, Alone Together. She has been given a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Award and has been selected for the Texas 2×2 list of 20 best picture books (twice). She currently lives in upstate, New York with her husband in the house they built 34 years ago, down a dirt road and on a hillside. She has two grown sons, one cat, and one dog. To learn more about Suzanne, please read the interview I did with her back in 2010, or check out her website: www.suzannebloom.com.

{Suzanne’s First Drawing, Age 3} I confess. It’s true. Before I wrote, I drew! An artist at three, marking the page – my dad and I were circles with little circle eyes. We looked like a jellyfish family. We all are artists, first. Little by little other activities catch our interest and we move on. But not always. I found more success drawing and painting than adding and multiplying, or dancing or playing sports. According to report cards from elementary school, I was a pleasure to have in class, though not working up to potential. Indeed, who among us works up to potential? I remember learning to read. Sprawled out on the ugly rug in the living room, looking at the funny papers spread before me, I watched in amazement as the squiggly lines shaped up into a word. The word was “Scamp”, son of Lady and the Tramp. And with that, the funny papers became my magic carpet. My gateway books were Goldens. So Big!, Animal Babies, and Mr. Dog still sit and stay on my book shelf to remind me that my collection began even before I was reading on my own.


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3. Firebird, by Misty Copeland and Christopher Myers -- follow your dreams and soar (ages 6-10)

We want to teach our children to follow their dreams, to reach for the stars -- but we also want them to realize that it takes hard work, practice and perseverance to get there. Firebird is a beautiful, stirring new picture book by ballerina Misty Copeland that shares both of these messages, and more.
Firebird
Ballerina Misty Copeland Shows a Young Girl How to Dance Like the Firebird
by Misty Copeland
illustrated by Christopher Myers
G.P. Putnam's / Penguin, 2014
Your local library
Amazon
ages 6-10
*best new book*
As you begin reading this picture book with children, you'll need to take on two voices, for Copeland creates a conversation between a young girl who dreams of dancing and herself as a professional ballerina. The girl looks up to Copeland, saying, "the space between you and me is longer than forever" -- how could I ever become as beautiful and graceful as you?
"you are the sky and clouds and air"
Firebird, by Misty Copeland & Christopher Myers
The real magic begins when Copeland turns to the young girl, reassuring her that she was once just as small, just as shy, that "you're just where I started." Through this poetic conversation, Copeland conveys that this young girl can become a professional dancer if she puts in the hours of work, sweat and practice.
"I was a dancer just like you
a dreaming shooting star of a girl
with work and worlds ahead"
Share this picture book with older students, perhaps 3rd and 4th graders, who can understand Copeland's poetic language and the interplay between the two characters. Encourage them to read this story more than once--it is one that really grew in my heart each time I read it.

Deepen their appreciation for Copeland's message by encouraging them to learn more about her as a professional dancer. Read her afterword, a note to the reader about why she wanted to write this story.
"My hopes are that people will feel empowered to be whatever they want to be... No matter what that dream is, you have the power to make it come true with hard work and dedication, despite what you look like or struggle with."
Students would find this ABC News interview very interesting:


Christopher Myers' artwork brings strength and grace to this story with dramatic lines and colors. The idea for this book was actually Chris's, as Misty told Jules Danielson in a recent Kirkus article. His mixed media collages contrast the bold colors of ballet with the young girl's grey concrete world, but they also juxtapose angular lines with the dancers' dynamic graceful movement.

I can't wait to hear what my students say about this. I think this is a book that they, too, will return to time and time again. The review copy was kindly sent by the publishers, Penguin Random House. Illustrations are copyright ©2014 Christopher Myers. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

0 Comments on Firebird, by Misty Copeland and Christopher Myers -- follow your dreams and soar (ages 6-10) as of 10/30/2014 1:55:00 AM
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4. Where are all the British superheroes? asked The Journalist. "They All Live Here With Me" Was My Reply!

The following article is from The Telegraph -the online version of a UK national newspaper- in 2013 got a response from me.  I pointed out that counting US created 'British' heroes was not "home grown".  I cited a long list but also pointed out that Black Tower had been publishing home grown, British created, super heroes since 1984.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/10201861/Where-are-all-the-British-superheroes.html

How did the Telegraph respond -remember I was very polite and not "Angry of Bristol!"- to this?

"Sorry but your comment is not suitable"

*****!!!

So here is that article by Tim Martin -you lot out there fill in all the gaps -this is DIY know your British super heroes test no. 1!

Where are all the British superheroes?

As Wolverine opens in cinemas, Tim Martin looks at the best - and worst - of our homegrown superheroes.

Absurdly good: Zenith is a popster turned superhero
Absurdly good: Zenith is a popster turned superhero Photo: (Rebellion A/S)
Had you forgotten that the superhero Wolverine is a Canadian? I had, I confess. Not just because the grumpy old man of the X-Men exists at such distance from maple-leaf stereotype — although he does, being much more likely to blow cigar smoke in your eye or skewer you with adamantine claws than apologise or take you to a hockey game — but because one tends to assume that most superheroes are American by default. US culture has proved fertile ground for such myths since Superman’s creation in 1938, but attempts to funnel the spirit of other countries into skintight costumes and capes have been less successful. One can’t imagine the French or the Italians getting particularly exercised about the failure, but the Brits are a different matter.

No one needs reminding that the caped crusaders on today’s cinema screens owe much to British talent. Batman is played by a Welshman, Superman by a Jerseyman, and directors like Christopher Nolan and Ken Branagh lurk behind the cameras. Further back in the 1980s, it was the influx of writers such as Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Mike Carey and Grant Morrison that helped to drag American comics from the creative slough of identikit theatrics and point them towards a future of adult plotlines, snappy dialogue and ironical introspection. So where, then, are all the British superheroes?

Standard procedure here would be to mention Doctor Who, Sherlock Holmes, James Bond and other (non-super) heroes as refracted homegrown equivalents to Marvel and DC’s men in tights. But that’s just special pleading. A riffle through the archives does indeed reveal several British supes who deserve a share of the attention garnered by their louder, older, more famous counterparts across the Atlantic — as well as some perfect examples of why no one’s ever heard of the breed.

Zenith
The adventures of a lackadaisical British popster, son of two Baby Boomer superheroes, who is forced to abandon his assignations with willing groupies when neo-Nazis find a hibernating Übermensch, fill him with Lovecraftian horrors and sic him on London. Long out of print, Zenith is reissued by 2000AD later this year, and it’s brilliant: recognizably British in its sense of the absurd but with a fearsomely exciting high-stakes plot. If anyone ever wants to make a good UK superhero movie, there are many worse places to start.
Knight
Britain’s first superpowered blueblood. Created in the Fifties with his sidekick Squire as a homegrown competitor to Batman, Knight was initially the alter ego of Percy Sheldrake, Earl of 'Wordenshire', and could be summoned by ringing the bell of his local church. By the time Grant Morrison briefly revived the character at the end of the Nineties, the new Knight was seen to have piddled away his inheritance and acquired a drug habit, and had to be rescued from the gutter to restart his crimefighting career from someone’s garage. Now there’s Broken Britain for you.



Blueblooded crimefighter: 'Knight' with his sidekick 'Squire' (DC Entertainment)

 
Captain Britain
Another super-aristo who failed to move with the times. Raised in a posh family fallen on hard times — Wikipedia amusingly describes him as “too proud to fraternise with lower classes” — Brian Braddock has the good fortune to be around when Merlin turns up brandishing a superpowered Amulet of Right. Subsequent exploits made for a wearisome parade of victories over Arthurian villains, Nazis and other gestures towards Britain’s storied past, while successive attempts to rename him as ‘Excalibur’ and ‘Brittanic’ took the franchise even farther towards swivel-eye territory.


Miracleman
The best homegrown superhero writing draws more on British satirical tradition than it does on Blitz-spirit cliché and poshos with funny names. Years before Watchmen and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the Northampton magus Alan Moore began sniping at superhero tropes with Miracleman, imagining a knackered freelance journalist able to swap bodies with a glittering blond super-being at the whisper of a magic word. Under Neil Gaiman’s subsequent stewardship, the series became a queasy meditation on the moral demands of supreme power in a super-utopia. Last year’s resolution of a long-running rights dispute holds out hope for a reprint, too.


Union Jack
Originally Lord Falsworth, military man and scourge of His Majesty’s enemies during the Second World War. Loses his legs in combat with the evil Baron Blood, so his son takes up the mantle, subsequently becoming one of the very few gay superheroes. He bites the dust in turn, however, and it falls to a working-class Mancunian to take up the cudgels in Jack’s most recent incarnation. It’s an interesting trajectory for a British character, if you overlook the temporary possession by Sir Lancelot’s ghost, but perhaps of more use as a sociological document than a Hollywood adaptation.



Motley crew: 'The Boys' is laced with sex, swearing and gore (Spitfire Productions Ltd and Darick Robertson)

 
The Boys
A take on the superhero myth from a Northern Irish writer, garlanded with the kind of swearing, sex and gore that would make Tarantino blench. The Boys chronicles the efforts of a band of trenchcoated enforcers, led by a musclebound ex-SAS titan and a wimpy Scot called Hughie, to control with extreme prejudice the Spandex super-puppets of an American military-industrial complex. Both funnier and more offensive than Mark Millar's later Kick-Ass, this has a bilious charm all its own.
                                             +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

That's it. Now if you try to think of British super heroes and you do not come up with a single Black Tower character....you need to become a journalist!!

Oh. And suck on this from 2011...
http://downthetubes.net/?p=1597 

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5. A Very Sad Letter to ENDGAME by Nils Johnson-Shelton & James Frey

Review by Becca ENDGAMEby Nils Johnson-Shelton and James Frey Series: Endgame (Book 1)Hardcover: 480 pagesPublisher: HarperCollins (October 7, 2014)Language: English Goodreads | Amazon Twelve ancient cultures were chosen millennia ago to represent humanity in Endgame, a global game that will decide the fate of humankind. Endgame has always been a possibility, but never a reality…until

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6. Giveaway and Review of An Unseemly Wife by E. B. Moore


Giving up the only life she knew, leaving all her possessions for a new life she was ​not ​excited about, following her husband's wishes and keeping​ silent.  That is what Ruth's life was like as she followed the rules of her Fold​.

We follow Ruth and her family as they get ready to leave their secure community for the unknown in Idaho and follow them on their difficult, two-thousand-mile trek.  A trip that was supposed to give them a better life.

The writing in AN UNSEEMLY WIFE is beautiful, and Ms. Moore smoothly and masterfully moves from one time period to the other revealing what Ruth's life was before marrying Aaron and what it was like now.  As the journey west continued, Ruth realized that her life with Aaron would never be the same.  She had no family close by, and the people they met were not like her Fold at home.

AN UNSEEMLY WIFE is actually an account of the author's great grandmother.  I enjoyed this book because I do like historical fiction, but definitely wouldn't want to be living in the 1800's as a woman.

AN UNSEEMLY WIFE did drag a bit, though, but it was quite educational to see the difficulties of traveling in and living in a covered wagon along with the hardships of everyday life. You will feel the family's pain as sad things happen, and all the characters definitely grow on you.  The children were so innocent and good.  Ruth was obedient and a very good mother.  Aaron was a good husband, but not one that I would want. He was kind but too strict.

If you are interested in the early days of settling America, you will enjoy this book.  4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.

*******************

Enter the giveaway here from October 30 to November 6.  USA ONLY

Good Luck

0 Comments on Giveaway and Review of An Unseemly Wife by E. B. Moore as of 10/30/2014 1:39:00 AM
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7. Chicanonautica: The Evolution of La Catrina



It’s the end of October, and it’s happening on a weekend: Halloween and Los Días De Los Muertos, that I modestly proposed be made into a three-day fiesta in my novel Smoking Mirror Blues

And we see her, popping up on the interwebs, and coming to your barrio soon -- La Catrina, the skull-faced lady with the fancy hat.

She first showed up in a zinc etching by José Guadalupe Posada somewhere around 1910, 1913-ish -- ¡LA REVOLUÇIÓN! Posada intended her as a caricature of the rich, catrina, in spanish meaning well-dressed, rich, fop, dandy.




The etching, and image, without the benefit of an internet or social media, struck a cord with Mexican culture, and became a popular icon.

Diego Rivera modernized her between 1947 and 1948, providing her with dress and feathered serpent boa in his mural Sueno de un Tarde Dominical en La Alameda Central -- originally in the Hotel del Prado on Alameda Park, but moved after the building was damaged in the earthquake of 1985 and torn down. It’s now in the Museo Mural Diego Rivera, Mexico City, Tenochtitlán, La Capital Azteca. Rivera also made her an avatar of Aztec Mother Godess Coatlicue, adding another layer to her idenity.




Since then, she’s evolved. Today’s Catrina wears the sugar skull face make up, and is glamorous -- taking us back to the 18th century Scots meaning, enchantment, magic, and the fact that the word is an alteration of grammar, which in the Middle Ages refered to occult parctices associated with learning -- and sexy in ways not yet franchised by Hollywood and the fashion industry. It’s a different, subversive concept of beauty, similar to that of the Goths, whose style is being toned down and absorbed by nerd culture, that is in danger of becoming another corporate marketing strategy.




I keep hoping the nerds will see beyond the suburban bubble that they are kept in, get inspired, go wild, and scare the crap out of those who are trying to control them. Encounters with La Catrina can help with this, because no one can control La Catrina. She’s a goddess -- like her sister Santa Muerte -- the return of an ancient, elemental thing that cannot be tamed.

Have a weird and wonderful Dead Daze!

Ernest Hogan’s Dead Daze novel, Smoking Mirror Blues is still available in the original trade paperback edition, and as ebooks through Kindle and Smashwords. A new Kindle version of his first novel Cortez on Jupiter has just become available. 

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8. High School Manga Romances Are A Changin’ :No Longer Heroine

We all know about the classic elements seen in shoujo manga: the heroine and hero are childhood friends, the rivals are horrible pricks, and the hero is always there to save the heroine. And you’d think by now most manga artists would have managed to change things a bit and spice it up? Unfortunately, no. ... Read more

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9. Spotlight and Giveaway: What a Wallflower Wants by Maya Rodale

This morning I have a chance for you to win some books by Maya Rodale!  Check out the info about her latest release, What A Wallflower Wants, and then enter the giveaway below!

What a Wallflower Wants By: Maya Rodale

Bad Boys & Wallflowers # 3

Releasing September 30th, 2014

Avon

In the third novel in Maya Rodale’s charming Wallflower series, London’s Least Likely to Be Caught in a Compromising Position finds temptation in a devilishly handsome stranger . . .

Miss Prudence Merryweather Payton has a secret.

Everyone knows that she’s the only graduate from her finishing school to remain unwed on her fourth season-but no one knows why. With her romantic illusions shattered after being compromised against her will, Prudence accepts a proposal even though her betrothed is not exactly a knight in shining armor. When he cowardly pushes her out of their stagecoach to divert a highwayman, she vows never to trust another man again.

John Roark, Viscount Castleton, is nobody’s hero.

He’s a blue-eyed charmer with a mysterious past and ambitious plans for his future-that do not include a wife. When he finds himself stranded at a country inn with a captivating young woman, a delicate dance of seduction ensues. He knows he should keep his distance. And he definitely shouldn’t start falling in love with her.
When Prudence’s dark past comes back to haunt her, John must protect her-even though he risks revealing his own secrets that could destroy his future.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/08/what-wallflower-wants-bad-boys.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20705673-what-a-wallflower-wants

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/What-Wallflower-Wants-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00I7UY8VM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407066354&sr=8-1&keywords=what+a+wallflower+wants

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/what-a-wallflower-wants-maya-rodale/1118477567?ean=9780062231284

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/what-a-wallflower-wants

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/what-a-wallflower-wants/id814087124?mt=11

Author Info

Maya Rodale began reading romance novels in college at her mother’s insistence and it wasn’t long before she was writing her own. Maya is now the author of multiple Regency historical romances. She lives in New York City with her darling dog and a rogue of her own.

Author Social Links

Website: www.mayarodale.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mayarodale

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mayarodalewriter

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/377744.Maya_Rodale

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Print Set of Bad Boys & Wallflowers Series by Maya Rodale)

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The post Spotlight and Giveaway: What a Wallflower Wants by Maya Rodale appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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10. Authors and Editors

How the author and editor partnership makes for a great book. 

http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2014/09/guest-blog-post-author-editor.html

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11. THESE BROKEN STARS {Review}

Review by Elisa  THESE BROKEN STARSAge Range: 12 - 18 yearsGrade Level: 7 - 12Series: Starbound (Book 1)Hardcover: 384 pagesPublisher: Disney-Hyperion; 1ST edition (December 10, 2013)Goodreads | Amazon It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and

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12. Cover Reveal: The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents . . .

One of my favorite graphic novels this year was the awfully ambitious (and awfully good) The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents . . . MacBeth.  Any book that uses that much ketchup in its plotting has my instant love.  So when the folks at First Second asked if I wanted to present the cover reveal for the next book in the Stratford Zoo series, you can bet I said yep.

Good readers will remember which play was alluded to on the last page of the last book.  And here she is!

StratfordZooRomeo Cover Reveal: The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents . . .

Author Ian Lendler puts it this way:

“When I travel to schools and ask if anyone has heard of Shakespeare, about half the students will raise their hands. They sort of vaguely know that he’s famous for some reason. But when I ask if anyone has heard of Romeo and Juliet, without fail, every hand in the room is raised. Everyone knows this story.

It has worked its way so deeply into world culture (not just Western culture, mind you), that it is easily the most adapted play in Shakespeare’s canon. Off the top of my head, the Romeo and Juliet story has been set in the world of Miami mafias, kung-fu street cops, a military school, ninjas, immigrants in the Bronx, L.A. high schools, alley cats, and garden gnomes. And why?

Because if you can’t root for two crazy kids in the throes of crazy love then your heart is made of stone. I fully confess that while I was writing this book, I found myself rooting for this cocky rooster and plucky bear to beat the odds. Unfortunately, Shakespeare had different plans for them.”

 

Artist Zack Giallongo concurs:

“I think what I love most about this book is the physical contrast between Romeo and Juliet. One is a small, wiry, brightly-colored bird. The other is a large, solid, earth-tone mammal. And yet, both are equally appealing, not only to one another, but to the readers. It’s clear, though, that despite the physical disparity, both have the same desires, the same wants, and the same problems. Both have parents that are louts, both have aggressive (and pompous) agents in the form of Tibbs and Mercutio, and both feel misunderstood. And isn’t that what we all feel from time to time? I hope that I got these feelings that Ian wrote into the book across with my drawings, and that we can understand one another, even if we’re a bear and a rooster.”

Looking forward to it, guys!  Keep up the good work.  Fingers crossed you do Tempest next.  I’d love to see the animal that gets to play Caliban.

 

share save 171 16 Cover Reveal: The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents . . .

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13. One Little Word: Silence

Did you pick one little word this year? How's it going?

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14. Scanning the Backlist (3)

This my own personal backlist consisting of authors I've reviewed on the blog.  I took the time to go back through every author I've reviewed and checked out his or her backlist - and for some, even found new books I hadn't realized were released.  Each week I'll be featuring a Scanning the Backlist post with a few more authors whose backlist titles have made it onto my TBR.

Julia Heaberlin
I originally picked up Lie Still because it's cover was so very similar to Gone Girl, which I loved and because the blurbs compared the two.  While I didn't find much similar content between the two, other than the suspense aspect, I thoroughly enjoyed the tale of mean girls all grown up and a mysterious stalking.  It's a bit more on the Lifetime Original Movie side of things, but y'all know that just means I love it all the more.  She's only got one book in her backlist, Playing Dead, but it looks just as appealing as Lie Still:
“Dear Tommie: Have you ever wondered about who you are?” 
  
The letter that turns Tommie McCloud’s world upside down arrives from a stranger only days after her father’s death. The woman who wrote it claims that Tommie is her daughter—and that she was kidnapped as a baby thirty-one years ago.
 
Tommie wants to believe it’s all a hoax, but suddenly a girl who grew up on a Texas ranch finds herself  linked to a horrific past: the slaughter of a family in Chicago, the murder of an Oklahoma beauty queen, and the kidnapping of a little girl named Adriana. Tommie races along a twisting, nightmarish path while an unseen stalker is determined to keep old secrets locked inside the dementia-battered brain of the woman who Tommie always thought was her real mother. With everything she has ever believed in question, and no one she can trust, Tommie must discover the truth about the girl who vanished—and the very real threats that still remain.  
Rebecca Hunt
Hunt's first novel, Mr. Chartwell, is a brilliant portrait of depression, told as the story of an enormous black dog that visits both the narrator and her boss, Winston Churchill.  It's beautifully written and tells the story of depression in a unique and magical way.  While her next book, Everland, isn't technically backlist, since it was written after Mr, Chartwell, it's backlist in terms of not being a new release.  And it's one I never would have discovered without having taken on this project.
1913: Dinners, Millet-Bass, and Napps - three men bound not by friendship, but by an intense dependence founded on survival - will be immortalised by their decision to volunteer to scout out a series of uncharted and unknown islands in the Antarctic, a big, indifferent kingdom.

2013: Brix, Jess, and Decker - three researchers with their own reasons for being far from home - set out on a field trip to the same ancient lumps of rock and snow, home to nothing but colonies of penguins and seals.

Under the harsh ultraviolet light, as all colours bleach out, and the world of simple everyday pleasures recedes, they unknowingly begin to mirror the expedition of 100 years ago.
Louise Millar
Millar is quickly becoming a go-to author for me.  I loved both Accidents Happen and The Hidden Girl, so of course I've been scoping out Millar's backlist for thrillers in the same vein (see Julia Heaberlin above).  While I wish there were more, I'm happy to see that there is one backlist book I haven't read yet, 2012's The Playdate.


 You leave your kids with a friend. Everyone does it. Until the day it goes wrong.
Single mother Callie has come to rely heavily on her best friend Suzy. But Callie suspects Suzy's life isn't as simple as it seems. It's time she pulled away - going back to work is just the first step towards rediscovering her old confidence. So why does she keep putting off telling Suzy about her new job?

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15. Where are all the British superheroes? Here Is My Angry, Naked (its a theme -roll with it) Response


Above: Me "back in the day"  as The Red Dragon.  Honest.


I mentioned in yesterdays Where are all the British superheroes? asked The Journalist. "They All Live Here With Me" Was My Reply! that journalists who write these items have absolutely no idea what they are talking about.  Well, I hinted at that.  No so much a hint as a bottle of tabasco sauce in the eye -which the postman assures me: "Hurts mightily!" And I responded: "Well, Crispian, do not sneak up behind me and prod me when I am nude gardening then!" No come-back to that.

Uh. Wait a minute....sorry. Nude typing.

Anyway, the journalist responsible did what any journalist would do.  Research the subject for a few hours and turn in a worthy piece of light reading?  No -turn to Wikipedia.  Even admits it. sigh.

You know, he could have found my post on the subject just by googling for a while (it took me five minutes to find).  You do remember my "At Long Last! The Return Of The Improbability Of The British Super Hero" -last updated in August?  Sigh. Here:

http://hoopercomicart.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/at-long-last-return-of-improbability-of.html

Anyway, the article writer referred to Zenith -it's more-or-less obligatory to despite what Grant Morrison might demand.  So fair enough even though it is obvious the journalist hasn't read any of the series.

But then, to smear a little garlic paste into the tabasco stained eye -I really am sorry, Crispian. Just let it go- he comes up with this and all typos are his:

"Knight
Britain’s first superpowered blueblood. Created in the Fifties with his sidekick Squire as a homegrown competitor to Batman, Knight was initially the alter ego of Percy Sheldrake, Earl of 'Wordenshire', and could be summoned by ringing the bell of his local church. By the time Grant Morrison briefly revived the character at the end of the Nineties, the new Knight was seen to have piddled away his inheritance and acquired a drug habit, and had to be rescued from the gutter to restart his crimefighting career from someone’s garage. Now there’s Broken Britain for you."

Right.  Percival Sheldrake debuted as the Knight in Batman #62 (December 1950), and was created by Bill Finger and Dick Sprang. We are talking about a period when a lot of Americans, particularly kids, thought England still had knights in armour.  Yes, "armour" and not "armor".  Now, Cyril Sheldrake debuted as the Knight in JLA #26 (February 1999), and was created by Grant Morrison and Howard Porter. Or "rebooted" is probably the better term -change a first name blah blah blah.

Oh, he'd lost all his money and had a drug habit and had to be kicked out of it? Well, Morrison really is turning into Moore's rival for lack of originality.  In Zenith the Red Dragon character had to be dragged out of his alcohol addiction.  And....sigh.  I bet it really hurt Morrison not to be able to use the "C" word in JLA. Get feckin real.  I've met "landed gentry" whose families lost money and were working as aircraft and even rail engineers and even dirtier jobs.  One even threatened to kill me but, to be fair, I was skipping through his rose garden naked.

Have you noticed how I keep slipping into constructing sentences like a German?  Over 50 years ago I went to that school and it's still in my brain. As my mother once said while choking me: "You are ours, bitch!"  Funny woman.



Then we have...this:

"Captain Britain
Another super-aristo who failed to move with the times. Raised in a posh family fallen on hard times — Wikipedia amusingly describes him as “too proud to fraternise with lower classes” — Brian Braddock has the good fortune to be around when Merlin turns up brandishing a superpowered Amulet of Right. Subsequent exploits made for a wearisome parade of victories over Arthurian villains, Nazis and other gestures towards Britain’s storied past, while successive attempts to rename him as ‘Excalibur’ and ‘Brittanic’ took the franchise even farther towards swivel-eye territory."

Yes, some ass on Wikipedia did write that.  Braddock went to university and had friends and worked with colleagues who were not "landed gentry" and in the Jasper World saga CB even pops into a "commoners" house for a cup of tea and a chat.  Maybe I missed all the snobbery...or maybe it was not there?

Captain Britain, as you all ought to know by now, was created by Chris ("Primadonna") Claremont and the wondrous Herb Trimpe and first appeared in Captain Britain Weekly, #1 (October 13, 1976). The character has been used in stories -some quite bad ones- by various creative teams over the years and I last read 'his' adventures in Captain Britain And MI13.  Now, despite what they tell you, MI 13 is only a fictional version in this series.  In fact, as I know, there really WAS an MI 13(Eastern Europe) "folded into" Military Intelligence.

 INEVERSAWTHEUFOINEVERSAWTHEUFOINEVERSAWTHEUFOINEVERSAWTHEUFO

The "silly flag-wearing" well, let Alan Davis describe how he came up with the design:

"I decided to base his costume on military uniforms. If you've ever seen the mounted guards outside Buckingham Place, you'll recognize the components. The white leggings and the tall boots with the flaps over the knees were easy. The headgear took a bit more time because I wanted it to look like a helmet rather than a mask. The stripes across his chest started as two crossed sashes and underwent numerous changes."

As for taking the character into more "swivel-eye territory"...what is the ass writing about?  Super heroes fighting aliens, other dimensional beings, monsters, vampires...that's "regular"...but that is also what Captain Britain does..more swivel eyed journalism.




"Miracleman
The best homegrown superhero writing draws more on British satirical tradition than it does on Blitz-spirit cliché and poshos with funny names. Years before Watchmen and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the Northampton magus Alan Moore began sniping at superhero tropes with Miracleman, imagining a knackered freelance journalist able to swap bodies with a glittering blond super-being at the whisper of a magic word. Under Neil Gaiman’s subsequent stewardship, the series became a queasy meditation on the moral demands of supreme power in a super-utopia. Last year’s resolution of a long-running rights dispute holds out hope for a reprint, too."




  Now that is really showing total ignorance of the character that was created when Fawcett/National stopped the Captain Marvel reprints and so Mick Anglo created Marvel Man -over a decade before Timely changed its name to "Marvel".  A character to star in a childrens weekly comic. "Blitz-spirit cliché and poshos with funny names" -what an utter feckin arse -an arse that probably never grew up at a time of no internet, nothing but three TV channels, rationing (that didn't stop totally until 1959 on most things) and when kids had to entertain themselves -usually in parks or on bomb sites!

The more I think about it the more I really hate journalists who write this crap.

Anyway, Di$ney own the character now so he's dead as far as being British goes.

 

"Union Jack
Originally Lord Falsworth, military man and scourge of His Majesty’s enemies during the Second World War. Loses his legs in combat with the evil Baron Blood, so his son takes up the mantle, subsequently becoming one of the very few gay superheroes. He bites the dust in turn, however, and it falls to a working-class Mancunian to take up the cudgels in Jack’s most recent incarnation. It’s an interesting trajectory for a British character, if you overlook the temporary possession by Sir Lancelot’s ghost, but perhaps of more use as a sociological document than a Hollywood adaptation."

I really do think that there are a great many uneducated morons out there.  Some go to college to just booze, get addle-brained and study journalism.  Study "journalism"???

nakedintherosesnakedintherosesnakedintheroses.....

Erm.  Firstly, if you are going to have a secret identity of any kind then you need a good secure base that people cannot just walk in and out of. Secondly, you need cash.  Thirdly, you need to be able to have the time to dash off and do your work.  Fourthly, you need to have friends in high places who will help you cover up any potential scandal or rumours.  Police Commissioners, Home Secretary, owners of newspapers -all well off and many landed gentry or lords "back in the day".  "What we do is of no concern to the great unwashed"

I quote the great Lady Bracknell from a book entitled The Importance Of Being Earnest, by some newbie called Oscar Wilde:

Lady Bracknell:     “I do not approve of anything that tampers with natural ignorance. Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone. The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately in England, at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and probably lead to acts of violence in Grosvenor Square.”

Why was it theorised that Jack the Ripper and Spring-heeled Jack (not to mention various others) were aristocrats?  For reasons 1-4, above, and the attitude as voiced by Lady Bracknell.  Only the rich can afford the time and money and exert the influence to go about this business.  Anyone recall some bloke who was named "The Scarlet Pimpernel"?  You don't know your social history or literature then do not write short sentenced crap.

nakedintherosesnakedintherosesnakedintheroseswithcrispiannakedintheroses....

 

The Boys.  Read it. Left me completely cold. Hate it.

Now, in 2013, a journalist cannot rummage through his sources (Wikipedia and the internet in the main) and come up with Captain Hornet, The Leopard From Lime Street, Billy and Katy the Cat, Danger Man, Thunderbolt Jaxon, Black Archer, Captain Miracle, The Cat Girl, Garth, Iron Master, Johnny Future, Tim (Kelly's Eye) Kelly, Leaping Phantom, Spring Heeled Jack (various), Fishboy, The Phantom Viking, Purple Hood, The Spider, Q Bikes, Smoke Man, Robot Archie, Naked In The Roses, The Steel Claw, Tri-Man, Thunderbolt the Avenger, The Avenger (from The Eagle)....I could go on for ages here but you are getting my point?

"Comics =movies" seems to be the writers main reference.  None of the above British characters have been in Hollywood movies therefore do not exist.  "What I found on Wikipedia and chopped up into a mess for a space filler =my facts" appears to be the case here.


Where is the mention of British creator Paul Grists marvellous Jack Staff?  Published by Grists own Dancing Elephant Press until Image grabbed it -but British created, written, drawn and BASED super hero. Then we have Grists other similar UK based character Mud Man -again published by Image but far more British in pedigree than some our journalistic friend cites as "British super heroes"!

Please do not get me wrong -I am not trying to write that the Telegraph item was a bunch of space filling, ill researched arse water. I am writing that.

How to annoy me in a short internet item.

Now, sun is out and it's a bit nippy so I'm off for some naked gardening (google it).




















































































































































































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16. A.D. 30

A.D. 30
Author: Ted Dekker
Publisher: Center Street
Genre: Historical Fiction / Christian
ISBN: 978-1-59995-418-9
Pages: 432
Price: $25.00

Buy it at Amazon

Maviah was born of an illicit encounter by her father, Sheikh Rami bin Malik. Sold into slavery in Egypt, she lived there until the birth of her son, and was sent back to her Bedu people. Now her city has been taken by the Thamud, and her father has sent her on a mission to save them. With Saba, her father’s servant, and Judah, a Jew, she travels to see Herod, hoping for his help.

Saba and Judah are able-bodied and trustworthy men, and she soon comes to rely on them for her own well-being. But their mission runs into a snag. A side trip to Capernaum allows them to visit with Yeshua – a Jewish rabbi with a new and radical teaching. Maviah soon becomes convinced that this Yeshua speaks truth, and vows to follow his words.

Maviah is a broken woman who believes herself to be nothing more than a slave. But in speaking to Yeshua, she begins to believe she has value in her Father’s eyes. Can she trust him enough to overcome her fear and rescue her people?

A.D. 30 paints a wonderful picture of desert life at the start of the Christian era. We meet Jesus near the start of his ministry and share in the joy of those who have just found him. And we see, through Maviah’s eyes, exactly why he is so well-loved by his followers. Jesus loves her just as she is – even though she sees herself as unworthy.

I highly recommend this engaging and enjoyable book.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


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17. 11 Kids’ Books on Dealing with Loss, Grief, Illness and Trauma

Here is a list of 11 books that address a wide range and variety of emotions that young readers may experience when faced with serious illness, loss, grief or trauma.

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18. H2O by Virginia Bergin




From the Jacket Blurb:

.27 is a number Ruby hates.
It's a number that marks the percentage of the population that has survived. It's a number that means she's one of the "lucky" few still standing. And it's a number that says her father is probably dead.
Against all odds, Ruby has survived the catastrophic onset of the killer rain. Two weeks after the radio started broadcasting the warning, "It's in the rain. It's fatal and there's no cure," the drinkable water is running out. Ruby's left with two options: persevere on her own, or embark on a treacherous journey across the country to find her father-if he's even still alive.

"It's in the rain...and just one drop will kill you."

15 year-old Ruby Morris is obnoxious. In fact, she's possibly if not definitely the most annoying narrator of any YA book I've ever encountered. And just about all reader reviews of the book agree with this assessment.  She's an image and status obsessed snobby teenage brat, at times more concerned with putting on a sparkly top and makeup than smartly surviving the apocalyptic killer rain that has wiped out all but .27% of the world's population. You often find yourself thinking "UGH, what is wrong with you, Ruby? How can you still be THIS annoying? How could YOU of all people have survived when so many more likeable, clever, responsible people were dead within the first few days?" These questions are surprisingly, fascinatingly, the very reason why I enjoyed this book.

Let's face it: the world is full of annoying, frustrating people. People with different priorities and values and personalities than yourself. Ultimately harmless people that you just don't, well...like. And in the event of an apocalypse, these people don't just magically go away. Killer rain doesn't kill with discrimination. Many of the survivors of this story just got lucky. Ruby is a fault-filled person just like you or I (albeit far more immature), and catastrophe doesn't automatically change people into deeper people. At least not immediately, and not always in obvious ways...

Even if Ruby is as shallow as a puddle of the alien killer rain from which she's running...she's still human. And like it or not, being human means that we are (as a species) a mix of good and bad, complex and simple, deep thinkers and painfully, mind-numbingly shallow idiots. We don't get to pick from only our best qualities to define what being human means. We can't control the behaviors and decisions of others. We can't force them to abandon who they are, who they've been, to suddenly become our version of a "better", more-likeable person.

Accepting that others are others, that they think and act differently and that this is OK---is a worthwhile (although sometimes very challenging) exercise in becoming better people ourselves. Ruby doesn't deserve to die just because I don't like her. And she doesn't deserve NOT to be the main character of a book just because I wouldn't want to be her friend in real life. Because in real life, there are countless Rubys in the world. Imperfect, immature, infuriating kids naively stumbling through the world---just trying to live to see another day. We may want Ruby to grow up (fast!) and prove her worth to us as a narrator we can be proud of, but really, she doesn't owe us a darn thing. She is who she is. Peoples is peoples.

In the end, it's not the differences that matter but the ways in which even VERY different people are the same.

"Please don't leave me."

Throughout the story, Ruby finds herself thinking these words. Silently imploring whoever happens to be around her to hang around a little longer. These tiny glimmers of desperation, of fear and desire not to be alone, let us see through to her deeper humanity. This is the Ruby that I understand and that I pity. No one wants to be alone. Ruby has lost just about everyone she knows and cares for. She's completely on her own. She's going through hell and yet she keeps going. Who am I to deny her the things that make her happy? The little things that add a bit of sparkle to an otherwise gray, dead (and deadly) world---even if her happiness does come in the form of an impractical, shimmering sequined top?

I hope to see more of Ruby. I hope that her story doesn't end here. I hope there is a sequel and I hope to get the chance to see her evolve into better version of herself.

I have to hope, because even in the face of unlikely odds, to hope is to be human.
Well, it's part of it, anyway.




A Note on the Book's Design:

I quite like what Sourcebooks Fire has done with the book jacket and cover. Yellowish green acid-rain like droplets seem to have burned holes into the cover, revealing two key words in the raindrop shaped text block on the hard cover: "drop" and "scream" are very clearly highlighted by the cutouts which ominously sets the stage for the events that unfold. An effective cover, I love that it doesn't resort to the hideous trend in YA covers of overly Photoshopped imagery. I like that it's purely graphic. Simple, clean, and intriguing. No people. Only drops of killer rain, daring you to touch it with your bare hands.

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19. The Hallo-wiener - a book review

Titiel

And to add the last straw .....

"I'm so happy that Hallowe'en falls on a Wednesday this year!" said NO teacher ever. 
                                         -author unknown

Today's featured book:


Title:  The Hallo-wiener
Author and Illustrator:  Dav Pilkey

Let's take a peek inside shall we?









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20. More Exciting News for Harriet Can Carry It!

Online book reviewer Jen Robinson has written a wonderful review of Harriet Can Carry It on her website, jkrbooks.typepad.com. Newly available in both hardcover and paperback formats, Star Bright Books is very excited about the warm reception that Harriet is already garnering from readers. 
       
With careful attention to detail, Ms. Robinson highlights elements of the plot, the descriptive writing and vocabulary, the illustrations, and the book’s animal glossary as some of the book's best aspects.  Also commenting on the experience of reading Harriet, Ms. Robinson writes:  Harriet Can Carry It is an entertaining picture book that introduces kids to marsupials in a light, yet memorable manner. It would make a fun read-aloud for schools or libraries." 

Here at Star Bright, we are very delighted to see words such "memorable" and "fun" appear in reviews of this title. In addition to the lessons that we hope Harriet will convey to its young readers (one of which Ms. Robinson comments on in her description of "the idea that it is ok to say no when people are making unreasonable requests"), it is one of our deepest wishes that this book, and others, will inspire readers to pursue reading as an activity that brings enjoyment, fun, and happy memories. As a children's book publisher, this is one of our fundamental goals, and we thank Ms. Robinson, as well as anyone who shares their thoughts with us, for continuing to inspire our devotion to this goal.

The full review can be found at Jen Robinson's Bookpage, at http://jkrbooks.typepad.com/blog/2014/10/harriet-can-carry-it-kirk-jay-mueller-sarah-vonthron-laver.html

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21. Spotlight: By Winter’s Light by Stephanie Laurens

by winters light

Title: By Winter’s Light

Author: Stephanie Laurens

Date of Publication: October 28, 2014

goodreads-badge-add-plus-d700d4d3e3c0b346066731ac07b7fe47

THE PERFECT HOLIDAY ROMANCE TO CURL UP BY THE FIRE

BY WINTER’S LIGHT

#1 New York Times Bestselling Author Stephanie Laurens

Returns to Scotland and the Cynster Clan!

Combine romantic Scotland, the boisterous Cynster family, and a wintry storm, and you have the perfect recipe for a wonderful Christmas love story.

When all the members of the Cynster family gather together at Casphairn Manor for merriment and holiday tidings, they bring with them their faithful minders and teachers; including Daniel Crosbie, and Claire Meadows. Having met before, Daniel is determined this visit will allow him to show hesitant Claire that just because she is a widow, does not mean that love doesn’t strike twice.

Assisted by the younger generation of Cynsters, all aspiring matchmakers, together with the help of a wintry storm and unforeseen circumstances, BY WINTER’S LIGHT Claire begins to see Daniel for the worthy partner he would be.

Stephanie Laurens returns to her beloved Cynster clan with BY WINTER’S LIGHT. With all six families together for the holidays, she ushers in a new generation of Cynsters.

Combining love, holiday spirit, and a little bit of magic, Laurens once again weaves a tale that shows that true love can withstand anything life—or mother nature—throws at you.

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // iBooks

You state that BY WINTER’S LIGHT is an essential volume for the Cynster novels going forward. Why is that?

One of the critical features of a long-running series is readers’ feelings of returning to places and people they know – of seeing heros and heroines they have come to know as individuals go through the challenge of finding love and marrying the right man or woman for them. Knowing at least one of these characters beforehand – understanding what has made them as they are, what their strengths are, and even more importantly what weaknesses they hide – allows greater interest, empathy, and absorption for the reader. 

In the case of the Cynster Next Generation, the children of the Bar Cynster couples, readers know who they are, but have seen very little of them. And as we all know, actions speak much louder than words about the caliber of people, of who they really are beneath the outer glamor. In BY WINTER’S LIGHT, readers see Lucilla, Marcus, Sebastian, Michael, Prudence, and Christopher in action, responding to external pressures and threats, and also to each other, and separately readers also learn more about Louisa and her emerging character.

Readers have more recently seen Lucilla and Marcus act in VISCOUNT BRECKENRIDGE TO THE RESCUE, but now they are a decade older, and we – both the readers and me as author – need to see more of the adults they are shaping up to be, which are insights BY WINTER’S LIGHT affords us. Unsurprisingly, the first pair of Cynster Next Generation romances are those of Lucilla and Marcus, and as they are twins, the stories are tightly linked.

Subsequently, working off the base of their characters revealed in this book, we’ll follow Sebastian, Michael, and Louisa through their romances, and later learn about Prudence and Christopher’s romances, too.


So there’s lots more Cynster novels in the pipeline?

Indeed! Lucilla’s book, THE TEMPTING OF THOMAS CARRICK, is already written, and will be released at the end of February, 2015. It will be followed by Marcus’s story, A MATCH FOR MARCUS CYNSTER, in late May, 2015. Further Cynster novels are scheduled for release in 2017.

There’s an obvious tradition that isn’t included – that of a Christmas tree. Why is that missing?

Christmas trees – the erecting and decorating of them – while echoing the decorating of a house with fir and holly, was a German custom. In the early 1800s, the only major house in England that sported a Christmas Tree was the Duchess of Rutland’s household at Belvoir Castle, because the Duchess was German. Only much later, after the marriage of Victoria to Albert, who introduced the custom of Christmas trees to the royal household, did the custom of Christmas trees become more widely adopted in England.

Victoria married Albert in 1840, so in 1837 in Scotland, the custom of a Christmas had not yet arrived.


If there was one thing you could say to readers when they pick up BY WINTER’S LIGHT, what would it be?

Put your feet up, kick back and relax, and enjoy the holidays Cynsters-style!

Excerpt: CHAPTER 1

December 23, 1837 Casphairn Manor, the Vale of Casphairn, Scotland

Daniel Crosbie felt as if all his Christmases had come at once. Letting his gaze travel the Great Hall of Casphairn Manor, filled to overflowing with six Cynster families and various associated household members, he allowed himself a moment to savor both his unexpected good fortune and his consequent hope.

About him, the combined households were enjoying the hearty dinner provided to welcome them to the celebration planned for the next ten days—as Daniel understood it, a combination of Christmas, the more ancient Yuletide, and Hogmanay. Seated about the long refectory-like tables on benches rather than chairs, with eyes alight and smiles on their faces, the assembled throng was in ebullient mood. Conversation and laughter abounded; delight and expectation shone in most faces, illuminated by the warm glow of the candlelight cast from massive circular chandeliers depending from thick chains from the high-domed ceiling. The central room about which the manor was built, the Great Hall lived up to its name; the space within its thick walls of pale gray stone was large enough to accommodate the Cynster contingent, all told about sixty strong, as well as the families of the various retainers who worked in and around the manor, which functioned like a small village.

With no family of his own still alive, Daniel had spent his last ten Christmases with the Cynster family for whom he acted as tutor—the family of Mr. Alasdair Cynster and his wife, Phyllida—but this was the first time in that decade that the Cynsters had come north for Christmas. The six Cynster families present—the six families closest to the dukedom of St. Ives, those of Devil, Duke of St. Ives, his brother Richard, and his cousins Vane, Harry, Rupert, and Alasdair—invariably came together at Christmastime. They were often joined by other connected families not present on this occasion; the long journey to the Vale, in the western Lowlands of Scotland, to the home of Richard Cynster and his wife Catriona in a season that had turned icy and cold with snow on the ground much earlier than expected had discouraged all but the most determined.

Out of long-established habit, Daniel glanced at his charges—soon to be erstwhile charges—seated at the next table with their cousins and second cousins. Aidan, now sixteen years old, and Evan, fifteen, had passed out of Daniel’s immediate care when they’d gone up to Eton, yet Daniel still kept an eye on the pair when they were home—an action their parents appreciated and which the boys, at ease with him after all the years, bore with good grace. At that moment, both were talking animatedly with their male cousins in a fashion that instantly, at least in Daniel’s mind, raised the question of what the group was planning. He made a mental note to inquire later. Jason, the youngest son of the family and the last of Daniel’s true charges, was similarly occupied with the group of Cynster offspring nearer his age. Now eleven, later in the coming year, Jason, too, would start his formal schooling—a circumstance which had, for Daniel, raised the uncomfortable question of what he would do then.

Once Jason left for Eton and there were no more boys in Alasdair Cynster’s household in Colyton, in Devon, for Daniel to tutor, what would he do for a living?

The question had plagued him for several months, not least because if he was ever to have a chance at the sort of life he now knew he wanted, and, if at all possible, was determined to claim, he needed to have secure employment—a place, a position, with a steady salary or stipend.

He’d been wracking his brains, trying to think of his options, of what might be possible, when Mr. Cynster—Alasdair—had called him into the library and laid before him a proposal that, in a nutshell, was the answer to all his prayers.

On several occasions over the years, Daniel had assisted Alasdair with his interests in ancient and antique jewelry, with documenting finds and establishing provenances, and also with cataloguing and adding to the collection of rare books Alasdair had inherited from the previous owner of the manor. Alasdair, supported by Phyllida, had suggested that, once Jason had departed with his brothers for Eton, if Daniel was happy to remain in Colyton as a member of their household, they would be delighted to engage him as Alasdair’s personal secretary, an amanuensis to assist with Alasdair’s ever-expanding interests.

The suggested stipend was generous, the conditions all Daniel could have hoped for. Not only would the new position suit him, it would solve all his difficulties.

Most importantly, it cleared the way for him to offer for Claire Meadows’s hand.

He glanced along the board to his right. Clad in a soft woolen gown in a muted shade of blue, Claire—Mrs. Meadows—was sitting on the opposite side of the table, two places down. She was the governess in Rupert Cynster’s household; as Rupert and Alasdair were brothers, Claire and Daniel were often thrown together when the families gathered. It was customary in such circumstances that the attending tutors and governesses banded together, sharing responsibilities and each other’s company, as they were at present. The manor’s governess, Miss Melinda Spotswood, a comfortable matronly sort with a backbone of forged iron, was chatting to Claire. On Melinda’s other side, opposite Daniel, sat Oswald Raven, tutor at the manor; a few years older than Daniel, Raven projected a debonair façade, but he was hardworking and devoted to his charges. Raven was chatting to Mr. Samuel Morris, who was seated alongside Daniel and hailed from Vane Cynster’s household in Kent; the oldest of the group, Morris was slightly rotund and had an unfailingly genial air, yet he was a sound scholar and very capable of exerting a firm hand on his charges’ reins.

All five had met and shared duties on several occasions before; the rapport between them was comfortable and relaxed. Over the coming days, they would, between them, keep an eye on the combined flock of Cynster children—the younger ones, at least. The oldest group, the seventeen-year-olds led by eighteen-year-old Sebastian Cynster, Marquess of Earith and future head of the house, could be relied on to take care of themselves, along with the large group of sixteen- and fifteen-year-old males. But there were six boys thirteen years and under, and seven girls ranging from eight to fourteen years old, and over them the tutors and governesses would need to exert control sufficient to ensure they remained suitably occupied.

There was no telling what the engaging devils would get up to if left unsupervised.

Being governess or tutor to Cynster children was never dull or boring.

Daniel had managed to keep his gaze from Claire for all of ten minutes. Despite the color and vibrancy, the noise and distraction—despite the many handsome and outright stunningly beautiful faces around about—hers was the shining star in his firmament; regardless of where they were, regardless of competing sights and sounds, she effortlessly drew his gaze and transfixed his attention.

She’d done so from the moment he’d first seen her at one of the family’s Summer Celebrations in Cambridgeshire several years ago. They’d subsequently met on and off at various family functions, at weddings in London, at major family birthdays, and at seasonal celebrations like the current one.

With each exposure, his attraction to Claire, his focus on her, had only grown more definite, more acute, until the obvious conclusion had stared him in the face, impossible to resist, much less deny.

Utterly impossible to ignore.

“If the weather holds,” Raven said, commanding Daniel’s attention with his gaze, “and the older crew go riding as they’re planning, then we’ll need to invent some suitable pastimes to keep our charges amused.”

Seated with his back to the table at which the Cynster children were gathered, Raven had turned and asked what the animated talk had been about. Riding out to assess the position and state of the deer herds had been the answer.

Daniel nodded. “If at all possible, let’s get those left to our care out of doors.”

“Indeed,” Melinda said, turning from Claire to join the conversation. “We need to take advantage of any clear days. If it is fine enough tomorrow, I was saying to Claire that the fourteen-year-olds—the girls—might like to gather greenery to decorate the hall.” Melinda gestured to the stone walls hosting various fireplaces and archways, all presently devoid of any seasonal touches. “It’s customary to decorate them on the twenty-fourth, which is tomorrow.”

“I’d heard,” Morris said, “that there’s some tradition about the Yule log that’s followed hereabouts.” He looked to Raven for confirmation.

Raven, his hair as dark as his name would suggest, nodded. “Yes, that’s an inspired idea. Not only is it necessary to collect the right-sized logs, but the logs have to be carved. That should keep the boys amused for hours. I’ll speak to the staff about organizing whatever’s needed.”

Daniel nodded again, and his gaze drifted once more to Claire; she’d been following the conversation, her calm expression indicating her agreement with the suggestions. With her glossy mid-brown hair burnished by the candlelight, with her delicate features and milky-white skin, her lips of pale rose, lush and full, and her large hazel eyes set under finely arched brown brows, she was, to his eyes, the epitome of womanhood.

That she was a widow—had been widowed at a young age—was neither here nor there, yet the experience had, it seemed, imbued her with a certain gravitas, leaving her more reserved, more cautious, and with a more sober and serious demeanor than might be expected of a well-bred lady of twenty-seven summers.

Her station—gentry-born but fallen on hard times—was similar to, or perhaps a touch higher than, Daniel’s; he didn’t really know. Nor did he truly care. They were both as they were here and now, and what happened next … that was up to them.

He’d come to Scotland, to the Vale, determined to put his luck to the test—to seize the opportunity to speak with Claire and plead his case, to learn if she shared his hopes and if she could come to share his dreams.

A gust of laughter and conversation drew his gaze to the high table.

The six Cynster couples were seated about the table on the raised dais along one side of the room, a traditional positioning most likely dating from medieval times. In addition to those twelve—middle-aged, perhaps, yet still vibrantly handsome, articulate, active, and engaged—there were three of the older generation at one end of the board. Helena, Dowager Duchess of St. Ives, mother of Devil and Richard and elder matriarch of the clan, was seated at the end of the table closest to the hearth, and had chosen to summon Algaria, Catriona’s aging mentor, and McArdle, the ancient butler of the manor, now retired, to join her there. The three were much of an age and, judging by their glances and gestures, were busy sharing pithy observations on all others in the hall. Having met the dowager and been the object of her scrutiny on several occasions, Daniel didn’t like to think of how much she, let alone black-eyed Algaria, was seeing.

A comment in a deep voice, followed by laughter, drew Daniel’s gaze back to the twelve Cynsters of the generation that currently ruled. Their children might have been growing apace, might already have been showing signs of the forceful, powerful individuals they had the potential to become, yet the twelve seated about the high table still dominated their world.

Daniel had observed them—those six couples in particular—for the past ten years. All the males had been born to wealth, but what they’d made of it—the lives each had successfully wrought—hadn’t been based solely on inherited advantage. Each of the six possessed a certain strength—a nuanced blend of power, ability, and insight—that Daniel appreciated, admired, and aspired to. It had taken him some time to realize from where that particular strength derived—namely, from the ladies. From their marriages. From the connection—the link that was so deep, so strong, so anchoring—that each of the six males shared with his wife.

Once he’d seen and understood, Daniel had wanted the same for himself.

His gaze shifted again to Claire. Once he’d met her, he’d known whom he wanted to share just such a link with.

Now he stood on the cusp of reaching for it—of chancing his hand and hoping he could persuade her to form such a connection with him.

Whatever gaining her assent required, he would do.

Now Fate in the form of Alasdair Cynster had cleared his path, it was time to screw his courage to the sticking point and act.

Hope, anticipation, and trepidation churned in his gut.

But he was there and so was she, and he was determined to move forward. He knew how he felt about her, and he thought she felt similarly toward him. His first step, plainly, was to determine whether he was correct in believing that—and whether with encouragement, “like” could grow into something more.

About Stephanie Laurens:

stephanie laurens#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens began writing romances as an escape from the dry world of professional science. Her hobby quickly became a career when her first novel was accepted for publication, and with entirely becoming alacrity, she gave up writing about facts in favor of writing fiction.

Laurens’s novels are set in the time period of the British Regency, and her settings range from Scotland to India. Laurens has published fifty works of historical romance, including 29 New York Times bestsellers. All her works are continuously available in print and digital formats in English worldwide, and have been translated into many other languages. An international bestseller, among other accolades Laurens has received the Romance Writers of America prestigious RITA Award for Best Romance Novella 2008, for The Fall of Rogue Gerrard.

Her continuing novels featuring the Cynster family are widely regarded as classics of the genre. Other series include the Bastion Club Novels and the Black Cobra Quartet. For information on upcoming releases and updates on novels yet to come, visit Stephanie’s website.

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The post Spotlight: By Winter’s Light by Stephanie Laurens appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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22. A Spooky Twitter Party at 2 p.m. ET

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Time to roll out the orange and black carpet because Atria is having a spooky Twitter party!

Share your favorite #SpineChillingReads today at 2pm ET to give your favorite thrilling, chilling, too-close-to-real-life scary tales a little Halloween love!

You can list many books, tell why one book is particularly spine-chilling, and share yours using the hashtag to join in.

AND if you’re in love with our Atria #SpineChillingReads, here are some e-cards to take a look at.

Hope to see you there!!

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23. Do You Want to Review My Books? Oct/Nov ARCs

Books taken: TRUE FIRECHASING POWERDIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH BEFORE YOU COMMIT, MAKE SURE YOU READ THIS POST! (nothing new added if you've read this before) Every month, I'll write a post of all the books that I didn't get a chance to read/review, and you can choose which you'd like to review ON THIS BLOG.  I will send you the book, and you have . . . let's say . . . a month, to read it

0 Comments on Do You Want to Review My Books? Oct/Nov ARCs as of 10/29/2014 2:11:00 PM
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24. Rex Wrecks It! by Ben Clanton

I almost didn't review Rex Wrecks It! by Ben Clanton. I reviewed Tyrannosaurus Wrecks by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, illustrated by Zachary Ohara in April of this year and the world play of "wrecks" and "rex" feels a little done. But . . . well . . . Clanton draws a mean monster, an adorable uni-rabbit and an endearing little robot. And then there are the building blocks. Clanton does amazing

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25. My Excess: Dave -A Cosmic Oddity


A4
Black & White
Paperback, 
106 Pages
Price: £12.99
The biography of Dave Gordon, often called the Uk's Manara. Detailing Dave's origins and relationships, this is an insight into one of UK comicdoms creators.

I got this book handed to me by the postman (mailman if you are American) at 1300 hrs and by 1500 hrs I had read it through.

This is David Gordon -the UKs very own Milo Manara- telling his story.  From his birth and adoption three days later through family life, school, university, work and later trying to contact his birth mother -the outcome of which is still currently open.

Dave takes us through his life and troubled relationships with himself (2014) narrating and flashback images and sequences of events.  The style he uses in this book, being honest here, I saw at a glance and thought "not sure about this".  However, I realised the clever way the art had been designed and drawn -photos, etc.- actually worked. Even the cartoony flashback-to-situation pages (see below).

What can I write about this?  Gritty -yes.  Factual and being brutally honest and to be equally honest here I do not think I'd have the guts to quite literally open up my chest and let some of these experiences out.  Being pushed away by his adopted family is bad enough but then having to go through his (adoption) father dying of cancer -bad enough.  But we then learn about the abusive relationships (physical and emotional).

There is still the matter of his birth mother and how that might end.  However, Dave is now happily in a relationship with Lesley (I've met her and she seems quite nice for a prison officer -not even a moustache!) and that gives us a sort of happy ending.  But, oh boy, what happened before.

Let me tell you something.  For years I was also an agent for comic creators.  You see good art, you know the writers or artists are reliable so, as an agent you put a spin on things to sell the work.  I've read and reviewed comics and graphic novels for publications and online now for over 30 years.  I see a couple hundred books of one sort or another a year -the crammed bookshelves and floors attest to that.

I cannot think of one book where a creator has taken us through his personal life and things have been so dark and gut-wrenching -even preparing for suicide- that I have said out loud "F***!" so many times. My sister even said "What are you swearing at?"

If this were an independent film it would be getting some award.  A publisher should be paying Gordon to allow them to publish this!  This is superbly written -and it must have taken a lot of thought to put this together without going over the top or exaggerating.  To make it a sequential story interspersed with illustrated text pieces....this is truly what Will Eisner described what graphic novels should be: telling a true and honest story that grabs the reader and pulls them in.

You people out there deciding who gets nominated for an Eagle Award should read this book.

This book should NOT be ignored. If you think "I'll buy just one Independent book...." then PLEASE make it this.

The book has surprised and shocked me - I have heard some snippets over the years but never the whole story.  In fact, you really need to read it yourself because nothing I write here can even adequately do it justice.









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