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<<May 2015>>
new posts in all blogs
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1. our lady of the bogus wifi

Here's a drawing based on a medieval painting at the Städel Museum in Frankfurt. Great museum! I wasn't so taken with their modern art, but the old stuff was grand.

(Here's our lady peeking at the original painting.)

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2. An Inspiring Weekly Digest You NEED to Know About!

This is your brain.

And this is Maria Popova who will gladly pick it each and every Sunday morning if you register to receive Brain Pickings, her weekly free website digest that I promise you offers unlimited inspiration to keep you keepin’ on – personally, professionally and any way you need to. 

Ms. Popoval, “a cartographer of meaning in a digital world,” continues to offer visitors to her website “an inventory of cross-disciplinary interestingness, spanning art, science, design, history, philosophy and more.” 
The Sunday digest offers the week’s most “unmissable” articles.

Here’s who and what came my way last Sunday, May 17:

Wendell Berry on How to Be a Poet and a Complete Human Being 

The Heart and the Bottle (by Oliver Jeffers): A Tender Illustrated Fable of What Happens When We Deny Our Difficult Emotions   

The Magic of Moss and What It Teaches Us About the Art of Attentiveness to Life at All Scales

I owe fellow writer and friend Ellen Reagan untold thanks for first connecting me to
what’s now my weekly dose of inspiration, insights and mind-whirling knowledge I never even knew I needed to have.

WOW’s!” and sighs and smiles and “I didn’t know that’s!” usually punctuate my first reading of the digest.
At the end of the day, I return to save/copy to my journal particularly relevant and/or meaningful quotes and lines  - about life, love, children, work, writing, disappointment, joy, wonder, marriage, you-name-it.
Throughout the week that follows I find myself forwarding at least one article or quote to someone I care about.

You can listen here to Maria Popova talk about how and why she created Brain Pickings.
You’ll be so happy she did.

And do subscribe to the weekly digest. 
You’ll be so happy you did.

Happy Brain Pickings!

Esther Hershenhorn

You can also savor Maria Popova's delicious and nourishing fare via Facebook and Twitter.
(www.facebook.com/brainpickings.mariapopova/Brain Pickings @brainpickings

0 Comments on An Inspiring Weekly Digest You NEED to Know About! as of 5/25/2015 9:47:00 AM
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3. Happy Memorial Day!

Today we honor our fallen heroes. Here's a coloring page to help you do it:

There's also one for soldiers in other countries - our friends and allies. Color the flag to fit your nation. Let's remember those who fought for our freedom today.

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4. #BookADay: FOX AND SQUIRREL MAKE A FRIEND by Ruth Ohi (my sister!!), published by Scholastic Canada

#BookADay: FOX AND SQUIRREL MAKE A FRIEND by my awesome sis, Ruth Ohi (published by Scholastic Canada). This was a "Best Books" selection by the The Canadian Children's Book Centre and a "First and Best" Toronto Public Library Selection!

"Is there room for someone else in Fox and Squirrel's friendship? Fox and Squirrel are the best of friends. But when Yellow Bird comes along, he and Squirrel frolic high up in the treetops where Fox can't reach. Fox feels like Squirrel doesn't need him anymore. Can Squirrel help Fox see that there's room in their friendship for another?

The simple text and joyful art together deliver a heartwarming tale with a subtle but profound message about the strengths of friendship, loyalty, and acceptance."

More about my sister and her school visits: http://RuthOhi.com

More about the book: http://www.scholastic.ca/…/v…/fox-and-squirrel-make-a-friend

More info: Donalyn Miller's Summer Book-A-Day Challenge | Archives of my #BookADay posts

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5. FIVE Books to Giveaway plus New YALit Releases 5/25 - 5/31 with Author Interviews

Since today is Memorial Day, we want to say how much we appreciate the brave women and men who are past or present members of the armed forces and honor the ones who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Thank you for your service.

We also want to share eighteen new books releasing this week, with eight author interviews, and five giveaways of four of the titles. Let us know in the comments which ones you're itching to read.

Happy reading,

Jocelyn, Martina, Jan, Shelly, Susan, Lisa, and Erin


* * * *

Kissing in America
by Margo Rabb
Signed ARC Giveaway (2 Copies)
U.S. Only

Released 5/26/2015

I loved romances because when you opened the first page, you knew the story would end well. Your heart wouldn't be broken. I loved that security, that guaranteed love.

In real life, you never knew the ending. I hated that.

Sixteen-year-old Eva has never been in love. But when she meets Will, everything changes. With him, her grief over her father's death fades, and she can escape from her difficult relationship with her mother. Then, without any warning, Will picks up and moves to California. So Eva—with the help of her best friend, Annie—concocts a plan to travel across the country to see him again. As they leave New York City for the first time and road-trip across America, they encounter cowboys, kudzu, and tiny towns without stoplights. Along the way, Eva and Annie learn the truth about love and all its complexities.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Kissing in America?

I loved writing about Eva as a poet, her connection to writing and her struggle to write again, and including poems in the novel. KISSING IN AMERICA includes many classic and contemporary poems, by W. H. Auden, Emily Dickinson, Adrienne Rich, Nikki Giovanni, Marie Howe, and others, and I loved including those in the book (although getting permission was quite a lot of work!)

Purchase Kissing in America at Amazon
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View Kissing in America on Goodreads

* * * *

by M. G. Reyes
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Katherine Tegen Books
Released 5/26/2015

The good girl, the bad boy, the diva, the hustler, the rock star, and the nerd. Six teens legally liberated from parental control for six different reasons, all with one thing in common: something to hide.

Now they’re sharing a house in Venice Beach, acting like a family, and living their lies. No parents. No limits. No alibis. One witnessed a crime, another might be a murderer—and one’s been spying on them all.

As they cling to a fantasy of freedom and slowly let down their guards, the past creeps up on them. And when one of them gets arrested, everyone’s carefully constructed facade comes crumbling down.

In this steamy, drama-filled series, relationships are tested and secrets revealed as lies threaten to destroy their perfect setup.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Emancipated?

My favourite thing is probably the chance to try something really different from my previous books - a contemporary 'realistic' setting for character drama. Before EMANCIPATED I'd mainly written action-adventure for a younger readership - both THE JOSHUA FILES and GEMINI FORCE ONE (written under MG Harris) are for 10-14. The older reading age of EMANCIPATED allows me to explore issues of morality and life choices in a much more realistic backdrop.

OK - the set-up of six rather gorgeous and talented teenagers living independently in a groovy beach shack has elements of fantasy, but there are no secret societies, or futuristic technology, or time-travelling villains to drive the plot. Instead, everything that happens - and as the trilogy progresses these things will be pretty, pretty bad - is the result of choices that the characters make, often under difficult circumstances.

I was a huge fan of Breaking Bad, and EMANCIPATED allows me to play in a similar arena of tricky moral choices, the slippery slope to crimes and misdemeanors. And that was fun for me, very different, a wonderful challenge.

Purchase Emancipated at Amazon
Purchase Emancipated at IndieBound
View Emancipated on Goodreads

* * * *

Extraordinary Means
by Robyn Schneider
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Katherine Tegen Books
Released 5/26/2015

From the author of The Beginning of Everything: two teens with a deadly disease fall in love on the brink of a cure.

At seventeen, overachieving Lane finds himself at Latham House, a sanatorium for teens suffering from an incurable strain of tuberculosis. Part hospital and part boarding school, Latham is a place of endless rules and confusing rituals, where it's easier to fail breakfast than it is to flunk French.

There, Lane encounters a girl he knew years ago. Instead of the shy loner he remembers, Sadie has transformed. At Latham, she is sarcastic, fearless, and utterly compelling. Her friends, a group of eccentric troublemakers, fascinate Lane, who has never stepped out of bounds his whole life. And as he gradually becomes one of them, Sadie shows him their secrets: how to steal internet, how to sneak into town, and how to disable the med sensors they must wear at all times.

But there are consequences to having secrets, particularly at Latham House. And as Lane and Sadie begin to fall in love and their group begins to fall sicker, their insular world threatens to come crashing down. Told in alternating points of view, Extraordinary Means is a darkly funny story about doomed friendships, first love, and the rare miracle of second chances.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Extraordinary Means?

Extraordinary Means is a dual narrative, and my favorite thing about the book is something that readers might not even notice: the two narrators don’t tell exactly the same story. Lane tells a coming of age story, which begins the moment he arrives at Latham House and ends when he leaves. His narrative is removed and introspective. And Sadie tells a love story. Her narrative begins the day she first sees Lane, more than a year after she’s arrived at Latham House, and it ends after the question of whether or not they want to be together has been answered. So her narrative is more in the moment, and closer to the story. I think writing it that way helped me to understand which parts of the story belonged to which characters.

Purchase Extraordinary Means at Amazon
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View Extraordinary Means on Goodreads

* * * *

The Porcupine of Truth
by Bill Konigsberg
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Arthur A. Levine Books
Released 5/26/2015

The author of OPENLY STRAIGHT returns with an epic road trip involving family history, gay history, the girlfriend our hero can't have, the grandfather he never knew, and the Porcupine of Truth.

Carson Smith is resigned to spending his summer in Billings, Montana, helping his mom take care of his father, a dying alcoholic he doesn't really know. Then he meets Aisha Stinson, a beautiful girl who has run away from her difficult family, and Pastor John Logan, who's long held a secret regarding Carson's grandfather, who disappeared without warning or explanation thirty years before. Together, Carson and Aisha embark on an epic road trip to find the answers that might save Carson's dad, restore his fragmented family, and discover the "Porcupine of Truth" in all of their lives.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Porcupine of Truth?

My favorite thing is probably the relationship between Carson and Aisha (Cars-Isha for short). There's a lot of humor, there's some fighting, and in the end there is a tenderness to their friendship that I really love. It's a strong bond they forge, and both characters have had trouble forming close friendships so it's a beautiful thing.

Purchase The Porcupine of Truth at Amazon
Purchase The Porcupine of Truth at IndieBound
View The Porcupine of Truth on Goodreads


* * * *

A Sense of the Infinite
by Hilary T. Smith
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 5/19/2015

Winner - Heather C.

By the author of the critically acclaimed Wild Awake, a beautiful coming-of-age story about deep friendship, the weight of secrets, and the healing power of nature.

It's senior year of high school, and Annabeth is ready—ready for everything she and her best friend, Noe, have been planning and dreaming. But there are some things Annabeth isn't prepared for, like the constant presence of Noe's new boyfriend. Like how her relationship with her mom is wearing and fraying. And like the way the secret she's been keeping hidden deep inside her for years has started clawing at her insides, making it hard to eat or even breathe.

But most especially, she isn't prepared to lose Noe.

For years, Noe has anchored Annabeth and set their joint path. Now Noe is drifting in another direction, making new plans and dreams that don't involve Annabeth. Without Noe's constant companionship, Annabeth's world begins to crumble. But as a chain of events pulls Annabeth further and further away from Noe, she finds herself closer and closer to discovering who she's really meant to be—with her best friend or without.

Hilary T. Smith's second novel is a gorgeously written meditation on identity, loss, and the bonds of friendship.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about A Sense of the Infinite?

If you read the book’s plot description, it sounds pretty dark. There’s depression, teen pregnancy, friendships dissolving. But it’s actually a very bright, funny, and hopeful book. There’s a real sense in which Annabeth’s life gets better in spite (and possibly because) of the fact that hard things are happening. And I have the feeling that if she looked back on that year in her life as an adult, she would feel a lot of love and pride.

The darkest times in my life have always had the brightest moments nestled within them—those moments of beauty or poetry or humor that are made more radiant in the context of pain. And that’s my favorite thing about A SENSE OF THE INFINITE: it could have been a relentlessly grim and depressing book, but it has that brightness instead.

Purchase A Sense of the Infinite at Amazon
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View A Sense of the Infinite on Goodreads

* * * *

Chantress Fury
by Amy Butler Greenfield
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Released 5/19/2015

Winner - Kira B.

The sea is coming. We are coming. And we will drown you all.

With a song, Lucy can control the wind and the water; she can bring castles and kingdoms to their feet. Since Lucy mastered her powers, King Henry has kept her close as he’s rebuilt England. She’s his best ally—and his workhorse. And now he’s called her to investigate attempted murder: His men claim they were almost killed on the Thames…by a mermaid. All Lucy can glean from the creature they’ve captured is a warning: The sea is coming. We are coming. And we will drown you all.

And then the floods begin. Swaths of London are submerged as the people scramble to defend themselves against the water—and the monsters—that are flooding their streets. As mistrust of Lucy's magic grows, the king relies on Nat, Lucy's great love, to guide them through the storm. But Nat is cold and distant to Lucy. He swore his love only a year before, and now he calls her “stranger.”

Lucy is determined to defeat this powerful new magic alone if she must. But then she hears an eerie song within the water…can it mean that she’s not the last Chantress after all?

Sweepingly romantic and crackling with magic, Chantress Fury triumphantly concludes the powerful Chantress trilogy.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Chantress Fury?

After I sold the CHANTRESS trilogy, so many writers warned me about the horrors of drafting Book 3. They were right in some ways: The deadlines for CHANTRESS FURY were tough, and so was the pressure to pull everything together once and for all. Yet I truly loved writing about a Chantress at the height of her powers, facing head-on all the challenges that come with being a powerful woman in her world. It was glorious to let out all the stops on the magic – to write about uncanny floods and devious mermaids and ferocious sea serpents attacking London (and that’s just for starters)! It was a wild ride that brings Lucy full circle, giving her a deeper sense of who she is, and where she ultimately belongs.

Purchase Chantress Fury at Amazon
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View Chantress Fury on Goodreads

* * * *

Killer Within
by S.E. Green
Simon Pulse
Released 5/19/2015

Winner - Molly M.

In the heart-pounding sequel to the “zippy, gripping psychological drama” (Kirkus Reviews) Killer Instinct, teen vigilante Lane must face the secrets and unexpected consequences that arise in the wake of her first kill.

It’s been three months since Lane made her first kill—the sadistic Decapitator—and now she feels both closer and more alienated than ever from her united, grieving family. Haunted by conflicting memories of her mother, Lane resumes her role as the vigilante Masked Savior out of a feeling of obligation—but her heart just isn’t in it anymore. Now that Lane has felt the rush of deeper, darker thrills, a growing part of her wants to revisit its seductive power, and she’s not sure how long she can resist.

Meanwhile, the Masked Savior has inspired its own fan site, where groupies gather online to praise, document, and debate each delivered act of justice. But one of Lane’s secret admirers is becoming a cunning copycat, exacting “justice” on defenseless innocents, increasing the violence with each attack.

Someone is watching Lane, edging closer to making contact. Someone who knows her darkest secrets. Will Lane be able to stop the copycat and keep her identity protected? Or will she give in to the thrills that tempt her?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Killer Within?

My favorite thing about KILLER WITHIN is my main character, Lane. She's just so badass!

Purchase Killer Within at Amazon
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View Killer Within on Goodreads

* * * *

Lion Heart
by A.C. Gaughen
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Released 5/19/2015

Winners - Carissa K. and Allison M.

The eagerly-awaited conclusion to the Scarlet trilogy delivers another action-packed and romance-filled adventure.

Scarlet has captured the hearts of readers as well as the heart of Robin Hood, and after ceaseless obstacles and countless threats, readers will finally find out the fate of the Lady Thief.

Only the greatest loves can survive great danger. . .

Imprisoned by Prince John for months, Scarlet finds herself a long way from Nottinghamshire. After a daring escape, she learns that King Richard's life is in jeopardy, and Eleanor of Aquitaine needs Scarlet's help to free him. For a lifelong thief, this newfound allegiance to the crown-her family-is a strange feeling.

Scarlet knows that helping Eleanor will put her and those she loves back in Prince John's sights. Desperate not to risk anyone's life but her own, Scarlet formulates a plan to help save the king on her own. But fate-and her heart-won't allow her to stay away from Nottinghamshire for long. Even if Scarlet and Rob can together stop Prince John from going through with his dark plans for England, will their love be enough to save them once and for all?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Lion Heart?

Well, I think my very favorite thing is *CHOCK FULL O SPOILERS*, but my second favorite thing was developing the relationship between Scarlet and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Eleanor has been one of my favorite characters of all time--she's complicated and strong; she wielded incredible power and yet also had to invest her power in both her sons and her two husbands. She was a woman of powerful paradoxes!

There's this moment in LION HEART when Eleanor is attacked, and Scarlet has to fight like hell to save Eleanor and the ladies in her service. When it's over, the ladies take refuge at an abbey to clean up and regroup. They're all dirty and need to bathe, and Scarlet is bleeding--not drastically, but enough to get the water really gross, and in those days, you shared bathwater. She waits until the others bathe, and when she gets in the bath, Eleanor washes her hair, and the other women help clean her. Scarlet starts crying--this moment of intense vulnerability--and she just lets the other women help her.

This was a huge moment for Scarlet, to let someone else help her, but it was also this really emotional moment for me to write--it felt like me honoring all the women in my life who are there to pick me up when I'm broken, to wash my hair and heal me. Considering this book, this series, this whole dream of being a writer is something I wouldn't have accomplished without a tremendous amount of love in my corner, that tiny little thank you means a lot to me.

Purchase Lion Heart at Amazon
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View Lion Heart on Goodreads

* * * *

Maximum Ride Forever
by James Patterson
Little, Brown and Company
Released 5/18/2015

Winner - Alicia E.

THE NINTH AND ULTIMATE MAXIMUM RIDE STORY IS HERE! Legions of Max fans won't be disappointed by this encore episode in the beloved series about the incredible adventures of a teenage girl who can fly. As Maximum Ride boldly navigates a post-apocalyptic world, she and her broken flock are roaming the earth, searching for answers to what happened. All will be revealed in this last spectacular "ride"- a brand-new grand finale featuring all of the nonstop action, twists and turns that readers can rely on in a blockbuster Patterson page turner!

Purchase Maximum Ride Forever at Amazon
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View Maximum Ride Forever on Goodreads

* * * *

Sparks in Scotland
by A. Destiny and Rhonda Helms
Simon Pulse
Released 5/19/2015

Winner - Alisha S.

First crush, first love, first kiss—Ava learns about more than her heritage while vacationing in Scotland in this addition to the sweet and clean Flirt series!

Ava is going on vacation to Scotland, where she’s supposed to learn more about her Scottish heritage. She’s excited to see the castles, abbeys, and coastal hills—and maybe even catch a glimpse of Nessie herself—but Ava doesn’t expect to meet Graham.

He’s cute, sweet, and has the perfect Scottish accent…but does he like her as much as she likes him?

And if there is something of a mutual attraction there, Ava wonders, is it worth pursuing a crush when she’ll be on the other side of the Atlantic in just two weeks?

Purchase Sparks in Scotland at Amazon
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View Sparks in Scotland on Goodreads


* * * *

by Michelle Krys
Delacorte Press
Released 5/26/2015

Indie has spent the last few weeks frantically searching for Paige. She's tried every spell imaginable, but witchcraft has gotten her nowhere, and she's going crazy with guilt. Despite what her warlock boyfriend, Bishop, tells her, Indie knows it's her fault her best friend was kidnapped by the Priory. And with the Priory destroyed, finding Paige feels more hopeless than ever-especially when Indie discovers that Paige isn't even on Earth. She's trapped in Los Demonios, an alternate dimension of Los Angeles filled with evil paranormals. No one who has gone there has ever come out.

Fueled by terror and loyalty, Indie is desperate to find a way into the underworld prison. She'll worry about getting out later. But facing the dark world's most dangerous witches and warlocks on her own means keeping her plan hush-hush-and forging alliances with some sketchy people, including a seriously sexy sorcerer.

Sometimes a witch must keep secrets from the people she cares about most. And sometimes she isn't the only one with secrets…

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Charmed?

*Hexed Spoilers ahead*

I love so many things about CHARMED—the alternate dimension prison city, the magic, the shocking twists and turns—but what I love most is Indie’s character development. In HEXED, Indie discovers she’s a witch at the same moment as she’s thrust into this centuries-old war between witches and sorcerers, which leaves her a little bit dependent on Bishop, a seasoned warlock, for answers and protection. But in CHARMED, Indie fully embraces her powers and stands on her own as a witch. I love her transformation!

Purchase Charmed at Amazon
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* * * *

I Am Princess X
by Cherie Priest
Arthur A. Levine Books
Released 5/26/2015

Best friends, big fans, a mysterious webcomic, and a long-lost girl collide in this riveting novel, perfect for fans of both Cory Doctorow and Sarah Dessen, and illustrated throughout with comics.

Once upon a time, two best friends created a princess together. Libby drew the pictures, May wrote the tales, and their heroine, Princess X, slayed all the dragons and scaled all the mountains their imaginations could conjure.

Once upon a few years later, Libby was in the car with her mom, driving across the Ballard Bridge on a rainy night. When the car went over the side, Libby passed away, and Princess X died with her.

Once upon a now: May is sixteen and lonely, wandering the streets of Seattle, when she sees a sticker slapped in a corner window.

Princess X?

When May looks around, she sees the Princess everywhere: Stickers. Patches. Graffiti. There's an entire underground culture, focused around a webcomic at IAmPrincessX.com. The more May explores the webcomic, the more she sees disturbing similarities between Libby's story and Princess X online. And that means that only one person could have started this phenomenon - her best friend, Libby, who lives.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about I Am Princess X?

I really love the way the fantasy-themed web comic threads through the contemporary mystery - I think they're a perfect complement to one another, and the artist did an amazing job of capturing the vibe I was hoping for.

Purchase I Am Princess X at Amazon
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View I Am Princess X on Goodreads

* * * *

by Katelyn Detweiler
Viking Books for Young Readers
Released 5/26/2015

Mina is seventeen. A virgin. And pregnant.

Mina is top of her class, girlfriend to the most ambitious guy in school, able to reason and study her way through anything. But when she suddenly finds herself pregnant—despite having never had sex—her orderly world collapses. Almost nobody believes Mina’s claims of virginity. Her father assumes that her boyfriend is responsible; her boyfriend believes she must have cheated on him. As news of Mina’s story spreads, there are those who brand her a liar. There are those who brand her a heretic. And there are those who believe that miracles are possible—and that Mina’s unborn child could be the greatest miracle of all.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Immaculate?

The strong females. Especially the main character, 17-year-old Mina, as she has to face down this massive transformation of her goals, dreams, values, beliefs in the aftermath of finding out about her totally unexpected pregnancy. The entire map of her future is, virtually overnight, shifting into something completely unrecognizable. And there are the female friendships that define her as well, the powerful bonds that shape her story: her mom, her little sister Gracie, her two closest friends, Hannah and Izzy. Mina has this fierce net of women around her at all times, to catch her when she needs it most, but at the end of the day, she has to be her own strongest supporter.

My dad always raised me with the idea that it’s not what happens to us in life that matters, but how we deal with what happens. This book is all about “dealing” with a quite unexpected happening, and how someone—how Mina—becomes better and braver because of that ultimate test of character. And it’s also about how the rest of her relationships evolve, too, the struggles that test these bonds to their limits and ultimately make them stronger than they’ve ever been.

Purchase Immaculate at Amazon
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View Immaculate on Goodreads

* * * *

The Cage
by Megan Shepherd
Balzer + Bray
Released 5/26/2015

The Maze Runner meets Scott Westerfeld in this gripping new series about teens held captive in a human zoo by an otherworldly race. From Megan Shepherd, the acclaimed author of The Madman's Daughter trilogy.

When Cora Mason wakes in a desert, she doesn't know where she is or who put her there. As she explores, she finds an impossible mix of environments—tundra next to desert, farm next to jungle, and a strangely empty town cobbled together from different cultures—all watched over by eerie black windows. And she isn't alone.

Four other teenagers have also been taken: a beautiful model, a tattooed smuggler, a secretive genius, and an army brat who seems to know too much about Cora's past. None of them have a clue as to what happened, and all of them have secrets. As the unlikely group struggles for leadership, they slowly start to trust each other. But when their mysterious jailer—a handsome young guard called Cassian—appears, they realize that their captivity is more terrifying than they could ever imagine: Their captors aren't from Earth. And they have taken the five teenagers for an otherworldly zoo—where the exhibits are humans.

As a forbidden attraction develops between Cora and Cassian, she realizes that her best chance of escape might be in the arms of her own jailer—though that would mean leaving the others behind. Can Cora manage to save herself and her companions? And if so . . . what world lies beyond the walls of their cage?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Cage?

I love how THE CAGE has an unabashedly old-school sci-fi feel. The book is about six teenagers put in a "human zoo" by an all-powerful, psychic race, and though it's often terrifying for them, it's also sort of fun. Their alien captors don't quite understand humanity, so they make quirky little mistakes while trying to recreate our world. Some of the captives also find that they sort of enjoy the easy life and luxury of captivity. It has a TWILIGHT ZONE or PLANET OF THE APES feel, which were some of my favorite types of sci-fi stories growing up.

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View The Cage on Goodreads


* * * *

A Conspiracy of Princes
by Justin Somper
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Released 5/26/2015

The newly crowned Prince Jared, ruler of All Archenfield, has inherited a kingdom in crisis. The murder of his older brother has revealed a traitorous plot in his court, calling into question who, if anyone, Jared can trust as he ascends the throne. Now the realm is on the brink of invasion from the brutal princes of Paddenburg and Jared must travel to neighboring kingdoms in search of allies to defend his throne. Little does he know that an even more dangerous plot is hatching in the Archenfield court--one that threatens to remove Jared from power. One put in motion by the very people he left in charge.

The second book in Justin Somper's Allies & Assassins series delivers another twisted tale of high-stakes betrayal and political machinations set amid a lush medieval background.

Purchase A Conspiracy of Princes at Amazon
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* * * *

Daughter of Deep Silence
by Carrie Ryan
Dutton Books for Young Readers
Released 5/26/2015

I’m the daughter of murdered parents.
I’m the friend of a dead girl.
I’m the lover of my enemy.
And I will have my revenge.

In the wake of the devastating destruction of the luxury yacht Persephone, just three souls remain to tell its story—and two of them are lying. Only Frances Mace knows the terrifying truth, and she’ll stop at nothing to avenge the murders of everyone she held dear. Even if it means taking down the boy she loves and possibly losing herself in the process.

Sharp and incisive, Daughter of Deep Silence by bestselling author Carrie Ryan is a deliciously smart revenge thriller that examines perceptions of identity, love, and the lengths to which one girl is willing to go when she thinks she has nothing to lose.

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* * * *

by E. R. Frank
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Released 5/26/2015

The realities of teen prostitution are revealed in this eye-opening, heartbreaking story from the author of America, which Booklist called "a piercing, unforgettable novel" and Kirkus Reviews deemed "a work of sublime humanity."

As a teen girl in Newark, New Jersey, lost in the foster care system, Dime just wants someone to care about her, to love her. A family. And that is exactly what she gets-a daddy and two "wifeys." So what if she has to go out and earn some coins to keep her place? It seems a fair enough exchange for love.

Dime never meant to become a prostitute. It happened so gradually, she pretty much didn't realize it was happening until it was too late.

But when a new "wifey" joins the family and Dime finds out that Daddy doesn't love her the way she thought he did, will Dime have the strength to leave? And will Daddy let her?

Purchase Dime at Amazon
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* * * *

P.S. I Still Love You
by Jenny Han
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Released 5/26/2015

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.

She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.

When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of makes it so amazing.

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* * * *

Shadow of the Wolf
by Tim Hall
David Fickling Books
Released 5/26/2015

A stunning re-imagining of Robin Hood, the first in an exciting new trilogy.

Forget everything you've ever heard about Robin Hood.

Robin Loxley is seven years old when his parents disappear without a trace. Years later the great love of his life, Marian, is also taken from him. Driven by these mysteries, and this anguish, Robin follows a darkening path into the ancient heart of Sherwood Forest. What he encounters there will leave him transformed . . .

The first book of a trilogy, Shadow of the Wolf is a breathtakingly original--and utterly compelling--retelling that will forever alter the legend of Robin Hood.

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* * * *

The Death Code
by Lindsay Cummings
Greenwillow Books
Released 5/26/2015

Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is the dark and compelling sequel to the bestselling The Murder Complex, which Booklist praised as "carefully crafted . . . chilling" and Justine magazine called "a must for fans of action-packed dystopians like The Hunger Games and Divergent."

With short, fast-paced, alternating point-of-view chapters, The Death Code starts several weeks after The Murder Complex ends. Zephyr keeps the secret about Meadow close—that if she dies, The Murder Complex will be destroyed, too. Meadow, desperate to find her brother, father, and little sister, is determined to fight fearlessly to the end, even if it means sacrificing herself and her friends, new and old. The Death Code introduces a memorable cast of secondary characters and delivers a vivid and scary thrill ride read. For fans of La Femme Nikita, Legend, and Hanna.

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* * * *

The Edge of the Shadows
by Elizabeth George
Viking Books for Young Readers
Released 5/26/2015

The much anticipated third installment of the Whidbey Island saga.

Whidbey Island, a place of secrets and mystery, is home now for Becca King, still in hiding from her criminal stepfather. But Becca and her friends have new worries, as a series of fires are being set, the latest causing a fatality. Is one of the newcomers to blame? Perhaps it’s Isis Martin’s brother, just back from a school for troubled kids, or Parker, a musician fired by his bandmates. Meanwhile, Becca herself continues to slowly explore her own paranormal abilities under the tutelage of Diana Kinsale.

Elizabeth George, nominated for an Edgar and an Agatha award for The Edge of Nowhere, her first book set on Whidbey Island, proves once again that she is a suspense novelist without peer.

Purchase The Edge of the Shadows at Amazon
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* * * *

The Eternal City
by Paula Morris
Released 5/26/2015

From master of suspense Paula Morris comes a tale of gods and goddesses, thrilling romance, and mystery set in present-day Rome.

Laura Martin is visiting Rome on a class trip, and she's entranced by the majestic Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon. . . . Everything in this city seems magical.

That is, until the magic seems to turn very dark.

Suddenly, statues of Cupid and ancient works of art come to life before her eyes. Earthquakes rumble and a cloud of ash forms in the sky. A dark-eyed boy with wings on his heels appears and gives her a message. Laura soon realizes she is at the center of a brewing battle -- a battle between the gods and goddesses, one that will shake modern-day Rome to its core.

Only she and her group of friends can truly unravel the mystery behind what is happening. As tensions mount and secret identities are revealed, Laura must rely on her own inner strength to face up to what may be a fight for her life.

Acclaimed author Paula Morris brings the ancient world to vivid life in this unstoppable tale of friendship, love, and the power of the past.

Purchase The Eternal City at Amazon
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* * * *

The Tenderness of Thieves
by Donna Freitas
Philomel Books
Released 5/26/2015

A summer romance filled with danger and lies

Jane is ready for a fantastic summer. In fact, she’s pretty sure the universe owes her one.

This past winter, Jane was held at knifepoint during an armed robbery and the specter of that night still haunts her. A summer romance with one of the town bad boys -- sexy Handel Davies, who takes her breath away and makes her feel like a bolder version of herself -- seems like the universe’s way of paying her back.

But bad boys always have secrets, and Handel’s secret just might shatter Jane completely.

This suspense novel marries psychological thriller with summer romance and is perfect for teen fans of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl.

Purchase The Tenderness of Thieves at Amazon
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* * * *

Tiny Pretty Things
by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton
Released 5/26/2015

Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars in this soapy, drama-packed novel featuring diverse characters who will do anything to be the prima at their elite ballet school.

Gigi, Bette, and June, three top students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet school, have seen their fair share of drama. Free-spirited new girl Gigi just wants to dance—but the very act might kill her. Privileged New Yorker Bette's desire to escape the shadow of her ballet star sister brings out a dangerous edge in her. And perfectionist June needs to land a lead role this year or her controlling mother will put an end to her dancing dreams forever. When every dancer is both friend and foe, the girls will sacrifice, manipulate, and backstab to be the best of the best.

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6. An Inclusive Summer Reading 2015 List for Kids and Young Adults

Early in 2015, Edith Campbell invited a handful of colleagues who share a passion for children, literacy, and diversity to work with her on a Summer Reading list. She invited us to suggest titles we had read and wanted to recommend. As conversations took place, the focus of the list became clear.

Books we recommend are ones written or illustrated by Native Americans or writers/illustrators of color. We want readers to become familiar with the names on the list and their creative work. As you'll see, not all the books are stories about Native Americans or People of Color, and some are ones in which characters are LGBTQIA or disabled.

Photo by Edith Campbell
As you look over the list, you'll see it is divided into three categories: picture books, middle grade, and young adult. Though we didn't compile the titles using a checklist, we ended up with a list that includes contemporary and historical fiction. There's speculative fiction and nonfiction as well. Some are new, and some are older. The list includes a graphic novel, too. Some titles are from major publishers, some are from small publishers, and some are self-published. And, some are available as audiobooks or e-books.

The Native writers and illustrators we included on the list are Wesley Ballinger, Eric Gansworth, Cheryl Minnema, Cynthia Leitich Smith, and Tim Tingle.

We are Edith Campbell, Sarah Park Dahlen, Sujei Lugo, Lyn Miller-Lachmann, Debbie Reese, and Ebony Elizabeth Thomas. We aren't an organization. We are six people who read and talk about books with each other and on social media.

We are sharing the list as widely as possible across media platforms to reach as many people as possible. We hope you'll order these books if you don't already have them, and, we hope you'll feature them in your summer programming and year-round, too.

On Facebook:

At Edith Campbell's blog, Crazy QuiltEdi

At Nathalie Mvondo's blog: Multiculturalism Rocks

At Lyn-Miller Lachmann's blog: 

At Debbie Reese's Tumblr:

On Nathalie Mvondo's account at Pinterest, we divided the books into three lists:

You can download a pdf and take it with you to the store or library:
The annotated list is 16 pages long.
The list of titles (without annotations) is 6 pages long.

In whatever way you prefer, we hope you read and share the list with family, friends, and at your local library, too! Meanwhile, we'll be reading and thinking about our 2016 list. 

Last road trip I took, I listened to the audiobook of Gansworth's If I Ever Get Out of Here. Hearing Gansworth read it, different parts of the story jumped out at me. I was surprised to find myself tearing up at some parts. As I head out later this week on a road trip, I'll finish listening to X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon. It will probably end up on the 2016 list we put together. 

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7. That kid

वो बच्चा …

कुछ दिन पहले दोपहर मे दरवाजे पर घंटी बजी. इतनी गर्मी में कौन आया होगा सोच कर मैं दरवाजा  खोलने गई तो देख दस बारह साल का एक बच्चा थैला लिए खडा था बोला आंटी जी धूप,  अगरबत्ती  लाया हूं ले लीजिए … मुझे शक हुआ कि भरी धूप में किसलिए … कही उसके साथ  कोई गिरोह न हो …मैने बहुत मना किया कि नही लेनी पर फिर भी छोटा बच्चा जान कर 20 रुपए की अगरबती ले ली. दो दिन पहले फिर घर की बैल बजी. बाहर गई तो वही बच्चा था. उसने फिर खरीदने के लिए जोर दिया उसने बताया कि उसके पिता शराब पीते हैं और मां घरों मे काम करती है और कमाई का कोई जरिया नही … मना करते करते भी  मैने इस बार 30 रुपए की धूप और अगर बती खरीद ली. पर मन में बार बार एक ही बात आ रही थी कि ऐसे लोगों की बात में कोई सच्चाई नही होती ..

आज किसी काम से  भरी दोपहर में मार्किट जाना पडा, ट्रैफिक की वजह से कार रेंग रेंग कर चल रही थी अचानक मेरा ध्यान एक दुकान पर गया. वही बच्चा वही थैला अगरबती बेच रहा था. आवाज तो सुनाई नही दे रही थी पर उसके हाव भाव से लग रहा था कि वो मिन्नत कर रहा है कि दुकान दार खरीद ले और कुछ ही देर में वो पसीना पोछता  चुपचाप सिर झुका बाहर आ गया. सामने का रास्ता साफ हो गया था इसलिए मेरी कार भी आगे बढ गई. रास्ता साफ था पर मेरे मन मे बहुत उथल पुथल चल रही थी.

बेचारा सच्चा था पर मैने विश्वास नही किया शायद इसलिए कि समाज मे बुराई इतनी बढ  गई है और हम उसमे इतने उलझ गए है कि सच्चाई और अच्छाई हमें दिखाई नही नही देती.. दिखाई देती भी है तो हमारा दिल उसे नही मानता

पर अब मुझे उसी बच्चे का इंतजार है वो आएगा तो मैं उससे खूब सारी धूप और अगरबती खरीदूगी …

The post That kid appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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8. ‘Waves ’98′ Beats Out Live-Action Shorts For Cannes Palme d’Or

An animated project wins the top short film prize at Cannes.

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9. On Writing

red branches

You have to give yourself permission to [write badly] because you can’t expect to write regularly and always write well.
— Jennifer Egan

The post On Writing appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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10. The Glorious 25th Of May! Terry Pratchett's Night Watch

Truth! Justice! Freedom! And a hard boiled egg! (And no, I'm not going to say, "Make that two hard boiled eggs" - different universe)

Just now, I finished rereading Terry Pratchett's Night Watch. It's one of the later City Watch novels. It's one if my favourites. And it occurred to me that this is "the glorious 25th of May" as mentioned in the book,so what better day to post about it? 

In this one, Sam Vimes, Commander of the Cory Watch, is without the backup of his loyal crew, Carrot, Angua, Cheery Littlebottom, Detritus and so on, because he has been thrown into his own past. He does, mind you, have Fred Colon. Nobby Nobbs is there, but he's a child, who's carved himself a police badge from soap. Still, he's useful. The future zombie Reg Shoe is alive. There's a rebellion growing in the city against the current Patrician(Vetinari, the future Patrician, is still a student at the Assassin's Guild, though he plays a very important role in the story, as does his aunt, presumably the one mentioned in Guards!Guards!). The History Monks are around - and I had just been rereading  Thief Of Time, in which you first met Lu Tze, the old monk who exhorts you to remember Rule 1(beware of skinny old men) and follows the Way of Mrs Cosmopolite. Vimes is thrown into the past while chasing a genuinely evil murderer, and realises that if he doesn't mentor his young self and take part in things happening in thus history, he may never make it back at all to his wife, his about-to-be-born child and his friends - and the murderer is right at home in the scary old times of Ankh-Morpork.

As I said, one of my favourites and there's a delightful adaptation of Rembrandt's painting on the cover.

But I love pretty much anything of Terry Pratchett's and I love this universe because, unlike many other fantasy writers, he doesn't waste time on long lost princes and elves going on a quest. Well, there  is a long-lost king, but he's a cop first and foremost and uninterested in taking the throne, even if he admitted he knew what he was, which he doesn't. And there are elves, in the Witches novels, but they aren't Galadriel or Legolas, they're lunatics who would rather kill you than look at you. And as someone who reads her folklore I can tell you he has it a lot more right than those authors who fill their books with twinkling glamorous fairies. And yes, there are wizards, but they like their huge meals and long snoozes and have no interest in going on quests. 

What I love is that his heroes are ordinary people. They're Mums and Dads running an all night Klatchian takeaway shop or farming in the Ramtops or having a fight with the neighbours. And in Ankh-Morpork, they enjoy their unofficial street theatre, and Ankh-Morpork has long ago stopped fighting other city-states and started selling them stuff. Any barbarian invader who tries to take over finds himself leaving with cheap wine and a purple straw donkey and a lot less money than when he arrived.

I love it all! So, raise your glass of whatever and drink with me to Freedom, Truth, Justice and a Hardboiled Egg!

And to the wonderful, much-mourned Terry Pratchett.


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11. Happy Memorial Day!

Memorial Day

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12. Which Type

कल एक जानकार ने मुझे कहा कि आपके cartoons  बहुत अच्छे लगते हैं. वो रोज देखती है. इस पर मैने कहा कि पर आपने कभी लाईक या कमेंट तो किया नही इस पर वो बोली कि क्या करुं उसे तो अपना स्टेटेस अपडेट किए भी कई कई दिन हो जाते हैं असल में,मैसेनजर में इतने मैसेज होते हैं कि सभी का जवाब देते देते समय ही निकल जाता है और इतराती हुई बोली हर रोज दस लोग तो नए आ ही जाते हैं. मेरे कहने पर कि बिना जान पहचान इतनी बातें सही नही हैं इस पर वो चिढ कर बोली कि वो नए जमाने की है कोई बहन जी टाईप नही कि किसी के मैसेज का जवाब ही न दे. मुझे याद है कि बहुत समय पहले एक सहेली ने भी इस तरह बहुतों से दोस्ती कर ली और एक से बात इतनी बढ गई कि तंग होकर उसने face book  करना ही बंद कर दिया था. मेरे विचार से समझदारी से काम लेते हुए अपनी गरिमा बना कर रखनी चाहिए और अगर ये बहन जी टाईप विचार है तो मैं बहन जी बन कर ही खुश हूं …!!!

The post Which Type appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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13. If You Have A Comics Collection -How MANY Do You Have ....

...And More Importantly: How OFTEN Do You Read Them?

 Well, since I did the post about the tidy-up in Room Oblivion things have moved on. Books have more-or-less been put into order on the shelves.

This was the old look:

Then a query was raised about Why are my comics not all bagged?:

But I've seen, over the last few days, several bloggers display their collection in the very over-priced comic boxes and Mylar bags, but also as stacks in comic shop bags.  I know there are the lucky ones with a big living area, small room or even secured garage-cum-man den but that's the exception.

I started reading comics when I was 4 or 5 years of age thanks to Ma and Bill (my grandparents). I do not have all those old comics because of various reasons but as I never had a permanent place to live until I hit my 40s my comics were all over the place -but in rudimentary bagging.

Comics and comic annuals go back to the 1940s and there are series I want to re-read if and when I ever get the chance to 'retire' (or go senile which is a form of retirement -perhaps wander the streets with my underpants over my long johns and a table cloth around my neck as I go worrying "hoodies"....no. That's my current hobby).  Silver Age Sub-Mariner, Silver-Bronze Age Avengers, Dr Strange and, of course, those wonderful small company titles like MF Enterprises Captain Marvel.

Above:someone else's collection!

Here is the thing, though: I have thousands of comics that I have not read since the 1980s, 1990s or even 2000-2010. Some of them were great reads at the time when Marvel and DC had maybe 14-18 main titles a month.  Mini series or maxi series were extras.  A lot of the comics after 2000 I have little interest in since by that time continuity had ceased to exist with both Marvel and DC.  And with Disney owning Marvel continuity does not matter -the dollar is the be-all and end-all.

One day this is all going to implode and I'd guess within the next 4 years, maybe sooner. The rot has already set in.  You see, everyone over-excited about Avengers: Age Of Ultron and I've now noted ten negative reviews such as Bounding Into Comics:"Age Of Ultron: Worse Than A Star Wars Prequel?"

Captain America, Ultron and Iron Man from Avengers: Age of Ultron
Wow.  Apparently it only made around $191.3 million dollars on opening weekend.  Disney execs must have been jumping from windows.  That was sarcasm by-the-way.

It is quite noticeable that more and more bloggers are now calling it "Disney" not "Marvel"...oh, it finally sank in.  But while the die-hard Marvel fans will hail anything -even Tony Stark's nail clippings- as a huge success it is very obvious that more negativity is creeping in.

DC are not exempt as, even before the movies are released they are getting negative responses for all sorts of silly reasons.  Okay, that may be DCs fault because it has dragged its heels -rather than base movies on established characters -say, Smallville, which movie goers would probably be familiar with- they are dragging things out.  "Suicide Squad -has anyone seen the stills from that? Its like a cosplayers lineup" (sic). The most positive comments surrend, as I mentioned before, Harley Quinn's spray-on shorts.

And...WHOA! Even the TV series that "made comic book geek chic" -The Big Bang Theory is getting unprecedented criticism.  "Kaley Cuoco's acting stinks. She ought to be replaced!"  "Kaley Cuoco shortened her hair. Bimbo!" and Cuoco was previously untouchable.  Even the other characters -or, rather, the actors- are getting negativity.  One TV pundit in the US claimed the series was still popular but had lost that "geekster following"!
Look on Ebay and elsewhere and you will find a heck of a lot of comics from the last 4-5 years on sale. Shop owners never ever declare these things publicly (they fear for their business after all) but it seems more and more of the newer readers are trying to sell their books back to shops.  Yes, after 4-5 years some are realising that comics are NOT going to make them rich. The huge financial outlay in comic storage boxes, Mylar bags and...seriously..."reading gloves" (condoms for comic reading!) is a lot and their comics value has increased by....00.0%

I've seen two comic geek chic types who spent up to $120.00 on a "Rocket Raccoon first appearance" title (seriously, again, go online and see just how many 'first appearances' it is claimed he had!) write that the best offer they had when trying to sell the books on (now there was a sincere interest in comics) was "$20 ****** bucks!" (I was going to tell him he needn't include the "$" sign if he was going to write "bucks" but...).

Comic shops are not going to buy back comics they know they cannot sell or if they can it's only in the $1 box.  One stated "It's a buyers market" then added "Customers buy we sell. We don't buy back!"  I have now heard of two long time customers in comic shops in the US who had no real interest in the new Secret Wars series -the store owner offered issues 1 and 2 "If you don't like them then okay -bring 'em back and I'll put them in the remainders box".....in one case at least -they ended up in the remainders box (the other guy paid half price "out of loyalty"!!!!).

Having spoken to people who attend comic conventions from Finland to the USA there is one thing they hate as traders -Cos-players.

I really like cos-players and thought that my own observations that they never buy comics -they'll take the freebies-  was isolated.  However, time and time again I hear "Cos-players never buy books. They are not there for that!" followed by "Events support them so they ought to support the industry!"

Every cos-player I have chatted to does the whole thing for fun.  It's a social thing.  Decades ago you wanted to meet people and feel one of the gang you joined cycling clubs that went on weekend tours (VERY big in "the olden days"!), or you became a bird-watcher or...or...okay, train-spotters with a real interest in the engineering and so on maybe.  But bus-spotting?!!  Seriously, Bristol at weekends seems to be full of them -note books and pens ready, cameras on tripods or cameras with telephoto lenses. I mean, okay, as kids we used to spot car licence plates -not so many cars and in some cases those notes even helped the police!  But buses......

Anyway, check out You Tube videos of cos-players and it is not about the comic it is about the look of a character and how they have designed and put together a costume.  And meeting up with like-minded people.  I am NOT going to go into the more seedy side of why some female cos-players are involved because they are the exception -I think roped off sections for "more adult posing" says it all.

One day, cos-playing will be the main event with comic selling as a rather quaint aside.

TV and movies make big money.  Comics to a lesser degree.  The fact that "The Big Two" are desperately recycling ideas and really have no respect for fans -watch Tom Brevoort for Marvel Disney announce things -he is not even hiding the fact that selling and YOU buying are all that matters.  After all, he's already publicly hatte eine Scheiße over Marvel legendary creators Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and others that followed because they were "not as sophisticated at story telling" as the regurgitating new bloods -check the Ultimate Avengers animated movie extras: it's there.

Comics are seen as secondary and not that important as anything other than movie fodder.  The chic-sters -well, the brighter ones- are realising this.  There is going to be a massive comics glut on the internet and shop owners are advising those wanting to get rid of their books to "sell them on Ebay!"

We need to get back to the old comic mart days.  A day long event where comickers come to buy old comics and where cos-players or over priced toy merchandise are secondary.

For me, I have those thousands of comics I no longer read.  I would love to sell them off and get the money -AND the much needed space.  However, I know that is unlikely because the market is not there. 

An offer from a deal for a book that I know in its condition is worth £50-60.00 of "I can give you £5.00 but there is no guarantee I can sell it" is an insult.  I check out dealers, I know people who use these comic dealers and they tell me the prices asked by those dealers.  That book I was offered £5.00 for? The dealer was so certain I was going to take his offer (!) that he contacted someone I know who emailed me to say he had been offered the book for...£75.00.  The dealer did get back to me by phone and tried everything to get back book -all of that month's Marvel comics AND £10.00.  He certainly did not like my "No".

But look at your comic collection and ask yourself how many of the books you read more than once. What do you expect from your collection -it will never earn you enough to retire on- as the years go by? A yard sale? Thrift store donation? I know that when I croak mine will probably -likely- be sold off for what can be got and the rest trashed or burned.

Comickers tend to buy, read and store.  I don't think I've ever met a real comicker who ever thought beyond that.

Depressing, isn't it?  Believe me, no one is more depressed about it than me...other than the cupboards.

Here's a thought, though: Hong Kong produced huge numbers of comics but you try finding comickers today in Hong Kong who have knowledge of Manhua pre 2000s or 1990s.  The same in Singapore where I was astounded on forums to learn I was the only one who knew of 1980s Singaporean comics!

Buy and read and keep comics you love and read more than once.  In forty years time someone is going to be writing: "Where the hell did these mountains of comics from the early 2000s originate?!" and that after he picked up a pack of 50 comics for $10.......


Comic Book collection


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14. Cartoon – Hit or Flop

cartoon best by monica gupta100 days of AAP and One Year of BJP… Who is hot and who is flop … Lets see … what people say …. :)

Best Wishes …

The post Cartoon – Hit or Flop appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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15. Mervyn Morris @ Liberty Hill Great House

Drawing Room Project

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16. The Sound of Music Story

The Sound of Music Story: How A Beguiling Young Novice, A Handsome Austrian Captain and Ten Singing von Trapp Children Inspired the Most Beloved Film of All Time. Tom Santopietro. 2015. St. Martin's Press. 324 pages. [Source: Library]

I enjoyed reading Tom Santopietro's The Sound of Music Story. Did I enjoy each chapter equally? Probably not. But what I was interested in, I was REALLY interested in, and, I was fine skimming the rest.

The book focuses on several things: 1) the story of the actual von Trapp family, both before and after the Sound of Music, 2) the Sound of Music on Broadway (its creation, duration, etc.) 3) the filming and reception of The Sound of Music (focus on the directing, producing, filming, acting, costuming, etc.) 4) the legacy of the Sound of Music, five decades worth of trivia on the film and the soundtrack, etc.

I loved reading about the filming of the movie. I did. I loved reading about the filming of particular scenes and particular songs. It was just fun. There were chapters of this one that were just giddy-making.

Not all of the book was equally captivating to me. But I appreciated the thoroughness of it.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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17. MMGM Links (5/25/15)

Before I get to the MMGM links, just a quick reminder that I will be in Arizona for Phoenix Comicon this coming week (Thursday - Sunday) so if you're in the area, I hope to see you there. Click HERE to see where to find me.

Okay, onto MMGM!

- Rcubed is spotlighting Roald Dahl's books. Click HERE to see why she loves these classics.
- The Bookworm Blog is caught up in MUSEUM OF THIEVES. Click HERE to see why. 
- What Rachel Wrote wants to NUMBER THE STARS. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Michelle Mason has an author interview--and a GIVEAWAY--of THE SOUND OF LIFE AND EVERYTHING. Click HERE for all the fun. 
-  Jess at The Reading Nook is wondering over WOUNDABOUT. Click HERE to see what she loved.
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--ANYONE BUT IVY POCKET. Click HERE for all the details.   
- Greg Pattridge wants everyone to WATCH THE SKY. Click HERE to see why. 
- Mark Baker has chills for BOOK OF THE DEAD. Click HERE to see what he thought.  
- Andrea Mack is feeling spacey for SPACE CASE.  Click HERE to check out her feature.   
- Suzanne Warr wants to take us BACK AGAIN. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time!  
- The Mundie Moms are always huge supporters of middle grade. Click HERE for their Mundie Kids site.  
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.   

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!) (Also make sure the post you send me is a new post, not one from earlier in the week. I try to keep the content fresh)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!

*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.

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18. Behind the Book AND Five Questions for Megan Morrison, author of GROUNDED: THE ADVENTURES OF RAPUNZEL

Megan Morrison and I met in 2003, via our mutual friend Melissa Anelli of the Harry Potter fan site The Leaky Cauldron, and I read an early draft of Grounded in 2004. I liked its characters and action a lot -- Rapunzel descending from her tower against her will, and traveling across the land of Tyme with a thief named Jack -- but to my eye, it didn't have enough emotional and world-building depth to elevate it from "cute and smart" to "real and meaningful," and I thought Meg could do more with it. So I told her that, in a three-page editorial letter, and offered to look at a revision when she was ready.

I did not think at the time--and nor did Meg--that this readiness would take eight years. But when she contacted me about the ms. again in 2012, she said that she had rewritten the book, "revised the rewrite, plotted the entire series in detail from back to front, and then revised it again. . . . Though the plot sounds similar to what it was, the book is very different, with a cast of characters who are fully realized and motivated, including the peripheral characters, who don't come to the fore until later books in the series. I love it and believe in it." I had never forgotten Grounded--and in fact had been hoping for this e-mail for eight years--so I asked to see it again.

And this time, I loved it and believed in it too, as Meg was 100% right in her estimation of her revised novel. I adore fairy tales in part because the transformations they contain speak to some of our deepest human stories and relationships, and my favorite retellings round out those transformations with complex psychology and world-building, while honoring the readerly pleasures of wonder or romance or connection at their heart. The new Grounded kept all the charm of Rapunzel and Jack's banter and the cleverness of the land of Tyme, whose history, geography, and even the resulting economics and sociology have all been fully thought through. But it achieved the reality and deeper meaning I'd been hoping for, thanks to Rapunzel's complex relationship with her Witch, whom she truly loves, and who has good reason to keep her in the tower; and Rapunzel's own process of growing up, finding out hard truths, and yet moving forward into wholeness. The book made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me intensely happy as a reader; and since it came out earlier this month, both Meg and I have been delighted by its critical reception -- including two starred reviews! -- which has praised both its many pleasures and that emotional depth. (It's also an Amazon.com Best Book of the Month for May.) Publishing it has reminded me yet again:  Good things come to editors who wait.

Four more notes, before I share Meg's Five Questions:

  • You can actually see a rare scene of the editor and author at work, sort of, in Melissa Anelli's Harry, A History. Page 79 documents a writing weekend among the three of us that took place at my apartment, where Meg was working on Grounded, Melissa was writing for the Leaky Cauldron, and I was editing A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth Bunce, another great fairy-tale retelling. (And also making pancakes.)
  • This entire series of five-question posts was actually inspired by Meg herself, as she's written "Five Reasons to Read _________" posts like this one on her blog for years. 
  • Meg wrote about her side of this story at Literary Rambles and in this interview, which also reflects on her experience as a Harry Potter fan and a fanfiction author.
  • And Meg and her friend Kristin Brown, who's a professional geographer, talk about their collaboration in creating "plausible geography" for Tyme in this fascinating interview.
Five Questions for Megan Morrison

1.      Tell us a little bit about your book.

It’s the story of Rapunzel – the hair, the tower, the witch – except that my Rapunzel loves her tower and doesn’t want to leave it. She has everything she wants and thinks she is the luckiest person in the world. Until things go wrong, and she learns otherwise.

2.      If this book had a theme song and/or a spirit animal, what would it be and why? 

I actually have a whole playlist for Grounded. It’s here on Spotify.

If I were to choose just one song, it would have to be “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell). This is Witch’s promise to Rapunzel: that she will allow nothing to divide them – that she’ll rescue her from anything. It’s a very different song at the beginning of the book than it is at the end.

3.      Please name and elaborate upon at least one thing you learned or discovered about writing in the course of creating this book.

Sometimes, the idea for a story will come before the writer is ready to meet it. That doesn’t mean that the writer should stop writing or give up on the idea, but it means that the story won’t mature until the writer does. I had the idea for Grounded long before I was equipped to write it well. Life experiences – in particular becoming a mother and a teacher – were necessary. Not that those particular experiences are prerequisites for writing. Far from it. They were just necessary for me. They changed me in big, important ways, and strengthened me as both a storyteller and as a professional. My work ethic and my openness to criticism are vastly improved over what they were ten years ago. I have hardened and mellowed both, in the ways that I needed to. 

4.      What is your favorite scene in the book?

Rapunzel’s conversation with Witch at the end.

That’s a hard question, though. Whenever Rapunzel and Jack are talking to each other, I am delighted.

5.      What are you working on now?

The second book in the Tyme series! A different fairy tale, set in the same world. Many characters who appear in Grounded will show up again. 

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19. Happy Memorial Day!

Our offices are closed to celebrate Memorial Day. 

We wish you a great day.

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20. It's Monday! What Are You Reading?! 5-25-15

Thanks to our dynamic hosts: Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kelle at Unleashing Readers.
Head to either blog to find reviews as well as dozens of links to other blogs filled with reviews! 

Books I've Recently Read:

Chasing Freedom: The Life Journeys of Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony-Inspired by Historical Facts by Nikki Grimes
Illustrated by Michele Wood
Orchard Books, 2015
Historical Fiction
56 pages
Recommended for grades 3-5

Beautiful paintings accompany short vignettes of Tubman's and Anthony's lives, coming together to form an imagined version of how the two powerhouse women might have passed a morning together in conversation. The reader will leave with an introduction to Tubman and Anthony, setting up readers for deeper understanding when confronted with heavier historical texts. 
The art is inspired by African patterns and American quilt designs, which were such an important symbol during the years the underground railroad ran.
I enjoyed this brief and informative story, and fully appreciated the visuals.

The Witch's Boy by Kelly Barnhill
Algonquin Young Readers, 2014
384 pages
Recommended for grades 4+

A fellow blogging friend said to be patient with The Witch's Boy. I now know why. This story is slow in developing the reader's expectations-at least that is how I experienced it. I've got to be honest, this one let me down. I had such high hopes: Creepy title + Gorgeously dark and mysterious cover + Stellar online reviews = high expectations. I was let down in the way the story seemed to plod softly along. The opening of the book was also almost too much to bear, and I think adults should beware of which child they might be  recommending this book to, as the book begins with the scene of a drowning death of a young boy. The image of the mother holding her lifeless son hurt me, and I felt angry at the unexpected pain the book brought me.  There is so much to this story, I'm just not the one to do it justice. I'm sorry.

The Dungeoneers by John David Anderson
Walden Pond Press, 2015
448 pages
Recommended for grades 4-8

Full review to come closer to publication. I will say now: fans of Iron Trials and Harry Potter and The Ability, etc, will enjoy this story of kids being round up for an ability, then put to the test as they refine their skills. Hopefully the start of a new series!

I'm Currently Reading:

On Deck:

Thanks for stopping by!

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21. Your Email’s Lifespan and Other Must-Know Tidbits

Email marketing is a must. It’s the only way to develop a relationship with your audience. It’s like visiting each one of your subscribers daily, once a week, or monthly. You visit however many times you and your subscribers feel is right. This marketing strategy builds trust. Now, although you may be sending your emails faithfully, are they being opened? If not, that relationship becomes

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22. Doable: the girls' guide to accomplishing just about anything by Deborah Reber

Doable: the girls' guide to accomplishing just about anything by Deborah Reber Simon Pulse. 2015 ISBN: 9781582704678 Grades 10 thru adult I borrowed a copy of this book from my local public library I’ve been taking a class in Leadership; it’s really a course in Coaching. I took it with the intention of becoming a more effective manager at work, but also a supportive friend and mentor

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23. Winner of The Wisdom of Merlin

Hope everyone is enjoying Memorial Day Weekend. It's been lovely weather here in Pennsylvania the last four or five days. Without further ado, I'll get to the good stuff.

According to randomizer, the winner of the giveaway of a hardcover copy of The Wisdom of Merlin and a paperback of the updated version of The Hero's Trail is...

Michael G-G

Congratulations, Michael! Expect an email from me asking for your mailing address. I'll get these out to you ASAP.

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24. The Importance of Wait Time and Think Time

how do you become the kind of teacher who leaves plenty of think time? How do you go from rapid-fire, to more thoughtful questioning?

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25. Math Monday -- In Which the Lesson Doesn't Go As Planned...And is a Success

It's Math Monday! 
for the Math Monday link up!

We were going to begin a big estimation problem (How Many Books Are There in Ms. Hahn's Classroom?), so I chose my math workshop opener from Estimation 180 -- days 28-30, a sequence of toilet paper estimations. I knew exactly what I wanted to get out of this opener, and I expected it to be quick.

What I didn't expect what that my students would get mired down in a dis-remembering of what exactly perimeter, area, and volume are, and why the square footage fact we jotted down from the packaging shown in the answer of day 28 could not be used as the total length of the toilet paper on the roll on day 30. Maybe it's because we were talking about squares of toilet paper that their brains convinced them that square feet would be okay as a unit of length.

I let them struggle through misconceptions like squares and cubes are the same and you use 3D measurement for square feet. It was one student's tentative sharing of a rhyme she learned at her old school, "Perimeter goes around, but area covers the ground" that finally turned the tide away from the confident assertion of another student that square feet is a measure of length. You should have seen the lightbulbs go off above the heads. Boom. They had it back. Area is LxW (2D), volume is LxWxH (3D), and perimeter is S+S+S... (a measurement of length). Whew.

I've written often about the difference between leading the learning and following the learning. The importance of following is something I have to remember over and over again.

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