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1. Alessandro Carloni To Co-Direct ‘Kung Fu Panda 3′ With Jennifer Yuh

The 13-year DreamWorks veteran Alessandro Carloni will now co-direct "Kung Fu Panda 3" with Jennifer Yuh.

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2. Capital Days: Michael Shiner's Journal and the Growth of Our Nation's Capital by Tonya Bolden, 96 pp, RL: 4

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson, is set during the days before the American Revolution and is narrated by a thirteen-year-old slave girl. It is one of my favorite historical fiction novels and why I was so excited to read Capital Days: Michael Shiner's Journal and the Growth of Our Nation by multi-award winning author Tonya Bolden. For this book, Bolden, who was writing another book when

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3. MARIMEKKO - final round-up

Following on from yesterday's Sanna Annukka posts I thought it would be great to finish the week with some Marimekko for our regular Friday eye candy feature. The line up starts with a design called Merivuokko by Kustaa Saksi which is new for SS2015. This large scale underwater landscape was inspired by a coral reef and is complimented by another print - Meriheina. Another

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4. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Finding Spring

Look at that!  It's Perfect Picture Book Friday again!

And just in time, too!

In keeping with my theme for this week (you know, the one where I insist that spring is coming in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary :)) I have the perfect book!

Title: Finding Spring
Written & Illustrated By: Carin Berger
Greenwillow Books, January 2015, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8 (though I think a lot of 3 year olds would love it too :))

Themes/Topics: seasons (Spring), animals (bears), perseverance, patience

Opening: "The forest was growing cold.  Mama said that soon it would be time to sleep, but all Maurice could think about was his first spring."

Brief Synopsis: Mama bear says it's time to sleep, but all Maurice can think about is spring.  So when Mama goes to sleep, Maurice sets out to find it.  He has never seen spring, however, so he's not really sure where to look or even what he's looking for!

Links To Resources: take a nature walk and look for signs of spring; make up a list of signs of spring and check them off as they appear - is spring here yet?; How To Make A Diorama (video); Diorama Crafts For Kids; try making your own diorama about spring; make paper flowers; how to make tissue paper flowers (video)

Why I Like This Book: Every child on earth understands impatience - how hard waiting is, and how much more fun to take action!  Maurice is not deterred in the slightest by the fact that he doesn't actually know what spring is.  He just looks until he knows he's found it.  And he can tell he's found it because it's the most magical thing he's ever seen!  Just wait until you see what it is (and no, I'm not telling! :))  The book is illustrated with dioramas and cut-paper collages and is just gorgeous - a feast for the eyes of kids and grown-ups alike.  A perfect choice for those of us currently longing for spring :)

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you and see what delights you've chosen for us this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!  It will be March by the time it's over! :)


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5. David Cohen Prize for Literature

       At £40,000 the biennial David Cohen Prize for Literature is one of the leading British author prizes (they're not that big on author-prizes in the UK, preferring to honor specific titles (with book prizes)), and they've announced that Tony Harrison is the winner of the 2015 prize; see also, for example, Jonathan McAloon's report in The Telegraph, 'Obscene' poet Tony Harrison wins David Cohen Prize for Literature 2015 -- focusing on his thirty-year-old poem, v. (get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk).

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6. Book Beginnings - 2/27/15


*Please join Rose City Reader every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name.  *Taken directly from Rose City Reader's Blog Page.

***************
This week's book beginnings comes from MIST OF MIDNIGHT by Sandra Byrd.

"Dusk had begun to smother daylight as we walked down the cool street, peering at the numbers above the doorways, one after the other, skirts gathered in hand to keep them from grazing the occasional piles of wet mud and steamy horse muck."

It isn't bad.  Nothing earth shattering yet.  :) Set in London. 


**********

This book is one I finished last week and used as my book beginnings.  Wanted to share again this week.

WHISPER HOLLOW by Chris Cander.

 

"Myrthen's mother and father had carried more hopes than means with them when they crossed the Atlantic Ocean in the middle of January 1910.  Rachel Engel was just sixteen when she left her home and family in Saxony, Germany, brave and willing and fiercely in love with Otto Bergmann, but nonetheless glancing over her shoulder all the way to the southern short of the river Elbe, the gateway to the world."

WHISPER HOLLOW was VERY good.  Historical fiction and women's fiction combined with strong female characters.

My review won't be posted until March 26.  I hope you stop back.

Love the cover.

 ***************
What are you reading?






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7. Jiang Rong Q & A

       At The New York Times' Sinosphere weblog Amy Qin has a Q & A with Jiang Rong on Wolf Totem, the Novel and Now the Film.
       The author's Wolf Totem -- get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk -- has indeed now been made into film, directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud; see the IMDb page, or the Mars distribution page.

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8. Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama by Hester Bass, illustrated by E. B. Lewis

Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama is the newest book by Hester Bass, illustrated by E.B. Lewis. Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama is a superb addition to the genre of narrative non-fiction, and a welcome addition to books about the Civil Rights Movement. Beginning in January of 1962, Bass sets the scene, telling readers that

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9. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week,Featuring Luc Melanson,Christopher Silas Neal, and Stephanie Yue


“… I said we should have a funeral. Rosario just smiled.
He didn’t seem very sad, but I know he loved that tree.”
– From Charis Wahl’s
Rosario’s Fig Tree,
illustrated by Luc Melanson (Groundwood, March 2015)


 


S n a p! Someone else is faster!
Down in the dirt, a smooth, shining garter snake crunches on supper.”
– From Kate Messner’s
Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt,
illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
(Chronicle, March 2015)

(Click to enlarge spread)


 


“Every morning in summer, one … two … three! He pops out of his hole.
Such a little mouse. Off he goes into the wide world.”
– From Alice Schertle’s
Such a Little Mouse,
illustrated by Stephanie Yue (Orchard Books, March 2015)
(Click to enlarge spread)


 

This morning over at Kirkus, I write about two new picture books I really like, one out on shelves in mid-March and one, not till the Fall, though it was released overseas many years ago. That link will be here soon.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about the three picture books above. I have art (and covers) from each book below.

Enjoy.


 

Art from Such a Little Mouse:


 


“He tunnels under piles of leaves. Rustle, rustle, rustle, go the leaves.
He feels the autumn wind tickle his whiskers.
‘Winter is coming,’ whispers the wind.”

(Click to enlarge)


 


“He makes a loaf of acorn bread. He makes seed-and-watercress soup.”
(Click to enlarge)


 



 

Art from Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt:


 


“Up in the garden, I stand and plan—
my hands full of seeds and my head full of dreams.”

(Click to enlarge)


 


“Up in the garden, we pick cukes and zucchini, harvesting into the dark. Bats swoop through the sunflowers, and I pluck June bugs from the basil until it’s time for bed.”
(Click to enlarge)


 


“Down in the dirt, skunks work the night shift.
They snuffle and dig, and gobble cutworms while I sleep.”

(Click to enlarge)


 



 

Art from Rosario’s Fig Tree:


 


“Rosario lives next door. He’s a magician. He doesn’t pull rabbits out of hats or find pennies behind your ears. He’s a garden magician. Here’s how I know.”
(Click to enlarge)


 


“Last spring he did a strange thing. One day he brought a big pot out of the house.
It had a tree in it as tall as he is. ‘It’s a fig tree,’ he said. ‘At home
we have fig trees everywhere. Here it’s too cold for figs. But we’ll see.’
He took the tree out of the pot and planted it in a hole.”

(Click to enlarge)


 


“‘Now we bury it,’ he said, and bent the tree over, lower and lower, until it lay in the hole. ‘Good-bye, tree.’ He put leaves all around it and plastic over the top. Then he shoveled in soil until you couldn’t see that there had ever been a tree there. …”


 


“All winter I thought about the tree. It had snow all over it,
and the cold wind swooshed around the garden.
Did dead things feel lonely?”

(Click to enlarge)


 


“Then he started digging where the grave was. What was he doing? Did he forget about the tree? I tried to stop him, but his friends just patted me on the head. ‘Don’t worry, little one,m’ they said. ‘It’s okay.’ Off came the soil and the plastic and the dead leaves. But the tree lay still and dead.”
(Click to enlarge)


 



 



 

* * * * * * *

ROSARIO’S FIG TREE. Text copyright © 2015 by Charis Wahl. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Luc Melanson. Published in Canada and the USA in 2015 by Groundwood Books. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher.

SUCH A LITTLE MOUSE. Text copyright © 2015 by Alice Schertle. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Stephanie Yue. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Orchard Books, an imprint of Scholastic, Inc., New York.

UP IN THE GARDEN AND DOWN IN THE DIRT. Text copyright © 2015 by Kate Messner. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Christopher Silas Neal. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco.

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10. Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby, 336 pp, RL 4

Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby winner of the 2012 Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery. And, while this award is well deserved,  Icefall is so much more than a mystery - it is a coming of age story and a story within a story as well, with memories coming together to create something greater than the mystery itself. In fact, Icefall reminds me of Shannon Hale's Newbery Honor winning Princess

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11. The Naming of Tishkin Silk: a book to reshape your heart

“Griffin came into the Silk family after Scarlet, Indigo, Violet, Amber and Saffron. He came early in the morning on that uncommon day, the twenty-ninth of February. His father’s prediction, considering the date of Griffin’s birth, was that he would be an uncommon sort of boy.

Perhaps he was, thought Griffin ruefully. For the first time in his life, he wished he’d been born on the twenty-eighth day of February or even the first of March. Maybe then he would have been an ordinary boy instead. If he were an ordinary boy, maybe Mama wouldn’t have gone away. Maybe his secret thoughts wouldn’t have changed everything.

tishkinsilkWith these words The Naming of Tishkin Silk by Glenda Millard starts weaving gentle magic around your unsuspecting heart.

Griffin is a member of the somewhat unusual and perhaps slightly bohemian Silk family, who live on the outskirts of a small Australian town. Griffin carries a secret deep inside him, a huge worry that he finds hard to share until he meets Layla, instantly recognisable to him as a princess because she is wearing a daisy-chain crown. Thanks to the thoughtfulness shown by his new friend, Griffin’s courage grows and together they do something that heals the sorrow which all the family has felt after a terrible event no-one has been able to talk about for months.

Just like Griffin, this is a truly “uncommon” short novel, the first in a seven part series. From unexpected characters to profoundly moving themes threaded together with sometimes astonishingly lyrical writing, this book is something utterly different and incredibly beautiful. I have never before come across such delicate and yet powerful writing in a novel for children. Unique, breathtaking and full of fierce love and deep sorrow, The Naming of Tishkin Silk is the sort of book that changes you forever, the sort of book you are just so glad to have inside you, to enrich even the happiest of days and to sustain you on dark nights.

The dual aspect of this novel – intense sadness and intense happiness – reminded me of a passage in The Prophet by Khalil Gibran about joy and sorrow; “the deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.“. Whilst this book deals with some of the most difficult themes you’re likely to come across in books for its target age range (approximately 8-12), Millard does it with such quiet tenderness that it doesn’t overwhelm. Indeed, like the adult characters inside the book, Millard enters the world children inhabit without patronising them, but rather with immense respect, sincerity and creativity.

The stories we tell ourselves in an attempt to make sense of the world around us, adjusting to different family setups when new babies are born, sibling jealousy, and the value of having space and taking time to think form some of the varied threads woven throughout this precious book. Never once soppy or sentimental, Millard writes with honesty and integrity about deep and loving emotions. This is a tremendous book for exploring kindness and empathy.

It’s Australian setting is lightly but evocatively worn, grounding the somewhat enchanted story in a very real time and place. Yes, my praise for this book goes on and on! And yet, when this book first arrived in my home, I shelved it in a dusty corner. I judged the book by its cover, and the cover did not work for me at all (Caroline Magerl illustrated this first book in the series, but subsequent volumes have been illustrated by Stephen Michael King). It looked airy-fairy, hippy-dippy, saccharine and syrupy and not like something I would enjoy. Someone whose judgement I trust, however, kept telling me I should read the book. Pig-headedly, I kept ignoring this advice. But what a fool I was! Tishkin could have been part of me for two whole extra years if I had listened and not let my prejudices sway me.

For once I had read the book, I was utterly smitten. I could not get hold of the rest of the series quickly enough.

kingdomofsilk

If, however, I still had a niggling doubt, it was about how children would respond to these books. Subtle and yet emotionally complex, featuring an unusual family, and dealing with issues as varied as death, illness, fostering, immigration and dementia over the course of the books now available in the UK (the 6th title in the series, The Tender Moments of Saffron Silk, is published next week on World Book Day, and the final will be available in September this year), I was very curious as to how young people, rather than adults would respond to these books.

I only have one child’s response to call upon, but M, my ten year old, has taken these stories to her heart as much as I have. She’s read each one in a single sitting, and whilst she agrees they are indeed full of sadness, they are also “really funny and playful”, “just the sort of family I want ours to be like”. She has SO many plans for implementing aspects of these stories into our lives, from making the recipes which feature throughout the series, to adopting the special breakfast rituals the Silk Family has into our own home, from making our own paper to consecrating an apple tree for tea parties, from collecting shiny foil to painting special poems on walls and doors. I think I shall be posting our activities, our Kingdom of silk playing by the book for a long time to come on the blog!

As it is, we’ve already got our own green rubber gloves with red nail polish…

nellstylegloves

…we’ve painted our toes like Layla…

laylastyletoes

… and we’ve started having hummingbird nectar and fairy bread when we come in from school.

hummingbirdnectarfairybread

cheers

Layla and Griffin and all the Kingdom of Silk clan are now part of our lives: We are all the richer for them. These books are alive with wonder and warmth and they’re some of the best I think my family has ever shared.

In the closing pages of The Naming of Tishkin Silk , this gently heart wrenching, heart-soaring short novel, Millard writes, “There are some days when heaven seems much closer to earth than others, and Friday the twenty-seventh of February was one of them.” By introducing you to this book today, also a Friday the twenty-seventh of February, I’ve tried to offer you a slice of such beauty, kindness and wonder as will indeed make today (or at least the day you start reading your own copy of The Naming of Tishkin Silk ) one of those days where heaven really does seem a little nearer by.

Photo: Tonya Staab

Photo: Tonya Staab

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12. Bring It Back! Out-of-Print Crimes Against Humanity: Adios, Oscar

Let’s try something a little new.  I’m only human.  I like to rant and rail about various children’s books being lamentably out-of-print as much as the next guy.  But I also acknowledge that in the current publishing state in which we live it is simply not possible to keep all books in print.

That said, there really are a couple books out there that I think deserve another chance at life.  Now I’ve done variations on this kind of post before.  Last year I wrote the piece Baby, Remember My Name: Picture Book Gems of Years Past.  In 2010 there was also Two Down! One to Go.  But apparently I haven’t done a consistent series on books I’d love to see resuscitated.  Why not start today?

Let’s be systematic about this, though.  Can’t be asking for any old thing to be republished.  And since I’ve already talked your ear off about the remarkable out-of-print Newbery Honor winning book The Winged Girl of Knossos (seriously, bring it back) let’s try something a bit more recent, eh whot?

The Title: Adios, Oscar!: A Butterfly Fable

The Author: Peter Elwell

Publisher: Blue Sky Press (an imprint of Scholastic)

The Cover:

When Was It Published?: 2009

Is It Out-of-Print?: Yup.

Why Should Someone Bring It Back?: Well, here’s the plot as I reviewed it back in the day:

“One day, while sitting in a plant in a pot, a caterpillar named Oscar makes the acquaintance of a high flying butterfly by the name of Bob. Bob’s on his way to Mexico, and he assures little Oscar that one day he’ll have a pair of wings too and can follow. Bob is intrigued by this notion, and even though the other caterpillars mock him, he teams up with a local bookworm Edna to learn about butterflies and Mexico. By the time he’s ready to go for a long sleep, Bob has learned a lot of Spanish words and phrases. But oh no! When he awakes, Bob discovers that he’s not a butterfly at all but a measly moth! Yet buoyed by Edna’s faith in him, Bob determines to go to Mexico anyway. And if you happen to travel to Mexico someday and see a moth sitting there, you might hear him say, “Mi nombre es Oscar!” loud and happy and proud. A section at the end provides English to Spanish translations as well as some useful facts about butterflies and moths.”

Now as far as I can ascertain, this is pretty much the ONLY picture book I’ve ever encountered that took the idea of butterflies flying South for the winter to Mexico and decided that the logical thing for any butterfly to do would be to learn the Spanish language.  It’s a brilliant notion!  Add in the art, which is reminiscent of 1930s Walt Disney cartoons (in a good way) with lots of straw boaters and ukuleles, and you’ve got yourself a lovely book.

Think about it.  Spanish language words pepper the text.  The book deals with the subject of handling your disappointment in a strong, smart manner.  And you’ve got the metamorphosis aspect to boot.

The time has never been better to bring this puppy back in print.  Go for it, Scholastic!

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13. LinkedIn - The Underused Social Media Network

We all know that social media marketing is a must for at least five reasons: 1. Increased visibility 2. Increased traffic and rankings 3. Building authority 4. Making connections 5. Finding potential clients / customers (leads) The biggies in the social network channels are Facebook and Twitter, with Pinterest, Google+ and LinkedIn following behind. But, should this be the case? LinkedIn in

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14. Homer the Little Stray Cat, by Pamela L. Laskin | Book Giveaway

Enter to win an autographed copy of Homer the Little Stray Cat (Little Balloon Press, 2014), by Pamela L. Laskin and illustrated by Kirsi Tuomanen Hill. Giveaway begins February 27, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends March 26, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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15. Austin & Ally Actress Answers Your Questions

Mimi KirklandMeet Mimi Kirkland!

Hi! I’d like to introduce you to Mimi Kirkland. She plays Lily on Austin & Ally this season. Her character is a spunky and energetic fan who begins taking music lessons from Ally so she can hang out with the star. In real life, Mimi loves to spend time with her family and enjoys participating in outdoor activities such as bike riding, swimming, and playing tag with her 2 sisters and her dog.

Mimi Kirkland and Laura Marano

Photo courtesy Disney Channel

AND . . . she has offered to answer YOUR questions! Do you want to know what it is like to be on a Disney TV show with Laura Marano and Ross Lynch? Now is your chance to ask.

Leave your questions in the Comments and come back here on March 13 for Mimi’s answers!

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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16. Spotlight and Giveaway: Soulbound by Kristen Callihan

I’m thrilled to have Kristen Callihan drop by the virtual offices this morning to answer the following question:

You have been granted the use of a super power for one week. What power would you pick, and why? 

You know, I went through all sorts of possibilities: invisibility, flying, mind reading. But then I got practical. I choose Mary Poppin’s ability to have a room clean itself just by singing. Heh. 

What would you do with it? 

Sing my ass off. Seriously, this would be heaven. No more crazy house mess when I’m on deadline (or any other time, honestly). I’d just write and sing.  And maybe a little bird would perch on my window sill and join me in a sing along. Sweet. 

About SOULBOUND

Once two souls are joined . . .

When Adam’s soul mate rejected him, there was more at stake than his heart. After seven hundred years of searching, his true match would have ended the curse that keeps his spirit in chains. But beautiful, stubborn Eliza May fled-and now Adam is doomed to an eternity of anguish, his only hope for salvation gone… Their hearts will beat together forever

No matter how devilishly irresistible Adam was, Eliza couldn’t stand the thought of relinquishing her freedom forever. So she escaped. But she soon discovers she is being hunted-by someone far more dangerous. The only man who can help is the one man she vowed never to see again. Now Adam’s kindness is an unexpected refuge, and Eliza finds that some vows are made to be broken…

About Kristen Callihan

Kristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she’d rather be. She is a three-time RITA nominee and winner of two RT Reviewers’ Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book, Firelight, received RT Book Reviews’ Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal, best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.

Kristen’s social media

@Kris10Callihan

http://www.KristenCallihan.com

http://facebook.com/KristenCallihan

https://www.goodreads.com/Kristen_Callihan

Buy links

Barnes & Noble — http://bit.ly/1D0xGQ1

Books-A-Million — http://bit.ly/1BlN7Cm

IndieBound —http://bit.ly/1z03aIr

Amazon — http://amzn.to/1Emi3D9

iTunes — http://bit.ly/1Ajkdmi

Kobo — http://bit.ly/1vDwIEU

Excerpt:

Eliza sat back on her heels, while Adam merely stared at her as though he had all the time in the world. “Fine,” she said. “Three weeks. I free you and you help me.” She gave him a warning look. “I’ll need your word that you will help me, that this” she waved her hand between them, “isn’t merely a way to trick me into freeing you.”

“This business was your idea, woman,” he said with affront.

“Nevertheless, I’ll need your word.”

The demon’s nostrils flared with a sharp exhalation. “My word then.” Eliza did not look away from him, and he glared back in obvious exasperation. “What now?”

“I’m merely considering if I ought to trust your word,” she said.

A low growl rumbled in his chest as he bared his teeth. “I keep my word, whether I want to or not. My word is my bond. Honor, Miss May. Unlike you, I have it.” 

“How dare you—” 

“How dare you?” He craned forward, the muscles along his shoulders bunching. “Not so long ago you broke your promise of fealty. To me!” 

“Oh, yes, how quick you are to remind me.” Eliza leaned close, grinding her teeth to keep in a shout. “You enjoy being quick, don’t you?” 

His thick, dark brows furrowed. “What in the bloody blazes are you talking about?” 

“You gave me all of ten seconds to make a choice.” Eliza’s fists ached from clenching them. “And what a choice. I was dead, my body sliced open, my blood on the ground. I would have done anything, anything,” she thumped her fist to her chest, “to get back my life.” 

“So that makes it better?” he snapped back in outrage. “Desperation gives you leave to go back on your word?” 

“No. That is not what I meant.” 

“Then you agree that you bloody well have no honor—” 

“You never explained what was involved. You never said I’d be chained to you, like some animal, for the rest of my days,” Eliza shouted. “I was told I would be a GIM. I was ready to serve you in that manner. You knew full well that’s what I believed. If anything, you swindled me!” 

All at once, he sagged, though he still eyed her with resentment and distaste. Well, she had a healthy helping of those feelings for him too. 

“Tick, tock, Eliza,” she mimicked. “You rushed me because you didn’t want me to think things over.” 

When he broke eye contact, his hard jaw twitched. 

“I’m correct, aren’t I?” Ire and a red rage surged up within her. “And you have the brass to sit on your high horse and talk of honor. Well let me tell you something, demon. There is little honor in forcing a person’s hand. Or using your power to coerce those weaker than you.”

A black scowl twisted the demon’s face as he glared at some distant point. “Fine. May I continue, or have you more complaints to heap upon my head?”

“Please do continue,” Eliza granted.

His golden gaze flicked back to her. “I want to kiss you.”

“No.” The word burst out of her with force. “Absolutely not.”

Unfazed, Adam shrugged. “Unless you have something to offer in exchange for your freedom, Mellan and Mab will, as you say, merely hunt us down, and you’ll be back to where you started.”

“Then I shall find out what he wants.” Eliza straightened her back. She could do that. She must. Like hell was she going to kiss this demon.

Adam simply gave her a slow, wicked half-smile. “Fortunately for you, lass, I already know what he wants. What they both want. More than controlling you. More than torturing me, even.”

“Then why in blazes haven’t you used it to secure your own freedom?” Eliza blurted out.

“I’m only alive because they cannot break me into revealing where this item might be.” The belligerence burning in his eyes was gone in a blink, replaced by a look of pure cunning. “However, I might be persuaded to help you use the knowledge. All I require is— ”

“Fine,” she snapped, irritation getting the best of her. “I’ll kiss you.”

Silence fell, and Adam stared at her with those eyes of his. Devil’s eyes. Eyes that made a woman forget herself. Heat rose up over her breasts and crawled along the back of her neck. Eliza grasped her skirts, her fingers twitching. She would kiss him. Kiss a man who had brought her nothing but irritation. Maybe she’d bite him to boot.

His chest, gleaming with sweat, rose and fell in a soft pattern. A bead of perspiration broke free from the top of his shoulder and ran down along the firm rise of his pectoral muscles, straight toward the dark nub of his nipple. All this time arguing with him, she’d forgotten his state of undress. Not so now. She’d have to press up against those hard muscles, touch his skin. Eliza wrenched her gaze back to his face, and his sinful lips curled in a knowing smile.

“You know,” he said casually, “I believe I shall pass for the moment. I’d rather it be when you aren’t wearing such a sour face. Kills a bloke’s ardor, you realize.”

Eliza blinked. And then his meaning hit her. “Why you…rutting…cheap, trickster…”

He laughed, a flash of even teeth. “Come now, Eliza, fret not.” He stopped then, that obnoxious smile growing and heating with promise. “I’ll take that kiss soon enough. ”

She rose to her feet in a rustle of skirts. “And I’ll be sure to bite that wicked tongue when you do!”

She marched out of the cell, slamming it behind her, as he began to laugh again. Bastard. She might just leave him here to rot after all. His laughing taunt echoed through the dark. “Now that I know tongues are involved, I’ll be sure to collect.”

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The post Spotlight and Giveaway: Soulbound by Kristen Callihan appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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17. The book you write when you find out your great great grandmother is a ghost

Now this is a book on family history you don't find to often! Hannah Nordhaus has roots that go far back in New Mexico history and her great great grandparents owned one of the finer homes in Santa Fe. Now a hotel (and out of the family's hands), the hotel has been famously haunted for decades supposedly by Nordhaus's gg grandmother, Julia Schuster Staab who died in 1896. American Ghost is the story of how the author went looking for Julia, both her ghost and her truth.

German Jews who relocate to Santa Fe is a pretty interesting family history without much added to it, but Nordhaus finds out a lot more as she looks for the reasons why Julia left Germany. Because the Staab family was so prominent in New Mexico history, newspaper coverage is abundant and there are also letters, diary entries and some personal histories along with general records that Nordhaus is able to mine for information. She also goes in a different direction as well and tries to communicate with Julia's ghost.

At first, the "ghostbusting" chapters seemed odd to me, like the author was padding the narrative. But slowly she makes it clear that her attempts to reach out to the ghost, (and find out of there even is a ghost), are also a bit about finding herself or perhaps finding how she feels about her ancestors. These chapters also provide a bit humor which is welcome as Julia's life has some truly tragic downturns and, as expected, not all of the family left Germany so there is some enormous sadness found there.

I have read several books about finding your family but this is the first one where a family member is a famous ghost which is really fairly outrageous when you think about it. I will admit I am envious of Nordhaus however--she has so much family history to fall back on, such a solid place to start from and I have only the tiniest shreds in comparison. But that envy did not reduce my ability to enjoy American Ghost a lot or glean some tips from her search.

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18. Why we should read Dante as well as Shakespeare

Dante can seem overwhelming. T.S. Eliot’s peremptory declaration that ‘Dante and Shakespeare divide the modern world between them: there is no third’ is more likely to be off-putting these days than inspiring. Shakespeare’s plays are constantly being staged and filmed, and in all sorts of ways, with big names in the big parts, and when we see them we can connect with the characters and the issues with not too much effort.

The post Why we should read Dante as well as Shakespeare appeared first on OUPblog.

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19. How SpongeBob Was Translated From Hand-Drawn to Computer Animation

The challenges of creating CGI SpongBob for 'SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.'

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20. Review and Giveaway: Grave Matters by Lauren M Roy

My thoughts:

I loved Night Owls, so I was eager to dive into Grave Matters.  While it didn’t quite have the punch that the first book did, I enjoyed revisiting with Val, Elly, Cavale, and the rest of the Night Owls gang.  The characters are what makes this series stand out for me, and I had a blast getting to know them better.  There aren’t any that I dislike, and I even like the not so nice Stregoi vampires, led by Ivanov and his second in command, Katya.

Elly gets most of the attention in Grave Matters.  She’s working as a bodyguard for Ivanov, the head of the Boston vampires.  She has a tenuous relationship with the vamps, and as one incident after another start piling up and none of them make any sense, she begins to wonder if she’s putting a little too much trust in her employer.  After she exorcises a ghost from a neighbor’s house, things get really weird.  There’s a necromancer in town, and he’s causing all kinds of trouble.  There’s also a rival vampire coven threatening Ivanov’s turf, so Elly has a lot on her plate. 

There’s a lot of vampire politics and jostling for power.  There are also an increasing number of the necromancer’s newly risen dead getting in the way and mucking things up.  The necromancer interferes with both Cavale and Chaz, making them both determined to uncover his identity.  While Cavale is a bad ass and more than capable of defending himself, Chaz is faced with the uncomfortable truth that he’s the weakest link of the Night Owls gang.  Lia and Sunny can probably take on an entire town and emerge victorious, shy Justin, still adapting to his new undead existence, can more than hold his own, and Elly puts Chaz’ fighting abilities to shame.  Add in Val’s reluctance to put him in danger, and you have a guy wrestling with his sense of self-worth.  Chaz decides to do something about his state of helplessness, and finally comes into his own during the climax of the story.

There’s lots of action, and Elly is the main participant in the fighting.  Cavale is in stealth mode, trying to track down the necromancer.  When Chaz unlocks the key to the necromancer’s runes, they all have the uneasy realization that an ancient Mesopotamian god of the dead might be involved in the strange and deadly goings on, both in Boston and their towns.  I thought this was a great twist, because, really, how do you defeat a god, and a god of the dead at that?

If you’re looking for a new urban fantasy series to take for a spin, the Night Owls books are great.  They have great characters, fun plot twists, and lots of tense moments.  The character interactions are my favorite aspect of the series, and there are just enough personalities to get to know without being overwhelming.  The books are also very fast paced; nobody gets to sit on their thumbs for long before they’re scrambling to put out a paranormal fire or save somebody from an unpleasant end.  I can hardly wait for the third book in the series!

Night Owls bookstore always keeps a light on and evil creatures out. But, as Lauren M. Roy’s thrilling sequel continues, even its supernatural staff isn’t prepared for the dead to come back to life…

Elly grew up training to kill things that go bump in the night, so she’s still getting used to working alongside them. While she’s learned to trust the eclectic group of vampires, Renfields, and succubi at Night Owls bookstore, her new job guarding Boston’s most powerful vampire has her on edge—especially when she realizes something strange is going on with her employer, something even deadlier than usual…

Cavale isn’t thrilled that his sister works for vampires, but he’s determined to repair their relationship, and that means trusting her choices—until Elly’s job lands all of the Night Owls in deep trouble with a vengeful necromancer. And even their collective paranormal skills might not be enough to keep them from becoming part of the necromancer’s undead army…

Check out more stops on the tour!

ON STARSHIPS AND DRAGONWINGS

MY BOOKISH WAYS

US addresses only, please

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The post Review and Giveaway: Grave Matters by Lauren M Roy appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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21. Guest Post: My Favourite Sherlock Holmes Adaptations by Adam Christopher


Today, I have Adam Christopher talking about his favourite adaptations of Sherlock Holmes. This is because his Elementary tie in novel Ghost Line is published today. As a fan of Conan Doyle's novels, the BBC adaptation (to a point) and Elementary (nearly to infinity), I'm definitely looking forwards to reading this one.



Since A Study in Scarlet first appeared in Beeton’s Christmas Annual in 1887, there have been innumerable adaptations of the Sherlock Holmes canon—the first, a stage play, coming as soon as 1894. Holmes and Watson are easily two of the most famous literary creations in modern history, and nearly 130 years after their first appearance, there is no sign of their popularity declining. I don’t remember when I first read the original Conan-Doyle stories, but I must have been about seven or eight, and the Holmes canon has remained a part of my life ever since.

I have two favourite adaptations of the stories—they are nearly polar opposites, but I think that shows the strength and flexibility of both the characters and the stories.

For literary and historical accuracy, the Granada Television series starring Jeremy Brett as the great detective is, I think, the definitive adaptation. Running from 1984 to 1994, they managed to film all but eighteen of the original stories, and the 41 episodes stick more or less to the source material. Brett is a pitch-perfect Holmes—eccentric, terrifyingly intelligent, more than a little unpredictable (even dangerous). His Holmes is an aloof genius, a loner who sometimes views the rest of humanity with an intelligence that is cold and indifferent. Watson was played by two different actors over the decade—David Burke and Edward Hardwicke—both of whom likewise took the role perfectly.

What I love about the Jeremy Brett series is the attention to detail and the historical accuracy. The deerstalker? Banished! Holmes wears a top hat in the city (as any Victorian gentleman would). The superb location filming and high production values make the show a visual feast.

My other Holmes adaptation I adore—for completely different reasons—is Elementary. Here, Holmes is transported from 19th Century London to 21st Century New York. A recovering drug addict, he is aided by his former sober companion, Joan Watson.

What makes Elementary so good is that it doesn’t attempt to simply translate the original Conan-Doyle stories to a modern setting. The show dips in and out of the canon as required, borrowing plot elements and characters, but within the context of what is a highly original and offbeat detective show.

The other reason for Elementary’s success is the casting. Jonny Lee Miller’s Holmes owes a lot to Jeremy Brett, and his performance is truly extraordinary: this Holmes, like Brett’s, is eccentric, unpredictable, and a little dangerous. He is The Other, a person completely unlike the rest of us, who we can only try to understand through the point of view of his companion, Watson. Lucy Liu’s take on Watson is perfectly balanced against Miller’s Holmes—she is calm and logical, a guiding force for Holmes’s rather more chaotic persona.


But those are just my two favourites. We’re lucky, because such is the range of Sherlock Holmes adaptations that there is truly something for every type of fan.




Agreed with the last line- there's so many adaptations and spinoffs-canon era, modern era, mice, robots- of Sherlock, everyone can find something for them,

Elementary: Ghost Line can be bought off Amazon here and found on Goodreads here. Adam Christopher can be found on his website.

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22. Interview with Patrick Jennings, Author of Hissy Fitz!

Happy Hour banner

by Julie Eshbaugh

featuring Patrick Jennings!

~~

Patrick JenningsAs readers of this blog already know, PubCrawl is excited to help spread the word about Egmont USA’s spring 2015 list, a group which has banded together under the name Egmont’s Last List. It’s my pleasure to welcome Patrick Jennings as our guest here at PubCrawl today! (And we are giving away of one of Patrick’s books! More on that below…) I’m so thrilled to interview such a prolific writer of children’s books! Patrick’s website lists 25(!) titles. If you’d like to see all their beautiful covers, you can click here. Patrick’s latest is HISSY FITZ, which came out last month from Egmont. Here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:


hissy_frontcoverHissy Fitz lives with some two-legged creatures who are destined to serve him in every possible way and understand his every whim. Sadly, these creatures are sorely lacking in their skills. For one thing–they touch him when they want to touch him. Don’t they know that the two-legged are there for him to touch when he wants to–meaning when he wants food? Petting wakes him up! They speak to him–don’t they know the two-legged should be seen–so Hissy knows where to order food–and not heard?! It’s becoming intolerable. What is this irascible cat to do?

I understand that, although you generally write for middle graders, this book is for younger readers. What made you decide to move in that direction?
My publisher wondered if I’d be interested in writing a chapter book. The book fairs and clubs had been asking for them. I told my editor about my insomniac cat idea and she liked it.

What changes in your writing process when you target a different age level? Do you write for a certain age, a reading level, or both?

I think the story dictates the reading level, the audience. When a story is right for a seven-year-old, the language often takes care of itself. In other words, if you want to engage with a kid, you should talk about something they care about, and in a voice and vocabulary that makes sense to them. That’s not talking down; that’s talking to.   

Hissy Fitz is your first illustrated chapter book in in a long time (over ten years, correct?) How is an author matched to an illustrator? What is the process involved in creating an illustrated book? Other than providing the text, do you have any other input as to the illustrations?

When a book is submitted without illustrations, the art director looks for an artist. They have many illustrators’ portfolios on file. I work on the book with my editor while the artist is found. Usually the text is nearly finished before the illustrating begins. For Bat and Rat, a picture book, I ended up retooling my text, cutting out what was rendered visually by the amazing Matthew Cordell. I did a little tweaking for Hissy after Michael Allen Austin’s hilarious pictures came in. There were textless spreads in Bat and Rat, so, some notes were needed, but, in general, one tries to leave artistic decisions to artists.  

I also understand that this is your first cat book! Yet you’ve had pet cats for 20 years? What took you so long to write a book about a cat?

I never had a story to tell. I’ve considered that this is due to cats not really doing much of anything. Mostly they just sit around the house. Dogs go out and play with their owners, protect their owners, rescue people, hang with their friends. Cats nap on average eighteen hours a day. It was when I struck upon the idea of an insomniac cat that I finally had a cat story. 

Hissy Fitz is such a unique character – his voice really sucked me in. I know it’s difficult to pinpoint the origin of an idea, but can you say where the character of Hissy Fitz came from? What made you decide to tell this particular cat’s story?
Those twenty years with cats were spent wondering what they thought about, especially what they thought of humans. In recent years, I’ve led a young writing group at my house, and have watched the writers interact with my cats. I tried sharing with the kids all I’d learned about how to approach a cat, touch a cat, and treat a cat, but it didn’t make much of an impression. I suppose their treatment of my cats shaped my idea of how Hissy would view kids, as well as other humans. 

I know you do a lot of school and library visits with children. What’s your favorite thing about meeting young readers?

Their enthusiasm. They love to read, and they get very excited when they meet an author of a book they’ve read. They have tons of very good questions. They’re often also interested in writing stories. The whole day is filled with excitement. I’m thoroughly exhausted afterward. It’s the best.

Any last words of advice for aspiring writers, particularly those hoping to write for children?

Spend as much time as you can with kids. Volunteer to read at the library, or in classrooms. Read to nieces and nephews, grandchildren, whomever. Talk to kids about the books they love. Listen carefully. Feel their enthusiasm.

Thank you so much, Patrick! Also, I want to offer congratulations on the news that Lerner Publishing has acquired all of Egmont USA’s frontlist and backlist titles. We look forward to reading many more of your stories!

To celebrate the publication of HISSY FITZ, we’re giving away a copy of this wonderful book! Leave a comment below and use the Rafflecopter form to enter!

About the author:

Patrick Jennings’s books for young readers have received honors from Publishers Weekly, The Horn Book, Smithsonian Magazine, the PEN Center USA, the Woman’s National Book Association, and the Chicago and New York Public Libraries. The Seattle Public Library awarded his book, Guinea Dog, the Washington State Book Award of 2011. His book, Faith and the Electric Dogs, is currently being adapted for the screen. His new book, Hissy Fitz, will be published in January 2015. He currently writes full time in his home in Port Townsend, Washington.

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23. Book Blogger Hop - 2/27 - 3/5

 Question of the Week: 

Do you like blog headers that are bookish or blog headers that are simply attractive?

My Answer:

Bookish blog headers are appropriate, but I would say as long as the header is attractive and turns out to be your "trademark," anything works for me.

I know many blogs don't have bookish headers, and it doesn't detract from the content.
How about you?   What is  your preference for a blog header?






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24. Translations, illustrations, and insomnia

I have the best kind of insomnia right now.  I sometimes have a hard time falling asleep because I'm so busy thinking about this book project.  Imagining the images, hearing the translations…

This weekend, I received the almost-final German translation of Moonflower and the Solstice Dance.  It is absolutely beautiful.  When I read it out loud to my kids, however, they looked a little horrified.  For those who don't know, our kids are trilingual.  They can speak and understand English, Turkish, and German.  "Mummy, just give it to me, let me read it," our oldest son said.  He read it beautifully!  The melody and rhythm could have put me into a trance...

As some of you know, I have a 9-month-old baby at home.  Who wakes me up multiple times at night. This morning, he woke me up at 5:45 a.m. and I never managed to get him back to sleep.  He's a cheerful and sweet little guy, and a great reason to get up at 5:45.  And this morning, I really didn't mind because my e-mail inbox contained some new sketches by the illustrator!  It is so exciting to see my visions become reality.  I can imagine, but I can't really draw or paint.  Ok, I can draw and paint, but my drawings and paintings never come out as I want them to.  I can see the final image I want, but I can't get there.  Fortunately, Solongo has been able to read my mind, so to speak, and put into sketches the visions that I have.  Right now, she's working on the cover, and it's magical to see it come to life.


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25. Caldecott Tribute







































I helped organize a tribute for Dan Santat's Beekle win earlier this month.  We all designed our own version of the Caldecott medal, then plastered them over one of his books.  Check us out!

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