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Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1540 Blogs, since 2/23/2008 [Help]
Results 6,526 - 6,550 of 478,627
6526. ONE AND DONE: Moon Knight—It Doesn’t Take Much

You ever see The Raid? It’s this Indonesian action movie. It (and its sequel) is probably one of the best action movies in recent memory.

The plot of The Raid is ridiculously simple. One cop, in one building, against an army of criminals. It is an hour and a half of dudes wrecking shit. It’s eighty minutes of brutal martial arts. It’s something that’s been done lots–you can describe a ridiculous number of movies that way, thanks to Die Hard–but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s absolutely thrilling, a marvel of craft and assured filmmaking.

Moon Knight #5 is pretty much The Raid, but as a comic book.

A gang has kidnapped a girl who was on her way home from a school event at night. They hold her hostage on the fifth floor of a building. Moon Knight spends all twenty-two pages wrecking dudes on his way to the girl.

That’s it. That’s all that happens. It’s not much.

But it is so, so good.

How much you’ll agree with that will depend on your attitude towards plot. As I hinted at by opening this column by talking about an Indonesian martial arts film, a film or comic doesn’t necessarily live or die by how clever its plot is. Tired or thin plots can still result in an exciting story–you’ve just got to make damn sure your execution is stunning.

And Ellis, Shalvey, and Belliare continue to impress. Warren Ellis’ continues his less-is-more approach to story, with almost no dialogue outside of the opening and closing pages. He doesn’t really need much in the way of words, anyway–Moon Knight #5 is a lean, violent, action story that’s mostly carried by Declan Shalvey’s art, which gives Marc Spector’s Mr. Knight persona a slow relentlessness as he tears through thugs. He doesn’t use stealth, nor is he built like a truck. Shalvey draws Mr. Knight in a way that conveys pure surgical finesse, taking on people who can clearly see him coming–just the way he likes it.

That last bit warrants circling back to Ellis’ script. Spare as it may be, it effectively reinforces the notion of who Moon Knight is in this series. He’s a protector of those who travel by night, a hero whom the bad guys can see coming. There’s not too much in the way of new insight into the titular character, but a brief scene towards the end does give readers a bit to mull over and wonder just what exactly Ellis, Shalvey, and Bellaire will choose to explore for their final issue before the book changes hands with #7.

Color artist Jordie Belliare brings just as much to the table as she always has , working with a tight color palate that never strays too far from the cover’s rusty gold, expanding to include the browns and greens of a dilapidated tenement. Also striking is the color work on Mr. Knight himself–close ups on his biker-gloved hands and exposed forearms give a peek at the man beneath the mask, highlighting how inspired a decision it was to portray the whites of his costume by leaving them devoid of any color.

Last week, I was pretty hard on Superman #32, and comics like Moon Knight are the reason why. While Moon Knight has the luxury of not having to be too heavily serial in its storytelling and is more or less continuity free, it isn’t really doing anything groundbreaking either. It’s just a good story well told.

One commenter last week pointed out that last week’s Superman had a lot of work to do–that what I had seen as a drag was in fact some necessary housekeeping, clearing out poor story decisions made in prior runs. And that’s fine. It doesn’t change my criticism all that much–which is that the book hardly bothered to tell a story.

That, in essence, is why I wanted to do this column in this specific way. I happen to believe that a comic book should tell a story. However spare, however short–it can even be a subplot. Not trying to tell a story is a cardinal sin, something I can’t look past. I buy the comics I review in this column with my own money because I think reviewing comics you get for free makes it easy to forget how damn expensive they are, and makes you more prone to be forgiving of creators content to ship a book that only has the slightest suggestion of a story.

I review single issue comics here, not arcs or trades. And in short, I don’t want to settle for less.

A good story well told. That’s all I want for me, and for you.

1 Comments on ONE AND DONE: Moon Knight—It Doesn’t Take Much, last added: 7/8/2014
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6527. Brazilian Hand-Drawn Feature ‘Until Sbornia Do Us Part’ Trailer

Hand-drawn feature animation from Brazil is gaining momentum on the international festival circuit. Last month the Brazilian feature "The Boy and the World" ("O menino e o mundo") won the top feature prize at Annecy.

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6528. “What he heard caused him to tremble.”

Character sketches for an Arabian Nights story! By the way, how did Boris Karloff make his way on to the page?!

via Studio Bowes Art Blog at http://ift.tt/1vSxA8k

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6529. I am now on Wattpad…

with the first chapters of SCARS, STAINED, and HUNTED up for you to read. Also some poems.


2 Comments on I am now on Wattpad…, last added: 7/8/2014
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6530. Hay Festival Kells

I feel very privileged that this year I was invited to participate in the Hay Festival in Kells. I am not usually nervous about the ‘performance’ side of writing – schools, writing workshops, festivals etc. – but for some reason I was nervous about this one.

white rose

Turned out there was no need. The Hay Festival staff and volunteers in Kells were, one and all, wonderful. So welcoming, helpful and efficient. They made it all feel so easy. And the white rose at the end of each session was a lovely touch.

I enjoyed the two different sessions I ran – one which was storytelling and reading and the other which was a writing workshop. The workshop was challenging as I had all ages there – an age range I think of about seventy years. But I think it all worked. In the space of an hour there is really not a whole lot you can teach anyone about writing – as I said to the organisers the most I could aim to do was to fan a small breeze across a writing spark that was already there in every one of the people who attended. I hope I managed to do that.

The town had a lovely feel to it over the festival – a strong sense of involvement from everyone living there. The people who took writers and performers to their sessions were all volunteers from the community, and many of them doubled up as informal tour guides to the town. Mine did anyway! Shop windows were full of books and posters, the pharmacy proclaiming that there was ‘No Hay Fever in our Hay Festival’, Granny Lil’s Sweetshop offering free Cross Stitch Lessons, the opticians with books by Seamus Heaney and Dervla Murphy in the window and much much more.

So, thank you the Hay Festival, thank you to Kells and thank you to those who came to my sessions – I loved meeting you.


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6531. Ginny Potter Will Comment Live on the Quidditch World Cup Final

Ginny Potter will be reporting live from the Patagonian desert for the Quidditch World Cup final match: Brazil versus Bulgaria. The match will take place on July 11th and Ginny will be joined by a "familiar face" in the journalist's enclosure:

It’s Brazil versus Bulgaria for the 2014 Quidditch World Cup final! The hotly anticipated match will take place this Friday, July 11 from 2.00pm Patagonia time (6.00pm BST, 1.00pm EDT, 10.00am PDT). The final will follow the play-off for third place between Japan and the USA this Wednesday, July 9. 

Daily Prophet Quidditch Correspondent Ginny Potter will be commenting live from the final as it happens, so get ready for tensions and excitement as the match progresses! Can Brazil claim a sixth tournament victory, or will Viktor Krum’s team pull another win out of the bag? 

Stay tuned to learn more about Ginny’s live commentary, which will be available here on the Pottermore Insider for all to enjoy. 

Ginny Potter will also be joined in the journalists’ enclosure by a familiar face for the World Cup final – who do you think it will be? Vote in our poll below or tell us on Facebook or Twitter if you have an account using #QuidditchWorldCup!

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6532. यातना

<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-IN X-NONE X-NONE <![endif]--> 
भड़क उठा थाज्वाला-मुखी,
यातनाओ का सिलसिलाज़ारी था जब,
हवाओ का तेज़बहाव ना सहागया,
नासूर बन चुकाथा एक नाज़ुकदिल ,
इल्ज़ामोकी झड़ी इसकदर लगाई,
की दया कीआशा भी धूमिलथी,
बेरेहम वक़्त था यावो जालिम,
रुकता ही नहीथा एक षण,
आख़िर कब तकसहती वो नदी,
उफान तो लाज़मीही था,
धैर्य की सीमाभी कितनी होआख़िर,
क्या जान सेभी ज़्यादा महँगी?
क्या रिश्तो से भीज़्यादा गहरी?
ना कर सकतेहो जो प्रेम,
तो क्यू लगातेहो बेदर्द आग,
आज फिर सेकोई इंसान टूटा,
जब मुड़कर देखा मैने,
भड़क उठा थाज्वालामुखी. 

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6533. Nice art: Luke Pearson covers Charlie Mortdecai


I gotta admit, I never heard of the Charlie Mortdecai books by Kyril Bonfiglioli, but I am tickled with the covers to new editions by Luke Pearson. The Mortdecai books, originally published in the 70s, involve the comedic adventures of a shifty art dealer, and are described as Wodehouse-esque. Penguin UK is releasing the books with the new Pearson covers. The series starts with Don’t Point That Thing at Me.

“I was really excited by the prospect of designing a series in one go,” says Pearson. “My gut feeling was for them to be tightly consistent, the same type treatment, a distinct colour scheme, maybe a shared overall design etc. However, the brief required me to do the first cover in its entirety and for that to be approved before I moved onto the rest.


Also nice Cold Comfort Farm reference on book five there.

after_you_with_the_pistol569_2 all_the_tea_in_china1569_0 great_mortdecai_moustache_mystery569_0 something_nasty1569_0

Via Comics and Cola

1 Comments on Nice art: Luke Pearson covers Charlie Mortdecai, last added: 7/8/2014
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6534. Player Profile: Stav Sherez, author of Eleven Days

stav-sherezStav Sherez, author of Eleven Days

Tell us about your latest creation:

Eleven Days - 11 Days before Christmas and a small convent in West London is burning. When the detectives get there they find ten dead nuns and one unexplained body. The case stretches back to South American and the upsurge of Liberation Theology in the 1970s. I always wanted to write a locked room mystery and this was my attempt to do so. It’s also the closest to a cosy I’ve written (or am likely to write) :)

Where are you from / where do you call home?:

London / London.

9780571290536When you were a kid, what did you want to become?  An author?:

Always an author. Since the age of ten or so. I always loved books and read all the time. There never was any other possibility!

What do you consider to be your best work? Why?:

I like all my books for different reasons. Eleven Days is the one where I’m most happy with the writing.

Describe your writing environment to us – your writing room, desk, etc.; is it ordered or chaotic?:

I have an office room which is quite bare. I face the wall not the window to avoid distractions. I keep it quite ordered otherwise the chaos clutters up my brain.

When you’re not writing, who/what do you like to read?:

Crime fiction, of course. American literary fiction. Poetry.

What was the defining book(s) of your childhood/schooling?:

I read a lot of the geopolitical thrillers that were very popular in the 1970s – Alistair Maclean, Frederick Forsyth, Wilbur Smith as well as Stephen King.

If you were a literary character, who would you be?:

Always impossible to answer this as all my favourite literary characters have awful lives.

Apart from books, what do you do in your spare time (surprise us!)?:

Mainly listen to music! Not that surprising, I know but it’s the only thing that allows my brain to switch off from narrative discourse.

What is your favourite food and favourite drink?:

Burgers and Coke.

Who is your hero? Why?:

William Burroughs – for showing that anything is permissible in the novel.

Crystal ball time – what is the biggest challenge for the future of books and reading?:

The many electronic distractions of our lives.

Website: www.stavsherez.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/stavsherez

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6535. Books (Books about Horses)

No Description Available

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6536. Who Would You Be? by Keren David

It’s unusual to be completely thrown by a question from the audience, but a teenager in the audience at my most recent event managed to do just that.
The event was the Hay Festival, my fellow panellists were Sally Nicholls and Anne Cassidy and the question was this: ‘If you could be any other writer, who would you be?’
‘Homer,’ said Sally, for his wonderful stories and use of language.  ‘J K Rowling,’ said Anne, ‘just think of the money.’
I mumbled something about Shakespeare, but it wasn’t really true, and over the last few weeks I’ve been wondering which writer I should have picked. Anne Tyler, whose novel ‘The Accidental Tourist’ is written so beautifully that I have line-envy on every page? Antonia Forest, because then I’d know more about the Marlows, possibly my favourite family in children’s fiction? Hilary McKay for creating the Casson family, who run the Marlows a close second? Lauren Child, because I’d love to have her visual imagination? Jodie Picoult or Joanna Trollope, because I feel I could do what they do, but then I wouldn’t have to do it and I’d have all their royalties.
No. The answer, I realised was simple. I write because I like to create my own stories. I don’t want to write other people’s books or plays, even if they are more lucrative than mine, win more awards, are better written. I don’t want to be another writer, is what I should have said. I just want to work on being an even better version of me.

How about you? Is there an author you’d like to be? 

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6537. Fan Mail Wednesday #183: Tough to Tackle







How does a letter get selected for the blog? No idea! It’s pretty random, but it never hurts your chances when you include original artwork. I love that stuff. Here’s a letter from Ethan in Michigan, including an Ethan original . . .

Fan Mail June 14



I replied:

Dear Ethan:

Thank you for your terrific letter.

I’m so glad that you liked Jigsaw Jones #16: The Case of the Sneaker Sneak. That first chapter, with the football scene, grew directly out of my own childhood memories from Wantagh, my home town on Long Island.

We used to play tackle football all the time. A bunch of neighborhood boys would head over to Beech Street School on our bicycles and play for hours. The hardest boy to tackle was a slightly older, tougher kid named Michael Leninger. I remember him clearly –- and I remember the pride I felt when I took him down all by myself. It was painful, but worth it. I gave those feelings to Jigsaw, more or less, when he tried to tackle Bigs Maloney.

For my blog readers, here’s how the book opens:

Scan 6Eddie Becker grabbed my football jersey. “Okay, Jigsaw. This is it. Tie score,” he urged. “If they score a touchdown now, we lose the game. You know what’s coming, don’t you?”

“Yeah,” I grimaced. “Bigs Maloney, right up the middle.”

Joey Pignattano squeezed his eyes shut. Joey didn’t want any part of tackling Big Maloney. I didn’t blame him. We’d been trying to bring down Bigs all afternoon. It was like trying to tackle a refrigerator. 

Thanks, too, for noticing the opening to Jigsaw Jones #4: The Case of the Spooky Sleepover. That was the first time I ever wrote about Ralphie Jordan. He was “a world-champion smiler. Nobody had a bigger smile or used it more often. Only today, Ralphie wasn’t smiling.”

Have a happy, fun-filled, book-filled summer. And thanks for the awesome artwork! 

My best,

James Preller

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6538. “What he heard caused him to tremble.”

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6539. The Effectiveness of Free eBooks is Declining: Smashwords

Offering up a free copy of your eBook has been a good way for self-published and first-time authors to promote their books to new readers. However, according to a new report from self-publishing site Smashwords, that tool may soon be played out.

Here is more from the Smashwords blog: “Free ebooks, according to our data derived from iBooks downloads, generated 39 times more downloads on average during our survey period than books at any price. Yet the effectiveness of free is down dramatically compared to our 2013 (91X) and 2012 (100X) survey results. While there is still much untapped greenfield opportunity for indies to leverage free, I expect the effectiveness of free will continue to decline as more authors learn to take advantage of it.”

The report, which includes 12 months of sales data for 250,000 titles across eBook retailers, also revealed that $2.99 and $3.99 were a popular price point for strong sales.

We’ve embedded the entire report for you to explore after the jump. (more…)

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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6540. Andy Serkis Is Giving More Credit to the Animators Now

Actor Andy Serkis may have changed his tune somewhat from earlier this spring when he insisted that animators do nothing but add 'digital makeup' on top of his acting.

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6541. Frankfurt Starport

Frank Wunderlich says, "I took these pictures on my Flight back from the States to Germany at the Frankfurt Airport. Seems like the biggest German airport plays a key role as an imperial starport in the new episode -- there have just been imperial forces at the scene." (Link to YouTube)

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6542. Hidden Emotions: How To Tell Readers What Characters Don’t Want To Show

pensiveOne of the struggles that comes with writing is when a character feels  vulnerable  and so tries to hide their emotions as a result.  Fear of emotional pain, a lack of trust in others, instinct, or protecting one’s reputation are all reasons he or she might repress what’s going on inside them. After all, people do this in real life, and so it makes sense that our characters will too.  Protecting oneself from feeling exposed is as normal as it gets.

But where does that leave writers who STILL have to show these hidden emotions to the reader (and possibly other characters in the scene)?

The answer is a “TELL”– a subtle, bodily response or micro gesture that a character has little or no control over.

No matter how hard we try, our bodies are emotional mirrors, and can give our true feelings away.  We can force hands to unknot, fake nonchalance, smile when we don’t mean it and lie as needed. However, to the trained eye, TELLS will leak through: a rushed voice. An off-pitch laugh. Hands that fiddle and smooth.  Self-soothing touches to comfort.  Sweating.

For a story to have emotional range, our characters will naturally hide what they feel at some point, and when they do, the writer must be ready. Readers will be primed for an emotional response by the scene’s build up, and will be on the lookout for a character’s body language cues and tells.

Here is a list of possible TELLS that will convey to readers that more is going on with your Protagonist than it seems:

  • A voice that breaks, drops or raises in pitch; a change in speech patterns
  • Micro hesitations (delayed speech, throat clearing, slow reaction time) showing a lack of commitment
  • A forced smile, laugh or verbally agreeing/disagreeing in a way that does not seem genuine
  • Cancelling gestures (smiling but stepping back; saying No but reaching out, etc.)
  • Hands that fiddle with items, clothing and jewellery
  • Stiff posture and movements; remaining TOO still and composed
  • Rushing (the flight instinct kicking in) or making excuses to leave or avoid a situation
  • A lack of eye contact; purposefully ignoring someone or something
  • Closed body posture (body shielding, arms crossing chest, using the hair to hide the face, etc.)
  • Sweating or trembling, a tautness in the muscles or jaw line
  • Smaller gestures of the emotion ‘leaking out’ (see The Emotion Thesaurus for ideas that match each emotion)
  • Growing inanimate and contributing less to conversation
  • Verbal responses that seem to have double meanings; sarcasm
  • Attempting to intimidate others into dropping a subject
    Overreacting  to something said or done in jest
  • Increasing one’s personal space ( withdrawing from a group, sitting alone, etc.)
  • Tightness around the eyes or mouth (belying the strain of keeping emotion under wraps)
  • Hiding one’s hands in some way

Sometimes a writer can let the character’s true thoughts leak out and this can help  show the reader what’s really being felt. But this only works if the character happens to be the Point Of View Character. The rest of the time, it comes down to micro body language and body tells that are hard, if not impossible, to control.

Have you used any of these tells to show the reader or other characters in the scene that something is wrong? What tells do you notice most in real life as you read the body language of those around you? (These real life interactions can be gold mines for fresh body language cues to apply to your characters!)

TIP: For more inspiration on body language that will convey specific emotions, flip through The Emotion Thesaurus.

TIP 2.0: Becca has a great post on Hidden Emotions as well, and how “Acting Normal” might be the go-to expressive that gets hidden emotions across to the reader, while potentially leaving other characters in the dark.

Original posting
Picture credit

The post Hidden Emotions: How To Tell Readers What Characters Don’t Want To Show appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS.

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6543. don't we all paint the sky with stars when we can't sleep?!

"moonlight mavens"
©the enchanted easel 2014

well, my little elephant, maggie and i surely do. ;)

"monnlight mavens", the new *face* of the enchanted easel. painting finished, scanned and ready to post.

next up? website re-do. (teeth grinding just typing that...)

{p.s. and btw, maggie is really real. sleep with her every single night.....for the last 14 years. :)}

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6544. Hands On Monday..

Every Monday for the duration of our Summer Reading program we will have a table stationed with hands on experiments: Fizz Boom Feel!

This week we have our Touch, Feel, and Squeeze

Kinetic Sand
Can Do Magnification
Lava Lamps

You can continue the fun by making your very own Flubber and lava lamp at home. Just take one our recipes...Enjoy!!

posted by Josephine

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6545. DC won’t permit Superman logo on statue of murdered boy


This may make you cry.

Jeffrey Baldwin is a Toronto child who died of starvation in 2002 after severe abuse at the hands of his grandparents. The grandparents were convicted child abusers but Jeffrey and several siblings were still handed into their care by a children’s “aid” organization. He and a sister were locked in a room and forced to live in their own filth. And worse. In happier days, the boy was a Superman fan who was even photographed wearing the classic uniform.

A Toronto man was so moved by this story—revealed in a long delayed inquest into the death earlier this year—that he comissioned a statue of Jeffrey wearing a Superman uniform.

However, when he asked for permission from DC to include the Superman logo, it was denied.

DC’s senior vice-president of business and legal affairs, Amy Genkins, told Boyce in an email that “for a variety of legal reasons, we are not able to accede to the request, nor many other incredibly worthy projects that come to our attention.”
DC did not immediately return a request for comment.

For Boyce, it was a huge blow, as he felt the Superman aspect was a crucial part of the bronze monument, which will include a bench. The coroner’s inquest heard from Jeffrey’s father that his son loved to dress up as Superman.


Okay I get it. Legal reasons. It’s still kind of sad.

“I’m sort of empathetic to (DC’s) point of view on this, but I feel very strongly that the image of Jeffrey is so powerful,” said Boyce. “It’s the image of a vulnerable boy dressed up as the most invulnerable character in the universe. So I just feel like there’s something lost if we change it.”

Boyce said he was empathetic to DC’s stance because he felt they did not want the Superman character associated with child abuse.

I get that too. But still sad. Superheroes are aspirational character who help get kids through trauma as larger than life figures with larger than life heroism.

Boyce is going to have the “S” on the statue changed to a “J” for Jeffrey.

15 Comments on DC won’t permit Superman logo on statue of murdered boy, last added: 7/8/2014
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6546. Landline

This is A Christmas Carol meets Rainbow Rowell. If you had a telephone that could call your spouse in the past, what would you say? Funny, a tiny bit tragic, and full of Rowell's usual magic and quirk, this is her best book so far. Books mentioned in this post Landline Rainbow Rowell New Hardcover $24.99

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6547. Book Review: BEAUTIFUL OBLIVION, Jamie McGuire.

Reading Level:Contemporary Romance/New Adult




Atria (Simon & Schuster)  7/1/2014



I had pretty high expectations for this book. It's been highly touted on Goodreads, several blogs, EW, etc. Jamie McGuire hit a high note with BEAUTIFUL DISASTER (see my review here). But she falls flat with this Maddox Brothers continuation.

I liked Trent in BD. He seemed like the obvious choice for a book. What went wrong for me was the time period which was during the BD storyline. Couldn't she have made it separate? Does it always have to go back to Travis? Why not let Trent star in his own story?

However that wasn't the main problem. The writing just wasn't there. It didn't keep me glued to my e-reader like BD did. I'm not going to mention WALKING DISASTER because that was a mess. (Um, guess I just mentioned it.)

I like Jamie's style of writing, I do. But she can't try to replicate the success she had with BD with every book she writes. With the exception of not nearly enough F words in this outing, Trent and Travis were interchangeable. There was no difference between the two. Okay, they're brothers, but they're not the same person. I wanted to love Trent, but I think I only just liked his character.

Cami Camlin. She was wishy washy and the 'secret' romance she had going on was too predictable and the glaring hints really didn't make it a surprise at all. If you read Travis' book, you know what Tom is. That's all I have to say on that one.

The roommate, Brazil and the bouncer. Annoying. I really didn't give too much to them and found it slowed the story down a bit. It's pretty bad when you can't remember their names either.

A big disappointment, will I read the next book in the series? Most likely. I hope the typos are not quite as prominent as they were in this one. 

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6548. MB Artists Promotional Cataolg #10

Check out the great new artwork in my agent's newest promotional catalog!  All artists created pieces with a "Food" theme.  I highly recommend sitting down with a bowl of ice cream or a cup of hot chocolate while browsing!  Enjoy!


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6549. Book Review: Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi

From Goodreads: 
In Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, Nabeel Qureshi describes his dramatic journey from Islam to Christianity, complete with friendships, investigations, and supernatural dreams along the way. Providing an intimate window into a loving Muslim home, Qureshi shares how he developed a passion for Islam before discovering, almost against his will, evidence that Jesus rose from the dead and claimed to be God. Unable to deny the arguments but not wanting to deny his family, Qureshi's inner turmoil will challenge Christians and Muslims alike. Engaging and thought-provoking, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus tells a powerful story of the clash between Islam and Christianity in one man's heart---and of the peace he eventually found in Jesus.
As far as the content is concerned, I feel like Qureshi does a great job of presenting information in a way that makes sense and is easy to understand.  Unfortunately, I felt like he chose the wrong way to present that information stylistically.  The book seems to be a memoir, beginning with Qureshi's early life and progressing to the here and now.  However, most of his early experiences are presented in a way that is a thin veil for explaining Islam.  I'm not complaining about the content.  I'm interested in Islam and loved reading about the beliefs from an Islamic point of view.  But I felt like trying to disguise the factual information that Qureshi needed to present with a somewhat half-hearted storyline was a mistake.  I was not at all intrigued by the mundane happenings of his early life and I felt like they didn't serve much of a purpose.  I'd have preferred to read just the description of the underlying beliefs of Islam without the life story details.

Once Qureshi gets to college, however, the story picks up and becomes more interesting.  I'm not sure exactly how I would have worked his early life into the story, but it seemed to be an afterthought compared to the real meat of the story - Qureshi's conversion experiences.  I very much appreciated the use of Christian and Muslim apologetics throughout the story and the fact that Qureshi provided so many sources to readers for further study.

Entertainment Value
As I mentioned above, I found the subject matter and the depth of exploration of both Islam and Christianity to be very compelling.  I like feeling like I've come away from a book with new knowledge, and I certainly gained that from this one.  I wasn't necessarily a fan of the way the information was presented in the first half of the book, though, and I feel like the disconnect I felt from the story hampered my enjoyment.

Because the book is so detailed regarding both religions, I came away happy with what I had learned.  I liked Qureshi and I felt like I really identified with his hunger for knowledge.  It's also a great overview of Islam and Christianity from an apologetics view point.  I might have enjoyed it more if it were presented in a different way, but the quality of information earns no complaints.  I'd recommend this to Christians who have a particular interest in Islam or apologetics and to those who are looking to understand the basics of the Islamic faith.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing a copy for me to review!

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6550. Family Mission Trips- How to Prepare Your Children

by Sally Matheny
Take Your Family on a Mission Trip!
     In making your summer plans, have you considered a family mission trip?  
     A trip planned for serving others, rather than ourselves, puts our faith into action.  When we practice sacrificial giving and serving, our faith grows. Flexibility and working as a team strengthens the family. Leaning to trust God with the details, and most of all, the results of our efforts, trains us for further service.

     If you choose to adventure on a mission trip, here are a few helpful tips on how to prepare your children.

     Essential for a successful trip, with all its details and decisions, is earnest prayer. Through prayer and discussion, focus on the purpose of the trip. Remind one another of the Great Commission and everyone’s need for Christ. Pray continually for the people your family will serve. Every detail—the victories and the snags—are entrusted to God.

Bible Study
Share scriptures on serving
     During family devotion times, include scriptures on serving others.    
     Regularly share with one another how God is working in your life and it will become easier to conduct these same conversations with those outside of your home. Give older children opportunities to practice sharing their faith in a comfortable environment before stretching beyond their comfort zones.
     Remind the family of how God works through our weaknesses. Recall Moses, Paul, and people of today who have reached others through the power of God. God enables ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

     Whether it is within or outside the United States, research the culture of the area you will serve. Host a special family night. Serve foods commonly served there. Watch a movie or read a book about the area.
     Show your children the destination on a map. If possible, let them highlight your travel route and allow them to take this map on the trip.
     Discuss how this is not a vacation. It’s not all about our comfort and pleasure. While there will be fun moments, the focus is on the mission.

     Allow children to help with some of the packing. If there is a required packing list, let children help check off items. Give them choices, when possible—even if it’s between two colors of shirts. This will be another opportunity for children (and parents!) to practice flexibility and sacrifice.
     Will you be taking items to the people you will be serving? This may be Bibles, VBS materials, candy, or other supplies. Enlist the help of your children in collecting and packing the items.

     Pack a backpack of items to keep your child entertained during travel. Consider small toys, card games, art supplies and snacks. Pull out that map with the highlighted travel route. Allow children to trace over the line as the trip progresses, circling areas of interest.
     Help them collect mementos at each stop. Collect items such as tree leaves, area information from free brochures, and camera shots. When you return home, these can be transferred to a scrapbook or lap book.
     Encourage children to share these with family and friends as a way of testifying to God’s goodness on the trip.
Befriending another child is ministry.

     If possible, plan service opportunities that include each member of your family. Running errands, assisting with laundry or just befriending another child are areas of ministry. Stress how God uses all things (big and little) for His glory.
Serve with a humble spirit.
     Remind your children they are there to serve others and how to do that in a way pleasing to God. Perhaps role-play appropriate and inappropriate ways (ex. with humbleness and with haughtiness).
     Also, remember to include Jesus. Repairing a roof for someone benefits him now, but sharing Jesus Christ with him offers eternal rewards. Be intentional and pray for opportunities to witness about Christ’s love.

Spiritual Warfare
     If your children are old enough to understand good and evil, then they will understand that obstacles and difficulties will arise. Discuss the importance of prayer, staying in the Word, and not giving in when difficulties arise. Before the trip, talk about possible trials and temptations and how the family can help each other.
Testing comes when the unexpected
     Testing comes when the unexpected occurs. Understand that the spiritually maturity levels vary in each family. Teach by example by showing the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
     Although no one wants difficulties, they produce a wonderful time to grow in our faith.


Never lacking in zeal.
     Let your love and enthusiasm for the Lord overflow to your children.

    “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:10-12 (NIV)
     Excited about planning your next family trip? Below are a few links to get you started!

    Has your family ventured on a mission trip together? Share with us your helpful tips!

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