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6526. Giveaway of The Rosie Project AND The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

THE ROSIE EFFECT arrived in stores on December 30, 2014, and you can win a copy of The Rosie Effect AND The Rosie Project.

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion is the highly anticipated sequel to The Rosie Project, otherwise known as the quirky little Australian romantic comedy about a socially inept genetics professor, Don Tillman, and his free spirited girlfriend, Rosie Jarman, that has captured the hearts of nearly 2 million readers around the world.

Visit www.RosieBooks.com for videos, excerpts, and reading group guides from both The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect.

Graeme Simsion imbued The Rosie Project with such heart that saying goodbye to Don and Rosie on the last page felt bittersweet. In The Rosie Effect, we get to reconnect with the couple as they relocate to New York City and prepare to welcome an unplanned addition to their family.  If the fundamental illogic of falling in love befuddled Don, wait until you see what impending fatherhood does to him.  Once again, people around you will wonder what has set you off into fits of laughter as you turn the pages.

 Join in the fun, and enter both giveaways sponsored by Simon & Schuster.  Entry links are below.

There will be TWO lucky winners, but only one book of each will be given away.

Sign up for the giveaway of The Rosie Effect here and sign up  for the giveaway of The Rosie Project here.

USA Entries only 

January 5 through January 12.

Best of luck to all those who enter the contest.

0 Comments on Giveaway of The Rosie Project AND The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion as of 1/8/2015 11:25:00 PM
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6527. Book Trailer Premiere: RED – A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall

I’m pleased as punch to be premiering the book trailer for Michael Hall’s rather magnificent picture book RED today.  The simple tale of a blue crayon labelled with a red wrapper, it’s rather subtle and brilliant.  Naturally I wanted to know where Hall got the idea for it in the first place.  Here’s his response to that query:

My interest in crayons began when I fell in love with Mickey Myers’ Crayola prints (see below) in the 80s. Crayons — when represented in two dimensions on paper — make an appealing subject. They are also joyful and unpretentious, and they can work as a metaphor for many things. I used them several times in my graphic design work.

At one point, I made a series of drawings by scribbling one entire crayon—until the crayon was too small to hold—onto a piece of toothy paper and gluing the crayon’s label below the drawing. Each one seemed like a picture of a life. There were many variations; one of them involved pairing one colored scribble with a different colored label.

Later, when I began making picture books, I knew that at least one of them would be about crayons, and the mismatched label idea seemed like a good place to start.

At first, I couldn’t let go of some of the more grown-up aspects of the metaphor. My first draft followed Red, a blue crayon with a red label, until he was completely used up, and the crayons put his label to rest in a grassy field. The berry crayon delivered the eulogy: “When I look up at the clouds, I can’t help but feel that he’s still with us.” And the last page — a picture of the ceremony beneath a crayoned blue sky — read: “And he still was.”

Needless to say the tale is vastly different from this first draft.  No crayon funerals are in evidence now.  Just a great book with a kicker of an ending.

Enjoy the trailer!

Many thanks to the folks at Harper Collins for passing it along.


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6528. It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - 1/5/14

I hope you had a great reading week.  
This is a weekly meme run by Book Journey!

Post the books completed last week, the books you are currently reading, and the books you hope to finish this week. 


Books Completed Last Week:

HUSH HUSH by Laura Lippman for a February 24, 2015 post.

It wasn't a favorite...it was a bit confusing.

Book Currently Reading: 

THE SECRET OF MAGIC by Deborah Johnson for a January 15, 2015, post.

Books Up Next:   

ONE STEP TOO FAR by Tina Seskis for a February 2, 2015, post.

WAR OF THE WIVES  by Tamar Cohen for a February 12, 2015, post.

THE POCKET WIFE by Susan Crawford for a March 17, 2015, post.

The author told a friend of mine how she got the title for her book, and I love it.  Can't wait to read THE POCKET WIFE.

NIGHT NIGHT, SLEEP TIGHT by Hallie Ephron for a March 24, 2015 post.

THE SILVER WITCH by Paula Brackston for an April 16, 2015 post.

TAHOE GHOST by Todd Borg

HIGH SEAS DARKNESS by Burr B. Anderson

THREE STORY HOUSE by Courtney Miller Santo

GARDEN OF LETTERS by Alyson Richman






WOMAN OF ILL FAME by Erika Mailman


PERFECT by Rachel Joyce



The books below are not necessarily in the order I have planned to read them.  

I normally read in order of publication or tour date.

And....these are not for reading in the upcoming week.  They are books into and including all of 2014.

The "list" is a means of keeping me organized.  A visual display helps a lot for organization along with my Excel lists. 


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6529. SEVEN Giveaways plus New YALit Releases 1/5/15-1/11/15

Happy New Year! There are a ton of great new releases this week, and we are giving away SEVEN amazing books. What a great way to start the year!

~The ladies of AYAP
Martina, Alyssa, Lisa, Susan, Shelly, Jocelyn, Becca, and Jan


* * * *

by Sophie Littlefield
Hardcover Giveaway (3 Copies)
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Released 1/6/2015

The race-against-the-clock feel of TV’s popular show 24 meets the action-packed romance of the film Run Lola Run. This high-concept teen thriller sends readers on the race of their lives.

Carina’s senior year is spiraling downward. Fast. Both her mother and her uncle, the only two family members she’s ever known, are dead. Their deaths were accidents, unfortunate results of the highly confidential research they performed for a national security organization. Or so she’s been told.

She’s not buying it.

After finding a unique code hidden beneath the stone in a ring her mother left to her, Carina goes straight to the only family she has left: her boyfriend, Tanner.

The people Carina loved kept dangerous secrets. Secrets that make her question the life she’s been living up to now. Her life is on the line, but more importantly, so is Tanner’s. And if she fails? He dies.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Infected?

I was tempted to say that my favorite thing is the eye-catching shiny green cover, which is truly one of the best I’ve ever received, but as far as the story itself goes, I love the capable, brave, kick-ass character of my heroine, Carina. She’s both physically strong and mentally tough, but she’s also emotionally courageous. In short, she’s a person I’d love to know.

Purchase Infected at Amazon
Purchase Infected at IndieBound
View Infected on Goodreads

* * * *

by Gina Damico
Signed Hardcover plus Swag Giveaway
U.S. Only

HMH Books for Young Readers
Released 1/6/2015

A devil is a bad influence . . . There was a time when geeky, squeaky-clean Max Kilgore would never lie or steal or even think about murder. Then he accidentally unearths a devil, and Max’s choices are no longer his own. The big red guy has a penchant for couch surfing and junk food—and you should never underestimate evil on a sugar high. With the help of Lore, a former goth girl who knows a thing or two about the dark side, Max is racing against the clock to get rid of the houseguest from hell before time, and all the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos this side of the fiery abyss, run out. Gina Damico, author of the Croak series, once again delivers all the horror, hilarity, and high-stakes drama that any kid in high school or hell could ever handle.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Hellhole?

I really like the character of Burg, the devil that pops up into Max's life and refuses to go away. He's such a mess - eats a ton of snacks, gets drunk, turns the basement into a pigsty. And he's a jerk, too, as devils are wont to be. The things he does to torture Max are really infuriating and mean...but at the same time, he's kind of lovable. He takes such pleasure in the little things up on the surface of the earth that he doesn't have access to in hell. And you get the sense that deep down, maybe he's not as bad as he seems. Or is he?

Purchase Hellhole at Amazon
Purchase Hellhole at IndieBound
View Hellhole on Goodreads

* * * *

by Sara B. Larson
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Scholastic Press
Released 1/6/2015

Murder, abductions, and forbidden romance abound in this thrilling sequel to Sara B. Larson's acclaimed YA debut, DEFY.

Alexa remains by the newly crowned King Damian’s side as his guard, ever committed to helping him rebuild Antion and reclaim the hope of Antion's people, despite continuing to harbor a secret love for him. However, when another threat to Damian and his kingdom emerges, and blame is cast on their newly forged allies from Blevon, Alexa knows things are not what they seem. With the fate of her nation hanging in the balance once again, will Alexa be able to protect her king and uncover the true enemy -- before it's too late?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Ignite?

Ooh, that’s tough. I love so many things about IGNITE. But I think my favorite thing about IGNITE is the chance to go back into the world of Antion with Alexa, Damian, Rylan (and everyone else)—to continue their journey, to watch them grow, and hurt, and love, face new challenges and still somehow keep going. My goal with every book I write is to try and make it better than the last, and I hope that you will feel that I have accomplished that with IGNITE!

Purchase Ignite at Amazon
Purchase Ignite at IndieBound
View Ignite on Goodreads

* * * *

Vivian Apple at the End of the World
by Katie Coyle
Hardcover Giveaway
HMH Books for Young Readers
Released 1/6/2015

Seventeen-year-old Vivian Apple never believed in the evangelical Church of America, unlike her recently devout parents. But when Vivian returns home the night after the supposed "Rapture," all that’s left of her parents are two holes in the roof. Suddenly, she doesn't know who or what to believe. With her best friend Harp and a mysterious ally, Peter, Vivian embarks on a desperate cross-country roadtrip through a paranoid and panic-stricken America to find answers. Because at the end of the world, Vivan Apple isn't looking for a savior. She's looking for the truth.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Vivian Apple at the End of the World?

My favorite thing about Vivian Apple is Vivian Apple herself! When I began to sketch out the story that would become the novel, I had a very specific goal to write a character that felt complicated and real to me. I wanted Vivian to be thoughtful and funny and active in shaping her own destiny, and I wanted her to have all the anxieties, dreams, confusions, and convictions that I remember from my own time as a seventeen-year-old. I’m a lot like Vivian in many ways, but there are other ways in which she completely surprised me. She was a very rewarding character to write about, and I find myself thinking about her sometimes as if she’s a real person out in the world, and wondering what she’s up to.

Purchase Vivian Apple at the End of the World at Amazon
Purchase Vivian Apple at the End of the World at IndieBound
View Vivian Apple at the End of the World on Goodreads

* * * *

X: A Novel
by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon
Hardcover Giveaway
Released 1/6/2015

Cowritten by Malcolm X’s daughter, this riveting and revealing novel follows the formative years of the man whose words and actions shook the world.

I am Malcolm.
I am my father’s son. But to be my father’s son means that they will always come for me.

They will always come for me, and I will always succumb.

Malcolm Little’s parents have always told him that he can achieve anything, but from what he can tell, that's nothing but a pack of lies—after all, his father's been murdered, his mother's been taken away, and his dreams of becoming a lawyer have gotten him laughed out of school. There’s no point in trying, he figures, and lured by the nightlife of Boston and New York, he escapes into a world of fancy suits, jazz, girls, and reefer.

But Malcolm’s efforts to leave the past behind lead him into increasingly dangerous territory when what starts as some small-time hustling quickly spins out of control. Deep down, he knows that the freedom he’s found is only an illusion—and that he can't run forever.

X follows Malcolm from his childhood to his imprisonment for theft at age twenty, when he found the faith that would lead him to forge a new path and command a voice that still resonates today.<

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about X: A Novel?

Kekla Magoon:  Can I start with how excited I was when Ilyasah invited me to write this novel with her? The concept was just so incredibly cool and I immediately knew I wanted to be involved in the project. Malcolm X's life and work and the inspiration of his example to the world has long been important to me, as a writer and as a black woman living my life in this country. It's been so meaningful to get to know Malcolm's life story better, and to play a role in sharing that powerful story in a way that has never been done before. I have heard Ilyasah say many times that she feels it is a honor and a privilege to be charged with carrying her father's legacy forward, and as a collaborating writer on X, I felt that special weight of responsibility as well. We are both really thrilled that a new generation of young readers will be able to discover Malcolm X through our book.

Purchase X: A Novel at Amazon
Purchase X: A Novel at IndieBound
View X: A Novel on Goodreads


* * * *

Atlantis Rising
by Gloria Craw
Entangled: Teen
Released 1/6/2015

An engrossing fantasy about the descendants of Atlantis, and the one girl who could save or destroy them all.

Tabitha has perfected the art of invisibility. Nondescript clothes, no friends to speak of, good grades--but not so good that she would stand out. After graduation she is going to pack up her junkyard car, pocket the wad of cash she'd earned over the years, and disappear.

It's not because she isn't happy. Far from it--she loves her family, doesn't mind Las Vegas (despite the inherit issues that come with pale skin and a desert climate), and would actually like to go to college. But it would be too dangerous for her to stay. Because Tabitha isn't normal. She's a Dewing, part of a superhuman species descending from the original inhabitants of Atlantis. The Dewing grow up and attend college, but they don't grow old and they have special abilities that allow them to erase memories, see the future, and more.

Tabitha's senior year quickly becomes a mess of complicated when she literally runs into a new student, Brice. There's something different about him. Special. And it shouldn't be a huge surprise when she discovers that he is a Dewing as well. And that the entire Dewing community is looking for her. They believe that she is the key in a centuries old war between two factions of the Dewing society--a war that forces Tabitha to choose between her human world and the Dewing community.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Atlantis Rising?

There are so many, but I think it’s probably the connection between Alison, the heroine, and Lillian, the woman she works for after school. Alison is young and a bit of a smarty pants. Lillian is old and has been alone for so long she doesn’t remember how normal people react to things. Circumstances force these very different people together, and they find they share some common emotional wounds. They are both very brave in their own way. As the story moves, there are subtle things they do to help each other. Lillian was a favorite of mine from the moment I first envisioned her. On the page, she and Alison had such natural chemistry it was easy to write their dialogue. There’s a poignant moment between them that makes me tear up every time I read it.

Purchase Atlantis Rising at Amazon
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View Atlantis Rising on Goodreads

* * * *

City 1
by Gregg Rosenblum
Released 1/6/2015

In the explosive conclusion to the thrilling Revolution 19 series, the time has come to win the cities back from the bots—or die trying.

After finally reuniting at a rebel camp, siblings Nick, Kevin, and Cass are willing to do anything to stay together—and free their parents from bot rule. But the leader of the rebel camp has her own ideas. Cruel and determined, General Clay won’t let anything stand in the way of her plan to destroy the robots and all the brainwashed humans. This means their parents’ lives are at stake, but Nick, Kevin, and Cass can’t desert the rebels when they’re so close to freedom. How far will they go to save the world they believe in?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about City 1?

I loved having the opportunity to flesh out a few of my favorite side characters, especially Grennel and Erica. I especially enjoyed exploring their “greyness”…they’re not truly good or bad; they’re complicated people with whom readers can hopefully sympathize while still disliking their actions. I wanted readers to be conflicted, to find themselves liking Grennel and Erica but feeling a bit guilty about it.

Purchase City 1 at Amazon
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View City 1 on Goodreads

* * * *

by Amanda Hocking
St. Martin's Griffin; Hardcover Edition edition
Released 1/6/2015

Hidden deep in the heart of a snow-covered wilderness lies the secret kingdom of the Kanin—a magical realm as beautiful as it is treacherous…Bryn Aven has never fit into Kanin society. Her blond hair and blue eyes set her apart as an outsider—a half-blood unable to hold a respectable rank. But she’s determined to prove herself as a loyal protector of the kingdom she loves. Her dream is to become a member of the King’s elite guard, and she’s not going to let anything stand in her way…not even her growing feelings for her boss, Ridley Dresden. A relationship between them is strictly forbidden, but Bryn can’t fight her attraction to him. And she’s beginning to think he feels it too. Meanwhile, there’s an attack on the kingdom—one that will test Bryn’s strength like never before. Finally, she has the chance to confront Konstantin Black, the traitor who tried to kill her father years ago. It’s up to Bryn to put a stop to him before he strikes again. But is she willing to risk everything to protect a kingdom that doesn’t accept her for who she really is? And when her mission brings her closer to Ridley, will she be able to deny her heart?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Frostfire?

My favorite thing about FROSTFIRE is exploring the world of the trolls even more. In the Trylle series, I only touched on things, because everything was so new to Wendy. But with Bryn Aven growing up embedded in the world, I was able to show so many new aspects of the society.

Purchase Frostfire at Amazon
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View Frostfire on Goodreads

* * * *

The Boy in the Black Suit
by Jason Reynolds
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Released 1/6/2015

Just when seventeen-year-old Matt thinks he can’t handle one more piece of terrible news, he meets a girl who’s dealt with a lot more—and who just might be able to clue him in on how to rise up when life keeps knocking him down—in this wry, gritty novel from the author of When I Was the Greatest.

Matt wears a black suit every day. No, not because his mom died—although she did, and it sucks. But he wears the suit for his gig at the local funeral home, which pays way better than the Cluck Bucket, and he needs the income since his dad can’t handle the bills (or anything, really) on his own. So while Dad’s snagging bottles of whiskey, Matt’s snagging fifteen bucks an hour. Not bad. But everything else? Not good. Then Matt meets Lovey. She’s got a crazy name, and she’s been through more crazy than he can imagine. Yet Lovey never cries. She’s tough. Really tough. Tough in the way Matt wishes he could be. Which is maybe why he’s drawn to her, and definitely why he can’t seem to shake her. Because there’s nothing more hopeful than finding a person who understands your loneliness—and who can maybe even help take it away.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Boy in the Black Suit?

Such a tough question. My knee-jerk response is always that I love characters. I love them. Most of my work is undeniably character-driven because I believe that they are who we bite down on. Who we latch on to. Who we connect with. But in this book, I have to say that my favorite things are the funerals. And perhaps the reason I feel this way is because the funerals are characters in and of themselves. They are alive, and complex, and nuanced, and they dance and move with the human characters of the story in a way that I honestly didn't predict.

Purchase The Boy in the Black Suit at Amazon
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View The Boy in the Black Suit on Goodreads

* * * *

There Will Be Lies
by Nick Lake
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Released 1/6/2015

In four hours, Shelby Jane Cooper will be struck by a car.

Shortly after, she and her mother will leave the hospital and set out on a winding journey toward the Grand Canyon.

All Shelby knows is that they’re running from dangers only her mother understands. And the further they travel, the more Shelby questions everything about her past—and her current reality. Forced to take advantage of the kindness of unsuspecting travelers, Shelby grapples with what’s real, what isn’t, and who she can trust . . . if anybody.

Award-winning author Nick Lake proves his skills as a master storyteller in this heart-pounding new novel. This emotionally charged thrill ride leads to a shocking ending that will have readers flipping back to the beginning.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about There Will Be Lies?

I think my favourite thing is that it’s the story of one person – Shelby Jane Cooper – and what happens to her. The entire novel, whether Shelby is on the run across Arizona with her mother, or holed up in a motel room with a SWAT team outside, or whether she’s in the world of the Dreaming with Coyote guiding her to the castle where the crone lives, follows her journey and her gradual realisation of who and what she is.

I’ve written a few books now, and I always struggled to construct an arc that stuck firmly with just one character. In Darkness switched back and forth between Shorty and Toussaint l’Ouverture, and even though they were in some sense the same person, there was a duality of narrative there. Hostage Three was interrupted by the folk tales that Farouz tells to Amy. There Will Be Lies was the first time I felt confident enough to stick with the one story throughout, and yeah, I suppose I’m pleased that it has that unity of character at least.

Of course, it still flits between the real world and the Dreaming, so I’m still working on it. The book I’m editing right now, Whisper To Me, which I think is going to be coming out some time in Summer 16, is just one girl and just one world all the way through. So maybe all these books have been a long way of getting to that point.

Purchase There Will Be Lies at Amazon
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View There Will Be Lies on Goodreads


* * * *

All the Bright Places
by Jennifer Niven
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Released 1/6/2015

The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this compelling, exhilarating, and beautiful story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister's recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

Purchase All the Bright Places at Amazon
Purchase All the Bright Places at IndieBound
View All the Bright Places on Goodreads

* * * *

by Melissa West
Entangled: Teen
Released 1/6/2015

Ari Alexander is now back on Earth, and the world she left behind has been turned upside down. A new leader has risen to power, her friends have become her enemies, and Jackson is thought to be trapped on Loge with her archrival, Zeus.

Now Ari must determine who is the true enemy before Zeus attacks and Earth is forced into a battle of the dominant species.

Will Ari and Jackson’s love give them the strength to survive the greatest war in human history?

Purchase Collide at Amazon
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View Collide on Goodreads

* * * *

Dead of Winter
by Kresley Cole
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Released 1/6/2015

Can Evie convince her rival loves to work together? Their survival depends on it in this third book of #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole’s Arcana Chronicles, a nonstop action tale of rescue, redemption, and a revenge most wicked.

Heartbreaking decisions
Evie was almost seduced by the life of comfort that Death offered her—until Jack was threatened by two of the most horrific Arcana, The Lovers. She will do anything to save him, even escape Death’s uncanny prison, full of beautiful objects, material comforts…and stolen glances from a former love.

Uncertain victory
Despite leaving a part of her heart behind with Death, Evie sets out into a frozen and perilous post-apocalyptic wasteland to meet up with her allies and launch an attack on The Lovers and the vast army they command. Such formidable enemies require a battle plan, and the only way to kill them once and for all may mean Evie, Jack, and Death allying. Evie doesn’t know what will prove more impossible: surviving slavers, plague, Bagmen and other Arcana—or convincing Jack and Death to work together.

Two heroes returned
There’s a thin line between love and hate, and Evie just doesn’t know where she stands with either Jack or Death. Will this unlikely trio be able to defeat The Lovers without killing one another first?

Purchase Dead of Winter at Amazon
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View Dead of Winter on Goodreads

* * * *

Deep Sea
by Annika Thor
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Released 1/6/2015

Readers of Anne of Green Gables and Hattie Ever After will love following Stephie's story, which takes place during World War II and began with A Faraway Island and continued with The Lily Pond.

Three years ago, Stephie and her younger sister, Nellie, escaped the Nazis in Vienna and fled to an island in Sweden, where they were taken in by different families. Now sixteen-year-old Stephie is going to school on the mainland. Stephie enjoys her studies, and rooming with her school friend, May. But life is only getting more complicated as she gets older.

Stephie might lose the grant money that is funding her education. Her old friend Verra is growing up too fast. And back on the island, Nellie wants to be adopted by her foster family. Stephie, on the other hand, can't stop thinking about her parents, who are in a Nazi camp in Austria. If only the war would end….

Like the deep sea, Stephie's life is filled with danger and darkness, but also with beauty and hope as she learns to stand up for her beliefs and be true to herself.

Purchase Deep Sea at Amazon
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View Deep Sea on Goodreads

* * * *

by A. G. Howard
Amulet Books
Released 1/6/2015

After surviving a disastrous battle at prom, Alyssa has embraced her madness and gained perspective. She’s determined to rescue her two worlds and the people and netherlings she loves. Even if it means challenging Queen Red to a final battle of wills and wiles . . . and even if the only way to Wonderland, now that the rabbit hole is closed, is through the looking-glass world—a parallel dimension filled with mutated and violent netherling outcasts.

In the final installment of the wildly popular Splintered trilogy, Alyssa and her dad journey into the heart of magic and mayhem in search of her mom and to set right all that’s gone wrong. Together with Jeb and Morpheus, they must salvage Wonderland from the decay and destruction that has ensnared it. But if they succeed and come out alive, can everyone truly have their happily ever after?

Purchase Ensnared at Amazon
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View Ensnared on Goodreads

* * * *

by Brandon Sanderson
Delacorte Press
Released 1/6/2015

From the #1 "New York Times" bestselling author of Words of Radiance coauthor of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, and creator of the internationally bestselling Mistborn Trilogy, Brandon Sanderson presents the second book in the Reckoners series: Firefight, the sequel to the #1 bestseller Steelheart.

They told David it was impossible--that even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic. Yet, Steelheart--invincible, immortal, unconquerable--is dead. And he died by David's hand.

Eliminating Steelheart was supposed to make life more simple. Instead, it only made David realize he has questions. Big ones. And there's no one in Newcago who can give him the answers he needs.

Babylon Restored, the old borough of Manhattan, has possibilities, though. Ruled by the mysterious High Epic, Regalia, David is sure Babylon Restored will lead him to what he needs to find. And while entering another city oppressed by a High Epic despot is a gamble, David's willing to risk it. Because killing Steelheart left a hole in David's heart. A hole where his thirst for vengeance once lived. Somehow, he filled that hole with another Epic--Firefight. And he's willing to go on a quest darker, and more dangerous even, than the fight against Steelheart to find her, and to get his answers.

Purchase Firefight at Amazon
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* * * *

Gone Too Far
by Natalie Richards
Sourcebooks Fire
Released 1/6/2015

Keeping secrets ruined her life. But the truth might just kill her.

Piper Woods can't wait for the purgatory of senior year to end. She skirts the fringes of high school like a pro until the morning she finds a notebook with mutilated photographs and a list of student sins. She's sure the book is too gruesome to be true, until pretty, popular Stella dies after a sex-tape goes viral. Everyone's sure it's suicide, but Piper remembers Stella's name from the book and begins to suspect something much worse.

Drowning in secrets she doesn't want to keep, Piper's fears are confirmed when she receives an anonymous text message daring her to make things right. All she needs to do is choose a name, the name of someone who deserves to be punished...

Purchase Gone Too Far at Amazon
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View Gone Too Far on Goodreads

* * * *

Hold Tight, Don't Let Go
by Laura Rose Wagner
Amulet Books
Released 1/6/2015

Hold Tight, Don’t Let Go follows the vivid story of two teenage cousins, raised as sisters, who survive the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti. After losing the woman who raised them in the tragedy, Magdalie and Nadine must fend for themselves in the aftermath of the quake. The girls are inseparable, making the best of their new circumstances in a refugee camp with an affectionate, lively camaraderie, until Nadine, whose father lives in Miami, sends for her but not Magdalie. As she leaves, Nadine makes a promise she cannot keep: to bring Magdalie to Miami, too. Resourceful Magdalie focuses her efforts on a reunion with Nadine until she realizes her life is in Haiti, and that she must embrace its possibilities for love, friendship, and a future.

Purchase Hold Tight, Don't Let Go at Amazon
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View Hold Tight, Don't Let Go on Goodreads

* * * *

Monkey Wars
by Richard Kurti
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Released 1/6/2015

A dark fable in the vein of Animal Farm, Watership Down, and The Wave, this action-packed page-turner is told entirely from warring monkeys' points of view and shines a light on the politics of power, the rise of tyrants, and the personal dilemmas that must be faced when your life is on the line.

When rhesus monkeys are brutally massacred on the dusty streets of Kolkata by a troop of power-hungry langur monkeys, Mico, a privileged langur, becomes entangled in the secrets that lie at the heart of his troop’s leadership and is shocked at what he discovers. He feels compelled to help the few surviving rhesus, especially Papina, a young female he befriends, even though doing so goes against everything he’s been taught. As more blood is spilled, Mico realizes that choosing between right and wrong won’t be easy.

* Includes a Note from the Author as well as information about specific monkey species.

Purchase Monkey Wars at Amazon
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View Monkey Wars on Goodreads

* * * *

by Jennifer Rush
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Released 1/6/2015

The Branch is in shambles, but Anna, Sam, Cas, and Nick can't rest easy. Remnants of the organization lurk unseen and the flashbacks to their old lives are only getting stronger--especially Nick's.

Following scattered memories and clues from his Branch file, Nick sets off alone in search of answers and in search of the girl who haunts his dreams. But the sleepy town where she lives in full of secrets and Nick soon learns that uncovering their shared past may have deadly consequences.

Purchase Reborn at Amazon
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* * * *

The Ghosts of Heaven
by Marcus Sedgwick
Roaring Brook Press
Released 1/6/2015

Timeless, beautiful, and haunting, spirals connect the four episodes of The Ghosts of Heaven, the mesmerizing new novel from Printz Award winner Marcus Sedgwick. They are there in prehistory, when a girl picks up a charred stick and makes the first written signs; there tens of centuries later, hiding in the treacherous waters of Golden Beck that take Anna, who people call a witch; there in the halls of a Long Island hospital at the beginning of the 20th century, where a mad poet watches the oceans and knows the horrors it hides; and there in the far future, as an astronaut faces his destiny on the first spaceship sent from earth to colonize another world. Each of the characters in these mysterious linked stories embarks on a journey of discovery and survival; carried forward through the spiral of time, none will return to the same place.

Purchase The Ghosts of Heaven at Amazon
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View The Ghosts of Heaven on Goodreads

* * * *

The Law of Loving Others
by Kate Axelrod
Released 1/8/2015

Terrified by the realization that she could lose her mother to schizophrenia, Emma spirals out of control over the course of one winter break.

The car glows with that careless feeling before the freedom of winter break as Emma drives home from boarding school with her boyfriend, Daniel. But when Emma calls to tell her mom she’ll be home before dinner, something is wrong. Just hours after Emma returns home, she realizes that her mom is suffering from a schizophrenic break. Emma’s entire childhood and identity is called into question. How could the woman who sent huge care packages of candy to sleep away camp be the same woman duct taping their windows to keep out the voices in her head? In her search for answers, Emma lands on a terrible possibility: schizophrenia is genetic. Emma could have only a few more years of sanity. Emma could end up just like her mom.

In the span of just one winter break, Emma’s life falls apart. Her relationships alter forever and she is forced to see the hard reality in a line from Anna Karenina: “The law of loving others could not be discovered by reason, because it is unreasonable.”

Purchase The Law of Loving Others at Amazon
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View The Law of Loving Others on Goodreads

* * * *

by J.J. Howard
Putnam Juvenile
Released 1/8/2015

An action-packed romance—now a major motion picture starring Taylor Lautner.

Cam is a New York City bike messenger with no family and some dangerous debts. While on his route one day, he runs into a beautiful stranger named Nikki—but she quickly disappears. When he sees her again around town, he realizes that she lives within the intense world of parkour: an underground group of teens who have turned New York City into their own personal playground—running, jumping, seemingly flying through the city like an urban obstacle course.

Cam becomes fascinated with Nikki and falls in with the group, who offer him the chance to make some extra money. But Nikki is dating their brazen leader, and when the stakes become life-or-death, Cam is torn between following his heart and sacrificing everything to pay off his debts.

In the vein of great box-office blockbusters, the high-stakes romance here sizzles within this page-turning thriller that will leave readers feeling like they are flying through the streets of New York.

Purchase Tracers at Amazon
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View Tracers on Goodreads

* * * *

by Kathleen Peacock
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 1/6/2015

Willowgrove is Kathleen Peacock's riveting conclusion to the Hemlock trilogy, a dark, romantic, paranormal suspense series that pits friendship against survival, and trust against love.

Ever since Mac's best friend, Amy, was murdered, Hemlock has been a dangerous place. But now that Mac, her boyfriend, Kyle, and Amy's ex, Jason, have investigated a mass breakout from Thornhill, a werewolf "rehabilitation" camp, the danger has only grown. Fear of the infection spreading is now at an all-time high, and anyone with a scar is suspected of being a wolf.

What makes Mac even more afraid, though, are the dark experiments that the warden of Thornhill was performing on wolves in a secret asylum called Willowgrove. Uncovering the truth about what happened may be the only way for Mac to save everyone she loves and end her nightmares for good.

Purchase Willowgrove at Amazon
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View Willowgrove on Goodreads

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6530. Sunday Sketching -

New Year. More sketching. 
In the teensy purse Moleskine balanced upon my knee....

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6531. The Gates of Atlantis Complete Ebook Collection for 99 Cents...

We are excited to announce the amazing sale of THE GATES OF ATLANTIS COMPLETE COLLECTION on eBook. You can get this fantastic middle-grade series for just $0.99 (regularly $19.99). This sale price will available December 29th through January 12th. To help celebrate such a sale the Atlantis authors are giving away a Kindle to one lucky winner. 

Don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY at the bottom of this post!

Centuries ago the great city of Atlantis had to be hidden from humans. Now magically buried in the depths of the ocean, it is the source of all magic. All is well in the magical world…until the leaders of Atlantis listen to the whims of a mad man.

A group of teens set out on their own unique quests to fight for the world they love. They face dangers they didn’t know existed. As they battle their way through mysterious tunnels and secrets of the ancient world, they find themselves in a race against time. One by one, the mad man will shut down the Gates of Atlantis and destroy the magic. Can these unlikely heroes stop him before it’s too late?

Book 1: BANSHEE AT THE GATE, by Wendy Knight: Half-human, half-banshee Seven loves her life with her awesome brother Haran and her dad while delivering souls safely to death...until Death comes calling for Haran.

Book 2: GUARDIANS OF THE GATES, by Laura D. Bastian: Mermaid Talia wants to be a Guardian. Exander wants to leave Atlantis and explore the upper world. An accident at one of the gates gives them both their chance, but they also make a startling discovery—someone is destroying the gates.

Book 3: SECRETS OF THE MINE, by Juli Caldwell: Adam believes in myths and magic. Clancy doesn’t. Two normal kids’ lives change when they embark on the adventure of a lifetime on the back of a sea kelpie...if only they can get away from the strange creatures that are determined to stop them.

Book 4: MAGICIANS OF THE DEEP, by Jaclyn Weist: A trip to Ireland changes Colin’s life when a bite from a mysterious fish awakens unlimited knowledge and dormant magical powers. He knows exactly how to save a magical world, but can he get there before it’s too late?

Book 5: MADNESS BEHIND THE THRONE, by J.R. Simmons: Phoibos, bullied and taunted by other kids, believes something is wrong with Atlantis. His charm with the nobility and skill as warrior as he grows make him believe nothing will stop his quest to purge Atlantis from everything he finds impure.

Book 6: BATTLE FOR ACROPOLIS, by Mikey Brooks: Talon keeps getting in trouble. It’s not his fault things around him randomly burst into flame, but he’s not sticking around to find out what happens next. When foster sister Hattie encourages him to run, they make a break for it, only to find an unexpected destiny awaiting them in Atlantis. They just have to get there first. When they do, they find a lot of help. Characters from all the previous books appear to help fight Phoibos. These unlikely heroes risk it all to save the magic and fight for Atlantis.

Where to get the series on eBook:

One lucky winner will be selected to win a Kindle, 6" Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi (Retail price of $79.99). A winner will be selected from those living within the continental United States. The winner will be announced January 13th and they will be notified via email to provide a valid mailing address. Good luck to all the entries and thank you for helping us share the news about this awesome series.

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6532. Stardust making homes in space

Although we rarely stop to think about the origin of the elements of our bodies, we are directly connected to the greater universe. In fact, we are literally made of stardust that was liberated from the interiors of dying stars in gigantic explosions, and then collected to form our Earth as the solar system took shape some 4.5 billion years ago. Until about two decades ago, however, we knew only of our own planetary system so that it was hard to know for certain how planets formed, and what the history of the matter in our bodies was.

Then, in 1995, the first planet to orbit a distant Sun-like star was discovered. In the 20 years since then, thousands of others have been found. Most planets cannot be detected with our present-day technologies, but estimates based on those that we have observed suggest that almost every star in the sky has at least one extrasolar planet (or exoplanet) orbiting it. That means that there are more than 100 billion planetary systems in our Milky Way Galaxy alone! Imagine that: astronomers have gone from knowing of 1 planetary system to some 100 billion, in the same decades in which human genome scientists sequenced the 6 billion base-pairs that lie at the foundation of our bodies. How many of these planetary systems could potentially support life, and would that life use a similar code?

Exoplanets are much too far away to be actually imaged, and they are way too faint to be directly observed next to the bright glow of the stars they orbit. Therefore, the first exoplanet discoveries were made through the gravitational tug on their central star during their orbits. This pull moves the star slightly back and forth. Only relatively heavy, close-in planets can be detected that way, using the repeating Doppler shifts of their central star’s light from red to blue and back. Another way to find planets is to measure how they block the light of their central star if they happen to cross in front of it as seen from Earth. If they are seen to do this twice or more, the temporary dimmings of their star’s light can disclose the planet’s size and distance to its star (basically using the local “year” – the time needed to orbit its star – for these calculations).  If both the gravitational tug and the dimming profile can be measured, then even the mass of the planet can be estimated. Size and mass together give an average density from which, in turn, knowledge of the chemical composition of that planet comes within reach.

Star trails, by MLazarevski. CC-BY-ND-2.0 via Flickr.

With the discoveries of so many planets, we have realized that an astonishing diversity exists: hot Jupiter-sized planets that orbit closer to their star than Mercury orbits the Sun, quasi-Earth-sized planets that may have rain showers of molten iron or glass, frozen planets around faintly-glowing red dwarf stars, and possibly some billions of Earth-sized planets at distances from their host stars where liquid water could exist on the surface, possibly supporting life in a form that we might recognize if we saw it.

Guided by these recent observations, mega-computers programmed with the laws of physics give us insight into how these exo-worlds are formed, from their initial dusty disks to the eventual complement of star-orbiting planets. We can image the disks directly by focusing on the faint infrared glow of their gas and dust that is warmed by their proximity to their star. We cannot, however, directly see these far-away planets, at least not yet. But now, for the first time, we can at least see what forming planets do to the gas and dust around them in the process of becoming a mature heavenly body.

A new observatory, called ALMA, working with microwaves that lie even beyond the infrared color range, has been built in the dry Atacama desert in Chili. ALMA was pointed at a young star, hundreds of light years away. Its image of that target star, LH Tauri, not only shows the star itself and the disk around it, but also a series of dark rings that are most likely created as the newly forming planets pull in the gas and dust around them. The image is of stunning quality: it shows details down to a resolution equivalent to the width of a finger seen at a distance of 50 km (30 miles).

At the distance of LH Tauri, even that stunning imaging capability means that we can see structures only if these are larger than about the distance of the Sun out to Jupiter, so there is a long way yet to go before we see anything like the planet directly. But we will observe more of these juvenile planetary systems just past the phase of their birth. And images like that give us a glimpse of what happened in our own planetary system over 4.5 billion years ago, before the planets were fully formed, pulling in the gases and dust that we now live on, and that ultimately made their way to the cycles of our own planet, to constitute all living beings on Earth.

What a stunning revolution: from being part of the only planetary system we knew of, we have been put among billions and billions of neighbors. We remember Galileo Galilei for showing us that the Sun and not the Earth was the center of the solar system. Will our society remember the names of those who proved that billions of planets exist all over the Galaxy?

Headline image credit: Star shower, by c@rljones. CC-BY-NC-2.0 via Flickr.

The post Stardust making homes in space appeared first on OUPblog.

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6533. Create and Publish an Optimized Blog Post to WordPress

I have a few Slideshare presentations under my belt now. Slideshare is a great way to create a 'video' without the 'video necessary' tech stuff. The way I create a Slideshare presentation is to first create a PowerPoint presentation. Once that's complete, I simply upload it to Slideshare. It's so easy and quick. My newest presentation is on creating and publishing a WordPress blog post. Since

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6534. Snow Monkey Create a Caption

Create a captionCreate Your Caption!

This snow monkey is really enjoying the winter weather at the Cincinnati Zoo! What do you think it is saying as it catches snowflakes on its tongue?

Snow Monkey

“Snow Monkey Catching Snowflakes” Flickr photo by Mark Dumont

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6535. Dana’s One Little Word for 2015

I want to concentrate on living a full life, not a busy one.

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6536. Let geeks be geeks (or how I stopped worrying and learned to love Whovian) by Cavan Scott

OK, I'm excited. Just before Christmas, Titan Comics revealed the cover to issue one of my upcoming Doctor Who comic. It's launching in March to celebrate ten years since the series returned in 2005.

Ten years? How is that even possible? A whole decade since my favourite fandom got a much-needed influx of new blood.

Suddenly, Doctor Who was mainstream. Suddenly, Doctor Who was a hot property. Suddenly, Doctor Who was cool.

And I got something very, very wrong.

Not long after David Tennant stepped into the TARDIS, a new word appeared.


All of a sudden, shiny new fans were announcing to all and sundry that they were Whovians and proud.

And I railed against it.

What kind of stupid word was that? Why do we even need a label? What's wrong with being a Doctor Who fan. That's what we've called ourselves for years, anyway.

I was sneery and snobbish and generally stupid about it. What difference did it make to me what people called themselves? If they wanted to call themselves Whovians or Wholagans or Whoovers, what did it matter? They were having fun and enjoying something I loved. Although, to be fair, I don't think anyone called themselves Whoovers.

It's something that I've seen recently in other fandoms. Today, being a geek is something that has a certain cachet, something people say with pride: "I'm such a geek!" And, just as I was a bit of a prat about Whovians, I've seen people get sniffy about geek chic.

"You can't be a geek unless you've read this or that, or can quote such and such, or have seen every single episode of [insert obscure telefantasy series here]! Pah, I suppose you even call Science Fiction sci-fi!"

And it's a mistake.

Being a fan of something should be inclusive. There shouldn't be entrance exams or gatekeepers telling you whether you're worthy enough to be let in. This is especially true in genre fiction, comics and television. A fandom that celebrates the outsider should never make anyone feel like one.

So, to all the proud Whovians, I apologise, and to everyone who's discovered superheroes, horror or  the world's greatest consulting detective because of Robert Downey Jr, The Walking Dead or Sherlock, welcome. Come on in, we're a friendly bunch. Honest.

And do you know what? I'm a Whovian too!


Cavan Scott is an author and comic book writer.

He's written Doctor Who, Adventure Time, Skylanders, Judge Dredd, Angry Birds and Warhammer 40,000. He also writes Roger the Dodger, Bananaman, Minnie the Minx for The Beano, but has yet to buy a black and red striped sweater.

It's only a matter of time.

Cavan's website
Cavan's facebook fanpage
Cavan's twitterings

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6537. BOBBEE BEE: Never good enough: Black protectionism versus Black criticism

tumblr_mylu11IzU21rvn2ylo1_400We, at Blackathlete.net, felt this article should be re-published, especially after the poor play from Black quarterbacks this year in the NFL from Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick, Geno Smith, Michael Vick, and Cam Newton.

NORTH CAROLINA-(BASN)-We love our sons.
Plus, we don’t want to see anyone consciously or unconsciously trying to destroy their dreams and shatter their hopes.

Therefore, when it comes to our beloved sons, it’s natural for us to want to protect them from the boos and negativity.

So, there is a form of Black protectionism that we have created to shield them from the harsh criticism that the world has for them.
We, however, some times fail to guard the bodies of our rising stars.

jasonwhitlockAnd sadly, sometimes, we silently sit back and watch them get devoured and beaten up by the press or the media or by fans, who sit in the stands and degrade them, belittle them, and disrespect them, whether it’s Michael Vick, Vince Young, or Lebron James.

Therefore, Fox sports reporter Jason Whitlock was only partly correct with his article about Cam Newton when he wrote: Black sports fans and black pop-culture media (not sports media) have created a loosely-formed-but-influential social-media and talk-radio information bubble for black QBs. This network of groupthink roars on sports-talk radio, black-owned radio stations, Face book and Twitter, pumping out the message that Newton, Griffin and others can do no wrong and any criticism of them is rooted in racism. Fear of backlash from this network of well-intentioned enablers causes many mainstream sports analysts (media and fans of all colors) to avoid being totally honest about black QBs.

That’s how a career-killing, information bubble is formed.
White QBs don’t have to deal with this. In Kansas City, a group of fans paid for a banner to be flown over Arrowhead Stadium that called for owner Clark Hunt to bench Matt Cassel. Kansas City’s backup quarterback is Brady Quinn, the Cleveland bust. He’s not a solution. But he was named the starter on Monday.
Imagine the uproar if Eagles fans took similar action against turnover-machine Michael Vick? There would be riots in the streets. Philly fans would be labeled racist.
Information bubbles are destructive, whether in politics or sports.

kijDespite this, we are fully aware of the Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys, from the time they reach the third grade in school, due to the research, lectures and books by Jawanza Kunjufu.
We know about the New Jim Crow and the current prison pipeline that has been established in the United States, which has turned it into a prison planet.

As a result, if any of our sons are striving to be successful, we should stand with them one hundred percent.
Because, we know about all the traps and pitfalls that have been placed before them.

And yes, many of times, they still fall victim to these temptations, even though they have been forewarned, by making bad decisions, especially when it pertains to women, drugs, and money.


imagesU9HJBSQQBut, they still are our sons.
They belong to us.
They don’t belong to them.
They don’t belong to the state.
They don’t belong to the university
They don’t belong to the NFL or the NBA.
Because, what we love naturally, others love only for what that can do for them, make for them, and profit them.
But, we, love our sons because they are our sons.
We don’t stop loving them, because they can no longer throw a ball, slam a goal, or hit a ball.
That’s so silly.
So selfish.
So shallow.
So inhumane.
Therefore, we as a community and as a nation must stand or should stand with our sons, and by our sons, whether in the world of sports, entertainment, education, or politics.
Because, we know racism is real.

And, we know how real white supremacy is, despite all of this “post-racial” society stuff promoted by the media ever since President Obama was elected.
We saw evidence of this, with the recent death threats placed over the head of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Mike Vick, who had to cancel several book signing of his  autobiography, “Finally Free.”

So, yes, we must try to protect them, but not shelter them, from the harsh criticism they will eventually face in school, in sports, on the job and in politics.

So, I admit, we’ve done it with Lebron, President Obama, Cam Newton, Michael Vick and even RGIII, for that matter.

Why? Because, we know that some of the criticism coming against them is coming from a place of HATE not LOVE.


Therefore, no matter how much President Obama tries, it will never be good enough.

No matter, how many championships Lebron James wins, it will never be good enough.

No matter, how many times Michael Vick apologizes for the murdering of dogs, it will never be good enough.

And no matter how great Cam Newton can become, it will never be good enough.

Whether it’s simply a towel draped over his head, a dance in the end zone, or the way he wears his hair, Newton will continue to be criticized.

President Obama will also continued to be criticized as well, whether it’s what church he attends, the music he listens to, the friends that he talks to, or the books he has read, it won’t be good enough in their eyes.
Personally, I think it goes back to the master-slave relationship that I explored in one of my controversial articles in past that appeared on the BASN.
But, Newton, along with other Black athletes, must realize that despite their perceived greatness, everybody is not hoping for them to be successful.
newssAnd just like the late-great Biggie Smalls said, “They pray and pray for my downfall.”
As a result, with every game played, every press conference given, with every touchdown thrown or interception tossed, people will be praying for their downfall as well as President Obama’s, especially during his second term.
Why? Because, it’s part of the game.
And, a cruel game, it is.
Plus, I guess, some people feel that because football players, in particular, wear so much equipment, that their egos shouldn’t be harmed by the criticism.
Besides, who cares how they feel?
They’re making millions of dollars.
So, they should be able to handle a little name calling, a few bad blog posts, an occasional negative newspaper article, and a little tiny rumor.
Unfortunately, we, as Black people, have a tendency to try to please everybody instead of simply being ourselves when criticism starts coming from the left, the right and the middle.
As a result, we begin to walk differently, talk differently, and act differently until we lose our identity and become a bad imitation of some one else’s realityIn., emotionless and soulless.” (Read my article I love being black on BASN)

But, in the case of Cam Newton, he must understand that the harsh criticism comes with the territory of him being  the No.1 overall pick in the NFL 2011 draft, a Heisman Trophy winner and a NCAA Champion, especially after you “arrogantly” say you want to be an “icon and entertainer.”
Sadly, the word “icon” is too big an idea to live up to.
Whitney couldn’t do it.
Michael couldn’t do it.
And Cam, unfortunately, you won’t be able to do it either.
untitledThis is the blessing and the curse.
So, always keep your head up.
And, remember, never allow them to make you feel as if you are not worthy, not good enough, or not great.
Because, you are ….my beloved son.

Eric D.Graham, a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, where he earned a B.A. in Mass Communication with a concentration in Radio and Television and a minor in History, with an emphasis in African-American Studies, is currently the Managing Editor of BASN, where his thought-provoking articles appear on a daily basis. To contact him e-mail at lbiass34@yahoo.com

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6538. An interview with Tony Diaz on the legal fight against Arizona HB 2281

Tony Diaz (Photo Credit: Divinci)

La Bloga is pleased to offer this interview of Tony Diaz, leader of the Librotraficante Movement, on the legal fight against Arizona HB 2281. But first, some background. The Seattle University School of Law offers this concise explanation of the law in question and the procedural posture of the case—students from the law school’s Korematsu Center's Civil Rights Amicus and Advocacy Clinic has worked on the case. This is a condensed version of that explanation which can be found in full here:

In May 2010, House Bill (H.B.) 2281 was signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona. The law, since codified as A.R.S § 15-112, prohibits courses or classes that "1. [p]romote the overthrow of the United States government... 2. [p]romote resentment toward a race or class of people; 3. [a]re designed for pupils of a particular ethnic group; [or] 4. [a]dvocate ethnic solidarity instead of treatment of pupils as individuals." Enforcement of this statute led to the elimination of the highly successful Mexican American Studies (MAS) courses program in the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) as well as the removal of books illuminating Mexican American history and perspectives from TUSD classrooms.

A group of teachers and students challenged the constitutionality of H.B. 2281 in federal court. Though the teachers were dismissed from the lawsuit, the students, Maya Arce, Korina Lopez, and Nicolas Dominguez, continued the challenge. In March 2013, the district court declared subsection (3) above unconstitutionally overbroad, but granted summary judgment to the defendants on all of the students' other claims.

The students appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit… The legal team working on the students' opening appellate brief included Richard Martinez of Tucson; Anjana Malhotra, formerly a clinical teaching fellow at the Korematsu Center and now Associate Professor at SUNY Buffalo Law School; Sujal Shah, Marcelo Quinones, and Jennifer MikoLevine who led a team of lawyers at the San Francisco and Los Angeles offices of Bingham McCutchen; and the Korematsu Center's Civil Rights Amicus and Advocacy Clinic. Professors Lorraine Bannai, Robert Chang, and Charlotte Garden led the efforts of the clinic. Students from the Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, and Spring 2014 clinics have assisted on this case. Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the University of California, Irvine, School of Law, joined the students' legal team in October 2013.

As Tony Diaz reportedfor the Huffington Post’s Latino Voices column, the day of reckoning has come: On January 12, 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco will hear the plaintiffs’ arguments to overturn the law used to prohibit Mexican-American studies in Tucson.

Diaz, the leader of the Librotraficante Movement, has been reporting on and fighting against these attacks on Mexican-American studies for quite sometime now; one example is this pieceon the banning of Chicano/a books. He is the co-host of the Nuestra Palabra Radio Show in Houston, Texas, and Director of Intercultural Initiatives at Lone Star College-North Harris and the Chair for the NACCS 2015 Tejas Foco, scheduled for February 26-28, in Houston, at Lone Star College.

Diaz took time out of his very busy schedule to answer a few questions on about the legal fight and to explain how you can help.

DANIEL OLIVAS:How important is this case for the very concept of Mexican-American, Chicano/a and other ethnic studies programs across country?

TONY DIAZ: This is a major case of truth being stranger than fiction. And it will take several semesters of Mexican-American studies courses to fully appreciate, comprehend, and document all the nuances, cultural subtexts, historical facts, and fiction against our fiction. We are a blessed generation that can fill that San Francisco courtroom to witness a young Chicana making history and fighting for every American's freedom of speech.

Apparently Democracy has to re-boot every 40 or 50 years. This time the work as fallen on the broad shoulders and broader imaginations of Chican@s.

DO: All studies show that these types of programs help students succeed in school and do not make them separatists or people who hate the United States. Why are opponents so scared of these programs?

TD: Arizona passed a law to prohibit Mexican-American Studies. The sense that makes is non-sense. So I have to take the legislators at their word. They believe that 6-year-old to 17-year-old Mexican Americans reading books by Sandra Cisneros, Dagoberto Gilb, Carmen Tafolla, Rudolfo Anaya somehow promotes the overthrow of the government.

The folks who profess that are simply trying to sabotage the American Dream.

The books that some Arizona officials fear inspired me to not just finish college, but to get a Master's Degree, to become a professor. My parents were migrant workers. Because of education, my family has gone from the farm fields to where I now have the privilege of representing my culture on national platforms—in just one generation.

Officials who want to prohibit Ethnic Studies do not want to see our young flourish.

DO: How can our readers help Tucson students come to the oral arguments in San Francisco?

TD: The Librotraficantes have raised $2,450.00 to donate to the cause.

We hope to help raise $3,000. We invite everyone to pitch-in to help cover the travel costs to get Maya Arce and Korina Lopez to San Francisco to testify. You can donate directly to travel costs by clicking here: MAS Trial.

Put Tejas Foco or Librotraficante in the note, just for us to keep track of the pledge goal.

If you are in San Francisco, help swarm the court room, Monday, January 12, 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. at:


There is also an Ethnic Studies Solidarity Event: Summit and Teach-In on Saturday, January 10, 2015 at Mission High School in San Francisco, CA.

[Additional note: If you are on Twitter, follow Librotraficante at @Librotraficante and use the hashtage #MayaVsAZ if you Tweet on this subject including Tweeting this interview with Tony Diaz.] 

0 Comments on An interview with Tony Diaz on the legal fight against Arizona HB 2281 as of 1/8/2015 10:57:00 PM
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6539. Dana’s One Little Word for 2015

I want to concentrate on living a full life, not a busy one.

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6540. Mailbox Monday - 1/5/14

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. (Library books don’t count, but eBooks & audiobooks do).    

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists!

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia @ A Girl and Her Books, has a permanent home now at Mailbox Monday.

Every week Mailbox Monday will have a new linky posted for our Mailbox Monday links at Marcia's Mailbox Monday blog.

Here’s a shout out to the new administrators:

Leslie of Under My Apple Tree 
Vicki of I’d Rather Be at the Beach
Serena @ Savvy Verse And Wit 

THANKS to everyone for keeping Mailbox Monday alive. 

I hope you had a good mailbox.

On December 29, I received these three books from:

1.  DON'T GIVE UP, DON'T GIVE IN by Louis Zamperini and David Rensin.

Going to give this book to a friend.

2.  THE CINDERELLA MURDER by Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke.

Love Mary Higgins Clark.  :)

3.  BETRAYED by Lisa Scottoline.

Her books are AWESOME!!

 How about your mailbox?   

Any titles in your mailbox that you were excited about seeing?

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6541. Husain Q & A

       In the Indian Express Seema Chishti has a Q & A -- As extremists do not read literature, we are safe: Pakistani writer Intizar Husain. (I'm not really sure that's good advice, but .....)
       See also reviews of Husain's Basti and A Chronicle of the Peacocks at the complete review.

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6542. Chinese 'Writers Rich List' 2014

       They actually announced this a couple of weeks ago: the Chinese 作家富豪榜, the writers who earned the most from their books in 2014; see also Mei Jia's China Daily report, List of richest Chinese writers revealed.
       Mo Yan only came in 13th, Yu Hua 33rd, and Jia Pingwa a lowly 47th (with 1.5 million yuan).
       The top three were:

  • Chinese:
    1. Zhang Jiajia
    2. Zheng Yuanjie
    3. Yang Hongying
  • Foreign:
    1. Khaled Hosseini
    2. Higashino Keigo
    3. Joanna Cole

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6543. Best Selling Kids Series | January 2015

There are no changes this month to our best selling kids series list. The Marvel Heroes of Reading line of early readers remains the best selling series from our affiliate store.

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6544. Greenglass House

I've had Greenglass House on my stack for a while.  I finally got to it and finished it up a few days ago. It was a great book and I am so glad I made time to read this one.

I'm not a big mystery fan and I don't seem to find that many great mysteries for kids. But this was a mystery I loved and I think kids will  love it too.

The story is about a boy named Milo who lives in an inn that his parents run. Many of the guests at the inn are smugglers but Christmas vacation is usually quiet, with no guests. This holiday is different however, as several guests appear at the inn. It becomes clear to Milo early on that there is something suspicious going on so he and his friend Meddy, try to solve the mystery.

This mystery is full of all things kids love in a mystery-an old house, great characters (they reminded me of characters in a game of Clue), lost things, treasure hunts, maps and bad guys.

I'm thinking this book is perfect for grades 5-6ish.  It is not short (about 400 pages) but I think if i were teaching 5th, I would definitely consider it for a read aloud.  This is also one that kids would enjoy reading independently.  

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6545. dartmoor pegasus: part 4

By Philip Reeve & me: it all starts to go horribly wrong for the fat flying ponies.

(You can see previous Dartmoor Pegasus episodes here.)

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6546. The Little Black Fish – an Iranian story about determination and freedom

Is there a better way to start the new year than by introducing you to a book which will take you somewhere you’ve likely not visited via picture books before, is illustrated by the first Asian recipient of the most prestigious awards in children’s literature, the Hans Christian Andersen Award, and is about to be published for the first time in the UK with its original illustrations?

thelittleblackfishThe Little Black Fish written by Samad Behrangi, translated by Azita Rassi and illustrated by Farshid Mesghali is perhaps the most famous children’s book of all time back in its home country, Iran.

As anyone who’s spent time with children knows, the littlest people can ask the biggest questions, and so it is with the little black fish in this story who wants to find out more about life outside of the pool where he and his family have always lived. Just because the family have always lived a certain way, why shouldn’t this brave and curious fish extend his horizons and set out to explore beyond his known world?

As the fish travels downstream he sees incredible sights the like of which he could never before have imagined. He also faces some terrible dangers. Will the fish survive to see his dream – the wide open ocean? Will his story of inquisitiveness and desire for freedom inspire others?

Behrangi’s story took on great political significance in Iran after it was published, read by many adults as a political allegory (you can find out more here). Indeed the message was so powerful, the book was banned in pre-revolutionary Iran. Whilst this historical background gives the book an additional charge for adults, younger readers in 2015 can enjoy this short story as an encouraging tale about believing in oneself, about learning from personal experience, and about not being afraid to be different.


The Little Black Fish won the First Graphic Prize at Sixth International Children Books’ Fair (1968) in Bologna for its illustrations by Farshid Mesghali. The stylish bold textured prints in a limited range of colours are beautifully reproduced and bound in this smart edition from Tiny Owl Publishing. Their apparent simplicity suggests something both childlike and timeless.

Inspired by the style of illustrations in The Little Black Fish we set about creating fish prints using plasticine (oil based, non permanent modelling clay). This was a great activity for giving old and manky plasticine one last shot at life!

We squished together lots of old pieces, and created “blanks” of different sizes. These blanks were turned into fish shapes using scissors to cut them, and then decorated with impressions made using butter (blunt) knives, forks and sharpened pencils.


Top tips for printing with plasticine

  • Plasticine is more forgiving than lino or styrofoam for printing with little kids; it works really well when the inked design is squished a little bit into the paper.
  • If it’s a bit old or hard for little hands to work, drop it into a bowl of hot water or run it under the hot water tap for 10-20 seconds. This will soften it up and make it much more malleable and easier to press implements into.
  • Pencils work really well as mini rolling pins for little hands to roll out the modelling clay.
  • Once the plasticine is in the shape you desire, you can put it in the fridge for an hour or two to firm up before printing.
  • If you use poster paint or water-based printing ink, this can simply be washed off the plasticine afterwards. Because the plasticine is oil based, water is repelled and once the ink has been washed off you can dry the modelling clay and reuse it (something you can’t do with styrofoam or lino!).
  • Buttons, lego bricks, cocktail sticks, forks, hair grips, seed pods, pencils and shells are all useful tools for making impressions in the plasticine.

  • Once our prints were made we worked on some net-themed frames for them, making use of some of the cardboard collected over the Christmas parcel and present season. Here’s a short animated tutorial I made to show you how we did it:

    Here are some of our finished and framed prints of fish exploring the wider world!


    Whilst weaving and printing we listened to:

  • Persian songs for kids on youtube including
  • Some Iranian folk music and dance including
  • We also watched several videos of Viguen, “King of Iranian Pop”, including
  • Other activities which would go well with reading The Little Black Fish include:

  • Creating a fish from paper lanterns – here’s a lovely looking tutorial from Live. Craft. Love.
  • Making folded paper fish using this tutorial from Buggy and Buddy. There’s something about how these look which reminds me of the print patterns created by Mesghali.
  • Turning toilet rolls into fish, with this tutorial from No Time for Flash Cards.
  • I’m delighted that Tiny Owl Publishing will be bringing us more translated Iranian children’s books in the coming months (although I do hope that future books will fully credit the illustrator and translator on the front cover of books, not just inside). What other unsung heroes in the international picture book world would you recommend I look out for – authors and illustrators who are famous in their home countries but who haven’t had wide recognition in the English speaking world?

    Finally, you might notice things look a little different on the blog today. Over Christmas I updated the blog so that it should now be fully mobile-platform friendly; if you want to view this blog on your phone or tablet it should now be much easier to navigate and more pleasant to look at as the text and images are fully scalable. I’ll also take this opportunity to highlight Playing by the book can be found on twitter @playbythebook, Facebook, Pinterest and even (in a very small way) on Youtube – please feel free to follow me wherever it suits you.

    Disclosure: I received a free review copy of The Little Black Fish from the publisher.

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    6547. Irène review

           The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Pierre Lemaitre's literary-inspired thriller Irène.

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    6548. Preparing for Arno Schmidt's 101st

           Last year I excitedly prepared you for the centenary of Arno Schmidt's birth, only to be grievously disappointed by the complete lack of English-language coverage of the occasion -- so grievously that I wrote a little monograph extolling the author and his work: Arno Schmidt: a centennial colloquy.
           I'm not going to write another one if you (and the media in general) ignore the anniversary of his 101st birthday, but do suggest that you still have time -- his birthday is 18 January -- to get this book (which is a fun read -- in Schmidt-inspired dialogue !) and check out for yourself why you should pay attention, and maybe (definitely !) even read his books (and look forward -- though perhaps with a bit of trepidation/anxiety (it's a whale of a book) -- to the forthcoming publication of the English translation of his Bottom's Dream)
           So: get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk -- or at your favorite other retailer, online or off, who should have no trouble getting it for you now either (though I suspect they won't have it in stock ...); it's also available on Kindle (get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk).
           (And, of course, if you want to gift it to someone on the 18th -- you want to convert new readers to the amazing work that is Schmidt's, right ? -- you should probably order now, just to make sure you get it in time.)

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    6549. Writing Patterns Into Fiction: Scene and Sequel

    Hi everyone! Welcome back from a wonderful break. I imagine, like us, some holiday rest and relaxation was just what the doctor ordered, but now you are getting a bit itchy, ready to jump back into the fray. To start things off right in 2015, we are diving right into the thick of writing technique with a guest post by author Raven Oak, who is joining us to talk about the successful pattern of Scene and Sequel.  This is a must read, especially for those who do not know about this technique. Trust me, your writing will thank you!

    Scene and Sequel

    ravenWhen I began writing seriously—not the scribbles in a notebook of plots I’d write someday or the half-started, never-finished stories I cranked out, but the “I want to write novels for a living” point in my career—my first completed book felt juvenile. Portions dragged. And those that didn’t, sped through the action without anyone stopping to smell any proverbial roses. So how does one develop solid pacing through a novel while building tension, developing characters, describing setting, and advancing plot lines? The answer is a little trick called Scene and Sequel. Why? Because humans like patterns.

    Scene and Sequel is a technique developed by Dwight Swain in his book, Techniques of the Selling Writer. (If you haven’t checked it out, I would strongly suggest doing so as he covers a wide range of simple tricks writers can use to develop better stories.)

    Readers pick up a work because they want a powerful and emotional experience. It’s an escape from the drudgery of the real world and a way to live vicariously through others. As a writer, you must create and maintain an illusion strong enough to fool the reader. Pacing helps create and maintain this illusion.

    Novels are typically comprised of chapters, which are often made up of scenes. To keep the ebb and flow of a novel going, each scene should then be identified as being a scene or a sequel.

    A scene has the following pattern:

    1. Goal—what the character wants. Must be clearly definable
    2. Conflict—series of obstacles that keep the character from the goal
    3. Disaster—makes the character fail to get the goal

    And a sequel has the following pattern:

    1. Reaction—emotional follow through of the disaster.
    2. Dilemma—a situation with no good options
    3. Decision—character makes a choice (which sets up the new goal).

    18. a christmas carolTo understand how this works, let’s look at A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

     Chapter 1 is a SCENE

    1. Goal—Scrooge wants money and to be left alone.
    2. Conflict—When the charity solicitors and Scrooge’s nephew visit, they stir up feelings in Scrooge and memories of his sister, Fran. As Scrooge arrives home, he sees his old business partner’s (Marley’s) face in the doorknocker, and then later in the pictures in his fireplace mantel. Scrooge tries to dismiss the conflicting emotions/thoughts this stirs up.
    3. Disaster—The disaster is when Marley’s Ghost arrives to warn Scrooge that three ghosts will visit him. Each one has a lesson to teach him. If he doesn’t heed their lessons, Scrooge’s afterlife will be full of pain and misery.
    4. Scenes tend to be full of action and tension that push the plot forward. Remember, every scene you write must further the plot and/or further the character development.

     Chapter 2 is a SEQUEL

    1. Reaction—Scrooge’s initial reaction is to write off Marley’s visit as the result of some bad food. When the Ghost of Christmas Past arrives, Scrooge tries to send him away. He claims he doesn’t want or need the lesson, but having no choice, Scrooge accompanies the ghost into the past.
    2. Dilemma—As Scrooge journeys through quite a few joyful and painful memories, he begins to doubt the decisions he’s made. Scrooge faces a dilemma: whether or not to believe himself guilty of bad judgment and humbug, or whether to continue avoiding Christmas, its joy, and his family as he has for many-a-year. Neither are good options, so he picks the option he thinks he can live with.
    3. Decision—Scrooge decides the past is too painful, because it’s made him doubt himself. In anger, he decides to extinguish the light given by the Ghost of Christmas Past, and thus, his own light. At least momentarily.

     What a sequel does is give our character(s) an opportunity for reflection and self-introspection. The decision will lead us into our next scene, where the character(s) develop a new goal. In the case of Scrooge, Chapter 3 (scene) begins with a new goal: Scrooge reacted rashly in extinguishing the light. At the sight of the Ghost of Christmas Present, he decides he will go with him willingly and see what there is to see. And if necessary, think further on his own attitudes and prejudices. He’s not ready for a huge change yet, but change is happening—as change should be happening to your characters as well.

    Scenes and sequels should continue to alternate the entire length of the novel, and in doing so, they’ll create a natural flow for both plot progression & character development. Many authors plan or outline the sequence of events using scene & sequel on index cards before writing.

    Just about any novel you read will follow this rhythm. It seems simple, but structure usually is. Pick up a book and give it a flip through—I bet it follows the pattern!

     Do you use Scene and Sequel, or is this something you’re planning on testing out? Let us know in the comments!

    Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000447_00014]Guess what? Raven’s Epic Fantasy has just released, so please enjoy this blurb, and if you like, add it to your Goodreads List, or snag a copy from Amazon.

    Her name was Adelei, a master in her field, one of the feared Order of Amaska. Those who were a danger to the Little Dozen Kingdoms wound up dead by her hand. The Order sends her deep into the Kingdom of Alexander, away from her home in Sadai, and into the hands of the Order’s enemy.

    The job is nothing short of a suicide mission, one serving no king, no god, and certainly not Justice. With no holy order to protect her, she tumbles dagger-first into the Boahim Senate’s political schemes and finds that magic is very much alive and well in the Little Dozen Kingdoms.

    While fighting to unravel the betrayal surrounding the royal family of Alexander, she finds her entire past is a lie, right down to those she called family. They say the truth depends on which side of the sword one stands. But they never said what to do when all the swords are pointing at you. 

    Want more Raven? Catch her on Twitter, Facebook or visit her at her website!

    The post Writing Patterns Into Fiction: Scene and Sequel appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS™.

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    6550. Christmas haul containing 4 classic novels

    As I pack away my Christmas tree for another year, I took stock today of my Christmas haul of books. I’m planning on reading more classics in 2015 and was fortunate enough to receive a few beautiful clothbound editions for Christmas. I hope you too were lucky enough to receive a book or two at Christmas time, […]

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