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Results 26 - 50 of 138,079
26. Poetry Friday: Last Impressions and What I'm Reading




For Poetry Friday, I'm sharing a poem from a book coming out this fall from J. Patrick Lewis and George Ella Lyon. I just received an ARC of Voices from the March on Washington (WordSong), and I've only read three of the poems. But they all knocked my socks off! I'll share more closer to the publication date, but here's a sneak peek to whet your appetite.

Last Impressions

black without white
is
a moonless
night
empty
as
a life
of endlessly
falling snow
is
white without black

--J. Patrick Lewis, all rights reserved

This lovely poem especially connected with me because I just wrote three poems about diversity for consideration for a friend's scholarly book on children's literature, and the one he chose uses blizzard/snow imagery as well!

And I love the way you can create many different complete thoughts that kind of overlap each other because of the line breaks. Gorgeous.

Here I am reading Pat's poem:



Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, creators of the amazing Poetry Friday Anthology books, are hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup at Poetry for Children. Don't miss it!

Now on to what I've been reading. I've been working on attacking my to-read shelf this summer! I joined the Book-a-Day Challenge through Donalyn Miller and the Nerdy Book Club (http://nerdybookclub.wordpress.com/2014/05/18/the-sixth-annual-book-a-day-challenge/). My goal is to average a book a day (surprise:>) And it's not too late! You pick your start and stop days, so if you have one month left of summer, go for it. Commit to reading a book a day, and share your books on your blog or Twitter (#bookaday). I post mine on Twitter--that accountability is great. Anyway, the thing I've learned most is that having a book-a-day really helps me get to a lot more picture books and poetry books--which are my favorite books, anyway. But they often get lost in the shuffle as I read research books or escape into mysteries. Below are the most recent 10 books I've finished. I have more in progress.

Looking over my list, I would say two other things I've learned are that I abandon books without guilt now (a major change from 10 years ago), and I want to read MORE picture books and poetry. Once book-a-day ends, I might have to come up with a picture book plan to keep me going!

P.S. Check that last book for the most finely-crafted nonfiction picture book I've read in months.

P.P.S. Those of you in the Los Angeles area who are aspiring picture book writers, check out Teaching Authors' April Halprin Wayland's upcoming class, Writing Picture Books for Children. It's Wednesday nights from August 6 through September 10. It might be just right for you, so don't miss out :>)

Happy reading,
Laura

Laura's bookshelf: read

Superworm
4 of 5 stars
Drama, a lizard wizard, an evil crow, and a superhero worm. All in delightful rhyme. What more could you ask for?

         
Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature
4 of 5 stars
A terrific nonfiction book to introduce the fairly complex concept of fractals (shapes that have smaller parts that resemble the larger, overall shape). Clear text and well-chosen photos are the strong points. I might have given this 5 s...

         
Guilt by Association
4 of 5 stars
A smart-mouthed DA sets out to prove her colleague's innocence (after being ordered to stay out of the investigation) on the side while investigating the rape of the daughter of an annoying, powerful businessman. Strong, relatable charac...

         
Have You Heard the Nesting Bird?
4 of 5 stars
Great rhyming nonfiction. We get to hear the calls of several species of birds and learn about their habits. Interspersed with that is a narrative about a bird that's calmly and quietly sitting on its nest--the nesting bird. It's a robin...

         
You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think: The 5 Money Secrets of the Happiest Retirees
4 of 5 stars
I am not very savvy about financial planning. I'm a good budgeter, but at age 47, I've only thought about retirement in general, far-off terms. I'm SO glad I read this book. After starting to follow the basic steps spelled out here, I'm ...

         
Feathers: Not Just for Flying
5 of 5 stars
Basically a perfect nonfiction picture book. The primary text, secondary text, and art work beautifully together. Great mentor text for exploring functions or for using similes. And terrific for units on birds. Gorgeous work!

goodreads.com
Share book reviews and ratings with Laura, and even join a book club on Goodreads.

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27. Irate Emails.....

Hmm. Just hmmm.

Anyway, I got three -THREE- irate emails from people demanding to know WHY I was not answering messages on Face Book.

Here, just for those dumb-asses, because I've stated this on FB itself weeks ago....

I NO LONGER USE FACE BOOK AND ONLY CBO AUTO FEED GOES TO MY OLD FB BECAUSE I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO STOP IT.

Got that? Good.

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28. Sharing books with friends + summer magic

Oh how I love summer, especially the chance to see friends I don't get to see often enough. I spent the day yesterday visiting with Helen Huber, terrific librarian from Cathedral School for Boys, sharing book after book with each other. We walked down to Mrs. Dalloway's Books and each ended up with several books. I recommended two favorite books to Helen: The 13 Story Treehouse and The Port Chicago 50.

The cutest moment was watching two eight year old girls sitting near the chapter book section, sharing their favorite books with each other. They pointed out which Judy Moody books they had each read. One was excited about the new Never Girls book that was out, about Tinker bell and the Disney fairies.

Here are two books which Helen recommend that I would love to get copies for myself. I have only looked at them briefly, so I can't give a full review. But they looked wonderful.
Norman, Speak!
by Caroline Adderson
illustrated by Qin Leng
Groundswood, 2014
Amazon
Your local library
ages 4-8
When a young boy adopts Norman from the pet shelter, the boy can't figure out why his new dog can't understand anything he's saying to it --- until he's at the park and Norman runs up to a man who's calling to his own dog in Chinese. I adored the sweet, unexpected turn of the story, as the little boy and his family decide to take Chinese lessons.
The Beatles
by Mick Manning and Brita Granström
Frances Lincoln Children's Books, 2014
Amazon
Your local library
ages 8-12
I love the way that Manning and Granström use a cartoon approach for this biography of the Beatles. They capture the energy and enthusiasm of the Beatles and provide plenty of information, all in a way that's very accessible to kids in 3rd through 5th grade. While I haven't read this book in detail yet, it looks like they strike just the right balance -- never overwhelming kids with too much information, but also not talking down to kids. I'm new to their work, and will definitely be watching out for more by this British pair.

Truly, it's a magical moment when friends get excited about sharing books. This happens in the school library all the time. I hope you're able to find a bit of this magic over the summer.

If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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29. Interview with Kay Thomas, Author of Personal Target

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Good morning, Kay!  Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Kay Thomas] Wife, Mother, Writer, Friend, Believer

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Personal Target?

[Kay Thomas] Here’s the scoop straight from the back cover copy:

A former SEAL and Black Ops specialist who left the CIA, Nick Donovan gave up a life on the edge to work in the private sector. But that didn’t stop his enemies from coming after him, or his family. In a case of mistaken identity, a drug cartel kidnaps his sister-in-law’s best friend…a woman from Nick’s past.

One minute Jennifer Grayson is housesitting and the next she is abducted to a foreign brothel. Jennifer is planning her escape when her first “customer” arrives. Nick, the man who broke her heart years ago, has come to her rescue. Now as they race for their lives, passion reignites as old secrets resurface. Can Nick keep the woman he loves safe against an enemy with a personal vendetta?

At its core, the book is about a case of mistaken identity and a very personal vendetta. Personal Target takes the reader from Dallas to Mexico, across the African Savanna, to the shores of the Mediterranean in a race against time for Nick to save the woman he loves but lost ten years ago.

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Can you share your favorite scene?

[Kay Thomas] One of my favorite scenes to write was when Nick and Jennifer met on the page for the first time. They have a history together, but their summer affair was over long ago. In this scene, Jennifer has been kidnapped, and Nick has come to take her away from the people holding her captive.

Here’s the link to that excerpt. http://www.kaythomas.net/books/personal-target/exclusive-excerpt-reveal.html

The woman at the vanity turned, and Nick’s breath caught in his throat. He had known it would be Jenny, and despite what he’d thought about downstairs when he’d seen her on the tablet screen, he hadn’t prepared himself for seeing her like this. Seated at the table with candles all around, she was wearing a sheer robe over a gray thong and a bustier kind of thing, or that’s what he thought the full-length bra was called.

He spotted the small unicorn tat peeping out from the edge of whatever the lingerie piece was and his brain quit processing details as all the blood in his head rushed south. He’d been primed to come in and tell Jenny exactly how they were getting out of the house and away from these people and now . . . this. His mouth went dry at the sight of her. She looked like every fantasy he’d ever had about her rolled into one.

He continued to stare as recognition flared in her eyes.

“Oh my God,” she said. “It’s . . .”

She clapped her mouth closed, and her eyes widened. That struck him as odd. The relief on her face was obvious, but instead of looking at him, she took an audible breath and studied the walls of the room. When she finally did glance at him again, her eyes had changed.

“So you’re who they’ve sent me for my first time?” Her voice sounded bored, not the tone he remembered. “What do you want me to do?”

What a question. He raised an eyebrow, but she shook her head. In warning?

Nothing here was as he’d anticipated. He continued staring at her, hoping the lust would quit fogging his brain long enough for him to figure out what was going on.

“I’ve been told to show you a good time.” Her voice was cold, downright chilly. Without another word she stood and crossed the floor, slipping into his arms with her breasts pressing into his chest. “It’s you.” She murmured the words in the barest of whispers.

Nick’s mind froze, but his body didn’t. On autopilot his hands automatically went to her waist as she kissed his neck, working her way up to his ear. This was not at all what he’d planned.

“I can’t believe you’re here.” She breathed the words into his ear.

Me either, he thought, but kept the news to himself as he pulled her closer. His senses flooded with all that smooth skin pressing against him. His body tightened, and his right hand moved to cup her ass. Her cheek’s bare skin was silky soft, like he remembered. God, he’d missed her. She melted into him as his body switched into overdrive.

“What do you want?” She spoke louder. The artic tone was back. He was confused and knew he was just too stupid with wanting her to figure out what the hell was going on. There was no way the woman could mistake the effect she was having.

She moved her lips closer to his ear and nipped his earlobe before she spoke in a hushed tone. “Cameras are everywhere. I’m not sure about microphones.”

And just like that, cold reality slapped him in the face. He should have been expecting it, but he’d been so focused on getting her out and making sure she was all right. She might be glad to see him because he was there to save her, but throwing her body at him was an act.

Jesus. He had to get them both out of here without tipping his hand to the cameras and those watching what he was doing. He was crazy not to have considered it once he saw those tablets downstairs, but it had never occurred to him that he would have to play this encounter through as if he was really a client.

He slipped her arms from around his neck and moved to the table to pour himself some wine, willing his hands not to shake. “I want you,” he said, clearly and loudly enough for any microphone in the room to pick up.

She smiled, but her expression wasn’t warm. “Do you now?” Her frigid tone was so at odds with the woman he’d known years ago.

He knew what he had to do. Monique and company were expecting them to have wild sex. If they’d been truly alone, it wouldn’t have been a hardship. And regardless of the circumstances, that’s exactly what he was going to have to pretend to do. He had to make love to Jenny knowing others were watching, at least until that distraction of Bryan’s came through.

There wouldn’t be any sneaking out of the room or the house before then. Guards were most likely gathered around security monitors at this very moment, drinking beer and taking bets as to how long Nick would last before he came. They were expecting to see some action.

“What do you think I want?” His voice was pitched low but loud enough for the mics as he took a sip of the wine. “Didn’t they tell you what to expect?”

Copyright © 2014 by Kay Thomas. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Kay Thomas] I adored the research. Much of the story takes place in Africa. I loved “travelling online” and learning about the continent and the different countries. I liked researching so much that it was sometimes a challenge to pull myself away from the research and do the actual writing itself.

Talking with people who’ve lived in the places I wrote about was fascinating. With some of the exotic locales in this series, I’ve found it helpful to read blogs written by those who have just moved to an area and are sharing their day-to-day experiences. Through the marvels of the internet, I was able to get an authentic feel for what those extreme locations were like when I virtually visited the jungles of Mexico or the edge of the Sahara, without leaving my office chair.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Kay Thomas] A book to read, if I have downtime where I’m going. Nowadays that can be a Kindle or even my phone with the Kindle App.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Kay Thomas] Only three? I’m glad you can’t actually see my desk. : )

There’s an empty plate from breakfast (I had toast). A box of Kleenex. (I have allergies). Two tape measures. (I have no idea why they are here.)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s your favorite snack when you’re working on a deadline?

[Kay Thomas] When I’m working on deadline is the only time I don’t really care what I eat. (It’s sort of my optimum time for a diet because I don’t notice if what I’m eating tastes like cardboard or ambrosia.) But my favorite snack is a cinnamon toast rice cake with almond butter. I could live off of that.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Kay Thomas] I honestly can’t think of anyone I’d like to trade places with, even for a day. I like being me. : )

[Manga Maniac Cafe] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week.  Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

[Kay Thomas] Ohhh, great question. I think I’d like to be able to “teleport” so I could snap my fingers and be anywhere in the world. There are so many places I’d like to see and people I’d like to visit that just live too far away.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Kay Thomas] I’ve been LOVING Laura Griffin’s work. I’ve glommed on to her entire backlist and, sadly, I just finished the last book. (sniff, sniff)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Kay Thomas] I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and sometimes, Pinterest.

My website: www.KayThomas.net

Facebook: www.facebook.com/KayThomasWrites

Twitter: www.twitter.com/KayThomasWrites

Pinterest: www.pinterest/KayThomasWrites

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you for stopping by!

AEGIS: an elite team of ex-military men working under the radar of most governments. If you have a problem no one else can handle, they can help.

A former SEAL and Black Ops specialist who left the CIA, Nick Donovan gave up a life on the edge to work in the private sector. But that didn’t stop his enemies from coming after him—or his family. In a case of mistaken identity, a drug cartel kidnaps his sister-in-law’s best friend … a woman from Nick’s past.

One minute Jennifer Grayson is housesitting and the next she’s abducted to a foreign brothel. Jennifer is planning her escape when her first “customer” arrives. Nick, the man who broke her heart years ago, has come to her rescue. Now, as they race for their lives, passion for each other reignites and old secrets resurface. Can Nick keep the woman he loves safe against an enemy with a personal vendetta?

The post Interview with Kay Thomas, Author of Personal Target appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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30. My Worldcon Schedule

The Worldcon program was published today, and just from a quick glance I can already tell that I am going to be a) worn off my feet running from panel to panel, and b) overcome by agonizing choices between conflicting but equally awesome events.  I'm truly looking forward to this convention. My own excellent slate of panels is below.  In addition to these, I will be on hand at the Strange

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31. My Pet Book by Bob Staake

I am a big fan of the work of Bob Staake and I hope you'll take time at the end of this review to explore his other books, many of which I have reviewed here. His newest picture book, My Pet BOOK, perfectly presents Staake's wacky sensibilities and his colorfully crowded world while expressing the joys of books and reading at the same time. Set in Smartytown, we meet a boy who wants a

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32. New Agent

Alexander Slater of Trident Media Group is looking for children's, middle-grade, and young adult authors.

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/new-literary-agent-alert-alexander-slater-of-trident-media-group

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33. Character Development: What Makes a Villain a Villain?

What makes a villain a villain? I’ve always been a fascinated—and a little bit terrified—of villains, especially in fairytales. As a child, I couldn’t get enough of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs even if the old witch sent me diving into our couch cushions to hide my eyes.

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34. Sparky!

Children's books about kids who want pets but aren't allowed them are a dime a dozen. So it's a challenge to come up with a new spin on such a hackneyed  topic. Offill (11 Experiments That Failed) not only is up to the task, she's created an exceptional picture book in the process.

 The wistful girl who longs for a pet of her own isn't deterred when her mother says her only option is a creature that "doesn't need to be walked or bathed or fed." Ever resourceful, the girl does her research and orders a pet that meets her parent's criteria: a sloth. The newly christened Sparky is anything but. It takes Sparky so long to fetch a ball that its owner is able to go inside and have dinner while waiting.

It's clear that the girl wants more from her pet, more than Sparky can provide, yet it's also clear that a sloth is better than no pet at all. After a disastrous talent show in which Sparky fails to distinguish himself before an audience of three--the girl's mother, the school crossing guard (who approves of Sparky's because he never runs in the street), and Mary Potts (a stuck-up fellow classmate with pet issues)--the young narrator makes peace with her pet's limitations. The book concludes with Sparky and the girl on a branch, content to be in each other's company as they appreciate the sunset.

In his first outing as a picture book illustrator, Appelhans, an animation artist, uses an understated palette to showcase Offill's droll humor. Like Jon Klassen (I Want My Hat Back), he manages with a few strokes of his brush to get a lot of mileage of of a creature who shows minimal emotion. In fact, Offill and Appelhans do such a great job of making sloths appealing, their readers might pester their parents for one of their own.

Sparky!
by Jenny Offill
illustrations by Chris Appelhans
Schwartz & Wade, 40 pages
Published: March 2014

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35. Spotlight and Giveaway: Her Temporary Hero by Jennifer Apodaca

 

  HER TEMPORARY HERO

Once A Marine, #2

Author: Jennifer Apodaca

Print Length: 194 pages

Publisher: Entangled: Indulgence (July 14, 2014)

ASIN: B00L73W2J6

Former beauty queen Becky Holmes and her baby are on the run from her dangerous ex. With her dreams of love and marriage destroyed, she’ll do anything to protect her child…even agree to hide out in her boss’s cousin’s house while he’s away.

Wealthy, sexy, and emotionally haunted Logan Knight needs a temporary wife to get his land, per his dad’s rules. No wife, no inheritance. But when that wife lands on his doorstep and comes with a baby, his darkest memories are triggered. He tries to keep his distance, but his efforts are shattered when he starts to have real feelings for his fake wife and child.

Just as Logan begins to think he may have a future with Becky, his attempt to have it all backfires into a betrayal that forces Becky into a heart-wrenching choice no woman should ever have to make.

AVAILABLE JULY 14th:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Temporary-Hero-Marine-Entangled-Indulgence-ebook/dp/B00L73W2J6/ref=la_B001IXOJR8_1_15?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404912629&sr=1-15

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/her-temporary-hero-jennifer-apodaca/1119856173?ean=9781622667628

Kobo:

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/her-temporary-hero-a-once-a-marine-series-book

THE BABY BARGAIN

Once A Marine, #1

Author: Jennifer Apodaca

Print Length: 142 pages

Publisher: Entangled: Indulgence (March 11, 2013)

ASIN: B00BQMKC5O

Seeing Adam Waters is the last thing veterinarian Megan Young expects. Ex-Marine. Ex-boyfriend. And still extremely dangerous territory. But Adam doesn’t know the secret Megan has been keeping from him. The secret that was created three years ago, after their last night together…

Adam returns to Raven’s Cove to sell his home in a final break with the town and memories that haunt him. The problem is that his attraction to Megan is as blazing hot as it ever was. But when a vicious smear campaign against Megan turns ugly, Adam learns the truth he never knew—he has a son.

Now the only way Megan can protect her child is to strike a bargain with Adam. And it’s a bargain that looks a lot like blackmail…

AVAILABLE NOW:

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/The-Baby-Bargain-ebook/dp/B00BQMKC5O/

Nook:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-baby-bargain-jennifer-apodaca/1114794877

Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/The-Baby-Bargain/book-vfUJ7eO_VE2K9094I8lILQ/page1.html

iBookstores: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-baby-bargain/id616370377?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Award winning author Jennifer Apodaca grew up in Southern California and met her very own hero at the dog pound. She worked there, he came in on a business, and it was puppy love. They married and had three wonderful sons.

While her husband worked on his master’s degree, Jen did the mom thing by day and went to college at night with the intention of perusing a marketing degree. But her true passion was writing. With time at a premium, she had to make a choice.

Choosing writing, and with the full support of her husband, she poured herself into her dream. A mere eight years later, she published her first book DATING CAN BE MURDER. In her career, Jen has written a fun and sexy mystery series and a variety of contemporary romances. Taking the pen name of Jennifer Lyon, she also created a dark, sizzling paranormal series, and most recently, The Plus One Chronicles, an emotional and sexy adult contemporary series.

Jen has achieved many of her dreams except for attaining a self-cleaning house, a latte delivery service, and finding the holy grail of nonfattening wine and chocolate. She can live with those disappointments as long as she can keep writing the stories she loves to share with readers.

Connect with Jennifer:

Website: http://jenniferlyonbooks.com/jennifer-apodaca/

Blog: http://jenniferlyonbooks.com/blog/

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

Facebook (Jennifer Lyon): https://www.facebook.com/jenniferlyonbooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jenniferlyon

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/146987.Jennifer_Apodaca

Goodreads (Jennifer Lyon): http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2759175.Jennifer_Lyon

Excerpt:

His words and touch, and the blaze in his eyes made her shiver. Heat from his powerful body poured over her. She couldn’t talk, couldn’t think of anything to say.

“Becky.” His voice came out raspy. “I want to kiss my wife.”

She had a word now. “Yes.”

He skated his thumb down her throat to the fluttering pulse. “Tonight is only for kissing.” Leaning down, he added, “We have three months together. You’re going to take all the time you need because you’re worth waiting for to have in my bed.”

Becky had no chance to reply as his full, warm mouth glided over her lips.

Logan groaned. She felt him grab onto the counter, locking her between his powerful biceps. Angling his head, he licked and coaxed until she opened, giving him access. He tasted of dinner and that richer, masculine flavor that was all his. He dived in, his tongue commanding as he explored her, filling her with his taste.

Becky dug her fingers into his sides, desperate to hold on. Growing bolder, she tangled her tongue with his, getting more aggressive with every thrust. A whimper of burning need clawed up her throat. Every part of her ached to feel more of him, all of him.

He pulled back, his gaze scorching. Leaning his forehead against hers, he growled out. “Damn, sugar. You’re killing me.”

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

GRAND PRIZE: $25.00 gift card to Amazon or B&N

RUNNERS UP: Three (3) runners-up will receive an eBook of THE BABY BARGAIN, book one in the Once A Marine series.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Spotlight and Giveaway: Her Temporary Hero by Jennifer Apodaca appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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36. The Hole In My Jammies But You Won't See My Lack Of Underpants

Mr Stransky and Mr Robson demanded photographic evidence regarding my holed pajama bottoms so here's a photo.  The one I got using "timer" on the camera I have NOT used. I bent over with the pajamas on but looking at the photo I realised I was not wearing pants underneath the jammy bottoms.  Took the photo to show my sister ----an hour of vomiting.  Weak stomache.


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37. Reusable Book Tags

Returning from the ALA Conference, I was inspired by the notable tags used by the vendors on the exhibit floor.  I didn’t want to print up tags because with our library’s circulation, the books on display are constantly changing.  I needed a tag that was easy to see, but also adaptable to whatever book it was placed in.  Thankfully, I have a really creative staff at my branch and by brainstorming with my branch head and afterschool leader, we were able to create some fun and useful book tags.  To begin, I found some speech bubble post-it notes and laminated them.  (Moment of honesty:  These were a giveaway by Sam Hain Publishing at ALA this year.  There are so many benefits of going to conference beyond the great programming!)  When I cut them out, I kept a tail of laminated plastic on the end: 

postitIt’s a little hard to see in the picture, but I cut a slit into the tail so it would slide over a page in the book.  Now that it’s laminated, it can be written on with a dry erase marker.  (My after school leader told me about this and it’s revolutionized my life!)  Here is a picture of some of the books:

do not reshelveI added a security tag to the back of each post-it, so they won’t accidentally walk out the door inside the book. Because the security tag is white, you really don’t notice it.  Here is a group of books on display:

bookcaseThe picture is a bit dark, but they look great in person.  If we lose any, we’re only out a post-it and some lamination paper.  When I make more, I’m going to make the tails a little longer.  I was able to make 9 tags out of one lamination sheet, but I think 6 would be better.  This will allow the tail to be a little longer and fit more securely in the book.  I’m using them in my picture book area currently, but I think the possibilities are endless. 

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

Christopher Brown Headshot

Photo courtesy of Christopher Brown

Our guest blogger today is Christopher Brown. Chris is a librarian for the Wadsworth Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia.  He received is MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh in 2005 and his MA from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 2013.  His current books obsessions are The Sittin’ Up by Shelia P. Moses, the Green Knowe series by Lucy M. Boston, and Leah Wilcox’s Waking Beauty.  He’s probably book talking at least one of these titles right now.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

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38. JUST CALL MY NAME by Holly Goldberg Sloan {Review}

"Review by Books" Review by J  Just Call My Name  (I’ll Be There #2)  by Holly Goldberg Sloan Page Count: 352 Genre: YA/Contemporary Rating: 4.5/5  Goodreads | Amazon The happily-ever-after of Holly Goldberg Sloan's acclaimed debut, I'll Be There, is turned on its head in this riveting, emotional sequel about friends, enemies, and how those roles can shift in a matter of moments.

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39. Book Blogger Hop - 7/25 - 7/31

 Question of the Week:

Do you like to read books with a theme such as Halloween, Christmas, etc?

My Answer:

Not really.  

I read themed books once in a while, but not a regular basis.  

I actually think I have only read one book that had a Christmas theme.  It was The Walnut Tree by Charles Todd.





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40. Swooning Over Swag (or Christmas in July)

I count myself lucky to know some really terrific people. And one such person is my colleague and friend Brian Abbott. Brian is the coworker who went to the ALA (American Library Association) Midwinter Conference back in January and brought me back several ARCs. (Read more about that by clicking Here.) A few weeks ago, he attended the ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas and he came back bearing swag, and lots of it! From posters, to prints, to magnets, and even CDs, they were giving it all away at ALA. And Brian gave a bunch to me! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But his generosity didn’t end there. He waited in line and managed to grab me a signed copy, yes, a signed copy of Caldecott Medal winner Brian Floca’s book Locomotive! (Read my review of Locomotive Here.) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, that’s definitely sweet, but the most unique item Brian brought back was a seven-page, full-color booklet that was given out to attendees of the Newbery Caldecott Awards Banquet. Brian was invited to attend! (Okay, push down the author envy.) The booklet is so cool; it even has a pop-up in it! Swoon.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks Brian, you’re awesome! To learn more about adult mystery novelist Brian Abbott, check out his site, The Poisoned Martini, and look for his debut novel Death On Stoneridge, coming soon.


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41. Review of the Day: The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis

MadmanPineyWoods Review of the Day: The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul CurtisThe Madman of Piney Woods
By Christopher Paul Curtis
Scholastic
ISBN: 978-0-545-63376-5
$16.99
Ages 9-12
On shelves September 30th

No author hits it out of the park every time. No matter how talented or clever a writer might be, if their heart isn’t in a project it shows. In the case of Christopher Paul Curtis, when he loves what he’s writing the sheets of paper on which he types practically set on fire. When he doesn’t? It’s like reading mold. There’s life there, but no energy. Now in the case of his Newbery Honor book Elijah of Buxton, Curtis was doing gangbuster work. His blend of history and humor is unparalleled and you need only look to Elijah to see Curtis at his best. With that in mind I approached the companion novel to Elijah titled The Madman of Piney Woods with some trepidation. A good companion book will add to the magic of the original. A poor one, detract. I needn’t have worried. While I wouldn’t quite put Madman on the same level as Elijah, what Curtis does here, with his theme of fear and what it can do to a human soul, is as profound and thought provoking as anything he’s written in the past. There is ample fodder here for young brains. The fact that it’s a hoot to read as well is just the icing on the cake.

Two boys. Two lives. It’s 1901, forty years after the events in Elijah of Buxton and Benji Alston has only one dream: To be the world’s greatest reporter. He even gets an apprenticeship on a real paper, though he finds there’s more to writing stories than he initially thought. Meanwhile Alvin Stockard, nicknamed Red, is determined to be a scientist. That is, when he’s not dodging the blows of his bitter Irish granny, Mother O’Toole. When the two boys meet they have a lot in common, in spite of the fact that Benji’s black and Red’s Irish. They’ve also had separate encounters with the legendary Madman of Piney Woods. Is the man an ex-slave or a convict or part lion? The truth is more complicated than that, and when the Madman is in trouble these two boys come to his aid and learn what it truly means to face fear.

Let’s be plainspoken about what this book really is. Curtis has mastered the art of the Tom Sawyerish novel. Sometimes it feels like books containing mischievous boys have fallen out of favor. Thank goodness for Christopher Paul Curtis then. What we have here is a good old-fashioned 1901 buddy comedy. Two boys getting into and out of scrapes. Wreaking havoc. Revenging themselves on their enemies / siblings (or at least Benji does). It’s downright Mark Twainish (if that’s a term). Much of the charm comes from the fact that Curtis knows from funny. Benji’s a wry-hearted bigheaded, egotistical, lovable imp. He can be canny and completely wrong-headed within the space of just a few sentences. Red, in contrast, is book smart with a more regulation-sized ego but as gullible as they come. Put Red and Benji together and it’s little wonder they’re friends. They compliment one another’s faults. With Elijah of Buxton I felt no need to know more about Elijah and Cooter’s adventures. With Madman I wouldn’t mind following Benji and Red’s exploits for a little bit longer.

One of the characteristics of Curtis’s writing that sets him apart from the historical fiction pack is his humor. Making the past funny is a trick. Pranks help. An egotistical character getting their comeuppance helps too. In fact, at one point Curtis perfectly defines the miracle of funny writing. Benji is pondering words and wordplay and the magic of certain letter combinations. Says he, “How is it possible that one person can use only words to make another person laugh?” How indeed. The remarkable thing isn’t that Curtis is funny, though. Rather, it’s the fact that he knows how to balance tone so well. The book will garner honest belly laughs on one page, then manage to wrench real emotion out of you the next. The best funny authors are adept at this switch. The worst leave you feeling queasy. And Curtis never, not ever, gives a reader a queasy feeling.

Normally I have a problem with books where characters act out-of-step with the times without any outside influence. For example, I once read a Civil War middle grade novel that shall remain nameless where a girl, without anyone in her life offering her any guidance, independently came up with the idea that “corsets restrict the mind”. Ugh. Anachronisms make me itch. With that in mind, I watched Red very carefully in this book. Here you have a boy effectively raised by a racist grandmother who is almost wholly without so much as a racist thought in his little ginger noggin. How do we account for this? Thankfully, Red’s father gives us an “out”, as it were. A good man who struggles with the amount of influence his mother-in-law may or may not have over her redheaded grandchild, Mr. Stockard is the just force in his son’s life that guides his good nature.

The preferred writing style of Christopher Paul Curtis that can be found in most of his novels is also found here. It initially appears deceptively simple. There will be a series of seemingly unrelated stories with familiar characters. Little interstitial moments will resonate with larger themes, but the book won’t feel like it’s going anywhere. Then, in the third act, BLAMMO! Curtis will hit you with everything he’s got. Murder, desperation, the works. He’s done it so often you can set your watch by it, but it still works, man. Now to be fair, when Curtis wrote Elijah of Buxton he sort of peaked. It’s hard to compete with the desperation that filled Elijah’s encounter with an enslaved family near the end. In Madman Curtis doesn’t even attempt to top it. In fact, he comes to his book’s climax from another angle entirely. There is some desperation (and not a little blood) but even so this is a more thoughtful third act. If Elijah asked the reader to feel, Madman asks the reader to think. Nothing wrong with that. It just doesn’t sock you in the gut quite as hard.

For me, it all comes down to the quotable sentences. And fortunately, in this book the writing is just chock full of wonderful lines. Things like, “An object in motion tends to stay in motion, and the same can be said of many an argument.” Or later, when talking about Red’s nickname, “It would be hard for even as good a debater as Spencer or the Holmely boy to disprove that a cardinal and a beet hadn’t been married and given birth to this boy. Then baptized him in a tub of red ink.” And I may have to conjure up this line in terms of discipline and kids: “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink, but you can sure make him stand there looking at the water for a long time.” Finally, on funerals: “Maybe it’s just me, but I always found it a little hard to celebrate when one of the folks in the room is dead.”

He also creates little moments that stay with you. Kissing a reflection only to have your lips stick to it. A girl’s teeth so rotted that her father has to turn his head when she kisses him to avoid the stench (kisses are treacherous things in Curtis novels). In this book I’ll probably long remember the boy who purposefully gets into fights to give himself a reason for the injuries wrought by his drunken father. And there’s even a moment near the end when the Madman’s identity is clarified that is a great example of Curtis playing with his audience. Before he gives anything away he makes it clear that the Madman could be one of two beloved characters from Elijah of Buxton. It’s agony waiting for him to clarify who exactly is who.

Character is king in the world of Mr. Curtis. A writer who manages to construct fully three-dimensional people out of mere words is one to watch. In this book, Curtis has the difficult task of making complete and whole a character through the eyes of two different-year-old boys. And when you consider that they’re working from the starting point of thinking that the guy’s insane, it’s going to be a tough slog to convince the reader otherwise. That said, once you get into the head of the “Madman” you get a profound sense not of his insanity but of his gentleness. His very existence reminded me of similar loners in literature like Boys of Blur by N.D. Wilson or The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton, but unlike the men in those books this guy had a heart and a mind and a very distinctive past. And fears. Terrible, awful fears.

It’s that fear that gives Madman its true purpose. Red’s grandmother, Mother O’Toole, shares with the Madman a horrific past. They’re very different horrors (one based in sheer mind-blowing violence and the other in death, betrayal, and disgust) but the effects are the same. Out of these moments both people are suffering a kind of PTSD. This makes them two sides of the same coin. Equally wracked by horrible memories, they chose to handle those memories in different ways. The Madman gives up society but retains his soul. Mother O’Toole, in contrast, retains her sanity but gives up her soul. Yet by the end of the book the supposed Madman has returned to society and reconnected with his friends while the Irishwoman is last seen with her hair down (a classic madwoman trope as old as Shakespeare himself) scrubbing dishes until she bleeds to rid them of any trace of the race she hates so much. They have effectively switched places.

Much of what The Madman of Piney Woods does is ask what fear does to people. The Madman speaks eloquently of all too human monsters and what they can do to a man. Meanwhile Grandmother has suffered as well but it’s made her bitter and angry. When Red asks, “Doesn’t it seem only logical that if a person has been through all of the grief she has, they’d have nothing but compassion for anyone else who’s been through the same?” His father responds that “given enough time, fear is the great killer of the human spirit.” In her case it has taken her spirit and “has so horribly scarred it, condensing and strengthening and dishing out the same hatred that it has experienced.” But for some the opposite is true, hence the Madman. Two humans who have seen the worst of humanity. Two different reactions. And as with Elijah, where Curtis tackled slavery not through a slave but through a slave’s freeborn child, we hear about these things through kids who are “close enough to hear the echoes of the screams in [the adults’] nightmarish memories.” Certainly it rubs off onto the younger characters in different ways. In one chapter Benji wonders why the original settlers of Buxton, all ex-slaves, can’t just relax. Fear has shaped them so distinctly that he figures a town of “nervous old people” has raised him. Adversity can either build or destroy character, Curtis says. This book is the story of precisely that.

Don’t be surprised if, after finishing this book, you find yourself reaching for your copy of Elijah of Buxton so as to remember some of these characters when they were young. Reaching deep, Curtis puts soul into the pages of its companion novel. In my more dreamy-eyed moments I fantasize about Curtis continuing the stories of Buxton every 40 years until he gets to the present day. It could be his equivalent of Louise Erdrich’s Birchbark House chronicles. Imagine if we shot forward another 40 years to 1941 and encountered a grown Benji and Red with their own families and fears. I doubt Curtis is planning on going that route, but whether or not this is the end of Buxton’s tales or just the beginning, The Madman of Piney Woods will leave child readers questioning what true trauma can do to a soul, and what they would do if it happened to them. Heady stuff. Funny stuff. Smart stuff. Good stuff. Better get your hands on this stuff.

On shelves September 30th.

Source: Galley sent from publisher for review.

First Sentence: “The old soldiers say you never hear the bullet that kills you.”

Like This? Then Try:

Notes on the Cover:  As many of us are aware, in the past historical novels starring African-American boys have often consisted of silhouettes or dull brown sepia-toned tomes.  Christopher Paul Curtis’s books tend to be the exception to the rule, and this is clearly the most lively of his covers so far.  Two boys running in period clothing through the titular “piney woods”?  That kind of thing is rare as a peacock these days.  It’s still a little brown, but maybe I can sell it on the authors name and the fact that the books look like they’re running to/from trouble.  All in all, I like it.

Professional Reviews:

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42. Soon to Be Famous Author Winner, School Librarian Joanne Zienty

Soon to Be Famous Author Winner, School Librarian Joanne Zenty

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43. Persnickety Computer Temporarily Ruling KLR — Darn It!

Aw, Gee! My computer is actually not completely fixed. Who would have thought. Please enjoy Howard B. Wigglebottom for one more day. I am working on getting a late review out for tomorrow. If not, relax, enjoy your time away from the comment boxes—thank you all for your comments, I love them—read a book, paint a picture, bake some brownies, or just have fun in the summer sun (unless you are here where the temperature is currently 50 degrees of cool.

In August, if the computer (and Best Buy Geeky squad cooperate), I will finally start posting on a personal blog I have had waiting in the WordPress wings since 2007. There is a DIY MFA: Conquer the Craft in 29 Days!  at diymfa.com if you are interested. I really have no idea what will be expected of me. I did the April, 30 Poetry days at Angie Karchner’s RhyPiBoMo (Rhyming Picture Book Month) and did well. That has actually encouraged me to try other things going on around the literary blogosphere.

Those posts will be at Loving Kidlit @ http://suemorris.wordpress.com/

Keep on stopping by and I will keeping on plugging away!

Up Coming Books include, in NO particular order:

The Lonely Crow  by Paul Stillabower

Paris-Chien: Adventures of an Ex-Pat Dog by Jackie Clark Mancuso

The Ghost of Stonebridge Lane by Rpoberta Hoffer

Frankie Dupont and the Mystery of Enderby Manor by Julie Anne Grasso

plus many new books from traditional publishers.

There are some terrific MG books, a great new odd alphabet book, a new set of board books for boys (and girls), and picture books to make your heart melt and your tongue giggle. So, darn it!, keep coming back. Eventually, the computer will give in and work or find itself alone in a dark, wet pasture.

Thanks for understanding and not leaving KLR behind. Enjoy Mr. Wigglebottom’s “trailer.”

Sue

rhypibomo-graduate-badge-e1398926047783

 


Filed under: Children's Books

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44. Follow Friday Four Fill-In Fun - 7/25/14



Feeling Beachie


Love this meme....I hope you can join in the fun.

Each week, Feeling Beachie lists four statements with a blank for you to fill in on your own blogs. 

The statements:

  1. I find ____very _________.
  2. My favorite _______ is_____.
  3. Why do I always _______?
  4. My favorite time of the day is ____ because ____.
My Answers:

1.  I find taking too much on at once is very overwhelming.
2.  My favorite way to spend the day is reading and blogging.
3.  Why do I always do things myself and not ask for help?
4.  My favorite time of the day is when I first wake up because I take my daily walk.

How would you answer any of these questions? 






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45. Book Beginnings - 7/25/14


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

 *****************
This week's book beginnings is taken from THE WISHING TIDE by Barbara Davis.

"Through my fault.
Through my fault.
Through my most grievous fault.
The sea, it seems, has become my priest, the punishing, faceless thing to which I confess sins, silent witness to my self-inflicted wounds.  We're alike in many ways, a restless beating of water and salt, a shifting and seething of secrets, or treacheries.  Reckless.  Dangerous." 


It is a beautiful read so far.  There are chapter headings introducing each character.  The story is taking place at a bed and breakfast during a severe storm with a mysterious guest.  That's all the farther I have gotten, but it seems as if it is going to be quite good.

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


What are you reading that you can't keep to yourself?  :)

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



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46. I AM A WITCH’S CAT

We’re so excited to share with you I AM A WITCH’S CAT, available this week, written and illustrated by Harriet Muncaster.

I Am a Witch's Cat

We in the HCCB School & Library department are pretty huge fans of tiny things (dollhouse food, figurines, these amazing things . . . you name it), and we couldn’t be more delighted to have found a kindred spirit in Harriet Muncaster. Harriet’s book tells the story of a little girl who believes that her mother is a good witch and that she is a special witch’s cat, and it’s illustrated with photographs of handmade miniatures—characters, furniture, accessories, and details, all lovingly crafted and composed into scenes. We just love it to pieces.

Harriet was kind enough to give us a behind-the-scenes looks at her process for creating the fantastic art from I AM A WITCH’S CAT.

Harriet Muncaster:

I have always been fascinated by tiny things. When I was young I spent my time making miniature houses and clothes and writing minuscule fairy letters. That love of tiny things has never left me, and so, when I took illustration as my degree at university, it felt almost natural to start making my pictures in 3D. I create dollhouse-sized scenes (or sets, as I call them) out of cardboard and fabric and then photograph them to make a flat picture.

In these photos, you can see some of the process I go through to make the scenes. If it is a room, I usually start with a box-like shape and then put in the flooring and wallpaper. I either paint the wallpaper on or make it on the computer and stick it on as you would proper wallpaper (like in the bedroom scene below)!

Beginnings of the bedroom scene

Beginnings of the bedroom scene

 

The furniture is made from card stock. It gives me a lot of freedom to make everything from card because I can literally make it into any shape I like. I can use the card to make something really fancy or really plain and in whatever style I like.

I also like the way one can use lighting when creating a 3D picture. It is possible to really set the mood by using different sorts of atmospheric lighting. My favourite bit of lighting in the book is the scene where Witch’s Cat is saying goodbye to her Mom at the door and the coloured glass in the door is shining against the wall in a rainbow pattern. I got this effect by using coloured cellophane sweet wrappers and then shining a light behind them.

9

Experimenting with some lighting filters made from coloured cellophane chocolate wrappers as seen in the hallway scene

 

The hardest thing to make in the book was the trolley in the supermarket scenes. It took me absolutely ages and was extremely difficult and fiddly to make! It’s definitely the most delicate thing in the whole book.

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The checkout scene in full, with trolley

 

One of my favourite things to make in the book was the patchwork quilt on the bed. I just love the colours in it, which are quite autumnal. I tried to incorporate a lot of autumnal colours into the room scenes, as it is a Halloween book.

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Trying the mom character for size, with close-up of patchwork quilt

 

It feels very magical when a scene becomes finished and you can look right into it and touch it. It’s a real, tiny little world of its own with its own atmosphere and feel to it. I love how tangible it is!

5

Kitchen scene in the early stages

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Food boxes all ready to be put into the scene.

Thank you so much, Harriet!

Check out Harriet’s great blog for a whole lot of miniature inspiration, including a post about how she created the cover art for I AM A WITCH’S CAT. And in case you haven’t quite had your fill of tiny for the day, here are some bonus photos:

Hallway wallpaper design

Hallway wallpaper design

Design for some of the the food boxes in the shopping scene ready to be printed, cut out and folded into 3d boxes

Design for some of the the food boxes in the shopping scene ready to be printed, cut out, and folded into 3D boxes

Mom character. Checking everything is good with her position and the way she is holding the vacuum cleaner

Mom character. Checking everything is good with her position and the way she is holding the vacuum cleaner

Characters, furniture and accessories all neatly boxed up to be transported for exhibition

Characters, furniture, and accessories all neatly boxed up to be transported for exhibition

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47. Review: The City of Palaces. New Books. Chicago Pics. A Random Thought.


 Review:  The City of Palaces by Michael Nava

The City of Palaces
Michael Nava

Terrace Books, University of Wisconsin Press, 2014




Michael Nava published his first novel, The Little Death, in 1986. That book marked the debut of Henry Rios, a gay Chicano lawyer/detective who has become an iconic character in the crime fiction genre. The seven books in the Rios series, hailed as groundbreaking, have won six Lambda Literary Awards. The books recently were reissued in the Kindle format. In recognition of the excellence and popularity of Nava’s writing, he was the recipient of the 2000 Bill Whitehead Lifetime Achievement Award in LGBT literature. That year also marked the publication of the last book in the series, Rag and Bone, along with Nava's announcement that he had retired as a mystery writer. Lucha Corpi, one of the cornerstones of Chicana/Chicano crime fiction and a person obviously qualified to judge, has noted that many consider Nava to be one of the “grandfathers” of the Chicano mystery genre (along with Rolando Hinojosa, who published Partners in Crime in 1984. See Lucha’s Confessions of a Book Burner, page 55.)

The City of Palaces
marks Nava’s return to book length fiction, much to the relief of his many, many readers. And what a grand return it is.

Nava’s explanation of how he came to write this novel is worth repeating. Here are a few paragraphs from the author’s website:

Beginning in 1995, Nava started researching a novel about the life of silent film star Ramon Novarro, a Mexican immigrant who came to Hollywood in 1915 after his family fled their homeland during the Mexican Revolution. Novarro was one of the first generation of internationally famous movie stars, like Rudolph Valentino, Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin. Nava was drawn to Novarro not only because of their shared ethnic heritage but also because it was an open secret in Hollywood that Novarro was gay.
 

At the same time, he became interested in the Yaquis, an Indian tribe that inhabited the northwest state of Sonora along the border with Arizona. In the late nineteenth century, the Mexico government began to forcibly evict the Yaquis from their ancient homeland, a lush river valley at the edge of the Sonoran desert, to make way for Mexican settlers. But the Yaquis put up a fierce resistance and the Mexican government ultimately pursued a policy of extermination against the tribe that resulted in its virtual extinction. Nava’s great-grandparents were among the few Yaquis who had survived by escaping to Arizona where his grandfather, Ramón, was born in 1905.
 

Eventually, these interests converged and he began to write a novel that would tell the story of the Mexican Revolution, the near-genocide of the Yaquis, and the rise of silent film. Midway through his first draft, he recognized that this undertaking was too vast for a single book, so he conceived a series of novels called The Children of Eve, after the line in the Salve Regina addressed to Mary, the mother of Jesus: “To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve.” The first novel in that series is The City of Palaces, which is set in Mexico City in the years before and at the beginning of the 1910 Mexican Revolution.

At its heart, The City of Palaces is the love story of Alicia Gavilán and Miguel Sarmiento. Alicia is wealthy, religious, saintly, and beautiful but scarred (from smallpox.) Miguel is an atheistic doctor with a long family history of involvement in Mexico’s political scene. Miguel feels something like love at first sight when he encounters Alicia, but he struggles against his “manly” aversion to her scars. Alicia, on the other hand, may be spiritual and otherworldly, but she is sensual and most pragmatic. The two star-crossed lovers overcome obstacles put in their way by their families, the social stratification of early twentieth century Mexico, and their own inhibitions, fears, and prejudices. Yes, love conquers all.

A sure sign of excellent writing is that we read the words but see the images created by the author. As I read this book, I saw not only the decay and corruption of Mexico City at the end of the Díaz dictatorship, but I also met the people – the poor and oppressed masses that struggled together in the colonias and slums of the city, the wealthy elite hanging on to their fantasies of Europeanization and ostentatious glitter as their world collapsed, the passionate and somewhat naive revolutionaries who courageously rallied around the doomed Francisco Madero. The images are clear enough, and the writing is so direct and on point, that it does not take much to imagine this story as an HBO miniseries.

The novel sweeps through sixteen years of Mexican history. Nava has done his research, so the details are perfect. He hits high notes with his descriptions of neighborhoods, cafes and churches, references to historical figures such as Huerta, Zapata, Orozco, and Madero, and the sense of tumultuous change that was inescapable no matter how hard some tried to ignore it.

At the end, the book has transitioned to include the story of Alicia’s and Miguel’s child, José, described as a beautiful, sensitive boy who steals away from the safety of his grand “palace” to feed his secret desire for the new moving pictures, shown in dark and dirty alleys where only the most common people enter. Although there is tragedy at the end, there also is hope. The story finishes with these thoughts from Miguel: “[T]here appeared in the desert darkness an archway lit up with electric lights. It spelled out a greeting so simple in its unintentional arrogance he did not know whether the tears that filled his eyes were tears of anger or gratitude, but he wept them all the same as he spoke the words aloud: ‘Welcome to America.’” How many times has that scene been repeated by our own families?

Michael Nava tells a timeless story, a literary jewel waiting for La Bloga’s readers. I can only patiently anticipate the second novel in this series.

For another review of this book, see Michael Sedano’s post on La Bloga at this link.


____________________________________________________________________________

New Books
University of Texas Press - July, 2014

[from the the author's website]

I'm very proud of this collection of scholarly essays. You'll find pieces on Sor Juana, on la Malinche, on Chicana feminist artists and lesbian theorists, on the murdered girls and women of Juárez, as well as a rewriting of the Coyolxauhqui myth, and an opening letter to my paisana from the border, Gloria Anzaldúa, in gratitude for her lenguas de fuego. There are also 8 color plates and 37 black and white photos. Artwork includes different images by Alma Lopez, beginning with that fabulous cover she created for the occasion of the book's publication, as well as pieces by Ester Hernández, Yreina Cervantez, Liliana Wilson, Patssi Valdez, Laura Aguilar, Deliliah Montoya, Alma Gómez-Frith, Miguel Gandert, Alfonso Cano, the "Saint Jerome" of Leonardo da Vinci, the iconic "American Progress, 1872" by John Gast, and a painting of Juana Inés by my very own mother, Teyali Falcón that she created for the publication of Sor Juana's Second Dream.

Upcoming book talks/book signings for the author:
July 29, 6-8pm
Austin, TX, August 28, 7pm



Hearts & Hands: Creating Community in Violent Times, Second Edition
Luis J. Rodriguez
7 Stories Press - July, 2014

[from the author]

Join us in celebrating the book release of Hearts & Hands: Creating Community in Violent Times, Second Edition this Saturday, July 26, 2014 from 5pm to 8pm.

Live art by Rah Azul and silent art auction fundraiser during reception beginning at 5pm followed by author reading at 6pm. The event is free to the public, donations welcome.

The event will begin with a reception that will include live art by Rah Azul, a self-taught painter, muralist and poet based in the San Fernando Valley. Rah Azul's work is featured on the cover of the new Hearts & Hands book. There will be limited prints available of the book cover artwork for sale. The silent art auction will feature a special edition by this featured artist.

"Hearts & Hands is a book that belongs in the hands of any person or organization wanting to understand and work with youth and community in a respectful, meaningful way."

-Trini Rodriguez, Co-Founder of Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural & Bookstore

Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural & Bookstore | 13197 Gladstone Ave., Unit A | Sylmar | CA | 91342
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Chicago Pics

Many of you know that as part of La Bloga's 10th anniversary commemoration several bloquistas participated in a panel at the International Latina/o Studies Conference. See Amelia Montes's most recent post for more info about and photos of the event. The panel invigorated and inspired all of us, and many of our readers and friends gathered to talk about and help us celebrate La Bloga. Seven of our eleven contributors made it to the Windy City, and we had a great time together. We hope to do something similar again. No rhyme or reason, here are a few photos taken in Chicago. 



Toddlin' Town



Palmer House Stairwell


Millennium Park - Selfie


Millennium Park - Face










Millennium Park - Heads




Dessert at Zapatista - Free for La Bloga!


Long Live the Blues!





From the Galería Sin Fronteras Exhibit at the National Museum of Mexican Art






Wrapping Up the Panel

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Random Thought While Jogging Around Sloan's Lake


One of the regrettable things that has happened to Denver’s North Side, where I've lived for more than thirty years, is the rise and victory of the “suburban aesthetic”: boxy, boring housing lined up in rows; a uniform “non-conformist” style from clothes to music; restaurants that are destinations rather than good places to grab a bite to eat; an obsession about “making it,” a flaccid, common denominator cultural perspective. A great neighborhood has to be more than that.



Later.



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48. New House

So we have a new house. :)

Yes, we are living there now. We had to wait another week after we closed on July 14, to have the floors refinished and then wait for the fumes to diminish. We still have barely any furniture moved in, though--just beds, our dining room table, a couch and various chairs.

We've been gradually getting everything we had brought with us to the garage and basement of the friends we were staying with, plus I have most of my kitchen and pantry items out of storage and mostly unpacked now. But we still have three storage units full of the rest of our stuff that we need to bring in to the house! One more week till the floors are fully cured, so we tell ourselves it's probably better to wait and not cover them with boxes yet anyway. And hey, we've already paid for the storage.

What you really want to see is pictures.

Probably not smart to post a photo here of the front of the house, but here's the back. The part under the sloped roof is the original 1903 brick Victorian. The part under the balcony is a 1965 addition. This back side of the house faces east, toward Lake Michigan.


Next we have the view from our balcony on the night we moved in. There was a Twilight Jazz concert at the bandshell, and you can even see a sailboat on the lake--it's a little white dot near the cloud line.


Our garage and back yard--


The 1965 addition. The wall on the right is brick, the original exterior wall. We did not re-do these floors--they haven't been covered by carpet and still look pretty good. 


This is the view across the front of the house, standing in the living room, looking across the foyer into the dining room. That's a smaller foyer leading to the front door, to the left, and between it and the dining room there is a roomy closet. In this photo, the floor guys had just sanded the living room floor.

Our 111-year-old floors are old-growth Oregon fir.

Master bedroom floor before...


And after!


A few more "afters"--

Here's the finished dining room, with the original 1950's wallpaper that I'm keeping, for now!


The living room (we're keeping the blue for now)...


and the other bedrooms.

B23 will get the smallest bedroom. No wallpaper, faces the lake.

Chicklet11 and B9 are sharing this room for now. Rosebud wallpaper, faces the street.

Everybody loves the wallpaper in the bicycle room! B19 and B15 are sharing this room with a lake view for now.
In the interests of getting something posted today, I will save kitchen and bathroom photos for another post! But here are a couple shots of the attic, which has been a preoccupation lately, as we've been talking to contractors about finishing it.



We plan to put a master bedroom at this end, and a library/office for Father Rooster in the end with the stairway, with a dormer out toward the lake to create a nice seating/meeting area as well. We'll put a bathroom in the existing dormer area towards the middle, with the three low windows in the first photo above.

One last photo. While we were waiting on the floors, we had a friend pressure-wash and stain our deck!


This was taken at 9:30 a.m.--we have dappled sunlight on it almost all morning. (Isn't our neighbor's house beautiful?) We've spent a lot of time out here already.

The second floor balcony is going to be a great outdoor space as well, once we deal with the peeling paint on the tin roof; we've been consulting on that too. We think we'll cover it with plywood, a rubber membrane and indoor/outdoor carpeting. But first we'll wait for the dormer in the roof above to be completed, since they are likely to set up equipment on the balcony during construction. Dominoes!

So many dominoes! I don't want to move a lot of stuff into the basement until we have shelves set up, and I don't want to set up all the shelves until the floor is swept, and I can't sweep the floor until.... It's the same story with the garage, the mudroom and other areas I'm trying to organize.

So I'm off to organize! But first let me say how thankful I am, every morning, for the gift of this house. That word--"gift"--just keeps coming up for me, tied to the house and this whole move, in so many ways that I am still unwrapping and receiving almost daily, so to speak--it seems like there is more to this gift than I even imagined, and we are receiving gifts related to it, too. Our kids feel it too, even the ones who were the most reluctant to leave our other house, who were not excited about us buying an old house--they are falling in love with this house, the neighborhood, "Lake living," and something intangible about being here. I think it has to do with being where God wants us.

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49. Poetry Friday -- You Are There




You Are There
by Erica Jong


You are there.
You have always been
there.
Even when you thought
you were climbing
you had already arrived.
Even when you were
breathing hard,
you were at rest.
Even then it was clear
you were there.

Not in our nature
to know what
is journey and what
arrival.
Even if we knew
we would not admit.
Even if we lived
we would think
we were just
germinating.

To live is to be
uncertain.
Certainty comes
at the end.



June and July have been travel months of for me: Indiana, Hocking Hills, Michigan, Colorado, and next up, Vermont. I like Erica Jong's answer to the question, "Where am I?" 

As Back to School ads and sales rev up and I feel like I should be thinking even more about the upcoming school year than I already am (no school nightmares yet, though...knock wood), I will hold onto that last stanza.

Sylvia and Janet have the Poetry Friday Roundup this week at Poetry For Children


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50. Time Bomb Comics

Hmm. Odd. Two requests on the same day asking me what happened to Time Bomb Comics? As far as I know Steve Tanner is still publishing TBC.  I know he goes to events selling books but new...no idea.

]I checked and the last time I reviewed anything from the company was November...2012!  The Last Ride Of Henry Holden.

Just google Time Bomb Comics!

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