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<<August 2015>>
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1. Ask a Book Buyer: Post-Apocalyptic Delights

At Powell's, our book buyers select all the new books in our vast inventory. If we need a book recommendation, we turn to our team of resident experts. Need a gift idea for a fan of vampire novels? Looking for a guide that will best demonstrate how to knit argyle socks? Need a book for [...]

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2. Emily Dickinson Documentary on Kickstarter

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3. Exclusive Sneak Peek at the Rebel Wing Series by Tracy Banghart + Giveaway (International)


by Tracy Banghart

Today we're super excited to bring you an exclusive excerpt from TORN SKY, the third and final book in the REBEL WING series. Before we get to the excerpt, here's more about the books in the series!

About the Books

b2ap3_thumbnail_9781939106407.jpgREBEL WING (REBEL WING #1)

The Dominion of Atalanta is at war. But for eighteen-year-old Aris, the fighting is nothing more than a distant nightmare, something she watches on news vids from the safety of her idyllic seaside town. Then her boyfriend, Calix, is drafted into the Military, and the nightmare becomes a dangerous reality.
Left behind, Aris has nothing to fill her days. Even flying her wingjet--the thing she loves most, aside from Calix--feels meaningless without him by her side. So when she's recruited to be a pilot for an elite search-and-rescue unit, she leaps at the chance, hoping she'll be stationed near Calix. But there's a catch: She must disguise herself as a man named Aristos. There are no women in the Atalantan Military, and there never will be.
Aris gives up everything to find Calix: her home. Her family. Even her identity. But as the war 
rages on, Aris discovers she's fighting for much more than her relationship. With each injured person she rescues and each violent battle she survives, Aris is becoming a true soldier--and the best flyer in the Atalantan Military. She's determined to save her Dominion . . . or die trying.
To learn more about this book and see our review, go HERE.

b2ap3_thumbnail_RW2-Stormfall.jpgSTORM FALL (REBEL WING #2)

In the action-packed sequel to Rebel Wing, Aris battles for life and love . . . and not everyone will survive. Aris Haan gave up everything to join the Atalantan Military: her family, her boyfriend, even her identity. In the end, though, it didn’t matter that she was a war hero. When the all-male Military discovered that she was actually a woman, she was sent home and erased from history. 
Now she has a chance to go back to the battlefield—as herself. But as hard as it was to be a soldier in disguise, it’s even more difficult now. The men in her unit undermine her at every turn. The Safaran army has spies everywhere, perhaps even on Aris’s stationpoint. And she’s falling for her mysterious superior officer, Milek. But their relationship is forbidden, just stolen moments between training sessions and missions. There’s no room for love in war. 
Then Aris discovers that Safara’s leaders have set their sights on her, Atalanta’s hero. And she must find them before they find her . . .
To learn more about this book and see our review, go HERE.
b2ap3_thumbnail_RW3-TornSky-Cvr.jpgTORN SKY (REBEL WING #3)
The end is near . . . 
When Aris Haan brought down Safara’s biggest war criminal, she’d thought it was a turning point in the war. Victory was on the horizon, as was a peaceful future with her Promised, Milek. 
But a deadly new threat has emerged: a Safaran bomb that could wipe out all of Atalanta in one catastrophic blast. Aris is tasked with finding the weapon before it is completed, a mission made more difficult when she starts to suspect that there is a Safaran spy in her unit. Friendships are tested, loyalties are strained, and suddenly Aris no longer knows whom she can trust. 
In the epic conclusion to the Rebel Wing series, Atalanta’s fate rests on Aris’s shoulders. Can she find the bomb before it destroys everything—and everyone—she loves?
To learn more about this book and see our review, go HERE.


Are you ready to start reading?!

Hours passed. Aris had no concept of whether it was day or night. The light here never changed. At one point, a soldier slid trays into each of the cells containing a shallow dish of brown slop and a hard chunk of bread. 
“Where is Milek?” Aris asked. 
The man ignored her.
Aris pushed the tray away, not trusting the food. She resumed pacing. She couldn’t just wait for them to come and kill her too. She had to do something. Even if all she could do was die, she had to at least die fighting. But what could she fight with? She had nothing but her uniform. Her solagun and utility knife had been confiscated. Her sythin, the thin cylinder that could knock a grown man unconscious, had been taken too. Her belt. Her boots. Everything but her jacket, her socks, her pants and shirt. Her underthings. She had nothing but—
Aris took a deep breath, suddenly aware of the band encircling her chest.
She scrambled into the toilet alcove. Hurriedly, she pulled her arms through her sleeves, so they were naked against her stomach. With shaking fingers, she detached her bandeau. She shoved her arms back through her sleeves and inspected the piece of clothing in the sickly glow of the lights. The fabric was elastic, not good for much, but two sturdy underwires were sown in. Using her teeth, she ripped the seams and removed the wires. Each curved in a half moon with pointed ends. They were flexible, which wouldn’t help, but with enough force . . . 
She ripped the bandeau again, and wrapped an end of each wire in a scrap of fabric before concealing the makeshift weapons in her clenched hands.
The door scraped open again, and another soldier walked in. There was no sign of Milek.
Her heart shivered into ice. He’s okay, he’s okay, he’s okay
But she knew he wasn’t. He couldn’t be, or they would have brought him back.

b2ap3_thumbnail_TBsmall.jpgAbout the Author

Award-winning author, Army wife, and mom Tracy Banghart has an MA in Publishing and an unhealthy affection for cupcakes. Her quiet childhood led to a reading addiction, writing obsession, and several serious book boyfriends.


Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


Giveaway Details

One winner will receive the entire series on Kindle.

Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. Winners will be announced on this site and in our monthly newsletter (sign up now!) within 30 days after the giveaway ends.

During each giveaway, we ask entrants a question pertaining to the book. Here is the question they'll be answering in the comments below for extra entries:

What female character in books, TV, or film do you most aspire to be like? What are her greatest strengths? What are YOUR greatest strengths?

Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway:

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4. Book Review: Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell

From Goodreads:
The summer precocious Lois and pretty Carly May were twelve years old, they were kidnapped, driven across the country, and held in a cabin in the woods for two months by a charismatic stranger. Nearly twenty years later, Lois has become a professor, teaching British literature at a small college in upstate New York, and Carly May is an actress in Los Angeles, drinking too much and struggling to revive her career. When a movie with a shockingly familiar plot draws the two women together once more, they must face the public exposure of their secret history and confront the dark longings and unspeakable truths that haunt them still. Maggie Mitchell's Pretty Is beautifully defies ripped-from-the-headlines crime story expectations and announces the debut of a masterful new storytelling talent. 
I want to start with the positives, so I'm going to put entertainment value first with this book.  I feel like when I start with critiques, it sounds like I didn't enjoy the book, and I want it to be clear that I thoroughly enjoyed my read of this one, despite having some issues with the writing.

Entertainment Value
I love kidnapping stories, and was super intrigued by this one, which had the promise of not just a kidnapping but a mysterious secret the kidnapped girls have been keeping for almost twenty years.  In terms of engagement with the story, this did not disappoint.  I loved the creepiness of Lois and her modern stalker contrasted with the seeming innocence of the actual kidnapper.  I also enjoyed having both Lois and Carly May as narrators and getting to hear each explore their beliefs and opinions about the other.  My one complaint is that the ending didn't live up to the tension that builds during the book.  It happens too  quickly and without as much drama as the reader expects with all of the tension throughout the book.

This is where I had some real issues with the book.  If the book were intended to be a thriller and had a harrowing or twisted ending, I wouldn't have minded that we never really and truly figure out what the kidnapper was thinking or whether or not Lois is in her right mind.  On the other hand, I wouldn't mind the anti-climactic ending if we had really gotten into the psychology of the characters and the kidnapper.  Unfortunately, we get just a touch of both, and neither left me feeling fulfilled.  I never really understood the motivations of any of the characters, including our two narrators.  And I didn't feel like we got a good glimpse at where they were headed or how they had been impacted by the trauma in any way other than the most obvious actions - drinking, writing a book based on the story, losing touch with family.  I felt like the author tried too hard to fill the book with both thrills and psychology, but didn't really manage to pull of either at the end.

I enjoyed my reading experience and devoured the book in two sittings.  In that way, the book was a complete success.  It's a debut novel, and I think it was a fairly strong first novel.  On the other hand, I felt let down by the ending and never really connected with the motivations of any character, which was a disappointment.  I'm not sure that I'd recommend this one to others, but I will keep an eye on Mitchell's future writing and would be willing to read her again.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy to review.

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5. YouTuber Creates a Hunger Games and Game of Thrones Mash-Up Video

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6. Donald Trump Biography Release Date Moved Up

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7. It's live!! Cover Reveal: Kiss Kill Love Him Still by Jamie Blair and Dawn Rae Miller + Giveaway (International)

It's time for a great cover reveal to get rid of that afternoon slump!

Today we're super excited to celebrate the cover reveal for KISS KILL LOVE HIM STILL by Jamie Blair and Dawn Rae Miller, releasing November 10, 2015. Before we get to the cover, here's a note from Jamie and Dawn:

It’s time to show the pretty - our cover for KISS KILL LOVE HIM STILL. We’re thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with Letitia Hasser of RBA Designs. She took our vague ramblings about girls and coffins, and made it into something cohesive and quite frankly, really freakin’ awesome. 
To celebrate the cover reveal of KISS KILL LOVE HIM STILL, we’re giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a paperback of our novel to one winner, and ebooks to five more winners. E-book pre-orders are .99 until release day only!
Thanks for stopping by, and we hope you love the cover as much as we do!
~Jamie Blair and Dawn Rae Miller (KISS KILL LOVE HIM STILL, Blair and Miller)



Ready to see?

Scroll, YABCers! Scroll!


































Here it is!



*** If you choose to share this image elsewhere, please include a courtesy link back to this page so others can enter Jamie and Dawn's giveaway. Thank you! ***



by Jamie Blair and Dawn Rae Miller
Release date: November 10, 2015
Publisher: Jamie Blair and Dawn Rae Miller
e-book: 978-0-9909353-2-2
paperback: 978-0-9909353-3-9
About the Book
Jackson Landis kept secrets. It's how he got girls into bed, the grades he wanted, and a reputation for being the life of the party.
But now he's dead, and no one knows how or why. Especially not the four girls whose secrets he protected. Secrets so scandalous they could cause each girl to lose something valuable. Secrets so dark, someone may have killed for them.
The four girls - a campus drug dealer, an overweight bookworm, a closeted lesbian, and a spoiled princess have one thing in common – they’re terrified the things Jackson knew may not have died with him. As Reggie, Haddie, Val, and Livie try to piece together her own role in Jackson’s death, each girl realizes Jackson had some not-so-pretty skeletons of his own.
Which makes a girl wonder, who really wanted Jackson Landis dead?

b2ap3_thumbnail_German-headshot2-small.jpgAbout the Authors

Dawn spends too much time on Twitter. And living in her head. And practicing yoga. Basically, she’s a master procrastinator with great time management skills. Dawn is the author of the YA Larkstorm trilogy and the NA duology Crushed and Hitched. She was also a contributor to the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Dirty Boys of Summer anthology.

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Tumblr | Web | We Heart It


When she’s not busy writing (or when she should be writing), Jamie spends her time dreaming up odd and amazing things--like a steampunk gnome city for her backyard! She’s the author of the YA novels, Leap of Faith and Lost To Me, and a contributor to the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Dirty Boys of Summer anthology.

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Tumblr | Web


Dawn and Jamie are the duo stirring up a maelstrom of publicity for their Release The Kraken PR authors. KISS KILL LOVE HIM STILL is their first novel collaboration.

Pre-order Kobo | Pre-order iBooks | Pre-order Barnes & Noble

Giveaway Details

One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card + a paperback copy of KISS KILL LOVE HIM STILL (when available). 

Five winners will each receive an e-book copy of KISS KILL LOVE HIM STILL (when available). 

Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. Winners will be announced on this site and in our monthly newsletter (sign up now!) within 30 days after the giveaway ends.

During each giveaway, we ask entrants a question pertaining to the book. Here is the question they'll be answering in the comments below for extra entries:

What do you think about the cover and synopsis?

Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway:

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8. PublicAffairs Acquires Book on Wildlife in Afghanistan

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9. Holly Black Inks Deal for Young Adult Trilogy

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10. What's New in YA--August 3, 2015


Are you wondering what's new in YA today? Check out these wonderful new releases!




On the ruined planet Earth, where 50 billion people are confined to megacities and resources are scarce, Deedra has been handed a bleak and mundane existence by the Magistrate she works so hard for. But one day she comes across a beautiful boy named Rose struggling to cross the river–a boy with a secretive past and special abilities, who is somehow able to find comfort and life from their dying planet.

But just as the two form a bond, it is quickly torn apart after the Magistrate’s son is murdered and Rose becomes the prime suspect. Little do Deedra and Rose know how much their relationship will affect the fate of everyone who lives on the planet.


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!







It’s his senior year and Will Shea has conned his way into one of the country’s most elite prep schools. But he soon runs into Andrea, a fellow con-artist. With the school not big enough for the both of them, they make a bet that whoever can con Brandt Rush, the richest, most privileged student in the school out of $50K, gets to stay at the school. Will starts setting up his con (an online poker scam) with his uncle who’s one of the best grifters in the business, but also with the unwanted help of his father.. The plot thickens as Will starts falling for fellow student Gatsby, and some of Will’s lies start to catch up with him. In this twisty tale of scams, secrets, lies and deception, it hard to figure out who’s conning who!


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!







Bryn must decide: follow her head or her heart.

Thrown into a world of suspense and intrigue, Bryn has to fight to clear her name. But she’s not alone. With help from the Trylle – including Finn Holmes – she’s on a quest to discover the truth.

With her life and her world on the line, will Bryn be able to risk it all?


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!






After learning the truth about her bloodlines, Kyra can’t help but feel like a monster.

Though she’s formed a tentative alliance with the Palace, Kyra must keep her identity a secret or risk being hunted like the rest of her Demon Rider kin. Tristam and the imprisoned assassin James are among the few who know about her heritage, but when Tristam reveals a heartbreaking secret of his own, Kyra’s not sure she can trust him. And with James’s fate in the hands of the palace, Kyra fears that he will give her away to save himself.

As tensions rise within Forge’s Council, and vicious Demon Rider attacks continue in surrounding villages, Kyra knows she must do something to save her city. But she walks a dangerous line between opposing armies: will she be able to use her link to the Demon Riders for good, or will her Makvani blood prove to be deadly?

In this spellbinding sequel to Midnight Thief, Kyra and Tristam face their biggest battle yet as they grapple with changing allegiances, shocking deceit, and vengeful opponents.


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!






Sixteen-year-old Kara McKinley is about to realize her dream of becoming a professional baker. Beautifully designed and piped, her cookies are masterpieces, but also her ticket out of rainy Seattle—if she wins the upcoming national baking competition and its scholarship prize to culinary school in California. Kara can no longer stand the home where her family lived, laughed, and ultimately imploded after her mean-spirited big sister Kellen died in a drowning accident.


Kara’s dad has since fled, and her mom has turned from a high-powered attorney into a nutty holy-rolling Christian fundamentalist peddling “Soul Soup” in the family café. All Kara has left are memories of better times.

But the past holds many secrets, and they come to light as Kara faces a secret terror. Someone is leaving her handwritten notes. Someone who knows exactly where she is and what’s she’s doing. As they lead her to piece together the events that preceded Kellen’s terrible, life-changing betrayal years before, she starts to catch glimpses of her dead sister: an unwelcome ghost in filthy Ugg boots. If Kara doesn’t figure out who her stalker is, and soon, she could lose everything. Her chance of escape. The boy she’s beginning to love and trust. Even her life.


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!






Words are strong. Love is stronger.

When Jordyn Michaelson’s autistic brother joins her at her elite school, she’s determined not to let anyone know they’re related. Even if that means closing herself off to all her closest friends, including charming football stud Alex Colby. But despite her best intentions, she just can’t shake the memory of kissing Alex last summer, and the desire to do it again.

Can Jordyn find the courage to tell Alex how she really feels—and the truth about her family—before he slips away forever?


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!






As vice president of Student Council, Kaye knows the importance of keeping order. Not only in school, but in her personal life. Which is why she and her boyfriend, Aidan, already have their lives mapped out: attend Columbia University together, pursue banking careers, and eventually get married. Everything Kaye has accomplished in high school—student government, cheerleading, stellar grades—has been in preparation for that future.

To his entire class, Sawyer is an irreverent bad boy. His antics on the field as school mascot and his love of partying have earned him total slacker status. But while he and Kaye appear to be opposites on every level, fate—and their friends—keep conspiring to throw them together. Perhaps the seniors see the simmering attraction Kaye and Sawyer are unwilling to acknowledge to themselves…

As the year unfolds, Kaye begins to realize her ideal life is not what she thought. And Sawyer decides it’s finally time to let down the facade and show everyone who he really is. Is a relationship between them most likely to succeed—or will it be their favorite mistake?


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!






Tyler has a football scholarship to Stanford, a hot girlfriend, and a reliable army of friends to party with. Then his mom kills herself. And Tyler lets it all go. Now he needs to dodge what his dad is offering (verbal tirades and abuse) and earn what his dad isn’t (money). Tyler finds a job that crashes him into Jordyn, his former childhood friend turned angry-loner goth-girl. She brings Tyler an unexpected reprieve from the never-ending pity party his life has become. How could he not fall for her? But with his dad more brutally unpredictable than ever, Tyler knows he can’t risk bringing Jordyn too deeply into the chaos. So when violence rocks his world again, will it be Jordyn who shows him the way to a hopeful future? Or after everything, will Tyler have to find it in himself?


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!






War erupts in this bittersweet sequel to Of Metal and Wishes, inspired by The Phantom of the Opera and called “relentlessly engrossing” by The Romantic Times.

In the year since the collapse of the slaughterhouse where Wen worked as her father’s medical assistant, she’s held all her secrets close. She works in the clinic at the weapons factory and sneaks away to nurse Bo, once the Ghost, now a boy determined to transform himself into a living machine. Their strange, fragile friendship soothes some of the ache of missing Melik, the strong-willed Noor who walked away from Wen all those months ago—but it can’t quell her fears for him.


The Noor are waging a rebellion in the west. When she overhears plans to crush Melik’s people with the powerful war machines created at the factory, Wen makes the painful decision to leave behind all she has known—including Bo—to warn them. But the farther she journeys into the warzone, the more confusing things become. A year of brutality seems to have changed Melik, and Wen has a decision to make about him and his people: How much is she willing to sacrifice to save them from complete annihilation?


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!







In Book 2 of the Immortal Game trilogy, Edie must learn the rules of the game . . . and then play better than anyone else.

Through a Faustian bargain, Edie Kramer has been pulled into the dangerous world of the Immortal Game, where belief makes your nightmares real. Hungry for sport, fears-made-flesh are always raising the stakes. To them, human lives are less than nothing, just pieces on a board.


Because of her boyfriend Kian’s sacrifice, she’s operating under the mysterious Harbinger’s aegis, but his patronage could prove as fatal as the opposition. Raw from deepest loss, she’s terrified over the deal Kian made for her. Though her very public enemies keep sending foot soldiers–mercenary monsters committed to her destruction–she’s not the one playing under a doom clock. Kian has six months…unless Edie can save him. And this is a game she can’t bear to lose.


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!






The story of an unlikely friendship between a high school football hero and a wannabe superhero, perfect for fans of Ned Vizzini, Chris Crutcher, and Paul Volponi.

Stick Patterson is the best wide receiver in the history of his high school. A college scholarship is his for the asking, but Stick has fallen out of love with football. He deals with unending pressure, spends hours at grueling practices, and tries to live up to expectations of perfection.


In a fit of frustration, he quits the team. But then he meets Preston, who is small, nerdy, and convinced he’s a superhero. Preston’s father was murdered in front of him, and now he spends his nights trying to stop local crime.

“Stick” is the story of two boys–one who dresses up in a costume to make other people happy and another who dresses up in a costume to make a difference in the world. Stick comes to realize that Preston’s fantasy world is not that far removed from his own, and both will help each other figure out just what they want to do with their lives.


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!







As sixteen-year-old Leilani and her family learn to live without electronics, farming the land as her ancestors did, she finds strength in her relatives, her friendships, and her strange connection to the Emerald Orchid–the force whose presence caused global devastation–but suffers regret over what she must do to survive.

An exciting and satisfying sequel that continues the thrilling ideas and adventure of THE ISLANDS AT THE END OF THE WORLD.

Native Hawaiian mythology and history is beautifully intertwined in the story.

An eco-thriller by an expert: great choice for dystopian fans who want a new spin. The author has a masters in tropical conservation biology from the University of Hawaii-Hilo.


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!






The final installment in a thrilling fantastical mystery series.

Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare. Literally. Dusty is a magical being who feeds on human dreams.

Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy is hard enough, not to mention the crazy events of the past year. Dusty may have saved the day, but there are many days left in the year, and with an old foe back to seek revenge, she’ll need all her strength to defeat him and save her friends.

Mindee Arnett thrills again in this stunning final installment in the Arkwell Academy series.


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!






A year ago, Boy, the son of Frankenstein’s monster, had never even met a human. Now he’s living with his human “family,” the descendants of Dr. Frankenstein, in Switzerland. That is, until the maniacal genius Dr. Moreau, long-ago banished to a remote island for his crimes against humanity, asks for Boy’s help.   Moreau wants Boy to join his army of animal/human hybrid creatures and help him overthrow human society. Boy will do anything to save this broken, wondrous world from the war that threatens to split it in two. But how much will he have to give up? And is the world worth saving?


*To see reviews and find links to buy this book, go HERE!






Preparing to survive a typical day of being Digbys friend wasn’t that different from preparing to survive the apocalypse.

Her first day not in school (because she cut) in her new hometown that will soon be her old hometown (because she’s getting out of Dodge as fast as she can) Zoe meets Digby. Or rather, Digby decides he’s going to meet Zoe and get her to help him find missing teenager. Zoe isn’t sure how, but Digby—the odd and brilliant and somehow…attractive?—Digby always gets what he wants, including her help on several illegal ventures.


Before she knows it, Zoe has vandalized an office complex with fake snow, pretended to buy drugs alongside a handsome football player dressed like the Hulk, had a throw-down with a possible cult, and, oh yeah, saved her new hometown (which might be worth making her permanent hometown after all.)

A mystery where catching the crook isn’t the only hook, a romance where the leading man is decidedly unromantic, a story about friendship where they aren’t even sure they like each other—Trouble is a Friend of Mine is a YA debut you

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12. Deadpool Appears in the Fantastic Four Extended Trailer

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13. An Ember in the Ashes (2015)

An Ember in the Ashes. Sabaa Tahir. 2015. Penguin. 446 pages. [Source: Library]

I definitely enjoyed reading Sabaa Tahir's An Ember in the Ashes. This young adult fantasy is a quick, compelling read with two narrators. Laia is a slave from the conquered Scholars tribe. Elias is a Mask, a soldier from the dominant (conquering) Martials tribe. The chapters alternate points of view. Which is good and bad. Good in that both narrators have action-packed stories that sometimes happen to collide. Bad in that the action is interrupted oh-so-often. And when you're all caught up in the moment, the last thing you want to do is switch narrators! Even if you know that in just a page or two you'll be swept right back up again. But at least both stories are fast-paced and action-packed. It could be a lot worse.

So. The world building is interesting. And the world-building is gradual in a way. You keep learning more about the world as the plot unfolds. It is never so unsettling that you're completely confused. But you know that the world is unique from the start.

So what is this one about? Laia turns to the rebel resistance when her brother is arrested and put in prison. She has no spy-skills to speak of, but, she's determined to do whatever it takes, no matter how hard, no matter how risky, to free him. She's placed as a spy within Blackcliff, the soldier-school, and her mistress is cruel. (She's also the Commandant.)

Elias is planning an escape of his own. He may have trained as a soldier--as a mask--but he's never bonded with his mask. He doesn't see himself as a cruel, heartless soldier who rapes and kills and follows orders. But he hesitates at the last minute, and decides to become an Aspirant instead. There were four named. Two will die. One will be the new emperor. One will take an oath to serve the new emperor until death. And the four trials will be more challenging, more risky, than anything he's ever faced before.

Both Elias and Laia are absolutely miserable and are facing huge challenges daily...

I liked it because sometimes you just need an intense, compelling read.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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14. Sweet Champagne! Veuve Clicquot RICH Premieres at Hotel Danieli Terrace

Veuve Clicquot Rich Premieres on Danieli Terrace
(Venice, Italy) The innovative Champagne, Veuve Clicquot, has been around for centuries. The favorite bubbly in royal courts throughout Europe, Veuve Clicquot is at the forefront in introducing new generations to sparkling wine. Sure to shock conservative Champagne fans and delight those open to new experiences, their latest creation, Veuve Clicquot RICH, breaks all the rules.

Veuve Clicquot RICH on Danieli Terrace
Served on ice, with added, selected ingredients -- like pineapple, bell pepper or cucumber -- the sweet Veuve Clicquot Rich Champagne is specifically made for mixing. With this creative mixology, Veuve Clicquot is determined to shatter the notion that Champagne is only for birthdays and New Year's Eve, hoping to transform it into a conventional drink. Last night, Veuve Clicquot Rich made its debut in Venice on the rooftop terrace of the Hotel Danieli.

Veuve Clicquot RICH
According to tradition, the term "rich" was applied to sparkling wines because of their sugar content, which is where Dominique Demarvile, Veuve Clicquot Cellar Master, found inspiration for the new effervescent drink. The glamorous bottle was wrapped in elegant silver foil; the serving glasses were big and bold.

Nibbles at the Danieli Terrace
The buffet featured lots of fish, much of it raw, including sushi, which I gorged myself on. I love sushi smothered with wasabi, and was given my own scoop so I could indulge. The food was a perfect complement to the sweet Veuve Clicquot Rich -- in fact, I preferred drinking it to Japanese beer.

Veuve Clicquot Rich Venice debut crowd on Danieli Terrace
The guests all seemed to enjoy the evening, judging by the quantities of Rich and food consumed. I chatted with the under-30 crowd, who agreed they preferred Veuve Clicquot Rich to "regular" Champagne. The nifty little booklet that accompanied the launch encourages you to become your own mixologist, and includes different recipes you can experiment with.

Veuve Clicquot Rich is one of the exclusive new brands unveiled by LVMH that celebrate the summer season. In Venice, Rich is available only at the Hotel Danieli until the end of the year. Go to Veuve Clicquot Rich for more information.

Ciao from Venezia,
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

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15. Hayao Miyazaki CG Tribute Made with Open Source Tools

Studio Ghibli's most memorable characters come to life in the digital environments of this tribute short.

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16. For those of you who said my previous image should have had to cat lying ON the writer's papers, not beside :-)

Posting this comic for my friend Joanne Levy and others who just told me that the image at the top of my previous post should have had the cat lying on TOP of the writer's papers, not beside. You cat people! ;-)

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17. Pop-Up Programming

Programming is a big job for library staff. To come up with program ideas we hold Teen Advisory Board meetings, talk with educators and community members, and find out what our teens are interested in or want to learn about. We nurse a program idea through planning meetings, we order supplies, choose a date, and promote our baby program on every channel at our disposal. Finally the big day arrives, it’s program time and…not one teenager shows up. Now you’re standing in the middle of the room, surrounded by supplies, and alone with your formerly fabulous program idea. But is it really that your idea wasn’t good? Did no one want to come, or is it actually that teen schedules are beyond crazy and it’s impossible for any library staff member to take every possible conflict (including the unpredictable weather) into consideration when planning a program. My money is on the latter.

If your library is like mine then you have some days when it’s so quiet that you expect an honest to goodness tumbleweed to blow through the department, but then the very next day is so over the top busy that you feel like you’ve run a marathon by the time you get home. Granted, most days are somewhere in between, but wouldn’t it be nice if your fabulous programs could coincide with those marathon busy days? This is where pop-up programming can become your new best friend. Instead of picking a date and hoping teens will show up at a predetermined time, do everything except schedule your program. That’s right, plan, order supplies, and then…wait. Wait until the day when there are so many teens in your department that they’re practically climbing the walls. Wait until you hear, “I’m so bored,” over and over in one afternoon. Then, bust out that fabulous program at the most opportune moment.

The easiest programs, in my experience, to do in a pop-up format are crafting and technology. There are craft projects out there that require little set up and almost no instruction, seriously, have you tried perler beads? My teens are obsessed. The same can be said of technology programs, if you have a stash of iPads at your disposal then apps like Quiver, a free 3D coloring app, and Videoshop, an inexpensive and easy to use video editor compatible with most social media platforms for easy sharing, are great for quick, fun programs. It can also be fun to invest in a wireless printer (my library has a Fujifilm Instax Share Smartphone Printer). These little printers give teens the option to print their smart phone pictures, which you know they never do, wirelessly with a free app. The images can be edited before printing and they come out looking like tiny polaroids, just begging to be decorated with markers, glitter, washi tape, etc.

Pop Up programming has its challenges, but with a little creativity, flexibility, and enthusiasm you can make sure that your programs are well attended and no teenager is standing around whining about how bored they are. I suggest still having traditional, scheduled programming, but always with a few pop up programs ready to go just in case.  Have you tried pop up programming before? How did it work for you? What kinds of activities have you tried?

For more information and ideas:

YALSA Stem Programming

Teen Programming Guidelines

Determining Teen Needs Through Community Assessment


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18. Draw Tip Tuesday: Watercolour Bugs!

Watercolors can be rather unpredictable and that may scare you, but actually, it’s a lot of fun! You need just a tiny bit of paint and some water to start making art.
I created 4 little colorful bugs and could go on forever, but I won’t - I will leave you to it. You could create a bug pattern like this - you could let the paint dry and add more details or just leave them dry like this.

Whatever you do, enjoy the luscious colors and the magic of the watercolors mixing into each other, and make awesome art!

If you want to learn more, have a look on my website koosjekoene.nl and join one of my classes today!

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19. HarperCollins Forms Brazilian Unit

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20. Review of Firefly Hollow

mcghee_firefly hollowFirefly Hollow
by Alison McGhee; illus. by Christopher Denise
Intermediate   Atheneum   292 pp.
8/15   978-1-4424-2336-7   $16.99   g
e-book ed. 978-1-4424-9812-9   $10.99

A kindred spirit “understands the deepest dream of your heart,” Vole says to Firefly and Cricket. This trio of friends has big dreams: Vole dreams of sailing down the river to rejoin family and friends lost in a flood years before; Firefly dreams of flying to the moon; and baseball-loving Cricket yearns to be the best catcher since Yogi Berra. Vole has no community, and Firefly and Cricket feel like outsiders in theirs. The affectionate third-person narration follows each friend’s preparations for his or her quest, and when the time comes, Firefly does indeed shoot for the stars, Cricket makes the big catch, and Vole realizes he has not lost everything after all. McGhee has so ably created a believable world where dreams can come true that the entwined fates of a firefly, a cricket, and a vole (and their “miniature giant” friend Peter, a human boy) will move readers with its rightness. Where once they had sung “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” with abandon, Firefly now says, upon returning from her aerial adventure, “It’s not true, you know…That part in the song that says you don’t care if you never get back…I cared.” Fifteen full-color plates (only three seen) will embellish the finished edition.

From the July/August 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.


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21. Looking for nonfiction?

People write to me asking about the merits of this or that nonfiction book or series, which one(s) I recommend, etc. Keeping up with them, and/or writing a comprehensive review is daunting, and something I have not done. A lot of nonfiction has photographs that I like. For example, Marcia Keegan's books (listed below in the not recommended section) are about Pueblo people. I like the photos! The captions... not so much. I'm pretty sure Pueblo kids would like those photos, too, and I'd love to sit with them and write new captions for the photos. Maybe we'd use a Sharpie! And we could re-write problematic text, too! That would be an excellent activity, showing them that books have errors--that, in this case, the kids know more than the author... that books are not perfect. 

Though I've not done any reviews of series, I can offer this:

In A Broken Flute: The Native Experience in Books for Children edited by Doris Seale and Beverly Slapin, you'll find a section titled "Reviews: Photoessays of Indian Children." 

I strongly encourage you to buy A Broken Flute and read the reviews in their entirety. You'll learn a lot from studying those reviews. That study will help you in your collection development (decisions on what to get/what to weed) in the future. Here's my sorting of the reviews into three categories, recommended/recommended, but some parts uneven/not recommended and in two parts. First are books that stand alone, and second are books in a series. 


Ancona, George:
  • Earth Daughter: Alicia of Acoma Pueblo
  • Mayeros: A Yucatan Maya Family
  • Pablo Remembers: The Fiesta of the Day of the Dead
  • Powwow

Jenness, Aylette and Alice Rivers. In Two Worlds: A Yup'ik Eskimo Family

LaDuke, Winona and Waseyabin Kapashesit. The Sugar Bush

McMillan, Bruce. Salmon Summer

Rendon, Marcie. Powwow Summer: A Family Celebrates the Circle of Life

Rose, LaVera. Grandchildren of the Lakota

Thompson, Sheila (Carrier). Cheryl Bibalhatsl/Cheryl's Potlach

Recommended, but some parts uneven 

Brown, Tricia. Children of the Midnight Sun: Young Native Voices of Alaska. 

Gravelle, Karen. Growing Up: Where the Partridge Drums Its Wings 

Kendall, Ross. Eskimo Boy: Life in an Inupiaq Eskimo Village

Sola, Michele. Angela Weaves a Dream: The Story of a Young Maya Artist

Wolf, Bernard. Beneath the Stone: A Mexican Zapotec Tale

Not recommended

Garcia, Guy. Spirit of the Maya: A Boy Explores His People's Mysterious Past

Hazen-Hammond, Suzan. Thunder Bear and Ko: The Buffalo Nation and Nambe Pueblo

Hoyt-Goldsmith, Diane.
  • Apache Rodeo
  • Arctic Hunter
  • Buffalo Days
  • Cherokee Summer
  • Day of the Dead: A Mexican-American Celebration
  • Lacrosse: The National Game of the Iroquois
  • Potlatch: A Tsimshian Celebration
  • Pueblo Storyteller
  • Totem Pole

Keegan, Marcia
  • Pueblo Boy: Growing Up in Two Worlds
  • Pueblo Girls: Growing Up in Two Worlds

Mott, Evelyn Clarke. Dancing Rainbows

Reynolds, Jan. Frozen Land: Vanishing Cultures

Wood, Ted, with Wanbli Numpa Afraid of Hawk. A Boy Becomes a Man at Wounded Knee


Recommended, but parts uneven

"My World: Young Native Americans Today"
Published by Beyond Words, in association with the National Museum of the American Indian
  • Belarde-Lewis, Miranda. Meet Lydia: A Native Girl from Southeast Alaska
  • Secakuku, Susan. Meet Mindy: A Native Girl from the Southwest
  • Tayac, Gabrielle. Meet Naiche: A Native Boy from the Chesapeake Bay Area

"We Are Still Here"
Published by Lerner
  • Braine, Susan. Drumbeat... Heartbeat: A Celebration of the Powwow
  • Hunter, Sally. Four Seasons of Corn: A Winnebago Tradition
  • King, Sandra and Catherine Whipple. Shannon: An Ojibway Dancer
  • Mercredi, Morningstar and Darren McNally. Fort Chipewyan Homecoming: A Journey to Native Canada
  • Nichols, Richard and D. Bambi Kraus. A Story to Tell: Traditions of a Tlingit Community
  • Peters, Russell M. Clambake: A Wampanoag Tradition
  • Regguinti, Gordon. The Sacred Harvest: Ojibway Wild Rice Gathering
  • Roessel, Monty. Kinaalda: A Navajo Girl Grows Up
  • Roessel, Monty. Songs from the Loom: A Navajo Girl Learns to Weave
  • Swentzell, Rina and Bill Steen. Children of Clay: A Family of Pueblo Potters
  • Wittstock, Laura Waterman and Dale Kakkak. Ininatig's Gift of Sugar: Traditional Sugarmaking
  • Wittstock, Laura Waterman and Dale Kakkak. Sugar Bush: Ojibway Maple Sugarmaking
  • Yamane, Linda. Weaving a California Tradition: A Native American Basketweaver

Not recommended

"The Library of Intergenerational Learning: Native Americans"
Published by PowerKids/Rosen

Kavasch, E. Barrie. 
  • Apache Children and Elders Talk Together
  • Blackfoot Children and Elders Talk Together
  • Crow Children and Elders Talk Together
  • Lakota Sioux Children and Elders Talk Together
  • Seminole Children and Elders Talk Together
  • Zuni Children and Elders Talk Together

"The World's Children" (exception is Grandchildren of the Lakota by LaVera Rose)
Published by Carolrhoda/Lerner

Hermes, Jules. Children of Guatemala

Pitkanen, Matti A. The Grandchildren of the Incas

Staub, Frank. 
  • Children of the Sierra Madre
  • Children of the Tlingit
  • Children of Yucatan

One more thing!

Another reason to get a copy of A Broken Flute is its guide to evaluating photo essays! Here's a photo of the top part of it:

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22. Max and Bella at Port Solent RuffLife Mascots

Check out some of Max & Bella's, Rufflife Mascots, fun experiences on tour in the South of England.

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23. हे राम

cartoon hangama by monica

हे राम !!! जिस तरह से संसद नही चल रही और मानसून सत्र मे धरने आदि का दौर जारी है उसे देख कर स्वर्ग में बैठ कलाम साहब भी यही सोच रहे होंगें …

don’t challenge the law: sumitra mahajan to MPs – Navbharat Times

सुमित्रा महाजनफोटो शेयर करें नई दिल्ली लोकसभा में पोस्टर दिखाने वाले वाईएसआर कांग्रेस सदस्यों को नियमों का पालन करने की हिदायत देते हुए अध्यक्ष सुमित्रा महाजन ने आज कहा कि सांसदों को अपनी बात रखने और मंत्रियों से आश्वासन लेने का हक है लेकिन जानबूझकर नियमों को चुनौती देकर नहीं। लोकसभा में आज कार्यवाही शुरू होने पर वाईएसआर कांग्रेस के सदस्य आंध्र प्रदेश को विशेष दर्जा दिए जाने की मांग करते हुए पोस्टर लेकर आध्यक्ष के आसन के पास आ गए, जबकि टीआरएस सदस्य सत्तापक्ष की ओर प्रधानमंत्री की सीट के बगल में खड़े होकर तेलंगाना के लिए अलग हाई कोर्ट की मांग कर रहे थे। वाईएसआर कांग्रेस और टीआरएस सदस्यों की मांग के बीच सदन में गृह मंत्री राजनाथ सिंह ने कहा कि आंध्र प्रदेश के संबंध में कुछ विषय उठे हैं और निश्चित तौर पर सरकार उस पर ध्यान दे रही है। उन्होंने कहा कि आंध्र प्रदेश के साथ कोई अन्याय नहीं होने देंगे। गृह मंत्री ने कहा, ‘तेलंगाना के बारे में अभी हमारी विधि मंत्री से बात हुई है। विधि मंत्री इस मुद्दे का समाधान निकालने के लिए प्रयत्नशील हैं। सरकार अपनी तरफ से प्रयत्नशील है। जहां तक संभव होगा सरकार इस बारे में बात करके समाधान निकालेगी।’ मिलती-जुलती खबरेंराहुल बोले, लैंड बिल पर हमने सरकार को डराकर भगा दिया’चाहे संसद से बाहर फेंक दें, पीछे नहीं हटेंगे’स्पीकर के ऐक्शन के खिलाफ भारी बवाललोकसभा में कांग्रेस के 25 सांसद सस्पेंड’काम नहीं, तो वेतन नहीं’ पर चिढ़ी कांग्रेस वाईएसआर कांग्रेस के सदस्य इसके बाद भी आसन के पास नारेबाजी करते रहे और टीआरएस सदस्य सदन में सत्तापक्ष की ओर कतार बनाकर खड़े रहे। इस पर अध्यक्ष ने कहा, ‘जब आप सांसद बनकर आते हैं, तब आपको नियम पुस्तिका दी जाती है। यह नियम पुस्तिका एक व्यक्ति ने नहीं बनाई है। संसद की समिति ने इसे बनाया है। सदन सवाल उठाने के लिए है, मंत्री से आश्वासन लेने के लिए है।’ उन्होंने कहा, ‘नियम आपके ही बनाए हुए है। आप जानबूझकर नियमों को चुनौती दे रहे हैं। आप अपनी बात रखें और मैं आपको प्रश्नकाल के बाद मौका दूंगी लेकिन नियमों को चुनौती देते हुए नहीं।’ इससे पहले सुबह सदन की कार्यवाही शुरू होने पर अध्यक्ष सुमित्रा महाजन ने कहा था कि उन्हें दुष्यंत चौटाला और जितेन्द्र रेड्डी के अलग-अलग विषयों पर नोटिस प्राप्त हुए है। उन्होंने दुष्यंत चौटाला से अपने नोटिस को दूसरे रूप में पेश करने को कहा और रेड्डी से उनके मामले को प्रश्नकाल के बाद उठाने का मौका देने की बात कही। इस दौरान सदन में लेफ्ट, आरजेडी और एसपी सदस्यों ने सदन से निलंबित कांग्रेस सदस्यों का निलंबन वापस लेने की मांग करते हुए नारेबाजी की। सदस्य अपनी बात रखना चाहते थे। समाजवादी पार्टी अध्यक्ष मुलायम सिंह यादव ने भी कुछ कहने का प्रयास किया। हालांकि, स्पीकर ने उनसे प्रश्नकाल के बाद बात रखने को कहा। इससे असंतुष्ट लेफ्ट पार्टियों, समाजवादी पार्टी और आरजेडी सदस्य सदन से वॉकआउट कर गए। अध्यक्ष ने वाईएसआर कांग्रेस सदस्यों की नारेबाजी के बीच ही पूरा प्रश्नकाल चलाया। उल्लेखनीय है कि मानसून सत्र शुरू होने के बाद से ही सुषमा स्वराज, वसुंधरा राजे और शिवराज सिंह चौहान के इस्तीफे की मांग पर दबाव बनाने के लिए सदन में पोस्टर दिखाने और आसन के समक्ष आने वाले कांग्रेस के 25 सदस्यों को अध्यक्ष सुमित्रा महाजन ने कल सदन की पांच बैठकों के लिए निलंबित कर दिया था। See more…

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24. Nerdy Chicks Rule Art Contest

Over at Kidlit Summer School, they are having a little art contest: to draw a new nerdy chick. Here is my entry. Look up #NerdyChicksDraw on Twitter or FB to see all the super cute chickies.

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25. My Denver Trip: The Flights are Booked!

Yeh! I'm all set... 

Remember my on-line workshop on children's book illustration? well, I fly off to Denver to start my filming adventure on September 7th and will be away for a whole week. Craftsy have a travel agent who has sorted it all out for me. They have managed to get really good flights times, so no getting up at the crack of dawn, or arriving at midnight. 

It sounds like I will be looked after well when I get there too. I will be chauffeured between the airport, hotel and film studio, which will make things lovely and relaxed. There's nothing like relinquishing all responsibility for that part of things. I still get a thrill from flying and travelling alone is an even bigger adventure, but there's always a slight worry of things going awry, so I'm glad to be looked after.

An added bonus: I will be taken to the studio each morning by the hair and makeup artist, who will hopefully make me look at least 10 years younger. We'll see! 

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