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1. बेटी बचाओ अभियान

 

cartoon flag by monica gupta

बेटी बचाओ अभियान

पिछ्ले दिनों एक अभियान चला था Selfie With Daughter.. यकीन मानिए मुझे उस अभियान में कोई सकारात्मक बात नही दिखाई दी थी पर साथ ही साथ नकारात्मक बात भी नही थी इसलिए सोचा कि चलो अच्छा है इसी बहाने लडकियों के प्रति जागरुकता तो बढेगी … पर आज जो मैने खबर पढी … By God  इतनी अच्छी लगी इतनी अच्छी लगी कि मैं आपको बताने से रोक नही पा रही.

खबर ये है कि हरियाणा में स्वतंत्रता दिवस पर हर गांव की जो सबसे ज्यादा पढी लिखी लडकी होगी वो अपने अपने  गांव में ध्वजारोहण करेगी. शिक्षा विभाग की ओर से, बेटी बचाओ, बेटी पढाओ के अंतर्गत निर्देश जारी हुए है. दस तारीख तक स्कूल में नाम लिखवाने हैं और फिर उस पर फैसला होगा. सबसे ज्यादा पढी लिखी लडकी मुख्यातिथि भी होगी और झंडा भी फहराएगी और उसके साथ उसके परिवार के लिए भी बैठने की उचित व्यवस्था की जाएगी…!!! वाह !! ये हुई ना बात !! अगर ये अभियान सच्चे ढंग से निभाया गया तो एक मिसाल होगा… !!

काश मैं भी गांव की बेटी होती और ये अभियान बहुत साल पहले चलाया गया होता तो ..

निसंदेह इस अभियान से बेटी को पढाने में बहुत बल मिलेगा …

The post बेटी बचाओ अभियान appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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2. Coming Soon … The Day the Crayons Came Home, by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers

The countdown is on for the release of The Day the Crayons Came Home (on sale August 18th 2015), the sequel to the New York Times best selling kids book The Day the Crayons Quit, written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers.

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3. Best Selling Kids Series | August 2015

This month's best selling kids series from The Children's Book Review's affiliate store is perfect for getting ready to go back to school, it's the new popular series Star Wars Workbooks.

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4. Neighbourhood leadership in the wake of the Baltimore riots

Having visited several American cities in recent weeks and talked to public servants, business leaders, community activists, and academics about current urban stresses and strains, it is difficult not to conclude that they face deeply troubling challenges. The riots in West Baltimore in April and May 2015 are only the most recent in a long line of outbreaks of urban violence suggesting that all is not well.

The post Neighbourhood leadership in the wake of the Baltimore riots appeared first on OUPblog.

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5. A fist-full of dollar bills

The next time you are slipping the valet a couple of folded dollar bills, take a good look at those George Washingtons. You might never see them again. Every few years, there is a renewed push for the United States to replace the dollar bill with its shiny cousin, the one dollar coin.

The post A fist-full of dollar bills appeared first on OUPblog.

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6. A Vine Is More Than Its Grapes

Several years ago I visited the Robert Mondavi Wine Center at U.C. Davis and I was given a grape vine. I live in a region of California known for its agriculture, so when I got home I planted it in my backyard. That first year the plant grew like crazy—extra trellises had to be tacked to the fence, so that the crawling vines didn’t take over the entire backyard. It was incredible to watch this rapidly growing vine cover half my fence in lush green leaves, but sadly it didn’t produce any grapes that year.

My cousins, owners of a vineyard, advised it would take three years to produce fruit. But when the next summer came and the vine went crazy again—growing so tall it climbed into my neighbors evergreen trees—I thought maybe my vine was special. Surely it would grow grapes early. Maybe I’d even be able to make a bottle of wine.

Not a single grape grew.

The third year passed, and still no grapes.

I started to get discouraged. Instead of believing my vine was special, I thought my vine was a dud. Or maybe my cousins were wrong about how long it takes to grow grapes. I waited another year. And then, during that fourth year, something magical happened. Between the leaves, tiny little clusters started forming. At first they almost looked like weeds, spindly with tiny dots on the ends, but I knew those dots would turn into grapes. I counted the number of clusters. There were five.

It was not the bumper crop I’d hoped for, but I was still extremely excited for my little baby grapes. As the clusters grew larger, I started going into my backyard and counting the grapes on each cluster—yes, I am that nerdy.

Then one day, I went out back and, to my horror, every cluster had shriveled up completely. Not a single grape survived.

I was beginning to think there was something wrong with my little vine. But the following summer, one cluster stayed alive. After five years, my vine grew nineteen grapes!

I bragged. I beamed. My hope was renewed. My vine was not broken or useless, it was just a little slower than normal. I did fear my vine may never produce more than nineteen grapes, but by that point I’d had it for half of a decade, and I loved the plant. I decided not to care if it was fruitful. The vine added beauty to my backyard, and I chose to be proud of whatever it produced. I stopped counting grapes, and started to simply enjoy the way my vine curled around the fence, creating a beautiful green wall that thrived all summer long.

This is the sixth summer I’ve had the vine and—to my total shock—several weeks ago I noticed that the vine was bursting with clusters of grapes.

Grapes

 

You can’t see them all from this picture, but there are over a dozen clusters. As a reader this might not feel like a big moment to you, but, for me, seeing all those grapes impacted me in a surprising way. For the first time I realized how strong of a parallel there was to that grape vine and my own writing journey.

The vine was planted in my backyard shortly after I’d decided to take my writing seriously and pursue publication. And like my writing, for YEARS there was no fruit.

But here is the big difference. Even though I thought my grape vine was a dud at times, I never once thought about ripping it out of the ground and giving up on it completely. I knew that fruit bearing plants could take years to mature. And even if it never bore fruit, I was able to simply appreciate the beauty it provided—something I continually failed to do with my writing. This is something I’ve also noticed that a lot of other writers do as well.

I do believe it’s important to have goals when it comes to writing, but I don’t believe that traditional publication should be a person’s only measure of success, the way it was for me.

I imagine there are a lot of other writers out there who have done the same thing to themselves. Maybe some of you have decided that if the book you currently have on submission doesn’t sell by (FILL IN DATE HERE) you will give up on it, or give up on publishing. Same goes for those of you who might be querying. It took me five novels before I found my first agent, and when she failed to sell that novel and decided to leave the business, many of my family members took it as a sign that I should give up on my writing as well. But you know, those same family members never suggested I rip out that grape vine. In fact, I’m pretty sure everyone agreed it was a beautiful vine.

When I shared this story with my friend, Stacey Lee, she had a few thoughts that I wanted to share with all of you as well.

Stacey: I love Stephanie’s story, as it underscores the importance of writing for the sake of creating beauty, and not for the end point. If you find yourself wondering if the writer’s journey is ‘worth it,’ we suggest asking yourself this one question: can I imagine myself not writing? If you can’t, then consider yourself the owner of a very special vine, a vine bestowed upon precious few, a vine for which there will be ups and downs, backwards and forwards, some years with fruit, and some years with blight, but it is all a part of the privilege of owning a vine.

In the comments, we would love to hear how your vines are coming along. Are you in a drought? Are you bearing fruit? Have there been years that have been more productive than others?

Also, there is still time left to fill out our reader survey if you haven’t done so yet.

 

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7. Compact living

Scanning images from this years vacation

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8. Vicious review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Xurxo Borrazás' Vicious -- somewhat surprisingly, the first translation-from-the-Galician under review at the complete review.

       This is published by Small Stations Press, which is the kind of undertaking that can make you believe that even the most far-fetched publishing across borders and languages isn't a pipe-dream: here's a publisher specializing in translations from the Galician (number of native speakers: 2.4 million, according to Wikipedia's generous estimate) based in ... Bulgaria. (Yes, they also publish in Bulgarian.)
       If that doesn't bring a smile to your face and make you believe anything is possible ..... Read the rest of this post

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9. The Runaway Tortilla Arrives!


My author copies for Eric Kimmel's Runaway Tortilla (Graphic Arts Books, Sept. 2015) arrived yesterday afternoon. VERY excited to have these and so pleased again with all of Vickie's design work to pull this all together in such a great way. THANK YOU VICKIE! Plus, she put Señor Coyote's glamour shot on the back -- which is perfect -- so there you go :)

The this newest book is a milestone for me of sorts as well, as it is my first official venture into illustration with Adobe Photoshop. There's some watercolor texture pulled into the mix as well, but I'm excited by the results and the potential for future work. Check out a few additional images on my digital portfolio page. Enjoy!

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10. NEW WORK - paapii design

PaaPii Design's fun creations were featured in the Print & Pattern Kids book so I was intrigued to see Anniina Isokangas latest designs. Anniina is based in Kokkola, Finland and since I last looked has added lots of new fabrics, purses, and paper prints to her collection. I picked out these beautifully stylised cat with kittens along with circus art prints, trays, and a cute bear print purse.

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11. Nigel Sussman’s Illustrated A to Z of Things

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Illustrator Nigel Sussman is developing a really cool book project, and he needs your help!

“I am calling the project Alphabet Compendium; An Illustrated A-Z of Things. It will be an extensive illustrated alphabet book of objects. For each of the twenty-six letters there will be a visual representation creating an organic composition devoted to each character; even the color choices correspond with their respective letters. The entire book is basically a giant visual alliteration.”

Support Nigel’s project on Kickstarter here.

 

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12. New Australian Fiction with Young Australians: Six Bedrooms and Relativity

Some of the most beguiling writing for adults features young characters. I touched on this when I reviewed Joan London’s The Golden Age in January. http://blog.boomerangbooks.com.au/the-golden-age-where-children-are-gold/2015/01 This book has recently been awarded the 2015 Kibble Award. Yann Martel’s The Life of Pi also has a young adult protagonist, as does Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch and Eimear […]

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13. Three Components to Writing a Successful Collaborative Novel

As you can guess, Angela and I are passionate about the value of collaborative writing and how it can be done successfully. Our experience lies mostly, though, with nonfiction. So I was excited when Kathrin Hutson approached us with a post outlining some tried-and-true techniques for co-writing a fiction book. I’m sure many of you have wondered about the possibility of co-authoring a story and the best way of making a go of it. So read on for some great tips!

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photo credit: Pixabay

Collaborative fiction has received a lot more recognition in the writing community, especially now that some groups have figured out just how to make it work.

The problems I have found with online collaborative forums are that a few people are really dedicated to the project, but most who signed up to participate get burned out, bored, or distracted by life and disappear. Sometimes one person overrides the creative expression of other writers, and a clash of visions for the story ensues. Ideas get lost behind a strong personality, and frustrations arise when an agreement cannot be made on characterization or plot.

All writers have different styles, ideas, and visions for a story. But the whole point of collaborating is to work with other talented writers who want to hone their skills and embrace teamwork. An effective collaboration will create an imaginative, exciting, entertaining work of fiction that is much different than what any one writer could create alone.

Working with the online collaborative fiction community Collaborative Writing Challenge (CWC) as both Chief Editor and Story Coordinator has exposed me to a successful, supportive community of writers who create full-length fiction novels together one week at a time. Our pilot novel was published this June and has received wonderful reviews. In only one short year, CWC has formed a collaborative system with three major components that embrace author uniqueness and encourage open communication and teamwork.

These three ‘must have’ components, when used correctly, ensure that every collaboration flows from section to section, and most importantly that it gets completed.

#1: Teamwork and Always Saying Yes

The whole point of a collaboration is not having to write an entire novel yourself, and not having to formulate all characters and story lines on your own. Adding one, two, or twenty other creative minds to a project makes for incalculable possibilities, and never knowing exactly what’s coming next is half the fun.

Always Saying Yes means that participants accept each writer’s section as it is. If the plot twist is conceivable, if the character could make that decision, if the conflict resolution is not impossible, let it stand. Changing the story’s elements simply because you don’t agree with another collaborator’s choices or wouldn’t have written it that way yourself does not make for happy collaborators, nor for the most imaginative version of the project.

Teamwork at this point takes all the credit for a great collaboration, and for writers who will return time and time again. A writer may submit a confusing section that pulls the story in a new direction, or has details inconsistent with previous submissions. When this happens, do not simply reject the section altogether. No writer wants to hear that their submission just didn’t work, nor see someone else completely rewriting all their hard work. Instead, reach out to these writers, ask questions, give suggestions.

“You wrote that Character X carried a 50-pound box of groceries for his neighbor, but two chapters ago he broke his arm skateboarding. It’s not quite believable that he carries that box with a badly broken arm. Would you like to rewrite that section with those details, or would you like me to try it for you?”          

This open communication is key. Remember to be courteous, to acknowledge that they worked hard for a section of which they were proud enough to submit, and that they still want to contribute. Everybody needs a little reminder of the details or intention of a project.

#2: Keep the Facts Organized

 CWC has a fantastic system of consistently updating its writers with the important details of the stories they’re working on. Every week, a 400-500 word summary of the new chapter is written, as well as a detailed list of characters, locations, and highlights, in order of appearance. We call these the “reference notes”. These give a one or two sentence description of each character and their relationship to the other characters. The same is done with each new location, and the “highlights” are constantly updated.

Highlights are short descriptions of a plot line that has been left open and can be picked back up later, such as: ‘Character Y had only finished applying half of her makeup before she got the call about her grandmother and rushed to the hospital.’ This ensures that the next writer can choose to pick up this vein about Character Y’s unkempt appearance.

Creating detailed summaries and reference notes also makes it easier for writers to get the information they need to continue the story without having to read through every previous chapter. Make sure these are always accessible to every collaborator.

#3: Create a Schedule – And Stick to It

 Having a schedule detailing when each writer is due to submit their section, and when the collaboration is expected to start and finish, is a powerful way to keep the project on track. Agree on a certain length, like 30 chapters or 60,000 words; give each writer one week or two weeks to submit their section; choose the target length of submissions; and decide who writes which chapter(s). Then hold each other accountable to this schedule.

Of course, sometimes life gets in the way and a contribution is late, or a writer cannot finish. Sometimes participants drop out altogether. This is why #1 and #2 are so important – if a collaboration finds these minor obstacles, open communication with one another allows writers to pick up an open chapter, to help a struggling collaborator, and to have all the details at their fingertips, no matter where the finished sections are kept.

You may find yourself part of a collaborative system like CWC’s, with a designated Story Coordinator who updates the information, contacts writers, and ensures each submission is consistent with the story and schedule. Or you and your fellow collaborators may have outlined the novel from beginning to end and cannot wait to fill in the blanks together. Either way, Teamwork, Organized Facts, and a Detailed Schedule are three invaluable tools to keep your project consistent, entertaining for writers and readers alike, and will get the project finished.

Kathrin Hutson Headshot

Kathrin Hutson is the owner of KLH CreateWorks (www.klhcreateworks.com), and offers free tips affordable editing services to writers of all skill levels and in all genres. The first book of her fantasy series, Daughter of the Drackan, will be published this October. She is also Chief Editor and Story Coordinator for Collaborative Writing Challenge (www.collaborativewritingchallenge.com), and enjoys nothing more than working on all of these projects from her home in Grass Valley, CA. Kathrin can be contacted at Kathrin.Hutson@KLHCreateWorks.com.

The post Three Components to Writing a Successful Collaborative Novel appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS™.

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14. Diary of a Wimpy Kid 10 News

Diary of a Wimpy KidBook 10 Is Coming Out November 3, 2015!Diary of a Wimpy Kid Old School

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School by Jeff Kinney

Life was better in the old days. Or was it? That’s the question Greg Heffley is asking as his town voluntarily unplugs and goes electronics-free. But modern life has its conveniences, and Greg isn’t cut out for an old-fashioned world.

With tension building inside and outside the Heffley home, will Greg find a way to survive? Or is going “old school” just too hard for a kid like Greg?

Diary of a Wimpy Kid 10

illustrations and text copyright Jeff Kinney

Are you excited for the new Wimpy Kid book coming out in November? Leave a Comment!

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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15. Mummy Cat by Marcus Ewert, illustrated by Lisa Brown

Mummy Cat by Marcus Ewert with illustrations by Lisa Brown has to be one of the most intriguing picture books I've read this year! This rhyming story layers history, biography, hieroglyphics and intrigue into what, on the surface, is the story of a girl and her beloved pet. Ewert begins Mummy Cat, "The winds hiss over desert sand, / The moon shines down on empty land. / And long ago

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16. Creating Classroom Environments: Starting the Year with Empty Walls

5 Ways to Resist the Urge to Cutify Your Classroom

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17. Digitizing the Iraqi national library

       Vivian Salama's AP story -- here at the Daily Star -- is, as so much news about cultural preservation from this part of the world over the past decade-plus has been, deeply depressing, as she reports on Facing ISIS threat, Iraq digitizes national library.
       Preservation, good, yeah, but .....
       (Other recent efforts -- "Earlier archives from 1920 to 1977, including sensitive Interior Ministry documents, had been stored in rice bags and survived the blaze" -- can only be relied on so far .....)

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18. #IWSG ~ Insecure Writer's Support Group

I can hardly believe it's August 5th and it's our 26th wedding anniversary! The roller-coaster of life has certainly kept things interesting all these years and I wouldn't want to be on this ride with anyone else but my hubby, Tom. Love you sweetie! 


Now onto #IWSG! 

The awesome co-hosts for the the August 5 posting of the IWSG will be Nancy Gideon, Bob R Milne, Doreen McGettigan, Chrys Fey, Bish Denham, and Pat Garcia! 


My writing has taken the backseat for quite some time now, but thankfully my fifth children's book is due to be released December 2015 and I'm working on the marketing plan as we speak. But as for writing anything new, it's been nothing, nada, zip! I'm not going to beat myself up about it, but rather take care of myself both physically and mentally to help re-spark my writing bug! 

I hope you are all doing well and inspiration continues to flourish through you! 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author

Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!

Connect with

A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2015 Purple Dragonfly Book Award Historical Fiction 1st Place, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2015 Purple Dragonfly Book Award Honorable Mention Picture Books 6+, New England Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

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19. NEA translation fellowships

       The (American) National Endowment for the Arts has announced its Fiscal Year 2016 NEA Literature Translation Fellowship Recipients (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) and there are a lot of neat projects here, including:

  • Philip Boehm for his translation of Ilija Trojanow's EisTau (see e.g. the New Books in German information page) -- working title apparently: The Lamentations of Zeno

  • Michael Leong for his translation of Vicente Huidobro's Sky-Quake

  • Michael F. Moore for a new translation of Alessandro Manzoni's The Betrothed

  • Kit Schluter tackling some Marcel Schwob

  • Donna Stonecipher translating some Friederike Mayröcker
       All in all, a lot of great stuff being supported here.

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20. नाजुक है रिश्ता

नाजुक है रिश्ता

चार महीने पहले एक जानकार की शादी हुई थी. तब किसी कारण से जा नही पाए. कल पता लगा कि वो अपने घर आई हुई है तो सोचा कि आज मिल ही आती हूं. मणि को फोन कर ही रही थी कि साथ चलते हैं इतने में वो घर ही आ गई.. जब मैने उससे कहा तो वो बोली कि नही जाना उनके घर क्योकि वो लड कर आ गई है और सुनने मे यही आया है कि वो कभी वापिस नही जाएगी अब !! अरे !! मैने कहा ये क्या बात हुई .. !!  अभी समय ही कितना हुआ है शादी को और इतनी जल्दी ऐसा निर्णय लेना !!! मुझे याद है कि शायद शहर की सबसे महंगी शादी थी वो … और दहेज का तो पूछो ही मत ऐसे में झगड कर घर वापिस आ जाना ???

sad girl photo

फिर मेरी और मणि की इसी विषय पर बात हुई कि आखिर इतनी जल्दी क्यो अलगाव की नौबत आ रही है.. मणि का कहना था कि जो लडकी आज खुद कमाती है आत्मनिर्भर है शायद इसलिए वो दब कर नही रहना चाह्ती या अगर बात दब कर रहने की ना भी हो बराबरी की हो और शायद हमारा पुरुष समाज स्वीकार नही कर पा रहा हो या शायद दोनों की ईगो का टकराव हो या पैसा हो या … हमारी बहस अभी भी जारी है  शायद आप कोई कारण बता सकें कि क्यो हो रहे हैं विवाह के तुरंत  बाद अलगाव… ??

The post नाजुक है रिश्ता appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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21. DESIGNER - hilli kushnir

Hilli Kushnir is a designer turned illustrator currently based in New York City. After taking a degree in Graphic Design Hilli began her career in web design but when given the chance also created some brand character work and slowly found herself getting more and more into illustration. Hilli is drawn more and more towards children's art which allows her to express her silly sense of humour

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22. Review: Frozen in Amber by Phyllis Ames

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I wanted to read Frozen in Amber because it’s about shifters, and I generally enjoy shifters stories.  Also, Phyllis Ames is a debut author, and I like discovering new authors right as they hit the ground running.  This book didn’t start successfully for me, but as I became more embroiled in shifter politics and the secrets Amber’s grandfather had been keeping, I found myself caught up in the story.  By the end I couldn’t put it down, and I thought the ending, despite some loose ends, was a perfect solution for Amber.

When Frozen in Amber starts, Amber has been hunted by a group of unknown men the night of her shift.  She is a WerCougar, and she hates shifting and her beast.  She wants to be human, and she rejects everything about her other self.  She’s a vegetarian, she avoids hunting after her shift and prefers being locked in a padded room to prevent her cat from hurting anyone, and she spent seven years in exile after killing a human.  She hates her lack of control when she’s a cat, and far prefers her life as a human.  She’s a defense attorney at her family’s prestigious law firm, and she relishes in the order and routine of her career.

Then all of that blows up after she’s hunted and shot with a tranquilizer.  In her cat form, she experiences the fear and hopelessness of capture and human hands on her, but the next morning, she awakens in her bed and wonders if she imagined the whole thing.  She rarely remembers what happens when she shifts, so she thinks she’s just had a weird nightmare, until she notices the welt on her backside that won’t heal and won’t go away.  Even with her shifter healing abilities, the wound is painful and troublesome, and it just won’t go away.

As her current case defending a suspected killer begins to tumble out of control, she knows that she can’t trust or believe her client, but she can’t smell a lie on him.  There’s a vested interest for the Wer community to get Bergman off on the charges, because he claims that he’s developed a cure for the Wer condition.  The Wer Court would like to get their hands on it, for when bitten pups can’t get control of their Wer.  Amber is intrigued by the prospect of giving up her cat and living as a normal human.  But Bergman hides an explosive temper behind his charming demeanor, and she starts to wonder how much she can trust him.  Her Wer senses are also becoming erratic, and she wonders if she’s been targeted to test the experimental drug.

There’s a lot of office politics at the law firm, as upstarts challenge Amber’s authority.  There’s also interest by the FBI and CIA, with the agencies battling for control of the Wer community.  There are rumors that a new, unstable alpha wolf is having humans bitten, turning them into members for her growing pack.  There is a lot of concern at the idea of so many unsanctioned wolves running around town, because newly turned shifters have zero control over their Wer self.  Attacks on Amber make her even more determined to figure out what’s going on, and who’s behind ambushing her during her nighttime hunt.

While I couldn’t embrace Amber’s rejection of her shifter side, I slowly started to like her.  I read these kinds of stories because I like the struggle between the human side and the animal side of the shifter, but Amber flat-out kept her cat on a tight leash.  While she hates shifting, she does make good use of her enhanced senses every moment she can.  I thought that was hypocritical; if you deny your Wer self, you shouldn’t be able to exploit the traits of your caged cat.  It seemed to me that she was cheating, and I had a hard time accepting that.

Once the action got going, though, I had a hard time stepping away from the story.  Amber’s love interest is extremely likeable, and the office politics were engaging.  Her urgency to discover the identity of the person who shot her becomes even more pressing after her grandfather becomes ill, and Amber suspects that he, too, was hunted during the last full moon.  The pacing improved as the story unfolded, and I was glad that I stuck with it.  In the end, even after the rough start and not being Amber’s biggest fan, I thought this was a gripping read.

Grade:  B / B-

Review copy purchased provided by publisher

From Amazon:

Amber Treganis constantly reinvents herself. New clothes, new hairstyle, new car—anything she can do to exert a level of control over her life. What she can’t control is her shape-shifting other self: the WerCougar that sinks its claws into her brain during the three nights surrounding the full moon.

Though she is a natural-born shifter from a prominent WerCougar family, Amber has been unwilling to change into her cat form ever since a terrible tragedy cost her the man she loved. And she has little patience with Wers of any species who embrace their otherness more than their humanity. She focuses on her life as a defense attorney in Mt. Hood, and stays out of Wer politics.

But after a blurry night of hunting, Amber begins to notice changes in her transformation. When she hears rumors of research to discover a treatment for shifting, she suspects she may have been unknowingly given the experimental therapy.

With the help of Adler, a WerEagle active in community politics, Amber tries to hunt down the truth about this cure, while staying off the radar of the FBI, which tracks and manages Wer communities in secret.

But Amber doesn’t realize how much she depends on her Wer sense until, one by one, they begin to fade. And Amber is left increasingly ill—and increasingly human. Can shifter who is losing her abilities survive for long in either human or Wer society?

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23. TEXTILES - annabel perrin

Designer Annabel Perrin has a new home textiles collection launching this autumn. Titled Roaming thw collection marks the start of a series of sub-ranges, inspired by locations around the world. Part one titled Roaming: Uno is influenced by Annabel's exploration of Barcelona and will be available from September 2015. The range includes vibrantly patterned furnishing fabrics and coordinating

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24. Spotlight and Giveaway: Lady Emily’s Exotic Journey by Lillian Marek

This morning I have an excerpt for Lady Emily’s Exotic Journey and a giveaway for Lady Elinor’s Wicked Adventures, the first book in Lillian Marek’s Victorian Adventures series. Enjoy!

Title: Lady Emily’s Exotic Journey

Author: Lillian Marek

Series: Victorian Adventures, #2

Pubdate: August 4th, 2015

ISBN: 9781492602293

From sensible, sheltered girl

Safe in the embrace of her loving family, Lady Emily Tremaine longs to feel more intensely alive. Surely the magic and mystery of Assyria and the fabled ruins of Nineveh will bring about the transformation she seeks.

To the woman his heart desires

Scarred by his past and estranged from his noble grandfather, French adventurer Lucien Chambertin desires neither a home nor the chains of emotional attachment. He seeks only to explore the far reaches of the world. But he did not know the world contained the likes of Lady Emily—whose curiosity and sense of wonder match his own.

Lillian Marek was born and raised in New York City. At one time or another she has had most of the interesting but underpaid jobs available to English majors. After a few too many years in journalism, she decided she prefers fiction, where the good guys win and the bad guys get what they deserve.

***

This August marks the release of the second in Lillian Marek’s Victorian Adventures series, Lady Emily’s Exotic Journey! To celebrate her new release, Lillian’s here to share a fact about the Victorian era she discovered during her research:

The 1844 Derby race produced a major scandal when it turned out that the winning horse, Running Rein, was an entirely different horse in disguise, and the whole thing had been orchestrated by gamblers.

An Excerpt:

Emily had left the tent, and Lucien began to turn to her to share his thoughts on the scene when he saw a puff of smoke and a glint of metal by one of the boulders on the cliff. At that moment a bullet ploughed into the deck beside him, and he heard the shot.

He flew across the feet separating them to knock Emily to the ground, covering her with his body. “Keep down,” he ordered when she tried to raise her head. More bullets fell about them, most splashing into the river. He had his pistol in his hand, but he could not see a target on the cliff. The Turkish troopers on the next raft were firing away but not to any useful purpose that he could see.

Meanwhile, the oarsmen on their raft, who had first dropped their oars in a panic, were now working madly to keep them from being dashed against the rocks as the current swept them around a curve. The skipper joined them, shouting encouragement, until a bend in the river had them out of sight of their attackers. As the wild rocking of their craft ceased and they resumed their placid drift, Lucien became aware of his more immediate surroundings.

To be precise, he became aware of Emily lying beneath him. A warm, soft Emily lying beneath him, a situation his own body found most agreeable. Her breasts were pressed against his chest, and he was positioned between her thighs. She was so soft, such a perfect match for him. She did not appear to be distressed by their position, for she was making no effort to extricate herself. Did she understand what their position was? Could she tell just how agreeable his body found this position? Because his body was reacting most strongly to this juxtaposition.

She was looking up at him with an expression of dazed surprise. He wondered if he was looking at her with the same expression. Her hands were sitting on his shoulders, not pushing him away but not drawing him down. Just touching him. Her lips were parted ever so slightly. In surprise? In invitation? He was close enough to feel the damp warmth of her breath. He was overcome with longing and began to lower his mouth to hers.

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1D3MDA6

Apple: http://apple.co/1CsnzYC

BAM: http://bit.ly/1JSm9cB

B&N: http://bit.ly/1D3N2m9

Chapters: http://bit.ly/1dOXreQ

Indiebound: http://bit.ly/1D3Nh0x

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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25. BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY // Of Dreams and Rust by Sarah Fine

From Becs... I'm so incredibly stoked for this post today, ya'll! I absolutely ADORED Of Metal and Wishes last year, which is a Phantom of the Opera retelling that you need in your life ASAP! I'm so honored to be on the OF DREAMS AND RUST tour. I have my review letter for you guys today, AND a super cool giveaway!  ABOUT THE BOOK:    Of Dreams and Rust (Of Metal and Wishes #2) by

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