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26. Fun at the California Capital

Thanks to everyone who came out to the California Capital Book Festival in Sacramento. It was fun to meet new people, talk with readers, see familiar faces. And of course, buy some new books for myself! This was the first year for this book festival and the organizers did a great job making the entire […]

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27. Longreads’ Best of WordPress, Vol. 7

Here it is! A new collection of our favorite stories from across all of WordPress.

As always, you can find our past collections here. You can follow Longreads on WordPress.com for more daily reading recommendations, or subscribe to our free weekly email.

Publishers, writers, you can share links to your favorite essays and interviews (over 1,500 words) on Twitter (#longreads) and on WordPress.com by tagging your posts longreads.


1. What Happens When a Veteran High School Teacher Becomes a Student for the Day

Grant Wiggins

“I waited fourteen years to do something that I should have done my first year of teaching: shadow a student for a day.” A high school teacher learns some sobering lessons about how kids experience a typical day — and the amount of sitting required.

2. No Apology

Mehreen Kasana

The truth about being Muslim in America:

In the eyes of those perpetually seeking an apology from Muslims, I am a Bad Muslim. I don’t put hashtag-suffixed apologies online for what someone else of my faith does. When 9/11 happened, I was as shocked and terrified as anyone else was. We scary-looking Muslims experience human emotions, too. … We Muslims react to unexpected loss of life like any non-Muslim would. We cry, we mourn.

3. The Rise and Fall of Public Housing in NYC

Richard Price, Guernica

A “subjective overview” of the history of public housing in New York City from the novelist Richard Price, framed through the lens of his own upbringing in the North Bronx’s Parkside Houses.

4. Ways Men In Tech Are Unintentionally Sexist

Kat Hagan, This Is Not a Pattern

How our behavior and language can have a harmful impact — and how we can fix it. “Small, simple changes will build the foundation for a better tech culture.”

5. Gone Girls: Human Trafficking on the Home Front

Mike Kessler, Los Angeles Magazine

Kessler talks to survivors of child prostitution, as well as law enforcement officers, judges, politicians, and advocates working to prevent the sex trafficking of minors.

6. The Evans Family Is Living in This World

Linda Vaccariello, Cincinnati Magazine

A community comes together to help a family after a tragedy:

“The reality hit me like nothing I’d ever experienced,” McDonald says. “She had no one. I couldn’t imagine what that was like.” McDonald went to Ao, threw her arm around the sobbing woman’s shoulders, and said, “We’ll help you.”

7. The Plunge

Carl Schreck, Grantland

The story of Shavarsh Karapetyan, a Soviet swimming champion who dove into Armenia’s Lake Yerevan and saved dozens of lives from a sinking trolleybus.

8. How Pixar’s Gurus Brought the Magic Back to Disney Animation

Caitlin Roper, Wired

A profile of John Lasseter and Ed Catmull, whose intense focus on storytelling helped revive Disney’s animation studio with hits like Frozen and Wreck-It Ralph.

9. ‘I Am Darren Wilson’: St. Louis and the Geography of Fear

Sarah Kendzior & Umar Lee, Quartz

St. Louis is a city long on the run from itself. White flight has spread from suburbia to exurbia, while decades of black demands — for better jobs, better schools, better treatment—go unheeded. This is a region deprived of resources, forcing residents to scrounge for more fertile terrain.

10. Stephen Powers Puts the Writing on the Wall

Neima Jahromi, Bklynr

From the magazine Bklynr, a profile of the street artist behind some of Brooklyn’s most recognizable murals.

Photo: dystopos, Flickr


Filed under: Community, Reading, WordPress, WordPress.com

0 Comments on Longreads’ Best of WordPress, Vol. 7 as of 10/22/2014 1:17:00 PM
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28. Longreads’ Best of WordPress, Vol. 7

Here it is! A new collection of our favorite stories from across all of WordPress.

As always, you can find our past collections here. You can follow Longreads on WordPress.com for more daily reading recommendations, or subscribe to our free weekly email.

Publishers, writers, you can share links to your favorite essays and interviews (over 1,500 words) on Twitter (#longreads) and on WordPress.com by tagging your posts longreads.


1. What Happens When a Veteran High School Teacher Becomes a Student for the Day

Grant Wiggins

“I waited fourteen years to do something that I should have done my first year of teaching: shadow a student for a day.” A high school teacher learns some sobering lessons about how kids experience a typical day — and the amount of sitting required.

2. No Apology

Mehreen Kasana

The truth about being Muslim in America:

In the eyes of those perpetually seeking an apology from Muslims, I am a Bad Muslim. I don’t put hashtag-suffixed apologies online for what someone else of my faith does. When 9/11 happened, I was as shocked and terrified as anyone else was. We scary-looking Muslims experience human emotions, too. … We Muslims react to unexpected loss of life like any non-Muslim would. We cry, we mourn.

3. The Rise and Fall of Public Housing in NYC

Richard Price, Guernica

A “subjective overview” of the history of public housing in New York City from the novelist Richard Price, framed through the lens of his own upbringing in the North Bronx’s Parkside Houses.

4. Ways Men In Tech Are Unintentionally Sexist

Kat Hagan, This Is Not a Pattern

How our behavior and language can have a harmful impact — and how we can fix it. “Small, simple changes will build the foundation for a better tech culture.”

5. Gone Girls: Human Trafficking on the Home Front

Mike Kessler, Los Angeles Magazine

Kessler talks to survivors of child prostitution, as well as law enforcement officers, judges, politicians, and advocates working to prevent the sex trafficking of minors.

6. The Evans Family Is Living in This World

Linda Vaccariello, Cincinnati Magazine

A community comes together to help a family after a tragedy:

“The reality hit me like nothing I’d ever experienced,” McDonald says. “She had no one. I couldn’t imagine what that was like.” McDonald went to Ao, threw her arm around the sobbing woman’s shoulders, and said, “We’ll help you.”

7. The Plunge

Carl Schreck, Grantland

The story of Shavarsh Karapetyan, a Soviet swimming champion who dove into Armenia’s Lake Yerevan and saved dozens of lives from a sinking trolleybus.

8. How Pixar’s Gurus Brought the Magic Back to Disney Animation

Caitlin Roper, Wired

A profile of John Lasseter and Ed Catmull, whose intense focus on storytelling helped revive Disney’s animation studio with hits like Frozen and Wreck-It Ralph.

9. ‘I Am Darren Wilson’: St. Louis and the Geography of Fear

Sarah Kendzior & Umar Lee, Quartz

St. Louis is a city long on the run from itself. White flight has spread from suburbia to exurbia, while decades of black demands — for better jobs, better schools, better treatment—go unheeded. This is a region deprived of resources, forcing residents to scrounge for more fertile terrain.

10. Stephen Powers Puts the Writing on the Wall

Neima Jahromi, Bklynr

From the magazine Bklynr, a profile of the street artist behind some of Brooklyn’s most recognizable murals.

Photo: dystopos, Flickr


Filed under: Community, Reading, WordPress, WordPress.com

0 Comments on Longreads’ Best of WordPress, Vol. 7 as of 1/1/1900
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29. Welcoming We Give Books to the First Book Family

We can’t keep it a secret any longer!

iStock_000024504532LargeAs of today, We Give Books has a new home at First Book. The online platform, which features nearly 300 digitally-optimized children’s books, enables anyone with access to the Internet to put books in WGB-FB-logothe hands of kids in need, simply by reading online.

This generous gift to First Book comes from The Pearson Foundation along with $1.3M in cash to support We Give Books and help First Book deliver new online programs and services to our growing network of 140,000 classrooms and community organizations serving children in need.

You can get involved too!

Children, parents, caretakers and educators can visit www.wegivebooks.org and select books to read together. Reading on the site also triggers donations of new books to programs and classrooms serving children in need. Launched just four years ago, We Give Books has helped deliver more than 3.25 million books to children around the world.

We could not be more thankful to the Pearson Foundation or more thrilled for We Give Books to join the First Book family, helping us provide even more critical reading opportunities to young people across the United States and around the world.

Learn more about We Give Books joining First Book here. Then check out We Give Books and start reading today.

The post Welcoming We Give Books to the First Book Family appeared first on First Book Blog.

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30. When to Abandon a Book

Now I'm not talking about abandoning a book that you're writing. There's a time for that, sometimes, and that's for another post. I'm talking about when to abandon a book that you're reading. When you're in school, you're required to read books that you wouldn't normally choose on your own. And that's what school is for. To challenge you, to get you to think critically about things you

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31. …which leads to books!

Remember how I said cleaning leads to writing? Yep, I’ve been busy. And I’m still busy, because I’m not exactly done. But I thought you’d be interested in an update and some recent releases, along with the coming attractions …

First, you can get these now:

LOVE PROOF is now out in audio! I love the narration Maria Hunter Welles did for it. And I didn’t announce it at the time (see above, been busy), but there are also audio editions of THE GOOD LIE, DOGGIRL, and REPLAY. I know. It’s a lot. Take your pick and listen away!

Also, I have a new short story collection out. It’s called A FEW STRANGE MATTERS, and it is. A little odd. But sometimes my mind needs a break from longer works like novels, and when I let my mind wander, it wanders. The collection has some contemporary, some science fiction, a little fantasy, some paranormal, and a couple of strange stories from the teen world. You might have read a few of them here and there, but I guarantee there are some you’ve never seen. Possibly because I wrote them under a pen name that none of you knew about. So take a look–I’ll be interested in hearing what you all think!

Now, for the coming attractions:

YES, PARALLELOGRAM 4 WILL BE OUT THIS FALL. That’s all I can say, because I have made the mistake before of giving you a pub date which turns out not to be true. But I promise you will feel satisfied and fulfilled when you read this final book in the series. I’m still working very hard to pull all the pieces together. Thank you for your questions (“When? WHEN??”) and your patience. I hate waiting, too. I get it. It’ll be along very soon.

And to make you even happier about all the time I’ve been hiding out, I’ll also have ANOTHER NEW BOOK for you by December, I believe. It’s fantasy, it’s epic, and it involves a girl warrior. Yessssss …

That’s my report for now. I have to go back to writing. I owe you all some books.

Happy Fall! ~Robin

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32. Book Recommendation: The History of the Franks by Gregory of Tours

Book Recommendation banner

By

Biljana Likic

So you’re writing that sweeping historical novel full of war and political intrigue, and you maybe need some inspiration. Where better to turn than to history books? Only problem is that they can be a bit dry, and at times the forced impartiality (“I must present this as facts uncoloured by my opinion!”) can make the prose frustratingly ambiguous. Then there’s the whole “history is written by the victor” thing. The phrase reveals the difficulties readers face when approaching historical writing. Not to mention, it’s practically impossible to write about a historical event in a completely detached way without it sounding like a recipe.

Honestly, it makes me glad I write fiction. The pressure of writing a history book is terrifying. What sources you include, and where you include them, and why…no matter how you organize them, there will always be an expert disagreeing with you.

Enter Gregory of Tours. He was a 6th century bishop of (you guessed it) Tours, France, and is our best contemporary source of the Merovingian dynasty in modern-day France and Germany. He wrote history, but it’s only in very recent times that we started giving him more credit as an actual historian. Why did it take so long? You only need to take a gander at all the wild stuff he says in his most famous work, The History of the Franks.

Here’s the deal. Remember the whole “no such thing as no bias” spiel? This is very apparent in Gregory. A lot of people read the Histories assuming they’re a moralistic work about how those who aren’t Catholic will suffer the demons of hell, and those that are will be saved in heaven. To be fair, it’s not a hard conclusion to reach. There’s one story of a priest conspiring against his superior, and as alleged punishment from God, on the morning the priest is getting ready to betray him, this happens: “He went off to the lavatory and while he was occupied in emptying his bowels he lost his soul instead.”

Lost his soul on the can. He quite literally shit himself to death. There are fewer effective ways to teach someone a lesson about going against a saintly authority.

But then, in another story, Queen Deuteria is afraid that her husband might “desire and take advantage of” their maturing daughter so she puts her in a cart drawn by untamed bulls and the daughter crashes into a river and dies. And this happens in like three sentences with no moral. No ceremony, no “The shadow of sin is cast upon the loveless mother!”, no “Don’t lust after your own daughter or else your wife might kill her (and also, sin)!”, only a few nearly parenthetical phrases, perhaps just to explain what happened to the daughter when the King later takes a new wife and refuses to take Deuteria back. I wonder why he’d do that.

So you have this one priest’s story taking up a few sizable, memorable paragraphs about him conspiring against his bishop, and then you have this other one of a horrific filicide told in a measly three sentences. That’s the fascinating thing about this work. It’s a bunch of to-the-point recitations of facts mixed together with wildly moralistic tales where common sicknesses and coincidences are explains away as God’s doing. In some sections it even reads like fantasy. It’s as full of people having prophetic dreams and being warned about the dangers ahead as it is of short side notes about a perfectly Christian king being poisoned just because…well…he was king, and he was poisoned.

But the reason the Histories are so valuable today, aside from being a long and spectacular feat of story-telling, is because there really is a genuinely massive amount of historical information within them. Every so often you’ll find entire letters Gregory directly transcribed so he could give us the primary source rather than rephrasing an event in his own words. Some of these letters survive in different forms and can be used to cross-reference events in the book. Others only survive through his writing. There is a ton of specificity about the Church, and especially about the history of the bishopric of Tours. There’s stuff in there about the actual daily lives of people living in the 6th century, their traditions, habits, and gossip, written by a person living in the 6th century. That is absolutely invaluable.

Not to mention a freaking amazing read. Merovingian kings and queens meant business. The backstabbing, the stealing of territory, copious amounts of regicide, broken alliances, queens abandoning their husbands for other kings because others were manlier and held more promise as conquerors… These people were ruthless. Contrast that with the general thread of what it means to be a good Christian weaving through the work, and you’ve got some damn awesome dichotomies going on.

So move this baby up your to-read list. Not only is it full of events that actually happened, making it an excellent book to read for personal research, but it’s also a great literary window into the workings of 6th century Continental Europe.

biljana new picBiljana Likic is working on her fantasy WIPs and has just started her MA in Medieval Studies, from which she can’t wait to graduate so she’ll finally have all the time in the world to write. You can follow her on Twitter.

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33. Friday Feature: Soul Redemption by Miranda Shanklin


Last week I featured Soul Journey, and this week I have the sequel, Soul Redemption.


Just when Annisa and her friends were starting to think maybe the Counsel would leave them alone, two new students arrive at school. In any other town, new students wouldn’t be a sign that something big was about to happen to Annisa, Chase, Landon, and Penelope; but this wasn’t a normal town and they weren’t normal teenagers. They had come into their powers and defeated the most feared assassin in their world, so the appearance of new witches in their small town could only mean one thing.....the Counsel was ready to make another attempt to destroy them.

After watching the new students alienate them from everyone they know, including their parents, Annisa and her friends break through the spell and things start to calm down for them. It’s not until an old enemy returns with news that will shock them that they realize everything is not as it seems. Now they have to decide whether or not to trust an old enemy claiming to help them, or try and fight against the Counsel’s most trusted Advisors on their own.
The choice the group makes will change their lives forever.

EXCERPT FROM SOUL REDEMPTION:

It started happening slowly at first. It took a few days for me to figure out what was going on. All of a sudden a few of my friends wouldn’t even look at me anymore and they refused to talk to me, so I had no idea what happened to make them treat me like this. I'd known these people my whole life so it really didn’t make sense to me that they were withdrawing from me completely. Landon was noticing the same thing. Penelope and Chase had moved so many times growing up that they really didn’t notice. They didn’t know anyone around here well enough for it to really change for them.

Landon and I were watching as the people that we'd grown up with slowly turned their backs on us. The more that the new kids showed they had no interest in us, the more others were starting to act the same. I was getting very suspicious of the new kids and what they were doing to the rest of the school.  I had no proof and really no idea what they were doing, so I couldn’t do anything but watch as this all happened.

After about a week, Chase noticed that we weren’t stopped so much in the hall by people that wanted to talk to me. The girls on the cheerleading squad were no longer trying to give me their ideas for a new routine, and were just going through the routine without engaging either me or Penelope.  After practice he had a strange look on his face and I knew he was starting to put it all together too.

That night we met with our parents in the secure room in my basement.  This was the only place that we could go and know for sure that the Counsel was not listening in on us. We had spelled the room to not let anyone hear anything from the outside and only us that created the spell are able to enter the room.

Since Chase was noticing what was going on I felt it was safe to bring it up to the others, “I haven’t said anything because I couldn’t prove what I was suspecting, and I wasn’t sure if I was overreacting. Today, I noticed that Chase was starting to see it too.  I don’t know how they are doing it, but the new kids are alienating us from everyone at school.  Somehow the people that Landon and I have known our whole lives will not talk to us or even look at us unless it is completely necessary. They avoid us as much as they can. Even the cheerleading squad won’t really talk to me.”

Landon had been nodding the whole time I was talking letting me know that he had noticed all of this too, “The football team will still follow my instructions and play the strategies that I tell them to, but that's it. They won’t talk to me, they won’t make suggestions, and off the field they won’t really talk to me unless they have to.”

My mom and Landon’s mom exchanged a worried look and then my mom said, “There really is no way for us to know at this point; if this is just from them starting rumors that you just haven’t heard yet, if there is a spell that they cast, or if it is simply a phase the kids at school are going through.  You have to remember that not everything that happens in the world has to do with magick. Sometimes it is just jealous teenagers. It is probably just the other kids trying to make sure that you don’t try and make a move on the new kids. With the way that the situation evolved when Chase and Penelope first moved here, and nobody knowing the real story so nobody understands what happened.  I think you are just overreacting to normal teenage behavior.”

Chase was the one to voice the concerns that I was feeling, “If you really think that, then why did you both look worried before you started that little speech?”

My mom did not like the way that he said that but she answered him anyway, after she gave him a stern look to make sure he knew that she was not going to let him get away with talking to her like that again, “The worried look was because we are afraid that you are all so focused on the Counsel and what they are doing, that you are going to see something sinister in every action that anyone takes. We don’t want you to become so paranoid that you accidentally harm an Innocent.  You have to remember that most of the town is not from our world and have no idea magick even exists. High school is never easy, and nobody ever said that it was fair or that teenagers were always rational.”

I let out a frustrated sigh, “It’s different than the normal teenage drama.  We had to deal with that when Chase and Penelope first got here, and this is not the same.”

Landon’s mom gave me a sympathetic look,  “Honey, I know that you are used to being liked by everyone and that you have never had to deal with the other side of the table when it comes to popularity, but you have to understand that sometimes these things just happen with no involvement from magick.”


Seeing that we were just going to keep talking in circles about this subject, because neither side was willing to concede, Penelope changed the subject, “Okay, we're just going to have to agree to disagree on this for now.  I am more concerned with how it feels when we are around them.  I can sense them and their magick, but it’s not the same as with other witches.”

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34. A Pony Express Book List and Some Things To Do

On this day in 1858, Buterfield and Company agreed to carry the mail out west starting in Missouri and ending in California. The 2800 mile Westward journey would take 24 days. The mail was delivered twice weekly using overland coaches, mules and horses.

Two years later, with the threat of the Civil War looming, the need for faster communication to the West was created.

Today we felt like celebrating the first ever cross country mail delivery and a bit of American itself with a look at the Pony Express.

Pony Express

The Pony Express consisted of relays of men riding horses carrying saddlebags of mail across a 2000-mile trail. The service opened officially on April 3, 1860, when riders left simultaneously from St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California. The first westbound trip was made in 9 days and 23 hours and the eastbound journey in 11 days and 12 hours. The pony riders covered 250 miles in a 24-hour day.

Pony Express

Eventually, the Pony Express had more than 100 stations, 80 riders, and between 400 and 500 horses. The express route was extremely hazardous, but only one mail delivery was ever lost. The service lasted only 19 months until October 24, 1861, when the completion of the Pacific Telegraph line ended the need for its existence.

The Pony Express Booklist

pony express

Off Like the Wind!! The First Ride of the Pony Express by Michael Spradin Illustrated by Layne Johnson {for grades 3-5}

Pony Express

Whatever Happened to the Pony Express by Verla Kay for {grades 2-4}

Pony express

Hoof Beats of Danger: American Girl History Mysteries by Holly Hughes for {grades 3-6}

Pony Express

Riders of the Pony Express by Ralph Moody for {grades 7+}

Pony Express

Black Storm Comin’ by Diane Lee Wilson for {grades 6+}

pony express

The Sweetwater Run: The Story of Buffalo Bill Cody and the Pony Express by Andres Glass

ponyexp5

Wanted: A Few Bold Riders by Darice Bailer

pony express

Somethings to Do

Want to know more about the Pony Express ? Have a look here. There are many fun activities to do such as stamp making and a communications game to play as well as print outs and word games.

Map Out the Pony Express

**Some of these links are affiliate links

Now Available! The newest children’s book from Audrey Press. Click the image below for more details.

A Year in the Secret Garden.

A Year in the Secret garden

 

The post A Pony Express Book List and Some Things To Do appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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35. Friday Feature: Soul Journey by Miranda Shanklin


It has been many lifetimes since the cycle began.

The cycle that still haunts Annisa Lawson.


A spell cast in desperation to help, which only caused heartache.


Now, Annisa has found her way out of the varying repeats of her past; only to bring more danger to herself, and those around her. Now she must learn to survive with the help of her friends: Chase, Penelope, and Landon have all gone through each life cycle with Annisa. Sometimes helping, sometimes hindering. Now that Annisa has broken the cycle of their collective punishment, she finds that she needs her friends more than ever to keep their enemies, known, and unknown, at bay. As the group of friends learn of
their souls' journeys through their many life cycles, they must also learn to control the magick they have discovered within themselves and each other, in order to defeat the most feared assassin in their world.

EXCERPT FROM SOUL JOURNEY:

“Annisa everyone in this room, including you, is a witch.” Mom paused to let that sink in, but before I could say anything she continued; “I know that this is hard for you to believe. Most witches wake up on their sixteenth birthday and their power starts to show itself and the memories start to slowly come back. By their eighteenth birthday most witches have all of their memories from every life that they have lived. Everything that you think you know about witches is wrong. Magick is not in the blood, it is not passed down through the family; magick is in the soul. Every witch’s soul goes through a cycle. You live a life and then you transition to The Clouds to rest before you come back to earth for another life cycle. The Clouds is kind of like heaven is for mortals. It's the same concept except we don’t go to The Clouds and stay there, we get to come back. No mortal can go to The Clouds and no witch can go to heaven. Our physical body is made the same way as a mortal’s with one exception. Only one child can be born to each witch couple in any given lifetime.”

At this time I'm sure my face was showing my line of thought as I immediately looked at Chase and Penelope, but my mom held up her hand to stop me from saying anything.

“Let me finish, then you can ask all the questions that you want and we will answer them all.” I nodded to let her know that I understood and I was ready for her to continue.

“I'm sure that you've noticed a few things that I've said don't seem to be the case. But notice that I have said most witches. You, Landon, Chase and Penelope are all exceptions to the rules. There is a reason for that, but it's one that I can't reveal to you yet. It will be revealed in time, but there are a few things that need to transpire first. The events that have to take place have already been set in motion and it won’t be much longer before we are able to reveal all. Penelope is the only one of you four that knows the entire situation but the consequences of her telling you early are more than any of you are willing to pay as has been proven in prior lifetimes.”

I looked over at Penelope and saw the pain in her eyes that she was not able to divulge this important information and the toll it was taking on her. I decided at that point that I wouldn't even ask her about it and just let her decide when it was the right time to tell me. She was obviously having a hard time with her roll in all of this and I didn’t want to make it any harder on her. I managed a small smile for her to let her know that I didn't blame her for not being able to tell me. She looked very relieved that I wasn't looking at her with anger.

Mom waited for this all to sink in and then continued. “You've always felt alone and like you didn't quite fit in because you sensed that you were different. You were drawn to Landon because you sensed he was also a witch along with other reasons that will be revealed later. The four of you have had your lives intertwined since the beginning of time. This lifetime is the first time that it looks like everything will work out the way it was meant to in the beginning. I know that Penelope has been giving you advice and trying to guide you to do what needs to be done. Listen to her advice and your own instincts. There are forces that are working against you and who don’t want this to ever be resolved. Quite frankly, we're all ready for it to come to an end and for the four of you to finally find the happiness that you deserve. Please don’t ask about the forces, I cannot tell you about them, it's too dangerous to speak of out in the open. Just remember that every witch has a soul mate who is also a witch and it's up to you to find yours.”

“I'm sure that you caught the beginning where I said most witches wake up on their sixteenth birthday and their power starts to show itself. Penelope has had her power and her memory since birth. Landon and Chase received some of their power, but not even half of it on their sixteenth birthday. You will not receive any of yours until after the events that have been put in action take place. If you make the same mistakes as before you will get your memories and a portion of your power and Landon and Chase will never get their full powers, but will get their memories. If you make the right choices and the issues are finally resolved you will all receive your full power as well as your memories. There is a reason that the three of you won’t get your memories until after it's too late to use them for your choices. This situation is a punishment and until you all learn and make the right choices it will continue to play out the same in each lifetime. You have to come to the right choices all on your own to show that you have grown as witches and can handle the responsibility.”

I asked my mom, “Is that everything?”

“Everything that I'm able to tell you at this time, there is more but that will all have to wait. I'm sure you have a ton of questions. Please ask us anything you want.”  “Just give me a couple of minutes to process all of this.” She nodded to let me know that she understood and would wait as long as I needed her to. I looked around at each face sitting there. The adults were all looking at me with sympathy and understanding. Penelope was guarded and apprehensive about my reaction. Landon and Chase were giving each other glares, but as they turned to face me I saw anger and resentment in Landon’s eyes and hope and longing in Chase’s eyes.

“So you're telling me that everyone in this room has known that I'm a witch and I'm just now finding out? Every single one of you has been hiding the truth about me, and all of you?” I asked calmly. I wasn’t angry about it but I wanted to hear the reasoning behind not telling me sooner.

Sound good? You can grab it on Kindle for only $3.99.

Want your YA, NA, or MB book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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36. "The Christmas Story for Children" Book Review and Book Giveaway

by Sally Matheny

The Christmas Story for Children


     How many members in your family love to read? Currently, we have 4 out of 5 avid readers in my family. About ten years ago, it was two out of five so we’re making progress! One of the keys to enjoyment is finding great books to read. Perhaps I can help you. A book review will be posted at the beginning of each month. This month’s review includes a free giveaway of the book so be sure to enter in the Rafflecopter box below.

     The Christmas Story for Children, collaboratively written by Max Lucado, Randy Frazee, and Karen Davis Hill is a picture book published by Zonderkidz. Immediately, the story draws readers into a journey. A journey of ordinary people God set aside for His extraordinary purposes.

    


    This beautiful story begins with God’s chosen, the Jewish people, and ribbons its way to Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds. Typical Christmas storybooks end shortly after the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ. However, The Christmas Story for Children gives more.

     Midway through the book, it tells how God’s exceptional Son lived an ordinary life as a child. Then, one day he left his ordinary life to do “amazing and marvelous things…”

     The second half of the book reveals Jesus’ baptism experience at the Jordan River and how “the ordinary ended and the spectacular began.”

     This story stays true to the Holy Bible using the New International Reader’s Version and the New Century Version.

     Award-winning artist, Fausto Bianchi, provides exquisite full color illustrations for this 32-page picture book by Zonderkidz. The book is geared for children aged four to eight but older children and adults will find its beauty enthralling. Bianchi produces a fresh artistic perspective of the story. I found myself pondering a great deal over his illustrations, especially on the unusual facial expressions of his characters. 

     The only illustration I question is the angel Gabriel.  His upper body has the appearance of a male but the facial features appear feminine. I’m unsure what Bianchi is trying to express but I found an interesting and satisfying note about angels posted at http://www.compellingtruth.org/angels-male-female.html.

     I recommend this book. The Christmas Story for Children will make a great gift with its beautiful story of truth and distinctive illustrations. 


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. 

The book giveaway begins at 12:00 a.m. Oct. 7 and ends at 12:00 a.m. on Oct. 14.
If the Rafflecopter is not displaying correctly for you, there are two ways to enter. If you leave a comment about one way you help children focus on Christ, especially during the month of December, then your name goes in the "pot" one time. If you subscribe to this blog by entering your email under the "Follow by Email" button on the right, your name goes in THREE times for the drawing!
The winner will be announced on Oct. 15.


a Rafflecopter giveaway










0 Comments on "The Christmas Story for Children" Book Review and Book Giveaway as of 10/6/2014 7:51:00 PM
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37. Weekend Links: Booklists Upon Booklists!

weekend links

Booklist and more Booklists! This week has revealed tons of wonderful booklist for readers and parents to enjoy. Here are some of my top picks:

9 Poetry books for kids from the Pleasantest Thing

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The Jenny Evolution has an amazing list of 50 Amazing Chapter Books for Boys!

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 Jacquie from KCEdventures offered up Around the World in 30 Books — A Trip Across the Globe

around the world in 30 books

I love this list of 100 Books for 1st Graders to Read from 123 Homeschool 4Me!

100 Books for 1st Graders to Read by themselves (with free printable bookmark!) #bookrecommendations #1stgrade

Ka-POW! Here’s a list of Super Hero Chapter and Picture books from What Do We Do All Day.

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Rebecca at Simple As That has a wonderful (and timely) Fall Book List.

The onset of Fall and cooler temps always makes me think of HALLOWEEN! And Halloween at the Budayr household means another opportunity for Book or Treat.

Book or Treat is something I created as a fun way to get out-grown/unused books into the hands of young readers along with their usual Halloween treats. You can read more about Book or Treat here, but I’d like to encourage everyone to really consider doing this in their community. It is SO easy and fun to do and it benefits readers of all ages!

Grab a copy of my FREE Book or Treat Community Kit but clicking on the image below. Help spread the Book or Treat message!

Book-or-Treat Guide

 

 

 

The post Weekend Links: Booklists Upon Booklists! appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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38. Surviving a Stroke at 33 (and Blogging About It)

Christine Hyung-Oak Lee suffered a stroke when she was 33, and she has written about her experience in an inspiring personal essay for BuzzFeed.

Before that, she was using a pseudonym on WordPress.com to blog about her experiences, share details about her life, and practice her writing. In 2007, shortly after New Year’s Day, Lee wrote the following in a blog post:

something in my brain burped. most of what i want to do is just out of my grasp. i feel like i know how to do them, but then when i go to do them, i just…CAN’T. day by day, i’m regaining my abilities, so i hope this is just temporary.

Lee’s commenters urged her to see a doctor, and the next day, she responded to them from a hospital bed: “I had a stroke! Will be better.”

I spoke with Lee about her experience, and what she has learned about herself and her writing.

* * *

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It’s amazing that you could go through something so profound health-wise and chart a new path for yourself coming out of it. What’s the response been to your essay?

I’ve been blown away. As life-changing as my stroke was, the response, too, will probably go down in my life history as a turning point.

I had a blog — and I’ve been blogging since before it was called “blogging,” back when it was called “web journaling,” back in the days when Justin Hall was on links.net and when I wrote my posts in HTML. But before I spun up my anonymous blog, I was asked to stop blogging by a few family members. I was putting them at risk, they said, I was not to make myself so public.

Bottom line, I didn’t want to stop blogging, so I started up a blog under a pseudonym. I never told them about the blog. A few months later, I had my stroke.

The blog was one of the first places to which I turned when I had my stroke, before I knew I’d had a stroke. I wrote in my journal, too — but I turned to my blog in the wake of my stroke, which for me was a largely isolating event. I made some great friends. Got support that way. It was my village, for a time.

Also, my blog has always been a place to do some “low-stakes writing” — writing without the intention of publication, writing that is more therapeutic. That said, blogging has always been a venue for me to refine my writing voice — because after all, it is still a public space with readers.

What are the odds that a person could suffer a stroke at 33?

According to the New York Times, about 10 to 15 percent of strokes happen to people under the age of 45. That’s supposed to be about 1 in 1,000. And oftentimes, young people who have had a stroke are misdiagnosed and sent home.

I was the youngest person in the DCU (aka “stroke unit”) in the hospital by about 30 years during my stay. Most doctors were astonished by my age. They certainly didn’t suspect I’d had a stroke until they saw the MRI and its uncontested results. I could see how I could have been sent home and had to shoulder a mysterious ailment. I was lucky in that they figured it out and I got the care I needed to ensure the recovery I eventually had.

Can you talk about some specific posts that led you on a path both during and after your stroke?

Definitely, the post during which readers told me to go to the hospital!

I’m not sure where I found my voice after the stroke, really. I think there were people out in the internet reading — Carolyn Kellogg, who writes for the LA Times, had a blog called Pinky’s Paperhaus at the time, and she linked to me as a writer recovering from stroke. So there was definitely interest in my story and situation.

I really don’t think I found my voice regarding my stroke until years later. I wasn’t able to write about it until my post for Nova Ren Suma, who did a Turning Point series on her blog, to which I contributed with a reference to my stroke.

Not only has blogging my stroke experience refined my voice, it was also life-saving. And anonymity provided sanctuary.

What is your life like now?

It is as normal as I imagine it to be. It’s, honestly, better than my life pre-stroke. I’m following my dreams and choosing very carefully what it is I want to do each day, each month, each year. While in recovery, I had very limited energy, and had to be particular about my priorities; I decided to keep doing that, go forward.

And what about your writing?

Once you go through something like that, when so many of your abilities are taken away, your life is pared down to what it is you really want to get back.

I went through a very dark place at some point in my recovery — and although I don’t look upon that phase with fondness, I did learn what was most important to me, and what it is I most desired out of my life. And my writing became a front-and-center goal. I’d always known writing was important to me, but after the stroke, I knew I would channel everything I had to get back to writing.

Now that I’m writing again, I’ve more a sense of structure with regard to my writing projects; in fact, I’m obsessed with structure, because recovery is so much about stages and regaining structure. Because my brain was injured, I understood how writing happens, in my brain at least — that stories are modular, that I need quiet, that layers come with each retelling.


Filed under: Community, Reading, WordPress.com

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39. Friday Feature: Your Book Here


I woke up this morning to see my blog didn't post, and for very good reason. I never scheduled a post. Hmm… I had booked a bunch of Friday Feature spots in advance and didn't realize that I'd run out of them. I've been a little busy lately promoting two new books, editing for clients, and drafting a new book, so I guess that's how this slipped through the cracks.

So today, I'm asking you to let me feature your book. That's right. I want to have you on my Friday Feature. Got a book out? Looking for some exposure? Friday Features are whatever you want them to be—a simple feature with buy links, an excerpt, a giveaway, a guest post, etc. You name it. All you have to do is email me at khashway@hotmail.com and we'll get you scheduled.

In the meantime, let's talk about what your reading right now. I just finished:
I got this ARC at BEA and just got around to reading it. Of course I see the cover has changed and is now blue, but this is what mine looks like.

Next I'll be reading:

I also got this at BEA and Lisa is a great friend.

How about you?


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40. Little Leap Forward—A Boy in Bejing by Guy Yue and Clare Farrow {Guest Post by Hannah Rials}

{Guest post By Hannah Rials}

LittleLeapForward_HC_W
Little Leap Forward is the story of a young boy in Revolutionary China. He lives in the musician’s  quarter with his mother and sisters, where he is trying to find inspiration for the music. He hears music in everything—fish, silk worms, birds—and just like his father, he aspires to become a great musician. Little Leap as he is commonly called enjoys his life, his friends Little-Little and Blue, and most enjoys his times at the river. He skips stones, catches fish, and flies white kites as often as he can. Even through the hardships of his time—matching clothing, rationed food—he manages to find happiness.
leap
One day, Little-Little catches a little bird for Little Leap, which he decides to take home. He quickly builds a home for his new friend, planning to learn her, who he names Little Cloud, beautiful son. But no matter what he does, Little Cloud will not sing. His friends and family try to convince him that captivity is not the life for her. But he knows he just hasn’t found her inspiration yet. So to help her beloved son along, Little Leap’s mother buys him a bamboo flute and pays for his lessons with a little jar of soy sauce. Little Leap makes it his mission to become a wonderful flute player so that soon he will be able to hear Little Cloud’s song.
Then tragedy strikes. Chairman Mao becomes convinced that all intellectuals, books, and writers are against the revolution, and so the Red Guard is formed. They begin burning books, pictures—all memories of the old China. During this time, life becomes more restricted, his friend Blue moves to the country, and he slowly comes to the realization that Little Cloud really isn’t made for courtyard life. One day, he takes Little Cloud’s cage out to the river and opens the door. One moment, she’s in the cage; the next, she’s gone. But, as the saying goes, when one door closes, another opens. One day, after a long time of not going to the river, Little Leap decides to take his flute down to practice. He practices his scales and a few melodies he memorized. Then suddenly, Little Cloud reappears, recognizes him, and allows him to hold her. He began to play for her and was thrilled when she replied. He didn’t even realize when she wasn’t there anymore. For the first time in a long time, Little Leap was happy.
This book is very special. Not only is it a beautiful story, but a true story. Guo Yue based Little Leap Forward on his own childhood in the musician’s courtyard during Revolutionary China. The story is meaningful and illustrates a lifestyle during a rough time in China. Like other Barefoot Books stories, Guy Yue and Clare Farrow tell an inspirational, educational story that will live on in our hearts.
Something To Do:
1. learn more about the Erhu (Chinese Violin)

2. Ever wondered How to Skip Stones? Here’s your chance to Learn!
1. Pick the right stone: flat, uniform thickness/thinness, fits in your palm, and no heavier than a tennis ball. Too heavy and the rock won’t skip off the water.  2. Hold the stone between your thumb and middle finger, with your thumb on top, and your index finger hooked along the edge.  3. Stand facing the water at a slight angle. With rock in hand, pull your arm back like you’re going to throw a sidearm pitch.  4. As you throw the rock, cock your wrist back. Right before the release, give your wrist a quick flick. This will create the spin needed for the stone to skip across the water.  5. Throw out and down at the same time. For maximum skips, the stone should enter the water at a 20 degree angle. Scientists have found this to be the optimal angle for stone skipping!  6. Have fun skipping stones with your kiddos!
3. Take The Silkworm Challenge!
silkworm
4. Make a Paper Kite:
-Cut a diamond out of white paper and decorate with symbols such as a dragon, phoenix, silk worm, or fish.
-Depending on where you live in the world, find some type of smooth sticks, and make a cross on one side the paper
-You can make the tails with streamers to make it colorful.
-Tie a string where the sticks intersect that you will use to control the kite.
- Wait for a windy day, then let it fly
5. Print off some Phoenix coloring pages:
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6. Create your own Bamboo Flute!

Enjoy!

Hannha rials

Born in the hills of Louisiana and raised in the mountains of Tennessee, Hannah Rials is a eighteen year-old aspiring author and editor. She’s been writing short stories since she was a little girl, but for the past several years, she has been writing, editing, and reediting a novel of her own that she hopes to publish in the near future.  Hannah has always loved reading and the world of books. With a librarian grandmother who can tell the most magical stories, how could she not fall in love with the written word. Her library collection and love for books grows every day.

 

 

The post Little Leap Forward—A Boy in Bejing by Guy Yue and Clare Farrow {Guest Post by Hannah Rials} appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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41. The rage of age ranges

Recently someone in publishing told me, "You're not really a YA author."

It bugged me, but I wasn't sure why, because middle grade rocks. If the only readers I ever reached were ages 8-12 I'd be a happy author. I love kids those ages as much as I love teenagers. So it shouldn't bother me. But I think I've finally figured it why it does.

As an older teenager, I would have loved my books. The Goose Girl, Book of a Thousand Days, Dangerous, as well as my books that are considered younger like Princess Academy and Ever After High. And I have a lot of teen readers. I get emails from them. I meet them at signings, alongside those valiant 8-12 year olds. So I bristle when anyone suggests that my books aren't actually for them. I don't like labels that might get between a reader and the book that's right for them.

So how do I label what I write?

Some say "upper middle grade," some say, "lower young adult," but I have plenty of readers who don't fit into either camp. And I realize that I'm just tired of exclusivity. Exclusive clubs always give me hives. Those who try to make something like feminism an exclusive club, for example: "You're not a real feminist if you're a stay at home mom"; "Well you're not a real feminist if you exclude stay at home moms," etc. The narrower the definition of who can be a member of something, the less I want to be a part of it, whatever it is. (btw I do consider myself a feminist, in all its inexact nebulous importance)

What do you think? How would you define young adult? Some say books written for ages 14-17. But that's weird too, because can we really be sure of author intent? Authors have written plenty of books without a specific audience in mind that ended up being great for older teenagers. So is it just the age of the protagonist? We know that's faulty. All of my middle grade books have older protags, and there are plenty of other examples where that rule doesn't work. Tone and story style and substance are way more important in finding a reader than the age of the protag. Is it by who likes to read the books? That's tough too. I regularly get fanmail from readers ages 6-to-grandparent. Some suggest that the YA label is just for books with more graphic content (sex, swearing, mature themes). I bristle at that too. I agree that books with mature content belong more in upper YA than MG, but I also think it's an erroneous assumption that teens are uninterested in and incapable of appreciating any story that doesn't have sex, swearing, mature themes. There are all kinds of teenagers. There should be all kinds of stories.

Age ranges are tough. Teachers know, just because all the kids in the class are the same age doesn't mean they're at the same level in reading, math, maturity, comprehension, etc. Parents know that what one child was ready for at a certain age, another wasn't even close.

I wish we didn't have labels. I wish we didn't have age ranges. I wish we could all just be matched to books we might like regardless of our age or what age range the publisher has to declare the book for.

But at the same time I'm conflicted about this because I love that there's such a strong YA community, a community that calls BS on those who try to marginalize or demean teenagers, who values them as humans and believes passionately that they deserve their own stories. And the same for children and toddlers and babies and women and men and everyone. We all need champions. And the label of "Young Adult" has helped develop a community of champions for teens. I love it. I want it to remain strong and grow and grow. I just don't want it to limit itself in exclusivity.

What do you think? Am I wrong? Is the YA and MG distinction clearer than I think? Have age labels shamed you for reading something apparently not in your age range? How do they affect you? How do we employ the helpfulness of age ranges in books without limiting who the books might be best for?

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42. Camps: The New Trend in Summer Reading

geek girl logo

This summer at the Fayetteville Free Library in Fayetteville, NY we piloted our first ever week long summer camp during Summer Reading. The Fayetteville Free Library Geek Girl Camp is a camp for girls in grades 3 through 5 introducing them to hands on STEM skills and to female role models. Months of work went into planning this camp fulfilling a need in our greater community.  According to the Girl Scout Research Institute,  “Research shows that girls start losing interest in math and science during middle school. Girls are typically more interested in careers where they can help others (e.g., teaching, child care, working with animals) and make the world a better place. Recent surveys have shown that girls and young women are much less interested than boys and young men in math and science.”[1]

We had 44 girls attend the FFL Geek Girl Camp from all over the greater Syracuse, NY area. We had over 10 girls on the waiting list and charged $25.00 for the camp to supplement the cost of food, t-shirts and supplies. We also offered four scholarship opportunities for those who might not be able to afford the cost of the camp. In addition to the 44 girls who came to the camp we had 9 speakers from across the country join us in person or via Skype. Speakers included students from Virginia Commonwealth University, Cornell University, Syracuse University and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Other speakers included women who worked for Facebook, the Air Force, a pharmaceutical research facility, and from national organizations, Girls in Tech and Girl Develop IT. Each day we heard from one or more speakers who talked about what they do at their jobs or in school and how important it is to have women working in these fields! They all made sure to relate to the girls in attendance and campers had great questions afterwards.

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Throughout the week we had a great array of activities. We rented a cement mixer and made an oobleck pool for kids to run across after learning about density and viscosity, shot off model rockets, chucked books, apples and water balloons with a trebuchet after learning about projectiles, force, gravity and more.  Girls learned about fractals, made mini catapults, 3D printed, used littlebits kits, Snap Circuits and computer programmed with Scratch and much more.

The camp was a huge success that the parents of those who attended were above and beyond appreciative and wanted to already sign up for next year. We learned from this particular camp that we created something valuable for our community and that we need to transition into this camp model for future Summer Reading programs. We were asked, “When are you having a camp for boys”? We will not only have camp for boys and girls but of different ages as well. Planning FFL Geek Girl Camp did take a lot of time; however the outcome of the camp was far beyond what we expected and worth the time spent planning for the impact it had on our community. Camps offer children an opportunity to learn more and make stronger relationships over a short period of time.  Like camp as a kid it was a place to learn new things and meet new friends and create memories that last a lifetime.

CaptureThe first day of FFL Geek Girl, the campers were a little shy but after just the second day the girls couldn’t stop talking and working together. We run bimonthly programs where kids come in every other week to work on projects but having children in the library everyday for a week gives you an opportunity to teach kids a skill and not have to worry about rushing or not being able to complete the task, plus you have an opportunity to do projects or lessons that take longer and are more complex. Camps also give us a great opportunity to get to know our patrons. Girls come in and out of the library now looking for their camp counselors to say hi! Cost is also a huge factor in running a camp at a library versus a different venue. We had materials donated to the camp and used many of the resources we already owned including our own staff to run and plan the program. Most science camps can range in price anywhere from $75-$600. We decided that $25 was not only affordable but fit into our budget for the camp as well to make it run successfully.

CaptureWe think that camps are the future of Summer Reading. It gives us and the community an opportunity to focus on important topics like STEAM and produce content that is beneficial and influential. At the end of the week our campers said they wanted to be inventors, work at Google, become web developers and physicists. If it wasn’t for the atmosphere we created at the library and the week long camp we would have never saw these results and impact on our community.

Please check out our website for more information about the FFL Geek Girl Camp, our Flickr page and hashtag #geekgirl14 on Twitter and Instagram.

[1]Modi, K. (2012). “Generation STEM: What girls Say about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math” Girl Scout Research Institute. http://www.girlscouts.org/research/pdf/generation_stem_full_report.pdf

Capture

Meredith Levine is the Director of Family Engagement at the Fayetteville Free Library. Meredith is a member of the ALSC School Age Programs and Services Committee. Find out more at www.fflib.org or email Meredith at mlevine@fflib.org

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43. Friday Feature: Damaged Goods Giveaway




Hey everybody, my name is Kai Strand. I was unpacking books at a signing and came across a copy of King of Bad with a torn cover. Bummer. I can’t sell that! But my loss is your gain. Because I can hold a giveaway instead!

Along with a slightly damaged copy of King of Bad, I’m also giving away several sets of character trading cards. These cards have been specially designed for book one in the series. There will be a separate set of cards designed for each book – so be among the first to own a set.

About the book:

Jeff Mean would rather set fires than follow rules or observe curfew. He wears his bad boy image like a favorite old hoodie; that is until he learns he has superpowers and is recruited by Super Villain Academy – where you learn to be good at being bad. In a school where one kid can evaporate all the water from your body and the girl you hang around with can perform psychic sex in your head, bad takes on a whole new meaning. Jeff wonders if he’s bad enough for SVA.

He may never find out. Classmates vilify him when he develops good manners. Then he’s kidnapped by those closest to him and left to wonder who is good and who is bad. His rescue is the climactic episode that balances good and evil in the super world. The catalyst – the girl he’s crushing on. A girlfriend and balancing the Supers is good, right? Or is it…bad?

Available in print or electronic: Whiskey Creek Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble 

Excerpt:

“I guess I’m not comfortable being something. I’ve never aspired to do much of anything and it seems like a lot of pressure to suddenly learn I’m supposedly a super villain and that I have to learn how to do it right.”

“You don’t have to do anything, kid. You are what you are. We are just here for you if you want to learn how to do more.” Pyro leaned back in her chair and crossed her leg. “Let me start closer to the beginning. Once upon a time…”

Jeff curled his lip and grunted. “You’re kidding, right?”

“Yes, I am. This is no fairytale.”

“How many of us are there? Is this the only school or are they everywhere? What happens if I decide not to get training?”

“Whoa, boy! Rein in the questions. I’ll get to them.” Pyro’s foot bobbed as she studied Jeff. “I don’t usually recruit. I work in administration, a fundraiser. They asked me to take you on because they suspected you had fire. So let’s start there.”

Pyro explained Mr. Sims initial encounter with Jeff and how he’d reported to Tubs. “That’s when Tubs got me involved. See, Sims felt your S.V. energy when you blew to fan the flames. Since you were playing with fire, Tubs suspected you had it and he knows that fire is a dangerous new ability and best taught by someone with experience. You know, when I first saw you, kid, I thought they were making way more of it than was needed. You were hanging out with your friends. Giving your sister a hard time. Taking out the trash like a good son, but there was nothing about you that struck me as special. Or even super for that matter. But then you did something that changed my mind completely.”

Jeff sat up straight in his chair then slouched back down again. He felt very conflicted hearing that Pyro had been shadowing him for so long and he hadn’t even known it. “What? What did I do?”

“You blew out a match.”

Jeff frowned. “How could blowing fire out prove I have fire in me?”

“It didn’t. You have fire in your hands, just like I do.” Pyro raised her right hand, palm up. Her fingertips were already swollen and throbbing. A spark emitted from each finger and flowed together in the center of her palm. A marble sized ball of fire ebbed and crackled in the middle of her hand. She studied it. “When you learn control, you’ll be able to start fires whenever you want. But what is unique about you, is you will also be able to douse them.”

Pyro held the fireball in front of Jeff. “Blow.”

Jeff shrugged and blew on the fire as if extinguishing birthday candles. A thin frost doused the flame and coated Pyro’s hand. Jeff blinked, thinking he was seeing things. He scraped a finger through the frost on her palm and touched it to his tongue. Cold and wet.
Pyro wiped her hand on her pants leg. “Fire and ice. I can’t even begin to imagine how you do that. But, Jeff, I can tell you no one has ever had opposing elements. Ever.”

Reviews:

I found myself falling in love with all the characters in the book. I loved the different abilities each one of them have. Kai did an outstanding job writing this book. I could not put it down. It is filled with lots of action and even some romance. Everything you want in a book. Victoria for Page Turners Blog

Can't wait for the sequel! – Christopher White for Amazon

About the author:

When her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died. The end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers and short stories for the younger ones, Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults. Learn more about Kai and her books on her website, www.kaistrand.com.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

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44. Monday Mishmash 9/15/14


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Scholastic Book Fair  I'm helping out with the Scholastic Book Fair at my daughter's school this week. That's always dangerous because I can't be around books and not spend a lot of money.
  2. Kiss of Death  I have a FREE Touch of Death prequel novella from Alex's POV. It's no secret I love Alex, so I had to tell his story. It's been in my head since I wrote Touch of Death. Check out the cover below, and download it FREE here.
  3. Into the Fire Challenge  Have you seen my #IntotheFire Challenge? If you review the book on Amazon before October 10, you'll be entered to win an awesome prize. You could become a phoenix in the Birth of the Phoenix series and get signed copies of all the books! Check out my video about the challenge here.
  4. FREE!  In celebration of the releases of Perfect For You and Into the Fire, I'm making Campus Crush permanently FREE. It's already free on Nook and I'm trying to get Amazon to price match. Hopefully soon.
  5. Milayna Cover Reveal  Michelle Pickett has a cover reveal today. Milayna releases March 17 through Clean Teen Publishing. Check it out. 
    It’s hard being good all the time. Everyone needs to be bad once in a while. But for seventeen-year-old Milayna, being good isn’t a choice. It’s a job requirement. And it’s a job she can’t quit. Born a demi-angel, Milayna steps in when danger and demons threaten the people around her, but being half angel isn’t all halos and happiness. Azazel, Hell’s demon, wants Milayna’s power and he’ll do anything to get it. But he only has until her eighteenth birthday, after which she becomes untouchable.

    With the help of other demi-angels, Milayna thwarts the trouble Azazel sends her way. Fighting by her side is Chay. He’s a demi-angel who’s sinfully gorgeous, and Milayna falls hard. But is Chay her true love… or her nemesis in disguise?

    When she learns of a traitor in her group, there’s no one she can trust… not even the one she loves.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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45. Friday Feature: Who R U Really? Book Birthday & Elixir Bound Sale and Giveaway


It’s a BOOKBirthday!
The birth of a debut book is often a long labor of love, and Margo Kelly’s Who R U Really? is no exception. Margo finished the first draft of the manuscript in 2010! More than four years later, more than four title changes, and way-more-than four revisions … it has finally arrived! WAHOO!

*.-*.-**throws confetti**.-*.-*
When Thea discovers a new role-playing game online, she breaks her parents’ rules to play. And in the world of the game, Thea falls for an older boy named Kit whose smarts and savvy can’t defeat his near-suicidal despair. Soon, he’s texting her, asking her to meet him, and talking in vague ways about how they can be together forever. As much as she suspects that this is wrong, Thea is powerless to resist Kit’s allure, and hurtles toward the very fate her parents feared most. Who R U Really? will excite you and scare you, as Thea’s life spins out of control.

“Kelly has painted a realistic picture of how a smart girl can get caught up in something dangerous online. … Guaranteed to give readers goosebumps.” -- School Library Journal.  (http://www.bookverdict.com)

“Thea’s mistakes, while frustrating to encounter, are frighteningly plausible, and the relationships among characters are well–fleshed out, especially between mother and daughter. Kelly’s first novel is a suspenseful page-turner.” -- Kirkus Reviews (www.kirkusreviews.com)

Who R U Really? published in hardcover and e-book versions by Merit Press (F+W Media) on September 18, 2014.

Buy online:

You can also enter for a chance to win a copy in the Goodreads giveaway here.

*.-*.-**throws confetti**.-*.-*

Margo Kellyis a native of the Northwest and currently resides in Idaho. A veteran public speaker, she is now actively pursuing her love of writing. Who R U Really? is her first novel. Margowelcomes the opportunities to speak to youth groups, library groups, and book clubs.

Follow her online:
Twitter: @MargoWKelly

Scheduled Appearances:
September 26, 2014 – 5pm – Book Signing at Hastings in Meridian, Idaho
September 27, 2014 – 4pm – Book Signing at Hastings on Overland in Boise, Idaho
October 3, 2014 – 7pm – Book Launch Party at Hyde Park Books in Boise, Idaho
October 11, 2014 – 4pm – Book Signing at Barnes & Noble in Boise, Idaho



That's not all! 



My fellow writer friend, Katie Carroll's YA fantasy, Elixir Bound, is on sale (ebook version) for only $.99 until September 27th. And there's a giveaway on Goodreads for a signed paper back. First, here's her book:




Katora Kase is next in line to take over as guardian to a secret and powerful healing Elixir. Now she must journey into the wilds of Faway Forest to find the ingredient that gives the Elixir its potency. Even though she has her sister and brother, an old family friend, and the handsome son of a mapmaker as companions, she feels alone.

It is her decision alone whether or not to bind herself to the Elixir to serve and protect it until it chooses a new guardian. The forest hosts many dangers, including wicked beings that will stop at nothing to gain power, but the biggest danger Katora may face is whether or not to open up her heart to love.




Ebook on sale for $.99 until September 27:

Prefer paperback? Enter the Goodreads giveaway here.

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46. Question of the Week: Do You Listen to Music While You Read?

Hey everyone! Clara Kensie here. A few times a month at Adventures in YA Publishing, I post a question for you and the Adventures in YA team to answer. The questions cover all topics important to writers and book lovers: craft, career, reading, books, and more. Join the discussion!

Question of the Week:

Do you listen to music while you read?

photo credit: Xanetia via photopin cc

Katharyn Sinelli: Hmmm. I don’t think the theme song to Team Umizoomi counts as a playlist per se. I usually read whenever I have a moment. If I’m really into a book, that can be when I’m waiting for my food at the deli. Most often these days I’m reading late at night in bed so it’s pretty quiet.

Lisa Green: Oooh. I don’t purposely listen to anything while I read because I will be totally sucked into the story and tune out everything else. On the flip side, though, nothing bothers me when it comes to my surroundings when I read. It’s all about the book, baby! Kind of odd when I think about how much I like playlists when it comes to writing.

Alyssa Hamilton: I don't listen to music or anything at all but I can easily do it. I find that because I'm reading in every spare second I have, I've learned to be able to still be aware of my surroundings and follow along with things even if I'm absorbed in my book.

Martina Boone: I can’t listen to anything with lyrics when I read any more than I can when I write. The words conflict. But I do love listening to instrumentals, as long as the music is soft. The problem is that I can’t predict where someone else’s book is going to go the way I can with my own book, so if the mood of the music is too different from the emotional tone of the book, I end up getting irritated and it effects my enjoyment of what I’m reading. As a result, I usually don’t listen to music when I’m reading either. Sad, right?

Clara Kensie: I love the coziness of reading on a rainy day, so sometimes I’ll fake that mood by reading to a thunderstorm playlist on Spotify. Also, pumping music directly into my ears helps me block out distractions, especially when I’m trying to read in a hectic or loud environment, such as my kids’ sports practices and play rehearsals. I’ve bookmarked a few reading playlists on Spotify that I like to listen to, and I've even made my own reading playlist for Spotify. It has 24 songs and it’s 97 minutes long. Here’s the link if you’re interested: https://play.spotify.com/user/clarakensie/playlist/7coLUz190zzTR8lKrSpsoE


WHAT ABOUT YOU? Does reading to music distract you, or do you like to listen to music while you read? Or maybe you listen to thunderstorm or white noise apps? If you’ve made your own reading playlist, tell us the songs you have on it!


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47. Monday Mishmash 9/22/14


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Murderer on the Loose  The biggest thing on my mind is Eric Frein, a 31-year-old man who shot and killed a police officer in my area. He critically wounded another officer, and now, Frein is armed, dangerous, and hiding somewhere in the woods. I'm scared. I wish they'd catch him soon. It's frightening that Frein is evading 200 police officers searching for him. I don't feel safe in my own home.
  2. Campus Crush is now FREE!  To celebrate the releases of Into the Fire and Perfect For You, I've decided to make Campus Crush permanently free. You can get your free copy on Kindle or Nook.
  3. Into the Fire and Perfect For You Reviews  So far, I've been blown away by the reviews for both of these books. Seriously, some have made me cry because people are relating so much to my characters and the emotions in these books. I couldn't be a happier author right now.
  4. #IntotheFireChallenge  The Into the Fire Challenge is still going on. You have until October 10th to get your review of Into the Fire posted on Amazon and be entered for your chance to appear as a phoenix in the third book in the trilogy. You can also win signed copies of all three books in the series. Go enter now!
  5. YA Scavenger Hunt  I'm happy to announce I'll be participating in the fall YA Scavenger Hunt going on October 2-October 5. I'll be part of the Green Team with my Ashelyn Drake title Into the Fire. I'm so excited!
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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48. Celebrating Banned Books

I’ve never been a fan of people telling me what to do. I’m open to book suggestions, but when people tell me NOT to read something, I’m probably much more likely to pick that book up. Which is why I love Banned Books Week. I read my son his first banned book when he was […]

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49. Panic Book Review

Title: Panic Author: Lauren Oliver Publisher: HaperCollins Publication Date: March 4, 2014 ISBN-13: 978-0062014559 416 pp. ARC provided by publisher Panic by Lauren Oliver is a YA contemporary about a group of teens in a high-stakes game of dares. They live in a crappy town and the money that seniors are forced to pony up throughout the school year goes to the winner of Panic. Because,

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50. A Path Appears

Kristoff hi-res jacket frontToday’s blog post is an excerpt from A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity, the latest book from New York Times’ columnist and best-selling authors Nick Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

In A Path Appears, which was released yesterday by Random House, Nick and Sheryl highlight “some of today’s most successful local and global initiatives to fight inequality.”  The book “makes clear how typical citizens can drive the momentum of worthy solutions to our world’s most pressing social problems.”

We are honored that Kyle Zimmer, First Book president, CEO and co-founder, is one of many social entrepreneurs featured in the book:

“While visiting the homes of those children, she noticed that there were few if any books. When she gave some children books, they would confide: This is my first book. That gave her the idea to found First Book, a nonprofit to deliver books to children living in poverty and then encourage them to read. She started the endeavor with two colleagues originally as a hobby organization, but it turned out to be impossibly tough to hire a good manager for it: “We had about $1.30 in our bank account.” So she quit her corporate law job in 1995 and took on the role of chief executive…

There were plenty of missteps. When First Book started asking [publishers] for book donations, Zimmer arranged for a few trucks to pick them up. “I was sitting here thinking I knew what I was doing, and I started rounds of calls to get books donated,” said Zimmer. “The publishers were wonderfully generous, and the fire hose of books for turned on.” First Book soon was scrambling for pickups, larger trucks – any form of transport. When one employee found a distributor willing to transport the books, Zimmer was delighted. But they had some explaining to do when a truck with a beer company logo pulled up in front of the schools to unload boxes of books…

First Book now distributes books to church groups, libraries in low-income neighborhoods, Head Start programs, homeless shelters, youth outreach center, and pediatrician’s officers through Reach Out and Read. After twenty years – and significant transformation – First Book has distributed some 115 million books to 90,000 organizations.* In 2013, First Book accounted for 2 percent of the children’s books distributed in the United States. Not bad for a nonprofit.

*Since A Path Appears went to press, First Book has continued to grow and expand. To date, we have distributed 120 million new books to a network of 140,000 schools and programs.

Excerpted from A Path Appears by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Copyright © 2014 by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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