Here’s a little holiday jam to get you in the mood for next week’s Turkey Marathon.Add a Comment
National Adoption Day this November 22 and National Adoption Month this November afford a time to share experiences and reflect on families. Whether you have students who have been adopted or are part of a family considering adopting a child into your home, all children can benefit from learning about adoption. Children are very curious about each other’s families, quick to categorize into groups, and intent to define what makes a family, well, a family.
Picture books provide a medium to discuss, celebrate, and learn about adoption and exploring the definition of “family.”
Discussion Questions during and after reading:
Further reading about adoption:
Jill Eisenberg, our Senior Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators.
May Contain Spoilers
Kicking off the holiday reading season, I picked up Can’t Wait by Jennifer Ryan because I liked the cover and because it has one of my favorite tropes. I can’t get enough stories with the heroine falling for her brother’s best friend. The setting didn’t hurt either; all of the action takes place on a ranch in Montana. While Montana would not be my first choice if I were to ever relocate (the winters last forever!), the whole ranch thing is so appealing to me that it makes me giddy. Working with and around horses all day long seems so much better than herding IT professionals on a daily basis.
Summer has fallen so hard for her brother’s best friend that she’s had to move out of the main house and into the smaller cabin on the ranch by herself because being so close to him is driving her crazy. The flirting and longing looks she casts in Caleb’s direction should be clear for everyone to see. Everyone but Caleb, it seems. He’s not taking the bait, no matter how hard she casts her lures. She’s at her wits end and decides to take a different route; to heck with the subtle approach, she’s going to let him know exactly how she feels.
Caleb is far from indifferent to Summer, but because he owes so much to Jack, he can’t go after his best friend’s sister. Jack kept him sane and alive during his stint in the military, and now Caleb is helping Jack run his ranch. He has too much to lose if things don’t work out with Summer, but the temptation is driving him to distraction. But being a man of honor, he can’t allow himself to show his interest in her.
I really liked Summer because she is a woman who knows what she wants, and she’s not afraid to go after it. She knows that they would be good together, if Caleb would only give her a chance. Summer isn’t just working against Caleb’s sense of honor, she’s also battling his PTSD. Both Caleb and Jack saw and did terrible things while overseas, and they are both haunted by the experience. Caleb’s distress is so severe he can’t sleep at night, but once he opens his feelings to Summer, she gives him a sense of peace he had been lacking. She becomes his anchor, something that he desperately needed.
The story takes place in the run up to Christmas, and Summer’s holiday traditions are seamlessly incorporated into the action. Who wouldn’t want to go on a snowy trail ride in search of the perfect Christmas tree? The snowball fight I could have lived without, but only because of my aversion to being cold and wet. I was definitely in the holiday mood by the time I finished reading Can’t Wait.
Review copy provided by publisher
Originally appeared in the e-book anthology All I Want for Christmas Is a Cowboy.
Jennifer Ryan, author of the New York Times bestselling The Hunted Series and the upcoming Montana Men Series, takes us to the very beginning in this Christmas prequel about two people who finally receive the one thing they’ve always wanted … each other.
Though she is the woman of his dreams, Caleb Bowden knows his best friend’s sister, Summer Turner, is off-limits. He won’t cross that line. Summer shares a connection with Caleb she’s never felt with anyone else, but the stubborn man refuses to turn their flirtatious friendship into something more. Summer will have to take matters into her own hands if she wants her cowboy for Christmas.Add a Comment
The weeks of drinking gallons of Ovaltine, in order to get…
the Ovaltine inner seal to send off for my Little Orphan Annie…
secret decoder pen, was about to pay off.
Remember, kids, only members of…
Annie’s secret circle can decode Annie’s secret message.
Remember, Annie is depending on you.
Set your pins to B-2.
Here is the message.
12. 11. 2…
I am in my first secret meeting.
…25. 14. 11. 18.
Pierre was in great voice tonight.
I could tell that tonight’s message was really important.
That’s a message from Annie herself. Remember, don’t tell anyone.
Ninety seconds later I’m in the only room in the house…
where a boy of nine can sit in privacy and decode.
Ah! “B.” I went to the next.
“E.” The first word is “be”!
“S.” It was coming easier now. “U.”
“Be sure to.” Be sure to what?
What was Little Orphan Annie trying to say? Be sure to what?
I was getting closer now.
The tension was terrible. What was it?
The fate of the planet may hang in the balance.
Almost there! My fingers flew.
My mind was a steel trap.
Every pore vibrated.
It was almost clear.
A crummy commercial?
Jennifer Ryan stopped by the virtual offices to share her heroine Summer’s favorite holiday traditions. I’ll have a review of Can’t Wait tomorrow, so please check back.
Summer’s Favorite Holiday Traditions by Jennifer Ryan
Summer is very close to her family. Especially to her twin brothers Jack and Sam. This Christmas she’s trying to hold on to the traditions from her past since her parents have left the family ranch to travel, Sam is working non-stop for the FBI, and Jack is suffering from PTSD, which has turned him into the Grinch since he returned from Iraq. To top it all off, Caleb, her brother’s best friend and the man of her dreams is leaving for Montana, never to return. A last ditch effort to avoid acknowledging his feelings for her.
Summer is determined to get Jack and Caleb out of their funk and into the holiday spirit. Jack’s not in the mood, but he’ll go along if Summer promises to make their mother’s special chocolate chip and almond cookies. His favorite.
Summer’s favorite tradition, every year after the first snow, they ride on horseback and find the perfect tree for the living room. Inevitably, her brothers are the ones to start the snowball fight, pummeling her. Not this year. She ambushes Jack and Caleb. It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Summer slips on some ice and falls from a mound of boulders. She’s okay, but Caleb can’t help letting his true feelings show.
There’s something nostalgic about decorating the tree. So many memories tied to the special ornaments that have been collected over the years, like the ones you made when you were young. That dough candy cane you made in first grade and painted yourself has somehow survived. It gives you a sense of accomplishment even now when you laugh at it’s odd shape and terrible paint job. Those special memories have a way of softening the most hardened heart.
Sharing those special memories with Jack brings a rare smile to his face and makes the bond between them seem less tenuous as their lives have grown apart. It’s a way for them to connect back to the way things used to be when they were young. Sometimes going through the motions helps you to remember all the important things about family and holding onto the ones you love. Traditions are the glue that hold us together.
Trimming the tree, hanging the stockings, backing cookies with my kids are some of the traditions that remind me of Christmases past when I was a child and did the same with my parents and brothers. I used to love to go to my grandmother’s house each year to bake cookies and make the holiday candies everyone in the family loved. Now, there’s one thing I have to make each Christmas with my kids…
Raspberry Jam Shortbread Cookies (I triple this recipe)
½ Cup Butter (room temperature)
¼ cup Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 ¼ cup all-purpose Flour
¼ cup Raspberry Jam (my kids like the seedless kind)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer. Stir in flour, then beat with electric mixer until dough comes together. (It usually looks like dough crumbles. Use your hands to press dough into a large ball.)
Divide dough into thirds. On a floured surface, roll out each portion into a 1 inch thick rope about 8 inches long. Place ropes 3 inches apart on a buttered baking sheet. Press your finger into the dough to make ½ inch indentations at 1 inch intervals. Fill the indentations with a small dollop of raspberry jam.
Bake until edges are lightly browned, about 12-15 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet. Dust each rope with powder sugar. Cut each rope diagonally into individual slices.
(You can substitute the powder sugar and drizzle either melted milk, dark, or white chocolate over the ropes before cutting. Yum!)
What is your favorite must have holiday treat? Include the recipe if you’d like to share.
Hunted Series Prequel
By: Jennifer Ryan
Releasing November 11th, 2014
From the All I Want for Christmas is a Cowboy Anthology comes Jennifer Ryan’s story of Caleb and Summer. Before the Hunted series they had a whirlwind romance not to be forgotten…
Caleb Bowden has a lot to thank his best friend, Jack, for – saving his life in Iraq and giving him a job helping him run his family’s ranch. He also introduced him to the most incredible woman he’s ever met. Too bad he can’t ask her out. You do not date your best friend’s sister. Summer and Caleb share a closeness she’s never felt for anyone, but the stubborn man refuses to turn the flirtatious friendship into something meaningful. Frustrated and tired of wishing to be happy, Caleb tells Jack how he feels about Summer. With his friend’s help, he plans a surprise Christmas proposal she’ll never forget – because he can’t wait to make her his wife.
Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/10/cant-wait-by-jennifer-ryan.html
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22552581-can-t-wait?ac=1
Jennifer Ryan is the New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of The Hunted Series and The McBrides Series. She writes romantic suspense and contemporary small-town romances featuring strong men and equally resilient women. Her stories are filled with love, family, friendship, and the happily-ever-after we all hope to find.
Jennifer lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children. When she isn’t writing a book, she’s reading one. Her obsession with both is often revealed in the state of her home and in how late dinner is to the table. When she finally leaves those fictional worlds, you’ll find her in the garden, playing in the dirt and daydreaming about people who live only in her head, until she puts them on paper.
Lost in the rhythmic stroke of the brush over the horse in front of him, he didn’t hear her come up behind him.
“Caleb.” Her tentative voice made his heart ache. It shouldn’t be like this. Not between friends.
Braced to face her, he held back a gasp, seeing her beautiful face framed in her golden hair. Sometimes, the woman took his breath away. Her blue eyes held a touch of sadness. She looked lovely in tight blue jeans and a red sweater beneath a brown leather vest lined in thick shearling.
“Jack told me you’re leaving. Going home to Montana and your family.”
He dropped the brush on a nearby shelf and took the few steps to stand in front of her. He owed her that much, to face her eye-to-eye when he said good-bye. He hoped she knew how much it broke his heart to leave her.
“I meant to tell you myself. I need time to figure out what I want to do.”
“Time to heal, too. How long’s it been since you slept a whole night?”
“That’s what Jack says. You both need … well, neither of you cares what I think you need.”
“That’s not true.”
“Then why are you leaving?”
“Because it’s best.”
Caleb tucked his hands behind his back and bowed his head, unable to answer. Nothing he said would make sense, because leaving her didn’t make sense. Not when he wanted to be with her, and she wanted to be with him.
Summer sighed out her frustration and hurt. She rubbed one hand over the box in her hand and touched her fingers to the sparkling red bow. “This is for you.”
“Your Christmas present. Since you won’t be here, I thought you’d like it now.”
“I’m not leaving for a couple of days.” He shouldn’t keep putting it off. He made one excuse after another to delay the drive to Montana. Why? He’d made up his mind to go. He should leave. Now. Before this got any more complicated and difficult.
Who was he kidding? Leaving her was impossibly hard.
“Did you wrap this yourself?”
“Just for you.”
“It’s a pretty package. I hate to mess it up.”
“You don’t have to. Just lift off the lid. I’ll hold the bottom.”
The excitement built in his gut. He didn’t know what she’d bought him, he didn’t care. He’d have something to take home with him to remind him of her.
He pulled the lid free and set it aside at his feet. Tissue paper concealed the gift inside, so he pulled the loose paper away and took a step back, surprised and floored by the gift she’d picked out for him.
“Summer, that’s …”
“To remind you of who you really are. Who you were when you left for the war and who you are now. A cowboy.” She pulled the dark brown Stetson from the tissue paper and dropped the box on the floor. She closed the short distance between them and set the hat on his head. “Perfect fit, Montana Man. Matches your eyes,” she said, her voice husky with emotion.
Rafflecopter Giveaway (Digital Set of The Hunted Series, Books 1 – 4)
The post Guest Post and Giveaway: Jennifer Ryan, Author of Can’t Wait appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.Add a Comment
The International Diabetes Foundation has marked 14 November as World Diabetes Day, commemorating the date that Frederick Banting and his team first discovered insulin, and the link between it and diabetic symptoms.
As we approach the festive season, a time of year when indulgence and comfort are positively encouraged, keeping track of, or even thinking about blood glucose levels can become a difficult and annoying task. If good diabetic practice relies on building routines suited to the way your blood sugar levels change throughout the day, then the holidays can prove a big disruption to the task of keeping diabetes firmly in the background. With this in mind, take a look at this list of tips, facts, and advice taken from Diabetes by David Matthews, Niki Meston, Pam Dyson, Jenny Shaw, Laurie King, and Aparna Pal to help you stay in control and happy throughout the festive months:
Heading image: Christmas Eve by Carl Larsson. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
The post On World Diabetes Day, a guide to managing diabetes during the holidays appeared first on OUPblog.
Only I didn’t say “Fudge.” I said THE word, the big one, the queen-mother of dirty words, the “F-dash-dash-dash” word!
*What* did you say?
That’s… what I thought you said. Get in the car. Go on!
It was all over – I was dead. What would it be? The guillotine? Hanging? The chair? The rack? The Chinese water torture? Hmmph. Mere child’s play compared to what surely awaited me.
Over the years I got to be quite a connoisseur of soap. My personal preference was for Lux, but I found Palmolive had a nice, piquant after-dinner flavor – heady, but with just a touch of mellow smoothness.
Life Buoy, on the other hand…
This photo was posted on Marvel.com in a piece commemorating Veteran’s Day.
Obviously there is no one in comics more suitable for this kind of salute than Kirby who would tell his war stories to all.
The piece includes family photos and remembrances from Kirby’s son Neal of his dad’s wartime exploits:
Kirby took part in the crossing of the Moselle River at Dornot on September 8, 1944. Paddling themselves across the river in tiny assault boats while under fire from German troops on the other side, the battalion established a small beachhead where they were met by the 37th SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment. Holding a thin line in the woods, the men of the 2nd Battalion held for days. Neal Kirby remembers one harrowing story, when a tank was charging down on his father’s foxhole. Sure to be run over by the massive tank, “the guy next to him stood up and just fired a round right through the drivers slit and the tank stops dead. It’s one of those one in a billion shots,” that saved Jack Kirby and others.
You may recall that Marvel and Kirby’s heirs recently reached a settlement over the matter of Kirby’s massive input in creating the Marvel Universe that is currently worth billions and billions of dollars. I suspected that we would see a suddens surge in crediting Kirby and not only do comics now have his name as co-creator, he has a credit on Agents of SHIELD, and now a salute on Marvel.com. You can’t get too much Jack Kirby and I hope this is just the beginning.
And here’s to you Jack and every one of the men and women who have served our nation.
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Aaah! Fra-GEE-leh!” It must be Italian!
Uh, I think that says FRAGILE, honey.
Huh? Oh, yeah.Add a Comment
Scut Farkus! What a rotten name!
We were trapped. There he stood, between us and the alley.
Scut Farkus staring out at us with his yellow eyes. He had yellow eyes! So, help me, God! Yellow eyes!
The post Spotlight and Giveaway: Ghost of Christmas Past by Jessica Aspen appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.Add a Comment
We’ve been engaged in a rewatching of The X-Files here at Stately Beat Manor for the last few months and wow, does it hold up. Not only does it hold up, but it totally points the way forward to today’s golden age of television with superior acting, writing and production that strove to look different and not homogeneous. As great as a show like The Rockford Files or Cheers was, they were based on a template of how a TV show should act and move. The X-Files made its own template and changed the way everything would be done afterwards. Although Twin Peaks may have been the first show that truly broke the mold, it was also a victim of its own success. Chris Carter—and his crew of future show runners including Vince Gilligan—was able to stand out while keeping an audience on the always panicky fledgling Fox Network.
Aside from a few shoulder pads here and there and the lack of cel phones, The X-Files is as fresh and immediate as the day it aired. Many of the real life dangers it wove into conspiracies are just as threatening now; many of the mysteries just as unsolved. The writing is brilliant (okay we’re only up to season three) and the characters of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are new archetypes of the internet world to come. Dialed in, sometimes detached by the sheer flood of information, armed with information along with a gun.
The X-Files grew up with the internet, with rabid fan groups on usenet, and the birth of serious “shipping” that not only matched the obvious ones—Scully and Mudler— but alternates like Krycek and Mulder. The Lone Gunmen—three oddballs who knew how to surf on UNIX— were the first internet nerds, and the show adopted as its signature color the acid green of the flashing cursors of the first home computer screen.
As for Scully and Mulder, while it was obvious that someday they would hook up, they also stood for the most egalitarian duo in pop culture since…The African Queen? Each with quirks and backstory, Mulder revelled in his weirdness and Scully, instead of running away from her giant trenchcoat and perfect red lipstick, made it the sign of a competent, inquisitive FBI agent who could take care of herself and those around her in scores of crazy situations.
The X-Files is truly in the Halloween and the TV hall of fame.Display Comments Add a Comment
As they did last year, the Study Group cartoonist have rolled out a whole week of seasonal comics including:
…and many more. Enjoy!Add a Comment
No one is better than Charles Burns, and his unnamed trilogy—X’ed Out, The Hive and the new Sugar Skull—may be an even greater achievement in horror than his masterful Black Hole. The horror is on the page—talking maggots, ruined faces, a grim grey land of cannibals and humanoid insects—but the true terror is the most fearful thing of all: learning to love and understand another human being.
Tim Hodler interviews Burns at the Comics Journal in a piece called “I’m Not on This Planet Forever”: that talks about the autobiographical roots of his work—although experienced first hand, Burn’s imagination transforms them into the universal.
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That particular character, that was a conversation with my girlfriend’s roommates. I just never heard — we knew a lot of bands and I just remember her saying like, “Huh, we could do a band, but everybody’s doing a band.” It was like, “Everyone’s doing that. I’m going to do something different.” So it really was from that. When I went to school, I studied fine arts. I didn’t go to comics school or learn graphics or anything like that. Anything useful.
But I really did have a chance to kind of explore a lot of different mediums. I did painting, and sculpture, and I did a lot of photography. That part comes out in the book a little bit — that aspect of being a photographer. I felt like I was able to kind of allow different things into my work. But also it did come down to me just liking the accessibility of comics and wanting to tell stories. I think early on I never really kind of settled down enough to tell real stories. There were little fragments of things, or a page of something, or it might be some kind of more visual narrative. But I hadn’t really sat down and worked through the whole storytelling part of it. Which is a hard thing. Something I had to teach myself.
Few comics are as suitable for Halloween reading as Robert Kirkman’s Outcast, which opens with a gruesome, intense demonic possession, and continues with an exploration of a great central character, Kyle Barnes, who has to deal with his own connection to possession and the demonic world. We all know Kirkman is a horror master, but Azaceta’s art on the book is sleek and controlled, aided by top notch colors.
The first collection of Outcast comes out in December.
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Halloween is here — and so are Halloween books! Here are some recent recommended titles for you to share (perhaps through All Hallow’s Read?) with your little goblins.
Baby Horn BOO! 2014: Halloween-y board books
Halloween-themed Notes from the Horn Book: 5Q for Julie Berry, eerie places, off-the-wall picture books, atmospheric audiobooks, and YA supernatural baddies
Click on the tag Halloween books for previous years’ recommendations.Add a Comment
The long running The Last Halloween is an engrossing tale about a girl and some monsters.
The Last Halloween is the story of Mona and her unusual friends, who must work together to defend humanity from countless horrific monstrosities! Perhaps they will succeed, and humanity will prevail as it always has. Or perhaps this will be… The Last Halloween
It’s all in the execution!
Howard came up with the idea after participating on Strip Search.Add a Comment
And so is Humanoids with a 25% sale off on Pandemonium, Loving Dead, I Am Legion, Sanctum, Dominion, Whispers in the Walls, Crusades, Zombies That Ate The World (Book 1 and 2) both digital and physical. Just enter the word Halloween at check out. Runs through tomorrow and again some great books there.Add a Comment
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Alex Schubert’s Blobby Boys go on a rampage of referencing Ben Jones and Charles Burns in this episode. And check out the rest of Vice’s comics—many Halloween themed ones this week!
F YEAH!!!!!! If there is one Halloween tradition in comics that must be kept is a new digital comic by Emily Caroll! Her previous uses of the digital palette to create horror has made her one of the few true autuers of “future comics”—and the print iteration, Through the Woods is one of the best graphic novels of the year. Her previous horror comics like His Face All Red, Margot’s Room, Out of Skin and The Hole the Fox Did Make are all classics of terror and digital storytelling.
And here she is this year with When The Darkness Presses, which …..Oh I’m not going to say a word. JUST CLICK IT. When I saw she had a new horror comic out I just about yelled for joy. And that was before I even opened the door. Drop whatever you are doing and do the same.
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David Hine’s Strange Embrace has quietly become a classic horror comic. The eerie tale of a delivery whose weekly trip to a house full of dysfunctional shut ins reveals secret after secret and descends into madness, sexual obssession and death, it’s been published in various editions from Tundra, Image, Active Images and more since it first came out in 1993. And now you can get the ULTIMATE version of the story via Sequential, the graphic novel app for iPads. This version is in the original black and white (at one point it was colored and though it looked great B&W fits the mood better). It also includes an intro by Paul Gravett, back matter and even AN AUDIO COMMENTARY FOR EACH PAGE. YOU heard that right. Sequential is aiming to make the “criterion collection” of digital graphic novels and they are doing a fine job of it. Extras include:
Sequential is making 666 copies of the book available for free this Halloween. Just head over to the store and get ready to download. .Add a Comment
Art by Val Mayerik.
Valaint wanted me to remind you that The (mis)adventures of Quantum and Woody and Archer and Armstrong continue in THE DELINQUENTS #4(of 4) – in stores November 26th.Add a Comment
If there’s one person who loves Halloween and scary monsters more than us it’s artist Francesco Francavilla who has been running his own 31 Days of Horror event on his twitter feed with daily art and process posts. You can more or less follow along at the hashtag #fffear but here’s a sample:
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JO Applegate is an illustrator who has appeared in The Classical, ESPN Playbook, SI Extra Mustard, Buzzfeed Sports and Dime Magazine among others and he passed along some art he did for a Halloween art show:
Monster Meet Cute
Curse of the Lover’s Tree
BTW it’s not Halloween, but if you go to his site or Tumblr there’s some really neat stuff, much of it sports themed,. We especially liked the mock pulp paperback covers done for the Classical with a basketball draft theme.
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