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Results 1 - 25 of 292
1. If You Were Me and Lived in … Portugal: An Introduction to Learning About Other Cultures | Dedicated Review

Discover the western European country of Portugal with award-winning author and former social studies teacher Carole P. Roman.

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2. Learn About Sleepover at the World Cup in Brazil, by Geeta Raj

Geeta Raj brings an 11-year career in international development and humanitarian assistance to The Global Sleepover series, including over 8 years as a Senior Program Analyst with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

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3. A Soccer (or Football) Sleepover in Brazil: Sleepover at the World Cup in Brazil

A Soccer (or Football) Sleepover in Brazil is part of the Global Sleepover series of interactive storybooks that aim to introduce young readers to different countries and cultures.

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4. Babe Conquers the World

Babe Conquers the World: The Legendary Life of Babe Didrikson Zaharias  by Rich Wallace and Sandra Neil Wallace Calkins Creek (an imprint of Boyds Mill Press), 2014 ISBN: 9781590789810 Grades 4-12 The reviewer received a galley from the publisher. Most children probably don't realize there was a time when women weren't allowed to play professional sports or when society frowned upon women

0 Comments on Babe Conquers the World as of 6/30/2014 12:19:00 AM
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5. Portsong’s Tribute to the World Cup

Portsong will never host a World Cup. Our only stadium is open air, mowed by livestock, and has no bleachers.  It would take too long to mark Hargit’s Field and we simply aren’t prepared for the crush of humanity that such a tournament would bring. I’m not one of those Americans who hates soccer. I really have no problem with it and would be okay if it took hold. With all of the kids playing and international flavor in the U.S., it really is amazing that professional soccer can’t seem to get off the ground.Leon_Rugilo

So what’s the problem? Why does the average football or baseball fan have such a disregard for the sport? Some say it is too slow. Okay, I get that – we like things fast and instant. But nothing is slower than baseball. When you have the league itself changing rules to speed up the game, you know you are in the paint-drying business.

Last week, I watched a little bit of Ghana vs. Germany and think I stumbled on a few things.

First, what is the deal with the goaltender wearing a different uniform? What makes that guy special – either you are on the team or you’re not! If they do that so the ref can tell who gets to touch the ball with their hands, they need new refs. Can these guys not identify one guy quickly enough to call a handball? They usually wear Mickey Mouse gloves anyway, which kinda stand out. No, the refs aren’t the problem. There is clearly some socialistic motive behind the goalie’s garb.

Second, the flopping. It has become a big topic of conversation around here. I have never seen grown, athletic men act like such drama queens in all my days. It is crazy how when their shin gets touched, their arms fly up wildly before they flop, drop, and roll. Have you further noticed that each victim assumes the same paralyzed position holding their knee until they realize the call didn’t go their way? Then instantly, they pop back up and resume play at full speed as if a good, old-fashion faith healer has smacked them on the forehead and made them well. Hockey and Basketball have instituted rules to punish such behavior. Since they have yellow and red, maybe soccer could give a pink card for flopping.

Lastly, it’s the low scoring and the fact that a game can end in a tie. Nobody likes that. Ties are like whacking off the last five minutes of a movie and saying The End. Somebody has to win!

wcI’ve come to the rescue with a simple idea that kills all three objections. Here is what soccer should do. If a player flops, he has to stay face-down on the ground motionless like a kid playing freeze tag until the guy with the big gloves comes over and tags him. Think about that! Empty nets while the goalies run all over the field bringing players back to life means higher scores. Motionless players make for built-in impediments – therefore, more contact – which leads to additional flopping and more speed bumps. Soccer has just become a high-scoring, contact sport, with frozen men lying face down all over the field! Genius.

And if anyone shows up in a different uniform, they have to lay down in the center of the field and balance the ball on their lips as a tee for kick-off. That’ll teach him teamwork.

If I can get to someone with this idea, we’ll have a thirty team mega-league in the United States by 2016.

 

Photo credit: Leon Rugilo


Filed under: It Made Me Laugh

5 Comments on Portsong’s Tribute to the World Cup, last added: 6/24/2014
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6. Review: Midnight Play by Lisa Marie Perry

I jumped all over this book for two reasons; it features a quarterback hero, and it’s a release under Harlequin’s Kimani imprint.  I haven’t had the pleasure of reading anything under this imprint, and since I am a sucker for all things Harlequin, I started hopping up and down with my arm in the air, shouting, “Oh, pick me! Pick me to read this one!”

Right from the start, I felt a bit sorry for Danica.  She has expended so much effort to live up to everyone’s expectations of her, and all she’s gotten in return is grief.  Her ex-husband, a music producer, confessed to cheating on her, giving her self-esteem a serious dent.  While a bit of distance had grown between them over the past ten years, she still believed in their marriage and she still believed that they were meant to be life-mates.  Married at eighteen, her demanding parents heartily endorsed their union, so when the marriage fell apart, she was left confused, hurt, and wondering where she had failed.  Guys can be such jerks!

After firing Dex Harper, the quarterback of her parents’ football franchise, she’s furious when he goes over her head and requests a meeting with her parents.  As the GM of the team, he should have come to her and not jumped rank.  Fuming about his behavior, she and Dex get off to a contentious start.  He’s angry that he’s been sacked from the team, for reasons that are patently false, and she’s pissed that he won’t just go away.  I have to say that I liked this twist – Danica is in the power position here, and Dex is scrambling to get his job back and prove that he wasn’t on the take like the former owner of the team.

The chemistry between Dex and Danica is instantaneous, and it quickly burns out of control.  She can’t get him out of her head, and he can’t keep his hands off of her.  Too bad there’s that whole firing thing spoiling what would otherwise be a fantastic relationship.  As Danica gets to know Dex better, she sees the real man underneath all of the attitude and brazen behavior.  He’s got a rep as a complete bad boy, and Danica, the ultimate good girl, doesn’t trust him with her heart.  I enjoyed the tension between them, and wondered how they would ever get their happily ever after, especially since Danica was responsible for taking away the thing that Dex loved most.  If he couldn’t play football, he was adrift, and with his history and his reputation, other teams wouldn’t even glance his way.

Danica is gifted as a spin queen, so she offers to help Dex clean up his image so another team will take a chance on him.  I have to say the one plot thread that didn’t make sense to me was the whole firing Dex and then not taking him back when it’s proven that he had nothing to do with the corruption of the former team owner.  Accused of throwing games, he vehemently defended his innocence, and when his playing abilities are questioned, he blames other teammates who have been implicated in the corruption case.  The other players have been released, and no one has proven that Dex was on the take.  His replacement on the team is not cutting it; he’s playing with an injury and can’t play well under pressure, so it didn’t make much sense to me to can Dex, a proven player, for the new guy.

The story really took off for me when Danica started doing things for herself.  This caused a lot of friction between her and her mom, and I have to say – good!  Her mom could be cutting, selfish, and not supportive of  her daughters.  Used to getting her way, she bristles when Danica puts her foot down and pushes back.  Her parents constantly interfere in her life, demand total obedience, and it was so awesome when Danica finally said, “Hell, no!”  Good for you, girl!  Don’t let anyone push you around and dictate what’s going to make you happy!  I really did not like her power couple parents.

Midnight Play was a successful foray into an imprint I hadn’t sampled before, and I’ll have to keep an eye out for more in the future.  As for the Blue Dynasty, I didn’t have any trouble figuring what was going on, even having not read the first book in the series.  I’d like to read more about Danica’s sisters, if for no other reason than to see them give their mom a hard time!

 

 

MIDNIGHT PLAY

Love evens the score 

As general manager of the Las Vegas Slayers, Danica Blue goes toe-to-toe with players whose size is matched only by their egos. Quarterback Dex Harper is the biggest and toughest of them all, with a hell-raiser reputation that he insists he doesn’t deserve. And Danica, the good daughter who’s always played by the rules, is suddenly tempted to break every last one. 

Football is the only thing Dex has ever been able to count on. To save his career he needs Danica’s PR savvy, and he’s happy to help her discover her inner bad girl in return. But glimpsing the real woman behind that sexy, flawless facade is making him realize how much is at stake. Because getting back on the team could mean losing Danica, unless he’s willing to risk it all—and play for keeps….

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00I66GD5G/ref=s9_simh_gw_p351_d0_i4?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=0CCDZ7437VWK9DMJMXG6&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1688200382&pf_rd_i=507846

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/midnight-play-lisa-marie-perry/1118053061?ean=9780373863648

Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2014/03/now-booking-tasty-review-tour-for.html

Author Info

Lisa Marie Perry encounters difficult fictional men and women on a daily basis. She writes contemporary romance fiction with plenty of sizzle, energy and depth. Flawed, problematic, damaged characters are welcome. Her tales feature exciting multicultural mash-ups, sexy guy-next-door heroes and powerful larger-than-life alphas who are brought to their knees by the love of complicated women.

According to Lisa Marie, an imagination’s a terrible thing to ignore. So is a good cappuccino. After years of college, customer service gigs and a career in caregiving, she at last gave in to buying an espresso machine and writing to her imagination’s desire. She lives in America’s heartland and she has every intention of making the Colorado mountains her new stomping grounds. She drives a truck, enjoys indie rock, collects Medieval literature, watches too many comedies, has a not-so-secret love for lace and adores rugged men with a little bit of nerd.

Author Links

http://www.perrytalebooks.com/

https://twitter.com/PerryOrdinary

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7729201.Lisa_Marie_Perry

The post Review: Midnight Play by Lisa Marie Perry appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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7. The World Cup Reminds Me…the time I proved I had no coordination skills

The 2014 World Cup has begun!! Now here’s a fun fact, soccer was my first sport. Gosh how I loved it, I played for seven years and looked forward to every Saturday’s game (confession: the after-game snack a LOT too!) like nobody’s business. Why did I stop after seven years?? Enter exhibit A:
running sports cartoon
I sucked. Like I REALLY sucked. I can vividly remember scoring my first goal…mostly because it was my first and last. I don’t even have an excuse for one goal in seven years, like I played goalie or defense…nope, I was a forward and mid-fielder. Right where one with any iota of coordination would be set RIGHT up to score a goal.

Hey, at least I can own my suckiness. I know I can handle turning left and running in a straight line. So I stopped soccer when, totally honest here, the only team I could still make was the rec team. The qualifications for making the rec team is having your mom or dad write the $35 check to the community rec league. I was in junior high at the time, meaning my rec team would be all the 4th and 5th graders still too young for the Comp and Select teams.

That’s when my mommy-o suggested I try cross country. I thought it was a traveling team, “Cool!! I get to go touring around…I’ll bet I’ll find lots of fun new foods to try!” I though. Yea, even at that age it all comes back to foods and treats, right? I was in for a shock. No traveling done unless you run there. I got tripped pretty bad my first practice and later had to pick gravel out of scars I still have today.

i run. i'm hungry. cartoon

i run…do the math.


My first race I spent hovering over a bush for about 15 minutes certain I’d barf. I didn’t, but my dad still has a picture of me hovering over the bush. The thing is though, I kinda liked it. I sucked at anything with ‘real’ coordination skills but I kinda liked that I could grimace in pain and pass some girl up a hill. I would like to also mention I sucked at running too. That girl I passed up the hill, maybe was the only girl I passed. Like I was slow, but in my mind I didn’t fully grasp 1) how slow I was 2) how HORRENDOUS my form was!! Gosh, even my mom in later years admitted, “Yea, I’ll never forget trying not to laugh the first time your little club coach saw you run and remarked that you looked crazy.”

I owned my crazy then and I own it now though! ;) But hey, I stuck with this whole running thing. I do promise I kinda really hated it the first couple weeks, but I swear there was like this insane shift after you get past the ‘hump’ I call the hazing weeks. Basically once you become consistent enough to where your body and muscles don’t go into the shock of thinking, “Wait, she’s running…that must mean there’s a bear chasing her!!” resulting in unwalkable sorenesses the next day. Get past that and you’re golden. ;)

Look at running, turning into about my favorite thing to do. Shall we just be thankful that I actually DID have a little too much pride to out-age my rec teammates by four years? Best $35 my mommy-o didn’t have to spend. ;)
———-
My latest on RunBlogRun: Phoebe Wright Can’t Be Stopped! <--- this is actually one h*ll of an inspiring story and she's HILARIOUS!! Read the story then check her blog and twitter feed!!

Also on Want to Run in College? This is what it takes: Hakon DeVries of the University of Kentucky
———–

1) Are you a big soccer fan? Will you be unreachable and completely ignore any and all of your surroundings until the World Cup is over?

2) Were you good at other sports besides running?

3) Have you ever barfed after a race?
Hey, I hovered over that bush but nothing came up. Never have thrown up after a race or workout, that one time over the bush was the closest I’ve come.

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8. The World Cup Post

Brazil 2014 starts today, and I admit, I'm happier than a kid on Christmas morning or my middle schooler on the last day of school. In my house, we breathe, eat, drink, and dream futbol (I detest the word soccer, sorry). This is the one time my two passions merge. Books and sports are beautiful. Sports inspire my writing, and writing has always been the medium through which I express myself, like a sport. It's no wonder my first "real" novel had a futbol soccer star love interest, and this one I'm working on is about an Irish dancer. Some say dance is an art, others that dancers are God's athletes. I tell you, my Irish dancers practice up to eight hours a day during the summer. They're athletes in every sense of the word.

If you're new to the World Cup but want to know more about it, this short clip explains how it works.

And here's a link that will tell you all the schedules, TV listing, etc.

Now back to books. Alex Morgan, the US Women's National Team super star and my daughters' heroine, has a series out. It's cute and fun and it's about girls being strong and wonderful!

There's also Hope Solo's bio for young readers.  

There's even a Magic Tree House: Soccer on Sunday.

Do you know of any books I can add to this small list? Name them in the comments! I hope you have a wonderful World Cup month, whatever you do!

0 Comments on The World Cup Post as of 6/12/2014 4:24:00 PM
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9. Spotlight and Giveaway–Catching Cameron by Julie Brannagh

Catching Cameron

A Love and Football Novel #3

By: Julie Brannagh

Releasing May 6th, 2014

Blurb

Julie Brannagh’s sexy, charming Love and Football series continues …
Star sports reporter Cameron Ondine has one firm rule: she does not date football players. Ever. She tangled with one years ago, and it did not end well. Been there, done that.

But when Cameron comes face-to-face with the very man who shattered her heart—on camera, no less—her world is upended for a second time by recklessly handsome Seattle Shark Zach Anderson.

Zach has never been able to forget the gorgeous blonde who stole his breath away when he was still just a rookie. They’ve managed to give each other a wide berth for years, but when their jobs suddenly bring them together again and again, he knows he has to face his past once and for all.

Because as they spend more time together, he becomes less focused on the action on the field and more concerned with catching Cameron.

Excerpt

Zach devises a surprisingly romantic late-night date with some homemade brownies by candelight…

He leaned over the table toward her. Their candlelit table for two was an oasis in the dimness of the huge cafeteria, and her heart rate picked up a little. She could see the twinkling lights of boats bobbing around on the lake outside of the facility. It was surprisingly romantic for the most inexpensive date she’d been on in her life.

Date? Oh, no. Not a date. What was she thinking? He was still the guy who’d left her, and he didn’t even have the courtesy to tell her why.

He reached out and patted her hand with his much bigger and warmer one. “You and I seem to rub each other the wrong way.”

She was shaking her head before he even finished his sentence. “No, we don’t. That’s not true. I stopped thinking about you a long time ago—”

“That’s why you went after me like a pit bull on a porterhouse the last time we saw each other, huh?”

“You took my cab.”

“You took my cab.” The timer on his phone went off, and he let out a long sigh. “Let me go get the stuff, and I’ll be right back.”

A few minutes later, he returned to the table with two bowls full of freshly-baked brownies, laced with chocolate sauce, and the can of whipped cream tucked under one arm.

“I told you I shouldn’t be eating this,” Cameron said.

“Just a few bites.” He held the can of whipped cream over his forearm like a waiter displaying a rare bottle of wine. “Want some?”

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Catching-Cameron-Love-Football-Novel-ebook/dp/B00DB3AANA

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/catching-cameron-julie-brannagh/1116759070?ean=9780062279736

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/catching-cameron/id660528732?mt=11

Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2014/04/now-booking-tasty-virtual-tour-for_7043.html

Author Info

Julie Brannagh has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. She lives in a small town near Seattle, where she once served as a city council member and owned a yarn shop. She shares her home with a wonderful husband, two uncivilized Maine Coons and a rambunctious chocolate Lab.

Julie hasn’t quite achieved the goal of owning a pro football team, so she created a fictional one: The Seattle Sharks. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, or armchair-quarterbacking her favorite NFL team from the comfort of the family room couch. Julie is a Golden Heart finalist and the author of four contemporary sports romances.

Author Links

http://www.juliebrannagh.com/

https://www.facebook.com/JulieBrannagh

https://twitter.com/julieinduvall

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7127296.Julie_Brannagh

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Digital Set of Love and Football Series Books 1 & 2)

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The post Spotlight and Giveaway–Catching Cameron by Julie Brannagh appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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10. Sam sells

By Adam Grossman


It is rare for a seventh round National Football League (NFL) draft pick to be at the center of the sports world. Then again, Michael Sam is not an average draft pick. Sam is trying to become the first openly gay player to compete for a NFL team.

While it is not clear that Sam will make the St. Louis Rams’ final roster, what is certain is the impact that Sam has already had without playing a down in the NFL. Sam’s story and the conversation it has sparked on sexuality in the NFL has been well documented. What has received less attention is the economic impact Sam could have in helping the NFL reach out to an often non-targeted customer demographic.

Organizations should more heavily seek out lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) sports audiences as customers. Not only do LGBT demographics have estimated annual buying power of $790 billion, but they are often highly engaged sports fans who are looking to become more involved with leagues and teams. Yet, sports organizations rarely target LGBT audiences in effort to grow revenues. Even as leagues and teams increasingly target new demographics such as women, Latin, African American, and international audiences among other groups, LGBT fans often do not receive the same amount of attention.

Fans flock senior defensive end Michael Sam as he carries his souvenir (a rock from the rock 'M' at Memorial Stadium) after the win vs Texas A&M. 30 November 2013. Photo by Mark Schierbecker (Marcus Qwertyus). CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Fans flock senior defensive end Michael Sam as he carries his souvenir (a rock from the rock ‘M’ at Memorial Stadium) after the win vs Texas A&M, 30 November 2013. Photo by Mark Schierbecker (Marcus Qwertyus). CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Sam’s jersey sales are one example of why this could be a mistake. As Outsports’ Cyd Zeigler first reported, Sam’s jerseys sales were the second highest among the NFL’s most recent draft class. His jersey has outsold number one overall pick Jadeveon Clowney and number three pick Blake Bortles, the first quarterback taken in the draft. Only Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel has more jersey sales than Sam.

Sam’s jersey success is similar to that of NBA Brooklyn Nets center Jason Collins. When he announced he was gay after completing his season playing for the Washington Wizards, Collins jersey became the highest selling jersey for the team. In addition, thousands of orders were placed for Collins jersey when he signed his first 10-day contract with the Nets.

We recognize that not every jersey sale for Sam and Collins was purchased by an LGBT audience member nor is it required to have an openly gay player to target these fans. Yet, Sam and Collins show there is an appetite for products marketed to and by LGBT audiences. For example, sports sponsors have already made significant efforts to pursue the LGBT demographic. During the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Chevrolet produced two commercials featuring gay couples. In addition, Nike has launched the Be True Campaign with products, advertising, and events specifically targeting LGBT demographics throughout the United States.

To the credit many sports organization across the world, there have been significant efforts to encourage equality and tolerance for LGBT athletes, fans, media, and sponsors. The NHL’s combined efforts with the You Can Play Project are a particularly notable example of how sports leagues are trying to take a leadership role in ending homophobia with internal and external audiences.

However, Sam and others demonstrate that sports organizations now have an opportunity to include LGBT audiences as their customers. By targeting LGBT fans, media, sponsors, and supporters now, sports organizations can grow their customer base and gain a competitive advantage.

Adam Grossman is the Founder and President of Block Six Analytics (B6A). He has worked with a number of sports organizations, including the Minnesota Timberwolves, Washington Capitals, and SMG @ Solider Field, to enhance their corporate sponsorship and enterprise marketing capabilities. He is the co-author of The Sports Strategist: Developing Leaders for a High-Performance Industry with Irving Rein and Ben Shields.

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11. Common Core IRL: Baseball Edition

It's time for another installment of Common Core: IRL  (In Real Libraries), and we've turned our attention to baseball.  Our goal in writing this series is to shed light on quality books for children that educators can use in the classroom to help address the standards. The books reviewed on the four blogs feature books about baseball that increase in text complexity. Visit all of the blogs to

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12. Spotlight and Giveaway–RUSH by Nyrae Dawn

This morning I have a spotlight and giveaway for Nyrae Dawn’s RUSH.  Can you say hot football players and hot romance??

A la Twitter style, can you describe your book (or series) in 140 characters or less.   A love story about two men who want nothing more than to love each other, and to figure out, and be okay with who they are.

Which of your characters has been the most fun to write so far?  This is a really hard one for me because I really love both of these boys. They’re both very special to me. I don’t know that Brandon was more fun to write than Alec, but I do feel a special closeness to Brandon and has struggle.

What is a common misconception about male/male or any LGBT romance? That it’s somehow different than other romance novels. Love is love, it doesn’t matter the gender, so while certain specifics may change, at the base they’re the same—love stories.

RUSH by Nyrae Dawn (May 6, 2014; Forever Yours Digital Original; $4.99)

Brandon Chase has always defined himself by one thing: football. Tough and athletic, he is a great college player who enjoys the hard hits and the sweaty grind of the gridiron. But when Brandon is injured, only one person can help him get back on track-a forbidden love he’s desperately tried to put behind him.
Alec Andrews has never quite forgiven Brandon for walking away when their friendship turned into something more. But he can’t deny help to one of his closest friends. As the two spend the long, hot summer working together, their old attraction comes flooding back.
Now as Alec thinks about coming out to his conservative family and Brandon considers revealing he’s a gay football player, the two men must be strong to fight for a love that could be the greatest rush of their lives.

Buy Links:

Amazon

B&N

iTunes

 

About the author:

Writing has always been Nyrae Dawn’s passion. Nyrae gravitates toward character-driven stories. She loves going on emotional journeys with characters whether it be reading or writing. And yes, she’s a total romantic at heart and proud.
Nyrae resides in sunny Southern California with her husband (who still makes her swoon) and her two awesome kids.
When she’s not with her family, you can be pretty sure you’ll find her with a book in her hand or her laptop and an open document in front of her. Nyrae also writes adult romance under the name Kelley Vitollo.

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Excerpt

“I want you to smile again too. It’s in there, Brand. I saw it tonight. When you had the ball and then when we were talking to my dad.”

I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do but it’s the only thing I can do. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t stop myself. I step toward Alec and slide my free hand around the back of his neck. It only takes a gentle tug to bring him even closer, his hand moving to the same place on me that mine rests on him.

Alec closes his eyes and drops his forehead to mine. Neither of us talk, and I wonder if he’s just feeling the way I am. It’s that same rush that sweeps through me every time I touch him, my nerve endings like live wires, sparking with electricity. Everything inside me screams that this is right. He’s right. How can anyone not understand this? How can I fight us?

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The post Spotlight and Giveaway–RUSH by Nyrae Dawn appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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13. If You Were Me and Lived in … Australia, by Carole P. Roman | Dedicated Review

Here’s a bonza (first-rate) addition to award-winning author Carole P. Roman's fun and informative series, If You Were Me and Lived in …. This time readers are introduced to the sunburned country found down under in the southern hemisphere, Australia.

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14. The Hulk joins Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and more in epic Nike ad


The World Cup is coming in June and most of the world, and even an increasing number of Americans, will be stopping everything to watch it. Nike has released a new 4 minute mini film about kids playing a ipck up came up imagien they are international superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney and more, including Neymar, Zlatan Ibrahimović (the guy with the ponytail), Gerard Piqué, Gonzalo Higuaín, Mario Götze, Eden Hazard, Thiago Silva, Andrea Pirlo, David Luiz, Andrés Iniesta and Thibaut Courtois. I also spotted Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Jon Jones and Anderson Silva among other sports/Nike luminaries.

Even The Hulk appear at one point, subbing for goalie Tim Howard, who is is the goalie on the US team! Yes, an American footie player made this film and I think we should all be proud of that. (Some say the Hulk is there because one of the players is nicknamed The Hulk, but I think it’s because of Howard’s green kit.) The Hulk still doesn’t have is own movie franchise but he will appear in next year’s Avengers 2.

hulk-nike.jpg

The spot—which is pretty amazing all around—was produced by Wieden + Kennedy Portland for Nike.

The World Cup kicks off on June 12 in Brazil. The US team has drawn the group of death—Ghana (who knocked them out of the last two World Cups), Portigal, who boast one of the worlds greatest superstars in Ronaldo, and Germany, who are perennial finalists. BUt easing the sting of what might be a painful World Cup for ths US, at least the games take place in EST so you can watch the games at night and not get up at 8 am last the last few times.

On a personal note: I liked the morning hour World Cups! It was an excuse to get together for brunch with friends sand then go about your day. I’ve never been through a EDT World Cup though so we’ll see.

2 Comments on The Hulk joins Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and more in epic Nike ad, last added: 4/29/2014
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15. 5 Baseball Themed Books for Young Fans and Readers

Among scores of spring themed picture books, families with young fans can celebrate the season with this diverse selection of 5 baseball inspired books.

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16. Who Gets To Write What?

I tuned into ESPN the other night, clicking away at my laptop as I waited for the Stanford-North Carolina women’s basketball game to begin. The end of the Louisville-Maryland contest was on. There was about a minute left, and Louisville was losing by 10 points, which pretty much guaranteed Maryland the win. But wait. A Louisville player, number 23, floated in a terrific three-point shot with 30 seconds left. Then the same player hit another three-pointer with 18 seconds left. And yet another with five seconds left. Maryland had made two foul shots during the Louisville run, and the score was now 76-73. But it was Louisville’s ball. One more three-pointer would send the game into overtime.

I’m a sucker for an athlete who performs well under pressure, so I put down my laptop and stared at the screen. The announcers were full of praise for the Louisville player, a senior named Shoni Schimmel. I have rarely seen anyone with a smoother, more poetic stroke. When Maryland took a timeout before the game's last play, I went back to my computer and Googled her.

I admit I don’t follow college basketball as much as I should. If I did, I would have known that Shoni, and her sister Jude, who also plays for the University of Louisville, are a genuine phenomenon. Their games attract thousands of people who drive from all over the U.S. and Canada to see them. The sisters are Native Americans who grew up on the Umatilla reservation in Pendleton, Oregon. Their success has galvanized Native fans and even attracted a filmmaker, who made a documentary about them titled Off the Rez.

As I read about the Schimmel sisters, I thought, “This is a great story. I should write it.” You probably know that I’ve made a career bringing the true tales of athletes and other bold and brilliant women to the mainstream. As first Shoni and then Jude graduate from college and enter the WNBA, their journeys should have the makings of a great book.

But then I wondered, “Should I write it?” In recent months, there has been a lot of discussion about the underrepresentation of people of color in children’s books. The postings on multicultural literature on the listserv of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, were coming fast and furious the entire month of February. A few weeks later, Walter Dean Myers and Christopher Myers wrote companion essays in the Sunday Review section of The New York Times under the title, “Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Books?”

One of the strands on the CCBC listserv focused on who actually writes books with characters or subjects of color, and as a corollary, who shouldwrite those books. A number of posters were pretty adamant that they thought books were more authentic—and by extension more acceptable—when they were written by members of the groups they portrayed. By that logic, a book about the Schimmel sisters would be best by a Native person. But why should authors be limited by their backgrounds? I’ve written more than a dozen books, including three biographies, and I’ve never written one with a main character who shares my Jewish heritage. For me, part of the joy of writing nonfiction is getting to explore new worlds while developing the context to tell the story.

That’s what I was thinking as I read many of the CCBC posts. And now I’m finally putting it into words. People expressed a valid concern about getting a more diverse pool of authors (and editors) producing children’s books, but I don’t feel that any authors should be dissuaded from tackling any topics that ignite their passions. Every voice is valid and every perspective is worth considering as we inspire kids' curiosity about and understanding of the world around them.
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For the record, Louisville didn’t win the game, despite an inspired play that put the ball in Schimmel’s hands for one more three-point attempt. She shot, and the ball hit the rim and ricocheted away as time ran out. It was Shoni’s last college game, but hopefully the prelude to an exciting professional career. Perhaps someone will write a book about Shoni and her sister one day. Perhaps it will be me.

0 Comments on Who Gets To Write What? as of 4/4/2014 3:11:00 AM
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17. Lola’s Fandango, by Anna Witte | Book Review

This is a charming book in so many ways, and definitely fun for a family to enjoy together. It will appeal to readers ages 5 to 8, who like stories about Spanish culture, stories about sisters, and surprising revelations about parents.

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18. Lebron shows what it is really like to wear a superhero mask

images.jpg
I don’t even watch basketball, but while passing TVs of late I noticed some guy playing basketball who seemed to be wearing a sinister mask that made him look like Doctor Doom’s henchman. Turns out it’s Lebron James, who broke his nose a few weeks ago and has been wearing a protective device since then. It does kind of look like a Green Lantern type thing, but it doesn’t look very comfortable.

Despite his discomfort, Lebron was able to score 61 points against the Charlotte Bobcats the other night. (For non sports fans, that is quite a few points.)

Lebron is not unaware of the comics connection with his mask, telling the AP that he was going to “wear a mask like Bane, or some other comic book character. I’ve been talking to Marvel Comics for the last couple of days, and DC Comics, to try to come up with one of the greatest masks of all time.”

lebron-james-black-mask-2.jpg

I don’t know how long he’ll have to wear the mask, but time may be running out, so Greg Land jumped right on it and tweeted his design:


If Lebron, one of the most popular athletes in the world, DOES show up i a superhero themed mask, I think it will be the ultimate “Milk Council” moment for comics. I’ve long said we don’t need a Milk Council any more, but there it is.

What comics artist would you like to see design the mask for Lebron? Personally, I’d go with Eichiiro Oda or Renee French…something like that.

7 Comments on Lebron shows what it is really like to wear a superhero mask, last added: 3/6/2014
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19. New Books for Review

seesawClavis sent me a group of books to review, which you’ll be seeing soon. Here’s a list of what arrived this week:

 

The Seesaw and Good-bye, Fish by Judith Koppens,

Circus 123 by one of my favorites, Guido van Genechten,crypto

A Big Book of Face Painting by Charlotte Verrecas,

Kevin’s Big Book of Emotions by another favorite, Liesbet Slegers.

 

I also purchased a copy of The Crypto-Capers in The Peacock Diaries by Renee Hand. I’ve been following this series since the beginning, so I sure don’t want to miss out on any of them.

Overdue is my review of Soccer Dreams by Clare Hodgson Meeker, but it’s coming soon. I promise.

 


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20. Wild Cards (Wild Cards, #1), by Simone Elkeles

Release Date: October 1st, 2013
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher through NetGalley
Overall: 5 Monkeys
Interest: Romance, Simone Elkeles
Categories: Contemporary, Sports, Romance, Stand-Alone, Family Issues
Goodreads Amazon / Simone Elkeles's Website
Read in September 2013

Summary:

After getting kicked out of boarding school, bad boy Derek Fitzpatrick has no choice but to live with his ditzy stepmother while his military dad is deployed. Things quickly go from bad to worse when he finds out she plans to move them back to her childhood home in Illinois. Derek’s counting the days before he can be on his own, and the last thing he needs is to get involved with someone else’s family drama.
Ashtyn Parker knows one thing for certain--people you care about leave without a backward glance. A football scholarship would finally give her the chance to leave. So she pours everything into winning a state championship, until her boyfriend and star quarterback betrays them all by joining their rival team. Ashtyn needs a new game plan, but it requires trusting Derek—someone she barely knows, someone born to break the rules. Is she willing to put her heart on the line to try and win it all?
My Thoughts:

Simone has done it again! This woman can really make you fall for her characters! There are so many things I loved about this book, I'll just list them for you:

1. A strong female MC. Ashtyn is such a good and independent (American) football player that her teammates choose her over her boyfriend to be the team's captain. When she first meets Derek, she brandishes a pitchfork at him to protect herself. She can take care of herself and she lets everyone know it.

2. The bad boy with a soft heart. Admit it. You love them. I love them. We all do. Derek has the Elkeles stamp all over him: hard exterior, but really loving heart. I just wanted to hug him all the time.

3. A really cool set of secondary characters. I mean, how great are Ashtyn's boy friends? Her relationship with them is amazing. She's one of them, but she can be a girly girl, too. And I just LOVED them whenever they stepped up to protect her. Those are real friends.

4. A greatly built story that has actual meaning, as opposed to just being there for the sake of giving the characters an environment to meet and fall in love. Derek has lost his mother, his father is overseas with the Navy and his stepmother is a 25-year-old girl with a little son and a baby on the way. Ashtyn's mum is MIA, her father barely gives her the time of day (but for ACTUAL reasons, not just to be out of her way!) and her sister's coming back home after seven years of having no contact with her. These are the conditions in which Derek and Ashtyn meet, and they shape up their story in a beautiful, beautiful way.

5. Sports in a Contemporary book! I don't understand squat about American football, I just think about it like I would rugby, but Simone really made me like the sport! I usually avoid Contemps with sports, but since this was an Elkeles book, there was just no way I was going to miss reading it.

Yes, your heart will twinge a little in pain, but trust me, it'll live. This is just a really lovely book meant to be read when you want to feel a little bit of loving.

Pre-order the book now through the links listed above.
Happy reading,
Ella

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21. Interview with Jami Davenport, Author of Backfield in Motion

Please welcome Jami Davenport to the virtual offices this morning!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Jami Davenport] Best-selling Contemp. sports romance author, charter 12thWoman, Animal Lover, Native Washingtonian living good life–rain or shine. GoHawks

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Backfield in Motion?

[Jami Davenport] Backfield in Motion is a bridge story. I had planned for Book 4 in my Seattle Lumberjacks series to be about the backup quarterback, who has tons of baggage. That book needs to span the 2nd half of the football season, which meant I’d have a big gap between the end of the last season (where Book 3 ended) to the middle of the next season. Since I’d always planned to write Bruiser’s book, I decided to go for it.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Jami Davenport] Usually I know the beginning and the end before I ever start, along with at least one character’s major flaw. I didn’t know anything about this book. I wrote three chapters not knowing who these characters were. Without realizing it, I flipped the beauty and the beast theme I used in Down by Contact. In BIM, the heroine is the "beast" and the hero is the beauty.

I’m always looking for something different, and I was reading about how difficult it is to keep a football field in perfect condition with players on it all the time. It’s really an exact science. So I decided to write about a heroine who wanted a career in grounds management. Also, theirs a mystery component in which the heroine’s brother has been missing for 3 years. I’m obsessed with true crime TV shows so I decided I might as well put that obsession to good use.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Mac?

[Jami Davenport] Down to earth

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Bruce had a theme song, what would it be?

[Jami Davenport] I’m Too Sexy

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Mac is never without.

[Jami Davenport] A green thumb

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Bruce’s bathroom.

[Jami Davenport] Old Spice, anything pink, and a woman’s toothbrush (at least at the beginning of the story)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Mac’s greatest regret?

[Jami Davenport] Not being with her brother on the day he disappeared.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Jami Davenport] Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Rachel Gibson, and Sandra Brown

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Jami Davenport] Inspirational pictures of hot jocks, my iPad or laptop, and a glass of wine (or two or three)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Jami Davenport] That’s a tough one because I’m hard to please, and I rarely read a book anymore that is truly one I can’t put down. The last book I can recall staying up all night to read was Wait for You by J. Lynn, if you read it, I’m sure you’d know why I feel that way.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Jami Davenport] Walter Farley’s Black Stallion series in the 2nd grade. I was and still am horse crazy. I gobbled up those books and went in search of similar ones. I’ve always felt that my love of horses made me a reader. If we’re talking about romance novels, though, it’d have to be The Promise by Danielle Steele, followed by Mirror Image by Sandra Brown.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Jami Davenport] I used to show horses, which pretty much absorbed any other free time I had. I also work full-time in the IT field. Now that I don’t show horses, my husband and I love to take local trips on weekends. We also maintain a 3 acre mini-farm by ourselves. And—surprise, surprise—we are AVID spots fans, especially football.

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

[Jami Davenport] Tons of ways, Twitter, Facebook (I have three FB pages), email, my website, Google+, and Pinterest. All the links are on my website.  http://www.jamidavenport.com/index.htm

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Purchase link

Coming Soon!

About the book

Bruce "Bruiser" Mackey’s story (running back)

All you’ll ever be is a pretty face…

Star running back Bruce “Bruiser” Mackey has heard those words his entire life, especially after his twin brother’s tragic accident. He might use his surfer-boy good looks to land lucrative endorsements for his secret charity, but he hates books being judged by their covers. Which is why it’s wrong that his friend MacKenzie Hernandez is intent on giving herself a makeover.

Sure, Mac and her father have been reeling financially since her brother disappeared three years ago, and Lumberjacks management gives an annual scholarship that might get her life back on track, but he can’t imagine anyone smarter, sexier, or more beautiful than Mac already is. He can’t keep his hands off her—and the more they spend time together, the less he wants to. She’s perfect as is. One way or another, he’ll make sure the team’s tomboy greenskeeper gets a full ride. And between the two of them, they can learn to accept what’s behind them and look downfield to a future full of win.

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22. Soccer Dreams by Clare Hodgson Meeker

soccer-dreams-book-coverSoccer Dreams by Clare Hodgson Meeker is the perfect blend of entertainment and education.

Todo moves from Kenya, Africa to Seattle, Washington where his soccer skills catch the eye of Coach Dan who invites him to join his team. With tons of spirit, Todo helps Coach Dan build a winning team that works together.

I don’t know how the Lil’ Princess discovered soccer, but she did. She continues to work hard to develop her skills, spending a week at a British soccer camp visiting our area over the summer, and practicing at home whenever she can. It’s been a good season for her so far. This is why I requested to review Soccer Dreams. It ended up being a great source of inspiration for her.

This book blends the fictional story of Todo moving from Africa to America and getting a chance to play on a soccer team with profiles of the current MLS Seattle Sounders FC, in addition to strategy and teamwork tips. It’s a wonderful book. Numerous color photographs are included, along with black and white drawings for the fictional portion of the story. Some Sounders share their favorite warm-ups, the coach talks about developing players’ strengths, and the goalkeeper shares what goalies think about and offers his advice.

I’m sure Soccer Dreams will hold a special place in the Lil’ Princess’ bookshelf.

Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)

Hardcover: 48 pages
Ages 7 to 12
Publisher: Creating One, LLC; 1st edition (April 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0615432360
ISBN-13: 978-0615432366
Available in digital format

I received a copy of this book from the author’s publicist. This review contains my honest opinions, which I was not compensated for in any way.


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23. Review: REAL by Katy Evans

Real

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

A fallen boxer.

A woman with a broken dream.

A competition…

He even makes me forget my name. One night was all it took, and I forgot everything and anything except the sexy fighter in the ring who sets my mind ablaze and my body on fire with wanting…
Remington Tate is the strongest, most confusing man I’ve ever met in my life.

He’s the star of the dangerous underground fighting circuit, and I’m drawn to him as I’ve never been drawn to anything in my life. I forget who I am, what I want, with just one look from him. When he’s near, I need to remind myself that I am strong–but he is stronger. And now it’s my job to keep his body working like a perfect machine, his taut muscles primed and ready to break the bones of his next opponents . . .
But the one he’s most threatening to, now, is me.

I want him. I want him without fear. Without reservations.

 

If only I knew for sure what it is that he wants from me?

Review:

I received a review copy of REAL, and I thought I’d read it because the hero is a former boxer turned underground fighter.  There aren’t a lot of romances that I am aware of featuring fighters, so I thought it would be a nice change of pace from the usual billionaires or cowboys I am forever reading about (because I can’t resist the cowboys, especially if they are sexy billionaire cowboys with really nice horses).  Though Remy is a rough underground fighter, he is a very wealthy one, which made me wonder why he would put his pretty face in jeopardy, but whatever.

Brooke is a down on her luck rehab therapist.  She just finished school, has bills to pay, and she hasn’t found the job of her dreams yet. When her BFF Mel drags her to a fight, she is consumed with thoughts of Remy after sharing a soulful, scorching stare.  Her insides clench (more on that later), her interest is beyond piqued, and sexy Remy is wedged in her brain.  When he offers her a job, instead of the wild one night stand she’s expecting, she reluctantly accepts.  How is she going to massage those wicked muscles, and keep their relationship professional?  When her younger sister gets into deep, deep doodoo, staying out of Remy’s bed is the last thing on her mind.

I have mixed feelings about REAL.  On one hand, it is an engaging, totally in your face read.  On the other, the prose, while immediate and intense and oh so honest, occasionally Drove. Me. NUTS.  Brooke’s insides clench.  About a billion times.  There is also a lot of licking, biting, gripping, and squeezing.  So much that I was tempted to go back to the beginning and count how many times these words appeared throughout the pages.  Brooke’s relentless pursuit of a physical relationship with Remy consisted of her stomach and other organs clenching, squeezing, and dripping a distracting number of times, and it got so repetitive after a while.   While her obsession with Remy was telegraphed loud and clear and left no doubt how she felt, I was soon wishing for more verbs to describe her body’s reaction to him.

I’m not sure that I liked Brooke, or that she’s the girl for the noble, damaged Remy.  She spent most of her life training for the Olympics, but an injury sidelined her.  Permanently.  During those years that she was training  to be the best, she lived a very sheltered life.  She worked hard, studied hard, and competed hard, all the while staying out of trouble.  She didn’t need the distraction.  Now that her dreams left her cruelly disappointed, she wants to start making up for lost time.  Remy is gorgeous, and sweet, and there is a chemistry between them that threatens to combust every time they see each other.  When Brooke decides that she’s going to act on her attraction, she is bewildered.  Remy refuses to sleep with her, and their make-out sessions go nowhere. Frustrated and resentful, she doesn’t know whether he’s the problem – or if she is.  Despite his assurances that he wants her to get to know him better first, she is so angry with him she doesn’t know how to react.  I was willing to cut her some slack because she hadn’t previously known anyone like Remy, or felt as twisted and confused as he made her feel.  When her younger sister is sprinkled into the mix, Brooke makes some really bad decisions, and Remy is the one to pay the price every time. 

Remy is a character that I haven’t read about before, and I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to spoil anything.  I wasn’t happy with message delivered here, though.  He refused for his condition, so he is always skating on a fine line between keeping control over himself and his actions and completely losing his sh$t.  He’s afraid of getting involved with Brooke, fearful that she will leave him when he loses himself.  That aspect of their relationship was fascinating.  How do you give your heart to a guy whose self-control is tenuous at best, and who forgets everything that he does during these episodes?  His condition ensures that he can’t really have a HEA, because Brooke can’t cure him.  It’s not realistic or possible, and that made the last half of the book even more compelling.

The final fight scene – Oh. My. God.  So intense.  It really made the book for me because is was brutal and gritty and showed what Remy was all about.  He is iron-willed and stubborn, and it’s impossible for him to back down from a challenge.

I enjoyed REAL, even though it didn’t completely work for me.  It felt genuine  and fresh, though some narrative quirks left me cringing and distracted. I am curious to see how Brooke and Remy’s relationship progresses, because I think they have a rocky road ahead of them.

Grade:   B-/C+

Review copy provided by publisher

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24. Did Russia really spend ‘$50 billion’ on the Sochi Olympics?

By Michael Alexeev and Shlomo Weber


Much of the world watched the Winter Olympics in Sochi. While most people are primarily interested in the athletic achievements, the fact that the Games are taking place in Russia has also brought the Russian political system, economy, human rights, etc., into focus, inadvertently highlighting the interaction of the still pervasive Soviet legacy and the momentous changes since the collapse of the USSR.

Presumably the intended message of the Games is, as the Economist put it

, “Russia is back.” The question, however, is back to what? Is it back simply in terms of playing a major role on the international stage or also back to the Soviet ways of doing things such as creating Potemkin villages and making wasteful investments that foster corruption?

One of the major themes in the media coverage on the eve of the Games was the cost of construction. The commonly cited number of approximately $50 billion would make the Sochi Olympics the most expensive Games ever. According to the Washington Post, this number has appeared in almost 2000 news accounts last year, yet it almost certainly misrepresents the true cost of the Games. It is based on a year-old statement by Dmitry Kozak, a deputy prime minister in charge of preparation for the Games, and it includes both the state budget expenditures of about $23 billion and private investments by Olympic sponsors, although some of these sponsors appear to have been pressured by the government to invest.

Moreover, on closer inspection, some of the “private” investments have been actually made by state-owned or state-controlled corporations such as the Russian Railways and Gazprom. Much of the funds have been spent on improving general infrastructure and it is unclear what part of this investment would have been made in the absence of the Games. The Russian government argues that the investments in infrastructure and at least some of the Olympic facilities have turned Sochi into a much more attractive resort for Russian vacationers and would replace foreign resort destinations for the Russian middle class. At the same time, the number provided by Kozak a year ago probably underestimates the actual expenditures as such large projects typically exceed their projected costs.

Sochi Olympic Park

Like most large investment projects in Russia, the Olympics probably involved a substantial amount of corruption and fraud which are in part responsible for the high price tag. A report co-authored by the former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, a long-time critic of President Vladimir Putin, claimed that “between $25bn and $30bn have been stolen” from the funds invested in the Olympics. While Russian officials strongly deny the presence of widespread fraud in the Olympic construction projects, Nemtsov’s numbers are roughly in line with the estimates from a survey conducted by Mark J. Levin and Georgy A. Satarov, which found that bribe revenue in Russia amounted to about 50% of GDP in 2005. Of course, “bribe revenue” could involve some double counting because lower level officials may share bribes with their higher-ups, but at the same time construction projects represent notoriously fertile soil for corruption.

Whatever one thinks of the reliability of the investment or, for that matter, corruption numbers cited above, it is clear that public and private investments engendered by the Games have been substantial. Let’s put the $50 billion number into perspective: this sum represents about 2.5% of the Russian 2013 GDP. While rating agency Fitch says that this amount is too small to produce a significant impact on the state budget, this percentage is close to one half of approximately 5.5% of GDP of the United States post-2008 recession stimulus under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

This investment could help increase the size of the service sector, particularly tourism, in the Russian economy that continues to be highly dependent on oil and gas rents. While the diversification effect on the economy is likely to be relatively small, the impact on Krasnodar region that includes Sochi and the rest of the Russian Black Sea shoreline, as well as most of the Azov Sea shoreline, could be substantial. The new hotels could accommodate a three-fold increase in the number of tourists visiting the Sochi region. Perhaps the investment in residential housing and infrastructure could even facilitate, at least on the margin, relocation of some of the Russian population from the Northern parts of the country — a relocation that is needed but has not been proceeding at sufficiently fast pace.

Initially, the prospect of the Games hinted at a macroeconomic stimulus for Russia. Indeed, the Krasnodar region has been growing at roughly twice the rate of the rest of the economy since the Games were awarded to Russia in 2007. But the stimulating effect on the overall economy is hard to discern. Russia’s economic growth slowed down considerably in 2013, as was predicted by Revold Entov and Oleg Lugovoy, and in the last half of the year, the growth stalled almost completely, despite some recovery in much of the world. Moreover, the seasonally adjusted January index of manufacturing activity in Russia released on February 17 dropped to 48.0 — the lowest level since the 2009 crisis and almost a full point lower than an already weak level of December 2013.

As with most large projects, the effects of the Olympic Games on the Russian economy appear to be ambiguous and demonstrate both the new-found economic prowess of the country and the old ills of corruption and inefficiencies of the state involvement in the economy. Perhaps the best thing to do is to leave the more detailed analysis of these issues to some future date and for now simply enjoy the recent memories of Olympic competition and pageantry.

Michael Alexeev and Shlomo Weber are the co-editors of The Oxford Handbook of the Russian Economy. Michael Alexeev is a Professor of Economics at Indiana University in Bloomington. Shlomo Weber is the Robert H. and Nancy Dedman Trustee Professor of Economics at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, and PINE Foundation Professor of Economics at the New Economic School of Moscow.

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Image credit: “Sochi Olympic Park Architecture” by Alex1983. Public domain via pixabay.

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25. On My Kindle

alchemy

The summer of 1984 was a golden time in America. From California, where gymnast Mary Lou Retton was winning Olympic gold, to Cape Cod, where explorer Barry Clifford was discovering pirate gold, the nation seemed obsessed with the precious metal. But for 15-year old Al, that obsession hits a little too close to home when he finds a code-filled notebook belonging to his missing father that may contain the ancient formula for turning lead to gold. Convinced that his father’s sudden disappearance is connected to his secret experiments in alchemy, Al sets out to find the truth. He enlists the help of Cammie, a beautiful girl staying for the summer while her marine biologist father tracks a wayward manatee, and together they begin unraveling the mystery. But the closer they get to an answer, the closer they grow to each other, and as the end of summer draws nearer, Al wonders if they can break the code without breaking his heart.

bone field

In this sequel to Belle of the Glades, the holiday season brings mystery and adventure for Belle and her Indian friend, Summer. At the Bone Field, they find clues of a Bigfoot, but Belle’s uncle dismisses the signs. Belle and Summer set out to befriend the mysterious stranger with food gifts, but he has reason to stay hidden. Is he a real Bigfoot? How does Belle solve the mystery?

games

Eleanor Parkhurst is determined to get in the way of Nathaniel Naverly seducing her sweet cousin Rose. Nate has a history of treating girls badly and Ellie suspects his intentions are far from honorable. Getting Nate to switch his attention to her seemed like a good plan, but Ellie didn’t foresee that she might have to protect her own heart from his schemes as well. The game is proving a challenge. Midnight meetings, fighting or kissing, it’s all part of the fun of flirting. Set in an English boarding school, Ellie and her American new best friend, Flora, discover that boys are more complicated than classes, and you have to play the game well or you might just get played!

guinevere
She is a mere child of twelve. But in these medieval days, this is the age when childish things must be put away and greater responsibilities accepted–all in preparation for a betrothal of marriage.

For young Lady Guinevere, on the advent of her thirteenth Birth Day, the whole idea is quite unbearable. After all, what could be better than spending her youth playing with her best friend Cedwyn, roaming the grounds around the castle looking for mythical creatures or hunting rabbits?

However, the wizard Merlyn–her teacher and friend–knows that destiny has a way of catching up with a person. His arrival sets in motion a series of events that will lead Guinevere to her destiny whether she is ready for it or not.

down under

When a reluctant grandson in Oregon is pressured into writing to his grandma in Australia, wonderful things happen. Both have a need for love and reassurance as they deal with their everyday problems. Back and forth the letters go: Josh shares his daily problems, and Grandma Rose shares past memories that astonish her grandson and his friend Kelly.

The Xbox gathers dust, as the two friends find themselves bike riding and bird watching – and actually reading. Googling the weird and wonderful Aussie critters that come to Rose’s garden becomes a fun hobby. Soon, Andy and Gradma Rose shrink the Pacific Ocean into a puddle they can easily ford.

** Glossary of Australian and words included.

billy

Young Billy loves the game of baseball. He can’t wait to play and hang around with his team mates. But Billy’s team mates don’t take to him right away and Billy struggles hitting.


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