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1. Baseball: Then to Wow!


I always love to find a new nonfiction sports book to add to our sports basket, so I bought this one when I saw it.  Sports Illustrated for Kids seems to publish stuff that is really interesting for kids. I figured (just by the cover) that kids would like Baseball: Then to Wow! but when I opened it I realized how packed it was with single-page spreads that I could use for mini lessons and small group instruction too.

The visuals in this book are BRILLIANT.  Every page focuses on a different topic and then shows how things have changed over the years.  Some pages, show a timeline--for example the page on Catcher's Masks starts in the 1870s and goes decade by decade showing what they looked like and some facts about them over the years.  Another page, The Five-Tool Player compares two players in a Then and Now table. Mickey Mantle and Mike Trout.

I don't know a lot about baseball but this book is engaging as a reader because of the amount of information and the way it is displayed.  There is a lot for kids in this book. First of all, I think they will just enjoy it for the book that it is. It is a great read packed with fascinating info. As readers, they can learn a lot about how to read visuals--there is such a variety of visual information that I can see using several pages in lessons as we learn to navigate nonfiction. I also think as writers, they'll want to try some things out.  I have lots of kids who write about sports and start out in pretty traditional ways. This gives them new ways to think about how they might best share information with readers.

This book is packed with information as well as real photos, artifacts, maps and more.  It is definitely going to be one of my go-to nonfiction texts next year.  (If you go to the book on Amazon, you can "Look Inside" and see some of the visuals.)

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2. Wondercon’16: Chris Hardwick and Nerdist News Speak About Community and Nerdiness

Chris Hardwick belting his rendition of "The Children are our FutureBy Nicholas Eskey If you label yourself a “nerd” and wear it with pride, undoubtedly you already follow Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist News. The quick witted comedian and mega-nerd took heads the podcast driven news network for nerds with a wonderful collection of colleagues and special guests, discussing everything from the current state of all things […]

1 Comments on Wondercon’16: Chris Hardwick and Nerdist News Speak About Community and Nerdiness, last added: 4/10/2016
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3. सोशल मीडिया बनाम डिप्रेशन -उलझन सुलझे ना

सोशल मीडिया बनाम डिप्रेशन -उलझन सुलझे ना हैलो चैक चैक मोबाईल चैक … !! मोबाईल – इंटरनेट और साईड इफेक्ट कल एक जानकार अपनी बिटिया की प्रोब्लम ले कर आई. उनकी बेटी अभी 9 क्लास में है और पिछ्ले साल उसे नया स्मार्ट मोबाईल गिफ्ट किया था. वो उसे हर दो चार मिनट में चैक […]

The post सोशल मीडिया बनाम डिप्रेशन -उलझन सुलझे ना appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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4. Chapter reveal: Trish's Team by Dawn Brotherton


Title:  TRISH’S TEAM
Genre:  Tween Fiction (Middle Grade Fiction)        
Author:  Dawn Brotherton
Publisher:  Blue Dragon Publishing
Purchase on Amazon

The debut release in Dawn Brotherton’s Lady Tigers series, Trish’s Team is a terrific new young adult tale featuring Trish Murphy.  A member of the Blue Birds, a recreational fastpitch softball team for 11 and 12 year old girls, Trish Murphy longs to be a member of the Lady Tigers, the elite travel team comprised of the best of the best players in the area.  When she is presented with the opportunity to try out for the team, Trish jumps at the chance. There’s just one small problem—it seems Trish’s parents don’t understand her love of the game.  Chances are they’ll be even less understanding and when they find out that team practice conflicts with Trish’s orchestra practice…


But being part of the Lady Tigers—and nurturing newfound friendships with the other team members—is Trish’s top priority.  When she tries to pull a fast one to get what she wants without considering the consequences, Trish puts everything in jeopardy. Trish’s decision could ultimately affect more than just the game: it could affect her friends.  Along the way, Trish discovers that being a part of the Lady Tigers is about much more than playing fastpitch softball:  it’s about being a part of a team.  But Trish may have to learn a painful lesson. After all, it really isn’t if you win or lose, but it’s how you play the game.  

Chapter 1

Trish Murphy stood in center field and brushed her brown bangs off her forehead with the back of her right hand. Frowning in concentration, she waited for the next pitch. In front of her, Ashley stepped onto the pitcher’s mound, hesitated only briefly, and then spun her right arm in a clockwise motion to deliver a good-looking pitch. Smack. The ball sailed toward center field. Racing forward, Trish got under it, just like the coach had shown her. Plop. It landed snugly in her glove for an easy out.
“Nice catch, Trish!” Coach Tim called from the dugout. She smiled and threw the ball to the infield. It was a beautiful throw, yet it bounced out of the second baseman’s glove and rolled to the pitcher.
Rolling her eyes in frustration, Trish hurried back to her spot in the outfield.
Two outs, one to go.
Trish watched as, on the mound, Ashley took the signal from the catcher. Nodding, Ashley positioned the ball inside her glove, stood tall on her wind up, and fired the ball to the exact low-inside location the catcher had indicated.
“Strike one,” the umpire called.
Shifting her stance to the right slightly so she could look around the pitcher’s back, Trish waited to see where the next pitch would cross the plate. She was betting it would be low and outside this time.
“Strike two!” she heard across the plush grass that lay before her.
Yep, low and outside, she thought, grinning. Ashley was a pretty good pitcher, and with Alisha catching for her, they were a great team.
Trish knew the next pitch would be a change-up, high and inside. She smiled as the batter was caught off guard, swinging before the ball had even reached the plate. “Strike three! Batter’s out!” the ump called.
“Yes!” the team cheered as they raced for the dugout.
Coach Tim met them as they ran off the field, holding his hand out for high-fives. “Come on, girls, gather around. Nice catch out there, Trish. Beautiful strike-outs, Ashley. We’re behind by one run. Let’s swing some sticks.”
The Blue Birds was a recreational fast-pitch softball team for 11- and 12-year-old girls that only played 10 games a summer. The coaches were volunteers and mostly dads of the girls on the team. Trish felt lucky that she was on Coach Tim’s team. Some of the dads didn’t even know how to play softball, let alone teach the girls to play. Coach Tim was different. He had played baseball in college, so at least he knew the game.
Trish glanced around the softball complex hoping her mom might be there. She didn’t really expect to see her, but she was disappointed anyway.
She heard a loud cheer come from the field behind where the Blue Birds were playing. She saw the orange and black uniforms of the Lady Tigers. Trish sighed. She would love to play for the Tigers. The coaches only picked the best-of-the-best players for the travel softball team. They played ball almost every weekend in long tournaments.
“Head in the game, Trish,” Coach Tim said, refocusing her attention on her own team.
“Come on, Becky, you can do it!” Trish yelled to the leadoff batter.
Trish turned to read the lineup hanging on the fence. It was the top of the line-up. Trish grabbed her helmet and bat. She was batting fourth.
Hearing the crack of the bat, she looked up in time to see Becky hit a short pop-up to the third baseman. The player tried to catch it, but the ball dropped in front of her, and Becky beat out the throw to first.
“Batter up!” The umpire seemed in a hurry to keep the game moving. Clara quickly stepped inside the chalk-outlined rectangle of the batter’s box. The pitch came quickly on the inside corner. “Strike one.”
Clara stepped out and took a few practice swings. She settled into the box again. It turned into a long wait as the pitcher threw four balls in a row. Clara jogged to first; Becky went to second.
Trish watched in anticipation as Samantha moved toward home plate for her turn at bat. Trish put on a helmet and stepped out of the dugout to take a few practice swings, getting her timing down for the pitches.
Samantha stepped into the box. She was tall so the outfielders backed up, anticipating that she would hit the ball far. Crack. The ball flew over the third baseman’s head, landing in the grass. The left fielder raced in and scooped up the ball, preventing the runners from scoring.
Bases loaded. No outs. Trish stepped into the box. She knew she didn’t look very impressive. At only four-foot-six, she hadn’t reached her full height by a long shot. Her legs were long, slender, and solid muscle. She was used to people underestimating her, but she liked it that way. It usually worked to her advantage.
Trish settled in as the pitcher began her wind up. The pitch came in. Way inside. Trish leaped out of the way. The next pitch was outside, and the catcher missed it. Becky raced past Trish to cross the plate as the fans cheered.
“Just a base hit, Trish,” her coach called.
“You can do it, Trish!” The fans were all cheering her on. She kept her concentration on the ball leaving the pitcher’s hand.
The pitch was coming in perfect, right down the middle, ideal height. It was slow, so Trish looked at it again. It had a weird spin. She didn’t swing. Right before the plate, it dropped. “Ball three.” Trish was thankful for the many hours of extra batting practice Coach Tim had spent with her. He had shown her how to truly watch the ball.
The next pitch was almost the same, but it didn’t appear to be spinning. Smack. It went over the second baseman, missing the right fielder’s glove and rolled all the way to the fence for a triple. Clara and Samantha scored as Trish rounded the bases.
The fans were cheering. The score now read, “Blue Birds: 9; Redhawks: 7.”
“Nice hit, Trish,” Coach Tim said, smiling broadly.
Trish’s grin lit up her face. She clapped her hands and cheered on the next batter from third base.
Alisha hit a nice single to left center field that allowed Trish to score. The girls lined up to high-five her as she came into the dugout.
Ashley hit a fly ball to right field that cost them an out, but moved Alisha to third. Amber grounded out on a hit to second base, leaving Alisha in place. Ton-Lou flew out to left field to end the inning. The girls were in high spirits because they were winning, and the other team only had one more chance to bat.
“Good inning, ladies; let’s hit the field. Hold them for three more outs,” the coach said.
The first Redhawk hit the ball to Lexi on second base who easily picked it up and threw her out at first. Trish was a little nervous when the other team’s number four batter stepped to the plate. She was tall for a 12-year-old and had already hit it to the fence once this game. She took a few steps back and angled toward left field.
Ashley delivered the pitch low and inside. The batter got under the ball, and it went high into foul territory on the left field side. Much to Trish’s surprise, Ashley put the next pitch in the same place. This time the batter swung and missed.
Trish smiled. She knew the coaches called the pitches from the dugout. She would have to ask Coach Tim why he called two in a row the same way. That wasn’t very common. She liked to learn as much as she could about the strategy of softball, not just the technique.
The third and final pitch stayed low but to the outside corner. The batter swung but didn’t even come close. Two outs.
The number five batter had hit the ball to center field twice already in previous innings so Trish was ready. The batter let the first pitch go by but got ahold of the second. It was a long fly ball to deep center field.
Trish immediately turned her body and began to run toward the fence. She ran full out, praying her left fielder would be there to back her up if she missed it. At the last possible second, Trish dove at where she predicted the ball would be, capturing it in her glove as she hit the ground. That ended the game; final score was 10-7, Blue Birds.
The girls cheered enthusiastically. Trish couldn’t stop smiling as the coach and other girls clapped her on the back as they lined up to shake hands with the Redhawks. Even some of the opposing team members congratulated her on such a great catch. It felt wonderful!
She looked around at the crowd waiting outside the fence, but there was no sign of her parents. Trish wished that they had been there to witness her final catch.

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5. Five Family Favorites with Mariam Gates, Author of Good Morning Yoga

Mariam Gates, author of Good Morning Yoga, selected these five family favorites.

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6. Michaela DePrince, Author of Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina | Speed Interview

The extraordinary memoir of Michaela DePrince, a young dancer who escaped war-torn Sierra Leone for the rarefied heights of American ballet.

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7. Winning sports picture books

Cheating marathoners; a trailblazing sports reporter; a girl shortstop; and an illegal integrated b-ball game. Here are some nonfiction sports picture books that capture the dramatic action both on and off the track/field/court.

mccarthy_wildest race everMeghan McCarthy’s The Wildest Race Ever: The Story of the 1904 Olympic Marathon describes America’s first Olympic marathon, which took place in St. Louis during the World’s Fair. It was a zany one, with cheating runners (one caught a ride in a car), contaminated water, pilfered peaches, and strychnine poisoning. McCarthy’s chatty text focuses on a few of the frontrunners and other colorful characters, shown in her recognizable cartoonlike acrylic illustrations. A well-paced — and winning — nonfiction picture book. (Simon/Wiseman, 5–8 years)

vernick_kid from diamond streetEdith Houghton was “magic on the field,” a baseball legend of the 1920s. Playing starting shortstop for the all-women’s professional team the Philadelphia Bobbies, she drew fans to the ballpark with her impressive talent. Besides that, Edith — “The Kid” — was just ten years old. The Kid from Diamond Street: The Extraordinary Story of Baseball Legend Edith Houghton by Audrey Vernick relates, in conversational text, Houghton’s life on the team. Appealing digitally colored charcoal, ink, and gouache illustrations by Steven Salerno evoke a bygone era of baseball. (Clarion, 5–8 years)

macy_miss mary reporting“It seemed that Mary was born loving sports,” writes Sue Macy in her affectionate portrait of a pioneering journalist, Miss Mary Reporting: The True Story of Sportswriter Mary Garber. It was during WWII that Garber “got her big break” running the sports page of Winston-Salem’s Twin City Sentinel while the (male) sportswriters were fighting in the war. For much of the next six decades, she worked in sports reporting, blazing trails for female journalists. Macy’s succinct text is informative and engaging, her regard for her subject obvious. C. F. Payne’s soft, sepia-toned, mixed-media illustrations — part Norman Rockwell, part caricature — provide the right touch of nostalgia. (Simon/Wiseman, 5–8 years)

coy_game changerJohn Coy’s Game Changer: John McLendon and the Secret Game (based on a 1996 New York Times article by Scott Ellsworth) tells the dramatic story of an illegal college basketball game planned and played in secret in Jim Crow–era North Carolina. On a Sunday morning in 1944, the (white) members of the Duke University Medical School basketball team (considered “the best in the state”) slipped into the gym at the North Carolina College of Negroes to play the Eagles, a close-to-undefeated black team coached by future Hall of Famer John McClendon. Coy’s succinct narrative is well paced, compelling, and multilayered, focusing on the remarkable game but also placing it in societal and historical context. Illustrations by Randy DuBurke nicely capture the story’s atmosphere and its basketball action. (Carolrhoda, 6–9 years)

From the February 2016 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

The post Winning sports picture books appeared first on The Horn Book.

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8. Coca Cola and Marvel are teaming up for the Super Bowl

It seems Marvel and Coke are teaming up for something on February 7th, the day of...the big game? The Super Bowl! A Super Bowl ad for Marvel -themed Coke cans? Characters shown: Iron Man, Hulk, Cap, Black Widow, Falcon and Ant-Man.

2 Comments on Coca Cola and Marvel are teaming up for the Super Bowl, last added: 2/3/2016
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9. Review of Game Changer: John McLendon and the Secret Game

coy_game changerGame Changer: John McLendon and the Secret Game
by John Coy; illus. by Randy DuBurke
Primary, Intermediate   Carolrhoda   32 pp.
10/15   978-1-4677-2604-7   $17.99
e-book ed. 978-1-4677-8810-6   $17.99

Based closely on a 1996 New York Times article by Scott Ellsworth, this picture book tells the dramatic story of an illegal college basketball game planned and played in secret in Jim Crow–era North Carolina. On a Sunday morning in 1944, while most Durham residents, including the police, were in church, the white members of the Duke University Medical School basketball team (considered “the best in the state”) slipped into the gym at the North Carolina College of Negroes to play the Eagles, a close-to-undefeated black team coached by future Hall of Famer John McClendon. What happened when “basketball of the present” (Duke’s three-man weaves and set shots) met “basketball of the future” (the Eagles’ pressure defense and fast breaks) is suspenseful, dramatic, and telling: the Eagles beat Duke 88–44. Afterward, pushing the boundaries even further, the players evened up the teams for a friendly game of shirts and skins. Coy’s succinct narrative is well paced, compelling, and multilayered, focusing on the remarkable game but also placing it in societal and historical context. DuBurke’s illustrations can be static at times but nicely capture the story’s atmosphere, from the tension of the Duke players’ covert arrival to the basketball action to the post-game geniality and then back to tension (since all parties, including several newspaper reporters, had to pledge to keep the day’s events secret to protect themselves and Coach McClendon). A fascinating story, with appeal far beyond sports- and history fans; appended with an author’s note, a timeline, and a brief bibliography.

From the November/December 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

The post Review of Game Changer: John McLendon and the Secret Game appeared first on The Horn Book.

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10. We must try harder to stop the drug cheats

Reports of a Russian state doping programme are jarring reminders of times when victorious athletes were offered as evidence for the superiority of political ideologies. The allegations have certainly complicated aspirations to keep drugs out of the Olympics. If your state colludes in your doping then you have only to arrange to be clean around the dates of competition.

The post We must try harder to stop the drug cheats appeared first on OUPblog.

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11. B is for Bicycles, by Scott & Jannine Fitzgerald | Dedicated Review

Veteran bicycle shop owners Scott and Jannine Fitzgerald have penned a new alphabet picture book, B is for Bicycles, that is dedicated to promoting a healthy cycling lifestyle.

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12. #752 – 53 – I Can Dance and I Can Play by Betsy Snyder

I Can Dance & I Can Play Written and Illustrated by Betsy Snyder Chronicle Books       9/01/2015 978-1-4521-2929-7 and 978-1-4521-2905-1 14 pages     7” X 7”     Age infant—2 “Readers make dancers disco, tap, or pirouette and athletes splash, sprint, or score just by wiggling their fingers. But wait! There’s even more …

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13. #742 – Dino-Boarding by Lisa Wheeler and Barry Gott

Dino-Boarding Written by Lisa Wheeler Illustrated by Barry Gott Carolrhoda Books          9/01/2014 978-1-4677-0213-3 32 pages       Age 4—8 A Junior Library Guild Selection “Team Green Machine battles the Shredding Crew for dino-boarding domination! Allo and Diplo thrill the surfing crowd, while Compy comes up short on a short board. …

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14. NL East champion Mets rookies caught in Underoo controversy

It was "Rookie hazing weekend' in major league baseball, as new players were forced to undergo a rite of passage that speaks to traditional tribal notions of "crossing over" and appropriating the garb of different tribes or genders to signal their initiation into a wider role in society. Plus, guys in their underwear.

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15. Football Season Arrives: A Quick Look at “Don’t Throw It to Mo!”

MissNelsonFieldI’m two-timing you, SLJ.  Yes, the ugly truth had to come out sometime.  I admit all.  You see, I’ve been blogging elsewhere.

Crazy but true?  It is, but this is a kind of blogging I’ve never really done before.  Because while my specialty is children’s literature, my new job here in Evanston, IL requires that I have a deep and abiding familiarity with books for adults.  The end result?  I’ve been occasionally blogging for EPL about adult titles.

Of course finding topics upon which to speak can be tricky.  I’m not sure what folks want to hear about, so I’ve gone the tried and true method of figuring out what people already like and then just tying the posts to those topics accordingly.  Example: Yesterday was apparently the first day of the new football season.  Do I watch football?  I do not.  Do I read about football?  I do not.  But none of that stopped me from writing a post about the newest 2015 adult titles about football in all its myriad forms.  If you know a football fanatic in your life and they have, say, a birthday coming up, this list may be of use to you in some way.

DallasTitansI cannot write posts for adults without thinking of their child equivalents, however.  And football has always been a very tricky subject in the children’s room.  Years ago a parent came in just before Thanksgiving and asked for any picture books we could hand over about football.  Not nonfiction, mind you.  Fiction.  And really, once you get beyond The Dallas Titans Get Ready for Bed (which Molly Ivans reviewed for The New York Times, doncha know) the pickings are slim.  I mean, there was the recent Fall Ball by Peter McCarty, Dino-Football by Lisa Wheeler, and the not so recent Miss Nelson Has a Field Day by Harry Allard, but by and large baseball has a lock on the sports/book market.

ThrowMoThis year, I was going through the usual pre-pub galleys and advanced reading copies when I saw a very slim little easy book going by the unprepossessing name of Don’t Throw It to Mo!.  It was by David Adler and illustrated by Sam Ricks.  Good easy books are, I don’t need to tell you, a rarity.  The crazy thing is that as I read the story I found it original, interesting, and a really cool idea.  The whole premise is that it’s easy to fool your opponents when you’ve lowered their expectations.  Particularly if those expectations weren’t all that high to begin with.  I may have to stump for this one for a Geisel if nothing else.  It’s succinct and very cool to read.  I worry that with my reduced reviewing these days I won’t be able to get to it, so in lieu of a length diatribe, let me just say that if you choose only one football related easy book this season, let it be Adler, Ricks, and Mo himself who bring you in for a final touchdown.

Now play ball!!

(Yes, I am aware that you do not begin a football game by saying “play ball”. However, I don’t know what you do say.  “Hut hut”?  Just sayin’.)

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16. Spotlight and Giveaway: Broken Play by Samantha Kane

 
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BROKEN PLAY
Birmingham Rebels #1
Samantha Kane
Releasing Sept 1st, 2015
 
 
Perfect for fans of Shayla Black and Lexi Blake, the deeply sensual new Birmingham Rebels series introduces an unforgettable team of chiseled football gods—and the daring, provocative games they play behind closed doors.
Birmingham Rebels offensive linemen Beau Perez and Cass Zielinski are inseparable, on and off the field. Cass, the captain with the cowboy swagger, is a loose cannon. Beau, the veteran tight end, is cool under pressure. And ever since they were caught on tape in a steamy threesome, their exploits have fueled more than a few tabloid headlines—and naughty fantasies.

Marian Treadwell knows all about the video. And now that she’s the Rebels’ new assistant offensive coach, she can’t look at Beau and Cass without picturing their hard, naked bodies—with her pressed in between. Marian would like nothing more than to indulge those impulses, but she knows better than to get too close to her players, a bunch of adrenaline-fueled alpha males who don’t always follow the rules.
Just the thought of sharing the gorgeous yet guarded Marian drives Cass wild. At first, Beau isn’t sure she’s right for them . . . and lately, all he desires is a little alone time with Cass to explore their new intimacy. But it’s only a matter of time before Cass breaks through both of their defenses. Because when seduction is the game plan, he always plays to win.
Broken Play is intended for mature audiences.
 
EXCERPT:

“Get. In. Here.” Marian spoke in that one-word-sentence staccato that had become so popular on television and that she’d sworn she’d never imitate. Now she knew it wasn’t a choice. She was simply so mad she couldn’t get more than one word out at a time. Beau didn’t argue. He simply slid sideways in through her office door, past where she stood holding it. She started to close it, but a hand grabbed it from the hallway and pushed it open again. Cass. Of course. “Can’t I even yell at him without your presence?” she asked coldly.

“Nope. Team captain. Got to be here.” Cass turned and closed the door behind him, then leaned against it, his arms crossed, that damn cowboy hat in one hand.

“Fine,” Marian said. “Since you piss me off, too, you can share the punishment.”

“I don’t take punishment,” Cass said, his usual charming smile gone as he gave her a heated stare that made sweat pop out along her spine. “I give it.”

It took Marian a moment to get past the images that flashed through her head at that outrageous claim. “On the field, not in my office,” she said a little unsteadily.

“Anywhere I choose,” Cass told her calmly.

“Maybe I should go,” Beau said from behind her.

Marian jumped and spun around to face him. She hadn’t been paying attention. She couldn’t believe she’d let him flank her like that.

“Settle,” Cass said quietly but firmly. “There’s no threat here.”

“You just made threats,” she countered, backing up until her back hit the wall a few feet off to Cass’s left.

“No,” he said, the charm back in his voice, a sexy little drawl making it sound like Naw. “Those were promises.”

She actually felt a bead of sweat slip down her cleavage, and she shivered.

“Stop it,” Beau said. “You’re scaring her.” She glanced at him and he looked a little sad, his eyes big and golden brown, and soft with some emotion she couldn’t name. Instinctively she knew he wasn’t the threat here, which threw her into confusion. Wasn’t he the one in charge?

“I’m not scared,” she said. It was a knee-jerk reaction, something she’d said so often in the past few years—to others and to herself—that it was second nature.

Cass sort of rolled himself along the wall toward her until he was leaning over her, not quite pressed against her, his hands on either side of her head, one still holding his hat. “Good,” he said, his voice rough and heavy with wanting. “I don’t want you scared.”

She was breathing too fast. “Move your arms,” she said, and she winced at the panic in her voice.

“Cass,” Beau said. She saw his hand on Cass’s shoulder and her heart nearly beat out of her chest. She had to put her hand up to her chest and press against it to make sure it didn’t.

“You know I’d never hurt you,” Cass said softly. He turned and tossed his hat onto the couch, against the opposite wall. Then he dropped both arms to his sides. He didn’t move back, though. He stayed close enough that she could feel his heat and smell his cologne and a hint of his sweat and deodorant and laundry detergent and shampoo, all the things that combined to be Cass’s scent. She hadn’t realized she knew his smell so well. It was an odd thought and made her frown at him. He frowned back. “Don’t you?” he asked.

It took a moment to remember what he’d said. “Yes.” She did know it. But that didn’t make her heart slow down, because she wasn’t afraid of him. She was afraid of herself, and what she’d let him do if she let go.

“Yell at me.” Beau’s soft words were lost in Cass’s gaze for a second and then they sank in.

“I should,” she said, standing straighter and tugging on the hem of her shirt nervously. “What in the hell do you think you were doing out there?” She pushed on Cass’s chest, but he wouldn’t budge, so she stood on tiptoe and glared at Beau over his shoulder.

“Speaking my mind,” Beau said. He walked over and dropped down on the couch, easily within her sight, making sure not to crush Cass’s hat. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to do that.”

“So you decide to do it on my watch?” Marian said in a strangled voice. “Gee, thanks.”

“On your watch?” Beau asked, obviously getting angry. “Now you’re my babysitter, too? Jesus, how many do I need?”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Cass said, turning to glare at Beau, hands on his hips.

“Don’t try to distract me with a lovers’ quarrel,” Marian warned them. “I’m still pissed about Beau’s big mouth.”

Cass slowly swung his head back around and pinned her to the wall with his stare. He had the bluest eyes, and they could go cold and hard as fast as they could turn hot and heavy-lidded. “Lovers’ quarrel?” he asked quietly. Too quietly. Marian tried to slide sideways along the wall, out of his reach.

“That’s right,” she said, full of false bravado. She thought for a second that this must be what the canary felt like before the cat pounced.

Suddenly Beau laughed loudly, a harsh bark that sounded more incredulous than amused. It broke Cass’s stare and Marian quickly moved over to lean against her desk, facing them on more solid ground. “What’s so funny?”

“We”—he gestured between him and Cass—“are not lovers. We’re friends and we fuck women together. That’s it.” He didn’t sound happy about it. Or was he unhappy that people thought they were?

“Beau.” This time it was Cass trying to yank on the leash with a warning in his voice.

“Forget it,” Beau said flatly. “I’ve come out of my shell today. I’m not crawling back in.”


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Samantha Kane lives in North Carolina with her husband and three children, two boys and one girl. With a master’s degree in American history, she spent seven years as a high school history teacher before becoming a full-time writer and mom.


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17. I Like Your Shoes, by R. Stim | Dedicated Review

I Like Your Shoes is a suspenseful read that will satisfy audiences interested in contemporary mysteries featuring dynamic characters and inventive plots.

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18. Spotlight and Giveaway: Chasing Jillian by Julie Brannagh

 

This morning I have a spotlight and giveaway for Chasing Jillian.

Chasing Jillian
Love and Football # 5

By: Julie Brannagh

Releasing July 7, 2015

Avon Impulse

Blurb

Jillian Miller likes her job working in the front office for the Seattle Sharks, but lately being surrounded by a constant parade of perfection only seems to make her own imperfections all the more obvious. She needs a change, which takes her into foreign territory: the Sharks’ workout facility after hours. The last thing she expects is a hot, grumbly god among men to be there as witness.

Star linebacker Seth Taylor had a bad day-well, a series of them recently. When he hits the Sharks’ gym to work out his frustration, he’s startled to find someone there-and even more surprised that it’s Jillian, the team owner’s administrative assistant. When he learns of Jillian’s mission to revamp her lifestyle, he finds himself volunteering to help. Something about Jillian’s beautiful smile and quick wit makes him want to stick around. She may not be like the swimsuit models he usually has on his arm, but the more time Seth spends with Jillian the harder he falls.

And as Jillian discovers that the new her is about so much more than she sees in the mirror, can she discover that happiness and love are oh-so-much better than perfect?

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/06/chasing-jillian-love-and-football-5-by.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22608144-chasing-jillian?ac=1

Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/112833-love-and-football

Buy Links: Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo

Author Info

USA Today Bestselling Author, 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.

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 contemporary sports romances.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Website: http://www.juliebrannagh.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JulieBrannagh
Twitter: https://twitter.com/julieinduvall
GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7127296.Julie_Brannagh

 

Excerpt

She hurried over to the laptop on the little desk in the kitchen, pulled up Google, and searched on Seth’s name. She sank into a chair while she read. He was six foot four, and she practically weighed as much as he did. Well, not quite, but still. She let out a long sigh. He was two years younger than she was. It also seemed Seth had been busy: He was single. “Very single,” according to one of the most recent fan websites she looked at. In Google Images, she found a series of photos of him with multiple tall, dark-haired women, each more gorgeous than the last.

Jillian shut the laptop lid with an irritated “click”, got up from her chair, and hurried into the bathroom. She’d stood in front of a full-length mirror so many times, but it always showed her the same thing. She wasn’t unattractive, but she could use a little more self-confidence and a lot more toning.  She wasn’t asking for physical perfection, but she’d like to make some changes. If she made a plan, started slowly and kept at it, she’d see a difference.  The biggest changes needed to start on the inside, though. Maybe if she got out a little more, she might meet a guy that was interested in her. Seth was gorgeous, but he wasn’t really in her universe. Jillian went into the kitchen, grabbed a frozen low-calorie dinner out of the freezer, ripped the cardboard lid off, and shoved it into the microwave. Dinner would taste a whole lot better if it was accompanied by half a bag of chips and some Ranch dip. But that wasn’t an option right now. She opened the refrigerator door to look for a fresh vegetable of some type.

She pushed the fridge door shut after a fruitless search and rummaged around in her apartment’s tiny pantry. She located a can of peas. Peas were good. Plus, there weren’t many calories in peas. Maybe she could fill up on them if the diet dinner didn’t cut it.

Jillian’s love-hate relationship with her body and food had started when she was little.  Most of the time, there wasn’t enough to eat. She ended up in a foster home at three years old after her mother died in a car wreck, and she was moved a few times before she entered elementary school. Things got a little better for Jillian when she was placed in a more permanent foster home, but she was still so hungry. No matter how much she ate, she wanted more.  When she was old enough to make her own money, she made sure there was more than enough, and that’s when the problems began. Even more than a diet or a new workout regime, she needed to focus on the great things in her life. She’d build a healthier lifestyle as a result. Even more than a diet or a new workout regime, change from the inside would last a lot longer. She wanted to build on the goals she’d already achieved and reach out for more of the things she wanted in life: A husband. A family. To belong.

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19. Cover Reveal: One More Shot by Victoria Denault

I have a Top 5 list and a cover reveal this morning for Victoria Denault’s NA hockey romance, One More Shot.  This is the first book in Victoria’s Hometown Players series.

Top 5 Fun Facts about Victoria Denault

1. I’ve run the bulls in Pamplona, Spain – twice.

2. The title One More Shot was inspired by a song by a band named Kane.

3. The characters are from the fictitious town of Silver Bay, Maine. It’s roughly based on Old Orchard Beach, Maine, but I swapped the ocean for a lake.

4. The relationship between the Caplan sisters (Jessie, Rose, Callie) is inspired by the relationship I had with my best friends growing up.

5. I LOVE hockey and was lucky enough to be at a Stanley Cup winning game. Total bucket list item.

ONE MORE SHOT by Victoria Denault (June 2, 2015; Forever Yours E-Book; $3.99; Hometown Players Book #1)

They say you only get one shot at making your dreams come true. Jordan is determined to take two.
Drafted by the NHL at eighteen, Jordan Garrison was headed for fame, and there was only one person he wanted to share it with-Jessie Caplan. He was crazy in love with her, and had finally told her so. They shared an amazing night . . . and then everything fell apart.
Jessie tries not to think about the night she gave herself to Jordan-or how he broke her heart. She tries not to think about it, but she does. Especially now, when she’s staring into his sky-blue eyes for the first time in six years. After so much time and torment, she can’t tell if she loves him or hates him. But Jordan has learned enough to know a connection like theirs is rare. He was lucky to find Jessie once. No way will he lose her again.

Pre-Order Links:

Amazon

B&N

iBooks

BAM

GooglePlay

Kobo

About the author:

Victoria Denault loves long walks on the beach, cinnamon dolce lattes and writing angst-filled romance. She lives in LA but grew up in Montreal, which is why she is fluent in English, French and hockey.

Social Media Links:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

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20. GIVEAWAY: A Pocket Star EBook Kentucky Derb-E Treat! The Aspen Valley Series by Colette Auclair

GIVEAWAY

A Pocket Star EBook

Kentucky Derb-E Treat!

The Aspen Valley Series:

To gear up for the Derby, and to celebrate the start of the horse show season, I have a giveaway for Colette Auclair’s Aspen Valley series, thanks to Pocket Books!   I loved Thrown, so I’m excited to share this giveaway with you!

The Kentucky Derby is just one week away and we are giving away promo codes for the EBooks Thrown, Jumped, and Branded in Colette Auclair’s award-winning Aspen Valley series!

THROWN (December 2013; $5.99) is the first book in The Aspen Valley Series.  Professional horse trainer Amanda Vogel dreams of riding jumpers in the Olympics, but after seeing her best friend die in a riding accident, she’s so traumatized she can’t compete. Broke and desperate, she takes a summer job in Aspen teaching some big-shot widowed movie star’s spoiled daughters to ride—and braces herself for three miserable months. But the movie star is funny, down-to-earth, and gorgeous—and his spoiled daughters are just desperate for a mother figure. By Labor Day, she has to choose between capturing a gold medal…and the man who has captured her heart.

 

JUMPED (August 2014; $5.99), the second book in The Aspen Valley Series, is Colette Auclair’s steamy sequel to her “page-turning debut” (Library Journal), Thrown. A young woman in the equestrian fashion business finds herself head over heels for her ex-husband.  Thoroughly enjoying herself at her best friend Amanda’s wedding, Beth is shocked when she is seated next to her ex-husband, Finn, at the reception. Determined to not let this fluster her, Beth strikes up a conversation only to learn Finn isn’t the same man she walked away from. 

Relieved the reception is over, Beth is looking forward to a relaxing weekend against the beautiful backdrop of sunny Aspen at Amanda and Grady’s estate.  Little does she know Finn will be partaking in the weekend activities.  But just as Beth decides to keep as much distance between her and Finn as possible, Finn has a terrible accident and Beth is stuck being his bedside nurse.  Over the course of the weekend, Beth and Finn discover that the wounds of their failed marriage are not all that’s left. There are sparks…and hope. But just as they decide to give it another try, Finn confesses a huge secret that could destroy everything he’s fought to get back—Beth, their relationship, and another chance at love.  Will Beth turn away, or will she take a leap of faith and say “I do” once (again) and for all? 

BRANDED (December 2014; $5.99), the third book in The Aspen Valley Series, will take readers on a wild and dreamy ride through the beautiful valleys and mountains of Colorado.  Professional, polite, and pearl-wearing, dressage rider and resort consultant Cordy Sims is the last person anyone would expect to initiate a weekend of debauchery. And yet, that’s exactly what she does after meeting a handsome stranger at an Aspen resort. Agreeing that they’ll leave personal details at the door, they indulge in a memorable weekend of carnal recreation. On Sunday night, Cordy doesn’t want to leave this charming, seductive man, but she must play by her own rules.
On Monday, Cordy sits in a meeting at the ad agency that’s hired her as a freelancer, and her professional and personal worlds collide. Turns out agency owner Jack Cormier looks just as good in the boardroom as he did in the bedroom. Forced to work together, Cordy and Jack can’t ignore the chemistry that crackles between them, or the deeper feelings that have developed. But secrets and scars from their pasts may prove too formidable, even for a love that’s as powerful as it is unexpected. 

Praise for The Aspen Valley Series:

“The story portrays two convincingly flawed but likeable characters who find each other’s aults both provocative and exciting, as they try to decide whether a second chance at marriage is worth the risk.”

Publishers Weekly on Jumped

“Harris, the Brunswicks’ chef, is a clairvoyant Cupid, full of honest evaluations of people and their love lives. He adds a spark to the story as Auclair continues to build her cast of series characters and develop their varied personalities.”

—Library Journal on Jumped

In JUMPED, the author returns to the Aspen area with many of the same characters that were in her well–received debut novel, THROWN…Major and minor characters are interesting and likable, and the friendships add to the primary romance. There will be at least one more book in the series. Look for BRANDED to release in December. If you like horses, a tangled relationship, and a series that flows from one book to the next, check out these titles.”

—Romance Reviews Today on Jumped

“If you’re looking for a highly entertaining, fast-paced, horsey beach read, Jumped should fill the bill.”

—Horse Nation on Jumped

“There is enough tension among all the forces at play to keep the pages turning. Debut novelist Auclair is a 2012 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Finalist, winner of the 2011 Winter Rose Contest, and a finalist in the 2011 Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest.  Recommended for most romance fans.”

—Library Journal on Thrown

“Romantic fiction with an equestrian theme gets a fun new twist in this novel which follows trainer Amanda Vogel… the star is single, handsome, and has the hots for Amanda. But both characters are carrying hefty loads of their own baggage, and as they navigate through various dramas and horse-related mishaps, the layers (both physical and psychological) start to come off. Thrown weaves horses into the story with a practiced tone, and the accuracy of equine knowledge and horse people adds to the plot. For a fun, entertaining read, be sure to pick up this debut novel by Colette Auclair.”

Horse & Style on Thrown

“Totally accurate, as far as HorseGirls go…Colette Auclair nails the horse stuff…whether it’s describing Amanda’s selection of appropriate mounts for Grady’s beginner daughters, or setting up a human cross-country course for the girls to play Olympics over, or accurately detailing an episode of colic (including the joy when the horse finally poops), or explaining the feeling of connecting with a once-in-a-lifetime horse…my favorite part about the book, aside from the discussions of how horse training prepares just about anyone for human training…is the humor…Aside from getting the horse stuff right, the characters are also well-developed…The story is quite a page-turner, so be prepared to be completely unable to stop–like a runaway horse except actually fun.  And the book does have one pretty detailed sex scene and multiple explicit make out sessions, so it’s not for kids. Bottom line: if you like romantic comedies, you’ll definitely enjoy Thrown.”

Horse Nation on Thrown

Colette Auclair has been a copywriter for more than twenty years.  She’s ridden and shown horses since she was ten and owns a lovely twenty-year-old Thoroughbred mare.  Thrown, her first novel, was a 2012 Golden Heart finalist in the single-title contemporary romance category.  It also won the 2011 Winter Rose Contest (Yellow Rose Romance Writers) and finaled in the 2011 Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest (NE Ohio Romance Writers Assoc.)  Jumped is second and Branded is third in the Aspen Valley series.  Please visit coletteauclair.com.

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21. The Crossover, by Kwame Alexander | Book Review

This is a book young people will probably want to read more than once, both for the themes in the story and for the author’s storytelling. It will appeal to middle grade readers who like sports – especially basketball – and coming of age stories.

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22. Who Would Win the Super(hero) Bowl? The Seattle Hulks or the Cleveland Things?

Last week, Chicagoland geeks were congregating at McCormick Place, enjoying the plethora of pop culture paraphernalia.

This week, Chicagoland geeks are congregating at Grant Park, to experience the NFL Draft.  It’s Chicago’s first draft in 51 years, and the NFL has a “fan experience” set up in the park, complete with a beer garden.

(Side note… I think the worst team in the NFL should host the NFL draft the next year, as a consolation prize to the fans who don’t get to enjoy the post-season.)

So, you ask, aside from the shared geekery, why am I writing about this?

Because graphic designer Justin Kozisek has taken the NFL’s 32 teams’ helmets, and crafted Marvel Comics-themed helmets and mascots for each!  My favorite:

FINFANGHe’s got a store, where it appears you can buy t-shirts and posters of your favorite teams/characters.

It’s doubtful we’ll ever see these used in an actual game, given the hubbub over the Spider-Man 2 baseball promotion. One would hope that Diamond Direct or Nike would create faux jerseys for those fans which geek over sports and comics. (Full disclosure: I own a Drunken Monkeys bowling shirt.)

Meanwhile, if fictitious football teams bore you, there’s always indoor football

 

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23. Screaming at the Ump, by Audrey Vernick | Book Review

Screaming at the Ump will appeal to both boys and girls who are interested in sports (especially baseball), and journalism, coping with the transition to middle school, or dealing with family conflicts.

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24. Guest Post and Giveaway: All of Me by Jennifer Bernard

 
 
 

Jennifer Bernard dropped by the virtual offices to celebrate the release of her latest, All of Me. Check it out!

When I started writing this post, it was supposed to be about my five favorite baseball players, but then I realized that on top of my list was Crash Davis. Don’t know him? That might be because he’s the completely fictional catcher played by Kevin Costner in the movie Bull Durham. I’m still crushed that Crash is not a real person. So I changed things up a little, and now offer you … my five favorite baseball movies!

#5 Million Dollar Arm

Jon Hamm. Need I say more? This movie is about the search for a pitching phenom in the baseball-oblivious nation of India. It’s actually based on a true story, because who could make something like that up? It’s a little (okay, maybe a lot) Disney-fied, but I love India, I love baseball, and besides … Jon Hamm.

Tied for #5 Moneyball

Brad Pitt. Need I say more? Moneyball delves into baseball statistics and backroom deal-making and is oddly fascinating. Besides … Brad Pitt.

#4 The Perfect Game

Also based on a true story, this movie is about a group of boys in Mexico who start up a Little League team in a country where there’s no organized baseball. On a three-day visa, they cross the border to play for a spot in the playoffs, never dreaming they’ll make it all the way to the World Series. By some miracle, they do, and their star pitcher, a skinny, scrappy kid, pitches the only perfect game in Little League World Series history. Baseball is about impossible dreams becoming possible, which this movie captures perfectly.

#3 Pitch Perfect

I know, it’s not about baseball, but it does contain the word “Pitch” and it belongs on any top five favorite movie list I write, so there.

The real #3. 42

The sport of baseball gives true character a chance to shine. When Jackie Robinson became the first black player on a Major League team, he went through a gauntlet of emotions and experiences. This movie shows it all, the good, the bad, and the shameful. It’s worth a rental just for Chadwick Bosworth’s incredible performance, but it’s mostly a compelling story about a proud man proving his skill and ability under almost unimaginable pressure.

#2 A League of Their Own

A classic. I love every second of this movie, even the ones with Madonna. It too is loosely based on the true story of a women’s baseball league formed during World War II, when the male players were unavailable. It’s a riot watching these women try to win over audiences who are completely skeptical about their talent. It’s about friendship, sisterhood, patriotism, and doing what you love.

#1 Bull Durham

Number 1 in my heart, forever and ever, Bull Durham stars Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon in a movie about a Triple A team in North Carolina. It’s adorable, it’s romantic, it’s sexy, it’s hilarious, it’s minor league baseball in all its quirky perfection. I freely admit that this movie inspired my new series, Love Between the Bases, which is about a minor league team in Texas. I wrote it because I wanted more of that pure, goofy baseball spirit, more romance and heat and fun and mostly … I still, to this day, want Crash Davis to be real.

What are a few of your favorite sports movies?

 
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ALL OF ME
Love Between the Bases #1
Jennifer Bernard
Releasing May 26th, 2015
Avon Romance


Jennifer Bernard, the USA Today bestselling author of the Bachelor Firemen series, scores another homerun with a brand-new series about sexy, single baseball players.

Playing for the Kilby Catfish is hotshot pitcher Caleb Hart’s last chance to salvage his career after a major league meltdown. But the day of his opener with the minor league team, Caleb strikes out with the gorgeous woman who is delivering a petition to run the unruly Catfish out of town. Now to stay in the lineup, Caleb will need to score big with the feisty brunette he can’t keep out of his thoughts.

After the nasty lies Sadie Merritt’s rich ex-boyfriend spread about her all over town, she’s lucky to have a job at all. She can’t afford to screw it up by falling for the player who is supposed to be helping her change the image of the fun-loving Catfish. But that’s easier said than done when Caleb’s voice alone is enough to make her pulse race. And when he surprises her with a mind-blowing kiss, she knows there’s no turning back.


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Jennifer Bernard is the USA Today bestselling author of the Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriels series. She is a graduate of Harvard and a former news promo producer. The child of academics, she confounded her family by preferring romance novels to … well, any other books. She left big city life for true love in Alaska, where she now lives with her husband and stepdaughters. She’s no stranger to book success, as she also writes erotic novellas under a naughty secret name not to be mentioned at family gatherings.





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25. Illustration Inspiration: Jennifer Gray Olson, Ninja Bunny

JENNIFER GRAY OLSON is a graduate of California State University, Fullerton, where she earned her bachelor of arts degree in art education. She is a glassblower and sculptor. In addition to writing and illustrating ... Read the rest of this post

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