Hüquqi xidmətlər

Hüquqi xidmətlər

 Юрист  предлагает  услуги по решению гражданских, уголовных, семейных, жилищных, земельных, миграционных,  наследственных, корпоративных, экономических, трудовых, хозяйственных, налоговых, таможенных  и иных споров в судебном и досудебном  порядке. Развод, алименты, раздел имущества, долги, получение виз, регистрация и ликвидация компаний   и многое другое. Составляю иски, жалобы, договора и контракты на русском, азербайджанском, английском языках. Возможен выезд юриста на дом. Бесплатную консультацию можно получить по телефонам: 0518831935, 0125023664 - Дмитрий.

Hüquqşünastəklif  edir. Məhkəmə və məhkəməyəqədərqaydasında, mülki, mənzil, torpaq, miqrasiya,  vərəsəlik,  korporativ, iqtisadi, əmək, təsərrüfat, vergi, gömrük  və digərməsələlərinhəlli, boşanma, borcunqaytarılması, vizaların alınması,şirkətlərin açılması və ləğv edilməsi,  hüquqisənədlərin rus, azərbaycan,  ingilis dillərində   tərtibivə sairməsləhətlər. Hüquqşünasınevə gəlməyimümkündür. Pulsuzməsləhətitelefonvasitəsiilə almaqolar: 0518831935, 0125023664 – Dmitriy.

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Network Rail will lose control over Britain’s train tracks as power is handed to private operators in a major shake-up of the railway system, the Government is reportedly to announce next week. The move, which would mark the biggest change to the running of the rail network in decades, would see British rail companies such as Virgin Trains and Southern becoming responsible for repairs and maintenance for the first time, ending state-owned Network Rail’s monopoly. Transport minister Chris Grayling will announce the plans in a speech to the Conservative think tank Policy Exchange on Tuesday, according to The Daily Telegraph. The Government hopes this shift of control will incentivise train companies to carry out repairs more quickly and possibly bring in cheaper fares, . READ MORE Train fares set to rise by average of 2.3% Train fares are going up again and here's what you're paying for Network Rail pulls human rights advert for being 'too political' Network Rail fined £4 million after actress dies at level crossing Easter weekend: Record number of engineering works on UK railways It comes as the rail industry announced train fares would go up by an average of 2.3 per cent – more than double the rate of inflation – from 2 January 2017, with some unregulated fares likely to result in fares rise of considerably more. Currently Britain’s train tracks are owned by Network Rail while trains are controlled by completely separate companies. Mr Grayling has spoken previously of his lack of confidence in the railway system and his desire to give train operators more control. As the Conservatives’ front-bench transport spokesman 10 years ago, he said: “We think, with hindsight, that the complete separation of track and train into separate businesses at the time of privatisation was not right for our railways. “The separation has helped push up the cost of running the railways – and hence fares – and has slowed decisions about capacity improvements. “Too many people and organisations are now involved in getting things done – so nothing happens.” In publicity material sent out ahead of the speech, Policy Exchange reportedly said Mr Grayling’s vision will “put the passenger at its heart, ensuring that journeys are safe, quick, and provide value for money”. For Labour, shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said that “privatising” the rail infrastructure would be an “irresponsible move”. “The last thing our railways need is another layer of fragmentation and complexity. Train operating companies will only engage with this if they can extract more profit from taxpayers and fare-payers,” he said. “It's remarkable that operators such as Southern who display a cavalier attitude towards cost-cutting and safety might be invited to take responsibility for the repair and maintenance of the tracks. Since his election last month, they have struggled to understand who is advising Donald Trump on Asia and what his China policy will look like. This move will turn concern into alarm and anger. Beijing sees Taiwan as a province. Denying it any of the trappings of an independent state is one of the key priorities of Chinese foreign policy. Read more from Carrie: The Trump phone call that will stun Beijing Mild reaction - Cindy Sui, BBC, Taipei China's reaction is relatively mild. It doesn't want to get off on the wrong foot with Mr Trump. And it sees Mr Trump as an inexperienced politician, so for now it's willing to forgive him and not play this up. It may also be somewhat reassured by statements from the US that its policy on China and Taiwan has not changed. But behind the scenes it's safe to say China is working hard to "educate" the Trump team on not repeating such diplomatic faux pas. This move by Taiwan's President Tsai will further infuriate Beijing and make it distrust her even more and see her as favouring Taiwan's formal independence from China. World-changing ideas summit With our powers of reasoning, rich memories and the ability to imagine what the future might hold, human intelligence is unequalled in the animal kingdom. Our closest relatives, chimpanzees, are adept problem solvers, making their own tools to reach food, for example. They use sophisticated gestures and facial expressions to communicate. Yet, they fall a long way short of our own ability to think and plan for the future. Thomas Suddendorf, a psychologist at the University of Queensland, describes this as the gap – the cognitive gulf that separates us from animals. But it was not always so wide, he says in the video above. Our species once shared the planet with other hominins with intelligence that may have rivaled our own. Their extinction was at least partly due to the actions of our own ancestors, according to many anthropologists. We need to be careful not to make the same mistakes again and widen the gap between the species even further in our pursuit of progress, warns Suddendorf, who spoke to BBC Future at the World-Changing Ideas Summit in Sydney on 15 November. Read more: We’ve got human intelligence all wrong Jason G Goldman’s column Uniquely Human, about the similarities and differences between us and the animal kingdom Join 700,000+ Future fans by liking us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Instagram If you liked this story, sign up for the weekly bbc.com features newsletter, called “If You Only Read 6 Things This Week”. A handpicked selection of stories from BBC Future, Earth, Culture, Capital, Travel and Autos, delivered to your inbox every Friday. The minibus crosses the vast plateau on a newly paved road. Cracked fields stretch away towards the Moroccan desert to the south. Yet the barren landscape is no longer quite as desolate as it once was. This year it became home to one of the world’s biggest solar power plants. Welcome to Future Now Your essential guide to a world in flux Change happens quickly these days and it can be hard to keep up. That’s why BBC Future has launched a new section called Future Now to bring you in-depth stories about the people, events and trends that are shaping our world. We will be publishing regular stories from all over the world about technology, energy, economics, society and much more – you can find them here. We hope you will join us as we explore the changes that matter. Hundreds of curved mirrors, each as big as a bus, are ranked in rows covering 1,400,000 sq m (15m sq ft) of desert, an area the size of 200 football fields. The massive complex sits on a sun-blasted site at the foot of the High Atlas mountains, 10km (6 miles) from Ouarzazate – a city nicknamed the door to the desert. With around 330 days of sunshine a year, it’s an ideal location. As well as meeting domestic needs, Morocco hopes one day to export solar energy to Europe. This is a plant that could help define Africa's – and the world’s – energy future. (Credit: Getty Images) Hundreds of curved mirrors, each as big as a bus, are ranked in rows covering 1,400,000 square metres of desert, an area the size of 200 football fields (Credit: Getty Images) Of course, on the day I visit the sky is covered in clouds. “No electricity will be produced today,“ says Rachid Bayed at the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (Masen), which is responsible for implementing the flagship project. An occasional off day is not a concern, however. After many years of false starts, solar power is coming of age as countries in the sun finally embrace their most abundant source of clean energy. The Moroccan site is one of several across Africa and similar plants are being built in the Middle East – in Jordan, Dubai and Saudi Arabia. The falling cost of solar power has made it a viable alternative to oil even in the most oil-rich parts of the world. As well as meeting domestic needs, Morocco hopes one day to export solar energy to Europe. Noor 1, the first phase of the Moroccan plant, has already surpassed expectations in terms of the amount of energy it has produced. It is an encouraging result in line with Morocco’s goal to reduce its fossil fuel bill by focusing on renewables while still meeting growing energy needs that are increasing by about 7% per year. Morocco’s stable government and economy has helped it secure funding: the European Union contributed 60% of the cost for the Ouarzazate project, for example. (Credit: Sandrine Ceurstemont) With around 330 days of sunshine a year, the region around Ouarzazate - a city nicknamed the door to the desert - is an ideal location (Credit: Sandrine Ceurstemont) The country plans to generate 14% of its energy from solar by 2020 and by adding other renewable sources like wind and water into the mix, it is aiming to produce 52% of its own energy by 2030. This puts Morocco more or less in line with countries like the UK, which wants to generate 30% of its electricity from renewables by the end of the decade, and the US, where President Obama set a target of 20% by 2030. (Trump has threatened to dump renewables, but his actions may not have a huge impact. Many policies are controlled by individual states and big companies have already started to switch to cleaner and cheaper alternatives.) Due to the lack sun on the day I visit, the hundreds of mirrors stand still and silent. The team keeps a close eye on weather forecasts to predict output for the following day, allowing other sources of energy to take over when it is overcast. The reflectors can be heard as they move together to follow the sun like a giant field of sunflowers But normally the reflectors can be heard as they move together to follow the Sun like a giant field of sunflowers. The mirrors focus the Sun’s energy onto a synthetic oil that flows through a network of pipes. Reaching temperatures up to 350C (662F), the hot oil is used to produce high-pressure water vapour that drives a turbine-powered generator. “It’s the same classic process used with fossil fuels, except that we are using the Sun’s heat as the source,” says Bayed. The plant keeps generating energy after sunset, when electricity demands peak. Some of the day’s energy is stored in reservoirs of superhot molten salts made of sodium and potassium nitrates, which keeps production going for up to three hours. In the next phase of the plant, production will continue for up to eight hours after sunset. (Credit: Sandrine Ceurstemont) “The last time the Tories privatised the tracks resulted in a series of fatal accidents that led to the creation of Network Rail in the first place. We don’t want to see a return to the bad old days of Railtrack.” Response to the reported plans on social media has been widely of concern and anger. One Twitter user said: “Government idea to turn Network Rail back into rail track in private hands to save money risks safety. Not a good idea!” Another tweet was more blunt, saying: “Government hands track repairs to profiteering Virgin and Southern. Deaths will result.” More about: Network RailtrainsRailwayVirginSouthernChris Graylingprivatisation “Whisky is all about education, understanding and driving flavour exploration,” says Greg Dillon, spirits connoisseur and editor of the Great Drams blog. “The depth of flavour, the variety and the intrigue of whisky is what is driving the trend towards whisky being a great accompaniment to meals.” Clearly, wine isn’t the only drink capable of being the perfect match for food. Whisky is gaining in popularity as the ideal partner for a range of dishes, from light starters to desserts. The many flavour descriptions vary from light to full-bodied; from a touch of sweetness and fruit, to more complex and bold with strong peat, earthy and smoky notes. Whisky is a great match for seafood, cheese, smoked and roasted meats, and desserts. The lighter styles fare better with smoked salmon and sushi, while medium-bodied whiskies work with smoked fish such as mackerel. Very few of us can claim to never tell a lie, but what if there was a way of spotting a liar without a lie-detector test? A new study has discovered which of us are actually most likely to be liars, and it’s bad news for young, single men. The study of 3,349 Americans of “all major ethnic, incomes, and geographic regions” by Curtin University, Australia, sought to discover whether there’s a link between socio-economic status and lying, and it drew some very specific conclusions. READ MORE 10 uncomfortable truths no one wants to admit All the lies and mistruths Trump told during the US election campaign Strict parenting turns children into liars, experts claim Bernie Sanders says Donald Trump is a pathological liar The researchers found that the most likely liars are young, unmarried men prone to road rage and with low levels of education - as well as asking about lying, respondents were asked questions such as “have you ever given someone the finger in traffic?” Lead study author Arch Woodside explained to the Huffington Post that a young male with low education isn’t enough to determine how prolific a liar he is, “but a young male with low education who engages in antisocial behaviour such as road rage, well by now you can be pretty sure he is.” However the second most likely group of liars is female - specifically, young, married women with low levels of education who’ve attained a high income. Woodside suggested these could be “women who have married into money.” Presumably they could also simply be women who have earned their own fortunes despite low levels of education. The world's most notorious liars 10 (CNN)The next possible US secretary of defense went by the military call sign "Chaos." Revered by his troops as a "warrior monk" with a knack for hard-edged quips, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis led troops in Afghanistan in 2001, won laurels for leadership in one of the bloodiest battles of the Iraq War and most recently headed US Central Command, perhaps the military's most complicated and challenging post. Now, Mattis faces an entirely different kind of fight. As President-elect Donald Trump prepares to formally nominate the former four-star to head the Pentagon, some Democrats are signaling his confirmation might not be entirely easy. Some observers question whether Mattis' battlefield experience prepares him for the very different task of running an enormous bureaucracy, while senior lawmakers worry about what the 66-year-old's nomination means for maintaining civilian control of the military. Republicans issued glowing testimonials to Mattis and his career. California Rep. Devin Nunes, who heads the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said he could think of "no better candidate to lead America's military in our long fight against jihadism and countering other pressing threats." Noting that Mattis hasn't been out of uniform long enough to lead the Pentagon without a congressional waiver, California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff said that while he "would make an excellent Secretary of Defense, we must also bear in mind the precedent we would be setting and the impact it would have on the principle of civilian leadership of our nation's military." Donald Trump speaks with Taiwan's President Kirsten Gillibrand, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee subcommittee on personnel, was more definitive. "Civilian control of our military is a fundamental principle of American democracy," Gillibrand said in a statement Thursday, "and I will not vote for an exception to this rule." Just one senator can demand that the waiver for Mattis meet a 60-vote threshold, meaning he would need to get the support of all Republicans and eight Democrats to move toward confirmation next year. If he's approved, Mattis would be the highest-ranking former officer to serve as defense secretary. The Washington State native and history major led troops through the conflicts in the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq. From 2010 to 2013, he led Central Command, which oversees the Middle East and Southeast Asia, until the Obama administration let him go over disagreements on Iran. The White House was pushing for a nuclear deal with Tehran in 2013, the same year Mattis was telling the Aspen Security Forum that his top concern as Centcom commander was "Iran, Iran, Iran." Obama to sign Iran sanctions bill Mattis has since been critical of the deal and of the Obama administration's refusal to engage more aggressively in the Middle East, saying it has fueled extremism in the region. In 2015, he told a congressional panel that the US needed to come out of its "reactive crouch" in the Middle East and defend its values. Indeed, Mattis has not been known to mince words. He's affectionately known as "Mad Dog" by troops who trade his quips like prized baseball cards. On the news of his nomination, many of those sayings instantly became memes on Twitter. Among them: "a good soldier follows orders, but a true warrior wears his enemy's skin like a poncho," and "be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet." Human Rights Watch called on Congress to fully examine his views on a number of issues. "Media accounts suggest that Gen. Mattis doesn't agree with President-elect Trump's more outrageous campaign proposals, such as bringing back waterboarding, targeting terrorist suspects' family members, or tampering with anti-torture laws," said Washington director Sarah Margon. She urged that during the confirmation process "senators make sure Mattis unreservedly repudiates these proposals, acknowledges that they are illegal, and confirms that they are not up for future consideration." Mattis is one of a slew of generals Trump has been considering for other Cabinet-level jobs, including Gen. David Petraeus for the State Department, Gen. John Kelly to head Homeland Security and Adm. Mike Rogers as the director of national intelligence. Erin Simpson, a national security consultant and senior editor at WarontheRocks.com, said the incoming administration may be trying to capitalize on public respect for the military by considering so many generals. But "where there are really weak civilian institutions and an inexperienced president, it just doesn't sit right by me," said Simpson. The silver lining, she adds, is that many military and security professionals wary of Trump may be convinced to serve under Mattis. "It provides some top-cover for other qualified folks to come in who might not have otherwise," Simpson said. "There are a lot of jobs to fill at the Pentagon, this could bring in some talent and that's a net gain." show all And if you want to have an honest conversation with someone, go to an unmarried woman over the age of 70 as they were found to lie the least. The study categorised “big liars” as those of us who tell 12 significant lies per year, and it found that just 13 per cent of people tell 58 per cent of all lies. In contrast, 21 per cent of us try to live our lives without lying. Woodside explained to Broadly that although most of us think we know ourselves well, we really don’t, and “such thinking may be the biggest lie of all." big computer companies aren't happy about it! Is your computer painfully slow? Have you considered buying a new 'faster' computer but the price of even a basic one makes you cringe? Do you wish there was a cheaper, more affordable way to get a new computer? (Hint: there is – keep reading.) It's incredibly frustrating when computers slow down or stop working for seemingly no reason at all. And even after all the diagnostics, upgrades, and money spent, the amount of time waiting for that spinning wheel or hourglass to disappear never seems to get any shorter. Your once new, lightning-fast, computer just keeps getting slower as each day passes. Well, fortunately, there's a new device that has recently hit the market and it's literally giving old, slow computers lightning fast speed again. And to say it's extremely affordable is grossly understated! What is It? It's called Xtra-PC and if you have an old, slow computer, it is exactly what you've been waiting for. Xtra-PC is a small thumb drive you simply plug into your computer's USB port and it instantly transforms your old computer to like new. It works with any computer (Mac or Windows) laptop, desktop, and netbooks made in 2004 or later. It is hands down the fastest, easiest solution to getting yourself a new computer without spending $400, $500, $800 or more – guaranteed. No more staring at spinning wheels or hourglasses ever again! How Does it Work? Super easy! In fact, it's so easy that it's like snapping your fingers and watching your old computer magically turn into the new, super-fast computer you want it to be. All you have to do is... Plug it in – Simply plug Xtra-PC into a USB port while your computer is turned off. Turn Your Computer On – Select 'Boot from USB' and bingo, you're good to go. Enjoy New PC – In less than 15 minutes you'll be shocked at the difference in the performance of your computer. You only have to setup Xtra-PC once and you can even use it on multiple computers! Watch This Video For A Closer Look At How Xtra-PC Works! No Hard Drive? No Problem! Amazingly, Xtra-PC even works on computers with no hard drives. That's right! Broken, damaged, or just plain missing – Xtra-PC will have your computer running like new again even without a hard drive! What Can I Do With My Like-New Computer? Everything! With Xtra-PC, there's simply no need to spend hundreds of dollars on a new computer – only to have it peter out on you in another year or two. It makes no sense. But getting Xtra-PC does (which is why the big computer companies are so against this incredibly powerful little device). With Xtra-PC you'll be able to do the things you normally do... Heck, you can even add other programs to your computer if you wanted to. Want to download Skype? No problem, with Xtra-PC, you can. How Much Is This Going To Cost Me? This is not a joke. Xtra-PC is only $24.99! That's right – ONLY 25 bucks! And they offer a 30-Day money back guarantee. There honestly is no good reason not to try Xtra-PC. You can get Xtra-PC direct from the company's website here. Make sure to buy it from the official site as there are many knockoffs on the market today. Want to win at job-hunting and being a student? It can be done. “Seizing the opportunities available at university is a valuable way for students to boost their career prospects, as well as giving them a richer university experience,” says Maggie Westgarth, head of employability and enterprise at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol). Here are some suggestions for how to do it: Work placements “They enable students to apply their skills in a real-world environment and see the impact their skills can have on an organisation or industry,” says Westgarth. “Employers value this level of work experience and it gives students a significant advantage in the jobs market.” Volunteer, work or study overseas “The number of new experiences that come from living in a different country and culture is extraordinary and can make a CV stand out from the crowd,” says Westgarth. “Someone who has spent time abroad during their studies will be able to talk about experiences and skills that will be unlike any other candidate.” Get involved in sports and societies Graduate recruiters stress how important this is, says Katie Seymour-Smith, senior career consultant at the University of Derby. “Not only does it expose students to a wider skill set, networking opportunities and skill application, but it contributes towards building confidence and resilience.” And it’s fun, too. Get advice from a range of people Different people – parents, friends, lecturers, employers – will have different perspectives on the world of work, according to Tom Staunton, careers consultant at the University of Derby. To help you filter all that information, he suggests seeing a professional careers adviser. “They can help you think through the different advice you have been given, work out what it means for you and what you could do about it,” he says. Mind your surrounding READ MORE SPONSORED Giving graduates a head start in business “Don’t bury your head in the sand - there’s always something going on around campus,” says Alison Armstrong, a careers advisor at Bournemouth University. That might be a careers workshop, a volunteering opportunity at the union or an event hosted by an employer. Look out for employability awards, too. “These are structured programmes designed to help you get the most out of your time at university,” she adds. Be a part of the wider uni community “Get as involved as possible with uni life,” says Armstrong. It’s not just societies – getting involved with student papers and radio stations can be great fun and build great skills. “Volunteer for opportunities such as becoming a student rep,” adds Armstrong. “This will develop and demonstrate leadership, negotiation and team-working skills.” This can be with fellow students on forums, but Jack Wallington, community director at The Student Room suggests casting the net wider as well. “It’s good to connect with lecturers, guest speakers or anyone you’ve worked alongside, as by getting to know them you’re likely to get introduced to even more people in the industry,” he says. Tap your uni's alumni network as well. “These people have first-hand experiences and advice to offer on how to break into your chosen field,” he adds.
Fast, Affordable, Professional Editing and Proofreading Trusted with more than 1,254 million words—Open 24/7 Editing Services AuthorsStudent/AcademicESLBusinessCorporate/GovernmentPersonal FAQs All FAQsHow Do I...?Pricing, Payments, and CurrenciesEmployment Opportunities My Scribendi My OrdersMy AccountCreate an AccountContact Us Writing Resources Advice and ArticlesPodcastsBooksTraining CoursesGlossaryToolsAPIUseful Sites About Us About UsQuality AssurancePartner With UsAwardsNewsTestimonialsCase StudiesEmploymentContact You are here: > Home > Resources > Advice and Articles > Authors > The 17 Best Book Blogs to Read in 2017 The 17 Best Book Blogs to Read in 2017 The 17 Best Book Blogs to Read in 2017 Updated in January 2017 to reflect the best book blogs currently online. If you're an author trying to get published or just a book enthusiast, chances are, you're always on the lookout for great book blogs, book review blogs, and online discussions on everything from up-and-coming authors to publishing industry news. Dive into our list of the 17 best book blogs to read in 2017. 1. The IndieView Catering to indie authors, The IndieView features reviews of new self-published ebooks in a variety of genres, written by close to 350 reviewers from all over the world (and the Internet). This book blog allows already reviewed authors to set up a personal author page, which is listed on the Indie Review website, and they even offer free book promotion for newly published ebook authors. 2. The Book Designer This hugely popular book blog, written by Joel Friedlander—who's worked in the publishing and design industries—strives to help people get their story out there. The Book Designer features more than 1,550 articles on everything from writing and editing to publishing and marketing your work, all from the perspectives of people who are actually in the book industry. 3. Bustle Books The book section of Bustle provides everything you want to see, know, or read in the world of books. The blog updates often—as much as 14 or 15 times a day—while maintaining a high quality of posts and covering a wide range of topics, including entertaining lists, reviews of new releases, and tips for finding writing inspiration. 4. Omnivoracious Great blog name aside, Omnivoracious is Amazon's official (and must-read) book review blog. With a minimalist and eye-catching design that focuses on books, author interviews, and industry news, this is one book blog that keeps its readers up to date on all aspects of the publishing world. Unlike other, genre-specific blogs, Omnivoracious reviews titles ranging from kids' books and comics to lifestyle and suspense—and everything in between. 5. Brain Pickings Brain Pickings is just that—thoughts and views picked from the brain of author Maria Popova. Topics range from science to literature to anthropology, but all topics are rooted in creativity. It is a thoughtful, substantial blog that all readers and writers will enjoy. 6. The New York Review of Books With a list of contributors that reads like a who's who of the literature and journalistic worlds, The New York Review of Books is the intellectual's book review blog. Filled with literature reviews, intriguing think pieces, and intelligent cultural articles, this blog both informs and inspires. 7. Tara Lazar This one's for the kids! And by kids we mean children's book authors (who, let's face it, make a living embracing their inner children). Tara Lazar's book blog is a popular resource for anyone wanting to write, or currently writing, children's fiction. Articles include advice on writing for different age groups, book design, and publishing. The website also features PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month), a fantastic take on NaNoWriMo aimed at developing great literature for kids. his 1954 book God’s Country […] ion book milestone Better World Books reaches 250 million book milestone January 23, 2017 × Comments are Disabled BOOKMOBILE, DONATIONS ourthouse November 1, 2016 × 0 comments VOLUNTEERING Baxter, waiting to head to his forever home. The Road to a Forever Home October 21, 2016 × 0 comments WE LOVE BOOKS Staff Book Review: October 1964 by David Halberstam Staff Book Review: October 1964 by David Halberstam October 3, 2016 × 0 comments Better World Books on CNN Today (2-Jul), Saturday (4-Jul), and Sunday (5-Jul) 74 comments Introducing Better Mars Books 54 comments Hands-Free Books: Read Anywhere. 41 comments Got a job that needs doing? Hire a Book Drop Box! 35 comments Books You Should Never Read in Public 33 comments Midnight Sun, Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Gone Rogue 33 comments Top Ten Most Influential Books Ever 20 comments Your Favorite Classic Books: Now In 3D 18 comments Fighting to Bring Literacy to the World 15 comments Intermountain Therapy Animals Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) wins $20,000 Readers' Choice Literacy Grant 12 comments was the talented one, the one who had been training to be a star her whole life. Her best friend, Dana, was the level-headed one, always on the sidelines, cheering her best friend along. But everything changes when Dana tags along with Olivia to Orlando for the weekend, where superproducer Guy Monroe is holding auditions for a new singing group, and Dana is discovered too. Dana, who’s never sung more than Olivia’s backup. Dana, who wasn’t even looking for fame. Next thing she knows, she and Olivia are training to be pop stars, and Dana is falling for Alex, the earnest, endlessly talented boy who’s destined to be the next big thing. It should be a dream come true, but as the days of grueling practice and constant competition take their toll, things between Olivia and Dana start to shift . . . and there’s only room at the top for one girl. For Olivia, it’s her chance at her dream. For Dana, it’s a chance to escape a future that seems to be closing in on her. And for these lifelong best friends, it’s the adventure of a lifetime—if they can make it through. Set in evocative 1990s Orlando, New York Times bestselling author Katie Cotugno’s Fireworks brings to life the complexity of friendship, the excitement of first love, and the feeling of being on the verge of greatness. I’ve been very torn about Katie Cotugno. I loved How To Love, did not care for 99 Days, and had really high hopes for Fireworks. I found Fireworks to fall right in the middle for me and I’m still not sure if I’ll keep going with Katie Cotugno’s books. Fireworks held such promise! Best friends both get picked to join a singing group and they are off to spend the summer of their lives together. Add in the other two members of the group and some very fun, attractive boys and things don’t go quite according to plan. Not to mention that the actual singing group requires a ton of work. Dana and Olivia are slowly being torn apart and their friendship may not be as strong as they think. I loved Dana and Olivia, at first. Their friendship was amazing. They were always there for each other and they wanted what was best for the other one, no matter what it meant for them. Dana was so selfless, always looking out for Olivia. It was pretty easy to see from the start that Olivia didn’t care quite so much about looking out for Dana. I could see the end coming from a mile away but I just kept hoping for the best. I loved Dana and I wanted to see her happy. Her relationship with Alex was the start to that happiness and I loved them together. They were adorable and Alex may have seemed a little too perfect but I liked him. He made Dana think about the future and he really brought out a better side of her. The ending is what really made me want to throw this book at a wall. I obviously won’t spoil anything but holy crap, I totally saw it coming and yet I couldn’t stop reading. I was so mad when I finished this book. It’s a fun read but it will definitely bring out some emotions. TAGS: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2016 Blog Tour: Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland | Review + Favorite Quotes John Green meets Rainbow Rowell in this irresistible story of first love, broken hearts, and the golden seams that put them back together again. Henry Page has never been in love. He fancies himself a hopeless romantic, but the slo-mo, heart palpitating, can't-eat-can't-sleep kind of love that he's been hoping for just hasn't been in the cards for him—at least not yet. Instead, he's been happy to focus on his grades, on getting into a semi-decent college and finally becoming editor of his school newspaper. Then Grace Town walks into his first period class on the third Tuesday of senior year and he knows everything's about to change. Grace isn't who Henry pictured as his dream girl—she walks with a cane, wears oversized boys' clothes, and rarely seems to shower. But when Grace and Henry are both chosen to edit the school paper, he quickly finds himself falling for her. It's obvious there's something broken about Grace, but it seems to make her even more beautiful to Henry, and he wants nothing more than to help her put the pieces back together again. And yet, this isn't your average story of boy meets girl. Krystal Sutherland's brilliant debut is equal parts wit and heartbreak, a potent reminder of the bittersweet bliss that is first love, picadillyblue Ignoring the whole John Green/Rainbow Rowell comparison made in the synopsis, I went into Our Chemical Hearts not really knowing what to expect but with an open mind. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t necessarily like those comparisons because it can give people unrealistic hopes. That wasn’t the case with this one because I definitely think that fans of the two authors will enjoy this one though Krystal Sutherland brings her own flair to the story. Pros: Henry: Henry was a very mixed bag for me. He had his good parts and his bad but I honestly think that is why he is in the pros column. He was really well developed as a character. He’s not your typical boy. He’s very focused on school, worrying about getting into a good college, and becoming the editor of his school paper to help with that whole good college thing. He gets the editor position but it’s got a co-editor attached and that’s Grace. Grace isn’t really his idea (or many people’s) of a dream girl but Henry is very intrigued and quickly becomes quite enmeshed in her life. Grace has a lot of baggage and Henry finds himself wanting to know everything about Grace and wanting to basically help fix her. He was a little obsessed with Grace (to me) but you could tell his heart was in the right place so it’s easy to get past that. Realism: This is not your romantic, happy ever after, high school love story. Hell, I’m not even sure I’d call it a true love story because it focuses on so much more than that. The romantic feelings that Henry has for Grace were an important part of the story but not the focal point here. Grace and Henry both have their issues and maybe putting them together wasn’t the smartest idea but they were both able to help each other. I feel like Grace taught Henry a lot and not so much Henry teaching Grace. However, both Henry and Grace’s stories were really true to life and that’s what I loved about them. Cons: Grace: While I liked Grace, I didn’t feel like I really knew her. The hardest thing for me was only ever seeing Grace through Henry’s eyes. He didn’t always think great things about her and when he did, it was sometimes almost idealistic. I wanted to know more about Grace from Grace’s perspective. I feel like there was so much more to her character that I never really got to see. I just couldn’t see her as a fully formed character while only getting Henry’s thoughts on her. I also kinda want to add the ending to the cons list but I’m not going to because I think it’s just my thoughts influencing it. I liked the ending, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not what I had hoped for. I think it’s a great ending and such a realistic one but boy was that not what I wanted. Overall, Our Chemical Hearts (I keep wanting to say My Chemical Heart. I’ve got My Chemical Romance on the brain.) is one that I think will really shock readers and make them think. Like I said before, Rainbow Rowell/John Green fans will find this one right up their alley but I just love what Krystal Sutherland brought to the table. I can’t wait to see what this Aussie author does next. Overall reaction: Be prepare Pacing: I read this book in just over two sittings. While there may not have been many things I liked about it, at least I was able to power through it. It’s an extremely quick read that is paced just right. The book takes place over 99 days (I bet you never would have guessed that) and those 99 days seem to fly by for both the reader and Molly. A lot happens throughout the course of the book and I never felt like the story got too slow or lagged. I also liked that the flashbacks Molly had from her relationship with Patrick were woven into the story. I feel like it would have bogged things down if the chapters alternated between past and present so I appreciated that. Romance: The romance between Molly and Gabe was super cute and I loved Gabe. Yes, even at the end when things came out about him, I still liked him. I felt like he was good to Molly and good for her. He wasn’t always an angel but he was never really a bad person. He was sweet and super hung up on Molly. He made her happy and he looked out for her. The start to their relationship may not have been the best thing but I didn’t think it was all that bad. I wanted to see him and Molly get a happy ending together. Characters: 99 Days had a pretty even mix of characters that I loved and characters that I hated. Gabe was on the list right in the middle since I liked him but had issues with him too. My list of characters that I loved contained two awesome females, Imogen and Tess. Imogen was Molly’s friend before everything went down and she would have been Molly’s friend after, if Molly hadn’t run away. She wasn’t willing to just overlook things when Molly came back but she was willing to move past them and let Molly earn her forgiveness. Then there was Tess. Tess was Patrick’s new girlfriend. She didn’t know Molly before everything happened but she wasn’t willing to judge her without getting to know her. They became friends and Tess was always there for Molly. Tess and Imogen knew what it was to be a good friend. Cons: Characters: The list of characters that I hated makes me want to rant. Let’s start with Molly. That girl had some serious issues. She was so extremely selfish. I don’t blame her for what she did with Gabe when Patrick broke up with her. Patrick broke up with her! They were not together when she slept with his brother. Yeah, it wasn’t really classy but as I read more about Molly and Gabe, I could see that they really cared for each other and I could get over that. It was everything else Molly did that bothered me. She was jealous of Tess even though she was the one who ruined things with Patrick and was dating his brother. She clearly wanted what she couldn’t have and she was willing to do whatever it took to get it. She threw Tess under the bus and took what she wanted from Patrick. She didn’t even think about Gabe while she screwed him over and yet she claimed to be falling in love with him. Then there was Patrick. He was a jerk and I honestly couldn’t see what Molly ever saw in him. He treated her like crap and she kept crawling back to him. Oh and don’t let me forget Patrick’s twin, Julia. Julia was supposedly Molly’s best friend but she was the first to slut shame Molly for what she did with Gabe. I understand that family comes first but that’s no reason to act like Julia did. And then there is Molly’s mom who was the one who outed Molly’s night with Gabe, not just to Patrick but to the whole world. Her mom wrote a bestselling novel based on Molly’s love life torn between Patrick and Gabe. Then she went and told everyone that it was based on her daughter. Who does that? Cheating: I can sometimes look past cheating in books and still be able to enjoy the book but not this time around. Molly had no sense of morals when it came to cheating. She just kept doing it, over and over again. Sure she’d feel bad about it later but that didn’t do anybody any good then. Too little, too late. I don’t want to get into this too much because it is very much a spoiler but just know that it was really bad. Ending: The ending is very similar to Katie Cotugno’s debut, How To Love, in that it’s up in the air. It’s pretty much up to the reader to decide what comes next for Molly and the boys in her life. I wanted some concrete answers and I know Katie Cotugno has said there is always the possibility of a sequel but that’s not what I want. I just want to know exactly how things ended for Molly and all of the Donnellys and it doesn’t look like I’ll get that. Overall, 99 Days is not one I recommend reading. Check out Katie Cotugno’s debut, How To Love, for sure, but let’s just pretend like this one didn’t happen. I’m waiting on her third book so I can see if it will redeem her! Overall reaction: What others are saying about 99 Days: The Perpetual Page-Turner’s review: “While on the surface this book might just seem like a romance with a love triangle between two brothers but it is SO much more than that.” The Novel Hermit’s review: “99 Days seemed promising at first, but with a snap of a finger, the story turned boring and didn’t really resolve anything.” A sweeping tale of love, legacy, and wilderness set between the present day and 1866 in the dramatic landscape of modern-day and territorial Montana. While on a trip to Montana with her mom, British teen Hope meets local boy Cal Crow, a ranch hand. Caught in a freak accident, Hope and Cal take shelter in a cabin, where Hope makes a strange discovery in an abandoned diary. More than a hundred years earlier, another British girl -- Emily -- met a similar fate. Her rescuer, a horse trader named Nate. In this wild place, both girls learn what it means to survive and to fall in love, neither knowing that their fates are intimately entwined. picadillyblue Historical fiction has always been one of my favorite genres and it’s one that I feel does not get enough love. I picked up Crow Moutain because it had been so long since I’d read anything historical fiction and this one seemed really unique. I was definitely right about that. Pros: Story: The story was the best thing Crow Mountain had going for it. I lumped this into the historical fiction genre but it’s not only historical fiction. The story alternates between present day Montana and 1866/67 Montana. Since I felt there was more focus on the past than the present, I considered it historical fiction. You could really classify it as both historical and contemporary. The story follows Hope/Cal in the present and Emily/Nate in the past. Hope is spending some time in Montana with her mother while she does research on the land. Cal is the son of the ranch owner they are staying with. Emily is a young British girl traveling to San Francisco to meet her future husband. Nate is a former soldier she briefly sees at one of the stops along the way. When Emily’s coach crashes, Nate is there to rescue her. However, he doesn’t return her to town so she can be on her way. Instead he takes her home with him and teaches her the ways of the land. Hope and Cal’s story is almost identical to Emily and Nate’s. As Hope reads Emily’s journal she starts to see the similarities between the two stories and wonders if she discovered the journal for a reason. Cal’s family has been feuding with the Hart family for centuries and it may be up to Emily and Cal to put an end to the feud before it kills any more people. Characters: To be completely honest, I liked Emily and Nate but Cal and Hope were a bit lacking, in my opinion. I’ll get to that part later though. Emily and Nate were in an odd situation. Emily didn’t know her future husband but she assumed she would be fine with him. She was drawn to Nate from the moment she first saw him but that doesn’t mean she wanted to run away with him. He essentially kidnapped her. He didn’t force her to stay with him but he knew there was no way she could leave him. She would have died in the wilderness on her own. He used that to his advantage, that’s for sure. He figured if he bided his time, she’d eventually come to love him. I wouldn’t normally be okay with a situation like that but Nate was a good guy and he never took advantage of her. He took care of her and he taught her how to take care of herself. Emily was pretty helpless at first but Nate didn’t allow that for long. It was easy to see that Emily really liked learning how to do things for herself. She didn’t want to have to rely on Nate and eventually, she didn’t have to. Romance: This is definitely one of those slow burn romances. Emily and Nate are attracted to each other but they don’t act on it. Rules were very different back in the 1800s and Emily was a proper lady. She wasn’t sure she’d ever make it back to her fiance but she knew that if she did, she had to be pure. She wanted to do what was right for her family and she wasn’t willing to risk that even though her feelings for Nate kept growing. She also didn’t know anything about love or relations between men and women. She was pretty clueless when it came to that so of course she wasn’t making any moves on Nate. It was kind of adorable how awkward she was about it all. As for Hope and Cal, they had a similar attraction but they knew they could act on it if they wanted. There was an age difference between the two and Cal had lots of secrets from his past but that didn’t really slow them down all that much. Their relationship moved a little too quickly for my tastes but I blame part of that on their situation. It forced them to really get to know each other and in a really short period of time. Cons: Characters: Like I said, Hope and Cal didn’t hold as much appeal to me as Emily and Nate. Hope was very sheltered and she could come across as kind of snobby. Cal was blatantly rude to her at times. While I felt like I could understand both of their issues, I would have been better with it if I felt like I knew them more. Most of the book was set in the past and I felt like Hope and Cal’s stories sometimes got pushed aside. I just didn’t feel the same connection to them as I did to Emily and Nate. Ending: The whole feud with the Hart family was not really explained very well and felt almost like an afterthought. Everything tied together really nicely at the end but I felt like it just came out of nowhere. I also felt like it was very rushed and some of the things were just not very believable. It’s already a pretty long book so I understand why things needed to wrap up quickly but I would have liked a bit more backstory as far as how things got started between the Harts and the Crows. Overall, Crow Mountain had things that could have been improved upon but was still an enjoyable read. I loved that Lucy Inglis based a lot of it off of true events. I’ll have to see what else she has written and look for more historical fiction from her in the future. Overall reaction: What others are saying about Crow Mountain: The Review Diaries’ review: “A surprising read that really crept up on me when I least expected it with a beautiful love story woven through its pages.” Daisy Chain Book Reviews’ review: “Crow Mountain is far from perfect, but it has drama, a wonderfully unusual setting, and a great story for fans who loved True Grit and The Next Together.” 3 COMMENTS CATEGORY: REVIEW TAGS: 3 STARS, CONTEMPORARY, HISTORICAL FICTION, REVIEW, STANDALONE, YOUNG ADULT FRIDAY, AUGUST 26, 2016 Disney’s The Jungle Book on Blu-ray DVD | Giveaway Jungle Book In an epic adventure directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man), Mowgli, a man-cub raised in the jungle by a family of wolves, is forced to abandon his home when fearsome tiger Shere Khan promises to eliminate him. Guided by stern Bagheera and free-spirited Baloo, Mowgli embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery. If you remember, back when The Jungle Book came out in theaters I had it as my movie of the month. I’ve adored the animated version and I’ve checked out the classic book but I never actually got to go see the new live action film in theaters. I’m eager to see it when the Blu-ray/DVD is released on August 30th! I’m also so happy to be hosting a giveaway for a copy of the Blu-ray/DVD for one lucky reader! In addition to the film, you’ll be able to check out many special features such as an interview with the director, the journey of the 12 year old selected from thousands to play Mowgli, and even an audio commentary from the director about each scene in the movie. Veronica Mars meets William Shakespeare in E.K. Johnston’s latest brave and unforgettable heroine. Hermione Winters is captain of her cheerleading team, and in tiny Palermo Heights, this doesn’t mean what you think it means. At PHHS, the cheerleaders don't cheer for the sports teams; they are the sports team—the pride and joy of a tiny town. The team's summer training camp is Hermione's last and marks the beginning of the end of…she’s not sure what. She does know this season could make her a legend. But during a camp party, someone slips something in her drink. And it all goes black. In every class, there's a star cheerleader and a pariah pregnant girl. They're never supposed to be the same person. Hermione struggles to regain the control she's always had and faces a wrenching decision about how to move on. The assault wasn't the beginning of Hermione Winter's story and she's not going to let it be the end. She won’t be anyone’s cautionary tale. picadillyblue I finished Exit, Pursued by a Bear a few days ago but I haven’t been able to properly put my thoughts into words. I still can’t really do that but I’m going to try. Trigger warning: As noted in the synopsis, this book deals with rape and teen pregnancy. If those aren’t things you can handle reading about, this book is not for you. Pros: Characters: If I had all the time in the world and I thought you guys would read a breakdown of each and every character in this book, I would give you one. That would take so long though so I’m just going to focus on some of the key players and their strengths and weaknesses. Hermione is obviously the most important person in Exit, Pursued by a Bear. She is the captain of her school’s cheerleaders and she is a pretty popular girl at her school. She’s still very down to earth though. She knows what people think about cheerleaders and she is there to prove them all wrong. She’s smart and funny and amazingly strong. She doesn’t just want to be another statistic but she also doesn’t want her rape and pregnancy to define who she becomes. With the help of her family and friends, she’s willing to do what it takes to get the guy but also move on. Her family is a huge help but it’s her best friend, Polly, who really helps her through. Hermione and Polly are best friend goals. They love and support each other through everything. When Hermione can’t be strong, she has Polly. Same goes for Polly. The two of them love each other unconditionally. It’s not often you see friendships like theirs portrayed in YA books but I loved seeing it. And right now I can’t think of his name but I adored Hermione’s psychiatrist. He was exactly what she needed. He helped her feel like even though everything was wrong in her life, she wasn’t doing anything wrong and she was on the path to where she needed to be. You could see that he really wanted to help her. Story: I knew going in that this would be a tough story to read and I was right. I cried so many times. I’m glad I read it though. Not only is Hermione raped, everyone knows about it. It happens at cheer camp and quickly spreads around school and their small town. She has no choice but to be faced with peoples’ pity. She knows that she could let this be the moment that defines who she is or she can find a way to make herself known for something else, something good. When she finds out she’s pregnant, it makes things even more difficult for her. She never lets this stop her though. She still cheers, gets good grades, and focuses on her future. E.K. Johnston showed a very different side of the story than I ever expected and it showed that a terrible event doesn’t have to be the defining moment of your life. Romance: I’m just briefly going to mention this because there wasn’t much romance in Exit, Pursued by a Bear. At the start of the book Hermione is dating fellow cheerleader, Leo, but that doesn’t last and I was happy about that. They were not good for each other. After the rape, Hermione is a little hesitant to have anything to do with boys her own age. She puts up with it for cheerleading but that’s pretty much all she is doing. However, Dion, a fellow cheerleader, is the only boy who really makes Hermione feel safe and like she might be okay with guys in the future. Their friendship and possible romance is sweet and perfect for the story. Overall, Exit, Pursued by a Bear is going to the top of my highly recommended list. I know my review doesn’t even come close to doing it justice but take my word, you should read it. Overall reaction: What others are saying about Exit, Pursued by a Bear: The Book Wars’ review: “In Exit, Pursued by a Bear, we see how the truth loses none of its potency when surrounded by people who are willing to trust in it. Highly, highly recommended!” Pretty Deadly Reviews’ review: “This is a very different, very uplifting story about a girl coming to terms with being raped, and it is a necessary voice in a world telling girls they don’t own themselves.” 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome. 2) A person’s undoing 3) Joshua Templeman Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual. Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking. If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong. Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game. picadillyblue The Hating Game, Sally Thorne’s debut novel, has been generating a lot of buzz lately. I kept seeing it mentioned on my Twitter feed so I decided to check it out. It’s not my typical read but I ended up loving it and I’m glad I branched out a bit for this one. Pros: Characters: Lucy and Joshua are the main characters here and honestly, there weren’t really any other characters I cared that much about. It’s not that the others characters sucked, it’s just that Lucy and Josh really took the spotlight and their story was the one I really cared about. Lucy seemed really carefree at first. She was a total sweetheart but also a little bit of a pushover. She let people (other than Josh) walk all over her. She wanted everyone to like her and she put her own needs second because of that. She was lonely and homesick and totally overworked. She just hid it really well. Josh was an ass and it was pretty easy to see that it was because he had feelings for Lucy. I admit, I didn’t care much for Josh’s approach. He was just another person who didn’t treat Lucy right. Everything made more sense once more of his story came out but I still didn’t approve of his mean streak towards her. However, that’s not to say that I didn’t still like him because I totally did. Banter: Josh and Lucy may not have been nice to each other and I may have had some issues with how they treated one another but the banter between them was too perfect. Josh may have been mean but Lucy could hold her own against him. She always had a sassy comeback for anything he may have said. Even as their relationship changed, the banter never did. It was easy to see from the start that they had chemistry but it really showed when they were going back and forth in a battle of wits. They were pretty evenly matched. Romance: I’m torn here because for a while it seemed like nothing happened but I also liked that Sally Thorne took the time to build up to their relationship. I don’t think I would have found it as easy to believe if it just popped up at the very start of the book. The build up was one of the best parts. However, the sexual tension between Josh and Lucy had me wanting to shove them together from the very start. It was just so easy to see that they needed to get together! And boy did they ever. If I thought they had chemistry when they were just bickering, it was 10 times better when they finally got together. Cons: There wasn’t really anything I absolutely hated about this book. All my problems with it were already mentioned. Yes, Josh was kind of jerk. The secondary characters were a little non-existent and I couldn’t find much to make me care about them. These were all little things though and they didn’t detract much from my enjoyment of the book. Overall, The Hating Game really did impress me. Josh and Lucy are right up there with some of my favorite couples. I’m quite eager to see what Sally Thorne is going to do next. Overall reaction: What others are saying about The Hating Game: Harlequin Junkie’s review: “The Hating Game turned out to be quite a lovely adventure.” 3 Stars Who will be left after lights out? At Cate's isolated boarding school, Killer is more than a game- it's an elite secret society. Members must avoid being "Killed" during a series of thrilling pranks, and only the Game Master knows who the "Killer" is. When Cate's finally invited to join the Assassins' Guild, she know it's her ticket to finally feeling like she belongs. But when the game becomes all too real, the school threatens to shut it down. Cate will do anything to keep playing and save the Guild. But can she find the real assassin before she's the next target? picadillyblue With a title like this one, I had some pretty high hopes. The Assassin Game is my first time reading a book by Kirsty McKay and while it wasn’t all I had hoped for, it was enough to get me to check out some of her other books. Pros: Mystery: There were times when I totally thought about setting aside The Assassin Game and adding it to my short list of DNFs. I admit, there were times when I was just plain bored. Things moved at a slow pace with this one. However, I could not stop reading this one because there were so many things I still needed to know. Yes, there was a killer in the game but there was also someone attempting to kill people in real life too. And let me tell you, I didn’t have a clue who either killer was. These kids were pretty ruthless and they each wanted to be the last one standing at the end of the Game. They were willing to do a lot of stuff in the name of the Game and it looked like someone was taking the Game a little too far. Cons: Pacing: I already mentioned this briefly but the pace of this one was ridiculously slow. I honestly felt like nothing happened for the first half of the book. The synopsis tells you about someone taking the Game a bit literally and trying to kill people but the first attempt doesn’t even happen until halfway through the book. The first half just focuses on Cate and her many romantic entanglements as well as the progression of the Game. I was extremely bored with that. Which brings me to my next point. Characters: I was not impressed with any of these characters. Cate, for instance, was immature and obsessed with the Game. I think she saw it as a way of fitting in which was something she had always been trying to achieve. She was the kid that wasn’t really supposed to be at Umfraville but since her family owned the island she got to attend the school. Everyone there was snobby and rich and she didn’t feel like she belonged with any of them except maybe Marcia and Daniel. Also, she may have considered those two friends but they were anything but. Marcia was self-centered and totally not there for Cate at all. Daniel, on the other hand, was completely obsessed with her. He was creepy. As for Alex and Vaughn, Cate’s other possible love interests, I wasn’t really impressed with either of them. Alex was the popular guy who was a total player but for some reason, Cate never wanted him. They hooked up once and that was the end for her. Vaughn was her childhood friend who reappeared after years and they immediately fell for each other. I didn’t really have any problems with the two of them together but I didn’t feel any sort of investment in their relationship. Writing: I wasn’t terribly upset with the writing in The Assassin Game but I was far from impressed with it. It was very stilted and straightforward. I felt like I was being told everything outright rather than having things shown to me through descriptions. It was a really dull way of telling this story. Overall, The Assassin Game may not have a lot of pros going for it but it was an entertaining enough story for me. It’s not something I’ll ever re-read but it was a good mystery for a rainy day. Overall reaction: What others are saying about The Assassin Game: Flavia the Bibliophile’s review: “McKay did an exceptional job at keeping me guessing until the very end, and I commend her for that!” The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say Shhh!’s review: “Overall, this is a case of a fun book that would NEVER happen in real life.” Novelgossip’s review: “I had hoped that there would be some originality in this one, but alas I was left disappointed and irritated.” 2 Stars For sixteen-year-old Jillian McKay, the threat of Hurricane Danielle means a long car ride with her neighbors including River Daughtry, the former star quarterback of Harrison High. The guy who was headed to glory until suddenly he disappeared to a West Texas juvenile detention center. Once cocky and flirtatious, he's now silent and angry. When their evacuation route is gridlocked, River is the first to recognize the danger they're in. Together he and Jillian set out to seek shelter in their abandoned high school. As they wait out the storm, they confront the past and realize survival is about more than just staying alive it's about fighting for yourself." picadillyblue Oh how I wanted to love Hurricane Kiss. I don’t know what it was about this book but I was really drawn to it (despite the embarrassing cover). I figured this would be a quick, fun read with some good secrets and romance. It was quick but that was about all I got right about this one. Pros: Pacing: Let’s be real here; the only good thing about Hurricane Kiss was that it didn’t take long to read. It was slow to start but once I got about 40 pages in, things took off. It’s pretty clear from the summary what you’re getting into as far as the hurricane and the survival part of the story. I will admit that I was so not impressed with the time spent in the car trying to get out of Houston but once River and Jillian took off on their own, things really started to move. Survival stories always intrigue me while also creeping me out. Hurricane Kiss definitely did both of those things. I have to say that that is probably one of the main reasons I didn’t just give up on this one. I wanted to see what would happen to River and Jillian and everyone else in their lives. If nothing else, the story is very captivating. Cons: Characters: I felt nothing for River or Jillian. Jillian was judgmental and very closed off. River was tortured and messed up and every other thought in his head was about how bad he was for everyone around him. Put them together and they were not any better. And don’t get me started on their parents. Jillian’s mom would rather stay behind to report than take her kids to safety. Sure she sends them off with someone else so they aren’t trapped in Houston with her but I could not believe that any mom would do that. As for River’s dad, he didn’t even like his son. He wasn’t willing to listen to him and he just believed what everyone else had to say about him. Then he let him run off (literally, run off) in the middle of an evacuation. He didn’t try to stop him or go after him. What kind of dad does that? So yeah, while I disliked both Jillian and River, I disliked their parents even more. Romance: Can you say insta-love that is totally based on looks alone? Maybe there was more to it than that but all it seemed these two ever thought about was how attractive the other was. I couldn’t see any other good reason they might be interested in each other. They had nothing in common (except for the single parent thing) and to make matters worse, Jillian had a boyfriend! Yeah, she didn’t feel much for him but that doesn’t mean she should just go for another guy without breaking up with him. Story: There were two parts of the story that I just couldn’t get behind. One: I don’t think Jillian and River would have survived the storm. They holed up in their high school and they weren’t prepared at all. They stayed in rooms with windows (isn’t that a big no-no during tornadoes and hurricanes), they had almost no food, and they kept going out into the storm for completely stupid reasons. Oh and when the roof would collapse or windows would shatter, instead of just leaving it alone, they would go to check it out. That makes a lot of sense. The second part was River’s story about what happened to land him in juvie and his time in juvie. His dad is ex-military. I find it hard to believe that he just took the schools word for his sons actions and didn’t fight him getting sent to juvie. Then there were the stories about what happened at juvie. I know I have never spent any time in a juvenile detention facility but it seems like beating them, drugging them senseless, and feeding them food crawling with worms would be frowned upon and easily discovered. What do I know though? Overall, Hurricane Kiss is not something I’d recommend reading. I could go on and on about this book but I’m going to stop here. I’m just really happy it was a quick read and I didn’t waste too much time with this one. Overall reaction: What others are saying about Hurricane Kiss: A Belle’s Tales’ review: “I really enjoyed Hurricane Kiss; it was a fast read, and the writing and characters were captivating.” The Reader and the Chef’s review: “All in all, I believe Hurricane Kiss will attract readers in search of books inspired by events as real as natural disasters, brooding hot guys with a dark past, personal obstacles, light romance, and revelations until the very end of the book.” 1 COMMENT CATEGORY: REVIEW Morgan didn’t mean to do anything wrong that day. Actually, she meant to do something right. But her kind act inadvertently played a role in a deadly tragedy. In order to move on, Morgan must learn to forgive—first someone who did something that might be unforgivable, and then, herself. But Morgan can’t move on. She can’t even move beyond the front door of the apartment she shares with her mother and little brother. Morgan feels like she’s underwater, unable to surface. Unable to see her friends. Unable to go to school. When it seems Morgan can’t hold her breath any longer, a new boy moves in next door. Evan reminds her of the salty ocean air and the rush she used to get from swimming. He might be just what she needs to help her reconnect with the world outside. Underwater is a powerful, hopeful debut novel about redemption, recovery, and finding the strength it takes to face your past and move on. picadillyblue I’ve always been the queen of contemporary but it’s not often that I find a contemporary novel that I adore. That was the case with Underwater. Marisa Reichardt’s debut novel completely blew me away. I’m always a big fan of books that are fast paced and have a lot going on. Underwater is not one of those books but it’s got a lot of other things going for it. Marisa Reichardt’s writing is phenomenal. It seemed a little wordy at first but once I got reading, I saw how it made everything come together. The writing style just worked for this story. Marisa Reichardt’s writing managed to capture exactly how Morgan felt after the school shooting and convey them perfectly for readers. It took very little time for me to feel like I could understand exactly what Morgan was going through and how she was feeling. It takes real talent to make that happen in such a short period of time. The events that led to Morgan’s agoraphobia (I think that’s pretty much what she had) were a mystery for most of the book. Readers can tell early on in the book what happened at the school that day but it’s not so obvious why it affected Morgan the way it did. While other survivors embraced life and decided to take chances, Morgan did the opposite. She shut herself away from everything that could hurt her, including other people. Evan, her new neighbor, forces Morgan to reevaluate her choices and actually consider coming out of her apartment for the first time in months. Evan was a total sweetheart. He didn’t know what Morgan was like before the shooting but he quickly came to care for her, even with her quirks. And honestly, Morgan’s quirks made me like her even more. Sure I felt for her from the start but I only grew to really like her once I started to understand exactly what she thought about herself, the shooting, the shooter, and what her future might hold. To some, Underwater might seem a little slow and a little lacking in action. I did mention earlier that that is normally what draws me too a book but I didn’t mind the pace or the lack of action in Underwater. There was some mystery (not much) which did keep my interest piqued but it was the characters that really kept me reading this one. Like I said earlier, I felt emotionally connected to Morgan from the start so I never once considered putting Underwater down because of it’s pace. I do think it’s a good thing to know going in though that Underwater is not necessarily a book you are going to be able to power through and read in an hour or two. Take your time with this one. It’s worth it. I also really loved all the family dynamics in Underwater. Morgan lived with her mom and little brother and they were all very close. Her mom was extremely understanding about Morgan’s condition and her little brother was adorable. Evan was also very close to his mom and aunt. There wasn’t a ton of interaction shown between them but it was easy to see how they cared for each other and helped each other out. Overall, Underwater is a fantastic debut that I can’t help but recommend. I look forward to seeing what Marisa Reichardt does next. What others are saying about Underwater: My Friends Are Fiction’s review: “What a beautifully developed and executed debut Underwater was.” bookstacked’s review: “Everything about this story was amazing: the writing, the theme, the dialogue, but one of my favorite things about this story was the underlying message. The message that having hope is one of the best things in the world.” ©2016 CHRONICLE BOOKS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Better World Books: Sheryl, check back. We'll be suggesting books for each chall… Jean Marcus: YES!… Sheryl: I suggest a couple of suggestions with a link to the purchas… Naglaa Mostafa Akeel: congratulations in shaa Allah you wiil get the grant God b… JODI P: How about this! 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Scribendi.com also accepts other online and offline payments, including AliPay and PayPal. classical Angela's influence: what we owe to Carter Published: 4:30 PM 13Angela's influence: what we owe to Carter His Dark Materials is two decades old, but its lessons are made for today Published: 3:11 PM 68His Dark Materials is two decades old, but its lessons are made for today 15 February 2017 The most expensive library in the world? Book Capella opens for Russian elite Charging around £100 per visit to its pricey collection, it’s not clear if this is an actual library or just a novel spot for wealthy Russians to hold meetings Published: 2:00 PM 18The most expensive library in the world? Book Capella opens for Russian elite Philip Pullman's Book of Dust should learn from JK Rowling's magic The two authors have long written in step, and the His Dark Materials promised ‘equel’ will hopefully use similar tricks to Harry Potter’s author in extending Lyra’s story Published: 12:04 PM 553Philip Pullman's Book of Dust should learn from JK Rowling's magic 13 February 2017 Tips, links and suggestions: what are you reading this week? Your space to discuss the books you are reading and what you think of them Published: 3:00 PM 648Tips, links and suggestions: what are you reading this week? Carol Rumens's poem of the week Poem of the week: In the Studio by Nancy Cunard Superficially traditional, this 1923 sonnet on an artist and his model conceals some of the daring that made the author a groundbreaking modernist Published: 10:05 AM 77Poem of the week: In the Studio by Nancy Cunard 11 February 2017 Open thread – discuss Terry Pratchett: Back in Black (with spoilers) Readers responded emotionally to our story trailing some of the revelations in the new BBC docudrama. As it airs, this is an opportunity to discuss further Published: 9:40 PM 173Open thread – discuss Terry Pratchett: Back in Black (with spoilers) 9 February 2017 Roots of the problem: the controversial history of Alex Haley's book Haley’s influential family saga about 18th century slavery is back on TV, but its literary reputation is still tarnished by questions of authenticity Published: 5:51 PM 50Roots of the problem: the controversial history of Alex Haley's book 7 February 2017 True fantasy: when literary inventions become real locations Luton council is to name two streets in tribute to the late Steve Dillon’s creations – joining a long line of literature that’s been put literally on the map Published: 1:12 PM 29True fantasy: when literary inventions become real locations Reading group Reading group: Angela Carter's Nights at the Circus is our book for February The rumbustious story of winged circus performer Sophie Fevvers was extravagantly praised on publication and should give us much to talk about Calling all BAME writers: entries open for the 2017 prize The BAME short story prize that reaches out to black, Asian and minority ethnic writers is now open for this year’s entries Published: 12:00 PM Calling all BAME writers: entries open for the 2017 prize 3 February 2017 The Girl on the Train: the UK’s favourite library book in 2015-16 Northern Ireland borrowed the Guinness World Records, Wales and Scotland thrillers by Lee Child and Paula Hawkins, while Londoners crammed for their driving test Published: 10:00 AM 12The Girl on the Train: the UK’s favourite library book in 2015-16 2 February 2017 The week in books How travel writing maps the world The Stanford Dolman travel book of the year shortlistee reflects on the allure of the travel writer’s journey Published: 9:00 AM 2How travel writing maps the world 1 February 2017 Sebastian Barry's second Costa win crowns a singular career Justine Jordan Days Without End sees the novelist venturing in to the 19th-century American west to find a tender story of ‘two wood-shavings of humanity in a rough world’ Published: 10:26 AM 12 Sebastian Barry's second Costa win crowns a singular career 31 January 2017 Reading group Reading group: Which Angela Carter book shall we read in February? With an output to match her prodigious imagination, there are a good few fine novels and story collections to choose from. It’s up to you to decide which one Published: 12:00 PM 376Reading group: Which Angela Carter book shall we read in February? 30 January 2017 Tips, links and suggestions: what are you reading this week? Your space to discuss the books you are reading and what you think of them Published: 3:00 PM 766Tips, links and suggestions: what are you reading this week? Carol Rumens's poem of the week Poem of the week: To a Fair Lady, Playing With a Snake by Edmund Waller Written by a distinctly slithery character, this playful courtship poem is nonetheless an entertaining – and satisfyingly allusive – pastoral Published: 10:59 AM 133Poem of the week: To a Fair Lady, Playing With a Snake by Edmund Waller 28 January 2017 The week in books Why quick reads for prison reoffenders can help break the cycle Quick Read author Dreda Say Mitchell on the new Reading Agency initiative that aims to change lives by promoting adult literacy Published: 2:00 PM 1Why quick reads for prison reoffenders can help break the cycle 25 January 2017 Burns Night celebrates the wrong Scottish poet Stuart Kelly The bard honoured on 25 January was a fine writer, but he also treated women appallingly. I can think of at least one other Scots author more worthy of a national festival Published: 12:42 PM 237Burns Night celebrates the wrong Scottish poet 23 January 2017 Tips, links and suggestions: what are you reading this week? Your space to discuss the books you are reading and what you think of them Published: 3:00 PM 955Tips, links and suggestions: what are you reading this week? Carol Rumens's poem of the week Poem of the week: Slow Food by Thomas McCarthy An Irish poet looks back, past the snobbish abundance of his country’s recently upended boom years, to the appalling suffering of the Great Famine Published: 11:27 AM 108Poem of the week: Slow Food by Thomas McCarthy 20 January 2017 Recommended reading for President Trump Facing the pressures of high office, Obama turned to Shakespeare and George W Bush read political biographies. What might help the Donald get through his term? Published: 9:00 AM 46Recommended reading for President Trump 19 January 2017 Five of the best climate-change novels From the dystopias of Cormac McCarthy and Margaret Atwood to a ‘biopunk’ thriller and a teen comedy – these are some of the best stories of ecological peril Published: 11:27 AM 289Five of the best climate-change novels 17 January 2017 Dutch literature: lost to English translation How many authors from the country can you name? I couldn’t think of many, so a new Penguin anthology of strangely familiar short stories is very welcome Published: 1:32 PM 26Dutch literature: lost to English translation Reading group How does Penelope Fitzgerald light up The Beginning of Spring? Our second book from this amazing author has a less obscure subject than The Blue Flower, but how its author wove its narrative magic is no easier to say Published: 9:48 AM 371How does Penelope Fitzgerald light up The Beginning of Spring? 16 January 2017
(CNN)The next possible US secretary of defense went by the military call sign "Chaos." Revered by his troops as a "warrior monk" with a knack for hard-edged quips, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis led troops in Afghanistan in 2001, won laurels for leadership in one of the bloodiest battles of the Iraq War and most recently headed US Central Command, perhaps the military's most complicated and challenging post. Now, Mattis faces an entirely different kind of fight. As President-elect Donald Trump prepares to formally nominate the former four-star to head the Pentagon, some Democrats are signaling his confirmation might not be entirely easy. Some observers question whether Mattis' battlefield experience prepares him for the very different task of running an enormous bureaucracy, while senior lawmakers worry about what the 66-year-old's nomination means for maintaining civilian control of the military. Republicans issued glowing testimonials to Mattis and his career. California Rep. Devin Nunes, who heads the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said he could think of "no better candidate to lead America's military in our long fight against jihadism and countering other pressing threats." Noting that Mattis hasn't been out of uniform long enough to lead the Pentagon without a congressional waiver, California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff said that while he "would make an excellent Secretary of Defense, we must also bear in mind the precedent we would be setting and the impact it would have on the principle of civilian leadership of our nation's military." Donald Trump speaks with Taiwan's President Kirsten Gillibrand, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee subcommittee on personnel, was more definitive. "Civilian control of our military is a fundamental principle of American democracy," Gillibrand said in a statement Thursday, "and I will not vote for an exception to this rule." Just one senator can demand that the waiver for Mattis meet a 60-vote threshold, meaning he would need to get the support of all Republicans and eight Democrats to move toward confirmation next year. If he's approved, Mattis would be the highest-ranking former officer to serve as defense secretary. The Washington State native and history major led troops through the conflicts in the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq. From 2010 to 2013, he led Central Command, which oversees the Middle East and Southeast Asia, until the Obama administration let him go over disagreements on Iran. The White House was pushing for a nuclear deal with Tehran in 2013, the same year Mattis was telling the Aspen Security Forum that his top concern as Centcom commander was "Iran, Iran, Iran." Obama to sign Iran sanctions bill Mattis has since been critical of the deal and of the Obama administration's refusal to engage more aggressively in the Middle East, saying it has fueled extremism in the region. In 2015, he told a congressional panel that the US needed to come out of its "reactive crouch" in the Middle East and defend its values. Indeed, Mattis has not been known to mince words. He's affectionately known as "Mad Dog" by troops who trade his quips like prized baseball cards. On the news of his nomination, many of those sayings instantly became memes on Twitter. Among them: "a good soldier follows orders, but a true warrior wears his enemy's skin like a poncho," and "be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet." Human Rights Watch called on Congress to fully examine his views on a number of issues. "Media accounts suggest that Gen. Mattis doesn't agree with President-elect Trump's more outrageous campaign proposals, such as bringing back waterboarding, targeting terrorist suspects' family members, or tampering with anti-torture laws," said Washington director Sarah Margon. She urged that during the confirmation process "senators make sure Mattis unreservedly repudiates these proposals, acknowledges that they are illegal, and confirms that they are not up for future consideration." Mattis is one of a slew of generals Trump has been considering for other Cabinet-level jobs, including Gen. David Petraeus for the State Department, Gen. John Kelly to head Homeland Security and Adm. Mike Rogers as the director of national intelligence. Erin Simpson, a national security consultant and senior editor at WarontheRocks.com, said the incoming administration may be trying to capitalize on public respect for the military by considering so many generals. But "where there are really weak civilian institutions and an inexperienced president, it just doesn't sit right by me," said Simpson. The silver lining, she adds, is that many military and security professionals wary of Trump may be convinced to serve under Mattis. "It provides some top-cover for other qualified folks to come in who might not have otherwise," Simpson said. "There are a lot of jobs to fill at the Pentagon, this could bring in some talent and that's a net gain." China's foreign ministry says it has lodged a complaint with the US after President-elect Donald Trump spoke to Taiwan's leader in a phone call. China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province. US policy set in 1979 cut formal relations with Taiwan. Mr Trump's transition team said he and Tsai Ing-wen noted "close economic, political, and security ties". The US is Taiwan's most important ally and provides Taiwan with sufficient weaponry to defend itself. China said it had lodged a "solemn representation" with Washington. According to the state news agency Xinhua, China urged the US "to cautiously, properly handle Taiwan issue to avoid unnecessary disturbance to Sino-US relations". Foreign Minister Wang Yi dismissed the call as a "petty trick" by Taiwan, Chinese state media said. What happened? Mr Trump tweeted on Friday that Ms Tsai had called him to congratulate him on winning the US election. His team said that the US president-elect had also congratulated Ms Tsai on becoming the president of Taiwan last January. No US president or president-elect has spoken directly to a Taiwanese leader for decades. Following media reports pointing out the risks of angering China, Mr Trump tweeted: "Interesting how the US sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call." The White House has said Mr Trump's conversation does not signal any change in US policy. US media reported that the White House learned of the call only after it had happened. Mr Trump's spokeswoman said he was "well aware" of US policy towards Taiwan. Read more: What's behind the China-Taiwan divide? What is the problem? This file photo taken on November 10, 2016 shows a man buying a newspaper featuring a photo of US President-elect Donald TrumpImage copyrightAFP/GETTY IMAGES Image caption China is closely watching Mr Trump's transition to president The split between China and Taiwan goes back to 1949, when the Republic of China (ROC) Kuomintang (KMT) government fled the mainland to Taiwan after being defeated by the communists under Mao Zedong. The KMT held China's seat on the UN Security Council and was, for a while, recognised by many Western nations as the only Chinese government. But in 1971, the UN switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing. Only a handful of countries now recognise Taiwan's government. Washington cut formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1979, expressing its support for Beijing's "one country, two systems" concept, which states that Taiwan is part of China. But despite the cut, the US remains, by far, Taiwan's most important friend, and its only ally. The Taiwan Relations Act promises to supply Taiwan with defensive weapons. It says that any attack by China on Taiwan would be considered of "grave concern" to the US. China has hundreds of missiles pointing towards Taiwan, and has threatened to use force if it formally declares independence. President Tsai, Taiwan's first female leader, led the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to a landslide victory in the January 2016 election. The DPP has traditionally leaned towards independence from China. President Tsai's administration does not accept the "One China" policy. Read more: Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan's shy but steely leader From concern to alarm and anger - Carrie Gracie, BBC China editor, Beijing TaiwanImage copyrightREUTERS Image caption In an image released by her office, Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen is seen speaking on the phone to Mr Trump Mr Trump's decision to turn his back on four decades of US protocol on Taiwan and speak directly to a president of Taiwan has stunned policymakers in Beijing. Since his election last month, they have struggled to understand who is advising Donald Trump on Asia and what his China policy will look like. This move will turn concern into alarm and anger. Beijing sees Taiwan as a province. Denying it any of the trappings of an independent state is one of the key priorities of Chinese foreign policy. Read more from Carrie: The Trump phone call that will stun Beijing Mild reaction - Cindy Sui, BBC, Taipei China's reaction is relatively mild. It doesn't want to get off on the wrong foot with Mr Trump. And it sees Mr Trump as an inexperienced politician, so for now it's willing to forgive him and not play this up. It may also be somewhat reassured by statements from the US that its policy on China and Taiwan has not changed. But behind the scenes it's safe to say China is working hard to "educate" the Trump team on not repeating such diplomatic faux pas. This move by Taiwan's President Tsai will further infuriate Beijing and make it distrust her even more and see her as favouring Taiwan's formal independence from China. World-changing ideas summit With our powers of reasoning, rich memories and the ability to imagine what the future might hold, human intelligence is unequalled in the animal kingdom. Our closest relatives, chimpanzees, are adept problem solvers, making their own tools to reach food, for example. They use sophisticated gestures and facial expressions to communicate. Yet, they fall a long way short of our own ability to think and plan for the future. Thomas Suddendorf, a psychologist at the University of Queensland, describes this as the gap – the cognitive gulf that separates us from animals. But it was not always so wide, he says in the video above. Our species once shared the planet with other hominins with intelligence that may have rivaled our own. Their extinction was at least partly due to the actions of our own ancestors, according to many anthropologists. We need to be careful not to make the same mistakes again and widen the gap between the species even further in our pursuit of progress, warns Suddendorf, who spoke to BBC Future at the World-Changing Ideas Summit in Sydney on 15 November. Read more: We’ve got human intelligence all wrong Jason G Goldman’s column Uniquely Human, about the similarities and differences between us and the animal kingdom Join 700,000+ Future fans by liking us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Instagram If you liked this story, sign up for the weekly bbc.com features newsletter, called “If You Only Read 6 Things This Week”. A handpicked selection of stories from BBC Future, Earth, Culture, Capital, Travel and Autos, delivered to your inbox every Friday. The minibus crosses the vast plateau on a newly paved road. Cracked fields stretch away towards the Moroccan desert to the south. Yet the barren landscape is no longer quite as desolate as it once was. This year it became home to one of the world’s biggest solar power plants. Welcome to Future Now Your essential guide to a world in flux Change happens quickly these days and it can be hard to keep up. That’s why BBC Future has launched a new section called Future Now to bring you in-depth stories about the people, events and trends that are shaping our world. We will be publishing regular stories from all over the world about technology, energy, economics, society and much more – you can find them here. We hope you will join us as we explore the changes that matter. Hundreds of curved mirrors, each as big as a bus, are ranked in rows covering 1,400,000 sq m (15m sq ft) of desert, an area the size of 200 football fields. The massive complex sits on a sun-blasted site at the foot of the High Atlas mountains, 10km (6 miles) from Ouarzazate – a city nicknamed the door to the desert. With around 330 days of sunshine a year, it’s an ideal location. As well as meeting domestic needs, Morocco hopes one day to export solar energy to Europe. This is a plant that could help define Africa's – and the world’s – energy future. (Credit: Getty Images) Hundreds of curved mirrors, each as big as a bus, are ranked in rows covering 1,400,000 square metres of desert, an area the size of 200 football fields (Credit: Getty Images) Of course, on the day I visit the sky is covered in clouds. “No electricity will be produced today,“ says Rachid Bayed at the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (Masen), which is responsible for implementing the flagship project. An occasional off day is not a concern, however. After many years of false starts, solar power is coming of age as countries in the sun finally embrace their most abundant source of clean energy. The Moroccan site is one of several across Africa and similar plants are being built in the Middle East – in Jordan, Dubai and Saudi Arabia. The falling cost of solar power has made it a viable alternative to oil even in the most oil-rich parts of the world. As well as meeting domestic needs, Morocco hopes one day to export solar energy to Europe. Noor 1, the first phase of the Moroccan plant, has already surpassed expectations in terms of the amount of energy it has produced. It is an encouraging result in line with Morocco’s goal to reduce its fossil fuel bill by focusing on renewables while still meeting growing energy needs that are increasing by about 7% per year. Morocco’s stable government and economy has helped it secure funding: the European Union contributed 60% of the cost for the Ouarzazate project, for example. (Credit: Sandrine Ceurstemont) With around 330 days of sunshine a year, the region around Ouarzazate - a city nicknamed the door to the desert - is an ideal location (Credit: Sandrine Ceurstemont) The country plans to generate 14% of its energy from solar by 2020 and by adding other renewable sources like wind and water into the mix, it is aiming to produce 52% of its own energy by 2030. This puts Morocco more or less in line with countries like the UK, which wants to generate 30% of its electricity from renewables by the end of the decade, and the US, where President Obama set a target of 20% by 2030. (Trump has threatened to dump renewables, but his actions may not have a huge impact. Many policies are controlled by individual states and big companies have already started to switch to cleaner and cheaper alternatives.) Due to the lack sun on the day I visit, the hundreds of mirrors stand still and silent. The team keeps a close eye on weather forecasts to predict output for the following day, allowing other sources of energy to take over when it is overcast. The reflectors can be heard as they move together to follow the sun like a giant field of sunflowers But normally the reflectors can be heard as they move together to follow the Sun like a giant field of sunflowers. The mirrors focus the Sun’s energy onto a synthetic oil that flows through a network of pipes. Reaching temperatures up to 350C (662F), the hot oil is used to produce high-pressure water vapour that drives a turbine-powered generator. “It’s the same classic process used with fossil fuels, except that we are using the Sun’s heat as the source,” says Bayed. The plant keeps generating energy after sunset, when electricity demands peak. Some of the day’s energy is stored in reservoirs of superhot molten salts made of sodium and potassium nitrates, which keeps production going for up to three hours. In the next phase of the plant, production will continue for up to eight hours after sunset. (Credit: Sandrine Ceurstemont) Once fully operational, the solar plant will only require about 50 to 100 employees (Credit: Sandrine Ceurstemont) As well as boosting Morocco’s power production, the Ouarzazate project is helping the local economy. Around 2,000 workers were hired during the initial two years of construction, many of them Moroccan. Roads built to provide access to the plant have also connected nearby villages, helping children get to school. Water brought in for the site has been piped beyond the complex, hooking up 33 villages to the water grid. Water brought in for the site has been piped beyond the complex, hooking up 33 villages to the water grid Masen has also helped farmers in the area by teaching them sustainable practices. Heading towards the mountains, I visit the Berber village of Asseghmou, 30 miles (48 kilometres) north of Ouarzazate, where a small farm has now changed the way it raises ewes. Most farmers here rely on their intuition alone but they are being introduced to more reliable techniques -such as simply separating animals in their pens – which are improving yields. Masen also provided 25 farms with sheep for breeding purposes. “I now have better food security,” says Chaoui, who runs a local farm. And his almond tree is thriving thanks to cultivation tips. Even so, some locals have concerns. Abdellatif, who lives in the city of Zagora about 75 miles (120 kilometres) further south, where there are high rates of unemployment, thinks that the plant should focus on creating permanent jobs. He has friends who were hired to work there but they were only on contract for a few months. Once fully operational, the station will only require about 50 to 100 employees so the job boom may end. “The components of the plant are manufactured abroad but it would be better to produce them locally to generate ongoing work for residents,” he says. (Credit: Sandrine Ceurstemont) The solar plant draws a massive amount of water from the local El Mansour Eddahbi dam. Water scarcity has been a problem in the semi-desert region (Credit: Sandrine Ceurstemont) A bigger issue is that the solar plant draws a massive amount of water for cleaning and cooling from the local El Mansour Eddahbi dam. In recent years, water scarcity has been a problem in the semi-desert region and there are water cuts. Agricultural land further south in the Draa valley depends on water from the dam, which is occasionally released into the otherwise-dry river. But Mustapha Sellam, the site manager, claims that the water used by the complex amounts to 0.5% of the dam’s supply, which is negligible compared to its capacity. Still, the plant’s consumption is enough to make a difference to struggling farmers. So the plant is making improvements to reduce the amount of water it uses. Instead of relying on water to clean the mirrors, pressurised air is used. And whereas Noor 1 uses water to cool the steam produced by the generators, so that it can be turned back into water and reused to produce more electricity, a dry cooling system that uses air will be installed. The success of plants in places like Morocco and South Africa will encourage other African countries to turn to solar power These new sections of the plant are currently being built. Noor 2 will be similar to the first phase, but Noor 3 will experiment with a different design. Instead of ranks of mirrors it will capture and store the Sun’s energy with a single large tower, which is thought to be more efficient. Seven thousand flat mirrors surrounding the tower will all track and reflect the sun’s rays towards a receiver at the top, requiring much less space than existing arrangement of mirrors. Molten salts filling the interior of the tower will capture and store heat directly, doing away with the need for hot oil. Similar systems are already used in South Africa, Spain and a few sites in the US, such as California’s Mojave desert and Nevada. But at 86ft (26m) tall, Ouarzazate’s recently erected structure is the highest of its kind in the world. (Credit: Getty Images) Africa’s sunshine could eventually make the continent a supplier of energy to the rest of the world (Credit: Getty Images) Other plants in Morocco are already underway. Next year construction will begin at two sites in the south-west, near Laayoune and Boujdour, with plants near Tata and Midelt to follow. The success of these plants in Morocco – and those in South Africa - may encourage other African countries to turn to solar power. South Africa is already one of the world’s top 10 producers of solar power and Rwanda is home to east Africa’s first solar plant, which opened in 2014. Large plants are being planned for Ghana and Uganda. Africa’s sunshine could eventually make the continent a supplier of energy to the rest of the world. Sellam has high hopes for Noor. “Our main goal is to become energy-independent but if one day we are producing a surplus we could supply other countries too,” he says. Imagine recharging your electric car in Berlin with electricity produced in Morocco. With the clouds set to lift in Ouarzazate, Africa is busy planning for a sunny day. -- Keep up to date with Future Now stories by liking BBC Future on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Instagram If you liked this story, sign up for the weekly bbc.com features newsletter, called “If You Only Read 6 Things This Week”. A handpicked selection of stories from BBC Future, Earth, Culture,
Fast, Affordable, Professional Editing and Proofreading Trusted with more than 1,254 million words—Open 24/7 Editing Services AuthorsStudent/AcademicESLBusinessCorporate/GovernmentPersonal FAQs All FAQsHow Do I...?Pricing, Payments, and CurrenciesEmployment Opportunities My Scribendi My OrdersMy AccountCreate an AccountContact Us Writing Resources Advice and ArticlesPodcastsBooksTraining CoursesGlossaryToolsAPIUseful Sites About Us About UsQuality AssurancePartner With UsAwardsNewsTestimonialsCase StudiesEmploymentContact You are here: > Home > Resources > Advice and Articles > Authors > The 17 Best Book Blogs to Read in 2017 The 17 Best Book Blogs to Read in 2017 The 17 Best Book Blogs to Read in 2017 Updated in January 2017 to reflect the best book blogs currently online. If you're an author trying to get published or just a book enthusiast, chances are, you're always on the lookout for great book blogs, book review blogs, and online discussions on everything from up-and-coming authors to publishing industry news. Dive into our list of the 17 best book blogs to read in 2017. 1. The IndieView Catering to indie authors, The IndieView features reviews of new self-published ebooks in a variety of genres, written by close to 350 reviewers from all over the world (and the Internet). This book blog allows already reviewed authors to set up a personal author page, which is listed on the Indie Review website, and they even offer free book promotion for newly published ebook authors. 2. The Book Designer This hugely popular book blog, written by Joel Friedlander—who's worked in the publishing and design industries—strives to help people get their story out there. The Book Designer features more than 1,550 articles on everything from writing and editing to publishing and marketing your work, all from the perspectives of people who are actually in the book industry. 3. Bustle Books The book section of Bustle provides everything you want to see, know, or read in the world of books. The blog updates often—as much as 14 or 15 times a day—while maintaining a high quality of posts and covering a wide range of topics, including entertaining lists, reviews of new releases, and tips for finding writing inspiration. 4. Omnivoracious Great blog name aside, Omnivoracious is Amazon's official (and must-read) book review blog. With a minimalist and eye-catching design that focuses on books, author interviews, and industry news, this is one book blog that keeps its readers up to date on all aspects of the publishing world. Unlike other, genre-specific blogs, Omnivoracious reviews titles ranging from kids' books and comics to lifestyle and suspense—and everything in between. 5. Brain Pickings Brain Pickings is just that—thoughts and views picked from the brain of author Maria Popova. Topics range from science to literature to anthropology, but all topics are rooted in creativity. It is a thoughtful, substantial blog that all readers and writers will enjoy. 6. The New York Review of Books With a list of contributors that reads like a who's who of the literature and journalistic worlds, The New York Review of Books is the intellectual's book review blog. Filled with literature reviews, intriguing think pieces, and intelligent cultural articles, this blog both informs and inspires. 7. Tara Lazar This one's for the kids! And by kids we mean children's book authors (who, let's face it, make a living embracing their inner children). Tara Lazar's book blog is a popular resource for anyone wanting to write, or currently writing, children's fiction. Articles include advice on writing for different age groups, book design, and publishing. The website also features PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month), a fantastic take on NaNoWriMo aimed at developing great literature for kids. his 1954 book God’s Country […] ion book milestone Better World Books reaches 250 million book milestone January 23, 2017 × Comments are Disabled BOOKMOBILE, DONATIONS ourthouse November 1, 2016 × 0 comments VOLUNTEERING Baxter, waiting to head to his forever home. The Road to a Forever Home October 21, 2016 × 0 comments WE LOVE BOOKS Staff Book Review: October 1964 by David Halberstam Staff Book Review: October 1964 by David Halberstam October 3, 2016 × 0 comments Better World Books on CNN Today (2-Jul), Saturday (4-Jul), and Sunday (5-Jul) 74 comments Introducing Better Mars Books 54 comments Hands-Free Books: Read Anywhere. 41 comments Got a job that needs doing? Hire a Book Drop Box! 35 comments Books You Should Never Read in Public 33 comments Midnight Sun, Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Gone Rogue 33 comments Top Ten Most Influential Books Ever 20 comments Your Favorite Classic Books: Now In 3D 18 comments Fighting to Bring Literacy to the World 15 comments Intermountain Therapy Animals Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) wins $20,000 Readers' Choice Literacy Grant 12 comments was the talented one, the one who had been training to be a star her whole life. Her best friend, Dana, was the level-headed one, always on the sidelines, cheering her best friend along. But everything changes when Dana tags along with Olivia to Orlando for the weekend, where superproducer Guy Monroe is holding auditions for a new singing group, and Dana is discovered too. Dana, who’s never sung more than Olivia’s backup. Dana, who wasn’t even looking for fame. Next thing she knows, she and Olivia are training to be pop stars, and Dana is falling for Alex, the earnest, endlessly talented boy who’s destined to be the next big thing. It should be a dream come true, but as the days of grueling practice and constant competition take their toll, things between Olivia and Dana start to shift . . . and there’s only room at the top for one girl. For Olivia, it’s her chance at her dream. For Dana, it’s a chance to escape a future that seems to be closing in on her. And for these lifelong best friends, it’s the adventure of a lifetime—if they can make it through. Set in evocative 1990s Orlando, New York Times bestselling author Katie Cotugno’s Fireworks brings to life the complexity of friendship, the excitement of first love, and the feeling of being on the verge of greatness. I’ve been very torn about Katie Cotugno. I loved How To Love, did not care for 99 Days, and had really high hopes for Fireworks. I found Fireworks to fall right in the middle for me and I’m still not sure if I’ll keep going with Katie Cotugno’s books. Fireworks held such promise! Best friends both get picked to join a singing group and they are off to spend the summer of their lives together. Add in the other two members of the group and some very fun, attractive boys and things don’t go quite according to plan. Not to mention that the actual singing group requires a ton of work. Dana and Olivia are slowly being torn apart and their friendship may not be as strong as they think. I loved Dana and Olivia, at first. Their friendship was amazing. They were always there for each other and they wanted what was best for the other one, no matter what it meant for them. Dana was so selfless, always looking out for Olivia. It was pretty easy to see from the start that Olivia didn’t care quite so much about looking out for Dana. I could see the end coming from a mile away but I just kept hoping for the best. I loved Dana and I wanted to see her happy. Her relationship with Alex was the start to that happiness and I loved them together. They were adorable and Alex may have seemed a little too perfect but I liked him. He made Dana think about the future and he really brought out a better side of her. The ending is what really made me want to throw this book at a wall. I obviously won’t spoil anything but holy crap, I totally saw it coming and yet I couldn’t stop reading. I was so mad when I finished this book. It’s a fun read but it will definitely bring out some emotions. TAGS: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2016 Blog Tour: Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland | Review + Favorite Quotes John Green meets Rainbow Rowell in this irresistible story of first love, broken hearts, and the golden seams that put them back together again. Henry Page has never been in love. He fancies himself a hopeless romantic, but the slo-mo, heart palpitating, can't-eat-can't-sleep kind of love that he's been hoping for just hasn't been in the cards for him—at least not yet. Instead, he's been happy to focus on his grades, on getting into a semi-decent college and finally becoming editor of his school newspaper. Then Grace Town walks into his first period class on the third Tuesday of senior year and he knows everything's about to change. Grace isn't who Henry pictured as his dream girl—she walks with a cane, wears oversized boys' clothes, and rarely seems to shower. But when Grace and Henry are both chosen to edit the school paper, he quickly finds himself falling for her. It's obvious there's something broken about Grace, but it seems to make her even more beautiful to Henry, and he wants nothing more than to help her put the pieces back together again. And yet, this isn't your average story of boy meets girl. Krystal Sutherland's brilliant debut is equal parts wit and heartbreak, a potent reminder of the bittersweet bliss that is first love, picadillyblue Ignoring the whole John Green/Rainbow Rowell comparison made in the synopsis, I went into Our Chemical Hearts not really knowing what to expect but with an open mind. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t necessarily like those comparisons because it can give people unrealistic hopes. That wasn’t the case with this one because I definitely think that fans of the two authors will enjoy this one though Krystal Sutherland brings her own flair to the story. Pros: Henry: Henry was a very mixed bag for me. He had his good parts and his bad but I honestly think that is why he is in the pros column. He was really well developed as a character. He’s not your typical boy. He’s very focused on school, worrying about getting into a good college, and becoming the editor of his school paper to help with that whole good college thing. He gets the editor position but it’s got a co-editor attached and that’s Grace. Grace isn’t really his idea (or many people’s) of a dream girl but Henry is very intrigued and quickly becomes quite enmeshed in her life. Grace has a lot of baggage and Henry finds himself wanting to know everything about Grace and wanting to basically help fix her. He was a little obsessed with Grace (to me) but you could tell his heart was in the right place so it’s easy to get past that. Realism: This is not your romantic, happy ever after, high school love story. Hell, I’m not even sure I’d call it a true love story because it focuses on so much more than that. The romantic feelings that Henry has for Grace were an important part of the story but not the focal point here. Grace and Henry both have their issues and maybe putting them together wasn’t the smartest idea but they were both able to help each other. I feel like Grace taught Henry a lot and not so much Henry teaching Grace. However, both Henry and Grace’s stories were really true to life and that’s what I loved about them. Cons: Grace: While I liked Grace, I didn’t feel like I really knew her. The hardest thing for me was only ever seeing Grace through Henry’s eyes. He didn’t always think great things about her and when he did, it was sometimes almost idealistic. I wanted to know more about Grace from Grace’s perspective. I feel like there was so much more to her character that I never really got to see. I just couldn’t see her as a fully formed character while only getting Henry’s thoughts on her. I also kinda want to add the ending to the cons list but I’m not going to because I think it’s just my thoughts influencing it. I liked the ending, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not what I had hoped for. I think it’s a great ending and such a realistic one but boy was that not what I wanted. Overall, Our Chemical Hearts (I keep wanting to say My Chemical Heart. I’ve got My Chemical Romance on the brain.) is one that I think will really shock readers and make them think. Like I said before, Rainbow Rowell/John Green fans will find this one right up their alley but I just love what Krystal Sutherland brought to the table. I can’t wait to see what this Aussie author does next. Overall reaction: Be prepare Pacing: I read this book in just over two sittings. While there may not have been many things I liked about it, at least I was able to power through it. It’s an extremely quick read that is paced just right. The book takes place over 99 days (I bet you never would have guessed that) and those 99 days seem to fly by for both the reader and Molly. A lot happens throughout the course of the book and I never felt like the story got too slow or lagged. I also liked that the flashbacks Molly had from her relationship with Patrick were woven into the story. I feel like it would have bogged things down if the chapters alternated between past and present so I appreciated that. Romance: The romance between Molly and Gabe was super cute and I loved Gabe. Yes, even at the end when things came out about him, I still liked him. I felt like he was good to Molly and good for her. He wasn’t always an angel but he was never really a bad person. He was sweet and super hung up on Molly. He made her happy and he looked out for her. The start to their relationship may not have been the best thing but I didn’t think it was all that bad. I wanted to see him and Molly get a happy ending together. Characters: 99 Days had a pretty even mix of characters that I loved and characters that I hated. Gabe was on the list right in the middle since I liked him but had issues with him too. My list of characters that I loved contained two awesome females, Imogen and Tess. Imogen was Molly’s friend before everything went down and she would have been Molly’s friend after, if Molly hadn’t run away. She wasn’t willing to just overlook things when Molly came back but she was willing to move past them and let Molly earn her forgiveness. Then there was Tess. Tess was Patrick’s new girlfriend. She didn’t know Molly before everything happened but she wasn’t willing to judge her without getting to know her. They became friends and Tess was always there for Molly. Tess and Imogen knew what it was to be a good friend. Cons: Characters: The list of characters that I hated makes me want to rant. Let’s start with Molly. That girl had some serious issues. She was so extremely selfish. I don’t blame her for what she did with Gabe when Patrick broke up with her. Patrick broke up with her! They were not together when she slept with his brother. Yeah, it wasn’t really classy but as I read more about Molly and Gabe, I could see that they really cared for each other and I could get over that. It was everything else Molly did that bothered me. She was jealous of Tess even though she was the one who ruined things with Patrick and was dating his brother. She clearly wanted what she couldn’t have and she was willing to do whatever it took to get it. She threw Tess under the bus and took what she wanted from Patrick. She didn’t even think about Gabe while she screwed him over and yet she claimed to be falling in love with him. Then there was Patrick. He was a jerk and I honestly couldn’t see what Molly ever saw in him. He treated her like crap and she kept crawling back to him. Oh and don’t let me forget Patrick’s twin, Julia. Julia was supposedly Molly’s best friend but she was the first to slut shame Molly for what she did with Gabe. I understand that family comes first but that’s no reason to act like Julia did. And then there is Molly’s mom who was the one who outed Molly’s night with Gabe, not just to Patrick but to the whole world. Her mom wrote a bestselling novel based on Molly’s love life torn between Patrick and Gabe. Then she went and told everyone that it was based on her daughter. Who does that? Cheating: I can sometimes look past cheating in books and still be able to enjoy the book but not this time around. Molly had no sense of morals when it came to cheating. She just kept doing it, over and over again. Sure she’d feel bad about it later but that didn’t do anybody any good then. Too little, too late. I don’t want to get into this too much because it is very much a spoiler but just know that it was really bad. Ending: The ending is very similar to Katie Cotugno’s debut, How To Love, in that it’s up in the air. It’s pretty much up to the reader to decide what comes next for Molly and the boys in her life. I wanted some concrete answers and I know Katie Cotugno has said there is always the possibility of a sequel but that’s not what I want. I just want to know exactly how things ended for Molly and all of the Donnellys and it doesn’t look like I’ll get that. Overall, 99 Days is not one I recommend reading. Check out Katie Cotugno’s debut, How To Love, for sure, but let’s just pretend like this one didn’t happen. I’m waiting on her third book so I can see if it will redeem her! Overall reaction: What others are saying about 99 Days: The Perpetual Page-Turner’s review: “While on the surface this book might just seem like a romance with a love triangle between two brothers but it is SO much more than that.” The Novel Hermit’s review: “99 Days seemed promising at first, but with a snap of a finger, the story turned boring and didn’t really resolve anything.” A sweeping tale of love, legacy, and wilderness set between the present day and 1866 in the dramatic landscape of modern-day and territorial Montana. While on a trip to Montana with her mom, British teen Hope meets local boy Cal Crow, a ranch hand. Caught in a freak accident, Hope and Cal take shelter in a cabin, where Hope makes a strange discovery in an abandoned diary. More than a hundred years earlier, another British girl -- Emily -- met a similar fate. Her rescuer, a horse trader named Nate. In this wild place, both girls learn what it means to survive and to fall in love, neither knowing that their fates are intimately entwined. picadillyblue Historical fiction has always been one of my favorite genres and it’s one that I feel does not get enough love. I picked up Crow Moutain because it had been so long since I’d read anything historical fiction and this one seemed really unique. I was definitely right about that. Pros: Story: The story was the best thing Crow Mountain had going for it. I lumped this into the historical fiction genre but it’s not only historical fiction. The story alternates between present day Montana and 1866/67 Montana. Since I felt there was more focus on the past than the present, I considered it historical fiction. You could really classify it as both historical and contemporary. The story follows Hope/Cal in the present and Emily/Nate in the past. Hope is spending some time in Montana with her mother while she does research on the land. Cal is the son of the ranch owner they are staying with. Emily is a young British girl traveling to San Francisco to meet her future husband. Nate is a former soldier she briefly sees at one of the stops along the way. When Emily’s coach crashes, Nate is there to rescue her. However, he doesn’t return her to town so she can be on her way. Instead he takes her home with him and teaches her the ways of the land. Hope and Cal’s story is almost identical to Emily and Nate’s. As Hope reads Emily’s journal she starts to see the similarities between the two stories and wonders if she discovered the journal for a reason. Cal’s family has been feuding with the Hart family for centuries and it may be up to Emily and Cal to put an end to the feud before it kills any more people. Characters: To be completely honest, I liked Emily and Nate but Cal and Hope were a bit lacking, in my opinion. I’ll get to that part later though. Emily and Nate were in an odd situation. Emily didn’t know her future husband but she assumed she would be fine with him. She was drawn to Nate from the moment she first saw him but that doesn’t mean she wanted to run away with him. He essentially kidnapped her. He didn’t force her to stay with him but he knew there was no way she could leave him. She would have died in the wilderness on her own. He used that to his advantage, that’s for sure. He figured if he bided his time, she’d eventually come to love him. I wouldn’t normally be okay with a situation like that but Nate was a good guy and he never took advantage of her. He took care of her and he taught her how to take care of herself. Emily was pretty helpless at first but Nate didn’t allow that for long. It was easy to see that Emily really liked learning how to do things for herself. She didn’t want to have to rely on Nate and eventually, she didn’t have to. Romance: This is definitely one of those slow burn romances. Emily and Nate are attracted to each other but they don’t act on it. Rules were very different back in the 1800s and Emily was a proper lady. She wasn’t sure she’d ever make it back to her fiance but she knew that if she did, she had to be pure. She wanted to do what was right for her family and she wasn’t willing to risk that even though her feelings for Nate kept growing. She also didn’t know anything about love or relations between men and women. She was pretty clueless when it came to that so of course she wasn’t making any moves on Nate. It was kind of adorable how awkward she was about it all. As for Hope and Cal, they had a similar attraction but they knew they could act on it if they wanted. There was an age difference between the two and Cal had lots of secrets from his past but that didn’t really slow them down all that much. Their relationship moved a little too quickly for my tastes but I blame part of that on their situation. It forced them to really get to know each other and in a really short period of time. Cons: Characters: Like I said, Hope and Cal didn’t hold as much appeal to me as Emily and Nate. Hope was very sheltered and she could come across as kind of snobby. Cal was blatantly rude to her at times. While I felt like I could understand both of their issues, I would have been better with it if I felt like I knew them more. Most of the book was set in the past and I felt like Hope and Cal’s stories sometimes got pushed aside. I just didn’t feel the same connection to them as I did to Emily and Nate. Ending: The whole feud with the Hart family was not really explained very well and felt almost like an afterthought. Everything tied together really nicely at the end but I felt like it just came out of nowhere. I also felt like it was very rushed and some of the things were just not very believable. It’s already a pretty long book so I understand why things needed to wrap up quickly but I would have liked a bit more backstory as far as how things got started between the Harts and the Crows. Overall, Crow Mountain had things that could have been improved upon but was still an enjoyable read. I loved that Lucy Inglis based a lot of it off of true events. I’ll have to see what else she has written and look for more historical fiction from her in the future. Overall reaction: What others are saying about Crow Mountain: The Review Diaries’ review: “A surprising read that really crept up on me when I least expected it with a beautiful love story woven through its pages.” Daisy Chain Book Reviews’ review: “Crow Mountain is far from perfect, but it has drama, a wonderfully unusual setting, and a great story for fans who loved True Grit and The Next Together.” 3 COMMENTS CATEGORY: REVIEW TAGS: 3 STARS, CONTEMPORARY, HISTORICAL FICTION, REVIEW, STANDALONE, YOUNG ADULT FRIDAY, AUGUST 26, 2016 Disney’s The Jungle Book on Blu-ray DVD | Giveaway Jungle Book In an epic adventure directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man), Mowgli, a man-cub raised in the jungle by a family of wolves, is forced to abandon his home when fearsome tiger Shere Khan promises to eliminate him. Guided by stern Bagheera and free-spirited Baloo, Mowgli embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery. If you remember, back when The Jungle Book came out in theaters I had it as my movie of the month. I’ve adored the animated version and I’ve checked out the classic book but I never actually got to go see the new live action film in theaters. I’m eager to see it when the Blu-ray/DVD is released on August 30th! I’m also so happy to be hosting a giveaway for a copy of the Blu-ray/DVD for one lucky reader! In addition to the film, you’ll be able to check out many special features such as an interview with the director, the journey of the 12 year old selected from thousands to play Mowgli, and even an audio commentary from the director about each scene in the movie. Veronica Mars meets William Shakespeare in E.K. Johnston’s latest brave and unforgettable heroine. Hermione Winters is captain of her cheerleading team, and in tiny Palermo Heights, this doesn’t mean what you think it means. At PHHS, the cheerleaders don't cheer for the sports teams; they are the sports team—the pride and joy of a tiny town. The team's summer training camp is Hermione's last and marks the beginning of the end of…she’s not sure what. She does know this season could make her a legend. But during a camp party, someone slips something in her drink. And it all goes black. In every class, there's a star cheerleader and a pariah pregnant girl. They're never supposed to be the same person. Hermione struggles to regain the control she's always had and faces a wrenching decision about how to move on. The assault wasn't the beginning of Hermione Winter's story and she's not going to let it be the end. She won’t be anyone’s cautionary tale. picadillyblue I finished Exit, Pursued by a Bear a few days ago but I haven’t been able to properly put my thoughts into words. I still can’t really do that but I’m going to try. Trigger warning: As noted in the synopsis, this book deals with rape and teen pregnancy. If those aren’t things you can handle reading about, this book is not for you. Pros: Characters: If I had all the time in the world and I thought you guys would read a breakdown of each and every character in this book, I would give you one. That would take so long though so I’m just going to focus on some of the key players and their strengths and weaknesses. Hermione is obviously the most important person in Exit, Pursued by a Bear. She is the captain of her school’s cheerleaders and she is a pretty popular girl at her school. She’s still very down to earth though. She knows what people think about cheerleaders and she is there to prove them all wrong. She’s smart and funny and amazingly strong. She doesn’t just want to be another statistic but she also doesn’t want her rape and pregnancy to define who she becomes. With the help of her family and friends, she’s willing to do what it takes to get the guy but also move on. Her family is a huge help but it’s her best friend, Polly, who really helps her through. Hermione and Polly are best friend goals. They love and support each other through everything. When Hermione can’t be strong, she has Polly. Same goes for Polly. The two of them love each other unconditionally. It’s not often you see friendships like theirs portrayed in YA books but I loved seeing it. And right now I can’t think of his name but I adored Hermione’s psychiatrist. He was exactly what she needed. He helped her feel like even though everything was wrong in her life, she wasn’t doing anything wrong and she was on the path to where she needed to be. You could see that he really wanted to help her. Story: I knew going in that this would be a tough story to read and I was right. I cried so many times. I’m glad I read it though. Not only is Hermione raped, everyone knows about it. It happens at cheer camp and quickly spreads around school and their small town. She has no choice but to be faced with peoples’ pity. She knows that she could let this be the moment that defines who she is or she can find a way to make herself known for something else, something good. When she finds out she’s pregnant, it makes things even more difficult for her. She never lets this stop her though. She still cheers, gets good grades, and focuses on her future. E.K. Johnston showed a very different side of the story than I ever expected and it showed that a terrible event doesn’t have to be the defining moment of your life. Romance: I’m just briefly going to mention this because there wasn’t much romance in Exit, Pursued by a Bear. At the start of the book Hermione is dating fellow cheerleader, Leo, but that doesn’t last and I was happy about that. They were not good for each other. After the rape, Hermione is a little hesitant to have anything to do with boys her own age. She puts up with it for cheerleading but that’s pretty much all she is doing. However, Dion, a fellow cheerleader, is the only boy who really makes Hermione feel safe and like she might be okay with guys in the future. Their friendship and possible romance is sweet and perfect for the story. Overall, Exit, Pursued by a Bear is going to the top of my highly recommended list. I know my review doesn’t even come close to doing it justice but take my word, you should read it. Overall reaction: What others are saying about Exit, Pursued by a Bear: The Book Wars’ review: “In Exit, Pursued by a Bear, we see how the truth loses none of its potency when surrounded by people who are willing to trust in it. Highly, highly recommended!” Pretty Deadly Reviews’ review: “This is a very different, very uplifting story about a girl coming to terms with being raped, and it is a necessary voice in a world telling girls they don’t own themselves.” 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome. 2) A person’s undoing 3) Joshua Templeman Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual. Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking. If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong. Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game. picadillyblue The Hating Game, Sally Thorne’s debut novel, has been generating a lot of buzz lately. I kept seeing it mentioned on my Twitter feed so I decided to check it out. It’s not my typical read but I ended up loving it and I’m glad I branched out a bit for this one. Pros: Characters: Lucy and Joshua are the main characters here and honestly, there weren’t really any other characters I cared that much about. It’s not that the others characters sucked, it’s just that Lucy and Josh really took the spotlight and their story was the one I really cared about. Lucy seemed really carefree at first. She was a total sweetheart but also a little bit of a pushover. She let people (other than Josh) walk all over her. She wanted everyone to like her and she put her own needs second because of that. She was lonely and homesick and totally overworked. She just hid it really well. Josh was an ass and it was pretty easy to see that it was because he had feelings for Lucy. I admit, I didn’t care much for Josh’s approach. He was just another person who didn’t treat Lucy right. Everything made more sense once more of his story came out but I still didn’t approve of his mean streak towards her. However, that’s not to say that I didn’t still like him because I totally did. Banter: Josh and Lucy may not have been nice to each other and I may have had some issues with how they treated one another but the banter between them was too perfect. Josh may have been mean but Lucy could hold her own against him. She always had a sassy comeback for anything he may have said. Even as their relationship changed, the banter never did. It was easy to see from the start that they had chemistry but it really showed when they were going back and forth in a battle of wits. They were pretty evenly matched. Romance: I’m torn here because for a while it seemed like nothing happened but I also liked that Sally Thorne took the time to build up to their relationship. I don’t think I would have found it as easy to believe if it just popped up at the very start of the book. The build up was one of the best parts. However, the sexual tension between Josh and Lucy had me wanting to shove them together from the very start. It was just so easy to see that they needed to get together! And boy did they ever. If I thought they had chemistry when they were just bickering, it was 10 times better when they finally got together. Cons: There wasn’t really anything I absolutely hated about this book. All my problems with it were already mentioned. Yes, Josh was kind of jerk. The secondary characters were a little non-existent and I couldn’t find much to make me care about them. These were all little things though and they didn’t detract much from my enjoyment of the book. Overall, The Hating Game really did impress me. Josh and Lucy are right up there with some of my favorite couples. I’m quite eager to see what Sally Thorne is going to do next. Overall reaction: What others are saying about The Hating Game: Harlequin Junkie’s review: “The Hating Game turned out to be quite a lovely adventure.” 3 Stars Who will be left after lights out? At Cate's isolated boarding school, Killer is more than a game- it's an elite secret society. Members must avoid being "Killed" during a series of thrilling pranks, and only the Game Master knows who the "Killer" is. When Cate's finally invited to join the Assassins' Guild, she know it's her ticket to finally feeling like she belongs. But when the game becomes all too real, the school threatens to shut it down. Cate will do anything to keep playing and save the Guild. But can she find the real assassin before she's the next target? picadillyblue With a title like this one, I had some pretty high hopes. The Assassin Game is my first time reading a book by Kirsty McKay and while it wasn’t all I had hoped for, it was enough to get me to check out some of her other books. Pros: Mystery: There were times when I totally thought about setting aside The Assassin Game and adding it to my short list of DNFs. I admit, there were times when I was just plain bored. Things moved at a slow pace with this one. However, I could not stop reading this one because there were so many things I still needed to know. Yes, there was a killer in the game but there was also someone attempting to kill people in real life too. And let me tell you, I didn’t have a clue who either killer was. These kids were pretty ruthless and they each wanted to be the last one standing at the end of the Game. They were willing to do a lot of stuff in the name of the Game and it looked like someone was taking the Game a little too far. Cons: Pacing: I already mentioned this briefly but the pace of this one was ridiculously slow. I honestly felt like nothing happened for the first half of the book. The synopsis tells you about someone taking the Game a bit literally and trying to kill people but the first attempt doesn’t even happen until halfway through the book. The first half just focuses on Cate and her many romantic entanglements as well as the progression of the Game. I was extremely bored with that. Which brings me to my next point. Characters: I was not impressed with any of these characters. Cate, for instance, was immature and obsessed with the Game. I think she saw it as a way of fitting in which was something she had always been trying to achieve. She was the kid that wasn’t really supposed to be at Umfraville but since her family owned the island she got to attend the school. Everyone there was snobby and rich and she didn’t feel like she belonged with any of them except maybe Marcia and Daniel. Also, she may have considered those two friends but they were anything but. Marcia was self-centered and totally not there for Cate at all. Daniel, on the other hand, was completely obsessed with her. He was creepy. As for Alex and Vaughn, Cate’s other possible love interests, I wasn’t really impressed with either of them. Alex was the popular guy who was a total player but for some reason, Cate never wanted him. They hooked up once and that was the end for her. Vaughn was her childhood friend who reappeared after years and they immediately fell for each other. I didn’t really have any problems with the two of them together but I didn’t feel any sort of investment in their relationship. Writing: I wasn’t terribly upset with the writing in The Assassin Game but I was far from impressed with it. It was very stilted and straightforward. I felt like I was being told everything outright rather than having things shown to me through descriptions. It was a really dull way of telling this story. Overall, The Assassin Game may not have a lot of pros going for it but it was an entertaining enough story for me. It’s not something I’ll ever re-read but it was a good mystery for a rainy day. Overall reaction: What others are saying about The Assassin Game: Flavia the Bibliophile’s review: “McKay did an exceptional job at keeping me guessing until the very end, and I commend her for that!” The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say Shhh!’s review: “Overall, this is a case of a fun book that would NEVER happen in real life.” Novelgossip’s review: “I had hoped that there would be some originality in this one, but alas I was left disappointed and irritated.” 2 Stars For sixteen-year-old Jillian McKay, the threat of Hurricane Danielle means a long car ride with her neighbors including River Daughtry, the former star quarterback of Harrison High. The guy who was headed to glory until suddenly he disappeared to a West Texas juvenile detention center. Once cocky and flirtatious, he's now silent and angry. When their evacuation route is gridlocked, River is the first to recognize the danger they're in. Together he and Jillian set out to seek shelter in their abandoned high school. As they wait out the storm, they confront the past and realize survival is about more than just staying alive it's about fighting for yourself." picadillyblue Oh how I wanted to love Hurricane Kiss. I don’t know what it was about this book but I was really drawn to it (despite the embarrassing cover). I figured this would be a quick, fun read with some good secrets and romance. It was quick but that was about all I got right about this one. Pros: Pacing: Let’s be real here; the only good thing about Hurricane Kiss was that it didn’t take long to read. It was slow to start but once I got about 40 pages in, things took off. It’s pretty clear from the summary what you’re getting into as far as the hurricane and the survival part of the story. I will admit that I was so not impressed with the time spent in the car trying to get out of Houston but once River and Jillian took off on their own, things really started to move. Survival stories always intrigue me while also creeping me out. Hurricane Kiss definitely did both of those things. I have to say that that is probably one of the main reasons I didn’t just give up on this one. I wanted to see what would happen to River and Jillian and everyone else in their lives. If nothing else, the story is very captivating. Cons: Characters: I felt nothing for River or Jillian. Jillian was judgmental and very closed off. River was tortured and messed up and every other thought in his head was about how bad he was for everyone around him. Put them together and they were not any better. And don’t get me started on their parents. Jillian’s mom would rather stay behind to report than take her kids to safety. Sure she sends them off with someone else so they aren’t trapped in Houston with her but I could not believe that any mom would do that. As for River’s dad, he didn’t even like his son. He wasn’t willing to listen to him and he just believed what everyone else had to say about him. Then he let him run off (literally, run off) in the middle of an evacuation. He didn’t try to stop him or go after him. What kind of dad does that? So yeah, while I disliked both Jillian and River, I disliked their parents even more. Romance: Can you say insta-love that is totally based on looks alone? Maybe there was more to it than that but all it seemed these two ever thought about was how attractive the other was. I couldn’t see any other good reason they might be interested in each other. They had nothing in common (except for the single parent thing) and to make matters worse, Jillian had a boyfriend! Yeah, she didn’t feel much for him but that doesn’t mean she should just go for another guy without breaking up with him. Story: There were two parts of the story that I just couldn’t get behind. One: I don’t think Jillian and River would have survived the storm. They holed up in their high school and they weren’t prepared at all. They stayed in rooms with windows (isn’t that a big no-no during tornadoes and hurricanes), they had almost no food, and they kept going out into the storm for completely stupid reasons. Oh and when the roof would collapse or windows would shatter, instead of just leaving it alone, they would go to check it out. That makes a lot of sense. The second part was River’s story about what happened to land him in juvie and his time in juvie. His dad is ex-military. I find it hard to believe that he just took the schools word for his sons actions and didn’t fight him getting sent to juvie. Then there were the stories about what happened at juvie. I know I have never spent any time in a juvenile detention facility but it seems like beating them, drugging them senseless, and feeding them food crawling with worms would be frowned upon and easily discovered. What do I know though? Overall, Hurricane Kiss is not something I’d recommend reading. I could go on and on about this book but I’m going to stop here. I’m just really happy it was a quick read and I didn’t waste too much time with this one. Overall reaction: What others are saying about Hurricane Kiss: A Belle’s Tales’ review: “I really enjoyed Hurricane Kiss; it was a fast read, and the writing and characters were captivating.” The Reader and the Chef’s review: “All in all, I believe Hurricane Kiss will attract readers in search of books inspired by events as real as natural disasters, brooding hot guys with a dark past, personal obstacles, light romance, and revelations until the very end of the book.” 1 COMMENT CATEGORY: REVIEW Morgan didn’t mean to do anything wrong that day. Actually, she meant to do something right. But her kind act inadvertently played a role in a deadly tragedy. In order to move on, Morgan must learn to forgive—first someone who did something that might be unforgivable, and then, herself. But Morgan can’t move on. She can’t even move beyond the front door of the apartment she shares with her mother and little brother. Morgan feels like she’s underwater, unable to surface. Unable to see her friends. Unable to go to school. When it seems Morgan can’t hold her breath any longer, a new boy moves in next door. Evan reminds her of the salty ocean air and the rush she used to get from swimming. He might be just what she needs to help her reconnect with the world outside. Underwater is a powerful, hopeful debut novel about redemption, recovery, and finding the strength it takes to face your past and move on. picadillyblue I’ve always been the queen of contemporary but it’s not often that I find a contemporary novel that I adore. That was the case with Underwater. Marisa Reichardt’s debut novel completely blew me away. I’m always a big fan of books that are fast paced and have a lot going on. Underwater is not one of those books but it’s got a lot of other things going for it. Marisa Reichardt’s writing is phenomenal. It seemed a little wordy at first but once I got reading, I saw how it made everything come together. The writing style just worked for this story. Marisa Reichardt’s writing managed to capture exactly how Morgan felt after the school shooting and convey them perfectly for readers. It took very little time for me to feel like I could understand exactly what Morgan was going through and how she was feeling. It takes real talent to make that happen in such a short period of time. The events that led to Morgan’s agoraphobia (I think that’s pretty much what she had) were a mystery for most of the book. Readers can tell early on in the book what happened at the school that day but it’s not so obvious why it affected Morgan the way it did. While other survivors embraced life and decided to take chances, Morgan did the opposite. She shut herself away from everything that could hurt her, including other people. Evan, her new neighbor, forces Morgan to reevaluate her choices and actually consider coming out of her apartment for the first time in months. Evan was a total sweetheart. He didn’t know what Morgan was like before the shooting but he quickly came to care for her, even with her quirks. And honestly, Morgan’s quirks made me like her even more. Sure I felt for her from the start but I only grew to really like her once I started to understand exactly what she thought about herself, the shooting, the shooter, and what her future might hold. To some, Underwater might seem a little slow and a little lacking in action. I did mention earlier that that is normally what draws me too a book but I didn’t mind the pace or the lack of action in Underwater. There was some mystery (not much) which did keep my interest piqued but it was the characters that really kept me reading this one. Like I said earlier, I felt emotionally connected to Morgan from the start so I never once considered putting Underwater down because of it’s pace. I do think it’s a good thing to know going in though that Underwater is not necessarily a book you are going to be able to power through and read in an hour or two. Take your time with this one. It’s worth it. I also really loved all the family dynamics in Underwater. Morgan lived with her mom and little brother and they were all very close. Her mom was extremely understanding about Morgan’s condition and her little brother was adorable. Evan was also very close to his mom and aunt. There wasn’t a ton of interaction shown between them but it was easy to see how they cared for each other and helped each other out. Overall, Underwater is a fantastic debut that I can’t help but recommend. I look forward to seeing what Marisa Reichardt does next. What others are saying about Underwater: My Friends Are Fiction’s review: “What a beautifully developed and executed debut Underwater was.” bookstacked’s review: “Everything about this story was amazing: the writing, the theme, the dialogue, but one of my favorite things about this story was the underlying message. The message that having hope is one of the best things in the world.” ©2016 CHRONICLE BOOKS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Better World Books: Sheryl, check back. We'll be suggesting books for each chall… Jean Marcus: YES!… Sheryl: I suggest a couple of suggestions with a link to the purchas… Naglaa Mostafa Akeel: congratulations in shaa Allah you wiil get the grant God b… JODI P: How about this! 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Scribendi.com also accepts other online and offline payments, including AliPay and PayPal. classical Angela's influence: what we owe to Carter Published: 4:30 PM 13Angela's influence: what we owe to Carter His Dark Materials is two decades old, but its lessons are made for today Published: 3:11 PM 68His Dark Materials is two decades old, but its lessons are made for today 15 February 2017 The most expensive library in the world? Book Capella opens for Russian elite Charging around £100 per visit to its pricey collection, it’s not clear if this is an actual library or just a novel spot for wealthy Russians to hold meetings Published: 2:00 PM 18The most expensive library in the world? 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