Displaying articles for: October 2013
Bestselling author Lauren Kate of the FALLEN novels talks about the origins of her new book, Teardrop, the first in a new series about a seemingly ordinary teenage girl whose tears have an extraordinary magical power - today on the NOOK Blog.
When I lived in rural Northern California, the nearby lake was a flooded valley that had once been the site of a small village. Imagined ghosts of this underwater town haunted me, leading to an obsession with flood narratives, from the Epic of Gilgamesh to Noah’s Ark to Plato’s Atlantis.
I was especially drawn to the legend of Atlantis. I wanted to learn more about this glorious, advanced ancient civilization, which disappeared so completely under the ocean that it slipped into the realm of myth. So I started with Plato, who wrote two cryptic texts called Timeaus and Critias, neither of which he finished. They are the earliest—and, many scholars say, the only “true”—accounts of Atlantis, filled with compellingly exact descriptions, down to the measurements of the land and the types of metals found in the ground.
Scholars agree that Plato had a very clear vision of Atlantis but disagree on whether Plato believed Atlantis actually existed. Most vote no, claiming he created Timeaus and Critias as part of a writing assignment Dionysius II gave him at a literary festival.
But for many—including the occultist writers whose books I devoured while preparing to write Teardrop; the Turkish and Greek graduate students who led me on an Atlantean research-scavenger hunt through Athens, Greece, and Ephesus, Turkey; and Dr. Richard Freund, whose research on seeking Atlantis in southern Spain was the most compelling to me—the existence of Atlantis is historical fact. I found these people’s faith in the lost land inspiring, and together with the poetic truth I found in Plato’s writings, I was able to create my own Atlanteology.
For several years I knew I wanted to write about Atlantis, but I didn’t know whose voice would tell this story. I tried on several different narrators but couldn’t get anyone’s voice to carry the story beyond a chapter or two.
Inspiration struck one day when I was crying. My husband was listening to my sob story, never mind what it was about. He couldn’t reach me; I was trapped under the flood of my emotions, as tear-shedders often are. But then he extended his hand, touched the corner of my eye with his finger, and captured the tear welling up. I watched as he brought my tear to his face and blinked it into his own eye. Suddenly we were bound by this tear. Suddenly I wasn’t alone. And suddenly I had the first scene between my hero and the boy she loved.
That tear unlocked this story. Instead of an angry god generating the deluge, a single tear incites Teardrop’s apocalypse. And in the tale I wanted to tell, I knew that a tear capable of flooding the world could only be shed over a mighty heart broken.
NOOK – So, Ben and Beth, could you describe your book in ten words or less?
Ben – I can do it in seven. It's a hell of a rousing puzzler.
Beth – It's a mystery and love story with mystical overtones and gory murders.
Ben – That's twelve words, Beth.
Beth – Well, you had some extra words left over so I used them.
NOOK - How did you come up with the idea of making the author of Walden a 19th century sleuth?
Ben Oak – It hit us one day while we were visiting Walden Pond that Thoreau had all the makings of a great detective. He had an insatiable curiosity and always wanted to get to the bottom of things—including the pond itself. Thoreau measured the length and depth of Walden with amazing accuracy. A friend of his said he could measure a man at a glance as well.
Beth Oak – We call Thoreau America's Sherlock Holmes because he had an instinct for detecting human foibles and razor-sharp observational skills.
Ben – Razor-sharp senses too. People at the time remarked how no hound could scent better than Thoreau, and how he saw as with a microscope and heard as with an ear-trumpet. He also had a photographic memory.
Beth - Thoreau also knew how to track, hunt and use firearms. Those are handy survival skills for a detective. He answered to no one. Like all the best detectives in fiction, from Sherlock Holmes to Philip Marlowe, Thoreau was a self-reliant loner with his own code of honor.
Ben – In fact, Thoreau was the one who originated the idea of marching to the beat of a different drummer.
NOOK - Well, you two must have to march to the same beat when you write books together.
Beth – Not really. We follow the same plot outline, but we go about telling the story from two different points of view, in the voices of Dr. Adam Walker and his cousin the artist Julia Bell, who both help Thoreau in his investigations.
Ben – Adam and Julia don't always see things the same way, and neither do we, but it's fun to work things out together. Luckily we have each other as a sounding board, or should I say shouting board?
Beth – Our discussions get pretty heated at times, but when it comes to plotting an intricate mystery with various suspects and motives, we think two heads really are better than one.
Ben – Even if we butt heads at times! We're passionate about our work and each other so it all works out in the end.
Love historical mysteries? Check out the collection here.Read more...
Witches, cauldrons, jack-o-lanterns, candy corn - what’s your favorite Halloween word? You can find them all in this week’s App Buzz, featuring Astraware Halloween Wordsearch, now at 50% off!
With over 100 puzzles full of ghoulish words right at your fingertips, you’ll improve your vocabulary and spelling – and maybe even find inspiration for a Halloween costume. Words can be hidden horizontally, vertically, or diagonally for a fun challenge that’ll keep you going until it’s time to trick-or-treat.
Love this app deal? Check back for more great apps on sale on our Deal of the Day page.
Are you on Twitter? Tell @nookBN what you’re reading, watching, and playing with hashtag #TellNOOK.Read more...
**For the most current Free Friday selections, please visit the New NOOK Blog at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/nook-blog/category/free-fridays/.
Today's Free Fridays book selection is Aris Returns, a haunting love story between a dissatisfied psychotherapist and a patient who is more than what he seems.
Sarah Hagan is a successful psychologist and hypnotherapist with a steady relationship and a beautiful home - but there's something missing from her tidy, ordered world - something that comes in the form of an ex-con named Carlos, who's in need of hypnosis to get his life back on track.
As she guides him through several sessions, Sarah realizes that Carlos is channeling an ancient and powerful spirit named Aris - a vampire born in the days of Alexander the Great. As Sarah becomes drawn to Aris' fascinating stories steeped in historical lore, she also finds a great passion awakening within her, and emotions that she thought lost forever. Can Carlos/Aris become the solution to her restless existence, or will they destroy everything that she's worked for?
Today's Free Fridays app selection is Doctor & Dentist Vampires - Virtual Kids Dental & Med School by Beansprites LLC - a role-playing game with a spooky twist!
Assume the role of doctor or dentist and try and take care of your patients - even though many are from the land of the undead. Treat werewolves, vampires, and other monsters for cavities and other ailments - just try not to get bit! This game app also features a fun photo gallery at the end as well as a sticker lab.
I thought I would read a romance totally different from mine and I had such a great time when I read Sleeping With Dogs and Other Lovers by Julia Dumont! Set in my hometown of Los Angeles, this book has such fun with some of the "bad boyfriends" one can run into in this crazy town of the super famous and the want-to-be famous. I laughed out loud at the antics of Cynthia Amas, the heroine who reinvents herself as a dating guru, and her many clients. Now I can't wait to read the next two novels in this series. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.
In this month's Love Rocks post on the Barnes and Noble Review, "Tis the Season for Holiday Romance," we have the pleasure of hearing from Elisabeth Naughton, New York Times bestselling romantic suspense and paranormal author. Her latest book, First Exposure, is available now.
Elisabeth: October is probably my favorite month of the year. Not just because the leaves are changing color and there's a brisk rush to the air, but because October is traditionally the month when holiday romances hit the shelves. I'm a sucker for a good holiday romance. Crackling fires, mistletoe, snow falling outside, and the magic of the holidays are all elements that seem to lend themselves perfectly to sexy, emotional, romantic reads. Every year I look forward to finding the perfect story that will get me in the mood to celebrate the holidays.
Tis the Season is a brand new anthology from authors Darcy Burke, Erica Ridley and Emma Lock that does just that. Most anthologies seem to focus on the same genre, but what I found fun and entertaining about this anthology is that all three stories are rooted in different genres, and each takes the reader into a completely different world.
In Darcy Burke's "Where the Heart Is," a contemporary romance, we meet Derek Sumner, the odd-man-out in the crazy Archer family, and Chloe English, a woman down on her luck during the holidays, looking for a fresh start in the beautiful wine country of Oregon. Sparks immediately flare between the two and continue to grow throughout the story, even amidst meddling sextuplets, a raging house fire, and a pub filled with colorful characters that could put Cheers to shame. Smart, sexy and touching, "Where the Heart Is" is a fabulous introduction to Darcy's new Ribbon Ridge Series. While Darcy Burke is well-known for her sexy historicals, you'll want to make sure you don't miss her foray into contemporary romance. Clever writing, relatable characters and a place anyone would like to call home make this a "don't miss read".
"Midwinter Magic" by Erica Ridley takes us from contemporary to fantasy. But this isn't your parents' Tolkien fantasy. No, this is guardian angel, tooth fairy, and Mother Earth fantasy. Jack Morgan is a former money-hungry CEO looking to make amends for his greedy ways by traveling to destitute parts of the world at Christmas, delivering toys and repairing worn buildings in weather-damaged third-world villages. Sarah Phimm (yes, you read that right) is his guardian angel working tirelessly to keep him alive in some of the more dangerous places he's decided to visit. Unfortunately, Sarah's not always at the top of her game, and when Jack inadvertently runs into her in the middle of a road in Bolivia, she has no choice but to finally show herself. What follows is a hilarious and ironic turn of events that draw Jack and Sarah closer together and leave the reader smiling. If you like a little humor and whimsy in your holiday romance, "Midwinter Magic" is for you.
And finally, "The Cheer in Charming an Earl" by Emma Locke is the historical addition to this holiday anthology. Elinor Conley is searching for a husband, and she's got Grantham Wendell, the Earl of Chelford, directly in her sights. Unbeknownst to Elinor though, Grantham is quite the rake, and the poor country girl is so isolated from society that she hasn't heard even a whisper about his wild Christmas parties...until she finds herself right smack in the middle of one. For those who like light historicals, "The Cheer in Charming an Earl" is a good addition to your reading list and rounds out this wonderful holiday anthology.
Samantha Chase does a wonderful job drawing the reader in to the fairy tale that is The Christmas Cottage, and you can't help but root for both Lacey and Ean. I read this in one night and couldn't wait to see if the pair could make things work. It's the kind of holiday romance that just leaves you smiling. And after finishing the book, I was thrilled to discover there's a sequel already available -- Ever After -- which I now must go download!
Tell Me: What's your favorite holiday love story?
Are you as excited as we are about bestselling author Wally Lamb's newest novel? We Are Water is the affecting story of a Connecticut family in upheaval as its wife and mother leaves and plans to marry a successful businesswoman. Read Wally's post about the inspiration and writing process behind the book, now available on NOOK.
You might say that We Are Water began in a radio station in my hometown of Norwich, CT, where I was promoting my just-finished comic novella Wishin’ & Hopin’. “So what’s next for Wally Lamb?” the announcer asked, and not wanting to appear dopey by revealing my lack of plan, I improvised. “I’m thinking of writing about the flood,” I said. If you’re from Norwich, you know that theflood refers to the devastation caused when, in 1963, the collapse of a dam unleashed millions of gallons of water on the city, destroyed the shopping district, and took five lives. I was a 12-year-old eyewitness to the horrors that night.
My inspiration for the title came in 2007 when my wife, Chris, and I attended a performance of the musical “Ten Million Miles,” which featured a Patty Griffin song titled “We Are Water.” I liked the alliterative sound of the phrase and scrawled it on the front of my playbill. What does that mean?, I kept wondering: We are water? I started writing the novel to find out. Usually I title my stories after they’re finished. This time, the title came first.
We Are Water ended up being a multi-voiced story about a family and a nation in transition. It’s 2009. Barack Obama is in the first year of his presidency, the State of Connecticut has recently legalized gay marriage, and Orion and Annie Oh’s twenty-seven year marriage has ended because Annie, a successful outsider artist, has fallen in love with Viveca, her champion in the art world and her bride to be. As the wedding approaches, it elicits a variety of responses from ex-husband Orion, a university psychologist, and the Ohs’ three grown children: earnest do-gooder Ariane, her born-again twin brother Andrew, and the twins’ wild card younger sister Marissa. Likewise, the impending ceremony pries open a Pandora’s box of toxic secrets that have festered beneath the surface of the Ohs’ lives. In this, my fifth novel, I explore the themes of class, race, evolving social mores, and the origins and purpose of art. As were my earlier novels, this story is an exploration of power and powerlessness and their effect on flawed but humane characters.Read more...
The moment we've all been waiting for is finally here - Veronica Roth has finished her wildly popular dystopian teen trilogy, the Divergent Series! Allegiant, the fiery conclusion to the trilogy is now available on NOOK. Veronica visits the NOOK Blog today to do a Q&A about the story behind the stories - her writing process, the challenges she faced, and who she'd most love to see reading her books.
What’s the first thing you did when you finished writing the trilogy?
Veronica: I’m pretty sure all I did was continue with my regular routine—walk the dog, eat dinner, etc. I’ve been waiting until I’m done with the Four short stories to really process that the trilogy is done. I have a few edited drafts of Allegiant lying around my apartment, so maybe when I finish with the short stories I’ll burn the stacks of paper to commemorate the end of the series. That sounds weird, but I think it’s appropriate to grieve a little bit—it changed my life so drastically. It’s bittersweet.
If you could catch anyone reading your books, who would it be?
V: My writer dream has always been that I would someday see someone reading one of my books on the train, and that has never happened—so I would really love to catch anyone reading them on a Chicago El train. Catching one of my favorite authors reading a Divergent book would be wonderful, too.
What has been your most challenging scene to write in the trilogy?
V: The hardest scenes for me to write are ones that weave in complicated pieces of world-building—it’s difficult to communicate information clearly without it feeling like exposition. So some of the most challenging scenes, for me, were the ones in Allegiant when a lot of the questions that have built up over the last two books are answered. The scene in the first book where Al begs Tris for forgiveness and she refuses him was a hard one, too. I don’t really blame her, but that was painful to “watch,” so to speak, knowing what would happen next.
Has writing any part of the trilogy changed the way in which you see the world?
V: So many times. For me, the page is a safe place for me to challenge my own beliefs about the world. The faction system is essentially my own personal utopia: a world in which people are forced to fit themselves into neat categories, and to take personal responsibility for the brokenness in the world. Writing the series has made me dismantle my own worldview, in a lot of ways—has made me abandon my own legalism and to start looking at people in a more nuanced, complicated, and probably more loving way. And that’s just one example. I grew up a lot while writing these books.
I’m a huge fan of word games: crosswords (with the exception of Saturday’s puzzle – ouch!), word searches, word scrambles – I do them all. That’s why the Word Push game app by Bullbitz is the perfect game for me and all other word lovers, because it combines all the great elements of popular word games to create one brain-teasing supergame!
Test your noggin with over 100 levels that’ll test your vocabulary, logic and spelling skills. Your goal is to collect gems from the game by forming words vertically, horizontally or diagonally across a board of letter tiles. Form words with the gem letter tiles and proceed to the next level – just make sure you include all gem letters in your word, otherwise the move is invalid. See, we told you it’s tricky!
Roundhouse kick your way through 61 levels of Pick up n’ Play gameplay with an engaging storyline and awesome visual effects – plus leaderboards to show off your kung-fu skills to other martial arts hopefuls.
Each week, we ask our featured author to recommend a book or author that you may want to check out. Since authors are such passionate readers themselves, we thought you might like to find out what they love to read, too! Here’s what Ella recommends:
If you’ve never read Mary Jo Putney’s books, you’re missing out! She is one of my must-read authors. Her latest release, book #5 in her Lost Lords series, Sometimes a Rogue, is a wonderful example of her storytelling abilities. Her writing is elegant and her historical accuracy is spot on. Once you start, you’ll be hooked forever.
Rob had no idea what he was getting himself into when he volunteered to rescue Sarah who had saved her heavily pregnant twin sister from an anti-British terrorist group and was taken instead. The sizzling, sensual tension between these two strong-willed people as they race across Ireland to escape was done with a skilled hand, and their happily ever after was all one could wish for.
Not only is Mary Jo a great writer—having won several RITAs and other awards, including Romance Writers of America Life Time Achievement Award—she is a fantastic person as well. I had the privilege and the pleasure of meeting her this past summer, and she immediately offered to help me solve a problem I was having.Read more...
What book made you fall in love with reading as a child? Bestselling childrens' author Jonathan Stroud understands that sometimes all it takes is just one book to open up an incredible new world for children of all ages, and he's got a fantastic list of his favorite kids' books that changed the way he felt about reading forever - today on the NOOK Blog.
Jonathan: A great book has magical powers. It doesn’t just divert or entertain you, it changes you forever. It does this by becoming part of you – ever afterwards, it’s part of your mind and make-up, causing you to respond to the world in a subtly different fashion.This is true throughout your life, but the books you read in childhood are the strongest and most powerful of all. Here’s a list of 20 books I’ve loved, at various times and in various ways. Some are classics from my early years, some more recent kids’ titles that have blown me away. There are scary books, funny ones and great adventures: a few manage to be all three at once. They’re all available as ebooks, and they’re all worth reading and rereading. Enjoy!
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
The greatest adventure story ever written, and the fountain-head from which all modern young adult fiction flows. Countless classic scenes, but try the one where Jim Hawkins and his mother sit in the dark listening to the tapping of the blind man’s stick on the road outside: Stevenson achieves almost Hitchcockian levels of suspense here.
Humphrey the Horrible and his family of ghouls must seek a new home when their castle is modernized. Eva Ibbotson was a pioneer of the genre-bending children’s book. Her stories manage to be creepy and hugely funny all at the same time, and this one, where the ghosts are the heroes, is one of the very best.
Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror by Chris Priestley
For readers still too young for MR James, this is the perfect introduction to the delights of the English ghost story. Deliciously succinct, inventive and macabre.
Revenge of the Witch (Last Apprentice Series #1) by Joseph Delaney
Young Thomas Ward gets a job fighting the powers of darkness. Horrid ghosts and fantastically scary witches await. A superb supernatural thriller.
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Gaiman harnesses the dark power of fairy tale in this modern classic. Scariest bit? The ‘other mother’ with button eyes. Eek!
Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Hobbit J R R Tolkien
Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
Collected Ghost Stories M.R. James
The Wolves of Willougbhy Chase Joan Aiken
A Wizard of Earthsea Ursula Le Guin
Sabriel (Abhorsen Trilogy Series #1) Garth Nix
The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
The Inimitable Jeeves by P.G.Wodehouse
Tell Me: What's your favorite childrens' novel?Read more...
Congratulations to Eleanor Catton, who won the Man Booker Prize last night for her rich, exquisitely detailed fiction saga The Luminaries.
The Luminaries focuses on a group of prospectors, prostitutes and other colorful characters contending with a mysterious murder scandal during the 19th-century gold rush in New Zealand. Catton is the youngest recipient of this distinguished literary award, taking her place among such eminent fiction writers as Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood and Yann Martel, all past winners.
Ready to read one of the year's best books? Pick up Catton's award-winner here.
Tell Me: Do you have a favorite Man Booker Prize winner? Post your comments below.Read more...
Do you have a special Halloween tradition? Bestselling paranormal romance authors Rebecca Zanetti and Dianne Duvall love Halloween and have some great traditions - scary, funny, and sentimental - that they enjoy each year with family and friends. Read all about their Halloween experiences and memories, today on the NOOK Blog.
Rebecca Zanetti: Being a paranormal author, I love Halloween. These days, I love the mystery of the thin veil between our world and the next. The chill in the air that makes me shiver, the rustle of dying leaves, the sense that we’re not as alone as we’d like. That feeling inspires me to write and go as dark as I want in my novels. To keep entertained, I read a Cynthia Eden or Kate Douglas paranormal to keep me in the spirit.
Before I became an author, Halloween was a day to have fun and a night to party. The ironic thing in my family is that our mom didn’t like Halloween. Our mom coached our softball teams, was always the team room mom, and took great care of everybody, but Halloween wasn’t her thing. In fact, she usually forgot about trick-or-treating until about an hour before it was time to head out.
So we’d trump up to our grandmother’s house for last-minute costumes. I don’t know how many years I went trick-or-treating as a gypsy, because Nana had a lot of play jewelry and make-up. My younger sister always got stuck with whatever wig we could find. One year she’d be a lion, and the next year just a random guy with a wig, but boy, did we have fun.
When my husband and I bought our first house, I started going all out with Halloween decorations right off the bat. He had no idea he’d have to deal with real hay over the front porch (that inevitably ends up all over our house), fake cobwebs to walk through (he’s six-and-a-half feet tall, so there’s no way to put them high enough), or Halloween monster music playing throughout the house all month.
Then we started having kids, and I went to town! When the kids were little, I bought costumes for them about three months in advance every year. It was so much fun! Even as a tiny baby, our son went as Blue’s Clues, so imagine my shock when my daughter turned ten and decided she’d choose her own costume.
Guess what she chose?
Yep. She went as a gypsy with tons of fun jewelry and bright make-up. My mom laughed so hard, I was afraid she’d break a rib. At that time, my grandmother had passed on, and my mom had Nana’s old jewelry box. My mom, my daughter, and I had such a memorable time scrounging through the costume jewelry and sharing the good times from years ago. Sometimes traditions sneak up and bite you. In fact, sometimes you create a tradition without even knowing it.
So these days, Halloween is close to my heart because of the times I’ve shared with the four generations of women in my family. Sometimes on Halloween night, when that veil between the worlds becomes thin, I can feel my grandmother right next to me.
I’m looking forward to being near her again this year.
Pick up Rebecca Zanetti's newest paranormal romance, Shadowed, on NOOK.
Dianne Duvall: My favorite Halloween traditions have altered over the years. As a child, I loved trick-or-treating, of course, and often spent weeks agonizing over just the perfect costume I should wear. The first real cold front of the season would usually choose that night or the previous one to roll through, forcing me to cover my costume up with a coat. Nevertheless, I would go door to door full of excitement, collecting as much candy as I could, and then head for the Halloween carnival my elementary school held each year. A haunted house, face painting, cake walks, contests, and other games lasted well past my bedtime, but it never failed to make the night a memorable one.
Though I no longer go trick-or-treating and I can’t remember the last time I attended a Halloween carnival, the holiday has never lost its appeal for me. In fact, Halloween is the reason October is one of my favorite months. I’m that person in the neighborhood who goes all out with decorations (there is always one). As a teenager, I often thought it would be fun to litter the yard with zombie dummies and giant spiders, add some gravestones and a fog machine or two, and toss in spooky sound effects. Alas, some homeowners associations frown upon such things.
Instead I spend the entire month of October indulging my love of horror and paranormal romance. Even when paranormal romances were fewer and farther between, publishers would oblige readers looking for books to put them in the Halloween spirit by releasing a nice selection of paranormal romances throughout the month. Vampires. Demons. Ghosts. Aliens. You can find it all in the ever-changing genre, which happens to be my favorite. Even when I don’t have a book releasing in October myself, I look forward to October, because I know I’ll soon be losing myself in the pages of novels by favorite authors that boast powerful preternatural creatures that I could only find in horror movies…books that contain deliciously dark and deadly action scenes that keep me flipping pages late into the night, desperate to see what will happen next.
Then there is Stephen King. Who doesn’t like to bury his or her nose in a good Stephen King novel as Halloween approaches, or watch one of his novels that were made into movies? Silver Bullet and Creepshow have always been favorites of mine. Some satellite television channels even offer Stephen King movie marathons to get viewers in the Halloween spirit. Others offer a countdown to Halloween by showcasing a different scary movie every night. The plethora of horror films that flood the airwaves is another reason I love the season. I just can’t ignore a good slasher film, zombie flick, vampire saga, or good old-fashioned ghost story. Big budget or no budget, I love them all, and Halloween brings them out of the proverbial woodwork.
Which leads me to my favorite tradition of all, the best part of Halloween night isn’t doling out candy to little ones garbed in cute, scary, or just plain weird costumes. It’s lowering the lights once the doorbell stops ringing, sinking onto the sofa, finding a place to prop my feet on the coffee table laden with candy that wasn’t dispensed to trick or treaters, and settling in for a nice long Halloween movie marathon: Halloween 1, Halloween 2, Halloween 4, and Halloween 5. I don’t remember when this precise tradition began, but it has become my all-time favorite Halloween tradition.
Pick up Dianne Duvall's latest paranormal romance, Darkness Rises, on NOOK.
Tell Me: What are your favorite Halloween traditions?
When I was a kid, I would get up at the crack of dawn on Saturday mornings to watch hours of cartoons. And although I don’t wake up so early on weekends nowadays, I’ve never lost my love of animation, which is why I play Best Park in the Universe, a games app from the hit series Regular Show on Cartoon Network!
Can you assist Mordecai, Rigby, Muscle Man and Pops battle evil extraterrestrials and insane park employees? Mordecai and Rigby are groundskeepers at their local park, and their boss Benson has given them full responsibility to maintain the grounds while he’s off at a Park Management Conference. But when some pushy aliens land and decide that they want to uproot the park and bring it back to their faraway home planet, Mordecai and Rigby must enlist the help of their friends to protect their beloved green space –and planet Earth.
With 20 levels of game play and 4 different alien worlds to choose from, Best Park in the Universe will keep you battling ETs until the next alien invasion!
For more great games in NOOK apps, click here.Read more...
Free Fridays: Darkness Before Dawn by Ace Collins and the Special Enquiry Detail app, plus NOOK Snaps!
It was supposed to be one of the happiest days in Meg Richards' life, but a tragic accident changes that forever. During the same night that she finds out she's pregnant, Meg's husband is suddenly killed in a car crash by a drunken teenager.
What should have been a swift trial turns messy as the teen's family uses its financial and political power to influence the D.A. and the jury. Shocked and enraged by the outcome of the proceedings, Meg swears revenge - but will she go down the rabbit hole of violent retribution, or will she rekindle the remnants of her once-strong faith to be able to endure the hardest chapter of her life?
If you want to read more Ace Collins, make sure to pre-order his new book, The Cutting Edge, available on October 15th on NOOK.
Today’s Free Fridays app selection is Special Enquiry Detail: Engaged to Kill by G5 Entertainment, a thrilling hidden object game centered around a high-profile murder case.
Can detectives Turino and Lamonte gather enough evidence to catch the evil Engagement Killer, a brutal murderer of young newlyweds, before he chooses his next betrothed victim? Find hidden objects that provide clues to the serial killer’s whereabouts, but beware of false leads and dead ends! With six chapters of game play and 44 locations to search through, you’ll get to play super sleuth for days on end.
Each week, we ask our featured author to recommend a book or author that you may want to check out. Since authors are such passionate readers themselves, we thought you might like to find out what they love to read, too! Here’s what Ace recommends:
In Carolina Reckoning, Lisa Carter used the color and mystery of the Blue Ridge Mountains to weave a tale involving murder and deceit. As a detective and the chief suspect grow close the plot takes a turn that I didn’t expect and you won’t either. Innocent or guilty, what you wish for may not be what you get.
Special to this Free Friday - NOOK Snaps!
When you don’t have much time but you need something to read, NOOK Snaps is the answer. Get stories, novellas, articles, and other short content perfect for quick reading, starting with these three we’re offering as a special Free Friday bonus.
The first publication to tell the full story of Cody Wilson and the 3D-printed gun, from the early days of Defense Distributed to the testing of printed rifle magazines, the launch of the Liberator gun, and the political controversy that followed. Built from journalist Kyle Chayka’s series of exclusive interviews with Wilson as well as his collaborators and opponents, the ebook analyzes how the gun has changed the future of 3D printing by attracting media attention and government regulation.
The Island After by Bennett Madison
A haunting novella by the author of September Girls about reality TV stars and the weird semi-famous afterlife they enter once their shows have wrapped. The Island After focuses on two characters who competed together on an early season of a Survivor-esque show called The Island and have since struggled to sort out their lives. Both hilarious and profound, The Island After captures the absurd metatheater of the reality TV form as well as the drama that actually appears on the TV screen.
Remember that Nice Lady who Used to Make Homemade Peanut Brittle? She's Dead. Stories by Tom Oatmeal, illustrations by Brad Lamers
Tom Oatmeal is just a regular guy thinking about things like hair transplants for dogs and hand-to-hand combat with bus drivers. Truly the most average man in the world, his collection of essays reads like the fever dreams of a man both painfully clueless and totally lacking in impulse control. They’re delightfully paranoid, addictively hilarious and charmingly illustrated. The author's website, TomOatmeal.com, was one of Gawker’s “Best Things We Read All Year”, and The New York Observer chose it as one of the "100 Funniest Tumblers…Ever.”
For the full collection of NOOK Snaps, click here.Read more...
Do you have a favorite story with a magical setting? Bestselling children's author Barbara Mariconda has quite a few, and she voyaged far and wide to find inspiration for the fantastical settings in her own novels. Today she visits the NOOK Blog to share her travel stories, as well as to list her own favorite magical tales. The newest book in the Lucy P. Simmons trilogy, The Voyage of Lucy P. Simmons: Lucy at Sea, is now available on NOOK.
Have you ever visited a place that had a magical personality all its own? For me there’ve been many.
In the Lucy P. Simmons trilogy, there's a mansion on the coast of Maine, the wide-open ocean where there’s nothing but sea and sky, and the strange, haunting rusty red land of the Australian Outback. All were settings that struck me as magical – and places I’ve visited and loved.
The Victorian house that embraced Lucy and became her greatest ally was inspired by my own home – though mine was not nearly as grand. Living on the Atlantic coast, the ocean’s always been a source of wonder – in fact, there’s a small nearby island rumored to hold chests of gems and gold that belonged to Captain Kidd but the legend is that three separate curses prevent anyone from locating the treasure or inhabiting the island.
In researching the Lucy series I also ventured to the Outback, camped in the middle of nowhere, sleeping in a swag on the ground under the shadow of another magical site – the brilliantly hued rock formation called Uluru, sacred to the Aboriginal people.
These places served as inspiration for Lucy’s adventure and became the source of all kinds of magic – but perhaps the greatest magic that touched Lucy – and can touch all of us – is the power of love that travels across generations and even beyond the grave!
Here are some other magical books that have enchanted me, that I love to recommend to readers:
The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper
The Grey King by Susan Cooper
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Comment below with your picks for the best magical stories.Read more...
"There is no one in comics like Paul Pope: gifted beyond all reason, he is an artist of immense protean talents and a deep soulfulness."— Junot Díaz, Pulitzer-Prize winning author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
In Battling Boy, master comic book writer and artist Paul Pope introduces us to a twelve-year-old demigod who is charged with saving the sprawling city of Arcopolis from daily monster attacks; monsters who have a particular appetite for small children. Arcopolis had a superhero in the form of savant vigilante Haggard West, but since West's untimely death, the city faces total destruction from its ruthless - and hungry - antagonists.
Can Battling Boy save the children of Arcopolis from pure evil, and give the city the superhero it desperately needs? Find out in three-time Eisner Award-winning author Paul Pope's newest graphic novel for young adults, and check out some of his other unique and brilliant books below:
I started writing the first book of The Maze Runner in 2005, and it didn’t hit bookshelves until 2009. Then came several years of the sequels, the development of the movie, the growth of my fan base. So I’m approaching 9 years of Thomas and the Gladers being a part of my life, and hopefully it will continue on for many years to come. Like with my wife and kids, I can’t really remember life before them or without them.
But, having said all that, I’m beyond thrilled to move on to my new series, The Mortality Doctrine, beginning with The Eye of Minds. This story and world already means a lot to me because it’s been gelling for a long time in my head. (Most of my life takes place up in the old brain, which can be a very scary place.) The very first spark of an idea came to me when I saw The Matrix in the late 90s. I kept expecting a twist that never happened, and that never left me. So I like to joke that I stole this book from something that never existed in a movie.
Some people may think that writing a book gets easier the more you do it. I’m not so sure that’s true. The first book of Maze Runner went through a billion drafts before it saw the light of a bookstore, and The Eye of Minds was almost as tough. I spent weeks outlining, something on which I’d never spent so much time before because I’m usually too excited to get on with the writing part. I wrote the original draft in first person, working very hard to craft it as best as possible. However, my editor, in probably one of my biggest challenges and disappointments, felt strongly that the point of view wasn’t working. I rewrote the whole thing, this time in third person. And from there, much recrafting, rewriting, reworking.
In the end, I feel strongly that I’ve created something of which I can be proud. The Eye of Minds is the result of a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, and I hope that my readers will have a fantastic time giving it a go.Read more...
Halloween is just around the corner, and I’ve been brainstorming like crazy about my costume. It’s a toss-up between a vampire and Grumpy Cat! Do you know what you’ll be for the scariest night of the year? To get you in the Halloween spirit, these four featured games apps have enough chills and thrills to keep you going until the 31st.
In Mahjong Undead by Toy Studio, LLC, a unique take on the ancient Chinese game, your job is to match creepy tiles – and hold on to your brain ! – in order to get to the next level. Beware of some truly vindictive zombies out to feast on flesh as you navigate through 21 death-defying levels, and set the game on Free-Play to keep on matching until the undead apocalypse.
If you love Hidden Object games AND Halloween, the all-new Hidden Object - Happy Halloween by Difference Games is the games app for you. Travel through spooky lands to find hidden objects in over 20 unique levels, but beware of the ghouls, ghosts, and other horrifying monsters that will be right on your tail! With three different ways to find objects (PICTURE, WORD or SILHOUETTE) this app will keep you occupied – and terrified – for hours.
As the wicked counterpart to Doodle God, Doodle Devil HD by Joybits is a chilling trip to an underworld of your own creation. Solve engaging puzzles and draw from the darkest corners of your imagination as you attempt to take over the world, and create a universe for your hellish minions. This app is recommended for ages 12 and up.
One of the best parts about Halloween is carving pumpkins, but doing the real thing can get quite messy. A Pumpkin Maker by Detention Apps lets you make your own unique pumpkin carvings without the muss and fuss. Create beautiful Halloween scenes and choose from different pumpkin shapes and faces. With over 100 items to add to your pumpkin, you’ll have the coolest jack-o-lantern on the block.
To see more Halloween-themed apps, click here.Read more...
Today's Free Fridays book selection is Scavenger Hunt by Yvonne Montgomery - a heart-pounding novel about an amateur sleuth, and the first book in the Finny Aletter mystery series.
Finny Aletter is tired of working as a stockbroker, especially under her brooding and contentious boss - and ex-lover - Elliot Fulton. But when her superior turns up murdered, Finny finds herself off the stock exchange and on the case - alongside the world-weary priivate eye Chris Barelli. Whether the two can work together to solve Elliot's brutal murder is the next layer of mystery in this thrilling detective tale.
Today’s Free Fridays App selection is All the Apples Are All Gone - Book A by EvolutionRed, a top-rated education app for young learners that’s part of the Kids Dinosaur Reading Series.
The first book in the series, All the Apples Are All Gone follows a young dino on the hunt for some delicious fruit, accompanied by beautiful animation and a Read To Me or I Can Read interactive option. Teaching kids morals, coexistence and other important life qualities, All the Apples Are All Gone includes Discussion Topics to bring up at the end of the story, as well as a Read Assist feature for those tricky words and phrases.
For more great story apps in the Kids Dinosaur Reading Series, click here.
Each week, we ask our featured author to recommend a book or author that you may want to check out. Since authors are such passionate readers themselves, we thought you might like to find out what they love to read, too! Here’s what Yvonne recommends:
I'm always looking for a good mystery with memorable characters, and Alice Duncan's cozy, Strong Spirits, fits the bill. In it we are introduced to Daisy Gumm Majesty, a self-described faux spiritualist who helps her wealthy Pasadena clients by way of seances and tarot readings. Her husband Billy is a wounded WWI vet who doesn't approve of Daisy's work as a medium, but she has to support her family while solving the shady doings at the house of one of her best clients.
Strong Spirits has the period feel of life in 1920's California, and we see it with a thoroughly enjoyable Daisy as our guide.Read more...
Our latest batch of NOOK First titles offers a unique range of books, from a dystopian novel in the vein of The Hunger Games to a mystery story about a creepy carnival - just in time for Halloween. Start with the four books below, and make sure to check out the entire NOOK First collection here.
Scandalous by Victoria Christopher Murray
Before she was a minister's wife, she was Jasmine Cox, the most prized dancer at Foxtails. Newly engaged to her high school sweetheart, Kenny Larson, Jasmine knows it's time to leave her secret life behind and settle down. But on the night of her bachelorette party, she meets Roman and their lust-at-first-sight tells Jasmine this man is nothing but bad news. Built like a god yet sinful as dark chocolate, Roman ignites a passion in Jasmine that has long since fizzled out between her and Kenny. When a mindblowing one night stand with Roman turns into another...then another...Jasmine must face the fact that she's full-on addicted to a man who isn't her husband--and this secret can only lead to trouble.
Arena Two (Book #2 in the Survival Trilogy) by Morgan Rice
Having just escaped from the treacherous island that was once Manhattan, Brooke, Ben, Logan, Bree and Rose make their way up the Hudson river in their stolen boat, low on fuel, low on food, and desperately needing shelter from the cold. On their tails are the slaverunners, who will stop at nothing until they capture them and bring them back.
As they make their way upriver in this post-apocalyptic, action-packed thriller, on their way to try to find the mythical city in Canada, they will need to use all their ingenuity and survival skills to stay alive. Along the way they will encounter crazed survivors, roving gangs of predators, cannibals, wild animals, a desolate wasteland, and an unstoppable blizzard. They sustain injuries, get sick, and the Hudson freezes over as they do their best to salvage what they can and avoid the slaverunners’ pursuit. They find a small island and think they have found respite—until events don’t go their way. It is not until they board a mysterious train to nowhere that they find that things can always get worse.
Along the way, Brooke’s feelings for Logan intensify, as do her feelings for Ben. Torn between these two boys, caught between their jealousy, she is unsure how she feels—until events choose for her.
As they find themselves thrown back into an arena, they are shocked to discover that Arena Two is even worse. Thrown into a barbaric fighting stage, equipped with weapons, pitted against other teenagers—and against themselves—Brooke and the others will be forced to choose what’s important, and to make the most difficult sacrifices of their lives. Because in Arena Two, no one survives. Ever.
Hexes by Tom Piccirilli
Matthew Galen came back home to Summerfell for a reason. Not to visit his family. Not to relive childhood memories. No, he came back because his best friend was in a hospital for the criminally insane — for crimes too unspeakable to believe.
But Matthew knows the terrifying truth. The ultimate evil doesn't reside in his friend's twisted soul. It comes from a far darker place, a place only Matthew knows. And only Matthew can stop the evil — if he dares.
Halloweenland by Al Sarrantonio
In Orangefield, Halloween is never normal—and this year will be no exception. For Orangefield is now the home of Halloweenland, a bizarre carnival run by the mysterious Mr. Dickens. No one who sees the carnival doubts that it's a very strange place, but its real secrets can hardly be imagined.
Orangefield is also the home of Detective Bill Grant, who thinks he's seen it all. He's on the trail of an odd little girl, a girl who could hold the end of the universe in her hand. The trail will lead Grant to Ireland, the ancient home of the Lord of the Dead, then back to Orangefield, where, on what may be the last Halloween, the ultimate battle between Life and Death will take place.
Are you on Twitter? Tell @nookBN what you’re reading, watching, and playing with hashtag #TellNOOK.Read more...
October's Spotlight is New York Times bestselling author and forensic scientist Jefferson Bass and his acclaimed Body Farm series, a riveting mystery-science hybrid about a veteran anthropologist - based on Bass himself - who doubles as a sleuth.
In the first book, Carved in Bone, we met Dr. Bill Brockton, renowned in the forensics field for his work solving cold cases and studying the science of death. When he's summoned to a remote Tennessee mountain range to examine the mummified corpse of a woman, deceased for over 30 years, he imagines that the case will be business as usual. But Brockton's investigation touches a nerve in the residents of the remote mountain community, and he finds himself opening old wounds of his own that he had previously thought buried for good.
Pick up the first volume in this engrossing thriller series for just $0.99, and discover what all the buzz is about.Read more...
In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, bestselling author Alice Hoffman visits the NOOK Blog today to share inspirational tips from her new book Survival Lessons, a collection of astute sentiments inspired by her own struggle with cancer. Rather than focusing on the disease itself, Alice provides simple yet powerful suggestions on finding the beauty around us - as well as taking life-changing journeys - even during the darkest of times. Survival Lessons is now available on NOOK.
- Buy maps, guidebooks, a new suitcase.
- Think of a place where you can find peace or adventure. I long for oceans, beaches, blue skies. I favor beach towns: Provincetown, Monterey, Montauk. I love them in the summer, when they're crowded and noisy, and even more off-season, when I can walk the beach alone.
- Pack up your car. Get plane tickets. Opt for the train. Go with your best friend or invite the long-lost love of your life. Go alone or, better yet, take your dog.
- Travels with Charley, which tells the story of his journey crisscrossing the country, searching for the heart of America in the company of his beloved poodle, Charley.
- If you can't take a trip sometimes the best journeys can be found in a book. Roddy Doyle's Ireland, Dennis Lehane's Boston, Sue Grafton's California, Ernest Hemingway's Paris.
- Go out to your own backyard or to a park down the street. Open your book. Let the journey begin.
For more inspirational ideas, watch Alice Hoffman's Survival Lessons video here.