Displaying articles for: December 2011

Free Fridays

Categories: Free Fridays


“Fresh and entertaining… A tight and engaging story, sharp writing, and dialogue that’s good to the last line.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


Welcome to your first Free Fridays, new NOOK owners! Each Friday we highlight a great free NOOK Book to help you build your collection, announcing it here on the NOOK Blog, on our NOOK Facebook Page and via @nookBN on Twitter. If you see something you like, make sure to grab it right away. While some books are available for a bit longer, we only guarantee that each week’s selection will be free on Friday. Without further ado, I present this week’s Free Fridays selection…




The first book in this critically-acclaimed series introduces Joe DeMarco, a tough, shrewd ‘fixer’ for the Speaker of the House. When high-stakes investigations need to stay under the radar, the Speaker calls Joe: the type of guy who will get things done, and not ask any questions. So when an assassination attempt on the President leaves two men dead, raising suspicion that the Secret Service may be compromised, DeMarco is called upon to track down the facts before things spiral even further.


With high-level political motivations at play, and a tenacious ‘fixer’ on the case, The Inside Ring has plenty of action and suspense to satisfy even the most demanding thriller reader.


Since The Inside Ring is such a page-turner, you’ll probably be ready to jump into book two right away. Luckily The Second Perimeter is available now for NOOK.



Free Fridays Recommends


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 Mike recommends:







NOOK owners: go to shop and search for “Mike Lawson” to download his thrilling novels.



“Why, if I didn’t know better I’d say my first book is… science fiction!”


Science Fiction is an ever-evolving genre, and Marissa Meyer is breaking new ground with her fairy tale-meets-cyborg novel Cinder,available for pre-order now. In today’s guest blog post, Meyer tells NOOK Blog readers how she stumbled on the ultimate mash-up.


It’s Not Science Fiction, It’s Space Opera: Rebooting Fairy Tales





Knowing all that, can you imagine what the heroine of my debut novel is?


A cyborg.


A cyborg!


As in… a cybernetic organism. A girl with wires and programming and prosthetic limbs. Why, if I didn’t know better I’d say my first book is… science fiction!




When I first had the lightning-strike inspiration to write a series of fairy tale retellings set hundreds of years in the future, with hover cars and robots instead of white steeds and fairy godmothers, my knowledge of the SF genre was sorely limited. The handful of attempts I’d made to delve into it ended with my muddled brain trying to work out the difference between atom converters and ion radiation lasers and—can you tell I’m making stuff up even as I write this? What in this solar system is an ion radiation laser? I haven’t the faintest idea.


That’s not to say I was immune to the appeal of far-off planets, alien species, and rakish spaceship captains. Han Solo was my first fictional crush when I was all of six years old, I couldn’t get enough of the space-western anime “Cowboy Bebop” when I was in college, and to this day I resent the SyFy Channel’s decision to cancel Joss Whedon’s brilliant show “Firefly,” leaving us fans to re-watch the same fourteen episodes on endless repeat (and we do).


I knew early on that these space-set dramas that manage to tread that line between cult-status and mainstream popularity would be the inspirations for the world I wanted to create. I wanted a group of characters who were complex and unruly and quirky and brave. I wanted to balance on the ledge between plausible technology and scientific whimsy. I wanted epic battles and good versus evil and star-crossed romance.


I wanted, not science fiction, but… space opera.


The phrase isn’t mine. According to Wikipedia (because we know it’s never wrong), it was coined in 1941 as a derogatory comparison between some melodramatic sci-fi stories and the cheesy radio soap operas that were popular at the time. These days, “space opera” mainly refers to “a subgenre of science fiction that emphasizes romantic, often melodramatic adventure, set mainly or entirely in outer space, generally involving conflict between opponents possessing advanced technologies and abilities” (Wikipedia again). Some even refer to this subgenre as “space fantasy.”


Ah, space fantasy. Now that sounds more like it. Perhaps (I thought) this oil-and-vinegar idea of mine to combine fairy tales and science fiction made some sense after all. I just had to pull together my favorite elements of fantasy and combine it with my most beloved futuristic tropes. Vibrant, unfamiliar worlds would mix with witty androids and grungy spaceships. The villainous queen would not only be vain and wicked but also immeasurably powerful—an evolved species of human. The typical damsels in distress transformed into quite the opposite: a mechanic, a pilot, a computer hacker, and . . . well, okay, there’s still a princess.


Because no matter how far in the future or how distant the galaxy, I’m still a fantasy girl at heart. Lucky for me, that’s what space opera is all about.



NOOK owners: go to shop and search “Marissa Meyer” to pre-order this exciting debut.


This week we’re welcoming a lot of new NOOK owners to the NOOK Blog. Since so many NOOKs were unwrapped over the holidays, I want to make sure that everyone is finding plenty of great books to start downloading right away.


Our NOOK Facebook community is packed with passionate and avid readers, so we asked seasoned NOOK owners which books they’d recommend for new NOOK owners. Here are some of their top picks:













Free sample excerpts from these books are available for download on the product pages now!


NOOK owners: go to shop and search by author name to download these reader-recommended titles.


Whether you’re a longtime NOOK reader, or you’ve just taken your holiday gift out of the box, I wanted to let you know about a bunch of ways to find the latest and greatest NOOK Books. You’ve already found the NOOK Blog, so I hope you’ll stop back every day to get the latest NOOK news. Plus, you can “like” us on Facebook here, and follow us on Twitter @nookBN, to keep up with everything NOOK. Plus there are many great ways to find your next great read on BN.com that you should know about, too:









If you're looking for the latest releases at your fingertips, New Release Tuesdays is the place to look. Each week, we’ll highlight the hottest new releases, so you don’t miss a beat. Find all of the New Release Tuesdays titles here. Plus our NOOK First program offers a first look at books you need to read from authors you need to know.


Get the latest scoop on what you should, or shouldn't, read from the nation's best reviewers, columnists, and booksellers from the Barnes & Noble Review — an invaluable resource with fresh bookish content daily.












In addition to all of these programs, we have many more opportunities for you to find your next great read. Ever wonder what your favorite authors read? Soon you'll be able to peek inside their bookshelves with our Author Picks. While our new Instant Collections program let's you choose a collection matched to your interests for recommendations from our booksellers on what to read next.



To learn more about all of these great new ways to discover new books, click here.


App Buzz

Categories: App Buzz

2940043873415.pngI am pretty particular about what I watch on television. My time is limited (see: new baby, dwindling daylight hours) and the competition is fierce. After thoroughly using the free Stroke Your Genius app by Showtime Inc. I realized my Sunday night viewing habits would be making a change starting January 8, 2012. Inspired by the new SHOWTIME series 'House of Lies,' Stroke Your Genius is a fun, edgy and darkly hilarious virtual handbook for the discerning management consultant professional, and will have you looking forward to the series premiere.


Stroke Your Genius is a rich multimedia playground more than anything else, presented from the perspective of Marty Kaan, ace management consultant. It is a collection of short articles, videos and clever games designed to entertain and educate. You’ll learn essential vocabulary and tactics such as PIOOTA (Pulled It Out Of Thin Air) to get you through rough work situations. You will also come to understand the why’s and how’s of creatively padding your bottom line while keeping a happy client and – perhaps most importantly – how to dress for success. The writing is witty and the games are irreverently fun – I really enjoyed the game that outlined several unusual workplace hazards. For the premium experience be sure to open the app while you're in a Barnes & Noble store to unlock an exclusive behind-the-scenes video about Marty's team.


This is one of the best apps I have used this year. Fresh, funny and with a distinctive style that emphasizes the “con” in consulting. You should download Stroke Your Genius today.


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Free Fridays

Categories: Free Fridays


If you’re a merrymaker who can’t get enough holiday cheer, you’ll also want to check out Why Does Santa Wear Red?: ...and 100 Other Christmas Curiosities Unwrapped! for all the Yuletide trivia you’ll ever need.


Free Fridays Recommends

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:





NOOK owners: go to shop and search for “Yvonne Jeffrey” to download this helpful holiday guide.


App Buzz

Categories: App Buzz

2940043873941.pngThere are some titles and concepts that just resonate with me, and I am happy to say that I now get to announce something that has both a killer concept and one of the best titles of any mobile app in its category. Words With Friends from Zynga is now available for NOOK Color and NOOK Tablet. Now I finally have the opportunity to join the world of Words With Friends converts on the NOOK platform.


The gameplay is brilliantly simple and immediately familiar to word game aficionados. Words With Friends is a crossword game. However, that is like calling the Titanic a boat – factually accurate but missing important information. I will get this out of the way first – you can play against anyone you know who has this game, on whatever platform they happen to use. That said, I’ve used the game on both iOS and other Android tablets and I enjoy the game immensely on my NOOK Tablet. The graphics are crisp and responsive, the colors are bright and the UI fits the form-factor perfectly. Being able to have up to 20 simultaneous games is awesome – that is 20 opportunities for me to get beaten by either friends or random matches provided by the app! The in-game chat is particularly useful, as most of my friends enjoy the taunting almost as much as the game itself.


There is very little to say about this game other than buy it. Now. Words With Friends is an amazing experience on the NOOK family of devices, and I have enjoyed every minute of preparation for this post. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I just got a notification that it’s my turn – time to play!

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Billed as ‘A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror,’ The Stupidest Angel finds young Joshua Barker fretting about the upcoming holiday. You see, Joshua is pretty sure he witnessed Santa’s demise—the victim of foul play—and worries that the joy of Christmas is in serious jeopardy.


Yet all hope is not lost. An angel has been sent from on high to grant little Joshua a Christmas wish. Unfortunately Archangel Raziel is a bit of an underachiever, and he’s having a hard time helping Joshua save Christmas. In a raucous comedy of errors, the situation goes from bad to worse, and your belly will be shaking like a bowl full of jelly as you read this instant classic.


This special edition of The Stupidest Angel includes a sneak peek at Moore’s highly-anticipated upcoming book: Sacre Bleu, available now for pre-order.



A free sample excerpt from The Stupidest Angel is available for download on the product page now!


NOOK owners: go to shop and search “Christopher Moore” to download his side-splitting books.

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NOOK First

Categories: NOOK First

Last month we introduced you to our new NOOK First program— a chance for NOOK readers to be the first to get access to some hot new books! This month we have a wide range of exciting NOOK First titles—from epic fantasy, to romance, to a presidential biography—all available on NOOK First.















































Free sample excerpts from these books are available for download on the product pages now!


NOOK owners: go to shop and search by author name to be one of the first to read these diverse books.

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How will Serge Storms be spending the holidays this year?


Checking into an anonymous motel on the gulf coast, decorating the biggest tree they can fit in the room and exchanging Secret Santa presents that he and Coleman bought together. But it’s still a surprise to Coleman because he won’t remember.



What do he and Coleman cook for Christmas dinner?

They always go to KFC (regular recipe because crispy represents an erosion of values) and extra-large orders of all the sides, especially the “coleslaw to die for.”



How does Serge react if he discovers that someone has been naughty and not nice?


They’ll wish they just had lumps of coal in their stockings. And of course the punishment must have a theme, so weapons of choice will be excellent toys of his childhood – Legos, Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs.


A Free sample excerpt from Florida Roadkill is available for download on the product page now!


NOOK owners: go to shop and search “Tim Dorsey” to download his madcap adventures

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Free Fridays

Categories: Free Fridays


“This work is rousing, swashbuckling fun and proof that a good writer can make history not only interesting but an exhilarating romp.”

- Library Journal


This series debut kicks off with adventurer Ethan Gage winning an Egyptian medallion in a Parisian card game, setting an international chase in motion. Once the medallion is in Gage’s possession, and he’s framed for murder by a group trying to get their hands on the mysterious artifact, he quickly realizes that it’s not just a commonplace keepsake.


In lieu of jail, Gage is offered a chance to join Napoleon’s forces as they seek to overtake Egypt. Believing that his medallion may hold the key to ancient Egyptian secrets, our hero jumps at the chance to follow wherever the adventure may lead. Could the treasure reveal the truth behind the creation of the pyramids? And will Gage uncover the secrets before getting swept up in Napoleon’s ill-fated campaign? This riveting historical thriller will keep you guessing until the last page.


Ethan Gage’s adventures continue in three more critically-acclaimed novels by William Dietrich.



Free Fridays Recommends


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 William recommends:



NOOK owners: go to shop and search for “William Dietrich” to download his Ethan Gage series.


Earlier this week we brought you a NOOK Book Holiday Gift Guide for the grown-ups on your list, and today we have a great selection of titles for the young readers and teens in your life. You can find more info on how to gift a NOOK Book here.


Parents know the Laurie Berkner Band’s irresistible songs have saved the day on many a long road trip. In Berkner’s new interactive and musical book Party Day, kids can follow the adventures of a  merry bunch of insects who get together for an all-day beach party.





Familiar Faces Add Holiday Cheer



















A Book for Anxious Yuletiders


2012 marks the 50th anniversary of Madeleine L'Engle’s classic novel, A Wrinkle In Time. Start celebrating now with L’Engle’s illustrated old-fashioned Christmas story: The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas. This new digital edition includes fascinating bonus material like the first chapter of A Wrinkle in Time, a Christmas in New York essay by L’Engle, and reproductions of 7 unique L’Engle family Christmas cards created and illustrated by the author.




Nurture an Imperial Imagination


Young Princess Celia lives a charmed life, growing up in a magic castle. But when her family goes on a trip without her, and they’re ambushed along the way, the brave and resourceful Princess is in for the fight of her life!





Adventuresome Adolescents


Good news: There is life after Harry Potter! Young readers who love magic, adventure, and complex storylines have fallen in love with Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson. Riordan’s newest book, The Son of Neptune, excels at providing even more of the breathtaking excitement that’s made his books blockbuster bestsellers.












John Grisham’s Theodore Boone series (Encyclopedia Brown for a new generation) is now available for NOOK.










Teens  who’ve already devoured the Hunger Games series will love Marie Lu’s Legend—a dystopian thriller set in a war-torn independent Republic that’s replaced the western United States.









The second book in Cassandra Clare’s New York Times-bestselling Infernal Devices seriesClockwork Princecontinues the dark and complex Victorian-era adventures begun in the paranormal Clockwork Angel.








Free sample excerpts from these books are available for download on the product pages now!

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Today, save 50% on the holiday favorite: A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles Schultz. Like all Read and Play books, this update of the classic tale lets kids hear the book read aloud, and play activities built right into the pages.


What could be more fun than reliving the touching Peanuts tale that gave us the familiar phrase ‘Charlie Brown Christmas tree’ on your NOOK? You and your kids will have hours of pre-Christmas fun, all at a great price!


Stay tuned for another holiday favorite at a great price next week! Just visit the Read and Play Wednesday page for a new one-day deal every Wednesday.


A free sample excerpt from this book is available for download on the product page now!



NOOK owners: go to shop and search for “Charlie Brown Christmas” to download this holiday classic now.


In case you missed the big news, we recently announced that you can now give specific NOOK Books Apps as gifts, both online and in-store, with Instant Gifting. For more info on how to gift NOOK Books & Apps, check out our how-to page here.


With that in mind, we wanted to offer our NOOK Book picks for every type of reader on your list. This week we’re offering our gift guide for adult readers, and later this week we’ll have our picks for kids.



Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol has enthralled readers for over 150 years. The book's touching message about the importance of giving fully of oneself rings as true today as it did in Victorian Britain. This new special enhanced edition of Dickens' novella offers a charming audio narration by the author's great-granddaughter, Monica Dickens. In full holiday spirit, half of the proceeds from the book's $1.65 purchase price will be donated to the Samaritans on Cape Cod and the Islands, a cause founded by Monica Dickens.



Patrick O’Brian’s unparalleled Master and Commander series is now available for NOOK for the first time. Take to the high seas in the pages of O’Brian’s captivating books.






A Must-Have for Mystery Mavens


Just ahead of the highly-anticipated Stephanie Plum movie, ‘One for the Money,’ mystery readers will want to catch up with the latest in Janet Evanovich’s irresistible Plum series, Explosive Eighteen.




Tom Brokaw—respected journalist and bestselling author of The Greatest Generation—offers his thoughts in his newest book, The Time of Our Lives: A Conversation About America.




When Australian writer and talented cook John Baxter is called upon to cook the annual Christmas dinner for his wife’s Parisian family, he takes on the challenge with gusto. The charming Immoveable Feast: A Paris Christmas--only $1.99 for a limited time--will have you reminiscing about the great holiday meals you’ve shared with your own family.



Score Points with a Sports Fan


In his new eBook exclusive, How to Win at the Sport of Business, Dallas Mavericks’ owner and businessman Mark Cuban breaks down his business advice in a way that any sports fan can relate to.




Comics—and Graphic NovelCollectors


Marvel Comics are now available for NOOK Tablet and NOOK Color. Ultimate Spider-Man, Volume 1 is a great start for any digital graphic novel collection, and you can find more enticing titles here.





If you’ve read Stieg Larsson’s blockbuster Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, you know that once you finish book one, you won’t want to stop. Make it easy for the thriller fan on your gift list with the full trilogy in one bundle.





This summer when we asked our NOOK Facebook fans to vote on their favorite Beach Read of all time and Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander bested the competition. But that doesn't mean her sweeping novels are only suited for summer, though. Her newest, The Scottish Prisoner, is climbing the bestseller charts, and includes a sneak peak at the next Outlander book.




Fantasy readers burn through series faster than you can say George R.R. Martin. The first book in R.A. Salvatore’s Legend of Drizzt series, Forgotten Realms: Homeland offers a new series for them to devour and even features a seasonally-appropriate mysterious elf storyline!




New York Times bestselling author Ruth Harris's juicy 20th Century Trilogy is newly available for NOOK, and sure to please fans of delicious melodrama.






Diane Keaton’s irresistible, critically-acclaimed memoir Then Again isn’t just the perfect gift for the cinema-lover in your life—it’s also a beautifully rendered mother/daughter story that transcends her showbiz career.





It's been 6 years since Amy Tan released a piece of fiction— and her new digital-exclusive short story, Rules for Virgins, was worth the wait. This sensuous, atmospheric story is set in 1912 Shanghai—revealing the alluring and competitive world of eligible courtesans. Tan is at her best once again in this provocative piece of historical fiction.





Free sample excerpts from these books are available for download on the product pages now!

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I’m excited to let you know that starting today, NOOK Color owners have access to firmware version 1.4.1, our largest software update ever, that makes the award winning NOOK Color even better. With over 100 feature enhancements, you’ll now be able to access top video and music services, even more popular apps, NOOK Comics™ including your favorites from Marvel Comics, and so much more.


In addition, the software update makes it easier than ever to find great new content with a new, enhanced shop experience.  With just a tap, you can shop the redesigned NOOK Store to find your next great read, kids’ book, newsstand title or app—plus get recommendations. And in response to customer feedback, you can now read books in both portrait or landscape and adjust the text with even more font sizes to choose from. These are just some of the new, exciting features to enjoy on NOOK Color with our v1.4.1 software update—read our full press release here.   


You can sideload the update here immediately at no cost: www.nookcolor.com/update. The free over the air (OTA) delivery to customers connected to Wi-Fi begins this week.


Free Fridays

Categories: Free Fridays

"Funny, shocking, downright revolting, and occasionally sad. Sandlin is a compelling storyteller...Skipped Parts is somewhere between The Catcher in the Rye and Even Cowgirls Get the Blues."

-Los Angeles Times Book Review



Set in the 1960s, Skipped Parts follows the exploits of teenager Sam Callahan and his unconventional mom Lydia. When the duo is forced to relocate to a small town in Wyoming, Sam feels like a fish-out-of-water until he meets an intriguing—and attractive—girl named Maurey. With the wild Lydia as his role model, Sam encounters some hilarious bumps along the road as he and Maurey navigate the always-awkward world of teenage romance. Anyone who clearly remembers the challenges of young adulthood will laugh along with Sam and pull for him to emerge a little wiser, and without too many scars.


If Sandlin’s brand of irreverent humor strikes your fancy, check out his full collection of novels available for NOOK here.


Free Fridays Recommends


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 Tim recommends:


The Gap Year  by Sarah Bird is a comedy written by one of the bright stars of comic fiction in America. However, if you are like me and have a daughter on the verge of becoming a teenager, this novel is terrifying. It screwed up my sleep for weeks. Either way, comic novel, horror novel, or horror comedy, you should read this book. It is that good.


NOOK owners: go to shop and search for “Tim Sandlin” to download his one-of-a-kind books.


New NOOK Books

Categories: New NOOK Books


Generations of cooks have turned to the comprehensive and accessible Betty Crocker cookbook, and this brand new NOOK edition has all of the updates you’d expect. Half of the book’s 1,500 recipes are newly-added, and this 11th edition contains 1,100 new photos—tripling the number from previous editions. For the visually-minded cook, there are over 350 step-by-step photos that make learning new techniques a breeze. With an emphasis on healthy and easy-to-understand recipes, this newest edition is tailored specifically for the needs of modern home cooks.


In addition to the all of the classic recipes and new additions contained in this NOOK Book, you’ll also have access to exclusive bonus BettyCrocker.com content when you buy this edition. This exclusive area of the website offers how-to videos, bonus recipes, and special twists on many of the recipes found in the book.


Whether you already have a dog-eared edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook, or you’re just starting your cookbook collection, this NOOK edition is a must-have for any home cook.


BC Cookbook 11e Photo Chicken Pot Pie.jpg

[Chicken Pot Pie]


A free sample excerpt from The Betty Crocker Cookbook is available for download on the product page now!


NOOK owners: go to shop and search “Betty Crocker” to download this updated classic.

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The Fourth Grade Nothing Turns Forty


I'm a believer in celebrating whatever we can in life but I was floored when Penguin told me it was Fudge's 40th Anniversary. How could it be 40 years?  Then I looked at my grown children and remembered that the character of Fudge was originally based on my son Larry when he was a toddler.  So much for time flying and all that.


It's been a great 40 years and I can't thank my readers enough for embracing Fudge and my other books and passing them down from generation to generation.  I sometimes have to warn parents, if you want your kids to read and love the books you did, don't tell them you loved them.  That could be the kiss of death.  Eww...my parents are so uncool.  Who wants to read the books they read?  The secret is in leaving a book or two around the house as if you've no interest in them - and sometimes even saying, I really don't think you're ready for that book. New cover art helps, too, even if no cover art will ever compare to the edition you grew up with.   With younger kids it's different. You just start reading to them and with luck you'll be reading a chapter a night. 


I never dreamed all those years ago that Fudge would have such a long and happy life.  In those days I just dreamed of being published.  Who knew Ricky Bobby would one day read from Superfudge to his comatose friend in Talladega Nights? (Wait – comatose?) Who knew when I was in 5th grade cleaning out my pet turtle’s bowl that one day I would hear from kids who have named the family dog Turtle? I identified with Peter, in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, when he brought home his tiny turtle and his mother more or less held her nose, as unhappy to have a turtle in the house as my mother once was.


When I finished Tales… I had no intention of writing about Fudge again.  For one thing, series weren't in in the 70's.  And I had too many other characters with their own stories rattling around inside my head.  So how did I wind up writing five books about Fudge and his family?  I could say My readers made me do it!  It was years of letters from them asking for another book about Fudge that led to the next book and the ones after that.  They’d send me ideas -  Fudge grows up and becomes a drug dealer. (Uh, no, I don’t think so.)  Peter puts Fudge in the dryer and turns it to high. (Definitely not.) 


But we wouldn’t be celebrating at all if it hadn’t been for Ann Durell at E.P. Dutton who saw promise in a picture book I submitted 40 years ago based on a story I’d read in the paper about a real toddler who’d swallowed a pet turtle.  She suggested I turn that story into a chapter book.  Big thanks to Ann, always.  And big thanks to my readers for their incredible loyalty.  I write because I can't not write -- but the pleasure comes from sharing what I write with you.


Free sample excerpts from these books are available for download on the product pages now!



NOOK owners: go to shop and search for “Judy Blume” to download her wonderful books now.



The holidays are a great time to bond with your kids—decorating the tree, making cookies, and revisiting favorite story books.


In this exclusive guest blog post by author Ken Denmead—Wired.com’s popular Geek Dad blogger—you’ll learn how to make a very 21st century decoration with your kids: The Geeky Wreath. Ken’s new book The Geek Dad Book for Aspiring Mad Scientists, is available now for NOOK.



You may have heard that "geek culture" is "in" right now. Great.  Wonderful.  But what does that really mean?


I'm not entirely sure. And I'm the guy they call "GeekDad!"


Geek is a rather subjective term. After all, at one point it merely referred to certain circus performers. Then it was a schoolyard pejorative applied to those of a certain nerdish tendency. Indeed, nerd and geek are somewhat inseparable terms, and often get interchanged depending upon region or context. I don't think there's any right answer to what the difference is between them, but I like to think about nerds as being the more focused math/science type of geek, where geek itself is the more general state of being passionate about a pursuit to such a degree that it may cause you social detriment. Therefore there can be sports geeks (those who can cite stats on players from seasons that ended in the last century), or car geeks, or movie geeks, and so on. You may never have been popular in high school, but you loved playing Dungeons & Dragons, or marching in the band, or acting as president of the origami club. You geek, you!


Now we are "grown-ups," with jobs and families and disposable incomes, and our likes and dislikes help to shape the cultural (and retail) landscape. So we get 9-hour fantasy film epics, and hit TV shows, and computer company CEOs who are idolized like rock stars. Geek culture is in because we are in. And that's a good thing.

The holidays are a great time to be a geek, too. Halloween is, perhaps, the best geek holiday, because we love to play pretend (yes, even at our age!). But you can pull your geek nature into the whole season. I especially love adding little geeky touches to our holiday decorations. Be it the complete collection of Star Trek Christmas Tree ornaments, to building the biggest computer-controlled holiday light display on the block, being a geek at the holidays is fun.

Which is why I'd like to offer you a great, geeky holiday decorating project:

Make Your Own Geeky Wreath


(Originally featured in Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects and Activities for Dads and Kids to Share)

One very common decoration, whether it be Christmas or its cultural predecessor, the winter solstice, is the wreath. From the Wikipedia entry under “Advent Wreath”:


The ring or wheel of evergreens decorated with candles was a symbol in northern Europe long before the arrival of Christianity. The circle symbolized the eternal cycle of the seasons while the evergreens and lighted candles signified the persistence of life in the midst of winter.


While these were horizontal wreaths (which eventually became the Advent wreath), at some point they also went vertical and were hung on walls or doors as decoration. These days, there’s quite a lively business around the design of decorative wreaths.

For our wreath, however, rather than evergreen branches and flowers, we’re going to be a little more environmentally sensitive and repurpose some materials all of us good techie geeks have lying around.

Somewhere in your house, there is a box or basket or plastic tub, and in that tub are cords. They may be extra USB cords, or Fire Wire, or serial, or even parallel. They may be AC adapters or power cords from old computers or monitors or the proprietary data cord that the 2-megapixel camera you bought eight years ago used to connect to your TV to display pictures. There is probably even a handsome selection of component, composite, DVI, and other AV cords, all piled together for that day when you KNOW you’ll need them. Which is why you’ve kept them all.

The first step toward healing is admitting you have a problem.

The next step is to take them all out and braid them into a holiday wreath.

Depending upon how adroit you are at actually braiding odd-size cords, you may wish to cheat a little by going to your local crafts store and purchasing a wire or wood frame that you can braid the cords around. You can use zip ties or even just plain tape to keep them on (an artistic application of electrical tape could provide just the right look).

The important thing is not to make it look organized and evenly assembled; a bit of chaos is good in this case. And if you really want to go that extra step, don’t stop at cords. Just as pretty front door wreaths can have ornaments or other decorations on them, you can do the same with the random technical detritus accumulating around your house: old hard drives, computer mice, webcams, routers, fans, speakers, whatever. Hang them from the wreath and spread the geeky spirit. Add one string of real holiday lights to bring it to life, then hang it on your door and impress the neighbors.


Ken Denmead is the author of The Geek Dad Book for Aspiring Mad Scientists; The Geek Dad’s Guide to Weekend Fun and Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects and Activities for Dads and Kids to Share.



A free sample excerpt from Geek Dad is available for download on the product page now!


NOOK owners: go to shop and search “Ken Denmead” to download his book of fun family projects.



App Buzz

Categories: App Buzz

2940043864918.png‘Tis the season! I love the holidays – this is the single best time of year to spread the messages of fun, education and the inherent joys in both reading and writing. To that end, I am thrilled to draw your attention today to Draw Write Read by Tikatok. This app is awesome – it fosters creativity for kids of all ages by letting them write and illustrate their own unique books and share them with family, friends and loved ones.


This app is breathtaking. From the launch screen through the well-planned navigational flow, the production values are high and the interface is both simple and stays out of the way. The core of the experience is focused on letting kids move easily into the creative flow of writing on NOOK Color and NOOK Tablet. The form factor is ideal for writing, and it really shines when the drawing pad functionality is used to provide illustrations to accompany their stories. The drawings can be stored in the NOOK gallery for later viewing, or to compare multiple versions. The ability to both write and illustrate from one app with such a clean, intuitive interface is just great for kids of all ages.


Draw Write Read gives children the keys to the kingdom of their imagination, and that is perhaps the greatest gift of all. When the work is done and they want to proudly share their work, the masterpieces can be ordered and printed as hard- or soft-cover books. I would have loved giving my sister a hardcover version of the stories I would tell her when we were kids. For the eBook aficionados the books can be uploaded to and distributed through Tikatok.com, allowing the stories to reach readers worldwide. If you haven’t tried it, put Draw Write Read through its paces and introduce a child to the joys of writing today.



Free Fridays

Categories: Free Fridays


While most crime writers meticulously research their subject matter, Mallo lived it. In his time as a member of a guerilla movement that fought against Argentina’s military rule, he lived among the struggle every day. His first-hand experience shines through in the gritty realism of Needle in a Haystack.


Being a homicide detective is hard work, but it’s even more challenging when violence and corruption are so rampant that murders are just a part of everyday life. Those are the conditions that Inspector Lascano finds himself working in—a Buenos Aires preoccupied by political strife. While Lascano investigates a triple-murder, he’s navigating in a city where justice is in the eye of the beholder, and facts don’t always coincide with political expediency. Like many good cops caught in a bad situation, he’s forced to decide whether uncovering the truth is worth the personal risk.


Mallo’s Buenos Aires is a fascinating and tragic place that only someone who lived through the horrors could re-create.


The newest Inspector Lascano mystery, Sweet Money, continues Mallo’s portrayal of his country’s complicated past, and is available now for NOOK.




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 Ernesto recommends:











NOOK owners: go to shop and search for “Ernesto Mallo” to download his gritty mysteries.


"Some of the most wacky villains and situations since Hiaasen stuck a plastic alligator down a stranger’s throat and called it Tourist Season."

- Chicago Tribune



Fans of the tongue-in-cheek, quirky capers of Carl Hiaasen will instantly fall for Dorsey’s charms. Florida Roadkill features a cast of characters that would make Elmore Leonard blush, and a hilariously serpentine plot that could only take place in the Sunshine State. While I could go on all day about the irresistible talents of Tim Dorsey, I’d rather let his fellow novelist James Hall (Body Language) do the honors:



 “Florida Roadkill is a redline, juking, jiving, manic, tequila-laced triple espresso ride from north to south through the flipped out, ultra-scuzzy, bullet-between-the-eyes state of Florida. And what a tour guide Tim Dorsey is. This guy is an insane comic angel with uranium for brains and fifty heartbeats a second. So strap yourself in tight, double-check the airbag, say your best prayer, sit back and let this baby rocket you from zero to past the sound barrier in minus three seconds. Wow, what a ride.” 


If Florida Roadkill has you in the mood to take another trip through Dorsey’s very un-Disneyfied Florida, his newest book, When Elves Attack: A Joyous Christmas Greeting from the Criminal Nutbars of the Sunshine State, is available now.


A Free sample excerpt from Florida Roadkill is available for download on the product page now!


NOOK owners: go to shop and search “Tim Dorsey” to download his madcap adventures.