Displaying articles for: April 2013



With her atmospheric and enchanting novels, bestselling author Susan Wiggs has combined my two passions: good food and great writing. In The Apple Orchard, she tells a complex story of family ties, set in the richly-abundant farmlands of Sonoma. Today she reflects on the connection between food and reading, and as an added bonus, she’s included a recipe for decadent Apple Pie muffins in her post:


I’m writing this in a crowded airport, a familiar scene. Droning announcements, whining kids, bored people commenting on ticket prices and delays, others fiddling with the latest gadget, trying to find a wi-fi signal and getting frustrated...but the folks who interest me are the happy ones. The ones who are sitting calmly, content in their own space, placidly awaiting the boarding call. The happy people all have something in common–they are either a) eating or b) reading.

Oh, and there’s one knitter, and I do like knitting, but I didn’t even realize they’d let long pointy metal knitting needles through security.

So here’s my theory. When you’re waiting–in an airport, a doctor’s office, a carpool lot, at home expecting a phone call, a delivery, or at work–a great book and a delicious bite to eat can be your own private refuge.

Every time I sit down to write, I try to think of that reader trapped in an airport, or a waiting room...or maybe she’s one of the lucky ones, kicking back on a beach or a porch swing or in front of a roaring fire somewhere. I think she’s a lot like me. She wants a great story, one that will sweep her away from it all, at least for a while. And although I can’t give her a nice warm slice of apple cake with caramel sauce, at least I can give her the recipe.

The Apple Orchard is designed to take the reader on an emotional journey, one that I hope will lead to that comforting place of refuge. Tess, the main character, experiences the kind of love story we all wish for, getting swept into a life she never imagined and suddenly can’t survive without.

The story is set in one of the most beautiful areas in the world–the golden-hued farmlands of Sonoma. Although best known for wine, the region is filled with a dreamy abundance. Some of the best apples grow there, including the legendary Gravenstein, which inspired me to create and test dozens of recipes, sharing only the very best in the pages of the novel.

Here’s a sneak peek, an outtake, just to remind you of the comfort of food and books!

Apple Pie Muffins




1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon




1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups chopped apples


Directions for Topping:


In a small bowl toss together sugar, flour, butter and cinnamon until crumbly; set aside.


Directions for Muffins:


In a large bowl whisk together brown sugar, oil, egg and vanilla until smooth.
In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients.
Stir oil mixture into flour mixture alternately with buttermilk.
Fold in apples, mixing just until combined.
Spoon into greased muffin cups, filling 3/4 full.




Today, Temple Grandin offers an exclusive NOOK Blog post, answering the straightforward question: What’s the one thing you want everyone to know about autism?


Don’t get locked into labels.  Unlike strep throat, autism can’t be diagnosed with a simple laboratory test.  In fact, the diagnostic criteria for autism have changed with each new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and they’re changing again with the publication of a new edition.  Parents come up to me all the time and say things like, “First my kid was diagnosed with high-end autism. Then he was diagnosed with ADHD. Then he was diagnosed with Asperger’s.  What is he?”  I understand their frustration.  They’re at the mercy of a medical system that’s full of label-locked thinkers—people who get so invested in what the word for the thing is that they no longer see the thing itself.  What I say in all these cases is the same:  Don’t worry about the label.  Tell me what the problem is.  Let’s talk specifics.  First question I ask parents who want me to advise them is “How old is the kid?”  What I might recommend for a three-year-old is going to be completely different from what I might recommend for a sixteen-year-old.  Next question is “Does the kid talk?”  If he’s nonverbal, that’s one thing.  Let’s start trying to teach him and see what happens. If he’s verbal, I’ll say, “How good is his speech?”  If the description is too vague, I’ll say, “Give me an example.”  Is the child speaking in complete and grammatically correct sentences?  Is he speaking only in single words?  Does he pronounce words accurately or does he say, as I did, “buh” for ball?  And then there’s socializing.  Can the kid hold a conversation?  Can she place an order at a fast-food counter?  Does she have trouble making friends?  Sometimes labels can be useful, of course, but not when they get in the way of figuring out what makes each person unique and how best to help that person navigate the world.



An intrepid hero follows his stomach in a new time travel adventure.


Until recently, I wasn’t aware of the exciting world of Cut the Rope games and their irresistible hungry hero, Om Nom. But now that I’ve started playing Cut the Rope: Time Travel HD, I just can’t stop.


In this new adventure, Om Nom travels back in time to feed his equally hungry ancestors. You’ll go on a candy-fueled culinary journey to historical hot spots like Ancient Greece and a high seas pirate ship. Along the way, you’ll use your aptitude for physics-based gameplay to carefully ‘cut the rope’ and drop candy into Om Nom’s hungry ancestors’ waiting jaws. All this candy-crunching action had me hungry for some sweet treats of my own, but I’d hate to get any candy crumbs on my NOOK screen!


Whether you’re a longtime Cut the Rope fan, or a newbie like me, this era-spanning adventure is a fantastically fun trip.

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“A riveting and intense debut…will keep fans of grim fantasy entirely enthralled.”

– Publishers Weekly



But now the Emperor himself is afflicted with the disease, and once it reaches his face, his dangerous secret will be exposed. As he pushes the great minds of his empire to find a cure, powerful forces align to expose him and grasp power from his ailing hands.


Williams’ powerful series continues in the next book, Knife Sworn, available now for NOOK.


This free app is part of the iLearnWith program for kids ages 3 to 6 designed to get your child ready for school while having fun! There’s nothing quite as rewarding as seeing your child enjoy learning and making progress on crucial early milestones. When I set up my preschooler with Ocean Adventures!, she immediately gravitated to the Octopus hidden object game, where she grouped various hidden objects based on their similar characteristics. She laughed every time she saw the octopus juggling the objects she discovered. She’s also had a blast with the other undersea adventures, refining skills like listening comprehension and sentence formation.


With today’s free app, and all of the iLearnWith program apps, your little ones will be prepared to meet the challenges of preschool and kindergarten head on.










With NOOK Instant Gifting, you can order NOOK Books or NOOK Apps now, and have them delivered whenever you choose. Learn more about NOOK Instant Gifting here. We’ve chosen some wonderful books and apps that we know the moms in our lives would love and put them all in one collection. We hope you’ll explore our full Mother’s Day Collection here and find a great gift for your mom, too.



“The single most resonant and carefully imagined book of Dick’s career.” – New York Times





Love Rocks is a monthly look at new self-published romance titles from the community of writers at Rock*ItReads.


The authors of Rock*It Reads are celebrating the first anniversary of their B&N Review column for indie romance, Love Rocks!  For the past year, we’ve been bringing you great recommendations for quality indie-published works. To celebrate our anniversary, and new presence on the NOOK Blog, we decided to take a look at our favorite reads from the last twelve months.


Monica Burns, bestselling author of spicy historical and paranormal romance, selected London Falling as her favorite recommendation of the year. “This past year has been a treat when it comes to unearthing some lovely gems in the indie realm. I've read some good books in the last twelve months, but my favorite has to be Emma Carr's London Falling. When I can still visualize scenes from a book months after reading it, that's illustrates how much I loved a book. Carr created loveable, sassy characters with her crisp writing, and if you love contemporaries I think you'll enjoy London Falling as much as I did. It's my favorite read this year.”


Lila DiPasqua, bestselling author of historical romance, selected this fun holiday romance as her favorite pick of the year. “I loved HO, HUMBUG, HO by Kate Angell. Part of a popular series, this is a funny, sexy contemporary romance. Alex Boxer—a far-too-handsome-for-his-own-good ballplayer who couldn’t care less about Christmas, is forced to do community service as Santa in a mall in Holiday, Florida, of all places. Holly McIntyre is responsible for reporting Alex’s “progress” to the judge and runs the show at the mall. Add a lot of squirmy kids, a farting reindeer and a Santa suit that’s too small for Alex’s muscular body and you have a delightful holiday read!”


Triple RWA® Golden Heart finalist, Joan Swan selected this work of romantic suspense to top her favorites from the past year. “In Paula Graves self-published romantic suspense novel, Playing Dead in Dixie, Paula has created an intricate suspense tale that winds through a quaint small-town setting and tightens around a sweet, rich romance, threatening everything it touches. The publishing industry said the novel’s cross-genre flavor—part small town romance, part gritty romantic suspense, part humorous contemporary romance—would make it difficult to place on the shelves and the story was rejected. Thanks to this new venue, Paula’s fabulous story is at readers' fingertips.”


Margo Maguire, the author of over 20 historical romances, spotlighted the first book in a YA trilogy for her favorite indie read.  “I was happy to discover the first of Tara Brown's Born Trilogy. With its tight plotting, well-drawn characters, and unusual dystopian scenario, this YA book was a truly satisfying read, and not only for a YA audience. Ms. Brown tells me that Book #2 will be released this month, too. I'm looking forward to it!”


Jennifer Lyon, author of mystery and romantic suspense, recommends this intriguing read. “I loved the book Beauty From Pain by Georgia Cates. How does one get beauty from pain? I found out as I read Jack and Laurelyn’s story. Jack is rich and has been burned in a way that makes him determined to conduct his affairs with women according to his rules. But Laurelyn changes that one rule at a time. Watching these two fall in love while knowing their affair must end was a rich experience of beauty and pain. When the book concluded unresolved, I was so connected to Jack and Laurleyn that I had to immediately find out when the next book is coming out. Beauty From Surrender will be out around May 30,2013.”


Award-winning historical author, Mia Marlowe, said this of her top pick: "The Hanover Square Affair by Ashley Gardner (aka Jennifer Ashley) was my favorite indie read of 2012. The mystery is compelling but the real draw is Captain Gabriel Lacey. He's a wonderful wounded hero with a firm sense of "ought-ness" and an unrequited love for his former commanding officer's wife."


RWA Golden Heart® Award winner Kris Kennedy, writes historical romance. For her favorite indie read of the year, Kris selected A Delightful Arrangement. “Cecilia Gray’s A Delightful Arrangement builds a vibrant story world that draws the reader in by crafting incredibly engaging characters.  Ms. Gray has written a gorgeous novella that will enchant readers with wonderful dialogue and character-revealing humor.”


Laurie London, author of dark, sexy paranormal romance says, “One of my favorite indie reads this year is Time Thief book 1 of the Anomaly Trilogy, by Anna Hackett. Not only is the writing beautiful, but the paranormal world is complex and well-drawn. The heroine is a strong, independent woman with special powers, and the hero, whom she doesn't trust, is to die for. Like Elisabeth's Firebrand series, which I also loved, they're novellas. I love this series!” 


Our final recommendation comes from historical romance author, Vanessa Kelly, who also writes USA Today bestselling contemporary romance with her husband as VK Sykes. “The Good Daughter, by Diana Layne, is an unconventional romantic suspense novel about a woman trying to break free from her gangster family. Marisa Peruzzo, a beautiful Mafia princess and the good daughter of the title, despises everything about her life. Her father and brother, capos of the Peruzzo crime syndicate, have abused her for years, selling her innocence off to the highest bidder. They also murdered her fiancé, destroyed her mother, and now threaten her best friend Sandro, a former Italian soccer star. There's no honor in this crime family, and Marisa is determined to exact revenge against her truly evil father and brother in this exciting and suspenseful story."


We’ve enjoyed scouring the world of indie romance to find these recommendations for you, and we look forward to another year of unearthing gems in the world of indie publishing and bringing them to you here at Love Rocks. And to find out more about the authors of Rock*It Reads, please visit RockItReads.com.



Rock*It Reads members are traditionally published authors committed to bringing high standards and professional quality to their self-published works. Whenever readers see the RIR logo, they know the book they are purchasing is held to an excellent standard of quality. We are Authors You Love with Stories that Rock.




To herald the publication of this new collection, which features his masterfully told travel stories, I asked David to tell us the origin of his eye-catching title, and offer a list of his 5 favorite unusual book titles. I’m afraid many of them are currently unavailable for NOOK, but you never know what the future may hold.



I was signing a book for a rather pushy woman.”It's for my daughter," she said. "And I want you to write, 'To Vanessa, explore your possibilities.'" I cringed, and told her I'd keep the word 'explore.' Then I wrote "Let's Explore......Diabetes....With.......Owls," realizing as I finished that it would make for a perfect book title.


My 5 Favorite Unusual Book Titles:


1. On His Deathbed The Acrobat Tells His Daughter To Buy Land by Suzanne Cleary

This is perfect in every way. It enriches the word “acrobat,” by

associating it with ”real estate.” Then it throws in parenting for added effect.


2. Helping The Retarded To Know God by Hans R. Hahn

Just when you think organized religion can’t get any sadder, along comes this underlooked masterpiece. The cover is fantastic, but I honestly think the title is enough.


3. A Passion For Donkeys by Elisabeth D. Svendsen

This is a non-fiction book, but the title would work just as well for a novel or poetry



4. Six Studies In Quarreling by Vincent Brome

I came upon this in an antiquarian book store in London. I love that it’s “quarreling” rather

than “arguing” and I love that there are six studies, not five or seven.


This is a collection of profiles by the great Susan Orlean. I bought it

immediately because she’s the author, but likely would have bought it anyway,

thinking Huh?



Tell Me: What’s the most unusual book title you've ever seen?


App Buzz: Carcassonne

Categories: App Buzz


Take a break from your hectic day with this challenging strategy game.



This NOOK App, which is available for 25% off for a limited time, is based on the incredibly popular tile game, where players create a unique landscape of roads, cities, fields, and cloisters. Then they send their own cadre of ‘followers’ to brave this newly-created land and outlast the opponent’s followers. I never get bored of playing—either against computer opponents on in multi-player games with my family—because each game has a brand new landscape to conquer.


If you enjoy diverse and challenging games, start the adventure with Carcassonne.

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Fans of Dan Brown and Preston & Child will love Jeffrey Small's award-winning debut novel, with its unique blend of suspense, spirituality, and ancient history. Graduate student Grant Matthews journeys to the Himalayas in search of an ancient mystery hidden in a remote monastery, but at every step of his quest he confronts a conspiracy of zealots who will go to any lengths to protect the secret: a secret that could change Grant's life, if he survives.


Joining Grant on his quest is photojournalist Kristin Misaki and together they must confront an assassin at the Taj Mahal, a kidnapping in a sacred city, and a desperate chase through a cliffside monastery—all in the pursuit of a legend that could link together the great religious faiths of the world.


If you enjoy fast-paced thrillers that explore ancient cultures, you won’t want to miss The Breath of God, or Small’s newest book, The Jericho Deception—available now for preorder.





In my experience, kids just can’t resist the adorable cartoon adventurer Dora the Explorer. I can’t blame them—she’s cute as a button and an enviable problem solver. With  today’s irresistible free app, early readers learn important lessons about letter recognition and phonics, through a series of engaging activities. You’ll love watching your pint-sized reader tracing letters in the sky, as Dora’s friend Tico draws pictures and letters with his plane. Each activity reinforces different skills, keeping even the most energetic toddler engaged. 


To keep them engaged even after they’ve mastered these new skills, explore the full range of Nickelodeon apps on 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 Jeffrey recommends:




There’s nothing quite as exciting as discovering a great new author—it’s like making a new friend who you know will be around for a long time to come. The newly-launched self-publishing platform NOOK Press makes it easy to find your next great read from independent authors with great stories to tell. NOOK Press offers a wide range of authors a chance to reach readers like you: people who are looking for a fresh story from a talented writer. I really hope you’ll explore the NOOK Press Books collection here.


In addition to the exciting news about the NOOK Press launch, I'm also pleased to introduce the latest NOOK First collection. There are so many authors who you may not have heard of, but who deserve to be on your to-be-read list. Below are just a few that I think NOOK Blog readers will enjoy, but make sure you explore the whole collection here



When Jane is summoned to the jungles of Thailand to investigate a ruined temple and an artifact rumored to have great power, the Soul Stone, she must enlist the help of helicopter pilot Matthew Hawk. She finds him equal parts intriguing and maddening, but he’s the only person brave enough – or crazy enough – to fly her in.  The only thing Jane knows for sure is that the stone is special … special enough that men have been killed over it. And Jane and Hawk could be next.


Is it really possible that the renowned author of The Yearling faked her own death in 1953?


A wrong turn down a remote Florida backwoods highway turns into the ride of a lifetime for Emily Weaver, a university librarian, when she mysteriously discovers a manuscript written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, dated years after the beloved author’s death. Emily unwittingly begins a treasure hunt in a world that is as beautiful as it is dangerous, and it is a hunt that could not only change her life, but the landscape of the entire literary world.


While setting out to play matchmaker for her mother, Lady Charlotte meets a rugged, handsome stranger who saves her from a thief in the street, but her heroic rescuer soon turns out to be more mysterious—and dangerously captivating—than any man she has ever known.



Fifteen-year-old Ashley has a complicated life. There’s no doubt her overachieving parents love her, but they are wrapped up in their own worlds for so much of the time it leaves her feeling like she’s alone.

Like a lot of teenagers, Ashley dreams of other worlds, but unlike a lot of teenagers her world is about to collapse as rifts to an ancient Fae Kingdom begin to open all around her. With the arrival of of a supernatural hit-squad intent on killing her, and an unexpected inheritance, Ashley’s London is about to become a magical and mysterious warzone where the prize is Ashley herself.



Winner of the coveted Bram Stoker award, Gary Braunbeck’s Destinations Unknown is a collection of original dark fiction concerning itself with people, cars, and the open road.


A man is sent to deliver an old woman's body to her hometown, but when he arrives, the city is not on the map--and soon he finds out why. Another man who has hated cars all his life finds himself stuck in a traffic jam on a sweltering hot day...a very different type of traffic jam. Then a businessman on a long road trip comes to a long and lonely stretch of highway where every sign he passes orders him to MERGE RIGHT. There are no exits in sight, no other cars, no sign of civilization...and there is something very strange about the scenes appearing in his rearview mirror.




So to prepare, I’ve already pre-ordered To My Assistant: Things I'll Never Do to You, But Many Other Crazy Bosses Will by Lydia Whitlock. The author’s an Ivy League grad who found out the hard way that life as a Hollywood assistant was light on glitz and heavy on abuse. Instead of wallowing in her sorrows, she created the popular blog ToMyAssistant.com, where she’s compiled a list of things that she promises never to do her assistant—based on the horrific things that real bosses have been known to do.


Sort my M&Ms by color! Play Rock Paper Scissors with the other assistants to decide who goes on a lunch run! These are the sorts of soul-crushing requests that Lydia has vowed never to make. So if you’re having a bad day at work, reading a few pages of this book will have you feeling better in no time—at least your boss isn’t that bad. Plus there’s plenty of great advice for managing-up, that rare skill of encouraging your boss to bend a little, before you finally break. Anyone who’s had a boss, or even been a boss, will find a lot to laugh (and cringe) about in To My Assistant.

Tell Me: What boss horror stories have you experienced or heard about?




Thanks to her quirky sense of humor and a great knack for storytelling, Roach’s book is an appetizing (I couldn’t resist!) piece of popular science writing. To help bring some attention to this worthy book, we recently asked our Twitter followers to provide their own #GulpLit titles—famous book titles with a digestive twist. Some of my favorite entries were: A Wrinkle in Chyme, Swallow and Amazons, Profiles in Roughage, and Infinite Ingest.


If you’re on Twitter, follow @nookBN and join the fun by offering your own #GulpLit book titles!



Before You Take a Career Leap, Prepare Your Parachute!



For a limited time, you can save more than 50% on the What Color is Your Parachute?: Job-Hunter's Workbook app, and join the millions of people who have used this program to help make important career decisions for just $1.99. Finding the right career path can be hard—many different elements come into play. Salary and title are important, but so is making sure that your job fits with what you enjoy doing, and that you get satisfaction from your work.


While I’m not in the job market myself (hey, my boss reads these posts, too!), I found that this interactive, step-by-step program really revealed some things I didn’t know about my own skills, strengths, ambitions and priorities. It’s difficult to objectively evaluate yourself, and that’s where this app’s carefully calibrated activities offer valuable insight.


Whether or not you’ve read the internationally bestselling book What Color is Your Parachute?, downloading this incredibly helpful app is a great first step towards finding the right career path for you.

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The mysterious Gage is a warlock who’s escaped the cruel Ivory Tower, where witches and warlocks rule with an iron fist, and is in hiding in Low Town. Here he plies his trade, hoping to fly under the radar of the vengeful rulers who have vowed to track him down. Low Town is a unique place—a town where elves, faeries, trolls, werewolves and vampires walk among humans, and Gage has an unusual roster of clients and friends.


But when Gage goes one step too far in a desperate attempt to save a woman’s life, he’s suddenly exposed—risking the tentative freedom that his secret life has brought him.


More of Gage’s enchanting adventures await in the next Asylum Tales adventure, Dead Man’s Deal.



Once you’ve mastered the puzzles in this challenging app, you can test your skills with dozens of other great apps from Difference Games 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 Jocelynn recommends:




With Tax Day right around the corner, you’re probably looking for ways to stretch your dollar. Good news: We’ve added some fantastic new books to our NOOK Books Under $2.99 collection. These are a few you won’t want to miss, and you can explore the whole collection here:


























Tell Me: How many NOOK Daily Find books have you read? Which was your favorite?



The newest $0.99 Spotlight offer is the engrossing mystery, A Test of Wills by Charles Todd.


Fans of Masterpiece’s hit TV series Downton Abbey and Foyle’s War will be immediately drawn to Inspector Ian Rutledge—a British World War I veteran returned to his post at Scotland Yard. Rutledge suffers from shell shock, and a return to investigating London crimes proves a formidable challenge.


In this first book in Todd’s bestselling series, Rutledge is immediately confronted with more ghosts of the Great War. He’s sent to a small village to investigate the death of a popular colonel, and all signs point to a decorated fellow veteran as the culprit. But Rutledge soon smells a conspiracy that goes deeper than a single murder, and he must keep his inner demons at bay if he’s going to bring the guilty parties to justice.

Tell Me: Are you a fan of books, movies, and TV set in the early 20th century?



I really love when new technology adds a dimension to an old classic. So when I heard that my favorite childhood books by Robert McClosky—Make Way for Ducklings, Blueberries for Sal and One Morning in Maine—were coming to NOOK, I couldn’t wait to introduce them to  my daughter.


When I found out that these irresistible childhood classics are all narrated by Jake Gyllenhaal, one of my favorite actors, I was even more excited. Apparently he has great taste in kids’ books, too!















With these new NOOK Read to Me picture books, kids will experience a wonderful melding of the old and new.




 Tell Me: What childhood favorites have you shared with your kids on NOOK?




We appreciate all the NOOK owners who have been spreading the word about NOOK to your friends and family. We’re grateful for all the folks who bought a NOOK because of passionate people like you.


Today we’re announcing an UPDATE to our limited-time Spread the Word About NOOK offer. From now until June 14, 2013, you’ll get a $25 eGift Card for each person you refer to BN.com who purchases a NOOK HD or NOOK HD+ (limit of ten $25 eGift Cards per referrer). Plus, your friend will get a $25 eGift Card for taking your advice, too!


To qualify for this offer, please visit this page and follow the instructions for using your own personal referral link. Then let the referring begin!



April is Autism Awareness Month—something that becomes more important as an increasing number of families are affected by autism. As parents and educators can tell you, there are many great apps that can help autistic people learn, communicate and thrive in new ways. These helpful NOOK Apps are designed to foster communication and manage autism-spectrum behaviors:







In addition to these three apps, you’ll find many more useful and effective autism-focused apps here.

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"A richly imagined world. Readers will enjoy the mind-bending fun of puzzling together small details."




Una Fairchild is a devoted reader, escaping her less-than-ideal life by losing herself in fairytales. So when she wakes up to find herself ‘written in’ to a sweeping fairytale, she’s initially excited for the adventures ahead. Her new world is populated by her favorite fictional characters, and Una’s delighted to learn about their world. But the plot of Una’s story soon takes a dangerous turn, and she must band together with her newfound friends to make sure they all live happily ever after.


Storybound is a wonderful book for instilling a passion for reading and storytelling in young readers, so make sure you share today’s Free Fridays selection with your favorite little NOOK readers. They’ll be so enthralled with Una’s journey, they’ll want to jump right into her next adventure in the pages of Story’s End, available now on NOOK.


IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR MORE GREAT DEALS THIS WEEKEND, now through Sunday, save 50% on over 1000 NOOK Books like our new B&N Recommends selection Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, Alex Cross, Run by James Patterson, and Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo here.


 Mmmmmmm, donuts.

After you’ve achieved Michael Jordan-worthy dunking skills on all 50 levels, take on new challenges in dozens of other value-priced Beansprites apps.


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 Marissa recommends:






I’ll leave the tournament prognostications to the sports experts at Sports Illustrated, but one thing I can reveal is which of the four cities whose teams have made this year’s Final Four - Ann Arbor, Louisville, Syracuse or Wichita - has the most devoted NOOK readers.


College towns tend to attract big readers, and these four cities are certainly devouring a lot of NOOK Books - but there can be only one champion. Taking population size into account, Louisville has a commanding lead in NOOK Books downloaded, followed by Syracuse, with Wichita narrowly edging out Ann Arbor for third place.


No matter who wins this year's NCAA Tournament, all of these readerly cities can hold their heads high!


Tell Me: Are you surprised by these results?




As a young baseball fan, one of my favorite players—behind hometown hero Robin Yount—was the Iron Man Cal Ripken, Jr. With his talent, tenacity and good spirit, he was the ultimate role model for kids. Ripken retired a legend, and now he’s turned to writing inspiring children’s books, like his newest: Wild Pitch.


In Wild Pitch, Little League pitcher Robbie Hammond has gone from almost unhittable, to being unable to hit the strike zone. His team’s struggling as their star pitcher continues to lose his mojo, and no one—except Robbie—knows where the real problems lie. During last year’s All Star game, Robbie injured a batter with an errant pitch, and now he can’t shake the feeling that it’ll happen again.


As your little sluggers prepare to take to the field this season, teach them a lesson about overcoming challenges with Wild Pitch.


Tell Me: Who’s your favorite baseball player of all time?




1. Determine how much you can afford. There is more to this equation than savings. Be sure to factor in the $2,500 tax credit for each child attending college (based on income) and expenses that will be reduced or eliminated when your child goes to college.


2. Don’t base your decision on sticker price. All colleges are required to provide net price calculators which families can use to get a better idea of what the actual cost will be.  Your student’s profile could result in affordable options at great schools.


3. When comparing award letters, subtract only grants and scholarships from the cost of attendance to determine net price. Exclude Direct Loans and work-study jobs. PLUS loans should never be included as a financial aid element.


4. Consider appealing directly to the college’s financial aid office if your family will experience a loss of income compared with 2012, will incur significant medical expenses, or if you pay private tuition for other children in your home.


5. Negotiate a better price. Find 3-5 comparable schools with lower prices and show the difference to the admissions officer. Include official award letters if available. If the school wants your child to attend, they will often work to find extra award money. Whatever you do, don’t call it a negotiation!


Frank Palmasani is a Chicago-area high school guidance counselor and former college director of admissions. He is a member of NACAC, IACAC, and the College Board.



Have fun on Facebook for April Fools' Day.



The Funny Status Updates for Facebook app can turn anyone into a Facebook pro. I know it can be hard to come up with clever new status updates, and posting another baby picture or report on your latest lunchtime deli trip isn’t the best way to endear yourself to your friends. With this app, you can choose from over 100,000 pre-written status updates in categories like ‘funny questions,’ and ‘awkward moments when…’ Before I post I usually personalize the text a little, just to give it my own spin.


If you want to get your Facebook friends’ attention with eye-catching updates like, “People who don’t know me, think I’m quiet. People who know me, wish I was,” and get more comments and likes on your posts, give Funny Status Updates for Facebook a try.

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