Displaying articles for: July 2013

 


Kate Burkholder left the Amish community at the age of sixteen after surviving a brutal attack from a serial killer. Now she has returned to the small town of Painters Mill, Ohio as the new chief of police. When a body is discovered in a snowy field, Kate must face her demons and catch a killer.

 

Don't miss this limited-time chance to begin Castillo's engrossing Kate Burkholder series for a great price.

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The Cuckoo's Calling is a gripping  mystery that should appeal to Harry Potter fans and mystery fans alike (and if you happen to be both, this is surely a slam dunk). The book takes its inspiration from the classic hardboiled mystery genre, introducing a down-on-his-luck P.I. , Cormoran Strike. Just as his money’s about to run out, Strike is approached by supermodel Lula ‘Cuckoo’ Landry’s brother to investigate his sister’s alleged suicide. The brother is convinced that his sister was a murder victim, and now Strike must infiltrate the world of multimillionaire beauties and their assorted hangers-on, to prove Cuckoo’s brother right.

 

You can read a sample here  right now using NOOK for Web, and decide if Rowling’s post-Potter offering is right for you.

 


 

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App Buzz: Cartoon Network

Categories: App Buzz

 

One of the beautiful things about the tablet world we live in is the instant access to so many different kinds of entertainment. With the new Cartoon Network NOOK App, my kids and I can watch our favorite shows right on my NOOK.

 

I’m a big kid at heart, so I love the Cartoon Network and its hit shows like Adventure Time, Ben 10, and the updated classic, The Looney Tunes Show. And while my family and I often enjoy these shows together, we’re a one-TV household, so there are times we aren’t all in the mood for the same thing.

 

Thanks to this new app, we can watch full episodes of our favorite Cartoon Network shows, and even stream them live as they’re broadcast. Of course, to take advantage of the full range of offerings, you need to be a cable subscriber and follow the authentication process. But once you’re up and running, it’s super cool to have the Cartoon Network right on your NOOK!

 

The future is now! Take advantage with the Cartoon Network app for NOOK.

 


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"Helen Hollick has it all. She tells a great story..."
- bestselling author Bernard Cornwell

 

 

In this first book of the Pendragon’s Banner series, Hollick delves deep into the life of Pendragon—the gallant leader who would one day unite all of Britain. While the true history of King Arthur is full of legends and myths, this book presents him as a man of flesh and bone—the heroic ruler who inspired armies and captured Gwenhyfar's heart. A once-in-a-millennia figure, King Arthur’s tale is wonderfully realized in Hollick’s impressive narrative.

 

The final two books in this critically-acclaimed trilogy, Pendragon’s Banner and Shadow of the King, are available now for NOOK.

 


 

 

 

While there are lots of addictive games to keep word nerds busy, I have to say that Dabble  is a fresh new take that I just can’t get enough of.  The concept is simple—each game begins with 20 letters. Now you must turn those letters into 5 separate words—one with two letters, one with three, and so on. My brain went into overdrive as soon as I started playing Dabble—forcing me to call on my vocabulary knowledge and strategic thinking skills in equal measure.

 

If you’re a word-loving NOOK owner, you won’t just want to dabble in this app, you’ll want to become a pro!


 

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 Helen recommends:

 

 

The story is set in the early twelfth century, amid the turbulent years of civil war, when two people were vying for the throne – the dead king’s daughter, Matilda, and his nephew, Stephen, both of whom believed they had absolute right to rule. The ensuing bitter war was a time when it was said that Christ and His Saints Slept. It was a time in history when a woman had no equality or rights; when she could be bargained off in marriage against her will to a man she loathed, and when despite her being the heir to the throne, men would not accept her capability to become Queen. Matilda, however, was  possibly the most determined, courageous and strongest woman in English history.

 

I enjoyed this read  because while I know a little about Matilda and her claim to her throne – and even more about her son, Henry II and his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, I knew absolutely nothing of the other leading character of the novel – Adeliza, Matilda’s stepmother.

 

There is nothing better than learning about English history through the pages of a good read. Ms Chadwick is a writer of the highest calibre. Her research is meticulous and the history is flawless, while imagined  scenes  are slipped seamlessly between the factual ones.

 

To read an Elizabeth Chadwick novel is the nearest we can get to travelling back in time to catch a glimpse of what the past was really like.

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Our latest batch of NOOK First titles is one of the most diverse yet – from a Barbara Freethy love story, to a tale of time-traveling tourism. Start your shopping with the four great books below, but don’t forget to explore the full collection here.

 

 

Falling For A Stranger by Barbara Freethy

 

From #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy comes the third book in the popular Callaway Series, an emotional and suspenseful novel of love, family and dangerous secrets.

Ria is as sexy and sultry as a warm tropical night and as beautifully dangerous as the island drinks she serves at the beachside bar on Isla de los Suenos — The Island of Dreams. But Ria is not as carefree as she appears, and the pretense is wearing her down. One night she risks everything to escape from reality.

Drew Callaway is a former Navy pilot and rescue operative looking for his own escape from a life that has seen too much tragedy. Meeting Ria is like embracing the sun, and their single night together is life-changing. But the dream quickly fades when Ria is killed in a tragic accident at sea.

Months later, thousands of miles away from where they first met, Drew sees a woman who looks just like Ria. She claims her name is Tory, and that they've never met before, but he can see that she's in trouble, and he can't walk away. He's going to save her whether she wants it or not.

 

 

It's Raining Frogs and Fishes by Jerry Dennis

 

This updated edition of the national bestseller is a spellbinding look into the natural world's most fascinating and baffling phenomena, with illustrated explanations of rainbows, meteors, sunsets, hurricanes, the northern lights, bird and insect flight, and dozens of other curiosities. Subjects are arranged by season, and each is discussed in a concise and entertaining style that blends the most recent scientific findings with historical anecdotes, personal observations, and examples of the lore and superstitions that have always surrounded phenomena of the skies.

 

 

 

Imagine you’ve just been told you’re the most insignificant person who’s ever lived. A nobody. Somebody less important to the world than certain types of mushroom.

Not very nice, is it?

That’s exactly what happens to Geoffrey Stamp after a man from the year 3050 asks him to become a “Time Rep” – a tour guide for the 21st Century, meeting people from the future who travel back through time for their vacations. You see, Time Reps need to be insignificant. Otherwise, when you go back in time and interfere with their destiny, the space-time continuum has a bit of a fit. And we wouldn’t want that.

But when Geoffrey uncovers a conspiracy to change the course of history, he is sent on a mind-bending adventure through time and space involving an imaginary lake, a talking seagull, dinosaurs, aliens, the Great Fire of London, and the discovery that he might not be as insignificant as people thought.

 

 

 

G. Wayne Miller, author of several novels, as well as biographies such as The Work of Human Hands, has described his writing career as having three acts.  In the early 1990s, he took advantage of the then thriving world of smaller and medium press outlets for short fiction, and had his first novel - Thunder Rise - published to some acclaim. His second act was the publication of the two sequels to Thunder Rise by Crossroad Press, and his first fiction collection in decades - When the Sky Blew OffVapors is the "third act" - some brand new stories, and some reprints from such classic markets as the late Dave Silva's "The Horror Show," and American Fantasy. Wayne writes with an educated, literary voice, but these are dark tales.  His characters are very real, and he is able to suspend readers' disbelief with seeming ease, making what seems a quiet, subtle tale rise up and strike like a snake.  The end-cap of this collection is the unproduced (as of yet) screenplay "Summer Love" a dark fantasy script the author hopes one day to see on the screen.


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Today, Judith stops by the NOOK Blog to reveal her Top 5 Favorite Fictional Detectives:

 

 

 

 

 

Everybody has to start with Sherlock Holmes, surely? My father gave me his 2-volume complete stories when I was about 12, and I never looked back. Detective-stories aren’t about discovering who dunnit, they’re about taming the chaos of the world, and no one does that better than Sherlock. (And that I found a previously unknown source for his unusual first name when researching my Murder book made my inner 12-year-old so proud.)

 

I was thrilled to discover what I think might be the first female detective in English in a penny-dreadful from 1862 called Ruth the Betrayer, by Edward Ellis. Ruth Trail is ‘a sort of spy we use in the hanky-panky way when a man would be too clumsy,’ and she’s attached to ‘a notorious Secret Intelligence Office.’ Rather wonderfully, the office is so secret it has a brass plaque on the door: ‘Secret Agent,’ it reads. Who could resist?

 

When I’ve had a really terrible day, what I most want to do is slump on the sofa with a new Janet Evanovich. Stephanie Plum is the way I think a lot of us see ourselves – not competent, but doing our best. That she is fast and funny as well gives me the illusion that if only I could find the right phone booth I could rush in, change my clothes and emerge as – Jersey Girl!

 

I discovered Sharyn McCrumb because it was impossible for me not to buy a book called Bimbos of the Death Sun. But when I moved on to her novels set in Appalachia, I realized she was more than a great title. It’s not easy to write about ordinary people living ordinary lives and yet make the crime element seem integral, but she manages.

 

I recently reread Raymond Chandler for the first time since my teens. And wow, how the man could write: I’d completely forgotten. Philip Marlowe is the detective for all us sentimentalists – noble, alone, and damaged. And, like all my favourites, he has a sharp tongue. In real life I’d want to slap him silly, but in a novel…

 


 

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With the new edition of 16 Lighthouse Road  —the first of the Cedar Cove books— I’ve been thinking a lot about the appeal of small towns. The sense of community, of belonging, is an important part of that enduring appeal, in fiction and in real life. I like to read and write about small towns, and I also enjoy visiting them. Here are my five favorite real towns.

 

 

 

1.  Santa Rosa, California

My husband, Wayne, and I love wine, especially wines from the Sonoma Valley and in particular those from Kendall-Jackson and UpTick wineries. No visit to California is complete without at least a short wine tour and a stay in Santa Rosa, one of the most picturesque, welcoming towns in the region. Great restaurants, great galleries, great scenery and, best of all, fabulous wines. (Not to mention the wonderful people!)

 

 

2.  Leavenworth, Washington

Leavenworth reinvented itself as a Bavarian-style town. Nestled in the foothills of the Cascades, it’s bursting with character and charm. It offers attractions for every member of the family, including river rafting, hiking, skiing (close by), plus all the amenities of small-town life. It’s certainly unique among small towns in Washington, and no place does Oktoberfest or celebrates Christmas like Leavenworth! 

 

 

3.  Vero Beach, Florida

 

When Wayne and I made the decision to winter in Florida, we toured the entire state and chose Vero Beach. This is sunny Florida at its best, with sugar-sand beaches, manatees that swim right up to our dock, a floral fantasy of orchids, palm and banyan trees, and best of all, the Atlantic coast that has mostly gone undiscovered. 

 

 

4.  Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

 

Because my husband is a huge Civil War buff, we’ve visited Gettysburg a number of times through the years. We’ve walked the battlefields, toured the new Visitors’ Center and stayed in historic hotels. No one can spend time on the battlefields where so many died or walk through the cemetery where President Lincoln gave his famous address and not be moved. Gettysburg is an important part of America's history; it shouldn't be missed.

 

 

5.  Aberdeen, South Dakota

 

My father was born on a farm just a few miles outside Aberdeen. When I was a kid, our family drove to Aberdeen nearly every summer to connect with relatives and friends.  As it happens, L. Frank Baum, who wrote The Wizard of Oz, lived here and there's a fabulous park named in his honor.  This is small-town America at its best, the heartland of our country, and part of my heart, too. 

 

 

So these are my five favorite small towns in America.  I imagine many of you are surprised that I didn't mention Port Orchard, Washington, aka Cedar Cove.  That would’ve been far too obvious a choice!  I know many of my readers have enjoyed the books and are looking forward to the Hallmark television series based on them.  As I mentioned, 16 Lighthouse Road, the story that started it all, is being released in a beautiful new edition featuring Andie MacDowell (who plays Olivia) on the cover.  Watch for 204 Rosewood Laneand 311 Pelican Court as well. And if you can't get enough of Cedar Cove, the Rose Harbor Inn series also takes place there and includes visits from all your old friends.  So come and meet Jo Marie Rose and her guests in Rose Harbor in Bloom available August 2013.


 

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My kids love Willems’ books because they’re so unexpectedly goofy and irreverent, and those same qualities shine through in this irresistible interactive app.  The moment they launch Mo ... on the Go, my little ones are immediately immersed in Mo’s world—a place where they can create their own terrifying (or hilarious) monsters, help the pigeon finally drive the bus, enjoy special surprise appearances by the author himself, and much more.

 

I promise that this is one of the cutest, most engaging apps your kids will ever own, and in case you don’t believe me, watch this video for a full app tour featuring Mo and the gang :

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All of Vee Bell’s friends and family think she has narcolepsy, but what they don’t know is that when they think she’s asleep, she’s actually  sliding into someone else’s identity. Like any teenager, she doesn’t want her odd secret to get out, lest she become a social outcast.

 

But when Vee slides into the mind of her sister’s friend Sophie right as she’s being murdered, Vee’s formerly harmless gift becomes a burden. The town thinks that Sophie’s death was a suicide, but Vee can’t reveal the truth without also exposing her strange paranormal powers. And who would believe her anyway? Instead, she sets out to find a more terrestrial way to solve the crime before the murderer strikes again.

 

The story of Vee Bell continues in the riveting sequel to Slide: Imposter.

 


 

 

This inventive wallpaper app displays an exotic flower that slowly blooms throughout the day. The artwork is fully-customizable, so you can choose the color of the flower, change the style of the vase, and even enable a camera-panning feature that brings the room to life. Creating your perfect NOOK wallpaper experience has never been easier.

 

To add even more variety to your NOOK, explore SoloCrowd’s other live wallpaper apps as well.

 


 

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 Jill recommends:

 

Hysteria by Megan Miranda is an edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller with touching, heartfelt moments and a delicious love interest. What a page-turner!

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When Faith Aldridge heads to Bramble, Texas in search of her twin sister, she suffers a case of mistaken identity. The townspeople, mistaking her for her sister Hope, try their darndest to set her up with Slate Calhoun. Just when things are starting to heat up, Hope comes home to Bramble, adding another twist to this fun-filled romance.

 

 

 

 

 


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Summer’s essentially half over, which means that it’s time to ramp up your summer reading. We’re making it easy on you, and your wallet, with some really great reads at really great prices in our 101 NOOK Books Under $2.99 collection.

 

The varied books below all make for interesting poolside reads, but be sure to explore the entire collection here.

 

 

Just back from maternity leave, forensic archeologist Ruth is finding it hard to juggle motherhood and work when she is called in to investigate human bones that have surfaced on a remote Norfolk beach. The presence of DCI Harry Nelson, the married father of her daughter, does not help. The bones, six men with their arms bound, date back to World War II, a desperate time on this stretch of coastland.

Home Guard veteran Archie Whitcliffe reveals the existence of a secret the old soldiers have vowed to protect with their lives. But then Archie is killed and a German journalist arrives, asking questions about Operation Lucifer, a plan to stop a German invasion, and a possible British war crime. What was Operation Lucifer? And who is prepared to kill to keep its secret?

 

A Thousand Days in Tuscany:: A Bittersweet Adventure by Marlena de Blasi

 

American chef Marlena de Blasi and her Venetian husband, Fernando, married rather late in life. In search of the rhythms of country living, the couple moves to a barely renovated former stable in Tuscany with no phone, no central heating, and something resembling a playhouse kitchen. They dwell among two hundred villagers, ancient olive groves, and hot Etruscan springs. In this patch of earth where Tuscany, Umbria, and Lazio collide, there is much to feed de Blasi's two passions--food and love. We accompany the couple as they harvest grapes, gather chestnuts, forage for wild mushrooms, and climb trees in the cold of December to pick olives, one by one.

 

 

 

A thrilling, multi-layered World War II adventure following two men and an unforgettable woman, from Pearl Harbor through the most dramatic air and sea battles of the war.

 

Marsh, Mick, and Tommy were inseparable friends during their naval academy years, each man desperately in love with the beautiful, unattainable Glory Hawthorne. Graduation set them on separate paths into the military, but they were all forever changed during the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941.

 

 

 

If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name: News from Small-Town Alaska by Heather Lende

 

Tiny Haines, Alaska, is ninety miles north of Juneau, accessible mainly by water or air—and only when the weather is good. There's no traffic light and no mail delivery; people can vanish without a trace and funerals are a community affair. Heather Lende posts both the obituaries and the social column for her local newspaper. If anyone knows the goings-on in this close-knit town—from births to weddings to funerals—she does.

Whether contemplating the mysterious death of eccentric Speedy Joe, who wore nothing but a red union suit and a hat he never took off, not even for a haircut; researching the details of a one-legged lady gold miner's adventurous life; worrying about her son's first goat-hunting expedition; observing the awe-inspiring Chilkat Bald Eagle Festival; or ice skating in the shadow of glacier-studded mountains, Lende's warmhearted style brings us inside her small-town life.

 


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In this month's Love Rocks post, we have the pleasure of hearing from five fan favorites in the field of Romance fiction, as they offer their selections for recommended reading. Their picks are certain to spark conversation, and maybe even a few new tricks in one's love life. 

 

Juliana Stone: New Life by Bonnie Dee

 

"If you are hankering for something a little different, I’d suggest this wonderful contemporary romance by Bonnie Dee.  The hero is very different, and brings to mind the hero in Jennifer Ashley’s historical, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, who suffered from Asperger Syndrome. In New Life, our hero suffers from the effects of a brain injury.  He speaks haltingly, limps, and works as a janitor.  The heroine is an up and coming lawyer. The two meet, opposites attract, and the realism in which their romance is told, sucked me in and I couldn’t put it down!  A smart, real and different kind of love story!  You might also want to try another one of Bonnie’s outside-the-box stories, Bone Deep."

 

Laurie London:  Painted Faces by L.H. Cosway

 

"I was literally blown away when I read Painted Faces by L.H. Cosway. After reading the description of this unconventional romance, you may think, "No way. This could never work." But trust me when I tell you it totally does. It's beautifully written, heart-wrenchingly emotional and surprisingly funny. I hope you'll give it a try. If you enjoy Painted Faces, you might try L.H. Cosway's novella, Crimson, from her Ultimate Power series."

 

Bella Love:  Red Stone Security by Katie Reus

 

"Katie Reus rocks the romance and the suspense in her boxed set, The Red Stone Security Series, Vol. 1, containing three of Reus’s bestselling romantic suspenses. Three sexy brothers, three stories of passion and suspense that will make your beach reads even hotter this summer.  While you’re at it, you might want to check out another one of Katie’s romantic suspense thrillers, Killer Secrets."

 

Elisabeth Naughton:  Mine To Take, by Cynthia Eden

 

When does protection cross the line to obsession? Mine to Take is a deliciously dark and sexy tale about the lengths a person will go to protect the one they can't live without. An alpha male, a strong heroine, combustible chemistry from page one and a mystery that will leave you guessing until the very end make Mine to Take a must read this summer.  And if you like paranormal romance, you might try Cynthia’s Bound in Death.

 

Erin Kellison:  Branded For You by Cheyenne McCray

 

Branded For You by bestselling author Cheyenne McCray is a western romance that leads with heart and follows with steamy sizzle. Recently divorced Megan Wilder is rebuilding her life in Prescott, Arizona, when she meets sexy rancher Ryan McBride, well-liked by just about everyone in town…except her parents. Megan and Ryan are on the brink of a hot happily-ever-after when disaster rocks Megan’s family, and it looks like Ryan is the cause. The troubles in the story are real and relatable, the attraction and heat crackle like the campfire preceding one of their hottest scenes. After you finish this one, check out the most recent release in this hot series, Playing With You.

 

 

And while you're at it, check out these great books from our contributors:

 

Spin by Bella Love

 

Bound by Elisabeth Naughton

 

Hotter on the Edge 2 by Erin Kellison

 

Conceal by Juliana Stone 

 

Assassin's Touch by Laurie London 

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We’ve reached the half-way point of the Major League Baseball season, which means your hometown team has the day off for the All-Star break. Might I suggest that this is the perfect chance to download one of my favorite new NOOK AppsCharlie Brown's All-Stars!  by Loud Crow Interactive?

 

In this wonderful animated story, based on the iconic Peanuts’ TV special, the perennial underdog Charlie Brown has a 9th inning chance to carry his team to glory. Older peanuts fans will love seeing this digital update of the classic tale, and will appreciate the narration by Stephen Shea, the voice of Linus. But new fans will love this timeless tale as well, and have fun playing along with the interactive features—letting them swing the bat, take to the pitcher’s mound, and even design the team’s uniforms.

 

As someone who grew up with the Peanuts gang, I had a lot of fun reliving this classic baseball adventure, and sharing it with the new generation of fans in my house, too.

 


 

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Jefferson Bass is actually the pseudonym for the writing team of Jon Jefferson and Dr. Bill Bass. Dr. Bass is one of the forefathers of forensic  anthropology, and founder of the University of Tennessee's famous Anthropology Research Facility, a.k.a. The Body Farm, so you can be sure that Flesh and Bone offers plenty of scientifically-accurate chills.

 

In this second book in the Body Farm series, Dr. Bill Brockton—a renowned forensic anthropologist—is assisting in the case of a cross-dresser who was brutally murdered and left in a local park. Brockton is disturbed by the crime and is doing everything he can to uncover the killer, but when someone close to him is murdered—and he’s fingered as the main suspect—he’ll need to find the person that he suspects is responsible for both murders. If he doesn’t act fast, his career, reputation, and life will be ruined.

 

Once you’ve finished Flesh and Bone, eight more bone-chilling Body Farm mysteries await.


 

 

Crazy Hamster—true to his name—is a wild-eyed rodent who sometimes thinks with his stomach instead of his brain. Winter is setting if fast, and our furry little hero forgot to store up for the fallow months ahead.

 

Now he’s on a whirlwind quest to collect much-needed sustenance, but there are plenty of traps and roadblocks along the way. It’s your job to keep him safe, by building bridges, extinguishing fires, and using ladders to lead him safely to the edible goodies, and back home safe. Crazy Hamster  is an irresistible adventure that the whole family will love.

 

Once the hungry hamster has finally had his fill, Gamelion Studios has many more fun apps waiting for you, too!

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When the Hunger Games trilogy ignited a passionate fan base for Young Adult dystopian fiction, who would have thought this new trend would still be going strong this summer? If you or a young reader you know is one of the millions of dystopian lit fans out there, you won’t want to miss these new summer releases.

 

Lord of the Flies meets The Walking Dead

 

This fourth book in Charlie Higson’s Enemy series finds Small Sam and The Kid hiding out at the Tower of London. While they find safety and friendship there, they’re still drawn to the dangerous world outside—where a devastating disease is killing anyone over the age of 16 —and Sam won’t rest until he’s reunited with his sister Ella. As they venture into the battle zone, Sam and The Kid gain some insight into exactly what the disease is and if it has a cure, but must fend off enemies at almost every turn.

 

 

 

A Complex Morality Tale

 

Knox was born into one of the City's wealthiest families. A Patron, he has everything a boy could possibly want—the latest tech, the coolest clothes, and a Proxy to take all his punishments. When Knox breaks a vase, Syd is beaten. When Knox plays a practical joke, Syd is forced to haul rocks. And when Knox crashes a car, killing one of his friends, Syd is branded and sentenced to death.

 

What happens when you can buy your freedom at the cost of another’s life?

 

 

One  Boy Fights Back

 

 

They came from the sky, parachuting out of military helicopters to invade Tucker Pierce’s idyllic hometown on Pemberwick Island, Maine.

They call themselves SYLO and they are a secret branch of the U.S. Navy. SYLO’s commander, Captain Granger, informs Pemberwick residents that the island has been hit by a lethal virus and must be quarantined. Now Pemberwick is cut off from the outside world, and Tucker doesn’t believe the official story. What happens next will have you on the edge of your seat.

 

 

Star-crossed Love in a Crumbling World

 

 

Tavia Michaels is the sole survivor of the plane crash that killed her parents, and now she has good reason to believe that she was the intended target. Now she’s having visions of a boy she’s never spoken to in real life, and sets out to find out where he is, and what these visions mean. As Tavia and Benson, her best friend and longtime crush, seek out the mysterious boy, the world around them is literally falling apart. To save mankind, Tavia may have to hurt the one person she cares about most, her constant companion, Benson.

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Three years ago, I stumbled upon a story that changed my life: a long-forgotten snippet of news from the 1940s about an eccentric and radical group for stage-frightened performers in New York City. The group was called the Society of Timid Souls and together, in their own small way, they learned to be brave.

 

I was all too aware of my own shortcomings in the courage department and I knew that I wasn’t alone. Timidity has become a contagion in our age of anxiety. As this story turned into something of an obsession, I found myself wondering whether the Timid Souls might be throwing me—or us—a lifeline.

 

So I quit my job and set off to discover how to be brave. Over the next eighteen months, I interviewed more than a hundred amazing people and heard some incredible tales that resonated loud and clear with the Society of Timid Souls in ways that were startling and counterintuitive. So here are my five top misconceptions about courage:

 

  1. That courage is about fearlessness. Fear was the first thing the majority of my interviewees talked about, long before they mentioned so much as a word about courage. Fear was the intuitive foundation of so much of what they’d done. And whether you’re the world’s foremost big-wave surfer, the man who confronted a suicide bomber on the London Underground, or the woman who carried out a caesarean section on herself, being brave turns out to be about overcoming fear.
  2. That courage is innate: either you are or you aren’t brave. On the contrary, while there may be some temperaments that are naturally bolder than others, talk to firefighters, bullfighters, or freedom fighters and you quickly realize that many of the component parts of courage can be­—and are—learned and then rehearsed.
  3. That courage is beyond words. Wrong. I now recognize that courage is entirely inseparable from the stories we tell about it, from what we think and say it is. Indeed, many of my brave subjects clearly felt a little bemused about being called “courageous.” “I wasn’t brave,” they’d say, “I had no choice.” Or “I know people call it brave, but it’s not. It’s my job.”
  4. That pretending to be brave is not the same as being brave. Well, notwithstanding outright charlatans and fakes, often it is. The process of “enacting” courage is frequently where being brave begins. I saw it in how soldiers train for the battlefield. I saw it in how a fearful opera singer overcame her stage fright. I saw it in how the husband of a woman dying of cancer said, “Even if there isn’t any hope, you have to put that face on it, don’t you?”
  5. That courage is a lonely quality, singular, solitary. I now believe quite the reverse: that courage is intimately entwined with our collective experience as human beings and that often it’s much more communal and more attainable than we think. Together, I believe, we could all be just a little bit braver. And wouldn’t the world be better for that?

 


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Our latest $0.99 Spotlight Offer, Jeff Abbott’s bestselling thriller Adrenaline, lives up to its pulse-pounding title and is a perfect beach read.

 

Meet Sam Capra, a young CIA agent based in London with a beautiful wife and a son on the way. Life is perfect, until one day his office explodes in flames and he wakes up in custody accused of the bombing. His wife has disappeared and is believed to be Sam's accomplice. The CIA and terrorists are about to learn, Hell hath no fury like a father falsely accused.

 

 

 

 


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I love seeing my daughter’s face light up as she follows the adventures of Strawberry Shortcake and her friends while they practice for the Berry Bitty City talent show. Besides the interactive Read & Play storybook, the app offers so many great playtime activities that keep kids entertained for hours—like Berry Fun hairstyling and concocting delicious and nutritious berry-filled smoothies. Plus there’s a special Grown-ups Corner that offers discussion topics to help young readers improve their reading comprehension. I’ll admit, I was such a huge Strawberry Shortcake fan as a kid, I couldn’t resist playing around with this app even after my daughter went to sleep. Oh, to be a kid again!

 

The Strawberry Shortcake Berry Best Friends app is the perfect way for your kids to learn valuable skills while having fun with their berry favorite characters.


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Fans of Paul Auster or Peter Abrahams’ smart, psychological suspense will devour The Crime of Julian Wells. When true crime writer Wells commits suicide, his best friend, the literary critic Philip Anders, embarks on a fact-finding mission that sheds new light on Wells’ tortured life.

 

Wells' writing cataloged the worst of humankind—the most notorious murderers in history. But as Anders re-reads his friend’s books, he starts to see a disturbing pattern emerge. Could it be that Wells shared some of the same loathsome impulses? And could his inner demons have led him to take his life?

 

Thomas H. Cook’s next dark, captivating novel, Sandrine’s Case, is available now for pre-order.

 


 

 

In this fun and challenging world-building app, you are at the helm of a town during the French Revolution, and it’s your leadership that will inspire the people to march to Paris and depose the king! But no one ever said that nation building is easy. To keep your Townies happy, you’ll have to give them ample resources to build their community and thrive. Then you’ll need to earn their loyalty before you set off on your history-changing quest. Lastly, you’ll train your soldiers and arm them for battle so that the French aristocracy can be defeated. Who ever thought history could be so much fun?

 

For a limited time, all of HandyGames other NOOK Apps, including the original Townsmen, are available for just $0.99 each.


 

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 Thomas recommends:

 

 

 

Simon Mawer's Trapeze is a novel that follows the dangerous course of one such woman, a member of the elite core of female agents who were dropped into Occupied France, and whose life expectancies at that point were a mere six weeks. Trapeze is fast-paced, but it also offers a beautifully drawn portrait of a woman who discovers herself while fighting for something larger than herself.

 

 


 

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There’s something about balmy summer days that make a reader yearn for a big blockbuster of a book. Just like superheroes dominate the Cineplex during the summer, readers grab the latest bestseller as they head to the beach, cabin, or pool. A quite, understated novel may be the perfect fireside companion on a cold winter night, but a big, brash book is a better fit for July.

 

Here are some recent blockbusters I think you’ll love:

 

For a Crime Fiction Fix:

 

Unseen by Karin Slaughter

 

The eighth book in Karin Slaughter’s bestselling Will Trent series finds Detective Trent going undercover as a tough motorcycle-riding ex-con. But when the woman he loves, Sara, unwittingly becomes part of the case that Trent’s pursuing, both of their lives, and their love, are at risk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take a Globe-trotting Thrill Ride:

 

The English Girl by Daniel Silva

 

Daniel Silva’s newest thriller featuring art-restorer and master spy Gabriel Allon has him investigating the disappearance of a beautiful young British woman on the island of Corsica. A prime minister’s career is threatened by the conspicuous disappearance, and as Allon digs deeper, he finds that the truth he’s uncovering might be more dangerous than any enemy he’s faced yet.

 

 

 

 

 

For Domestic Thrills:

 

Hidden Order  by Brad Thor

 

Scott Harvath’s twelfth outing plants him squarely in the midst of hysteria. A kidnapper or kidnappers unknown are running rampant in Washington, DC., capturing and then killing prominent men and women. Things escalate even more frighteningly when ransom demands are made in yet another bold thriller by bestseller Brad Thor.

 

 

 

 

 

Uncover Long-buried Secrets:

 

 

This time it’s personal. Steve Berry’s fearless former Justice Department agent Cotton Malone becomes part of a dangerous international incident when his teenage son is kidnapped on their European trip. One man holds a centuries-old secret that, if revealed, could mean the end of British rule in Northern Ireland. Now Cotton’s son is a pawn in a high-stakes round of political gamesmanship, and it’s up to Malone to save him. 

 

 

 

 


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Gettysburg: The Final Fury was Bruce Catton’s final book on the Civil War. But when it was published in 1974 (just four years before Catton’s death), it stood as the peak of twenty-three years of writing about the Civil War that formed a mountain range in American history-writing. Beginning with Mr. Lincoln’s Army in 1951, Catton produced three volumes on the Army of the Potomac, three more that served as the Civil War Centennial history of the war, a memorable single volume devoted to the Union (This Hallowed Ground), and the completion of yet another trilogy – begun by Lloyd Lewis – on the life of Ulysses S. Grant.


But Catton’s last word on the Civil War was, fittingly, about Gettysburg. It is also the shortest – less than a hundred pages of text, and unlike his earlier books, copiously illustrated. Nor were there any great research revelations. His estimate of the army commanders was unenthusiastic – Catton thought George Meade’s “inspirational qualities were nil and his strategic abilities were unknown” – and he rarely descended into those intricacies, so beloved of armchair generals, of what-regiment-fought-where-against-which-other-regiment. The magic of the book lay in Catton’s style, in those long, lazy, looping sentences, uncomplicated in their vocabulary and spinning-out the way some village Homer might have done on a long-ago August evening, as evocative of the American landscape as a Charles Ives symphony. I am not ashamed to say that, as a boy, I was bewitched by it. Deceptive in its simplicity, it eased you into view of momentous events and slyly slipped you wisdom.


There are three other aspects of Gettysburg: The Final Fury which will stamp themselves onto any reader. The first is Catton’s appreciation of contingency, the sense that nothing about this battle, from its start to its finish, was inevitable. Catton often called this ‘chance’ or ‘fate,’ which are not terribly useful words, since they suggest a universe teetering on chaos. What he meant, though, was that both sides in this battle were bringing to the table everything they needed to win, so that the results might easily have been very different from what they were.


Alongside contingency is Catton’s understanding that these soldiers, Union and Confederate, were not professional janissaries. They were very ordinary men – Wesley Culp, Strong Vincent – temporarily called to a duty they did not particularly enjoy and which they hoped to leave as soon as their sense of obligation had been satisfied. And the officers in command were often friends from the pre-war days, “flung…cruelly against each other.”


But the most important lesson Gettysburg: The Final Fury has to teach is about the significance of the battle, for Catton was unabashed in pointing to Gettysburg as “a prodigious Federal achievement.” At Gettysburg, the Confederacy had been weighed in the balances and found wanting, and from that point onward, it would descend into a war of attrition which it had no chance of winning.


Bruce Catton never finished college, never earned a PhD, never held a professorship. But he did something which may have been more important. He wrote epic prose. Some of it still sings in me.

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I love snapping candid shots from my phone and camera all summer long, but the trouble is, they end up spread out all over the place. Some I post to Facebook, some to Google+, while others I upload to cloud storage. Then when I really need to find that one special pic, I have to remember exactly what I did with it. But with the new free NeroKwik app, I’ve found the perfect way to overcome digital photo clutter.

 

NeroKwik lets you access all your photos in one convenient place—capturing pics from your various devices, Facebook, Google+ and the cloud. The user-friendly interface lets you put together themed photo album ‘tapestries’ that you can share with family and friends and  post to your social networks. I’m already thinking about how to lay out an epic tapestry of my family’s summer vacation snapshots.

 

If you’re an on-the-go photographer who never misses a chance to get the perfect shot regardless of the device at hand, you absolutely need to download the time-saving and incredibly useful free NeroKwik app.


 

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