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P is for Poetry #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I'm discussing different book genres/categories. Each day, I will give a few details about the...

February 21, 2014

6 Books for Your Weekend Reading

It is going to be a great weekend to sit outside with a book here in Georgia. What about where you are? Is it a rainy day to snuggle under the covers with a book? Or perhaps curl up beside the fire because winter just hasn't quite finished in your area? Whatever the weather, it is always a great time for a book and here are some suggestions for every reader.

Richard Bach's inspirational classic Jonathan Livingston Seagull is one of the few books that dominated the #1 spot on the New York Times Bestseller List for two consecutive years. With humor, wisdom and insight that could only come from one of the world's most beloved authors and an accomplished pilot, his most recent book, Travels with Puff, recounts Bach's journey from Florida to Washington state in his small seaplane, Puff. With over 60,000,000 copies of his books sold, Richard Bach remains one of the world's most beloved authors. A former USAF fighter pilot, Air Force captain and latter-day barnstorming pilot, Bach continues to be an avid aviator-author, exploring and chronicling the joys and freedom of flying, reporting his findings to his devoted fans. His latest book, Illusions II, is a remarkable account of his angel’s lessons, by the way of a seaplane crash.

Buy Illusions II: Adventures of a Reluctant Student at Amazon

Graveyard of Memories
What makes a legendary assassin? For John Rain, it was the lessons of love, war, and betrayal he learned in Tokyo in 1972. Fresh from the killing fields of Southeast Asia, Rain works as a bagman under the watchful eye of his CIA handler, delivering cash to corrupt elements of the Japanese government. But when a delivery goes violently wrong, Rain finds himself in the crosshairs of Japan's most powerful yakuza clan. To survive, Rain strikes a desperate deal with his handler: take out a high-profile target in the Japanese government in exchange for the intel he needs to eliminate his would-be executioners. As Rain plays cat and mouse with the yakuza and struggles to learn his new role as contract killer, he also becomes entangled with Sayaka, a tough, beautiful ethnic Korean woman confined to a wheelchair. But the demands of his dark work are at odds with the longings of his heart?and with Sayaka's life in the balance, Rain will have to make a terrible choice.

Buy Graveyard of Memories at Amazon

The Presidents Club
The Presidents Club, established at Dwight Eisenhower's inauguration by Harry Truman and Herbert Hoover, is a complicated place: its members are bound forever by the experience of the Oval Office and yet are eternal rivals for history's favor. Among their secrets: How Jack Kennedy tried to blame Ike for the Bay of Pigs. How Ike quietly helped Reagan win his first race in 1966. How Richard Nixon conspired with Lyndon Johnson to get elected and then betrayed him. How Jerry Ford and Jimmy Carter turned a deep enmity into an alliance. The unspoken pact between a father and son named Bush. And the roots of the rivalry between Clinton and Barack Obama. 

Time magazine editors and presidential historians Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy offer a new and revealing lens on the American presidency, exploring the club as a hidden instrument of power that has changed the course of history.

Buy The Presidents Club at Amazon

Three Wishes
Australian triplets Lyn, Cat, and Gemma Kettle are about to turn thirty-three and one is pregnant, one has just had her life turned upside down, and one is only just keeping hers from skidding off the fast lane. Meanwhile, their divorced parents have been behaving very oddly indeed.

In this family comedy by Liane Moriarty, we follow the three Kettle sisters through their tumultuous thirty-third year -- as they deal with sibling rivalry and secrets, revelations and relationships, unfaithful husbands and unthinkable decisions, and the fabulous, frustrating life of forever being part of a trio.

Buy Three Wishes at Amazon

Waiting to Be Heard
In the fall of 2007, twenty-year old college coed Amanda Knox left Seattle to study abroad in Perugia, Italy for one year. But that November 1, her life was shattered when her roommate, British student Meredith Kercher, was murdered in their apartment. Five days later, Amanda was taken into custody and charged by the Italian police; her arrest and the subsequent investigation ignited an international media firestorm. Overnight, this ordinary young American student became the subject of intense scrutiny, forced to endure a barrage of innuendo and speculation. Two years later, after an extremely controversial trial, Amanda was convicted and imprisoned. But in 2011 an appeals court overturned her conviction and vacated the charges. Free at last, she immediately returned home to the U.S., where she has remained silent, until now.

Buy Waiting to Be Heard at Amazon

Last Train to Istanbul
Disowned by their families, the last of the royal of the Ottoman Empire and a Jewish man married and went to live in France right before WWII. The historical novel is based on a true story and highlights the courageous effort by Turkish diplomats who saved the lives of hundreds of Jews caught in Nazi occupied France.

Buy Last Train to Instanbul at Amazon

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February 20, 2014

I'm NOT a Number and other #Twitter Annoyances

I have written on this topic before, but since it is still so prevalent and has really annoyed me this week I thought I would once again bring it up. The purpose of social media is to bring people together and engage in conversation. However, for many people it is nothing more than a convenient way to spam the multitudes. So here are my top three Twitter pet peeves (and solutions to the problems).

1. Following only to get a follow back. What a way to tell your followers they are unimportant. Those who engage in this behavior care more about the number of followers they have than interacting with their followers. The ones that really get to me though are those who follow and then unfollow a few days later only to follow again a couple of days later. Again, you are telling me I'm just a number, another notch on your social media belt.

Solution: Follow people that have content you want to read. Engage in with that content - retweet, comment, reply with your own findings. By increasing your interaction with the individual you increase the likelihood they will follow you back. Even just introducing yourself will help, but be sure to note my next pet peeve.

2. Direct Messaging with links to your other sites. When I choose to follow someone it is either because I like the content I have seen from others or because you have interacted with me. By DMing me after I follow with a link to your website, Facebook page, etc., you assume I have not already read your bio. It is bothersome enough that unless your content is top notch, I'm likely to unfollow.

Solution: Make sure a link to your website, Facebook page, or other social media site is in your bio. You are allowed two links. One in the website spot and one in the bio proper (use a link shortener to save on characters).

3. Direct Messaging to thank me for following. I typically ignore this message, but it does rub me wrong as I suspect it is a autobot sending the message. If you are happy I'm a follower why not thank me publicly. Maybe your followers would be interested in what I share. Social media is all about connection and networking, helping each other meet new people. However, if you don't really know your followers then why would you care in helping them out?

Solution: You could thank new followers publicly. But that isn't really feasible and would be a clutter to an already overly cluttered stream of tweets. Instead, take the opportunity to engage with your followers. Ask a question or other introduction type message (think about what you say to people when you first meet them in real life).

Those are the three activities I see over and over and they just irk me. I think they really treat people as if they are just a number. I see people complaining about all the spam on Twitter and I think part of the problem is that those engaging in the above behaviors have forgotten there are people behind the handles.

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the blogger behind Girl Who Reads and author of the how-to manual Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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February 18, 2014

Review: Broken Allegiance by Mark Young

Broken Allegiance
I was so excited when I got my copy of Broken Allegiance by Mark Young. I really liked his Travis Mays novel, Revenge (read my review). And was really looking forward to reading this one. However, the fates seemed to conspire against me and I didn't get to it until December. It made for a pretty good vacation read.

I enjoyed the storyline for Broken Allegiance, though at times it felt more like a crime procedural than a thriller. My only negative to the story is that, at times, it was too technical. Young may have thought the details in police procedure would add authenticity to the story, I thought it it was distracting from the main plot. If you are a fan of crime procedurals then you will probably appreciate the details. I'm a thrillers gal and just wanted to get to the rollercoaster ride.

February 17, 2014

What's popular in YA Books this month

Get the most popular books in young adult literature with these 5 titles.

Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them. 

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara's classmates get swept up by anti-L'eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn't safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara's locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class. 

February 16, 2014