Missing You by Harlen Coben

Missing You
Missing You
by Harlan Coben
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Harlan Coben, a heart-pounding thriller about the ties we have to our past…and the lies that bind us together.
  It’s a profile, like all the others on the online dating site. But as NYPD Detective Kat Donovan focuses on the accompanying picture, she feels her whole world explode, as emotions she’s ignored for decades come crashing down on her. Staring back at her is her ex-fiancé Jeff, the man who shattered her heart—and who she hasn’t seen in 18 years.

Kat feels a spark, wondering if this might be the moment when past tragedies recede and a new world opens up to her.  But when she reaches out to the man in the profile, her reawakened hope quickly darkens into suspicion and then terror as an unspeakable conspiracy comes to light, in which monsters prey upon the most vulnerable.

As the body count mounts and Kat’s hope for a second chance with Jeff grows more and more elusive, she is consumed by an investigation that challenges her feelings about everyone she ever loved—her former fiancé, her mother, and even her father, whose cruel murder so long ago has never been fully explained. With lives on the line, including her own, Kat must venture deeper into the darkness than she ever has before, and discover if she has the strength to survive what she finds there.


Divergent by Veronica Roth

by Veronica Roth

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her

We were liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars
We were liars
by E. Lockhart
A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard BookThe Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.
Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family.

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.

*** Thank you Lee for this recommendation!

Top Readers’ Choices for 8-12 year olds

Lora-Mauricio - 0018Thanks to a follower’s suggestion we’ve put together a list of recommended reading for 8-12 year-olds.  (Thank you Sabina).



Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald DahlCharlie and the Chocolate Factory
By Roald Dahl

Against all the odds, poor Charlie Bucket finds a golden ticket to a trip of a lifetime to visit Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. The tour round the factory is every child’s dream, but too much of a temptation for Charlie’s fellow golden ticket winners. A classic, magical, rags-to-riches moral fairy tale. Ages 8+

How to train your dragon by Cressida CowellHow to Train Your Dragon
By Cressida Cowell

A laugh-out loud romp of a Viking adventure set on the windy Isle of Berk, this is the first in a hugely successful 10-book series and is now being made into a film. Having just passed his dragon initiation program, Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, a young Viking searching for a way of becoming a hero, sets about the challenge. First, he must catch a dragon; then he will have to train it. Hiccup’s attempts are hilarious and charming, and the cold, soggy world of the Vikings provides an endless source of mirth. Ages 8+

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Book 1 by Jeff Kinney

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Book 1 
By Jeff Kinney

Now a bestselling phenomenon, Greg Heffley’s diary captures the minutiae of his days as he starts middle school. In words and witty illustrations, Greg plots how to improve his life, avoid previous pitfalls – and how to increase his popularity with girls. Easy to read, touching and very entertaining. Ages 8+

Charlotte’s Web by EB White

Charlotte’s Web 
By EB White

How do words of praise such as “terrific” keep appearing mysteriously in the spider’s web above the pig pen in Farmer Zuckerman’s barn? These are the life-saving words that Charlotte the spider spins to save her friend Wilbur the piglet, the runt of a litter that is being reared for one purpose only. Watched over by Fern, a little girl who has adopted the pig as a pet, the interactions of Wilbur, Charlotte, Templeton the rat and the other barn animals as they campaign to save the pig’s life is an exceptional story of tenderness and triumph. Ages 8+

One Dog and his Boy by Eva Ibbotson

One Dog and his Boy 
Eva Ibbotson

All Hal has ever wanted is a dog. His parents refuse to contemplate the idea; a dog would mess up their beautiful house and disturb their busy routine. When they discover Easy Pets, they hire Hal a dog for a weekend thinking that will do the trick. But Hal discovers Fleck has to be returned, so he runs away, and all the dogs from Easy Pets escape with him. Soon, there’s a price on his head. How Hal makes his escape and the story of his adventures as a fugitive is both thrilling and moving. Ages 9+

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief 
Rick Riordan (Puffin)

Percy Jackson was once an ordinary schoolboy, but his life changes for ever when he discovers he is the son of the Greek god Poseidon. Skateboarding and basketball are soon swapped for sword fights and monster hunts and the daily struggle to stay alive. And when Zeus accuses Percy of stealing his lightning bolt, life gets very dangerous indeed. Terrific adventure that seamlessly joins two worlds. Ages 10+

Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Millions * Words on a Limb Pick *Readers pick
Frank Cottrell Boyce

Boyce’s bittersweet novel is a delicious funny story with some serious things to say about what brings happiness. Damian and his brother Anthony find a bag full of money, but have only a few days before the currency becomes worthless. Initially excited at being able to have anything they want, the brothers quickly discover that they no longer know the value of anything. And anyway, money cannot bring back the one thing they want most – their mother. An entertaining, provocative and life-affirming adventure. Ages 10+

Magazine Writing Leads to Book Publishing


“If you want to publish books, I want to encourage you to take a different course of action. As an editor, I read many other publications and I looked for writers who could also write for me. If I write an article, it reaches many more people than my books. On the average a book may sell 5,000 copies. Certainly some books turn into bestsellers but with more than 50,000 new books a year–many books are fortunate to sell 5,000 copies.

With one article, I have reached millions of people. For a period, I was Associate Editor of a publication which reached 1.8 million people each month. The greatest feedback that I’ve received has been for my magazine writing. I’ve written for more than 50 publications over the last 15 years. Writing for periodicals will build your reputation as a writer with the editors. As you write for magazines, it will give you increased confidence that you can write for publication, meet word limits and deadlines. There are many benefits from writing for magazines.”


By Terry Whalin

Read the full article.

There’s a Monster In My Bed

There’s a Monster In My Bed
By Cindy (age 8)

There's a monster in my bedmonster-buddy
     He made me bump my head
He followed me to school
     I told him it ain't cool
I begged him to go home
     To a cozy place in Rome
He jumped up on my chair
     And then he pulled my hair
I pushed him to the ground
     He landed with a frown
There's no monster in my bed
     I shooed him from my head

Creative Commons License
There’s a monster in my bed by Lora Rozler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Chicken Cacciatore … for the single guy

chicken cacciatoreChicken Cacciatore for the Soul
by Mauricio Bonifaz (former single guy)


So you want to impress that cute girl from the accounting department, but the last recipe you made was macaroni and cheese … from the box.  Just because mom is not around doesn’t mean you have to eat substandard food, especially if the object of your affection will be looking for your cooking skills.  Here’s a sure-fire recipe to make the right impression.

First, turn the TV off, get off your butt and drag it to the nearest grocery store and grab the following:

  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (get the Primo or Unico, don’t be cheap)
  • Grab a sweet onion and a Spanish onion
  • Next a garlic bulb
  • A small can of sliced olives
  • Now the important part – grab a package of skinless chicken thighs
    (make sure it’s skinless, especially if your girl is health conscience)
  • While you’re in the spices aisle, grab some oregano, basil, Italian Spice and cumin.
  • White vinegar – you won’t need this for the recipe, but you’ll need it to clean that filthy bird
  • Also, get some long grain rice
  • A bottle of Shiraz and you are set my friend

Pay the cashier and make you way home (hopefully not your mom’s house – wince).
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Tips for Young Authors

What Makes a Good Story?
By Aaron Shepard

Good writers often break rules – but they know they’re doing it!

Here are some good rules to know.


A theme is something important the story tries to tell us—something that might help us in our own lives. Not every story has a theme, but it’s best if it does.

Don’t get too preachy. Let the theme grow out of the story, so readers feel they’ve learned it for themselves. You shouldn’t have to say what the moral is.


Plot is most often about a conflict or struggle that the main character goes through. The conflict can be with another character, or with the way things are, or with something inside the character, like needs or feelings.

The main character should win or lose at least partly on their own, and not just be rescued by someone or something else. Most often, the character learns or grows as they try to solve their problem. What the character learns is the theme.

The conflict should get more and more tense or exciting. The tension should reach a high point or “climax” near the end of the story, then ease off.

The basic steps of a plot are: conflict begins, things go right, things go WRONG, final victory (or defeat), and wrap-up. The right-wrong steps can repeat.

A novel can have several conflicts, but a short story should have only one.
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Encourage young readers

Hide Love Notes Between the Pages

Try giving these encouraging messages and little rewards for reading.
on March 27, 2014

One thing I do not want to turn into a fight is reading. I do not want to make it a chore — we have enough of those in our house that don’t get done without a struggle. I want to keep reading fun. These little notes aren’t just to reward with things — they give parents a chance to encourage their readers even if they are not in the room, or school bus, or at school. They are like lunch box notes in a book.

You will need some post it notes ( I love these heart ones), a pen, and a book or two.

Take your child’s book that he or she is reading, and divide it up into reading sections. It could be by chapter sections, a handful of pages, or even a few paragraphs each. This will depend on your child’s reading abilities and how far you want to challenge him/her. Here are some ideas for the notes. Use the encouraging words that your child will respond to and rewards that fit your child’s personality and your parenting comfort zone.

“You are a reading superstar!”
“Did you read all this by yourself? Amazing!”
“You just earned a later bedtime!”
“You are one smart cookie!”
“Readers are leaders! ”
“Did you like this book? Let’s talk about it over hot chocolate!”
“Books are cool!”
“Trade this note in for a treat!”
“Let’s go for a walk and chat about this book.”
“Reading rocks, and so do you!”
“You did it! I knew you would. Trade in this book for a trip to the bookstore where you can choose a brand new book!”

Full Article