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    Hermoine, Katniss, Aria, Veronica Mars... Some of our favorite Female Heroines.
    While the current wave of media-endorsed feminism is encouraging and indicates a gradual shift in the nation’s cultural stance on women’s issues and femininity itself, inaccurate and oppressive views against women still permeate our everyday lives. As long as Kim Kardashian boasts a stronger public platform than Malala Yousafzai, it’s up to parents to combat public perception and expose young readers to confident, intelligent, and ambitious female characters. We can shape a new generation of smart, successful young women—and young men who appreciate them. Below are our favorite Open Road heroines:


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    Nihal (Nihal of the Land of the Windby Licia Troisi)

    Nihal is a rough and tough girl after any adventurer’s heart. Always picking fights and playing war with her ragtag troupe of boys, she defies her conventional father’s wishes for her to settle down and get married—at 13, no less—and seeks out her estranged aunt to learn the forbidden ways of magic. When The Tyrant, the ruler of Overworld, takes charge and begins to act out against his people, it’s up to Nihal and her fellow pupil Sennar to fight back against the oppressive leader.

    Other novels by Licia Troisi:Sennar’s Mission



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     Tess (Switchersby Kate Thompson)

    Tess is a quiet and reclusive teen from a well-to-do family who seemingly struggles to spread roots in Dublin, her new home. What her parents fail to realize, though, is that she spends an inordinate amount of energy hiding a secret: her ability to shapeshift into different animals. Tess thinks she alone possesses this supernatural, until she meets Kevin, a fellow Switcher who needs her help to stop an evil front from fleshing out its doomsday plot. Tess and Kevin’s relationship is refreshing amid the bevy of YA romantic escapades saturating the genre—just two friends trying to save the world amidst a healthy amount of bickering and tomfoolery. The lack of a romance between these fast friends is a refreshing representation of the male-female partnership, demonstrating what can be achieved through the collaboration of two smart and talented individuals. 

    Other novels by Kate Thompson:Midnight’s Choice, Wild Blood, and The Beguilers


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    Daisy (Giftby Andrea J. Buchanan)

    Daisy, like Tess above, tends to keep to herself. Maybe it’s her social standing that ostracizes her from the crowd; she’s the new girl, from a disadvantaged part of town, without even a cell phone. Or maybe it’s her dangerous and unpredictable power over electricity, a power only her closest friend Danielle knows about. When Daisy’s classmate, Vivi, reveals that she has a secret of her own, the two new friends must work together to solve the mystery of the voices beyond—before it’s too late.




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    Princess Goewin (A Coalition of Lionsby Elizabeth Wein)

    With her own kingdom in upheaval and her vicious aunt out for blood, Goewin, princess of Britain and daughter of High King Artos, flees to the British-allied African kingdom of Aksum. There, she meets with her fiancé, Constantine, Britain’s ambassador to Aksum, who is next in line for the throne of Britain. But Aksum is undergoing its own political turmoil, and Goewin soon finds herself trapped between two countries, with the well-being of each at stake. When she learns of another heir to the British throne, she must handle the precarious situation with great care—for the sake of her own happiness and the safety of her people.

    Other novels by Elizabeth Wein:The Winter Prince, The Sunbird, The Lion Hunter, and The Empty Kingdom


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    Aerin Dragon-Killer (The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley)

    Really, do we even need to go further than that name? The orphaned love child of a witch woman and a king, Aerin was destined to achieve greatness despite her gender and illegitimate birth. Teaching herself how to swing a sword, she becomes a master dragon slayer through focused conditioning and unrelenting determination (and if nothing else, sheer force of will—she hasn’t exactly the natural talent for warcraft and swordplay seemingly bestowed upon her full-blooded royal cousins). When an old family nemesis threatens the sanctity of the kingdom, it’s up to besmirched Aerin to defeat the interloper and finally live up to her father’s name.

    Other titles by Robin McKinley: A Knot in the Grainand Beauty



    Who are your favorite YA heroines? Share with us below!


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    It's here! That special time of year. We're putting the Halloween decorations away, as well as our clippers and razors. That's right, it's Movember! If you don't know, Movember is an annual event where, during the month of November, men grow mustaches to raise awareness for men's health issuesincluding prostate cancer and other associated cancersand charities.

    Here at Open Road, we are huge Movember fans and celebrating properlyby honoring our western authors who proudly rock their mustaches all year round!

    Western Movember

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    Horseback riding and learning to care for horses is an incredible opportunity for young boys and girls. Aside from building confidence and instilling values like responsibility and compassion in young riders, children who have the opportunity to work with horses come to know a love like no other. Open Road’s collection of horse series are perfect for the young reader who can’t seem to get their mind out of the stable. To celebrate the Year of the Horse, we’re offering select ebooks for horse lovers on sale for just $1.99 each through November 30

    Equestrian adventures don’t have to end with titles like:

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    Pony Crazy by Bonnie Bryant

    May, Jasmine, and Joey are best friends and neighbors—and they’re totally horse-crazy. But the trio is torn apart when Joey’s family moves away and a new neighbor moves in. Odd things start happening at Joey’s old house—lights flicker from inside, and strange noises come from the barn. Who is this new neighbor, and what’s going on inside their friend’s old house.




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    The Long Ride by Bonnie Bryant

    Before Lisa Atwood, Stevie Lake, and Carole Hanson become high school juniors, the girls have a busy summer ahead. But everything changes when the new girl arrives in town with a champion horse in tow. Will Lisa, Stevie, and Carole’s friendship ever be the same again?





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    Keeping Barney by Jessie Haas

    Barney looks more like a Shetland pony than a big half-Morgan, but 13-year-old Sarah loves him to pieces. Now Sarah’s folks have promised her a horse of her very own. Sarah wants a Morgan just like Barney. Eventually, she narrows it down to two: powerful, spirited Roy or lovable old Thunder, who’s bound for the auction block if nobody buys him. Which one should she choose?




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    Astra by Chris Platt

    At 13, Lily O’Neil dreams of riding Arabian endurance horses in the Sierra Nevada foothills like her mom once did—before her fatal accident. Astra Atomica is Lily’s favorite, a graceful gray Arabian mare with the potential to become a great champion. Her secret dream is to ride Astra all the way to the Tevin Cup. If only she can make her father see how much her bond with Astra means to her, and how much riding meant to her mother.




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    Loving Spirit by Linda Chapman

    After her parents are killed in a car accident, Ellie leaves the rolling hills of New Zealand behind to live in England with her uncle, a hard-eyed horse breeder who hates weakness in all animals. Although Ellie loves horses, she can’t stand being ordered around by her uncle and the coldhearted Luke. Even the kind words of her cousin Joe aren’t enough to make her feel at home—until she meets a horse named Spirit. Ellie can tell Spirit is special and the two soon form a friendship the likes of which the world has never seen.



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    Calico Horses and the Patchwork Trail by Lorraine Turner

    Carrie’s mom decides to uproot her from their familiar Jersey Shore home and move to the dusty deserts of Nevada. The move is as prickly to Carrie as the cactus beside her new home. But something mysterious greets her when she closes her eyes each night—like a winding path, her dreams guide her to the horses of the Calico Mountains, who beg her to help them solve the mystery of their disappearing foals. Are these nocturnal visits from horse spirits real or is her troubled mind playing tricks on her?




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    Gib Rides Home by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

    Gib was sent to an orphanage when he was six years old, and with each year he knows he’s more likely to be adopted onto a farm, meaning a hard life of unpaid labor. But when his turn for adoption finally comes, Gib is surprised to learn that life on the farm isn’t too difficult. In fact, it is as close to the home of his dreams as he could possibly imagine—as time passes, he realizes that his new family may be more connected to his real family than he ever imagined.




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    Samphire Song by Jill Hucklesby

    When 14-year-old Jodie buys a wild horse at auction, she has no idea what she is taking on. Something has drawn her to Samphire—there’s an instant bond between them. But when her younger brother Ed becomes very ill, Jodie is faced with the biggest decision of her life: to let Samphire go. She promises that she will find him and bring him home, but that promise leads her into danger when she senses that his life is at risk. She must rescue him, whatever the cost.




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    Annan Water by Kate Thompson

    Michael Duggan feels lost. After the death of his younger sister in a riding accident, his parents have relocated their family and their horse dealing business to Scotland. He feels completely alone in the world, until he meets Annie, a girl who seems to want to escape something. Michael desperately wants to be with Annie, but she lives on the opposite side of the treacherous Annan Water.




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    A Horse Named Dragon by Gertrude C. Warner

    The Aldens are helping out at a rescue ranch, taking care of horses that need extra attention. Jessie’s favorite is a beautiful horse named Dragon. But when Dragon and some of the other horses disappear from the pasture, the Boxcar Children must saddle up for a mystery. What’s happening to the horses at the Dare to Dream Ranch?





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    Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

    Black Beauty is a magnificent creature, the pride of Squire Gordon’s country estate. But when the squire has to move abroad, Beauty’s fortunes change, and at the hands of other masters he is cruelly neglected and disregarded. In a wise, candid, and endearing voice, Black Beauty offers insight not just into his own experiences, but into the lives of all the special horses he meets along the way.




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    Wild Horses by Linda Byler

    The Miller family’s move from Ohio to Montana was generally uneventful, except that Sadie had to leave her beloved horse. Now Sadie’s own close-knit family is falling apart. Mam claims her head is cluttered and unclear, and Dat refuses to acknowledge Mam’s struggles. Sadie finds some refuge in Nevaeh, a black and white paint horse. But when a dreadful equestrian accident occurs, she must move forward into the unknown future.

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    Open Road is pleased to offer both new and classic women’s studies ebooks for $2.99 through November: works by authors such as Gloria Steinem, Alice Walker, Ruth Gruber, Octavia Butler, and many more. From the early queens of England to Virginia Woolf and beyond, these essential women’s studies titles will be an asset no matter where you are.

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    Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions
    Gloria Steinem is one of the most recognized leaders of the women’s liberation movement. Her collection of essays exhibits her wit, intelligence, and forward thinking.

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    You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down
    A collection of stories by Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple, You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down features tales of powerful, headstrong women. The women in Walker’s stories face prejudice and injustice, but their perseverance and strength prove more powerful.

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    Against Our Will
    Named a New York Times Book Review Outstanding Book of the Year, Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape is a classic work that has been widely credited with changing prevailing attitudes about violence against women. A devastating exploration of the history of rape that remains an essential work of sociological and historical importance.

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    A Marriage Agreement and Other Essays
    A compelling collection of Alix Kates Shulman’s best essays, A Marriage Agreement and Other Essays provides an account of feminism that spans the duration of the second wave feminist movement. Essays cover topics of marriage, sex, divorce, and social justice.

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    Considered one of the best science fiction writers of her time, Octavia Butler paved the way for females in the science fiction genre. Butler’s work features powerful female protagonists and explores issues of gender and race. Her contributions to both the feminist and literary communities are countless. Dawn is part of the Xenogenesis series.

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    The Demon Lover
    Updated with a new preface by the author, The Demon Lover is a groundbreaking work of journalism that explores the gendered roots of terrorism and the masculinity of violence. Morgan examines how violence has evolved, while also offering a vision of hope.

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    Virginia Woolf
    Ruth Gruber earned her PhD in 1932, the youngest person to do so, with her doctoral dissertation on Virginia Woolf. Virginia Woolf: The Will to Create as a Woman provides a feminist critique of Woolf’s work and a recount of the correspondence and meeting of the two.

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    The Search for an Abortionist

    Before Roe v. Wade, many women seeking to end pregnancies did so through dangerous and illegal means. Based on research and interviews with over one hundred women who had illegal abortions. Nancy Howell Lee reveals the details of abortion and the lasting effects on women.

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    Tempted Women
    Carol Botwin, advice columnist and therapist, examines female infidelity in her book Tempted Women: The Passions, Perils, and Agonies of Female Infidelity. Drawing from over six hundred interviews and case studies, Botwin offers advice and insight into dealing with the aftermath of an affair.

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    Wounded to Death
    Inspired by true events, Wounded to Death: Stories of Gender Violence, is composed of a series of monologues of women who were victims of murder. These women who were silenced by domestic violence are finally given a voice and their stories can be heard.

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    Queens Consort
    Queens Consort profiles twenty of England’s early queens. Though less visible than their ruling husbands, the early queens of England shared their part in history. From Matilda of Scotland to Elizabeth of York, these queens prove to have lives as interesting as their husbands.

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    Why I Wore Lipstick to my Mastectomy
    When Geralyn Lucas was diagnosed with breast cancer at twenty-seven, her life was turned upside down. In a world focused on beauty and appearance, Geralyn learns to embrace her diagnosis and give powerful testimony of self-acceptance and courage.

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    Domestic Affairs
    An extension of Joyce Maynard’s column of the same name, Domestic Affairs is a collection of witty and insightful essays about the ups and downs of raising children. This collection encompasses, as Maynard writes, “the difficult, exhausting, humbling, and endlessly gratifying business of raising children, of ensuring the health of both body and soul.”

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    Free Woman

    Free Woman is the biography of often forgotten, feminist figure, Victoria Woodhull. Woodhull challenged social, political, and domestic notions of the Victorian era. She ran for president of the United States, was twice divorced, and fought for the legalization of prostitution and women’s suffrage. Marion Meade’s biography creates a portrait of an era and a woman set on changing society.

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    The Wisdom of Eleanor Roosevelt
    The Wisdom of Eleanor Roosevelt brings together quotes, letters, articles, and a reader’s guide from America’s most beloved First Lady.

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    At Eighty-Two
    A reflection on aging and mortality, At Eighty-Two is a moving memoir of May Sarton’s final year. At Eighty-Two is a glimpse into the life of an extraordinary artist as she faces the inevitable challenges of aging.

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    The Wives
    “Behind every good man is a good woman” certainly holds true in the world of Russian literature. The lives of Sophia Tolstoy, Vera Nabokov, Elena Bulgakov and many more are explored in The Wives. The devotion to their husbands, the inspiration, and the sacrifices to preserve the work of their husbands proves these wives are heroes in their own respect.

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    Alan Dean Foster is well known for his novelizations of Star Wars, Alien, and Transformers—but you might not have known that he also has a great sense of humor. A great example of this is Quozl, the story of rabbit-like aliens (called Quozl) who, of course, have an overpopulation problem, and attempt to colonize the Earth. What’s not to like about cute, furry, and excessively violent rabbits from outer space trying to take over the world?

    Foster, however, is not alone in his humorous take on sci-fi fantasy. He, along with some other well-regarded authors, have been putting the funny in science fiction, much to the delight of readers.

    Laughing at Your Own Reflection

    Often science fiction and fantasy can be serious and dramatic, with the fate of the world resting on the shoulders of one person against a terrible evil. Some of the best humor, however, is when fantasy does not take itself too seriously—like in Quozl, where the greatest threat to humanity is a bunch of rabbit-aliens who can’t quite seem to stop coupling with one another.

    Some other examples:

    The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett

    The Kedrigern Chronicles by John Morressy

    And the pun-filled Xanthseries by Piers Anthony 

    Science Fiction that Makes You Want to Laugh—and Cringe

    Quozl is full of laughs, but it also starts with the aliens landing in the midst of the horrors of WWII. As often as the book is funny (like how the Quozl believed they were the only life form), some of the best, and most pointed, humor is when its directed back at us, making us think, and cringe, just a little.

    Some other examples:

    Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

    Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

    And the raucous, lust-filled silliness of The Steampunk Trilogy by Paul Di Filippo

    Making the World a Funnier (If More Dangerous) Place

    The many unknown worlds of science fiction can hold some extraordinary dangers, but adding a little humor can make light of the most deadly situation. In Quozl, the Quozl go into stealth mode to avoid potentially catastrophic contact with humans when they first arrive by creating an underground structure that the rabbit-like aliens call the “First Burrow.”

    Some other examples:

    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

    Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

    And the world’s worst way to get lost, in Dimensions of Miracles by Robert Sheckley

    Whether with laugh-out-loud humor, biting satire, or mischievous witticisms, all these stories make sure you never forget that “science fiction is fun; it is the fun of speculation” (SchoolLibrary Journal on Quozl). 

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    In 1945, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a five-star general and commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II, established a committee to plan a Veterans Day observance. This day honors all veterans of the United States and is held each year on November 11 with a somber ceremony at Arlington Cemetery. In remembrance, we are highlighting ebooks that cover war on the home front. Perfect for your young history buff or for discussion in the classroom, these stories are on sale for $1.99 throughout November.


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    Common Core Standards and World War II: A Literary Veteran’s Day Observance by Pat Scales

    This discussion guide for the classroom features novels that give a glimpse of the events on the home front in the United States after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and what was happening in Europe and Asia before and after the United States entered the war.





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    Slap Your Sides by M. E. Kerr

    World War II comes to a small Pennsylvania town in this thought-provoking novel about a peace-loving Quaker family. A riveting tale of courage and conscience that delivers a timeless, universal message about what makes a hero and what it really means to be a patriot.





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    Summer of My German Soldierby Bette Greene

    A young Jewish girl in the postwar South finds herself drawn to a German prisoner of war in this award-winning novel.






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    Morning Is a Long Time Coming by Bette Greene

    In the sequel to Summer of My German Soldier, Patty Bergen sets out to find Anton’s mother—and the love she lost six years prior.






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    Your Eyes in Stars by M. E. Kerr

    A stunning novel about friendship, prejudice, assimilation, and the end of innocence. Set during the Depression, this haunting historical novel follows two teenage girls—one German, the other American—whose friendship plays out against the quickly shifting political world stage.





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    Dust of Eden by Mariko Nagai

    In early 1942, 13-year-old Mina Masako Tagawa and her Japanese American family are sent from their home in Seattle to an internment camp in Idaho. What do you do when your home country treats you like an enemy? This memorable and powerful novel in verse explores the nature of fear, the value of acceptance, and the beauty of life.





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    Silence over Dunkerque by John R. Tunis

    John R. Tunis vividly imagines the drama of Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of Allied forces from Dunkerque.






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    His Enemy, His Friend by John R. Tunis

    When a German war criminal–turned­–soccer star comes to play a match in post-war France, old wounds are reopened.






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    Voices at Whisper Bend by Katherine Ayres

    At the outbreak of World War II, a 12-year-old girl comes up with an idea to help the war effort. The award-winning Mysteries through History novels transport readers back in time to pivotal moments in American history. Featuring brave and spirited heroines, they’re stories filled with hope, faith, courage, and mystery.





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    Introducing Shirley Braverman by Hilma Wolitzer

    As World War II rages, a sixth-grader from Brooklyn battles adolescence and learns to listen to what she’s always telling her younger brother: Believe in yourself, and don’t be afraid.

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    This November, take a magical voyage back in time and find eternal love in time travel romances. Read as souls unite and prove nothing can stand in the way of true love, even the separation of centuries. Journey back to the Wild West with a woman just left at the altar; watch a twentieth century actress meet William Shakespeare; skydive over the Nevada desert and land in the Civil war; and much more! 

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    Shylock’s Daughterby Erica Jong: A glamorous Hollywood film star, Jessica Pruitt fears the best days of her career are behind her. Arriving in Italy soon after losing custody of her young daughter, she hopes to forget her woes by serving as a judge at the Venice Film Festival and immersing herself in preparations for her starring role in a new cinematic take on The Merchant of Venice. Then one day, while strolling through the old Jewish quarter, she finds herself in a very different Venice—one that hasn’t existed for five hundred years—as the heroine of a new theatrical endeavor by an enigmatic young playwright named Will Shakespeare.




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    Desperado’s Goldby Linda W. Jones: When her Mustang Convertible's blown gasket leaves Catalina Lane stranded in the Arizona desert, all she hopes for is a tow truck to carry her to the nearest gas station. After being left alone at the altar, Catalina certainly doesn't expect to be swept off her feet any time soon. But when Desperado Jackson Cody whisks her away into the sunset and leads her back in time to the Old West, Catalina joins him for the ride of her life.





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    Survivor by William Johnstone: After seeing his family die in a plague that sweeps the world, Jim LaDoux, having stayed alone for six months in the isolated Idaho cabin built by his ancestors, realizes that he must get out and find life and hope or he will surrender to despair and death. As he starts traveling, he finds a young woman, Bev, who had been on a Believer mission and who has barely survived an attack by Rejects, people who believe there can be no God in a world such as they've lived in. As they travel together, they find love for each other and they have to deal with members of both sides of the struggle and then encounter yet a third faction, the Rebels, who believe that faith, courage and firepower combined can beat back the evil that threatens to end the world.




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    The Silent Tower by Barbara Hambly: In a world where wizards are relegated to ghettos, it is no surprise to see one murdered in the street. But for Stonne Caris, a young warrior monk who sees the killing and gives chase to the culprit, there is nothing ordinary about a murderer disappearing into a black, inky portal. The Archmage sends him in search of Antryg Windrose—a half-mad mage who understands the nature of these passages between dimensions. On the other side of the Void is Joanna, a programmer as mild as Caris is deadly. She has spent her life in cubicles, staring into computer terminals, as far from heroism as she can get. But when the power that is crossing between dimensions draws her through the Void, she finds herself battling to save a world she never even knew existed.



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    Anywhere You Areby Contance O'Day-Flannery: When Mairie Callahan jumps out of an airplane high above the Nevada desert, she simply hopes that her parachute will open. What she doesn't expect is that she'll land a hundred and twenty-two years in the past....

    When Jack Delaney returns home from the Civil War in 1877, he hopes a vision quest amongst his adoptive Paiute Indian brothers will bring him peace. Instead, it brings a strange, beautiful woman falling from the sky....




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    The Book of Kellsby R.A. MacAvoy: A contemporary man, John Thornburn (a meek, nonviolent, and unpredictable artist) and woman, Derval (his tough, confrontational, strong, and warrior-like lover) time travel to ancient Ireland to avenge a Viking attack. Packed with fascinating details of historical time and place in Irish history and delicately balanced on the border between realism and fantasy, the story centers around one of the most famous and beautiful illuminated manuscripts in history, the legendary but entirely real Book of Kells.





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    Christmas Moon by Elizabeth Lane: Pregnant, unwed and down on her luck, history teacher Emma Carlyle is facing the worst Christmas of her life. Needing some research for her master’s thesis on legendary Wyoming lawman J.D. McNulty, she makes a Christmas Eve drive to South Pass City, where J.D. was buried. Heading home, she loses her way in a storm. After her car vanishes, she ends up in 1870, half-frozen and in labor, on the doorstep of a remote mountain cabin. When J.D. himself opens the door with a pistol in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other...well, let’s just say that sparks start flying. These two lost souls are clearly meant for each other. But there’s one problem. Emma has studied everything about J.D.--and she knows he has only a few weeks to live.




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    Destiny Awaitsby Suzanne Elizabeth: When the old woman appeared at her bedside, Tess Harper's first thought was that she was being kidnapped and held until her wealthy parents could pay a hefty ransom. She never fathomed that she would be brought back to the year 1885 and left in the middle of Kansas. Tess finds herself faced with two motherless little girls without a home and a stubborn but handsome man who is the only person who can care for them. Before she can be returned to her time, Tess must ensure that the lovely little girls have a place in recluse Joseph Maguire's home and heart.





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    Crossoverby Judith Eubank: As she adapts to British university life, Meredith Blake, a young American scholar, discovers that Edwards Hall is not the same for her as it is for the others. For her, it is full of riddles and reminders of the Victorian family that had once lived there and the tragedy that overtook them. Intrigued by the mystery hidden in the Hall's past, Meredith begins to explore the manor house and becomes increasingly challenged, baffled, and threatened by what she finds there. Something has singled her out, slowly isolating her from the twentieth-century world she knows.





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    Time Slave by John Norman: Dr. Brenda Hamilton—a PhD mathematician from Caltech—has come to Africa to work under the brilliant Danish scientist Herjellsen, a man who speaks of reaching the stars. But what does the ancient stone axe laying on his lab table have to do with space travel? Soon it becomes clear that Herjellsen’s experiment is much larger than Hamilton or Herjellsen or even space travel itself. It is about correcting a mistake made tens of thousands of years ago in human evolution. Thrown back in time, Hamilton must be shown her place in a tribe known simply as “the Men,” Stone Age hunters who take what they desire and know their true manhood. Will Hamilton survive in this savage land? Will her lover, Tree, teach her what it truly means to be a woman? Can the spark between them put mankind back on its proper path toward the stars?


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    If you think the Mo Bros of Movember have some impressive mustaches, just wait until you get a glimpse of the mustachioed men of the Wild West and their hair-raising adventures. Rugged, raw and realistic, these tales of Midwest murders are the perfect companion to some tough scruff. Check out the following tales of presidents, cowboys and outlaws and get ready for a wildly thrilling Movember.

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    Manifest Destinyby Brian Garfield: One of the most famous and celebrated mustaches in the world belonged to one of the most famous and celebrated presidents in American history. In Manifest Destiny, author Brian Garfield tells the riveting story of a young Teddy Roosevelt in the Dakota Badlands. At first awkward and out of place, the charismatic president-to-be wins over the residents of the Badlands in no time. But when a wealthy French marquis arrives and threatens the balance of Teddy’s new home, he’ll have to step up and join forces with the people of the Badlands to preserve their sacred land.





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    The Bold Cavaliers by Dee Brown: Violent, vengeful, and terrorizing, Morgan’s Raiders were Confederate horsemen who spread terror through the North. Dee Brown’s historical account of Brigadier General John Morgan and his motley crew of horsemen takes readers on a ride from rural Kentucky all the way to the brutal attacks of the raiders in the North. If you’re looking for a piece that’s as rich in history as it is in thrills, look no further than The Bold Cavaliers.





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    Borderlands by James C. Blake:

    As gritty and dirty as a mustache after a meat-filled sandwich, James Carlos Blake’s Borderlands is comprised of one novella and seven short stories, all revolving around an area known as the borderlands—a place much less appealing than Hell. Blake’s novella tells the story of a young woman who must reconnect with her father, an immoral man who cheated her mother and landed himself in prison. And while the rest of Blake’s short stories vary between dates and locations, they all share one common trait: the treacherous borderlands.




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    The Second Coming of Lucas Brokawby Matt Braun:

    Like an ingrown facial hair that just keeps coming back, wealthy millionaire Lucas Brokaw is looking for a way to cheat death. Not far from his end and in need of an heir, Brokaw finds himself in search of a man who can prove himself the closest to the reincarnated version of himself. Tons of eager candidates step up to prove themselves the reincarnation of Brokaw, but only one succeeds in passing all the tests the deceased millionaire has left behind. So close to the finish line he can taste it, the last contestant must pass Brokaw’s final test—a chamber of deadly secrets riddled with codes known only to Lucas Brokaw . . . and his potential reincarnation.




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    Badlands by Peter Bowen: Montana mystery-solver

    Montana mystery-solver Gabriel Du Pre is back in a tale of Midwest murder, mystery, and endless intrigue. When a dangerous cult moves into town, Du Pre sets out to discover their true intentions. On the exterior, they seem somewhat harmless—but after an FBI contact sends a tip his way about murders within the cult, Du Pre decides it’s time to delve deeper into the mysterious case. Even the largest of mustaches can’t hide the evil that lurks within this cult . . .





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    The Drifter by William W. Johnstone: When a greedy land baron pushes hardworking family man Frank Morgan off his Colorado homestead, Morgan is left alone and drifting through the New Mexico territory. Embracing his past, Frank becomes a gunfighter, relinquishing all hope of a glorious future. But when the people of Frank’s new home find themselves in danger, the only person who can save them might just be the drifter.





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    Smuggler’s Gulchby Paul Lederer: Left stranded and alone in the desert, cowboy Jake Staggs finds himself tired, thirsty, and struggling to stay alive. When he spots a settlement amidst the barren wasteland he’s been stranded in, Jake thinks he’s found a small paradise. Soon, though, Jake discovers that this little oasis is anything but. It’s actually home to a band of horse thieves—and once he’s arrived, it’ll be near impossible to get out. After narrowly escaping, Jake thinks he’s escaped death . . . until Smuggler’s Gulch calls him back for one last visit.

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    10. The Hardy Boys
    First appearing in 1927 and still popular today, Frank and Joe Hardy are classic, household names whose seniority and seeming immortality have earned the duo a spot on every top spy list.

    9. Spy vs. Spy
    Although the two feuding sleuths have never uttered a word, the vindictive, wily comic book characters never fail to amuse even the most serious of literary espionage fans.

    8. Nancy Drew
    One of the most famous female private eyes is, of course, Nancy Drew. Created in 1930, Nancy may not have all the high-tech gear and gadgets today’s super sleuths are equipped with, but her brilliance and deductive reasoning skills are timeless forces to be reckoned with.

    7. Scorpion

    An American orphan raised in the vicious deserts of the Middle East and described by Mystery News as “the best secret agent in the Middle East and the greatest master of the close escape since James Bond,” Scorpion is a master of deadly spy games as lethal as the insect he’s named after.

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    6. Jack Ryan

    When you’ve been played by Hollywood heavyweights like Alec Baldwin and Chris Pine, you know you’ve made it as a top fictional secret agent. Plus, Jack Ryan went to college. Smart and a celebrity? That’s top six material.

    5. Tess McCallum

    Potentially the least known character on this list, Tess has, regardless, proven one of the most intriguing, interesting, and savvy. McCallum was a dedicated FBI agent whose life was tormented by a twisted serial killer . . . until two years later, when the tables turn. She relinquishes her role as a victim and vows to put an end to a murderer’s rampage. Yeah . . . she’s pretty cool.


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    4. Jason Bourne

    Jason Bourne’s adventures have spawned 12 books, four movies, and a whole lot of fanfare. After he awakens from a coma to find he’s suffering from memory loss, Bourne’s story of piecing together his assassin past is an endless thrill ride.

    3. Harriet

    You can’t make a list of top-notch spies and not include Harriet the Spy. Like the Hardies and Nancies who came before her, Harriet has set the bar high when it comes to serious adolescent sleuthing. One can imagine Jason Bourne and Jack Ryan as young children, reading The Hardy Boys and Harriet the Spy, dreaming of one day joining their ranks. At only 11 years old, Harriet is a classic, serious spymaster.

    2. James Bond

    He’s Bond. James Bond. He’s inarguably one of the coolest, slyest secret agents out there. 007 is a well-deserved 002 on our list of top 10 secret agents, coming in second to the one and only . . .

    1. Sherlock Holmes

    Well, of course Sherlock Holmes is at the top of this list. I’m sure you didn’t need to use any super sleuthing skills to see this one coming. Sherlock is the sleuth to end all sleuths—the mastermind at the center of endless books, films, and television series, adored by all ages and generation. He’s timeless, he’s brilliant, and, at least in our eyes, he’s number one.

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    Fill out our poll here and tell us who your favorite spy is.

    A selection of spy-thriller ebooks are on sale now for a limited time. Find out more here.

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    The holidays seem to come earlier every year. While most people start the season with light displays and festive music, crafters welcome the holidays by beginning beautiful winter projects. The time to pick up your needles is now! Starting these crafts in November means you only have to deal with travel, shopping, and cooking in December... easy, right? Here are a few suggestions for knitters and crocheters to celebrate a truly handcrafted holiday.

    Holiday Decor

    ‪For the holidays, you can DIY everything from glittery pompom garlands for your Christmas tree to a luxurious menorah pillow to some nutcracker slippers. Don't leave time-consuming projects until the week after Thanksgiving. These Winter Solstice table runners from Handknit Holidays by Melanie Falick are a beautiful way to “dress” the holiday table.

    table runner

    Patterned Scarves

    A funky-cool scarf is a great winter fashion statement and the ultimate cold-weather gift. The possibilities for sleek and sophisticated projects are endless—including knit multicolored beads, chain link scarves, and a variety of designs like stripes, circles, and zig-zags. Check out this optical illusion striped scarf that creates a layering effect even while flat, from Knitting New Scarves by Lynne Barr.

    funky scarf

    Cozy Afghans

    Colorful and comfortable afghans will be perfect for cuddling up next to the fire all winter long. With a huge range of knitting techniques and designs, afghans alone can keep you busy creating exquisite pieces for the holiday season and beyond. This bright star afghan from Comfort Knitting and Crochet: Afghans by Norah Gaughan might look intimidating, but trust us: This book will take you through the process step by step and you’ll complete it in no time!


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  • 11/06/14--06:34: Christmas Mysteries
  • Christmas is almost upon us, so we wanted to share our selection of holiday whodunits and cozy mysteries to get you into the Christmas spirit.

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    President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a five-star general and commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II, established a committee in 1954 to plan a Veterans Day observance.

    President Eisenhower 

    In 2015, the United States and the world will mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. Victory in Europe occurred on May 8, 1945, but the official end of the war came when Japan surrendered to the United States on August 15, 1945. Some young readers may have family members who remember World War II, but most only know the hardships—both at home and in foreign war zones—through books they read. These novels give a glimpse of the events on the home front in the United States after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. 

    German soldier surrendering 

    German soldier surrendering. (Photo courtesy of the Associated Press.)


    “When the Germans surrendered with their arms raised high, holding a white flag, they weren’t at all how i imagined them: hard, cruel, tall and monstrous with cigars chomped between their lips talking about how they wanted to shoot babies and old people. Instead they were boys like us, teenagers, tired, scared, dirty, and looking almost relieved that their was over, for now, that they can rest their bone-tired bodies in the POW camps.” —Mariko Nagai, Dust of Eden



    During WWII, nearly 400,000 German soldiers were interned in 511 prisoner of war camps in the United States.

    Bette Greene describes the following scene in Summer of My German Soldier:

    The last two prisoners stepped off the train—there were fifteen or sixteen, maybe twenty in all. After them came two more American guards, one a sergeant. As the procession walked down the gravel slope to the waiting Army truck Jimmy Wells tapped on the sleeve of the American sergeant. “You mean this is all the Jerries we’re gonna get?” “Don’t worry, son,” said the sergeant. “We’re gonna keep you folks well supplied. Most of them have already been transported here by truck caravan.” The prisoners and then the GIs climbed aboard the canvas-covered vehicle. At the highway it made a right turn and, shifting gears noisily, disappeared from sight. And so I had seen it; all there was to see. Yet I felt a nagging disappointment as though something were missing. In the movies war criminals being hustled off to prison would be dramatic. Their ravaged faces would tell a story of defeat, disgrace, and downfall. But in real life it didn’t seem all that important. Not really a big deal. My stomach growled, reminding me that it must be nearing lunchtime. I followed the railroad embankment toward home, walking sometimes between the tracks and sometimes only on one track, balancing like a tightrope walker.

     Reichstag after World War II

      Reichstag after World War II. (Photo courtesy of Wikia.)


    “Six years is plenty long enough to soothe the tearing anguish of...death, but maybe no amount of time is enough to soothe something that is no longer there. Something like an emptiness that can never be filled because it's only a bit of space carved out of air.” —Bette Greene, Morning Is a Long Time Coming


    In the novel Slap Your Sides, M. E. Kerr describes the lives of a Quaker family whose oldest son joins the Civilian Conservation Corps as a conscientious objector. This letter home describes his experiences:

    Dear Tommy,            

    We went out to do some caroling before Christmas. There were six of us, five Catholics and Quaker Bud. Thanks to you, I knew the words to almost all the carols. Remember how you’d play them at Christmas and Mom would forget she didn’t feature Christmas and hum them?   

    We’d decided to serenade the houses up on the ridge, about eight of them, mostly poor families with kids, we’d been told. We did it for the kids, really.            

    It was bitter cold and snowing a little. Porch lights went on, and we could see people looking out the windows. We were carrying small candles in paper cups.

    At one house they blinked the lights when we were done as though they were saying thanks. And at another, a woman opened the door a crack and called out, “Merry Christmas!”   At the third house a man came out on the porch in boots and a leather jacket, and he shouted while we were singing, “Where you boys from?” We just kept on singing, so he came down the porch steps, and we saw he was carrying a pistol.        “I said where you boys from?” My buddy, Cal, said we’d better get out of there fast, so we called “Merry Christmas!” over our shoulders. But he was hollering that he knew where we were from and he’d like to kill us! Then he began firing the pistol.  

    We beat it, and thank God he didn’t chase after us, but by the time we got down to the next house, there were a man and woman in the doorway telling us, “Go away! We don’t want your kind on our property!” Same kind of thing at the next house, so guess who probably telephoned them we were coming. More vile names for us as we kept going, and one guy came out carrying a baseball bat, promising to bust open our skulls.

    Tommy, I’m not telling you this for sympathy. It was our own fault for not knowing better. In the hills here, outside Saw Hill, we almost forgot how people feel, but we are learning. I want you to know the truth so you will discourage Mom from coming out here to spend her birthday with me. I know that’s what she says she wants, but it’s not a good idea.

    When I make my holiday call, none of this will be said, but you have to know that everyone here in Saw Hill knows, when strangers come, they’re here to see us, and it isn’t pleasant for them. For the same reason don’t bother sending any packages. I’m telling Mom that we’re forbidden to receive them, but the reason is that somehow by the time they get up here to us, most are empty or damaged. I got an empty Schrafft’s candy box, probably from Lizzie and Mike. Don’t tell Lizzie any of this. Don’t even tell Jubal, because why make him worry?

    Now that I’m gone, you’re the man of the family, Tommy, and the other thing is that I want you to know what to expect when it comes your time.

    Nothing’s hard about the day-to-day life, but it’s boring and it’s a lie to say we’re doing work of national importance. They invent repairs we need to do on roads and trees to take down. They’re just keeping us out of sight, and I suppose out of harm’s way. Both Cal and I have put in for transfers someplace where we can at least help people. There are mental hospitals short of attendants, and there are some experimental medical programs needing volunteers. Anything but this!

    I worry a lot about Hope’s brother, Abel. Hope says word is out that he’s refusing to register for the draft, and that any day now he’ll be arrested. Abel’s always been a purist. He’ll meet up with a lot of Jehovah’s Witnesses in prison; there are more of them against registering than us. I’ve heard it’s hard on all of them. I hate to think what the guards and even the other prisoners will do to a brilliant, sour character like him. But at least the horses will get a break with Abel gone. You’ll have some thinking to do, too, Tommy, in a short while, about what choice you’ll make. That’s why I’m going to keep you up-to-date on everything. Just you, brother. I don’t want the family worried.         

    I pray for you and Jubal, Mom and Dad, Mahatma, and Quinn. Pray for me, too, and pray for peace.


    For more material on war on the home front, check out the Common Core Standards discussion guide and our collection of ebooks on sale for $1.99 each through November 30. 

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  • 11/07/14--12:47: Where I Write by Sandra Kitt

  • Veteran romance author Sandra KittSandra Kitis a professional at writing anywhere and everywhere! In honor of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo—where on November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by the end of November 30—Sandra shared with us some of her favorite places to write!

    I Couchfirst began writing by longhand, drafting my novels on a legal pad. How often have we read about authors who began working this way? You can take the pad with you anywhere, and write at anytime. Atmosphere and setting may or may not be important, but the freedom to change it as needed is. I wrote my first six books on a pad, balanced on my lap as I rode the New York City subway back and forth to my day job. Once I began working, the rocking of the train, the noise, the other passengers all fell away as I became part of the written world I was creating. I wrote half of another book while on vacation, sitting on a beach on a Caribbean island. I’ve written parts of other novels while at work, on my desktop, during my lunch break. The ability to save my work on a disc (or later to a desktop) and move it from here to there, from one computer to another, became another form of magic that made being a writer possiBeachble. And when I got my first laptop, I never owned a desktop again.   

    I was traveling quite a bit at the beginning of my career and the ability to transport my computer, my notes and work, my imagination anywhere was a revelation. I could sit at the desk in a hotel room, or the side chair often provided. Or sit cross-legged on the bed. I could take my laptop down to the lounge, or an area of the lobby. A corner of the local library worked very well. Quiet was everywhere, or ambient white noise played under the surface of my consciousness, although I never seemed to need absolute silence. I grew to love writing to a background of classical music.   

    LaptopOne place that never worked for me was Starbucks, the quintessential setting for many writers. To me the café seemed too artificial, and physically uncomfortable. But I love the waiting area at Delta Airlines’ terminal, where they provide not only counter space with outlets for your electronic devices, but also comfortable stools and reading lamps! Clearly, the folks at Delta get it—creating a working environment for people in transit that encourages productivity. 

    In my neighborhood I discovered a historical site on acres of green grass, narroShade of Grassw pathways, and shade trees overlooking the Hudson River. In warm weather, I can commandeer an Adirondack chair facing the river, put in earplugs for music from my iPod Touch, open my laptop, and (blissfully) write . . . and daydream . . . for hours. I sometimes think that maybe the place where I work is not so critical as the internal sense of peace where my ideas come to life and the characters living in my head are free to talk to me and tell me their story.

    I listen closely . . . and I write.

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    The oddities of life are vast, and yet Thomas Berger approaches them with a light and often hilarious touch. He was the type of author whose work could please harsh critics, attract a loyal readership, and become a part of the American literary canon while he was still alive. Through his fiction, we can all receive an invaluable education, the intellectual joy of life, and an attitude towards the language that constructs the world around us. Open Road Media’s acquiring editor Betsey Mitchell remembers Berger:

    I became aware of Thomas Berger in my very first job in the book world, in the marketing department at Dell Books, when Berger’s Arthur Rex was published back in 1978. Though I knew him only through his writing, to me he was a mythic figure much like King Arthur in his novel: wise, bitingly witty, and afraid of nothing. Many years have passed since that first acquaintance, and now, upon the occasion of Mr. Berger’s death, all I can say, from my current position as an acquiring editor at Open Road, is that I am wonderfully glad to have had the opportunity to bring his work to thousands of new readers in digital form. We developed a small acquaintance as I shepherded his books through the publishing process, and I was happy to tell him I’d been a longtime fan.

    In so many ways, Thomas Berger became as mythic as his characters. He eased into different time periods with a familiarity of the sights and sounds while never failing to introduce (or reintroduce) us to his unique sensibilities. Berger mastered genres ranging from comedic retellings of Arthurian legend to jarring tales of adolescence in postwar Germany.

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    Celebrate Thomas Berger with the addition of Vital Parts, the third book in the Reinhart series, now in ebook format.Crazy in Berlin,the first novel in the series, sets the stage for a young man’s tumultuous coming of age in postwar Germany. Carlo Reinhart, a young American army medic, must face life in the new world following the end of WWII. As a resident of Berlin, he goes mad in recalling fragments of the war and begins questioning the humanity of it all. In the books that follow—Reinhart in Love,Vital Parts,and Reinhart’s Women—the reader is placed on a rollercoaster ride through the end of adolescence, the entrance into adulthood, and the uneasy tumble into middle age. Vital Parts deals with Carlo’s awkward forties. While his wife and son despise him, Reinhart’s daughter is the last one in his corner. To complicate things, Bob Sweet, a blast from his distant past, shows up on Carlo’s doorstep to remind him of what could be.

    No matter where you find yourself in Berger’s fiction, prepare for something puzzling, hilarious, and extraordinary. 



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    “I am a storyteller. I write books for kids, I talk to kids, and I listen to kids.”

    Robert MunschRobert Munsch has always found his calling in the eccentric and unexpected. As an “overactive” child, Munsch found it difficult to focus in grade school, struggling with academic advancement from year to year. The author jokingly claims that his teachers would pass him so as to prevent his younger brother, the brain of the family, from surpassing him in grade level. After years of half-hearted progression, Munsch found himself in eighth grade, struggling to spell and completing basic math on his fingers.

    But the eventual children’s author always found solace in storytelling, filling his notebooks with sprawling tales of childhood adventure. Despite his struggles in school, Robert could always apply himself to a good story and found a safe-haven in the local library. Watchful adults took notice of the budding author’s interest in telling tales and pegged him as “going somewhere” from the very start: “The librarian wrote my parents a letter saying, ‘I know you’re having some troubles with Bobby, but I really think he’s an artist and he’s going to do okay.’”

    It would be years before Munsch would call himself a writer, not pursuing his passion professionally until 35. In his early adulthood, he studied to become a Jesuit priest, but saw the same academic success within the clergy that he saw in grade school. To “escape from deadly classes in philosophy,” he would volunteer part-time at an orphanage, telling stories to children. It’s here that he discovered not only his talent for captivating a young audience, but his love for working with children. Munsch traded his black roman-collared button-ups for brightly colored smocks and began working at childcare facilities, telling stories and getting to know his future audience: “I worked at a daycare center in Coos Bay, Oregon, and I told two new stories every day. As a result of that, after two years, I had about 15 stories that I remembered because the kids asked for them all the time. I didn’t know I was writing. But in fact, I had discovered what was my writing process.”

    Today, Munsch has penned more than 50 books for young readers, titles that convey messages of support and encouragement, all with a bit of whimsy. “When fans pick up my books, they expect something that’s funny. It’s a world where women are equal, where good families have arguments, too, and it’s okay.”

    Munsch titles to delight your young reader:

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    The Paper Bag Princess

    In this bestselling modern classic, Princess Elizabeth is slated to marry Prince Ronald when a dragon attacks the castle and kidnaps Ronald. In resourceful and humorous fashion, Elizabeth finds the dragon, outsmarts him, and rescues Ronald—who is less than pleased with her un-princess-like appearance.



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    It’s Mortimer’s bedtime, but he would much rather sing his rowdy song. Mom, Dad, and even the police can’t get him to quiet down, until they become so distracted by each other that Mortimer drifts off to sleep.




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    50 Below Zero

    Jason’s dad tends to walk in his sleep and ends up in the most unlikely places. On one especially cold night, it falls to Jason to find his father and keep him safe.




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    Stephanie’s Ponytail

    None of the kids in her class wear a ponytail, so Stephanie decides she must have one. The loud, unanimous comment from her classmates is: “Ugly, ugly, very ugly.” Steadfast, when all the girls have copied her ponytail, she resolves to try a new style. With true Munsch flair, each of Stephanie’s ponytails is more outrageous than the last, while the cast of copycats grows and grows.



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    Thomas’ Snowsuit

    Thomas refuses to wear his new snowsuit despite the pleas of his mother, his teacher, and even his principal.





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    Mud Puddle

    Whenever Jule Ann goes outside, a Mud Puddle jumps on her and gets her muddy all over. But she defeats it with cheerful ingenuity and two bars of smelly yellow soap. As in all Munsch stories, kids are the heroes!

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     celebrate thanksgiving

    It’s the beginning of the holiday season, and along with the decorative gourds, apple pies, and pumpkin spice everything comes the spirit of gratitude and celebration! Our favorite Thanksgiving titles capture the essence of this wonderful time of the year, reminding us to cherish time with our friends and families and appreciate the good fortune in our lives. 

    Revel in the spirit of the season with excerpts from some of our favorite Thanksgiving picks.

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    “Franklin smiled. He might not get three helpings of pumpkin-fly pie next year, but he knew he’d still be thankful.”

    Franklin’s Thanksgiving by Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark




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    “It was hard work, but they were glad to do it. They were thankful that they lived with Grandfather, that Mrs. McGregor cooked good meals for them every day, and that they had made wonderful friend in Greenfield.”

    The Boxcar Children: The Great Turkey Heist by Gertrude C. Warner





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    “Just as the pieces of the platter had been glued together with help and care, so all these people had been brought together with help and care on this special day.”

    The Thanksgiving Dinner Platter by Randa Handler





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    “Then Carla Mae and I got up and cleared the table and gathered up the glass jars, because I knew Grandma would miss them. As we went out the door, Rehnquist said it was the best dinner he’d et in some time. He didn’t exactly thank us, but we decided that’s what he had meant to say.”

    The Thanksgiving Treasureby Gail Rock





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    “‘I’m so thankful,’ she said as she sat back down, ‘to be with a real family today.’

    Dad and I looked at each other.

    ‘That’s us,’ I said.”

    Turkey Monster Thanksgiving by Anne Warren Smith







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    “On our hayride to the patch
    while we bump along we’ll match
    different shapes to what we see.
    Will you harvest them with me?”

    Pick a Circle, Gather Squares by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky



    Other Thanksgiving Titles We Recommend:

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    Cross-Ties by Bonnie Bryant

    Lisa Atwood is hoping to spend a relaxing Thanksgiving holiday in California. But it’s hard to stop thinking about her complicated relationship with her boyfriend, Alex—not to mention the loss of her beloved horse Prancer. Then her brother arrives with a big surprise, throwing the family into turmoil and making Lisa question what she has to be grateful for.





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    From the Files of Madison Finn: Thanks for Nothing by Laura Dower

    Holidays can be extra hard when your parents are divorced, and Madison is facing her first Thanksgiving since the “big D.” She’s used to having a full house, but when her relatives from Chicago can’t make it, she feels like there’s nothing to be thankful for this year. There has to be a way to get in the holiday spirit, and a volunteer job at the local animal shelter is just the distraction Madison needs!




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    The Cheetah Girls: Growl Power! by Deborah Gregory

    It’s Thanksgiving, and Aquanette and Angie Walker are headed home to Houston to wow their old friends with stories of life in the Big Apple. But in between eating, laughing, and being spooked by their grandpa’s funeral home, these outrageous twins have something bigger on their minds: getting the Cheetah Girls a record deal!

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    Award-winning poet, novelist, journalist and feminist leader Robin Morgan first appeared to the public eye at a young age with her own radio show Little Robin Morgan and later with her role in television’s Mama. But Morgan left the life of stardom to become a key figure in the global women’s movement, whose work as an activist spans from the 1960s to today. In 2005 she co-founded the Women’s Media Center with Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda.

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    The Demon Lover
    In a world that lives in constant fear of terrorist attacks, The Demon Lover: The Roots of Terrorism offers an in-depth look into the gendered roots of terrorism. Gloria Steinem calls it “a key to understanding and uprooting terrorism in all its forms.”

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    Saturday’s Child
    Before she launched on to the activism scene, Robin Morgan was a child star. Named “The Ideal American Girl”, Morgan had her own radio show and starred on a hit television show, Mama. Saturday’s Child chronicles Morgan’s professional and private life as she transitioned from child star to activist and author.

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    The Anatomy of Freedom
    In The Anatomy of Freedom, Robin Morgan reimagines the Women’s Movement. Morgan examines morality, marriage, theoretical physics and everything in between to explain the enormity of female empowerment.

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    Monster is Robin Morgan’s first collection of poetry. Originally published in 1972, these poems reflect the political turmoil of the time and the birth of contemporary feminism.

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    Going Too Far
    Going Too Far is a behind-the-scenes look at the feminist movement until 1977. Morgan’s views on marriage, love, religion, pornography, and art are expressed in this collection of personal papers.

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    The Word of a Woman
    Focused on her journalism and shorter prose, The Word of a Woman, is a collection of some of Robin Morgan’s most well known pieces, including “Goodbye to All That”, a letter to be read one thousand years in the future, and stories of the first Miss America Pageant protest.

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    Upstairs in the Garden
    This is a collection of intensely personal and controversial poems that are a testament to Morgan’s work as an activist and talent as a poet.

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    The Mer-Child
    Enchanting and intelligent, The Mer-Child is the story of two outcasts, stranded between worlds, forming a bond that transcends all barriers. A modern-day fairy tale with a heart-felt and penetrative message.

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    This month, Open Road Digital Media is delighted to present the work of groundbreaking novelist, essayist, critic, and memoirist Doris Grumbach. Throughout her extensive career, Grumbach has unabashedly confronted the issues facing women, homosexuals, and the elderly.

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    Nowhere are these themes more evident than in Grumbach’s most celebrated novel, Chamber Music. At the end of her life, protagonist Caroline Maclaren composes her fictional memoir looking back on a lonely marriage to her famous composer husband. Only when her distant spouse sleeps with a fellow musician and contracts syphilis does Caroline find love and fulfillment with his caretaker, Anna.

    Grumbach draws both from her own life experience and from historical narrative, much like in her novel The Ladies, which fictionally explores the historical relationship between two 18th-century Irish women who risked everything to live as a married couple in rural Wales.

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    Another of Grumbach’s more famous works is Coming into the End Zone, a frank memoir of her experience with growing old. In journal-styled entries, Grumbach documents her struggles with losing friends to AIDS, physically aging, and dealing with change later in life.

    Through both her memoirs and novels, Grumbach is known for her flawed-yet-relatable characters and her sparse but elegant prose.

    Grumbach said of her own writing in 2000:

    I write fiction to make sense of the world I have known in my eighty-two years of life. I use the people I have known, the ones I have thought might have existed, and myself, as I imagine myself to have been or to be, as characters. They live in real places, or places I remember as real, and what happens to them is what seems reasonable or likely to me. The prose I utilize is plain song to suit the reduction I have made of the poetry of existence. There is no lesson in any of these seven novels, unless it is the lesson that life is infinitely varied, that characters (persons) are never typical, and that place/setting is always filtered through the vagaries of memory.

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    Generally speaking, you don’t want a drug addict for a friend. But one look at the sci-fi and fantasy shelves will show you plenty of heroes who are just that. Take a look at these made-up substances that spark worlds of action and adventure. 

    The Drug Addicts

    It’s never easy being a drug addict, but it’s especially hard to be Jake Cardigan in the TekWarseries by William Shatner. Jake, a former cop busted for his use of the drug called Tek (a computerized brain chip that lets you live out your wildest fantasies), is sentenced to 15 years of suspended animation. But Jake turns his life around and becomes involved in an action-packed, complex fight against Tek.

    Bob Arctor of Philip K. Dicks’s A Scanner Darkly is not so lucky. Bob is an undercover agent working to stop the dealing of Substance D, but he slowly becomes increasingly addicted to the drug himself.

     Shady Business

    Of course, these struggling addicts didn’t get those drugs by themselves, so what about the drug-dealing underworld? Perhaps the most famous drug network in science fiction history comes from Dune by Frank Herbert. In this book, the drug Melange is the source of all intergalactic commerce. This highly addictive drug causes people who take it to live longer and, sometimes, even foretell the future.

    In Paul Di Filippo’s Cosmocopia, the artist Frank Lazorg is sold a scarab-beetle wonder drug.  At first, this drug revives Lazorg’s art career, but eventually it takes him out of this world—quite literally, in fact.

     Worldly Problems

    Now, what if addicts and cartels weren’t the whole story? What if the entire world was using drugs? In Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, for instance, everyone pops the government-sponsored happy-pill called soma. 

    The Giver by Lois Lowry takes this one step further by creating a world where drugs no longer just distort reality, but replace it all together. A whole society is founded on taking pills every day to suppress biological urges.

    One thing that is clear both in fantasy and in real life is that it’s certainly best to stay away from drugs—but if you’re merely a reading junkie, feel free to get your book fix with these great sci-fi fantasy stories!

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    Known for his eccentricity and captivating storytelling, Robert Munsch and his storybooks have enthralled children for generations. The author’s writing process—performing his stories for children across the country, shaping each delightful and enchanting tale—has led him to write over 50 beloved children’s books. Book topics run the gamut, from the adventures of a smart young princess looking to save her prince, to the story of an excitable little boy who’s not yet ready to go to sleep. We highly recommend adding Munsch to your storytime shelves, if he’s not there already. A few of our favorites are:

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    The Paper Bag Princess

    In this bestselling modern classic, Princess Elizabeth is slated to marry Prince Ronald when a dragon attacks the castle and kidnaps Ronald. In resourceful and humorous fashion, Elizabeth finds the dragon, outsmarts him, and rescues Ronald—who is less than pleased at her un-princess-like appearance.



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    50 Below Zero

    Jason’s dad tends to walk in his sleep and ends up in the most unlikely places. On one especially cold night, it falls to Jason to find his father and keep him safe.




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    It’s Mortimer’s bedtime, but he would much rather sing his rowdy song. Mom, Dad, and even the police can’t get him to quiet down, until they become so distracted by each other that Mortimer drifts off to sleep.




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    Stephanie’s Ponytail

    None of the kids in her class wear a ponytail, so Stephanie decides she must have one. The loud, unanimous comment from her classmates is: “Ugly, ugly, very ugly.” Steadfast, when all the girls have copied her ponytail, she resolves to try a new style. With true Munsch flair, each of Stephanie’s ponytails is more outrageous than the last, while the cast of copycats grows and grows.



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    Thomas’ Snowsuit

    Thomas refuses to wear his new snowsuit despite the pleas of his mother, his teacher, and even his principal.





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    The Fire Station

    This story starts out with a familiar premise: Michael and Sheila visit a fire station. But then the Munsch’s trademark imaginative insight and humor take over. While the two kids are exploring a fire truck, an alarm goes off—and away go Michael and Sheila to the rescue!



    Looking for books like Robert Munsch? We recommend these titles, perfect for story time with young readers:


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    The Mole Sisters and the Piece of Moss by Roslyn Schwartz

    When a piece of moss is feeling bad, the Mole Sisters set out to show him what a wonderful world they live in. Their adventures take them from their mole hole to the top of the world and back again.




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    Boy Soup by Loris Lesynski

    When Giant wakes up with a giant cold, he turns to his home medical guide for help. The prescription? A bowl of Boy Soup. Catching the boys is easy, but what he doesn’t count on is Kate. Accidentally kidnapped along with the boys, clever Kate convinces Giant that what the guide really means is a soup made by boys, not one with boys in it.



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    Red Is Best by Kathy Stinson

    Young Kelly’s mom doesn’t understand about red. Sure, the brown mittens are warmer, but the red mitts make better snowballs. And the red boots aren’t just for rain; they take bigger steps in any weather. And, yes! A green cup does make a difference  . . . juice tastes better in the red cup. No doubt about it, red is best.



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    Mattland by Hazel Hutchins

    Matt is miserable. The subdivision where he now lives is surrounded by nothing but muddy fields of rocks and sticks. But when Matt ventures out, his imagination kicks in. He draws a muddy, winding line and names it Snake River. A pile of rocks becomes the Dog Tooth Mountains. Just like that, Mattland is born. Soon a little girl shows up with a handful of helpful odds and ends. Piece by piece, she and Matt expand their new world with popsicle-stick bridges and scrap-paper boats. And when a rainstorm finally threatens to wash everything away, all the neighborhood kids appear and help stave off the flood.

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