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New year, new books!

photo of striped cat sleeping in square of sunlight on carpet

writing assistant Max, in supervision mode

Back online at last!

When it comes to staying on my recommendation write-up schedule, the holidays are always a challenge.

Then major woes with WordPress updates and borked website database… finally resolved after many, many days and phone calls.

So onward into 2017 and a whole slew of books just-published and on the horizon to recommend to y’all! I’ve done lots of reading, even if I haven’t done any writing.

Any upcoming titles that you are waiting for?

**kmm

Indies First – shop local, buy books, repeat!

indieboundSaturday is Indies First, encouraging us to shop first at our local independent booksellers – and to continue shopping there during the holiday season and beyond.

Check the map here for your nearest independent bookstore and take your BooksYALove wishlist with you when you shop!

Prefer shopping in your pajamas? You can buy books – and eBooks – online from indie bookstores on the group website or a local bookstore found through their Zipcode search.

Buying largely through huge online stores truly hurts your community’s economy – check this infographic for some alarming statistics.

If you are giving gift cards, remember that your local indie will sell and honor their own gift cards all year long.

As always, I receive no money or goods from links – just trying to get y’all to the good stuff!

What’s on your book wishlist these days?
**kmm

Positivity Kit, by Lisa Currie (book review) – better your life, better yourself!

book cover of The Positivity Kit by Lisa Currie published by TarcherPerigee | recommended on BooksYALove.comGood times,
great memories,
just waiting to uplift you!

Seize the happy moments, large and small, that have made you chuckle and nearly snort milk out your nose.

Map out what you’re looking forward to most in the future.

Memorialize your favorite snack foods and Good Choices Made in Life So Far.

Happy book birthday to The Positivity Kit! Ask for it today at your favorite independent bookstore so that you can list, doodle, and chronicle your way to a happier and more positive you.

Share a “recent moment of pure joy” in the comments, please!
**kmm

Book info: The Positivity Kit: Instant Happiness on Every Page / Lisa Currie. TarcherPerigee, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Create “instant happiness on every page” of The Positivity Kit as you record wonderful experiences, thoughts, and joys using its interactive and intriguing prompts to look past boring days and bad moods.

Capture perfect moments – Favorite quotes from favorite movies, Top 20 countdown of the Best Moments of My Life So Far, wish list & got list – with your favorite pen and colored pencils, so that you can page back through this witty do-it-yourself book whenever you need a pick-me-up.

Whether it’s the 7 New Holidays that you’re introducing this week, the Ongoing List of Things I Like About Myself, or your illustrated packing list for an Escape to Paradise, every happy thing that you doodle, jot down, color, and list will contribute to your future positive outlook on life and your current grin as you remember and celebrate.

Keep The Positivity Kit on your bedside table to end your day in gratitude for the good things you’ve experienced, to derail negative thoughts on sleepless nights, or to start your day on an uplifting note – all experienced and documented by you yourself!

That’s a wrap – another April AtoZ Challenge in the books!

logo of April AtoZ blog challenge 2016I did it!

26 posts – A to Z – in April, on schedule.

That’s 22 new, no-spoiler book recommendations, plus 3 library-celebration posts and a look ahead to free audiobooks all summer.

Thanks again to the April AtoZ Challenge organizers! This is all free, a labor of love to help bloggers build up their blogging muscles and gain readership.

Since I signed up so late (#1532 on the list), I didn’t get many new followers or comments, but it was certainly worth it for me to get back in my writing groove – so many great books from debut authors and smaller presses to tell y’all about! (not enough hours in the day for me to consider covering self-published works, as my policies state)

So if you want to find your voice in blogging or just have a super list of blogs to visit and follow, look into the April AtoZ Challenge – I’ll remind you next March!

Got a favorite, unheralded YA title to recommend?
**kmm

Z is zeroing in on summer reading – with your ears!

photo of BooksYALove at TxLA conference 2016

BooksYALove at TxLA 2016

When the folks at the Publishers Spotlight booth asked last week at TxLA conference if I’d heard of AudioSYNC free audiobooks all summer, I told them that I’ve been promoting this free download program every summer since it began!

And yes, it’s back this summer – two free complete audiobooks that you can download each week and keep forever! One classic title pairs with a contemporary one thematically, so that’s 30 free audiobooks for you.

Every Thursday from May 5 to August 11, 2016, I will highlight each week’s two free titles with direct links to the SYNC website.

So this is a wrap – AtoZChallenge completed! (Thank you, challenge organizers – over 1,500 participants this year!)

From now on, I plan to recommend a couple of books weekly along with the Thursday AudioSYNC notes, saving this 6-posts-a-week pace for next April.

Which AprilAtoZ title was your favorite?
**kmm

R is for Reading Rainbow!!

Reading Rainbow Kickstarter graphic from https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/readingrainbow/bring-reading-rainbow-back-for-every-child-everywh/description

from https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/readingrainbow

I got to hear LeVar Burton speak yesterday at the Texas Library Association conference – yay!

His Kickstarter to revive and add to the classic kids’ TV show Reading Rainbow was a phenomenal success, as this photo shows.

On the new Reading Rainbow site, you can find your favorite Reading Rainbow episodes on Netflix, DVD, or iTunes, check out the subscription-based Skybrary Family online kids’ reading library of videos and books, and the new Skybrary School which offers the same for elementary classrooms and kids.

Meeting authors and discovering upcoming books is such a great part of TxLA – hearing literary luminaries speak is a huge bonus!

What was your favorite Reading Rainbow-introduced book? (and I bet that you are humming the theme song right now like I am…)
**kmm

L is for Library – Happy National Library Week!

Logo for National Library Week 2016 featuring Gene Luen Yang | BooksYALove.comHappy National Library Week!

Thanks for cartooning yourself for the celebration, Gene Luen Yang – love your Boxers and Saints  graphic novel pair (my recommendation here), plus your reimagining of the Green Turtle vintage comic (read more here).

Share how libraries have changed your life or community with the #LibrariesTransform hashtag all year long.

During #NLW16 or any week, this particular long-time librarian would love to hear your favorite library story.

**kmm

 

Back in the saddle again, for April AtoZ Challenge!

logo of April AtoZ blog challenge 2016Yes, I waffle about doing this every year.
No, I haven’t given up recommending books.
Maybe the outside forces that consumed the last few months of my life have abated… maybe.

I have been reading during all the time away from home, tossing aside the almost-good books and saving the gems for y’all.

So I’m using the April AtoZ Challenge to jumpstart BooksYALove again (that’s me at #1532), even though AtoZ shares its month with the gigantic Texas Library Association annual conference and all its presentations, author signings, and previews of upcoming books.

Every April day but Sundays will have a new BooksYALove post on the alphabetic track = April 1st is A, April 2nd is B, etc. And my theme is [drumroll,please!] the Books That Almost Got Away… the really good ones that you might have overlooked in past months when the shiny, super-hyped bestsellers took up so much book-talk space.

See you on April 1st with the first of 26 stellar reads that you won’t want to miss!

And, yes, you still have time to sign up your own blog for April AtoZ Challenge – over 1,500 bloggers strong!
**kmm

Literacy = a lifelong gift on #givingTuesday & every day

If you’re reading this blog post, you’re part of the literate majority, those who can navigate the modern world and all its written commands, warnings, and enjoyments.

But too many adults, worldwide and in the USA, cannot read or read well enough to fill out employment applications, understand official notices, or help their own children with homework.

On #GivingTuesday, or any day, you can donate to many worthy causes, including those working to reduce illiteracy and increase literacy. I’m a big fan of First Book (FirstBook.org) and Reading Is Fundamental (www.rif.org), which get books into kids’ hands so they can become better readers for life.

The fine folks at Grammarly made this infographic on global literacy and the impacts of illiteracy:
Global Literacy Infographic

Please support literacy causes locally and globally by volunteering or donating – literacy is for everyone, forever.
**kmm

Indie bookstores for Small Business Saturday & every day!

Small Business Saturday image, borrowed from ModernSalon.com

image borrowed from ModernSalon.com

It’s Saturday,
Small Business Saturday,
buy books from small business day!

You’ve seen the numbers – dollars spent at local businesses recirculate in your community much more than what goes into chain-stores’ coffers. While Small Business Saturday was started by a credit card company, it’s a great reminder of the wonderful resources in own neighborhoods and towns.

Our independent booksellers are near and dear to my heart, as they curate collections of local interest, find just the right book for that just-right gift, and bring in authors/illustrators to speak, meet, and mingle with avid fans and soon-to-be enthusiasts.

And, of course, they choose books beyond the bestsellers mass-marketed by the big-box stores – like the titles I recommend here!

Search for your local indie bookstore at IndieBound here: http://www.indiebound.org/indie-store-finder

So how can you #shopsmall if you don’t have an indie bookstore in your town?  Most indies will ship to you gladly. Two of my favorites are Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon (powells.com) and Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC (www.quailridgebooks.com) – please note, these are not affiliate links, just pointers for your convenience.

Check independent bookstores for autographed editions, wishlist-building, special sales, and shipping deals for the holidays – and year-round. And if you ever need ideas on books to buy, you know that you’ll find them here!

Happy book-buying and happy reading – what’s on your book wishlist?
**kmm