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  • Dell Villa 8:00 pm on 2016/12/14 Permalink
    Tags: all hands on deck, , , , ,   

    8 Great Cookbooks for Holiday Cooking with Kids 

    Throughout the holiday season, there are plenty of opportunities for solitude. Think about the pre-dawn hours you spent circling the mall parking lot on Black Friday, or trying to wrap gifts in your freezing garage with mittens on, or cramming AA batteries into a clearly marked AAA compartment for that last toy that belongs beneath the tree. If you’ve had enough of forced “me time” in the wee hours, I’ll tell you where you shouldn’t be alone: the kitchen! Preparing nourishing entrees and baking your family’s favorite treats is a highlight of the holidays, so invite your little elves in to help. (Just think of the conversations you can have while whisking, whipping, and stirring your way to your next great meal!)

    To get you started on your multigenerational cooking adventure, we’ve handpicked a few of our favorite cookbooks for kids; they’re not only kitchen-tested and kid-approved, but all of them are available on our newest, lightest, smallest NOOK ever. The NOOK Tablet 7″ is just $49.99 this Christmas, and perfect for little hands to hold—so long as they’ve already been licked clean. Happy cooking!

    Cooking Class: 57 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Make (and Eat!), by Deanna F. Cook
    If you’ve ever imagined mashed potato clouds and fruit flowers in your dreams, then you need to wake up and check out this cookbook, because they’re real! Every page features a recipe that’s simple, healthy, and adorable—and the whole thing is written in kid-ese, so there won’t be any muddling, braising, or butterflying lost in translation.

    The Help Yourself Cookbook for Kids, by Ruby Roth
    If, like so many parents, you have a hard time getting your kids to consume more than a cracker at mealtime, you might want to try this unorthodox method: empower them to prepare their own fresh meals! Roth has created an ultra-engaging, informative book that provides fun facts and mouthwatering recipes every step of the way. It might just inspire your kids (and you, too!) to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables every day!

    The Everything Kids’ Cookbook, by Sandra K. Nissenberg
    As the title suggests, this cookbook is stuffed with easy-to-follow recipes for delicious weeknight meals, holiday treats, and puzzles and games to keep even the most recalcitrant mini-chef entertained. Try the World’s Best Brownies for dessert tonight!

    The Berenstain Bears’ Holiday Cookbook: Cub-Friendly Cooking with an Adult, by Mike Berenstain
    When you have holiday cooking on the brain, chances are your cubs do too—so bring them into the kitchen to help! The Berenstain Bears have brought so many delicious recipes to the table in this brand-new cookbook, it’s difficult to keep track. But one thing’s for sure: Mama Bear’s Pumpkin Pie and Papa Bear’s Paw-Lickin’ Good Chicken Wings will be instant favorites at your next gathering.

    The Forest Feast for Kids: Colorful Vegetarian Recipes that are Simple to Make, by Erin Gleeson
    This kid-friendly follow-up to The Forest Feast is as much a meal for the eyes as the plant-based recipes will be for your tummies. Let’s be honest here—the cover alone will have you drooling! Kids will be encouraged to set off on a vegetarian adventure, and they’ll soon be scooping pomegranate seeds and rinsing quinoa like professionals. Step side and prepare to be wowed!

    Mary Poppins in the Kitchen: A Cookery Book with a Story, by P.L. Travers
    There’s much more than a spoonful of sugar in this fantastic little volume. Mary the Wonder Nanny and the kids have taken over the kitchen for a week, and they’re reviewing all the essential cooking terms, from A to Z. All of your favorite Poppins characters are here, too, sharing their favorite recipes.

    Science Experiments You Can Eat, by Vicki Cobb
    We’ve always known it, but this book makes it plain—cooking is science. So lead your crazy hungry chemists into the kitchen and turn the place into your laboratory for the weekend; trade your aprons for lab coats and start hypothesizing! You can learn how coagulated protein constitutes custard, among many more strange and wonderful kitchen facts—and at the end of each experiment, you’ll have a delightful dish to consume with your favorite scientists.

    Wookiee Cookies: A Star Wars Cookbook, by Robin Davis and Frank Frankeny
    A Jedi warrior must be calm, and a Jedi warrior must not watch a pot while it boils. In addition to being full of delectable dishes intended for dining on earth as well as on space stations, this quirky cookbook is also a primer on Jedi culinary skills. If you have any Star Wars mega-fans in your house, get them to the kitchen to start cooking dinner with Boba Fett-Uccine and Princess Leia Danish Dos tonight!

    The post 8 Great Cookbooks for Holiday Cooking with Kids appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Dell Villa 3:00 pm on 2016/10/28 Permalink
    Tags: , house of horrors   

    Our Favorite Haunted Houses in Literature 

    There’s finally a chill in the air; dead leaves are deserting their branches, and the undead have come out to play. Haunted houses are popping up in abandoned Burger Kings everywhere, and they’re charging egregious sums (like firstborn children or kidneys) for tours. If, like me, you have trouble crossing the threshold of these so-called shriek shacks without extreme coercion and/or bribery, but are more than willing to visit one from the comfort of your beanbag chair, then you need to consult our list. Whether your taste runs modern or classic, literature is brimming with some pretty terrifying imaginings—and plenty of bone-chilling, eerie abodes. And when your cold sweat (or, what I like to call “a hot chocolate refill”) requires you to take a break, you can always find your favorite kitty bookmark and take five with an episode of Golden Girls until you’ve composed yourself. Try doing that with a maniacal clown chasing after you with a bloody pickaxe.

    House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski and Johnny Truant
    Before they can even finish unpacking at their new home on Ash Tree Lane, the house turns on the Navidson family. Deeply unsettling—and compulsively readable—this complex story is a modern cult classic, and once you peel back the narrative layers you’ll understand why.

    Rebecca, by Daphne DuMaurier
    From the very first, it is clear that Manderley is everything a spooky mansion should be—drafty, ominous, overrun by a malicious housekeeper, and held in the icy grip of a long-dead woman—the first Mrs. Maxim De Winter. DuMaurier deftly blurs the line between dreams and reality in this haunting, unforgettable tale.

    The Castle of Otranto, by Horace Walpole
    Characterized by its elaborate narrative frame, grotesque details, and macabre plot, this is the quintessential Gothic novel—and its success helped launch an entire genre. With each reading, the revelations will become more compelling and the labyrinthine passageways more confining—make time for it every Hallow’s Eve.

    The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson
    Even after nearly 60 years, Hill House is unparalleled—it’s one of the most terrifying mansions in literature. When an unlikely foursome visits the rundown house on an ominous night, it quickly becomes clear that, with each turn of the page, the house is becoming more powerful, and one of the intruders is not going to make it out alive.

    The Amityville Horror, by Jay Anson
    In December 1975, the Lutz family moved to their quaint new Long Island home with big dreams and no reservations. By January, however, they were gone. This is the story of a house that can only be possessed by demons—never by people—and if you’ve never read it, you need to start it tonight!

    Hell House, by Richard Matheson
    Many have tried to uncover the mysteries of Belasco House, but their quests have all ended in one grisly manner or another—death, insanity, or debilitating paranoia. Four more people make an attempt at the outset of this novel, and pure terror awaits.

    Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
    While Thornfield Hall isn’t possessed by unclean spirits, there is a madwoman in the attic who is determined to drive her housemates to a level of insanity commensurate with her own. This is one of the most famous novels ever written, and scholars appreciate it on a multitude of levels. I want you to read it once again, just for Thornfield Hall’s sake, and tell me whether you’d want to visit it on a dark and stormy night.

    The post Our Favorite Haunted Houses in Literature appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Dell Villa 4:00 pm on 2016/10/05 Permalink
    Tags: art shop, , ,   

    B&N Introduces the Art Shop—Our Favorite Supplies! 

    Unless you’ve been sleeping under a palette, you’re probably aware that complex coloring—for relaxation, recreation, and reflection—has recently become incredibly popular among amateur artists of all ages. No longer confined to studios, artists can now be found everywhere—on the subway, in the carpool line at school, at the kitchen table, or in the break room at work. Indeed, now that experimental art no longer belongs exclusively to grubby toddler paws, or well-trained professional fingers, there are hundreds of new tools available for artists at all levels—coloring books that facilitate meditative journeys, and fine-line markers and watercolors whose radiant hues are matched only by Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory or Frank Baum’s Oz.

    Whether you’re searching for implements to inspire and encourage the young/young-at-heart hobbyist in your life, or you’re hoping to augment your own creative journey (because there’s nothing like cracking open a new tin of colored pencils!), we’re here to help. We’ve handpicked some of our favorite items available online, and they’ll soon be featured at our dedicated Art Shops within select Barnes & Noble stores!

    Seriously Fine Felt Tip Markers – Set of 36, $16.95
    Boasting a triangular shaped barrel, and an ultra fine .7 mm tip, these brilliant markers are long lasting, ultra-bright, and ideal for complex adult illustration. When finding your bliss becomes undeniably serious, reach for these.

    Watercolor Set in Tin Box – 44 pieces, $19.95
    Featuring 24 watercolor cakes, 10 watercolor tubes, 3 brushes and 4 pencils, plus a palette, sharpener, and eraser, this beautifully packaged watercolor set has everything but the beret. It’s an incredible gift for the aspiring Van Gogh you probably already know.

    Brush and Fine Point Markers – Set of 36, $29.95
    Offering less mess and more precision than their wet paint counterparts, these double-sided markers will quickly become go-to tools for any coloring enthusiast. Use the fine-tip for details, and the brush to mimic whimsical watercolor strokes. The water-based color is vibrant and cleans up easily—a boon for the artist on the go!

    Pencil & Pastel Wooden Art Case – 54 pieces, $29.95
    This huge set contains everything you need to sketch, shade, sharpen—and repeat! Snap this serious case open, and you’ll find a multi-tiered assortment of charcoal and colored pencils—plus a sizable stash of pastels—to keep your favorite artist busy for hours. And since the hard case doubles as a lap desk, sketching is possible wherever inspiration strikes!

    Manga Pitt Artist Pens – Set of 6, $29.95
    If manga illustration is right up your alley, these smudgeproof, vibrant colors will make each brush stroke a joy—and allow you to create durable art your great-great grandchildren will treasure (along with your Jell-O and Dr. Pepper time capsule in the backyard). If your hobby has quickly become your passion, an investment in high-quality pens is essential—pick up this set, and do what you love!

    Let’s Tangle! The Art of Zentangle, $17.99
    There’s so much to love about this book. First, Zentangle, the art form that simultaneously inspires and unwinds us, is explained in a helpful step-by-step format, increasing accessibility and decreasing intimidation. Second, the gorgeous hardcover volume lies flat for irritation-free illustration, and, last, there are multiple artistic contributions from experts in the form. Convinced yet? Start Tangling today!

    Colored Gel Pens – Set of 40, $24.95
    Imagine a hue or dream up a style—chances are this collection contains it. With 40 different shades, in metallic, neon, pastel, and glitter—there’s something here for every artist. The ink is smooth and durable, and perfect for crafts, coloring, and invitations; it’s an ideal set for gifting, or the perfect addition to your hobby drawer.

    Acrylic Art Set with Canvas and Easel – 24 pieces, $29.95
    Turn a blank canvas into your very own masterpiece (or empower someone you love to do the same), for under $30. Acrylic paints, pencils, brushes and more accompany a sturdy easel—you supply the imagination!

    Mini Wood Artist Model, $6.95
    If you’re beginning to study the human form, you can now put a feather in your beret—you’re an artist! This model is a perfectly proportional human, and fully articulated—and the miniature size makes it totally portable. Whether you’re on the train, at the library, or at home, just place the form in your desired pose and get to work!

    Graphite Pencil Sketch Set, $8.95
    Smooth sketching—with a hint of irrepressible sheen—is possible once again! This set of 10 pencils contains graphite in varying degrees of hardness, to accommodate line work as well as shading, and a sharpener and eraser are included too, just to make sketching life a little easier.

    What is your favorite medium to work in?

    The post B&N Introduces the Art Shop—Our Favorite Supplies! appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Dell Villa 3:00 pm on 2016/09/01 Permalink
    Tags: , , , commonwealth, , ,   

    Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth Paints a Thorny Family Portrait 

    For a story that begins and ends with a party, there’s an astonishing amount of anger, sadness, and deceit in Commonwealth, Ann Patchett’s latest novel about intertwining families. But this powerful story reflects life, so for every broken relationship, harrowing circumstance, or unforgivable offense, there is an equally weighty counterpoint: forgiveness, growth, or even levity. Herein lies an optimistic central point, which we have come to expect from Patchett: the defining moments of our lives are only as dark as we allow them to be.

    The Keating and Cousins families become suddenly, inextricably connected on a sultry Sunday afternoon in Torrance, California in the early 1960s. Citrus trees are heavy with fruit, and a modest bungalow is filled to bursting on the occasion of baby Franny’s christening. Her parents, Beverly and Fix Keating, have thrown the party, and when Bert Cousins—an acquaintance twice-removed—arrives with an unwieldy bottle of gin, the celebration severely alters its course. Bert and Beverly’s instant connection, though discreet, will soon tear their immediate families apart.

    Instead of detailing Beverly and Bert’s romance, which ultimately takes the couple from Torrance to Arlington, Virginia, Patchett’s superbly woven narrative quickly shifts its focus to the children. In the wake of divorce and remarriage, the two Keating girls and the four Cousins children come to lead unsettled, peripatetic lives. They live with their mothers on opposite sides of the country during the school year, but are thrust together into two bedrooms “with one bathroom and one cat between them” every summer in Virginia.

    Unsupervised and unruly from the start, the six kids become a “fierce tribe,” and they share common enemies: their parents. But, even though there is unquestionable loyalty among them, their own relationships are fraught with difficulties. Caroline and Franny Keating despise each other, and nobody can tolerate the obnoxious baby of the group: Albie. Left to their own devices summer after summer, the posse resorts to unorthodox methods of control where Albie is concerned and tragedy, always lurking just beyond the page, swoops in at the earliest opportunity to break the fragile families even further.

    From there Patchett fast-forwards and rewinds seamlessly, relaying the experiences of each of the Keating and Cousins kids far into adulthood, eventually taking us to a place where the stories of their childhood become more public than any of them could have imagined.

    At once a spellbinding narrative and a realistic mediation on the elasticity of truth, love and relationships, Commonwealth begs an essential question: does your life story actually belong to you? There are the stories we are told, the stories we tell ourselves, and then there are the stories we believe. At some point in all of our lives, these narratives collapse, and all that’s left is love—and family. In a novel where every single word matters—even the names of the richly drawn characters are meaningful—Patchett asks a lot of her readers. And she might be suggesting, rather eloquently, that having a family means you never have your own story. Instead, every member holds a thread.

    Commonwealth is on shelves September 13.

  • Dell Villa 7:00 pm on 2016/07/20 Permalink
    Tags: at the beach, beachy, , surf sand & sun   

    Just Add Sand: 6 of Our Favorite Beachy Romances! 

    Every summer, there is a mysterious force that pulls us to the beach, begging us to surrender to the rhythm that’s as old as the universe. The idea of sand slipping between our toes and the salty air whipping through our hair is too tantalizing to resist, and many of us give in. And why not? The waves lull us to sleep at night, and the seagulls wake us in the morning. Daytime is the perfect opportunity to settle in your lounge chair with some ice-cold lemonade and immerse yourself in an unforgettable story. If you’re looking for the perfect beachy romance to throw into your tote alongside your floppy hat and flip-flops, then you’ve already discovered the overwhelming options. Let us help! Below are some of our favorites—just add sand, and you’ve got yourself an afternoon!

    Suddenly One Summer, by Julie James
    Victoria Slade is a shrewd divorce lawyer, so she hasn’t encountered a happy couple in years. Ford Dixon is an investigative journalist—and her new next-door neighbor—and she can’t deny an immediate attraction. Too bad she can’t stand him! When the neighbors are forced to team up, sparks immediately fly, but will they be able to see past their differences to reach their goal?

    Whisper Beach: A Novel, by Shelley Noble
    When Vanessa Moran was 17 and pregnant, she fled her beachside hometown, and never thought she’d return. 15 years later, her best friend’s husband has died, and though there is emotional cost, Vanessa does the right thing—she comes home. She’s there to offer support, but she also finds herself immediately surrounded by a community—and a past love—she’d worked to put behind her. This stirring novel tests the limits of trust and friendship, and explores the power of truly redeeming love.

    The Island House, by Nancy Thayer
    When Robin Vickerey calls out of the blue, Courtney Hendricks can’t resist the invitation from her old college roommate for one last visit to the boisterous Vickerey cottage on Nantucket. Courtney’s moved on professionally since the summers she used to spend under an umbrella with her roommate and family, but she’s never forgotten her attraction to Robin’s younger brother, James. The resulting summer visit is filled with happiness, grief, and secrets, and Courtney’s attraction to James is more powerful than ever. Only happily squealing dolphins could force you to look up from this page-turner!

    A Lowcountry Wedding, by Mary Alice Monroe
    It’s the moment fans of Monroe’s spellbinding Lowcountry Summer series have been waiting for—the wedding! But before bells can ring and a bouquet can be thrown, a stranger shows up out of the blue. Suddenly, there are questions that need to be answered, and broken bonds that need to be mended. As always, Monroe’s story is complex and her characters richly drawn, but the deeper undertones of forgiveness, commitment and redemption are what make this novel so irresistible.

    Beach Town, by Mary Kay Andrews
    To start this quirky romantic novel is to be invited in. Greer Hennessy is a movie location scout who needs to find a picture-perfect beach, or she can kiss her flagging career good-bye. After finally alighting on extraordinary Cypress Key, Florida, she runs into trouble before she can utter a sigh of relief. Eben Thibadeaux, the handsome mayor, rejects any possibility of filming a movie in his beloved sleepy hamlet. Sparks fly and tempers flare with equal measure in this exciting new story from one of our favorites!

    Beach Blues, by Joanne DeMaio
    Just as Celia Gray—and her guitar—are settling into a cozy cottage in Stony Point, Sal DeLuca is packing up for his first vacation in a decade. His journey brings him to Stony Point as well, to his mother’s worn-down inn by the sea. Instead of finding the solitude and peace they both crave, Celia and Sal find each other, and the attraction is instant. The resulting love story is as quaint as the village that surrounds them, but soon, it’s clear that their fate might also be as jagged as the shoreline. This novel is vast and unputdownable!

    What beachy romances do you love?

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