Wendy Orr is a Canadian-born Australian writer born in Edmonton, Alberta. She is best known as the author of Nim’s Island, which was made into a film in 2008 starring Jodie Foster, Abigail Breslin and Gerard Butler.

Nim’s Island, which is recommended for preteen readers, tops today’s Buffet.

Wendy, who also writes for adults, also worked on the “Nim’s Island” screenplay. The sequel, Nim at Sea, with Bindi Irwin starring as Nim, was released last year.

Wendy is often asked for advice from aspiring writers, and says simply: “Read lots and write lots. Make sure you read different types of stories, and write different types of things too — the only thing that matters about what you write is that you care about it, and enjoy working on it.”

NIM’S ISLAND: Excellent Stuff to Make, Cook, Read, Do

Children’s Books

NIM'S ISLAND: Excellent Stuff to Make, Cook, Read, Do

Nim lives on the most beautiful island in the world (its location is a closely guarded secret) with a marine iguana, a sea lion, and her scientist dad, Jack. When he goes off to explore the world of plankton, the child occupies herself with typical Swiss Family Robinson-like chores and keeping her dad’s batteries charged so she can check his e-mail on the laptop computer. When his boat becomes disabled, Nim’s link to humanity becomes Alex Rover, the author of the novel she’s reading, who has e-mailed Jack with some scientific questions.

They correspond frequently, Nim giving Alex advice on building a raft out of coconuts, and Alex uncannily picturing spots on the island in her current book. A violent storm and volcanic eruption toward the end result in Nim saving the day, and the three characters set up life together on their paradise. And all of this occurs amid a clever plan to divert evil tourists from ever finding the island. If readers can suspend belief long enough to accept this plot, they will have a great time with this modern survival/adventure story.

Children will love this unshakable, strong female character and the zany things that happen to her. They’ll also enjoy the way adults seem to bungle everything. There are plenty of sketches to add visuals to this wild tale, which never loses its momentum. Teachers can springboard many geographic or scientific studies off this novel as they read it aloud, but kids can just enjoy the fun.
— Debbie Whitbeck

His Captive Bride (Stolen Brides Series Book 3)

Historical Romance > Medieval

His Captive Bride (Stolen Brides Series Book 3)

She’s swept away to a hidden island paradise filled with pleasures… and secrets.

Abducted from a trade fair by a mysterious warrior, Lady Avril de Varennes awakens on Asgard Island, an enchanted paradise cloaked in mists and mystery, kept secret from the world for centuries. Against her will, Avril weds her arrogant captor, Hauk Valbrand–even as she vows to escape. Hauk believes himself beyond the reach of love, until his fiery captive bride begins to melt his heart of ice. But soon he must reveal the stunning truth about Asgard and its people–and Hauk and Avril must choose between love and honor, duty and desire… now and forever.

Heiress, P.I.

Mystery > Cozy

Heiress, P.I.

Heiress, P.I. is described as Veronica Mars meets Gossip Girl…

Meet Lucy Hansen. She’s the richest teenager in the world – and possibly the shyest. She doesn’t flash her business to the paparazzi as she’s getting out of limos or send selfies while smoking salvia. No, Lucy hides behind her frizzy bangs, environmental causes and organic hemp-blend sweats. Her one true friend (and secret crush) Holden is the poorest kid in Beverly Hills – and probably the scrappiest. He interns for a famous private investigator, and when he asks Lucy to help him crack a case, her life turns from tame to tabloid, from glum to glam, from private to private eye. And when the trail leads directly to her hotel magnate father, it’s up to Lucy to solve the case by infiltrating Hollywood’s most elite and unwelcoming club: Celebutantes. Teens who are famous for, well… being famous.

Along the way, “LuHan” endures wardrobe malfunctions, fake romances, compromising videos-turned-YouTube hits, unflattering mug shots and – worst of all – a makeover. Now Lucy has to save her father, dodge the paparazzi, and keep her IRL ID on the DL – all while maybe, almost, possibly having her first real kiss.

Hens and Chickens (Book 1 in The Sovereign Series)

Historical Fiction

Hens and Chickens (Book 1 in The Sovereign Series)

Two women downsized by corporate America move to Maine to raise chickens and sell organic eggs — and discover more than they bargained for, including love! A gentle-read rural romance, “Hens and Chickens” is the first book in the four-novel series, the Sovereign Series, by Maine farmer and author Jennifer Wixson.

The Sovereign Series is set in the mythical farming town of Sovereign, Maine (pop. 1,048) noted for good-hearted and lovable characters, who weave in and out of the four books like old friends dropping in for a cup of tea. “Peas, Beans and Corn,” the second book in the series, was released to rave reader reviews in June 2013 and the much-anticipated third book, “The Songbird of Sovereign,” is slated for publication July 19, 2014 publication.

Shadow of Time – Book 1: (Paranormal Romance)

Romance > Paranormal

Shadow of Time - Book 1: (Paranormal Romance)

All Hannah needs is a nice and quiet vacation after her first year of teaching French at a high school. She joins her brother Ben for the summer in their mom’s log cabin in Arizona. There, she meets Josh again, Ben’s childhood friend from the Navajo reservation. The little boy from the rez has grown up fast, and Hannah can’t help but feeling more for him than just friendship.

But fate apparently has something else in store for her. And it’s not peace and quiet. Night after night, Hannah is plagued by strange nightmares about the history of Navajo Nation and terrifying shadows chasing her. They seem to come closer – and why is Josh always present in her dreams?

Sometimes, the past has a way of catching up with you.

What About Tomorrow? (What About… Book 3)

Christian Fiction > Romance

What About Tomorrow? (What About... Book 3)

Patrick has heard the clichés “tomorrow is not promised” and “you only live once”. Actually, he used to live by them. But now he is busy trying to walk in the footsteps ordered by the Lord. As Patrick continues to morph into the man God created him to be, a negative paternity test actually tests Patrick’s heart in ways he never imagined. Will he bend or break under the pressure of being the kind of father he never had? And will he find someone to walk down this rocky road with him into uncertain tomorrows?

Montrel is drowning his sorrows in alcohol. Will distance make his heart grow fonder of his estranged wife, Glenda, or solidify their plans to divorce?

Katrice is eating her cares away and quickly falling into a food dependency while trying to plan her wedding alone. Desmond is busy working hard to pay for the wedding and their relationship is tested as pre-marital counseling uncovers some of Desmond’s not so handsome flaws. Is a year of knowing each other too soon to make the walk that will end in a lifetime commitment?

OBSESSED BY WILDFIRE (Fun Contemporary Romance)

Humor & Satire

OBSESSED BY WILDFIRE (Fun Contemporary Romance)

A fun romantic contemporary set in the small town of Mule Post, Texas where the nights can get hotter than the summer days.

Isobel Trinidad vows no man will rope her into the humdrum life of a housewife and take away her dreams of becoming the National Barrel Champion like her father had done to her mother. Her mind is set, until a handsome Yankee comes to Mule Post, Texas and upsets everything she has believed about herself.

A rash of arsons brings State Fire Marshal Warner Keyson to the small Texas community, where a wildfire of a woman stops him in his tracks. Intrigued by Issy’s fire, he contrives ways to keep her close while conducting his investigation. What they create, which neither of them bargained for, is the blaze of a lifetime.

One More Day: The Alexanders, Book 1 (Jackson + Ridley)

Romance > Multicultural

One More Day: The Alexanders, Book 1 (Jackson + Ridley)

Jackson Alexander was born with the voice of an angel and his only dream was to “make it”. But his devotion to his music meant he was too busy working to protect his wife. After her death, he made a promise to himself.

He’d never sing again.

Ridley Wells has a habit of picking the wrong men but she’s never ended up on the radar of a Mafia don before. Hiding out with her twin sister makes the most sense except she never thought her sister would be halfway around the world. Or that she’d be mistaken for her sister by the sexiest man she has ever seen.

There’s a dark, broken spirit inside of Jackson that she knows she can heal. But the depth of her lies threatens the trust between them until Ri has to make a choice.

Trust him or break him all over again.

TODAY’S BARGAINS……………What’s this?

A Cruise to Die For (An Alix London Mystery)

Mystery > Cozy

A Cruise to Die For (An Alix London Mystery)

This should be the cushiest job Alix London’s ever had.

The second Alix London mystery finds the art restorer in a world brimming with idle luxury, spectacular locations, and deadly intrigue.

Surrounded by art and wealth and the sun-drenched Greek isles, she’s aboard a sumptuous mega-yacht with no responsibilities save the occasional lecture to the guests of her temporary employer, Panos Papadakis, one of the world’s richest men. But there’s a catch: Papadakis has long been suspected of being at the center of a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme and Alix is actually there as an undercover operative of FBI special agent Ted Ellesworth, a member of the Bureau’s Art Crime Team. They hope Alix can gather the inside information they need to finally put the cagey Papadakis away.

A Dangerous Talent (An Alix London Mystery)

Mystery > Cozy

A Dangerous Talent (An Alix London Mystery)

Alix London has a promising career as an art consultant, a sumptuous condo in Seattle’s toniest neighborhood, a gorgeous figure, and a presence that exudes Ivy League breeding and old money. She has it all…or does she? Only Alix knows that the image she presents to the world is a carefully constructed mirage that veils an embarrassing truth. A brilliant, once-promising art student, the daughter of a prominent New York art conservator, her world was left in ruins when her father went to prison for art forgery.

Now a Harvard dropout with an emptied bank account, she is languishing in a career that has produced little more than a lucky house-sitting gig. But all of that changes when Alix meets Christine Lemay, a novice art collector with money to burn and a hot tip on a recently discovered painting by American master Georgia O’Keeffe.

Destiny: A Novel

Romance > Mystery & Suspense

Destiny: A Novel

Sally Beauman’s international bestseller sweeps across decades and continents to tell a spellbinding story of star-crossed love.
Edouard’s story begins in London in 1940. At fourteen, he’s the son of a baron and second in line to a dazzling jewelry dynasty.
Hélène’s story begins in Alabama in 1950. An only child, she lives with her mother in a trailer park and dreams of escaping her hardscrabble life. Their paths cross in France, and a brief, passionate affair follows. They are separated by fate, and that seems to be the end. But Edouard cannot devote his life to business . . . not before finding Hélène again.

Breakdown

Science Fiction > Post-Apocalyptic

Breakdown

An influenza plague decimates humanity…

A man loses his wife and baby daughter…

Six years after a pandemic devastates the human population, former rock star Chris Price finally makes it from New York to Britain to reunite with his brother. His passage leaves him scarred, in body and mind, by exposure to humankind at its most desperate and dangerous. But another ordeal awaits him beyond the urban ruins, in an idyllic country refuge where Chris meets a woman, Pauline, who is largely untouched by the world’s horrors. Together, Chris and Pauline undertake the most difficult facet of Chris’s journey: confronting grief, violence, and the man Chris has become. They will discover whether the human spirit is capable of surviving and loving again in this darker, harder world.

Writing on the Wall: Social Media – The First 2,000 Years

Communication & Media Studies

Writing on the Wall: Social Media - The First 2,000 Years

From the bestselling author of A History of the World in 6 Glasses, the story of social media from ancient Rome to the Arab Spring and beyond.

Social media is anything but a new phenomenon. From the papyrus letters that Cicero and other Roman statesmen used to exchange news, to the hand-printed tracts of the Reformation and the pamphlets that spread propaganda during the American and French revolutions, the ways people shared information with their peers in the past are echoed in the present. After decades of newspapers, radio, and television dominating in dissemination of information, the Internet has spawned a reemergence of social media as a powerful new way for individuals to share information with their friends, driving public discourse in new ways.

… See the rest of today’s Editor’s Picks here on page 2


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