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Transgender Awareness Month November 22, 2017

Filed under: Books,Uncategorized — Heather @ 7:10 pm
Tags: , , , ,

November is National Transgender Awareness Month. We’ve put together a book list including fiction and nonfiction for a variety of ages…

TransFlag

For Young Readers

I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel & Jazz Jennings

“This is the story of a transgender child based on the real-life experience of Jazz Jennings, who has become a spokesperson for transkids everywhere.”

i am jazz book cover

Red by Michael Hall

“Red has a bright red label, but he is, in fact, blue. This funny, heartwarming, colorful picture book about finding the courage to be true to your inner self can be read on multiple levels, and it offers something for everyone.”

red by michael hall

 

For Middle Grade Readers

Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart

“Lily, a transgender girl, and Dunkin, a boy dealing with bipolar disorder. Their powerful story will shred your heart, then stitch it back together with kindness, humor, bravery, and love.”

lily and dunkin

The Pants Project by Cat Clarke

“Liv knows he was always meant to be a boy, but with his new school’s terrible dress code, he can’t even wear pants. Only skirts.

Operation: Pants Project begins! The only way for Liv to get what he wants is to go after it himself. But to Liv, this isn’t just a mission to change the policy—it’s a mission to change his life. And that’s a pretty big deal.”

pants project cover

 

George by Alex Gino

“When people look at George, they see a boy. But George knows she’s a girl.

George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part … because she’s a boy.

With the help of her best friend Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte – but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.”

george book cover

 

Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky

“Grayson Sender has been holding onto a secret for what seems like forever: “he” is a girl on the inside, stuck in the wrong gender’s body. The weight of this secret is crushing, but sharing it would mean facing ridicule, scorn, rejection, or worse. Despite the risks, Grayson’s true self itches to break free. Will new strength from an unexpected friendship and a caring teacher’s wisdom be enough to help Grayson step into the spotlight she was born to inhabit?”

gracefully grayson cover

Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen by Jazz Jennings

“In her remarkable memoir, Jazz reflects on these very public experiences and how they have helped shape the mainstream attitude toward the transgender community. But it hasn’t all been easy. Jazz has faced many challenges, bullying, discrimination, and rejection, yet she perseveres as she educates others about her life as a transgender teen. Through it all, her family has been beside her on this journey, standing together against those who don’t understand the true meaning of tolerance and unconditional love. Now Jazz must learn to navigate the physical, social, and emotional upheavals of adolescence—particularly high school—complicated by the unique challenges of being a transgender teen. Making the journey from girl to woman is never easy—especially when you began your life in a boy’s body. See Jazz’s story come to life with two inserts featuring personal photos.”

being jazz cove

For Older Readers

When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

“To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.”

when the moon was ours

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

“Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school. Like anyone else, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret, and she’s determined not to get too close to anyone.

But when she meets sweet, easygoing Grant, Amanda can’t help but start to let him into her life. As they spend more time together, she realizes just how much she is losing by guarding her heart. She finds herself yearning to share with Grant everything about herself, including her past. But Amanda’s terrified that once she tells him the truth, he won’t be able to see past it.

Because the secret that Amanda’s been keeping? It’s that at her old school, she used to be Andrew. Will the truth cost Amanda her new life, and her new love?”

if i was your girl

Dreadnought by April Daniels

“Danny Tozer has a problem: she just inherited the powers of Dreadnought, the world’s greatest superhero. Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, Danny was trying to keep people from finding out she’s transgender. But before he expired, Dreadnought passed his mantle to her, and those secondhand superpowers transformed Danny’s body into what she’s always thought it should be. Now there’s no hiding that she’s a girl.”

dreadnought cover.jpg

Look Past by Eric Devine

“Someone brutally murdered Mary Mathison, daughter of a prominent and very conservative local pastor, and Avery, a transgender boy who loved Mary, is bent on finding her killer. He goes to the crime scene to do some investigating, but is quickly put in harm’s way.”

look past cover

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

“Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. But Riley isn’t exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in über-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley’s life.

On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it’s really like to be a gender fluid teenager. But just as Riley’s starting to settle in at school—even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast—the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley’s real identity, threatening exposure. And Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created—a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in—or stand up, come out, and risk everything.”

symptoms of being human cover

Jess, Chunk & the Road Trip to Infinity by Kristin Elizabeth Clark

“The last time Jess saw her father, she was a boy. Now she’s a high school graduate, soon to be on her way to art school. But first she has some unfinished business with her dad. So she’s driving halfway across the country to his wedding. He happens to be marrying her mom’s ex-best friend. It’s not like Jess wasn’t invited; she was. She just never told anyone she was coming. Surprise!

Luckily, Jess isn’t making this trip alone. Her best friend, Christophe―nicknamed Chunk―is joining her.

Along the way, Jess and Chunk learn a few things about themselves―and each other―which call their feelings about their relationship into question.”

jess chunk and the road trip to infinity

Crossing Lines by Paul Volponi

“Adonis is a jock. He’s on the football team and he’s dating one of the prettiest girls in school. Alan is the new kid. He wears lipstick and joins the Fashion Club. Soon enough the football team is out to get him. Adonis is glad to go along with his teammates . . . until they come up with a dangerous plan to humiliate Alan. Now Adonis must decide whether he wants to be a guy who follows the herd or a man who does what’s right.”

crossing lines cover

Beast by Brie Spangler

“At nearly six foot four and covered with hair, 15-year-old Dylan Ingvarsson has been nicknamed the Beast, but he doesn’t feel like one. Mostly, he leads a quiet life, earning top grades in his class and supporting his widowed mother. When Dylan breaks his leg falling off a roof, perhaps not entirely accidentally, and ends up in therapy for self-harmers, he meets an intriguing girl named Jamie, a talented photographer, who seems to like Dylan for who he is. For the first time, Dylan finds himself falling in love, but then he learns something he missed while he was zoning out in therapy: Jamie is trans.”

beast book cover

Beyond Magneta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin

“Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender preference. Portraits, family photographs, and candid images grace the pages, augmenting the emotional and physical journey each youth has taken. Each honest discussion and disclosure, whether joyful or heartbreaking, is completely different from the other because of family dynamics, living situations, gender, and the transition these teens make in recognition of their true selves.”

beyond magenta cover

Transphobia: Deal with It and be a Gender Transcender by J. Wallace Skelton

“Who do you think you are? Part of identity is how people experience their gender. Transphobia is intolerance of any part of the range of gender identity. This accessible, illustrated book offers information, quizzes, comics and true-to-life scenarios to help kids better understand gender identity and determine what they can do to identify and counter transphobia in their schools, homes and communities. Considered from the viewpoint of gender challengers, gender enforcers and witnesses, transphobic behavior is identified, examined and put into a context that kids can use to understand and accept themselves and others for whatever gender they are — even if that’s no gender at all!”

transphobia deal with it cover

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Stranger Reads November 2, 2017

Filed under: Books,Uncategorized — Heather @ 9:59 pm
Tags: , , , ,

stranger reads

Are you obsessed with Netflix’s Stranger Things? Well, we are too! Here are some stranger reads to fill the time between binge watching…

Try these, for younger readers…

 

The Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting by Joe Ballerini

Disappointed babysitter. Check. Missing kid. Check. Baseball bat just in case. Check. Who knew there was a secret society of monster hunting babysitters? Not Kelly – and now she’s one of them!

babysitter's guide cover

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Coraline moves into a creepy new house and finds a secret passage to an alternate version of her reality. Practically perfect, except for the fact that everyone has button eyes. Neil Gaiman is the master of a creepy tale and this one is perfect for the youngest fans of Stranger Things. 

coraline cover

The Jumbies by Tracey Bapiste

Jumbies are real, right? That’s what Corinne assumes until she follows one into the forest. Now there’s a mysterious stranger in her own house, possibly bewitching her father. Does Corinne possess the magic necessary to save the world?

jumbies cover

Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar

Master of comedy, Louis Sachar, takes a darker turn with this tale about a biological contagion right next to a middle school. Sound familiar? BFFs Tamaya and Marshall team up with bully Chad to find a solution.

fuzzy mud cover

The Last Kids on Earth by Max Brailler

This one’s a graphic novel – and a series! Described as Diary of a Wimpy Kid meets The Walking Dead. Follow Jack and his band of misfits as they save the world.

last kids on earth cover

For middle grade readers and beyond…

The Riverman by Aaron Starmer.

Alistair thinks his neighbor Fiona must be crazy when she tells him there’s a portal to another world in her basement. Guess who lives there and want to steal the souls of children? The Riverman! Fans of Stephen King’s It looking for a more gentle read will devour this trilogy…unless the Riverman does first.

 

riverman cover

The Nest by Kenneth Oppel

In hopes of saving his sick baby brother Steve makes a deal with the wasp queen while dreaming. What could go wrong, right? Truly the stuff of nightmares, this one is not for the faint of heart!

nest cover

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Time travel. A mysterious island. Children with various gifts. This tale is spooky and sweet at the same time. Beautifully chilling black and white photographs add to the creep factor.

miss peregrine cover

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

Bradbury’s classic tale about a mysterious and perhaps evil carnival arriving in town continues to haunt and enchant generations of readers.

something wicked cover

For more mature readers…

Replica by Lauren Oliver

A flip book told by dual narrators Gemma and Lyra. Lyra, aka 24, has escaped from a mysterious research facility with another boy, 72. Gemma’s life turns upside down when searching for answers she may not be ready to hear. Super cool format and visually stunning cover add to this story.

replica cover

Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughn

A graphic novel for the older crowd, Paper Girls follows four teenage girls on bikes in the late 80s as they try to save the world from invasion on Halloween.

paper girls cover

The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue

Jack hasn’t been the same since he almost drowned three years ago. Now he’s drawing monsters that may or may not be coming to life. His family unravels as this thrilling tale evolves.

boy who drew monsters cover

Basically anything by the master of horror and suspense, Stephen King. Try It, Firestarter, Carrie, or any of his short story collections for a real scare.

stephen king books

 

 

Holiday Reads for Cold Nights December 16, 2016

Filed under: Books,Uncategorized — Heather @ 10:09 pm
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Here are some suggestions for when you want to escape the madness of the holidays or just snuggle up with a good book. Unfortunately, there is a serious lack of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa books for YA readers. For those of you looking for a Christmas read, here are some titles to keep you this holiday season.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

This classic has stood the test of time. Read the original story that has influenced pop culture for well over one hundred and sixty years.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Another classic, this story begins at Christmas during the Civil War. Get to know the March sisters all over again.

Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

A cute story about a family’s last minute scramble to plan the perfect holiday. This book has been made into the popular film, Christmas with the Kranks. 

Murder for Christmas: 26 Tales of Seasonal Malice edited by Thomas Godfrey

For the mystery lover, here’s a collection of short stories sure to make the holidays extra creepy. Famous authors like Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Charles Dickens are represented in their holiday finest.

Decked with Holly by Marni Bates

Fans of Bates’ Smith High series will delight in this light romance set aboard a cruise ship. Perfect holiday reading!

What Light by Jay Asher

The reviews keep rolling in for this 2016 title from the author of the YA modern classic, Thirteen Reasons Why. Travel to a Christmas tree farm in Oregon for a story of redemption and hope.

The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

The dynamic duo of YA fiction is back with two of our favorite friends, Dashiell and Lily. We met them five years ago when a chance discovery led them on an epic chase across NYC. Now they’re back one year after the events that brought them together.

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins

A who’s who of YA fiction authors feature short stories realistic and fantastic alike. There’s something for everyone in this compilation.

Let it Snow: Three Holiday Romances by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle

Three interconnected stories from three of the best in YA fiction. It’s Christmas eve and romance isn’t only under the mistletoe, it could be at the Waffle House!

 

YALSA 2016 Teens’ Top Ten December 14, 2016

Filed under: Books,Uncategorized — Heather @ 6:54 pm
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It’s that time of year again – time for the YALSA Teens’ Top Ten list – a “teen choice” list of the favorite books of the year. Check out the website:  www.ala.org/yalsa/teenstopten

  1. Alive by Chandler Baker

“Stella Cross has received a heart transplant, but it has not stopped her emotional suffering. Then a mysterious boy named Levi Zin comes into her life. Stella’s pain goes away whenever she’s around Levi. However, Stella finds out a terrible secret about Levi. Can it be true?”

2. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

” Death plays a big role in the lives of high schoolers Theodore Finch and Violet Markey. He is constantly on the verge of suicide, and she is battling grief after he sister’s death. The Indiana teens come together to work on a project and soon develop a bond, showing each other what it’s like to live.”

3. The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough

” Set in Seattle in the 1920s, a romance develops between Flora, who is African American, and Henry, who is white. Despite some differences, the pair has much in common, including a shared love of jazz music. However, it turns out that Flora and Henry actually are pawns in a game played by two other characters – Love and Death. This book is full of intrigue, and is, at times, heartbreaking, and will have the reader racing to the final pages.”

4. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

” Young criminal genius Kaz Brekker is offered the chance to pull off a dangerous theft that can make him rich. He recruits a gang of six dangerous misfits to help him with the heist. The book follows the crew’s crazy adventure and features plot twists, betrayals, and schemes aplenty.”

5. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

“Maddy is a teenager with a serious autoimmune disease that prevents her from leaving the house. Yet, she seems content to stay home and read books. That is until a boy named Olly moves in next door. The two meet, and their quirky relationship is chronicled through emails, journal entries, IMs and old notes.”

6. Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

“Samantha McAllister seems to have it all: she is beautiful, bright and part of the popular crowd in high school. But looks can be deceiving, and she is hiding the fact she has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Samantha’s life changes after she visits a place at school called Poet’s Corner and she beings hanging out with new friends like Caroline and AJ.”

7. The Novice: Summoner: Book One by Taran Matharu

“A blacksmith’s apprentice named Fletcher discovers he can summon demons from another world. He soon gets chased out of his village for a crime he did not commit, ending up at an academy for adepts, where he is trained to serve as a Battlemage in the Empire’s war against the savage Orcs. Eventually, Fletcher discovers the fate of the Empire is in his hands.”

8. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

“Kady and Ezra have just broken up, and then their planet is bombed by a megacorporation. The pair escapes to a government ship, but must put their differences aside in order to survive and stop a plague that has resulted from the use of a bioweapon.”

9. When by Victoria Laurie

“High school junior Maddie Fynn has special powers that allow her to see numbers above a person’s forehead, which she soon discovers are death dates. She identifies the death date of a young boy, but is unable to prevent his disappearance. Then , Maddie becomes a suspect in a homicide investigation.”

10. Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten

” June and Delia were best friends who grew apart. Then, Delia commits suicide. Or, at least that’s what others have been told. June believes her former best friend has been murdered, and she goes on a quest to find the truth…which, it turns out, is very complicated.”

 

September is National Recovery Month September 12, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Heather @ 5:43 pm

In national-recovery-month-logohonor of National Recovery Month, we’re highlighting books that feature addiction and recovery. Take a look at some of these personal journeys. The SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) website also has many valuable resources.

Crank by Ellen Hopkins

“This is a story about a monster. Not a dragon or a mythological beast, but a very real, very destructive monster–crystal meth–that takes hold of seventeen-year-old Kristina Snow and transforms her into her reckless alter-ego Bree.

Based on her own daughter’s addiction to crystal meth, Ellen Hopkins’ novel-in-verse is a vivid, transfixing look into teenage drug use. Told in Kristina’s voice, it provides a realistic portrayal of the tortured logic of an addict.” Glass and Fallout complete the trilogy.

Recovery Road by Blake Nelson

“Madeline has a drinking problem and anger issues, so she’s sent away to Spring Meadows, a rehab center in a row of rehab centers known as Recovery Road. On a weekly movie night in town she meets Stewart, who’s dealing with demons of his own. It’s an intense time, and the two of them come together intensely.

When Madeline gets out of rehab, she tries to get back on her feet, and waits for Stewart to join her. When he does, though, it’s not the ideal reunion that Madeline has dreamed of. Both of them still have serious problems. And love seems more like a question than an answer.

True and insightful, Recovery Road is a story about finding the right person at the worst possible time. And loving that person anyway. No matter what.”

Out of Reach by Carrie Arcos

“Rachel has always idolized her older brother Micah. He struggles with addiction, but she tells herself that he’s in control. And she almost believes it. Until the night that Micah doesn’t come home.

Rachel’s terrified—and she can’t help but feel responsible. She should have listened when Micah tried to confide in her. And she only feels more guilt when she receives an anonymous note telling her that Micah is nearby and in danger.

With nothing more to go on than hope and a slim lead, Rachel and Micah’s best friend, Tyler, begin the search. Along the way, Rachel will be forced to confront her own dark secrets, her growing attraction to Tyler…and the possibility that Micah may never come home.”

Clean by Amy Reed

“Olivia, Kelly, Christopher, Jason, and Eva have one thing in common: They’re addicts. Addicts who have hit rock bottom and been stuck together in rehab to face their problems, face sobriety, and face themselves. None of them wants to be there. None of them wants to confront the truths about their pasts. And they certainly don’t want to share their darkest secrets and most desperate fears with a room of strangers. But they’ll all have to deal with themselves—and one another—if they want to learn how to live. Because when you get that high, there’s nowhere to go but down, down, down.”

We All Fall Down by Nic Sheff

“This New York Times bestselling memoir of a young man’s addiction to methamphetamine tells a raw, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful tale of the road from relapse to recovery and complements his father’s parallel memoir, Beautiful Boy.

Nic Sheff was drunk for the first time at age eleven. In the years that followed, he would regularly smoke pot, do cocaine and Ecstasy, and develop addictions to crystal meth and heroin. Even so, he felt like he would always be able to quit and put his life together whenever he needed to. It took a violent relapse one summer in California to convince him otherwise. In a voice that is raw and honest, Nic spares no detail in telling us the compelling, heartbreaking, and true story of his relapse and the road to recovery. As we watch Nic plunge the mental and physical depths of drug addiction, he paints a picture for us of a person at odds with his past, with his family, with his substances, and with himself. It’s a harrowing portrait—but not one without hope.”

Zoo Station by Christiane F.

“In 1978 Christiane F. testified against a man who had traded heroin for sex with teenage girls at Berlin’s notorious Zoo Station. In the course of that trial, Christiane F. became connected with two journalists, and over time they helped to turn her story—which begins with a dysfunctional but otherwise fairly normal childhood—into an acclaimed bestseller. Christiane F.’s rapid descent into heroin abuse and prostitution is shocking, but the boredom, the longing for acceptance, the thrilling risks, and even the musical obsessions that fill out the rest of Christiane’s existence will be familiar to every reader. Christiane F.’s Berlin is a strange and often terrifying place, but it’s also a place that remains closer than we might think….”

 

 

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak Celebrates 10th Anniversary March 8, 2016

Filed under: Books,Uncategorized — Heather @ 6:31 pm
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It’s hard to believe it’s been TEN YEARS since the publication of Marcus Zusak’s modern classic The Book Thief. This is the book that took 2006 by storm.

book thief cover

Here are just some of the honors awarded:

  • 2006: Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book (South East Asia & South Pacific)
  • 2006: School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
  • 2006: Daniel Elliott Peace Award
  • 2006: Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book of the Year
  • 2006: National Jewish Book Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature
  • 2006: Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book
  • 2007: Michael L. Printz Honor Book The Printz award is given to the best book for teens, based only on the quality of the writing.
  • 2007: Book Sense Book of the Year Award for Children’s Literature

If you’ve never read it – here’s your chance. If, like me, it’s one of your favorites, pick it up and revisit some old friends. Set in Nazi Germany, The Book Thief tells the story of young Liesl Meminger, orphaned and sent to live with Hans and Rosa Hubermann. Liesl loves books and becomes adept at stealing them, even though she can’t read. Follow Liesl, her best friend Rudy Steiner, as they navigate the dangerous war years. Narrated by the ever-present Death, The Book Thief is a story that stays with you long after the pages have turned.

 

 

Cross-Platform Mobile Apps July 14, 2014

Filed under: Tech Talk — Heather @ 6:11 pm
Tags: ,

Welcome to the wonderful world of apps! We are here to help you find the official, and most popular, apps available in the “Big Three” app markets (Apple, Google and Microsoft), accompanied by a brief description. Whether it is Microsoft, Apple, or Google, these thriving ecosystems have some common apps that appear in their respective stores. We will also include “Windows 8.x/Pro/RT” tag as the operating system for desktops/laptops/tablets has a Store built in. As a disclaimer: These apps are free to download but some of these services may require a subscription (will be noted) to use their services. Check back as there will be updates to these lists.

Photo/Social:

               Instagram – Part social, part photo filter, all fun! One of the most popular services for sharing your photos and videos, Instagram adds flare to all your photos with many filters, tilt effects, stickers frames, and more. Lastly, users can upload quick videos. This app can feed into your other social circle(s), like Facebook and Twitter, to share with your family and friends. Available on iOS and Android. It is BETA on Windows Phone 8.x – limitation is no video upload but the team promises it in future updates.

               Facebook – Considered the biggest social network on the planet. With more than a billion users globally, this network gives you the ability to share photos, create/comment on posts, play games, create events, and see an innovative timeline of your friends and family “lifespan”. The service is available in app form on all platforms: iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7.5/8.x, Windows 8.x/Pro/RT.

               Twitter – Another excellent network to interact with other members such as celebrities. In some cases they may tweet you back! You “follow” people and some “follow” you back, which creates a feed. This service provides quick news updates, as well as being social with other people using hashtags, links, and other methods. Available on iOS, Windows Phone 7.5/8.x, Windows 8.x/Pro/RT, Android.

Vine – Owned by Twitter, created by you in 6 seconds! This mobile app is strictly video sharing. What makes this unique is the limitation of how short video clips need to be, which is 6 seconds. Users can share, comment, and favorite your videos. Adding to the appeal, sites have been created to pay homage to this service compiling “best of…” videos. Available on iOS, Windows Phone 8.x, Android

               Path – This is a lesser known network but growing nonetheless. Billed as an alternative to Facebook, this service aims to streamline content and be more personal to you without the barrage of ads, sponsored posts, and other content that tends to clog up your Facebook feeds. Path is also aimed to take the very best parts of Twitter and Facebook to give a simpler and easier user experience. Available in iOS, Windows Phone 8.x, Android

Pinterest – Social network dedicated in creating virtual corkboards. You “pin” your interests such as photos, recipes, and other materials. This site is excellent for gift ideas as well as projects for school, work, or for fun. You can follow people for quick access to see what your friends are pinning. Must be a registered member to surf the corkboards. Available on iOS, Android, and BETA for Windows Phone 8.x.

News/Weather:

               The Weather Channel – This is the official weather app from The Weather Channel. It is your one stop app to give your local weather forecast, extended forecasts, and radar maps. You can add various locations from across the globe too. Available of iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7.5/8.x, Windows 8.x/Pro/RT.

               NBC News/CNN/FOX News Media – These apps all provide users with late breaking news as well as editorials, videos, photos, and other information from these leading news sources. Each app offers something a little different, but in the end you get your news. All provide push notifications, and ability to integrate into each respective platform. All for the news junkies (like myself!). All available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8.x, Windows 8.x/Pro/RT.

E-readers/Media:

               Amazon Kindle – Most popular app for reading e-books, newspapers, magazines, and listening to audiobooks. This app syncs with your Amazon account, so the user can send any newspaper, magazine, book or audiobook, either purchased or borrowed, from the Amazon store to those devices. Available on Android, iOS, Windows Phone 7.5/8.x, Windows 8.x/Pro/RT

               Overdrive Media Console – This app is a portal to your local library. You can browse all the e-books and audiobooks your local participating library has to offer. You can place holds, check books/audio in and out and has a built in player for audiobooks. Available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7.5/8.x, Windows 8.x/Pro/RT

Audible, Inc. – This service, owned by Amazon, is strictly a collection of audiobooks, radio podcasts and audio versions of popular news magazines. You can choose from over 150,000 titles and listen to as many as you like. The catch is this is a subscription-based service, even though the app itself is free. Available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7.5/8.x, Windows 8.x/Pro/RT

Barnes & Noble Nook – A direct competitor to Amazon, the Nook app is a portal for all this B&N. The user can purchase/download content much like the Kindle app. It also syncs with your B&N account to update all your electronic purchases. Available on iOS, Android, and Windows 8.x/Pro/RT (NOT AVAILABLE on Windows Phone)

Music:

Xbox Music – This app taps into the entire music collection that Microsoft offers. Competing with Apple iTunes & Google Play Music, Xbox Music aims for a subscription model and offers unlimited downloads and streaming to your favorite devices. Certain caveats to use the service on mobile devices include the requirement of Xbox Music Pass which is their subscription service. Free accounts . Available apps on iOS & Android.  BUILT INTO Windows Phone 8.x & Windows 8.x/Pro/RT.

Slacker Radio – One of my personal favorite music apps. Streams music directly to your device. Curated by the “geniuses” at Slacker Radio, Inc., the service offers many stations for you to listen to for free. They do offer two subscription-based plans called Radio Plus and Radio Premium . Free plans offer a limited, 6 skips per station, and ad-supported music. Overall Very good choice for a “set it and forget it” listening. Also has a search function to find your favorite artists, and will intelligently find similar artists to build a custom station. Available on Windows Phone 7.5/8.x, Windows 8.x/Pro/RT, iOS, and Android.

Pandora – One of the most popular music apps, and billed as music “personalized for you”. The user can curate their own stations, like and dislike artists/songs, and discover new music. This is a way for Pandora to track your listening habits and become more customized for your tastes in music. You are required to have a Pandora music account, but basic users can listen to ad-supported streams for free. Also offers a subscription-based plan for ad-free music via Pandora One; this service costs $4.99/month. Available on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 8.x.

Spotify – Another great service for streaming music with over 40 million subscribers, including 10 million premium members. Users can join for free or join their Premium Subscription plan to for unlimited, commercial free music. Also, listeners with premium accounts can enjoy music offline by downloading them to your connected device. Paid membership fee is $9.99/month. Lastly, connecting this service to your Facebook account will unlock its “social” aspects. Your friends can see what tracks/mixes you published to your timeline. It asks to use your Facebook account to log in  Available on Windows Phone 8.x, Android, and iOS.

Messaging/Video:

WeChat – This is a very popular app with 400+ million users globally. This app makes it easy to communicate with other users from around the globe. You can send voice notes, pictures, video and text.  A cool feature, called “Message in a Bottle”, lets users “throw” a virtual bottle into the digital ocean for a user to read (or hear if you send a voice message). There are many other features to check out that are more social networking. Mainly popular in Asia but gaining traction in other territories.  Available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7.5/8.x.

WhatsApp – Most widely known messaging app globally, with over 500 million active users. This app also lets users send and receive voice notes, texts, and pictures. This service has a 1 year free subscription which after that will charge $0.99 a year to continue using WhatsApp. They also note on their site that uninstalling and reinstalling the app will not reset 1 free year subscription. Lastly, this service is now owned by Facebook, Inc. Available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7.5/8.x.

Skype – One of the pioneers in cross platform messaging and video chatting apps around. Began as an independent company before being acquired by Microsoft in 2011, this service lets users send text messages as well as video calling with loved ones across the globe.  There is a subscription version of the software reserved for internet calling to users domestically and international; usually pay for the minutes. Free for just video chat with one user, and texting. Excellent choice for businesses as well as casual users. Available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7.5/8.x, Windows 8.x/Pro/RT.

Viber – An excellent app for the traveler. This app enables users to send pictures/texts over the web as well as make free domestic voice calls over Wi-Fi to other Viber users. Users can send “stickers” with their texts too. Also offer cheap international plans for calling abroad. Lastly, a user can call someone outside Viber network, for a small fee. Available on iOS,Android, Windows Phone 7.5/8.x, Windows 8.x/Pro/RT.