Sunday, October 31, 2010

Giveaway in its last few hours!!! Join Today!!

It is getting closer to the day of the Awesome Giveaway!!!  If you are a follower of my blog by 7:00 PM Central Time on Nov. 1, you are automatically entered into the contest.  It you would like additional entries, check out the options below.  The first contest will be for anyone, no matter where you live!!  It is my way of thanking everyone for taking the time to follow my blog.  I will be giving away one book regardless of the number of followers.  So, even if I don't reach 50, I am still going to give away one book!!!!

The rules:
1.  Become a follower of my Blog. +2
2.  Recommend a friend to join my Blog. +1 for every friend that joins.  Post a comment letting me know who your friend is so I know to give you your bonus points.
3.  Post a comment to one or more of my blog postings. +1
4.  Add my blog address to your blog. +1  Post a message if you do this with your blog name so I can check it out, and join your blog if I have not done so!

On Monday, Nov. 1, I will put everyone's names into and choose one name for every 50 followers I have on my blog on 11/1.  You will get multiple entries by doing the above 1-4.

The first name drawn will have first choice of books I have to offer.  If there are 100 followers, I will choose two names through 

Let me know if you have any questions about the rules.  I think I have covered everything.  This is my first giveaway, so this is all new to me....but alot of fun!!!
Books available(all are autographed by the author):
Zombies vs. UnicornsAutographed by Holly Black--Hard Cover

Dexter by Design: A Novel (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)Autographed by Jeff Lindsay--Paperback
The Princess DiariesAutographed by Meg Cabot--Paperback

Forge (Seeds of America)Autographed by Laurie Halse Anderson--Hard cover--1st edition


Happy Halloween!!!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Jim Shore, Laura DiSilverio and Hilary Davidson...Oh, My!

 What a busy day!!!  My Aggies beat the Raiders and I am looking forward to Baylor giving UT a run for their money!!  Yes, I am a huge football fan!  LOL
But, I was not sitting around the tv watching football all day.  I was out doing a little Christmas shopping and listening to a couple of authors discussing their debut books.

I started my day at the Hallmark store where Jim Shore was signing figurines.  If you have not ever heard of him, I highly recommend you check out his website.  He has some of the absolute cutest stuff I have ever seen!  I especially love his Disney figurines.  I am going to get on my soapbox for a minute here.  I went in and asked what the rules were and was told he would sign two pieces per person.  I had my daughter with me, thank goodness, so I dutifully picked out my four pieces and went to get in line.  The problem, the line moved incredibly slow because people had six to ten pieces they were getting signed and they were there by themselves!!  I have no problems with stipulations to signings, but if you are going to set the limits then stick to them!!  I would have loved to pick up a couple more pieces to be signed but I did what was told only to have to stand in line twice as long because I as about the only one that did!
Me with Jim Shore
Two of the figurines I bought today.  The other two are too cute, but Christmas presents so I have to keep them under wraps.
Jim's signature

Anyway, because of this I was late to Murder by the Book to hear the first of two authors.  If anyone is at all familiar with the store, you know that one co-owner recently died very suddenly.  I did ask someone there today whom I have seen at the store several times for book signings and he said that David had a clot which caused a massive coronary.  Very sad for the store and the community.

Laura DiSilverio was the first author.  She has a new mystery book out called Swift Justice.  This is the first in the series and she stated that the second is on the way to the publisher soon.  Laura is a former Lt. Colonel in the Air Force.  When asked why she turned down the Col. offer, she stated that she had two small children and was no longer willing to go overseas for extended periods of time.  She also stated that she had always wanted to write and she felt that the time had come, so she retired from the Air Force and became a full time mom and writer.  She also has another book out that is a cozy mystery called Tressed to Kill(Southern Beauty Shop) under the pen name Lila Dare.  When asked why that book was written under a pseudonym, she said that Berkley wanted rights to the name and she wanted to publish other books under her real name, so she was not about to let a publisher own her name.  Both books sound fun to read.  I look forward to reading her current and future books!
Tressed to Kill (Southern Beauty Shop)Swift Justice: A Mystery

Me and Laura DiSilverio

After a quick trip to Rice Village for an early dinner and a trip to the British Isles store, we headed back to Murder by the Book for the second author of the day, Hilary Davidson.  If the name sounds familiar, she has written numerous short stories as well as a number of travel books for Frommer and numerous articles for travel magazines.  Her first novel is entitled The Damage Done.  Hilary was an absolute joy!  Not to take away from Laura, but remember Laura is a former Air Force Lt. Col. and Laura is a travel journalist.  You can't find two more different people on one day!  Laura is originally from Canada and now lives in New York.  As you can see from the picture below, she is just precious and has a personality to match.  She does, however, have short stories that are quite disturbing according to one audience member.  Her short stories can be found in such magazines as Thuglit if that tells you anything!  She let us know that her sequel is written and will be to the editor shortly.  She talked a little about her own writing and said that with her first novel, she did try to stick to an outline, but found herself re-writing the outline quite often so with the next novel she only stuck to the outline for about a third of the book.  She said she often knows the beginning and the end, but the middle is what tends to change frequently during her edits and re-writes.  If you have a chance, I strongly encourage you to go and listen to her speak, she was a lot of fun to listen to!  I have put her blog link below the book, so check her out!

The Damage Done

Hilary reading from her novel.
Me and Hilary Davidson.

It was a great day and now it is time to settle in for the evening to watch the Baylor take care of UT!!  LOL

Friday, October 29, 2010

Blog Hop Friday!!! My Favorite Day of the Week!!

This is my second week to hop on the blog hop, I had a great time last week and look forward to joining more blogs this week.  I have seen some great blogs and love all the diversity I am seeing!

If you are stopping by on your hop today, THANK YOU!!!  Please also check out the two giveaways I have going on right now.  You can find the information to the right under Awesome Giveaway! and The Girl Who Became a Beatle. 

No for my answer to this weeks question:
If you have, or would have a daughter, what book would you want your daughter to read?
I do have a 14-year-old daughter and if you read some of my past entries, you will see that I speak of her often.  I have always been an avid reader and thankfully she is too!!  My first book that I recommended to her once she started reading chapter books was Island of the Blue Dolphins.  That was my absolute favorite book growing up!

Island of the Blue Dolphins
The other books would have to be anything by Judy Blume.  I grew up reading her books and loved them all!

Have a great Friday!  Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

On This Day in History...and other reminders

I am getting a late start tonight, it has been a long week.

I am so excited to see a few more followers every day!!  Don't forget, everyone that is a follower of my blog by Monday, Nov.1 will be entered to win your choice of one of four autographed books I picked up at the Texas Book Festival a few weeks ago.  I have decided to give one away regardless of whether or not I have made 50 followers to thank those of you that have joined my new blog!!  Your choices can be found at the right in the entry entitled Awesome Giveaway!

I will also be giving away The Girl Who Became a Beatle on Nov. 8.  You will need to complete the form to be entered into that giveaway.

I will have more giveaways to announce once I return from YALSA next weekend.

What was going on today in History...

In 1886, The Statue of Liberty, a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States, was dedicated in New York Harbor by President Grover Cleveland.

In 1919, Congress passed the Volstead Act over President Woodrow Wilson's veto. The Volstead Act provided for the enforcement of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, also known as the Prohibition Amendment.

In 1905, George Bernard Shaw's play Mrs. Warren's Profession, which dealt frankly with prostitution, is performed at the Garrick Theater in New York. The play, Shaw's second, had been banned in Britain. After only one performance, puritanical authorities in New York had the play closed. On October 31, the producer and players were arrested for obscenity, but a court case against the play failed to convict playwright, producer, or actors. Although some private productions were held, the show wasn't legally performed in Britain until 1926.
Mrs. Warren's Profession

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Girl Who Became a Beatle ARC giveaway

I will be giving away an ARC of The Girl Who Became a Beatle by Greg Taylor on Nov. 8.  If you would like to be entered into the giveaway, complete the form below.
The Girl Who Became a Beatle


Follow the below link to sign up for the Firelight Giveaway.  This blogger is doing her first giveaway as well!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday's Teachings--Should we Censor our Children

I have been reading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series.  My 14-year-old daughter has asked me more than once if she could read the books.  I am the first to say that I rarely, if ever, keep my child from reading anything she wants to read.  I am not at all for banning books of any type, I am all for freedom of speech and freedom of choice.  My mother never kept me from reading any books I chose to read and I truly believe that is why I continue to be such an avid reader today. 

However, with that it our duty as parents to shelter our children from some of the horrors that are detailed in some books?  I remember reading the Flowers in the Attic series in middle school and being completely enthralled by the things that I was reading about.. if you have not read the series, you really need to read them!  I remember having long conversations with friends about incest, being held hostage and the such.  I think the books were definitely a growing experience for all of us that read them.

I know that books are rated for a reason, but if my daughter has a curiosity, do I allow her to read a book that may not be age-appropriate?  I will say that, thankfully, she could not get through the first chapter because of all the rather large swedish words(places and names). 

I definitely have my opinions about this and I say, yes, she should be allowed to read whatever she chooses.  However, as a parent, it is also my job to discuss the sensitive information with her and discuss what it right or wrong.  As a teacher, I have no problem discussing anything with my child, or anyone else's child for that matter.  However, if a parent is not comfortable discussing sensitive issues, then maybe they should monitor more closely what their child is reading. 

My opinion is that I have my opinions on what is appropriate for my child and you have your opinions about what is best for your child.  Secretly, I am thankful she chose not to read the series, but I would not have kept her from doing it.  With that said, I would also not encourage my daughter's friends to read the book but rather tell them to check with their parents first.  I think my bottom line is this...I respect your opinion with regards to your child even if I don't agree with it and expect the same respect in return with regards to my child as well as everyone else's children.

What are your thoughts??

Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday's Musings

Don't forget that my first giveaway will be next Monday, Nov. 1.  The following Monday, I will be giving away an Advanced Reader Copy of The Girl Who Became a Beatle by Greg Taylor.  I recently received the ARC from MacMillan and have too many books to read right now, so I will pass this one on to one lucky winner.  The book does not come out until February, so you will be one of the first to have a copy.  Greg is also the author of Killer Pizza.

The Girl Who Became a Beatle

I will be in Albequerque, NM, Nov. 5-7 at the YALSA's Young Adult Literature Symposium.  There are over 35 Young Adult authors attending the conference so I am sure to come home with lots of swag!

Miami, Fl will be hosting a HUGE book festival Nov. 14-21.  If only I had the time, and money, to head that way for the weekend!!  There are hundreds of authors attending the festival.  If you live that way and plan to go, I would love to hear about it!

Lincoln Pierce, author of the Big Nate children's books will be at Blue Willow Bookshop on Wednesday of this week here in Houston.  If you would like a signed copy of his book, you can call the book shop and they will get one sent out to you.

Rachel Caine will be signing book at Murder By the Book in Houston on Tuesday.  She below for the information.  I can't make this one, so I will definitely be calling for her latest novel!

Tuesday, October 26, 6:30 p.m.
Rachel Caine
New York Times best-selling young adult author Rachel Caine will launch her national book tour for the latest Morganville Vampires novel, Ghost Town (NAL; $17.99), at Houston's Murder By The Book the book's on-sale date!
While developing a new system to maintain Morganville’s defenses, student Claire Danvers discovers a way to amplify vampire mental powers. Through this, she’s able to re-establish the field around this vampire-infested Texas college town that protects it from outsiders. But the new upgrades have an unexpected consequence: people inside the town begin to slowly forget who they are—even the vampires. Soon, the town’s little memory problem has turned into a full-on epidemic. Now Claire needs to figure out a way to pull the plug on her experiment—before she forgets how to save Morganville.

And finally, for those of you that need a little pick-me-up this last Monday in October....

I see my face in the mirror and go, 'I'm a Halloween costume? That's what they think of me?
Drew Carey

Ghosts, like ladies, never speak till spoke to.
- - -Richard Harris Barham

Ghosts, like ladies, never speak till spoke to.
- - -Richard Harris Barham

Ghosts, like ladies, never speak till spoke to.
- - -Richard Harris Barham

Ghosts, like ladies, never speak till spoke to.
- - -Richard Harris Barham

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Awesome Giveaway--11/1/2010

I love books and I am so excited to be able to share my love of books with others.  I recently spent two days at the Texas Book Festival and came home with a number of books to give away. 

The rules:
1.  Become a follower of my Blog. +2
2.  Recommend a friend to join my Blog. +1 for every friend that joins.  Post a comment letting me know who your friend is so I know to give you your bonus points.
3.  Post a comment to one or more of my blog postings. +1
4.  Add my blog address to your blog. +1  Post a message if you do this with your blog name so I can check it out, and join your blog if I have not done so!

On Monday, Nov. 1, I will put everyone's names into and choose one name for every 50 followers I have on my blog on 11/1.  You will get multiple entries by doing the above 1-4.

The first name drawn will have first choice of books I have to offer.  If there are 100 followers, I will choose two names through 

Let me know if you have any questions about the rules.  I think I have covered everything.  This is my first giveaway, so this is all new to me....but alot of fun!!!

The books not chosen will be given away at another time.

Books available(all are autographed by the author):

Zombies vs. UnicornsAutographed by Holly Black--Hard Cover

Dexter by Design: A Novel (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)Autographed by Jeff Lindsay--Paperback

The Princess DiariesAutographed by Meg Cabot--Paperback

Forge (Seeds of America)Autographed by Laurie Halse Anderson--Hard cover--1st edition

Friday, October 22, 2010

Texas Book Festival-Day 2

We started day 2 with Jeffrey Zaslow, author of numerous biographies.  I was looking forward to listening to him, but the acoustics in the Senate Chamber of the Capitol building was awful and we were in a back corner, so it was difficult to hear what he had to say.  We hurrried off to have our books signed by him, only to discover I had left my camera in the Senate Chamber so sadly I have no picture with Jeffrey.  I did wait until my books were signed to head back to find the camera.  It was sitting on the floor, thank goodness, so I grabbed it up and headed to the session I was looking most forward to that day, Not All That Noir:Wickedly Funny Crime Fiction, only to be turned away because the session was full!  The day was not starting out well!  We sit down and look at the schedule and decide to go and get a couple of Llama, Llama books and have them signed for Christmas presents.  Well, those books were sold out....hmmmmmm! 

What to do when you can't get anything right?  Eat!  So, we had lunch and headed to the signing tent to see who was there.  I stood in line for several signatures and then we went to the cooking tent to wait for Claire Robinson's session.  As I said earlier, my daughter is a huge Food Network fan!  The crowds were much larger on Sunday so we sat off to the side and read while we waited for her session.  We entered the tent, took our seats and were entertained by her cooking and talking skills!  Again, off to the signing tent for Claire's signature in her cookbook.  We ended the day with Holly Black signing Unicorns Vs. Zombies before retiring to the hotel.

Claire Robinson cooking.

Me with Claire Robinson.  Isn't she precious!(Claire, not me.  LOL)

All in all, it was a really fun weekend.  I look forward to doing it again next year! 
Tomorrow I will announce what books I have to give away.  I need to go through my bags and pull them out so you know what your choices are once I reach at least 50 followers!  I have quite a few autographed books for you guys to choose from.  So, if I have 100 followers on 11/1, I will choose two names through  The first name will get first choice of books and so forth.  Let me know if you have any questions about the giveaway.  It will be my first one!

Blog Hop Friday

I am wanting to build my following, so I am hopping on the Blog Hop.  I hope you like what you see and will become a follower.  I have just started blogging, so this is all new to me!  I am hopping on along to the next blog.  Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

An Evening with Alton Brown

My 14-year-old daughter absolutely loves the Food Network.  She watches it almost exclusively and can you just about anything about any of the shows or people on the network.  I will watch it with her every so often, but I don't like to cook and don't particularly care to watch others cook.  So, when I first told her about the Texas Book Festival, she was not all that excited.  When I told her several Food Network chefs would be there, she changed her mind.  We checked the website everyday because we needed to reserve tickets to his event.  I even donated to the festival so that we could have reserved seats!  So, Sarah and another friend's daughter moved patiently through the lines with me all day in anticipation for the BIG EVENT...Alton Brown. 

We had dinner, walked back to the hotel, got the car and headed to Whole Foods a few streets over.  We left in plenty of time to get great seats!  Problem #1--He was appearing at Central Market, not Whole Foods.  I got directions from a precious teenager working at Whole Foods and headed to Central Market...35 blocks away.  We were making good time and got to Lamar and 35th Street fairly quickly but do not see Central Market anywhere.  My child is screaming, I am panicking and I wish at that moment that I could find my darn GPS!  I call my oldest and dearest friend that lives in Austin and who's child is with me and explain the situation.  She eventually gets us where we need to 7:20...reserved tickets were being released at 7:15.  I drop the girls at the door hoping they will get in and head to find a parking space.  I get a call from said daughter complaining that there are no more seats and that the night was ruined!  I park get inside, after walking past about 300 fans standing outside that won't be getting in and find the child.  We ask where we can sit and several volunteers shrug their shoulders and move on.  So, what do I do, march myself right up front and park it on the floor in front of the front row of seats.  To my amazement, we were never asked to move!! 

Alton came out shortly after we sat in cowboy boots, brown pants and a button down shirt.  My first thought was,"He is much thinner than I imagined!".  He did not have a format, he simply answered questions from the audience.  I don't like this for two reasons: 1.  People rarely know how to ask interesting questions, and 2.  Authors tend to pick children.  I was really hoping to learn more about the reason he decided to produce a show that is filled with science and history as well as food but instead I learned that he does not eat dessert, his favorite fruit is avocado, he does not disciminate between thick and thin crust pizza and if he were to pick a vegetable for a science experiment, it would be brussel sprouts.  Interesting stuff, huh?? 

He did state that he produces, writes and edits his show...control freak I would say.  He failed science in high school and blamed it on the teachers.  He decided to do his show because there were no really good educational shows on Food Network and that he does not like it that Guy Fieri gets to do all the traveling shows.  Ok, so what did I like about Alton Brown?  He let parents with small children get in line to meet him and have their books autographed first and despite the fact that there were literally 500+ people both inside and waiting outside, he said that he would be there until the last person had their book signed.  That goes a long way with me.  Nothing irritates me more when an author comes and then says he will only sign 100 books or something like that.  

My daughter and her friend thoroughly enjoyed the evening and we came home with four very expensive books with Alton's autograph and pictures to boot.  Overall, it was an ok evening.  Check out a few pictures below.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Texas Book Festival-Day One

After an awesome concert Friday night and a brief stopover in Brenham, we made our way to Austin.  I must first tell you...I don't like crowds.  I avoid nightclubs and the such because the crowds make me nervous.  So, you may be asking yourself, why on earth do you attend concerts?!?!  Well, I deal with them the best I can in that situation because I love music!  Anyway, the reason I tell you this is beacuse I am always a little nervous when I go to something for the first time because I don't know what to expect as far as crowds go.  Fortunately, the crowds were at a comfortable level and off I went! 

I started my day with Laurie Halse Anderson.  She is such an interesting person, I always enjoy listening to her speak.  She shared some interesting facts about herself, including the fact that if she were a teenager today, she would be the teenager with tattoos and piercings from head to toe!!!  She did not enjoy school, but she does contribute her attending school to one teacher that spoke to her and looked her in the eyes everyday that helped her get through the years.  She spoke about several of her books, including the anger she felt when Speak brought controversy in Missouri and thanked all of her fans for all the support she received.  She spent most of the time speaking about her new book, Forge.  She does love history and stated that she feels that it is so important to teach history, including the true stories of slavery, to our children.  She was excellent, as usual!

I then headed over to the the signing tent to have Laurie sign a couple of books and then moved on to the children's signing tent to meet Meg Cabot.  Although I was unable to sit in on her session, she signed our books and took pictures with us. 

From there, lunch and then off to the Paramount Theater to hear Jeff Lindsay.  Jeff was probably my favorite author session.  He came in in shorts, tennis shoes and a button down shirt...typical Florida!!  LOL  He was funny and charming and answered all questions honestly and with that dry humor I love so much about him.  He did say that he is working on his 6th Dexter book.  When asked how much of him is in Dexter, he stated that he feels like there is a little bit of him in all his characters.  He did say that he had felt like an outsider all his life and can relate to Dexter's character in that aspect.  I must admit that I found the Dexter Showtime series before I found the Dexter books.  Jeff did say that he was very thankful for the series, but was not all that impressed with the series so far this season as it had become a little too melodramatic.  For those that have not read the books, the first book follows pretty close to the series, but the series goes a different direction soon after that.  The books are intense yet charming and you can't help but picture Michael C Hall as you read the books.  Jeff did report that he felt that Hall was the perfect choice for the series.

All in all it was a good day.  If you have ever been to a festival like this, you know that it is nearly impossible to fit in all the sessions and signings that you would like to, so I spent more time in the signing tent than I did in sessions. 

Want to know how the session with Alton Brown went?  Tune is coming!

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Day Has Finally Arrived!


 I can't believe the day has finally arrived for me to head to Austin for my first ever Texas Book Festival!!  We will be making a pitstop at the Woodlands Pavillion tonight for the Nickelback concert(I do have my priorities!) but then off to Austin we go!  Stay tuned for pictures and check back on Monday to see what books I have picked up for you!

  Love Dexter as much as I do?  I plan on coming home with a signed book or two!

Laurie in one of my favorite YA authors and she will be speaking bright and early Saturday morning.  A signed copy of Forge should be coming your way!

   My daughter loves Alton Brown.  If you watch the Food Network at all, you know that he is everywhere!  We are looking forward to hanging out with him on Saturday night in our specially reserved seating!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Booklist's Top 10 First Novels for 2010--Young Adult

From the name, you can figure out that Booklist makes, well lots of lists, for Librarians each year.  The current list is the Top 10 Young Adult debut novels for 2010.  Sadly, I have only read one of them....I need to get busy checking out the rest!

Anthill: A NovelBarnacle LoveBloodroot

Born Under a Million Shadows: A Novel
The Girl Who Fell from the Sky
Ilustrado: A NovelKapitoil: A Novel (P.S.)

CrossingRich BoyRuby's Spoon: A Novel