Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Put Me in the Story giveaway!

One of my very first memories is unloading the entire Berenstain Bears shelf at the library into our book bag to take home. The librarian didn't say a word and despite the length and wordiness of each book, my mom and I sprawled out on the living room floor and read every single one over and over. It was hours of reading, without a single complaint from my mom about spending so much time in the land of that bear family, and an awesome memory was implanted.

Many of my memories of growing up include books and the reading lifestyle I created for myself. Books make amazing memories and they're instantly what I go to when needing to buy gifts -- as do most of you! Finding that special book for each child on my list is my favorite part of shopping during the holidays.

When Sourcebooks contacted me about hosting this contest for Put Me In a Story, I jumped on it. Personalized books make that gift even more special, as it's obvious you were thinking exactly of that particular child when you chose it. Books were such a treasured position in my own childhood, that I really wanted to help one of you make a great memory with your own kids. They have a huge range of titles for you to chose from and below you could win one of 50 copies or a $500 shopping spree!

I had the chance to chose a book to be personalized and because a very special little girl in our lives is having a birthday soon, Doc McStuffins: A Knight in Sticky Armor  is being personalized just for her! I know she's going to love it.

Simply fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter to win! All winners will be chosen on December 6th. If you choose to Tweet about this contest, be sure to use #BookMagic! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 7, 2014

While Beauty Slept review

A reimagined telling of the famous Sleeping Beauty story, Blackwell has given us a beautiful novel filled with backstory and details on all the characters within reach of who "Sleeping Beauty" really was. Told from the perspective of a young girl, Elise, raised in poverty and eventually ending up in service at the castle, we are able to watch the story unfold from the eyes of an insider to royalty. 

Fairy tale retellings are some of my very favorite books and with While Beauty Slept, Elizabeth Blackwell has rocketed to the top of my favorites list. I loved the story, with the cozy feeling it managed to evoke despite the darkness in the story, and managed to read it in one sitting -- no small feat with an almost 3-year-old. The setting, the incredible descriptions, and an amazing cast of characters has made this a book I'm going to recommend again and again. 

Thanks to Penguin for the review copy! 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Brave Mom by Sherry Surratt

As most of you know, I'm the coordinator for my local chapter of MOPS International. It's an amazing position to hold -- leading over 40 women in biweekly meetings of fellowship, prayer, crafts, speakers, and just a good, relaxing experience. I feel completely overwhelmed with the passion I have for helping these women experience a couple hours of escape from mom-life. It's amazing.

Sherry Surratt is the President of MOPS International and Brave Mom is the theme book this year. It's filled with great advice for the us moms, battling through the trenches of raising little ones, and focusing on ten of our biggest fears as mothers. I can always use encouragement direct from Scripture, as well as from a seasoned mom.

Nothing in the book was new information to me or totally attention-grabbing, but it was a nice read to confirm that my fears as a mom are completely normal and reiterated practical ways to get over them and move on. Would make a great gift for a new mom!

Thanks to Zondervan for the review copy!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Readathon: End of Event Meme

This 24hrs went by so quickly! I ended up going to sleep around 12am, but was back up at 5:30 when E decided to wake up for the day. Typically, Sunday is my day to sleep in (meaning 7:30), but today the husband got a 2nd day of extra rest, so I could finish up a book!

I had a lot of fun, knocked a bunch of books off my TBR, and had a great time connecting with new bloggers around the world. This readathon is unlike anything else I participate in and I'm definitely going to make it a priority from now on. Thanks to all the hosts and cheerleaders and organizers -- you guys are fantastic!

End of Event Meme

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

Around 11pm I began to really lose interest in my book. I just didn't want to look at pages anymore, so I slowly read a few more pages while watching an episode of Call the Midwife before crashing.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

Both Boxers and Saints were quick, graphic novel reads that kept me turning pages quickly.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

Nope, you guys are great! 

4. What do you think worked really well in this year's Read-a-thon?

I haven't participated for a few years, so this might not be new, but it seemed like the variety of mini-challenges was great. I didn't participate in a lot of them, just because I preferred sticking with my book, but they were fun!

5. How many books did you read?

5.5, plus some audio. 

6. What were the names of the books you read?

Boxers by Gene Luen Yang
Saints by Gene Luen Yang
Brave Mom by Sherry Surratt
Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer
Small Victories by Anne Lamott
2nd half of The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

7. Which did you enjoy least?

The Infinite Sea. The beginning was great, the middle and end totally lost me. 

8. How likely are you to participate again?

I absolutely will, as a Reader. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Readathon: Mid-Event Survey

Well, I've made it to the halfway mark! It's just about time for the little guy to go to bed, so I'll have to take a break here soon to tend to my bedtime duties, but otherwise, I'm going strong. I plan to read as long as I can tonight - probably 11-ish - and then get back up early tomorrow and finish up. I'm so glad I've checked all these books off my list!

From the main Read-A-Thon site:

1. What are you reading right now?

I'm about 1/4 into Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer and totally hooked. Glad I waited until this point to pick it up.

2. How many books have you read so far?

Belzhar will be my 5th. I've had a great mix of graphic novels and short non-fiction to keep me going, but the novels will definitely take me longer.

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-Thon?

Saints by Gene Luen Yang. Loved Boxers, so Saints will be next!

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

My husband was kind enough to take charge of our son for the day and planned lots of fun adventures out of the house. They did come back for nap time and now bedtime, and E insists I do those, so I've just taken short breaks. It's refreshing to look up from the pages for awhile anyway.

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-Thon, so far?

I'm surprised with how many books I've gone through. I've always been a fast reader, but in recent months I seem to have slowed way down. Guess staring at pages all day long has helped me speed back up!

Readathon: Update #1

Well, it's about 7.5 hours in and I'm loving this. It's such a great feeling to be back, enjoying this awesome readathon event with all of you!

I started with (and finished) Boxers by Gene Luen Yang and read the rest of The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey. Started and just finished Small Victories by Anne Lamott.  I've also been listening to Sarah Addison Allen's Garden Spells while reading blogs and scrolling through Twitter.

My husband had the child out for the morning -- guy date! -- but, quickly ran back home with a "readathon porch delivery" for me. Flowers from the farmers market and more coffee. The man knows the way to my heart. Let me read all day and deliver me coffee?? He's a keeper. They're heading back out soon for more fun, while I keep it parked here!

I did get outside for some exercise and audiobook listening. Walked to my library to pick up another graphic novel and when my book didn't want to cooperate, I listened to the awesome Read Aloud Revival podcast. I love that one and highly recommend checking it out!


Pages read: 814
Books finished: 3
Time spent reading/listening: 6 hours 35 minutes

Readathon: Starting Line

It's here! It's here! As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I haven't done a readathon in just about 3 years, so this one is a big deal for me. Having a husband willing to take total control of our toddler is awesome and I'm looking forward to a full day of reading and connecting with all of you. Ya'll are my people. :)

Coffee is brewed, book pile is stacked (and ebooks ready), and snacks are in the fridge! The opening meme was just posted and my answers are below. I'll do a few updates throughout the day. Happy reading, friends!

What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

I'm reading from Northern Virginia, just about 20 miles outside D.C. It's going to be a beautiful October day, so I'm sure I'll spend some time with my books on our back porch!

Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

Probably Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer. I've heard so many great things about it and I finally got my hands on a copy. I'll probably wait until I'm getting tired to start it and hope it wakes me up.

Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Eek. I don't have any interesting snacks this time around. I used to go all out with my readathon snack stash, but I'm happy enough to just be reading this year. I'm sure I'll have some popcorn at some point in the day, so I'll go with that one.

Tell us a little something about yourself!

I'm a self-proclaimed coffee addict, wife to an occasional reader, mom to a super-reader, and loved by an 8-year-old pit bull who will spend most of the day at my feet. She doesn't read, but she's a great cuddler. ;)

If you participated in the last readathon, what's one thing you'll do differently today?

It's been a few years, but I'm sticking with my past rules of taking lots of breaks to connect via Twitter and all of your blogs. That's part of the fun of this day! Can't wait to meet some new bloggers!