Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday - Starcrossed

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

By Josephine Angelini
Publication Date: May 31st 2011 by HarperTeen

How do you defy destiny?

Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.

As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.
Sounds so good!!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Sunday Salon - Family News

I'm late with my Salon post, but it's been a busy weekend and I really wanted to write about this, so I couldn't pre-write and schedule the post ahead of time. 

This is a book blog and I don't often share personal information with you, but there are times when I want you to get to know me better as a person, which I think is important in the blogging community.  So, I'm taking the opportunity to let you into my world a little bit today.

My husband and I embarked on an emotional journey yesterday.  We started the process of adoption.  Yesterday was our first training class.  We will go again next Saturday, then 2 weeknights and one more Saturday to fulfill the training requirements.  We will also be undergoing a home study along the way.  This decision has been a long time in the making.  You see, my husband has 2 children from a previous marriage and they have given us 5 beautiful grandchildren, but I've always wanted a child of my own.  Unfortunately, after many years of trying, lots of doctor visits and tears, we just aren't able to do so on our own.  Yes, we could go the in-vitro route, but it's expensive and not 100%.  We decided just to keep trying and if it happened, it happened.  Well, it hasn't, so here we are.

One of my teachers adopted a little boy last year, and she introduced me to Sans Pareil Center, who we are working with.  Sans Pareil does adoption with CPS as well as private adoptions.  Private is very costly, so we are going foster to adopt through CPS.  Our desire is to get an infant, foster until the CPS case is closed and then officially adopt him or her.  No, we don't have a gender preference.  We will be happy with whatever the Lord blesses us with.  We have been told that the process should go quickly, it will be emotional, sometimes stressful, but worth it in the end.  I will keep you posted.

One thing I do want to share with you is One Cause.  One Cause provides adoptive parents a way to raise funds for adoption related expenses in an easy way.  It allows people to earn contributions while shopping online.  Part of the money that is spent with everyday merchants is given back to the adopting family, from the National Adoption Foundation.  I'm sharing with you, the letter I sent to friends and family.

Dear Family and Friends,

We want to share our exciting news with you! We have decided to expand our family through adoption and are busily getting ready to welcome our new child!

For us, the difficult part of this process - other than the waiting - is the expense. As some of you may know, adoption expenses include agency fees, legal fees, document preparation costs, travel expenses and more. We have been saving some, but are still seeking ways to raise more funds for our wonderful venture.

We recently learned of a program through OneCause and the National Adoption Foundation that we think will help us make our adoption dream come true. OneCause is a nontraditional fundraising program that will help us earn the funds we need through everyday opportunities, such as shopping at hundreds of name-brand merchants online or in stores and catalogs, through purchasing gift certificates, by using the OneCause credit card, or through a variety of other easy programs.

We're really excited about this program and wanted to let you know that you can participate and help us build our family by becoming a member of OneCause. There's absolutely no cost or hassle to you - just do what you do every day and we will earn credit toward our adoption costs!

Here's How You Can Help

1. Become a registered member of OneCause. Simply go to and register as a OneCause member. This only takes a minute and you'll be on your way to helping us out.

2. Once you have registered, find the "Dues Crediting" field at the bottom of the online registration screen. You will see a field called "Benefiting." Enter our registered email address and your contributions will automatically begin to benefit us.

Our registered email address is:

3. Begin shopping at hundreds of OneCause merchants online, in stores, and through catalogs. You'll earn a merchant contribution on each purchase, a percentage of which will go toward our adoption credit. Remember to begin all of your online shopping at OneCause so we earn credit!

4. Consider signing up for and using the OneCause Visa card for all of your purchases. On every purchase you make with the card - no matter where you make it - the National Adoption Foundation earns a 1% contribution, part of which goes toward our adoption. To sign up, go to or call 1-800-297-1286 and use code 28B8. Once your card arrives, be sure to activate, register your card, and start shopping!

5. Ask us about other OneCause opportunities to help us earn adoption credit!

That's all there is to it!

Please call or email us with any questions you may have regarding our situation. We are always excited and happy to talk about this wonderful adventure. When our child arrives home to us, we will contact you with our happy news. Thank you so much for helping us bring our child home.

Thank you!
Willie and Shelly Burns

Register with OneCause and help us build our family!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Fill-Ins - 3/25/2011

1. Why does it always seem darker before the dawn?

2.Too much is equal to not enough, for some people.

3. My favorite breakfast includes waffles with strawberries.

4. Exposed was the last book I read that I absolutely loved.

5. I am SO glad today is Friday and it's only a 1/2 day with kids.

6. Sleep would make me feel better right now.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to possibly visiting friends who just had a baby, tomorrow my plans include PRIDE Training, for adoption and Sunday, I want to work outside!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Review: Stuart Murphy's I See I Learn Series

When I was a classroom teacher, I used Stuart Murphy's MathStart books to teach math concepts to my children.  Well, Mr. Murphy is back with a new series to help children learn skills important for school and life, called the I See I Learn series.  Thanks to Charlesbridge Publishing, I was fortunate to receive two of the books in the series, for review.

Author:  Stuart J. Murphy
Review Copy Provided byCharlesbridge Publishing

About the Book:  Sometimes Percy gets upset. He scowls and stamps his feet. But when he learns to take a deep breath, count to ten, and talk about his feelings, he can calm down. When Percy's not upset, he can have fun again! 

My Thoughts:  This is a great book to use with young children and teach who deal with frustration, being grouchy, being cranky and/or being angry.  It is all about emotional skills and what a child can do to deal with those appropriately and ultimately become happy again.  Children can relate to Percy because he feels as they would when they're upset.  Through the story, Percy teaches children how to stop being upset.  The colors are vivid in the illustrations, the pictures eye catching, and the print large enough for a read - aloud to children or for older children to read themselves.

I can see this book being used in classrooms and/or counselor's offices with children 2-7.  It is recommended for 2-5, but I think older children, maybe up to 2nd grade would enjoy it if used as a read - aloud to spark discussion.  One of the things I love about Stuart Murphy's books is the discussion questions that he adds at the end.  You won't have to come up with questions on your own, because they are provided for you.

Author:  Stuart J. Murphy
Review Copy Provided by:  Charlesbridge Publishing

About the Book:  Camille loves to build sand forts at the beach. But it's hard to build a big fort alone. Camille and her friends make a plan. They find that they can get more done--and have more fun--when they work together.  

My Thoughts:  Where Percy dealt with emotional skills in children, Camille's Team deals with social skills.  It teaches children how to work together.  There's even a plan that children can follow:  make a plan, work together, and share the fun.  In Stuart Murphy fashion, the pictures are vivid and eye catching, exactly what children like to see.

Again, there are discussion questions that lend themselves to opening up a classroom discussion or even a discussion with your young son or daughter.  This is a great series to help young children learn important life skills!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday - Red Glove

I am pleased to say that Rodeo Houston has come and gone for another year!  Not that I don't enjoy my volunteer time out there, because I do, it's just that it takes SO much of my time, that reading and blogging get put on the back burner.  I'm glad to be back in the blogging world and am anxious to share with you many of the books that I've been receiving for review.

 "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

By:  Holly Black
Publication:  April 5th 2011 by Margaret K. McElderry 

from Goodreads:  Curses and cons. Magic and the mob. In Cassel Sharpe's world, they go together. Cassel always thought he was an ordinary guy, until he realized his memories were being manipulated by his brothers. Now he knows the truth—he’s the most powerful curse worker around. A touch of his hand can transform anything—or anyone—into something else.

That was how Lila, the girl he loved, became a white cat. Cassel was tricked into thinking he killed her, when actually he tried to save her. Now that she's human again, he should be overjoyed. Trouble is, Lila's been cursed to love him, a little gift from his emotion worker mom. And if Lila's love is as phony as Cassel's made-up memories, then he can't believe anything she says or does.

When Cassel's oldest brother is murdered, the Feds recruit Cassel to help make sense of the only clue—crime-scene images of a woman in red gloves. But the mob is after Cassel too—they know how valuable he could be to them. Cassel is going to have to stay one step ahead of both sides just to survive. But where can he turn when he can't trust anyone—least of all, himself?

Love is a curse and the con is the only answer in a game too dangerous to lose.

I received an ARC of this title in the mail and I'm anxious to read it as I loved White Cat, the first book in the series.   

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Saturday Snapshot - March 19

Last weekend we celebrated my nephew's 2nd birthday.  Those of you that have followed my blog for awhile know that I absolutely adore this little guy!  He is the spitting image of my brother when he was a baby, with the exception of the light hair.  We had his party at one of those indoor jumping facilities.  Everyone had a blast, but the best part for me was watching him enjoy this pizza.  Even after the cake was brought out, a gift overnighted from his aunt in Florida with his favorite cartoon character on it, he still wanted the pizza.  I'm not sure if he ever ate a bite of that cake!

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books.  To participate, just post a picture that you, family, or a friend have taken.  The amount of captioning is up to you.  Pictures must be clean and appropriate for all eyes.

Friday, March 18, 2011

In Anticipation of Holly Black's Red Glove

Last week I received a package from Simon & Schuster that included a paperback copy of Holly Black's White Cat and an ARC of her newest title in the Curse Worker's Series, Red Glove.  I read White Cat as an ARC last year and fell in love with Holly's writing, characters, and this series.  If you've read White Cat, then you know Lila Zacharov.  In anticipation of the release of Red Glove, on April 5th, Holly Black has written a story from Lila's point of view.  The story is told in vignettes that can be read in any order.  Are you ready for this?  There are 13 vignettes!  You are invited to read them by clicking on the link for Lila Zacharov in 13 pieces.  This is brilliant!  It's a short story generator that mixes and matches the vignettes in a randomly generated order.  The story may never be the same as there are over 6 million variations possible.

I hope that you will visit the site to read the story from Lila's point of view.  If you haven't already gotten hooked on the Curse Worker's Series, there's still time for you to read White Cat before the April release of Red Glove.  What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Because of A Book with Stuart Lutz

This week I have Stuart Lutz on the blog talking about the most influential book that he has read.

Stuart Lutz has always been fascinated by the stories told by older people. Perhaps it started when he was a boy and heard his great-grandparents recount their immigrant voyage to America, their first airplane sighting, and the first time his great-grandmother could legally vote (even though she had been married four years). Also, when he was young, he was intrigued during a family trip to Charleston, South Carolina, when the tour guide pointed out the building that still housed some Confederate widows, even though the Civil War had been over for 125 years. He could not understand how that could be, until the guide explained that some young ladies married much older men who had fought in the Civil War.

Lutz’s interests in history and writing come together in The Last Leaf, an oral history book featuring the stories of almost forty survivors and eyewitnesses to historically important events. Lutz is the only person to have interviewed the last three Civil War widows (the last one died in 2008), but The Last Leaf also features the last American World War I soldier, the final living person to have flown with Amelia Earhart, the final pitcher to give up a home run to Babe Ruth in his historic 1927 season (when Ruth hit sixty home runs), the last suffragette, the final Medal of Honor winner for heroism on Pearl Harbor Day, the last person to have made design contributions to the ENIAC (the first electronic, programmable computer), the final Iwo Jima flag raiser, the last survivor of the sunken Lusitania, the final Harry Houdini stage hand, and the last employees of Thomas Edison and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Each chapter blends the narrative of the “Last Leaves” with historical background so readers can understand what occurred and the long-term importance of each event.

Lutz owns Stuart Lutz Historic Documents, Inc., a firm that sells rare letters and manuscripts ( He has written for American Heritage and Civil War Times Illustrated, and appeared on National Public Radio. He has a B.A. in American History from Johns Hopkins.

My Most Influential Book

By Stuart Lutz

About fifteen years ago, I lived in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Not only is it one of the country’s wealthiest counties, it is one of the showiest too. Everyone, it seemed to me, owned a luxury car, took exotic vacations, and shopped at the local boutiques. And frugal me was driving an old Mitsubishi Colt with 140,000 miles that required bi-monthly repairs, and living in a small apartment in a woman’s subdivided house. It was easy to wonder what I was doing wrong.
I mentioned this conundrum to my uncle, who was then a top executive for one of the country’s most prestigious financial firms. “Most Americans,” he explained to me, “are so far in credit card debt that they will never get out, or they two weeks away from living on the street [his forecast is being proven by today’s foreclosure crisis].” I was momentarily puzzled by what he said, and I responded with, “Perhaps for the little guy, but these people who drive Mercedes, they can’t be two weeks away from foreclosure.” “They frequently are,” he replied. “People who make big money usually spend big money. Or they skip contributing to their retirement funds so that they have no accumulated wealth. I read recently that the average luxury car buyer only makes something like forty or fifty thousand dollars a year. It’s hard to get ahead financially when the price of your car equals your annual salary.”
Soon thereafter, I received a package from my uncle containing The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley and William D. Danko. The book is an academic, yet easily readable, study of people who have at least a million dollars in wealth, excluding the value of their homes. The people profiled include business owners worth seven figures, or others who have frugally saved over a million dollars in their retirement accounts. Stanley and Danko emphasize several characteristics the millionaires generally share, including frugality, a desire for financial independence, self-employment, and an emphasis on saving, investing, and budgeting. The authors define “underaccumulators of wealth” and “prodigious accumulators of wealth,” and introduced me to one of my favorite phrases, “big hat, no cattle.”
The Millionaire Next Door is the most influential book I have read in the past two decades for a few reasons. First, it is my desire to be financially independent. Recent news stories state that the Social Security trust will be exhausted in 2037, about the time I can first collect. If there is not going to be Social Security, then I need to be a “prodigious accumulator of wealth” to retire.
Second, the book showed that the frugality that I learned from my parents is the lifestyle that I want to have. I am just not a Mercedes or BMW person. Instead, I am delighted to drive my seven-year old Toyota with 146,000 miles or my fifteen year old Acura with 206,000 clicks; I prefer them to the slavery of new car payments or a lease. Yet my frugality does not mean all self-denial; my wife and I have twice traveled to Hawaii and Ireland; we just do it in the off-season when rates are cheaper.
I re-read The Millionaire Next Door at least once a year for continued inspiration. But my page-flipping is only the theoretical. As for the actual practice of becoming financially independent, I think of the book once a month when I deposit my hard-earned, hard-saved check into my retirement accounts.
To conclude, I own a business that buys and sells historic documents and letters. I have a client who made a fortune on Wall Street and collects papers related to early financial history. About fifteen years ago, he bought at auction one of the first known American stock certificates for almost $40,000. Subsequently, I bought the letter that should accompany the aforementioned stock, and I sold it to him for nearly $10,000. I met this gentleman at a New England hotel to show him the letter. When we finished our business, we walked out to the parking lot, and he got into a beat-up Buick that looked like it belonged in the local demolition derby. Yet he had spent nearly $50,000 on two sheets of paper. He was living proof of the millionaire next door.

About The Millionaire Next Door:  The bestselling The Millionaire Next Door identifies seven common traits that show up again and again among those who have accumulated wealth. Most of the truly wealthy in this country don't live in Beverly Hills or on Park Avenue-they live next door. This new edition, the first since 1998, includes a new foreword for the twenty-first century by Dr. Thomas J. Stanley.

Buy it at Amazon
Buy it at IndieBound
Buy it at Powells

About The Last Leaf:  When we read about famous historical events, we may wonder about the firsthand experiences of the people directly involved. What insights could be gained if we could talk to someone who remembered the Civil War, or the battle to win the vote for women, or Thomas Edison's struggles to create the first electric light bulb? Amazingly, many of these experiences are still preserved in living memory by the final survivors of important, world-changing events.
In this unique oral history book, author and historic document specialist Stuart Lutz records the stories told to him personally by people who witnessed many of history's most famous events. Among many others, Lutz interviewed:

-the final three Civil War widows (one Union and two Confederate)
-the final pitcher to surrender a home run to Babe Ruth
-the last suffragette
-the last living person to fly with Amelia Earhart
-the final American World War I soldier
-the last surviving employees of Thomas Edison, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Harry Houdini.

The wide-ranging stories involve humor (the 1920 Olympic medalist who stole the original Olympic flag), tragedy (the last survivor of the 1915 Lusitania sinking), heroism (the final Medal of Honor recipient for actions on Pearl Harbor Day), and eyewitnesses to great events (one of the last scientists at the first nuclear chain reaction, and the final Iwo Jima flag raiser).
In more than three-dozen chapters, Lutz blends background information in a lively narrative with the words of the interviewees, so that readers not familiar with the historical episodes described can understand what occurred and the long-term significance of the events.

Buy it at Amazon
Buy it at IndieBound
But it at Powells

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mailbox Monday - 3/14/2011

Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme started by Marcia at The Printed Page.  You can read all about it at the Mailbox Monday blog.  Well, the mailbox has gone on tour.  This month's host is I'm Booking It.

I love this meme because it lets me take a peek into other bloggers' mailboxes and find out what they received over the last week.  I will warn you, it does lead to more books as you will find many that you want because of others mailboxes.  If you'd like to join in on the fun, post about your books and link up!

I had a rather large mailbox this week and I'm not sure why because I haven't been requesting as many books lately due to lack of time to read.  Many of these were unrequested, just sent from the publisher, and I'm thankful.  I also have some packages at the post office that I hope will be delivered today.  Work has been so busy lately that I can't seem to get out of there in time to get to the post office before it closes.  Hopefully the mailman will be nice and deliver my packages so that I can put them in next week's mailbox.  This week is Spring Break, so I'm hoping to get a lot of reading in.  You may not see me online very much, but know I'm around...I'm just catching up on some reading.

Amaryllis in Blueberry (ARC) by Christina Meldrum, from Simon &  Schuster
Women Food and God by Geneen Roth, from Simon & Schuster
Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard, from Knoph Delacorte Dell Young Readers Group
The Queen of Water by Laura Resau and Maria Virginia Farinango, from Knopf Delacorte Dell Young Readers Group
Jersey Tomatoes are the Best by Maria Padian, from Random House Children's Books
Exposed by Kimberly Marcus, from Random House Children's Books - I've already read and reviewed this one, so I will be giving it away.
Night Road (ARC) by Kristin Hannah, from St. Martin's Press
Amos Daragon: The Mask Wearer by Bryan Perro, from Knopf Delacorte Dell Young Readers Group
Show Time by Sue Stauffacher, from Random House Children's Books

White Cat and Red Glove (ARC) by Holly Black, from Margaret K. McElderry - both of these came packaged together, from the publisher.  I read and enjoyed White Cat, so I'm anxious to see what's in store in Red Glove.
The Source of All Things by Tracy Ross, from Free Press via ShelfAwareness
Where She Went (ARC) by Gayle Forman, from Dutton Juvenile

Go, Dog Go! Party Book by P.D. Eastman, from Random House Books for Young Readers
One, Two, Buckle My Shoe: A Counting Nursery Rhyme by Salina Yoon, from Random House Books for Young Readers
Go, Dog Go! by P.D. Eastman, from Random House Children's Books
Baby's First Book, The Poky Little Puppy, Baby Farm Animals (not pictured), and Home for a Bunny (not pictured) by Little Golden Books, from Random House Children's Books - these four titles are in Random House's new padded board book format for babies, the all-new Golden Baby line.  I gave 2 of these to my nephew for his birthday and he is enjoying them.

So Shelly by Ty Roth, from Delacorte Books for Young Readers - I have been waiting on this one, so I'm excited to get to read it now.

What was in your mailbox?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Fill-Ins - 3/11/11

1. Oh gross! I thought it was flushed.

2. Kissing a pig, well THAT's off my bucket list!

3. No, you didn't really do that.

4. Marriage takes your heart and soul.

5. And then along came Jones.

6. I can't forget how lucky I am.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to dinner out, tomorrow my plans include my nephew's 2nd birthday party and Sunday, I want to rest!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday - The End of the Line

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

By Angela Cerrito
Publication:  April 14th 2011 by Holiday House 

from Goodreads 
Gripping and suspenseful, this powerful, no-holds-barred novel by an exciting new talent goes deep inside a young boy's mind. Thirteen-year-old Robbie is locked in a room with nothing but a desk, a chair, a piece of paper, and a pencil. He's starving, but all they'll give him is water. He is sure he's in a nuthouse or a prison. Actually, he's at Great Oaks School, aka the End of the Line. Kept in solitary confinement, Robbie must earn points for food, a bed, even bathroom privileges. He must learn to listen carefully, to follow the rules, and to accept and admit the truth: he is a murderer. Robbie's first-person account of his struggles at the school—at times horrifying, at times hilarious—alternates with flashbacks to the events that led to his incarceration. Ultimately he must confront the question: which is worse—that he wanted to kill his friend Ryan or that he killed him by accident?

Just the cover had me, but the synopsis hooked me!  The cover is different than anything I've seen in YA in a while, and the story, well I have one word for you, WOW!  I'd love to read this one before April, but I guess I'll have to wait; it's not that long, right?  I'm glad to see more male main characters in YA.  There haven't been many lately, but I'm starting to see more and more and I'm glad.  Yes, I can connect with female leads since I'm a female, but it's great to read stories from the male POV as well.  Looking forward to this one!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Blog Tour: Adventures in Nowhere

I am pleased to be participating in another blog tour for Pump Up Your Book Promotions!

Author:  John Ames
Review Copy Provided by:  publisher, Pineapple Press

About the Book:  Before Disney and far from the palm-lined Florida beaches, ten-year-old Danny Ryan is transplanted to a tiny community on the hyacinth-choked Hillsborough River outside Tampa, a place his older sister calls Nowhere. But for Danny and his best friend, the irrepressible Alfred Bagley, whose fondest desire is to grow up to be a junk dealer, Nowhere is where adventures lurk and lure them into more trouble than they can handle. More trouble is not what Danny needs as he copes with a family that includes a father sinking into schizophrenia; two sisters, one very ill and the other ready to run away with a shady boyfriend; and a mother trying her best to hold it all together.  

My Thoughts:  This wasn't an easy book for me to get into.  I'm not sure why, though.  After I got past the first chapter or so, it was an easy read.

This story is written from a young boy's perspective and set in the 1950's.  It takes the reader back to a time when youth was innocent, and young kids could run free without being afraid.  It's a very compelling coming of age story.

I loved Danny's character!  He was strong, witty, and independent.  Danny is like many kids today who come from a troubled family.  He does what he needs to do, within himself, to get through his childhood and become a strong, independent adult.    His family is dysfunctional: a dying sister, a father who could blow his top, at any moment, and a mom who tries to hold it all together, the best she can.  He doesn't have many friends, but the ones he does have stick by him.  John Ames has written a wonderful character in Danny; one I'd like to know in real life.

The story pulls you in, takes hold, and doesn't let go, even after you've turned the last page.  Ames has written a winner.  Open the cover and take a trip back in time with Danny; you'll be glad you did!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mailbox Monday - 3/7/2011

Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme started by Marcia at The Printed Page.  You can read all about it at the Mailbox Monday blog.  Well, the mailbox has gone on tour.  This month's host is I'm Booking It.

I love this meme because it lets me take a peek into other bloggers' mailboxes and find out what they received over the last week.  I will warn you, it does lead to more books as you will find many that you want because of others mailboxes.  If you'd like to join in on the fun, post about your books and link up!

Here's what came into my house, via the mailbox, this week:

Young Fredle by Cynthia Voigt, from Knopf Books for Young Readers
Kickers Book 4: Game-Day Jitters by Rich Wallace, from Knopf Books for Young Readers
Lunch Lady and the Bake Sale Bandit by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, from Knopf Books for Young Readers

Gingerbread Man Loose in the School (F&G) by Laura Murray, from Putnam
Scritch-Scratch a Perfect Match (F&G) by Kimberly Marcus, from Penguin
Baby's First Year (F&G) by Rick Walton, from Putnam

School Days According to Humphrey (ARC) by Betty G. Birney, from Putnam
On the Volcano (ARC) by James Nelson, from Putnam
Sparrow Road (ARC) by Sheila O'Connor, from Putnam

Last but not least, I received Arranged by Catherine McKenzie, from Cindy's Love of Books.  This is a signed copy that I won on Cindy's blog.  I loved finding the surprise bookmarks tucked inside the book along with a sweet note from Cindy. The Anne Geddes bookmark is my favorite!  Thanks, Cindy;  I love my blogging friends!

The Sunday Salon - Why I've Been MIA

I've been MIA pretty much all week this week and I apologize.  It's that time of year, and I didn't want this to happen, but I wasn't prepared.  That is a problem I'm going to remedy for the upcoming week.

This past week was a busy one for me personally, but not a very productive reading week.  Our 4th graders took the TAKS Writing test on Tuesday, so the first part of my week was spent focused on that.  I had to do all the prep work on Monday, test all day Tuesday, and then pack up and turn in tests on Wednesday.  It takes a lot of focus and the actual testing day tired me out; it's exhausting to prepare for a state test.  The students are glad it's behind us, and now we start to prepare for Math and Reading that will be given at the end of April.

The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo started this past week as well.  If you've followed my blog for awhile, you know that I volunteer for this 3 week long event.  My work days are scattered throughout the show and during the week are at night, so I'm up late and don't get much sleep on these nights.  I enjoy it though.  It's so fun to see all the people coming off the buses to enjoy the show and then hear about their experiences as they load the bus to go back home.  I'm on a committee called Rodeo Express, and we are in charge of the buses that take patrons back and forth from specific park and rides to the stadium.  This is my 11th year and I'm so glad to be a part of this yearly event in Houston.  It does take a lot of my time though, so there goes my evening reading.

Oh well, the Read-A-Thon is coming up, so I will be able to catch up then.  Have you signed up yet?  You really should.  The Read-A-Thon is so much fun whether you participate as a reader or a cheerleader.  I'm anxiously awaiting this event so that I can catch up on my reading.  Won't you join us?  There are already 102 readers signed up.

So, what did I read this week?  It's sad to say that I am still working on Adventures in Nowhere.  I've been 2 weeks on this one, and I should have been finished by now.  It seems like when I finish a really good book, I have a hard time completing my next one.  It's very frustrating!  Exposed is what I read before this; you can read my review here.  My goal is to finish it this week so that I can start on the mounting TBR pile that is developing.  I'm hoping this week is better than last.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Fill-Ins - 3/3/2011

1. Bring your favorite snacks.

2. Drinks are included.

3. That is exactly what I said.

4. Well, you see, the real story is...

5. See ya soon!

6. But what if I need you?

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to relaxing in my chair while watching tv with my husband, tomorrow my plans include a trip to Trinity for a baby shower and some reading in the evening and Sunday, I want to read after I work the rodeo all day!
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