Sunday, February 28, 2010

In My Mailbox (17)

Hello fine people! I hope that you are all starting off a great week with lovely reads because I know I am! I received a lovely gift from my hubby and get to include that this week. Thanks again to Kristi at The Story Siren for hosting this MME!

For Review:

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

The P
uzzle Ring by Kate Forsyth (you can order this one through the link to AmazonUK)
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver


The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Gift from the Super Hubby!

Percy Jackson and the Olympians Hardcover Boxed Set Books 1-5

The Lightening Thief
The Sea of Monsters

The Titans Curse

The Battle of the Labyrinth
The Last Olympian

Now you know what I have, so let me know what you got this week! Happy reading everyone!!

Sing Me to Sleep Giveaway Winner

Thanks to all who participated in my very first contest! The winner is.....

KELLY at kghbookhunter!

Congrats to Kelly!! She will be receiving an autographed copy of Sing Me to Sleep. I sent you an email so check it and get back to me with your address.

Thanks again everyone and happy reading!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

Reading Level: Adult Contemporary

# of Pages: 480 (Mass Market Paperback)

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1 Mti edition (February 23, 2010)

Seventeen-year-old Veronica 'Ronnie' Miller's life was turned upside-down when her parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to Wilmington, North Carolina. Three years later, she remains angry and alienated from her parents, especially her father ...until her mother decides it would be in everyone's best interest if she spent the summer in Wilmington with him. Ronnie's father, a former concert pianist and teacher, is living a quiet life in the beach town, immersed in creating a work of art that will become the centerpiece of a local church. The tale that unfolds is an unforgettable story about love in its myriad forms - first love, the love between parents and children - that demonstrates, as only a Nicholas Sparks novel can, the many ways that deeply felt relationships can break our hearts ...and heal them.

I have always enjoyed Sparks’ books but we all know that we can only read his books at certain times (at least for me) because we CRY! I have heard about this one because I don’t live too terribly far from where it is filmed (my great pal Kathryn lives super close!!) and it was taunting me at Target last week. I bought it on Thursday, picked it up on Friday night to start reading it, went to bed reading it, picked it back up on Saturday and finished it!

This is probably my favorite out of all of his books. I have read almost all of them and so far, this one takes the cake. Ronnie is such a relatable character to me on many levels and the whole first love/coming of age story is something that we have all experienced. I fell in love with the characters, cried when they cried (of course), got mad when they did stupid things, and was rooting for Ronnie the entire time. Throughout the novel, you see Ronnie’s complete transformation and realization as to who she is as defined by herself and not by those she surrounds herself with. So often we tend to adapt to those around us and do our best to fit it at any cost (emotionally, physically, etc.) and for the past few years that is what Ronnie has done. It is not until she is forced to come see her dad that she finds out who she is and what is truly important in life.

This is Sparks’ longest novel and he couldn’t have done any better with it in my opinion. I highly recommend it to teens and adults alike and will definitely be going to see the movie at the end of March.

Miley Cyrus, Kelly Preston, Liam Hemsworth, and Greg Kinnear star in The Last Song due out March 31, 2010. Check out the trailer below and visit Nicholas Sparks here for more information and fun facts about his books!

Author Interview: Amy Brecount White

My very first author interview! Yeah! I have truly enjoyed getting to know Amy over the past few weeks via email and I hope that when I am in her area in a few weeks we can meet up. As you will see, my students came up with the questions for Amy and I have to say that I am quite proud of them! I can't wait to get my hands on the debut novel and I hope that you will run out to get it just as quickly as I am!

A little about Amy...

From ages 0 to 9, I moved every two or three years all over the country, which I like to think made me adaptable and open to new places, people, and ideas. We lived in San Francisco, Virginia Beach, Albuquerque, N.M., Lexington, K.Y., and Dayton, Ohio. The library was one of the first places we found anywhere we arrived. I’ve always found a home in books.

It really never occurred to me that I could be a writer until I was in college. I always thought I’d do something more “practical,” with a guaranteed salary. (Believe me, there are no guarantees in writing.) When I ditched the practical by majoring in Great Books at the University of Notre Dame, I began to think about writing as a sideline.

My first paid writing job was for a health newsletter in Charlottesville, Va., where I was earning my M.A. in English at the University of Virginia. My first published piece of writing was about … uh … constipation. No kidding. I like to think I’ve come a long, long way.

Along that way, I’ve taught English literature and writing to middle and high school students and won a teacher of the year award. I’ve written lots of articles – mainly for The Washington Post – about fun things to do in the greater Washington area. I’ve also written a lot of essays about things I care about, such as my faith, reading aloud to children, and protecting the environment.

Now I live with my husband and three kids and Jessie the wonder dog near some woods and a stream in Arlington, Virginia, which is the inspiration for my second novel tentatively titled, String Theories.

Amy's Website

Forget Her Nots

When someone leaves three mystery flowers outside her dorm door,Laurel thinks that maybe the Avondale School isn’t so awful after all — until her own body starts to freak out. In the middle of her English presentation on the Victorian Language of Flowers, strange words pop into her head, and her body seems to tingle and hum. Impulsively, Laurel gives the love bouquet she made to demonstrate the language to her spinster English teacher. When that teacher unexpectedly and immediately finds romance, Laurel suspects that something — something magical — is up. With her new friend, Kate, she sets out to discover the origins and breadth of her powers by experimenting on herself and others. But she can’t seem to find any living experts in the field of flower powers to guide her. And her bouquets don’t always do her bidding, especially when it comes to her own crush, Justin. Rumors about Laurel and her flowers fly across campus, and she’s soon besieged by requests from girls — both friends and enemies — who want their lives magically transformed — just in time for prom.


How has your husband helped you through your writing career? -Kayla (7th grade)

Mostly by just being there and believing in me. I think that's what writers need more than anything -- someone who believes they can do it, even when they're being turned down by agents and editors. It's a tough business. FYI, Forget-Her-Nots is also dedicated to him. :-)

When you were in school, did you know that one day you would be an author? -Brian (7th grade)

I started to dream about being an author when I was in college, but I never knew for sure that I'd be one, at least not a published one. (Most writers have at least one "practice" novel in a drawer somewhere.) It's pretty difficult to make a living as a writer. Most writers also teach, which I did for awhile, too. I also wrote for newspapers and magazines, which really improved my skillsl.

Does writing help you relieve stress? -Micah (8th grade)

Interesting question. I would say that writing helps relieve stress if I'm just writing personal stuff in a journal. If I'm really stressed about something or someone, sometimes I'll write it all out in a letter, but not send it. That helps me calm down and deal with the situation better. Writing fiction can be stressful if it's not going well, though. I have three kids, so I don't have a lot of time for writer's block. I usually keep a list of things I need to research or want to read, so I can shift my focus and be productive until I'm inspired to write again.

Did the way you fell in love contribute to your story? -Janike (8th grade)

Yes, I definitely drew on my own emotions and experiences of falling in love to make what Laurel feels come to life. I fell in love with my husband when we were both 19 and in college together. We got married when I was 24. That said, I do believe that we can all fall in love many times in our lives. I was in love several times in high school. :-) There's a big difference between falling in love and loving someone with a deep and lasting commitment.

Who was your favorite character to write about in your book? -Crystal (8th grade)

It was fun to write about all of them, because they're so different. If I had to pick one, it would be Rose. She's smart and sarcastic and not afraid to say what she's thinking. It's refreshing to have someone like that around.

Thanks so much for hosting me!


Monday, February 15, 2010

Trailer Tuesday (13)

I have been super busy and haven't updated this in a while but I am going to try and make it up to you! Here are some great books that are either out or are coming out soon! Enjoy!!

The Vampire Diaries: Shadow Souls by LJ Smith

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

The Chestnut King by ND Wilson

The Bat Boy by Mike Lupica

Sunday, February 14, 2010

In My Mailbox (16)

Thanks as always to Kristi at The Story Siren for hosting this! I have had a super busy week but this week I have fun stuff coming your way! Check out the bottom of the post for more!! On to the goods...

For Review:

Honey, Baby, Sweetheart by Deb Caletti
Malice by Christopher Wooding
Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor


Feeling Sorry for Celia: A Novel by Jaclyn Moriarty


Another Faust by Daniel Nayeri and Dina Nayeri
The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

Coming up on RandomChalkTalk...
- This week I will be participating in Amy Brecount White's blog tour for her debut novel Forget Her Nots
- My contest for a signed copy of Angela Morrison's Sing Me to Sleep ends February 25th... more info here
- Student reviews and much more too!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Winter Escapes Widget

In My Mailbox (15)

Thanks as always to Kristi at The Story Siren for putting this lovely ditty up! My apologies for not having one last week, so this one will be LARGE!!

For Review:
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games
with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

How to Steal A Car by Pete Hautman
Some girls act out by drinking or doing drugs. Some girls act out by
sleeping with guys. Some girls act out by starving themselves or cutting themselves. Some girls act out by being a bitch to other girls.

Not Kelleigh. Kelleigh steals cars.

In How to Steal a Car, National Book Award winner Pete Hautman takes teen readers on a thrilling, scary ride through one suburban girl's turbulent life - one car theft at a time.

How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standford
New to town, Beatrice is expecting her new best friend to be one of the girls she meets on the first day. But instead, the alphabet conspires to seat her next to Jonah, aka Ghost Boy, a quiet loner who hasn't made a new friend since third grade. Something about him, though, gets to Bea, and soon they form an unexpected friendship. It's not romance, exactly - but it's definitely love. Still, Bea can't quite dispel Jonah's gloom and doom - and as she finds out his family history, she understands why. Can Bea help Jonah? Or is he destined to vanish?

Good Neighbors Book Two: Kith by Holly Black
Rue Silver's life is not what it appears to be. Her mother is a faerie, and has been taken back to the faerie realm. As Rue goes to bring her back, she must travel deep into an inhuman world. At the same time, the faerie realm is venturing into our world too, and taking its toll on those Rue loves. When her grandfather's plans threaten Rue's city, she realizes that she's the only one who can stop him. But is Rue a human or a faerie? Where does she fit? How does she know the difference between love and enchantment?

Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
An angry rebel, John dropped out of school and enlisted in the Army, not knowing what else to do with his life--until he meets the girl of his dreams, Savannah. Their mutual attraction quickly grows into the kind of love that leaves Savannah waiting for John to finish his tour of duty, and John wanting to settle down with the woman who captured his heart. But 9/11 changes everything. John feels it is his duty to re-enlist. And sadly, the long separation finds Savannah falling in love with someone else. "Dear John," the letter read...and with those two words, a heart was broken and two lives were changed forever. Returning home, John must come to grips with the fact that Savannah, now married, is still his true love--and face the hardest decision of his life.

Can I Have and Do it All Please? by Christine Caine
More than ever before, women are navigating through increasing amounts of responsibility, activity, scheduling and multi-tasking...and we need some answers about how to have and do it all in life!

For years, we as women have been told we can have it all, be it all and do it all. Inevitably, we too have aggressively set out on a pursuit to achieve this utopian "all." We roll up our sleeves in true "Rosie the Riveter" style (to reveal our femininely chiseled arms of course) and belt out the lyrics to "I Am Woman Hear Me Roar" in our best Helen Reddy voice.

We get up one hour earlier to exercise, another hour earlier to get the kids ready and packed for school and yet another hour before that to pray. We are consummate organizers, jugglers and problem solvers as we manage husbands, children, church commitments, friendships, finances, groceries, mealtimes, child taxi service, quiet time with God and whatever else is on the agenda.

Then, we go to bed one hour later to ensure the house is tidy, or another hour later to read a chapter of the latest best seller and another hour later to have time with our husband. It almost gets to the point where we should forego sleep altogether because the moment our head touches the pillow, it's time to rise and shine.

Sound familiar? Well, this book is for every woman looking for answers on how to truly have (and do) it all!

Stop Acting Like A Christian and Be One
by Christine Caine

Many of us make great efforts to ACT like a "Christian," but how many of us actually realize what it means to BE one? Too many times we see faith as an external behavior modification program. If we just stop [fill in the blank], then we ll be good Christians. Instead, we need to see faith and our witness to those around us stemming from an internal heart transformation, living from the inside out and not the outside in. In Stop Acting Like a Christian, Just Be One, Christine Caine shows how allowing God to change us from the core of our being gives us freedom to stop trying to ACT like a Christian and to just actively BE a Christian. Learn how allowing the Holy Spirit to do His work in us gives us the power to BE witnesses, not to do witnessing. This empowering book will make readers laugh and challenge them about what truly Being a Christian is all about.

Christine is from the amazing church Hillsong Church in Australia and my church (Newspring) is lucky enough to have her for not one, but two weeks speaking and rocking our worlds! Today's message was amazing and challenging and just what I needed. Check back later this week and I will link her message!

Follow Christine on Twitter here and visit her at Equip & Empower Ministries here.

Non-Book Related:
Oh yes... I am now the proud owner of these lovlies and they are worth every DANG penny!!
Lady Gaga Heartbeats by Monster... simply amazing!

Don't forget about my contest going on (click here for more info) and check out all the other ones going on via my sidebar!

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