Andrew’s Curious George Birthday Party

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Last weekend, we celebrated Andrew’s first birthday with a Curious George Birthday Party. Andrew LOVES Curious George and it was really the only thing I could imagine for a theme for his party.

For those of you saying, “OMG, Andrew is ONE already?” — he won’t actually turn one until Friday. But due to lots of impending travel, last weekend worked better into our schedule. Look for a sob-filled post reliving the day he was born then. Moving on.

I tried not to go overboard with the whole Curious George thing. Instead, I went more with a general red, blue and yellow color scheme and served foods that both adults and kids could enjoy. We tried to have the party outside — it was a beautiful day — but it was too windy, as you can see in my photos of the banner above the table. So we quickly moved the festivities indoors. That suited my dad, my brother and The Nerd — who were engrossed in the Texas A&M/Alabama football showdown — just fine.

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We got Andrew a swing set for his birthday, and he received lots of fun presents from our family and friends in attendance! I think his cousins were more excited to open presents than he was, haha!

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Soon, it was time for the best part of a birthday party — the DESSERT! I ordered Andrew’s Curious George Cake from Hands-On Cake Design. I just LOVED it! And the smash cake was too cute! We also served ice cream and I had a Milk and Cookies Bar for the kids. They loved it!

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Andrew wasn’t too keen on the smash cake. He put his fingers in it for a bit, but that was about the extent of it. Ah well. I’m sure next year he’ll be even more into it!

It was such a great party. I’m so glad we got to celebrate our Little Dude’s birthday with all of you!

 

The Craziest Book Signing EVER {aka Meeting The Bloggess}

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I have been a fan of Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, for a while now. Her irreverent humor often has me laughing in stitches and wondering how any one woman could be THAT funny.

I especially loved her Pick Your Battles post, and her response to ridiculous PR pitches that bloggers receive every day. I will never look at Wil Wheaton in the same way.

I’ve even enjoyed her Twitter campaign to convince Nathan Fillion to send her a picture of himself holding twine. Several celebrities have obliged. Sadly, Nater-Tater isn’t one of them.

When The Nerd and I decided to go visit our friends in Houston a few weeks ago, we wanted to download an audiobook for the trip. We often do this on trips. It’s sometimes difficult to choose a book we both enjoy, and he was skeptical at first when I suggested downloading Jenny’s newly released book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir).

I convinced him, though, and soon we were both giggling hysterically while cruising down I-45. The audiobook is read by Jenny herself and really, it seems like you’re just sitting around listening to her tell her funniest stories. It’s that good, y’all.

Jenny stopped in Dallas last week as part of her book tour and I made The Nerd go with me. It was a decision I think he later regretted, but not for the reasons you’re thinking.

You see, Jenny is awesome. She’s funny, and hilarious, and down-to-Earth. She talked about her terror at speaking in public and how she’s now AFRAID of bathrooms because she has hidden in so many before speaking engagements. I can totally relate.

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Then she read a chapter from her book (seriously guys, go buy it now!) and I died of laughter. Just kidding.

And because the book signing was at the book store of awesome (aka A Real Bookstore, yes – that is its ACTUAL name), they were selling alcoholic beverages in celebration of the event.

Soon the questions had been answered and it was time to line up for the signing. Our part of the line was directly in front of the bathroom for a while, which was convenient and also a little unnerving. Especially when two girls came out CARRYING their friend who was so drunk SHE COULDN’T WALK on her own. Seriously.

And if that wasn’t weird enough for the evening, not 10 minutes later The Nerd and I are standing there and the lady behind us trips and falls into The Nerd. He graciously caught her and she mumbled, “Oh, so sorry.” “It’s okay,” he said, as he helped her back to her feet. But as his hands left her she PASSED OUT and fell (there wasn’t enough time for him to catch her; he tried) and hit her head on one of the tables holding books.

It was insanely scary.

Luckily a woman who seemed to have medical training came forward and started reviving the woman, who appeared to be fine except for a huge gash right above her eye that was bleeding profusely. Someone nearby called 9-1-1 and the paramedics came and took the woman away. But not before her friend got Jenny to sign their books and their spatulas. Because that’s awesome.

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A little while later it was our turn to meet Jenny and I was super excited. Ever more so when I saw Copernicus!

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And then Jenny signed my book and made my life complete and totally forgave me for wearing yoga pants to her book signing because I was too lazy to wear real clothes. Or she would have if I had fessed up to that. She probably thinks I’m just lazy.

Jenny also signed a copy of the book for one of YOU! You didn’t think I’d leave you out, did you? It has a special message for you from her. You’ll love it. I promise.

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.

Open to US/Canada only. Must be 18 years of age to enter. 


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Contest ends 5/8. Good luck!

 

John Green, Libraries and The Fault in Our Stars

Earlier this year, I got to attend the American Library Association’s Midwinter convention in Dallas. Not only was it an awesome opportunity to connect with publishers and score some books that I was super-excited about, but the keynote speaker was one I couldn’t miss: John Green.

If you don’t know John from his amazing novels (Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines and Paper Towns, just to name a few) you might know him from the Vlog Brothers YouTube channel, where he and his brother Hank send each other weekly updates. It’s really great.

John is known for his social media prowess and he spent some time during his address to a room full of librarians discussing the merits of social media and how they can use social media communities to impact the lives of youth who frequent their libraries.

It was a really interesting lecture, and I’m so glad I got to attend. Here are some of my favorite quotes from John during the address, which I tweeted:

“I like talking about stuff I find interesting with people I find interesting. That’s what digital media is about.”

“People are building real life connections in real places online.”

“We can use online communities to respond quickly and efficiently to the kinds of projects that get us excited.”

“Now we can have these much more meaningful connections with people who live much differently than us.”

“Libraries help people toward answering the overwhelming question of what we are going to do with our human lives.”

“One of the things I love about books is you can’t do anything else while reading. It’s the last thing you can’t multitask.”

“I like writing for teenagers because I find them interesting. But not in a creepy way.”

“They’re going thru things for the 1st time: falling in love for the 1st time. They’re experiencing loss for the 1st time.”

“This story (The Fault in Our Stars) is the one I wanted to tell. And I kept coming back to it.”

 After the keynote, John signed copies of his new book, The Fault in Our Stars, and, of course, I scored a copy for one of you!

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. 

Contest open to US and Canada only. Must be 13 years or older to enter.


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Contest Ends 4/5. Good luck!


What You Should Read Next After The Hunger Games

Were you one of the thousands of Hunger Games fans who piled into theaters last weekend to catch a glimpse of Katniss and the Boy with the Bread?

Yeah, me too. In fact, I went to see the movie twice in one day. Can I say how much I LOVED it? J-Lawrence, you’re my favorite. But I digress.

Now that we have to wait a WHOLE YEAR for the next installment (and since Hunger Games fever is sweeping the globe), everyone is wondering what to read now. I’m a huge fan of dystopian stories and have a few favorites that have held up to Hunger Games standards. I thought I’d share a few of my favorites with you!

 

1. Divergent by Veronica Roth

 

Divergent by Veronica Roth tops my list. This fast-paced novel, set in a futuristic Chicago, had me flying through the pages just like the first HG installment.

Tris is a kick-butt heroine who has to make a difficult choice and discover who she is. She also has the deep ties to family that were a huge part of Katniss’ character.

But that’s where the similarities stop. Katniss kind of fell into her dispute with The Capitol… Tris faces her rebellion head-on. She knows how her actions will play out throughout the novel and that she’s fighting a dangerous battle. She doesn’t back down. She doesn’t try to figure a way out of it. She just moves forward.

She also has a dark secret, which makes the story that much more intriguing.

The sequel, Insurgent, will be released in May. This is definitely one you should check out!

Full review here!

2. The False Princess by Eilis O’Neal

 

This is not a dystopian story… it’s a fantasy, with magic and wizards and kings and queens. But the political intrigue is just as good, if not better, than that of Panem. I mean, a girl who’s raised to think she’s the princess, then suddenly finds out she’s a commoner?

And there’s a twist at the end that will leave you roiling in your seat. It’s THAT good.

I’ve heard it described at the Game of Thrones for younger generations…and I can see that. It’s a great, quick read that will make you wonder what could possibly happen next.

 

3. Graceling by Kristin Cashore

No one kicks butt like Katsa… except maybe Katniss. This is another fantasy, but don’t let that turn you away.

There’s plenty of political intrigue and self-discovery in this story, too.

Katsa is “graced” with killing and is forced to become the king’s assassin. When she decides to put her abilities to better use, she embarks on a quest that will have you turning the pages as quickly as possible to find out what happens next.

Oh, and Po! Dear Po. He rivals Peeta as best boy who wishes he wasn’t in the friend zone.

The highly-anticipated sequel, Bitterblue, comes out in May.

 

If you read any of these fun stories, let me know what you think! And if you have any to add to the list, leave them in the comments!

Breathless Reads Tour {and a Giveaway!}

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A few weeks ago, I got to attend the Breathless Reads tour stop in Frisco. I love nights like this when I get to hang out with my super-awesome blogging friends: Rose, Stacy and Nancy, and Kari!

The lovely authors Beth Revis, Andrea Cremer, Marie Lu and Jessica Spotswood discussed their novels, giving little tidbits of info that we all gobbled up!

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Beth Revis, author of Across the Universe and A Million Suns, told us that the first character who dies in AtU was named after a particularly annoying student of hers named Ben. And then many of her students asked her to name murder victims after them once AtU was published, so she complied in A Million Suns!

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Andrea Cremer, author of Bloodrose (the third book in the Nightshade trilogy), shared that she tries her hardest to write stories that are brutal but awesome.

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Marie Lu, author of Legend, gave us lots of fun trivia about her debut novel. She said that June and Day’s relationship was inspired by Les Miserable. The American Dictator in her story was named after her boyfriend. Oh! And Day has Type O and June has Type AB blood! :)

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Jessica Spotswood told us that the romantic parts of her stories are her favorite parts to write!

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And I just HAD to snap a picture of her CUTE shoes! :)

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Beth Revis is one of my FAVORITE authors. She even wrote the most awesome guest post ever about the brilliance of Firefly.

It was such a fun and awesome night!

Of course, I HAD to score some extra copies of books to share with you!

Enter using the Rafflecopter forms below. Each form contains a different prize, so fill out the forms for the prizes you’re most interested in!

Contests open to US and Canada only. Must be 13 years or older to enter.


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Pitch Dark Days Tour and GIVEAWAY!

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I was recently able to attend the Pitch Dark Days tour when they stopped in Southlake. It was a fun night!

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Courtney Allison Moulton read from her new book, Wings of the Wicked.

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Jodi Meadows, author of Incarnate, shared her inspiring story of how she became a published author.

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Cynthia Hand, author of Hallowed, also shared her experience in becoming a published author. She then asked some trivia questions about TUCKER and CHRISTIAN and gave away super-fun prizes, like a TEAM TUCKER COWBOY HAT! How awesome is that? Oh, and there was also a Team Christian beanie, but who cares, right!? Bwahaha.

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Brodi Ashton shared part of her debut novel, Everneath.

It was a wonderful night and I’m so glad I got to meet these wonderful ladies!

And you know, I didn’t forget YOU! I got some extra copies of these goodies just to give away!

Enter using the Rafflecopter forms below. Each form contains a different prize, so fill out the forms for the prizes you’re most interested in!

Contests open to US and Canada only. Must be 13 years or older to enter.

Read More…

The Scorpio Races & Sweet Venom Giveaway {winners}

It’s time to announce the winners in my The Scorpio Races and Sweet Venom Giveaway!

There were 196 people who entered the contest, with 1,443 total entries. I am LOVING these contests!

And now, for the part you’re all waiting for! The winners!

 

The winner of an Advanced Reader’s Copy of The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater is…

Congrats!

 


And the winner of an Advanced Reader’s Copy of Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs is…

Kimberly C.

Congrats!

 

I have emailed the winners requesting their addresses. So, if you think you won, look for an email from me!

Congratulations ladies! I hope that you enjoy your books!

I have more ARCs to give away, but the Internet is out at our house and I’m “stuck” at QuakeCon this weekend… so if the Internet holds up in the BYOC and I have time, I’ll post another giveaway for y’all soon.

Thanks for reading!

 



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