Winners: Waiting on Mockingjay Giveaway!

Well, it’s been two weeks since Mockingjay was released. What did you think?
You can read my review for my thoughts. I loved it.
I had a lot of fun with the Waiting on Mockingjay Giveaway. I hope you guys did, too.
The stats were pretty good: 62 entrants with 289 entries. 
Thanks to everyone who entered!
And now, to announce the winners:
Winner #1
Teresa will receive the Girl on Fire T-Shirt.
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Winner #2
Cassandra will receive the Hunger Games Pendant Necklace.
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Winner #3
Kaitlyn has won the Catching Fire Pendant Necklace.
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Winner #4
Berenice has won the Hunger Games T-shirt.
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Congratulations to all the winners! 
I’ve sent e-mails to each winner asking for a shipping address and sizing requirements (if they won a shirt). 
Winners have 48 hours to respond to the e-mail or another winner will be chosen. 
You can see my contest policy if you have any questions about this giveaway.
The prizes were purchased by me using my own funds for the purpose of this contest.
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If you didn’t win, don’t despair!
You may have noticed that I recently hit 500 followers.
Can I tell you how ecstatic I am about that?
So, I’m planning another giveaway. Yes, I seem to *really* like those.
But I wanted to get your thoughts first.
If you don’t mind, please fill out this little survey so that I can give you guys the best contest possible!


Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world’s leading questionnaire tool.
Thanks so much for your input. 
Happy Wednesday!

Review: Firelight by Sophie Jordan

If you do nothing else today, do yourself a favor: Go to the nearest bookstore and pick up a copy of Firelight by Sophie Jordan.Seriously, do it.

I *loved* this book and it hits shelves today.

With her rare ability to breathe fire, Jacinda is special even among the draki—the descendants of dragons who can shift between human and dragon forms. But when Jacinda’s rebelliousness leads her family to flee into the human world, she struggles to adapt, even as her draki spirit fades. The one thing that revives it is Will, whose family hunts her kind. Jacinda can’t resist getting closer to him, even though she knows she’s risking not only her life but the draki’s most closely guarded secret.”

–Description from GoodReads

I started to read this book after I got home from work one evening last week. It was like 5 p.m. or so.I seriously *could not* put it down. I devoured it. I stayed up until 2 a.m. just so I could know what happened.

And even when I was finished, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

From the first page, I was sucked in.

There’s action — A ton of it! Right from the beginning. And it doesn’t slack off. There’s a sense of urgency throughout the book that really moved the story forward.

There’s romance — The attraction between Will and Jacinda is so *real.* Right from the beginning, you want them to be able to be together. And there’s an actual reason behind it. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I really appreciated how the chemistry between them was not fabricated and that there was a rhyme and a reason to it all.

There’s rebellion — Jacinda’s pride treasures her as the first draki fire-breather in centuries. But they don’t treasure *her.* She fights the destiny the pride has chosen for her and tries to find a way to be herself.

There’s jealousy — I really liked her twin sister, Tamra. The inclusion of a character who was not draki really added depth to the story. I could relate to Tamra just wanting to be *normal*, but to Jacinda who just wanted to be herself.

The character I couldn’t really connect with was Jacinda’s mother. How could she put her daughter through what she does? Ugh. It was maddening! But I think that was the point and I really liked how her character was portrayed.

There are all of the components you see in paranormal YA stories nowadays. BUT – the elements are there for a *reason* and add to the plot of the story. It wasn’t just like — BAM! Jacinda loves Will because he’s *hot* and *special* and *out of reach.* There’s a reason she’s drawn to him.

I really, really, really loved this story.

**Disclaimer** An Advanced Readers Copy of this book was provided to me for review from the publisher, HarperTeen

Thanks to the publisher for the chance to read and review this book early!
PS – Wanna hear a brief excerpt from the book? I read from Chapter 2 in this Fragment Friday post. Firelight by Sophie Jordan features a strong female character, lots of romance and an action-packed story that had me on the edge of my seat! 

Video: Golden Knights Skydiving Adventure

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Last week, you might have seen my post about Daddy’s skydiving adventure with the Army Golden Knights.
I wanted to share the video of his jump with you all — it’s so cool!
Just click on the video to watch, or check it out on YouTube!
Hope you all had a great Labor Day!
Thanks for looking!

Recipes for Your Labor Day Celebration

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I may be a bit late posting this, but I got wrapped up in a weekend of babies and birthday cakes.
Oh, how time flies when you’re having fun!
I hope you all have a wonderful Labor Day — we’re heading to Cowboy Stadium to watch some high school football! Should be a lot of fun!
If you’re staying home, though, and want some great recipes to share with your friends and family, here’s a list of tried and true dishes that will make you everyone’s favorite party goer!
Main Dishes
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Happy Labor Day!

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly feature hosted by The Story Siren.
It’s a chance for book bloggers to display the books they purchased or received for review each week.
I got lots of books for review this week. It was a great week!
For Review:
**ARC courtesy of HarperTeen**

Dark Song by Gail Giles

**ARC Courtesy of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers**

Sapphique by Catherine Fisher

**ARC courtesy of We Love YA Tours**

For My Collection:

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

So, what did you get in your mailbox this week?

Happy Sunday!

Fragment Friday: Firelight

It’s time for Fragment Friday, a weekly featured hosted by Book Chic Club, where we get to read an excerpt of the book we’re currently reading or gushing over.
This week, I’m featuring Firelight by Sophie Jordan.
Seriously, guys, this book is *so* good. I’ll post my review early next week!
Firelight will be released Sept. 7, 2010.
Be sure to check out the other Fragment Friday posts by visiting Book Chic Club.Have a great weekend!

Fun With Uncle James!

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A few weeks ago, my sister was in town visiting with her son, Hyrum.
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That boy is a fireball. He’s *always* moving, *always* crawling, *always* wanting to go, go go!
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One of his favorite things was crawling up and down the stairs with Uncle James.
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I just have to say that seeing my hubby crawl around with this little guy kicks my baby fever into overdrive!
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James is *so* good with River and Hyrum — he’s so patient and willing to play with them.
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Seeing Hyrum’s little hand in James’ just kills me. 
::Dead::
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Such an angel.
I want one! Now!
I guess I’ll just have to settle for nieces and nephews for now.
Thanks for looking!
This cute little boy bewitched The Nerd one evening. They soon became the best of friends!

Oatmeal Cookie Peach Cobbler

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This past weekend, I decided to make a peach cobbler.
You know, summer-time in Texas and all.
So, I started searching online for the perfect recipe and I found this little gem. Oatmeal cookies and peach cobbler? Yum!
It must’ve been yummy because my family *devoured* it. Literally. It was gone in about 10 minutes.
Oatmeal Cookie Peach Cobbler
Adapted From: First Look, Then Cook
Ingredients:
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(I apparently only took a photo of the ingredients you need for the topping. Oops!)
Topping:
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 c all-purpose flour
1 c rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Filling:
About 10 large sliced peeled peaches
1/3 c sugar
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Cooking spray
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
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Mix the sugar, butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
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Add vanilla and egg and beat until mixed well.

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Whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
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Gradually add the flour mixture to the batter and mix on low until well-incorporated.

Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.

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Peel and slice just enough peaches to fill a circular pie pan. That was about 10 large white peaches for me. Aren’t the white peaches pretty?
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Mix the peaches with all the other ingredients for the filling. Make sure the peaches are fully coated.
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Coat the pie pan with cooking spray and pour the filling into it.
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Dollop 12 scoops of the chilled dough on top of the filling.
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Be sure to leave a few cracks — that’s what gives it its character!
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Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, until light brown and bubbly.
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Enjoy!
The chewy goodness of oatmeal cookies combines with the juicy sweetness of summer peaches in my Oatmeal Cookie Peach Cobbler. Yum!

Confession: I Like What I Read

ARCs
I absolutely *love* to read.
I have loved to read ever since I was in third grade and we had to read Where the Red Fern Grows for class. I remember sitting in my mom’s lap as we read the story together and bawling my eyes out at the end.
I had never known anything that could affect me that much.
Reading shapes who we are. A good book can change your opinion on a topic. Characters become friends.
My favorite place in the whole world is the bookstore. Growing up, we would go out to dinner and go to the bookstore as a treat. My parents helped shape my love of reading, and to this day, when I feel sad, I like to go to the bookstore and bring home a new friend.
I started the What I’m Reading section of this blog to share my love of reading. I wanted to talk about the books that I enjoyed, and let you all know about them so you can enjoy them, too.
The best way for me to do that, so I thought, was to review the books I read. I decided to rate the books on a scale of five stars, because that’s how you can rate things on GoodReads. It would make my life much, simpler.
If you’ve been keeping up with my reviews lately, you’ll notice a recent crop of five-star reviews has made its way onto the blog.
Right now, I’m just loving what I’m reading.
I felt the need to talk about this, and try to explain myself, so I will stop feeling guilty every time I gush over a book and give it five stars. I want you guys to know where I’m coming from.
By no means do I wish to “go easy” on the authors. I hope you, my dear readers, don’t see my tendency toward positive reviews as a bad thing.
There are a few reasons why I think that lately my reviews have been so positive:
  1. I read books I think I’ll enjoy. It’s just not fun for me otherwise. I pick up a book because I think it will be a good read. And they usually are. I like to think I’m selective — there are hundreds of books I leave sitting on the bookstore shelf. Maybe I ferreted out the bad ones so you wouldn’t have to see them? Maybe?
  2. I don’t receive unsolicited books for review. This just hasn’t happened to me yet. My book review blog is still fairly new and I’m still getting to know publishers. I have yet to receive a book for review that I didn’t request. Which means, the chances of getting a poorly written book are slim.
  3. I request ARCs that interest me. If I request an ARC from the publisher, it’s book I’m pretty sure I’ll like. Something has sparked an interest in me, and I have the desire to read it. That usually means I’ll enjoy it.
  4. I YA. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of Young Adult novels. I may even have to change this to a YA book blog. I can easily identify with the characters and most YA novels address common themes: identity, destiny and becoming who you are. Who can’t identify with that?
  5. I Paranormals. The subject matter in paranormal stories is really interesting to me — whether they’re werewolves or draki or Shadow Hunters, the mythology surrounding paranormal books makes me want to keep reading well into the night.
  6. Lots of good books are coming out lately. Mockingjay, anyone? Clockwork Angel? Paranormalcy? And some good ones are coming up: Firelight, Nightshade, Matched…It’s not my fault all these awesome books are cropping up.
Let me just say that I don’t think this is *wrong.* Maybe a better name for this part of the blog would be “Books I’m Gushing Over.” But you know, that didn’t fit with the whole theme.
Because it’s true: I have a tendency to gush.
And, I like what I read.
So – when you see a five-star review at The Nerd’s Wife, don’t roll your eyes and declare, “That girl would give five stars to a goat!”
I promise you, I wouldn’t!  
Well, not unless he was the *best* goat. Ok – maybe if he was a *good* goat. Sigh.
Just take the rating with a grain of salt and read what I have to say about the story. If it sounds like something you’d like, pick it up.
I hope you continue to enjoy the posts on What I’m Reading Books I’m Gushing Over.
Thanks for looking!PS – Here’s a rainbow and some sunshine. You know, ’cause I had extra lying around:

I tend to enjoy what I’m reading. As such, many of my reviews are positive. I confess my sins in this post.



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