Waiting on Wednesday: Matched

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.
 One of my favorite books growing up was The Giver by Lois Lowry. I had never read anything like it before. It was dystopian before dystopian was cool.
So when I read the description of Matched by Ally Condie, I *knew* that I would love this book.
From Amazon.com:
“Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate…until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it’s a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.”

Isn’t the cover beautiful?
It will be released on Nov. 30, 2010.What are you waiting on this week?

Dr Pepper Brownies

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As I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions, The Nerd is a *HUGE* fan of Dr Pepper.
And, I’ll admit, I like it, too.
So when I found this recipe for brownies made with the Nectar of the Gods, I *knew* this was something I needed to try.
These brownies are moist and chewy. The icing is divine.
You may need to pop them in the freezer or refrigerator for a bit to harden them up. Otherwise, they just fall apart when you cut them.
At least mine did.
And I was certainly ok with that. They were super-yummy.
Dr Pepper Brownies
Source: Cooks.com
Brownie Ingredients:
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1 c butter
1 c Dr Pepper
2 c flour
2 c sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp cocoa
1/2 c buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
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Heat the butter and Dr Pepper until melted. Don’t boil it.
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In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside.
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In a medium bowl, mix together the buttermilk, baking soda and vanilla.
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Pour the buttermilk mixture into the dry mixture.
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And stir together.
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Add the Dr Pepper mixture and mix well.
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Bake in a greased 18 x 12 inch baking dish for 25-30 minutes.
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Don’t they look yummy?
But I think they need a little something else…
Icing Ingredients:
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1/2 c butter
6 tbsp Dr Pepper
3 tbsp cocoa
1 lb powdered sugar
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Bring the butter, Dr Pepper and cocoa to a boil.
Mix in the powdered sugar.
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Pour over the cooled brownies and cut into squares to serve.
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Enjoy!
A splash of Dr Pepper makes these brownies moist and chewy. A dash of cinnamon makes them tasty and not-too-rich. Yum!

Wolves of Mercy Falls Winners

Three days ago, I launched a contest for *signed* copies of Shiver and Linger by Maggie Stiefvater.
The contest was live for 48 hours.
I dubbed it the “Wolves of Mercy Falls” giveaway and set it on its way.
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I had no idea what I was in for.
Over the course of *two* days, 162 people entered the giveaway.
Those entrants tweeted, Facebooked and howled their way to 501 entries.
How *amazing* is that?
And, this lowly little blog went from 280-something followers to 420 followers! 
Seriously, you guys rock!
Now comes the fun part — naming the winners!
To determine the winners, I made a spreadsheet with each entrant’s name listed one time for each of their entries. So, if you had six entries, your name was listed six times in the spreadsheet.
Then, I mixed the names up by sorting them randomly.
Finally, I used Random.org’s random number generator to come up with two numbers between 1 and 501.

Winner #1 is Tiffany!
Congrats, Tiffany! You will receive *signed* copies of Shiver and Linger, purchased by me for this giveaway.

Winner #2 is Reena!
Congrats, Reena! You will receive a copy of Linger, provided by Scholastic.
I’ve e-mailed both winners. They have 48 hours to respond and claim their prizes.
I had a TON of fun participating in the Got Books? Event. 
I hope you guys enjoyed all of the giveaways from the participating blogs.

http://gotbooksevent.blogspot.com
A *HUGE* thanks to GMR and The 1st Daughter for hosting this amazing event!
And thanks again to Scholastic for providing a book for this giveaway, and allowing me to participate in Maggie Stiefvater’s Linger Blog Tour.
Finally, thanks to everyone who entered! I am humbled by the response and I appreciate you all so much!

Linger Blog Tour: Interview with Maggie Stiefvater

I have been waxing poetic about my love for Maggie Stiefvater and the Wolves of Mercy Falls series for a while now.
I love this story and I could *not* wait to get my hands on Linger.
So, when I had the chance from Scholastic to participate in Maggie Stiefvater’s Blog Tour, I jumped on it.
Yesterday, I talked about the covers and how much I loved them.
Today, I’m going to talk about the story. My Review:

“In Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabel, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.”
Maggie’s writing is lyrical. It moves you through the story without realizing you’re turning the pages.
This is a story that focuses on the characters — it is told from four points of view, but does not feel disjointed at all. Each character pulls you through the novel, adding depth and details that make the story so much richer.
I *loved* Isabel in this book. She seems like your typical small town queen bee (believe me, I’ve seen my share of those!) but she has so much more to her. She is complex and intriguing and her attraction to Cole add another layer to her character.
And let me say this: Maggie Stiefvater is not afraid to put her readers through the emotional paces. You *want* one thing to happen, but she’s not afraid to give you something else, something that you didn’t know you wanted.
It’s like all those times you pray and pray and pray for one thing, knowing that it is the only thing that will make you happy. But God gives you something you didn’t ask for. Something so much better.
I truly loved this story, and I can’t wait to see how it all turns out in Forever, slated to be released next summer.
And now, some questions for Maggie:
When you first saw the cover for Shiver what did you think?“That it was drop dead gorgeous and fit the mood perfectly. Also, that, amazingly, I would have never come up with the concept myself. It was sort of strange to think of a bunch of people sitting in a room somewhere talking about my book without me. That was a weird feeling I was to experience a million times over in the next year.”

And what was your reaction to the cover of Linger?

“Happy seal clapping. Not quite as loud and thrilled as Shiver, because I knew the theme they were going to go with to match Shiver and the newness of that concept was part of the thrill, but still, I was pretty darn happy that we had another beautiful cover.”


How did you feel when you found out the books would be printed in colored ink (blue for Shiver and green for Linger)?

I actually didn’t know about this until I saw a finished copy. I remember I had just gotten into Chicago for a book event and my plane had been delayed and sat for three hours on the runway so I was galloping to a signing, when my editor ran along side me and handed me a finished copy of Shiver, the first I’d seen. I
opened it up, saw the blue text, and immediately wanted to go back to my hotel room to see if everything sounded sexier in blue. (it does, by the way).

As an artist, it must be hard for you to be so hands off in the cover design. What’s the hardest part?

“Letting go. Not sending one hundred .jpgs of cover concepts. Not saying ‘can we change these branches?’ Trusting someone else!”

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

“Just that one of the best parts about the cover design process is seeing all the foreign covers (since Shiver is licensed in 32 countries, there are a lot; www.shiverseries.com has them all) — same book, wildly different jackets. It’s pretty amazing to see the divergent visions different editors and cultures have forthe same story.

Because it’s still Sam and Grace in between the covers.”

*****You learn more about Maggie Stiefvater by visiting her at the following sites:

Maggie Stiefvater’s website:
SHIVER series site:
Maggie Stiefvater’s blog:
Author Twitter:
Author Facebook:
Maggie Stiefvater’s Linger Book Trailer:
Scholastic.com official Shiver page
*****womf giveaway banner copy

Want some copies of these books all for yourself?

Go enter my Wolves of Mercy Falls giveaway for a chance to win *signed* copies of Shiver and Linger from me, and a copy of Linger from Scholastic!

A very special thanks for Scholastic for including me in this blog tour!

And thanks most of all to Maggie Stiefvater, for dreaming up these stories.

Lasagna Rolls

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My absolute favorite dinner is lasagna. I love lasagna. I could eat it all the time.
Seriously, I’m not joking.
The only problem with lasagna is that it’s just *too much* food.
I mean, it’s only The Nerd and me.
So, I wanted to give lasagna rolls a try.
Individually-sized portions ready to eat?
Perfect.
And you can freeze the left overs to reheat for another dinner later.
Lasagna Rolls
Adapted From: Suite 101
Ingredients:
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12-16 lasagna strips
1 lb lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 cans of Italian tomatoes, broken up
1 (6 oz) can of tomato paste
1 (15 oz) can of tomato sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp oregano leaves
1 tsp basil leaves
1/4 tsp pepper
2 (16 oz) containers of ricotta cheese
2 cups grated mozzarella, divided
1/3 cup of grated Parmesan
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp of chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp salt
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Boil the lasagna noodles according to package directions.
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In a large skillet, brown the hamburger meat with the garlic and onion.
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Add the next seven ingredients (Italian tomatoes to pepper) and simmer for 20 minutes.
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Put the ricotta, Parmesan, 1 cup of mozzarella, parsley, salt and eggs in a medium-sized bowl.
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Blend to combine.
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When the noodles are done, spread the cheese mixture down each one individually.
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Roll up the noodles to create your lasagna rolls.
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Pour enough of the tomato sauce into the bottom of a large baking dish to cover the bottom.
Then, place the lasagna rolls on top of the sauce seam-size down.
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Pour the rest of the sauce over the top of the lasagna rolls.
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Sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella on top of the lasagna rolls.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes.
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Uncover and serve.
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Yummm…look at all the cheesy goodness.
Enjoy!
Enjoy this classic Italian dish in individual servings with no fuss! Freeze the left-overs for another easy meal.

Wolves of Mercy Falls Giveaway

I’m really excited for a fun weekend of the Wolves of Mercy Falls here at The Nerd’s Wife.
I’m participating in the Got Books? Event, where more than 100 blogs will be hosting giveaways on their sites throughout the weekend.

http://gotbooksevent.blogspot.com

As part of this event, I’m going to be discussing the totally awesome covers for two books:
and

You see, I work in the printing industry, and I can appreciate the pure beauty of these covers. Not only for the amazing artwork, but also for the different applications that enhance that artwork.The cover jackets are printed with a matte finish and metallic inks. The titles and author names are embossed, with a bit of clear varnish applied on top.

As you run your fingers over the front cover of both books, you can *feel* the title and author name pop out from the rest of the cover. I love, love, love when you can *feel* the different parts of a cover application.

Pull the cover jackets away and you will find leaves blind embossed on the front cover of each novel. Many books lack little details like that.

But the *best* part?

Shiver, which takes place in the winter, is dominated by cold, metallic blue ink on the cover. Open its pages, and you’ll find the story printed in dark blue ink. How cool is that?

Linger, which happens once spring has started to peek out in Mercy Falls, is dominated by different shades of metallic green ink on the cover. And inside? Yup — green ink!

I cannot think of any other books I’ve read that were printed in an ink other than black.

It is such a unique touch that really pulls together the design package of the books in this trilogy.

I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the cover of Forever.

Maggie Stiefvater interviewed the cover designer to find out the details on how he came up with the design. It’s actually *really* cool and you should go check it out.

Tomorrow, I’ll be interviewing Maggie on her thoughts about the covers as part of her Linger release blog tour. So be sure to come back and check that out!

And now, to the giveaway!


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 **Contest Now Closed**

There will be *two* winners.


Winner #1 will receive *signed* copies of Shiver and Linger by Maggie Stiefvater.
This prize was purchased by me for the purpose of this contest.


Winner # 2 will receive a copy of Linger by Maggie Stiefvater.
This prize was donated by Scholastic Press for the purpose of this contest.

The Rules:



Only one entry per person.


The contest is open to U.S. and Canada residents only.


You *must* be a follower of my blog to enter.
If you are a new follower, you will receive 1 entry.
If you were a follower prior to the start of this contest, you will receive 2 entries.


Fill out the form below to enter. Do not leave your entry in the comments.

Increase Your Chances:



Complete the following tasks to increase your chances to win!

  • +1 – Become a fan of The Nerd’s Wife on Facebook.
  • +1 – Follow The Nerd’s Wife on Twitter.
  • +2 – Tweet about this contest. Sample tweet: Enter to win *signed* copies of Shiver and Linger by @mstiefvater from @thenerdswife: http://bit.ly/d9P0yw

Contest ends Saturday, July 24 at 11:59 CST.

    Good luck!
      PS – Don’t forget to enter my

July Book Extravaganza

      while you’re here! You could win a book of your choice from a *dozen* of the best YA books this year! (

Linger

    is one of them! **cough**cough**)

Friday Finds (6)


Another Friday. Well, let’s get to it…


*****



Carol at Carol’s Prints is giving away seven ARCs, including:

Matched by Ally Condie (this one is *signed*)
Firelight by Sophie Jordan
Torment by Lauren Kate
Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin
Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
The Duff by Kody Keplinger

   

These are *all* titles I’ve been *dying* to get my hands on.


I’m definitely entering this one!


Contest ends Aug. 9.


Fill out the form to enter.


*****


Alexandra Shostak is also giving away some pretty great ARCs.


Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Sapphique by Catherine Fisher
Dracula in Love by Karen Essex
Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
*and* a *signed* copy of White Cat by Holly Black.


I absolutely *loved* Incarceron by Catherine Fisher, and I can’t wait to find out what happens in Sapphique! So, that is my pick if I win.


What’s yours?


Contest ends July 27.

Fill out the form the enter. 


*****





Sara McClung is also giving away seven ARCs. 


The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Firelight by Sophie Jordan
Torment by Lauren Kate
 Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White


Contest ends Aug. 6.


U.S. and Canada residents only.


Fill out the form to enter.


*****


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Wolves of Mercy Falls Giveaway from The Nerd’s Wife


 As part of the Got Books? Event, I’m hosting another giveaway!


Winner #1 will receive *signed* copies of Shiver and Linger by Maggie Stiefvater.


Winner #2 will receive a copy of Linger by Maggie Stiefvater.


Contest ends July 24.


U.S. and Canada residents only.


Fill out the form to enter.


*****



AND – Don’t forget about my July Book Extravaganza Contest!


You could win one of a dozen super-hot summer reads!


Contest ends July 31.


Open internationally.


Fill out the form to enter.


*****

If you’re here from the Book Blogger Hop, welcome!


The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly event hosted by Jennifer at Crazy For Books


It’s a chance to meet new bloggers and find some other sites to follow!

This week’s question: Tell us about the book you are currently reading. 

Well, I just finished reading Linger by Maggie Stiefvater. It was *excellent.* Seriously, one of the best books I’ve read all summer. Loved, loved, loved it.


So, you should go enter the Wolves of Mercy Falls giveaway to get your own copy.


If you become a follower, leave me a comment and I’ll go follow you back!





Same goes for all of my Follow Friday friends — just leave me a comment, letting me know you are a new follower, and I’ll follow you back!

I’m going to be posting this a little early so it won’t interfere with my Got Books? post.


I hope you all have a great weekend!



My Brother, The Wizard of Oz

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This is my super-awesome brother, Andy.
Well, his name is really Kurtis. That’s what he goes by in the professional world.
It’s Kurtis Andrew. But when he was little, he never liked being called Kurtis, so we all called him Andy.
But then he grew up and started going by Kurtis.
And now, his whole family is confused.
Do we call him Andy?
Or Kurtis?
Or Kurtandy?
As for me, I’m forever going to call him Andy.
And he’ll just have to deal with it.
Andy is River’s dad, which makes him way, way cool in my book.
But he is also a computer whiz. A totally awesome computer programming whiz.
So when I decided to completely redesign my blog, I knew where to turn.
And boy, did he do a great job.
And then, a few weeks later, when I decided to completely redesign the homepage, I called him up again.
And this time, he blew my socks off.
Oh, have you seen the new Nerd’s Wife homepage?
Yeah, it’s awesome.
The photos and captions in the right column *change* when you refresh your page! How cool is that?
I wanted something that was dynamic and fresh, and I think he did a great job.
Now, I get to just sit back and enjoy it.
So this post is to say a great big
Thank You!!
to the man behind the curtain.
Andy, you are totally my Wizard of Oz.
Does that sound weird?
And now, for your viewing pleasure, some super-cute photos of Andy and his daughter:
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He is so tall. How did I end up so short?
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This one is my absolute favorite. River is having the time of her life with her daddy.
And her daddy is wrapped around her little finger.
And their puppy, Lilu, is along for the ride.
It doesn’t get any better than that, folks.

Slimming Down

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A few weeks ago, Microsoft announced that they were releasing a new version of the XBox 360.
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Slimmer. Stronger. Sleeker.
The Nerd was instantly intrigued. A *new* XBox?
His XBox Elite was three years old. That’s practically an antique.
Of course, there was nothing *wrong* with it per se, but *eventually* it would die.
So, we had to get a new one.
Just over a week after the model was released, we searched all over DFW for a store with one in stock.
And we *finally* found one at Fry’s in Irving, a mere 26 miles from my parents’ house, where we were spending the weekend.
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Can you see the excitement?
(He probably realized at this point that I was going to make fun of him on the blog. Poor guy.)
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Ok, now he definitely knows I’m going to make fun of him.
And thus begins a series of photos of The Nerd taking the XBox out of its box.
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Ooohhh…shiny.
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This is *our* version of an unboxing video… errr… unboxing photos.
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It’s out of the box!! Can we play games??
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No! We *must* read the instruction manual. Because, you know, XBoxes are *so* complicated and stuff.
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Ok, ok. *Now* we play games.
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And now, all is right in the world.
We have acquired the latest electronic device.
No longer will the fear of a failing XBox plague us.
That is, until a *newer* model is released.
Sigh.
When the new XBox 360 was announced, The Nerd couldn’t *wait* to get his hands on one. Even though the old one still worked.


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