Friday, October 30, 2009

Blogging Around the States - Tennessee

My Photo
This week we are visiting Amanda from lovely Tennessee.   Her blog is A Bookshelf Monstrosity and she is nearing 100 followers.  When she gets just 3 more followers she's going to host a huge giveaway!  I'm spreading the word because I love giveaways!  In addition to that giveaway, every Thursday she posts a list of all the giveaways she knows about that are happening in the blogosphere.  Check out this last Thursday's List .  There is some good stuff listed, trust me!

1.  Start by telling us a little bit about yourself.  (family, job, likes, dislikes, favorites, idiosyncrasies, pet peeves, or anything else you'd like to share that will help us know you better)

Hmmm...I've lived here my whole life. I'm not single but not married...somewhere in the middle, haha. I'm in graduate school to be a school librarian. I love to read (duh), listen to music, and blog! Oh, yeah, and I love sushi. Can't make a plant grow to save my life.

2.  What do you love about your state?  (please include the name of your state)

I love Tennessee because...
1. It's beautiful!
2. I live within 40 minutes of The Ryman Auditorium (where the Grand Ole Opry once performed).
3. The state parks are great!
4. It's the home of the Tennessee Aquarium! My favorite exhibit there is the seahorses.
5. People are really nice and caring. Example: I rear-ended a lady in my car the other day and she got out and asked if I was okay! Now, where else does that happen?

3.  Is there anything you don't like about where you live?

The weather here in Middle Tennessee is so erratic! We have huge temperature swings throughout the course of one day. I don't ever really pack away any season of clothes, cause you never know when it'll get hot again. I'm still wearing flip flops right now! Not to mention the mosquitoes...

4.  If job, money, family did not enter the equation, would you prefer to live in another state?  Which one?  And why?

I would love to live in North Carolina. My family took a trip to the Asheville area almost every summer when I was growing up; it is so beautiful there!

5.  If I visited your state what cities, sights, and/or activities would you recommend I check out, see and/or do?

Well, I live right next door to the Music City, otherwise known as Nashville, so there are plenty of sights and sounds there. Another quirky little area of interest is the elephant sanctuary a couple of towns over. Yep. That's right. Elephant sanctuary. As for my town (Murfreesboro), we're a run of the mill college town, so we have plenty of pubs and restaurants to keep you occupied :)

6.  Who are some authors that currently live in your state?  Any famous authors from the past?

For a full list of Tennessee authors past and present, check out Some highlights? Ann Patchett, Shelby Foote, James Agee, Robert Hicks, Nikki Giovanni, William Gay, Roy Blount, Jr., Cormac McCarthy.

7.  Do you have a favorite book set in your state?

Robert Hicks' book Widow of the South is set about 25 minutes east of my house in Franklin, TN.

Thank-you so much, Amanda, for answering my questions.  I love traveling for real, but since I can't right now it's awesome getting to travel like this.  I remember visiting Tennessee 10 years ago.  We drove from Memphis to Nashville in the dark, but we did see the outside of the Grand Ole Opry.  Unfortunately, we just saw the outside and the parking lot.  We tried to imagine how exciting it would be to attend a performance.  I'm sure our imagination fell short. 

Contest Central Fridays

Are you hosting a giveaway, a contest, a scavenger hunt, a chance to win something?  Let the blogging community know about it.  This is the "Farmers Market" of contests.  If you are hosting a contest of any kind and want to spread the word, just sign up using MckLinky.

Where MckLinky asks for the title, please type what you are giving away, the deadline date and if the contest is Int (international) or US/Canada.

Example:  $25 Gift Card to GameCentral (11/30) Int

Include the URL to the specific post of the contest or giveaway.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday

C. W. Gortner's new novel will be released May 25, 2010.
Ohhhh, that's a long time to wait.

[WoW.jpg]"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Shannon Hale Interview and Goose Girl Giveaway

About a month ago, Katie contacted Shannon Hale's agent and arranged to interview Shannon after the Book Festival on Saturday.  During the signing Katie tried to find a place with good lighting, but since the library closed at 6 pm her options were limited.  Even though the lighting isn't the best the interview is great. 

To enter the drawing for The Goose Girl go to Katie's Book Club, subscribe and leave a comment.  If you haven't read Goose Girl yet, I strongly recommend it. Do NOT comment here for the drawing.

SLC Book Festival

While so many of you were reading your hearts out this weekend with the Readathon, I was in Salt Lake City with Candleman and my daughter Katie, attending the annual Book Festival. This is my 3rd year to attend and I've loved every time. Things were a bit different this year with 2 people presenting together for each discussion. I wasn't sure I would like that but I did. All three presentations were wonderful. In the past there are usually 2 days of presentations - this year it was Saturday only and most of the presentations were in the afternoon. left home in the morning driving to SLC by way of Provo so we could have an early lunch at Zupas.  I love their mushroom soup and mango/berry salad.  I've only eaten there 2 times and ordered the same things.   If only I lived closer I could eat there more often and try some of their other soups.  We arrived at the beautiful SLC Library about 12:30 which allowed us time to look through some of the shops set up for the Festival. first session I attended alone while Candleman and Katie were out doing some shopping.   I wished everyone I knew could have been in that room with me as Carlotta Walls Lanier graciously told of her high school experiences as one of the Little Rock Nine.  Her book is A Mighty Long Way:  My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School.  After hearing Carlotta recount her story I rushed out to buy her book forgetting they were all taken down to the signing.  I rushed to the signing but they ran out of books so I didn't get one.  I really wanted one that was signed so I am really sad that didn't go straight to the signing.  I'm still going to buy the book because I was so touched by the story.  There were so many things I didn't know about the nine Little Rock African Americans marching into that all-white high school.
My second session was to hear Allison Hoover Bartlett, author of the The Man Who Loved Books Too Much, and  SLC's own rare book collector and dealer turned amateur detective, Sam Weller.    It was really fun and I look forward to this nonfiction book about the world of theft in the rare book world.

Candleman, Katie and I went together to hear Shannon Hale and Sara Zarr.  It was fun to listen to them talking, laughing and sparring with each other. They are both so cute and funny, imaginative and creative.  It was a delight to be there and they gave some good advise to future writers which both hubby and daughter appreciated.

Candleman bought 3 books for Katie - the one Shannon Hale book she didn't already own, The Housewife and the Actor, and two books by Zarr who is a new-to-us Utah author, Story of a Girl and Once Was Lost.

It was a wonderful day and we decided that we were definitely going to attend next year even if we didn't know any of the authors.  It was such a worthwhile experience.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Blogging Around the States - The District of Columbia

My PhotoI am excited to introduce you to Thomas of Washington D.C.  When I posted my first Blogging Around the States he left a comment reminding me to not leave out the District of Columbia.  I sure would have without his reminder so I thought it only fitting that Thomas should be chosen to represent the District.

You can find Thomas at his blog, My Porch, a place to sit back and visit.  He can also be found on Bad Chart! where he points out the flaws in charts posted in the New York Times.  I like this idea a lot.  As a science teacher I was quite often taken back with the way charts could and were manipulated. even in the area of science, to subtly distort data in support of an erroneous conclusion.  Thomas and a few friend contribute to a blog called Opensewer with brief commentaries on politics.

Thomas recently returned from a trip to Europe, visiting the Netherlands.  I want him to send me the complete itinerary so I can see all the beautiful, enchanting places he talks about in his recent posts.  Places like Piet Oudolf's Garden, a person and place I've never heard of but now would like to know more about.   Each of these pictures can be seen bigger along with several others on Thomas' blog.  He shares pictures of his time in Brussels, Bruges, and Antwerp.  I hope there will be more from this trip.  I love traveling and when I can't do it myself, I'm quite thrilled to share the fun other's have experienced in their travels.  

And now for my questions and Thomas' answers about himself and his area of the U.S.

Start by telling us a little bit about yourself.

I have loved reading since since I was a kid growing up in a smallish town just outside the northwest suburbs of Minneapolis. I used to practically live at the public library and even ended up working there in high school. Since finishing college in 1992 (History at the University of Minnesota), I have lived in London, Washington DC (the first time), Honolulu (for a graduate degree), back to Minnesota, then to Ithaca, New York (for a second graduate degree) and then back to DC in 2002 where I live with my partner John whom I met soon after I moved back.

I started blogging in 2006 because I needed a creative outlet that I wasn’t getting in my work life. From the start I wrote bits and pieces about books and reading, but in the last six months or so I have focused more and more on bookish things. Part of my inspiration has been the great community of book bloggers I have recently discovered.  (Booklogged comment - that is something that all us book bloggers have come to experience, isn't, it?)

Besides books, I love classical music, cooking, and travel (and shhh, don’t tell anyone…television).

What do you love about living in the District of Columbia?  

The vast quantity, and amazing quality, of art available at the city’s many museums is something I love having access to. The National Cathedral is like no other in the US, like a great British cathedral plopped down in DC on St. Alban’s hill. It is a great place to visit. I also love strolling through the beautiful neighborhoods in the fall when the weather is cool and the leaves are turning.

Is there anything you don't like about where you live?


The weather is probably the biggest thing. It is too darn hot and humid too many months of the year. The kind of heat that has you sweating even before the sun comes up. Plus I would prefer colder, whiter winters. The other thing is that Washington can be a little too buttoned up for my taste. Too many lawyers and public policy types who only seem to have work on their minds. Even with all of the great schools in the area, I recently tried to find a creative writing or literature class to take in the evenings and came up with nothing. Kind of indicative of what is, and isn’t, important here. Oh, and the public libraries here are pretty sad.

If job, money, family did not enter the equation would you prefer to live in another state?  Which one?  And why?

Yes, somewhere in the Northeast. My two years at Cornell in upstate New York really got me hooked on small town life. Both John and I would consider places in Bucks County, PA; the Hudson River Valley in New York; the Berkshires in Massachusetts; or somewhere in Connecticut. There is something about the pastoral rural landscapes and the historic quality of the built environment that is very attractive. Plus there are more distinct (dramatic) seasons than in Washington. And frankly, I want to stay on the East coast because of its proximity to Europe.  (Booklogged adds - I love those small northeast towns, too.)

Having said all that, I think northern California and Portland, Oregon are the bees knees and I could be persuaded to move that direction as well.  (Booklogged can't remain quiet because you all know how much I love Oregon!)

If we visited the District of Columbia what cities, sights and/or activities would you recommend we check out see and/or do?  I know that there are many so why don't you tell us about some of your favorite and some lesser known places. 

Well, no visitor should miss the obvious things (the Capitol, Lincoln Memorial, the White House, and the Smithsonian), but the official parts of DC can be pretty sterile. To see the real DC, you need to get out into the neighborhoods. Eastern Market near Capitol Hill, Dupont Circle, U Street, Adams Morgan, and the residential parts of Georgetown.   (Booklogged chimes in - I missed seeing all those neighborhoods.  I'll need to make another trip!  I did see and love parts of Georgetown.  My brother took us to the most fabulous Argentine restaurant in Georgetown.  Can't remember the name or I'd recommend it to you.)

Large ImageFor art the choices are endless but the National Gallery should not be missed. Julia Child’s kitchen at the Smithsonian is a personal favorite. The aforementioned National Cathedral is a must see.  (Booklogged - I'm kicking myself that I didn't go to the National Cathedral.  Another one for my next trip!) 

For those with strong stomachs, the medical museum at Walter Reed Medical Center is truly wild and off the beaten path. Just think of lots of “things” in formaldehyde.

Who are some authors that hail from the District of Columbia?

I have never actually thought about this before. There are plenty of journalists and politicians who have written books who live or have lived in the District. But I tend not to read non-fiction so I don’t pay too much attention to them. However, there are two biggies that come to mind. Edward P. Jones who wrote the The Known World which won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. It’s a great novel that chronicles the lives freed slaves who actually owned slaves themselves. An interesting book of historical fiction. And then there is Tracy Chevalier who wrote Girl With a Pearl Earring among others. Although she may have grown up here, she doesn’t live here anymore and I don’t think her work reflects her DC roots. But I am no expert on Chevalier so I could be wrong. Incidentally, I was just in The Hague last week and saw the painting Girl With a Pearl Earring in person.

Do you have a favorite book set in the District of Columbia?

I haven’t come across much fiction that takes place in Washington DC, or it might be that the themes of typical Washington fare aren’t necessarily my cup of tea. Too much about politics and such. However, Edward P. Jones who I mentioned in the last question has written two collections of short stories that take place in and around DC and focus on the day-to-day lives of DC residents, the majority of whom are African American and aren’t connected with “official” Washington. As for the more typically DC kind of book, Christopher Buckley has written some hilarious satire about Washington life including The White House Mess and Supreme Courtship the latter being about the President appointing a Judge Judy type character to the Supreme Court. But my favorite novel that takes place in Washington DC is Echo House by Ward Just, a former journalist for the Washington Post. Just has written about 15 novels and writes amazingly well. Echo House focuses on one of the grand homes in the District that serves not only as the home of a family political dynasty but also as a center of power in Washington politics. A really great read.  (Booklogged - thanks for that recommendation, Thomas.  I haven't heard of Echo House before and it sounds really good.)

Thanks so much, Thomas.  It was so fun getting to know you better and I'm so glad you reminded me about the District of Columbia.  Have a great weekend everybody.  I'm off to the book festival in Salt Lake City today.  Candleman and Katie are going with.

Contest Central Fridays

Are you hosting a giveaway, a contest, a scavenger hunt, a chance to win something?  Let the blogging community know about it.  This is the "Farmers Market" of contests.  If you are hosting a contest of any kind and want to spread the word, just sign up usingMckLinky.

Where MckLinky asks for the title, please type what you are giving away, the deadline date and if the contest is Int (international) or US/Canada.

Example:  $25 Gift Card to GameCentral (10/30) Int

You can find Contest Central every day of the week by clicking on the button at the top left sidebar.  PLUS there are buttons for sites that are always giving away things.  Check it out!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Handy Answer Book for Kids (and Parents)

by Gina Misiroglu

This book is chock full of questions kids might ask and simple short answers to those questions.  Let me share an example:
How much air does a person breathe in a lifetime?  During a person's ife, he or she will breathe about 75 million gallons (284 liters) of air.  Every minute, the human body need 2 gallons (7.5 liters) of air when lying down, 4 gallons when sitting, 6 gallons when walking and 12 gallons or more when running.
I could see using a gallon of milk to show the comparison.  Amazing - 4 gallons of air per minute to just sit here at my computer.  Let's keep that air clean!

If your family was watching The Amazing Race last Sunday you could have quickly looked up the world's tallest building - the Burj Dubai, located in the United Arab Emirates.  Or when Pres. Obama received the Nobel Price and your child asked what the Nobel Price is you could find a short answer in this book.

Did you know the largest nut weighs 44 lbs and takes 6-7 years to mature?  Have your kids ever asked what worms eat?  You can find the answer on p. 77.

Questions are listed in different chapters.  Here's a list of the chapters:
Outer Space
Planet Earth & Our Moon
Creatures Big and Small
Plant Life
People Around the World
Politics & Government
How Things Work
Math, Measurement & Time
All About My Body
Daily Life

There's an index at the back to help you find a specific item.

I'm very impressed with this book and can see it making a good  gift for the curious kids (and parents) in your life.  And what a helpful volume to have in the home schooling library.  As a former teacher, I can see kids using this book as a springboard of ideas for science fairs, research papers, etc.  Very helpful.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

13 1/2 by Nevada Barr Giveaway! am so excited to offer this fabulous book for a giveaway.  Read my review.  This is such a good psychological thriller and I highly recommend it.  I thought I had things figured out early on but the book didn't let up and kept me guessing about what would happen.

Here's what you need to do to enter this giveaway:
***Leave a comment with your email address written in code form, such as booklogged at gmail dot com.***

If you'd like to garner some extra entries, do one or all of the following:
1.  Subscribe by entering your email in the FeedBurner in the left sidebar.
2.  Sign up to be my neighbor - left sidebar right under the Contest Central button.
3.  Click on the Contest Central button and sign up for one of the contests listed.  Let me know which one.

This drawing will end on November 3.

Good luck to everyone.  I wish I had one to send to each of you

"Waiting On" Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. book I'm anxiously awaiting has already been released in hardcover, but I'm waiting for the paperback release.

Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett is book 34 (I believe) in his Discworld novels.  I love Pratchett's wit, wisdom and humor and, of course, the story.  And I love that you don't need to read the Discworld books in any order - you can just pick one up and enjoy it.  Each expands your knowledge of the world and the characters,but it doesn't matter the order.

"This account of Unseen University's entry into the world of soccer (or, as they occasionally call it, "foot-the-ball") pushes past the usual conventions of satire to offer equal parts absurdist philosophy and heartwarming romance....A witty addition to the long-running fantasy series" (Kirkus Reviews )

Next question is which cover do I want?  I recently discovered The Book Depository located in London.  I can order a book from them and I get the UK cover and there's no shipping charge.  I can't remember whose blog I saw a button for The Book Depository, but thank-you.  I've already ordered a couple of books from there and I helped that store affiliate with a few pennies in her pocket.

Which cover do you like the best?

It's Tuesday, Where Are You?

It's Tuesday . . . Where are you? is a weekly meme sponsored by Raidergirl3 from An Adventure In Reading.  It's one of my favorites because we get to tell about the places we are visiting in our reading.  Be sure to visit Raidergirl3's blog and find out all the places people are visiting this week.

Syren by Angie SageToday I am in the fantasy world created by Angie Sage and inhabited by Septimus Heap.   We, Septimus and some of his friends and I, are stranded on a little island when the dragon we were flying was zapped by a bolt of lightning and we had to make an emergency landing.  We know it was right after seeing the lighthouse with a cat eyes and cat ears at the top.  We also know there is a syren living in a tower on the island who has taken possession of a friend we knew a long time ago.  We are suspecting there is a devious plot to hurt the castle.  What we don't know is that there is a ghost ship just offshore that is planning to hijack Jenna's father's ship, which we don't yet realize is heading toward the island.

Monday, October 19, 2009

In My Mailbox Monday

In My Mailbox is a weekly feature sponsored by The Story Siren.

Mailbox Monday is inspired by Marcia of The Printed Page.

I thought I wasn't going to have anything to mention this week because I have pulled the harness tight and didn't buy any books.  I deserve those cheers and accolades, so let them flow!  LOL   Here are the wonderful books that found their way to my house this week in spite of my great display of willpower:

From BookMooch   (If you bookmooch, let's be friends.  My name is booklogged there, too. Look me up.)

The Secret History by Donna TarttTrack of the cat by Nevada BarrTrack of the Cat by Nevada Barr - after reading and loving 13 1/2 earlier this month I decided to try her Anna Pigeon series.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt - a debut novel set in Vermont.

Review Copies
The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova - I loved The Historian so when this offer came, I happily pounced.  I'm going to read this for the Art History Challenge.
The Swan Thieves: A Novel by Elizabeth Kostova
Alice I Have BeenAlice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin - A year or two ago I read Alice in Wonderland for the first time.  Then I followed that up with two wonderful fantasy books by Frank Beddor - The Looking glass Wars and Seeing Redd.  I was excited to be offered a chance to read Alice I Have Been which is told from an 80 YO Alice Pleasance Liddell.

An Offering of Leaves by Ruth Lauer-ManentiAn Offering Leaves by Ruth Lauer-Manenti -  I received this book from Eco-Libris.  They are sponsoring a 1 day event where over a hundred bloggers will simultaneously post their reviews on Nov 10 at exactly 1:00 pm EST of different books published using the "green" criteria (recycled or FSC-certified paper).
The campaign is called Time for a Green Book: 1 Day, 100 Bloggers, 100 Reviews.
Lies My Mother Never Told Me by Kaylie Jones
Books I've Won - I hit the jackpot this week!

Lies My Mother Never Told Me by Kaylie Jones - This came to me from Jenners of Find Your Next Book Here.  Many thanks, Jenners!

Alex Cross's Trial by James PattersonAlex Cross's Trial by James Patterson - I haven't read any of the Alex Cross books, but since this isn't directly about Alex, but his ancestor, I thought it may be a good introduction to Cross.  I won this book from a contest at Karen's blog, Bookin' With Bingo.  Thank-you, Karen!
Mortal Friends (2009) by Jane Stanton Hitchcock
These last 3 books all came from a mega-giveaway of ARCS.  A mega-size thanks to Wendy's Minding Spot.

Mortal Friends by Jane Stanton Hitchcock - a mystery set in Washington D.C.

Searching for Blue Mercury by J.M.E. Flowers - another mystery.  YAY!

Searching For Blue Mercury by flowersjme
The House of Allerbrook by Valerie Annand -a historical novel set at the time of Henry VIII.

The House Of Allerbrook (Exmoor Saga) by Valerie Anand
What luscious, inviting books made their way to your house this week?  Please share a link to your list.

I hope your week is filled with lots of cozy reading hours.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Blogging Around the States - Minnesota

Today we are visiting with Sheila from the great state of  Minnesota.  Sheila blogs at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books and her byline is Bookjourney.
Any day of the week you can stop by Sheila's blog and find something new. (Personally, I don't think she sleeps!)  Every morning she shares tidbits from her life and thought in Morning Meanderings.  This weekend she will be away at a Women of Faith Conference so we may have to wait until Monday for further episodes of Meanderings.

676She is always on the go and yet she reads lots of books.  (I need lessons, Sheila)  One of my favorite posts was when she shared with us pictures and comments about her f2f book club - Bookies Book Club.  This is a picture of Sheila as the queen of the book club for this year.  Here's just a snippet from that post:
Of course there is always the July Queen event where we all dress up in formal gowns and have speeches to be the Queen of Bookies.  The nominated Queen reigns for one year, receives the royal throne, crown and scepter.  She breaks all ties in voting and chooses where we meet in the event the member who  is suppose to choose is absent.

Running along the top of Sheila's blog are some tabs that offer extra morsels of fun.  One shows pictures of the authors she's interviewed with links to those interviews.  Another  is for giveaways!  I really hate to spread this news around because it lessens my chances but right now there are 8 current giveaways.  There's a tab for Kids Books and another for Guest interviews.  I hope you'll check out all the fun things going on at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books.

Booklogged:  Start by telling us a little bit about yourself. 

I am a 42 YO action/adventure lover.  I have two grown boys (19 and 21) and a hubby who plays the role of Super Hero in my life (non fiction).  I am an office manager by day, and a reader/ blogger by night.  I enjoy biking, rollerblading, Group Power Classes, hanging with friends and family and just being alone to unwind.  Ummmm... lets see, I have traveled to Honduras 6 times and if all goes well, my 7th time will be on Oct 30 of this year where we will work with kids who live in the streets and in the dump. 

Booklogged:  What do you love about your state? 


  I love Minnesota Spring through fall - SUMMER being my absolute favorite time of year.  Beautiful summer days in Minnesota sitting on the back deck with a large ice tea and a great read... there is not a whole lot I would trade those moments for.  Minnesota is a beautiful state during these months and the lakes, trees, and fantastic fall colors are just breathtaking.

Booklogged: Is there anything you don't like about where you live?

Sheila:  I am not a fan of Minnesota winters.  The cold and I do not get along.  I really have no outdoor activities I enjoy throughout the winter and if I had my way I would learn to hibernate like a bear. ;)  Or maybe I could just stay in with a blanket and many great books to help me through.... thats pretty much what I do anyway December - March.

Booklogged:  If job, money, family did not enter the equation, would you prefer to live in another state?  Which one?  And why? 
Sheila:  This is a great question and actually one I have pondered.... I think no.  I really do love Minnesota.  I would like to go somewhere for the winters... I wouldn't mind doing winters in Florida - we have some family there or even to go and do longer periods of time in Honduras and then come back in time for spring..... 

Mall_of_America.jpg image by scrappyjessi Booklogged:  If we visited your state what cities, sights, and/or activities would you recommend we check out, see and/or do? 

Sheila:  Oh we would have a blast!  Come in the sumemr and we would travel to the Mall of America and enjoy a great day of shopping, browsing and eating great foods.  I would hook you up with a bike and we would join in one of the many 50 mile bike tours that go on spring through fall.  We would meet so many great people and experience the great tastes of Minnesota.  A day or two on the lakes - boating or fishing, a day at the Mansions in Little Falls and perhaps the Apple Festival in ALexandria, The Blueberry festival in Ely or the haunted ship tour in Duluth to round out your time.

Booklogged: Who are some authors that hail from your state? 

Sheila:  Tami Hoag, John Sanford, Charles Schultz, Jon Hassler, Lorna Landvik, Scott Fitzgerald, Tim O'Brian, William Krueger, ... I know I am probably forgetting some great ones...

Booklogged:  Do you have a favorite book set in your state? 

Sheila:  I am going to go with The Little House on the Prarie books.  I grew up with them and enjoyed the references in them made to Minnesota. As a young girl my mom had bought me a beautiful boxed set of all the books.  through the years I do not know what happened to them but I do wish I still had them today.

I want to thank Sheila for taking time to answer my questions.  I can't wait to visit Minnesota and spend time enjoying its beauty.  I'll be looking you up when I do, Sheila!

HELP!  If you are, or know someone who is, from one of these states will you leave a comment or email
me.  Thank-you.
  • North Dakota
  • Alabama
  • Oklahoma
  • New Mexico 

Contest Central Fridays

Are you hosting a giveaway, a contest, a scavenger hunt, a chance to win something?  Let the blogging community know about it.  This is the "Farmers Market" of contests.  If you are hosting a contest of any kind and want to spread the word, just sign up usingMckLinky.

Where MckLinky asks for the title, please type what you are giving away, the deadline date and if the contest is Int (international) or US/Canada.
Example:  $25 Gift Card to GameCentral (10/30) Int

You can find Contest Central every day of the week by clicking on the button at the top left sidebar. PLUS there are buttons for sites that are always giving away things. Check it out!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chin and the Magic Stones

by L.J. Salazar

This is Salazar first children's book in English.  It's a fantasy  that addresses issues such as growing up, insecurity and self-doubt, the innate need for confidence and the importance of good relationships with those we love the most - whether they are human or animal.

I am a firm believer in self-realization and visualization, but I think this presentation is somewhat preachy in the early chapters.  True, it's aimed at a middle-school audience and some of these ideas may be new to them, but I kept wondering how my grandchildren would respond to the obvious telling.

There were several times that Chin would visualize something he wanted, like a bow and arrow, and the next day it showed up int the mailbox.  How is that going to be translated by young kids?

The fantasy story was good and I'm sure would appeal to young readers.  And I liked how Chin fights the shadow minions that are whispering negative thoughts to the neighbor children.  Chin has discovered he has a very important mission and in order to accomplish all his tasks he must find all the magic stones and conquer the Shadow Lord.  In this book, Chin discovers two of the stones so there will be more books coming out that will continue the adventure.

My suggestion would be to read this book along with your child so you can discuss the ideas at the beginning of the book together.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mom's Chili Friend Amy is hosting the Fall Festival Recipe Exchange.  Can you believe she's recouped enough from BBAW to think of something else so fun and creative.  She must have boundless amounts of energy.

When the weather starts getting chilly and the trees are decked out in beautiful shades of orange, yellow and red my tummy automatically shifts from its desire for summer squash, swiss chard and cucumbers to yearnings for soups, meatloaf, apple crisp, and baked acorn squash.  (It never does stop its hankering for fresh tomatoes, though!)

MeatloafAs long as I can remember my mother would bake meatloaf, baked potatoes, acorn squash and Brown Betty (apple crisp) all at once for the most satisfying fall meals.  I still carry on that tradition and it makes me feel like I'm using the oven so efficiently.  With just Candleman and I at home, maybe one child, we always have leftover meatloaf for sandwiches the next day.  Oh, yum!

See full size imageBUT this post is not about meatloaf it's about soup, more specifically chili.  Let me just say that I have some fabulous soup recipes and deciding which to share was hard.  I wanted to go with my most recent discovery of Roasted Beet Soup because it is to die for, but I figured most people wouldn't even give it a try.  I know I wouldn't have a couple years ago. chili recipe is my mom's.  She is a darn good cook and always fed us yummy, well-balanced meals.  That was something I took for granted when we were growing up but I surely do appreciate it now.  I always thought she made the best chili around and I still think that.  One day, after being married for several years, I asked her for her recipe.  She told me she didn't have one.  I pinned her down and said I wouldn't be able to even attempt making it without some kind of a recipe.  I knew I could tweak it later, but I needed something to go on.  Remember I was still young and somewhat inexperienced.  She told me a recipe.  She doesn't have the same recipe because she still makes it from memory - sometimes hers taste really good and sometimes it's a bit off, but mine turns out perfect every time because I follow the recipe.  I always thank my lucky stars that the day she told me the recipe was for that best-ever chili!

Mom's Chili

2 pounds red or kidney beans
Dolores Canning Chili Brick1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds ground beef, browned
1 chili brick
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 large onion, diced
1/2 bunch celery and leaves, sliced
1 quart diced tomatoes
2 quarts tomato juice
1 - 2 packages chili seasoning

1.  Rinse beans; put in large soup pan.  Cover with water to about 1 inch above the level of the beans.  And the salt and oil.  let soak overnight.
2.  Bring the beans to a boil, reduce heat and continue cooking until beans are tender.
3.  Add all other ingredients and simmer slowly for 2 hours.  Taste and season with more salt and/or chili powder.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is a weekly feature hosted by Marcia from The Printed Page.  You can find more Mailbox Monday posts linked at her blog.

 Syren by Angie Sage  is an review copy.  You will all recognize this author's name and her wonderful fantasy series that starts with Magyk and features Septimus Heap.  This is book #5.  I've started reading it already and am loving it.

Mr. Timothy by Louis Bayard  - this is perhaps the most cherished book that came into my mailbox this week.  Cath from read_warbler was doing some shelf-cleaning to make way for new books and I was the lucky recipient of one of those discarded books.  Mr. Timothy features Tiny Tim as a grown man. That and the fact that it's an historical thriller has me anxious to read it.

The Children's Hour by Marcia Willett - I don't know how this one found it's way into my mailbox.  As soon as I opened the package I recognized this book as one I had borrowed from my sister.  It is still waiting on the shelf for me to read!  How do these crazy things happen?

Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man by Fannie Flagg - I have another book by Fannie Flagg that I borrowed from my brother.  He, my mom and a sister have all read it and recommended it, so I went ahead and ordered two more books by her.  Mind you, I haven't read the one I borrowed yet.

Can't Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg - (see above)  Also, one of my f2f book club members recommended this one.

Burglars Can't Be Choosers by Lawrence Block - this is book one in a mystery series.  I already have a couple in this series so I thought I better get the first.  I see no problem with that logic, do you?

What did you find in your mailbox this week?