October 23, 2014

A Moment of Happy

  • The minions make everything better!
  • Okay, if you haven't read this post titled "Who Crushed Better: You Or Your Grandma?", then let me assure you that you should stop everything right this very minute, and GO READ IT! Lotsa eyecandy and fun. Trust me. You'll thank me after. ;)
  • In the spirit of Halloween which is just around the corner (where did this year go?!), read this post by Heather Dixon.

October 17, 2014

Festivals, Books, & Authors, Oh My

So! As any regular reader knows, I had the delightful privilege of going to the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville this past weekend. And I did warn you that I'd probably want to gush about it sometime this week. That day has arrived! :D

Proceed scrolling down at your own risk as there is much gushing and pictures about to happen. I've never been to such a thing before, so of course I took tons of pictures. Thus if you don't want to see and hear all about it, stop reading right now! (Also, I cannot stress enough that I am no photographer, therefore I cannot promise amazing, quality pictures. I only promise pictures. M'kay?)

Now then! My day started in this building. And that banner that you can't read does actually state "Welcome to the Southern Festival of Books" in case you're wondering. This is the Nashville Public Library. I know! It's huge! Multiple levels of awesomeness here.

This would be the children's section. Mind you, this is one whole room dedicated to only children's books. Plus it's yellow which just makes me happy! :) It's located on the second level.

Meanwhile, on the first level, we have the foyer. And this is only half of the room. I couldn't get the whole thing in one picture. And those books? Those are for sale. Which is where I found this...

I listened to this all the way home and as I stated in my review yesterday, it is fabulous! If you like quirky characters and lots of adventure, you should read it. (Also, that cover is amazing! Incorporating so many elements of the story in one perfect picture. I love it.)

Moving on to the actual festival itself, here it is in all its wet glory. Yes. It rained all day. But us die hard booklovers were not deterred! Oh no! Far from it. We wandered from booth to booth with our raincoats and umbrellas and happy enthusiasm for books. There were books for sale all over the place, as well as authors and publishers to meet. One awesome aspect of the day that I wasn't expecting was the fact that book people love other book people. I mean, I knew that was true about myself, but that moment that I saw such a vast array of readers and writers all having a blast was fantastic! There were people that I chatted with who read and write stories that I will probably never read, but we still had that common bond of loving books anyway. What I mean is, regardless of what we each read or write, it didn't really matter. What mattered was our enthusiasm for literature and books. And every single person I met had that in spades! Which means that I had some incredible convos with all kinds of people. My favorite convos were the unexpected moments when I stopped in a particular booth and we just started talking. Book people are awesome people! Enough said. :)

This sign at a mystery writers booth amused me. And the ladies I met there were fun! See. That's what I'm trying to say. I read very few mysteries, but we found common ground to talk about anyway! (And on that note, if you do like mysteries, I met another mystery writer, Lauren Hope, who has a giveaway currently going on for a set of hardcover Agatha Christie books. Go check it out and enter to win! :)

And then it was time for the highlight of my entire weekend! Yep. In that little huddle there, stands a tiny but awesome lady who I couldn't wait to meet! But first I had the privilege of listening to a panel of three authors discuss their newest books. Which was great fun! Of course, the bestest part was listening to this gal....

Yeppers, there she is, folks! Ms. Natalie Lloyd herself! To say that I was excited to meet her? Thrilled to listen to her talk about what inspired her novel? Ecstatic to even be in the same room with her?! Would all be a huge understatement. My joy knew no bounds! :) And I was determined that I'd be grown-up about this. I would talk to her. (I even practiced what to say!) I would tell her how much I'd enjoyed reading her blog for years. How much I loved A Snicker of Magic. How amazing it was to meet her. I would not do like I had when meeting Ree Drummond (aka The Pioneer Woman) a few years ago. Where I got so completely tongue-tied I ended up not being able to say even one word to her. *shakes head in embarrassment* But this time! This time would be different. And it was! (Well. I was still a bit tongue-tied and I think I ended up saying "thank you" about a gazillion times too many and who knows if I was coherent at all. But I do know that I got a hug! And that she called me cool! I'm totally going to add that to every introduction from now on. "Hi, I'm Kara! And Natalie Lloyd thinks I'm cool." Has a nice ring to it, don't you think? ;)

Oh look! Another picture of her! ;) She's reading from her novel here. Which brings me to mention the panel she was a part of. There was this clock at the back of the room and all of a sudden, all three authors look at it and gasp. The hands were moving around by themselves really quickly! Cory Basil, one of the authors, exclaimed "We're time-traveling!" and Natalie goes, "Best panel ever!". ;) Seriously though, it was a very fun panel to sit in on. Afterwards, we got to go meet them and get their autographs (at which point Natalie gave me a hug!), which brings me to the awesomeness of this guy....

This is Cory drawing a picture for my nephew. I didn't buy his book (if only I could have bought every single one that I wanted! *sigh* Oh for unlimited amounts of book-buying-money), but I had the thought that one of my nephews loves to read and I bet he'd enjoy having an autograph from an author. So when I asked about it, Cory volunteered to draw a picture and sign it instead! Which he proceeded to do. And which I thought was awfully nice of him! :) Therefore, go check out his facebook page and his newest book, The Perils of Fishboy. He added around 60 illustrations to the story and it sounds like a fun book! :)

And to end the day, I visited Parnassus Books. They had a booth at the festival, but you know nothing can compare to the actual bookstore. And it's lovely! If you're ever in the Nashville area, I recommend stopping by. The high ceiling makes the space seem large and they have a fabulous selection. One of my purchases there included:

Have you read this one? If not, get thee to a bookstore! It is absolutely hilarious to read aloud. I stood there in the store laughing my head off. It's a good thing I had the children's section all to myself at the time. ;)

This is the ceiling of one of the buildings around the festival. Pretty cool, right? And thus endeth my day of happy. I headed home with lots of fun memories and a few more books to add to my shelves. As well as dreams of going again next year! ;)

October 16, 2014

Bite-Sized Reviews :: Edition Eight

I realized that I have quite a few books that I've read but not blogged about piling up. So it's past time for another edition of Bite-Sized Reviews! Yay! (I know how excited you are. ;) But enough about me and my giant (actually only four) pile. On to the book reviews!

Isla and the Happily Ever After - As a fan of Ms. Perkins, I'd been anxiously awaiting the delayed publishing of her third novel. And happily devoured it soon after it came out! It was so nice to get back to the French boarding school again, as well as see Josh get his happy ending. Isla and Josh are too cute. Which I totally expected because Ms. Perkins knows her cuteness-factor when it comes to young adults: Anna and Etienne, Lola and Cricket, and now Isla and Josh. I really like Isla the most though. It's interesting to be inside her head and watch as Josh basically sweeps her off her feet and how she handles that. Her insecurities and doubts combined with Josh's reckless tendencies, make their romance filled with ups and downs. But as the title so aptly states, they do get their happily ever after. It's the getting to the ever after that's the fun part! (Also, the appearances of the characters from her other novels are a fun addition. It was lovely to see where those couples are now. Plus we get a pretty swoonworthy moment or two with them! Which is always a plus. :)

In Consequence - As a huge fan of the miniseries North and South based on the book by Elizabeth Gaskell, this is actually the first sequel/retelling of the story that I've read. And what fun it is! Events happen just the same until the riot scene, at which point things take a much different route. John and Margaret have way more opportunities to spend time together, setting up several cute and sweet moments between them. Their interactions are almost always fraught with misunderstandings in the original story, and that remains the same here. Although things get cleared up quite a bit quicker and their open communication is a welcome change! I also really enjoyed getting a glimpse of their married life together. Nicholas is as impudent as ever, Mrs. Thornton as stern, Mr. and Mrs. Hale just the same, and really the entire cast of characters are wonderful. If you enjoy retellings of classic stories, I'd recommend this one for a bit of fun.

The Near Witch - I didn't think this sounded like my type of book at all, but I kept hearing such good things about it that my curiosity was piqued. And am I ever glad I picked it up! Ms. Schwab's writing is seriously wonderful! From the very first page, it swept me up and refused to let loose until I reached the end. Resonating with sounds and tastes and feelings, it is wonderfully expressive. While the story seems like a fantasy, at the same time, it really feels more like a historical novel. It's such a curious mix of so many different things. And it does them all well! When I closed the last page, I immediately turned the book over and started reading my favorite parts again. I love it when stories do that for me. I have, without a doubt, become a huge fan of Ms. Schwab's writing and look forward to reading more from her. Highly recommend!!!!

The Great Unexpected - What an unexpected delight! (See what I did there? ;) I found the audiobook at a library sale and snatched it up because Natalie had exclaimed over it (and she has yet to steer me wrong). Believe me when I say that this is an excellent middle grade novel. Ms. Creech takes a vast array of seemingly unconnectable characters and then gives hints little by little (keeping you turning pages or continuing to listen so you can find out what happens next) until there's an invisible thread connecting them all. And the characters are the shining points of the entire story! Naomi and Lizzie, Nula and Joe, Witch Wiggins, Crazy Cora, Mrs. Mudkin, the Ireland ladies, and of course the "infamous" Finn-boy. They are all delightful! This is a fun adventure full of eccentric and quirky characters that you'll love. I think I'll go have another listen. :)

October 15, 2014

Hi Wednesday Hodgepodge, I'm Back!

I decided to join in again! I've thought about it for several weeks, but it just hadn't worked out. Today that changes! Here am I, going forth with the questions.

1. What's your favorite time of day? Why?

I don't like early morning, but maybe around 10 or 11am, once I'm good and woke up. It's nice daylight outside, I'm not too sleepy yet (afternoons make me want to nap), and evening is when it's getting dark. I like the daylight! Plus it's close to lunch and I do like to eat. ;)

2. Waffle iron, toaster, coffee maker, mixer, blender...which small appliance would you say most needs replacing in your house?

The mixer because I don't have one and I want one!

3. It's National Grouch Day (October 15)...what's something that makes you feel grouchy?

Really early mornings. Ugh!

4. Ever been to Canada? Is that a country you'd like to visit? According to Trip Advisor, the top ten best destinations in Canada are-Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Victoria, Calgary, Niagara on the Lake, Niagara Falls, Whistler, and Halifax. Which city would you most like to see?

Victoria or Niagara Falls. I have friends who've been to those places and brought back amazing pictures. I don't know anything about any of the other cities. (Also! I have a few blogging friends who live in Canada. I wouldn't mind getting the chance to go visit them! :)

5. What was your favorite food (or one of your favorites) when you were a child? Is that still a favorite?

Peanut butter, mayo, and banana sandwiches. And absolutely NOT a favorite! *shudders* I have no idea what on earth I was thinking.

6. Do you cry easily?

Yes. Weddings, funerals, movies, when someone else starts crying, I'm a waterworks machine! And I really wish I weren't.

7. Have you started your (gasp!) Christmas shopping? If so when, and how much? If not, when will you even begin thinking about it?

I have thought about it. But actual shopping has not been involved. At this point, I have no idea when it'll begin. Hopefully soon!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Hodgepodgers, it's good to be back,
I knew there was something I lacked.
I'll join in
Hopefully again,
Meanwhile, I'll go have a snack.

(Yeah, not my best work.)


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