Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thirty-Two Going on Spinster

Author Becky Monson is blazing a path into the book industry with her debut novel Thirty-Two Going on Spinster. The scoop on the book is this: Julia Dorning is a spinster in the making. She is marginally employed, and living in her parent's basement with her cat Charlie. When I think of Julia, I picture Kristin Wiig from Bridesmaids. A goofy, but lovable character. This isn't exactly the life Julia had hoped for. Julia is working at Spectraltech, bored out of her mind, and her job is so unfulfilling she has actually found a way to use company time to take naps. She discreetly sneaks into the conference room with files in hand. It is during one of these naps that the basement-dweller is oddly introduced to Jared Moody, the new office hottie. Granted, you wouldn't want your first introduction to the office hottie to be while you were hiding under a conference room table, rump-end up. Despite her reservations and from Spectraltech (I picture Office Space, the movie), she decides follow her passion for baking. Lo and behold, this is the perfect fit for her. Everything seems to be going right until you-know-who walks back through the bakery doors. When the truth of her firing is finally revealed, will Julia be able to understand why Jared acted the way he did? Can she ever give up her spinster ways, or can she truly change her life? Enough spoilers here, you will have to see for yourself!  

Read this preview...
I seriously can’t do this report right now. I’m not in the mood. I have time to procrastinate, so I might as well do just that. Perhaps a little cat-nap would lighten my mood. I am feeling pretty sleepy.
A little nap might be helpful for this mood I can’t seem to get out of. And yes, I do realize I’m at work. How could it be possible for me to take a nap? Oh, but it is possible. And no, Spectraltech does not offer break rooms with cots in them, even though I anonymously left an article on the president of the company’s desk about how napping during the day can bring up productivity and morale in a company. He obviously didn’t bother reading it.
No big deal because I am actually the queen of taking little snoozes at work. A self-titled queen, but a queen nonetheless. No one actually knows about it because it’s not something one should brag about. But it is quite a talent if I do say so myself.
It took me some time to perfect it, but I figured it out.  Basically, I just lean my head on my left hand while my right hand moves the mouse. It took practice to be able to sleep and move the mouse at the same time, but I mastered it. I’ve also made sure that my computer screen is placed strategically in front of me. That way, if anyone were to walk into my office, my face would be hidden from view. It’s genius, really.
Luckily for me, I don’t have to use this technique that often (it tends to put a bit of a kink in your neck) because I have a little secret: Upstairs on the sixth floor is a rarely used conference room. It’s mostly used for the Board of Directors quarterly meeting. Sometimes they will use it for presentations to investors or buyers, but this is rare.
Since Mr. Nguyen is the VP of accounting, he is always a part of the board meetings. Being the next person ranked under Mr. Nguyen and his assistant, I know his schedule and, therefore, know if the conference room is in use. Today, as in most days, it’s vacant. This means I can grab some files (my disguise) and head up to the sixth floor to catch a little nap.
It’s brilliant, right? Too bad I am the only one that gets to celebrate my napping-at-work discovery since it’s not something one would want to share with one’s coworkers.

Ordering and a Giveaway!
You can order the book for yourself here on Amazon, or you can enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for an Amazon Gift Card at this link Enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card.

Author Bio
By day, Becky Monson is a mother to three young children, and a wife. By night, she escapes with reading books and writing. In her debut novel, Becky uses humor and true-life experiences to bring her characters to life. She loves all things chick-lit (movies, books, etc.), and wishes she had a British accent. She has recently given up Diet Coke for the fiftieth time and is hopeful this time will last... but it probably won't. 

Other Links (this is a bookclub I run on Facebook) 

I'd like to thank my girls at CLP Bog Tours for hooking me up with this read for Becky's blog tour! xo

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ten Things You Didn't Know About Becky Monson

Becky Monson's book Thirty-Two Going on Spinster will be featured on my blog on Thursday, but I wanted to give you a preview of her personality by featuring a "Ten Things You Didn't Know About Me" post. I truly enjoy learning about people, and if you were wondering whether or not you'd like Becky's writing, all you have to do is read some of her answers. I know you'll be as charmed with her as I was.

10 Things You Didn't Know About Becky Monson (in random order)

1. If I was stranded on a deserted island I would be happy for the rest of my life with cantaloupe and Hot Tamales (the candy).

2. I hate shredded coconut and I tell people I am allergic to it so I don’t have to eat it. (me, too!-MS)

3. Growing up my dad was a radio personality and because of that I got to meet many famous people that no one really cares about.

4. In the 6th grade I got my ears pierced and then pretended like they got infected so I could get attention.

5. I love math and wish I was better at it.

6. Throughout my life I have attempted to play the violin, the cello, the bass violin, the clarinet, the piano, the guitar, the ukulele, the drums, and the electric bass. I stuck with guitar the longest, but probably haven’t picked up my guitar in about 3 years (sad).

7. I have had way too many different kinds of jobs in my life – I get bored easily.

8. I love to sing and once sang back-up on an album for an up-and-coming rap artist in Boulder, Colorado. I have never heard of him since.

9. I consider myself a fairly sane person, but in the middle of the night when I’m woken up by my kids, I’m as crazy as they come.

10. I have always wanted to have magical powers – thus my love for Sabrina the Teenage Witch reruns and Harry Potter.

I'd like to thank Becky for agreeing to be interviewed for the blog! Don't forget to check back on Thursday for my review of Thirty-Two Going on Spinster.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Unbreakable Bonds by Carolyn Ridder Aspenson

The absolutely hilarious Carolyn Aspenson has written a sequel to Unfinished Business, her first book. Her newest book, Unbreakable Bonds will be out VERY soon! To preview the book, click on this  
and here is the book trailer on YouTube.

Unbreakable Bonds
An Angela Panther Novel
Carolyn Ridder Aspenson

When Angela's best friend Mel thinks her husband is having an affair, she turns to Angela for help.   The two come up with the perfect plan to catch him in the act but to make it work, they'll need help from Angela's mother, Fran.
There's just one teeny, little problem.
Fran's dead.
And since Angela's psychic gift is currently out of service, connecting with Fran is a little complicated.
While Angela searches for a way to fix her psychic radar Fran and a multitude of other ghosts continue to try to make a connection. And it's driving Angela crazy.
But Fran won't let her daughter's problem stop her from helping someone she loves and she sets out to catch the cheater on her own, using a few tricks and tools from the afterlife to get it done.
Book two of the Angela Panther series will be available November, 2013 in e-book and paperback.

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Unfinished Business
An Angela Panther Novel

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Unfinished Business
   An Angela Panther Novel

Angela Panther is an ordinary stay at home mom with a satisfying, albeit slightly mundane life.

Things get a little crazy for Angela when her mother dies and comes back as a ghost.

 It seems Fran's got some unfinished business on earth and she's determined to get it done, no matter what.
 But Fran's not the only ghost with unfinished business and her return opens a portal between Angela and the afterlife. Now every Tom, Dick and Harry ghost around comes knockin' on Angela's psychic door, looking for help.
 And it's a pain in the butt.
 Having her mother around is a double-edged sword for Angela. On the one hand, she's glad to still have the connection but on the other, death has given Fran some annoying abilities and she's seriously trying Angela's patience.
 When Fran tells Angela her teenage daughter Emily is in trouble, Angela decides to let her mother use her ghostly skills to keep tabs on the girl. 
 Well, not all of her ghostly skills.
 But that doesn't stop Fran from causing a little trouble - just to protect her granddaughter, of course.
 Now Angela has to find a way to keep her old life in tact and help the dead with their unfinished business, all while trying to keep her mother out of trouble.
 And it's a lot for one woman to handle. 
Carolyn Ridder Aspenson 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Back to School Picture Books that Rock!

Break out your wallets (or library cards) this week, and grab some of these books to start your school year out on the right foot. These books will serve as mentor texts for all of your back-to-school needs, and possible woes. Some of the books have writing or project ideas with them. Hope you like it!

David Goes to School by David Shannon
In this book by David Shannon, David (named after the author who was always being told "No") goes to school, and what do you know? He breaks all the rules! No, David! He chews gum, he cuts in line, he writes on his desk, he doesn't pay attention in class. David, is not the model student. At the end, he has to clean up a mess he made, and he realizes how good it feels to receive praise from the teacher. Yes, David.
David Goes to School Activity
First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
In First Day Jitters, the narrator is encouraging someone to get out of bed. Isn't everyone nervous about starting a new school year? The person in bed does not want to come out, and shares all of their reasons for wanting to stay put in bed. Would you be surprised to find out the person in bed was the teacher? Students are always surprised to hear the ending. 
Make some Jitter Juice! Every student can take a sip of the Jitter Juice to relieve some of their anxiety. It''s really just fruit punch, but students will feel better knowing that they may have a special juice helping them feel better about starting a new school year. Even the teacher will take a sip! After each student takes a sip, make a tally chart. The link below will show you a pin from Pinterest that shows what my tally chart looked like. 
Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes by Eric Litwin 
One of my favorite things about going back to school is seeing all of the children with their new shoes on. Their white laces, the smell of the new rubber on the soles of their shoes. I love starting a new school year just so I can see all of the new shoes! Pete the Cat rocks in his school shoes all over the school. He takes those cool shoes everywhere because it's all good! He never stops signing his song. Take your students on a school tour after you read this little ditty.
I love this subtraction activity using Pete's buttons on his coat (from the original Pete the Cat book)
I also think this writing idea is great. Use the verbs has, does, and says to help students brainstorm writing ideas. Students tell you what Pete the Cat has, does, says, etc. while you record it on a poster with a Pete the Cat shown on it.
One by Kathryn Otoshi
To say that I adore this book is simply an understatement. This book is perfect for reading to your class over and over again. The idea of the book is that it only takes ONE person to stand up for what is right. This author brilliantly uses colors to represent people, and their feelings. Can you guess what color the bully is? It's red. The more Red pushes the other colors around, the bigger Red gets. This essentially means that the more a bully is allowed to be in charge, and push people around, the more powerful they become. One comes along and puts a stop to it, because it only takes ONE. If there is one book I'd say you should invest in, this is the one (no pun intended)!
Wonder by RJ Palacio
This book is a chapter book for older readers, but I can tell you honestly that when I read it, I cried. It was beautiful. The main character, August (Auggie) Pullman, has a facial deformity that has kept him out of school (he was home-schooled) until now. His mom finally gives him the green light to go to a private school, and he is both nervous and excited. Auggie soon learns that kids can be cruel. He knows all about people gawking at him, but he just wants to be a kid. This book is a perfect read aloud for your class (grades 3-6), and a great way to engage your students in conversations about bullying, and judging someone based on their looks. A powerful look at the way we, as humans, interact and falsely judge others by their outward appearance when it is truly the heart that matters. 

I chose my top 5 books to share with you. What are some of your top 5? I'd love to know!

Happy new beginnings.