Blog Hop and Follow Friday (12)

In case you miss the other posts, check out here for a chance to enter my first giveaway!

Book Blogger Hop

The Friday Book Bog Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Crazy-for-books. This week's question is: "If you find a book you love, do you hunt down other books by the same author?"

Who doesn't do this? =)  I have a story about this... A few years ago I came across Tamora Pierce's Alanna series at Borders. I had never heard of her (shocking, I know!) but since my name is Alanna, I just HAD to buy the books. After all, an entire series with a character that has my name? Too cool! The books sat on my shelf for a couple of years, unread. During one of our annual trips to Mississippi for Thanksgiving, I decided to take two of the books along. I had no idea how great they were! Needless to say both were finished before we hit Alabama. I made my husband stop at every bookstore from Alabama to Mississippi so I could try to find the rest of the series. I didn't care that I already had them at home! When I finished that series, I couldn't stop. Tamora Pierce is awesome. I bought and read every book that had or mentioned the Alanna character. So yes, if I like a book by one author I will certainly buy others by the same author.

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee's View. This week's question is: What is on your current playlist right now?

This question came just in time! My co-worker has been trying to get me to run with her, but I've been really lazy. However, I just started attempting to train for a 5K that she convinced me to sign up for. With that being said, I actually have a playlist now! I always have music on my iPod, but nothing that I specifically seek out to listen to. Now, I'm on a mission to find good "running" music. This is what I've got so far (please don't laugh at the odd mix of songs!) :

1. Tootsie Roll by 69 Boys from '94    LOL-- I don't even listen to Hip-Hop on a regular day, but this song is great for the final 5 minutes on a stair stepper
2. Dirty Little Secret by The All-American Rejects
3. Last Night by Skillet (I LOVE them!)
4. Fortune Teller by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
5. Because the Night by Pat Benetar
6. Walk This Way by Aerosmith

I am currently accepting suggestions for other "running" music. I'm open to anything with a good beat to motivate me! =)

Review: The Little Prince

The Little Prince
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Product Details
Paperback: 111 pages

Publisher: Harcourt Brace & Company (1971)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0590129279
Source: My Personal Book

This is one of my favorite books of all time! Don’t be fooled by the simple appearance of this book; there is some really deep material between the covers. I’ve pondered whether to call this book a fable or a parable. Ultimately, I’ve decided it’s some form of both. As the Little Prince travels through the universe he meets many different people (and animals) that teach him great lessons about life.

The story begins with the Little Prince leaving his small planet because he is not happy. As he travels the universe he stops on other planets and talks to the inhabitants. Most of the people that he meets on these planets are adults and represent the worst of human behavior and foolishness. My favorites are the Vain Man who “cannot hear anything but praise” and the drunkard that drinks because he feels guilty about drinking. While these characters are not meant to be likeable, they represent many of the problems that we face in society (i.e. the need for applause and constant praise and the drunkard’s guilt cycle).

Eventually the Little Prince makes his way to earth, which is where he meets the narrator of the story—a pilot who has become stranded in the middle of the Sahara Desert because his plane crashed. Before meeting the pilot, the Little Prince meets a snake and a fox. The Prince’s time with the fox turns out to be a life changing moment. Through his interactions with the fox he learns a great secret: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” With this knowledge the Prince realizes that his life is special and he decides to make the hard journey back to his small planet and the precious flower that lives there.

I cannot begin to tell you how much I love this book. As a small child I remember watching the cartoon adaptation of Nickelodeon. Of course, I didn’t realize there was a book at that time. In high school we had to read this book in our French class. That was the first time I read it, and I instantly fell in love. As an adult it has an even deeper hold on me. The author of the book wrote this story after his town in France had been overrun by the Nazis during World War 2. Knowing that information gives this book an even deeper illumination of the human spirit—both good and bad. The content is both deep and moving, while funny and simple at the same time. You can find humor in the generalizations about adults and children, and I’m sure we can all see a little of ourselves in some of the characters. As a whole, the story is beautifully written and immensely thought provoking. You cannot read this book and not ponder life’s greatest questions. It’s impossible.

If you have not read this charming children’s book, you are missing one of the greatest stories ever written! It’s a quick and easy read, but it will linger in your thoughts well after you have finished reading.



Ms. Piper has graciously offered to give away an e-book copy of this darling book to one lucky winner. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment in the comment box below with your contact information.

Winners will be chosen on May 1st and notified via e-mail.

If you would like to read more about the book, please see my review here. There is also an interview with the author that can be found here.  

Author Interview with Daisy Piper

In celebration of the awesome Fairytale Fortnight event being hosted by Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing and The Book Rat, I am linking up an interview with a wonderful debut author. Ms. Piper has written one of the most charming original fairy tales I have ever read. I absolutely adored it! I'm happy to say that there will be more in the series, too. Want to know more about Princess Callie and the Totally Amazing Talking Tiara? Read my full review here.

Ms. Piper has graciously offered to give away an e-book copy of this darling book to one lucky winner. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment in the comment box below with your contact information. Winners will be chosen on May 1st and notified via e-mail.

Princess Callie and the Totally Amazing Talking Tiara (Callie Chronicles)

Note: Anything in blue from this point forward is my personal commentary.

Here is the interview:

The technical stuff:

1. How did you come up with the idea for Princess Callie and the Totally
Amazing Talking Tiara?
I was riding a bus one day, staring out the window. I must have been bored, because all of a sudden—in my imagination-- I saw the gargoyles, Terry and Kevin peering down at Callie in the lamplight of the Grimstead Gate. I thought—who is she? Why is she there? The story really took off from that point.

2. What is the hardest part of writing for you?
For me, the hardest part of writing is the revisions. The first draft is the fun part—you can let your imagination go and write down everything as it comes to you. But after your critique partner goes over the manuscript and breaks it down, the hard work begins. You have to be ruthless—aiming for a fast pace and cutting everything that doesn’t really need to be there.

3. What’s the best thing about being an author?
For me, being an author is the epitome of creativity. I once heard Someone say that when you’re the author, you’re also the director, the writer, the actors, the set designers, costume designers, special effects technicians, etc. Whatever you can imagine, you can create on the page.

4. What are you working on now?
I am almost finished the first draft of Book II of The Callie Chronicles: PRINCESS CALLIE AND THE FANTASTIC FIRE-BREATHING DRAGON. The second book in the series features Earle, as well as another Royal Dragon. This book should be available on the Kindlestore and Smashwords by late May 2011.

I am so excited to hear that we will get to see more of Earl, the near-sighted dragon!

5. Do you have any favorite authors and/or favorite books?
For children’s books, my favorite authors include C.S. Lewis, Eva Ibbotson, Joan Aiken, Madeline L’Engle, Lemony Snicket, and Dav Pilkey. I read widely, and I also enjoy Greg Iles, James Patterson, Lindsey Davis, Tess Gerritsen, Julianne MacLean, Tessa Dare, Anna Campbell, Wilbur Smith, Bernard Cornwell, and the incomparable Agatha Christie.

Book related questions:

I just have to ask these because I’m itching to know! I’m excited to know that Earle will be a larger part of the second book. He seems so adorable. The mental image of a young dragon wearing glasses is too cute!

1. How did you come up with some of the creatures featured in your story? (i.e. Sweetbugs, the hilarious gargoyles)
As I mentioned previously, the gargoyles just popped into my head one day. With the Sweetbugs, I purposely tried to create different details between the magical world of Albion and our world. I had to think about everything from lighting, every-day food, transportation, road signs, and newspapers.

2. At the end of the book, it seems that Callie’s troubles with Wanda are not resolved. Will we see Wanda in book #2 of the Callie Chronicles, and what role might she play?
You’re right—Callie’s troubles with Wanda are far from over. Wanda has a major role in Book II, and will have for the entire series. In a way, Wanda is the flip-side of Callie. They co-exist and challenge each other.

3. What secrets will Callie’s mother’s diary hold (if any)?
There are definitely secrets in the diary. Someone has hidden it away… Who? Why? What could possibly be so dangerous, buried in the pages of Callie’s mother’s diary? I touch on this in Book II, but I hope to write Princess Anastasia’s diary and publish it as a companion piece to the series.

Random stuff:

1. If you could be any character from a book you’ve read, who would it be? Why?
I’d be Tigger, from A.A.Milne’s “Winne the Pooh.” He bounces… he has fun. What more is there?

2. What’s your favorite book to movie adaptation?

 I personally am not a fan of books being made into movies.(With the exception of The Outsiders.) It seems that Hollywood does not do the books justice. If you feel the same way, it’s ok.

I would have to say the Harry Potter movies. I thought the casting was excellent, and the atmosphere matched what I had imagined while reading.

3. If you found out tomorrow that you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would buy/do with your winnings?
The first thing I would do is buy a long-arm quilting machine. I am a self-taught quilter and I use a sewing machine for both piecing and quilting. I often struggle with a full-sized quilt when I am quilting it on my machine. Long-arm quilters are somewhat expensive, but make this final step a lot easier.

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