Traveling With T turns 2! Happy Bloggy Anniversary/Birthday (+ GIVEAWAY!)

TWT turning 2

That’s right, folks- Traveling With T is turning 2! 2 years of bloggy goodness. Bloggy fun. Bloggy giveaways. And yes some days of being bloggy confused- wondering how to make buttons, what is SEO, do I REALLY need multiple forms of social media, and a million other things.

Has it been fun? Absolutely? Is it worthwhile? 100 percent. Is it all super fun, cupcakes with sparkles, unicorns and rainbows and glitter everywhere? NO. Some days blogging is hard work. But I LOVE it- and the good days outweigh the bad by a million percent.

So- to honor my 2 year bloggy anniversary- my bloggy birthday(I’m totally treating myself to a HUGE cupcake today- because I’ve totally earned it) I’m giving away a slew of books. A pile of books. Books, books, books, and hold on——— 2 of them are signed!! Yes, yes, yes- last Saturday (when the temperature was around 32 degrees- but felt like it was in the mid 20’s) I braved the cold and I got 2 books signed. For you, my darling readers!

Here’s the giveaway line-up:

SOMEONE-ELSES-LOVE-STORY

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Yes. This is the signed book. YES (you are welcome!) But wait…. there is a bit more- I also bought the short story Joshilyn wrote- the story that accompanies SELS- MY OWN MIRACULOUS (which is also SIGNED!) The winner of this wins both- since they are a package deal!

morning glory

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Sarah Jio’s latest. Seriously, you can thank me later. Here is the Goodreads summary (just in case seeing Sarah Jio’s name is not enough to say “Good golly, I NEED that!)

the returned fb

Photo Credit: Goodreads

This book caught quite a bit of attention. Several bloggers I know RAVED about this book. I have 2 copies of this book for you lucky readers! Here is the summary (just in case you aren’t aware of this book!)

read it and weep

Photo Credit: Goodreads

I LOVE cozy mysteries. I LOVE Jenn McKinlay. The Library Lover’s  series is a great one- and this is the latest in the series! Here is the summary on Goodreads.

Topped Chef - Cover

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Lucy Burdette’s latest- Topped Chef– is great. Fun. And Hayley is delightful (and might be finding a romance. Maybe. Possibly. We’ll see!) Here is the Goodreads summary.

murder of stacked librarian

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Denise Swanson’s latest. Another great cozy series. Here is the Goodreads summary.

goldfinch

Photo Credit: Goodreads

And lastly…. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Note: This was a Kindle Daily Deal a week ago and I bought a copy as a “gift” for a lucky commenter. So you need to have a Kindle or Kindle app to read this book! Here is the Goodreads summary.

So, there you have it. My birthday- but you get the presents 🙂 🙂 It’s my way of saying “thank you” for sticking with me, for taking a chance and following my blog, for being a commenter, for retweeting- for all the things you do that make me want to wake up and blog, baby, blog for another day.

You, my dear readers, like me for who I am. And I thank you for that from the bottom of my heart.

Giveaway details:

The giveaways are US only. To win, comment and list the prizes in order of how much you want from 1 (I really want this!) to 7 (I’d be cool  with winning this!) Giveaway begins December 14th and ends Dec 23rd.

Thursday Mashup

#giveaways, reviews, another place to buy books, and interviews.  Plus news for Book Lovers Unite Online Book Club.

#giveaways:

My blog (Traveling With T) is giving away The Guest House by Erika Marks. Ends Thursday night 11:59PMEST.

Book-alicious Mama is giving away A Hundred Summers.

Great New Books is giving away Sarah Jio’s latest The Last Camellia and Sarah Jio talks about Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

Joshilyn Jackson is giving away Susan Rebecca White’s latest, A Place at the Table.

Bermudaonion is giving away an autographed copy of Mary Kay Andrews Ladies’ Night.

Anita Loves Books is giving away THE YONAHLOSEE RIDING CAMP FOR GIRLS by Anton DiScalafani.

Read Alongs

Can’t find anyone to read and discuss A Hundred Summer by Beatriz Williams with? Let Literate Housewife save you. During month of July she’s leading a discussion. Check her blog out (all the details you need to know are there!)

Have you been reading with Book Lovers Unite Online Book Club? Our inaugural pick, Reconstructing Amelia, has been a blast. It’s not too late to join in- we still have 2 weeks left & I have a super-duper surprise lined up! So grab those copies of Reconstructing Amelia and join in!

Jen, my co-host, at Book-alicious Mama has picked the July book for Book Lovers United- The Painted Girls! Reading schedule and other info to be announced later.

Other Places To Buy Books

Crossroads Press! – You can purchase e-books (for multiple devices) and paperback books have a discount automatically applied. Right now, there are several e-books for 99 cents. Consider giving them a look- you might find something you like at a good price.

Interviews

Interview with Marybeth Whalen

Interview with Beth Albright

Reviews

Island Girls by Nancy Thayer

The Widow Waltz by Sally Koslow

 

 

Literary Friday, ya’ll…..

Friday. Ahhhh…..

1. Deep South Mag and their #literaryfriday: Sinning across the South, book signings and more!

2. Boston Herald reveals it’s Summer Book Club: 10 hot reads to pack in your beach bag. The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan made the list- which I’m super excited about because I won an ARC from the adorable Sarah McCoy, author of The Baker’s Daughter. Look for my review of The Engagements to be posted in a couple of weeks!

3. A Novel Review is giving away Sarah Jio’s newest book, The Last Camellia!

4.  She Reads featured today The Blog Network Recommends– 3 great sounding books were recommended- The Last Camellia, The Third Son, and The Outcast.

5. Drey’s Library is also giving away The Last Camellia by Sarah Jio (plus she has a fabulous interview with her!)

6. Today, Traveling With T, began Book Lovers Unite Online Book Club– come join in the fun as we talk about Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight. The questions for Week 1 discussion have been posted- so plenty of time to join in!

7. ICYMI: I reviewed Never Tell by Alafair Burke and Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman this week.

8. My #fridayreads are Reconstructing Amelia and A Place at the Table by Susan Rebecca White.

9. Traveling With T will have #giveaways next week! Come and visit 🙂 A Cookbook Conspiracy by Kate Carlisle will be given away MONDAY JUNE 3rd. Don’t miss it!

 

Happy Reading!

 

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Eudora Welty’s House and Camellias…

379229_10100580810672616_1453878116_nTwo weekends ago, while enjoying a weekend with some book loving friends- we stopped by Eudora Welty’s house. The camellias were blooming- oh they looked beautiful. I could have spent hours there, walking around, looking at flowers. Then there was this bench- right in a perfect little place. Not too much sun, not too shady either- just perfect for a book lover to sit down, read, and soak up some of the niceness about Eudora Welty’s place.

When Sarah Jio’s new book, The Last Camellia, hits the bookstores- I will be taking her book to Eudora’s to read. Reading The Last Camellia in a place were camellias bloom so prettily- oh, such a perfect afternoon.

Oh and Sarah Jio is giving away 2 copies- follow the link for more info!

Best Books of 2012 (Traveling With T’s List)

There are many, many, many books of 2012 that were good- some were great- others fantastic. Some created a lot of buzz (hello, Gone Girl!) while some were equally as good- but did not get the attention. These are the books I read in 2012 that I thought were great!

1. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn– yes more praise for this book. It really was THAT good!

2. Hemingway’s Girl by Erika Robuck– historical fiction. Romance. Sadness. Anger. A strong willed Mariella. And Hemingway- his literary ways, his personal life- the things that made him a good man, but also the bad sides that he showed. READ!

3. The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D by Nichole Bernier– this book made me think quite a bit. Excellent discussion for book club.

4. Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio– two tales seemingly unconnected- except for the fact of a Blackberry Winter. But, oh so much more to this story!

5. The Mermaid Collector by Erika Marks- Coastal Community, mermaids, secrets, love. Beautiful story.

6. The Art Forger by BA Shapiro– art, lust, deceit, double-crossing- each page is filled with good plot.

7. The Meryl Streep Movie Club by Mia March– funny book about 3 women dealing with some personal life drama- then their aunts terrible news. Finding yourself, reconnecting with family- all while watching Meryl Streep movies. Perfect beach book.

8. The River Witch by Kimberly Brock– haunting. The story will stay with the reader for quite some time!

 

 

A Year of Blogging- My Blog’s a year old!

Today my blog, Traveling With T, turned a year old. It’s been a crazy, fun, wild, frustrating, challenging year. But, and here’s the key: It’s been so worth it. Fulfilling. Enjoyable.

When I started Traveling With T, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I wanted a blog where I could write about experiences- local restaurants, book signings, events. I wanted some anonymity, I wanted a title that was catchy, but didn’t pigeonhole me- one that I could discuss different things; but still with a focus.

I didn’t start the blog because I had a burning desire to be a writer (although, I have much respect for writers).  I’ve thought over the last few years that someone publishing my thoughts from the pitfalls of guys using emoticons in texts, to the art of the road trip, to why being a nail polish namer has to be an interesting job (plus much, much, much more) would make for an interesting book- but I’ve never really had a burning desire to write for a living.

When I was a kid, I used to read Ann M. Martin books, Francine Pascal and more. Reading these books, I always thought it would be so nice to get to meet the people behind the books I loved. But, a small-town girl, states and hours away from these authors never did get a chance to meet them. As I grew up, I put the idea out of my head- reading was not cool (even though I secretly read in high school). The older I got, the more I realized reading was a part of me- it was something I needed. With social media, I can chat with authors, learn about book signings and more. Going to a book signing is the best kind of fun. Proud to report that I’ve been to several book signings over the past year- and I love each and every one.

Part of the reason I started blogging is that while I don’t have burning desire to be a writer/author- I do have a strong desire to be around the writer types. To hear where they get inspiration, to see their works comes to life. To be able to sit down with them- with total wide eyed innocence and discuss the things I love, dislike, and more about their books. An author has a creative energy that I adore being around- a creative energy that fills a place in my heart and life. An author gives me something to think about, something to ponder deeply and maybe even creatively for days, weeks. When I’m around an author-type person, I feel like I’m the best version of myself- the bright, inquisitive person- the person who is fully validated because she is with people who speak a language that she loves. I feel smarter, brighter, almost Wonder Woman-ish.

There have been times over the past year that I thought of just deleting my blog. It seemed like it wasn’t going anywhere, some days it wasn’t even fun. But, slowly, I began to get followers- and then I became involved with She Reads Blog Network- and that for me was all the validation I needed to continue. While, I don’t think I started the blog with the full on intention to review books completely- being able to review books is something I find pleasure in. It’s back to that whole “books fill a place in me, in my creative part”.

My desire for myself and my blog:

1. Host giveaways. I promote other blog giveaways, but have never had one at Traveling With T. 2013 will be the year that changes.

2. Continue to review books. Fiction, #southernlit, cozies and more.

3. To one day, be more involved in the process of an author’s life. A publicist, perhaps? To be more involved in the work of an author from the beginning of the process to the end would be very fulfilling.

 

On today, as my blog turns a year old- a heartfelt “Thank You” to my followers, the people who “like”, retweet, and share my blog posts. Without you, my blog would be floating around in the internet. Each time you like something I write- I”m reminded of the Sally Field “You Like me! You Really Like Me!”

To MVBClub- thanks for letting me guest blog, for being an inspiration and a sounding board. xoxo

To Melinda McGuire- thank you for letting me guest blog about Oxford and Faulkner- you’re the best!

To Deep South Magazine- thank you for every RT, every comment and more. My appreciation for you is beyond words.

To authors (Erika Marks, Erika Robuck, Nichole Bernier, Michael Lee West, Meg Donohue, Jenn McKinlay, Cleo Coyle,Lucy Burdette,Robin O’Bryant, Claire Cook, Mia March, Sarah Jio, Michael Morris, Peggy Sweeney-McDonald, Megan Abbott) Thank you for your books. For taking time out of your schedules to tweet with me, to call in for book clubs. Thank you for writing great books and books that I anticipate being great.

To She Reads, She Reads Blog Network, and Kimberly Brock- I’m so overcome with happiness for being able to be part of She Reads. Thank you- Thank You- Thank You. Being able to be a part of this great group just makes me feel all sparkly and happy. Honored to be a part of a such a sparkly wonderful group.

To authors everywhere: Even if I don’t know you- you inspire me. To the dreamers, the people with the imaginations and creativity, to the ones who have the desire, drive and determination to write a book: Never change. Keep writing. Keep inspiring people. Write not just because you can; but because you can’t live in a world that’s without your writing.

Best,

Traveling With T

 

PS: A special thank you to Ann M. Martin, Judy Blume, Francine Pascal and the Nancy Drew books: without your books, I might not be the reader I am today. Beyond grateful for the love of reading the books you’ve written that has instilled a love of reading in me. “Thank you” seems so inadequate- but that’s all I have to say.

 

 

 

 

Books I read in October…

October was a busy (and ended on a sad note) month. The good stuff: Boo Bash and Birthday celebration. The bad stuff: My dog, Zeke, died. Also it’s been 1 year since my grandmother passed away. Needless to say- October has a lot going for it; but is tinged with sadness, as well.

Through the good times and sad times- I did find time to read 8 books.

October reads:

The Mermaid Collector by Erika Marks- simply put- it was a great book. Wonderful storyline, interesting characters. And mermaids- beautiful and magical creatures. Here’s the review I posted earlier: The Mermaid Collector. If a story set in a coastal town with hints of magic and intrigue sounds good- read this book.

Ghosts of Manhattan by Douglas Brunt- tale of sex, drugs and Wall Street. Hints of a life-crisis. Nick Farmer is a likeable character- wooed by the money and power of Wall Street in his position as a bond trader at Bear Stearns. The life is getting to Nick, though. Interesting tale of Wall Street life and the choices that people make.  Here is the review of Ghosts of Manhattan that I posted previously.

New Kids on the Block: 5 Brothers and a Million Sisters by Nikki Van Noy- total fangirl moment (fangirl of the late 80’s-early 90’s). This tells the story of the past, present and future of NKOTB. Insightful take on the lives of the group- also with stories from the fans. If you loved (or still) love NKOTB- worth a read. Here is my review of New Kids on the Block: 5 Brothers and a Million Sisters.

Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio. Sarah Jio takes a tale of an event that happened many years apart- a Blackberry Winter (a late spring snowstorm) and creates a story of family, love, heartbreak, sadness, and a mystery with the characters. My review of Blackberry Winter as I previously posted.

The Guest Book by Marybeth Whalen- a story of love, forgiving others, and finding happiness. Touching story about a grown-up woman- her life is not what she thought it would be. And she wonders about the person she spent her childhood trading pictures with; but never met. Would her life be different? A Christian fiction story- interesting and an easy read. Has something for everyone.

Iced by Carol Higgins Clark- Regan is heading to spend Christmas in Aspen. She’s looking forward to skiing, enjoying some down time with family and maybe finding a hunky man. Little does she know she’ll spend more time solving a mystery of art thieves. Light, funny and fluffy.

Decked by Carol Higgins Clark- the first book in the Regan Reilly series. Regan is at a 10 year reunion for her overseas boarding school. While there, she find out that her former roommate was murdered- instead of simply run away as they had all thought. Regan is dying to solve the mystery, but due to travel plans is unable to stay behind in England. However, she need not have worried- the murder clues are following her to her next travel stop.

Laced by Carol Higgins Clark- Regan and Jack are married and celebrating their honeymoon in Ireland. Until a pair of criminals that have been taunting Jack set about to ruin the honeymoon. Will Jack and Regan be able to solve the mystery and enjoy their honeymoon? Another fun and fluffy read- Carol Higgins Clark books are easy reads- not suspenseful like her mother’s, Mary Higgins Clark.