April Events 2014!

April 1, 2014 at 3:59 pm (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

The month of April is full of Earth Day celebrations. More specifically, S. Smith, author of a dystopian young adult series that I can’t seem to rave enough about, has planned a trip to Texas from Oregon!  I’m so excited!

Earth Day 2014 024 revised

Earth Day GBitW(1)

Earth Day 2014 revisedShe will also be at the Montrose HPB (hpb.com/011) on Saturday, April 19th, 6pm-9pm.

Then she’ll be making rounds in San Antonio, Austin, and finally Dallas!  Check out her website for more details on events in those cities: http://authorssmith.com/book-news-and-events/

seed savers book marketingAlso, although I am based out of Houston, this is a Dallas event that I support with all my heart and would love to attend if I were able:

Deep Ellum Karyna

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Book Coma

December 2, 2013 at 4:50 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , )

Christmas tree with bookI’ve been a slacker these last few weeks.  At least it feels that way.  I am behind on my reading – but when am I not? My house is not nearly as clean as I would like it to be – since when is this news? And I’ve been doing an awful lot of just ‘hanging out.’

Just thinking about the act of doing nothing makes me cringe sometimes.  I’m a doer.  Albeit a relaxed doer, but a doer nonetheless.

Then, I realized, it’s family season.  I’m supposed to be hanging out.  Thanksgiving just passed.  It’s almost Christmas.

Plus, sometimes the reading bug is in a coma because it’s still caught up in the last book you read.

You know that one, “the book hangover.”  You can’t move on to a new title with the same level of zest because your brain keeps lulling back to old characters.  I felt that way pretty heavily after I finished reading The Hunger Games series in a two-to-three day stint.  And now, I have half a mind to re-read the book that has induced this coma… Heirloom by S.Smith.

It is not uncommon to find me looking something like this... and my house does look something like that.

It is not uncommon to find me looking something like this… and my house does look something like that.

How appropriate that in this season of friends and family, Heirloom has such a gloriously familial title.

There’s just nothing more appropriate in the holiday season than a search for a missing father.  Questions that rise up in every little girl’s heart, whether her father is present or missing are subtly addressed in Smith’s book as Lily asks, “Do you think my father will like me?”

Of course, another character responds, you’re his daughter so he loves you.

Little girls just can’t hear that enough.

Then as Lily finally (*spoilers*) makes her way home, I just want to bask in the hominess of it all.  I’ve been lurking around in a Seed Savers hominess fog for weeks.  In my impatience I want to scream, “When do I get a copy of Keeper!?”

My only response is the last page of Heirloom, “Keeper, Coming in 2014.”

2014 cannot get here fast enough.

heirloom cover

If you haven’t purchased your copy of Seed Savers: Heirloom, please do so by clicking the link with the title.

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Seed Savers: Heirloom Book Blog Tour

November 14, 2013 at 4:50 pm (Uncategorized) ()

The whole tour itinerary… so excited and honored to be first and last.

blog tour

Here is the schedule for the Seed Savers: Heirloom blog tour and launch. I will update it as needed.

Heirloom Blog Tour – November 14 – December 2

11/14     Anakalian WhimsLaunch/Seed Savers Reflection
11/15     Laurie’s Thoughts and ReviewsCharacter Interview (Lily)
11/16     Virginia RippleExcerpt
11/17     Michelle Isenhoff – Bookworm BlatherBook Review
11/18     The Garden of Books10 Favorite Things to Grow in a Garden
11/19     This Kid Reviews BooksBook Review
11/20     Mother Daughter Book ReviewsHeirloom: Fact or Fiction
11/21     Satisfaction for Insatiable ReadersExcerpt
11/22     Valerie ComerSeries Promo/ Review of Treasure
11/23     Shannon ThompsonGuest Post
11/24     My Full BookshelfBook Review
11/25     Shalini BolandExcerpt
11/26      Jemima PettHaiku/Mini-Interview
11/27     Story AddictGuest Post
11/28    …

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Seed Savers: Heirloom

November 14, 2013 at 4:40 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , )

heirloom coverTitle: Heirloom

Author: S. Smith

Genre: Young Adult

Length: 300 pages

“I haven’t been this in love with a young adult series since Harry Potter,” I wrote after reading the first installment of the Seed Savers Series – Treasure – for the first time.  Having now read the second and third installments – Lily and Heirloom – I can happily say that the statement still holds true.

No, there aren’t wizards or magic.  The adventure doesn’t reach any of the same fantastical levels, but it is very epic.  It is based in a truth that could easily lend itself to being our future.  This dystopian society is so intense, because it’s so plausible.

Treasure featured two runaway kids (Clare and Dante) after their discovery of the wonderful world of planting your own seeds and growing your own food, in a government where that is forbidden.  They flee for their safety.  They flee to learn more.

Lily is where you get to know another character, Clare and Dante’s friend and fellow cohort in the Seed Saving excitement.  In this book she blossoms before our eyes into less of a sidekick and more the hero.  I was pleasantly surprised to find she had such a huge role in the story.  She’s not just the key to almost everything, but the narrator as well! Who knew?

After a long alienation from Clare and Dante, Smith is wise enough to bring us back and feed our curiosity.  Heirloom is told back and forth between what’s happening with Clare and Dante, and the world according to Lily.  I loved this pattern for a third in a series.  It wrapped up some lo0se ends, it led us into asking more questions, and we were able to adventure cross country and learn more about growing plants in a cozy environment in the same book.  My brain needed this.

Heirloom, even more than the other two in the series, is full of interesting facts about how a society would get from where it was in the 1980’s to what it is in Smith’s novels.  In a time when we are debating GMOs, organics, seeds, and patents, this book is a must have to help middle grade students grasp all the political nuances decisions of today will have on tomorrow.  I love that Smith was able to take an intense political topic and weave it into a fascinating (and fun) story.

The fun comes into play, I think, because Smith did not intend to strictly bark all this information at us.  It comes from love, and you can sense that as you read.  Love for what? “[M]y love of good food,” she said in a blog interview with me once, “Seed Savers is a love story starring home-grown food.  I love food—growing, harvesting, cooking, eating, and sharing it.  And I think a lot of people these days maybe are missing out on that.”

If you’ve read books one and two, you cannot miss this third part of the series! It’s essential.  It has propelled us so much deeper into the story and I’m jittery waiting on the fourth! It didn’t maintain the same read in one sitting quality of books one and two, but I believe that’s because the characters demand more of your time.  There is so much more going on, and in the midst of it all they want to teach you as well.  That takes more than a day.  Clare, Dante, and Lily are growing and stretching their legs, and with them Smith is becoming more detailed and dynamic in her tale. Like good food, Heirloom was made to be savored.

If you haven’t read any of the series, you must.  Purchase it for yourself, purchase it for your children for Christmas and read them together – or just swipe the copies and read them yourself.  They are so good.

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A Homeschool Mom Meets Seed Savers

November 14, 2013 at 4:02 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )


Click to follow the tour and visit the next blog.

The thing about homeschooling – the awesome thing – is that plans are made, expectations logged, and as a parent you do a lot of letting go of both of those things as your child sort of takes over.

I personally planned on going full force into the alphabet and phonics, drill numbers and be sure my three year old was the smartest on the block.  At age two she already knew all the states on the U.S. map south of the Mason Dixon line.

Kiddo, God, and the universe, had other plans.  And I like them.

With the help of S. Smith’s Seed Savers series, some extreme budgeting issues (I’ve been the poorest person I know for the last twelve months), and Merriweather’s fabulous foraging site (see the links on the right), we’ve pretty much spent our ‘school days’ in the woods.

It all started many, many moons ago (as I like to say to my kiddo when telling stories)… somehow I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Seed Savers: Treasure from S. Smith by mail.  I remember reading some of it out loud, but then giving up and devouring it all alone.  I gave up because I wanted to read it faster, I wanted it all to myself, not because Kiddo was anything but cooperative.

P1000450What resulted is a long standing admiration for S. Smith, requests for her to participate in Earth Day 2013 (which she graciously accepted from 3000 miles away) and taking Kiddo to said Earth Day celebration.  Before Seed Savers, I was already on a mission to be more self-sufficient and have my own garden, but Seed Savers really solidified that need in my heart.  Instead of *wanting* to do it, I got my butt in gear and did it.  This shift in my mentality eased over into the preferences of my daughter.

She loved the Earth Day celebration.  She got to plant seeds with volunteers from the Mercer Arboretum.  She got to watch me raffle off S. Smith’s first two books (Treasure & Lily), and it was all over – these Fall plans I had noted during my pregnancy were half out the window.  Without hearing the entire Seed Savers story, Kiddo fell in love with seeds.  S. Smith’s words are so powerful they radiate into every aspect of our house just by sitting on the shelf.

We have seen and read The Lorax more times than I can count.  On her third birthday her great-grandmother gave her spending money and she spent it at Good Books in the Woods on two Cat in the Hat Learning Library books.  One is on Rainforests and the other on Seed Planting.

P1000435We spend our days looking for birds on the trails, foraging for produce, growing our own bell peppers and okra, and now reading Heirloom as we tromp through the woods.

However, you don’t have to be a mom, a conservative, a homeschooler, a toddler, or a hippie to enjoy the Seed Savers Series.  Seed Savers, including the latest – Heirloom – is full of courageous characters, a rich adventure, and exciting philosophical food for thought.

What started out as a really unique young adult dystopian society concept on Smith’s part, has evolved into something more than we initially bargained for.  The story is more complex than I anticipated. The effect on our lives has more reach.  Smith has matured as a writer along with the growth of her characters.  I’m a little disappointed that the stories will, at some point, come to an end…

If you don’t believe me, find out for yourself.

Purchase the Seed Savers Series from Amazon

Visit the Author’s Website: http://authorssmith.com

Go Like Her on Facebook: http://facebook.com/AuthorSSmith

Follow S. Smith on Twitter: http://twitter.com/AuthorSSmith

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It’s HERE!

November 5, 2013 at 6:57 pm (Events) (, , , , )

Guess what I’ll be reading this evening? The third installment of the Seed Savers series! Heirloom is here and I have the distinct pleasure of kicking off the blog tour on the 14th!


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April 2013 Events

March 22, 2013 at 7:42 pm (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

In addition to Book Club (first Monday of the Month) and Poetry Night (first Thursday of the Month), this is what’s going on at Half Price Books Humble in April. Keep checking back, there may be more to come!
Journaling 2ndthurscoloring contest 2013Earth Day with MercerEarth Day 2013Chris RogersMary Reason Theriot April

Martin Epi Raffle

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The Long-Awaited Lily

November 25, 2012 at 9:49 pm (Education, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , )

Well, it felt like a long time, because I was so anxious for it.  In reality, Smith is quite the efficient authoress.

Title: Seed Savers Volume 2 “Lily”

Author: S. Smith

I read the first installment of Seed Savers early this last summer. I loved it. I was so excited to find a new “undiscovered” young adult author and immediately blogged about it.  Illegal gardening, fresh produce, dystopian society, kids on the run… how much more exciting could it possibly get? Way more, that’s how much.

With the arrival of Lily, I expected to get “the further adventures of Clare and Dante,” but what I got was much more.  Lily, a side character in the first book, Treasure, tries to continue the mission of saving seeds in her hometown after the disappearance of Clare and Dante.  Rather than getting “Treasure” all over again, a common fault in sequels in general, Lily is a book all its own and full of secrets, secrets, and more secrets.  Not only was Lily hiding plants from Dante and Clare, she has a past she wasn’t even aware of, a past that could change everything.

Smith succeeded, again, in writing a fantastic and educational adventure that I cannot wait to share with my nieces and nephews, and later with my daughter.  It is so fun and refreshing to read something new, something real, that doesn’t have anything to do with vampires, werewolves, or zombies.  Although there is a time and place for such fantasy fiction for young adults, it’s nice to know that there are authors out there that have something more on the brain than the latest (recurring) fad that has swept the nation and the world.

Seed Savers is about using your brain, questioning the world around you and how it should be, becoming a better person, and making the world a better place.  These are things every kid should be encouraged to do.  And for the adults reading these books, it reminds us that many kids want to when they are given the chance.

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November 14, 2012 at 6:36 pm (Uncategorized) ()

I can’t wait for Lily! My review of Seed Savers: Treasure can also be found here with the original cover art.

I am happy to announce that Seed Savers, book 2, Lilyis on its way! It will be available soon both in paperback and kindle versions. In Lily, we find out what really happened to Ana and what Lily does after she discovers Clare and Dante have left town. GRIM becomes more personal, and Lily learns a family secret that changes her life.

I will be running special sales prices for both Treasure and Lily at different times during the holiday season, as well as a book giveaway at Goodreads and some free ebook days. Since I haven’t yet determined the dates, please sign up at the tab on the right to receive the newsletter (Newsletter Signup Form). This will not be an email clogging situation; I will simply use the newsletter to let folks know when new books are available and when there are special deals (and…

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Weekly Low Down on Kids Books 6/26/12

June 27, 2012 at 12:51 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , )

One Watermelon Seed by Celia Barker Lottridge and Karen Patkau is a breath of fresh air in the world of children’s counting books – almost literally.  All about planting a garden and counting first the number of seeds planted for each plant type and then the number of items harvested from each plant, One Watermelon Seed not only teaches counting from 1 to 10 and counting by tens, a kid can also learn what certain plants look like.  See not just a tomato plant, but enjoy a look at the tomato and its inside as well.  I loved it, Ayla loved it (she’s really into numbers and counting right now), and over all its a winner.

One Watermelon Seed reminded me of another recent favorite:Seed Savers: Treasure.  If you are a mom of kids in various age groups, I recommend using both these books (Seed Savers for middle grade students, One Watermelon Seed for small children learning to count and identify plants) as introductions to the world of botany.  Both books are great for creating interest in starting a back yard garden, and would be a great way to get your kids exciting about being involved in the gardening life.

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