Performancing Metrics

There's A Book

winter break challenge

Amanda has long been a friend and follower of my blog, so when she tweeted to me a couple of weeks ago about this challenge she was planning to co-host (with Andi) I thought I’d love to get involved. As of late my blog has been a little neglected and I’ve always loved challenges and events that get me excited to chit chat with fellow readers. I’ve missed the first few days of the challenge, but figured better late then never! Plus, what better way to start the new year than with some concrete reading goals? So here goes!

My Bookish Blog Related Goals for the Year…

Read More! Okay, maybe this goes without saying, but due to the new job (ie. literary agent) I’ve been a bit busy reading writer submissions. I love this, don’t get me wrong please! But I also want to get back to why I love this part of my life so much, which means reading more books that aren’t “required reading.”

Blog More! As I said, my poor little blog here is feeling a bit lonely. So my goal for the year is to have a minimum of three posts a week and I’d really like at least one of those to be Turkeybird interviews (hint, hint authors), the other to be a review and the third to be something else book related like a book trailer or new release feature.

Read More Craft/Writing Books. For Christmas I got a couple of really fantastic writing books that I think will help tremendously in my career as well as with my own writing/blogging. I’d love to have a goal to read at least one every two months. I’d like to do one a month, but let’s be honest here…I need to keep my head above water too.

Be Okay with Saying No. This starts to bleed over into everything. I am naturally the type of person that loves loves loves to help any and everyone. It’s not that I don’t know how to say no or am incapable, it boils down to me being an overachiever. Well, between the new job, my brilliant clients, a blog I love and not to mention my family and personal commitments, I simply don’t have nearly the amount of time I used to. It’s painful for me to tell people “no” without a long explanation or offer to help another time, but I’ve got to learn some restraint.

Get All of My Clients Books Out Into the World. I don’t plan on talking about my clients or their books much on my blog (it just feels too pushy to do so). But this goes without saying, I adore each and everyone of my clients and their writing. I’ve got big plans to get them each out there in the world and my goal is to mark each of those plans off and end 2014 with a bang!

Live. And Write About It. I used to share a blog meme once a week where fellow book bloggers talked a little about different topics and their lives. When I started it I honestly didn’t think anyone would really care about the things I enjoyed or didn’t, but surprise surprise it was one of my most looked forward to features. In fact, I miss it a bit. I love getting to know the bloggers I love beyond their book preferences and in a way I think it helps better know what to pick up and read. The feature may not be resurrected, but I am already planning a few “what’s happening with life” type posts. Not only because I want to share, but because I want to live!

Enjoy Book Expo America and NYC. This may go without saying, but I’ve been the last two years and both years were whirlwinds. One for the blog and this past year for work primarily. Now that I feel pretty comfortable attending I’d like to go and really enjoy being there without feeling like everything is rushing around me. This may be easier said than done, but I’m going to give it my all!

Littlebug and Turkeybird December 2013Read. A LOT. To These Two Kiddos. It’s no secret, I ADORE reading to Littlebug and Turkeybird. This year Turkeybird and I read The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes, among other books, there was something so special about this book though. A connection between the two of us and this incredible book. I want that more often and I’m going to try harder to look for just the right books for each kiddo so that we can have these experiences more often.

Listen to My Heart and Be Brave. Sometimes a book isn’t the right fit. Maybe it’s not the right time or the right place. No more regrets about letting go something I thought I might love. I want to enjoy everything I read, whether because I learned something, connected in some way or simply lost myself in the words. Those are the types of books I want to read and fall in love with. It’s also the way I want to live my life coincidentally.

So much! But so much of it is attainable. I’m truly looking forward to a spectacular 2014. As many of you know my 2013 was hard in so many ways (really good as well), but I am ready to move forward. This is going to be THE year! I cannot wait!

What plans do you have for 2014? How are you planning to make this the best year of your life thus far?

Today I’m thrilled to welcome author, Stacy McAnulty, to There’s A Book with a little Christmas wish list along with an accompanying cookie recipe! After you’ve read through Stacy’s wish list be sure to take a look at her debut picture book Dear Santasaurus! So, without further hesitation on my part, please welcome Stacy McAnulty…

Santasaurus Tour

In my debut picture book, DEAR SANTASAURUS, Ernest B. Spinosaurus writes letters to Santasaurus every month. Ernest wants to make sure the big green guy knows his wish list. So today, I thought I’d take a shot at making a Christmas list.

Dear Santasaurus

Stacy’s Wish List

1. Virus-Free Children: Every year one of my three kids has a cold or a stomach bug or the flu over Christmas break. I’d love to have a Christmas morning where tissues are mingling with the torn wrapping paper.

2. A Minion: Not the toy kind. I’d love one of these little yellow workers to help me with the wrapping and the baking and the cleaning. Maybe he could even give me a foot massage.

3. Dark Chocolate: Put it in my stocking. Wrap it up and place it under the tree. Send it via US mail. Such an easy gift to give. And personally, I love consumable gifts. That means I’ll never have to dust it or feel bad about selling it at a garage sale.

4. Free Time: This is probably harder to come by then a minion. I’ve only finished season 1 of Breaking Bad. I’d love to have time to watch the other 50 episodes. I’d order take-out and curl up on the couch until I know Walt’s fate.

5. And Some More Free Time: There’s a group of books patiently waiting for me on my kindle. They’re going to think I don’t love them if I don’t start reading them soon.

6. Peace: I wish this for everyone. That we can all find it during the holidays. That there are at least moments of it among the chaos and expectations. It’s not something that can easily be found. It often needs to be deliberately made.

And if I can’t have any of the above, I think I’d like a Fitbit Force, I plan on getting in shape in 2014. (It’s easy to make New Year’s resolutions when I still have a few weeks to change my mind.)

Stacy McanultyAbout Stacy:
Stacy lives in North Carolina with her three children, two dogs, and one husband. She loves books, Christmas, dinosaurs, and cookies. DEAR SANTASAURUS (Boyd Mills Press, 2013) is her first picture book. For more information on Stacy, please visit her website.

Visit Stacy’s Blog for a slew of cookie recipes!

Find Dear Santasaurus by Stacy McAnulty at the following spots:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Powell’s Books | Indiebound | Book Depository | Goodreads | ISBN/ISBN-13: 1590788761 / 9781590788769

Thank you again to Stacy for stopping by today! I can’t wait to try the cookies she’s been sharing these past few days! Connect with on Twitter and on Facebook!
Purchasing products by clicking through the links in this post will provide us a modest commission through our various affiliate relationships.

Follow There’s A Book with Bloglovin.

Mitchell Goes Bowling coverMitchell Goes Bowling by Hallie Durand and Illustrated by Tony Fucile
Published by Candlewick Press
Pages: 40
Ages: 3-7
Buy It: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Powell’s Books | Indiebound | Book Depository | Goodreads | ISBN-10/ISBN-13: 0763660493 / 9780763660499
Publishers Summary:

Mitchell liked to knock things down.
That’s just how he rolled.

One Saturday, when Mitchell almost knocks down his dad, his dad catches him and puts him in the car. And when they step into the bowling alley, Mitchell feels right at home. Pizza! Giant crashing noises! Special shoes! But as Mitchell picks up the biggest ball and quickly learns the word gutter, and when Dad does a little kick with his leg and earns a big X on the scoreboard, Mitchell starts to get peevish. How can Mitchell get a chance to do a steamin’-hot-potato-dance too? With wit, warmth, and comedic charm, Hallie Durand and Tony Fucile roll another strike with this tale of a lovably rambunctious child and his doting dad.
Battle on! Head to the lanes for another hilarious, high-energy story as four-year-old Mitchell and his obliging dad strike a winning deal.

TurkeybirdTurkeybird Starts Throwing: STRIKE!!! Whacking down things sounds and pins sounds like so much fun! After we read this book I’ve been asking to go bowling over and over again. I especially want to go with my dad because I think it would be so much fun. I bet he could knock down lots of pins just like Mitchell’s dad!


Mom’s Two Cents: Mitchell is determined to knock down anything and everything in sight, but his parents have had just about enough. When Mitchell knocks over his final household item and even his dad they decide a Saturday at the lanes to learn to knock down a more appropriate target; bowling pins. After struggling to knock even three pins down Mitchell is frustrated, wanting to knock a strike out just like his dad. It’s only when he joins up with his dad for an afternoon of fun that he’s able to get a STRIKE and knock down just what he’d hoped for.

This truly was a fun read! Both Turkeybird and Littlebug loved it and have been begging to go bowling ever since. Not only that, but it has a wonderful message all about teamwork. Children will no doubt relate to Mitchell and his devious adventurous ways, but the connection with his dad is what truly stands out. Mitchell Goes Bowling was a fantastic read and one we’ll no doubt be re-reading again and again many times to come!

The1stdaughter Recommends: Ages 3 to 8. A whole lot of fun and even more teamwork, this story will delight young readers and have them hoping for a strike of their own very soon.

October is National Learn to Bowl Month!

Read to Us! Story-Hour Kit


Thanks to the wonderful people at Candlewick Press and Blue Slip Media I have one copy of Mitchell Goes Bowling by Hallie Durand to giveaway to There’s A Book readers. Be sure to enter using the rafflecopter form below and be aware that this one is for US residents only.

Find Mitchell Goes Bowling by Hallie Durand and Illustrated by Tony Fucile at the following spots:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Powell’s Books | Indiebound | Book Depository | Goodreads | ISBN-10/ISBN-13: 0763660493 / 9780763660499

Hallie Durand is the author of Mitchell’s License, now available in paperback as Mitchell Goes Driving, among other books for children. About Mitchell Goes Bowling, she says, “I love hanging out at the lanes with my crew, especially when I get a couple of Xs!” She lives with her family in Maplewood, New Jersey. To learn more, visit her website at

Tony Fucile is the author-illustrator of Let’s Do Nothing! as well as the illustrator of the Bink & Gollie series by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee. He has spent more than twenty years designing and animating characters for numerous feature films, including The Lion King, Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles. He lives with his family in the San Francisco Bay area.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Candlewick Press, and Blue Slip Media for providing a copy of this book for review! Connect with them on Twitter, Google+ and on Facebook!
Purchasing products by clicking through the links in this post will provide us a modest commission through our various affiliate relationships.

Follow There’s A Book with Bloglovin.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Real BoyThe Real Boy by Anne Ursu and Illustrated by Erin Mcguire
Published by Walden Pond Press
Pages: 288
Ages: 8-12
Buy It:
Publishers Summary:

On an island on the edge of an immense sea there is a city, a forest, and a boy. The city is called Asteri, a perfect city saved by the magic woven into its walls when a devastating plague swept through the world years before. The forest is called the Barrow, a vast wood of ancient trees that encircles the city and feeds the earth with magic. And the boy is called Oscar, a shop boy for the most powerful magician in the Barrow, who spends his days in the dark cellar of his master’s shop grinding herbs and dreaming of the wizards who once lived on the island. Oscar’s world is small, but he likes it that way. The real world is vast, strange, and unpredictable. And Oscar does not quite fit in it.

But it’s been a long time since anyone who could call himself a wizard walked the world, and now that world is changing. Children in the city are falling ill; something sinister lurks in the forest. Oscar has long been content to stay in his small room, comforted in the knowledge that the magic that flows from the trees will keep his island safe. Now, even magic may not be enough to save it.

Anne Ursu has written an unforgettable story of transformation and belonging—a spellbinding tale of the way in which the power we all wield, great and small, lies in the choices we make.

In city filled with magic and people so perfect that everything about them shines, it is Oscar who stands out in a crowd. Perfectly ordinary and even a bit odd, Oscar’s small world as a boy grinding and mixing plants may seem mundane to people looking from the outside. To the apprentice serving under his master, Wolf, Oscar is a nuisance to be disposed of at the earliest convenience. Master Caleb and Oscar’s new friend Callie see things very differently and when life in the Barrow becomes increasingly dangerous it turns out that there truly is more to Oscar than even he ever expected.

About one week ago Anne Ursu shared a post on the Nerdy Book Club that changed the course of my review. You see, I have a tendency to take books very personally. Every so often the lines between reality and fiction blur momentarily while reading, expanding the way you see your world and the experiences or relationships you have. Even more rarely, thanks to the beauty of the internet, you discover something about the author behind the book that causes their writing to mean that much more to you. An understanding, a connection and sometimes even a friendship or kinship is developed. Let me first share this paragraph from The Real Boy and then I’ll continue:

Oscar awoke in the morning with the feeling of dread twitching in his body, as if mice had been skittering along the inside of his skin all night. With a deep breath, he counted the things around him that were real. There was a the ceiling; there were his walls; here was his bed, his blanket, his Pebble.
p. 23, ARC, The Real Boy by Anne Ursu

You see, I’d read this some time before Anne’s post went up on Nerdy Book Club and when I read this paragraph(among others) it was clear to me that Oscar was very much like my Turkeybird. And now, having read the post, very much like Anne’s son as well. This connection, this knowing that someone else so clearly (clearly is a loose term because I’m not certain any of us will ever completely understand another without physically being in their shoes) understands and has written a character I cannot wait to share with my own son, has meant more than I can communicate. As readers we long to find characters we can relate to, those that speak to us in a way that help us to feel less alone in this enormous world. As a parent this feeling of longing for the exact right books for our children is multiplied a thousand times over. When we find one such book it’s all we can do to bide our time waiting for the right moment to casually hand it to them with every secret hope they’ll love it. This, is how I feel about The Real Boy. And for this reason I’m happy to say my review has been skewed, but why not? Books are supposed to be personal, aren’t they?

The Real Boy by Anne Ursu is a book I will champion for years to come, and not only because of the character connection I mentioned above. Anne has created a story world layered in rich bold characters, settings and conflict. Where you start within the first few chapters is only the beginning of something bigger, not only for Oscar but the world around him. Oscar’s relationships were a large part of the story connection, from good to bad and especially the small subtleties of his relationships with the cats in his home. When Callie is introduced to the story I couldn’t help but root for their friendship. So often all we need, no matter who we are, is someone to cheer us on and ask the right questions of us. Callie saw something in Oscar that most overlooked, his potential. Through Callie’s friendship and Master Caleb’s encouragement, Oscar slowly makes the choices he needs to to propel him forward.

In all honesty, I could continue to talk about The Real Boy by Anne Ursu for days. There is so much to be discovered within the city of Asteri and land surrounding it. Magic, the lack of magic, characters who come to life page after page, conflict and intrigue, the power of good and bad choices, and most of all the power of friendship and kindness. Oscar, though it’s never said in the book that he’s autistic, has characteristics that so many children today will relate to and be comforted by. They’ll possibly feel freed by knowing they aren’t alone in the world and that this very Real Boy understands the way they think. There is so much more I could say. The Real Boy by Anne Ursu is powerful and heartfelt, a story I will treasure for years.

The1stdaughter Recommends: Ages 7 and up. Magic, intrigue, friendship and the power of making choices. A powerful follow-up to Anne’s novel, Breadcrumbs, that begs to be read by all.

RB - Blog Tour Banner


I have to give a huge thank you to the publisher, Walden Pond Press, for giving me the opportunity to review and be on the tour for The Real Boy as well as host a giveaway for one signed hardcover of the book!
Be sure to enter using the rafflecopter form below and be aware that this one is for US residents only.

Also, Walden Pond Press is hosting a Facebook sweepstakes in celebration of THE REAL BOY by giving away $300 worth of books! Stop by their Facebook page to enter and read more details.

Find The Real Boy by Anne Ursu and Illustrated by Erin Mcguire at the following spots:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Powell’s Books | Indiebound | Book Depository | Goodreads | ISBN/ISBN-13: 0062015079 / 9780062015075

Thank you to Walden Pond Press for coordinating this blog tour! Find Walden Pond Press on Twitter and Facebook!
Purchasing products by clicking through the links in this post will provide us a modest commission through our various affiliate relationships.

Follow There’s A Book with Bloglovin.

a Rafflecopter giveaway