Friday, June 24, 2016

Best Books of June

It's once again time to tell you about the best books I read this month. Here are the awesome books I read this month!




The first book this month is the perfect summer read. This one might take you back to your own childhood summers, especially if you spent time visiting relatives as I did. The Summer of Lost and Found is both fun and informative.



I loved that this book covered the mystery of the lost Roanoke Colony, a topic that fascinates any good mystery lover! Nell Dare isn't all too excited about spending the summer at Roanoke Island, especially with her father suddenly having flown off to London. But over the course of the summer, she begins a search for artifacts belonging to the lost colonists and the adventure makes the summer awesome. Rebecca weaves history into the modern-day story in a way that is entertaining and enlightening. Any parent or teacher looking for a great book for their kids should check this one out!

Next up is a fantabulous young adult romance from the very talented Jen Malone.



In Wanderlost, a not-so-adventurous 17-year-old gets to take her much-more-adventurous older sister's place on a tour of Europe. The catch? She has to lead a group of senior citizens on the tour while pretending to be her sister. When she meets the hunky son of the tour's owner, keeping up the lie becomes increasingly complicated. This swoony romance will have you learning AND enjoying every word you read. If you're looking for a great summer escape, this is the book for you!

I love Quanie Miller's blog. She always has the best tips for writers. If you aren't regularly reading it, add it to your list. Meanwhile, here's another thing to add to your list--this fun book, which I finally got around to reading this month!




It Ain't Easy Being Jazzy introduces us to a fun, spirited character named (of course!) Jazzy. I'm not exaggerating when I say Quanie is hilarious. Every scene is set up as a perfect comedy, with Jazzy and her associated friends and relatives keeping you entertained with each word. Even Jazzy's work situation will make you laugh out loud. I never did find out why her boss kept telling her to wind a dead clock! Read this book--you'll be glad you did!

My final book this month was from another familiar face, Diedre Knight. Her book, Sawdust, is a charming chapter book about a young boy in the 60s.



Sawdust is a true coming-of-age story, centering around the adventures of a young boy in a small town. It's the kind of simple story that will remind you of your favorite movies. Plus, it includes a dog who can do some pretty cool things, like swim across the river and swipe things when people aren't looking! This is a short, charming read you'll love!

What are you reading?

Pssst: I'm having a Goodreads giveaway for an advance copy of Piper Morgan Joins the Circus. Enter below!




Goodreads Book Giveaway

Piper Morgan Joins the Circus by Stephanie Faris

Piper Morgan Joins the Circus

by Stephanie Faris

Giveaway ends June 29, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The House Where Someone Watches You

There's an old, historic home near us that has been on the market since we moved here a year ago. They're asking more than $1 million for it when you can buy a nice home on the lake for the same price. The historic house is on a main road, not on the lake.



There is a certain type of person who prefers a historic house to a brand new one. Most of the time, that type of person doesn't have $1 million in the bank, though. So it's no surprise that this $1.2 million historic house in New Jersey has been on the market since March.



The house looks innocent enough, but it has earned the nickname "watcher house" and the reason is just as creepy as you would imagine.

In 2013, Derek and Maria Broaddus purchased the house for $1.2 million. Soon after moving in, they received their welcome letter.

"I have be (sic) put in charge of watching and waiting for its second coming...I asked the Woods (the previous owners) to bring me young blood...Have they found what is in the walls yet?  In time they will."

More letters followed. The couple filed a lawsuit against the previous owners, saying they sold the house without disclosing this strange issue.



The previous owners say the couple (pictured below) is making the whole thing up.



The "watcher" claims to have inherited the duty of watching the house from his father, who watched the house in the 60s, and his grandfather, who watched the house in the 20s. Now it's his turn.

Inside view of the house

Interestingly, the previous owners of the house do admit they received an anonymous letter just before moving out. But they "deny that the note was 'disturbing' or in any way claimed a right of possession and/or ownership of the premises," according to NJ.com.

Do you think the couple is really receiving those letters? Or is this a case like the Amityville Horror house?

Pssst: I'm having a Goodreads giveaway for an advance copy of Piper Morgan Joins the Circus. Enter below!




Goodreads Book Giveaway

Piper Morgan Joins the Circus by Stephanie Faris

Piper Morgan Joins the Circus

by Stephanie Faris

Giveaway ends June 29, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Lowdown on Mailing Internationally

One of my most awesome blogging friends pointed out that my giveaway isn't open to anyone outside of the U.S. I feel so bad about that...and if I do one for just my bloggy friends, I will for sure open it internationally. But I thought it was important to explain why.

With my first book, I did international giveaways. Why not? Having news of your book spread across the globe is huge.



Of course, mailing a book internationally can be expensive. I'm sure that's why many people don't do it, but that's not my reason. I'll pay $10 or more for my friends to be able to enter.

For Americans, the issue with international shipping can be summed up in one picture. It's this:




So you're standing in line at the post office, waiting your turn. There's a line like that ^^^ behind you. You step up to the counter and hand the clerk the form you spent five minutes filling out:



Your form is 100 percent ready, so you should be able to just step up to the counter, wait for your item to be weighed, and pay your money, right?



This is how it really works. You step up there, hand over everything, and they weigh. Then they start typing. They have to type everything on that form. Your address, the recipient's address... And guess how they type? Yep, you've got it.



And then they mess up and have to start over. A guy once had to start over on my item three times. Meanwhile, the line behind you is all:



You seriously can hear grunts and sighs. Sometimes you'll even hear a, "REALLY?" Americans don't wait. This is us:



If the post office wants a boost in income, how about investing in a scanner that can capture the information on the form? That would keep people like me from equating international shipping to this experience:



Oh, that's right, that would mean moving into the 21st century. I'm pretty sure their software looks something like this:



Meanwhile, if anyone knows of a reasonably affordable way to ship internationally without feeling like you're being punished for some past-life transgression, let me know!

If you live in the U.S., be sure to enter my Goodreads giveaway for an advance copy of Piper Morgan Joins the Circus. Enter below!




Goodreads Book Giveaway

Piper Morgan Joins the Circus by Stephanie Faris

Piper Morgan Joins the Circus

by Stephanie Faris

Giveaway ends June 29, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway