Sunday, December 21, 2008

Book Fairs

We’re fortunate enough to live near a Scholastic warehouse. For those of you unfamiliar with Scholastic, in addition to being the US publisher/distributor for the Harry Potter series, they have the distinction of being one of the premier distributors of children’s and young adult books in the U.S. Scholastic has book fairs where they take mini book stores into schools and set up for kids to buy books.

I love book fairs. I have a tradition of buying books for my remedial reading class each year. I let them pick out a book and I buy it for them. The only hitch is it has to actually be a book. No gamers’ code books. This year I got a pass because A.) I’m not there when the fair came through my school and B.) I’m not teaching the remedial reading class for the first time in 8 years.

Twice a year the warehouses for Scholastic have large discount sales. Since we live near one we are fortunate enough to be able to go. We did so today, sneaking in under the wire for the last day. We got out with half of our usual total because we mostly bought for Z (in case you missed the earlier post, that is what Smudgie has been dubbed based on his middle name). You will see home-school parents, teachers, librarians, all trying to make the budget money stretch farther by buying books at anywhere from 25-80% off. We rarely get out of there for less than $100 as we are buying for my classroom, nieces and nephews and ourselves.

Yes, we are those relatives who give books for gifts. Or at least that’s how I used to think the kids saw us until my brother’s van was totaled by an elderly woman who got confused and hit the gas instead of the brake. The accident meant they had to abandon a knapsack full of books we’d gotten the kids in the van as it would have had to have been cut out. The kids called us and gave us a list asking, “If you’re going to buy us books this year, Aunt Jae, can we have new ones of these?” The top requests? Do Your Ears Hang Low, Click-Clack-Moo, and Don’t Let The Pidgeon Drive The Bus.

This year, as I said, we got out cheap. Just some classic story books, a couple of board books and no we don’t think he actually understands them now. We still read to him, I’ve been doing it since he started kicking. It’s the tone of voice that’s important, not what you read. You can read the sports page, the daily gossip column, the ingredients off the cereal box, it doesn’t really matter. I’ve been reading aloud to him from whatever I’m reading. But we needed some new material for rocking and reading as I’m currently reading Anny Cook’s Magnolia and I am NOT reading that out loud to my son even if he can’t understand it.

Another way the e-reader is superior. I can sit in the darkened nursery as I rock Z and read away with one hand.

Speaking of books, below there is an excerpt of the latest release. It’s the third and final book in the Jewels of Ursus trilogy. Remember, books make great gifts and Ellora’s has a wonderful sale going on right now.

Soul Stone
Elyssa Edwards
From Ellora’s Cave


She knew she was dreaming. And more so, though she had never had this dream before, she knew what would happen next. Slowly she turned and faced the bank of tall windows with their French doors that opened out onto an even more impressive garden. She hadn’t heard a sound, not even the twittering of birds or the crunch of a blade of grass but she knew he’d be there before she looked.

And he was. His body took up most of the single doorframe. He was tall. She’d never seen a man so tall unless he had on silk shorts and was running up and down a basketball court. He stood backlit by the sun that created a corona around him as it reflected off the blond hair that reached almost to his elbow. It was a soft golden color that cast highlights brighter than the rays of the sun.

This stranger in her dream stepped into the room and walked toward her slowly with the grace of a lion. His bare feet made no sound and she found she could not look away from the blue eyes that watched her. His golden skin stretched across a gorgeously smooth chest. Each muscle defined and calling to her as if trying to tempt her to touch him. Surely this was a dream because no man could really be this beautiful.

“Callista?” He whispered her name softly and she understood the question it held. He was asking her permission to be there, her consent for the dream to proceed. As she watched his eager face, his name appeared in her mind.

“Tarris,” she watched as pleasure filled his face. The simple act of speaking his name seemed to please him immensely.

“Please tell me you are not afraid of me, beautiful one.” His hand lifted toward her, extended, offering her his touch.

“No,” she barely breathed the word but reached out and took the offered hand. He relaxed visibly and his other hand moved up slowly toward her face as if giving her time to move away. His large palm cupped her cheek and he smiled.

“Good.” A serious expression filled the searching blue eyes. “Never be afraid of me, my love. Never would I harm you. No matter what, I would never harm you.”

“I know,” and she did. She saw in him tremendous strength. She saw in him the potential for terrible anger. She saw in him the ability to destroy all that he touched. But yet something inside Callista Marshall knew he would never turn this darker side to her. The absurdity of it teased the edges of her mind. She was so certain who this man was, he was so much more real and defined to her than any real man had ever been.

’Cause he’s all in your head, a tiny part of her that seemed almost awake reasoned.

A strange smile flitted in his eyes for a moment before Tarris leaned in and brushed her lips with his own. Her head felt light and fuzzy as if she’d drunk one glass of wine too many with dinner. His hand moved from her cheek to wrap itself in the red curls that defied taming. As he pressed the kiss deeper, she felt his tongue slip out and flicker softly against her lips.

She wrapped her arms around his neck and lifted up on tiptoe to kiss him back. A strong arm pulled her close as his tongue pressed between her parted lips to taste the inside of her mouth. Definitely a dream because surely no man tasted this wonderful. His hand splayed across the small of her back as he kissed her passionately. His tongue probing into her, brushing against hers and urging her to take up the duel.

There was something about his scent that caused a physical reaction. The smell of him was pure male, a mixture of the sea, the forest, the sun and the rain with the smell of a man’s skin as he cradled you and held you close.
Now wander off and see what wonderful things Anny Cook, Kelly Marstad, Sandra Cox and Jenny Beans have to say.