Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Sweethaven Summer :: Fiction Giveaway

A Sweethaven Summer_Final_sm
If there's one thing I love in life, it's getting lost in a paperback novel. I love knowing it's there, waiting for me at the top of the stack on my night-stand. If it's really good, I toss it in my big ol' bag when I run out for an errand. (I like to pretend that I'm one of those moms who might find herself with a quiet moment to read.)

I love heading in to bed early and propping myself up. I like turning the pages with fingertips smelling faintly of orange peel. I like a cup of tea beside me, with a spoon to clank around.

I've got this down to a science, people.

In Junior High, I used to stay up until three in the morning and read two teen romances. It bugged me that the girls were always so pretty. I wanted to read one sometime where she was just average and still landed square-jawed Todd. Regardless, I read on, feeling so cool when my older brother came home after curfew only to find me wide awake...sitting on my bed...reading.

Looking back, he never seemed all that impressed. "Dude, my little sister is so cool! She stays home every Saturday night and reads!"

I think you understand all of my points, the main one being that I was born not to party, not to be wild, not to run, but to read. Jealous much?


Here's something that I didn't realize until very recently. Reading a novel written by a friend is a brand new kind of awesome.

My friend Courtney Walsh just released her debut novel, A Sweethaven Summer. People. It's such a fun read. It's beachy and Summery. It's transportive. The ideal prescription for mid-February gloom and despair. It redeemed a recent slow stretch of cooped-up, too-cold, get-me-the-heck-out-of-here days, and for that I will be forever grateful.

What I loved second-most was the story of friendships that transcend years and hurts. Aren't we all suckers for that? What I love third-most was the undercurrent of food. Give me some sweet tea and carrot cake, Adele. Fourth most? The cute boy, Luke. Fifth? The nostalgia. Sixth? The suspense.

Here's what I kinda hated the most: Courtney is so dang good at weaving together a story. She makes it look easy and I know it's not. I wanted answers and she had me trapped between racing to find them and slowing down to ride the train. I wanted to climb into her noggin' and take a good look around, really see how it worked. (Hey Court? Wanna write my book for me? Pleaseandthankyou.)

What I loved most of all was getting a window-seat into the soul of my friend. I loved hearing her laugh during the funny parts and seeing her quirks in her characters. I loved being amazed (but not surprised) by her ability to pick me right up and take me to that cute little lake-side town.

Homegirl carries a full-size bottle of creamer in her purse and magic up in her brain.

But don't just take my word for it.

You can buy your own copy of A Sweethaven Summer here, here, or here. (It'll be available for Kindle, soon, Sherry!)

And if you leave a comment, I'll enter you in a giveaway to win a copy. Tell me about your favorite summer memory from childhood or your nerdiest way of spending a Saturday night in the 8th grade or just tell me your name. I'm not here to complicate life.

I'll draw a winner on Sunday evening. And remember, you can comment even if you don't have a blog. Just be sure to leave your email address in the comment!

141 comments:

  1. oh I'm in! I spent 8th grade (and then some) weekends re-arranging my room - by myself (out on the farm).

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  2. Oh, I was right there with you, reading as late as I could get away with! Still am (though sometimes now it's blogs...) Thanks for the chance to win. I'm due for a good beach read.

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  3. My bestest friend growing up lived down the gravel road from me. We would meet in the middle on our bikes (mine was a dreamy one-speeder that said "Flower Power" on the side) and meander into town. If we were lucky, we had enough money to buy a candy necklace and a soda at the local Casey's.

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  4. Aaaah, the name draws me in. Summer stories are always good ones. Thanks for the chance to win. ~Sally

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  5. now i am not sure that number 3 or 4 or 5 or whatever number i'll end up being by the time i leave this comment is ever drawn as the winner. BUT, i wanna win! i have this book pinned. okay. best memory? it surely was not the day where i peed my pants in the middle of the ice cream parlor. i think it maybe was playing school in my room (yes, even in 8th grade), i was the teacher of course, and my giant mirror of a closet made the perfect dry erase board. and to think i am not a school teacher now... oh the tragedy.

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  6. Can I win?! Oh, wait.

    I LOVE that you mentioned the creamer. (You act like this is strange?!)

    Your words made me smile so much--thank you for reading my book. I don't even know how to properly say thank you. And I LOVE that you picked up on the undercurrent of food. :)

    I think Adele should write a cookbook, don't you??

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  7. 8th grade Saturday nights were spent with apricot masks (the kind that peel off in large chunks like a sunburn) and my friend, Nikki. We'd watch tv with our masks on and then peel them off and ooh and ahh over all the nastiness that came from "the other side". Maybe better than reading? You be the judge.

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  8. I grew up in LA (Lower Arkansas). Ha! My pal and I would put on our jeans (even though the heat was horrible), and we would slide down the slick, muddy creek bank that sloped down into the water about 10 feet and at a 90 degree angle. We called it mud-sliding! I'm sure our mothers cringed when we set off in our jeans in the summer!! Thanks for the chance to win! Anna maryannawalker(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  9. I so love your blog. : ) It makes my day. Ok, 8th grade memory... I don't have a specific one, but I remember back in the day doing my homework while listening to the radio, waiting to hear my favorite songs, so that I could hurry & push record on my cassette player. It was always the worst recording & usually had the DJ's comments before or after. But it was cool being able to play my fav's w/out having to buy the "tape". If our kids only knew what life was like before ipods, itunes...

    cindy
    cjstocks@causefx.com

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  10. My madre likes to say that I'd stay home on Friday nights showing her all the "cool pictures" I could draw with my graphing calculator... I like to think of it as an isolated incident :)

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  11. I was once quite the bookworm. I too would stay up all night reading with nothing but the street light outside my window to illuminate the pages for me. (Uh,Kindle Fire! Where were you in 1989 when I really needed you?)I'm pretty sure this is why I ended up needing glasses.

    I always took out the 20 book max at the library and shunned the neighborhood kids as I was laying on the old glider our front porch held as I was engrossed in a wonderful old book!

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  12. Ahhh...that was me in 8th grade too. And what you described for your nightly reading, me too! Throw the book in the bag, me too! If I'm into a good book, I have a hard time doing other things I should be doing! Would love to read this book!

    Jenna
    bjkempf@gmail.com

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  13. My favorite childhood memories come from spending a week at a time at my grandparents house. Exploring the farm and helping my grandma. Best week of my summer :)

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  14. Your blog is so great and such a blessing! Thanks for the opportunity to win this book. My favorite summer memory from when I was a kid has to be spending a week at church camp. Camp Peniel is a special place to me because it allowed me to enjoy fellowship with friends and get away from the outside world for one week. Now that I am an adult I cherish those memories as if it was yesterday.
    I am just like you and use to read late into the morning so I could finish a book I just couldn't put down.

    Krystal
    kdm6502@gmail.com

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  15. I loved to stay in and read, too. What a nerd! And things haven't changed a bit.

    beth

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  16. I was lame-o as a Friday night eighth grader. I would sneak my mom's makeup and sit on the floor in my room in front of a large mirror and practice putting on her liquid eye liner. Man, would I love to see a picture of that. And thank God for whoever invented the eye liner PENCIL. I wish I had time to read a novel. I am so tired at the end of the day that I get two pages in and fall asleep. But I still collect books, hoping to reclaim the love someday. :)

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  17. Hello Shannon ~
    My favorite summer memories are of family vacation time. No, we didn't go anywhere too upscale, But, boy did we have the time of our lives! Every year was spent in the tiniest of towns in Northern California. Much of my family lived blocks from one another. We walked to town for ice cream , swam in creeks, listened to frogs in the eve. I dream of it still.

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  18. 8th grade... In the eighth grade I sat in English class on a Tuesday whispering back and forth with my best friend about our weekend plans. She mentioned a movie and asked what it was rated. Then, Jim Long whisks his head around and begins to call me a baby because I was not allowed to see PG-13 movies and everyone who was anyone was already sneaking in to watch the rated R movies.

    Law. I just got all worked up all over again.

    What was your question?

    Oh yeah. Saturday nights.

    I read books.

    The End.

    I miss Siley.

    xxoo

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  19. Ooooh, Farmgirl. I need a Summery transportive prescription in the worst way. A girl can only take so much brown and gray outside her window.
    Sign me up!

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  20. Oh, we would've gotten along great with each other back then! I was a COMPLETE bookworm. When I was in grade school, I would check out 7 (I think was the limit) Nancy Drew books from the library, and have two or three of them read by that evening :)

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  21. Being the beach bum that I am, that cover just draws me in. My favorite summer memories involve the yearly beach vacation, of course. It always has and always will be my favorite vacation spot with so many great memories of playing in the surf and sand and baking in the sun. White zinc oxide on the nose and t-shirts over bathing suits after a few days of that baking. ;)

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  22. Being the youngest in my family meant I was sometimes left alone while everyone was at school functions. I was happy to stay home. I would get me the VHS copy of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and settle in under a good blanket to watch it. When it was over I would pop into the VHS rewinder machine thingy and start it all over again. Sometimes watching it 3 times in a row. I'd say that is a bit nerdish!! Oh, the good ol' days.
    I also love to read. I consider Christy Miller to be my BFF!

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  23. I loved going to the boat docks on the river to water ski with my parents and older brothers. We spent countless afternoons on the river growing up. Lots of fond memories!

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  24. Yay! This looks so good! When I was little, we used to stay in a beach house every summer. The smell of a northern california beach makes me so nostalgic :)

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  25. I was a book worm just like you. I would love a new book to read!

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  26. yahoo! courtney is a sweetheart and i would LOVE this book. if i don't win i'll pick one up anyhow! thanks flowerpatch ghetto girl!

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  27. oops, forgot the memory! nerdy? how's about reading 7 sweet valley high books in one day? take that!

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  28. For me summer doesn't get any better than reading books at the beach on the Oregon Coast. Crisp wind, warm sand, pounding surf, puffy clouds, fresh evergreen trees, and a book bag overflowing with light reading. I could use about 2 weeks of that right about now ... But losing myself in _A Sweethaven Summer_ would be a fine substitute.

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  29. Since I can't get away for a relaxing beachy weekend, I'll take a chance on winning a great story. Can't wait to read this book!

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  30. Would love, love this book. I was born and raised in Florida and my favorite place to be since I was a little girl was the beach. We didn't have a lot of money, and since the beach was free, we went there every weekend for many years. This was back when you could easily find a beach where there was nobody there but us. You could look down the beach as far as you could see and it was deserted. Wonderful memories. Please throw my name in the hat. Don't have a blog, but sure love reading yours.
    wilenem@sbcglobal.net

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  31. That looks like a fun read, and I could use more fiction in my life!

    You imply that we all did nerdy things in 8th grade. =) Can't think now of weekend stuff, but I did part my hair down the middle for awhile and was definitely teased for it.

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  32. Ok, 8th grade nerdy ness, where do I begin... Well, every evening I would settle down in bed with a cup of earl grey and some enya playing softly in the background and read either my bible or an issue of country magazine. (no, not country living.... Country magazine. About farm equipment and quilting bees and canning. And I've never lived in the country.). That was/ is one of many eccentricities. I also prayed every night that I would get 'it'. Thats right, I prayed for the cursed thing. All my friends were ' becoming women' and I was feeling left out. Probably tmi, but whatevs. ;). You asked for it!
    -shaina

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    1. PS. My email is shainamariesims@gmail.com I would love a good summery read!!

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  33. Favorite summer memory? Wow. I think trips to Winter Park Colorado are my favorite.

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  34. My favorite summer memory would be going to Coeur 'd Alene, Idaho with my grandparents every summer. The last year I went with them I was twelve years old and I talked my Grammie into buying me this bright golden-orange top that showed my middle and my shoulders. Needless to say, I thought I was hot stuff. I wore it to the Fourth of July fireworks out by the lake where everyone gathers long before the festivities to picnic and hang out. I was super excited when a group of teenage guys were obviously noticing me. It was all innocent fun until my Grammie noticed and began yelling at them not to look at me like that, I was only twelve. Yes- it happened. Utter and complete humiliation. And now I'm kinda wondering why I'm thinking it's one of my favorite summer memories . . . hmmmm.

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  35. Summer seems like they lasted so long and lazy when I was a kid, now time zooms by and I'm always a bit sad Labor Day weekend which signals summer's end.

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  36. Summer in grade eight? Building a tree house with my bestie all by ourselves. I was so proud.
    Dana

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  37. My favorite summer memories as a kid?...my sister and I going to the library every week and loading up on books to read. I would read during the warm afternoons when it was too hot to go outside...late at night after work, staying up way too late. We even brought the books along camping and would read during those lazy afternoons in between canoe rides, fishing and hikes. What wonderful memories!!! I love people who like to read and like to be transported to other places through the pages we are reading. And I love people who can write and take us to those places! :)

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  38. My favorite summer memories as a kid?...my sister and I going to the library every week and loading up on books to read. I would read during the warm afternoons when it was too hot to go outside...late at night after work, staying up way too late. We even brought the books along camping and would read during those lazy afternoons in between canoe rides, fishing and hikes. What wonderful memories!!! I love people who like to read and like to be transported to other places through the pages we are reading. And I love people who can write and take us to those places! :)

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  39. My favorite summer memories are camping with my family and our friends at Sweetwater Forest Campground in Brewster, Mass. on Cape Cod. My 5 siblings and I lived in NH and our friends in Vermont had 8 children. We would always get adjoining campsites for 2 weeks. I am sure that we terrorized the other campers who thought they were going to experience peace and tranquility, but instead found 14 kids ages 1 to 16 (plus assorted cousins, camping buddies we knew from prior years, and new camping friends) running wild through the entire campground. We'd go fishing, swimming and play on the playground. We'd go down to the riding stable and pet the horses. We'd rule the rec. center. Mom would cook breakfast and dinner on our Coleman stove. The smell of Coleman fuel brings back wonderful memories. At night dad would light the Coleman Lanterns and both families would sit around the campfire telling ghost stories, singing songs, or roasting marshmallows. We'd visit both sets of my grandparents who lived on Cape Cod. At the end of our 2 weeks, while mom and dad folded up the tent and proceeded to pack all of our belongings back into our VW bus, we'd collect the discarded match sticks for which we were paid a penny a piece. For 2 weeks every summer we were in heaven!

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  40. Courtney's book sounds awesome! Favorite memory ever: spending a week each summer at my great-grandma's cabin on a lake in Quebec, reading Trixie Belden and lots of old-timey girl books (yes, I'm older than some of ya'lls :P)Oh, the days were slow and warm and sweet back then!

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  41. Yup, another bookworm here. (And I *loved* Trixie Belden, Lynn!) I also loved the teen romances, even though I had to smuggle them under the covers to read them (strict upbringing).

    Best summer memory? Definitely has to be going back to Louisiana where my mama's family is from, and seeing all the cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. Loved it!

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  42. I adore books! I could read for hours and hours....if time were on my side.
    One of my favorite summer memories is playing in the pool on family vacations with my sisters-once I even made my own milk conversation, which got recorded on an old-school video camera. Priceless. :)

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  43. Almost all of my childhood memories are tied to books in some way. I especially remember spending days sandwiched on the floor between my twin beds crying over Little Women. It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized that's NOT how most pre-teens spent their summer days;)

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  44. I had a bit of a harsh childhood, but I remember that at least one thing stands out that was such a treasure for me was our summer trapes to Sebring, Ohio where we camped in a sweet little cabin (the same each summer) with lots of other people. It was a church camp and there I was free to run and play with new friends, eat ice cream cones and yes, I learned to whistle. There was camp meeting every night, whivh I don't really remember to much about except there I was free to run and play. Currently I read at least a 100 books a year, or more, I'm retired of course and that makes it possible.. I love Historical Christian Novels best, but read any good book. My daughter is Assistant Directer os a library and brings home all new Christian books before cataloging them. How great is that, so I alwayd have room for another. I'd lovre to be picked. Ann Schrock

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  45. My favorite 8th grade summer memories...bonfires on the beach with my friends (wishing I was one of the "cool" girls who was "going out" with one of the few "cool guys"). Looking back, it should have been really fun, had I not been secretly pining away for attention from the opposite sex. :)

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  46. I am proud to say that I'm still friends with the girl I met in 5th grade, some 40 years ago. We are like peas and carrots...pick up where we left off like it was yesterday. I remember getting together and listening to albums (told ya I was old) and playing multiple games of gin rummy. How I wish my children had friends like this today. Thanks for the memory.

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  47. I love nerd confessions! I was definitely one. And the 8th grade was probably me in my highest form on one too. Let's see...picture perms and too large for my face glasses. But it if was Saturday night, I would bring out the big guns. Amy Grant and re-arranging the furniture in my pink carpeted room. Yes, I would crank up...Amy Grant or Michael W. Smith or maybe a little Al Denson and rearrange my room. Oh, and I would deep clean it while I was doing it. Wow. That's a bit embarrassing. But I too, would read late into the night. Books titled, "Christy" or "Heather" or maybe "Natalie" that I checked out in stacks from the library. Now those were good days. I would love to read a good book! Hope I win!

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  48. I was that girl, too. The library moved down the street from my house, somewhere around 7th grade. I'd walk there, return with a stack of 6 or 7 paperbacks, and spend the summer inside, lost in my books. And I still stay up until 3am with a good one, knowing the littles will come knocking in only two hours. :)

    Tammy

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  49. When I was in middle school, and let's face it, early on in high school I would stay home on the weekends to work on homework and projects. I particularly loved projects that involved making a poster. And I would get absolutely giddy if a tri-fold board was involved. I spent hours on perfect lettering and cutting and pasting pictures and info, backing it with fancy card stock, backing that with even fancier cardstock, and gluing them on in the slightly tilted, (hey I just threw this thing together...totally didn't stay in on Saturday night working on it) nonchalant diagonal. Nerd much...?

    Just so you know, I can totally picture myself on the beach this summer, soaking up every bit of sun there is, with this book in hand (and maybe one of those frozen lemonade things!)

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  50. Every year my aunt and grandparents would take my brother and I to Cape May, NJ for a little vacation. I had so much fun. I even made friends there and saw them year after year. I wish I could give my own kids some memories like that.

    Awesome giveaway. Sounds like a good book.
    ~FringeGirl

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  51. I never got to experience "town" life as a teenager, boy I never realized at the time that "country" life was just as good (if not better!). Where else can you learn to float in a (mud) pond that formed in the cornfield back behind your house, climb rafters in barns, catch a million fireflies in your yard, and the best part was I had 3 of the best gals living right beside me to share all of it with! I love summer, but then I do enjoy every single season here....and shucks, I love getting lost in a great novel about love, summer, or summer love!!!
    Pick me pick me pick me :-)
    -hpatterson@kindigandsloat.com

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  52. I have always been and shall always be a reader. I will take a night in with a book over a night out 100% of the time.

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  53. I am still such a book worm! My 14 year old daughter has followed in my footsteps. I love getting lost in a good book. My favorite memory..My brother could drive and there was a shaved ice stand at the park run by the DREAMIEST boy ever. My brother would take us to get shaved ice and I would get to see said dreamy boy at least twice a week. It was the best and I think my brother only teased about him once. I miss those times.

    Sara
    blueeyedgardener@gmail.com

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  54. If someone can beat the coolness of singing Sandi Patty into a hair brush on Saturday night and rocking out in my pajamas before a viewing of the Parent Trap, I would like to know. : ) I was all about cool in the 8th grade.

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  55. Mmmm...summers spent playing hide and seek with my siblings and the neighbor kids and staying out until 9:00 and it was still light. We felt so cool being outside past 8:00 - little rebel 10-year-olds...

    Nichole
    pnsuvar@gmail.com

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  56. Love to read! Would love to win a copy!

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  57. Favorite summer memory is building teepees with the neighbor's granddaughter when she came to visit. We actually created some pretty liveable ones...for 7 year old bodies. They seemed so big...I wonder how they would appear now.

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  58. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  59. Oh I can't wait to read this one! Yours is my new favorite blog to read. I think you are beautiful and adorable and find myself wanting to be your neighbor and hang out with you and share recipes and favorite books while our kids run around chasing each other. I'm not creepy, just love making new friends. : )

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  60. Favourite summer memory? The rare times my family spent a weekend in a cabin by the lake - accessible only by boat and railroad! And I was the nerdy reading girl too...I used to take a book with me EVERYWHERE we went, to "read on the way" - never mind that we live in a very small town and it's barely five minutes to anywhere!: ) And on my husband and I's last vacation I think I read 7 books in 6 days...heavenly! I'd love to win a copy of this book! heidi.hochstedler@gmail.com

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  61. The nerdiest way I spent many, many teenage afternoons? Of course, with my nose in a book. And I still love to spend an afternoon that way!

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  62. Hi, My name is Angie, and I've been a book addict since I was three. I ruined my eyesight reading under the covers using my electric blanket 'on' light (you know, the little orange glow?) as a reading lamp. I did this while recording the top 9 at 9, waiting for New Kids on the Block to be #1 for the 400th night in a row.
    I'd love to read this book, and since your photo on this blog was taken in my hometown, that made it all the better.

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  63. I heart reading! My sis and I used to both lay in bed and read till 2am when we were teenagers. :) To this day, if I have a good book I can read and let my house fall down around me while my child runs naked in the street. Okay, so maybe not naked but you get the drift! A good book sucks me in and I don't want to put it down. :)

    BTW, LOL at square-jawed Todd. :)

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  64. there's nothing better than a great book to lose yourself in! this sounds like a great read!! : )

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  65. thanks for the chance to win! i have been looking for a good book for awhile now...

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  66. nicki.

    i can't handle anything more at the moment. :)

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  67. Okay so let's go back to 1978ish...it's Friday night and I have the usual dilemma...go to Teen Club at Tasker Jr High (dj, boys, bball, dancing, friends) OR....stay home and watch yet another dreamy installment of "Donny and Marie". Alas, i think you know what won out! I was a geek! Would love the book....thanks. susan_mooney@comcast.net

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  68. Sooooo good to know I'm one of a hundred reading dorks! :-)

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  69. Love a good book, been wanting to read this one. Thanks for the chance to win!

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  70. Summertime...lots of favorite memories...it tis my favorite season. Nerdy 8th grade way to spend time. Say no to parents going to brothers high school basketball game (I might see friends &...gasp... be with my parents.) Stay home and watch Love Boat & Fantasy Island. Yep. Couldn't beat that for 8th grade excitement. The book reading sounds much better...I did read back then but not when Love Boat & Fantasy Island were on :+)))

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  71. Sounds like a wonderful book! I've been needing another good one :)

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  72. I know you're not suppose to judge a book by the cover, but I do, and this one makes me want to read it. I am in the mood for a good book and a lounge chair. A girl can dream ;).

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  73. Favorite childhood memory (or one of them): Taking my bag full of books back to the library only to be filled up again. Gotta love a summertime paperback in the winter!

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  74. My fav summer memory would be a road trip with my family listening to waylon jennings and sitting in the back of our bronco with my little sister.

    On a Saturday night in the 8th grade, you could find me watching old movies on channels like AMC or TCM. Yep, wild and crazy.

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  75. My grandparents live in Puerto Rico and EVERY SUMMER my parents would ship my brother and I there to sweat our summers away. I HATED the idea of leaving all my friends (and crushes) behind every summer while they had fun in town (seriously!). Now, I realize how privileged I was to spend my summers learning about my Puerto Rican culture, eating tostones and empanadas, swimming in the icy blue beaches, reading The hobbit and Anne of Green Gables outside on my grandfather's hammock while munching on the sunflower seeds I bought from the little tienda down the street....sigh...I didn't appreciate it then but looking back I am so thankful for the experience and I wish were there now!

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  76. Riding our bikes with my homies all over our little town from morning till dusk and our parents knew we were fine. I actually do believe that my bff and I played barbies a few times in eighth grade - but shhhh it was supposed to be a secret. It's quite embarassing but man we loved playing barbies! There were many nights that we played well into the wee hours of the morning. Tricia had a family that lived in the orange and yellow dream house and my family lived in the colonial white house with black shutters that my dad made for me my posse of barbies (and the heart family):) ahhhh the memories!

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  77. Hi! I'm new to your blog and I'm so intrigued- I love it! You really write from your heart and I love your outlook on things. You seem so positive even when the going gets tough. So glad I found you. I have a tie to South Bend so I also like to read about your goings on in Indiana. Thanks for sharing. Diana

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  78. This book looks so good! Even if I don't win, I'm sure it's find it's way to my Kindle once that becomes available.

    Favorite childhood summer memory - camping. Every summer a huge group from our church would go up to Ostego Lake, MI. I have the best memories from those trips and the scars to prove it. There's still a group going every summer.

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  79. I love this! I would LOVE to read this book!
    One of my most favorite memories of growing up is spending time with Grandpa, my dad's dad, in the summer. My parents were divorced and I was raised by my dad so I spent time with my Grandpa (and others) because I couldn't care for myself when I was off of school for the summer. I loved being with my Grandpa. He was so simple but just so relaxing and real. I miss him so.

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  80. Most my Saturday evenings were spent torturing my older sister. One evening, I bought 1000 ladybugs from the garden center and released them in my sister's bedroom. Did you know that that many bugs together in an enclosed space make for an awful smell? Sibling memories are the best! :)

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  81. I lived out in the country so in the summer it was VERY hard to get to a library. My mother however hoarded Harlequin romances but I was forbidden to read them. The ab SO lute NEED to read dictated a stealth attitude. I would have a piece of paper with the number of the book and the page number I was on. Not only that but my bedtime was 8pm before the sun was down so I always made sure my bed was by the windows so I could read by the fading sun and sometimes by the full moon. It's true you shouldn't award my sneaky behavior with a free book but ... I can't think of any palatable excuse. :)

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  82. I was right there with you - up late reading books. I'd be so sleepy the next day, but it was so worth it.

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  83. My favorite summer memory was the week we'd get to spend with my grandparents. They lived close, but it was always so awesome to be spoiled rotten for a week. I remember root beer floats before bed. Ahhh, to be a kid again.

    Alison Andrews (you know how to reach me;)

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  84. Oh dear... I have always really loved reading and would often stay up to read, sitting on the floor with a blanket by the nightlight in my room. Possibly even nerdier though- sometimes on the weekends, I would make up skits or circus-like performances to put on with my three younger siblings. They usually involved a lot of costumes. It's amazing that I had any friends at all...

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  85. Nerdy 8th Grade Sleepovers: Me and my best friend would *sneak* Mad Libs in our pillow cases to do by flashlight when we were supposed to be sleeping. We were all "hush hush" about it because we thought we were such rebels and didn't want to get caught! "Hi, can you say dorks?!?" :-)

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  86. I would have picked staying home with a book or a good movie over going out any day -- in 8th grade and now! :)

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  87. Oh yes 8th grade, pre braces,glasses,and short hair due to a lice epidemic.No square-jawed todd was looking my way. I have always loved reading, but stuggled with it considering I could never sit still for long periods of time. This book however looks like a easy fun read and now that I am not in 8th grade I may be able to sit a bit more still while reading it....who knows Im stitting right now.

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  88. I have been a late night reader since I was in grade school. When I am in a good book, I just can't put it down. I bought a book stand so I can read while I cook dinner! My email is knightjl57 at yahoo dot com

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  89. Sadly, my love of reading didn't exist in the 8th grade. Rather, the night before the book report was due, I would host a reading party...you know, because none of my friends read the book either. Everyone was assigned a certain portion of the book and had to give the overview of the chapters they read. We would then write our reports together but tweak it a bit so they weren't exactly alike.

    This is probably not the comment I should leave when trying to win a free book.

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  90. Saturday nights when I was young were spent reading or babysitting, or both- except at Christmas when I loved watching all the Christmas variety shows. Saturday nights now are spent reading or watching a movie- guess you can tell that in 40 years I haven't changed much :)
    Thank you for offering the giveaway!!
    summerwindsquilts@hotmail.com

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  91. My favorite way to spend a summer evening is to hang out in our backyard around our fire pit...so I'm pretty easy to please!

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  92. Reading is the ultimate luxury to me and it is truly when I feel most at rest. I was also an 8th grade bookworm and still am, as I'm reading the Anne of Green Gables series over again. Have loved reading your blog and finding a kindred spirit in a fellow writer (and reader!)

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  93. i LLOOOVVEE to read, i love losing hours in a book and being able to smell the story i'm reading...there was nothing better growing up then to open a couple of new books on christmas morning...i could hardly wait to get started - i remember feeling like heidi in her loft up in the mountains or nancy drew creeping around ...and even now, after dealing with the stresses of my four blessings (said sarcastically but still with love) from 18-9, i just want to sit with my cup of tea, curl myself up and disappear into the pages of my most recent escape...pure bliss!! thanks for the chance to get lost again...i will always need it and never stop loving it!! deirdre (pick.six@sympatico.ca)

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  94. One summer I worked at a Family Resort up in Northern MI (with E and S)...I would ride a bike into a little lakeside town nearby with cute shops and pretend it was something I had done all my life. This book sounds like it will remind me of that... :)

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  95. Sadly, I was a bookworm in eighth grade. Still am, but, hey, I got my hot, handsome husband anyhow, so it's all good!

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  96. I can definitely relate to the girl staying up waaaay too late reading. That was me fo sho. Growing up I loved Mandie books. Now I'm lucky if I can get through the first few pages of pictures in People magazine...

    Happy Thursday!

    XOXO,
    Angie from Ohio

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  97. Favorite summer memory...staying outside until dark as a child, making mudpies with my younger sister while playing barbies at the same time :)

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  98. I was as much a bookworm in 8th grade as I am today! My husband still cant understand how I read so quickly, but once I start a book I find it hard to put it down, even if its one i've read a thousand times. My favorite childhood memories would be going camping with my mom and her best friend's family. Something always went wrong but us kids just had fun playing in the creek and catching crawdads :)

    astone07@vt.edu

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  99. I'm a sucker for a good read too. I remember having tons of summer fun in my wooden playhouse. Hanging doll clothes out on my tiny clothesline, creating an (unedible) recipe for dandelion soup, mothering my baby doll. Hmm..Guess I've always longed to have a houseful of kids.

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  100. I love to win and I love the beach. We go every year in October when the crowds have gone home. mrsltodd(at)gmail(dot)com

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  101. I LOVE reading. I may or may not have read 2 books on my honeymoon. My husband still teases me about it almost 15 years later! Favorite childhood summer memory...catching lightning bugs!!

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  102. Wow...2 good questions. My favorite summer memory is similar to yours...my sisters and I would go to the library and check out a stack of books (6 was the limit back then), spread a beach towel out on the grass and read, read, read. Wish I could turn back time...

    kling6@optonline.net

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  103. Oh, I love, love, love reading! Nothing better!

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  104. I have no desire to remember anything about 8th grade!!!! Haha, middle school is a time I will gladly leave behind.

    Summer childhood memory- sleeping in the tent in the backyard. :)

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  105. Sleeping in a hammock at the lake...I felt so "mature" because my dad allowed me to sleep outside all by myself in middle school. Too bad I would be attacked by bugs at 9pm and have to high tail it back to the cottage. Nonetheless, those 15 minutes swinging under the stars was exhilarating.

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  106. I remember during the summer climbing a tree with a book and hiding up there reading it until my mom would find me and make me climb back down and she would say "put that book down and get back to work!" I really enjoy the way you work the words into thoughts for us all to think about. Thanks so much!
    rtmaust@yahoo.com

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  107. Oh I can't wait to read this! I grew up 5min from the beach and I miss it soooooo much :)

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  108. One of my favorite summer memories was climbing up in the mimosa tree in our front yard, wedging my tush into the fork of the tree's limbs, taking a deep breath of the sweet scent of the mimosa blooms, and then, yes, reading for as long as my young tushie could handle the hard tree limbs!

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  109. Sounds like a great book! Would love a copy! I too was a stay up way to late, hide under the covers with a flashlight after my parents put me to bed, kinda girl. But since I was the oldest, I didn't even know I was being nerdy. Oh, sweet ignorance. I have 3 kiddos about the same ages as yours (but mine are all boys) and love reading your blog, somedays I feel like you jumped out of my head and wrote it down:) Thanks for writing!
    victoria76@triad.rr.com

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  110. There aren't too many things in this life that are better than a great book. The cover of this novel reminds me a little bit of the way I spent part of my 8th grade summer - a family vacation to Northern Michigan. Sun, sand, fun family ... and lots and lots of books for the trip up there!!

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  111. Momma needs a new read please :) I still stay up late to be transported to another land with a good read. Reading rocks!!

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  112. All of my summer memories involve my mom, her beautiful smile, long walks on the beach, skimpy bikinis, long haired blonde boys, fireworks, pink lemonade, tuna sandwiches, frozen bananas, Thin Lizzy and a maroon colored porsche with a beige stripe.

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  113. Sounds like just my kind of book! My favorite summer memory would be running through freshly plowed fields barefoot at My grandma and granddaddy's place.

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  114. Looking forward to reading this book! Favorite summer childhood memories.... church camp, baling hay, bad minton, riding horses, vbs, sleeping in, camping out... Instead of telling you how nerdy I was I will tell how much nerdier my sister was (is). :) We only had one REAL family vacation when we were growing up. We went out west to the badlands, Mt. Rushmore and all kinds of tourist attractions, sleeping at campgrounds along the way. We were in highschool. My sis read the ENTIRE time!!! I don't know if she could even tell you how many men were carved on that mt.
    Nerdo.

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  115. Oh, girl, I want this! I'm swooning over that cover. It brings me right back to summers spent with my best girls camping in our backyards and riding bikes to the county pool. My bike never had enough air in the tires. One hot afternoon the front one popped when I went over a curb and I had to drag that thing for blocks. We still laugh about it. I loved that simple beautiful time.

    Congrats to Courtney!!

    I've missed oodles of your posts lately. I have all sorts of catching up to do here at FPFG.

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  116. I've so heard much about this book, can't wait to read it!!
    Fav memory is swimming with friends.
    sarahunt88@gmail.com

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  117. Thanks for the chance to win! LOVED seeing your picture in my hometown!!!

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  118. The book sounds great and I love the picture of St. Louis!

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  119. Every summer I looked forward to my week at summer camp. My bestie and I would load up on the ol' camp bus and have a blast in the CA Mountains.

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  120. You know I'm not a reader, but...in 48 days I will be stretched out on a beach chair and staring at the ocean. Seems to call for a good summer book (even if I haven't read one for over a year?) Pathetic, I know. 8th grade memories consist of going to K-mart with my parents and sharing popcorn and a frozen coke with the everybody. Don't be jealous :) Michelle B.

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  121. Nerdiest way of spending a Saturday night (aside from with you, a bottle of Clearly Canadian, salsa and chips) was also reading those same teen romances (did we ever share?), Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High,or the Freshmen series. I was just telling Rick how I kept a notebook of every book I read in middle school.

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  122. Nerdiest way to spend a Saturday night in 8th grade? Doing math problems...for real
    Now, I am a math teacher and often spend Saturday nights writing math tests. Hey! It's one time when chores and errands are caught up and the house is quiet.

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  123. I'm not to proud of my younger years so I have to say not sure I really have a special Sat evening memory I can share. So now that I'm all grown up I would enjoy it one on the couch with one or all of my kiddos watching a movie sharing the popcorn bowl. Who am I kidding we all would have our own bowls!!!! Or ditto I would be in my comfy bed with my book :)

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  124. My best friens Ang. and I would stay home and sew Barbie clothes for our little sisters(I had 2, she had 3) -Yes, I know you are jealous. Of course we would never have admitted this to anyone at school. Crafting and yacking with your best bud about that cute boy, music and eeek!Gun's and Roses! Of course I would never let my girl's listen to that band now. What can I say, it was the early 90's:)
    Happy Valentines to you and yours, Amy
    kids.sask@sasktel.net

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  125. Well you know I like anything that has a beach on it :) One of my favorite summer memories is one wild and crazy summer my parents took us on a 3 week trip in a rv (or motor home as I like to call them) to California. We hit tons of fun spots along the way and landed in sunny CA for a week or two and played on the beach while my dad worked a little. It was amazing :)

    Courtney's book looks/sounds like a really fun read! Have a great trip this weekend.

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  126. Oh yes, I'm also a reader. As in my parents would take my books away as punishment . . . ha! But I turned out alright! Still love to read when I can, and still love a great novel the best. I'm pretty excited to read YOUR book someday!

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  127. I love a great novel, too! If I am the lucky one, I promise to pass it on...

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  128. Oh, I love a good summer-y book! No surprise since i spent the majority of my middle school years at home on Saturdays doing a puzzle. Yes, one puzzle that i did over and over until I could finish it in less than an hour. jennylt at hotmail.com

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  129. My name's Rebecca. I'm not really sure I want to remember 8th grade, but Courtney's book I would like that. Oh & you didn't ask, but one of my many favorite things about you...you never say follow me, friend me, fb me, tweet me. "I'm not here to complicate life".....I love you!

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  130. Shannon, your blog is such an inspiration! I love to look at those who have gorgeous homes and dream a little dream, but yours is full of the kind of encouragement that really matters. This sounds like a fun book to read- especially on a cold, dreary day with a cup of tea. (clanking spoon a must!) heidicbrown@gmail.com

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  131. I'm sure my favorite part will be how the friendships endure through the hardships and trials that life inevitably brings to all of us....makes me thankful for my heart friends, and I haven't even read the book YET.

    I spent Saturday nights in junior high talking for hours on the phone with my bff, kirsten. We'd talk about boys and outfits and the cosby show and we'd attempt to solve all the world problems.

    I love to read....I have stacks waiting on me, and I'd love to add this one to my list.

    thanks for not making life complicated and just letting us leave comments. :)

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  132. i'd love a good book to read. i haven't read one in almost a year. homeschooling leaves me little time to do my "own" reading!!

    great giveaway--i've got my finger's crossed!

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  133. Fave summer memory? It's more like a slide show :) Every summer growing up my dad's 12 siblings would gather all their kids and we would hit the Oregon coast for two weeks.....I was the youngest girl of many, many, many cousins and digging holes big enough for me to stand in and not be able to see out or sand castles taller than me were always great but I mostly remember the feeling of family and belonging and love. And now we take our kiddo with his cousins every summer :)

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  134. Girl, it would be crazy if I won. Thats all I have to say.

    ;o)

    Mary

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  135. i too LOVE a good book... spent WAY TOO MUCH babysitting money on books when I was a kid! :) My favorite memories ALL take place at the beach... whether we were camping as a family or just hanging out with my friends (as i got older... you know... not "cool" to hang with the fam!) :)....

    Looks like a great read!!!!

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  136. I was an avid reader as a teenager too. I remember how I read all of the F. Scott Fitzgerald books & a lot of the classics just so I'd understand why they were considered "classic". Now I rarely allow myself the time to read a good book. Instead, I listen to them as I drive for a 1/2 hr. to & from work. But If I won this book, I would let myself read it because it involves scrapbooking - my addiction!

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  137. I am always amazed how authors think up the twists and turns in a story plot. I hope this is available on iBook soon.

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  138. mine are more high school memories for some reason...boys! her book is amazing. i'm only half way through. can't wait to see how it wraps up.

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  139. I was definitely the nerd girl who would stay up all night with a good book but would fall asleep at sleepovers!! LOVE me a good book but I'm afraid I'm an addict--I HAVE to finish a book within two days of starting it (no clue why--I get totally sucked in and end up staying up WAY too late to finish)

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  140. Count me in! I spent a lot of Saturday nights with my girlfriends listening to Bobby Sherman records! :-)

    And I would love to review the book and host the author on my site, so drop me an email to schedule some dates!

    JHS
    Colloquium

    jhsmail@comcast.net

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