Monday, October 5, 2009

"Sunday Scoop"--The First Posting of Our New Weekly Column


The Gang has decided to create the "Sunday Scoop" as a way for us to just share what's going on with us.  Whether we talk a bit about books or just whatever, we want to share more of us with you than just book related stuff.  This is our first Scoop, so we are going to just chat about a few things.

First off, some site business.  We want to let you know what our some of our current or next reads are going to be.  Obviously there are more than 1 book to read a week, but sharing one will be a good start and not take up too much space!  So, Mara is in the middle of "The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook...A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal" by Ben Mezrich.  Sami is reading "Dealing with Dragons", book 1 of "The Enchanted Forest Chronicles" by Patricia C. Wrede.  Lauryn is reading "The Maze Runner" by James Dashner for a book report as well as her very own review of it.  Speaking of James, the Gang is going to visit James at a signing at Barnes and Noble in New York City on Oct 15th.  We consider James a friend of ours and can not wait to finally meet him in person!  Dave is reading something very special next that is top secret and off limits to the site (for now), but let's just say he is THRILLED to be reading it!  He has been sworn to secrecy and would not disclose even if you took a matchbook to his bookshelf! However, right after that, he will be reading "The Seekers: the Glitch in Sleep" by John Hulme and Michael Wexler.  With about 75 book in the wings and new ones coming out every week, Dave is always changing his mind about what to read next!

We want to wish a great friend and author, Laura Bingham a Happy Birthday! Many of you know Laura from our site.  She is the author of "Alvor", which we have discussed here many times.

Speaking of Birthdays.....HAPPY 34th BIRTHDAY MARA!!!!  Thursday, October 8th we will be celebrating all day! There is still a minor disagreement going on in the house.  Perhaps you can share your opinion and help Dave, Lauryn, and Sami win this one!  Dave and the kids have been planning for 2 weeks now to spend the day with Mara.  A day off of work and school have been planned to surprise Mara with a day of fun.  Well, today she found out the plans.  As Dave is a big boy and taking off of work whether or not Mara likes it (she doesn't mind him being off), but she is not too happy about the kids missing school. We are undecided and hoping you guys can settle this one.  Perhaps an idea of the planned day would persuade, we mean help you in telling Mara it is ok to have them miss a day.  In all fairness to her, we will mention that the girls had been sick in the last week or so and each missed a few days of school.  Here is the proposed schedule:

- Wake up and go get some breakfast at the local bagel joint

- Head over to a favorite spot of ours that we hit up every year where we take the girls pumpkin picking, apple picking, and through a haunted hay ride that has become a tradition since Lauryn was 1 and Sami was still in Mara's belly

- Next stop would be for lunch at the same pizza place that follows the pumpkin picking each year (tradition is tradition)

- Before heading home, we would be stopping at "Delicious Orchards" which is a huge store set on a farm (yes, despite what you have seen on "The Sopranos", there are some farms in NJ).  There we get the best fresh apple cider, and some baked goods including these awesome apple cider doughnuts (yum!) and a few fresh baked apple and pumpkin pies.

- Home for a break and then dinner at either Benni Hanna (A Hibatchi Steakhouse) or Joe's American Bar and Grill (where Dave and Mara first met and fell in love many years ago while they were waiting tables)

- Starbucks for Mara's daily fix

- Perhaps finish the night off with just hanging out in front of the TV and spending some quality family time together

OK, so this is the plan for her birthday IF she lets the girls stay home from school.  What do you think??

The Gang is trying to figure out what we are going to be for Halloween.  Lauryn wants to be either a black or white cat with a friend who will be whichever she is not.  Sami is thinking about Lady Ga Ga.  Dave doesn't have a clue yet, and Mara will be a "Mom" and make sure her 3 kids do not eat any candy she doesn't check first!  What are you guys (or your kids) going to be this  year?

As our first "Sunday Scoop", we just thought we would share some things that are going on in our lives.  We are looking for suggestions on certain things that we can discuss every week.  From prior comments, we know that some of you out there are super creative and we would love to hear some of your ideas.  

Lastly, we mentioned this somewhere secret on the site the other day, but for those of you who didn't catch it, we have a bit of great news.  As we have mentioned in the past, we have had a wonderful increase in people interested in the site.  For this we are motivated to make the site the very best we can.  We are planning on changing the scenery around as well as making additions and updates to our side bars.  Also, Mara has agreed to work during the week on a regular basis to update some of the new additions you will find.  We are going to celebrate the re-launch of the site with a "Mega" contest.  It is going to be fantastic.  We will announce the contest as soon as we have all of the specific details. Here is what you can look forward to.  We still plan to have 1 winner take home a $200 gift card for the Apple Store.  Also, we have been reviewing books for a handful of awesome publishers and have asked each of them to contribute a "Prize Package" to give away as part of the Mega contest.  So far we have a commitment from Scholastic, Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky, and Harper Collins.  We are waiting to hear from Penguin and Random House.  Once we hopefully get everyone on board, they will send us a list of what their prize pack will contain.  As soon as we get that info, we will launch the contest.  On the day the contest is over, we will pick several winners!  Perhaps each prize pack will find itself a different winner or maybe we will even mix and match the packages so that each winner can get a book from each publisher.  That part is not final yet.  Also the day the contest is over, we will unveil our site's new look.  We are working really hard to make it look great.  We hope that you will all participate in the contest and we are excited to be able to hold such a cool contest.  Hopefully we can hear from everyone by the end of the week and get things rolling!

That is all we have for this week.  We hope that you enjoyed our first "Sunday Scoop" with The Lateiner Gang.  We have more reviews that will be posted throughout the week so keep checking back. Also, right before the Sunday Scoop, Dave posted a review on "Adventurers Wanted: Slathbog's Gold" by M.L. Forman.  Please check that as well as the 2 recent reviews before that out.  We love when you guys read our reviews and comment on them.

Dave, Mara, Lauryn, and Sami

The Lateiner Gang


  1. I like the new post. I vote Mara should get a good massage. I can't wait to hear more details about your new contest and what secret book Dave is reading. Keep up the great work gang.

  2. Elnice,

    A massage for Mara...Hmmm that's not a bad idea. Although we were in a really bad car accident a few years ago and a massagew might be too much on her back. But definitely up for discussion. Perhaps I will call her Doc and see if he OK's that. I like that idea!

    My Secret Book...well, I promise you I will be reviewing it after I read it. About a year to a year and a half after! You have my word it will get a review though. Unfortunately I was very tired when I wrote that and I shouldn't have even mentioned it. I was just excited that an opportunity presented itself when it did. There are very kind, trusting people still out there and you know who you are, you and your opportunities are very appreciated!
    Mara had a doctor's appt this morning and got depressed when she filled in her age as 33 for the last time. She is still a spring chicken as far as I'm concerned! Oh, and still a fox too if I'm going to be making analogies!



  3. Wow! A Sunday Scoop? ^__^ Sounds like fun! This scoop was really cool, so I'm really gonna look forward to future Sundays. ^,~

    Yay! Lauryn's reading Maze Runner?! What fun! I hope you're really enjoying it, and I can't wait for your take on it! Also, you going to see Mr. Dashner in a week or so is absolutely exciting!

    Aw, Dave can't say what he's reading? Darn it. ~,~ (Funny about the match thing. You serious?) 75 books in th wings? There will be no shortage of good books on this site, proving that this book blog is the best! (I've always known that anyway.)

    I didn't know it was Laura's birthday! ^,^ Well, I'll make sure to tell her later. But definitely an early Happy Birthday to Mara! You know, my mom's birthday was on the 3rd, so that's kind of a coincidence! He he.

    Sorry Mara. I'm on Dave and the kids' side on this one. Take a break from work and school and have a fun, relaxing day on your special day! It seems like a well thought out and exciting schedule. (I think Joe's would be the place to go. How romantic! ^_^)

    I don't know what I'm going to be for Halloween, but I think my brother is leaning towards Edward Scissorhands. 0,o

    I've noted your increase in fans with great excitement! I'm still waiting patiently for the site to look differently than what I'm by now used to, but the wait is killing me! Man, that mega-contest sounds awesome! Not to mention those mysterious prize packs... ~,~ You guys are masters at stirring up excitement! I can't wait!

    Once again, the Sunday Scoop was fantastic and I look forward to more to come. For suggestions on what to write in your scoops...Book news sounds good, as well as contest updates. But also holidays and anything special that is going on in the Lateiner household. Maybe as well as books, you can mention any cool movies you might have seen recently?

    As always, keep up the good work, Gang!

  4. Thanks for the kind words Magenta. We were nervous about the first Scoop, but they can only get better I guess. THANK YOU on agreeing with me for her B-Day. I understand Mara's point about them missing school. When they were out last week, they missed SO much work! BUT...Mom's Birthday only comes around once a year and in the grand scheme of things, I think its worth it. Since it is Mara's birthday, ill leave it up to her, but hopefully as the day gets closer and we keep talking about the plans for the day, she will cave in!

    Thanks so much for saying how much you like our site. For the record, Magenta was one of, if not our very first follower and we would like to share with all of you how much we appreciate that! It is such a great feeling knowing what you are doing serves a great purpose.

    Yes, I would be forced to (yikes...hurts to even think about it) let the books go up in flames before I break my word to someone. At least you all know I can be trusted if I'm willing to sacrifice my treasure chest!

    I chuckled at your idea of putting up movies we have seen on the scoop. It would be a great idea if we had time to even watch a single flick! With all these books, reading consumes all of our free time.

    Thanks again for being loyal and glad you liked the Scoop!


  5. My vote for Mara's birthday- do it. It's just one day. One wonderful day spent with the people that mean the most in your life. There will always be time for homework later. Sometimes life is too short to miss out on one really good day.

    And, if someone planned my birthday out that well, I would be thrilled. Take life one step at a time and enjoy it. Happy Birthday Mara!

  6. Sounds like a great idea for a post. As for the birthday - I'm a teacher, so you're asking the wrong person ;)

    And there's an award for you at my blog.

  7. Happy Birthday Mara!!! If you don't want the kids to miss out on any more school days, why not have the birthday day on the weekend?

    Love the Sunday Scoop!

  8. First off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MARA!!

    I definitely agree to the birthday plans. I especially like the trip to Delicious Orchards. I'm originally from NJ, and I just love Delicious Orchars. I'm now in Wisconsin (16 yrs) and my Aunt & Uncle used to send me a care package every year. I miss those care packages.
    I used to live in Little Silver & Oceanport, where are you? I would love to hear from you.

    The kids can make up their homework.

  9. You guys have to post a pic of the Lady Gaga costume. lol


  10. Happy Birthday Mara!! Have a Strawberry Creme for me, no Starbucks here!

    Dottie :)

  11. I really like the new site =)
    Happy birthday mara hope you have a spectaculer Day

  12. A BIG thanks to all who wished me a happy birthday!!! Dave has won the battle and the girls are home from school today! I love them dearly and couldn't be happier! We had a lovely breakfast, and I then got a manicure. We are off to pumpkin picking and some other lovely surprises that my wonderful family has in store for me. I have read all of your sweet comments and ideas, they put a huge smile on my face. Thank you for all the kind words. Have a fantastic day! xoxo

  13. I get online late but hope it still counts:
    Happy b-day Mara!
    As for Halloween, like Lauryn I will be a cat. It's simple, no fuss, and workplace approved, lol!
    As for ideas, I'm all out at the moment--too much work and not enough sleep has zombied me out for now, but i promise to post any that come to mind later on ur new sunday scoops :P

  14. Don't forget about Little Brown, Simon & Schuster, Egmont, Macmillan...

  15. Anonymous,

    Trust me, we didn't forget about them. We are working on some of the ones you listed as we speak. They are wonderful publishers as well, as we have read many books by each of them. However, to even think about asking them to contribute a prize pack, we would need to have been accepted to their review program and have reviewed some of their books. That is what we are working on now.

    The one's that we listed are publishers that The Lateiner Gang has existing relationships with, who have given us the privilege of joining their book review/tour programs. All of them have committed to putting together a prize pack for our Mega Contest so far except Penguin. We have been trying to get in touch with our contacts at Penguin, but for some reason they have not responded to our request yet. As soon as we have a list of the books/promotional items that the other publishers are going to include in their prize packs, (should be sometime this coming week) we will post about the contest, with or without Penguin. We definitely want to include them as they have been very kind to us and for the benefit of all of you guys, but we won't hold up the contest any longer than we have to.

    Going back to the publishers that you listed, Little Brown and Simon and Schuster are priorities for us. We have read many of their books and would love to join their review program if they have one. We will definitely keep you guys posted.

    Otherwise, keep on the lookout, as we have some reviews almost ready to go up, some exciting interviews, tomorrow's Sunday Scoop, and a COUPLE contests coming up. This one has not been announced yet, as we are working through the details now , but we have at least 1 copy of Angie Sage's new book in the Septimus Heap series, "Syren" to give away. Also, it was going to be a surprise, but we will be interviewing Angie about her series and the recent release of "Syren" soon. She is on tour, so we are working through her publisher on that interview. It might be a little while before it is posted, but it is in the works.

    We will post more about it in the Scoop tomorrow night, but we'd love to hear from any of you if you have read the Septimus Heap series and are interested in a contest for "Syren."


    Dad of The Lateiner Gang