Sunday, April 25, 2010

"Sunday Scoop" the Gang's Weekly Column!


Howdy y'all (don't hear much of that in NJ!)...  It'sa Me- Mario.  Ok, enough of the little kid stuff.  Actually, there is a good reason I am feeling young and silly again.  With the influx of requests and emails we received recently, it was really hard answering everyone.  What we decided to do since our plate is super full already, is to hand select a few requests that really caught our attention and put them on the "to be read" list.  For those of you who have not received a reply from us yet, be patient with us.  We decided to start off with a few books to review and see where it goes from there.  Now, why I am feeling so silly.  One of the review requests we got had me at "hello".  Why? It was different.  Something unique that stood out.  We got a request by an author named Bart King.  The title of the book- "The Book of Gross Stuff"... If that doesn't get your attention, nothing would!  Needless to say, I asked Bart for a copy of the book.  As soon as it came, I sort of couldn't put it down.  Just by principle, I should NOT have been reading it during dinner, but heck, I couldn't stop reading it!
Bart has done a great job!  What I found was basically all those gross, but cool things that you find out in his book are things that I really was curious about.  Let's be honest here- the more "gross" something is, the more we are consciously OR subconsciously curious about.  I promise if you are thinking that I am crazy, you won't after you read the book.  Bart has also written a slew of other books with the same general thought process involved in each- things I found myself really curious about.  That's Great Dave, but what does this all have to do with us?  Great question... Bart has been invited to and agreed to participate in one of our "Triple Threats"!!  Even better is that we are going to do it asap, prob before next weeks Scoop.  Super cool Bart! Thank you for agreeing to participate.  TLG is really excited to do this for you guys.  What intrigued us the most is how Bart's makes the book a fun read, but educational as well.  I was not surprised AT ALL to find out he was a former middle school teacher.  Anyway, it is coming up shortly, so keep your eyes open.  As part of the triple threat (review, interview, and giveaway contest) we will be giving away not just "The Big Book of Gross Stuff" but Bart and his publishers were kind enough to include a copy of "The Big Book of Girl Stuff" and "The Big Book of Boys Stuff" as part of the contest.  We think it would be fun to have 3 winners, not just 1!  For now, you can find out more about Bart's books and get warmed up for our Triple Threat by going to Bart's site HERE.
So, I have been having some trouble with reading the last few weeks.  It isn't a horrible problem since I have been reading a lot.  My problem is I am getting bored of reading 1 book at a time and finding I must read a few books at a time to keep me going.  Right now, I am in the middle of like 5 books for review, and one I can't talk about yet (you know who you are, and YES- I am reading "P.C." as we speak!).  I am making great progress, but I am about 250 pages into 5 different stories! I don't know... what do you guys think?  Bad thing or common thing?  I just want to make sure that I give each book the attention it needs.  I feel like I am, but just want to see what you guys think.

BEA!- sorry, just excited.  We know that many of you can not attend and we want you to know that is why we are going.  For you guys.  Yes, of course we will be happy about being there, but to be honest, if it weren't for you guys, we wouldn't be so excited about going.  We totally feel that it is our responsibility to go get as much info as we can AND as many of the ARC's and review copies we can for you guys.  As it has been mentioned before, we are going to give back to you guys as much as we can.  We are going to report each night that we are there and let you guys know what is going on.  I do not think we are going to attend all of the conferences, but rather dedicate our time to finding out what is going on out there now, what is hot that will be coming up, and just get a general feel for what is going on in the industry that will benefit us, the readers.  We have been getting emails from the BEA association lately, so the buzz is starting.  Again, if you are planning on attending, let us know and we will see if we can meet up at some point during the expo.  We are not staying in NY (it's about a 45 minute drive door to door) so we will only be there during the day, but will be there all day.  It would be really cool to hook up with some of you if you will be there, so let us know.  To learn all about BEA, you can go to their site by clicking HERE.

As for reviews, we still have everything we talked about coming up.  Since I have been multi-book reading lately, there is a good chance I as well as the rest of the Gang will be blasting you with reviews shortly.  The one I am most excited to do is Dashner's new 13th Reality book, "Blade of Shattered Hope" which I have mentioned recently.  I am totally so enjoying it and will probably get done with it in the next day or so.  I have tried sooo hard to string the book out as long as I can, but every good thing must come to an end at some point.  Imaging the feeling of reading a book you DON'T want to put down, but at the same time force yourself to just to make it last longer. I know that is weird, but you all know what I am talking about, I am sure of that!  Anyway, loved the 3rd installment in the series and James never ceases to amaze me.  All I will say is that some people love "Harry Potter", "Fablehaven", "Percy Jackson", etc. (don't get me wrong, I love them all) but Dashner's "13th Reality" series is my favorite.  Maybe I am a little biased to him, but ya know what... he earned it! 

One thing I want to add to the upcoming "review" list is a book that Mara recently got that she is LOVING!  Harper Collins sent us a book this past week that I do not think I have seen Mara that excited about reading in a loooong time.  Once I tell you what book and why, you will understand.  Especially you ladies out there.  "The Carrie Diaries" by Candace Bushnell. Need I say more???  Even I might secretly sneak the book in on nights that I am up later than my ladies. Who doesn't love "Sex and the City"???  Say what you will, but having all women in my house, I have had to watch the episodes AND the movie many times over.  It kind of grows on you. Anyone out there been waiting for this one?  I believe it comes out on Tuesday the 27th and we have had to wait for the release day to post the review.  I have looked and found some reviews out there for it, but we like the relationship we have with Harper, so we kinda figured we would follow the rules and wait until it is released.  I am sure the review will be an enthusiastic one, as I know Mara loves the girls. That is what is really cool about the book.  From what she tells me, it is about Carrie and basically her growing up and everything leading her up to what brings her to NYC. From there, well you know the rest.  I think that is a really cool idea for a book.  Be on the lookout!

Speaking of movies and books and shows... since the Scoop is about "whatever", I wanted to talk about a few shows that were shows before or book before they are this season's prime time winners on The Gang's list!  So besides the usual "Idol" and "Dancing w Stars" (sorry Kate... It was time!), I have my weekly line up of 1 good show a night from M-TH.  Here's my 1 show a night I HAVE to see:

Mon- "Castle"
Tues- "V"
Wed- "Human Target" which just had it's season finale :o(
Thurs- "Flash Forward"

Castle you all prob know about and Human Target you have plenty of time to get familiar with before season 2 starts.  I just want to quickly talk about "V" and "Flash Forward"... 2 of my favs!  Not just mine, but you'd be surprised to see the Gang huddle up on the couch EVERY week for these!  At first, I had to convince the fam to watch them with me, but once they did, they were hooked.  In fact, (and Mara don't get mad at me for telling this!) I remember I watched the first 3 or 4 episodes of "Flash Forward" myself week after week trying to convince the ladies to watch it with me.  One Sunday morning while Mara and I were up abnormally early, I forced her to watch just one episode on Hulu with me and if she didn't LOVE it, she didn't have to watch any more.  Well, that was the hook!  Mara and I watched all 4 episodes in a row and then we watched them AGAIN, back to back with the girls!  Basically, we did the same with "V".  Now that I think about it, after Flash Forward, they started trusting me with "guy shows" and you can find all 4 of us watching all of the shows I mentioned above.  We don't let the girls watch TV day and night, but after homework is done, after studying and everything else essential is done, we totally believe in watching some good, relaxing show together.  Plus come on... you want suspense?  How many of you watch any of those shows?  How about V and Flash in particular...  Are you hooked like us??  If you just answered "NO" to either of those 2 shows, you better hit up or the channels the shows are on and just check out the first episodes.  If you aren't 100% hooked, I will be totally shocked.  From what I understand, back in the "old days" (sorry dad, that's what they are to us!), "V" was on TV, and Flash Forward was based upon a book.  I actually bought that book and believe it or not, as much as I want to read it, I am waiting.  It is sooo hard for me since I LoVe the show, but I do not even want to have any clues about what could happen on the show.  I hear that the book and show are somewhat different, but they also have a lot in common.  Does that make sense??  Well, it kind of does to me, so I am going to hold off on the book.  If anyone has read the book, let us know if I am doing right by holding off, or if it doesn't really matter.  Trust me, I want to read it!

I actually have a good "REALLY???" that I wanted to put in the Scoop this week, but Mara says since it's my B-Day weekend, (turned 34 this past Friday, that's the 23rd-- so all of you can send me cards real quick... relax, just kidding... but now you have no excuse for next year!) I should keep this week's Scoop "Really???" free.  No need to think of someone's ridiculous tactics on such a joyous weekend.  BUT.. since I can't resist even touching on it... How about $28 bucks for a fast food hamburger, hot dog, and kids meal Chix Tenders (2 little tenders!) AND then agreeing with me when I said that was a little high in price for the food I ordered, especially when we got home and they messed up the whole order. (How could you mess up hot dog and hamburger??)... I'll give a "REALLY???" to them anyway for finding a way.  It's not rocket science.  Ok, sorry about that.... had to get it out of my system.  The good news is that the manager was insistent that we come back and give them another shot.  Being the Gang, we will 100% do that as everyone deserves a second chance!

That's about all we have for this week's Scoop.  As always, thanks again for all your support and we will see you soon!

Dave and TLG

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Book Review: "Once A Spy" by Keith Thomson

Once A Spy
Keith Thomson

Drummond Clark was once a spy of legendary proportions. Now Alzheimer's disease has taken it's toll, and he's just a confused old man who's wandered away from home, waiting for his son to fetch him.

When Charlie takes a break from his latest losing streak at the track to bring Drummond back to his Brooklyn home, they find it blown sky high- and then bullets start flying in every direction. At first, Charlie thinks his Russian "creditors" are employing aggressive collection tactics. But once Drummond effortlessly hot-wires a car as their escape vehicle, Charlie begins to suspect there's much more to his father than meets the eye. He soon discovers that Drummond's unremarkable career as an appliance salesman was actually a clever cover for an elaborate plan to sell would-be terrorists faulty nuclear detonators. Drummond's intricate knowledge of the "device" is extremely dangerous information to have rattling around in an Alzheimer's-addled brain. The CIA wants to "contain" him- and so do some other shady characters who send Charlie and Drummond on a wild chase that gives "father-and-son quality time" a whole new meaning.


OK... so if you have been in a Barnes and Noble lately or just about any bookstore, you have seen this one. It's set up RiGhT-SmAcK in front of your face as soon as you walk in. Well, not my usual type of read, but I've seen it so much, read the back synopsis like half a dozen times, then caved. Fantastic all around read! Here is a quickie for you...

A spy-thriller, I gotta tell ya...not too shabby. I was totally in awe at how I found myself flying through it like I was a speed reader. Really smooth. The story is set around 2 main characters- Charlie, and his dad Drummond (now, you should know that already if you read the synopsis up top, so I won't re-introduce them)and a handful of supporting rolls that you see throughout. Also, I won't go too much into the story because it's basically spelled out above. If you want an idea of EXACTLY what this book is about, the synopsis is a dead ringer. Instead, I'll tell you what I loved about it. Funny as heck! The sarcastic humor was right on point the whole time. What Thomson did was create a real life action movie between the pages. The suspense was pretty cool and also throughout. 

If you like technology, there was some really cool high-tech gadgetry going on here and... did I already mention action?? Really hard to put down when each page wants you doing nothing more than turning to the next. Alright, so you get the point... I really liked "Once A Spy"... I guess I am a bit overly excited because I really enjoy when I take a step outside my "norm" and find that I loved reading what I took a gamble on. 

Drummond plays this soo "retired" guy that half of the stuff he does or half of the crazy "this will save us, son" ideas that he comes up with always at the right times makes him such a likable guy. He even seems to play the calm collective role when he's being shot at while in a getaway service truck speeding through the streets of the city and avoiding disaster every few feet! Since he is a retired CIA guy, you get a good feel of what's it is like to be part of a top-secret, highly classified project.

Charlie plays the role of the "son" who has never really had a real relationship with his dad- who he is now on the run with really well. That's where a ton of the comedy comes in. Great job with ties between the 2. Charlie is your typical middle aged, singly guy who's drug is playin the ponies. Put him together with his dad and they make the oddest but best team around.

And... did I mention the action?? Got the point? I definitely would say that this book is for anyone who just enjoys a really good read, no matter what it is. Now I understand why they basically don't let you get past it in the store. Have faith- this book won't disappoint!


If you guys get a chance, go check out the "ipod" thingy on my left side bar that I am sure I am probably the only one who has actually listened to. There are 2 songs on there that I'm sure some of you that like the "oldies" might have heard before. "My Juanita" performed by The Brooklyn Bridge AND "Sixty Minute Man" performed by Rockapella are 2 songs that I actually sang the lead for when I was in an acapella group back in high school. What is REALLY cool is that we actually were "seen" by what was fm 101.1 at the time, known to many as "CBSFM NY" and given the opportunity to perform live on. "Cousin Brucie" was the D.J. that Sunday at 9:00pm when we sang "Going Back to Mexico" by the Rocketones. One of my favorite times of all! Coincidentally, we were doing "Grease" at the same time for the school musical. Also, one of my favorite times! Useless, but interesting info. Here's a link to the song. If you are a 50's doo-wop fan, you will really appreciate this one! Click the play arrow next to "Mexico"- enjoy!


Monday, April 12, 2010

"Sunday Scoop" The Gang's Weekly Column, Featuring Our New Scoop's Ending- "REALLY???" - A MUST READ!

featuring our new Scoop ending...

WHAT A WEEK!!! Thanks again to reporter Susan Feinstein of the New York Times for seeing the true value in reading, reviewing, and educating our children. We also want to thank all of you from around the world (YES, you heard right...around the world) who have either posted a comment or emailed us personally supporting our cause. 


For those of you who have emailed us requesting a book review and have not received an answer, please please please understand that we have been overwhelmed this week with requests that it is just physically impossible to get to them now. We promise that as soon as we have a free minute, we will go through the emails 1 by 1 and see what you are all offering out there. Keep in mind that with the relationships we have with publishers and the demand for timely reviews, we are already backed up with books to review. As well, keep in mind that although diverse, we have to be somewhat selective of what we read since there are so many kinds of books out there and we have passions for certain genres. Ok...moving right along...


Since we took a bit of a break and are now back full force, we have a bunch of books that will be reviewed over the next several days.  Let's see... to name a few, we have "Sapphique" by Catherine Fisher which is the sequel to "Incarceron" which we reviewed not too long ago. Also, we have coming up "Knightley Academy" by Violet Haberdasher (provided for review by Simon and Schuster), "Once A Spy" by Keith Thomson, an ARC of "The Billionaire's Curse" by Richard Newsome (provided for review by Harper Collins) and more!  Those were some of the books Dave will be reviewing and Mara and the girls have a few of their own that are almost ready to be posted.


If you remember, we were working on something special with author Frank Beddor, who wrote "The Looking Glass Wars" trilogy and we are almost ready to get that on the lookout for a nice "Triple Threat" that Frank was awesome enough to work with us on.

Now, many of you know that James "Dash" Dashner is one of Dave's FAVORITE authors. Besides writing the awesome "Maze Runner" which should rocket Dash to fame (oh yeah, a movie deal looks like it is in the works....nothing final yet that we know of, but it definitely is looking good!) Dash has written a wonderful series called "The 13th Reality" of which book 3 "Blade of Shattered Hope" hit shelves this past week. Since Dave dropped everything when it arrived from Shadow Mountain this week and is almost done with it, expect a review asap! What's SuPeR cool is the cover as well as some pics inside are illustrated by the magnificent Brandon Dorman, who we interviewed on the site last year. His work is just stellar and keeps getting better with every new piece he does.

Speaking of Dashner and Maze, we have a pic of what the cover to the sequel to Maze, called "The Scorch Trials" should look like. I don't think its 100% confirmed, but  it looks cool regardless. Scorch is due out in October and is probably THE # 1 book Dave is waiting to read in 2010. That and Suzanne Collins ultra highly anticipated finale in the "Hunger Games" trilogy, "Mocking Jay".


As we mentioned before, TLGBRS has decided that to give back to all of you out there who have supported us and given us the strength to carry on, we are planning another TLGBRS MEGA CONTEST once we return from BEA at the end of May. As well, we are trying to put together a Mini Mega Contest (wait, that makes no sense at all, but who cares) and give away a ton of books and ARC's that we have received over the last few months from all of your favorite pubs. It is nice to have a book collection, but ours is sort of getting out of hand. If we keep up at the rate we are going, we will start printing library cards for our bookshelves! We couldn't think of a better way to clear up some space then to give to you guys! Most, if not all are hot titles that have either just been released or are about to. As well, we are going to incorporate another of our favorite authors into the contest, "Laura Bingham" who wrote the fantastic fantasy "Alvor" which we have also discussed on the site many times before. Keep your eyes open as we are just trying to figure out what to give away and how to run the contest.


As many of you know, the Gang, especially Dave, likes to "tell it like it is" when it comes to reviews or just about any form of communication at all. It is what makes us who we are. Well, how many times have you been in a situation where you just shake your head and wonder "REALLY???".... You know, those situations where you can not believe what is actually going on. Did that "REALLY" just happen??? Seriously?? You MUST be kidding me!.... From now on, we are going to end our SCOOP with one of those situations in a short story and let's see how many of you can relate. For our first "REALLY???" moment, we give you...

 "The Parking Lot"

First of all, let me tell you that this has happened to me a gazillion times. This weekend, The Gang went to the mall to hang out. As we completed most of what we came for, Mara and the girls had to run to one or two more stores quickly and then we were heading home. It happened to be a beautiful day out, so I decided to go wait by the car and make a call or 2 and possibly get a few pages of "13th Reality 3" in if time permitted. With 3 women in the family, sometimes I need a break from shopping and don't mind at all hanging out and waiting for them. I go out to the car since I know they will not be too long, grab my phone and book, and go sit on the trunk and just enjoy being outside.

As I am sitting and chatting with my dad (actually, about a review book I got that I thought he would love to read and guest review on Charlie Chaplin) a car pulls up, sits there for 2 minutes, then rolls his window down and asks me "Hey! Are you going out??" Although by my car, I was sitting AND talking on the phone. I simply looked up at him and with a smile on my face replied "not yet!" to which the guy shook his head, rolled up his window, and kept going. It didn't bother me that much as I did understand that I was at my car. I personally would not do that if I saw someone sitting on his trunk AND on the phone. Common sense would say that the guy is not ready to leave yet, but that's just me.

Then, the car behind him stops and does the same thing. Over the next few minutes, several other cars do it as well. It gets to the point that when I see a car slowing down by me, I simply shake my head in the universal gesture for "No, I am NOT going out." At this point, I am now wondering why if you saw the car in front of you just ask me if I am going out, to which I obviously reply that I am not, and then drive off, why even bother to stop and ask?

So, a few minutes go by, and that very first guy who asked me, yes the one who shook his head at me when I said "no" happens to pull up again and stop. I noticed it was the same car I had seen and at this point I was already off the phone with dad and into 13th Reality, which I was happy to get in a few minutes of reading with. Since I figured he could see I was in no more of a position to be leaving than the first time he asked, I didn't even bother to look up at him and shook my head. Out of the corner of my eye, I see the window roll down again. STILL not looking up, (you know when you are reading something you REALLY are into and you want to do nothing other than to keep reading and not b e interrupted every second?) the guy says to me, "You gonna leave or what?"...

He definitely got my attention now and I looked up and said, "My family is still inside and I'd rather not leave without them" and returned to reading. Not satisfied with my answer, he replied, "If you are not going to leave, get off your trunk and go find somewhere else to hang out".... Ummmmm, REALLY??? Now, even taking into consideration that this is New Jersey and people might be a little more tense and strung out than elsewhere, are you kidding me? I am 34, married with 2 children AND not breaking any laws. Are people that obnoxious? I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I sort of understood why he asked me the first time around if I was leaving- popular mall, weekend, jam packed, and no open spots- worth asking in case I was actually planning on leaving any minute. But to get angry at me for not leaving and actually tell me that I need to find somewhere else to "hang out", I must ask....

(remember that show??)

If you have ever been in a similar situation or even a different one where you find yourself saying "REALLY??" or "Did that just happen??" or "You have to be kidding me!"- share it with us. It just amazes me how some people treat others or how you can end up in some situations that you do. For the purposes of our site, we are sharing these for a good laugh, but they will all be true situations. All too often, they occur (and trust me, I have a whole slew of them for you now that I think about it!). I suppose the word we are lacking in all of them is respect or sometimes simply- common sense. Regardless, we would love to hear from you and hope you enjoy the fact that we are just talking about those things that do actually happen to all of us. Things happen, people talk about them, (you know you have all gabbed about similar things like this that have happened to you to your friends, family, and coworkers many times over...) and now we are sharing them with you. It really does amaze me sometimes the lack of common sense people have. I suppose it is what makes us all well... us.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Book Review: "TEST" by William Sleator


Pass, and have it made.
Fail, and suffer the consequences.

Ann, a teenage girl living in the security-obsessed, elitist United States of the very near future, is threatened on her way home from school by a mysterious man on a black motorcycle. Soon she and a new friend are caught in a vast conspiracy of greed involving the mega-wealthy owner of a school testing company. Students who pass his test have it made; those who don't are marked for suffering. And those who question the test? The results may be deadly.


I'm not sure where I remember reading about this one a few months ago, but I did and I was pleasantly surprised when I strolled into B and N not too long ago to see it on the shelf before it's official release date! (Come on, you all know the excitement building up to release day of a book you have been counting down the days to) This one was odd in the way that I REALLY enjoyed the entire story, was a quick read for me, BUT the ending was 1000% predictable. You know when you are reading a story and think to yourself "This is way too easy for me to guess the ending so I'm SURE that the author will definitely NOT use that ending and give me something great"??? Well, sure enough the ending was absolutely no different what-so-ever than anyone who reads this book would think it will be. Now with that said, my minor disappointment ONLY came around the last 10-15 pages or so. I am new to Sleator's work, so based upon his writing in "TEST", I am definitely willing to read a few more and see if I feel the same way. A good book can become a great book with it's ending. This was without a doubt a good book. Alright, so here is the deal....

It's the U.S., around present time and society is broken into the mega wealthy- like we are talking children who arrive at school in their own chopper, to the rest of society- where a mere ride to work or school by car can take hours because for some reason traffic is unimaginably a loooong nightmare. Which of the 2 classes you fall into depends on how you do on the "Test", called the XCAS. You do well, you are allowed a great life- you do poorly, you suffer for the rest of your life and have no hopes for success.

Ann, a high school girl who is not of the wealthy class gets tangled in this whole mess with the family of one of the country's richest men (we will call him MR. XCAS for reference). Why? Amongst many other companies, he just happens to own the company that produces the XCAS. The author does a really good job of tying all of the characters in the story together. Ann's dad worked for the XCAS owner in one of his apartment buildings that he owns. He gets fired and at the same time he and his family spot the daughter of Mr. XCAS hanging around with the apartment building manager Tony, who is crooked, dangerous and totally reminded me of a lower level mob guy (living in the home state of the "Sopranos", I think I called that one on the money). Obviously, Mr. XCAS can NOT find out about this as his daughter should be dating only within their elite class, and especially not someone like Tony, her dad's hired thug. There's a whole separate situation going on with Ann's dad, Mr. XCAS, and Tony that doesn't make Ann's life any easier. So here begins the action.

Ann partners up with LEP, an Asian boy in one of her classes who just happens to be the flunky of Tony. The dirty hands guy, the one who carries out all of the bad deeds for Tony and Mr. XCAS. Needless to say that this "web" the author creates is basically what kept me going throughout the book. I will save the drama for you to read, but will tell you this- EVERYTHING ties together and it ALL revolves around the XCAS (not such a huge spoiler since the book is called "TEST"). There are many messages that the author does a good job of relaying. Attempted murder, sabotage, deadly threats, regret, friendship, unity, love, and fear are clearly portrayed. Although the ending is like figuring out that a round peg fits in a round hole, I am sort of glad that it ended the way it did. You know when you hope throughout a movie that the good guy ends up winning and the world ends up a better place to live?  Well, that's how I felt here.

So, I guess I will leave it at that since the meat of the story is where the action was. Out in paperback, it's worth the money for an enjoyable read. Again, I am going to try Sleator some more, but I can only take so many times where the good guy wins and everyone lives happily ever after- good story or not. So we will have to see what happens. Of course I will report back to you guys and Mr. Sleator, if you are listening- shock me, surprise me, make me turn the last page and say "OMG, WOW" and I'll be able to justify calling myself a true fan.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010



What an amazing week this has been for the Gang!  We have a whole bunch of cool things to share with you guys, but first we want to make an "EXTRA! EXTRA!" announcement...

Thanks to reporter Susan Feinstein of the New York Times, the gang was featured today in the print version of the New York Times as well as the online version.  You can view the article by clicking HERE

We have had an overwhelming response from so many of you that we wanted to thank each and every one of you who either commented or emailed us directly.  You have no idea how great it feels to know that what we are doing is appreciated.  We do ask that all of you who have sent us an email today be patient with us as we received over 200 emails so far from you guys!  AMAZING!!!

Well, for all of you who are veterans of TLGBRS, there is so much to talk about, so we will just touch on a bit.  First of all, we want to thank you all for being patient and sticking with us while we took our little "vacation" from blogging.  IT was well needed.  Great news is that we read a ton of books during that time and are going to start posting our reviews right away.  Secondly, we have been thinking hard how we can make the site better for you guys and have come up with some really good ideas (well, we think they are) that we will be sharing with you probably in the next Scoop.  We have reviews, interviews, triple threats, giveaways, contests (your fav!) and more!  For those of you who are new here, a triple threat is where we read an awesome book, and do a review, interview, and giveaway of the book to one or a few lucky winners.  So much is on the horizon we don't know how we are going to do it all, but we will.

Next order of business- BEA....  It's right around the corner, Book Expo America is almost here!  The Gang is SuPeR excited to be attending BEA 2010 this year and more excited to be sharing it with you guys!  If you remember a while back in one of our Scoops, we mentioned that both Mara and Dave will be attending which means that the ARC's that we will be picking up, we will have 2 of each!  You know what that means, don't you???  Well, if you know us you do.  It means another MEGA BOOK GIVEAWAY CONTEST is on the horizon.  Yup, we will be giving away every book we bring home (1 copy for us, 1 for you guys!) and hopefully there will be a ton.  We can not wait to attend and are super psyched to go meet tons of people that we know from online in person!  Are any of you guys attending??  If so, drop us a line at and let us know you will be attending and we can try to hook up there.

We definitely want to thank Susan and the New York Times again for telling the world about TLGBRS.  It was really cool, but more importantly, gets the word out there that reading can be a ton of fun and blogging about it as a family can be even more fun!  Oprah or Ellen - if you are listening out there, it would be such a cool idea to have the Gang on your show to talk about family book blogging!  (come on, can you blame us for trying??)

Lastly, as we are sure most of you are most interested in, we wanted to let you know that our little Bella has grown so much!  Well, she is only about 9 lbs, but she was only around 3 when we first showed her to you guys.  She shouldn't grow too much more so she is almost fully grown.  She has been such a joy to the family, you have no idea.  She is also super duper smart!  Mara and the girls have been working on training her to do tricks almost every day and she is almost ready for Ringling Bros! (well, maybe a bit more training before the circus)  She is so adorable and we figured we would end the post with some updated shots of her.  What does this have to do with books or reading you ask??  Well, for your information Bella will be guest posting here soon enough.  She is even sending out her query letters to a few publishers as we speak for her new YP (young pup) novel, "Ruff, Ruff" which we are so proud of her for! 


Thanks all and we are really looking forward to a great Spring with you all!  If you are new to our site and are interested in joining us in our adventures, please sign up to follow our site by clicking on the "follow" button with google friend connect on the right hand side of the site.  All you need is a working email address. We really appreciate you signing up to follow us as the more people who do, the more books we have access to review for you and the more contests and fun events we are able to bring you.  Any questions, please feel free to email us.

The Lateiner Gang