Monday, November 30, 2009

Beautiful Dead

Something strange is happening in Ellerton High. Phoenix is the fourth teenager to die within a year. His street fight stabbing follows the deaths of Jonas, Summer and Arizona in equally strange and sudden circumstances. Rumours of ghosts and strange happenings rip through the small community as it comes to terms with shock and loss. Darina, Phoenix's grief-stricken girlfriend, is on the verge. She can't escape her intense heartache, or the impossible apparitions of those that are meant to be dead. And all the while the sound of beating wings echo inside her head ! And then one day Phoenix appears to Darina. Ecstatic to be reunited, he tells her about the Beautiful Dead. Souls in limbo, they have been chosen to return to the world to set right a wrong linked to their deaths and bring about justice. Beautiful, superhuman and powerful, they are marked by a 'death mark' -- a small tattoo of angel's wings.Phoenix tells her that the sound of invisible wings beating are the millions of souls in limbo, desperate to return to earth. Darina's mission is clear: she must help Jonas, Summer,Arizona, and impossibly, her beloved Phoenix, right the wrong linked to their deaths to set them free from limbo so that they can finally rest in peace. Will love conquer death? And if it does, can Darina set it free?

I have to be very honest about this book. I didn't like it. The beginning confused the snot out of me. In the opening scene, Darina is in the middle of nowhere looking at an old decrepit house. No clue why she's there, but her boyfriend Pheonix just died two days ago and low and behold he is there, with 3 other dead kids and a guy described as "An older guy, with grey hair". And to be honest, the descriptions of characters does not progress - at all. One of the girls is described as "fair-haired" and that's it. Her boyfriend Pheonix is just beautiful and again.. we know his eye color and hair color. They are the 'Beautiful Dead'. You get a bit of information about what that means - they've come back from the in-between and have a year to figure out why they died.

And so, Darina doesn't get her memory zapped and becomes the little human helper of the group. The other thing that sort of bugged me was the fact that it was from Darina's point of view, but her mother was always called Laura outside of dialogue - which confused me - I thought she was a stepmother or adopted mother of some sort.

Oh, and that older guy with grey hair - he's the 'overlord' - but no one really understands the meaning and you get the feeling they should be afraid of him - because he's so powerful and controls the group - but he's really just some old guy with grey hair. Ooooo scary.

The plot would have been great if it had characters that you could physically see and relate to. I liked some of the ideas in the novel - such as a forcefield of angel wings that beat you back physically - but humans can only hear the flapping of wings. The idea of helping save souls of those murdered unjustly.. It had some serious potential.

I'm putting the downfall of this book to the lack of good writing, characterization and descriptions. But please, let me know if you've read this and LOVED it and why. I need to know. The plot just did not save the book for me.

2/5 Roses

It's Monday, What are you Reading?

J.Kaye hosts this wonderful meme.

Read this past week:
Fallen by Lauren Kate
Grimm Fairy Tales Vol. 1 by Tedesco Ralph
Cinderella and the Mean Queen by Tony Bradman
Red Riding Hood Takes Charge by Tony Bradman
Wind Power Whiz Kid by Scott Nickel
The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
The Espressologist by Kristina Springer

Currently Reading:
Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert
Sea Glass by Maria V. Snyder
Beautiful Dead Book 1 Jonas by Eden Maguire

Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran
Hate List by Jennifer Brown
Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough
Wings by Aprilynne Pike
The Espressologist by Kristina Springer

  • Notice something different about my blog? I've got a new layout! So freakin' cool, isn't it?
  • I posted about the New Years Read-a-thon and other reading events. I will be posting a Mr. Linky soon! Sometime this week. So keep an eye out guys!
  • I took part in the Thankfully Reading Weekend - which I really didn't get a lot of reading done. More blogging stuff done. But I did manage to finish a few books.
  • Tomorrow begins the Birthday Bash! Check back at 12:01 am CST tomorrow for the kick-off! I'm so freakin' excited to give all this stuff away! (Thank you to all who donated items!)
Poll Results:
When should the contests end? (referring to Birthday Bash)
42% said 1 week
42% said 2 weeks
13% said taper to one day
2% said end of the day

I did decide to have every contest end on December 30th.

Which type of contest do you like best?
35% said Multibook contest
27% said Pick your own book to win
22% said Gift card to bookstore
8% said Single book contest (preread)
5% said Comment contest

Well, I'm going to have at least one of each next month!

Which books do you want me to giveaway next month? (Pick 3)
47% said Once a Witch
45% said Hate List
40% said Ballad
32% said Little Black Lies
26% said Secret Society
23% said Bran Hambric
20% said Lipstick Apology
17% said Once Was Lost
10% said War Games
9% said The Fetch
4% said Freaks and Revelations

I will try to get the first few listed read for giveaways next month. :)


I got a little behind again..

The New and nominated:

Prolific Blogger Award

Thank you Teddyree over at The Eclectic Reader!

This award is to all those prolific bloggers, who read voraciously, blog tirelessly and have made the blogging community such a vibrant place. This award is in recognition of their achievements and their enthusiasm. They are the people who keep me going!

There are a couple of rules for this award:

1. Every winner of the Prolific Blogger Award has to pass on this award to at least seven other deserving prolific bloggers. Spread some love!
2. Each Prolific Blogger must link to the blog from which he/she has received the award.
3. Every Prolific Blogger must link back to This Post, which explains the origins and motivation for the award.
4. Every Prolific Blogger must visit this post and add his/her name in the Mr. Linky, so that we all can get to know the other winners.

My nominations are:
Drea from Book Blather

Tynga from Tynga's Reviews
The Book Vixen
Kim from And Anything Bookish
Kate from The Neverending Shelf
Two and a Half Book Lovers
Wondrous Reads

Honest Scrap

Thank you Tynga over at Tynga's Reviews and Frankie over at Frankie Writes!

How it works is you have to list ten things about yourself then pass it on to ten other blogs.

1- I'm an elementary school librarian, but still love reading my YA fiction.
2- I dated my husband for five years before we married (he was 16 and I 19).
3- I cannot walk into a bookstore without leaving with some kind of book.
4- I used to surf amazon for hours and get recommendations for new books when I worked at a Public Library.
5- I started blogging because I was jealous of all the pretty looking book blogs around and wanted one of my own. (Who knew it would become a monster time-consumer!)
6- So far this year I've read 224 books.
7- If I could eat cheese all day, I would.
8- I'm very forgetful and often stop and say "What was I just going to do.."
9- I just recently set my stove on fire because I didn't know the drawer was a broiler drawer.
10- I squee when I find a new library (yes, I just got my new library card Sunday!)

Okay, now 10 blogs to pass this on to!
1. The Book Butterfly
2. Booking Through 365
3. A Bookshelf Monstrosity
4. A Flight of Minds
5. What Bri Reads
6. Bites
7. Page Turners
8. And Anything Bookish
9. Wicked Good Books
10. Well-Read Reviews

Nominated again!? :-D

The Heartfelt Award

Thank you to Justine at A Bookful of Thoughts!

Do you reach for a cup of cocoa or tea when you're relaxing, seeking comfort, sharing a plate of cookies with family and friends? You know the feeling you get when you drink a yummy cup of cocoa, tea, or a hot toddy? That is what the Heartfelt Award is all about, feeling warm inside.

One Lovely Blog Award

Thanks to Haley over at The Life (and lies) of an Inanimate Flying Object and Yvonne from Socrates' Book Reviews!

The Lemonade Award

Thank you Teddyree over at The Eclectic Reader!

And to advertise a contest for a brief moment.. The Enchanted Inkpot is holding a fantastic contest that I am DYING to win. 3 winners - each get 8 books! Isn't that sweet?


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thankfully Reading Weekend Wrap-Up

So, I didn't do as well as I thought I would in my original post. I got sidetracked and only read approximately 4 to 5 hours. I did, however, finish a few books.

Finished books:
The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
The Espressologist by Kristina Springer

Books started/read more of:
Beautiful Dead by Eden Maguire (read 175 pages)
Sea Glass by Maria V. Snyder (read about 50 more pages)

It was good fun, but I wish I would've read more. I got so distracted... :)

Oh, also.. I really am Thankful to have found this awesome giveaway - which I'm dying to win... The Enchanted Inkpot is giving away 8 books to 3 different winners!

The Espressologist

The Espressologist
by Kristina Springer

Jane is a cafe barista at a local chain of coffee shops. When she's bored at work, she writes down the type of drink each person orders and what type of person they are. One day, she has a brilliant idea.. some of these drinks go well today and so would the people! She starts matching up her customers and her workmates.

When she gets promoted to Assistant Manager, her match-matching (or espressology) is brought up to her Manager - thanks to her best friend Em. Instead of getting fired, her boss convinces her to do a 4 week promotion on Fridays of playing matchmaker. She's to become The Espressologist - "Get a little love with your latte". The question is, who is the right match for her?

I LOVED this book. I devoured it in about an hour. I squeeked, squealed, laughed, cried and went "awww" all during it. Seriously, I kept getting weird looks from the husband. He'll just have to get used to it I guess.

First off, the characters are great - varied and hilarious at times. The plot is fantastic, simple and sweet and with a few little love twists here and there. It's really the perfect book for a day where you need to be cheered up. I can definitely see re-reading this in the future when I need a pick-me-up. Definitely a must-read.

5/5 Roses.


Saving Francesca

Saving Francesca
by Melina Marchetta

Francesca was saved at her last high school - pulled into a group of girl friends that made her feel normal. Now that she's at Saint Sebastian's - a boy's school that just recently accepted a few girl students - she's not sure where she fits in. Her mother, who used to be fun loving and filled with life, can now barely get out of bed or finish a piece of toast.

While Francesca deals with her new high school, she's constantly trying to figure out how to cure her mother. She finds friends in the few girls at Saint Sebastians, along with a few of the guys. But can she hold it together long enough for her mom to get well?

I absolutely loved this book. I listened to the audio and I believe it was the same voice actress from Melina's On the Jellicoe Road (which I ADORED). Melina always astounds me with making such normal teen topics so intriguing. Her books are almost otherworldly because of her amazing writing and fascinating characters.

I would recommend any of her books to you guys if you have not read them.

5/5 Roses


Sunday Spotlight - An Addicted Book Reader

Add another awesome teen blogger to your list, because Adrienne may be knew, but you can definitely tell that she loves her books.

Name: Adrienne
Nickname and/or blog name: An Addicted Book Reader
Blog URL:

Tell me a bit about yourself.
Hey everyone I'm Adrienne, sixteen, an avid reader, a swimmer, and a Junior in High School. My all time favorite things to do are read (of course), swim, watch movies, and hang out with my family & friends! I have been swimming since I was a baby and have been on a swim team since I was five. For as long as I've been swimming, I should be a little better : D I basically got hooked on reading since my big sister was a big reader. We would go to the library and come home with stacks of books to read and go back and get more and more. I started to read obsessively after reading Harry Potter, I just became instantly hooked.

When and why did you start your blog?
I never knew about book blogs before PulseIt started it's new online community several months ago. I started seeing people on there with book blogs, so I went to one and looked around and clicked on the different blogs on their became never ending. I started then to read the about the books they reviewed and started getting some titles to get at the library, then I started entering the contests and started winning books. I then thought of starting my own blog, so I started mine in the middle of August this year. I thought it would be fun to review books and give away some of the books I have won, which I'm so happy to have received.

What is your blog all about? Any cool features you want to share?
My blog is basically all book related. I post reviews of the books I have read, host contests, and have several memes. I have one I made up called The Best and Worst of Covers where I post the covers of I cover I love and one I hate on Saturdays. Also, I have Waiting on Wednesday, Friday First, and In My Mailbox.

What are some of your favorite genres and/or books currently?
I read mostly Young Adult and some Adult fiction books. I love a lot of different genres like fantasy, romance, and historical fiction. My favorite books are mostly series:
Harry Potter, Twilight Saga, Princess Diaries, Mediator series, Airhead, This Lullaby, Just Listen, Uglies, Peeps, Bloom, Perfect You, Fortunes of Indigo Skye, Nature of Jade, Wicked Lovely, Blue Bloods, Private, Privileged, & many more!

How do you find out about the books you read?
I go to my favorite author's websites and see what new books they have coming out, other book blogs, and just from roaming the internet. Also, people on PulseIt or other book sites post lots of different books too.

Any tips or advice for those starting or thinking about starting a blog?
I would say just try to put your blog out there. Follow other bloggers to see what their blogs are like and get ideas. Also, ask other bloggers to check out your blog and to do link exchanges. I'm a fairly new blogger too, so I'm still learning new things everyday!

Contest Alert!

Adrienne is currently having a 100 follower contest! She is giving away a book and swag to one winner and then some cool book swag to a second winner! Check it out over at her blog.

Thank you Adrienne for taking some time to tell us about your blog. Head on over and check her blog out. She's got some great reviews for you guys to check out!

Are you a new blogger too? Or just getting back into the swing of blogging? Do you want to be featured on my blog? Shoot me an email at dragonzgoil (at) gmail (dot) com.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

In My Mailbox

I hate not having my laptop. I want to show you guys my new place and pick out a new spot for my IMM vlogs.. but... I can't *sigh*.

I hope it comes back by the end of next week!

IMM is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

Won from Book Divas:
Book Divas book bag
Book Divas T-shirt
Need by Carrie Jones
The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent
Train to Trieste by Domnica Radulescu
The Miracle Girls by Anne Dayton & Mary Vanderbilt
Privileged by Zoey Dean

Bought from
Beautiful Dead by Eden Maguire
Blood Roses by Francesca Lia Block
Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
Firestorm by David Klass
Must Love Black by Kelly McClymer
Saving Juliet by Suzanne Selfors
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (ORIGINAL cover! Woot!)
The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

Bought from Amazon:
Donut Days by Lara Zielin
(and some adult books for presents)

Bought from Borders:
The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading by Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance

Piratica: Being a Daring Tale of a Singular Girl's Adventure Upon the High Seas by Tanith Lee
Gingerbread by Rachel Cohn

I know.. I need to stop buying books.. seriously.

What did you guys get?

Oh, and if you want more books.. look at this AWESOME contest over at The Enchanted Inkpot. 3 winners will get a set of 8 books! GAH! Me want me want!

Saturday Spotlight - Hey! Teenager of the Year

Today we have a teen blogger with us today, but one who is so awesome I couldn't believe she is only 15! I love her blog name and the whole feel of her blog. So hang tight and learn more about her and what her blog is all about.

Name: Steph Bowe
Blog name: Hey! Teenager of the Year
Blog URL:

Tell me a bit about yourself.
I’m a fifteen-year-old aspiring author and book blogger of YA fiction. I adore reading and writing, and apart from that I also love photography, listening to music and dance. I watch a lot of horror movies, and hang out with my fluffy, white, little, slightly-crazy dog, Abbey. I live with my parents and sister in Australia, and I write a blog called Hey! Teenager of the Year in amongst all that exciting stuff.

When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog in April 2009 as a way to talk about all the books I’m reading and loving (and, occasionally, hating. But that’s not very often) – I was inspired to start it after seeing all the fantastic YA book blogs out there and wanting to have a go at it myself.

What is your blog all about? Any cool features you want to share?
My blog is about reading books for teenagers – but it’s also about life as a teenager, talking about issues that I think are important, and writing, my other passion. On my blog, I aim to be both funny and informative, and my favorite part is all the discussions that happen in the comments.

What are some of your favorite genres and/or books currently?
My favorite genre is contemporary YA, though I’ll read anything as long as it has really strong characters (I love character-driven novels). I also love GLBT YA, as well as some graphic novels (like Skim by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki). I love John Green’s books, as well as books by a number of Australian authors, including Simmone Howell, James Roy and Lili Wilkinson.

How do you find out about the books you read?
Recently, from recommendations from book bloggers and authors! I also read based off recommendations from family and friends (they usually recommend books in genres other than YA).

Any tips or advice for those starting or thinking about starting a blog?
1. Don’t start book blogging to get free books: You can break into Barnes & Noble if you want to do that.

2. Blogging is about having fun. Don’t worry about how many readers you have, or how many people like your blog. Enjoy yourself, read other blogs, comment and engage in discussion. The fun bit is talking about the books you love.

Thank you Steph for your insight and time taken to answer some of my questions! Steph runs a really cool blog, so go check it out! (I still can't believe she's so young...)

Are you a new blogger too? Or just getting back into the swing of blogging? Do you want to be featured on my blog? Shoot me an email at dragonzgoil (at) gmail (dot) com.


Friday, November 27, 2009

The Dark Divine

The Dark Divine
by Bree Despain

Grace Divine has felt anything but divine since a close friend and almost brother disappeared three years ago. So when Daniel comes back to town, she has mixed feelings. She still loves the boy she crushed on as a kid, but her real brother Jude has his misgivings and makes Grace promise to stay away from him. Her father, a pastor, wants to welcome Daniel back with open arms, but Grace has the feeling that there's more going on than what is on the surface.

Grace must figure out what it is about the new Daniel that draws her to him. Will she be able to keep her promise to Jude and stay away from him? Bad things start happening - her little brother James goes missing, an older lady is found dead and mauled by an animal, and small pets start dying by bigger animal attacks. But what does this have to do with Daniel's sudden reappearance and a set of old letters from a monk to his beloved sister?

I absolutely adored this book. I felt Grace was a really person - knowing her strengths and weaknesses - not too perfect but with enough spunk to give her a real personality. I like the viewpoint of the pastor's family - seeing the struggle with living up to her name and having to deal with the perfections expected when the daughter of a pastor.

And the romance.. well, there is definitely some sweet and heated scenes that will make the blood boil enough to make you say "mmmmm". Of course, it's no Harlequin teen novel so don't expect anything more than a tease.

The violence and plot twists kept me interested and my only real complaint is that I didn't pay enough attention to the breaks where it goes back a bit in time. So, I got a little confused at times, but that's me being ADHD and not the book.

The ending made me crave more. I want to know what happens next! *sigh*

5/5 Roses (for sure!)

Check out a sneak peak over at Romantic Times.

Thankfully Reading Weekend

I was planning on getting some serious reading done and then saw this cool weekend reading event on my google reader! So, I'm officially partaking in the Thankfully Reading Weekend.

Thanksgiving was great yesterday. We blew off the big huge family get-together and my parents invited my in-laws over and my uncle and we had a smaller 10 person Thanksgiving. It was great and I can't wait to host Christmas Eve at my new apartment with the same people.

Hopefully between reading sessions I'll find time to start working on Christmas decorations. :-D

I'm starting out this reading weekend with The Dark Divine by Bree Despain. I'm about 250 pages in, so I should finish it by mid-afternoon. After I finish, I plan to read the following this weekend:

The Pillowbook of Lotus Lowenstein by Libby Schmais
Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert
Sea Glass by Maria V. Snyder
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta (audiobook)
Some short Capstone books
Beautiful Dead by Eden Maguire
The Espressologist by Kristina Springer
The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading by Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance
Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Alright, I've got a bunch of stuff to do this weekend too, so we'll see what I get to... I'm really excited to get a ton of reading done as well though!

Friday Finds

Man, I haven't done Friday Finds in FOREVER! I've been trying not to look at the pretty new books coming out next year. Which means I buckled down and found some really sweet ones this week.

Hosted by MizB, click here to see more Friday Finds

Going to start off with some contests I found and want to share with you.

Bloody Bookaholic is having a holiday blowout over on her blog. She wants you to enter NOW! There will be a random amount of winners selected. She's got a huge list of goodies you may be able to choose from. Plus... giftcards so you can buy a ninja t-shirt! How cool is that?

The Enchanted Inkpot is giving away three sets of 8 books to THREE lucky winners! If you haven't entered this contest yet.. you must.

Now to the book finds! Most of these were due to Kristi at The Story Siren's Books to Pine for posts.

Knightley Academy by Violet Haberdasher
The Education of Bet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride

Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony
Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
Other by Karen Kincy

The Princess and the Snowbird by Mette Ivie Harrison
Wayfarer by R.J. Anderson

Whisper by Phoebe Kitanidis
Thief Eyes by Janni Lee Simner


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wind Power Whiz Kid

Wind Power Whiz Kid
by Scott Nickel
Illustrated by Andy J. Smith

Buzz Beaker is the son of a scientist and let's just say he's got the inventing bug just like his dad. In this graphic novel adventure, Buzz creates a helmet that turns brain power into energy. His dad creates an even bigger invention - a windmill that produces electricity. It will replace the Sludgeco plant that is polluting their town.

Only, Mr. Sludgeco won't have himself put out of business. He sets out to tamper with the windmill, but to no avail - for Buzz saves the day.

For kids who like science and shows like Jimmy Neutron - this is the perfect graphic novel series for them. The characters are funny, the plot entertaining and filled with action, and they learn something. After the story ends, there is a page of facts about whatever topic was discussed. So in this book it discusses windmills.

Graphic novels are great for struggling readers and this is a pretty low level graphic novel that still has a high interest level for older kids.

5/5 Roses

*This book was given to me for review by the publisher.

Red Riding Hood Takes Charge

Red Riding Hood Takes Charge
by Tony Bradman
Illustrated by Sarah Warburton

Red Riding Hood notices that her grandmother doesn't seem as happy as she used to be. So she sets on a mission to find some new friends for her grandmother. Only, she seems to keep missing how interested the Woodcutter is in her grandmother. After a few different tries, Red Riding Hood realizes things are not going right at all. Finally, it dawns on her that Mr. Woodcutter would be the perfect person to be with her grandmother.

I love the strong girl characters in these books. They're smart, funny, and very much go-getters. The illustrations are cute and it would be a great read for younger or struggling readers. Again, I recommend this series - After Happily Ever After - to any girls who love fairy tales.

5/5 Roses

*This book was given to me for review by the publisher.


Cinderella and the Mean Queen

Cinderella and the Mean Queen

by Tony Bradman
Illustrated by Sarah Warburton

Cinderella has had one happily ever after but now she finds out that her new mother-in-law is quite mean. She calls Cinderella useless and since she doesn't want the queen to think she is - she tries to find a job. In the end, she starts a makeover business and her and the queen bond as she does her over.

I must say that these books are super cute. The series After Happily Ever After is great for younger and, also, struggling readers. The plot is fun (and definitely a bit girly) and has a great message for kids. The illustrations are very cute and fit right in with what's going on in the story. Definitely a series I'd recommend for girls who love fairy tales.

5/5 Roses

*This book was given to me for review by the publisher.


Grimm Fairy Tales Vol. 1

Ahhhhh, a full color graphic novel about Grimm Fairy Tales. What more could one want?

In this volume... Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, Rumplestiltskin, Sleeping Beauty, and Robber Bridegroom. All gruesome and with a bit of a twist even I haven't seen before. A college professor carries around this huge book of Grimm fairy tales and finds herself telling the tales to teenagers and college aged students that are in similar situations.

I'm very much intrigued to the background of this woman - a bit of which they show you in this first volume. I have Volumes 2 and 3 lined up to be read next.

5/5 Roses


Link a Contest Thursday

Welcome to the awesomeness that is Thursdays! One thing to be Thankful for this THanksgiving is all the free books you can win online! So awesome. Just give a little time and you may be rewarded.

I want to jump start this with a contest I found yesterday that is AWESOME! And I want to win win win! Three sets of paranormal YA/MG fiction books to three different winners! How sweet is that? Check it out over at The Enchanted Inkpot.

I will be holding a whole huge slew of contests in December for my Birthday Extravaganza. Keep your eyes open for those coming up so soon! One will involve creating a button for this meme! I just love Thursdays, don't you? Happy Thanksgiving!

Rules (or at least STRONG suggestions):
1. Name the item being given away (instead of the blog name)
2. Give the end date in () after the name
3. Make sure to link DIRECTLY to that contest post - if you don't know how to do this - just click on the title of the contest blog and it will give a direct URL you can use.
4. If you want to post a contest you've found, make sure it isn't already posted.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New Years Read-a-thon, Read Into the New Year, and Resolutions

Alright, I've made a decision! A few days ago I had some brilliant ideas about New Years, resolutions, and reading. You guys were awesome enough to give me some input and well...

I came up with three terrific ideas (and most of you seemed interested evenly in each) - so I'm flying with them all.

So, let's start with the biggest event for New Years' weekend - The New Years Read-a-thon!

Here's the plan. Starting at 5 pm on New Years Eve, the read-a-thon will kick off. I'm planning on reading 24 hours (hopefully) if not more! It will run through 10 pm on Sunday night. That gives us about 53 hours to work with - add in some sleep and you can probably at least get a good bit of reading done.

And look, I even made a button for it!

I'll have a Mr. Linky up by the end of November for sign ups. Start thinking about whether or not you can participate and what books you want to get read!

For those of you not able to read that weekend, I also have a Read Into the New Year event I want to promote. It's exactly as it sounds. Read as the clock turns to 12:00 on New Years Eve! I have a similar button for that as well. :)

I'll post a Mr. Linky for those that are interested! If you're doing the Read-a-thon you can participate in this as well! :)

And last but not least... I still am psyched about the New Years Resolution idea. I'll probably post that Mr. Linky closer to mid-December. I want to see your goals in this coming new year! (And share mine as well!)

So... that being said...

I'm going to run a contest as... a motivational tool to get people excited. I'll have a pile of books to choose from and let's say... 3 winners (1 from each event!) who get to choose a few books each, depending on the height of the pile. So start thinking about whether you want to, can, or have the motivation to participate in any of these fun reading events.

Why not start off the New Year the right way? With a bit of reading...

Updates, updates and a happy thanksgiving!

Hi guys!

Keep voting on polls. I'm ironing out details on the awesomeness that begins December 1st for my Birthday Extravaganza!

While you're waiting for that - enter this awesome contest over at The Enchanted Inkpot. I am in awe of how awesome this contest is. Paranormal YA/MG novels - 3 huge basket giveaways! Check it out now!

I may stop on tomorrow, but before I forget - Have a Happy Turkey Day! And for those outside of the USA.. have a great normal day!

Will be catching up on some reviews and whatnot in the next few days and hopefully will get back on track with posting memes. Don't forget... Link-A-Contest Thursday is tomorrow! :) Nearly forgot... hehe.

Oh and in case you guys didn't hear... my stove set on fire Monday night... No one was hurt - besides a few pans - and I already have a new stove in my apartment. I love this new complex - so fast and so nice about me almost burning down the building. Not doing Thanksgiving here, but it's one more thing to be Thankful for this week!

What are you guys thankful for lately?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fallen by Lauren Kate

by Lauren Kate

Luce thinks she's crazy. Of course, you would too if you saw evil shadows lurking behind you inconsistently. A boy she kissed was burned to death and she's not sure exactly what happened. Due to the incident, she is sent to Sword & Cross boarding school - a school for kids with some serious issues. At this school she meets Daniel, a boy who seems so familiar but so inconsistent with her. He flicks her off, gives her the cold shoulder, but still gazes at her with a longing even she can't ignore. And her feelings soar for him, something she can't quite understand.

With the craziness of a new school life and the constant invading shadows, Luce tries to decipher why Daniel seems so familiar and what draws her to him so quickly - almost inevitably. The question is - is there more to Daniel than just a mysterious background?

I have to admit I was disappointed just a wee bit in this book. The main reason is the lack of action. I liked the characters, the setting and the basic plot, but you miss the whole huge fight scene and well - I like violence. This first novel in a new series is definitely a builder novel - one that builds up the background and leaves a bazillion questions unanswered, making you want to know more. I do wish there was a bit more indulgence in the general background of Daniel's life, but it's exposed very close to the end of the book and leaves little room for revealing much of anything.

Instead, you see a lot of Luce. Who she is, what she thinks about and how she deals with the shadows constantly showing up. Not always a bad thing, but you do get a bit sick of being in her head. The love triangle between Cam, Daniel and Luce is a bit... I don't know.. redundant? You can definitely tell something is a bit off with Cam and I really wish more was revealed about who he really was as well.

So, definitely some discrepancies I had with the novel, but overall an enjoyable read and definitely a series to keep your eye out for. I will definitely be reading on when the second book is available.

4/5 Roses

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thinking ahead to the new year

Okay, so I'm in the shower this morning and I have a brilliant idea - yes, most of my ideas come in the dead of morning in the shower...

But, I need your help to iron out the idea. Basically, I want to do something to motivate me (and others) to read over the holiday break - aka Christmas break to most. I may be the only geek out there who doesn't party hardy on New Years Eve and was thinking about a "Read into the New Year" type deal.

Basically, you read as the clock turns midnight. Would anybody be interested in this?

If you guys do party harty... would you be interested in a Readathon after New Years Eve.. a kick off to start you reading in the new year? I've never hosted a readathon - but I'd have some decent bookish prizes and whatnot. It would be over the weekend after New Years.

My other plan, if no one likes the last two - is a basic - post your New Years Resolutions type post going live at 12:01 of the new year.

Or... should we attempt all three? Anyone in?

Okay, so I created a google doc for this below. Please fill it out and then leave all comments the regular way. :-D


It's Monday, What are you Reading?

J.Kaye hosts this wonderful meme.

Read this past week:
Jack of Fables Vol. 4: Americana
Jack of Fables Vol. 5: Turning Pages
Silver Pennies

Currently Reading:
Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert
Sea Glass by Maria V. Snyder
Fallen by Lauren Kate

Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran
The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
Hate List by Jennifer Brown
Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough
Wings by Aprilynne Pike
The Espressologist by Kristina Springer

  • Pulled a winner for my Medina Hill contest - Maria! :) Congrats! Already heard back from you and hopefully Tundra will send the book off right away.
  • Starting to plot my birthday bash giveaways. Please vote on the polls I have up to help me decide what I'm doing!
  • The hubby has a job interview today! Cross your fingers for him - we need more mulah!
  • Unpacked half the boxes.. still a lot more to go! Where did all these books come from? *sigh*

Question: Google docs... are they helpful for contests or not so much? Been considering using them with all the spam issues around.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Silver Pennies

Silver Pennies
Edited by Blanche Jennings Thompson

One of my favorite collections of poetry. I decided on a reread when I was unpacking boxes of books. I found copies of this at Borders a few years back - bought myself and my older sister a copy. My mom used to read us all of the fairy poems when we were kids and she has an older copy of this book.

I gaped a bit when Amazon had it listed as 61.00 for a used copy!

Anyways, I wanted to share a favorite poem from the book. It was my older sister's favorite - she had it memorized when we were in elementary school. There's a tree like this on a road near my old apartment and my husband and I would pass it on the way home Sunday nights from his parents'. It always reminded me of this poem:

Strange Tree

Away beyond the Jarboe house
I saw a different kind of tree.
Its trunk was old and large and bent,
And I could feel it look at me.

The road was going on and on
Beyond to reach some other place.
I saw a tree that looked at me,
And yet it did not have a face.

It looked at me with all its limbs;
It looked at me with all its bark.
The yellow wrinkles on its sides
were bent and dark.

And then I ran to get away,
But when I stopped and turned to see,
The tree was bending to the side
And leaning out to look at me.

-Elizabeth Madox Roberts
p. 39, Silver Pennies

5/5 Roses

Read more of the poems in this book here.


Jack of Fables Vol. 5: Turning Pages

Jack of Fables Vol. 5: Turning Pages
by Bill Willingham

Jack is always trying to find some way to get rich and keep rich. He's a lady-killer and will definitely let a beautiful woman side-track him from his adventures - but only for a bit.

This latest graphic novel is interesting in the fact that it's more serious than usual - well, until your dear narrator Jack notices and has Babe the Blue Ox breaks it up with his strange sense of humor.

Definitely another great volume in the Jack of Fables series.

5/5 Roses


Jack of Fables 4: Americana

Jack of Fables Vol. 4: Americana
by Bill Willingham

An off-shoot of my favorite graphic novel series - Jack of Fables focuses on the notorious lady-killer Jack. A character that is a part of many different fables.

Jack is now on an adventure to find the American version of Fableland - Americana. And the reason - to get rich, of course. If he finally lays the final Page sister - all the better for him.

I have to say - how did I let this book sit for so long gathering dust before I read it? These books simply crack me up. Jack is such a player and not exactly the most brilliant looking guy - but he has some seriously good get-rich schemes going on in that head of his. If you like graphic novels and fairy tales - this is a great series.

5/5 Roses


Swagbucks = awesome!

Search & Win

Hey guys! I know I've talked about this site before, but I'm going to divulge some strategies to make the most of this site.

What is Swagbucks?
Basically, a search engine. Only you will randomly earn swagbucks and are able to spend them on prizes. The best of which, I've found to be the $5 Amazon giftcard for 45 swagbucks. Unfortunately, you are now limited to 5 of any prize per month. I'm currently saving up for the $50 Amazon giftcard - 590 swagbucks (I have 227 currently).

How to make the most of Swagbucks:
1. Promoting banners - put them on your blog, tweet your referral link every once in a while.
2. Get your friends to join - you can email buddies and tell them about this awesome website. You get swagbucks when they do!
3. Search EVERYTHING. Download the search bar and search for any and all websites you use. I look up yahoo mail, google mail, blogger, twitter, and many more!
4. Pay attention to what is under the Ways to Earn tab. You can do online shopping and complete special offers to earn swagbucks
5. Swagbucks has a blog - where they update nearly daily and have special things going on. Check it out - add it to your google reader. Also, they are on twitter! Follow them and you could win big by tweeting about swagbucks.

This site it ever growing, so check it out and start earning!


In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

It's been crazy with moving, so I wasn't able to do an IMM post last week. And well, my laptop is at the Best Buy doctor getting fixed, so no vlog or digital camera pictures. Stuck with the hubby's desktop computer for now.

So here we go:

For Review:
The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein by Libby Schmais

Hacking Harvard by Robin Wasserman
A Fistful of Charms by Kim Harrison
The Battle for Duncragglin by Andrew H. Vanderwal

Bought (from Borders):
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
The Espressologist by Kristina Springer

Bought (from Half-Priced Books):
Green Rider by Kristen Britain
First Rider's Call by Kristen Britain
The Riddle by Alison Croggon
Grimm Fairy Tales Vol. 1
Grimm Fairy Tales Vol. 2
Grimm Fairy Tales Vol. 3

I bought some secret santa books too - but I'm not revealing those for obvious reasons :-D.

I've been trying not to buy books.. but then I got some Borders bucks and had coupons.. and well, the Half-Priced Bookstore is on the way... *sigh* I'm so bad.

Sunday Spotlight - Pirate Penguin's Reads

Hi guys! Welcome with me today a blogger who is super outstanding - she's only been blogging for about 6 or 7 months and she's got a freakin' fantastic blog!

Name: Sandy
Blog name: Pirate Penguin’s Reads
Blog URL:

Tell me a bit about yourself:

Despite my blog name, I’m not an aquatic bird OR a swashbuckling pirate… (although how cool would that be?) I’m really just a eighteen-year-old girl who’s obsessed with books! When I’m not feeding my addiction for books, I draw, play my violin, hang out with friends and go to college (I’m a freshman again! Arrrgh.)

When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog March of this year… as to why I started? I just felt like it was something I should try. I’ve always entertained the idea of maintaining my own book blog but I’d just shrug it off in the end, thinking it’d never happen. (How wrong I turned out to be!)

What is your blog all about? Any cool features you want to share?
I review primarily YA but occasionally a book that’s not of that genre will sneak its way into my blog; Example: a few weeks ago I reviewed a nonfiction memoir about bellydancing. (yes, you read right!) What can I say? I like variety! xD I also do fun memes like In My Mailbox, Teaser Tuesdays and Waiting on Wednesday. I’m also planning on doing interviews and contests in the future.

Do you have a review system? If you do, would you like to explain it for us?
My review system’s simple: I grade the books I read from 1 to 5 (1 being the worst to 5 being amazing). The rating I give to the books is overall; I don’t break the book down, grading the characters, cover, etc. It feels like I’m dissecting the book. :/

What are some of your favorite genres and/or books currently?

My favorite genre is basically YA, but lately I’ve been branching out into adult books (and occasionally middle-grade). I read anything, really, as long as it has some romance sprinkled in it (I confess to being a romance junkie….) I’ve been craving supernatural books for a few days though o.O

Any tips or advice for those starting or thinking about starting a blog?

Just do it. If you’ve been mulling over it and hesitating because you don’t think anyone will read it, you’re wrong! I hesitated for months, thinking: No one would ever read my reviews. Who would care? But I’ve come to see how awesome the book blogging community can be (and that there’s a lot of fun and support in it). It’s really great. :D

Thank you Sandy for letting me interview you! If you guys don't know about her awesome blog, go check it out now!

Are you a new blogger too? Or just getting back into the swing of blogging? Do you want to be featured on my blog? Shoot me an email at dragonzgoil (at) gmail (dot) com.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Saturday Spotlight - Cover to Cover

Today we have a blogger who is an aspiring writer! I want to start writing again someday so I'm very much inspired by her blogging and writing at the same time.

Name: Jessica
Nickname and/or blog name: Cover to Cover: One Twenty-Something's Journey to Starting (And Finishing) A Novel
Blog URL:

Tell me a bit about yourself.
Hi! My name is Jessica and I'm a twenty one year old PR student in Philadelphia. I've loved to read and write for as long as I can remember. It's always been my goal in life to write and publish a novel. In my free time, I love to read, write, shop, hang out with friends, and indulge in wonderfully trashy television. I also love traveling and studied abroad in Rome this past summer!

When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog in August 2009. I decided to start my blog because I was reading tons of books and wanted an outlet to tell all my friends about them. I also wanted to document my journey to writing a novel and connect with other awesome book bloggers and future novelists.

What is your blog all about? Any cool features you want to share?
My blog is half book reviews, book news and author interviews (hopefully soon) and half writing tips and stories from my personal novel writing journey. I also participate in a few fun, weekly memes including "It's Monday, What are you reading" and "Booking Through Thursday."

What are some of your favorite genres and/or books currently?
My two favorite genres are women's literature (chick lit!) and young adult fiction. My two favorite books of the moment are Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella and Hollywood is Like High School with Money by Zoey Dean.

How do you find out about the books you read?
Honestly, it began with my love for browsing Barnes and Noble. I'm definitely a judge a book by its cover kind of girl and I would spend hours browsing the shelves at the bookstore and write down books that appealed to me. Now, I still do that, but I'm also getting a lot of recommendations from all of the book blogs I read!

Any tips or advice for those starting or thinking about starting a blog?
Just do it! It can be slow at first and it's hard to keep the book reviews coming at times, but it's so worth it. I'm loving getting so many new book recommendations and all the support I need to write my novel. Make sure once you start your blog to comment lots on other blogs to make it easier for people to find your blog!

Thank you Jessica for taking time to answer some questions for me! I hope you'll stop by and check out her blog, it's super cute and full of chick-lit and young adult reviews for those of you that love those genres!

Are you a new blogger too? Or just getting back into the swing of blogging? Do you want to be featured on my blog? Shoot me an email at dragonzgoil (at) gmail (dot) com.