Thursday, December 31, 2009

Link a Contest Thursday

Okay, only a few people entered a contest I posted a few weeks ago. Please help me choose a button for this meme! (vote on sidebar) There is a slideshow of the 15 buttons designed right above the poll.

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.


Top 20 Books Read in 2009

Alright, I'm breaking down - even though I could finish a book or two today, I'm posting my list...

I have read nearly 250 books this year. See my list here.

Out of those books, it was tough to pick 9. . . so I'm picking 20 AND I'm not ordering them :-P It was hard enough selecting 20, I'm NOT ordering them.

So, in any random order.. these are the 20 BEST reads of 2009 for me. They all touched me in a different way or surprised me so much that it had to make this list.

Click the book covers for summaries...

And best series that I finished this year:

What were some of your best reads this year?


600 follower contest (a bit late...)

I know I'm a bit late on this.. seeing as I hit 600 during my B-day Bashes and now it's sky-rocketed to 674 followers!!!

So, here's what's going to happen...

There will be 1 winner definitely.

That winner will receive a book of their choice from either The Book Depository or Amazon under $25.

If I hit 700 (which is likely). I will add another winner that can choose a book from The Book Depository or Amazon for under $20.

If, for some crazy reason, I hit 750 - I will let a THIRD winner choose 2 books from a pile I may have laying around in my apartment.

I don't think I will get 800 followers - but if I do.. a 4th winner will be chosen to also choose 2 books from a pile of books.

And, guess what.. open INTERNATIONALLY!

Yes, I'm feeling generous in the new year.

Contest will end Friday, January 15th at 11:59 pm CST.

Fill out the form below to enter.


Reading Into the New Year!

Tonight, I will be embarking on the awesomeness that is this idea of Reading right into the New Year!

If you guys are doing the Readathon, you can participate in this as well!!

Here's the sign up post with more details!

I will post a Mr. Linky around 12:01 am for the wrap-up posts for this fun event!

I'm either going to be reading Ballads of Suburbia or City of Fire as the clock turns to Midnight!!!

What will you be reading?

New Year Readathon!!!

Hey guys!

The readathon will be beginning at 5 pm your time today. I didn't set a specific time zone so it could be at your own pace. If you still have yet to post a beginning post about it or have been waiting to until today.. here's the sign-up post! I'm in AWE that we have 36 participants as of right now!!!

I will have another Mr. Linky up on Sunday for you guys to put up your wrap-up posts!

So, what will I be reading...

I'm currently in the middle of two books - Ballads of Suburbia and City of Fire. So, I'll bring those with me tonight to babysitting (yes, I'm babysitting now.. desperate for money!!!) and hopefully get them finished tonight or early tomorrow morning. Gotta decide on a third and fourth book to pack still.

I'm aiming for at least 24 hours of reading with some of the plans I've made for this week. This will also include audiobook time (which means I can clean and whatnot while reading!). I'll probably reach more than that.. but that's my low aim.

Are you guys ready to rock n' roll with the Read-a-thon!?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Birthday Bash Contest Winners!!!

Now is the time to reveal... The Birthday Bash WINNERS!!!!

You guys all rock and I wish I had enough books to send to every single person. . .

As a reminder of what you won.. check out this post.

Comment Contest Winners:
1st place: Irene Yeates (#27)
2nd place: Rebecca from Everything to Do With Books (#11)
3rd place: Raspberry from Two and a Half Book Lovers (#767)
4th place: Jenn from Books At Midnight (#1395) (Pick 3 books from this list)
5th place: Callie from Handle like Hendrix (#768) (You'll get to pick 2 from the leftovers!)
6th place: Deb K (#113)

Winner of Fallen (ARC) + Beautiful Dead
Stacie (#88)

Winner of The Dark Divine (ARC)
Ashley from Books Obsession (#208)

Winner of Beautiful Creatures
Lindsay (#47)

Winner of 3 signed Justine Larbalestier books
Donna S. (#204)

Winner of The Maze Runner (signed ARC)
Ashley from Ashley's Library (#208)

Winner of The Devil's Kiss (ARC)
Ashley from Books Obsession(#3)

Winner of the ARCs of Marcelo in the Real World and Recipe for Disaster
Bella from Beguile Thy Sorrow (#222)

Winner of The Espressologist
Andrea M. from So Many Books, So Little Time (#380)

And some random facts from that contest:

Top 4 drinks mentioned:

12 people said Hot Cocoa
9 people said Mocha
6 people said Water
5 people said Chai Tea

And I happen to love ALL of those. :)

Winner of The Heir Trilogy
Audrey from holes In My brain (#145)

Winner of Donut Days
Adrienne from An Addicted Book Reader (#219)

Winner of Tithe
Megan (#242)

Winner of Need
RKCharron (#62)

Winner of Lament
Bianca from Wicked Good Books (#324)

Winner of Hunted
nicole (#156)

Winner of Nancy Holder's 5 books
Katie from Katie's Bookshelf (#229)

Winner of The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading
Stacy W. from Wicked Walker (#42)

Winner of Hate List (ARC)
Irene Yeates (#136)

Winner of Firespell (signed ARC)
Bella from Beguile Thy Sorrow (#259)

Winner of Kristen Britain books
Nikki from Ramblings of a Bibliophile (#427)

Wowzers.. I can't believe we had THREE double winners!

Congrats to all winners - shoot me an email at dragonzgoil at gmail dot com.

Thanks to all my donors, who rock my socks.. seriously - couldn't have done it without you guys!
Briana - The Book Pixie!
Jennifer at Book Crazy!
Valerie from I Should Be Writing!
Kelly from Stacked Books!
WillowRaven from Red House Books!
Raschel over at Raschel Reads!
Amanda from Bookshelf Monstrosity!

Okay, you guys all really made my birthday super special because I got to share some awesome books with you guys! Thanks for being awesome and stay tuned for some great contests coming up in 2010!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


by Scott Westerfeld

Alex is the son of the Archduke of Austria. When he finds out his parents have been murdered, he takes off with some of his father's trusted advisors to hide out until the war blows over.

Deryn Sharp is a girl that wants to be airborn in the British Air service. In order to join, she has to pretend she's a boy and prove that she's got what it takes. Bad weather takes her on her first test way farther than she was supposed to go and ends up getting picked up by the Leviathan - a massive air ship that is made out of part whale and other animals.

I love the parallel this takes to World War I and add in some seriously cool machines and Darwinistic creations, it makes for an interesting setting. The main plot is one familiar (that of WWI) so you end up paying attention to all the cool characters and various new aspects of a world quite unlike our own. I wasn't aware it was part of a series so I was like wait.. how many pages do I have left?

Definitely will be reading on in this series. I love the illustrations and am glad I own a finished copy of this book as it is GORGEOUS! Another big thanks to Gregory @ Teens Read and Write for picking it out for my secret santa gift. :)

5/5 Roses


Holiday Break Reading Challenge Activity 12

Karin challenged us to talk about books with animals in them - not the magical kind, but everyday animals. Here's a book I suggest:

Strangely, the animal that means the most to the main character is a cow. This book is beautifully written in verse and was a moving read. Here's the summary (from

Kek comes from Africa. In America he sees snow for the first time, and feels its sting. He’s never walked on ice, and he falls. He wonders if the people in this new place will be like the winter – cold and unkind.

In Africa, Kek lived with his mother, father, and brother. But only he and his mother have survived, and now she’s missing. Kek is on his own. Slowly, he makes friends: a girl who is in foster care; an old woman who owns a rundown farm, and a cow whose name means "family" in Kek’s native language. As Kek awaits word of his mother’s fate, he weathers the tough Minnesota winter by finding warmth in his new friendships, strength in his memories, and belief in his new country.


Pile o' Giveaway books

I've decided to make a post about the books up for grabs first in the Birthday Bash Comment Contest, and then the New Year Readathon and Reading Into the New Year. If I finish a few more I'll add them here. :)

Etta: A Novel by Gerald Koplan (ARC)
In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce (used paperback)
Master of Wolves by Angela Knight (used paperback)
Beg, Borrow, Steal: A Writer's Life by Michael Greenberg (signed ARC)
The Islands of the Blessed by Nancy Farmer (ARC)
The Things That Keep Us Here by Carla Buckley (ARC)


New Years Resolutions!!

Alright guys, now that Christmas is over and the New Year is closing in.. we're all starting to think about our goals for 2010!

I'm going to share mine and I encourage you to post about your own and link it here! Because #1 on my list is:

1. COMMENT MORE on other people's blogs! (Please help me do this by linking your blog below)
- I really am a slacker on this lately and wish I wasn't.
2. Read at least 300 books. I think I'll hit 250 this year so I want to up the ante for next year. Check out what I've read here.
3. Look into a Masters of Library Science program for 2011.
4. Lose some weight and start working out again (we're now going once a week.. working our way up!)
5. Keep up with life in general - blogging, work, family, etc.
6. Become more of a neat freak - because I get lazy and just let the mess get bigger and bigger.
7. Keep up with bills this year - I got a little out of it this past year and let my normal meticulous record keeping fall away.
8. Read review books quicker (I am such a slacker sometimes...)

I think that's where I'll stop. Don't want to think up too many right now.

Leave your link to your direct blog post about your New Years Resolutions below. If you don't have a blog, just leave your resolutions in the comments.


Monday, December 28, 2009

Holiday Break Reading Challenge Activity #11

2010 Challenges

Here are a few that I've committed to.. although I'm thinking about joining in on three of J.Kaye's as well...

Graphic Novels Challenge 
Cybils Award Challenge
2010 Reading from My Shelf Project
2010 Debut Author Challenge

It's Monday, What are you Reading?

J.Kaye hosts this wonderful meme.

Read this past week:
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Voices in the Night (not reviewed, probably won't be on the blog)
Rare Beasts by Charles Ogden
The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt
Hate List by Jennifer Brown
The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading by Charity Tahmaser and Darcy Vance

Currently Reading:
Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert
Etta: A Novel by Gerald Kolpan

Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran
Lost Worlds by John Howe
Tourist Trap by Charles Ogden
Under Town by Charles Ogden
Pet's Revenge by Charles Ogden



The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading

by Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance

Bethany and Moni are best geek girl friends and when Moni's geek crush suddenly has an interest in cheerleaders,  she decides they should try out for the team. As her best friend, Bethany goes along with it. Only, she never expected they'd make the team. Suddenly, Bethany's crush is talking to her - a jock who is more than what he seems and they start to become more popular. But when things go a bit sour, will Bethany and Moni be able to keep it together and will their friendship suffer in the end?

I really must say this wasn't a book I expected to love. Yeah, it looked cute - but it really just surprised me with the depth in the characters, the fantastic writing, and the great plot that moves you along until the book ends. I like how much is put into this book - issues of divorce and dealing with change. And it's sort of fun to see Bethany's parents trying to talk her out of cheerleading.

I loved the wittiness of the geek leader Todd, the heart of Bethany's crush Jack, and the overall silliness that is high school.

5/5 Roses

To win a signed copy of this book, please check out this giveaway post.  Ends December 30th.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

I'd Like To Give A Shout Out To...

For the Holiday Break Reading Challenge Activity #10...

I'm going to share 3 blogs with you that I enjoy reading...


Sunday Spotlight - Steph The Bookworm

Today we have another great blogger who just started her blog up a few months ago. She's got some great stuff going on over at her blog, so check her out!

Name: Stephanie
Nickname and/or blog name: StephTheBookworm
Blog URL:

Tell me a bit about yourself.

I'm currently a junior in college, pursuing a Bachelor's degree in English Literature and a certification to teach elementary special ed. I've been reading and writing since I was a little kid; I attribute that to my mother's love of reading and our frequent trips to the library. Some things I love are of course my family and friends, books, cats, and musicals! I also love to sing and play games with my friends - our favorites are Apples to Apples, Skip-bo, and Singstar.

When and why did you start your blog?

I started my blog in September 2009 as a way for me to share the books I've been reading with my friends and family. Also, since I love to read and write, it's been a great outlet for me to both write, and talk about books - two of my favorite things!

What is your blog all about? Any cool features you want to share?

My blog mostly consists of my book reviews. As soon as I finish a book, I post the review (good or bad), as well as the book I am currently reading so you will know what to expect next. I just had my first giveaway and author interview, and plan to do more of those in the near future.

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

I like a wide variety of books and read YA, chick lit, romance, suspense, drama, and memoirs. I have also recently started enjoying some fantasy and paranormal romance. My favorite books of all time would be Bitter is The New Black by Jen Lancaster (a hilarious memoir that I would highly recommend), the Sloppy First series by Megan McCafferty, The Princess Diaries Series by Meg Cabot, and Rosie Dunne by Cecelia Ahern. I also really enjoy Jodi Picoult, Jeffery Deaver, and Chuck Palahniuk.

How do you find out about the books you read?

I do a lot of online browsing on Amazon and my library's website. I also just pick up books at the library that look interesting, and trust me, I pick up wayyy too many! I've been getting a ton of book recommendations from fellow bloggers too, which is by far my favorite part of blogging.

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

I would encourage anyone who is thinking of starting a blog to definitely go for it! I have met so many awesome people from book blogging and it has been a joy. I think the key of a successful blog is to find something you are passionate about and stick with writing about that. If you're passionate about something, it will come across in your blog and make it enjoyable to read.

Contest Alert!

Steph is currently holding a contest for 6 books! Check it out over on her blog. This contest ends on her birthday - January 17th!

Thank you Steph for sharing more about yourself and your blog! I love finding new bloggers that are spreading the love of reading around the blogosphere!

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, December 26, 2009

Holiday Break Reading Challenge Update

Holiday Break Reading Challenge

A little update on how I'm doing now that it's been about a week into the challenge...

Here's my original list, if anyone is interested.

Finished books:
Firespell by Chloe Neill
Pretty Little Devils by Nancy Holder
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Sea Glass by Maria V. Snyder
The Mozart Question by Michael Morpugo
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Rare Beasts by Charles Ogden
The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Currently working on:
Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert

About to start:
Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading by Charity Tahmaser and Darcy Vance
Going Bovine by Libba Bray (audio)

How are you guys doing?

I'm getting excited about the New Years Readathon I'm hosting next weekend. Going to save some shorter books for that! :)


Hate List

Hate List
by Jennifer Brown

The May of Valerie's junior year of high school, her boyfriend came to school, took out a gun and started shooting students. It's five months later and Valerie is now just getting back into school. She knew nothing about Nick's intentions but herself feels responsible even though she was cleared of any suspicions and actually saved a student and got shot herself - in the thigh. Nick committed suicide, but Valerie is struggling with remembering him as the guy she knew before the shooting and overcoming what happened.

My summary sort of stunk, but guys - this book blew me away. It moved me beyond belief and I really understood Valerie and what she was going through. This book doesn't just deal with the issue of school shootings - but also divorce, suicide, and the hate that all people seem to have inside of them. I feel for Valerie - how guilty she feels because she's the one who started the Hate List - out of her own anger.

Also, I have to say this is the only book I've read that seriously showed healing, which was really key to all of this happening. No, it didn't happen lickity-split.. but over time. I was truly moved and cried a ton towards the end.

5/5 Roses


The Wednesday Wars

The Wednesday Wars
by Gary D. Schmidt

Holling Hoodhood thinks his 7th grade teacher hates him. It may be due to the fact that he is the only student who does not attend religious school on Wednesday afternoons, which means Mrs. Baker and Holling are stuck together once a week - just the two of them.

But Holling finds out there is more to Mrs. Baker than meets the eye and in turn discovers a lot about what he is capable of - including reading and performing Shakespeare.

The book is set during the late 60's, during the time of the flower children and the Vietnam War.

I have to say I really liked this book. I listened to it on audio and when I wasn't listening to it, I was thinking about it. You really see some serious growth in Holling as a character over the course of the book. He's like any other 7th grade boy - a bit awkward, a bit self-centered, but overall a good kid. Any trouble he gets in seems to be seriously hilarious accidents. Probably more hilarious to us as the reader than him as the character.

Definitely a great middle grade fiction novel that backtracks just a bit into the past, showing a time where things were enough different to impact the novel itself.

5/5 Roses


Rare Beasts

Rare Beasts
by Charles Ogden

Edgar and Ellen are two orphaned siblings who like to play cruel jokes on each other and their small town. Unfortunately, they've run into a bit of a money crunch. They decide that their get-rich quick scheme should involve selling rare beasts - so they steal all of the pets in their area and make them look rare and unique. The only problem is.. they can't seem to find any buyers that will pay over $5 and they're asking for at least $1,000. What ever will they do?

As this is the first of the Edgar & Ellen books, I can see why they appeal to my students so much. They're a bit of a quirky read - short yet fun and interesting. Great for kids who like a bit of the creep factor in their reading. I'll be reading a few more over break hopefully.

4/5 Roses


IMM Christmas Style

I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas! I have to say, we've been in a tight spot for money since we've moved and thankfully I found out about Swagbucks and their $5 Amazon gift cards - which basically took care of a lot of my Xmas presents giving wise. That and the 40% off Teacher Appreciation sale at Borders this fall. (I mainly buy my niece books nowadays!)

So, I was happy to get some great books myself this Xmas and wanted to share that with you...

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

First, for the non-presents...

(Summaries taken from


Silverwing by Kenneth Oppel

Shade is a young Silverwing bat, the runt of his colony determined to prove himself on the long and dangerous winter migration to Hibernaculum, millions of wingbeats to the south. During a storm, Shade is swept out over the ocean -- away from his family, his friends, and the only life he has ever known. Alone and frightened as winter fast approaches and temperatures plunge, Shade sets out on a remarkable journey to rejoin his colony to the south.

Rosemary has nowhere to go when her beloved mother dies. She has never met her father-the outlaw Robin Hood-and she's grown up among the woodland creatures her mother loved. So she decides to change her name to Rowan, disguise herself as a boy, and undertake a perilous journey through Sherwood Forest, in search of Robin Hood. But how will she find him? And will he offer her a home?

Gideon the Cutpurse
by Linda Buckley-Archer

Gideon Seymour, cutpurse and gentleman, hides from the villainous Tar Man. Suddenly the sky peels away like fabric and from the gaping hole fall two curious-looking children. Peter Schock and Kate Dyer have fallen straight from the twenty-first century, thanks to an experiment with an antigravity machine. Before Gideon and the children have a chance to gather their wits, the Tar Man takes off with the machine -- and Kate and Peter's only chance of getting home. Soon Gideon, Kate, and Peter are swept into a journey through eighteenth-century London and form a bond that, they hope, will stand strong in the face of unfathomable treachery.

Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott

Everyone thinks their parents are embarrassing, but Hannah knows she's got them all beat. Her dad made a fortune showing pretty girls--and his "party" lifestyle--all over the Internet, and her mom, who was once one of her dad's girlfriends, is now the star of her own website. After getting the wrong kind of attention for far too long, Hannah has learned how to stay out of sight...and that's how she likes it.

Of course, being unknown isn't helping her get noticed by gorgeous, confident Josh, who Hannah knows is her soul mate. Between trying to figure out a way to get him to notice her, dealing with her parents, and wondering why she can't stop thinking about another guy, Finn, Hannah feels like she's going crazy. She's determined to make things work out the way she wants....only what she wants may not be what she needs.

And because I bought this...

Elizabeth sent me a signed copy of:

Love You Hate You Miss You
by Elizabeth Scott

You know, I always thought I told you everything, but there are some things I should have said but never did. I should have told you about the time I lost your new sunglasses. I know you really liked them. I should have apologized the time I ruined your brand-new skirt, the one with the beading. I should have apologized for a lot of stuff.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry for everything.

It's been seventy five days. Amy's sick of her parents suddenly taking an interest in her, and she's really sick of people asking her about Julia. Julia's gone, and Amy doesn't want to talk about it. No one knew Julia like she did. No one gets what life is without her.

No one understands what it's like to know that it's all your fault.

Amy's shrink thinks she should keep a journal but instead, Amy starts writing letters to Julia. As she writes letter after letter, she begins to realize that the past holds its own secrets--and that the present deserves a chance.


Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr (signed! From the Holiday Break Reading Challenge - thanks Karin!)

Rule #3: Don't stare at invisible faeries.
Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty-especially if they learn of her Sight-and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens.

Rule #2: Don't speak to invisible faeries.
Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.

Rule #1: Don't ever attract their attention.
But it's too late. Keenan is the Summer King, who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. His is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost-regardless of her plans or desires.

Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; everything.
Faery intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr's stunning twenty-first-century faery tale.

And now.. Presents!!!! (I got lazy.. so click on the links for summaries)

From Mom:
The Abbot's Ghost by Louisa May Alcott
The Demi-God Files by Rick Riordan
The Beatrice Letters by Lemony Snicket
Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss
A cool denim book bag with my blog address on it in gold sparkly paint. It's seriously cute. :)

From my grandparents:
Peter & Max by Bill Willingham (Yes, I nearly screamed when I got this...)
Jack of Fables vol. 3: The Bad Prince by Bill Willingham
Jack of Fables vol. 6: The Books of War by Bill Willingham
(I own 4 and 5 already)

From my uncle:
Never Cry Werewolf by Heather Davis

My parents also gave us this cool sign to hang up that says - Home is Where Your Story Begins... really cute. It's going to go above our fireplace with our wedding photo. :)

Also, my hubby racked up some serious Borders giftcards (3 of them!)... and I got one too! :) I think I may siphon off some of his if he lets me *plots evilly*.

So, what kind of awesome stuff did you guys get?