Winners: Book Giveaway #1

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest!  I was surprised at how many people were interested.   I closed out the contest today and plugged all of the entries into   The person who showed up as #1 in each category won.

Congratulations to:

Melissa H. – Dead Until Dark

Julie S. – Revolutionary Road

Chenoa F. – The Broker

Winners have been contacted by email, and I will mail out your books within the next few days.

Check back at the beginning of March, when I give away three more books from my cluttered shelf!


My first book giveaway!

I have a habit of buying new books (I know, I know, not very budget-friendly) if I’m interested in reading them, and as a result I tend to have books on my shelves I have read once and don’t plan to re-read for a variety of reasons.  So, I’ve decided to give a few away every month for a few months, until I have a nicely streamlined shelf.


February’s giveaway books:


The first book of the popular series.


The book upon which the critically acclaimed movie was based.


One of the more recent novels by the popular author.

If you are interested in any of these books, enter the contest with your name, email address (so I can contact you for your mailing information) and first and second choices.  I will notify winners at the end of February and mail out the books shortly thereafter.  All books are used, of course, and read at least once.  I’ll put up three more books in March for a new giveaway.

Click on the link below to enter:


Good luck 🙂

Extra: 101 Year One, in review (part 2: books, books, books)

And now on to a recap of the books I read in 2009, in the order read.  Click on the title to read each book’s Goodreads synopsis and reviews:

The Time Traveler's Wife (Paperback) by Audrey Niffenegger The Time Traveler’s Wife Niffenegger, Audrey*
Outlander (Outlander, #1) by Diana Gabaldon Outlander (Outlander, #1) Gabaldon, Diana
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter, #1) Rowling, J.K.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time  (Paperback) by Mark Haddon The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time Haddon, Mark
A Certain Slant of Light (Paperback) by Laura Whitcomb A Certain Slant of Light Whitcomb, Laura
The Tales of Beedle the Bard (Hardcover) by J.K. Rowling The Tales of Beedle the Bard Rowling, J.K.
The House on Fortune Street: A Novel (Hardcover) by Margot Livesey The House on Fortune Street: A Novel Livesey, Margot
Revolutionary Road (Paperback) by Richard Yates Revolutionary Road Yates, Richard
Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1) by Charlaine Harris Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1) Harris, Charlaine
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2) Rowling, J.K.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4) Rowling, J.K.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5) Rowling, J.K.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6) Rowling, J.K.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7) Rowling, J.K.
Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2) by Diana Gabaldon Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2) Gabaldon, Diana
The Thirteenth Tale (Hardcover) by Diane Setterfield The Thirteenth Tale Setterfield, Diane
The Art of Racing in the Rain (Hardcover) by Garth Stein The Art of Racing in the Rain Stein, Garth*
This Lullaby (Paperback) by Sarah Dessen This Lullaby Dessen, Sarah*
Water for Elephants (Paperback) by Sara Gruen Water for Elephants Gruen, Sara
Voyager (Outlander, #3) by Diana Gabaldon Voyager (Outlander, #3) Gabaldon, Diana
Drums of Autumn (Outlander, #4) by Diana Gabaldon Drums of Autumn (Outlander, #4) Gabaldon, Diana
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3) Rowling, J.K.
The Road (Hardcover) by Cormac McCarthy The Road McCarthy, Cormac
Moloka'i (Paperback) by Alan Brennert Moloka’i Brennert, Alan
Remember Me (Paperback) by Christopher Pike Remember Me Pike, Christopher
The Gunslinger (Dark Tower, #1) by Stephen King The Gunslinger (Dark Tower, #1) King, Stephen
Heath Ledger: Hollywood's Dark Star (Paperback) by Brian J. Robb Heath Ledger: Hollywood’s Dark Star Robb, Brian J.
On Writing (Mass Market Paperback) by Stephen King On Writing King, Stephen
1984 (Paperback) by George Orwell 1984 Orwell, George
Angels & Demons (Robert Langdon, #1) by Dan Brown Angels & Demons (Robert Langdon, #1) Brown, Dan
Sloppy Firsts (Paperback) by Megan McCafferty Sloppy Firsts McCafferty, Megan
Second Helpings (Paperback) by Megan McCafferty Second Helpings McCafferty, Megan
Charmed Thirds (Paperback) by Megan McCafferty Charmed Thirds McCafferty, Megan
Fourth Comings (Hardcover) by Megan McCafferty Fourth Comings McCafferty, Megan
Perfect Fifths: A Novel (Hardcover) by Megan McCafferty Perfect Fifths: A Novel McCafferty, Megan
The Book Thief (Hardcover) by Markus Zusak The Book Thief Zusak, Markus
The Reader (Hardcover) by Bernhard Schlink The Reader Schlink, Bernhard
Q & A (Paperback) by Vikas Swarup Q & A Swarup, Vikas
The Catcher in the Rye (Mass Market Paperback) by J.D. Salinger The Catcher in the Rye Salinger, J.D.
The Lovely Bones (Paperback) by Alice Sebold The Lovely Bones Sebold, Alice
The Truth About Forever (Paperback) by Sarah Dessen The Truth About Forever Dessen, Sarah*
I Am the Messenger (Paperback) by Markus Zusak I Am the Messenger Zusak, Markus
The Great Gatsby (Paperback) by F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby Fitzgerald, F. Scott
Then We Came to the End (Paperback) by Joshua Ferris Then We Came to the End Ferris, Joshua
The Hobbit (Paperback) by J.R.R. Tolkien The Hobbit Tolkien, J.R.R.
The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1) by J.R.R. Tolkien The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1) Tolkien, J.R.R.
The Bean Trees (Paperback) by Barbara Kingsolver The Bean Trees Kingsolver, Barbara
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane (Hardcover) by Katherine Howe The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane Howe, Katherine
The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1) by Rick Riordan The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1) Riordan, Rick
The Hunger Games (Hunger Games, #1) by Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games (Hunger Games, #1) Collins, Suzanne
Getting the Girl (Paperback) by Markus Zusak Getting the Girl Zusak, Markus
The Color Purple (Paperback) by Alice Walker The Color Purple Walker, Alice
Pride and Prejudice (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) by Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) Austen, Jane
Shutter Island (Mass Market Paperback) by Dennis Lehane Shutter Island Lehane, Dennis
To Kill A Mockingbird (Mass Market Paperback) by Harper Lee To Kill A Mockingbird Lee, Harper
Thirteen Reasons Why (Hardcover) by Jay Asher Thirteen Reasons Why Asher, Jay
Catching Fire (Hunger Games, #2) by Suzanne Collins Catching Fire (Hunger Games, #2) Collins, Suzanne
Needful Things (Paperback) by Stephen King Needful Things King, Stephen
The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, #3) by Dan Brown The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, #3) Brown, Dan
Under the Dome (Hardcover) by Stephen King Under the Dome

King, Stephen

Most were first time reads, but a few (the Harry Potter series, for example) were my second time through.  As a child, teen, and even early 20’s I was an avid reader, but like all of my other hobbies reading took a back seat in recent years. I guess you could say I was in a reading slump.  When I did read, it was always the same books over and over (mostly Stephen King novels, but The Poisonwood Bible and Brave New World were also on standby at any time).

My online book club lists personal challenges for its members, so I chose to commit to 50 books in one year.  As you already know, faithful few readers of this blog, I met my goal and was able to exceed it by 10.   Most of the books I read on recommendation from the book club, but I picked up a few based on reviews from Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

Book club hyped books that actually lived up to the hype:

The Time Traveler’s WifeOutlander (the series, though I ran out of steam after book 4), The Thirteenth Tale, The Art of Racing in the Rain, The Book Thief, Water for Elephants, Moloka’i, Jessica Darling Series (starting with Sloppy Firsts), The Hunger Games/Catching Fire, Shutter Island, and of course, Harry Potter.

Book club (or generally) hyped books that didn’t do it for me:

Thirteen Reasons Why, This Lullaby, The Lost Symbol, The Lightning Thief, Sookie Stackhouse series (to be fair, I only read book 1), Revolutionary Road, The Hobbit (I know, I know)

If forced to list 5 must-reads out of my list for the year, I would have to pick:

1) The Time Traveler’s Wife

2) The Book Thief

3) Shutter Island

4) Water for Elephants

5) The Road

I didn’t set a book goal for 2010.  I think I might focus on finishing, then re-writing, my NaNo and I would love to conjure up another screenplay for Script Frenzy in April.  I’m going to read as many books as I can now that I’m back in the habit, and I’ll continue to review them here as extras.  Thanks to the book club, I already have a long list of to-reads for 2010.

Extra: Book #60

I just finished the epic novel Under the Dome by Stephen King.   As a lifelong King fan, unfortuntely his work has been hit or miss for me in recent years.  However, this beast of a novel made up for the crap that was Lisey’s Story.

Although over 1,000 pages, this novel did not feel like a burden to finish as other long books often do.  In fact, I felt as though the story still wrapped up too quickly in the end.  In usual King fashion, most of the novel consisted of nail-biting build-up, only to fast-track all of the action during the last 150-200 pages or so.   Gore was present, though at a minimum, and it was a little too political at times for my taste, but if you are a fan of suspense/horror than I recommend this novel wholeheartedly.   It was a great read…a great ride.

Extra: Book #59

Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol.

November has been a slow reading month for me since I’m particiapting in NaNoWriMo, but I managed to squeeze this book in.  I enjoyed it, as I have all of Brown’s books, but it didn’t do it for me quite like The DaVinci Code or Angels and Demons.  I’m not sure why, maybe I felt like the symbols and intrigue were a little less mysterious than in previous books, and the explanation almost came across as silly at times.

Next up is Under the Dome, Stephen King’s newest that is a WHOPPER of a long read.  I’ve already purchased it, but I’m putting it off until Dec 1st in case I get sucked in and neglect the NaNo.

Extra: Book #58

Oldie, but goodie:

Needful Things by Stephen King was my online book club’s Halloween read.  It was a re-read for me, but one that I had not read in 5 or 6 years.  Upon finishing, I was immediately inspired to watch the movie and was disappointed that it isn’t available on Netflix.  Boo, netflix!

Extra: book #57

Beginning November 1, I will be participating in National Novel Writing Month.   Like Script Frenzy (which I won in April remember??) participants have one month reach their writing goal.  For NaNo, the goal is to write a 50K word novel.    I have had my idea in my head since MAY or so, and I’ve been bouncing it around my brain to see where it leads.  I’m thrilled but also a little scared to actually get it down on paper.  I love my idea, but what if my writing doesn’t do it justice?

So, November will probably be a month of little reading for me.

In preparation for NaNoWriMo, I read Stephen King’s On Writing.  King has been one of my favorite authors since I was very young, but this is the first time I picked up his non-fiction work.  I was still impressed.  Anything I can learn from him makes me happy.

Wish me NaNo luck, please!  My goal (as listed in the 101 list) is to complete an 80K word novel. It would be AWESOME if I knock out 50K of those words during the month of November.

Extra: book #56

On recommendation, I read Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.

I think this book is an important book for teens to read, as it shows how even the smallest individual actions, when cumulative, can cause catastrophic results.   I think everyone can identify with the feelings of the book’s characters but I did find myself getting frustrated with the female lead.  I think you’re supposed to be frustrated with her.

I didn’t love the book, but it’s worth a recommendation.

Extra: book #55

I need to do something on my list besides read, don’t I?

I finished Getting the Girl by Markus Zusak.  I enjoyed it, but not nearly as much as his other works.  You can really tell this is one of his earlier books because his writing has improved so much since then.  The story, as usual, was written in an almost conversational format and I LOVE this writing style.  I’m not sure anyone else could pull it off the way Zusak does.

Next up:  I borrowed Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher from a friend.  I have a feeling this is going to be a serious tearjerker.

Extra: Finished book #54

I’m actually surprised I didn’t really like this book!

I finished Dead Until Dark, the first of the Sookie Stackhouse books (and the books upon which the HBO series True Blood is based).   The book wasn’t nearly as interesting or entertaining as I thought it was going to be.  The writing was poor (and this is coming from someone who ignored the poor writing of the Twilight series) and the storyline didn’t grab me. My immediate reaction was to give up on the series, and I’m getting mixed advice from my trusty online book club.  Some say the books get better but some say they never do and I would be better off Netflixing the show and calling it a day.

Jury is still out.  I may read the next one (everyone deserves a second chance, right?) but for now I’m going to take a break.

I’m starting Marcus Zusak’s Getting the Girl today.    I loved two of Zusak’s other books, so hopefully this will be a good one as well.