Saturday, December 31, 2011


Each code can only be redeemed once.  If you want an invite and the codes are not working let me know and I will send you an invitation to your email address.

The Superpoints Network is a collection of sites where you can win and earn Superpoints that can be redeemed for great rewards.  It's not just surveys.  Everyday you can spin the wheel 30 times for a chance at points and you will win something.  When someone signs up with your invitation or code you become their sponsor.  Once you have two friends in your network you can start earning points based on your friends points as well.

You can redeem your points for gift cards, cash payout to Paypal, video game systems, and other electronics.  It's pretty cool.

GoodReads 2011 Reading Challenge

2011 Reading Challenge

          2011 Reading Challenge

   Leah has  completed her goal of reading 50 books in 2011!


        53 of 50 (106%)

I reached my goal of 50 books read this year.  Actually, I surpassed it by 3 books. Most of the year I was behind, but somewhere in the fall I caught up and passed my goal. I was afraid I was not going to make it, but I did.  :)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Book Review: Chain Gang Elementary by Jonathan Grant

Malliford Elementary prides itself on being a four star school and a School of Exellence.  No one is sure when the school received both distinctions, especially not the principal Mrs. Rutherford.  She was not in charge when this took place, but she has made it her goal to get that elusive fifth star.  The only thing standing in her way is PTO President Richard Gray.

That's right, PTO.  Another piece of legend surrounding this school is what happened to the PTA.  The only thing anyone knows is the PTA was disbanded and parents organized the PTO, an organization instead of the association, in its place.

This story follows Richard Gray and his battle against Miz Rutherford, as he refers to her, and her minions.  According to Richard, he got under her skin when he would not allow the PTO to purchase expensive furniture for the principal's office.

Richard has other problems as he is a struggling work-at-home newsletter writing dad and has lost sexual intimacy with his wife, the primary bread winner of the family.  He didn't plan on becoming president of the PTO, but now that he is, it has added even more strain on his marriage.

The book starts out slowly.  It opens up with Richard and his son, Nick, in a bookstore and a chance meeting with a fellow mother of a student at Malliford. Halfway through, I realized I did care about the war between president and principal, but I didn't really care about the characters.  They were all full of dark and bad that it turned me off, totally, even though I wanted Richard's side to win.

The writing is a little crass.  Grant uses "ass" instead of "butt" and certain euphamisms like "took a leak" instead of "used the bathroom."  It might not bother the average reader, but it bothered me.  I understand that curse words and stuff along those lines can be appropriate in the right context, but it felt unecessesary and like the author was just writing the way he spoke without proper editing.

Speaking of proper editing... Typos and errors run rampant throughout the book.  Words are spelled wrong.  Italics miss out on the first letter of words.  Paragraphs are broken in places they shouldn't be broken.  Words are pluralized when they shouldn't be.  Editing seemed to be on the bottom of the list of things Grant had done for his book.

What bothered me the most are the attacks on conservatives and Christianity.  Richard is a Democrat, an outspoken liberal, and his wife is a "brainwashed" Republican conservative who watches the "ghastly" Fox News.  Whoever is in Richard's way is considered a conservative and their values and beliefs are diminished.  He gets upset over an article titled "Do Stay At Home Dads Cause Gay Sons?"  Rightfully, he should.  He's a stay-at-home dad and feels this is a direct attack at him.  It's in the beginning of the novel, so it is harder to pinpoint if it is, but Richard takes it personally.  In the article a child psychologist is quoted as calling the study "a half-baked right-wing attempt to mold the American family into the foundation's own reactionary image."  Richard's opinion on the article?  "People were born gay.  Anyone who was the least bit enlightened knew that." Thanks for calling us Christians unenlightened.  Really makes me want to continue reading.  One of the main bad guys in the story is part of a very strong Republican organization.  I guess the idea is to portray Republicans as pure evil.

I give this book between 2.5 and 3 out of 5 stars.  That averages to 2.75, but I don't know if the book deserves more or less than the 2.75.  I won this book in a giveaway.

Book Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games are an annual televised event pitting twelve adolescents ages 12-18 against each other where only one survives.  The story revolves around one contestant, 16 year old Katniss Everdeen.

Katniss lives in a dystopian world named Panem, which built up after the destruction of North America.  The "country" has been divided into 13 districts, with 13 having been destroyed before the story begins.  Katniss and her family live in District 12, the coal mining section and the poorest.  Her father died in a mining accident and Katniss feels it is her duty to feed her mother and sister, so she goes hunting illegally with her best friend, Gale Hawthorne.

Every year, the Capitol hosts The Hunger Games.  To be eligible, it is not something one wants to be eligible for, one has to be between the ages of 12-18.  Each person gets entries into a lottery based on their ages.  Extra entries are given for accepting food rations.  This makes it more likely for a 17 year old to be picked than a 12 year old, but unluckily, Katniss's 12 year old sister, Prim, is chosen to represent the female side of District 12.  Katniss volunteers herself to take her sister's place and is thrust into The Hunger Games.

There is so much more I could say about the plot, but I don't want to spoil any of the reading experience for anyone who hasn't read the book.

The Hunger Games reminds me of a real life Survivor with the competitors dying instead of being voted out.  I'm not for watching people die or brutally kill each other, but I think watching this on TV might be quite interesting.  In the story, The Games are broadcast throughout Panem and everyone's forced to watch them.  For certain events in The Games, school is let out.  Many of the districts don't get much access to electricity, but it is guaranteed when The Games are on.

Collins has a way with storytelling.  She had me gripped to every page.  I felt I knew what was going to happen, but I wanted to read on anyway, and as I read, I was surprised.  I didn't know what would happen.  I didn't know how brutal the Capitol would be, how The Games would play out, or anything.  I was glued to this book.  Everyone I've spoken to loved this book and I'm no exception.  I'm just upset it took me this long to read it.

I give it 5/5 stars and I read it for pure pleasure.  The movie is set to be released March 23, 2012 in USA according to

Got Great Giveaways

Giveaway Hops
Loveswept Holiday Hop hosted by Romance at Random Dec. 12 - Jan. 8
December New Release Giveaway Hop hosted by Book Twirps and Refracted Light Reviews Dec. 15 - 31

Reader Views
Prime Crime 
Sherryl Woods
Stella Cameron 
NAL Authors 
Madeline Hunter 
Marie Bostwick 
Nicole Jordan 
Ann Roth 
Carly Phillips 
Catherine Anderson 

The Secret Writer

Free Book Friday
Show Me the Money Mondays hosted by Lori's Reading Corner


Ongoing:'s First Reads

Frost by Wendy Delsol hosted by Bookish in a Box Dec. 30
The Burn by Annie Oldman hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer Dec. 30
Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout hosted by Confessions of a Bookaholic Dec. 30
Existence by Abby Glines hosted by Stuck in Books Dec. 30
Charles Dickens by Jane Smiley hosted by Laura's Reviews Dec. 30
Whisper to a Scream by Karen Wojcik Berner hosted by CMash Loves to Read Dec. 30
ARC Giveaway hosted by Live to Read Dec. 30
Christmas/New Year: With a Great Load of Gifts Giveaway hosted by Le Grande Codex Dec. 31
Two Year Blogoversary Giveaway hosted by For What it's Worth Dec. 31
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer Dec. 31
Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer Dec. 31
Tempestuous by Lesley Livingston hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer Dec. 31
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer Dec. 31
Pride and Popularity (The Jane Austen Diaries #1) by Jenni James hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer Dec. 31
Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer Dec. 31
Holy Stable by Heidi Hanseen hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer Dec. 31
2012 International Chick Lit Giveway hosted by Kindle and Me Dec. 31
Indulge by Megan Duncan hosted by Megan Duncan Dec. 31
Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern hosted by In the Good Books Dec. 31
The Breakup Artist by Shannen Crane Camp hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer Dec. 31
Witch Song by Amber Argyle hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer Dec. 31
Minor Adjustements by Rachel Renee Anderson hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer Dec. 31
Double Booked for Death by Ali Brandon hosted by Lori's Reading Corner Dec. 31
Masquerade  by Cambria Herbert hosted by XPresso Reads Dec. 31
International Book Giveaway hosted by Chocolate Chunky Monkey Dec. 31
2011 Appreciation Giveaw@y hosted by Book Briefs Dec. 31

Night of the Living Dead Christian by Matt Mikalatos hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer Jan. 1
Awkward by Marni Bates hosted by Word Spelunking Jan. 1
Queen Hereafter by Susan Fraser King hosted by The Musings of a Book Junkie Jan. 1
Dan O'Brien Book Giveaway hosted by Spades High Reads Jan. 2
Mary's Son - A Tale of Christmas by Daniel Nyznyk hosted by Colloquium Jan. 2
Upsetting the Tides by David Englund hosted by Workaday Reads Jan. 2
Coexist by Julia Krane hosted by Book Briefs Jan. 2
Lost Souls by Kevin Oxland hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer Jan. 3
A Whisper to a Scream by Karen Wojick Berner hosted by Lori's Reading Corner Jan. 3
Fate's Second Chance by A.J. Jarrett hosted by Reviews by Molly Jan. 3
One Pink Line by Dina Silver hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer Jan. 4
Bedtimes Stories for Cats and Dogs by Amy Neftzger hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer Jan 4
Legends of the Light Bearer by L.M. Aldrich hosted by Workaday Reads Jan. 4
Rae of Hope by W.J. May hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer Jan. 5
Untraceable by S.R. Johannes hosted by I Am a Reader not a Writer Jan. 5
Feyland the Dark Realm by Anthea Sharp hosted by Spades High Reads Jan. 5
Grounds For Death by Andrea Zanetti hosted by Lori's Reading Corner Jan. 5
The Last Word by Ellery Adams hosted by Lori's Reading Corner Jan. 5
Hospice Tails by Debra L. Stang hosted by Reviews by Molly Jan. 5
Carrie Goes Off the Map by Phillipa Ashley hosted by Book Girl of Mur-y Castell Jan. 5
Texasville by Larry McMurtry hosted by Books, Books, the Magical Fruit Jan. 5
Cold Blood by Heather Hildenbrand hosted by Confessions of a Bookaholic Jan. 6
Giving Thanks to Kick Ass Books of 2011 Giveaway hosted by Nocturnal Book Reviews Jan. 7
All the Flowers in Shanghai by Duncan Jepson hosted by Unabridged Chick Jan. 8
When Copper Suns Fall by KaSonndra Leigh hosted by Book Briefs Jan. 8
Island of Wings by Karen Altenberg hosted by Unabridged Chick Jan. 8
Feyland the Dark Realm by Anthea Sharp hosted by Sizzling Reads Jan. 14
Fractured Light by Rachel McClellan hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer Jan. 15
Ashfall by Mike Mullin hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer Jan. 16
May B. by Caroline Starr Rose hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer Jan. 16
Tall Tales with Mr. K by Kathy Sattem Rygg hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer Jan. 16
Revenge of the Dorkoids by Holly Beck hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer Jan. 17
The Public Pretender by M.D. Cliatt hosted by Live to Read Jan. 27

Busted in Bollywood by Nicola Marsh hosted by Books, Books the Magical Fruit unspecified