Tuesday, August 31, 2010



I'm very excited to announce my very first blog giveaway.  And it is so easy, how could you not participate?!

Since finishing Nineteen Minutes the other night, I'm on the prowl for a book.  A good book.  One I can enjoy as I (hopefully) spend Labor Day Weekend lounging by the pool.

But, I have no idea what I want to read.  This is where you come in - my contest is simple:

Suggest a book.  Briefly tell me why I'll enjoy it.  Enter to win.

All you have to do is post a comment below, suggesting a book you think I will enjoy.  Briefly tell me why I'll enjoy it (without giving anything away, of course) and fill out/submit the form below that enters you to win this really cool prize:

A $25.00 gift card good at one of four different restaurants: On the Border, Chili's, Maggiano's, or Macaroni Grill.

Yup, it's that easy!  But wait, it gets even better.

If I choose the book you suggested, I'll notify you when I finish.  If I truly liked it, I will send you one of my favorite's in hopes you'll enjoy it just as much.

So, what do I like to read?
  • First, I encourage you to browse my Shelfari bookshelf (located in the right margin on this blog) to see what I've already read.  You can also view my full profile by clicking the link below the 'About Me' section to see a list of my favorite books.
  • The novel I am writing is Young Adult Fiction.  I do really enjoy the genre, even though my days as a young adult have expired.  I love anything considered coming of age.  And generally speaking, I prefer fiction to anything else.
  • I like books I can't put down.  I love "page-turners."
  • I'm being honest: I don't like books where the characters do nothing but babble about the sunny side of life.  Recommend that junk to someone else.  Chances are, you will have a better shot suggesting something that doesn't necessarily have a happy ending.  If the protagonist in a book is getting everything he wants - if everything works out according to plan - I guarantee I'll put it down.
  • I've never been a fan of "classic literature."  If it was on my high school curriculum, I'll probably pass.
  • I like to think.  I like to be caught off guard.  I like to fall in love with the main character and be taken on the journey rather than simply hear about it.
  • I do not like books loaded with literary jumbo - you can save the deep symbolism, irony, metaphors, and complicated quotations/monologues for a Linguistics Professor.
  • I don't typically like graphic novels, sci-fi, or fantasy.  However, I'm open-minded.
By recommending a book, you are eligible to register for the gift card.  BUT, you have to fill out the entry form.  Be sure to click submit at the bottom of the form.  ADDITIONALLY, you can receive additional entries for the prize by doing any or all of the following:
  • Advertise this contest on your blog (+3 entries)
  • Advertise or retweet this contest on Twitter (+2 entries)
  • Advertise this contest on Facebook (+2 entries)
  • I'll also add an entry if you become a follower of my twitter feed and/or my blog
Entries must be received by 11:00 PM on Thursday September 2.  At that time, randomizer.org will automatically generate a winner.  The winner of the gift card will be announced and notified on Friday, September 3.

Thank you in advance for participating.  Good luck to everyone!
This contest has been closed.  Thank you to all participants.


  1. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It tells the story of a village and the family who founds it through many generations. Well developed characters and a rich setting serve to express many deep symbols and themes, including how history repeats itself, it is all too easy to let your life pass you by while preparing for the future, and the devastating toll modernization can have on an existing culture. This book really spoke to me and helped me to better realize the priorities of my life. I would recommend it to anyone looking for an enjoyable, entertaining read that also contains much wisdom. BAM.

  2. As I stated in a previous comment, I think you should read "The Pact" by Jodi Picoult. I really enjoy her books, and since you liked "Nineteen Minutes" so much, I'm sure you will enjoy this one as well. It is young adult fiction and deals with suicide in a unique manner. Not only is it a page turner, but it will help you with your novel! Enjoy :)

  3. I agree with Melissa. I was going to suggest "The Pact" since you enjoyed "19 Minutes.", for all of the same reasons she listed! Heather

  4. "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" by Dave Eggers. It's a memoir of Dave's life helping to raise his little brother. Written in a vivid style that produces moments you will never forget.

  5. The book I am reading right now you probably won't read because it is a vampire book. It is not your typically one though. If you ever want to change your mind read "Let the Right One In" by John Ajvide Lindqvist.
    Good luck with your book search and trust me you will not be disappointed if you read this book. Or cheat and watch the movie.

  6. Well, "The Book Thief" by Marcus Zusak is moving and is most likely classified as young adult fiction. The book takes place in Nazi Germany and is about a young girl who finds that she is capable of much strength and poignancy by using the power of words. This is about 550 pages long but goes by really quickly. One really cool part is that the narrator is Death himself (and no, this is not the scary Grim Reaper you're thinking of, but a sensitive soul). Definitely a teacher's dream book since we had to read it as part of our "One School, One Book" program this summer.

  7. "Carter Finally Gets It" by Brent Crawford. Hysterical. Crude. Inappropriate. So naturally, you'll love it. "Join Carter for his freshman year, where he'll search for sex, love, and acceptance anywhere he can find it. In the process, he'll almost kill a trombone player, face off with his greatest nemesis, suffer a lot of blood loss, narrowly escape death, run from the cops (not once, but twice), get caught up in a messy love triangle, meet his match in the form of a curvy drill teamer, and surprise the hell out of everyone, including himself" (Amazon.com)

  8. Have you ever considered The Hunger Games series? There is a lot of hype right now over the recent release of Mocking Jay - the third book in the series. My 8th graders can't put those books down. The author is Suzanne Collins. It's hard to explain so I am pasting the synopsis from the Barnes and Noble web site below:

    Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Kat's sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place.

    (The second book is Catching Fire, and like I said, the third is Mocking Jay)


  9. I don't have any of those restaurants near me, so I'm not even going to bother filling out your form or posting a blog or anything. However, I am going to suggest you read, if you haven't already, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. (I didn't see it on your shelf thingy). I honestly can't give you any really compelling reason for reading it other than that it was incredible beyond description. I just did a search and found that British librarians named the book as one "every adult should read before they die."

  10. I wanted to tell you about a series I kind of likes. I found it in the young adult section at Barnes & Nobles. You can read a few chapters online to see if you like it, but it is one of those books where you think you know what might happen and then it ususally doesn't. They are not really long books, but it has about 10 or 11 books in the series. It has a little bit of a mystery to it and a lot of the time the end of the book leaves you wanting to find out what happens next so you have to get the next book. The series is called "PRIVATE". It is by Kate Brian. She also has a spin off series based on one of the characters called "PRIVILEGE".

    Again, don't know if it is something that will drag you in, but I got kind of hooked on them and so did some other people I know. So, just thought I would let you know since you said on the contest page you are writing a young adult book so you were looking at that and you like a thriller/mystery. :) Good luck in your book search!

  11. Well, I don't read much outside of school, and I haven't in years. I think school turned me off of reading. Anyway, I had trouble thinking of books since you said you don't like fantasy books and those are some of my favorites. If you haven't read it already, "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury was one of my favorite books (though, it is fantasy/sci-fi), and ironically, I think you would appreciate it because you enjoy reading.

    But "Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows" is my main recommendation for you because I know you enjoy the movies, and the books are much better...the storyline and characters are much richer. I wasn't sure whether to recommend The Half-Blood Prince or the last one, but you might as well pick up where the movies left off.

  12. The book by Shane Stevens I suggested, I had borrowed, but you made me want to read it all over again so I just ordered it from Amazon! I've NEVER re-read a book in my life! Thanks Paul for making me remember such a great book!

  13. Ok Paul!! Even though it was already suggested, you have to read Hunger Games!!! There are 3 books in the series, however I think the first two were a much more interesting read..... but let me tell you about this book.

    It's just like "christmas card survivor!" Except no one is voted off, instead they end up killing each other!??! These kids get chosen to play the hunger games every year and it is a battle to survive!! Its young adult, and i could not put this book down!! the second book - catching fire - was released last year when i was in san diego and i chose to read the book at the wild animal park. thats right paul - the book was more exciting to me than animals.

    love you, i hope you find a great book for your weekend!!!


  14. Or another suggestion is The Book of Fate by Brad Meltzer. Followed by The Book of Lies. OMG! I couldn't put either one of them down. I think I finished both of them in a matter of a couple days. I have both of them and would lend them to you if you're interested.

  15. Hi Paul! I've thought about this a bit, and I've come to the conclusion that we've read a lot of the same YA literature!

    Exploring outside that realm and on to other books that you might enjoy, I'm giving my recommendation for "She's Come Undone" by Wally Lamb. It starts out when the character is 13 and moves in to her adult years. You get part of that young adult voice and then a really great transition that comes off natural. Might be helpful for you with future writing endeavors.

    Also, the fact that it is a female character that is so honest but written by a male scores big points for me. On my GoodReads review I called her "beautifully tragic" which always makes a good book for me. What can I say? It's easy to relate to when you're not looking for a book that's all peaches and cream.

    If you choose to read it, I hope you enjoy it!

  16. Back in the day, when I read and had the time and patience for it (aka about 4/5 years ago) I read a book that after thinking about it, I think you'll enjoy.

    It's called Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen. It's a story that focues on one high school boy's anger (back story of that anger makes you feel highly sympathetic for the boy Cole) and his bullying of a classmate which ultimately lands the classmate in the hospital with brain damage. This divides the community on how to deal with bullying. What comes next is a story of justice and redemption which is played out on a remote island where he is forced to face his demons.

    I literally read this book in 2 days while on vacation. There's another book he wrote, Ghost of Spirit Bear which I never got to but I think I'm going to get it now that I remember how good the first one was. I really think you'll like it given the subject matter and your book.


  17. I'm glad my ideas worked out for you. Really great topic. I have two recommendations, but you might have already read them: "The Virgin Suicides" and "Middlesex" both by Jeffrey Eugenides. His writing has really resonated with me, and I think you could get a lot of inspiration from him.

  18. Hey Paul! I wrote out a longish response to this and then of course Christian came along and turned off the computer :( so I am going to make it quick this time. I love Jodi P. novels...She is one of my favorite so def. read a few more of hers. I read Plain Truth (set in amish pa) and My Sisters Keeper is still one of my favorite books. I love the harry potter series (you already know that) but i dont think that will help you in your research. My cousin suggested I read Bliss...i have not read it yet. by Lauren Myracle...that is more in your "teen" catagory. anyways, hope that helps! Vita

  19. Hey Paul,
    It's Rachel. I think you would really enjoy Rule of the Bone by Russell Banks. It's a pretty edgy young adult novel and has a lot of interesting characters and landscapes.

    If you want to go even edgier and definitely adult, try anything by Chuck Palahniuk. I liked Invisible Monsters, Choke, and my favorite was Haunted. Talk about being haunted! His stories are so disturbing you will probably be scarred for life! But it's worth it :-)

  20. Hey Paul,
    Since you liked Jodi Picoult, I suggested reading her latest novel released in March titled House Rules. Picoult does an amazing job creating a main character with asperger's disorder who finds himself in some legal trouble. There are obvious twists and turns along the way which made this one a page turner for me! Good luck in your search for your next read!


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