Saturday, September 20, 2014

Time for Cybils 2014

Well, I've known about this for about a week now, but since it's been officially announced, I'm happy to share that I've once again been chosen to participate in the Cybils Awards.

If you're new to the blog, then you may have never heard of the Cybils before.  It's the Children's and Young Adult Literary Blogger Awards.  It's a grassroots award that started back in 2006, in an attempt to balance book awards for kids and teens book between the literary merit of the Newberry and Printz awards to a popularity contest award.  Thus, this is the first award that considers winners based on both literary accomplishment and "kid appeal".

I'll be back to joining the graphic novel committee this year, and I'm glad to see some new and familiar faces.  I wasn't sure I would be able to participate this year due to an anticipated fuzzy schedule around the holidays this year, but I'm glad that things have settled down enough that I can participate.

The fun for the Cybils starts October 1st, and you can find out more about them by visiting their website.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Introducing a New Rating System

In light of my 8th anniversary earlier this week, I've decided to implement a new feature I've been kicking around for awhile: a new rating system.

At the time I set up my blog, my out of 10 rating system was one that made the most sense to me, since I really don't like giving half stars on the 5 star scale that is common on Amazon and Goodreads reviews.  I was mostly trying to give an objective view of the book's merit overall, not necessarily how I felt about it.

Now I find my perspective about how I focus on the books I read is changing, and I really look first at how much I enjoyed the book, and then on how much merit it has.

Therefore, I am introducing a new system to how I rate reviews: the Leaf System.  Details about the ratings will be shown below and added to the About Ratings page of the blog.  Reviews completed before this date will still be show in the old style, so I don't expect to convert old reviews to the new system.

So here's the details on the new system.  Books will be given a rating from 1 to 5 leaves:


5 leaves: I Really Enjoyed It

These books are books that I would easily recommend to others and/or think about often.




4 leaves: I Liked It

These are books that are good, recommended, and worth reading, but have something missing that make them not worthy of 5 leaves.  These books are good, but probably not re-reads.




3 leaves: It Was Okay

These are books that are just okay, and have both good and bad qualities to them.  I don't regret reading these books, but am not necessarily excited about them.



2 leaves: I Didn't Like It, But You Might

These are books that that I did not enjoy, but you as a reader might like them more than I did.  This is the rating that I reserve for books where I can see the merit of a book, and how it might be enjoyable to a certain type of reader, but it just wasn't my thing.




1 leaf: Not Recommended

I expect these reviews will not show up here very often, just because if I didn't enjoy the book that much, I usually won't take the time to write a review for it.  But in the case that I do write a review for these books, that's what the 1 leaf rating is reserved for.  These are books that I do not recommend in any way.


In addition to a leaf rating, there are 3 additional "awards" a book can earn based on the following criteria:



The Gold Leaf Award

These are books that are rated 5 leaves and have something else about them that just makes them super spectacular, the best of the best.  A gold leaf award is similar to the old 10/10 rating.  These are books that probably will end up being on my Favorites list for awhile to come.



The Sprinkle Award

Sprinkles remind me of cupcakes, and like many cupcakes, these books are all sugar and fluff.  Not much substance there, but it was fun to consume it anyway.  The sprinkle award is granted to books that are not necessarily literary substantial or great, but more for pure entertainment purposes.



The Up All Night Award

This award is given to books that are what I like to call "compulsively readable"; those books you tear through, edge-of-your-seat suspense, can't put down, etc.  In the end, books with this award may only get a 3 leaf rating, but they definitely kept me going all night while I was in the middle of them.  

So there you have it, a (hopefully) simplified version of the rating system.  Or it seems simplified to me at least, so that's why I'm going to try it out for awhile.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Oh Yeah, Audrey!

This week's pick is something a little bit different for me, but for some reason I find it very intriguing:

Oh Yeah, Audrey! by Tucker Shaw
About the Book (copy from Goodreads.com): "It’s 5:00 a.m. on Fifth Avenue, and 16-year-old Gemma Beasley is standing in front of Tiffany and Co. wearing the perfect black dress with her coffee in hand—just like Holly Golightly. As the cofounder of a successful Tumblr blog—Oh Yeah Audrey!—devoted to all things Audrey Hepburn, Gemma has traveled to New York in order to meet up with her fellow bloggers for the first time. She has meticulously planned out a 24-hour adventure in homage to Breakfast at Tiffany’s; however, her plans are derailed when a glamorous boy sweeps in and offers her the New York experience she’s always dreamed of. Gemma soon learns who her true friends are and that, sometimes, no matter where you go, you just end up finding yourself. 
Filled with hip and sparkling prose, Oh Yeah, Audrey! is as much a story of friendship as it is a love letter to New York, Audrey Hepburn, and the character she made famous: Holly Golightly."

I'll admit it, I've never actually seen Breakfast at Tiffany's, although I've wanted to for a long time.  Hmmm, maybe it's time to get around to doing that finally.  But I love the idea of this book, and it looks like a cute and fun read.  Straight up romance YA usually isn't my thing at all, but for some reason I am drawn to this one.

Oh Yeah, Audrey! will be released on October 14, 2014.

Currently available at Amazon.com in Hardcover 
Add to your Goodreads shelf
Check availability on Paperbackswap.com

Monday, September 01, 2014

The Shady Glade Turns 8

Amazing how time passes sometimes.

8 years ago, I decided that doing a blog about the books I read might be a fun thing to do.  I had just gotten into the habit of writing reviews on Amazon, and I thought, hey, why not share it in other places too?  And thus this little project of mine was born.

There's been a lot of ups and downs with this over the years, especially the last few years with escalating health problems and things like jobs and moving getting in the way of blogging more than I wanted them to.  But I am trying to believe in looking towards the positive future from now, so I know I'll get through and continue this little hobby of mine.  :)

Here's to another 8 years!  Thanks for sharing it with me.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Review: Ivy's Ever After

Ivy's Ever After by Dawn Lairamore

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that if there’s one book weakness I have, it’s fractured/retold fairy tales. So Ivy's Ever After looked right up my alley.

Ivy is the only child of the king of Ardendale (not to be confused with Arendelle of Frozen fame), and it’s her 14th birthday. While that may be a good thing for some girls, for Ivy it means that she’s about to be locked up in a tower. Ardendale is a kingdom on the edge of the dragon lands, and each area has a fragile peace held together by the so-called Dragon Treaty. And the treaty says that the princess of Ardendale must be imprisoned in the tower on her 14th birthday, guarded by a dragon, until a prince comes to kill the dragon and rescue her.

So despite Ivy's misgivings about the whole thing, she ends up in the tower, waiting for a prince and guarded by her dragon guard Eldridge. And while that sounds like a familiar tale, author Dawn Lairamore has a twist in store for readers. Because Ivy doesn't really want to be rescued, and Eldridge doesn't really want to be slain. In fact, he’s a peace-loving dragon who is quite unhappy about the situation. So when Ivy’s prince, Prince Romil shows up to rescue her, and it becomes clear that he’s really out to take over Ardendale, there’s only one thing a princess can do: escape. Now Ivy and Eldridge must embark on a quest to find Ivy’s fairy godmother and save the kingdom, before Prince Romil can achieve his plans.

As much as I love retold fairy tales, sometimes it’s nice to read a story that takes fairy tale elements and makes its own story, which is one of the thing that’s so nice about Ivy's Ever After. But in the end, it really is mostly a fluff book. Ivy’s characterization isn’t particularly deep, and most of the other characters pretty much are fueled by a single motivation. Although I loved the inventiveness of the quest that dragon and girl embark on, the plot really is definitely the focus on this one. Girls from 8-12 who love princess stories will definitely eat it up, and I enjoyed reading it, but it’s not particularly thought-provoking. This may make a good crossover book for boys as well, since the plot is not focused on romantic love, but more about the friendship that exists between Ivy and Eldridge.

However, despite the fluff aspect, it still is a good read, and a book that I enjoyed in the reading process. If you do like the book, make sure to also check out the sequel Ivy and the Meanstalk, which was also a fun, fluffy read.

Also, this is definitely a "don't judge a book by its cover" moment.  I'm not a fan of the artwork on the cover at all.

Shady Glade Rating: 6/10

Available at Amazon.com in Hardcover or Paperback 
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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Sisters

Now that I'm trying to get back into the game, I think it's time for a Waiting on Wendesday post.  So today's pick is another one that's not so much "waiting" since the book was released yesterday.  But since I don't have it in my hands yet, I'm still excited about it...

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier
About the Book (copy from Goodreads.com): "The companion to Raina Telgemeier's #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling and Eisner Award-winning graphic memoir, SMILE. 
Raina can't wait to be a big sister. But once Amara is born, things aren't quite how she expected them to be. Amara is cute, but she's also a cranky, grouchy baby, and mostly prefers to play by herself. Their relationship doesn't improve much over the years, but when a baby brother enters the picture and later, something doesn't seem right between their parents, they realize they must figure out how to get along. They are sisters, after all. 
Raina uses her signature humor and charm in both present-day narrative and perfectly placed flashbacks to tell the story of her relationship with her sister, which unfolds during the course of a road trip from their home in San Francisco to a family reunion in Colorado."
I had the great pleasure in reading the companion to this book, Smile, in 2010 when it was nominated for the Cybils awards.  It was one of the group's favorites, so it isn't a surprise that it made it to the finalist stage.  So seriously, if you haven't read Smile yet, you need to.  (And also Drama, which was done by the same author, but is unrelated to both Smile and Sisters).

So one of the best things about Smile is that it isn't fiction, but rather based on the author's memoirs which just goes to prove that truth is sometimes stranger than fiction.  And it's one of the things I loved so much about that book.  This book sounds like more of the same, so I'm super excited to read it.

Sisters was released yesterday on August 26, 2014.

Available at Amazon.com in Paperback or Kindle 
Add to your Goodreads shelf
Check availability on Paperbackswap.com