Saturday, September 30, 2006

HUGE Lemony Snicket October Giveaway!

And when I say huge, I mean it. You do not want to overlook this one folks! Over at YA Books Central, they’re having a huge promotion to celebrate the release of the 13th Series of Unfortuante Events book: The End.

They’re giving a new book away each day for the first 13 days of October. Day one will be book one, day two, book two, and so on until Friday, October 13th, when they will give away 13 copies of the 13th book!

Each day is a new contest, and a new question, so make sure you enter EVERY DAY! All the questions and the entry form can be found
here. Make sure you answer the right question on the right day, or you will get disqualified.

Good luck!

Review: The Falcon's Malteser

Falcon's Malteser by Anthony Horowitz

The Falcon’s Malteser marks the first book in the new Diamond Brothers Mysteries series. The story follows the life of Nick Diamond (formerly Nick Simple) and the adventures of his wacky brother. Herbert Simple has been kicked off the police force and has decided to start his own private detection agency. Renaming himself Tim Diamond, he is eager to accept his first case from a dwarf name Johnny Naples. All he has to do is baby-sit a small package Johnny shoves into his hand for a few days. How hard can it be?

Nick and Tim soon learn just how hard. The next day, Naples is dead and Nick has to use his own smarts to get every criminal in London off his back. Several people want that package, and will stop at nothing to get it. As Nick digs deeper into the case he discovers that the package is the key to a fortune in diamonds left behind by the death of the world’s greatest criminal mastermind: The Falcon. With time running out and more and more people discovering who has the package now (Nick), the Diamond brothers have their work cut out for them.

This book was very good. I was very surprised to find that when I started to read, I was almost at once submersed in the plot. Pretty good for I book I picked up just because I had nothing better to read. For those of you who are fans of British literature, you won’t be disappointed. Originally published in England, this book has all the marks of a great British book.

With relatively short chapters, the pace moves fast, especially when the chapters end in a cliffhanger (which they do often). The novel is a spin off of the 1940s PI movies and also pays homage to the movie The Maltese Falcon with the spoof title It was easy to read, and kept me interested enough to make it to the end of the book. I can’t wait to read the next one in the series.

Shady Glade Rating: 8/10

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Friday, September 29, 2006

Review: Wren to the Rescue

Wren to the Rescue by Sherwood Smith

Wren has lived her entire life in a boring orphanage. Expecting nothing more than to work hard her entire life, she is shocked to learn her best friend Tess is really Princess Teressa of a neighboring kingdom. Tess's parents hid her in the orphanage to keep her safe from the evil King Andreus who wants nothing more than to get his hands on the princess. But now that she’s old enough Tess’ parents are finally letting her come home, and she's taking Wren with her!

Two days later Tess is kidnapped by Andreus, an act that nearly causes a civil war in the neighboring kingdoms. Wren is determined to find her friend, even if it means she has to go alone. She soon meets up with a novice magician and a young prince who agree to accompany her on the dangerous trip across the mountains to Andreus's kingdom. The journey is not easy, and Wren must deal with all sorts of magic spells, evil creatures, and even being turned into a dog. All the while she gets closer to her friend, but can she make it in time?

Smith wrote this book (and the two that come after it) for a younger audience than her Court Duel series. Although the story was at points very obviously written for children, overall it is still a good book. It starts off a little slow, and family relations between royal families can be a bit confusing because many are never fully explained. After the first few chapters I got involved enough to not want to put it down and I finished it fairly quickly. Several points are not fully tied up, leaving room for the two sequels. Tess's character remained somewhat flat so I'm hoping that she might play a bigger role in the next two. Overall the plot and the exploration of Wren's character were very intriguing. A good light read for both young and older readers.

Shady Glade rating: 7/10

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Review: Girl in Blue

Girl In Blue by Ann Rinaldi

16-year-old Sarah has caught the war fever of 1861. Determined to join the Union army, she runs away from her Michigan home escaping a marriage arranged by her abusive father in the process. After a haircut and a change of clothes, she is enrolled in the 2nd Michigan infantry under the name “Neddy Compton” and on her way to Washington D.C.

This is just the beginning of Sarah’s adventures. She becomes an assistant in the camp’s hospital, goes to battle and shoots her first rebel, and explores the capital city. Eventually her true identity is discovered, but even this is not the end of Sarah’s story. Becoming a spy for Pinkerton’s agency, she gets a job as a maid in the house of a Confederate socialite living in Washington. Sarah must find out how her new mistress smuggles messages to the Rebel troops; and how to keep her job.

This book is one of Rinaldi’s best. Although it is longer than most of her novels, there is more than enough action to keep readers interested throughout the story. There are several places where it appears as though Sarah’s story will end (like when she is discharged from the army) only to find out there is a significant number of pages left to the book. Sarah’s character is full of personality making her a heroine of her time; from her refusal to marry a man twice her age to her hardiness in helping with wounded soldiers in the hospital. The plot moves at a good pace, pulling readers through to the end. A good book for readers 12 and up, especially for those who are interested in the Civil War period.

Shady Glade Rating 9/10

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Swap ARCs

For those of you who get ARCs and don't know what to do with them after you've read them, pay attention! Jocelyn over at teenbookreviewer has posted a site where you can trade your ARCs for other books. You can check it out here. Have fun!

Review: The Hollow Kingdom

The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle

“Oh I know what’s bothering you,” Marak teased before Kate could turn away in disgust. “The cloak and the hood. It’s been on your nerves all evening.
You’ve been imagining all sorts of horros, I’d guess.”

This is just another way to goad me, Kate thought grimly, but he was absolutely right.

Marak tugged back his hood and examined her stunned expression. He watched her cheeks grow pale, her lips bloodless. He grinned in delighted amusement. “You imagined all sorts of horrors. But maybe not this one.”

Kate and Emily Winslow are the newest residents to come to Hallow Hill. Uprooted after the sudden death of their father, they are shipped off to live with their Great-Aunts in this new and mysterious place. It isn’t long before Kate and her sister learn about the tragic history of the estate. For hundreds of years, young women have been disappearing from the estate and never heard from again. Kate laughs at the thought that goblins are the cause of the problem…. That is until she meets one.

Lost in the woods after dark on a stormy night, Kate and Emily are shown the way home by a mysterious stranger named Marak. Kate soon learns that Marak is King of the Goblins, a powerful and mysterious magician who rules the kingdom under the Hill. The catch? Marak is looking for a new bride, and he’s found one… Kate.

Kate refuses to be taken underground and held captive for the rest of her life. She manages to outwit the Goblin King several times, but time is running out. Appealing to her guardian, Hugh Roberts, she is promptly placed under house arrest for fear of insanity. Kate knows she isn’t crazy, and she is no longer safe at the estate. Can she outwit the King one last time? Or will she become the next King’s Wife?

Part fantasy, part suspense, part romance, part everything-but-the-kitchen-sink, The Hollow Kingdom is a book you don’t want to miss. When I first picked up the book, I was rather skeptical that it would turn out to be “another goblin story.” Nothing could be farther from the truth!

With a loveable and realistic characters, a wonderful writing style, and more plot turns than the Indianapolis 500, Clare B. Dunkle has created a masterpiece. Written with a lyrical and descriptive style, the book presents a whole new look at the goblin world. No longer are they simply monsters who live underground, but a whole society with technology, towns, and - of course - magic.

Recommended for readers ages 13 and up. Don’t read this one before bed, the suspense will keep you reading all night long! And don’t forget to read the other two books in the series, Close Kin and In the Coils of the Snake.

Shady Glade Rating 10/10!

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*Please note* These were originally posted off-site. Clicking on the below link will take you to the full body of my reviews found at

Click here to read the review.

Coming Soon

Just to show you that I’m not too behind, I’ve created this list of upcoming features. I will try get these up ASAP, my goal right now is to post at least 1 thing a day. We’ll just have to see if that happens I guess. ;-)

Upcoming reviews: The Hollow Kingdom, Zodiac PI, Walk Softly and Watch Out for Bigfoot, Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg, Planning it Right, Girl in Blue, Wren to the Rescue, Fall of a Kingdom, Shabanu, The Falcon’s Malteaser, and so many more!

Currently reading (look for reviews coming soon): Haveli, The Magic Hour, Allie’s Journey, Paranoid Park

Contests: October is almost here, so you can bet as soon as I know about the month’s contests, I’ll post them here. Make sure you enter the Flux contest, the deadline isn’t until October 10th.

Book Website Reviews: Simon Pulse, Penguin, Random Teen,, and several more!

New Features: Do you have any suggestions for this site? Got any ideas? Email me and let me know. These are the features I have in works for right now:
Newsletter- would you be interested in a monthly newsletter giving you the month’s highlights? If so, click on the link above to email me and let me know!
Review list- I hope to have a complete list of review titles on this blog up soon. Keep checking back.
Author interviews- I’m still setting up independent interviews, but I’ll have links up to ones I’ve done in the past up soon.
If you have any other ideas, please let me know.

That’s it for now. Make sure you check back soon!

Review: The Last Grail Keeper

The Last Grail Keeper by Pamela Smith Hill

At first Felicity is annoyed at being dragged to England to with her mom who’s working on a excavation of a ancient English site. What could possibly be interesting about digging up old pieces of pottery? But then the scientists find something extraordinary. Kept under lock-and-key, rumors are flying, and hardly anyone has seen this artifact. Could it be the Holy Grail of Arthurian legend?

Felicity is skeptical at first, but then she starts having strange dreams and seeing people who supposedly never even lived. People like Morgan le Fay, Arthur’s half sister. That’s when Felicity finds out that her destiny, and her mothers, are inseparably connected with the Grail. She's a Grail Keeper, sworn to keep the Grail from falling into the wrong hands. But Felicity is not the only one who is determined to get the grail from the scientists hands. Morgan le Fay isn't the only Arthurian character who's on Felicity's tail. Someone else will stop at nothing to get his hands on the Grail. Felicity is the only one who knows how to stop him. And its up to her to save the day….

I honestly picked up this book thinking it would be a light, easy read to keep me entertained over the long Labor Day weekend. It turned out to be sooooo much more rewarding than that. I love books about retold myths and legends and this one was a unique take on the traditional. Away from beaten path of retelling the Arthur legends, this book focuses not on the legend of the king but on the Grail and the legend behind it. Interwoven with both Medieval and modern characters, this book is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

Shady Glade rating: 9/10

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Monday, September 25, 2006


Sorry blog-readers! I haven't updated in almost 12 days. I've been pretty busy, and haven't had too much time to work on this labor of love. Don't worry, I'll be back soon with some new reviews and other cool stuff!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Book Web Site Review: Harper Teen

Next on our list of book site to review is , the teen imprint of Harper Collins.

The biggest disappointment for this site is that because it is created by a publisher, you will only find books that they publish here. Despite this slight drawback, there are tons of great features. In addition to news, polls, and spotlights on the latest books to be published you will also find:

Author Tracker: Be notified by email at what your favorite authors are up to. Every time they have a new book due out, you will get an email telling you the details

HipLit Newsletter: Sign up for the site newsletter and be entered each month for a book giveaway.

First Look: Sign up to review the latest books on the teen scene. Every month has new giveaways of ARCs. All you have to do is tell them what you think when you finish the book. How easy is that?

There’s a lot of stuff I didn’t mention, so make sure you head over there and check it out!

Review: Rising Star

Rising Star by Cari Gelber

Meet Nikki Bellinger, the hottest rising new manager in the music industry. After managing 3 different bands over the past few years, she’s become an expert and she’s ready to help someone make it big. But Nikki is unlike any other manager: she’s only 18, and she’s still in High School.

When Nikki first meets with the band Long Story Short she knows she’s found something extraordinary. Lead singer Casey has a knack for stardom, and it doesn’t hurt that bass player Ryan is super-cute as well. It isn’t too long before Nikki has taken on the band, and Long Story Short is on its way up.

But it isn’t all play in the music world. The band is struggling to promote itself and gain enough fans to financially survive. Meanwhile, Nikki’s life is becoming more and more hectic. In addition to helping the band she has to juggle friends, school, and college applications. To complicate things even further, she’s starting to get more and more involved with Ryan, the before-mentioned cute bass Torn between love and her professional relationship, Nikki more confused than ever.

When Long Story Short has the opportunity to make it big, Nikki is ecstatic. But can she keep her place as manager when she’s up against the most experienced men in the Music Industry?

Rising Star is the perfect book for anyone who has ever dreamed of becoming a singing star. From accounts of the band’s road life to Nikki’s experience with record label executives, the book presents a wonderful view of life in the business. Combine those elements with realistic and unique characters and Nikki’s realistic teenage struggles, and you have a great read.

Recommended for readers age 14 and up. Appropriate for younger readers too, although they may have trouble grasping the full reality of some situations.

Shady Glade Rating: 7/10

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*Please note* This is an off-site review. Clicking on the above link will take you to the full body of my review found at

Contest: YA Books Central September

I know I haven't posted anything for a few days, so get ready for a whole bunch of good stuff!

First off is two (coun't 'em, two) giveaways for books at YA Books Central:

1. Win a SIGNED copy of Before I Go by Riley Weston. Enter here, and be sure to read Kim Pauley's offical review here.

2. Win one of 10 copies of Endymion Spring by Matthew Skelton. Enter here.

Deadline is September 31st, so be sure to enter soon!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Review: The Primrose Way

The Primrose Way by Jackie French Koller

When Rebekah Hall sails to Massachusetts to join her father in the new Puritan colony she is shocked by the harsh conditions of "the New Eden". Unlike the paradise described by her father, houses are small, drafty quarters dug into the earth, food is hard to coax from the rocky soil, and the weather is harsh. Rebekah is also shocked to discover the Native American peoples that populate the area. Convinced to get to know them better, she invites a Pawtucket girl named Qunnequawese to live with her so they can teach each other their traditions. She succeeds in learning the language of the people, and quickly becomes the colony's ambassador to the native's village. But as Rebekah interacts more and more with Qunnequawese and her family she startes to turn her back Puritan ways. Her eyes are opened as she begins to question which people are the true "savages".

I honestly simply picked this book up because it looked long enough and sounded somewhat interesting enough to keep me entertained in the 8 hour drive to San Diego on my family vacation. The first few chapters were rather slow, and seemed to confirm my original thoughts. Then the got me more and more involved, and I soon was unable to put it down. In addition to the huge amount of historical detail (including a glossary of Pawtucket words) this book also included suspense and a little romance. I was upset as it came to an end because it looked like there wouldn't be a happy ending. To my surprise, there was a major plot twist in the last two pages of the book that changed my prediction greatly. But you'll just have to read it for yourself to see.

This is a great story for any reader of historical fiction, especially those interested in early colonial history. This was really good and has quickly become one of my favorites. I recommend it to anyone.

Shady Glade rating: 9/10

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Review: The Complete Book of the Flower Fairies

The Complete Book of the Flower Fairies by Cicely Mary Barker

If you’ve never seen Cicely Mary Barker’s amazing work before, be prepared to be blown away! Ms. Barker was an author/illustrator prominent in the 1930s and 40s in England. She published a total of 8 different books featuring her “Flower Fairy” illustrations. For the first time, all 8 books have been gathered together in this magnificent collection.

Each page features Barker’s wonderful watercolor illustrations of a Flower Fairy. Each fairy comes from a different flower (for example, The Rose Fairy), berry (The Strawberry Fairy), Tree (The Pine Tree Fairy) or plant (The White Clover Fairy). In addition to the wonderful art, all of the fairies come with an accompanying poem that tells it's "story".

Unlike many modern fairy illustrations, these fairies are cute and filled with child-like innocence. Barker used real children as models, and even the plants she portrays are botanically accurate. The poems are so cute, and each one matches what the fairy is doing in the picture. This is truly a magnificent book for both young and old. The illustrations alone are worth it.

Shady Glade Rating: 10/10! (especially for fairy-lovers!)

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Looking for more?

For those of you hungry bookworms who can't get enough reviews, here's just what you've been looking for. Make sure you hop over and visit my friend's review blog at With great reviews updated all the time, it's something you don't want to miss. Check it out!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Review: Magic Knight Rayearth: Volume 1

Magic Knight Rayearth I, Book 1 by CLAMP

Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu are your average Tokyo school girls. That is until they are suddenly whisked away from a field trip at Tokyo Tower to the magical land of Cephiro. Planted in the midst of a strange new setting, the only clue the trio has to their sudden appearance is a voice telling them the Legendary Magic Knights must “save my world.”

It isn’t long before the girls find out that they are the Magic Knights, who are only summoned to Cephiro in times of great need. The ruler of the land, Princess Emeraude, has been kidnapped by the evil priest Zagato. As if that weren’t bad enough, a magician named Clef tells the girls that Cephiro is held together by the strength of Emeraude’s prayers alone. If she is not found quickly, the land will cease to exist. The girls must awaken the Mashin and become the Legendary Magic Knights before Cephiro disappears forever.

There is a lot more to the plot, but if I say too much more here, I’ll give away the ending of the first book. It tends to be a typical introductory manga novel, where a lot of the book is taken up by establishment of character, setting, and plot. Despite this unfortunate fact, the book is still worth the effort. Filled with CLAMP’s trademark artwork and wonderful characters, this is a rousing start to a great series. Every detail is beautifully executed, with breathtaking results any manga fan will appreciate. Don’t be turned off by the seemingly generic storyline. Although it seems like a “been there, read that” sort of book, it really isn’t. Besides, the art alone is a good enough reason to read it.

And if you enjoy it (which I’m sure you will) make sure you have Book 2 and Book 3 handy. This is not a series where you will want to wait to see what happens. Happy reading!

Shady Glade Rating (for the series as a whole): 9/10

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*Note* I didn’t realize this when I started the series, and it was a bit confusing at first. To ensure less confusion please read the following:
Magic Knight Rayearth (MKR) was originally published as volumes 1 through 6. Now TokyoPop has re-released the books as two series: Magic Knight Rayearth I (Books 1, 2, and 3) and Magic Knight Rayearth II (Books 1, 2, and 3) . Be sure to check the number of the series you are reading. If you end up reading the original printing, MKR II would be the equivalent of volumes 4, 5, and 6.

Review: Body Bags: A Body of Evidence Mystery

Body of Evidence, Book 1: Body Bags by Christopher Golden

Ok CSI fans, here's one for you!

Do you find yourself constantly watching shows like CSI, Without a Trace, Law & Order, or the like on TV? Well here’s a book series that will satisfy those crime investigation cravings! Body Bags is the first book in the Body of Evidence series, a set of books that follows college student Jenna Blake in her work as a coroner’s assistant. Let's just say you know a book is bound to be exciting with a quote like this on the back: "The first day at college, my professor dropped dead. The second day, I assisted at his autopsy. Let's hope I don't have to go through four years of this...."

Jenna's biggest hope in life is to become a doctor. The only problem is that she becomes violently ill whenever she sees blood. Not a good trait for a medical student hopeful. Hoping to keep his daughter in the medical field, Jenna's father lands her a job interview with the local medical examiner…which takes place during an autopsy. Jenna gets the job, and begins work at Somerset Medical Center.

Meanwhile, a local Congressional aide goes insane and dies violently. When the medical center examines his body closely, they find his brain filled with insect larvae. Unsure what to make about the strange occurrence, Jenna and her coworkers don’t think much of the incident. That is, until one of Jenna’s college professors dies with the same symptoms and has the same larvae left in his brain. Coincidence mixed with murder is never coincidence. As Jenna digs deeper into the case, she discovers clues no one else has seen. Time is running out, and Jenna is the only one seeing the crucial connections. Will she be able to uncover the killer, or will she be next on the list?

This book is a great start to the series. Introductory novels often are slow and lack action due to the large amount of introduction that must take place (characters, setting, etc.) Here Golden manages to introduce likable characters and a realistic setting while still leaving room for the mystery. Suspense builds quickly, contrasting greatly with Jenna’s relatively calm college experience. Overall, an excellent book for mystery lovers, and CSI fans alike.

As a note: some of the descriptions of deaths and medical situations are quite graphic, so I would recommend this book for older readers.

Shady Glade Rating: 8/10

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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Review: Amanda/Miranda

Amanda/Miranda by Richard Peck

Mary Cooke has been trained to be a servant her whole life. With a mother who was a former maid to one of the wealthiest people in England, and no dowry for marriage, she has no other expectation in life than to serve her superiors faithfully. On a spring day in 1911, Mary finds herself traveling to the place where she believes she will spend the rest of her life.

When her wagon breaks down en route, Mary wanders along the seaside until she finds herself visiting an old Wisewoman. Over afternoon tea, Mary tells the Wisewoman that she believes her new life will be boring and uneventful. The woman suprises Mary by telling her she can see the future and proceeds to give Mary a glimpse of her future life. She tells Mary she will not only marry twice but die and live again beyond a mountain of ice. Although she is puzzled by the strange prophecy, Mary pushes the words to the back of her mind as she arrives at last at Whitwell Hall.

Once there she soon becomes the new maid of Amanda Whitwell: the spoiled, selfish daughter of Lady Eleanor Whitwell, mistress of the estate. Soon “Miranda” (as her mistress renames her), settles in to life at the Hall. The only strange thing about her new job is that Miranda looks like Amanda Whitwell’s near-double.

Soon the conniving Amanda decides to use the coincidence to her advantage. While she courts both men Miranda loves, Miranda waits dutifully by Amanda’s side, easily manipulated by her mistress’ plans. When maid and mistress are to journey to America for Amanda’s wedding, Miranda finally snaps. As both women step onto the deck of the Titanic, little do they know that their lives will change forever…

This book had everything I needed to keep me interested. With plenty of suspense, great characters, and an interesting plot, it was one of those books you hope will never end. Miranda’s lovable personality will keep readers rooting for her to get the best of her arrogant mistress. Best of all, the book offers a look at the servant’s view of Edwardian English society rather than the glamorous wealthy lifestyle that is usually portrayed.

Originally published as an adult novel, Amanda/Miranda has recently been abridged by the author into this Young Adult version. Unlike most books that involve characters who travel on the Titanic, this book does not center around the tragedy, but rather around the people involved. The book does not simply end after April 14, 1912 but continues on for several years. I can’t tell you why it doesn’t end or I will give it away so you’ll just have to read it yourself.

Recommended for readers 12 and up, although older readers will probably understand the situations presented better. Those who enjoy reading stories involving the Titanic will not be disappointed, even though the story does not revolve around the incident. Don’t miss out on this wonderful historical fiction read!

Shady Glade Rating: 8/10

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*Please note* This was originally posted off-site. Clicking on the below link will take you to the full body of my reviews found at

Click here to read the original review.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Book Web Site Review:

Here is the first of our book site reviews. First on the list is, a member of the network. is run with all you YA book lovers out there in mind. The site is chock full of all sorts of goodies, including reviews, author interviews, and contests. Look out for these special goodies:

Series Books: Check out new editions to your favorite series, and keep ahead of what’s coming out.

Cool New Books: Interested to know what’s new in the world of YA? Look here to find out.

New in Paperback: Find out if your favorite books are published in paperback. After all, they’re cheaper that way!

Reviews: New reviews are added each month, or you can choose to search alphabetically by title to see what the review panel thought of your favorites.

Word of Mouth: Share what books you’ve been reading and get automatically entered into a monthly giveaway. Also allows you to see what you’re peers thing is the latest and greatest. (I’ve found some great books this way)

Manga Reviews: For those of you who are addicted to all things Japanese, here’s the place you don’t want to miss.

Christian Reviews: A special section to review the latest Christian books.

There’s tons of other stuff that I didn’t even mention, so make sure you take the time to look around a bit. Overall, a great book site, although not the absolute best I’ve ever seen. Definitely worth taking the time to browse. The best thing you can do is subscribe to their newsletter, it will keep you informed of updates to the site, which happen only about once a month (or so).

Shady Glade Rating: 8/10

Contest: Flux Fall

There's a new contest being offered for teens aged 11-19. Enter a short essay and you could win a set of SIGNED Flux new releases:

"Flux and the books we publish are generally about change, particularly the changes that happen when you're a teenager. Now, we're not just talking about "changes" in that blush-inducing 8th-grade health class way. We're interested in all kinds of change, sudden and gradual, physical and emotional, hilarious or tragic. In 500 words or less, tell us about how change has affected your life."
Send your entry into

Click here for full contest details.

Friday, September 01, 2006


Well, here we are at the exciting beginning of a new Blog. I think the thing I like the most about a blank canvas (so to speak) is the ability to do anything I want with it. I have no idea how this idea will turn out, so bear with me and we'll run with it for a little while. Feel free to post comments, I love to hear from people.

Welcome to the glade!