Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Review: Paranoid Park

Paranoid Park by Blake Nelson

It all started with a skate park. Paranoid park is the roughest skate park in Portland, but it’s also the best. When a 16-year-old Prep gets a chance to skate there, he jumps a the chance. After running into a street skater named Scratch, the two boys decide to ride a train across town. The problem is, a security guard is waiting for them when they arrive at the train yard. After a quick struggle, the security guard is dead and both boys flee the yard. Now the narrator has to deal with the guilt of what has happened to him. Should he tell someone, confess to the police, or keep the whole thing secret?

Told in fast, quick prose, this story easily compels the reader along. Nelson’s writing has the ability to pull readers along with the narrator’s story, completely submersing them in his head. Never once, is the narrator referred to by name, effectively placing him in a role of any normal teenager. Overall this is an interesting and engaging teenage thriller.

Recommended for readers 14 and up. Due to some sexual talk and profanity, I really wouldn’t recommend it to anyone younger without caution.

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Quotes: Scott Cooper

From a book I am currently reading, and will be reviewing soon:

“I believe that different books, and even different passages and pages, become scripture for different people.” - Scott Cooper, from God at the Kitchen Table.

As always, please feel free to let me know what you think!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Review: Waiting for Odysseus

Waiting for Odysseus by Clemence McLaren

We've all heard the story of Homer's Odyssey: The Greek hero Odysseus is on his way back from the Trojan wars and ends up spending 10 years fighting his way back to his home on Ithaca. This book takes that story to a whole new level.

This is the Odyssey told through the eyes of the women who knew him best. First Penelope, Odysseus' wife tells the story of how they met and fell in love. Next Circe, the sorceress who turns men into swine recounts how she fell for the great hero. Greek goddess Athena recounts how she watches after her favorite mortal, and the story ends with the account of Eurycleia; Odysseus' old nurse who has raised his son in his absence and is the first to recognize him when he comes home.

I have always loved Greek mythology, and I was eager to read this when I first saw it. It turned out not to be the best mythology retelling I've ever read, but it was enough to keep me interested. It is a little more appropriate for female readers (mostly because of the viewpoints) but everyone can enjoy it. It tends to center more around the romance of the story, which gives it a very different feel than the Odyssey. Greek society was very male-oriented and women are often neglected or overlooked in many Greek myths.

Overall, and interesting take on a traditional story.

Shady Glade Rating: 7/10

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Writing Contest: HarperTeen FanLit- Round 1

Round 1 of HarperTeen's FanLit writing contest has begun! Paranormal is the winning premise, and the setting for chapter 1 have been posted. Here's the schedule for Chapter 1:
  • The beginning Story Line is posted on October 27th;
  • Chapters are submitted;
  • All submitted chapters are displayed to registered players for viewing and voting.
  • The 10 submissions with the highest votes will enter a 48-hour final voting round from November 8th-10th where everyone can vote for their favorite! Our author panelists will each designate a chapter as their “Author Pick.” Their picks get extra points!
  • The first weekly winner is announced on November 10th, and the next Story Line is posted.

You are eligble for prizes even if you don't write! So head over there and check it out!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Contest: Salem Witch Tryouts

Veronika Asks is hosting a contest for The Salem Witch Tryouts, the new book by Kelly McClymer. Enter to win a signed copy or other fantastic prizes. Deadline is October 31st, so hurry and enter!

Click here for more information and to enter.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Lack of updates

Sorry folks! I haven't been able to update much recently. I'm smack dab in the middle of midterms, and all my professors pretty much decided to give us huge assignments in addition to the tests we have to study for. I promise I'll update as soon as I get a moment to breathe! ;-)

In the meantime, if you have suggestions, comments, or would just like to contact me, you can email me here.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

News: Book Sales and Wish List

Here's some of the newest features to be added to the site:

Book store
I’ve opened an amazon.com book seller account. Visit to find used and new copies of all sorts of books reviewed on this site, and even some that aren’t. In addition, you find collectable signed copies that will be hard to find anywhere else. Click here to visit! If you’re looking to buy any of these books, please consider purchasing them from here. You’ll not only be funding this site, but part of the profits will also be donated to YABC’s DropCash campaign (which you can read about here). YABC is committed to inspiring teen reading, so you will be helping other teens just like you.

All the books I review for this site have to come from somewhere. I’ve complied a list of books I would love to review, and if you would be kind enough to donate any of these titles I would be extremely grateful. You can view it by clicking here. If you would like to donate, or if you would like me to review your book, please email me here.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Ultimate Summer Reading List

As part of a summer feature Teenreads.com complied a list of what books teens think should be on their summer reading lists. With over 250 different entries, it is quite the list. Rather than posting the whole thing, I decided to post the books that I agreed with from the entire project. If you would rather see the whole thing, you can view it here. Keep in mind that I haven't read all of these books, but many I have. Happy reading!

The Ultimate Summer Reading List:

Writing Contest: Harper Teen FanLit

Harper Teen is sponsoring a totally new writing contest. Each week, participants will be asked to write and vote on a new “chapter” for the FanLit story. Even if you don’t write anything, make sure you sign up and vote on other people’s entries, because you can still win great prizes.

Prizes include: a $5000 college scholarship, alloy.com, sephora.com, and amazon.com gift cards, SAT prep courses, and so much more! Plus, the grand prize winner will get an all-expenses paid trip to New York to spend the day at Harper Teen.

So what are you waiting for? Head over there and sign up! Trust me, don’t let this one get away.

HarperTeen FanLit Event

Monday, October 16, 2006

New Feature: Quotes

I’ve decided to add a new feature to the site. Whenever I come across a book-related quote I particularly enjoy I will post it here. They may me about reading, books, writing, or just a quote I enjoyed from a book I am currently reading.

That being said here is our first quote:

“Good books are as friends, willing to give to us if we are willing to make a little effort.” -Gordon B. Hinckley, from the book Stand a Little Taller

If you have a quote you would like to see posted, send it to me here. View our new list of quotes by clicking here, or by clicking on the link under Shady Glade Links

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Friday, October 13, 2006

Random: Pearls Before Swine

Pearls Before Swine is probably one of my absolute favorite comic strips. I love Rat's cynisicm and Pig's pure innocence. And the gators are funny too. :-)

Anyway, here's one that was published a few days ago. It's book-related I promise!

Contest: Lemony Snicket, THE END!!!!!!!

Happy Friday the 13th!!!!

Today is the absolute last day of YA Books Central's Lemony Snicket Giveaway!!!!! If you haven't entered yet you really should. Please head over there and answer this question:
Which of the previous books was your favorite? Why?

Easy enough, right? And today's prize is SUPER!!! So make sure you enter!

Click here to enter!

Today's Prize: 13 Copies of The End

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Review: Zodiac P.I.

Zodiac P.I. by Natsumi Ando

Lili Hoshizawa seems like a normal 13-year-old. She goes to school, hangs out with friends, and lives at home with her family. Her father has a fairly normal job working as a detective for the local police agency, but her mother has been missing for over two years. By day, she earns money casting people’s fortunes under the name “Mademoiselle Lili,” a job usually conducted by her missing mother. But by night, she is Spica P.I.: A mysterious private investigator who solves cases that have even the police themselves scratching their heads.

When a girl at Lili’s school is mysteriously murdered, the police are baffled by the clues and eventually rule the death a suicide. Enter Hiromi Oika, a boy from Lili’s childhood who recently moved back to Japan after earning a college degree in criminal psychology while living in the US. When Hiromi puts himself on the case, Lili is determined to find the murderer before Hiromi in order to save Spica’s reputation.

As it turns out, Lili has one more trick up her sleeve. When her mother disappeared, she left a Star Ring in Lili’s possession. The Ring contains the 12 spirits of the Zodiac, who can cast horoscopes for the victims of any crime. With clues provided by the astrological spirits, Spica is unstoppable!

Lili solves the first case, only to be bombarded by another. Can Spica save the day, or will the murderer go free? Lili is sure she will come out on top, but Hiromi has once again also taken on the mystery. Can Lili solve the case while keeping her identity a secret? Will she ever find out why her mother left two years ago? And why does Hiromi break into a nasty rash every time a girl touches him? The solution, of course, can be found in Zodiac P.I.

For those of you looking for a twist on the same old, Zodiac P.I. offers a unique story in a unique format. A graphic novel told in authentic Japanese format, this book features lovely Manga-style artwork to tells its intriguing story. Don’t be fooled though: the book is read from right-to-left, which can take some getting used to.

Not only does this book have an interesting plot, but the characters are wonderful as well. Lili is easily imaginable as a real person, even though the circumstances surrounding her life are a little fantastical. My favorite characters were the astrological spirits, mostly because each one had a very distinct personality. The book also includes a lot of astrological information, including how to treat other people of a certain sign, and myths surrounding many of the constellations featured in the zodiac.

Recommended for ages 12 and up, although it will appeal most to those who like mysteries or graphic novels. An excellent choice for reluctant readers since both artwork and characters will win over any person’s heart. The first few pages can be a little confusing as background events are established, but keep at it and you will be rewarded!

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

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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 www.yabookscentral.com

Click here to read the original review.

Contest: Lemony Snicket, The Pentultimate Peril

So sorry I'm posting this late! My computer was being evil this morning... *grumble.*

Anyway, today's the second to last day of YA Books Central's Lemony Snicket Giveaway! If you haven't entered yet today, please head over there and answer this question:
How do you think the series will end?

Easy enough, right? Click here to enter!

Today's Prize: The Penultimate Peril

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Contest: Lemony Snicket, The Grim Grotto

Have you enteredYA Books Central's Lemony Snicket Giveaway yet? If not, you really should. There's only three days left, so head over there and answer today's question:
Pick an orphan. Now, if they live to tell the tale, what do you think they will do as a grown up?

Click here to enter!

Today's Prize: The Grim Grotto