Thursday, November 30, 2006

Review: Finding Faith #1: Planning it Right

Planning It Right: Finding Faith #1 by Samantha A. Anderer

Kim Carlisle is on a mission! It’s the beginning of Sophomore year, and she is determined to have the greatest year ever. First on her list: a perfect boyfriend.

It all starts at an end-of-the-summer sleepover with Kim, her twin Kara, and friends Nikki, Jackie, Lisa, and Alexis. When the subject of boys comes up Kim admits she’s got her eye on a neighborhood cutie named Nicholas Lamoreaux. Intent to have all of her friends paired off by the end of the year, Kim suggests they leave anonymous notes to each of their love interests. Everyone agrees, except Alexis. Brushing aside Alexis’ newfound stony behavior towards the group, the girls carry out their scheme.

The note plan works out perfectly. Kim and her friends are slowly pairing off with their intended guys. But Nicholas thinks Alexis sent him Kim’s note. Is he Alexis’ newest crush? When Kim observes Alexis’ behavior towards Nicholas on the first day of school, she is positive that he is the reason for her friend’s new cold behavior. No way is Kim going to give up on her man. After all, she saw him first….. right?

Soon things turn ugly, and Alexis tells Kim to back off Nicholas or risk their friendship. Kim isn’t about to let Alexis win, and concocts a fool-proof plan to help her win Nicholas once and for all. When her plan backfires, Kim realizes it’s time to make some changes. Will she remember her Sunday School lesson about kindness, or will Alexis need to watch her back?

I must admit that at first I was very skeptical about this book. Romance novels are not my thing, especially when they involve love triangles. To my great surprise, after three chapters I was completely hooked with Kim’s story, and I was almost sad when the book ended.

Planning it Right isn’t just your average romance. Filled with realistic and engaging characters, the book is a delight to read. Kim’s spunky and headstrong attitude will relate to any reader who has ever felt the need for a little competition. Although the plot wraps up nicely, there is enough questions left unanswered to have readers clamoring for a sequel.Recommended for readers 14 and up, as they will understand high school situations the best. Also suitable for younger readers who may be interested.

Shady Glade Rating: 6/10

Visit the Shady Glade Store for more recommended reads, movies, music and more!

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

Click here to read the review.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

No room at the Inn… sort of

With Christmas fast approaching its always on my mind about how Mary and Joseph were unable to find room at the Inn in Bethlehem. But I have a different dilemma, my books have no room!

As a member of the Cybils nominating committee, I’ve had books rolling in all week (my roommates are getting tired of signing for my UPS packages!). As a college student I have very limited space, and I now am officially out of space. I’ve been keeping the new books in a box on the floor, but today was clean checks so I had to figure out a new spot for them… FAST.

First I tried to weed out the bookshelf I do have… no luck. I checked the cupboard under my bed… already full to bursting with books and other misc. things. Under the desk? Nope, full of laundry. So where did I finally put them? In my dresser drawer! Right there stacked up next to
my shirts and jeans. Go figure. ;-)

Things certainly seem bad when I have completely run out room for books. Guess it’s time to part with some of my beloved possessions. If you haven’t already, click on the link on the sidebar that says The Shady Glade Book Store. Some of my treasures may find a new home with you!

Monday, November 27, 2006

News and Updates

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday break! I got to visit my new five-month-old cousin, he was so cute! :-)

Anyway, the review and contest lists have (finally) been updates. I apologize it took me so long! There are some great contests coming up for December, so make sure you check back to see them. I hope to have some more reviews, interviews, and book websites up soon. School is winding down, so I have a lot to work on, but I'll try to post what I can!

In other news, viewing numbers are up, but I'd still love to have more people. Spread the word about the site, and if you have promotion ideas, email me here. If I get enough viewers I might be able to have some contests, including giveaways for SIGNED books. So get brainstorming!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Contest: Fall Writing Challenge

Calling all writers, this contest's for you! The following is a copy of a post on YABC's blog. PLEASE consider entering, we still need at least one more entrant to get any prizes. You could win a 3 DVD set, and you still have until the end of Novemeber to enter! See below for details.

You have until the end of November to submit the following in the YABC Forum:A short story or poem that somehow encompasses Fall -- it could be about what Fall means to you, or to a character, or just have that general "Autumn" feeling to it. In other words, you can make an argument for just about anything that has to do with the season! An introduction of 150 words or less can be included to explain what your intent is with the piece. All forum members are welcome to enter. You can only enter once. After the contest period is over, a poll will be held to determine the winner. Chances of winning will depend upon the number of entries and, of course, how you are judged by your peers. The only ones who have no chance of winning are those who don't enter!

Friday, November 17, 2006

The 2006 Cybils

I have to opportunity to be on one of the committees for the 2006 Cybils awards. Nominate your favorite books of 2006, this is the award where YOU determine the nominees. Nominations close Monday night so head over there now and cast your votes.

Also, we REALLY need nominations for the Graphic Novels category, so make sure you nominate your favorite GNs of 2006.

Review: The Fairy’s Return and Other Princess Tales

The Fairy's Return and Other Princess Tales by Gail Carson Levine

For those of you who haven’t had a chance to read Gail Carson Levine’s Princess Tales yet, here’s your chance. And for those of you who consider these stories among your favorites already, now they are available in one magnificent volume. And the new cover’s pretty, which is always a plus!

The Princess Tales take us to the village of Snettering-on-Snoakes in the kingdom of Biddle. Each chapter takes a traditional fairy tale and turns it on its head until it emerges as a hilarious and charming new story, sometimes unrecognizable as the original tale.

What would happen if the fairy’s gift backfired as it does in “The Fairy’s Mistake”? How about a boy Cinderella (that’s Cinderellis to you!) and has to rescue his princess by climbing a glass hill (“Cinderellis and the Glass Hill“? What if the “princess” in The Princess and the Pea wasn’t really a Princess (The Princess Test”)? It’s all here in this book.

These tales are a true delight to read. I first discovered them several years ago, when “The Fairy’s Mistake” had just been published. To this day they remain some of my favorite fairy-tale retellings. Quick, easy reads full of laughter and fun, this is a book you will not want to pass up.

Shady Glade Rating: 10/10!

Visit the Shady Glade Store for more recommended reads, movies, music and more!

Review: An Aquaintance with Darkness

An Acquaintance with Darkness by Ann Rinaldi

After 5 bloody years of conflict, the Civil War finally has come to an end. But the day the war ends is not a happy one for Emily Pigbush. While the rest of Washington is celebrating, Emily is mourning the death or her mother, leaving her an orphan. Following her late mother’s wishes, Emily moves in with her Uncle Valentine, a successful doctor in Washington DC. However, she soon learns of several suspicious acts occurring around her uncle’s practice. Could Uncle Valentine really be an illegal grave robber?

Meanwhile, Annie Surratt, Emily’s best friend, has her own problems. Annie’s mother has been accused of being involved with the people who planned Lincoln’s assassination. Since Annie’s mother runs the boarding house where the accused lived, the government suspects she also planned Lincoln’s murder. Can Emily help her friend while finding out what Uncle Valentine is up to?

For those of you who read this blog regularly, you know I’m a big Ann Rinaldi fan. This book has been one of my favorites since I read it a few years ago. It became really hard to find, but has recently been re-released with a new cover (which I think is better than the old one). This book satisfies my cravings for a good Rinaldi novel, but also offers something different. Rather than focusing on the historical events (in this case, Lincoln’s assassination and the criminal trial that followed), the book offers us a look at a time period in general. Emily’s life reflects the uncertainty and turmoil that was rampant in Washington DC at the close of the Civil War. Overall, a great historical read, especially if you are interested in the time period.

Shady Glade Rating: 7/10

Visit the Shady Glade Store for more recommended reads, movies, music and more!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Review: The Book of Enchantments

Book of Enchantments by Patricia C. Wrede

This book is a wonderful collection of short stories written by Patricia C. Wrede, author of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. There is a little bit of everything here! Some stories are funny, while others have a more serious, or even spooky, atmosphere. Most are set in traditional fantasy worlds, but a few have modern settings as well. “Stronger Than Time” explores what would have happened if Sleeping Beauty’s prince had never come. “The Lorelei” explores a modern twist on the German legend. And look for the story “Utensil Strength”; a story featuring our favorite characters from the Enchanted Forest and an amazing weapon: The Frying Pan of Doom. This one is my personal favorite, but I also really enjoyed "The Princess, the Cat and the Unicorn."

This is just a small selection of the wonderful stories found in this book. The stories are easy to read, and yet many of them make you think after you finish them. I love reading this book so much, I re-read it all the time! The book also offers a author’s note at the end to answer the question “Where do you get your ideas?” A very cool, very good, book.

Shady Glade Rating: 10/10!

Visit the Shady Glade Store for more recommended reads, movies, music and more!

Contest: Haters

YABC is having a contest to win 15 copies of Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez's new book Haters. Simply answer this question to enter:
Are there any haters in your school? How do you stand up to them? Or, if you don't, how do you wish you did?

Click here to enter.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Review: The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales

The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales, edited by Maria Tatar

Although this book might not necessarily be classified as YA, I enjoyed it enough that I just had to share it. I’ve always been a fan of fairy tales, ever since I was little. I loved the tales of fairies, magic, handsome princess, and beautiful heroines. But fairy tales were not originally written for children. Many of them are deeper and more complex than many of the Disney movies imply.

This volume of Fairy Tales not only presents the tales in their original forms, but it is annotated with new insights. There are 28 tales included, and each one is accompanied by beautiful and classic illustrations from the original editions. An introduction at the beginning of each story not only gives background on the story, but gives the reader a basic idea of the deeper meaning behind it. Although there are annotations, many of them are fairly short and uncomplex, fully enriching the tales by providing interpretations, insights, and background information for certain fairy tale situations.

If you’ve ever been a lover of fairy tales, this is not a book to miss out on. Full of all sort of new information, I promise you will never look at your favorite stories the same way again.

Shady Glade Rating: 8/10

Visit the Shady Glade Store for more recommended reads, movies, music and more!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Review: Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg

Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg by Gail Carson Levine

When a baby laughs for the first time, a fairy is born. Prilla is the newest laugh-born fairy to arrive in Neverland, but she is different that any other Never fairy. Even the island itself has a hard time deciding whether or not to let her enter! Prilla curtsies, visits the forbidden Mainland, says “I’m sorry,” and generally acts more like a Clumsy (the fairy name for humans) than a proper Never fairy should. Worst of all, Prilla doesn’t know her talent, which makes her the most unusual fairy to ever show up at the Home Tree.

Hoping Prilla might be a pots-and-pans-talent fairy like herself, Tinker Bell offers to show Prilla around Fairy Haven. That’s right, the same Tinker Bell from Peter Pan fame. Tink quickly finds that Prilla doesn’t have a talent for fixing pots and pans, playing with water, or communicating with animals. Frustrated at Prilla’s apparent lack of talent, Tink and Prilla set off to meet Mother Dove: a grandmotherly figure who watches over the fairies and is their sole source of magic Fairy Dust. Mother Dove instantly recognizes how special and unique Prilla is, but she is unable to tell the new fairy what her talent is.

Prilla’s troubles are soon pushed to the back of everyone’s mind when a terrible hurricane ravages the island. The storm blows Mother Dove off her nest and shatters the magic egg that is responsible for Neverland’s eternal youth. Now Prilla must set off on a quest to save the egg, along with a sweet fairy named Rani and viscous Vidia, who’s only mission in life is to fly faster than everyone else. Can the three questers restore the egg, or will Neverland slowly age and die?

Famous storyteller Gail Carson Levine has created a wonderful masterpiece, perfect for the young and young-at-heart. For those of you who have ever wondered about what happened beyond Peter Pan, this book not only offers an answer, but presents a totally new side to the Neverland story. In addition to the beautiful writing, Levine has created a cast of unforgettable characters that will have readers laughing, crying, and smiling all throughout the book. Illustrator David Christiana adds a wonderful dimension to the story with his breathtaking accompanying watercolor illustrations.

Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg is recommended for readers 8 and up, although younger readers will enjoy having the story read to them. Don’t be turned off by the fact that this book is published by Disney, you will miss out on a very good read!

Shady Glade Rating: 9/10

Visit the Shady Glade Store for more recommended reads, movies, music and more!

*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.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Quotes: Paranoid Park

Here's a quote from Paranoid Park by Blake Nelson:

“I stared out the window. I imagined riding to the police station, my hands cuffed behind my back. That would be fine with me. It really would. I was done. There was no point now. My life sucked so much, I might as well get caught.”

You can check out the review of this book here.