Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Review: The 9/11 Report

The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation by Sid Jacobson

When the 9/11 commission published its 500+ report of its investigative findings, I can tell you I was not exactly first in line to buy it. So at first this book seemed like the perfect solution: a graphic novel adaptation. After all, isn’t everything easier to read when it has pictures?

The book basically summarizes the Commission’s findings about the tragedy of September 11th. Don’t expect to find an in-depth report of what happened on that horrible day. After the first chapter summarizes the plane crashes, the rest of the book attempts to explain how these attacks happened by examining “the new terrorism.”

I truly had mixed feelings about this one. For one thing, even after 5 years, it is amazing how much thinking about 9/11 hurts. I was quite engaged for the first chapter or two when it was discussing the events that actually occurred on 9/11. The most useful thing was a timeline showing the significant events of the 4 planes, so it was laid out graphically before you. After the 2nd chapter, I felt as though I was merely reading to finish. Although the ideas presented were interesting, and most definitely important (politically, if nothing else), the information was not really set up for a graphic novel. There was too much text, and the layout of the captions was very difficult to follow because it changed formats on every other page.

Overall, a great way to avoid reading the 500 page book. Unless you go for that sort of thing. It was a good book, but a horrible graphic novel. I warn you though, if you do read it, you might need a couple tissues for the first chapter.

Shady Glade Rating…. Undecided. Sorry folks!

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Review: Oddly Enough

Oddly Enough by Bruch Coville

This is Bruce Coville’s first collection of short stories. Although some of these have been previously published in other anthologies, this book is worth reading just to have them all in one spot. These stories deal with the unusual and bizarre: from monsters and werewolves to unicorns, elves, brownies and so much more! My favorite story is called “The Language of Blood” which tells the story of a vampire who must save his country by ritually drinking blood. It sounds creepy, but trust me it really isn’t. I also like “Duffy’s jacket” where a monster visits Andrew, Marie and their cousin Duffy, but not for the reason you think.

This is a wonderful collection of short stories. Full of magic, believable characters, humor and suspense, this is definitely a book you don’t want to miss! I recommend it to everyone I know and my copy has been worn out with all the re-readings. With such a wide variety, you’ll find at least one you love, although I’ve found many more!

Shady Glade Rating: 10/10!

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Review: BabyMouse: Beach Babe

Here's another Cybils nominee, and this one made it to the shortlist too!

Babymouse: Beach Babe by Jennifer & Matthew Holm

School is out, and our favorite graphic novel heroine, BabyMouse, is off to the beach! Whether laying in the sun, building sandcastles, or tacking the latest waves on her surfboard, BabyMouse is having a blast. And when there’s nothing else to do, she uses her excellent imagination to keep her occupied. But how is a mouse supposed to have fun when her baby brother is hanging around?

Filled with cute, black-and-white illustrations accented with pink, this graphic novel is perfect for younger readers. Not only does it keep readers interested, but it has several positive underlying messages as well. And, hey, I’m a young adult, and it kept me interested. If you’re looking for fast, cute, read (especially one to share with a younger family member) than Beach Babe is the way to go!

Shady Glade Rating: 9/10

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Lack of updates: Sorry!

Sorry everyone! I mentioned earlier that I've been super busy, and I just haven't had time to update lately (which is really a shame since I have some many good books I want to share with you...) Let's just say between my biology exam and my TA job, I haven't had any time for the past two weeks. As an example, here's what kept going through my head as I walked uphill to home in the short break between classes on Wednesday:
The weary and exhausted soilder staggers back to camp for a few blissful moments of peace before once more joining the fray.

When I mentioned this to my roommate, the only thing she told me was that it sounded poetic. So much for sympathy...

Anyway, I promise to do better (if I can). I can promise a new review tomorrow, so keep your eyes out for that, at least! :-)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


I've been seeing a lot of Lewis Carroll lately. I've been re-reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass as background before I start Frank Beddor's new book The Looking Glass Wars (which has gotten fab reviews, by the way).

Anyway, last night I was sitting at home working on my Fundamentals of Literary Interpretation homework when I happened to stumble across this poem. Lewis Carroll everywhere…. : - )

Jabberwocky (1871) by Lewis Carroll

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand;
Long time the manxome foe he sought--
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Monday, January 22, 2007

New Feature: Amazon partnership

I’ve opened up a new partnership with amazon.com! Now, by clicking on the title or picture of each book, you will be magically transported to the amazon.com site so you can find out more information, read other reviews, add it to your wishlist, buy the book, or whatever!

I’m also working on updating so there is a featured amazon link at the end of every review, so look for those too. And if you are thinking about purchasing anything through amazon.com, but I don’t have it listed here, there is also a handy-dandy searchbox in the sidebar for your searching entertainment.

Any purchases you make from amazon through this blog are greatly appreciated! Every contribution helps a great deal. If you’d like to help in other ways, you can also view our wishlist and our Shady Glade bookstore by using the links in the sidebar.

Email me if you have any questions, suggestions, or general comments!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Review: We Goddesses

Okay, so I'm taking a break from the Cybils reviews for today. So here's a new scoop:

These three goddesses were the biggest rivals in Greek mythology. Now they combine to each tell their versions and motives behind they myths that made them famous. Although none of the myths are repeated, each one offers insights into happenings in another section of the book. Read about the story of the Golden Apple, Athena’s birth, Hera’s marriage to Zeus and so many more.

Although this is a wonderful retelling of the myths, the best thing about this book is the illustrations. Done in full color paintings, they are absolutely beautiful. This book is an excellent way for readers of Greek mythology to read new versions of old tales. Even if you aren’t a mythology veteran, each story is explained fully enough that new readers will enjoy them just as much as everyone else.

Shady Glade Rating: 7/10

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Review: Castle Waiting

As you may know (or maybe you don't...) I was on the Cybils Graphic Novel nominating commitee this past two months. As a result, you get to be treated to reviews of my favorite books from this past experince. Lucky you! We start of with our first novel... Castle Waiting.

Castle Waiting by Linda Medley

Everyone knows that when Sleeping Beauty woke up from her 100 year sleep that she left the kingdom with her handsome prince. Well, what happened to the castle that was left behind?

Castle Waiting tells us the story we never find out: what the people who live at the castle do after their princess, and the only heir to the throne, leaves. Decades later, a small group of stragglers continues to live out their lives in the castle, a place that has become a safe home for all sorts of people. Follow the lives of the Groundskeeper (who also happens to be a stork), Lady Jain (who ran away from an abusive husband), a bearded nun, a crazy doctor obsessed with avoiding the plague, and a whole host of interesting characters.

Although this is a graphic novel, it really doesn’t seem like you are reading one. The characters, plots and storylines are just as developed as any book, and this 400-page fairytale-like story is no exception. Seasoned fairytale readers with be delighted with occasional references to fairy-lore, while newcomers are just as likely to be enchanted with this magical world. My biggest complaint about the book was that it ended! I sure hope Linda Medley is planning on writing more about the world of Castle Waiting, because I’m not ready to say good-bye to these characters yet.

Shady Glade Rating: 10/10!

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Quotes: People are like windows

“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” -Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, M.D.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Updates again: Ready for the New Year!

Hey everyone!

Just a quick update to let everyone know that I haven’t died yet. I’ve been busy with both Christmas vacation, my new term that started on the 4th, and my new job as a TA for the English department. So time has been a little scarce!

Here’s the news for what you can expect in the next few days, weeks (months, years… just kidding, I’m not going to make you wait that long):

New feature- I’ve decided to start a new feature: recommended books lists. These complied lists of some of my favorite books will appear periodically, and they are a great way to get good recommendations without wading through a bunch of reviews. I’ve already started to compile some lists including the best books I read in 2006, and the best looking upcoming books of 2007. I also will be posting the majority of the Cybils nominees (including my GN committee), and letting you know who the winners are when they are decided.

Contests- January seems to be a little scare for contests, but I’m still trying to dig up some good ones. Keep checking back often.

Book website reviews- After much deliberation, I am actually considering taking these reviews off the site, or at least not doing them anymore. I just have too many other things to focus on, and not enough time to write reviews. If you want to see them stick around, email me or leave me a comment on this message. Your input is appreciated!

Voting finalists- Make sure you vote for the new YABC teen reviewer by the 17th. If this is news to you, you can read the original posting here.

Quotes- Yeah, I know I’m way behind. I have a whole list of them to put up and just no time to do it in. I’ll try to get them added periodically.

Reviews- As some of you know (or don’t know, whichever applies to you) I was on the Cybils nominating committee this past few months. This means I have a ton of books to finish reviewing. I’ll hopefully have some up soon!

Updates of lists- I realize that some of my lists of reviews are looking thin. I hope to have them updated in the next few days, and you’ll be able to tell exactly what we have on the site!

Phew! That was a long entry! As always, I love to hear from my readers through email, comments, or whatever! If you have suggestions, spot a mistakes, or just plain like what you see, tell me about it!

Friday, January 05, 2007

News: Pick the Teen Reviewer!

Here's the latest news, from YABC. Help pick YOUR new 2007 teen reviewer!

Whew! Well, the YABC staff has managed to narrow down the 2007 Teen Reviewer candidates to three finalists. Now we just need your help to determine who the winner is! Please read the reviews below and email me at kim@yabookscentral.com with your top pick by January 11th (that's one week from yesterday). No waffling!(And yes, if you're one of the finalists, you are allowed to vote for yourself.)

Here's links to the finalists! Read them and then email me or Kim with your pick!

Amber, age 15: Sample Review- Faking 19
Jocelyn, age 15: Sample Review- Dear Zoe
Stephanie, age 17: Sample Review- Teen Idol