Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Winner of Contest Monday: President's Edition

It's time to pick another winner! This was my first two-book contest, as well as the first children's books I've offered. It's been interesting to see what kind of response I got. I'd still like to know what sort of prizes you'd like to see in the future, so if you haven't already, take the oppertunity to vote in the poll in the sidebar (over there ---->)

But we came here to announce winners. So here goes. First off is the winner of Michelle Obama: Meet the First Lady:

Susan (black.eyedsusan)

And the winner of Don't Know Much About the Presidents is:

Ann Diana Dinh

Congratulations to both of you! Email me with your mailing address and I'll get your books in the mail.

Everyone else, don't forget to enter this week's Contest Monday for a chance to win an ARC of Paper Towns by John Green.

And for those of you who didn't win this time, you can order your own copy of both books from Amazon.com:

Monday, February 23, 2009

Contest Monday: Win a copy Paper Towns

It's a rainy gloomy day here, so I think it's a perfect time to cheer everyone up by posting a new Contest Monday. Today's prize is an ARC copy of Paper Towns by John Green.

About the Book (From Amazon.com): "Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life--dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge--he follows.

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues--and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.

Printz medalist John Green returns with the brilliant wit and searing emotional honesty that have inspired a new generation of readers. Enigmatic Margo is dramatically captured in a unique dual-cover treatment."

How to Enter: To enter the contest, simply leave a comment on this post. Or, if you can't leave a comment, send an email to shadyglade (AT) mail (DOT) com with the subject line "Paper Towns Contest" and include your name, your email address, and the correct subject line.

How to earn Extra Entries:

  1. Post about the contest on your blog or website. Post a link in the comments, or email the link to me.

  2. Become a follower of this Blog (post a comment to let me know).

  3. Come up with and post your own Contest Monday (post a comment with the link).

Rules: The contest is open until Monday, March 2, 2009 when the new contest will be posted. Everyone in the US and Canada is eligible, even if you've won a contest in the past. The winner will be chosen by a random number generator. One free entry per person allowed. See above for instructions to earn extra contest entries. Questions? Post a comment or email and ask.

Good luck to everyone! I'll announce the contest winner on Tuesday, March 3rd. Look for an announcement tomorrow to find out who won last week's contest.

Remember, you can also order your own copy of Paper Towns from Amazon.com:

Friday, February 20, 2009

Random Ramblings: Some Classical Music That Will Make You Smile

So it's been quite a while since I last blogged about my YouTube wanderings (I really do spend too much time on that site...), and I thought I'd share some new favorites with you. I love the Muppets, and so when I come across these classical variations, I just had to share. I hope these bring a little smile to your day. And just so you know, Statler and Waldorf at the end of each one is the best part.

Beaker and the Swedish Chef in "Habanera" (With an appearance by Animal)

Gonzo the Great and his chickens do "The Blue Danube"

Beaker performs "Ode to Joy" (all by himself!)

(Saved the best for last!) Sam the Eagle brings you "Stars and Stripes Forever!". A tribute to the upcoming President's Day. :-)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Contest Monday: Give Me Your Input

A recent comment on the new Contest Monday post has prompted a little bit of thinking on my part. I have lots and lots of books to give away, but I'd like your input on the matter. Please vote in the new poll in the blog sidebar, and let me know what you think.

Would you like to see more ARCs (books before they are released)? More signed copies? More nonfiction? More multiple prizes? Choose as many answers as you like. And if you have more suggestions not on the list, go ahead and post them here.

I've been very pleased with how Contest Monday has gone so far, and I hope to make it even better. I'd love your input, so vote in the poll and let me know what you think!

Waiting On Wednesday: 2.18.09

Those of you who are sharp may start to notice a pattern in my Waiting on Wednesday posts. Pay close attention now...

The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry

From Amazon.com: "When Lucinda Chapdelaine was a small child, her parents left for the royal ball and never returned. Ever since, Lucinda has been stuck in perpetual servitude at her evil aunt’s jewelry store. Then, on the very same day, a mysterious visitor and an even more bizarre piece of jewelry both enter the shop, setting in motion a string of twists and turns that will forever alter Lucinda’s path. In this magical story filled with delightful surprises, Lucinda will dance at the royal ball, fall under the Amaranth Witch’s spell, avenge her parents’ death, and maybe—just maybe—capture the heart of a prince."

You know me and my fairytale-type books. You're probably getting sick of hearing about them. :-) But I love the cover too. The red and green are so intriguing without being Christmas-y.

The Amaranth Enchantment will be released on March 3rd, and you can pre-order your copy from Amazon.com:

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Winner of Contest Monday: My Life in Pink & Green

What a whirlwind week! Being Tuesday, it's time to announce the winner of our latest Contest Monday. So with out further ado...


Congratulations! You are now the proud winner of a new book. Email me with your mailing address and I'll get your Signed ARC of My Life in Pink & Green in the mail to you.

Everyone else, don't forget to enter this week's Contest Monday for a chance to win two different books: Don't Know Much About the Presidents and Michelle Obama: Meet the First Lady.

And for those of you who didn't win this time, you can pre-order your own copy of My Life in Pink & Green from Amazon.com:

Monday, February 16, 2009

Contest Monday: President's Day Edition

Happy President's Day everyone! I'm enjoying my three day weekend, and I hope you get to have some fun today too. To celebrate, I'm doing Contest Monday a little differently this week. This time I'm giving away TWO paperback children's books: Don't Know Much About the Presidents and Michelle Obama: Meet the First Lady.

About the Books (From Amazon.com): Don't Know Much About the Presidents- "Which president was also a movie star? What happened five days after the Union won the Civil War? What food did Americans think was poisonous until Thomas Jefferson ate some? Hail to the chief! Here's your chance to learn all about the presidents' important political achievements, their nicknames, hobbies -- even what kind of foods they ate. Best-selling author Kenneth C. Davis packs fun facts and cool quotes into his signature question-and-answer format. Who knows? After you learn so much about the presidents, maybe you will want to run for office someday, too!"

You can also read my review about this book for more information.

Michelle Obama: Meet the First Lady- "Michelle Obama has been by her husband's side throughout his historic presidential campaign, a dynamic personality whether she is delivering speeches or hitting the dance floor on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Follow the story of a hardworking girl growing up on the South Side of Chicago and how she has inspired our nation to believe in the American Dream that her life exemplifies. In her own stirring words: America should be a place where you can make it if you try. Written by David Bergen Brophy, this in-depth biography captures the heart and soul of the First Lady behind the campaign for change."

On a side note, does anyone else think this cover makes her hair look too big for her head? Maybe it's just me...

How to Enter: To enter the contest, simply leave a comment on this post, and tell me which book you'd like to win (Obama, Presidents, or both). Or, if you can't leave a comment, send an email to shadyglade (AT) mail (DOT) com with the subject line "President's Day Contest" and include your name, your email address, the correct subject line, and which contest you want to enter.

How to earn Extra Entries:

  1. Post about the contest on your blog or website. Post a link in the comments, or email the link to me.
  2. Become a follower of this Blog (post a comment to let me know).
  3. Come up with and post your own Contest Monday (post a comment with the link).

Rules: The contest is open until Monday, February 23, 2009 when the new contest will be posted. Everyone in the US and Canada is eligible, even if you've won a contest in the past. The winner will be chosen by a random number generator. One free entry per person allowed. See above for instructions to earn extra contest entries. Questions? Post a comment or email and ask.

Good luck to everyone! I'll announce the contest winner on Tuesday, February 24. Look for an announcement tomorrow to find out who won last week's contest.

If you're feeling patriotic, both books are available on Amazon.com:

Review: Don't Know Much About the Presidents

Don't Know Much About the Presidents by Kenneth C. Davis

In celebration of President's Day, I decided now was a good time to pick up this book that came to me in the mail a few months ago. The recently updated Don't Know Much About the Presidents offer facts and trivia on all 44 of our presidents, from George Washington to Barack Obama. Each president is given a least one page (some have up to three) to describe facts and trivia about each president. A timeline of major presidential events completes each page.

First the positive. This book is definitely a great way for kids to learn more about the men who've run this country. The facts are presented in a question format, which makes them much more accessible than random lists of facts. The illustrations are also quite hilarious, and as someone much more versed in American history than the average elementary student, I had fun reading this book. If you're wanting to know things like who was the first president to ever get a speeding ticket (in a horse and buggy, no less), then this is a good book for you.

However, the book still had some flaws. Mostly I took issue with the fact that the book was (in my opinion at least) biased. Certain presidents were singled out as "bad" presidents, and although I agree with some of the author's choices, I don't agree with some of the more implied choices. It's hard to reduce some of the impacts these men had down to three paragraphs in a children's book, especially when they had eight years in office.

This flaw aside, I still think it's a fun book. I'm frustrated with the overall presentation, but it certainly had enough facts to keep kids going. Overall, it's a good introduction to the presidents, and a way to get small toes wet about American history. You can also enter a contest to win this book through Feb. 23rd.

Shady Glade Rating: 6/10

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Reminder: Last Chance for Extra Entry

Today's the last day you can earn an extra entry for this week's Contest Monday for a copy of My Life in Pink & Green. Go to this post to find out how. Hurry, the contest will end Monday when the new contest is posted. :-)

Cybils winners announced!

The Cybils winners have been announced! In case you missed them, here they are again (descriptions courtesy of the Cybils website)

Easy Readers

I Love My New Toy! by Mo Willems
I Love My New Toy is a perfect example of an early reader book. Using simple, repetitive text and charming illustrations, Mo Willems gives the youngest reader a title full of emotion, humor, and action. Children can easily relate to this wonderful story of friendship at its worst and its best.
Nominated by Nan Hoekstra.

Fantasy & Science Fiction (My category!)

Middle Grade: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Transcendent writing and wry bits of humor brought The Graveyard Book to the top of a strong field of contenders. Gaiman pulls off the trifecta of a ripping plot, nuanced characters and sublime prose. He submerges the reader into standard horror subject matter but freshens and modernizes it, never being predictable. The orphaned Nobody Owens, or Bod to his other-worldly friends, is being raised in a cemetery, where he masters a few tricks of the ghostly trade. His guardians have to hope it's enough to protect him from the assassin who killed Bod's family, and who lurks somewhere beyond the graveyard gates. This riff on the Jungle Book balances humor, heart and darkness, creating a winning read.

Young Adult:The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games wins for its broad crossover appeal, complicated moral issues, and sociopolitical satire. In a richly imaginative twist on a familiar dystopian landscape, Suzanne Collins creates a deadly game using child combatants to explore the dehumanizing effects of war and violence. Katniss struggles against overwhelming odds while being groomed and polished for what could be her televised fight to the death. At each agonizing choice or fearful alliance, the reader is confronted with the same questions Katniss faces. How far would you go to save yourself? Can you meet violence with violence, yet preserve your humanity?
Nominated by Heather Doss.

Fiction Picture Books

How to Heal a Broken Wing by Bob Graham
This deceptively simple book achieves so much more than telling the story of a boy who notices a wounded bird in a busy city. By alternating single and double-page spreads with clusters of small panels, Graham creates almost a film strip of time passing. The artistic technique lends both intimacy and urgency to the boy and his family’s precarious mission to save the injured pigeon. The text is commendably lean, supporting the strong visual narrative and keeping a lighter touch to the theme. The cartoon-style, watercolor illustrations provide the perfect tone, and the accessible story offers connections for picture book readers of all ages. For all of these reasons, How to Heal a Broken Wing distinguishes itself as the rare picture book that speaks quietly, yet has volumes to say about courage, kindness, and hope.

Graphic Novels

Middle Grade: Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, illustrated by Nathan Hale
“What made this book stand out to the judges was that it takes a well-known story and does something recognizable, but unique, creating an adventure which readers of both sexes can enjoy. Those readers will get swept up in the rawness of the emotions presented. The art is bright and leaps from the pages, but the images don’t overshadow the story or mask weaknesses in the plot. The story and images carried the weight equally, were well-paced, engaging, and generally solid.”
Nominated by Elizabeth.

Young Adult: Emiko Superstar by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Steve Rolston
“This title rises above a traditional outsider/teen angst tale because of its protagonist's interest in her local performance artists, a subject that hasn't been done to death in YA. The story is also novel simply because it's about a teen exploring art and find how it can change you. Ralston’s art is an important aspect of the story, working in tandem with Tamaki’s unique story.”Nominated by Cecil Castellucci.

Middle-Grade Fiction

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd
Brother and sister, Ted and Kat, take their cousin Salim to see the London Eye, the city's gigantic Ferris wheel. While Ted and Kat watch, Salim gets into one of the glass pods, but thirty minutes later he doesn't get off. So the siblings set out to find their cousin. Complicating the situation, Ted's brain "runs on a different operating system" from other people's, which makes him a lot better at facts and figures than he is at reading people. Narrated in Ted's voice, this is a page-turner that brings London to life and takes readers inside a powerfully rational mind. The London Eye Mystery shows off kids' natural ingenuity and proves that difference can be a strength, as Ted and Kat work to solve the irresistible riddle of their cousin's disappearance.

Non-Fiction MG/YA

The Year We Disappeared: A Father-Daughter Memoir by Cylin Busby and John Busby
This gripping page turner quickly stood out as the favorite of the judging panel. In alternating chapters, Cylin Busby and her father John tell the story of what happened when someone tried to kill John and how it affected their family. Some readers will identify with Cylin's pain and confusion, some will enjoy John's discussion of life as a policeman, and the drama of the man suspected of the attempted murder, as well as his motives for trying to kill John Busby. Many teens will enjoy this joint memoir that gives readers multiple sides of the same story.
Nominated by Jen Robinson.

Non-Fiction Picture Books

Nic Bishop Frogs by Nic Bishop
Nic Bishop is known for his jaw-dropping nature photography. Open a book cover with his name on it and you'll be greeted with stunning action shots, exquisite attention to detail, and sharp, sharp close-ups that inspire awe. Couple that with Bishop's equally crisp, up-close and personal writing in Nic Bishop Frogs, and you've got an award-winning combination of text and illustration that captures a child-like wonder about a topic that is anything but new. That's quite a feat. Bishop's language is interesting and playful, and his analogies and references are right on, squarely aimed at where kids' heads are at. Simple word choices never talk down, but will allow newish readers to find success easily. The book flows logically, covering life cycle, defense, diet, habitat, and other essentials you'd expect to find in an animal book, but the organization is refreshingly kid-friendly, meandering through the topics as though Bishop and the reader were having a conversation while sitting in a marsh waiting for a frog. It's intimate and personal and accessible---frogs as you've never seen them before. Fascinating process notes are sure to inspire young photographers.
Nominated by Sonja.


Honeybee: Poems & Short Prose by Naomi Shihab Nye
Honeybee is a hybrid of delicious poetry and lyrical prose poems on wide-ranging themes blending science and observation alongside personal memoir and political challenge. There are ideas buzzing here that young people have probably felt in their gut, but may not have verbalized. Isn't this what poetry is supposed to do?
Nominated by Kelly Fineman

Young Adult Fiction

Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, The by E Lockhart
It's a setting we know. It's a theme we're familiar with. But with The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, E. Lockhart takes common features of teen fiction and turns them into a smart, fun, multi-layered, action-filled, coming-of-age story with a unique treatment and fresh voice. Frankie's feminist-fueled and P.G. Wodehouse-inspired antics at boarding school are hilarious, but also tinged with the sometimes-harsh truths of growing up. A book complex and clever enough that wildly diverse readers will each take, and love, something different out of the narrative. Nominated by Stacy Dillon

As always, were trying to show publishers the impact of the blogging community via the Cybils announcements. If you'd like to show your support for our efforts, buy the winners from Amazon.com. You can click over from this page if you'd like.

Congrats to the winners!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day

Happy Feb 14th! I wish you much love during the day and the coming weekend.

Being single and alone myself, I prefer to turn to my romantic movies during this holiday for consolation. Here's a few examples for you to enjoy for today. I'm off to glue myself to my couch and live vicariously through my TV. Enjoy!

Period dramas...yes I'm an Austen fan, in case you hadn't noticed. :-)

My Disney girls. I actually thought this video fit the song better than the actual music video...

Review: The Queen of Hearts

Queen of Hearts by Mary Engelbreit

So most of you know that I normally review young adult (and occasionally middle grade) books. But I'm going to deviate into the realm of picture books today, because someone took the time to send me a special Valentine's Day book.

Queen of Hearts is an Ann Estelle Story about Ann Estelle's classroom Valentine's party. Each member of the class is decorating a special box to hold thier valentines in during the party. Ann Estelle is especially excited about the box and spends all week decorating the best box ever. But she works so hard on The Box that she forgets to make valentines for her friends. The solution she comes up with is completely expected, but sweet nonetheless.

I'm not the kind of person who usually goes crazy about picture books. There are definately some I get excited about, especially if the story is especially unique. Queen of Hearts is more of your generic picture book feel good story. The back says "ages 4 to 8" and I think that pretty much hits the age range right on the dot. Don't get me wrong, the story was very cute, but it's the kind of story you would expect.

However, I have long loved Mary Englebreit's illustrations. That factor alone saves the book for me. I love way that she captures emotion in her pictures. This is the first Ann Estelle book I've read, but I'm glad to see Engelbreit doing things for children's books beyond just illustration. It's a wonderful way to introduce her artwork to new readers.

By the way, has anyone seen the covers for Mary Engelbreit's Classic Library? They are so lovely! Those are the classics I want for my children. It makes me wish I could get my hands on them in person. Le sigh...

But back to the review at hand. Bottom line, if you're looking for a great Valentine's Day book to add to your picture book library, Queen of Hearts would make a wonderful addition. It's exactly what you would expect for Valentine's Day, but it's sure to be a hit with little girls.

Shady Glade Rating: 7/10

Friday, February 13, 2009

Help Out a New Blogger

Hey everyone! So, I need to ask a bit of a favor. My teenage brother has started a blog and isn't having much traffic lately. So if you're interested in anything Disney theme park related, head over there and check it out. He's worked really hard on it (but I made the header...isn't it cool?), and it's truly coming along nicely. He needs help spreading the word so more people will come visit.

So go, look, comment. Have fun, tell your friends about it. Because, you know, he's my family and all. And he really is a good kid. Most of the time, anyway.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Updating posts

I'm currently updating the tags for some of my posts, since I've finally switched over to the new Blogger. If you're following this blog in a reader, you might notice a lot of old posts popping up. Just a heads up!

Review: I Can Has Cheezburger?

I Can Has Cheezburger?: A LOLcat Colleckshun by Professor Happycat and Icanhascheezburger.com

I know what you're thinking... "A review? She's actually posting a review?" Haha, so funny. Yes, after a long break, I'm actually taking a few minutes to post a review. I literally have a stack of 50 or so books that really should be taken care of before this one, but I enjoyed this book so much I just had to share it.

For those of you who haven't heard of I Can Has Cheezburger?.com, let me tell you, you are missing out. This website collects funny pictures of cats, rabbits, squirrels and other animals and readers caption and submit them to be voted on by viewers. The best images are then placed on the homepage.

It sounds simple enough, but the brillance is really hard to explain without experiencing it firsthand. Some of them are funny, some are not funny, and some are roll on the floor gasping for breath funny.

As a follower of the site for about a year, I was exstatic when I found out they were releasing an I Can Has Cheezburger?book. My very own collection of Lolcats? I am so there! The book is an excellent collection of the best, funniest, and quientissential Lols found on (and off) the site. It's a quick read (mostly pictures with a few phrase captions) but it's a book I will read over and over, especially when you need a humor pick-me-up. I only had the guts to ask for one book this Christmas (since I have so many already), but I am so happy that this was the only book I got. It totally made up for a lack of books in other areas.

Just to give you a taste of what you've been missing, here are my some of my favorite Lolcats pulled from the site's blog. For your enjoyment, and to convice you how much you need this book, you may want to click on each picture to enlarge it and enjoy it fully. I'll catch you again down at the bottom.

So if that hasn't convinced you that you need this book, I don't know what will. If you've enjoyed these, head over to I Can Has Cheezburger?.com and check out the thousands they have over there.

I need to warn you, there's quite a few reoccuring phrases and jokes, which may take a bit to catch onto. And the grammar and spelling are horrible. But that's one of the things that makes it so funny. Besides, you'll be fluent in Lolspeak in no time! Of course, the book is great for explaning the jargon and reoccuring gags, if you're simply lost altogether. Bottom line: if you're in a humor slump, you need to order your copy of I Can Has Cheezburger? right away!

Shady Glade Rating: 10/10!
I Can Has Cheezburger? is available to order on Amazon.com: