Monday, August 30, 2010

The Great Bookmark Swap

Just a quick update on my extended absence. The tech guy said this morning that they have to send someone to redo the cable (or something like that) so it looks like it's going to be a few more days (maybe even a week) before it's back to normal. Ugh. My blogoversary is this Wednesday but since it looks like I'm going to miss it, I'm planning a big giveaway as soon as I get back.

But onto the reason for this particular post. I'm on borrowed internet really quick (again) but since I got a lot of support for the idea of a bookmark swap in my post last week, I’ve decided that I’m going to give it a go.

So here’s the basic idea. Each member who participates in the swap will be responsible for sending out 5 bookmarks. Then as soon as everyone has gotten their packages mailed in, you will get a package in the mail back with 5 new bookmarks in it. They can be either store bought or handmade, it’s up to you. Packages need to be mailed by September 25th, which gives you three weeks-ish (in case you are making them). Registration to participate is $3 for US swappers, $4 for Canada and Mexico, and $5 for any other international participant (this is to cover return postage for your package back to you).

To limit the amount of space I spend on the blog on specifics, I’m going to do signups this way. I’ve created a form for you to sign up if you are interested in participating. This is not a commitment to participate, you are just indicating interest. After 1 week I will email those who have signed up with all the further details. From that point you can decide if you want to commit or not, and registration will be completed by email.

So if you think the swap sounds like fun, don’t forget to complete this form. And if you know anyone else (blogger or not) who likes bookmarks and may be interested, please spread the word. You can use the email button at bottom of the post to forward this to someone, or even post it on your blogs if you have one and would like to share.

Any questions? Leave ‘em in the comments or send me an email and I’ll get back to you ASAP. When my internet is working again anyway...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Gone for a bit

Hey everyone. My internet suddenly quit on me yesterday so I'm borrowing a few minutes on a public wi-fi connection to let everyone know I'll be gone the next few days until it's fixed. It really sucks it had to break over the weekend. :( Anyway, if you email me and I don't respond right away, now you know what happened.

Back when I can!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Time for a new swap?

One of my favorite things about reading doesn't have to do with books at all. It has to do with bookmarks. I love bookmarks. I love making them, collecting them, and giving them as presents.

So with Christmas coming up, I thought it would be fun to do a bookmark swap. I'd still have to work out the details, but the basic idea would be a group of fellow bookmark lovers would either make or purchase a certain number of bookmarks, one for each member of the group. Then everyone would send their bookmarks in, and get a package back that would have one bookmark from every member in the swap. So if we had 8 people participate, you'd send out 8 of your bookmarks and get 8 completely new ones back in the mail. Sound like fun to anyone?

Also, around this time last year I started a travelling book swap. Essentially, it was a box that travelled around the country to the swap participants. When you got the box, you would take out the books you wanted to keep, and replace them with books you were ready to get rid of before mailing it on to the next person.

I have a lot of books sitting around here lately that I'm done with, and I'm thinking it'd be fun to do again. So, I was wondering would anyone be interested in participating? The cost was $5 to help cover postage costs, and then of course whatever the postage charge was when you mailed the box.

We had a lot of fun the last time, and I've learned from the experience too. I think the main thing I'd like to do is keep the lines a lot shorter this time around so it doesn't take as long to get around to everyone.

Anyway, if you think either (or both) of these ideas sound fun, let me know. I'd love to do both eventually, but right now I'm mostly trying to gage interest. Of course, if no one seems interested, the idea will kind of die, so I figured it was a good thing to check before I started trying to organize it. :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: 8.25.10

Waiting on Wednesday is another feature I haven't done for quite awhile. By now we'll just realize that my blog has been neglected and I'm getting back in to the swing of things on several levels.

Anyway, it's time for this week's pick. This one's going to excite those of you who, like me, love retold fairy tales. And the rest of you are probably getting sick of hearing me talk about them. Unfortunately, that's where we're going this week:

Cloaked in Red by Vivian Vande Velde

About the Book (from the author's website): "Presents eight twists on the traditional tale of Little Red Riding Hood, exploring such issues as why most characters seem dim-witted and what, exactly, is the theme."

Yep, that's really all there is for the description on this book. But I'm really excited for it anyway. Once of my favorite fairy tale retelling books is another of Vande Velde's work, The Rumpelstiltskin Problem (my review is here). This sounds like the same kind of thing, only with Little Red Riding Hood, and I am so all over that one.

And since Waiting on Wednesday wouldn't be complete without gushing about the cover... don't you just love that cover? There's something so mysterious about her expression, it totally grabs my interest.

Cloaked in Red with be released in October 2010, and is currently avilable for pre-order:

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

New Feature Coming Soon: How to Get Free Books

This is an idea I've been kicking around for awhile now, and I've decided it's finally time to act on it. One thing I've seen in the last year that I've been blogging is that the YA blogosphere has literally exploded. When I started blogging almost 4 years ago, blogs like mine were few and far between. But the last year or so has seen an enormous expansion in YA bloggers. This is great, and I'm happy for every new blogger I meet.

Unfortunately, however, there are some new bloggers out there who have started blogging as a way to demand free books and ARCs from authors, publicists and publishers. And while it's true that having a literature blog can eventually lead to getting you free books (wayyyyyy down the line of course) that's not the only source. I hate to have any blogger cast a bad light on the blogging world as a whole, which sometimes happens with these less-than-professional interactions with new bloggers.

Blogging is the inspiration for these posts, but these tips can be used by anyone, blogger (old or new) or just a regular book lover. The economy is finally starting to recover, but for many families (like mine) money is still really tight. And reading is an expensive habit. So what's a book lover to do? Over the last 4 years I've learned a few tips and tricks to get free (and very cheap) books. I don't pretend to be an expert on this kind of thing, but I'd like to share my information with all of you, my dear readers.

Please understand that these tips are not intended to take the place of buying books. Because, let's face it, if we stop buying books the authors won't make any money and they'll stop writing them. But if by following my advice you're able to save a bit of money here and there, you can save it up to buy those books you're absolutely dying to have too.

So expect the first post next week on Thursday, followed by one a week or so until I run out of ideas. Meanwhile, if you have any of your own suggestions for getting free (or nearly free) books, you can drop me an email at shadyglade(AT)mail(DOT)com. And I'd love to hear what you think of the new feature. I'm always open to suggestions, you know!

Monday, August 23, 2010

New Blog Alert: Girls Love Graphic Novels

Normally I don't do posts like this, but this is a new blog I had to share. Many of my longtime readers know that I love graphic novels, even if I don't always get around to reviewing them here. Three of my years on the Cybils committee have been spent on the graphic novels panel, and I've read some great books in those years. So if you like graphic novels too (or are just curious about the different types of graphic novels out there) you really need to check out Girls Love Graphic Novels.

Although there are many things I like about this new blog, the best recommendation I can give is this: If I were ever to be invited to participate in a group blog about graphic novels, this is the blog I would love, love, love to be a part of.

It's put on by two of my all time favorite bloggers, Kristen from Bookworming in the 21st Century, and Kate from The Neverending Shelf. These two ladies do a fantastic job with their own blogs, and the fact that they're taking even a small amount of time away from those blogs to focus on a new project amazes me. I value and trust their opinions, and I've loved the reviews of graphic novels they've done for months on their own blogs. They both have a knack for sniffing out treasures that have been overlooked, and I'm sure they're going to add a lot of things to my graphic novel To Be Read pile. In addition to that, they're also eventually going to get into a few anime reviews as well, something I'm always open for new suggestions on.

But enough of me gushing. Head over to Girls Love Graphic Novels and explore a bit yourself. And in the meantime, I've been inspired to do better about my own graphic novel reviews. So hopefully we'll see a few more of those around here too.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

New Poll: Thoughts on Prizes

As I mentioned before, I'm currently trying to decide how to celebrate my blogoversary this year, which is coming up on September 1st. And of course you can't have a blogoversary without prizes. I have some great books to give away, but I'm curious about what you think.

Do you like contests with lots of smaller prizes for lots of winners? One big prize for one winner? A huge pile of prizes and a few winners who get to choose from the list? Some other type of suggestion?

I've added a poll to the top of the right sidebar to let me know your thoughts. It'll close on August 29th, and I'll decide what I'm doing on the 1st from there. As always, ideas in the comments are appreciated!

LOL of the week: OCD Kitteh

It's been awhile since I've done one of these, and I'd like to get back in the habit. I've missed posting my LOLcats, and hopefully you've missed it too. And if not, oh well, because I'm posting them anyway. :)

If you'd like to learn more about LOLcats, you can check out the website, or read my review of the book.

Have a great week!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Plot vs. Character

I know this is a subject that's been thrown around a lot in the blogging world, but I guess I've decided to throw my two cents in.

More and more lately I've noticed that there seems to be two types of trends in the books I read. This seems particularly true for young adult lit, but I'm sure goes for lots of different types of books as well. And the trend I've noticed is mainly this: when it comes to focusing on a particular aspect, books tend to focus on plot or characters.

Now this isn't to say you can't have a plot book with great characters. That's very possible. But character books (i.e. books that focus on the growth and development of their characters rather than specific events/conflicts) often don't have very strong plots.

Or at least in my opinion, because I've decided I'm a plot-driven reader. When I look back on something I've read and try to remember whether it was a like or a dislike, the thing I think about most is the plot. A book can have great characters, writing, etc. but I always think about the plot first. Likewise I tend to find character centered books very boring because I feel like they can be very episodic and as a result the book feels disjointed to me.

So how does this affect me as a reviewer, as well as a reader? One thing I see thrown around in reviews a lot, especially in the blogosphere, is comments about characters not being real, or relationships between characters not having any depth. Or complaints about the type of writing/dialogue featured in the book. Often these kind of statements lead to lower ratings for a book in that reviewer's opinion. But I find that for me personally if the book has a great plot, I can suspend disbelief in the reality of the characters (and their relationships) or overlook mediocre writing enough to thoroughly enjoy the book anyway. So the book would still get a high rating from me, even if there were flaws in other aspects of the book.

Of course, this doesn't apply across the board. There are some books with excellent plots and horrific characters that I didn't end up liking, just as there have been a few character driven books that I have liked as well. But it's an interesting subject to think about. So which do you prefer, plot or character?

And now that's enough rambling for me...

Monday, August 16, 2010

I'm Back!... Sort Of

Hey everyone! Just wanted to let everyone know I'm back in California after my Disney program. So why is this is important? It means more posts. Yay!

Unfortunately, things are still going to be a little sporadic over the next few days. Because I still have to:

1. Finish unpacking
2. Follow up (and announce) the winner of the book battle
3. Empty and organize my Google Reader (there are currently over 4000 posts I have to go through O.o)
4. Get a replacement filling in my tooth for the one that fell out
5. Help my brother finish his summer reading homework before Tuesday morning
6. Finish a few bookmarks that people won as prizes
7. Judge a category for Book Blogger Appreciation Week
8. Organize my upcoming blogoversary

... just to name a few things. And speaking of my blogoversary, it's coming up very soon, just a couple weeks. I'm kind of short of ideas this year, especially after the big celebration I had last year for my third. So any big ideas on what you'd like to see?

Also, for those of you who read my Disney blog, I have a lot to catch up on over there too. I still need to talk about Canoe Races of the World, my family visiting, the closing of it's a small world, and my last day to name a few. So be sure to check out that blog if you'd still like to hear some stories from this past summer.

Anyway, I'm off to go work on that long list, so leave me your ideas for the blogoversary and I'll see you all real soon!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Happy Squee!

Hey, sorry I've been absent lately. Work the last month has been brutal and my family was here last week, so I was entirely without internet at our hotel. So now it's time to play the catch up game. Hehe.

Anyway, remember when I mentioned I was registering for Book Blogger Appreciation Week? Well, I happened to take a look at the longlists today, and I'm proud to announce that The Shady Glade made the long list for both Best Eclectic Blog and Best Written Blog. Yahoo! I'm totally not expecting to make the shortlist at all, but I am so honored to make it to the long lists. There were A LOT of blogs registered in both categories, so to have my name up there at all was a big surprise. You can see the longlists yourself if you'd like.

So thank you to you, my readers, for getting me this far. Now I'm off to catch up some more so I can hopefully have more time to blog later!