Friday, September 30, 2011

Blogoversary Giveaway Extravaganza: Prize Preview #2

If you missed it yesterday, don't forget to check out the first Prize Preview post.  There's some more details about how this contest will work so if you haven't seen it, make sure you don't miss it.  And here's another reminder that these open blogoversary challenges close soon, so this is your last chance to earn extra points to win the fantastic prizes below:

Lot #200: Mystery ARC box
In the same vein as yesterday, this is a mystery prize box. I've got a lot of ARCs laying around the house recently, and it's time to send them off to new homes where they are enjoyed. The winner of this lot will get at least 6 ARCs, some more recent, some older, and all genres/ages. Will you get more? What will be in the box? It's a mystery, you'll have to win it to find out.

Lot #201: Handmade Pumpkin Bookmark
I love bookmarks, and I love making them just a much. The winner of this lot will get this lovely pumpkin bookmark. Okay, so it looks a little different. The colors aren't variegated like this, but otherwise it is the same pattern (this is the only picture of this pattern I had). The bookmark is hand stitched by me, and it's perfect for those fall afternoons spent reading.

Lot #202: Tamora Pierce Prize Pack
A blogoversary celebration with my favorite things wouldn't be complete without Tamora Pierce books. The winner of this lot will win a box of assorted Tamora Pierce titles. They aren't in order, and there's some from several different series (although all of them are Tortall books). This would be a great prize if you're considering going for the Tamora Pierce Reading Challenge. These books are gently used paperbacks.

Lot #203: The Man You'll Marry by Debbie Macomber
Here's a prize for those of you who sometimes get sick of YA and want to venture into adult books. In addition to share some of my favorite books, my mom wanted to donate a book by one of her favorite authors to the prize pile. It's a cute short little chick-lit type romance. So if you don't like this kind of book, maybe you know someone who does. Christmas is coming up soon, you know. :) This prize is a like new paperback.

Lot #204: Letters from Rapunzel by Sara Lewis Holmes
You know how I am about fairy tale retellings. Here is one that's a little less well-known. It's the tale of Rapunzel (sort of) set in modern times. If you like fairy tales retold as much as I do, then this like new hardback would look perfect on your bookshelf.

Lot #205: Nicola and the Viscount by Meg Cabot
I love Meg Cabot's books. They're always full of lots of fun, cute romances, and some great humor. This gently used paperback is a recent reprint one of her earlier books (before the Princess Diaries struck it big). This is what I read on the plane home from Florida last summer, and it kept me nice and entertained during the 5 hour flight home. Plus, it's set in the Regency period, so that's always a bonus for me.

Lot #206: 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
I've never travelled the world. Well, I've done the World Showcase at Epcot, does that count? But I have to say that world travel is definitely on my "want for the future" list. Perhaps that's why the plot of this book appeals to me so much. A scavenger hunt across the world, how fun is that? This prize is a like new paperback.

Lot #207: Ghosts of Kerfol by Deborah Noyes
Here's another ghostly book to satisfy your appetite for a Halloween read. I actually had never heard of this one before until it was nominated for the Cybils awards in the year that I didn't do graphic novels (2007? I can't remember). Anyway, this is definitely an overlooked book. This collection of short stories is actually a bit of a retelling too, since they are all inspired by the same short story, "Kerfol" by Edith Wharton. This prize is a like new hardcover.

Lot #208: NERDS pack
Now before you say something, it's not what you think. NERDS actually stands for the National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society. And okay, they actually are nerds, but these nerds are spies! This is one of the funniest series I've read in a long time. Just about every page had a quote I wanted to save. This pack includes a gently used paperback copy of the first book, NERDS, and a like new paperback ARC of the second, M is for Mama's Boy, both by Michael Buckley. I promise you, you will never look at nerds the same way again.

Lot #209: Ingo by Helen Dunmore
One thing to say about this one: mermaids. They seem to be the new thing in YA lit. Personally I've loved mermaids since I grew up on Disney's version of The Little Mermaid, so I love this swing to all things with fins. Vampires are so passe you know. ;) This series is a little less well-known in the United States since it was original published in the UK. With this gently used paperback, you have a chance to read the first book in the trilogy and get caught up in a new mermaid series while you wait for all those new ones to be released.

And that concludes our second prize preview. Are you excited yet? Keep your eye out in the next day or two for the remaining prize preview which will include the final 10 prizes. Remember registration for the auctions opens in the early hours of October 2nd. Everyone who registers is guaranteed 10 points to "spend" on the auctions. But if you want to earn extra points, you can complete the blogoversary challenges (linked above), or complete something from the list below:

  • Follow the blog (email, Google Friend Connect, RSS, etc.) +5 for old followers, +3 for new followers
  • Comment on posts September 1-25 +1 per comment
  • Grab the Blogoversary button +5 (in the right sidebar or bottom of this post)
  • Link/Tweet/Post about the Blogoversary and/or just the contests +2 per link/tweet/etc.
  • Contribute a guest post during the blogversary +7
  • Judged for the 2011 YA Bloggers Book Battle +3

Blogoversary Challenge #10

Woohoo!  We made it up to 10 challenges!  Now, the deadline to complete these is fast approaching, as most of them have deadlines of October 2nd.  If you missed any, don't forget to check the roundup page which has all of the currently active challenges listed.  And if you're curious about the prizes you will be winning with the points you earn, the first prize preview was posted yesterday

Today's challenge comes from blog reader M. A. D. (Mary).  In honor of poetry Friday, your challenge today is to compose a haiku poem about the best book you've read (so far) in 2011.  You can complete up to three poems, at three points each.  And there will be bonus points if your poem is shared at the end of the blogoversary challenges. 

And if you don't know what a haiku poem is, you can check out this Wikipedia article to get you started. Basically, it's a 3 line poem: first line made of 5 syllables, second line with 7 syllables, and last line with 5 syllables.

A few examples taken from this site to get you started.  These are mostly classics, but you should use a book you've read this year:

"The Raven" by Edgar Allen Poe
Black shiny feathers
Quoth the raven nevermore
That bird won't shut up

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
As young Edmund learns,
You should never take sweets from
Strange women in white.

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Crescent moon shining?
No, it's the smile of a cat
strange place, wonderland.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Earth, mostly harmless
Blown for Hyper-space bypass
Book says, Don't Panic!

Anyway, you get the idea. As always, you can look these up online, so PLEASE come up with your own and DON'T CHEAT!

Challenge Details:
Points: +3 for each poem, up to 3 submissions, bonus +5 if one (or more) of your entries is shared at the end of the celebration
Deadline: Midnight on October 3rd (since it is so late in the month)
How To Enter: Fill out the Google form below to enter. If you have problems with the form, you can also email me your entries at shadygladeATmailDOTcom.

Blogoversary Guest Post: The Book Monsters

This is a guest post I've been especially looking forward to all week. It is my great pleasure to have two of my favorite bloggers here today, Kate and Kristen from The Book Monsters.  The Book Monsters is their newest co-blogging venture, but you might recognize them from their former blogs, Kate from The Neverending Shelf and Kristen from Bookworming in the 21st Century.  I was so happy they were able to do a feature for the blogoversary, and they decided to speak about co-blogging, since they are quickly becoming experts on that subject.  So without further ado, take it away!

From Two Blogs to One

Kristen’s Side:

Kate and I began blogging around the same time over two years ago. I’m not sure how exactly we found one another’s blog and began talking, but we did. At first, it was a bit of a rivalry, but soon it become a friendship. Sure, it was mostly through twitter and google chat, but we had a connection that kept going. We talked so much that we started doing some blog projects together, anywhere from Readathons to Features and eventually just helping each other out from time to time. Also, we talked about our husbands, our lives, our jobs and everything in between.

I remember searching daily for Kate’s name to show up on google chat so we talk about books, our blogs, and life in general. And about a year ago, we started getting discouraged on and off about blogging. Life got in the way a lot and we wanted to find a place to put our ideas together. But we weren’t quite ready to give up our blogs yet. They were like our babies. And to start over with 0 followers was scary at the time.

Last January, I put out a call for someone to help on my blog. It was going okay, but it didn’t feel right and then I got busy again and so did my new blog partner. Kate was going through the same thing and we finally were talking about starting a blog together. Numbers didn’t matter as much anymore, we just wanted to work together. It took months to get our new blog together. We both had some great ideas and kept going back and forth on blog names and themes and ideas.

I remember when we settled on The Book Monsters. We were looking at blogs we thought were cute and I noticed that the design was using a specific artist’s online scrapping collection. So I went hunting around through some of her other collections and found these cute little monsters and there were books and I showed it to Kate. We were in love, and that’s how we came up with our blog name. Kate took the kit and created our marvelous blog and we both worked our butts off to back up our reviews and get everything savvy for when we launched it in June.

I have to tell you, best decision I ever made. I love talking to Kate and we keep each other on task. When school started, I felt so happy to have her on my side, filling in where we had gaps, pushing me to get something read and reviewed and just being an awesome blog partner. It was a bit hard to give up Bookworming, but it’s so much more fun to blog and easier as well.

Kate’s Side:

And... that is our history in a nutshell.

Basically, co-blogging was the best thing I have ever done. And I think Kristen will agree. Well, besides starting a blog in the first place.

Let’s start off with the facts. Having a blog is tough. Having more than one author for a blog can be a challenge. Blending our ideas together. (And contrary to belief, Kristen and I do not agree on everything. Heck, I wanna cheer sometimes when we agree on something.) Some give... some take. But at the end of the day, I could not ask for a better partner. She is there to give me a boost when I need it. And I am there to push her when she needs it.

The blog and our formula is always evolving. We have been together now for a few months, and things are still changing. That is part of the fun. Trying to get The Book Monsters exactly how we want it. To a place which we are both proud of. Are we there yet? Not quite. Will we ever be there... to that perfect balance? Probably not. But again, that is part of the fun. And we are having a blast!

Thanks so much for stopping by!  It's alwasy so wonderful to have both of you on the blog.  Don't forget to check out their new venture, The Book Monsters, if you haven't already.  It's shaping up very nicely!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Blogoversary Giveaway Extravaganza: Prize Preview #1

I was thinking about the upcoming Giveaway Extravaganza that will wrap up the blogoversary activities, and I realized something.  Although I told you how the giveaway will work, I haven't given you any idea of the prizes!  So over the next three days, I will be posting "prize previews" so that you can see all 30 prizes (aka auction lots) for the giveaway.

If you're new to the blog or the blogoversary, you can read all about the Giveaway Extravaganza here.  Basically, it will proceed like a silent auction and you earn points to "bid" with by completing challenges/tasks.  The breakdown of how you can earn points is on the details post, and also check out this post for links to all the additional active challenges.

As a reminder, everyone will need to register for the giveaway to win these prizes.  Registration opens early on October 2nd morning and auctions will start October 5th.  But enough of details, you want to see the prizes, right?

Lot #100: YA Mystery Box
Everyone loves a good mystery right? Well, here's one for you... what's in this box? This box includes a mix of YA books of all bindings, genres, release dates (recent and not so recent) and conditions (new and old). How many books will you get? Well, at least six, but beyond that, it's a mystery!

Lot #101: Recycled Book Purse
Okay, so it's not this exact book purse (I got this picture from Google images), but you get the idea. I just learned how to make these cool little bags out of recycled hardcover books. Aren't they cute? The inside is lined with fabric and creates the perfect little tote that will get lots of envious looks and compliments. As soon as I finish the one I'm working on, it will be offered to the winner of this lot.

Lot #102: Paranormal/Fantasy pack
Kind of a weird combination, and yet somehow they work together. The winner of this lot will get two gently used paperback books: a copy of Dragon's Bait by Vivian Vande Velde and a copy of Sunshine by Robin McKinley. Both stories were groundbreaking in that they re-imagined the creatures they are about long before such stories became popular (ie pre-Twilight vampires).

Lot #103: Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
Patricia C. Wrede has to be one of my all-time favorite authors. I really enjoy this series of hers. It's a little more grown-up than her Enchanted Forest books and is set in an alternate history version of Regency England where magic is common. This is the first book in the series, so you can fall in love it and continue on from there. This prize is a like new paperback copy.

Lot #104: Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter
Ally Carter is another one of my favorite authors. And although I enjoy Heist Society just a little bit more, I really do enjoy the Gallagher Girls series. Who wouldn't want to go to a private school for teenage girl spies? Sadly, this is the second book in the series, so you are responsible for getting your own hands on a copy of the first one. On the other hand, you'll be glad you have the next one right on hand after you finish it. This prize is a like new hardcover.

Lot #105: Goose Chase by Patrice Kindl
You know how I love retold fairy tales. This one, as you might have guessed from the title, is mostly a retelling of "The Goose Girl", but with a few other elements mixed in there and a lot of the author's own original stuff as well. This was one of my Young Adult Literature professor's favorite books, and it's a short and sweet read. This is a like new paperback copy.

Lot #106: Ghost set
This lot contains a set of two gently used paperback ghostly-themed books. This set includes The House Next Door by Richie Tankersley Cusick and Time Windows by Kathryn Reiss. If you've been wanting to stock on some books that are great reading for the upcoming Halloween holiday, these two will set the mood.

Lot #107: The Edge on the Sword by Rebecca Tingle
I really love historical fiction, and I think a lot of times it can be overlooked in YA lit. So I'm really exited to over this new paperback copy to you. This book goes wayyyy back in history, to the late 800s in Dark Ages England. Plus, it has a kick-but female heroine, which I always enjoy reading about, even if I have absolutely no idea how to pronounce her name (Æthelflæd).

Lot #108: Babymouse, Our Hero by Matt and Jennifer Holm
Can I say how much I love this graphic novel series? I was introduced to the Babymouse books after my first year serving on the graphic novel committee for the Cybils awards in 2006. Although written for tween readers, Babymouse's adventures are relate-able for all ages, and I love how she has frequent asides with the narrator. The later books also have lots of great pop culture references too, which makes them lots of fun to read. And did I mention they are completely printed in pink? Love it!

I saw this little hardcover book at the store the other day, and I just had to pick it up. I love little quote books like this, and it was about kids books, so how could you lose? It's got lots of great quotes from the classics (Alice in Wonderland, Roald Dahl, etc.) and some from some more recent books too, like Harry Potter. It's the perfect little book for those who like to be reminded that sometimes kids books are good to read. :)

And that concludes the prize preview for today. Look for the other 20 prizes to be released in the coming days, and don't forget to complete those challenges! There's only a few days left to do so...

Guest Post: Katie from Katie's Bookshelf

Today's guest post is a little bit different. Today's post comes from Katie of Katie's Book Blog. Rather than writing a post, Katie decided she wanted to interview me about this milestone. So here are Katie's questions and my corresponding answers. I hope you enjoy it!

What made you decide to start your blog?

Really, it was kind of a spur of the moment impulse thing. My first post was on September 1, 2006 which if I remember correctly, was the day I decided to start it. I was bored and looking for something to do on the day before the semester started that year, and it just kind of happened.

Did you always plan on it being about books?

Yes, it was always going to be about books. I had always loved sharing books I’d read with others, and I’d just started writing reviews about 6 months before that. Two girls I "knew" from a YA book forum stated they had just started their own blogs and I thought "hey, I could do that". The focus has changed a lot for me over the years, but it’s still mostly about book-related things.

What is your most memorable moment from your five years of blogging?

Ooh, that’s a hard one. I have to say one of my favorite things I’ve done is meeting some of my readers in person. There’s a family I know that lives close to me and we meet from time to time to exchange books and ideas. It’s the highlight of my year. :)

A close second would have to be when I had the chance to be interviewed by Barry from A Book and A Chat on his blog radio talk show. I had never done anything like that before, and I was super nervous, but it was lots of fun. There were some wonderful bloggers who got interviewed during that month, and I was very honored to be one of them.

What is your favorite thing about being a book blogger?

It used to be the ability to share books I love with other people. And while I still love doing that, blogging is also an outlet for me. I really have to blame my blog on why I chose the major I did in college. If it hadn’t been for what I’ve done in the past 5 years and the people I’ve met and the events I’ve participated in, I don’t know what direction I would have gone in.

But I also love hearing from other bloggers and people who read my blog. It’s nice to know that sometimes I’m not talking to just myself. That’s why I love hosting guest posts and events like the YA Bloggers Book Battle. It’s a great chance to get to know and network with other bloggers. There really are some amazing people out there, and I really look up to a lot of them.

Can you pick a favorite book that you have read since you started your blog? Or two or three? =)

Haha, probably not. I hate these kinds of questions, they are so hard to choose one or two favorites. Hmmm… narrowing it down a bit, one of my more recent (within the last year) favorites is Heist Society by Ally Carter. I just love that book, and I’ve reread it several times (Note to self, get hands on sequel!). I also have to say there are many graphic novels that I would count among my favorite books that I would have never even heard of/tried if it weren’t for my blog and my participation in the Cybils awards every year.

Do you think you will continue to review YA books for many years to come? And why YA?

I would hope so, although my reviews have been lacking lately (LOL). I expect to be reading YA for years to come at least. As far as why YA, that’s a good question. My brother likes to joke that my reading style never grew up. I started reading YA when children’s books felt too young to me, and the adult books were too “smutty” (for lack of a better word) for my taste. Since then I’ve never looked back.

I feel like a lot of adult books are so formulaic, and although that happens in YA too, I feel like a lot of YA authors are willing to push past conventions and try new things. Really, I’m a plot-driven person so I’ll try anything that sounds like it has an interesting plot. I also feel like a lot of adult books are driven on romance or are trying too hard to be “great literature” for my personal preference. I do find myself reading more and more adult books in the last year, so maybe my reading tastes are finally growing up. But I don’t think I will ever give up YA completely.

Last but not least, what do you have to say about your blog turning 5? Did you think it would make it that long?

Well, the first thing that comes to mind is has it really been 5 years? And in some ways it makes me feel kind of old. On the other hand, I’m extremely overwhelmed when I think of the experiences I’ve had through the blog over the years. I never in a million years would have expected this to go as long as it has, and obviously I’m still going strong. As far as whether it will make it another five years, who knows? A lot can happen between now and then. But I’m certainly committed to try for 10 years!

Thanks so much for being a part of the celebration Katie! You can check out her blog for more information about her. Meanwhile, the blogoversary is down to a little over a week. Are you sorry to see it go?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Blogoversary Challenge #9

I've been thinking a lot today about happy endings (hence the post earlier today).  And you know you can't think about happy endings without thinking about fairy tales.  So here is a totally random, unplanned, and impromptu blogoversary challenge! 

One of my favorite things in the world is retold/fractured fairy tales.  I love them, and I can't get enough.  So for this challenge, I want you to recreate a fairy tale/folktale.  It can be a story, a poem, whatever.  As long as it's based on a fairy tale/folktale of some kind.  Now, I know this takes a lot of creativity, so there are big bonus points at stake for this one!

Now I don't issue any challenge without completing it myself.  So yesterday I sat down and wrote this new version of "The Three Little Pigs" in about 20 minutes.  If you're interested, you'll find it at the very end of this post, after the form below. So be creative, put your thinking caps on, and get writing!  Depending on the entries, I may share some of them at the end of the blogoversary (along with the other good stuff we got going on). 

Challenge Details:
Points: +15 for your retold fairy tale, bonus +5 if your story is shared at the end of the celebration
Deadline: Midnight on October 2nd
How To Enter: Fill out the Google form below to enter. Remember, you can do a story or a poem (or anything else you can think of) but it must be original and completely yours. No plagiarizing, please. If you have problems with the form, you can also email me your entries at shadygladeATmailDOTcom.

The Three Little Pigs
(A Modernized Version)
By Alyssa

Once upon a time there were three little pigs. The time came for them to go out into the world and seek their fortunes. The first little pig decided to build his house of straw (he wasn’t a very smart pig), the second little pig built his house of sturdy wood (sticks aren’t so easy to find anymore), and the third little pig built his house of nice strong cement (bricks are so yesterday).

One day the big bad wolf happened upon the first pigs’ house. “Little pig, little pig, let me come in,” the wolf cried. The first little pig replied, “Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin!” So the wolf huffed and puffed, and huffed and puffed, and when nothing else happened, he took a blowtorch to the side of the little pig’s house.

Straw being very flammable stuff, the little straw house was immediately engulfed in flames. The first little pig managed to escape out of the back door, and ran with his little singed tale all the way to his brother’s house.

Before long, the big bad wolf followed his nose to the second pig’s house. He knocked on the door and said again, “Little pigs, little pigs, let me come in!” Now, the second pig was sure that his wood house was nice and strong, and so he shouted back, “Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin!”

So the wolf huffed and puffed, and huffed and puffed again, and nothing much happened (he was getting a little old after all). Well, the wolf was getting very hungry, and wasn’t about to let a couple of little pigs outsmart him with a wooden door. So the big bad wolf backed his truck through the door of the little wooden house.

Wood is nice and strong against wolves, but it just can’t stand up to a Hemi V8 engine. So as the little wooden house fell to splinters, the two little pigs just managed to escape through the back door and ran all the way to their brother’s house. (Why the wolf didn’t just chase them down in his truck, we’ll never know. Maybe he forgot his glasses that day and didn’t see them run through the gaping hole his truck left in the second little pig’s living room.)

Now, the third little pig was much smarter than his brothers. He had built his house of cement, knowing that he would be safe from big bad wolves. And although his brothers were somewhat stupid (who builds in flammable materials anyway?) they were still his brothers. So he let his scorched and splintery brothers into the door and that was the end of that.

Of course the big bad wolf wasn’t going to give up on his nice ham dinner now, so he eventually followed his nose to the third little pig’s house. He wearily knocked on the door, and in a tired voice he said, “Little pigs, little pigs, let me come in!” The third little pig could tell the wolf was getting tired, so he confidently said, “Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin!”

So although it hadn’t really worked before, the wolf huffed and puffed, and huffed and puffed, and huffed and puffed some more, trying to blow the cement house down. (It was tradition, after all). When that didn’t work, the wolf tried to burn the cement house with his blowtorch, but all that did was leave a few black marks on the door. Then the wolf tried backing his truck into the cement house. Unfortunately, all that did was smash in his bumper and ruin his suspension.

The smart thing for the wolf to do at this point would be to just give up. In fact, that’s exactly what the three little pigs expected to him to do. But this particular wolf, in addition to not being as young as he used to be, was rather henpecked by his lady wolf wife. So he was determined to come home with ham for dinner, no matter what.

After spending several minutes thinking about what he wanted to do, the wolf climbed onto the roof of the cement house, and walked over to the chimney, and threw a stick of dynamite into the cement house. The resulting explosion finally let the big bad wolf into the third little pig’s house. Unfortunately, both the wolf and the little pigs had been blown into too many smithereens to care.

Happily Ever After Please!

I was looking at reviews on Goodreads the other day for a book I recently read. I was really just skimming them to see what the average star ratings were, when something jumped out at me. One reviewer mentioned that they enjoyed the book, but the ending was wrapped up too neatly and was a little too happy.

That got me thinking. An ending can be too neat and happy? Granted, I realize real life isn’t that way, but from my fiction, I think I prefer happy endings. Most of my favorite books have happy endings, or at least a hint that someday it could be happy. I like having the girl end up with the right boy, the orphan finding a new family, the quest coming to a successful end. I like all the questions to be answered, all the foreshadowing to be revealed, and to get a good idea about where the characters are headed next. I don’t always need a sequel, but at least give me an idea of what will happen next.

Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why I like retold fairy tales so much. Even the retold ones usually have some sort of happy ending; we expect it from the genre. And on the other side, I’m not a fan of many contemporary books. Real life is hard enough for me to live, I don’t enjoy reading about all the pain and anguish everyone else is going through. Some people like those kind of books because they can relate to the experiences the characters are going through. Me, I’m more of an “escape from reality” reader.
So yeah, sometimes a happy ending isn’t realistic. But I’ll take neat and happy over heartbroken or cliffhanger any day.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Blogoversary Challenge #8

As promised, here is the second blogoversary challenge of the day. Have you been keeping up? There's only a few more days to complete them...

Today's challenge partly comes from an idea submitted by Lieder Madchen, and partly from something I saw in a forum a few weeks ago. I call it Titles in Other Words. The idea is to create a new title for a book using alternate language. Here's two great examples I found on this Scholastic blog. Can you guess what books they are?
1. The Starving Contests
2. Harold Planter and the Two Quarters Hemoglobin Royalty

Did you get them? How about these from another site:
3. Exaggerated self-esteem and bigotry
4. Derivative of Adelaide's encountering of danger within imaginary land replete with marvels

Give up? The answers are The Hunger Games, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Pride and Prejudice, and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

You get the idea. So get creative and recreate those book titles! You can submit up to 5. If I get enough responses, I'll have a little quiz at the end of the blogoversary and you can guess the best ones for even more bonus points.

There are only two rules:
1.  They must be book titles and
2.  I know you can Google these, so PLEASE come up with your own.  No cheating!
(Young adult books or classics are preferred, but that isn't a requirement)

Challenge Details:
Points: +2 for each title, up to 10 points. Bonus +3 if one (or more) of your titles is chosen to share for the quiz
Deadline: Midnight on October 2nd
How To Enter: Fill out the Google form below to enter. You can submit up to 5 entires, and make sure you include what the answer is.  If you have problems with the form, you can also email me your entries at shadygladeATmailDOTcom.

Blogoversary Challenge #7

Oops!  I meant to post this challenge and completely forgot apparently.  So you'll get 2 challenges today, one now and one later on! 

There was a great response to Eleni's guest post on how reading has changed her life.  This has caused my own reflections over the past few days, and inspired the idea for this challenge.  So here's what you need to do. 

I want you to share a favorite reading memory.  Maybe you remember the first time you discovered you enjoyed reading.  Maybe it's about a book that particularly excited or touched you.  Maybe you remember going to the library for preschool storytime or a family member reading to you as a child. 

To jump start your ideas, here's one of my fond reading memories:

I don't really remember when I decided I loved reading.  But I can remember when my reading habits took off.  You remember those Scholastic book orders you used to get in school?  Some of them had subscription-type clubs on the back page, where you could sign up to have a book(s) with some sort of theme sent to you every month.  When I was in 2nd grade, my mom signed me up for the Boxcar Children club.  I'd get 3 books a month, along with a newsletter of related acitivities like how to make your own peanut butter, etc.  And I never touched them.  So by the 5th month, she cancelled the subscription, saying she was sick of paying for books I never read.  So all 15 books just stayed on my shelf, sitting there unread. 

About a year later, one night I decided to pick up the first book on a whim.  It took me 5 months to get through the first 3 books in the series, but I was determined to finish them.  By the time I started the 4th book, I was starting to really get into these books.  By the time I was reading the 7th one, I would start the book when I went to bed, and stay up late into the night (without my parents knowing) so I could finish the book and solve the mystery.  It was wonderful, and I've considered myself a bookworm ever since. 

So what's your favorite reading memory?  I'll post some of your memories later on in the blogoversary, so we can all share and celebrate our love for reading and books.  :)
Challenge Details:
Points: +5 for sharing your memory with us
Deadline: Midnight on October 2nd
How To Enter: Fill out the Google form below to enter. If you have problems with the form, you can also email me your entries at shadygladeATmailDOTcom.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Book Trading: A Favorite Thing

A series of posts about my favorite book-related things would be incomplete without a mention of one of my favorite things to do with books online: trading. The idea is simple. You post books you are done with or no longer want online. Those books can be requested by other members of the site, and when you send books out you have the opportunity to request new books that you do want in return.

I’ve participated in many book trading websites over the past 5 years, and I have to say that when all is said and done, is probably my favorite. There are pros and cons to just about every trading site out there, and Paperbackswap (PBS) is certainly not perfect, but I have to say I think it has the best combination of good and bad. So here is a list of my favorite things about this website.

Free credits – Every member who signs up and posts 10 books on their account gets 2 startup credits. So you can request 2 books right away without having to wait to send anything out. And, if you decide the site isn’t for you later on after sending a few books, you can always close your account and walk away.

Wish List – Out of all the wish list features on sites I’ve done, this one is probably the fairest. Everything is done First In, First Out. So the first person to put a book on their list is the first one given the opportunity to get that book when it’s posted. Granted, sometimes it’s hard to be patient, especially when it’s a book I’m excited about. But people can post books directly to a personal wish list too, so sometimes someone takes pity on me and offers a book on my list.

The Forums – Specifically the Wish List Multiples thread. All the forums are great, but this particular thread is awesome, both for book senders, and book wishers. If you have a lot of wish list books and want to save on postage by sending them all to one person, you can post them there and have people request multiple books from you. On the flip side, this is one of the ways you have get a book posted directly to your wish list, which is always a fun thing.

Credits – I’ve done trade sites that are based on points as well as direct trade systems. I like PBS’s system. 1 credit per book, 2 credits for audiobooks. Yeah, sometimes it sucks to pay the postage to send out a heavy hardcover book and spend that credit on a light paperback in return. But I figure I order plenty of hardbacks from other members too, so it all evens out in the end.

Swapping Criteria – PBS is one of the few sites I know of that has “swapping criteria”. This means that books must meet basic rules to be swapped there. Rather than mess with condition notes, it is expected for all books posted to swap will meet the criteria. So I can order books knowing that they shouldn’t have water damage, writing/highlighting, etc. and avoid the whole “buyer beware” problem.

Tour Guides – Maybe I’m a little biased with this feature, since I am a Tour Guide. But I think the Live Help feature is great. Emailing a site admin can sometimes take days for a response, and if it’s just a little question sometimes it isn’t worth the hassle. But you can use the Live Help feature to ask a Tour Guide, and oftentimes they can solve the problem/question for you within an hour. A Tour Guide is assigned to all new members, so if you have questions about how things work at the beginning they can help a lot with that. I had a great tour guide when I signed up, and it made me want to become one myself a few years later. And I love helping other members.

Okay, so this post has gotten long, so I’ll stop gushing and wrap up. Bottom line is, if you haven’t tried trading, give it a try. Whether it’s through a site like PBS, Goodreads bookswap, or just interacting with your online friends, or whatever, it’s lots of fun. Just be aware that your To Be Read pile will probably grow by leaps and bounds!

Also, FYI, for anyone who wants to join PBS, or is already a member, check out today’s Blogoversary challenge!

Blogoversary Challenge #6

Going along with today's post about the book trading website (PBS), I'm hosting a new blogoversary challenge for those who want to sign up. The main reason for this is that one of the prizes I am giving away at the end of the celebration will be specific to people who have signed up for Paperbackswap, and I'm trying to guage how wide my audience is. So I get a better idea of numbers, you get extra points, it's a win-win situation. And the site is a great way to share books you're done reading with people who'd like the chance to read them, and get new books yourself.

This challenge is open to both new and old members of

Challenge Details:
Points: +3 for completing this challenge
Deadline: Midnight on October 3rd
How To Enter: If you are new to PBS - Sign up to create your account, and use my username Greycat133 as your referral when you sign up. This means your name will show up in my account and record that you completed this challenge.

If you are already a PBS member - You can also earn points for this challenge if you have a PBS profile. Send me an email at shadygladeATmailDOTcom and send me a link to your profile. If you don't have a PBS profile, then you can also sign up for one.

If you have any questions, or any trouble, feel free to email or comment. Good luck!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Blogoversary Guest Post: Natalie from Mindful Musings

We've got something a little bit different for you all today. Natalie from Mindful Musings is here to our blogoversary guest post today. I pretty much gave everyone free reign when choosing a topic, and Natalie is here to discuss a topic that is near to her heart. All of you who have your own book blogs (especially if you're just starting out) will want to pay attention to this, since Natalie is here to talk about Blogger Relations. So take it away Natalie!

On Blogging and Blogger Relations

How do I get people to follow and comment on my blog?

I’ve been asked that question more times than I can count, and there’s a reason for it. Very few of us blog solely because we like to see our words on the screen. Usually, we blog because we have a passion about something (in this case, books), and we want to share that passion with other people. Half the fun of blogging is getting comments and opinions from other people. However, getting those comments can be kind of tricky, especially if you’re new to the blogosphere.

First of all, I like to view blogging as a conversation. It isn’t just made up of post after post after post that have absolutely no relation to one another. It’s like one giant discussion that people are constantly joining in on. But what’s the best way to get people to come have that discussion on YOUR blog? Well, you have to give a little to get a little, guys. Before people are going to come and visit you, you have to put yourself out there. Every successful blog I know of has good relationships with at least a few other bloggers. Just like in the job market, a little networking can go a long way.

Perhaps the easiest and most important aspect of blog networking is commenting on other blogs. However, there are some things to avoid when you start leaving comments on other people’s blogs. First, there’s the obvious: don’t be rude or disrespectful. That’s the quickest way to be ignored in the blogosphere. Just like in real life, no one wants to talk to you if you’re a jerk. It’s okay to disagree with something, but make sure you voice your opinion in a respectful manner. Second, make sure you leave meaningful comments. If you’ve been going around writing “Great review” or “I’ll have to check this out” on every review, there’s a good chance people aren’t going to go check out your blog. Why? Because you didn’t put much effort into checking out theirs. Leave a comment that shows that you actually read the post and thought about it. I can tell you from personal experience that meaningful comments make my day, and I’m MUCH more likely to go check out a blogger if they show me that they took some time to read what I have to say.

Once you’ve established a few relationships with other bloggers, you’ll see how much more fun blogging can be. Being able to interact with people who love to talk about the same things you do is rewarding enough in itself, but I think you’ll also find that you can learn something new from them. This post is just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re interested in learning more about the subject, I’d personally recommend checking out Parajunkee’s feature, Book Blogging 101. There are tons of other articles out there on how to make your blog successful and how to interact with other bloggers. All you have to do is look!

Congratulations to Alyssa for hitting her five-year milestone! Thanks for letting me be a part of your celebration!

Wonderful advice Natalie, even for those of us who have been blogging awhile. :) Thanks for stopping by! Make sure you check out Natalie's blog too, you'll find all sorts of great reviews and features over there, including the Best Blogger awards at the end of the year.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My Brother's Favorites, Or... My Blog Goes Geek

So I suppose today's post requires a little bit of an explanation.  I was lamenting to my brother about having to prepare for the lesson I'm teaching tomorrow and how I expected it to keep me away from the blog most of the day.  And then it hit me.  In the interest of the blogoversary theme of "my favorite things" I could do a post about my brother and some of his favorites.  And one of the things he really loves is random YouTube videos.  So here today, we have some of the most random videos I could think of to share.

So one of the things my brother is really into these days is a video game called Portal 2.  If you haven't heard of it before, you can check out this wikipedia article (or not, it doesn't really matter).

Anyway, in the game there is this robot/machine thing that's called the Space Core.  And it, predictably, is obsessed with space.  So randomly on YouTube one day, my brother showed me this video, where someone has taken all the Space Core's phrases and combined them with some animation of Pinky Pie from My Little Pony.  It's pretty funny, even if you aren't familiar with either source:

In this video game, there's also a character called Cave Johnson (he is the founder of a the company where the game takes place).  At one point he starts to a little crazy, and it leads to a rant about lemons.  Someone made a video of it, so here it is to share with all of you:

And now salvage any semblance of book-relatedness this post has...

I know I've posted about How It Should Have before, but one of their newest videos is about Harry Potter. So if you're a fan of the books (or the movies) check this one out. The best part is the last few seconds after the credits. :)

And with that, I'm off to go work on my lesson again. We will return you to your regular book-related posts soon.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Guest Post: Eleni from La Femme Readers

I'm very excited today to host Eleni from La Femme Readers for my blogoversary guest post today.  She is always busy with her blog, so I was so excited she had an oppertunity to take time away from her busy schedule!  She's here to share a topic that's near and dear to her heart, so take it away Eleni!

How Young Adult Books Changed My Life
by Eleni from La Femme Readers:

Books are my escape. Without them, I'd obviously live on, but I'm sure I would feel some type of void somewhere in my self consious. I started reading about three years ago, thanks to the Twilight series. Since then, I've been an avid reader and book collector. It's crazy how many books I own now, I could probably start a library.

Reading for me cured all occuring stresses and brought comfort to me. Whenever I'm having a bad day, I curl up with a good book and get lost in the author's world. There I experience pure serenity within myself, it not only stimulates my brain but it also relaxes it as well. Some people who aren't book lovers, such as my husband, don't understand why bookworms love reading so much. It's a shame they can't use their imagination the way we do. But, as long as I love it, I don't care what others think.

All in all, reading has changed my life for the better. I want to thank all the authors of the world who take the time out to bring us amazing stories. They are the reason for my bookworm title, so I appreciate them wholeheartedly.

Thank you Alyssa for including me as a guest post on your great blog. Congrats again on your blogging milestone, I wish you many more!

Thanks so much for coming Eleni!  I totally feel the same way you do.  Without books my life would feel very... empty.  If you'd like to read more from Eleni, check her out at La Femme Readers

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Blogoversary Challenge #5

Today's blogoversary challenge is a great way to earn some extra points by doing something that's really easy.  When I asked Ashley if she had any suggestions for a challenge to go with her guest post, she had told me she was always surprised by the amount of book bloggers who don't use the library.

I agree that libraries can be great tools (for bloggers or any reader) so your challenge today is to use your local library! Sign up for a library card if you don't have one, and if you do, go down to your library and find something you haven't read before (try something new!). 

Challenge Details:
Points: +3 for completing this challenge
Deadline: You have one week to complete this challenge.  Visit your library before Sep 27
How To Enter:  This one is on your honor.  If you'd like, feel free to share your library finds in the comments below. 

Blogoversary Guest Post: Ashley from Book Labyrinth

Today I'm very happy to have Ashley from Book Labyrinth as my guest here at The Shady Glade. Ashley's been a frequent visitor to the blog, most recently as one of our judges for the 2011 YA Bloggers Book Battle. Ashley wanted to write a post about her favorite books discovered through blogging. So take it away Ashley!

Hi everyone! I’m Ashley and I run Book Labyrinth. Thank you so much for having me today, Alyssa! Many congratulations to you on your 5 years of blogging, which is such an incredible milestone!

Since I started blogging about a year ago I’ve read and reviewed a lot of amazing books. Some of these amazing books are so amazing to me because: without blogging? I probably never would have picked them up. Some of this has to do with the books being outside my preferred genre, some to do with personal bias, and some just wouldn’t have been on my radar.

Without further ado, here are...

The Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine:
I am not a fan of vampires. Seriously, not a fan. But I kept seeing good reviews for these books, and by this point I had already really enjoyed another vampire series (see below), so I figured I would give them a try. Wow, what can I say? These books are so addictive, and I totally fell in love with the residents of the Glass House and the whole crazy town of Morganville.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman:
I never used to read any books that I thought might be sad. I still prefer a HEA over anything else, but blogging has taught me to widen my reading horizons. As long as a book has some sort of hope to it, I can now appreciate some beautifully written books that are also heartbreaking. I’m so glad I read ‘If I Stay’ and its sequel, ‘Where She Went’.

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta:
This is such a gorgeous book, and before blogging I definitely overlooked it. It sounded incredibly serious and a bit difficult, so I looked right past it. After seeing so many positive reviews on blogs I had to check it out, and I am beyond thankful I did. Jellicoe is now one of my favourite books of all time, and I’ve read (and loved) almost all of Melina Marchetta’s other works as well.

Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead:
See above, re: vampires. Plus I mocked these books for so long because of their truly terrible covers. However when ‘Last Sacrifice’ came out so many people were going insane over them I figured I had to check out these books. Well, they were definitely worth reading. I adore Rose so much, and pretty much fell in love with all the Vampire Academy characters.

Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park:
Before blogging I never would have picked up a self-published novel. I actually didn’t really know much about them. I had read Jessica’s previous YA novel, so I jumped at the chance to read and review an eARC of “Flat-Out Love”. It’s definitely one of my favourite books of the year (I even organized a blog tour for it), and I would have missed out on it if it weren’t for blogging and accepting eBooks for review.

Secret Society Girl series by Diana Peterfreund:
Of any of the books I've listed these are probably the ones I would have read without blogging. Contemp books are where my heart is, I adore secret society books and movies, and I love to read about college aged protagonists. However, before blogging I had never heard of these. It took a couple of reviews to put them on my radar, and I ended up seriously enjoying them. These books? Deliciously fun. I described them to my friend as “the college/sexy version of The Gallagher Girls mixed with The Skulls.” ... Right? So, so good. Plus I totally have a new book boyfriend on my list because of them.

Isn’t it amazing how you can discover new favourite reads through reading blogs? What books have you discovered and fell in love with since blogging? I’d love to hear about them!

Thanks for a great guest post Ashley! Hopefully everyone has found some new books you might love too. :) Ashley has also contributed a challenge to the blogoversary, so keep an eye out for that later today. 

About Ashley:
My love of reading was pretty much an inevitability, as my parents read to me even before I was born. I have a real passion for YA literature which developed in my teen years and still continues on strong. Besides reading a good book, I love watching TV and keeping up with pop culture news (Entertainment Weekly, anyone?). I started Book Labyrinth in August 2010 to share my love of reading and to connect with other YA readers and book bloggers.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Blogoversary Challenge #4

In honor of International Talk Like a Pirate Day, we're having a pirate challenge! In the vein of today's post, tell me about your favorite pirate books. They can be about pirates, involve pirate characters, etc.

Submit as many ideas as you want. Share your "pirate name" with us to earn a bonus point. Make something up and be creative. :) Some of these will be added to the list that went up later today to share with other pirate-enthusiast readers.

Challenge Details:
Points: +3 for submitting at least one idea, +2 for sharing your pirate name
Deadline: Submit ideas before midnight on September 22nd
How To Enter:  Submit your ideas using the Google form below, or email to me at shadygladeATmailDOTcom


Ahoy there mateys!  Today be September 19th, also known as International Talk Like A Pirate Day!  This be Anne Calicocash (no really, that's my pirate name) here to share all sorts of pirate-y books with ye in honor of the day.  Okay, so I don't think I can keep this up the whole time, but in all seriousness, here's some pirate books (or books with pirates in them) for you landlubbers to check out.  Yarrr!

Grandma and the Pirates by Phoebe Gilman
When I was in grade school this was one of my favorite books.  Melissa and her grandmother get kidnapped by pirates when the hungry band goes after Grandma's noodle pudding.  I had one of those "book on tape" recordings that came with the book and loved listening to this one over and over.  Plus, I think some of the attraction  was that the girl's name was Melissa, since growing up it was hard to find books with characters named Alyssa.  Melissa was about as close as I could get. 

Lives of the Pirates: Swashbucklers, Scoundrels (Neighbors Beware!) by Kathleen Krull
I read this one not too long ago for a review from a local publication.  Apparently there's a whole series of "lives of" books by this author, but this was my first one.  I have to say I'm usually not big on biographies, but I really enjoyed this one.  There were a lot of interesting information and some fun facts too.  Plus the illustrations were completely unique too.  A quick read to check out if you're more interested on the factual side of things. 

Inside the Walls of Troy by Clemence McLaren
Okay, so this one probably has your eyebrows raised.  How is Greek mythology related to pirates?  Well, the book actually starts off way before the Trojan war, when Helen of Sparta is kidnapped by a group of pirates and held for ransom.  I first read this in the 5th grade, and it was probably one of the first novels I read that has pirates in it.  So despite the random connection, it still makes my pirate list. 

Tris's Book by Tamora Pierce
I would be remiss if I had a pirate post and didn't mention Tris's Book from the Circle of Magic series.  The pirate attack on Winding Circle temple is the main conflict of this book, after all.  And these are definitely the bad kind of pirates.  You know, the ones you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley late at night. 

Bloody Jack by LA Meyer
Another book no pirate list would be complete without.  This one also recently won the Best Main Character award from our Book Battle Reader's Choice Awards.  And while Jacky is not technically a pirate per se, there's plenty of seafaring adventure as she encounters plenty of pirates. 

And one more book for you.  Anyone recognize this:

Psst! Avast there! It be too late to alter course, mateys. And there be plundering pirates lurkin' in ev'ry cove, waitin' to board. Sit closer together and keep your ruddy hands in board. That be the best way to repel boarders. And mark well me words, mateys: Dead men tell no tales! Ye come seekin' adventure with salty old pirates, eh? Sure you've come to the proper place. But keep a weather eye open mates, and hold on tight. With both hands, if you please. Thar be squalls ahead, and Davy Jones waiting for them what don't obey.

If you're a Disney nut like me, then you probably do.  This is the message given by the skull and crossbones at the Disneyland version of Pirates of the Carribbean.  Which brings me to:
Pirates of the Caribbean: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies by Jason Surrell
I love behind the scenes books.  And this one is one of my favorites.  From initial idea to construction to differences between the Disney parks to the Pirates movies, this book covers it all.  It's a great book for those of you who like random Disney facts and Jason Surrell does an excellent job in the writing as well.  I ate this one up.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Blogoversary Challenge #3

I hope you're all ready to get your creative juices flowing, since this challenge requires a thinking cap!

I'm a bit of a cover art junkie.  I'm one of those people who considers repurchasing a book when it's released with new cover art just to have the pretty new cover (its one of the reasons why I have multiple copies of Pride and Prejudice). 

So in being a cover art enthusiast, I really notice when a cover doesn't hit the spot.  Take this one for example.  It's nice, and this is one of my favorite series so I like it for that reason.  But there's just something off about it.  It's just not as great as the old covers for this series (which is unusual for me, because I tend to like updated covers much better than the old ones). 

So I decided to do my own version a little over a year ago:


Your challenge for today, should you choose to accept it, is to redesign a cover that you think could have been done better.  It has to be a book that is already out and available (no pre-release titles), but other than that, it can be any book.  Since this challenge requires more time and effort,  you will get a lot more points for completing it.  I'll be selecting a few of the entries to share at the end of the month, and you will get bonus points if your cover is one of the ones selected. 

Challenge Details:
Points: +15 points for submitting a cover (that's a lot of points up for grabs).  If your cover is chosen to highlight at the end of the month, then you will also get +5 for being selected. 
Deadline: Covers must be submitted by October 1st at midnight Pacific Time.
How To Enter:  Email your entries to shadygladeATmailDOTcom with the subject line "Cover Contest".  You can either email the picture as an attachment, or post the cover on your blog, photobucket, flickr, etc. and send me a link.  Whatever works for you.

Questions?  As always feel free to ask!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Blogoversary Challenge Roundup

Okay, I promise this should be the last roundup post (I think) for the blogoversary.  Here you will find links to all the Blogoversary challenges.  Each challenge you complete will earn you extra points for the 5th Blogoversary Giveaway Extravaganza.  If you haven't done so already, make sure you check out the details on how it will work at the contest post.  Otherwise, keep checking back with this post to see all the challenges you can complete for extra points.

Active Challenges:
Blogoversary Reading Challenges (+1 per book)
Submit A Review of an Overlooked Book (+1 per review, max 5 points)
Recreate a Book Cover (+15, possible bonus +5) Challenge (+3)
Share a Reading Memory (+5)
Book Titles In Other Words (+2 per entry, max 10 points)
Retell a Fairy Tale (+20, possible bonus +5)
Write a haiku poem about your favorite 2011 book (+3 per entry, max 9 points)
Join the Tamora Pierce Reading Challenge (+5, +2 bonus for spreading the word)
Nominate a book for the 2011 Cybils Awards (+1 per nomination, up to 10 points possible)

Blogoversary Challenge #2

Ready to earn more points for the 5th Blogoversary Giveaway?  Today's challenge comes from our guest poster from yesterday, Erica from The Book Cellar.

Erica's suggestion is very easy, so this is a great way to rack up points.  In the vein of our newly completed 2011 YA Bloggers Book Battle, to complete this challenge you must submit an online review of a book you think deserves more attention.  It can be on a blog,, barnes and noble, a forum, goodreads, librarything, shelfari, etc.  Anywhere you want, as long as it can be seen by other readers.

Challenge Details:
Points: +1 per review, up to 5 points (feel free to post more than 5 reviews, but you only get credit for the first 5 :)
Deadline: You have two weeks to complete this challenge.  Reviews must be submitted by October 1st.
How To Enter:  Leave a link to each review you post in the comments on this post, or email me your links at shadygladeATmailDOTcom

Friday, September 16, 2011

Blogoversary Guest Post: Erica from The Book Cellar

Today I'm happy to host our very first blogoversary guest post.  As future reference during this month, I will be posting in green for guest posts, and everthing in black is written by our guest poster.  Just so you know what's from me (Alyssa) and what's not.  Confusing, I know.  :)

Today's post is from Erica at The Book Cellar blog. (Isn't her blog button adorable?)  She chose to write about one of her favorite things, historical fiction reads.  I love historical fiction, and I think it's very overlooked in YA books, so I'm super excited about this post.  Some of these are fairly recent releases too, so if you like historical fiction too, maybe you'll find something you haven't heard of yet.  I've provided links to Goodreads so you can click through to read the plot synopsis if needed. So without further ado, take it away Erica. 

I want to wish Alyssa a huge congrats for five years of being super fabulous and running The Shady Glade, because it’s awesome! [Aww, thank you Erica!  *blush*]  I decided to write about my favorite historical fiction reads, as historical fiction is one of my favorite things to read ever!

The Explosionist by Jenny Davidson
This book is just cool. I love the concept and I love the writing. The characters were all so great, and I loved venturing through the story with them.

The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray (first one is A Great and Terrible Beauty)
So this trilogy definitely mixes historical and fantasy, what more can you ask for? That alone is enough to make it full of win, but Libba Bray fills the pages with beautiful script and witty characters that you just can’t help but to love.

The Near Witch by Victoria SchwabThis book was pure love. I had no idea it had a historical element until I started reading, and it is just beautiful. Everything about The Near Witch is beautiful from its writing, the scenery, COLE, and so much more.

I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend by Cora Harrison
This book was so great – I am already obsessed with Jane Austen so I was very excited to read this one. There was a TON of characters in this one, so many that I did get a bit confused from time to time, but other than that this one is a #1 read.

Daughter of Xanadu by Dori Jones Yang
I definitely was not sure if I would like this one, I had NO idea about the time period this one was written in or its people. I found this great tale with a strong female main character.

Everlasting by Angie Frazier
I loved the idea of this book, I waited and waited for it and once I got it I absolutely loved it. I loved Camille as a main character right away, as she was strong and intelligent. Then shortly after, I totally fell for Oscar, and then the plot was just amazing too!

Fateful by Claudia Gray
This book had a slower start, but wowza was it a good read, so definitely don’t let that fool ya! Tess was super spunky, and I loved that. She just had an edge about her, and it was admirable. The plot was so intriguing, and Claudia Gray pulls it off quite well.

Bewitching Season by Marissa Doyle
This book is historical and has witches – which is absolutely lovely. I fell for the charming story and its witty characters.

Thanks Erica for sharing some of your favorites with us.  I agree with quite a few on this list, and I've got some new favorites to try out too. 

Erica blogs at the YA Book Blog, The Book Cellar. When she is not reading, you can find her singing, dancing, or on stage in whatever show the local theater is currently doing. She is currently a freshmen in college where she is studying science education.

Blogoversary Reading Challenges

Ready to win some more points for the prize auctions at the end of the month?  Well, here's your chance.  Your second challenge is... the Blogoversary Reading Challenge!

Throughout this month there will be a series of book lists posted (guest posts, announcements, etc.).  You will get points for every book on these lists you read during this month.  Easy, right? 

I'll be collecting links from the various eligible posts here, so keep checking back to see which books are eligible. 

Challenge Details:
Points: +1 per book read
Deadline: September 30th. 
How To Enter:  One point for every book on the above linked list (updated throughout the month) you read during the month of September.  Rereads count, but they must be read IN SEPTEMBER.  Keep track of what you read, you will be asked to tally up during the prize registration on October 1st.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Book Battle: Round 2 Series 5 WINNER!

Well, here it is battle fans. The moment you've been waiting for. It's time to announce the winner of the 2011 YA Bloggers Book Battle. If you haven't had a chance to yet, take a peek at the Reader's Choice Awards. And then proceed to see who wins.

Bracket 24:
Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper VS. StarCrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce
Judged by Emily from What Book Is That? and Amber of Amber's Teen Reads


After several months, lots of intense rounds of judging, it's come to the final bracket. An undefeated contest comes up against a highly acclaimed book that was eliminated early, but was granted a new chance at the winning spot in Series 4. So which book would win?

It certainly wasn't an easy a choice. Judge Emily had this to say about the two contenders:
"This was a tough choice, as in my opinion both books were excellent in their own ways. They're from two totally different genres- one is a realistic contemporary narrated by a young girl with cerebral palsy, and one is a fantasy adventure, narrated by a sneak-thief with magical abilities."
Judge Amber had this to add:
"In StarCrossed, Elizabeth C. Bunce created a whole world around the suppression of magic, sneak thieves and mayhem. Bunce created a world where silver jewelry can help hide magical powers from those who want to squash magic. She created a character named Digger who had to stop trying to hide and not take sides in the war against magic and determine where she stood.

While in Out of My Mind, Sharon M. Draper urged us to look beyond what we see to the person inside others. We met a girl named Melody who has Cerebral Palsy and is seemingly locked inside her own mind. With the help of an amazing aide, a neighbor and her parents, Melody receives the tools she needs to show everyone she is brighter than anyone gave her credit for."
So do you think you know who the winner is? Scroll down to see the answer:




little farther

almost there

one more

The winner of the 2011 YA Bloggers Book Battle is...

...Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper!

And with that, we've concluded the battle for another year. Phew! This year was twice as big (and twice as much work) so hopefully you had twice as much fun! Look for a roundup of all the posts coming the next few days so you can catch up if you missed anything.

Thank you to all of our excellent judges. And don't forget to click through the links to read all the judge's posts. They go into a lot more detail than I do!