Friday, August 03, 2012

Where I Have Been

So I wanted to pop in really quick and give everyone a quick update on my status.  You may have noticed I haven't been around a lot lately.  Unfortunately like in December, my health has suddenly taken a dive.  I've also had a greatly increased level of stress at work due to a new computer system we're trying to get up and running.  With the medical problems and the job issues I've been so, so tired the past few weeks.  Something had to give, and as the blog does not pay my bills, and it doesn't keep my heart pumping, and lungs breathing, it was the thing that had to go. 

The good news is, I'm slowly recovering.  My goal is to ease back into things over the next few weeks, so I hope you can all be patient with me while that happens. 

In the meantime, for those of you who are wondering about the book battle.  Don't worry, it's still happening.  Round 2 is still coming up.  I'm hoping to be able to set things up in the next week or two, and get everything rescheduled and ready to go.  So if you're one of the Round 2 judges, look for an email with updates from me coming soon. 

Thanks for sticking with me through all of this.  Life is full of it's little ups and downs, isn't it?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sync Week 4: Anna Dressed in Blood

Sorry for the short notice about this, but I wanted to make sure I posted about it so you don't miss this awesome opportunity!

This week's theme for Sync's free audiobook downloads is "women dressed in white".  The classic title is The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, which is cool, but the really cool part is the contemporary YA title: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake! This is one of the most popular books they've had available so far, and it's only available through July 11th. So make sure you grab it while you can!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sync Audiobooks Week 3

I hope those of you who like audiobooks are keeping on top of the Sync offerings this summer.  I'm pleased to announce that this weekend there is yet another set of books (a modern YA and a classic pairing) that you can download for free.

Week 3's theme is "Be Careful What You Wish For" with an opportunity to download The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud and Tales from the Arabian Nights by Andrew Lang.  As always, you can snag these by going to sync's website before July 4th.

Friday, June 29, 2012

How do you feel about eBooks?

We interrupt the (somewhat sparce) Book Battle coverage today to bring up one of my new favorite things to talk about: eBooks.

I'm looking to get back into doing reviews again since I've been so lax about it over the past year or so.  And in going through books I've read organizing things, I realize that several of them are eBooks.  I got a Kindle for my birthday last year, so I've been picking up cheap eBooks and freebies over the last year doing that.

For those of you who don't know, Kindle also offers a lending program, where you can loan an ebook to someone with a Kindle (or Kindle app on their table, phone, or PC) for 2 weeks.  It's like borrowing a book from the library, only you can't renew it.

So my question is, would you, my readers, be interested in a highlight of the ebooks I have to lend?  Otherwise some of them once I'm done will just get deleted, but if anyone out there might be interested in borrowing them instead, I might keep them around.

Let me know what you all think.  Perhaps a new feature will be coming to The Shady Glade soon...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sync Audiobooks Week 2

So I posted last week about the awesomness that is Sync, a website that is giving away free audiobooks all summer.

Week 2 is now upon us.  Apparently this week's theme is sisters, with the offerings being Francisco X. Stork's book Irises and the wonderful Jane Austen classic Sense and Sensibility (not as good as Pride and Prejudice, but still one of my favorites!).

These will be available until June 27th, so grab them now while you can!

Meanwhile, we're getting really close to seeing some action for the Blog Battle.  Round 1 is almost over, and that's when things really get started.  :)  So keep an eye out for that coming soon...

Friday, June 15, 2012

FREE Sync YA Audiobooks

Hey readers!

I know I've been absent a lot lately (much organization going on behind the scenes for the battle!), but I had to pop in really quick and share this with all of you.

One of my favorite things is to listen to audiobooks while I'm doing chores or in the car.  I just download them to my iPod and take them with me wherever I go.  My library even has a program (through OverDrive) that allows me to borrow audiobooks for my iPod from the library.  Cuz let's face it, audiobooks are expensive!

Which is why I'm so excited about this.  Sync YA is hosting a free download every week this summer.  The idea is not only to introduce new readers to audiobooks, but also to share some great books.  Every week they will bring a new YA audiobook to the site that you can download for free for that week only.  And they've even paired each book with a classic.  So it's a great way to get some of those required summer reading books too.  Did I mention it was FREE?  No catches, no gimmicks. I tried it myself; it really is free. What could be better than free books?

This week's title is the dyspotian book The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch from Scholastic Audio paired up with John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath.  These will be replaced with a new pairing on 6/21, so you'll want to download both while you still can.

If you're looking ahead, they've posted the schedule of books that will be available for the rest of the summer as well.  There's some great new recent reads out there including Anna Dressed in Blood, Cleopatra's Moon, and Daughter of Smoke and Bone.  Check it out!

Saturday, June 02, 2012

2012 Book Battle Long List

Phew!  I'm finally done sorting through the nominations and notifying our judges, which means I can now post the long list for the battle!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who nominated a title!  Without your suggestions we wouldn't be able to have a battle.  We did have a few nominations who got filtered out as duplicates or because they didn't fit the parameters of this battle.  So if anyone doesn't see their nomination and would like to know why, please send me an email and ask.

There were 71 (!) nominations this year, way more than I thought we would have in such a small(ish) category.  This compares to about 80 nominations last year just to give you an idea of the scope of these nominations.  And the funny thing is, there are even more fairy tale retellings that weren't nominated and so didn't make the list!  It's a good time to be a fairy tale fan apparently.  :) Our long list has a nice mix of the expected fairy tale and Greek myths, but also has some surprises like Navajo and Polynesian legends.

Now with the release of this list, our Round 1 judges will get busy reading, reading, reading, and more reading over the next month to determine which of these books will make the short list and move onto the brackets.  71 books in, only 16 out...

The battle is on!

2012 Battle Nomination Long List
A Curse Dark As Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce
A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
Abandon by Meg Cabot
Avalon High by Meg Cabot
Beastly by Alex Flinn
Between Two Ends by David Ward
Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
Bound by Donna Jo Napoli
Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
Cindy Ella by Robin Palmer
Cloaked by Alex Flinn
Damosel by Stephanie Spinner
Dark of the Moon by Tracy Barrett
Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton
Destined by Jessie Harrell
Don't Expect Magic by Kathy McCullough
East by Edith Pattou
Entwined by Heather Dixon
Golden by Cameron Dokey
Goose Chase by Patrice Kindl
Half Upon a Time by James Riley
Ice by Sarah Beth Durst
Inside the Walls of Troy by Clemence McLaren
Into the Woods by Lyn Gardner
Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Lightbringer by K.D. McEntire
My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison
My Very UnFairy Tale Life by Anna Staniszewski
Nobody's Princess by Esther Frisner
Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
Princess of the Wild Swans by Diane Zahler
Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale
Seven Daughters and Seven Sons by Bahija Lovejoy and Barbara Cohen
Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott
Shifting by Bethany Wiggins
Sirenz by Charlotte Bennardo
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer by Maureen McGowan 
Snow by Tracy Lynn
Snow in Summer: Fairest of Them All by Jane Yolen
Starcrossed by Jospehine Angelini
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George
Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs
Sweetly by Jackson Pearce
The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
The Merchant's Daughter by Melanie Dickerson
The Night Dance by Suzanne Weyn
The Poison Apples by Lily Archer
The Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell
The Rumpelstiltskin Problem by Vivian Vande Velde
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
The Shadow of the Bear by Regina Doman
The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley
The Swan Kingdom by Zoe Marriott
The Third Eye by Mahtab Narsimhan
The Thirteenth Princess by Diane Zahler
The Wager by Donna Jo Napoli
The Wide-Awake Princess by E.D. Baker
Thornspell by Helen Lowe
Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep
Violet Eyes by Debbie ViguiƩ
Waking Rose by Regina Doman
Water Song by Suzanne Weyn
Wild Orchid by Cameron Dokey
Wildefire by Karsten Knight
Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Nominations Now Closed!

So, it's a little later than I anticipated, but nominations for the 2012 Book Battle are now closed.  Last weekend was my dad's birthday and unfortunately my allergies have been TERRIBLE this year (lots and lots of headaches this season) that kept me away I little longer than I thought I would be.  Sad how real life gets in the way of blogging.  :(  But never fear, for we shall press on!

I'm currently sorting through all the nominated titles and getting Round 1 judges assigned, and will be posting the long list (hopefully) in the next few days.  So although nominations are closed, we still have spots open for judging, as I can add partners to the Round 2 brackets as we go.  So if you know anyone who might want to be a judge and hasn't volunteered yet, feel free to jump in.  Full details about that are here.  

Meanwhile, if you've volunteered to be a judge, look for an email from me soon.  And I will be announcing the winners for the linking contest soon as well.

Onward and upward!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Contest Extended!

Due to some great feedback I've gotten from others, the linking contest for the battle has been extended until Wednesday! 

Also, nominations will now close Friday the 18th to accomodate the new contest deadline. 

Keep linking everyone!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Book Battle: The Great Linking Weekend Giveaway

The close of nominations for the 2012 YA Bloggers Fairy Tale Book Battle is approaching soon, and we still need a few more volunteers and nominations for the battle this year. So to encourage those of you who haven’t participated yet, I’ve created:
The Great Linking Weekend Giveaway!
Want to win a book from your wish list? Of course you do!  Because we can always use more books. :)  I will be giving away this as a prize* to 2 very lucky winners.
It’s very easy to enter:

First, you need to nominate a book and/or sign up as a volunteer judge part of the battle. If you’ve already done either step, you’ve already qualified.

 Then, you need to come back to this post (the giveaway post) and leave me a comment with this information:
  • Your email address (or another way to contact you)
  • What you did (nominated a book or signed up the judge or both)
  • Where you heard about the battle (who referred you)
Make sure you include ALL of that information in your comment. Incomplete entries will be deleted and you’ll have enter again. If you don’t want to/can’t comment, please send your entry to me via email to shadyglade(AT)mail(DOT)com (yes that’s just “mail” not gmail, ymail, hotmail, etc.).

 One lucky commenter will win a book of their choice! So where’s the other prize come from? Well, there’s another part to the contest. So if you want to double your chances, here’s what you need to do.

The idea behind this contest is to spread the word through links. So first you will need to blog, tweet, facebook, link, email, etc about the contest. You can also grab the button in the right sidebar (over there ------>) and post it on your blog/website/whatever. If you choose to link, make sure you to this contest post directly.

 That’s all you have to do to double your chances! When others follow your link and enter the contest, you will automatically be entered one time for the second prize (they will have to give your name as the referral). The person who refers the most people to the contest will win the second part. So the more you link, the greater your chances are. ;)

 Depending on how many entries we get, I may toss in a few other random winners as well. I have a stack of fairy tale themed books that I’m planning to give out at some point during the battle, so why not now? If anyone has any questions, please ask. This contest will run until Monday, May 14th. Extended until May 16th!

 Let the linking frenzy begin!

 *Winners will win a book of my choice from their wish list valued at $15 or under. Book may be gently used or new.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

2012 Book Battle: We have a Button!

Well it's official! We now have a graphic for the 2012 Book Battle. What do you think? It took me a looong time to make this, so sorry for the delay, but I had to wrestle with my computer quite a bit to get to it. (stupid technology...)

So here's where I need all of your help.  It's time to help spread the word about the battle. We still really need volunteers to judge as well as nominations. So if you have a blog, website, twitter, facebook, or whatever, please post about the battle or pass on the news to your friends who you think might be interested. I've made the button available for everyone to grab, it will be over in the right sidebar if anyone wants the code.

And (hint hint) there will be a contest coming up this weekend for those who want to link and would like to win a prize for doing so. So come back in a day or two for more details on that. :)

So without further ado, here's the code for the button if you'd like to grab it (also available in the sidebar):

<center><a href=""><img src="" /></a></center>

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

2012 Book Battle Nominations Open!

Welcome to the Nominations Page for the 2011 YA Bloggers Debut Battle! This is the place where you can nominate the book YOU think should win the battle.

 As chosen by readers, our theme this year is:

Retold Fairy Tales

For the purposes of this battle, the definition of a "retold fairy tale" is a book that re-imagines or gives new life to a fairy tale, legend, or myth. This can also encompass books that combine more than one "traditional" tale, even if these are blended to create their new story.  The winner of this battle will be a book that breathes new life into an old favorite by being its own story, but still pays tribute to the original story.

Your nominations should follow these requirements:

  1. It must be first published in English between January 1st, 2001 and December 31st, 2011. Reissues do not count if the book was first published before 2001.
  2. It must be either Young Adult (or middle grade with strong teen appeal). 
  3. It must be a retold fairy tale/myth/legend, or combination thereof.  
  4. Only books that are first in a series are allowed.  EXCEPTION: If you're book is a later part of the series but can stand on its own (like the Once Upon A Time Series), it can count.
  5. It must not be a nominee from a previous battle (if you'd like to double check, please let me know)

So, do you have a book that retells your favorite story? Fill Out the Form to place it on the nomination list.

You may nominate up to 2 different titles. If you are a teacher or librarian submitting nominations for your students (we've had a few do this in past years), please let me know in the comments section on the form so I don't delete them.  Email addresses will ONLY be used to track entries and will be deleted as soon as the nomination period is over. As a reminder, please DO NOT leave your nominations in the comments! They won't count unless you use the form.

Nominations will be open until Wednesday, May 16th (unless announced otherwise). All books nominated will be screened to check that they are eligible, then passed along to our Round 1 Judges. Round 1 will narrow down the books for brackets, and our Round 2 Judges will get started in early June. If you'd like more explanation about how the judging process works, check out this post.

 If you have any questions, feel free to email me at shadyglade(AT)mail(DOT)com.

Now, nominate away! And we still have volunteer spots open too!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Don't forget to come back...

Just a quick reminder that nominations for the 2012 YA Bloggers Battle start tomorrow (May 1st) at noon PDT.  So don't forget to come back and submit your choices!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Book Battle: 2012 Call for Judges and Volunteers!

*UPDATE 5/22* We're still open for Round 2 judges.  Even if you're coming to this party late, if you'd like to join, please read all the below info and sign up.  We'd love to have you!

I know this is the part of the battle that many of you look forward to year after year.  It's the call for volunteers!

If you're new this year, you should know that although it's fun to watch the battle take place, half of the fun comes from participating.  I can't do this huge event all on my own, so tons of volunteers step up to pitch in and make it possible.  Last year we had over 50 people volunteer in various positions. 

So whether you're a returning participant, or a newbie, please take a minute to consider volunteering.  It's lots of fun, and I promise I'm not a slave driver (LOL). 

As a reminder to everyone who is signing up judge:  You DO NOT need to have previous judging expereience.  You also DO NOT need to have your own blog.  The only requirement is you have a love for YA books and you have the ability to critically examine them.  Teamwork is also a must need for Round 2 Judges. 

We need judges as well as a few other volunteers, so check out these open spots below:

Graphics Specialist - This volunteer will be reponsible for coming up with a logo/button for this year's battle (or finding someone else who can do it for you). They may also be responsible for creating/updating the bracket graphics as the battle progresses. This volunteer can also be a judge. Position Filled, thanks!

Reading Challenge Moderator - This year I will be adding a reading challenge to the festivities.  More info on this will be coming later, but I need at least one person to help keep track of points and progress.  This will be done through our battle Goodreads group pages. 
-Desired Requirements: Goodreads account (or willingness to create one), experience hosting reading challenges a plus. Position filled, thanks!

And, of course, we wouldn't be anywhere without our fabulous judges. If you are new to judging this year, make sure you read this post about the judging process before you apply so you understand how the process works.

Round 1 Judge: These judges will be responsible for reading as many of the nominated books on the longlist they can in about 3-4 weeks. They will recommend titles for the shortlist to be organized into brackets. These judges will work alone, although a few may be required to have discussions  with other Round 1 judges.
-Desired Requirements: Quick readers, willingness to borrow/buy books where needed (access to large library a plus), ability to meet deadlines on time, critical thinker. Round 1 starting end of May, please sign up for Round 2 judging.

Round 2 Judge: Second round judges will be assigned a bracket (ie two books) to read and pick a winner. Every Round 2 Judge will be working with at least one partner to pick the winner for each bracket. -Desired Requirements: Ability to finish 2 books in 2 weeks, works well with others, checks email regularly, willingness to borrow/buy books where needed (access to large library a plus), ability to meet deadlines on time, critical thinker.

Again, I want to stress that you do not need previous experience or a blog to volunteer to judge.  We welcome everyone!  :)

If you'd like to volunteer for any of these positions, please fill out the form. I will start responding hopefully by next week. At that point you will be assigned a position(s) and asked to commit to the timeline. You can apply for as many positions as you want, but you will not be given more than 2 spots.

In the meantime, please pass on the word to any of your friends who might be interested.  And come back Tuesday to start submitting your nominations!

If anyone has any questions, feel free to email me at shadyglade(AT)mail(DOT)com. Good luck to everyone!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

An Introduction to the 2012 YA Bloggers Book Battle

*Returning Visitors* Scroll down to the bottom for the latest updates!

Well readers, things have (finally) settled down a bit at home, which means it's time to get the 2012 YA Bloggers Book Battle on the road!  As always, I want to start with a brief introduction so that those of you who are new to the battle this year can have some background info.  So what is the YA Bloggers Book Battle?

Well, it started as a crazy idea in 2010. The idea took off and before you know it, I was in the midst of organizing an epic book battle.  And strangely enough, people liked it.  So I brought it back for 2011.  And it was even more fun.  And now, here we are in year three, and by now, it's just history.  :)

The YA Bloggers Book Battle is a bracket-style judging contest. Our 2010 theme featured the best debut work of 2009 (and a little of 2010), while blog readers chose the theme for 2011 to be Best Overlooked Book. This year for 2012 blog readers have chosen the battle theme as Mythology and Fairytale Retellings.

Here's a general idea of how the battles work:

People will have a chance to nominate a book of their choice to take place in the battle. After nominations close, the books will be narrowed down by our lovely Round 1 judges. Books that make the cut will be fit into brackets for Round 2 Judges to read.

Starting in early May, each Round 2 judging panel will read the two books in their bracket and choose a winner. One will move on, one will not. It will all come down to two books in a epic book battle to choose the best!

Tentative Timeline:
To Be Announced

Updates will periodically be posted here, so if you don't follow the blog regularly, you can bookmark this page and periodically check back to see what's new.

Latest News
5/11 - How about a contest?  Link to our nomination/judging pages and win a book of your choice!  2 winners, ends 5/16.

5/9 - We have a button!  See it here or grab it in the right sidebar.

5/1 - Nominations open

4/29 - Signups for judges and volunteers now open

Sunday, April 15, 2012

2012 Book Battle: And the Theme is....

The votes are in, they have been tallied, and it's time to announce the winning theme for the 2012 YA Bloggers Book Battle. Thank you to everyone who voted! And now, drumroll please: the theme is....

  Mythology and Fairytale Retellings!

 And there you have it. These will be the books that I eat, sleep, and breathe for the next few months (LOL). Thanks to Natalie (LiederMadchen) who suggested this idea through our battle's Goodreads group.  Based on the votes cast we will also have a 2 round nomination process again this year (provided I can get enough volunteers to judge).

 So now is the time when the real work begins. Signups for volunteers will be up in a few days, and nominations will open shortly after that.

 In the meantime, we will need a button for our new battle, so if anyone is artistically inclined and would like to volunteer to create one, please let me know. :)

Let's get ready to battle!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Book Battle: Vote for our theme!

A few days ago I asked readers to submit their ideas for our theme for the 2012 Book Battle.  The ideas are in and now it's time for everyone to vote on their favorites.  Thank you to everyone who submitted ideas!

For those of you who are new to the battle, here's an introduction post I wrote in it's first year.  But basically, it's a bracket-style elmination competition for books.  I organize the event, but I don't have any hand in the judging or determining the winner.  Judges are selected from volunteer book bloggers, YA lit enthusiasts, and blog readers.  Each bracket is judged by a new set of volunteers, who choose which book will move on, and which book does not.  This is the 3rd battle at The Shady Glade, and each year has had a different theme. 

So, with that quick intro out of the way, it's time to detail out the options for this year's battle.  There's a form at the bottom of this post (or you can find it here).  Please fill it out to pick your favorite ideas.  It's really short, only takes a minute, and I count on as much participation as possible to do this!  Voting will remain open until Saturday, April 15th at midnight PDT (or earlier if particpation slacks off). 
The winning ideas determines how many volunteers we will need, and the other organizations I have to set up behind the scenes, so once we know our winner I will be sending out a call for volunteers. 

Here are descriptions of each option detailed in the poll.  You can pick no more than 2 favorites (since we have several new suggestions this year).  If you have any questions, please ask. 

Let the games begin!

Best Debut Author Title of 2011 - This would mark the return of 2010's theme for another year.  This battle features books by authors whose first book was published during 2011. 

Mythology retellings - With the surge of books that are based on fairy tales, legends, and various mythology, this battle will pit these types of books against each other to determine an ultimate winner.

Good books with horrible covers - You know how you always hear "don't judge a book by it's cover"?  This battle gives those books that you would never think to pick up off the shelf a chance.  What gems are hidden beneath the horrendous cover art?  And which book is best of them all?   

Book Academy Awards - This takes the idea of the Academy Awards to the YA book market.  Several categories including best male character, best female character, best supporting character will battle it out for a winner, similiar to our Readers' Choice Awards this past year.  This will feature several "mini brackets" with several winners, one for each category.

Best of the Genre - In this battle, books will be broken up by genre to battle for the best of their kind in 2011. What was the best fantasy published last year? Best historical? Best parnormal? This will feature several "mini brackets" with several winners, one for each category.

Best sequel - Know of a book in a series that was better than the first?  Which recently published book outshines it's predessessor.  This theme will require judges to read 4 books, the original and the sequel for both sides of the bracket. 

Read-alike Versus Battles - This idea will shake up the bracket system used in previous years. Instead, books will be nominated in read-alike pairs. Vampire Academy VS. House of Night, Hush Hush VS. Fallen, etc. You pick two very similar books to battle it out to see which is the best of the pair. One winner will be declared for each pair, so for this battle no ultimate winner will be chosen.

Best Standalone book - Are you sick of all the sequels and series coming out?  Why does it seem like every new book is part of a series?  This battle will choose only those books of 2011 that stand on their own, without any sequels or series. 

Best series - With the aforementioned increased in series books, which series is best overall?  So many have great introductory books and then seem to flatten out as the series drags on.  This battle will determine a winner where the book stay strong and finish strong.  This battle will have lots of reading for our judges, and so it will greatly increase the timeline for the battle, and the lag between bracket winner announcements. 

In addition to a battle theme, I am also opening up voting to determine the structure of the judging. Last year we had a two round judging process, and the year before was one round of judging.

One Round Bracket Judging (from 2010 battle) - All the books nominated are narrowed down to a set number of slots in a short list. This list is divided up into 5 rounds brackets and judges are paired up to determine the winner of each bracket. This style of judging takes less time, but means less volunteers can participate.

Two Round Judging/Elimination (from 2011 battle) - All books are checked for eligbility and added to a "long list". Round 1 Judges have approximately a month to read as many nominated books as they can. At the end of Round 1, each judge submits a list of the Top 10 books they think should move on to the next round. The books with the most votes are used to compile the short list that moves onto bracket judging in Round 2. This process takes a little longer, but allows more reader submitted nominations to be considered and more volunteers to participate in the judging process.

So there you have it, all the choices explained. Don't forget to choose your favorite by filling out the form below:

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Thoughts on the Hunger Games movie

So I finally went to go see the Hunger Games movie last night.  While I'm going to do a whole review, I have to say if you like the book it's probably worth seeing, and if you're interested in the concept but haven't read the books yet, then it's probably still worth seeing. 

So below are a few of my random, scattered thoughts about the movie.  There may be spoilers below, so if you haven't read the book/movie, read at your own risk. 

Overall impression: Not bad.  My coworkers who hadn't read the books and saw the movie liked it, and those who had read the book and saw it didn't like it because they left out things. Its been almost a year since I've read the book, but I thought the movie followed it pretty closely.  So not sure what all that was about. 

The shaky camera work at the beginning was making me sick.  I can understand why they did it, it was an artistic decision.  I think it's supposed to heighten the chaotic and gritty feel of District 12.  But really for about 20 minutes there I had a bad headache.  I don't think I will be seeing it on the big screen again. 

Loved Rue.  She was so cute.  Actually, I've heard a lot of people complain because she's black.  I actually pictured her as Asian for some reason when reading the book, but really, does it matter that much? 

Stanley Tucci cast as Flickerman was pretty much dead on.  But I did notice the line of his wig in one closeup (oops!).  Haymitch was right on as well. 

Was it just me, or did Peeta's wound not look that much worse than Katniss' burn? 

Kaito is about the scariest thing ever.  And the group of careers cheering each other on?  Like it was football or something.  That was disturbing. 

I loved, loved, loved Katniss' hair during the parade.  Wish I could do that with my hair.  I would have liked to see more of the other tributes' costumes though.  But that's just the costume fanatic in me. 

I've heard complaints that everyone thought Peeta and Katniss looked too old.  I didn't think so.  I could totally believe they were 16 years old.  Hey, they live in District 12, they've had a hard life, and that makes everyone act older than their age. 

I really liked the addition of the scenes from the Capitol's point of view.  I kept staring at Seneca Crane because I was fascinated by the way his beard was cut.   But President Snow wasn't all that menacing.  He just trimmed his roses the whole movie.  I have a hard time seeing him as a bad guy, since I think of him as Mr. Bennet. 

And that concludes my random list of thoughts.  :)  For those of you who've seen the movie, what did you think of it?

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Last Days for Ideas!

Just popping in for a quick reminder to submit your ideas for the 2012 book battle.  I will be closing the form after Wednesday and putting up a poll so everyone can vote on their favorite idea(s). 

Also, now's a great time to join the Goodreads group if you haven't already. 

Sorry for being MIA a bit the last few weeks.  I've been dealing with some computer issues and working out some behind the scenes stuff in preparation for the battle.  Hopefully I'll get a chance to work on things more in depth in the next couple weeks...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Pardon My Dust

I decided it was time for a new look, so over the next few days I'm going to be playing around with the appearance and template of the blog.  So if things look funky for the next little while, you know why. 

In the meantime, if anyone has any comments/suggestions for things in the layout they would like to see, please leave me a comment and let me know!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

2012 Book Battle: What do you want to see?

It's that time of year again!  The 2012 YA Bloggers Book Battle is approaching it's third year this time around, and it's time to start preparations.  (For those of you who are new to the battle, here's an introduction post I wrote in it's first year.)  I sent an announcement about this yesterday to our Goodreads group, but for everyone else, here's the latest scoop.

Last year I tried something new by letting you, the blog readers, suggest ideas for the battle theme and then vote on which one you would like to see played out.  It worked out really well, so I'd like to do it again this year.

So take this opportunity to tell me what theme you want to see.  In 2010 we did a Debut Author Battle, and last year was Overlooked Books.  There's been additional suggestions in the past about doing mini genre brackets, versus battles, and more.  We've already got some great ideas coming in at the Goodreads group, but I want to get input from those of you who don't necessarily make it over there.

Leave a comment on this post with your battle ideas.  If you'd prefer to remain anonymous, you can also submit your ideas via this Google form.  Next week I will be putting up a poll so you can all vote on your favorite suggested idea.

Here's to another great year!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Back at Last!

Nothing like a Waiting on Wednesday post to get me back into the swing of things. Sorry this is going up a little late in the day. But it's still Wednesday, so here we go.  Today's pick is:

A Breath of Eyre by Eve Marie Mont

About the Book (from "A scholarship student at an exclusive prep school, Emma Townsend feels like an outsider. Her stepmother doesn't come close to filling the void left by her mother's death. And her only romantic prospect - apart from a crush on her English teacher - is Gray Newman, a long-time friend who just adds to Emma's confusion. "Escape" comes in the old leather-bound copy of Jane Eyre that Emma receives as a gift. Then a lightning storm catapults Emma right into Jane's body and her nineteenth-century world. As governess at Thornfield, Emma experiences a sense of belonging she's never felt before, and a growing attraction to the brooding Mr. Rochester. Now, moving between two realities and uncovering secrets in both, Emma must decide whether her destiny lies in the pages of Jane's story, or in the unwritten chapters of her own..."

You know me, I love anything that makes an old story fresh.  And that goes double for things like Jane Austen and the Jane Eyre.  This is the first book of a proposed trilogy (I think?), and I'm really excited because the third one is going to be about The Phantom of the Opera.

And I know I gush about covers all the time, but I want that dress so bad.

The good news is, you don't have to wait too much longer to get your hands on this book.  A Breath of Eyre will be released on March 27, just a week away.  You can pre-order your copy now on Amazon though:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I Did It! All Finished!

Wahoo!  It took nearly 8 hours of packaging, wrapping, taping, addressing (and $60 of postage) but I am 100% caught up on sending out prizes.  Actually, most of them went out on Wednesday of this week, but for some reason my computer decided to hate Blogger and this is the first time I've been able to come on and post about it. 

In other news, while I haven't been able to post, I HAVE been able to get some reading done.  Which is a nice change, since even finding time to read is hard these days since I'm so exhausted when I get home from work.  Too many books, too little time and all that. 

So those of you who I owe a prize too, look in your mailboxes because they should be coming soon!  And hopefully I'll get lucky and Blogger will cooperate with my computer so I can get a couple other posts up this week. 

Starting the 4th, I will be in Disneyland for a couple days, so don't expect a lot of updates then. :)  But I do want to try and get a few posts up in the coming week, just to help ease me back into the habit of blogging. 

Thanks for sticking through this with me.  You are the greatest!

Monday, February 13, 2012

I'm Still Here! Sort of...

Hello readers! 

I've gotten a few emails lately, so I wanted to take the time to reply to them all at once. 

I'm still around and am doing okay.  I apologize for my absence these weeks since Christmas.  Some of you may remember I was sick a lot before Christmas.  Unfortunately, whatever I had never went away and eventually turned into pneumonia.  So many of of the past few weeks have been trying to fight off that.  Sometimes real life gets in the way of blogging, and that's really what happened here. 

For those of you who've never had pneumonia, it really sucks.  I've been coughing for about 10 straight weeks now, and I'm still not completely well, although I'm slowly getting better.  The worst part is that I'm tired all the time so on the days I'm well enough to go to work I pretty much come home, eat, and fall into bed (or the couch, depending on how bad the symptoms are). 

The good news is, is that I am getting better.  Slowly, but I am.  So my goal now is to try and get back into blogging.  I've said it a lot over the last couple months, but I really want to get back into doing more reviews, and I'm working behind the scenes on a few enhancements to help with that.  I also really want to get back into doing Waiting on Wednesday posts, since I love sharing new publications.  And I have a few other ideas circulating around back there, including plans for the 2012 book battle. 

Thank you to everyone who has stuck it out and stayed with me.  I really appreciate your support, and the emails from you asking if I was okay really touched me as well.  It's nice to know if I fell off the face of the earth, some reader out there would notice (LOL).  I don't know how much I'll be blogging since I'm not up to 100% yet.  My goal right now is to make sure I do at least one post a week.  I'd really like to do more than that, but with the pneumonia still holding on, I'm not sure if I'll make it.  So let's say expect one post a week and anything else will be a bonus. 

To those of you who I owe prizes, I apologize for the delay.  They should be going out this week.  I'm working on getting them wrapped up and addressed and sent off.  I didn't forget about you, I promise!

Again, thank you to everyone for sticking with me.  I'll get through this somehow!