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...