Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Hero

Okay, for today's pick we're dragging up the fairy tale them.  I know, I know, AGAIN.  But this one looks like something different.  So trust me on this one.

Hero by Alethea Kontis
About the Book (copy from "Rough and tumble Saturday Woodcutter thinks she's the only one of her sisters without any magic—until the day she accidentally conjures an ocean in the backyard. With her sword in tow, Saturday sets sail on a pirate ship, only to find herself kidnapped and whisked off to the top of the world. Is Saturday powerful enough to kill the mountain witch who holds her captive and save the world from sure destruction? And, as she wonders grumpily, "Did romance have to be part of the adventure?" As in Enchanted, readers will revel in the fragments of fairy tales that embellish this action-packed story of adventure and, yes, romance."

Hero is the second book in the Woodcutter Sisters series.  The first one, Enchanted, came out in May of last year.  It was about the sister named Sunday and was sort of a retelling of The Frog Prince.  I guess it did well enough that Harcourt decided to purchase 2 companion novels, this one and the next one which is tentatively titled Beloved and due out next year.  According to the author's website, ideally it would be a 7 book series, one book for each sister, so if you read this (or the first one) and like it, make sure you buy everyone a copy so she can keep writing with them.  

I don't see any specific fairy tales on this one based on just the description, but supposedly like the first it'll have kind of a mish mash of them.  But I like that it's own book too.  Kind of like the Dealing With Dragons books by Patricia C. Wrede (still one of my all-time favorite series).  

That being said, I have to say it (again).  I don't like the cover.  Apparently it went through a LOT of revisions (I've been poking around the author's blog a bit).  In fact, the other cover I see most of is this one on the right, which is pretty much the same cover only with a turquoise-y dress instead of the gray.  Which, I guess I can see why they turned to a gray dress, since Saturday is apparently kind of a tomboy.  But both just kind of look weirdly photoshopped to me, but the color of the blue/green dress is better in my opinion.  Makes me wonder what the color of the actual dress was.  The other thing I don't like is her hands.  I think she's wearing gloves, but do you think they look weird?  Hmmm...

Hero will be released on October 1st, just under a week away!

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Friday, September 20, 2013

RIP to the best cat ever

Last night was one of the hardest nights of my life. 

It actually started out pretty good.  I got to see the new movie adaptation of Shannon Hale's book Austenland (which was excellent, by the way).  But upon coming home, I discovered something was very wrong. 

Greysen, my cat of 18 years, developed a blood clot in his left front shoulder last night.  This meant the whole leg was dragging on the ground, and he was in extreme amounts of pain.  We rushed him to the emergency vet, and it took them a few hours to figure out they weren't sure what was wrong with him.  They decided to keep him for overnight observation, and told us with some pain medication and fluids he would probably be okay and would send him home.  Then came the call at close to 11:00.  They had discovered the blood clot, it was causing him huge amounts of pain, and there was no cure save amputation, which he only have a 10% chance of surviving.  So we returned to the vet for what we knew would be his last time.  Making that decision was awful. And the sad thing was, that after $600.00 of tests to figure out what was wrong, I didn't even get to take him home with me. 

I've had a pretty rough night.  But I can take a small amount of comfort in the fact that he did live a long life for a cat, and it was probably best to let him go so he wouldn't have to suffer anymore. 

So here's to you Greysen, my baby, who I raised from a kitten.  Rest in Peace buddy. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

It's that time again...

Well, it was officially posted on Monday, so I guess I can share now. 

I'm glad to announce that I will be returning as a Round 1 panelist to the CYBILS (Children's and Young Adult Literary Blogger Awards) this year.  However, in a twist of events, I will be working in the new Young Adult nonfiction category this year. 

I wasn't able to participate last year because of my "blogging gap", so this is very exciting for me.  I've been on the CYBILS every other year since the first one in 2006, and its familiar territory to be ramping up for the things now that it's fall.  Of course, YA non-fiction is pretty much an alien genre to me, so it will be interesting to see how it goes.  :)

If you've never heard of the CYBILS before, head over to their website to check it out.  It's one of the most awesome grassroots movements in the kidlit blogosphere.  And for those of you who already know what they are, don't forget nominations are around the corner, and open on October 1st!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Battle Magic

Today's post is another edition from a long-time favorite author.  I'm excited for this one!
Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce

About the Book (copy from "NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Tamora Pierce returns to the magical world of Winding Circle.

On their way to the first Circle temple in Gyongxi, mages Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy pay a visit to the emperor's summer palace. Although treated like royalty when they first arrive, the mages soon discover that the emperor plans to invade Gyongxi, posing a fatal threat to the home temple of the Living Circle religion. Accompanied by one of the emperor's prize captives, the three mages rush to Gyongxi to warn its citizens of the impending attack. With the imperials hot on their trail, Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy must quickly help the country prepare for battle. But even with the help of new allies, will their combined forces be enough to fight the imperial army and win the war?" 

In case you're wondering, Gyongxi is pronounced "Gee-yong-she".  And I only know that because it's been mentioned in a few of the other books, and I've listened to the audio recordings of those books.  Which were narrated by the author.  So she knows what she's talking about.  :)

I love Tamora Pierce.  She's been one of my favorite authors forever.  Her book Wild Magic is the first "grown up" book I can remember picking out and buying myself from the bookstore. And by grown up book, I really mean, the first book I bought that wasn't a Baby Sitters Club book (I loved those in 4th and 5th grade).   From there I've read pretty much every book she's written, and many of them are among my favorites.

This book is another offering in the Circle Reforged series, set in Pierce's so called "Circle Universe" (which mostly means it doesn't take place in her other world, Tortall).  If you aren't familiar with her books I'll give you a quick rundown.  This is actually the 3rd series set with these characters.  The first four books, the Circle of Magic books, are about Briar and his three foster sisters when they are young and first coming into their magic.  The second series, the Circle Opens quartet, is about how each of the main four characters go off with their mentors out into the world and the individual adventures/experiences they have out there, which includes getting a new student to teach for each of them.

Then there's the Circle Reforged.  Which is a little odd.  It's about the four main characters getting back together, although there's a side story in there too. The first one, The Will Of The Empress, is about the main characters.  Then there's Melting Stones, which is actually about Evvy and Rosethorn only.  It happens either after or concurrently to The Will of the Empress (still a little fuzzy on that chronology).  And now, here's the third book, Battle Magic, which must take place before either of the other two books, because their experiences are referenced in both of the Circle Reforged books mentioned above.  

Whew!  So I guess that's a long way of saying I've been waiting for this book for a long time.  Based on the references in the other books, this one might turn out to be a little bloody.  War is never fun and games, and Street Magic (the Briar book in the Circle Opens quartet) tended towards the violent as well.  Must be a guy thing. Hmmmm.... But despite that, I've been dying to know exactly what happened, rather than the bits and pieces we've been given in the previous two books.  

If you're new to the series, and you want to pick it up, here's a word of caution.  Although usually Tamora Pierce's books can stand on their own, you'll enjoy them more if you have the background.  For this one, you'll really need to read all the books in the Circle of Magic series (Sandry's Book, Tris's Book, Daja's Book, Briar's Book) to get a background and feel for these characters.  From the Circle Opens series, you'll probably only need to read Street Magic, which is where Briar meets Evvy.  And I imagine you don't need to read either of the other Circle Reforged books, since chronologically this one takes place first. 

 So, I really didn't mean for this post to be this long.  You see how I gush when I talk about this author.  :) 

Battle Magic will be released on September 24, 2013.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: United We Spy

Today's pick is the conclusion to one of my favorite series: The Gallagher Girls.  WARNING: If you haven't read the previous books, this description may contain spoilers for the previous books in the series.

United We Spy by Ally Carter

About the Book (copy from "Cammie Morgan has lost her father and her memory, but in the heart-pounding conclusion to the best-selling Gallagher Girls series, she finds her greatest mission yet. Cammie and her friends finally know why the terrorist organization called the Circle of Cavan has been hunting her. Now the spy girls and Zach must track down the Circle’s elite members to stop them before they implement a master plan that will change Cammie—and her country—forever."  

Love, love, love Ally Carter and pretty much everything she does.  I am a little sad to see the end of these books though, I've enjoyed it so much.  But if you haven't already, you should really pick up this series.  Also, I highly recommend Heist Society and it's sequels as well.  Instead of spies, those books are about thieves, and they also have lots of adventure and spy-ish sneaking around.  

Anyway, I'm kind of lucky in that I haven't gotten my hands on Book 5 yet (Out of Sight, Out of Time) because apparently it has a huge cliffhanger ending.  Which sounds worse than the what-I-thought-was-a-cliffhanger endings of Book 3 and Book 4.  Anyway, it works out well for me, since soon I will be able to pick up Books 5 and 6 right after each other.  

On a side note, if you have read Ally's books and enjoy them, and you happen to have a Kindle, or access to a Kindle app for PC/Android/iPhone/iPad, you should really check out Double Crossed.  It's a novella that combines characters from the Gallagher Girl books and the Heist Society books.  As far as I can tell it takes place between Uncommon Criminals and Perfect Scoundrels on the thieves side and between Out of Sight, Out of Time and this book on the Gallagher Girls side.  And the best part?  It's free to download!  That's right, it's a bonus story that won't cost you anything.  Unlike some publishers (*cough* Harper Collins *cough*) who offer bonus short stories/novellas at a nominal fee.  I've already downloaded my copy, but I'm waiting until I read GG#5 before I dive into it. 

 Anyway, United We Spy will be released just around the corner, on September 17th.  

Available at in Hardcover or Kindle
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And don't forget...
Double Crossed is available for free download on Kindle

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Rose

So this is another recent release WoW post.  But there is some future pubs coming up, I promise!  This was actually published in 2009 in the UK (according to Goodreads) but this is the first time it's come to American shores.
Rose (Rose #1) by Holly Webb

About the Book (copy from "Rose isn't like the other orphans at St Bridget's Home for Abandoned Girls. Instead of dreaming of getting adopted by loving, wealthy parents, Rose wants to get a job and be independent. She doesn't need anyone but herself. She finds her escape working as a maid for Mr. Fountain, an alchemist. Unable to ignore the magic that flows throughout the grand residence, Rose realizes that just maybe; she might have a little bit of magic in her too. This new series featuring magicians, witches, talking cats, mist-monsters, and friendships will have young readers in a trance!"

Not much detail from that description, but I'm very intrigued anyway.  You know I'm a sucker for anything vaguely Victorian themed, so this one is right up my alley.  Since it has magic and stuff too.  It's also the first of a series, which will be good news if this turns out to be as good as it looks.  So go buy a copy so it does well and we get the rest of the books here in the US too!

And since I can never resist talking about covers, what do you think of it?  I think it's a little weird.  I love the house in the background, but Rose looks a little strange to me for some reason.  Love the cat on the fence though.  So cute and fluffy!  On the other hand, I don't think the UK cover is all that great either (pictured here on left).  I like pink, but this is a little overkill, don't you think?  I like the title treatement a little better though.  More Victorian-ish looking, although the US title treatment is not bad.  And again, she looks weird in the UK cover (eyes are too big or too far apart or something).  But I suppose not every book can have the perfect cover.  I really need to work on not judging a book by it's cover, which worked in this case because I added it to my Goodreads "want to read" shelf before the cover was posted.  

Rose (Rose #1) was published yesterday, September 3rd.  

Available at in Paperback or Kindle
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Sunday, September 01, 2013

Happy 7th Birthday Shady Glade!

It's hard to believe it.  On this day 7 years ago, The Shady Glade was born.  Let me tell you, I had no idea then what I was getting into.  I simply had this vague idea that I wanted to use what was at that time a new medium to share my reading with other people who also liked to read.  I suppose in some way blogs are passe now; everyone is more into Twitter/Facebook/that sort of thing.  But I kind of like it.  It's more journal-like, and I've never been able to keep a journal very steadily before, so this kind of a like a book journal.  It's fun to look back over everything that's happened over the last 7 years.

I don't think there's anyone from those first few months still around anymore, but for those of you who do still read this blog (or are new readers) thank you so much.  It's all because I know there's at least 1 person out there who will read this that I do this.  And I hope that there's more than 1 of you.  :)  I am especially grateful for those who stuck it out with me over the last year.  I know it was rough getting through those months where I wasn't blogging, and I am glad to be back in the swing of things, even if it's not as much as I used to be (I can't believe I tried to blog every day in 2009.  But I guess that's what happens when you are a new college graduate with a freelance job and LOTS of time on your hands...)

So as a tribute to this auspcious day, I thought it would be fun to take a look over the top 7 most popular posts of all time here at The Shady Glade.

7.  Review of Amanda/Miranda by Richard Peck - In spot number seven is this post.  This was actually the very first book review I posted, although looking back I believe it was my 4th post overall.  And the funny thing is, I originally wrote it for a different website at first.  This was my first Richard Peck book, and he still remains one of my favorite authors.

6.  Poetry Friday: Snow White - This one surprised me.  I guess a lot of people are into poetry inspired by fairy tales.  This was a poem I came across during one of the classes I was a TA for in college.  If I remember correctly, I had actually posted a poem about Cinderella the week before.  But apparently, Snow White is the more popular post. 

5.  Author Guest Post: ZoĆ« Marriott- Ironically enough, this is another blogoversary post.  This was for my 3rd blogoversary, which was quite the spectacular event.  Again, so much time on my hands back in 2009.  But of all of my author guest posts, this is the only one in the top 10.  Hmmm... I wonder why it's so popular?  Not that I'm complaining of course, it was a fun guest post to read.

4.  Review of The Primrose Way by Jackie French Knoller - This one surprised me a little.  Not too bad, because I always see it up in my stats when I check them about once a month.  It makes me a little happy though, since I feel like this is definitely one of those "overlooked" books that doesn't get a lot of attention, and it's about a period of American history that I think gets overlooked a lot too.  Although I think a lot of people are trying to find help with their homework, because the most common search terms I see associated with this one are "primrose way book report". 

3.  Catching Fire Contest Monday - This one was not so surprising, other than the fact that it is still popular enough to be up there in stats.  Maybe the pending Catching Fire movie has something to do with it.  This was definitely my most popular Contest Monday ever, for an ARC copy of Catching Fire.  At that time I had refused to read the Hunger Game books because they were so popular.  But like Twilight, I did eventually give in and read them, and enjoyed them a lot.  If I had only known what I had in my hands at the time...

2.  Review of The Fifth of March by Ann Rinaldi - I've reviewed several books by Rinaldi on this blog, but this one is by far the most popular.  Again, I suspect it might be students trying to get help with their homework based on the words associated with this that show up on my sheet.  But I think this is an "oldie but goodie" book, and it's worth picking up, especially if you like American Revolutionary historical fiction. 

And the number 1 post is...

1. Review of The Falcon's Malteaser by Anthony Horowitz - This one did surprise me.  I do see it floating around in my stats every once in awhile, but I had no idea it was the most viewed post of all time.  It even outstrips #2 up there by quite a bit of a margin.  I do love the Diamond Brother books, and I don't think many people have read them, so it's nice to see that in some way it's popular.  I wish more of them were available in the US, but most people I talk to haven't even heard of them, so there you go.  I don't think they were ever a big seller here. 

So there you have it.  Kind of interesting, huh?  Here's to 7 more years of the Shady Glade, although, sometimes I wonder if I have it in me!  But as long as you are there to keep reading, I'll keep writing.  Thanks again to everyone for their continued support.  It means so much!