Author Archives: Megan

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige Review 4/17/14


Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
April 1, 2014
Hardcover, 452 pgs

What it’s about:

Amy Gumm is just another girl living in a trailer park in Kansas. Her life totally sucks. Her mom is an addict, her dad left them, and she is the favorite target of the mean girls. Everything changes the day of the tornado. That’s right, a tornado in Kansas that rips her home off its foundation and deposits her and her mom’s pet rat in the land of Oz. Yes, that land of Oz. Except things are nothing like in the books and movie. Oz is dying and it is all Dorothy’s fault. The remaining witches of Oz have formed an alliance, the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked and they intend to train Amy for her mission. Her mission is simple: Dorothy must die.

Why you might like it:

Are you a fan of The Wizard of Oz series? If so, you won’t want to miss this twisted tale! Love fractured fairy tales? This one is awesome! Do you like your stories dark and deadly? This Oz story isn’t all rainbows and flowers (but then again, L.Frank Baum’s Oz was kind of dark as well). Do you enjoy it when the lines between good and evil are blurred? Well, get ready to find yourself cheering for some wicked witches. Maybe. It’s complicated. Speaking of complicated, I hope you don’t mind when things don’t always go according to plan. There are plenty of twists and turns and shocking curve balls thrown at out poor heroine. Dorothy Must Die was one of my most highly anticipated novels of 2014. I had high expectations and am pleased to report that this debut was as amazing as I had hoped it would be!

Want more like this?

I recently discovered Eric Shanower’s graphic adaptations of the Oz series. It is amazing! You might also try Mark McGiure’s Oz adaptation, the Wicked series. If you like retellings try Marissa Meyer’s Cinder series, Jackson Pearce’s Sisters Red and Sweetly, or Wendy Delsol’s Stork trilogy.

Happy Reading!



Mondays with Megan-Lives Change @ Your Library 4/14/14


 Happy National Library Week!
April 13-19


This year’s theme is Lives Change @ Your Library and if you are a regular library user you know that statement is the truth! I work for a medium-sized independent library and I love all of the awesome services we offer. One of the things that makes my library unique is our Reading Room. Not sure what to read next? This is an excellent place to start! The well-read librarians here at RRPL have created a database of all the great books we read. You’ll find brief summaries and reviews of thousands of books as well as suggested readalikes. You can look for your favorite authors or titles, but if you are feeling more adventurous, you can find books by searching for descriptors or time periods or locations. You should check it out!

Now, on to my favorite Monday list.

mondayreading new monday

 It’s time to check in with Book Journey and Teach Mentor Texts for another edition of It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?


universe versus dorothy

  • The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence is one of this month’s Teen’s Choice books. This book deserves a full review from me. I absolutely loved it. Alex starts his story with the end-with an urn of ashes and a bunch of marijuana. A quietly moving story of bullying, friendship, and end of life decisions unfolds.
  • Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige has been one of my most highly anticipated books of the year. As I write this I technically haven’t finished the book, but I intend to devour the remaining 100 pages the second I am free from work, so I am counting it. Amy Gumm’s trailer home gets sucked up by a tornado and she is deposited in Oz, much like the previous visitor from Kansas, Dorothy Gale. It turns out that Dorothy returned to Oz and became totally evil and Amy has to save Oz. This book is everything I had hoped and dreamed for in a twisted Oz retelling! It also deserves a full review.

Current Audio:

shades of earth more than this

I will finish both of these this week. I am anticipating a satisfying conclusion to the Across the Earth trilogy by Beth Revis. I am also really glad I stuck with More Than This by Patrick Ness. I hesitate to reveal too much, but it is so weird and totally worth it.

Currently Reading:

chasers elite

On Deck:

peace, love and baby ducks traitor in the tunnel

Happy Reading!


Far From You by Tess Sharpe Review 4/10/14

far from you

Far From You by Tess Sharpe
April 8, 2014
Hardcover, 352 pages

What it’s about:

Seventeen-year old Sophie watches her best friend get shot and killed. The cops rule the murder a drug deal gone wrong. Everyone blames Sophie, assuming that she relapsed in her recovery from her addiction to painkiller. Everyone is wrong. Sophie is clean and after being forced into rehab, she is ready to find out the truth behind Mina’s death. She can’t solve this mystery alone, but she is reluctance to reach out to her few friends because that will mean revealing the big secret has been protecting. In the end, the desire for justice for Mina prevails and Sophie risks everything to find the person who robbed her of the girl who more than just a best friend.

Why you might like it:

If you like a gripping murder mystery, you might give this one a try. Are you interested in stories about drug addiction and recovery? Far From You is a powerful recovery story you might like. Are you looking for books with bisexual/lesbian characters? Under the thrill of the mystery and drama of recovery, you will find a touching story of first love. Do you love a good redemption story? Far From You has that! Are you a fan of a non-linear story? The story of Sophie and Mina slowly unfolds as Sophie jumps between the past and present. If you like an intense, emotional read, you might enjoy this impressive and poignant debut. I really liked this one and will be watching for more from Tess Sharpe!

Want more like this?

For more LGBT themed books try Ask the Passengers by A.S. King, Shine by Lauren Myracle, and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz. For another murder mystery try All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab. For more on drug abuse try Ellen Hopkin’s Crank series.

Happy Reading!


Waiting on Wednesday-Famous Last Words 4/9/14

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

This week I am so excited about this one:

famous last words

Famous Last Words by Katie Alender, September 30, 2014.

From Goodreads:

“Hollywood history, mystery, murder, mayhem, and delicious romance collide in this unputdownable thriller from master storyteller Katie Alender.

Willa is freaking out. It seems like she’s seeing things. Like a dead body in her swimming pool. Frantic messages on her walls. A reflection that is not her own. It’s almost as if someone — or something — is trying to send her a message.

Meanwhile, a killer is stalking Los Angeles — a killer who reenacts famous movie murder scenes. Could Willa’s strange visions have to do with these unsolved murders? Or is she going crazy? And who can she confide in? There’s Marnie, her new friend who may not be totally trustworthy. And there’s Reed, who’s ridiculously handsome and seems to get Willa. There’s also Wyatt, who’s super smart but unhealthily obsessed with the Hollywood Killer.

All Willa knows is, she has to confront the possible-ghost in her house, or she just might lose her mind . . . or her life.

Acclaimed author Katie Alender puts an unforgettable twist on this spine-chilling tale of murder, mystery, mayhem — and the movies.”

I really enjoyed Katie Alender’s Bad Girls Don’t Die series. Due out at the end of September, this will be a perfect addition to the library’s collection just in time for Halloween!

Happy Reading!


Top Ten Tuesday-Unique Reads 4/8/14


This week The Broke and the Bookish are talking about unique reads. Get ready to see some awesome lists filled with strange worlds, great characters, interesting writing styles, and plain-old weirdness. Here are my picks:

1. Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith. This tops the list not because it is my favorite, but because I just read it and it is so totally bizarre. The world ends with giant praying mantises eating their way through the human population. This account of the end is told by a sexually confused teenaged boy.

grasshopper jungle

2. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor remains the only series I have ever read that features chimera. I love it.

daughter of smoke

3. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan is a zombie book that never uses the word zombie. This is still my favorite zombie series.

forest of hands and teeth

4. Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride makes necromancy look fun! It is dark and absolutely hilarious.


5. The Rook by Daniel O’Malley is one of the weirdest books I have ever read. It’s like the British X-Files/secret society stuff. Plus monsters. And conspiracies. It’s just so strange. There is a sequel in the works, but no firm details. *sigh*


6. BZRK by Michael Grant. This series scares the bejeezus out of me. Nanotechnology. Tiny little nanobots eating your brain. I hate love it so bad.


7. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. Welcome to a world of super villains. Without super heroes. It’s up to ordinary humans to save humankind. This book is all sorts of bad*@s. Love, love, love.


8. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld features an alternate reality WWI that was fought between the Darwinists and the Clankers. I love the fabricated beasties and the steampunk.


9. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer puts a futuristic twist on classic fairy tales. Cinderella the cyborg? Heck yeah!


10. Mothership by Martin Leicht is Teen Mom + 80′s pop culture + aliens=total nonsense! Laugh out loud fun!


Honorable Mentions:

  • Any thing by A.S. King. She always slips in a touch of the unusual in her contemporary fiction. Whether it’s ghosts and a talking pagoda or bringing things out of dreams and talking ants, there is always a touch of the strange.

please ignore vera dietz everybody sees the ants

  • Stork by Wendy Delsol is another favorite of mine. Kat is a human stork, responsible for placing new souls with the proper parent.stork

Happy Reading!





Mondays With Megan, In Which I Confess My Addiction to Plants vs Zombies4/7/14

Hmm. It’s Monday already? I don’t know about you, but I crammed a lot in to my weekend. In a nutshell: baseball, plants vs zombies, yoga, doughnut, new outfit, read, plants vs zombies, nap, grown-up birthday party, plants vs zombies, read, work, read, plants vs zombies, walk the dogs, cook, plants vs zombies…notice a pattern? What is wrong with me?!? So, yeah. Plants vs Zombies. Ugh. I did manage for finish some books!

mondayreading new monday

Thanks to Book Journey and Teach Mentor Text for hosting It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?


siege and storm grasshopper jungle far from you million suns

  • Siege and Storm (Grisha #2) by Leigh Bardugo continues the story of Alina, Mal, and the Darkling. Alina and Mal have escaped the Fold, but the Darkling has raised a new and even more terrifying army. I am loving this series so much and can’t wait for Ruin and Rising. Also, the covers are gorgeous. I may have to own these books.
  • Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith is THE IT BOOK at the moment. The world as we know it ends when genetically engineered Unstoppable Soldiers (giant praying mantises) take over, beginning with the small town of Ealing, Iowa. The end of the world is recorded by 17-year old Austin. He faithfully documents all of the events leading up to the end of the world, including all of the anxiety he feels about loving both of his best friends, Shann (his girlfriend) and Robby. This book was super weird and I get the appeal, but I did not love it like I loved Winger and Marbury Lens. I am still glad that I spent time with it to see what all the buzz is about.
  • Far From You by Tess Sharpe is a 2014 debut novel. Sophie Winters became addicted to pain medication after a car accident. Despite finally being clean, when drugs are found on her at the scene of her best friend’s murder, no one believes that the crime was not a drug deal gone wrong. After months of rehab, Sophie returns home to face the tragedy of her loss. She makes her mission to solve Mina’s murder and find a way to say goodbye to her best friend and first love. I really enjoyed this one. There is a lot going on in the story, but it never feels like it’s too much. I should have a review up this week, but look for this one on shelves tomorrow!
  • A Million Suns by Beth Revis is the second book in the trilogy and it is even more thrilling than the first! I don’t want to give anything away, but life aboard Godspeed has taken an interesting turn! I am listening to this series and had Shades of Earth ready and waiting for me.

Current Audio:

more than this shades of earth

  • More Than This by Patrick Ness is totally unlike his other books. I haven’t yet decided how I feel about it.
  • Shades of Earth by Beth Revis is the conclusion to the trilogy. Bad things are currently happening and I am suspect things are going to get worse!

Currently Reading:

universe verses chasers elite

  • The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence
  • Chasers by James Phelan
  • The Elite by Kiera Cass

On Deck:

accident sunrise

  • The Accident by Chris Pavone will be my next book on CD
  • Sunrise by Mike Mullin-I am so nervous to read this one!

Happy Reading!


Teen’s Choice Reviews March 2014

At the end of last year I decided to start having my book club students recommend titles for me. I have each person pick three titles that they would like me to read and then I randomly select one. Here are the two Teen’s Choice books for March:

My High School book club students are a bunch of little tricksters and they stacked the deck, guaranteeing that I would pick House of Stairs by William Sleator.

house of stairs

House of Stairs by William Sleator
First published 1974
Paperback, 176 pages

What it’s about:

Five orphans find themselves trapped in an unusual building. With the exception of a machine in the floor of one landing that gives them food, the teens are surrounded by nothing but staircases. The machine is a fickle and demanding little thing and soon the food only comes when the starving kids complete certain tasks. As food deliveries become infrequent and the kids’ hunger grows some in the group are willing to go to extremes to please the machine.

Why you might like it:

Are you looking for old school science fiction? This one is for you. Unlike a lot of modern science fiction books (Hunger Games, Divergent, etc.), House of Stairs does not have a lot of action. However, the patient reader will be drawn in by the escalating suspense. It’s a short book and has some slightly dated language, but the reveal at the end is pretty disturbing.

Want more like this?

For other accounts of bad things happening with groups of stranded teens, try Lord of the Flies by William Golding or Gone by Michael Grant. You might also want to try some of William Sleator’s other books such as Interstellar Pig and Singularity.For more classic sci-fi try 1984 by George Orwell, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, and Feed by M.T. Anderson (not quite as classic as the others!)

From my Middle School Book Club came this recommendation:


The Outcasts (Brotherband Chronicles #1) by John Flanagan
November 1, 2011
Philomel Books
Hardcover, 434 pages

What it’s about:

The Skandians are a sea-faring people known and feared for their size, strength, and pillaging skills. Every year the young men of the village participate in Brotherband training, where they will learn the ways of the sea and how to work together as a team. The training is challenging enough for the strongest and bravest in the group, but for Hal and his group of outcast friends, the competition will be grueling. They call themselves the Herons and they are the underdogs.

Why you might like it:

If you liked The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan, you won’t want to miss this new series! At first I missed Will and Halt, but soon discovered that Hal and Thorn are just as awesome a pair. If you like action and adventure, you’ll find plenty of that here. Do you always cheer for the underdog? You’ll be rooting for Ha and his crew from the get-go!

Want more like this?

If you haven’t read The Rangers Apprentice by John Flanagan, you’ll want to check those out immediately! For more seafaring adventures try the Bloody Jack series by L.A. Meyer.

The final verdict? My teen readers picked some great books for me to read in March!

Here’s a sneak peek at what I am working on in April:

universe versus chasers

Happy Reading!



Waiting on Wednesday 4/2/14 Messenger of Fear

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

This week I am so excited about this one:

 messenger of fear

Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant. August 26, 2014

From Goodreads:

“Michael Grant, author of the New York Times bestselling Gone series, has created a powerful and brilliant narrative that examines the nature of good and evil in every human.

Mara wakes in a field of dead grass, a heavy mist pressing down on her. She is terrified, afraid that she is dead. Then a beautiful young man dressed in black appears. He calls himself Messenger of Fear.

This boy is able to move effortlessly through space and time. He also sees the darkness in human hearts. He sees the evils done: the destructive lies, the cruelty, the bullying, the violence. And if the world does not bring justice to those who do evil, he will. He offers the wicked a game. If they win, they go free. If they lose, they will live their greatest fear. Either way, their sanity will be challenged.

It is a world of fair but harsh justice. Of retribution and redemption. And mystery. Why was Mara chosen to be the Messenger’s apprentice? What has she done to deserve this terrible fate? She won’t find out until three of the wicked receive justice. And when she does, she will be shattered.”

If Michael Grant’s name is on it, I will read it. Always and forever because the man is a genius. Disturbed, but genius.

Happy Reading!


Top Ten Tuesday-”Gateway” Books and Random Reads April 4/1/14


This week The Broke and the Bookish are asking about our Gateway Books/Authors. These are books that sparked some new interest. Maybe the lead us to a genre we never expected to love or a similar new author. Either way, this it were things all began…

1. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. This was one of the first YA Science Fiction books that I ever read. I chose it for a class while I was working on my MLIS. I loved it and have been a devoted fan ever since. With the exception of Extras, the man can do no wrong.


2. Fables: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham. My first adventures with graphic novels! Love, love, love.


3. Airborn by Kenneth Oppel. This was my introduction to Steampunk.


4. Sarah Addison Allen taught me that contemporary women’s fiction can be magical.

garden spells sugar queen peach keeper lost lake

5. Song Fire and Ice by George R.R. Martin. The gateway to high fantasy. It was so far out of character for me to read these books. My love for them was quite shocking. I hardly recognize myself anymore!

game of thrones

6. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. This was the first time I was able to bond with both my mother and much younger brother (13 years separate us) over books.

harry potter7. Stephen King was my introduction to adult reading. In my mind and memories I went from Nancy Drew to Stephen King. I really have no memory of what I was reading in grades 5-7. I am pretty sure I was 11 or 12 when I started reading King. By the time I started high school I was a steady diet of Stephen King, Anne Rice, and John Irving.


8. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. This was my self-prescribed intro to Russian literature and my first step towards plugging gaps in my education. Honestly, I abandoned that task ages ago. I did however, enjoy this one and a few others.

crime and punishment

9.  The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. The gateway to all things zombie. I admit that my love of zombies has waned a bit, but this will always remain my first and favorite undead book.

forest of hands and teeth original

 10. Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer. This series opened so many doors for me. First, it reminded me that historical fiction can be so much fun. Second, I learned just how much the reader of an audiobook impacts the listening experience. I was new audio user and Katherine Kellgren made it all worth while. Also, this series reminded me to read more pirate books!

bloody jack

random reads

In short, Random Reads is a meme where we pick a random book from our shelf to read within the month. Feel free to do more than one per month, but since a lot of people have a lot of books to read each month, only one is “required” for the meme. I’m on Goodreads so I use my To Read list and to pick the book I’m going to read.

Last month’s Random Read was Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys. I LOVED it! Be sure to check out my review!

In April I will be reading #15 on my TBR list: The Traitor in the Tunnel (The Agency #3) by Y.S. Lee. I added this to the list on September 3, 2011. It’s time to get caught up with this charming YA Victorian-era mystery series, especially since I think there is a new one coming out this year!

traitor in the tunnel

Happy Reading!



Mondays With Megan 3/31/14

Happy Last Monday of March! I don’t know you guys, but here in Cleveland March came in like a lion and went out like one too! I did not appreciate that random blizzard on Saturday. Lots of exciting things are going on these days. Last week I added another dog to the mix and I officially have a pack. Maggie was reunited with her big brother Murphy. These two are my sister’s dogs and they are hanging with me for a while. They make my dog Kevin normal (I don’t mean make him look normal, they actually make him BE normal). It’s weird. In exciting book news, it’s time to sign up for another Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon! YES! Time to start a Readathon TBR pile for April 26th. Finally, I managed to bust out of my reading slump. So here is a quick check in:

mondayreading new monday

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Book Journey and Teach Mentor Texts.


out of the easy immortal rules twisted sisters flora

  • Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys was my Random Reads pick for March. I loved this book so much. I already posted a full review, so please check it out if you are interested.
  • The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa is another one that has been on my TBR list for a long time. She brings back the soulless predator vampires and I am a fan.
  • Twisted Sisters by Jen Lancaster was a random audio pick. This is my first book by this author. It seems that her fans seriously disliked this one. I found it strange, but entertaining. It’s the story of the Bishop sisters. Middle sister Reagan is a snobby, judgmental, stick in the mud, until a bizarre thing happens and she gets some much-needed perspective.
  • Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo is the 2014 Newbery Award winner. It is the illustrated adventures of a lonely girl and a squirrel with super powers. Quite adorable!

Current Audio:

siege and storm million suns

I am working my way through some series! Currently I have two book twos: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo and A Million Suns by Beth Revis.

 Currently Reading:

grasshopper jungle far from you universe versus code name

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith is the current IT book. Far From You by Tess Sharpe is my current e-galley. The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence is my current Teen’s Choice selection and Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein is a reread for my high school book club.

On Deck:

chasers matian half bad more than this

Happy Reading!