Monthly Archives: February 2011

Mondays with Megan-Month in Review

Hi everyone, it’s Monday again and it’s the last day of February, so I thought I would do a quick month in review. In this short month I managed to read 19 books. You all remember that I count graphic novels and audiobooks towards my reading goals. When I break it down my February reading looks like this:

Graphic Novels: 8
Audiobooks: 4
E-galley: 1
Novels: 6

My favorites? Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson, and Plague by Michael Grant (yeah, I know the right people to get a sneak peek at this!). I also really enjoyed the Bone series by Jeff Smith.

My Facebook friend, Peace, Love, and Teen Fiction has a new theme for March-Follower’s Choice. I kind of like the idea of reading and reviewing books that someone else picked out for me. So, if you have a suggestion, pass it along and I will read and review it for you (unless I don’t have it at the library). In the meantime while I wait for the flood of reading requests that I am sure will start pouring in, I am going to finish reading Shine by Lauren Myracle and The Burning Bridge (The Ranger’s Apprentice #2) by John Flanagan. I am also going to start an ARC of Blood Red Road by Moira Young that I received from the publisher. This YA dystopian novel is due out in June.

Are you looking forward to a new release this month? Here’s a quick look at some March releases that I am excited about:

Demonglass (Hex Hall #2) by Rachel Hawkins (I already read this, but I am still excited that everyone else finally gets it too)
The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell
The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan (She is coming to Ohio and I am going to try to see her!)
Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O’Roark Dowell
Cirque du Freak, the manga, vol. 8: Allies of the Night by Darren Shan
Wither: the Chemical Garden by Lauren DeStefano

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

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Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour

Ok, Old Man Winter, you have made your point, you are totally bada**. This weather is even wearing me, a life-long Clevelander and no stranger to snow, down. I am not complaining, I’m just saying…thanks for the snow day!! As the wind howled and snow piled up in annoyingly high drifts in my driveway, I hunkered down with a blanket and a pile of books. I managed to cross off three books from my TBR pile yesterday! First up, a perfect get yourself in the mood for summer read:

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

It has been three months since the accident that killed Amy Curry’s father. It has been a month since her mother moved to Connecticut, leaving Amy behind in California to finish school. Now, summer vacation has finally arrived and Amy has been ordered to pack up the car and join her mom. Since Amy has stopped driving since the accident her mother has recruited the help of her friend’s son, Roger. Roger is a college freshman who is planning to spend the summer with his father in Philadelphia. With Roger in the driver’s seat and mom’s emergency credit card the pair sets out on a carefully planned, and perfectly boring road trip across the country. It doesn’t take long for them to get off track and embark on a more exciting (and emotionally cathartic) journey. Their journey leads them to places like Yosemite, Graceland, Kentucky, Amy’s brother’s rehab facility, Maryland, and eventually their final destinations. Both teens are wrestling with personal demons and together they might just find their way home.

I loved this sweet and moving road trip novel! Bits of Amy’s journal, along with pictures, doodles, receipts, and playlists provide levity to an often serious story. Amy is broken and suffering from survivor’s guilt. Roger is stinging from a recent rejection and an unexplained break-up. The romance between the two is predictable and inevitable, but tender and touching nonetheless as it slowly and seemingly unconsciously grows. The people they meet while on the road are as important to the story as the stops they make, especially Bronwyn, Drew, and Lucien. This is a perfect summer romance/road trip novel. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll want to pack up your car and hit the open road. Buckle up, you are in for a treat.

For more tales from the road check out The Miles Between by Mary Pearson, Going Bovine by Libba Bray, How to Be Bad by E. Lockhart, Hit the Road by Caroline B. Cooney

*Spoiler*

The biggest complaint that I have with the story is that Amy and Roger sleep together. There is no big, graphic sex scene, everything is just implied, but only a day after they realize they have feelings for each other they sleep together. I don’t think it was necessary for the story, and a bit contradictory to Amy’s previous reaction to sleeping with her boyfriend.

So, that was the first on three books that I finished on my snow day. I also read the first Scott Pilgrim graphic novel and Sequins, Secrets, and Silver Linings by Sophia Bennett. I should have more to say on them this week.

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

Margaret Peterson Haddix is Coming to Rocky River!

The countdown has begun…it is exactly one week until acclaimed Ohio author, Margaret Peterson Haddix, will be here at Rocky River Public Library! Mark your calendars all you local readers for Wednesday, March 2 at 7pm in the auditorium. Ms. Haddix will be talking about the stories behind her stories (I can’t wait to hear her answers to our book club questions). She will also be signing books and answering questions. Borders will be here offering 10% off Ms. Haddix’s books.

Not familiar with her books? Well, she has written over 25 books for children and teens. She has been on the New York Times bestseller list and has received international book awards. Here are some of her most popular books:

The Shadow Children series, beginning with Among the Hidden is a science fiction series about a society that only allows families to have two children. In this series a third born child is on the run from thePopulation Police. There is plenty of action and adventure here!

The Missing series which starts with the book Found, is about an adopted teen who begins receiving mysterious letters telling him he is “one of the missing” and “they’re coming back to get you.” He soon finds himself in caught in a mystery involving the FBI, an illegal smuggling ring, and planes (and people) that can appear and disappear seemingly at will. This series is perfect for fans of time travel and historical fiction.

Into the Gauntlet is the tenth and final book in the 39 Clues series. Fans of this series will not want to mis the conclusion to Amy and Dan’s around-the-world search for clues-it is full of surprises!

Not into Science Fiction? No problem!

Try Just Ella, a continuation of the Cinderella story in which Prince Charming may not be the perfect man after all! Palace of Mirrors is another princess story full of danger and impostors. Ms. Haddix also writes about child abuse, losing a parent,  kidnapping, child stars, cloning and other scientific experiments. There really is something for everyone.

I hope you’ll join us for an evening with Margaret Peterson Haddix.

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

Mostly Good Girls

Here it is, just like I promised! A book review for you. Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales was one of my contemporary fiction choices for February.

Violet and Katie, juniors at a prestigious prep school in Massachusetts, have been best friends since seventh grade. The pair is usually inseparable as they navigate the cutthroat halls of Westfield School. However, a series of events puts a strain on their seemingly perfect friendship. The trouble starts when the effortlessly perfect Katie does a personality 180. Violet, who works overtime to maintain her grades, edit the school literary magazine, learn to drive, and figure out how to talk to her long-time crush does not understand the changes she sees in Katie. Violet struggles to come to terms with the way her friend and their friendship are changing.

I really enjoyed this quick and hilarious debut novel. This character-driven novel is light on plot, but certainly not fluff, as it tackles some hefty issues in a humorous way. This book is seriously laugh-out-loud funny. Violet’s voice is so real that I had to look up Leila Sales to make sure she herself was not a prep school student. What I liked best about this book is that the issues are universal-friendship, crushes, stressing about school and grades- and the message is simple: people change and you have to learn to roll with the punches. I think it’s a tough lesson to learn at any age, but particularly difficult for a teenager. I also loved the way each short chapter was like a stand-alone short story that offered a new glimpse into the lives of these girls. Leila Sales is definitely an author I will be watching.

The content of the book is pretty mild, though Violet has a mouth like a sailor! There is gossip about sex, drinking, and anorexia and references to homosexuality. There is nothing new, nothing graphic, and nothing that the average teen hasn’t seen or heard before.

For other laugh-out-loud reads check out Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford, The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart, or Paranormalcy by Kiersten White. For more prep school/boarding school reads pick up Looking For Alaska by John Green, The Disreputable HIstory of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart, or Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. If you want more books about besties try Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler, Same Difference by Siobhan Vivian or Devilish by Maureen Johnson.

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

Mondays With Megan-Teen Room Makeover

Hi Everyone! How was your weekend? Mine was so relaxing it’s a wonder I remained conscious. Seriously, I vegged out on the couch and watched TV shows on DVD, read an ARC (maybe I will tell you about it soon), and played Scrabble on Facebook. I ran some errands, did laundry, walked the dog and even worked out, but it’s like my brain totally shut that stuff out and only remembers the relaxing bits. Thank you brain, I needed that.

 My weekend totally reenergized me and I was ready to tackle my To Do list today.  At the top-rearrange all the books in the Teen section at work. I got new drawer a couple of weeks ago and they have been sitting empty just begging for my attention. I am so excited about the changes that I took pictures!

New drawers! This is where all the manga is now. I love it. Thank you Paul for helping me move everything and thank you Stacey for putting them spine-out.

This is my favorite change. Look at all those colorful and eye-catching graphic novels! I moved them out of the corner, gave them some prime real estate and there is plenty of room to display them face-out. Fingers crossed that they see more action here.

Look at all the room my Books on CD have! Look at all the room to grow. In fact, I think it’s time to go shopping!

This is where graphic novels and manga used to be. I think Science Fiction will be very happy in its new home. It’s been a good day.

I promise to have a book review or two this week. Pinky swear.

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

Judging Books by Their Covers

We all do it, and I for one, think it’s ok to do. I am talking about judging a book by its cover. Of course, as a professional I also rely on reviews, but I certainly enjoy a gorgeous cover. Today two awesome covers were revealed and in case you haven’t already seen them…ta da! Cover Love.

Here is the cover for Supernaturally by Kiersten White! Check out Evie in that smokin’ dress! In addition to being a totally bada** demon hunter, she is quite the fashionista. I can’t wait to find out what is in store for Evie and her hottie, Lend. I can’t believe we have to wait until August!! On the bright side, there is plenty of time for you to read Paranormalcy. Hmm, I just discovered that I don’t have a review to link to. Time to remedy that!

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

When you work for the International Paranormal Containment Agency the idea of normal is all relative. For Evie it’s perfectly normal to see through glamours, have a mermaid best friend, and a faerie ex-boyfriend. It’s after a hot, young shape-shifter breaks into IPCA headquarters that things really start to get weird. Paranormals around the world are dying, and Evie is having nightmares about a frightening prophecy that seems to link her and her special ability to the deaths. Oh, and she is totally crushing on the new guy. 

Paranormalcy is start-to-finish fun. Evie is tough, yet girlie, and hilarious. I loved the action, intrigue, romance, and laugh-out-loud moments (love the locker scene so much!). Plot twists and turns left me guess until the end and I loved that the paranormals when beyond the usual fare of werewolves and vampires. Hello mermaids and hags! I did not want this book to end. Fortunately there is more to Evies story.

If you loved this one, you will want to read Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins, The Drake Chronicles by Alyxandra Harvey, and the Maggie Quinn series by Rosemary Clement-Moore. I would also recommend Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls series. There’s no paranormals, but these girls, like Evie totally kick butt!

Next cover. I find this reveal to be especially cruel since I have to wait until 2012 for this book! That may as well be forever, I swear. Anyway, here it is:

Jessica Rules the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey is the sequel to Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side. I imagine in picks up where her internet story leaves off. If you do not want any spoilers, DO NOT click here. If you have already Jessica’s Guide, you will want to click on the above link and get yourself all caught up for book 2. I know I need to do that!

Again, I realized that I have no review for Jessica’s Guide, so here goes.

Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

Jessica Packwood’s quiet world gets turned upside down with the arrival of Lucius Vladescu, a Romanian foreign exchange student. It turns out that no one is who they appear to be. Lucius is not a student. He is a vampire claiming to be Jessica’s long-lost fiance. And if that isn’t crazy enough, he is telling that she is actually a Romanian princess named Anastasia Dragomir. This is all a lot to handle, so it’s only natural that Jessica is a bit overwhelmed by her on-again, off-again romance with Lucius. Just when things start to heat up a perky cheerleader weasels her way into Lucius’ favor. Can Jessica win back her undead man and prevent an all-out vampire war all before graduation day? Life would be so much simpler if she found herself a mortal guy.

In the era of Twilight, it’s sometimes hard to find a unique vampire romance story. This one is a winner. Lucius is polite, patient, and kind and sparks that fly between the two is guaranteed to satisfy romance lover. I am particularly fond of the book that Lucius gives to Jessica: Growing Up Undead: A Teen’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions. Hilarious. So, if you are looking for a charming story with dreamy vampire romance, insecure teens, and an obnoxious cheerleader, this is the book for you. I loved it and can’t wait for more of Jessica and Lucius.

Pair this with any of the books mentioned above. Ok, that’s all for me today. Have a great weekend!

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

Thinking Spring…Books

With today’s weather it is hard not to think about Spring! And when I think Spring I think about all the books I am anxiously awaiting. There are some really exciting books coming in April.

Cassandra Clare fans (that’s ME!) only have six weeks to wait for City of Fallen Angels, book for in the Mortal Instruments series. If you love an action-packed, paranormal romance you need to read Cassandra Clare. There is plenty of time to get caught up in the series if you haven’t started it already (you need to start it). Book one, which introduces readers to the world of Shadowhunters is City of Bones.

In addition to City of Fallen Angels, I am desperate to get Red Glove, the second book in the Curse Workers series by Holly Black. I really loved the first book, White Cat. In fact, this is what I had to say about it last August:

 For me it had a bit of a slow start, but once the action picked up I couldn’t put it down! This is the first book in a new series set in an alternate reality America where some people have the supernatural ability to manipulate the minds, memories, emotions, and luck of others with the touch of a hand. Some curse workers even have the power to kill, transform, or physically injure others. Curse work is illegal, workers are feared, and most are criminals, mobsters, and con artists. Cassel Sharpe comes from a family of workers but he has no curse skill. He is an outcast, a con artist, and a murderer.

Three years ago Cassel killed his friend Lila, the daughter of a powerful worker mob boss. Since then he has carefully isolated himself from others and constructed a facade of normalcy. His protective wall crumbles when his disturbing dreams of a white cat for him cause him to sleep walk. He is kicked out of boarding school and sent to live with his brother. Back at his family’s home he begins to realize that things are not what they seem. He suspects that he has been worked and he sets out to uncover the dangerous secrets that his family is keeping.

This was a fascinating story with plenty of danger, mystery, and surprise twists. It’s a little like a supernatural Sopranos. A huge secret is revealed in this book and I am looking forward to seeing what happens to Cassel and his brothers in the next book, The Red Glove.

The wait will soon be over! This is another must read. The second book is available April 4th, just like City of Fallen Angels and…

Plague, the fourth book in the Gone series by Michael Grant. Give this series to fan’s of The Hunger Games! This series about a town in California that is suddenly encased by an impenetrable barrier and everyone over the age of 15 disappears is jam-packed with action and it is super creepy. Hmm, sounds like another must read to me!

Okay, that’s lots of suggestions for you. Get busy because April is right around the corner.

Happy Reading!

˜Megan