Monthly Archives: May 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Beach Reads

Now that summer has apparently bullied spring into submission here in Northeast Ohio, it’s time to start packing up beach bags and soaking up the sun (don’t forget the sunscreen). This week’s Top Ten list, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish is all about beach reads. When I think if beach reads I think of books that are light and fun. It also helps if they are small and paperback.  You never can predict what will happen at the beach, so I recommend paperbacks because they are lightweight (so you can carry more) and less costly to replace than a hardcover (these things happen, don’t fret too much).

I am going to do this list a little differently. Instead of recommending things for your beach bag, I will tell you the ten books that I would put in my beach bag if I were going on vacation today.

1. Stork by Wendy Delsol. This is just a tiny part of what say: “With a nod to Hans Christian Andersen and inspired by Norse lore, Wendy Delsol’s debut novel introduces a hip and witty heroine who finds herself tail-feathers deep in small-town life.” This comes highly recommended by a friend and it’s finally my turn to get it from the library.

2. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. Beauty queens+Lost-style island+Libba Bray’s sense of humor=MUST  READ.

3. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. One of my favorite YA Sci-Fi books. I can’t wait to reread this for my teen book club.

4. He’s So Not Worth It by Kieran Scott. This sequel to She’s So Dead to Us isn’t due out for another week, but I have an ARC and if I were headed to the beach today, it would be in my bag for sure.

5. The Battle for Skandia by John Flanagan. Book 4 in the Ranger’s Apprentice series would definitely be in my beach bag. As it is now, it’s somewhere in the middle of my TBR pile. I would give it the attention it deserves if I went to the beach today.

6. We’ll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han. This is the conclusion to the Summer series starring Belly, Jeremiah, and Conrad. I can’t wait to see how it ends and the beach would be the perfect place to read it!

7. How to Ruin My Teenage Life by Simone Elkeles. I have been meaning to finish this series, which starts with How to Ruin My Summer Vacation. I would probably also toss in How to Ruin My Boyfriend’s Reputation. If my beach trip was in August I would definitely bring Chain Reaction. Basically, my beach bag would have something by Simone Elkeles!

8. Hexbound by Chloe Neill. This is the second book in the Dark Elite series. It’s the perfect size for a beach bag and it has hardcore demon-fighting girls and cute guys. Perfect.

9. Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich. A beach vacation is the perfect time to learn more about amateur bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum. I have plenty of catching up to do-Smokin’ Seventeen is due out this year and I have only read the first one!

10. Finally, I would take Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn. I have been told that I absolutely must read this delightful Victorian mystery and it just keeps getting pushed to the bottom of the list…

So, that’s what I would take on my beach vacation. What about you?

Up next? Top Ten Settings, real or imaginary. This is going to be tough.

Happy Reading!


Wither by Lauren DeStafano

It’s time for a book review! Of all the books I have read this month, Wither was the biggest challenge for me. The first book in The Chemical Gardens Trilogy by Lauren DeStefano, this book is getting some serious buzz. However, after reading blurbs and a few reviews I had my doubts. The good news? Once I started reading it I could not put it down. The not so good news? After days of thinking about it, I am still not sure how to explain my thoughts. I apologize in advance if this seems convoluted. Let’s see if I can sort this out for you. Here goes nothing.

Wither (Chemical Gardens Trilogy #1) by Lauren DeStefano, 2011.

Sixteen-year-old Rhine and her twin brother Rowan live in a world that has been decimated by nuclear warfare and a mysterious virus that causes people to die in their twenties. While scientists race against the clock to cure this disease, teen girls are often kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages for the sake of reproducing. Rhine finds herself in exactly this position. Tricked by the lure o f work, she is kidnapped by Gatherers and becomes a bride and sister-wife. Despite being offered a life of wealth and luxury, Rhine is focused on escaping. With help from a servant, Rhine attempts to break free from her marriage and her mansion, a place ruled by her mad-scientist father-in-law who will stop at nothing to find a cure to save his son.

I will start by saying that despite some serious flaws, I was completely enthralled with this book. You have to be willing to suspend your disbelief to truly enjoy this book. DeStefano’s world building is practically nonexistent. You just have to take her word for it that these horrible things happened. You also have to trust that 20-something young men are desperately concerned with repopulating a dying earth. What saved this book for me was the richly detailed accounts of daily life among the sister wives. Each girl had a unique personality and role to play, and each was heartbreaking in a different way. The most surprising part of the story was Linden, the husband. I suppose I expected him to be an ogre, but the true villain is his father. Linden, like his wives, is just a pawn in his father’s game. Ok, before this gets any harder to understand I am going to wrap it up.

Bottom line: A flawed, but engaging story and I will read the next one.

If you are a fan of dystopian-survival novels try Birthmarked by Caragh O’Brien, Divergent by Veronica Roth, and keep a look out for Blood Red Road by Miora Young. You can also check out this handy list I made a while back while I was waiting for Mockingjay.

Have a great holiday weekend, and Happy Reading (if you have time)!


Son of Neptune Cover Revealed

I am sad to report I still don’t have a review ready, but I do have another exciting cover to share with you. The next book in the Heroes of Olympus series, Son of Neptune, by Rick Riordan, has a cover! I am so excited for this book. October 4th can’t come soon enough. I am a little nervous though; look how ominous the cover is. I recommend popping on over to the book’s official site to see a ginormous version of the cover in all it’s glory. You can also get a sneak peek at the book. I haven’t read it yet and I am not sure I want to-a peek won’t be enough and will make the wait more painful. BUT I will confess to a small squeal of joy upon discover that chapter one starts with PERCY! ARG! I am torn. To read or not to read…I think I will go eat some dinner and think on it.

Meanwhile, enjoy the view:

If you are not familiar with the wonderfulness that is ALL THINGS Rick Riordan, I really must insist that you head to the nearest library and find yourself a copy of The Lightning Thief. Do not be tricked by the movie. Ignore it. I mean it, head straight to the books (or audiobooks). While you are there you may as well grab Sea of Monsters so that it is handy. You’ll thank me later for being so pushy. You are welcome in advance, now scoot!

Happy Reading!


Clockwork Prince Cover Reveal

I thought I would have a review for you today, but I woke up on the wrong side of the bed today and my crankiness is preventing me from finishing the review I was struggling with yesterday. So while I put myself in a time out, please enjoy this prettiness:

With only 194 days left until we can read it, Clockwork Prince has a cover! Book two features Jem, who I prefer to Will. Everyone is raving about how amazing the cover it, but I think I like Clockwork Angel cover better. I love the storyline so much that I really don’t care what the cover looks like as long as what’s inside is as wonderful as the first book!

Happy Reading!


Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’ve Lied About

Hi Everyone, it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week we have been asked to ‘fess up and reveal to all the lies we have told about books we have read/not read, liked/disliked…and I am struggling. After reading other bloggers’ list I was happy to discover I am not alone. I am a librarian, I want people to read. I don’t care what it is, as long as you love it, keep on reading. I say be proud of the fact that you are reading. Say it loud and proud and don’t worry what others think. Twilight? Forget the haters, I devoured it! Harry Potter? For years the one thing I had in common with a brother 13 years younger than me! Shiver? The only book that I can think if that I truly and vehemently disliked and I will defend my position until the end (I read Linger and am anxiously awaiting Forever but still really can’t stand the series). So, after thinking long and hard, this is all I can offer:

1. Germinal by Émile Zola. I read this because a much smarter friend insisted that all well-read people should read Zola. I read it and it wasn’t horrible, but it was really not my cup of tea. I may have been a bit more enthusiastic about it than was actually the case…

2. Lord of the Rings by Tolkien. This trilogy has been on a few other “lied about” lists! I read them, before the movies, and enjoyed them. The lie-I never let on about what a struggle it was to read them! Truth time-they rank up there with Crime and Punishment as some of the hardest books I have read. BTW, I loved Crime and Punishment and that is no lie. Believe what you like.

3. Catcher in the Rye by Salinger. Never read it, never lied about reading it. I have at one time or another expressed regret over not reading, which is a big fat lie. I don’t care that I have never read it!

4. Anything by Jane Austen or Emily Brontë. I am pretty sure I read Wuthering Heights in high school. I might have even liked it, but the truth is, I have not read the works of these ladies. I don’t lie about that either, but I know enough about the plots and have seen enough of the movies that I can usually get away with appearing to know what I am talking about…lies of omission are lies just the same.

5. A Clockwork Orange by Burgess. I read this my freshman year in college, in a class that had I not been lazy about the AP English test, I never would have been in to begin with. I did not belong. I was actually smarter than most of the kids in the class (the one and only time in college). It felt good to be among the few who actually understood the book and got the point, so I pretended that I liked it more than I actually did, just because.

I really can’t think of anything else. I am off to think about next week’s list-Top Ten Beach Reads.

Happy Reading!


Mondays with Megan(s)

Hello everybody, and welcome back sunshine! It’s Monday, it’s sunny, and I am back from an awesome staycation. My time off was full of food, family, and driving all over town to fit it all in. The highlight (besides seeing my far away sister) was the new baby nephew! Despite the busyness I did manage to get some reading it, including the very cute, clever, and charming book Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O’Roark Dowell. I am not yet finished, but I mention it now because it inspired today’s post.  I noticed that there was not one, but two characters that shared by name. They were minor characters, one Meg and one Megan. I found that interesting, because I always find it interesting to come across characters with my name, especially since I was named after a character in a book. That’s right, I share a name with Meg March from Little Women, a book I shamefully have never read. It’s on the list, I swear. Anyway, this got me thinking about some of the other Megans I have come across in books and I realized that there was list potential here. I do love a good list (or wacky list. I have been told my lists are wacky. I can live with that.)

1. Meg March, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott-Meg is the oldest of the March sisters. She is a governess who dreams of being rich. I am the oldest of my sisters and I have long ago abandoned all dreams of being rich.

2. Meg Murry, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle-Meg is again the oldest child, the daughter of scientists. She is good at math, feels like a bit of a misfit and is unhappy with her “mouse-brown” hair and glasses. She has amazing interplanetary adventures. I am terrible at math (but I too have brown hair) and my dreams of interplanetary travel were crushed by my father in 6th grade when I got my first glasses. He promptly informed me that astronauts can’t wear glasses. Jerk. Glasses never stopped Meg Murry.

3. Meghan Chase, The Iron King series by Julie Kagawa-This Meghan spells her name wrong! She is the daughter of a fairy king and she goes on a dangerous quest through fairy land to rescue her half-brother. She is accompanied by two handsome fairies who both like her. My name is “h”-less, my father is not a powerful fairy, and while I do have a half-brother and I would go on a dangerous quest to rescue him, he is a grown man and should be able to avoid situations such as body-snatching on his own. Any dangerous rescue mission involving the two of us will really annoy me. The only thing following me around is my dog and her breath stinks.

4. Megan Berry, You are so Undead to Me by Stacey Jay-Megan Berry is a zombie settler. She is blessed/cursed with the ability to help the dead stay dead. Her social life is constantly being ruined by zombies. The poor, sized 2 girl just wants to go to homecoming in peace! I, on the other hand, have no problem with zombies. Don’t get me wrong, I love zombies, but we pretty much stay out of each others’ way, which is fine by me. I guess I should be thankful, but if I could choose, I might be tempted trade my zombie-free life for a size 2 waistline! I’ve been to formal dances and they aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, so a few unsettled wouldn’t bother me so much.

5. Megan Meade, Megan Meade’s Guide to the McGowan Boys by Kate Brian-Megan Meade is the daughter of career military personnel. She has had it with constantly moving and just wants to finish high school in the US. Her parents ship her off to family friends and their seven sons. Living with that many boys is truly a challenge. Unlike Megan Meade, I grew up with mostly sisters. I have 5 sisters and 2 brothers and those poor guys were so out numbered they barely had a chance to annoy us girls. I know all about living with a big family, but that many boys? Eek.

6. Megan, Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer-This Megan is a devoutly religious teen, who makes sacrifices for her friends and kind of annoys Miranda because she is too good. I am with Miranda. You’ll notice I was not raptured over the weekend…

Ok, this is as far as I got, then I realized this really is kind of a ridiculous post. My brain must still be on vacation. I apologize for putting you through this. But I bet it got you thinking, huh? Wondering when you met a character with your name…

Check back tomorrow for yet another list. Don’t worry, it will be better-it’s Top Ten Tuesday!

Happy Reading!


Move Over Vampires, the Mermaids are Coming!

According to a recent USA Today article, mermaids are the next big thing. The new vampires. In fact, the Queen of Teen Vampires, Stephenie Meyers has reported that she is working on a mermaid book. Those rumors have been going around for a couple of years now, so I’ll believe it when I see it. I digress. I was momentarily distracted by my bitterness over her refusal to write Midnight Sun or anymore of the Host series. But that’s another story. Right now it’s mermaids! A quick search of my library catalog found lots of mermaid tales for children and these three mermaid stories for teens:

Mermaid’s Mirror by L.K. Madigan 2010

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs 2010

Forbidden Sea by Sheila A. Nielson 2010

2011 will see even more mermaid tales. I have recently orders these for the library:

I like the covers of May (Daughter of the Sea) and Lost Voices the best!  I’ve been reading some pretty dark stuff lately (Divergent by Veronica Roth, Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith, and Shutter Island by Dennis LeHane) and vowed that my next book would be pink. Bad things don’t happen in pink books, right? Maybe I won’t be so choosy about the cover color and check out a mermaid book. P.S. I really strongly dislike adding images to WordPress. I mean, really? The text is supposed to go UNDER the picture.

Happy Reading!


Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Minor Characters

It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday List. This week the hosts of this feature,  The Broke and the Bookish , have asked us to honor all those supporting characters in books. So, here’s to you, all you best friends of to the main characters!

1. Lucy from The Drake Chronicles series by Alyxandra Harvey. This girl is fearless and sassy, my favorite combination.

2. Balder the Garden Gnome in Going Bovine by Libba Bray. Who doesn’t love a Norse god trapped in the body of a garden gnome? Balder is at the center of many of the laugh-out-loud moments in this book.

3.  The Harry Potter series is overflowing with great supporting characters: Dobby, The Weasley Twins, Snape, Neville Longbottom, Sirius Black…the list goes on. It’s HP, enough said, right?

4. Grimalkin from The Iron King by Julie Kagawa. I like a character that keeps me guessing. Sure, Grimalkin is wise, but trustworthy? You’ll have to read it to find out.

5. Grandma Mazur from the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. I have only read the first book in the series, but Grandma Mazur is a hoot! “Hoot” is a bit nerdy, but really, how else can you describe the gun-shooting, hot pant-wearing, say-it-like-it-is granny?

6. Bovril, the persipicacious loris from Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld. Who doesn’t love a cute fabricated beastie?

7. Lil, the jukebox from the Dead Is…series by Marlene Perez. This is a cute paranormal series with tons of interesting supporting characters, but Lil is my favorite. I love how her song selections are clues to solving the mysteries.

8. Tasey, the sparkly pink taser from Paranormalcy by Kiersten White. Sure, like Lil, Tasey is an object, but the story would not be the same without her, so in my book she is a character!

9. As long as I am honoring inanimate objects, how about Gladys the bike from the Flavia de Luce series by Allen Bradley? That Gladys sure has spirit and she is not afraid to get dirty.

10. Last, but certainly not least, Mort Schilling, Isabel Spellman’s elderly Jewish lawyer in The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz. Oh, Morty, you are hilarious. Your knack for irritating Izzele (the Yiddishified version of Isabel) is brilliant, and yet the friendship that develops over the course of the series is truly touching. I usually have a taste for a deli sandwich after spending time with Izzy and Morty.

Ok, this list is finally complete. It’s late, but still Tuesday. I am going to be off for a few days, but I will try to schedule some posts for you.

Happy Reading!


Mondays with Megan-Divergent Review

What a busy weekend! My sister is in town from Montana, so the weekend was packed with family activities. Soccer games, birthday parties, bowling, and IHOP are just a few of the fun parts of my weekend. Not so fun, sunburn (I know, right?!) and the piece of siding I found in my driveway. It looks like mine, but I really can’t find where it came from. Despite all the hustle and bustle, I managed to finish Divergent by Veronica Roth. This 22-year-old author’s debut novel is being compared to The Hunger Games, so of course I had to read it. I was so pleased that this book lived up to all the hype!

Divergent by Veronica Roth May 2011

Beatrice Prior lives in a dystopian Chicago where people are divided into factions that value and cultivate a particular virtue. At the age of sixteen citizens may decide to stay with their faction and family or choose to join a different faction. Beatrice struggles with her decision, which is made even more complicated by the confusing results of a standard aptitude test. Once the decision is made, Beatrice renames herself Tris and begins the grueling and dangerous initiation process. Protecting a secret that could lead to her death if discovered, Tris soon learns that there is growing conflict among certain factions. This conflict not only threatens the peace of her seemingly perfect society, but the people who Tris loves the most. As tension mounts Tris learns that her secret could be the key to saving those she loves.

I could not stop reading this book. I admit that during the first 100 pages (it’s almost 500 pages long), I wondered what exactly was going to happen. The stage was being set, but I couldn’t imagine how the book could be so long. And then I was sucked in with such force that I could think of nothing else but when I was going to read this book. The plot slowly unraveled, revealing itself one bit at a time, just as some of the characters’ secrets are slowly revealed. The action is non-stop, and at times gruesome. Violence, backstabbing, and high stakes challenges are par for the course as Tris struggles to earn a spot in her faction of choice. This is a promising start to a new dystopian trilogy. It is intense and suspenseful and left me eager for more (and wondering which faction I would choose). The factions: Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Erudite (the intelligent), Candor (the honest) and Dauntless (the brave). Before I read the book I thought I knew, but after, I’m not so sure.

Fans of Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, The Maze Runner by James Dashner, Blood Red Road by Miora Young, Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith, and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins will enjoy this electrifying new series.

Happy Reading!


Fantastic Friday the 13th

It’s Friday the 13th! For those of us who do not suffer from Paraskevidekatriaphobia, fear of Friday the 13th, it’s just another Friday (yay Friday!). Can’t pronounce that mouthful? Click here and a lovely British man will say it for you. For those of you who are superstitious about this unlucky day, you will be happy to know that this is the one and only Friday the 13th in 2011. Though I feel I should warn you that 2012, a leap year, has three Friday the 13ths. Yikes. I say, let’s cross that bridge when we come to it. On to some freaky fact-finding regarding this supposedly unluckiest of days.

13 Legends and superstitions about the Number 13, Fridays, and Friday the 13th

1. If 13 people sit down for dinner one will die within a year. I actually just learned about this one while reading The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell. Her male lead, Nathaniel, was a Fourteenth, or a hired guest to a dinner party to prevent the dreaded and deadly thirteen guests senario.

2. Changing your sheets on a Friday will bring bad dreams.

3. In pagan Rome, Friday was execution day.

4. A properly-formed coven of witches has 13 members.

5. In numerology, 12 is the number of completeness (12 months in a year, 12 hours of clock, 12 apostles, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 labors of Hercules), whereas 13 is irregular.

6. Friday, October 13, 1307 was the day King Philip of France arrested and tortured the Knights Templar.

7. More than 90% of high rise building do not have a 13th floor and airplanes do not have a 13th aisle.

8. If you have 13 letters in your name you will have devil’s luck. Infamous 13 letter names: Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo. Um, my name has 13 letters….

9. In Florence, Italy, the house between the numbers 12 and 14 has the address 12 1/2. The number 13 is also not part of the lottery

10. You should never cut your hair on Friday the 13th, as it will result in a death in the family.

11. There were 13 stairs leading to the gallows, the blade in a guillotine fell from a height of 13 feet and a hangman had 13 knots in a hangman’s noose.

12. Henry Bliss of New York became the first U.S. pedestrian killed by an automobile on Friday September 13th, 1899.

13. Last year in an article for National Geographic one historian reported that an estimated that $800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day because people will not fly or do business they would normally do!

So, in honor of Friday the 13th and Short Story Month 2011 why not pick up Kiss Me Deadly: 13 Tales of Paranormal Love edited by Trisha Talep or R.L. Stine’s collection, Fear: 13 Stories of Suspense and Horror? I dare you.

Happy Reading!