Monthly Archives: August 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday it a weekly meme hosted by the clever bloggers over at The Broke and The Bookish. I found this week challenging because it is a Freebie, meaning not only did I have to create the list, but I had to come up with the topic as well. After many half-finished lists and half-baked ideas, I finally settle on my topic: Graphic Novels. I have been making an effort to read more graphic novels and manga and have found some titles that I really enjoy. Here are my favorites:

1.

The Big Book of Barry Ween, Boy Genius by Judd Winick is wickedly and ridiculously funny. All 12 of the potty-mouthed 10-year-old genius’ adventures are compiled into one enormous volume. Time warps, intelligent apes, the FBI, and turning his best friend into a dinosaur are just par for the course for Barry. The illustrations and dialog are laugh out loud hilarious. Barry Ween is Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes for the next generation.

2.

Cirque du Freak: The Manga by Darren Shan is one of my favorite series so far. I will admit that I have a hard time getting into manga, so this hybrid series is perfect for me. The story of young Darren Shan and his transformation from average boy to vampire is brought to life in traditional Japanese style. I also like being able to read this 12 book series in a matter of hours.

3.

I just reviewed Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gullidge here. This autobiographical book is charming and inspirational.

 

 

 

4.

The Bone series by Jeff Smith was a recommended to me by a couple of coworkers and I finally got around to it this year. I found the series to be charming, humorous, and full of adventure.

 

 

5.

Chi’s Sweet Home by Kanata Konami is an adorable all-ages series starring Chi, a precocious orphaned kitten who is adopted by a family. Each volume is packed with new adventures as Chi tries to learn the ways of the world. It takes a pretty darling cat to win the heart of this non-cat person!

 

6.

Axe Cop is a collaboration between Ethan Nicolle and his five-year old brother Malachai. Young Malachai is the mastermind behind this bizarre, yet hilarious, superhero adventure starring Axe Cop.

 

 

7.

Speaking of strange and hilarious, here’s another that fits the bill: 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth (and Other Useful Guides) by Matthew Inman. What started as a web comic has now been compiled and published for all you book lovers. Be sure to check out more at theoatmeal.com.

8.

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog was created during the Writers Guild of America strike of 2007-2008 by brothers Josh and Zack Whedon. The musical starred Neil Patrick Harris as Dr. Horrible (I confess that this was my sole motivation for watching the movie). Tie-in comic books were created by Dark Horse. Dr. Horrible and Other Horrible Stories is a compilation of those comics. Again, hilarious.

9.

The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci is one of the first YA graphic novels that I ever read. This is the story of four girls named Jane who secretly start a street art rebellion. Their projects they do are so cool it makes me wish I was that creative. This book is all about girl power and is a perfect companion to Page by Paige.

10.

The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam is a combination biography and memoir. Artist and filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming writes about her journey to learn more about her great-grandfather, one of the greatest vaudeville performers in history. I struggle with reading nonfiction, but the graphic format really brought the story to life for me.

 

That’s all for this week. Happy Reading!

˜Megan

Mondays with Megan: I Bought Books This Weekend!

Today I was flipping through Chase’s Calendar of Events 2011 (if you aren’t fortunate to have access to the giant book, you can see it here) and learned that today is Joe Jonas’ birthday, Best Friend Day and National Relaxation Day. A nap sure sounds good right about now.

I did a little book shopping over the weekend! I am very excited about my purchases:

Stork by Wendy Delsol. If I can talk myself into 6 hours of driving on Sunday I will get it signed!
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier. I haven’t read this one yet, but I am told it’s a wonderful mix if historical fiction, time travel  and romance.
This is Where I Leave You by Jonathon Tropper (not YA)

From Netgalley:

Ditched: a Love Story by Robin Mellom
Ashes by Ilsa J.Blick

Won from Peace, Love, and Teen Fiction

Beauty Queens (ARC) by Libba Bray.

It was a good weekend!

On a non-book related topic, I found a new show to watch-The Great Food Truck Race on Food Network. I’ve got my fingers crossed for Hodge Podge, the truck representing my hometown of Cleveland!

Finally, please stop by my new library fan page. Check us out on Facebook at Rocky River Public Library Teens. I will do a little giveaway when we reach 50 fans. Deal? Okay thanks.

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

Going Graphic

TGIF! Seriously, it has been a long week and I am looking forward to some weekend relaxing. The weather is supposed to be lovely, I have a stack of books just waiting for my attention, and I have the whole weekend off. This week I brought home five graphic novels and managed to finish three. The first order of business was to catch up on a couple of series that I read.

Chi’s Sweet Home by Konami Kanata is a charming all-ages manga series that follows the life of a stray kitten and the family that adopts her. Chi is mischievous and precocious and often find’s herself in some precarious situations. Volume 6 contains my all-time favorite Chi incident: pigeon stalking. I laughed out loud at the eight pages showing Chi trying to catch a pigeon that was walking down the sidewalk. This volume is full of gems like this. Pushing things down the stairs, attacking a houseplant, making new friends, and getting a new collar are all part of Chi’s daily adventures.

I went straight from adorable kittens to vampires with The Lake of Souls, the tenth installment of the Cirque du Freak manga series.

I really like the Cirque du Freak: The Manga by Darren Shan. I did not read the original books and was overwhelmed at the idea of starting a 13 book series, but I was looking for non-sparkly vampires that would have guy appeal. The manga was the perfect solution. The series follows Darren Shan, a young half-vampire as he rises through the ranks of the vampire society. Certainly not cute and cuddly, but great fun and action-packed.

 

Finally, I read Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge. This one satisfied two reading challenges-graphic novel and debut author.

Page by Paige is the story of how Page Turner (yeah, her parent’s are writers) copes with her new life in New York City through her art. She struggles insecurity, loneliness, and her big secret: she wants to be an artist. She slowly makes friends and begins sharing her art first with them, and then with a larger audience. I really liked this one. The black and white art is simple but powerful and it tells it’s own story. This autobiographical debut is heartfelt and inspirational. Fans of Cecil Castellucci’s Plain Janes and Janes in Love will enjoy this books.

Time to wrap it up. I will leave you with my thoughts on last night’s Project Runway.

1. The chiffon outfit was hideous. What were they thinking?
2. Bert and Viktor were obnoxious. I loved Bert after the first episode but now I think I am over him.
3. What’s the deal with Oliver? Fake accent? Still bitter about the awful dogbed sherpa top. Super ugly.

Have a great weekend!

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

Top Ten Tuesday: Underrated and Underappreciated

Hi everyone, sorry I missed you yesterday. I haven’t missed a Mondays with Megan in a while, but it was just too busy at the library to get a post done. It’s time to get back on track with a Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish. As usual, thanks for this little bit of list making heaven. This week bloggers are getting the opportunity to send great big shout-outs to their favorite underappreciated books. So they may not be material for the next big blockbuster movie starring the hottest teenaged/twenty-something starlets, but these books are awesome and deserve some love. So, how about giving them a chance? Check one out; you won’t regret it.

1.

 Stork by Wendy Delsol is the story of Kat, a teenaged girl transplanted from sunny California to snowy Minnesota in the wake of her parents’ divorce. Adjusting is difficult enough without learning that she is part of a top-secret group called the Icelandic Stork Society responsible for placing unborn souls. Full of mythology, mystery, and romance, this sweet book is a gem. I can’t wait for Frost!

2.                                               

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John is on my list despite winning the Schneider Family Teen Book Award 2011. I swear I gush when I talk about this book about a deaf teen managing her high school rock band. Love.

 

3.

Gone series by Michael Grant. Every teenaged guy who likes action, horror and science fiction should be reading this series. It’s dark and creepy and at times down-right disgusting. One day everyone over the age of 15 disappears, leaving the younger kids to fend for themselves. To make matters worse some of the kids have developed super powers. It’s so cool.

4.

Bloody Jack series by L.A. Meyer is one of my all-time favorite series. Anyone who has ever read this blog should know that I mention Bloody Jack and Jacky Faber all the time. I am not even sorry about that. This is my kind of historical fiction. Mary “Jacky” Faber is an orphan in who escapes the streets of London by disguising herself as a boy and getting a job on a Royal Navy ship. This is an ALA Best Book 2004 and the audio have won awards as well (they are out of this world!), but this series doesn’t seem to sell itself. I have been pushing it at my library and now it is rarely on the shelf.

5.  

Blood Red Road by Miora Young. This may be too new to be called underrated, but I am including it because it is a fantastic Hunger Games readalike and only 1 person is on hold for it at my library.  Please read it so it can be properly appreciated.

 

6.

The Drake Chronicles by Alyxandra Harvey is the most underrated teen vampire series out there today (in my humble opinion). Oh my goodness, it is so wonderful! Sassy smart girls, smokin’ vampire brothers, vampire politics. *Sigh* I am desperate for the next one. Even if you think you are tired of vampires I encourage you to try this series.

7.

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken is a beautifully written fantasy with a head-strong heroine on a dangerous quest in the company of a hot wizard.

 

 

8. 

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson is one of my favorite tear-jerkers. It’s sad and beautiful and hopeful all at once. I loved it (can you tell it’s getting late? My descriptions keep getting shorter and shorter. Number 10 may just say “Great book. Go read.”)

 

9.

The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade stars a shape-shifting, hunchbacked, spy named Modo living in Victorian London. Think secret societies, evil scientists and clockwork monsters-fantastic steampunk! (Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld is another underrated steampunk gem)

 

10.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson is a great book. Go read. Just kidding…no, actually, I am tired. Bioethics, medical engineering, mystery…good stuff.

 

 

That’s all from me today. I hope you enjoy some of these underdogs.

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

In Which I Discover Comic Books Just in Time for the Big D.C. Comic Reboot

D.C. Comics is making a historic and bold move by rebooting 52 of its superheroes beginning August 31 with The Justice League.

Here’s the original JLA crew.

 

 

 

 

The Justice League Rebooted. So sleek and shiny! And younger looking. I can’t wait to check out the new Aquaman.

 

 

 

What does this reboot mean for readers? It means that Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and the Flash will be reunited and redrawn to make them more accessible to modern readers. Their new storylines will remain true to the original legends while reflecting more current, real-world events. The reboot also means that readers can access new books digitally on the same day the print copies arrive in comic shops.

Ok, so the reboot is old news, as are comic books in general, but for me this is all new and exciting. I have to thank Carol and John from Carol and John’s Comic Book Shop in Cleveland, Ohio for getting me excited about comic books. These guys are so knowledgeable and passionate about their products that it’s no wonder they are the #1 comic shop in Cleveland. Their excitement is infectious and I left the shop anxious to reboot my library’s comic book collection. Starting August 1st we will carry many of the rebooted titles (there is not space or money for all 52, but John helped me pick the best ones) and I will be adding some new non-superhero titles as well. I personally am looking forward to getting reacquainted with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

Be sure to check out Carol and John’s shop either in person or online. I know I will be stopping in again. I’ll tell myself it’s to find things for my nephews, but really it will be for me!

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

Top Ten Tuesday: Trends Edition

                                                                                                                                                                           

Here is another great topic for a Top Ten list, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week bloggers are sounding off on book trends. I am imagining a What’s Hot (keep ’em comin’, give us more) vs What’s Not (Enough already, please stop). At least, that’s my plan.

More Please:

1. Mash-ups. I love when a book has a little bit of everything. Mash-ups may not be an official term, but I think it works. My favorite combo is humor and action. My favorite most recent books that fall into this category: Paranormalcy and Supernaturally by Kiersten White, The Magnificent 12 by Michael Grant, Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore, and The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan.

2. Steampunk. I have fallen behind in my steampunk reading, but I love the blend of historical/Victorian era alternate-reality, machines, gears, and action. More mash-ups! My favorites: Leviathan and Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld, The Hunchback Assignments series by Arthur Slade, and The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare.

3. Hunger Games Readalikes. I love this trend. It’s like Harry Potter for the slightly older crowd, it’s like Twilight for both guys and girls. The Hunger Games has grabbed the attention of the masses and left them craving more. My favorite readalikes? Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi, Blood Red Road by Miora Young, and Divergent by Veronica Roth

4. Light But Not Fluffy. Again, I like a little variety in my books. I want a light read that isn’t saccharine sweet. I want there to be a little meat to it, some character growth, moral dilemma, a crisis to overcome. But not too much-it’s supposed to be a fun, light read. Perfect examples of this type of book are Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson, and Don’t Stop Now by Julie Halpern

5. Audiobooks.  Audiobooks are nothing new, but currently there seems to be a real push in favor of listening to your favorite book. I love this! I love listening to a book in my car or on a walk with the dog. My absolute all-time favorite audiobooks are the Bloody Jack series by L.A. Meyer. I also really enjoyed The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, The Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley and Going Bovine by Libba Bray. It’s hard to pick favorites when I have enjoyed so many wonderful audiobooks in the past two years, but these stand out in my mind.

6. Retellings. What started with Percy Jackson has turned into a full-fledged trend and is no longer exclusively Greek mythology. Retellings are popping up everywhere and they are so much fun! Rick Riordan continues to rework Greek mythology in his spin-off series, but he has also branched out into the world of Egyptian mythology with his Kane Chronicles series. Meg Cabot, Aimee Carter, and Josephine Angelini have all offered Greek retellings this year. Wendy Delsol works Nordic mythology into her delightful book, Stork. Vivian Vande Velde offers eight retelling of Red Riding hood in Cloaked in Read, and Alex Flinn’s Beastly, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast was recently turned into a movie. I say, keep those retelling coming, because I love them.

7. Adults Reading YA. I love this trend! I love that my sisters and friends will read YA with me. I love it when an adult patron proudly declares that they loved Twilight and need another book like it. I love when parents and grandparents read things before or with their teens. YA has so much to offer and I say, the more the merrier, let’s all read YA!

On The Fence

8. Co-written books. I am still on the fence about co-written books, especially one’s with alternating chapters/voices. In fairness, I have not read too many books like this, but the ones I have read have been a mixed bag. I loved Heads You Lose by Lisa Lutz and David Hayward, and Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan.  While I enjoyed Notes from the Blender by Brendan Halpin and Trish Cook, I found Jenna and Jonah’s Fauxmance by Brendan Halpin and Emily Franklin lacking. I guess it just depends on the pairing.

9. Mermaids. There is a whole slew of mermaid books coming out. I haven’t read any yet, so as far as I know, they could be the next big thing. I really must check this out.

Enough Already 

10. Vampires and werewolves. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want vampires to go away entirely, but I need a break. I never could get down with werewolves, but everyone else needs to stop trying to make them the new vampires. Not happening. Zombies are the new vampires. I swear, it’s true. Right now my favorite vampires are the Drakes from Alyxandra Harvey’s series The Drake Chronicles. I also enjoy Nathaniel Cade from Christopher Farnsworth’s The President’s Vampire series (not YA). Other than that, I am steering clear of the fangs for now.

That’s all for me. I am off to read some other top ten trends lists to see what I might have missed.

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

Mondays With Megan-2011 Debut Authors Reviews

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? Mine was pretty great. I got a gate put up across my driveway so my dog could come home from her extended sleepover vacation at my sister’s houses. This means freedom for both of us! She gets to hang out endlessly sniffing the yard and rolling in the grass (her two favorite things) and I don’t have to watch her (it’s not very interesting to watch). I read a good chunk of Supernaturally by Kiersten White. I love it, which makes my decision to savor it rather than devour it in one sitting difficult, but it just had to be done. I will have a review this week, but if you are looking for a funny, romantic, action-packed, fashion-forward, paranormal adventure check out Paranormalcy and it’s sequel, Supernaturally by Kiersten White. Hang on, I am getting off topic here. Actually, I haven’t even gotten around to introducing the topic: Debut authors of 2011, or The Elevensies as they call themselves. I have only read 11 YA debut authors so far this year, but I have done a great job (if I do say so myself) of writing reviews. First, three quick reviews that I haven’t gotten around to yet:

Forgotten by Cat Patrick

London Lane cannot remember the past, but she can see the future. A traumatic event in her past causes her mind to reset each night, erasing the events of the day. When disturbing visions plague her dreams, London begins searching for the truth about her past. The arrival of a new student, the handsome and friendly Luke Henry, only complicates London’s life further as she struggles to date a guy she can’t remember.

This unique debut novel contains equal parts mystery, romance, and psychological drama. This suspenseful page-turner is unforgettable. Give this one to fans of Lisa McMann’s Wake trilogy, Laurie Faria Stolarz’s Touch series or Kimberly Derting’s The Body Finder series.

Rival by Sarah Bennett-Wealer

Brooke and Kathryn are best friends-turned-rivals after a misunderstanding leads to a physical altercation. Now, Kathryn is the school outcast, but Brooke no longer gets pleasure from tormenting her former friend. The stakes are high as the girls prepare to face off at the prestigious Blackmore singing competition. First prize is a ticket out for the winner, and both girls crave a new beginning.

This debut novel, told in alternating voices, offers readers a look at both sides of the rival story. The mean girl who wants to change, the shy girl who finds confidence, and the huge singing competition that could change their lives forever all combine in this touching work of contemporary realistic fiction. Fans of Glee will love the music aspect of the story.

The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polsiner

Nick’s family life is a mess and his best friend, Scooter, is dying of a rare genetic disease. The Scoot’s final wish involves Nick, a quirky girl named Jaycee, a signed first edition copy of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, and an unforgettable road trip. Scoot’s wish is that Nick and Jaycee find the father the abandoned him, but left him the valuable book. With little to go on the pair sets out on the journey of a lifetime. Guided by Steinbeck and Yoda, Nick and Jaycee embark on their quest. However, just as Burns wrote in the poem that inspired the novel, “The best laid plans of mice and men oft times go astray.”
While the actual quest is predictable and unrealistic, the characters are unforgettable. This novel offers a unique blend of classic literature and popular culture. Steinbeck and Yoda meet to provide readers with a heartbreaking and humorous look at life, loss, death, grief, and friendship. This short novel packs in lots of teachable moments without being preachy. Fans of Star Wars will appreciate all of the references. For further “quest” reading try How to Be Bad by E. Lockhart, The Miles Between by Mary Pearson or An Abundance of Katherines by John Green.

Woo-hoo! I am on a roll! All of my Elevensies reads have now been reviewed. Here’s a little stroll down memory lane for the rest of them:

Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison

 

 

 

Girl Wonder by Alexa Martin

 

 

 

 

Blood Red Road by Miora Young

 

 

 

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

 

 

 

Clarity by Kim Harrington

 

 

Divergent by Veronica Roth

 

 

 

 

      Wither by Lauren DeStefano

 

 

 

 

 The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

 

 

 

 

 

My favorites so far? Divergent, Blood Red Road and Forgotten are must reads!

Happy Reading!

˜Megan