Monthly Archives: January 2012

Mondays With Megan: Unbreak My Heart by Melissa C. Walker Review

Hi All! It’s Monday and despite feeling sluggish and sleepy, I have a two-fer for you-a review and meme, all wrapped up in one post. First the review.

I received an ARC of Unbreak My Heart by Melissa C. Walker from Netgalley for review. Expected publication is May, 2012.

Clementine Williams made a huge mistake: she fell for her best friend’s boyfriend. As a result, she became a social outcast. Mercifully the school year is over and Clem has an entire summer of brooding planned. Of course, it may be difficult to execute this plan while stuck aboard her family’s small sailboat. When she meets James, a fellow sailor, at their first land stop of the summer she does her best to ignore him, but as their paths continue to cross he becomes the distraction she needs to heal her broken heart.

Unbreak My Heart is told in chapters that alternate between summer on the boat and the school year that broke Clem’s heart. In this way the devastating events of sophomore year are revealed slowly, a snippet at a time. In the same manner, Clem gradually comes to realize that her heartbreak has more to do with losing her friendship with Amanda than any feelings she may have had for Ethan. I loved Clem’s supportive family, James’ unrelenting positive attitude, and the unique setting. Clem’s depression and self-loathing is a bit melodramatic at times, and yet very fitting for a heart-broken sixteen-year-old. Over the course of the summer Clem reflects on the entire situation and the role she played and gradually comes out of her funk. She learns to forgive herself and allow herself to be loved by her family and her new friends. Overall, this was a quick and satisfying read that brought to mind The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart.

Phew! That felt great to get that out there. I swear, by To Be Reviewed list is overwhelmingly out of control! And it’s only going to get longer, because…

That’s right, time to check in with the old TBR pile. Hosted by Book Journey, It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a great way to share what’s on your list as well as add to it! For all you YA lovers, you’ll also want to check out a version of this meme at Teach Mentor Text.

In my car: I am taking a quick break from YA in the car to catch up with Stephanie Plum. BTW, LOVED Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick. Highly recommend and may get around to reviewing…eventually.

On my breaks at work: Everyone is raving about Cinder, the cyborg. I am checking it out now. I love the cover.

My e-book: Thanks to Netgalley, I get to read this ARC. This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers. I really loved Some Girls Are, so I have high hopes for this one.

Walking the dog: Bleeding Hearts by Ian Rankin. I don’t think it can possibly be as AWESOME as Alyxandra Harvey’s book, Bleeding Hearts. Man, I love those Drakes and book 4 does not disappoint!

Books I have abandoned and vow to attend to soon: Little Women and Clash of Kings. Scouts honor, I will finish them in February.

On my nightstand: I am incredibly fortunate to have a well connected friend because I get to read Endlessly months before it is out. I will not rub it in because I am too busy trying not to freak out (also, that is not nice. I would never do that to you).


Happy Reading!




Fantastic Finds Friday-Haikus Edition

It’s Friday and I am once again turning to the book I am reading (actually, listening to) for a fantastic find to share with you. Today, it is haikus. Before I started writing this I did a little research on haikus and learned that there are just about a million rules for writing this tiny 17 syllable poem. And purists will argue that just because a poem follows the 5-7-5 pattern that doesn’t mean it is a haiku. Rules, scmules. I have never been able to get down with poetry, but I was inspired by Amber Appleton and Private Jackson from Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick. Amber, the queen of optimism, befriends a Vietnam vet and they bond over green tea, dogs and haikus. If you are all about traditional haikus, you may not enjoy these. Here a few samples of Amber’s doggie haikus:

A pup will never
Forget to kiss you goodnight
Even when you smell

Dogs have lots of fur
Does that count as wearing clothes
Or are they naked?

True, these are silly, but there as more serious haikus in the book, and they help both Amber and Private Jackson cope with the traumas they have endured.

Here is what Amber says when the lightbulb clicks on for her and she gets why PJ obsessively writes the tiny poems:

“The moment just was-free of the emotions and judgements or any of the other illusionary things we humans feel the need to attach to everything we encounter…I totally got why he had been writing haikus all this time, ever since ‘Nam, training his mind to allow things to exist without all the complicated emotional baggage.
Everything simply is-always and forever.”

˜Amber Appleton, Sorta Like a Rock Star, pgs 196-7

And now I have a new appreciation for poetry. True. So, I gave it a whirl.

Winter in Cleveland
Morning rain gives way to snow
Strange is the norm here

I swear I will never torture you with poetry again! I will still argue that Amber’s are a fantastic find.

Happy Reading!


Top Ten Tuesday-Top Ten Teen Books With Holds at My Library

Ok, so WordPress decided to DELETE my entire Top Ten Tuesday post as it was published. Needless to say, I am completely cheesed off. Fuming. Saying bad words in my head (only because I am at work and cannot say them out loud, but believe me, I am saying them). So, here is a rush job repeat of what was once a well thought out and quite clever post. Sorry, no witty commentary. I am too busy coming up with colorful ways to describe how I feel about WordPress right now. Sailors would be in awe. You know the drill: The Broke and the Bookish host this delightful meme. This week is a freebie so I am presenting the ten teen books with many hold on them at my library. They are popular, yo.

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

2. The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler.

3. The Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare.

4. Legend by Marie Lu.

5. Stolen Away by Alyxandra Harvey.

6. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

7. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

8. The Brotherband Chronicles: The Outcasts by John Flanagan

And from the On Order List:

9. Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter

10. Timepiece by Myra McEntire.

Honorable mentions go to City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare, Fear by Michael Grant, Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver, and Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi.

I apologize for the blandness of the list and for losing my cool there earlier. Thank goodness it’s almost time to go home.

Happy Reading!



Monday’s With Megan-Topics Overload Edition

Happy Monday folks! I don’t even know where to begin. What are You Reading? ALA Media Awards? Chinese New Year? Downton Abbey? My super fun and relaxing three days off?  *sigh*

Ok, let’s just get started.

First, I wish you all a Happy Year of the Water Dragon. The Dragon symbolizes power, strength, and good luck. However, it is also an unpredictable sign, so really, who knows what could happen this year? Check out these gorgeous images of New Year festivities from The Daily Mail.

Next, It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? This meme is hosted by Book Journey. I am not entirely sure if I am doing this right, but my feeling is, you can’t go wrong with a book list.

Bedtime Book: Starting tonight I will be reading Bleeding Hearts by Alyxandra Harvey. This book 4 in the Drake Chronicles series, starring the super-dreamy Drake vampires.

E-Book: Unbreak My Heart by Melissa C. Walker an e-galley I have received for review from Netgalley. Expected publication is May, 2012.

BOCD in the carSorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick is the story of Amber Appleton, a homeless teen with tiny dog, a big heart, and unending optimism. I know something bad is about to happen soon, and I really don’t want it to because I am really enjoying upbeat Amber. Word.

I am almost finished with my Playaway of Just Breathe by Susan Wiggs and then I will start listening to, interestingly enough, Bleeding Hearts by Ian Rankin. Weird. I also have Little Women and Clash of Kings going, but I am taking my time with them. No rush.

Finally, click here for a complete list of ALA Media Awards  winners that were announced today. I am excited to see that Susan Cooper won the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement. I love her Dark is Rising series.

Ok, wait. One last thing about Downton Abbey-BATES! 🙂

Happy Reading!


Fantastic Finds Friday-Cleveland’s New Aquarium

I took today off from work to check out the newest attraction in Cleveland-The Greater Cleveland Aquarium! Pass holders (that’s me!) get a sneak peek and then it’s open to the public on Saturday. It’s not book related, but I can envision myself taking a book and spending in a relaxing morning surrounded by the soothing sights of colorful fishes. I’ll find out today if that’s going to work out for me. Fingers crossed.

Have a great weekend and Happy Reading!



Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books For Non-Historical Fiction Readers

It’s Tueday, which means it is time for me to come up with another Top Ten List! As always, a big thank you to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting this little bit of list making joy. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books I Would Recommend to Someone Who Does Not Read X. On my list, X=Historical Fiction. This is starting to sound a bit math-y so, let’s move along to the books. I usually struggle with hisstorical fiction, but it turns out I actually enjoy it. Who knew? In the same boat? Give one of these titles a try:


Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys is the story of a Lithuanian family forced into labor camps in Siberia by the Soviets in 1941. Based on actual events in the author’s family.

Did I learn about this in school and forgot? Or, was this the first I heard of the tragic events in this book? Not sure, but either way, it was heartbreaking and beautiful and educational.


Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious  Adventures of Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship’s Boy by L.A. Meyer is the first book in the Bloody Jack series and tells the story of a young orphan girl living on the streets of London until she disguises herself as a boy and secures a position on a royal navy ship.

I say it over and over, but Jacky Faber is hands down my favorite heroine. Love. Love. Love.


The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell is set in Baltimore, 1889 and tells the story of a young woman being introduced to society. The merriment of the summer is marred by her disturbing visions of the future.

Paranormal + historical=A Winner! I am looking forward the companion novel, The Springsweet.


Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey is a spooky ghost story/mystery set in England 1872 and tells the tale of Violet Willoughby, daughter of a Spiritualist scammer who discovers that she, unlike her mother, actually can communicate with the dead.

You thought the historical fiction+supernatural was awesome? Try adding mystery to that mix. This book is awesome!


The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jaqueline Kelly is the story of a young girl in Texas in 1899 who bristles at her mother’s insistence that she learn to become a lady. All she wants to do is study nature with her grandfather and study to be a scientist like Charles Darwin.

I found this coming of age story to be so charming. Calpurnia is strong, spirited girl who feels trapped by social conventions. The cover also rocks.


Wicked Girls: a Novel of the Salem Witch Trials by Stephanie Hemphill is a fictionalized account of the Salem Witch Trials told from the point of view of three teen girls living in Salem, 1692.

I do not usually enjoy books written in verse, but in this case, it really worked. The story is chilling and powerful and quite eye-opening, as readers are drawn into the madness of the time.


A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee is the first book in the Mary Quinn mystery series. Rescued from the gallows in 1850 London, Mary Quinn, an orphan and thief, is offered an opportunity to train as a spy with an all-female investigative unit known The Agency.

Who doesn’t love a good spy novel? Throw in the gritty setting of Victorian London, and an orphan girl of mysterious nationality and you have a real treat of a book. The third Mary Quinn novel is coming out this year and I can’t wait!


The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is not your typical World War II story. Narrated by Death, it tells the story of Liesel, a young German book thief and story-teller who uses her sticky fingers talent to sustain her family, the Jewish man they are hiding, and her neighbors.

In the interest of full disclosure, I could not read this book. I tried, but could not get into it. However, once I got the audiobook, I discovered how absolutely amazing this book is. Believe all the hype.


Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson is the story of a young slave girl living in New York as the Revolutionary War erupts. She has been separated from her sister by her cruel mistress and has vowed to find her no matter the cost.

I am actually still listening to this book right now. It is a fascinating look at slavery during the American Revolution. I will definitely continue on with Forge when I am finished.

10. The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood is a Gothic tale set in Northumberland, England during the reign of King George III. Jessamine and her father live in an abandoned abbey, where her father tends an apothecary garden full of dangerous secrets.

This one is a bit unusual, but if you like a story with a supernatural twist, a unique setting, and a cliffhanger ending, this one is sure to please. The sequel, Nightshade, has recently been released and I need to take it home with me soon.

And since I can’t leave well enough alone and quit at 10, here are some bonus adult titles (teens might enjoy them too!):

1. The Help by Katheryn Stockett-everyone knows about this one. Still need to see the movie.

2. The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston-totally adorable novel in pictures follows the adventures of young Frankie’s search for success and love in the 1920’s. Very charming, a must read for fans of The Paris Wife by Paula McLain.

3. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (and all the other Flavia du Luce mysteries) by Alan Bradley-hilarious mysteries, set in 1950’s England, starring a precocious 11-year-old sleuth who loves chemistry.

Happy Reading!


Mondays with Megan: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey. The YA and MG lists are also linked at Teach Mentor Texts. This is my first time joining it and I am so grateful because my Currently Reading list feels like it is a mile long and I don’t have any reviews ready. It was a busy weekend-work, grandma’s 90th birthday party (my gma is super cool!) and my sister visiting from Montana left little time to make a dent in my reading. So, here is what I have going on right now.

My At Work Lunch/Dinner/Break Book:

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler is about teens Emma and Josh and a computer glitch that allows them to have access to Facebook, despite the fact that the year is 1996.

I have mixed feelings about this one, but I am hooked enough to want to see it through to the end. Also, while the characters are looking into the future, I am enjoying the walk down memory lane!

My Before Bed Book:

The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart is the first in the Ruby Oliver series and details the romantic ups and downs of one Seattle teen.

I picked this one as part of my resolution to let others have a turn being first with hot new releases while I read books that currently hanging out on the shelf ready for some attention. I am definitely a fan of Ruby and plan to read the rest of the series.

My Audio Book for the Car:

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson is the story of Isabel, a slave girl living in New York at the beginning of the American Revolution.

This one has been languishing on my TBR pile for ages! Since I have recently realized that I don’t dislike historical fiction (you follow that?), I have been looking to beef up my reading in that area. So far I am enjoying this book very much, and learning some new things in the process. I will most certainly continue on with Forge when I am finished.

My Walking the Dog Audio Book:

Just Breathe, by Susan Wiggs is a contemporary romance about a woman building a new life following her divorce.

It is light and sweet and predictable. It’s not the best book ever, but it is an excellent companion during a cold walk.

My e-book:

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is the classic tale of the March sisters and their lives during the Civil War.

I vowed to read this book this year…finally. I am not promising speed, but I will read it. Heads up Ender’s Game, I am coming for you next!

The Book I Started, Put Down, and Desperately Want to Go Back To:

A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin is the second book in the Songs of Ice and Fire series.

Looking ahead I need (and want) to reread Five Flavors of Dumb for book club, Cinder by Marissa Meyer, The Woman in Black by Susan Hill, and a very exciting ARC that I am not sure I can mention yet.

What are you reading?

Happy Reading!


A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle Review

Roddy Doyle, the Irish author of some of my favorite books, including Paddy Clarke, Ha, Ha, Ha, and The Barrytown Trilogy (The Commitments, The Snapper, and The Van) has written a teen novel called A Greyhound of a Girl. I was thrilled to receive an advanced copy from the publisher and  Netgalley for review.

Summary: A Greyhound of a Girl is the story of four generations of women. twelve-year-old Mary, has a lot on her mind. Her best friend has moved away and her gran, Emer, is on her deathbed in the hospital. Letting go is hard to do, until she meets a kind older lady on her way home from school one day. It turns out this familiar looking young woman with an odd manner of dress and speech is the ghost of her great-grandmother, Tansey. Tansey was a young mother when she died of the flu, leaving Mary’s gran motherless. Tansey never stopped watching out for her little girl and is eager to ease her daughter’s fears about dying, but she needs Mary and her mother, Scarlett to help. Together, they devise a plan for Tansey and Emer to meet and revisit the past as Mary and Scarlett prepare for a future without Emer.

My thoughts: The first words that come to mind to describe this short little book are charming and touching, but it’s missing the charisma and wit that I expect from Doyle. I loved the descriptions of the family farm and the stories of Emer’s youth. Tansey was a wonderful and lively character, and I loved her take on the after life. However, not much happens in the book and the dialogue at times feels forced and even dumbed down for a younger audience. Despite the serious content, this book felt more like a middle grade than a teen novel. Overall, a sweet, simple read.

Happy Reading!


Fantastic Finds Friday-Roman Dirge’s Lenore

I was out on an end-of-the-year book buying mission and I could not pass up these books. Yes, I totally judged the books by the covers, but you have to admit the titles are pretty snazzy too! Sorry for the small pictures. The titles, in order, are Noogies, Wedgies, and Cooties. Tee hee.

I wasn’t until they landed on my desk and I started reading that I discovered that Lenore is not new. I did a little pokin’ around on the old internet and learned that Lenore first appeared in 1992, but it wasn’t until 1998 that she got her own comic series, which ran until 2007. Then in 2009 her story started up again and we now have them beautifully bound as Noogies, Wedgies, and Cooties. On his blog Dirge describes Lenore as both horror and dark humor. I like. It doesn’t hurt that Lenore is reanimated, has a cast of bizarro friends, and is prone to potty humor and murder.

I have only rifled through the first volume, but I am so pleased with this fantastic find. I especially like this quote from the Los Angeles Times: “Sweet and strange and slightly discomforting…An unholy union between Tim Burton and Dr. Seuss.” I plan to savor these over the weekend. I will probably also be spending some time exploring Spookyland, Lenore’s online home.

Happy Reading!


Halt’s Peril (Ranger’s Apprentice #9) by John Flanagan Review

The end is near and I am getting a bit emotional about it. I have loved every book in the Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan and I only have one book left. Two, if you count the collection of short stories. I am torn between snatching up the last book and reading it right now and waiting, just to delay the inevitable. Confession: I snatched the book up. Now, do I read it or finish the things I have already started? While I struggle with this personal dilemma you can read about Halt’s Peril. Be warned that you will encounter spoilers if you have not read the previous eight books. If that is the case, stop reading this and immediately run to the library/store/internet and get yourself a copy of The Ruins of Gorlan. You can thank me later. Anyway, moving along.

Halt’s Peril, Ranger’s Apprentice book 8 by John Flanagan, 2010

Will, Halt and Horace are back on the trail of Tennyson and his cult, the Outsiders. They have tracked the charlatan and his men back into the Rangers’ homeland of Araluen. Their journey is fairly eventless until they are ambushed by Tennyson’s hired assassins, the Genovesans. During the ambush Halt is nicked by what turns out to be a poisoned crossbow bolt. Their pursuit of Tennyson comes to an end as Will sets out to get help for his dying mentor. Can Halt survive long enough for help to arrive? How will Horace and Will face the Lady Pauline if he does not? And what will become of Tennyson and the Outsiders? You’ll have to read Halt’s Peril to find out!

I would hate to spoil the story for anyone, but I have to say that I think this was the most suspenseful and funniest volume yet. We meet some old friends (and enemies), Will and Horace both have to make difficult decisions, and the constant banter and teasing among the three friends is practically non-stop (except, of course, during the tragic parts…). The ninth volume is not short on action, adventure, or clever battle manuevers. I’ll even confess to getting a little teary-eyed at the end. Fans will not be disappointed (except for the fact that they are one book away from the final, for real end).

Readalikes: Cinda Williams Chima, Garth Nix, Michael Scott

Happy Reading!