Monthly Archives: February 2012

Top Ten Tuesday-Theme Songs

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and The Bookish was really hard for me. The challenge was to give theme songs to ten books. Confession time: I don’t really listen to music. So, I started with some obvious ones and that got the old gears turning and I managed to eek out a pretty decent list.

Obviously the song for If I Stay by Gayle Forman is Girlfriend in a Coma by The Smiths.

Again, I went for the obvious. A zombie book like This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers kind of screams out for Thriller by Michael Jackson.

Amber Appleton, the heroine of  Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick, is the Queen of Optimism. This book demands to have an uplifting theme song and how can you not feel uplifted after listening to Light and Day by The Polyphonic Spree?

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, heartrending…and for me the perfect song for a love story such as this is Do You Realize? by The Flaming Lips.

I just finished I am The Messenger by Markus Zusak and thought The Gambler by Kenny Rogers may be a good theme song. But then I realized it was a much better theme song for The Cardturner by Louis Sachar.

Going Bovine by Libba Bray is an oddball, trippy, road-trippy little gem. So is Beck. I can picture Balder chiming in on all the na na na na na nas, so I picked E-pro as the theme song, but really, just about any Beck will do!

It’s not a perfect fit, because there aren’t really any robots in Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, but Deryn Sharp would totally do battle against the Clanker machines. Mostly I just have strong feelings about Yoshimi Battle the Pink Robots by The Flaming Lips being a totally awesome theme song. Deryn deserves a kicka** song.

For the book Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King I chose We’re Going to be Friends by The White Stripes, because this is how I like to imagine Vera and Charlie before things fell apart.

I think I am going about this the wrong way-I keep coming up with songs (you know, from the ten I know) and then I need a book to pair it with. That’s what happened with this one. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare needs the theme song Gin Soaked Boy by The Divine Comedy. Why? It’s a feeling I have. I love the song, I love the book. I can’t explain it, sorry.

This is only 9, but like I said, this was a challenge for me. I gave it my all and I really do not have another one in me. I like my little list!

Happy reading and listening!

˜Megan

 

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This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers Review

You all probably know that I love me so zombies and I really liked Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers, so I jumped at the opportunity to read her upcoming book, This is Not a Test, due out in July. This book was provided by Netgally.com for review.

The zombie apocalypse has finally destroyed life as we know it. The world is ending and when there is a signal, phones and radios carry the same message: This is not a test….This is not a test…The message is unnerving to the handful of teens who have managed to survive and find refuge in their high school. Among the survivors is Sloane Price, a girl who has not been bitten or infected, but she has felt dead for months. Sloane’s world ended six months ago when her beloved older sister abandoned her and left her alone with their abusive father. She has nothing left to live for, but can seeing the world through the eyes of survivors who want to live change her mind. Is surviving for the sake of surviving enough?

This is the best zombie book I have read since finishing Carrie Ryan’s Forest of Hands and Teeth series. This is Not a Test is dark and gritty and haunting. There are a few tension-filled zombie scenes, but the real story is inside the school where readers witness the slow and horrifying descent into chaos that occurs among the survivors. This is a zombie book that is not about zombies. It’s about the living dead; some are infected, but some aren’t. Powerful and relentless in its desperation, the story will stay with you long after you have reached the last page. I love when that happens.

A brief note of warning: this book contains swearing, drinking, sex, and death. It is beautifully written and perfectly executed, but not for the young reader.

You may also enjoy The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan and Because I am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas.

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

 

Top Ten Tuesday: In Case of Alien Invasion, Save These Books!

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, brought to you by The Broke and The Bookish, is wide open to interpretation and leaves me with more questions than answers! The idea is to list books I would save in case aliens were abducting my house (or other disaster). My question is, am I escaping the house and can only carry ten books with me? Or, are the aliens taking me, my house, and just ten of my books? Is the disaster a fire? A flood? A tornado? It’s really important to me that I have the scenario straight in my head because 1. 99% of my books are replaceable 2. am I going to be on another planet where I can’t get more books, and now have to teach an alien race about humans based on the ten books I have managed to smuggle on board their spaceship? That is a huge responsibility! This is interesting. As much as I love my books, it turns out I am not in the least bit sentimental about them! I would definitely rescue a few childhood favorites and my mom’s copy of Trinity by Leon Uris. The rest I can’t be bothered with. Now, if I am entertaining/educating some aliens, that is a different story!

1. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray will teach the aliens that we are a reality tv loving, beauty obsessed culture. Also, it’s hilarious and a great introduction to satire.

2. Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi will teach the aliens that we are also obsessed with fossil fuels. It could be a cautionary tale.

3. The Cardturner by Louis Sachar will teach me and the aliens how to play bridge. We might need a distraction.

4. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld will totally mess with their little alien heads. Can I pull it off as a real history lesson? Also, it’s beautifully illustrated. On second thought, what if it gives them funny ideas? Beasties anyone?

5.  Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John will tug at their tiny little alien heartstrings because it’s so inspirational! Also, they will get a little rock and roll education.

6. Hourglass by Myra McEntire will help the aliens understand time travel. Or, will provide them with a good laugh at our simpleton notions of time travel. They could be experts. That’s fine too. Everyone deserves a good laugh (or an awesome time travel story).

7. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, because honestly, at the rate I am going, the only way I will ever get this one read is if I am help captive my a race of kind but curious aliens.

8.  Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey will teach the aliens that the Cullens’ aren’t the only smokin’ hot vampires around. It’s important that they know this.

9. The Rook by Daniel O’Malley will teach the aliens that we are totally on to them and all the other supernatural/paranormal stuff going on here on Earth. It’s not a YA title, but not necessarily inappropriate for teens and it is an awesome debut novel.

10+. A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, and A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin will be my ticket home. The aliens will need to know what happens next, so we’ll all pop back down to Earth in 2013 and pick up the next book. Also, see Little Women. *sigh*

I am not sure I really followed the spirit of the challenge, but I am pleased with my list. If I was really clever, I would have thrown some survival books on there, you know, just in case…

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

 

Yo, Adrian! It’s Monday With Megan and What are You Reading?

Happy Monday Everyone! I had a fun, busy weekend, how about you? On Saturday I spent a good portion of my day here at the library watching Oscar-winning movies.  The movie line up was It Happened One Night, Rocky, and the original version of  All the King’s Men It was my first time seeing Rocky and it was a close second behind It Happened One Night for my favorite film of the day. Did Adrian have some cute berets or what? This event served as a reminder of how few movies I have seen and has inspired me to watch more old movies. Now I just need to find the time….I suggest more movie marathons at the library!

On Sunday my poor dog woke up with a limp (she’s too old to be running around the park like a bat out of hell, but it makes her so happy!) so I took the opportunity to lay low and hang out in my pjs all day. I spent the day cooking (chili, roasted potatoes, pulled pork), reading, and eating too many Girl Scout Cookies. I threw in a movie to shake things up. I got about half-way through The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and I watched the angsty teen flick Beware the Gonzo, which is about a teen at a private school who starts an underground newspaper that sparks a school revolution and has disastrous results. I enjoyed it, especially Zoë Kravitz, who is the spitting image of both her parents (Lisa Bonet and Lennie Kravitz). Seriously, it’s kind of weird. As for the book, I am withholding comments until I finish. So that’s what I did. Oh, and I stayed up late to watch Downtown Abbey. I cannot believe I have to wait until ??? for more.

On to the books!

Book Journey  wants to know what you are reading and Teacher Mentor Texts wants to know what children’s and teen books you are reading. I am glad they asked!

Last week was a full of amazing reading! I finished The Rook by Daniel O’Malley-LOVED it. Highly Recommend. Five stars. Two-Thumbs Up. I am even write a review! I also finished This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers. I will be review it this week, but I have needed time to digest it all. I also finished The Boy Book by E. Lockhart and I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore. I am working on great stuff this week too!

In my car: Still listening to I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak. Honestly, I don’t want it to end.

At home: Because I do not want to risk crying at work or in public, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green will not be read outside of my house. I will probably finish it tonight.

 Which means I will need a new night stand book. I am thinking The Emperor of Nihon-Ja by John Flanagan. I am bound to be sad after reading TFIOS, so I may as well stay on the sad train and finish up my beloved Ranger’s Apprentice series. *sniffle, sniffle*

On the bright side, my at work book is I’ve Got Your Number by Sophia Kinsella. I am starting it today and expect it to be great fun.

My graphic novel reading has come to a stand still since I caught up with Fables. I am stuck in the middle of The Walking Dead and Y: Last Man. In the meantime I will read Mangaman by Barry Lyga.

Speaking of Barry Lyga, is anyone else excited about his upcoming novel, I Hunt Killers? It sounds a little Dexter-ish for the younger set. Sign me up. And Warner Brothers has bought the television rights? Yes, please!

Ok, this is getting to be a very long post! That’s all for now.

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler Review

Here we are half way through February and I haven’t done any reviews. Slacker! Time to remedy that. Here is one I read in January.

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler, 2011

It’s 1996 and Emma has just gotten a new computer. Using a free AOL cd-rom, Emma is ready to start emailing! What she discovers instead is a strange thing called Facebook which has photos and status updates from a woman who sounds remarkably like an older version of Emma. Confident that it’s a prank, Emma reaches out to Josh, her neighbor and former best friend. Things have been awkward between them for a while, but he might know who made the fake page. After all, he’s the one who gave her the cd-rom.  The pair soon realize the Facebook pages are real and they are seeing snippets of their future selves. They also discover that everything they do in the present impacts the future.

For me this was a lovely trip down memory lane. Those were simpler times…people waited for dial-up, scrunchies were awesome hair accessories, mixed tapes were played on Walkmans, and poor Pluto was still a planet. The modern teen may not find these details as charming as I did, but they will certainly be able to relate to the situations that Emma and Josh are dealing with. Who doesn’t wonder what their future will be like? What if you learned your future wasn’t happy? Wouldn’t you want to change things? I think I would. And if worrying about the future isn’t enough, Emma and Josh are both struggling with challenges in their present. That’s a lot of worrying and they don’t always handle things well, but really, who does?

Most of the complaints I have read about this book have been about Emma. I feel like I need to defend her. I agree, she is initially not a very likeable character. She is kind of bratty and a little mean. Her interest in the future revolves solely around herself and her friends. I would argue that is perfectly fitting with her character. Also, I think she redeems herself in the end and I do love a good redemption story! Remember, you need to have flawed character in order to have change and growth in the end.

Overall this is a quick, fun read that reminds readers that the best way to be happy in the future is to be happy in the present.

Be sure to check out Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why and Carolyn Mackler’s The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things

Readalikes: Winter Town by Stephen Emond and Gimme a Call by Lauren Mlynowski

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Broke My Heart A Little

This week the blogger’s at The Broke and the Bookish decided to go with an Anti-Valentine’s Day theme. We are picking books that kind of broke our hearts. It will be interesting to see how people interpret this. There are a couple obvious choices, Harry Potter and Mockingjay are the two that I am sure will be on a lot of lists. Please don’t think I am heartless for not including them on my official list. Think of them as numbers 10+1 and 10+2…math is not really my thing.

1. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. After her sister’s death, Lennie discovers that she has no one to hide behind. She is broken and no longer knows how to live. Her path from grief to acceptance is long and painful, but beautifully told.

2. The Summer series by Jenny Han. This series tells the story of Belly Conklin and the two boys who manage to love her and break her heart. There is a lot of heartbreak in the series and it isn’t all about the love triangle.

3. Notes from the Dog by Gary Paulsen. Admittedly not the best book ever, but it still broke my heart when I read it. Timing is everything and at the time that I read it I was very sensitive. Still, a solid tear-jerker about cancer and friendship and families. Good stuff.

4. Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers. This book is a devastating look at the lives of mean girls and bullying. It breaks my heart how realistic it is. On a side note, I am reading an arc of her newest book, This is Not a Test and it’s pretty heartbreaking too.

5. Shine by Lauren Myracle. It was so hard to find words when I originally wrote a review of this book. The gorgeous cover is deceptive, inside is a world of ugliness and heartbreak. It’s a tough but amazing read.

6. Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King. Vera Dietz lost her best friend, twice. Once when he totally betrayed her and screwed her over and again when he died. Vera’s struggle with her anger at Charlie and her grief over his betrayal and death are a little heartbreaking.

7. The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith. This book haunted me for months after reading it. It got in my head, under my skin, and kind of twisted around in my heart. Very powerful book.

8. Pop by Gordon Korman. Yup, I got a little vaclempt over this football book. It really is a sweet sad story.

9. Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys. WWII and labor camps? Yeah, that’s a little bit of heartbreak for you.

10. Desires of the Dead by Kimberley Derting and Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. These are a tie and they broke my heart for the same reason. In my opinion they did not meet my high expectations. I was told they were awesome. I was told I would love them. They were not. I did not. Disappointment can break your heart.

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

Mondays with Megan-Zombie Ice Cream and What Are you Reading?

Look at me two weeks running with a zombie related post. I just can’t help myself. I did not get a chance to watch the new episode of The Walking Dead last night. I had to choose between that and Downton Abbey and Downton won. I’ll catch up with Rick and crew tonight. The reason I even mention the zombies today is because in the course of planning summer programs for the library I got some exciting news. I am going to be hosting a Zombie Walk in May (Zombie Awareness Month) and a local ice cream shop, Mitchell’s, has generously agreed to supply ice cream for my undead army. That alone is super cool, but it gets better-they have are also open to the possibility of creating a zombie-themed ice cream for the event. So put on your thinking caps and send me your ideas so I can pitch them along to the amazing Mitchell brothers.

Now it’s time to for a reading check in. It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly feature hosted by Book Journey. A version for the younger crowd (or the young at heart) is found at Teach Mentor Texts.

I finished up Four to Score by Janet Evanovich, so I have a new book in my car.  I am also reading the same book at work and at home because I need to finish it before Thursday.

In my car:

I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak. This is the story of Ed Kennedy, a 19-year old Australian cab driver whose uneventful life changes the day he foils a bank robbery.

At work and on my night stand:

 The Rook by Daniel O’Malley. This debut novel is about a secret government agency that handles supernatural events. The narrator is a high-ranking agency official who wakes up one day with her memories erased. A new person is in her body and together (?) they have to figure out who is after her/them. It’s so weird and a ton of fun! It’s not a YA book, but I could see some older teens enjoying it.

When I need a quick break:

The Boy Book by E. Lockhart. This sequel to The Boyfriend List continues Ruby Oliver’s story of being unlucky in friendship and love. It’s a cute, quick read.

My e-book:

I am still working on This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers. This is a tough book. It’s more than just a zombie book and it is really good.

As soon as I finish The Rook I will return to I am Number Four. These should keep me busy for the week. What are you reading?

Happy Reading!

˜Megan