Monthly Archives: April 2012

Mondays with Megan, In Which I Score an AWESOME e-galley and What are You Reading

It started as an innocent trip to Barnes & Noble to accessorize my Nook. It turned into a mini-shopping spree. I am not a big shopper, so really anytime I buy more than one or two items it can be categorized as a spree. Anyway. I picked out my cover first and should have walked away. But really, I just has to see what they had (as if I didn’t know. See how I trick myself?). Twenty minutes later I pried myself away with the cover, Grave Mercy by Robin Lafevers, Rebel Heart by Moira Young, AND Game of Thrones, season 1 on Blu-ray. Now all I need is a mini-staycation to enjoy all my treasures! Oh, and I got an arc of Timepiece by Myra McEntire. What an awesome first Nook book. Rereading this, I am really impressed that I actually came in to work today. What was I thinking? *cough* *cough* So there is the obvious answer to the question, It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Book Journey hosts this meme and Teach Mentor Texts has a children’s/YA version. Check it out.

 

I feel like I slacked in April, but I made one final push to the finish line last week and got a bunch of things finished:

    

The List by Siobhan Vivian was pretty good. The 8 POVS were a bit overwhelming and at times it felt like an issues book on steroids, but overall enjoyable.

Ashes by Ilsa Bick was awesome. I couldn’t put it down and I can’t wait for the next one. Reminded me a little of The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness.

High Five by Janet Evanovich was just what I expected and needed. Good old reliable Stephanie.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson should only be read in the privacy of your own home, unless you do not care about strangers staring at you while you guffaw in public. I am pretty sure I need to just own this book. Love.

So, how does one top that amazing week? It will happen.

In the car: Sacré Bleu by Christopher Moore. It’s the story of the color blue. And 19th century Impressionist artists in Paris. And murder.

With the dog: I am Legend by Richard Matheson. This novella, written in 1954, is considered by some to be birth of the modern vampire tale. I am really enjoying it and it’s making me itchy for a vampire/zombie movie marathon.

On the Nook: Timepiece by Myra McEntire. Oh, happy day, I have the sequel to Hourglass!

On my nightstand: Thou Shalt Not Road Trip by Antony John. In preparation for hearing him speak at a conference I am attending in May, I am reading his newest book. I am nervous because I don’t think it can compete with Five Flavors of Dumb.  What am I saying, it will be great, in its own special way.

I also promised my seven-year-old nephew that I would read Nicholas St. North and the Battle Nightmare King by William Joyce to see if it would be a good one for him or if it is too scary.

The Power of Six got bumped again, along with so many others.

See? Another great week of reading to look forward to!

What are you reading?

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

 

 

I did not ever get to The Power of Six.

 

 

 

 

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Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard Review

This cold and rainy Saturday afternoon seems like the perfect time to revisit the hot and sunny climes of Central America. Ready? Let’s go!

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
Delacorte Press, 2012
338 pages
provided by Netgalley for review

Summary:

Determined to leave behind her broken heart, shattered dreams of art school, arguing parents, and unsupportive friends, 18-year-old Bria Sandoval signs up for a guided tour of Central America. She quickly learns that she is in fact, not a Global Vagabond. Her travel companions are all middle-aged tourists, all unwilling to head off the beaten path. When a handsome young backpacker invites her to a party, Bria seizes the opportunity to unleash her inner bad girl. She ditches the group and joins Rowan and his sister Starling, both seasoned backpackers. Both Rowan and Bria are keeping secrets and trying to out run their pasts. Will two weeks off the beaten path be enough for them to forgive themselves and learn to trust each other?

Wanderlove is a beautiful summer romance (that sounds a bit cheesy, but trust me, it’s not). Bria and Rowan are both on journeys that are just as much emotional as they are physical, so it’s not all light and fluffy, sunshine and butterflies. They both carry heavy emotional baggage and painful past experiences. Hubbard expertly captures the uncertainty of the late teen years, when young adults find themselves trying to separate from their parents and their high school experiences and make major life decisions.

My favorite part of the book was watching Bria change. In the beginning she was naive and honestly, a little bratty. She was hurt and angry and her entire self-worth was tied to what others thought of her. Her backpacking trip was only a few short weeks, but the journey was life-changing. It took a while, but eventually I was rooting for her, hoping that she would wake up and start living in the present instead of dwelling on the past (ditto for Rowan, the bad-boy trying to be good).

Wanderlove is a tale of adventure and redemption, healing and forgiveness, and most of all, it’s about the rewards that come from taking amazing risks.

Wanderlove has the winning combination of a touching story, descriptions of tropical locales and backpacking etiquette  so vivid the reader is transported along on Bria’s adventures and whimsical illustrations that are little treasures throughout. Fans of contemporary fiction, travel, and romances will want pick this one up.

Readalikes: Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

Top Ten Tuesday: All Time Favorite Characters

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish is a nearly impossible task-list our top ten favorite characters of all time. Really? Only 10? Well, I will not give in to nostalgia and fill my list with the likes of Wilbur and Charlotte, Ramona and Beezus, Nancy Drew, Beatrix Potter’s furry creatures, Richard Scarry’s Busy Town residents, Meg Murry, The Ingalls and just about everyone from Harry Potter. Nope, not me. My list will be a modern list. Don’t tell those old guys they got bumped, they all still think they are my favorites and I’d like to keep it that way. Nobody needs to see a pig cry. Anyway…

My Favorite Leading Ladies:

1. Jacky Faber, the star of the Bloody Jack series by L.A. Meyer. Oh, how I love this clever little tart of a girl. She’s not perfect, but she has a big heart and a certain charm about her that helps her out of many a tight spot.

2. Flavia de Luce, the precocious, poison-loving, aspiring chemist from the series bearing her name by Alan Bradley. This amatuer sleuth has a sharp mind, a sharper tongue and a wicked sense of humor.

3. Amber Appleton, the Queen of Optimism from Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick. She doesn’t fight pirates or solve mysteries or battle evil paranormals, but this girl is truly gifted. There is something to be said about being the Queen of Optimism. It’s sort of like being a rock star.

4. Piper Vaughn from Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John. Speaking of rock stars…Piper doesn’t let her deafness stop her from managing a rock band. I talk about this book all the time. Because it’s that good.

5. Evie Green, the paranormal bag-and-tag heroine of the Paranormalcy series by Kiersten White. I think Green is her last name. She’s smart, sassy, and stylish-a winning combo in my mind.

Runner’s up-Cammie from The Gallagher Girls, Sophie from Hex Hall, Maggie Quinn from Prom Dates from Hell, and Calpurnia Tate from The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate.

Now, Let’s Hear it For the Boys:

1. Halt, the surly ranger from The Ranger’s Apprentice. The only age-appropriate crush on my list! I love his sarcastic sense of humor and his quiet affection for Will.

2. Cassel Sharpe, the dark, dangerous, and misunderstood hero of the Curse Workers series by Holly Black. I am sure he is totally swoon-worthy, but I love him because he is a tortured soul. Gawd, how how cornball is that?!? Whatever, it’s the truth. Poor Cassel.

3. Percy Jackson is the dyslexic son of a Greek god and the hero of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. I can’t wait for my nephews to be old enough to read this series. Percy is such a fun and loveable character.

4. Doug Swieteck from Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt. I glad I met Doug recently. He is a pretty swell guy and I’m not lying.

5. Adam Wilde, the broken-hearted hero of If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman. Yeah, he’s one of the good guys.

Runners up: Will and Horace from Ranger’s Apprentice, Ed Kennedy from I am The Messenger, and Modo from The Hunchback Assignments.

I really wish I could wrap this up, but I feel the need to add a bonus category for those beloved nonhuman characters.

1. Tasey, Evies pink rhinestone encrusted taser.

2. Gladys, Flavia’s trusty bicycle.

3. Bovril, the perspicacious loris from the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld.

4. Balder, the Norse god trapped in the body of a garden gnome from Going Bovine by Libba Bray. Man, I love that book. I should have added Cameron Smith to my guys list!

And there you have it, at least 23 of my favorite characters! Who’s on your list?

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

Mondays With Megan: Technology Overload Edition and What Are You Reading?

Another busy weekend has come to an end and it’s back to the grindstone. I was a little disappointed that I was unable to participate in the Dewey’s Readathon this time around, but I was too busy kicking it with some of Cleveland’s finest authors. Maybe you’ve heard of Les Roberts? Yeah, we’re besties now. I had the good fortune to introduce him at the Rocky River Public Library Book Festival. I also brought him lots of coffee and a pilfered cookie. Like I said, besties. And speaking of good fortune, I won a Nook Color. So now, my TBR pile can be both physical and virtual! Add this to the fun little ipod my friend gave me, and I am in a state of technological overload. What do I read first? A book? In paper or on a device? Which device? Mind you, I am NOT complaining. I realize how fortunate I am to have these “problems.” The best part is going to be shopping for e-books for myself and the library. In fact, as soon as I am done here I am off to browse. So, what am I reading?

 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Book Journey. A Children’s/YA version is available at Teach Mentor Text.

Ongoing books: I am still listening to High Five by Janet Evanovich (reliably good fun) and Gideon’s Corpse by Douglas Preston (and it is still the cheesiest, chock-full-of-cliche book I have ever read. But I press on. I need to know who did it.)

 

Finished this week: An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor. I picked this as my gentle read for book club. It was charming and funny and I will definitely continue on with the series.

On my ipod: Ashes by Ilsa Bick. This one has gotten great reviews. My friend loved it and insisted I read it. So far, so good…and a bit gross. The perfect balance to my gentle read.

On my Nook: An e-galley of Dead Time by Anne Cassidy. A mystery set in modern-day London.

My real, live, actual paper and glue book: The List by Siobhan Vivian.  The ultimate Mean Girl book. Sort of breaks my heart a little and makes me realize that I got off easy in high school.

Up next: The Power of Six by Pitticus Lore. In paper.

What are you reading?

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

Top Ten Tuesday: Tips For New Bloggers

It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday list. Thanks to the bloggers at The Broke and The Bookish for hosting this weekly bit of list-making joy. This week I am actually more interested in reading the lists than writing one. Weird, but true. You see, this week is all about blogging tips for new book bloggers, and while I am not exactly new to blogging, I am always looking for ways to improve. But, if you were to ask me for advice, this is what I would say:

1. Do it because you want to, not for the fame and glory. Fame and glory are exhausting….or so I’m told. Also, I really have no idea how to achieve F&G as a blogger. Thank goodness I have my illustrious library career to fall back on.

2. Post titles are important. I learned this one by accident. A while back I needed a filler post. I had been slacking and I was planning on going on vaca, so I whipped up a little post about how a bunch of new mermaid books were coming out. I titled it Move Over Vampires, the Mermaids Are Coming. That thing gets hits like crazy. Still. The moral of the story is, good titles get good hits. Also people are obsessed with mermaids. Who knew?

3. Read other blogs. Get an idea of what other bloggers are doing, but don’t steal their ideas!

4. And once you find some blogs that you like, start leaving comments. Bloggers love getting comments and will usually pop over the commenter’s blog and leave a comment and just like that you’ll have new blog friends.

5. Find a fun meme or two to join. The are great for a couple of reasons. First, they can help you plan your posts, which is very helpful and they direct traffic to your blog. Win-win.

6. Be patient. This one is the hardest part. Book blogs are a dime a dozen. They are everywhere! You are a small fish in a big sea and it’s going to take time to set yourself apart from the rest. Good luck with that. In the meantime, just keep plugging along…

7. Do it because you love it and don’t worry about how many followers you have. That kind of goes along with #6.

8. Don’t be afraid to try new things. When I first started I rated all my books, but after a while I decided to stop that and simplify. It seems to be working out fine. On the other hand, I have joined memes that didn’t bring any new traffic to my blog, so I stopped doing them.

9. Decide what kind of reviews you want to write and stick with. i.e. spoilery, long and detailed, short and sweet, only positive….I try to keep mine spoiler free and short and sweet. I like to read tons of blogs and I usually skim over the very long reviews and look for a rating at the bottom. And yet, I don’t rate my own. Hmm. May need to rethink that idea!

10. Add pictures. I like pictures, but stealing them is wrong….says the thief. So, so as I say, not as I just did. I tell ya, this blogging business can sure me tricky.

Now, I am off in search of some good advice! Good luck to you.

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

Mondays With Megan-YALSA 2012 Teen Top Ten Nominees and What Are You Reading?

Holy moly! Did the weekend fly by in a blur or is it just me? I did manage to squeeze in some reading and I am heading to the shelves today to get some fresh books for the week. But before I do, let’s talk about the 2012 Teen Top Ten list. YALSA announced the nominees last week-24 in all. Now it’s time to go forth and READ so we are ready to vote in August and September. The winners will be announced during Teen Read Week in October.  The TTT are chosen by teens, so all you adult YA lovers, you’ll just have to sit this one out. Here’s the list of nominees. I haven’t read them all, but I will check the titles I would pick, if I were allowed to vote.

And the nominees are…
All Good Children by Catherine Austen
Ashes by Isla Bick (TBR)
Abandon by Meg Cabot
Tempest by Julie Cross
What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen (TBR)
Eona:The Last Dragoneye by Alison Goodman
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge
Legend by Marie Lu
Hourglass by Myra McEntire
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Shine by Lauren Myracle
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (TBR)
This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel
Across the Universe by Beth Revis (TBR)
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Riggs Ransom
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr (TBR)
All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin

That’s only 8! I need to get reading! What your top ten picks be? Moving on.

 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Book Journey  and a Children’s/YA edition can be found at Teach Mentor Text.

In my car: I am so close to finishing Okay For Now by Gary Schmidt. In fact, I am pretty sure my 10 minute drive home tonight will be enough. This one has been a real emotional roller coaster! I think I need some Stephanie Plum. I always know what I am going to get with her. So, up next High Five by Janet Evanovich.

My At Work Read: Today at lunch I finished Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins. I really lingered over this one and I don’t want it to be over. I have enjoyed the Hex Hall series a lot and look forward to Ms. Hawkins’ future endeavors. My next book will be The Traitor and The Tunnel, book three in The Agency mystery series by Y. S. Lee.

At Home: An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor. This is my gentle read selection for book club. So far so good, as I had expected.

My new graphic novel series: Locke & Key by Joe Hill. I wrapped up Y: Last Man by Brain Vaughan this weekend and I’m still waiting for new Walking Dead and Fables, so it’s on to something new in the meantime.

I must be needing a little break from YA since I only have one on my list for the week. Once I am finished with Traitor I want to read either From Bad to Cursed by Katie Alender, The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore, or Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness. I am feeling the need to catch up on some series!

What are you all reading this week?

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

Top Ten Tuesday-Books That Deceived Me

Have you ever been tricked by a book? Maybe the cover was wrong or the summary was deceptive. Maybe you were expecting light and fun but got heavy and serious. This trickery isn’t always a bad thing; I have discovered some gems this way. But doesn’t it stink when a book tricks you into believing it’s the best thing since____________(fill in the blank with things like Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Twilight) and it just doesn’t live up to your expectations? Yeah, it happens. Well, this week The Broke and The Bookish want to know which books tricked us. Pay attention and don’t let yourself be fooled!

1. Shine by Lauren Myracle
Why: Don’t be fooled by that gorgeous cover. This is one tough book. It’s amazing, but there is nothing flowery about it.

2. The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan
Why: The covers. I mean seriously? This is a book that I would pass over without a second thought. Add in the summaries and it’s a done deal. Not for me…except I decided to pick up the first book because I was worried that I wasn’t reading enough books with strong guy appeal. Oh, man am I glad I did! I cannot gush enough about how amazing these books are. There is action and battles and all that good stuff guys like, but there is also humor and a teeny tiny bit of romance and characters that grow and develop and make you proud. See? Gushing.

3. Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
Why: It’s historical fiction. This is not my go-to genre, so imagine my surprise to discover that it’s so much more. It’s the past, it’s the present, it’s….oh, I can’t spoil the surprise!

4. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater.
Why: Because it was supposed to be the next big thing after Twilight. This book elicited very strong, negative emotions. I was also lured in by the pretty, pretty cover. Blah. Not for me.

5. Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer.
Why: Again, I always think historical fiction isn’t my thing. Also, the covers aren’t that enticing. Well, Jacky Faber is my hero! I love these books (especially the audio) so very much. I want everyone to listen to them. Really, you should.

6. Pop by Gordon Korman.
Why: It’s about football. That’s what you would think if you looked at the cover and read the summary. But really, it’s so much more. It’s sad and funny and heartwarming and heartbreaking. I was so surprised to discover that I had to read this book in one sitting.

7. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Why: It’s not all cutesy summer time romance. There is some serious stuff going on in this one. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of sweet, kissy, romance, but it’s not fluff. Personally, that’s how I like my sweet, kissy, romances. Fluff free.

8.  Born Wicked by Julie Spotswood
Why: The summary sounds super awesome and the cover is gorgeous. I was so sad to discover I couldn’t even finish it. Slow-paced and flat characters caused me to give up about 50 pages in.

9. All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin
Why: See above. Seriously. Maybe Holly Black set the bar too high for mobster books. I love, love, love her Curse Workers series, which is like The Sopranos with magic. I guess I was hoping for a bit of the same with All These Things I’ve Done. I was so bored I couldn’t be bothered to finish.

10. Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Why: The blurb on the back of the ARC is super cheesy. Also, the dialect was difficult to get used to. You know what? This book is fabulous. I think it got lost in the Hunger Games/Divergent shuffle, which is a shame. I can’t wait for the sequel, Rebel Heart.

So, mostly I have had good surprises. How about you?

Happy Reading!

˜Megan