Monthly Archives: May 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Hope Teens are Still Reading in 30 Years

It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday! This week The Broke and The Bookish are asking which books from the past ten years we hope will still be read 30 years from now. This got me wondering about books which were popular 30 years ago. So of course I had to investigate. Which naturally leads to me being sidetracked. I am pretty confident that every generation hears from the older one something along the lines of “You have no idea how good you’ve got it” and “When I was your age….” Well, let me tell you, teens today have it so good when in comes to awesome books! I did some digging and here is a little peak at what teens in the 1980s had to read. That’s right, 30 years ago was 1982!

So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane, 1983. Before Harry, Ron and Hermoine, there were Nita and Kit and the Wizard’s Oath. My teens still read this series.

My Sweet Audrina by V.C. Andrews, 1982. This one came in the midst of the disturbing Flowers in the Attic series.  We don’t have too much V.C. Andrews in our library collection, but I bet people are still reading her books.

Forever by Judy Blume was published in 1975, but I am sure teens in 1982 were reading it.  Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden was a groundbreaking, earth shattering, scandal-causing book in 1982 and it remains a troublemaker today. Other popular young adult authors from the 80s include Cynthia Voigt (Dicey’s Song), Tamora Pierce (Alanna), Paula Danzinger (There’s a Bat in Bunk Five), Lois Duncan (Stranger With My Face), and Richard Peck (Ghosts I have Been, 1977). Thirty years later, teens are still picking up their books. Now let’s look at today’s YA authors. Here are ten books that I hope will withstand the test of time and be read thirty years from now…in 2042 (holy cow, that sounds like a Sci-Fi date!). Anyhoo…

1. The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan. Action, adventure, medieval times, great characters-these books have it all. I hope they stick around for a long time.

2. The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer. This book was published ten years ago and it continues to be relevant and exciting. I just hope that in 30 years a book about human cloning won’t we “old news.” The whole idea freaks me out. Let’s hope it’s still considered science fiction in 2042. Then again, if human cloning is reality, this could be a great “clones are humans too” book.

3. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. This series is a fun blend of steampunk and historical fiction and it is full of awesome illustrations. To be honest, people just need to always read Scott Westerfeld’s books. They rock.

4. Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. These books have the winning formula-action, humor, and epic battles. I hope kids discover and enjoy Percy for years to come.

5. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. I can’t imagine a time when World War II stopped being a popular topic and this book is one of the best.

6. The Bloody Jack series by L.A. Meyer. If I haven’t already convinced you that Jacky Faber is the most amazing heroine ever, I don’t know what else I can do!  Get the audio, sit back, and enjoy. You can thank me later.

7. The Gone series by Michael Grant. Again, I cannot say it enough-I love Michael Grant. He is a genius and his books are addictive. And disturbing. Teens of the future must know Michael Grant. And maybe sometime in the next 30 years someone will give these poor books better covers!

8. The Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter. Maybe in 30 years these seem quaint and simple because everyone will have awesome spy gadgets. Whatever. These books will still be awesome fun.

9.  Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick. This may be the best book you’ve never read. It’s fun and uplifting and has a wonderful message. I hope teens are still wanting books like this in 30 years. I need to remember to recommend this one more often.

10. Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt. Another charming, feel-good book and a must read.

And just for the fun of it, some honorable mentions: Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi, The Drake Chronicles by Alyxandra Harvey,  The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart, The Curse Workers by Holly Black, and anything John Green or Libba Bray. Ok! Enough. Thanks for sticking it out to the end of this monstrously long post!

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

YA Literature Remembers Those Who Have Served

This should have published yesterday. GRRRR. *Fist shake at WordPress*

Memorial Day is more than a just a part of a long weekend that signifies the unofficial start to summer vacation. It is a day of remembering the men and women who have died serving our country in war.  In honor of Memorial Day, I thought I would put together a list of teen books about soldiers at war. War is a popular theme in children’s and YA literature and often serves as a backdrop for poignant and heartbreaking stories. This is only a small sampling of titles.

The American Revolution

Chains and Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson.

  

The Civil War 

Soldier’s Heart by Gary Paulsen and Bull Run by Paul Fleischman.

 

World War I

Remembrance by Theresa Breslin and Crossing Stones by Helen Frost.

 

Women of World War II (Because the list of Holocaust, Hitler, and Nazi books are endless and very well-known, I am going the road less travelled.)

Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith and Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.

 

Vietnam War

Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers and Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt (Vietnam is not the primary story, but the war has a significant impact on the MC’s family)

 

Afghanistan War

Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Iraq War

Purple Heart by Patricia McCormick, While He Was Away by Karen Halvorsen Schreck, and The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt

  

Do you have a favorite war story?

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

Flirting In Italian by Lauren Henderson Review

Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson
June, 2012
Random House
320 pages
Received from Netgalley for review

Violet, an art student in London, has always just accepted the fact that she looks nothing like her Scandinavian supermodel mother or her Scottish father. Her dark complexion and curves are puzzling, but she has never broached the issue with her parents. When she finds herself staring at the spitting image of herself in an art gallery portrait, her curiosity is piqued. Little is known about girl in the portrait, except that it is from a small Tuscan Villa. Inspired by the painting, curious about her heritage, and needed a break from her clingy mum, Violet enrolls in an Italian language summer abroad course. There are three other girls in the class, another Brit and two Americans. The girls are eager to enjoy the gorgeous locale, swoon-worthy boys, and a care-free Italian lifestyle, but life in Italy isn’t as easy as they hoped and for Violet, the mystery she came to solve turns dangerous.

I was expecting a light, flirty romance with a hint of mystery. Instead, I got a Mean Girls-go-to-Italy-and-obsess-about-clothes-and-body-image-and-compete-over boys. I loved the descriptions of the landscape and Italian lifestyle. Beyond that, little else even made sense. It was as if the second Violet arrived in Italy, the purpose of her trip and the mysterious portrait were forgotten. This plot line was abandoned for the majority if the book, only to reemerge as a strange afterthought at the end. Nothing really happened in the book and I was quite annoyed by the revelation at the end that the story would continue in a sequel. A few fun chapters throughout the book and a hilarious donkey do not redeem the book as a whole.  I was disappointed, but I do plan to try Henderson’s Scarlett Wakefield series.

Read instead: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson, and the Summer series by Jenny Han. For a great mystery, try The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, Clarity by Kim Harrington, or Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Blogs and Sites That Are Not Bookish

Welcome to “The True Confessions of an Internet Junkie” edition of Top Ten Tuesday, brought to you by the truth seekers at The Broke and the Bookish. If you think all of us book loving types always have our noses stuck in a book, think again! I know I spent an obscene amount of time tooling around the internet. When I am not looking at bookish things, here is how I like to entertain myself. Just an FYI, some of these sites have lots of swearing and some mature content. Disclaimer over, on to the fun!

1. Facebook. This is currently my gateway to news, entertainment, and book/authors/library related info. *Sigh*

2. The Bloggess. Jenny Lawson is irreverent, insightful, and absolutely hilarious. She also struggles with serious issues such as depression. She rocks. Read her book.

3. The Society of Modern Mischief. These ladies are also hilarious. And local.

4. The Leila Texts. It’s best if you let Leila Sales, author of Mostly Good Girls and Past Perfect explain this blog:

“When you send a text message on the Verizon network, you can address your text by choosing a name out of your contact list, or you can address it by typing in a phone number. You can also type in a name. And if you type in L-E-I-L-A, then– bizarrely– your text will come to me. This is a blog about the texts I have received. All of them are from strangers, intended for other Leilas, but obviously they missed their marks.”

5. Imdb.com. This site is incredibly useful at work. I also spend a lot of time looking at it at home.

6. Cake Wrecks. Oh, the frosted hilarity.

7. Go Fug Yourself. This is the closest thing to a fashion site that I visit.

8. Cute Overload. Ok, I don’t usually visit this site on my own, but it’s hard to resist when someone else is looking at it. Yeah, I enjoy a ridiculously cute animal every now and then. It balances out all the zombie nonsense.

9. Hypable. Yeah, they talk books here, but it’s all things entertainment, so it counts.

10. Finally, it’s a tie between two hilarious time suckers. I try to avoid them, because once there I find myself lost in the wrongness: Damn You Autocorrect and Awkward Family Photos.

 

This list was kind of depressing. You would think that I could find more useful ways to spend my time. But (most of) these sites are just so funny…

Happy browsing!

˜Megan

Mondays With Megan: Yard Work Trumps Reading, A What Are You Reading Sob Story

It’s Monday, which means it’s time to check in with Book Journey and Teach Mentor Texts for It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

 

I get a big fat fail for last week’s reading. What was I doing last week? Seriously, why did I not read? It’s all a bit of a blur, but I am going to blame 1. work (always blame work, it cuts into a lot of reading time!) 2. The Game of Thrones, season 1, and 3. yard work (always blame yard work, it is a necessary evil of homeownership and it really cuts into reading time).

The one and only book I finished last week: The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa. I really liked this third book in the series. I can’t wait to find out what happens with our heroine Meghan and her beloved. I should add that faery stories are not typically my cup of tea, but I have thoroughly enjoyed this unique, modern take on the traditional fae story. I highly recommend it.

I did make progress with my audiobooks. I am about half way through Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick. I am not sure how far along I am in Defending Jacob by William Landay. I am really enjoying both books.

  

Ok, now it is time for some serious book commitments for the week! I have two books that are due back at the library this week that I want to finish.

Books I will finish this week: The Serpent’s Shadow by Rick Riordan and I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga. Now that I am no longer ashamed to be seen in my front yard, I am committed to lots of evening porch reading this week.

 

The e-book I will finish this week: Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson.

Finally, as if this is not ambitious enough, I need to start a romance for my genre book discussion at work. I am thinking about reading The Little Lady Agency by Hester Browne.

Please wish me luck this week! I have high hopes for reading success and I need to accomplish them. I already feel like a slacker for not having read Insurgent or City of Lost Souls yet. Sigh.

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

My Horde of Teenaged Zombies Wants to Eat Your Brains

That’s right. I organized a horde of teenaged zombies and it was AWESOME. This was my first time organizing an event like this so I wanted to share what worked and what I would do differently. I highly recommend trying this program with your teens. They will love it, you will love it, and your budget will love it too-it is very inexpensive to organize.

The grocery store and the dollar store are your friends. With the exception of some green Halloween makeup that I bought on sale after Halloween last year, everything else was homemade or bought at the dollar store. I started with recipes that I found online, but ended up tweaking them. I am pleased with the results.

White base: Dollar Store cold cream and tapioca flour. I used the tapioca flour because I had bought some for a fake skin recipe that didn’t work out so well. Cornstarch works just fine (I tried it) and I imagine regular flour would too. I think I ended up with approximately a 2:1 ratio, flour to cold cream. 1 jar was enough for all 12 of my zombies, with cold cream to spare for makeup removal at the end. Most of my kids opted for green, so I didn’t use as much white as I thought. I liked how it looked when I blended the two together. The white base made a great paste to “glue” fake wounds to arms. It didn’t stick so well on faces; I will have to work on a solution for that.

  

Fake wounds: Knox gelatin, red food coloring, cocoa powder. I mixed 1 packet of gelatin with 2 TBS of boiling water, stirred until it dissolved, added a few drops of color, then immediately spooned it onto waxed paper. These were bright red, fresh wounds. I repeated the process and added a pinch of cocoa powder to the second batch and got a disgusting color that resembled old, drying blood. So awesome. I also tried mixing coffee grounds into the plain gelatin for a dirt-speckled flesh effect.

     

Fake Blood: Light corn syrup, cocoa powder, and red food coloring. I mixed 1 cup of corn syrup with 4 drops of food coloring and about TSP of cocoa powder. You can always add more cocoa powder to make it darker. We used this to paint blood onto old shirts. When I do this program in the future I will either find a non-sticky recipe or paint the blood on the shirts myself ahead of time so that it is thoroughly dry before the teens wear them. Another solution is to suggest that they either wear old clothes underneath or just change into their bloody shirt. They shirts looked great, but we did have some issues with the syrup stick to the clothes.

 

What else do  you need?
paper plates (each student got their own palate of face paints)
Q-Tips (for applying lipstick and makeup)
make up sponges
small mirrors (I had 8 for them to share, bought at dollar store)
black eyeshadow
red lipstick (I cut small slices off the tube and put them on plates-NO sharing lip stuff!)
black and red lip liner or eye liner pencils
make up removal wipes
cold cream
plastic head bands
old clothes
scissors (for shredding clothes)
paint brushes (for painting blood onto clothes)

I spent about $20 on the entire program and have supplies left over to do it again.

Be sure to let me know if you have a successful Zombie Walk and share any tips or ideas you have!

 

Zombie Reading List:

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
Rot & Ruin by Jonathon Maberry
Z by Michael Thomas Ford
Zombigami: Paper Folding for the Living Dead by Duy Nguyen
Ashes by Ilsa Bick
How to Be a Zombie: The Official Guide for Anyone Who Craves Brains by Serena Valentino
I Kissed a Zombie, and I Liked It by Adam Selzer
The Enemy by Charles Higson
You Are So Undead to Me by Stacey Jay
Never Slow Dance With a Zombie by Ehrich Van Lowe
Generation Dead by Dan Waters

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

Top Ten Tuesday-Reality TV Style

I missed Top Ten Tuesday last week because I took the day off. Ok, fine, the truth is I am really bad about remembering quotes so I sort of didn’t schedule a post. I really did take the day off. So here we are a week later and the folks at The Broke and the Bookish have another topic for us. I was so tempted to sit this one out too. My brain is truly zombified-I hosted my very first Zombie Walk today and it was awesome and exhausting! I usually cheat on these lists and my Top Tens turn into Top Twelve-Twenty. Today I am keeping it short and sweet and I apologize if I don’t make sense. Zombies are mindless, thoughtless beings after all. Check back tomorrow for pictures and helpful hints for hosting your own Zombie Walk. Now, onto Top Ten Authors, Reality TV style.

I do not watch that much reality tv. I will publicly admit to the following: America’s Next Top Model, Project Runway, 16 and Pregnant, and Teen Mom. I have watched some Iron Chef and Top Chef, but I haven’t watched them in ages. So, with my limited reality tv knowledge, I propose the following:

1. Libba Bray(Beauty Queens), new host of America’s Next Top Model. Here come the Beauty Queens!

2. Kiersten White (Paranormalcy), judge on Project Runway. Evie is stylin’, Kiersten must have a keen eye for fashion.

3. Myra McEntire, Kami Garcia, and Margaret Stohl (Hourglass and Beautiful Creatures), contestants on Top Chef. Their characters really know how to cook, do they?

4. Katie Alender and Kendare Blake (Bad Girls Don’t Die and Anna Dressed in Blood) on Ghost Hunters. Let’s see how these two do in a real haunted house!

5. Jay Asher (Thirteen Reasons Why) on Cake Boss. I hear he has a sweet tooth!

Now I need to invent some shows. Actually, let’s just give these guys their own talk shows:

6. Maureen Johnson, YA goddess

7. John Green, YA social media god

8. Michael Grant, one of my favorites. I like what he has to say about just about everything.

9. Carrie Ryan. You know we are going to have to survive a zombie apocalypse sooner or later. She’s got the answers.

10. Ally Carter. I love her books and may never have a chance to meet her, but if we put her on tv I would totally watch.

I know I am forgetting people, but I am too tired to worry about it.

Happy Reading!

˜Megan