Monthly Archives: July 2012

Doggone It, These Books are Purr-fect! Crafty Critters in YA.

Today I’ve got animals on the brain, and not because I am worried about black cats on Friday the 13th! It’s because all of the books I am currently working feature a furry friend. I am being charmed by Charlie, the coyote in The Daily Coyote by Shreve Stockton. I am once again being amused by Grimalkin in The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa, and I am enthralled by the direwolves in A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin. All of these four-legged characters got me thinking about the role animals play in YA literature. Animal characters are the staple of children’s literature, but by the time readers get to the teen section humans reign supreme as the main character. Thankfully there are still many animals that shine in the role of secondary characters. As you  look over my lists you may notice some missing titles. I have intentionally excluded books where I know something bad happens to the animal in the story. I have also made a note of the books I haven’t read so I can’t say for sure what happens with the animals.


I am more of a dog person, but I do enjoy a good cat character sometimes. My favorite is Grimalkin.

1. Wisdom’s Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock.
2. The Georgia Nicholson series by Louise Rennison.
3. Warriors series by Erin Hunter (have not read. Not interested).
4. Cat Girl’s Day Off by Kimberley Pauley (have not read, looks really cute!).
5. Plain Kate by Erin Bow (have not read. Meant to.).
6. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake.
7. Catboy by Eric Walters (have not read).
8. Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa.


I am quite fond of the smelly old dog called the Doorman in I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak. I wouldn’t want him to live with me, but I like hearing about him!
1. I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak.
2. I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore (as a Clevelander, I am particularly fond of little Bernie Kosar!).
3. The Ruby Oliver series by E. Lockhart (I can’t remember if Polka Dot arrives in book 2 or 3).
4. Saving Zasha by Randi G. Barrow.
5. Robot Dreams by Sara Varon.
6. Mush! Sled Dogs with Issues by Glenn Eichler.
7. My Boyfriends’ Dogs by Dandi Daley Mackall.
8. Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick.
9. The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore.


I think one of my favorite YA animal characters ever is Tug, the little pony in The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan. I have not read any of the other books on the Horse list.

1. The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan.
2. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
3. Horse Camp by Nicole Lea Helget.
4. The A Circuit series by Georgina Bloomberg.
5. The Georges and the Jewels by Jane Smiley.


Can you believe I came up with three books off the top of my head that have goats in them? The goats in Texas Gothic are kind of mischievous. I like that in a goat.

1. Ruby Oliver series by E. Lockhart.
2. Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore
3. Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O’Roark Dowell.

No animal list would be complete without mentioning Bovril, the perspicacious loris from Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series. I love him!

Who is your favorite critter character?

Happy Reading!




Top Ten Tuesday-Freebie Week!

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, sponsored by The Broke and The Bookish, is a Freebie. I am incredibly indecisive, so my list is a mixed bag today. After my coworker walked past the Reference Desk (just now, seriously!) carrying an adorable orange cat I briefly considered doing a Top Ten Strange Library Occurrences, but that seemed like a lot of work, so I stuck with books.

As a Teen Librarian I read a TON of YA books, but I also try to fit adult books (that sounds naughty, but you know what I mean, right?) into my reading when ever possible. So I thought I should mention some of my favorites of those. But then I got a little twitchy about not having any YA books on a Top Ten List, so I’m splitting it up and including both.

Five Favorite Non-YA Reads of 2012 (so far!)

1. The Rook by Daniel O’Malley.

I picked this debut novel up on a whim, based on a bunch of blurbs on the back. I am particularly fond of this one:

“Suspenseful and hilarious — “Harry Potter meets Ghostbusters meets War of the WorldsThe Rook is an outrageously inventive debut novel for readers who like their espionage with a dollop of purple slime, or their supernatural thrillers with an agenda and a pencil skirt.”

I honestly cannot do justice to this book. It’s so bizarre and so amazing. I can’t wait for more. There had better be more! This book will definitely be on my final favorites of 2012 list.

2. Defending Jacob by William Landay.

I listened to this courtroom thriller on Playaway. It was so riveting that the pooch and I did a lot of extra walking just so I could listen. Older teens may be interested in this one.

3. Trail of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz.

I love the Spellmans! This quirky family of private investigators will have you laughing out loud. This is the latest installment. I recommend starting at the beginning with The Spellman Files.

4. Locke & Key by Joe Hill.

Joe Hill (Stephen King’s son) has made a name for himself among horror lovers and his latest project, the Locke & Key graphic novel series is a welcome addition to his bibliography. It’s spooky and creepy and down-right fascinating. I can’t stop thinking about Lovecraft House, all of its weird keys, the secrets that they hold, and the demon trying to get its hands on them. Must. Have. More.

5. Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d’Art by Christopher Moore.

I am a big Christopher Moore fan-Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal is side-splittingly hilarious, as is Fool and A Dirty Job, and, oh you get the picture. I ♥ C.M. Anyway, this did not disappoint. The audio is fantastic!

Five YA books That I Was Surprised to LOVE

6. Okay For Now by Gary Schmidt.

This companion to The Wednesday Wars, which I now need to go back and read, was the talk of the town a while back. Many were dismayed that it did not win the Newbery. That is really the only reason I picked it up. I never expected to love it as much as I did. Doug Swietech took me on one emotional roller coaster ride!

7. Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick.

I will admit that the only reason I picked this book up was because it was doomed to be discarded from the library collection. I will also admit that in the beginning Amber Appleton and her optimism was a little annoying. Then I started to wonder what that said about me that I was bothered by an optimistic fictional character. Then I let it all go and got wrapped up in Amber’s world and I sorta loved it.

8. The Knife if Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness.

I am not a big fan of talking animals, but this one came highly recommended by a colleague, so I gave it a shot. I was not expecting to love it as much as I did. I really need to work on the rest of the series. Great dystopian, lots of action, and so many things to think about long after the book is read!

9. I am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak.

I really like The Book Thief, so I expected to enjoy this one as well. Other than that I didn’t know what to expect. I was surprised at how much I loved Ed Kennedy. This is another book that stuck with me long after I finished. Also, the audio was amazing!

10. Ashes by Ilsa Bick.

I have a confession to make. I had this as an arc from NetGalley and I let it expire. I mean, not on purpose, but stuff just happened and I never got around to it. And then the book was published and I still didn’t read it. And then my friend read it and said it was great, so I read it, even though I was feeling a little burned out on all the post-apocalyptic dystopian stuff. Maybe that was why I was surprised by how much I loved this one. Good stuff. Looking forward to more.

For once, I am ending a TTT list at ten items. Huh.

Happy Reading!






Mondays With Megan: What Are You Reading and Recommend A…#3

Holy Moley! What a heat wave…I am so grateful for the reprieve! That nasty weather was good for only one thing: sitting in air conditioning and reading!


First, let’s check in with Book Journey and Teach Mentor Texts and see what everyone is reading.

I only finished one book last week!


Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith. Wow! I really liked this one and can’t wait to go see the movie. If you enjoyed this book I would recommend Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth, the first in The President’s Vampire series. Bronson Pinchot narrates and his voice is dreamy…ahem. Anyway.

New Audio:

The Daily Coyote by Shreve Stockton. I am so tempted to pack my bags…

Currently Reading:

A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin. I have reached the point of no return. All other books, television shows, and chores are being ignored. The dog is no longer speaking to me and I am sleep deprived, but it’s all worth it. I will finish this monster this week!

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa is getting a little bit of my attention. Dear Ash, it’s nothing personal. Blame George. I will get back to you ASAP, I promise. Love, Megan

Quarantine: The Loners by Lex Thomas.  I am working on this ARC from NetGalley. I am so happy they changed the spelling of the title from Quaranteen to Quarantine. Other than that, Michael Grant has ruined all trapped teens books for me. Maybe the second half of the book will totally wow me.

That’s all I can commit to this week, but I am sure some surprises will come my way. What are you reading?

Need a recommendation? Stop by Chick Loves Lit and see what people are saying about books from 2010.

…Book(s) from 2010. Upon review my 2010 reading list I decided to recommend four underappreciated books from 2010 that I really loved.

For the Dystopian Lover:

Birthmarked by Caragh O’Brien is a stunning debut novel. Climate change has decimated the land. The Enclave protects the privileged who live within the city walls. On the outside, sixteen-year-old Gaia is following in her mother’s footsteps and training to be a midwife. She has always believed that meeting the baby quotas imposed by the Enclave was her duty. However, when her parents are arrested by the very people they serve, Gaia questions everything she thought was true and risks everything to try to save her parents.

For the Fantasy Lover:

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken was another 2010 debut novel. Sydelle Mirabel lives in a draught stricken village. One day the rains came, along with Wayland North, a mysterious wizard. As his reward for bringing rain North requests that Sydelle accompany him on an important but dangerous quest. Together the two set out to deliver an important message to the Imperial Sorceress. Secrets and betrayals plague the tenuous relationship between Syd and North, but with war imminent the two must work together maintain peace in the kingdom. Wayland North is one swoon-worthy wizard!

For the Historical Fiction Lover:

Wicked Girls by Stephanie Hemphill is a novel told in verse about the Salem Witch Trials. I struggle with Historical Fiction and I do not usually choose books in verse, but I stepped out of my comfort zone and it was worth it! The story is chilling and powerful and quite eye-opening, as readers are drawn into the madness of the time.

For the Mythology Lover:

Stork by Wendy Delsol was another 2010 debut. Sixteen-year-old Kat moves to Minnesota after her parent’s divorce. She discovers that she is a human Stork, responsible for placing new souls with the proper parents. She also uncovers a family secret, recovers repressed memories, and reconnects with a stranger from her past. Why you should read it: With a perfect blend of old-fashioned fairy tales, Norse mythology, and a high-spirited, fashion-forward heroine, it is the perfect cure for the Vampire/Paranormal Overload Blues (it’s a real problem, I should know). Also, there is a dreamy boy and kissing.

What were your favorites of 2010?

Happy Reading!


Where Does The Time Go? 2012 Is Half Over and I Have Slacked on Reviews.

There is no denying it. I am a review-writing slacker! In the first six months of 2012 I have read or listened to 100 books and written reviews for only 19.

I started out strong in January and wrote six reviews. It’s been downhill since. Here are some gems that I meant to write about from the past six months the first three months of the year. See what I mean? I set out to write six mini reviews and lost steam after only three. Sigh.


Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
326 pgs

Vera Dietz lost her best friend, twice. Once when he totally betrayed her and screwed her over and again when he died. Vera and Charlie had been best friends for most of their lives. They protected each other and kept the other’s secrets until the day Charlie stopped. A few months later he dies and is accused of a horrible act, which Vera knows he didn’t do. Even after his death Vera keeps his secrets, but she sure as heck hasn’t forgiven him enough to clear his name. Vera clings to her anger, even as Charlie haunts her, begging her to forgive him.

This Prinz Award winner is haunting and heartbreaking. The characters are multidimensional and realistic. The story is suspenseful, humorous, and a tiny bit odd at times, which just adds to its charm. This is how a coping with grief story should be told-just right amount of heartache and angst, but not so much that it’s unbearable (ahem…TFIOS, I’m looking at you…).

You may also enjoy Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler, The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, and Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson.


Cinder  by Marissa Meyer
390 pgs

Cinder is a cyborg mechanic living in New Beijing when she is hired by the prince to repair his robot. In accepting the job, she gets dragged into an intergalactic political scandal. She also learns the disturbing truth about her true identity and destiny.

This unique futuristic retelling of the classic Cinderella fairy tale will appeal to fans of dystopian science fiction and fairy tales alike. Secret identities, true love, an evil queen, and a deadly plague mash-up with robots and cyborgs for an exciting and fun read.

You may also like Sisters Red and Sweetly by Jackson Pearce, Beastly by Alex Flynn, and Legend by Marie Lu.


The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
372 pgs

When Rory Deveaux arrives at her London boarding school from Louisiana, she has no idea that she will soon be in the midst of Ripper Fever. London is gripped with fear as someone begins to copycat the horrific murders of Jack the Ripper. Rory becomes involved when she comes forward as the only witness to one of the murders. From there things spiral out of control and it becomes clear that there is more to this case than meets the eye.

The first book in the Shades of London series is a spooky, suspenseful thrill! A great boarding school setting, a paranormal mystery, a touch of historical fiction, and just a hint of romance make this a series that will appeal to a wide range of readers.

You may also like Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender, Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore, and Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake.

I’ll work on April, May, and June for next week. Fingers crossed.

Happy Reading!


Top Ten Tuesday: If You Like Author X, Try This!

It’s time for another fun Top Ten Tuesday list. Thanks to The Broke and The Bookish for hosting and coming up with all the clever prompts. This week is all about readalikes and in the spirit of shameless self promotion, I would suggest that if you like this topic I would encourage you to visit Rocky River Public Library’s Reading Room. This database contains thousands of book reviews and suggested readalikes. It’s very cool, and I am not just saying that because I contribute (review initials MA, that’s me!). Anyway, back on task.

If you like Stephenie Meyers…try The Drake Chronicles by Alyxandra Bracken, Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz, or Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

If you like Susan Collins…try Blood Red Road by Moira Young,  Legend by Marie Lu, or Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

If you like Scott Westerfeld (Uglies)…try The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson, Feed by M.T. Anderson, or The Giver by Lois Lowry.

If you like Scott Westerfeld (Leviathan)…try The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade, Airborn by Kenneth Oppel, or Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare.

If you like Marcus Zusak (The Book Thief)…try Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys.

If you like John Green…try Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King, The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, or If I Stay by Gayle Forman.

If you like Kiersten White…try Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins, The Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter, or Maggie Quinn, Girls vs. Evil by Rosemary Clement-Moore.

If you like Libba Bray (Gemma Doyle) try….Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer.

If you like Stephanie Perkins…try Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard, The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han, or How to Ruin a Summer Vacation by Simone Elkeles.

If you like Marissa Meyer…try Beastly by Alex Flinn or Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce.

Happy Reading!


Mondays With Megan: What Are You Reading and Recommend A…#2

Happy Monday! Did everyone make it through the weekend with power? All the heavy storms and brutal weather seemed to pass me by, but I know folks who weren’t so lucky. I took a day off on Friday and camped out at my favorite coffee shop with a stack of books. I’ll get to what read in a minute, but first I would like to

Contemporary Fiction Book (or two ;))

Thanks to Chick Loves Lit for hosting this meme. Be sure to stop by and check out all the other recommendations.

This was an easy one! I love, love, love Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John.  I cannot recommend this book enough.

The high school rock band Dumb is soaring after their big win at Seattle’s Battle of the Bands. Piper Vaughn is fuming over a family betrayal. Their usually separate worlds collide in the hall one afternoon. In a moment of outrage Piper manages to insult the band and land a job with them. As the new manager of Dumb Piper must get the band a paying gig within a month. It is immediately obvious that the five band members are going to be a handful. Juggling their personalities is a full-time job on its own. What is not immediately obvious to Piper is the band’s talent. The trickiest part of her job is to promote a band that she cannot hear. It’s a rocky road to Dumb’s first paid performance, but along the way Piper discovers Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, and the real Piper Vaughn.

I also really love Pop by Gordon Korman.

Marcus Jordan is the new kid in town. Friendless and determined to earn a spot on the high school’s champion football team, he starts practicing alone in the park. He is soon joined by Charlie, a charismatic and odd middle-aged prankster who knows a lot about football. The unusual pair quickly develop a camaraderie, but when Charlie’s behavior becomes more unpredictable, Marcus learns the surprising truth about his new friend. Charlie is Charlie Popovich the former NFL star whose brutal tackling earned him the nickname “The King of Pop” and he is suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s. Marcus is not sure how to deal with this news, but he does know that he may have to defy Charlie’s family in order to do what is best for his friend.

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


I only finished one book this week and it was so good!


The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy is the hilarious and charming middle-grade story of the real Princes Charming (Liam, Gustav, Frederic, and Duncan).

I am still working on A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin (I made a lot of progress and have officially reached the point where this is the only book I want to be reading right now), The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa, and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith, and The Technologists by Matthew Pearl.

My current ARC:

Quarantine: Loners by Lex Thomas.

I am also currently being taunted by Blood Moon by Alyxandra Harvey, The Diviners by Libba Bray (ARC), and Darkest Mind by Alexandra Bracken (ARC). So many books…

What are you reading?

Happy Reading!