Monthly Archives: January 2013

Teen Screen: An Interactive Princess Bride Viewing

princess bride

There is no doubt that The Princess Bride is a cult classic. It also happens to be a personal favorite of mine so you can imagine the joy and pride I felt when my new Teen Advisory Group selected it for an after school program. I decided to increase the viewing pleasure with a little interactive guide. I thought this would be very easy to find. It turns out the internet is full of Princess Bride drinking games, but nothing library appropriate. So I had to adapt. I kept it simple, but you could make the game as complicated as you want. I found all of the supplies I needed at a dollar store. I also borrowed from the Children’s Department’s supply closet (it’s the perfect place to find paper towel tubes!)


The “rules” are simple and so are the supplies.

IMG_4281[1] IMG_4280[1]IMG_4282[1]

Bubbles, party favor noise makers and paper towel tubes make for an inexpensive but entertaining viewing experience. My teens especially enjoyed the sword fighting bits. What would you add to this list?

Happy Watching!


Top Ten Tuesday: You’re Driving Me Crazy! The Ten Most Frustrating Characters.


Today’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish is very rant-inducing! When reading my list please keep in mind that frustrated with does not equal hate. My previous dog frustrated the heck out of me every. single. day.  I loved the face off that dog. Also, if any of these people are your favorites, I am totally cool with that. To each their own, I am not here to judge. So, who drove me nutso?

1. Bella Swan/Edward Cullen.

new moon

I devoured these books. I loved them. I have seen the movies many times. The rational part of me knows that it’s wrong, but I can’t help myself. It’s that rational part of me that occasionally surfaced to remind me that Bella and Edward are two really annoying characters! You all know why.  New Moon Bella was particularly painful to me.

2. Stephanie Plum


I do love some Stephanie Plum. But could you please make up your mind? Quit dragging your feet and make a commitment. Sadly, I suspect that I will still be frustrated after reading all nineteen. Sigh.

3. Sansa Stark


Sansa Stark drove me nuts in Game of Thrones. In fact, I think it took until the fourth book for her to start growing on me. She’s still not a favorite, but I have finally stopped wanting to shake her pretty auburn head.

4. Ever Bloom


Ok, here is character that frustrated me and I pretty much disliked her the majority of the time. Sadly, a big part of it for me was her name and that wasn’t her fault. She did get better towards the end of the series but looking back, I am not sure why I bothered to continue reading it. Not a favorite, mostly due to an annoying main character.

5. Will Herondale

clockwork angel

Oh, Will Herondale, you are one broody, angry dude and you drive me crazy. I want to love you and I want to be ok with you and Tessa, but I am not there yet. You have your work cut out for you in Clockwork Princess!

6. Nora Grey/Patch

hush hush

Please see Bella Swan/Edward Cullen. Against my better judgement, I totally loved this series. Nora and Patch frustrated me to no end, but I couldn’t help but root for them.

7. Grace Bisbane


I really can’t even talk about this one. I need to let it go. Just let it go….

8. Isabelle “Belly” Conklin


Back and forth, back and forth. Make up your mind! I think part of the problem is that I am not a fan of love triangles. Despite that, I did enjoy the series and recommend it often. But oh man, Belly! I could shake you.

9. Karou and Akiva

daughter of smoke

What happens at the end of book 1 and throughout book 2 is so frustrating, but I get it. I do. But I want it to be different.

10. Sabba

blood red road

Sabba is a character who is difficult to love. She is so hard and headstrong and damaged. Her stubborn refusal to accept what is right in front of her is frustrating. But she did it. She got under my skin and I love that girl so much.

Who do you love to hate?

Happy Reading!


Mondays with Megan-In Which I Realize I am Doing the Opposite of My 2013 Reading Goals

It’s true. I told myself that 2013 was going to be all about finishing up series. I mean, I really do want to know what happens next! But how have I been spending my reading time so far this year? Reading books that have not even been published yet! Oy. I can’t help myself and I got a little overly excited about some Netgalley options and well, now I am reading ARCs. That’s fine. The year is still young and I have plenty of time to work on those goals. Want to know what I have managed to read? Yes? Good, because it’s time to check in with my favorite Monday meme. Hosted by Book Journey and Teach Mentor Texts (check here for your children’s/YA lists):

It’s Monday! What are You Reading?

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scarlet prisoner marvelous oz emperor

Another GREAT reading week! The more I think about Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, the more I think I love it even more than Cinder. You may be wondering how this is even possible. Trust me, it is. It’s brilliant. Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz was a really tough read. It’s based on the real life experiences of Jack Gruener, a Holocaust survivor. I should have a review up this week. It is a well-written and compelling read, but so terribly sad. Obviously. I also headed back to the land of Oz with The Marvelous Land of Oz by Eric Shanower. This volume was just as lovely as the first and hilariously witty and clever. I can’t wait to get Ozma of Oz! And you will note that I did manage to get myself almost caught up with The Ranger’s Apprentice. I still have The Lost Stories to read and I am super excited that there will be a book 11 coming some time this year. YAY! Then I will allow myself start The Brotherband Chronicles series (which is going to be seven glorious books long!).



I have reached the half way point of this audio and it is strange and lovely and I am completely enthralled. I am not sure this is going to be on my favorites list, but I am certainly enjoying it! I am anxious to see if it wins any media awards today at the ALA Midwinter Conference.

Currently Reading:

little lady dualed double crossed

As part of my reading resolution, I WILL finish the final book in the Little Lady Agency trilogy by Hester Browne. I am working on an ARC of Dualed by Elsie Chapman. I also have Double-Crossed by Ally Carter. This e-novella is a freaking cross over book starring Gallagher Girls and Heisters! It’s short, but I am savoring it.

On Deck:

ask cadet twelve

I am very eager to get back to Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking trilogy. I left Todd and Viola is such a precarious position! I also have The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell at home and I have heard nothing but good things about it, so I may give that a try next. I also have another Stephanie Plum to work on. I will get caught up before Ms. Evanovich puts out a #20! Of course, something more enticing could show up without any notice and throw a monkey wrench in all my plans!

That’s all for now, I am off to get ready for the big awards announcements.

Happy Reading!


Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg Review


Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg
Scholastic, Inc
March 1, 2013
272 pgs

Lexi is an average teenaged girl trapped in an endless Toddlers & Tiaras nightmare. She is the smart, responsible and sassy one while her much younger sister Mackenzie is the beauty queen. After years on the pageant scene Lexi is finally fed up with the whole thing. She is tired of being overlooked because she is not a fake beauty. She is tired of being average and ignored, both at school and by her mother who is obsessively focused on Mackenzie. Encouraged by her best friend Benny, she begins to transform her appearance. Stepping out of the shadows and into the limelight has some surprising consequences for this good girl with the great personality.

On the surface this is a smart, sassy story about the shallowness of the beauty pageants, high school, and being a part of the “in crowd.” This is a familiar formula in contemporary YA literature and is enough to make a great book. But this is so much more than a fluffy cautionary tale about the fleeting nature of beauty, judging people based on appearances, and the desire to fit in for all the wrong reasons. Don’t get me wrong, that is all in here, but buried beneath the lightness and clever humor is a profoundly moving story about a dysfunctional family. Lexi and her best friends Benny and Cam are vibrant, multidimensional characters. The relationships are complex, messy, and realistic. Ultimately, this was one fantastic read. With more substance than fluff, this book certainly has a great personality!

You may also enjoy the works of Maureen Johnson, Leila Sales, E. Lockhart and Sarah Dessen.

This book was provided by the publisher and for review.

Happy Reading!


Top Ten Tuesday: You Are Here-More of These Settings Please!


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday list, brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish is all about settings. To be honest, I usually only think of settings when they absolutely amazing. Otherwise, they are just sort of background noise. So it took some effort to come up with some settings that have really impresses me.

1. On the Road

road trip

I am a total sucker for a road trip book! I think that the best part about road trip books is that the setting is constantly changing. More, please.

2. Boarding School


Again, I have a soft spot for boarding school settings. Obviously Howarts is an excellent example of how awesome a boarding school can be, but there are plenty of great school settings out there and they aren’t necessarily magical. In fact, magic isn’t a requirement for me to love a boarding school.

3. The Future


When it comes to the future, I like it all. Does that count as a setting? I guess it’s more of a time period, but I am still going to count it because in most cases, the time influences the setting and that is what I like. I am not picky about my futuristic books. The good, the bad, the evil, the cyborgs, the cool techie gadgets. Bring it on!

4. Ireland


Tana French writes novels set in Ireland and her descriptions of the setting are so vivid that I truly believe I am there when I am reading. Some day I will get there. In the meantime, I will settle for reading about this beautiful country.

5. Castles


Castles are a great setting. They exist all over the world and fit into just about any time period. They are quite versatile!

6. Steampunk


Ok, I realize that steampunk is a genre, but the settings are so unique and in many was specific to the genre that I am including it on my settings list. It’s my list; I’ll do what I want!

7. Imaginary Worlds


I have really grown to appreciate fantasy and all the amazing worlds that can be found in an epic fantasy. Also, dragons are totally growing on me.

8. Isolated/desolate/remote areas


It doesn’t have to be an island. A remote cabin in the woods or a western ghost town will do just fine as well. Remote or desolate areas can add an element of tension to a story or peace and calm. How cool is that?

9. A Farm


I recently got to spend time on my sister’s farm and it is a whole different world! I think I need to read more books with a rural or agricultural setting. Also, horses and goats are so cool.

10. Ohio/Cleveland


Finally, how about some hometown love? I have great love for my city, Cleveland, but I do enjoy a nice Ohio setting as well.

Where do you like your books to take you?

Happy Reading!


Mondays With Megan-Dog Duty is Interfering with Book Time!

Hi everyone! Happy Monday…zzzzzzzzzzzzz. Week one with the new pup was  long and exhausting and with reading  being pushed way down to the bottom of the list. The fact that I proctored a practice ACT test on Saturday really helped by reading stats this week. It was kind of nice to spend three hours reading-and get paid for it! Contrary to what many people believe about my job, I do not actually get paid to read books. That is my dream job! Anyway. The synapses aren’t firing at full speed yet so let me just make a list and be done.

It’s Monday! What are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey. There is a children’s/YA version at Teach Mentor Texts. This list is my favorite part of Monday!

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when she woke wizard of oz revenge

It’s not much, but I loved them all. When She Woke is a clever and thought-provoking retelling of the The Scarlet Letter. Full of hot-button topics such as religion, abortion, and homosexuality, it may not be for everyone, but I loved it. The graphic version of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Eric Shanower has inspired a book craft! The illustrations are so amazing that I want them on display in my house. I plan to disassemble a perfectly good book! Finally, I breezed through an ARC of Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg. I will have a review up this week, but take my word for it now, you’ll want to pick this one up.

Currently Reading/Listening:

seraphina scarlet emperor prisoner

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman is my new audio. The beginning seems a bit complicated, but I am starting to get into it now. I am so excited to be reading an ARC of Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. I loved Cinder and I think this sequel may be even more awesome. Can that be possible?!? I am still plugging away at The Emperor of Nihon-Ja by John Flanagan. I am in no hurry with this one. I just started an ARC of Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz.

To Read:

marvelous oz level 2

I am looking forward to another visit to Eric Shanower’s version of Oz! I also think I should get a 2013 debut in before January is over. I am looking forward to Lenore Appelhan’s Level 2.

What are you reading this week?

Happy Reading!


How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller Review

how to

How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller
February 21, 2013
358 pgs

Flick is a teenaged pick-pocket living on the streets of New York. At least, that’s the story he tells everyone, including Joi, the self-proclaimed protector of street kids. In reality, he comes from power and money, which he left behind when the unthinkable happened. His move to New York is about biding his time and plotting his revenge. His plans get a kick-start when he is recruited to attend the exclusive Mandel Academy, a school that has been secretly training criminal masterminds for over a century. As luck would have it, the one person he despises most is a Mandel graduate and board member and the current headmaster has all the dirt Flick needs to destroy him. Flick quickly rises to the top of his class, but along the way he learn that there is no such thing as coincidence and he can’t trust anyone. The cost of the truth he desires is steep, but he is willing to pay any price. Or so he thinks.

Basically the Mandel Academy is a boarding school for the criminally insane. Life inside is more than dangerous. It is deadly. How to Lead a Life of Crime is an uncomfortable read. That is not to say it is not good. I found this book so compelling. Even as I was going batty over trying to wrap my head around the layers of horror, I could not stop reading. I had to know happened. Thankfully, I was rewarded with a satisfying and somewhat surprising end. This book is definitely meant for an older reader. It is dark, gritty, and quite graphic. I would not recommend this book for your favorite conspiracy theorist-it will only fuel the flames! Ms. Miller has created a world that is truly terrifying and yet it is not hard to believe that there is an element of truth in her tale. Yikes. This one won’t win any feel-good awards, but it will keep you turning the pages! It was also refreshing to find a creepy book that did not rely on a post-apocalyptic or supernatural scenario to scare the bejesus out of me! Bottom line: fresh, original, and intense.

You may also enjoy the Curse Workers (White Cat, Red Glove, and Black Heart) series by Holly Black and I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga.

Happy Reading!


Top Ten Tuesday: 2013 Debuts on My TBR List


It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week is all about the newbies of 2013. This one took me a while to put this together because I have been so fixated on series sequels and more offerings from my current favorites that I have hardly had time to even consider that there may be a new favorite out there just waiting to be discovered. So really, thank you B&B for making me think of something new. After a little digging and reading here my most anticipated debuts of 2013:

1. Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans, Jan. 15. Everyone else wants to read it so I had better check it out.

level 2

2. The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepard, Jan. 29. A gothic thriller based on H.G. Wells’ classic,The Island of Doctor Moreau. Yes please.

madman's daughter

3. The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding Feb 5. I have been enjoying contemporary fiction lately and look forward to more!

reece malcolm

4. The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett, March 5. Boarding school for the magical kind-check. A student who is a nightmare?!? Awesome! Bonus points for being a local Ohio author.

nightmare affair

5. Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson, March 12. I am all about the retellings since I discovered the Fables series. This one is a Bluebeard retelling.

strands of bronze and gold

6. The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar, March 21. A contemporary romance with a genie. I have this on my NetGalley shelf right now!

art of wishing

7. Vengeance Bound Justina Ireland, April 2.  You had me at the mention of Dexter.

vengeance bound

8. Taken by Erin Bowman, April 16.  First of all, this is shallow, I know, but look at the pretty cover. Hopefully the insides will be just as awesome.


9. The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller May 7. Gotta love a girl finally embracing her inner nerd!


10. How My Summer Went Up in Flames Jennifer Salvato Doktorski, May 7.  This is another one coming out on my birthday. Happy birthday to me! Also, I am a total sucker for a road trip book.

summer up in flames

That covers the first half of 2013. I cannot even begin to think about the second half! What are you waiting for?

Happy Reading!


Mondays with Megan-Bout of Books 6.0 Wrap Up and What are You Reading?

Last week I participated in Bout of Books 6.0, hosted by Amanda@On a Book Bender. It was so low-key that I thought for sure I would make all of my read-a-thon goals. As the week wore on I fell a little behind, but I was confident that I could cram in a bunch of reading over the weekend. It was a solid plan. But then this happened:


Right before Christmas I lost my 9-year-old pup pal to cancer. It was sad to see her go and I miss her terribly but I soon realized that my house was too quiet without a dog. So over the weekend I paid a visit to The Cleveland Animal Protective League. That is where I met this guy (it is also where I got my previous dog. Great place!). His name is Kevin and he is an eighteen month old Chow/Retriever mix. He is sweet and friendly and a lot of work. The poor guys seems to be quite skittish. He totally cut into my weekend reading time! Despite the furry disruption, I managed quite well with my goals. Here is a quick recap:


Number of Books Finished: 3.25
Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt, How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller, and Eleven on Top by Janet Evanovich. I am about 25% of the way through The Emperor of Nihon-Ja by John Flanagan.
Minutes Listened: 215 (3.6 hours!) When She Woke by Hillary Jordan (so good!)
Pages Read: 857
Challenges completed: 2
Reviews written: 1, The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

I had hoped to finish 5 books and participate in 3 challenges, but I came pretty close. I am looking forward to the next one.

That recap pretty much takes care of my It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? list, but let’s check in with Book Journey and Teach Mentor Texts anyway.

mondayreading Mon Reading Button PB to YA


okay for now eleven how to

Okay for Now was a reread-still love it. Eleven on Top is part of my ongoing mission to catch up with Stephanie Plum. How to Lead a Life of Crime was an ARC and a review will be out soon. It was dark, disturbing, and totally compelling.

Currently Listening:

when she woke dead i may well be

I am loving When She Woke!

Currently Reading:

emperor little lady revenge

I am savoring my beloved Ranger’s Apprentice book, lolly-gagging my way through the final Little Lady book, and I just started an ARC of Revenge. What a great title!

Up next: To be perfectly honest, I have no clue and I am ok with that. Stay tuned!

Happy Reading!


The Madness Underneath (Shades of London #2) by Maureen Johnson Review

I wrapped up 2012 with a bunch of ARCs from It’s time to start writing some reviews! In short, I got some great stuff! Up next:


The Madness Underneath (Shades of London #2) by Maureen Johnson
HarperCollins Children’s Books
February 26, 2013
352 pgs.

*Contains spoilers for Book 1*

The Madness Underneath picks up right where The Name of the Star left off. Rory, an American teen living in London, is recovering from her near-death experience at the hand of a malevolent ghost. Despite her misgivings and her parents’ protests, it is time for Rory to head back to school, face the scene of the crime, and try to get back to normal. Of course, that is easier said than done. Something about Rory’s “gift” has changed and she doesn’t know how to explain or even accept it. Her attempts to reach out to the crew of the top-secret ghost-hunting police unit are met with dead ends. That is, until a series of unexplained murders occur near the Wexford campus. It seems that ghostly occurrences have become the new norm for Rory. Nothing is easy for her as she struggles with her classes and her relationships, tries to figure out who she can trust and how to manage her new ability, and once again keep herself alive.

Buckle up, because this is another wild ride with the quirky and loveable Rory Deveaux. Rory is still her charming, witty self, but she is notably and realistically changed by her experience with The Ripper. She struggles with her abilities, her feelings, her relationships and her classes and it all threatens to break her. Her trust is betrayed and she makes bad decisions, but in the end she learns what it means to be a friend and to have true friends. Be warned, the cliffhanger ending of book one is nothing compared to the doozie of an ending we are left with in this one. Holy Moley, I did not see that coming and book 3 cannot come soon enough. Well played Ms. Johnson. Well played. I am completely hooked.

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.

Happy Reading!