Monthly Archives: May 2013

45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson Review

45 pounds

45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson
Penguin Young Readers Group
July 11, 2013
256 pgs

After yet another humiliating shopping trip with her perfect mother, sixteen-year-old Ann is determined to lose weight. For real this time. Especially since she is going to be a bridesmaid in her aunt’s wedding. Despite that fact that she has tried most of the gimmicks and fad diets, with no lasting success, Ann turns to yet another diet plan she sees on television. Ann has a long list of struggles to deal with. Her family is life is chaotic, her so-called best friend has a new group of friends, and as the wedding date approaches, the pressure to lose weight becomes unbearable. Ann eventually reaches a breaking point, which actually leads to a turning point. Family secrets are revealed, the perfect dress is found, and a family begins to heal.

I admit I was worried that this was going to be a fat-girl-is-shunned-but-loses-weight-and-everything-is-perfect kind of story. It was not. Ann is a complex and well-developed character who is surrounded by a delightful and slightly dysfunctional cast of supporting characters. Ann’s struggles are heartbreaking and unfortunately many readers will easily relate to her. She often loses her way, her focus, and her temper, but in the end she learns the importance of balance. The messages in this book are so simple and gently told. This book is a must-read for anyone who has ever felt out of balance, left out or uncomfortable in their own skin. A lovely debut from an author to watch.

This one will pair nicely with Revenge of the Girl With a Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg.

Happy Reading!



Top Ten Tuesday Freebie-Favorite Graphic Novels

toptentuesdayThe Broke and the Bookish, the awesome hosts of Top Ten Tuesday, have left this one up to us. Since I am feel like I am always yammering on about same books, I thought I would mention some of the graphic novels I have come to love. You’ll find a lot of these in the adult collection.

1. Fables by Bill Willingham. My graphic novels training wheels. So amazing and beautiful that I am slowly purchasing them for my own personal collection. I will reread these for sure.


2. The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman. I am not current on the TV series, but I am totally up to date on the graphic novel series. This series is so ugly and disturbing and terrifying. It gives me nightmares and I just can’t stop.

walking dead

3. Chi’s Sweet Home by Kanata Konami. And because I am not a psychopath, I also LOVE this charming little series about an adorable and precocious kitten.

chi 1

4. Locke & Key by Joe Hill. Ok, so the kitten the anomaly here. Fine. I admit it, I love the creepy stuff. This is another favorite and a series that I will most likely revisit (which is a big deal, but I am not usually a rereader).

locke and key

5. The Marvelous Land of Oz by Eric Shanower. But wait! Look how cute! And hardly creepy at all. I just recently discovered this series in our children’s department. The illustrations are so beautiful. I want to frame the pages and decorate my home with panels from the books.

marvelous oz

6. Lenore by Dirge Roman. I am late to the party here, but last year I gobbled up the Lenore, The Pretty Little Dead Girl collection. This is dark humor at its sickest.


7. Cirque du Freak by Darren Shan. I could not bring myself to start this series in their novel form so the graphic novel version was the perfect solution! Really enjoyed this series.

cirque du freak manga 1

8. Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley. The perfect foodie memoir. I read this recently and will certainly pick it up again. I probably gift it to a few people as well. A gem.


9. The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston. This lovely book was a perfect companion to Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife. Got Gatsby Fever? Check this out!

frankie pratt

10. Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang. These two companion books will be coming out in the fall, but I got to read them early! These are definitely my favorites by this author. I can’t wait to have them in the library so that I can recommend them to people.

boxers saints

Honorable Mentions

barry ween plain janes alice

Do you read graphic novels? Feel free to send me recommendations. I am always looking for a new book. I especially love a series.

Happy Reading!



Dare You To by Katie McGarry Review

dare you to

Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2) by Katie McGarry
May 28, 2013
Harlequin Teen
462 pgs

It started with a dare. All Ryan had to do was get the Skater girl to go out with him. Of course, Skater girl had no interest in a jock like Ryan. Despite the bruised ego from being shot down, Ryan assumes he will never see the girl again. Little does he know their paths are about to collide. Beth, aka Skater girl, is a troubled girl with painful secrets, but she has her best friends Noah and Isaiah to watch out for her. When a situation with her mother gets out of control, Beth’s long-lost uncle swoops in to save the day. Of course this means ripping Beth away from the only family that has ever mattered and dumping her into a small, close-knit (read: judgmental and gossipy) community miles away. It’s here that she discovers that the cocky jock who recently hit on her is the towns golden boy and he hates to lose. Learning of Beth’s arrival in town, Ryan seized the opportunity to win his dare. Ryan and Beth mix about as well as oil and water, but will they discover that there is true to the old saying about opposites attracting?

Dare You To is another sizzling chapter in the lives of the characters readers met in Pushing the Limits. In this installment of the story Beth takes center stage and Ryan is introduced. Readers familiar with the first book will recall that Beth is Noah’s hardened, damaged, and fiercely protecting friend. In this book we learn more about how Beth came to be so angry and resentful. Her story is not an easy one to read and it’s no wonder that she is one tough cookie. My favorite thing about the book is the reversal of gender stereotypes. I love that Ryan is a good guy and I spent the entire time hoping that Beth would allow herself to believe that she deserved to be treated well. I also loved the relationship between Beth and Isaiah and appreciate that the author resisted taking the easy and obvious route with them. In many ways it is sad, but it is also real and it works. Readers looking for raw emotions and steamy romance will not be disappointed.

This series is a must read for fans of Simone Elkeles’ Perfect Chemistry series.

This book was provided by and the publisher for review.

Happy Reading!


Top Ten Tuesday: Judging a Book By Its Cover


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish is all about what’s on the outside. This is so easy! And I am going to let the pictures speak for themselves.

1. Raven Boys  by Maggie Stiefvater. This is a PERFECT example of why you should not judge a book by its cover. Ok, well go ahead and do that with this one because both book and cover are awesome. But…not so much with the lovely Wolves covers. The covers are the best part of the books. IMO, of course.

raven boys

2. The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett. It’s lovely, spooky, not too “girlie”, and it matches the story. I heard the author speak recently and she said she was fortunate to have a little input about the cover and she did ask for and receive some changes. I am looking forward to the next book!

nightmare affair

3. Sisters Red and Sweetly by Jackson Pearce. How awesome are these covers? So awesome. I still need to read Sweetly.

sisters red sweetly

4. Hold Me Closer, Necromancer and Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBride. The covers changed between the first and second book, and I have to say it’s an improvement. There was nothing wrong with the original cover; it was fine. The new ones, however, are shiny and pop. Also, they may have the most clever titles ever. I love these books.

hold me closer 2 necromancing

5. Ruby Red, Sapphire Blue, and Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier. These covers are gorgeous and the series is so much fun. I cannot wait for Emerald Green!

ruby red sapphire blue emerald green

6. Cinder by Marissa Meyer. The cover for Scarlet is pretty, but I am particularly fond of Cinder’s weird and bada¤¤ cover.


7. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare. I am not a fan of The Mortal Instruments covers (I especially dislike Clary’s wild red hair on the covers). I do however, love the clockwork covers.

clockwork angel clockwork prince clockwork princess

8. Ask the Passengers by A.S. King. I love the sun on this cover. I think models on covers can be cheesy and/or quickly date a book, but this one works.


9. Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt. Now this one is intentionally dated and it so cute!

going vintage10. The Diviners by Libba Bray. I don’t know what it is about this one. It’s not super cool or pretty, but I really like it. It must be the creepy eye…


Honorable Mentions:

mind gamesnight circusbeauty queensleviathan

Happy Reading!



Mondays With Megan-Bout of Books 7.0 Wrap Up

Um, it’s Monday already? How did that happen?!? I guess between birthday parties, baseball games, and a little bit of yard work (just enough to keep my yard from looking like an abandoned lot. I tell you, it is a total pain in the neck having a next door neighbor with a front yard like a golf course…so much pressure!) the time just flies by. It was so much fun I am ready to do it again. Despite all the running around and having fun, I managed to get a ton of reading done for the Bout of Books 7.0 Readathon. Here is one giant check-in post, and then I am off to prepare summer reading and fall programs.

Last week was the readathon, so my results post will double as my It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? post. This one little post is working triple time. Check out Book Journey and Teach Mentor Texts for more Monday lists.

bout of books 7 mondayreading monday2


3 Graphic Novels

walking dead 17 american vampire 4 cardboard

The Walking Dead vol. 17: Something to Fear by Robert Kirkman is a devastating addition to this disturbing series. Seriously messed up. Actually, the same goes for American Vampire vol. 4 by Scott Snyder. Cardboard by Doug TenNapel was a bit tamer, but still featured monsters. It is no wonder I had some pretty creepy dreams last week. I need a rainbows and kittens cure ASAP! (In case you couldn’t tell, I thought ALL of these were awesome.)

3 Novels

45 pounds one moment game

I finished an e-galley of 45 Pounds by K.A. Barson. I admit I was worried that it was going to be a fat-girl-is-shunned-but-loses-weight-and-everything-is-perfect kind of story. It was not. And it was great! I am way behind on NetGalley reviews, but stay tuned because I swear I will get to it soon. My trip to the Ohioana Book Festival inspired me to catch up on some local authors, so I picked up One Moment by Kristina McBride. I really enjoyed hearing the author’s point of view on this dark read. It is a fast, compelling read that doesn’t get tied up with a pretty bow at the end. Finally, I spent the week hunting a serial killer. Game, by Barry Lyga was by far my favorite book from last week. I confess, I am a big baby and this one creeped the bejeezus out of me and gave me nightmares. I am desperate for the next book!

Bout of Book Totals:

Books Finished: 6
Pages Read: 1560
Minutes Listened: 438 (that’s 7.3 hours spent driving and walking the dog!)
Challenges: 2

Current Audio:

magicians lady almina

I am almost to the half way mark in The Magicians, but I still can’t say how I feel about it. I am definitely interested in finding out where the author is going with things!

Currently Reading:

rules wizard of oz

On a whim, I shoved aside the book I was planning to start today (As Dead As it Gets by Katie Alender…soon, I promise) and started The Rules by Stacey Kade. I am slowly enjoying Ozma of Oz by Eric Shanower. I love this graphic adaptation so much!

Current e-book:

for the good of mankind far far away

From NetGalley I have For the Good of Mankind? by Vicki Wittenstein. It is a short but grizzly nonfiction book about human medical experimentation. Once I finish I will start Far Far Away by Tom McNeal.

On Deck: ????

I am looking forward to good reading week! What about you?

Happy Reading!


Top Ten Tueday: Time to Get Serious


Last week the Broke and the Bookish asked us about our favorite light, fun reads. This week we are looking at the flip side-serious books. I am going to be honest, I am not a huge fan of “issues” books. I really hate to be reminded of how horrible people can be to themselves and each other. That being said, I do have a few go-to books that deal with tough topics.

1. What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton. This debut novel by a local author deals with the aftermath of rape. It is beautiful and heartbreaking.

what happens next

2. Please Ignore Vera Dietz A.S. King. Really, any A.S. King. She is brilliant. Vera Dietz deals with issues of betrayal, abuse, and death. Ask the Passengers deals with homosexuality. Both are lovely. I will let you in on a little secret. I would take the YA Issues Book Crown away from John Green and give it to her. There. I said it.

please-ignore-vera-dietz ask

3. The Hate List by Jennifer Brown. Bullying, school shooting, and suicide. Powerful stuff, told from point of view of the girlfriend of the shooter.

hate list

4. Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers. This book about bullying continues to haunt me. Brutal and disturbing.

some girls

5. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. This one is an adult nonfiction, but I think it would appeal to some teen readers. Racism and medical ethics collide in this shocking story.


6. The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith. This one may appear to be a science-fictiony horror story on the surface, but at its heart it is about kidnapping, trauma, and post traumatic stress. It is horrifying and disturbing and I loved it. I confess that I am a little afraid to start the sequel.


7. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. Now this is how I prefer my “issues” books. This is a book about grief, but there is an awesome road trip and a cute guy. There are light moments, but you never forget that it is a book about loss and grief. A favorite.


8. Pushing the Limits and Dare You To by Katie McGarry. I love these gritty romances that star good girls, bad girls, good guys, bad boys, drugs, poverty, messed-up parents, homosexuality, first love, sex and more. Must reads for fans of Simone Elkeles.

pushing the limits dare you to

9. Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg. This is another “lighter” serious book. Smart and sassy on the surface, this book is anything but shallow. Issues include messy dysfunctional families and the pressure put on girls to be pretty in order to fit in.


10. Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John. Gosh, it has been a while since I have sung the praises of Piper Vaughn and this awesome book! The issue: a deaf teen in a hearing world. Love, love, love this book.

fiveflavorsof dumb

Honorable Mentions go to:

perfect chemistry summer rules of survival okay for now going bovine nantucket blue

Happy (grab a tissue before you start) Reading!



Mondays With Megan-Bout of Books Day 1 and What Are You Reading

frozen flwoerfrozen flwoer˜photo by Giant Gingko

Dear Mother Nature,

It is cruel to give us spring than snatch it away! But, since there is just no reasoning with you, I will take advantage of the chilly weather and snuggle up under my blanket (I stubbornly refuse to turn the heat back on) and read!



Let’s get started with all the Monday updates. First a check in with Book Journey and Teach Mentor Texts with a It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? report.

mondayreading Mon Reading Button PB to YA


swirlies sasquatch escape life as we knew it dare you to night she disappeared life after life

I killed it last week (and yet, I am still 4 books behind on my goal….grr)! I love Lenore by Dirge Roman and Swirlies was my favorite in the collection! The Sasquatch Escape by Suzanne Selfor is the first in a new middle grade series. It was a cute set-up and I will probably look for the next one, but it didn’t wow me. Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer was a book club reread. Still freaks me out. Dare You To by Katie McGarry was my favorite read of the week. I loved the good boy-bad girl twist. The Night She Disappeared by April Henry was a fast read and I have to admit, I felt a little weird reading it in light of the recent events here in Cleveland with the missing women, but I did enjoy it. Finally, I wrapped up listening to Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. Amazing.

Currently Reading:

45 pounds one moment my one square inch

I have an e-galley of 45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson that I am just getting into. After this weekend’s Ohioana Book Festival I picked up One Moment by Kristina McBride and got sucked right in. I have no doubt I will finish tonight. I am also still plugging away at My One Square Inch of Alaska by Sharon Short (another Ohio author!). I decided to give it my full attention this week.

Currently Audio:

magicians lady almina

I am trying to address some of the items that have been languishing on my TBR list. To that end, I am going to start listening to The Magicians by Lev Grossman. I currently have Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey by Fiona Carnarvon on Playaway. Honestly, it’s nothing spectacular, but it is enjoyable.

On Deck:

I have big plans for the week as I participate in Bout of Books 7.0. To see what’s on deck this week check out my goals post.

Happy Reading!


Bout of Books 7.0 Goals and Progress

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms and mom-like people out there! Just a quick post to get my Bout of Books 7.0 goals out there. The lovely hosts make everything so easy, including providing this handy template.

Bout of Books

Time Devoted to Reading

This will vary based on my work schedule. I will read everyday and listen to audio books while in the car and walking the dog.

My Goals

  • Get myself back on pace with my Goodreads goal. I am currently 3 books behind.
  • Finish some books that I started ages ago.
  • Visit and comment on new blogs.

Books to Read

  • Graphic Novels
    1. The Walking Dead vol. 17 by Robert Kirkman
    2. Cardboard by Doug TenNapel
    3. Fruits Basket vol. 2 by Natsuki Takaya
    4. American Vampire vol. 4 by Scott Snyder
    5. Ozma of Oz by Eric Shanower


    1. My One Square Inch of Alaska by Sharon Short (already started)
    2. As Dead as it Gets by Katie Alender
    3. Game by Barry Lyga
    4. One Moment by Kristina McBride (already started)


    1. 45 Pounds by K.A. Barson
    2. For the Good of Mankind? by Vicki O. Wittenstein


    1. The Magician by Lev Grossman
    2. Lady Almina and Real Downton Abbey by Fiona Carnarvon.


Number of pages I’ve read today: 299
Number of minutes I’ve listened today: 70 minutes
Total number of books I’ve read: 2

  • One Moment by Kristina McBride (127)
  • 45 Pounds by K.A. Barson (40)
  • The Magicians by Lev Grossman (25 min)
  • Lady Almina (45 min)
  • The Walking Dead vol. 17: Something to Fear (132)

Number of pages I’ve read today: 372
Number of minutes I’ve listened today: 70 minutes
Total number of books I’ve read: 3

  • If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch (36-that was enough to give it up)
  • The Magicians Lev Grossman (27 min)
  • My One Square Inch of Alaska by Sharon Short (7)
  • Lady Almina (43 min)
  • Game by Barry Lyga (40)
  • 45 Pounds by K.A. Barson (45)
  • Cardboard by Doug TenNapel (284)

Number of pages I’ve read today: 209
Number of minutes I’ve listened today: 50 minutes
Total number of books I’ve read: 3

  • The Magicians by Lev Grossman (50 min)
  • 45 Pounds by K.A. Barson (117)
  • Game by Barry Lyga (85)
  • My One Square Inch (7)

Number of pages I’ve read today: 131
Number of minutes I’ve listened today:  93 minutes
Total number of books I’ve read: 4

  • The Magicians by Lev Grossman ( 25 min)
  • 45 Pounds by K.A. Barson (64)
  • Game by Barry Lyga (67)
  • Lady Almina (30 min)

Challenge: Title Acrostics, hosted by Harley Bear Book Blog


S carlet,

C inder,

A nd the Big Bad Wolf

R esist

L evana’s

E vil

T ricks

Number of pages I’ve read today: 119
Number of minutes I’ve listened today:  45 minutes
Total number of books I’ve read: 4

  • The Magicians by Lev Grossman (45 min)
  • Game by Barry Lyga (91)
  • For the Good of Mankind? (28)

Number of pages I’ve read today: 133
Number of minutes I’ve listened today:  80 minutes
Total number of books I’ve read: 4

  • The Magicians by Lev Grossman (80 min)
  • Game by Barry Lyga (133 )

Number of pages I’ve read today: 297
Number of minutes I’ve listened today:  30 minutes
Total number of books I’ve read: 6

  • The Magicians by Lev Grossman (30 min)
  • Game by Barry Lyga (89 )
  • American Vampire vol. 4 by Scott Snyder (208)


Top Ten Tuesday: On the Light Side


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is all about the light side. Those fun, breezy, or humorous books that are guaranteed to entertain without any effort on the part of the reader. As I was compiling my list I noticed that it is super girly, so my new goal is to find light reads for guys. Any suggestions?

1. The Ruby Oliver series by E. Lockhart. Very cute, very funny.

boyfriend list

2. Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman. This is Jane Austen meet Glee.


3. Also Known As by Robin Benway. Spies + kissing=fun times!

also known as

4. Mothership by Martin Leicht. I can’t plug this goofy, campy book enough. Laugh out loud.


5. Poison by Bridget Zinn. I recently enjoyed this charming debut. A must read for the fairy tale lover.


6. Going Vintage by Lindsay Leavitt. Everything old is new again in this retro-inspired new novel.

going vintage

7. Past Perfect by Leila Sales. Just look at that cover! How can it not be fun?

past perfect

8. No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman. Hey! Look at that, I thought of some guy-friendly light reads!

no more dead dogs

9. Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford. A hilarious and awkward look at being a freshman guy.


10. The Big Book of Barry Ween by Judd Winick. I love this giant collection of Barry Ween adventures. It’s like Bart Simpson meets Calvin and Hobbes. Totally guy-friendly.

barry ween


The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kindgom by Christopher Healy. I love this middle grade book about the Princes Charming and their not-so-princely charms.

hero's guide

How about some Adult reads (that would also probably appeal to some teens)?

The Flavia de Luce mystery series by Alan Bradley. 1950s England, plucky pre-teen sleuth who has a love of poisons.


The Spellman Files series by Lisa Lutz. A totally hilarious and dysfunctional family of private investigators. I am so thrilled that there will be one more new book in this series! spellmansnew

The Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. My favorite flavor of book candy. Predictable, light, and often ridiculous.

one for the money

What’s one your light and fun list? Any great guy reads? I obviously need them!

Happy Reading!


Mondays with Megan: Bout of Books Readathon 2013

Happy Monday! Did you enjoy the beautiful weekend? Did you get a free comic book on Free Comic Book Day? I gave out almost 200 free comics this weekend! My Monday offerings are pretty slim this week compared to last week’s post-readathon boon. Luckily I have found another readathon to join! It is almost time for Bout of Books 7.o!

Bout of Books
“The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week-long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 13th and runs through Sunday, May 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 7.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team”
I am signing up today! Now I need to think about my goals…In the meantime, it’s time to join Book Journey and Teach Mentor Text for another round of It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?
mondayreading Mon Reading Button PB to YA
caleb nightmare affair boys of steel
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks. It slowly crept up on me and by the end I was so invested in the characters that I was sad to be finished. The Nightmare Affair is a really fun debut novel by local (Ohio) author, Mindee Arnett. I am a sucker for a boarding school story and this one has a great mystery and paranormal elements as well. Total win. Finally, I read Boys of Steel: the Creators of Superman by Marc Tyler Nobleman. Yes, it’s a picture book, but it was lovely and the information in the afterward was very enlightening. I definitely recommend it.
Current Audio:
life after life
I am so hooked on this one!
Currently Reading:
dare you to life as we knew it sasquatch escape
I am almost finished with both of these. Dare You To is great and Life As We Knew It is a reread for book club. I also started a new middle grade book, The Sasquatch Escape by Suzanne Selfors. I am pretty sure it’s going to be fun. I have to confess I have abandoned a few books along the way, but I plan to go back to them.
On Deck:
I have been all over the place with my reading, so I am not really sure what will come next, except for this one! I can’t wait to dig into Game, the sequel to I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga!
Happy Reading!