Monthly Archives: July 2013

Top Ten Tuesday-Favorite Beginnings and Endings


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish is all about book beginnings and endings. This one was tough because I am so bad about remembering book quotes! But I managed to scrap together a pretty decent list.


1. The Rook by Daniel O’Malley. I picked this one up based on the cover and quotes on the cover. That’s it. I was rewarded with one of the strangest books I have ever read. I loved it and wish there were more. Hey, Dan! Can there be more?


“Dear You, The body you are wearing used to be mine.”

2. Gone by Michael Grant. You guys know how much I love this series, right? Also, it has an awesome conclusion.


“One minute the teacher was talking about the Civil War. The next minute he was gone.”

3. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. This one took some getting used to, but I was eventually sucked in. I suspect the ending of this trilogy is going to be epic.


“The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say.”

4. Paranormalcy  by Kiersten White.I LOVE Evie and her snarky voice, which comes across on page one.


“”Wait – did you – you just yawned!” The vampire’s arms, raised over his head in the classic Dracula pose, dropped to his sides.”

Endings **No Spoilers**

5. Game by Barry Lyga. Huh. I did not see that coming. More, please.


6. Flock by Wendy Delsol. I loved the ending of this series. It was not what I had expected, but it worked. By the way, this series does not get enough love! Go read Stork. It’s fabulous. I promise.


7. I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak. Ok. This man can end a book. The Book Thief? On everyone’s list, for good reason. The tears! But I still have a major soft spot for Ed Kennedy.

i am the messenger

8. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. I have theories. I can’t wait to see if I am right. I think this prequel trilogy kicks TMI hiney and I thought the ending was perfect. And trust me, I was WORRIED. Love triangles drive me batty.

clockwork princess

9. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. Such a beautiful and powerful ending. Words that everyone should say to themselves.

aristotle and dante

10. Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor. This may be the cruelest cliffhanger in the history of cruel cliffhangers.

days of blood

Honorable mention cruel cliffhangers: The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan, Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins, and Speaking from Among the Bones by Alan Bradley.

Happy Reading!


Mondays with Megan and What Are You Reading? 7/29/13

Happy Monday! I really wish I had something exciting to report, but most of my free time these days is being spent with my 91-year-old grandmother. Her health is declining and I am soaking up all the gma awesomeness that I can. Friday she taught me how to make her version of Chex Mix. This Friday I finally get the secret cheesecake recipe. Score! Now that I am back from vacation I am also getting a lot more reading done. That seems so backwards, but it’s true. Since I am sleepy and can’t really think of anything clever to say, I am going to just skip right to list of books. Thanks to Book Journey and Teach Mentor Texts for hosting It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

mondayreading IMWAYR


last word since you asked who is ac whit & will bone house

The Last Word by Lisa Lutz is the sixth and final (?) document in the Spellman Files. I love this series and recommend it all the time to people looking for a light, fun read with quirky characters. Since You Asked by Maurene Goo is a debut novel starring a snarky and sarcastic Korean-American teen. This is a NetGalley book and I will have a review up soon. I hope. In an attempt to pad my stats for the Summer Throwdown (I am way behind on my goal), I read a couple of graphic novels. The first was Who is AC? by Hope Larson. It was just ok. The story was a little weird and confusing. I also read Will & Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge, which I loved. Finally, I finished listening to The Bone House by Brian Freeman, which was a suspenseful mystery/thriller that kept me thoroughly entertained while I pulled weeds this weekend.

Currently Listening:

finnikin secret keeper

In my car I have Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta. To be honest, I am not loving it. Yet. I mean, it’s good. I am interested in the characters and the story, but I think that if I was reading the book I might be inclined to set it down. I had a similar experience with Jellicoe Road, which I ended up loving, so I am hopeful. I also just snagged The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton on Playaway. My coworker raved about this one and she never steers me wrong. I am excited to take this one walking with the dog.

Currently Reading:

monsters of men rose under fire cinder summer up in flames

I am kind of all over the place and not fully committed to any of these. Cinder is a reread for book club. The problem is that I have a huge stack of books that I am dying to read, but I am not ready to abandon any of these. I really need to sit down with Monsters of Men because I am about a third of the way in and things are intense. I am sure it will be a brilliant ending to an amazing series.

On Deck:

coldest just like fate

I have two ARCs that I can’t wait to read!

Happy Reading!


Top Ten Tuesday: Words or Topics That I Try to Avoid


The Broke and the Bookish recently asked bloggers to list the ten topics or words that guarantee we will pick a book. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday does the opposite.

1. Cancer. I have always shied away from the Big C books, but honestly, after going against my own instincts and reading John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, cancer books are now and forever non-negotiable. I have enough experience with it. I don’t need to read about it.

2. The Holocaust. I cannot wrap my head around the atrocities done to and by so many people. I can’t even handle the heartwarming stories of triumph in the face of such evil. Not for me.

3. Poetry. I just don’t get it.

4. Novels in Verse. I have read a few novels in verse and they aren’t bad, they just aren’t my cup of tea.

5. Christmas. Seriously. I just cannot get into the schmaltzy sweet Christmas stories. It sounds a little Scrooge-y, but I can live with that.

6. Faeries. I have tried, but so far the only faeries that I can get down with are Julie Kagawa’s.

7. Nonfiction. I want to read nonfiction. I really do, but I struggle with it all the time and then usually end up avoiding it.

8. Short Stories. These are so tough. I find that they usually just leave me wishing that there was more.

9. Talking Animals. Why? No.

10. New Adult. I just don’t get it. Is it the fact that the characters are college aged that make it special? Or is it all the sex? I suppose I should read some before I decide I don’t like it, huh?

This list makes me feel and sound so narrow-minded, but don’t believe that I am. I definitely try to read outside of my comfort zones and have even been pleasantly surprised to find amazing treasures. A few examples of this are Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt (Audubon. Really? Birds?), Winger (Rugby-um, no thanks) by Andrew Smith, Pop (Football and Alzheimer’s. I wasn’t interested in high school football when I was in high school. Why now?) by Gordon Korman, and The Art Forger (Art/art history. So not my thing.) by B.A. Shapiro. Turns out that I do love to read about birds and rugby and football and art.

What topics turn you away from a book?

Happy Reading!


Mondays With Megan: Back to Work! 7/22/13

Happy Monday! My vacation is finally over and I am back at work. Here is what I learned: you don’t get to read a lot on vacation! I think this may be the lamest It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? post ever. After you spend 30 second here, be sure to head over to Book Journey and Teach Mentor Texts for more lists.

mondayreading IMWAYR


road to oz

The Road to Oz by Eric Shanower. That’s it. One little graphic novel. While this one is a little light on action, it is packed with crazy new characters. I now begin the long wait for The Emerald City of Oz.

Current Audio:


I honestly felt peer-pressured to read eleanor & park by Rainbow Rowell. I am so close to the end. So far I am glad I gave in. I am not 100% sold on the 1980s time period, but the characters are lovely and engaging.

Currently Reading:

monsters of men summer up in flames since you asked

I am slowly but surely making way throw these three books, but I am going to have to pause them all and quickly read a mystery for my genre discussion book club this week (see what happens when you go on vacation? You forget to do stuff!). I haven’t decided yet which of these I am going to read:

liar society butterfly clues

The first is written by local authors and the second is set in Cleveland. I am all about the local connections right now. Suggestions?

Happy Reading!


Mondays With Megan: Montana Edition, Part 2

Happy Monday! As you may recall from last week, my Montana vacation got off to a rocky start, but things have certainly improved. My most recent adventures include cooling off in the creek on the farm, going to the pig races, and driving the Beartooth Pass from Red Lodge to Cooke City. The drive was a little bit scary, completely exhilarating and breathtakingly gorgeous. Over the course of the 68 miles we experienced blazing sun, brisk, cold air, pouring rain, and hail. It was a wild ride! Check out those switchbacks!

In between gardening, antique hunting, yard sales, and farm arts and crafts, I even managed to find time to read.

  mondayreading IMWAYR

Thanks to Book Journey and Teach Mentor Texts for hosting It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?


ashenwinter second helpings canary smokin seventeen

I cannot wait for Sunrise, the final book in Ashfall Trilogy by Mike Mullen! Ashen Winter introduced some interesting new characters, resolved a few issues from the first book, and set the survivors up even more hardship. Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty is the second book in the Jessica Darling series. Jessica is hilarious and charming and I am looking forward to seeing how she fares in college. Canary is the debut novel of local author Rachele Alpine. I was completely engrossed in this book and will write a full and glowing review when I am back to work. Finally, I breezed through yet another Stephanie Plum book. Smokin’ Seventeen is pretty much like the rest of them. I know that is a big complaint for many readers, but I really don’t mind so much. They are mindless entertainment.

Currently Reading:

monsters of men

On Deck:

With my trip winding down, I am not sure how much reading I will fit in this week. I have some audio books for the drive home and I need to reread Cinder for by summer book club meeting. We’ll see what happens!

Happy Reading!


Mondays with Megan-The Montana Edition

Well, I just wrapped up a morning of farm chores (no, seriously) and thought I’d put out a quick post. I would love to tell you that this has been the most awesome and relaxing vacation ever, but I cannot. I do have some good stories though. The drama started early. Illinois is ridiculous to drive through. For real. I continue to harbor extreme dislike for the insanely confusing toll roads that lead in and out of the Chicago area. Our progress slowed by Illinois, we decided to push on through to Minnesota and call it a day. With a solid six hours of sleep under our belts, we snuck out of town in the middle of the night to start the second half of the 24 hour drive. Coffee in hand, we were merrily on our way. Fifteen minutes in, we hit a deer. With our brother’s new truck. He was kind enough to let us use it to haul some stuff from Cleveland to Montana. We. Hit. A. Deer. UGH. But let’s not dwell about that. Wall South Dakota was fun. I took some fun pictures, but I can’t show them to you because the camera that took these photos decided to stop working. Why? No, really, why?? So, broken car, broken camera. Not off to a good start. My neurotic dog took to farm life like a pig in mud and has turned into a wild, unrecognizable creature in a matter of days. Yesterday he got a cold hose bath after finding a nice pile of poo to roll his face in. Seriously Kevin? Then there was a raging two-alarm barn fire on the farm next door. Lightning struck and the thing burned to the ground. So that is life in Montana in a nutshell. On the bright side, I have had the most delicious salads from the garden and there is nothing like a farm fresh egg. I was smothered with horse kisses last night (granted, they were sucking up to me because I was walking through the barnyard with a basket of fresh-picked spinach, but horse kisses are horse kisses, so there). My clothes are line-dried and I have not heard anything but the breeze rustling leaves, and grass, the water in the creek,  and the chickens all day long. No cars. No planes. No TV. Blissful silence. I actually finally had an opportunity to just sit and read for the first time in almost a week. Which means I actually have something to report for this week’s edition of It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? For more great lists be sure to check out Book Journey and Teach Mentor Texts.


how to save a life proxy secrets to the grave

How to Save a Life was by first Sara Zarr. She sure can write all the feelings and I enjoyed the fact that there weren’t any cookie cutter characters. I will definitely check out more of her books. I finally finished Proxy by Alex London. I ended up really liking it and will have a full review at some point. Secrets to the Grave was my first Tami Hoag and enjoyed that as well.

Currently Reading:

ashenwinter second helpings

I am really digging Ashen Winter, the sequel to Ashfall by Mike Mullin. One of the things I like the most is that the heroes are so realistic. They do dumb things, wounds don’t heal overnight, and they have real, human limitations. That also freaks me out. Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty is the second book in the Jessica Darling series and it is perfect vacation fare.

On Deck: It’s vacation time, I am not committing to anything!

Happy Trails…I mean, Reading!


Top Ten Tuesday: Intimidating Books 7/2/13

toptentuesdayEven the most voracious readers have books that intimidate them. It could be the size of the book, the content, or even all the hype surrounding particular titles. I know I have shied away from books for all of those reasons. This week The Broke and the Bookish want to know which books we find most intimidating.

1.Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. I found this one intimidating for all the reasons given about. I mean, it’s huge! And the new paperback version? The paper is so thin it’s practically see-through. And there is almost 100 pages worth of index? Come on! As for the content, I had zero experience with high fantasy. I did not think dragons were my thing. Wrong. Finally, the hype. There was so much peer pressure to read it I was terrified that I would hate it. Oh, peer pressure. Mostly my fears were unfounded. It was a total b*tch to get into, but once I got going there was no turning back!


2. Second Chance Summer– by Morgan Matson. I really loved Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour and would like to read Matson’s second novel but, oh, the cancer books…

second chance summer

3. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. This series has some seriously die-hard fans. I am worried I won’t love it and people will think I kick puppies or something. I don’t, by the way.

mara dyer

4. Graceling by Kristen Cashore. See above. For real, I just need to get it over with. The problem is I took the audiobook home ages ago and that was how I discovered that I did not like full cast audio at all. Now I am worried that it was actually the book I did not like. Could it be?


5. Shatter Me by Taherah Mafi. Why can’t I start this one? I downloaded it onto my Nook once, but it expired before I could even really get into the story. Again, the hype has me hesitant. Stupid hype. Also, I am not a big fan of the cover.

shatter me

6. The Map of Time by Felix Palma. I want to love it so bad. I love the cover. I love the concept. It was blurbed by a favorite author. It is the whole package. What if I don’t love it? This time I have created the hype. Stupid hype.

map of time

7. Pure by Julianna Baggott. It sounded too creepy for me, but then came recommended. Now I feel pressured to read it. I mean, a doll head fused to a hand? I don’t think I can get behind that!


8. Passenger by Andrew Smith. The Marbury Lens is one of the most disturbing books I have read. I need to know what happens next, but I am not eager to jump back into that world again.


9. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta. It took me forever to read Jellicoe Road (which was lovely, btw), so it is no surprise that I am hesitant to start this series. A while back there was thread about how unbelievably awesome this series is. Again with the pressure.


10. Elemental by Antony John. It is no secret that I ADORED Five Flavors of Dumb, but this latest book by John did not suck me in from the start. So I kind of panicked and stopped reading it. Maybe I wasn’t in the right mood? Now I am worried so I am avoid it.


Which books are you avoiding?

Happy Reading!


Mondays With Megan-Summer Throwdown!

Happy Monday. Oh, so happy first official day of vacation Monday…Since I haven’t left town yet, I thought I would take a break from pre-vaca errands and tell you about the Summer Throwdown and  the one and only book that I finished last week.

I was so excited to learn that there was going to be another Summer Throwdown. Last year it was Teachers vs. Librarians. They changed things up this year and now its more of a You vs. You kind of deal. Last year I read 14 books during the throwdown. This year I am going to try for 20 books between July 1 and July 31. I know it’s not us vs them this year, but I am still totally on the librarian team.


Ok, since it’s Monday, and my friend MB was worried about missing my Monday lists, let’s move on to It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? For more great lists you can also check out Book Journey and Teach Mentor Texts


aristotle and dante

I think I have needed a break from all the paranormal, because I have just been loving the contemporary picks lately. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz, is a beautiful coming of age story. Worthy of all the awards and accolades. The reader for the audio was also super. I am glad I finally read this special book.

Current Audio:

how to save a life secrets to the grave

Continuing with my contemporary fiction theme, I am finally getting around to a Sara Zarr book. Things are really starting to get good in Secrets to the Grave!

Currently Reading:

proxy second helpings ashenwinter

On Deck:

My Nook is full, I have hours and hours of books on CD, and more books than I can possibly read in two and a half weeks on the farm, but darn it, I like choices! Stay tuned!

Happy Reading!