Monthly Archives: September 2013

Mondays With Megan-Bully and Colleen Clayton

Happy Monday! I am really excited about a program being held at the library this evening. At 6 p.m. we will be showing a screening of the documentary film, Bully. The film follows five families over the course of a school year as they cope with bullying. Following the film local author Colleen Clayton, author of What Happens Next?, will speak about her experience with bullying. She will also talk about and sign copies of her book. Books will be available to purchase at the library. I hope to see a full house tonight, so please consider joining us!

I feel like I have been in a reading slump for a while, so my Monday check-in is pretty slim. Be sure to check with Book Journey and Teach Mentor Texts for more great It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? lists.

mondayreading IMWAYR


returned shadow of the blackbirds silver at home

The Returned by Jason Mott examines what would happen in the dead began coming back to life. This is not a zombies/undead situation. This is the dearly departed no longer being departed. It’s crazy. This book has getting a lot of buzz and it all well-deserved. I devoured this in a couple of sittings. Another book that I couldn’t put down was In the Shadow of the Blackbirds, a debut novel by Cat Winters. Set in 1918 at the height of World War I and the Spanish Influenza pandemic, Mary Shelley Black watches with skepticism as people flock to séances and spiritualists in an attempt to make contact with their deceased loved ones. She is forced to rethink her views when she herself is haunted by an unsettled spirit. I loved this one! At the suggestion of a friend, I picked up an oldie, but a goodie, The Girl With the Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts. 10-year old Katie not only looks different, with her unsettling silver eyes, she also has a very unique talent. She can move things with her mind!  This was a really fun middle grade science fiction and I am glad I took my friend’s advice. Finally, I finished listening to At Home, by Bill Bryson. I loved this history of the world as seen from the perspective of the home. This was actually my first experience with Bryson and will definitely be adding more of his works to my TBR list.

Current Audio:

wells gulp

I am almost finished with The Wells Bequest by Polly Shulman. This companion to Shulman’s The Grimm Legacy is a fun time-travel adventure! Readers will return to the New-York Circulating Material Repository and explore the person collection of H.G. Wells, which includes a shrink ray and a time machine. I am also continuing my nonfiction audio streak with Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach. So far this is a hilarious and insightful look at the science of eating, starting with the noses and ending, well, I haven’t gotten that far, but you know where things we eat end up!

Currently Reading:

rose under fire monsters nineteen

I am still working on Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein. It’s getting to be shameful. I really need to commit. I am also dabbling with Monsters by Ilsa Bick. I am taking this one slow in purpose…it is so disturbing! I also picked up Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich. A Stephanie Plum novel is always a good thing to have around when I am struggling with my reading.

On Deck:

united we spy wild cards

I actually am a little surprised that I have not jumped right into United We Spy! But I have been busy and distracted lately and really want to savor it. I hope to find some time this week to dedicate to the final Gallagher Girls book. I also want to start my ARC of Simone Elkeles’s new book, Wild Cards. I am really excited about this one!

Happy Reading!


Suicide Prevention Awareness Month: Suicide in YA Novels

*I started this post ages ago and somehow, September has just gotten away from me! Better late than never, right?*

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and since I have recently read a couple of books that address the issue of suicide, I thought I should put together a quick post. There is no shortage of books that deal with suicide. A quick search of my library catalog turned up over 30 titles in the Teen collection with the subject heading of suicide. I have not read most of them. I don’t need to because I have real life experience with coping with a suicide. But I recognize their value and hope that they always find their way into the hands of the reader in need. Books are powerful. Books can save.

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales. Elise has endured a lifetime of bullying, but she wants nothing more than to just fit in. After a final failed attempt to gain popularity, she nearly succumbs to the desire to end it all. In her moment of despair she has no idea what joy is waiting for her to stumble upon.

this song will save your life

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick. Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he plans to kill himself and his former best friend. The novel is a heartbreaking look at one teen’s final hours as he says goodbye to the four people who meant the most to him.

forgive me leonard

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. This is quickly becoming a classic. Hannah Baker committed suicide, but before she killed herself she recorded thirteen tapes explaining the reasons she ended her life.

thirteen reasons why

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers. Sure, this is a zombie apocalypses story, but it’s not all blood and guts. The author manages to address heavy issues such as abuse, death and suicide.

this is not a tesstNonfiction

There are plenty of books both fiction and nonfiction that deal with bullying. They are powerful and important. However, there are also a few amazing nonfiction books that I find to be inspirational without being preachy. They remind readers that there is hope for the future.

Dear Teen Me by E. Kristin Anderson (editor). This is a collection of letters that authors have written to their teen selves.


Post Secrets by Frank Warren. This began as an art project and experiment and became an overnight phenomenon. This book is a collection of anonymous secrets. Some are sweet, some are horrendous. All remind readers that they are not alone.

post secrets

I Can’t Keep My Own Secrets by Rachel Fershleiser (editor). This book is a collection of six-word memoirs by teens. Some names you will recognize, others are just ordinary people.

i can't keep

According to the CDC, suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for ages 10-24. If you or someone you know needs help, you can find 24-7 assistance on a suicide hotline.

“Everything…affects everything”
― Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why


Top Ten Tuesday: Best Sequels 9/24/13



This week The Broke and the Bookish are talking sequels. You know that dreaded Second Book Syndrome? No? Well it is a strange literary phenomenon where the second book from an author fails to live up to the amazing standards of the first and/or subsequent books. It is sad when it happens, but I can’t even imagine the pressure on authors. Anyway, there is none of that here! These sequels are just as, if not more, brilliant than the first book.

1. Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor. This sequel to The Daughter of Smoke & Bone is freaking brilliant. It is absolutely devastating and I really, really need Dreams of Gods & Monsters. Now.

days of blood

2. Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld. I must confess that first time I read Leviathan I was slightly underwhelmed. I know, I know. What was I thinking? In mydefense…My first time with Leviathan was audio and while Alan Cumming is a brilliant narrator, I did not get to experience the illustrations. I loved it so much more the second time, when I actually read the book. But my own level of enjoyment does not actually change the fact that I thought Behemoth was even better.


3. Where She Went by Gayle Forman. If I Stay was great, but Adam’s story brought me to tears. And I am not much of a book crier.

where she went

4. Game by Barry Lyga. I loved meeting Jasper Dent in I Hunt Killers, but Game really upped the ante. This was an intense and creepy sequel. I am ready for more!


5. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. Is it possible to top Cinder? Apparently it is. Great new characters, layers and layers of story. I can’t wait to see how she weaves two more story lines into the mix.


6. The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy. Readers met the bumbling band of Princes in The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom.  Hilarity ensued. The sequel was just as funny, but what I loved most was the character growth. And the hilarity, of course.

hero's guide

7. Prodigy by Marie Lu. Legend was an exciting and fast-paced debut and I really enjoyed it. Prodigy was even more awesome and I am looking forward to the series conclusion with Champion.


8. Red Glove by Holly Black. I LOVE Cassel Sharpe and his crazy con artist story. There are plenty of surprises in this sequel to White Cat.

red glove

9. The Burning Bridge by John Flanagan. I enjoyed the first book in The Ranger’s Apprentice series enough to pick up the next book. Each book was better than the one before! Before I knew it, I had devoured all eleven books and now I am anxiously awaiting the final book!

burning bridge

10. Frost by Wendy Delsol. Honestly, the Stork series does not get enough love. Norse mythology? Sassy heroine? Win-win.


Honorable Mentions:

as dead as it gets spirit and dust catchingfire


Happy Reading!



Top Ten Tuesday: My Fall 2013 TBR List 9/17/13


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish is all about Fall reads. I am really looking forward to some cool weather, hot beverages, and a bunch of awesome books. Some of these are Fall releases, some are just books that I plan to read soon!

1. Chaos of the Stars by Kiersten White, September 10, 2013. Egyptian mythology!

chaos of the stars

2. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater,  September 17, 2013. Book 2 of the Raven Cycle series.

dream thieves

3. United We Spy by Ally Carter, September 17, 2013. The final book in the Gallagher Girls series.

united we spy

4. The Royal Ranger by John Flanagan, October 1, 2013. The final book in The Ranger’s Apprentice series.

royal ranger

5. Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles, October 1, 2013. The first book in the Fullriders series.

wild cards

6. The House of Hades by Rick Riordan, October 8, 2013. Book four in The Heroes of Olympus series.

house of hades

7. BZRK Reloaded by Michael Grant, October 8, 2013. The sequel to BZRK. I LOVE the new covers for this series!

bzrk reloaded

8. Allegiant by Veronica Roth, October 22, 2013. The much-anticipated conclusion to the Divergent trilogy.


9. Reality Boy by A.S. King,  October 22, 2013. I have become a HUGE fan of A.S. King and I can’t wait for her newest book.

reality boy

10. Crash Into You by Katie McGarry, November 26, 2013. Another Pushing the Limits companion.



where'd you go boston jacky champion just one year

Ok, I will stop at 12. 13. 14.

Happy Reading!


Mondays With Megan 9/16/13

Another Monday, another list. This is going to be a short one because I am in a reading slump. I have tried to ignore it, but it’s time to face the facts. I’m in a slump. Often this is a frustrating and uncomfortable spot to be in, but I am actually kind of ok with it right now. I am just waiting for THE book to come along. The ONE that will occupy both my thoughts and my free time. It’s out there and I will find it. Eventually. Until then, I will keep reading in random fits and starts. I will continue to pick books up and set them aside. It’s fine. So, I have come to terms with my reading (or lack thereof)…which means my Monday list is so sad and small. But, here goes! You’ll find heftier lists at Book Journey and Teach Mentor Texts.

IMWAYR mondayreading


good mood diet charmed coldest

This sad offering says a lot about my state of mind last week. I read a diet book?? It said Good Mood on the cover and I was sold! I also finished the third book in the Jessica Darling series. I did not like this one as much as the first two, but I am invested enough to see the series to the end. I also finally finished The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. I don’t know what to say. First of all, there is nothing wildly new here. Also, the pacing was weird. I really struggled with the first 2/3 and then got into a little more at the end. It was not horrible, but it was not unbelievably awesome. I might have to check out the short story version.

Audiobooks: *still*

at home beautiful ruins

I am enjoying At Home by Bill Bryson. It is fascinating and low-maintenance. Just what I need right now. As for Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter-there is a lot going on here and I am still not sure how I feel about all of it!

Currently Reading:

rose under fire where'd you go possibility dogs another little piece

I am still working on Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein. Still. Why? It just picked up speed! I am technically still working on The Possibility Dogs by Susannah Charleson, but I haven’t picked it up all week. Instead, I started Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple, which is fun so far. I also started Another Little Piece by Kate Kayrus Quinn. I am not sure I am going to stick with this one. It’s kind of like it was written by a crazy person. It’s weird and kind of difficult to read.

I have my eye on these:

monsters united we spy all our yesterdays

Happy Reading!


September 11th Remembered in Books

On this 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States, I don’t actually have too much to say. Every adult in the country can tell you exactly where they were that day and I am sure that some of the teens that I see every day have some vague recollection of that day’s events and the aftermath. The attack that claimed over 3,000 lives was just the first drop that caused an enormous ripple effect. Our landscape was forever altered. Our belief in our security was shaken to the core. Laws were passed, wars were waged and millions of lives were forever changed. War impacts every single person, young and old alike, but it could argued that teens and young adults bear the brunt of the burden. This group of the population is so heavily impacted because it is teens and young adults who are often called upon to serve. And every generation has their war.

My grandfather was 18 when he was shipped off to Germany during WWII.

My uncle was in still in high school when he “won” the draft lottery and was not sent to Vietnam before he had a chance to enroll in college.

I was still in high school when the first Gulf War was broadcast live on television.

The current youth population will continue to serve in the Middle East, in wars that have their roots in 2001.

Despite the enormous impact the events of 9/11 has had on world, there seem to be very few YA books that discuss the issue. Here are a few that I turned up:

ask me no questions love is the higher law timeriders

Ask Me No Questions by Marina Budhos offers a look at Muslim families living in post-9/11 America.

Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan offers the reflections  of three teens in NYC following the attack.

Time Riders by Alex Scarrow has a group of time traveling teens arrive back in time to relive the 9/11 attacks.

There are a number of recently released teen books that deal with soldiers returning (or not) from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and the impact their service has had on themselves and loved one.

somebody please tell me who i am sunrise over fallujah in honorpersonal effects purple heart something like normal if i lie

Somebody Please, Tell Me Who I Am by Harry Mazer. Haunted by memories of 9/11, high school senior Ben decides to enlist rather than go to college.

Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers. Myers portrays the realities of modern war, as seen through the eyes of a young African-American soldier.

In Honor by Jessi Kirby. When Honor receives the news that her brother Finn, a Marine serving in Iraq, has died, she sets out to honor his last request.

Personal Effects by E.M. Kokie. T.J. struggles to make sense of his brother’s death in Iraq.

Purple Heart by Patricia McCormick. Private Matt Duffy is awarded a Purple Heart for his service in Iraq, but he is haunted by memories of the war.

Something Like Normal by Trish Doller. When Travis returns for Afghanistan he doesn’t recognize the life he comes back to.

If I Lie by Corrine Jackson. Quinn is deemed a cheater and shunned in her small military town after she is caught kissing another guy while her boyfriend serves in Afghanistan.

Other 9/11 books include these two graphic novels:

911 report pride of bachdad

The 9/11 Report: a Graphic Adaptation by Sid Jacobs. This is exactly what the title states.

The Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan. In 2003 a massive air attack destroyed the Baghdad zoo and a pride of lions escaped. This graphic novel is a fictionalized account of this event.


Top Ten Tuesday-Books on the Big (or Small) Screen 9/10/13


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is all about TV and film adaptations of books. When compiling this list of titles that we would love to seen on the big screen we can assume that the adaptation will be done in a perfect world and will therefore not suck.

As Seen On TV (Please?):

1. Gone by Michael Grant. Shove on over Under the Dome (and network television), this is how you do horror.


2. The Drake Chronicles by Alyxandra Harvey. Vampire never go out of style, right? I think this would be a fun series to see on TV.

hearts at stake

3. Ashes by Isla Bick. This woman is giving Michael Grant a run for his money in the freakishly disturbing horror category. This is a new twist on zombies and I can’t wait to see where things go in the final book.

ashes new cover

4. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. I’d watch those broody boys search for a ley line any day. I am sure the series would provide enough material for a few seasons.

raven boys

5. The Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan. I don’t want a movie. I want season after season of Halt, Will, Horace, and Tug.


Runners up:

life as we knew it tell you i love you iron king

Dreaming of the Big Screen:

1. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. Can you imagine the special effects for this one?


2. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. There has to be a role for Wil Wheaton in this one.


3. The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy. I can totally picture this as an animated film. How about it, Pixar?

hero's guide

4. Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Fairy tales are all the rage!


5. The Diviners by Libba Bray. Actually, maybe not. I might be too afraid to watch!


Runners up:

mothership fiveflavorsof dumb please ignore vera dietz ship breaker white cat

Dear Hollywood,

There is some AWESOME material here. Don’t ruin it. Please.



Mondays With Megan-One Giant List of Books 9/9/13

I totally forgot to put up a post last Monday. It was Labor Day and I was enjoying my day off, so this week I have a giant list of books to mention. I’ll just get to it, while the caffeine is still fresh in my veins!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 

mondayreading IMWAYR

Check out Books Journey and Teach Mentor Texts for more lists!

Finished 8/27-9/8:

rump only the good spy young dying to meet you out of sight out of time shadows forgive me leonard let's explore 6=5th

  • Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff. Adorable middle-grade fairy tale retelling!
  • Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter. Book 4 in the Gallagher Girls series. More spies, more danger, more answers and even more questions! Action-packed.
  • Dying to Meet You by Kate Klise. Book 1 in the 43 Old Cemetery Road series. Very clever middle grade ghost story. It’s not spooky!
  • Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter. Book 5 in the Gallagher Girls series. Oh, the betrayals! Cammie has almost all the answers. Now what?!?
  • Shadows by Ilsa Bick. Oh, the HORROR! Must. Read. Monsters. Totally terrified to read Monsters!
  • Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick. A day in the life of a suicidal teen. Read this straight through.
  • Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris. Laughed out loud like a lunatic while walking the dog and listening to this one!
  • The Fifth Wave by Richard Yancey. Slow to start book about alien invasion. The second half had me reading long past my bedtime!

Current Audio:

at home beautiful ruins

I am kind of on a nonfiction kick, which is very rare, so when it happens I must indulge. To that end, I have started listening to At Home by Bill Bryson whenever I walk the dog. In the car I have Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. This one came recommended by my coworker. So far so good.

Currently Taking My Time With These: Nothing seems to be holding my interest, so I am going back and forth with a ridiculous number of books.

charmed coldest possibility dogs rose under fire another little piece

I am totally lacking focus right now! I need something to grab me. Until then, I’ll plug away at this stack.

Happy Reading!


It’s Dewey Time Again! 9/4/13

It is once again time to sign up for the Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon!


I had a dismal showing last time around and I have no one to blame but myself. No more cousins night out the night before the read-a-thon! The first step is signing up. Next is squirreling away books and working out a strategy. And planning snacks, of course. My favorite part of the fall read-a-thon is the abundance of apple and pumpkin based snacks and beverages. I can’t wait! Who’s in?

Happy Reading!


Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Wish Were Taught in School


This week The Broke and the Bookish asked us to either pair a modern book with a classic or compile a list of the books we wish schools would teach. While I love the idea of book pairings, I am taking the easy way out today. The really easy way out-I don’t have the energy for words today. Enjoy the pictures!

1. Books that deal with bullying

some girls are absolutely true diary okay for now

2. Books that deal with LGBT issues

winger aristotle and dante ask shine

3. Books that deal with environmental crises

ship breaker blood red road breathe ashfall

4. Historical Fiction at it’s finest

code name verity between shades of gray book thief wicked girls in darkness

5. Historical Fiction with a twist

leviathan bloody jack revolution

6. Mythology

lightning red pyramid

7. Need a lesson in Satire?

beauty queens

8. I would like to see a government class tackle this series:

knife of never letting go ask monsters of men

9. How about discussing the dangers of losing free will?

uglies feed

10. What does it mean to be human/medical ethics

jenna house double identity  henrietta

How about just for fun? (Plus there is still plenty to discuss!)

mothership ready divergent cinder gone messenger white-cat

Happy Reading!