Monthly Archives: December 2013

Top Ten Tuesday-The Best of 2013

I cannot believe that there are mere hours left in 2013. Just like any year, 2013 had its ups and downs and it is always a bit sad to see time pass. But as I sit here in my favorite coffee shop writing one last blog post, I am full of hope and excitement about the new year. This place is packed and in one corner is a group of about eight teenaged girls. I sit here watching them slink through the coffee shop, giggling and dropping little slips of paper in front of strangers. Interesting. Just now one of those slips came my way. The message reads: “Happy New You!” How sweet and fitting. Anyway, time for one last reflection. The Broke and The Bookish have assigned to grueling task of picking our top ten reads of 2013. Today is your luck day. A two-fer. First up, my favorite YA reads, followed by my favorite non-YA reads.


Favorite YA books of 2013

scarlet days of blood jellicoe road what happens next aristotle and dante winger in darkness shadow of the blackbirds reality boy dream thieves steelheart fangirl champion

There you have it, a lucky 13 list!

Favorite Non-YA

when she woke ready relish mr. penumbra life after life art forger secret keeper joyland where'd you go fin city of theives husbandssecret all-girl filling station

Another Lucky 13 list!

Happy New Year!



Mondays with Megan-Farewell, 2013!

This is it, friends. The final Monday of 2013. Overall, I had an excellent reading year. I feel like I branched out more and discovered some fantastic books. I challenged myself to try books that did not necessarily sound like my cup of tea. Again, many great surprises there. Here are just a few of my favorite surprises from 2013:

steelheart power of habit at home in darkness caleb jellicoe road

It turns out that I DO like nonfiction. I DO like historical fiction. And everyone who *loves* Jellicoe Road is right; it IS amazing.

As of right this minute I still have 2 books to finish in order to make my 200 books goal. This is not a problem! Let’s check in with Book Journey and Teach Mentor Texts to see what everyone else is reading!

mondayreading new monday


boston jacky drink slay love all-girl filling station

I adore Jacky Faber and this latest adventure did not disappoint. This latest installment, Boston Jacky, finds Miss Faber back on familiar turf and of course, back in a spot of trouble. I also finished Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst. This was recommended to me by a teen reader, and she did not lead me astray. This was a fun, clever book with plenty of snark I LOVE snark), vampires, and even a unicorn. Finally, I listened to The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg. This was a perfect feel-good listen for the busy end of the year. Southern charm and WWII history meet in this latest offering from Flagg.

Current Audio:

bzrk reloaded fall of five

My listening is all about sequels!

Currently Reading:

breath of frost sweet tooth 52

I am still working on A Breath of Frost. It’s really long! At the half-way mark things are starting to pick up. I am also going to start the fifth volume of the Sweet Tooth series by Jeff Lemire. I am excited to see how things end. I expect to get more answers and have things all set up for a big finale. Finally, I am skimming my way through 52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier You by Brett Blumenthal.

On Deck:

stranger thing coal elf

I am really excited to start A Stranger Thing, the sequel to Mothership, by Martin Leicht. I am also going to give The Coal Elf by Maria DeVivo a shot. This came recommended by a teen reader and in the spirit of trying new things I loaded it onto my Nook.

Happy New Year!


Top Ten Tuesday-Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Bringing Me

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house is one little mess after another, but I am ready for tomorrow! Anyway, I didn’t have a chance to put together a Top Ten Tuesday list. My apologies to The Broke and the Bookish who managed to have their act together! I am hijacking your TTT and switching it up. I would love for Santa to bring me some books, but I don’t have time to think of the ones that I really, really want so I am going to tell you about the books that I am giving as gifts this year.


1. For my 9-year old nephew: D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths by Ingri and Edgar D’Aulaire.

greek myths

I love this book and I think my nephew will be able to read a lot of this on his own.

2. For my 8-year-old nephew: Volumes 5-7 in The Rangers Apprentice series by John Flanagan.

sorcerer of the north siege of macinday erak's ransom

He loves this series and my brother loves to read them to my nephew. I have already advised my brother to read them out of order and read #7 before #5.

3. For my 7-year-old nephew: The Animal Book by Steve Jenkins.

animal book

Unlike his brother and cousin, this guy needs to be encouraged to read. It’s not his first choice of activities, but once he settles into it, he enjoys a good book as much as the rest of us! Animals are top on the list of things he is passionate about and I hope this book will keep him occupied! All three boys are getting a zoo membership as well, so I am sure he will study this book before and after zoo trips.

4. For my favorite aunt who ALWAYS bought me and my siblings books for Christmas (I LOVE being that aunt for the boys!): My One Square Inch of Alaska by Sharon Short.


I was fortunate to get a signed copy for my aunt. She and her sister (my mother) took a trip to Alaska about ten years ago. We lost my mom about five years ago, but I know that my aunt always thinks fondly on that trip. I hope this brings back happy memories for her!

5. And for my youngest sister who has gone off to live on a ranch in Montana with a dreamy cowboy, a pair of horses, and a flock of chickens: The Venison Cookbook by Kate Fiduccia.


This has the look of a gag gift, but I know for a fact that she has a freezer full of deer meat and she will love this!

Merry Christmas!


Mondays with Megan-Christmas Vacation Edition 12/23/13

I can’t believe it’s almost Christmas. I have a few odds and ends to wrap up, but basically I am ready. I will be off for four days and I am positive the only reading I will get done is listening to my book in the car as I drive all over town! Good thing I got a good chunk of reading done this week-I may actually get to my 200 book goal. Six books in seven days? Totally doable, right? Thanks to Book Journey and Teach Mentor Texts I have a venue for showing off my good reading-It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is my favorite thing about Mondays.


city of theives fin monster on the hill mara dyer sweet tooth 4 little fish

I loved each and every one of these!

Current Audio:

boston jacky rise of nine

I have missed my pal Jacky Faber! As for The Rise of Nine, I kind of let myself get sucked into the Lorien Legacy series. I read the first two books, but I am listening to the third one on Playaway. There is so much action it’s the perfect dog-walking book.

Currently Reading:

drink slay love breath of frost

Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst came recommended by a teen reader. It’s my nightstand book, which means it will take me forever to get through, but I am enjoying so far. I have an ARC of A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvey. It has been a little challenging getting into the story and it kind of takes her a while to explain things, but the three cousins are great characters. I will stick with this one.

On Deck:

bzrk reloaded all-girl filling station stranger thing

Maybe. Who knows?

Happy Reading!


My High School Book Club’s Top Thirteen Reads of 2013

Look at me, cleverly finding a way to make bonus Top Ten Thirteen lists (I have my own Top Ten-ish list on Read it or Weep)! Yesterday I polled my high school book club readers and asked what books they loved this past year. In no particular order:

Emily’s Picks:

1. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. I am reading this now. It really is a thrilling book.

mara dyer

2. Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay (and Romeo Redeemed). Adding to my giant TBR list.

juliet immortal romeo redeemed

3. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. I am so excited that one of my teens is finally reading this!

daughter of smoke

4. Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst. On the list…

drink slay love

Jillian’s Picks:

5. Mothership by Martin Leicht. Totally agree! Love this one.


6. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. Another fantastic pick!


7. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. I was bummed that they did not enjoy Leviathan, but I so happy to see Uglies was a favorite.


Olivia’s Picks:

8. Divergent by Veronica Roth. I was with her on this one until the end. We respectfully disagree on the end of the series 😉


9. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.


10. Cinder by Marissa Meyer. This selection warms my heart…it was one that I chose for book club earlier in the year!


I have to toss in my own bonus picks!

Megan’s Picks:

11. Reality Boy by A.S. King. I can’t wait to introduce these guys to King. I hope they love her books as much as I do.

reality boy

12. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. So much love. I don’t think any of them have read this yet.


13. Champion by Marie Lu. Legend was another book club selection. I think they all went on to read Prodigy.


And since I am always picking books for them I decided to turn the tables and let them pick books for me. Once a month I will randomly choose a book from titles they select. Up first:

Eye of Minds by James Dashner.


This title was recommended by Jillian. We seem to enjoy many of the same books, so I am confident that this will be a great read. I will report back in February!

Happy Reading!

˜Megan, Emily, Jillian, and Olivia

Top Ten Tuesday-Top New-to-Me Authors of 2013 12/17/13


This week The Broke and The Bookish want to hear all about our 2013 new-to me author discoveries. While I did make a huge effort to finish series, I made a number of great author discoveries as well.

1. Brandon Sanderson has apparently written a gazillion and one books. Epic fantasies. I am going to have to clear my schedule and get busy, because after reading Steelheart, I am a fan!


2. Rainbow Rowell is definitely the IT Girl of 2013. I hopped on that bandwagon over the summer and haven’t looked back! I still have to read her debut and I am excited about her next book. Fangirl was a 2013 favorite!

eleanor fangirl

3. Trish Doller’s debut, Something Like Normal was incredibly well received. But did I read it? Nope. I added it to my TBR list after reading Where the Stars Still Shine.

where the stars still shine

4. Cat Winters is a 2013 debut novelist, so technically she’s new to everyone. I loved In the Shadow of  Blackbirds and can’t wait for her next book. One of my favorite discoveries of 2013!

shadow of the blackbirds

5. Michelle Hodkin has been on my radar since her debut, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer came out in 2011. For some reason this book kept getting pushed to the bottom of the list. Well, this week I moved it to the top. I am not finished yet, but I am really liking it.


6. Kirsten Miller is the author of the Kiki Strike series, which I have never read. But, How to Lead a Life of Crime was totally bad*ss and I am excited for more. While I wait, maybe I should pick up some Kiki?

life of crime

7. Mike Mullen is the author of the Ashfall series, about the aftermath of the eruption of a super volcano. First of all, it could happen. Seriously. Any day now…scientists just said so yesterday. So there’s that. Now I am all freaked out and can’t remember my second of all point. But rest assured it was a good one.


8. Jennifer Lynne Barnes as written a number of books, and to be perfectly honest, they haven’t really appealed to me. However, I just read her newest book, The Naturals, and I am hooked. I may not go back and read all of her previous books, but I will be watching for new stuff.

My 9 & 10 spot are for some local ladies. Ok, localish. We live in the same state! I have met them both. That’s local enough for me.

Colleen Clayton is the author of What Happens Next, a powerful story about a girl coping with the aftermath of a sexual assault. I really loved this book and Colleen was so generous with her time and did a program for me at my library. I am big fan and hope she has a new book soon!

what happens next

And last, but not least is Mindee Arnett. Her debut novel, The Nightmare Affair, came out this year, but 2014 is shaping up to be stellar. I can looking forward to The Nightmare Dilemma and I am super excited about the start of her new series, Avalon. They had me at Firefly.

nightmare affair avalon

I think I made some great discoveries. Who should I read next?

Happy Reading!


Mondays with Megan-When All the Cute Came to the Library

Over the weekend I hosted the Second Annual Critter Christmas Party with the Cleveland Animal Protective League. Over 80 people braved the weather to come and cuddle with some adorable animals. Many brought gifts from the APL’s wishlist and stayed to make a treat to take home to their own pets. Best of all, one luck pup found a forever home! Ready to see some cuteness?

photo 12 photo 15 photo 14 photo 6 photo 18 photo 9

The cute little guy at the end of the second row was adopted! Above him is Silent Night. I cannot believe this beautiful girl wasn’t adopted. I wish I could have taker her myself. If you are looking for a calm dog to snuggle with, she’s your girl! Someone needs to please go get her!

This event is so easy to organize. The amazing staff and volunteers to almost all the work! All I have to do is prepare a couple of simple crafts and gather some books.

photo 8The dogs go nuts for this simple, no bake treat!

photo 23Jingle bells attached to pipe cleaners keep the kittens busy!

It may not be a lot of work, but the cuteness overload left me feeling a little like this:

photo 10

I wish I could use this as my excuse for not getting much reading done. Sadly, the puppies are not the reason! On the bright side, this already long post isn’t going to be much longer once I finish my It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? post.

Be sure check out more lists at Book Journey and Teach Mentor Texts

mondayreading new monday



That’s right. I finished one book and was it ever a good one! Champion, by Marie Lu is the final book in the Legend Trilogy. THIS is how you end a series. *cough unlike Allegiant cough*. There was action and suspense, betrayal and romance. There were tears. It was a wild ride and I loved it.

Current Audio:

fin city of theives

I am so close to finishing Fin & Lady by Cathleen Schine. It is wonderful and charming, just perfect for this hectic time of year. I abandoned my previous Playaway in favor of City of Thieves by David Benioff. I am completely engrossed in this story about the Siege of Leningrad.

Currently Reading:

mara dyer born of illusion breath of frost

I just started The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michele Hodkin. The book opens with a Ouija board scene and if you have read The Diviners by Libba Bray, you know that no good comes of that. I am scared. I am still plugging away at Born of Illusion by Teri Brown and I also started an ARC of A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvey about a trio of cousins in Regency London who discover a family legacy of witchcraft. So, I have the supernatural covered.

On Deck:

boston jacky stranger thing

My next audio is Boston Jacky by L.A. Meyer. I am SO excited! After Mara Dyer, I plan to read A Stranger Thing, the much-anticipated sequel to Mothership, by Martin Leicht. I have 15 days to finish 11 books. I am a little worried!

Happy Reading!


Top Ten Tuesday-Books on My Winter TBR List 12/10/13


One of my favorite ways to pass a cold winter day is to grab a book and head out to my favorite coffee shop for a latte and an afternoon of reading. This week The Broke and the Bookish want to know what books are on our Winter 2013/2014 TBR list. I swear, I love creating these lists but have terrible follow through. I am so easily distracted by new books. I just looked back on my Fall 2013 TBR list and discovered that I read 9/14. That’s pretty good for me. I will carry over a couple to my winter list and I think I will let a couple go for now.

Carried over from Fall:

chaos of the stars bzrk reloaded crash

Chaos of the Stars, BZRK Reloaded and Crash Into You.

In addition to these three, I would like to read these:

1. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. I plan to read this next week. Finally.

mara dyer

2. Not A Drop To Drink by Mindy McGinnis. I own a copy of this one. It has been sitting on my bookshelf for a while now.

not a drop to drink

3. Grave Mercy by Robin LeFevers. Speaking of owning a copy….This one has been languishing on my shelves for even longer. It’s time. It WILL be read.

grave mercy

4. Across the Universe by Beth Revis. See above.

across the universe

5. The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepard. My Nook shelves needs some attention too!

madman's daughter

6. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. Also collecting digital dust on my Nook. I am in the market for a new series!

girl of fire

7. The Recruit by Robert Muchamore. I want to give this series a try as well. Any thoughts?


I also have some audiobooks that I am planning to listen to this winter. Top on the list:

8.  The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley. The last Flavia book ended with a jaw-dropping revelation. I am so excited for more!

the dead in their vaulted arches

9. Boston Jacky by L.A. Meyer. I am a little behind in my Jacky Faber listening. The latest installment is on my winter To Be Listened list for sure!

boston jacky

10. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I have had my eye on this monster for a while. I comes highly recommended by two of my coworkers.

discovery of witches*I tried. Couldn’t get into it.

What are you planning to read this winter?


Mondays with Megan-The End is Near 12/9/13

With just three and a half weeks left in 2013, the pressure is on to wrap up my reading goals. As of right now, I have 12 books to go to reach my 200 books goal. Normally this would be a concern, but you don’t need me to tell you that this is a crazy busy time of year! Between all the cooking and holiday decorating I did over the week I managed to squeeze in some reading and listening.

mondayreading new monday

Check in with Book Journey and Teach Mentor Texts for more great lists!


screaming girl named zippy iron traitor steelheart

I listened to Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathon Stroud. This is the first book in a new series and it was fantastic and creepy. I enjoyed this more than his Bartimaeus series. I also listened to A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel. This one was laugh out loud hilarious. I FINALLY finished The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa. Just when I thought I was over the Chases and the fey…crazy cliffhanger ending! So, I will be tuning in for the next (last?) installment. Finally, I finished Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. I have not read anything else by this author, but I think I will be adding his other books to by TBR list. This book was awesome. So awesome. Pure science fiction, tons of action, suspense, and twists and turns. I can’t wait for the next one…out next fall.

Current Audio:

fin husband list

In the car I have Fin & Lady by Cathleen Schine. So far it is quite charming. On Playaway I have The Husband List by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly. This was a last minute grab and honestly, I am not sure I am going to continue on with it. There is not much substance here. In fact, writing this has made up my mind. I am off to look for a new Playaway.

Currently Reading:

champion  born of illusion

Today I am going to start Champion by Marie Lu. I am really excited for this one. I am also going to try to make progress in Born of Illusion. Seriously. I need to finish it.

On Deck:

mara dyer

I have a student who has been begging me to read this for ages…I am hoping to have it read by the time we meet for book club next week.

Happy Reading!

Top Ten Tuesday-2014 Releases I Can’t Wait to Read 12/3/13

toptentuesdayThis week The Broke and The Bookish have us looking ahead to 2014. At first I thought that there weren’t too many books coming soon that I am just dying to read, but upon closer examination of my lengthy TBR list, I managed to find a bunch! In chronological order, here are a few of the books I am excited about for 2014:

1. Going Rogue by Robin Benway. January 14. This is the sequel to Also Known As, a fun Gallagher Girls readalike.

going rogue

2. Avalon by Mindee Arnett. January 21. From the author of The Nightmare Affair (the sequel, The Nightmare Dilemma is also coming out in 2014 and I am excited about that as well!), comes a new science fiction series. For fans of Firefly? SOLD!


3. Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith. February 11. An unstoppable army of giant praying mantises? This sounds so weird. I can’t wait.

grasshopper jungle

4. Perfect Lies by Kiersten White. February 18. This sequel to Mind Games will no doubt be awesome.

perfect lies

5. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige. April 1. Oh. My. God. This is the book I am most excited about. An evil Dorothy? This is going to be one wicked Oz retelling!


6. Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell. April 1. A new serial killer book! This one sounds Dexter-ish, with a female do-gooder killer.

dear killer

7. What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick. April 15. I loved Fitzpatrick’s debut, My Life Next Door and am eager for more from her.

what i thought

8. The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt. May 6. You can always rely on Lindsey Leavitt to deliver a fun contemporary novel, and I am sure this one will be another winner!

chapel wars

9. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. May 13. A suspense novel from E. Lockhart? How exciting!

we were liars

10. Raging Star by Moira Young. May 13. I am very excited for the final book in the Dustlands Trilogy. So much drama in book 2!

raging star

So that’s 10. But I am also SO excited for these too:

cress lair of dreams dreams of gods and monsters

AND I NEED a new Jasper Dent by Barry Lyga, a new Dublin Murder Squad by Tana French, a new Shades of London by Maureen Johnson, and a new Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater.

What did I forget?

Happy Reading!