Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Eye of Minds by James Dashner, Teen’s Choice Read #1

This year I decided to let my loyal teen readers pick reading materials for me. At our last book club meeting, I asked my high schoolers to jot down 2 titles they thought I needed to read and then I randomly picked one. My first official selection was The Eye of Minds by James Dashner.


The Eye of Minds (The Mortality Doctrine #1) by James Dashner
October 8, 2013
Delacorte Press
Hardcover, 323 pages.

What it’s about:

Michael is a gamer who spends almost all of his free time in the VirtNet, an extensive virtual reality world that offers a high-tech mind and body immersion experience. Michael and his friends (who have not actually met in real life) are expert hackers and often reap the benefits of knowing how to change game coding. It’s all in good fun, until a mysterious gamer known only as Kaine begins manipulating the VirtNet with devastating consequences in the real world. Suddenly Michael and his crew are called upon to help stop the rogue hacker. As the trio delves deeper into the unknown corners of the virtual world they discover that their real lives are actually at stake. Will they quit while they can or risk it all to stop Kaine from rendering gamers brain-dead in the real world?

Why you might like to read it:

If you like high-tech, high-stakes futuristic thrillers, you’ll probably enjoy this one. I however, never fully connected with the story. As an adult reading this, I totally understand the appeal, but I found that I was not completely willing to suspend my disbelief and therefore struggled with some of the major plot elements. I really loved the shocking twist at the end! It *might* be enough to compel me to read the next book. Maybe.

Want more like this?

I might have to insist that you immediately run out and get Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson, BZRK by Michael Grant, and Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I have been meaning to checkout Erebos by Ursula Poznanski and Little Brother by Corey Doctorow as well.

Thanks, Jill for recommending this one! I can’t wait to see what I will be reading in February!

Happy Reading!


Waiting on Wednesday-Dorothy Must Die 1/29/14

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:


Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige, April 1, 2014

From Goodreads:

“I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero.
But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can’t be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There’s still the yellow brick road, though—but even that’s crumbling.

What happened?
Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I’m the other girl from Kansas.
I’ve been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.
I’ve been trained to fight.
And I have a mission:
Remove the Tin Woodman’s heart.
Steal the Scarecrow’s brain.
Take the Lion’s courage.
Then and only then—Dorothy must die!”

Oh. My. God. I can’t wait. I want this so bad. I need it to be so amazing.


Top Ten Tuesdays-Worlds I’d Never Want to Live In 1/28/14


I am pretty sure at one time or another many of us have wished we could live at Hogwarts (or in a little house on a prairie if you’re like me), but how often do we think about places we would not want to live? Well, that is exactly what The Broke and the Bookish want to know!

1. Chicago of the future! Bad, bad things are happening here. No thanks!

divergent steelheart

2. Any place that Michael Grant makes up. Seriously. Whether it’s in a dome with a bunch of psychos or out in the real world with nano technology scurrying around in my brain, his worlds are not for me.

gone bzrk

3. Post-super-volcano USA. Thank you Mike Mullin for scare. And thanks to the scientists who recently confirmed that this could some day be a reality. It’s a wonder I sleep at night!

ashfall2 ashenwinter

4. Prentisstown. Nope. No way. That place is run by a lunatic, and things don’t go well for the ladies when he is around.

knife of neve ask and answer monsters of men

5. During the Flu pandemic. 1918 was not a good year! War, flu…nope. I want none of that.

shadow of the blackbirds

6. In the Belly of the Bloodhound! I remember learning about slave ships in school. I can’t even begin to imagine the horror. I do love Jacky Faber, though.


7. The Dust Lands. The name alone is uninviting. I hate the heat. Give me snow days any time.

blood red road rebel heart

8. Any virtual reality world. I haven’t come across one yet that is all fun and games. Something very horrible always happens.

ready eye

9. Puritan times. I am really, I might be drowned as a witch! It didn’t take much in those days…Those folks were no joke.

wicked girls heretics daughter

10. Any place haunted. I think this is pretty self explanatory

diviners anna dressed in blood bad girls don't die name of the star

diviners, anna dressed in blood…

Mondays With Megan 1/27/14

Happy Monday! I took a long weekend and am back to work nice and refreshed and thank goodness, because there is a lot to be done! First and foremost, decorating the teen room for Valentine’s Day. Because, why not? And because my awesome coworker pointed me in the direction of these cute and nerdy library-themed candy heart decorations. I also need to spend some time mulling over this year’s ALA Youth Media Award Winners. And of course, I also need to get busy on my Monday Reading List!

mondayreading new monday



roomies sabriel interestings better off friends

  • Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando was quite fun. Through an exchange of emails, two young women assigned to be college roommates get to know each other. Full of the worry and excitement of leaving home for the first time, this was a charming story. This will inevitably be compared to Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, which is fair enough.
  • Sabriel by Garth Nix was a little confusing and slow to start. Sabriel is the daughter of the Abhorsen, the powerful necromancer charged with keeping the dead where they belong. When he goes missing Sabriel must leave the comfort of her boarding school and venture into the Old Kingdom to find him. This is the first is a trilogy and I did not love it, but Nix is a compelling storyteller and I am confident things will pick up. I will certainly give Lirael a shot.
  • The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer follows a group of people who meet at an art camp in 1974. The six teens forge a bond that lasts a lifetime. This one slowly drew me in and I ended up really liking it.
  • Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg is due out in February, so I will have a review up later, but I will say it was wonderful! I loved the alternating POV and banter between Levi and Macallan.

Current Audio:

lost lake statistical probability

  • I am so excited to have Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen in my car. Her books are so dreamy and magical.
  • On Playaway I have The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith. I am a little late to the party and romances seem to be the theme…just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Currently Reading:

not a drop to drink house of secrets this one summer

  • Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis has lots going for it-it’s a dystopian book, written by a fellow Ohioan and there is a blurb on the (totally awesome) front cover by Michael Grant. I just started and hopefully I can tear myself away from The West Wing long enough to get into my book.
  • The House of Secrets by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini. This book is HUGE and the house is pretty creepy.
  • Finally, I just downloaded an ARC of This One Summer, a new graphic novel by cousins Jillian and Mariko Tamaki.

On Deck:

dust fairest in all the land crash

Another blast of Arctic cold is heading my way. Maybe tomorrow will find me snuggled up with a book instead of at work?

Happy Reading!


Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker Review

I read this book for my first Random Read, a monthly meme hosted by I’m Loving Books. At the rate that I add to my TBR list, making a point to read one book a month from the list is like trying to save the Titanic by tossing all the paperclips overboard. I guess you have to start somewhere…Anyway. The book.

small town sinners

Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker
January 19, 2011
Hardcover, 259 pgs.

Sixteen-year old Lacey Anne Byers is a small town girl and daughter of an Evangelical Pastor. As a junior, she is finally able to audition for the star role in her church’s annual Hell House, a haunted house showcasing a variety of sins and their consequences. Of course, if she doesn’t land the part of Abortion Girl, she’ll still be thrilled to participate in any way she can. Souls are at stake, after all.  As preparations for the annual event begin, two shocking events shatter the security that Lacey has always known and she finds herself questioning her church, her parents, and her faith for the first time in her life.

When I first picked this book up, I could not figure out why I even had it on my TBR list. At first I thought that maybe  I added it after reading and enjoying Unbreak My Heart by the same author, but the timeline doesn’t work. I suppose it really doesn’t matter, but I do find it interesting that I thought I should read about Evangelical Christian teens. I found the entire idea of Hell House to be fascinating and disturbing all at once. I really struggled with the first part of the book, where everything is black and white with Lacey and many of her ideas conflicted with my own beliefs. While I was never able to fully connect with most of the characters, I really appreciated the way Ty gently challenges Lacey to think for herself. I also felt that Lacey’s growth was quite realistic. While she had doubts and questions, she did not fully abandon her faith. Instead, she went in search of ways to make it more meaningful for her. This book thoughtfully and respectfully discusses the sensitive issues of religion. Teens struggling with their own doubts may find comfort in Lacey’s story, but in the end this was not a favorite of mine. And I could have continued to live blissfully unaware of Hell Houses…

Happy Reading!


Waiting on Wednesday-Perfect Lies 1/22/14

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

perfect lies

This week I am anxiously awaiting the release of Perfect Lies by Kiersten White, due out February 18. This is the sequel to Mind Games, so if you haven’t read that yet, you might want to skip the book summary below! You have plenty of time to get caught up and in the meantime I will have to get my Kiersten White fix by finally reading Chaos of the Stars.

***Spoilers for Mind Games below!***


***You’ve been warned***

From Goodreads:

“Annie and Fia are ready to fight back.

The sisters have been manipulated and controlled by the Keane Foundation for years, trapped in a never ending battle for survival. Now they have found allies who can help them truly escape. After faking her own death, Annie has joined a group that is plotting to destroy the Foundation. And Fia is working with James Keane to bring his father down from the inside.

But Annie’s visions of the future can’t show her who to trust in the present. And though James is Fia’s first love, Fia knows he’s hiding something. The sisters can rely only on each other – but that may not be enough to save them.”

Happy Reading!


Top Ten Tuesday: My Reading Wishlist 1/21/14

toptentuesdayThis week, The Broke and the Bookish are asking about all the fun things we want to read about or things we want authors to write about. These things can be a specific type of character, an issue tackled, a time period, a certain plot, etc. A number of things jump to mind…and make me pause and think hmmm, what does this say about me?

1. Serial Killers-Lucky me, there are a few new serial killer books coming out this year!

dear killer killer instinct blood of my blood

2. Oz retellings-And more Oz books! I love the world of Oz and can’t wait for the new Dorothy books coming out. Below is the only one with a cover image right now. Still waiting on Prophecy of Oz by Megan Shan to get a cover.


3. Male point of view-I feel like I read so many books with awesome heroines. Male POV is always a welcome change of pace for me.

grasshopper jungle avalon sunrise

4. Road trips-My favs!

open road summer let's get lost

5. Time travel-I am way behind on my time travel books!

river of no return timeriders map of time

6. Ghosts-Even though I am a big baby, I do love a good ghost story! I just finished this one and I really need The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson!

breath of frost

7. Misfits-I love a story with quirky characters who haven’t yet discovered their place in the world. Because, let’s be honest. Who hasn’t felt out-of-place and unsure of themselves at some point? Current misfit read:


8. Con artists-I want more books like How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller and The Curse Workers by Holly Black!

how to white cat

9. Aliens-there is such a wide range of alien fare out there. So far I have been enjoying these:

mothership 5th wave number four

10. Sassy heroines-A sure-fire way to get me interested in a book is to describe the heroine as smart, sassy, or snarky. I do love a mouthy leading lady!

heartsatstake paranormalcy i'd tell you bloody jack

What are your go-to topics/characters/settings?

Happy Reading!



Mondays with Megan 1/20/14

Good morning dear readers! I am so excited to finally be able to say I saw Catching Fire! I loved it, just as I loved the book and I found myself reconsidering my dissatisfaction with Mockingjay. I think the movies have made Katniss a more sympathetic and likeable character than she was in the books. I might have to reread the last book. I may even change my mind about it. Hm. Saturday I proctored a practice ACT test at the library, giving me over three hours of reading time. For the record, this is a luxury and novelty because, contrary to popular belief, librarians do not actually get to sit around and get paid to read all day! And in an attempt to avoid putting away Christmas stuff (I really did try, but only got as far as restoring my Norfolk pine to its original houseplant status), I spent Sunday leisurely wandering around town and eventually ending up at the coffee shop. Shocking, I know. My point in all of this is that I had a thoroughly enjoyable weekend and got a ton of reading done! Just in time for my favorite Monday morning check-in:

mondayreading new monday

Be sure to stop by Book Journey and Teach Mentor Texts for more great lists.


shadow hero small town sinners fables snow white eye marie

  • The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang is a graphic novel that will be out later this year and tells the story of the first Chinese superhero. I really enjoyed this one and will hopefully have a full review at some point.
  • Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker was my Random Reads pick for January. I will have a review up this week. It was not my favorite.
  • Fables vol. 19: Snow White by Bill Willingham broke my heart a little bit. Also, the Oz bits totally got me in the mood for all the Oz retellings coming out soon.
  • The Eye of the Minds by James Dashner was recommended by a teen reader. I will have a review ready soon, but I will say that I couldn’t help thinking about what Michael Grant would have done with this idea (and kind of wishing he had been the one to write it).
  • Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender has been sitting on my shelf for ages and it was just time to read it or return it. I read it and enjoyed it. It did not get great reviews on Goodreads. I get it, it’s flawed. But it was still a quick, fun read with plenty of mean-girl attitude, a cute French boy romance, Paris, and a vengeful ghost lopping off heads!

Current Audio:

interestings sabriel

I am still working on The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. This one is really growing on me. I am also about half way through Sabriel by Garth Nix. This one is *not* growing on me like I thought it would. We’ll see what the second half has to offer.

Current Reads:

better off friends roomies

It seems weird to only have two books going…maybe I should start something else!

Happy Reading!


Breath of Frost (The Lovegrove Inheritance #1) by Alyxandra Harvey Review

Breath of Frost (The Lovegrove Inheritance #1) by Alyxandra Harvey
January 7, 2014
Bloomsbury/Walker Childrens
Hardcover, 496 pages

breath of frost

What it’s about:

The year is 1814 and cousins Emma, Penelope and Gretchen are being groomed to enter London society. The girls have no idea that they come from a long line of powerful witches. When their powers are inadvertently released a gate to the Underworld in opened, unleashing dark and evil powers on to the city. Young debutante witches are being hunted and drained of the magic and Emma is somehow connected to the murders. The cousins, with the help of the dashing young Cormac, a member of The Order (the governing body in charge of witching families), need to solve the mystery before Emma is accused of murder and stripped of her new-found magic.

Why you might want to read it:

I struggled to get into this one a little. Things are very complicated in the beginning and there are lots of different characters to get to know. The patient reader will certainly be rewarded, because these leading ladies are a lot of fun! The magical world-building is complex and I found the whole spirit animal thing to be really interesting. Emma’s mother’s story is romantic and heartbreaking. The “real” bits about Regency London is such a treat and I constantly had to remind myself that some of the things that annoyed me about certain characters weren’t exactly their fault. They are a product of their time. Never fear, the cousins do a great job of pushing the boundaries of society! Overall I really enjoyed this one. If you like magic and witches, give this one a try. If you enjoy the finery and show of the Regency Era, you might enjoy this as well.

Want more like this? Try Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood or A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

A copy of this book was provided by and the publisher for review.

Happy Reading!



Waiting on Wednesday Cress 1/15/2014

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

This week I am starting to get itchy fingers for the third book in the Lunar Chronicles series. I am desperate for Cress, by Marissa Meyer. I don’t have to wait much longer! This book is due out on February 4, 2014.


If you haven’t read Cinder and Scarlet, go now and get them! And maybe don’t read the blurb below?

*Maybe Spoilers for Cinder and Scarlet*

From Goodreads:

Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard.

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.