Monthly Archives: April 2015

Top Ten Tuesday-All Time Favorite Authors-4/21/15


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is so cruel! Ten favorite authors of all time?? Grr. In no particular order…

1. A.S. King has the ability to write the most heartbreakingly flawed characters. Their lives are complex and complicated. Things are painful and messy, and yet, there is always hope, growth, and redemption. When I am feeling snarky I like to tell people A.S. King writes all of the feels (with a bunch of weird thrown in as a bonus) as John Green with none of the pretension. If I *had* to pick my favorite A.S. King novel, I would off you my top 3:

reality boy ask glory o'brien

2. Ally Carter is my go-to for good, clean, action-packed fun. I hand The Gallagher Girls to the 10-year-old who swears she is finished with the children’s department. I give The Gallagher Girls to the teen who doesn’t want all sorts of kissy romance mucking up a good story. Ditto for Heist Society. And now she has started a new series, Embassy Row, which is a bit darker and lots of fun!

i'd tell you heistsociety All Fall Down

3. Libba Bray can write! Whether you are in the mood for a Victorian-era fantasy, a hilarious satire, or a terrifying 1920’s horror story, she’s got you covered! Also, she’s in a band, Tiger Beat. She’s the best kind of weird, delightful in person, and her blog is a treasure trove of powerful, personal information. She rocks (and so does Balder, the garden gnome from Going Bovine).

great and terrible beauty going bovine beauty queens diviners

4. Scott Westerfeld is another author on my auto-read list. His book, Uglies, was the first YA novel I read as an adult in library school. I was hooked! I once drove from Cleveland to Michigan to attend an author signing. I am a little ashamed to admit that I own Afterworlds, but haven’t read it yet. I also need to add Goliath to my personal library.

uglies  secret hour leviathan afterworlds

5. John Flanagan is by go-to for reluctant readers, especially boys. The first few books in The Ranger’s Apprentice series are on the short side so they aren’t overwhelming. One of my favorite things about this series is that they are packed with positive messages without being lame or heavy-handed. Loyalty, friendship, and doing the right thing even when it is the hard thing are ongoing themes throughout the series. Add in Halt’s dry humor and you have a winner!

ruins brotherband

6. Rick Riordan needs no explanation, right? And how excited are you for Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series?!?

percy lost hero red pyramid

7. Marissa Meyer is a relative newcomer, but her Lunar Chronicles series is one of my favorites and I am excited to see how the series ends and what she has in store for her fans in the future.

cinder scarlet cress fairest

8. Katie Alender writes my style of horror. Admittedly, I am pretty wimpy when it comes to scary stuff, so I find her books to be the perfect blend of spooky and downright scary. Actually, Rosemary Clement-Moore should also be on this as well. Horror and humor, that’s how I like my scary! Oh, and Lish McBride! See, ten is just impossible.

bad girls don't die famous last words dead girls of hysteria hall

9. Derek Landy is another new favorite. I am quite vocal about my obsession with Skulduggery Pleasant.


10. L.A. Meyer passed away last July, but not before completing the Bloody Jack series. This is definitely one of my all-time favorites. The audiobooks are amazing and I have no doubt that I will listen to this series again.

bloody jack

 Non-YA Favorites include:

Tana French, Sarah Addison Allen, Alan Bradley, Stephen King, Lisa Lutz, and Liane Moriarty.

secret place garden spells sweetness eleven twentytwo spellmans

big little lies

Happy Reading!





Mondays with Megan-Elephants, Ghosts, and Robots, Oh My! 4/20/15

I had a nice busy weekend during which I managed to once again NOT finish painting my bathroom and NOT start my spring yard clean-up. That is all going to have to wait until I return from visiting my sister and brand new nephew in Montana! Only 2 more sleeps!  I also didn’t get much reading done either, but I did spend a lot of time with my nephews. Yesterday at the zoo I learned this interesting fact about elephants: they sleep on their sides, but only for about an hour at a time. I also learned that Willy, our zoo’s only male elephant is 11 feet tall and weights 13,000 lbs! Despite being social animals, he can only stand the company of the zoo’s four cows for a few hours at a time. My brother said he could relate, having grown up with 6 sisters!

it's mondayit's monday

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Book Journey (she is on a blogging break right now) and Teach Mentor Texts.


motherless oven mission flats whispering skull

  • The Motherless Oven by Rob Davis-♥♥♥. I am not really sure that I have words for this one. It’s quite possibly the weirdest graphic novel that I have ever read (and I am in love with Saga by Brian Vaughan. Talk about weird). This one can’t be found in our collection. I borrowed it through our Interlibrary Loan system.
  • Mission Flats by William Landay-♥♥♥. When a well-known Boston D.A. is found dead in a cabin in a small town in Maine, the local police chief heads to the city to investigate. He is immediately immersed in a world of drugs, secrets, and conspiracies that span 20 years. This is the first book from the author of Defending Jacob. A twisty-turny police thriller with a surprise ending!
  • Lockwood & Co: the Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud-♥♥♥♥. The paranormal investigators of Lockwood & Co. have returned for another dangerous job! Competing against their rivals, the Fittes Agency, Anthony, Lucy and George must find locate a deadly relic created by a Victorian doctor who was obsessed with communicating with the dead. The team receives help from an unusual source: a skull in a ghost jar. This second installment of the series is loads of fun! Creepy and suspenseful. Readers will get lost in the imaginative alternate reality.

Current Audio:

lost city of z

  • The Lost City of Z by David Grann. Time for some nonfiction!

Currently Reading:

spellmans mortal heart dead girls of hysteria hall

  • The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz. I rarely reread, but I had an urge to revisit the Spellmans!
  • Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers. I am really taking my time with this one…
  • The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender. More ghosts!

For My Eyes:

big hero 6  indiana jones battlestar2.5 supernatural1

I spent a lot of time with my nephews this weekend and we managed to watch both Big Hero 6 (which we loved!) and Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (which the boys really liked!). I also made more progress in Battlestar Galactica season 2.5. After a brief and frustrating bout of insomnia, I turned to the familiar first season of Supernatural.

Non-bookish Listening:


Undisclosed is a new podcast the examines the case of Adnan Syed. I devoured Serial and was excited to discover this new podcast.

Happy Reading!


Bingo’s Run by James A. Levine Review (or My Further Adventures With the Alex Awards)

bingo's run

Bingo’s Run by James A. Levine
January 7, 2014
Spiegel & Grau
Hardcover, 304 pgs
2015 Alex Award Winner

What it’s about:

Bingo is a 15-year old orphan in Nairobi. He’s a grifter, a survivor, and the slum’s greatest drug runner. His days are spent running the “white,” hanging out with his friend Slo-George, and trying to stay out of trouble. But in the drug business, trouble is always just around the corner. After witnessing a murder Bingo is sent to an orphanage for protection. Here he learns even more about corruption, hustling and running.

Why you might like it:

You might enjoy Bingo’s Run because it is a gripping portrayal of life in an impoverished African city. Despite Bingo’s flaws and the hardships he endures, the story is full of mythology, humor and hope. A fascinating read.

Want more like it?

Try Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese or Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Top Ten Tuesday-Inspiring Book Quotes-4/14/15


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is about inspiration that can found in our favorite books. I am not one to jot down favorite quotes, so this is a challenge for me.

1. “I knew not to give the best of myself to the worst of people.”
A.S. King, Please Ignore Vera Dietz

please ignore vera dietz

2. “People die, I think, but your relationship with them doesn’t. It continues and is ever-changing.”
Jandy Nelson, I’ll Give You the Sun

i'll give you the sun

3. “Sometimes people are beautiful.
Not in looks.
Not in what they say.
Just in what they are.”
Markus Zusak, I Am the Messenger

i am the messenger

4. “Embrace your inner lunatic. Fun times guaranteed.”
Derek Landy, Death Bringer

death bringer

5. “Happiness is a risk. If you’re not a little scared, then you’re not doing it right.”
Sarah Addison Allen, The Peach Keeper

peach keeper

6. “I will remember this word,” he said. “Shenanigans. It is a good word.”
John Flanagan, The Emperor of Nihon-Ja


7. “…looking up at the stars, he had accepted life as a medium for action. Something to wield like a tool. One’s own life: an instrument for the shaping of the world.”
Laini Taylor, Dreams of Gods & Monsters

dreams of gods and monsters

8. “And life goes on, which seems kind of strange and cruel when you’re watching someone die. But there’s a joy and an abundance of everything, like information and laughter and summer weather and so many stories.”
Melina Marchetta, On the Jellicoe Road

jellicoe road

9. “To be careful with people and with words was a rare and beautiful thing.”
Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

aristotle and dante

10. “People are who they are and, try as you might, you cannot make them be what you want them to be.”
Leila Sales, This Song Will Save Your Life

this song will save your life

Happy Reading!


Mondays with Megan-4/13/15

Happy Monday! I know, Mondays can be tough, but my family has just had a week of excitement and I am all smiles this morning. Last week we got  brand new baby (it’s a boy! another nephew to smoosh!) and a new soon to be sister-in-law. My little brother is engaged! Now, if the home team can just get their act together, all will be right. All this good news plus the addition of baseball plus Battlestar Galactica, plus a new manuscript from my dear friend have all contributed to my neglecting most of my library books.

it's monday it's monday

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Book Journey and Teach Mentor Text.


three wishes wizard cat person home

  • Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty-♥♥♥♥-Another fun, quirky, family dramedy! At 33 the Kettle triplets are still dealing with sibling rivalry, family secrets, and a seemingly endless stream of drama. This was another fun audiobook!
  • The Wizard Returns by Danielle Paige-♥♥♥♥-This is the third prequel novella in the Dorothy Must Die saga. The wizard is back in Oz and he is about to shake things up. I am really excited about this interesting new twist. I must get my hands on The Wicked Will Rise!
  • Cat Person by Seo Kim-♥♥♥♥-The author/artist chronicles everyday occurrences in her life. Her cat, Jimmy stars in many, but not all of the comics. Topics range from serious to silly and all are charmingly illustrated.
  • Home by Carson Ellis-♥♥♥♥♥-This solo-picture book debut from the well-known illustrator of the Wildwood Chronicles is so wonderful! The homes range from realistic to fanciful and all are gorgeous. The real treat is getting to see her home. The careful reader will remember seeing items from the artist’s house in the previous pages!

Current Audio:

whispering skull mission flats

Currently Reading:

mortal heart motherless oven dead girls of hysteria hall

Happy Reading!


Lock In by John Scalzi Review (or My Adventures with the 2015 Alex Awards) 4/9/15

lock in

Lock In by John Scalzi
August 26, 2014
Tor Books
Hardcover, 336 pgs.
2015 Alex Award Winner

What it’s about:

In the near future a virus sweeps through the world population. For a small percentage the result of the disease is a condition known as lock in. They are fully awake and aware, but unable to move their bodies. With 1.7 million Americans affected, new medical technologies emerge, including systems that allow the locked in, also known as Hadens, to use the bodies of the healthy. Things get really tricky when an Integrator is found at the scene of a murder.Who is the guilty party? The Haden who is using the body of the Integrator or the Integrator who’s body did the killing?

Why you might like it:

You might like it because it is an engrossing and thought-provoking science fiction read. Lock In offers a disturbing look at humanity, medical ethics, political corruption, and technology. And there are robots. So far, this is  my favorite of this year’s winners.

Want more like this?

Try Ready Player One by Ernest Cline or Eye of the Mind by James Dashner.

Top Ten Tuesday-Ten Characters I Wish I Could Check in With 4/7/15

toptentuesdayThis week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is about favorite characters that we would love to follow with long after their stories on the page end.

1. Jacky Faber from the Bloody Jack series by L.A. Meyer. This one is a no-brainer. I adore Jacky. I want good things for that girl.

bloody jack

2. Akiva and Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. Despite the satisfying ending, I just know there is so much more to explore in this amazing world!


3. Cassel Sharpe from the Curse Workers series by Holly Black. I so desperately want more of this story.


4. Will and Halt from The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan. These two are as dear to me as Jacky Faber. I miss them terribly.


5. June and Day from Legend by Marie Lu. I really loved how this series ended, but I sure wouldn’t mind finding out what happened next!


6. Samantha and Annamae from Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee. Oh, the stories there must be!

under a painted

7. Pretty much anyone from an A.S. King book. Her characters are so real and often flawed and in the end you always have a glimmer of hope for them. I would love to check in and just make sure that things truly did get better.

reality boy everybody sees the ants glory o'brien

8. Ed Kennedy from I am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak. Ed has so much potential. He’s such a good guy!


9. Todd Prentiss from The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness. This series. I don’t know how to talk about these books. There’s just so much…

knife of neve

10. Darla and Alex from the Ashfall trilogy by Mike Mullin. This is another series with a great ending, but I certainly wouldn’t say no to more!


There are so many more, but I’ll stop at ten.

Happy Reading!


Mondays with Megan-Play Ball! 4/6/15

So, I was a little overly-eager last week. Baseball starts this week. I’ll be listening to the Indians first regular season game while I paint my bathroom and anxiously wait for the news that my sister has finally had her baby. I swear, this baby is taking its own sweet time…Lots to be excited about today!

mondayreading new monday

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Book Journey and Teach Mentor Texts.


wolf in white van kingdom of the wicked this one summer she got up

  • Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle-♥♥♥-After suffering a disfiguring injury as a teen, Sean battles his isolation and depression by creating a game of strategy and survival called Trace Italian. Sean runs the game through mail-order. When a tragedy strikes a pair of young players, Sean begins reliving his own journey into the game and the events that led to its creation. This 2015 Alex Award winner is dark and compelling. I was expecting more about the actual game, but this was really a much more introspective read.
  • Kingdom of the Wicked by Derek Landy-♥♥♥♥♥-Oh, how I love Skulduggery Pleasant! Ordinary people developing extraordinary magical powers? This is crazy enough, but it is soon discovered that it is part of a much, much bigger problem! Sadly, I only have two more books to go.
  • This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki-♥♥♥-Rose and her family spend summers at Awago beach. She has a summer best friend in Windy, who is a little younger and like a sister. This summer everything is different. Rose’s parents are fighting and she finds herself engrossed in the daily drama of a couple of local teens. This graphic novel has gotten plenty of buzz and attention. For me, the illustrations saved the day. The story was quite busy, but slow at the same time. Luckily the images were so lovely!
  • She Got Up Off the Couch by Haven Kimmel-♥♥♥♥♥-More stories from the author’s childhood in the tiny town of Moreland, Indiana. I wish this would never end. I could listen to Kimmel tell tales of her upbringing all day.

Current Audio:

 three wishes

Currently Reading:

wizard mortal heart motherless oven

Unfinished: (for now)

north 40

Currently Watching:

battlestar 2

 Happy Reading! (Go Tribe!)


Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee Review 4/1/15

under a painted
Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee
March 17, 2015
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, 374 pgs.

What it’s about:

The year is 1848. The tiny frontier town is St. Joe, Missouri. Samantha’s greatest desire is to return to New York and pursue her music career, but when tragedy strikes she has no choice but to flee into the wild west. Her only companion is Annamae, a slave with plans to escape to freedom. The Oregon Trail is no place for two girls, but it’s even more dangerous for a Chinese girl and a runaway slave so they disguise themselves as boys, and attempt to outrun their troubles.

Why you might like it:

Lee’s stunning debut is a welcome addition to the historical fiction genre. This survival story is full of adventure and wild west action, but at its core is a moving story of trust and friendship. Plus, there are cowboys and horses and a little romance! I almost forgot all the Chinese zodiac mythology woven throughout. Take a close look at the gorgeous cover and you will see the snake, the rabbit, and the dragon.

 Want more like this?

For more tales of a girl disguised as a boy try the Bloody Jack series by L.A. Meyer. For another historical fiction story that focuses on female friendship try Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.