Category Archives: Book Reviews

What Am I Reading? Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

 

Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
Hardcover, 387 pages
Published January 24th 2017 by Katherine Tegen Books

allegedly

When she was nine years old Mary B. Addison killed a baby. Allegedly. The infant died while in the care of Mary’s mother. Mary never said she killed, but  the media filled in all the blanks. Mary spent six years in “baby jail” and at the age of sixteen moved into a group home. Here she is abused and tormented by the other residents and the adults turn a blind eye. Her only solace is Ted. When Mary gets pregnant she realizes that in order to protect her new and growing family she has to set the record straight. The odds are stacked against her, but she is smart and determined. Hopefully that will be enough.

This debut novel is so heartbreaking. I just started listening to the audiobook today and am about half way finished. I will definitely be watching for more books by Tiffany Jackson!

Happy Reading

~Megan

 

 

 

Mondays with Megan-The Force Awakens Soon!

Is everyone refreshed after a long weekend? I worked Friday and Sunday, but I still had a fantastic weekend. Thanksgiving was spent in Columbus with a small gathering of family. We listened to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on the drive there and back. We also took a little field trip to The Gates of Hell. It super creepy! The pic on the right is me, my nephew and my cousin. That is pretty much as far as we got into the dark, echoing tunnel.

Saturday was spent lounging around reading and continuing my Star Wars marathon.

This was my first time seeing Episodes II and III and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I like them. My 10 year old nephew LOVED them! Hopefully we will squeeze Episodes IV-VI before the new movie comes out.

mondays

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

Finished: 

  • The Fate of Ten by Pittacus Lore-♥♥♥♥♥. The epic alien invasion begins…and ends on a giant cliffhanger, as usual.
  • This is Your Life, Harriet Chance by Jonathan Evison-♥♥♥♥
  • Dr. Mütter’s Marvels by Cristin O’Keefe Apotwicz-♥♥♥♥. I seem to gravitate towards strange or gruesome nonfiction and this one certainly fits the bill. Dr. Mütter was a pioneering American surgeon who revolutionized the science of surgery. Fans of the show The Knick will want to check this one out! Also, I now have to add The Mütter Museum in Philadelphia to my list of weird places to visit!
  • Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris-♥♥♥♥. I first read this collection of stories years ago, so I was delighted to discover the edition I selected to listen to had six new stories! Santaland Diaries is just as funny as I remember and I have found a new favorite in 6 to 8 Black Men, a story about Christmas traditions in Holland. For the reader who dislikes the schmaltzy Christmas stories. These are sardonic and hilarious.
  • Winter by Marissa Meyer-♥♥♥♥♥. The Lunar Chronicles has come to an end. WHY?!? After 800+ pages, I am still not ready for it to be over. A perfect ending to a favorite series.

Current Audio:

Currently Reading:

Currently Obsessed With:

jessica

Happy Reading!

~Megan

 

Mondays with Megan-Mockingjay, Part 2-11/23/15

Happy Monday! I had a weekend full of films and fun. On Saturday my brother and nephew came over and we watched Star Wars Episode 1: Phantom Menace. We are working our way through the series to prepare for the new release in December. Despite having seen Episodes 4-6 many times, I have never seen 1-3. Yesterday I saw Mockingjay Part 2 with my sister and her boyfriend’s thirteen-year-old daughter. I really love Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss and very much enjoyed the final movie. The thirteen-year-old also liked it, but could not get over the fact that a stranger would give their baby to Katniss. So of course I had to do some research! The babies at the end of the movie are Jennifer Lawrence’s nephews. Seeing the film series end kind of made me want to reread the books. We’ll see!

mondays

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is brought to you by Teach Mentor Texts.

Finished: In the two weeks since I last wrote a Monday post I have accomplished so little that I can actually easily include all of my finished books here.

bizaar wytches straw king career of evil azkaban string diaries

  • Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King-♥♥♥♥. This collection of short stories features both brand new and previously published works. As with most collections of stories some shine and some are merely fine. The real treat here is that the author introduces each story and explains how or why he came to write it.
  • Wytches by Scott Snyder-♥♥♥♥. You thought you knew everything about witches? Forget what Disney has to say, these crones are terrifying! The evil lurks just under the surface and watches through the trees. This was a fantastic opening volume and the art work is simply stunning. Over and over I marveled at how intriguing and gorgeous the hideous images were.
  • The Straw King (Dorothy Must Die #0.5) by Danielle Page-♥♥♥♥. In this fifth prequel novella readers learn more about the Scarecrow. All he ever wanted was a brain, but he soon discovers that knowledge may not be enough to protect his throne from an invading army. Another fun addition to the Dorothy Must Die family.
  • Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith-♥♥♥♥♥. The third book in the Cormoran Strike series is now my favorite. Someone from Cormoran’s past is targeting Robin and the agency, driving away business and putting both PIs in danger. Can Cormoran figure out who it is before it’s too late?
  • The Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling-♥♥♥♥♥. Still a favorite, 5-star read. I am loving rereading these books while my nephews discover them for the first time. On to Goblet of Fire!
  • The String Diaries by Stephen Lloyd Jones-♥♥♥♥♥. Hannah and her family are on the run from a centuries old monster; a Hungarian shapeshifter bent on revenge. Told from three points of view, the story unravels at a break-neck pace, sucking readers in and constantly confusing them with the monster’s identity. This is the first book in ages that has kept me up long past bedtime! Absolutely loved it!

Current Audio:

fate of ten 14

  • The Fate of Ten by Pittacus Lore. Admittedly this is not the best series ever written, but I kind of need to know how things end. Also, they are just kind of fun!
  • 14 by Peter Clines. I am still not sure why I requested this one from another library, but so far, I am glad I did. It’s like The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (minus angry spirits) meets Lost and then gets turned into an episode of Scooby Doo. Again, quite fun.

Currently Reading:

goblet of fire winter passenger

Happy Reading!

~Megan

Mondays With Megan-New Games For After School Programs! 11/9/15

Hello Friends! Happy Monday. It was really hard to drag myself in to work today, but after a lot of coffee and morning shopping trip I can’t wait show the teens all the things I bought them. First I bought myself a little organizing tool (I totally splurged for the neon markers).

calendarThis week there is at least on teen program every single day. Some days there are two!

Today in the Teen Room you can play Exploding Kittens! I love The Oatmeal web comics and this card game does not disappoint. Also, it’s really fun to say that we will have exploding kittens in the teen room. I also grabbed Bananagrams and Yahtzee! I am ready for cold weather afternoons.

mondays

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Teach Mentor Text, be sure to stop by and see what others are reading!

Finished:

babayaga myster of hollow places crayons eye of zoltar borden

  • Baba Yaga’s Assistant by Marika McCoola-♥♥♥♥. The famously fearsome witch, Baba Yaga is looking for an assistant in this fantastic debut graphic novel. Masha learned all about magic from her beloved grandmother. When her grandmother dies and her father brings home a girlfriend, Masha feels lost in the world. Seeking a place to fit in, she enters the woods in search of Baba Yaga. Is she clever enough match wits with the old witch and her magic house?
  • The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos-♥♥♥. Imogene and her father have been a team since her mother left them when she was a baby. When Imogene is seventeen her father, once a forensic pathologist and now a well-known writer of medical mysteries, disappears, she decides to apply everything she has learned from his books and track him down. Her search leads her to answers to questions she has asked her whole life. This debut is a quiet but engaging story. The mystery is more of a puzzle and it is the vehicle for a great deal of personal reflection and discussion of mental illness.
  • The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt-♥♥♥♥♥. I’m not sure I really need to say anything about this one. It’s adorable.
  • The Eye of Zoltar by Jasper Fforde-♥♥♥♥♥. This third installment of The Chronicles of Kazam is my favorite. Jennifer Strange has new task: find the legendary magical item known as The Eye of Zoltar and babysit the spoiled princess of the Kingdom of Snodd. The quest is dangerous with a fatality rating of 50%, but lives depend on her success. This under appreciated series has it all-magic, adventure, humor, and dragons. I can’t recommend this series enough.
  • The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trail of the Century by Sarah Miller-♥♥♥♥♥. I devoured my advance reader copy of this book over the weekend. I love nonfiction that reads like a suspense novel, and this book certainly delivers. Miller offers a well-researched narrative of the investigation of the murders of Lizzie Borden’s parents. I realized that I actually knew very little about what was known as the trail of the century. Grisly and compelling. I can’t wait to add this to my collection and recommend it to my teens!

Current Audio:

me before you bazaar

Currently Reading:

wytches azkaban shallow

Happy Reading!

~Megan

Mondays with Megan-It’s Monday! What Are You

Happy Monday! I spent all of last week in lovely Cincinnati, Ohio attending the Ohio Library Council Conference and Expo. I am still trying to digest all the great information I picked up…and catch up on all the normal stuff I missed here at the library, so this check in will be short and sweet. I read some books. I listened to some books. I binged all of The Mindy Project. I am excited Supernatural season 10 dropped on Netflix. My friend got to meet Rainbow Rowell and she got me a signed copy of Carry On! That’s a pretty good week, if you ask me!

mondays

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

Finished:

1250042151.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_ stand off alex0399160302.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_

  • Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen-♥♥♥♥. This is a reimagining of the Peter Pan story, told from Hook’s point of view. Forget everything you thought knew about Neverland and Peter’s band of Lost Boys! This is a magical and fantastical adventure!
  • Stand Off  by Andrew Smith-♥♥♥♥. This sequel to Winger starts with a new school year, Ryan Dean West’s senior year. In addition to having a claustrophobic 12-year old as a roommate, Ryan Dean struggles with the emotional aftermath of losing his best friend. This book did not engage me in the way Winger did, but I am not the target audience. Ryan Dean has an amazing teen voice and coping with anxiety is an important topic. A welcomed sequel.
  • Alex + Ada, vol. 3 by Sarah Vaughn-♥♥♥♥. The story arc that began with volumes 1 and 2 comes to a surprising conclusion. Fear and hatred of sentient robots is rising and Alex and Ada are in increasing danger. The events in this volume took me by surprise and I am intrigued to see where the story goes.
  • Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys-♥♥♥♥♥. As WWII draws to an end thousands of refugees look to escape East Prussia. The luxury ship Wilhelm Gustloff offers the promise of freedom. Among the refugees are Florian, Emilia, and Joana are among the crowd. They are all strangers and they all have secrets, but working together they may survive. This book is due out in February and you will want to grab it up the second you see it. Ruta Septys delivers another devastating work of historical fiction. Powerful and heartbreaking, she once again brings light to lesser known atrocities of WWII.

Current Audio:

martian

I am almost finished with The Martian and I am currently between audiobooks on my phone. I can’t decide what I am in mood for right now.

Currently Reading:

This rarely happens, but today I get to pick all new books to read! I need to pick a print book and an e-book. I have so many choices my head is spinning! I think I am going to start with these:

sword of summer revenge

Happy Reading!

~Megan

Mondays with Megan-Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon & Cybils Awards-10/5/15

Happy Monday! It’s a gorgeous day here in Cleveland and I have the day off. Lucky me! I have gotten my reading groove back and have read and listened to some great books this week. But first, a couple of bits of news. First, it’s time for another Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon! I missed the spring readathon because I was meeting my new nephew in April, but I am all registered for the October 17th event. You can sign up too! The second bit of news is that I was selected to be a judge for the Cybils Awards again. This time around I will be a Round 2 YA Speculative Fiction. There is still time to nominate titles, so head on over to the Cybil site if you are interested.

mondays

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

Finished:

wee free 1607066084.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_ 0785192271.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_ lockwood 1632152584.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_ 0062242911.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_

Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett and Manhattan Project, vol. 1 by Jonathan Hickman were both recommended to me by patrons-♥♥♥

The others were all amazing! I am really loving the Ms. Marvel series and Lockwood & Co has taken an interesting turn. Walk the Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson is the first book in a new trilogy. Who new westerns could be so awesome? ♥♥♥♥♥ to all four!

Current Audio:

1250042151.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_ martian

Currently Reading:

stand off 0399160302.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_ tonight 76562dce2467fab5977787852674141414d6741

On Deck:

0545448689.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_ 1444764624.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_ saga

I am off to enjoy my day off!

Happy Reading!

~Megan

It’s a Wonderful Death by Sarah J. Schmitt 10/1/15

death

It’s a Wonderful Death by Sarah J. Schmitt
October 6, 2015
Sky Pony Press
Hardcover, 320 pages

What it’s about:

Seventeen-year-old RJ is at the top of her game. She is the Queen Bee and used to getting her way, even if she has to bully others to get it. So imagine her fury when a Grim Reaper accidentally collects her soul! She refuses to believe she is dead and her protests and tantrums  cause quite the problem in the Afterlife. Everyone agrees that a mistake has been made, but no one can agree on how to set things right. A special tribunal is called composed of three angels, including one who has his eye on Death Himself’s job. Now RJ has a choice. She can wait in limbo until her regularly scheduled death or she can relive three moments in her life. Each do-over is an opportunity to prove that she has a future worth saving. She obviously chooses door number 2. How hard can it be? Especially since she will have three souls to guide her through each of her tasks. The reality is, it is so hard! Will RJ succeed in her quest for mortality? Will it even be worth it? And what is the deal with Saint Peter’s cornhole obsession?

Why you might like it:

Do you love a strong-willed, snarky bully who’s been brought down a notch? RJ is your girl! She is seemingly beyond redemption and it’s kind of a little satisfying to watch her squirm as she relives three of her lowest moments on earth. But hey! We’re not mean girls, so it’s also pretty awesome so watch RJ’s journey. Maybe she isn’t so bad after all. Everyone makes mistakes, right? Are you looking for a laugh? Death Himself, a Hawaiian shirt wearing surfer is pretty funny. But wait! There’s more! Are you looking for a thought-provoking, feel-good story? Look no further than It’s a Wonderful Death. The message is clear: you matter, even if you don’t know it and it’s never to late to think about the choices you make.

Want more like this? Try these:

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, and If I Stay by Gayle Forman.

Happy Reading!

~Megan

P.S. Thanks to Sky Pony Press for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Mondays with Megan-Celebrate Your Right to Read! 9/28/15

bbw15

Happy Monday! It’s that time of year again, when we celebrate the right to read and reflect on the book that have been challenged and banned over the past year. According to the American Library Association’s Office For Intellectual Freedom the number one challenged book of 2014 was Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. You can find the rest of the Top Ten most frequently challenged books here. For even more information about why books are challenged be sure to check out these charts.

As a librarian I respect everyone’s right to choose what is best for themselves. If you are offended by something, that is fine because you don’t have to read it! That’s your right and that is awesome. But please don’t try to tell other people they can’t either. How about you just worry about you? Ok? Thanks! Now, let me step off my soapbox and tell you what I have been reading.

mondays

 It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Teach Mentor Texts. Be sure to stop by for more great reading suggestions.

Finished:

madness so discreet wonderful death

  • A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis-♥♥♥♥. Grace Mae is banished to an insane asylum when her family discovers she is pregnant. The events that led to her being in this condition were unspeakable, and therefore, Grace stopped speaking. Her silence became her salvation and with the help of a doctor she escaped to Ohio. She and the doctor worked together to prove that the new idea of criminal psychology could help solve crimes. This haunting historical fiction has some great twists and turn. I loved the characters, especially the girls at the Ohio asylum. Watch for this new book from local Ohio author when it comes out October 6th!
  • It’s a Wonderful Death by Sarah J. Schmitt-♥♥♥♥. RJ wasn’t supposed to die that day, but when her soul is accidentally collected all hell breaks loose, so to speak, in the Afterlife. RJ demands to be sent back to life, but it’s not as simple as that. I will have a full review of this up soon! It’s a quick, fun read full of plenty of things to think about. Stay tuned. Or just trust me know, and add it to your reading list.

Current Audio:

wee free hollow boy

I will be finished with both of these books in the next couple of days. I really like them both.

Currently Reading:

tonight illuminae

I am six books behind on my reading goal. I need to step up my games!

On Deck:

martian stand off hero of ages

The Martian is “assigned” reading from a book club teen. I can’t wait to dig in to Stand Off and The Hero of Ages.

DNF:

player of games

I tried. I really tried.

TV binging:

mindy

…and this is why my reading is suffering! It’s time to grab a stack of graphic novels and binge on those!

Happy Reading!

~Megan

Mondays with Megan-Teen Think Tank #2 9/20/15

Last week I had the great privilege of attending my second Teen Think Tank conference. This is an amazing group of Ohio Teen Librarians who get together twice a year to talk about teen services. It’s a day of learning, connecting, sharing, and crafting and it is such a valuable resource. I am really excited to try some of the Gross Games I learned about with my teens. I was inspired to add some technology activities to my after school repertoire and I picked up a couple of great craft ideas. One of the most informative presentations was about serving LGBTQ+ teens. I think I have a pretty solid collection of materials but I learned of a few more that I need to add. I myself presented a segment on feed teens on a budget. Basically a griddle and instant pancake mix will turn you into a hero among the teens. I add mini chocolate chips, eliminating the need for syrup and silverware! I have also made cheese quesadillas and grilled cheese sandwiches on my griddle, all at a fraction of the cost of bags of chips and bottles of pop. In fact, I have completely eliminated sugary beverages from all my programs. It’s all water, all the time and NO ONE has complained! Try it; it can’t hurt!

IMWAYR 2015

 It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Teach Mentor Texts. Be sure to stop over for more great reading suggestions!

Finished:

wrath 0061779784.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_ felicia day

  • The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh-♥♥♥♥♥. The land of Khorasan is ruled by a monster. The young king takes a new bride each night and each morning a silk rope is wrapped around her neck. Sharhzad, who lost her best friend to this man, is out for revenge. She volunteers to be his next wife with the intention of killing him herself. In order to exact her revenge she needs to survive past dawn, so she begins to tell him a story, always leaving the next part for another night. I loved this one! Lovely storytelling, a gorgeous setting, and diverse characters. I am looking forward to listening to the second book.
  • Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore-♥♥♥♥♥. In this sequel to A Dirty Job, Moore picks up where he left off. The souls of San Fransisco are not being collected. The old crew is back in action with the help of a Golden Gate Bridge painter, who may be the key to figuring out who is stealing souls. Lewd, crude, and ridiculously funny. Not for the young reader, but I did just recommend the duology to one of my high school readers.
  • You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost) by Felicia Day-♥♥♥♥♥. Felicia Day is known in many circles at the Queen of the Nerds. In her memoir she talks at length about her love of gaming, her internet show The Guild, and her health issues. She reads the audiobook and it is truly delightful. This is a must read for fan, but people not familiar with her work can still appreciate her insight.

Current Audio:

player of games hollow boy

  • Player of Games by Iain M. Banks. Occasionally I like to get recommendations from my teen readers. I have my book club kids write down two titles they think I should read and then I randomly select 1-2. This was my most recent pick. It’s super weird and the person who recommended it hasn’t read it himself. He just thought it would be something I like. At first I was teeny bit miffed (I thought you wanted me to read it so we could talk about it!) but then I realize I do that to them ALL THE TIME. Turnabout is fair play.
  • Lockwood & Co. 3: The Hollow Boy by Jonathan Stroud. This series is great on audio and it is almost the perfect time of year for them! Teenage ghost hunters!

Currently Reading: I have been in a MAJOR reading slump.

madness so discreet tonight

  • A Madness so Discreet by Mindy McGinnis. I have been reading this one forever. It’s really good and I am enjoying it, I just have no time for digital ARCs right now. I should stop requesting them for a while!
  • Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales. I love this author, so I hope this book with help me with my reading mojo!

On Deck:

wonderful deathWhat an awesome way to start a Monday! This lovely book arrived in the mail for me! The cover blurb is by Mike Mullin, author of the Ashfall Trilogy (LOVED that series!) and he says it is “A snarky joyride of a book with a deep moral core; long after you’ve finished laughing you’ll still be thinking about RJ’s journey and perhaps asking yourself: what defines a life well lived?”

Um, yes, please!

Happy Reading!

~Megan

 

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday-Top Ten Adult Books With Teen Appeal-9/15/15

toptentuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish is a Freebie topic. Blogger’s choice. This year I made a conscious decision to read more of the American Library Association’s Alex Award winners for 2015. The Alex Award is given to adult books with strong teen appeal. I haven’t read the entire list yet and probably won’t. Some of them really do not appeal to me. But I digress.

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. I have finished the first two books of this series and think it is the perfect series for readers not quite ready for Game of Thrones. It’s like a PG rated GoT, in fact. Magic, political intrigue, betrayals, murder…all the good stuff without all the sexy sex and brutality.

mistborn

The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz. Ok, admittedly private investigator Isabel Spellman is a TERRIBLE role model, but she comes to realize this because of her teenaged sister. For the teen looking for something funny and a little bit dysfunctional.

spellmansnew

Lock In by John Scalzi. This is on the Alex list for 2015 and one of my favorites this year. Science fiction, murder mystery, robots. It’s awesome.

lock in

The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence. This is a past Alex winner. It’s a comical and heartbreaking coming of age story. I can’t really do it justice. Just read it. Be prepared to laugh and cry and love it.

universe versesReady Player One and Armada by Ernest Cline. These two books are perfect for your science fiction fans. One is all about virtual reality and 80’s video games (Ready Player One) and the other is about a gamers chosen to save the world because of their video game skill. Tons of fun!

ready armada

Uprooted by Naomi Novik. This is epic fantasy. A powerful sorcerer known as the Dragon protects a village from the dark magic of the woods. In return the village sacrifices a young woman to him every ten years. These women never return home. That is, until The Dragon takes Agnieszka. A little romance, a lot of creepy evil forest and plenty of sass and magic.

uprooted

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson. This nonfiction book about the phenomenon of public shaming in the age of social media should be required reading for high school students! A chilling look at how social media has the potential to run people.

publically shamed

The Hot Zone by Richard Preston. This is another nonfiction title and it reads like fiction. It is a terrify look at the origin of the Ebola virus. Super scary and a bit timely.

hot zone

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh. In this graphic novel blogger Allie Brosh lets readers into her life. She chronicles her struggles with depression as well as her hilarious struggles with a really stupid dog.

hyperbole

Happy Reading!

~Megan