Category Archives: Book Reviews

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

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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

Mondays with Megan-School is in Session and I am Back on the Blog! 8/31/15

Hello and Happy Monday! As you may have noticed my two weeks of vacation turned into three weeks of not blogging. Now that school has started again and I have packed my weekly schedule with tons of after school programs this seems like the *perfect* time to turn some attention to my neglected blog. *Sigh*

I am super excited about all the new after school programs we are offering this year. On Tuesdays I will be hosting an open lab in our state of the art computer training center. The large screen computers are perfect for playing games and Minecraft! This Wednesday will be the first meeting of the Library Literati, a new group for fans of all things bookish. Thursdays will be the Teen Scene. I’ll be flipping pancakes and have a casual activity available each week. This week’s activity will be Lego building challenges. No need to register, just stop in after school!

I had an amazing trip out west to visit my sister and her family (including my adorable new nephew). I woke up every morning to mama cows yelling outside the windows. We camped in Custer National Forest, did a day trip to Yellowstone, and spend many hot afternoons sitting in the creek on the farm. It was so relaxing and busy at the same time. I hardly did any reading, which was fine, but it turned into a slump when I returned home. In three weeks I have only finished six books and three of them were audiobooks!

new monday

Finished:

unhinged chamber of secrets among rocket girl mistborn

  • Unhinged by A.G. Howard- ♥♥♥. This second book in the Splintered trilogy has Alyssa trying to deal with Morpheus on her own turf. Wonderland is in trouble, but if Alyssa returns she will be in danger. If she stays Jeb and her family will be in danger. I am enjoying this series, but was disappointed to find that the last book is not available on audio. I suppose I will have to use my eyes to find out how things end!
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling-♥♥♥♥♥. Three of my nephews are finally old enough to be reading Harry Potter for the first time! I am loving revisiting these beloved books.
  • Among the Ten Thousand Things by Julia Pierpont-♥♥♥♥. This debut novel tells the story of a family falling apart. Jack and Deb’s marriage is already rocky when an anonymous package arrives detailing all of Jack’s dirty little secrets. To make matters worse, his children were the first to discover the box. The cover quote saying it’s the funniest book ever is totally misleading. This one is not for the young reader.
  • Rocket Girl by Brandon Monclare-♥♥♥. This is the first volume of a new graphic novel series featuring a teen cop from the future who is sent back in time to 1986 to prevent a future disaster. The time line is a little wonky and hard to get used to, but the gadgets are cool and the characters are interesting. I will watching for more!
  • Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson-♥♥♥♥♥. I finally took the plunge and started a new fantasy series. In a world covered with ash and ruled by an immortal god known as the Lord Ruler, one man has made it his life’s mission to destroy the final empire. At his side is a band of rebels and a street urchin who is unaware of the powers she possesses. This is an exciting opener to the series. Strong world building, well-developed characters, political intrigue, and a unique take on magic. In the world of the final empire magic is derived from metals. I dove into book two this morning!

Current Audio:

well of ascension diviners

  • The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson. I decided to dive right into book two of The Final Empire series.
  • The Diviners by Libba Bray. I am rereading (first time listening) in preparation for Lair of Dreams.

Currently Reading:

pretending to be erica madness so discreet

  • Pretending to Be Erica by Michelle Painchaud.
  • A Madness so Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

DNF:

red queen

  • The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. I don’t know why I didn’t click with this one. I gave up when it took a turn towards The Selection.

Happy Reading!

~Megan

Mondays with Megan-The End of Summer Reading-8/3/15

Hi All! Today was the drawing for the last summer reading basket. I can’t believe how fast that went! I had a record number of participants-207 teens. They read a combined 399 books and magazines. Now the back-to-school countdown begins. I am actually pretty excited about all the things I have planned for fall. You can find out all the plans at the library’s Back to School Breakfast Bar. We’ll have pancakes and waffles and all sorts of toppings. We’ll play games and talk about all the fun upcoming library programs.

I got a lot of reading/listening in last week, which is good because this week I am busy with G.I.S.H.W.E.S and next week I am on vacation! Check out what I’ve read:

new monday

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

Finished:

man called ove darkest part of the forest fables happily ever after these shallow graves lumberjanes

  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman-♥♥♥♥♥. Ove (pronounces Oova) is a gruff and grouchy man, but behind his curmudgeonly exterior is a sweet and sad story. His story slowly unfolds when new neighbors move in next door and disrupt is strict and orderly routine. I loved this book so, so, much. It’s sweet and quirky and sad. I laughed, I cried, and then started recommending it to anyone who would listen.
  • The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black-♥♥♥♥. In the town of Fairfold humans and fairies coexist, making the town a tourist stop. The main attraction is the horned boy locked in endless sleep in a glass coffin. Hazel and her brother Ben have always loved the boy. When he disappears, a strange and deadly chain of events is set into motion. I am not usually a fan of fae stories, but Holly Black is a master.
  • Fables vol. 21, Happily Ever After by Bill Willingham-♥♥♥♥. This is the penultimate volume of the series and story lines are getting wrapped up. Don’t worry, things aren’t wrapping up in a nice tidy manner! Things are pretty brutal and grim and the stage is set for one last epic battle.
  • These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly-♥♥♥♥. It’s the Gilded Age in New York City and Josephine Montford is a young aristocrat destined to make a good match for marriage, when her father dies from an accidental gunshot. With his death, Jo’s world begins to crumble. With the help of a dashing reporter and a medical student who works at the morgue, Jo sets out on a dangerous path to discover the truth behind her father’s death. I was fortunate to receive an ARC of this book, which is due out in October. I really enjoyed the ending, but my one complaint is that fact that this book is really long. Unnecessarily long. It kind of dragged in the middle.
  • Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson-♥♥♥♥. Another totally weird graphic novel! Five best friends at camp keep stumbling upon strange things in the woods-strange three-eyed foxes, yetis guarding a tower, and a weird neighboring boys camp. Will the Lumberjane scouts figure out what in the world is going on? You won’t find out in this first volume, but you’ll want to know!

Current Audio:

unhinged

Currently Reading:

six of crows rest of us just live here heart of tin

Happy Reading!

~Megan

Mondays With Megan-Summer Reading Week 8: The Last Basket! 7/27

Happy Monday! (Sorry, I forgot to actually hit publish yesterday!) I had an exciting weekend. My loyal old car finally gave up the ghost. My mourning period was exactly 1 day. Then I got a new car, complete with new car smell. It’s been more than 10 years since I have had a new-new car. It’s exhilarating and nerve-wrecking all at once. My dog, Kevin, seems right at home, but he is still getting used to the hatchback. I think he resents not being allowed on the clean, light colored seats! Too bad for him.

kevin

Can you believe you have gotten to the LAST week of Summer Reading? I can’t! I think I saved my favorite basket for last. It has an awesome t-shirt and ninja swords!

What’s in Basket # 8? (Swords! It has swords!)

  • Books!
    • The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
    • Four by Veronica Roth
  • Candy!
    • Spree
    • Sour Patch Kids
    • Jolly Ranchers
    • Blow Pops
  • T-shirt
    • pixelated shark and surfer
  • Mini Oreos
  • Silly string
  • Minecraft mini-figure
  • Foam ninja swords
  • 1 Cleveland Gladiators ticket
  • $10 Dollar Tree gift card

Speaking of summer coming to an end (I know, I know, you don’t want to hear about that)…I changed my bulletin board in the teen room to get ready for back to school. Much thanks to my teen volunteers for creating this display and Krista for helping me hang it. I can’t wait to see what favorite titles get added throughout the year.

boardI might have to add some of my current reads to the tree!

new monday

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

Finished:

life armada finders keepers

  • Life in Motion by Misty Copeland-♥♥♥. Misty Copeland is an unlikely ballerina. She is muscular and a bit busty and her skin is brown. She discovered ballet at a late age and did not have the money that is often required to pursue ballet. Despite the hardships, she is now the principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre. I really enjoyed Misty’s story, but I did not care for the audiobook reader. I will be adding this to my YA collection for sure.
  • Armada by Ernest Cline-♥♥♥♥♥. The action of a video game becomes reality as humans are in a race to protect themselves from an alien invasion. Man, I LOVE Ernest Cline! Wil Wheaton reads the audio again and it is brilliant!
  • Finders Keepers by Stephen King-♥♥♥♥. The second book in the Bill Hodges trilogy centers around the stolen unpublished works of a fictional iconic author. Bill, Holly, and Jerome are back on the case! This one does not have as much cat-and-mouse action as the first, but it’s just as good (if not better).

Current Audio:

darkest part of the forest man called ove

Currently Reading:

these shallow graves six of crows

On Deck:

armageddon

Happy Reading!

~Megan

Mondays with Megan-Summer Reading Week 7!-7/20/15

Happy Monday! We still have a couple more weeks of Summer Reading, so be sure to register and start reading. Don’t forget, you can register and submit entries online.

What’s in Basket # 7?

  • Books!
    • Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
    • Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender
  • Candy!
    • Skittles
    • Swedish Fish
    • Jolly Ranchers
    • Blow Pop/Tootsie Pop
    • GIANT TUBE OF NERDS!
  • Mini Oreos
  • Hair chalk
  • Selfie lens
  • X-Men DVD
  • Silly String
  • Goofy pen
  • 1 Cleveland Gladiators ticket
  • $10 Dollar Tree Gift Card

I bought myself a hammock this weekend! I can’t wait to finish my grueling yard projects so that I can finally chill in the hammock with a stack of books! In the meantime, I am still doing a bunch of listening while I garden.

new monday

Be sure to check out more It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? lists at Teach Mentor Texts!

Finished:

watchman isabel curse of the spellmans library

  • Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee-♥♥♥♥. Jean Louise Finch is a twenty-six year-old woman when she returns to her childhood home of Macomb, Alabama to visit her aging father, Atticus. It’s the 1950’s and civil rights issues are creating political and racial tensions throughout the South. It is during this trip that Jean Louise learns of the disturbing truth about her family. This book was never intended to be a To Kill a Mockingbird sequel, and thus, should not be read as one. I enjoyed Jean Louise’s memories of her childhood. I loved her uncle and I admired the grown Scout as she tried to come to terms with how reality did not match up with her memory.
  • Isabel Spellman’s Guide to Etiquette by Lisa Lutz-♥♥♥. Quirky Isabel Spellman offers her opinion on Etiquette. This was a cute e-book.
  • Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz-♥♥♥♥. This is the second book in the Spellman Files series. All the Spellmans are in crisis and keeping secrets and Isabel can’t seem to stop getting arrested. This was a reread for me and I enjoyed it as much as I did when I read it for the first time in 2008 (!).
  • The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins-♥♥♥♥♥. Carolyn was a normal American girl until she and eleven other children were adopted by a man simply called Father, “adopted” them. The children were each assigned an area of study. Carolyn studies languages. All of the languages. Another studied war, another learned healing. None of the librarians, as they were called, were permitted to study any other collections. Much time has passed since they began their studies and Father is missing. Carolyn has the status of God in her sites and she has the tools to win. This book was nothing like what I was expecting and one it was certainly one of the weirdest things I have read! This contemporary fantasy may not be for everyone, but I loved this bizarre book!

Current Audio:

life armada

Currently Reading:

these shallow graves lists vengeance road

On Deck:

finders keepers six of crows

I am still working on the show The 4400 and enjoying a number of podcasts, including Mortified, Undisclosed, Strangers, Criminal, and All the Books!.

Happy Summer Reading!

~Megan