Tag Archives: Alex Awards

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


Happy Reading!


Mondays with Megan-I Might Be a Little Obsessed With Podcasts. 6/1/15

Happy Monday! I am beginning to wonder if I have a problem with my new phone. I’ve been bingeing on podcasts and digital ARCS and audiobooks. The books on my shelves and nightstand are gathering dust. I’ve been so busy around my house that I have been neglecting my coffee shop routine. I guess that’s the one of the nice things about books-they’ll still be there when you are ready to pick them up.

new monday


wicked will rise dead girls of hysteria hall what did you eat luckiest girl alive terrorists son alex ada 2

  • The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige-♥♥♥♥♥. The second installment of the Dorothy Must Die series delivers fast-paced action and plenty of answers. I love the twists and turns and can’t wait for more.
  • The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender-♥♥♥♥. Restless spirits and a mysterious evil haunt the house that was once an insane asylum. This story takes an unusual spin on the traditional haunted house story. Told from the point of view of ghosts, this one is spooky!
  • What Did You Eat Yesterday, vol. 1 by Fumi Yoshinaga-♥♥♥. The day-to-day life of two middle-aged gay men is told around their dinner table. Simple and sweet and full of amazing food!
  • Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll-♥♥♥♥. Ani Fanelli has spent years perfecting her outward persona in an attempt to escape a traumatic past. When her past resurfaces the pressure of maintaining her secret threatens everything she has built. Ani is not exactly likeable, but her story is definitely interesting!
  • The Terrorist’s Son by Zak Ebrahim-♥♥♥♥. The son of El-Sayyid Nosair, the terrorist who killed the leader of the Jewish Defense Fund and plotted the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center from prison, writes about what it was like to grow up carrying the burden of his father’s actions. This is a short, but powerful story and another Alex Award winner is crossed of my list.
  • Alex + Ada, vol. 2 by Sarah Vaughn-♥♥♥♥♥. No spoilers for volume one, but it’s safe to say that tensions rise between humans and robots. I love this new sci-fi series!

Current Audio:

forever odd

  • Forever Odd by Dean Koontz.

Currently Reading:

i crawl through it daughter of deep silence last stand

  • I Crawl Through It by A.S. King-super weird!
  • Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan
  • Last Stand of Dead Men by Derek Landy-more Skulduggery Pleasant!

Current TV Binges:

arrested development


Podcast Binges:

mystery show strangers criminalmortified undisclosed

I am particularly in love with Mortified. This podcast features adults reading from their childhood journals in front of a live audience. It is truly hilarious. I am almost caught up with the Strangers archives. I love this one too. These stories are often so moving and inspiring.

A new serial story:

Last week also brought TWO new episodes in the story of Iris! If you are looking for a new reading adventure, I recommend checking out this story. You’ll find Iris at danamcswain.com.

That’s it for me. Happy Reading!


Also, Iris!

Mondays with Megan-Too Tired to Be Clever-5/11/15

Happy Monday *yawn* *stretch* *sigh*. What a busy weekend! Friday I went to a baseball game, Saturday I took myself to the Cleveland Flea, and yesterday I spent the day at my aunt’s house on the beach. Lake Erie was freezing, but calm and clear!

The school year is coming to an end and it’s time to start focusing on summer reading. We’ll be doing something new this year and I am super excited to tell you all about it soon. Also, I love shopping for prizes!

it's monday

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

I finally finished a few things that I had been working on for a while!


soppy dissing everything i never spellmans mortal heart jetpack odd thomas

  • Soppy: a Love Story by Phillipa Rice-♥♥♥♥♥-This graphic novel is simply a collection of moments from the author’s relationship with her boyfriend. Sweet, funny, charming. I loved it.
  • Are You Dissing Me? What Animals Really Think by Simon Winheld-♥♥♥-All of the illustrations are amazing, but some of the inner thoughts miss the mark. The ones that work are very funny!
  • Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng-♥♥♥♥-This 2015 Alex Award winner is about the secrets we all keep. Lydia, the favored daughter of a mixed-race family living in Ohio in the 1970s, disappears and is later found dead. As each member of her family copes with the news, they must confront their secrets.
  • The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz-♥♥♥♥♥-On a whim, I decided to reread an old favorite. The Spellmans are my favorite dysfunctional family of private investigators!
  • Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers-♥♥♥♥♥-The final book in the His Fair Assassins series was full of surprises! Annith has lived her entire life at the convent, but when she learns she is being groomed to be a Seeress, she knows she has to act fast and prove herself worthy of going out on missions like her friends Sybella and Ismae. This was a fantastic ending to a fantastic trilogy. I will miss these ladies!
  • You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack by Tom Gauld-♥♥♥♥-This collection of cartoons written for The Guardian was my introduction to Tom Gauld. Dark, dry wit, clever literary themes, and random oddness combine with simple and often times strange illustrations. I will be going back to the shelves for more Gauld.
  • Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz-♥♥♥♥-Odd Thomas (that’s really his name) can see dead people. Sometimes a gift, often a curse, life is never dull in Pico Mundo! This was a fun start to what promises to be an interesting series.

Current Audio:

simon cure for dreaming

I am going to be finished with both of these today. I am not sure what’s on deck. Possibly these:

me before you one kick

Currently Reading:

messenger of fear dead girls of hysteria hall displacement

Currently Watching:

extras1  unbreakable

I actually finished Extras. It’s quite hilarious and the dvd extras are brilliant. I finally added Netflix to my life so I am enjoying Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Happy Reading!


Mondays with Megan-May the Fourth Be With You and Adventures in Farming 5/4/15

 First of all, Happy Star Wars Day! May the Fourth Be With You all, dear readers! Be sure to check out the library’s latest Star Wars themed additions, the charming graphic novels by Jeffery Brown. We have or have ordered these titles:


I missed last Monday because 1. I was in Montana visiting my sister and new nephew and 2. I forgot to schedule a post. Oops. I was way too busy doing farm chores and cuddling a baby to do much reading. This city slicker is an excellent egg gatherer and since the horses are basically giant puppies I can also get them to come into the barnyard for the night. I get to do the fun jobs, like grooming, as well!

casey chickens snow horses

I did finish my friend’s manuscript while I was on all the planes. It was so wonderful. I hope I get a chance to share it with you! In the meantime, I will invite you to check out her serial story. Start with The Star Map and get to know the lovely but tragic Iris.

I have yet to fully resume my post-vacation routine and I find myself in a written word slump. Thank goodness for audio!

new monday


lost city of z zodiac

  • The Lost City of Z by David Grann ♥♥♥-David Grann, a writer for The New Yorker, sets out the solve the mysterious disappearance of the explorer Percy Fawcett. He attempts to retrace the explorer’s steps in his quest for the mysterious city of Z, which Fawcett and others believed to be hidden deep in the Amazon. This was an interesting and engaging nonfiction!
  • Zodiac: Convergence by Stan Lee ♥♥-When a villain attempts to taps into the powers of the Chinese Zodiac he unwittingly unleashes these powers into the world. Soon, teens around the globe find themselves possessing superpowers. It’s a race against the clock as the good guys try to rescue these teens before the bad guys can get to them. I wanted to love this one, but alas, I found it to be all action and not enough plot and character development. Listening to it also meant I missed the awesome illustrations. Reluctant readers will love the fast-paced story, but I am not sure I will continue the series.

Current Audio:

cure for dreaming everything

Currently Reading:
(still. sigh)

dead girls of hysteria hall  spellmans mortal heart happy stories odd thomas

Currently Watching:


Extras Seasons 1 & 2, starring Ricky Gervais. It’s pretty hilarious. Irreverent and awkward, but hilarious.

Current Listening Adventures:

Oh, the podcasts! So many choices!

undisclosed criminal strangers welcome to night vale

I am particularly loving Strangers. I haven’t gotten to far into Welcome to Night Vale. It’s very weird and I am not sure I am going to keep going. We’ll see.

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

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.

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!)