Tag Archives: debut authors

Mondays With Megan-Bully and Colleen Clayton

Happy Monday! I am really excited about a program being held at the library this evening. At 6 p.m. we will be showing a screening of the documentary film, Bully. The film follows five families over the course of a school year as they cope with bullying. Following the film local author Colleen Clayton, author of What Happens Next?, will speak about her experience with bullying. She will also talk about and sign copies of her book. Books will be available to purchase at the library. I hope to see a full house tonight, so please consider joining us!

I feel like I have been in a reading slump for a while, so my Monday check-in is pretty slim. Be sure to check with Book Journey and Teach Mentor Texts for more great It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? lists.

mondayreading IMWAYR


returned shadow of the blackbirds silver at home

The Returned by Jason Mott examines what would happen in the dead began coming back to life. This is not a zombies/undead situation. This is the dearly departed no longer being departed. It’s crazy. This book has getting a lot of buzz and it all well-deserved. I devoured this in a couple of sittings. Another book that I couldn’t put down was In the Shadow of the Blackbirds, a debut novel by Cat Winters. Set in 1918 at the height of World War I and the Spanish Influenza pandemic, Mary Shelley Black watches with skepticism as people flock to séances and spiritualists in an attempt to make contact with their deceased loved ones. She is forced to rethink her views when she herself is haunted by an unsettled spirit. I loved this one! At the suggestion of a friend, I picked up an oldie, but a goodie, The Girl With the Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts. 10-year old Katie not only looks different, with her unsettling silver eyes, she also has a very unique talent. She can move things with her mind!  This was a really fun middle grade science fiction and I am glad I took my friend’s advice. Finally, I finished listening to At Home, by Bill Bryson. I loved this history of the world as seen from the perspective of the home. This was actually my first experience with Bryson and will definitely be adding more of his works to my TBR list.

Current Audio:

wells gulp

I am almost finished with The Wells Bequest by Polly Shulman. This companion to Shulman’s The Grimm Legacy is a fun time-travel adventure! Readers will return to the New-York Circulating Material Repository and explore the person collection of H.G. Wells, which includes a shrink ray and a time machine. I am also continuing my nonfiction audio streak with Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach. So far this is a hilarious and insightful look at the science of eating, starting with the noses and ending, well, I haven’t gotten that far, but you know where things we eat end up!

Currently Reading:

rose under fire monsters nineteen

I am still working on Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein. It’s getting to be shameful. I really need to commit. I am also dabbling with Monsters by Ilsa Bick. I am taking this one slow in purpose…it is so disturbing! I also picked up Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich. A Stephanie Plum novel is always a good thing to have around when I am struggling with my reading.

On Deck:

united we spy wild cards

I actually am a little surprised that I have not jumped right into United We Spy! But I have been busy and distracted lately and really want to savor it. I hope to find some time this week to dedicate to the final Gallagher Girls book. I also want to start my ARC of Simone Elkeles’s new book, Wild Cards. I am really excited about this one!

Happy Reading!


Mondays With Megan: Montana Edition, Part 2

Happy Monday! As you may recall from last week, my Montana vacation got off to a rocky start, but things have certainly improved. My most recent adventures include cooling off in the creek on the farm, going to the pig races, and driving the Beartooth Pass from Red Lodge to Cooke City. The drive was a little bit scary, completely exhilarating and breathtakingly gorgeous. Over the course of the 68 miles we experienced blazing sun, brisk, cold air, pouring rain, and hail. It was a wild ride! Check out those switchbacks!

In between gardening, antique hunting, yard sales, and farm arts and crafts, I even managed to find time to read.

  mondayreading IMWAYR

Thanks to Book Journey and Teach Mentor Texts for hosting It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?


ashenwinter second helpings canary smokin seventeen

I cannot wait for Sunrise, the final book in Ashfall Trilogy by Mike Mullen! Ashen Winter introduced some interesting new characters, resolved a few issues from the first book, and set the survivors up even more hardship. Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty is the second book in the Jessica Darling series. Jessica is hilarious and charming and I am looking forward to seeing how she fares in college. Canary is the debut novel of local author Rachele Alpine. I was completely engrossed in this book and will write a full and glowing review when I am back to work. Finally, I breezed through yet another Stephanie Plum book. Smokin’ Seventeen is pretty much like the rest of them. I know that is a big complaint for many readers, but I really don’t mind so much. They are mindless entertainment.

Currently Reading:

monsters of men

On Deck:

With my trip winding down, I am not sure how much reading I will fit in this week. I have some audio books for the drive home and I need to reread Cinder for by summer book club meeting. We’ll see what happens!

Happy Reading!


Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books of 2013…So Far. 6/25/13


This Top Ten Tuesday list, hosted by The Broke and The Bookish is a Best Of list. This is both a genius idea and a nearly impossible task all in one. My end of year lists are going to be insane. As of today I have read 92 books and I gave 5 stars to 26 of them! What to do, what to do?

So far this year has delivered some AWESOME sequels:

1. Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor. This sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone is dark, brutal, and devastating. Holy wow!

days of blood

2. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. Another brilliant sequel. Even better than Cinder? I think so! I can’t wait to get two more points of view layered on and see it is all going to come together.


3. Spirit and Dust by Rosemary Clement-More. Not familiar with the Goodnight family? You’re going to want to fix that! Witches, ghosts, sassy girls and swoonie guys. Everybody wins! The first in the series is Texas Gothic, but they do a great job of standing alone as well. This book could be the love child of Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson and The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan

spirit and dust

4. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. Epic. Clever and satisfying resolution to some of my biggest concerns.

clockwork princess

5. Game by Barry Lyga. Jasper Dent is the new Dexter! I really enjoyed I Hunt Killers, but Game creeped the hell out of me.


6.The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy. My new favorite middle grade series.

hero's guide

I have also read some phenomenal standalones and debuts!

7. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I had a ridiculously good time with this one. Wil Wheaton narrating the audio is bonus genius.


8. Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley. How about this for variety? Nonfiction, graphic novel. So lovely. You will want it for yourself and to give it as a gift to all your foodie friends.


9. What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton. I was totally impressed by this debut novel. I can’t wait to have the author speak at my library in September!

what happens next
10. In Darkness by Nick Lane. I totally get why it won the Prinz. I am also surprised by how much I loved this one. I still rattles around in my brain more than a month later.

in darkness

11. Winger by Andrew Smith. Laugh-out-loud hilarious and devastatingly heart-breaking all wrapped up in one. I just finished this last week and knew it had to be on this list.


Eleven is a reasonable place to stop the list, but I just have to say that I also loved Light by Michael Grant, Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter, Prodigy by Marie Lu, Speaking From Among the Bones by Alan Bradley and Doll Bones by Holly Black. Now I am kind of dreading trying to make an end of the year Top Ten list.

Happy Reading!



45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson Review

45 pounds

45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson
Penguin Young Readers Group
July 11, 2013
256 pgs

After yet another humiliating shopping trip with her perfect mother, sixteen-year-old Ann is determined to lose weight. For real this time. Especially since she is going to be a bridesmaid in her aunt’s wedding. Despite that fact that she has tried most of the gimmicks and fad diets, with no lasting success, Ann turns to yet another diet plan she sees on television. Ann has a long list of struggles to deal with. Her family is life is chaotic, her so-called best friend has a new group of friends, and as the wedding date approaches, the pressure to lose weight becomes unbearable. Ann eventually reaches a breaking point, which actually leads to a turning point. Family secrets are revealed, the perfect dress is found, and a family begins to heal.

I admit I was worried that this was going to be a fat-girl-is-shunned-but-loses-weight-and-everything-is-perfect kind of story. It was not. Ann is a complex and well-developed character who is surrounded by a delightful and slightly dysfunctional cast of supporting characters. Ann’s struggles are heartbreaking and unfortunately many readers will easily relate to her. She often loses her way, her focus, and her temper, but in the end she learns the importance of balance. The messages in this book are so simple and gently told. This book is a must-read for anyone who has ever felt out of balance, left out or uncomfortable in their own skin. A lovely debut from an author to watch.

This one will pair nicely with Revenge of the Girl With a Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg.

Happy Reading!



Top Ten Tueday: Time to Get Serious


Last week the Broke and the Bookish asked us about our favorite light, fun reads. This week we are looking at the flip side-serious books. I am going to be honest, I am not a huge fan of “issues” books. I really hate to be reminded of how horrible people can be to themselves and each other. That being said, I do have a few go-to books that deal with tough topics.

1. What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton. This debut novel by a local author deals with the aftermath of rape. It is beautiful and heartbreaking.

what happens next

2. Please Ignore Vera Dietz A.S. King. Really, any A.S. King. She is brilliant. Vera Dietz deals with issues of betrayal, abuse, and death. Ask the Passengers deals with homosexuality. Both are lovely. I will let you in on a little secret. I would take the YA Issues Book Crown away from John Green and give it to her. There. I said it.

please-ignore-vera-dietz ask

3. The Hate List by Jennifer Brown. Bullying, school shooting, and suicide. Powerful stuff, told from point of view of the girlfriend of the shooter.

hate list

4. Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers. This book about bullying continues to haunt me. Brutal and disturbing.

some girls

5. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. This one is an adult nonfiction, but I think it would appeal to some teen readers. Racism and medical ethics collide in this shocking story.


6. The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith. This one may appear to be a science-fictiony horror story on the surface, but at its heart it is about kidnapping, trauma, and post traumatic stress. It is horrifying and disturbing and I loved it. I confess that I am a little afraid to start the sequel.


7. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. Now this is how I prefer my “issues” books. This is a book about grief, but there is an awesome road trip and a cute guy. There are light moments, but you never forget that it is a book about loss and grief. A favorite.


8. Pushing the Limits and Dare You To by Katie McGarry. I love these gritty romances that star good girls, bad girls, good guys, bad boys, drugs, poverty, messed-up parents, homosexuality, first love, sex and more. Must reads for fans of Simone Elkeles.

pushing the limits dare you to

9. Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg. This is another “lighter” serious book. Smart and sassy on the surface, this book is anything but shallow. Issues include messy dysfunctional families and the pressure put on girls to be pretty in order to fit in.


10. Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John. Gosh, it has been a while since I have sung the praises of Piper Vaughn and this awesome book! The issue: a deaf teen in a hearing world. Love, love, love this book.

fiveflavorsof dumb

Honorable Mentions go to:

perfect chemistry summer rules of survival okay for now going bovine nantucket blue

Happy (grab a tissue before you start) Reading!



Mondays With Megan-Spring Readathon Wrap-up

Hello dear reader, Happy Monday! As you may know, I participated in another Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon over the weekend. I was so excited. I was so prepared. I was so sleepy…and threw in the towel during hour 18. *Sigh* Well, lesson learned! No more Cousins Night Out before a readathon. I will redeem myself in October. Of course the event was not a total bust. I think 18 hours of participation is not too shabby and I finished three books. Now I am only 4 books behind on my reading goal! How about a big It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? list? Thanks to Book Journey and Teach Mentor Text for hosting!

mondayreading Mon Reading Button PB to YA


mind games golem what happens next sweet revenge fruits basket1 ocd finger lickin relish

1. Mind Games by Kiersten White is the first in a new series. It is a huge departure from her Paranormalcy series and took some getting used to, but in the end, I really liked it!
2. The Golem’s Eye by Jonathan Stroud is the second book in the Bartimaeus series. I listened to this one and enjoyed it more than the first. I will definitely finish this series. I was on the fence when I began.
3. What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton is a fantastic debut by a local author! I often struggle with “issue” books and this was no different. It seems so wrong to say that I loved a book that deals with the aftermath of a drug rape, but I did.
4. The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door by Karen Finneyfrock is another debut novel. The issues are bullying and homosexuality. It was fine.
5. Fruits Basket vol. 1 by Natsuki Takaya. A teen reader of mine insisted that I read this. I don’t read much manga, but I enjoyed this one. I will probably read on.
6. OCD, the Dude, and Me by Karen Roedy Vaughan. Wanted to love it. Ended up just liking it. I think I may have over done it on the contemporary fiction. Once again, traumatized girl being saved by a guy. The whole OCD part was very interesting.
7. Finger Lickin’ Fifteen by Janet Evanovich. I missed the exploding car bits in the last one…she brought back the fire balls with a vengeance. Good old predictable fluff.
8. Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley. I LOVED this graphic novel memoir. I may have to own this one. I will definitely be gifting this one to a few foodies. Perfect.

Currently Listening To:

caleb life after life

Currently Reading:

nightmare affair dare you to my one square inch hallowed ones

I am so excited to have an e-galley of Dare You To by Katie McGarry! The others are in preparation for the Ohioana Book Festival. So far I am enjoying all of my reading this week.

Happy Reading!


Insomnia by J.R. Johansson Review


Insomnia (The Night Walkers #1) by J.R. Johansson
June 8, 2013
360 pgs

Parker Chipp hasn’t slept in more than four years. He has a terrible secret, one that is most likely killing him. What no one knows is that he watches the dreams of the last person he has eye contact with instead of having his own. A much-needed reprieve from this burden comes with the new girl at school. Parker has no idea why, but for some reason he can actually sleep in Mia’s dreams. Now, his sleep deprived body and brain crave Mia’s dreams, but working out the eye contact is tricky. The more he pushes, the more Mia runs away from him. As sleep deprivation takes its toll, Parker begins to have blackouts and hallucinations. When Mia begins to receive threats suspicion naturally falls on Parker. Can he convince his friends and himself that he is not a monster or has the darkness taken over?

Insomnia will keep you up all night just trying to figure out what is going on! There are so many twists, turns, and red herrings that I was kept guessing until the very end. Parker’s decent into madness is swift and disturbing. His struggle with The Darkness is reminiscent of Dexter’s Dark Passenger (I love that show!). This is a truly creepy and riveting read and I can’t wait to see where the story goes.

Give this to fans of Lisa McMann’s Wake series and Barry Lyga’s I Hunt Killers.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an advanced copy for review.

Happy Reading!