Tag Archives: Ilsa Bick

Top Ten Tuesday-Books That Were Difficult to Read 9/30/14


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, was suggested by readers. They are asking about books that were hard to read. There are a number of reasons a book may be hard to read. I made a deal with myself a long time ago to only read books that I like, but sometimes I feel an obligation to read things that make me uncomfortable. Also, it’s good to get out of your comfort zone every now and then.

Hard to read because of the subject:

1. Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein. This was harder than Code Name Verity because of the disturbing and graphic descriptions of life in a concentration camp. I really try to avoid Holocaust books as much as possible. Definitely well-written and deserving of all the praise, but difficult for me to finish nonetheless.

rose under fire

2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I knew better than to read this one, but I allowed myself to get swept up in the John Green craze and boy, did I regret it. My #1 reading rule is NO CANCER BOOKS. This is what happens when I break the rule. I have to officially and forever break up with John Green. I am done.

fault in our stars

3. Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers. Oh, man. This book about bullying and mean girls is brutal. You should feel uncomfortable reading it. It’s fantastic and terrible.

some girls are

4. Tease by Amanda Maciel. Another disturbing book about bullying, with slut-shaming added to the mix. And suicide.



5. Reality Boy by A.S. King. This one really made me stop and think about reality television, and I didn’t like what I came up with. It’s gross. I just felt to bad for Gerald the entire time I was reading. I love A.S. King and I love the way she tackles tough topics!

reality boy

6. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick. I am noticing a pattern here…So Holocaust and cancer books are hard and they tend to be no-nos, but bullying? Just as hard, but I read A LOT of them! I am not sure how I feel about this realization.

forgive me leonard

7. Monster by Ilsa Bick. This one was a surprise to me. I read and liked the first two books in the trilogy, but I actually never finished though because of the graphic violence. It was too much for me!


Because I just wasn’t buying it…

8. The Eye of Minds by James Dashner. I just wasn’t able to completely suspend by disbelief. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and More Than This by Patrick Ness are much better choices. I read this one because a teen reader recommended it to me.


9. Small Town Sinner by Melissa C. Walker. I am not sure why this even on my radar, but is was a Random Read selection so I toughed it out.

small town sinners

10. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black. It pains me that I feel this way, but I thought this was let down. I was expecting something so fresh and new and exciting in the vampire world and I just didn’t get it.

coldestHappy Reading!



Mondays With Megan-Spy School Week 2 8/12/13

gallagher girls readathon

It’s week 2 of The Gallagher Girls Read-a-thon, hosted by Books As You Know It.

i'd tell you i love

Last week I revisited I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You. This is where the magic beginnings! In retrospect I realize that this is not the best book in the series. It’s a quick, fun beginning, but it is so different from the books that follow. My favorite things about this one are getting to know the school itself and meeting the characters. The Gallagher Academy is full of surprises and the secrets we learn in book one are just the tip of the iceberg. I love the quirky professors, the fine dining in the cafeteria, and the long list of useful items allegedly invented by some clever spy girls. I also realized that despite not being a fan of Josh, he is a very important tool and his role was necessary to move Cammie and the series forward. If you haven’t started the Gallagher Girls series, I suggest you get busy. If you read the first book and never continued, I assure you that each book is better than the last! I am looking forward to digging into Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy this week.

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

mondayreading IMWAYR


i'd tell you i love everybody sees the ants crayons monsters of men emerald green bayou 1 bayou 2

Man, I killed it last week! If I keep this up I may get back on track with my reading goal! I have yet to be disappointed by A.S. King. In Everybody Sees the Ants she tackles bullying. I love how she weaves magical realism into her stories. I also love how she writes adults-just like real life. None are perfect. Some totally suck, others try their best. I can’t wait for Reality Boy! After seeing The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt on a bunch of blogs I just had to see for myself what the fuss was all about. Oh boy, was this an adorable and hilarious little picture book. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up (even if you don’t have a young one to share it with!). I finally finished Monsters of Men, the final book in the Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness. This stuff is brilliant! It was powerful and disturbing and left me with a lot to think about. Finally, I zipped through an ARC of Emerald Green, the final book in that adorable Ruby Red Trilogy by Kerstin Gier. There were plenty of surprises and clever twists, but I wish it wasn’t over! Finally, I read Bayou vol 1 & 2 by Jeremy Love. The artwork is gorgeous and the story is a dark and bizarre blend of Southern folklore, and African-American history and folklore. I didn’t know what to expect, but I thought is was pretty cool. I wish volume 3 was published.

Current Audio:

secret keeper joyland

Oh, The Secret Keeper…I am loving this one. The suspense is killing me! I also started Joyland by Stephen King. A creepy carnival seems to be an appropriate end-of-summer book.

Currently Reading:

cross my heart explosive eighteen shadows

I had my fill of dark and disturbing for a while. I all about light and fun this week so I will be continuing with the Gallagher Girls read-a-thon. Stephanie Plum is also a nice, predictable comic relief. I am finally going to start Shadows, the second book in the Ashes trilogy. Monsters comes out in September and I want to be ready!

Happy Reading!


Top Ten Tuesday-Favorite New-To-Me Authors of 2012


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, brought to you by The Broke and The Bookish, is all about new-to-me authors. I hope debut authors count because without them my list would be much shorter and you all know how I like to make long lists!

1. This year I discovered A.S. King when I read Please Ignore Vera Dietz. I definitely plan to read the rest of her works! I think I will work my way backwards and start with Ask the Passengers.

please ignore vera dietz

2. This 2012 debut author is certainly new to me, but I plan on us being BFFs for a long time. I LOVED Melissa Meyer‘s Cinder.


3. The first book in Katie Alender‘s Bad Girls Don’t Die series hooked me…and yet I have still not finished the other books. Shame on me!

bad girls don't die

4. Another new-to-me author is Patrick NessThe Knife of Never Letting Go was such an amazing read. I really need to get on the rest of the series.

knife of neve

5. Ilsa Bick may be best know for her Star Trek novels (totally not my thing), but I discovered her this year when I picked up her 2011 novel,  Ashes. Wowza! I have Shadows waiting for me at home. Must. Read. Faster.


6. Barry Lyga has been writing YA novels for years, but I just “discovered” him this year when I read was I Hunt Killers. Love. Can’t wait for Game. Must have now. While I wait for it to be April, 2013 I should go back and read his other books.

i hunt killers

7. I can’t stop recommending this charming and hilarious middle-grade novel by Christopher Healy. Seriously, do yourself a favor and read The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom. Again, April 2013 can’t get here soon enough. The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle? Yes, please.

hero's guide

8. I had a rocky relationship with Laini Taylor‘s The Daughter of Smoke and Bone. When everyone else was gushing about Karou and Akiva way back in 2011 I was like, meh. Oh thank goodness for awesome audiobooks. This year I discovered the amazingness that is Laini Taylor!

daughter of smoke

9. I finally got around to reading Lish McBride‘s 2010 debut,  Hold Me Closer, Necromancer (followed immediately by the 2012 sequel, Necromancing the Stone). I now ask myself two questions. 1. Why in the world did I wait so long to read this crazy-fun book? 2. When will there be more?

hold me

10. Megan McCafferty‘s Jessica Darling is the darling of YA and I finally know why. Sloppy Firsts is adorable and I will be working my way through the rest of the series.


This would not be a typical Top Ten list if it didn’t include at least 12 items. The following bonus new-to-me authors are also 2012 debuts and I want more from them. Preferably right now.

11. Huntley Fitzpatrick‘s My Life Next Door is my new favorite YA romance. Remember all the buzz and excitement about Anna and the French Kiss? Right. Well MLND is this year’s Anna. Totally.

my life

12. The writing team of Martin Leicht and Ilsa Neal gave me the gift that is Mothership this year. I am eternally grateful and eagerly await more. Do yourself a favor and check out this campy gem.


What new-to-you authors did you enjoy this year?

Happy Reading!


Mondays With Megan: Technology Overload Edition and What Are You Reading?

Another busy weekend has come to an end and it’s back to the grindstone. I was a little disappointed that I was unable to participate in the Dewey’s Readathon this time around, but I was too busy kicking it with some of Cleveland’s finest authors. Maybe you’ve heard of Les Roberts? Yeah, we’re besties now. I had the good fortune to introduce him at the Rocky River Public Library Book Festival. I also brought him lots of coffee and a pilfered cookie. Like I said, besties. And speaking of good fortune, I won a Nook Color. So now, my TBR pile can be both physical and virtual! Add this to the fun little ipod my friend gave me, and I am in a state of technological overload. What do I read first? A book? In paper or on a device? Which device? Mind you, I am NOT complaining. I realize how fortunate I am to have these “problems.” The best part is going to be shopping for e-books for myself and the library. In fact, as soon as I am done here I am off to browse. So, what am I reading?


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Book Journey. A Children’s/YA version is available at Teach Mentor Text.

Ongoing books: I am still listening to High Five by Janet Evanovich (reliably good fun) and Gideon’s Corpse by Douglas Preston (and it is still the cheesiest, chock-full-of-cliche book I have ever read. But I press on. I need to know who did it.)


Finished this week: An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor. I picked this as my gentle read for book club. It was charming and funny and I will definitely continue on with the series.

On my ipod: Ashes by Ilsa Bick. This one has gotten great reviews. My friend loved it and insisted I read it. So far, so good…and a bit gross. The perfect balance to my gentle read.

On my Nook: An e-galley of Dead Time by Anne Cassidy. A mystery set in modern-day London.

My real, live, actual paper and glue book: The List by Siobhan Vivian.  The ultimate Mean Girl book. Sort of breaks my heart a little and makes me realize that I got off easy in high school.

Up next: The Power of Six by Pitticus Lore. In paper.

What are you reading?

Happy Reading!