Megan’s Top Ten (Sixteen) Teen Reads of 2016

Every year I agonize over which books will earn a place on my end of the year favorites list. This year I decided to quit fretting and just make multiple lists! First up, my favorite YA reads of 2016. In alphabetical order:

  1. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds. This ripped from the headlines story of police brutality and race relations is an intense must-read.

all-american

2. All In and Bad Blood (The Naturals #3 and 4) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. The Naturals series     is Criminal Minds with teens. It’s smart, suspenseful, and dark.

all-in bad-blood

3. Calamity (The Reckoners #3) by Brandon Sanderson. The final showdown between the Epics and the Reckoners is all about redemption. A perfect series finale.

calamity

4. Carry on by Rainbow Rowell. Readers were introduced to Simon Snow and Baz in Fangirl. Carry On is the novel version of the fan fiction that Cath writes. Very meta.

carry-on

5. The Creeping Shadow (Lockwood & Co. #4) by Jonathon Stroud. Full of twists and turns and shocking bombshells, this spooky series keeps getting better and better.

creeping-shadow

6. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling. It’s always a treat to be able to get new Harry Potter material!

harry

7.  If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo. This is another timely read about a transgender teen looking to make a fresh start in a new town.

if-i-was

8. Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray. The sequel to The Diviners is another spooky journey into the supernatural world of 1920’s New York City.

lair

9. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand. Fans of The Princess Bride will love this hilarious, somewhat true(ish) account of Lady Jane Grey. A romantic, historical fiction tale with a touch of the paranormal. This is the first of a planned “famous Janes” series.

my-lady

10.  The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie Stiefvater. Why did the Raven Cycle have to come to an end??

raven

11. The Serpent King by Jeff Zenter. One year in the lives of three teens living in a small Tennessee town. This one is a heart breaker.

serpent-king

12. Still Life With Tornado by A.S. King. It’s always a good year when you get a new A.S. King book.

still

13. This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1) by Victoria Schwab. For fans of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, this is a tale of two teens living in a broken world of violence and monsters. So much to love in this dark urban fantasy.

this-savage-song

14. To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party by Skila Brown. This might be my surprise favorite book of the year. Let me tell you: this is a novel in verse about cannibals. Please and thank  you!

to-stay-alive

15. The Tournament at Gorlan (The Ranger’s Apprentice: The Early Years #1) by John Flanagan. I will never tire of Halt and Crowley! This new series takes readers back to when Halt was the apprentice.

tournament

16. The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma. Black Swan meets Orange is the New Black. This one is weird and I loved it.

walls-around-us

Happy Reading!

~Megan

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy International Women’s Day!

It’s International Women’s Day! March 8th is a worldwide celebration of women and their achievements and a call for gender equality.  Take today to celebrate being YOU or any of the special ladies in your life!  Last night I started reading Gloria Steinem’s latest, My Life on the Road, which feels pretty appropriate for this week.  (My signed copy was a Christmas gift!)  I tried to jot down a quick list of some of my favorite women authors and I kept thinking of writers of children’s books.  It turns out I grew up reading some pretty great women, so I mixed those in with other classics.  What women have shaped your bookshelves over the years?

jane eyre

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

rebecca

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

handmaid's tale

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

little house

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

murder on the orient

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

julie wolves

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George

harriet the spy

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

stepping cracks.jpg

Stepping on the Cracks by Mary Downing Hahn

from the mixed up files

From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L Konigsburg

~Lauren

Wintry Reads for Wintry Days

*I wrote this post yesterday, after spending two hours digging myself out of the latest snowfall. Today is all sunshine and the drip, drip, drip of melting icicles. I stand by my list.*

Snow and cold getting you down? I say surrender. Give up. Hide out. Grab a book, some snacks, and your favorite slippers and hide until spring. Spring has to come eventually, right? Or are you more of the snow bunny type, rejoicing in all this fluffy, fluffy snow? Either way, I recommend checking out one of these wintry reads!

1. The Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah is two stories in one. In the present two sisters cope with the loss of their father and try to relate to their always cold and mother. In the past, that same mother was a young girl in war-torn Leningrad.

winter garden

2. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey is a retelling of a Russian fairy tale, transported to the snow tundra of Alaska during the 1920s.

snow child

3. Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan takes place in a soon-to-be-closing Red Lobster during a snowstorm just days before Christmas.

last night at the lobster

4. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin is where you’ll find the often repeated refrain “Winter is coming.”

game of thrones

5. Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer tells the chilling (see what I did there?) story of what happens when the moon is knocked out of its orbit. Let’s just say it gets really cold.

life as we knew it

6. The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney tells the tale of a murdered fur trader in an isolated Canadian wilderness community.

tenderness of wolves

7. Stork, Flock, and Frost by Wendy Delsol is set in chilly Minnesota and features the Icelandic Stork Society, an ancient society charged with matching unborn souls with mothers. Jack Frost and The Snow Queen also make appearances!

stork flock frost

8. City of Thieves by David Benioff is the story of Kolya and Lev, two men with nothing in common except the fact their lives depend on their ability to find eggs in the frozen city if Leningrad during the siege.

city of thieves

9. A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchey is a cozy story about a bed and  breakfast on the west coast of Ireland and guests who stay there.

week in winter

And since you have been such good sports about all these snow-filled titles, here is a beach read to get you excited about warm weather!

10. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter has nothing to do with winter, though there is a character who is writing a screenplay for a film about the Donner Party. The characters are unforgettable, and the descriptions of the Vergogna, the cliff-side villa in Southern Italy will have you packing your bags!

beautiful ruins

Enjoy your escape!

˜Megan

I Read YA, Do You?

YA (young adult) literature isn’t just for teens anymore. It appears that the movie industry has finally wised up to something that fans of YA have known for years: YA books are AWESOME (and apparently make great movies). So, you’ve read Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and maybe even The Perks of Being a Wallflower. What’s next?

 

White Cat by Holly Black. This is the first book in The Curse Workers series. It’s like The Sopranos with magic. Set in an alternate reality America, some people have the supernatural ability to manipulate the minds, memories, emotions, and luck of others with the touch of a hand. Other curse workers have the power to kill, transform, or physically injure others. Curse work is illegal, workers are feared, and most are criminals, mobsters, and con artists. Cassel Sharpe comes from a family of workers but he has no curse skill. He is an outcast, a con artist, and a murderer….dun dun dun!

white cat2

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. Thanks to the success of The Walking Dead, zombies are all the rage and YA has TONS of awesome zombie fare. One of my favorites is this trilogy by Carrie Ryan. Mary has grown up in relative safety, while the Unconsecrated roam the forest and unrelentingly attempt to get beyond the fences. When the wall it breached Mary has to choose between the life she has always known and the dangers of the great unknown. Dark, intense, and never once is the word zombie mentioned!

forest of hands and teeth original

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. Are you a history buff? You won’t want to miss this awesome steampunk take on WWI! Here’s the scoop: the year is 1914, and Europe is on the verge of a war. Prince Alek, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne is on the run from the Clanker Army. Deryn Sharp, a girl disguised as a boy, is an airman for the British Air Force learning to fly the genetically engineered air beast, the Leviathan. The two form an uneasy alliance as they struggle to protect their secrets and stay alive. Clankers vs Darwinist! Giant walking machines vs. Giant flying beasts. This is the first in a trilogy as well.

leviathan

The Diviners by Libba Bray. Flappers are once again hip, thanks to the remake of The Great Gatsby! How would you like your Flappers with a side of supernatural demonic serial killer? So. Freaking. Creepy.

diviners

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga. Speaking of creepy! Love Dexter? Check out this series starring Jasper Dent, the son of the countries most notorious serial killer.

i hunt killers

Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Sure, Iron Man is a really hot cyborg, but Cinder is a cyborg version of Cinderella. This first book in the series is a futuristic retelling of the Cinderella story, complete with a handsome prince and a wicked stepmother.

cinder

I am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak. Not into all the dark, supernatural stuff? No problem! From the author of The Book Thief (have you read that one? No? You should!) comes the story of Ed Kennedy, my favorite nobody. Ed Kennedy is a nineteen-year-old Australian cab driving who lives with a smelly old dog, pines away for his best friend, Audrey, and loves to play cards. He’s an ordinary guy, going nowhere fast, until the day he foils a bank robbery. His glory is short-lived, but shortly after the would-be robber is sentenced, Ed receives an ace of clubs with three addresses written on it. And so begins Ed’s new adventure.

i am the messenger

Okay For Now by Gary Schmidt. This book was recently chosen as NPR’s Back Seat Book Club selection and a personal favorite of mine. Doug has a time life at home and now that he has moved to a new, small town things don’t look much better. Both his dad and his brother are bullies and his other brother is away in Vietnam. With nothing to do and no friends, Doug finds himself at the library. There he discovers Audubon’s birds and a talent he never knew he had. I did not expect to become so completely emotionally tangled up with Doug and his problems. And the birds! Audubon’s birds! Really? Yes! I have read this one twice now and I am sure I will read it again.

okay for now

Are you read for this summer big YA movie? I don’t know about you, but I am so excited to see City of Bones by Cassandra Clare on the Big Screen!

city of bones

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

 

The Perfect Pairing-A Book and a Beverage

One of my favorite ways to enjoy a book is to steal away to the local coffee shop and tuck into a vanilla latte. With an extra shot of espresso. Now that the warm weather has finally arrived, it is time to move out to a patio or porch with a cool, refreshing beverage. Sounds relaxing, right? Need some inspiration? Here are some perfect warm-weather reads, paired with the perfect drink.

saving ceecee honeycutt long_island_iced_tea

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman is a sweet coming-of-age story set in Savannah during the 1960’s.  This charming book filled with loveable and eccentric characters should be enjoyed with a tall glass of sweet tea (though the ladies of the story often indulged in a Long Island Iced Tea).

garden spells HardCiderIsIn

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen is a perfect spring read! It’s full of gorgeous gardens, divine food, and a hint of magic and romance. Pair this one with a crisp, cold apple cider. The old tree in Claire’s yard would approve.

ready player one tab

Maybe you prefer a retro read? Children of the 80’s will love all of the pop-culture references in Ernest Cline’s Ready Player OneI suggest that you pop open an iced-cold Tab and dive into virtual world of the OASIS.

112263 lemonade2

This may seem like an unusual pairing, but I guarantee that you’ll enjoy an icy, tart lemonade with Stephen King’s 11/22/63. This giant tome this is a perfect pick for a lazy warm day. You will surely lose track of time once you start reading this suspenseful tale of history and time travel. A lemonade is just the thing to keep you perfectly refreshed.

All this talk of warm weather reading and tasty beverages has me thinking about my weekend reading plans. I think this is what I want my Saturday morning to look like:

game latte

Game by Barry Lyga is the sequel to I Hunt Killers. Of course my beverage of choice will most likely be an iced latte. I am excited to spend some time during day light hours with this super creepy serial killer book. You’ll find both of these titles in the Teen section of the library, but if you like Dexter you will definitely enjoy reading about the son of a notorious serial killer.

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

From Muppets to Nightmares

Jason Segel     Most people know Jason Segel from movies like Knocked Up and This is 40 or maybe from the television series, How I met Your Mother. What you might not know is that he is also a writer, having written the screenplays for Forgetting Sarah Marshall and the 2011 movie The Muppets. According to the Associated Press, he is going to be using that writing talent to pen a series of books for middle school kids on overcoming your fears, and it’s supposed to be funny as well as scary. He’ll be collaborating with popular author,  Kirsten Miller, to create the series “Nightmares!” and Random House is set to publish it next year.

—Julie