Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Young Adult Books

 Why Read YA? What's so great about it?


For anyone who knows Rachel, the director here at Eccles-Lesher, her favorite genre to read is Young Adult. My favorite style of book is Urban Fantasy. You can see my post on that genre here. Back to Rachel. I like a good young adult novel on occasion, but I'm a mom of teenagers and have some insight into their world.  I wanted to know why Young Adult was her favorite, so I asked her to write this post for me. I was certainly more interested in the genre after reading her words. If you feel the same, stop into the library, we have an amazing selection of Young Adult novels for you to choose from! Without further ado, here's Rachel:


Why read YA?  What’s so great about it?


It’s no secret.  Young Adult literature is my jam.  So, when I was approached to write this piece, I thought the best way to break it down would be to go back to the original sources:  What formed my tastes and preferences in the first place.  I am a child of the 80's and 90's, after all. 

I spent most of my time playing outside with my friends, listening to music, making all kinds of art, and watching tons and tons of movies.  I actually didn't read that much by comparison.  So, when I thought about the quintessential 80's iconic films that I really loved, things started to make a lot of sense as to why Young Adult literature still really speaks to me today.  Films like The Goonies, Adventures in Babysitting, The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Labyrinth, Willow, The Neverending Story, E.T., The Princess Bride, Legend, Flight of the Navigator, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Wizard, The Dark Crystal, The Land Before Time, and so many more were cornerstones from my childhood.  And when you look at the main themes in a lot of these films, it’s easy to see the parallels in much of the fantasy and science-fiction sub-genres of YA that I particularly gravitate toward: Strong themes of adventure/quests (with a focus on a main mission or goal), friendship, loyalty, hope/optimism toward the future, often that dash of romance (doesn’t hurt!). 

I grew up in government housing (often referred to as “projects”) and there were always lots of other kids around, so there were always tons of adventures to go on.  I also grew up in a single-parent home, and so when my mother went to work I went to the babysitter’s, which meant I was around a ton of kids there as well.  You know what that means!  More adventures!  To this day I am still friends with some of those kids from long ago.  It’s those kinds of strong bonds, those ties of friendship that you see in a lot of Young Adult literature as groups of rag-tag individuals are either thrown together by fate or forced together by other means and have to navigate the world and obstacles around them to achieve whatever goal or reach their ultimate destination.  This genre (and in particular, these specific sub-genres), have such great energy about them – it’s so invigorating and refreshing.  It’s a great way to get a boost if you need one in your own life.

Over the years, life has definitely been one hectic curveball after another.  I’m sure you can all relate as no one’s life is easy.  We all have battles we are fighting.  Young Adult lit is a great genre for showcasing protagonists who face crazy odds and don’t give up.  However, if you’re like me and like to escape the harsh realities of our planet, it’s nice to follow a character who is dealing with issues you can relate to, but aren’t so familiar as to remind you too much of the chaos that is going on in our world.  There’s just enough of a connection that you get that boost without losing the immersion of that fantasy/sci-fi setting.  This aspect, as well as the connections a lot of the characters make with each other, create a wonderful overall uplifting tone which I find revitalizing when real life starts to dull my shine.

It also keeps me humble and reminds me to always reach out to my incredible network of friends who have helped me through so much in life.  That’s another reason why we read – it connects us in so many ways.  Many of my friends are readers and we read a lot of the same stuff.  I cannot count the number of hours we have spent fangirling over our favorite authors, favorite characters, discussing crazy plot-twists or ridiculous book boyfriends (oh yes, they exist, and they are divine!).  It never ceases to amaze me that multiple people can read the same book and yet have their own unique experience with it, bring their own exclusive perspective to the table of discussion.  It’s magical. 

And even for my friends who don’t read, it still connects me to them as I will see hints of them in the characters I read about and it never fails to make me smile.  Little reminders to reach out to them to say hello or go grab lunch. 

Books are so much more than just lifeless blocks of paper.  They can accomplish incredible things within us if we are paying attention.  Find the right ones that speak to you, and you will open limitless possibilities for yourself.  For me, the right ones have been fantasy/sci-fi YA.

Rather than try to break down a bunch of different books that I’ve read over the years, I’ll just leave a list of a few of my favorite YA reads right here for anyone interested in getting started.  And remember, everyone’s tastes are different!  There’s something out there for everyone!  In YA there are plenty of other sub-genres to try as well, including contemporary, Christian, historical, mystery, and many others.

Here are my loves!

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

The Shadow and Bone Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

Air Awakens Series by Elise Kova

Penryn & the End of Days Series by Susan Ee

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

The Aurora Cycle Series by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff

Cursebreakers Series by Brigid Kemmerer

Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller

Under the Never Sky Series by Veronica Rossi

I hope you found Rachel's perspective on Young Adult novels as enlightening as I did. Let us know what you're reading! If you would like to see more of our posts, like our Facebook page or subscribe to the blog! Thanks, Kelly


Monday, November 30, 2020

Linda's Book Reviews: The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires

Linda's Book Reviews

This week's book review  is on:


Steel Magnolias meets Dracula in this '90s-set horror novel about a women's book club that must do battle with a mysterious newcomer to their small Southern town, perfect for murderous and fans of Stephen King.
Patricia Campbell’s life has never felt smaller. Her husband is a workaholic, her teenage kids have their own lives, her senile mother-in-law needs constant care, and she’s always a step behind on her endless to-do list. The only thing keeping her sane is her book club, a close-knit group of Charleston women united by their love of true crime. They’re as likely to talk about the Manson family at these meetings as they are about their own families.

One evening after book club, Patricia is viciously attacked by an elderly neighbor, bringing the neighbor's handsome nephew, James Harris, into her life. James is well-traveled and well-read, and he makes Patricia feel things she hasn’t felt in years. But when children on the other side of town go missing, their deaths written off by local police, Patricia has reason to believe James Harris is more of a Bundy than a Brad Pitt. The real problem? James is a monster of a different kind—and Patricia has already invited him in. 
Little by little, James will insinuate himself into Patricia’s life and try to take everything she took for granted—including the book club—but she won’t surrender without a fight in this blood-soaked tale of neighborly kindness gone wrong.  


 WOW! This book was AWESOME! This is the first time I have read a book by the author Grady Hendrix. I liked the way he added humor into the story. The writing just flowed. It was definitely a book I didn't want to put down!
  The story is set back in the 1990s when some housewives still felt like they had no say in the family issues. Mainly because that is how their husbands treated them, I would never put up with that these days, but that's a whole other story! 😉  Patricia and her neighborhood friends form a book club mainly to have something of their own and read true crime stories and mysteries. Something their husbands would never approve of. 
   The book was chosen as Amazon's Editor's pick of best Mystery and Thriller Suspense. If you love a good mystery set in a small town with quirky everyday characters, then THE SOUTHERN BOOK CLUB'S GUIDE TO SLAYING VAMPIRES is for you!  I Loved it! 

4 AND 1/2 STARS!


Friday, November 27, 2020

Thanksgiving Leftovers


For our final Thanksgiving post we're giving you a fun leftover recipe to try!

Leftover Turkey Quesadillas
    4 wraps 
    2 cups shredded turkey breast
    1/2 cup cranberry sauce
    2 cups cheese of choice
    The above are the base ingredients. Feel free to add any other leftovers that appeal to you. Sweet potatoes, corn cassarole, etc. 

Add either butter or olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.

Place a wrap in the bottom of the skillet, top with 1/4 cup cheese, 1/2 cup turkey, 1/4 cup cheese, any other ingredients you would like to add, and top with another wrap.

Grill for about 5 minutes on each side, or until cheese is all melty.

Remove from heat, cut into fourths, and serve. 

This is a fun yummy way to use up some of that leftover turkey without having a repeat of Thanksgiving dinner! Enjoy and we will be back to our regular posts on Monday with Linda's Book Reviews.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Have some fun finding all the words you can make from 'Happy Thanksgiving'

Print your copy Here

Have fun and have a Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Thanksgiving: Would You Rather


Enjoy these Thanksgiving would you rather questions from Sign Up Genius. A great icebreaker for those awkward family gatherings.

  1. Would you rather eat an entire turkey by yourself or eat all the Thanksgiving stuffing by yourself?
  2. Would you rather have two days of Thanksgiving or two days of Christmas?
  3. Would you rather have a Thanksgiving meal without your favorite dish, or have a meal made up of only your favorite Thanksgiving dish?
  4. Would you rather cook the Thanksgiving meal or clean up the dishes?
  5. Would you rather eat Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant or at home?
  6. Would you rather take a nap after the meal or watch a football game?
  7. Would you rather always smell like turkey or always smell like gravy?
  8. Would you rather be in the Thanksgiving Day parade, or be one of the hosts commenting on the parade? 
  9. Would you rather wear a pilgrim hat to school and work for all of November, or eat Thanksgiving food for every day of November?
  10. Would you rather wash your hair with mashed potatoes or with stuffing?
  11. Would you rather go Black Friday shopping or watch Thanksgiving football?
  12. Would you rather eat an entire pumpkin pie or drink the whole gravy boat?
  13. Would you rather say fifty things you’re thankful for or listen to someone else say fifty things they’re thankful for?
  14. Would you rather be in charge of the Snoopy balloon or the Ronald McDonald balloon in the Thanksgiving Day Parade?
  15. Would you rather eat a Thanksgiving meal with just your hands, or have to open your Christmas presents using a fork?
  16. Would you rather keep a turkey as a pet for a year, or have to kill the turkey you eat for Thanksgiving?
  17. Would you rather be a turkey in a Thanksgiving school play or a corn on the cob?
  18. Would you rather run a Turkey Trot and come in first, or not have to run it at all?
  19. Would you rather wear pants two sizes too small to Thanksgiving dinner, or listen to a family member tell a gross story while you’re trying to eat Thanksgiving dinner?
  20. Would you eat a burnt Thanksgiving dinner or an undercooked Thanksgiving dinner?
  21. Would you rather take a bath in cranberry sauce or go swimming in a pool of apple cider?
  22. Would you rather get $100 dollars for every slice of pie you ate, or get $1,000 for eating no Thanksgiving food at all?
  23. Would you rather take an expensive Thanksgiving vacation or eat an expensive Thanksgiving dinner?
  24. Would you rather eat Thanksgiving dinner with the UK’s royal family or with your own family?
  25. Would you rather play in an NFL football game (with the football skills you have now) or sing at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade (with the singing abilities you have now)?
  26. Would you rather always feel too full or always feel a little hungry?
  27. Would you rather give a turkey a bath or mash a bathtub full of potatoes?
  28. Would you rather eat an entire onion or uncooked corn on the cob?
  29. Would you rather cook an entire Thanksgiving meal using only a grill or only a microwave?
  30. Would you rather have to work on Black Friday or have to work on Thanksgiving?
  31. Would you rather turn into a turkey on Thanksgiving or turn into an elf on Christmas?
  32. Would you rather spend Thanksgiving in New York City or on a farm?
  33. Would you rather eat at the kids table or the grown-ups table?
  34. Would you rather burn your turkey, but have an otherwise perfect meal, or burn everything except the turkey, which is perfect?
  35. Would you rather say what you’re grateful for before you eat or after?
  36. Would you rather drink hot cocoa or cold apple cider with your Thanksgiving meal?
  37. Would you rather eat raw pumpkin or eat raw cranberries?
  38. Would you rather be able to run a Turkey Trot without feeling tired or be able to cook perfectly without using a recipe?
  39. Would you rather invite a famous person to join your family’s dinner, or be the one person invited to join a famous family’s dinner?
  40. Would you rather travel to a relative’s house for Thanksgiving dinner or eat Thanksgiving at your own house?
  41. Would you rather wear a silly hat to Thanksgiving dinner or wear funny mittens on Christmas morning?
  42. Would you rather do a potluck Thanksgiving dinner and end up with everyone bringing stuffing, or end up with everyone bringing mashed potatoes?
  43. Would you rather dress your pet as a turkey for Thanksgiving or dress your pet as a pilgrim?
  44. Would you rather burp loudly at Thanksgiving dinner or spill your drink?
  45. Would you rather cook and clean up Thanksgiving dinner or shop for everyone in your family on Black Friday?
  46. Would you rather sing the National Anthem for an NFL game or coach an NFL football team?
  47. Would you rather dress in feathers like a turkey, or dress in orange like a pumpkin for the Thanksgiving meal?
  48. Would you rather not get passed food during Thanksgiving dinner or constantly be passing food for other people during the meal?
  49. Would you rather eat your Thanksgiving meal for dinner or lunch?
  50. Would you rather eat Thanksgiving leftovers for an entire year or never eat Thanksgiving food again?

Monday, November 23, 2020

Thanksgiving week: Riddles


Enjoy these 30 fun Thanksgiving Riddles from Scary Mommy

1. What has feathers and a beak but it is dressed?

A Thanksgiving turkey

2. Where do turkeys go to dance?

The Butter Ball.

3. At Thanksgiving dinner, which hand should you butter your roll with?

Neither – you should use a knife

4. Which side of a turkey has the most feathers?

The outside.

5. If April showers bring May flowers, then what do May flowers bring?


6. When does Christmas come before Thanksgiving?

In the dictionary.

7. What do you get when you have Broom Hilda on the beach with a turkey?

A turkey sand-witch

8 .Why did the turkey cross the road?

To prove he wasn't chicken

9. Why did they let the turkey join the Thanksgiving band?

Because he had the drum sticks.

10. What happened to the turkey who got in a fight?

He got the stuffing knocked out of him.

11. I can be smashed, baked, carved and you can see me everywhere on Thanksgiving. What am I?

A pumpkin

12. When the Pilgrims landed, where did they stand?

On their feet.

13. If the Pilgrims were alive today, what would they be most famous for?

Their age

14. What kind of music did the Pilgrims like?

Plymouth Rock

15. What kind of key has legs, but can’t open a door?

A turKEY

16. I can be hot or cold, I can be made with fruit, vegetable or meat but either way you see it, on a Thanksgiving table I will be a treat. What am I?

A pie

17. Why can’t you take a turkey to church?

Because of their fowl language

18. I have ears but I cannot hear and I have flakes but I have no hair. What am I?


19. What can never be eaten at Thanksgiving dinner?

Thanksgiving breakfast and lunch.

20. What do grateful, thankful, wonderful and joyful have all in common?

They are all stuffed.

21. What is brown, big and red all over? 

A turkey with cranberry sauce

22. What do the Pilgrims, Indians and Puritans have in common?

The letter “i.”

23. What do you get when you cross a turkey with a centipede?

Lots of drumsticks

24. Can a turkey fly higher than an ostrich?

Yes, because ostriches don’t fly

25. Pious and devout, I wear black and white clothes and funny hats. I am not a nun nor a priest, but I was an adventurer. Who am I?


26. What are unhappy cranberries called?


27. What is that favorite sport of pumpkins and gourds?


28. If it took 3 people 4 hours to roast a turkey, how long would it take 4 people to roast the same turkey?

None, the turkey is already cooked

29. What is hard, oddly-shaped and brings you good fortune on Thanksgiving?

A wishbone

30. If the turkey says gobble, gobble, gobble, and a peach says cobbler, cobbler, cobbler, what would a computer say?

Google, Google, Google

Friday, November 20, 2020

Staff Picks: November

 Staff Picks

    It's time for our monthly installment of 'Staff Picks' by Rachel, Sherri, Linda, and Kelly.
These are the books we like. Let us know if you like them too!


The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

"It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die." 

There are some books that change you forever.  There was the "you" that existed before you read them, and then there is the "you" that exists after.  This is one of those books for me and is easily in my Top Three YA of All Time.  I try to read this book every year around October/November as that is when this story takes makes in the book.  It is the complete opposite of the previous Staff Picks I have mentioned the last couple of times.  It is not fast-paced at all.  It is a wonderfully slow and atmospheric read, and the author weaves this tale without wasting one word.  It is beautifully crafted.  You feel transported within the imagery - feel the chilly wind on your face, taste the saltiness of the sea air, the sand of the beach beneath your feet.  All of the characters, including the animals, are fully fleshed out and realized.  I think "essence" is a great word here.  Maggie captures the "essence" of every part of this story perfectly. 

Definitely my November Pick.

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

"Sometimes she craved a little danger. And that was why she had book club."

This book has everything. It's funny and cozy and creepy and disturbing. What more could you ask for. The story is very Fried Green Tomatoes meets Night of the Living Dead. Patricia is a small town housewife whose husband is always busy and her two teenagers are living their own lives. She and her fellow housewives form a true crime book club and immerse themselves with the likes of Ted Bundy and Charles Manson. Then someone new moves to town and children start disappearing. 
The novel is classified as horror and there are some gruesome scenes but the overall story overwhelms any misgivings you may have about the genre. Hendrix's writing is easy to read and the story flows nicely. Definitely give this book a try!

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

This book is one of my favorites. It is the first book in a soon-to-be four book series. The story is a fantasy about fairies. Not the little tiny fairies that you learned about as a kid, grown up adult, human sized fairies. This book has action, romance, and a lot of twists. If you like fantasy, you will love it. If you have never read a fantasy, this is a great series to start with. 

Stealing Home by Sherryl Woods

This is book one in the Sweet Magnolia's Series. It is also a Netflix original series.
It's a romance based in the small town of Serenity, South Carolina.
This is an enjoyable read with very good characters. As with most small town romance novels, it has a happily ever after ending.

That's all for this month! We'll be back in December. Subscribe to our blog to see our content every day!

Young Adult Books

 Why Read YA? What's so great about it?   For anyone who knows Rachel, the director here at Eccles-Lesher, her favorite genre to read is...