Catching Up on Book Stuff! Favorite Series and Books that Make Me Cry and Laugh!

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It seems that I’ve gotten a little bit behind in my book blogging challenge.  I wish that I could say that I’ve been busy doing busy people things, but the truth is that I am starting my new book tomorrow and my first book comes out in three weeks, so I gave myself a much needed 2 week vacation of very little reading and writing.  Instead, I filled my hours with junk food, reality television and some of the worst films I’ve ever seen, with the exception of The Fault in Our Stars, which I bawled relentlessly while watching.  In the interim, I also had a birthday, got married, judged a beauty pageant, celebrated another 4th of July and had blueberry and chocolate pancakes for the first time! It’s been a busy few weeks, but it’s time to get back and catch up on my 30 day book blog challenge!

Since I’m so far behind, I’m just going to briefly answer the days I’ve missed…

Day 03: Your Favorite Series

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So here’s the thing; I’ve always wanted to be a series reader, but I just couldn’t really ever get into them.  A few years ago, several of my clients suggested the Twilight series, and I mercifully forced myself through those books.  I didn’t really like them, but I didn’t hate them either.  I really appreciate Stephenie Meyer as a master storyteller, she’s just not much of a writer.  I also read the 50 Shades of Grey books, again at a suggestion, and really couldn’t devour those either.

But just last month, I found Geography Club, the first book in the Russel Middlebrook series by Brent Hartinger.  To be honest with you, I didn’t really expect to like them very much, instead expecting them to be trivial and superficial gay, young adult books.  I was entirely wrong.  Even if you aren’t gay or a teenager, these books are heartfelt, compelling, humorous and endearing.  I literally felt like Russel was my kid brother while reading them.  So far, there are four books in the series, with a fifth short story featuring the main character.  The books, in order, are: Geography Club, The Order of the Poison Oak, Double Feature(Attack of the Soul Sucking Brain Zombies and Bride of the Soul Sucking Brain Zombies) and The Elephant of Surprise and the short story is called Two Thousand Pounds Per Square Inch. 

When I finished reading the books, I bought them on Audible and listened to them, one right after another.  Josh Hurley, the actor who narrates the books, plays such a perfect Russel that I actually felt like I was listening to the real character tell his own story.  I don’t know if that makes sense, but sometimes with audio books, the story gets lost by the wrong voice, but with Josh, he is the perfect voice for Russel.  Anyway, they’re just as good on Audible as they are in print, but I suggest reading them first!

And check out all of Brent Hartinger’s stuff on his website Brent’s Brain!

By the way…we interviewed him for raannt and it will be live later this week!


Day 04: Favorite Book of My Favorite Series

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This is tough because I literally loved every one of the books in the Russel Middlebrook series, and each story was so completely different, but I’d have to say my favorite was The Order of the Poison Oak.  I’m not going to tell you why, you’ll just have to read them all and see if you agree!

Day 05: A Book That Makes You Happy

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Every year at the beginning of summer, I bring out my tattered copy of Alice Low‘s Summer.  I’ve had it forever and I love reading the simple of story of the kids and their “pup” as they have the most magical summer day, playing in the garden hose, going to the fair, catching fireflies, roasting marshmallows and riding home on a hay truck, their pup fast asleep.  If you’ve never read this book, buy one and keep it forever.  To me, it literally is summer.

Day 06: A Book That Makes You Sad

the fault in our stars book john green_peter monn

I really hate to be cliched, but while reading the last 50 pages of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green I literally bawled like crazy.  It’s not that it’s just a sad book, which it is, but it is so well done and so true to life.  I’ll try to say this without ruining it, in case you’re the .00001% who haven’t read the book, but when someone who shouldn’t shows up to a funeral, I literally lost it.  And in the book it’s so much more powerful than in the movie, which was equally as good.

Day 07: A Book That Makes You Laugh

its so magic lynda barry_peter monn

All of Lynda Barry’s books about Maybonne and her younger sister Marlys, make me laugh hysterically but also make me a little sad.  The books, my favorite being It’s So Magic, are graphic novels, basically cartoons, combining raw humor with vulnerability and honesty.  I have loved these girls for so long that I feel like I actually know them.  To this day, some of the lines, like “Wait til she gets a turtle man” and just Maybonne’s stunned looks…

maybonne lynda barry_peter monn

make me howl with laughter.  There are have also been other times when the stories are too real and I just can’t read anymore. But mostly, they are magic.  All of her books in the series are amazing and her novel Cruddy is awesome as well! She is a true inspiration to much of my work and has helped me to really define a character so that I feel like they are living inside of my head.

Day 08: Most Overrated Book

God, so many! So many underrated books too, but what I’ve really learned is that reading is conceptual and someone will love one thing while another will hate it.  There have been times in my life when I absolutely couldn’t read a book only to come back to it years later and find that I fall in love with it.  In my youth, I really struggled with Billie Letts, but now she is absolutely one of my all-time favorites! (When I was in college, I wrote Jill McCorkle and she wrote me back!!!! She hand wrote me back on a piece of stationary which I still have today.  It was my first big starstruck moment and it made me realize that writers were humans too! I’ve loved her ever since!)

ken grimwood replay_peter monnferris beach jill mckorkle_peter monn

At this stage in the game, I’m willing to try any book that someone suggests, but if it doesn’t grab my attention right away, I don’t read past 100 pages.  I just have time to waste when there are so many great books out there.

I’m all caught up! If you read my earlier post about doing reviews, I’ve taken it down, having decided I enjoy reading and writing much more than actually doing reviews.  If you have suggestions for me for books, please let me know! Also let me know your answers to the questions above! xo

Much love,


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Stay tuned for the release of my book The Before Now and After Then July 29th 2014! It would really mean a lot to me if you’d add it to your Goodreads to-read shelf and go there to find out more and visit my author page! Thanks!

Please visit the Goodreads page to add this book to your shelf!

the before now and after then official cover_peter monn



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