Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mini-Review: WILD by Alex Mallory

Title: Wild
Author: Alex Mallory (aka Saundra Mitchell)
Published: July 8th 2014
Series: N/A
Genre: YA contemporary | retelling
POV: 3rd person, switching
Pages: 448
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Electronic ARC
Source: Edelweiss
Rating: The Courtyard
The forest is full of secrets, and no one understands that better than Cade. Foraging, hunting, surviving— that’s all he knows. Alone for years, Cade believes he’s the sole survivor. At least, until he catches a glimpse of a beautiful stranger…

Dara expected to find natural wonders when she set off for a spring break camping trip. Instead, she discovers a primitive boy— he’s stealthy and handsome and he might be following her. Intrigued, Dara seeks him out and sets a catastrophe in motion.

Thrust back into society, Cade struggles with the realization that the life he knew was a lie. But he’s not the only one. Trying to explain life in a normal town leaves Dara questioning it.

As the media swarm and the police close in, Dara and Cade risk everything to get closer. But will the truth about Cade’s past tear them apart?

A YA Tarzan retelling.

Wild is a retelling of Tarzan, and it is an interesting take on that story. Cade is a survivor and highly in balance with nature – he knows how to the move and all the tricks it takes to survive in a forest from season to season. Dara, meanwhile, is your average high school teenager who loves photography and finds her relationship with her boyfriend slowly unraveling, especially once Dara and Cade collide. Their connection is immediate, and never wavers as Cade finds himself entering Dara's world. He's a fish-out-of-water, and the media is ready to devour him and his oddness. His character is undeniably the best part of the novel, along with Mallory's descriptions of various settings (especially the forest). A story about difference, friendship, and discovering the truth, Wild is a fresh and intriguing story. 

Highlights: Cade's perspective and his character were great. I loved the chapters that zeroed in on his mindset and loved how he saw the world. He has this innocence and wonder to him as he explored Dara's world, and that genuine sweetness and cluelessness made him an intriguing character. Dara's love for photograph was also nice, and some of the descriptions for her photographs were lovely. I also liked Dara's relationship with her sister, and how it was a bit messy but still realistic. 

Lowlights: I ended up lowering the rating because the story itself, while fascinating, ultimately disappointed. I didn't care about the characters, or for the multiple POV jumps. What little mystery that was present wasn't actually mysterious. And in the end, the only reason I continued reading was to see what would happen, and to enjoy Cade's fish-out-of-water perspective.

Rating: The Courtyard (very low 3 out of 5). I did like this book while reading, so Wild does have permission to hang around the palace grounds. But, the more I thought about Wild after finishing, the more I realized it was lacking that extra spark. It's a likable story, but it has some problems and is ultimately a story I will forget. Regardless, I'd recommend checking it out if you're a fan of Tarzan and are in any way curious about this novel!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


WOW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

June 2015 from Simon Pulse
Sometimes, there are no words…

The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.

Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: An ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry—except for one.

Christian Kane is a notorious playboy—insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life.

When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though—swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them . . .

A contemporary version of The Little Mermaid by Sarah Ockler? I'm sold. I'm a huge fan of Ockler's work – her novels are always heartfelt, humorous, and memorable  – so I am incredibly EXCITED for this book! Plus, I'm loving the diversity of the cover. It looks fabulous!

What are you waiting on? 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Review: ELLA ENCHANTED by Gail Carson Levine

Title: Ella Enchanted
Author: Gail Carson Levine
Published: Originally in 1997
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Scholastic
Age: Middle Grade*
POV: 1st person
Pages: 232
Format: Paperback & Kindle
Source: Purchased
Rating: The Treasure Vault

How can a fairy's blessing be such a curse?

At her birth, Ella of Frell was given a foolish fairy's gift--the "gift" of obedience. Ella must obey any order given to her, whether it's hopping on one foot for a day or chopping off her own head!

But strong-willed Ella does not tamely accept her fate. She goes on a quest, encountering ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, fairy godmothers, and handsome princes, determined to break the curse--and live happily ever after.

What if you had to obey every command you were given? Ella of Frell, thanks to a "gift" given to her from the fairy Lucinda, has been cursed with such compulsion to be obedient ever since she was an infant. After her mother's death, her father catches the interest of Dame Olga. Dame Olga's two daughters, Hattie and Olive, take an unfortunate interest in Ella, and Ella quickly finds that hiding her obedience will be even more difficult than usual. Throw in a charming prince, some deadly and hungry ogres, and a coming-of-age journey to find a somewhat annoying fairy godmother, and you have the excellency that is Ella Enchanted.

Delightfully magical, Ella Enchanted gives a fresh twist to an old classic. Ella may be forcibly obedient, but she's fiercely determined to fight against her curse and not let it ruin her life. Despite how lighthearted some of the elements in this story seem, Gail Carson Levine touches on emotion quite genuinely. This book is simply charming, amusing, heartfelt, and truly wonderful. As a kid I adored this novel and Ella's stubborn, take-action personality. Even now as an adult, I still love and adore this novel. I would highly recommend Ella Enchanted to fantasy fans looking for something familiar, but with a few new, intriguing twists. 

Highlights: Amusing, sweet but also a sharp-witted fairytale with a twist. Prince Char, because he is obviously quite charming. Vivid descriptions bring the magic to life, and especially the various mythical creatures. Mandy is an excellent side character. As a protagonist, Ella is so smart, easy to adore, and determined. But, she's still capable of making mistakes, and that only made me root for her more. The various relationships, both good and bad, are wonderfully developed. The themes of this novel are fantastic, and I love how Gail Carson Levine delves into relatable issues while still keeping that fairytale charm. 

Lowlights: The larger plot is predictable (since this is a Cinderella retelling), but it's not very problematic, since Gail Carson Levine infuses plenty of creativity and fresh twists to keep readers on their toes. Not enough pages? That is problematic!

Rating: The Treasure Vault (5+ out of 5). Ella Enchanted is an old favorite and is worthy of keeping company with the crown jewels. I'd highly recommend this novel to other readers. If I could give this book a palace of it's own, I would. 

* I first read this novel when I was 9 or 10 years old, and adored it. This book seems to be Middle Grade, but as an adult, I can see this book as being a slightly younger YA novel, too (or an older MG story). Ella's age (15/16) makes it seem like a YA, but the content is very tame.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Review: CONVERSION by Katherine Howe

Title: Conversion
Author: Katherine Howe (@katherinebhowe)
Published: July 1st 2014
Series: N/A
Genre: YA thriller, mystery, historical
POV: 1st person
Pages: 402
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Format: Print ARC
Source: Vine Program
Rating: The Royal Library, Middle Shelf
It’s senior year at St. Joan’s Academy, and school is a pressure cooker. College applications, the battle for valedictorian, deciphering boys’ texts: Through it all, Colleen Rowley and her friends are expected to keep it together. Until they can’t.

First it’s the school’s queen bee, Clara Rutherford, who suddenly falls into uncontrollable tics in the middle of class. Her mystery illness quickly spreads to her closest clique of friends, then more students and symptoms follow: seizures, hair loss, violent coughing fits. St. Joan’s buzzes with rumor; rumor blossoms into full-blown panic.

Soon the media descends on Danvers, Massachusetts, as everyone scrambles to find something, or someone, to blame. Pollution? Stress? Or are the girls faking? Only Colleen—who’s been reading The Crucible for extra credit—comes to realize what nobody else has: Danvers was once Salem Village, where another group of girls suffered from a similarly bizarre epidemic three centuries ago . . .

Inspired by true events—from seventeenth-century colonial life to the halls of a modern-day high school—Conversion casts a spell. With her signature wit and passion, New York Times bestselling author Katherine Howe delivers an exciting and suspenseful novel, a chilling mystery that raises the question, what’s really happening to the girls at St. Joan’s?

Switching between Colleen Rowley's narration in 2012 Danvers, MA and Ann Putnam's recounting of her past experiences in Salem, Conversion is strange and spellbinding. In Colleen's chapters, her world quickly turns to chaots when the most popular senior girl in her class comes down with a mystery illness that soon spreads from girl to girl with varying symptoms. Colleen tries to deal the fiasco as best as she can, focusing on her goal of becoming valedictorian, attempting to gain admission to Harvard, and ignoring the strange text messages that urge her to read The Crucible. Ann, meanwhile, lives in 1706 and is confessing her past sins, portraying an incredibly familiar story in a slightly different light.

Howe skillfully builds the tension and mystery of Conversion. With each new girl who falls ill in Colleen's story and each new revelation Ann provides in her own tale, the the novel as a whole only continues to grow more intriguing and captivating. The parallels between both stories are fascinating, and Colleen's tale forced me to think differently about the Salem witch trials. I'm going to keep quiet on plot details and leave it at this –  Conversion is a story of friendship, family, secrets, and the lengths people are willing to go to in order to be seen. It's a fascinating story to watch unfold, and one that shouldn't be missed.

Highlights: Neither narrator is overwhelmingly likable, and I enjoyed that realism. Colleen is very focused on herself and her future, while Ann made incredibly foolish and deadly mistakes for selfish reasons. Howe builds each girl with flaws and attributes that make them seem even more realistic. Family is present, and Colleen's parents were extremely realistic and caring (which is surprisingly rare in YA novels). I especially loved the ending, and how it seems both final yet ambiguous. It's up to the reader, as to what really happened, and who to believe.

Lowlights: The beginning seemed a bit slow. It took a bit of time to get used to the switching between narrators, but soon enough, Conversion became a difficult book to set aside.

Rating: The Royal Library, Middle Shelf (4 out of 5). Conversion is fantastic, and has earned a spot in the royal library. I enjoyed this story very much, despite a few small issues, and would recommend this book to other readers.

Thursday, July 24, 2014



Title: Death Sworn
Author: Leah Cypress
Published: March 2014
Series: Death Sworn #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
POV: 1st person
Pages: 352
Publisher: Greenwillow
Format: e-ARC
Source: Edelweiss
Rating: Tea Party
When Ileni lost her magic, she lost everything: her place in society, her purpose in life, and the man she had expected to spend her life with. So when the Elders sent her to be magic tutor to a secret sect of assassins, she went willingly, even though the last two tutors had died under mysterious circumstances.

But beneath the assassins’ caves, Ileni will discover a new place and a new purpose… and a new and dangerous love. She will struggle to keep her lost magic a secret while teaching it to her deadly students, and to find out what happened to the two tutors who preceded her. But what she discovers will change not only her future, but the future of her people, the assassins… and possibly the entire world.

Highlights: The magic system in Death Sworn is fascinating, and it's nice to see a protagonist who struggles and relies on their wits to get them through tough situations. Ileni used to be impressive and powerful, but now her magic continues to fade away, but she doesn't let that hold her back. Even though the setting is limited to the assassin's cave, Cypress writes the setting in a wonderfully detailed fashion that brings every inch to life. The mystery behind what happened to the previous tutors, and what may happen to Ileni, kept me curious and intrigued until the very bittersweet conclusion. Action, secrets, magic - it was truly a wonderful story. 

Lowlights: I wish the setting had been expanded a bit wider. The romance was weak, and the characters could have been developed a bit more. As much as I enjoyed the story, I was left a bit underwhelmed, but I have a feeling the next novel will be even better. 

Rating: Tea Party (very high 3 out of 5). I enjoyed this story very much, enough that I'd like to have it around for a tea every so often. Yet, while I greatly enjoyed Death Sworn, it hasn't earned a permanent spot in my palace. 


Title: Altered
Author: Gennifer Albin
Published: October 2013
Series: Crewel World #2
Genre: YA sci-fi / dystopia / paranormal
POV: 1st person
Pages: 401
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publicist
Rating: Tea Party
Life. Possibility. Choice.

All taken from Adelice by the Guild—until she took them back.

But amid the splendid ruins of Earth, Adelice discovers how dangerous freedom can be. Hunted by soulless Remnants sent by Cormac Patton and the Guild, Adelice finds a world that’s far from deserted. Although allies are easy to find on Earth, knowing who to trust isn’t. Because everyone has secrets, especially those Adelice loves most. Secrets they would kill to protect. Secrets that will redefine each of them. Torn between two brothers and two worlds, Adelice must choose what to fight for.
Highlights: I found Albin's debut surprising and fascinating, and the sequel to Crewel proved to be more of the same. Adelice finds herself in a new place, where life is very different than the one she knew as a spinster. Earth is such a different place than it used to be, and the horrifying Remnants make it a dangerous place to be. The secrets that are revealed about her past, her parents, and her new "allies" were so fascinating and shocking. This is one of those stories that keeps you glued to the pages, eager for more. 

Lowlights: The romance was so disappointing. The love triangle is in full force, but I couldn't root for either love interest. I probably would have liked this book so much more without the love triangle. 

Rating: Tea Party (high 3 out of 5). I enjoyed this story very much, enough that I'd like to have it around for a tea every so often. Yet, while I greatly enjoyed Altered, it hasn't earned a permanent spot in my palace. 


Title: House of Ivy & Sorrow
Author: Natalie Whipple
Published: April 2014
Series: ?
Genre: YA paranormal
POV: 1st person
Pages: 360
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Electronic ARC
Source: Edelweiss
Rating: The Royal Library, Bottom Shelf.
Josephine Hemlock has spent the last 10 years hiding from the Curse that killed her mother. But when a mysterious man arrives at her ivy-covered, magic-fortified home, it’s clear her mother’s killer has finally come to destroy the rest of the Hemlock bloodline. Before Jo can even think about fighting back, she must figure out who she’s fighting in the first place. The more truth Jo uncovers, the deeper she falls into witchcraft darker than she ever imagined. Trapped and running out of time, she begins to wonder if the very Curse that killed her mother is the only way to save everyone she loves.
Highlights: In Whipple's story, magic is a bit dark and always requires a price of some sort – be it blood, a fingernail, or even something more significant. Jo's fierce love for her friends and family appealed to me (and I especially loved her relationship with her grandmother and other odd relatives). The romance, while I had my doubts, was sweet as it built. But the setting of Jo's house intrigued me the most, and I couldn't get enough of the scenes that took place there. Secrets, magic, and more, House of Ivy & Sorrow entertains in each and every chapter. 

Lowlights: Despite the darker moments, Jo's youthful personality causes this story to feel a bit younger (which isn't necessarily a problem, merely unexpected). I found the self-harm (for the sake of magic) to be a bit disconcerting as well. 

Rating: The Royal Library, Bottom Shelf (very low 4 out of 5). House of Ivy & Sorrow is great and probably worth purchasing (especially if it's on sale). If I do purchase this story, it only earns a spot on the bottom shelves of the royal library. I enjoyed it enough to want to read it more than once, but I do have some issues with the story that I cannot ignore.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (147): AN EMBER IN THE ASHES

WOW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
April 28th, 2015 from Razorbill

Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.

LAIA is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution.

ELIAS is the academy’s finest soldier— and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor.

When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the empire itself.

Vow your blood and body to the empire.

Keep your heart for yourself.

I was sold at "epic fantasy," because I'm a sucker for epic fantasy novels. This book sounds fantastic, and I love the cover. Why can't it be April?!

What are you waiting on this week? 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Review: #SCANDAL by Sarah Ockler

Title: #scandal
Author: Sarah Ockler
Release: June 17th, 2014
Genre: YA contemporary
POV: 1st person
Pages: 368
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Format: e-ARC
Source: Edelweiss / Publisher
Rating: The Royal Library, Bottom Shelf

Lucy’s learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Heart’s all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, don’t feed the Internet trolls, and keep your secrets secret. The policy has served Lucy well all through high school, so when her best friend Ellie gets sick before prom and begs her to step in as Cole’s date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where she’d rather stay home shredding online zombies. And the one where she hates playing dress-up. Andespecially the one where she’s been secretly in love with Cole since the dawn of time.

When Cole surprises her at the after party with a kiss under the stars, it’s everything Lucy has ever dreamed of… and the biggest BFF deal-breaker ever. Despite Cole’s lingering sweetness, Lucy knows they’ll have to ’fess up to Ellie. But before they get the chance, Lucy’s own Facebook profile mysteriously explodes with compromising pics of her and Cole, along with tons of other students’ party indiscretions. Tagged. Liked. And furiously viral.

By Monday morning, Lucy’s been branded a slut, a backstabber, and a narc, mired in a tabloid-worthy scandal just weeks before graduation.

Lucy’s been battling undead masses online long enough to know there’s only one way to survive a disaster of this magnitude: Stand up and fight. Game plan? Uncover and expose the Facebook hacker, win back her best friend’s trust, and graduate with a clean slate.

There’s just one snag—Cole. Turns out Lucy’s not the only one who’s been harboring unrequited love...learn more on Goodreads

#scandal is an honest look at the harsh realities of cyber-bullying and the torments high school teenagers can create for one another. While this story is no Twenty Boy Summer or The Book of Broken Hearts, it is an entertaining and thoughtful story revolving around family, friends, and our society's love for putting everything on the internet. With a highly relevant subject matter, considering all of the issues and tragedies that arise from social media scandals gone awry with teenagers, Ockler's story raises some interesting questions and ideas.

But, #scandal isn't only a look into cyber-bullying, but a fresh mystery with a few fun moments. Ockler always seems to expertly mix in the humor with the serious, effectively creating a good balance between the two. While I was expecting the mystery to be my favorite aspect, I quickly found the relationship between Lucy and her sister to be the most intriguing aspect of the novel, and wish Ockler had written more about them. Friendships – good and bad, new and old – play a strong role in this story, and a few of them really shine. Regardless, #scandal is timely, amusing, mysterious, and populated with enough wonderful characters to keep readers intrigued. 

Highlights: Ockler excels in characterization, whether it's Lucy or the side characters. They feels realistic, and they're each their own distinctive person. Lucy's sister was an especially favorite character of mine, with her complicated personality. Miss Demeanor's posts were a great inclusion, whether they were stirring up drama or even lending a helping hand. The subject matter is incredibly important, and I loved how Ockler portrayed it, along with Cole's supportive role in the whole mess. 

Lowlights: I wish Cole had been more present – while he was there to help Lucy through everything, he was easy to forget when he was off-page. If you're anything like me, then the mystery is easy to solve from the very first chapter. While I enjoyed this novel, I felt like it was missing a bit of Ockler's usual spark. 

Rating: The Royal Library, Bottom Shelf (low 4 out of 5). I think #scandal is great and probably worth purchasing. If I do purchase this story, it only earns a spot on the bottom shelves of the royal library. I enjoyed #scandal enough to want to read it more than once, but I do have some very minor issues with the story that I cannot ignore.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Queen's Library (44): Dreamers, Summers, & Misfits

The Books

The Perilous Sea (eARC from Edelweiss)
Falling into Place (eARC from Edelweiss)
The Perfectionists (eARC from Edelweiss)
Anatomy of a Misfit (eARC from Edelweiss)
The Vault of Dreamers (print ARC from publicist)
Open Road Summer (print HC from Anna Reads & Bloomsbury)
Open Road Summer postcard

Once I finish Open Road Summer, I have to write down why I loved the novel and drop the postcard in the mail to Bloomsbury. Judging by my reactions so far, it's going to be tricky to find a way to express what I loved in only a couple lines! Such a wonderful story. 

Thanks to Edelweiss, HarperCollins, Macmillan + Mary, and Bloomsbury + Anna!

Weekly Recommendation

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

Traveling, friendship, romance, and art - a fabulous book, especially for summer!

What new books did you get?

Thursday, July 17, 2014



Title: The Murder Complex
Author: Lindsay Cummings
Published: June 10th, 2014
Series: The Murder Complex #1
Genre: YA dystopian
POV: 1st person, alternating
Pages: 398
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Format: e-ARC
Source: Edelweiss
Rating: The Royal Library, Bottom Shelf

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

Highlights: A brutal world + action-packed story + two very different narrators = one intriguing novel. Cummings debuts with a dark, gory novel filled with plenty of secrets and surprises to keep her readers on their toes. Familial bonds, even if a bit intense, were nice to see. I do believe Zepher's story is initially the more intriguing, but both of their narrations quickly intertwine and become equally fascinating. The beginning is slow, but the novel finishes with a bang that will leave readers curious for so much more.

Lowlights: I wish the romance hadn't of happened. It's not the fastest-paced romance I've read, but I think they could do with a slower relationship considering everything that happens in the book. I'm also a bit confused about the brutality of their world. Explanations are provided, but they seem a bit illogical.

Rating: The Royal Library, Bottom Shelf (low 4 out of 5).


Title: Sleep No More
Author: Aprilynne Pike
Published: April 29th, 2014
Series: Charlotte Westing Chronicles #1
Genre: YA paranormal
POV: 1st
Pages: 340
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: electronic ARC
Source: Edelweiss
Rating: The Dungeons
Charlotte Westing has a gift. She is an Oracle and has the ability to tell the future. But it doesn't do her much good. Instead of using their miraculous power, modern-day Oracles are told to fight their visions—to refrain from interfering. And Charlotte knows the price of breaking the rules. She sees it every day in her wheelchair-bound mother and the absence of her father. But when a premonition of a classmate's death is too strong for her to ignore, Charlotte is forced to make an impossible decision: continue following the rules or risk everything—even her sanity—to stop the serial killer who is stalking her town

Highlights: I've always been fascinated by stories about oracles and seeing the future. There's something inherently intriguing about knowing what's going to happen in the future. And, Charlotte's visions didn't disappoint - they're gritty, dark, terrifying, and captivating. Her gift come with a price, and a truly unfair burden on Charlotte. The motives behind the killings was the only reason I kept reading, and I found the truth behind that to be intriguing.

Lowlights: One of the largest problems I had with Sleep No More was that I simply did not care - about the characters, about the story, about the writing. If I wasn't so determined to finish books, I would have stopped reading this one 50 pages in. But, setting this book aside was still an easy thing to do, mostly because everything felt predictable to me1. And Charlotte? It took everything I had in me to root for a girl who is so stupid and foolish2. The romance was also underwhelming and kind of out of place.

Rating: The Dungeons (2 out of 5). Sleep No More had a couple good moments, but it also had many lowlights. I like this story enough not to exile it from the Queendom, but I'm quite annoyed with it, too. So, this novel gets to spend some time in the dungeons. I'd recommend reading a few chapters to see if Sleep No More is for you - it may not be my cup of tea, but it might be yours!

1 I usually find it easy to unravel a mystery early on. In this case, it seemed too easy to guess the bad guy, because it was so obvious, but at least the motive kept me intrigued until the end.
2 I realize that we all make stupid mistakes when we're teenagers, but Charlotte makes huge, harmful mistakes. All it would have taken was opening up to her aunt, being honest, and so much trouble could have been avoided.


Title: The Fury
Author: Alexander Gordon Smith
Published: July 2013
Series: The Fury #1
Genre: YA horror
POV: 3rd person
Pages: 688
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Format: print ARC
Source: Publicist
Rating: DNF
Imagine if one day, without warning, the entire human race turns against you, if every person you know, every person you meet becomes a bloodthirsty, mindless savage . . . That’s the horrifying reality for Cal, Brick, and Daisy. Friends, family, even moms and dads, are out to get them. Their world has the Fury. It will not rest until they are dead.
In Alexander Gordon Smith’s adrenaline-fueled saga, Cal and the others must uncover the truth about what is happening before it destroys them all. But survival comes at a cost. In their search for answers, what they discover will launch them into battle with an enemy of unimaginable power.

Highlights: Brutal, terrifying, and intense, The Fury moves at a quick pace as it follows three very different protagonists during an incredibly horrifying time. Just imagine - one day, everyone you know and love turns on you, eagerly taking any chance they can to tear you apart (figuratively, and eventually, literally). As a horror fan, this book was intriguing to me. There are moments in the beginning where this intense, deadly hatred builds slowly and terrifyingly.

Lowlights: This is one of the few novels I couldn't bring myself to finish reading. While there were aspects I enjoyed, I couldn't get into the author's writing style. The POV switches and characters bothered me, until I finally got to a point where I simply couldn't care enough to finish.

Rating: DNF (did not finish), so there will be no rating for this book. If you're looking for a action-packed, horror novel, I'd recommend giving this one a shot. It didn't work for me, but plenty of other readers seem to be enjoying it. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (146): VANISHING GIRLS & ATLANTIA

WOW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

Atlantia by Ally Condie
October 28, 2014 from Dutton Children's

Can you hear Atlantia breathing?

For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamt of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all her plans for the future are thwarted when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected decision, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long hidden—she has nothing left to lose.

Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the complex system constructed to govern the divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths.

Sounds fascinating. I enjoy Condie's writing style - very fluid and poetic - so I'm excited for her newest work!

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
March 3rd, 2015 from HarperCollins
New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver delivers a gripping story about two sisters inexorably altered by a terrible accident.

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara's beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it's too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.
New Lauren Oliver book? I'M SOLD.

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Top Ten Favorite TV Shows

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I grew up on this show, so I'm sentimental about the characters and storylines, even the cheesy ones. Buffy's a girly girl, but she kicks butt. Plus, I adore how friends & family focused these characters are. Such a great show, with some truly stellar episodes (HushThe Body, Once More With Feeling, Becoming Pts 1 & 2, Restless, and the list goes on). 

2. Veronica Mars

Witty, realistic,'s a shame it only went three seasons. The movie was nice to see, but not as good as the show. Also, am I the only Piz fan? I feel like I'm the only Piz fan. 

3. CSI

The seasons with Grissom are gold, and I still love watching them whenever reruns are on TV. I adore the old cast, and the mysteries were always great. 

4. Firefly

Awesome characters, stories, and ideas...a show that deserved more screen time than it received. 

5. Game of Thrones

The plot twists are great (or terrible, depending on the twist). That's basically the only thing that keeps me coming back, especially since characters drop like flies. It's a vicious world, but I can't stop watching. 

6. Supernatural

I gave up after the 7th season, but I still love the older episodes! Very eerie, creative, and unique. The humor is always on point, and I can't remember ever being bored with the characters. 

7. Orange is the New Black

I told myself I'd watch one episode, and somehow ended up watching all of season one and two. Very funny, emotional, and better than I thought it would be. The acting is fabulous, and I love how the show makes me rethink my initial reactions to each characters. There are characters who I hated in season one, and eventually, I grew to like and feel for their characters.

8. Sherlock

Sherlock!!!!!! That is all.

9. Marvel's Agents of Shield

Can you tell I'm a Joss Whedon fan? While this show is no Buffy or Firefly (and despite the very rough start), it did improve by the time the first season concluded. Plus, any show with Agent Coulson is automatically a win in my mind. 

10. Teen Wolf

I used to mock this show, so much. But, after graduating this May, I decided to check out a couple episodes to see what all of the fuss was about since a few girls in one of my classes were always going on (and on) about it. The first episode didn't impress me, but I continued....and two weeks later, I was all caught up and completely loving this show. Strange how that happens! 

What are some of your favorite TV shows?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Review: TIGER LILY by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Title: Tiger Lily
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson (@jodilynna)
Published: July 3rd, 2012
Series: N/A
Genre: YA fantasy
Publisher: HarperTeen
POV: 1st person / 3rd person
Pages: 309
Format: Kindle Book
Source: Purchased
Rating: The Royal Library, Top Shelf

Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

My Thoughts

When it came to Tiger Lily, my interest level was decidedly zero. For some reason, the summary never caught my attention, and even though I love retellings and Tinker Bell, I'm barely familiar with the tale of Peter Pan and only know the basic information. So, this book really didn't interest me at all1. Yet, I have a weakness for Kindle deals2, so I took a chance on spending two dollars and decided to give it a shot. In the two days it took to read this story, I was captivated, overwhelmed, and completely surprised by how exceptional of a story Tiger Lily proved to be. 

Narrated by Tinker Bell, the story focuses on Tiger Lily, a member of the Sky Eater tribe, and her relationship with Peter Pan of the Lost Boys. There's romance and friendship, fun games and boring chores, deadly pirates and eavesdropping fairies, bitter betrayal and cold jealousy, hungry crocodiles and conniving mermaids, and so much more. The world in this story is so full, brimming with life and characters that demand your attention. I had no idea what to expect, but I definitely was not anticipating such an emotional story that brings up larger issues. Tiger Lily is the type of story that delves into familiar territory, but brings something new to such an old tale. Emotional and evocative, Tiger Lily is a story that you shouldn't miss out on. 


There are some small moments where Anderson's words pulled at my emotions. There are truly some lovely and wonderful (and wonderfully sad) lines in this story. Tinker Bell's love for these characters was infectious, and it was easy to adore them too. This isn't just a tale about romance, but of family, friendship, and the great and terrible things we do for the people we love. This book is more about emotion, than anything else, and Anderson brings it all right to surface for her readers to feel. 


Tinker Bell focuses so much Tiger Lily, this story reads like a 3rd person novel. It would have been nice to know more about Tink, to hear a bit more about herself. 

Final Rating

The Royal Library, Top Shelf. This book is so close to 5 stars, but it's not quite there. Regardless, Tiger Lily has earned a spot on my top shelf, and is a story worth reading. I highly recommend it.

1 Even all the fangirling from the lovely Epic Reads ladies didn't convince me. I obviously should have listened to them. Those gals have great bookish taste. LESSON LEARNED.
2 Seriously, it's sad. I see a YA Kindle deal, and I pounce.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Queen's Library (43): Spring / Summer Books

For Review: Print Books

White Hot Kiss
Exo (unsolicited)
Defector (unsolicited)
Artemis Awakening (unsolicited)
Take Me On

Purchased: Hardcovers + Paperbacks

Siege and Storm paperback
Ruin and Rising Collector's Edition

I wasn't going to get the S&S paperback, but then I noticed my blog name was in the back, so I had to buy it!

Gifted for Graduation

The Lost
We Were Liars
The Bone Season
Water For Elephants
Dreams Of Gods and Monsters

My parents bought me a few books after graduating with a BA in English Literature in May (and because I received a 4.0 GPA for the spring semester - YAY! So great to see all of that work pay off)! Now to continue on to the Master's's going to be a lot of work, but I'm excited.

Purchased: eBooks on sale

Find Me
Maybe One Day
Nantucket Blue
This is Not a Test
The Almost Truth
Tiger Lily
Lamb to the Slaughter

Won (not pictured)

Don't Look Back from IceyBooks' twitter giveaway 
Body & Soul from Stacey Kade

Thanks to Icey Books + Hafsah, and Stacey Kade!

Weekly Recommendation

Charm & Strange

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Majestic Collection (2): Book Hangovers, New Covers, and Snarky Reviews

Discussions / Blog Posts

YA Authors Read Snarky Reviews over at the Midnight Garden. It's kind of fabulous.

YA Highway shares things non-writers say to YA writers, and it's both amusing and somewhat frustrating.

Natflix & Book's discusses horrible cover changes.

The talented Elena from Novel Sounds made lovely Rainbow Rowell wallpaper!

Jaime of the Perpetual Page Turner's True Life: I Think I'm A Creep post rings true (I'm so guilty of this).

That Artsy Reader Girl recaps ALA (which apparently had some awesome tote bags).

Cover Reveals

Victoria Aveyard's RED QUEEN has a cover! And it's very gorgeously creepy.

Bloomsbury showed off the back cover for Heir of Fire!

For a few more covers, check out Stories and Sweeties Cover Story post!

USA Today revealed the cover for Gayle Forman's I WAS HERE, plus an excerpt!

Giveaways You Shouldn't Miss!

Adventures of a Book Junkie is having a giveaway for KISS OF DECEPTION (US/Canada):

Meagan Spooner is having a Reader Appreciation Giveaway featuring some fabulous prizes (international)!

Fiktshun has a lovely new design, and also a generous giveaway (international)!

Film & TV News

Jandy Nelson's I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN was optioned by Warner Bros! I've only read (and loved) Nelson's debut, but I've heard her upcoming novel is outstanding!

Overbrook Entertainment, meanwhile, has the rights for Jenny Han's TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE. So exciting!

Other Bookish Links

The lovely folks behind Epic Reads have been putting out some fantastic videos on Book Nerd Problems, Book Hangovers, and more hilarious bookish fun! Check out Epic Reads on Youtube for more.

Maggie Stiefvater provided A Shy Introverts Guide to Stiefvater Signings. It's wonderfully amusing / true. I'd imagine if I ever attended one of her book signings, I would be hopelessly awkward (or not, now that I have this guide)!

Book pillowcases! I want one so much.

Marissa Meyer discusses touring with Fierce Reads on Bookish! The Fall 2014 Fierce Reads tour will be revealed on July 28th, but tweeting with #fiercereads will help reveal the cities more quickly. Keep checking in on Fierce Reads to learn more.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Highlights / Lowlights: A CREATURE OF MOONLIGHT by Rebecca Hahn

Author: Rebecca Hahn
Published: May 6th, 2014
Series: N/A
Genre: YA fantasy
Publisher: HMH BYR
POV: 1st person
Pages: 313
Format: print ARC
Source: Vine Program
Rating: The Great Hall (3/5)
A stunning debut novel about a girl who is half dragon, half human, and wholly herself.

As the only heir to the throne, Marni should have been surrounded by wealth and privilege, not living in exile-but now the time has come when she must choose between claiming her birthright as princess of a realm whose king wants her dead, and life with the father she has never known: a wild dragon who is sending his magical woods to capture her.

Fans of Bitterblue and Seraphina will be captured by A Creature of Moonlight, with its richly layered storytelling and the powerful choices its strong heroine must make.
Highlights: Magical and creative, A Creature of Moonlight is a quick, captivating story. Marni's the daughter of a dragon and a princess, so her character as a whole is quite fascinating (as are the things she is capable of). The writing style is written in Marni's distinctive voice, which made getting to know her character much easier. Hahn's novel is quite strange at times, and I loved discovering the story one page at a time. The beings in the woods were fascinating, and Marni herself is quite intriguing too.

Lowlights: I  had such high hopes for A Creature of Moonlight, and although it delivered an interesting world it ultimately failed to keep me hooked. The plot meanders, to the point where it detracts from the wonderful potential this book had. The interesting aspects - the dragon, the creatures, the woods - were secondary to court / family / romantic life, which I found a bit disappointing.

Rating: The Great Hall (high 3 out of 5). I wish certain aspects had been developed more, and that the story had been more focused. But, the creativity and uniqueness of A Creature of Moonlight kept me captivated, even if the story proved to be underwhelming.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (145): THIS SHATTERED WORLD

WOW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
December 23rd, 2014 from Disney Hyperion

The second installment in the epic Starbound trilogy introduces a new pair of star-crossed lovers on two sides of a bloody war.

Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.

Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet's rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.

Rebellion is in Flynn's blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.

Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.

The stunning second novel in the Starbound trilogy is an unforgettable story of love and forgiveness in a world torn apart by war.

SO excited for this book! The first book surprised me with how good of a story it was, and I have high hopes for this novel. I wish the release date was closer.

What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Top Ten Blogging / Bookish Confessions

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

I previously did a Top Ten Bookish Confessions, so I'm going to make this one a bit of a mix between blogging and bookish confessions!

It Takes Me Forever To Write Reviews

I'll usually set up a review template immediately, but sometimes I wait so long to write the actual review that I actually have to go back and skim / reread the novel. There are some books that leave me so inspired and I have to write something then and there, but for the most part I tend to wait a few days / weeks. It's a bad habit I'm trying to break. 

I Worry My Reviews Aren't Helpful

Some reviews I feel confidant about, but others I worry won't be of any use. It's always tricky, trying to share thoughts on a novel without giving too much away. 

Blogging Has Made Me Crazy Over Mail

I used to be normal when it came to mail, and then I became a book blogger. It's kind of embarrassing how excited I get when I see a package on the porch (or how sad I become when UPS / FedEx drives by without leaving something). My folks definitely look at me like WTF is wrong with you whenever I get all giddy over a book.

My Shelf Has Unread Books That Are YEARS Old

Yeah. That's really embarrassing. A few are review books, most unsolicited, and the rest are purchased books I never actually got around to reading (like Slice of Cherry, Prophecy of Sisters trilogy, Desires of the Dead, Linger and Sapphique - all of which I just had to buy but still need to read). Before I was a blogger, I'd read books immediately. Now, I hardly ever get the chance to immediately read books that I purchase. The amount of unread books I own is extremely ridiculous. 

I'm Awesomely Terrible At Social Media

Sometimes I'm great at social media, tweeting up a storm, posting like a boss on Facebook, and so on. But other times, it's like I don't even exist. However, I'm trying to work on this!

Commenting Stresses Me Out Sometimes

I do always try to read my favorite blogs, but I don't always have a chance to comment on them, especially once my college classes start taking up most of my time. On my blog, I read every single comment I receive, and try to write back, but sometimes life is too busy and I feel like the world's worst person. Even once I start commenting, sometimes I find I have nothing useful to say, but still feel the need to say something

I Can Be Insecure About My Book Blogger Status

Despite the fact that I've been around for years (5 years on July 15th), I currently only have a couple publishing contacts since most of my original contacts left or changed publishing houses, so I tend to receive less books for review than other bloggers. But, I also look at it as a highlight, since less books for review means more time to read the books I purchase or borrow. 

Also, since I get busy a lot, I tend to be more like a ghostly presence for a good portion of the year. I'll post for a few weeks, disappear for a couple weeks, post, disappear, and so on. I'm hoping to be a bit more present this year!

I Spend Way Too Much Time Goodreads

Blogging has made me a bit book-obsessed. I've wasted hours simply strolling through Goodreads, looking for future releases to add to my shelf (not to mention staring at all the new covers)! I never used to care about looking books up. I'd simply go to the bookstore, see a book by my favorite authors, and buy it. Blogging, however, has made me a bit eager to be in the know about upcoming books.

The great thing about spending too much time on Goodreads is when I stumble across books like Vanishing GirlsLauren Oliver's new book, which I somehow didn't even know about!

Blogging Has Made Me A Picky Reader

I read so much more now than I used to, but I also spend more time wanting to read certain books than actually reading them. Before I was a blogger, I'd read a book right after I bought it. Now? I have books I purchased sitting unread on my shelf (and they've been there for an embarrassing long time). Sometimes I get so caught up in reading books for review that I forget about the books I purchased / won / borrowed. Other times, I get bored of certain genres and struggle to pick up yet another such-and-such story.

On Bad Days, I Wonder Why I Blog

On really bad days, I feel the burn of jealousy when other bloggers receive that ARC I really really wanted. On bad days, I wish I could have had the opportunity to host a blog tour stop for one of my favorite author's. On bad days, I struggle to find the right words for a single review. On bad days, I look at my blog and wonder what the hell have I been doing with my spare time

Fortunately, those feelings and days never last and I always remember why I blog and how much I truly love being a book blogger. I'm such a lucky person, I've been a part of some wonderful promotions, I've met and spoken with amazing bloggers, publicists, and authors. So, on those rare days of why do I even bother, I think about the fabulous blogosphere and how wonderful it is to be a part of it. 

What's one of your blogging / bookish confessions?