Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (61)

WOW is hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine
Daylight Saving
Edward Hogan
February 2nd, 2012
When Daniel Lever is dragged to Leisure World Holiday Complex for some "time away" with his depressed dad, his expectations are low. Daniel is overweight, he hates sports, and his father has brought along his beloved tomato plant. But soon Daniel spots a girl swimming in the fake lake. Lexi is elegant and smart, but very mysterious. Why are her bruises getting worse each time she and Daniel meet? And is her watch really ticking backwards? A dark figure stalks the pair, and as British summer time approaches, Daniel has to act quickly. Their souls depend on it.
Intriguing! I really like the cover too, especially with the cool, watery font and the Roman numerals surrounding it. 

What are you waiting on?


Monday, December 26, 2011

Best of 2011

My 11 Best Books of 2011
(in no particular order)

1.  Delirium by Lauren Oliver
2.  Clarity by Kim Harrington
3.  Divergent by Veronica Roth
4.  Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins
5.  Blood Red Road by Moira Young
6.  The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton
7.  Across the Universe by Beth Revis
8.  Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
9.  The Liar Society by Lisa & Laura Roecker
10.  Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
11. What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Best Female Main Character
Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Best Male Main Character
Cas from Anna Dressed in Blood

Funniest Main Character
Sophie from Demonglass

Most Realistic Main Character
Tiki from The Faerie Ring
Best Supporting Male Character
Four from Divergent

Best Supporting Female Character
Anna from Anna Dressed in Blood

Most Swoonworthy
Four from Divergent
Rieker from The Faerie Ring

Best Horror
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Best Villain 
(Orion) from Across the Universe

Best Sci-fi & Mystery
Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Best Fantasy
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Best Dystopian
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Best Romance & Writing
Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Best Historical
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton

Best Contemporary
Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer
Moonglass by Jessi Kirby

Best Verse Novel
The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder
Best Ending to a Series/Trilogy
The Forgotten Locket by Lisa Mangum

Best Sequel
Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter
Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins

Most Unique
Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Most Surprising
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Best Cover of 2011
Possession by Elana Johnson
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
The Must-Read Book of 2011
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Considering the amount of ties I gave (seriously, it was so hard to narrow it down!), I'd say 2011 was an epic book year. 

What was one of the best books you read in 2011?


Friday, December 23, 2011

In the Blogosphere

*  Alyssa Kirk, of Teens Read and Write, shared amazing news yesterday! Alyssa and her co-author, Eileen Kirk, have a novel called Demons at Deadnight releasing on January 7th, 2012! 

Want more info on the story plus a sneak peak? Go to their website,, because they have the summary + first chapter up, along with an awesome trailer.

*  HarperCollins has 10 YA ebooks on sale for only .99 cents. Yes. $0.99. There are even more incredible deals, too. Go check out The Book Pixie and Tynga's Reviews for some of the best deals.

*  Author Cheryl Rainfield is holding a huge contest in honor of the release of Hunted, with prizes like signed books, gift cards, and a Kindle Touch as the grand prize. Open to US, UK, & Canada. Ends on January 2nd. Check out her post for more details.

*  And just for fun, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey trailer...

* Have you filled out my blog survey? If not, I would greatly appreciate it if you took a moment to answer some questions for me! :)

Have a great holiday and a happy new year, everyone! 


Thursday, December 22, 2011

YA Book Queen's 2011 Survey

Hey everyone! If you could take a moment to fill out the survey below (or click here for the same survey, but in a new window), I would greatly appreciate it. Feel free to be completely honest! :)

Thank you so much, and Happy Holidays! :)


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (60)

WOW is hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine
Kristin Cashore
May 1st, 2012
Bitterblue is a companion book to both Graceling and Fire and takes place in the seven kingdoms eight years after Graceling. This third book will tie all three books together in some way. Bitterblue is the eighteen-year-old protagonist, and Katsa, Po, Giddon, Helda, and other characters from Graceling will be part of the fabric of the book.
So. Excited. For. This. Book. But I wish it had more of a summary....Has anyone seen a better one? 

What are you waiting on?


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday (6)

For more information on how to participate in Top Ten Tuesday and this week's topic, visit The Broke and the Bookish for details! 

Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings
1. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson - It's written by Maureen freaking Johnson. I can't believe I've managed to keep from getting this one so for so long. 

2. Blackbringer & Silksinger (Dreamdark #1 & #2) by Laini Taylor - I've been loving Taylor's other works, but I've had trouble finding a reasonably priced copy of the latter Dreamdark book (and I'm hesitant to buy the first one without the sequel). Maybe Santa will have better luck. 

3. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin - The hype has been insane for this story. I need this book. 

4. (preorder of) Hana by Lauren Oliver - A Delirium short story! 
5. (preorder of) Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler - I love Sarah's books, and I'm sure this one won't be any exception. If only Santa could bring this one early ;)

6. Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore - Witches. Hot cowboy neighbors. That is all. 

7. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins - I really don't know why I haven't read this yet. Maybe once I actually have a copy I'll start reading it. 

8. Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler - I honestly haven't got a clue why I don't own a finished copy of this one (I own two of Twenty Boy Summer, so I guess that makes up for it), but obviously, I need one. 
9.  Bloodlines by Richelle Mead - Anyone who's read this blog for a couple years will know I'm a huge Richelle Mead/VA fan, which makes it really weird that I still haven't read or bought Bloodlines.   

10. Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork - I've heard nothing but wonderful things about this book, so it would be a great one to receive for the holidays! 

What books are you hoping to receive during the holidays?


Saturday, December 17, 2011

In My Mailbox (65)

For Review
Hunted by Cheryl Rainfield
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

Freebie (Kindle)
PinPoint by Cheryl Rainfield
Scrivener for Windows
Best writing software ever. Seriously. I love it.
(image from their website)

Thanks to Cheryl, Netgalley, Random House, and my parents!

What did you get this week?


Friday, December 16, 2011

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Ilsa J. Bick
Release: September 6, 2011
Pages: 480 (hardcover)
Publisher: Egmont USA
Source: Netgalley
An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions. 

Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP. 

For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer more at Goodreads.
Mini-Thoughts: It begins with the Zap, and then all hell breaks loose. Everyone has either died from the EMP, miraculously survived, or have changed into flesh eating zombies. Alex's life dramatically alters from coping with an illness, to being thrust into a survive at any cost situation. There's a blanket of steady uneasiness draped over the story as Alex's journey continues, and it only continues to tighten its grip. Bick builds the suspense, keeping you hooked and terrified for Alex. Ashes is simply thrilling, terrifying, and filled with jaw-dropping twists.

Highlights: Ghost and Mina1. Bick excels with building curiosity about just what is happening in this story, I was constantly intrigued. The revelations in the latter half were fascinating. The ending was shocking, I didn't see it coming. 

Lowlights: The first and second half felt disjointed, both had their pros and cons. The first half was lacking emotional connections with Alex that I found to be present in the second half. The second half lacked excitement or any action (until the end) that was present in the first. The ending2 was also a lowlight. 

Note: Ashes is not for the faint of heart. Zombies. Zombies eating people. Zombies killing people. People killing people. Fair warning. 

1 Both are dogs. So, naturally, they are awesome (and helpful). 
2 The ending was both "my mind just exploded, what a great twist!" to "how could you do this to me, Ilsa J. Bick? You can't end it like that!!"  


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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (59)

WOW is hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine

Kendare Blake
August 7th, 2012
In this follow-up to Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas begins seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he’s asleep, and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong. These aren’t just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.

Cas doesn’t know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn’t deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it’s time for him to return the favor.
Anna Dressed in Blood = Amazing. So, this sequel really has a lot to live up to, and hopefully it will be as great as the first book :)  

What are you waiting on? 


Monday, December 12, 2011

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Rae Carson
September 20th, 2011
432 pages (hardcover)
Greenwillow Books
Source: Netgalley and later Purchased for Kindle
Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. Elisa is the chosen one. But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will. 

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess. And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at more at Goodreads
Honestly, I originally read two chapters, said "meh" and then set the novel aside for the next three months. Obviously, I picked it back up again, and I am very glad that I did. 

The Girl of Fire and Thorns begins somewhat inauspiciously, where Carson introduces a heroine that complains too much and inspires too little confidence in her readers. Once 140+ pages pass and an important event takes place, the story comes to life. Elisa's wavering confidence grows. Her somewhat dull personality begins to take on more interesting facets, and she begins to accept herself and her purpose - making it easy to enjoy her character.  

I want to say so much more, but this is one of those stories you need to read for yourself so all the surprises aren't spoiled. The Girl of Fire and Thorns is rife with religion, political agendas, secrets, a dash of romance, and plenty of heart-pounding moments as Elisa tries to evade her enemies and draws closer to an impending war. Once you get into this story, there's no setting it aside. 

Highlights: It was easy to lose myself in the pages and tumble into the rich and vibrant world Carson created (that is, once the story really got going). Certain characters I did not originally care for became favorites by the end - like Cosmé, or even Elisa1. I loved the whole Malficio group, and Lord Hector. Carson wraps up Elisa's story almost completely and ends on a strong note2

Lowlights: Some predictability. Elisa at the beginning was difficult to like, to the point where I did set the novel aside. The first 100ish pages were, for the most part, a bit flat and hardly kept my attention. 


1 I was actually surprised how many characters grew on me by the ending - that's rare. 
2 Yay, for an actual resolution + only the slightest tease of the forthcoming sequel. 


Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Nobles / The Book Depository

Saturday, December 10, 2011

In My Mailbox (64)

For Review
Crazy by Amy Reed

Only one book, but I'm very excited to start reading it - I've heard wonderful things about Reed's writing. 

Thanks to S&S for putting Crazy on GalleyGrab! 


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (times two!)

WOW is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

The Book of  Blood and Shadow
Robin Wasserman 
April 10th, 2012
It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up. When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark. 

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead. His girlfriend Adriane, Nora's best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora's sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.
You say "secrets" or even allude to a mystery, and I'm completely on board. The cover is a bit odd though (it reminds me of The Host). I'm not really feeling this cover too much, except for the cool eye color & reflection.

And my next pick is...
I couldn't find any info on a release date or a summary (the cover was revealed on Anna's Tumblr), but I am EXCITED, and I'm loving this dark, muted cover - it makes me curious about the story. I loved Jarzab's debut novel, so I'm hopeful this one will be just as great :)

What are you waiting on? 


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday (5)

For more information on how to participate in Top Ten Tuesday and this week's topic, visit The Broke and the Bookish for details! 

My Top Ten Childhood Favorites

1. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine - Prince Char! *swoons* The movie did not do this book any justice whatsoever. This book is absolutely amazing, and still a fun story to curl up with and read. 

2. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein - Wasn't this book the best? I mean, seriously. How could you not love that tree? Such a cute story. 

3. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White - I've never been a fan of spiders, but I've always made an exception for Charlotte ;)

4. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell - I loved this book so much as a kid, mostly because I was very fascinated by other cultures and I secretly really, really wanted a wolf as a pet. Despite the fact that they are, you know, dangerous. I kind of still want a wolf. Darn this book! 

5. Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene - I think Nancy Drew was the beginning of my love for mysteries. 

6. The Giver by Lois Lowery - This book is still a favorite of mine - very great story that's worth a read.  

7. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card - It's Ender's Game. No explanation necessary. 

8. Holes by Louis Sachar - Still adore this one. Such a different plot, and it has wonderful characters. Love Zero & Stanley!  

9. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle - I feel so bad for not remembering what this one is about, because I read this book about a million or so times when I was young. It was my favorite book for has time travel, right? *hangs head in shame* *puts on TBR list*

10. The Littlest Mermaid by Wendy Cheyette Lewison - Cartoon drawings + mermaids + jewel stickers + oceans + fun = awesomeness.  

What was your favorite childhood story?


Monday, December 5, 2011

A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies

A Beautiful Dark A Beautiful Dark
Jocelyn Davies
Release: September 27th, 2011
Pages: 400 (hardcover)
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Netgalley
On the night of Skye's seventeenth birthday, she meets two enigmatic strangers. Complete opposites--like fire and ice--Asher is dark and wild, while Devin is fair and aloof. Their sudden appearance sends Skye's life into a tailspin. She has no idea what they want, or why they seem to follow her every move--only that their presence coincides with a flurry of strange events. Soon she begins to doubt not just the identity of the two boys, but also the truth about her own past. 

In the dead of a bitingly cold Colorado winter, Skye finds herself coming to terms with the impossible more at Goodreads.
Mini-Thoughts: For a story that hints so heavily at something supernatural, A Beautiful Dark spends more time meandering along as a contemporary until the reveal finally takes place later in the story. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing - time is allowed to dive into Skye's character, giving readers a chance to know her and her life. Relationships between her and two mysterious boys, Devin and Asher, have time to form and grow. Despite any issues I had with the overall story, A Beautiful Dark is an undeniably addictive and overall enjoyable book to read. 

Highlights: Skye is a very good narrator, and incredibly easy to connect with. She's a realistic character with friends, an actual life, and hobbies. I really enjoyed the mythology of the story as well, it was very fascinating.  

Lowlights: The revelations could have came earlier, and I really disliked the cliffhanger1. Asher and Devin were, essentially, stalking Skye - and that's not attractive. Skye herself seemed a little wishy-washy at times, she changed her mind about certain things quite a bit. The plot was fairly predictable and clichéd, with only a few genuinely surprising moments.

1 The story cuts off in the middle of the climax of the plot. The ending to this novel needed a resolution - and there was absolutely none. I was honestly shocked that it ended where it did. 


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