Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Queen's Library (20)

For Review
Reached by Ally Condie

I have the honor of being a part of the Silk & Paper campaign for REACHED, so you'll be seeing me promote REACHED for next month. Plus, I'll be having a few giveaways for the pictured swag!  

Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Won from
Last Rite by Lisa Desrochers
Dark Companion by Marta Acosta
Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
iPhone book cover skins

Kindle Freebie
Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs

Many thanks Anna & Penguin Teen, as well as Tor!

YA Book Queen Recommends


What did you get this week?


Friday, September 28, 2012

Matched & Crossed Read-Along

Are you excited for Ally Condie's REACHED, but can't remember what happened in the last two books? Or are you a new reader to the trilogy and want to get caught up before REACHED releases?

If you said "YES" to either of those, then you should sign up for the MATCHED and CROSSED Read-Along (hosted by Benji and Enna)! You can even win awesome Matched trilogy prizes, so don't miss out!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Review: Eve & Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate

Eve & Adam
by Michael Grant
and Katherine Applegate
October 2nd, 2012
304 pages (hardcover)
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Source: Publicist
Sixteen-year-old Evening Spiker lives an affluent life in San Francisco with her mother, EmmaRose, a successful geneticist and owner of Spiker Biotech. Sure, Evening misses her father who died mysteriously, but she’s never really questioned it. Much like how she’s never stopped to think how off it is that she’s never been sick. That is, until she’s struck by a car and is exposed to extensive injuries. Injuries that seem to be healing faster than physically possible.

While recuperating in Spiker Biotech’s lush facilities, she meets Solo Plissken, a very attractive, if off-putting boy her age who spent his life at Spiker Biotech. Like Evening, he’s never questioned anything... until now. Solo drops hints to Evening that something isn’t right, and Emma-Rose may be behind it. Evening puts this out of her mind and begins her summer internship project: To simulate the creation of the perfect boy. With the help of Solo, Evening uncovers secrets so big they could change the world completely.
If were asked to play God and create the perfect boy, would you? Evening (or "EV" or "Eve") Spiker is willing to try. After an accident, Evening's recuperating at an empty hospital wing at Spiker Biotech, so creating the perfect boy in a simulation program seems like a good way to alleviate her boredom. Solo Plissken, meanwhile, is somewhat stubbornly determined to uncover and reveal dark truths about Spiker Biotech that others would prefer to keep buried. Packed with action and a few surprising twists, Eve & Adam will hook you from start to finish.

Eve & Adam is a fresh and original sci-fi take on the biblical story of Adam and Eve. I'm a first-time Grant and Applegate reader, but I can see why they both have so many loyal fans. The authors expertly kept the voices distinct and the pacing quick, while also infusing the story with plenty of humor and surprises at the right possible moments. While there are some flaws here and there, Eve & Adam proves itself to be a fun and fascinating story, and one that is guaranteed to make you eager for a sequel. 

Highlights: Evening, Solo, and Adam each retained their separate personalities and voices for their chapters. The pacing and short chapters made it difficult to stop reading, and I love it when a book hooks me like that. I liked the descriptions and loved the concluding surprises. Side characters were great, especially Evening's slightly evil mother (she surprised me the most). 

Lowlights: I wasn't fond of the subplot revolving around Evening's best friend, Aislin (and Aislin's boyfriend, Maddox). I'm surprised by how long it took for Adam to show up, I thought he'd be present earlier in the story. Quick romance. Characters, as a whole, were fun but not very complex. 



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Don't Miss #AllyChat tonight!

Tonight is second annual #AllyChat with Ally Condie, author of the New York Times Bestselling Matched Trilogy! Ally will be answering questions from 8:00 - 9:00pm Eastern, 5:00 - 6:00pm Pacific time. 

There will even be prizes, such as some awesome Matched trilogy swag for those who tweet during the chat using the hashtag #allychat. 

Don't miss out on the fun!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Review: Venom by Fiona Paul

Fiona Paul
October 30th, 2012
432 pages (hardcover)
Source: Publisher (unsolicited)
"Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancé, she has everything a girl could desire. Yet ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape.

When Cass stumbles upon a murdered woman—practically in her own backyard—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of courtesans, killers, and secret societies. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a mysterious artist with a mischievous grin... and a spectacular skill for trouble. Can Cassandra find the murderer, before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancé, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?"
Prepare yourself for a story with vivid descriptions and a tantalizing mystery, because Venom delivers that and so much more. From luxurious masked balls to an eerie graveyard behind Cass's home, Fiona Paul's descriptions excelled using the third person POV to intricately depict each new locale. While it could have been easy to let the scenery outshine the characters or the plot, everything remains nicely balanced and equally well-written throughout the novel.

The deeper Cass digs into the mystery of a murdered courtesan, the more danger she finds herself in. With a killer that may be targeting her, not to mention her conflicting feelings for Falco (a mysterious and amusing artist) and Luca (her kind fiancé, who has a few secrets of his own) Cass's normal life spirals out of control. While at times it may feel like you've seen it all before1Venom takes each element and creates a story that is undeniably difficult to set aside. Mysterious, passionate, and surprising, Venom doesn't disappoint.

Highlights: Fiona Paul kept the mystery alive throughout the entire story by withholding the last final clues for the end. Despite the two love interests, it never felt like a love triangle since Cass only has eyes for one young man. Each love interest is more complicated than I expected – both are flawed, so it's challenging to choose a side. Description was lovely and so very vivid. 

Lowlights: Originally, I was going to give this book five stars based on pure enjoyment of the story. But, there were some issues. Multiple clichés, and the secret society in the summary was barely mentioned in the novel. Cass could be a bit too reckless sometimes, but I understand why she was (the story wouldn't have went anywhere if she wasn't a bit reckless). 

1 There's one section that seemed exactly like a scene in Titanic, if only a more PG-13 version. Not a bad thing, but it did make me want to watch Titanic again...


Thursday, September 20, 2012

International Giveaway for WHAT SHE LEFT BEHIND by Tracy Bilen

Tracy Bilen has kindly offered to sponsor an international giveaway for her debut novel, WHAT SHE LEFT BEHIND.  

Curious about the story? Read the summary below: 

“Don’t even think of leaving… I will find you,” he whispered. “Guaranteed.”

Sara and her mom have a plan to finally escape Sara’s abusive father. But when her mom doesn’t show up as expected, Sara’s terrified. Her father says that she’s on a business trip, but Sara knows he’s lying. Her mom is missing—and her dad had something to do with it.

With each day that passes, Sara’s more on edge. Her friends know that something’s wrong, but she won’t endanger anyone else with her secret. And with her dad growing increasingly violent, Sara must figure out what happened to her mom before it’s too late…for them both.

One winner will receive an autographed finished copy of 


Please enter below using rafflecopter.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (94)

WoW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

Golden by Jessi Kirby
May 14th, 2013
Seventeen-year-old Parker Frost may be a distant relative of Robert Frost, but she has never taken the road less traveled. Valedictorian and quintessential good girl, she’s about to graduate high school without ever having kissed her crush or broken the rules. So when fate drops a mystery in her lap—one that might be the key to uncovering the truth behind a town tragedy, she decides to take a chance.

I absolutely loved Kirby's debut novel, Moonglass (I still need to read In Honor), so I'm very, very curious about this book!

What are you waiting on?


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Cover Reveal for THE HOLDERS + Celtic Necklace Giveaway

The cover for Julianna Scott's debut novel THE HOLDERS, which releases on March 2013 from Strange Chemistry, was revealed yesterday (posted below with summary)! Also, thanks to Julianna Scott, readers of this blog can enter to win a Celtic style necklace in celebration of the cover reveal!

Add To Goodreads
17-year-old Becca spent her whole life protecting her brother from, well, everything. The abandonment of their father, the so called 'experts' who insist that voices in his head are unnatural and must be dealt with, and the constant threat of being taken away to some hospital and studied like an animal. When two representatives appear claiming to have the answers to Ryland's perceived problem, Becca doesn't buy it for one second. That is until they seem to know things about Ryland and about Becca and Ryland's family, that forces Becca to concede that there may be more to these people than meets the eye. Though still highly skeptical, Becca agrees to do what's best for Ryland.

What they find at St. Brigid's is a world beyond their imagination. Little by little they piece together the information of their family's heritage, their estranged Father, and the legend of the Holder race that decrees Ryland is the one they've been waiting for. However, they are all--especially Becca--in for a surprise that will change what they thought they knew about themselves and their kind.

She meets Alex, a Holder who is fiercely loyal to their race, and for some reason, Becca and Ryland. There's an attraction between Becca and Alex that can't be denied, but her true nature seems destined to keep them apart. However, certain destinies may not be as clear cut as everyone has always believed them to be.

Becca is lost, but found at the same time. Can she bring herself to leave Ryland now that he's settled and can clearly see his future? Will she be able to put the the feelings she has for Alex aside and head back to the US? And can Becca and Ryland ever forgive their father for what he's done?


One winner will receive a Celtic style necklace! 

Enter below using rafflecopter:

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Review: Untraceable by SR Johannes

SR Johannes
November 2011
315 pages (Kindle)
Coleman & Stott
Source: Purchased
"16-year-old Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival.

When her dad goes missing on a routine patrol, Grace refuses to believe he’s dead and fights the town authorities, tribal officials, and nature to find him.

One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from danger by Mo, a hot guy with an intoxicating accent and a secret. As her feelings between him and her ex-boyfriend get muddled, Grace travels deep into the wilderness to escape and find her father.

Along the way, Grace learns terrible secrets that sever relationships and lives. Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to save everything she loves." 
Untraceable Quote
When it comes to self-published novels, I'm rarely a fan. They usually seem unpolished and too underdeveloped. Yet, to my surprise, Johannes quickly made me a fan of her story, her writing, and her characters. As a protagonist, Grace is very endearing with her spunky, opinionated, and fiercely determined nature. While everyone else in her small town has given up on finding her father alive after he's been missing for three months, Grace has invested herself in investigating his disappearance in order to discover the truth. 

Gripping and exciting, Untraceable went above and beyond my expectations. From the romance to the family aspects, each was portrayed as realistically as possible - with all the awkward moments and silly fights you'd expect from each. But it was the characters, and especially Grace's insights, that made this story incredible. The great thing about Grace is that, despite her skills and resourcefulness, she makes mistakes and sometimes needs a helping hand. If you're looking for a mystery you can't set aside with a dash of romance and an outstanding narrator, look no further because Untraceable has it all. 

Highlights: While I was able to guess a few things, Johannes managed to stun me with a couple revelations. Very vivid regarding imagery, excellent pacing, and a wonderful cast of characters. I love how Grace quoted Monty Python1. The survival tips. The romance seemed genuine. Even with all of the darker elements, Johannes wrote enough humor to keep this story nicely balanced.

Lowlights: Two or three instances with spelling errors. Sometimes, Grace jumped to certain conclusions without any thought.

Note: Descriptions of animal abuse. Also, person-against-person violence. Nothing you haven't seen before in a PG-13 movie. 


1 "It's just a flesh wound"
* Quote on page 99, location 2148 (Kindle)


Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Queen's Library (19)

For Review
Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

Autographed Books Won from April
White Cat by Holly Black (REVIEW)
Red Glove by Holly Black
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan
The Demon's Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan
The Demon's Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan

I'm surprised the "won" books made it since they lost their original wrapping along the way, got a bit banged up and bent. Plus, my post office lost the package, found it, and then I had to pay for the replacement box USPS put the books in before they let me receive the package. Kind of a miracle they made it to me, all things considered!

Purchased Audiobooks
Matched by Ally Condie (REVIEW)
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

With the Whispersync technology (read kindle books + listen to audio version at the same time on select devices), some audiobooks are discounted if you own the Kindle version. Since I own the Kindle versions of Matched and WfE, both audiobooks were only $3.95 each on Audible! I couldn't resist a deal like that.

Many thanks to Sarah Beth Durst + Simon & Schuster for VESSEL! And huge thanks to April for the signed books!  :)


Inspiration / Credit

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (93)

WoW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield
May 7th, 2013
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Sing and the darkness will find you.

"Shipwrecked on an island seven years ago, Lucy has been warned she must never sing, or disaster will strike. But on All Hallows Eve, Lucy hears tantalizing music in the air. When she sings it, she unlocks a terrible secret: She is a Chantress, a spell-singer, brought to the island not by shipwreck but by a desperate enchantment gone wrong.

Her song lands her back in England — and in mortal peril, for the kingdom lies in the cruel grasp of a powerful Lord Protector and his mind-reading hunters, the Shadowgrims. The Protector has killed all Chantresses, for they alone can destroy the Shadowgrims. Only Lucy has survived.

In terrible danger, Lucy takes shelter with Nat, a spy who turns her heart upside-down. Nat has been working with his fellow scholars of the Invisible College to overthrow the Lord Protector, and they have long hoped to find a living Chantress to help them. But Lucy is completely untrained, and Nat deeply distrusts her magic. If Lucy cannot master the songspells, how long can she even stay alive?"

Love the sound of this book (and the eye-catching cover rocks)!

What are you waiting on?


Monday, September 10, 2012

Interview and Giveaway: Sarah Beth Durst discussing VESSEL

Today I have an interview with the lovely Sarah Beth Durst, the author of fantastic novels such as DRINK SLAY LOVEENCHANTED IVY, ICE, and more. Today, we are discussing Sarah's upcoming novel, VESSEL, which releases tomorrow on September 11th. 

Quick! Describe VESSEL in 7 words or less! 

Epic fantasy in a harsh desert land

Ooh, that's a good answer....What was the experience like writing VESSEL in comparison to your previous novels?

In my previous novels, I injected magic into the real world (a magic polar bear in the Arctic, talking gargoyles at Princeton, vampires and were-unicorns in the suburbs, fairy tale characters in a sleepy New England town...), but VESSEL is my first novel set entirely in a fantasy world.  It takes place in a desert filled with wolves made of sand and sky serpents made of unbreakable glass and monstrous worms and gods and goddesses.  Writing it was intensely immersive.  I'd sink into that world while I wrote.  In a way, writing this novel felt a lot like reading!

From reading the VESSEL excerpt posted on your website, I noticed that the world in VESSEL seemed very developed and rich in culture…what steps did you take to achieve this? Did you draw inspiration from other cultures?

I love mythology, and I really wanted to create a world that felt steeped in ancient mythology.  I didn't draw from any particular mythology for my world, but I tried to create the feel of an oral storytelling tradition with rich, archetypal tales.

VESSEL has a first line that really grabs your attention:On the day she was to die, Liyana walked out of her family's tent to see the dawn.-- What are your thoughts on first lines? 

I love writing first lines.  I agonize over them, as if they're some magic spell for unlocking the rest of the novel.  Once I have the first line, then I'm free to write. 

Scenario: You are a vessel, destined to give your body to a goddess. What you would do on your last day, and what type of goddess (of any mythology) would you hope to have inhabit your body? 

I'd spend it with my family.  And I'd write for a while.  And eat a lot of chocolate-covered strawberries.  As to what goddess... I think I'd pick an earth goddess so she could save the rain forests and so forth.

What are you working on right now?

I am currently working on a YA paranormal thriller called SWEET NOTHINGS (coming fall 2013 from Bloomsbury/Walker).  It's about a girl in the paranormal witness protection program.  I'm also working on my first trilogy for adults (from Luna) called THE LOST, THE MISSING, and THE FOUND.  I'm really, really excited about both projects!

Thanks so much for interviewing me!

It is always a pleasure to interview you, so thank you for agreeing to answer some questions!


September 11th, 2012
Margaret K. McElderry 
"In a desert world of sandstorms and sand-wolves, a teen girl must defy the gods to save her tribe in this mystical, atmospheric tale from the author of Drink, Slay, Love.

Liyana has trained her entire life to be the vessel of a goddess. The goddess will inhabit Liyana’s body and use magic to bring rain to the desert. But Liyana’s goddess never comes. Abandoned by her angry tribe, Liyana expects to die in the desert. Until a boy walks out of the dust in search of her.

Korbyn is a god inside his vessel, and a trickster god at that. He tells Liyana that five other gods are missing, and they set off across the desert in search of the other vessels. For the desert tribes cannot survive without the magic of their gods. But the journey is dangerous, even with a god’s help. And not everyone is willing to believe the trickster god’s tale.

The closer she grows to Korbyn, the less Liyana wants to disappear to make way for her goddess. But she has no choice: She must die for her tribe to live. Unless a trickster god can help her to trick fate—or a human girl can muster some magic of her own."

Because I'm a Sarah Beth Durst fan and I think VESSEL sounds beyond incredible, I'm going to give one copy away:

International (so long as TBD ships to you)
Please read my Contest Policy
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Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Queen's Library (18)

Purchased for Kindle
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Freebie for Kindle 
Epic Firsts Teen Sampler: excerpts from novels by Michelle Gagnon, Kat Zhang, Sarah Crossan, CJ Redwine, and Emily Hainsworth. 

Free Audiobooks
The Time-Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The New World by Patrick Ness

What books did you get this week? 


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (92) (times two!)

WoW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

January 8th, 2013
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
"At the end of World War II, Jack Baker, a landlocked Kansas boy, is suddenly uprooted after his mother’s death and placed in a boy’s boarding school in Maine. There, Jack encounters Early Auden, the strangest of boys, who reads the number pi as a story and collects clippings about the sightings of a great black bear in the nearby mountains.

Newcomer Jack feels lost yet can’t help being drawn to Early, who won’t believe what everyone accepts to be the truth about the Great Appalachian Bear, Timber Rattlesnakes, and the legendary school hero known as The Fish, who never returned from the war. When the boys find themselves unexpectedly alone at school, they embark on a quest on the Appalachian Trail in search of the great black bear.

But what they are searching for is sometimes different from what they find. They will meet truly strange characters, each of whom figures into the pi story Early weaves as they travel, while discovering things they never realized about themselves and others in their lives."
This one sounds great! I love the cover, too. 

April 2013 
Sourcebooks Fire
"MY LIFE AFTER NOW is about sixteen-year-old Lucy Moore, an aspiring theater star who learns she is HIV-positive and must learn how to deal with this abrupt change in the script."
I've never read anything like this, so I'm definitely curious about it. 

What are you waiting on?


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR List

TTT is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish!
TOPIC: Top Ten Books On Your Fall TBR List

1.   Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes - High fantasy novels are my weakness. I have high hopes for this one. 

2.   The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater - It's written Maggie Stiefvater, so it belongs on my TBR list.

3.   The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski - This book has a fascinating premise, so I'm excited to start it! 

4.   Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor - I'm very eager for this one to release! Laini Taylor has such lovely writing. 

5.  Ten by Gretchen McNeil - Ten teens, three days, one killer, on an island - I'm sold. 

6.   The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin - The ending to Unbecoming about killed me. I am pretty much counting the days until this novel releases. 

7.   The Lies That Bind by Lisa and Laura Roecker - The first novel was filled with mystery, fun, humor, and so much more amazingness. I hope this sequel won't disappoint!

8.   The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson - If there's one thing I learned for The Girl of Fire and Thorns, it's that Rae Carson knows how to write a surprising story. I just hope she doesn't kill off another character I like though...

9.   The Torn Wing by Kiki Hamilton - Can't go wrong with a story set in London, 1872. With faeries. 

10.   The Diviners by Libba Bray - Libba Bray novels are usually (1) amusing, (2) awesome and (3) unique. Hopefully this one will be all three!