Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My Best of 2013

Top 13 Books of 2013
13.  TAKEN

Best Female Main Character
Josie from OUT OF THE EASY

Best Male Main Character
Isaiah from CRASH INTO YOU

Most Realistic Male Main Character and Must Amusing Main Character
Ryan Dean West WINGER

Most Realistic Female Main Character

Most Badass Main Character
Celaena Sardothien from CROWN OF MIDNIGHT

Best Supporting Male Character

Best Supporting Female Character
Reagan from FANGIRL

Best Character You Love to Hate 
Sawyer from HOW TO LOVE

Best Fictional Family
The Hernandez family from THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS

Best Bookish Character
Cath from FANGIRL

Best BFF's
Rory and Savannah from RACING SAVANNAH

Most Swoonworthy

Best Novel Title

Best Multiple POV

Best Villain

Best Horror

Best Sci-Fi

Best Mystery

Best Paranormal

Best Dystopian

Best Fantasy

Best Romance

Best Historical

Best Contemporary

Best Middle Grade

Best Standalone

Best Writing
Lauren Oliver - REQUIEM

Best Setting / World

Best Ending to a Series / Trilogy

Best WTF Moment (Novels with the Best Plot Twists or Surprises)

Best Sequel

Best Book I Read in 2013 (But Published Much Earlier)

2013 Book I Regret Not Reading

Best Under-The-Dust-Jacket Design

Best Interior Artwork

Best Covers of 2013

The Must-Read Novels of 2013

What were the best books you read this year? 

What novels are you looking forward to reading in 2014?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Hope you all celebrate with a good book, family, and friends!

Have a great holiday season, everyone! 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing Me

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

1.  ASK THE PASSENGERS: Or, any AS King book. I recently finished and loved EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS so I'm slowly hunting down other books by AS King.

2.  WATER FOR ELEPHANTS (original paperback cover): I love this book!

3.  The new HP Paperback Boxed Set: The new set looks fabulous. My originals are falling to pieces, so it would be nice to upgrade.

4.  QUINTANA OF CHARYN (hardcover): I'm waiting until I get this book in HC before I catch up and start FROI.

5.  VICIOUS: It sounds so good! *wants*

6.  WINGER: I read about one hundred pages before I had to return it, but I loved what I read. It would be nice to own a copy so I could finish!

7.  #SCANDAL: Yes, I know it's not out yet, but I'm sure Santa could pull some strings.

8.  THE GOLDEN LILY: I liked the first novel, so I'm curious to see what happens next!

9.  THE ARCHIVED: I read a preview, loved it, and now this is the one book I try hunting down but never quite find in bookstores.

10.  Honestly, I'd be happy to receive any book. Santa rarely brings me books. He just gives me practical items that are useful but no fun.

What top ten books are you hoping to receive from Santa?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Short Blogging Break

Hey everyone!

I am going to be taking a short blogging break while I'm finishing up this semester in college. I thought I could balance everything, but I would rather take a little blogging time off and come back after I'm done with final essays / projects.

If you're stuck in finals week too, best of luck to you! Hope you all have a great week.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (127): BLIND

WOW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

BLIND by Rachel DeWoskin
April 14th, 2014 by Viking Juvenile
When Emma Sasha Silver loses her eyesight in a nightmare accident, she must relearn everything from walking across the street to recognizing her own sisters to imagining colors. One of seven children, Emma used to be the invisible kid, but now it seems everyone is watching her. And just as she’s about to start high school and try to recover her friendships and former life, one of her classmates is found dead in an apparent suicide. Fifteen and blind, Emma has to untangle what happened and why—in order to see for herself what makes life worth living.

Unflinching in its portrayal of Emma’s darkest days, yet full of hope and humor, Rachel DeWoskin’s brilliant Blind is one of those rare books that utterly absorbs the reader into the life and experience of another.

This seems like it could be an interesting, intense story. The cover is absolutely perfect.

What are you waiting on?

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Few Days Off...and Happy (Almost) Thanksgiving!

Hey everyone! 

I'm going to take a few days off from the blog. I'll have a WOW post on Wednesday, but I will not be posting anything else until Monday. Life is a bit crazy right now - so many papers to finish writing for school, and I have a busy, family-filled week to look forward to. 

While I am not overly fond of this holiday and its origins, I do appreciate the idea of taking a moment to be grateful for the good things in life. I wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving this upcoming Thursday, and hope you guys have a great week! 

I drew this turkey for you lovely readers. Try not to kill/eat him. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Original on the left, redesign on the right!

The new cover is good, but I like the symbolism of the first one more. 

I like the change - very bright and intriguing. 

Look at those colors! This is a nice change, too. 

I like the first one more, but they both work. 

The new cover is much better. 

I don't even know what's happening here, but it's not good. 

I love the original more - so striking! 

Neither one appeals to me. 

The second cover is much better! I'd pick it up if I saw it at the bookstore. 

I'm loving the new cover. 

I'm not really a fan of either one. 

I think both are great!

I like both - the font for the new cover is fantastic! 

What are you thoughts? 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (126): THE FEVER

WOW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

THE FEVER by Megan Abbott
June 17th, 2014 from Little, Brown, and Company

The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.

The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hocky star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie's best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town's fragile idea of security.

This cover is kind of unnerving, and the story sounds intriguing and different!

What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Top Ten Books (You Probably Have NOT Read) That I'd Recommend To EVERYONE

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

1. CHASING SHADOWS: A graphic novel and a novel all wrapped in one!

2. THE RIGHT AND THE REAL (review): Excellent characterization in this book.

3. EXILE (review): Surprising and fun, this story is outstanding!

4. TORCHED (review): Humorous, mysterious, and charming.

5. THE SHADOW SOCIETY: Highly unique and enjoyable.

6. VESSEL (review): LOVE this book. It needs to be on your TBR list.

7. WHEN I WAS JOE (review): Realistic, intense, and difficult to set aside.

8. UNTRACEABLE (review): Great narration, and an excellent mystery.

9. THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE (review): This story is more than you might expect.

10. MOLLY FYDE AND THE PARSONA RESCUE (review): Action, adventure, sci-fi, romance - seriously, you're missing out if you haven't read this book.

What's in your top ten?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Review: PAWN by Aimée Carter

Title: PAWN
Author: Aimée Carter
Published: November 26th, 2013
Series: The Blackcoat Rebellion #1
Genre: YA Dystopian
Pages: 346
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: e-ARC
Source: Netgalley
Rating: The Royal Library, Middle Shelf


For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country.

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter.

There's only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed …and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she's only beginning to understand.

All Kitty Doe wanted was to become a IV. But, with a III freshly tattooed on the back of her neck, her hopes and dreams of living a better life are shattered. Until, that is, she's offered a deal to become a VII, and Kitty eagerly agrees. Yet, every deal comes with strings attached, and Kitty wakes to find that she has been Masked – now she looks exactly like Lila Hart, and is expected to act the part of an easily controlled puppet. Ordered to pretend she's Lila or suffer deadly consequences, Kitty does her best to play the Hart family's wicked political game in order to survive. With lies, secrets, and danger tucked into every corner, PAWN is a whirlwind of a story.

This was my first novel by Carter, and I can absolutely say that I will be looking into reading more of Carter's work in the future. From the easy to enjoy narration to the terrifying revelations, Carter kept me intrigued and eager for more. This genre has become a bit overdone, but PAWN brings something a bit different to YA dystopian literature. The Hart's are quite an intriguing yet twisted family, and the politics of this story are utterly fascinating. With all of the power struggles happening between the characters, there is never a dull moment, especially once Kitty begins to take action. Exciting, ominous, and unique, PAWN is thrilling from start to finish. 

Highlights: Carter's writing is enjoyable and the story is fast-paced. There were some revelations and plot twists that took me completely by surprise (especially Elsewhere, that was an unpleasant surprise). Even though Carter only gives readers a few glimpses into the world of her story, I still felt like I had a good grasp of what it was like. Characters were wonderfully developed, including Augusta, Knox, Greyson (adore him, he's a sweetheart), Celia, and Daxton. The ending ties up the loose ends, but still leaves off at an intriguing point.

Lowlights: The romance seemed almost like an afterthought. Benjy seems like a decent guy, but I felt like the inclusion of his character did nothing for the story. If he played more of a role in the story, I might have enjoyed his character and the romance a bit more.

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

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Queen's Library (40): October & November Books!

PAWN by Aimee Carter (Netgalley)
REVELATIONS by JA Souders (Unsolicited HC)
THE TAKING by Kimberly Derting (Edelweiss)
DEATH SWORN by Leah Cyrpress (Edelweiss)
CRASH INTO YOU by Katie McGarry (Netgalley)
ROOMIES Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando (Netgalley)
THE WINNER'S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski (Netgalley)
RACING SAVANNAH by Miranda Kenneally (Netgalley)
HOUSE OF IVY & SORROW by Natalie Whipple (Edelweiss)
LOVE LETTERS TO THE DEAD by Ava Dellaira (Requested ARC)

WAVECROSSED by Andrea Colt
TYGER, TYGER by Kersten Hamilton
IRON'S PROPHECY by Julie Kagawa
THE BURNING SKY by Sherry Thomas
THE DARKEST MINDS by Alexandra Bracken
THINGS I CAN'T FORGET by Miranda Kenneally

LEGEND by Marie Lu* (my review)
PRODIGY by Marie Lu*
CROSSED by Ally Condie*
ALLEGIANT by Veronica Roth*
THE 5TH WAVE by Rick Yancy
THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson (My review)

* Purchased for an essay I am writing. Can you guess which genre of YA lit I'm writing on? It's going to be challenging (it is supposed to be a rhetorical analysis essay, which is very different from the analysis I usually write), but hopefully fun!

Huge thanks to the Little Brown BYR, Tor, HarperTeen, HarlequinTeen, Ksenia + St Martin's Press, Sabrina + Sourcebooks for the review copies!

YA Book Queen's 
Weekly Recommendation

This feature is inspired by Pop Culture Junkie's This Week In Books, The Story Siren's In My Mailbox, and Mailbox Monday. The Queen's Library is a way for me to feature books that I add to my bookshelves and a place to post my weekly recommendations. This is not a new meme, but merely an adjusted feature that is better suited to my blog and needs.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Highlights & Lowlights: Brick-and-Mortar Bookstores

Highlight: BOOKS. BOOKS EVERYWHERE. Bookstores are pretty much like heaven for bookworms. You walk in, and there are books all over the place. How is that not awesome?

Lowlight:  If it's not on the shelves, they might not have it. Unlike the magical online bookstore that can hold all the books in the world, physical bookstores can only house so many books. Sometimes they hide a few books in the back rooms, but the odds are low. Certain books, possibly including that one you really want, might not ever make it to the shelves.

Highlight: Awesome bookish people. It's always fun to interact with other bookish people, and bookstores are the easiest place (besides a library) to find them.

Lowlight:  Snobby bookish people. You know the type - the ones that give you that LOOK when they see you head into your preferred genre section. Half the time I go through the YA bookshelves, I get the LOOK or even a comment like "you're not going to read that, are you?" - Yes. Yes, I will.

Kimberly Derting, Jessi Kirby, Suzanne Young, Sarah Ockler, Shannon Messenger, Morgan Matson
Highlight: Book signings / author events! I love my sort-of-local-but-not-really indie bookstores, because they host some fantastic book signings with authors I can fangirl over. It's so strange, but fun, to meet authors, other bloggers, and fellow readers. Thanks to bookstores, I've met authors such as Lauren Oliver, Leigh Bardugo, Marissa Meyer, Gayle Forman, Nina LaCour, Kristin Cashore, and more. 

Lowlight: Expensive. This is the biggest reason why I tend to buy most of my books online. It's so expensive to shop at a bookstore. If they offered more discounts, instead of forcing me to buy books at full price, I would buy all of my books at bookstores.

Highlight: Awesome salespeople. Booksellers are fantastic. They're willing to look high and low for that one book you really want, and if they don't have it in stock, they try their best to find a solution. *high five, awesome booksellers*

Lowlight: Pushy salespeople. I realize you're just trying to do your job, but if I don't ask for your help, it means that I do not need help. Fortunately, I've only had this problem a few times, since most booksellers are usually relaxed and kind. It's only in rare instances where a bookseller will refuse to leave me alone.

Highlight: Free swag! At some bookstore events, they might have free bookish swag (sometimes from the authors and publishers, although I've been to bookstores that have their own free bookmarks). I love posters / bookmarks / buttons / et cetera, so this is always a highlight.

Highlight: Atmosphere. I honestly do not know how to describe it, but bookstores have a great atmosphere. You walk in, and everything feels amazing. The mood is outstanding in bookstores. You can't replicate that with online bookstores.

Highlight: Book recommendations. Can't decide what to buy? Odds are, your bookstore has some sort of recommendation display. Other times, you can ask a salesperson and they'll usually have one or two books they can name off the top of their head. Or, you can just spy on other book buyers and see what they are buying...

Highlight: Reading is encouraged. I love any place that encourages people to grab a table, a book, and pull up a chair, so bookstores automatically earn my adoration. Not all bookstores encourage this, but some do tend to set up little reading sections for visitors to enjoy. 

In the end, I obviously adore bookstores. 

What do you love and hate about bookstores? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (125): SCAN

WoW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

SCAN by SE Fine and Walter Jury
May 1st, 2014 from Putnam
Tate and his father don’t exactly get along. As Tate sees it, his father has unreasonably high expectations for Tate to be the best—at everything. Tate finally learns what he’s being prepared for when he steals one of his dad’s odd tech inventions and mercenaries ambush the school, killing his father in the process and sending Tate on the run from aliens who look just like humans.

Even with all he knows like how to defend himself with useful tools made out of bubblegum, Tate fears he’s still inadequate. With the help of his girlfriend and estranged mother, all Tate can really do is keep moving and ensure his father’s invention stays out of the hands of his pursuers and that his father didn’t die in vain. A riveting, fast-paced adventure, Scan is a clever alien thriller with muscle and heart.

This sounds like it could be a fun and exciting story! I'm always interested in more YA sci-fi. 

What are you waiting on this week? 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Top Ten Covers I Wish I Could Redesign

1.  DEVILISH: The original is a bit outdated, but it does fit the tone of the story. But, I really dislike the redesign. I like the idea they are going for with the flames, but something about it does not work for me. This is a difficult book to find the right cover for, because it's so humorously creepy.

2.  SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL: This cover should have used a close-up on dog tags, without the kissing couple. It would have fit the story more.

3.  SHADES OF EARTH: I wish I could take this entire trilogy back to the original cover designs (the space ones). They were stunning!

4.  BORN WICKED: Back to the original (left image). The redesign is a bit too typical for my tastes, and I wish I could change the covers back!

5.  UNDER THE NEVER SKY: Great book, meh cover. Awesome title font, though. I think I would love this cover if it didn't have a person on the front.

6.  BLOODLINES: Hello, awkward-photoshop-close-up-on-faces cover. The only good thing about the covers for this series are the cool tattoos. Maybe covers focusing only on the tattoo/symbols?

7.  VAMPIRE ACADEMY: Big-close-up-face! Ugh. The current redesigns are slightly better, but I still think they should get rid of the faces and do something more symbolic (like using the molnija mark or something).

8.  TWEET HEART: Maybe something like a Twitter feed? I'm not sure.

9.  DECEPTION: This cover is so unfortunate (fun story, though). Perhaps a shot of an eerie house?

10.  SHADE: The original and the redesign do not quite capture this story. I have no idea what would work, but neither cover is right.

What book covers do you wish you could redesign?