Thursday, May 30, 2013

SYNC: Download Two Free Audiobooks of OF POSEIDON and THE TEMPEST

From May 30th to August 21st, SYNC (and some fabulous publishers) will once again be giving YA lovers the opportunity to download one YA audiobook and one classic audiobook each week! That's 24 free audiobooks for the entire summer! This week, you can download these two audiobooks for free

OF POSEIDON by Anna Banks
"Galen is the prince of the Syrena, sent to land to find a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. Emma is on vacation at the beach. When she runs into Galen—literally, ouch!—both teens sense a connection. But it will take several encounters, including a deadly one with a shark, for Galen to be convinced of Emma's gifts. Now, if he can only convince Emma that she holds the key to his kingdom...

Told from both Emma and Galen's points of view, here is a fish-out-of-water story that sparkles with intrigue, humor, and waves of romance." -- Read more on Goodreads

THE TEMPEST by William Shakespeare
"In The Tempest, long considered one of Shakespeare's most lyrical plays, Prospero - a magician on an enchanted island - punishes his enemies, brings happiness to his daughter, and comes to terms with human use of supernatural power. The Tempest embodies both seemingly timeless romance and the historically specific moment in which Europe begins to explore and conquer the New World." -- Read more on Goodreads

I'll be posting a reminder each week, so hopefully none of us (myself included) will miss out on any of these excellent titles! You can view the schedule of audiobooks on Sync's website.

Happy listening! 


Monday, May 27, 2013

Review: SPEECHLESS by Hannah Harrington

Title: Speechless
Author: Hannah Harrington
Published: August 28th, 2012
Genre: YA contemporary
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 288
POV: 1st person
Format: eARC, paperback
Source: Netgalley & Won
Rating: 4 out of 5
"Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can't keep a secret.

Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.

Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she's ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there's strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she's done. If only she can forgive herself."

Has anyone ever gotten hurt because of something you said? Chelsea Knot knows what it's like to say something that sets off a chain reaction, ultimately leading to a young man being seriously injured. Chelsea Knot also knows what it's like to be one everyone else blames. So, Chelsea decides to take a vow of silence in order to learn from her mistakes, and ends up gaining more than expected. In SPEECHLESS, Harrington tackles many serious issues in a sincere fashion. As much as I struggled to relate with Chelsea in the beginning, my heart still went out to her whenever she found herself being bullied by her peers and even her supposed friends. This story, much like Lauren Oliver's BEFORE I FALL, reminds readers the power words can have over other people. But, this story isn't only about bullying. SPEECHLESS is also a story of friendship, young love, and forgiveness. With each serious moment, there's another humorous one for readers to appreciate and savor. A story filled with secrets, consequences, and second chances, SPEECHLESS makes a strong impression. 

Highlights: The side characters (Asha, Sam, Andy, Dex and Lou) were fabulous. Chelsea's lack of dialogue allows the reader more time to dwell inside her thoughts and really get to know who is she and who she is becoming. I like how Chelsea owned up to her mistake and, in response, tried to find and embrace a different and better version of herself. There were some really great themes in story. 

Lowlights: It was a bit challenging to like Chelsea at first, but she fortunately goes through a lot of character growth. I love how Chelsea's family was present in the story, but I hate how she wouldn't tell her parents  or the school administration about what was happening to her. There's a social stigma against asking for help from adults (in the novel and in real life), and I think that is absolutely sad, because sometimes the right adult can make a difference. 

Note: I have not read SAVING JUNE, but I think two characters from that book (possibly the protagonist and a young man named Jake) show up during a diner scene in SPEECHLESS


Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Queen's Library (33)

This week was amazing, and not just because of the books. First, I attended an incredible book signing on Sunday that featured six fantastic authors.  

Then, I found out on Monday that I received four A's for this past college semester - my first ever 4.0 GPA! I could hardly believe it, especially since two of those were from senior-level classes that made me work for those grades. I've been a crazy-happy mess all week!

Finally, I changed the design for YA Book Queen. Changed, as in, I gave it a clean slate. It's not flashy, but I'm happy to see YA Book Queen looking less cluttered. I deleted most of the items in my sidebar, moved a few around, and changed my social media icons (thank you Lori, for the free & fabulous options). I'm attempting to find / make a decent background, but in the meantime, I'll likely keep changing it to different colors. Although, I'm pretty sure I screwed up coding somewhere, because I don't seem to be capable of using bullet points without it looking like a mess...but that's what I get for messing with HTML myself! I'll have to put "professional blog design" on my Christmas list!

Now, onto the books! 

IN HONOR by Jessi Kirby (autographed to me)
LET THE SKY FALL by Shannon Messenger (autographed to me)
THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS by Sarah Ockler (autographed to me)

NOT A DROP TO DRINK by Mindy McGinnis (via Edelweiss)
THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE by Leila Sales (via the fabulous Ksenia)

JANE by April Lindner ($3.60 at Amazon!)

I also got my copies of THE BODY FINDER, THE DESIRES OF THE DEAD, MOONGLASS, and all of Sarah Ockler's books autographed. I still can't believe I got to meet the authors! Many thanks to my family for the books, to Ksenia + Macmillan for TSWSYL, and to Edelweiss and HarperCollins for NaDtD!

What books did you get this week? 


The 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.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Let's Talk: Two Challenges For My Book Blogger Self

What's one thing you'd like to challenge yourself as a book blogger to do this year?

Since I'm apparently a huge cheater when it comes to narrowing things down, I actually have two things I'd like to challenge myself to do as a book blogger this year. 

Challenge One: Blog however / whenever I want to blog.

Sometimes, it's easy to get caught up in memes and trying to stay on top of everything. I honestly do not know how some bloggers manage to post 5+ times a week, or even daily! Despite having been a book blogger for almost four years, I consider YA Book Queen to be a small blog. I do not receive bundles of review books each week (thankfully, because I'd probably lose my mind from stress), so I tend to run my blog a bit more slowly. I take a lot of breaks whenever life gets too crazy, and sometimes I feel guilty for doing so. So, it's a goal of mine to keep my blog as relaxed as possible. If I want to post 5 posts a week, awesome. But if I only manage a couple, then it's still fantastic so long as I'm happy with my content. In essence, my goal is to simply be happy with what I'm blogging about and not rush my content just so I can keep up with the "big" bloggers! 

Challenge Two: Interact more with my readers and other bloggers. 

Readers who comment regularly might have noticed that I started answering comments in the comment section during the last month or so, instead of emailing my responses. I've been trying to be a bit more active on Twitter, too. I'm not sure how I'm going to manage adding in more time to interact with readers and bloggers, but I know that I really want to make the time to do so, even if it's only 10-15 minutes a day. I tend to be more of an anonymous blogger, so I want to engage my readers more, since I do read and appreciate every comment I receive. I especially want to interact more with my fellow bloggers, because I rarely get to talk about bookish things in real life - the closest I get to bookish discussions are always about  Shakespeare or BEOWULF whenever I talk to classmates, but it's more fun to talk about YA lit. ;)

Visit I Swim For Oceans to participate and see more responses! 


Image from I Swim For Oceans

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Recap: Summer Lovin' Tour Stop at Copperfield's Books

I managed to find the time to attend the May 19th stop on the Summer Lovin' tour, and I'm so glad that I did! The lovely Zoe from Zoe's Book Review's was moderating, and there's was a nicely sized group readers in attendance (including Nancy of Ravenous Readers, Katie of Twirly Reads, and likely other people I didn't get a chance to talk to since I was in a rush).

I managed to get a few clips of each author speaking. But, my camera is getting a bit old, so there's some extra noise and the image quality is only decent (I'm sorry it isn't better!):

Accidentally cut off Morgan Matson... 

All six authors!

The book signing begins...

Fun Facts I Didn't Catch On Camera

*   Sarah Ockler uses tarot cards quite a lot. Also, she's apparently a total master at using spreadsheets to plan her books.

*   Jessi Kirby was arrested in the middle of class during high school by a police officer (who happened to be her uncle). Her mom put him up to it, though. 

*   Author Stacey Jay stopped by, and she was rocking some killer boots (my battery died, so I couldn't snap a pic)

And honestly, I probably forgot all of the other fun stuff, Sunday was a crazy day for me. If you live near the last two tour stops, you should definitely visit these ladies! I wish I could have stuck around for a bit longer, it was a great event!


Monday, May 20, 2013

Highlights / Lowlights: REQUIEM by Lauren Oliver

Author: Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium #3
Genre: YA Futuristic, Dystopian
Published: March 5th 2013
Pages: 391
POV: 1st person, dual POV
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gifted from family
"Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor."

Highlights: I highly enjoyed the dual narration, switching from Lena to Hana's perspective gave a nice view of how different life is for both girls. Hana's voice is slightly detached due to her Cured status, so her perspective is a bit more fascinating to me than Lena's. The writing is, of course, as lovely as it always. Oliver has a way with words. I enjoyed the realism; people die and betray one another, and life isn't always perfect or nice for these characters. Life in REQUIEM is raw and heartbreaking, while also being stark and beautiful. All in all, REQUIEM is a vividly and beautifully written conclusion to the DELIRIUM trilogy that some readers will adore while others will struggle with the ending. 

Lowlights: I can enjoy open endings, but I don't think it works well in this book. (SPOILERS-Highlight to read) What happens to Hana after she leaves Fred? Does Fred die or does his house explode? What about Julian? What the bleep happened to Jenny (who was seen once by Hana and then never mentioned again) or Lena's Aunt or Lena's sister? What about the war? Will tearing down Portland's walls do anything to help the Invalids? I feel like Oliver led to me a door and told me to go on inside — but she forgot to give me to the key to unlock it, so I'm stuck twisting and turning the handle to a door that will never open, so I'll never see what's on the other side. Instead of giving answers, Oliver leaves readers with the unsatisfying taste of uncertainty. When I read a series or a trilogy, I expect a majority of the questions to be answered at the end.

Final Thoughts: While I did not love REQUIEM the way I adore Oliver's other works, I do think this trilogy is very worthwhile to read. The writing is gorgeous, but the (lack of an) ending brought the story down a few levels for me. 

Story Rating: 4 out of 5
Ending Rating: 2 out of 5
Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5



Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Queen's Library (32)

THE KEEP by Veronica Wolff
TUMBLE & FALL by Alexandra Coutts

A CLASH OF KINGS by George RR Martin

Many thanks to Penguin for the surprise review book, and to Ksenia + Macmillan for T&F! I'm excited to start all of them!

What books did you get this week? 


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Highlights / Lowlights: Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

Author: Shannon Messenger
Published: October 2nd, 2012
Series: Keeper of the Lost Cities #1
Genre: MG fantasy
Publisher: Aladdin
POV: 3rd person
Pages: 496
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4 out of 5
"Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster has a secret. She’s a Telepath—someone who hears the thoughts of everyone around her. It’s a talent she’s never known how to explain.

Everything changes the day she meets Fitz, a mysterious boy who appears out of nowhere and also reads minds. She discovers there’s a place she does belong, and that staying with her family will place her in grave danger. In the blink of an eye, Sophie is forced to leave behind everything and start a new life in a place that is vastly different from anything she has ever known.

Sophie has new rules to learn and new skills to master, and not everyone is thrilled that she has come “home.” There are secrets buried deep in Sophie’s memory—secrets about who she really is and why she was hidden among humans—that other people desperately want. Would even kill for."

Highlights: The characters are the strongest aspect of this story, as they are utterly charming and memorable (Keefe, I adore you). The settings in KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES are vivid and enchanting. Plus, there's even a bit of mystery, a dash of thrilling adventures, some fun pranks, a fantastical boarding school that I wish I could attend, and a healthy dose of magical awesomeness. Messenger gives her debut some tiny fresh and creative twists, so nothing is quite what we readers (or even Sophie) would initially expect. KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES gives readers a glimpse into a fun world and an incredible set of characters that will leave you eager for more.

Lowlights: The title seems a bit misleading. While other characters do mention Keeper's, it's a very small part of this story (and likely a much larger part of future books). I also had a little Harry Potter déjà vu regarding some aspects of the story. That isn't necessarily good because Messenger's writing, while very fun and pleasing to read, is nowhere near JK Rowling status.


Monday, May 13, 2013

YA Book Queen's 2013 Blog Survey!

I'm sorry there isn't a new review up today! I just finished with finals week at my college, so I'm a bit exhausted (and I forgot to schedule something). BUT, I do have a survey, and I would greatly appreciate it if you could take a few minutes to fill it out! All responses are anonymous. The more detailed and honest you are, the better. Do not worry about hurting my feelings - I'm a tough girl, I can take criticism :)

Thank you for taking the time to fill this out - I appreciate it more than I can say! 


Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Releases July 2013
(YA Novel)
"Seventeen-year-old Aurora Lahey has figured out why everyone is trying to kill she just needs to figure out how to stop them.

Between all the hell-hired assassins and secret society traitors hunting her down, Aurora didn’t think life as the Divinicus Nex could get worse.

Sure, she's discovered some lethal powers of her own. Plus, six sexy, super-charged, demon-hunting Hex Boys are watching her back. And yes, Aurora doesn't mind running into the muscled arms of the hottest one—and he’s not complaining either.

But when a seductive stranger with questionable motives delivers a deadly ultimatum, Aurora and the Hex Boys plunge into a do-or-die hunt for a legendary treasure that will either finally shift power in their favor or unleash hell on earth.

Pursued by demons of mythical proportions, Aurora and the Hex Boys race deeper into a shadowy world of a centuries old mystery and brutal conspiracy, where no one and nothing is what it seems. Where love and betrayal go hand-in-hand, and trusting the wrong person not only breaks your heart, but can get you killed.

Hiding her Divinicus Nex status from those chasing her, lying to her pretend-wish-he-were-real boyfriend, dodging demons, breaking into tombs, hunting her blackmailer, and passing Physics...Aurora could do that in her sleep.

Or more likely, die trying."

I highly enjoyed the first book, so I'm excited to see what happens next in the sequel!

THE LOST by Sarah Beth Durst
Releases October 29th, 2013
(Adult Novel)
"Lost your way? Your dreams?


Welcome to Lost.

It was supposed to be a small escape. A few hours driving before turning around and heading home. But once you arrive in Lost...well, it's a place you really can't leave. Not until you're Found. Only the Missing Man can send you home. And he took one look at Lauren Chase and disappeared.

So Lauren is now trapped in the town where all lost things go-luggage, keys, dreams, lives-where nothing is permanent, where the locals go feral and where the only people who don't want to kill her are a handsome wild man called the Finder and a knife-wielding six-year-old girl. The only road out of town is engulfed by an impassable dust storm, and escape is impossible....

Until Lauren decides nothing-and no one-is going to keep her here anymore."

I'm a SBD fan, so I was instantly interested in this story. But, I became even more curious after learning about the lost things aspect - I'm quite intrigued by stories involving lost things (which is probably why I adore the second Halloweentown movie, even if it wasn't as great as the first one). I'm loving the cover, too!

What are you waiting on this week? 


WOW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Top (slightly more than) Ten Books When You Need a Light & Fun Read

2.  THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER and ALONG FOR THE RIDE and WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE (and really any other book) by Sarah Dessen
3.  CLARITY by Kim Harrington
4.  THE LIAR SOCIETY by Lisa and Laura Roecker
5.  THE MEDIATOR series by Meg Cabot
6.  THE GHOST AND THE GOTH by Stacey Kade
7.  HEX HALL by Rachel Hawkins
9.  OH MY GODS and SWEET VENOM by Tera Lynn Childs
10.  THE PRINCESS DIARIES series by Meg Cabot

Yes, I cheated. My list has way more than ten books, but I couldn't resist! It was too challenging to choose only ten! ;)

What books do you read when you need something light / fun? 


Image from and Hosted by THE BROKE AND THE BOOKISH

Monday, May 6, 2013

Review: FURIOUS by Jill Wolfson

Author: Jill Wolfson
Published: April 16th, 2013
Genre: YA paranormal
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co BYR
POV: 1st person
Pages: 336
Format: Advanced Reader's Copy
Source: Publicist
Rating: 3.8 out of 5
"Three high school girls become the avenging Furies of Greek legend.

We were only three angry girls, to begin with. Alix, the hot-tempered surfer chick; Stephanie, the tree-hugging activist; and me, Meg, the quiet foster kid, the one who never quite fit in. We hardly knew each other, but each of us nurtured a burning anger: at the jerks in our class, at our disappointing parents, at the whole flawed, unjust world.

We were only three angry girls, simmering uselessly in our ocean-side California town, until one day a mysterious, beautiful classmate named Ambrosia taught us what else we could be: Powerful. Deadly. Furious."

I'm a sucker for mythology, so when I saw that this book was about Furies, I became excited. Deadly furies in high school? Yes please, sign me up for that book.

Meg, our narrator in FURIOUS,  is a foster kid who has a tendency of finding herself in embarrassing situations that would make just about anyone cringe. After an unfortunately awkward class moment starring Meg, Meg soon finds herself grouped together with Ambrosia (a mysterious, gorgeous, popular girl), Alix (a strong, fiery-tempered surfer chick), Stephanie (a nature-loving sweetheart with some spunk) and her best friend Raymond (who is made of awesome, let's just leave it at that) for a school project, Meg's life quickly spirals out of control as she learns the truth about herself and the deadly power she holds inside of herself....

Who knew three girls could cause so much damage? In the introduction, Wolfson thrusts Meg into an awkward situation that demands a reader's sympathy. Once Meg and the other girls start embracing their abilities, the story becomes even more fascinating as the lines between what's good and bad begin to blur uncomfortably.  From high school bullies to deadbeat dad's, no one is off limits and no punishment is too harsh in their eyes. While the girls quickly become intimidating and hard to enjoy fully, and I enjoyed how far Wolfson took them in their fury-filled journey. Dangerous and exciting, FURIOUS is one novel you'll have a hard time setting aside.

Highlights: I enjoyed Wolfson's take on Furies, along with how and the way they used their abilities. I also enjoyed that there were consequences from using these abilities, too. Despite seeming to be very stereotypical at first glance, these characters have a few extra layers to them. There's a costume party that is wonderfully described and vivid (I love costume parties, so I'm definitely biased on this point). 

Lowlights: Predictable. Characters quickly became unlikable, but that didn't greatly hinder my enjoyment of the novel. As much as I devoured this book, there was something about the writing, and I never became fully invested in this story and the characters.  

Rating: This book is a difficult to rate. While I couldn't stop reading, there were some aspects I didn't like. So, I'm going with 3.8 out of 5: I thoroughly enjoyed it, despite a few issues.


Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Queen's Library (31)

For Review From Edelweiss
STARGLASS by Phoebe North (!!!!)
THE BITTER KINGDOM by Rae Carson (!!!!!!)

Purchased for Kindle
BRIDGE by Jeri Smith-Ready

Can't go wrong with a JSR short story, and I figured it was time I read some of Baum's OZ books. I'm still happy and shocked that I was accepted to read two incredible books on Edelweiss! Many thanks to HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Edelweiss for the review eARC's. I'm very excited to read both of them!

What books did you receive this week?


The 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.