Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (116): CHASING SHADOWS

WoW is hosted by Breaking The Spine

Author: Swati Avasthi
Release: September 24th, 2013
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
"Chasing Shadows is a searing look at the impact of one random act of violence.

Before: Corey, Holly, and Savitri are one unit—fast, strong, inseparable. Together they turn Chicago concrete and asphalt into a freerunner’s jungle gym, ricocheting off walls, scaling buildings, leaping from rooftop to rooftop.

But acting like a superhero doesn’t make you bulletproof...

After: Holly and Savitri are coming unglued. Holly says she's chasing Corey's killer, chasing revenge. Savitri fears Holly's just running wild—and leaving her behind. Friends should stand by each other in times of crissi. But can you hold on too tight? Too long?

In this intense novel, told in two voices, and incorporating comic-style art sections, Swati Avasthi creates a gripping portrait of two girls teetering on the edge of grief and insanity. Two girls who will find out just how many ways there are to lose a friend . . . and how many ways to be lost."

I loved Avasthi's debut, SPLIT, so I'm very excited for CHASING SHADOWS. I'm lucky enough to have an ARC, and it looks like it will be amazing. Plus, it has graphic art inside - so cool!

What are you waiting on?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Review: THE BITTER KINGDOM by Rae Carson

Author: Rae Carson
Published: August 27th, 2013
Series: Fire and Thorns #3
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
POV: 1st, dual
Pages: 433
Format: Electronic ARC
Source: Edelweiss / Publisher
"The champion must not waver.
The champion must not fear.
The gate of darkness closes.

Elisa is a fugitive.

Her enemies have stolen the man she loves, and they await her at the gate of darkness. Her country is on the brink of civil war, with her own soldiers ordered to kill her on sight.

Her Royal Majesty, Queen Lucero-Elisa née Riqueza de Vega, bearer of the Godstone, will lead her three loyal companions deep into the enemy's kingdom, a land of ice and snow and brutal magic, to rescue Hector and win back her throne. Her power grows with every step, and the shocking secrets she will uncover on this, her final journey, could change the course of history.

But that is not all. She has a larger destiny. She must become the champion the world has been waiting for.

Even of those who hate her most."

Trekking across the blazing sand and through deadly snow, Elisa is in for one epic journey to save the man she loves, to protect her kingdom from utter destruction, and to fulfill her destiny as a bearer of a Godstone in the final installment of the Fire and Thorns trilogy1. I've been anticipating this novel ever since I finished THE CROWN OF EMBERS, and Rae Carson did not disappoint. Picking up directly where the sequel left off, Carson does not waste a moment in getting Elisa started on her journey. But, Elisa's not going at it alone, and is instead aided by a few old friends (Belen, Mara, Storm) and a few new allies (Mula, Horse2, possibly also Storm). Their journey is dangerous, deadly, and will take them into the heart of a place they fear the most. 

Rife with political intrigue, daring altercations, thrilling escapes, and a vibrant cast of characters, THE BITTER KINGDOM is a whirlwind of a story that excites from start to finish. Just when you think you have this story all figured out, the stakes raise as more revelations come to light. Carson's writes each setting vividly, and gives equal care to fleshing out her characters and her overall story. Looking back at where this trilogy started, I'm very impressed regarding Elisa's character growth, and I'm sold on reading all of Carson's future works. If you are not reading this trilogy and you happen to be a fantasy fan, give this trilogy a chance because you're in a for a treat. 

Highlights: Action, adventure, risks, and sacrifice, THE BITTER KINGDOM is thrilling. I was constantly on the edge of my seat, rooting for Elisa and worrying for the main cast of characters whenever things started to go badly for them. The inclusion of Hector's1 POV could have been a risky move, but it paid off in the end since it added another layer to his character and to the overall story. Characters, new and old, are carefully developed by Carson. More about Elisa's world and the Inviernos is revealed. In all, this book is wonderful. 

Lowlights: The trilogy is over, and I'm sad about that. Rae Carson, why can't you write more Fire and Thorns novels?! *hugs trilogy*

Rating: The Treasure Vault. This book (or really, this series) is a favorite of mine, and is also very 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. But, I'll just keep it tucked safely away in my treasure vault instead.  

1 Um, no pressure. Poor Elisa. She's got a lot to do! 
2 Horse is a horse. A very sweet horse. I still think Elisa should have put some effort into a better name, though. 
3 *swoons*

My reviews of other novels by Rae Carson:

Saturday, July 27, 2013

YA Book Queen's Rating Scale

Current rating scale

In order to make my rating scale as simple as possible, I'm going to rely on these word-ratings in order to express my overall thoughts of a novel. 

Favorite (5+ out of 5): This story is an instant favorite, and I'm going to keep this one under lock & key! 

Loved (5 out of 5): I loved this book, and it has earned a spot on my bookshelves. I highly recommend this story. 

Highly Enjoyed (4+ out of 5): This story is fantastic, with only a couple small issues. This book is probably going on my bookshelves, and I recommend reading this story.

Great (4 out of 5): This story was great, very enjoyable, but has a couple issues. Regardless, I recommend this story!

Really Liked (3+ out of 5): This book was so close to being great, but not quite. Yet, it's still a very good story and worth checking out! 

Liked (3 out of 5): This book was very likable, but had many lowlights. I'm not sure if I'll buy this one, but I may revisit it again sometime in the future. As usual, I recommend checking it out before buying. 

Okay (2 out of 5): This book had a few good aspects, but not enough to make it a story I'll revisit. If you're curious about the story, I'd recommend checking it out first to see if it's for you. 

Disliked (1 out of 5)I wasn't a fan of this story, and it really wasn't my cup of tea. I'd recommend checking it out from your library if you're curious. 

Did-Not-Finish (DNF): I couldn't bring myself to finish. Regardless, I'd recommend checking it out at the library if you're curious. 

Previous rating scale: 
The Treasure Vault. This book is a new 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. (Favorite: 5+ out of 5)

The royal library1, top shelf. I love this book, so it is going on the top shelves in the royal library where everyone can see it. I'd highly recommend this book, because it is an incredible story. (Loved! 4+ or 5 out of 5)

The royal library, middle shelf. This book 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 this book to other readers. (Highly Enjoyed: 4 or 4+ out of 5)

The royal library, bottom shelf. I think this book 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. (Really Liked: 4 or 4- out of 5)

Tea Party (previously known as The Great Hall). This book was very likable, enough that I want a copy in the palace even if it doesn't earn a spot in the royal library. I wouldn't buy this book, but if I was given a copy as a gift, I would likely keep it and reread it again. It's a likable story, even if it has a lot of issues. (Liked: 3 or 3+ out of 5)

The dungeons. This book had a couple good moments, but it also had many lowlights. I like this story enough not to exile it, but I'm quite annoyed with it, too. So, this story gets to spend some time in the dungeons, but I'll release (donate) it after a few days, and then I will likely never see this book again. (Okay: 2-, 2, or 2+ out of 5)

Exiled from the Queendom. Unfortunately, this book and I did not get along very well, and it has been exiled from my own personal life (via donation to library or another reader). It wasn't my cup of tea, but if it sounds like your type of story, I'd recommend reading a few pages / chapters before purchasing. (Disliked: 1-, 1, or 1+ out of 5)

Color Key
Green: Go for it! Read this book!
Yellow: Approach novel with some caution, but give it a chance.
Red: Read at your own risk.

1 I unfortunately do not have a royal library (and I'm also not royal, darn it). But hey, a girl can dream.... *skips through the library of my dreams*
2 Please excuse the ridiculous artwork. I was bored. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Highlights & Lowlights: Blurbs on Book Covers

Anyone who visits YA Book Queen regularly knows that I love to look for the highlights and lowlights in every book. And, sometimes, I like to look for highlights and lowlights elsewhere, too. Last time, I discussed the Highlights & Lowlights of Sequels. This week, however, I'm going to focus on something different but still bookish. When it comes to books, one of the first things I notice is the cover. I also notice of other little details – such as whether or not the cover has quotes / blurbs on the front. Here are some highlights and lowlights when it comes to blurbs on book covers:

Lowlight:  They don't fit the book at all. I'm looking at you, paperback version of IF I STAY. I mean, really? These two stories are nothing alike, aside from having romance (Forman's novel is undeniably better written), so I think it's a strange blurb that doesn't do this novel any favors. It's kind of like saying CODE NAME VERITY will appeal to HARRY POTTER fans (because both feature friendship...and that's it). It just doesn't fit. 

Highlight:  They can be fun! Maureen Johnson gives the best example of this with her blurb for ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS (which is actually on the back cover of the original paperback): "Very sly. Very funny. Very romantic. You should date this book." When MJ tells you to date a book, you date the book. I always love reading quirky, odd blurbs. A blurb like that makes me laugh, and want to pick up the novel to check it out. 

Lowlight:  I'm not a fan of the author who blurbed the book. I might walk on by if I see Author X exclaiming about another writer's work, especially if I dislike Author X's writing. I tend to assume that if Author X blurbs Author Z's novel, then they must write similarly...which isn't always true, but I still tend to move on to looking at something else. 

Highlight:  They make me curious about books I would NEVER read. The MJ quotation, once again, is the perfect example. It's amusing, catches my eye, and makes me wonder about the novel - which is exactly what a blurb should do! I never would have read A&TFK, simply because the title is a bit ridiculous, but the blurbs and good buzz convinced me otherwise. 

Lowlight:  Blurbs with comparisons set me up for disappointment. Tell me a novel is going to be the next HARRY POTTER, and I get excited. Really excited, because I love HP. So, when it turns out to be a so-and-so or even good story, I'm disappointment. I might have enjoyed the novel more if the blurb hadn't of compared it to HP in the first place.

Highlight:  The blurb is written by one of my favorite authors. One of the reasons I became even more curious about SHADOW AND BONE was because Veronica Roth had a blurb on the book cover. And, since I'm a fan of Roth's work, it made me curious enough about Bardugo's novel to convince me to purchase it, and I wasn't disappointed.

Lowlight:  Some blurbs seem like lies or are all the same. I have a hard time taking blurbs seriously when they (A) come from someone that seems to love everything, (B) compare books inaccurately, or (C) recycle the same phrases over and over. If I hadn't of read and loved an ARC of BLOOD RED ROAD, I never would have picked up the new cover version that features a blurb from MTV'S Hollywood Crush. It doesn't catch my eye in a good way. 

Highlight: They give me another author's work to check out. When I pick up a book I like that has a blurb by an author I haven't heard of, I'll usually check out that author's novels on Goodreads. Sometimes it's a great way to discover an author that has a similar writing style as the book I originally picked up. 

Lowlight:  They ruin what would otherwise be an awesome cover. I actually wish blurbs were mostly on the back cover of books, that way they don't ruin a lovely cover with unnecessary font. The THRONE OF GLASS cover, for instance, would look incredible if it didn't have the blurb on the front cover. 

Highlight: They describe the novel perfectly.  For example, Miranda Kenneally's blurb for TORCHED - it's short, sweet, and completely accurate. It's not an overly exciting blurb, but it does fit the story. 

Highlight: They add to the overall cover design. THE FAULT IN OUR STARS is one cover that really makes the blurb add something extra to the cover. The quotation doesn't look out of place, it fits in perfectly. I feel like this is pretty rare, though. Can anyone else think of a cover that uses the text from a blurb in an interesting way? 

While I, for the most part, dislike seeing a blurb on the front cover, I do love to read them! What are your thoughts on book covers with blurbs on the front? 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (115): PANIC

WoW is hosted by Breaking The Spine

Title: PANIC
Author: Lauren Oliver
Releases: March 4th, 2014
Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

A LAUREN OLIVER BOOK, you guys!! I pretty much need this novel, because I usually adore Lauren Oliver's books! At least she was kind enough to read the first three chapters, but that only made me want this story even more...I wish it was March.

What are you waiting on? 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Review: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green

Author: John Green
Published: January 10th, 2012
Genre: YA Contemporary
Pages: 368
POV: 1st person
Publisher: Dutton
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed (library); purchased collector's edition.
Rating: 5 out of 5
"Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind."

I didn't think I would enjoy THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. In my mind, the reviews were so positive that there was no way it could possibly live up to all of that praise. I mean, come on. It seemed as if the entire universe loved this book! I enjoyed one of Green's earlier novels a few years back, but I was not overly impressed by Green's writing style in that story. So forgive me, but I was skeptical and went into this story expecting to be underwhelmed by the characters and the plot. But, I quickly realized that THE FAULT IN OUR STARS lives up to (and deserves) the hype once I began reading. And, upon finishing the last page and the last lines, I promptly burst into tears, solidifying this book as one of my favorite novels1

I'm amazed at how developed and realistic all of the characters were throughout the story. From Hazel, our straight-forward and slightly snarky narrator, to the exuberantly amusing Augustus Waters, all of the characters are developed with their own quirks and traits. While there are mentions of cancer and death, this is more of a story about two teens who fall into like (and eventually, love) with each other, and it's both utterly sweet and sad. Anyone who is putting off reading this book, for whatever reason you have, give it a chance. Buy it, borrow it, or read it while sitting on the floor of your local bookstore, but do not let this story pass you by without at least checking it out once. Hilarious, heartbreaking, and entirely deserving of every single glowing, positive review it receives, THE FAULT IN OUR STARS is one exceptional story. 

Highlights: Hazel and Augustus are a couple of smart cookies who happen to have cancer, but they're also your typical teenagers. They make mistakes, they think they know everything, they obsess over awesome books, and they are utterly endearing. Green takes his time developing characters – for better or for worse – and I like how not everyone in this story has a perfect personality. An honest portrayal of family, friends,  and young love.  This story is excellent.

Lowlights: Not long enough? And the ending2. *sighs* *hugs book*

1 I don't cry that often, so when a book makes me shed a tear (or multiple tears), I take notice. 
2 Thanks for completely BREAKING my heart and shattering my hopes, John Green. *grabs tissues*

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Queen's Library (38)

SLIDE by Jill Hathaway (Kindle freebie)
THE PECULIAR by Stefan Bachman (free audiobook from sync)
OLIVER TWIST by Charles Dickens (free audiobook from sync)
DARE YOU TO by Katie McGarry (for review from amazon vine)

My Weekly Recommendation

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.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (114): DEAR KILLER

WOW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

Author: Katherine Ewell
Publishes: April 1st, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Rule One—Nothing is right, nothing is wrong.
Rule Two—Be careful.
Rule Three—Fight using your legs whenever possible, because they’re the strongest part of your body. Your arms are the weakest.
Rule Four—Hit to kill. The first blow should be the last, if at all possible.
Rule Five—The letters are the law.

Kit takes her role as London’s notorious “Perfect Killer” seriously. The letters and cash that come to her via a secret mailbox are not a game; choosing who to kill is not an impulse decision. Every letter she receives begins with “Dear Killer,” and every time Kit murders, she leaves a letter with the dead body. Her moral nihilism and thus her murders are a way of life—the only way of life she has ever known.

But when a letter appears in the mailbox that will have the power to topple Kit’s convictions as perfectly as she commits her murders, she must make a decision: follow the only rules she has ever known, or challenge Rule One, and go from there.

Katherine’s Ewell’s Dear Killer is a sinister psychological thriller that explores the thin line between good and evil, and the messiness of that inevitable moment when life contradicts everything you believe.
I'm easily intrigued by stories like this. The lovely Epic Reads ladies said that DEAR KILLER is like a YA version of Dexter. The summary definitely gives off that type of vibe! This book has easily captured my curiosity. If only it was already April 1st!

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Highlights / Lowlights: Review of LET THE SKY FALL by Shannon Messenger

Author: Shannon Messenger
Published: March 5th, 2013
Series: Sky Fall #1
Genre: YA paranormal
Publisher: Simon Pulse
POV: 1st person, present tense, alternating
Pages: 416
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4 out of 5
"Seventeen-year-old Vane Weston has no idea how he survived the category five tornado that killed his parents. And he has no idea if the beautiful, dark-haired girl who’s swept through his dreams every night since the storm is real. But he hopes she is.

Seventeen-year-old Audra is a sylph, an air elemental. She walks on the wind, can translate its alluring songs, and can even coax it into a weapon with a simple string of commands. She’s also a guardian—Vane’s guardian—and has sworn an oath to protect Vane at all costs. Even if it means sacrificing her own life.

When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both of their families, Audra’s forced to help Vane remember who he is. He has a power to claim—the secret language of the West Wind, which only he can understand. But unlocking his heritage will also unlock the memory Audra needs him to forget. And their greatest danger is not the warriors coming to destroy them—but the forbidden romance that’s grown between them."

Highlights: The world building regarding sylphs is top notch, detailed, and very fascinating. The dual points-of-view are similarly well done, as Messenger gives both Vane and Audra their own distinct personalities / voices. Audra was especially an incredible, badass, easy-to-love character, but I did equally enjoy Vane's sarcastic nature (and his concern for his family). Messenger's writing has a nice flow to it, making her novel an easy story to breeze through in a matter of hours. The romance, despite being a bit quick, is surprisingly believable and sweet. All in all, LET THE SKY FALL is a highly enjoyable and gripping story. 

Lowlights: Despite Messenger's creativity with the slyph lore, she lets the actual story fall into the structure of your typical, clichéd young adult novel. The plot is familiar to those who read a lot of YA, so it's easy to see where everything is going (but there are a few twists that I'm sure many readers will find very surprising). I wish the secondary characters had been included in the story a bit more.

I would give this novel a 4 out of 5 rating. Packed with plenty of action, humor, and imagination, LET THE SKY FALL is a lively start to what could be a terrific trilogy. I have high hopes for the sequel, LET THE STORMS BREAK!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Four-Year Blogoversary & Giveaway

It's July 15th, 2013, so that means YA BOOK QUEEN is 4-years-old! Woohoo! Before I get to the giveaway, I wanted to take a moment and say a huge THANK YOU to everyone that has supported me and this blog. 

Thank you to all the readers that regularly visit and leave comments, to my ninja readers (the ones that hover silently in the background and pop in when I least expect them), and to the readers who email me randomly to talk about / fangirl over awesome books. Thank you for not yelling at me whenever I take yet another blogging break.

Thank you to the bloggers who have ever given me advice or help when I asked for it, linked to a blog post, RT'd my tweets, or were just genuinely awesome or kind to me. I'm always amazed by how sweet and friendly most people are in the Blogosphere.

Thank you to the authors who were kind enough to grant me their time for an interview, especially when I've probably acted like a total fangirl with some of you. Thank you to the authors who asked me to review their books, to the authors who commented on my reviews of their books (seriously, that's always awesome), and the ones who randomly email and say something sweet.

Thank you to the publishers that give me the opportunity to review incredible novels! I'm always grateful for each and every story you send my way. And a huge thanks to the incredible and outstanding publicists I've had the pleasure of working with so far as a book blogger!

Book blogging is one of the best hobbies that I have because of the absolutely wonderful people that are present in the blogosphere. All of you - readers, bloggers, writers, authors, publicists, publishers, and everyone else - make blogging fun and worthwhile. Every comment, email, tweet (and so on) that I receive makes me light up and grin. I enjoy every second of blogging, thanks to everyone in the blogosphere. I can hardly believe it's been four years! Hopefully there will be many more years of blogging to come! :)

I wish I could host an amazing giveaway as a thank you to my readers, but I'm pretty much broke after purchasing books for my next semester in college. Instead, I can only offer one book of the winner's choice - so long as it's under $15. INTERNATIONAL (as long as the The Book Depository ships to you)!

*throws confetti everywhere*

Friday, July 12, 2013

SYNC (Week 7): Free audiobooks of THE PECULIAR and OLIVER TWIST!

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:

THE PECULIAR by Stefan Bachman
Narrated by Peter Altschuler
Don’t get yourself noticed and you won’t get yourself hanged.

In the faery slums of Bath, Bartholomew Kettle and his sister Hettie live by these words. Bartholomew and Hettie are changelings—Peculiars—and neither faeries nor humans want anything to do with them.

One day a mysterious lady in a plum-colored dress comes gliding down Old Crow Alley. Bartholomew watches her through his window. Who is she? What does she want? And when Bartholomew witnesses the lady whisking away, in a whirling ring of feathers, the boy who lives across the alley—Bartholomew forgets the rules and gets himself noticed.

First he’s noticed by the lady in plum herself, then by something darkly magical and mysterious, by Jack Box and the Raggedy Man, by the powerful Mr. Lickerish . . . and by Arthur Jelliby, a young man trying to slip through the world unnoticed, too, and who, against all odds, offers Bartholomew friendship and a way to belong.

Part murder mystery, part gothic fantasy, part steampunk adventure, The Peculiar is Stefan Bachmann’s riveting, inventive, and unforgettable debut novel.

OLIVER TWIST by Charles Dickens 
Narrated by Simon Vance
One of Charles Dickens’s most popular novels, Oliver Twist is the story of a young orphan who dares to say, “Please, sir, I want some more.” After escaping from the dark and dismal workhouse where he was born, Oliver finds himself on the mean streets of Victorian-era London and is unwittingly recruited into a scabrous gang of scheming urchins. In this band of petty thieves, Oliver encounters the extraordinary and vibrant characters who have captured audiences’ imaginations for more than 150 years: the loathsome Fagin, the beautiful and tragic Nancy, the crafty Artful Dodger, and the terrifying Bill Sikes, perhaps one of the greatest villains of all time.

Rife with Dickens’s disturbing descriptions of street life, the novel is buoyed by the purity of the orphan Oliver. Though he is treated with cruelty and surrounded by coarseness for most of his life, his pious innocence leads him at last to salvation—and the shocking discovery of his true identity.

Click HERE to go to download both free audiobooks! Happy listening :)

Info and images from

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (113): THE MUSEUM OF INTANGIBLE THINGS

WoW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

April 10th, 2014 by Razorbill
"Loyalty. Envy. Obligation. Dreams. Disappointment. Fear. Negligence. Coping. Elation. Lust. Nature. Freedom. Heartbreak. Insouciance. Audacity. Gluttony. Belief. God. Karma. Knowing what you want (there is probably a French word for it). Saying Yes. Destiny. Truth. Devotion. Forgiveness. Life. Happiness (ever after).

Hannah and Zoe haven’t had much in their lives, but they’ve always had each other. So when Zoe tells Hannah she needs to get out of their down-and-out New Jersey town, they pile into Hannah’s beat-up old Le Mans and head west, putting everything—their deadbeat parents, their disappointing love lives, their inevitable enrollment at community college—behind them.

As they chase storms and make new friends, Zoe tells Hannah she wants more for her. She wants her to live bigger, dream grander, aim higher. And so Zoe begins teaching Hannah all about life’s intangible things, concepts sadly missing from her existence—things like audacity, insouciance, karma, and even happiness.

An unforgettable read from the acclaimed author of The Probability of Miracles, The Museum of Intangible Things sparkles with the humor and heartbreak of true friendship and first love."

I enjoyed THE PROBABILITY OF MIRACLES, so I'm very excited for Wunder's newest novel!

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Top Ten Best & Worst Movie Adaptations


1.   HARRY POTTER – Even with the small differences here and there, the movies still managed to keep that same charm and magic that the books had. Adore these movies!

2.   THE HUNGER GAMES – Mostly true to the book. Even with the small changes, they still brought the story and characters to life.  

3.   THE LORD OF THE RINGS – My memory is admittedly fuzzy when it comes to the books, but I'm still putting this down as one of the best adaptations. I love these movies so much!

4.   HOLES – I felt like they kept the same charm of the novel, even with the small changes. Guess it pays off to have the author write the screenplay! 


5.   THE LAST SONG – I love the book, so I was a bit disappointed with the film. A handful of fantastic actors did such a great job as their characters, but even they couldn't keep all of the lesser actors from messing up certain moments. 

6.   WATER FOR ELEPHANTS – I feel like the film was very close to the novel, but I had some issues with the acting of the two lead characters. Sometimes they were good, sometimes they weren't. 


7.   THE LIGHTNING THIEF – I watched this movie before reading the books, and thought it was okay. After I read the books, however, my perspective changed quite a lot. I'm very nervous about the sequel, but I'm hoping that they'll stick to the story this time. 

8.   ELLA ENCHANTED – Oh my gosh. Thanks for ruining one of my favorite novels from my childhood. The novel is fun, charming, and whimsical. The film is not even worth your time, especially if you're a fan of the book. 

9.   THE SCARLET LETTER – I'm talking about the Demi Moore film, which was a mess. Even Gary Oldman couldn't save this film. It felt like torture when we were watching this film in school last semester! 

10.  ERAGON – I was surprised by how bad the film was. The books aren't anything special, but they're fun and perfect for film. was bad. Saphira looked awesome, though. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Highlights / Lowlights: Review of THE MOON AND MORE by Sarah Dessen

Author: Sarah Dessen
Published: June 4th 2013
Genre: YA contemporary
Publisher: Viking
POV: 1st, past tense
Pages: 435
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4 out of 5
Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.

Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo's sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.

Emaline's mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he's convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby?

Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she's going?

Highlights: THE MOON AND MORE is not Dessen's best story, but it does have that standard Sarah Dessen charm lingering in each and every line. Emaline is a fantastic narrator, and her coming-of-age story was interesting to watch unfold. Side characters are Dessen's strong point (sweet little Benji!), especially in regard to Emaline's BFF's Morris1 and Daisy. I loved Morris and his simplistic but meaningful observations. Family and friendship are important in this story, and Dessen expertly shows the ups and downs of both. All in all, THE MOON AND MORE is a great story about friendship, family, small-towns, dreams, and growing up.

Lowlights: Dessen is well known (or should be) for her swoonworthy love interests: Wes, Eli, Dexter, Owen...oh, sorry. I got a little carried away there. So anyway, I was surprised to find myself disliking both love interests in this novel. Theo even inspired a list called characters-I-want-to-slap-or-punch-in-the-face1. I also had a hard time enjoying Luke's character, because of something he does early in the story. I also wish there had been more scenes with Emaline's family.

Allusions: Appearances by Maggie, Heidi, Auden, Esther, Clyde, Wallace, and includes establishments such as (no, no, no to) Tallyho, Clementine's, and The Washroom from ALONG FOR THE RIDE. Last Chance Cafe and possibly Coley (but I'm not certain about her) from KEEPING THE MOON. Quick mention of Wes1 and Bert, along with the game gotcha! from THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER. The worst-band-ever, Spinnerbait, gained a brief mention and they are from THIS LULLABY. There might be more that I didn't catch or simply forgot to jot down on paper. 

1  How awesome is it that he and Emaline are friends, and only friends? No romance involved!
2 I feel like Theo was that kid who tripped other children during a race back in elementary school, just so he could get ahead of everyone else and win -- his personality is so unattractive and selfish. I don't know how Emaline could stand him and his better-than-all-of-you-small-town-hicks attitude. 
3 Oh, Wes. I wish you were in this book. *swoons*

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Queen's Library (37)

RUSH by Eve Silver
UNDERCURRENT by Paul Blackwell
Two Epic Reads bookmarks, and a cute little note with King Snarkles's picture.

THRONE OF GLASS by Sarah J. Maas (my review)
SIEGE AND STORM by Leigh Bardugo (my review)
CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein (my review)

LOSING IT by Cora Carmack (couldn't resist a 99 cent deal!)

ROTTERS by Daniel Kraus
FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley

* I had a bit of an incident involving my hand when I was helping my father move a new futon into the house. My hand is finally feeling back to normal, so I'm glad that stupid futon didn't do any permanent damage! Plus, three free books! It almost makes the whole experience worthwhile ;)

Thanks to SYNC for the free audios, and Epic Reads for the two books!

YA Book Queen's 
Weekly Recommendation

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.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Quick Update + Sync (week 5): Free audiobooks of ROTTERS and FRANKENSTEIN

Quick update - YA Book Queen is going to be moving a bit slower this week, and that includes my own commenting on other blogs. I somewhat injured my hand while helping my father move a futon (while carrying it, the back portion that moves - to sit up like a couch or fall flat like a bed - slammed down on my hand). After a few days, I've got a lovely bruise and can mostly move my fingers without pain, but they're still a bit sensitive to pressure and certain movements. My hand should be back to normal by the end of the week (or next week, at the latest), but in the meantime, I'll only put up a few blog posts (and I'll catch up commenting on other blogs this weekend or next week). 

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:

rottersROTTERS by Daniel Kraus
Narrated by Kirby Heyborne
"Grave-robbing. What kind of monster would do such a thing? It’s true that Leonardo da Vinci did it, Shakespeare wrote about it, and the resurrection men of nineteenth-century Scotland practically made it an art. But none of this matters to Joey Crouch, a sixteen-year-old straight-A student living in Chicago with his single mom. For the most part, Joey’s life is about playing the trumpet and avoiding the daily humiliations of high school.

Everything changes when Joey’s mother dies in a tragic accident and he is sent to rural Iowa to live with the father he has never known, a strange, solitary man with unimaginable secrets. At first, Joey’s father wants nothing to do with him, but once father and son come to terms with each other, Joey’s life takes a turn both macabre and exhilarating.
Daniel Kraus’s masterful plotting and unforgettable characters make Rotters a moving, terrifying, and unconventional epic about fathers and sons, complex family ties, taboos, and the ever-present specter of mortality."


FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley
Narrated by Jim Weiss
"Victor Frankenstein learns the secret of producing life, and so, by putting together parts of various corpses, he creates the Frankenstein monster. The monster is huge and disformed, but he means no harm to anyone–until constant ill treatment drives him to murder and revenge. This easy-to-read version of Mary Shelley’s long-standing masterpiece easily captures the sadness and horror of the original."

The last day to download both of these titles is July 3rd (tomorrow!), so make sure you don't miss out on these audiobook freebies

Happy listening! Hope everyone is having a good week! :)

Images and Information from