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?

Monday, November 11, 2013

RACING SAVANNAH Pre-Order Gift Campaign

From Sourcebooks....

They're from two different worlds, but Savannah isn't exactly one to follow to rules...get the next contemporary novel from blockbuster YA novelist Miranda Kenneally: RACING SAVANNAH!

Right before her senior year, Savannah's father whisks the family off to Tennessee to work as head groom at fancy Cedar Hill Farms. Savannah finally sees it as the perfect opportunity to earn extra money as an exercise rider - no matter how many others don't want a girl around the barn. But she's also caught the eye of Jack Goodwin, the owner's son. She knows the rules: no mixing between the staff and the Goodwin family. But Jack has no such boundaries. With her dream of becoming a jockey, Savannah is not going to let someone tell her a girl is't tough enough to race. Sure, it's dangerous. Then again, so is dating Jack. 

We’ve put together a fun campaign to thank readers for pre-ordering: send us your proof of pre-order and we’ll send you this fabulous horseshoe key chain!

A Gift for You, for Pre-Ordering RACING SAVANNAH by Miranda Kenneally

We have a special offer for U.S. and Canada YA fans for the release of RACING SAVANNAH by Miranda Kenneally in stores in a little over three weeks! If you pre-order the book, we will send you an exclusive horseshoe key chain—perfect for any busy teen on the go! You have until December 2 or until quantities run out. 

Here’s how to get your charm:
1. Pre-order the book (print or eBook) through any retailer (Barnes & Noble, Amazon, your local independent bookseller/Indiebound, Books-A-Million, Hastings, etc.)

2. Email your proof of purchase (receipt or picture of the receipt) to Put “Racing Savannah Pre-Order” in the subject line. Don’t forget to include your home address (US & Canada only please) so we can send you the horseshoe key chain! If you’ve already pre-ordered this book—not a problem! Send us your receipt!

3. You will get an email back confirming when the items have been sent out.

4. Enjoy Racing Savannah when it comes out in December!

Optional: take a pic of you and your horseshoe key chain and share it with Miranda Kenneally or Sourcebooks Fire on Twitter! You can find Miranda @mirandakennealy and Sourcebooks Fire @sourcebooksfire.


Author: Trish Doller
Published: September 23, 2013
Series: N/A
Genre: YA contemporary
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
POV: 1st person
Pages: 352
Format: e-ARC
Source: Netgalley
Rating: The Royal Library, Top Shelf
Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love--even with someone who seems an improbable choice--is more than just a possibility.

Trish Doller writes incredibly real teens, and this searing story of love, betrayal, and how not to lose your mind will resonate with readers who want their stories gritty and utterly true.

If there's one thing Callie has learned from her mother, it's how to run – and Callie is always running away from her problems. She can pack a suitcase in an amazingly short amount of time, and knows exactly what it takes to live on the move. But after her mother is arrested and Callie is sent to live with her father, running becomes a bit more complicated. With family, friends, and even a little romance in the works, leaving doesn't seem – or even feel – like an option. But, everyone has their demons, and Callie's mother won't be incarcerated for long...once she's out and Callie turns eighteen, Callie will have to decide where she truly belongs.

Doller amazed me with her debut, SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL, and succeeds in matching that excellency with her sophomore novel. WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE is intense on an emotional level, highlighting the awkward, heartbreaking, and adorable moments that are present in various relationships. The familial aspect is both saddening and heartwarming. The relationship between Callie and her mother is possessive and not quite what it should be. Her mother loves her, that much is obvious, but her actions do not always agree with that sentiment. But it's the slower relationships Callie forms in her new (and old) home that make the strongest impression. Family, romance, and friendship, it's highly enjoyable to watch Callie grow and heal from her past experiences. An incredibly touching and well-rounded story, WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE should be on the top of your to-read list.

Highlights: Family and friendship take center stage in this story. Doller gives readers an unflinchingly honest portrayal of the effects sexual abuse can have on a person. The romance was sweet and enjoyably slow to form. I enjoy how the story leaves that relationship in unclear, fuzzy place, but there is still some hope. And the characters were fantastic (Alex, Kat, Greg, Phoebe, Tucker, Joe, and so on). None are of them perfect, and they all make a strong, realistic impression. Humorous, heartwarming, and intensely emotional, this story has it all. 

Lowlights: *struggles* Any issues I had were small enough that I did not bother to write them down while reading.

Rating: The Royal Library, Top Shelflove WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE, 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 incredibly moving story. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (124): SECOND STAR

WOW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

SECOND STAR by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
May 13th, 2014 by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

A twisty story about love, loss, and lies, this contemporary oceanside adventure is tinged with a touch of dark magic as it follows seventeen-year-old Wendy Darling on a search for her missing surfer brothers. Wendy’s journey leads her to a mysterious hidden cove inhabited by a tribe of young renegade surfers, most of them runaways like her brothers. Wendy is instantly drawn to the cove’s charismatic leader, Pete, but her search also points her toward Pete's nemesis, the drug-dealing Jas. Enigmatic, dangerous, and handsome, Jas pulls Wendy in even as she's falling hard for Pete. A radical reinvention of a classic, Second Star is an irresistible summer romance about two young men who have yet to grow up--and the troubled beauty trapped between them.
Peter Pan contemporary retelling? So fun! I love the sound of it (awesome cover, too). 

What are you waiting on? 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Highlights / Lowlights: STARGLASS by Phoebe North

Author: Phoebe North
Series: Starglass #1
Published: July 23rd, 2013
Genre: YA Sci-fi
Publisher: S&S BYR
POV: 1st person
Pages: 448
Format: e-ARC
Source: Edelweiss
Rating: The Great Hall
Terra has never known anything but life aboard the Asherah, a city-within-a-spaceship that left Earth five hundred years ago in search of refuge. At sixteen, working a job that doesn't interest her, and living with a grieving father who only notices her when he's yelling, Terra is sure that there has to be more to life than what she's got.

But when she inadvertently witnesses the captain's guard murdering an innocent man, Terra is suddenly thrust into the dark world beneath her ship's idyllic surface. As she's drawn into a secret rebellion determined to restore power to the people, Terra discovers that her choices may determine life or death for the people she cares most about. With mere months to go before landing on the long-promised planet, Terra has to make the decision of a lifetime--one that will determine the fate of her people.

Highlights: The world of the Asherah, the spaceship traveling to a new planet called Zehava, was nicely developed and highly enriched with culture and religion. This society is both intriguing and subtly terrifying. Terra is a fascinating protagonist who made me love and hate her at the same time, which is always fascinating to read. Relationships between characters kept me hooked, both positive and negative ones. North makes STARGLASS unique, keeping her readers on their toes by having the story wander off in new directions. While certain aspects of the romance were easy to see coming, I enjoyed how complicated both romantic situations proved to be. In the end, the world and characters of STARGLASS are fascinating, and I will definitely be looking forward to finding out what happens next.

Lowlights: The slow pacing of this story is a bit difficult to adjust to – for the most part, not a lot happens. There's a lot of focus on Terra's very complicated "love" life and her work life (I enjoyed the latter a bit more, mostly because I think Mara is a fabulous character). The distorted religious aspect confused me for most of the book. I think the biggest problem was that the interesting part of the story came too late, and it took too long for Terra to "fulfill" her end of the bargain. My spoiler-ish comments can be viewed on Goodreads

Rating: The Great Hall. (aka, 3.7 out of 5). STARGLASS was very likable, enough that I want a copy somewhere in the palace, even if it doesn't earn a spot in the royal library (perhaps I'll get it as an eBook, if it's on sale). YA sci-fans who are looking for a story that travels in unexpected directions should check out STARGLASS, because you will definitely be in for a surprise. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

[Nanowrimo] Week 1: Words of the Week

It's NaNoWriMo time! Every November, writers challenge themselves to write 50,000 words in 30 days, which is simultaneously fun and stressful. 

But, I sometimes find myself hitting a wall in my stories. So this year I'm creating a post each week with a list of words to help kickstart the writing process. It is a challenge - to myself and to you, if you need a prompt - to use at least one word per day in my story. 

Hit a wall in your story? I have a challenge for you!

CHALLENGE: Every day, from November 1st to November 10th, choose one of the words listed below and write 1,000 (or more) words inspired by the your choice (make sure to integrate your word choice into your writing). 


A new list of words will be posted on the 11th, 18th, and 25th. 

If you're participating in NaNoWriMo, add me (yabookqueen) to your buddy list. Let me know your username, too, so I can add you to mine! Good luck writing!