Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (140): WINTERKILL

WINTERKILL by Kate A. Boorman
September 9th, 2014 from Abrams/Amulet

Emmeline knows the woods outside her settlement are forbidden. The mysterious enemy that wiped out half her people lurks there, keeping them isolated in an unfamiliar land with merciless winters.

Living with the shame of her grandmother's insubordination, Emmeline has learned to keep her head down and her quick tongue silent. When the settlement leader asks for her hand in marriage, it's a rare opportunity to wash the family stain clean--even if she has eyes for another. But before she is forced into an impossible decision, her dreams urge her out to the woods, where she finds a path she can't help but follow. The trail leads to a secret that someone in the settlement will kill to protect. Her grandmother went down that path and paid the price.

If Emmeline isn't careful, she will be next.

I love the sound of this story - if there's a secret, I'm in! Also, I have to take a moment to appreciate the awesome title font, it looks incredible.

What are you waiting on?

Monday, April 28, 2014


Title: Racing Savannah
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Released: December 2013
Series: companion novel, Hundred Oaks #4
Genre: YA Contemporary
Pages: 304
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Format: e-ARC
Source: Netgalley
Rating: The Royal Library, Bottom Shelf
They’re from two different worlds.

He lives in the estate house, and she spends most of her time in the stables helping her father train horses. In fact, Savannah has always been much more comfortable around horses than boys. Especially boys like Jack Goodwin—cocky, popular and completely out of her league. 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 horse jockey, Savannah isn’t exactly one to follow the rules either. She’s not going to let someone tell her a girl isn’t tough enough to race. Sure, it’s dangerous. Then again, so is dating Jack…

Highlights: Kenneally's novels are easy to breeze through in a single day. The romance is sweet, if a little frustrating a times. Having an athletic narrator who desires nothing more than to become a horse jockey is awesome - I love how Kenneally usually portrays girls who love sports, especially since those girls tend to become overlooked in literature. The romance is incredibly well done and adorably endearing. I really loved Savannah's family life too - it's a bit complicated, but at the end of the day, they try to be there for each other. 

Lowlights: I'm starting to think I have some sort of character issue with Kenneally's writing style, because while I do enjoy her stories, I never fully connect to the characters or storylines. 

Rating: The Royal Library, Bottom Shelf (low 4 out of 5).

Title: Fates
Author: Lanie Bross (aka Lee Bross)
Released: February 2014
Series: Fates #1
Genre: YA paranormal
Pages: 336
Publisher: Delacorte
Format: e-ARC
Source: Netgalley
Rating: The Great Hall
One moment. One foolish desire. One mistake. And Corinthe lost everything.

She fell from her tranquil life in Pyralis Terra and found herself exiled to the human world. Her punishment? To make sure people's fates unfold according to plan. Now, years later, Corinthe has one last assignment: kill Lucas Kaller. His death will be her ticket home.

But for the first time, Corinthe feels a tingle of doubt. It begins as a lump in her throat, then grows toward her heart, and suddenly she feels like she is falling all over again--this time for a boy she knows she can never have. Because it is written: one of them must live, and one of them must die. In a universe where every moment, every second, every fate has already been decided, where does love fit in?

Highlights: Bross's debut exudes creative ideas, and I never quite knew what to expect from Fates because of it. The alternate worlds presented are fascinating, dangerous, and highly captivating. Corinthe's journey was especially intense and exciting, and I loved learning more about her unusual life / history as a Fate. Bross's take on mythology is familiar, yet deviates enough to generate interest. 

Lowlights: I think this story was a bit too ambitious, to the point where everything became slightly confusing. The third person narration distanced me from the two narrators too much, to the point where I hardly cared about either one of them. And I definitely did not believe their romantic connection, which built too quickly (especially considering Corinthe keeps trying to kill Lucas).

Rating: The Great Hall (3.5 out of 5).

Title: Cruel Beauty
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Released: January 2014
Series: ?
Genre: YA paranormal
Pages: 342
Publisher: Balzar + Bray
Format: e-ARC
Source: Edelweiss
Rating: The Royal Library, Bottom Shelf

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

Highlights: Trained from birth to kill her world's most powerful being? That's an awesome concept, and Nyx's fierce personality didn't disappoint. Nyx is a complicated heroine, who strong, scared, determined, and displays moments of anger and selfishness that remind the reader of the unfairness to her situation. The writing is lush and flows easily from one word to the next. I can honestly say this is the more creative retellings I've ever read. I was never entirely sure where this story was going to end up, and I loved how Cruel Beauty kept me curious and intrigued - which is exactly what I want a book to do.

Lowlights: I wasn't completely sold on the ending or the romance. 

Rating: The Royal Library, Bottom Shelf (low 4 out of 5).

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Book to Film: TRAILERS!

The "Okay, Okay" part pretty much killed me. 

Very excited! This was a great novel, so hopefully it translates well to film.

Yet again, this trailer made my eyes all watery...I have a feeling I'll burst into tears at the theater (for IIS and TFIOS), which is something I normally never do. Stupid emotions. 


I'm trying to be optimistic, but I'm concerned about the aging of the characters and some aspects of the first trailer. Fortunately, from viewing the second video, it looks like the black-and-white aspect will be present (which is key to the story). 

What are your thoughts? Which adaptations are you most excited for?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (139): THE VAULT OF DREAMERS

WoW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

September 16th 2014 from Roaring Brook Press
From the author of the Birthmarked trilogy comes a fast-paced, psychologically thrilling novel about what happens when your dreams are not your own.

The Forge School is the most prestigious arts school in the country. The secret to its success: every moment of the students' lives is televised as part of the insanely popular Forge Show, and the students' schedule includes twelve hours of induced sleep meant to enhance creativity. But when first year student Rosie Sinclair skips her sleeping pill, she discovers there is something off about Forge. In fact, she suspects that there are sinister things going on deep below the reaches of the cameras in the school. What's worse is, she starts to notice that the edges of her consciousness do not feel quite right. And soon, she unearths the ghastly secret that the Forge School is hiding—and what it truly means to dream there.

I'm very curious to know more about this story - it sounds so fascinating! Love the clean, crisp cover design, too.

What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Top Ten Characters Who Are Completely Swoonworthy

1. Wes Baker: AKA, the boy who was so swoonworthy, the characters actually had to comment on his swoonworthyness. Ex-bad boy with tattoos and an artistic nature?

2. Michael Moscovitz: Geek, musician, Star Wars fan, and more, MM was one my first fictional crushes.

3. Hector: I tried writing something eloquent, and failed, because he's too fabulous to describe.

4. Chaol Westfall:  Ditto.

5.  Nico Rathburn: While his literary classic counterpart makes me a bit angry, I quite adored Nico.

6.  Sturmhond: STURMHOND. That is all.

7. Jesse / Hector de Silva: Sure, he may be a ghost, but he has excellent manners, can whisper sweet Spanish nothings in your ear all day, and his eagerness to learn / read is always a bonus.

8.  Levi: I'll always have a soft spot for sweet guys who are genuinely good, and Levi is all of that and more.

9. Augustus Waters: Speaking of this lovely human being, did anyone else get all misty-eyed watching the TFioS trailer? *grabs tissues*

10. George Weasley: I love the Weasley twins, but George always stood out a bit more to me in the books. You've gotta love a guy with a sense of humor and the dedication to make his dreams come true.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mini-Review: UNBREAK MY HEART by Melissa Walker

Title: Unbreak My Heart
Author: Melissa Walker
Published: May 2012
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 232
POV: 1st person
Format: Kindle eBook
Source: Purchased
Rating: The Royal Library, Middle Shelf.
"Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams’ heart. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and long story short: he’s excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life.

Enter her parents’ plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Normally the idea of being stuck on a tiny boat with her parents and little sister would make Clem break out in hives, but floating away sounds pretty good right now.

Then she meets James at one of their first stops along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he’s just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem’s walls and heal her broken heart?"

Considering the plot – a girl who falls head-over-heels for her best friend's boyfriend and consequently becomes a social outcast because of that choice – I expected to dislike Unbreak My Heart. But, Walker skillfully portrays Clem's character in such a way that she quickly became someone readers can enjoy, forgive, understand, and even relate to. Alternating between the past and present, Clem narrates both her past actions / life and her current summertime journey on a sailboat with her family. There is a romance, that much is obvious from the cover alone, but there are also other relationships being created and mended – namely, Clem's relationship with her family and with herself. Unbreak My Heart is an unexpected pleasure, delving honestly into love, family, and friendship. 

Highlights: James is an incredibly vibrant character, and I really wish the reader could have seen his drawings. Clem's family, especially her little sister Olive, are definite highlights. This story is very focused on friends and families, which I always love. Sailing for the summer is a different plot point for me, and I love how Walker shows the ups and downs of such a "vacation." Even Clem is a highlight, if only because I didn't expect to like her so much, and she proved to be a wonderful protagonist worth rooting for. 

Lowlights: Clem can be a bit bratty and her moody behavior can be a bit much at times, but it adds to her realism (considering her age). I wish there was more closure for Amanda and Clem, I'm curious to know how things worked out between them. Also, the cover. The image is great, but that darn heart and cheesy pink may scare away some readers (like me). 

Rating: The Royal Library, Middle Shelf (normal/high 4 out of 5). 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.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (138): Chasing Power

WOW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

CHASING POWER by Sarah Beth Durst
October 14th, 2014 from Bloomsbury

Lies, secrets, and magic — three things that define Kayla's life.

Sixteen-year-old Kayla plans to spend her summer hanging out on the beach in Santa Barbara and stealing whatever she wants, whenever she wants it. Born with the ability to move things with her mind — things like credit cards, diamond rings, and buttons on cash registers — she has become a master shoplifter. She steals to build up a safety net, enough money for her and her mom to be able to flee if her dad finds them again. Well, that, and the thrill of using her secret talents.

But her summer plans change when she's caught stealing by a boy named Daniel — a boy who needs her help and is willing to blackmail her to get it. Daniel has a talent of his own. He can teleport, appearing anywhere in the world in an instant, but he lies as easily as he travels. Together, they embark on a quest to find and steal an ancient incantation, written on three indestructible stones and hidden millennia ago, all to rescue Daniel's kidnapped mother. But Kayla has no idea that this rescue mission will lead back to her own family — and to betrayals that she may not be able to forgive... or survive.

I adore Sarah Beth Durst's novels - they're always highly imaginative and unique, so I'm excited for CHASING POWER! It sounds fabulous, and I love the cover. 

What are you waiting on? 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Top Ten Bookish Things That I'd Like To Own

1.  Bookshelves. ALL THE BOOKSHELVES. But then again, I currently have nowhere to put them...

2.  Better yet, a library. I would like to own a library. That would be epic. But also highly unlikely.

3.  Shakespearean Insults T-Shirt. I always joke that Shakespeare was a master of insults, so it seems fitting that I should have this shirt. 

4.  I'm a Keeper HP shirt. Everyone loves a Keeper ;)

5. Lord of the Rings Evenstar necklace. I've always loved Arwen's necklace, so it'd rock to own one. 

6.  Privateer's Wrap BraceletStag LocketDarkling Pendant. Basically, I want all the Grisha swag! 

Image from Leigh Bardugo's Website
7.  Book Map Poster. Not sure what book world, but it would be fun to have a bookish map on my wall. 

8.  Sprout Bookmarks: I first saw these on Juju's website, and I think they're so adorable! 

9.  TFioS Literary Locket: So cute! It would be fun to have something TFioS for when the movie comes to theaters.

10.  Book Purse:  I want a book purse so much. They're lovely!

What bookish things would you like to own?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Review: NIL by Lynne Matson

Title: NIL
Author: Lynne Matson
Release: March 4th, 2014
Genre: YA thriller/sci-fi
Pages: 384
POV: 1st, dual, alternating
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co. BYR
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publicist
Rating: The Royal Library, Middle Shelf

On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have exactly 365 days to escape—or you die.

Seventeen-year-old Charley doesn’t know the rules. She doesn’t even know where she is. The last thing she remembers is blacking out, and when she wakes up, she’s naked in an empty rock field.

Lost and alone, Charley finds no sign of other people until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought . . . and so is falling in love. With Thad’s time running out, Charley realizes that she has to find a way to beat the clock, and quickly.

Nil begins with a bang as Charley is swept away by a strange shimmer and lands on an even stranger island. That excitement and tension never ceases. Instead, it builds and evolves, keeping the reader hooked and curious. Matson teases her readers with the dangers and curiosities of the mysterious island Nil, and uses her two protagonists to ground her story in reality. The narration switches between Charley1 and Thad2, giving readers two different perspectives as both try to unravel Nil's mysteries and find a way home. As the days tick by, the danger and excitement levels increase, until the novel's surprising conclusion. An action-packed survival-romance story, Nil is a thrilling debut. 

Highlights: The best compliment I can give to Nil is that I never wanted to set this story aside. Nil is a thrilling adventure and mystery from start to finish. This is one of those books where you'll find yourself turning the pages, hours after promising yourself you'd stop at such-and-such chapter. The characters are fresh and easy to differentiate from one another. Nil's wildlife provided plenty of excitement and tension. Descriptions of the island were intriguing, and Nil was undeniably my favorite aspect of the novel - it was almost a character in its own right. 

Lowlights: The romance, while sweet, did seem a little insta-lovey. I do also think it's strange that only Charley was able to find a pattern when it came to Nil's curiosities. Initially, I felt like the dialogue seemed a bit forced (especially when it came to specific accents / dialects). 

Rating: The Royal Library, Bottom Shelf (4 out of 5).

1 Charley: a gorgeous Southern girl, with legs for days, who is quite determined to make it off this island, and is very resourceful. I liked her instantly, she has a strong personality.
2 Thad: leader of Nil city, Canadian, has a body like a Greek god, and a sweet disposition. It took a little time, but he grew on me. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Queen's Library (42): February, March, and April

Books Received for Review

Charm & Strange (hardcover)
To All The Boys I've Loved Before (print ARC)
The Body in the Woods (print ARC)
Since You've Been Gone (print ARC)
The Queen of the Tearling (print ARC)
Liv, Forever (print ARC)
Dorothy Must Die (print ARC)
The Lost (print ARC)
Torn Away (electronic ARC)
The Dolls (electronic ARC)
#Scandal (electronic ARC)
Rites of Passage (electronic ARC)
In A Handful of Dust (electronic ARC)
The Balance Keepers: The Fires of Calderon (electronic ARC)

Thank you so much to Amazon Vine, Macmillan, Harlequin, Edelweiss, and Netgalley!

Gifted From My Family

The Winner's Curse (hardcover) (my review)
The Assassin's Blade (hardcover) (my review)

My parents bought me these books to celebrate my acceptance into my college's English master's program!! YAY for grad school and two fabulous books! *dances*

Ruin and Rising Sampler / Swag

I received this package from the lovely folks at Macmillan + Leigh Bardugo, and it's truly a work of art. The box is gorgeous (seriously, check out that design), and the three candles smell outstanding. But the sampler? The sampler is EPIC. Not only were the chapters incredible, but even the interior designs / extra info was lovely. I am so incredibly excited for Ruin and Rising, I wish it was already June! I must know what happens!

I bought more books too (Kindle deals are my weakness), but I'll save them for the next TQL. 

My Weekly Recommendation

What bookish goodies did you get?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Highlights / Lowlights: ALL OUR YESTERDAYS, DEFY, and RUSH

Title: All Our Yesterdays
Author: Cristin Terrill
Published: September 3rd, 2013
Series: N/A
Genre: YA Sci-fi / thriller
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
POV: 1st person
Pages: 360
Format: Electronic ARC
Source: Netgalley
Rating: The Royal Library, Bottom Shelf
What would you change?

Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend, James, since they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it... at least, not as the girl she once was. Em and Marina are in a race against time that only one of them can win.

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

Highlights: The concept for this story is fantastic, plus there's time travel. Cristin Terrill's style of time travel is especially fascinating, and I liked seeing the way things changed in the past/future and worked within the story. The romance was (to my surprise) entirely believable, and very sweet. I also really enjoyed the dual POV, and believe each voice was truly well done. The two different, but similar, narrators grow within the story. The pace is quick and gripping. All Our Yesterdays was a fantastic story overall, and an exciting story to read.

Lowlights: I was surprised to find that I wasn't loving this story as much as everyone else. I like it a lot, but I did not connect with it the way other readers have. I found the ending to be slightly confusing (but, time travel paradoxes confuse me).

Rating: The Royal Library, Bottom Shelf (low 4 out of 5).

Title: Defy
Author: Sara B. Larson
Published: January 7th, 2014
Series: Defy #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Scholastic Press
POV: 1st person
Pages: 336
Format: E-ARC / Kindle Book
Source: Netgalley / Purchased
Rating: The Royal Library, Bottom Shelf
A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and a thrilling love triangle.

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?
Highlights: Alexa's voice is incredibly accessible, and I was rooting for her from the first page to the last. She's a tough girl who is willing to fight, but she has a vulnerable side. The story moved in unexpected directions, and I was never quite sure what was going to happen next. The world is fascinating, deadly, and expansive. Larson takes readers through a few settings and locations, and each was more intriguing than the last. The fighting scenes, however, were definitely my favorite part, because Larson created so much tension and excitement in those moments. All in all, Defy is action-packed and thrilling to read.

Lowlights: I did have some issues with the romance - Larson somewhat creates a love triangle, but both sides are unimpressive (and one character obviously doesn't even stand a chance, at least in this book). The romance aspect made Alexa less confident in herself and her choices, and that was disappointing. I was really looking forward to the gender-bending aspect, but Alexa's male persona seen through pretty easily by other characters.

Rating: The Royal Library, Bottom Shelf (4 out of 5).

Title: Rush
Author: Eve Silver
Published: June 11th, 2013
Series: The Game #1
Genre: YA sci-fi
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
POV: 1st person
Pages: 361
Format: Hardcover
Source: Won from Epic Reads
Rating: The Great Hall.

So what’s the game now? This, or the life I used to know?

When Miki Jones is pulled from her life, pulled through time and space into some kind of game—her carefully controlled life spirals into chaos. In the game, she and a team of other teens are sent on missions to eliminate the Drau, terrifying and beautiful alien creatures. There are no practice runs, no training, and no way out. Miki has only the guidance of secretive but maddeningly attractive team leader Jackson Tate, who says the game isn’t really a game, that what Miki and her new teammates do now determines their survival, and the survival of every other person on this planet. She laughs. He doesn’t. And then the game takes a deadly and terrifying turn.

Highlights: Action-packed from the very beginning, Rush is thrilling. I was not sure what to expect, but this story delivered by presenting an exciting story that was undeniably difficult to set aside. The video game aspect was fantastic and one of my favorite parts of the novel. Miki is a very easy to relate with, and she's incredibly realistic about her highly unusual situation. Luka was fabulous, along with quite a few other side characters. Deadly aliens and tough teenagers, this story is a complete thrill.

Lowlights: Carly, the supposed BFF: The reader is told she's usually a great friend, but I don't see it. Jackson, the mysterious and totally badass leader whom Miki falls into insta-love with (after only a week or so of knowing one another). Despite the answers given, I'm a bit confused by certain aspects of the story's concept. And the ending! Honestly, I feel like this novel needed to be stretched out a bit more, with more pages, more time passing, more interactions between characters, and more answers.

Rating: The Great Hall (3.5 out of 5).