Monday, August 31, 2015

Review: THE ACCIDENT SEASON by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

Title: The Accident Season
Author: Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Published: August 18th, 2015
Series: N/A
Genre: YA Paranormal
POV: 1st person
Pages: 304
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Format: electronic ARC
Source: First to Read
Rating: Great

Every October Cara and her family become inexplicably accident-prone. Some years it’s bad, like the season when her father died, and some years it’s just a lot of cuts and scrapes. They know what they need to do—stock up on bandages and painkillers, cover sharp table edges with padding, banish knives to locked drawers, switch off electrical items. They buckle up, they batten down.

But this accident season—when Cara; her ex-stepbrother, Sam; and her best friend, Bea, are seventeen—none of that will make a difference.

Because Cara is starting to ask questions. And the answers were never meant to be found.

A haunting, untethered, addictive read that perfectly captures that time in our lives when our hearts crack open and the raw secrets of our true selves burst forth—whether we are ready or not.

Scrapes, cuts, bruises, bumps, broken bones, and even death - with October comes the accident season, and this year, it's a bad one. Cara, the narrator, has a penchant for seeing more than others do, her best friend Bea is skilled in (and mocked for) reading tarot cards, Sam is in love with a girl he can't have, and Alice is hiding secrets from everyone around her. But in October, their world turns upside down as they fall prey to accident after accident, and as they try to find a missing girl who might have something to do with it all. 

Decidedly different, and with a touch of magical realism cutting through the pages, The Accident Season is an eerie tale of friendship, family, love, and, of course, secrets. Moira Fowley-Doyle writes this story in a darkly enchanting voice that draws you in and leaves you wishing for more. The point-of-view mostly sticks with Cara, but every now and then, it shifts and gives readers a glimpse into the past of this curious family. And while some parts of the story are easy to see coming, this novel is undeniably intriguing and captivating. 

Highlights: The settings, especially the old house Cara and her friends find, are so atmospheric and haunting. Fowley-Doyle's vivid writing style made everything easy to envision. The characters are quirky and unique, and their normal everyday lives have just enough magical realism to make every page intriguing. The Accident Season is like a daydream - vivid, magical, short enough to leave you wanting more. 

Lowlights: Some aspects are predictable, and I feel like there could have been a bit more development with the characters. While I was fascinated by this story and the writing style, I didn't care for the characters as much as I wanted to.

Final thoughts: While the characters and story didn't  end up being as developed as I hoped, the daydream & nightmarish quality it brings was enough to keep me curious and entertained. This is a quick, fascinating story to curl up with for a few hours. 

I received an advanced copy of this novel from the publisher for review consideration. 
This is no way affected my opinion of the novel. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015


Title: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line 
Series: Veronica Mars #1
Authors: Rob Thomas, Jennifer Graham
Narrator: Kirsten Bell
Publisher: Random House Audio
Genre: Adult mystery
Time: 8 hrs, 42 min
Source: Audible (Purchased)
Rating: Loved

From Rob Thomas, the creator of groundbreaking television series and movie Veronica Mars, comes the first book in a thrilling new mystery series.

Ten years after graduating from high school in Neptune, California, Veronica Mars is back in the land of sun, sand, crime, and corruption. She's traded in her law degree for her old private investigating license, struggling to keep Mars Investigations afloat on the scant cash earned by catching cheating spouses until she can score her first big case.

Now it's spring break, and college students descend on Neptune, transforming the beaches and boardwalks into a frenzied, week-long rave. When a girl disappears from a party, Veronica is called in to investigate. But this is not a simple missing person's case. The house the girl vanished from belongs to a man with serious criminal ties, and soon Veronica is plunged into a dangerous underworld of drugs and organized crime. And when a major break in the investigation has a shocking connection to Veronica's past, the case hits closer to home than she ever imagined.

Story: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line is a gripping mystery with a few shocking surprises thrown in to keep readers guessing. Veronica Mars is back, with as much snark and wit as ever, and the story picks up soon after the events of the Veronica Mars movie. In The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line, Veronica's simple case of finding a missing spring breaker soon becomes a tangled web of lies and secrets, making this story wonderfully unpredictable and exciting. 

Performance: Kristen Bell is an outstanding actress, so it shouldn't have surprised me to find she makes for a highly impressive narrator. She captures Veronica's personality with ease (obviously), while somehow managing to also evoke Mac, Keith, Wallace, and others seemingly effortlessly. Bell brings everyone to life with their own distinct tone and voice. I had to remind myself a few times that it was still only Bell speaking, and not a cast of narrators. 

Highlights: I had previously read and enjoyed the kindle version of The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line, but Bell's narration is infinitely superior to the print / ebook versions. She brings every character to life, and the story seems better suited to being heard versus read. 

Lowlights: The writing style became slightly repetitive, uneven, and a little too information heavy at certain points. I noticed this less, however, while listening to Bell's narration.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Top Ten Books That Would Be On My Syllabus if I Taught "YA Literature 101: Sex(uality) and Society"

Taking another quick time-out from my blogging break (I'm starting to think I'm really bad at blogging breaks) to do this fun topic! I'll be commenting later this week, since I have classes to attend and one of my own to teach (English Composition)! 

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

If I was going to teach a class, any class of my choice, it would be on YA lit. But, I'd choose a controversial topic within the YA umbrella, like Sex(uality) and Society (the title is a bit off, because while it's about sex, sexuality, and society, it's also about sexual assault). I've taken enough classes to know that topics like that tend to get the best, and most thoughtful, discussions. Some of my best papers were written in classes dealing with sexuality in literature. And I feel like YA literature gets a bad reputation when it comes to sexuality, so it would be nice to place this novels in an academic setting and really think about them. 

YA Literature 101: Sex(uality) and Society

My (imaginary) course books: 

Sex, Sexuality, & Society
THE GIVER (okay, this is MG, but whatever. It's still too good to leave off the list)

Sexual Assault, Sexual Abuse, & Society

What's in your top ten? What type of class & books would you  want to teach?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Illuminae Files website & bonus content

(I'm supposed to be on a short blogging break, but I couldn't resist posting this information) 

Every month around the 20th, new content about ILLUMINAE by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman is revealed as the release date approaches. And trust me, you'll want to take a peek, because this book is going to quickly become your new obsession.  You want a story with action? Romance? Artificial intelligence? Unique writing style? Humor? Heartbreak? And everything you could ever ask for???? Well, Illuminae has got it all. This book is thrilling!

This month you can visit to watch a video featuring Ezra’s court martial. 

And there's even more to look at that's already been released, such as: 

Ezra and Kady profiles recently announced Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s ILLUMINAE tour dates in November. See the dates here: 

Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers | On sale October 20, 2015 | $18.99

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.
This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto one of the evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But pursuit by battleship is the least of their worries. Their fleet’s artificial intelligence—which should be protecting them—may actually be an enemy. And a plague is slowly ravaging the fleet with terrifying consequences. As Kady plunges into a web of data hacking in search of the truth, she realizes that there’s only one boy who can help her bring everything to light . . . and of course, it’s her ex-boyfriend, Ezra.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—ILLUMINAE is a ground-breaking, edge-of-your-seat thrill ride that will draw teen and adult readers of James Dashner, Rick Yancey, and Veronica Roth yet stands on its own with Kaufman and Kristoff’s unique storytelling.

« “…a stylistically mesmerizing tale, where story and art are interchangeable, and words act as pictures. The more experimental sections may require extra effort on readers’ parts, but the result is worth it.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Not only is ILLUMINAE a twisting, heart-pounding story moving at the speed of light, but it is a truly beautiful novel that redefines the form. I have never read anything like it. And it certainly filled the BATTLESTAR GALACTICA shaped hole in my heart."
Victoria Aveyard bestselling author of Red Queen

« “Ambitious, heartbreaking, and out-of-this-world awesome.”
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"An edge of your seat thrill ride that left me breathless. 
Genre: Undefinable. Novel: Unforgettable."
Kami Garcia, bestselling coauthor of Beautiful Creatures & author of Unbreakable

“An exuberant mix of space opera, romance, zombies, hackers, and political thrills, told with eccentric aplomb.  ILLUMINAE is both the weirdest and most heartfelt thing you'll read this year. ”
—Scott Westerfeld, author of Uglies and Zeroes

Thanks to Aisha at Random House for the info! 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Blogging Break

Hi everyone!

I'm going to take a couple weeks off from blogging while I try to figure out my schedule for college this semester. It's going to be busy - taking classes, working on my thesis, and I'll even be teaching a first-year college composition class for the first time in my life (speaking of this, if you're an English teacher who teaches in a high school / college, I would greatly appreciate any online resources you may have - please send me an email or link below if you do have any, or even any advice)!

Once I get my schedule figured out and settle into a routine, I'll be back with more reviews, interviews, and fun bookish giveaways! 

Hope you are all doing well and having a wonderful summer,


Mini-Review: CHALLENGER DEEP by Neal Shusterman

Title: Challenger Deep
Author: Neal Shusterman
Published: April 21st, 2015
Series: N/A
Genre: YA contemporary
POV: 1st person
Pages: 320
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: electronic ARC | Hardcover
Source: Edelweiss | Purchased
Rating: Highly Enjoyed
Caden Bosch is on a ship that's headed for the deepest point on Earth: Challenger Deep, the southern part of the Marianas Trench.

Caden Bosch is a brilliant high school student whose friends are starting to notice his odd behavior.

Caden Bosch is designated the ship's artist in residence, to document the journey with images.

Caden Bosch pretends to join the school track team but spends his days walking for miles, absorbed by the thoughts in his head.

Caden Bosch is split between his allegiance to the captain and the allure of mutiny.

Caden Bosch is torn.

A captivating and powerful novel that lingers long beyond the last page, Challenger Deep is a heartfelt tour de force by one of today's most admired writers for teens.

An unflinchingly honest, Challenger Deep delves into the shadowy and murky depths of mental illness, and does so in a creative yet respectful way. Chapters switch between what readers might call reality (Caden's everyday life | life in a hospital) and fantasy (Caden's fantastical journey to Marianas Trench, traveling on an ominous ship with quite the group of characters), but both are very real to Caden. The short chapters offer abrupt, brief glimpses into the mind of a young man who is struggling to navigate the world and his thoughts. This is a story unlike any other, and Challenger Deep is truly an incredible novel.

Highlights:  Caden's personality shines, his struggle is prominent, and I felt for him so much. The side characters are equally well written. While the ending is one of optimism, I appreciate that Shusterman also acknowledges the fact that mental illness is a battle - sometimes you end up right where you began, starting from scratch. But other times, you do get better (and I especially loved the support system that Caden has in this story - friends, family, doctors). The drawings, by Shusterman's son, add an even more authentic touch to an already impressive story, 

Lowlights: It takes a little time to adjust to the style of this story, since the chapters are so short and the switches happen regularly. The writing style is probably going to frustrate some readers, but if you can get into it, this story is incredible.

Final thoughts: Challenger Deep is an important story that expertly uses creativity to explore mental illness. I highly recommend this novel, it truly is excellent. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Library of Souls #StayPeculiar Tour Sweepstakes + Enter to win a Tote & Book!

Ransom Riggs, the author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and Hollow City, is going on tour for his upcoming novel, Library of Souls. And, Quirk Books is hosting a #StayPeculiar Tour Sweepstakes, where one lucky reader will win a VIP trip for two to meet Ransom! Visit Quirk Books to find out how you can enter this fantastic sweepstakes, and to check out more information on the tour dates / locations.

BUT BEFORE YOU LEAVE, one lucky reader will win a cool #StayPeculiar tote here on YA Book Queen (thanks to the lovely Nicole from Quirk Books)!


And, because the paperback versions of the first two novels are so cheap, I'll add to this awesome giveaway by throwing in a paperback copy of either Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children OR Hollow City (winner's choice).

So, to sum things up, one winner will receive a tote from Quirk Books and a book from me!

This Giveaway is US ONLY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (167): THE MIRROR KING

WOW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

THE MIRROR KING by Jodi Meadows
April 5th, 2016 from Katherine Tegen Books

Wilhelmina has a hundred enemies.

HER FRIENDS HAVE TURNED. After her identity is revealed during the Inundation, Princess Wilhelmina is kept prisoner by the Indigo Kingdom, with the Ospreys lost somewhere in the devastated city. When the Ospreys’ leader emerges at the worst possible moment, leaving Wil’s biggest ally on his deathbed, she must become Black Knife to set things right.

HER MAGIC IS UNCONTROLLABLE. Wil’s power is to animate, not to give true life, but in the wraithland she commanded a cloud of wraith mist to save herself, and later ordered it solid. Now there is a living boy made of wraith—destructive and deadly, and willing to do anything for her.

HER HEART IS TORN. Though she’s ready for her crown, declaring herself queen means war. Caught between what she wants and what is right, Wilhelmina realizes the throne might not even matter. Everyone thought the wraith was years off, but already it’s destroying Indigo Kingdom villages. If she can’t protect both kingdoms, soon there won’t be a land to rule.

In this stunning conclusion to THE ORPHAN QUEEN, Jodi Meadows follows Wilhelmina’s breathtaking and brave journey from orphaned criminal on the streets to magic-wielding queen.

I thought THE ORPHAN QUEEN was a fun book, so I'm very curious to see how it all ends (and also, I cannot believe this is a duology! I thought for sure it was a trilogy, but at least that means everything will be wrapped up in this book).

What are you waiting on?