The Bookshelf Corner

A creative space for all things books and writing….


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2017 Summer Reading List

Currently Reading: Slaves of Socorro by John Flanagan (Brotherband Chronicles, book 4)

Currently Reading: Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

(ARC) Blood Guard by Megan Erickson (Mission, book 1)

River of Dreams by Lynn Kurland (A Novel of the Nine Kingdoms, book 8)

Dreamer’s Daughter by Lynn Kurland (A Novel of the Nine Kingdoms, book 9)

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen, book 2)

Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce (The Circle Reforged, book 3)

(2nd Read) Mastiff by Tamora Pierce (Beka Cooper, book 3)

Scorpion Mountain by John Flanagan (Brotherband Chronicles, book 5)

The Ghostfaces by John Flanagan (Brotherband Chronicles, book 6)

 

♦ Happy First Day of Summer! I hope everyone has a great summer season! ♦

♦ What’s on your summer TBR list? ♦

♦ As always, happy reading and happy writing! ♦


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Picture Book: “Big Ange and the Violin” by Christina @ The Bookshelf Corner (Text Only)

“Big Ange and the Violin” by Christina @ The Bookshelf Corner © January 30, 2017

Royalty Free Image via Pixabay.com

Big Ange loved to play the violin. She would play in the spring, in the summer, in the fall, and in the winter. She would play it if she was happy or sad or lonely or bored. She would play all the time. The sound released as the redwood bow slide up and down across the strings was so enchanting and beautiful. They were the prettiest sounds she had ever heard.

Her family loved to listen to her play the violin. They clapped wildly after each piece and cheered vigorously, “Play on, Big Ange, play on!” And she did. A little of Bach’s “Minuet” here or “Gavotte in G minor” there.

The only place Big Ange would not play her violin was at school.

Everyone at school had a talent. Carly could sing and knew every song on the radio. Terrence could climb to the top of the monkey bars without getting scared. Joanne could do a cartwheel over and over again. Matthew could draw nifty pictures of almost anything. All the kids teased Big Ange because she did not have a cool or special talent. Without some sort of talent she felt like she could not fit in, although she tried her best.

“Is this a talent?” Big Ange asked as she tied her shoes with her eyes closed.

“No way,” said Terrence. “Anyone can do that.”

Then she walked around gingerly on the tips of her toes. “Is this a talent?” Big Ange inquired.

“Not at all,” said Joanne. “That just seems strange.”

Feeling discouraged, Big Ange sulked the rest of the day. At home, she sat in her bedroom and continued to mope while playing John Barry’s “Somewhere In Time” nonstop. Sometimes the composition she chose to play reflected her mood.

Her mother poked her head into the room. “Angie, would you come downstairs, please,” her mother said. “Pop Pop surprised us with a visit. He says he’d like to hear to you play something.”

“Okay, Mom,” Big Ange replied, still feeling a little upset. But when she began to play for Pop Pop and the rest of her family, her mood began to lift.

“Play on, Big Ange, play on!” Pop Pop said.

“Play on, Big Ange, play on!” her little brother, Lenny, repeated.

At recess the next day, Big Ange tried again to find a talent. She did a tuck and roll and came up standing, arms raised proudly in the air. “Is this a talent?” Big Ange wanted to know.

“I’m afraid not,” Carly said. “There’s nothing unique about that at all.”

Then Big Ange chewed some bubble gum and blew a really big bubble. “Is this a talent?” she asked.

“Hardly,” Matthew said, shaking his head. “Getting all messy is not something to be proud of.”

Well Big Ange was certainly at a loss. She had tried everything but nothing seemed to work. Who knew it would be so hard to find a talent?

When they came back inside, Mrs. Cardigan made an announcement. “This Friday we will be having a class talent show,” she said as she passed out flyers. “Everyone will get a chance to perform. Your families and guardians are invited as well!” The room buzzed with excitement while Big Ange sat dejected. She slowly raised her hand. “Yes, Ange?” Mrs. Cardigan asked.

“Um…what if you don’t have a talent?” Her classmates giggled under their breaths.

Mrs. Cardigan gave them a stern look before answering, “Everyone has something they are good at. Something they enjoy doing above all else.” Big Ange was not so sure.

Later that night, she was playing her violin when her mom came to check on her. “How is my Angie doing?” she asked.

Big Ange put her instrument down. She quickly hid the flyer that was on her bedside table under her pillow. “I’m alright,” she responded, quietly. She did not want her mother to know just how troubled and confused she was. But mother’s always know.

Her mom walked over and took the flyer out from under her pillow. “A talent show? And family are invited? How wonderful! Why would you hide this?” her mother questioned.

“Because I don’t have a talent!” Big Ange cried. “Everyone else at school does but I don’t.”

Her mom sat down beside her child and hugged her. “Of course you have a talent, Angie,” she cooed, pointing to the instrument.

“Playing the violin is a talent?” The violin always brought her such joy. But for it to be a talent? Big Ange had never considered that.

“It is,” her mother said. “It’s something you’re good at and something you love to do. You make everyone happy when you play. I think your classmates would be happy to hear you play, too.”

The day of the talent show, Big Ange was very nervous. Even though she practiced her song all week, she worried she would look silly in front of everyone, including her family who were in attendance.

A hush fell over the room as she made her way to the front. She had done this many times before in front of her family but this was different. Well, it was now or never. Big Ange took up position and let her violin sing. The smooth cadence of Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” resonated loud and true. And as the vibrato of the final note played the room erupted into applause. Big Ange could not believe how happy her classmates looked.

“What a talent!” a girl said.

“How cool!” said a boy.

It was such a surreal moment that Big Ange thought she was dreaming.

Then her dad shouted, “Play on, Big Ange, play on!” and the kids chorused, “Play on, Big Ange, play on!” So she played again, this time Shinichi Suzuki’s uplifting “Allegro.”

And that was how Big Ange discovered her talent.

THE END

 

Authors Note: I don’t remember where this idea came from but it seemed like a fun story for a picture book. It was inspired in part by one of my closest friends and my love for the violin. I hope you enjoyed this story even without the pictures. Let me know what you think. Any feedback is welcomed.


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Book Review: Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Rating: 3/5
Recommend to Others?: Yes
Favorite Passage: “Words matter, in fact. They’re not pointless, as you’ve suggested. If they were pointless, then they couldn’t start revolutions and they wouldn’t change history. If they were just words, we wouldn’t write songs or listen to them. We wouldn’t beg to be read to as kids. If they were just words, then stories wouldn’t have been around since before we could write. We wouldn’t have learned to write. If they were just words, people wouldn’t fall in love because of them, feel bad because of them, ache because of them, and stop aching because of them.”

 

My Summary:
Rachel moves back to Gracetown where she grew up to live with her aunt after failing Year 12 due to her brother’s death just months before. Getting away should drastic her from the pain of losing her brother. She hasn’t been able to feel but she’s all too aware of the feelings she left behind in a love letter tucked between the pages of a favorite book belonging to her long-time best friend Henry. He never responded. She’d rather avoid him but, unfortunately, she’ll be working with him at his family’s bookstore. Henry’s not fairing so well either. His girlfriend’s dumped him, the bookstore’s in financial trouble, and his family seems to be falling apart at the seams. But love and life and words between the pages of books may offer a kind of solution for Rachel and Henry.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
Words in Deep Blue was okay. I wasn’t blown away by it but it has good qualities.

I first discovered this book on NetGalley but by that time it was not available for requests anymore. Luckily, my local library was ordering a copy and I was happily the first cardholder who got to read it. What made me interested in reading this book was the cover – blue is my favorite color and the book jacket is so pretty and has a unique design. I also liked the premise and, as a self-proclaimed book nerd and hopeless romantic, it spoke to me.

But the book ended up being okay, sadly. The story concept I liked – it’s YA love presented from a fresh angle. Henry’s family bookstore has a section called the Letter Library where you can write or mark the book how you wish or leave notes inside but you can’t take/buy any of the books. I love that idea for a bookstore – it’s got a communal and romantic feel. And throughout the book you get to read some of the letters in between the chapters told in Rachel and Henry’s POVs. I’m not familiar with most of the books being referenced (which is fine) but it did distance me a little (which is not the author’s fault). I was never one for literary novels but I recognize some titles from school. I felt more like a spectator as I was reading. I didn’t feel connected to the story or characters, but I was invested enough to read it in full.

I love YA but the teenage aspect in this book was annoying to me (especially with one character) – this I say as an adult whose teenage years can still be recalled. The characters are (I’m guess here) between 17 and 19 years old (excluding the grown-up characters featured).

Cath Crowley writes wonderfully and I love how she chose to frame the story – a mixture of past and present. I will say that there was too much repeating of what was said in a previous chapter at the beginning of the next chapter going on. Sometimes it was unnecessary or could have been framed better. But the writing is solid. There were many great lines/passages. You get a clear picture of who each character is. They’re likable, each with his or her distinctive challenges being face. They are all effected by something and/or someone in the story.

I think in its own right, Words in Deep Blue is a good book. I just didn’t particularly enjoy as much as I thought I was going to.


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Mystery Blogger Award nomination #2

Zuky @ BookBum was so kind to nominate me for the Mystery Blogger Award. Thank you, Zuky! I recommend checking out her lovely blog. And if you’d like to read her responses to the nomination, you can check it out here. The Mystery Blogger Award was created by Okoto Enigma.

The Rules:

1. Put the award logo/image in your post.
2. List all the rules.
3. Thank whoever nominated you and leave a link to their blog.
4. Tell your readers three things about yourself.
5. Nominate 10-20 people and notify them
6. Link back to the creator of the award.
7. Ask nominees any 5 questions of your choice, with a weird or funny question.
8. Share the link to your best/favourite post of yours.


Three Things About Me:

  • I love pizza.
  • I enjoying doing community service and volunteering.
  • I’m convinced my dog sneezes directly in my face on purpose because he knows I’ll always love him and can never stay made at him for more than a second. Sometimes it is funny when he does that.

Zuky’s Questions:

What’s your favourite animal?
It’s a tie between monkeys and wolves.

Which of these would you say you have the biggest fear of: heights, spiders, fire or small spaces?
Hmm, that’s a toss up between heights and spiders.

Have you ever met any celebrities? Who are they?
If the costumed characters at a Disney park count as celebrities, then yes I have….But no, I haven’t.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
An author. Or professional athlete (track or basketball), performer on Broadway, an animator, or choreographer.

What’s your favourite joke?
What do you call a magic owl?…………………Hoo-dini. (I heard that from VanossGaming channel on YouTube.)


I Nominate:

Rachel @ Bookish Rachel

Marilag @ Story and Somnomancy

Pooja @ lifesfinewhine

Birdie Bookworm

Kate @ The Loud Library Lady

 

My Questions for Nominees:

What are you currently reading?

What has been your favorite book read so far of 2017 and why?

What new book(s) are you looking forward to being released later this year (if applicable)?

If your bookshelf could talk, what would it say? (the weird-ish question)

What book series would you like to see turned into a TV series or movie?


Share the link to your best/favourite post of yours. >>> Blog Milestone: 100+ Followers!


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Book Review: The Hunters by John Flanagan

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Series: Brotherband Chronicles, book 3
Rating: 4/5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

My Summary:
Hal and his crew had finally caught up to Zavac – the pirate who stole the Andomel, Skandia’s most precious treasure – but he managed to slip away last minute. But the members of the Heron haven’t given up the hunt. They’ll need to regroup and try more cunning tactics if they want to finally catch Zavac and reclaim their pride and lost honor.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
The epic adventure of the Heron brotherband continues in book 3 with nearly non-stop action and danger.

Sometimes it was challenging to guess how Hal and his friends would overcome the obstacles in their way – but that’s the fun part of reading any story to challenge the reader and keep them guessing. And, indeed, this was a fun book to read.

Some of the dialogue exchanges between our protagonists were a little cringy and exasperating. As one character points out, “If we’re finished playing All Friends Together, can we get on with it?” Amen, I thought. Hal felt compelled to say something leader-like to his friends since he is the skirl of Heron but, thankfully and quite comically, words failed him. These kinds of moments in stories, for me, tend to feel awkward and cringy for some reason.

I love seeing Hal’s continued growth as a leader and skirl – he’s a natural at both. He knows and will acknowledge his strengths and weakness and will utilize the strengths of his friends to the group’s best advantage. He is a team player of admirable character.

I like the note the story ended on but am sort of wary about what was foreshadowed to come as the series continues. I can’t say what it is without spoiling but I just hope it’s handled a lot better than this type of things was in the Ranger’s Apprentice series.

The epic-ness of the Brotherband Chronicles seems like it’s going to raise in the next book, Slaves of Socorro, so I’m looking forward to reading it really soon.

 

Past Reviews – Brotherband Chronicles
The Outcasts by John Flanagan (book 1)
The Invaders by John Flanagan (book 2)

Past Reviews – Ranger’s Apprentice: The Early Years
 The Tournament at Gorlan by John Flanagan (book 1)
The Battle of Hackham Heath by John Flanagan (book 2)


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(NetGalley) Book Review: Waiting for Sophie by Sarah Ellis, Illustrated Carmen Mok

Thank you to NetGalley, Pajama Press, and Myrick Marketing & Media for providing me with an e-copy (of the ARC galley) to read and review.
Waiting for Sophie was recently released April 3, 2017.
I received an e-copy of this book after its initial publication.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Children’s Fiction, Picture Book
Rating: 4/5
Recommend to Others?: Yes
Favorite Quote: “I want to smash it to smithereens and flush it down the toilet.”

 

My Summary:
Liam has been waiting a long time for his baby sister, Sophie, to arrive. He couldn’t be happier when she finally comes home. But in no time he starts to become impatient and wishes she would grow up faster so they can play and do more things together. Can Liam learn the virtue of patience?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
A cute story that teaches children about patience. It’s especially perfect for parents to read to their small (only) child when there’s another on the way.

Carmen Mok does a wonderful job with the illustrations and I love the color palette she chose.

I found myself invested in the story, anticipating how Liam would deal with his disappointment about all the things Sophie can’t do. He has a typical reaction to Sophie and I was pleasantly surprised at how adorably proactive he became.

I think my favorite thing about this book was whenever the word “smithereens” was used – it’s such a quirky, funny-sounding word to include in a children’s book. However, I’m really confused about why the grandmother is called “Nana-Downstairs.” Is it that she lives downstairs in the house? I had a hard time getting past the oddity of her name which felt so out-of-place.

Sarah Ellis has a way with words; I would read more books by her.