The Bookshelf Corner

A creative space for all things books and writing….

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NetGalley Book Review: Henry Hodges Needs a Friend by Andy Andrews, Illustrated by Colleen Madden

Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson: CHILDREN’S for providing me with an e-copy to read and review. Henry Hodges Needs a Friend was published March 3, 2015.


Image via NetGalley

Genre: Picture Book, Children’s Fiction
Rating: 3/5
Recommend to Others?: Unsure


Summary (via NetGalley):
From the author of The Kid Who Changed the World, this hilarious rhyming story, complete with charming art, offers comfort to children who often feel left out or are in need of a good friend.

At some point, almost every child struggles with feeling like they don’t fit in or are left out—just like Henry Hodges. Henry is a lonely little boy on a lonely little street who longs for a friend. One day, his mother and father take him to a pet rescue shelter and his lonely world is changed! Told in a playful rhyme with adorable illustrations, this book will be a favorite among children and parents who love dogs and, ultimately, will comfort and encourage children who struggle with feeling accepted and finding friends.
Kids will want to read this whimsical and imaginative story again and again!


My Review:
This book was okay but I’m not sure about the overall impressions I get from it. Henry is bored, lonely, and without a friend nearby. His parents decide to get him a pet. I’m all for getting a pet for your kid to be friends with (having a pet has many benefits) but why doesn’t Henry just invite friends over from time to time or go to their house?Just seems like there’s something missing from the story and it leaves me skeptical.

The illustrations are fantastic. They’re so smooth, bright and colorful. I did laugh at the funny imaginings Henry had of what his new friend might be like. The narrative told in couplets/abab rhyme scheme was a nice touch as well.


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Weekend Writing Prompt #8

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” 
— Maya AngelouI Know Why the Caged Bird Sings


Self-Reflection/Discussion Prompt: What story (or stories) are you just eager to write and share with the world? What is the story about? What genre is it? Where did the story idea come from? What about the idea drew you to it?

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On DNF Books: Why I’m Too Stubborn To Stop Reading

Royalty Free Image via Pixabay | Text Added in Paint

What seems like recently, I’ve read some books that I was really excited about but turned into real letdowns. Even though I strongly considered not finishing them, I somehow always convince myself to keep reading. Why?

Because I’m a stubborn reader.

I know when you submit a manuscript to a publisher or agent, and in general with writing a story that you want to capture the reader’s attention right away and make them want to keep reading. You basically have to sell your story in a very very short amount of space. I get this and don’t get this. For me, page one cannot tell me whether a book is good or not. It just seems inconceivable for me because there’s so many more pages to go. I need to know more. I can’t assume on a lack of information I’ve yet to get to. I tend to lean towards giving books the benefit of the doubt. It could get better, I think. Or it could get worse. I won’t know unless I keep reading. But that’s just how I am.

Now for books that I have a feeling will be, oh, a three star rating or less (after considering a certain amount of pages) the great internal debate begins. I become seriously stubborn. Depending on what has already happened in the book I’m either bored, frustrated, or disappointed. But I always push myself to keep reading.

Other than stubbornness, I sometimes don’t think I can really talk about why I disliked a book to the point of DNF if I don’t read the entire thing. So despite the torture and being so ready to throw in the towel, I keep reading. And reading. As a small disclaimer, for ARCs I do read the book in its entirety (despite whatever negative opinions I have about a book) out of respect and thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy to read and review. Plus, when giving feedback, I want to be able to give my full take on the book.

So perhaps I’m not brave enough to stop when the book isn’t just for me anymore. Perhaps I feel bad if I don’t finish a book. Or perhaps I really am just a stubborn reader.

That being said, what are your thoughts on DNFs? Have you ever stopped reading a book and why? I’d love to know what you think about this. Perhaps your answers can help me with this conundrum.

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My New 2018 TBR List

New Titles

Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce (Numair Chronicles, book 1)
Tortall: A Spy’s Guide by Tamora Pierce, with Julie Holderman, Timothy Liebe, and Megan Messinger

The Ancient Magnus’ Bride (manga)
Vampire Knight (manga)
Attack on Titan (manga)

Sky Raiders by Brandon Mull

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green


Series TBC

Siege of Shadows by Sarah Raughley (Effigies, book 2)

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, book 3)

Scorpion Mountain by John Flanagan (Brotherband, book 5)
The Ghostfaces by John Flanagan (Brotherband, book 6)
The Caldera by John Flanagan (Brotherband, book 7)

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)
The White Spell by Lynn Kurland (A Novel of the Nine Kingdoms, book 10)
The Dreamer’s Song by Lynn Kurland (A Novel of the Nine Kingdoms, book 11)

Fruits Basket (manga)
Black Butler (manga)



With Every Breath by Lynn Kurland
The More I See You by Lynn Kurland
When I Fall In Love by Lynn Kurland

Deadly Little Secrets by Laurie Faria Stolarz (Touch, book 1)

Shadowflame by Dianne Sylvan (A Shadow World Novel, book 2)

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (The Books of Bayern, book 1)

The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima (The Heir Chronicles, book 1)


If There’s Time

I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart

Fire by Kristin Cashore (Graceling, book 2 | Prequel) (re-read)

The Emperor of Nihon-Ja by John Flanagan (Ranger’s Apprentice, book 10) (re-read)

Star of the Morning by Lynn Kurland (A Novel of the Nine Kingdoms, book 1) (re-read)
The Mage’s Daughter by Lynn Kurland (A Novel of the Nine Kingdoms, book 2) (re-read)
Princess of the Sword by Lynn Kurland (A Novel of the Nine Kingdoms, book 3) (re-read)


Types of Magic In Fiction

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I really enjoy reading books that involve magic. I think I’m so attracted to this aspect of fiction is because the first book that really got me into reading was a YA Fantasy novel that was all encompassing magic. Not to mention you can get very inventive with magic, its properties, and uses.

I’ve been meaning to write this posts since way last year, but never really got around to written it. Originally, the idea was to write a general discussion about magic in fiction. But I was recently more inspire to write a post about the types (and usage) magic typically scene in fiction.

Nature / Elements / Seasons

Magic that comes from the land. Elemental magic associated with fire, water, wind, air, earth, metal, lightning, wood, etc. Magic derived from the four seasons: spring, summer, winter, autumn. This type may also present itself as the ability to communicate with animal life.

Everyone Has Magic

A magical society in which everyone has and can use magic.

NOT Everyone Has Magic

A world in which a group of people or country have magic but others don’t. Sometimes the separation is between humans and magical beings.


In which magic in general or a particular magic is passed down through a familial, maternal or paternal bloodline.


Magic that is conducted through objects, typically staves, wands, swords, rings, orbs, rocks/stones, arrows, etc.

Spells / Incantations

An arrangement of words cast in order to use magic, sometimes involving or learned from a book of spells.

Mages / Wizards / Witches / Magicians

General names for magic users (if a story chooses to use these titles).

Seers / Oracles

Characters who can foresee the past, present and/or future. This is done through visions, bowls of water, looking into fire, or looking into an orb. These characters can be interpreted as having magic or mediators of a higher being. This ability is unpredictable.

Gifted / Bestowed

Characters referred to as being “Gifted” – or some other such title denoted to magic users – with magic or have magic given to them. This sometimes occurs through a higher being or god, depending on the universe.


Magic possessed by a particular individual that is predicted to do great harm or good, the views and expectations of which are discerned depending on how one interprets the prophecy.

Magic That Manifests Later

A character who possesses magic since birth but doesn’t know it. This character will grow up in a normal, human way until a certain event incites the magic within to manifest.

These are different variations and characteristics of magic I’ve seen in books I’ve read; each one observed occurring in more than one book.

What do you think about magic in fiction? What other types of magic would you add to this list or include with what’s already listed? I’d love to hear what you think about this topic.


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Book Review: Heart on Fire by Amanda Bouchet

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Romance, Fantasy
Series: Kingmaker Chronicles, book 3
Rating: 1 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: No
For 18+ readers.


Summary (via Goodreads):
Who is Catalia Fisa?
With the help of pivotal figures from her past, Cat begins to understand the root of her exceptional magic, her fated union with Griffin Sinta, and Griffin’s role in shaping her destiny.

Only Cat holds the key to unlocking her own power, and that means finally accepting herself, her past, and her future in order to protect her loved ones, confront her murderous mother, and taking a final, terrifying step–reuniting all three realms and taking her place as the Queen of Thalyria.

What doesn’t kill her will only make her stronger…we hope.


My Review:
This book was a huge letdown for me.

Where did the Cat from Book 1 go?

The Cat in this book spent the entire novel stubbornly refusing to see the truth that was right in front of her, a truth that several people had pointed out to her throughout the entire series but she refused to believe. On and off again it would seem like she was coming around to her destiny but then something would go wrong and she’d back peddle several steps.

There came a point where I wondered if she would ever get it. I understand her reluctance but if you can’t believe yourself or the most important person in your life (Griffin) or a god(s), then I don’t know what she’s going do. We spend way too much time in Cat’s head listening to her litany of self-victimization. Yes, this series is written in  First Person so internal thoughts are a given but this was too much and annoying.

Why are characters endlessly talking?

Scenes also stretched longer than they should – like several chapters to do just one scene – because characters spent way too much time talking instead of getting to the point. Some times all this talking was at inappropriate times like in the middle of a fight. It really detracted from the reading experience. For example, the first scene was – if I remember – about 60 odd pages, and the entire book is only 380 pages. It made me wonder because we spent so much time on that first scene – which would have been great if there hadn’t been so much talking – would there be enough remaining pages to really tell the story. Not really. This might be comparing apples to oranges but I see things like this in anime often. Characters will watch a bad guy power up for a certain amount of time and just stand there watching instead of doing something to stop the bad guy. That’s what it felt like I was seeing here at times.

Why is the antagonist so weak after so much hype?

The main antagonist is Cat’s mom, Andromeda, the Queen of Fisa. Based on what Cat tells us, her mother has been this intimidating, cruel, powerful, invisible force looming over the horizon. Clearly, she would be the final boss, so to speak. I was really looking forward to what the inevitable confrontation with Cat’s mom. I am so disappointed by not only those confrontation scenes but Andromeda’s character was sorely weak for a supposedly all-powerful antagonist. Reality of whatever scenes Andromeda was in didn’t fully match up with what Cat had been describing all along.

The above things I mentioned just didn’t make sense on the whole. After so much preparation for a final battle there ended being nothing. Seemed like a cop-out ending to me, too easy of a conclusion. I was close to marking this book as DNF. This wasn’t the conclusion I expected nor the conclusion I believe this story deserves.