The Bookshelf Corner

Book reviews, creative writing, and more!

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Quote of the Day: Challenge Your Readers


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Book Review: “Ace of Shades” by Amanda Foody

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Dark Fantasy
Series: The Shadow Game #1
Rating: 4 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Not sure
Favorite Quotes: “But she’s spent her entire life fighting for next to last. So if she had to play, she would not lose. She would not break. She had other business in this city.”

“Sometimes we’re not who we want to be because we’re supposed to be something else.”


ABOUT: Welcome to the City of Sin, where casino families reign, gangs infest the streets…and secrets hide in every shadow.

Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted.

Frightened and alone, Enne has only one lead: the name Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and a con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn’t have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne’s offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems.

Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless Mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi’s enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…

And she’ll need to play.


My Review:
I sorely underestimated this book. Whatever I thought this book might be about or allude to I was completely wrong. The City of Sin grabs the reader from the start and, even after reading, still hasn’t let go. This dark, edgy, dazzling book is one you won’t soon forget.

I do have mixed feelings about this book and was hesitant to give Ace of Shades the rating that I did.

My interest dwindle after a few chapters, which is probably why it took me so long to read this book. But sheer stubbornness to finish is what kept me reading. I didn’t want to read a story like this anymore but eventually I was hopelessly enthralled.

Ace of Shades, I have to say, is a well-structured book. It couldn’t have been easy to write it during all those long years. The world Foody has developed is rich in visuals, painful in emotions, and sinfully humans in its rough and rugged characters. Breathtaking in its pacing and unapologetic in its tone, Ace of Shades is by far one of the most idiosyncratic young adult novels I’ve ever read. But that’s what makes it such a good novel.

However, that’s where the mixed feelings come in. I don’t know if I liked this book. I certainly don’t dislike it. Amanda Foody is a writer to be reckoned with and one an aspiring novelist like me can learn from. I just don’t know what to think after reading this.

I didn’t like was being led a seemingly wild goose-chase with frustrating dead ends that offered very little satisfaction in the end. Too much letdown with very little payout. And maybe that’s the point. Readers are left unsettled by their journey through the corruption-soaked city of New Reynes.

I don’t know if I’ll read King of Fools – not eager to start nor ready for more of this series – but I will keep book 2 in mind.

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Book Review: “The Book With No Pictures” by B.J. Novak

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Picture Books, Children’s Fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: A book with no pictures?

What could be fun about that?

After all, if a book has no pictures, there’s nothing to look at but the words on the page.

Words that might make you say silly sounds… In ridiculous voices…

Hey, what kind of book is this, anyway?

At once disarmingly simple and ingeniously imaginative, The Book With No Pictures inspires laughter every time it is opened, creating a warm and joyous experience to share–and introducing young children to the powerful idea that the written word can be an unending source of mischief and delight.


My Review:

This book is brilliant.

Did I mention it was brilliant?

Well, it is very much a brilliant book – and there are no pictures! Cleverly written and utterly engaging, The Book With No Pictures is a surprising funny read that will instantly become a favorite for early readers and up – and possibly a parent’s worst nightmare (ahaha!).

Words are powerful, ground-shaking things that can elicit all sorts of emotions and imagery. The story shows how impactful words can be, especially when used in silly sounding sentences.

How can you not laugh out loud hearing words and sentences like “[b]lork” and “[b]luurf” and “my head is made of blueberry pizza”? It’s ridiculous and oh so satisfying.

The Book With No Pictures is one of the best “picture” books I’ve ever read and I highly recommend this for everyone big and small. Who knew a book with no pictures could be so fun?!

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Question of the Day #2

QOTD: If you could put together a team of heroes, which book characters would be apart of that team?

If I need to put together a team of heroes to save the world, I’d want a diverse group of people from with different abilities and backgrounds/upbringing. We’d need to be strong on offense and defense and have a varied perspective that could only serve to elevate our chances of victory.

George Cooper (from Tortall Universe books | Tamora Pierce)

George is one of my favorite book characters and top favorite male main characters. He is a rogue through and through. He’s highly intelligent with homegrown street-smarts. He would be a critical asset to the team. He’s very in tune with the heart of the people.


Meira (from Snow Like Ashes | Sara Raasch)

She is brave, tenacious, and goes above and beyond the call of duty. She doesn’t let setbacks stop her from achieving her goals, keeping her people safe, and saving the world. She is awe-inspiring, someone born to do great things. She is someone you’d want as a comrade in arms.


Valek (from Poison Study | Maria V. Snyder)

Valek is a jack of all trades. He is skilled with weapons, a master of espionage, intelligent beyond reason. But most importantly, he is loyal, dedicated, and pretty funny when he wants to be.


Sam of Wilds | Gary | Tiggy | Kevin (from The Lightning-Struck Heart | TJ Klune)

This one is a package deal so counts as one person. Other than the obvious reason of comic relief when things get tough or stressful, this is a group of friends (family really) you’d want on your team, especially if you’re going to save the world and all. Sam has that noble heart and fathomless well of magic, Gary is beauty and strength incarnate, Tiggy can smash, and Kevin is a dragon and could probably tell the enemy stories so awkward and embarrassing that they’ll give up just to make him stop talking.. I love them all so much and would be honored to be on a team with them.


Horace (from Ranger’s Apprentice series | John Flanagan)

A ward of Castle Redmont, Horace had a rough beginning but grew into a virtuous young man. Horace is kind soul who always strives to do his best and to do the right thing. He’s a natural fighter and a very good friend. He’s good at tactics and he’s just an overall nice person to be around.


Alanna of Trebond (from Song of the Lioness series | Tamora Pierce)

Defying gender rolls, Alanna dreamed of becoming a knight (something girls didn’t/couldn’t do) instead of going to a convent. She is now a female knight and warrior with strong healing abilities. She is the epitome of what it means to be a knight and can hold her own against almost anyone. And every squad needs someone with healing powers or knowledge of first aid and medicine.


Rasmira Bendrauggo (from Warrior of the Wild | Tricia Levenseller)

Rasmira, daughter of the chieftain, the next to rule her clan, has always had high expectations placed upon her. She is a natural born leader. Strong and brave but still remains a human being with faults. She acknowledges her mistakes and seeks to learn from them. A warrior through and through.


And, As Always, Happy Reading!!!


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