The Bookshelf Corner

A creative space for all things books and writing….


MORE Books Added To My TBR List

Royalty Free Image via Pixabay | Cropped in Paint

More books to read! Yay! The ones below are a mix of definites, most liklies, and we’ll sees. But it’s always exciting when you can add a ton of new books to your TBR list.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows, book 1)
I passed on this originally, but recently re-read the synopsis and felt that this could actually be a story I would like. I’ve never read any books by this author so who knows what will happen.

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo (Nikolai, book 1)
This may sound silly but I added this mostly because of the cover and somewhat because of the synopsis and title. I saw this cover on Twitter the day it was released and fell in love – is that even possible? This is probably one of the most gorgeous covers I’ve ever seen. Since the book doesn’t come out until Jan 2019 and involves a character from Six of Crows, it’ll probably be a long while before I’d get to this book. But I wanted to add it regardless.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (The Folk of the Air, book 1)
I’m no stranger to Holly Black’s books and writing. At first I wasn’t sure if I would like this book – I didn’t think it was the right story for me at the time or at all. But Black does all things fae well so maybe it could turn out to be a good read. I’d like to give it a try.

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen, book 2)
It’s been a little over a year since I’ve read Red Queen, which I loved. I think the reason it’s taken me so long to continue this series is because of the conflict and everything was so terrifyingly good I didn’t think I was emotionally ready to continue reading. But with the series finally coming to an end and now that I’ve caught up on several books that have been long-since back-logged, perhaps it’s time to get back to it and see this through to the end. I’ve only added book two (for now).

The Red Fox Clan by John Flanagan
According to Goodreads, this title won’t be released until Aug 2018. I’m not sure if I’ll read it based on the synopsis. But it’s a book by John Flanagan so I added it to the list.

Taken by Tuesday by Catherine Bybee (The Weekday Brides, book 5)
Treasured by Thursday by Catherine Bybee (The Weekday Brides, book 7)
So I really enjoyed reading Not Quite Mine and wanted to read more of Catherine Bybee’s books. I liked what these two books are about so added them. My library doesn’t have all of Bybee’s books, so I’m not following her series in order since it seems they can all be read as stand-alones.

Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think of them? What new books have you added to your TBR list recently?

As Always, Happy Reading!!!


1 Comment

Book Review: Not Quite Mine by Catherine Bybee

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Series: Not Quite, book 2
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes


Summary (via Goodreads):

Gorgeous hotel heiress Katelyn “Katie” Morrison seems to have it all. But when she crosses paths with Dean Prescott—the only man she’s ever loved—at her brother’s wedding, Katie realizes there’s a gaping hole in her life. After the ceremony she gets an even bigger surprise: a baby girl left on her doorstep. Determined to keep the newborn until she learns who her mother is, Katie has her hands full and doesn’t need Dean snooping around…especially when his presence stirs feelings she thought were long gone..

Dean Prescott knows Katie is lying to him about the baby. He shouldn’t care what the woman who broke his heart is up to…and he most certainly shouldn’t still be aching for her. Yet Dean can’t ignore the need to protect Katie—or the desire to be near her every chance he gets. But when he and Katie solve the mystery surrounding the baby, their second chance for happiness could be shattered forever.


My Review:
I really really enjoyed reading this book. It was such a fun, romantic, but serious story. The theme of motherhood, family, and reconciling with the past is well written and conveyed.

Katie has been a “party-girl” for the better part of her youth until recently. With her brother marrying the love of his life and starting a family, seeing the ex she loved but has kept her distance at said wedding, and a baby left on her doorstep right after the wedding, Katie is left in predicament with lots of questions. But she decides to take responsibility for the baby and control over her life. She is truly a kind person and with an immense capacity to love. She’s stronger than she realizes despite the messiness of her past. That strength, kindness, and love is paramount in every action she takes throughout the story.

Dean clearly still has feelings for Katie even after his ex-fiancé left him weeks before their wedding. And with those renewed feelings comes the resolve to settle things once and for all. The fact that he suspects something is up furthers his resolve and desire to help the woman he’s known since childhood. I like Dean’s character. I thought he was a bit too nosy at first, but I got where that concern was coming from. The Prescotts and Morrisons are close. Dean is Jack’s (Katie’s brother) best friend and the history between them is tight (practically family). But he is a good guy – a “good southern gentleman when he wants to be,” he claims.

It didn’t take much to guess who were the baby’s parents, but the mystery of solving the how and why was interesting and helped hold the story together. To each his or her own on what you make of why the baby was abandoned. I far more disagreed than agreed with the explanation. But that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story.

The close ties of the family and family friends was lovely. Katie’s relationship with her new/other sister-in-law, Monica (the sister of Jessie who married Jack), was goals. I love babies, so Savannah (the baby Katie takes care of) was everything adorable.

There’s so much more I wanted to say about this book but it would be difficult because of spoilers. But this was a nice, quick read. I would read more titles by this author.

Leave a comment

Book Review: Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brant

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating 4 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes


Summary (via Goodreads):
The more I touch someone, the more I can see and understand, and the more I think I can help. But that’s my mistake. I can’t help. You can’t fix people like you can solve a math problem.

Math genius. Freak of nature. Loner.

Eva Walker has literally one friend—if you don’t count her quadruplet three-year-old-siblings—and it’s not even because she’s a math nerd. No, Eva is a loner out of necessity, because everyone and everything around her is an emotional minefield. All she has to do is touch someone, or their shirt, or their cell phone, and she can read all their secrets, their insecurities, their fears.

Sure, Eva’s “gift” comes in handy when she’s tutoring math and she can learn where people are struggling just by touching their calculators. For the most part, though, it’s safer to keep her hands to herself. Until she meets six-foot-three, cute-without-trying Zenn Bennett, who makes that nearly impossible.

Zenn’s jacket gives Eva such a dark and violent vision that you’d think not touching him would be easy. But sometimes you have to take a risk…


My Review:
A really good story that I want to know more about, especially the characters.

Though the concept of “touch = knowledge” or vision isn’t new to me, I find it incredibly powerfully used in this novel. Part of what makes this story so good is that this is young adult novel, an age group where things link touch, relationships, and bonds are so pivotal to the experiences during this tumultuous period of growth and development. I’ve seen the power of “touch” used in YA before but Wendy Brant has brought new meaning to this mysterious, psychic-esque power.

Eva, the main character, cannot have any close bonds because touching anyone or anything will give off what she refers to as fractals (or algos) – impressions about a person’s life colored by their emotions (their fears, anger, pain, sorrow, happiness). This impossible barrier has made it extremely difficult to have any meaningful relationship, even with her family. And that is what makes the idea of this story so compelling and strong.

In the very beginning, Eva’s highly critical judgments about others (at least that’s how they seemed to me) was a bit of a turn off and I feared she’d be an unlikable character. But I ended up liking her. I feel all that she is (how complex she is beneath her good-girl perfect student surface) made her the perfect voice for this story. Her character growth and what she experiences and observes is so important to the teenage experience, the outsider looking in. Very relatable. I adored her math nerdiness and her rather awkward moments – those moments she seemed most alive (other than when she was around Zenn).

Zenn I love to bits, especially his name which piqued part of my interest in reading this story. He’s so laid-back, hardworking, and real. His character presents a new possibility but also an obstacle – yet he’s more than just a plot device. He comes with his own story and struggles that are tightly woven into the story. However, the biggest thing that makes him different might could be seen as too cliché and hard to overlook.

Not sure why but all the references to real-world products and brands throughout kind of threw me off – probably because I’m not used to seeing so many of such references in contemporary fiction. And I guess for me it gave off a too-real vibe, an intrusion on the fantasy of the reading experience.

The cover and jacket is so cute, simple and fitting to the story.

There’s so much left undone and unsaid that it feels like there needs to be a sequel to this. Eva and Zenn’s relationship is just too interesting and circumstantially unique to be contained in one book or at least within 315 pages. There’s so much more I want to know about them and how they’ll cope with what’s happened further in life since they’re 18 and in their last year of high school. The epilogue is satisfactory, but the book can’t escape the unfinished, over too soon feel. I’d be interested in reading more.

Leave a comment

ARC Book Review: Bitten Under Fire by Heather Long

Thank you NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for providing me with an e-ARC to read and review.
Bitten Under Fire by Heather Long is set to be released May 28, 2018.


Image via NetGalley

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Bravo Team WOLF, book 2
Rating: 4 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes


Summary (via NetGalley):
Bianca Devlin’s work is her life. Now, she’s finally taking a vacation…and guerillas hit her resort to kidnap a diplomat’s son. She does the only thing that makes sense—intervene to save the child’s life. Being dragged into the jungle with a scared kid she’s determined to protect was definitely not how she saw this trip ending.

After she returns to Texas, the last person Bianca expected to see was Sergeant Carlos “Cage” Castillo, the member of Bravo Team WOLF that helped rescue her. Nevertheless, there he is, living across the street from the house she just bought. The coincidence is alarming, but she has to admit, his presence isn’t entirely unwanted.

But there’s something off about Cage—the way he can move without a sound or the weird way his eyes seem to almost glow at times. And how can Bianca manage her growing attraction, when everything she knows about him and his reason for being there, turns out to be a lie?


My Review:
A different kind of storytelling for a paranormal romance novel than I’m used to…but I liked it. A lot.

At first, I requested this title because of the inciting incident described in the summary and the rest of the description seemed to support such an unusual beginning well enough to garner further interest. But it was the characters that kept me reading, which Heather Long does a fantastic job creating to propel the story along.

Bianca is a humanitarian through and through. She’s thoughtful, tough, independent, driven and possesses a great sense of humor. Cage is a dedicated Marine who wants to prove his worth. He’s funny, takes responsibility for his actions, and incredibly caring. I really loved that both characters have dedicated their lives to helping and saving people. They are truly perfect for each other. Also, the dialogue between them is just so on-point and witty.

While Bianca and Cage are terrific characters and romantic leads, I adored their parents. The Devlin’s are also humanitarians who work as physicians for Doctors Beyond Borders. They’re so fun-loving and dedicated to their work and each other. Cage’s father is not a man to be trifled with. But he has this certain appeal and charm about him, an adorable softness when it comes to his pack and family.

It took some time for me to get used to such a character driven story. The majority of the book focuses on the development of Bianca and Cage’s relationship. I kept waiting for some third-party external force to disrupt things since the actual problem would take time to make itself known. It was unsurprising when that crux moment finally occurred but the romance kept me buoyant until then. There was a lengthy explanation about what wolves are, which for me I found boring because I’ve read so many shifter/wolf stories. But I’d say this would be a good starter book for anyone who hasn’t read or is not too familiar with this aspect of the paranormal in fiction and the possibilities to create distinguishable supernatural beings.

The ending was a bit cheesy. I think it could have been done differently – same idea but different material. Or perhaps the final scenes needed more space for more impact. But what happened did its job and there were feels aplenty. Too rushed but okay.

Bitten Under Fire is the first book I’ve read by Heather Long and I think the first military-esque fiction I’ve read – the latter another aspect I loved about this book. I’m not sure if I’ll go back and read book 1 because right now I’m not too interested in Jax and Kat’s story – although I did like their brief presence in this installment so maybe someday. But I would recommend this book regardless. Heather Long is a great writer and storyteller.

Leave a comment

Writing Playlist #12: (My Favorite) Motown Classics

Royalty Free Image via Pixabay

“My Girl” — The Temptations
“The Way You Do the Things You Do” — The Temptations

“Signed, Sealed, Delivered” — Stevie Wonder
“Sir Duke” — Stevie Wonder

“Stop! In The Name of Love” — The Supremes

“Dancing In the Street” — Martha Reeves & The Vandellas

“I Want You Back” — The Jackson 5
“ABC” — The Jackson 5

“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” — Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

“What’s Going On” — Marvin Gaye

Past Playlists:
Disney (pt.1)
Disney (pt.2)
On Repeat (pt.1)
On Repeat (pt.2)
Can’t Stop Singing
Love and Romance

Leave a comment

[On Writing] The First Versus Last Sentence

I’ve been thinking about how to write great first lines/hooks recently and it recalled a memory. I was once taught years ago (paraphrasing from memory) that the first and last sentence of a story were the most important lines because the first line sells the (first) book and the last line sells the next.

The first line (sometimes paragraph) can make or break your novel. This line(s) is the hook that captivates the reader’s interest and entices them to keep reading. It is a peculiar but interesting beginning that, for example, makes a statement, grounds the reader in the story, or indicate the kind of person the main character is.

The first line is difficult to write. I sometimes fine it similar to writing a thesis statement for an essay, thinking how can I say or summarize all I am about to present hereafter? I seen it suggested looking at the beginnings of, say, best-sellers or whatever books your have on hand to learn what made those hooks so good.

The last line is the conclusion that closes the story on a note of finality that leaves the reader wanting more. You’ll have heard people say along the lines of a story staying with you long after it’s over. That kind of wonderful. In terms of the last line selling the next book, I can agree and disagree. When a story is over and you wish there was more to read or you want to know what happens next, that is the sign of the author having done its job right. But I also think the power of the last line is only as great as all that comes before.

So what my teacher once said makes sense from a business and consumer perspective and further research on gives it merit. Some points I find subjective, but it is an interesting part of writing and storytelling to read and learn about.

What are your thoughts on writing the first and last line(s) of a story? In your opinion, what makes a great hook? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.