The Bookshelf Corner

Writer. Blogger. Book Reviewer.


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[Official] Fall 2020 TBR List: My 1000th Blog Post!!!


Happy Friday, Bookworms!

Today I bring you the post I’ve been promising all month: my Official Fall 2020 TBR List! There are a total of 52 books, half of which are YAs. I’m starting several book 1s of series this season as well, so I’m very excited about all of this.

Today is also a special day because this post is also ….

MY 1000th BLOG POST!!!

I have been blogging about my books for 4 1/2+ years and it’s wild to think that I’ve written so many posts. I’m thinking a self-congratulatory book gift is in order…??? 😉

Once again thank you, readers, for stopping by and reading my posts. It really does mean a lot. I hope you all have a great weekend!

Here are all the awesome books on this season’s TBR list:

 

Manga

Snow White with the Red Hair (Volumes 8 & 9)

Yona of the Dawn (Volumes 7-10)

Ace of the Diamond (Volumes 1-8)

Black Butler (Volume 29)

 

Middle Grade

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Muffled by Jennifer Gennari (ARC) (currently reading)

 

Young Adult Fantasy

Of Wicked Blood by Olivia Wildenstein (ARC)

Hidden Huntress by Danielle L. Jensen

These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

Roar by Cora Carmack

Seafire by Natalie C. Parker

Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce

Last Battle of the Icemark by Stuart Hill

Defy by Sara B. Larson

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Forged In Fire And Stars by Andrea Robertson

 

Young Adult Contemporary Romance

Brave Enough by Kati Gardner

A Totally Awkward Love Story by Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison

Recommend For You by Laura Silverman

 

Young Adult Paranormal Romance

Acca by Christina Bauer

Crave by Tracy Wolff

Trial By Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

 

Adult Contemporary Romance

Looking For A Cowboy by Donna Grant (ARC) (currently reading)

The Bridal Suite by Donna Grant

The Last Second Chance by Lucy Score

Secret Nights With A Cowboy by Caitlin Crews (ARC)

The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory

Take A Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

 

Paranormal Romance

Inferno by Donna Grant

The Boss by Abigail Owen

About A Vampire by Lynsay Sands

 

Fantasy

The Princess Knight by G. A. Aiken (ARC)

Soul of the Crow by Jessaca Willis

The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen

 

LGBTQ+ Contemporary/Paranormal/Romance

Brothersong by TJ Klune

I’ll Be The One by Lyla Lee


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Book Review: Not Quite Forever by Catherine Bybee

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Series: Not Quite #4
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Romance author Dakota Laurens believes that happily-ever-afters exist only between the covers of her sexy novels. But to her surprise, she finds a real-life hero when she meets a handsome emergency room doctor. The outspoken author feels an instant and intense attraction to Dr. Walt Eddy, and the feeling is mutual. When the globetrotting doctor pulls a disappearing act on Dakota, she’s prepared to write him off…until fate brings a blindsiding twist to her story.

Still scarred from a past tragedy, Walt may have disappeared on Dakota, but now he’s determined to win her back. For the first time in years, he knows he’s ready for a new chance at love. Yet between Dakota’s doubts and two sets of meddling parents, can the once-blissful couple finally create the bright, loving future they desperately want?

 

My Review: Not Quite Forever was a lovely contemporary romance and a very quick read. Catherine Bybee really knows how to spin sweet but passionate love stories.

What I initially loved about this story were the occupations of the MCs. Dakota is a best-selling and renowned romance writer – like on the steamier side. Dr. Walt Eddy – who makes an appearance in the previous book – is an emergency surgeon and on occasion deploys with Borderless Doctors.

Dakota tells it like it is, no filter but not in a way that gets under people’s skin. She is very observant and I love her nerdy writer side. She also has a great sense of humor; definitely someone you’d want as a friend.

Walt surprised me. I didn’t expect so much passion and chemistry from him where Dakota is concerned. He seems like a highly skilled and capable doctor but tends to forget other parts of life, such as paying bills. So you get this serious/confident side and then a playful/sweet side of his personality.

There wasn’t really anything I disliked about the story. I liked the plot and the characters. The story was paced well. No cliches, which is always a good thing with romance novels. My favorite parts were Dakota and Walt’s initial meeting and the epilogue. I wish there were a bit more book nerdy goodness but Not Quite Forever was a cute story.


My Review
Not Quite Mine (#2)

More By Catherine Bybee
Taken by Tuesday (The Weekday Brides #5)
Treasured by Thursday (The Weekday Brides #7)


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New Blog Theme! – Fall 2020

Happy Wednesday, Bookworms!

TA-DA!!!! I’ve changed the appearance of my blog for the fall season.

I wanted the look to have rustic autumn vibes. It didn’t turn out how I originally envisioned it but I like it and I hope you do too!

I’ve also changed some of the header images I use for certain recurring posts and tried to make those more of a cohesive theme.

Official Fall TBR to be posted Friday!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Much appreciated.

Royalty Free Image via Pixabay

As Always, Happy Reading!!!

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#PubDayTuesday: Smash It!

Thanks again to Inkyard Press and NetGalley for the e-ARC to read and review!

ABOUT: Olivia “Liv” James is done with letting her insecurities get the best of her. So she does what any self-respecting hot mess of a girl who wants to SMASH junior year does…

After Liv shows up to a Halloween party in khaki shorts–why, God, why?–she decides to set aside her wack AF ways. She makes a list–a F*ck-It list.

1. Be bold–do the thing that scares me.

2. Learn to take a compliment.

3. Stand out instead of back.

She kicks it off by trying out for the school musical, saying yes to a date and making new friends. Life is great when you stop punking yourself! However, with change comes a lot of missteps, and being bold means following her heart. So what happens when Liv’s heart is interested in three different guys–and two of them are her best friends? What is she supposed to do when she gets dumped by a guy she’s not even dating? How does one Smash It! after the humiliation of being friend-zoned?

In Liv’s own words, “F*ck it. What’s the worst that can happen?”

A lot, apparently.

#SMASHIT

My Review: https://thebookshelfcorner.wordpress.com/2020/09/15/blog-tour-arc-review-smash-it-by-francina-simone/


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Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall 2020 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme originally created by The Broke and the Bookish, but is now run by That Artsy Reader Girl.


Happy First Day of Fall, Bookworms!

An epic Fall reading season has begun! Today’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is all about books on your Fall TBR List.

On Friday, I’ll be posting my full, official Fall TBR, which I’ve changed a bazillion times over the last few weeks. But for today, I’m listing the 10 books I’m most looking forward to reading.

The Princess Knight by G.A. Aiken (ARC)
Muffled by Jennifer Gennari  (ARC)
Brothersong by TJ Klune

Inferno by Donna Grant
Tristan Strong Punches A Hole In The Sky by Kwame Mbalia
Trial By Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Hidden Huntress by Danielle L. Jensen

The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
Acca by Christina Bauer

*images via Goodreads*

 

I’m nearly finished the last book from my summer reading list, Not Quite Forever by Catherine Bybe, so will get to start on my Fall reads also today or tomorrow. My first few reads of the season I know for sure will be Muffled by Jennifer Gennari, Looking For A Cowboy by Donna Grant (ARC), Inferno by Donna Grant, and Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly.


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!

CONNECT WITH ME | Goodreads | Instagram


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[Author Interview] Q&A with Francina Simone

Happy Monday, Bookworms!

Credit @ Francina Simone

I had the wonderful opportunity to interview author Francina Simone whose latest novel, Smash It!, was released last Tuesday.

Francina Simone believes in one thing: authenticity. She writes YA stories full of humor and hard life lessons with sprinkles of truth that make us all feel understood. Her craft focuses on stories about girls throwing caution to the wind to discover exactly who they are and what it means to love. Francina is also known for her BookTube channel, where she discusses controversial topics in books.

In case you missed it, click here to read my review of Smash It!, which releases TOMORROW!!!!

Thanks again to Inkyard Press for letting me be a part of this blog tour, to NetGalley for the eARC to read and review, and to Francina Simone for writing such an amazing book.

Let’s get started!

 

The Bookshelf Corner: Who or what made you decide to become a writer? What inspires your writing?
Francina Simone: I like to think I’m a storyteller because when the stories come whispering I take the time to listen. Being a storyteller takes courage, belief in yourself, so I guess what inspires my writing is ignoring all the fears so I can write and discover the story just as the reader does. There is something exhilarating about experiencing a story for the first time and I get to do that with every book I write.

 

Q: Of all of Shakespeare’s tragedies, to do a comedic retelling of Othello is an ingenious idea for a story, especially with all the drama of high school. Why did you choose Othello?
A: If I’m honest, I think Othello chose me. A long time ago when SMASH IT was more like my lie than a book idea, I read the play and fell in love with the villain Iago. I thought of Iago more as Othello’s Ego getting the best of him. He was a secure man until Iago used his insecurities against him. Fast forward years later, I had this story idea of this girl and these two boys in my head and I saw this climactic scene happening between them and it reminded me a lot of the themes in Othello: Jealousy, illusions, perception, womanhood, sexuality. How it all unravels in Smash It was just clandestine.

Image via NetGalley

Q: Liv is a bright, authentic, relatable character. She slowly comes into her own in all the best and worst possible ways. She is a refreshing main character joining the YA space. What advice do you think Liv would give others going through a similar situation(s) as hers?
A: You’re going to mess up. You’re going to be problematic. You’re going to speak up when you should be quiet. You’re going to be quiet when you should speak up. You’re going to do all the wrong things even if you think you know you won’t. It’s human. The question is, can you get up and try again? Because, the world doesn’t end just because you fucked up. So go fix it.

 

Q: I relate to Liv so much I thought we could be twins. For me, Smash It! is one of those books that you wish had been around when you were younger. What made you decide to write Smash It!? What impact has this story had on you?
A: I decided it was okay for me to be Black and write what it’s like being a Black girl in a world where all the other books just want me to be Black struggle and strife. You for sure can’t “paint” Liv white and the story be the same. She’s Black American and her perspective is so different and really eye opening into a sliver of Black culture. We live, we love, we laugh, we get to Eat Pray and Love, but we do it in a very different way. We do it while Black and that is the most beautiful and glorious part to me, because that me.

 

Q: I have to ask this next question because it’s one of my favorite things I love about Liv: If any, what are some of your favorite musicals?
A: The only musical I’ve seen live is Aida and I loved it. I mean, it was problematic as hell (the casting and such) but I loved the music and it woke me up inside. Phantom of the Opera has music that just delivers me. Hamilton of course! Wicked. Rent—I know I”m forgetting a few but honestly Rent was one that really made me want to be an actor!

 

Q: You write stories that are “full of humor and hard life lessons with sprinkles of truth that make us all feel understood.” What conversation(s) do you hope readers will have after reading Smash It! (nerdy talks or otherwise)?
A: I just humor to help us get through tough conversations like: being a Black girl sometimes means we internalize racism and that can mean thinking the guy you like that probably likes you too, doesn’t because you’re not a white girl and can’t live up to that beauty standard. I want people to talk about intersectional casual racism and feminism. There are ways that PoC in America mingle that are very different than how we mingle with Whtie people. We talk different between groups in positive and negative ways. I want people to talk about how dark skin black girls have to wear armor and fight for every thought and opinion they have because they’re used to being less than second rate. I want to talk about sexuality and how girls don’t owe their sexual experience to anyone except who they want to have it with, boys too. I want readers to talk about how boys aren’t given the same space to be emotionally vulnerable. I want readers to talk about different family dynamics; that family life can be loving and toxic and how that shit doesn’t just go away because you joined a musical and sang a song.

That’s the biggest thing. I want readers to talk about how life isn’t fixed just because you got to the end of the book. That life goes on. It always goes on and the little problems will too.

 

That’s all for today. Thank you, Readers, for stopping by! Smash It! by Francina Simone releases tomorrow, the 22nd.

 

Enjoy a sneak peek of Smash It! Chapter 1 here.
Connect with Francina Simone: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | YouTube

 


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!

CONNECT WITH ME | Goodreads | Instagram


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Book Review: One To Watch by Kate Stayman-London

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes
Favorite Quotes: “…it’s the hardest thing in the world. To have been that hurt, to feel that afraid, and to know that the only way you can be really, fully happy is to risk going through it all again? It’s a terrifying choice to make. But if you want to let someone be that close to you, it’s the only way.”

“It’s about choice. A lot of people live their lives by default, walking through the doors in front of them because it seems expedient. That’s one way to have a family. But us? We chose each other…that’s why it feels so scary. Because it is. You’re choosing your family.”

ABOUTReal love…as seen on TV

Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who has amazing friends, a devoted family, legions of Insta followers–and a massively broken heart. Like the rest of America, Bea indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze. The fantasy dates! The kiss-off rejections! The surprising amount of guys named Chad! But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. Since when is being a size zero a prerequisite for getting engaged on television?

Just when Bea has sworn off dating altogether, she gets an intriguing call: Main Squeeze wants her to be its next star, surrounded by men vying for her affections. Bea agrees, on one condition–under no circumstances will she actually fall in love. She’s in this to supercharge her career, subvert harmful anti-fat beauty standards, inspire women across America, and get a free hot air balloon ride. That’s it.

But when the cameras start rolling, Bea realizes things are more complicated than she anticipated. She’s in a whirlwind of sumptuous couture, Internet culture wars, sexy suitors, and an opportunity (or two, or five) to find messy, real-life love in the midst of a made-for-TV fairy tale. In this joyful, razor-sharp debut, Bea has to decide whether it might just be worth trusting these men–and herself–for a chance to live happily ever after.

 

My Review: I loved One To Watch. I loved seeing Bea’s journey of self-discovery, self-love and body positivity. The book aptly depicts the internal and external conflicts experienced by plus-size women in a thin-preferred world, especially in the world of fashion and dating.

Through Bea’s eyes everything felt raw and real. Every insult and degradation and fat shaming was painful. It never got easier for Bea, only harder. Being on a show like Main Squeeze (lol, mega title cringe!) was a true test of the carefully crafted armor she’d been encasing herself in her entire life.

The competition is very similar to ABC’s The Bachelor. If you’re a die-hard fan, casual watcher, or know the gist of things, you won’t have much trouble immersing yourself in the book’s version of the dating show. Chris Harrison always says that every season will be the most dramatic. In the case of Main Squeeze, it was THE MOST dramatic season yet. I love all the allusions to The Bachelor franchise (such as there being a few guys with the same first name or there being villain contestants, lol!). The author creatively transforms all that material/history into something new and just as captivating. The story (and show) keeps you guessing and it was difficult (at least for me) to fully decide who makes it to the end.

Bea’s a great character and inspiring person. She’s kind and confident and living the good life as a popular fashion blogger. I love Bea’s family and how close everyone is. There’s so much big-family love when she’s with them. I also like the close bond she has with her mother and stepdad.

Bea and her best friend, Marin, are die-hard fans, so I was really surprised she’d agree to be on a show like Main Squeeze. Once on the show, her insecurities cause her to self-sabotage herself on numerous occasions, not wanting to trust the process or the men. Lots of mistakes and miscommunications and assumptions are made by everyone, which creates a lot of tense and awkward moments that push the plot forward. Yet it’s great to watch Bea slowly thrive and prove she deserves to not only be on the show but deserving of love like any other woman no matter their size.

I liked that the book itself is a mix of prose, transcriptions from texts/chats/emails, articles, etc. It made the whole reading experience very immersive and real, authenticating everything that happens to Bea. The mix of content enhances things.

Oh-my-goodness I did not see the plot twists coming nor could not have imagined how the show would end. They were the most shocking of plot twists but extremely satisfying of endings I have ever read. Everything came full circle rather nicely.

I can’t say enough good things about One To Watch. There are characters to love, characters to hate. I laughed, I cringed, during my running commentary about the things that were happening. One To Watch is an engaging contemporary romance with a story you have to read to believe.


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Weekend Writing Prompt #55

PROMPT: Choose 3-5 book characters you like (or even dislike) and write a flash fiction story about them doing an escape room together.

 

Eager to write more? Check out more writing prompts here!

HAPPY WRITING!!!
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