The Bookshelf Corner

A creative space for all things books and writing….

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Anything But Books Tag

Thank you to Siobhan @ Novelties for tagging me! You can read her responses to this tag here. I’ve never done this tag before so I don’t know if it’s different questions for different people – I’ll just answer the same ones Novelties answered.


Name a cartoon that you love.
Family Guy and The Simpsons

What is your favorite song right now?
The Greatest Showman soundtrack and the recently released song “Found Tonight”. On Repeat.

Channel Source: Atlantic Records

What could you do for hours that isn’t reading?
Sing and listen to music.

What is something that you love to do that your followers would be surprised by?
Dance? I may have mentioned that before though.

What is your favorite, unnecessarily specific thing to learn about?
I don’t know what this question means by “unnecessarily specific” but I really like learning about history, national and global histories.

What is something unusual you know how to do?
Hmm, nothing that I can think of.

Name something that you’ve made in the last year.
Honey/Cinnamon cookies. I used a Betty Crocker recipe for sugar cookies but used honey and cinnamon instead.

What is your most recent personal project?
Opening my Spreadshirt Shop in January 2018.

Tell us something that you think of often.
Non-book related? Music. Food.

Tell us something that’s your favorite, but make it oddly specific.
Musicals and huskies.

If you like this tag and want to give it a go, feel free to do your own post!

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TBR At A Glance – 3/16/18

Happy Friday, everyone!

I’m actually ahead of my reading schedule. Everything I wanted to read this month I finished up this week, which is shocking and unusual. So I’m actually going to get a jump-start on the books I have planned to read for April, mostly because those books are 300/400+ pages each.

You can follow me on Goodreads to stay up-to-date on what I’m reading. Are you on Goodreads? Let’s connect!

Image made in Pixlr and Paint

Currently Reading

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


Reading Next

  • The Ghostfaces by John Flanagan (Brotherband Chronicles, book 6)
  • The Caldera by John Flanagan (Brotherband Chronicles, book 7)
  • Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs (Alpha & Omega, book 5)


Recent Reviews


Reviews Coming Soon

  • March 20 – Blood Veil by Megan Erickson (ARC review)
  • March 22 or 29? – The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee by Deborah Abela (ARC review)

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Book Review: Tortall: A Spy’s Guide by Tamora Pierce (with Julie Holderman, Timothy Liebe, Megan Messinger)

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes


Summary (via Goodreads):
The secrets of Tortall are revealed. . . .

As Tortall’s spymaster, George Cooper has sensitive documents from all corners of the realm. When Alanna sends him a surprising letter, he cleans out his office and discovers letters from when King Jonathan and Queen Thayet first ascended the throne, notes on creating the Shadow Service of spies, threat-level profiles on favorite characters, Daine’s notes on immortals, as well as family papers, such as Aly’s first report as a young spy and Neal’s lessons with the Lioness. This rich guide also includes the first official timeline of Tortallan events from when it became a sovereign nation to the year Aly gives birth to triplets. Part history, part spy training manual, and entirely fascinating, this beautiful guide makes a perfect gift and is ideal for anyone who loves Alanna, King Jonathan, Queen Thayet, Kel, Neal, Aly, Thom, Daine, Numair, and the unforgettable world of Tortall!


My Review:
Before I begin: I say I’d recommend it to others, but a part of m is also hesitant to recommend it to who isn’t familiar with the other books based in Tortall. Not just for the sake of understanding what’s written herein, but to avoid potential spoilers (although the timeline is graciously missing important plot points). I just want others to be able to make the most out of reading this book because it was so good.


This was amazing to read – perfect for every Tamora Pierce fan. I loved that the pages were transformed to look like a bound collection of guides, profiles, definitions, sketches, and letters. The addition of ink stains on the pages and (2D) wax crests was a nice touch. This guide provides inside knowledge – a behind-the-scenes, if you will – to various events (mundane and crucial) into the lives and people of Tortall and neighboring lands.

It’s a lot of information to adsorb. And if you’ve read all the Tortall universe books prior to this, it will make your head (pleasantly) spin as you recall fond memories of old. The lot of it really makes you think, especially about how to craft characters in terms of behavior and intrigue.

Although it’s not a chronological collection of papers and such of happenings, there is a feel of a narrative and a reasonable order which the authors chose to present each new tidbit. I love that the book concludes with a complete chronological timeline of Tortallian events.

I am curious as to why there is only a brief paragraph referencing the Beka Cooper series, which takes place a few centuries prior to Alanna: The First Adventure. If it’s a matter of importance to the realm’s security and persons of interest, then I can see why it might be excluded. However, I would think there’d be pertinent information included in the end-section timeline, such as when Beka was born.Or would this all be pointless since her books are dated as journal entries?

At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this, even though it’s “written” by one of my favorite fictional characters, George Cooper. But I really enjoyed reading more about one of my favorite fantasy worlds. It was a pleasant and delightful reading experience – so compelling I could hardly put it down.


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Book Review: A Dance Through Time by Lynn Kurland (2nd Read)

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Romance, Time-Travel, Historical Romance
Series: MacLeod, book 1
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes


Summary (via Goodreads):
Scotland, 1311. James MacLeod was the most respected—and feared—laird in all of Scotland. He loved his men like brothers and his land with a passion. And he allowed no women to cross the threshold of his keep…

New York City, 1996. With an indifferent fiancé and a stalled writing career, Elizabeth Smith found passion and adventure only in the unpublished romance novels that she wrote. Until a Scottish hero began calling to her…

Elizabeth longed for the man of her dreams. But she knew she was overworked when she began hearing his voice—when she was awake. To clear her mind, she took a walk in Gramercy Park. She dozed off on a bench—and woke up in a lush forest in fourteenth-century Scotland. A forest surrounding the castle of James MacLeod, an arrogant and handsome lord with a very familiar voice. Elizabeth would turn his ordered world upside-down and go where no woman had ever gone before: straight into his heart…


My Review:
A great beginning that will lead to more amazing stories and adventures (from someone who’s read virtually every book from both family tress; MacLeod and De Piaget).

The story is slow to start but soon takes off. Elizabeth and Jamie’s relationship is turbulent and curious from the beginning. There’s instant attraction but it takes much trail and error before they come to realize what it is they’re feeling. You come to see that the two – perhaps fated? – couple are indeed similar in grumbles, passions and loyalties.

There’s not much external danger; the conflict centered on the relationship between the main characters. But it’s a development that’s sometimes funny and adorable to watch – and of times ridiculous (in a good way).

I love the beauty of the setting – it has long since made me want to visit Scotland if ever given the chance. That combined with wonderful secondary characters made the reading experience that much more pleasant. Lynn Kurland writes a romantic yet harsh depiction of 14th century Scottish highlands, making A Dance Through Time a wonderfully told story.

Other Lynn Kurland Books Reviewed:
Dreams of Lilacs (de Piaget Family, book 16)
Ever My Love (MacLeod, book 10)
From This Moment On (de Piaget Family, book 9) (2nd Read)
Stars In Your Eyes (de Piaget Family, book 17)


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Recommend Magic-Centric Book Series

Today’s post is sort of a continuation from a recent post I did on the common types of magic I’ve observed in fiction. I went through the archives of books I’ve read and found the best series centered around magic or incorporate it in some way. I highly recommend these books and authors.


Circle of Magic – Tamora Pierce

*all books by this author I’d recommend as additional examples


Study – Maria V. Snyder

My Reviews: Book 4 | Book 5 | Book 6

*all books by this author I’d recommend as additional examples


A Novel of the Nine Kingdoms – Lynn Kurland

*showing only book covers 1-3 of 11


Snow Like Ashes – Sara Raasch

My Reviews: Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3


Graceling – Kristin Cashore

*showing book 1 and 2 (only have read) of 3


Wings – Aprilynne Pike

*showing books 1-4 (only have read) of 5


All Images via Goodreads:

Circle of Magic


A Novel of the Nine Kingdoms

Snow Like Ashes




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Quote of the Day: Without Reading…


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Book Review: Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Series: The Numair Chronicles, book 1
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes


Summary (via Goodreads):
Arram. Varice. Ozorne. In the first book in the Numair Chronicles, three student mages are bound by fate . . . fated for trouble.

Arram Draper is a boy on the path to becoming one of the realm’s most powerful mages. The youngest student in his class at the Imperial University of Carthak, he has a Gift with unlimited potential for greatness–and for attracting danger. At his side are his two best friends: Varice, a clever girl with an often-overlooked talent, and Ozorne, the “leftover prince” with secret ambitions. Together, these three friends forge a bond that will one day shape kingdoms. And as Ozorne gets closer to the throne and Varice gets closer to Arram’s heart, Arram begins to realize that one day soon he will have to decide where his loyalties truly lie.

In the Numair Chronicles, readers will be rewarded with the never-before-told story of how Numair Salmalín came to Tortall. Newcomers will discover an unforgettable fantasy adventure where a kingdom’s future rests on the shoulders of a talented young man with a knack for making vicious enemies.


My Review:
The story I’ve been waiting to read for years did not disappoint. Nostalgic, exhilarating, tumultuous, and bittersweet; I am left one very happy reader.

Tamora Pierce does not hold back. Her words are bold. Her characters delightful but fierce. The storytelling absolutely compelling. Each moment is important. Every action a ripple in a large pond. Every hope and fear…the entire story is as wonderful as it is heartbreaking.

Arram is everything I imagined his younger self to be and the man he grows to be before fleeing Carthak. He’s highly gifted and intelligent – as are his friends – but also incredibly – sometimes comically – innocent. He does his best to get by in school and learn all he can, demonstrating a genuine desire for knowledge in all forms, shapes and sizes. This book just further cemented my love for Arram/Numair’s character.

Before reading, I only had a few memories and impressions from when I read Emperor Mage, The Immortals quartet/book 3 where Ozorne is really first introduced. So when I began Tempests and Slaughter, I noticed the red flags – where Ozorne is concerned – very early on. However, I do like his character in this book. He undergoes a deep character change throughout the story – a slow, simmering change founded on fiery vengeance and sharp intelligence.

I liked Varice’s character at first but I quickly got the impression that she was two-faced. Some of her actions seemed like she was subtly using Ozorne and Arram. I do not doubt that her friendship with them is somewhat genuine. But I believe she will show her true colors in the next book.

love the cover; it’s gorgeous and perfectly fitting for the overall tone of this series. A simple feather (I have a guess from what) dripped in gold (a very Carthaki color/object), and what look like small specs of burning ash from a fire…all at the forefront of a dark blue/black background. Exquisitely designed.

The danger the lies beneath the story is just getting started and I can’t wait to see where the story goes in the next book, The Exile’s Gift.