The Bookshelf Corner

A creative space for all things books and writing….


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Happy Book Release Day! to Yak and Dove by Kyo Maclear, Pictures by Esmé Shapiro

Thank you again to NetGalley and Tundra Books for providing me with an e-ARC to read and review.

*title/author link leads to my review of Yak and Dove*


Image via NetGalley

Yak and Dove by Kyo Maclear, Pictures by Esmé Shapiro

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

 

Book Summary (via NetGalley):
Sometimes the unlikeliest friends form the greatest friendships. A funny, charming picture book from a dynamic duo.

Friends Yak and Dove are complete opposites. Yak is large and Dove is small. Yak has fur and Dove has feathers. Yak is polite. Dove is ill-mannered. Yak likes quiet. Dove likes noise. One day as Yak and Dove list their differences they come to the conclusion that maybe they aren’t meant to be friends. In the hope of finding a new best friend, Yak holds auditions. But when a small feathered contestant sings Yak’s favorite song, the two begin to think that maybe they are alike after all . . .

Yak and Dove whimsically captures the highs and lows of friendship through the three interconnected tales of two very different friends.

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ARC Book Review: The King’s Champion by Xina Marie Uhl

Thank you to NetGalley and XC Publishing for providing me with an e-ARC to read and review. The King’s Champion by Xina Marie Uhl is expected to be released October 15, 2017.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Series: The King’s Champion, book 1
Rating: 3/5
Recommend to Others?: Maybe

 

Book Summary (via NetGalley):
The first book in a fantasy series of swords, sorcery, and adventure.

A generation ago, a great war convulsed Cantwin. Amidst blood-soaked battles the Stormlifter kings rose up to save the kingdom by imprisoning the dark god Moleck in hell for all eternity.

Or so they thought.

Seventeen-year-old Lance thinks his life is just about perfect now that the prettiest girl in the village wants him. Sure, he dreams of fighting far off battles, but that’s nothing more than a fantasy. Until the elders order him away to find a name for himself.

In the dazzling capital, Lance navigates court intrigues with Prince Kieran’s unlikely friendship. Yet the glitter and gold obscures a dark conspiracy. Soon the two friends find themselves propelled to the edges of the world on a desperate quest. The stakes: Lance’s life, Kieran’s throne, and the survival of the Land itself.

Hunted by assassins, and haunted by the awakening of a strange and frightful power within them, they must find proof of Kieran’s claim to the throne before a dark god’s vengeance destroys them all. For the Power is summoning a champion, and it will not be denied.

~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
This was an interesting read – okay but not what I expected. The material here is good but could be even better.

We have two great main characters – Lance and Kieran – whose adoring friendship I haven’t seen much of in YA. The story goes by quick, which, unfortunately, forces the friendship/brotherhood – and other events – to develop quickly. Lance and Kieran are very much alike with their upbringing the only stark differentiation. But I don’t feel what we get is enough to truly distinguish them as individuals.

I like the premise and setting but the pacing doesn’t help me become fully engrossed in the story. Things “skipped around” or were “cut out” a lot as if I was reading a condensed version of the story. This often made me think that there had to be more than what I was reading.

I liked that what “magic” we see seems to come from the Land in a kind of one-with-nature feel. But it’s effect leaves several questions for me and, I would have thought, from the characters.

Post-read I’m not 100% sure I will read the next book because it seems like I’d being going into book 2 still very much in the dark. But a part of me wants to read more of Lance and Kieran’s story because I love their friendship. I think the premise of book 2, Trials by Sword, will largely dictate my decision.


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Happy Book Release Day! to Blood Guard by Megan Erickson

Thank you again to NetGalley and Loveswept for providing me with an e-ARC to read and review.

*title/author link leads to my review of Blood Guard*


Image via NetGalley

Blood Guard by Megan Erickson

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: A Mission Novel, book 1
Rating: 4/5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Book Summary (via NetGalley):
Enter a world of immortal danger and desire—and discover an incredible fate borne of blood.

Tendra: One minute, I’m a bartender in gritty Mission City; the next, I’m whisked away by a vampire named Athan who tells me that I’m the lifeblood of his clan. It sounds unbelievable, but he’s got evidence I can’t deny. Turns out, Athan belongs to an underground society of vampires who feed only on humans with their consent. Their enemies have no such qualms, and they want me dead. The only thing standing in their way is strong, sexy Athan. And the closer we get, the more tempted I am to let Athan feed. . . .

Athan: How could I have known when I snatched this snarky, beautiful human off the streets that she would change my destiny? As a loyal soldier, I must deliver Tendra to our future king—my brother. Empowered with the blood of ten generations of the Gregorie breed, she is fated to rule as our queen. But there’s something between us that’s so intoxicating, so carnal, I can’t help wanting Tendra for myself . . . even if it’s treason.


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ARC Book Review + Book Release Day: Me, Me, Me by Annika Dunklee, Illustrated by Lori Joy Smith

Thank you to NetGalley and Kids Can Press for providing me with an e-ARC to read and review.
Happy Book Released Day to Me, Me, Me by Annika Dunklee!
Note: I received an e-ARC before the publication date

Image via NetGalley | Published September 5, 2017 by Kids Can Press

Genre: Picture Book, Children’s Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5 (NetGalley rating was a 4)
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Book Summary (via NetGalley):
When best friends Annie, Lillemor and Lilianne learn their school will be having a talent show, Annie says they should enter as an all-girl singing group. Her friends are all in — until Annie tries to force everyone to go along with her choice of song, costumes, band name and lead singer. When Lillemor and Liliane tell Annie they’ve had enough of her “me, me, me” attitude, the band splits up, with Annie intent on performing solo. But it doesn’t take long for her to realize it’s just not the same without her friends. Can Annie find a way to make things right before it’s too late? Annika Dunklee’s trio of multicultural friends will charm and delight young children with their true-to-life relationships and spot-on dialogue, while Lori Joy Smith’s irresistible art brings a playful humor to the girls and their enthusiasm. Annie, the lovable, perfectly imperfect girl, will have readers rooting for her as she struggles to find her way to doing the right thing. With its positive, non-preachy approach, this book could easily spark conversations about friendships and dealing with hurt feelings. With select words in French and Swedish included in the story (with translations) as well as other details sprinkled throughout that illustrate the girls’ different backgrounds, this makes a terrific title for exploring other cultures in social studies classes. And the intriguing idea of a talent show shines a light on the performing arts and creativity within a school setting.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review: [* slightly edited *]
While I wasn’t surprised by what happened, I did enjoy reading this book. Me, Me, Me is a lovely mixture of art, dialogue and language. It exposes kids to other languages – French and Swedish – and includes translations that are clearly indicated out of the way on the page. The only thing I had trouble with was telling who was who. You know who Annie is but which girl is Lillemor and which girl is Lilianne?

Annika Dunklee touches upon things all kids need to learn. That it is important to include, not exclude. You should be open and listen to all other’s ideas. Friends don’t boss each other around. That you should treat others the way you’d want to be treated. The illustrations by Lori Joy Smith are so cute and really suited the story and characters.

Playful but serious, I would recommend this book as a fun story to read to kids but also as a teaching tool on friendship.


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ARC Book Review: Blood Guard by Megan Erickson

Thank you to NetGalley and Loveswept for providing me with an e-ARC to read and review. Blood Guard by Megan Erickson is set to be released September 12, 2017.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: A Mission Novel, book 1
Rating: 4/5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Book Summary (via NetGalley):
Enter a world of immortal danger and desire—and discover an incredible fate borne of blood.

Tendra: One minute, I’m a bartender in gritty Mission City; the next, I’m whisked away by a vampire named Athan who tells me that I’m the lifeblood of his clan. It sounds unbelievable, but he’s got evidence I can’t deny. Turns out, Athan belongs to an underground society of vampires who feed only on humans with their consent. Their enemies have no such qualms, and they want me dead. The only thing standing in their way is strong, sexy Athan. And the closer we get, the more tempted I am to let Athan feed. . . .

Athan: How could I have known when I snatched this snarky, beautiful human off the streets that she would change my destiny? As a loyal soldier, I must deliver Tendra to our future king—my brother. Empowered with the blood of ten generations of the Gregorie breed, she is fated to rule as our queen. But there’s something between us that’s so intoxicating, so carnal, I can’t help wanting Tendra for myself . . . even if it’s treason.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
Warning: This book contains explicit romantic scenes and language. For mature readers only. Reader discretion advised.

Blood Guard by Megan Erickson is a new series involving vampires that I immediately fell in love with.

I’ll read anything about vampires as long as the plot and makeup of the vampires is different and unique. Blood Guard does a good job setting itself apart. I was intrigued by the concept the author developed and I think it was executed well.

Tendra is a protagonist to love. She’s bold and brave but knows her weaknesses. She has a great sense of humor and I love it when she makes references that Athan doesn’t understand – it’s adorable. I like her not-going-down-without-a-fight attitude.

Athan I really liked though there where times I had mixed feelings about his character and wasn’t quite sure why. He’s clearly a natural born leader. His path in life has always been focused on his duty as blood guard to the Gregorie Sanguivtia (Tendra). Yet sometimes his interactions with others wasn’t always consistent with what I believed his character to be. He has a dynamic personality but I couldn’t help but wonder at times “Is this the same guy you’re initially led to be believe?” But towards the end everything began to make sense. His emotions are so pure and raw; he is without a doubt a very likable and loveable character.

Themes of loyalty, duty, and self-sacrificing for the sake/good of others are heavily woven in this book. Each compliments the other and what Tendra and Athan go through, creating much tension and conflict that I liked.

I was worried that the majority of the book would be spent going from Point A to Point B. So happy that wasn’t the case but we could have gotten to Point B much sooner. There was also one moment a little more than halfway through that made me hesitate. I’m glad with what the author decided to create in that moment. It took me a moment to get used to this new idea presented. But once I did, I was all on board and really liked how it played out. I think it will provide great action and plot in the next book.

And then there’s Brex, Tendra’s cat. I loved him the most. He was so adorable and every scene he was in was just too cute for words.

Blood Guard was perhaps too short for me but still enjoyable. I’m very much invested in this story and am definitely going to be reading book 2, Blood Veil.


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ARC Book Review: Mustaches for Maddie by Chad Morris & Shelly Brown

Thank you to NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for providing me with an e-ARC to read and review.
Save the date!
Mustaches for Maddie is set to be released October 3, 2017.

 

Image via NetGalley | Published by Shadow Mountain Publishing

Genre: Middle Grade
Rating: 5/5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Book Summary (via Goodreads):

Maddie is a normal twelve-year-old girl. Well, except for the fake mustaches she carries in her pocket. She likes to make people laugh and slapping on a mustache, especially a fuzzy pink or neon green one, always gets a smile. Maddie hopes that the class queen, Cassie, will find her mustaches as funny as she does and want to play with her at recess. She’s been self-conscious lately because her right arm only feels normal when it’s curled against her chest and she’s constantly tripping over her feet. But that’s probably just part of growing up and not something weird, right?

When Maddie’s arm continues to bother her, her parents take her to a doctor who gives them a shocking diagnosis: the cause of the abnormal behavior of her limbs is a brain tumor and she must have surgery to remove it. She’s understandably afraid as he describes the procedure, but knows she must find a way to be brave and must face her fears–all of them–at the hospital, at home and at school.

She will need all of her courage not only to face her illness, but also to face Cassie at school. Both Cassie and Maddie are auditioning for the same role in the school play, but when Cassie accuses Maddie of lying about her tumor in order to get attention, Cassie’s bossiness turns into bullying.

And as Maddie’s surgery approaches, she begins to worry more and more about the outcome. What if something goes wrong? What if the doctors don’t get all the tumor out of her brain? What will happen to her family? What will happen to her?

It will take all of Maddie’s vibrant imagination, a lot of kindness-both given and received-and of course, the perfect mustache to overcome the tough stuff ahead of her.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
Mustaches for Maddie is everything: charming, imaginative, funny, beautiful, heartwarming. Based on a true story about the authors’ daughter, Maddie, this novel will give you strength in your darkest times and prove that mustaches make everything better and funnier.

I loved this novel from the start. Maddie is innocent, bright, kind, and has a wild imagination. She wants to be friends with everyone and make people happy, even the most popular girl in her grade who’s not exactly the friendliest. When it’s discovered that Maddie has a brain tumor, she struggles to find strength to overcome this scary monster. It may take more than mustaches to pull through.

Maddie’s voice is clear, distinct, and her personality shines through every line. Her active imagination colors every word and phrase, making the reading experience extremely enjoyable. Her perspective on life made me think about my own, especially when I was her age. I felt included in her world. Maddie is a sweet, admirable individual who anyone would feel lucky to have as a friend.

This story is the perfect middle grade novel that should be included in school curriculum. Not to over-analyze but to teach kids how we should treat each other and to understand that everyone has struggles we may be too afraid to face on our own. And, of course, that mustaches are awesome. I like that there are discussion questions included at the end to help extend and guide the important discussions this novel brings up.

Mustaches for Maddie gets a golden mustache from me. Loved it and need to add this to my bookshelf. One of the best books of 2017 so far, one of my favorite books of 2017 and of all time, and my favorite middle grade novel. This novel is a must-read.


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Double Book Release Day!!!

HAPPY BOOK RELEASE DAY! to two wonderful new books:

A Pattern for Pepper by Julie Kraulis and All Things New by Lauren Miller


Thank you again to NetGalley, Tundra Books, and Three Saints Press for providing me with e-ARCs to read and review.

*title/author links lead to my book review of each book*


Image via NetGalley

A Pattern for Pepper by Julie Kraulis

Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: Children’s Fiction, Picture Book
Rating: 5/5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Book Summary (via NetGalley):
Pepper is getting a dress made for a special occasion. It’s the first dress that has ever been made just for her, and she wants it to be perfect. But what pattern is right for her? Pepper is particular, and nothing works at first. Dotted Swiss? Too plain. Houndstooth? Not enough color. Pinstripe? Too glum. As Pepper learns about each fabric, she finds a reason why it’s just not the one. Will Pepper ever be able to find the perfect pattern? 
Julie Kraulis takes readers on a journey through gorgeous patterns and their origins–from the mountains of Switzerland to the green grass of Scotland–in search of Pepper’s ideal pattern. The incredible illustrations make for a dress, a character and a book that are impossible to forget.


Image via NetGalley

All Things New by Lauren Miller

Publisher: Three Saints Press
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Book Summary (via NetGalley):
From the author of Parallel and Free to Fall comes a novel about how it feels to be broken and what it means to be real.

Seventeen-year-old Jessa Gray has always felt broken inside, but she’s gotten very good at hiding it. No one at school knows about the panic attacks, the therapy that didn’t help, the meds that haven’t worked. But when a severe accident leaves her with a brain injury and noticeable scars, Jessa’s efforts to convince the world that she’s okay finally crumble—now she looks as shattered as she feels.

Fleeing from her old life in Los Angeles, Jessa moves to Colorado to live with her dad, but her anxiety only gets worse in the wake of the accident.  That is, until she meets Marshall, a boy with a heart defect whose kindness and generous spirit slowly draw Jessa out of her walled-off shell and into the broken, beautiful, real world—a place where souls get hurt just as badly as bodies, and we all need each other to heal.

All Things New is a love story about perception and truth, physical and emotional pain, and the messy, complicated people we are behind the masks we put on for the world.