The Bookshelf Corner

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[January 2022] Book of the Month: Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

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It’s the first Book of the Month post of 2022! I chose Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston. I chose this first of a series because it was an incredible fantasy story with a likable and relatable main characters, a bunch of supernatural beings, and unique world building. I was so captivated by this story. It was one of my top top favorite reads of 2021. I can’t wait to read what is sure to be a thrilling sequel, Amari and the Great Game.

Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston cover

Image via Goodreads

Title: Amari and the Night Brothers
Series: Supernatural Investigations #1
Author: B.B. Alston
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Recommended?: Yes

ABOUT: Quinton Peters was the golden boy of the Rosewood low-income housing projects, receiving full scholarship offers to two different Ivy League schools. When he mysteriously goes missing, his little sister, 13-year-old Amari Peters, can’t understand why it’s not a bigger deal. Why isn’t his story all over the news? And why do the police automatically assume he was into something illegal?

Then Amari discovers a ticking briefcase in her brother’s old closet. A briefcase meant for her eyes only. There was far more to Quinton, it seems, than she ever knew. He’s left her a nomination for a summer tryout at the secretive Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. Amari is certain the answer to finding out what happened to him lies somewhere inside, if only she can get her head around the idea of mermaids, dwarves, yetis and magicians all being real things, something she has to instantly confront when she is given a weredragon as a roommate.

Amari must compete against some of the nation’s wealthiest kids—who’ve known about the supernatural world their whole lives and are able to easily answer questions like which two Great Beasts reside in the Atlantic Ocean and how old is Merlin? Just getting around the Bureau is a lesson alone for Amari with signs like ‘Department of Hidden Places this way, or is it?’ If that all wasn’t enough, every Bureau trainee has a talent enhanced to supernatural levels to help them do their jobs – but Amari is given an illegal ability. As if she needed something else to make her stand out.

With an evil magician threatening the whole supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she is an enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t pass the three tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton.

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[December 2021] Book of the Month: Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune

For my final Book of the Month of 2021, I’m spotlighting Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune. Perhaps an odd choice for this time of year, but let me tell you, this book shocked me to the core in the most amazing of ways. It may be a book about death and thereafter but it is so much more than that. Funny, tumultuous, heartbreaking, and loving. I was crying by the end, it was so good! It easily became one of my top favorite reads of 2021. So I’m recommending this amazing book today, tomorrow, and forevermore.

Image via NetGalley

Title: Under the Whispering Door
Author: TJ Klune
Genre: LGBTQIA+ Romance, Contemporary Fantasy
Publisher: Tor
Recommended?: Yes

NetGalley Summary: When a reaper comes to collect Wallace from his own funeral, Wallace begins to suspect he might be dead.

And when Hugo, the owner of a peculiar tea shop, promises to help him cross over, Wallace decides he’s definitely dead.

But even in death he’s not ready to abandon the life he barely lived, so when Wallace is given one week to cross over, he sets about living a lifetime in seven days.

Hilarious, haunting, and kind, Under the Whispering Door is an uplifting story about a life spent at the office and a death spent building a home.

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[November 2021] Book of the Month: The Right Side of Reckless by Whitney D. Grandison

For November’s Book of the Month, I wanted to choose a book that resonated with me. I chose The Right Side of Reckless by Whitney D. Grandison for its realness and the complexity of its characters. I really loved Regan and Guillermo’s characters and how throughout the story they prove they are more than what others perceive them to be. It’s a genuine and amazing story that’s all heart. Without a doubt a must read story.

Cover of The Right Side of Reckless by Whitney D. Grandison. Yellow background with title in blue text. Illustration of the main characters and a dog.Title: The Right Side of Reckless
Author: Whitney D. Grandison
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance, #OwnVoices
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Recommended?: Yes

NetGalley Summary: They were supposed to ignore each other and respect that fine line between them…

Guillermo Lozano is getting a fresh start. New town, new school, and no more reckless behavior. He’s done his time, and now he needs to right his wrongs. But when his work at the local community center throws him into the path of the one girl who is off-limits, friendship sparks…and maybe more.

Regan London needs a fresh perspective. The pressure to stay in her “perfect” relationship and be the good girl all the time has worn her down. But when the walls start to cave in and she finds unexpected understanding from the boy her parents warned about, she can’t ignore her feelings anymore.

The disapproval is instant. Being together might just get Guillermo sent away. But when it comes to the heart, sometimes you have to break the rules and be a little bit reckless…

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[October 2021] Book of the Month: A Pack of Blood and Lies by Olivia Wildenstein

For October’s Book of the Month, I’m spotlighting the first book of a captivating paranormal romance series called A Pack of Blood and Lies by Olivia Wildenstein.

I think this was the first book of the author’s I read and it was off the charts good. Ness is a remarkable main character you’ll be excited to root for. I loved this story a lot and the events that follows in the subsequent books were thrilling. Also, they are werewolves, which is always my cup of paranormal/supernatural tea. There’s mature content, so I’d recommend this to upper YA ages and older.

This also started out as a trilogy but the author is adding onto the series. I haven’t read book 4 yet, which came out earlier this year, but hopefully before the end of 2021.

The entirety of The Boulder Wolves series is available on kindle unlimited.

Image via NetGalley

Title: A Pack of Blood and Lies
Series: The Boulder Wolves #1
Author: Olivia Wildenstein
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Twig Publishing
Recommended?: Yes

Goodreads Summary: The primal rule of winning: don’t fall in love with the contender.

Three months shy of her eighteenth birthday, Ness is forced to return to Colorado. Even though it’s been six years, and the wolves of her all-male pack don’t recognize her, she recognizes them. People who shun others because of their gender are hard to forget.

Especially Liam Kolane—son of Heath, the crudest and cruelest Alpha to have ruled the Boulder Pack. Liam is as handsome as he is infuriating, as kind as he is punishing, and he makes Ness’s traitorous heart race, which isn’t good. After all, he’s a Kolane. Like father like son, right?

When Heath dies, Liam vies to become the new Alpha and no one dares to challenge him.

Except Ness.

Thus begins a treacherous game.

The rules: winner takes all…including loser’s life.


[September 2021] Book of the Month: The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross

For September’s Book of the Month, I chose to spotlight The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross because it’s an incredible duology but also it kind of fits the back to school vibes I’m feeling right now. I highly recommend this story!

Image via Goodreads

Title: The Queen’s Rising
Series: The Queen’s Rising #1
Author: Rebecca Ross
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: HarperTeen
Recommended?: Yes

Goodreads Summary: When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.

Growing up in the southern kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her. While some are born with a talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she chose knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true: she is left without a patron.

Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, she reluctantly accepts. But there is much more to his story, for there is a dangerous plot to overthrow the king of Maevana—the rival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved, some closer to Brienna than she realizes.

With war brewing, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. Who will be that queen?

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[August 2021] Book of the Month: Set Fire to the Gods by Sara Raasch & Kristen Simmons

Title: Set Fire to the Gods
Series: Set Fire to the Gods #1
Authors: Sara Raasch & Kristen Simmons
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Recommended?: Yes

Goodreads Summary: Ash is descended from a long line of gladiators, and she knows the brutal nature of war firsthand. But after her mother dies in an arena, she vows to avenge her by overthrowing her fire god, whose temper has stripped her country of its resources.

Madoc grew up fighting on the streets to pay his family’s taxes. But he hides a dangerous secret: he doesn’t have the earth god’s powers like his opponents. His elemental gift is something else—something that hasn’t been seen in centuries.

When an attempted revenge plot goes dangerously wrong, Ash inadvertently throws the fire and earth gods into a conflict that can only be settled by deadly, lavish gladiator games. The fights put Madoc in Ash’s path, and she realizes that his powers are the weapon her rebellion needs—but Madoc won’t jeopardize his family, regardless of how intrigued he is by the beautiful warrior.

But when the gods force Madoc’s hand, he and Ash uncover an ancient war that will threaten more than one immortal—it will unravel the world.

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[July 2021] Book of the Month: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

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Title: Poison Study
Series: Study #1
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Mira
Recommended?: Yes

Goodreads Summary: Choose: A quick death… or slow poison…

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear…

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[May 2021] Book of the Month: Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

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Title: Turtles All the Way Down
Author: John Green
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Mental Health
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Recommended?: Yes

Goodreads Summary: It all begins with a fugitive billionaire and the promise of a cash reward. Turtles All the Way Down is about lifelong friendship, the intimacy of an unexpected reunion, Star Wars fan fiction, and tuatara. But at its heart is Aza Holmes, a young woman navigating daily existence within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity.

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[April 2021] Book of the Month: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

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Title: Graceling
Series: Graceling Realm #1
Author: Kristin Cashore
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Graphia
Recommended?: Yes

Goodreads Summary: Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po.

She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace—or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

With elegant, evocative prose and a cast of unforgettable characters, debut author Kristin Cashore creates a mesmerizing world, a death-defying adventure, and a heart-racing romance that will consume you, hold you captive, and leave you wanting more.

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[March 2021] Book of the Month: The Unteachables by Gordon Korman

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Title: The Unteachables
Author: Gordon Korman
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Recommended?: Yes

Goodreads Summary: The Unteachables are a notorious class of misfits, delinquents, and academic train wrecks. Like Aldo, with anger management issues; Parker, who can’t read; Kiana, who doesn’t even belong in the class—or any class; and Elaine (rhymes with pain). The Unteachables have been removed from the student body and isolated in room 117.

Their teacher is Mr. Zachary Kermit, the most burned-out teacher in all of Greenwich. He was once a rising star, but his career was shattered by a cheating scandal that still haunts him. After years of phoning it in, he is finally one year away from early retirement. But the superintendent has his own plans to torpedo that idea—and it involves assigning Mr. Kermit to the Unteachables.

The Unteachables never thought they’d find a teacher who had a worse attitude than they did. And Mr. Kermit never thought he would actually care about teaching again. Over the course of a school year, though, room 117 will experience mayhem, destruction—and maybe even a shot at redemption.