The Bookshelf Corner

A creative space for all things books and writing….


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2018 TBR List (SNEAK PEEK)

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These are all potential reads but I really would like to read them all over the course of next year.

This list doesn’t included manga as I’ve already talked about them in a previous post, and nor does this include any NetGalley ARCs as those aren’t guaranteed (but I do I have a list of ARCs I’m interested in when the time comes). I do have one ARC I’ll be reviewing next month – Baby, I’m Howling For You by Christine Warren. My 2017 Goodreads Reading Challenge was 30 books, which I surpassed, so I’m thinking my 2018 goal should be between 40-50 books.

I’m excited for the possibilities and adventures this list holds.

 

*In no particular order

NEW BOOKS

Scorpion Mountain by John Flanagan (Brotherband, book 5)
The Ghostfaces by John Flanagan (Brotherband, book 6)
The Caldera by John Flanagan (Brotherband, book 7)

River of Dreams by Lynn Kurland (A Novel of the Nine Kingdoms, book 8)
Dreamer’s Daughter by Lynn Kurland (A Novel of the Nine Kingdoms, book 9)

Slathbog’s Gold by Mark Forman

I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart

Siege of Shadows by Sarah Raughley (Effigies, book 2)

The Winter King by C. L. Wilson (Weathermages of Mystral, book 1)

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, book 3)

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund (book 1)

Slammed by Colleen Hoover (Slammed, book 1)

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Sky Raiders by Brandon Mull

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi (The Star-Touched Queen, book 1)

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

Wild Orchids by Jude Deveraux

RE-READS

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (The Books of Bayern, book 1)

With Every Breath by Lynn Kurland
A Dance Through Time by Lynn Kurland
The More I See You by Lynn Kurland

Shadowflame by Dianne Sylvan (A Shadow World Novel, book 2)

The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan (Ranger’s Apprentice, book 1)

Mister Monday by Garth Nix (Keys to the Kingdom, book 1)

Fire by Kristin Cashore (Graceling, book 2 | Prequel)

Deadly Little Secrets by Laurie Faria Stolarz (Touch, book 1)

The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima (The Heir Chronicles, book 1)

The Green and the Gray by Timothy Zahn


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!

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Book Review: Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce (2nd Read)

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Series: Protector of the Small, book 4
Rating: 5/5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Summary (via Goodreads):
In the final thrilling installment of Tamora Pierce’s Protector of the Small series ( First TestPage, and Squire), our sturdy young heroine, Keladry of Mindelan (a.k.a. Kel), has finally been knighted. Never one to rest on her laurels, Kel champs at the bit, ready to tackle the horrific magic killing devices she was shown in the Chamber of the Ordeal during her knighthood initiation. The huge, insectlike machines, “made of iron-coated giants’ bones, chains, pulleys, dagger-fingers and -toes, and a long whiplike tail,” feed on the souls of dead children and are systematically killing off the citizens and warriors of Tortall.

Thoroughly disgusted to discover that not only is she not going to be assigned a combat post, but she has been placed in charge of a refugee camp instead, Kel, in her usual noble, stoic way, swallows her disappointment and sets out being the best refugee camp commander possible. Of course, destiny has a way of sneaking up on a young woman like Kel, and soon she is fulfilling the ordeal the Chamber set out for her… and then some.

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

My Review:
Lady Knight was just as wonderful and action-packed as the first time I read it.

Kel is a natural born leader even if at first she doesn’t think she’ll do a good job at commanding a refugee camp. The way she handles the obstacles thrown at her is admirable – you can learn a lot from her brand of leadership.

I loved all the characters – even the less than desirable ones. But of course, animals are what really stole my heart. There’s Jump (Kel’s dog), Peachblossom and Hoshi (Kel’s horses), the sparrows, and cats. They were cute already but then their intelligence magically increases to human understanding – then they’re just amazing to behold.

A story, in my opinion, is successful when both the protagonist(s) and antagonist(s) are unique, well-developed, interesting, and elicit a response from the reader. As with all her novels, Tamora Pierce really accomplishes that with Kel, her friends, the machines, and other main villains.

Lady Knight is a fitting conclusion to the Protector of the Small series and Kel’s story. An emotional rollercoaster for both the main character and the reader. It’s one of my favorite books and I’m so pleased to have gotten to read it a second time. This story is just another reminder of why I read, why I write, and why I spend too much time fantasizing about books.


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Book Review: Slaves of Socorro by John Flanagan

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Series: Brotherband Chronicles, book 4
Rating: 3/5
Recommend to Others?: Maybe

 

Summary (via Goodreads):
*part of official Goodreads summary

…Hal and his fellow Herons have returned home to Skandia after defeating the pirate captain Zavac and reclaiming Skandia’s most prized artifact, the Andomal. With their honor restored, the Herons turn to a new mission: tracking down an old rival turned bitter enemy. Tursgud—leader of the Shark Brotherband and Hal’s constant opponent—has turned from a bullying youth into a pirate and slave trader. After Tursgud captures twelve Araluen villagers to sell as slaves, the Heron crew sails into action . . . with the help of one of Araluen’s finest Rangers!

In this fourth book in the Brotherband Chronicles, a new battle unfolds as old rivalries are renewed, peace treaties are put to the test, and the action builds to a pulse-pounding finale…

~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
This part of the series felt like an interlude to what might be the overall plot of the series. Hal and his band’s presence are requested by the King Duncan of Araluen but this is interrupted by the focus of the book: the kidnapping of Araluen citizens by the renegade Skandian Tursgud.

The beginning is really good and started things out on a high, humorous, note. However, once the main characters had set sail things kind of dulled out by way of uneventful scenes and dialogue exchanges I was hoping we’d be past. This continued even when the core conflict arose and after as Hal and crew – along with an old welcoming character (I totally fangirled when he showed up) – tried to figure out how to rescue the Araluens before they could be sold into slavery.

And then we come to the “main battle” which is one very long continuous event that switches scenes to show you everything that is happening as it is taking place. This takes up much of the second half of the book and all the way until just before the last chapter. It’s a pretty cool scene albeit a little too long for my attention span.

There’s a lot of uncertainty that keeps the tension high during this particular (above mentioned) scene. One particular character is given a lot of character growth – it was good to see him really shine in this book. And I kind of even enjoyed the ingeniousness of the main “antagonist.” He was rather surprising. However, where Tursgud is concerned I’m surprised by his lack of presence in the book and where things end up with him – it’s a little scary but disappointing.

So this part of the series was okay (perhaps, meh) all in all but I am very curious to see what will happen in book 5, Scorpion Mountain, as the back of book four tells that the worlds of Brotherband and Ranger’s Apprentice will collide – how exciting!


Brotherband Chronicles
The Outcasts – book 1
The Invaders – book 2
The Hunters – book 3

Ranger’s Apprentice: The Early Years
 The Tournament at Gorlan – book 1
The Battle of Hackham Heath – book 2


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December Happenings!

H A P P Y      D E C E M B E R !!!!!!

Image via pixabay.com | Text added in Paint

It’s finally the last month of 2017, which is hard to believe. Feels like it was just yesterday that I was writing my first post of the new year. This month is gonna be busy the first half but fun the second half.

~ The Blog ~

So I have all the posts for this month planned and almost written out. I will only be posting up until about the 23rd because I want to get all my work out of the way as soon as possible.

I’ll also be prepping some changes for the blog and reformatting certain posts I do. I’ve been blogging for almost three years and it feels like a little re-branding is in order. I mostly just want to experiment with a new look but will keep with the blog’s aesthetic.

~ TBR List ~

(FINALLY coming TOMORROW!!!) Book Review: Slaves of Socorro by John Flanagan

I will also be reading Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman (ARC) and Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce (2nd Read). Those are the only two books I have planned to read and review before I’m done posting for the year. But if I feel like it I might read Mastiff by Tamora Pierce (2nd Read) and save that review for the beginning of January.

~ Writings ~

This is the month where I scramble to edit/revise all those things I’ve written recently and get a few of them in the right amount a shape that I can share them here at some point next year.

~ Book Recommendation of the Month ~

Mustaches for Maddie by Chad Morris & Shelly Brown
Published by Shadow Mountain Publishing, October 3, 2017

Image via NetGalley

My Review of Mustaches for Maddie


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NetGalley Book Review: The Song of Seven by Tonke Dragt, Translated by Laura Watkinson

Thank you to NetGalley and Pushkin Children’s Books for providing me with an e-copy to read and review.

 

Image via NetGalley | First Published in 1966

Genre: Middle Grade, Children’s Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Summary (via NetGalley):
An exciting new stand-alone adventure by the internationally bestselling author of The Letter for the King.

Seven paths, seven unlikely friends, and one extraordinary adventure featuring magicians, secret passages, conspiracies, hidden treasures, a black cat with green eyes and a sealed parchment which predicts the future.

At the end of every schoolday, new teacher Mr Van der Steg entertains his pupils with tall tales of incredible events, which he claims really happened to him – involving hungry lions and haunted castles, shipwrecks and desert islands. One day, when he can’t think of anything suitably exciting to tell them, he invents a story about a very important letter which he’s expecting that evening, with news of a perilous mission. Evening arrives and so, to his surprise, does an enigmatic letter…

And so Mr Van der Steg is drawn into a real-life adventure, featuring a grumpy coachman, a sinister uncle, eccentric ancestors, a hidden treasure, an ancient prophecy and Geert-Jan, a young boy who is being kept prisoner in the mysterious House of Stairs.

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

My Review:
The Song of Seven by Tonke Dragt was a true joy to read. It is perhaps the most exciting fairytale mystery/adventure I have ever read.

Yes, it is that good.

So good that the only thing I felt compelled to do was sit back, relax, and read – and write down names here and there (there are a lot of names to remember!). I constantly had to know what would happen next.

The story is compelling right from is ordinary and humble beginnings. The main character, Frans van der Steg (love his name!), goes from teaching and telling stories to his young class to finding himself in the middle of what could only be described as a story come to life. And certainly not something Frans could ever conjure on his own. The whole thing is ridiculous and wild (in a good way), as Frans would agree, but even he can’t escape the magic and mystery of the events that unfold.

The only thing I’m still confounded about is how someone (Frans) could forget a certain something of particular importance for 300+ pages time and time again. It was funny at times but, my goodness, I felt bad for the man.

Truly, The Song of Seven is an unexpectedly wonderful story of truly unimaginable proportions.


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November Happenings!

H A P P Y     N O V E M B E R ! ! !

Royalty Free Image via pixabay.com | Text edited in Paint

I’m writing this month’s intro post a little differently today because this month’s going to be more unusual than past months. Sorry if it’s all over the place.

I wrote a few interesting pieces of fiction last month that I can’t wait to edit. I’m hoping to share one or two in the future but most likely not until January. I’ve been watching a lot of really great anime shows that have given me all sorts of story ideas. It made me think of writing a collection of short stories. Of course, I’d like to finish the novel ideas I have first but I’m not opposed to writing a short story here and there if I decide to go that route as well.

Novels I plan to finish by the end of 2017:

  • Slaves of Socorro by John Flanagan
  • Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman (ARC)
  • Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce
  • The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
  • The Song of Seven by Tonke Dragt (ARC)
  • Novel – TITLE TBA
  • Picture Books – I won’t be reading these for another week or so

*book reviews TBA

Writing plans for November:

  • write a couple more short pieces of fiction
  • write sample chapter 1 of sci-fi/fantasy fairy tale retelling novel idea
  • edit pieces written over the past few months

Unfortunately, I don’t have book to recommend this month.

I hope everyone had a great October and I wish you a wonderful November month! And, as always, happy reading and happy writing!


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Spookify Your Halloween With Tales From The Brothers Grimm

The Complete First Edition: The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm by Jacob and Wiheim Grimm
Translated by Jack Zipes
Illustrated by Andrea Dezsö

Image via Goodreads


Happy Halloween, everyone! I think the best way to pass today is by reading some creepy tales from the Brothers Grimm.

Stay safe and have a nice day!

And, as always, happy reading and happy writing!