The Bookshelf Corner

A creative space for all things books and writing….


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October Happenings!

Happy October!

Last month I didn’t post as much as I would have liked. But the highlight of Sept was earning my second badge on NetGalley for 10 reviews posted. The Bookshelf Corner was also nominated for The Cramm Award. And I made small progress in different areas of my life. Not a huge win but I guess any progress counts for something right now. I’m not sure how much I’ll be posting this month, likely a few times a week. But I hope you will like what get’s posted.

Royalty Free Image via pixabay.com | Edited in Paint

Here’s what’s happening this October month:

The Blog

As of now I have no set posting schedule – I think that’s for the best until I can get on a better work schedule. Like I said earlier in this post, it’ll likely be a few times a week. I’ve also been thinking of further visually updating the blog. Not sure if that’ll actually happen and if it does it won’t be for some months.

The TBR List

New (Updated) TBR List – https://thebookshelfcorner.wordpress.com/2017/09/28/the-post-in-which-an-overzealous-reader-changes-her-tbr-list-again/

Currently Reading:

  • Slaves of Socorro by John Flanagan (REVIEW COMING OCT 8)
  • Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce
  • (ARC) Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

Call For Book Recommendations – what’s a good book that I definitely should read?

Novels & Other Writings

Continue writing 1st Draft of Novel Idea #1 (YA Fantasy)

Continue drafting full characters and plot of Novel Idea #3 (YA Science Fiction & Fantasy/Fairy Tale Retelling)

Novel Idea #2 (Fantasy) – On Hold – concept written but may partially change

Write a Short Story

Book Recommendation of the Month

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Published by St. Martin’s Press, February 26, 2013

Image via Goodreads

My Review of Eleanor & Park


As always, happy reading and happy writing!

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Book Review: Magic Steps by Tamora Pierce (2nd Read)

Image via Goodreads | 2000 cover

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Series: The Circle Opens, book 1
Rating: 5/5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Summary (via Goodreads):
Lady Sandrilene fa Toren knows all about unusual magic – she herself spins and weaves it like thread. But when she witnessed a boy dancing a spell, even she is confounded. To her dismay, Sandry learns that as the mage who discovered the power of the young dancer, she must be his teacher. Before lessons can begin, however, Sandry and her uncle, Duke Vedris, get news of a mysterious murderer stalking a clan of local merchants. The killer employs the strangest magic of all: the ability to reduce essence to nothingness. As the murders mount and the killer grows bolder, Sandry’s teaching takes on a grave purpose. For it becomes clear to everyone that the killings can only be stopped by the combined workings of two people: the young teacher and her even younger student.

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

My Review:
Magic Steps is just as wonderful as I remembered. It had me feeling bittersweet nostalgia and oh-so-happy. A great beginning for fans of Tamora Pierce who didn’t want the Circle of Magic stories to end. But Magic Steps remains a joy to read despite the gruesomeness of the plot.

Seeing Sandry really put to work all she has learned in the past four years was a joy to see. Strong willed and very intelligent, Lady Sandrilene fa Toren (a 14-year-old “stitch witch”) has all the makings of a great mage and leader. She’s so mature that I sometimes forget she’s just 14.

Such a thrilling book with many characters to know and love. There’s Duke Vedris, the ruler of Emelan who commands respects that’s fully earned – I’ve always enjoyed seeing his character in action. Kwaben and Oama, Sandry’s personal guards – I always love seeing kickass, loyal teams. Yazmin, a renowned dancer, who teaches Pasco to dance – she is a spitfire to love.

I like the humor Pasco’s character adds to the story. Here we have someone coming late into his magic – an anomaly in Pierce’s universe – who must quickly learn to control his newfound power and assist in a murder investigation. And he’s 12. That’s a lot for a 12-year-old boy wrap his head around. But I think coming from a family with generations of harriers made some of his actions and reactions pleasantly surprising.

However, I wish Pasco was a bit more in the foreground of the story. We get three different third-person limited points of view – the majority’s Sandry’s – and third person omniscient mixed in. A little jarring here and there for me but the way the story is woven works nonetheless.

There’s so much to love and talk about this story. Awesome universe. Interesting characters. Creative plot. Everything I love about Tamora Pierce’s remarkable stories. This was a fun re-read.


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The Post In Which An Overzealous Reader Changes Her TBR List…Again

I think I may have been a bit overzealous with my reading list. I underestimated my work schedule for the next few months and haven’t had much time to really read. So I’ve made some changes to my reading list that will hopefully make it more doable. I’m scratching the themes I had going except for November – I’ll be reading a lot of children’s picture books that month since they don’t take up very little time to read (but as long as they are available to borrow from the library at the time). For the rest of the time I’ve chosen books that I really really want to read as soon as possible.

Royalty Free Image via pixabay.com

Currently Reading

Magic Steps by Tamora Pierce (The Circle Opens, book 1) – review coming Oct 1
Slaves of Socorro by John Flanagan (Brotherband Chronicles, book 4) – review coming Oct 8

Other TBRs

Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce (Protector of the Small, book 4)
(ARC) Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman
(ARC) The Song of Seven by Tonke Dragt
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, book 3)
River of Dreams by Lynn Kurland (A Novel of the Nine Kingdoms, book 8)
Mastiff by Tamora Pierce (Beka Cooper, book 3)
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund (book 1)

Tentative Reads

The Winter King by C.L. Wilson (Weathermages of Mystral, book 1)
Shadowstorm by Dianne Slyvan (Shadow World, book 6)
Thirteen Rising by Romina Russell (Zodiac, book 4)
Siege of Shadows by Sarah Raughley (Effigies, book 2)

Picture Books

How To Babysit A Grandma by Jean Reagan, Illus. Lee Wildish
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
Press Here by Hervé Tuliet
The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin
Lilly’s Big Day by Kevin Henkes
Chicken in Space by Adam Lehrhaupt, Illus. Shahar Kober
Dragons Love Tacos 2 by Adam Rubin, Illus. Daniel Salmieri
Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty, Illus. David Roberts
If You Give a Mouse a Brownie by Laura Numeroff, Illus. Felicia Bond
Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman, Illus. Zachariah OHora
The Pigeon Wants A Puppy by Mo Willems


Does anyone else ever have trouble with getting through books on their reading list? Do you have any tips on how to better manage a TBR list?

A S   A L W A Y S,  H A P P Y   R E A D I N G!


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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: 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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2017 Reading Challenge COMPLETED!!!

I finally finished my 2017 Reading Challenge on Goodreads! My goal was to read 30 books this year and I managed – miraculously – to accomplish that goal. To celebrate I thought I’d look back on some of the books I read as a part of this challenge, including post-read thoughts and highlights from the reviews I wrote. Note: title links lead to my review of each individual book.

 

The Battle of Hackham Heath by John Flanagan

Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley

Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs

Dawn Study by Maria V. Snyder

Image via Goodreads

A book finale I won’t soon forget. I gave this book a 4 out of 5 but it still makes me smile with happiness and sadness to this day – so is the way of a story come full circle.

Review Excerpt: “The storyline was amazing and suspenseful. I thought, Holy guacamole! That just happened. and Oh no! and What in the world?! and Please tell me there’s a way out of this. I had no idea what would happen next or how characters would overcome, which made me feel fearful for everyone involved. The strain of it was exhausting but I enjoyed every minute of it. It was an entertaining story.”

Frost Like Night by Sara Raasch

Image via Goodreads

Goodness, this whole series was a lot to take in but so worth it. I enjoyed each book and it all culminated into a wonderful finale. Snow Like Ashes series is now one of my new favorite YA Fantasy series

Review Excerpt: “A long read but worth it. I’m very satisfied with how everything came together as the conclusion of this series.”

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

Image via Goodreads

I remember needing a book to read for something but I couldn’t use this one. I still kept the title written down to read later because the plot interested me and the cover was just gorgeous. I was so glad my local library had a copy. This book was amazing – as was book 2 – and I cannot wait to read book 3, Heart on Fire, when it’s released in early 2018.

Review Excerpt:A Promise of Fire was really good. I couldn’t put it down and finished reading it within a couple of days. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a 400+ book so fast and laughed so much.”

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Zodiac by Romina Russell

Image via Goodreads

I am so happy to have discovered this book because I am in love with this series. It’s so good and different and everything I love about YA sci-fi and fantasy. Rho is such aThe fourth and final book of the Zodiac series just came out and I can’t wait to read it.

Review Excerpt:Zodiac has been one of the best YA books I’ve read in a long time. This book was amazing – I loved it so much. I had only read a few chapters before I decided that I had to read the other books in this series.There are so many twists and turns that’ll keep you guessing and enthralled for the entirety of the story.”

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Wandering Star by Romina Russell

Breath of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

From This Moment On by Lynn Kurland

Image via Barnes & Noble

I remember adding this to my reading list this year because the book I had read before it was just….ugh. I needed a pick me up and a Lynn Kurland romance novel was just what I needed. I would read this book a third time, it was that good.

Review Excerpt: “This is my second time reading this book and it was just as good and sweet and lovely as I remembered.”

Black Moon by Romina Russell

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

Paintbrush by Hannah Bucchin (ARC review)

Image via NetGalley

This was the first ARC I’ve ever read and reviewed and also the first book I read and reviewed for NetGalley. It was so good and refreshing to read. Loved it and the strong sense of community it highlights. I also did an interview with the author, which was really cool.

Review Excerpt: “Hannah Bucchin’s debut novel, Paintbrush, was a delightful story that had me falling in love with the characters, on the edge of my seat with its plot, and feel all the feels with its touch of romance. This was a big win for me. And I look forward to reading more from her.”

Yak and Dove by Kyo Maclear, Pictures by Esmé Shapiro (ARC review)

A Pattern for Pepper by Julie Kraulis (ARC review)

Prophecy Awakened by Tamar Sloan (NetGalley review)

Image via NetGalley

I really really want to read book 2 because this book was so amazing. I love werewolves in fiction so this was just right for me.

Review Excerpt: “This book was everything and then some – perfect for a paranormal romance-loving, wolf-obsessed, hopeless romantic like myself! One of my new favorite books ever and of 2017.”

Ever My Love by Lynn Kurland

Waiting for Sophie by Sarah Ellis, Illustrated by Carmen Mok (NetGalley review)

The Hunters by John Flanagan

All Things New by Lauren Miller (ARC review)

Image via NetGalley

I’m so glad I got to read this book! It’s just…everything you want from a book and does a great job expressing what mental health issues look and feel like.

Review Excerpt: “Beautiful, poignant, and honestly portrayed, All Things New is an enchanting story that gives hope for a brighter today and an even brighter tomorrow. I underestimated how good All Things New would be – it was unbelievably fantastic!”

Mustaches for Maddie by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown (ARC review)

Image via NetGalley

I am still reeling over how amazing this book was. I highly recommend this wonderful middle grade novel based on a true story.

Review Excerpt: “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.”

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

Image via Goodreads

This was the first book by Sarah Dessen I ever read and oh my goodness it was good. Any recommendations which other books by Dessen I should read?

Review Excerpt: “This novel really pulls at the heart-strings, especially with what incites the conflict and every obstacle that follows. What made me pick up this book was that it involved wedding planning and the premise seemed really interesting. Those two things combined surely would make a great story, right? It did. Also, let’s not forget that the cover is simple but gorgeous.”

Blood Guard by Megan Erickson (ARC review COMING SOON)

Me, Me, Me by Annika Dunklee, Illustrated by Lori Joy Smith (ARC review COMING SOON)


Thanks for reading today’s post! I hope you enjoyed it. More reviews are to come within the next four months.

My Fall 2017 TBR List is up – check out what books I’ll be reading. I update my Currently Reading page and Goodreads regularly when changes in books occur. I’m still reading Slaves of Socorro by John Flanagan and The King’s Champion by Xina Marie Uhl (ARC), but I hope to finish those really soon.

You can also follow me on Twitter for updates on my reading list and about the blog.

As always, happy reading!