The Bookshelf Corner

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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.

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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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Popular Books I’ve Never Read (PART TWO)

Royalty Free Image from pixabay.com

I did this post earlier this year – which you can check out here – and I really enjoyed writing it. I’ve been discovering so many books this years and recalling old books that I thought I’d do a Part Two. Again, I have no ill will towards any of the books listed. I either just wasn’t interested or never got around to reading them.

Anyway, I hope you all like today’s post!

 

A Song of Fire and Ice, series by George R. R. Martin (1996, 1998, 2000, 2005, 2011)
I know Game of Thrones is a hugely popular television series and I really want to watch it but I think I need to read the books first. I know the books haven’t caught up with the TV series but I’d like to read the original texts before I try watching its TV adaptation. I don’t know what the series is entirely about. My knowledge is very limited to what I’ve heard from over people about the TV series: don’t get too attached to characters cause they may unexpectedly die, John Snow, “winter is coming”, the spectacle of the “Red Wedding” episode, and the prince no one likes (Joffrey?).

Percy Jackson and the Olympians, series by Rick Riordan (2005-2009)
I saw the first two books as movies – they were okay. I’ve thought about for years whether or not I should read Percy Jackson and I don’t think I ever will. I don’t think I have enough interest to read these books.

The Martian by Andy Weir (2011)
I really loved the movie but I don’t know if I’ll like reading the book because I saw the movie first. I’d have to give this one some thought.

A Court of Thorns and Roses, series (2015-2017) and Throne of Glass, series (2012-2017) by Sarah J. Maas
I’ve seen these series all over the book blogisphere and inter-webs for years but I’ve never been interested in reading them. I don’t think these books are for me, which is okay. The covers are interesting and pretty, though.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany (2016)
I’m actually curious to see what this is about – I’ve just never gotten around to reading it. I’d like to after I get through the list of books I wanted to read this summer (which has been very slow progress). I’ve heard good things about it, so this is one book I’d definitely like to try reading.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (2017)
I know, this book’s been only out for a few months but I’ve heard a lot of great things about it and have seen praise about it all over the internet. I’m currently on the fence about reading it. The plot is certainly an intriguing one and it touches upon an important conversation needed to be had. But I’m just not sure if I want to read it. (Strong) Maybe.

Royalty Image from pixabay.com

That’s all for today!

What popular books have you not read or gotten a chance to read yet? What book(s) should I make a point of reading? Let me know in the comments below.

As always, happy reading!


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2017 Summer Reading List

Currently Reading: Slaves of Socorro by John Flanagan (Brotherband Chronicles, book 4)

Currently Reading: Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

(ARC) Blood Guard by Megan Erickson (Mission, book 1)

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)

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen, book 2)

Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce (The Circle Reforged, book 3)

(2nd Read) Mastiff by Tamora Pierce (Beka Cooper, book 3)

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

The Ghostfaces by John Flanagan (Brotherband Chronicles, book 6)

 

♦ Happy First Day of Summer! I hope everyone has a great summer season! ♦

♦ What’s on your summer TBR list? ♦

♦ As always, happy reading and happy writing! ♦


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Library Mini Haul! & Slight Change To TBR List

An unexpected thing happened. My local library recently acquired Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley and Once and for All by Sarah Dessen!

I first found these books on NetGalley but one wasn’t available for request and the other I didn’t feel I met the publisher’s approval requirements. Later I saw that my library was ordering a copy of both titles, which made me so so happy that I immediately placed a hold on them. I was thoroughly surprised and didn’t expect them to become available so soon but I’m happy they did. However, this means I’m going to have to adjust my TBR list for the next couple of weeks.

Below lists what I’m currently (still) reading, what I plan to read next, and then what I’ll be reading afterwards.

CURRENTLY READING:

Image via Goodreads

Image via NetGalley | ARC copy

READING NEXT:

Image via NetGalley | ARC copy

Image via Goodreads

READING AFTERWARDS:

Image via Goodreads

Image via Goodreads

Reading 2 books at once is always challenging but reading 6 total in two weeks is certainly bananas! But I’m really excited to read all these books and can’t wait to write reviews for them. My Summer Reading List will be up June 21 – the first day of summer!

To stay up-to-date on all the books I’m reading, you can follow my Goodreads page.

To stay up-to-date on the blog, you can follow me on Twitter @bookshelfcorner.

Have a great day, everyone! And happy reading!

 


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Blog Milestone: 100+ Followers!

Wow! This week The Bookshelf Corner reached 100+ followers – incredible!

Thank you thank you thank you to everyone who has viewed my blog, read/liked/commented on my posts, and decided to follow. I’ve been blogging for about a year and three months now and it’s been awesome writing about all things books and writing, and reading about all things books, writing and more from other bloggers.

To celebrate this milestone, I’ve decided to do a book review blitz. Below are 5 short reviews of books I’ve read in the past an loved – all of them I would give a 5/5 rating.


Image via Barnes & Noble | Cover Reprint Dec 7, 2010 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

Song of the Lioness, book 1 | Published by: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing | (First) Released: September 28, 1983

Follow the tumultuous journey of young Alanna of Trebond who disguises herself as a boy to fulfill her dreams of becoming a knight. Book 1 of 4, it’s an incredible beginning towards an even bigger adventure. Along the way you meet fun and interesting characters. The world set up is simple but lovely. This is one of my favorite series and Alanna is one of my favorite literary characters/heroines!


Image via Goodreads

Dragon and Thief by Timothy Zahn

Dragonback, book 1 | Published by: Tom Doherty | (First) Released: February 1, 2003

This was an interesting book and an even more interesting series. The story follows a young human, Jack Morgan, and Draycos, a dragon whose species live like tatoos on humans’ backs but can exist for a short time on their own. I read this book many years ago so I don’t remember everything. But this turned out to be a great YA science fiction book, which I was surprised at because it was a little outside the genre I normally read. I also enjoyed watching Jack and Draycos develop into a dynamic duo.


Image via Goodreads

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

The Books of Bayern, book 1 | Published by: Bloomsbury | (First) Released: 2003

This charming tale follows Crown Princess Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee of Kildenree who has the ability to communicate with animals. On her way to meet her betrothed, a mutiny is staged by her lady-in-waiting and the company she was traveling with. This leads to Ani becoming to the goose girl to the very king whose son she was supposed to marry. She must overcome her circumstance and harness her ability in order to reach her true destiny. This book is so pleasantly written and beautifully told. The Goose Girl is one of my favorite books that I could read over and over again.


Image via Goodreads

My Soul To Take by Rachel Vincent

Soul Screamers, book 1 | Published by: Harlequin Teen | (First) Released: January 1, 2009

This YA fantasy story/series follows a girl named Kaylee who has the unnerving ability of knowing when someone near her is about to die, which causes her to emit a loud, terrifying scream. This premise was so peculiar that I was highly interested in seeing what this book was really about. And I’m glad I did because it was so good. All the covers are gorgeous and each story builds upon itself. I found Kaylee to be a strong, likable main character. All the other supporting characters are interesting as well. The Soul Screamers series is a unique concept and was worth the read.


Image via Goodreads

The Cry of the Icemark by Stuart Hill

Chronicles of Icemark, book 1 | Published by: The Chicken House | (First) Released: January 3, 2005

After her father is killed in battle, warrior princess Thirrin Freer Strong-in-the-Arm Lindenshield must protect Icemark by forging unexpected alliances. This book and the world within took my breath away – I loved it so much. Thirrin is such a great character and warrior, and I love reading her full name – it’s so her. The author has created a fantastical world and incorporates a whole lot of magical and mythical beings you’d find in fantasy books. I would really like to re-read this trilogy someday in the future. The Cry of the Icemark book was a big win for me!


Again, thank you everyone for taking the time to view and follow my blog and all that other good stuff – I really appreciate it.

If you’re new to The Bookshelf Corner and want to learn more about it, check out the About Me page. You can also follow me on Goodreads to keep up to date on the books I’m reading, as well as by checking out the side bar on the blog or the Currently Reading page.

Thanks so much! Have a great day!

And, as always, happy reading and happy writing.


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Book Review: Holes by Louis Sachar

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Children’s Fiction (Middle Grade)
Series: Holes, book 1
Rating: 4.5/5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

My Summer:
Stanley Yelnats’ family has been cursed for generations, a curse which finally catches up to by way of Stanley being falsely convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. This lands him at Camp Green Lake where there is nothing to do but eat, sleep, and dig deep holes for long hours every day under an unforgiving sun. But there’s more to Camp Green Lake than meets the eye.

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My Review:
I didn’t think I was going to like this book based off of the 2003 movie – which I know you should never do. The only thing I remember about the movie was holes, the main character, and the song “Dig It” from the soundtrack. I didn’t even know this was a book first at the time. But because of that I began reading this with low expectations.

I enjoyed the novel far better than the movie, I think, because I was very emotionally invested in Stanley’s character and curious about the significance of the flashbacks. As the past (the curse) and the present came together – paralleling each other – the book became that much more enjoyable.

I have mixed feelings about how the story concluded. Stylistically it’s fine but it’s also very frustrating and unsatisfying. But this was still a great read from the characters to the structure to the writing.


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Book Review: One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

Image via Amazon

Genre: Children’s Fiction (Middle Grade), Historical Fiction
Series: Gaither Sisters, book 1
Rating: 3.5/5
Recommend to Others?: Yes
Favorite Quote: “A name is important. It isn’t something you drop in the litter basket or on the ground. Your name is how people know you. The very mention of your name makes a picture spring to mind, whether it’s a picture of clashing fists or a mighty mountain that can’t be knocked down. Your name is who you are and how you’re known even when you do something great or something dumb.”

 

My Summary:
Set in 1968 Oakland, California, three sisters spend a crazy summer with their estranged mother.

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My Review:
I’m not sure what to make of this book. The writing and storytelling by Rita Williams-Garcia was so well done, funny, really imaginative and flawless in its execution. It held my attention from start to finish – but after reading it in its entirety I find it, for me, was okay.

It’s very different from any middle grade novel I ever had to read in school that I can remember. I think that largely has to do with the setting and language. I don’t remember how early grade-school kids learn about this part of American history – the racial disparity and struggle to transition to true freedom for all post-Civil War – but it had me wondering if One Crazy Summer is accessible to 9-12 year old. Yes, I think so. A far cry more accessible and easier to take in than To Kill A Mockingbird. Both serve a purpose, demonstrating the good, bad, ugly and harsh reality of those times. But it’s all perception – middle graders are able to handle and interpret for themselves more and more as time goes on. So I can see One Crazy Summer being a part of a school’s curriculum, if it hasn’t already. Certainly, it would provide students with historical education and writing knowledge in more ways than one.

I did enjoy Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern’s characters. I loved their sister dynamic and individual personalities. I loved how Delphine takes it upon herself to look after her younger siblings and learn what she can by watching the news or reading from the Merriam Webster dictionary. If I were in middle grade, I think I would have enjoy this novel more than I do now – I wouldn’t feel so indifferent about it – because of the view of the world and descriptions we get through Delphine’s point of view would greatly appeal to child-me. For instance, Delphine thinks, “Thank goodness you can’t see cherries in a chocolate bar. I’d have been a red-faced rose if not for my Hershey brown complexion” (113). That was my favorite line.

The most moving part of the novel I found to be the chapter, “Everyone Knows the King of the Sea,” where Delphine talks about the importance of names (see above mentioned favorite quote). It was a very wise explanation about names for someone so young. Names have a lot of power and meaning, and Delphine understood that so perfectly.