The Bookshelf Corner

A creative space for all things books and writing….


2 Comments

(My) Top Favorite Stand-Alone Novels (Not A Part Of A Series)

Mustaches for Maddie by Chad Morris, Shelly Brown | To Be Published: October 3, 2017

My ARC 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.”

The Green and the Gray by Timothy Zahn

Summary via Goodreads: Tree-hiding Greens and mountain-hiding Grays hide in Manhattan, alien refugees from a cataclysmic war, until two teens from opposing sides find both species have survived. On a cold October night, Roger and Caroline Whittier accept an unexpected burden at gunpoint: Melantha Green 12, the Peace Child ready to die, prevented by NYPD Detective Thomas Fierenzo.

All Things New by Lauren Miller

My ARC Review: “What Jessa is going through is unfortunately more common than not. How she thinks, feels, behaves, and perceives things is exactly what someone with panic attacks and anxiety experiences. It’s an honest and raw portrayal of teenage mental health issues and mental health in general. She is a very relatable character even if you haven’t fully experienced all that she has.”

Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

Sumamry via Goodreads: As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen’s thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that’s why she’s cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm’s length. But Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged, now that he’s met the one girl he really wants.

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.

Paintbrush by Hannah Bucchin

My ARC Review: “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.”

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

My Review:Eleanor & Park is a fantastic story of acceptance and first love. It’s a beautiful tale, so raw and open about the emotions the two title characters go through as their relationship with each other and those around them progresses and changes.”

Kindred by Octavia Butler

Summary via Goodreads: The first science fiction written by a black woman, Kindred has become a cornerstone of black American literature. This combination of slave memoir, fantasy, and historical fiction is a novel of rich literary complexity. Having just celebrated her 26th birthday in 1976 California, Dana, an African-American woman, is suddenly and inexplicably wrenched through time into antebellum Maryland. After saving a drowning white boy there, she finds herself staring into the barrel of a shotgun and is transported back to the present just in time to save her life. During numerous such time-defying episodes with the same young man, she realizes the challenge she’s been given: to protect this young slaveholder until he can father her own great-grandmother.

A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson

Summary via Goodreads: After the Russian revolution turns her world topsy-turvy, Anna, a young Russian Countess, has no choice but to flee to England. Penniless, Anna hides her aristocratic background and takes a job as servant in the household of the esteemed Westerholme family, armed only with an outdated housekeeping manual and sheer determination.

Desperate to keep her past a secret, Anna is nearly overwhelmed by her new duties—not to mention her instant attraction to Rupert, the handsome Earl of Westerholme. To make matters worse, Rupert appears to be falling for her as well. As their attraction grows stronger, Anna finds it more and more difficult to keep her most dearly held secrets from unraveling. And then there’s the small matter of Rupert’s beautiful and nasty fiancé…

A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson

Summary via Goodreads: For nineteen-year-old Harriet Morton, life in 1912 Cambridge is as dry and dull as a biscuit. Her stuffy father and her oppressive aunt Louisa allow her only one outlet: ballet. When a Russian ballet master comes to class searching for dancers to fill the corps of his ballet company before their South American tour, Harriet’s world changes. Defying her father’s wishes and narrowly escaping the clutches of the man who wishes to marry her, Harriet sneaks off to join the ballet on their journey to the Amazon. There, in the wild, lush jungle, they perform Swan Lake in grand opera houses for the wealthy and culture-deprived rubber barons, and Harriet meets Rom Verney, the handsome and mysterious British exile who owns the most ornate opera house. Utterly enchanted by both the exotic surroundings and by Rom’s affections, Harriet is swept away by her new life, completely unaware that her father and would-be fiancé have begun to track her down… 

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Summary via Goodreads: Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate — a life and a role that she has never challenged… until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister—and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.

A provocative novel that raises some important ethical issues, My Sister’s Keeper is the story of one family’s struggle for survival at all human costs and a stunning parable for all time.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, Illustrated by Patricia Castelao

My Review:The One and Only Ivan surprised me. It reads like a lyrical diary but the tone and simplicity of each chapter shows that Ivan is an intelligent gorilla, as intelligent as a human (if not more, in his opinion). Anything Ivan points out, describes, compares and contrasts comes off as wise and/or humorous. A very quick read, The One and Only Ivan is a fun read for all.”


What are your favorite stand-alone novels?

As always, HAPPY READING!


Links to Images Used (In Order):

https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/book/110979  ~  [Mustaches for Maddie]

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/216455.The_Green_and_the_Gray

https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/book/108118  ~  [All Things New]

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32078787-once-and-for-all

https://s2.netgalley.com/catalog/book/113051  ~  [Paintbrush]

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15745753-eleanor-park

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60931.Kindred

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/714569.A_Countess_Below_Stairs

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/963274.A_Company_of_Swans

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10917.My_Sister_s_Keeper

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11594337-the-one-and-only-ivan

Advertisements


Leave a comment

September Happenings!

Royalty Free Image via pixabay.com | Edited in Paint

H A P P Y   S E P T E M B E R !

It’s back to business. My brief break last week was somewhat rejuvenating but necessary. I got some things done but not everything I wanted to. Summer may technically still be here but for me it always feels over come September. Which is fine because there is lots to do and accomplished during the next four months.

Here’s what’s happening this month:

 

The Blog
Last month I only posted on certain days and I kind of enjoyed having that particular posting schedule. So for September, I’ll only be posting Sun/Mon/Tues/Fri/Sat. We’ll see how that goes.

I made minor changes to the sidebar of the blog. And over the past month or so you may have noticed that my book reviews and Happenings posts are slightly different. It’ll take time to get used to but I like the changes I’ve made. I was going to make a few more changes to the blog but I think this color scheme and theme really works for me and what The Bookshelf Corner is.

 

The TBR List
Last week I finished my Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge and I have a new TBR list ready to go. Once I finish the two books I’m currently reading, I’ll be reading four books all by Tamora Pierce. I was going to set another book-goal for this year but I think my goal is just going to be to finish every book I want to read before the year is over.

Currently Reading: Slaves of Socorro by John Flanagan | The King’s Champion by Xina Marie Uhl (ARC)

Reading Next: Magic Steps by Tamora Pierce (The Circle Opens, book 1)

 

Novel Updates
Sadly, none to speak of. But I’m not giving up on these ideas.

 

Book Recommendation of the Month

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
(The Books of Bayern, book 1)
Published by Bloomsbury, November 3, 2003

Image via Goodreads


As always, happy reading and happy writing!


1 Comment

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!


Leave a comment

My Favorite Middle Grade Books Of All Time

Royalty Free Image via pixabay.com | Edited in Paint

I don’t read middle grade a lot but there were a few novels this past year that I’ve really enjoyed. After the most recent middle grade novel I read, it got me to thinking about all the MG books I’ve ever read.

Below are middle grade books that really left an impression on me. They were the first to come to mind because of their amazing stories and wonderful characters. I highly recommend any of these books.


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

To Be Released: October 3, 2017

Image via NetGalley

Mustaches for Maddie is by far my favorite MG book of all time. I love this book. It’s delightful, fantastic, and beautiful. Definitely need to get myself a physical copy to add to me bookshelf.

Excerpt from my review: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.”


The Books of Bayern series by Shannon Hale

This is a series from my early days of reading that I’ve talked about before on this blog, specifically the first book, The Goose Girl. It’s such a charming series that holds a special place in my heart.

My thoughts from before on The Goose Girl: “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.”


The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, Illustrated by Patricia Castelao

Image via Goodreads

I was surprised with how much I liked this book. Everything about it was just wonderful to read. The story is so well-done and well-written that it definitely deserves a place on this list.

Excerpt from my review:The One and Only Ivan surprised me. It reads like a lyrical diary but the tone and simplicity of each chapter shows that Ivan is an intelligent gorilla, as intelligent as a human (if not more, in his opinion). Anything Ivan points out, describes, compares and contrasts comes off as wise and/or humorous. A very quick read, The One and Only Ivan is a fun read for all.”


The Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix

One of my favorite MG book series for sure. What really interested me about this book that the antagonists are named after the days of the week and each embodies one of the seven deadly sins. The series is one big adventure that builds upon itself. Reading it is kind of like playing an adventure video game. Very cool all in all.


What are some of your favorite middle grade novels? What MG books would you recommend I read? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

AND, AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!

 

Links to The Books of Bayern Images Sources:
The Goose Girl | Enna Burning | River Secrets | Forest Born

Links to The Keys to the Kingdom Image Sources:
Mister Monday | Grim Tuesday | Drowned Wednesday | Sir Thursday | Lady Friday | Superior Saturday | Lord Sunday


3 Comments

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.


4 Comments

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!


3 Comments

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! ♦