The Bookshelf Corner

A creative space for all things books and writing….

1 Comment

Book Review: Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Series: The Numair Chronicles, book 1
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes


Summary (via Goodreads):
Arram. Varice. Ozorne. In the first book in the Numair Chronicles, three student mages are bound by fate . . . fated for trouble.

Arram Draper is a boy on the path to becoming one of the realm’s most powerful mages. The youngest student in his class at the Imperial University of Carthak, he has a Gift with unlimited potential for greatness–and for attracting danger. At his side are his two best friends: Varice, a clever girl with an often-overlooked talent, and Ozorne, the “leftover prince” with secret ambitions. Together, these three friends forge a bond that will one day shape kingdoms. And as Ozorne gets closer to the throne and Varice gets closer to Arram’s heart, Arram begins to realize that one day soon he will have to decide where his loyalties truly lie.

In the Numair Chronicles, readers will be rewarded with the never-before-told story of how Numair Salmalín came to Tortall. Newcomers will discover an unforgettable fantasy adventure where a kingdom’s future rests on the shoulders of a talented young man with a knack for making vicious enemies.


My Review:
The story I’ve been waiting to read for years did not disappoint. Nostalgic, exhilarating, tumultuous, and bittersweet; I am left one very happy reader.

Tamora Pierce does not hold back. Her words are bold. Her characters delightful but fierce. The storytelling absolutely compelling. Each moment is important. Every action a ripple in a large pond. Every hope and fear…the entire story is as wonderful as it is heartbreaking.

Arram is everything I imagined his younger self to be and the man he grows to be before fleeing Carthak. He’s highly gifted and intelligent – as are his friends – but also incredibly – sometimes comically – innocent. He does his best to get by in school and learn all he can, demonstrating a genuine desire for knowledge in all forms, shapes and sizes. This book just further cemented my love for Arram/Numair’s character.

Before reading, I only had a few memories and impressions from when I read Emperor Mage, The Immortals quartet/book 3 where Ozorne is really first introduced. So when I began Tempests and Slaughter, I noticed the red flags – where Ozorne is concerned – very early on. However, I do like his character in this book. He undergoes a deep character change throughout the story – a slow, simmering change founded on fiery vengeance and sharp intelligence.

I liked Varice’s character at first but I quickly got the impression that she was two-faced. Some of her actions seemed like she was subtly using Ozorne and Arram. I do not doubt that her friendship with them is somewhat genuine. But I believe she will show her true colors in the next book.

love the cover; it’s gorgeous and perfectly fitting for the overall tone of this series. A simple feather (I have a guess from what) dripped in gold (a very Carthaki color/object), and what look like small specs of burning ash from a fire…all at the forefront of a dark blue/black background. Exquisitely designed.

The danger the lies beneath the story is just getting started and I can’t wait to see where the story goes in the next book, The Exile’s Gift.



ARC Book Review: Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen

Thank you to NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for providing me with an e-ARC to read and review. Herding Cats is set to be released March 27, 2018.


Image via NetGalley

Genre: Comics, Graphic Novel
Series: Sarah’s Scribbles, book 3
Rating: 5/5
Recommend to Others?: Yes


Summary (via NetGalley):
Sarah’s Scribbles,  Goodreads Choice Award for 2016:  Best Graphic Novels & Comics

“. . . author Sarah Andersen uses hilarious (and adorable) comics to illustrate the very specific growing pains that occur on your way to becoming a mature, put-together grownup. Andersen’s spot-on illustrations also show how to navigate this newfound adulthood once you arrive, since maturity is equally as hard to maintain as it is to find … “
–The Huffington Post

Sarah valiantly struggles with waking up in the morning, being productive, and dealing with social situations. Sarah’s Scribbles is the comic strip that follows her life, finding humor in living as an adulting introvert that is at times weird, awkward, and embarrassing.


My Review:
Fantastic. Hilarious. Just what a creative person (and everyone) needs to hear and see. Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen is an art and narrative to be experienced.

The first half of the book contains a series of hilariously quirky, meme-worthy comics that perfectly illustrate the day to day happenings of an artist and introvert. Some jokes flew over my head, but I found myself nodding in agreement with several panels.

The second half gets serious. Still funny. But serious. During which Andersen provides an honest look at the internet of today and how it effects artists (and people in general). It is a narrative whose sole purpose is to encourage those to not give up on their passions in this sometimes scary world.

I think no matter what stage in your creative endeavors you’re at, you’ll learn a thing or two from Herding Cats and be reminded that, at its core, art is fun.

Leave a comment

TBR At A Glance – 2/12/18

Image made in Pixlr and Paint

Currently Reading

  • Heart on Fire by Amanda Bouchet


Reading Next

  • A Dance Through Time by Lynn Kurland (2nd Read)
  • With Every Breath by Lynn Kurland (2nd Read)
  • Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce (hopefully)


Recent Reviews


Reviews This Week

  • Feb 15 – The Winter King by C. L. Wilson
  • Feb 16 – Heart on Fire by Amanda Bouchet


Reviews Coming March 2018

  • (ARC) Blood Veil by Megan Erickson
  • (ARC) Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen
  • (ARC) Henry Hodge Needs A Friend by Andy Andrews


ARC Book Review + Book Release Day: Fade to Us by Julia Day

Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for providing me with an e-ARC to read and review.
Happy Book Release Day! to Fade to Us by Julia Day

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 5/5
Recommend to Others?: Yes


Summary (via NetGalley):
Julia Day’s Fade to Us is a story about found families, the bond of sisterhood, and the agony and awe of first love.

Brooke’s summer is going to be EPIC— having fun with her friends and a job that lets her buy a car. Then her new stepfather announces his daughter is moving in. Brooke has always longed for a sibling, so she’s excited about spending more time with her stepsister. But she worries, too. Natalie has Asperger’s–and Brooke’s not sure how to be the big sister that Natalie needs.

After Natalie joins a musical theater program, Brooke sacrifices her job to volunteer for the backstage crew. She’s mostly there for Natalie, but Brooke soon discovers how much she enjoys being part of the show. Especially sweet is the chance to work closely with charming and fascinating Micah–the production’s stage manager. If only he wasn’t Natalie’s mentor…

When her summer comes to an end, will Brooke finally have the family she so desperately wants–and the love she’s only dreamed about?


My Review:
I loved Fade to Us by Julia Day. It was such a fantastic read that I couldn’t put down for two whole days – it’s that compelling of a story.

I didn’t know much about Asperger’s before reading this and have no experience with people who do have it, but I feel more informed post-read. The way the author presents what it’s like for someone with Asberger’s and how it feels to live with/take care of someone with Asberger’s (to me) came across as beautifully written, natural, honest, and real. But again I can’t say for 100% sure of its authenticity. These impression I base off of my experiences/interactions with people with other developmental and psychological disabilities.

Brooke is an admirably self-less person for giving up so much for someone she technically doesn’t know, who is sometimes too much for her, but who she wants to embrace as family. But this self-lessness has consequences despite its good intentions, creating lots of tension and suspense throughout the story. Brooke struggles to find some kind of balance between her personal life, getting along with her step-father, Jeff, and helping her step-sister, Natalie. Despite these struggles, the progression of Brooke and Natalie’s relationship is (character development-wise) well-written.

Natalie’s character is great as well. She’s a great person in general. I think a few times her family underestimated her tolerance level and ability to observe/understand. I get their hesitation and need to protect her, especially from having meltdowns. But I also agree with one character that she’ll never learn how to deal with the bad parts of life if she’s always sheltered (that goes for anyone). (Again, I’m no expert here). Natalie’s view on things, though at times painfully blunt, are insightful when you really think about what she’s saying. Post-read, I wonder what this story would be like if we got alternating chapters of Brooke and Natalie’s POVS. This story feels very much like it’s both their story, not just Brooke’s.

Micah I liked but he’s more of a background character, a kind of plot device if you will. He’s there but his presence is as limited as his character development, short-lived and not enough depth to dive in to. I appreciate how he (and others) treated and talked to Natalie like she was a person, just like everyone else.

Great story. Wonderful characters. Pretty cover. Awesome that musical theater was involved. And loved the sister-sister relationship. Fade to Us deserves a standing ovation. Brava, Julia Day, brava!



ARC Book Review: Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Books for Young Readers for providing me with an e-ARC to read and review. Tess of the Road is set to be released February 27, 2018.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Rating: 2/5
Recommend to Others?: No


Summary (via NetGalley):
Meet Tess, a brave new heroine from beloved epic fantasy author Rachel Hartman.

In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons get to be whomever they want. Tess, stubbornly, is a troublemaker. You can’t make a scene at your sister’s wedding and break a relative’s nose with one punch (no matter how pompous he is) and not suffer the consequences. As her family plans to send her to a nunnery, Tess yanks on her boots and sets out on a journey across the Southlands, alone and pretending to be a boy.

Where Tess is headed is a mystery, even to her. So when she runs into an old friend, it’s a stroke of luck. This friend is a quigutl–a subspecies of dragon–who gives her both a purpose and protection on the road. But Tess is guarding a troubling secret. Her tumultuous past is a heavy burden to carry, and the memories she’s tried to forget threaten to expose her to the world in more ways than one.

Returning to the fascinating world she created in the award-winning and New York Times bestselling Seraphina, Rachel Hartman introduces readers to a new character and a new quest, pushing the boundaries of genre once again in this wholly original fantasy.


My Review:
I have conflicting feelings about this book; more meh than good. I was sort of underwhelmed by the whole of it. There wasn’t enough action or action that made a statement or not enough suspense. Not to mention there were one too many flashbacks.

Herein lies the crux of my diametrically opposed feelings.

Tess of the Road is a story of self-exploration and redemption. It exudes the questions: how can you pick yourself back up when you feel you’ve fallen lower than the dirt you walk upon? how does one move forward when weighted down by the unforgiving chains of the past – a past you’re constantly reminded of?

The beginning was bold but cringe-worthy as readers see a “small” sample of the kind of life Tess has lived up to this point in her life. It’s sad and you feel for her, and part of you may or may not want to root for her. But Tess embodies an undeniable strength, one she has yet to realize.

Tess is someone people can relate to and respect. She’s made countless detrimental mistakes either in the eyes of her very strict and religious mother or in those around her. Or, more importantly, the detrimental flaws and mistakes Tess sees within herself. It’s enough to make even the strongest of us crumble and never find ourselves again. But Tess’s journey on the road offers much food for thought as – through flashbacks and interactions with various folks – she struggles to come to terms with where her life has gone and where it can go next.

As much as I admire the concept of the story and Tess’s character, I was lost more often than not because of terms and language used. I either stumbled over words or couldn’t understand them. I’m all for inventing new language and meaning in fiction but in this novel it was too obscure. I think it would have been helpful to have included a glossary at the end.

My favorite parts of the story didn’t come until 3/4 of the way through where we get the road crew scenes. These scenes were unexpectedly hilarious and highly endearing. I kind of wished the entire novel had been sprinkled with such humor.

I feel that Tess of the Road has a lot to offer readers; it just wasn’t the book for me.


Leave a comment

Happy Book Release Day! to Baby, I’m Howling For You by Christine Warren

Thank you again to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an e-ARC to read and review.

*title/author link leads to my review of Baby, I’m Howling For You*

Image via NetGalley

Baby, I’m Howling For You by Christine Warren

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Alphaville, book 1
Rating: 5/5
Recommend to Others?: Yes


Summary (via NetGalley):
WELCOME TO ALPHAVILLE, where the she-wolves and alpha-males play. . .for keeps.

Renny Landry is a wolf on the run. Pursued by a shapeshifting stalker and his slobbering pack of killer coyotes, she is forced to flee her job as a librarian to find sanctuary in the wooded hills of Alpha, Washington. A well-secluded safe space for troubled shifters, Alpha is Renny’s last hope. But the first person she meets there is a gorgeous alpha male with fiery eyes, fierce tattoos, and one ferocious appetite—for her…

Mick Fischer thought he left his past behind when he moved to Alpha. But fate has a way of biting him in the tail when a female wolf shows up on his property. Wounded, desperate—and disarmingly hot—Renny brings out the snarling, protective alpha beast in Mick like no other woman he’s known. Can these two haunted, hunted wolves manage to mate for life…even as the deadliest past demons howl at their heels?


Leave a comment

TBR At A Glance – 1/11/18

Image made in Autodesk Pixlr and Paint by The Bookshelf Corner

Recent Reviews


Coming Soon

  • (ARC Book Review) Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman (to be posted February 2018)
  • (Book Review) Mastiff by Tamora Pierce (Beka Cooper, book 3) (to be posted Monday, January 15)


Currently Reading

  • (nearly finished) Mastiff
  • (nearly finished) Volume 1 – Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya, Translated by Alethea Nibley & Athena Nibley
  • Slammed by Colleen Hoover (Slammed, book 1)


Reading Next