The Bookshelf Corner

Book reviews, creative writing, and more!


Leave a comment

#currentlyreading | Entangled Secrets by Pat Esden

Entangled Secrets by Pat Esden
(Northern Circle Coven #3)
Pub Date: July 7, 2020

Image via NetGalley

ABOUT: The Northern Circle coven’s future is in question once again. But this time, hearts and souls are on the line, making the stakes higher, the magic more crucial, and the battle more fateful than ever before . . .

Pregnant and alone at twenty-one, Chandler Parrish sought refuge within the Northern Circle coven’s secluded complex. Never revealing the identity of her child’s father, Chandler has raised her now eight-year-old son, Peregrine, in peace, and used her talent as an artist and welder to become a renowned metal sculptor. But her world is shaken to the core when Peregrine shows signs of natural faerie sight—a rare and dangerous gift to see through faerie glamour and disguises that could only have come from his father’s genes. Worse yet, the boy has seen a monstrous faerie creature trailing Lionel Parker, a magic-obsessed journalist determined to expose the witching world.

But the very man who threatens the witches’ anonymity may also be key to healing Chandler’s long broken heart. As dangerous desires and shocking secrets entangle, new faerie threats and demonic foes close in on the coven and High Council. Loyalties will be tested. Fierce magics will be called upon. And Chandler will have to face her past to save all she holds dear: her coven, her child—and perhaps even her own soul.


1 Comment

Book Review: By A Thread by Lucy Score

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Dominic was staring at me like he couldn’t decide whether to chop me into pieces or pull my hair and French kiss me.

Dominic
I got her fired. Okay, so I’d had a bad day and took it out on a bystander in a pizza shop. But there’s nothing innocent about Ally Morales. She proves that her first day of her new job… in my office… after being hired by my mother.

So maybe her colorful, annoying, inexplicably alluring personality brightens up the magazine’s offices that have felt like a prison for the past year. Maybe I like that she argues with me in front of the editorial staff. And maybe my after-hours fantasies are haunted by those brown eyes and that sharp tongue.

But that doesn’t mean that I’m going to be the next Russo man to take advantage of his position. I might be a second-generation asshole, but I am not my father.

She’s working herself to death at half a dozen dead-end jobs for some secret reason she doesn’t feel like sharing with me. And I’m going to fix it all. Don’t accuse me of caring. She’s nothing more than a puzzle to be solved. If I can get her to quit, I can finally peel away all those layers. Then I can go back to salvaging the family name and forget all about the dancing, beer-slinging brunette.

Ally
Ha. Hold my beer, Grumpy Grump Face.

 

My Review: [Warning: Mature content – 18+. Explicit sexual language and scenes. Workplace sexual harassment.]

By A Thread is a sizzling romantic comedy that checked off everything I love about contemporary romances. It’s told in dual POVs between Ally – a dauntless woman determined to do right by her father, working multiple jobs to make end’s meet – and Dominic – the handsome and grumpy ass, resolute to not being anything like his deplorable father.

When the two meet sparks ignite into a fiery attraction. Neither can deny being attracted to the other nor the hate-you banter they secretly enjoy. But fate has other, more comical plans for these two reluctant co-workers.

The cover is so pink and pretty. The premise very compelling that I had to read this book asap. Ally and Dom’s initial meeting was hilarious. I loved all the characters; they’re so funny and quirky in their own ways. You will fall in love with this quick read.

Ally is my favorite. She’s very devoted and head-strong. She lives in a dilapidated work-in-progress house, works several jobs, and rations to the extreme. The financial struggles beat her down and some days her father doesn’t remember her. But Ally keeps moving forward. That’s a rare, admirable quality I respect in a person.

She’s also quick-witted, sassy, and someone who will have your back through thick and thin, especially if you show her the same courtesy and respect. Ally is an incredibly stubborn thought and won’t accept financial help from anyone, even her best friend, Faith.

Dom – poor Dom. He has more than just his father’s egregious mess to clean up. Dom is an ass as he’ll admit. But I think it stems from childhood and the Russo creed of never talking about feelings and the things that are troubling them. Dom tries his best to do the right thing and support his fashion icon mother – the lovely and stern, Dalessandra Russo (I love her name!). However, like Ally, he too won’t accept help and doesn’t want to get close to people.

I appreciate that this book shines a light on workplace sexual harassment, though it was more of a background elephant in that needed to be addressed.. It’s an important, ongoing issue that needs to be addressed and rectified. Although, how this issue is originally “solved” in the book is part of the problem. I think the author does a good job of showing the effects this has on victims and what can and needs to be done to create a safe and trusting work environment for employees.

I’ve never read a contemporary romance so long but I’m glad this was a length read. I feel like I got the whole story and that everything was fleshed out and fully realized. Plus, you’ll hardly notes the page length because you won’t be able to stop reading – you just have to know more! This book is a real page-turner.

By A Thread is a fun-filled, slow-burn, tantalizing romance read. Another new favorite by a newly discovered author that I enjoyed a lot. Highlight recommended. A must-read!


Leave a comment

#currentlyreading | BY A THREAD by Lucy Score

Happy Monday, Bookworms!

It’s the first of June. What are you currently reading?

I’m so happy to be reading By A Thread by Lucy Score. This is just what I needed right now; a light-hearted rom-com that keeps putting a smile on my face. It’s a huge read – almost 600 pages! – but so far I’m liking it.

ABOUT | BY A THREAD

Dominic was staring at me like he couldn’t decide whether to chop me into pieces or pull my hair and French kiss me.

Dominic
I got her fired. Okay, so I’d had a bad day and took it out on a bystander in a pizza shop. But there’s nothing innocent about Ally Morales. She proves that her first day of her new job… in my office… after being hired by my mother.

So maybe her colorful, annoying, inexplicably alluring personality brightens up the magazine’s offices that have felt like a prison for the past year. Maybe I like that she argues with me in front of the editorial staff. And maybe my after-hours fantasies are haunted by those brown eyes and that sharp tongue.

But that doesn’t mean that I’m going to be the next Russo man to take advantage of his position. I might be a second-generation asshole, but I am not my father.

She’s working herself to death at half a dozen dead-end jobs for some secret reason she doesn’t feel like sharing with me. And I’m going to fix it all. Don’t accuse me of caring. She’s nothing more than a puzzle to be solved. If I can get her to quit, I can finally peel away all those layers. Then I can go back to salvaging the family name and forget all about the dancing, beer-slinging brunette.

Ally
Ha. Hold my beer, Grumpy Grump Face.

 

 

Image via Goodreads


Leave a comment

Book Review: “The Doctor’s Family Reunion” by Mindy Obenhaus

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance, Christian Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

ABOUT: His Instant Family

Family means everything to Dr. Trent Lockridge. Growing up without a father, he always yearned for a family of his own. One long-ago  summer in Ouray, Colorado, he thought  he might build a future with beautiful  Blakely Daniels. But when he abruptly fled town, he broke her heart and left behind more than memories. Years later, Trent is shocked—and overjoyed—to learn he’s a father. He’d like to earn back Blakely’s love and trust— but it won’t be easy. And the clock is ticking. He’s got only a few weeks to prove that, this time, he’s here to stay…forever.

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

My Review:
The Doctor’s Family Reunion was a charmingly romantic story of second chances and the power of faith.

Blakely is a well rounded, likable character. She has spent the last decade as a single mother while running the family tour business. But she still struggles and stresses, even more so once Trent suddenly comes back into her life. She has a hard time letting go and allowing others to help her out so she can have a chance to breathe.

She has been let down before in the past so it’s stubbornly hard for her to trust Trent (which is understandable). Trent seems honest, loyal (to a fault) and honorable – a real man of his word. From an outside perspective he is the total package and not the type of person to “dine and dash.” I do think he could have tried a little harder with Blakely before shit hit the fan. I was getting impatient waiting for him to confess to her.

Ouray, Colorado seems like such beautiful place. The author described it in such a way that made me want to go see this place in real life – the perfect destination vacation!

Mindy Obenhaus is a talented romance writer and storyteller. I am so glad I found her books. I can’t wait to read more by her!


Leave a comment

Book Review: “Cherry Lane” by Rochelle Alers

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Series: Cavanaugh Island #5
Rating: 4 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

ABOUT: A place to call home . . .

In New York City, attorney Devon Gilmore devoted all her time and energy to fast-track her career. She lost her boyfriend . . . but found herself with a surprise baby on the way. To begin a new life, Devon needs a place to settle down-a place like Cavanaugh Island, where the pace is slow, the weather is fine, and the men are even finer.

From the moment David Sullivan meets Devon, he knows he can’t fight the laws of attraction. Whether it’s helping fix up the old cottage she just bought on Cherry Lane or working together on a pro bono legal case, he can’t help feeling a little protective. But will the most eligible bachelor in town be ready for an instant family? Only if he can convince Devon to put her heart on the line one more time-for all time.

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

My Review:
Cherry Lane is a sweet, romantic story that I didn’t mind the insta-love. A pleasant read for sure.

I found myself hooked right away because of the South Carolina setting and Devon’s character. The book is rich with details so vivid I felt like taking a trip to Charleston, South Carolina myself. I wish Cavanaugh Island really existed because I would visit that small-town place too. Cavanaugh Island sounds and looks homey and the people are super friendly.

Devon is a very successful entertainment lawyer and I love seeing what she’s done for herself despite coming from a stifling home life. She’s pretty funny when she wants to be and, like David, I’m always surprised by the things that come out of her mouth. She’s incredibly humble and gracious. She’s also really talented, which I wish that was brought to the forefront more.

Of course, David is a charmer – really the total package of a handsome southern gentleman. He too is a successful lawyer so I liked that he had that in common with Devon. I wish we could have seen more of his quirky, nerdy side because those were such bright moments and interestingly contrasted with what one normally thinks a lawyer to be like.

Really, Devon and David are literally the perfect couple and do have their moments of contention with one another. This is important because I really can’t find any actual flaws in their characters.

The lack of flaws or any real conflict/antagonist was practically non-existent. The scum that is Gregory – Devon’s last boyfriend – doesn’t show up until towards the very end where you’ve pretty much settle with the notion of an obvious happily ever after already wrapped up in a nice neat bow. I really thought what Gregory could bring to the story should have come up sooner. The minimalism might as well have not been there because it soured the ending.

Despite the unsatisfactory ending, Cherry Lane was a good book and romance read. I would definitely read more books by Rochelle Alers.


Leave a comment

TBR At A Glance – 12/5/19

Royalty Free Image via Pixabay | Edited in Paint

CURRENTLY READING

  • Glow of the Fireflies by Lindsey Duga

  • A Love Hate Thing by Whitney D. Grandison (ARC)

READING NEXT

  • Dark Alpha’s Temptation by Donna Grant (ARC)

  • Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith (ARC)

  • Blood & Ash by Deborah Wilde (ARC)

  • Feather by Olivia Wildenstein (ARC)

RECENT REVIEWS

REVIEWS COMING SOON

  • 25 Days of Book Reviews starts Saturday 12/7!


Leave a comment

Waiting On Wednesday – 11/20/19

Welcome to another Waiting On Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, where you spotlight a highly anticipated book.

This Wednesday I am waiting on The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune. It’s expected publication is March 17, 2020.

Image via Goodreads

ABOUT: Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvernboo, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.


Leave a comment

TBR At A Glance – 11/18/19

Royalty Free Image via Pixabay | Edited in Paint

CURRENTLY READING

  • Shadow Frost by Coco Ma

 

READING NEXT

  • Angelbound by Christina Bauer

  • Glow of the Fireflies by Lindsey Duga

  • Heartsong by TJ Klune

 

RECENT REVIEWS

 

REVIEWS COMING SOON

TBA


Leave a comment

November 2019 – Upcoming Anticipated Book Releases

NOVEMBER 5

The Deep by Rivers Solomon, with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes

Science Fiction, Historical Fiction, Fantasy

Yetu holds the memories for her people—water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners—who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one—the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu.

Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface, escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities—and discovers a world her people left behind long ago.

Yetu will learn more than she ever expected to about her own past—and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they’ll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity—and own who they really are.

 

Snow White with the Red Hair (Volume 4) by Sorata Akizuki

Manga, Graphic Novel, Shojo, Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy

A romantic retelling of a classic fairy tale about a beautiful herbalist and a lovestruck prince.

Shirayuki is an herbalist famous for her naturally bright-red hair, and the prince of Tanbarun wants her all to himself! Unwilling to become the prince’s possession, she seeks shelter in the woods of the neighboring kingdom, where she gains an unlikely ally—the prince of that kingdom! He rescues her from her plight, and thus begins the love story between a lovestruck prince and an unusual herbalist.

Shirayuki is determined to help Kiharu and her bird Popo prove their necessity to the kingdom. She even goes so far as to risk her life to see Popo home! When she succeeds, Zen kisses Shirayuki for the first time! Now she can’t get that kiss out of her head. Will she be able to keep her cool around the man she’s falling for?

 

NOVEMBER 19

Crying Laughing by Lance Rubin

Young Adult Fiction

Winnie Friedman has been waiting for the world to catch on to what she already knows: she’s hilarious.

It might be a long wait, though. After bombing a stand-up set at her own bat mitzvah, Winnie has kept her jokes to herself. Well, to herself and her dad, a former comedian and her inspiration.

Then, on the second day of tenth grade, the funniest guy in school actually laughs at a comment she makes in the lunch line and asks her to join the improv troupe. Maybe he’s even . . . flirting?

Just when Winnie’s ready to say yes to comedy again, her father reveals that he’s been diagnosed with ALS. That is . . . not funny. Her dad’s still making jokes, though, which feels like a good thing. And Winnie’s prepared to be his straight man if that’s what he wants. But is it what he needs?

Caught up in a spiral of epically bad dates, bad news, and bad performances, Winnie’s struggling to see the humor in it all. But finding a way to laugh is exactly what will see her through.

 

NOVEMBER 26

The Little Book of Big Feelings by Maureen “Marzi” Wilson

Graphic Novel, Nonfiction, Self-Help

We’ve been conditioned to think that the most acceptable response to “How are you?” is, “I’m fine.” But our emotions are much more complicated than that! Sometimes we feel a little annoyed, or elated, or afraid. And you know, that’s okay!

In The Little Book of Big Feelings, Maureen “Marzi” Wilson takes us on a journey of self-acceptance and validation. After all, our emotions are only reactions to experiences that we can learn from; there’s no such thing as a “bad” emotion. It’s okay to be scared, it’s alright to feel hopeful, and it’s perfectly fine to feel both at the same time. There is a wide range of human emotions, and it’s time we start embracing each one!

 

A Cowboy Like You by Donna Grant

Adult Contemporary Romance, Western, Fiction

In the Heart of Texas, a heartthrob cowboy may get his second chance at love…

Danny Oldman, the handsome Lone Star sheriff, is still single. He tells himself, and anyone who asks, that he is married to his job―and what matters most is keeping the people of his beloved Texas hometown safe. The truth? Danny still hasn’t gotten over his high school crush. She moved away after graduation and took Danny’s heart with her.

Skylar Long never thought she would have to flee Houston and return home―where it all began for her. But that’s what happened after the man of her dreams turned out to be an actual nightmare. Now, Skylar is desperate to escape her obsessive boyfriend. Nothing shocks her more than seeing Danny again and realizing that their long-ago attraction is more powerful than ever. But can she and Danny find a way to fight against Skylar’s wealthy, powerful ex who is dead set on tearing them apart?


Leave a comment

[November 2019] Book of the Month: “The Lightning-Struck Heart” by TJ Klune

Image via Goodreads

Title: The Lightning-Struck Heart
Author: TJ Klune
Series: Tales From Verania #1
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, LGBTQ Romance, MM Romance
Recommended?: Yes

Goodreads Summary: Once upon a time, in an alleyway in the slums of the City of Lockes, a young and somewhat lonely boy named Sam Haversford turns a group of teenage douchebags into stone completely by accident.

Of course, this catches the attention of a higher power, and Sam’s pulled from the only world he knows to become an apprentice to the King’s Wizard, Morgan of Shadows.

When Sam is fourteen, he enters the Dark Woods and returns with Gary, the hornless gay unicorn, and a half-giant named Tiggy, earning the moniker Sam of Wilds.

At fifteen, Sam learns what love truly is when a new knight arrives at the castle. Sir Ryan Foxheart, the dreamiest dream to have ever been dreamed.

Naturally, it all goes to hell through the years when Ryan dates the reprehensible Prince Justin, Sam can’t control his magic, a sexually aggressive dragon kidnaps the prince, and the King sends them on an epic quest to save Ryan’s boyfriend, all while Sam falls more in love with someone he can never have.

Or so he thinks.

My Reviews:
The Lightning-Struck Heart – book 1
A Destiny of Dragons – book 2
The Consumption of Magic – book 3
A Wish Upon The Stars – book 4

More by TJ Klune:
Wolfsong – Green Creek #1
Ravensong – Green Creek #2