The Bookshelf Corner

Book reviews, creative writing, and more!


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[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


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[OFFICIAL] Fall 2019 TBR List + Top 10 Tuesday

Royalty Free Image via Pixabay

Here it is: my Fall 2019 TBR List! Today’s post actually coincided with the weekly meme Top 10 Tuesday, which works out great!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme originally created by The Broke and the Bookish, but is now run by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Today’s prompt is: Books On My Fall TBR List

 

MANGA
The Demon Prince of Momochi House (Volumes 8-12) by Aya Shouoto
Vampire Knight (Volumes 15-19) by Matsuri Hino, Translated by Tomo Kimura
Library Wars: Love & War (Volumes 7-15) by Kiiro Yumi, Original Concept by Hiro Arikawa
Dreamin’ Sun (Volumes 2 & 3 of 10) by Ichigo Takano

 

MIDDLE GRADE
Awkward by Svetlana Chmahora
A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban
Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm, Illustrated by Matthew Holm (Sunny, book 1)

 

YOUNG ADULT FANTASY
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. Aiken
Furyborn by Claire Legrand (Empirium, book 1)
Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff (The Aurora Cycle, book 1)
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Angelbound by Christina Bauer (Angelbound Origins, book 1)
The Werewolf Queen by Brandi Elledge (Wheel of Crowns, book 1)
Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly
Seafire by Natalie C. Parker (Seafire, book 1)
Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen (The Malediction Trilogy, book 1)

 

Young Adult Contemporary Romance
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (The Kiss Quotient, book 1)

 

ADULT CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Puppy Love by Lucy Gilmore (Forever Home, book 1)
Their Ranch Reunion by Mindy Obenhaus (Rocky Mountain Heroes, book 1)
The Doctor’s Family Reunion by Mindy Obenhaus

 

PARANORMAL ROMANCE
Hot Blooded by Donna Grant (A Dark Kings Novel, book 4)
Firestorm by Donna Grant (A Dark Kings Novel, book 10)
Blaze by Donna Grant (A Dark Kings Novel, book 11)

 

FANTASY
Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames (The Band, book 1)
Dragon Mount by Jennifer M. Eaton

 

Fiction
Strands of Truth by Colleen Coble


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And, As Always, Happy Reading!!!


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The Bookshelf Corner’s Completed Series’ Read And Reviewed

Below are links to book reviews I’ve done of complete series, series in progress (meaning to finish completely), and series to be continued (story not over/more to come that I know of) as of June 1, 2019. This list does not include series I DNF or only have the first book read. Series titles are color-coded for your convenience.

I love reading book series because you get to know the characters really well (like book nerdish family). Perhaps you might find your next great read below.



FRUITS BASKET

Natsuki Takaya,
Translated by Alethea Nibley & Athena Nibley

Volumes 1-5 (combined review)
Volumes 1-23 (combined review)

 

S●A – SPECIAL A

Maki Minami

Volumes 1-4 (combined review)
Volumes 1-17 (combined review)

 

THE BETRAYAL KNOWS MY NAME

Hotaru Odagiri
Translated by Melissa Tanaka

Volumes 1-8

 

OURON HIGH SCHOOL HOST CLUB

Bisco Hatori

Volumes 1-18 (combined review)

 

A NARWHAL AND JELLY BOOK

Ben Clanton

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea! (book 1)
Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt (book 2)
Peanut Butter and Jelly (book 3)
Narwhal’s Otter Friend (book 4) (ARC review)

 

ALPHA GIRL

Aileen Erin

Becoming Alpha (book 1)
Avoiding Alpha (book 2)
Alpha Divided (book 3)

 

RANGER’S APPRENTICE: THE EARLY YEARS

John Flanagan

The Tournament at Gorlan (book 1)
The Battle of Hackham Heath (book 2)

 

BROTHERBAND CHRONICLES

John Flanagan

The Outcasts (book 1) ● The Invaders (book 2) ● The Hunters (book 3)
Slaves of Socorro (book 4) ● Scorpion Mountain (book 5) ● The Ghostfaces (book 6) ● The Caldera (book 7)

 

SNOW LIKE ASHES

Sarah Raasch

Snow Like Ashes (book 1)
Ice Like Fire (book 2)
Frost Like Night (book 3)

 

ZODIAC

Romina Russell

Zodiac (book 1)
Wandering Star (book 2)
Black Moon (book 3)
Thirteen Rising (book 4)

 

THE WOLVES OF MERCY FALLS

Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver (book 1)
Linger (book 2)
Forever (book 3)

 

THE KINGMAKER CHRONICLES

Amanda Bouchet

A Promise of Fire (book 1)
Breath of Fire (book 2)
Heart on Fire (book 3)

 

A MISSON NOVEL

Megan Erickson

Blood Guard (book 1) (ARC review)
Blood Veil (book 2) (ARC review)

 

TALES FROM VERANIA

T. J. Klune

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)

 

COUNTING

Kelly Jensen

Counting Fence Posts (book 1)
Counting Down (book 2)
Counting On You (book 3)


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!


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Thank You, Next Book Tag

Royalty Free Image via Pixabay | Text added in MS Word

Thank you Siobhan @ Novelties for tagging me! I haven’t done a tag in a long while so this is perfect to do. Be sure to check out Siobhan’s blog too! Click here to read her responses to this tag.

 

Name a book you said “thank u, next” to (a book you did not finish)

I could not finish “The Cruel Prince” by Holly Black. Just couldn’t. It’s the only book I can think of that I gave a DNF to. I’ll leave it at that for now.

Image via Goodreads

Name a book that taught you love (a book you loved)

Books that taught me love that I loved? That’d be too long of a list. Most of the books I’ve read with romance in them have taught me about love. Then again I am a hopeless romantic. Here are three examples off of the top of my head:

 

Name a book that taught you patience

N/A ….at least that I can think of.

 

Name a book that taught you pain

Ugh! Those would be THE FEELS books where you can’t function after the story is over. I’m going to throwback this answer and pick a duology. I read this series over ten years ago and it is still one of m favorite book series.

 

Name a book that you loved at the time of reading, but in hindsight, you don’t like as much, though you still learned something from it

Not really sure. Those kinds of books it’s more that it’s been so long that I don’t remember enough of whether I liked it or not. I learn a little something from every book I read. They’re the type of lessons you never forget. Here are some examples:

 

Name a book you are currently talking to (have the hots for)

None now. But my past crush was T. J. Klune’s Tales From Verania series.

 

Name the book that gon’ last (the book that helped you love yourself a little bit more)

Hard to say but I think it would be “Turtles All The Down” by John Green.

Image via Goodreads


If you enjoyed this post, be sure to leave a like. Did you find this tag interesting? Feel free to try it out on your own blog.

And, as always, Happy Reading and Happy Writing!


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Book Review: A Wish Upon the Stars by T. J. Klune

WARNING: For MATURE readers only. This book contains explicit language and sexual content. Reader discretion strongly advised.

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Fantasy, MM Romance, LGBTQ Ficiton, RomCom
Series: Tales From Verania, book 4
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: YES

Summary (via Goodreads):
Nearly a year ago, blinded by grief and betrayal, Sam of Wilds made a desperate decision to follow the Great White into the Dark Woods. Now, he emerges to a world changed.

The City of Lockes is a prison. The King has been locked away in the dungeons. The Kingdom of Verania has fallen, and the Dark wizard Myrin sits on the throne. 

But soon after his return, Sam learns of a resistance fighting in his name led by a courageous knight, a defiant prince, a pissed-off unicorn, and a half-giant who wants to smash everything in sight. If he has any hope of defeating the villains who have taken their home, Sam must face the consequences of his choices—and the friends he left behind.

~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
A Wish Upon the Stars concludes the Tales From Verania series with everything you know, love, admire, and expect from Sam and company. There were surprises. There were feels. There were laughs. There were tears.

Sam’s big entrance out of the Dark Woods was everything you would expect of someone like Sam. It was hilarious!

The biggest lessons I left with post-read are 1) you are in part who you surround yourself with, 2) destiny is not carved in stone as stone crumbles, and 3) choice is important. Admits all the humor and lovablenss, T. J. Klune presents profound lessons that strike you to the core when you least expect it. And through Sam’s POV, we witness the effects of these lessons on his exponential growth.

Sam is probably one of the most purest, amazing, one-of-a-kind main characters it has ever been my pleasure to know. Tiggy I love like no other. Gary is classy and sassy. Ryan for all his awkwardness is kind, loyal, and brave. Justin is everybody’s Best Friend 5eva. Kevin is gross but wonderful. The dragons are amaze-balls. And even Myrin, the villain of our story, I have a fondness for.

Throughout the story (masterfully told), you don’t know how it’ll end. Although Sam has managed to defy others expectations of him over and over again, there is still no telling if the destiny (Sam’s least favorite word) will come to fruition. In a battle like this, there will be winners and there will be losers. There will joy and there will be heartbreak. Nevertheless, I am 100% certain everyone will enjoy this fourth installment and how the story ends.

I am sad to see this series end and look forward to a triumphant return to this world (according to the author). I am forever thankful to this book and series that has changed me forevermore.


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Book Review: The Consumption of Magic by T. J. Klune

WARNING: For MATURE readers only. This book contains explicit language and sexual content. Reader discretion strongly advised.

 

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Fantasy, MM Romance, LGBTQ Ficiton, RomCom
Series: Tales From Verania, book 3
Rating: 4 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes
Favorite Quotes: “Stone crumbles.”

“I promise. I promise. I promise, because when I look upon these stars, there is nothing I wish for more than you.”

 

Summary (via Goodreads):
Sam of Wilds faced the Dark wizard Myrin and lived to tell the tale. Granted, the battle left him scarred, but things could be a hell of a lot worse.

It’s not until he reunites with Morgan of Shadows and Randall that he realizes just how much worse things could be.

Because the scars have meaning and hint at Myrin’s true plans for Sam and the Kingdom of Verania.

With time running out, Sam and his band of merry misfits—the unicorn Gary, the half-giant Tiggy, Knight Commander Ryan Foxheart, and the dragon known as Kevin—must travel to the snowy mountains in the North and the heart of the Dark Woods to convince the remaining dragons to stand against Myrin. Along the way, Sam learns secrets of the past that will forever change the course of the future.

A reckoning is coming for Sam of Wilds, and there is nothing he can do to stop it.

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

My Review:
I am devastated. This third installment has left me devastated in a good and bad way. I am a melting pot of emotions that I don’t know what to do with.

I knew right from the beginning that things were about to change for Sam of Wilds and friends. I just didn’t know that it would but such a dramatic change or how wrong I wished I was. Strength, love and bonds are tested like I’ve never seen before in fiction.

The story is part journey, part unburdening, part cats out of the bag for about 3/4 of the novel. It’s more emotions reacting to emotions than the high levels of action seen in previous books. Meaning I got bored a lot. Things happen, don’t get me wrong. And there are moments you can’t look away from (I mean, why would you because it’s Sam). But there are moments that run on too long – as seems to be an unfortunate trend in this series.

My love for this cast of whimsical, colorful characters stays about the same (but not in a bad way). My opinion/feelings for Same change and grow by the end. I am even more forever in love with Tiggy, my favorite half-giant. And Lady De Silva has too become my most mortal of enemies by my extension for my love of Sam. Also, dragons are the best and most infuriating of magic creatures.

I can’t begin to fathom what will happen in the final book. “Stone crumbles” after all. But I know it’ll be a conclusion of epic proportions.


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Book Review: A Destiny of Dragons by T. J. Klune

WARNING: For MATURE readers only. This book contains explicit language and sexual content. Reader discretion strongly advised.

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Fantasy, MM Romance, LGBTQ Ficiton, RomCom
Series: Tales From Verania, book 2
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes
Favorite Quote: “There are things more important in this world than where I come from. And that’s where I’m going.”

 

Summary (via Goodreads):
Once upon a time, the wizard’s apprentice Sam of Wilds got his happily ever after in the arms of his cornerstone, Knight Commander Ryan Foxheart. A year has passed, and while Sam’s been captured five or six more times since then, things are pretty great. His parents are happy, Gary and Tiggy still eat sass for breakfast, Randall is somehow alive despite being older than the gods, the King rules with a gentle hand, Kevin the dragon is as gross as ever, Morgan sighs a lot, Ryan continues to be dashing and immaculate, and Sam is close to convincing Prince Justin they will be best friends forever.

Life is good.

Until it’s not.

Because Vadoma, the leader of the Gypsy clan and Sam’s grandmother, has come to the City of Lockes with a dire prophecy written in the stars: a man of shadows is rising and will consume the world unless Sam faces his destiny and gathers the five dragons of Verania at his side.

And she brings along her second-in-command, a man named Ruv.

Ruv, who Vadoma says is Sam’s true cornerstone.

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

My Review:
Book 2 of this epic fantasy adventure series was all sass, tons of laughs, and, of course, feelings. The story continues with our adorable wizard apprentice, Sam of Wilds, the beautiful hornless unicorn, Gary, the huggable Tiggy, the awkward but dashing knight, Ryan, the doting mentor and wizard, Morgan, and more. We are introduced to a few new faces whom you will either love or hate. I was more in the middle with the new characters.

I love how T. J. Klune turns the cliche story of destiny on its head, subtly mocking. Sam will tell you in no uncertain terms how much destinies “suck.”

My favorite part will always be the very first scene of a blind date gone horribly wrong. My least favorite part was the allusions to happenings from years ago in American politics. I also “didn’t enjoy” how embarrassingly awkward a lot of Ryan’s actions and dialogues were (very cringe-worthy but kind of in a good way?). Things get really deep as we delve deeper into the true meaning of a cornerstone and all its consequences.

And, of course, there were many quotable – and quite wise – lines of dialogue:

“My malt brings all the boys to the vestibule.”

“It’s been said by many people that I look like I know what I’m doing.”

“You can’t hide your head in the sand without expecting your ass to get burned.”

I am so excited to read book 3 because this adventure is undoubtedly about to get wild.