The Bookshelf Corner

A creative space for all things books and writing….


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July Happenings!

Welcome July 2018!

Writing When I Can But Still Delivering Good Content…

In last month’s Happening post, I mentioned how this summer was going to be really busy for me and that I might not get to post as much as I would like. Still true. My to-do list and work schedule is taking up a lot of free time.

But here and there there should be snatches of free time for when I can draft posts for the blog. As much as I want to continuously push out content, that’s not feasible. I’d rather push out quality more than quantity blog posts (same applies for my WIP) in order to give you all the best content I can make.

To Read Or Not To Read But Need Time To Read…

I’m still reading With Every Breath by Lynn Kurland. Reading may prove difficult to accomplish but I’m going to try because it’ll help me relax on the more stressful days.

Reading Next: either Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (YAF) or A Possibility of Whales by Karen Rivers (MG).

Recent Reviews: Taken by Tuesday by Catherine Bybee | Treasured by Thursday by Catherine Bybee | The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (DNF)

For my full Summer Reading 2018 list, click here.

Book Recommendation of the Month

Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce
The Immortals, book 1
First Published: December 1, 1992
Hardcover Image: December 1, 1992 by Atheneum Books
Genres: Young Adult Fantasy, Action/Adventure

Image via Goodreads

Summary (via Tamora Pierce’s Official Website): Young Daine’s knack with horses gets her a job helping the royal horsemistress drive a herd of ponies to Tortall. Soon it becomes clear that Daine’s talent, as much as she struggles to hide it, is downright magical. Horses and other animals not only obey, but listen to her words. Daine, though, will have to learn to trust humans before she can come to terms with her powers, her past, and herself.


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AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING AND HAPPY WRITING!

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Quote of the Day: The Object of Fiction…

Royalty Free Image via Pixabay | Edited in Pixlr Editor and Pixlr Express web apps


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Book Review: Taken by Tuesday by Catherine Bybee

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Series: The Weekday Brides, book 5
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Summary (via Goodreads):
He’ll do anything to keep her safe…for the rest of their lives.

Judy Gardner: College graduate Judy stands ready to conquer the world…if she can get a job. Hoping to transition from aspiring architect to famous architect as quickly as possible, the dark-haired beauty moves to LA, staying in the home of her celebrity brother, Michael Wolfe. But it’s hard for Judy to focus on work when the sexy bodyguard she fell for last summer keeps showing up in her life and leaving her breathless.

Rick Evans: With his hard body, green eyes, and easy smile, Rick could have any woman he wants. But the Marine-turned- bodyguard only has eyes for Judy and her spitfire attitude. When a faceless villain attacks Judy, Rick will stop at nothing to protect the woman who opened his heart from the monster hunting her.

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My Review:
I really enjoyed reading this book. I couldn’t put it down. I didn’t want to put in down and finished it in under two days. Taken by Tuesday was just a sweet tale and interesting mystery inter-playing with each other.

I love Judy’s strength and persistence. She’s independent and relies on herself to make her dreams come true. Rick is very persistent in pursuing Judy, an alpha male to a T. He’s a good, honest man and very swoon-worthy. Judy and Rick are very attracted to each other (which started before the book began) but Judy wants a career first. She just graduated college feels pursing her long-time crush now would derail those plans.

In terms of fictional couples, Judy and Rick’s has the craziest beginnings of a relationship that didn’t seem nor was there any time to really explore what could be. Then threat to Judy becomes a major interruption. But against all odds the relationship is still able to find a way to develop.

Finding the culprit was an interesting mystery that gets complicated as the story goes on. I wasn’t sure who the bad guy was until right before the characters found out. I totally forgot the whole bride aspect of this series until it was brought up in the book and it was shocking yet impressive with how it’s inserted in this book. The climatic scene was slightly anti-climatic, but the story still ended well enough.

This is only the second book I’ve read of Bybee’s and I’m now a huge fan of her writing. This book was so good.  I loved the story and the family ties that bind everyone. Taken by Tuesday is a nice light, attention-grabbing, contemporary romance.


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Weekend Writing Prompt #10

Quotes About Friends and Friendship: Write a story or scene based of one of these quotes.

 

“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”
~~~ Mark Twain

“‘Why did you do all this for me?’ he asked. ‘I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.’ ‘You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing.'”
~~~ E. B. White, Charlotte’s Web

“No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.”
~~~ Alice Walker

“Time doesn’t take away from friendship, nor does separation.”
~~~ Tennessee Williams, Memoirs

“I’ve heard it said
That people come into our lives
For a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return”
~~~“For Good,” Stephen Schwartz, Wicked (musical)


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Book Review: From Twinkle, with Love by Sandhya Menon

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 3 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Maybe
Favorite Quotes: “I wanted people to see me, to like me for who I was and what I had to offer. I wanted to use my talent to transform people’s lives and how they saw the world.”

“It’s never happened. But there are people out there, people like me, who need someone to come along and tell their stories. To explore all those different universes for them. So why can’t I be the one to do it?”

 

Summary (via Goodreads):
Aspiring filmmaker and wallflower Twinkle Mehra has stories she wants to tell and universes she wants to explore, if only the world would listen. So when fellow film geek Sahil Roy approaches her to direct a movie for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle is all over it. The chance to publicly showcase her voice as a director? Dream come true. The fact that it gets her closer to her longtime crush, Neil Roy—a.k.a. Sahil’s twin brother? Dream come true x 2.

When mystery man “N” begins emailing her, Twinkle is sure it’s Neil, finally ready to begin their happily-ever-after. The only slightly inconvenient problem is that, in the course of movie-making, she’s fallen madly in love with the irresistibly adorkable Sahil.

Twinkle soon realizes that resistance is futile: The romance she’s got is not the one she’s scripted. But will it be enough?

Told through the letters Twinkle writes to her favorite female filmmakers, From Twinkle, with Love navigates big truths about friendship, family, and the unexpected places love can find you.

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My Review:
This book was a lot to take in and has left me feeling torn about what to make of it.

I picked up this book because it sounded interesting (first book I’ve read of Sandhya Menon’s) and I’d never read a book where the MC was aspiring to become a filmmaker as a young Indian-American woman. I thought that sounded awesome.

In terms of the obstacles Twinkle faces, this is one of those stories where, as the saying goes, things get worse before they get better. And they do get worse and worse. So much that it made me an anxious reader while openly yelling things like “NO!” and “That’s not a good idea!” and “Think. Think. Think!” and “I can’t watch.”

There’s a lot of teenage drama, clicks, unrequited love, and social angst. Twinkle’s dwindling friendship with (formerly sister BFF) Maddie is also a major source of contention. Everything was too much sometimes. Perhaps there were too many issues going on that pulled the reader’s attention every which way despite it all being connected.

I liked how flawed Twinkle (and pretty much everyone else, except Dadi, Twinkle’s grandmother, really) and how strong and direct her voice is. For the teen characters, the biggest flaw is their insecurities: Twinkle feeling invisible and not good enough to be noticed at school and home; Sahil always being compared to his star-athlete star-academic twin brother. I think this heightens what Twinkle seeks to accomplish with her film (and future films) as well as the overall theme of the book about finding one’s voice and being able to share that voice with others (as well as the importance of telling underrepresented voices/stories).

There are times while reading when I was like, “Twinkle seems like she’s got a good head on her shoulders and is a really passionate person.” Then other times I was like, “Why, Twinkle, why would you do that?”, whenever her rational fled when deeper emotions took over. Also, I thought it ill-advised that she blindly believed that “N” had to be Neil – her crush who she’s had (so it appears) very little interaction/conversation with and knows nothing about. That would have been (reluctantly) fine if she also, logically, thought the email could well be a dangerous stranger on the internet or a troll cat-fishing her. “N” got her email from the school’s directory, so “N” being a student is more likely but still! Not once does she think “stranger danger,” even a little. I find that incredibly impossible. Also, it wasn’t hard to figure out the true identity of “N” but I was somewhat surprised by the why of it.

I like that Twinkle tells the story through letters to her favorite female filmmarkers in diary format. When she’s directly talking to them her passion comes through. I also like that her choice of the film she adapts for the festival, even if I haven’t ever seen it. I’d watch her version of it though.

I loved Sahil. Perhaps too perfect of a character? Maybe – he certainly wouldn’t think so. But he’s just a bright light in this crazy mess of high school drama. And I like that he too takes steps to be seen, to be heard in a way that is unique to him. He does it better than Twinkle by fa,r but everyone takes a different path to get to such a grounded place.

As dramatic as this book was, I think Sandhya Menon is a fantastic writer. There were lots of phrases whose diction was so amazing and seemingly effortlessly written. I thought it genius for her to have Twinkle describe her social status as “groundlings” versus the “silk feathered hats” (aka the rich and popular crowd) from Shakespearean days at the theater. She took something (super) old and made it feel fresh and new. Loved it.

The ending made me kind of emotional and happy. No storm lasts forever. When the clouds finally cleared things felt changed. Maybe a little to sugary sweet of an ending but good nonetheless.

Based on all that, I’m left conflicted about my overall impression of the book. It was too much drama but not bad. Inspiring in many ways at its core. And a talented writer at the helm.


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ARC Book Review: How We Roll by Natasha Friend

Thank you to NetGalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for providing me with an e-ARC to read and review.
How We Roll by Natasha Friend is set to be released June 5, 2018.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Rating:  4 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Summary (via NetGalley):
Quinn is a teen who loves her family, skateboarding, basketball, and her friends, but after she’s diagnosed with a condition called alopecia which causes her to lose all of her hair, her friends abandon her. Jake was once a star football player, but because of a freak accident—caused by his brother—he loses both of his legs. Quinn and Jake meet and find the confidence to believe in themselves again, and maybe even love.

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My Review:
In eighth grade, all of the hair on Quinn’s head fell off due to an autoimmune disorder called alopecia areata totalis. It subsequently tears down her social life and makes her reluctant to fully engage in a new one when she and her family move from Boulder, Colorado to Gulls Head, Massachusettes. This becomes a chance to totally reinvent herself in a place where the cruel nicknames of the past can’t follow her. Quinn’s voice is very clear and intelligent. She’s the kind of friend you want in your life because she’s incredibly kind and supportive. She does her best to take care of her own problems herself. It’s hard because she fear her wig might fall of at the worst moment and having to deal with an itchy scalp.

Jake’s life has been turned upside down with the loss of both his legs. He’s left angry and alone, finding it difficult to me a part of the world again. Quinn’s friendship is just what he needs because in a way she can understand him – even if their situations may be viewed as apples and oranges. Jake’s kind of moody – which is understandable – so the questions becomes how much will he change within the course of the story. I’m happy with how far he comes by the end.

The teen drama is very much alive in this book. And even in a fictional sense it’s heartbreaking that these kids, so young, would treat each other so callously. Perhaps this was to juxtapose it with what principle characters are going through? I too was wary when Quinn found a new group of friends. They talk a lot and share lip gloss (unsanitary but they seem close enough to do that) but they’re good people, which is what Quinn needs in her life

I like that the difficult situations aren’t sugar-coated. It’s a stark but honest reality: Quinn losing her hair. Jake losing his legs. Quinn’s little brother, Julius, having autism that can’t be clearly pinpointed on the spectrum. Raising a child who has autism.

There were enough lighter, sometimes funny, moments to drive away the sad ones. Quinn and Jake have really good back and forth banter in very few words.

The story is told really well and everything came together rather nicely in the end. I enjoyed reading How We Roll (a fitting title) and would recommend this book to anyone looking for a light, honest read on friendship, fitting in, trust and understanding, along with a great main character.