The Bookshelf Corner

A creative space for all things books and writing….


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2018 TBR List (SNEAK PEEK)

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These are all potential reads but I really would like to read them all over the course of next year.

This list doesn’t included manga as I’ve already talked about them in a previous post, and nor does this include any NetGalley ARCs as those aren’t guaranteed (but I do I have a list of ARCs I’m interested in when the time comes). I do have one ARC I’ll be reviewing next month – Baby, I’m Howling For You by Christine Warren. My 2017 Goodreads Reading Challenge was 30 books, which I surpassed, so I’m thinking my 2018 goal should be between 40-50 books.

I’m excited for the possibilities and adventures this list holds.

 

*In no particular order

NEW BOOKS

Scorpion Mountain by John Flanagan (Brotherband, book 5)
The Ghostfaces by John Flanagan (Brotherband, book 6)
The Caldera by John Flanagan (Brotherband, book 7)

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)

Slathbog’s Gold by Mark Forman

I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart

Siege of Shadows by Sarah Raughley (Effigies, book 2)

The Winter King by C. L. Wilson (Weathermages of Mystral, book 1)

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, book 3)

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund (book 1)

Slammed by Colleen Hoover (Slammed, book 1)

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Sky Raiders by Brandon Mull

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi (The Star-Touched Queen, book 1)

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

Wild Orchids by Jude Deveraux

RE-READS

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (The Books of Bayern, book 1)

With Every Breath by Lynn Kurland
A Dance Through Time by Lynn Kurland
The More I See You by Lynn Kurland

Shadowflame by Dianne Sylvan (A Shadow World Novel, book 2)

The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan (Ranger’s Apprentice, book 1)

Mister Monday by Garth Nix (Keys to the Kingdom, book 1)

Fire by Kristin Cashore (Graceling, book 2 | Prequel)

Deadly Little Secrets by Laurie Faria Stolarz (Touch, book 1)

The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima (The Heir Chronicles, book 1)

The Green and the Gray by Timothy Zahn


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!

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Book Review: Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce (2nd Read)

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Series: Protector of the Small, book 4
Rating: 5/5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Summary (via Goodreads):
In the final thrilling installment of Tamora Pierce’s Protector of the Small series ( First TestPage, and Squire), our sturdy young heroine, Keladry of Mindelan (a.k.a. Kel), has finally been knighted. Never one to rest on her laurels, Kel champs at the bit, ready to tackle the horrific magic killing devices she was shown in the Chamber of the Ordeal during her knighthood initiation. The huge, insectlike machines, “made of iron-coated giants’ bones, chains, pulleys, dagger-fingers and -toes, and a long whiplike tail,” feed on the souls of dead children and are systematically killing off the citizens and warriors of Tortall.

Thoroughly disgusted to discover that not only is she not going to be assigned a combat post, but she has been placed in charge of a refugee camp instead, Kel, in her usual noble, stoic way, swallows her disappointment and sets out being the best refugee camp commander possible. Of course, destiny has a way of sneaking up on a young woman like Kel, and soon she is fulfilling the ordeal the Chamber set out for her… and then some.

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

My Review:
Lady Knight was just as wonderful and action-packed as the first time I read it.

Kel is a natural born leader even if at first she doesn’t think she’ll do a good job at commanding a refugee camp. The way she handles the obstacles thrown at her is admirable – you can learn a lot from her brand of leadership.

I loved all the characters – even the less than desirable ones. But of course, animals are what really stole my heart. There’s Jump (Kel’s dog), Peachblossom and Hoshi (Kel’s horses), the sparrows, and cats. They were cute already but then their intelligence magically increases to human understanding – then they’re just amazing to behold.

A story, in my opinion, is successful when both the protagonist(s) and antagonist(s) are unique, well-developed, interesting, and elicit a response from the reader. As with all her novels, Tamora Pierce really accomplishes that with Kel, her friends, the machines, and other main villains.

Lady Knight is a fitting conclusion to the Protector of the Small series and Kel’s story. An emotional rollercoaster for both the main character and the reader. It’s one of my favorite books and I’m so pleased to have gotten to read it a second time. This story is just another reminder of why I read, why I write, and why I spend too much time fantasizing about books.


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Book Review: Slaves of Socorro by John Flanagan

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Series: Brotherband Chronicles, book 4
Rating: 3/5
Recommend to Others?: Maybe

 

Summary (via Goodreads):
*part of official Goodreads summary

…Hal and his fellow Herons have returned home to Skandia after defeating the pirate captain Zavac and reclaiming Skandia’s most prized artifact, the Andomal. With their honor restored, the Herons turn to a new mission: tracking down an old rival turned bitter enemy. Tursgud—leader of the Shark Brotherband and Hal’s constant opponent—has turned from a bullying youth into a pirate and slave trader. After Tursgud captures twelve Araluen villagers to sell as slaves, the Heron crew sails into action . . . with the help of one of Araluen’s finest Rangers!

In this fourth book in the Brotherband Chronicles, a new battle unfolds as old rivalries are renewed, peace treaties are put to the test, and the action builds to a pulse-pounding finale…

~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
This part of the series felt like an interlude to what might be the overall plot of the series. Hal and his band’s presence are requested by the King Duncan of Araluen but this is interrupted by the focus of the book: the kidnapping of Araluen citizens by the renegade Skandian Tursgud.

The beginning is really good and started things out on a high, humorous, note. However, once the main characters had set sail things kind of dulled out by way of uneventful scenes and dialogue exchanges I was hoping we’d be past. This continued even when the core conflict arose and after as Hal and crew – along with an old welcoming character (I totally fangirled when he showed up) – tried to figure out how to rescue the Araluens before they could be sold into slavery.

And then we come to the “main battle” which is one very long continuous event that switches scenes to show you everything that is happening as it is taking place. This takes up much of the second half of the book and all the way until just before the last chapter. It’s a pretty cool scene albeit a little too long for my attention span.

There’s a lot of uncertainty that keeps the tension high during this particular (above mentioned) scene. One particular character is given a lot of character growth – it was good to see him really shine in this book. And I kind of even enjoyed the ingeniousness of the main “antagonist.” He was rather surprising. However, where Tursgud is concerned I’m surprised by his lack of presence in the book and where things end up with him – it’s a little scary but disappointing.

So this part of the series was okay (perhaps, meh) all in all but I am very curious to see what will happen in book 5, Scorpion Mountain, as the back of book four tells that the worlds of Brotherband and Ranger’s Apprentice will collide – how exciting!


Brotherband Chronicles
The Outcasts – book 1
The Invaders – book 2
The Hunters – book 3

Ranger’s Apprentice: The Early Years
 The Tournament at Gorlan – book 1
The Battle of Hackham Heath – book 2


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December Happenings!

H A P P Y      D E C E M B E R !!!!!!

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It’s finally the last month of 2017, which is hard to believe. Feels like it was just yesterday that I was writing my first post of the new year. This month is gonna be busy the first half but fun the second half.

~ The Blog ~

So I have all the posts for this month planned and almost written out. I will only be posting up until about the 23rd because I want to get all my work out of the way as soon as possible.

I’ll also be prepping some changes for the blog and reformatting certain posts I do. I’ve been blogging for almost three years and it feels like a little re-branding is in order. I mostly just want to experiment with a new look but will keep with the blog’s aesthetic.

~ TBR List ~

(FINALLY coming TOMORROW!!!) Book Review: Slaves of Socorro by John Flanagan

I will also be reading Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman (ARC) and Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce (2nd Read). Those are the only two books I have planned to read and review before I’m done posting for the year. But if I feel like it I might read Mastiff by Tamora Pierce (2nd Read) and save that review for the beginning of January.

~ Writings ~

This is the month where I scramble to edit/revise all those things I’ve written recently and get a few of them in the right amount a shape that I can share them here at some point next year.

~ Book Recommendation of the Month ~

Mustaches for Maddie by Chad Morris & Shelly Brown
Published by Shadow Mountain Publishing, October 3, 2017

Image via NetGalley

My Review of Mustaches for Maddie


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November Happenings!

H A P P Y     N O V E M B E R ! ! !

Royalty Free Image via pixabay.com | Text edited in Paint

I’m writing this month’s intro post a little differently today because this month’s going to be more unusual than past months. Sorry if it’s all over the place.

I wrote a few interesting pieces of fiction last month that I can’t wait to edit. I’m hoping to share one or two in the future but most likely not until January. I’ve been watching a lot of really great anime shows that have given me all sorts of story ideas. It made me think of writing a collection of short stories. Of course, I’d like to finish the novel ideas I have first but I’m not opposed to writing a short story here and there if I decide to go that route as well.

Novels I plan to finish by the end of 2017:

  • Slaves of Socorro by John Flanagan
  • Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman (ARC)
  • Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce
  • The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
  • The Song of Seven by Tonke Dragt (ARC)
  • Novel – TITLE TBA
  • Picture Books – I won’t be reading these for another week or so

*book reviews TBA

Writing plans for November:

  • write a couple more short pieces of fiction
  • write sample chapter 1 of sci-fi/fantasy fairy tale retelling novel idea
  • edit pieces written over the past few months

Unfortunately, I don’t have book to recommend this month.

I hope everyone had a great October and I wish you a wonderful November month! And, as always, happy reading and happy writing!


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October Happenings!

Happy October!

Last month I didn’t post as much as I would have liked. But the highlight of Sept was earning my second badge on NetGalley for 10 reviews posted. The Bookshelf Corner was also nominated for The Cramm Award. And I made small progress in different areas of my life. Not a huge win but I guess any progress counts for something right now. I’m not sure how much I’ll be posting this month, likely a few times a week. But I hope you will like what get’s posted.

Royalty Free Image via pixabay.com | Edited in Paint

Here’s what’s happening this October month:

The Blog

As of now I have no set posting schedule – I think that’s for the best until I can get on a better work schedule. Like I said earlier in this post, it’ll likely be a few times a week. I’ve also been thinking of further visually updating the blog. Not sure if that’ll actually happen and if it does it won’t be for some months.

The TBR List

New (Updated) TBR List – https://thebookshelfcorner.wordpress.com/2017/09/28/the-post-in-which-an-overzealous-reader-changes-her-tbr-list-again/

Currently Reading:

  • Slaves of Socorro by John Flanagan (REVIEW COMING OCT 8)
  • Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce
  • (ARC) Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

Call For Book Recommendations – what’s a good book that I definitely should read?

Novels & Other Writings

Continue writing 1st Draft of Novel Idea #1 (YA Fantasy)

Continue drafting full characters and plot of Novel Idea #3 (YA Science Fiction & Fantasy/Fairy Tale Retelling)

Novel Idea #2 (Fantasy) – On Hold – concept written but may partially change

Write a Short Story

Book Recommendation of the Month

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Published by St. Martin’s Press, February 26, 2013

Image via Goodreads

My Review of Eleanor & Park


As always, happy reading and happy writing!


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Book Review: Magic Steps by Tamora Pierce (2nd Read)

Image via Goodreads | 2000 cover

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Series: The Circle Opens, book 1
Rating: 5/5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Summary (via Goodreads):
Lady Sandrilene fa Toren knows all about unusual magic – she herself spins and weaves it like thread. But when she witnessed a boy dancing a spell, even she is confounded. To her dismay, Sandry learns that as the mage who discovered the power of the young dancer, she must be his teacher. Before lessons can begin, however, Sandry and her uncle, Duke Vedris, get news of a mysterious murderer stalking a clan of local merchants. The killer employs the strangest magic of all: the ability to reduce essence to nothingness. As the murders mount and the killer grows bolder, Sandry’s teaching takes on a grave purpose. For it becomes clear to everyone that the killings can only be stopped by the combined workings of two people: the young teacher and her even younger student.

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

My Review:
Magic Steps is just as wonderful as I remembered. It had me feeling bittersweet nostalgia and oh-so-happy. A great beginning for fans of Tamora Pierce who didn’t want the Circle of Magic stories to end. But Magic Steps remains a joy to read despite the gruesomeness of the plot.

Seeing Sandry really put to work all she has learned in the past four years was a joy to see. Strong willed and very intelligent, Lady Sandrilene fa Toren (a 14-year-old “stitch witch”) has all the makings of a great mage and leader. She’s so mature that I sometimes forget she’s just 14.

Such a thrilling book with many characters to know and love. There’s Duke Vedris, the ruler of Emelan who commands respects that’s fully earned – I’ve always enjoyed seeing his character in action. Kwaben and Oama, Sandry’s personal guards – I always love seeing kickass, loyal teams. Yazmin, a renowned dancer, who teaches Pasco to dance – she is a spitfire to love.

I like the humor Pasco’s character adds to the story. Here we have someone coming late into his magic – an anomaly in Pierce’s universe – who must quickly learn to control his newfound power and assist in a murder investigation. And he’s 12. That’s a lot for a 12-year-old boy wrap his head around. But I think coming from a family with generations of harriers made some of his actions and reactions pleasantly surprising.

However, I wish Pasco was a bit more in the foreground of the story. We get three different third-person limited points of view – the majority’s Sandry’s – and third person omniscient mixed in. A little jarring here and there for me but the way the story is woven works nonetheless.

There’s so much to love and talk about this story. Awesome universe. Interesting characters. Creative plot. Everything I love about Tamora Pierce’s remarkable stories. This was a fun re-read.