Friday, February 17, 2017

TBR Pile #1

For my birthday and Christmas (they're close to each other), I received several books I've been SO excited to read. Unfortunately...I haven't had time to read them. Such is life. 

But one day this year, I. Will. Read. These. Books. 

 Last summer, I read all of the Percy Jackson series, Heroes of Olympus series, The Hidden Oracle (TToA), and the first book in the Magnus Chase series, The Sword of Summer. 

I fell head over heels into book love. And I fell deep.

My aunt--who works for BAM!--helped host a signing for Rick Riordan last fall. It will forever be on my list of regrets that I wasn't able to go. BUT, she got both me and my sister (who's also a super fan) signed copies and Hotel Valhalla t-shirts. So all is well.

Speaking of my sister, we are also big Potter-heads. 

*points at self* Hufflepuff pride.

We were late (as usual) coming into the Harry Potter fandom. But just like with Percy, we fell hard and fast for Rowling's world. So you can imagine how ecstatic we were when we actually had a chance to see a new Potter-verse film in theaters. 

So it was natural for my sister to get me this and a Newt Funko Pop! for my birthday,

Can I just say how GORGEOUS this book is in person? I just keep stroking the cover like the book nerd I am.
For the last couple years, me and some girlfriends have had a book exchange at Christmas. This year, I received these two fairy tale retellings.

Violet Eyes is a Princess and the Pea retelling, and Red Riding Hood, well, that one's pretty self-explanatory, isn't it?

These two books come highly recommended by a couple of my closest friends, so I look forward to reading them!

Besides these gifts, there have been a few books that have released the last couple months, or I picked up from the library, I've been dying to read.

I've been a fan of Ally Carter ever since I read her Gallagher Girls books. To be honest, while I liked the first book in her Embassy Row series, it didn't blow me away or capture me like her other books. However, when I read the second book, See How They Run, I was onboard! That ending, man...

Not mention, these covers are sooo pretty. 😍😍😍

I'm a new fan of Kasie West, but I love her bubbly, sweet style. It's like standing in a puddle of sunshine, closing your eyes, and just soaking it in. Just for a moment.

Did any of y'all read the book Help! I'm a Prisoner in a Library by Eth Clifford? I did when I was in elementary school and decided if I was trapped anywhere, a library would be ideal. Books, snack machines, and a bathroom. what else could you need?

Not...that being trapped anywhere would be ideal, get my drift.

So, needless to say, this story's premise of a "good girl" and a "bad boy" getting stuck in a library caught my attention. Intrigued.

I've read Stephanie Morrill's books before, and I especially liked the book she co-authored with Jill Williamson Go Teen Writers: How to Turn Your First Draft Into a Published Book. But I'm not gonna lie. I was drawn to this book mainly because of the synopsis. It's rare to find a good historical fiction YA novel, and I have a feeling this book will be just such a one. 

So stoked about this book. You have no idea. And is it weird how enamored I am with the title font? 

This one has been on my radar for quite a while. It's one of those that keeps popping up in my recommendations or other authors have been lavishing it with praise. I'm bound and determined that I'm going to read it this year. I've already read the prologue and my Good Book Senses are tingling.

Not to mention, it's an absolutely beautiful book. The cover, the inside details, the prose. So, so lovely. Can't wait to read more!

Have you read any of these? Did you like them? 

And what books are in your TBR Pile?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Return of the Reviewer

Several years ago, I decided to start a book review blog. It was great. I got connected with a terrific book review group "Novel Teen," was sent ARCs, got to interact with some of my favorite authors, and connected with some wonderific bloggers and reviewers. (I know, I know. "Wonderific" isn't a dictionary-approved word. Yet. But let's just go with it.) Well, then life happened, and for various reasons, I had to step back from blogging and reviewing to focus on other things.

In that short amount of time, Tumblr happened, Reddit happened, Instagram happened, BookTube happened. Now twiddly little blogs like this seem old-school.

Good thing I'm an old-school kinda girl.

Also, in that short amount of time, my first novel, Breathe, was published, and I had the amazing opportunity of working with other local creatives on the web series, See Blue Run.

Now, I've finally decided to return to My Story Shelf. Why now, you may ask? My passion for blogging is returning. It's a new year. I'm working on more projects I'd like to share with others. And simply, I have ideas and I've had thoughts. About books, about tv shows, about movies, about music, about creatingand I just need a place to write them down. What better place than my cozy, little blog I love so dearly?


I'm still feeling out what I want this blog to look like and how often I can post, so please bear with me through the process. In fact, I'd LOVE to hear your input on what you'd like to see. Below, I'm listing topics that interest me and will definitely pop up at one point or another. Let me know what interests you most!

Book Reviews/Discussions: This one is a given. But how I share these book reviews may vary. I might fluctuate between brief teaser reviews (hitting the highlights) and long, in-depth reviews. What do you like to see in book reviews? Ratings, etc.?

Other Reviews/Discussions: This includes reviews and discussions of movies, tv shows, and Broadway soundtracks.

TBR Pile: These posts will give you a glimpse of my to-be-read pile. Maybe you'll find some books that interest you too, and we can discuss!

Cover Love: It's pretty much a lie if I said I don't judge a book by its cover. I totally do. These posts would involve me sharing some of my favorite covers of old and upcoming releases. What makes these covers so interesting? What do I think the book is about? Does it do a good job at conveying the feeling of the story? And so on.

Updates on my current projects: These would be small talks about my writing projects and film projects. Behind the scenes stuff.

Miscellaneous Ideas: Seasonal Reads List (best books to read during the Summer, best Valentine's Day books, etc.), slow burn books vs. instalove books, classic lit series (my thoughts on certain classic stories well-known and obscure), author interviews, interviews with other creatives, etc.

Any other ideas? Shoot me a comment below!

Follow Me on Social Media:

Twitter, Instagram, Facebook

Also, check out my newly updated Goodreads page! I read an exorbitant amount and at a fast rate, so sometimes I miss rating or reviewing some books. But I'm trying to be faithful about updating my bookshelves!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Book Review: Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

Dear Mr. Knightley,
I thought about you last night and stayed up reading Emma. I adore her, though she's out of my reach. Can you imagine such confidence and assurance of your own significance? Do you know anyone who would dare declare that he or she "cannot really change for the better"? I'd like to believe that--even for a moment.

Lizzy Bennet. Jane Eyre. Edmond Dantes. All fictional characters, but all real, constant friends to a girl who grew up in the foster care system after being taken away from her neglectful and abusive parents. Now grown up, Samantha Moore still has trouble connecting in relationships. Why trust the real world when the perfect companions are readily available in her beloved books? When all seems lost, Sam is given the opportunity to gain her Master's degree in journalism (though literature was her first choice, of course), but there's one catch. She must keep her anonymous benefactor informed with how her studies are progressing through letter-writing. So Sam reveals not only the details of her studies but her life to the silent but dependable person whom she only knows as as her Dear Mr. Knightley.

Except for the last chapter, Dear Mr. Knightley, Katherine Reay's debut novel, is comprised entirely of Sam's letters to Mr. Knightley. This format took a little time to get used to and the story began a bit slow, but a third of the way in I was captivated, halfway through I was completely invested, and by the end, I loved the characters and Sam's story dearly. Though written in first person, all of the characters--Ashley, Kyle, Alex, Father John, Professor Muir and Mrs. Muir--and the situations come across achingly raw and authentic. I only felt a bit jarred at the end when I had to get used to seeing the world in third person, outside of Sam's intensely personal perspective. I suppose that's how our main character felt when she was forced to look up from her novels, encounter the real world, and discover herself as well.

Like Sam did with her first copy of Pride and Prejudice, I want to read this book until the covers wear thin and I'm forced to buy another copy. Heart-breakinglyly honest, brilliantly hopeful, and sweetly romantic, I believe Jane Austen would approve.

Genre: Contemporary/Romance/Coming of Age
Pages: 297 (ebook version)
Age Range: 15 and up
Publication Date: November 2013

Monday, February 3, 2014

A Dose of Encouraging and Inspiring Quotes

Courage isn't a matter of not being frightened, you know.
It's being afraid and doing what you have
to do anyway. -The 3rd Doctor
I sought the Lord and he answered me and delivered me from
all my fears. -Psalm 34:4
Times change and so must I.
We all change. When you think about, it we’re all different people all through our lives and that’s
OK. That’s good. Gotta keep it moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be.
-The 11th Doctor

Sometimes God redeems your story by surrounding you with people who need to hear your past, so it doesn't become their future.

Beginnings are usually scary, endings are usually sad, but it's
 what's in the middle that counts. So when you find yourself at
 the beginning, just give hope a chance to float up. And it will.
 -Steven Rogers, Hope Floats

Just keep swimming! -Dory, Finding Nemo

If you want to get warm you move near the fire. If you want joy, peace, eternal life, you must get
 close to what has them. -C. S. Lewis


Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. -A. A. Milne

I am still learning. -Michelangelo

Friday, May 31, 2013

Captives Giveaway Winner!

Thank you to those who participated in the giveaway! I wish I could give a copy to each of you (I really do!), but there can only be one winner this time. I still recommend the book even if you didn't win!
Captives The Safe Lands
Since I'm an old-fashioned type of girl, I had my sister pull the name of the winner out of a hat. So the hat-picked winner of Captives by Jill Williamson is...

Courtney Renee
Congratulations, Courtney Renee! :D
I will email you today for your info so that the
paperback copy of Captives can be mailed to you.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Novel Teen Blog Tour and *Book Giveaway*: Captives by Jill Williamson

Captives The Safe Lands
In the village of Glenrock, during the year 2088, life is fairly simple, almost old-fashioned. But the lives of three brothers and their family and friends are about to change. The eldest, Levi, is handsome and a natural leader who is about to be married to his one, true love, Jemma. The middle child, Mason, is practical, smart, and dreams of being a doctor, much to his father's chagrin. And the youngest, Omar, is an artistic, rebellious soul who is restless under his father's constant disapproval, which leads him to make a heart-breaking choice. When those in Glenrock are taken captive and brought to the Safe Lands--a modern, futuristic society enclosed by formidable walls and security--the brothers are torn apart, but their individual journeys just might make it possible to bring those who survived back together again.
With so many dystopian stories flooding the fiction scene, Captives by Jill Williamson stands out with its fresh take on the ancient tale of the Israelites taken captive by the Babylonians. The first part of the book rolled along steadily with character and world building taking the forefront. And what a world! It was colorful, compelling, and jumped straight off the page. The second half though is when I felt the story really pick up speed as the action grew more intense. I was flipping pages to see what would happen next until I suddenly realized I was at the end. 
Captives explores delicate subject matter through the characters facing tough situations and makes one contemplate seriously about the future of our society. Even though the topics are serious, there are still moments in the book that make me smile, especially the Princess Bride quotes interspersed throughout. Which leads me to end this review with a quote--just for fun--from the Princess Bride that I feel will compliment Captives very nicely (though the giant and monsters bit depends on your point of view ;) ).
The Grandson: A book?...Has it got any sports in it?
Grandpa: Are you kidding? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants
monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles...
The Grandson: Doesn't sound too bad. I'll try to stay awake.
Grandpa: Oh, well, thank you very much, very nice of you.
Your vote of confidence is overwhelming.

Genre: Dystopian/YA
Ages: 15 and up
Pages: 400
Publication Date: 2013
*I would like to thank the author and publisher for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
To win a free paperback copy of Captives by Jill Williamson,
just put your email address in the comment section below to
enter yourself into the drawing.
The winner will be announced on Friday, May 31st, 2013.
*Giveaway is only valid in the USA.
Book Trailer

Team Novel Teen is a group of bloggers dedicated to spreading the word about clean teen fiction. Check out other posts about Captives by Jill Williamson by clicking on the links below, and click here for more information about Team Novel Teen.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Novel Teen Blog Tour: Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker

Our family seemed so cracked lately. And I was the only glue keeping us together. Juli was defiant; Grandpop Barley was erratic; Cliff was well, Cliff; and Mama and Dad seemed dangerously close to breaking.
I was nowhere near being ready to fly.

Most families have their troubles and quirks, but Scarlett Blaine's family seems to be overloaded with them. From her parents financial struggles and sister Juli's eccentric hippie lifestyle, to Grandpop Barley's obsession with peanut butter and her little brother Cliff's collection of random Spanish trivia he casually drops into conversation, Scarlett often feels overwhelmed and under-appreciated. But during the summer of 1969 when her family seems to be unraveling at the seams, one promise she makes to Cliff--to build a rocket to Jupiter--will serve as a turning point that will change all of their lives forever.

Rachel Coker (Interrupted: Life Beyond Words) has a gift of creating not just one or two but a whole cast of three-dimensional characters. Each character is written in a realistic and touching manner that makes you care about each and everyone. From the high moments to when tragedy strikes, Chasing Jupiter tugs at the heartstrings and makes you long for a happy ending when all seems lost. I like how Coker dealt with various circumstances in a realistic way and showed how when viewing things through God's eyes, peace will come.

*I'd like to thank the author and publisher for providing me with a free copy of the novel in exchange for my honest review.

Genre: YA/Historical Fiction/Coming of Age
Ages: 12 and up
Pages: 216
Publication: January 2013

Team Novel Teen is a group of bloggers dedicated to spreading the word about clean teen fiction. Check out other posts about Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker by clicking on the links below, and check out for more information about Team Novel Teen.