Hello, Shelfies! Erica here. It’s been a while. I’ve been holed up in a corner, hunched over a laptop, printed pages stained with multicolored ink slashes, squiggles, and writing with more in common with Egyptian hieroglyphs than English words. All of my hard work has paid off, and I’m interrupting regularly scheduled programming to bring you this very, very special announcement:
I’m releasing a new book April 23, 2019 entitled The Speaking Season: Poems and Pieces. It’s 40 poems, their origin stories and explanations, and three creative non-fiction essays written to inspire dialogue and discussion, challenge you to look at a topic or issue from a different perspective, or express feelings you can meet with an enthusiastic (or teary-eyed) me, too.
Seriously, I’m so excited about this collection. It’s thought-provoking, challenging, and vulnerable in ways I’ve never been before, which makes me anxious in good and bad ways for readers to get their hands on it. If you have any questions about the collection, or just want to leave me some encouragement, feel free to do so in the comments section.
Hi, my bookish readers! Catfairy is back from The Bookish Fairy blog!
There is nothing that tugs my heartstrings more than a meet-cute! All the teen shows I consumed made me desperate to recreate my own meet-cute since the fifth grade. I remember distinctly walking around school with my Beverly Hills 90210 bookbag, strategically dropping all my books in front of my biggest crush and watching him walk right past me while I sadly picked up all the books myself.
Here are my top five meet-cute reads that have filled the meet-cute void in my heart and that will fill your own hearts with all the swoon-worthy feels.
Roomies by Christina Lauren
Holland Bakker has admired the guitar-playing musician Calvin McLoughlin for months until they literally collide in a New York City subway. She has always been a girl that never takes chances until she spontaneously marries the swoon-worthy Calvin to save him from deportation and giving him the opportunity of a lifetime to play music for Broadway.
This is the perfect novel to kick-off March being that the main love interest is a hot Irishman musician! Roomies is one of my favorite meet-cutes because I love romances that have that infatuated love at first sight feeling. Holland Bakker falls in love with Calvin from afar while watching him play guitar in a New York subway and that is simply one of the most romantic meet-cutes I have ever read.
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Natasha’s family is about to get deported and she is trying to do everything in her power to keep her family in New York and then she bumps into Daniel and her whole universe changes.
Nicola Yoon creates the meet-cute of my hipster dreams when she has Natasha and Daniel meet for the first time in an independent record store in New York! This is a beautifully poetic story that captures the intensity of love at first sight when your sixteen-years-old. Natasha and Daniel have these deep soul-searching conversations while running around New York with approximately twelve hours to fall in love with one another. This is a book about fate and about how everything is connected in some way or another and those are all the perfect elements of a magical meet cute!
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Andie is someone who always plans out her life and has learned to raise herself through the years. Her upcoming summer is meticulously planned out with the perfect internship until her father gets involved in a political scandal. Her whole summer plans go awry, and Andie will have to learn to embrace the “unexpected…”
Clark and Andie literally run into one another through a fluffy dog named Birdie and the perfect elements of a summery meet-cute is born! Morgan Matson knows how to develop a realistic romance between two characters while combining all the unforgettable fun elements of a summer romance! The chemistry between Clark and Andie is heart-warming and they both push one another outside of their comfort zones. Not to mention, Clark is also a hot and nerdy beta-male who wears glasses, adorkable slogan shirts, and is a popular fantasy writer! If you want to fulfill the meet-cute of your summer dreams this is the book to read!
Geekerella by Ashley Poston
Geekerella is an original Cinderella retelling written with the perfect blend of geek girl fandom! Elle Wittimer is the epitome of a geek girl and is a total fangirl for the SciFi show named Starfield. She writes a blog post where she criticizes the movie heartthrob Darien Freedman, for taking the lead role of one of her beloved characters for the Starfield movie remake. Suddenly her blog post goes viral and she gets the opportunity of a lifetime to enter a cosplay contest! In the cosplay contest known as ExcelsiCon, she will be one of the judges along with her nemesis Darien Freedman…
Ashley Poston’s book has a meet-cute/You’ve Got Mail vibe only instead of emailing there is texting. Their actual face to face meet-cute is none other than the quissetential Cinderella ballroom scene with a twist, filled with cosplay wearing cyborgs, Vulcans, night elves, and Klingons! When Darien Freedman lands eyes on Elle in the cosplay ball it is the ultimate cosplay turned fairy-tale.
Frenched by Melanie Harlow
Mia gets dumped by her fiancée a week before her wedding and she already has a fully expense paid trip to Paris. On a whim, she decides to fly to Paris for a single-moon and drowns herself on bottles of Bordeaux instead of buckets of ice-cream. What Mia doesn’t expect is that the city of lights holds the hottest and most romantic love of her life…
Frenched is an underrated meet-cute and even though I read this four years ago my old book boyfriend has forever been burned in my mind. Mia goes to a Canadian sports bar in the middle of Paris and meets the intellectual and irresistible Lucas who is a cross between Mark Ruffalo and Joseph Gordon-Levitt! If this doesn’t make you swoon I don’t know what will! After all, who doesn’t want to have a meet-cute in Paris?!
What are your favorite fluffy meet-cutes? Please leave me any suggestions of any swoon-worthy meet-cute reads you have in mind!
Nowadays, with the pressures of Goodreads yearly challenges, Twitter challenges, Booktube, book subscription boxes with shiny new spray painted pages, and new anticipated monthly book lists announced on blogs it’s almost impossible to consider rereading books. One of the worst things is when you start to pick up the beloved book you have loved since you were a teenager, then you hear that your new favorite author is coming out with a new book, and to top it all off they are coming to your hometown for a book signing! There is so much pressure in the book world to read all the new releases coming up and if you’re not reading them then the book fomo starts to settle in…
We need to get rid of the book fomo and remind ourselves to reread our favorite books again. My goal is to especially read my books with the paperback spine falling apart with the yellowed pages. I already read one of my falling apart paperback books by my favorite author Francesca Lia Block book and it was an absolute joy!
Here are four reasons why you should consider rereading books again…
1…Rereading before the sequel…
Rereading books before the highly anticipated sequel of one of your favorite books is always a good idea. Being an officially registered book nerd, it is difficult for me to remember all the details, events, and characters in every book that I have read. If you want to be prepared for the sequel then it’s highly recommended to reread the previous books. Especially if you are reading a fantasy there is so much detail and world-building that comes with fantasy, that getting into the sequel could be difficult to get into the world again. The best thing about rereading a book before the upcoming sequel is that it builds the anticipation for the upcoming book and what is better than fangirling over a new book being released?!
2…Rereading before the movie…
This goes hand in hand with rereading a book before the upcoming book sequel. I am guilty of not rereading books before watching the movie and I tend to google the differences between the book and the movie. Next time, if I am excited about an upcoming book turned movie then in order to feel completely confident about what I am going into I will definitely reread the book. Although the unfortunate truth is that all of us bookish folk know that nine times out of ten the book is usually better than the movie…
3…Rereading books brings back nostalgia…
One of the most amazing feelings is to read a book and be brought back to the times that were so much simpler and carefree. I remember when I was reading one of my favorite Francesca Lia Block books I was brought back to a time when I was fourteen-years-old, baking in the sun in my backyard, with that horrible 90’s trend called the sun-in, and my biggest concern was which Hanson brother I would marry. Rereading books can make you realize how much you have grown up and the best part is that it brings back the warm and fuzzy nostalgia again.
4….They remind you why you love reading…
There is nothing better than reading a book that makes you realize how amazing it is to get lost in somebody else’s world. Rereading your favorite books makes you realize why you love reading in the first place. More than likely, you are rereading books that have made a profound impact in your life, have altered your life, given you a good laugh, or just simply made you smile so big your face hurt in the end. Rereading books is like an old best friend to remind you of how amazing they have always been.
Chat with me in the comments below and let me know if you have reread any books lately!
If you’ve been following By Her Shelf for a while, you may remember me reviewing a book called Catch Him If You Can by Jennifer Shirk (you can find the review here). In that review, I said
This isn’t my first Jennifer Shirk book, and it most definitely won’t be my last. I have to know what happens in the next book to the next heroine. I know Jennifer is going to give her a great happily ever after as well.
Six months later, I had the opportunity to read that heroine’s book. Entangled Publishing sent me an advance copy of Romancing His Rival by Jennifer Shirk to review because I begged requested it.
Title: Romancing His Rival
Author: Jennifer Shirk
Release Date: February 11, 2019
Review: Hotel receptionist Elena Mason is left heartbroken months before her wedding when her fiancé dumps her, and it’s all Lucas Albright III’s fault. Her fiancé’s so-called best man talked him out of marrying Elena, and months later, she still hasn’t recovered, or stopped believing her fiancé will realize they’re meant to be together and come back. As for Lucas, Elena hopes to never see him again.
Lucas Albright is a marketing executive on the fast track to promotion. After a failed marriage, Lucas focuses all of his attention on his career, and it’s paid off. Convinced he works better alone, professionally and personally, Lucas is frustrated to find out his long sought after promotion is dependent upon him working with the one person who thinks of him as her archenemy.
Elena knows she has to work with Lucas. but that doesn’t mean she’s going to make it easy for him. She wants him to pay for breaking up her engagement. Lucas is willing to do whatever it takes to secure his promotion, even work with Elena. But the closer Elena and Lucas work together, the more each has trouble remembering they’re supposed to be rivals and not romantic partners.
I was ready to read Elena’s story from the time I turned the last page of Catch Him if You Can. The little glimpse into what happened with Elena intrigued me and I couldn’t wait to see how Ms. Shirk would pull of Elena’s happily ever after. Coming to a book with high expectations like this can be dangerous. I loved Elena as a supporting character, but how would I feel about her as a heroine? Could Jennifer make me love this character and her hero as much as Wade and Arden?
When I first met Elena in Romancing His Rival, I didn’t connect with her right away. I wanted to grab her and shake her out of her depressive funk. I wanted to say “get over it, already!” She seemed a little too whiny and was a little too eager to foist all the responsibility onto Lucas for why her relationship didn’t work out. Yet there was something about her that kept me reading.
This also did a curious thing: it immediately made me more willing to hear Lucas’s side of the story. Instead of being aligned with Elena against him, I was open to the idea there would be more to him and what he did or didn’t do than Elena knew or was willing to admit. I couldn’t love a man who went around destroying engagements for fun, but I could hear out the guy who was being unjustly blamed for the fate of an entire relationship.
Once Lucas and Elena were on the page together, things got even better. Even though Lucas is supposed to be the uptight ad exec, he’s funny and even laid back with Elena, who, although usually rainbows and sunshine, is acerbic and a little dramatic with Lucas to begin with. I liked them together from their first encounter on the page.
It’s evident from their first appearances that both of these characters have some growing and changing to do, and Ms. Shirk pulls them through it with an invisible string. Their actions, even the slightly outrageous ones, seem self-motivated and not driven by the plot. There were a couple moments I felt pulled out of the book by a bit of dialogue that felt clunky, but for the most part, I was able to immerse myself in Elena and Lucas’s story.
I would recommend Romancing His Rival to anyone looking for a sweet, enemies to lovers romance with humor liberally sprinkled in. Although you don’t have to have read them to enjoy Romancing His Rival, I would also recommend Bargaining with the Boss and Catch Him If You Can, the first two books in the Accidentally Yours Series by Jennifer Shirk.
Any reader will tell you that books bring value in a multitude of ways. It goes beyond reading the words on the page or losing oneself in a story. Books have their own aesthetic, their own sensory value that is powerful in and of itself.
I’m one of those readers that loves to be surrounded by books. I can look at covers and spines and remember when I read that story and how it made me feel. I can just as easily get lost in those memories as I would if I smelled the cologne of my first love. I have an appreciation for not only the story, but also the magic and history behind it. Other readers know that, when you hold a book in your hand, there is so much more to it than the physical object you hold. So it should come as no surprise that I love the aesthetic beauty of a good coffee table book. And a book about books checks all the sensory boxes for me.
Next time you’re browsing the bookstore, consider picking up a coffee table book that celebrates all the different aspects of books that we readers just adore!
The Library of Congress brings book lovers an enriching tribute to the power of the written word and to the history of our most beloved books. Featuring more than 200 full-color images of original catalog cards, first edition book covers, and photographs from the library’s magnificent archives, this collection is a visual celebration of the rarely seen treasures in one of the world’s most famous libraries and the brilliant catalog system that has kept it organized for hundreds of years. Packed with engaging facts on literary classics—from Ulysses to The Cat in the Hat to Shakespeare’s First Folio to The Catcher in the Rye—this package is an ode to the enduring magic and importance of books.
For so many people, reading isn’t just a hobby or a way to pass the time–it’s a lifestyle. Our books shape us, define us, enchant us, and even sometimes infuriate us. Our books are a part of who we are as people, and we can’t imagine life without them.
I’d Rather Be Reading is the perfect literary companion for everyone who feels that way. In this collection of charming and relatable reflections on the reading life, beloved blogger and author Anne Bogel leads readers to remember the book that first hooked them, the place where they first fell in love with reading, and all of the moments afterward that helped make them the reader they are today. Known as a reading tastemaker through her popular podcast What Should I Read Next?, Bogel invites book lovers into a community of like-minded people to discover new ways to approach literature, learn fascinating new things about books and publishing, and reflect on the role reading plays in their lives.
The perfect gift for the bibliophile in everyone’s life, I’d Rather Be Reading will command an honored place on the overstuffed bookshelves of any book lover.
We’re not talking about rooms that are just full of books.
We’re talking about bookshops in barns, disused factories, converted churches and underground car parks. Bookshops on boats, on buses, and in old run-down train stations. Fold-out bookshops, undercover bookshops, this-is-the-best-place-I’ve-ever-been-to-bookshops.
Meet Sarah and her Book Barge sailing across the sea to France; meet Sebastien, in Mongolia, who sells books to herders of the Altai mountains; meet the bookshop in Canada that’s invented the world’s first antiquarian book vending machine.
And that’s just the beginning.
From the oldest bookshop in the world, to the smallest you could imagine, The Bookshop Book examines the history of books, talks to authors about their favourite places, and looks at over three hundred weirdly wonderful bookshops across six continents (sadly, we’ve yet to build a bookshop down in the South Pole).
The Bookshop Book is a love letter to bookshops all around the world.
The books that we choose to keep –let alone read– can say a lot about who we are and how we see ourselves. In MY IDEAL BOOKSHELF, dozens of leading cultural figures share the books that matter to them most; books that define their dreams and ambitions and in many cases helped them find their way in the world. Contributors include Malcolm Gladwell, Thomas Keller, Michael Chabon, Alice Waters, James Patterson, Maira Kalman, Judd Apatow, Chuck Klosterman, Miranda July, Alex Ross, Nancy Pearl, David Chang, Patti Smith, Jennifer Egan, and Dave Eggers, among many others. With colorful and endearingly hand-rendered images of book spines by Jane Mount, and first-person commentary from all the contributors, this is a perfect gift for avid readers, writers, and all who have known the influence of a great book.
– 1 winner will receive a $15 Amazon eGift Card (open internationally)
– 1 winner will receive a paperback copy of LOVE AT FIRST FIGHT by Maggie Dallen (US only)
– 1 winner will receive a signed paperback copy of PERFECTLY YOU by Robin Daniels (US only)
– 1 winner will receive copies of SECRET GIRLFRIEND & SECRET LIFE by Bria Quinlan (if in the US: choice between the 2 paperbacks or the ebundle, if outside the US, the ebundle)
– 1 winner will receive a paperback copy of COURTSIDE CRUSH by Kayla Tirrell (US only)
Today, we’re getting to know Amanda Pittman By Her Shelf:
Amanda Pittman is a Christian, a wife, and a mother. She is the author of two books, “Reflecting God’s Beauty,” and “Love Your First Year of Marriage.” Amanda is the founder of the Confident Woman Mentorship Program and helps her husband pastor The Gathering Oasis Church Downtown. In her free time, Amanda creates social media content that inspires and equips women to be confident and Christ-centered.
In this episode, Amanda and I discuss:
Consumption vs. creation in social media and reading
Why even avid readers should give themselves space to write
The odd reading habit Amanda shares with her mother
…and so much more.
Amanda was the very first person I interviewed for By Her Shelf, and this interview really set the tone for me. Her words about creating and using our voices were the exact encouragement I needed to hear as I was stepping into this new space. If you find yourself struggling with self-confidence or using your voice, I know you will be encouraged by this conversation as well.
One of the most valuable things we’ve been given is our voice.
It’s not that you don’t have any valuable thoughts, it’s that you haven’t give your mind any air to breathe.
What are you doing with all the information you stored up?
At the end of the day our confidence boils down to what we believe and if we believe the best about ourselves. If we believe what God says we are and who God says we are, then we’re going to walk in confidence.
Having the mindset of contentment and compassion is a way we can reflect the beauty of God and not the ugliness of the world.
The Books (These are affiliate links. I receive a small commission if you buy through them at no cost to you):
Happy Friday, Shelfies! Erica here. Today, I’m excited to bring you a cover reveal from Entangled Publishing. I love the team behind Entangled, and not just because they give me free books! I love the romances they are bringing readers, especially the sweet romances in their Bliss line. Although you all know I say you can’t judge a book solely by its cover, how could you not stop and pick up a book with a cover like this?
Erica again. Couldn’t you just pick this up and read it right now? If this cover looks right up your alley, read on for the back cover copy and links to pre-order your copy. The Truth About Cowboys releases August 27th!
About The Truth About Cowboys:
I had my life figured out.
Engaged to a successful man.
About to make partner at my firm.
Bought a high-rise apartment in downtown Denver.
And then, poof, it’s all gone. Now, like in some cheesy romantic comedy, my car has broken down in the pouring rain on my way to “find myself” in The Middle of Nowhere, Texas. Cue hot guy coming to my rescue and changing my tire. This is the part where we flirt and have a meet-cute, right? That’s how it works in romance novels, and I should know—after all, I’m coming to Texas to write my own cowboy romance. But nope. This sexy cowboy lights into me about not being prepared for the country roads and how inappropriate my high-heeled boots are.
Little did I know, Michael Montgomery would tilt my world into a new dimension with his sinful smirk and his bad attitude. Every time I turn around, he’s there to reluctantly save the day. And every time, I think there may be something to that spark we ignite. But there’s a reason the majority of country songs are about broken hearts. The closer I get to this man, the closer I get to learning the truth about cowboys.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT series. Suzanne Todd (Alice in Wonderland) on the INSIDE OUT series: Lisa has created a beautiful, complicated, and sensual world that is filled with intrigue and suspense. Sara’s character is strong, flawed, complex, and sexy – a modern girl we all can identify with. In addition to the success of Lisa’s INSIDE OUT series, Lisa has published many successful titles. The TALL, DARK AND DEADLY series and THE SECRET LIFE OF AMY BENSEN series, both spent several months on a combination of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling lists. Lisa’s other bestselling series include: DIRTY MONEY and WHITE LIES. She is presently working on her LILAH LOVE series to be published with Amazon Publishing/Montlake Romance. Prior to publishing Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by the Dallas Women’s Magazine. In 1998 Lisa was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine. Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at http://www.lisareneejones.com and she is active on Twitter and Facebook daily.
Today, we’re getting to know Abigail Rudibaugh By Her Shelf:
Abigail calls Cincinnati, Ohio home alongside her husband and two young daughters. As a graduate from Miami University of Ohio in Integrated Language Arts, she spent nine years teaching, but is now taking time to nourish her writer’s soul. Abigail believes that in a prescriptive and productive world, poetry has become the umbrella in which she can finally find some shade. Find her on Instagram & Twitter @pocketsoflovely or at pocketsoflovely.com
In this episode, Abby and I discuss:
-The “lovely” story behind the name Pockets of Lovely
-How being a writer has changed the way she reads
-The late Mary Oliver, one of Abby’s favorite poets
-Embarrassing book habits
-FOMO on pop lit conversations
And so much more.
Whether or not you consider yourself to be a poetry lover, I guarantee you’ll connect with some part of this interview with Abby.
The books (These are affiliate links. I receive a small commission if you buy through one of these links):
Newsletter subscribers will receive two special emails this week: A list of diverse books if Madeleine’s episode inspired you and a list of can’t miss poetry collections if Abby’s episode sparked your poetry reading fancy. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.
Next week’s episode is actually the first episode I recorded for the podcast. My guest is an entrepreneur and content creator focused on empowering women to be confident and cultivate self-esteem. You don’t want to miss getting to know this powerhouse By Her Shelf. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t!
If you’re loving the show, I would really appreciate it if you left a rating/review on iTunes. It helps others find the show…and maybe their next favorite book.
Today we’re getting to know Madeleine Riley By Her Shelf:
Madeleine is a special education teacher by day and a voracious bookworm by night. She shares her bookish life on her literary-themed Instagram @topshelftext. A loyal New Englander, she loves the ocean, cats, organizing, and is an aspiring gardener. When she grows up, she wants to be the muggle version of Hermione Granger.
In this episode, Madeleine and I discuss:
How she implements reading into her curriculum as a special education teacher
How watching the white Nationalist march in Charlottesville, Virginia sparked the Diverse Books Club, and why she shuttered the club with over 13,000 members
How she makes her Instagram more accessible and inclusive
The feedback she receives the most often from her appearance on What Should I Read Next