Shelve It: Paperbacks + Amazon Stories (10/5/13)

weekly feature to share the books magan and estelle are adding to their bookshelves each week

Helloooo, friends! I haven’t done a v-log since Labor Day. That seems crazy to me. Now that I think about it, I must have bought more books but I honestly can’t remember. Beware: I kind of go on a tangent about Amazon in my video today, and talk a lot of nonsense maybe. But it’s fun! And there are some super fun titles I want you to be aware of!

Here ya go:

In the mail:

The Classroom Student Council Smackdown by Robin Mellom


Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones
A Map of the Known World
by Lisa Ann Sandell
Wide Awake by David Levithan
The Rule of Thirds by Chantel Guertin
Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pies by Jordan Sonnenblick
To All My Fans, With Love, From Sylvie by Ellen Conford

Info on Lizzie Skurnick Books (re-releasing young adult literature from 30s, 40s, 70s, 80s) and Melissa Walker’s (Unbreak My Heart) article on I Heart Daily about this super fun venture.

Oh, right, and the book that EVERYONE in the world is “making” me read: Nowhere but Home by Liza Palmer.


On the blog this week:

Getting into the Christmas spirit early with Christmas on 4th Street by Susan Mallery.

Raving raving raving over How to Love by Katie Cotugno.

Magan’s thoughts on Goodbye Rebel Blue by Shelley Coriell.

Chemistry, football, and funny grandmas in Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles.


What have you been buying or reading lately? We would love to hear about it!

Until next time, thanks for stopping in!

It’s That Time of Year…

I really like using Christmas carols to express joy all year round. This time? Baseball is back, baby!

It’s almost been a full month of baseball on our television (pizza Fridays are so much better with it) and just last week, my husband and I went to our first game in a pretty long time. We both grew up Yankees fans, and went to quite a few games when we were kids. In the years we’ve been together we’ve enjoyed one championship win, said goodbye to the the iconic “old” stadium, and visited the brand new one. (Truth: we miss the old stadium so much.) It’s been a wild ride (and this year our team is pretty questionable) but it’s one of those hobbies we actually have in common. (A story for another day.)

Ladies and gents, it was nice to be back.

Yankee Stadium

To enjoy the sight, sounds, and some eats too…

Adventures at Yankee Stadium

And hey, we won the game — always a great bonus.

With all the excitement of the new season, I can’t help but think of the some of the books I LOVE because of their baseball themes! I wanted to share a few of them with you today!

Leading off, a dear favorite of mine:


The Comeback Season by Jennifer E. Smith

I read this one last year and it has remained my top Jennifer E. Smith reads. Smith manages to weave the tragic history of the Chicago Cubs (they haven’t won a World Series Championship in 104 years) and Ryan’s struggle to muddle through the grief associated with her father’s death. The Cubs were one of their shared interests; they both loved the team so intensely. Ryan soon meets Nick, and ties the chances of their relationship surviving to the success of the Cubs. It’s a truly beautiful story, and just oozes with love of the game.

(Add to Goodreads)


Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick

This was one of those delightful reads with a great male narrator. While Peter doesn’t get much playing time in this book (he’s been injured), he has to look past his identity as someone who played on the baseball team and go after new experiences. There are so many sweet moments in this book from meeting a new girl to dealing with changes in his treasured relationship with his grandpa.

(Add to Goodreads)


book cover for Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally, books about mom who announces homosexuality, books about falling in love with a teacher

I think most people see this book as the “one where the girl falls for her baseball coach.” Okay, sure, that happens. But Parker’s passion for the sport is so connected to her mother that she did a lot of things that didn’t make sense… like quit playing for a game she loved so much. One of the main themes of Stealing Parker is about teamwork: with an actual team, a family, and friendships and relationships. While it’s not quite as baseball-filled as the cover originally promised, the sport still plays an important part.

(Add to Goodreads)


Confessions of a She-Fan by Jane Heller

Guys, it’s tough to be a fan sometimes. And I know, I know. People hate on the Yankees for their success but seriously… I remember all the games in the early 90s when we would lose every single Sunday. But anyway, Jane Heller (who I love following on Twitter) writes a book about following the team in 2007. Like many, her love of the game started very early and I really enjoyed reading her story.

(Add to Goodreads)


Those are the all-stars on my bookshelves!

What books do you love that have a sports theme? (It’s okay, I’ll forgive you if it’s not baseball.)

Estelle: Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick

Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick
Release Date: March 1, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 304
Target Audience: Young Adult
Format I read it in: Paperback copy from ALA (Thank you!)
Why I was interested in it: Boy narrator, baseball!

Summary: Peter’s dreams of being a big-time pitcher on the high school baseball team are cut short when an elbow injury stops him from playing baseball ever again. Even though he has photography to fall back on, he is still unable to come to grips with his new reality (and be honest with his best friend and teammate about it). Not to mention Gramps, his favorite relative (and the person who taught him to love photography), seems not to be himself lately and there’s that girl in class he can’t seem to stop thinking about…

Before I even say anything, I’m going to tell you to buy Curveball. Remember I said that.

Confession: I have a huge crush on Peter. He’s an athlete, he’s creative, he cares about his family, he says silly things, and he’s hilarious. It might be because I’ve been reading some dark books recently but Peter is like a breath of fresh air in a stale, stale environment. And I thought that would be hard to maintain as the author because of the serious themes that weave themselves in and out of the chapters, but no. Curveball manages to be funny, smart, adorable, heartbreaking, and real all at the same time. Remember what I said in the first sentence? (Reminder: Buy this book.)

This book is about the struggle to be honest with yourself about what’s happening in your life. This is the truth of many of these characters. Peter, of course, with his unusable pitching arm. But then there is best friend, A.J. (who is a real trip) and even Gramps (who I keep picturing as Carl in Up). The book may sound male heavy but it’s not drowning in testosterone either. It was easily relatable and I liked I was able to see into a male’s psyche as he went through such a rough identity crisis. I think Peter took the whole thing in stride though. His arm, that is. When Gramps starts to show signs of his age and declining memory, their bond is so apparent; it reminded me a lot of my grandmother and I.

Then there’s Angelika. She is not like any girl I’ve read about lately. She’s sarcastic and sassy but sweet and flirty. Their first encounter in the earlier chapters had me laughing out loud in the bookstore. (Yes I was the loudest one around.) I also liked how the book didn’t make their romance centerstage. It was gradual and given room to breathe. Much more realistic when Peter is going through so many other things at the same time.

Honestly, the whole time I read this… I was thinking how much I wanted Magan to read it too. There’s a lot of photography jargon thrown around and it made me feel really excited about pictures and I’m curious what a professional like Magan would think. (Gramps was also a wedding photographer.) Photography is such an important outlet for Peter. It gives him something to fall back on when baseball doesn’t exactly work out, it serves as a connection between him and his grandfather, and also helps him find his way to Angelika and a few other realizations along the way.

The writing is clean and concise but is still able to garner a ton of emotion. Curveball is the perfect blend of seriousness and humor, as well as able to balance the family, friendship, and romance storylines very well. For such a fast paced novel, readers are able to get a great gauge on these relationships and really connect with the characters. This is the first book I’ve read by Sonnenblick and I am anxious to give him another try.


Goodreads | Buy on Amazon