Project: Bookshelf with Susan Dennard

Welcome to PROJECT: BOOKSHELF, a continuing series in which Mackenzi Lee tries to read every book on her bookshelf in the course of a summer while friends, writers, and readers drop in to tell us about their respective shelves. This week I am SO EXCITED to have one of my favorite authors, Susan Dennard, here to talk about the ongoing conundrum of what to do with books when you move. Susan writes amazing steampunk zombie novels, the newest of which, Strange and Ever Aftercomes out July 22 from HarperTeen! 

Also, there might just be a giveaway attached to the end of this post, because Susan’s books are so great I want to share them with everyone. 

But first, let’s take a look at my reading wrap-up.

This week, from my collection of unread books on my shelf, I read…

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

  • Genre: Gothic Classic
  • Where I got it: So maybe this one technically isn’t a Project: Bookshelf book, because a friend lent me her copy…but it was still on my bookshelf, and I hadn’t read it. So….counts?
  • What I thought: I’m really into Romantic/Gothic monster books right now, so this was perfect for my mood. Dark, creepy, atmospheric, and so much better than the play!

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

  • Genre: YA fantasy
  • Where I got it: Free books shelf at work
  • What I thought: I unintentionally read this series out of order. Whoops. But even backwards, they are outstanding. If you’re looking for smart British humor with a fantasy twist, this is that book.

Historical Heartthrobs by Kelly Murphy

  • Genre: Nonfiction
  • Where I got it: Gifted
  • What I thought: This book is awesome. Very tongue-in-cheek biographies of historical figures that are tight and interesting. Also I appreciated that they didn’t just feature the good guys (because let’s face it, John Wilkes Booth was crazy, but also a stud) and highlighted some lesser known historical hotties (hey there, Ada Lovelace).

Dear Life, You Suck by Scott Blagden

  • Genre: YA contemporary
  • Where I got it: The Great Simmons Book Grab of 2014
  • What I thought: So I was prepared to not like this book. Way outside my comfort zone subject-wise, abrasive narrator, voice that hits you in the face and it hurts. But then about seven pages in, there was a Lion in Winter reference. Lion in Winter is one of my great loves, and I will follow any book that references it to the end of the earth. So I stuck it out. And while this was not totally my cup of tea, I liked it.

And now, meet Susan and her bookshelf! 

So, I wish I had some super cool bookshelf to share with you all. Or even better, I wish I had a library worthy of Belle and the Beast, but the truth is, I’m super disorganized and super lazy. How does that equate to my bookshelf? Well, I’ll explain.

In the last 2 years, I’ve moved 4 times. Books make up (no joke) the bulk of my moving boxes. For the first 3 moves, I actually went to all the trouble of unpacking all those books, arranging them nicely (by genre!)…only to then have to frantically re-pack said books and move to another new house*. (See the carefully arranged books in our tiny condo? Even my dog, Asimov, was impressed.)

Reading nook

My husband and I finally bought a house one year ago, and in that time, we’ve renovated the crap out of it. SO much work and SO many weekend trips to Home Depot. One of the many, bright-eyed ideas we originally had was to do an Ikea hack of Billys (built-in shelves are, obviously, every reader’s DREAM). We bought the Billys, we set them up…

And then a year passed. No “building them in” ever actually happened (and in our defense, there were much higher house priorities–like building a freaking kitchen). My books stayed packed in our basement, and my shelves became the perfect cubbies for receipts, dust, and cats who insist on climbing things they can’t get down from.

Well, about a month ago, I decided I really wanted at least a few of my books out for perusing. So after 3 back-and-forth basement trips, I had 3 (out of 7) boxes in my office. I unloaded the books…and then ran out of space before I was even through box 1.

Crap. Okay, I thought, back in the condo I had books vertically. So I, yet again, turned all the books vertically. This got me through 2.5  boxes. The other half-box got returned to the basement (where it is now a favorite place for cats who insist on shredding boxes).

As for the books actually on the shelf…well, look for yourself. There is no rhyme or reason–I’ve just got stuff squeezed wherever I can fit it. The only slightly organized spot is the middle shelf with my special Star Wars, Nancy Drew, and Hardy Boys collection (half of which are–you guessed it!–still in a box).


So that, my friends, is why my bookshelves look like a disaster and why most of my books remain in the basement. Funnily enough, we’re now considering moving again, so hey! Maybe I just saved myself a few hours by never unloading those boxes. And double hey! Maybe in our next house, I can finally get those Billy built-ins. ;)

*This makes me sound like I’m being evicted or doing something nefarious that forces me to flee. Nope, sorry. Alas, I just keep picking homes that the owners decide sell, so then I’m forced to move out. Again.

SusanDennardSusan is a reader, writer, lover of animals, and eater of cookies. She used to be a marine biologist, but now she writes novels–and not novels about fish, but novels about kick-butt heroines and swoon-worthy rogues. You can learn more about her crazy thoughts and crippling cookie-addiction on her blogtwitter, facebook, or newlsetter. Her Something Strange and Deadly series is now available from HarperTeen, and look for her new Truthwitch series from Tor in 2015.

And now, to celebrate the release of the release of Susan’s third book, Strange and Ever After, I’m giving away a copy of the first book, Something Strange and Deadly, as well as an ARC of Heir of Fire, the new book in the Throne of Glass series by Susan’s critique partner and bestie, Sarah Maas.

strange 2heir
Want these beauties to be yours? Just click the link below and fill out the Rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends 7/25.

Thanks for tuning in! Join us next Friday for more Project: Bookshelf.  Can’t wait that long? Visit the Project: Bookshelf archive.


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36 thoughts on “Project: Bookshelf with Susan Dennard

  1. Natalie says:

    My bookshelf is shamefully small. All the room has been used so I’ve taken to stacking crates on my dresser and stack books in there. As for steampunk zombies, how do you even go wrong with steampunk zombies? They’re beast. Awesome post and giveaway! Thanks!

    • MackenziLee says:

      Right!? When I first found out about Susan’s books, all I needed to hear was Steampunk and Zombies and I was totally sold. They’re great books! And thanks for stopping by.

  2. ameliazane says:

    My bookshelf is kinda small right now because I just moved, but I’ll build it up again.

  3. Erin BookNut says:

    My bookshelves are overflowing, there are 13 of them but I still need more room.

  4. I don’t have very many books so I have a small bookshelf. I’m building it up though!

  5. My bookshelf is full so I am going to have to get some more and thanks for the giveaway!! :)

  6. Laquesha says:

    My bookshelf is like half-filled because I’ve only recently started collecting books. Before, I used to just go to the library but then I realised how impractical that was because 1) it was really far away and 2) I’d always check out a ton of books that I’d never end up getting to read because of return dates. Thanks for this giveaway, I’ve been wanting to read Something Strange and Deadly for a while now, I’ve heard such great things!

  7. Jordan says:


  8. amandampate says:

    My bookshelves are my decoration. Like nothing but bookshelves. But when I run out of space, it sucks because I just end up piling up books, and I can’t display them all and it’s so sad. BTW I will share with you a couple of my recent reads, because you should read them: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen, Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen, and The Legend series by Marie Lu! Those are some excellent reads that if you haven’t read yet, you should! So good! :) Thanks for the giveaway! I’ve been DYING to read Heir of Fire, so I hope I win. Happy reading!

    Amanda @ Of Spectacles and Books

    • MackenziLee says:

      Thanks for the recs! I’ve been eyeballing Queen of Tearling for a while (though I think everyone is now that Emma Watson’s attached to it!). I’ve read Legend, but not Stolen Songbird. I shall have to investigate!

  9. My bookshelf is small so I read my book and pass it on to friends & family to read and return. This way I collect the books but so far now stacks on the floor.

  10. Liat says:

    Before I moved out from my parents’ house into a house of my own I knew that instead of a tv in the middle of the living room I was going to havea HUGE library with tons of books. And now I’m married and have a house of my own, with a library that covers almost the whole livingroom. it makes me very happy to look at it. :)

  11. I LOVE this blog! Thank you so much for hosting a giveaway of Heir of fire. I am so excited for this book and will definitely be entering!

  12. Hiiiiii new friend! I adore your bookshelf!! I used to love Ebooks much more so my book collection is still relatively small only one small shelf but all the pretties are slowly trickling in. I just told my hubby we need to get another.

  13. DeBowrah says:

    I don’t really have a bookshelf. Since I’m still in University, I don’t have one on campus, and at home I only have a bed with a bookshelf that’s built into the headboard. That and storage spaces where I used to store my clothes are where I put my books. I will definitely purchase at least one bookshelf when I have the room and my own place for it.

  14. Hi! I’m new to your blog, but I’m glad I found you through a link up! What an awesome giveaway! Plus I love your shelves!! I have a ton of bookshelves. It seems like I can never have enough because they are constantly overflowing! I love them…I just need shelves covering every inch of wall space it seems! Thanks again, girl! :)

  15. Sara G. says:

    I have 5 of the Billy Bookshelves in my “library”. They are the smaller ones with shelves that look like squares. All of the squares are full but 2.

  16. Ellie says:

    I have one lonely bookshelf and it is a stuffed mess! lol I often try to push my books on friends to read so I have room on the shelves :P

  17. Sarah Kershaw says:

    My book shelf is mostly made up of our kids books. But one day I’ll have a glorious one all to myself!

  18. Alex Ray says:

    Well, I need a new book shelf… and I need to find a place to put the new book shelf. Make of that what you will. :P

  19. Mary G Loki says:

    I have two bookselfs that are completely full! :( I now have two stacks of books on the side of one and the stacks are also as tall as I am! I love steampunk: esp. Kady Cross’s books! and zombies; Darren Shan’s Cirque Du Freak! But I do not think I have read a book with both yet.

  20. Sadly, I have one tall and skinny shelf that barely fits all my books on it, but I plan on getting bigger shelves to fit all my future books. Also, I’m super excited for this giveaway, I remember reading the first book, Something Strange & Deadly when it first came out and absolutely loved it and had to wait a year for the second book.

  21. Makaela says:

    I’m in Susan’s situation. I found this amazing used bookstore in my city… after living there for years! Anyway, they had .50 books and newer ones were $3 (sometimes they looked brand new!), so I had 2 bookshelves FULL, plus another piece of furniture. ;) But, then my fiance and I moved across country and only took what we could via plane, plus our cats. Now, a year later, I have a small bookshelf that’s overflowing. You have a great idea- reading all of your books in a summer. I definitely need to quit checking a zillion out at the library every time I go! I’ve only read two so far from my shelf!

  22. Ariel Tam says:

    My bookshelf is overflowing. I only have one in my room so my books are double stacked and then I use the top of my dressers as bookshelves. I’m in the process of moving, so I have given some of my books away, but I still have a lot. I have two more shelves downstairs, but they have older books on them.

  23. zaraalexis says:

    I have a number of bookshelves—eight in total—much to the dismay of my husband who complains we no longer have room in our house for anymore. Books, too, are strewn in piles across our home, which I absolutely can’t part with. I’m as much a book hoarder as I am a book blogger and avid reader. I hope this doesn’t hinder my chances in winning a copy of STRANGE AND DEADLY, a book I’ve been meaning to add to (one of) my shelves!

  24. Emma A says:

    I have three bookshelves and a few stacks on top of them at the moment for my to be reads :)

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