Monday, 31 December 2012

Book Haul | December

Not many books joined the shelves this month! However, January is coming (as is payday ;)) so expect a decent sized book haul in the new year.

Paris, I've Grown Accustomed To Your Ways - Ruth Yunker
Devil's Bargain - Rachel Caine *Review Posted
Wolf Sirens Forbidden - Tina Smith
Wolf Sirens Fever - Tina Smith (To be featured in Blog Tour Feb 2013!)
Forbidden - Jana Oliver


~ The final post of 2012! This blog has grown so much over the past 12 months and i'm expecting great things for the new year. I'd just like to thank anyone who reads and/or follows Loaded Shelves, thanks to all of the wonderful authors who have sent their precious work my way to share with you. 2013 will bring more books, more reviews, interviews and whatever else I can set up ;)
Thanks for everything!
                      Have a wonderful 2013 and keep reading :)

Friday, 28 December 2012

Review // With Love at Christmas - Carole Matthews

Published - 25th October 2012

Published by - Sphere

Format - Paperback
Goodreads Synopsis -
Can the imperfect family really have the perfect Christmas?
Juliet Joyce adores Christmas. She loves the presents, the tree, the turkey, the tinsel, everything. Already the festive spirit is upon her, which is just as well as this Christmas things are starting to get out of hand.Her son Tom is out of work and bringing home a slew of unsuitable partners; pregnant daughter Chloe and her little boy have moved back in; Juliet's father, Frank, is getting over a heartbreak of his own and Rita, her eccentric mother, is behaving more erratically each day. And has the chaos got too much for Juliet's husband Rick?

With the big day fast approaching, Juliet hopes that she can stop everything spiralling out of control, because the only thing she wants is her family all around her and her home to be filled.

With Love at Christmas was bought for me as a gift. These aren't the type of books I usually read but at Christmas I just have to have an easy, festive read! Honestly, this one wasn't that easy and didn't feel a whole lot festive either. It felt like I was reading someone's diary - especially as the characters didn't talk like normal people would (in my experience, anyway). I don't really know how to explain it, it just felt odd and actually quite sad. It didn't put me in the mood for Christmas but it definitely had me wanting to curl up in bed with the lights off.

That being said, I did like the book. I liked Juliet and Rick and found myself getting emotional at all of their trials and tribulations. There were parts where I actually laughed out loud and nodded along, thinking that's exactly what my family does. Although Juliet loves Christmas and as assuming from the book title it's a Christmassy novel, I felt that this could have been set any time of the year. It just didn't have enough pull as a Christmas book for me. As a normal every day quick read though, it was great. Probably not a book i'll want to pick up again next Christmastime but it was good as a one-off.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Review // Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding

Published - 1st June 1999

Published by - Penguin

Format - Kindle
Goodreads Synopsis - Meet Bridget Jonesa 30-something Singleton who is certain she would have all the answers if she could:
a. lose 7 pounds
b. stop smoking
c. develop Inner Poise
"123 lbs. (how is it possible to put on 4 pounds in the middle of the night? Could flesh have somehow solidified becoming denser and heavier? Repulsive, horrifying notion), alcohol units 4 (excellent), cigarettes 21 (poor but will give up totally tomorrow), number of correct lottery numbers 2 (better, but nevertheless useless)..." 
Bridget Jones' Diary is the devastatingly self-aware, laugh-out-loud daily chronicle of Bridget's permanent, doomed quest for self-improvement — a year in which she resolves to: reduce the circumference of each thigh by 1.5 inches, visit the gym three times a week not just to buy a sandwich, form a functional relationship with a responsible adult, and learn to program the VCR.
Over the course of the year, Bridget loses a total of 72 pounds but gains a total of 74. She remains, however, optimistic. Through it all, Bridget will have you helpless with laughter, and — like millions of readers the world round — you'll find yourself shouting, "Bridget Jones is me!"

Bridget Jones's Diary is WONDERFUL! I've loved the film for years and recently read a review of the book which finally convinced me to pick it up and i'm so glad I did! Bridget Jones's Diary is laugh-out-loud funny, real, warm and generally all-round brilliance. I think there is something in this book for every woman and like the synopsis, you really will compare her to yourself. 

The writing style was perfect. I wasn't sure if i'd like the style of diary entries but I loved it. I particularly loved the lists at the top of each new day totalling weight, calories etc. So much fun! This book is usually pidgeon-holed into the 'chick-lit' genre but I don't think that's fair. Bridget Jones's Diary DOES concentrate on the world through a woman's eyes but it is much more than a fluffy, overindulgence romance and has real substance. 

For those who are fans of the films - the book doesn't disappoint; and neither does the film! They're very close. Obviously there are differences, changes etc but the overall feel of both book/film is spot on. Fielding deserves all the praise she gets for this book and I highly recommend it.

Festive Literary Tag!

From Misty

The Questions:
1. Name 5 books on your Christmas wishlist.
The Bus Driver Who Wanted To Be God - Etgar Keret
Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List - Levithan & Cohn
Scott Pilgrim Vol.3 - Bryan Lee O'Malley
Forbidden - Jana Oliver
Matched - Allie Condie

2. A book you like to read/would like to read for the holiday season

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares - Levithan & Cohn

3. Favourite Christmas book as a child
I really don't know! I'm sure I must have had one but I can't think of any..

4. Which literary character do you think would give the best gifts?

Molly Weasley - purely because I would be over the moon with a Christmas jumper! I've wanted one ever since Philosopher's Stone and still don't have one :(

5. If you could choose 3 literary characters to bestow gifts upon, who would they be, what would you give them, and why.
- I'd give Dash from Dash & Lily an Unabridged OED :)
- I'd give Bridget Jones an enormous bottle of wine and a Milk Tray - but only if we can share and discuss the failings of men and women's body images!
- Finally, I would give Nora (from Hush, Hush etc) a self-help book.

6. If you could give one character a lump of coal for being bad, who would it be?
I just finished re-reading Eragon by Paolini and so i'd have to say Galbatorix!

7. Which Scrooge-like character do you think would be the biggest downer during the holiday season?
Is it cheating if I say The Grinch? Ok, ok...I'm actually going to go with Mr. Darcy!

8. Invite 5 authors and 5 characters to a festive season party!
This one would actually take way to long to narrow it down to just 5 characters so i'm having a John Green festive party!
Authors: John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle, David Levithan (only 4 but..still.)
Characters: Will Grayson, Will Grayson, Alaska, Hazel & the kid from Zombicorns whose name has escaped me!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Loaded Shelves Hits Facebook!

I hope everyone is having a great December and is feeling festive! It feels like I haven't posted here in a while (review coming soon ;)). In the meantime, if you're on facebook then why not give Loaded Shelves a 'like'?

You can find me here!:

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Review // Devil's Bargain - Rachel Caine

Published - 5th October 2012
Published By - Mira
Format - ebook
Goodreads Synopsis - What's the price of a deal with the devil? Playing by the psychic underworld's rules has cost. Jazz Callender's whole life just got turned upside down. Her friend Ben's been convicted of a crime he didn't commit, and Jazz is determined to clear his name, even if it means enlisting the help of dark forces. Enter James, a stranger with a mysterious offer. If Jazz pledges to work for The Cross Society, a shadowy secret organisation, he'll help her save Ben. But as she's thrust into a world of psychic powers and dangerous magic, Jazz isn't just bargain for her friend's freedom. She's bargaining for her soul too. And how high a price is she willing to pay?

Rachel Caine's Devil's Bargain is fresh, new and exciting! Having only read her Morganville series, I was a little taken aback at this book but not for any bad reasons. The writing is so different and yet still feels comfortable and the characters are unique and interesting in a different way to those I already know and love. Kickass female characters seem to be Caine's forte and I can definitely get on board with that. Jazz and Lucia are strong, independent women.

As well as just being a great book to read, Devil’s Bargain gives you a lot to think about. There was a great moment in the book that I found myself thinking about for a long time.“If everything we do makes a difference, is this right? ... You could make yourself crazy thinking these things.”

Admittedly, for most of the book I felt frustrated, my feelings mirrored those of Jazz in a way. I wanted to know what Borden and his company were hiding. There are still questions that I want answering (which is probably why this is a series!). Who IS Simms?

It's a fairly short book and easy to read and I recommend reading Devil's Bargain either in one big chunk or in a short space of time to get the full effects and emotions. You just don't get quite the right buzz if you put the book down mid-discovery! I love Caine's writing and her realistic portrayal of characters is unmatched. I urge anyone to read something by her!

Review // Silence (Hush, Hush #3) - Becca Fitzpatrick

Published - October 2011
Published By - Simon & Schuster
Format - Paperback
Goodreads Synopsis - The noise between Patch and Nora is gone. They've overcome the secrets riddled in Patch's dark past, bridged two irreconcilable worlds and faced heart-wrenching tests of betrayal, loyalty and trust - all for a love that will transcend the boundary between heaven and earth. Armed with nothing but their absolute faith in one another, Patch and Nora enter a desperate fight to stop a villain who holds the power to shatter everything they've worked for - and their love - forever.
Hush, Hush Review - click here
Crescendo Review - click here

Note: I'm not, of these books and so if you are, then this probably isn't the best review to read.

Oh god. No. Why do I keep doing this to myself? With every book I read in this series I get more and more angry! Silence was not only the same in that respect, but worse. For 90% of the book I was literally screaming WHY? JUST, WHY? I guess it probably doesn't help that I actually hate Nora. Just in the space of writing this much i've already sighed deeply and wondered what am I doing with my life. For some reason I have this ridiculous need to finish this series. Oh & Patch.

A redeeming quality..let's focus on that for a minute. Silence actually had what might have been a fairly decent plot and a driving force that keeps you reading. There were things happening, suspense, revelations; all exciting things in a book. Unfortunately, I just didn't care. I don't care for the characters, writing or the story. Patch is the singularly interesting character in the series and there's an awful lot of book that doesn't even have him there.

Nora is the absolute biggest problem with the series. She is completely irresponsible, has no common sense, is blinded by everything but Patch and yet still thinks that she is the centre of the universe. I truly believe that if Nora had a shred of common sense, she would be both more likeable and more relatable, making the series less of a chore to read and maybe even a little bit interesting. There is a point in Silence where Nora is talking and Patch looks up and wonders why me? I mean COME ON! Patch is Nora's soulmate or whatever, and even he thinks she is ridiculous. Doesn't anybody find that a problem? I was barely into the book before she started sneaking off at 2am to walk around the cemetery after being kidnapped and having no memory for the last 5 months. What kind of idiot does that? And then she feels the need to complain about people worrying about her. Oh god. I should have just stopped reading there.

I could honestly complain about this book until my last breath (and I have been complaining to anyone who will listen for over a day now) but it's time to move on. After all, I still read it and maybe i'm as idiotic as Nora because of course i'll be reading Finale (a long, long time from now) and even though I know i'll hate it just as much as the last 3, it wont stop me. Sigh.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Bookish Survey (Broke & the Bookish)

From Broke and the Bookish's blog - to cure the Monday Blahs!

1. The book I’m currently reading: Devil's Bargain  by Rachel Caine - I love Caine's writing and as I keep going on (and on and on...) I am a huge fan of her Morganville series. This book is so different though and it's taking me a while to finish it due to other commitments so i'm concerned i'm not giving it the proper attention. It is good though!

2. The last book I finished: Exposure by Askew & Helmes - The Twisted Lit series is great! I might be biased as I love Shakespeare but I definitely recommend you checking this and Tempestuous out.

3. The next book I want to read: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick - A little bit of a lie. This isn't a book I *want* to read but more of a *need*. The books are terrible and make me so ANGRY! But for some reason they're also addictive. I have this insane urge to keep reading and finding out everything I can! I guess that means they're not as terrible as I make out but really..I can't wait until i've read them all so I can move on...

4. The last book I bought: Bitter Blood by Rachel Caine - I'm so surprised that this was the last I bought. It was so long ago now but i'm back on the infamous book buying ban just in time for Christmas. My TBR list is longer than Santa's 'naughty or nice' list...*deep breaths*. It was incredible as always though.

5. The last book I was given:  With Love at Christmas by Carole Matthews -This was a present and I cannot wait to read it! I love reading Christmassy books (the last few years I picked Trisha Ashley) so i'm looking forward to seeing what this one is all about. I haven't read Matthews before either. The Holidays are coming!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Review // Exposure - Askew & Helmes

Published - (Expected) 18th January 2013
Published By - Merit Press
Format - Kindle
Goodreads Synopsis - Double, double, toil and trouble. Sometimes, the quest for high school royalty can be deadly! In this emotionally-charged twist on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, a self-conscious shutterbug named Skye Kingston navigates a treacherous school year in Alaska fraught with unspoken secrets and tragic twists of fate. Along the way she encounters three strangely prophetic BFFs; one social-climbing, sociopathic cheerleader; and a heart-stopping hottie named Craig McKenzie: the man who would be Prom King. Can Skye save the boy she loves — and herself — before they get caught in the crosshairs?

This is an advanced review. Exposure is published on 18th January 2013 - keep an eye out!

Exposure is the second book in Askew & Helmes' Twisted Lit series. I read the first, Tempestuous last month and LOVED it so I was really excited to see what Askew & Helmes were going to do with my beloved Macbeth

Like Tempestuous, the characters were brilliantly written. I loved Skye and Craig to the point where I think i'd have been happy just hearing about them constantly! I loved the back story to other characters too (i.e. Beth). Other than a few editing problems, the writing was flawless and kept me interested.

Like Macbeth, there is constant suspense, madness, and the infamous 'damn spot!' I loved the modernised versions of all these things. The fight for Prom King & Queen was imaginative, relevant and worked wonderfully with the setting of both Exposure and Macbeth. The twists on character names and plot revelations were great and there were definitely parts of the book where I was getting excited about Shakespeare references and of course, that sonnet. 

The title, Exposure was lost on me when I first started reading the book but i'm happy to say that it does all come together. Skye's focus on photography, death by exposure, exposing oneself to reveal the truth (whether it be academic, romantic or legal).

All in all another great book from Askew & Helmes. I'd definitely recommend to fans of Shakespeare adaptations (like me!), those who love a good read and anyone with ambitions to claim the title of Prom King or Queen (careful!). Eagerly awaiting more from these two fabulous authors.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Review // The Madness Underneath (Shades of London #2) - Maureen Johnson

Published - (Expected) 26th February 2013
Published By - HarperCollins Children's Book
Format - Kindle
Goodreads Synopsis - When madness stalks the streets of London, no one is safe…There’s a creepy new terror haunting modern-day London. Fresh from defeating a Jack the Ripper killer, Rory must put her new-found hunting skills to the test before all hell breaks loose…But enemies are not always who you expect them to be and crazy times call for crazy solutions. A thrilling teen mystery.

I was so excited when I received the ARC for this book. I read The Name of the Star in July and stayed up all night just to find out what happens. This series is definitely one that drags you in - whether you like it or not! I only intended to read the first few chapters late last night so I could make a start and yet here I am, less than 24 hours later writing this review! Johnson is incredible.

Like other ARC reviews i've read, I was a little (very little) disappointed that there wasn't more ghost-fighting action but honestly, it didn't matter. Every emotion came out whilst I was reading The Madness Underneath. I laughed so much I snorted tea everywhere. Some parts were so unsettling that I refrained from leaving the room I was in...just in case. Other times I sported that oh-so-attractive sobbing face. You know the one i'm talking about. I couldn't get enough. I must have stopped my flatmate from reading HER book more than a dozen times because I just had to share some witty remark (sorry!)

Rory is an amazing character. She is brave, strong, outgoing and she has flaws that just point out, she's only human and just like us...sorta. 
Rory's new abilities leave a lot of questions hanging in the air. What actually happened? Is it permanent? How is this going to change the Shades? What about the crack? What about....well. I'm not even going to mention the ending. 

I even love the title, The Madness Underneath. It's obviously so different from The Name of the Star but after reading the book...yes! The title can be interpreted in so many different ways. The madness underneath London...literally? Rory's feelings? The Shades?

I cannot wait for the next book and to get answers.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

November Wrap-Up

These are the books that kept me busy during November! Let me know if you've read or plan to read any.

1. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd - Agatha Christie
2. The Foreshadowing - Marcus Sedgwick
3. Barrack Room Ballads - Rudyard Kipling (No Review)
4. Bitter Blood (Morganville #13) - Rachel Caine
5. Legend of the Chosen - Selzer & Huber
6. Tempestuous - Askew & Helmes
7. Sea of Monsters - Rick Riordan

Friday, 30 November 2012

Book Haul | November

Heres the full list of books I got in the month of November!

1. Forgiven - Jana Oliver
2. With Love At Christmas - Carole Matthews
3. Jude The Obscure - Thomas Hardy
4. Wives & Daughters - Elizabeth Gaskell
5. Exposure - Askew & Helmes
6. Hera, Queen of Gods - T.D. Thomas
7. The Madness Underneath - Maureen Johnson

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Review // Sea of Monsters - Rick Riordan

Published - 1st April 2006
Published By - Disney Hyperion Books
Format - Paperback
Goodreads Synopsis - The heroic son of Poseidon makes an action-packed comeback in the second must-read installment of Rick Riordan's amazing young readers series. Starring Percy Jackson, a "half blood" whose mother is human and whose father is the God of the Sea, Riordan's series combines cliffhanger adventure and Greek mythology lessons that results in true page-turners that get better with each installment. In this episode, The Sea of Monsters, Percy sets out to retrieve the Golden Fleece before his summer camp is destroyed, surpassing the first book's drama and setting the stage for more thrills to come.

Now that's out of the way, to the review :)

I read The Lightning Thief in August and simply adored it. Percy is my huge, inappropriate crush of the year and i'm cursing myself for not reading these books years ago! It's a short read (took approx 5 hours) and full of excitement and adventure.

Let me start by saying that the edition i'm reading is beautiful. The cover art is actually gorgeous and I love the detail and references to the story. The story itself was excellent. I was a little worried that it wouldn't live up to the first book in the series but it really did. Percy has the worst (and yet best) luck and yet he never gives up - a lesson that all of us could use I think. Each character has a distinct personality and voice, and with a fairly big sized group of characters that can be quite difficult. 

I'm still annoyed that Percy is so young (13 now). Making him older would make the whole book seem more real as every so often i'm reminded of how young he is and whilst it makes his adventures more impressive, it also makes it harder to believe. I don't think my opinion on this is going to change but it doesn't affect how much I loved the book. I have a feeling that this series is just going to get bigger and better as Riordan sets up the scene for a big show down in Olympus. I can't wait!

Review // Tempestuous - Askew & Helmes

Published - (Expected) 18th December 2012
Published By - Merit Press
Format - Kindle
Goodreads Synopsis - Recently banished, unfairly, by the school’s popular crowd, former “it girl,” Miranda Prospero, finds herself in a brave new world: holding dominion amongst a rag-tag crew of geeks and misfits where she works at the Hot-Dog Kabob in the food court of her local mall. When the worst winter storm of the season causes mall workers and last-minute shoppers to be snowed-in for the night, Miranda seizes the opportunity to get revenge against the catty clique behind her social exile. With help from her delightfully dweeby coworker, Ariel, and a sullen loner named Caleb who works at the mall’s nearby gaming and magic shop, Miranda uses charm and trickery to set things to right during this spirited take on Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Tempestuous is due to be released on 18th December. This is an early review.

As a fan of both YA and Shakespeare, Tempestuous is exactly my kinda thing. Tempestuous, based loosely on Shakespeare's The Tempest was full of references to other Shakespeare plays too, along with Jane Austen and modern crazes such as Words With Friends. Some may dislike what seems to be a barrage of 'names and labels' but I loved it. It really added to the authenticity and the mixture between modern and Shakespearian was wonderful. Every single character had their own personality and a life of their own. Every book comes with a good crush and here, Caleb doesn't let us down. Moody, brooding and a musician? Yes please!

The premise of the story, as the synopsis tells you, is a group of kids get stuck in the mall over night and Miranda is left to confront her previous friends as well as find a place amongst her new friends. What kind of person does she want to be? Miranda is not your average main character though. I'm still not sure if I even liked her! She's cocky, a little narcissistic and is well aware that she has the ability to make people do whatever she wants. The fact that a character that would usually be unlikeable becomes more than that, one of your friends, is a testament to the great writing from Askew & Helmes.

There were so many wonderful lines in the book but I think my favourite has to be,
"The ability for anyone in our generation to self-amuse has sadly been bred out of our species". Funny, true and just a little bit ironic to read as I was in fact amusing myself with the book!
The Twisted Lit series proves to be exciting, fun and entertaining. I can't wait to read the next - Exposure, a twisted lit version of Macbeth (my favourite play!)

Monday, 26 November 2012

Review // Legend of the Chosen (Destiny's Kingdom #1) - Selzer & Huber

Published - 1st July 2012
Published By - TwoFold Press
Format - Kindle
Goodreads Synopsis - Bethel, the charmed central planet of the galaxy is on the brink of the year’s most anticipated event: the celebrated Twilight Bloom. Quade Decairus has no reason to believe that this year will be any different than those in the past: food and music, friends and the good cheer of those he loves the most. So why has he been plagued with nightmares of the end of his world coming on this very night?
Prophecies masked as legends. Impossible visions, bringing universal destruction. Only one man can seek those chosen to stop the evil and save them all.
In a world rich with magic and technology, a seamless blend of Fantasy and Sci-Fi, Destiny’s Kingdom explores Quade’s journey as he quests to save a galaxy that has always known peace and prosperity from a powerful evil only he can face.

Legend of the Chosen was sent to me by Jennifer Selzer, and as soon as I read the description I knew I wanted to read and review it! I loved how the book started straight away. I've mentioned in previous posts how I dislike being spoonfed the story and the world it's set in but Selzer & Huber got it just right. I feel comfortable in Bethel without having to have the minute details given to me.

The characters were wonderful, my only wish was to have a little but more knowledge about them individually. I feel like I know Quade well enough but it would be great to know more about Trina, Clea etc. This is the first book in the series though so maybe that comes later!

The story itself was gripping, especially towards the end when the action was getting started. I can't even begin to explain how exasperated I felt when I saw the words 'To be continued' because I need to know more! I think i'm right in saying the next book is now available to buy and I will definitely be picking it up in the future. It was a great read and a perfect mix of Sci-Fi and fantasy - two genres that I can never read enough of.

Musing Mondays

Held by Should Be Reading

This week: Have you ever read a book after watching the movie/television version only to find that you don't like the book as much as the adaptation?

Yes! The main one that springs to mind is The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. Like 90% of the female population, I absolutely adore the movie so I picked up a cheap copy of the book thinking that I would love it so much more and it was just, disappointing. Another one that springs to mind and is probably the MOST disappointing of all is The Vampire Diaries. I am an avid fan of the tv show and so when I knew they were based on a series of books I HAD to have them! However it's a couple of years down the line and i'm still struggling to finish the books. I've finished the first few series and i'm now working on Stefan's Diaries (which are marginally better) but they're so dull! Completely unrealistic and actually laughable really. A few bad experiences will never stop me heading straight to the written word though - even if it's just for comparison, it's always better to read the books.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Musing Mondays

Held by Should Be Reading
This week: Do you read the ending before you start a book? Do you ever skip ahead to read the ending?
No! No no no. I can't bear to be spoiled in relation to books. When it comes to tv or films etc then i'm not too bothered but never in books. I love the suspense and the feeling you get when everything unfolds (or doesn't as the case may be). If I wanted to know what happened before reading them i'm sure there's plenty of spoilers out there on the internet without even having to try to find them. I always want to find out first-hand how it's going to end :)

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Review // Bitter Blood (Morganville #13) - Rachel Caine

Published - 6th November 2012
Published By - Allison & Busby
Format - Paperback
Goodreads Synopsis -
For years, the human and vampire residents of Morganville, Texas, have managed to co-exist in peace. But now that the threat to the vampires has been defeated, the human residents are learning that the gravest danger they face is the enemy within…Thanks to the eradication of the parasitic creatures known as the draug, the vampires of Morganville have been freed of their usual constraints. With the vampires indulging their every whim, the town’s human population is determined to hold on to their lives by taking up arms. But college student Claire Danvers isn’t about to take sides, considering she has ties to both the humans and the vampires. To make matters worse, a television show comes to Morganville looking for ghosts, just as vampire and human politics collide. Now, Claire and her friends have to figure out how to keep the peace without ending up on the nightly news… or worse.

If you've been reading this blog for a while then you already know how much I just love this series. Although the last book only came out a few months ago, it has felt like forever whilst waiting for the thirteenth installment of Rachel Caine's Morganville series.

This book sees a lot of changes to both writing perspective and characters. The residents of Glass House are growing  up - and that's not necessarily a good thing. I've been with Claire, Shane, Michael & Eve for a long time now and they truly are like my best friends; so if you've read this book you'll understand what I mean when I say i'm worried about where the series will go from here. I need my friends happy & together.

There were moments in Bitter Blood where I was just too scared to read because I had NO idea where Caine was going with it. Every page was a surprise and a delight. I devoured the entire thing in less than 24 hours because I couldn't bare to be parted with it (pesky work got in the way a little). For me, Rachel Caine has created  an amazing world. I feel like Morganville is my home too and i'm equally as invested in the town's survival. It takes a skilled writer to make a book feel like real life but that's exactly what Caine does in Morganville. 

Myrnin was, as always, beautifully written and is an absolute pleasure to read. Reading from his POV was great and I really connected with him. In fact, I just want to continuously gush over each and every character! I even felt concerned for Oliver..! I cried a good few times whilst reading Bitter Blood (don't worry, no spoilers here) and there is one special little spirit that I would just love to meet again. :)

I doubt that Rachel Caine will personally see this but I wish I could thank her again for bringing these stories and people (for that's who they are!) into my world.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Review // The Foreshadowing - Marcus Sedgwick

Published - 23rd May 2006
Published By - Wendy Lamb Books
Format - Hardback
Goodreads Synopsis - It is 1915 and the First World War has only just begun. 17 year old Sasha is a well-to-do, sheltered-English girl. Just as her brother Thomas longs to be a doctor, she wants to nurse, yet girls of her class don't do that kind of work. But as the war begins and the hospitals fill with young soldiers, she gets a chance to help. But working in the hospital confirms what Sasha has suspected--she can see when someone is going to die. Her premonitions show her the brutal horrors on the battlefields of the Somme, and the faces of the soldiers who will die. And one of them is her brother Thomas. Pretending to be a real nurse, Sasha goes behind the front lines searching for Thomas, risking her own life as she races to find him, and somehow prevent his death.

A while ago I was getting frustrated with trying to find a quick, short read to fill in the gaps between university reading and so I enlisted the help of my flatmate, who is also a great book lover. She picked out The Foreshadowing, which is one of her books that she enjoyed a long time ago now.

This isn't the type of book that I would usually read so I was excited to jump into it and see what my flatmate enjoyed about it. I was a little disappointed though. 

The Foreshadowing has the potential to be a great enthralling read but it was lacking. The only person I cared about was Jack and he didn't appear in the book until half way through. There was barely any emotion in the book despite several potentially heartbreaking scenes. The main character, Alexandra/Sasha was just...boring. Nothing she did interested me. I loved the idea of the book, and particularly liked that the chapters ran backwards even though it didn't seem to really matter if there were chapters at all. I think the longest chapter consisted of 4 pages.

I just wanted more from it. More information about characters, backstories, relationships and emotions. More of everything really. That being said, it wasn't a terrible book. It was a quick read, simplistic and to the point with a few sparse comments that intrigued me. I'm glad the book was quite short though as I think if it had continued in the same manner, I wouldn't have been able to keep reading.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Musing Mondays | Multiple Choice

This week: Multiple Choice

• If you had to choose only 3 books to read forever, which ones would you choose?
Can I cheat a little bit here? I'm going to pick 3 series instead. Hmm i'd have to go for Harry Potter, Morganville Vampires and John Green's novels. Okay I cheated even more with that last one but hey, it's my forever so I get to choose!

• Is there a character that you absolutely love but that you cannot get a good mental picture of?
Percy Jackson! He's supposed to be really young (12 I think?) but I just can't read him that way. My mental picture of him changes so frequently because I have to keep reminding myself of his age in relation to his adventures etc. I can't base him off the film version either because although that actor is great (and cute!), I don't picture him like that when I read him.
• Make a plea for your favourite book. Make others wanna read it!
My favourite book is Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde and I lovelovelove it. Funny thing is i've only read it once because it just stuck with me perfectly. The book questions society, power and it even makes you question yourself. I think it's definitely relevant to today's world just as much as it was when Wilde wrote it.

These other questions can also be answered but I just picked these three :) Have fun and let me know which questions you picked! Feel free to do them all if you want :)

• If you could create a soundtrack for a book you’ve read recently, which songs would you use and why
• Do you read outside your preferred genre? Has your preferred genre changed
• Do you have a favorite book/movie combination?
• Name a book that you thought you wouldn’t like much, but you ended up loving.
• If you were Book Czar of the world, is there one book you would like to require every kid to read?

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Review // The Murder of Roger Ackroyd - Agatha Christie

Published - 1st February 2011
Published By - William Morrow Paperbacks
Format - Kindle
Goodreads Synopsis - Roger Ackroyd knew too much. He knew that the woman he loved had poisoned her brutal first husband. He suspected also that someone had been blackmailing her. Then, tragically, came the news that she had taken her own life with a drug overdose.

But the evening post brought Roger one last fatal scrap of information. Unfortunately, before he could finish reading the letter, he was stabbed to death.

Agatha Christie is an author that almost everybody has heard of even if they haven't read anything. As a hugely successful mystery writer, I was expecting her to crop up on my Detective Fiction course at university and I wasn't sure how I felt about it. I've heard so many great things that I was sure the hype would ruin it. To an extent this was true when I first picked up the book but i'm happy to say that my opinion changed mostly.

At first I was fully aware that I was supposed to be enjoying the story which honestly lead me to withholding from it. Although it's a fairy short book, it took me longer than usual to finish it because of my preconceived ideas. Once I got to around the midway point though I found myself caught up in the mystery and the lives of the characters. I was trying to put together pieces of the puzzle and add my own guesses to the mix. I think the best thing about The Murder of Roger Ackroyd though is that I had no idea. I had narrowed my suspects to just two people and I was wrong on both counts! I like to think that i'm a fairly intuitive reader but Christie had me stumped. 

The story, the character, the puzzle; all kept me reading and contemplating the book. I'm definitely interested in reading more of her work later down the line and I can safely say that Christie earned her notoriety for a reason!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Top Ten Tuesday | Books I Want

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is: Books I Want

I have a HUGE list that covers the majority of my laptop's desktop of books that I want and either can't afford, can't commit to buying or don't have the time to put down everything and read it as soon as I have it. So here are just ten of those :)

1. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs
2. Wintergirls - Laurie Halse Anderson
3. Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher
4. Gone - Michael Grant
5. The Princess Bride - William Goldman
6. The Enemy - Charlie Higson
7. Forbidden - Jana Oliver
8. The Girl Who Played With Fire - Stieg Larsson
9. Coraline - Neil Gaiman
10. Cinder - Marissa Meyer

Monday, 5 November 2012

Musing Mondays

What is the most recent book you purchased, or brought home from the local library? What made you pick it? Have you started reading it, right away, or will you wait for a bit?

The most recent book I bought was the paperback of Christopher Paolini's Inheritance. It's the latest installment of the Inheritance Cycle (Eragon, Eldest, Brinsgr). I read the other books years ago and absolutely loved them so I was excited when Inheritance was finally released. I waited for the paperback though as I prefer those. It's going to be a while before I get round to reading it though due to an insane backlog and I really need to re-read the first three as it's been so long. I can't wait to get back to Eragon and Saphira's adventures in Alagaesia though!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

October Wrap-Up

Although it doesn't feel like it, I got through quite a few things this month! Here's what I kept myself busy with in October.

1. The Casual Vacancy - J.K.Rowling
2. The Murders of Rue Morgue - Edgar Allan Poe
3. The Purloined Letter - Edgar Allan Poe
4. The Bad Beginning - Lemony Snicket
5. A Scandal in Bohemia - Arthur Conan Doyle
6. The Man with the Twisted Lip - Arthur Conan Doyle
7. The Adventure of Copper Beeches - Arthur Conan Doyle

There are quite a few books i'm 'currently reading' that I started during October and haven't finished yet so with a little bit of luck (and time!), next months wrap-up should look quite healthy :)

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Book Haul

As always, I bought way more books than I read which isn't helping my TBR piles at all! I'm happy with what I have though so here they are!

1. Extras - Scott Westerfeld
2. We Bought A Zoo - Benjamin Mee
3. Death Cure - James Dashner
4. The Good Guy - Dean Koontz
5. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol 1 - Alan Moore
6. Future Games - Orson, Scott, Card & Others.
7. Of Light & Darkness - Shayne Leighton
8. The Scent of Magic - Maria V Snyder
9. Lone Wolf - Jodi Picoult
10. Inheritance - Christopher Paolini
11. Twined - A.L.Collins
12. Tempestuous - Kim Askew & Amy Helmes

Some of these aren't available to buy yet but I have a feeling they're going to be great, so make sure you check out the books from this haul if you're curious.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012


Just a quick one to apologise for the lack of activity over here at Loaded Shelves recently.
I'm so busy with real life that I just haven't had time to immerse myself in my (preferred) fictional life.
I'm behind with author requested reviews and all other kinds of reviews (and everything else!) so please bare with me and hopefully over the next couple of weeks I can bring things up to date.
I hope you've all been reading some awesome things!
~ Cazz

Top Ten Tuesday | Kick-Ass Heroines

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is: Kick-Ass Heroines

There are so many strong female characters out there; this is going to be tricky.

1. Hazel from John Green's The Fault in Our Stars.
2. Yelena from Maria Snyder's Poison Study.
3. Katniss from Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games.
4. Anna from Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper.
5. Tris from Veronica Roth's Divergent.
6. Kahlen from Terry Goodkind's Wizard's First Rule.
7. Offred from Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale.
8. Claire Danvers from Rachel Caine's Morganville.
9. Hermione Granger from J.Rowling's Harry Potter.
10. Cordelia from Shakespeare's King Lear.

There are so many more that I could have added to this list. Each of these heroines are brave, courageous and loyal despite the challenges that lay ahead of them. They each show that being a young woman does not mean that you are inferior in anyway or too weak to face dangers, but instead that they are intelligent and independent and will do whatever it takes to make things right!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Review // Sherlock Holmes (3 stories) - Arthur Conan Doyle

Today's review is a 3-in-1 featuring three of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes short stories.

A Scandal in Bohemia

This was by far my favourite Sherlock Holmes story that i've read so far. It was fast reading, intriguing and had me flipping the metaphorical (kindle) pages furiously.  I loved Holmes' commentary on Watson's recent marriage though i'm a little concerned about how easy it is for Watson to take off from his life in order to accompany Holmes!

As a fan of BBC's Sherlock, I couldn't help but compare the text to the TV adaptation and I was pleasantly surprised. The two were remarkably well connected and i'm looking forward to re-watching the episode in light of reading the story. I loved the opening narrative by Watson describing Irene Adler as the woman - as that is exactly what she is. A Scandal in Bohemia reminded me a lot of Poe's The Purloined Letter which I recently reviewed so it was interesting to see how Detective Fiction grew.

The Man With the Twisted Lip

This story was probably the most surprising one out of the three. I didn't guess the outcome and like the previous story, I was interested throughout and read it in just a couple of minutes! I was intrigued by the fact that there didn't seem to be any actual crime, which in my recent readings of this type of literature is quite strange. It kind of gave me the idea that greed and wealth is just as much a crime as murder.

The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

I think this story might be one that I will need to read again because it wasn't...great. I enjoyed the others so much that after reading this I felt like it was more to do with me and my understanding of the story than the story itself.
I liked that Miss Hunter was a strong, capable woman but the mystery just didn't work for me. Although all of the stories end abruptly, this one just didn't really end for me.

Top Ten Tuesday | Halloween

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is: Books for Halloween
I thnk most people are doing their Top Ten Halloween related books they love but I haven't actually read many that would fit under here! So here's my Top Ten Halloween related books that I *want* to read.
1. Vampire Academy - Richelle Mead
2. The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman
3. The Diviners - Libba Bray
4.  The Vampire Lestat - Anne Rice
5. The Woman in Black - Susan Hill
6. Pride & Prejudice & Zombies - Seth Grahame-Smith
7. Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
8. Dracula - Bram Stoker
9. The Madness Underneath - Maureen Johnson
10. The Demonata Series - Darren Shan

Monday, 22 October 2012

Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays, as the name suggests, is a weekly book related Q&A held by Should Be Reading.

Do you ever get crushes on fictional characters? Name one (or a few), and tell what you liked…

Oh all the time! It happens less often now but I definitely have crushes on fictional characters. There's Valek from Maria Snyder's 'Study Series', who is protective, strong, intriguing and more importantly I think, mysterious.  
Damon Salvatore from L.J.Smith's The Vampire Diaries. who is not your typical bad boy. He's dark and dangerous but there's also a side to him that is sweet and caring and wants the best for the people he cares about, even if he doesn't act like it!
Dash from Levithan & Cohn's Dash & Lily's Book of Dares. He loves language and words and again is just a wonderful character and every aspect of him is likeable.
Tobias/Four from Roth's Divergent (and Insurgent). I don't even think this one needs an explanation!
Shane Collins from Caine's Morganville series though is probably my biggest fictional crush. Again, he's really strong and confident on the front but he's actually a sensitive, torn up man. I absolutely love his characterisation and will be devastated when the series is over.

Also, I got to meet the author who gave me Shane she very kindly signed my book with this:

Needless to say my obsession only got worse after this ;)

There are so many well written characters out there that it's hard not to fall for them. The beauty of a written character rather than a real life person is that you get to see the parts of them that they wouldn't usually share; their thoughts, emotions and real attitudes towards people.

I'm sure that for as long as i'm reading, I will find new fictional crushes, and i'm okay with that.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Top Ten Tuesday | Books Read In 2011

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is: Top Ten Books I Read In 2011

(I may be cheating a little by lumping series' together :P)

1. Morganville Vampires - Rachel Caine
2. Wintercraft - Jenna Burtenshaw
3. Paper Towns - John Green
4. Will Grayson, Will Grayson - John Green
5. Evermore - Alyson Noel
6. Beastly - Alex Flinn
7. North and South - Elizabeth Gaskell
8. Good Morning, Midnight - Jean Rhys
9. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
10. Let It Snow - Green, Johnson & Myracle

I'm in no way disrespecting any of these authors as I love them ALL, but 2011 wasn't a great year for my reading pile! I pretty just much read series' of books rather than stand-a-lones so it was difficult to choose. I read ELEVEN of Caine's books in 2011! Hopefully when it comes to posting my 2012 reading list, it will be a little more varied :)

Monday, 15 October 2012

Review // The Purloined Letter - Edgar Allan Poe

Published - 23rd December 2010
Format - Kindle
Goodreads Synopsis - The Purloined Letter is the third of the three stories featuring the detective C. Auguste Dupin, the other two being The Murders in the Rue Morgue and The Mystery of Marie Roget. These stories are considered important forerunners of the modern detective story. The method Poe's detective, Dupin, uses to solve the crime was quite innovative. He tried to identify with the criminal and to "think like he would." In May of 1844 Poe wrote to James Russell Lowell that he considered it "perhaps the best of my tales of ratiocination."

 (Not the actual cover of my version)

I originally gave this short story a low star rating of 2/5 but on reflection i've bumped it up to a much more suitable 4/5. I rarely change my mind on books but this one had me thinking long past the last page. 

Having recently reviewed The Murders in Rue Morgue as a guest post (which you can read here), I jumped straight into The Purloined Letter. For those interested - I have intentionally missed out the middle story in this collection but I intend to go back at a later date to read it! This review will vaguely come in two parts as I talk about my first impressions and then the reasons why I changed my rating.

Unlike The Murders in Rue Morgue, this story was more plot driven than explanation of Dupin's analysis process. The Purloined Letter was shorter and easy to read and I strangely enough, I think this was partly why I found myself enjoying it less. Don't get me wrong, I DID like it - I just felt like I was missing something. Everything seemed easy and straightforward. I'm new to detective fiction but even I know that there needs to be a twist of some kind. So I finished it, rated it and moved on.

Although I didn't really move on. I had a class about Poe's work and then I spent some time googling, as you do, and I think I finally got what i'd been missing. Revenge.
The Purloined Letter, though seemingly easy and simplistic is actually darker and more mysterious than The Murders of  Rue Morgue, or even anything that i've read lately. It plays heavily on revenge and deceit. Looking back, I have no idea how I missed it in the first place, but I re-read the last few pages to make sense of it in this new light. With this in mind, I enjoyed the story much more and I felt I needed to adjust my star rating accordingly.  When I have more time, I plan on reading all three Dupin stories again as it seems to me that more is hidden underneath just waiting to be discovered!

If you've read either The Murders of Rue Morgue or The Purloined Letter, i'd love to know what your thoughts are! Also if there are any other short stories by Poe you recommend, let me know those too.

Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays, as the name suggests, is a weekly book related Q&A held by Should Be Reading.
I discovered this meme through Escape Into Fiction so don't forget to stop by there as well :)

This week's question:
Do you have a system as to which books to read from your “requested review pile? What is it? What about when there are too many to read in a certain time frame? {apologies to those who don’t review}

At the moment, I don't get that many requested reviews so I tend to review them in the order that I get them. I'm also a full-time lit student and I work part-time so my time is limited! However, if i'm contacted by an author who has an upcoming release then i'll make every effort to read theirs first to coincide with release dates. So far I haven't had too many to read in a short space of time (averaging 1-3 requested reviews a month) so I don't have to worry about not being able to get them all done in time.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Cover Release Fractured - Teri Terry!

Back in June I wrote a review for Teri Terry's novel Slated which you can read here - Slated Review.
I absolutely adored this book and have been keeping a watchful eye out for news of the second book in the series Fractured.Well...

The cover art for Fractured is released!

I am so pleased that the style of the cover art matches perfectly with Slated. It's beautiful and I love the splash of colour which fits in with how I imagine the book becoming more colourful with the release of more memories and Kyla's story. I am SO excited to read this book.

Fractured is released May 2013.

50 Book Challenge - Completed!

*happy dance!*
I managed to finish the 50 Book Challenge by October which is pretty good going! I'm not going to change my target, but I am setting myself a mini goal of another 15 books by new year. If you're interested in knowing what books i've read so far then either add me on goodreads or wait until 1st January 2012 to find out what books I read this year.

How are you doing on YOUR challenge?

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Top Ten Tuesday | Series I Want To Read

I got this from Annamarie's Book Blog :)

Top 10 series I want to read before I'm 30.

  1. The Vampire Chronicles - Anne Rice
  2. The Sword of Truth - Terry Goodkind
  3. Uglies - Scott Westerfeld
  4. Weather Warden - Rachel Caine
  5. Percy Jackson - Rick Riordan
  6. Maze Runner - James Dashner
  7. Demon Trappers - Jana Oliver
  8. Millennium Trilogy - Stieg Larsson
  9. Gone - Michael Grant
  10. Chaos Walking - Patrick Ness
Phew, they're just the ones i've been meaning to get round to starting/finishing for a long time! I'm pretty sure I can get these read over the next 6 years. If you have any other recommendations for series then i'd love to hear them!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Review // The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1) - Lemony Snicket

Published - 30th September1999
Published By - Scholastic
Format - Hardback
Goodreads Synopsis - Dear Reader,
I'm sorry to say that the book you are holding in your hands is extremely unpleasant. It tells an unhappy tale about three very unlucky children. Even though they are charming and clever, the Baudelaire siblings lead lives filled with misery and woe. From the very first page of this book when the children are at the beach and receive terrible news, continuing on through the entire story, disaster lurks at their heels. One might say they are magnets for misfortune.

In this short book alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, and cold porridge for breakfast.
It is my sad duty to write down these unpleasant tales, but there is nothing stopping you from putting this book down at once and reading something happy, if you prefer that sort of thing. 
With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket is a well loved collection of stories for (I imagine) a younger audience. Honestly, it was never a series that I was very interested in reading. I was 11 when The Bad Beginning was published and in the 13 years since then I had completely forgotten about it. However, I've just moved into a shared house and thanks to my housemate the collection is now partly mine and I have reconsidered. (Mostly because they are short and I wanted some 'light' reading inbetween university books)

As seems to be the case just lately - I was pleasantly surprised by The Bad Beginning! (I'm on a great streak of 'good' books.) Though not really 'light-hearted', the book was fun, uncomplicated and a really quick and interesting read. Throughout the book, the narrator Lemony Snicket, explains various words that have been used and gives their meaning in this particular instance. Granted, at the age of 24 it's a little patronising but considering the target audience, I think it's great!

What surprised me most were the snippets of information that genuinely felt like I was learning something or reading something truly meaningful. Just a few things I picked up on were:-

  • "First impressions are often entirely wrong. You can look at a painting for the first time, for example, and not like it at all, but looking at it a little longer  you may find it very pleasing."
  • "It is a sad truth in life that when someone has lost a loved one, friends sometimes avoid the person, just when the presence of friends is most needed."
  • "By immersing themselves in their favourite reading topics, they felt far away from their predicament, as if they had escaped."

Snicket's writing style is brilliant and the first book is both funny and thoughtful. The Baudelaire children are brave and intelligent and a pleasure to read. I feel terrible about not reading these books sooner but now i've started...keep an eye out :)
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