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!: https://www.facebook.com/LoadedShelves


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 a...fan, 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
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