Thursday, 31 January 2013

Book Haul | January

As promised, this months haul was...extravagant. So let's get it over with!

1. Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
2. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson
3. The Lover - Marguerite Duras
4. The Death & Life of Charlie St Cloud - Ben Sherwood
5. Hard Times - Charles Dickens
6. Under Milk Wood - Dylan Thomas
7. The Scorch Trials (Maze Runners #2) - James Dashner
8. Demon Apocalypse - Darren Shan
9. Death's Shadow - Darren Shan
10. Knots & Crosses - Ian Rankin
11. Hide & Seek - Ian Rankin
12. Tooth & Nail - Ian Rankin
13. Strip Jack - Ian Rankin
14. The Black Book - Ian Rankin
15. Keeper of the Light - Diane Chamberlain
16. The Courage Tree - Diane Chamberlain
17. Secrets She Left Behind - Diane Chamberlain
18. Cwmardy & We Live - Lewis Jones
19. Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List - Levithan & Cohn
20. Seraphina - Rachel Hartman
21. Beauty - Robin McKinley
22. My Love Lies Bleeding - Alyxandra Harvey
23. Fallen Star - Jessica Sorensen
24. The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
25. Geek Girl - Holly Smale
26. The Seraph Contingency - Jennifer Fales
27. A Witch Alone - Ruth Warburton

I'm not sure if there'll be a haul any time soon as this is definitely enough to be getting on with! We'll see how long I can reign myself in for ;)

Monday, 28 January 2013

GIVEAWAY | Kindle Gift for 'The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap'





Another giveaway!

I've been working with author Paulette Mahurin and her book, 'The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap' (see my review and exclusive interview HERE).

Together we've decided to run this giveaway, allowing you the chance to win a  Kindle book gift so you can download Paulette's book..FOR FREE!
So get entering and i'll announce the winner next Monday!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Review // Geek Girl - Holly Smale (ARC)

Published - EXPECTED 28th February 2013
Publisher - Harper Collins

Format - Kindle
Goodreads Synopsis - Harriet Manners knows a lot of things. She knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a "jiffy" lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per day. What she isn't quite so sure about is why nobody at school seems to like her very much. So when she's spotted by a top model agent, Harriet grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Even if it means stealing her Best Friend's dream, incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of the impossibly handsome supermodel Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves. 
As Harriet veers from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, she begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn't seem to like her any more than the real world did. 
And as her old life starts to fall apart, the question is: will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything?

Geek Girl by Holly Smale was exactly what I was expecting - which is a good thing. It was fresh, easy to love characters and a storyline that not only flows well but fast - hard to put down. Harriet is the kind of character that everyone can relate to in some way, whether you're also a geek, or you like fashion, whether you strive for popularity or even just to go unnoticed. It's all there.

There are plenty of morals in Geek Girl that are staring you in the face but not so much that you constantly feel like anything is being thrown at you. You take it, and move on - hopefully a little wiser! I particularly liked all of the little facts that Harriet shares as no matter what happens in the book, she is always true to the reader.

I did find the book was aimed at a younger audience than me even though I adore YA. It's the kind of book that my almost-teen nieces would devour but I *did* enjoy it all the same. More importantly, it made me realise that there is so much good YA set in Britain by British authors that I just don't come across. The fact that this is based somewhat on Smale's own experiences with geekdom and modelling adds that extra level to the novel. If you like quick, good, YA British reads then this one is for you.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Review + Interview // The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap - Paulette Mahurin


Synopsis for The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap


The year 1895 was filled with memorable historical events: the Dreyfus Affair divided France; Booker T. Washington gave his Atlanta address; Richard Olney, United States Secretary of State, expanded the effects of the Monroe Doctrine in settling a boundary dispute between the United Kingdom and Venezuela; and Oscar Wilde was tried and convicted for gross indecency under Britain’s recently passed law that made sex between males a criminal offense. When news of Wilde’s conviction went out over telegraphs worldwide, it threw a small Nevada town into chaos. This is the story of what happened when the lives of its citizens were impacted by the news of Oscar Wilde’s imprisonment. It is a chronicle of hatred and prejudice with all its unintended and devastating consequences, and how love and friendship bring strength and healing.

Paulette Mahurin, an award-winning author, is a Nurse Practitioner who lives in Ojai, California with her husband Terry and their two dogs--Max and Bella. She practices women’s health in a rural clinic and writes in her spare time.
Today Paulette answers a few questions about her novel for the readers of Loaded Shelves.



1.      The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap is a thought-provoking novel, what inspired you to write it?  First let me say a big thank, Caragh, for having me over to your great site for this interview.

To answer your question the inspiration came from a real life situation, a person I had been involved with, working with who was in the closet. This individual had been molested, abused emotionally and fearful of coming out well into their adult life. Nothing I did or said helped them feel comfortable to even consider coming out. It pained me. On this backdrop, I started taking a writing class. One day the teacher came in with a stack of photos for an exercise in which we were to write a ten minute mystery. The photo I chose was of two women, huddled very close together, in circa turn of the twentieth century garb, with strangely fearful looking expressions on their faces. It screamed out lesbians afraid of being found out. That was the initial seed for the story which blossomed upon my doing research and coming across Oscar Wilde’s imprisonment for homosexual activity in 1895.

2.      Each chapter begins with a quote from Oscar Wilde. Did you actively seek these out to fit the book or did you already have them in mind? I sought them out. When I started reading about his trial and conviction I was moved to sorrow. Here was a man who fell in love and wanted to be with his lover, as natural a thing as a bird chirping, wind moving clouds, snow melting in the sun, that he could no more change than we can stop being who we are. He was thrown in prison, slept on a hard wooden bed, was fed watery porridge, not allowed pencil or paper and had to walk on a treadmill for six hours a day. For what? Who did he hurt? I read a letter he wrote to his lover while in prison, “De Profundis,” which is one of the most powerful pieces of literature I’ve ever read. A lot of the quotes at the beginning of each chapter come from this. I wanted his presence felt throughout the story. His imprisonment was a watershed moment in history for gay men, a very dark stain on humanity and tolerance.

3.      The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap was, at times, uncomfortable to read given the subject matter but characters such as Charley and Gus made it easier. Did you always intend to have them be the voice of reason in your book or did they just develop into that themselves? They developed spontaneously. They spoke to me and told me to create a balance, that the women couldn’t do it alone, not up against Josie-the antagonist, a metaphor for hatred and bigotry. It really does take a village, a support system, to generate enough love to diffuse that kind of hatred. The story also needed to show change and hope. I felt it would have been too unreal to have that change come from Josie or Mildred & Edra and so the two men were the change agents in the story, the external factors to show that the heart knows what the mind can never envision, of all that is possible.

4.      Your talent for writing is obvious, have you always wanted to be a writer?  Thank you for this very lovely compliment. I can’t remember a time I wanted to “be a writer” but rather writing is something that came to me. I love to write and so I do it. It’s my sanctuary where it’s safe to say what I want without fear of consequences and that is very therapeutic. I’ve never had a lot of time in my life to sit down and write daily, until I became ill with Lyme disease and then there was very little else I could do. In six of the later years I was ill, I wrote the story. In some ways I feel it contributed to my getting better. I’m now about 95% there.

5.      All profits from the sale of your book are going to animal rescue (fantastic!), what made you decide to do this? The Ventura County Star (largest circulating press in Ventura County, where I live, goes out to close to a million readers) did an article on this and I’ll give that link here for anyone who wants to read it. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/sep/08/ojai-authors-historical-novel-teaches-tolerance/  The short version is I had a dog, Tazzie, who I was very bonded to. She was a great love of my life. She lived to be 15+ years which is ancient for a Rottweiler. When she died I was devastated and so my husband and I did what we do, went to the kill shelter to save more lives (we’d been involved in dog rescue for the past 28 years) but this time it was hard to pick and leave the others on death row, all those sad faces in cages haunted me. This was around the time the first and only no-kill shelter opened in Ventura County, Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center. It was also around the same time I finished my novel. It seemed a no-brainer to donate the profits to this shelter and thankfully I’m able to do that. (http://www.santapaulaarc.org/ )

6.      Oscar Wilde is one of my favourite authors, with Dorian Gray being my all-time favourite book. Do you have a favourite of his? My favourite of Wildes’ and one of the most profound things I’ve ever read is “De Profundis.”  (http://www.upword.com/wilde/de_profundis.html)  That he wrote this from prison, the dark time in his life, as a self-reflection leaves me hard to find words of description or even praise for it is a raw tortuous inspirational all over the place read. When do we get to peek inside another’s soul like this? It’s one of my all time favourite reads. Thanks for asking this.

7.      Tell us some of your favourite authors/books! Loaded Shelves loves recommendations. There are so many that it is hard to pick one but for the sake of referral another one of my favourite reads is Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath.” Have you read it? (Yes, I read it a few years ago - GREAT book!)

8.      I absolutely adored The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, and would love to own a physical copy. Where can readers buy your book? All amazon links. Here are a couple:

OTHER LINKS TO CONTACT PAULETTE:

GOODREADS:
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/14061559-the-persecution-of-mildred-dunlap

SHELFARI:
http://www.shelfari.com/books/28821838/The-Persecution-of-Mildred-Dunlap

FACEBOOK:
https://www.facebook.com/ThePersecutionOfMildredDunlap

BOOK'S BLOG:
http://thepersecutionofmildreddunlap.wordpress.com/

TWITTER:
https://twitter.com/MahurinPaulette


BOOK'S WEBSITE:
http://bookpromogroup2.weebly.com/paulette-mahurin.html

I had the pleasure of reading Paulette's book and i'm so excited that I can share it with you now!

Review

Red River Pass is a small town that is overwhelmed by the news of Oscar Wilde's imprisonment for sexual deviancy - his crime was that of being gay. Though most of the town found it disturbing gossip, there were a couple of residents who found the disturbances much closer to home. The story of Mildred & Edra's love is beautiful but of course, at the time of Wilde's imprisonment, beauty did not matter when it came to same-sex relationships.

At times, I found the story quite uncomfortable, but not in a I-don't-want-to-read-this kind of way and more a case of being shocked and overwhelmed by the people that Mildred has to face. It is a tough subject matter, even in today's society where we're more open-minded and accepting of the LGBT community.

Mildred is such a lovely character to read and imagine.  She is kind, caring, considerate and loving - even to those who don't deserve her attention. She is equal to all in a world full of intolerance and hate. She is exactly the kind of person that we should strive to be. In opposition of hateful characters such as Josie, Hanah & even Helene, there is Charley and Gus. For me, Charley & Gus were the voice of reason amongst madness and gossip. They are accepting and loyal, no matter their own beliefs. Though Charley points out that Mildred is nothing special to look at, he recognises, and voices, that as a person she is special and she deserves better treatment. Hurray for Charley!

Mildred and Edra have made a friend out of me, and everyone should take a lesson from them - there is no place for  "the ignorance that lives in closed minds everywhere".

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Review // Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List - Levithan & Cohn

Published - 26th August 2008
Publisher - Ember

Format - Paperback
Goodreads Synopsis - Naomi and Ely are best friends. Naomi loves and is in love with Ely, and Ely loves Naomi, but prefers to be in love with boys. So they create their "No Kiss List" of people neither of them is allowed to kiss. And this works fine - until Bruce. Bruce is Naomi's boyfriend, so there's no reason to put him on the List. But Ely kissed Bruce even though he is boring. The result: a rift of universal proportions and the potential end of "Naomi and Ely: the institution." Can these best friends come back together again?

After being a long time fan of the film Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, last year I discovered the book by Levithan & Cohn. I immediately read the book, followed by Dash & Lily's Book of Dares (which has since become my most adored book) and now this, the wonderful Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List.

It took me longer to get into the book than it did with the others but Levithan & Cohn are such brilliant writers, that before long I was deeply engrossed and couldn't get enough. It's a shorter than average book but I read it in just 3 hours! The thing I love most about Levithan & Cohn is that there characters are always flawed - completely loveable and relateable. 

As always with these two authors, my book is now covered in post-its of lines that I love and don't want to forget. The authors are not afraid to say it how it is and are open to discussing sex, sexuality, family breakdowns, what love is and what it means to be a friend. Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List is scattered with references to music (with Gabriel's playlists amongst others), television (LOTS of spoilers for Buffy & Dawson's Creek!) and the thing that got me the most was the repetition of the Nick & Norah reference from both Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist and Dash & Lily's Book of Dares. Though none of these books are related in anyway, they always find themselves in that same bathroom... It was just brilliant to read and had me nostalgic for quite a while. And of course the drag queens. 

I would definitely recommend not just this book but anything by the two authors, David Levithan & Rachel Cohn. Now that i've exhausted their joint books, I look forward to seeing what they do as single authors.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

GIVEAWAY! White Wolf - David Gemmell


Loaded Shelves reached 4000 page views today and i'm super proud! :D
To celebrate, i'm holding a giveaway.

Just follow the Rafflecopter (my first time using it - wish me luck!)

Details of the book:

White Wolf by David Gemmell is the first book in the Damned series and was published in 2003.
This is PRE-LOVED (has been read and owned by someone previously) and is a HARDBACK copy.

I will ship to both UK and USA and will pay for postage myself.

It would be great if you could share this with your friends!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Top Ten Tuesday | Reading Goals

Hosted by: Broke and the Bookish

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is 10 book/reading related goals and so here are mine.

1. Read 60 books in 2013 - last year I beat the 50 book challenge a few months early and my total was over 60 so I'm branching out! I feel pretty confident about it.

2. Stick to my personal book rules (Don't own more than 2 copies of any physical book & read 5 books before buying any new ones).

3. Read the 10 books I have planned already for the year.

4. Read more standalones.

5. Read books from different genres. I'm fairly good at this due to university but I graduate in the summer and I don't want to stop reading more challenging texts!

6. Be more aware of 'new releases'. I feel like i'm always playing catch up with books that everyone else already loves. This year i'd like to be more knowledgable of newer books :)

7. Keep on track with author reviews and don't take on too much.

8. Try really hard to stop reading a book if i'm not enjoying it. I have a serious problem with not being able to give up on a bad book in the hopes that it improves. I need to stop that!

9. Read more books that inspired the films/tv shows that I love.

10. Finish reading the series' that i've already started! There are SO many.

What are some of YOUR goals for 2013?

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Review // Grave Surprise (Harper Connelly #2) - Charlaine Harris

Published - 26th September 2006

Format - Kindle
Goodreads Synopsis - Charlaine Harris is already a star and a New York Times bestseller with her vampire mysteries starring Sookie Stackhouse and her Lily Bard mysteries. This second installment to her new supernatural mystery series might just be her biggest hit yet. Grave Sight's Harper Connelly is back, and her ability to find the dead and see their last moments is in higher demand than ever... A college class gets more than it bargained for when Harper gives a demonstration of her uncanny talent. Instead of just finding one body in an old grave, she finds two: the original occupant and a recently deceased girl whom Harper had tried, and failed, to find two years previously. To dispel suspicions about her own innocence, Harper and her stepbrother Tolliver undertake their own hunt to find the killer--only to find yet another body in the same grave.

The second book in Harris' Harper Connelly series, Grave Surprise, was actually a...surprise. I read the first a few months ago and although it was a decent story, it didn't seem to be anything special. The only reason I picked this up again is because my mother randomly picked it off the Kindle for me to read whilst visiting recently but it turned out to be more than I expected.

Now that I knew the characters, as well as Harris lets us know them anyway, I dove straight into the story and wanted to know all of the W's when reading or writing a book. I did guess the outcome early on, but the adventure to get there really interested me. The intertwining details of different character stories was great (and i've become a fan of 'detective' stories lately!). I still have a lot of questions regarding Harper & her brother Tolliver and i'm almost certain I know where this series is heading but I actually want to find out now, rather than just being dimly curious.

One thing that I didn't like about this book is attitudes towards sex. At one point, Harper and Tolliver are heatedly discussing their sexlives and the differences between a man's and a woman's views on this. Harper states that Tolliver want sex whenever, wherever with no commitment or cares and then goes on to say, "Maybe these were typical male-versus-female attitudes about sex". I don't agree with this at all and i'm not entirely sure why it's there, or why it's even relevant. Overall I enjoyed Grave Surprise though and will continue reading the series.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Top Ten Tuesday | Top Ten Books I Resolve To Read In 2013

Held by The Broke and the Bookish


There are so many books coming out this year that I will definitely be reading but these are the top ten books that have been out forever that I still haven't read and I really want to! Some of these are pretty hefty books so I hope I can fit them all in with everything else.

1. A Game of Thrones - G R.R.Martin
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. The Perks of Being A Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky

4. Lord of The Flies - William Golding
5. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
6. Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
7. The Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
8. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
9. The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne
10. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

Review // Forbidden (Demon Trappers #2) - Jana Oliver

Published - 5th August 2011

Published by - Macmillan

Format - Paperback
Goodreads Synopsis - Seventeen-year-old Riley has about had it up to here. After the devastating battle at the Tabernacle, trappers are dead and injured, her boyfriend Simon is gravely injured, and now her beloved late father’s been illegally poached from his grave by a very powerful necromancer. As if that’s not enough, there's Ori, one sizzling hot freelance demon hunter who’s made himself Riley’s unofficial body guard, and Beck, a super over-protective “friend” who acts more like a grouchy granddad. With all the hassles, Riley’s almost ready to leave Atlanta altogether. 
But as Atlanta’s demon count increases, the Vatican finally sends its own Demon Hunters to take care of the city’s “little” problem, and pandemonium breaks loose. Only Riley knows that she might be the center of Hell’s attention: an extremely powerful Grade 5 demon is stalking her, and her luck can't last forever…

Although this is the first review of the year, I actually read it at the end of December and didn't get chance to write a review.

The second book in the Demon Trappers series, Forbidden, is incredible. I read the first book (Forsaken) months ago now and gave it a less-than-it-deserved rating. I enjoyed the first book but I dropped the rating because the book gave false pretences on what it was about. However, this time I went in fully armed and wow. 5 stars, no questions asked.

The book kicked off pretty much where the last one ended and although it had been a while since I read the first, I knew what was happening and what situations were going on just by the storytelling. It wasn't that i'm going to tell you everything all over again kind of thing like you get in some books, it actually fit in. I love the characters so much too! Riley, Beck, Ori, Mort - all for different reasons but they were all fantastic. As this is a 4-book series, questions didn't really get answered and raised a lot more but there was plenty of new adventures and story in there to keep it more than interesting. 

At the end of the book I was literally left speechless. I was not expecting a certain, huge, revelation and the cliffhanger is almost too much to bear. If it wasn't for the fact that I couldn't actually handle the suspense and emotions of Forbidden, I would have picked the next one up straight away. Definitely need a few days to get my head around this one! Keep an eye out for the review of the next book which should be up within the next few weeks (earlier if I can't wait anymore!)

2012 in Books (Yearly Wrap-Up)



Instead of posting a December Wrap-Up, I decided to post a yearly one! This is the (not-quite-due-to-rereading-books) complete list of the books that I read in 2012!

1. The Worst Witch - Jill Murphy
2. City of Shadows - Celia Rees
3. Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist - Levithan & Cohn
4. The Fault in our Stars - John Green
5. A Study in Scarlet - Arthur Conan Doyle
6. King Richard III - William Shakespeare
7. Shimmer (Riley Bloom #2) - Alyson Noel
8. A Witch in Winter (Winter Trilogy #1) - Ruth Warburton
9. The Hunger Games (Hunger Games #1) - Suzanne Collins
10. Divergent (Divergent #1) - Veronica Roth
11. Catching Fire (Hunger Games #2) - Suzanne Collins
12. Zombicorns - John Green
13. Breaking The Silence - Diane Chamberlain
14. Mockingjay (Hunger Games #3) - Suzanne Collins
15. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Millennium Trilogy #1) - Steig Larsson
16. Godspeed: The Kurt Cobain Graphic Novel - James McCarthy
17. Girl Meets Boys - Louise Gibney
18.Bloodlust (Stefan's Diaries #2) - LJ Smith
19. The Crystal Ship - CJ Carter-Stephenson
20. The Amazing Spider-Man: Coming Home - Michael Straczynski
21. Forsaken (Demon Trappers #1) - Jana Oliver
22. Holes - Louis Sachar
23. Dash & Lily's Book of Dares - Levithan & Cohn
24. Lord Loss (Demonata #1) - Darren Shan
25. Insurgent (Divergent #2) - Veronica Roth
26. Black Dawn (Morganville #12) - Rachel Caine
27. The Replacement - Brenna Yovanoff
28. Slated - Teri Terry
29. Grave Sight (Harper Connelly #1) - Charlaine Harris
30. Fifty Shades of Grey - EL James
31. Let Them Eat Cake - Rachel Caine
32. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
33. The Name of the Star (Shades of London #1) - Maureen Johnson
34. Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush #1) - Becca Fitzpatrick
35. Demon Thief (Demonata #2) - Darren Shan
36. Deja Vu of Love - Carol Cadoo
37. Between The Lines - Jodi Picoult & Samanatha Van Leer
38. The Master of Whitehall - Rick H Veal
39. The Lightning Thief (Percy & Olympians #1) - Rick Riordan
40. A Witch in Love (Winter Trilogy #2) - Ruth Warburton
41. The Craving (Stefan's Diaries #3) - LJ Smith
42. Wizard's First Rule (Sword of Truth #1) - Terry Goodkind
43. Jack's Outpost - Elizabeth Braun
44. Crescendo (Hush, Hush #2) - Becca Fitzpatrick
45. Assassin Study - Maria Snyder
46. The Casual Vacancy - JK Rowling
47. The Bad Beginning (Series of Unfortunate Events #1) - Lemony Snicket
48. The Murders in Rue Morgue - Edgar Allan Poe
49. The Purloined Letter - Edgar Allan Poe
50. The Scandal in Bohemia - Arthur Conan Doyle
51. The Man With The Twisted Lip - Arthur Conan Doyle
52. The Adventure of the Copper Beeches - Arthur Conan Doyle
53. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd - Agatha Christie
54. The Foreshadowing - Marcus Sedgwick
55. Barrack Room Ballads - Rudyard Kipling
56. Bitter Blood (Morganville #13) - Rachel Caine
57. Legend of the Chosen - Jennifer Selzer
58. Tempestuous (Twisted Lit #1) - Askew & Helmes
59. The Sea of Monsters (Percy & Olympians #2) - Rick Riordan
60. The Madness Underneath (Shades of London #2) - Maureen Johnson
61. Exposure (Twisted Lit #2) - Askew & Helmes
62. Silence (Hush, Hush #3) - Becca Fitzpatrick
63. Devil's Bargain - Rachel Caine
64. Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
65. With Love at Christmas - Carole Matthews
66. Forbidden - Jana Oliver

Good luck with your reading challenges in 2013 and happy reading!
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