Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Books You Recently Added To Your To-Be-Read List





March 31: Ten Books You Recently Added To Your To-Be-Read List

1. The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson

2. Everyday by David Levithan

3. Storm Front by Jim Butcher

4. Shadow Study by Maria V Snyder

5. Denton's Little Death Date by Lance Rubin

6. Enchantment Lake by Margi Preus

7. Cleo by Lucy Coats

8. My Best Everything by Sarah Tomp

9. Creature Comforts by Trisha Ashley

10. Prince of Shadows by Rachel Caine

Monday, 30 March 2015

Caragh Reviews // I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Published - 29th January 2015
Publisher - Simon & Schuster
Format - Kindle
Synopsis - This characteristically powerful novel follows eighteen-year-old Cody Reynolds in the months following her best friend's shocking suicide.
As Cody numbly searches for answers as to why Meg took her own life, she begins a journey of self-discovery which takes her to a terrifying precipice, and forces her to question not only her relationship with the Meg she thought she knew, but her own understanding of life, love, death and forgiveness.


After the recent blockbuster If I Stay, originally a novel by Forman, I think I can safely say this book will do wonderfully and i'm so glad of that. I will be honest and say that I was a little hesitant about reading it as I loved the book I mentioned above. From what i'd heard and read about I Was Here, it sounded too similar and I felt like maybe this book was trying to cash in on what Gayle was already becoming popular with, but I was so wrong.

I learned a few valuable lessons from this book. The main one was to stop pigeon-holing authors; whether that's expecting them to be good from previous books or otherwise! One book does not make an author. Secondly, is that all of my preconceived ideas about books dealing with mental health issues are absolute rubbish. During my hiatus on here, I popped back to review an incredible book I read by Ned Vizzini (which can be found here if you're interested). I guess I didn't learn my mistake then, but i'm definitely thinking differently now.

I Was Here, takes us on a journey with Cody as she tries to discover why her best friend took her own life. From the outside, Meg was bright and full of the joys of life but obviously, not all was as it seemed. I thought that this book would brush aside the minute details of such an illness and focus on Cody's ability to move forward in the face of tragedy. Although that's true to an extent, that's not actually what happened at all. I Was Here is actually quite graphic and in your face and I loved that. The small details of Meg's decision were the focal point of the book for me and nothing was shied away from.

I'm in agreement with most reviews about this book though in one aspect. The romance factor just didn't seem real and nor did it really serve a purpose. It broke up the story in a way that wasn't called for. I understand that perhaps it was to show that Cody's life without Meg isn't empty and could be fulfilled but I think that message came across regardless. 

I Was Here is powerful and beautifully written. It probably sounds strange to hear (read?) but i'm actually inspired. I would love to read more books that focus on mental health issues and also body disorders. It's a pretty unexplored genre for me and i'd love to learn more. If anybody has any suggestions then please let me know in the comments. 

- Don't forget you can also get in touch via facebook! Just search Loaded Shelves :)

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Maria V Snyder Blogger Event

Hey guys :)

As some of you now know, on Wednesday I got the pleasure of being invited to a blogger event to celebrate the release of Maria V Snyder's newly released book Shadow Study. The fabulous ladies at Harlequin/Mira Ink were so sweet and welcoming. We drove for a total of 11 hours in one evening and it was worth every minute! It was the first event that Brianna and I had attended but everyone was so friendly that it didn't take long before we were all chatting away and sharing our book related interests.

I've been to a few book signings before but they were pretty rigid and nerve-wracking. Perhaps rightly so, they more often than not focused around the author and left very little time to communicate with both other and other fans. I think there's a bit of stigma that book bloggers like us are cut-off and unsociable but I think we, as a group, definitely shot that down on Wednesday night.

The event was fully centered around us bloggers and the community. Mira and Maria Snyder herself were very interested in the community and asked a lot of questions which was lovely! All of the ladies I met were wonderful and I felt very privileged to share a space with them. I've been a long-time blog follower of Michelle from Fluttering Butterflies so it was great to get to say hi to her in the flesh! Big thanks to Michelle for the picture on the bottom of here too :)

We were the last ones to leave the event, armed with paper plates full of food! I had mentioned to Maria and the folks at Harlequin that my long-suffering boyfriend had been waiting outside for hours after driving us all the way there, and subsequently after we all agreed how he's the best boyfriend ever, got sent away with a signed book and food for him! ;)

I could talk about this event forever but as i'm sat at the kitchen counter at the above boyfriend's parents house to celebrate birthdays, i'm seriously swamped with life this week! Thanks to all the bloggers I met, thanks to Cara who organised the event and was a FABULOUS host! And thanks to Harlequin/Mira for having us :)


Monday, 23 March 2015

Caragh Reviews // The Beach Cafe by Lucy Diamond

Publisher - Pan Macmillan
Published - June 2011
Format - Kindle
Synopsis - Evie Flynn has always been the black sheep of her family - a dreamer and a drifter, unlike her over-achieving elder sisters. She's tried making a name for herself as an actress, a photographer and a singer, but nothing has ever worked out. Now she's stuck in temp hell, with a sensible, pension-planning boyfriend. Somehow life seems to be passing her by. Then her beloved aunt Jo dies suddenly in a car crash, leaving Evie an unusual legacy - her precious beach cafe in Cornwall. Determined to make a success of something for the first time in her life, Evie heads off to Cornwall to get the cafe and her life back on track - and gets more than she bargained for, both in work and in love...

I came about The Beach Cafe in a long roundabout way. Over Christmas I was looking for short Christmassy reads. Partly because I wanted to get into the festive spirit and partly because it was a last ditch attempt to complete my reading challenge (which didn't exactly work out...). I came across a couple of short stories by Lucy Diamond which kind of sucked me in, and then I realised they were actually part of a bigger book!

The Beach Cafe begins with Evie Flynn having some kind of a crisis about the life she is living. Her favourite Aunt has passed away and amidst her grieving, she has to face up to the fact that her long term relationship with Mr Sensible just isn't working out. Evie makes the enormous decision to move to Cornwall and take over Aunt Jo's cafe.

Evie proves that no matter what stage of life you're in, change is always possible and can definitely be for the better. Of course, Evie's transition is far from smooth, but after facing crisis after crisis, she finally lands on her feet. It's not easy but with the right people surrounding you, anything is possible and everything can be overcome. It was definitely a big change from the usual YA that I read and was mostly featuring adults and "adult" problems. I use quotations because i'm no expert in who can experiences particular issues.

The Beach Cafe isn't a book that really stays with you and has some great meaning but I honestly really enjoyed it. It was a simple read and was definitely fun! I'd recommend it as a beach/holiday book for anyone who's already making summer TBRs.


Saturday, 21 March 2015

Maria V Snyder's Shadow Study Tour!


Hey guys!
Eek, i'm so excited! Hopefully this post will at least be somewhat coherent. If you know me, then you know my unending love for Maria V Snyder's 'Study' series which currently comprises of Poison Study, Magic Study and Fire Study (not to mention a somewhat related, Ixia universe, spin off series).
It was announced a while ago now that Maria would be adding 3 more books to Yelena's story.

I think I applied for early review at least 3 different times and sadly, I didn't get accepted. Something good did come of it though!

Maria V Snyder is coming to the UK to celebrate the release of Shadow Study and is doing a book signing tour! The banner at the top of this post shows when and where you can find the woman herself if like me, you need to get those books signed.

In addition to the book tour, Harlequin/Mira Ink are holding an exclusive blogger event to kick it all off and I was lucky enough to be invited! On Wednesday, Brianna and I will be travelling to Surrey to meet Maria and hopefully lots of other bloggers. If any of you guys manage to meet her at one of the upcoming tours, please feel free to post pictures and comments as i'd love to share your experiences. Look out for my write-up of the event next weekend too as i'm sure there will be plenty to say.

Do try and see Maria - details below!

Thursday 24th March
Forbidden Planet, Covent Garden
Book signing and reading: 5.30pm

Thursday 26th March
Waterstones, New Street Birmingham
Book signing: 7pm

Saturday 28th March
Waterstones, Picadilly
Book signing: 1-3pm

Sunday 29th March
Waterstones, Manchester
Book signing: 1-3pm

Monday 30th March
Waterstones, Edinburgh
Book signing: 4:30 - 7pm

Monday 6th April
Waterstones, Bristol Cribbs-Causeway
Book event: 6-8pm

Monday, 9 March 2015

Caragh Reviews // All That Glitters (Geek Girl #4) by Holly Smale

Published - 26th February 2015
Publisher - HarperCollins
Format - Kindle
Synopsis- "My name is Harriet Manners, and I am still a geek." The fourth book in the award-winning GEEK GIRL series. Harriet Manners has high hopes for the new school year: she's a Sixth Former now, and things are going to be different. But with Nat busy falling in love at college and Toby preoccupied with a Top Secret project, Harriet soon discovers that's not necessarily a good thing...

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

So far I've been lucky enough to get access to all of the books in the Geek Girl series and every time I'm so pleased! This series is genuinely heartwarming and hilarious for readers of all ages. The writing style is accessible to all without any 'dumbing down'. Though Geek Girl is clearly aimed at pre-teens and teenagers, don't for a second think that there is nothing an adult can't get out of this book! Harriet is a shining example of how work, education, friends and all types of relationships can have a massive impact on your life.

Harriet is not only of high school age, she is a fashion model with a broken heart. Any child or adult that has had to experience that 'first day' feeling can totally relate to this addition of Smale's series. After her American adventure, Harriet now has to face going back to her old school; but this time her best friends aren't there to help her. 

I will admit, in All That Glitters, Harriet started to make me twitch a little. And not in the good, exciting kind of way. I hate to say this but she was....annoying. But after a while I realised that it wasn't Harriet at all, it was the way I was perceiving her and in my opinion, that was Smale's point. Harriet is highly intelligent and prides herself on her knowledge. She has an answer for absolutely everything but when she begins to doubt herself, I at least began to realise that this was what actually made her special. One of the points of this book is that a person shouldn't have to change in order to make friends and be important - a lesson that people of all ages could do with remembering!

All That Glitters is full of heart-bursting moments and a barrel full of laughs. I'm so excited that this series is ongoing!

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