Sunday, 28 February 2010

Discussion: Do You Judge a Book By Its Cover?

Do you judge a book by its cover? I know I sure do. I can't help it. It is the first thing I see, it's the deciding factor whether I actually read the title, pick it up and read the summary, etc.

One of my favorite things
to do is to go into the book store and just look at all the colors in the books. I'm not searching for anything in particular, I'm just letting the books call to me. I know I sound like a nut...but seriously, all those wonderful books, I can feel them calling to me with their stories. Luring me into their worlds. It's great!! I will just run my fingers over their covers until one feel right, i.e. has the right look.

The colors, pictures, font, it all matters. But why? Why is it so important? Can it make or break the success of a book?

What do YOU think?

Also check out this hilarious blog I found! Judge a Book By Its Cover

Friday, 26 February 2010

Review: The 13 Treasures

Title: The 13 Treasures
Author: Michelle Harrison
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's
Reading Level: Young Adult
Other titles in series: The 13 Curses

Rating: 4/5

While visiting her grandmother's house, an old photograph leads Tanya to an unsolved mystery. Fifty years ago a girl vanished in the woods nearby - a girl Tanya's grandmother will not speak of. Fabian, the caretaker's son, is tormented by the girl's disappearance. His grandfather was the last person to see her alive, and has lived under suspicion ever since. Together, Tanya and Fabian decide to find the truth. But Tanya has her own secret: the ability to see fairies. And, after disturbing an intruder in the night, it emerges that someone else shares her ability ...The manor's sinister history is about to repeat itself ...

The cover alone made me pick this books up, not to mention it was buy one get one free at Waterstone's. Then I read the back, HELLO..... such a ME book! Sold!

GREAT book! I'm so in love with faerie stories, and this one does not disappoint. A unique story, full of adventure and intrigue. Kept me guessing. I really ate this one up. It's good! I really love Tanya and Fabian. I think they are 2 smart kids and fearless! I can't wait to see what adventures they get into in the sequel The 13 Curses!

"Thirteen...Unlucky...for some."~Mad Morag

Monday, 22 February 2010

The Newsstand {9}

The News Stand is a weekly feature. Here we dish on tidbits, news, and important things bookies should know. So scroll down to hear what you can glean from this week.

  • Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater is being turned into a movie! Check out what Variety has to say.
  • Ever have trouble finishing a book? The Chicago Tribune has an article to help us know when to just give up.
  • A-Z of Alice in Wonderland.

What news do YOU have for us?

Sunday, 21 February 2010


I am Tweeting! Please join me there!!

Follow SweetBookshelf on Twitter

I'm not sure how to do this, so you'll have to help me along.

Review: The Girl With Glass Feet

Title: The Girl With Glass Feet
Author: Ali Shaw
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Reading Level: Young Adult/Adult

Rating: 0/5

A mysterious metamorphosis has taken hold of Ida MacLaird - she is slowly turning into glass. Fragile and determined to find a cure, she returns to the strange, enchanted island where she believes the transformation began, in search of reclusive Henry Fuwa, the one man who might just be able to help...Instead she meets Midas Crook, and another transformation begins: as Midas helps Ida come to terms with her condition, they fall in love. What they need most is time - and time is slipping away fast.

OK, I didn't finish it. I've spent the whole week trudging through only half the book. It is NOT as advertised. There is no love story to speak of yet. There are like a million points of view and everyone is having flashbacks. The flashbacks are weird and I can't figure out who's having them and what they mean. It's all a bit confusing. This was an intriguing concept for a book and could be great! But I can't get past the middle of the book. Maybe I'll try and pick it up again next week, but as of right now I'm too confused to continue. I'm not enjoying it yet. Should I just cut my losses? Or should I try and finish it?

"His father looked wistful. 'And you don't feel anticlimactic?'
'What's that?'
'Somewhat the opposite of elated.'
'What's elated again?'
'Good feelings. That is to say, very good. You can feel, can't you? That's what I'm driving at. You don't ever wonder... where feeling went?'"

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Featured Author: Markus Zusak

When I read The Book Thief over the summer last year, I was in awe. I couldn't get this amazing story out of my head. It truly affected me. I'd like to introduce you to Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief. I hope you like him as much as I do.

Australian author Markus Zusak grew up hearing stories about Nazi Germany, about the bombing of Munich and about Jews being marched through his mother’s small, German town. He always knew it was a story he wanted to tell.

“We have these images of the straight-marching lines of boys and the ‘Heil Hitlers’ and this idea that everyone in Germany was in it together. But there still were rebellious children and people who didn’t follow the rules and people who hid Jews and other people in their houses. So there’s another side to Nazi Germany,” said Zusak in an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald.

At the age of 30, Zusak has already asserted himself as one of today’s most innovative and poetic novelists. With the publication of The Book Thief, he is now being dubbed a ‘literary phenomenon’ by Australian and U.S. critics. Zusak is the award-winning author of four previous books for young adults: The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, Getting the Girl, and I Am the Messenger, recipient of a 2006 Printz Honor for excellence in young adult literature. He lives in Sydney.

FAQ from his website:

How did you become a writer?

When I was growing up, I wanted to be a house painter like my father, but I was always screwing up when I went to work with him. I had a talent for knocking over paint and painting myself into corners. I also realized fairly quickly that painting bored me. When I was a teenager, I read some books that brought me totally into their worlds. One was The Old Man and the Sea and another was What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. When I read those books, I thought, ‘That’s what I want to do.’ It took seven years to get published and there were countless daily failures, but I’m glad those failures and rejections happened. They made me realise that what I was writing just wasn’t good enough – so I made myself improve.

Do you follow a set routine when you write?

I basically have two routines. The first one is the non-lazy routine, where I get up and work from about 7am and aim to finish by 11:30. That usually sees me through till noon or twelve-thirty (with some time-wasting in between). Then I’ll take a long break and do a few more hours in the afternoon. The lazy routine usually starts at 10am and I’ll write longer into the afternoon.

The only time these routines really change is at the start or end of a book, when I’m more likely to work at night. I can’t face starting a book early in the morning purely because self-belief levels are at their lowest for me when I wake up. When I’m finishing a book, I will stay up longer and work through the night, mainly out of desperation to finally get it done.

What was your inspiration for writing The Book Thief?

The Book Thief was supposed to be a small book - only a hundred pages or so. When I was growing up, I heard stories at home about Munich and Vienna in war-time, when my parents were children. Two stories my mother told me affected me a lot. The first was about Munich being bombed, and how the sky was on fire, how everything was red. The second was about something else she saw...

One day, there was a terrible noise coming from the main street of town, and when she ran to see it, she saw that Jewish people were being marched to Dachau, the concentration camp. At the back of the line, there was an old man, totally emaciated, who couldn't keep up. When a teenage boy saw this, he ran inside and brought the man a piece of bread. The man fell to his knees and kissed the boy's ankles and thanked him . . . Soon, a soldier noticed and walked over. He tore the bread from the man's hands and whipped him for taking it. Then he chased the boy and whipped him for giving him the bread in the first place. In one moment, there was great kindness and great cruelty, and I saw it as the perfect story of how humans are.

When I remembered those stories, I wanted to build them into a small book, like I said. The result was The Book Thief, and it came to mean much more to me than I could have imagined. No matter what anyone ever says about that book, whether good or bad, I know it was the best I could do, and I don't think a writer can ask for more of himself than that.

What do you do to get away from writing?

Living in Sydney, I’ve taken the chance to start surfing again. One of my best memories of growing up is catching my first proper wave and surfing across it and my brother cheering at me from the shore. Many years later, I’ve started up again and I’m really loving it – as long as the waves are small enough…I also watch a lot of movies, especially when I’m struggling with a story I’m working on. I like watching the same ones over and over again, so I half watch and half think about the story.

Lastly, where do you get your ideas from?

I used to lie about this, but now I actually know –
I started writing when I was sixteen. I’m thirty now. I get my ideas from fourteen years of thinking about it.

Books by Marcus Zusak:

I hope you'll read The Book Thief. It's one of my top 10 books of all time.

all info can be found on Marcus Zusaks website

Monday, 15 February 2010

The Newsstand {8}

The News Stand is a weekly feature. Here we dish on tidbits, news, and important things bookies should know. So scroll down to hear what you can glean from this week.

  • This past week the Hunger Games 3 Title and cover were released! MockingJay by Suzanne Collins out Aug 24th!! Squeel!!!!
  • Geek Dad has a list of 10 things parents should know about The Lightening Thief.
  • Stolen book, that sparked a 64 year love affair, has been returned to its Library! Check out the remarkable story.
  • MTV is judging a book by its cover. MockingJay by Suzanne Collins that is! Check out the debate.
What news do YOU have for us?

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Review: The Star Garden

Title: The Star Garden
Author: Nancy E. Turner
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Reading Level: Adult

Rating: 5/5

In this stunning sequel to the tale begun in These Is My Words and continued in the beloved Sarah's Quilt, pioneer woman Sarah Agnes Prine Elliott is nearing bankruptcy. After surviving drought and the rustling of her cattle in winter 1906, Sarah is shocked when her son brings home a bride who was slated to become a nun. Meanwhile, neighbor Udell Hanna is pressing for Sarah to marry him. Then a stagecoach accident puts Sarah in the path of three strangers, who will forever change her life....

Nancy Turner has done it again. I'm sitting here in awe. How can one be so connected to characters? I feel like I know these people. Shared a life with them through these stories. My emotions were ablaze through this final chapter in the Sarah Diaries. Truly an amazing story. Sarah is a woman of strength, honor, gumption, and love. She is my favorite heroine to date. I love her stories. I do hope you all read this trilogy. It will touch your heart in so many ways.

"A woman who dreams of a good home with a man who holds for her only a poor love is putting a $50 saddle on a $20 horse. She'd be far better off single than riding with him."
~Sarah Agnes Prine

Favorite Literary Couples

Happy Valentine's Day!

I thought I'd use this day to talk about my favorite Literary couples. Pay homage really, to those special relationships in books that don't seem to exist any other place.

Here's MY list:

Mr. Darcy & Elizabeth Bennet (Pride & Prejudice)

Capt. Wentworth & Anne Elliot (Persuasion)

John Thornton & Margaret Hale (North and South)

Edward and Bella (Twilight)

I have SO many more favorites, but we'd been here ALL day if I tried to list them. WHO are YOUR favorite literary couples and why??

Friday, 12 February 2010

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Discussion: The Popular Debate

Are you MORE or LESS likely to read a book from a popular author?

Do you refuse to read The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer because everyone else is?
Does an author who writes multiple titles per year get on your nerves?


Do you rush out and grab the latest from Stephen King or Nicholas Sparks because they are authors you can trust since you have read their work before?

Do you grab a book just so you can find out what all the fuss is about?

I personally don't have a problem with popular authors. I don't have any issues with the masses enjoying a book and finding that I do as well. I don't have any prejudices against author's for that matter.

I'll read anything by Sophie Kinsella. I trust her. There hasn't been a single one I've not liked! She's very popular!

If a book is more popular, or getting a lot of buzz, I'm probably MORE likely to check it out because there has to be a reason so many people like it. Maybe I'll like it too?

What do YOU think? Are you FOR or AGAINST Popular Authors? Or should I say, for or against the masses?

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Review: The Maze Runner

Title: The Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Reading Level: Young Adult
Rating: 4/5

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

Great book! Interesting concept. I felt myself trying to figure out why they were in the maze and coming up with my own exit plans. A wholesome book of goodness. I wanted more from the characters though. I wanted to know of Thomas and Teresa's connection. As well as Chuck and Thomas'. Loads of unanswered questions. That's what the next book is for I guess.

The Scorch Trials out October 2010.


"WICKED is good"~written on Teresa's arm.

Monday, 8 February 2010

The Newsstand {7}

The News Stand is a weekly feature. Here we dish on tidbits, news, and important things bookies should know. So scroll down to hear what you can glean from this week.

  • Bloomsbury USA's decision to feature a white girl on the cover of Jaclyn Dolamore's debut novel Magic Under Glass, which stars a dark-skinned heroine, has sparked controversy across the internet. Just five months after the same publisher was forced to back down over a similar issue. Check out the controversy.

  • Check out the new iPad. It has an iBooks app. Will you be getting one?
  • The last book in the Fablehaven series is on Pre-order from Amazon!! I can't wait for March!
What news do YOU have for us?

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Review: Sarah's Quilt

Title: Sarah's Quilt
Author: Nancy E. Turner
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Reading Level: Adult
Rating: 4/5
Other titles in the series: These is my Words and The Star Garden

The long-awaited sequel to These Is My Words returns to Sarah's family in 1906 after three years of drought have devastated her ranch. Caught between the choice to save her land and the love of a good man, Sarah faces dark challenges of territorial life where everything hangs in the balance. It is a saga of love, connection, and the gift of family.

Another great book! Sarah goes through trial after trial. Struggle after struggle. She is a very strong woman. That is what life was like in the Territories. Those Pioneer women suffered much. I felt as if I was there every step of the way. I enjoyed it immensely and was surprised at how much of a love story there was in this sequel, considering the ending of These is my Words. Warmed my heart. Bravo. It's a wonderful addition to the Sarah Diaries. This is a perfect book for Book Clubs and women all over! You much read this series. I'm obsessed.


"I need money and I need rain."

"Getting out of bed is a good way to leave your troubles behind."
-Sarah Agnes Prine Elliot

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Featured Author: Nancy E. Turner

I still can't stop thinking about These is my Words by Nancy Turner. I've never been so connected to a character in my life. What a story! I've just bought the next 2 books in the Sarah diaries and am fully engrossed. I want to introduce you to Nancy Turner. I hope you read her books. She is amazing!!

Nancy Elaine Turner was born in Dallas, Texas and grew up in Southern California and Arizona. She began writing fiction as an assignment for a class at Pima Community College and completed a Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts Studies from the University of Arizona in 1999 with a triple major in Creative Writing, Music, and Studio Art. She lives in Tucson with her husband and Snickers, a dog rescued by F.A.I.R. She has two married children and four grandchildren. She also enjoys the outdoors, theater, movies, and antiques.

"Writing historical fiction is much like working on a term paper every day. My story is never far from my mind. I create characters by mingling traits of people. I love all my characters, too, especially those with complexity that makes them seem all the more real. I believe the locale of a story can be as much a part of the book as a character, and I use settings I know well enough to describe in detail."


:: Where did you find Sarah's diary?
There wasn't a real diary, I chose to write the story like a diary. The character of Sarah is based on my real great-grandmother. I grew up hearing stories about her.

:: Did you always want to be a writer?
I didn’t start out to be a writer when I began my college education at the age of 40. I thought I was headed toward teaching high school English classes. I enrolled in a Creative Non-fiction writing class, hoping it would spark my abilities for upcoming term paper requirements in my coursework. After two years at Pima Community College, I was highly dismayed when I came to registration for the fall and there were no “real” classes in writing left other than a fiction class. Besides, I loved science. I loved to write, too, but I wanted to write about science. Full of doubts, I signed up for Advanced Fiction Writing thinking at least it wouldn’t hurt anything.

:: Do you have any reading suggestions?
I think in terms of authors, rather than a particular work. Every reader brings her own baggage into play, too, so it’s all so very subjective. It’s the between-the-lin
es style that gets to me. Mark Twain and Stephen King, Zane Grey and John Grisham, Mary Stewart and Alice Walker, Tony Hillerman and Alfred Lord Tennyson, Margaret Mitchell and Thomas Cahill have all brightened my world. The best book is one that ends with an almost audible gasp, an immediate twinge, that “oh, no, it’s really over,” combined with the hollowness of letting go, and a slightly bitter, envious voice from somewhere that murmurs, “I wish I’d written that!”

Nancy's Books:

Check out Nancy's website for info about Book Club interviews, reading group discussion questions, online forum, and more!

" A nice girl should never go anywhere without
a loaded gun and a big knife."

~Sarah Agnes Prine
-These is My Words

info was found on Nancy's website
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