Friday 30 March 2012

Christy's Review: Mariana by Susanna Kearsley

Mariana by Susanna Kearsley
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Pub date: April 01, 2012
Format: Kindle

Thank you to Sourcebooks for sending me this book to review!!!

When Julia Beckett moves into a beautiful old farmhouse, she finds herself transported into17th-century England, and into the world of Mariana. Each time Julia travels back, she becomes more enthralled with the past... until she realizes Mariana's life is eclipsing her own. She must lay the past to rest or risk losing the chance for happiness in her own time. 

Christy's Review:
After reading Mariana I am officially a Susanna Kearsley fan! I will read anything she writes from now on. Mariana was such a beautiful, well-researched novel. I was immediately drawn into the bit of supernatural in the storyline, which is never overpowering or terrifying. The plot is so well balanced between telling us about a normal, every woman to whom something extraordinary happens and the supernatural/historical and romantic parts that the result is a perfectly fused, completely readable tale. The dialogue is hilarious at times and very real. (And always perfectly, charmingly British!) And I can't forget to mention that as far as love/romance goes, I was really happy with the way Susanna approaches love scenes: very tasteful, telling us what is necessary to the story without turning to the erotic. Thank you for writing a morally decent, great book Ms. Kearsley! Mariana = Great read!

Thursday 29 March 2012

Bloggiesta! Ole!

March 30th-April 1st 2012
I've decided to participate in Bloggiesta this weekend. Don't know what that is? Well, it is a book blog fiesta of sorts! It is a time to dust off the old blog, and fix those things that have needed fixing for awhile. A time to work on your blog goals and make plans for the future.There will be mini-challenges that will help me learn new things for blogging. I'm kind of excited!

Here are some of the things I'll be working on this weekend:

  • Update reviews in archive and GoodReads.
  • Update NetGalley profile.
  • Update Facebook gallery
  • Get Top Ten Tuesday posts finished and scheduled through April.
  • Write and schedule monthly discussion posts for the next 3 months.
  • Update About Me page with our guest reviewers, Christy, Catriona, Morgan and Grace.
  • Fix The Newstand image to be spelled correctly. Did any of you notice this?! Ha! It's suppose to be The Newsstand. *sigh* My bad!
  • Get TBR list filed in GoodReads
  • Renew domain name for the yr.
  • Get a few giveaway's scheduled. I've got some goodies coming! Yay!
  • Clean out inbox! Answer all emails. 
  • Back up blog
  • Add Copyright info
  • Learn and implement the new SEO for Blogger.
Ok, that sounds like a lot. Well, it is! Let's hope I can get it all done. I think if I just take a few points each day then I'll be able to knock them out. Are you participating? What are some of the goals you have in mind for your blog?


Well, I got almost everything done! My husband is backing up my blog as we speak and I'll be working on SEO for Blogger for the foreseeable future. I've got so many posts scheduled I'm covered for...well, a long time. I'm now sick of blogging and need to go read for a few days to stop the cramping in my hands and the mush that is now my brain.

I enjoyed all the mini challenges and will continue to go through them and implement as many as I see fit for improving The Sweet Bookshelf.

It's been fun ya'll!! So great to meet all of you and it was great to see new to me blogs. I'm loving them all!! 

Wednesday 28 March 2012

Joint Review: The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland

The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland
Publisher: Speak
Pages: 224
Genre: YA Contemporary
Pub Date: May 10, 2012
Format: Kindle

A special Thank you to Speak Publishing for sending me this book to review.

Elizabeth Margaret—better known as Em—has always known what life would contain: an internship at her father’s firm, a degree from Harvard and a career as a lawyer. The only problem is that it’s not what she wants. When she gets the opportunity to get away from it all and spend a month with the aunt she never knew, she jumps at the chance. While there, Em pursues her secret dream of being a chef, and she also learns that her family has kept some significant secrets from her, too. And then there’s Cade, the laid-back local surfer boy who seems to be everything Em isn't. Naturally, she can’t resist him, and as their romance blossoms, Em feels she is living on her own terms for the first time. 

I've been in a reading funk. Everything I pick has been mediocre. Nothing had been holding my interest, until this book. I was already in love with this book by page 2. That is saying something! 

Now, this story takes place in Outer Banks. Author Shannon Greenland has described a B&B that makes me wish with all my might that I could someday own a business like this. It's funny because my Mom and I were literally just talking about Outer Banks about an hour before I started reading The Summer My Life Began. It has been awhile since we'd been and were talking about needing a good beach holiday. You will really want to go to the beach when you read this! It is perfect. I loved everything about the scenery. It was as if it was a character. Not just a setting. It had life and meaning and I wanted to know more about it and wanted to go more places there. I wanted to know Outer Banks. I'll be dreaming about this picturesque place for the next few days, I'm sure. 

From the minute Em lands in Outer Banks, I knew something was up. I had a hunch what it was and I was patiently waiting to see if I was right. I was right by the way. Not that it is easily solved, I'm just smart. Ha! There is a bit of mystery to this story and I loved that it kept things fresh and moving along. It was like a whole different plot working at the same time as a love story. Which I loved!

The love story. *Le sigh* I really liked Cade from the start, but he just kept getting better and better. I was looking forward to scene's with him and wanted to know everything about him. There were so many special moments between Cade and Em that I just wanted to curl up in and enjoy. They made me feel butterflies. YES! There is character development in droves and I liked watching the character's grow and change.

Overall, such a great story. This book reminds me of The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han. Really summery and enjoyable. I want me some more Cade. I think I'll go to bed and re-read my favorite parts. He's dreamy!

Christy's Review:

Have to say: LOVED it. Loved it. Loved it.

I’m a coastal person and I’ve always romanticized the Outer Banks. I’ve got family down that way and pounce on any chance I get to visit that area. Reading this book really made me want to sell my stuff and open a quaint B&B on a secluded island and paint and read and write in my spare time. (Ha! Like I’d have any spare time if I ran a B&B!) And I don’t even paint!
There is even a great summer romance! Perfect summer beach read. The Summer My Life Began is a cute story about a girl on a journey of self-discovery. Will she come to terms with herself in time to set her life on a course of her choosing? Read it and find out!

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'd Play Hooky WIth

Top Ten Tuesday is an original meme at The Broke and the Bookish.

Books I'd play hooky with huh? This post took some time for me to think about. If I was to take a day off of Motherhood--and get some peace and quiet--I'd most definitely be taking a book with me. I have actually called off work on release day's before. Yep. I can't imagine better use of my holiday's! This list is made up of books I've been wanting to read but haven't got around to it, and books that when they do come out I'll be stopping everything to read. I'll be playing hooky as a Mom. No dinner made, no house clean, and no play dates. Reading time only! What books would you play hooky with?

 North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
Beyonder's by Brandon Mull
Little Dorrit by Charles DIckens

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

Losing Lila by Sarah Alderson
Destined by Aprilynne Pike
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Monday 26 March 2012

Catriona's Review: Liar's Guide to True Love by Wendy Chen

Liar's Guide to True Love by Wendy Chen
Publisher: Carina Press
Pages: 229
Genre: Adult Romance
Format: Kindle

A special Thank you to author Wendy Chen for sending her book to us for review.

Wedding planner Cassandra Hanley is in the business of making other people's dreams come true. But for some reason, whenever she meets a potential mate of her own, she finds herself telling little (and not so little) white lies. She's not trying to sabotage her relationships on purpose: as a people pleaser, she just naturally tells men what she thinks they want to hear. 

When Cassandra meets Nick, she's determined to be herself this time—until she learns he abhors weddings. So she recasts herself as an advertising exec, and now she's scrambling to cover up the lie...with more lies. 

Into the tangled web wanders Cassandra's college sweetheart, Kevin. Kevin, the one man who knows the real Cassandra, and loves her anyway. Could he have been The One all along? 
Torn between the past and the present, Cassandra is about to learn that you can't plan the perfect life the way you can plan the perfect wedding

Catriona's Review:

This was a fun frolic of a book that was like sitting down to watch an entire box set of sex and the city whilst attending your best friend’s wedding! I got to know the characters so well during the story that I totally wanted to be part of their group of friends. It had the classic four female formulae that we see in so many classic chick flicks or indeed chick lit! You totally feel for Cass, torn between her comfortable ex-lover who suddenly seems to be more available, and new guy Nick who is charming and witty, but to whom she cannot reveal her true calling in life, her wedding planning. Entertaining capers ensue when she tries to live a double life, taking on her friend’s career to impress Nick, and there are moments where you will laugh out loud and feel like you are going through the whole intriguing scenario with her.
This book is a total page turner. Its definitely one to sit and read with a glass of wine or a nice large coffee and get properly into. It is fin, but at the same time, comforting and deals with modern city life, whilst at the same time, keeping old fashioned romantic values at its heart. It is a definite must for any fan of Sex and the City, and indeed I would recommend this to anyone for a good weekend of escapism, although be warned, it will leave you yearning for New York City!

Friday 23 March 2012

My 'Hunger Games' Journey

Happy Movie Release Day to The Hunger Games!!!!

I don't know about you, but It feels like Reaping Day! I've been waiting YEARS to see it on the big screen. It got me thinking about my Hunger Games journey with this incredible story. I thought I'd share it with you in celebration for this EPIC day!

Way back in 2008 my sister Becca was reading on Stephenie Meyers website about a book she was so into she couldn't put it down. Becca knew she had to have it. On release day she picked up The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Then she called me in Scotland talking a million miles per minute about this amazing book. I got on Amazon and read the free chapter sample. I thought it sounded pretty good. One problem, The Hunger Games wasn't set to release for another 6 months in the UK. I was gutted! My sister promptly sent me a package. THE HUNGER GAMES!! Thanks Becca! She inscribed my copy with this,"May you never have to fight for life or love. Love, Becca"

I could not put it down. I actually brought it to church with me and was reading it under my bag while the Bishop was speaking. It was just that good! I didn't eat while I was reading or anything. The minute I finished the book I said,"WOW" and turned back to page 1 and started to re-read it all over again. It was that fantastic. I'd never read anything like it. I was desperate for a sequel, but I didn't get one for a yr! All of you who read the books later were so lucky to have the next book at your fingertips. It was pure torture waiting to find out what happens. In the mean time I re-read it several times and shared my book with my friends. I was talking about The Hunger Games where ever I went and several copies were bought for Christmas and Birthday presents. I couldn't get it out of my mind.

In the Fall of 2009 I was so eager to read Catching Fire that I made sure I had the day off of work. I was entering every contest known to man to get my hands on an early copy of Catching Fire too. No such luck.  I was waiting outside the book store before they opened to get my copy of Catching Fire on release day.  I grabbed breakfast and lunch so I wouldn't need to make anything and I could focus on just reading. Pure brilliance is all I can say. Catching Fire was my favorite so far! My love for Peeta  was so strong and I called my sister and we chatted for hours about the books. By then most of my other sisters--I have 4--and my Mom had read The Hunger Games so we were all talking about the books that week. AMAZING!! Now, I needed to wait another yr to find out the ending to the most amazing trilogy I'd ever read.

Fall 2010 I was re-reading the books over and over again, giving them as gifts, and whenever someone wanted a book recommendation I couldn't help but offer The Hunger Games. It was a no brainer! I've not met anyone who hasn't liked the book. I had been speculating what the finally would bring and thought I had a pretty good idea where it was headed. I was there on release day to grab my copy and although I had asked off work, my boss got really ill and I needed to come in and cover for her. I was gutted. I wanted to read. So, I got my book early and went to Starbucks to read until my shift started around the corner. Then I couldn't put it down and pretty much didn't do anything but read while at work and I let everyone else cover it. Bad employee, I know. Sadly, I did not enjoy Mockingjay. I didn't think it fit well with the story and I didn't like my favorite character's anymore. I thought author Suzanne Collins turned it into some kind of war propaganda book. It was like Katniss hadn't learned anything through all the Games and she was more of a pawn than ever before. And my Peeta! Well, he was never the same. Suzanne Collins took my favorite character away from me. I re-read it the minute I finished it just to make sure my feelings were still the same. Yep, didn't like it. Now, I pretend that Mockingjay isn't a part of the trilogy. I'll make something else up in my head but I do not want what Suzanne Collins wrote. Harsh, maybe. But true.

Now with the upcoming movie I've been trying to get all my friends to read the trilogy before we see the film. It makes my heart happy when they love it as much as I do! I'm not gonna lie, I feel like I helped start the Phenomenon that is The Hunger Games! I'm an original 2008 fan!

So, what's your Hunger Games journey? Where did you hear about the books and what was your reaction?!

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Spring TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is an original meme at The Broke and the Bookish.

I am so excited about the books being released this spring! It feels like I've been waiting forever! I'm excited to end a series, get into several more, and read some new to me authors. See what I'll be reading this Spring! 

Destined by Aprilynne Pike (April 26, 2012)

Monday 19 March 2012

The Newsstand {14}

The Newstand is an original feature here at The Sweet Bookshelf. It was started almost 2 yrs ago and took a hiatus for awhile. It's back! Here we dish on news, up and coming books, Kindle deals, tidbits,  and important things bookies should know. Check out what you can glean from this week.

Fun Bookish Things
Join the Discussion
Review Re-Cap

Pure by Julianna Baggott
Unscripted by Aaron & Schwartz
Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe
AudioBook: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling

Friday 16 March 2012

Christy's Review: Pure by Julianna Baggott

Pure by Julianna Baggott
Publisher: Headline
Pages: 448
Genre: Adult Sci/Fi
Format: ARC Kindle and Paperback

A special Thank you to Headline for sending me this book to review.

We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . .

Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.

Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . .

There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it's his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.

When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.

Christy's Review:

I'm going to keep this short and sweet. Get this book!

(Maybe not that short.)

I was so impressed with this book! What a fantastic dystopian. Seriously. Convincing to the last page, brilliantly structured and so well researched and thought out. This book is a serious accomplishment. If we'd read this book in school instead of Lord of the Flies I would have been infinitely happier with my assignment! The cover art, while pretty, doesn't really seem fitting (to me) for the content of this novel. But that's really not an issue. At all. Check this book out. You'll be missing out if you don't.

Wednesday 14 March 2012

Guest Review: Unscripted by Aaron and Schwartz

Unscripted by Natalie Aaron and Marla Schwartz
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Adult Chic-Lit Romance
Format: Kindle

A special Thank you to my friend Catriona for taking the time to review this book for us!

As a producer on a reality dating show, Abby Edwards knows that true love is a myth. Her career and her friends are all she needs. Right?

When her screenwriter ex makes a hit movie based on their relationship, Abby's faults are projected on screens across the country. Suddenly the fact that her job depends on orchestrating hot tub hook-ups doesn't seem so impressive.
Her friends rally to help. Zoƫ thinks she needs to meet a guy. Stephanie suggests an attitude adjustment. Nancy wants her to get in touch with her inner Goddess. Abby knows they mean well, but she prefers to focus on her work. Unfortunately, she's already embarrassed herself in front of her new boss, Will Harper, who she would find totally crush-worthy if he weren't so irritating.

Abby's about to be reminded that life doesn't follow a script—and good things happen when you least expect it...


This book had my attention captured right from the first page with its mix of fast paced plot and likeable characters. The story is told by Abby, who works freelance in reality TV, and takes you through her various jobs and the trials and tribulations that are involved in freelance work and, more specifically, work in reality TV. This is interspersed with scenes involving nights out with friends and the relationship with her best friend who is also her roommate.  
Even if you are not into reality TV, the parts of the book that deal with Abby’s job and what’s going g on in the particular show are highly entertaining and full of chick-lit style capers and dilemmas and I really enjoyed this aspect of the story, like a little TV break every couple of chapters! Abby’s personal life, her living and financial situations also include the kinds of trials and tribulations that usually accompany the heroines of this genre. She is highly relatable as a character and the personal dramas that she goes through, I found myself identifying with and could sympathise emphatically with some of the “social gatherings” her friends drag her along to. 
Although the story is quite lengthy, in retrospect, the narrative never drags and I think that this is due to the witty personalities of the characters and the realistic nature of the story-line. This is definitely the kind of book that most chick-lit lovers will enjoy as much as I did.

Tuesday 13 March 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Western Books

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature at The Broke and the Bookish.

Now now, don't knock a Western until you've tried it! I think I was a little bit shocked myself when I realized that the books I was enjoying were in fact, Westerns. If you like an epic romance set in a time period of immense hardship, then these are your books! Take a look at my top favorite Westerns! I hope you'll pick one up and give it a try.

These is My Words by Nancy Turner
Sarah's Quilt by Nancy Turner
The Star Garden by Nancy Turner

This series is AMAZING! To say the least! I was blown away by all the emotions that it evoked. I cried so hard at the end of These is My Words that I had to call my sister for comfort. Pure brilliance. The story takes place as Sarah Agnes Prine is travelling to the Arizona territories. She is probably one of my favorite heroines to date. She is so strong. When I was finished with the books I felt like I had gained a friend. I felt like I knew Sarah and had sat at her table and shared coffee and cobbler. This story holds a special place in my heart. 

The Gable Faces East by Anita Stansfield
Gables Against the Sky by Anita Stansfield
Gables of Legacy: The Guardian by Anita Stanfield

Whoa! I'm so hooked on this series. It takes place in Australia on a horse ranch. Say no more! I love everything about it. There isn't a single thing I don't enjoy about this book. The love story is swoon worthy and all the details of their life on the horse ranch are to die for. Just talking about it makes me want to read it again! Please check it out! They might be hard to find, I think they are out of print. You can find them on Kindle though!

The Gables of Legacy is a series of 7 books about the future children of the couple in the first 1 books. AMAZING. Contemporary romances. LOVE!

The Kissing Tree by Prudence Bice
The Widower's Wife by Prudence Bice

These two are stand alone books. They are not related, but they were written by the same author. I just love them! This time period really gets me and author Prudence Bice really brings it out the best. 

Borrowed Light by Carla Kelly
Enduring Light by Carla Kelly

I love this series and I hoping for a 3rd installment. A girl runs away to the west and finds love instead! What's not to like about that?! I really like the characters in this series. They are all likeable and hard working. Plus the love story is great!

Those are my Top 10 Western's folks! Have you ever read a Western? Or maybe you stereotype them? I sure hope you'll give one a try. Let me know what you think if you do!
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