Friday, 29 June 2012

Reading Nooks

I'd love a library in my home...someday. I need some place cozy to kick my feet up and curl up with a good book. These reading nooks make me lust after a nice corner to call my very own!! 

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I need one of these asap. How about you?

Friday, 22 June 2012

The Cupcake Diaries: Emma on Thin Icing by Coco Simon

The Cupcake Diaries: Emma on Thin Icing by Coco Simon
Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK
Pages: 150
Format: Paperback ARC


A special Thank you to Simon and Schuster UK for sending me this book to review.


When Mia asks the girls in the club to be junior bridesmaids in her mother's wedding, everyone is superexcited about the idea...especially when they find the perfect dress for the occasion! It's Emma's dream dress, except it's a little more than she expected. And with her mom now out of a job (she's been put on furlough at the library) there's not a lot of room at the Taylor's house for extras. But not wanting to disappoint her friends, Emma decides to take on a few more jobs and chores around the house to help cover the cost. Between babysitting her bratty brother, a dog-walking business, flute practice, the Cupcake Club--and oh yeah, being a typical tween girl--Emma may have bitten off more than she can chew. Can she handle it all?




Review:
How cute is this cover?! Not to mention it matches my blog. I knew I had to read it.  I love middle grade books and if you aren't reading them then you are missing out.


This book reminded me of The Baby Sitters Club--and you know how much we all loved those! A group of friends with entrepreneurial spirits. What's better?! This book was really cute. A bit heavier than I had expected. Emma has a lot going on. She has more stress than I think a girl of her age should have and I personally felt that should have been kept to a minimum and have more of the cupcake fun. I really thought it was a bit heavy fro the age group. I expected it to much much lighter and fun. Lots of friendship fun and baking. It called for it. 


But the book is cute. I need to buy the books prior to this one for my niece. She'll love them! Plus, my mouth is still watering to try those bacon cupcakes!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Teaser:: AWRY by Chelsea Fine



Awry by Chelsea Fine  {Archers of Avalon Book 2}


"Okay.” Nate took a deep breath. “Now that we’re all caught up on the new no-no’s of the house, what do you say we find a tarp and some duct tape and MacGyver ourselves a new window in the living room? Just, you know, to keep out the wind…and the leaves…and any sharp-toothed woodland creatures prone to attacking people in their sleep.”

Tristan raised a brow.


“What?” Nate shrugged. “Death by dragon? Awesome. Death by rabid forest squirrel? Not cool, man. Not cool." 



**********

Interested in Book 1? Check out Anew by Chelsea Fine it was fantastic and so fresh!








Monday, 18 June 2012

Interview with Author Nyrae Dawn


I am so very excited about this interview! I had first heard about Nyrae on twitter. There was a buzz about this new book, What a Boy Wants, and the cover was guy was....hot. I couldn't get the Christina Aguilerra song out of my head so I decided to buy the book. I read it in one sitting and I wanted more. I was even more surprised to find out it was self published! My previous thoughts had been duped. 

Let's welcome author Nyrae Dawn to The Sweet Bookshelf!

Blog  | Twitter
1. What made you decide to go the self publishing route? 

Being completely honest, I didn’t start out planning to self-publish. I wrote a book, queried, got rejected. Wrote a second book, queried, got a lot more requests, a couple close calls, but still no agent. Wrote a third book, which was Sebastian’s story, queried a ton, got an agent who believed in my talent, but told me it would be a tough sell. Agent and the other agents who rejected Sebastian were right and it didn’t sell. So, I wrote another book, my agent put it on submission, it got rejected as well. Then I wrote another book, LOL. This one didn’t go on submission, but agent and I parted ways. I still had Sebastian sitting on my computer. I loved him so much that I wanted to see if there were people out there who would love him the way I do. So, I decided to give it a shot and it’s been an INCREDIBLE journey. This experience means so much to me and I realize everything happens for a reason. I think this is what was supposed to happen.

2. Do you think you will continue to publish your works this way? Or are you still trying for traditional publishing?

I plan to do both. I truly don’t believe it has to be one or the other. I LOVE self-publishing. I love the freedom of it. There are so many fabulous self-published authors out there and I think self-published books have so much to bring to the table. But like I said, I’d like to do both. I would love the experience of both traditional publishing along with self-publishing.

3. What made you decide to write though the male POV?

I love the idea of being inside a guy’s head. Love the thought of seeing how they think and how it sometimes differs from women. I had a lot of male friends growing up. I was one of the gang and they felt comfortable being themselves around me. I heard and saw a lot! LOL. I love exploring that.

4. Your reader's are falling in love with Sebastian (What a Boy Wants) and Jaden (What a Boy Needs). What do you think it is about them that people are identifying with?

I honestly don’t know, but I am so very grateful for it. All I can say is I tried to be authentic as I could, from my experience with my male friends. I tried to write Sebastian and Jaden like the boys I knew. Did they like girls? Yep. Where they always in competition and talking crap to each other? You bet’cha. But they were also loyal and protective. When I needed them, I always knew I could count on them. That’s what I wanted for these boys. They’re not perfect (who is). But they’re real, and no matter what, they’re GOOD guys, IMO.

5. Jaden's story is much deeper and quite sad in parts. Was it hard to write?
I don’t think hard is the right word for it. It was definitely different for me. Jaden’s story broke my heart, but like Sebastian, he’s always been very real to me. His voice was always there as was his story. I always knew he thought differently than Sebastian. That what he showed on the outside was different than what he felt on the inside. I loved his growth and seeing him learn to let his friends in on what was going inside of him.
6. What is your favorite part of writing?
EVERYTHING. I seriously love it. I’m a character person though. I put a lot of thought into who my people are and it’s an incredible feeling to tell their stories. I feel honored to do it. It’s all about the journey for me. I love getting my characters from point “A” to point “B".
7. What are some of your favorite books?
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler, The Summer Series by Jenny Han, Where She Went by Gayle Foreman, Split by Swati Avasthi, Freefall by Mindi Scott, I know It’s Over by CK Kelly Martin, Outlander by Diana Gabaladon (to name a few).

8. Do you have any other future projects you can tell us about?
I have another manuscript I’m editing that I plan to self-publish soon. It’s another boy POV book. I’m also working on a revision with my friend Jolene Perry. It’s a collaboration, alternating chapters. She writes the female MC and I write the male.
Thanks for stopping by Nyrae! We want you here any time!

What a Boy Needs by Nyrae Dawn

What A Boy Needs by Nyrae Dawn
Publisher: Self- Published
Format: Kindle ARC


A special Thank you to author Nyrae Dawn for sending me this book to review.


Jaden Sinclair knows he'll never amount to anything...so why would he deserve a girl like Priscilla Mendoza? 

Since last summer things have been screwed up between Jaden and Pris. He knows it's his fault, but that doesn’t stop him from wanting to go a few rounds with her new boyfriend. He also knows he’s the loser his dad calls him, but it doesn’t stop him from wanting her.

After getting a huge bomb dropped on him, Jaden lashes out and lands himself in jail. Everything in his chaotic life is turned upside down and to make it worse, his mom kicks him out in order to side with his dad. Yeah, he’s totally a prize for a girl like Pris. 

Sebastian, Aspen, and Pris are all going places in their lives...and he knows he can't keep tagging along for the ride.

The group has one last chance for The Epic Adventure they've been looking for: a road trip to New York, where Jaden's friends will be going to college. Unfortunately, the more time Jaden hangs around Pris, the harder it is to keep the carefully constructed walls between them so she doesn't find out what a train wreck he really is. 

When the trip ends, Jaden has to decide if he's ready to say goodbye to his friends, and the girl he loves. He knows what he needs, but will he be man enough to go for it?



Review:
I am so excited about this book. I stumbled upon What a Boy Wants from a couple of tweets and couldn't get the song out of my head so I thought I'd better read it. It was amazing in every way and so I have been dying for this companion novel since. 


This is Jaden's story. He was such a mystery in What a Boy Wants that I found myself really needing to know him. What was his story? I bet it is bad. I bet it will hurt me. I bet I'll feel a million emotions while I read it. I did. 


There were parts where my heart actually hurt. I actually felt the pain inside. The mother in me wanted to wrap him up tight and hold on to him forever. I wanted to give him the love him mother and father weren't giving him. I felt my inside's praying for Priscilla to hold on for me. "Don't let go!!" I wanted her to fix it. 


Then there were parts where  my whole body came alive. You know that feeling just before you're about to be kissed? The butterflies? The warmth that radiates through your fingertips? I judge a book by how much I feel that while reading the kissing scene.  This one is top notch!! I felt all the things. I got to this scene at about 3am and I felt every word. My breath got short and my heart got warm. It was as if I was the one being kissed. And let me tell you, that's why I read!! I love that feeling!


You guys need to read these books! Best YA contemporary in such a long time. This book will get you out of a reading funk for sure. You'll start reading and you won't be able to put it down. I need to read all my favorite parts again--asap!!

Friday, 15 June 2012

Christy's Review: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore


Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
Synopsis
Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisors, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck's reign, and forget anything bad ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle--disguised and alone--to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past.

Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck's reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn't yet identified, holds a key to her heart.


Christy's Review
I've been waiting for Kristin Cashore's newest Graceling installment for quite some time. I love her writing style and the worlds and characters she creates. Everything/everyone is so full of life and fighting spirit in her stories. Bitterblue is a compelling read about a girl, and a kingdom, in recovery after a devastating tragedy (in the form of King Leck). Great attention to detail is paid to puzzles and ciphers and discovery, and the way Queen Bitterblue evolves as a capable human being is completely believable. That said, I'm having a hard time figuring out what the point of telling this story was in the first place. It's a very introspective story, more about self-discovery than anything truly relevant to the Graceling world. The bits about the seven kingdoms and discoveries seem almost casually thrown in. The love story between Saf and Bitterblue was a realistic exploration of first love, but in the end it bothered me, and I thought another potential spark (did I just imagine there could have been something between Bitterblue and Giddon? The setup was perfect!) was left unexplored and it was a dissappointment.
Don't get me wrong - this book is really well written. The amount of research and time Cashore obviously threw into research and planning on the puzzles is admirable. And I like the characters. But, like I said before, I just don't really see what relevance this book has in the overall scheme of the Graceling world. The movement in the overall plot (about the Seven Kingdoms and Gracelings) could have been explored easily in a few pages in any book. This was a lovely tangent, Miss Cashore, but I really hope your next book gets back on track with the world nd storylines you so carefully crafted in Graceling and Fire.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Summer Reading List


I love summer time. I love the beach. I love beachy books. Nothing says summer like lazily reading in the hammock or by the pool side. Or on those hot summer nights on the front porch listening to the rain pour. Where ever you fancy, summer books are a staple during the season. It is a time to relax and do the things you want to. Reading is always on my summer to-do list.

Check out my Summer Reading List! Some I've read, some are to-be-read this summer . But all of them look good to me!



Why? This series is made of awesome. I have never ever ever read a better summer series. You should start off your summer reading with this. You'll have felt like you've taken a trip to the beach when you are finished. 


The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
The Diary of Mattie Spenser by Sandra Dallas

Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker
Endless Summer by Melissa Walker
The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland

What books are on your Summer Reading List? 

Sunday, 10 June 2012

A Word on Harry Potter


I've finished the Harry Potter audio books. I've finished the complete series for the first time in my life {I hadn't read the last 2 books}.  I'm sitting here and feel I need to write a eulogy or something! I actually feel a loss having finished the last book. What now?!

I remember the first time I'd ever heard the name Harry Potter. Do you? It was 1999 and I was working as a waitress at Applebee's while in college. I was serving a mother and son and while the Mom was on her cell phone the young boy was reading a large-ish book {large for someone his age--I thought}. I told him, "That's quite a big book now isn't it?" His reply, "It's Harry Potter."

I went home wondering who was Harry Potter? I even called my mother and told her about the big-ish book and she said,"I bet it's Harry Potter." Who was this Harry Potter?! My Mom told me I could borrow her book. She's an uber cool reader.

I picked it up and had no idea what it was about. But, I zoomed right through. This book was amazing! I'd never read anything like it! I'd read the first 3 books in just a few days and I was hungry for more. But, there were no more...yet.

When Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was released I was boarding a cruise ship to work for the Thanksgiving holiday. I would be cruising the Caribbean. I read Harry Potter instead of enjoying my surroundings! I was so hooked.

I remember going crazy over the films and so did the world! We'd never had anything like Harry Potter before.

Life got in the way and I'd not finished the last 2 books in the series. I wouldn't let myself watch the films either so I wouldn't be spoiled. But, I felt like a was a Harry Potter fan traitor because I had yet to finish the series. What was wrong with me anyway?

I wanted to read them but felt I needed to start from the beginning so I could get fully engrossed in the story again. This spring was time. It was suggested to me {by Good Books and Good Wine} to listen to the audio books.  My husband got them for me and I decided to give them a go.

I listened while I cooked, cleaned, and walked with the baby. I was finding myself cleaning just so I could listen to more Harry Potter! It was like reading them for the first time. I started out with Jim Dale's narration {which is by far the best} but switched to Stephen Fry's narration mid series. My husband got me a mix by accident.

Once I finished a book I would then enjoy the film. My husband was beginning to think I was obsessed. I told him they were just long books and films. But, yes I was a bit obsessed. How could anyone not like Harry Potter?!

Now I'm all finished. I feel a loss. Harry Potter is probably the best series I've ever read in my life. Bar none. Nothing compares. The crafting of the world and its character's in unlike any story out there. Pure brilliant.

I will miss your Harry Potter. But when ever I want to return to Hogwarts, I will just open your pages. I know you'll always be there to welcome me home.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Catriona's Review: I Heart London by Lindsey Kelk


I Heart London by Lindsey Kelk
Publisher: Harper
Pages: 336
Review by: Catriona

The fifth in the bestselling and immensely popular I HEART series following Angela’s romantic misadventures. Angela’s visa has expired and it looks as though she’s going to have to set foot again on home turf where further romantic trouble awaits. She has to face the ex-boyfriend she ran out on, her best friend’s new baby, and her mum. Is she now a New York girl through and through or can London win her heart again?



Catriona's Review:
The eagerly anticipated return of a much loved character is always a tricky one. The reader knows the character well therefore there is a chance that the author won’t do the character justice and let the reader down. This was NOT the case with I Heart London. Lindsey Kelk did Angela Clark proud.

Opening this book was like slipping on your favourite pair of fabulous jeans, familiar and yet you knew it was going to be good. The book begins in New York and then quickly changes setting to Surrey/London where most of the story takes place. I was worried that because the story was taking place in London, we wouldn’t have some of the other much-loved characters included, but they are all there and we get to hear more from best-friend Louisa which was a welcome edition to this, sequel number four to I Heart New York.

Angela gets herself into the usual scrapes and capers only this time she has to face up to her parents as well as Jenny Lopez and now Fiancée Alex. The fact that there is not an engagement to contend with adds a new dimension to this story, and I’m sure readers who have not followed Angela from the start but who can sympathise with the engaged or recently married will love this story because of this extra dimension.

As in I heart New York there were some great references to British brands and British icons which seems to make the book even more apt at having been released during the Queens Diamond Jubilee. Even if you are brand new to Lindsey Kelk and Angela Clark you will love this book for its fun characters, relatable storyline and parent/grown-up child dilemmas. I heart Lindsey Kelk. I heart Angela Clark. I heart I Heart London. Oh and ‘That’ll do pig’!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Audio Book: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling


Narrator: Stephen Fry
Length: 21 hours


Harry Potter is preparing to leave the Dursleys and Privet Drive for the last time. But the future that awaits him is full of danger, not only for him, but for anyone close to him - and Harry has already lost so much. Only by destroying Voldemort's remaining Horcruxes can Harry free himself and overcome the Dark Lord's forces of evil. In this dramatic conclusion to "The Harry Potter Series", Harry must leave his most loyal friends behind, and in a final perilous journey find the strength and the will to face his terrifying destiny: a deadly confrontation that is his alone to fight. 


Review:
I can not believe I had not read the last book in the series. What was wrong with me?! This final installment was so filled with action I was practically on the edge of my seat. I mean, what was going to happen?! How would it all end? I don't want to give anything away. You know me. 


I loved all of it. I missed some characters immensely. I loved the epilogue. I want more. Why can't this series go on forever and ever. I could never tire of it. Honestly. 


I started off not enjoying Stephen Fry's narration, but I do believe he got better throughout the series. He really defined the character voices and he brought life to everything. If it has been awhile since you've visited Hogwarts why not go back? Try the audio books! You won't be disappointed. I feel like I just read it for the first time. You should do it!

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