Monday, 30 April 2012

Audio Book: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling
Narrator: Stephen Fry
Length: 21 hrs
Format: Audio Book

Oh goodness this book is awesome! It's probably my favorite. So much is happening, all before Harry even gets to Hogwarts!

I'm listening to Stephen Fry's narration again, but missing Jim Dale's. I've gotten use to Fry though and I don't want to switch narrator's again. I'm plowing ahead.

Pretty much everyone has read HP, if you haven't...WHAT are you waiting for? Are you afraid of the boy wizard? Think he's only for kids? Afraid of reading something popular. Afraid you'll be come like the masses? Humph...get over it! Harry Potter is so freaking good it should be a law that everyone needs to read it. Period.

Anyone else listening to the audio books? Loving them? Hating them? Which narrator?

Quote:
"You're a prefect? Oh Ronnie! That's everyone in the family!"
"What are Fred and I? Next door neighbors?"



Sunday, 29 April 2012

Confessions

I really love this tumblr!

  1. I don't read every day. I only read when I want too.
  2. Sometimes I think I'm talking to myself on my blog. It gets eerily quiet over here at times. 
  3. I prefer to read on my Kindle. I think a paperback feels weird in my hands and it honestly isn't comfortable anymore. I love my Kindle. 
  4. I'm obsessed with the romance in books. I judge the book by how good the romance is. 
  5. My husband doesn't read. Oh, he can! But he won't pick up a book. He reads articles online. How did I marry such a man?
  6. I spend way too much time on Twitter. I only follow bookish people and things and it is really fun for me to be immersed in it. 
  7. Romance novels pull me out of reading funks.
  8. I'm so in love with the Harry Potter audio books that I'm going to feel a loss when they are over. I'm on book 5 right now. I'm already dreading it.
  9. My best time to read is before bed. 
  10. I'm kind of obsessed with keeping the spine uncreased on the paperbacks I own. 

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Discussion: Genre Misconceptions


Have you ever stayed away from a genre because you're sure it just isn't your thing? Maybe you stick to a certain genre or age group because you think you wouldn't like anything else. I think this happens more often than not. I like to think I'm a well rounded person. I like to experience new things and I like to learn. That's why The Sweet Bookshelf doesn't have a label on it as a YA book blog or Adult book blog, etc. I want to be free to review what I want. And I like a lot of different books!

While getting friends together to read The Hunger Games--before we saw the film--a few friends said,"Oh this just wouldn't be my thing. I don't like books like that." I'm guessing she was one of those people who won't read popular books. You know the people, they profess they don't like it over and over yet they've never freaking read it! Are you one? Do you refuse to read a book or author because of the popularity and hype?

I remember when my sister recommended I read Twilight. I didn't want to read it because I'm not a vampire person. I don't really enjoy vampires stuff. Well, I read it. *Loved*it! Now, I'm totally more open to stories with vampires in them.

I've also never been a science fiction fan. So I thought. I don't want to read about aliens and weird Star Trek stuff. My Mom laughs at me. She said that is science fantasy, but really entertaining. True science fiction is set in the future, but what is happening could actually happen someday. What?! I think of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Legend by Marie Lu! My Mom has always been a science fiction lover. She says,"There isn't enough good science fiction in the world." I've not been so keen, but then she opened my eyes. She's recommended Anne McCaffrey's Dragon Rider's series. She said,"If this series never ended, I'd be happy." I've got to check them out!

I use to have misconceptions about the romance genre. Oh, aren't they so taboo?! They're porn for women right?! No. I'm new to romance novels, but oh my goodness I love them. When I'm in a reading funk I always grab me a few romance novels and go to town.

Do you stay away from Middle grade because you think it would be too simple for your taste? If so, you are missing out!! Fablehaven by Brandon Mull is probably my favorite fantasy series ever! After Harry Potter that is. It is a mix between HP and Narnia! Holy good books Batman! I wish there were more than 5 books. I could live in them. I love me some middle grade!

What about self published books? I'll be the first to say I wasn't really a fan. I hadn't even read any! I just had thoughts that self published books were unpolished, unedited, and they weren't published for a reason. Well folks. I've been duped. I read What a Boy Wants by Nyrae Dawn and I still can't get it out of my mind. What a book! It is such a great YA contemporary! I put it right up there with The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han and Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. WOW! So good. Now I'm looking for what other gems I can find.

Have you ever been wrong? Have you jumped out of your comfort zone and tried a new genre? What genre's do you stay away from? What are your thoughts? I want to know!  Let's get talking about Genre Misconceptions.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Christy's Review: Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel

Dust Girl: The American Fairy Trilogy by Sarah Zettel
Publisher: Random House
Pages: 336
Pub Date: 26 June 2012
Format: Kindle

A special Thank you to Random House and NetGalley for sending this book for review.


Synopsis:
Amid the devastated Dust Bowl in heartland America, the destiny of the fairie world is controlled by one teenage girl.

     This new trilogy will capture the hearts of readers who adore Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle series. Callie LeRoux lives in Slow Run, Kansas, helping her mother run their small hotel and trying not to think about the father she's never met. Lately, all of her energy is spent battling the constant storms plaguing the Dust Bowl and their effects on her health. Callie is left alone when her mother goes missing in a dust storm. Her only hope comes from a mysterious man offering a few clues about her destiny and the path she must take to find her parents in "the golden hills of the west" (California). Along the way, she meets Jack, a young hobo boy who is happy to keep her company—there are dangerous, desperate people at every turn. And there's also an otherworldly threat to Callie. Warring fae factions, attached to the creative communities of American society, are very aware of the role this half-mortal, half-fae teenage girl plays in their fate.

Christy’s Review:
This is a really fun YA read with a fresh twist. It’s a fairy story, but a different kind of fairy story. It’s also tale of self-discovery and empowerment set in the old west, (well, Kansas) just after the arrival of the locomotive. Think fairies + a These is My Words-esque setting + action and self-discovery of Percy Jackson.

Callie is an spitfire of a heroine filled with creativity and ingenuity, and stubborn, resourceful, heartbroken Jack complements her perfectly. Altogether, a well-spun, tale that will have you wrapped around it’s narrative within a few pages. I loved it and can’t wait for the next installment!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Blog Tour: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
Publisher: MIRA Ink
Pages: 504
Format: ARC Paperback

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

In a future world, vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity. Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who killed her mother and keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked - and given the ultimate choice. Die...or become one of the monsters. Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must work with her vampire creator and learn the rules of being immortal. Including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad. When Allison is separated from her creator, she flees into the unknown, the world outside her vampire city, beyond the wall. There she joins a ragged band of humans who don't know what she is, seeking a legend - a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.


Review:
I've not read any vampire paranormal in awhile. I feel like it's all been done and there isn't much new and fresh to add to the mix. I was intrigued by The Immortal Rules because it had a dystopian twist to it. I'm sad to say that there still wasn't anything new to offer. 


The story is pretty slow. You're just waiting for something big to happen the whole time or for a secret to come into play. When Allison opted to be turned into a Vampire I was almost mad at her. She was fighting constantly against them, now she wants to be one just so she won't die? Yet becoming a vampire she would be dead anyway? It didn't seem to fit with her early character traits. The story is through Allison eyes as a new vampire. I honestly didn't see much blood lust and it was so convenient when she did feel it that some bad guys were close by for her to take down. I'm also confused how she could live with humans for so long and not drink their blood or that they didn't know what she was. The romantic aspect is very small. I was hoping that maybe the love interest would be more appealing.


The length of the book seems much longer than necessary and I just felt like I was waiting most of the time. I'm not a true vampire lover and was hoping this would change my mind, but it really hasn't. I was expecting so much more with all the hype surrounding it. This is a book that didn't live up to it.

Quote:
"Hunger flickered, always there, but I pushed it down. I was a vampire. Nothing would change that. But I didn't have to be a monster." 

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Dauntless UK Blog Tour: What is Dauntless anyway?




Are you getting ready for Insurgent by Veronica Roth, the  hotly anticipated sequel to Divergent? I know I am. Divergent was probably my favorite read of 2011, and I have high hopes for Insurgent. I hope it lives up to the hype. You can read my review on release day, May 1st! Come back and see what I thought.

If you've read Divergent then you know that chosing a faction decides your friends, define's your beliefs and determines your loyalties...forever. There are five factions to choose from.


Abnegation: The Selfless


Candor: The Honest


Amity: The Peaceful

Erudite: The Intelligent

Dauntless: The Brave


I am Dauntless. *screams and shouts like a fan girl*  Being Dauntless I'd get to see Four. Yippee!!

So, what is Dauntless anyway?

The Dauntless are brave, courageous, determined, and strong. They are not afraid to jump into battle and take risks. Tris took a risk by joining the Dauntless faction and she soon faced her fears and became one of the strongest members. Four also knew that the Dauntless faction was where he belonged. Do you want to find your inner strength? This is where you need to be!


I don't think I've ever thought of myself as brave before. That is... before I had kids. I became brave once I had my son. There isn't a thing I wouldn't do to protect him. Period. All of the unknown situations you willing put yourself in as a new Mom can be scary, but you do them anyway. You have to. There isn't a choice. I imagine I'd be like those Mom's who can lift a car off their baby or jump in front of a bullet for their children. 


I also think I was brave moving to another country with my husband. I had no family, no friends, and no idea about the culture.  I've been living in Scotland for 4 yrs now and I'm thriving. There is a small percentage of people that do that. 


I want to know what makes YOU Dauntless? Or do you identify with another faction? What qualities have you shown? 

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Characters

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

Oh boy, this is a tough one. I mean, out of all the books I've read how can I possibly choose my top 10 favorites?! I just can't I tell you! I can't! But, I will tell you some of my favorites. These are in no particular order.

  1. Becky Bloomwood from Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. Holy laugh my butt off Batman! Becky is hilarious and fun! I'd so want to be her friend. She is smart and real. There is no fluff in these books. Becky is written so well that she is a real person with real problems and issues. Oh, her boyfriend is Luke and I love him.
  2. Sarah Agnes Prine of These is My Words by Nancy Turner. Sarah must be my favorite heroine to date. Period. I've never read anyone stronger than she is. She has shed blood, sweat, and tears and yet she always rises from the ashes. She is one strong woman. When I was finished reading this book I felt like I had a friend. I actually felt as if I had shared cobbler and coffee at her table. I felt as if she had held me while I cried during the hard moments of this book. She is someone I look up to, and she is fictional! Oh, and she's married to Capt Jack. *swoon*
  3. Avry from Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder. Avry is selfless. In every sense of the word. She literally takes the pain and sickness away from others and brings it upon herself. She is kick butt too! She can fight with the best of 'em. I love a strong female lead! Oh, and she gets to make out with Kerrick. I'm pretty sure I'd die of happiness if I got to kiss him. 
  4. Mr. Thornton from North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. Screw Mr. Darcy! Mr. Thornton is where it's at! I'm not just talking about the goodness that is Richard Armitage who played Mr. Thornton in the BBC mini series. I love his character so so much. He is so hard on the outside but he melts like butter on the inside. Oh how I LOVE this book!!!! 
  5. Razzo from River Secrets by Shannon Hale. Everyone else loves Finn--I like him too--but I'm more of a Razzo kind of girl. He's fun, silly, and loyal. What isn't to like about that?! My favorite scene is at the end when he's getting close to Dasha and he's stalling kissing her. She calls him on it! She whispers,"Your stalling." "I was not." "You were too. You're scared." "I'm not the least bit scard my lady, see?" He swept an arm under her knees and picked her up, kissing her again as he did. "Not scared a whit." 
  6. Lola from Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. Lola dances to the beat of her own drum. She knows who she is and she's not afraid to show it. She's creative and passionate. I like to think we'd have been friends in high school. 
  7. Will and Jem from Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare. Oh Holy Parabati! I can not get enough of these 2 guys. Will has that bad boy streak and Jem has that touch of class. They both are full of passion. *swoon* I just don't know who I can choose! Both hold a place in Tessa's heart and mine too. 
  8. Sebastian from What a Boy Wants by Nyrae Dawn.  I love a male POV. This is a whole book of it. THANK YOU! Sebastian is loyal. That's just him. He's funny, loving, and not afraid to admit he's a mama's boy. He wears Van's and he's got dreamy dark hair. And he's in love with his best friend. I love that. I may be married but I'd give it all up for Sebastian. Call me ;) 
  9. Belly from The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han. Belly is so fun! She has friends who own a house on the beach. I'd totally be her friend so I could use the pool. J/k! I love how she's loyal to the end and never stops loving Conrad. You go girl!
  10. The Weasley Twins from Harry Potter by JK Rowling. They are so much fun! I like to think that we would have been friends at Hogwarts. Their scenes are my favorite and they add something special. I seriously can't get enough of them! Plus, I think they were cast perfect in the films!
If you can't tell, I like my character's loyal! That is a must in my book!!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Review: Sunrise Point by Robyn Carr

Sunrise Point by Robyn Carr
Publisher: MIRA
Pages: 400
Genre: Adult Romance
Pub Date: 24 April 2012
Format: ARC-Kindle

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


Former marine Tom Cavanaugh’s come home to Virgin River, ready to take over his family’s apple orchard and settle down. He knows just what the perfect woman will be like: sweet, decent, maybe a little naive. The marrying kind.

Nothing like Nora Crane. So why can’t he keep his eyes off the striking single mother?

Nora may not have finished college, but she graduated with honors from the school of hard knocks. She’s been through tough times and she’ll do whatever it takes to support her family, including helping with harvest time at the Cavanaughs’ orchard. She’s always kept a single-minded focus on staying afloat…but suddenly her thoughts keep drifting back to rugged, opinionated Tom Cavanaugh.

Both Nora and Tom have their own ideas of what family means. But they’re about to prove each other completely wrong…

Review:
I am so in love with The Virgin River Series. I just can not get enough! I think this one has to be my favorite yet. I just love love love it! If you have not ever tried a romance novel, then I'd suggest you start with this one. Especially since I'm giving away a copy!

I love the setting! It's another character. This isn't just Virgin River this time. This takes place on an apple orchard. A lovely farm house, orchards of apples, and a good looking wholesome man. Oh, he's rich too. What is not to like my friends? I was all over this. There are wonderful descriptions and I truly felt like I was tasting the sour apple cider and getting blisters on my hands from all the apple picking. I felt like a part of the orchard. 

One thing author Robyn Carr does so well is write realistically. She writes real people. Nora is a single mother. She's working hard to provide for her girls. What's more real than that? Robyn Carr includes issues relevant to today's world. She writes military families so well. This is probably why I enjoy her writing so much. I feel like it could really happen. All the conversations feel real. There's no cheese involved.

The character's are endearing and you feel like you really get to know them. Time is spent on each one so that you get a sense of them. It just enhances the story. I'm all for character development!

I always seem to choose a character in the book that I want to be. I felt like Maxie, Tom's grandmother. There were points when I wished I was her and could slap Tom around a bit and tell him to get with Nora already! I did love that Tom and Nora were friends first. That's how it should be. Those are my favorite kinds of love stories.

This was a great story. I was hooked and I literally couldn't put the book down. Just writing this review makes me want to read it again. I think I might. I need to make a trip down to Virgin River!

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Hidden Gems


I don't know about you but I've read a lot of mediocre books this past winter. What's the deal!? I was practically drowning there for awhile. I thought I might be lost in the book funk forever. I know you know what I'm talking about.

I was able to find a few hidden gems.  These books are off the grid. You know, there isn't a lot of advertising thrown at them or virtually no hype. Books few people know about but that are fantastic. I feel proud that I found them. Makes me feel like a book snob, I kind of love it.  I want to share them with YOU! This is a mix of different genre's so I hope you find something you can enjoy. Let me know what you think!

Night Sky by Jolene Perry


My very first contemporary male point of view. Jameson took my virginity. Can I say that on here? *swoon* Lots of kissing here folks. I like kissing, a lot. I'm convinced that nobody writes a kissing scene better than author Jolene Perry. Night Sky was my beacon during a particularly long funk.





What a Boy Wants by Nyrae Dawn

Holy amazing YA contemporary Batman! YES! FINALLY! It is up there with The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han. Another male point of view. Please let this be the new trend, I'm obsessed.  Sebastian is such a fun and cool character. I can't get his story out of my mind. Why is it off the grid? It's self published! That equals el cheapo for your wallet. It's been added to my all time favorites! I can't get enough! I want more.

Anew by Chelsea Fine

I've not really been enjoying too many paranormal's lately. Everything feels like it's been done. Beat a dead horse why don't you! Anew is not like that. It is totally unique and surprising. Opening scene takes place at a kissing festival. Um, yes please! There are twin brothers here and a secret so big that I'm practically dying with anticipation for the next book. AH!!





Stormswept by Helen Dunmore

Middle grade book of awesomeness. Mermaids! Author Helen Dunmore is a seasoned writer and she has recently revived her Ingo series. The writing is so beautiful you literally feel transformed. She is the pied piper! I was in a trance. I'm not sure I've ever read anything so beautiful.

The Dress Keeper by Mary Naylus

This one is so hidden. Where are you?! It's about a girl who finds a trunk full of old dresses. When she tries them on she is transported back in time! Holla! She's helping to solve a mystery, will it be too late? Awesome book! LOVED IT! It's a shame nobody knows about it.

His Eyes by Renee Carter (novella)

Found it on Amazon. It's short and to the point but I love it. About a blind boy and a girl who is asked to watch out for him over the summer. What will happen? I want to find more novella's like this one to enjoy. I really liked it. Why do novella's not get enjoyed more?
Not My Type by Melanie Jacobson

Cover is great! Story is fantastic! Kissing scenes are awesome! This one is on my favorites list. Can't help myself. Why is it a hidden gem? It is a Later-day Saint Christian novel. Specific niche, but oh so good!







Of Witches and Warlocks by Lacey Weatherford

I was not expecting such an awesome book. I wasn't. I read it because a friend asked me to. It has been awhile since there has been a good witch book. There is now a whole series, and people are in love with Vance and Portia. Lots of swoon worthy moments. Cool magic and loads of surprises. But, it's off the grid! Why don't people know about it?! I'm pretty sure it is self published. But don't quote me on that.
The Widower's Wife by Prudence Bice

I love this time period. I can't get enough of the wild west at the turn of the century. I can't I tell you! It's about a mail order bride. It was pretty awesome. I love me a good romance story. This one had all the right stuff. Lots of special moments that will get the butterflies in your stomach going.





Grounding Quinn by Stephanie Campbell

I usually like my stories all wrapped up nicely and everything is all perfect in the end. This isn't one of those stories. It's deeper. Brought up feelings I was sure were hidden deep inside. The mother in me wanted to love on Quinn until she couldn't stand it any longer. My heart actually hurt for her. If you want something a little deeper, then this is it. Why isn't it out there more? I'll never know.

Marian's Christmas Wish by Carla Kelly

Yo, I know it's a Christmas book but this one was worth it. It wasn't all cheesy yule tide glee. There is mystery here, friendships, and fun! Romance too! Plus it is historical and I love to play dress up. Now grab some mulled wine and go to town on this book! Christmas in April! I'm so game.


What books have you found that are off the grid? Any hidden gems we should know about? 

Friday, 20 April 2012

Kids at the Shelf: Partials by Dan Wells

Partials by Dan Wells
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books UK
Pages: 482
Format: eBook
Review by: Morgan (age 14)

A special Thank you to Harper Collins and NetGalley fro sending this book to review. 

The only hope for humanity isn’t human.
In a world where people have been all but wiped out by a virus created by part-human cyborgs called ‘Partials’, and where no baby survives longer than three days, a teenage girl makes it her mission to find a cure, and save her best friend’s unborn child.
But finding a cure means capturing a Partial…


Review:
I really enjoyed this book. It was filled with action, so much that I thought my iPhone would explode! This is the most thrilling books I've read this year. I've read it 3 times now and it hasn't gotten old. I think I will read it for the 4th time this summer if I have time. All people who love science fiction and head strong teenagers will love this book. 

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Catriona's Review: The Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss

The Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss
Publisher: Quirk Books
Pages: 82
Format: Hardback


A special Thank you to Quirk Books for sending me this books to review.


When Evelyn Morgan walks into Thorne and Son, a bookstore in the Cornish village of Clews, she doesn't know that she's going to meet the love of her life. When Brendan Thorne sells her a medieval poem called "The Book of the Green Knight", he doesn't know that it will shape his future. After that first meeting, they don't see one another for years - and yet they never stop thinking about one another. It's as if they're the haunted lovers in the old book itself...




Catriona's Review:

The Thorn and the Blossom is a remarkable literary artifact: You can open the book in either direction to decide whether you’ll first read Brendan’s, or Evelyn’s account of the mysterious love affair. Choose a side, read it like a regular novel—and when you get to the end, you’ll find yourself at a whole new beginning.

The was one of the most beautiful books I have ever picked up. If someone has lost the joy of reading proper books, all they have to do is pick this little number up with its hardback case and accordion binding And they will remember what it is that attracts people to the real thing as opposed to the increasingly popular e-book!

When I began to read the book, however, I was not struck by the same level of beauty and joy. Both sides of the story start of as this really sweet love story. Two people, inexperienced in love, meet and begin to find the joy of a friendship turning into something more. They meet in a bookshop, which I loved, and the story tells of them firstly spending time together at the Cornish coast and then together on a university campus.

The rest of the story didn't quite meet with my expectations though. There were circumstances which tore the lovers apart which I didn't feel the author made terribly clear to the reader. There were also a couple of other characters involved in the story who were under developed and the plot wouldn't have suffered any of they had been described more to the reader or indeed shown how they were placed in the story.

The ending of the book does pick up a bit and has a wistful fairytale/tragic romance feel to it, but at the very last minute the book suddenly ends, as I'd the author had simply ran out of ink. This kind of ending can go one of two ways, some readers may find this appealing, allowing them to carry on the story in their own minds and decide for themselves what the fate of these two characters is going to be. For me though, I would have preferred a bit more of a resolution, or even more of a lead into a resolution as to what happened with the two characters.

A beautiful book, a nice storyline and a very quick read. Excellent if you are looking for something different or something to bring you back into reading concrete books. If you are looking for something more substantial or are someone who needs a concrete resolution to a book, this might not be for you.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Audio Book: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Powling

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
Narrator: Stephen Fry
Length: 12 hrs
Format: Audio Book

I switched narrator's. Not because I wanted to, but because the library lost the rest of the audio books for HP and so my husband got them for me. How nice! Yet, the narration does  not compare well against Jim Dale. I mean seriously. I almost threw my iPod like a child because I didn't like his voice as well. Jim Dale is a genius! I've never heard a story told like he can! But, I wasn't listening to Jim Dale this time. I had Stephen Fry.

He's not bad, but he isn't as good. Period. It took me several chapters to get use to him. He's much more bland. That being said, the story is great! I sure do love me some Harry Potter and I am enjoying going through the series again. There is such magic here. The descriptions are out of any other writer's league! The imagination used to conjure up some of this stuff is sheer brilliance!

I'm listening to the audio books as I clean the house, walk into town with the baby, and work on blog stuff in the evenings. I like it because I normally wouldn't be reading at that time. No matter if I could read faster than the narrator is speaking, I wouldn't be reading at all! So, I feel like I'm cheating getting some extra story time in. Kill two birds with one stone. I love it! If you've not tried audio books, you should start with Jim Dale's narration of Harry Potter! You won't be disappointed!


Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Tips For New Bloggers

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

I'm kind of in love with this weeks Top Ten Tuesday. I wish I'd had something like this when I started blogging over 3 yrs ago. A whole HUGE group of people giving me advice?! Sign me up! These tips are what I've gleaned over the years and some are things I wish I would have done differently. I hope you can benefit.

  1. Brand Yourself. Get yourself matching, twitter, facebook, blog, and email accounts. Continuity is everything. I want to be able to recognize you when I change social networks. Dip into your pockets and buy a design. You could do it yourself...but if you know you're not good at it, then hire someone else to do it for you. It is WORTH IT. Period. Looks are everything.
  2. Cut the meme's. If you're doing more than 2 meme's per week, then you are doing too many. Don't use them to fill up your schedule just so you have content. Think of something original. Or wait...how about fill your blog with reviews! Novel idea, I know. 
  3. Don't worry about getting ARC's. Seriously. It is not the end all of book blogging. Go to the library, share with friends, buy your own. Review those! I do! Yes, I now receive books from authors and publisher's but I didn't for a very long time. I reviewed anything and everything I got my hands on. Because I wanted to. Now, my TBR pile gets so high I wish I didn't receive so many books. They stare at me on the shelf.
  4. Get on NetGalley. This was not available when I started blogging. Even if you don't have an ereader, download the kindle app for PC or your iPod. There are a plethora of books and it is so fun!
  5. Make friends. I wish I would have done more of this. When I started, there was a lot of drama that made me want to quit blogging. Many times. So I just withdrew. Stuck to myself. I'm sure this is why I only have 450+ GFC followers after 3 yrs of blogging. Make friends!! Have fun!
  6. Be Yourself. There is no need to try and be someone you are not. If you have a unique to you blog, then people will want to read it. Write about the things you want to read about. BE the blog you wish you had in your Reader.
  7. Social Networking. OMG. I can't believe I waited so long to join twitter. BEST. NETWORKING. TOOL. EVER. Get on there!Then come and see me. I'm @SweetBookshelf.
  8. Comment. Interact with those who are commenting on your blog. Answer their questions. Visit their blog and if you see a post you like, leave a comment. It's all about connecting with other readers right? 
  9. Don't sweat the small stuff. So you don't post every day, so what? So your stats aren't as good as so-and-so, so what? So your header isn't as good as your friends, so what!! Relax. Don't get blogger envy. It isn't worth it. There will always be someone ahead of you and always someone behind you. 
  10. Have fun! I totally have fun with my blog. Those times when I wanted to quit because of drama...well I didn't because I enjoy writing reviews. I like to write my feelings on a book so I can remember what I thought about it. I like to write about bookish topics. I do it because I have fun. Honestly, I'd do it if no one read my blog. I enjoy it that much, just for me. Just have fun!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Review: Rules of the Game by Sandy James

Rules of the Game by Sandy James
Publisher: Carina
Genre: Adult Romance
Format: Kindle


Kathryn West has it all--she's a confident, bestselling author living it up in New York City. Too bad she doesn't actually exist, and is only timid Maddie Sawyer's pseudonym. Determined to attend her high school reunion with a man right out of one of her racy romance novels, she plots to find a sexy bad boy who's up to Kathryn's standards.

She finds Mr. Perfect shooting pool in a biker bar. He's a blue-collar hunk who just happens to look great in leather. But the mysterious Scott Brady has some rules of his own: he won't agree to her deal unless she poses as his girlfriend in front of his family and friends first.

As the reunion nears, Maddie tries to maintain her carefree façade, knowing she'll soon face some old ghosts. She's torn between her growing attraction to Scott and the nagging feeling that he's hiding something important. Will she still want him when she finds out his secret? What about when he discovers hers?



Review:
The beginning of this books is terribly cliché and predictable. Hold on! Hold on, just wait. I almost stopped reading immediately. I like a little cheese with my romance novels so I decided to stick it out. The cliché stops at the beginning. You'll think you know what this book is about and where it is going, but you don't. Trust me. 


Maddie needs a hot date to her reunion and so she spends an evening bar hopping to find 'Mr Perfect'. He's a blue collar biker bad boy. Maddie thinks she can judge a book by its cover. Well, we'll just see if she's right. I must admit it was easy to see what was really happening with Scott. I knew from the start, but that's OK. I like predictability in romance novels. Scott wants something in return if he's to be her date to this reunion. This is really where I thought I had this whole book figured out. I didn't though. After Scott got what he wanted the whole story was a surprise to me. 


There were some pretty heavy issues that were a complete surprise. I wanted the story to be light and fun but we were smacked with several bits of news. The rest of the book was overcoming these problems. I was a little upset at Maddie for her reaction when she found out Scott's profession. I mean come on! That is on everyone's approved future husband's career list!! Stop whining and thank your lucky stars!!!!


Overall, I enjoyed it.  It is a quick read and you'll really like Scott! He's yum! 


*This is an adult romance novel, so there will be adult content.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

The Newsstand {15}

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. 


News
Fun Bookish Things
Join the Discussion
Giveaway's


UK Kindle Deals


Friday, 13 April 2012

Christy's Review: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Shantaram
By Gregory David Roberts

Shantaram is narrated by Lin, an escaped convict with a false passport who flees maximum security prison in Australia for the teeming streets of a city where he can disappear.

Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, the two enter Bombay's hidden society of beggars and gangsters, prostitutes and holy men, soldiers and actors, and Indians and exiles from other countries, who seek in this remarkable place what they cannot find elsewhere.

As a hunted man without a home, family, or identity, Lin searches for love and meaning while running a clinic in one of the city's poorest slums, and serving his apprenticeship in the dark arts of the Bombay mafia. The search leads him to war, prison torture, murder, and a series of enigmatic and bloody betrayals. The keys to unlock the mysteries and intrigues that bind Lin are held by two people. The first is Khader Khan: mafia godfather, criminal-philosopher-saint, and mentor to Lin in the underworld of the Golden City. The second is Karla: elusive, dangerous, and beautiful, whose passions are driven by secrets that torment her and yet give her a terrible power.

Burning slums and five-star hotels, romantic love and prison agonies, criminal wars and Bollywood films, spiritual gurus and mujaheddin guerrillas---this huge novel has the world of human experience in its reach, and a passionate love for India at its heart. Based on the life of the author, it is by any measure the debut of an extraordinary voice in literature.


Christy’s Review:

This is a book for grown-ups. It is serious. It is sad. It is uplifting. It is every psychologist’s nightmare-com-true.

What can I possibly say about this book? I love. Not enough. It’s one of my favorites. Doesn’t cut it. THISBOOKMAKESMYHEARTSINGANDMOURNANDLAUGHAND CRY. Exclamation mark repeated several dozen times! (It really is one of my favorite books of all times.)

Forget the fact that most of the subject matter in this book and in the main character’s life is in direct conflict with most of my personal beliefs. Well, let me clarify… This book is about a man’s search for redemption and peace within his own continually muddled, messed up, mis-stepped life. Most of the troubles he has are of his own making, well, probably all of them are.

But the struggle! The utterly astonishing, heartbreaking journey the character takes is divine in it’s soul-searching-ness. You’ll really have to read this one to understand. Couple the amazing, harrowing storyline with the fact that Gregory David Roberts is able to craft sentences like unto nothing I’ve ever read in their poetic, touching genius, and this book is a masterpiece.

It’s a heavy read. And it’s huge. Several hundred pages. It’s a volume. So, read it if you’re looking for a gorgeous book about one man’s struggle to make peace with himself. Read it with a pen in hand to underline your favorite quotes!

Quote: “Some truths about yourself are so painful that only shame can help you live with them. And some things are just so sad that only your soul can do the crying for you.”

(BTW-Picking just one quote from this book was torture!)

PS: Johnny Depp bought the motion picture rights for this book… Should be interesting!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Review: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Pages: 560
Format: Kindle

A special Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for sending me this book to review.


Young, beautiful and deadly.Trained as an assassin by the god of Death, Ismae is sent to the court of Brittany, where she finds herself underprepared - not only for the games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death's vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?A dangerous romance full of intrigue, poison and ultimately finding one's way.


Review:
I had high hopes for this book. The hype surrounding it is huge and everyone was telling me how much I'd love the romance and all the action. The preface really intrigued me! Nun Assassins! What?! I'm so there. Romance, heck yes! Strong female lead, OK! This had all the makings of a blockbuster book for me. 


The beginning was fantastic. I was really getting into it and I really liked Ismae. She is uber awesome and I loved seeing her training and going out of her first assignments. She's totally kick butt. She's 17 and that is really all that lends this book to be Young Adult. With all the issues she deals with she is--for all intents and purposes--an adult. I liked when she got her assignment to pretend to be Duval's mistress. YES!! This is going to be so good! I'm not really a fan of mid-evil language though. Something about it just doesn't ring well with me. It feels like play acting or something. But, I was getting used to it. Then it was just the same 'ol thing happening. They just kept trying to find the duchess a match to marry. Over and over and over. While Ismae did some needlework. I found myself actually trying not to skim the book and move past the middle bit. That's just me though. There actually IS plenty of action going on. I was looking for the romance. Where was it?! 


The romance was...good. I liked Duval a lot. I liked Ismae. I liked them together. They took their time, which is always good. I wanted a little more heat, but I'm just crazy over romance. There was plenty! I loved all the moments they shared. Those small inclinations that let each other know how much they cared. 


Overall, it's a great storyline. Creative. I know many of you will really enjoy it. Most probably will! This book is filled of awesomeness!


Quote:
"So.... You are well equipped for our service.' 
'Which is?' 
'We kill people." 

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Review: What a Boy Wants by Nyrae Dawn

What a Boy Wants by Nyrae Dawn
Sold by: Amazon Media
Pub Date: April 6, 2012
Format: Kindle


Courtesy of watching his mom’s relationships, Sebastian Hawkins knows what girls need to do to get a guy. He has what he considers a PHD in hooking up. When he needs extra cash for a car, Sebastian starts an online venture as The Hook-up Doctor, to anonymously help girls land the guy of their dreams. Of course, his services don’t offer a happily-ever-after guarantee. He’s seen firsthand getting together never means staying together. 

And then he falls in love… 

With the last girl he would expect…

Totally not in his game plan. 

Suddenly, Sebastian finds himself muddled in the game he’s always prided himself on. He can’t even pick up girls at parties anymore! Why would anyone want to be in love when it turns you into a stuttering, screwed-up, mess with really lame stalker tendencies? Stalking? Totally not his gig. 

But the Hook-up Doctor won’t let himself go down easily. He’s always known how to give a girl what she wants and now it’s time to figure out what a boy wants… and he definitely plans on getting it. 



Review:
I am not huge into self published books. Not that I'm against them, but I'm just not aware of the good stuff. So I usually don't ever read them unless someone I trust has enjoyed it and I feel safe enough to give it a go. I follow authors Jolene Perry (Night Sky) and Stephanie Campbell (Grounding Quinn) on Twitter and they were talking about What a Boy Wants. I couldn't stop hearing Christina Aguilerra in my head after that.  So I thought I'd better check it out. Loved the cover! Isn't he dreamy?! The description sounded awesome and I LOVE a male POV. I mean seriously, please let this be the next trend. I like being in the guys head.


Whoa! Huzzah! I haven't liked a YA Contemporary this much since Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. You know how much we all loved that!! It was such a pleasant surprise. I actually read it in one sitting. I was making dinner and I was glued to my Kindle the whole time. I couldn't stop reading. I didn't want to either. Amen for the Kindle!


Sebastian is such a cool guy. He wears Van's. I had such a clear picture of him in my head, plus the cover of the book helps a lot. Looks like he was made for this book cover! I love his carefree attitude, but when he falls in love he gets all mushy gushy and it's hilarious! I loved being inside his head, knowing his thoughts and seeing things from his point of view. I wish this book was written when I was in high school, I could have used it. Sebastian is a great character and he's loveable in all the right ways. I missed him when the book was over.


You think you know, from the very beginning, what's going on in this story. But you don't. Not really. There are several surprises. I was sure I had it figured out, but then I had it wrong! WHAT?! I know...just trust me. It all works out. There are plenty of surprises. Which was a breath of fresh air. Everything really flowed you guys. All the transitions were perfect. The relationships felt natural. Friends, girlfriend, mother and son. Everything worked like it should. You felt those connections and nothing was out of place.


You know me by now and understand that I need a book with some romance. All kinds. I need swoon worthy moments and kisses that will take my breath away. I got my fill here with What a Boy Wants. My heart melted quite a few times. It was perfect. Some scenes really stuck with me. Sebastian & Aspen on the beach. Bastian outside Aspen's window. I can still picture them in my minds eye.


I'm not spoiler-y in any way, so I don't want to really go into the story details. But, I will say it was so totally awesome and original. It's been awhile since I've read something that I enjoyed so much. This should really be published by one of the Big 6. I'm so impressed. I actually want to re-read it immediately. I want to hang on to the magic for just a little bit longer. 

You're also in luck!  Because it is self published it is SO seriously cheap! So grab it! You won't be disappointed! Trust me! 


Buy it here:
Amazon
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble


Quote:
"You need serious help. First of all, I might be a little closer to Woodstock, but that's only because we've lived down the street from each other since we were like two. I had to drink my first cup of soy milk with her. People bond over that shit."

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Top Three Tuesday: Books That Were Deceiving

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

Have you ever grabbed a book solely based on the cover and then when you started reading it was something completely different than you thought? How about the summary left out the main point of the story? I know I've had a few of those, but only a few. I've even opened a book--not expecting much--and it has turned out to blow me away! I won't have ten, but I'll show you my top 3. Let's talk about Books That Were Deceiving!


Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

I love this cover. I was under the impression it was a fairy story. But, it's not. Oh, there is some magic involved! It's an adult book. Women's fiction. It wasn't what I was expecting but it was really so good! I loved being surprised! I loved it!





Oh dear, I'm not even sure where to begin with this one. The cover shows a fairy and it sparkles! I thought there was going to be a cute fairytale. Well folks, it is not. I'm not a spoilery person but, I'm going to be. She slits her wrists with her glass slipper. Um, what?! Then she jumps off a bridge in the end! I really want to know where the editor was during this process. It was a seriously depressing book. Death by glass slipper. This book was NOT as advertised. I was a bit in shock for awhile after this book. Not what I was expecting.



This is a novella of 3 stories and there is absolutely no kissing in this book. OK, wait--there is a vague description of one the characters had in the past and they spend the whole rest of the story talking about it. So...seriously there wasn't any. A bit of a let down for a book entitled Kissing! 

Monday, 9 April 2012

Review: Twitterpated by Melanie Jacobson

Twitterpated by Melanie Jacobson
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Pages: 247
Format: Kindle

Jessie Taylor is furious when her roommate secretly posts her picture on the dating website LDS Lookup -- furious, that is, until she spends all night instant messaging Ben Bratton, a man whose wit and warmth just might make Jessie forget the train wreck of her last romantic relationship. Their first date is a smashing success (literally), but Ben's overall awesomeness can't save Jessie from having to deal with Craig, her competitive coworker whose baiting behavior sets new standards for obnoxiousness. Determined to beat Craig at his own game, Jessie spends long office hours finishing projects and putting out fires, but while her performance wows her boss, it only makes Ben skittish -- after a failed engagement to an up-and-coming lawyer, he's not about to pair up with someone who's married to her job. Will Jessie figure out how to be true to herself and take her big chance at love before it's gone with a click of the mouse?


Review:
I knew I was going to love Twitterpated. I didn't have a single worry. I was also struck dumb by the eerie similarities within the first couple of chapters to my own life. Melanie, did you just write my memoir??? It sure felt like it!! Which was kind of awesome! 


I love the whole online dating beginning. It isn't so taboo anymore. More and more people are finding love this way--yours truly included. Jessie's roommate Sandy created a profile for her, without her permission. Jess decides to just give it a go. Why not? I really loved all the banter between Jessie and Ben. It was fun to see their first chat up lines and get to know you questions. Well, for that matter I loved the conversations between Jessie and her roommate Sandy too. I wish I was witty. It really was quite funny! The conversations felt real. Everything flowed well. I felt like I was watching it happen right in front of me. The one liner's are pretty classic.


I really liked going on all those first dates with Ben. Took me back in time to my own first dates! It was fun and I'm so glad Ben didn't kiss on the 1st date. Good boy. I love it when a couple takes their time and gets to know on another first. That's how it should happen. It all felt very natural.


Both Ben and Jessie have plenty of trials to get through which kept things interesting. I wanted to scream at Jessie there at the end though. Quit the job girl! Go get Ben!! I was practically willing them together by the end! 


I loved it you guys! I read it quickly, and just couldn't get enough. Totally cute and fun. It's a light read and I read it in one sitting. I love it when that happens. I'm really hoping we get more of Jessie and Ben's story. I know I'd LOVE more!!!

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Discussion: What Book Would You Choose to Experience for the First Time Again?

I'm a re-reader. I talk about it all the time. I really enjoy once or twice a year to get stuck back into some of my favorite books. Sometimes I even re-read a book over the minute I finish it to try and hold on to its magic for just a little bit longer. I don't think there could be any greater compliment to an author than to re-read their book over and over. But, re-reading isn't the same as that first experience. You don't know the story and the characters and you're just wondering what will happen! There are several books I wish I could go back in time and read it for the first time.

What book would you choose to experience for the first time again? You know, it was just that awesome that no matter how many times you re-read it you can't quite replicate those feelings from the first time you experienced it. I've got a few to share and then I want to know yours.

These is My Words by Nancy Turner
Wow, wow, wow. I will never get tired of talking about this book. If you still haven't picked it up--even after I won't stop talking about it--then now is the time. Sarah is my all time favorite heroine. She is so strong and upon finishing the series I felt like I had gained a friend. The descriptions are beautiful and there is a lot of action in this book. There are also a lot of tears. I cried so hard I was wailing. I had to call my sister for comfort. She answered the phone to hear me crying and she said,"You finished it, didn't you?" Yes I did. What an amazing story!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Sheer brilliance. I don't think any book has made me hold my breath like The Hunger Games. I've re-read it more than 10 times and although each time I learn something new and enjoy it, it won't ever hold the excitement that the first time read did. I'd love to go back in time and enjoy it for the first time!

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
There I said it! I really did like Twilight. I think it's funny the people who say they didn't like it, yet they read the whole series. If I didn't enjoy a book I sure as heck wouldn't be reading the whole dang series! I really enjoyed the love story. It woke up something inside me. I couldn't get enough! No matter how many times I've read it, it won't ever feel like that first time. What a unique and interesting story with an epic love to stand the test of time.

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
This series is like Harry Potter meets Narnia! Holy rusted metal batman it is awesome!! It's Middle grade, and if you aren't reading MG then you are missing out. There is so much action and fun in these books. I love the characters and I've not read anything like it before or since. Do you like faeries? How about dragon's? Mythical creatures? Well, then this is for you!


Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery
I was 12 yrs old and my sister Katie was in love with these books. I felt left out. What was so great about them anyway? I admired her for reading all the time and I wanted to be like that too. So, I borrowed them from the library because my sister wouldn't let me touch her set. I read them with my best friend Jessica and they were perfection. It has always been a dream of mine to visit Prince Edward Island. Who wouldn't wanna go there?! And maybe Gilbert Blythe will be there waiting.




The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
Holy good books! I finished City of Bones in one day. About midnight. I was so eager for the next book, but it was midnight, where would I get the next book at this hour. AMAZON! I grabbed my iPod, downloaded the Kindle app and grabbed the next 2 books. All while still laying in bed. I then went on to finish City of Ashes before the sun came up. I slept a few hours and then read City of Glass by afternoon. 3 books in 48 hours. I was so hooked!!! I'd do anything to go back and be able to read it with fresh eyes like that first time. I couldn't get enough!!

What books would you like to go back in time and read for the first time!
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