Friday, 31 August 2012

Literary Dinner Party

It's coming up to the end of the month so I thought i'd do a tag. This one comes from Priscilla at The Readables on YouTube and I thought it was pretty fun!

THE RULES: you must invite 11 guests, and there must be

1. One character who can cook/likes to cook

Molly Weasley from the Harry Potter series. She'd make a proper homely meal and keep us all entertained whilst making everyone feel safe and right at home!

2. One character who has money to fund the party

Lord Henry Wotton from Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray. The party might just end with a wild and corrupt guest list but it'd be fun all the same. (My second choice for this was Gatsby, if anyone was wondering!)

3. One character who might cause a scene

Macbeth! We all know how he fares at special banquets, so there's a good chance he'd cause a scene here too.

4. One character who is funny/amusing

Myrnin from Rachel Caine's Morganville series. He never fails to amuse me, especially because it's usually unknown even to him that he's being funny. Plus i'd love to get a look at his Vampire Bunny Slippers!

5. One character who is super social/popular

Emma Woodhouse from Jane Austen's Emma. She's one of those characters that I want to shake some sense into, but at the same time would love to be her confidante! She knows how to party.

6. One villian

Darken Rahl from Terry Goodkind's Wizard's First Rule. I'm cheating a little bit with this as i'm still currently reading it and he hasn't actually appeared yet, but I think that's why I chose him. There has only been talk of him - and that is terrifying enough.

7. One couple - doesn't have to be romantic

I definitely choose Ari & Janco from Maria V Snyder's Study trilogy. They could easily have fit under a few of these roles but i've put them under 'couple' because I just can't imagine them not being together. They are so adorable and genuinely make me laugh. Excellent characters.

8. One hero/heroine

For this one I choose Augustus Waters from John Green's The Fault in our Stars. I can't give a great explanation for this without spoilers (go and read it!) but he is fantastic, loyal, loving and selfless. He is a wonderful hero in my eyes.

9. One under-appreciated character

Primrose Everdeen from Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games. Prim does have a fairly bit role to play, but to me she does it without ever really doing anything. It's hard to explain (and quite simply, i'm still rather angry) but she should have been much more significant.

10. One character of your own choosing

Dash from Dash & Lily's Book of Dares. I keep saying over and over how much I love this book but here it is again. I'd love to stay up all night, perusing dictionaries and discussing language with language. We'd be archaic and esoteric and it would be wonderful, beautiful and everything my imagination tells me it would be.

If you choose to do this, please link me in the comments! I'd love to know who would attend your literary dinner party :)

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Review // A Witch in Love - Ruth Warburton

Published - 5th July 2012
Published By - Hodder Children's Books
Format - Paperback
Goodreads Synopsis - Anna still finds it hard to believe that Seth loves her and has vowed to suppress her powers, no matter what. But magic – like love – is uncontrollable. It spills out with terrible consequences, and soon, Anna is being hunted.

The second book in Ruth Warburton's Winter series, A Witch in Love continues Anna's story and her magical development. I wasn't sure whether I was going to pick this up at first. I enjoyed the first book, A Witch in Winter, as a nice 'filler' book. Although the ending left me wanting answers and to find out what was going to happen to Anna, I wasn't overly attached to the series. After spotting it on the shelf though, I had to buy it and i'm glad that I did.

A Witch in Love started off slowly and I was frustrated by the 'lovey-dovey' romance that Anna and Seth share. Seth is a nice boy but c'mon...where's the excitement? Thankfully though, things picked up and by the mid-way point I was enthralled and couldn't put it down. The action scenes were fantastic and without too much of a spoiler - that wind was AWESOME.

I simply love Abe's character. He's quick-witted, opinionated and much more of a heartthrob than Seth. I really hope his character is developed more in the next book in the series! I only wish there was less fawning over Anna; she seems irresistible to men?! 

...Moving on! The family storyline was brilliant and I definitely want to know more about Isla/Isabella and I want the answer to why Anna is so important. The end of A Witch in Love had me sobbing like a lovesick teenager (despite my anti-Seth views!) and I genuinely can't wait to see what's going to happen now. Everything is all up in the air and it's time for Anna to face her past, present and future.

Review // The Lightning Thief - Rick Riordan

Published - 1st April 2006
Published By - Disney Hyperion Books
Format - Paperback
Goodreads Synopsis - Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school... again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus' master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus' stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

After reading many reviews and getting many recommendations for this book, I have finally read the first in the series, The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. I wasn't sure what to expect. I'd seen the film but I was a little concerned that the writing wouldn't be great. I had nothing to worry about though!

I read the first few chapters and immediately loved the book and the characters. Percy is charming and funny (though i'm annoyed he is portrayed as a 12 year old!) and very likeable, as are other characters such as Annabeth, Grover and Chiron. The writing style was brilliant and not too 'young' and I honestly just couldn't put this book down. I wanted to know what they were doing, where they were going and more importantly, who was the lightning thief?

The Lightning Thief really didn't disappoint and I think these books are going to be popular for a long time to come amongst children and adults. I can't wait to read the next installment - The Sea of Monsters.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Review // The Master of Whitehall - Rick H. Veal

Published - 2012
Published By - Indie Publishing
Format - Kindle
Goodreads Synopsis - After the brutal murder of her parents in a robbery, Katelyn Corbin, a thoroughly modern 21 year old college senior, finds herself attempting to re-start her life in Charleston, SC, where she finds love, healing and a brand new life in a most unexpected avenue.

Rick H. Veal's debut novel The Master of Whitehall follows the story of a young troubled girl, Katelyn, who after experiencing a traumatic event, moves away to a new school where she meets the elusive owner of Whitehall and begins a new adventure.

I was immediately impressed that a male author was writing through the eyes of a female character. Although it is not a rare thing, i'm always interested in how well it works out. In the case of Veal, he does it very well at the beginning but unfortunately he doesn't quite keep up the pace as the story progresses. I was also gripped by the suspense from the beginning of the novel and felt protective of Katelyn on the first page which was unusual for me. 

James Dubois, who is as the title suggests, the Master of Whitehall 'speaks' beautifully and more than once I was drawn in by his use of language in comparison to the every day vernacular of the other characters. There were even times when I was reminded of Mr Darcy...! Particularly when Katelyn experiences Whitehall for the first time, just as Elizabeth did with Pemberley. 

What made The Master of Whitehall stand out for me, was the attention to detail during the 'changing' between human and Vampire. I really enjoyed the in-depth explanation of what both parties were feeling during the entire process, and the care afterwards. I didn't enjoy it so much the second time as I knew what was going to happen but overall it was well written.

I also enjoyed the use of history in the novel. It was interesting to read and added an extra layer of development for the characters which helped the connection between the novel and myself. Just as a quick side note: the character Lexi lifted the novel for me. She was endearing and reminded me a lot of my own best friend. I would be interested in reading more about her and her life...

The Master of Whitehall was a good read and a different type of vampire novel which was great as there are so many out there! I would like to warn readers of some 'explicit' love scenes though! Recommended for fans of love stories and vampires :)

Monday, 13 August 2012

GUEST REVIEW // A Job From Hell - Jayde Scott

Today's review comes from book lover, Amber!

A Job From Hell (Ancient Legends #1) - Jayde Scott

Goodreads Synopsis - In a world of love bonds, rituals, dark magic, ancient enemies and immortals, nothing is as it seems and no one can be trusted.

Seventeen-year-old Amber enters the paranormal world by chance when her brother, Dallas, sets her up with a summer job in Scotland. Dallas has spied something in the woods he thinks could make them rich beyond their wildest dreams. But instead of finding riches, Amber unknowingly enters a paranormal race—and promptly wins the first prize—a prize for which many would kill. Soon, she discovers her new boss, Aidan, didn’t employ her for her astounding housekeeping skills and he isn't who he claims to be either.

As the dark forces slowly conspire against Amber, her naivety and love for Aidan catapults her into a calamitous series of otherworldly events. With every immortal creature hunting for her, whom can she trust with her life?

I got this book because it was in the cheap books section on Amazon for a bit of light reading, you know what I mean? When you just want something to entertain you for a day.  For that particular purpose, it was great! Easy to read, and follow what was going on and who the characters were. It was even a bit addictive, I flew through it.  The characters were likeable and entertaining. Some of the frequent banter had me giggling and a couple of the lesser characters I thought were brilliant and intriguing. Particularly Cass, who to me stood out more than the main character, Amber.

However sitting back and thinking about it now, it was a little disappointing.  It was like a cake mix that had all the right ingredients but was then under baked. I love reading a book and feeling everything with the characters falling in love as they do, feeling the highs and the lows. But this book didn’t quite get me, it seemed rushed. Almost jumpy in the transitions between the action peaks, lacking the padding that makes the story more 3 dimensional.

In conclusion if you are looking for a quick entertainment fix, yeah go for it. However if your looking for a book you can absorb every detail of and think about the way its written….. maybe not.

 Id give it a 3/5 and an Obama “not bad” meme.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

55 Book Questions

Found this on Tumblr :) Feel free to do it yourselves and link me to it in the comments!

1. Favourite childhood book? —  I honestly don't know. I made a post a while ago talking about some of my favourites but because i'm thinking about it right now, i'll go with What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge.

2. What are you reading right now? — The Master of Whitehall by Rick H Veal.

3. What books do you have on request at the library? — I don't use the library other than for university books.

4. Bad book habit? —Buying way too many books and never getting around to reading them.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library? — None.

6. Do you have an e-reader? — I have a Kindle.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once? — One at a time.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog? — Well I get review requests from authors now and so I've read a few things that I wouldn't usually have picked up.

9. Least favourite book you read this year (so far)? - Easy. Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year? — That's a REALLY hard question as this year i've read so many good books. But i'll go with Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone? — Quite a lot actually.

12. What is your reading comfort zone? — YA.

13. Can you read on the bus? — No, I get travel sick when I read.

14. Favorite place to read? — Either in the sun or in the house.

15. What is your policy on book lending? —I have no problem lending books.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books? — Never.

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books? —If they're for classes then yes. Personal ones only rarely.

18. Not even with text books? — ... As I said, school type books are always scrawled on.

19. What is your favourite language to read in? — English.

20. What makes you love a book? —The way words are used and the characters.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book? — In my opinion there are only 2 reasons to recommend a book. Either I loved it so much that I want other people to experience it, or it was terrible and think people may appreciate the terribleness.

22. Favorite genre? — YA

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did)? — I'm pretty open to all genres. What I wish I read more though, were bigger books. The size of a book can definitely put me off.

24. Favourite biography? — I haven't read enough biographies to have a favourite
25. Have you ever read a self-help book? — Never.

26. Favourite cookbook? — Don't have one
27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)? — The previously mentioned Dash and Lily's Book of Dares.

28. Favorite reading snack? — I'm not a snacker when i'm reading but I drink a lot of tea!

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience. — There is definitely something that this happened with but I can't for the life of me remember what it is!

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book? —I don't read critics (other than university) and especially not before reading.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews? — Obviously I don't like giving negative reviews but i'll always be honest. If I didn't like the book, that's what i'm going to say.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose? —Any language!

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read? — I only get intimidated by the size of books and it's been a while since I challenged myself on that.

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin? — Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind. All my friends love it so I feel like i'm going in with expectations already. Plus again...the size!

35. Favorite Poet? — Carol Ann Duffy.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time? — None.

37. How often have you returned books to the library unread? — Only once.

38. Favorite fictional character? — Shane Collins from Rachel Caine's Morganville series. Totally in love with him. Followed closely by Valek from Maria Snyder's Study Series.

39. Favourite fictional villain? —There are a lot that could go here, but the teenager in me shouts Draco Malfoy.

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation? — Anything. I wouldn't pick out particular 'types' of books to read on holiday. All books are good, everywhere.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading. — A couple of weeks maybe.

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish. — There are a couple of books i've started and haven't finished but I do plan to - it's just for whatever reason I got distracted from it and forgot about it. It's extremely rare that I don't finish a book.I want to finish  Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as soon as possible.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading? —My phone.

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel? —Interview With The Vampire.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation? —Eragon.

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time? —I don't know exactly, but a lot. I buy 40 books per semester for university and that costs way too much.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it? — I don't.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through? — Just by being easily distracted with something and forgetting about it. Or, most commonly, getting a book that i've wanted to read for a long time and not being able to wait.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized? —They're organised in my own way. Thinking of rearranging soon ;)

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them? —Keep, unless it was really terrible.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding? — LOTS. I will get around to them.

52. Name a book that made you angry. — Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did? — Holes by Louis Sachar.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t? Demon Thief by Darren Shan.

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading? -Twilight. Yup, I said it.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Book Haul

I haven't done one of these in so long so the list is pretty big and i'm sure that i've forgotten something.
So here are the books that I acquired in the past few weeks.

1. Uglies - Scott Westerfeld
2. Pretties - Scott Westerfeld
3. The Master of Whitehall - Rick H Veal
4. Jack's Outpost - Elizabeth Braun
5. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
6. A Witch in Love - Ruth Warburton
7. Between The Lines - Jodi Picoult (Review already up!)

As well as those, I also have some books on loan from friends.

8. All of the Weather Warden books by Rachel Caine
9. First 3 books of Percy Jackson &  the Olympians by Rick Riordan

I have no idea when i'll actually get round to reading all of those and for the moment, i'm reinforcing the book buying ban again!
I'm currently half way through The Master of Whitehall so expect that review up as soon as possible :)

Have you read any of these? What are your thoughts?

Happy Reading :)

Monday, 6 August 2012

BLOG TOUR // Deja Vu of Love - Carol Cadoo

It just couldn’t be, no way, things like this don’t happen in real life… yet there he stood. Stunning, arrogant and ok Jazz Kelly had to admit it sexy as hell. Have you ever had that feeling you’ve experienced something before a smile, a sigh, a touch a look... Oh my god the look, when Jazz Kelly saw "the look" she almost collapsed. That's when Jazz knew, this was Déjà Vu Of Love.

 Deja Vu of Love centres around Jazz Kelly who is an unlucky orphan who is struggling to make ends meet and keep a roof over her head when a lucky strike hits her and she becomes the focus of local radio stars who are furiously trying to help her find her feet. Jazz's lucky break leads her down a rocky road of adventure, true friendships and of course, love.

Jazz was a character that I immediately felt concerned for, her early struggles are relate-able and just like myself, she tells us how it is! However, my favourite character in Deja Vu of Love has to be Patrick. Patrick is the perfect best friend who stands by Jazz no matter what and isn't afraid of telling her the truth - which is what she needs. There were definitely times I wanted to shout some sense to her and Patrick was there to do it for me. All of the characters in Deja Vu of Love are down-to-earth and fun, not to mention the possibility of swooning over the main love interest!

The story itself is different from what I usually read but it's the summer of 2012 and every girl should pick up a fun, light-hearted romance to read in the sun - Deja Vu of Love fills that role and is a nice quick read.

Deja Vu of Love is a charming Indie Romance novel by the wonderful Carol Cadoo. Today am lucky enough to be the host on Carol's blog tour promoting her new novel.

Hi Carol, thank you for doing this interview for Loaded Shelves as part of the Déjà Vu of Love blog tour! 

What inspired you to write Déjà vu of Love?
I have never been sure of that it just sort of hit me. Wow I have just written a book in my head; I need to write this down.  I asked my assistant/best friend Danny to go get me two packs of yellow legal pads and pens.  I started writing and I have not looked back.  I still write everything out in long hand on yellow legal pads.  It connects me to the work in progress and the people who inhabit the space of my reality in the middle of a write.  It should be noted I do not actually write the book, my characters do I just listen, channel and scribe.  (Carol is smiling)

Have you always wanted to write? 
You know, yes, since I was in the fourth grade and read Betty Smiths A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.  It was the first book I read that made me feel.  Not by the story but by the words.  That was a what up moment.  Then in the 6th grade I wrote my first book for a class assignment.  Titled Wilbur the Waterlogged Waggondorf.  Mrs Allan wrote “someday I may be buying your book.”  I loved the way “your book” looked.  From then on I knew someday I would write but for years I was busy living.  I think equally important to writing skills you have to have living experience.  

The focus of Déjà vu of Love is firmly on the main character, Jazz. How similar are you and Jazz?
Hmmm, you know I am not sure if she is me or I am her.  At some point bits of me came out I can see them when I read her.  I think the telling sign is my ex -husband who told me once “Carol , your biggest problem is you don’t know how to quit.”  I think that part of me became Jazz.  

What are the three things that you can’t survive without whilst writing?
Cold Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pepsi and Cigarettes.
Déjà vu of Love is self-published, was that something you had always planned to do? 
I prefer to think of my genre as Indie Publish.  We are a breed among cats, most are irreverent, refuse to color in the lines and don’t let editors change our storyline.  We have trouble playing in the sandbox with others.  So it is a form of publishing that suits my control freak personality.  Believe me when I tell you I can get my control freak on.  Especially with my babies I love them so.  Difficult enough to turn them out into a real world that sometimes will not be kind.  Never mind with Big Brother breathing down my neck for a deadline.  Deadline, smedline let no book pop before it’s time.  I refuse to write on deadline I write on completion to mine and the characters satisfaction.  Of course I want people to like what I write.  At the same time not everyone is going to like it.  As John Paul Sarte said “I disagree with what you say but, will defend with my life your right to say it.”   Live and let live but I love Indie Publishing because there is no wall between me and the reader.  Just me, them and the characters kicking it on a Sunday afternoon in a hammock. 

Who are some of your authors, and have they influenced your writing in any way?
I don’t know that they influenced my writing style with the exception of the Diva Danielle Steele.  I read The Promise and found my genre.  Love writing Chick Lit/Romance.  But I do love to read Robert Ludlum, Ann Rule, John Grisham and from way back Harold Robbins.  Those are the books I read when I am not in rewrite mode.  When I am in rewrite mode I have six of my favourite Nancy Drew books I keep.  No worry about stealing anything from Carolyn Keene. LOL 

After a turbulent adventure, can readers expect to see more of Jazz and Gianni in the future or has their story come to a natural end for you? 

You know I think that their story has been told, they now need the privacy to grow. (Carol is smiling) However this is the first book of my stand alone trilogy Nightstand of Love.  Inheritance of Love the second in the trilogy will be out November 15th 2012 and the third Journey of Love is scheduled for February 1st 2013 release.  They are all stand alone cousins if you will, none are tied together except in theme.  

Finally, how can readers pick up their own copies of Déjà vu of Love?
My book is sold exclusively on Amazon here is the link - Buy Deja Vu of Love
They can also follow me on Facebook & Twitter (@CarolCadoo) - Carol's Facebook

Thanks for your time, I wish you the best of luck with Déjà vu of Love!

Here is the link to Carol's book trailer on YouTube - Deja Vu of Love Trailer

Author of Deja Vu of Love - Carol Cadoo


Saturday, 4 August 2012

Review // Between The Lines - Jodi Picoult & Samantha van Leer

Published - 5th July 2012
Published By - Hodder & Stoughton
Format - Hardback
Goodreads Synopsis - Delilah is a bit of a loner who prefers spending her time in the school library with her head in a book—one book in particular. Between the Lines may be a fairy tale, but it feels real. Prince Oliver is brave, adventurous, and loving. He really speaks to Delilah.

And then one day Oliver actually speaks to her. Turns out, Oliver is more than a one-dimensional storybook prince. He’s a restless teen who feels trapped by his literary existence and hates that his entire life is predetermined. He’s sure there’s more for him out there in the real world, and Delilah might just be his key to freedom.

Delilah and Oliver work together to attempt to get Oliver out of his book, a challenging task that forces them to examine their perceptions of fate, the world, and their places in it. And as their attraction to each other grows along the way, a romance blossoms that is anything but a fairy tale.

For a long time, Jodi Picoult has been my favourite author and so when I heard that she was releasing a YA book, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Between The Lines was composed by both Picoult and her daughter, new author, Samantha van Leer. 

First, let me start by saying the physical book itself is beautiful! The cover is gorgeous with a slightly raised gold trimmed border and the art is just perfect. Inside, the book is filled with both full page stunning illustrations and smaller, text related pictures along side the words. Each narrating character has their own font, and font colour which is a first for me! The purples and greens really worked and helped the overall magical feel of the story. It is truly beautiful. 

The story itself is one that I imagine every book lover can get into - I mean, who *doesn't* get sucked into the book? My favourite line throughout this wonderful fairytale is this, ""Did you really think that a story exists only when you're reading it?" Because, of course, the story always exists.

Delilah and Oliver were adorable characters and I was sad to say goodbye to them at the end of the novel. In fact, I don't think there was a single character I didn't like. I even loved Seraphima...eventually. It was just a lovely read and has definitely inspired me to read a little more outside of my reading comforts.

Between The Lines is definitely different (by miles!) from anything that Jodi Picoult has written before but please don't let that put you off. It was beautifully written and the perfect way to introduce younger readers to Jodi's writing.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

July Wrap-Up

It's the end of the month again, where is the time going? I managed to get most of my reading done this month which was great, except I had to switch out a couple of books with other things in order to stick to my reading time frames!
So here is July's Wrap-Up

Books Read in July

Fifty Shades of Grey - E.L.James
Let Them Eat Cake - Rachel Caine (Short Story)
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Name of the Star - Maureen Johnson
Hush, Hush - Becca Fitzpatrick
Demon Thief - Darren Shan
Deja Vu of Love - Carol Cadoo

With the exception of Rachel Caine's short story and Carol Cadoo's debut novel Deja Vu of Love, all of the books have been reviewed this month.

Deja Vu of Love by Carol Cadoo will be featured on Loaded Shelves as part of her Virtual Blog Tour later this month where you can read more about the author, my review of her book and an exclusive Get-To-Know-You interview with Carol Cadoo.
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