Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Book Haul | April

Another big haul this month, thanks to my birthday! Birthday books are always the best, aren't they? Also a couple of Shakespeare books found their way into my house which was a nice way to celebrate his birthday too.

1. Shakespeare's Sonnets - William Shakespeare
2. Measure for Measure - William Shakespeare
3. Immortal City - Scott Speer
4. Natural Born Angel - Scott Speer
5. Doctor Who: Summer Falls - Amelia Williams
6. Doctor Who: The Angel's Kiss - Justin Richards
7. Blood, Sweat + Tea - Tom Reynolds
8. If I Stay - Gayle Forman
9. Working Stiff - Rachel Caine
10. Two Weeks Notice - Rachel Caine
11. Digital Fortress - Dan Brown
12. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister - Gregory Maguire
13. Gone - Michael Grant
14. Twitterature - Aciman & Rensin
15. 27x Doctor Who books!
16. All's Well That Ends Well - William Shakespeare
17. Casino Royale - Ian Fleming
18. The Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco
19. Maurice - E.M. Forster
20. Shifts - Christopher Meredith
21. King Henry VI Part 1 - William Shakespeare
22. Finale - Becca Fitzpatrick

Happy Birthday to me!

Monday, 29 April 2013

Cover Reveal | Shattered Illusions - Leigh Hershkovich

Recently the author of Shattered Illusions, Leigh Hershkovich, stopped by & if you haven't seen it already you can read it here. I'm now happy to reveal the cover for her upcoming novel...

... and there it is!

Shattered Illusions is due to be released in May. Let me know what you think about the cover! For those wanting more information about the book, you can find it here on Goodreads.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

No Books Allowed #1

Welcome to No Books Allowed. This is a new monthly feature hosted here, which is used to discuss things things in life which aren't connected to books. This post can be used to talk about days out, music, TV, video games, films etc for all those book bloggers out there who do occasionally do stuff other than read and go to book events!

I heard about this from Fluttering Butterflies and love this idea! The picture shows the original source and you can also find Raimy at Readaraptor :) So excited! So here goes.

This is my final semester in my final year of university (English Literature - of course!) which means I have thousands of words due to be handed in over the next few weeks so i'm incredibly stressed out. It's been rather nice too though as April is my birthday month and we found out that both of my sisters are having baby girls - it's going to be a busy summer for the family :)

Days out
At the beginning of the month, my flatmate had an old school friend come to stay and so we went for a day trip to the zoo. The weather was well behaved (always a worry in soggy Wales!) and we had a brilliant time. Going to the zoo is one of my favourite things to do.

For my birthday I went to visit some of my best friends for a joint late/early celebration. There's a bit of a distance between our hometowns so it was really nice to get out there and just do normal friendy things. We went for a meal and followed it up with my first ever Starbucks! I'm a convert, I think.

On my actual birthday I had a small, somewhat fancy tea party (& when I say fancy I mean it was on my living room floor, surrounded by superhero figures... but we used doilies) and the following day, using my birthday present (classic wicker style picnic basket), my best friend and I went for a picnic on the beach followed by the gym..perfect!

Game of Thrones season 3! So good and just so wonderfully beautiful. Great storylines, great action, great characters/actors. One of the best shows out there.

This month I also heard Paramore's new album for the first time and was somewhat disappointed, but i'm giving it time to improve ;) Most excitingly in the world of music, as a birthday present to myself, I bought tickets to the Alter Bridge/Shinedown/Halestorm tour in October! It will be my 4th time seeing Shinedown, 2nd time seeing Halestorm and I am SO excited for Alter Bridge, having been a fan for many years.

I absolutely adore my xbox though I haven't had much time to play for the past year :( But with graduation coming up I treated myself (and my also addicted flatmate) to Forza Horizons. I can't wait to get some time to sit down and play it but for now..motivational! ;)

I had so much fun doing this so it may become a regular feature on Loaded Shelves too. Such a great idea!

- Caragh.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Guest Blog from Amy Helmes & Kim Askew! Get a Twisted Lit Character Named After YOU!

In honor of William Shakespeare’s birthday (celebrated on April 23), authors Kim Askew and Amy Helmes, have dropped by with a guest blog post to announce a special contest!

Get A “Twisted Lit” Character Named After You!

We reimagined William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” and “Macbeth,” with our “compulsively readable” YA books, Tempestuous and Exposure. Ever since the novels were published a few months ago through Merit Press we’ve encountered a frequent question: Which of Shakespeare’s plays will inspire your next books in the Twisted Lit series?

While we’re currently hard at work putting our own spin on the Bard’s “Romeo and Juliet” we thought we’d look to you, the readers, to help us pick the fourth Shakespeare play that will inspire our next book in the series. Got a hankering for a new spin on “Hamlet?” Love to see “King Lear” get a YA update? Would you make much ado over our take on “Much Ado About Nothing?”

Go to our Facebook page ( and write on our wall to weigh in on which Shakespeare play you’d like us to revamp next. In doing so, you’ll be entered to have your very own name mentioned in one of our upcoming books (either as a character or some other fun reference). If you’ve always wanted to see your name in print — in a YA novel, no less — now’s your chance! The winner will also receive autographed copies of our first two novels, Tempestuous and Exposure.

We’re looking forward to hearing your suggestions! (And don’t forget to follow us on twitter at @kaskew and @amyhelmes.)

* Winner will not be compensated for use of his or her name, and publication is not guaranteed. Details of plot and character used in connection with the name as it appears in the book are up to the sole discretion of the authors. Contest ends June 1.

Kim & Amy

World Book Night 2013

From the World Book Night website:
World Book Night is a celebration of reading and books which sees tens of thousands of passionate volunteers gift specially chosen and printed books in their communities to share their love of reading. World Book Night is celebrated on April 23.
Each year we recruit 20,000 volunteers to hand out 20 copies of their favourite book from our list to members of their community who don’t regularly read.  By enlisting thousands of passionate book lovers around the country World Book Night reaches out to the millions of people in the UK who have yet to fall in love with reading in the hope that we can start them on their reading journey. In addition World Book Night distributes 100,000 books through our institutional partners to the hardest to reach potential readers in prisons, care homes, hospitals, sheltered, supported and social housing, the homeless and through partner charities working throughout the UK.
World Book Night is about giving books and encouraging reading in those who don’t regularly do so.  But it is also about more than that: it’s about people, communities and connections, about reaching out to others and touching lives in the simplest of ways, through the sharing of stories.

This year I was lucky enough to become a 'Giver' for WBN - giving away 20 copes of Malorie Blackman's Noughts & Crosses!
I'm a 3rd year university student and so I know how hard it is to make time for reading sometimes and I know many more students don't read a single book for fun during their time at university. So today I will be hauling my box of freebies to university and giving out a copy of Noughts & Crosses to students who I think deserve time to sit back and rediscover reading!

What are you doing for World Book Night?

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Caragh's Review // Uglies - Scott Westerfeld

Published - 29th March 2012
Publisher - Simon and Schuster
Format - Paperback
Synopsis - Tally can't wait to turn sixteen and become pretty. Sixteen is the magic number that brings a transformation from repellent Ugly into a stunningly attractive Pretty, and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks, Tally will be there. But Tally's new friend, Shay, isn't sure she wants to be Pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the Pretty world - and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn Pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.

If you've been following this blog, you'll know that this has been on my TBR for way too long and as promised, I finally read the first book in Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series! Possibly some spoilers here, be warned!

Sometimes, it can be hard to really get into a book when you already know what's going on. I guess that's the problem with reading books so long after they were first published. Totally NOT the case with Uglies though! Hurrah! From start to end I was just so excited! Tally and Shay were the perfect characters for me; sassy, exciting, adventurous, and rebellious whilst still fitting in their world. I adore dystopian-esque books but this one just had that something different. When Tally left to find Shay, though I was curious to learn more about the world and what was happening outside etc, I was a little sad about leaving the Ugly/Pretty world. This is a 4 book series and I have no idea how the rest of the books play out, but I wanted to stay and learn more about the first world and before I knew it I was thrust into something else! I really loved it actually. The reader was just as confused as Tally and we got to take that adventure with her.

I don't know if it was just me, or whether Westerfeld's writing directs me that way, but I felt really untrusting of everyone. Even Tally to some extent. The world was cold and harsh but it was still relateable which was sort of scary, really. I think that plays a part in why I was distrusting - I could see elements in it that made me uncomfortable and I was bracing myself for the backlash I suppose. Uglies felt believable and emotional in a way that i've come to love in dystopian fiction. It says a lot about the world when dystopian fiction becomes more like reality than romcoms..! However, even with the realism and being pulled into the text and the world, it's still fun. There were a lot of parts where I was laughing and smiling (hello, hover boards!). The perfect mix.

With so many books piling up around me, i'm not sure when i'll get to read the next one but i'm making time for it SOON. Definitely recommend this one guys!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Caragh's Review // The Promise (Fallen Star #4) - Jessica Sorensen

Published - 24th March 2012
Publisher - Createspace
Format - Kindle
Synopsis - My name is Gemma Lucas and my life’s a mess. Alex is gone, my dad’s trapped in his own mind, and my mom’s working for the dark side. Not to mention Nicholas refuses to quit haunting me. The world has also entered apocalyptic mode. Everyday more vampires, witches, and fey run the streets. Innocent people are dying. The Mark of Malefiscus is showing up everywhere. And I’m the only one who can stop it. The only problem is I have to die in order to do so. And I have to let Alex die. Something I’m not sure I can do.

The final installment of the Fallen Star series! This series has been so much fun to read and i'm honestly sad that it's over. Luckily there's a spin off series now so one day I can return to Gemma & Alex's world :) 

The Promise is completely action packed from the start as Gemma races to save the world from the apocalyptic vision she has seen many times. Can she do it? Just read it and see ;) The ending to the Fallen Star was well thought out and set up throughout the entire series, not just in the final book. It felt honest and that I really did reach the end of a 4-book adventure. Everything was tied up and every little detail was relevant.

I had a feeling whilst I was reading the books that the blood promise that Gemma and Alex made when they were young would have significance but I had no idea that it would end up being so important, so much so that the final book is named after it. I honestly didn't expect the series to finish in the way it did which was great. It's not often that I don't guess the ending recently but Sorensen had me questioning until the end. The Fallen Star series drags you in and doesn't let go and it's been such a long time since i've wanted to just read a series all the way through in a short space of time. I read all 4 books within a month (despite spreading out the reviews) and I can't wait to get my hands on more of her books!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Author Spotlight | Leigh Hershkovich

Leigh Hershkovich’s writing career began almost at infancy. Born and raised in The City by the Bay, Leigh was never seen without a pen and paper by her side, and was never without a story to share. With her vivid imagination and sharp writing tactics, she has taken the world by storm twice over. Now, with her debut novel Shattered Illusions, readers will get a first time glimpse into her first full fiction attempt.
An avid reader, accomplished pianist, passionate scholar of the language and the arts, Leigh currently resides in New York with her imagination. 

I am not a person that gives up easily. I have endured many trials and tribulations in my life, as a writer mainly, but even in my day to day experiences. During those times, I have always tried to keep my chin up and a smile on my face. Giving up wasn’t usually an option for me, and even at times that I gave in, I did so with a heavy heart.  That is not to say that there were never times where I felt that my situation in life was hopeless and unbearable, because it truth, there were times where I spent more time feeling hopeless than hopeful.  It is not easy to constantly keep a smile on your face and look at the bright side of every situation. Yet, when I look back, I realize how much stronger all of the trials made me. It is difficult to imagine that I would be the same person that I am, or that my writing would be anywhere near as good as it is now, without the push to succeed pulsing through my veins. 

As time goes by, I have noticed that a lot of my motivation to keep pushing forward comes from people telling me to do the opposite. When I first embarked on the journey of writing my first novel (Shattered Illusions, due out from Full Court Press May 23rd), there were so many factors in my way, the most shocking being the reactions of my friends and peers. The disapproving looks and remarks I received were unbelievable. I knew that getting published was hard, but I had my mind set to it, and it was definitely well worth a try. There were people who went as far as to tell me that making attempts to get published was fruitless and a waste of time. It was especially painful to hear from people that I was very close to. But, I kept pushing. I continued working my manuscript and tried to ignore the nay sayers. Though I eventually proved them wrong, these types of people are everywhere. From agents to reviewers, I found a full variety of people across the spectrum who whole heartedly told me to give up hope and find something more practical to do with my life. That only made to want to work that much harder.

The truth is that I have no recipe for success. My success so far has been a clear act of Divine Providence. I have seen miracles in this process, as I am sure I will see with every novel I  put out for the rest of my life. A person must be willing to work long and hard for what they believe in. Passion and perseverance are the first steps in a long road down what may sometimes me a very harrowing journey. It’s important to stay grounded and remain intact to your beliefs, no matter how hard the road becomes. I started writing Shattered Illusions when I was eighteen. And now, here I am, a mere six weeks from publication, with a new head on my shoulders and a new world of understanding inside my head. I could have very easily given up so many times. It’s impossible to know what will come your way, and many times, the obstacles felt like they would break me. And, sometimes they did.
Had I given up, my life would have been very different. I truly believe that what my passion and will lead me to the finish line of this goal. It was incredibly difficult and there were times where I felt that the whole world was out to get me and stop me from achieving my goal. Nothing is more satisfying than reaching the finish line. Of course, sadness and anger are easier. It is easier to surrender to your emotions rather than fight. Fighting for what you want is never easy, even if the goal seems simple. The most important thing I have learned in my journey to becoming a published author is to never give up on what I truly believe in.

You can learn more about Leigh and the world of Shattered Illusions by visiting her website (, her blog ( or by following her on Facebook ( Shattered Illusions can also be found on Goodreads (

Friday, 12 April 2013

Brianna's Review // Tooth & Nail (Rebus #3) - Ian Rankin

First Published:  1992  
Publisher: Orion
Format: Paperback
Synopsis: Sent to London to help catch a vicious serial killer, Inspector John Rebus teams up with a beautiful psychologist to piece together a portrait of a depraved psychopath bent on painting the town red—with blood...

This is the third book in the Inspector Rebus series. Though so far at least any one of the first three books could be a standalone book and the reader would have no problem understanding what is going on but I think you get a little more out of them if you have read them in order as it does reference previous events but you don't really need to be aware of them.

I really enjoyed reading this book and trying to guess who the murderer was (because we all want to beat the detective to it) and I think it’s safe to say that this time, Rebus and Rankin beat me to it. This book like the first two is also written from the point of view of multiple characters including that of the murderer (you’d think it would make it easier to guess who they are… but it doesn’t).  I also found this book quite humorous in places. Tooth & Nail unlike the previous two is set in London instead of Edinburgh but this doesn’t mean that this book lacks the details that Knots & Crosses and Hide & Seek have.  I hope that it is just due to the change in setting that Brian Holmes was not in it as I still have my hopes of him being a recurring character. Being in London, Rebus has a fair amount racism and a cultural barrier to deal with as well as trying to solve the murders. I’m starting to think that my gamble of buying the first five books has been a success 3 out of 5 down and so far I have really enjoyed them, I suppose I should start looking for the next few books I’ll need.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013


Hello Readers!

Just a quick post to introduce Brianna to Loaded Shelves.
Brianna has posted a few guest post reviews on the site now and together we decided rather than being a 'guest' she would just join Loaded Shelves as a fully fledged welcome! - Caragh

Hello Loaded Shelves readers :)
I'm excited to be a part of Loaded Shelves - thanks for having me.
My first 'official' review will be up on Friday of Ian Rankin's 'Tooth & Nail' so please look out for that and i'm sure there will be many more coming up.


Monday, 8 April 2013

Review // Paris I've Grown Accustomed To Your Ways - Ruth Yunker

Published - 10th November 2012
Publisher - Outskirts Press
Format - Hardback
Synopsis - Metro Cowboys, Tiny Elevators, Trusting The New Patisserie..."Paris, I've Grown Accustomed To Your Ways" continues the saga begun in Me, Myself and Paris, humorist and writer Ruth Yunker's account of her forays into life in Paris, part time tourist, part time resident. In Paris, I've Grown Accustomed To Your Ways the training wheels have come off. Ms. Yunker negotiates the exquisitely charming, but impossibly exacting, City of Light with a new sense of ease, and an increasing sense of feeling right at home. She revels in the amber warmth of Angelina's chocolate Eden on a cold November day. She zeroes in on, after six visits, her favorite arrondissement in which to rent her apartment...the fifteenth, just so you know! She shops in Montmartre with aplomb, and still does not climb up to the top of the Eiffel Tower. She sees passionate love in unexpected places out on the streets of Paris. She watches cowboys riding the metros, and considers the sweet life of a lemon as it rolls out of her apartment door. A little boy in St. Suplice wins her heart. The concierge at the apartment on rue Vaneau does not. She discovers there are rules for finishing one's plate in restaurants. But there are no rules for which pain rustique will make the very best toast every morning. In Paris, I've Grown Accustomed To Your Ways, Ruth Yunker delves deeply to discover what makes the heart of Paris sing, and emerges more in love than ever.

I was sent this book just before Christmas by Ruth Yunker and have been patiently waiting to finally get around to reading it! The day came and I read the whole thing in one sitting. I haven't read many travel books and so I was anticipating something vibrant and fresh and Paris I've Grown Accustomed To Your Ways was definitely that. It was so much FUN! One thing I didn't expect from the book was to laugh so much.

Yunker's writing just sparkles off the page. There is a chapter dedicated to a little chocolate cafe that she attends in Paris and the description was just perfect. My mouth was watering as I read and I just had to read it aloud to my flatmate. Needless to say we both immediately started inhaling chocolate! At times, it was just so easy to imagine myself walking to streets of Paris, smelling all of the breads and taking in the views. Honestly, it was just so wonderful. I kind of wish i'd have saved this one for the beach as it was definitely a feel good, easy to read kind of book. Yunker has pointed me in the direction of travel writing and I hope to come across something new and exciting in time for summer (recommendations?)

I also just want to mention that the cover of the book is really cute! There's so much going on and it's really colourful which perfectly mirrors what's going on inside the book too. If you get a chance to read it, then do!

Friday, 5 April 2013

Review // Warm Bodies - Isaac Marion

Published - 31st January 2013
Publisher - Vintage

Format - Paperback

Synopsis - 'R' is a zombie. He has no name, no memories, and no pulse, but he has dreams. He is a little different from his fellow Dead. Amongst the ruins of an abandoned city, R meets a girl. Her name is Julie and she is the opposite of everything he knows - warm and bright and very much alive, she is a blast of colour in a dreary grey landscape. For reasons he can't understand, R chooses to save Julie instead of eating her, and a tense yet strangely tender relationship begins. This has never happened before. It breaks the rules and defies logic, but R is no longer content with life in the grave. He wants to breathe again, he wants to live, and Julie wants to help him. But their grim, rotting world won't be changed without a fight.

I honestly don't even know where to begin with this book! It blew me away from the first chapter. I hadn't specifically read a 'zombie' book before and so I didn't know what to expect, especially coming from the Zombie's perspective. 

Warm Bodies is the type of book that i'd like to own twice. One for sitting on my shelf looking pretty and comfortable and one for covering in highlighting, post-its and annotations. I got so much from this book that I just didn't expect. We learn quite early on that R is different to other zombies, but we're not sure how or why. We don't even find out much about how zombies came to be this way but it didn't matter. Mostly what I got from Warm Bodies was - look at the bigger picture.

I remember this bit specifically (page 88 of the Vintage film cover). R is asking himself why is his history so foggy when his present is bursting with colour and vibrancy since meeting Julie, and it got me thinking. That's just life, isn't it? All of us go about our lives, doing the daily things we need to do (hopefully not eating brains) until we meet someone that changes everything. Whether romantic or otherwise. That someone changes your outlook on everything. That's the same for any nationality, religion, age etc. It's human. We're all human. Even those who seem different have feelings. 

Warm Bodies also has hints of Romeo & Juliet, which as a Shakespeare nerd made me incredibly happy and I geeked out for a good 10 minutes. This book isn't happy, or overwhelmingly uplifting. It's a slow read to match the pace of R's mind, thoughts and speech, but it is incredible and easily one of the best books i've read, not only this year, but ever. I didn't have any expectations of this book before reading but I definitely came away feeling like i'd gained something. It's also impossibly funny!

With gems such as "My friend 'M' says the irony of being a zombie is that everything is funny, but you can't smile, because your lips have rotted off. " it was hard not to love! Granted, it's a dark kind of humour but I laughed SO MUCH. Warm Bodies will always have a special little place in my heart now and I hope more people get the chance to read this book.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Scavenger Hunt Book Tag

The original Scavenger Hunt Book Tag can be found here - Scavenger Hunt
When I saw this, I HAD to do it! I think most people are just choosing one book to fit but I have so many book that I decided to pick a couple that would fit in :) Please leave links if you did this too!

Find an author's name or title with a 'Z' in it.

Terry Goodkind - Wizard's First Rule
Dean Koontz - From The Corner of His Eye

Find a classic.

Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice
E.M.Forster - A Passage to India
Charles Dickens - Oliver Twist

Find a book with a key on it.

Dan Brown - The Lost Symbol

Hundreds of books only this one with a key on it - surprised me!

Find something on your shelf that is not a book.

The HP busts were made by myself and a friend and were then painted. I keep all of these next to the JK collection!

Find the oldest book on your shelf.

William Shakespeare - Pericles
This book was published in 1904 and was a gift from my best friend. Runner up was Jack London's White Fang, that was only a year later.

Find a book with a girl on the cover.

A.G.Howard - Splintered
Rachel Caine - Bitter Blood
Jodi Picoult - Vanishing Acts

Any YA fan should find this one easy enough,

Find a book with an animal in it.

Benjamin Mee - We Bought A Zoo
George Orwell - Animal Farm
Caroline Pitcher - Cloud Cat

Find a book with a male protagonist.

Brent Weeks - The Way of Shadows
Darren Shan - Lord Loss
Douglas Adams - Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Find a book with only words on it.

Patrick Ness - The Ask and the Answer
Ralph Waldo Emerson - Essays and English Traits
Thomas Middleton - Women Beware Women

Find a book with illustrations in it.

 Tim Burton - The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy
 Hunter S Thompson - Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer - Between The Lines

Find a book with gold lettering.

Christopher Paolini - Eragon
Jane Austen - Complete Illustrated Works
Oscar Wilde - The Picture of Dorian Grey

Find a diary - true or fictional.

Sue Townsend - The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole
The Diary of Anne Frank
Helen Fielding - Bridget Jones

Find a book by an author with a common name.

Lewis Jones - Cwmardy & We Live
John Green - Paper Towns
Kim Edwards - The Memory Keeper's Daughter

Find a book that has a close up of something on it.

Christopher Paolini - Inheritence
Stephenie Meyer - The Host
Audrey Niffeneger - The Time Traveller's Wife

Find a book that takes place in the earliest time period.

Homer - The Iliad & The Odyssey

Find a hardcover book without a dustjacket.

Louisa May Alcott - An Old Fashioned Girl
Charles Triffen - Heidi Grows Up
Jack London - White Fang

Find a teal or turquoise book.

Frances Hodgson Burnett - A Little Princess
Emma Donoghue - Room
Lemony Snicket - The Grim Grotto

Find a book with stars on it.

Auguste Dinoto - Dark Dawning
Douglas Adams - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Terry Pratchett - Mort

Find a non YA book.

Thomas Keneally - Schindler's List
Margaret Atwood - The Handmaid's Tale
Ian Rankin - Knots & Crosses
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