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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'd Read If I Had A Book Club

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.This week's topic  is: Books I Would Read If I Had a Book Club. I've always wanted to join a book club, but I have yet to find a group of people that can commit to it, however it's nice to dream, so here are ten books I think would be great to read together with a group so that we can discuss it!

happy reading!

Monday, 26 January 2015

Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Author: Diana Gabaldon
Publisher: Bantam Dell
Page Count:  850 pages, Mass Market Paperback
Date Published: First published 1991
Find it on Goodreads: Outlander
Source: Was given as a gift

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord...1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives. 

Whatever is was that I was expecting, it wasn't that. This was recommended and gifted to me by an exchange student that my family hosted from Germany a few years ago. She was a huge fan of epic fantasy, so when I picked this up, that's what I was most expecting.... Boy was I surprised.

*possible minor spoilers ahead if you haven't read this?*

Epic fantasy, this was not. I knew Outlander was a time travel novel, yet I didn't really realize that was only a simple part of the plot, that the story was more about the history of Scotland and the romance between Claire and Jamie. Then, as I was getting used to the historical overload, Jamie and Claire have their wedding night.

Now, I  know this is probably tame compared to other books people read, but having not expected any sort of explicitness, I was reading this in my French class and well, my cheeks went a little red.

Speaking of their marriage, I'm unclear on my opinion of whether or not Claire was committing adultery by marrying Jamie while being in a different time than her husband, Frank. Plus, the brutality of her punishment from Jamie made me sick to my stomach. I understand that it was part of the times, however it still made me uncomfortable, as well as the talk of him possibly forcing himself upon her.... it all just made me a bit squeamish, considering those actions are now rightly considered unacceptable.

What I did appreciate was the vivid historical detail and how much obvious research Gabaldon did for this novel. It made the story feel all the more real while in a setting so foreign to me. There were times where it felt almost as if there was too much detail, too much information, and the plot was overloaded with descriptors. The first 100 pages were honestly really dull, and I skimmed through much of it, hardly paying attention. The middle felt mostly like world building and a bit of plot, but kind of jumped around. Then the third quarter was filled with action, albeit was a bit odd, but I was hooked. Then the last quarter dragged on for a while longer, ending in a scene that I was glad I wasn't near anyone for, because my cheeks were redder than a tomato.

I don't know if I will be reading the rest of this series, but this was surely an enjoyable book, if not a bit dragged out. This is purely escape fiction, which is not what I was expecting, but once I got into it, I didn't really mind. It was a nice break for my tired brain.

 Happy reading!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Under the Cover (2)

Hey guys! One of my favourite things about hardcovers has always been taking off the dust jacket and seeing what details they put on the cover underneath and lately I've been noticing some really great ones! So I thought I'd start this little feature to highlight some of my favourite hardcovers that have hidden little gems under their covers! 

This week I'm featuring Cruel Beauty's incredibly beautiful cover!

I absolutely adore this cover, so after I borrowed this from a friend and took of the dust jacket to see this...

...I was head over heels in love. Beauty and the Beast is one of my all time favourite fairy tales and variations of it always excite me, so this book is one I'm way way stoked to read! And that gorgeous cover, with the jacket and without, is a definite added bonus!

Happy reading!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Covers of 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.This week's topic  is: Favourite Covers of 2015.

I've definitely fallen out of the loop for Top Ten Tuesdays, but I thought I'd try to get back into it and today was a freebie! So I thought I'd feature some of my favourite covers for upcoming releases of 2015!


Look at all of those gorgeous covers! I know they're not super important to the story, but I definitely still appreciate them! (Can you tell I love graphics and typography?) 

Hope you're having a good Tuesday! Let me know if you posted a Top Ten list today :)

Happy reading!

Monday, 19 January 2015

Review: Infinite by Jodi Meadows

Author: Jodi Meadows
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Page Count:  418 Hardcover
Date Published: January 28th 2014
Find it on Goodreads: Brazen
Source: Purchased

The Year of Souls begins with an earthquake—an alarming rumble from deep within the earth—and it’s only the first of greater dangers to come. The Range caldera is preparing to erupt. Ana knows that as Soul Night approaches, everything near Heart will be at risk.

Ana’s exile is frightening, but it may also be fortuitous, especially if she can convince her friends to flee Heart and Range with her. They’ll go north, seeking answers and allies to stop Janan’s ascension. And with any luck, the newsouls will be safe from harm’s reach.

The oldsouls might have forgotten the choice they made to give themselves limitless lifetimes, but Ana knows the true cost of reincarnation. What she doesn’t know is whether she’ll have the chance to finish this one sweet life with Sam, especially if she returns to Heart to stop Janan once and for all.

With gorgeous romance and thrilling action, the final book in the Incarnate trilogy offers a brilliant conclusion to the compelling questions of this fascinating world, where one new girl is the key to the lives of millions. 

It generally takes me a while to finish these books, but once I do, the time is always worth it. I'm so impressed with where Jodi Meadows took this series... I mean, DRAGONS. I. Love. Dragons. Stories that incorporate them are almost always incredible and I loved where Infinite took them, with the lore and mystery surrounding these majestic creatures. I won't go into too much detail as this is the final book and I'd hate to spoil anything, however I will note this: Ana's character development brought tears to my eyes, giving me hope for all those other heroines of YA fantasies. What I thought was super cool was that this series melded from what was originally a utopian society, to more of a dystopian-like fantasy epic that kept firing bullets and my heart took them all.

All throughout the series, there was this huge question as to whether or not Ana would reincarnate when she inevitably died. I absolutely loved where the ending ultimately went. It was both happy and sad and it made sense as much as it could in this context. Overall, this entire finale was simply fantastic... I will always recommend this series as one of my favourites to anyone who hasn't read it.

Plus, to convince you of the awesomeness that is this series, here is a really cool GIF of a phoenix.

 Happy reading!

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Under the Cover (1)

Hey guys! One of my favourite things about hardcovers has always been taking off the dust jacket and seeing what details they put on the cover underneath and lately I've been noticing some really great ones! So I thought I'd start this little feature to highlight some of my favourite hardcovers that have hidden little gems under their covers! I thought I'd start off with one that is absolutely stunning: Talon by Julie Kagawa!

Pretty great cover right? BUT WAIT IT GETS BETTER...



I know we're not supposed to judge the book by its cover, but call me vain, 'cause a pretty cover sure is nice. It was definitely a pleasant surprise when I purchased this and saw all the pretty gold and amazing DRAGONS all over it! So. Gorgeous.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

3rd BLOGOVERSARY – WHAT?! (Giveaway)

Guess what!!?? Today, A Little Shelf of Heaven turns 3!!! Say goodbye to the terrible twos! (Aka the year I wasn't able to post much of anything because life got in the way) I'm hoping for some changes with the blog this year, such as actually being able to post more reviews and discussions and oh, I don't know, actually being able to READ! I'm super excited about what this year is going to bring, for both this blog and for real life, so to celebrate.... it's giveaway time! I haven't been able to do a giveaway in a long time and I'm so so excited that I can do one for this blogoversary! 

SO, what can you win?

WEEELLLL, I recently received an ARC of All the Bright Places and since I already have a copy that I've read and since it's definitely a new favourite of mine, I thought why not share the amazing book with you lovely people? Therefore, you will be getting a brand-new, unread ARC of All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven and maybe a couple other extra little goodies with it as well, if I can swing it. ;)


  • The winner will win an unread ARC of All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
  • Fill in the Rafflecopter below (PLEASE do not leave personal info in the comments!)
  • The giveaway is INTERNATIONAL
  • You must be 13 or older to enter. If you are under 13, please ask your parent/guardian for permission first.
  • I am not responsible for the book being lost or damaged once shipped.
  • The giveaway will end on February 4th 2015, at 12am EST. 
  • The winner will be contacted by email and must reply within 48 hours, otherwise an alternate winner will be chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck all!
Happy reading and here's to a good third year!

Monday, 12 January 2015

Review: The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

Author: Soman Chainani
Publisher: HarperCollins
Page Count:  488 Hardcover
Date Published: May 14th 2013
Find it on Goodreads: Brazen
Source: Purchased

The first kidnappings happened two hundred years before. Some years it was two boys taken, some years two girls, sometimes one of each. But if at first the choices seemed random, soon the pattern became clear. One was always beautiful and good, the child every parent wanted as their own. The other was homely and odd, an outcast from birth. An opposing pair, plucked from youth and spirited away.
This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, she knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil.
But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Woods, they find their fortunes reversed—Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School For Good, thrust amongst handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are…?
The School for Good & Evil is an epic journey into a dazzling new world, where the only way out of a fairy tale is to live through one. 

I haven't read a full MG novel for a while, so this was a good welcome back into the genre. Intriguing concept, clear main message with other muddled, smaller messages interweaved, and characters easy to get attached to, The School for Good and Evil was a wonderful fairytale escape, however I had some issues with it. Let's talk about the good first:

The world-building was phenomenal. The descriptions were clear, the history not too confusing, and there was always a sense of intrigue and mystery. I loved how familiar fairy tale characters were integrated but not the full focus and how it was all controlled by the Storian and the ever-mysterious School Master. Agatha and Sophie were wonderful, well fleshed out characters and Agatha's development was incredible to 'watch' as she began to see who she truly was.

However, ultimately, I feel like a lot of the themes in this were a bit heavy for MG kids, and if not heavy, at least a bit confusing. There are a few scenes in the book that sexualize Sophie and talk about her 'lean, long legs' and I mean... she's like, 12. At the most, 14.  There was also a lot of sexism thrown at us, which I really hope the author is actually bashing and will come up with a way to make all the "princesses are weak and princes must save them" messages into ones that empower girls and make them feel equal, as the way it was written felt like he was ridiculing these sexist ideals. But at the same time, ten year olds may not be able to differentiate between what the author was saying and what he was meaning. Or maybe I'm not giving the kids enough credit. Either way, I hope the second book clears out the foggy messages. Over all, this was a great story, but it was definitely one that I'm going to need to question a bit and see how my rating changes. But for now, 4!

 Happy reading!
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