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Monday 24 December 2012


Hello everyone! It's that time of year where family is visiting, school is out, sales are on, and projects are due once school is back in. I've been feeling so terrible lately about the lack of updates on the blog and no reviews. I am SO sorry! But I promise, this break I'm going to get caught up on all of the books I've been meaning to read during these past few crazy months, and I'll be back in January with reviews galore!

A Little Shelf of Heaven will be back on January 2nd and I promise to be updating like crazy in the upcoming year, to make up for the past few months. Plus, January 14th will be my one year blogoversary, so expect something special! ;)

I hope you all have very happy holidays, eat lots and read a ton of good books!

Lots of love to each of you,

Thursday 20 December 2012

Book Blitz: Shades of Summer by Joy Elbel


Title: Shades Of Summer (The Haunting of Ruby Series)

Author: Joy Elbel

Pages: 465

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance


Love…the only thing more powerful than death. Seventeen year old Ruby Matthews spent the last year of her life crippled by guilt and grief over the death of longtime friend and boyfriend Seeley “Lee” Lucas. Feeling that a change of scenery might snap her back to reality, Ruby’s father moves the family out of their home in the Philadelphia suburb of Trinity and into small town life in Charlotte’s Grove, Pennsylvania. Life is better here for Ruby—she quickly makes friends with handsome Zach Mason and his twin sister Rachel. Every moment spent with Zach makes life and love seem possible again. But passion comes with a high price. Things are not what they seem at Rosewood, the Matthews’ historic plantation-style home. Paranormal activity at the mansion intensifies as she draws closer to Zach. Is it Lee—coming back to claim her heart and maybe even her soul? Or is something more sinister hiding in the shadows? Ruby must delve into her own past and the history of Rosewood before it is too late.

About Joy Elbel

Image of Joy Elbel

Joy Elbel lives in Central Pennsylvania which is also the setting for her first novel. "Shades of Summer" is the first installment of the four part The Haunting Ruby Series. A serious fascination with ghosts and a love of reading led her to want to create her own works of fiction. She admits to spending way too much time on Facebook and not enough time with Matt, her boyfriend and muse. She will be releasing the second book in the series, "Phantoms of Fall", in early December 2012. She is currently working on a second series of young adult novels.



Purchase on Amazon




Wednesday 19 December 2012

Extraordinary Rendition by Paul Batista: NOW ON SALE FOR $1.99!

Hey everyone! A few months ago I posted an excerpt from the legal thriller, Extraordinary Rendition by Paul Batista. NOW I wanted to let you know that it's on sale for a limited time for only 1.99!

When Ali Hussein—suspected terrorist and alleged banker for Al Qaeda—is finally transported from Gitmo to the US mainland to stand trial, many are stunned when Byron Carlos Johnson, pre-eminent lawyer and the son of a high-profile diplomat, volunteers as counsel.  On principle, Johnson thought he was merely defending a man unjustly captured through Rendition and water-boarded illegally. But Johnson soon learns that there is much more at stake than one man’s civil rights.

Hussein’s intimate knowledge of key financial transactions could lead to the capture of—or the unabated funding of—the world’s most dangerous terror cells. This makes Hussein the target of corrupt US intelligence forces on one side, and ruthless international terrorists on the other.  And, it puts Byron Carlos Johnson squarely in the crosshairs of both.

Pulled irresistibly by forces he can and cannot see, Johnson enters a lethal maze of espionage, manipulation, legal traps and murder. And when his life, his love, and his acclaimed principles are on the line, Johnson may have one gambit left that can save them all; a play that even his confidants could not have anticipated. He must become the hunter among hunters in the deadliest game.

Written by no-holds-barred-attorney Paul Batista, Extraordinary Rendition excels not only as an action thriller, but as a sophisticated legal procedural as well; tearing the curtains away from the nation’s most controversial issues.

Provocative. Smart. Heart-pounding. A legal thriller of the highest order.

Find it on:

Amazon: KINDLE
Barnes & Noble: NOOK 


Paul Batista, novelist and television personality, is one of the most widely known trial lawyers in the country. As a trial attorney, he specializes in federal criminal litigation. As a media figure, he is known for his regular appearances as guest legal commentator on a variety of television shows including, Court TV, CNN, HLN and WNBC. He’s also appeared in the HBO movie, You Don't Know Jack, starring Al Pacino.

A prolific writer, Batista authored the leading treatise on the primary federal anti-racketeering statute, Civil RICO Practice Manual, which is now in its third edition (Wiley & Sons, 1987; Wolters Kluwer, 2008). He has written articles for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The National Law Journal.

Batista's debut novel, Death's Witness, was awarded a Silver Medal by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). And his new novel, Extraordinary Rendition, is now being published—along with a special reissue of Death’s Witness—by Astor + Blue Editions.

Batista is a graduate of Bowdoin College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and Cornell Law School. He’s proud to have served in the United States Army. Paul Batista lives in New York City and Sag Harbor, New York.

Tuesday 18 December 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Read in 2012

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.This week's topic is Top Ten Books I Read in 2012.

(In no particular order)
1. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
2. Insurgent by Veronica Roth 
3. Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
5. Gilt by Katherine Longshore  
6. Every Day by David Levithan
7.Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
8. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry 
9. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
10. The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Leave me a link to your TTT and I'll check out your Top Ten books of this year!
Happy Tuesday!

Saturday 15 December 2012

Stacking the Shelves (22)

Stacking the Shelves is a book haul meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews -This is a great way for us to share what books we added to our shelves each week!


 Signed hardcover of Tempest and a signed ARC of Vortex! Thank you SO much, Julie!

That's my haul of the week! Although it isn't very big, I'm super excited! Leave me a link to your haul and I'll check it out!

Happy Saturday!
P.S. Sorry for the lack of reviews this week, school has been killing me. I've been super stressed and only picked up my book twice. 

Thursday 13 December 2012

My Bookish Gift Guide for Some Picky Teens Part 1.

Hey guys! With Christmas approaching, and school being so busy, I'm starting to stress out about what to get a lot of my friends! I usually like to get them each a little something, but this month has been so hectic that I've hardly had any time to shop, let alone read! (As you can probably tell..)
But I've decided to go with my good-old standby for gifts... BOOKS! I always try and promote literacy to my peers, and what better way than by giving them a book?

Now, my dilemma is, which ones do I give who? I have so many different personalities in my friends, that it's going to be difficult. But I've compiled a list of a few books for the 'types' of people they are, that I think they might enjoy, and I thought I'd share!

the 'hopeless romantic' friend

 Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry - This particular friend is an absolute sucker for a bad boy, and I think Noah would make her swooooon.
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson - A summer romance with a childhood crush is actually one of her fantasies, believe it or not, plus, she's such an emotional person that I think this book would make her crumble. And in my opinion, I know a book is written well when I shed a tear.
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick - I know this friend well enough to know that this book would be one she would love. It's full of romance, family, humour, and more.

the 'cynical about everything' friend

 Wither by Lauren DeStefano - Since this is such a dark book, I think this friend would love it. It's creepy and it's weird and it's brilliant.
The DUFF by Kody Keplinger - Kody Keplinger's style of writing is absolutely perfect for this friend. She's sarcastic and her sense of humour would fit well with The DUFF.
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - This is the perfect romance book for her. It's NOT crazy cheesy, which would make her hurl, but it is cute, it's about more than how hot this English guy is, and it is really well written. Plus, who wouldn't fall in love with Etienne?


 Divergent by Veronica Roth - The 'Dauntless' faction suits this friend so well, that I can't imagine him not at least relating a little bit to this book. He's find the battles intriguing and a cover with fire would make him really happy. Wow, he sounds a bit crazy, doesn't he?
The Maze Runner by James Dashner - I haven't actually read this one yet! But from what I've heard of it, I think he'd enjoy it.
Gone by Michael Grant - I can see this friend really enjoying this book. I don't really know how to explain 'why', but I just do.

That's it for this list! I'll do another one in a few days, I think! I'm so behind on my Christmas shopping that I think it was a good idea for me to do this... Get an idea of what I want to get everyone. I adore my friends, but they're kind of difficult to buy for!

Did you post a gift guide? Are you thinking of getting books as gifts for others this year? Let me know in the comments, or if you have any suggestions for what I could get my friends, I'd love to hear!

Good night!

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: New to Me Authors I Read in 2012

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.This week's topic is Top Ten New to Me Authors I Read in 2012.

Wendy Higgins- I was absolutely in love with her book Sweet Evil when I read it this year. It was finally an angel book that had me hooked. 

Lauren DeStefano - I was actually just talking about her books today with a friend who works at the book store. She is fantastic. Her books are dark and creepy and utterly beautiful.

Kody Keplinger - I LOVED all of Kody's books I read this year! She writes in a style that is so hilarious and I'm able to relate to at least one of her characters in each book. 

Katherine Longshore - I had the pleasure of interviewing Katherine this year, and because of that opportunity, I put her book at the top of my list, and thank goodness! She writes wonderfully believable historical fiction that had me entranced. 

Tahereh Mafi - I fell in love with Tahereh's book and I completely fangirled over meeting her this spring. Her style is so unique and so beautiful.

Veronica Roth - I can't believe I waited so long to read Divergent. It's fantastic. I am dying to read her next one. It can't come soon enough.

Stephanie Perkins - I FINALLY read Anna and the French Kiss this year! And I am so happy I did! It was as amazing as everyone's been telling me!

Michelle Hodkin - When my best friend lent me The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer to read, I was a bit apprehensive, but I am thrilled that I took faith in her, because Hodkin's books are insanely good. Chills run through my spine whilst reading them. CHILLS!

Simone Elkeles - I also finally read the Perfect Chemistry series! They were so romantic and beautifully written... I can't believe I hadn't read them before this year. 

Jessica Spotswood - I adored her book of witches and sisters. She left on quite the cliff hanger and I'm so excited for what happens next!

Don't forget to leave a link in the comments to your TTT!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday 10 December 2012

Guest Post: Fran Orenstein

Hi everyone! Today I have author Fran Orenstein on the  blog writing a guest post about Empowering children through books! Enjoy!

  Fran Orenstein has a BA in Education, an M.Ed. in Counseling, and a doctorate in Child and Youth Studies. After briefly teaching, she worked as a magazine editor/writer, then developed and managed programs for women and children. She has written and presented papers on education, gender equity, and violence prevention at national and international forums. A disabilities advocate for 30 years, Fran was a rehabilitation counselor and created the NJ Coalition on Women and Disabilities. Currently retired, she lives in Florida and writes full-time.
A published, award-winning poet and short story writer, she also writes novels for adults.  Gaia’s Gift, a contemporary book with paranormal overtones is set in Florida. It is Rachel’s journey through the many layers of love, loss, guilt, a fateful decision, the consequences and redemption. Reflections, is a book of poetry that invites women to follow the path on a journey of seven decades.  
Her books are available at all on-line bookstores in ebook and paper back or from the publishers, World Castle Publishing and Sleepytown Press. 
Visit Fran’s World at www.franorenstein.weebly.com for more information.

Empower Children through Literature
 by Fran Orenstein, Ed.D.

Children learn by observation, imitation, and rehearsal, until the behavior becomes ingrained in their psychological makeup. What happens when a child is different and exists on the fringes of the social order? Perhaps he has no role model to emulate, no one to listen who understands, or she cannot find the words to express her feelings. Some children act out inappropriately and become the class clown or bully. Others seek friends who will get them into trouble, such as gangs or the wrong kids because they need to feel accepted. Others retreat into their own world and become loners.

We all need to feel accepted and acknowledged. Everyone needs affirmation, positive feedback, and love. Children’s lives disrupted by the breakup of the family through divorce, death, jobs, or military service, often lose the security of a stable home-life and seek family elsewhere, sometimes with dire consequences.

Did you ever read a fiction book that spoke to your life experiences? I’m talking about fiction that sends a message directly to your heart. Books and stories also can do that for children. They read about a boy or girl going through many of the same things they are experiencing and can relate to that character. The character takes on a realism that enables the child to understand his own problems and put them in perspective according to his own level of comprehension.

Picture books begin the process of self-empowerment. The Little Engine That Could is a prime example of a weak engine that believed in herself and succeeded.
Fairytales also exemplify empowerment. Hansel and Gretel fooled the witch and escaped through their own ingenuity. Beauty overcame her fear of The Beast, which resulted in love. Fairytales abound with Princes on quests, overcoming obstacles through their own bravery and cunning.
Solving Problems
Modern fantasy and mystery books like Harry Potter and the Percy Jackson series place kids in situations that they must resolve, through their own prowess.  The number one rule for writing for children is never, ever preach. There are lessons, but they are subtle and evolve slowly over the life of the story. Another rule of writing for older children is that the child characters must resolve their own problems with only peripheral help from adults.

My books, for ‘tweens ages 8-13, also speak to the issues that face children in today’s world. In The Mystery Under Third Base, the first book in a my mystery series for ‘tweens, the main character, Willie, the smartest kid in town, skips two grades and at 10, is in seventh grade. Emotionally, he’s a child, but academically he’s beyond his current classmates. Willie can’t relate to 12-year-olds, so he becomes a loner. He reads science books, lurks in adult scientific chat rooms, and hides away in an abandoned storm cellar. His family can’t communicate with him, and he is the butt of teasing and school bullies.

Then a new kid, Huby appears and knows things he can’t possibly know. What is he? As the recurring character in the series, Huby appears just when life is becoming unbearable for the protagonist. He might be an angel, an alien, a spirit, whatever the reader wants him to be, which is never revealed. Huby helps Willie resolve a problem that creates friendship, brings Willie stature and respect, and takes him to a whole new level emotionally.

As another example, The Mystery of the Green Goblin introduces Alex, age 12, whose father has been MIA for six years. His mother works three jobs, and his older brother is disinterested. Alex turns to the town rejects, Trash and Mungo, for friendship, but his innate goodness prevents him from going along with their petty crimes. Enter Huby. Alex ignores this weird new boy and his strange predictions until he is suspected in the death of his math teacher, and needs the help of his classmates and Huby to prove his innocence.
Fat Girls From Outer Space deals with the realities facing girls entering puberty; self-image, changing friendships, boys, bullying, navigating seventh grade, and realizing their own strengths to survive growing up.  This book addresses childhood obesity and the world overweight children live in, but it also relates to every agonizing misery of children moving into adolescence, from zits to body image and self-worth.

Fulfilling a Quest
How do fantasy adventure novels help children achieve self-esteem? Children need a sense of power to grow and get through the tribulations of childhood. This gives them a strong feeling of self-worth and success. With this grounding they can move into adulthood knowing that they can overcome impediments along the way.
Fantasy adventure places a child in a difficult and sometimes improbable situation. Through his own prowess, intelligence, and strength, he must overcome insurmountable obstacles and fulfill a quest. This power and accomplishment makes this genre so endearing to kids.

 In the three fantasy adventures in The Book of Mysteries   ordinary young teens, fulfill quests in the fantasy worlds to which they are transported by a weird, scary bookseller. In The Wizard of Balalac the boys unmask a wizard to remove the curse from a fiery dragon before it destroys the town. They must overcome fear and use their inner strengths to resolve the problem.

The Gargoyles of Blackthorne transports the boys to Gothica where they have to retrieve the magic scepter of the king that keeps the country safe and thriving. To accomplish this they must stop the evil queen mother who has enchanted stone gargoyles that attack the kingdom every night. Aided by identical twin Goth princesses, the boys achieve feats that might have seemed daunting, but recognize that they really have the power to fulfill the quest.

In The Centaurs of Spyr, Tyler and Zack with the help of storybook friends must avert a war between Griffons and Hippogriffs to save the world of Haven and its guardian, sentient trees. Will they fulfill the quest and return to New York City, or will they be lost forever in the Book of Mysteries?

While the average child understands the difference between reality and fantasy, it is the underlying, hidden message that jumps from the printed page to the child’s brain. He can think through the steps to reach the solution. She is powerful and smart like the heroine. My challenge to you is to use the power embodied in stories to empower the children in your life.

In The Calling of the Flute, a YA to adult historical romance novel, Hannah learns that some decisions you make in life have consequences, especially when they involve rejecting religious traditions and breaking a promise to God. Hannah faces many pressures that most teens never face, shame, her parents’ anger, and a harrowing escape from Russian occupied Lithuania in 1898.

Coming in 2013, One Amber Too Many, is a chapter book about nine-year-old Gillian’s reaction to her parents’ divorce and her efforts to get rid of a future stepmother, that always seems to backfire. How she realizes that some things cannot be changed, some things you have to learn to live with, and these can often turn out to be good,  is the powerful lesson of this book. 

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