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Tuesday 30 October 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Kick-Ass Heroines

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.This week is Top Ten Favorite Kick-Ass Heroines!

 1. Hermione Granger - Hermione is one of the strongest women in literature I know! She's the smartest witch of her age, has a main role in defeating the most evil wizard of all time and has a huge heart. Plus, I would not want to be on the other end of her wand when she's angry!

2. Rose Hathaway (Vampire Academy) - Rose is a pure BAD-ASS! She kicks Strigoi butt and is such a strong character!

3. Tris (Divergent) - Going from Abnegation to Dauntless has got to be hard, but Tris becomes one of the best initiates, plus is a main part in the revolution!

4. Katniss (Hunger Games) - There is no kick-ass heroine list without Katniss Everdeen. If you've read the books or even just seen the movie, you'll know that Katniss is not someone you'd want to mess around with

5. Janelle Tenner (Unraveling) - Janelle is intelligent, hilarious and badass. Plus, she saves the planet. How much more awesome can you get?

6. Sydney (Bloodlines) - Sydney is one of the smartest heroines I've read about, and she can do some serious damage with her chemistry set. Ok? Ok.

7. Eilzabeth Bennet (Pride & Prejudice) - Lizzie is such a fierce, strong woman, it's hard not to think of her as anything but kick-ass. 

8. Professor McGonagall (Harry Potter) -  Seriously, this woman is one fantastic witch. You do NOT want to mess with her. 

9. Mrs. Weasley (Harry Potter) - "NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!" (sorry for the language... it's a quote :P) I mean, she killed Bellatrix Lestrange. How can she not make this list?

That's all I can think of right now! Leave me a link to your TTT or tell me who your favourite heroines are! I'd love to know!
Have a great day!

Sunday 28 October 2012

Stacking the Shelves (19) -Collective Haul [October]

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!

I'm back! Hi everyone! So this is a collective haul from the past month since I haven't been able to post a haul in a while!
For Review:
Thanks to Cydney for sending this to me!


Thanks to Jessirae of Words, Pages, Books!
Library Sale:


I'm so excited about so many of these books! I've now completed my set of House of Night books, except for the new one, Hidden, plus FINALE!!!!!!!!!! I've read Eve & Adam and am in the middle of My Life Next Door! SO many great books added to my shelves this October! Leave me a link to your haul in the comments, I'd love to see what you've gotten!

Happy reading!

Monday 22 October 2012

Taking a Quick Break

Hey everyone! So, a few weeks ago I got all my regular blog subscriptions through my email and was scrolling through them, until suddenly, one stood out to me. It was a post on Things I've Learned Since Becoming a Book Blogger by Kristilyn at Reading in Winter. #10 stood out to me.

10. It’s OK to take a break from blogging.

I've only been blogging since January, and I love it. A Little Shelf of Heaven is my pride and joy. My little baby that I feel this desperate need to nurture and take care of as much as possible. But I've recently come to the realization that I haven't read many books lately. I haven't had the time! School is so busy right now, with me having up to six hours of homework each night. Most days I don't get home until five pm, so when you take in dinner and a shower for account (1 hour combined, maybe more), I normally don't have much free time in the day. Usually when I get home, the most I can do on my computer is quickly check my email, Facebook, and YouTube subscriptions (which I use as an award if I get my homework all done) and then get straight to work. I don't have time to read! And this makes me so mad! I have so many amazing books on my shelf, and I feel terrible because I haven't been able to read some of my review books yet that have been sitting there for over two months! 

You may have noticed that there have been hardly any reviews in the past month. That's because I am still in the first quarter of a book I started a week and a half ago. I'm really stressing out lately about all of this, because how can I update this blog when I have no book reviews to publish? I've come to be really stressed out about updating the blog, but have no time thanks to the hours upon hours of homework each night. This weekend I had to write four essays, study for five different tests, plus I also had regular homework for math, French and science.

That all being said, I don't want to stop blogging, at all, because I love it! This is just my explanation for the lack of posts, and I hope that this week I'll be able to get back into everything!

 Thank you for understanding! I'll talk to you all in maybe a few days, or maybe in a week or so, who knows? But happy Monday!


Monday 15 October 2012

Review: The Dark Devine by Bree Despain

Author: Bree Despain
Publisher: Egmont Books Ltd
Page Count: 384pages, Paperback
Date Published: first published December 22nd 2009
Find it on Goodreads: The Dark Devine
Source: Purchased second hand
Rating:  4/5

Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared—the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in blood—but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held.

The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry, glint in his eyes.

The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boys' dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it—her soul.

My Thoughts: At first this seemed like a pretty generic paranormal, but in the end it had hooked me in and I really liked it!

Whenever I go into the bookstore, I always see the third book in this series, The Savage Grace. I LOVE the cover of it and had been dying to read this series, so when I found this one for 5$ at a used bookshop, I was so excited! To be honest though, I really had no idea what these would be about. I picked it up the other day because I had some time on my hands and I couldn't focus on any of my review books, so I decided to pick a random book and just read. Because sometimes you have to do that, you know? When I first began reading this, it seemed pretty generic. A girl and her perfect family,  an old friend comes back, strange things start to happen, etc. etc. You get the drift. But then I got hooked.

I wouldn't say The Dark Devine was a great book, but it definitely wasn't terrible. I cared about the characters, and I liked the story. The lore in it was unique and it was enjoyable to read about. There was something complex to Daniel's story that I loved, and I couldn't get enough of it. There was a lot of predictability to the story, but there were also some twists and turns that I did not see coming. I think what could have made this book better is  more explanation  in some parts, and less in others. Spread it out a little bit...

I both saw the ending coming and was also pretty surprised, so I'm looking forward to reading the next book, but am not dying for it. If I see it, I'll pick it up! I'm not sure exactly what it was about this book, but it reminded me a lot of Kimberly Derting's The Body Finder series. Maybe the writing style? This was a great book to get me sort of out of my reading slump, and I'm so glad I picked it up!

Let me know what you thought of this book if you've read it! I'd love to know what you think!
Happy reading!

Blog Tour: Extraordinary Rendition by Paul Batista - Excerpt!

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.


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.


When the guard left, the iron door resonated briefly as the magnetic lock engaged itself. Byron sat in a steel folding chair. Directly in front of him was a narrow ledge under a multi-layered, almost opaque plastic window, in the middle of which was a metal circle.
Ali Hussein seemed to just materialize in the small space behind the partition. Dressed in a yellow jumpsuit printed with the initials “FDC” for “Federal Detention Center,” Hussein, who had been described to Byron as an accountant trained at Seton Hall, in Newark, was a slender man who appeared far more mild-mannered than Byron expected. He wore cloth slippers with no shoelaces. The waistband of his jump suit was elasticized—not even a cloth belt. He had as little access to hard objects as possible.
He waited for Byron to speak first. Leaning toward the metal speaker in the partition and raising his voice, Byron said, “You are Mr. Hussein, aren’t you?”
The lawyers at the Civil Liberties Union who had first contacted Byron told him that, in their limited experience with accused terrorists, it sometimes wasn’t clear what their real names were. There were often no fingerprints or DNA samples that could confirm their identities. The name Ali Hussein was as common as a coin. It was as though genetic markers and their histories began only at the moment of their arrest.
“I am.” He spoke perfect, unaccented English. “I don’t know what your name is.”
The circular speaker in the window, although it created a tinny sound, worked well. Byron lowered his voice. “I’m Byron Johnson. I’m a lawyer from New York. I met your brother. Did he tell you to expect me?”
“I haven’t heard from my brother in years. He has no idea how to reach me, I can’t reach him.”
“Has anyone told you why you’re here?”
“Someone on the airplane—I don’t know who he was, I was blind-folded—said I was being brought here because I’d been charged with a crime. He said I could have a lawyer. Are you that lawyer?”
“I am. If you want me, and if I want to do this.”
All that Ali’s more abrasive, more aggressive brother had told Byron was that Ali was born in Syria, moved as a child with his family to Lebanon during the civil war in the 1980s, and then came to the United States. Ali never became a United States citizen. Five months after the invasion of Iraq, he traveled to Germany to do freelance accounting work for an American corporation for what was scheduled to be a ten-day visit. While Ali was in Germany, his brother said, he had simply disappeared, as if waved out of existence. His family had written repeatedly to the State Department, the CIA, and the local congressman. They were letters sent into a vacuum. Nobody ever answered.
Byron asked, “Do you know where you’ve come from?”
“How do I know who you are?”
Byron began to reach for his wallet, where he stored his business cards. He caught himself because of the absurdity of that: he could have any number of fake business cards. Engraved with gold lettering, his real business card had his name and the name of his law firm, one of the oldest and largest in the country. Ali Hussein was obviously too intelligent, too alert, and too suspicious to be convinced by a name on a business card or a license or a credit card.
“I don’t have any way of proving who I am. I can just tell you that I’m Byron Johnson, I’ve been a lawyer for years, I live in New York, and I was asked by your brother and others to represent you.”
Almost unblinking, Ali just stared at Byron, who tried to hold his gaze, but failed.
At last Ali asked, “And you want to know what’s happened to me?”
“We can start there. I’m only allowed thirty minutes to visit you this week. Tell me what you feel you want to tell me, or can tell me. And then we’ll see where we go. You don’t have to tell me everything about who you are, what you did before you were arrested, who you know in the outside world. Or you don’t have to tell me anything. I want nothing from you other than to help you.”
Ali leaned close to the metallic hole in the smoky window. The skin around his eyes was far darker than the rest of his face, almost as if he wore a Zorro-style mask. Byron took no notes, because to do so might make Ali Hussein even more mistrustful.
“Today don’t ask me any questions. People have asked me lots of questions over the years. I’m sick of questions.” It was like listening to a voice from a world other than the one in which Byron lived. There was nothing angry or abusive in his tone: just a matter-of-fact directness, as though he was describing to Byron a computation he had made on one of Byron’s tax returns. “One morning five Americans in suits stopped me at a red light. I was in Bonn. I drove a rented Toyota. I had a briefcase. They got out of their cars. They had earpieces. Guns, too. They told me to get out of the car. I did. They told me to show them my hands. I did. They lifted me into an SUV, tied my hands, and put a blindfold on me. I asked who they were and what was happening.”
He paused. Byron, who had been in the business of asking questions since he graduated from law school at Harvard, couldn’t resist the embedded instinct to ask, “What did they say?”
“They said shut up.”
“Has anyone given you any papers since you’ve come here?”
“I haven’t had anything in my hands to read in years. Not a newspaper, not a magazine, not a book. Not even the Koran.”
“Has anyone told you what crimes you’re charged with?”
“Don’t you know?”
“No. All that I’ve been told is that you were moved to Miami from a foreign jail so that you could be indicted and tried in an American court.”
There was another pause. “How exactly did you come to me?” Even though he kept returning to the same subject—who exactly was Byron Johnson?—there was still no hostility or anger in Ali Hussein’s tone. “Why are you here?”
In the stifling room, Byron began to sweat almost as profusely as he had on the walk from the security gate to the prison entrance. He recognized that he was very tense. And he was certain that the thirty-minute rule would be enforced, that time was running out. He didn’t want to lose his chance to gain the confidence of this ghostly man who had just emerged into a semblance of life after years in solitary limbo. “A lawyer for a civil rights group called me. I had let people know that I wanted to represent a person arrested for terrorism. I was told that you were one of four prisoners being transferred out of some detention center, maybe at Guantanamo, to a mainland prison, and that you’d be charged by an American grand jury rather than held overseas indefinitely. When I got the call I said I would help, but only if you and I met, and only if you wanted me to help, and only if I thought I could do that.”
 “How do I know any of this is true?”
Byron Johnson prided himself on being a realist. Wealthy clients sought him out not to tell them what they wanted to hear but for advice about the facts, the law and the likely real-world outcomes of whatever problems they faced. But it hadn’t occurred to him that this man, imprisoned for years, would doubt him and would be direct enough to tell him that. Byron had become accustomed to deference, not to challenge. And this frail man was suggesting that Byron might be a stalking horse, a plant, a shill, a human recording device.
“I met your brother Khalid.”
“At a diner in Union City.”
“What diner?”
“He said it was his favorite, and that you used to eat there with him: the Plaza Diner on Kennedy Boulevard.”
Byron, who for years had practiced law in areas where a detailed memory was essential, was relieved that he remembered the name and location of the diner just across the Hudson River in New Jersey. He couldn’t assess whether the man behind the thick, scratched glass was now more persuaded to believe him. Byron asked, “How have you been treated?”
“I’ve been treated like an animal.”
“In what ways?”
As if briskly covering the topics on an agenda, Ali Hussein said, “Months in one room, no contact with other people. Shifted from place to place, never knowing what country or city I was in, never knowing what month of the year, day of the week. Punched. Kicked.”
“Do you have any marks on your body?”
“I’m not sure yet what your name really is, or who you really are, but you seem naive. Marks? Are you asking me if they’ve left bruises or scars on my body?”
Byron felt the rebuke. Over the years he’d learned that there was often value in saying nothing. Silence sometimes changed the direction of a conversation and revealed more. He waited.
Hussein asked, “How much more time do we have?”
“Only a few minutes.”
“A few minutes? I’ve been locked away for years, never in touch for a second with anyone who meant to do kind things to me, and now I have a total of thirty minutes with you. Mr. Bush created a beautiful world.”
 “There’s another president.” Byron paused, and, with the silly thought of giving this man some hope, he said, “His name is Barack Hussein Obama.”
Ali Hussein almost smiled. “And I’m still here? How did that happen?”
Byron didn’t answer, feeling foolish that he’d thought the news that an American president’s middle name was Hussein would somehow brighten this man’s mind. Byron had pandered to him, and he hated pandering.
Ali Hussein then asked, “My wife and children?”
No one—not the ACLU lawyer, not the CIA agent with whom Byron had briefly talked to arrange this visit, not even Hussein’s heavy-faced, brooding brother—had said a single thing about Hussein other than that he had been brought into the United States after years away and that he was an accountant. Nothing about a wife and children.
“I don’t know. I didn’t know you had a wife and children. Nobody said anything about them. I should have asked.”
It was unsettling even to Byron, who had dealt under tense circumstances with thousands of people in courtrooms, that this man could stare at him for so long with no change of expression. Hussein finally asked, “Are you going to come back?”
“If you want me to.”
“I was an accountant, you know. I always liked numbers, and I believed in the American system that money moves everything, that he who pays the piper gets to call the tune. Who’s paying you?”
“No one, Mr. Hussein. Anything I do for you will be free. I won’t get paid by anybody.”
“Now I really wonder who you are.” There was just a trace of humor in his voice and his expression.
As swiftly as Ali Hussein had appeared in the interview room, he disappeared when two guards in Army uniforms reached in from the rear door and literally yanked him from his chair. It was like watching a magician make a man disappear.

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