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Wednesday 29 January 2014

Tidbit: The Problem With Reading Big Books

So, I'm currently reading A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. You know, the 807 page one? It's pretty big and therefore, it's taking me a while to read it. The problem with that? I don't have any reviews.

With school and extra-curriculars and other life-stuff, reading large books is hard! And the thing is, I've read books bigger than 800 pages, but it's taking a long time to get through this one! I love it, a lot, but it's just a slow reading process! And because I'm not a believer in the whole 'reading schedule' thing, even though that would probably mean a lot less stress, I haven't got any reviews this week! I think I might be able to post one, but it wouldn't be good so I don't think I could post it!

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'm currently reading a big book because I want to expand my reading horizons and read more than YA, so I don't think there will be a regular review up this week. My apologies and also, I was wondering, if you're a blogger, how do you keep up to date on reviews if you're behind? 

Happy reading! (I'll be trying to finish GoT this weekend!)

Tuesday 28 January 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Worlds I'd Never Want to Live In

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.This week's topic  is: Top Ten Worlds I'd Never Want to Live In.

1. Panem (The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins) -- Um, I think this is pretty self-explanatory....

2. New America (Eve by Anna Carey) -- Okay, so I haven't finished this series and I don't know if I will, but I just would not want to live in this place. 

3. Future Love-less USA (Delirium by Lauren Oliver) -- Again, pretty self explanatory, right? No love, completely unfeeling, no creativity... 

4. The Society (Matched by Ally Condie) -- As much as I disliked this series in the end, I remember hating the world it was set in even more.

5. Westeros (A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin) -- Okay, actually, this is kind of a draw for me, because on one hand I'd love to live here! But then at the same time, it's pretty brutal, you know? So... yeah, I guess it would depend on who I was if I lived there. 

Okay, that's honestly all I can think of, but if y'all leave me your links to your lists this week, maybe I'll be reminded of some worlds I wouldn't want to live in and I'll add them to the list!

Happy reading!

Saturday 25 January 2014

Stacking the Shelves (49)

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.

Purchased (Second-Hand):

I am so excited to read this! I've heard nothing but great things about Philippa Gregory's novels and I've always loved historical fiction, so I really hope I like this one. I'm trying to expand my horizons a bit in the genres I read this year, so I decided to give some non-YA books a try that I've been dying to read!

What did you get this week?! I'd love to see, so leave me a link and I'll check it out!

Happy reading!

Thursday 23 January 2014

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Page Count: 526 Pages, Hardcover
Date Published: September 10th, 2013
Find it on Goodreads: Fangirl
Source: Purchased

In Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Last year, Rainbow Rowell's book Eleanor & Park became one of my top favourite stories... ever. I completely fell in love with everything about it, so when Fangirl was released, I was SO excited, but also a little nervous to read it. I put it off for a while but then when I finally picked it up, I couldn't remember why. 

Rainbow Rowell, HOW ARE YOU IN MY MIND? This author has an exceptional talent, at least in my opinion, for creating characters that are relatable and real. They have their quirks, their  insecurities, their passions... I love them. Cath was no exception. I loved how Rowell brought in the aspect of fandom and fanfiction to this book because that is such a huge part of pop culture right now, or at least in mine. I've been obsessed with Harry Potter since I can remember, so I really connected with Cath and Wren's love for Simon Snow... I thought it was really great how Harry Potter was actually referenced in Fangirl, to make known that Simon Snow was something entirely different, even if it was about an 11-year old orphan who learns he's a magician. ;) 

I also really loved the love story and how it wasn't a total love-at-first-sight kind of thing and it actually took time for Cath and the guy to fall for each other. They were friends first and the guy was so patient and kind because he knew Cath was nervous and it was just so. cute. I also loved how much of a role Cath's family played in the story. Her relationship with her twin sister changed as they got into university and her dad had to deal with them not being home... It was a great change from a lot of those books where the family isn't very present. 

Once again, Rainbow Rowell has amazed me with her exceptional talent. She creates characters that become companions as I read and I completely fall into her books. Fangirl was absolutely lovely. It was fun, sad, hilarious, raw, and anything and everything in between. It was relatable, oh so relatable. I felt like Cath was an extension on me, just as I felt with Eleanor. This book made me remember how I felt when the last book of Harry Potter was released and my love for that series. Rowell is one of my favourite authors and I cannot wait to read more of her incredible work. 

Happy reading!

Friday 17 January 2014

Writing for School

Hey everyone! Happy Friday! Today, I wanted to talk about something everyone's probably familiar with or at least was at one time or another: Writing... For school. You know, the essays, free writes, big presentations that take ten million hours to prepare.

Now, we've all had to do it, so this is old news, but in my English class we recently had to write an essay connecting three literary works we studied in class. I had to do a similar assignment last year and absolutely loved it, but this year, the essay had me in tears and made me panicky and anxious and it just wasn't a pretty sight. Why? Because I didn't care about what I was writing.

Last year, our entire syllabus was incredible, having to do with free speech, conformity vs. individuality and a lot of other subjects that I found very interesting. However, this was the year we studied Lord of the Flies by William Golding and other works all about power and control. While I didn't mind the works we studied, I found writing about them to be painful and I could not for the life of me find a topic to stick with that I actually cared about.

This is not to say that I don't care about the subjects related to the book, I just couldn't force myself to be passionate about it. While I appreciated Lord of the Flies, I definitely didn't love it. I really liked Macbeth, but at the same time, it's absolutely not my favourite. I just didn't find a spark within myself to write an essay linking these works and others together... Not like last year, where I got to talk about the Holocaust and Dead Poet's Society  and I was able to reference John Green and J.K. Rowling... Last year's essay came naturally to me and I did very well on the assignment, getting the highest mark in the class. This year though, I wrote and re-wrote but nothing was coming out and it wasn't even writer's block... it was just a lack of interest and complete frustration. When I tried to talk to my teacher about my struggles, I felt as if he didn't think caring about what you were writing was important. I understand that this assignment needed to get done, but I really felt hopeless. But then I was able to compromise with him and he gave me permission to write a paragraph on a source that we didn't use in class.... SHERLOCK!!! So in my essay, I found ways to incorporate my everyday loves: I compared Macbeth and Voldemort in one paragraph and talked all about Moriarty in another. It made this awful assignment a little bit better. I know that not every writing assignment I get in my life will be like this, where I am able to change it a bit to my liking, but it was really nice to be able to take something so completely uninspiring and dull and make it exciting for myself.

I don't really know what I wanted to accomplish with this post, but I thought I'd write about it anyways and see what your thoughts were on writing for school and even just having to write things that don't interest you... Let me know what you think!

Happy reading!

(Speaking of school and writing, I was contacted a little while ago by Grammarly, which is an online proofreader that is SO USEFUL and I thought I'd mention it for those of you who haven't heard of it! I like to use Grammarly's grammar check when my mind has been completely taken over by Wrackspurts and am stressing out so much that no positive thoughts can come to mind to get rid of them. You know the feeling, when you're writing and then all of a sudden it's just... a complete and total mess? Yeah, it sucks.)

Thursday 16 January 2014

A Little Shelf of Heaven is 2!!! (Giveaway)

Hey guys! Guess what?!?!?! A LITTLE SHELF OF HEAVEN IS TWO!!!!!!!

Yes, I know, the blogoversary was actually on the 14th, but I honestly had such an awful day that day that I completely forgot, so um, these are belated celebrations!!!

I just wanted to throw a little giveaway to thank you guys for sticking by me for the past two years, even through those months where I was only posting once or twice. I love and appreciate everyone in the book blogosphere.. I am so proud to be a little part of this huge, wonderful community and I can't wait to see what A Little Shelf of Heaven's 3rd year has to offer! 

So without further ado... the rules!

  • The winner can win their choice of book from the Book Depository, $20CAD or under
  • Fill in the Rafflecopter below (PLEASE do not leave personal info in the comments!)
  • The giveaway is INTERNATIONAL as long as The Book Depository ships to your country for free (click HERE to check)
  • You must be 13 or older to enter. If you are under 13, please ask your parent/guardian for permission first.
  • As TBD is sending out the prize, I am not responsible for books lost or damaged in the post
  • Giveaway runs for one month, ending on February 2nd 2014 12:01 am EST. 
  • The winner will be contacted by email and must reply within 48 hours, otherwise an alternate winner will be chosen.

Best of luck to you all and thanks so much, once again!
Happy reading!

Tuesday 14 January 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: 2014 Debuts

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.This week's topic  is: Top Ten 2014 Debuts I Can't Wait For!

Honestly, it took me a while to compile this list, but I like the look of these debuts! How about you guys? If you did a TTT, leave me a link and I'll check it out, maybe add some more 2014 debuts to my to-read list!

Happy reading!

Monday 13 January 2014

Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Page Count: 526 Pages, Hardcover
Date Published: October 22nd, 2013
Find it on Goodreads: Allegiant
Source: Purchased

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories. 

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love. 

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

I'll be honest, I put off reading this one for a while because of the huge uproar that came with it. From what I could tell, something crazy went down and no one seemed to like it, but the thing is, I LOVED how this book ended. That may sound dark and odd to some, but I just thought it was so brave of Roth to go with that ending. I don't think this series could have gone any other way, in all honesty.

With that being said, let's talk about the beginning. This is why I gave the book only three stars. I found the first half of the book to be painfully slow, to the point where I almost gave up on it quite a few times. I just didn't care about it, even though I had loved Insurgent last year. It just wasn't clicking for me. But then we got to the last 150-200 pages and it picked up and no matter how morbid some may think I am for saying this, I really liked the ending. Sure it was sad, but how could it have ended in another way without summing up everything Roth was trying to say with this story? I so appreciate the courage it must have taken for Roth to pull something like that.

I don't think I can say anymore other than that, without spoiling the biggest spoiler of it all. So here I'll just put my little three stars and recommend that if you haven't started Allegiant yet, do it, try and pull through the first half and then have some tissues at the end ready if you're an easy cryer. 

Happy reading!

Tuesday 7 January 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Goals for 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.This week's topic  is: Top Ten Bookish Goals and Resolutions for 2014 

1. Read 101 books --- this was my goal for 2013 but sadly it fell short. This year, I really want to try and make it!

2. Post at least one review every week on the blog.

3. Get a job, hopefully at a bookstore or coffee shop or some place that I'll enjoy working at!

4. Read more non-fiction! I've always shied away, but I have some really interesting ones on my shelf that I can't wait to crack open this year!

5. Read the Lord of the Rings trilogy

6. Start filming book hauls and doing some other videos as well.. I've been wanting to do this for so long but feel really shy, however I'd still like to do it. 

7. Go to a book signing -- I didn't go to any in 2013 and really wish I had! I'd love to meet more authors this year!

8. Accept the fact that if I'm not enjoying a book, it's okay to put it down and DNF it. 

9. Make more bookish/bloggy friends! I really want to connect with more of you and make some friends in the community. 

10. Request an ARC from a major publishing company... Just one. I don't even need to get it, I just want to send that email for the first time. Just to be able to do it. 

What do you guys have for goals in 2014? Put a link to your TTT below and I'll check it out!

Happy reading!

Monday 6 January 2014

Review: The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

Author: Richelle Mead
Publisher: Razorbill
Page Count: 438 Pages, Hardcover
Date Published: November 19th, 2013
Find it on Goodreads: The Fiery Heart
Source: Purchased

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives.
In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .
But the struggle isn't over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there's still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure — and re-education — looms larger than ever.
Pulses will race throughout this smoldering fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.

It is no secret that I am a huge Vampire Academy and Bloodlines fan. I absolutely adore these novels and Richelle Mead’s fantastical world of vampires and alchemists. Each time another installment is released, I get so excited because I know it’s going to be great.  (I probably just jinxed it…)

The Fiery Heart is the fourth book in Mead's spin-off series Bloodlines and is the first book in the series that is told in dual perspective.... WE GET TO BE INSIDE ADRIAN'S HEAD! 

First of all, let me talk about Sydney. I absolutely adore her. She's strong, but still gets scared, she's smart and sharp-minded and is actually the main character instead of just the geeky side-kick. She has her flaws, her insecurities and she has her beliefs. Sydney has changed so much throughout the Bloodlines series, especially since the first time we meet her in VA. She's totally kick-ass with her magic, too, which I think is so awesome. 

THEN, we also get Adrian's perspective. 

Adrian is such an incredibly complex and interesting character, being inside his mind is an experience like no other. The way spirit affects him  and how he feels about himself makes me so sad yet there are so many things about him that make me smile as well. The way he sees Sydney in a light so different from anyone else is beautiful... Mead's creation of a character so in love is gorgeous and I loved reading about their relationship from both sides. Speaking of, this. book. was..... HOT.


OKAY. Anyways....

Mead has once again pulled off a book filled with action, romance, fantasy and overall awesomeness. It was fast-paced, filled with characters that I loved, characters that I hated, characters that I got annoyed with... Mead is a talented author who creates books that are well-rounded and fantastic. The ending was.. a bit predictable, but at the same time I loved it. It had to happen at some point or another, so I suppose why not now? I cannot wait for the next book to see more of Adrian and Sydney and hopefully a bit more of Rose, Dimitri, Lissa and Christian! I definitely miss those four, but they do make appearances here and there which is nice. If you have yet to read Mead's epic Vampire Academy series, GO DO IT NOW!!!!

Happy reading!

Saturday 4 January 2014

Stacking the Shelves (48)

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.

Hey guys! So I haven't done a haul in a REALLY long time but I thought I'd share the books I've picked up in the past couple of weeks with some Christmas money/giftcards!


Haha that last one was from my mum and it's pretty funny, actually! I've been really craving quirky contemporaries lately, so I'm sure to enjoy this little haul! If you guys posted a haul this week, leave me a link and I'll check it out!

Happy reading!

Friday 3 January 2014

TGIF: Firmoo Glasses Review

Hey guys! Okay, so I've been DYING to write this post, but with school and general busy-ness, it's been hard for me to post anything other than apologies for my absences, but now I'm starting the year off with an unusual-for-this-blog post! A few months ago I was contacted by Firmoo glasses and asked to try out a pair in exchange for a review. (with pictures, which is why you can now see what I look like!) I usually am hesitant about offers like this, but I know that many of y'all have glasses, as I do, for reading and so I thought I'd give it a shot and tell you guys about this! 

Firmoo is an online glasses company that sells prescription, non prescription and sun glasses and they even have a promotion where you can get your first pair free! A friend of mine actually ordered her every day glasses from the site after I had mentioned it to her and she loves them!  
Here's a blurb about them from their site: 

"Firmoo is the world's most popular online eyeglasses store. Vision and Fashion the Frugal Way is the ultimate goal of Firmoo, so it has always committed itself to providing customers with high-quality and fashionable eyewear at the most affordable prices. Years of expertise in optical industry enable firmoo.com to offer varieties of prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses in a frugal way and to be the ultimate fashion events guide. Since the establishment of our company, we have served over 300,000+ customers and now we also have 470,000+ fans on facebook. We have always been committed ourselves to offering customers the best quality products at the most affordable prices, 85%~90% lower than that in the brick-and-mortar optical stores. Moreover, all our glasses are free for first-time customers."

I know, you're probably thinking: Okay, seriously? An online glasses store? How would you know if you looked good in them? BUT here's the cool thing. (Wow, I sound like a cheesy commercial...) Firmoo has a virtual try-on system where you upload a picture of yourself and measure the distance between your pupils and then voilĂ ! It's actually pretty handy! I was thinking of ordering this really cute pair of glasses, but then I 'tried them on' and um, no. They did NOT look good. Nothing virtual like this will ever be 100% accurate, but it's dang near close. According to Firmoo, 98% of customers find their perfect glasses with the try on system! I love the glasses I picked and wear them a lot, as I didn't get a prescription in them, since I didn't know mine. (oops!)

Each pair of glasses comes with a case and cleaning cloth and at least from my experience, they're really nice glasses. Good quality, sturdy and stylish! I got a pair of pretty typical black square frames but I got a matte finish, just for something kind of subtle and a little different. 

If you're in need of some new glasses or just want to add more specs to your collection, I'd highly suggest using Firmoo. It's easy to use and there is a ton of selection! As a reader and blogger, most of my time is spent staring at a book page or a computer screen and my eyes are always strained. Glasses are definitely essential for someone like me!

Happy reading!

Thursday 2 January 2014

Review: Just One Year by Gayle Forman

Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Page Count: 323 Pages, Hardcover
Date Published: October 10th, 2013
Find it on Goodreads: Just One Year
Source: Purchased

The heartrending conclusion—from Willem’s POV—to the romantic duet of novels that began with Allyson’s story in Just One Day
After spending an amazing day and night together in Paris, Just One Year is Willem’s story, picking up where Just One Day ended. His story of their year of quiet longing and near misses is a perfect counterpoint to Allyson’s own as Willem undergoes a transformative journey, questioning his path, finding love, and ultimately, redefining himself.

I was both terrified to read Just One Year as well as needing it like nothing could make me feel better except for this novel. When this book came out, I went straight to the book store, only to discover that Canada had a different release date. So, three days later I went again only to find out that my book store wasn't getting it in for another few days. So, then, finally on that day, I went straight to the mall in the direction of Coles and as I stepped inside, my eyes went to the back wall where the YA section resides and I saw it. There were two copies and I swear, I must have looked like a mother trying to save her baby from a fire because I never took my wide eyes off of the white cover as I pushed people and shelves aside (ahem... figuratively) and reached my hands up to that top shelf. Holding this book in my hands was bliss. If you read my review of its predecessor last year, you'll know that I absolutely love this duology. They are both on my favourite books of 2012 list and for good reason.

Gayle Forman is one of the most talented wordsmiths I have ever read. Her words flow seamlessly throughout the pages and her stories move with a pace that captivates me and enchants me. She creates characters with whom I can relate and yet they amaze me with their antics and thoughts. It's as if they are friends telling me a great tale of love and adventure and self-discovery. Just One Year was in Willem's perspective, just after his day in Paris with Allyson, as he tries to find this mystery girl as well as himself on a year long journey, travelling to exotic places and meeting new people and going home and reuniting with old friends. Again, the romance between Willem and Allyson was not the over-powering theme throughout the book, as the story was Willem's year, parallel to Allyson's. They had close encounters so many times throughout the book and I wanted to yell "NO, just look to your side!" at some points, as they almost met yet chance decided that day was not the day.

One thing I loved while reading this book was that for the life of me, I could not remember Allyson's name. Just One Day was being lent out to a friend, so I couldn't check my copy and I didn't want to check the internet, because I was reading and didn't want distractions, so as Willem tried to remember 'Lulu's' real name, I tried as well. It made me feel like a part of the story and let me immerse myself into it a bit more than I would have.

If you have not read this duo of beautiful books yet, I beg ask that you do. They are beautifully written, filled with incredible lessons and quotes and they will wrench your heart as the characters struggle with all of their relationships in life: romantic, friendships, family and self. All of those are touched on which I really appreciated. These books are well rounded and they have characters that are real and rounded. The protagonists annoyed me and fascinated me and I thought of them as real people, which is something that is rare with books, as a lot of times authors make their main characters too perfect to think of as someone one would meet on the street. Please, read these two books.

Happy reading!

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