Monday, 22 August 2016

Dirty Blood | Heather Hildenbrand | Review

Dirty Blood (Dirty Blood series Book 1) by [Hildenbrand, Heather]
*Image from book's Amazon page.


Tara considers herself a normal teenage girl. She attends high school, has a group of friends (and a mortal enemy) and her biggest struggle is convincing her boyfriend, George, that they're just not right as a couple. Then, as these stories go, something strange happens. A violent something strange. She sees a woman turn into a wolf and gets attacked. Tara accidentally kills the wolf and it turns back into a woman. That's when Tara meets others. People who show her that she is actually from a long line of Hunters and she is woefully unprepared for her future as a new target of the Werewolves.


When I first started reading this book, I was very afraid it was going to be another Twilight (pretty "meh" definitely not my thing). What I got, instead, was much more of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer kind of story. Tara does have some stereotypical weepy teenager moments, but overall, she's pretty strong and relatively smart. 

The best part of this book, for me, was the cast of characters. Every character felt like they had so much of their own story to tell. I especially wanted more pages given to Jack and Fee. Hopefully the next books in the series do give them more time. It was especially fun to see the different personalities and their dynamics as they worked together. My favorite moment was when Tara's grandmother came into the picture. Everyone in this fight is (pardon the language) badass. 

So, despite my general dislike of YA Supernatural Love Stories, I genuinely had a good time with Dirty Blood. While the romance is, sometimes, painfully at the front of the story, the overarcing story of the Hunters vs the Werewolves vs the Council is incredibly interesting. This world is rather engaging and I'm strongly tempted to pick up the next book in the series to see how much of the world gets expanded on. 

If you like YA Supernatural books, this is a good one to pick up. It only has Werewolves and Hunters (so far) but it has a good amount of action and a nice level of intelligence. 

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Group Collaboration | Books We Wish Had Sequels/Prequels!

We love delving further into unique fictional worlds and the background stories of our favourite characters, so this month we decided to ask our team which books they would love to read a sequel or prequel to! Here's what they came up with.... don't forget to leave us a comment and let us know which book/s you would pick!

cat sequel prequel

ria prequel sequel 1

anastasia sequel prequel

ria sequel prequel 2

ria sequel prequel 3

Thank you to this month's contributors: Ria, Cat, Anastasia

Next month we'll be discussing the books we think should be read in schools. If you'd like to get involved just email or drop us a tweet @blog_bookshelf!

Friday, 19 August 2016

Features | Books That Have Been On My TBR For Too Long

1. The one I borrowed years ago and have yet to return.

I borrowed my dad's copy of Catch-22 probably about ten years ago now. I've started reading it at least three times since then but for some reason I always seem to pick it up when I'm in the wrong mood for it. I know exactly what to expect and I'm sure that I'll like it but I have just yet to find the perfect time for me to read it. Luckily, I don't think my dad is expecting it back any time soon.

2. The one I was required to read but never did.

In Cold Blood was one of the assigned books for a module on biography and crime writing that I did at university but I didn't give myself enough time to read it properly before the seminar. I skim read it and really liked the parts that I did read so I've been meaning to actually read it ever since but with the immediate deadline of having to discuss it in a seminar gone it has been sat on my bookshelf half forgotten since I finished that module.

3. The one that is just too intimidating.

The Mists of Avalon has so many pages. I'm really interested in Arthurian literature and as this is a really popular Arthurian book and one of the only books I know of that focuses on the women in those legends, I know I'm going to find it really interesting. But it just has so many pages.

4. The one I'm most ashamed about.

Everyone has read To Kill a Mockingbird. Even people who don't read a lot of books have read To Kill a Mockingbird. But I haven't. In fact, I didn't even own it until last year. We never studied it at school, which I know is how a lot of people come to it, and although I have wanted to read it for a long time, I guess there have just always been other books I wanted to read more. I am going to read it though. Soon!

5. The one that has been there the longest.

I think I was about seven or eight when my mum bought Northern Lights for me. I was deep into Harry Potter and so a lot of fantasy books were bought at around that time, although if I'm being honest not a lot were read, but Northern Lights is the one that I most feel like I should have read by now. These books are a huge part of so many people's childhoods, and yet my only experience with it is that I read the first few pages, decided it wasn't enough like Harry Potter, and then it sat on my bookshelf for seventeen years and now I feel a little pang of guilt every time I look at it.

What are the books that have been on your TBR for too long?

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Green Girl | Kate Zambreno | Review

*image via GoodReads

‘The green girl necessarily pines for the past, because the present is too uncomfortable to be presents in and the future, unimaginable."

Zambreno's heroine, Ruth, is a young American in London, kin to Jean Seberg gamines and contemporary celebutantes, by day spritzing perfume at the department store she calls Horrids, by night trying desperately to navigate a world colored by the unwanted gaze of others and the uncertainty of her own self-regard. Ruth, the green girl, joins the canon of young people existing in that important, frightening, and exhilarating period of drift and anxiety between youth and adulthood, and her story is told through the eyes of one of the most surprising and unforgettable narrators in recent fiction—a voice at once distanced and maternal, indulgent yet blackly funny.

— — —

I’m putting out a bold statement that Green Girl is probably one of my favourite books of the year so far. Seemingly apathetic, lost and undeniably broken, Ruth is a protagonist who is drifting. She’s a shell of a woman who’s run away from past demons, with hopeful dreams that she could rebuild her life somewhere else. Ruth for the most part is a tragic figure, a lost heroine in the malaise of London she perfectly encapsulates the essence of what it means to be a young women in the modern world where you’re expected to be living your best life when in reality you may be falling apart on the inside.

As a writer myself Zambreno’s writing is utterly delicious and I found myself wanting to highlight entire passages for future reference. Poetic and utterly heartbreaking, the narrative is fleeting, wistful and nostalgic as she presents Ruth’s life in snippets and vignettes. By the end of the book you never feel as if you get a full picture of who Ruth is. You know she’s fragile and perhaps incredibly unlikeable, but her flaws feel human. She’s a walking contradiction of beauty on the outside, utter conceited arrogance, depression and anxiety on the inside, both loves and hates herself, yearns for attention, yet wants to shrink and forget the past.

Not everyone will get on with this book (and not every has if you look at the GoodReads reviews, yikes!), but even if you find Ruth utterly deplorable I’d definitely at least recommend reading it for Zambreno’s command over her writing.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Being A Book Blogger | Interview with Kate aka Parchment Girl

Welcome to another edition of Being A Book blogger! Today I'm chatting to the lovely Kate who blogs over at Parchment Girl! Here's what she had to say about book blogging, personality typing & Harry Potter meets Lord Of The Rings...


BB: For those who aren't already followers of Parchment Girl could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Thanks inviting me over, Erin! I’ve been blogging about books at Parchment Girl for six years now. I’m also a Book Riot contributor. I’ve been doing that for about 3½ years. I have a particular interest in medical and environmental science, and I devote a lot of time to reading books on those two topics.

BB: What made you decide to start a book blog? And what has been your favourite part of blogging so far?

I love reading (duh) and before I started blogging I didn’t really have an outlet to discuss that. I was drawn to the idea of having a community of book lovers with which to share my literary passion and I was also interested in the technical side of blogging, which didn’t hurt. It’s hard to pick just one thing I love about blogging because I love [almost] all of it! The community is definitely at the core of why I love blogging, but I also get a rush when I see a post go viral or I receive a comment that one of my posts influenced someone’s reading choices in some way. That’s always exciting. I love seeing my blog grow and evolve over time and I love that the Internet is a constantly changing landscape that continues to challenge me!


BB: We love a good recommendation, if you had to pick your top reads of the year so far which books would make the cut?

I really love The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (out in September), which is a reimagining of the Underground Railroad as a literal railroad running through tunnels all over the country. I just finished Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner, which was a Book of the Month July selection. It’s a mystery set in Oxford (holding me over until the new season of Inspector Lewis airs!). Another recent favorite is Women in Science by Rachel Ignotofsky, a gorgeous illustrated compendium of short biographies of brilliant women in the STEM field. Along those same lines, Lab Girl by Hope Jahren was amazing. Last one (promise!): If you’re into hard-hitting nonfiction, Frackopoly by environmental activist Wenonah Hauter is probably the single most important book I’ve read this year. If you’re not already spitting mad about the oil and gas industry’s destructive extraction practices, you will be after reading this book.

BB: As well as books, you're a fan of personality typing. Who are your favourite fictional characters that share your personality type?

Oh, great question! Now, I know the typing of a couple of these characters is controversial, but I would have to say my top three are Gandalf, Sherlock (the BBC incarnation), and Severus Snape. I type these guys as INTJs (from the Myers-Briggs system). Gandalf is definitely my #1.

BB: For our next group post we're discussing which books we wish had a sequel or prequel. Are there any favourite worlds you wish you could delve further into? Or any characters you'd love to follow into the future (or past!)?

It’s funny because I was just thinking about this very topic a couple of weeks ago. Middle-earth and Hogwarts are my two favorite fictional worlds, but I’ve never been the sort of person to delve too deeply into fanfiction or even J.K. Rowling’s recent additions to the world of Harry Potter. I tend to go all in for the core canon and then jump ship. If I’m not completely crazy about a series, I might even abandon it before reading all of the core books. So, if I were the type of person that really enjoyed prequels and sequels, I would definitely want more Rowling and Tolkien, but as it is, I’m pretty satisfied with the canon we have.


BB: Just for fun, which two fictional characters from different books/series would you like to see appear together in a new story and why?

Definitely Harry Potter and LOTR! There's a hilarious video called “Lord of the Potter” which highlights all of the parallels between the two stories (maybe that’s why I love them so much!). I think it would be amazing if Gandalf met Dumbledore and Harry met Frodo. I can just picture Gimli at Hogwarts swatting away ghosts. Priceless.

BB: Finally, which booktubers/bloggers (other than yourself of course!) would you recommend our readers go and subscribe to?

I will try to keep this list contained…here we go:
That’s just a sampling of my favorites.

Where To Find Kate Online: Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Goodreads

I'd like to say a huge thank you from all of us here at BB to Kate for taking part in this interview. If you are a booktuber or book blogger and would like to be featured in a similar post we'd love to hear from you - just email us at for information!