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where our team of writers love to talk all things books, sharing reviews, features, lists, interviews and more.

Getting lost in a book is escapism at it's finest and it's what everyone who contributes here thrives on.

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Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Long Way Down | Jason Reynolds | Review

Long way down

Set just a couple of days after his older brother Shawn is shot and killed, Long Way Down tells the story of fifteen-year-old Will as he steps onto an elevator with Shawn’s gun tucked into his waistband, planning to kill the boy responsible for his death. As Will travels from the 7th floor down, he is confronted by the ghosts of people connected to him and his family, each one helping him to work through his feelings and reflect on what he plans to do next.

This book had been on my TBR for quite a while, having heard amazing things about Jason Reynolds’ writing, this award winning book in particular. Written in verse and told mostly over a 60-second elevator ride, the book explores Will’s thoughts and emotions in a unique way and shows just how much can happen in such a short space of time.

I was so captivated by Will’s story that I read the book in one sitting, and then re-read it in one sitting again the following month. Whilst only a short read, Long Way Down is a beautifully written, intense and powerful book that I would highly recommend to everyone. It has a very raw quality to it and you can feel the mixed emotions of Will shine through in Reynolds’ writing as the character struggles with his decision to avenge Shawn’s death.

The fact that the book is written in verse and also cleverly structured using the different floors of the elevator ride to introduce different characters worked brilliantly. Black and white illustrations by Christ Priestley were also a fantastic addition and really contributed to the haunting feel of the story. I’ve found a 5-star read in Long Way Down and can’t wait to read more of Jason Reynolds’ work.
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Wednesday, 9 September 2020

The Thursday Murder Club | Richard Osman | Review

 

“In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved killings.

But when a local property developer shows up dead, 'The Thursday Murder Club' find themselves in the middle of their first live case.

The four friends, Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron, might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves. Can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer, before it's too late?”
- Goodreads


Released just last week, The Thursday Murder Club is the first novel from TV personality Richard Osman, best known for co-hosting the popular gameshow Pointless, as well as (one of my favourites) Richard Osman’s House of Games.

Set in a small retirement village in Kent, The Thursday Murder Club is a cosy crime mystery focussed on a group of residents who have formed a club to review unsolved crime cases. Whilst previously they haven’t been able to do much with the findings of their investigations, a local murder leads them to become involved with trying to help catch a killer.

The book switches between the general story featuring all of the characters and diary entries from new Thursday Murder Club member Joyce. Whilst it did take me a few chapters to get used to the writing style, the addition of the diary entries was interesting and added an extra layer to the story, helping the reader to keep on track with the investigation.

One of the things I enjoyed most was the small village setting of Coopers Chase, and the little details, such as the fact that the room for the club was booked under a code name in order to stay secret, were a fun addition. The main characters were generally likeable, although there were quite a few other different characters to keep track of as the story progressed.

The Thursday Murder Club isn’t an action-packed crime thriller, but it could be the perfect Autumn read for fans of a cosier mystery to pick up this season. It’s also set to be the first in a series, so it looks like we’ll being seeing more from Elizabeth, Ibrahim, Ron and Joyce in future.


*Review copy c/o Netgalley and Penguin Books (UK)

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Friday, 4 September 2020

Loveless | Alice Oseman | Review

It was all sinking in. I'd never had a crush on anyone. No boys, no girls, not a single person I had ever met. What did that mean?

Eighteen year old Georgia has never been in love. In fact, she's realising, she's never even had a crush. But Georgia loves romance. She's a connoisseur of fanfiction and romcoms and she knows that one day she'll fall in love and have that big, romantic love affair, just like the ones she's read about. Everyone meets the right person for them eventually, right? Plus, Georgia's new uni roommate, Rooney, seems to have no trouble finding people she fancies, and she's more than happy to help Georgia put herself out there.

The thing is, the more Georgia does put herself out there, the more she starts to wonder if there really is a right person for everyone. What does it mean if Georgia doesn't fall in love? What if she can't? Between arguments with her two best friends, Pip and Jason, trying to help Rooney with her doomed Shakespeare Society, and now trying to figure out an extremely important part of herself, Georgia's first year of university isn't exactly turning out the way she expected. 

In many ways, this is a classic coming of age story, full of teen drama, existential doubt, longing, and everything else we're used to from a story of a young person trying to figure out their place in the world. The difference with Loveless is that this is the first novel I've read where the main character is figuring out that they are asexual and aromantic. Of course, one story can never encompass the many different experiences of people who share a common identity, but I feel sure that many young asexual and aromantic people will see themselves reflected in Georgia, possibly for the first time, and perhaps feel a little bit less alone than Georgia does in certain parts of her story.

Georgia makes mistakes over the course of the novel, of course, and she learns a lot about herself and the people around her, to the backdrop of a slightly strange Shakespeare production, esteemed university traditions, and rather a lot of Scooby Doo references. Georgia, along with her new and old friends, Jason, Pip, Rooney, and the older and more confident Sunil, go through a few problems together, but their love for each other is what gets them through. In Georgia's story, Oseman captures both the loneliness that can come from figuring out who you are and the joy that comes from being around people you love. In the end, Georgia knows that as long as she has good friends, she will never be loveless.

An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review. All opinions expressed are the reviewer's own.
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Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Book Club | September 2020 - Featuring Or Set In A School

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For our 2020 BB Book Club, we've put together another printable list of twelve different prompts, one for each month of the year. Just we did in 2019, on the 1st day of each month we'll be introducing you to the month's prompt and the books team members each plan to read, along with some other suggested reads we think you'll love. Of course, these are just ideas so please feel free to interpret the prompts however you wish!

We're also inviting you to share photos and mini-reviews of your book club picks on social media using #bloggersbookshelf or tag @bloggersbookshelf on Instagram.

Our prompt for September is...  

Featuring Or Set In A School

What we'll be reading...


Erin's pick: The Hand On The Wall by Maureen Johnson

"I have a few books on my September/October TBR that would fit this month's prompt so I may end up choosing more than one, but for now I'm going with The Hand On The Wall. The Truly Devious series is a Team BB favourite and I can't wait to find out how the mystery of Ellingham Academy will wrap up."

Anjali's Pick: More Than Just a Pretty Face by Syed M. Masood

"This book is very new to our shelves (it came out just in August) but I was given it to review and I'm looking forward to it. While the main character, Danyal, is 19, he's been held back a year so is in his last year of high school. Danyal is chosen for a school-wide academic scholarship, and he gets Bisma, a girl his parents tried to set him up with, to help him with the competition. That's all I know, but I'll let you know how it goes!"

Other suggested reads...

- Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
- Parachutes by Kelly Yang
- The Secret History by Donna Tartt
- When You Were Everything by Ashley Woodfolk
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- On The Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
- The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger


Use the hashtag #bloggersbookshelf or tag @bloggersbookshelf on Instagram to share your photos and mini-reviews with us throughout the month!
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Monday, 31 August 2020

Book Club | August 2020 Roundup

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Our August book club prompt was to read books with sunshine or clouds on the cover. Here's a couple of updates from Team BB...


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My pick for the August book club theme - a book with clouds or sunshine on the cover - is A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness!⁠ ⁠ I've been meaning to read this book for YEARS, but am only just picking it up now.⁠ ⁠ Are you joining us for the August Book Club? What are you reading? - Anjali (@anjalikay)⁠ ⁠ ----------⁠ ⁠ ⁠ #bookstagram #bookbloggers #bookclub #bloggersbookshelf #instabooks #reading #bookcovers #prettybooks #beautifulbooks #booklovers #shareyourbooks #books #bookworm #readingchallenge #yabookstagram #bookaholic #booksofinstagram #confessionsofabookaddict #bookaddict #bookworm #bookreview #booklover #instaread #readthisbook #bookworm #amreading #whattoread #epicreads

A post shared by Blogger's Bookshelf (@bloggersbookshelf) on

 

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

"Tackling some difficult topics, The Great Alone is a heartbreaking story of survival set in the Alaskan wilderness in the 1970s-1980s. I found the Alaskan setting to be really interesting and atmospheric, almost like it's own character within the story. I also really liked the fact that the book took place over a decade or so, sharing the main character Leni's journey from a teenager to a young adult."

 


We'll be introducing September's book club tomorrow so don't forget to check back! Use the hashtag #bloggersbookshelf or tag @bloggersbookshelf to share your photos and mini reviews with us throughout the month.
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Thursday, 20 August 2020

A Monster Calls | Patrick Ness | Review

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
 

Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don't quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there's a visitor at his window. It's ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.

For our August book club theme (a book with clouds or sunshine on the cover) I chose A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. It's been on my shelf for a long time now, and I've been meaning to read it for even longer than I've owned it. Now was a perfect time!

I'd heard so many excellent things about this story (which is illustrated by Jim Kay, by the way) so I was really excited to read it. Unfortunately, I didn't love it as much as I hoped I would!

The story is heart-breaking and beautiful, it is, and there is some stunning symbolism, themes and important topics throughout. It almost reads like a fable, with the main storyline interspersed with addition tales told to Conor by the yew tree.

Despite all those brilliant things about the book (and they were brilliantly written, as Ness' stories always are), but it was a struggle to pick it up and read it. I think that's simply because I was in a bit of a reading slump when I read it, so I am definitely willing to give it another go in the future.

Have you read A Monster Calls? What did you think?

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