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We love to talk all things books, sharing reviews, features, lists, interviews and more, all penned by our team of six writers.

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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Monday, 30 December 2013

How to Fall in Love | Cecelia Ahern | Reviewed by Laura

Christine and Adam are thrown together one night, when she finds herself trying to save his life. She desperately waffles as much as she can, saying anything to try and stop him from jumping the Dublin Halfpenny bridge. She manages it, but only because she strikes up a crazy deal.  She bets that she can make life worth living before his 35th birthday... which is in two weeks time. 

It is no secret that I adore Cecelia Ahern books, I have raved about them numerous times before on this blog. However each time I read a new one I do try to stay neutral and not fall in love with the book simply because it's written by her. There have been some of her books that I haven't clicked so well with... this book was not one of those.  

I think what draws me in most about her books is the written style, they have such an ease and flow to them, that it's almost impossible to not keep reading. But to make a book enjoyable there has to be something more, something in the characters or the plot to draw you in and make you desperate to read more.

This book has that something more. Lets start with the main characters, Adam and Christine. Christine has set herself an enormous task, she has to essentially save this mans life. She's going through an extremely messy divorce, living in a flat with barely any furniture, has little money and is only just about getting by herself. Somehow she manages to hold onto her spark, the spark that brings joy into others lives and positivity into her own and it is that spark that makes her likable and relate-able.

As always the story lines seems to hold that little bit of magic that is in every one of Ahern's books, trying desperately to get a man to fall in love with his life again - there would be no story line unless you had a little bit of belief in magic. Of course this is chic-lit so there is some romance along the way, I do however find that in this story it is a side plot rather than the main focus of the book. 

A highly enjoyable read of which I'm sure I will go back to again and again. Recommended to any Ahern fans, chic-lit readers or anyone who needs a bit of a pick me up. 


5/5

This post was written by regular reviewer Laura, get to know her here.
Image from Goodreads



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Friday, 27 December 2013

Death Comes to Pemberley | P.D James | Reviewed by Lucy.


Hello dear bookworms, I hope you have had a very good Christmas and are enjoying whatever time you have off. Today I'm reviewing Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James.

Death Comes to Pemberley is one of the sequels to Pride and Prejudice. In this story, it is six years after Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy's marriage and it starts at the evening before the annual Lady Anne's Ball at their beloved home in Pemberley. Everything seems to be running smoothly until later that night, a carriage races towards the mansion. When the carriage reaches the entrance, Elizabeth's youngest sister Lydia Wickham falls out of it and screams that her husband has been murdered.

This was the first sequel to Pride and Prejudice that I have ever read before and I have mixed thoughts about it. On the one hand there is a very good story which I think is a good follow up to the original story. At the very start there is a prologue which explains what has happened to each of the Bennett sisters since we read them last. I really liked that because some of the characters which we know and love in Pride and Prejudice do not make an appearance in this story and it's nice to know what has happened to them and why they aren't a part of this story.

However, I can agree with some of the people's reviews I've read both on Goodreads and on Amazon which mention that some of the things which the author talks about is very lengthy. I nearly stopped reading it because some of the language was hard for me to understand. There's also a lot of back story which the author has had to go through when bringing in new characters and to fill in the gaps that have occurred within the past six years since Elizabeth married the mysterious Mr Darcy. I found sometimes that it was unnecessary to add some of these bits on. The actual story was very good, but sometimes I felt the author was dwelling too much on the back story and going into a lot of detail instead of focusing on telling this story.

Even though some parts were lengthy and slow paced, I was still intrigued to find out what happened at the end and it was worth it. However I don't think it is a book which I will be reading again. I think this book deserves a three star rating.

If you are living in the UK (not sure about other parts of the world) there is actually a TV version of Death Comes to Pemberley which is being shown throughout this week. The first episode was aired last night and while it is very good, some bits from the book have been changed and that is something I'm not very keen on at all.

Happy reading chums!

This book was reviewed by regular reviewer Lucy. For more information, please click here! 

Photo by Lucy.
1 comment
Roomies | Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando | Reviewed by Erin

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Roomies | Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando | Reviewed by Erin

*Review copy c/o Netgalley
Image via Goodreads

roomies

Elizabeth and Lauren are both off to Berkeley college after the Summer and although they have never met they are about to become roommates. Roomies follows both girls on the adventures of their last summer before college and explores the friendship they begin to build.

When New Jersey native Elizabeth (or EB as she likes to be called) finds out she immediately shoots off an email to Lauren, excited about getting to know her potential new friend. Lauren however, never wanted a college roommate. She comes from a big family where she has always helped out her parents with all of her little brothers and sisters and was looking forward to having her own space for once. Although only moving across the bay from San Francisco, Lauren is still going through a lot of the same things as EB – family issues, boy drama and anxiety about starting college.

Each chapter alternates between the two girl’s stories, connected by the emails they send to each other, which are included within the text. After starting out with discussions about who should bring what for their room the conversation quickly becomes more personal and both girls end up finding that its much easier to talk to each other about how they feel than to those around them. Of course, even this solution doesn’t come without it’s ups and downs. Roomies provides a realistic depiction of how the tone of emails can be misinterpreted and the girls manage to hit a bump in their friendship before they’ve even met.

Roomies is a light and more realistic read, perfect for those who are about to start college/university themselves.

3halfstars

This post was written by regular reviewer Erin, get to know her here

To read a free excerpt from Roomies click the banner below!

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Little Women | Louisa M. Alcott | Reviewed by Ria

Monday, 23 December 2013

Little Women | Louisa M. Alcott | Reviewed by Ria

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*book cover via GoodReads
"Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without presents..."

Little Women follows the the four March sisters, in the middle of 19th Century New England, whilst their father is away at war. 
There's the book's protagonist, second-oldest sister, Jo. She's a tomboy-ish, opinionated with a fire-ry personality but ultimately loves her family more than anything. The eldest March sister, Meg, is gentle, responsible and acts as the surrogate mother to her younger siblings. Beth is the third sister, the quiet centre of the story and similar in nature to Meg. Then there is the youngest sister, Amy, the artist, a little materialistic but a girl who appreciates the beauty in life. 
The story follows their journey as they struggle with growing up in their society, love and loss, before ultimately learning and growing together.

So what's my verdict?
I read Little Women as a child and came across my old copy recently, I skimmed through a couple of pages and had started reading full on chapters without realising it!
Despite it's historical setting, Little Women still remains one of my favourite books of all time and the journey that the March sisters go through during the novel are easily translatable for the 21st Century. The March sisters themselves are so wonderfully complex, with each girl carrying her own positive and negatives traits, and it's great to read such fabulously strong female characters. What I love about the four of them is that they bring out the best and worst in each other, they fight and are definitely not perfect but what holds them together is their love for each other. 
A must read and a classic that will keep hold of your heart for years to come! 

Reading Soundtrack
Firewood: Regina Spektor; Sky: Joshua Radin; 1901: Birdy; Look After You: The Fray; Heartbeats: Ellie Goulding cover; Astonishing: Little Women Original Broadway Soundtrack; To Whom It May Concern: The Civil Wars

For lovers of...the works of Austen and the Bronte sisters, as well as Anne of Green Gables and The Secret Garden.

This book was reviewed by regular reviewer Ria, get to know more about her here!

2 comments
Group Collaboration | Favourite Reads of 2013!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Group Collaboration | Favourite Reads of 2013!

We're nearly at the end of 2013, so this month's group collaboration has us looking back at those books we fell in love with this year!
favourite 2013 reads Erin
If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch, Is It Just Me? by Miranda Hart, Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, Club Monstrosity by Jesse Petersen, Ketchup Clouds, Annabel Pitcher
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, Quiet by Susan Cain, The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
favourite 2013 reads Lucy
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, The Understudy by David Nicholls, Will Grayson Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan, Charlotte Street by Danny Wallace, A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
favourite 2013 reads Kath
Wonder by R.J Palacio, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Cruel Summer by James Dawson
favourite 2013 reads Cat The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, One Step Behind by Henning Mankell, Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding
favourite 2013 reads Anjali Under the Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi, Allegiant by Veronica Roth, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Next month's post will be all about the books we vow to read in 2014! If you'd like to get involved please email bloggersbookshelf@gmail.com for details. 

Contributors - RiaCatLucy, Anjali, Erin & Kath

All book cover images sourced from goodreads.com
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2013 Reading Challenge | Final Update

Thursday, 19 December 2013

2013 Reading Challenge | Final Update

goals update
Images via Goodreads

We last shared how we were all getting on with our 2013 challenges back in June and today we have the final update...

Ria... 35/30 books read, 4/5 books vowed to read 
I've long past my reading goal for the year, which I'm so proud of! This year was all about upping my game and falling in love with reading books again so I'm really happy I've managed to hit above my original target. I'm also happy enough with completing 4 out of my 5 books I vowed to read for 2013 too. I really enjoyed challenging myself to read three classics (Fahrenheit 451, The Bell Jar and Brave New World), and have encouraged me to read more in the 2014! I'm also oh so glad to have gotten round to reading Harry: A History - especially as I got to compliment Melissa in person for writing such a fabulous account on the Harry Potter fandom at LeakyCon. The Mortal Instruments has been left by the wayside for now - I think the excessive amount of media coverage of the film put me off reading anything to do with the series - and I may have to give it another crack next year!

Anjali... 43/40 books read, 2/5 books vowed to read 
I'm super proud of myself for finishing so many books, and the fact that I was finished with 40 in October. However, I'm not too pleased with the books I vowed to read. In the last update, I had read Daughter of Smoke and Bone (by Laini Taylor) and also Feedback (by Robison Wells), and I had just started the Twelve (by Justin Cronin). I actually got bored of Twelve, so, although I'm planning to come back to it, I haven't finished it yet. I haven't yet read the other two on my list, but I have bought one (Casual Vacancy, by J.K.Rowling), so I hope to read that soon. A couple of 'non vow' books I've really loved have been A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness; The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green; and the Under the Never Sky series, by Veronica Rossi.


Laura... 27/25 books read - Woo! 
So I managed to achieved and surpass my reading challenge - I felt pretty confident I would although the last few books did seem to take me far longer than the previous ones. I however have no read anymore of my 'books I vowed to read' - only the same 3 I previously mentioned in our June update. I've really enjoyed having a reading target, it's kept me much more focused and was a gentle reminded to keep reading and not to let life pull me away from having a relaxing half an hour reading at the end of the day! I enjoyed all the books that I have read, there have been a few okay ones but there haven't been any that I didn't get some enjoyment out of.

Kath... 72/150 books read 
I’m quite obviously massively behind on my reading goal this year, but I did set myself a really high challenge and I’m proud of how well I’ve done. My reading goal was based on my reading habits of last year, and unfortunately life just got in the way this year. My absolute favourite reads of the year have been James Dawson’s Cruel Summer and Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. A problem with having such a high challenge is that sometimes I've found myself reading for the sake of reading, but it has been wonderful finding new authors and diving in to new genres.

Niina... 21/35 books read
I'm definitely going to fail my reading goal the year! I've read 21 books so far and my goal was to read 35. I did pretty well in the first six or seven months of the year but I haven't been doing a lot of reading the last two or three months. My favourite books I've read since the last update is Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry and A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg.

Erin... 76/52 books read, 4/5 books vowed to read 
Since our last update I have managed to complete my challenge as well as make good progress on the books I vowed to read. Although I did start the last book of the five, Neal Shusterman's Everlost, unfortunately I wasn't enjoying it very much and decided to give up for now. I still haven’t given out any 5 star ratings this year - I feel so mean! - but there have been a few more reads that I have really enjoyed including Cruel Summer (James Dawson), Fangirl (Rainbow Rowell), Ketchup Clouds (Annabel Pitcher) and Thin Space (Jody Casella).


Don't forget to check back next month when we'll be sharing our 2014 goals!

3 comments

Monday, 16 December 2013

Batpants! | Jeremy Strong | Reviewed by Laura

Batpants is an orang-utan who is most definitely part of the family, she love to spit tomatoes, swinging through the trees and her pants.  She lives with the Loveharts, Mrs Lovehart is a stunt woman and this book follows her and her family on her latest action film and the chaos that happens around them. 

Jeremy Strong, I am starting to think that he can do no wrong (apologies for the rhyming!) But whichever book of his I picked up to read to my class they always seem to entertained and this was no exception. 


His characters are always entertaining, funny and easy to relate too. In this case we have a normal family... well I say normal but what family is actually normal?! This is a family which most children can relate too because most of them see there brother. sister, Mum or Dad in one of these characters. The only difference being that instead of having a pet dog or cat... they have an orang-utan instead which only leads to more amusing antics. 

We go on their adventure to the film set of their Mum's latest film, we meet movie starts with humorous names, love interests who aren't as they seem and some evil characters along the way too. 

It however is not simply the characters or story line or witty lines that make this story amusing but also the illustrations to match. My class may already be in hysterics as I read this story but as soon as I turn the book around to show a pictures the laughter increases. 

Another brilliant children's story from this talented author. I always give my children the choice of between a Jeremy Strong book or someone different, but there is no real choice.  Strong wins every time!


5/5

This post was written by regular reviewer Laura, get to know her here.
Image from Goodreads
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Sunday, 15 December 2013

Allegiant | Veronica Roth | Reviewed by Anjali


Okay, it's about time that we talked about it. You know what it is. The third and final instalment of Veronica Roth's Divergent series: Allegiant. What an incredibly long wait this was! It was like I was waiting for the next Harry Potter all over again. I'm serious, it felt like that long. And yes, I base all my 'waiting for books' time against the agony that was the release of a new Harry Potter book.

If you haven't read Allegiant yet, then don't worry, I don't think this will ruin anything for you.

Allegiant carries on from where Insurgent left off, and we jump straight back into the action. Tris and Four/Tobias join a group of rebels called the Allegiant, and journey out of the city with an advance party from this group. They go to check it out, and to see if they can find the answers to all the questions that they have, and to find out who exactly Edith Prior (the woman in the video at the end of Insurgent) really is, or was. When they reach the other side, they discover a whole new world, and an organisation bigger than they could have imagined. The story follows Tris and Four/Tobias and their friends as they uncover enormous secrets, take part in a bit of explosion action, and ultimately find out the answers they were looking for (though not really ones that they probably hoped for).

Like Divergent and Insurgent, Allegiant is written in first person, but this time, it alternates chapters between Tris and Tobias. This was fine in itself, as it meant that we finally saw the world from Tobias' perspective, but I have to say that I found it rather difficult to keep up with who chapters were whose. I didn't find their two separate voices very...separate. I often got half way through a chapter and thought "Hang on a minute. I'm confused" and have to go back to the beginning to see whose chapter I was actually reading.

Other than that though, the story was good, and it had some new characters which were both cool and annoying at the same time. If you know what I mean. While the conclusion of this series did wrap up all the lose ends and gave us, as readers, answers to the questions and secrets in the Dystopian world that Roth created, the end was urgh! Don't worry, I won't say what happens, but even though I knew something like that was coming (why else would she have written x, y and z?), but my reaction was still a throw-the-book-out-the-window type reaction.

You'll notice that I only gave it 4 stars. With Divergent and Insurgent, I gave both of them 5, but there was just something a little disappointing with Allegiant. Don't get me wrong, I still loved it and thought it was a good end to the series, but, like I said, I think the confusion of whose perspective it was, and then the annoying ending took it down a star. Still a great book, and you should definitely read this series if you haven't done so yet!

This post was written by regular reviewer Anjali, get to know her here
Image from Good Reads


1 comment
This is What Happy Looks Like | Jennifer E. Smith | Reviewed by Kath

Friday, 13 December 2013

This is What Happy Looks Like | Jennifer E. Smith | Reviewed by Kath

This Is What Happy Looks Like cover
This is What Happy Looks Like is the story of seventeen year old Ellie O’Neill. Ever since an email was accidently sent to her, she’s been corresponding with a mysterious stranger, the two of them sharing their hopes and fears. Their relationship is not without its secrets though – there’s the truth about Ellie’s past… and her pen pal’s real identity. When they finally meet in person, things get much more complicated. Can two people, worlds apart but brought together by chance, make it against the odds?

This is What Happy Looks Like is very simply, a fun read. A book about a cute romance, a small town – it leaves a smile on your face. The plot is semi-unique and the book is full of entertaining characters which make this book intriguing and if you’re looking for a light-hearted read, the one to choose.

I did guess many of the plot twists and turns, but that didn’t make the story any less interesting. I absolutely loved the email exchanges between Ellie and Graham at the beginning at the book, and then at the start of each chapter. They were often sweet and had me smiling to myself. The book is written from alternating POV’s of both characters, which worked well for the story and allowed me to get to know the character and their motivations.


This is What Happy Looks Like is a cute story that managed to come to life on the pages. It’s funny and touching. If you like Jennifer E. Smith’s other books, such as The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight or are a fan of contemporary Young Adult romance than you’ll love this book. 

This post was written by regular reviewer Kath, get to know her here
1 comment
Ketchup Clouds | Annabel Pitcher | Reviewed by Erin

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Ketchup Clouds | Annabel Pitcher | Reviewed by Erin

ketchup clouds

Ketchup Clouds tells the story of Zoe, a young girl with a big secret; she killed her boyfriend. Bursting with guilt and not knowing who to turn to Zoe starts to tell her story through a series of letters written to Stuart Harris, an inmate on Death Row.

As Zoe’s story unfolds we not only learn what happened to her in the months leading up to the mysterious incident but also get to know her as a person and begin to sympathise with her feelings of guilt. Zoe finds comfort in writing to Stuart, with each letter she writes helping her to cope with the way she feels as she begins to forgive herself for her mistakes.

As some of you may know I’m not usually a big fan of books with a letter or diary format however in the case of Ketchup Clouds it didn’t really bother me. The mystery was so intriguing, and the reason behind Zoe choosing to write to Stuart made so much sense that I found myself enjoying the format – something I never expected to say!

Story aside, I must also quickly mention the design of the book. From the cover design to the printed page edges and the simple illustrations found within the letters this book has a distinctive and memorable style.

The story of Zoe’s secret, told in this format was something very original to me and I really enjoyed reading it.

4stars

This post was written by regular reviewer Erin, get to know her here
2 comments
Let It Snow | John Green, Maureen Johnson & Lauren Myracle | Reviewed by Ria

Monday, 9 December 2013

Let It Snow | John Green, Maureen Johnson & Lauren Myracle | Reviewed by Ria

Let-It-Snow-review
In the middle of a snowstorm on Christmas Eve, the three stories of Let It Snow centre around the happenings in and around the town Gracetown. 
Maureen Johnson's 'Jubilee Line' follows one girl as she tries to trudge through the snowstorm after her train breaks down, bumping into a hapless boy and striking up an unlikely friendship. 'Cheertastic Miracle' by John Green is the story of three best friends and their mad misadventures to get to the Wafflehouse in Gracetown, snowstorm or no snowstorm. Lauren Myracle's 'The Patron Saint of Pigs' wraps up this mini trilogy with some help from Starbucks, a teacup pig and a good ol' Christmas Miracle...

So what's my verdict?
Fluffy, light-hearted and silly, Let It Snow is like a warm hot chocolate with extra marshmallows on top! Maureen Johnson's quick witted 'Jubilee Line' kickstarts the book with much flair and is by far my favourite of the three stories. Her lead character Jubilee and the kinda-sorta romantic interest Stuart's friendship fun to see develop and I have to admit I loved their ending - as cheesy as it was!
I had high hopes for John Green's short story and his sarcastic, humourous and - at times - ridiculous writing style is definilley present in 'Cheertastic Miracle'. The main trio of characters feels very familiar in terms of personality to those in Green's previous novels, which would explain why I warmed to some of them straight away!
Lauren Myracle's 'The Patron Saint of Pigs' is probably my least favourite, mainly because it felt like it was simply tacked onto the end and I wasn't a fan of her main character. I did, however, enjoy how she intertwined all of the elements of the previous two books into her own story! The final ending had the feel of a Christmas Rom-Com!
All in all a nice quick, super cheesy, festive read that will have you snorting with laughter at some points and that warm fuzzy Christmas feeling inside ;)

Reading Soundtrack:
Christmas Wrapping: The Waitresses; The Only Gift I Really Need: Dashboard Confessional; White Christmas; Michael Buble; Won't Be Home For Christmas: Blink 182; Shake Up Christmas: Train; River: Joni Mitchell; Christmas Lights: Coldplay

For lovers of...all three authors, Rainbow Rowell and 'Love Actually'.

Ria's also giving away a copy of Let It Snow as part of her blog's birthday giveaway!
2 comments
A Redbird Christmas | Fannie Flagg | Reviewed by Niina

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

A Redbird Christmas | Fannie Flagg | Reviewed by Niina

aredbirdchristmas

"Mildred looked at her, highly incensed.  "And just how am I supposed to know what I want until I get there?  That's why it's called shopping, Frances!"  And with that she marched out the door." - Fannie Flagg, A Redbird Christmas

One day on his annual visit at the doctor's office Oswald T. Campbell gets some chocking news. He only has a few months to live unless he moves to the South. Oswald ends up in the small town of Lost River, Alabama. Lost River happens to be the home to a bunch of interesting and heart warming characters and a redbird called Jack.  

A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg is the perfect Christmas novel. Not only because parts of the story take place during the holiday season but also because this is a true feel good novel that gives you that nice warm and fuzzy feeling that everyone should be feeling this time of year. Because let me tell you something! A Redbird Christmas was a genuinely enjoyable reading experience. It was short and sweet and just made me feel warm and happy. If you've read a few of my previous reviews you might be a bit surprised because I tend to criticize books for not having enough action. A Redbird Christmas has almost zero action, but I still loved it! There's no other way to explain it than that the book has a really good and enjoyable vibe. The characters are really well written and make the story really interesting even if it's mostly about their slow small town lives. This novel seriously makes me want to move to a small lazy town in Alabama. Just imagine getting your mail by boat!? (Yes, that happens in Lazy River, Alabama). 

This is the first book by Fannie Flagg that I've ever read (even though the movie Fried Green Tomatoes based on Flagg´s novel with the same name is one of my favorite movies). But after this reading experience I'm really intrigued to read more of her novels. I enjoy her writing style and she really has the ability make the simplest thing feel magical in A Redbird Christmas. And like I said before, I loved what she did with the characters. I could go on an on about how I loved every single one of them.

So yeah, you guessed it right. I really really liked A Redbird Christmas and to be honest I wasn't excepting to like it as much I did. This is a well written, short and sweet read. I think you all should give it a go because with it's 224 pages it's a pretty short yet enjoyable read for the upcoming holidays! I give A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg 5/5 stars

This post was written by regular reviewer Niina, get to know her here.


5stars
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Author Interview | Gretta Parker

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Author Interview | Gretta Parker

Today we have a special author interview post for you, featuring Gretta Parker the lovely lady behind the book The $7.50 Bunny That Changed The World as well as various rabbit rescue projects. Before I introduce you to Gretta here is my brief review of the book -

"The $7.50 Bunny That Changed The World is a short book all about a rescue rabbit named Flopsy. The book is written from Flopsy’s point of view and tells the story of how he was abandoned at a shelter by his previous owners and later adopted by the book’s author Gretta Parker, who’s life he changed for the better.

After Gretta bought home a computer and set up a Facebook page to raise awareness of rabbit adoption and shelters Flopsy played a huge part in helping the cause as a ‘spokesbunny’ proving just how rewarding becoming a rabbit owner can be. Alongside the story are beautiful photographs of this special little bunny who definitely seemed to enjoy posing for the camera!

As a bunny owner myself I couldn’t resist reading Flopsy’s story and I am pleased that there are people like Gretta trying to raise awareness for this cause."

*Review copy c/o Netgalley

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BB: Hi Gretta, welcome to Blogger’s Bookshelf. Could you tell our readers a little bit about the author behind The $7.50 Bunny That Changed The World?

It is rare to be able to combine all the things you love which for me is bunnies and writing. I love to tell their stories, which are not always happy. I like to make people think about the plight of animals and to inspire people to get involved with their local rescues.

It will be two years this December, since I lost my Flopsy. I don’t know if I can ever put into words the profound effect a $7.50 rabbit had on my life. He taught me to care more, to be more fearless, but more importantly to take a stand to try raise awareness to the plight of rabbit rescues. I never knew how bad they have it until I started his Facebook page. There is no funding, little awareness, and crippling medical costs that they face every day. He started me on a path when I was lost. I just didn’t plan on finishing the journey without him. The success of his story has been bittersweet for that reason. He is still the first thing I think about and the last thing I remember when I go to sleep at night.

BB: Your book tells the story of the wonderful Flopsy Parker who inspired you to raise awareness for rabbit rescues and shelters by starting Baskets For Bunnies. Could you tell us a little bit about the organization and how it has helped inspire others?

I started Baskets for Bunnies, Inc. to help supply rabbit rescues with supplies that they do not have the extra funding for, anything from toys to litterboxes. Right now we are doing our Toys for Hops drive through Christmas which provides free toys to rescues in the US and a few in Canada thanks to our partnership with Happy Rabbit Toys. I also opened a Sanctuary for special needs rabbits called the Flopsy Parker Memorial Sanctuary last year, 20 rabbits live with us some of which are paralyzed, blind, or just need more socialization. Both Baskets and the Sanctuary are important to me because they will make sure Flopsy’s memory lives on through the rabbits they help. 100% of all the proceeds from my books go to fund my non- profit organizations.

For more info visit www.basketsforbunnies.org or email basketsforbunnies@hotmail.com or www.grettaparker.com

Flopsy-Parker


BB: If our readers are interested in helping rescue bunnies and shelters how can they get involved?

A lot of people do not know that rabbits are the 3rd most abandoned animal in the United States. Due to the fact that they are governed by agricultural laws many rescues do not get the funding that they need. If one pregnant rabbit is dropped off, it can cost over $1000 alone just for spay and neuter of the babies since most litters can be between 7-10 babies per litter. Petfinder is a great resource to find rabbit rescues in your area. You do not have to adopt to become involved, most rescues welcome supplies and or help with transport or medical bills. Helping share fundraisers on Facebook, or adoption ads can even help.

BB: Whats next for you as an author? Will you be writing more books about bunnies?

My next children’s book will be called Stanley the Misunderstood. It is about the first rabbit I took into the Sanctuary, he was in danger of being euthanized for aggressive behavior. The book will be a humorous look on his real life antics, and how he grew to become a wonderful rabbit with love and patience. I also hope to publish my first YA novel this year called The Marquee Sign.

BB: Since we are a book blog we have to ask – what have been your favorite reads of 2013?

I am old school, The Winter of Our Discontent by Steinbeck is on my nightstand right now. I prefer classics to a lot of mainstream fiction. I buy a lot of books from flea markets and shops. I just finished Dan Brown’s new book Inferno, I respect how he combines, history, art and the Classics into his writings. I also enjoyed The Cuckoo’s Calling, I think there is a certain brilliance in the way J.K. Rowling writes that transcends the genre she is writing about.


If you want to learn more about Flopsy's story you can find The $7.50 Bunny That Changed The World on Amazon

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I'd like to say a huge thank you to Gretta from all of us here at BB for taking part in this interview.

Interview by Erin
Images c/o Gretta Parker
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Monday, 2 December 2013

Fight Club | Chuck Palahniuk | Reviewed by Laura


Chuck Palahniuk's first novel tells of a young man who suffers from insomnia, he becomes addicted to going to support groups as a impostor. Soon other important characters appear, such as Marla another trickster who enjoys support groups and more importantly Tyler  a key character who he befriends on a flight.  They in turn set up a Fight Club, of course the first rule of fight club is that you don't talk about fight club.

I'm quite possibly one of the only people around to have not watched this film, this book has been sat on my to-read shelf for a couple years and I finally picked up when I had the urge to watch the film. Of course I couldn't watch the film knowing the book was sat there unread - so I picked it up and off I went. 

I have to say I had high expectations, many friends have rated this book 5/5 on goodreads, but I have to say I struggled for the first 50 or so pages.  I found the text difficult to read and the story line difficult to connect with. However something seemed to change around the 50 pages mark and suddenly I got into the swing and style of the story.  

I enjoyed the main character, his quirks, insomnia and all, the journey he goes on is distressing yet enticing, while I wanted to hide behind my hands whilst reading some of the description I also had to keep going, I needed to know where he was going to end up.

As I said previously this book got off to a rocky start, I found it all very stereotypical male and as a female who hates fighting and violence, it was a tricky read. That however is not to say that I didn't enjoy it, I did and would definitely recommend it. 

Now I best get round to watching the film adaptation!


4/5 stars

This post was written by regular reviewer Laura, get to know her here.
Image from Goodreads
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Blogger’s Bookshelf Review Round Up #12

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Blogger’s Bookshelf Review Round Up #12

Review Round Up #12
It’s been a busy ol’ time since our last review round up! Check out the posts you’ve missed below…
Anjali interviewed author Jamie Baywood, about her book, Getting Rooted in New Zealand, and Ria interviewed giveaway author Laure Eve on her novel Fearsome Dreamer.

There was FIVE new additions to our ever growing list of book blogger/booktuber interviews! Check out Jess from Jess Hearts Books; Alexa from Alexa Loves Books; Allie from Little Birdie Books; Sanne from Books & Quills' and Rob and Kate from Adventures with words' answers.

Our team have also been mingling with some high-profile authors! Newest team member Kath attended an evening with YA author, Maureen Johnson, as part of her tour of the UK. And Erin headed to London for an evening with Veronica Roth in celebration of the release of Allegiant.

And of course Blogger’s Bookshelf celebrated its 1st birthday! Check out just how much has happened in a year in our handy inforgraphic and get to know our team members here (Part One (Anjali & Kath), Part Two (Ria & Erin), Part Three (Laura & Lucy) and Part Four (Niina))

We’ve also had two fabulous group collaboration posts! Check out our Halloween themed ‘Favourite Fictional Villains’ and see what our bloggers would do ‘If We Made The Movies’.

As the year comes to a close, we’re asking you guys what your Top Reads for 2013 were!

Let us know you opinions by email, tweet us or on our GoodReads page!
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Taylor Swift: The Platinum Edition | Liv Spencer | Reviewed by Erin

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Taylor Swift: The Platinum Edition | Liv Spencer | Reviewed by Erin

*Review copy c/o Netgalley, Image via Goodreads

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Taylor Swift: The Platinum Edition is a biography of the young star’s life and career, from authors Jen Knoch & Crissy Calhoun who together write under the name Liv Spencer. The team write books about the things that they love, and previous subjects have included Twilight, The Mortal Instruments and Pretty Little Liars. The Platinum Edition is an update of their 2010 Taylor Swift biography Every Day Is A Fairytale.

The first chapters talk about Taylor’s childhood, how she got her first record deal and of course, her rise to fame. Here we are introduced to many of the people that have helped her along the way including producers, writers, fellow musicians and of course, her family and friends. Overall Taylor’s story is inspirational and the book paints a picture of a determined and hard-working but grounded young woman who has managed to prove that dreams really can come true.

There are chapters dedicated to each of Taylor’s four albums, with a rundown of the tracks and information on the ideas behind them, something her fans regularly speculate about. This is followed up by a chapter focusing on her music videos, sharing how the concepts came about, details on the casting decisions and their commercial success.

The final section of the book is a chronological timeline of Taylor’s career from 2004 up until early 2013. As some of the points in this section had already been covered earlier in the book it did feel a little repetitive, however there was some new information interspersed as well.

Having read the biography as an ebook I have to say that I think it would have been a much better read as a physical book. The timeline in particular, with it’s bullet point layout is something I think would look neater and be easier to follow in print. In addition there is a large selection of images which again, I personally think would be best in print (I read on a Kindle Touch which has a black & white screen).

Although I’m not sure how much of the information included would be new to her die-hard fans, Taylor Swift: The Platinum Edition is a fairly informative read and would make a nice Christmas gift this year for the Taylor Swift fan in your life!

This post was written by regular reviewer Erin, get to now her here


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Being A Book Blogger | Interview With Rob & Kate From Adventures With Words

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Being A Book Blogger | Interview With Rob & Kate From Adventures With Words

Welcome to another Being A Book Blogger post! Today we're talking to Rob & Kate the amazing team behind Adventures With Words. Here's what they had to say about 2013 releases, creating podcasts & being James Bond...

AWW screenshot

BB: Rob & Kate, welcome to Blogger's Bookshelf! Tell us a little bit about the team behind Adventures With Words

Rob works as a senior bookseller at a university branch of Waterstones. He’s also the web wizard and editor of our weekly podcast. He’s a big fan of James Bond and thrillers as well as American literature, which he studied at UEA and the University of Kent.

Kate is a secondary school teacher, who reads like her life depends on it, as long as she’s awake enough. She’ll read almost anything, but loves cold crime, good quality sci-fi and fantasy and young adult fiction. She studied English Lit at Durham, where she wrote her dissertation on girls and women in Children’s Fiction. When she’s not reading, she loves Japanese anime and cult series like Buffy and Smallville.

BB: Where does your love of books come from, and how did you get into reviewing?


We have both been avid readers since we were young. Kate was read The Hobbit and loved adventure stories such as Robin Hood and King Arthur, while Rob enjoyed The Chronicles of Narnia and Sherlock Holmes. Rob began reviewing when he started working for Waterstones, discovering new books that he wanted to talk about on a daily basis. After starting Adventures With Words as a way of sharing book reviews, Rob was joined by Kate and between us we cover a wide range of genres.

BB: As well as written reviews you also have your own podcast - what made you want to use this particular media?


Podcasts allow us to create an immediate and conversational response to what we are reading. We have been told that  people feel a part of what we are doing and get to know us as individuals. People always like to talk about what they are reading; we are doing this but just happen to record it!

BB: Something we think a lot of our readers will be interested in is your new YA-based podcast. Could you tell us a little bit more about your future plans for the series?

The YA-podcast was originally inspired by a conversation with a listener who thought that her children would enjoy something similar to our normal podcast. It is Kate's special interest so she is producing it and hopes to include interviews and short stories from some of the well known British YA writers currently out there.


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BB: We’re now coming to the end of 2013, what have been your favourite new releases of the year?

Kate has really enjoyed Tall Tales from Pitch End by Nigel McDowell. She thought it was an exciting and moving story but also that it was written in a unusual, lyrical style which makes it stand out from the current crop of YA. Rob has enjoyed Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, a wonderful Gothic story with beautifully written prose that makes him long to return to Barcelona.

BB: If you could swap lives for the day with any fictional character who would you choose and why?

A fantastic question! Rob would slip on a tuxedo and sip a vodka Martini, becoming James Bond for the day. Who wouldn't want to live like 007, except perhaps with fewer cigarettes! Kate would like to be Beth Bradley, from The City's Son by Tom Pollock. It would be a privilege to see the true magic and excitement hidden behind everyday London. Although she would never be able to walk past a crane again without a shiver...

BB: Finally, which other book blogs, websites, YouTube channels or podcasts would you recommend to our readers?

We'd love you to listen to Hear... Read This!, a monthly book club podcast that we take part in alongside Simon and Gav of The Readers. Gav is taking a sabbatical from The Readers while he launches No Cloaks Allowed, a new blog for readers of fantasy, meanwhile Simon interviews authors every fortnight on You Wrote the Book.
Rob really enjoys the Book Riot podcast, for his weekly fix of book news and reviews while Kate enjoys Adam Roberts' book blog Sibilant Fricative, a mixture of opinion on science fiction and fantasy with some young adult thrown in.

You can find Adventures With Words by clicking the links below:
- Blog
- Podcast
- Twitter
- Facebook
- Goodreads

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I'd like to say a huge thank you from all of us here at BB to Rob & 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 bloggersbookshelf@gmail.com for information!


Interview & post by Erin 

Cover images via Goodreads
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Quiet | Susan Cain | Reviewed by Ria

Monday, 25 November 2013

Quiet | Susan Cain | Reviewed by Ria

Quiet Susan Caine book cover
At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. You may have seen them around, they’re the listeners or off in the corner coming up with ideas. You may even be one of these people often labelled as quiet, shy, and easily overwhelmed in crowds.
Susan Cain endevours to explore this often forgotten personality type. Her starting point is the softspoken values of early civilisations to society’s evolution and preference for the ‘extrovert’ ideal, and more importantly why we suddenly live in a world where ‘he who shouts the loudest’ has reached a saturation point. Cain delves into the historical and contemporary psychological and biological research behind the differences between introverts and extroverts, showing the reader how the brain functions differently for the two personality sets.
She provides real world context for the studies, by speaking to and presenting case studies of individuals on all points of the introvert/extrovert spectrum. Cain also explores the varrying environments of the world and how it can effect introverts, from the modern open plan primary school classroom, to the differing cultural atmospheres of Asian and American schools, to the brash leaderships and collaborations styles of business in the 21st Century.
What is most interesting is the examples of successful Introverts in the real world, the advice she gives on how to work with and not against this personality type, and the empowering messages that will make you think twice about how powerful introverts can be.
So what’s my verdict?
I could speak volumes about how much I loved this book, but this post would go on for pages and pages! Quiet is full of eye-opening insights into the biological and psychological anatomy of an Introvert. It’s incredibly in depth and well researched by Cain, who’s knowledge of the subject matter seeps through each page.
But don’t mistake this for a science textbook, Quiet is just as much about the social and human effects introversion can have on individuals as the biological make up of their brains. It celebrates introverts and empowers them to share their trait with the world, because they are just as important as extroverts. Though the book is, obviously, heavily skewed towards an introverted reader, Cain never reverts to anti-extrovert bashing. She encourages a balance between the two, showing how both types of personality has it’s weaknesses and solutions on how they can work in perfect harmony.
As a self-confessed introvert I found myself nodding along to many points she brought up. It was a reassuring read as someone who, for many years, felt this personality trait was a hinderance rather than an enabler (Cain references the fact that introversion is often mislabelled as shyness). The first thought that crossed my mind when I finished was ‘Everyone in the world needs to read this book!’ and my view still holds firm. Quiet was brilliantly written and Cain’s tone felt both unpatronising and incredibly inspiring!
Reading Soundtrack:
Keep Your Head Up: Ben Howard; Voices: Joe Brooks; Long Live: Taylor Swift; I'll Be Ok: McFLY; I Stand: Idina Menzel; New Perspective: Panic! at the Disco
For lovers of…human psychology – in particular the works of Jung and Myers Briggs - as well as Cain's TED Talk on The Power of Introverts.
This book was reviewed by regular reviewer Ria, get to know more about her here!
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Group Collaboration | If We Made The Movies

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Group Collaboration | If We Made The Movies

For this month's group post we asked you to put yourself in the director's chair. We wanted to know which books you would love to see come to the big screen, and which existing adaptations you would change. Here's how cinema would look if we were in charge...

movies ria 1

movies laura 1

movies cat 1

movies anjali 3

movies erin 3

movies cat 2

movies laura 3

movies lucy 2

movies anjali 2

movies lucy 3

movies laura 2

movies lucy 1

movies erin 1


This month's contributors - Ria, Laura, Lucy, Cat, Anjali
Images of actors all via imdb.com
Post & graphics by Erin

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Next month's post is all about our Favourite Reads Of 2013! Let us know your choices via Twitter, Goodreads or drop us an email - bloggersbookshelf@gmail.com



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