Interview with Laure Eve

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Interview-with-Laure-Eve
As mini follow up to our birthday giveaway (Get your entries in quick! You only have a few days left!) we've interviewed the lovely Laure Eve, author of Fearsome Dreamer. She opens up about writing Fearsome Dreamer, her love of Tarsem Singh and the fictional villains she'd run a mile from...

Welcome to Blogger's Bookshelf Laure! So, how does it feel to have your debut novel on bookshop shelves for the world to see? How did you celebrate?
It feels strange and lovely, to go into a bookshop and see it on the shelf as if it has a right to be there. To celebrate, I had a party with a lot of wine and cake. I can highly recommend this approach.

You've said in interviews that the idea of the book came to you in a dream, what was it like taking it from the initial fuzzy dream concept to a fully fledged idea for a book?
The dream was the fun bit. It was there, buzzing around in my brain, and all I had to do was let it splurge out onto the page. It’s like coming across a scene in the middle of a movie with no idea of who the characters are or what the plot is, but finding the scene fascinating. Then the work comes in finding out who they are, where they are, what they’re doing there, and what happens next. Sounds simple. Took about a year :D

The world of Fearsome Dreamer is pretty complex, how did you go about creating places like Angle Tar, World, and Life?
Angle Tar and World, in many obvious ways, are opposites. I find the pull we as a species experience between wanting to be close to nature, and the sparkly lure of technology, an interesting one to explore. I grew up by the sea in a very rural area, and I miss it. But equally I’d probably shrivel without the Internet and the convenience of decent public transport.

The concept of Life feels like a natural progression from where we are now. Things like Second Life already exist, as do virtual reality worlds. I honestly think that Life, or something like it, will be real enough in no time at all.

With the book split between the three voices of Vela Rue, White and Frith, which character did you enjoy writing for the most and why?
I think the one I most enjoyed writing was Frith, and probably because he’s the least like me. He’s an accomplished liar, and has some interesting skill sets. You never know what he’s thinking, so it was fun to show that in the writing – the face he puts on for the world and the real him he hides.

YA book-to-movie adaptations seem to be all the rage right now, let's get honest here...have you already fancasted Fearsome Dreamer in your head? Which actors would you want playing which characters? Who would your dream director be?
I have TOTALLY fancasted – actually you can see my choices here in more detail. As for directors, I’m going to go with either Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men! The third Harry Potter movie!) or maybe David Cronenberg, an old favourite. People might remember him for the crazy visceral stuff like Scanners and The Fly, but his later films, like Eastern Promises and A History of Violence, show intensely good, tension ridden character work.

Okay so you can tell I’m a movie buff because I’m going to add in one more. There’s a director called Tarsem Singh. You should only watch two of his films – The Cell and The Fall. The Fall especially. It’s jaw-droppingly, achingly gorgeous. The man has the eye of an artist.

If you could pinch a fictional character from another novel to appear in Fearsome Dreamer, who would it be and why?
GOOD question. And there are so many. Maybe Granny Weatherwax from the Discworld novels. She’d have taken one look at Frith and sent him packing. Of course, then it would have been a much shorter and duller novel...

You've been tracking the publishing process on your blog, what's been the best part of the whole journey and what's been the worst?
There are so many highs from the process – it’s a journey of firsts. The first offer you get, the first time you see your cover, the first time you get sent page proofs, the first time you see a finished book with your words inside it. Each of these moments are special and should be treasured – there are no more firsts like this from here on out.

The worst part I think is the wait. Publishing takes time. There’s so much work that goes into each book, I can’t tell you. And publishers have lists – you’re obviously not the only book they’re working on. It can be frustrating. All I can say is that maybe use that waiting time to work on something else. Something sparkly new.

As someone who is also working in publishing full-time, has it been weird seeing the process from the 'other side'?
Very weird, actually. I have this whole new level of sympathy for authors. And I feel like I understand both sides much better now, which can only be a good thing for both jobs.

You've written some pretty awesome blog posts on self publishing vs traditional publishing, what advice would you give to budding debut authors mulling over which route to take?
The only advice I can give is don’t rush into a decision, and do plenty of research. There’s such a wealth of material out there on both traditional and self-publishing, and only you can decide which method is likeliest to produce the results you want.

Sounds a bit scientific, but hopefully you know what I mean.

Do you have any unusual methods for beating writer's block?
Turn off the TV and stay away from the Internet. Writer’s block to me is just a phrase meaning ‘procrastination’.

Any sequels on the horizon? How about other book ideas?
Yes – there’s a sequel to Fearsome Dreamer out next summer, with the working title of The Illusionists. I’ve got a couple of ideas cooking at the moment, one of which includes a kind of Mad Max meets The Crow meets Game of Thrones. With fighting champions. Yes, it sounds insane, doesn’t it.

Our blogger's recently shared their favourite fiction villains for our October group post, which fictional character sends shivers down your spine for all the wrong reasons?
Pretty much any Stephen King villain ever, but for now I’m going to go with Andy the robot from Wolves of the Calla. I hated his metal guts. Another one for good measure would be Mrs.Coulter from His Dark Materials. Like most of the best villains, she’s terrifying because she absolutely believes that everything she does is for the right reasons.

And finally, we're all about book recommendations here at Blogger's Bookshelf! Could you give us some to add to our 'To Read' list?
Oh my. So so many. I’ll keep it to YA and say, of recent reads, my favourites have been Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson, and Every Day by David Levithan. Three beautiful, immersive books. I loved getting lost in them.

Thanks Laure!

Make sure you check out our giveaway to win a copy of Fearsome Dreamer and Earth Girl by Janet Edwards. Fancy knowing a little more about the book itself? Take a look at Ria's review post too!

Fangirl | Rainbow Rowell | Reviewed by Erin

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

fangirl

In Fangirl we are introduced to 18-year-old twins Cather and Wren who are both off to the same college. Although introvert Cath had wanted to share a dorm room with her sister, Wren decides that she needs her independence and so they go their separate ways, leaving Cath feeling lost and anxious. Whilst her sister is out partying and making new friends, Cath struggles to adapt to college life preferring to stay in her dorm room and work on her fanfiction. You see Cath, or Magicath as she is known in the fandom, is famous online for her fanfiction stories based on the popular Simon Snow series (think Harry Potter in terms of popularity) which her and Wren have both been obsessed with for years. With a new chapter of their lives beginning Wren seems ready to leave behind their Simon Snow days but Cath still finds comfort in writing her fanfiction, putting even more distance between the twins.

Throughout the course of the book there is a whole host of family drama with an estranged mother, fragile lonely father and the breakdown of communication between the girls. There is also boy drama as Cath realises neither roommate Raegan’s friend Levi, nor classmate Nick are quite who they first appear to be.

At the end of each chapter we are shown snippets from the original Simon Snow novels and Cath’s fanfiction stories based on them. Personally I didn’t love this idea and found myself skim reading a lot of them, wanting to get back to Cath’s real life story instead. Although the book is a reasonable length and there are a lot of different elements to the story these are well-balanced and the ending itself was satisfying. For me, this contemporary novel was a refreshing read.

4stars

This post was written by reguar reviwer Erin, get to know her here


Meet Our Team | Part Two

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Today we have the second part of our interview mini series, this time featuring Blogger's Bookshelf creators Ria & Erin who have interviewed each other.

meet the team 2


Ria
Heya! I'm Ria and I'm a 21 year old business studies undergrad, with ambitions to work in the big scary world of Advertising, publish a full length novel, or work full time in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (whichever comes first I'll take it!). I drink too much coffee, would love to live in New York one day and am a part of far too many fandoms. I started blogging in 2010 at Wishing For Chanel before getting the itch to start a book blog and the rest as they say is history...

How did you initially get into blogging and what was it about book blogging that appealed to you?

I'd been toying around with the idea of blogging since I was 17, at college I looked at the way women were represented in fashion and got my first encounters with the blogsphere through that. It took another year-ish, when I was at University, to take the plunge and set up Wishing For Chanel! My first lot of posts about The Clothes Show live and X Factor fashion (oh how times have changed).
Wishing For Chanel really taught me that I could write about whatever I loved, but books never really fit into the 'theme' of my blog (again something that's majorly changed!). I wanted a place to vent about my feels about books and a separate book blog just seemed like the most natural step to do that!

Which of your published reviews are you most proud of? & any favourite group posts?

I think it's between 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' or 'Dash & Lily's Book of Dares'. 'Perks...' because it's my all time favourite novel and I had to try really hard not to just let my feelings about the book just spill out all over a blog post :P and 'Dash & Lily...' because it was the book that set my brain thinking I really wanted to start a book blog!

My favourite group post was definitely our Team paper vs Team Plastic debate! We got so many great arguments for both sides, I wasn't sure I even picked a side at the end of reading it!

If you were to create your own 'Lizzie Bennet Diaries' style webseries which book would you choose to adapt?

This is pretty tough...maybe The Great Gatsby? Can you imagine what juicy gossip could seep into vlogs or a mini webseries?! Short videos on each of the characters perspectives would be quite cool.
Or - and I'm being majorly predictable here  - The Fault In Our Stars. I'd love to see Hazel's story played out as a vlog, or it could even be from Augustus' point of view...in fact someone get John Green to get his brother Hank onto producing this!!

Which two fictional characters, from different books/series, would you like to see appear together in a new story?

I'd love to see Hermione Granger and Eugenia Phelan aka Skeeter from The Help together in a story. They're two wonderfully progressive, intelligent women in their respective books and it would be cool to see their minds crossed paths. I can imagine it would only take about 5 minutes before the two of them organise some sort of passive protest for a good cause or would have a heated discussion about their favourite books!

Finally, which books are at the top of your TBR list right now?

This was horrible to narrow down! But top 5 for the minute are...
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Cruel Summer by James Dawson
The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
and Catch 22 by Joseph Heller.


Erin
I’m Erin, I’m 24 and when I’m not writing reviews here I run Sawyer & Scout - an online jewellery and gift shop which includes pieces inspired by the books that I read. The shop is named after my two bunnies, who themselves are named after fictional characters.

How did you initially get into blogging and what was it about book blogging that appealed to you?

At the time I created my first blog I had graduated earlier in the year and I think I saw it as a way to continue sharing some of my lomography photographs after University. That didn’t end up lasting very long but I stuck around in the blogging community and soon started writing about a variety of things including films and crafts.

At the beginning of 2012, after reading mostly non-ficiton for years, I had just gotten back into reading fiction on a regular basis thanks to The Hunger Games trilogy. I knew there must be lots of other bloggers who loved to read and wanted to talk about books, and was thinking about starting up my own book blog. When I saw Ria’s blog post which casually mentioned starting a collaborative one I knew I should take the opportunity to ask if she would be interested in working together. Obviously, I’m very glad that I did!

Which of your published reviews are you most proud of? & any favourite group posts?

I think I am probably most proud of my Ready Player One review as not only did it instantly become my favourite book, I also found it easy to write about. Usually I make review notes during the time that I am reading a book as otherwise I tend to forget things I want to include, however in this case I wrote the review several months after I finished the book and still managed to remember the details – definitely a sign of how much I enjoyed it.

I’d have to say my favourite group post was July’s ‘Wish You Were Where?!’. I loved the subject idea Ria came up with and was pleased with how my postcard graphics turned out in the end, even if they did cause me hours of Photoshop stress at the time!

As well as managing TWO blogs, you're also a awesomely talent crafter! What's been your favourite book related piece that you've made?

The first book related pieces I created were the Harry Potter inspired Potions Necklaces so I think they’ll always be a favourite. Getting covered in glitter when I make them on the other hand…
Another one I really love is the Finnick Charm Necklaces inspired by The Hunger Games. The sea-themed glass beads I use for these are just beautiful.

If you could swap lives for the day with any fictional character who would it be and why?

This is a really difficult question (sorry to all of the other book bloggers I’ve interviewed and asked this to…), what I can say for sure is I’ve read a lot of dystopian tales who’s characters I definitely wouldn’t want to switch with! I think the obvious answer is, as Kath said last week, Hermione Granger. Of course I’d love to go to Hogwarts, learn magic and have dinner in the Great Hall! Who wouldn't?

Finally, which books are top of your TBR list right now?

Ten, Gretchen McNeil
Paper Towns, John Green
Roomies, Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando
UnSouled, Neal Shusterman

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We hope you've enjoyed getting to know us better - don't forget to check back soon to meet the remaining members of the team!

In the meantime you can catch up on part one, featuring Anjali and Kath here.


Wake | Robert J Sawyer | Reviewed by Ria

Monday, 28 October 2013

Wake is the first in a trilogy and follows a trilogy of interweaving stories centred around the awakening of the World Wide Web. 
There’s a virus outbreak remote villages in rural China. To stop it from spreading, the Chinese government commences an operation to contain the disease, avoid global panic and cover their tracks for another publicity disaster. They set out a lock down on all International communication. No overseas television broadcast, no radio, no Internet. 
In a Californian Zoo, Shoshona Glick (a researcher and graduate student) and Dr Harl Marcuse are working alongside Hobo – a chimpanzee hybrid – who can communicate through basic sign language. Hobo starts to display some impressive communicative and cerebral skills, that are broadcast and attracts the attention of the Georgia Zoo - his original birthplace and the place Marcuse had rescued Hobo from castration. 
Caitlin Decter is teenage genius with an addiction to the Internet. She’s also blind but has managed just fine for the majority of her life with feisty attitude and insightful intuition. Now settled in Canda with her parents, Caitlin is offered an opportunity to have new experimental surgery in Tokyo which could restore her sight. She travels across to meet a Japanese scientist, called Kudora, who fits her with an implant – which she playfully coins and ‘eyepod’ – and sets her up with patches and downloads which link her to the Internet. 
When she returns to Canada, strange images start to blur into Caitin’s once dark vision that don’t match up what’s really in front of her in the real world.

So what’s my verdict?
Wake is an incredibly complex novel and the fact there are three different stories happening at the same time only adds to it’s complexity. But the book is first and foremost centred around the character of Caitlin and her link to this mysterious awakening of the web thanks to her ‘eye pod’. 

Despite her disability, Caitin herself is already a strong minded and incredibly intelligent girl. Obviously the offer to get her sight back is alluring, and the inclusion of scientific justification and theory behind it does make it feel like it’s possible. This use of mix of factual concepts and science fiction is woven throughout the whole of Wake, with much of the dialogue between Caitlin and Kudora feeling like it comes from an academic journal. This can slow the pace at times and I admittedly found some of wording quite difficult to follow, though it does add to the authenticity of the story. 

The other plot lines in the book aren’t quite resolved by the end of the book, which is a little frustrating, but as the novel comes to an end it is quite satisfying to see the three stories begin to interlink and answer questions asked in the other stories.

I’m definitely intrigued by what happens next, especially concerning Caitin’s new abilities and it’s implications on the other plot lines! 

Reading Soundtrack:
Fix You: Coldplay; Eyes Closed: The Narrative; Read My Mind: The Killers; Metal & Dust: London Grammar; Titanium: David Guetta ft Sia; Counting Stars: OneRepublic; Just Keep Breathing: We The Kings

For lovers of…Flashforward, Fringe and Neil Gaiman.

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

Happy 1st Birthday Blogger's Bookshelf | PLUS! Earth Star + Fearsome Dreamer Giveaway!

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Bloggers-bookshelf-1st-birthday
Once upon a time…two bloggers decided to team up and start a book blog together. With the help of some loyal friends and organisational willpower, Blogger's Bookshelf was born. One year later and Blogger's Bookshelf is still going strong!

If you want to see what we've been up to in the past year at a quick glance, then make sure you check out our Blogger's Bookshelf In Numbers Infographic we posted last Tuesday!

It feels as if the year has absolutely flown by and we can hardly believe that we've been posting to this little corner of the Internet for 12 months. Of course Erin and I can't take all of the credit here on the blog! We've had a wonderful team of supportive and talented bloggers who have written such awesome content, which we've loved and will continue to love reading.
Not to mention YOU, our readers are awesome.
A wise lady once said 'No story lives unless someone wants to listen' and we'd certainly like to apply this mantra to Blogger's Bookshelf. So thank you for reading, commenting, and following! 
And because we're oh so appreciative of everyone involved in the blog - readers and bloggers alike - we'd like to announce our very first giveaway!
giveaway booksgiveaway books giveaway books
We have paperback copies of Earth Star by Janet Edwards and Fearsome Dreamer by Laure Eve for one lucky reader and as you can see from the photos, our copy of Fearsome Dreamer is SIGNED by the lovely Laure Eve herself!
If you want to know about the more about the two books we've reviewed both of them here on the blog. Check out Erin's review of Earth Star and Ria's review of Fearsome Dreamer.

To enter simply fill out the Rafflecopter widget below for your chance to win both books! The giveaway is open Internationally and you have until the 9th November 2013 to get your entries in!

Good luck & again thanks for all your support the past year!
Erin + Ria
:)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*copy of Earth Star c/o Harper Collins, copy of Fearsome Dreamer purchased & acquired by Ria w/permission from Laure Eve

Bloodlines | Richelle Mead | Reviewed by Kath

Friday, 25 October 2013


Sydney is an alchemist, a human who dabbles in magic and science in order to keep the bridge between the worlds of vampires and humans safe and separate.  At the start of Bloodlines Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night. At first, she thinks she’s being punished for the events which transpired in Mead’s earlier series, Vampire Academy. Instead, Sydney is chosen to be part of the team who will protect Jill Dragomir, the only living relative of the vampire queen. Jill is sent into hiding, and Sydney must act as Jill’s guardian and protector, posing as her sister in a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. For added protection, the team also includes the dhampir guardian Eddie Castile and whiny dhampir party-boy Adrian Ivashkov.

In the spirit of upcoming Halloween, I thought I’d review one of my favourite vampire books. Richelle Mead writes awesome vampires. Vampires with attitude and sass. As aforementioned, Bloodlines is the first in a series of a books which are a spin off from the successful Vampire Academy series. One of the reasons I, and so many, loved the Vampire Academy series is the protagonist, Rose. She is, essentially, a badass. And Sydney is well… different. She’s intelligent and responsible. She’s detached, uptight and conservative. She LOVES to be organised. Going into Bloodlines, I had to be prepared for the narration to be very different. But I absolutely ended up loving Sydney. I came to understand that just because she isn't Rose, it doesn't make her any less badass.

Sydney, as an alchemist, has been taught all her life to fear moroi. Her assignment means she now has to work in a very close capacity with moroi, and in her own words act as a “babysitter” – definitely not an ideal situation for someone with such staunch views on vampires. She ends up shaking off some of her beliefs about the moroi which had been ingrained in her from a young age, and struggling with this new reality. This was a very interesting process to watch, and Mead really developed her character well.

Bloodlines does a great job of building the new environment and establishing the dynamics between all of the characters. Sydney and Adrian Ivashkov in particular have some interesting interactions which lay promising ground for what will develop between them. Adrian is possibly my favourite character (and was for the latter part of the VA series too!), still half-drunk all the time, tortured and heartbroken. Mead did a great job of letting readers both see the character he tries to be and the character he actually is.

All in all, I really enjoyed Bloodlines. Yes, it’s different from Vampire Academy. Sydney is not Rose, of course it’s different. But it delivered what I wanted, let old fans learn more about some well-loved characters and brought in a new story to a well-loved universe. There’s plenty of love, hate, betrayal, secrets and magic – what else do you want from a good YA novel?

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

Image from Goodreads.

Meet Our Team | Part One

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Today we're continuing on with our birthday celebrations with the first in a mini series of interviews  we hope will help you get to know our review team a little better. We're kicking off with the two newest members of team BB; Anjali who joined us in February and Kath who's very first post as a team member goes live tomorrow! Here's what they had to say about being part of team BB...
meet the team anjali and kath


Kath
I'm Kath, I'm 21 and I've just graduated from University and currently going through a slight existential crisis that I think (hope!) all new graduates go through at some point. I like writing on rainy days and looking at pictures of cats on instagram. I've dreamed of getting a book published since I knew what books were and hope to move to London in the next couple of months to be in the centre of the UK book industry.

How did you initially get into blogging?
If I'm being perfectly frank about it, I was quite jealous of the amount of fun Ria was having with her blog and wanted a piece of the action. Being the good friend that she is, she kept identifying things that I could blog about and was slowly influencing me to starting one. I started Sensitivity And Flair at the start of my third year at University and consequently was not able to give it the love and attention it deserved for a large part of the year. Now I'm cultivating my blog into what I want it to be, giving it some very overdue attention and enjoying every moment of it.

As our newest member of the team what are you most looking forward to about blogging for BB?
I love the community aspect that has come along with BB, which you don't see with many other book blogs. The selection of bloggers who post, along with their diverse love of different genres and authors has created a really special atmosphere that I've certainly noticed as a reader and occasional reviewer. I'm looking forward to seeing how I slot into this community that has developed and what I can bring to it.

Which reviews have you enjoyed reading before joining the team?
I really enjoyed reading Anjali's review of The Knife of Never Letting Go back in February. The book is written in a style that can be a bit confusing so it was great to have someone explain what it was going to be like before I got round to reading the book. Apart from that,  I adored Ria's The Name of The Star review for many reasons including the fact that I convinced her to read it, so it was great to see what she thought.

You've written two guests posts for us already about 'An Evening with...' events with authors, which event did you enjoy more Neil Gaiman's or Maureen Johnson's? And why?
Maureen Johnson's event, without a doubt. Neil Gaiman's event was wonderful, definitely. It was amazing to see and to meet one of the most recognised writers of modern times but just for the style and pacing of the evening alone, it has to be Maureen. At Neil Gaiman there were a few hundred people, at Maureen there was about 30 of us. This allowed us to actually get into conversations with her and have a bit of fun with her in a very relaxed setting. Somebody had a dance off with her, and then she gave us anecdotes of her puppy's adventures.

If you could swap lives for the day with any fictional character who would it be and why?
I imagine that this is the answer that a lot of girls from my generation would give but it would just have to be Hermione Granger. I don't think that feeling of being eleven and not getting a Hogwarts letter will ever go away so I would choose Hermione to experience the magical world J.K. Rowling created. Preferably one of the days Voldemort wasn't around causing mayhem though.

Finally, which books are top of your TBR list right now?
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. I've wanted to read this series for absolutely ages and have just never got round to it. I managed to get the first three books in the series in a very good deal so I must settle down and get started on them sometime soon. I also want to read The Luminaries to see what all the fuss is about, and of course the just-released Allegiant. 


Anjali
My name is Anjali (pronounced Un-ja-lee, emphasis on the 'un'), and I'm a New Zealander who is currently living in England. I have way too many hobbies, and a slight obsession to Harry Potter, all of which you can find either on my original blog From L&P to English Tea, or on my new blog which I started just recently, This Splendid Shambles.
 

How did you initially get into blogging and what was it about joining team BB that appealed to you?
My first blog was back in 2008, and it was just about day to day things and whatever was going on in my life. I posted maybe once a month, and it was a total non-event. But then in 2010 I got back into it with a new blog name, a new purpose, I guess. My family were up and moving to England without me (I stayed behind to finish my degree), so I started blogging about moving in to my friend's house and the adventures we had, and then, as time went on a little, actually moving country. Hence, 'From L&P to English Tea' (L&P is a NZ drink). The rest, they say, is history. I've always been a huge reader, and I started writing reviews on my blog. Erin (co-creator of BB) approached me and wondered if I'd like to guest post on BB, which I started doing quite regularly. A little later, I became a regular reviewer, and I have loved being a part of a great team of people who love books as much as I do. I think that's one of the most appealing parts - knowing that you and your new found friends share the same interests.
 

Which of your published reviews are you most proud of? & any favourite group posts?
I don't think I have reviews that I'm proud of, though maybe that's because I've never thought about it. But I did enjoy writing the review from Daughter of Smoke and Bone, so I think it reads quite well. I love participating in the group posts - it's so much fun both to write, and to see what other people think about the same topic. My favourite group posts to write for have been Wish You Were Where?!, Laugh Out Loud Literature, and Favourite Couples in Fiction.
 

As an avid traveller are there any books you can remember taking with you to read that were particularly memorable?
My most recent travel adventure was up to Scotland, and we drove from the top of South West England all the way up. I took a pile of books with me, as well as my kindle, but on the entire way up (mostly because I couldn't put it down) I read A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness.  On the way down from that trip, I read The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green, in it's entirety. Now every time I see these books, I think of that holiday. Then there are little adventures, like to London just last week, where, on the coach there and back, I read The Dead-Tossed Waves, by Carrie Ryan. I have a feeling I'm going to think of that uncomfortable journey whenever I see that book now.

Sticking with the travel theme - are there any book-related destinations that you would love to visit but haven't had the chance yet?
Does Hogwarts count? Narnia? Neverland? No? Okay. I've been lucky enough to go to a lot of literary places that would have been on my list (Platform 9 3/4 at Kingscross Station, from Harry Potter; Amsterdam, from The Fault in Our Stars; Oxford, from A Discovery of Witches; Baker Street, from Sherlock Holmes books; Bath, from Persuasion; Chicago (though not the dystopian version, duh), from Divergent ...the list goes on), but I really enjoy going to places where the authors have been inspired, or have actually taken a seat and wrote something. I've been to a few places, like Beatrix Potter's house in the Lake District in England, and seen the pub in Oxford (The Eagle and Child) where C.S Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien sat and chatted. Things like that; nothing specific at the moment though.
 

If you could invite 5 fictional characters to a dinner party who would you choose and why?
Luna Lovegood - Harry Potter Series, by J.K. Rowling. She's my favourite Harry Potter minor character, and I just think she is so weird, but so wonderful and if it weren't for the fact that she's super quiet, I would say we're quite alike. Also, she'd probably bring radishes to a dinner  party, and that could be potentially handy.

Charles Carter, from Carter Beats the Devil, by Glen David Gold. Carter is a magician, and every dinner party needs some form of entertainment. Maybe he'd even bring his pet lion with him! He might even be able to conjure up some dessert, because chances are I'll burn whatever it is I had planned on making.

Daisy Buchanan, from The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Not because I like her, but because I'd like to knock some sense into her. Doesn't she realise that everything Gatsby has done, he's done for her?! The conversation may go something a long the lines of "Seriously, woman! What's wrong with you? Yes, please pass the salt."

Gandalf, from The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien. Wise words and overall genius are needed in at least one guest at a dinner party, and not only that but he can blow some mean smoke rings! No one else can create ships and sail them throw rings made of smoke like Gandalf can, and besides, I'll need someone to tell 'put that out right now! No smoking in the house!'

The Hatter, from Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Caroll. Why? He's mad! And he makes hats. Supposedly. Also, he's super bad at telling jokes ('Why is a raven like a writing desk?'), but would be fun to have around none the less. We could all have matching mad hats by the end of the evening. Side note, if he actually were Johnny Depp, then that would be an added bonus.

Finally, which books are top of your TBR list right now?
Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell
Fuse, by Julianna Baggot
Days of Blood and Starlight, by Laini Taylor
The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss


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A big thank you to both Anjali & Kath for taking part in this post.

Over the next couple of weeks we'll be getting to know more about the rest of the team, so don't forget to check back for more interviews!

You Are Here | Jennifer E. Smith | Reviewed by Niina

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

youarehere

“But a small part of him also knew that the reason he'd never ventured anywhere was because of the worry that the reality of the world wouldn't match up to his dreams.” - Jennifer E. Smith, You are Here

When Emma discovers a birth-certificate of a twin brother she didn't know she had she decides to go to North Carolina where she and her brother was born, and where he was buried a few days later. When Emma's car breaks down somewhere in New Jersey she calls her neighbor Peter who comes to the rescue...

I'm kind of surprised that I picked up You are Here by Jennifer E. Smith because this isn't the type of book I usually go for. I like apocalyptic novels, zombie stories, non-fiction, real life stories and the occasional fantasy. But a love story for young adults? That's totally out of my comfort zone. To be honest, I'm not sure if I'm the right person to review this book because this isn't my usual cup of tea (at all). But in some sense it makes it a bit more interesting, because when I for example review zombie books I always feel a bit biased. I did really go into this reading experience with an open mind and was excited to try something new... 

...But I have to admit that this wasn't a completely successful experiment. I don't want to be a party-pooper so let's start with the things I liked about You are Here. I think that it was a well-written novel, Jennifer E.Smith's writing style is easy and enjoyable and I can really see why this story is easy to like for some people... But I got a bit bored along the way. It's not like I was hoping for a lot of action and excitement. I knew that this story was going to be about humans and human relationships. But to be honest, nothing exciting really happens in this novel and I felt like this book wasn't gripping enough. I didn't connect with the main character Emma. I even thought that she was pretty annoying, and that's usually okay as long as the character goes through some kind of development (but I'm not sure if that ever happens in this case). I was also a bit disappointed with the road-trip aspect of the book, it was fun but I wish it would've been a bigger part of the story.

This isn't a bad or horrible novel in anyway. It's a fast and well-written young adult romance for a rainy day but it isn't anything spectacular or special. That being said, there might be a chance that you will enjoy this book more if this genre is the thing you typically go for. I give You are Here 2,5/5 stars. 

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



2halfstars

Blogger's Bookshelf In Numbers | 1st Birthday Celebrations

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

We're only a few days away from our first birthday here at Blogger's Bookshelf! And to celebrate we've got a couple of cool posts lined up in the next few weeks to let you get to know us - plus a few little surprises... 
First up! A year is a pretty long time and it can be hard to try and write down everything that's happened in just over 12 months...so here's a handy infographic at just what we've been up to here on the blog...
BB Infographic 2013 part1 BB Infographic 2013 part2

Hope you enjoyed that! Let us know what you thought and keep one eye open for more birthday celebration posts in the next few days...

Thai Twist: A Cultural Romance | D R Ransdell | Reviewed by Laura

Monday, 21 October 2013


High school graduate Gina wins a magical trip to Thailand, sadly this is not her ideal location until she receives a elephant gift from an elderly neighbor. She is set the task of handing this elephant over to a long lost relative in Thailand. Whilst her sister drags her from temple to temple, Gina's mind is stuck on tracking down this mysterious relative, the task seeing her met and great various people and locations. 

This is not my usual type of book, however when this e-mail popped up in my inbox I was in the mood for something a little different. Something inspiring, exciting and to take my mind away from the chaos of work. I can safely say this book definitely did the trick. 

One of the most interesting parts of this story for me was it's location, I have never been to Thailand and found it really interesting to read about the different towns, temples and places the two sisters visited. It was fascinating to not have it set it a typical British/American location, learn about the different cultures and people. 

I instantly took to the main character Gina, she was a little quirky and I really loved her passion and enthusiasm for helping her elderly neighbor in finding her family again. There were lots of twists and turns in her progress and I felt myself constantly willing her to keep going, not to give up. I also loved the relationship her and her sister have, although two very different people they supported each other in numerous ways through the story. 

Although the element of romance was in this story I have to say for me, the adventure and mystery of the long lost relatives took the forefront and the romance was a nice little added extra.  I would definitely recommend this book, I really enjoyed it and was sad to see it come to an end. 

To find out more about the book and author visit: www.dr-ransdell.com/



4/5 stars

This post was written by regular reviewer Laura, get to know her here.
Image from www.dr-ransdell.com/
C/O Thai Twist: A cultural romance was sent to me (Laura) by the author for review. However, my opinions have not been influenced and are 100% my own. A big thanks to D.R Ransdell for allowing me to review the book! 

The Dead-Tossed Waves | Carrie Ryan | Reviewed by Anjali

Sunday, 20 October 2013



“Home is all she’s ever known and all she needs for happiness. But life after the Return is never safe and there are threats even the barrier can’t hold back.

Gabry’s mother thought she’d left her secrets behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth but now, to save the ones she loves, Gabry must face the Forest of her mother’s past…”

*******

Earlier in the year I read The Forest of Hands and Teeth, by Carrie Ryan, and really enjoyed it. I’ve only just got around to reading its sequel, The Dead-Tossed Waves, but it’s just as good.

Unlike a lot of sequels, The Dead-Tossed Waves is about the next generation rather than an immediate continuation of the previous book, and follows Gabry, rather than her mother Mary, the heroine of the first book. Gabry lives in Vista, a city by the sea, surrounded by a barrier that keeps the Mudo (zombie-like creatures) out, and the citizens in. One night, Gabry and her friends cross the barrier into an old, abandoned theme park just for a bit of fun…and they attacked. Some of her friends are bitten and turned, a few die, and the rest get caught, while she runs for her life.

The story follows Gabry, as she tries to come to grips with the fact she left her friends to get caught and punished for going over the barrier, the fact that the only boy she thought she could love was bitten, the fact that her mother was holding back secrets about the Forest and her own past that could change Gabry’s life. As a promise to her best friend, Cira, who is now behind bars, Gabry goes back over the barrier to try and find out what happen to Cira’s brother, Catcher, and when she does she meets Elias, a young man who lives on the outside. Gabry’s life is really in danger after these trips over the barrier, and the life she thought she could once have goes out the window.

Written in first person, from Gabry’s perspective, it is well written, and has an easy feel to it. It’s fast paced, and rarely has a dull moment. Having said that, it did take a little bit of time for me to get into it, but I think that was just me and my tiredness, and not the book. With zombies and cult-like-groups, friendship and love triangles, secrets and lies, death and new life, a reappearance of a character or two from the first book, The Dead-Tossed Waves is a really enjoyable read, and a great sequel to The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I’m looking forward to reading the next book.


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

Image from Good Reads

Group Collaboration | Favourite Fictional Villains

Saturday, 19 October 2013

It's nearly Halloween and our group post this month is themed accordingly. We asked our bloggers to tell us who their favourite fictional villains are. They're the people we love to hate, those dastardly foes getting in our heroic protagonists' way and scare the living daylights out of us. So take a look at who our bloggers love to loathe!
Favourite Villains1
Favourite Villains2 Favourite Villains3 Favourite Villains4 Favourite Villains5 Favourite Villains6
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Next month we want you to take the role of casting director in our 'If You Made The Movies' post and are getting tell us who would be in your dream book-to-movie adaptation cast!
Send us your opinions via Twitter, Goodreads or email bloggersbookshelf@gmail.com
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Contributors - Laura, Ria, Anjali, Laura C, Cat, Alison, Erin, Kath, Janey

Guest Post | An Evening With Maureen Johnson

Thursday, 17 October 2013

An evening with Maureen Johnson event
On Saturday 5th October I was lucky enough to be invited by Waterstones Birmingham New Street* to blog at Maureen Johnson’s stop on her book tour at her store. Maureen chose to answer audience questions rather than give a dedicated talk, and she answered many including questions on writing, procrastination, publishing practices and puppies. Below are some of the most interesting questions and answers.


Do you have any tips for those starting out as writers, or want to be writers?
I have lots of advice. My first piece of advice is that when you first start writing you will suck at it. A lot of days you will sit there and think 'I am so terrible at this, why am I so terrible at this? I should give up! This is too hard, I know what goes in the beginning of the story but I don’t know what goes in the middle.' In the middle you’ll be thinking that you can’t finish, you’ll be thinking that you should not be doing it, you will be thinking all kinds of things about how you will fail. That’s all totally normal, so when you think that you are going exactly right – that’s good! That is exactly where you want to be. Everyone I know, those who are professionals and have won awards gets to a point where they’re like ‘I am the worst at this’, they want to quit, they want to give up. Everyone I know who is also a writer is currently late on their books, they think they’re horrible, they’re like ‘why am I doing this?’ That’s all normal, that’s great. 
Really, the only way you can learn to write is by writing and by reading. Anyone can do it, it’s a very open field which is why people like me can get into it. Look at me! I’m not a shining example of anything here and somehow this is my job. Just keep going, even when it seems too pointless or seems too hard or seems too easy as long as you keep going you are still writing. And really, that is how everybody succeeds. 
You can only finish a book by finishing it. And finishing it is an ugly process, by the end of it you have like sticks in your hair and you’re eating things from the floor and thinking eurgh I’m a horrible person – that is how the end of books look.

I’ve just finished a three year writing course and I just can’t really write right now, do you suggest anything to make writing fun again?
There is nothing writers are better at than putting off writing. I’m putting it off right now. I should really be working. I’ve never gotten more done in my house than when I have a book due. I once put in a new kitchen floor. At 2 in the morning. Putting yourself in a limited atmosphere helps. Blocking yourself off as much as possible, sometimes even just doing small amounts of time. Say to yourself I can’t get up for fifteen minutes, I can’t do anything for fifteen minutes except write. Set a timer, and at the end of the fifteen minutes you can do what you want. And then have that timer set for fifteen minutes and set it again. You’d be amazed at how much you can do in fifteen minutes if you concentrate, because you know that you get a little vacation in like seven minutes. Turning off the internet for a while can help. Putting yourself in a situation where there’s nothing else to do, by getting out of the house and taking yourself somewhere where you can’t do anything else. That feeling where you think I can never ever do this much writing again? It passes pretty quickly.


Can we chat about coverflip? What do you think needs to happen in regards to gendered covers in the publishing world in order for there to be some change?
For some context, I did something sort of by accident recently called ‘coverflip’. When you are a female author you more often than not will get a certain type of package that goes on your book, whether or not it necessarily reflects the content of your book is often questionable. So with coverflip I said pick a book and imagine an author of a different gender writing this book and how would it be presented differently. I did it without really thinking about it…. And then I walked away from my computer. I came back and there were loads of responses and all these people had made these amazing covers, it got picked up for all this media coverage and it became a big conversation.
What to do about it? Part of it is the larger social context of what does it mean, and the problem is when you see something and you think oh that’s a women’s cover, it is also sometimes seen as a little less worthy. You will sometimes see adjectives attached to books written by women like “breezy”, “a light read”, “a fun read”, “a beach read”, “a summer read”. I’ve never seen a book called breezy that’s been written by a man. So not only do we get a different package, a different set of assumptions comes with the package. I do think it’s a problem.
We have a lot of evidence that says books that are written by women are reviewed less, books written by women are taught less, and the list goes on. 
There really isn’t a gender connected, in general books are for everybody. The more that we bring attention to it helps, and the more that people think ‘what are these packages trying to tell me and how can I approach it differently’ – can I pick up something that I would not have picked up before? Should I try something that I think is not supposed to be for me? All covers are – they’re not evil, they’re not bad, they’re not a conspiracy – they are just an attempt to sell books. If publishers thought that you wanted a different package they would put it on. Really they’ll give you anything you want because they just want to sell the book. 
I think as we unpack this and we comment on it and people start picking up other things it will get better. I think eReaders help. Never be embarrassed about reading, if anything hold up the book you are embarrassed about and yell “look at me! I’m reading Twilight!”. It’s okay to read anything. But if you are embarrassed, eReaders hide that. 
I really think it is in the hands of book buyers, and it is the hands of readers, and it’s in the hands of librarians and it’s in the hands of teachers. If librarians and teachers make it known that the cover is put on by somebody else because a lot of kids don’t get that. If we buy differently, if we comment differently I think that’s how it happens. I think publishers are more than happy to change these things.

You can read a little more about the event and my impressions of Maureen over on my blog here. A massive thank you to Waterstones Birmingham New Street, Hot Key Books and of course Maureen herself for putting on a fantastic event.

*Ticket for event c/o Waterstones.

Everything Alice | Hannah Read-Baldrey & Christine Leech | Reviewed by Erin

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

everything alice everything alice

Everything Alice is a beautifully designed craft book featuring around 50 easy to follow tutorials all inspired by Alice In Wonderland. Subtitled ‘The Wonderland book of makes’ this book has ideas for everything you need to throw a charming Alice themed party.

The projects include everything from teatime treats to jewellery pieces, unique accessories, pretty decorations and more, each with full page colour images of the finished product as well as smaller step-by-step photographs. Alongside the tutorials are illustrations and quotes taken directly from Alice In Wonderland showing where the inspiration has come from. There is also a templates section at the end of the book making it much easier to recreate the projects.

My five favourite project ideas from the book are:

The Dandy White Rabbit – a lovely sewing project where you can create your very own White Rabbit toy complete with felt pocket watch

Wonderland Cookie Cutters – a thrifty way to create your own custom cookie cutters in any shape using aluminium baking trays

Playing Card Bunting – beautiful stencilled bunting that would look lovely decorating any tea party

Wonderland Mobile – the perfect project for decorating a nursery, this mobile is made up of felt characters suspended from real branches

Invitation Cushion – another sewing project, this time based on an envelope shaped cushion with button fastening and a pretty mixed media stamp

With it’s beautifully designed layout and images Everything Alice is a lovely book that would make the perfect gift for Alice fans and anyone who loves to craft!

4stars

This post was written by regular reviewer Erin, get to know her here
Photos c/o Erin