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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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The Book of Phoenix | Nnedi Okorafor | Review

Monday, 29 June 2015

The Book of Phoenix | Nnedi Okorafor | Review

*Image courtesy of Ann Arbor District Library


Summary:


This book is a prequel to Okorafor’s Who Fears Death. It covers the story of a woman named Phoenix who, though she looks 40, is actually only a few years old. She and the few friends she has were created or enhanced by science and kept in Tower 7 to be experimented on. When Phoenix discovers she has abilities that mimic her namesake, her thoughts focus on escape and freedom.


Review:


I love this book. It answered all the questions I had about the history of the world created in Who Fears Death. It answers my questions about who wrote The Great Book, how the world became one giant desert, and how the Okeke people became subservient to the Nuru, even if some of the answers come indirectly.


The Book of Phoenix is a moving story. There is so much loss in Phoenix’s life. But also so much rebirth. This book feels like it is designed to awaken the fires of your soul and move you to action. I’m not sure what that action is, but I definitely feel determined to do it. Okorafor has a talent for writing strong, female characters and it is impossible for me to not be affected, even inspired, by their strength.


The most tragic part of this story comes in the final chapters and reflects the nature of stories based on oral histories and translations: they’re always changed or adapted to reflect the nature and beliefs of the storyteller. I cannot say much more on this topic as it would be labelled “spoilers”, but I feel it is a lesson that we must all take to heart; that stories, no matter how grandly told, no matter how believable, sometimes only hold a grain of truth.

I am happy to recommend this book. There are some “experiments” described that are disturbing to think about, but nothing too graphic. You do not have to have read Who Fears Death first, though I would still recommend it. I really have no reason to give this book less than 5 out of 5. Okorafor is an author whose writings stick with you hours after you’re done reading them.
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Being A Book Blogger | Interview With Ruby aka Feed Me Books Now

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Being A Book Blogger | Interview With Ruby aka Feed Me Books Now

Welcome to another Being A Book Blogger interview! Today I'm talking to the lovely Ruby of the fab blog Feed Me Books Now. Here's what she had to say about everything books from her love of Harry Potter to the series we should all read...

feed me books now interview with ruby


BB: Hi Ruby! For any of our readers who aren't yet subscribed to Feed Me Books Now could you tell us a little bit more about the girl behind the blog?

Hi, thank you for letting me stop by! I'm Ruby, a 16-year-old idealist, introvert and word lover. (I'm also a proud Ravenclaw, in case you were wondering.) My little area of the internet – Feed Me Books Now – is essentially a blog-shaped bundle of loose thoughts, ideas, opinions and ramblings about books. I'm obsessed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer & I own a typewriter named Sylvia.

BB: Where does your passion for reading come from and how did you get into reviewing?

It's a cliché, but I honestly can't remember a time when I wasn't completely bewitched by words. I've always been an introverted person & I've always enjoyed spending time with just myself and a book – for me, that always seemed like the natural way to spend my time. I mean, all children love adventures, and every child has their own way of connecting their mind to the adventures. For me, it seemed incredibly natural for words to be the bridge between reality and fantasy. I guess, when I first began the Harry Potter series (aged 6 or 7), that's when I realised there would never be a time in my life when reading wouldn't be important to me. In terms of how I got into reviewing, I was around 13 when I started blogging. I'd never even seen a book blog before, but I wanted a space where I could simply talk books and – voila! – my little blog stumbled rather clumsily into existence.

feed me books now interview with ruby


BB: We love your discussion pieces which feature some very interesting topics. Which has been your favourite to write so far?

Thank you – that's lovely to hear! I think my favourite is possibly "Taking Refuge In Secondhand Dreams". It's not strictly-speaking a discussion as such, but it's definitely food for thought. It's only a short post, and it was actually a page from my journal initially.

BB: We're always looking for recommendations! Do you have any favourite series you think our readers should pick up?

The first series (other than Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings) to jump to mind is Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. I read this series last year, and it was honestly the most exhilarating diversion from reality. Similarly, I've really enjoyed the first two books in The Bone Season series by Samantha Shannon.

feed me books now interview with ruby


BB: Just for fun, if you could be best friends with any fictional character who would you choose and why?

Ahhh, this is tough. Possibly Luna Lovegood? I just feel as if her presence would be the most wonderfully odd reassurance there could possibly be.

BB: Finally, we would love to know which book blogs are your favourites to read?

Tiny, weeny bit bias here (seeing as this blogger is my pen pal), but I adore It Was Lovely Reading You. I also love reading The Book Journal and Paperback Castles.

Where To Find Ruby Online: Blog | Twitter 

I'd like to say a huge thank you from all of us here at BB to Ruby 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!

Images c/o Ruby
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Thursday, 25 June 2015

Features | Reading the Book First


At the end of my first term at university, one of my lecturers asked us all what our favourite text from that module had been and why. When it was my turn I totally panicked and said, "My favourite was The Great Gatsby because I'm a big Baz Luhrmann fan so it was great to get to read the book before the film comes out." It was pretty obvious from the look on her face that this was not the sort of answer my lecturer had had in mind.

We've all insisted on reading a book before we watch the tv or film adaptation though, haven't we? We've all wanted to experience the story the way the author intended, using our own imaginations, and forming our own opinions, before watching someone else's interpretation play out. I increasingly find it a lot less important though. Sometimes I think it's better to watch the film first. There have even been a few times I've read books that films I loved were based on, only to find that I enjoyed the films a lot more.

One great benefit of watching the film first is that you aren't constantly waiting for certain things to happen and you don't get that annoyance when you find that your favourite part has been cut out. Much as I love the Harry Potter films I'm not sure I will ever get over Harry not finding out who the Marauders actually were. That's partly why I won't even think about reading A Game of Thrones until the tv series is over. I'd rather just enjoy it for now.

Another benefit to watching the film first is that it can help you to understand the book better. When The Great Gatsby finally came out I saw it with a friend who hadn't read the book. She borrowed my copy afterwards and said she was glad she'd watched the film first because being able to visualise scenes from the film had helped her to understand what was happening when her dyslexia slowed her down. That isn't something I had ever thought about before but it makes perfect sense.

I used to think a book would always be superior to its adaptations but now I think of them as more parallel. They tell the same story in different ways, and so they can help you to understand and appreciate the story in different ways. Sometimes I read the book first and sometimes I watch the film first. Sometimes I watch the film and never read the book at all.

What about you? Are you as lenient as I am, or do you always insist on reading the book before you watch any adaptation?
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Ms. Marvel (Volumes 1 & 2: No Normal & Generation Why) | G. Willow Wilson, Jacob Wyatt | Review

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Ms. Marvel (Volumes 1 & 2: No Normal & Generation Why) | G. Willow Wilson, Jacob Wyatt | Review

mcm-haul-ms-marvel
“A hero is just somebody who tries to do the right thing even when it's hard. 
There are more of us than you think.” 

Kamala Khan is just your run of the mill ordinary Muslim girl living in Jersey City, until she’s bestowed some seriously awesome and out of this world superpowers. Suddenly she’s filling in the latex boots of Captain Marvel herself and saving her city from creepy super villains, all whilst trying to get through high school in one piece and avoiding getting grounded until she’s 30 by her overprotective parents.

Volumes 1 and 2 of Ms. Marvel encompasses the first 11 issues of Kamala's story, as she figures out how to be a superhero (with a little help from some mutant and inhuman companions) and launches herself on the hunt to figure just who elusive Inventor is (and what on Earth does he want with the kids of Jersey City?).

So what's my verdict?

I’ve decided superhero origin stories are my kryptonite and Kamala Khan's is fantastic. As a relative newbie to the Marvel Comic Universe, Ms. Marvel series is a fantastic starting point to delve into the comic-lore. As the wise old saying goes ‘with great power, comes great responsibility’, and even before Ms. Marvel was even printed Kamala Khan had a lot riding on her young shoulders as the MCU’s first Muslim superhero. She needn't have worried though, her story totally lives up to the hype.

Kamala herself is a truly modern protagonist for the 21st Century. She’s a total fangirl (many of the issues have her wearing a trusty Captain America hoodie and she writes Avengers fanfiction), she also has to deal with her non-super responsibilities with her family, religion and school life too. All this whilst keeping her Ms. Marvel identity secret and physically and mentally managing her new found powers.

Personally as great as the action sequences are, seeing Kamala at home, school and with friends reminds you of what she's fighting to protect. There's some great character growth already and it's the smaller moments between the hyped up battles I really enjoyed. It's not all serious life lessons and beating up bad guys though, Kamala herself is a pretty hilarious character - again I think this comes from her inner fangirl - and there's some particularly great scenes in Volume 2 when she meets one of her own personal heroes. All in all, Ms. Marvel is a wonderfully fresh and lively addition the Marvel-lore, and she's only just getting started.


Reading soundtrack:
Titanium: David Guetta ft Sia; I'm Supergirl: Krystal Harris; New Perspective: Panic! At the disco; All Star: Smash Mouth; Shake The Ground: Cherri Bomb; Superheroes: The Script; Let The Flames Begin: Paramore; Centuries: Fall Out Boy


For lovers of...The Avengers, The Amazing Spiderman and Heroes (TV series)
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Paper Jewelry: 55 Projects For Reusing Paper | Barbara Baumann | Review

Monday, 22 June 2015

Paper Jewelry: 55 Projects For Reusing Paper | Barbara Baumann | Review

*Review copy c/o Netgalley, image via goodreads
paper jewelery barbara baumann
Today’s review is all about a jewellery craft book with a twist; all of the designs found within it’s pages are made from paper! Paper Jewelry, subtitled 55 Projects For Reusing Paper, is designed to inspire readers to upcycle and repurpose all sorts of papers into one-of-a-kind statement jewellery pieces.

The types of paper used in the book range from typical everyday basics including maps, newspapers and napkins, to more unusual materials such as cigarette filters and literary booklets.

One project that stood out to me was the ‘Literary Pearls’, a necklace made from rolled book pages used to create striking beads. I also really liked the simple ‘Shopping Bag Bracelet’ which showcased a more subtle way to wear paper, made from the string handles of a carrier bag and an ornate bead fastener. Baumann also even shares a tutorial for mini books which can be turned into earrings or necklace pendants (as pictured on the book's cover).

In addition to the tutorials the book also covers some general jewellery making tips, applicable to other projects, not just paper ones. A basic guide to necklace lengths, volumes and styles is included, alongside the lowdown on various tools and materials as well as advice on choosing colour combinations.

Another interesting idea from the author is the suggestion to keep a ‘paper diary’, collecting pieces of every type of paper you may encounter over a few weeks. Baumann suggests this mini project will give you a feeling for the various types of paper and help to explore the different ways to use them to create new things.

At a time when upcycling has become very popular it’s great to see a craft book which encourages readers to think outside the box when it comes to combining the idea of reusing items with the craft of jewellery making. Whilst some of the projects may be a little impractical for everyday wear, they do look like they would be a lot of fun to make and there’s always the opportunity to expand on the tutorials shared to create your own unique pieces.
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Being A Book Blogger | Interview With Joy aka Burn Or Buy That Book

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Being A Book Blogger | Interview With Joy aka Burn Or Buy That Book

It's time for another Being A Book Blogger post where we chat to the writer behind one of our favourite blogs! Today we're talking to the lovely Joy who blogs over at Burn Or Buy That Book. Here's what she had to say about all things books, including why she started a blog and her love of Historical Fiction...

burn or buy that book interview with joy


BB: Hi Joy! Let's start with introductions, for anyone who hasn't come across Burn Or Buy That Book yet could you tell us a little bit about the girl behind the blog?

Hello everyone! My name is Joy and I'm a 21 year old bookblogger from Belgium, that's the little country  stuck between France and Germany, famous for its beer and chocolate. I graduated as a journalist in June 2014, but as there's little hope of finding a job atm, I decided to study History-English to become a teacher, so I can spread my love of history!

BB: How did you get into book blogging and what is your favourite thing about it?

It started out as a school project. We had to blog about a certain topic, mine was the Royal British family, and by the time the project was over, I had fallen in love with blogging. It took me a while to decide what I could blog about, though. I'm not really into make-up and lifestyle.  So I decided to blog about books. 
What I love about being a bookblogger is that I can change people's mind about reading. Most people I know don't like reading. They don't want to commit to a book, it takes up to much time they say.  But then I blog about a book and they read it and they fall in love with reading again. It's my mission to make people enjoy reading again.

burn or buy that book interview with joy


BB: Of all your reviews so far which are you most proud of, and which did you find the most difficult to write?

Hmm, I was really surprised that I liked Looking for Alaska, I'm not really into young adult. So I found it fun to write the review. I kind of started the book with a negative mindset, but the book changed my view of young adult novels.
So I think that is one of my favorite reviews. Although I like the others as well.

BB: We're always looking for new books to read! Which three books are at the top of your TBR list right now?

I'm eagerly awaiting the new Philippa Gregory novel. It'll be about Katherine Parr, Henry VIII last wife. I am a huge Tudor fan, so I can't wait to read it!.
There also a novel about William the conqueror on my TBR list that I really want tot dive into. The last book I'm looking forward to is the new Karin Slaughter. But I'm waiting for the Dutch translation, as I have all her books in Dutch, it would look odd to have one English book among the Dutch ones. Petty it always take ages to translate a book into Dutch. I should do it myself really.

BB: If you had to choose just one genre to read for the rest of your life which one would it be and why?

Historical Fiction definitely. I absolutely love this genre, and most books I own are HF. I've always loved history as a kid. No fairytales for me, but stories of the world wars. In highschool, it kind of withered away, but then in my last year of Highschool, I read The White Queen by Philippa Gregory and I fell in love with history again. It's one of the reasons why I study history at the moment. I love learning about the past, but in a narrative way. Especially learning about history through the eyes of women. But here I am, rambling about history again....

BB: Just for fun, if you could live in any fictional world which one would you choose?

That it a really hard question. I would like to live at the court of Edward IV. He had one of the most splendid courts of medieval courts in Europe. Although being a woman during the middle ages is not something I would like though.

burn or buy that book interview with joy


BB: Finally, we would love some recommendations, which book blogs are your favourites to read?

I like to read the review of The Beauty of Literature, especially her bookshop reviews.
Another one I like is Imogen's typewriter.

Where to find Joy online: Website | Bloglovin' | Twitter

I'd like to say a huge thank you from all of us here at BB to Joy 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!

Images c/o Joy
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Group Collaboration | Fictional Playlists

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Group Collaboration | Fictional Playlists

If you're a regular reader of BB you may have noticed that at the end of each of her reviews Ria shares a playlist to accompany the book. The rest of us love this idea so for this month's group post we thought we would have a go at creating some of our own! Here are the results...

Click on the song titles to listen to them on YouTube!

the book thief 


The Book Thief, Marcus Zusak (2005) - chosen by Ria
1. Dust To Dust - The Civil Wars
2. Permafrost - Laurena Segura
3. Atlas Hands - Benjamin Francis Leftwich
4. Porcelain Fists - Ingrid Michaelson
5. Promise - Ben Howard




isla and the happily ever after


Isla And The Happily Ever After, Stephanie Perkins (2014) - chosen by Anastasia
1. Welcome To New York - Taylor Swift
2. This Is The Beginning - Boy
3. Printemps - Coeur de Pirate
4. We Are Young - Fun.
5. You Picked Me - A Fine Frenzy




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Dangerous Girls, Abigail Haas (2013) - chosen by Erin
1. Skipping Stones - Claire De Lune
2. Bad Blood - Taylor Swift
3. Conspiracy - Paramore
4. Error: Operator - Taking Back Sunday
5. Black Roses - Clare Bowen




ready player one



Ready Player One, Ernest Cline (2011) - chosen by Ria
1. Slacker - Son Of Dork
2. Kids In The Dark - All Time Low
3. Call Me - Blondie
4. Learn To Fly - Foo Fighters
5. Final Countdown - Europe




ex heroes



Ex-Heroes, Peter Clines (2010) - chosen by Rachel
1. In Your Head (Zombie) - The Cranberries
2. Prayer Of The Refugee - Rise Against
3. Zombie Love Song - Your Favorite Martian
4. Army Of Me - Bjork (ft. Skunk Anansie)
5. Losing My Religion - Lacuna Coil (remake)




hollow pike



Hollow Pike, James Dawson (2012) - chosen by Cat
1. Never Let Me Go - Florence And The Machine
2. Building A Mystery - Sarah McLachlan
3. Set Fire To The Rain - Adele
4. Believe In Me - The Pierces
5. Breathe - Michelle Branch




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The Maze Runner, James Dashner (2009) - chosen by Erin
1. Monsters - Funeral For A Friend
2. Exo-Politics - Muse
3. The Panic - The Dykeenies
4. We Gotta Get Out Of This Place - Denmark & Winter
5. Time Is Running Out - Muse





We hope you've enjoyed listening to our Fictional Playlists. Don't forget to let us know your playlist ideas in the comments section below!

Next month we're talking Fandom Pride! If you're part of any fandoms please get in contact as we'd love to feature you in the post. Just email bloggersbookshelf@gmail.com or drop us a tweet @blog_bookshelf
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Thursday, 18 June 2015

Features | Top 5 beach reads

Source: http://dreamatico.com/beach.html


I may be a bit premature with this post since it is only June, but it feels like summer is finally here and so I wanted to make a summer themed post! I get bored quickly of sunbathing, so when I go to the beach a book is a must, but I want to be a fairly easygoing book. Here are some of my favourite stereotypical chick lit beach books.

1) Confessions Of A Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
I have to be honest, I have a bit of a soft spot for Sophie Kinsella books, but I think this one will always be my favourite. The main character, Becky, is extremely relatable, if a little stereotypical and the situations she finds herself make for some hilarious reading. Its very easy and quick to read, making it perfect for a relaxing holiday read.

2) An Offer You Can't Refuse by Jill Mansell
The concept behind this book is amazing. Lola, the main character,is offered £10,000 by her boyfriend's mum to break up with him, and due to personal circumstances she has to accept. The book follows what happens years later when her ex unexpectedly comes back into her life. I fell in love with all the characters in this book, particularly Lola, and there are quite a few plot twists along the way, making for a very enjoyable book.

3) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I'm not going to go too much into this because I feel like everyone already knows about or has read this book. If you haven't however, you definitely should. I love the fact that the author incorporated the idea of fanfiction into it as well, it makes the book feel very modern and also makes the main character, Cath, very relatable, as we all know what it feels like to fangirl over something.

4) The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
Whilst I think everyone and their cat has probably seen the film version of this, but a lot of people don't know that it was originally a book. To me this seems like kind of a shame, as its actually a pretty decent book. It follows Andy on her first job as a personal assistant to the editor of a fashion magazine. Her boss, Miranda Preistly, turns out to be not quite what Andy was expecting! If your in to rom coms then this would be a good book to check out,

5) Every Day by David Levithan
If the above books don't appeal to you and you want something a bit more serious then this one might be for you. I have been waiting for an opportunity to slip this into a feature post because I absolutely love this book. In fact, I would go as far as to say it is the best book I have read this year. Every day, A wakes up in a different body. This has never been a problem before, but this changes when she falls in love. Not necessarily what I would consider a stereotypical beach book, but I didn't want this post to be completely full of chick lit/ rom com style books, and this is something a bit different.

Hope everyone's having a great summer!
Katie x
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Wednesday, 17 June 2015

It's Not Summer Without You | Jenny Han | Review



It's Not Summer Without You is the second book in the Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy but despite that, this review won't contain spoilers from the previous book. The series is about Belly, a young teenager who has just blossomed into herself and two boys she always spends Summer with, are just starting to notice. Summer has always been something Belly has looked forward to all year round but this Summer, too much has changed. 

I liked this book more than the first as the characters were more grown up and I could relate to their decisions and behaviors a lot more than their previous years described in the first book. The book built upon the events that unfolded in the first and I felt it was a natural progression and the books blended together, rather than being jumpy as books in a series can sometimes be during the transition from book to book. The writing was just as intriguing as the first book, and I wouldn't have expected anything else from Queen of Contemporary, Jenny Han. 
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News Round Up: All Hail Chris Riddell

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

News Round Up: All Hail Chris Riddell

I think by now everyone has heard the news that Chris Riddell was formally announced at a very prestigious ceremony at the British Academy For Film And Television Arts in London last Tuesday as the new Children's Laureate for 2015-2017, taking Malorie Blackman's place which she held from 2013-2015. I was lucky enough to be at the ceremony last Tuesday and met Chris Riddell with my colleagues from The Guardian Children's Books Team, and he proved to me that anyone can draw. In his interview with the site, he said, "It’s a big honour...  I am completely serious about what an important role it is - talking about children’s books and our brilliant legacy of children’s literature in this country and to represent writers and illustrators and readers. I want to have a lot of fun." The full interview with The Guardian (one of the first in the world!) can be found here!

However, no Children's Laureate comes in without another going out, so what were the reactions to Malorie Blackman ending her two years in the role? I think the tweets should speak for themselves...
 

Even though the Children's Laureate announcement has probably been the biggest piece of news from the last month, what else has been happening in the world of books?

Hot Key Books has announced that E. Lockhart shall be touring the UK and Ireland from the 18th-24th June, to celebrate the release of How To Be Bad! On the 18th June, she kicks off her tour in Dublin at Easons on O'Connell Street. Then, on the 20th June she visits Waterstones branches in Oxford, Bath, Cardiff, Bristol and Birmingham. On the 21st she visits Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle. On the 22nd she visits Glasgow, on the 23rd it's Dundee, but visiting schools, and on the 24th she concludes her tour in London. To find out more about her tour click here!

It may not count as book news, but did you know that Oxford University Press has made the hashtag it's word of the year? It's reason for doing something that's been met with a bit of criticism? It's excessive usage in the 500 Words competition. OUP also noticed in the Radio 2 competition entries that the words Facebook, email, mobile, iPod, mp3 and tablet have fallen out of usage. They also found that gender stereotypes were conformed to (girls were more likely to talk about cupcakes but boys were more likely to talk about farting, for example), and that more than half of the top 20 words used were influenced by social media, with Zoella ranking in the top 20. Read more about the findings here!

So what incredible books have been released in the last month?

  • Endgame: The Calling by James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton (paperback, hardback was out last year!)
  • Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
  • Lone Wolf by Robert Muchamore
  • Theodore Boone: The Fugitive by John Grisham
And that's it from me for this month! Join me in welcoming Chris Riddell as the new Children's Laureate and my next round up is in July! See you then! 
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The Eerie Adventures of the Lycanthrope Robinson Crusoe | Peter Clines | Review

Monday, 15 June 2015

The Eerie Adventures of the Lycanthrope Robinson Crusoe | Peter Clines | Review


*Image courtesy of Amazon.com

Summary:
Most of us are familiar with the story of Robinson Crusoe, stranded on a deserted island for nearly three decades with only his wit and perseverance to help him survive it's many perils. In this book, Peter Clines takes the original story and combines it with elements of Lovecraft to create a supernatural version of the classic tale.

Review:
I'm almost always a fan of the retelling of classic stories with an unusual twist. Be it Pride, Prejudice and Zombies or Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century (90's cartoon). I greatly appreciate when an author is able to breathe new life into a classic story.

To be honest, I only ever read the Great Illustrated Classics version of Robinson Crusoe. As a result, I may have missed some details of the original book that would have made it a lot less boring. To me it was a survival story without a lot of survival but with a lot of luck. That's what I was looking forward to this retelling. Crusoe as a werewolf gives his survival more credibility. It's easier for me to believe that a werewolf could survive almost 30 years on this island as opposed to a regular mortal man.

The inclusion of some Lovecraft elements, predominantly Cthulu, also gave the story a bit more flavor and even some legitimately scary scenes. It also helped to explain why the natives on nearby islands found this particular island to be sacred ground for their church, rather than another island to live on. Clines' inclusion of supernatural elements actually does help the overall story to make more sense than the version of the original that I had read.

Of course, for me, there were still some boring parts. This retelling still stays fairly true to the original, so it's not surprising that there were times when Crusoe's story seemed mundane. But, if you enjoy a classic with a twist, or supernatural elements as commonplace, I definitely recommend The Eerie Adventures of the Lycanthrope Robinson Crusoe. I happily give 4 out of 5. 
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Being A Book Blogger | Interview With Char aka Basically Books Blog

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Being A Book Blogger | Interview With Char aka Basically Books Blog

Today we're back with another book blogger interview, talking to the lovely Char from Basically Books Blog! Here's what she had to say about joining the book blogging community, her 2015 reading list and being in The Maze Runner for a day...

Basically     Books%0A     Blog


BB: Hi Char! For any of our readers who aren't yet subscribed to Basically BookS Blog could you tell us a little bit more about you and the blog?

I'm pretty boring to be honest. I go to work, and read on my journeys to and from there. Then I watch TV when I get home and plan my blog. Probably not what most 19 year olds do with their time, although I do enjoy quiz night at my local pub (I am master of trivia!). I've always loved books, and I found I had a lot of spare time last year so I decided I'd write a book blog. The blog expanded a little into some TV and music, but I'm still writing mostly book reviews and book news, I'm not always the most efficient though. BasicallyBooksBlog is still quite young, and although I put a lot of work into it, it's still got to grow a lot more, so I'm always trying to think of new things to do, and I know my reading tastes are a little singular so I've had friends talk about their favourite books too. My blogs all about having fun with books, and getting lost in the stories.

BB: Which has been your favourite review to write so far?

That's really tough, but I think my favourite review so far was 'Wild' By Cheryl Strayed. It was a really special book, and it was so inspiring that when I got to writing the review, my thoughts just spilled out into the post. I've never been so passionate about a book before, and that was a really special thing for me to experience. I hope my review for that book does it justice but it was great fun writing it.

BB: We're always looking for books to add to our TBR lists. What books are you planning to read this month?

I've got a series of posts on my blog, where I've listed the books I'd like to read this year. For this month I'm planning on reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbotsky, Beautiful Redemption by Jamie McGuire, and I'm midway through reading The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold which I'm really enjoying.

BB: We love that you also talk TV! Aside from the great adaptations that are already out there are there any other books or series you'd love to see come to life on the small screen?

The Too Far series by Abbi Glines would be better as a film series, but I think it'd still be a great TV show. There's so much drama, and it'd be so easy to fall in love with the characters if they were on TV. I think I'd also really like to see E.M. Tippetts' Someone Elses Fairytale, because it's a little bit of romance, then lots of detective drama, that would be something to grip you into watching the next episode.


interview with char from basically books blog


BB: Just for fun, if you could swap lives for the day with any fictional character who would you choose and why?


This sounds really weird but I'd swap with Thomas from The Maze Runner for a day. I know he lives in this horrible world and is in fear a lot, but I think it'd be exciting to be the hero for a day, and it would make a change from my boring life. Can you imagine being so awesome that you manage to get everyone out of the maze? Plus, I could live dangerously for one day then by the next day 'd be back home in my normal life without a scratch.

BB: Finally, we would love some recommendations, which book blogs are your favourites to read?


I read mostly Buzzfeed books and Guardian books, But I also recently got into reading Chouett.com's blog and Katie's Book Blog. They're quite different from my blog, but in a good way. it's nice to get ideas and inspiration from something different. That's how you evolve.

Where To Find Char Online: Blog | Facebook | Twitter


I'd like to say a huge thank you from all of us here at BB to Char 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!

Images c/o Char
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Thursday, 11 June 2015

Features | Libraries


When I was in secondary school a few of my friends went through a phase of spending every single lunch break in the school library. We weren't allowed to eat, drink, or talk in our school library so I basically hated it. Even books could not entice me to give up food or talking during my lunch breaks.

When I got to university it was a different story. That library quickly became completely essential. The idea of having to buy all the reference books I needed for every essay is enough to make my eyes water even now. I still didn't spend much time actually in the library though. I'm easily distracted so I preferred to rent out all the books I needed and work from home rather than sitting in the library until the early hours of the morning. Of course, I worked until the early hours of the morning anyway, but at least at home I had access to free coffee whenever I needed it.

My opinion on libraries has certainly changed since secondary school. Now I wouldn't hesitate to say that I think libraries are fantastic and so important. But I still prefer my own personal library.

Like some sort of hunter mounting the heads of all the animals they've shot on the wall, I like to fill every available space in my bedroom with books I've read. I'm a pescatarian so I don't do a whole lot of hunting. I do do a whole lot of reading though, and I enjoy displaying my book conquests. I like the look of a bookcase stuffed full of books. I like being able to re-read books whenever I want to and I like being able to recommend a book to a friend and then immediately pull that book down from the shelf and lend it to them. I have always lent to and borrowed books from my friends, like we have our own shared circle of personal libraries, although I am not always so great at borrowing.

I once borrowed a book from a friend and didn't even read it until two years later. When it's an understanding friend it's one thing, but borrowing a book from a library and knowing that my having it might be preventing other people from reading it is just too much pressure for me. For now, buying my own books and borrowing from friends works perfectly for me, but I am so grateful that libraries exist and I don't doubt that one day I may change my mind and become the proud owner of a library card again.

What about you? Are you an avid library user or do you prefer to buy your own books? Or do you strike a perfect balance between the two? Let's talk about it in the comments!
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The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow | Katherine Woodfine | Review

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow | Katherine Woodfine | Review

image via Goodreads

Sinclair's Department Store would like to welcome you through it's gilt doors and into a world of extravagance and commercial wonder. And it's within these pristine, prestigious and polished walls, our four unlikely heroes cross paths.

There’s Sophie, a quiet orphan girl working in the millinery department who always trying her best to do the right thing; Billy, a slightly hapless but well meaning apprentice Porter who fancies himself to be the next super sleuthing detective; Lilian Rose, a wonderfully glamorous chorus girl and model at Sinclair's with a heart of gold and no nonsense attitude; and Joe, a grubby street urchin who’s just trying to keep his head down and out of trouble from the more violent East End gangs.

When the one of a kind Clockwork Sparrow is stolen from Sinclair's famed exhibition - alongside a number of other priceless jewels - their world is turned upside down as the four race to chase down infamous London gang members, crack the code and save the day before time runs out!

So what's my verdict?

If you’re a fan of super fun whodunit novels this book is definitely for you. ‘Clockwork sparrow’ throws you pretty much headfirst into the lavishly extravagant world of Sinclair's department store in the days before, during and after it's grand opening, in a Victorian-era London . The basic plot is a classic crime case of a high profile burglary mixed with the looming threat of an ‘East End’ baddie and serious lashing of the underdogs saving the day.

The underdogs in question are our four protagonists and between them with their insider intelligence of the store, personal experiences and street smarts, when working together Sophie, Billy, Lil and Joe, make quite a team - like the 1800s equivalent of the Scooby Gang. I personally found myself getting quite attached to Sophie and Lil’s characters and loved their sisterly friendship throughout the book. The boys are also wonderful characters, the two of them quite young and a little naive but their bravery towards the end of the book is really endearing.

Aside from our main four leads, there’s a whole host of supporting characters from the both ‘upstairs and downstairs’ at Sinclair's, from ‘Captain’ Sinclair himself down to the stable hands, shop girls and even the prestigious visitors to the department store.

There’s also one very important character involved in the plot…Sinclair's itself. Woodfine's writing is fantastically descriptive creating a rich world of Victorian London, without it feeling like a heavy historical novel. It’s especially great to see Sinclair's describe through Sophie’s eyes. She clearly adores Sinclair's and her descriptions of the store filled me with the same feeling of wonder I have when browsing Selfridges or Harrods in London.

If I were to have one complaint about ‘Clockwork Sparrow’ it would be that I was craving a little more back story about Lil and Billy (as Sophie is our main heroine we learn a lot about her throughout the novel) - though I have noticed this may be the first in a series which should give us the opportunity to get to know the characters a bit more! The plot - though a classic one - is pretty predictable, I the guessed ‘whodunit’ about halfway through the book (or maybe I’m just a FANTASTIC detective myself). I can’t really moan though, the book, like I said is super fun and definitely a great weekend or holiday read.

Reading soundtrack
High Society: Betty Who; I'm Shakin': Jack White; The Lucky One: Taylor Swift; New Born: Muse; Sing Sing Sing: Benny Goodman; She's A Genius: Jet;  A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got): Fergie + Q-Tip + Goonrock; 

For lovers of...Mr Selfridge, Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie

*review copy c/o NetGalley
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Guest Review | Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore | Robin Sloan

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Guest Review | Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore | Robin Sloan

mr penumbra Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore follows Clay Jannon, a web designer recently unemployed during the Great Recession. One day he's out for a walk around San Francisco and comes across the bookstore of the title - a narrow, tall shop with a sign in the window saying "Help Wanted". Feeling intrigued and with nothing to stop him doing so, Clay applies for a job and is accepted as a clerk. He works the night shift from 10pm to 6am. Clay soon discovers that this bookstore is not at all normal or ordinary. At the front of the shops there are your usual genre shelves - sci-fi & fantasy, biography, classics. In the back of the store, where there are three-storey high ladders, there exists a collection of very strange books. At first, Mr. Penumbra tells Clay that he must not open any of these books. Soon enough, Clay realises that there are very few customers wanting the "front of house" books. Instead, his regulars seem to belong to a mysterious club, where membership entitles them to borrow books from the back of the store. Mr. Penumbra instructs Clay to log all of these club-type visitors in a log book, describing anything particular about their appearance or behaviour.

From the first, we know that there is something going on with these books in the back of the store. The meticulous records kept of the visitor descriptions seem pointless and creepy. One day, Clay inevitably peeks at one of the strange books, when his housemate can't believe his curiosity hasn't got the better of him so far. The books are filled with strange symbols, languages, diagrams, and seem to be in code. There is no way that Clay will be able to decipher them. His curiosity soon turns into obsession, and he can't help but create a computer program which records all the books and who borrows them, to try to figure out what the borrowers are doing. Suddenly Clay is thrown headfirst into a strange cult with an even stranger goal.

I went into this novel with high expectations because - come on - it's a book about a bookstore. I love these ideas. However, I do not really feel that Robin Sloan delivered on her exciting premise. Sure, I liked the book and I enjoyed how it revered the written word and worshipped books as precious. I think that what happened was I was expecting something really interesting, but all that really happens is that the reader is taken on a whirlwind ride, swirling round and round the same material and never really revealing anything exciting. The author builds in a fair bit of suspense, tension, and mystery, which I felt was never exactly resolved. I enjoyed the use of technology along with the antique printing press. The dusty, old-smelling books were nicely set alongside the digital world, introducing Google and other digital companies as forces within the novel.

I don't like that Sloan introduced so much mystery and suspense, only to have it come crashing down into nothingness and for everyone to sort of drift apart and carry on with their lives. It seemed like Clay went through so much to achieve very little. I did enjoy how the novel was written, and I really did believe in the characters, but the ending was a let-down. Sloan seemed to wash her hands of it all at the end, making characters act oddly and not explaining why.

3stars

Image via goodreads.com

This post was written by guest blogger Jemma. Don't forget to check out Erin's thoughts on the book too!
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Dangerous Girls | Abigail Haas | Review

Monday, 8 June 2015

Dangerous Girls | Abigail Haas | Review

dangerous girls abigail haas

"It's Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives. But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations.

As Anna sets out to find her friend's killer; she discovers hard truths about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love.

As she awaits the judge's decree, it becomes clear that everyone around her thinks she is not just guilty, but dangerous. When the truth comes out, it is more shocking than one could ever imagine..." - via goodreads


Image via goodreads.com

☆☆☆☆☆


There is no slow build-up to the real story to be found here as in the opening chapter we are thrown right in at the deep end when we learn that Elise has been murdered via a transcript of the 911 call. During the novel we follow her best friend Anna on a traumatic roller coaster ride as she is accused of Elise’s murder, arrested and put on trial.

The format of this intense novel sees chapters jump around through different times in Anna’s life including the holiday gone wrong, life back at school versus her time in a foreign jail and of course her terrifying experience of the court room itself. In addition there are TV transcripts, interview tapes and text messages thrown into the mix, revealing more clues along the way. Somehow Haas manages to make this unusual format flow perfectly and I felt it complimented the subject of the story. As well as detailing Anna’s trial, jumping around to different times in her life cleverly explores how her complicated relationship with Elise first began, developed and ultimately ended.

Dangerous Girls is certainly a page-turner which kept me on my toes throughout. I was captivated following Anna and Elise’s story, learning about how their lives became intertwined and wondering just how all of the confusing pieces would fit together in the end.

I’m firmly in the camp of bloggers who have thoroughly enjoyed this read and I'm sure the girls' story will stick with me for a long time. Without giving anything away all I can say is that when I finally reached the last page I wasn’t disappointed - it’s one of those endings that leaves you wanting to know more.
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Sunday, 7 June 2015

2015 Reading Goals | Update #1

Back in January we shared some of our reading goals for the year and today's post is the first in our update series sharing how we're all getting on so far. Read on to find out who's on target, what books we've been loving and what we'll be reading (and reviewing) next!


Lulu... 25 books read, 3/5 books vowed to read
I have read about 25 books so far this year and - believe it or not - actually managed to knock off some from the five I mentioned in my goals for this year: Ready Player One (absolutely freaking loved it!), Memoirs of a Geisha (what a chunk of a book, but so worthwhile) and I have been stuck on book four or five in the Narnia series, so yeah...getting there! I plan on reading Code Name Verity in June, but we'll see :) And Anna Karenina...well, there's always December haha! Just finished Just One Day and I have a serious case of wanderlust now!

Cat... 1/5 books vowed to read
I have only read one of my vowed to read books so far this year, and that was Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, which was an absolutely amazing read. Such an interesting concept and well executed. I plan to get back to the list as soon as possible!

Ali... 18/20 books read, 4/5 books vowed to read
Thanks to a lengthy commute, I am smashing my challenge. I've read all but one of my vowed reads, and as I've just picked up the last one I'm sure I'll do them all. Favourites so far? It's a three-way tie between Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill, H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald and Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix.

Erin... 4/5 books vowed to read
As I'm not taking part in the Goodreads challenge this year I have no idea how many books I've read so far in total, however my 'vowed to read' challenge is going well. After failing to read all five of my choices last year I was more realistic this time around, opting mostly for books I already own or had reserved at the library. For now I've come to a standstill on this particular reading challenge though as my fifth and final choice, Marissa Meyer's fourth Lunar Chronicles novel Winter, isn't due for release until November! My favourite of the four I have managed to read would have to be UnDivided (Neal Shusterman).

Anjali... 23/48 books read, 2/5 books vowed to read
So far this year, I think I'm doing pretty well! According to Good Reads, I'm 4 books ahead of schedule. My 'vow to read' list, however, is only doing so-so. I've read The Wicked Will Rise, by Danielle Paige, and also Let's Let Lost, by Adi Alsaid, both of which are on my 'vow to read' list. I enjoyed both of them, but I think my favourite book so far this year has been Carnival of Souls, by Melissa Marr. I've also been continuing reading the Moral Instruments series, by Cassandra Clare, and just have the final book to read.

Ria... 12/30 books read, 0 (almost 1) /5 books vowed to read
Uh oh. I'm definitely not doing well so far with this year's challenge. After a promising start I seem to have stagnated with just 12 books under my belt 6 months into the year.
I have started on my books I've vowed to read with The Night Circus - which I'm crawling through at the moment - and am hoping to pick up either Hollow Pike or Geek Girl over the next few weeks. I think the main problem with getting back into reading is finding the time at the moment and reading books I need to review! Now that Summer's here I'm determined to get back on track though! 
 
Sophia... 2/5 books vowed to read
I have to say I am doing rather well in that I now own copies of four of these books and I have read two of them! I read (and adored) The Luminaries earlier this year and nothing has quite matched up to it yet! It was entirely engrossing and everything I hoped it would be. I've also read The Rosie Effect which was good too but it didn't have the same wow factor for me as The Rosie Project. After my current read I intend to start The Valley of Amazement and my sister has cheekily nicked my copy of The Miniaturist so I will have to wait for her to finish that before I can finally see what all the fuss is about! As for 100 Years of Solitude I've put that down as one of my summer reads so I feel confident that I will have achieved my goal of reading these five books in 2015!

Now it's your turn to share! We'd love to know how you're getting on with your own goals and what books you've been loving in 2015. Don't forget to leave us a comment below!
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Saturday, 6 June 2015

Bookish Links #5


Welcome to another Bookish Links, where we bring you some of our favourite content from all over the web!

1/ Putting Faces To Names? - first up is Cait's interesting piece on how she doesn't picture faces for the characters when reading a book. Do you picture characters based solely on the author's description, or perhaps you always see them as famous faces or people you've met? - let us know in the comments!

2/ Thoughts On Half-Star Ratings - where do you stand on half-star ratings? The star rating system is probably the most popular in the book blogging community but what if you don't want to use half-stars? Stormy's post explores how to decide whether you want to round your rating up or down.

3/ A Must-Read For Bloggers! - Carly shared a great post titled 'Bloggers Aren't Billboards' which discusses the PR side of book blogging. Have you had any similar experiences working with publishers? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

4/ Why Goodreads Is Awesome! - BB's very own blogger Anjali posted this great list on why everyone should be using Goodreads. If like us you're already a member don't forget to leave us your profile links in the comments and join our BB group!

5/ What To Do With Your Completed Colouring Book Pages! - after we recently shared a roundup of some of the best colouring books for adults we stumbled across this awesome article from the team over at Omiyage Blogs, who showcased some fab ideas for upcycling your completed pages - our favourite is the garland!

6/ Tips For Debut Authors - if you are a debut author with questions about querying then this is definitely the post for you! Find out more about literary agent Carly's top tips over on her blog.

7/ Books & Biscuits - this month we're finishing the roundup on a fun note with these adorable biscuit versions of book covers, featuring the shortlist for the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction! (thanks to Michelle for pointing this one out to us!)

Don't forget to leave us links to any bookish articles you've written or enjoyed reading recently! 
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Friday, 5 June 2015

Church of Marvels | Leslie Parry | Review



*Review copy provided by Hachette Publishing in exchange for an honest review. Image from GoodReads. 


It's 1895 New York. Four people, each searching for something, find their lives intertwining in Leslie Parry's Church of Marvels. Twin sisters Odile and Belle Church have been brought up in The Church of Marvels, a circus troupe, which burnt to the ground, their mother inside. One day Belle leaves, leaving only a note. Odile sets out on a journey from Coney Island to the city to find out what happened, why she left, and to bring her home.

As Sylvan cleans out the privies behind houses, he discovers a baby girl, left alone in the cold. He rescues her, knowing what it's like to be an orphan, and his search begins for her mother.

Alphie finds herself locked away in an insane asylum, in which she is sure her mother-in-law is responsible for. One day she meets a strange speechless girl who produces hidden scissors from her throat. A move which may destroy them, or save them both.

As the lives of these four individuals begin to entwine, the connections are made and the secrets start to spill forth. Written in third person from three of the characters' perspectives, alternating chapters, Church of Marvels is a wonderfully written book with fantastic language and imagery throughout. It's a story of love and loss, of hardship and pain, of family, of loneliness, of turn-of-the-century New York.

This was an interesting read for me. I found myself immediately drawn into the story, and enjoyed each introduction to the characters as the chapters went by. But somewhere in the middle I got a bit lost at times, and found that sometimes the abundance of prose and lack of dialogue for pages and pages on end was hard to read; I suspect I possibly missed a key sentence or two because of it. The story, however, was really interesting, and I did like how all the characters eventually connected. It did take a while, probably the last quarter of the book, but I did enjoy it more and got into to it a bit more when they did connect, after the slow going in the middle there. I enjoyed reading a book set in the late 1800s though, as I don't usually read novels from that period.

If you're after a story that is "The Night Circus meets Water for Elephants" (thanks, GoodReads, though I haven't read either of those yet - they're on my list), a story that is beautifully written and full of intense characters, pick up a copy of Church of Marvels. It was published in May this year, and is already receiving great reviews. Also...just look at that beautiful cover! Love it!
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Thursday, 4 June 2015

Features | YA books that deal with real world issues


As much as I love escaping into fantasy worlds far different from the real one, some of my favourite books are those which deal with real world issues. Not only do they make really interesting, thought provoking reads but they are so important, as it provides a way of educating people on certain topics that may not necessarily be discussed in society often as they can be difficult to talk about.
Trigger warning: This post will discuss the following topics: Suicide, rape, abusive relationships, eating disorders, racism, teenage pregnancy and gay relationships. 

Suicide
There seem to be quite a lot of YA books on this topic, but the most notable is Jay Asher's 13 reasons why. Hannah has just committed suicide, but she leaves 13 tapes saying why she decided to kill herself, which is what the book centres around. This is definitely a book I would recommend reading twice. The first time I struggled to understand her motives for killing herself,as none of the reasons seemed that bad on their own, but the second time it was much easier to see how they all fitted together. I think everyone should read this book, as it really makes you think about the way you treat people. and how things that seem insignificant to you could really hurt someone else. Although it is completely fictional, it was very realistic. Another really good book that centres around suicide is Random by Tom Levine. A short book, but also thought provoking none the less. For a different perspective, Love letters to the dead by Ava Dellaria is an interesting read. Unlike the other two, it focuses less on suicide itself and more on the after effects, as it is told from the perspective of a girl who committed suicide's sister.


Rape and abusive relationships
Just listen
by Sarah Dessen is a good read for looking at the topic of rape.Although it's not the main focus of the book, but it does play an important role in the story. I particularly like this book because it doesn't go into too much detail about the rape itself, but instead focuses on the after effects, making it appropriate for younger readers. Anorexia is also discussed a fair amount in the book. The topic of abusive relationships is covered in Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. Again, it's not the main focus of the book, but it is covered, as one of the families is affected by a manipulative and abusive person.

Teenage pregnancy
I think this is one of the most important topics that teenagers need to be aware of and educated about, because in a lot of cases it's very easily preventable. One of my favourite books is Boys don't cry by Malorie Blackman. This doesn't deal with the pregnancy itself, but describes what happens when Dante is told about a baby he didn't know he had and is left to look after it completely on his own. This book is very original, as stereotypically people would expect the mum to be the one dumped with the child, and I think that is what makes it such an amazing book. It also has a gay character and focuses on some of prejudices faced by gay people. Another good read is Trouble by Non Pratt (I'm sure that has to be a fake name but it amuses me nonetheless). Fairly light-hearted considering the subject matter, but a very entertaining book.

Racism
Noughts and crosses
, another one by Malorie Blackman, is the main one for this category. Despite being set in a fictional world, where white people are heavily discriminated against and black people are seen as superior, it has a lot of parallels with the real world If you like books with a lot of action, this is great read.

Eating disorders
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson is a fantastic book. It is told from the perspective of someone with anorexia. Whilst I can not say if this is authentic or not, having never experience Anorexia myself, it seems like it gives a good insight into what it might like to have the disease, and it also discusses bulimia as well. If you like plot heavy stories you might not enjoy this as it focuses a lot of Lia's (the mains character) thoughts and feelings, but for me that was one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much.

Gay relationships
I couldn't do this entire post without mentioning a John Green book. Will Grayson Will Grayson, which he co wrote with David Levithan, is by far the most light hearted and fun reads in this list, and it is also my favourite book by John Green - controversial I know since everyone else seems to obsessed with TFIOS. I particularly liked this book because it 2 of the main characters are gay. One of them is how you'd imagine a stereotypical gay guy, the other is as far away from that as possible. The fact that it showed two different images and didn't just stick to the classic stereotype makes it a really good read. Plus, with not one but two amazing authors writing it, how could it possibly be bad?

Sorry for the very long post, my posts seem to be becoming extremely rambly (is that a word? Not according to spellcheck), so thanks for sticking around till the end!
Katie x
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Wednesday, 3 June 2015

The Summer I Turned Pretty | Jenny Han | Review



The Summer I Turned Pretty follows Belly, a young girl who spends every Summer with her mother, brother, mother's best friend and her two sons, Conrad and Jeremiah. Despite having known each other all their lives, Belly has always had a soft spot for the boys, Conrad in particular. The book contains quite a lot of flashbacks from their younger years, so the reader can get a feel for the relationship Belly has with the boys and their mother, Susannah. Whilst young Belly annoyed me with her need to fit in and her naivete, she was as young as 8 in some chapters so I understood why she behaved the way she did, I just enjoyed it slightly less than the current-day chapters. 

Overall, the book was really enjoyable and I whizzed through it, dying to know what happened to the characters next. The Summer I Turned Pretty is more about getting to know the characters, which I wasn't used to in a contemporary book as they're usually standalone's but seeing how this one laid the foundations for the trilogy, without giving too much away was really interesting to me as it's not something I've ever read before. I would highly recommend reading this book, and the whole trilogy, if you like contemporary. 
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Unnatural Creatures | Neil Gaiman | Review

Monday, 1 June 2015

Unnatural Creatures | Neil Gaiman | Review

*Image courtesy of Ann Arbor District Library

Summary:

This book is a collection of short stories, new and old, written by authors from as far back as the late 1800’s to as recent as 2011. All the stories, chosen by Gaiman, are about supernatural creatures. Some of these creatures are as normal as bees and wasps that can write and create detailed maps, others are as obscure as a meat-eating plant that looks like an ink blot.

Review:

At 465 pages, Unnatural Creatures is not as easy a read as a collection of short stories usually is for me. I’ll admit, some of the short stories felt a bit longer than I would have liked. That being said, however, I had a wonderful time reading this. The diversity of the authors made sure that the entire book was never boring and that there was something for everyone. I’ve even written down several of the authors to read more of.


With one or two exceptions, the stories in Unnatural Creatures make for a good read for anyone with a short attention span and, considering the reading slump I was in, this was very helpful to me. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is in the midst of a slump or is trying to find something new. You can always trust Gaiman’s judgement when it comes to selecting good stories.
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