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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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Far Orbit | Bascomb James | Review

Monday, 30 November 2015

Far Orbit | Bascomb James | Review


Summary:

This book is a collection of short Sci-Fi stories put together to show that Sci-Fi doesn't have to be scary and grim. The future can be bright and even funny. It doesn't have to be all scary aliens, death for humanity, etc.

Review:

I needed this book. I didn't realize how much I needed it until I started reading the stories and realized I was mentally prepping myself for all negative outcomes. Sci-Fi has become littered with depressing stories and this book was just the antidote I needed for all that negativity. 

Almost every story in this book left me feeling better than before I had read it. They are upbeat and hopeful about humanities chances without being sappy. There's still death and destruction, but you root for your heroes and don't feel traumatized afterwards. 

Also, while every story deals with space, each story has a different aspect of space Sci-Fi. One story has a contemporary location and technology. One story is about space pirates. Another story is about space cowboys. There is so much variation on the theme of Positive Space Sci-Fi. It's awesome!

So if you're tired of scary, judgmental Sci-Fi, or if you want a collection of good reads, I highly recommend Far Orbit from World Weaver Press. I was so happy to read this book. It was a buoy in a time of grim, dark reads. 
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Group Collaboration | #WeNeedMore: Books We Want To Read

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Group Collaboration | #WeNeedMore: Books We Want To Read

Some stories are overdone but others have never seen the light of day. This month partly inspired by the #WeNeedMore hashtag and in honour of NaNoWriMo 2016, we had our bloggers think about the books that seem to be missing from the literary sphere. Here's some of the books we feel we need more of...

 ~  -  ~ 

It would be really interesting to see more 'utopian' stories out there, as predominantly it is dystopian futures where underground revolutions rise up against totalitarian governments. I would love to read more stories that were generally more peaceful and the story following kind of a rom com vibe, but also set in the future. The novelist could envisage what time saving technologies, living arrangements, clothes and landscape the future might hold for us. It would be a chance to be creative and inventive in a positive way. 
- Cat 

 ~  -  ~ 

Characters with disabilities need to be shown as 'getting on with it' rather than inspirational.

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I'd love to see more graphic novels that deal with real, contemporary issues, such as Katie Green's Lighter Than my Shadow, which is about her struggle with mental illness. Graphic novels are an incredibly powerful medium and it would be great to see this format utilised more.
More generally, I found it very difficult to think of topics that are rarely or are not discussed somewhere. Perhaps though, this is due to a lack of diverse voices. If we don't hear them, how are we to know what their stories are? Food for thought from The Guardian
- Ali 

 ~  -  ~ 

YA is so often very romance heavy, so I'd love to see more contemporary YA books focused on friendships and family relationships - especially supportive family environments.
We also talk a lot about wanting more diverse literature but I'd love to see more fantasy, dystopian and sci-fi novels set in East Asia and the Pacific Islands - basically I want a Hunger Games but with Filipino characters please!
- Ria

 ~  -  ~ 

Some fantastic stories from this month's contributors! 
If you have any literary recommendations to satisfy our blogger's needs leave them in the comments!

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Next month it's our final group post of 2015 (can you believe it?!) and of course we want to know what your top 5 favourite reads this year! 
If you'd like to get involved just email bloggersbookshelf@gmail.com or drop us a tweet @blog_bookshelf!
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Thursday, 26 November 2015

Features | Reading Outside Your Genre


I can safely say that my favourite reading genre is YA contemporary. I never tire of Meg Cabot, Stephanie Perkins, or John Green, and if someone recommends a YA contemporary novel to me I immediately add it to my wish list, usually without even bothering to read the reviews on goodreads. I thought I might grow out of it at university and develop a taste for more literary genres but I was wrong. I only left university with even more of an appreciation for YA contemporary than I had when I got there. I even wrote my dissertation on it.

I don't think there's anything wrong with having a favourite reading genre. I don't think there's even anything wrong with choosing most of your reading from that genre. That's what genres are for. They exist so that we can easily find books similar in theme and subject to the books we already like. And reading should be fun and enjoyable so if you have a genre that you know you enjoy, why not look there first when you're trying to find something new to read?

However, I also think it's never a bad idea to explore books outside of your favourite genre. If you're a writer, it's essential to experience books from all sorts of genres, so that you can see the common threads of how stories work, and even if you aren't a writer at all I still think that's important for readers. Reading outside of your favourite genre can open up a whole new world of stories you'll love but might otherwise never have known about, and it can also help you to appreciate your own favourite genre more.

There are certain aspects of storytelling that are present in any and every type of genre, and there are other aspects that you will usually only find associated to one, and both of those things can help a reader better understand and appreciate the stories they're already familiar with. Even if contemporary is your thing and you try your hand at fantasy only to discover you don't like it, the contrast could just make you love your contemporary novels even more, so what is there to lose?

What do you think? What's your favourite genre? And how often do you branch out from it to read new things?
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Monsterland | Michael Phillip Cash | Review

Monday, 23 November 2015

Monsterland | Michael Phillip Cash | Review

monsterland1*Review copy c/o Netgalley, image via goodreads.com

In a world where werewolves, vampires and zombies exist, one man’s solution is to open theme parks across the globe, using these various ‘monsters’ as the attractions… and this is how Monsterland is born.

After a chance meeting with the park’s creator Dr Conrad, Wyatt and his friends score tickets to the big opening night of their local Monsterland park and we’re invited along for the ride! What could possibly go wrong?

The intriguing premise, somewhat reminiscent of Jurassic Park, is what drew me in to picking up the novel and I was excited to find out just what would happen when the Monsterland parks launched. Of course, it’s clear right from the start that housing a bunch of so-called ‘monsters’ in a theme park isn’t a good idea, and I really enjoyed finding out just how it would all go wrong.

The book built up to be quite action-packed and had a few twists thrown in along the way. The basic idea of the Monsterland parks would definitely be well-suited to a cinematic adaptation, and I felt the way it was written reflected this.

In all honesty as much I enjoyed the concept, I didn’t love the characters. Although we’re not given a huge amount of background information about what happened leading up to the creation of the parks, we have just enough to follow Wyatt and co. for the opening night of Monsterland. I would have loved to have known more about the world in which the story takes place, as well as our main characters, but I understand that this wasn’t necessary in telling this standalone tale.

Monsterland is a fun novel with an interesting concept and is a great quick read, especially if you’re looking for something a little different. It’s one for you to pick up if you like a little bit of horror - and social commentary!
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Magonia |  Maria Dahvana Headley | Review

Friday, 20 November 2015

Magonia | Maria Dahvana Headley | Review


Aza Ray is drowning in thin air. 

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious 
lung disease that makes it ever harder for her 
to breathe, to speak—to live. 

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, 
her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. 
But Aza doesn't think this is a hallucination. 
She can hear someone on the ship calling her name...
[suddenly] something goes terribly wrong. 
Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. 
Magonia. 


I'm going to say it straight off the bat, and no, it's not really a spoiler. Aza dies. Well, sort of. It's confusing. Aza dies, but awakes on a ship in the clouds, able to breathe clearly and deeply. She is told that she's not actually human, but belongs in this sky-ship world where birds live in their lungs, and magical songs are sung, battles are fought, lives are lost. All while Earth below is (mostly) oblivious to what's going on above the clouds.

There's a bad guy, what seems to be the good guys, a boy (of course), and a best friend left behind. I'm struggling a little to find the words to write this review. It's nothing like I expected, but not in a good way. I was expecting crazy, yes, I was expecting a great new world above the clouds and above the noise and the world...and in most ways I got that, but it was a little too crazy, even for me. The idea of ships in the sky isn't new to me - Stardust anyone? Or The Edge Chronicles? - but the idea that birds could leap in and out of people's chest as easily as walking through a door was a weird one for me. I just couldn't get my head around it. I know with fantasy you can do what you want, but it just was ... guys, it was odd. Magic makes sense to me. Centaurs even make sense. Transfiguration makes sense. Birds living in chests? Ah...

The story in general was fine, and I really liked the beginning. I like Aza's character at the start, and loved her best friend Jason, but as the story went along I got tired of Aza and didn't really feel sorry for her or care for her much at all. It was if it went all downhill (for me) after Aza discovered Magonia and the sky ships and the people there, which is sad, because that's the whole main point of the story. It was beautifully written, however, in first person from Aza's perspective and occasionally from Jason's. There were some beautiful lines and paragraphs within the story, but the way it was written still didn't grip me enough to not get bored by the end of it.

If you liked YA, and fantasy, a bit of drama, a little bit of love, a whole lot of birds and flying ships, totally give this book a go if you haven't already. It was definitely an interesting story, a fresh idea with actual historical references, but not awesome enough for me to love it. Sorry!

It's hard to write this, I think, because so many people loved this book. But at the end of the day/review, it's up to you to read it. It's up to you to decide whether you like it or not.


Have you read it? 
Please tell me you loved it and it's just me who didn't like it. 
What did you think?


Image and synopsis from Good Reads 
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Thursday, 19 November 2015

Features | Do dystopian novels reflect the real world?

Since today was the release of Mockingjay part 2 (in the UK at least), it felt only right that today's post was focused on the Hunger Games.
Warning #1: This post is going to touch on wars and events that are currently going on in the world at the moment. If this is going to upset or scare you please don't read on.
Warning #2: Major hunger games spoilers ahead, especially for the third book

It's easy to read dystopian novels and see them as something that couldn't happen. Whilst a reality TV show where children murder each other is probably a little far fetched, there are definitely parallels between this and historical events, the most obvious being the 1917 Russian revolution. Both started with a heavily capitalist society where the rich are extremely rich but the rest of the people are essentially peasants. They also had similar ruling structure. Then comes the communist rebels. It's clear that district 13's is run under a communist regime, and Coin's intention is to overthrow Snow and enforce a communism upon Panem. This is basically what happened in Russia in 1917. The Bolshevik communists overthrew the Tsar (the Russian king) and seized power for themselves, marking the beginning of Soviet Russia. It's also clear from the book that Coin is corrupted by power, just like the Soviet dictators like Stalin were. Whether Collins deliberately modelled it on the Russian Revolution I don't know (it seems likely to me that she did since the comparisons are fairly obvious). However, it does show that dystopian novels may not be entirely fictional.

Just like with fiction books, it's possible to form a detachment from events that happened a long time ago, and dismiss them as things that would never happen again. With events that are happening today, it's much more difficult. A prime example of this is the current war in Syria. The rebels fighting dictator Al - Assad is not that dissimilar from the rebels fighting the Capitol. Additionally, dictatorships like President Snow's do exist in the real life. It's easy to take freedom of speech for granted living in a western civilisation, but in North Korea political dissidence is a punishable offence.

So is the hunger games just a fiction book, or is it something more? In Thailand, doing the hunger games three finger salute is banned at protests. It's more than just a book. For some people, its become a symbol of resistance. "Dystopia" may not a thing that only exists within the bounds of fiction, and that's scary.

Sorry for the slightly deeper post than usual, hope I haven't freaked anyone out too much!
Katie x

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Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Me Being Me Is Exactly As Insane As You Being You | Todd Hasak-Lowy | Review


Me Being Me is about Darren, a teenager who is going through a lot of teenager-y things. When his father shows up one morning with some huge news, Darren's whole world is turned upside down. But there is something entirely different about this book...

Me Being Me is written entirely in lists, which at first I found interesting and endearing but as the book went on, I felt like it would never end. To tell a story entirely in lists, it means you have a lot of lists and a lot of pages - so the idea got old real quick and I felt myself being a bit bored of the lists and that took away my enjoyment when following the actual story. 

Darren didn't have a personality. Like, at all. He was rude, boring and even the romance storyline was dull and pointless. I didn't enjoy my time reading this book and if it wasn't in lists, it would have an even lower rating. The lists added a unique, yet drawn-out, dynamic to the book that almost made dragging myself to the last page worthwhile. However, this book wasn't for me and I wouldn't recommend picking it up.
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Fields of Rust | Robert Gryn | Review

Monday, 16 November 2015

Fields of Rust | Robert Gryn | Review

*Image and book provided through NetGalley.

Summary:

Based on the Hindu religious work The Mahabharata, this book, Fields of Rust, tells the story of a world where there are painfully few stars in the skies. Where the gods are those who understand and can manipulate the highest levels of science and existence. Where machines are both tools to be used (in the forms of armor, weapons, transportation, etc.) and living, sentient creatures.


Review:

Holy wah! I love this book. Yes, it is a very long read. Yes, the ending made angry because I didn't get the closure that I wanted. But this book was still so good! This book had me energized and burning for more the entire way through. I almost cried for characters who had existed for only a chapter or two. Gryn does a marvelous job of combining science fiction and steampunk elements into this book.

There are a lot of transitions in this book. From one character's perspective to another's, from present to past. The character perspectives are transitioned by the ending and starting of different chapters so they're easy to follow. The present to past transitions, however, can be a little tricky. It wasn't too often that I got confused, especially after hitting the flow of the book, but there were a couple that made me have to go back a page to figure out what was going on.

This book is not for casual readers. It is an intense read that requires a lot of time. But oh what fun that time is. I would love to see this turned into an anime (if The Mahabharata) hasn't already inspired an anime. The godly armors and weapons would be amazing to behold. I am hoping that the second volume will be able to keep up.
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Being A Book Blogger | Interview With Rapunzel aka Rapunzel The Blogger

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Being A Book Blogger | Interview With Rapunzel aka Rapunzel The Blogger

Welcome to another edition of Being A Book blogger! Today I'm chatting to the lovely Rapunzel who blogs about books and shares her own writing over on her blog. Here's what she had to say about inspirations, favourite reads and advice on writing...

interview with rapunzel blogs

BB: Hi Rapunzel, welcome to Blogger's Bookshelf! Could you tell us a little bit more about the girl behind the blog?

Hi, I’m Rapunzel - a girl with a love for books, music and … physics. A bit of an odd mix, but you would be surprised at how well they go together. You never know when you might write a story about an astronaut who also plays the double bass! I think it’s a great thing to be able to write your own world to escape into and for others to share in that joy by reading about it.

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

I first started my book blog when I was stuck at home, feeling poorly with nothing to do. So of course, instead of resting, I designed a blog and posted my first short story. In the beginning, I don’t think anyone was reading it apart from my granddad! Yet slowly but surely, I gained a few readers at a time and now I am able to share my book reviews and creative ramblings with people I wouldn’t have otherwise met. That is my favourite thing; anyone from anywhere in the world can comment on my blog and it really makes my day.

BB: As well as posting reviews you also share your own short stories, monologues and poetry. How long have you been writing? Do you have any advice for any of our readers who might want to write their own original stories/poems?

I have been writing ever since I was able to, really, but I only started to make it a hobby when I was about twelve years old. At secondary school, they introduced us to the concept of monologues and I really liked the form of expressing a character’s deepest emotions, so I started trying to do it myself. If you want to write your own original poem or story, I would advise you to write from the heart about something which you are thinking about or feeling now and it will probably flow easier. Sometimes though, you just have to go for it and enjoy it. Who cares if it isn't perfect?

interview with rapunzel blogs

BB: Which authors would you say have been the biggest inspiration to you as a writer?

Ooh, that’s a tough one. Louise Rennison writes really funny books for teenage girls and I would like to be able to make people laugh in my writing too. Roald Dahl was also a fantastic writer and his books were probably the first ones I fell in love with as a little girl.

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

I would have to say The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 ¾ by Sue Townsend because it made me laugh so much, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee because it’s such an amazing novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon which I have reviewed on my blog and the book I am currently reading, which is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak; it’s so good.

BB: Just for fun, if you had the power to bring one fictional character to life who would you choose and why?

There are loads of characters I would love to meet, but I think Paddington Bear from the books by Michael Bond would be a lot of fun. He’s always getting into mischief, but you could never be annoyed for too long because he’s so funny.

interview with rapunzel blogs

BB: Finally, we're always looking for new book blogs to read, do you have any favourites?

The top three blogs I read regularly (apart from this one of course!) are: Monthly Marker, Journal of a Bookworm & In the Life of Anna. The first two both contain book reviews and the last one is a lifestyle blog.
 

Where To Find Rapunzel Online: Blog | Bloglovin' | Google+

I'd like to say a huge thank you from all of us here at BB to Rapunzel 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 Rapunzel
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Thursday, 12 November 2015

Features | 5 Books On Writing For NaNoWriMo

If you're anything like me, you're right in the midst of your latest NaNoWriMo project right about now. If you're even more like me, you're about 3000 words behind today's goal with no idea what's going to happen next in your story, but your Pinterest inspiration board for your novel is probably looking pretty fly. 

In the true spirit of slightly useful procrastination today I am sharing with you five extremely useful books on writing, any of which might help you if you're also struggling to keep up with your novel.

No Plot? No Problem! A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days by Chris Baty

I can't write a list of NaNoWriMo books without mentioning the NaNoWriMo book. Written by the founder of NaNoWriMo himself, Chris Baty, No Plot? No Problem! is the perfect guidebook for this mad month of writing. It is exactly 50,000 words long and split into different chapters that are to be read before the month starts and then at the beginning of each week in November, addressing common problems for each point in the month for maximum writerly inspiration.

45 Master Characters: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt

I first read this one (and the next book on this list) a few years ago but I go back to it again and again every time I start a new project. If you struggle with creating complex characters, or even if you just want to brush up on the different types of characters out there, this is an excellent guide. It won't give you a step by step for creating a realistic character, but it will definitely help you understand your own characters better and give you a few ideas on how to flesh them out.

20 Master Plots and How to Build Them by Ronald B. Tobias

As you can probably tell from the covers 20 Master Plots and 45 Master Characters are from the same series and they both follow a similar sort of structure. They are also both equally useful and I refer to both of them more than any of the other writing books I own. The idea of there only being a finite number of plots isn't a new one but Tobias presents his plots in this book with detailed examples of stories you're probably familiar with and he breaks down each of the plots in a way that can really help you to pinpoint exactly which plot is right for your story and how you might develop it.

The Art of Fiction by David Lodge

This one is more about the general art of fiction writing. Rather than addressing any one aspect of novel writing, Lodge uses examples from famous texts to demonstrate concepts such as 'The Unreliable Narrator', 'Showing and Telling', and 'Symbolism' in a series of short essays. If there is a specific aspect of the craft of writing that you're struggling with, you can probably find an essay about it in The Art of Fiction

Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande

This last book has nothing to do with the craft of fiction writing whatsoever. Being a Writer is about exactly that. It's about not only how to get yourself to actually sit down and write that thing you've been thinking about forever but more than that, it's about how to think like a writer. I think a lot of writers would probably find themselves reflected in this book (particularly the section where Brande talks about the things that hold back different kinds of writers.) Brande understands writers and her book might be the thing to kickstart you into finally writing like a writer.

So those are my five, quite varied, recommendations for books about writing to help you through NaNoWriMo (or any writing project!) Are you doing NaNoWriMo? Let me know how you're going in the comments! And feel free to share your own recommendations for books about writing. I am a fiend for books about writing. 
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Features | Author Spotlight: Morgan Matson

Monday, 9 November 2015

Features | Author Spotlight: Morgan Matson

morgan matson novels
Cover images via goodreads.com

Last month I read my first Morgan Matson novel. Then a second, followed by another…and well, I had to stop there since her fourth isn’t due out until next year! Back in early October, after a long run of thriller and ‘darker’ tales I felt it was time for a change. I was on the lookout for something a little bit different, and that's exactly what I found in Matson’s trio of contemporary YA novels.

My Matson read-a-thon kicked off with Since You’ve Been Gone (2014), her most recent release and, if I may say so this early on in the post, my personal favourite of the bunch. The novel follows Emily whose best friend Sloane disappears at the beginning of the summer, leaving behind a to-do list filled with things Emily would usually shy away from. With her best friend gone, Emily decides to tackle the list and the novel takes us along for the ride. The characters in this one really won me over (something I would later come to find was the case in all three novels) and I adored the concept.

After finishing, and very much enjoying, Since You’ve Been Gone I took straight to Amazon in search of similar reads. When I saw Matson’s debut, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour (2010) was just 99p I quickly pressed the ‘Buy now’ button and started reading the book later that same day. Although the title characters haven’t seen each other since they were kids, they are forced to head out on a road trip together when Amy’s mother decides to pack up and move across the country. With Amy still concerned about getting back into the driver’s seat following a car accident, yet being the only one left to get the family’s car out to their new home, Roger steps in to help out. Both feeling a little lost, they decide to take a slight detour which turns into, as the title suggests, a pretty epic one. Despite never having been on any road trip adventures myself (that's one for the to-do list!), you always know they're going to make for interesting stories full of adventure and I loved following Amy on Roger on their unique journey.

This past weekend I finished reading my third Matson novel, Second Chance Summer (2012), which tells the story of Taylor’s summer break in Pennsylvania. After her father is diagnosed with a terminal illness and given just months to live, the family decide to cancel all of their usual summer plans and head out to their lake house, where Taylor hasn’t set foot for five years. The last time she was there, things didn’t end so well and to her surprise she’s about to run into some familiar faces. The theme of second chances carried right throughout the novel and once again there were lots of lovable characters to meet along the way.

Whether you enjoy contemporary tales when it comes to YA and haven’t yet picked up any of Matson’s novels, or like me you haven’t really delved very far into this genre in the past, I would definitely recommend any of these novels to get you started. Morgan Matson’s next novel titled The Unexpected Everything – the tale of a politician’s daughter named Andie - is due for release next year (and is available to pre-order now!).
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The Rest of Us Just Live Here | Patrick Ness | Review

Friday, 6 November 2015

The Rest of Us Just Live Here | Patrick Ness | Review


What if you aren’t the Chosen One? 
The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, 
or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom 
and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before 
someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, 
and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.  

*********

Mikey is mostly your standard teenager - dealing with school, girls, family, OCD - but what he's not is the chosen one. Mikey lives in an earth which is the same as ours, except that previously there have been all sorts of crazy supernatural going-ons ... and the characters know that something like an apocalypse, or a zombie attack is a actually something that is likely to happen. The Rest of Us Just Live Here is a fascinating angle of a story we don't really read. Mikey and his crazy family, and his school life and friendships are the characters in stories we never hear about.

What were all the other students doing at Hogwarts while Harry was off defeating Voldemort? Did the other people in Sunnydale realise Buffy was kicking butt and saving their lives every night? Patrick Ness takes those characters, the ones that don't usually get a main spot light, and makes them the main story line. At the beginning of each chapter, you read a short snippet of what the Chosen One is getting up to, how they are saving the world or fighting zombies, but the rest of the chapter, the 'real' story, is about Mikey and his friends. Their every day lives, their own struggles and flaws, their real life battles, their relationships with each other and their families, and this all plays out like nothing else is happening around them.

I actually listened to this as an audio book, so at first the chapter beginnings were a tad confusing, because I couldn't see the difference...if that makes sense. But I loved this book a lot. It was so clever, and I was so excited to see/hear that someone had actually written this story. It's one of the things I'm always wondering in books and movies - but what about that other character? What are they up to? It was a fantasy story, with supernatural elements, but it was also your standard YA teenage-issues books, which took place in the foreground of the Chosen One saving the world.

It was a brilliant book, and I recommend it if you haven't read it yet. Definitely worth picking up. If you're interested in he audio book, here's one you can get on Audible. 


Have you read it? What did you think? 


Image and synopsis from Goodreads
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Thursday, 5 November 2015

Features | Books that aren't worth the hype

There are so many amazing books in the world that no one ever talks or hears about
 Then there are the mediocre ones that it seems everyone's reading. Warning -if you are an easily offended obsessive fangirl (or boy) I would advise you don't read this post - things might get a little controversial.

I don't think many people will disagree with me on this one, but the third hunger games was a massive disappointment. It wasn't bad, but didn't live up to the standards set by the previous two books. Having said that, I'm still ridiculously over excited for the last movie.

Another book that I enjoyed a lot less than I thought I would was looking for Alaska. In fact, I didn't just think this book was mediocre - I actively disliked it to the point where I couldn't finish it. I found the characters to be slightly shallow and irritating, and aside from the twist, the plot was thin. I know a lot of people that love it though, so maybe it just wasn't for me.


The perks of being a wallflower is another book I don't really understand the hype around. I do see the merits of the book - it's well written, the characters are interesting and it handles difficult issues reasonable sensitively. However, I found the story really difficult to get into. If you're not too bothered about plot and prefer reading about characters thoughts and feelings then you might really like this, but it was a bit too slow for me.

Finally, we have my sisters keeper. To be fair, most of the hype is around the film, which I assumed meant it applied to the book as well. It doesn't. The idea for this book is so good, but in my opinion it's not executed well. The point of view is constantly switching which makes it unnecessarily confusing and much harder to get into.  The film tells the story far better.

What books do you think are over hyped?
Katie x
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Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Unspeakable | Abbie Rushton | Review


Unspeakable swung between three and four stars constantly throughout the book and I wasn't sure what my final decision would be until I read the last line. Megan doesn't speak. She hasn't made a sound since her best friend died, but when the exotic Jasmine joins Megan's school, they become closer than Megan ever imagined. The book has an air of mystery about it, with so many questions arising within the first chapter and remaining unanswered till the very end. I loved the mystery aspect of this story and the twist at the end was a little predictable but I enjoyed watching it play out. 

This next paragraph, whilst not having any spoilers, may not make sense unless you've read the book. For some reason, I felt as though Megan's confusion throughout the book was unnecessary. Thinking of it objectively, as events and emotions separate from the story, I can understand why she was so confused throughout parts of the book, but put together with the story itself, it just seemed over the top and was one of the biggest things that annoyed me about Megan. Although we saw Megan's character visit the school psychologist, it would have been nice to maybe have a professional opinion written in as to why Megan was mute, rather than just the occasional references to guilt and the aggressive voice in Megan's head that frequently made an appearance. I understood that witnessing her best friends death caused her to go mute, but it may have made her more relatable if we knew why it caused her to stop speaking rather than sink into depression, for example. 

I would recommend reading this book, it did have potential to be amazing, and it ended up settling somewhere in the 'okay' realm. Unspeakable is probably something to read to kill time, rather than a book to clear your schedule for. I enjoyed it nonetheless.
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Heart and Brain | Nick Seluk | Review

Monday, 2 November 2015

Heart and Brain | Nick Seluk | Review


Summary:

The cover really says it all. This is a collection of web comic artist Nick Seluk's best Heart vs. Brain comics.


Review:

I picked up this book because I am a fan of The Awkward Yeti comics. Seluk does an amazing job of depicting real-life battles between what your heart wants and your brain knows is best. Every page of this book made me laugh because it's so easy to identify with the characters. We've all been in situations where our brain tells us "yes, I remember this person's name" only to find out our brain forgot how to talk. And I know I'm guilty of letting my heart talk me into purchases that my brain told me weren't worth it.

This is a great book if you're in need of a laugh. So many of the situations and conversation in this book are relatable to everyone. I highly recommend this book and the web comic.
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