Features | MG Books to Look Out For

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Whilst I spend a lot of time reading mostly YA books, I have had my eye on a few books aimed at a group of slightly younger readers. Generally, these books are called MG books, and they're a great category of books too. I'm hearing about a lot of really good MG books at the moment, and I'm even branching out and reading a few.

If you want to give reading these books, which I assure you would be a good decision, a go, then here's a few that you might want to try.

  1. See You In The Cosmos, Carl Sagan by Jack Cheng. OK, this one isn't out until March here in the UK. But, Penguin Random House were nice enough to send me a proof copy, and it's honestly a heartwarming and heartbreaking tale, about a boy named Alex who has started making audio recordings on a Golden iPod, in order to launch them into space for an extraterrestrial race to listen to. His life is rather complicated though, and his mission to blast off will send him on a great roadtrip. I may be pushing it by calling this book MG, because I don't think it's worth limiting this book to one age group. I really enjoyed this book and the way it's told. 
  2. Radio Boy by Christian O'Connell. This book is out now, and listeners to radio in the UK may be familiar with Christian's name already. Christian presents the Breakfast Show on Absolute Radio in the UK, and Radio Boy, his first novel, tells the story of Spike who is the first presenter to get sacked from hospital radio. He decides to carry on from a makeshift studio in his shed, disguising his voice and presenting an online show. But as he gets more successful, can he remain anonymous? Whilst I haven't had a chance to read this particular title just yet, I've heard a lot of really positive things about it from bloggers I follow in the community, and I do want to give this book a go in the near future!
  3. Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson. This is another book I haven't yet had the chance to read yet, but again many bloggers I follow are talking really highly of this book and there was plenty of buzz around this at last week's Scholastic Blogger Feast too. Matthew has OCD and he's trapped in his bedroom by it. That's until he's the last person to see his neighbour's toddler, Teddy, go missing. Matthew must turn detective and help unravel the mystery. It's billed as perfect for fans of The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Nighttime (which I loved), so I will eventually give this one a go. 
So those are some of my picks if you want to give MG a go, which I think is a great idea if you do! 

Group Post | Books We Vow To Read In 2017

Saturday, 28 January 2017

A very belated Happy New Year from us here at Blogger's Bookshelf! With a fresh new year comes a fresh set of book goals and as with previous years we've asked some of our bloggers what's on their TBR lists for 2017.

Here are the books they vow to read....


The Lie Tree, Frances Hardringe | To all the boys I've loved before, Jenny Han | In order to live, Yeonmi Park | Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi | Public Library, Ali Smith

Lord of Shadows, Cassandra Clare | Holding up the Universe, Jennifer Niven | The sun is also a star, Nicola Yoon | Heir of Fire, Sarah J Maas | A Conjuring Of Light, V.E. Schwab
The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe, Elaine Showalter | Are we smart enough to know how smart animals are?, Frans De Waal | The Other Salvery, Andres Resendez | Barkskins, Annie Proulx | Miss Jane, Brad Watson
Why not me?, Mindy Kaling | I Love My Computer Because My Friends Live In It, Jess Kimball Leslie | Scythe, Neal Shusterman | Always and Forever Lara Jean, Jenny Han | There's Someone Inside Your House, Stephanie Perkins
Binti, Nnedi Okorafor | Nanoshock, KC Alexander | The Grace of Kings, Ken Liu | Circularity, Ron Aharoni | United States of Japan, Peter Tieryas


cat 2017 goals
Silence Is Goldfish, Annabel Pitcher | When She Was Bad, Tammy Cohen | Her Every Fear, Peter Swanson | The Graces, Laure Eve | Dark Places, Gillian Flynn

--- --- --- --- --- 

So those are some of our goals for the year, what are yours? Have you read any of these books? Which ones are you looking forward to this year?

Thanks to all of our contributors - Ria, Erin, Anjali, Cat, Rachel, and Kate

Stay tuned for update on future groups posts on our 'Get Involved' page!

The Magicians | Lev Grossman | Review

Friday, 27 January 2017


Like everyone else, precocious high school senior Quentin Coldwater assumes that magic isn't real, until he finds himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York. There he indulges in joys of college-friendship, love, sex, and booze- and receives a rigorous education in modern sorcery. But magic doesn't bring the happiness and adventure Quentin thought it would. 

After graduation, he and his friends stumble upon a secret that sets them on a remarkable journey that may just fulfill Quentin's yearning. But their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than they'd imagined.

I really liked The Magicians. The front cover of my copy says it's 'Harry Potter for grown ups' (let's not get into how Harry Potter is for grown ups anyway), but I would say it's this fantastic mix of HP and also the Chronicles of Narnia. It's set on Earth, but with magic running through it, and a leap into a magical land called Fillory definitely gives it a Narnia-esque feeling.

Quentin as a main character is great. I love it how he's not really the hero, but he's not always the bad guy. He's this mixture of brilliance and stupidity and depression and hurt and teenage dreams and drama, and that comes out so well in the book. The other characters in The Magicians are all so unique, each with incredibly strong characteristics and personalities.

The plot is fantastic. Much like Hogwarts, Brakebills is a hidden school for Magicians, and that in itself is well done and fun to read about. Their 'darker and more dangerous' journey is just that - it's dark, it's dangerous, it's horrible and horrific. But somehow it makes this book an incredible read.

You may be aware of the TV show that came out in late 2015 called The Magicians. Yup. Based on this book. While watching the show I did notice some things that weren't in the book, but having read the second in this series, I realised that took some of the story from book 2 and added it to the TV show. Be aware of that if you a) read this series and/or b) watch the show (which is done rather well, I might add).

If you're after a decently thick read about magic, about friendship and heartache, about stupid decisions and brave ones, about new worlds and stories coming to life, then give The Magicians a read.

Omelette on the Rampage | Lacie Dearie | Review

Monday, 23 January 2017

Summary:

A short horror story told from the perspective of a slice of bacon trying to survive the ferocity of a three-bird omelette that is set on getting all the food thrown out.

Review:

I really enjoyed this read. For a short book, it was a delightful distraction and I loved the story from the perspective of the food. In such a short amount of pages, Dearie was able to set up the rules of the world very well so that the reader doesn't feel confused about all that's going on. The only part of this was confusing to me was the concept of beans with breakfast, but that's probably because I'm an American. 

This short book was a delightful combination of humor and horror, one of my favorite combinations. It's well written, the characters are endearing and it's an interesting take on breakfast. I highly recommend picking up a copy. 

Bookish Links #26

Sunday, 22 January 2017


It's time for our first Bookish Links instalment of 2017! We hope you're all enjoying the new year so far and have made a great start on all of your 2017 reading goals. If you still haven't quite settled on which challenge to take part in never fear, we're here to help as this month's roundup is focused on posts and articles that are perfect for a new year of reading! 

Challenges Galore! - if you're not sure which reading challenge/s you want to take part in this year Book Riot has you covered with a list of twenty awesome options!

Another great challenge option is '30 Books To Experience This Year' put together by Vee over at Florals & Dragons. It also features a beautiful floral printable for you to keep track of your reads!

New In YA - if YA is your thing be sure to bookmark YALit to keep up with release dates throughout the year.

Rather Be Reading Romance? - Romance more your thing? You'll definitely want to check out this list of 2017 releases from Nick & Nereyda's Infinite Booklist.

If one of your resolutions is to make more time for reading then you may enjoy these eight handy tips from Brit + Co.

A Bookish App - back over at Book Riot Brandi shared a great review of new bookish app Bookout which helps you track your reads, reading time etc. It even creates personalised infographics which you can download and share!

If you've read or written an interesting bookish article you think our readers would enjoy please let us know - it may be featured in a future post! 

Features | Reading When You Don't Want To Read

Friday, 20 January 2017


I have a problem. Over the last few months I've read five of Jane Austen's six completed novels. The only one left is Sense and Sensibility, then I'm done. I'll have read them all. The problem is that I don't want to read Sense and Sensibility.

I don't know why I don't want to read it. I found a few of her other novels a little difficult to get through, yes, but I enjoyed them all in the end and there's really no reason to think that Sense and Sensibility will be any different. But for some reason I'm finding myself picking up magazines, listening to podcasts, even re-watching episodes of TV shows I've seen a dozen times before, anything other than picking up this book.

If someone came to me and asked what they should do in this situation I would not hesitate to tell them to put the book down. If you aren't enjoying a book right now then why read it? Come back to it later if you want, when you think you will enjoy it, but for right now find something else. But the thing is, I want to read this book now. I've been reading Jane Austen's novels as part of a book club on Goodreads and this is January's book. I do want to read it this month but I'm not quite used to reading feeling so much like hard work. Not since I graduated university, anyway. So what do I do?

My only answer so far, and what I have been doing, is to make the reading itself as comfortable as possible and then force myself to just read it. I snuggle up in bed an hour earlier than normal and power through as many chapters as I can before I fall asleep. It's maybe not the most exciting solution but it seems to be working. Still, every night I'm having to fight the urge to re-watch Gossip Girl instead.

I don't know what else to do about it so I thought why not ask you? Do you ever have this problem? I know there are some terribly clever readers reading this blog and I'm sure plenty of you will have tips for exactly this sort of situation so please! Share them with me! What do you do when you find yourself in this situation? Do you do as I'm doing and just power through or do you have some other secret method to actually make yourself want to read? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Blue Moon Vegan | Paula Marie Coomer & Jan Calvert | Review

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

*Review copy & cover image c/o Netgalley 

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In Blue Moon Vegan author Paula Marie Coomer, who also penned Blue Moon Vegetarian, talks about her personal journey and reasons for becoming vegan, including reference to popular documentaries such as Forks Over Knives and Food Inc. She also explains why she was keen for all of the recipes to also be gluten free and to achieve this enlisted the help of gluten free bakery owner Jan Calvert.

Blue Moon Vegan includes over 100 recipes, all of which are both vegan and gluten free, as well as lots of other useful information and resources. The book also shares helpful tips on buying organic produce and essential cupboard staples for the vegan diet.

The recipes included cover every meal of the day as well as extras like ‘on the go’ snacks and smoothies. There were quite a few recipes that I bookmarked and would like to try, including the Mighty Fine Taco Salad, Oat-Walnut Burgers and Foccacia. Personally I always prefer when recipe books have images of the finished products and whilst many of Blue Moon Vegan’s are accompanied by large colour photographs unfortunately not every recipe has this.

At the end of the book there is a short section including information on where to buy supplies and resources used for the book - it is worth noting that some of the information may not be relevant to readers who are based outside of the US. There is also a handy list of protein content found in a whole host of vegan and gluten free foods meaning you don’t have to worry about where you will get your protein if you decide to make the switch.

Whilst this book would be great for anyone following a vegan and/or gluten free diet I also think a lot of the recipes could be adapted to suit other diets, keeping the whole family happy!

Numenera: The Poison Eater | Shanna Germain | Review

Monday, 9 January 2017

*Book and Image provided by NetGalley for an Honest Review

Summary:

Talia is The Poison Eater, a title given to those who risk their lives (and often lose them) by taking poisons that give them clues about the dangers on their way to the city so the zaffre can cut them down and keep everyone safe. Problem is, for the past 7 poisons, Talia doesn't see glimpses of the future, she sees her past and has been continuously lying about dangers so no one sees her true plan. If she survives ten poisonings, she becomes the orness, in charge of the aria, a weapon so strong it can defeat all of Talia's enemies, but take the city out with it.

Review:

I did not find out until well into this book that it was actually the result of a kickstarter and that Germain had written many short stories about Numenera and the poisons before writing this book. Fair warning, this book is definitely for people more familiar with those short stories. Many times I felt a little lost on what was going on in the world or even what the world was. I highly recommend reading through some of the short stories by Germain before reading this book.

That being said, the world I found myself in was an interesting one. A nice blend of technology and belief. A real story about how people can change, and I'm not talking about just the main character. The characters that you meet in this book are interesting and memorable, even though Germain has to speed through some of the introductions and scenes (this isn't a very long book). As per the usual, though, my favorite characters are the little girl and the warbeast who looks out for her. 

Some of the pacing feels a little off. Almost every time we're introduced to a character, we get a flashback to when Talia first met them and it can be little confusing figuring out if you're reading "now" or "then". After a while, however, we stop meeting new characters and pacing gets pretty steady. The ending felt a bit rushed, but it did set itself up pretty well for a sequel without giving us a true cliffhanger. 

Overall this book is a bit rough around the edges, but it was still entertaining enough that I gladly read the whole thing and enjoyed the ride. If you're looking to get into a new science fiction world, start out by reading some of the short stories by Germain to get familiar with it and then dive into The Poison Eater. 


Features | Suggested Reading Goals

Friday, 6 January 2017


I can't believe it's 2017 already. It feels like only a few weeks ago that we were all talking about reading goals for 2016 and now it's time to start all over again! Last year I talked about my personal dissatisfaction with the standard 'read x books' reading goals, so this year I thought we could talk about a few alternatives and share some different suggestions.

1. Read more diversely
Take a look at the books you read last year. How many of those books were by black or asian authors? How many featured LGBT protagonists? How many were set in countries other than North America or the UK? A lot of us are guilty of not reading as diversely as we might. I know I certainly am. Why not make 2017 the year that you do something about that?

2. Try new genres
It's so easy to only read what you know you like. We read for enjoyment so when we know that we enjoy a particular genre, it makes sense to read more of it. But if you're only ever reading high fantasy, you might never discover your own secret passion for non-fiction memoirs. You never know if you don't try. Pick some genres you don't often read, find some books that look interesting, and give them a try this year.

3. Get through your TBR pile
The big one. The one we've probably all tried before. This is my personal goal for this year. I have about seventy unread books hanging around my bedroom at the moment and that is overwhelming to say the least. Knowing how much I tend to read in a year, I am doubtful that I'll get that number down to zero before the end of 2017, but I'm still going to try my best! Why not join me in vowing to read down the TBR this year?

4. Re-read more
I've written before about how much I value re-reading but I still need to do more of it. If you're like me, always meaning to re-read books you've loved but never quite getting around to it, why not make that one of your resolutions for this year? How about pledging to re-read one of your favourite books every month? Make this the year you relive your favourite stories.

5. Take part in a readathon
This is something I've written about before as well. Readathons are a lot of fun and there are plenty to choose from, so with a little bit of googling you're bound to find at least one that will fit in with everything else you have going on this year. I would recommend every reader try joining in with a readathon at least once and surely this year is as good a time as any?

What are your reading goals for the year? I'd love to hear about them in the comments. Whatever your goals are, I hope you have a happy and successful 2017!