where our team of writers love to talk all things books, sharing reviews, features, lists, interviews and more.

Getting lost in a book is escapism at it's finest and it's what everyone who contributes here thrives on.



Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Features | Books I Hope to Read in October

In an attempt at accountability, I thought I'd share some of the books that I am hoping to read next month. September has been a bit of a whirlwind for me and I feel like my reading has suffered as a result so I'm hoping to break that slump over the last week of the month and into October.

I don't like to know too much about a book before I go into it so I haven't gone out of my way to look up summaries. That means that I also haven't included them here but hopefully you can forgive me for that!

I'm going to try to read:

Wilde Like Me

I'm currently taking part in a blog hop that encourages book bloggers to read in a new genre for them. I chose Wilde Like Me but I haven't yet had the chance to pick it up. Hopefully that will change soon!

The Coffin Path

The nights are getting darker and that means that my reading choices will be too! This looks like a deliciously gothic read that will be perfect for the chilly Autumn nights.

The Silent Patient

I was beyond excited and intrigued to receive a review copy of this recently so I think it is finally time to pick this book up. I've heard very good things about this one!

White Rabbit, Red Wolf

I've also seen nothing but good reviews for this book. It's been sat on my shelf for ages so I am going to make it a priority in October.

Catwoman: Soulstealer

Somehow,  I have two copies of this and haven't opened either of them. Before you tell me off for this, be reassured that I have every intention of picking one of them soon.

Let's see how I get on shall we?

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Monday, 24 September 2018

BB Book Club | October's Book Is...

Another month, another BB book club pick... or should we say picks? In celebration of Blogger's Bookshelf turning six later this month we have something a little special for October's book club; not one, but two amazing books for you to choose from!

We've come a long way in the last six years but we couldn't resist revisiting the very first reviews we ever published here on the blog; Dash & Lily's Book Of Dares (David Levithan & Rachel Cohn) and About A Boy (Nick Hornby). This month we're inviting you to join us in reading (or re-reading) one or both of these titles which helped us launch our book blog.

Dash & Lily's Book Of Dares, Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

"Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?" - Source

The first ever review shared on Blogger's Bookshelf was Ria's take on this YA favourite. Although the book may have had a little cover update since then it's still a hugely popular title and the one that Ria said made her really want to start a book blog!

About A Boy, Nick Hornby

"At thirty-six, [Will]'s as hip as a teenager. He's single, child-free, goes to the right clubs and knows which trainers to wear. He's also found a great way to score with women: attend single parents' groups full of available (and grateful) mothers, all hoping to meet a Nice Guy.

Which is how Will meets Marcus, the oldest twelve-year-old on the planet. Marcus is a bit strange: he listens to Joni Mitchell and Mozart, looks after his mum and has never owned a pair of trainers. But Marcus latches on to Will - and won't let go. Can Will teach Marcus how to grow up cool? And can Marcus help Will just to grow up?
" - Source

Our second review was written by Erin who, as a fan of the 2002 film adaptation, decided to finally pick up a copy of About A Boy and see how the two differed. Spoiler alert; she loved it!

If you would like to help us celebrate turning six you can join in by reading either, or even both, of these titles. You can complete our usual Google form, share your photos and mini reviews on Instagram using #bookshelfbookclub or send us a tweet. Please make sure you share your thoughts with us by 19th October so that they can be featured in the next roundup.

Happy reading!

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Sunday, 23 September 2018

BB Book Club | September 2018 Roundup | The White Book

This year we decided to launch our very own online book club, with a new book for you to join us in reading every month. Our September pick, The White Book (Han Kang), was chosen by Ria and was a completely different read from anything the book club has seen before. Here's our September infographic to tell you a little bit more...

book club the white book hang kang

Reader's comments & favourite quotes:

The only things which the mind cannot examine are memories of the future.

"Very interesting so far with an unconventional structure, each chapter focusing on a white object connected to the death of the author's sister. Think it will certainly be one that will stand out in my memory." - @RebeccaFwrites

On cold mornings, that first white cloud of escaping breath is proof that we are living.

"Whilst the book starts out with a simple list of white things it quickly begins to take on some very difficult topics, exploring them in a really unique and interesting way." - Erin @ A Natural Detour

It is not true that everything is coloured by time and suffering. It is not true that they bring everything to ruin.

Thank you to everyone who read along with us this month! If you would like to get involved with next month's BB Book Club check back here for our very special October selection.

You can also sign up to our mailing list to make sure you don't miss out on any future book club updates!

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Friday, 21 September 2018

Almost Midnight | Rainbow Rowell | Review

Almost Midnight by Rainbow Rowell is a beautiful gift edition containing two wintery short stories: 'Midnights' and 'Kindred Spirits', decorated throughout for the first time with gorgeous black and white illustrations. 'Midnights' is the story of Noel and Mags, who meet at the same New Year's Eve party every year and fall a little more in love each time... 'Kindred Spirits' is about Elena, who decides to queue to see the new Star Wars movie and meets Gabe, a fellow fan. - Goodreads

These two short stories by Rainbow Rowell are not only super sweet, but they are super short so they're perfect for those days when you have limited time but still want to read something.

Midnights is the story of Margaret 'Mags' and her annual outing to the New Years Eve party thrown by one of the girls at school. We first meet Mags standing outside the house, not wanting to be in there on the stroke of midnight...but then Rowell flashes back to the first NYE party Mags attended a few years back where she met Noel for the first time. From there, the story jumps forward one year at a time, at the same party, with the same kids, with the same countdown, until we reach present time outside the house again.

This is such a sweet story, and I really enjoyed how the it was written on the same day each year. Mags and Noel's friendship is brilliant, with their various quirks and reactions, and I could definitely see them being the protagonists of a longer story.
“The whole world is dancing with you” 
Kindred Spirits also takes place around midnight (surprise surprise, given the title of this collection), but this time the story is about Elena, a hard-core Star Wars fan who has her mind set on lining up outside the movie theatre days in advance to get into the latest installment: The Force Awakens. The lineup of people is not what she expected. She thought there'd be people dressed up as Wookies, as Storm Troopers, or rocking Leia buns. Instead, there's just a couple of geeks already camped out. It's those geeks she makes friends with, and the story follows her over the course of a few days and the things they get up to while waiting in line.

I loved this story. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that I love Star Wars and I have been to multiple midnight showings over the years (dressed up, yes). The idea of 'kindred spirits' in this context is so spot on and Rowell paints an excellent picture of what can happen when you put like-minded people side by side. I can definitely see this story being expanded upon and following Elena and her geeky friends through adventures like this.

Both these stories are short and sweet, and the lovely drawings by Simini Blocker (who actually has a character named after them in Midnights) adds a special touch.

Have you read Almost Midnight? Or perhaps just one of these short stories? 

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Thursday, 20 September 2018

Features | Books On My Autumn TBR

blogger's bookshelf bookstack tbr

Whilst I haven't managed to stick to sharing a monthly TBR lately, I thought it might be nice to compile a list featuring some of the books I'm planning to read over the next couple of months or so. The six-book stack includes some recent releases that everyone has been talking about, a new title from one of my favourite authors, a book I've heard nothing but praise for as well as one from my 'vow to read' list and a very popular title I definitely should have read by now...

1. Vox, Christina Dalcher (2018)

"Set in an America where half the population has been silenced, VOX is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter. On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial—this can't happen here. Not in America. Not to her. This is just the beginning." - Source

2. Girl In Translation, Jean Kwok (2010)

"When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings. Disguising the more difficult truths of her life like the staggering degree of her poverty, the weight of her family’s future resting on her shoulders, or her secret love for a factory boy who shares none of her talent or ambition. Kimberly learns to constantly translate not just her language but herself back and forth between the worlds she straddles." - Source

3. 1Q84, Haruki Murakami (2009)

"The year is 1Q84. This is the real world, there is no doubt about that. But in this world, there are two moons in the sky. In this world, the fates of two people, Tengo and Aomame, are closely intertwined. They are each, in their own way, doing something very dangerous. And in this world, there seems no way to save them both. Something extraordinary is starting." - Source

4. The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas (2017)

"Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed." - Source

5. Dry, Neal Shusterman & Jarrod Shusterman (2018)

"The drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers. Until the taps run dry. Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbours and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don’t return and her life—and the life of her brother—is threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive." - Source

6. The Water Cure, Sophie Mackintosh (2018)

"Imagine a world very close to our own: where women are not safe in their bodies, where desperate measures are required to raise a daughter. This is the story of Grace, Lia, and Sky kept apart from the world for their own good and taught the terrible things that every woman must learn about love. And it is the story of the men who come to find them - three strangers washed up by the sea, their gazes hungry and insistent, trailing desire and destruction in their wake." - Source

We'd love to know which books are top of your TBR pile for the Autumn months. Leave a comment below, over on the Blogger's Bookshelf Instagram or tweet us!

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Sunday, 16 September 2018

Send Us Your Thoughts On Our September Book Club Pick!

the white book han kang

Have you read our September #bookshelfbookclub title yet? If so don't forget to share your thoughts, opinions and reviews with us to be featured in our next roundup.

There's just under a week left to complete our Google form or alternatively tweet or Instagram your photos and favoruite quotes or poems from the book.

If you haven't had time to read this month's book don't worry, Team BB's co-creators have a special book club selection lined up to celebrate the blog turning six next month. Check back on 24th September to find out more!

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Friday, 14 September 2018

Features | 5 Sequels on my TBR

Sometimes the best review of the first book in a series is whether the person reviewing it wants to read the next book or not. Sure, I can tell you what I thought about Divergent or Matched, but the thing that really tells you how I felt about those books is the fact that I never wanted to read their sequels. Those first books just didn't hook me enough to make me want to invest more time in their worlds. So today I'm going to tell you about five sequels I do want to read, thanks to the books that preceded them.

Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton

Hero at the Fall is the third and final book in Hamilton's Rebel of the Sands trilogy. The first two books in this trilogy were so gripping and fast paced that I flew through them both, and after all the intrigue and the twists and turns of the second book, Traitor to the Throne, I'm desperate to know what will happen to these characters in this final instalment of the series.

The Magician King by Lev Grossman

I had a few issues with The Magicians, the first in Grossman's trilogy. I had problems with the writing, the story, and the characters, and yet there was something about it that still made me want to find out what happens next. This series has a kind of pull that I can't quite explain, and although I'll probably roll my eyes at certain aspects of this book too, I almost can't help myself. I have to know what happens next.

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

This one is not difficult to explain. Albertalli's first book, Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda was one of my favourite books that I read last year and when I heard that Albertalli's next book would be a sequel focusing on Simon's friend, Leah, I knew I had to get it. I would happily read Albertalli writing about any of the characters in Simon's world. Give me a book about his dog, I'll read it.

The House of Hades by Rick Riordan

The House of Hades is actually the fourth book in Riordan's Heroes of Olympus series, so of course I don't want to say too much about it, but having read the three Heroes of Olympus books that come before this one, and the Percy Jackson series that preceded it, I am still not done with reading about Percy Jackson and his world.

Puddin' by Julie Murphy

Like Leah on the Offbeat, Puddin' is a sequel that focuses on side characters from another book, but this time those characters first appeared in Julie Murphy's Dumplin'. I read Dumplin' earlier this year and fell in love with Murphy's portrayal of 'self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson' and I know that Puddin' explores some similar themes and issues to the ones seen in Dumplin', and I can't wait to find out more about these characters.

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Thursday, 13 September 2018

Sheets | Brenna Thummler | Review

I hadn't read a graphic novel in such a long time so when an email came through from NetGalley about this new graphic novel called Sheets I took a stab in the dark and requested it.

Marjorie Glatt feels like a ghost. A practical thirteen year old in charge of the family laundry business, her daily routine features unforgiving customers, unbearable P.E. classes, and the fastidious Mr. Saubertuck who is committed to destroying everything she’s worked for.

Wendell is a ghost. A boy who lost his life much too young, his daily routine features ineffective death therapy, a sheet-dependent identity, and a dangerous need to seek purpose in the forbidden human world.

When their worlds collide, Marjorie is confronted by unexplainable disasters as Wendell transforms Glatt’s Laundry into his midnight playground, appearing as a mere sheet during the day. While Wendell attempts to create a new afterlife for himself, he unknowingly sabotages the life that Marjorie is struggling to maintain.

The thing I find that I struggle with, with graphic novels, is the fact they're rather short most of the time. They have to have quite the storyline to make it feel worth reading if you get me. I don't read a lot of short stories so most of the short stories I read are graphic novels.

This, however,  is such a feel-good graphic novel. There's quite a journey to get to the feel-good part but boy is it worth it!

You're immediately pulled into Marjorie's life and learn about her losing her mum and basically losing her dad after he retreated to the bedroom due to the loss of his wife. You feel the hardship of Marjorie's life taking care of the family business while cheering up her brother and attempting to get through to her dad. It's all the feels!

Then there's little Wendell, a new ghost, a child, getting to know his new life after losing his old life so young. He's adorable, sad but funny, and you just want to scoop him up. The way the ghost world is described you don't really question the fact that it's a ghost world, you connect to Wendell so much that you don't notice.

Once their worlds come together your heart hurts for them both, only wanting to do good but of course fate has decided that things go wrong. Feelings are hurt and your own feelings are hurt when they fight. But I promise you the feel-good part is there!

Have you read this before? What did you think?

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Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Fragments of the Lost | Megan Miranda | Review

I am almost didn't post this review because I have had an ARC of Fragments of the Lost for so long. While I was really intrigued by the premise of this book, I don't often reach for mysteries. I have to be in a very specific mood for them which meant that this poor book has been waiting patiently for me.

Fragments of the Lost is all about Jessa, who has somehow found herself with the job of packing up her ex-boyfriend's room after he is lost and announced dead when his car is totalled in a flood. Jessa finds herself surrounded with memories of the man she lost, and the relationship they had given up on in. Yet, as the last reminder of Caleb, she lingers as she packs up his things. Unfortunately, going through his room makes Jessa question what she thought she knew about Caleb's death and Caleb himself. Something doesn't quite add up. Jessa sets out to work out  what is missing.

I loved the character of Jessa and her development throughout the book. Between flashbacks to her relationship with Caleb and the changes she undergoes as Fragments of the Lost progresses, she is a very real character who you are really rooting for. This is especially true when you consider the emotional turmoil that she is subjected to.

It was also fascinating to piece together the mystery with Jessa. I definitely didn't anticipate all of the ending (though I had an inkling about some of it) and was hooked as I watched the story unfold.

In fact, I was so hooked that I devoured this book in one sitting. It was an easy enough read that I managed it in a few hours but captivating enough that I couldn't bear to put it down. If you're looking for a book to curl up with one evening, I would definitely recommend picking this up, especially now that the weather is straying away from summer.

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Friday, 7 September 2018

Features | 6 Series I Own But Haven't Read

If you're anything like me then buying books is not something that happens every so often, once in a while, maybe on your birthday. It's a regular occurrence; whether or nor you've put a book-buying-ban on yourself  is irrelevant.

One of the book-related purchases that gives me the greatest joy is having a complete series, especially if they all so beautifully match. It's common practice for me to see a book that has been on my TBR list for a while and pick it up with the full intent to read said book in the coming weeks. Most of the time that happens, and life is good. But sometimes ... sometimes I don't get round to it. And then comes that moment when I see book 2 and/or 3 in a shop somewhere, or it's on a sale table, at a second-hand store, and I pick it up because, hey! I've got the first one at home, better have the second one lined up ready to go!

It came to my attention recently that I have quite a few full series of books that I had every intention of reading at some stage, still sitting (beautifully, I might add) on my bookshelves. Have I read book one? No. Do I want to? Yes, I probably do. Have I even thought about those books in the last year? Unlikely.

So today I thought it would be fun to take a look at six of the series that I own in full but I still haven't read. If any of these are some of your favourites, you might be able to twist my arm and I'll bump the first book up the TBR pile.

The Naughts and Crosses series, by Malorie Blackman

The first in this series, Naughts and Crosses, was published back in 2001, but it wasn't on my radar until I worked in Waterstones bookstore in England in 2014. One of the people who worked at Waterstones told me about them, so it was added to my list of books to check out. I found them, years later back in New Zealand, on sale (buy 1 get one half price), so I promptly bought all four books. Have I read them? No, I have not.

The Bartimaeus series, by Jonathan Stroud

This is one of those series that has been popping up most of my life. The first book, The Amulet of Samarkand, was published in 2003 which is when I probably saw it for the first time. Since then I've has numerous people recommend it to me, and have slowly collected all three books in the series with the full intention of reading them someday.

The His Dark Materials series, by Philip Pullman

I know, I know! It's ridiculous that I haven't read this series; I would say the majority of book-lovers I would have read this series at least once. I haven't even seen the movie adaptation. Eek! So so bad of me. But one day [she says with determination]! Once of the reasons I probably haven't actually started this series is becuase I feel like it's a little too far gone. The first, The Golden Compass/Northern Lights was released in 1996!

The Half Bad series, by Sally Green

This is one of the few series I have where every single book is fro a different publisher. And I hate it! But when you're scoring books for super cheap in second-hand stores, you can't be too picky. I've heard great things about this series, and have recently bought another Sally Green book, so I need to get on it!

The Silo series, by High Howey

This was confusing to find what the series was actually called. Howey has a bunch of sub-series connected to this one, so I'm 90% sure this the right title, however if you think otherwise, please let me know. Someone in England recommended these books to me when I lived there, and so I bought two in a sale, and found the third when I returned home to New Zealand. And no, I have not read them yet.

The Old Kingdom Chronicles/Abhorsen series, by Garth Nix

Crammed into one mega volume, my copy of the Old Kingdom Chronicles is huge. A literal doorstop. Another one which I have heard good things about. What's stopping me reading this is the sheer size of my copy. Can you imagine trying to haul around a book with three books inside!? Nightmare.

Are there series which you own all of (or the majority of) that you still haven't read? Let us know! 

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Monday, 3 September 2018

BB Book Club | September's Book Is...

The White Book Han Kang

The White Book is a meditation on colour, beginning with a list of white things. It is a book about mourning, rebirth and the tenacity of the human spirit. It is a stunning investigation of the fragility, beauty and strangeness of life.

After BB's co-founders recently spent a Saturday perusing the shelves of Waterstones and discussing a variety of different ideas Ria settled on The White Book by Han Kang as our September book club pick!

If you'd like to read along with this month's selection, head over to Book Depository (who offer free worldwide shipping), Amazon or your local bookstore to pick up a copy.

Once you've read the book you can share your thoughts through this Google form, by the 21st September deadline. You can also email us your opinions or leave a mini review and photo over on Instagram using the hashtag #bookshelfbookclub.

Make sure you're signed up to our monthly newsletter so you don't miss out on any future book club updates!

We hope that you're excited to read our September selection but don't worry if it doesn't sound like your thing - check back next month for our very special October pick to celebrate BB's 6th birthday!

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Sunday, 2 September 2018

Bookish Links #46

1. It's Reading Time! - Harriet over at This Essex Girl discussed three reasons why she's making more time to read.

2. Books As Art - Buzzfeed recently featured the work of Instagram user @james_trevino who uses his book collection to make artistic photos.

3. Considering An English Degree? - Holly shared her top tips for studying English Literature or Creative Writing at university.

4. 2018 Reads - our lovely friend Michelle showcased some of the books she has read and enjoyed so far this year over on her blog Daisybutter.

5. Great American Novels - Kerri at Bustle created a roundup of eleven amazing YA titles she believes could fit the title of 'great American novel'.

6. A Love For Books - inspired by World Book Day, we loved Shelley's post on falling back in love with reading, featuring some of her top recommendations.

7. Hufflepuff Pride - this article over on Hypable explains why companies should hire a Hufflepuff!

8. Overwhelming TBR? - in this post Laura talked about ways to avoid the dreaded overwhelming TBR pile issue that we've all experienced.

9. Dear Non-Readers... - what would you like your non-reader family and friends to know?

10. Bookish Bucket List - here are six libraries that we should all visit in our lifetimes. Have you crossed any off the list yet?

From the archives: Fictional Dinner Parties | Never Let Me Go | Shadow & Bone

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Friday, 31 August 2018

Dear Mrs Bird | AJ Pearce | Review

When Emmy sees an advertisement for a job at the London Evening Chronicle, her dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent seem suddenly achievable. But the job turns out to be typist to the fierce and renowned advice columnist, Henrietta Bird.

Set in London during World War II, Dear Mrs Bird follows Emmy, a plucky young woman who dreams of reporting on the war from the front lines as a Lady War Correspondent. She knows that she will have to work her way up to such an important job, but all she needs to begin with is a foot through the door into the world of journalism. She is so overjoyed to discover an advertisement for a job at one of the top newspapers in the city that she doesn't even stop to find out exactly what the job will entail, until she turns up for her first day of work and discovers that, far from reporting on the fighting at the front lines, Emmy now works at a somewhat declining lady's magazine, for Mrs Bird, an extremely old fashioned agony aunt.

Determined to take advantage of the opportunity she's been given, even if it isn't quite the one she thought she was getting, Emmy sets to work sorting through all of the letters Mrs Bird receives every day, asking for her help. Mrs Bird has a very strict set of rules regarding the letters and Emmy's job is to sort out the suitable from the unsuitable, typing up the ones Mrs Bird will answer and throwing away any that she won't. Emmy very quickly begins to feel that Mrs Bird's rules aren't entirely fair, and that the women Mrs Bird refuses to answer are often the ones who need the most help, so she comes up with a solution. Emmy begins writing back to them, in secret, giving her own advice, but signing Mrs Bird's name.

Pearce's writing is charming and funny but she also doesn't flinch away from the reality of life during the Second World War. Many of the letters that Emmy answers talk of extremely difficult problems that people had to deal with while they were already dealing with the war, and Emmy herself volunteers as a telephone operator for the Auxiliary Fire Services at night. Emmy and her best friend Bunty live together in London during the height of the blitz, and although Emmy worries about her job, she also worries about the fate of her boyfriend who is away fighting, and about Bunty's boyfriend who volunteers for the Auxiliary Fire Services too, putting out fires and rescuing people from bombed out buildings nearly every night.

However, despite these difficult scenes, this novel, much like the people who really lived through this time, finds the light in it too. Emmy is a funny and extremely endearing protagonist, and she is surrounded by characters who are lively and fun too. At the heart of Emmy's story is her desire to do good, to help the war effort by helping the women Mrs Bird won't. Of course, Emmy realises that her efforts will get her into a lot of trouble if she is found out, but she simply can't sit by and let these women be ignored by Mrs Bird. This slightly misguided way of thinking runs deep in Emmy's character, and, of course, causes many of the problems she encounters, but she is never mean spirited in her actions, which, along with the humour in the novel, makes her a delightful character to follow, and has the reader routing for her to fix the mistakes she inevitably makes.

Dear Mrs Bird is a heartwarming and heartbreaking look at the lives and roles of women during the Second World War, and Emmy and Bunty's strong friendship is as important to the story as anything else. When Emmy begins to reply to Mrs Bird's letters, she fears not only Mrs Bird's wrath if she is caught out, but Bunty's disapproval too. I have heard that Pearce intends to write many more novels about Emmy and Bunty and I for one will stick with these characters until the end. If you are looking for a funny, female friendship focused story, showing a different side of the Second World War, look no further.
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Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Bone Surfers | David Massey | Review

It's time for a very belated book review! I was gifted Bone Surfers quite a while ago but have only just gotten round to reading it because it isn't my usual cup of tea. I'm glad that I picked it up when the mood for something creepy struck though as it was wonderfully unsettling...

Bone Surfers is set in Paris with frequent trips to the depths of the catacombs underneath the city. If that setting along wasn't creepy enough, Fellin's visit to the city seems to have coincided with some grisly deaths.

It wasn't what she was expecting to happen when she headed to France on an exchange trip. The plan had been to improve her grasp of the language and discover a little more about her heritage. Instead, she finds herself caught up in murder investigations and facing dangers that she had never anticipated.

I'm not usually a crime or thriller reader but this was a brilliantly original plot that had me hooked. I loved the references to France's history and gothic literature that were woven through the text. It made Bone Surfers incredibly rich and detailed. I did wince at some of the attempted humour (especially those around having to learn to be 'a girl' just because a character previously chose not to wear makeup) but I was impressed by how well thought out the rest of the plot was. I even thought I might have figured it out at one point only to be proven wrong as the various threads of the novel began to come together.

Straying from my usual genres seems to have worked in my favour here and I enjoyed reading something a little bit different! Perhaps I'll feel the need for some more creepy and grisly books soon, especially with October lurking just around the corner...

Kelly x
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Sunday, 26 August 2018

BB Book Club | August 2018 Roundup | Travelling In The Dark

This year we decided to launch our very own online book club, with a new book for you to join us in reading every month. Our August title was Travelling In The Dark, a contemporary novella from the new Fairlight Moderns collection which was chosen by Erin. Here's our August infographic to tell you a little bit more...

book club travelling in the dark emma timpany

Reader's comments & favourite quotes:

"At first I found [the fact that the child's name is not used] a little distracting but quickly got used to this character being referred to as 'the child' rather than by his name. I liked that the name was revealed near the end of the story, although I had correctly guessed it."

The snow fields that peculiar unearthly white, except where rock falls track across their faces like trails of dirty tears. 

"I found this book captivating, with such interesting themes. You really did feel as though you were making the journey through Sarah’s past."

Twenty-two penguins. More than the Belgians.

Thank you to everyone who read along with us this month! If you would like to get involved with next month's BB Book Club check back here tomorrow where Ria will be introducing her selection for September.

You can also sign up to our mailing list to make sure you don't miss out on any future book club updates!

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Friday, 24 August 2018

Features | Reading My First Ever Comic Book

As well as creating a Vow to Read list at the beginning of 2018, one of the things I wanted to do this year was try and branch out and read things I don't normally. Thankfully our Blogger's Bookshelf Book Club theme this year is Short Stories, which means we've been reading a lot of books under 200 pages, and anthologies of tales by multiple authors, neither of which I would probably read otherwise. It's been really great and if you haven't been following along, then I highly recommend it.

In my 'branching out', I also wanted to try my hand/eye at graphic novels and comics. I picked up The Prince and the Dressmaker, by Jen Wang, earlier in the year and really enjoyed that (can now tick 'graphic novel' from my list). In a bout of impulse book buying on the Book Depository I popped Rainbow Rowell's Runaways into my basket and proceeded to check out. But then I realised that I should probably read the original comics from the 2000s before it arrived. Enter the wonderful people at Auckland Libraries. I managed to put 10 volumes of Runaways on hold, and collected them all at the same time, while concurrently realising that that was probably a bad idea as I didn't even know if I liked them or not.

Thankfully, I did.

Runaways Vol. 1: Pride & Joy (comics #1 - #6 bind up, by Brian K. Vaughan) was my first ever comic read. Yes, I've flipped through them before, yes I've often thought 'I should really check these out', and yes I would love to be that person who goes to comic book store and devours titles for days on end. But this was my first actual sit-down-and-read. And, guys, it was pretty epic.

A little about Runaways: Pride & Joy

If you're unfamiliar with the Runaways comic (as I was, despite being a Marvel fan), it tells the story of 6 kids who discover their parents are actually living double lives as supervillians (with code names, costumes and the whole shebang!). Obviously shocked by this discovery, the kids decide to runaway, but not before they're framed for kidnapping and murder. 

I haven't read the full series yet, but that's the main premise.

Some of the things I thought while reading Pride & Joy

"Okay here it goes. Comic book time."

"Oooh, so many pretty pictures."

"So whispers are indicated by text which is lower in opacity, bold words are emphasized speech, and huge colourful writing is shouting."

"It's amazing how the artist keeps the characters looking the same from frame to frame. Even my stick figures look different..."

"Klick, fwish, shunk, hssss, krak, klang, skreech, fwooom ... I wonder if I can use these words in day-to-day life for my own sound effects..."

Comic Book Verdict

So after that comic-book-gathering saga, was it worth it? Did I actually enjoy reading a comic book?

Yes, yes I did.

There are some things that didn't come that easily to me but I'm sure by the time I read more it'll be fine and dandy. For example, I really need to remember to actually look at the pictures. They're there for a reason and pretty much the whole point of a comic book. I found myself just jumping to the speech bubbles from frame to frame and not paying too much attention to the wonderfully drawn images. That needs to change. I think I'm so used to painting a world in my head when I'm reading just words that the jump to "here's a pre-made world we've created so you don't have to" was a little jarring.

Having less to read, too, was a challenge. Even if you had a book with the same amount of pages - around 150 for a bind up of 6 issues - there's still a bucket load more words. It's definitely a different way of engrossing yourself in a story. The words the writers choose all have to be relevant and worthwhile, because there's only so much you can fit on a 4 - 6 frame page of images and speech bubbles.

And just to leave you with a practical question to aid me in my cataloguing of these: what do you think about adding these to the Goodreads Reading Challenge? I've been adding them as I've read them (as a whole bind up of e.g. Volume 1 which is single issues #1 - #6), but I've noticed there's a Deluxe Version, which is a bind up of Vol 1 - 4, and single issues #1 - #18. I'd love to get your opinion as to whether I should delete all 10 of the Runaways books on Goodreads, and replace hem with the 4 deluxe bind up versions. I know it's a bit trivial, but I'd love to know your thoughts!

Do you read comic books?
 Have you read Runaways
Can you suggest any that I could try out? 

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Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Features | Revisiting My 2018 Sequels Challenge

Always and Forever Lara Jean

On the 20th July I tapped through to the last page of Sidekick Returns on my Kindle and completed my 2018 Sequels Challenge! Whilst I didn't exactly love all of the books - more on this below - overall I'm really glad I decided to take on this extra reading challenge and would definitely consider doing the same thing in future.

Always & Forever Lara Jean, Jenny Han (To All The Boys I've Loved Before #3)

While Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind. - Goodreads

This series is such a popular one within the book blogging community and whilst it's not necessarily my usual kind of read I enjoyed the first two books and was curious to find out how Lara Jean's story would wrap up. For me the last part of the book felt a little rushed however overall I thought it was a good ending to the series and I'm glad I added it into my TBR list and sequels challenge for this year. I also really enjoyed the recent Netflix adaptation of the first book To All The Boys I've Loved Before and hope to see them bring the sequels to life on screen too.

The Last Star, Rick Yancey (The 5th Wave #3)

We’re here, then we’re gone, and that was true before they came. That’s always been true. The Others didn’t invent death; they just perfected it. Gave death a face to put back in our face, because they knew that was the only way to crush us. It won’t end on any continent or ocean, no mountain or plain, jungle or desert. It will end where it began, where it had been from the beginning, on the battlefield of the last beating human heart. - Goodreads

The third book in the popular 5th Wave series made it's way onto my list despite my mixed feelings about the previous two books as I was hoping for an ending that would pleasantly surprise me. Sadly I wasn't crazy about the series finale and whilst I do think this was partly to do with the fact it had been so long since I'd read the previous books, I also didn't feel as invested in the story and the characters journey as I'd hoped to.

Waking Gods, Sylvain Neuvel (Themis Files #2)

As a child, Rose Franklin made an astonishing discovery: a giant metallic hand, buried deep within the earth. As an adult, she’s dedicated her brilliant scientific career to solving the mystery that began that fateful day: Why was a titanic robot of unknown origin buried in pieces around the world? Years of investigation have produced intriguing answers—and even more perplexing questions. But the truth is closer than ever before when a second robot, more massive than the first, materializes and lashes out with deadly force. - Goodreads

After really enjoying the concept and format of Sleeping Giants, the first book in the series, I was excited to find out where the story would go next. As my local library didn't have a physical copy of Waking Gods I opted for the CD audiobook version instead but unfortunately this turned out to be a mistake. Much to my disappointment I wasn't a huge fan of this particular story told in this way and I truly believe I would have enjoyed the experience more in a written format. As this is only the second instalment in the series, it's likely I'll revisit it in the future but if I do I'll be sticking to the printed version.

Sidekick Returns, Auralee Wallace (Sidekick In The City #2)

Fresh off thwarting the crime of the century, Bremy St. James is back and more determined than ever to fight by the side of the city's top superhero, Dark Ryder. There's just one problem: Dark Ryder's disappeared.To make matters worse, Bremy's evil billionaire father, Atticus, is taking her lack of family loyalty very personally, and Bremy's last tie to her old life, her reason behind her choices–her sister–is distancing herself as well. - Goodreads

Following my five-star review of Sidekick back in 2014 I wasn't surprised to find that I had a lot of fun revisiting the world of Bremy St James. Similarly to the first book I enjoyed the unique cast of supporting characters and the second instalment definitely took some unexpected twists and turns that made for an interesting read. I'm only sorry that it took me so long to get around to read it!

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Sunday, 19 August 2018

Send Us Your Thoughts On Our August Book Club Pick!

We really hope you're enjoying reading Travelling In The Dark along with us this month! There's just under a week left to send us your opinions to be featured in our August roundup and infographic so don't forget to submit your thoughts and opinions via our Google form if you would like them to be included.

You can also tweet us a mini review instead, or leave a comment on our Instagram with your favoruite quote or moment from the book.

If you haven't had time to read this month's book don't worry, Ria will be sharing her pick for September on Monday 27th August.

travelling in the dark emma timpany

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Friday, 17 August 2018

The Miseducation of Cameron Post | Emily M. Danforth | Review

The night Cameron Post's parents died, her first emotion was relief. Relief that they would never know that hours earlier, she'd been kissing a girl.

Told in three parts, Cameron Post's story begins when she is twelve years old, with a kiss shared between her and her best friend, Irene, and, later, with the news that her parents have both died. Cameron's aunt Ruth, a devout born-again Christian, and her grandma both move in to take care of Cameron, Irene moves away to boarding school, and Cameron silently wonders if maybe her kiss with Irene is the reason her parents are dead.

The next part sees Cameron a few years older, with new friends, and still exploring her identity, this time with the complication of a new best friend, Coley, who Cameron falls in love with almost immediately, and who already has a boyfriend. Things only get more complicated for Cameron and when her aunt eventually finds out the secret Cameron has been keeping from her, we arrive at the next part of the Cameron's story: God's Promise, a Christian school that promises to 'correct' Cameron's 'sinful desires'.

Danforth's descriptions of Miles City, where Cameron lives, and the rural surrounding areas, in the early 1990s when this book takes place, manage to paint a picture of an area that is at once breath-takingly beautiful and quietly suffocating. Cameron's summers are filled with heat, movies, lake swimming, and romances that are forbidden in the most literal sense of the word, promise always just around the corner. Thanks to the vivid descriptions of Cameron's world and the place her feelings have in that world, Cameron's story feels incredibly real, and there is a wistful beauty to it too, which makes the difficult parts all the more upsetting to read. Cameron's story is one worth telling, and definitely worth reading, but it is not an easy one to read by any stretch of the imagination.

The beauty of the wide open lakes, fields, and mountains that surround Cameron's life juxtapose painfully with the closed in feeling that follows Cameron around, especially when she finds herself at God's Promise, the Christian school that promises to bring Cameron and her fellow disciples closer to God and further from their 'unnatural desires'. This novel is full of juxtapositions like this, including the members of God's Promise itself, the teachers who truly believe that they're helping these teenagers, even in the painful face of the damage they're causing. One of the subtle protests of this novel is that it does not demonise these people, only shows the harm they do in what they believe is their duty, quietly condemning them through their own words and actions.

This isn't a short story, quick or easy to read. It's a story that takes its time, perhaps a little bit too much to build up Cameron's story. Over half of the novel seems to lead up to Cameron's time at God's Promise, and the friends she makes there, and then we spend so little time examining this place, so little time with these new friends, before an ending that feels altogether abrupt and a little unsatisfying. Characters who seemed so important in Cameron's life before are never heard from again, story lines are abandoned untied, but perhaps that is the point. Cameron has not finished growing or discovering herself at the end of this novel, and so her story doesn't end, it just stops. It's an ending that definitely leaves the reader wanting more, from a story that sorely needs to be told.
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Thursday, 16 August 2018

Some Books I Couldn't Finish | Feature

I used to be one of those people who pushed through books no matter what to finish them. I thought people would judge me for not finishing books, I thought it was wrong. More recently I've realised that no one is judging as much as I thought and I was just putting myself through something I didn't need to go through. I was just causing book slumps from books that weren't my thing instead of reading books I enjoyed! Sometimes books have to be read at a certain time of your life, sometimes you have to be feeling a certain way, and sometimes you're just too old for that YA novel...

If you don't like a book, don't finish it! Here are a few books that I never finished, feel free to try and convince me to try again if one of these is your favourite.

The Sun Is Also A Star 

I'm going to start with one that I don't know why I didn't like it. Unfair I know. I loved Nicola Yoon's previous book Everything Everything so I thought I would love this too. But I just didn't. Maybe it was the characters or the storyline, I don't know.

Inside Out 

I have tried this book too many times to count as I know it's just like all the other dystopian type books I love like Divergent, The Hunger Games, and The Darkest Minds etc. I just could not get past the first few chapters, it pained me to read it and I just could not enjoy it. I think it was most likely the writing style as like I mentioned I usually gobble up this type of book. I'm unsure whether I'll try it again, but if you think I should definitely tell me why!


I know I'm going to insult a lot of people saying that I didn't like this book. Everyone and their dog loves this book so I'm definitely going to try again at some point in the future but at the time I tried reading it, it just wasn't my cup of tea. I know I'm going to love it though as this is the very sort of storyline and air of fantasy I love about books, it just wasn't the right time.

From Twinkle, With Love

I just could not get into this book, it bored me. It actually made me question whether I was too old for YA but I think (I hope) it was just this book. I read two chapters and I could already tell exactly what was going to happen in the entire book, it was a novel full of cliche's and overdone storylines and I just wasn't having a bar of it.

Game of Thrones 

I'm adding this one in because I've tried to read it several times and only recently was in the right mindset to get all the way through it (and through the second book). This is also a great example of those few novels that I actually need to watch the movie or TV series first before I manage to get through it. Usually, that's because they're rather dense with a lot of characters to learn. After watching the first few series of GoT I learnt the main characters names, had an understanding of the world and very vaguely remembered the storyline of the first series. All of that was enough to get me through it on what was probably my fourth try.

What's a novel you couldn't finish but everyone else loves? 

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Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Wonder | R. J. Palacio | Review

The world has been telling me to read Wonder for a while and I have finally listened.

Wonder is the story of August, a young boy who finds himself attending school for the first time. Due to spending the first ten years of his life in and out of surgery, August has always been home schooled until his parents decided that it was time for him to attend the local school and make some new friends.

I don't want to tell you too much more about the plot because I think it would be difficult to do without any major spoilers. Just trust me that you should give this a go.

What follows is a heartwarming and uplifitng story about family, trust, loyalty and kindness. This book was so wonderful to read, even if it did make me cry. On a couple of occasions. It was an emotional rollercoaster from the first page to the last but I loved reading it the whole way through. Every time I found my heart broken, R. J. Palacio returned to the themes of friendship and kindness and made me smile all over again.

I really loved the fact that the novel was from multiple perspectives and hearing not only August's story, but that of his family and friends. It was a lovely touch to an already touching novel.

I would definitely recommend this book but it does come with a you'll-probably-cry-warning.

Kelly x

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Monday, 13 August 2018

Blogger's Bookshelf Is Now On Instagram!

After sharing reviews, features and more here on our blog for almost six years we thought it was about time we expanded Blogger's Bookshelf over to Instagram too! 

Over on our Instagram page you'll find additional content from the team, including currently reading updates, TBR piles, mini reviews and opportunities to get involved with our book club each month.

If you're interested in this additional content we'd love for you to follow us - @bloggersbookshelf

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Friday, 10 August 2018

Features | Favourite First Lines

They're the beginning, the start, the first ... they're the pull, the grip, the tug. They're the sentences that make or break that very first chapter. First lines in stories are important, and most of the time authors do a great job at hooking you from the start.

There are some first lines, however, that just stick out; ones that you read and think 'oooh, yeah! Great line, let's do this!', ones that suck you into the story you may not even be ready for. While the list of my favourite first lines below is in no way complete - I'm sure I've missed some of my most favourites! - it's a selection of brilliant lines from even better stories, written by wonderful authors.

These are some of my favourites; what are yours?

1 | "Mr. and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much."
As far as first liners go, this isn't actually one that captivates much imagination or a 'need to continue ready, stat' sort of feeling. But it's the beginning of the greatest series ever, and has to be my favourite opening line of all time.

2 |  "Joost had two problems: the moon and his mustache."
Leigh Bardugo has written some excellent stories - if you're familiar with the Grishaverse then you'll know what I mean. This is from the first in her duology, Six of Crows.

3 |  "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."

Ah, Jane Austen. I'm sorry, but little needs to be said about this epic first line from Pride and Prejudice. 

4 |   "There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it."
Out of all the Narnia Chronicles, this has to be my favourite first line, which is from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Poor Eustace. Although C.S Lewis is right, he really did almost deserve the name.

5 | "Kell wore a very particular coat."
Oh, hello V.E. Schwab. Your writing is spectacular and I will read everything you write. This first liner is from A Darker Shade of Magic, and everything about Kell's 'particular' coat is wonderful. If you haven't read this series, I highly recommend it.

6 | "My big brother reaches home in the dark hours before dawn, when even ghosts take their rest."
An Ember in the Ashes, by Sabaa Tahir, has to be a favourite read of mine. It's an epic tale, with an epic beginning.

7 | "Scarlet's feelings came in colors even brighter than usual."
So I kinda cheated a little bit with this one. The actual first line of Caraval by Stephanie Garber is 'it took seven years to get the letter right", which is also a great line, but then for the next 10 or so pages it's copies of that letter. This line I've shared is beginning of the actual story, when the letters have been shared and the story of Caraval really begins. I love the idea of feelings being in colours (Inside Out anyone?), so I really enjoy the way Garber words this.

8 |  "Chapter the first, in which the Messenger of the Immortals arrives in a surprising shape, looking for a permanent Vessel; and after being chased by her through the woods, indie kid Finn meets his final fate."
This was a funny read for me because I 'read' it via audio book. Can I suggest you not to do that? It was super hard for me to understand the format (which is very clever) when I couldn't see the actual page. This first line from The Rest of Us Just Live Here, by Patrick Ness, is brilliant, however; what a way to begin a novel.

9 | "It's a weirdly subtle conversation. I almost don't notice I'm being blackmailed."
Technically two sentences, but it would work with a semi-colon so I'll allow it (you can't stop me!). I read Simon VS the Homosapiens Agenda earlier in the year and loved it, but this first line/s is the most perfect way to begin the story of Simon and Blue.

10 |  "The problem with my life was that it was someone else's idea."
I love this first line from Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. It begins how it means to continue: wonderfully. (Read my review here, and Sophie's here.)

So there we have it. 10 of some of my favourite first lines in novels. Of course, there will be many more, and I'm sure I've missed some that would actually be bumped into my top 10, but it's a look into that list anyway.

What are some of your favourite first lines? 

Photo by Dexter Fernandes on Unsplash

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Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Features | Popsugar 2018 Reading Challenge Update #4

thunderhead neal shusterman

A Book With A Weather Element In The Title | Thunderhead, Neal Shusterman (2018)

I was so excited to read this book that I honestly didn't realise it would fit any of the challenge prompts until after I'd finished reading it! I was actually struggling with which title to pick up for this particular prompt so I'm happy that I managed to cross it off with a book I was already planning to read this year. I know I've said it already, but please pick up this series if you haven't yet!

A Book By Two Authors | Illuminae, Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (2015)

Another title that fit in with the challenge by happy accident was Illuminae, the first book in the popular Illuminae Files trilogy. Taking place in the future, this book has an interesting format with the story being told through interviews, emails, IMs and more. Whilst this kind of format is one I usually really enjoy, Illuminae just wasn't for me and sadly it's unlikely I'll be continuing with this series.

A Book You Borrowed Or That Was Given To You As A Gift | The Skeleton's Holiday, Leonora Carrington (2018)

I ended up borrowing a copy of our May book club pick The Skeleton's Holiday from a friend who was also joining in and reading along. This was an easy prompt to cross off the list and could have been one of many books!

A Book About Or Involving A Sport | Bear Town, Fredrik Backman (2016)

This is another prompt I thought I might struggle with as I'm not a sport fan at all. Luckily I realised that a book I already wanted to read would be the perfect fit! Beartown centres around a small town where hockey is a big deal and quickly became one of my favourites of the year so far. It's not an easy read as it tackles some truly difficult topics but I would highly recommend it and look forward to reading the sequel Us Against You.

A Book With Your Favourite Colour In The Title | Hannah Green & Her Unfeasibly Mundane Existence, Michael Marshall Smith (2018)

Another book I didn't realise fitted a challenge prompt until I was writing up my June In Books post (this seems to be a theme with this roundup!) was Hannah Green & Her Unfeasibly Mundane Existence, a Fantasy novel with some weird and wonderful elements. Overall it was an interesting book that encouraged me to temporarily step out of my comfort zone and read something a little different.

A Book Set In A Country That Fascinates You | Travelling In The Dark, Emma Timpany (2018) 

The final prompt of this roundup is one that I managed to cross of the list with my pick for our August book club. Travelling In The Dark takes place in New Zealand, a country that I would absolutely love to visit. Not only is the book based in NZ, but it also includes a lot of descriptive language about the setting, painting a vivid picture of the landscape.

If you're taking part in the Popsugar 2018 Reading Challenge I'd love to hear from you. Let me know which prompts you've crossed off the list and which books you're planning to pick up next!

You can catch my previous Popsugar Challenge Update here.
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