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.



Friday, 19 April 2019

Features | An Evening with Sarah J Maas

Sarah J Maas ended her Kingdom of Ash tour here in Auckland, New Zealand.

I headed along to the one-hour event (way to short a time, I have to say!), and gathered together with about 200 others. This was definitely the biggest author event I've ever been to (hearing Justin Cronin a few years back happened in a library and there were about 50 people, and going to Oxford and hearing R.J. Anderson was about 50 as well), but it was such a fun feeling being surrounded by so many who loved the worlds that Maas has created.

She chatted most about her Throne of Glass series, as the tour was for the final book in this series, Kingdom of Ash, but did also throw in some bits and pieces about her other series, A Court of Thorns and Roses.

One of the most amusing and interesting things she talked about right at the beginning was the drama that happened just two days before the book went to the printers last year: there were too many pages (coming in at over 1000!) and the glue they were going to be using to bind it all up wasn't strong enough! All the editing had already been long finished, and there was nothing that could really be easily cut out to lower the page numbers. Instead, they had to figure out ways to lose about 10 pages by making the font smaller, and narrowing the margins. It now comes in at just under 1000 pages, but it had never occurred to me that gluing a book would have any issues!

Sarah also talked about the importance of strong, kick-ass female characters, something her books are full of. As a child she would love watching movies like Indiana Jones and Star Wars, and always pretend she was Indiana or Luke running around doing cool things. When she got older and discovered things like Buffy and Sailor Moon she learnt the importance of strong female characters leading the way, and now writes some of the strongest female characters in YA.

As well as some questions from Kiran Dass, who was chairing the event, there was time at the end for just a few questions from the audience. One of them was 'If all your characters were in the Hunger Games, who would win?' Sarah thought about it for a minute or so and then grouped some of her characters together from each series, and then made super groups of characters crossing over into each series (some from one joining forces with some from the other), and some characters she said wouldn't even make it through and would be the first to die. Ha!

In January 2020 Maas is releasing her first 'adult' genre book, called House of Earth and Blood, the first in a new series called Crescent City. While it's labelled 'adult', it's on a similar maturity level as ACOTAR, so, she explained, didn't really feel like she was branching out into another age group. But adult or young adult, I'm looking forward to seeing what that book will bring.

Now just to actually finish both the Throne of Glass and ACOTAR series... eek!
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The Hobbit | J.R.R. Tolkien | BBC Radio 4 | Dramatised Audio Book | Review

Listening to dramatised audio books seems to be becoming a habit.

This is the third BBC Radio 4 dramatised production* of an audio book I've 'read' now, and, much like the others, it didn't cease to entertain.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien is one of my favourite books; I remember being read it as a child of probably 8 or 9, going on to re-read it for myself, then having it as an English book one year in high school (I got all high marks for my assignments because I both loved the book and knew it so well already). Since the high school reading, I've probably read it once more, but have been meaning to re-read it for the past few years. When I spotted this BBC Radio 4 dramatised version of the audio book at the library, I thought it would be a fun way of 'reading' it once more.

This audio book was a joy to listen to; while there aren't as many voices as there are characters (there are 13 dwarves for goodness sake! That would be a huge cast!), it's done in such a way that you don't really notice it at all. There's a narrator, of sorts, and Bilbo does all his thinking out loud for the benefit for the listeners. Dramatised versions, if you're not familiar, also include things like sound effects and music to fill in some of the scenes when written descriptions or visual aid would normally be used. This means it's basically like watching a movie version, just without the visual aspects.

There were some parts which were a bit odd to me - like some of the pronunciation of names - and some voices which didn't seem quite right, however, on the whole it was a very enjoyable production, once again, from the BBC Radio 4 team.

The dramatised version is abridged, so it's shorter than the 'normal' audio book, coming in at just 3hours 42minutes, so you can easily get through it in a day.

You can actually listen to the full production for free online, or check out your local library to see if they have a copy on CD or Overdrive.

Have you listened to The Hobbit? 

*Check out Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, and also Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. 
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Wednesday, 17 April 2019

The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo | Taylor Jenkins Reid | Review

the seven husbands of evelyn hugo taylor jenkins reid

The internet was right, The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo is a great read.

After opening with a New York Tribune clipping announcing that famous Hollywood star Evelyn Hugo will be auctioning off some of her most famous gowns to raise money for breast cancer research, we are introduced to magazine reporter Monique who, much to the surprise of both herself and her boss, is personally asked for by Evelyn to cover the event. As it turns out Evelyn has an ulterior motive; she wants Monique to write her life story and share it with the world.

The book spans several decades of Evelyn’s life, following her rise to fame and all of the heartbreak along the way, with each section relating to one of her seven famous marriages which were the subject of many newspaper headlines. By the end of the novel we also find out why Evelyn was so set on Monique being the one to tell her mysterious life story; an extra little twist that provides added intrigue throughout.

My favourite thing about the book would have to be how real the characters felt. This is something I know many people have noted about Evelyn in particular, as well as the characters of the author's latest release Daisy Jones and the Six (which I'm currently twenty-something in the library queue for, but am looking forward to reading!).

Whilst Historical Fiction is not usually a genre I reach for, I found that I really enjoyed the old Hollywood setting. The book tackles a range of important topics in an interesting way and is an immersive and addictive read. With complex and intriguing characters, the journey through Evelyn's life really makes this novel special.
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Monday, 15 April 2019

Features | A Storytelling Podcast

 "Sit back, let go and imagine your life."

Today I wanted to talk about something a little different but hopefully still relevant to our readers who of course, love a good story!

Not too long ago I stumbled upon an immersive storytelling podcast called Imagined Life which launched in late 2018. Each episode tells a unique tale of the pre-fame days of someone who has gone on to become a household name, addressing the listener as if it is your life story that is being told. At the beginning of each episode you are not told who 'you' are but as you progress through the episode there are clues along the way to help you try and figure out your identity.

The stories generally share the lives of these people before they became famous, and often beyond, ranging from heartbreaking to inspiring and everything in between. Each person featured is a recognisable name and every one of them has a unique tale of how they became to be so well-known. I won't give any specific examples here, as that would definitely take away the enjoyment of guessing if you're planning to listen to the podcast, but it's safe to say they will all (or, almost all) be names you're familiar with.

Whilst I generally tend to enjoy chatty podcasts or those telling stories through interviews, I've become a little obsessed with the storytelling style of Imagined Life and have loved the guessing game element... although there have been a few that have had me stumped until the last 5 minutes or so! Of course, the episodes are scripted dramatisations and can't be 100% accurate to the real events but each episode is clearly well-researched. Each of the stories would be an interesting tale if simply told in a more traditional way however they are all the more enjoyable thanks to the immersive storytelling style.

I've definitely learnt a lot of interesting facts through listening to this podcast, particularly about people who I would recognise but have never researched further. Not only have I enjoyed listening to the episodes, but it has also inspired me to go on to read more about some of the people featured after becoming aware of their fascinating backgrounds and unique roads to fame.

You can find out more about the podcast and listen to episodes over on the Wondery website.
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Friday, 12 April 2019

The Furies | Katie Lowe | Review

1998. A sixteen-year-old girl is found dead on school property, dressed in white and posed on a swing. No known cause of death.

After the death of her father and sister in a car crash from which she was the only survivor, Valerie is starting over at Elm Hollow Academy, a private girls' school with a mysterious past. The history of Elm Hollow intertwines with 17th century witch trials and, far more recently, the disappearance of a student who was part of a secret society that Violet now finds herself invited to. Along with her new friends, Robin, Alex, and Grace, Violet meets their teacher, Annabel, in a secret part of the school each week to learn about women of art, literature, and history, including the school's own rumoured history of witchcraft that Annabel swears isn't real.

As Violet becomes entangled with her new friends, she starts to wonder about the girl they knew before, the one who went missing, who was Robin's best friend before Violet, and who apparently even looked a little like Violet. Robin envelopes Violet in her world of drinking, taking drugs, and spending time with older, university boys, and when this new world turns on Violet, Robin promises to make it right, using one of the rituals Annabel swore would never work. Violet falls further into the dark world that her new friends inhabit, tumbling deeper and deeper into the darkness, folding herself more and more into their group, until a body is found. Then, suddenly, Violet finds herself jealous of a dead girl, and unsure whether she can trust the friends she has become so linked to, after all.

The Furies is a dark, chilling tale of the intense friendships teenage girls can form and how that intensity can go horribly wrong. Annabel's lessons are meant to help the girls find a kind of power, but the power they try to harness is not the kind that Annabel intended. The novel is told from the perspective of Violet, older, looking back on the events of her teenage years, and it starts with the image of a dead girl on a swing. This vein of horror and decay permeates throughout the story, in the descriptions of the rundown seaside town surrounding Elm Hollow, in Violet's own home, where her mother has left her sister's bedroom exactly as it was the day she died, and even in Violet's interactions with her friends, shrouded in the smoke of cigarettes and pot, and flooded with wine.

This is a slow burn of a book, things take their time to come to fruition, but this works to give the sense of unease time to truly build. The girls' exploration into witchcraft and the myth of The Furies of ancient Greece being summoned to the school weave seamlessly into the almost claustrophobic friendship between the four girls, and make it all the more powerful that the true horrors in the story are not fantastical at all, but very human, and very real. Lowe's writing is extremely atmospheric, her descriptions enough to make anyone's skin crawl. The Furies is a dark and obsessive novel, perfect for fans of The Graces by Laure Eve, but who want something even darker than that.

An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review. All opinions expressed are the reviewer's own.
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Friday, 5 April 2019

Girl, Wash Your Face | Rachel Hollis | Review

Girl, Wash Your Face | Rachel Hollis | Review

I don't tend to read non-fiction books. 

Like at all. It's not that they don't interest me, or that I don't think they're worth the time; it's mostly due to the fact that I love fiction too much, and why would I spend my hours reading non-fiction when I could be reading about dragons? It's that kind of feeling.

But when I picked up Girl, Wash Your Face and flipped to the front page to check it out, I started reading and couldn't really stop. I had ordered it from the Book Depository for our April book club theme (a non-fiction title) but I semi forgot that I had done that so when it arrived and I opened the cover, I just kept reading. Which means when April rolled around I didn't have a book ready to go for the theme. Oops.

In Girl, Wash Your Face, Rachel Hollis (founder of The Chic Site, and author of The Girls series) goes through a bunch of lies that she used to believe, the stories behind them, and how she overcame and worked through them. While I haven't, like I said, read many non-fiction books at all (I could probably count them on my fingers ... on one hand), I know that the majority of what she writes is nothing new; it's all fantastic, empowering stuff, that really makes you think, but if you're a connoisseur of the self-help or motivational non-fiction genre, then you may find yourself thinking you've heard all this before. And that's totally fine. The Goodreads reviews are really all over the place - some love it, others hate it - but I found it to be really helpful, and I'm passing it around my friend group.

The way Hollis tells her stories is funny and engaging, and she interweaves faith, relationships, family trauma, and life lessons throughout the whole book. With punchy one-liners, funny anecdotes, and a heap of tough-love, Girl, Wash Your Face was a great read (and that's coming from someone who doesn't read non-fiction!).

Her second book, Girl, Stop Apologising, has recently been released, and I know I'll be picking up a copy for this month's Non-Fiction theme.

Have you read Girl, Wash Your Face? 
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Thursday, 4 April 2019

The Tattooist of Auschwitz | Heather Morris | Review

If you recall back in January the team at Bloggers Bookshelf brought you our Vow To Read selections for this year. I'm actually doing pretty well at my list and after finishing The Tattooist of Auschwitz near the start of March made it 3/5 read, and it's only the beginning of April!! Just watch me go downhill from here... the other two are sitting on my TBR pile staring at me every time I pick up another book instead of them. I can't help it if I have a review copy I need to read before a certain date, they'll always be more books I suppose. I should get around to them, but until then here's what I thought about The Tattooist and whether or not it met my expectations...

In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.

Imprisoned for more than two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.

One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.

A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov's experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.

Before starting I'd heard a lot of good things and a few bad things so I went in with a lot of expectations, especially as my Mum had marked it 5 stars on Goodreads, and turns out they were met pretty well. I didn't realise until finishing that Heather Morris is actually a New Zealander, although now living in Australia, I assumed naively that she must be from Europe. I also discovered it was initially written as a screenplay which actually makes a lot of sense.

The writing style was rather different from what I've read in the past, especially historical fiction, and that must have been because of its screenplay heritage. The dialogue flowed the scenes and there were a smaller amount of scenic descriptions than you'd usually expect in a historical fiction novel. This actually made for easy reading and allowed you to flow from scene to scene easily even if there was an abrupt change of time or place.

The story was lovely although it was not that historically accurate as some lovely people on Twitter harassed me enough to let me know it wasn't after I posted my innocent one sentence review tweet. I didn't really mind that it wasn't historically accurate as it was the retelling of Lale's story from his memories. It's historical fiction, not a textbook about the happenings at Auschwitz.

I think the main thing that surprised me was what Lale was actually tattooing. I, again naively, thought he was some 'under the table tattooist' doing body art to the other prisoners without the guards knowing. A sort of last attempt at freely choosing what happened to their bodies, when in actual fact he tattooed the numbers onto each prisoner - the number that replaced their name. That didn't even cross my mind, so while it's not accurate down to the exact fact it definitely made me think differently about what happened during World War II and the Holocaust which I think was the general idea. 

I definitely do recommend it if you're into historical fiction, if you liked The Diary of Anne Frank and like to see a different perspective, or just want to learn more about what happened during that time.

Have you read it? What did you think?

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Monday, 1 April 2019

Book Club | April 2019 - A Non-Fiction Title

For our 2019 BB Book Club we've put together a printable list of twelve different prompts. On the 1st day of each month, we'll be introducing you to the month's prompt and the books team members each plan to read, along with some other suggested reads we think you'll love. Of course, these are just ideas so please feel free to interpret the prompts however you wish!

We're also inviting you to share photos and mini reviews of your book club picks on social media using #bookshelfbookclub and tag @bloggersbookshelf on Instagram.

Our prompt for April is... A Non-Fiction Title

What we'll be reading...

Anjali's Pick: Girl, Stop Apologising by Rachel Hollis

"I'm not good at reading non-fiction books, but about a month or so a go I read Hollis' book Girl, Wash Your Face, and really enjoyed it. When I saw that she had another book (just recently out!) I knew I had to get my hands on it. I've heard good things about this, despite it only being out for a week weeks now, and I'm looking forward to getting stuck into it."

Erin's Pick: The People V. O. J. Simpson by Jeffrey Toobin

"I settled on True Crime for my non-fiction pick and The People V. O.J. Simpson is a title I've been meaning to read for a couple of years now. It comes highly recommended by a friend who was just as fascinated by the 2016 TV adaptation as I was so I'm hoping it'll be a good choice."

Ria's Pick: Becoming by Michelle Obama

"Michelle Obama is one of my biggest inspirations and publicly she exudes such an air of confidence, charisma and intelligence that I aspire to have. And yet, despite her public persona, I feel like there's so much more to her. So you can imagine I've been pretty excited to start on my non-fiction book club pick since I got it for Christmas!"

Other suggested reads...

- Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops (Jen Campbell) - review
- The Moth (Catherine Burns) - review
- This Is Going To Hurt: Secret Diaries Of A Junior Doctor (Adam Kay)
- The Gender Games (Juno Dawson)
- This Is Just My Face: Try Not To Stare (Gabourey Sidibe)

Use the hashtag #bookshelfbookclub and tag @bloggersbookshelf on Instagram to share your photos and mini reviews with us throughout the month!
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Sunday, 31 March 2019

Book Club | March 2019 Roundup

Our book club theme for March was books with 'an animal or creature in the title' and we saw quite a variety of different picks!

Thank you to everyone who shared photos and mini reviews over on social media throughout the month. We loved seeing your selections and finding new titles for our TBRs. Below are a selection of our favourite images and mini reviews shared over on Instagram.

This month’s theme for the @bloggersbookshelf Book Club was a book ‘with an animal or creature in the title’ so Not Forgetting the Whale by John Ironmonger was a perfect fit. Not Forgetting the Whale tells the story of a city analyst called Joe and the tiny Cornish village he washes up in one day. Having created a computer program that has predicted the end of the world, and possibly caused an economic crash, Joe flees to the very end of the country, where he finds unexpected help, first from a whale, and then from a whole village of people. Not Forgetting the Whale is unlike any apocalyptic story I’ve read before, and, cheesy as it sounds, it did leave me feeling a little more hopeful for the human race. Also, if you’re looking for an accurate portrayal of small Cornish communities, this is it! - If you want to join in with our book club next month, the theme is ‘non-fiction’! - #bloggersbookshelf #bookshelfbookclub #bookstagram #bookbloggers #currentlyreading #instabooks #reading #books #bookworm #booklove #bookcovers #prettybooks #beautifulbooks #instabooks #bibliophile #vsco #vscocam #vscobooks #igreads #booklover #notforgettingthewhale
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The Tusk That Did The Damage by Tania James

"Chronicaling the story of an elephant tribe in South India, and the humans that surround them, The Tusk That Did The Damage offers a multilayered look at wildlife conservation and poaching.

The book itself is told through the eyes of Gravedigger (once an orphaned elephant calf then sold into labor and exhibition, now infamous for his seemingly violent attacks on humans), the poachers who are spurred on by revenge for Gravedigger's misdeads, and white documentary filmmaker who both captures and entangles herself in tensions between Government, conservationists and the locals themselves).

I did struggle with the switching narratives initially. The three voices in the book are so distinct, it felt a bit jarring to go from the elephant's narration, straight into our filmmakers' dilemma. Not to mention the time jumps between certain chapters made it hard to gauge where in the story you were. As the book reached it's climax everything suddenly clicked though. And I found myself suddenly committed to finding out how all of this tension that had built would explode out." - @RCagz

Percy Jackson and the Sea Of Monsters by Rick Riordan

"This year I hope to read the five books in the Percy Jackson series, which has been a long time coming. I read the first in January, and the second in the series, Sea of Monsters, was a perfect fit for the March theme. Percy, now knowing that he is a half-blood (his father is Posiden, god of the sea), is deep into the land of gods, goddesses, mythological creatures and tales, and the adventure in this book involves a boat trip, a Golden Fleece, a cyclops (or two!), sheep of doom and various other slightly out-there concepts. While I didn't like Sea of Monsters quite as much as the first book (Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief) I did still really enjoy getting back to Percy's story. It's a 3/5 stars from me, but with the recommendation that this series is really fun to read and you should get on it if you haven't already." - @anjalikay

I’ve been busy and I have let Instagram go a little bit. But I haven’t let reading go. So for @bloggersbookshelf March prompt, “With an animal or creature in the title”, I read Fox 8 by George Saunders. I sort of forgot that I wanted to do the @bookriot Read Harder challenge as well. So this be ok also worked for the prompt “A book in which an animal or inanimate object is a point of view character”. This quick read was an under 50 pages read. So the large bar of chocolate was barely eaten (yet). I typically don’t enjoy books from an animal’s point of view (or an inanimate object’s) but this one was fun and sweet. Through this 30 minute read, Fox 8 learns some lessons about humans (or yumans, as written). He’s a sweet and curious fox. Through his perspective we get to see ourselves. The grammar was entertaining, the ending was so sweet. The illustrations were a delight. What a great start to March. . . . #readandeat #bibliophile #reading #2019readingchallenge #bloggersbook #bookshelfbookclub #bookriotchallenge #readharder #readharderchallenge2019 #georgesaunders #fox8 #bookish #bookstagram #instabooks
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We'll be introducing April's book club tomorrow so don't forget to check back!
Use the hashtag #bookshelfbookclub and tag @bloggersbookshelf to share your photos and mini reviews with us throughout the month.

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Thursday, 28 March 2019

Serious Moonlight | Jenn Bennett | Review

Raised in isolation and home-schooled by her strict grandparents, the only experience Birdie has had of the outside world is through her favourite crime books. But everything changes when she takes a summer job working the night shift at a historic Seattle hotel.

Birdie Lindberg loves a mystery. After the death of her mother, and under the strict, watchful eye of her grandmother, the only adventures Birdie ever had where the ones she read about in the pages of her favourite mystery novels. But Birdie is eighteen now, her grandmother has passed away too, and Birdie and her grandfather both agree that it's time for Birdie to go out into the world and find her own adventures. Starting with taking a job working the night shift at a historic Seattle hotel, once the scene of an infamous murder.

Birdie thinks she knows exactly what mystery she wants to solve, but then she meets her new coworker, Daniel, who she actually met once before. After a very awkward encounter in the back seat of Daniel's car, had before either of them realised they'd be working together, Birdie tries to avoid Daniel at work, but Daniel knows the way to Birdie's heart. He has a mystery they can solve together, about why a famously reclusive author might be using the hotel for secret meetings. Birdie can't resist the chance to solve a real life mystery, but spending so much time with Daniel only leaves her with even more questions.

Birdie has a lot of growing up to do in the pages of Serious Moonlight and much of it very quickly becomes entangled in her relationship with Daniel, an amateur magician she meets one night in her favourite diner. Having, until this point, lived a very sheltered life on Bainbridge Island with only her grandparents and her eccentric artist godmother, Mona, for company, Birdie doesn't always know how to deal with her developing feelings for Daniel, least of all when he shares a difficult truth about his past with her. Birdie preoccupies herself with solving mysteries as a way to make sense of the world that took her mother from her, but Birdie's own feelings are often what she really needs to make sense of, which feels very appropriate for a novel about an eighteen year old girl trying to figure out who she is.

Although Birdie has her own idiosyncrasies, such as creating suspect profiles for everyone she meets, and although the mystery of the elusive author spotted in the hotel contains many twists and turns that wouldn't be out of place in a classic spy thriller, the real problems Birdie faces are extremely real. The pressure she feels not to repeat what her grandmother saw as her mother's mistakes, her reluctance to find out if her sleep problems might be linked to her grandfather's narcolepsy, the fear that her godmother, her one link to the life she had with her own mother as a child, might leave her, the trepidation she feels after sleeping with Danial, and later, after Daniel reveals a very painful secret about his own past. These are all extremely important problems facing a lot of people Birdie's age, and Bennett handles them sensitively and in a way that feels believable for Birdie.

Birdie does not always know how to react to the real mysteries life throws in her way, but she's eighteen, why should she? Growing up is messy and the heart of this novel lies in watching Birdie figure out what she wants her life to look like and how she can make it happen.

An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review. All opinions expressed are the reviewer's own.
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Friday, 22 March 2019

Features | 10 YA Novels I'm Looking Forward To in 2019

I realise we're half way through march already (already?!) but I keep seeing books on Goodreads and blogger's early ARC reviews of novels that are coming out this year. I have to say, I am definitely looking forward to what this year will bring to my book shelves.

With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to pile a list of some of the Young Adult books that I'm really looking forward to, with a few honourable mentions of books that have already hit the shelves.

Features | 10 YA Novels I'm Looking Forward To in 2019

Once & Future, by Amy Rose Capetta and  Cori McCarthy (March)

This is just about to be released, and it sounds super neat. This is a gender-bending retelling of none other than the great King Arthur. It's Sci-Fi too, so it should be a really interesting, hopefully very unique take on an old tale.

Wicked Saints, by Emily A. Duncan (April)

"A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself. A prince in danger must decide who to trust. A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war." I don't think I need to say more.

The Red Scrolls of Magicby Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu (April)

The next Shadowhunter book coming out is the first in the The Eldest Curses series, which is focused on Alec and Magnus travelling around Europe, I believe. While I struggled through the latest Shadowhunter book, Queen of Air and Darkness (it was 880 pages long you guys! That's about 400 pages too many!) I am looking forward to this series.

Finale, by Stephanie Garber (May)

I should probably read the second in this series before this one comes out, but I really enjoyed Caraval, the first in this series by Garber.

Romanov, by Nadine Brandes (May)

I'm so so so looking forward to this re-telling of Anastasia and the Romanov family. One of my all time favourite kids movies is Anastasia and I don't think it gets enough credit at all. I believe it's on Netflix at the moment, so you guys should totally get on that train. It's wonderful.

Stepsister, by Jennifer Donnelly  (May)

Another re-telling to add to the list, this time for Cinderella. But it's a flip on the story we all know so well (perhaps too well?), and told from one of the stepsister's perspectives.

Sorcery of Thorns, by Margaret Rogerson (June)

This one is about magic and libraries. Could a book have any greater potential? It also looks to be a stand-alone, which I can totally get behind (don't get me wrong I love series, but it's also nice to dive into a stand-alone fantasy every now and then).

Pumpkinheadsby Rainbow Rowell (August)

Um, hello. Another Rainbow Rowell book is coming out and this time it's a YA graphic novel! This looks super cute.

Wayward Son, by Rainbow Rowell (September)

The long anticipated sequel to Carry On, which was never meant to have a sequel, is finally coming! I am so looking forward to this book! Check out my review of Carry On here and Sophie's review here.

Chain of Gold, by Cassandra Clare (November)

Another start of another series in the Shadowhunter world from Clare, The Last Hours series is jumping back in time to sit somewhere between The Infernal Devices series and The Moral Instruments series. Really looking forward to this one, too!

Honourable mentions

These books have already been released sometime in the past 2.5 months, but I haven't got around to reading them yet. Let me know what you think of them if you've already managed to have a read!

  • King of Scars, by Leigh Bardugo
  • The Gilded Wolves, by Roshani Chokshi
  • Two Can Keep a Secret, by Karen M. McManus
  • A Curse So Dark and Lonely, by Brigid Kemmerer 
  • Four Dead Queens, by Astrid Schotle
  • Evermore, by Sara Holland
  • Enchantée, by Gita Trelease 
  • Circle of Shadows, by Evelyn Skye
  • Crown of Feathers, by Nicki Pau Preto 
  • Ship of Smoke and Steel, by Django Wexler 
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Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Bookish Links #49

1. These handmade corner bookmarks are adorable!

2. International Women's Day may have come and gone but these titles would still be great reads any day of the year.

3. How many books could you read in one year? This test has the answers.

4. Sophie shared mini reviews of four titles she read in February including On The Come Up by Angie Thomas and Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan.

5. If you're looking for some audiobooks to listen to this year you'll love this post.

6. Michelle shared her thoughts on all of the companion books to the Harry Potter series.

7. Continuing with the Harry Potter theme, Rachel sorted 2019 releases into their Hogwarts houses.

8. Jessica shared some new favourite authors she discovered last year.

9. We loved Jamie's post all about how her reading life has changed since becoming a parent.

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Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Sadie | Courtney Summers | Review

sadie courtney summers book review blogger's bookshelf

When popular radio personality West McCray receives a desperate phone call from a stranger imploring him to find nineteen-year-old runaway Sadie Hunter, he's not convinced there's a story there; girls go missing all the time. But as soon as West's boss discovers Sadie fled home after the brutal murder of her little sister Mattie, he sees the makings of something big and orders West to the small town of Cold Creek, Colorado, to uncover what happened.

Set in the small town of Cold Creek Colorado, this YA mystery title tells the story of missing girl Sadie Hunter and her younger sister Mattie who was brutally murdered. Having been informed of the situation by a local resident, radio personality West McCray launches a True Crime podcast titled The Girls, investigating Sadie's whereabouts and piecing together clues about Mattie's death along the way.

Throughout the book the chapters alternate between transcripts of McCray's investigative podcast episodes and Sadie's journey to find and exact revenge on the man responsible for her little sister's death. The book also explores the complicated relationships between Sadie, Mattie, their mother Claire who has battled with addiction and surrogate grandmother May Beth, the woman who brought the girls' story to McCray's attention.

Personally, I'm a huge fan of podcasts and have been fascinated by the stories told through popular True Crime series such as Serial, Dirty John and Criminal, so the inclusion of the podcast format was a big draw for me. In the beginning, I found I was enjoying the podcast sections much more than those following Sadie, but I quickly grew to become more and more invested in her chapters as the story unfolded. The book tackles some very serious issues and is a heavy read, but this only highlights just how important it is that stories like Sadie's are told.

Sadie is a haunting and heartbreaking book that has received a huge amount of praise from the bookish community, with positive reviews across blogs, YouTube channels and other social media platforms. Whilst due to the nature of the topics covered in the book it is a tough read, it is also certainly one that's worth the hype.
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Friday, 1 March 2019

Book Club | March 2019 - An Animal Or Creature In The Title

bloggers bookshelf book club 2019

For our 2019 BB Book Club we've put together a printable list of twelve different prompts. On the 1st day of each month, we'll be introducing you to the month's prompt and the books team members each plan to read, along with some other suggested reads we think you'll love. Of course, these are just ideas so please feel free to interpret the prompts however you wish!

We're also inviting you to share photos and mini reviews of your book club picks on social media using #bookshelfbookclub and tag @bloggersbookshelf on Instagram.

Our prompt for March is... An Animal Or Creature In The Title

march book club 2019

What we'll be reading...

Ria's Pick: The Tusk That Did The Damage by Tania James

"I stumbled upon this read when I was looking for books that were set in India, before I visited the country back in 2017. The plot looked really unusual, in that one of the narrators is actually an elephant, plus the story itself was set in one of the regions we'd be visiting. I didn't get to read this before I went on holiday, but I'm hoping that the story will feel even more vivid, as I've now actually been to Kerala (where the book is set) and saw elephants in a sanctuary there too!"

Erin's Pick: Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin

"Just like last month, I've decided to use our book club to tackle my TBR list with a title that's been sitting unread on my Kindle for two years. Set in 1956, the book follows an alternate version of history, where Hitler prevailed and a young former death camp prisoner sets out to kill him. Whilst historical fiction is not a genre I tend to reach for often, I've heard nothing but great things about this series and I'm hoping I'll enjoy it as much as everyone else."

Anjali's Pick: Percy Jackson & the Sea Of Monsters by Rick Riordan

"One of my vow to read books this year was Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief, which I've already read. Thought this month's theme was the perfect opportunity to keep the series going! Looking forward to reading this one!"

Other suggested reads...

- Six Of Crows (Leigh Bardugo) - review
- Lion (Saroo Brierly)
- Tigers In Red Weather (Liza Klaussman)
- Turtles All The Way Down (John Green) - review
- Dear Mrs Bird (AJ Pearce) - review
- White Rabbit, Red Wolf (Tom Pollock) - review
- A Monster Calls (Patrick Ness)
- Monsters (Emerald Fennell)
- The Moth (Catherine Burns) - review

Use the hashtag #bookshelfbookclub and tag @bloggersbookshelf on Instagram to share your photos and mini reviews with us throughout the month!
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Thursday, 28 February 2019

Book Club | February 2019 Roundup

As February is the shortest month of the year, we decided to throwback to our 2018 book club theme 'short stories' with the simple prompt 'under 200 pages'.

Thank you to everyone who shared photos and mini reviews over on social media throughout the month. We loved seeing your picks for our February prompt and were impressed by just how quickly some of you finished reading them!

Below are a selection of our favourite images and mini reviews shared over on Instagram - there will also be a roundup of photos in our latest newsletter which hits inboxes tomorrow morning.

The @bloggersbookshelf February Book Club prompt is 'Under 200 Pages', so it's the perfect time to read Ghost Wall, the latest release by one of my favourite authors, Sarah Moss. 🦊 I read this 150 page novella in a single breathless sitting, and enjoyed every second of it. Ghost Wall follows Silvie and her parents as they join an archeological experiment, trying to recreate Iron Age living in the Northumberland countryside. Ghost Wall is filled with tension, and commentary on class, gender, and how history is a narrative. Moss creates a story about how we need our identities, and grip desperately to them even when they crush us. #bookstagram #bookshelfbookclub #februarysbooks19 - Day 12 - Book and a candle #bookobsessed #shelfie #igreads #instareads #bookbloggers #booklovers #bibliophile #bookish #bookcommunity
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"Originally published in the November 1956 issue of Science Fiction Quarterly, The Last Question is a very short story (according to Goodreads it's only 9 pages long!) that you can read online. It's very Sci-Fi, but this mind-blowing wee story somehow fits science, technology, philosophy and theology all into a very short space of time ('space and time' may or may not be a very apt turn of phrase for this tale - you'll have to read it to find out). A friend recommended it to me, and I'm glad I sat down and read it. If you're interested, you can find it here online, and it will only take about 15 - 20 minutes to read." - @anjalikay

Finished @bloggersbookshelf prompt for February already. I’ve read a few of Shirley Jackson’s writing in the past, being a fan of eerie and Gothic stories. Wanting to read more of her work I chose ‘We Have Always Lived In The Castle’ which has the same underlying eerie tone to it. It’s a grim comedy of sorts. Macabre and polite are the two words that pop into my head when thinking about what I just read. The narrative is told through the perspective of Merricat, the youngest of what is left of the Blackwood family. She showcases her observations of her day-to-day with a childlike voice addressing the theme of being an outsider in a small town. “‘I can’t help it when people are frightened,’ says Merricat. ‘I always want to frighten them more.’” . . . . #readinggoals #yeg #books📚 #bookshelfbookclub #bloggersbookself #2019readingchallenge #shirleyjackson #penguinclassics #edmontonpubliclibrary
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"I was startled at first to start reading this book and discover it wasn't from the perspective of the title-named Stargirl, but rather from a boy called Leo who is at the school that Stargirl comes bursting into. But once I got over that initial that-wasn't-what-I-was-expecting feeling, I settled in for the story which was around 186 pages. Very briefly, it tells the tale of a high school in Mica, Arizona, who is heavily impacted by the sudden appearance of home-schooler, Stargirl. She explodes into their lives in a shower of quirky clothes, a ukulele, and a question formed around her by the entire student body: Who is Stargirl? Why is she so different? It's a beautiful wee story about non-conformity, about standing out because you're different, and for fearlessly being yourself. 5/5 from me, and I recommend picking up before the movie comes out later this year." - @anjalikay

February’s @bloggersbookshelf Book Club theme is ‘under 200 pages’, which was the perfect opportunity for me to read The Last Battle. I finally decided to read The Chronicles of Narnia for the first time last year and it’s been really interesting to finally read these stories everyone else read as children as an adult! This last book wasn’t my favourite in the series. It felt a little bit flat to me, with less of the magic from the earlier novels, and almost like Lewis was trying to tell two stories in the space of one, but I enjoyed reading about my terrible boy Eustace Scrubb again, and I’m really glad to have finally read this series! Now I know what all the fuss is about! - Want to join in with our book club next month? March’s theme is ‘a book with an animal or creature in the title’. - #bloggersbookshelf #bookshelfbookclub #bookstagram #bookbloggers #currentlyreading #instabooks #reading #books #bookworm #booklove #bookcovers #prettybooks #beautifulbooks #instabooks #bibliophile #vsco #vscocam #vscobooks #igreads #booklover #narnia #thechroniclesofnarnia #thelastbattle #cslewis
A post shared by Anastasia Gammon (@stasialikescakes) on



"This month I chose to read Starers by Nathan Robinson, a book which had been sitting on my Kindle for quite a while. The story centres around the Keene family whose lives are shaken by an ominous crowd of people gathering around their house, simply staring. As soon as I started reading the book I found that it wasn’t exactly what I had expected but I was kept intrigued by the mystery of where the 'Starers' came from and why they were so transfixed by the Keene household.  Overall I think the idea behind the book was interesting, unique and certainly creepy, but sadly I just didn’t love it." - @sawyerandscout 


"Hard to read as all older classics are but still good and a great telling of Jason and Medea’s tale. I’ve heard all about Jason and Medea but never actually read their story so it was fun to read part of a new myth I wasn’t familiar with. It’s an odd section of the Golden Fleece expedition but I enjoyed it and now want to find a copy of the full version!" - @sofilly

We'll be introducing March's book club tomorrow so don't forget to check back!

Use the hashtag #bookshelfbookclub and tag @bloggersbookshelf to share your photos and mini reviews with us throughout the month.

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