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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.

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Friday, 6 September 2019

Dumplin' | Julie Murphy | Review


Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back. Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all. 
While Dumplin' has been out since 2015, it was only this past month that I got around to picking it up. Perhaps I was prompted by the Netflix movie and wanting to see that but read the book first, or the fact that I was given Puddin' by Julie Murphy and wanted to read Dumplin' before getting stuck into Puddin' (although I don't think it matters if you read them in order). Whatever the reason, I finally picked it up.

This was a really sweet book, and the description above pretty much says it all. Dumplin' was a fun read, and overall I enjoyed it. There were definitely parts that I was really annoyed about (Willowdean has long periods of not talking to two different characters, and the reasons behind her decision and anger were a touch on the ridiculous side), and there was a whole thing with 'mums' in the book that I got super confused about when both the author and the characters are American (and so therefore say 'Mom'). That was, however, until I did some Googling and discovered that a 'mum' is a Texan homecoming thing, and not just the British spelling of 'mom'.

While the book had it's moments of ridiculousness, it also had plenty of 'naw' moments and you were definitely cheering for Will the whole time. I can safely say that I can now watch the film.

Have you read Dumplin'? What did you think? 
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Sunday, 1 September 2019

Book Club | September 2019 - Also A Movie Or TV Show


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 September is... Also A Movie Or TV Show


What we'll be reading...


Erin's Pick: Dexter In The Dark by Jeff Lindsay

"When we selected the prompts for 2019's book club, I thought September's theme would be an easy one but I actually found it quite difficult to choose a title for this month. I've already read a handful of books that would've worked earlier in the year so probably should have timed my library loans better! Instead I've opted to read a book that's been sitting on my shelf for a while (read: years). I started reading the Dexter series back in 2013 so it's about time I moved on to book three! "

Anjali's Pick: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

"This will be a re-read for me, but it's one that I've been wanting to pick up again ever since I read for the first time. I re-read the first in this duology, Six of Crows, a month or so back so am really looking forward to continuing with the story (again). While not strictly speaking a book that has been made into a show or movie yet, the whole Grishaverse created by Bardugo is in the process of being turned into a TV show. This is going to include the characters and story lines from this duology and also the Shadow and Bone series. It's still very early days, but boy am I looking forward to it (but also really hope they don't muck it up!!)."

Other suggested reads...

- The Book Thief (Markus Zuzak) - review
- Crazy Rich Asians (Kevin Kwan) - review
- Ready Player One (Ernest Cline) - review
- The Hate U Give (Angie Thomas) - review
- Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro) - review
- Wonder (RJ Palacio) - review
- To All The Boys I've Loved Before (Jenny Han) - review
- You (Caroline Kepnes)
- About A Boy (Nick Hornby) - review
- Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda (Becky Albertalli) - 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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Saturday, 31 August 2019

Book Club | August 2019 Roundup


It's book club roundup time again, and we have a short and sweet one for you this month! Here are a few of the books shared for our August theme 'water on the cover'...







I missed a couple of months of the @bloggersbookshelf book club but I’m back with A Year of Marvellous Ways for this month’s theme: books with water on the cover. A Year of Marvellous Ways is a little bit difficult to describe. It’s about an 89 year old woman called Marvellous Ways, a 27 year old soldier called Francis Drake, their lives, their friendship, the sea, and magic. It’s an unusual novel, one which I’m sure has charmed a lot of people and will continue to for a long time to come. It charmed me in places too but unfortunately the parts I liked and the parts I didn’t seemed to even out, leaving me with an opinion as hard to put into words as the story itself. Still, if you like unusual, literary novels with a splash of whimsy and magic, this is probably a good one to look in to! - #bloggersbookshelf #bookshelfbookclub #bookstagram #bookbloggers #bookreview #reading #books #bookworm #booklove #bookcovers #prettybooks #beautifulbooks #instabooks #bibliophile #vsco #vscocam #vscobooks #igreads #booklover #tea #teastagram #cupoftea #acupoftea #teatime #timefortea #abookandacupoftea #acupofteaandabook
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Summer Of Salt By Katrina Leno


"I really wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up this book, but I'd heard really good things about it. The world and characters created by Leno were certainly intriguing and I also liked both the unique setting of By-the-Sea and the addition of magical elements. Overall Summer Of Salt was an enjoyable read." - Erin




We Were Liars By E Lockhart


"If you're after a story about family, friends, love and adventure, manipulation and lies, complete with a thousand questions about what really happened to Cady the Summer of 15, then grab a copy of this book." - from Anjali's recent review


We'll be introducing September's book club theme 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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Friday, 23 August 2019

We Were Liars | E. Lockhart | Review


The perfect pick for August's Book Club Theme: A book with water on the cover! 

In We Were Liars, Cadence Sinclair is the eldest granddaughter to a millionaire, and heir to his a private island, where she and her extended family spend every summer. Each year Cady goes to Beachlands; she and The Liars - her cousins Johnny and Merrin, and friend Gat - swim, explore, go in the boats across to the town, play with the younger children, avoid family fights and spend time between the family houses on the island. One year, 'Summer 15' - the summer they were all 15 - Cady awakes on the beach in nothing but her underclothes. The following months, Cady asks her mother just what happened that year- why she was alone on the beach at night, wearing barley anything, why her head hurts so much - and each day her mother tells her, but each day she forgets. Her migraines take over her life, and while the doctors give her medicine for them, they can't find the source, and put it down to head trauma from her accident.  

The following summer, Cady goes on a trip around Europe with her father, missing her time with her friends on the island. 'Summer 17', she returns to the island with her mother, only to find her grandfather's house gone, a huge fancy one in its place. While the Liars comment on her change of hair, and worry about her headaches, they are the same to Cady despite them not returning her emails for the past 2 years. The summer continues, her friends seeming to go off a lot without her while she wallows in her bed, clutching her head in pain.  

I really enjoyed this book.  I feel I can't say too much without giving crucial parts away, but it was full of interesting characters and personalities, first loves and heart aches, full of insanely-rich-family drama, and adventures around what sounds like an amazing island. It was well written (and well read), from the perspective of Cadence, and the only reason I didn't give it a 5 star rating was because I called what happened long before Cady did, and I felt like the end chapters were a bit too drawn out.  

If you're after a story about family, friends, love and adventure, manipulation and lies, complete with a thousand questions about what really happened to Cady the Summer of 15, then grab a copy of this book. Considering it won the Goodreads Choice Aware in 2014, you know it's going to be a good one, right? 

Have you read We Were Liars

Photo by Jingda Chen on Unsplash; Book cover from Goodreads
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Friday, 16 August 2019

A Sky Painted Gold | Laura Wood | Review


As Lou is swept into the Cardew siblings' dazzling world of moonlit parties, unrivalled glamour, and whispered secrets, can she stay true to her self... and her heart?

Lou has always been fascinated by the grand Cardew house, standing empty on the small island across the causeway from her tiny Cornish village. So fascinated, in fact, that she often walks, or swims at high tide, across to the island to pick apples from the orchard, or, more recently, to sneak in through a broken window and read Agatha Christie novels from the house's vast library, or to write her own detective stories in her notebook. With the Cardew family never visiting their Cornish home, Lou has found it the perfect place to get away from  her many siblings for a few hours, and enjoy the quiet of the big house. Until, of course, the Cardews return, and Lou is almost caught redhanded.

Luckily for Lou, the Cardew siblings, Robert and Caitlin, don't seem to mind that she has been breaking into their house, and she soon finds herself in their inner circle, invited to all of Caitlin's grand parties, and even with her own bedroom in the house. Caitlin and Lou fast become friends, but things are more difficult with Robert, the lord of the house, who Lou finds more than a little rude. Lou is charmed by the house and by the Cardews' life, and it isn't long before she finds herself spending more time on the island sunbathing with Caitlin and bickering with Robert, than she does back at home with her newly married sister, Alice. As the summer goes on, Lou has to face the fact that eventually Caitlin and Robert will return to London, and she'll need to decide what her life will look like when those grand parties end.

A Sky Painted Gold is a perfect summer read. Lou's story is filled with the kind of glamour you might expect from a novel that takes place in a grand house in the 1920s, but it also has the heart and depth to back up that shining facade. Lou sees her sister Alice, happily married to her childhood sweetheart and, worried that that is the path expected of her too, throws herself into the escapism of the Cardews' lives, but, of course, she eventually learns that throwing these lavish parties is a kind of escapism for Caitlin too. Lou is sympathetic and, at times, naive, but she cares so deeply for the people around her that this, in turn, makes it impossible for the reader not to care about her. Even as Lou begins to worry that she might be little more than a novelty among her new friends, she still only wants to help them, even as it starts to damage her relationship with her own sister.

There is romance of more than one kind in this story, and Wood addresses many of the issues that faced young people of Lou's time, and still do today, but ultimately this is a true coming-of-age story, and amongst the fun and the frivolity and possible falling in love, Lou must really decide what she wants her life to be. She cannot party with the Cardews forever but she does not necessarily want to follow Alice down the aisle right away, either, and if there is one thing she learns from the Cardews it is that she can only put off thinking about it for so long. It is a delight to read about Lou's summer with the Cardews, truly a summer of self-discovery, and it is certainly a story that I will read again and again.
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Friday, 2 August 2019

No Big Deal | Bethany Rutter | Review


'It's not my body that's holding me back. I think it's more of a problem that people tell me my body should hold me back.'

Emily Daly is seventeen years old. She is funny and smart, she likes fashion and music, and she is fat. Emily likes her body and doesn't see why anyone else should have a problem with it, but Emily's mum is obsessed with dieting and desperate for Emily to join in with her newest diet plan, no matter how much Emily refuses. Although Emily knows she doesn't need to lose weight to be happy, doubts begin to crawl in when a boy rejects her at a party, seemingly because of her size, and are intensified when her best friend, Camila, a fellow fat girl, returns from holiday newly confident and newly thin.

Then there's Joe. Joe who likes the music Emily likes, and is possibly the cutest boy Emily has ever seen, and seems to like spending time with her too. Is it possible that he might like her the way she likes him? No matter how confident Emily is, it isn't always easy to ignore the fact that so many people seem to think she'd be happier if she lost weight, or the worry that Joe might not like her unless she does. With this new world of dating comes new insecurities, and the biggest challenge of all - remembering to love herself too.

No Big Deal feels like a UKYA classic in the making. It has the humour, heart, and authenticity that readers can expect from a contemporary YA story set in the UK, and a protagonist it is impossible not to root for, with a cast of friends and family to back her up. It is a fairly short read, with the pace to match, and will, I suspect, be read and re-read again and again by its fans. As a protagonist, Emily is a breath of fresh air: confident, self-assured in her own beliefs, but still with the realistic wobbles that all teenagers, no matter how confident, can certainly relate to. No Big Deal deals with important themes but, perhaps more importantly, it does so in a way that feels fun and, at times, intimate, in a very good way. It would be difficult for any adult to read Emily's story and not remember what it felt like to be seventeen, or for any seventeen year old to read it and not relate to some of Emily's struggles.

Rutter addresses a lot of issues facing teens, and everyone else, in No Big Deal, and, at times, yes, a few of these conversations can seem to have little to do with the plot at large, but they are important conversations to be having, not just for young people, and it is no small thing to see them had in a book for teenagers, at the heart of which is a simple message of loving, respecting, and trusting oneself. No Big Deal is the book I wish I had had as a teenager and Emily Daly is a protagonist all readers should look forward to meeting. The real triumph of No Big Deal is Rutter's ability to reach out, through her words, and tell the reader that they are not alone, and that they do not need to change for anyone. A message we all need to hear once in a while.

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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Thursday, 1 August 2019

Book Club | August 2019 - With Water On The Cover


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

Our prompt for August is... With Water On The Cover



What we'll be reading...


Ria's Pick: Turning: Lessons from Swimming Berlin's Lakes by Jessica J. Lee

"I found this book almost by kismet on my recent trip to Berlin in an English language bookshop. Part-memoir, this personal reflection by Lee on her own time in Berlin, swimming in the lakes both within and surrounding the city feels like the perfect meandering Summer read!"

Erin's Pick: Summer Of Salt by Katrina Leno

"My library loans have lined up nicely this month as I just happened to have reserved Summer Of Salt which is perfect for this challenge. I've heard some great things about this short YA read and I enjoyed one of the author's other books Everything All At Once; which also happens to have water on the cover if you're stuck for ideas!"


Other suggested reads...

- Challenger Deep (Neal Shusterman)
- The Lido (Libby Page)
- The Water Cure (Sophie Mackintosh)
- The Woman In Cabin 10 (Ruth Ware)
- Second Chance Summer (Morgan Matson)
- We Were Liars (E Lockhart)

More ideas can also be found on these Goodreads lists:
- Cover With Body Of Water
- Popular Water On Cover Books
 
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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Radioactive Evolution | Richard Hummel | Review

Cropped cover shot from Word of the Nerd

Before this book I hadn't knowingly stepped into the genre that is LitRPG. You heard that right, books that are based around RPGs (role-playing games for those of you who don't know). To be honest with my love of video games I'm amazed I haven't stumbled into it before, the closest I've probably gotten is Ready Player One which isn't classed as LitRPG but is probably borderline.

Basically, LitRPG's are when games or game-like challenges form an essential part of the story and visible RPG statistics (for example strength, intelligence, damage) are a significant part of the reading experience. The first chapter of Radioactive Evolution* ends with the initial look into this game like form when Jared unlocks a dragon?!?!?


Sidekick Unlocked: Dragon


The idea of the whole story is so gamelike, from beating creatures and levelling up your skills to fighting the 'boss' creatures. Jared and Scarlett are on a big quest to unearth Scarlett's family of fire dragons from where they've been hiding in the earth's core, and on the way come across various obstacles to overcome from people, giant rats, and another dragon?!?! I will say that although I enjoyed the whole gamelike aspect it did give me the kind of stress that video games give you. Stressed throughout a fight in case you lose and have to redo the level, however, Jared can't redo the level he'll just die a regular human death because 'LIVES' DON'T EXIST! Super stressful.

The basis of this dystopian world is a virus has taken out most of the human race and in order to stay alive you must inject yourself with boosters every few months but of course the boosters are running out. The nanites from the boosters can allow you to connect with a creature, like Jared and Scarlett are connected, and allow you to increase your stats and you can even obtain special abilities from killing and extracting nanites from boss creatures. This may sound a little confusing but trust me Richard Hummel explains it much better throughout the book. I think the coolest part though is being able to connect with another creature, there's another bonding you meet further into the book which I won't go into too much as spoilers, but they bond with a big cat called Kitty - so it's not just dragons!

If you like any aspect of video gaming or dystopian stories with dragons I totally recommend Radioactive Evolution. Now I'm going to move onto the second book and the rest of the LitRPG genre.


If you could connect with a creature of some kind, what would you choose? I think I'd choose a big cat like Kitty!


*This book was given to me to review, but all opinions are my own

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Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Book Club | July 2019 Roundup

It's time for another book club roundup! Our theme for July 2019 was '5-word titles' which includes a huge variety of books and genres. Here are some of those shared on social media...








A post shared by Anjali -This Splendid Shambles (@anjalikay) on


Ghosts Of The Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare


"I really enjoyed Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare. While it was a huge book, these short stories were set around one of my favourite characters from her Shadowhunter world. It was really neat to be able to read about his life after we left him at the end of a prior series. Clare also managed to set a few things up for future books, too." - Anjali




Always And Forever Lara Jean by Jenny Han


"Always and Forever, Lara Jean was really good! A great ending to a great series, and I would say better than the second book though it was a little predictable. Totally worth reading the entire series if you’ve already done To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before cuz of the hype!" - Sophie



A Darker Shade Of Magic by V E Schwab


"When I started reading A Darker Shade Of Magic I was a little disappointed that I didn't feel instantly invested in the story as I know it's very popular with other members of Team BB, however I definitely enjoyed it more as I read on thanks to Schwab's writing style. YA Fantasy isn't my usual go-to genre but I'm glad I picked up this book for something a little different." - Erin


We'll be introducing August'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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Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Features | My Favourite Reads Of The Year So Far


Whilst I'd been hoping to squeeze in a mid-year update I was still a little busy in June, but hopefully it's not too late to check in and share some of my favourite reads of the year so far. Instead of simply listing my top 5 reads, I'm switching things up a little and have come up with a selection of categories, sharing my top pick for each one.

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid


No surprises here, right? Thanks to The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones & The Six, everyone has been talking about Taylor Jenkins Reid. Evelyn Hugo is the only book I've given a five-star rating to this year after I read the whole thing in one weekend; I just couldn't put it down. I can't wait to find out if Daisy Jones will be another five-star read for me too.

I also recently read Maybe In Another Life, one of Taylor Jenkins Reid's earlier releases, which tells the story of Hannah, who moves home to California and goes on a night out with some friends. At the party Hannah bumps into her ex boyfriend and has to choose whether to head home with her friends or stay out with Ethan. From then on the chapters alternate between the two timelines, exploring how this one decision could change her whole life, with a few interesting turns along the way. It may not be as well-loved as the author's most recent releases but I think it's definitely one to add to your TBR.

Series: Truly Devious (Maureen Johnson)


I first heard about Truly Devious from Ria last year, when she raved about the first book in the series. Set in a famous private school, this YA series follows true-crime obsessive Stevie who takes it upon herself to try and solve the mystery of what happened to the wife and daughter of the school's founder and the identity of 'Truly Devious'. I flew through the first two titles in the series (The Vanishing Stair was the reason I signed up to use the digital services at my local library!) and I'm really looking forward to finding out what will happen in the third instalment The Hand On The Wall, which is due out in January.

Cover: The Last (Hanna Jameson)


Whilst bright red isn't my favourite colour, I love the simple and striking design of The Last's cover. We're always told we're not supposed to judge books by them, but it's definitely one of the things that first drew me to this book.

Non-Fiction: Becoming (Michelle Obama)


My top non-fiction pick of the year so far has to be Becoming, and I'm sure it would make many other reader's lists too. I had wanted to listen to the audiobook version, read by the author herself, however it's reserved at my library all the way through until early 2020, so I opted for the ebook instead. Going into the book I didn't know much about Michelle Obama's background or life before becoming the FLOTUS and I found this section to be equally as fascinating as her stories from her time in the White House.

Sequel: Us Against You (Fredrik Backman)


Beartown was one of my favourite reads of 2018 so it's no surprise that I loved Us Against You almost as much. The series deals with some difficult topics but both the town and residents Backman has created feel very realistic, leaving readers wanting to know more about their stories.

Audiobook: Bridget Jones's Diary (Helen Fielding)


This year, thanks to Borrow Box, I've been making a real effort to make audiobooks part of my reading routine. Podcasts have always been a feature on my bus journey to work and lunch break walks, but it's been nice to switch things up with audiobooks too. Whilst I'm now pretty sure that Sci-Fi audiobooks aren't for me, I've had more success with this format for titles within the Women's Fiction and YA genres. In particular, I recently enjoyed listening to Bridget Jones's Diary read by Imogen Church as I felt like she really captured the personality of Bridget and the diary format worked well for me. Although I was familiar with the character and story through the film adaptation, I hadn't actually ever read the book before. Whilst there were parts I wasn't a huge fan of (including Bridget's constant calorie counting) I'd really recommend this story as an audiobook - I'm currently listening to the sequel!

Re-Read: The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)


Another way I'm keen to use audiobooks is for re-reading, and that's how I found myself listening to The Hunger Games earlier this month. With the announcement of a fourth book set within this world and Netflix UK adding all four films back into their catalogue, I decided it was about time I revisited the book I credit with getting me back into reading seven years ago - there would be no BB without it! I had originally planned to listen to the special edition, narrated by Orphan Black actress Tatiana Maslany, but there was a fairly long queue for this through my library so I picked up the original version read by Carolyn McCormick instead. I also have Catching Fire on hold but sadly it's not available until October so I have a bit of a wait before I can revisit the series again.

Which books would make your list?
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Friday, 19 July 2019

The Devouring Gray | Christine Lynn Herman | Review


Branches and stones, daggers and bones, they locked the Beast away.

Four Paths is a town steeped in secrecy, where the families of the four town founders are both revered as gods and expected to protect the rest of the town from the beast their ancestors trapped in the Gray, a dark dimension made to imprison it. In order to help them with their duties, each member of the founding families must undergo a ritual, which, when passed successfully, allows them to access and control special powers passed down through their families, powers meant to keep the beast and the Gray under control. 

When Violet Saunders and her mother, Juniper, move to Juniper's childhood hometown, following the death of Violet's sister, Rosie, Violet knows nothing about Four Paths, least of all that she is a member of one of those founding families. Nevertheless, now that she is in Four Paths, Violet's powers begin to manifest themselves in ways that may cause more harm than good. It is vital that Violet complete her family's ritual and gain control of her powers before something truly terrible happens, but the rituals are kept a secret, known only by the individual families, and, although Violet's new friends promise to help her figure out what her ritual is, neither Juniper or Violet's aunt, the only other Saunders left in Four Paths, remember anything about it. While Violet tries to figure out the secret to controlling her powers, the beast in the Gray is getting stronger, and Violet may be the only one who can stop it.

The Devouring Gray is told from multiple points of view. The first, of course, is Violet, who finds more secrets than she ever could have expected in Four Paths. Next is Justin, the town's golden boy, who has to keep a huge secret for the sake of his family's image. Then Harper, who was Justin's best friend until she failed her ritual, resulting in days spent lost in the Gray and the loss of an arm from the elbow down. Finally, we have Isaac, the angry son of the fourth founding family, and the last one left in Four Paths after a tragic accident occurred during his own ritual. All four teenagers provide a different view of Four Paths and the many secrets it keeps, and the different sides of what it means to be part of a founding family, which weave together to present an intriguing whole.

The Devouring Gray has been compared to a few TV shows, Stranger Things and Riverdale to name just two, and much of this is thanks to the atmosphere Herman creates and the large cast of characters. Personally, I would compare it to the show Teen Wolf, but with less romance. In fact, unusually for these sort of stories, the threat ever present in the town does not leave much time for any romance at all, although it is hinted at, and I expect there is more to come. This is an enjoyable contemporary fantasy, with a lot to recommend it, but I found myself wanting more of everything. More of the history of Four Paths, more of the threat the beast poses, more of each of the main group of characters. As this is the first in a planned series, there likely will be more of all of these things, but it is a shame there wasn't more room for them here. Even so, if you're looking for a slightly spooky, fast-paced, paranormal story, this one is certainly worth a read. I'll definitely be picking up the next in the series when it comes out.
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Friday, 12 July 2019

In Real Life | Cory Doctorow + Jen Wang | Review


Anda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role-playing game where she spends most of her free time. It's a place where she can be a leader, a fighter, a hero. It's a place where she can meet people from all over the world, and make friends. 

But things become a lot more complicated when Anda befriends a gold farmer--a poor Chinese kid whose avatar in the game illegally collects valuable objects and then sells them to players from developed countries with money to burn. This behavior is strictly against the rules in Coarsegold, but Anda soon comes to realize that questions of right and wrong are a lot less straightforward when a real person's real livelihood is at stake.

When I went to Portland, Oregon, I visited Powell's Books (the greatest place on earth), and one of the books I picked up was this super cute graphic novel, In Real Life by Cory Doctorow (illustrated by Jen Wang). I haven't read that many graphic novels before, but I had seen this one around the internet and decided to give it a go.

Thanks to the Goodreads description above, you have a pretty good idea as to what it's about, but in short, Anda starts playing Coursegold Online and part of her role in this new guild she's a part of is to track down gold farmers and get rid of them. But what she soon realises is that these gold farmers are actual players and not bots, and the conditions they're living and playing in are anything but healthy.

“This life is real too. We're communicating aren't we?”  

Not only was this a really sweet story about an online friendship through this massively multiplayer online game, but it's also about economics, work places environments, and human rights.

It's just a wee book, and will only take you an hour, perhaps, to read, but it's well worth picking up. Jen Wang's illustrations are so sweet and the story line is fun, quirky, and important.

Have you read In Real Life?
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