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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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Thursday, 31 January 2019

Book Club | January 2019 Roundup

And just like that the first month of our new-look book club concludes!

Thank you to everyone who shared photos and mini reviews over on social media throughout the month. We loved seeing how you interpreted our January prompt 'a roadtrip novel' and which books you were reading - we hope you enjoyed 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 Book Club theme this month was ‘road trip novels’ and I chose How To Be Bad for my pick. It follows three girls who borrow a car to drive across Florida, hoping to visit the boyfriend of one of the girls and escape a few of their individual problems, but of course driving for hours in a small car with two other people isn’t exactly the best way to avoid your problems. Especially if some of your problems are tangled up with the very people you’re travelling with. It’s a really fun story that deals with a couple of tough themes in a way that feels very real and very teenaged. Also there are alligators. What more could you want? - Next month’s theme is ‘novels under 200 pages’ and I’ll be reading The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis, so keep your eyes peeled for my review of that one. 👀 - #bloggersbookshelf #bookshelfbookclub #bookstagram #bookbloggers #currentlyreading #instabooks #reading #books #bookworm #booklove #bookcovers #prettybooks #beautifulbooks #instabooks #bibliophile #vsco #vscocam #vscobooks #igreads #booklover #elockhart #laurenmyracle #sarahmylnowski #howtobebad #hotkeybooks
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Mosquitoland by David Arnold


"Mosquitoland is about Mim, a teenage girl who boards a greyhound bus in Jackson, Mississippi, and makes her way across America to Cleveland, Ohio. Along the way she meets various people, and writes letters to Isobel, where we learn a little more about her life, her parents' divorce and why Mim is on medication.
While I had heard good things about Mosquitoland, I did struggle to get through it. It wasn't quite the road tripping novel I had hoped for, nor was it a real page turner. However, it did have enjoyable parts here and there, and I liked the idea of the story. A 2.5 stars from me." - Anjali, @anjalikay

 

AMY & ROGER'S EPIC DETOUR BY MORGAN MATSON


"I decided to re-read Amy & Roger's Epic Detour for our January book club. It had been over three years since I originally picked up this fun YA roadtrip novel and I'm happy to say I wasn't disappointed by my re-read. Whilst I had read the book before, there were so many little elements that I had forgotten about and, as always, I just loved the characters Matson created. Overall I enjoyed the book just as much on the second read and would definitely recommend picking it up for our October prompt 'written by an author with an alliterative name' if you didn't get a chance to read it in January." - Erin, @sawyerandscout





The Wangs vs The World by Jade Chang


"My book club read follows the Wang family after the collapse of the patriarch, Charles Wang's, cosmetic's empire and consequent bankruptcy. Charles pulls his young kids, Grace and Andrew, out of their respective privileged, private schools, and hauls them and his second wife Barbara across the country on a road trip to upstate New York, where his eldest daughter, Saina, is currently hiding out after a nosedive in her own career as an artist.

The book flips between each family members' perspective, giving us each of their unique perspectives on the situation, as well as their perception of what it means to make it in America. Whilst none of the characters are particularly likable (Saina and Grace are the only two I warmed to) it was super interesting to see how the family dynamic changes when literally all of their material possessions are ripped away from them overnight." - Ria, @rcagz





For the @bloggersbookshelf 2019 reading challenge for the January road trip novel prompt I chose to read “The Wangs vs. The World” by Jade Chang. Charles Wang, the patriarch of the Wang family, cosmetic empire crashes and the family wealth disappears. Arrogant and mad, he makes a rash decision to take his second wife (Barbra), pull his daughter (Grace) out of private school, and his son (Andrew) our of university to road trip to New York where Charles’ eldest daughter, Saina, lives; hoping her trust fund has not been affected. The trip brings the family together and each character (even the car!) gives their narrative throughout the novel. I felt invested in the characters, though they were not always likeable. I liked the pacing of the novel. This wasn’t as hilarious as I expected but it felt rambunctious. “In the end, all we had were the people to whom we were beholden.” . . . . #2019reads #readinggoals #bloggersbookshelf #bloggersbook #bookshelfbookclub #readingchallenge2019
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Currently Reading • The Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder • Bloggers Bookshelf Book Club Pick January - A roadtrip novel • "Hannah and Zoe haven't had much in their lives, but they've always and each other. So when Zoe tells Hannah she need to get out of their down-and-out New Jersey town, they pile into Hannah's beat-up old Le Mans and head west, putting everything - their deadbeat parents, their disappointing love lives, their inevitable enrollment at community college- behind them. As they chase storms and make new friends, Zoe tells Hannah she wants more for her. She wants her to live bigger, dream grander, aim higher. And so Zoe begins teaching Hannah all about life's intangible things, concepts sadly missing from her existence- things like audacity, insouciance, karma, and even happiness." • • • • • #bookstagrammer #book #bookstagram #themuseumofintangiblethings #wendywunder #currentlyreading #readingrightnow #bloggersbookshelf #bookshelfbookclub #bookclub #roadtrip #penguinteen #penguinbooks #razorbill #razorbillbooks #usedbook #thriftbooks #librarybook
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We'll be introducing February'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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Norse Mythology | Neil Gaiman | BBC Radio 4 | Dramatised Audio Book | Review

Friday, 25 January 2019

Norse Mythology | Neil Gaiman | BBC Radio 4 | Dramatised Audio Book | Review

Image from BBC
“Of course it was Loki. It's always Loki.” 

I've seen enough Marvel films to know at least a little about Norse mythology, and I managed to briefly have a look at it in my high school and university years. But I have yet to read a book about the myths of Scandinavia, despite having ancestors from Norway. I've been meaning to pick up Norse Mythology the book ever since it came out, but alas, so many books to read, it just hasn't happened yet.

This past week I was scrolling through Twitter, as one does, and I saw a tweet from Neil Gaiman about a BBC Radio 4 Dramatised version of Norse Mythology which was available online until today (you could follow up with that and see if it's still available...). I saw it was only 1.5 hours long, and thought it was the perfect way to use up some time. While the buffering was infuriating (probably my internet, and not the BBC website), I really did enjoyed this dramatised version.

The story of the Norse gods are told throughout the 1.5 hours by a woman who comes to the bedside of Magnus, a 7-year-old boy in hospital. She tells him the stories of Odin, Thor, Loki, Freya, the giants, the fairies, the 9 realms, and when she stops narrating, the characters themselves take over (hence 'dramatised') and really make it a joy to listen to. The stories are short and snappy, and I suspect they're much more drawn out in the book version. They give you a real snap-shot of what I'm sure are a brilliant retelling of Norse mythology.

The dramatised version has a great cast of actors in it, too, including Diana Rigg, Derek Jacobi, Natalie Dormer, Colin Morgan and Nathaniel Martello-White.

If you're into your mythology, love a bit of god-related drama, or want to learn a little more about where your favourite Marvel characters fit in the greater Norse mythology world, have a listen (I've found you can get it on Amazon) and let me know what you think!

If you're read the book, did you enjoy it? 
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Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Tangleweed and Brine | Deirdre Sullivan | Review

Long term readers of my reviews on here and over at This Northern Gal will be well aware of how much I love a good fairy tale retelling. I live and breathe for them. As such, when I saw Tangleweed and Brine in the bookshop, I knew I had to have it (and not just for that beautiful cover).

What I found inside that beautiful cover is a collection of stunning and sinister short stories. You can definitely tell that they have been inspired by fairy tales but they are woven together in new and exciting ways. There was something like magic in the words that Deirdre Sullivan crafted. Throughout the collection, themes such as betrayal, enchantment and change are explored in wonderful detail.

While I don't want to give away too much, I can point you in the direction of some of my favourites from Tangleweed and Brine. I loved Meet the Nameless Thing and Call it Friend, Ash Pale and The Tender Weight. They were utterly enchanting. They all come from familiar fairytales - though I'll let you guess which - but they were brilliantly novel.They were far darker than the original tales but still as captivating as your old favourites.

If you're a fan of Angela Carter or Jen Campbell, you need to check out these short stories. They're a perfect shot of magic for these cold winter evenings.

Kelly x
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Sunday, 20 January 2019

Bookish Links #48


1. Aiming to read more in 2019? Emily shared her top tips over at Bustle...

2. or perhaps not setting a reading goal for the year is the way forward?

3. Jamie compiled a list of over 50 books which are set to hit the big, or small, screen this year.

4. Tiffany posted an amazing list of five Asian fantasy books set to be released this year.

5. Team LC also have some brilliant suggestions for your 2019 TBR.

5. This post has some great resources for tracking your reading through bullet journaling.

6. Why not treat yourself to a new jumper?

7. Which backlist books will you be reading in 2019? Watch this video for some great ideas from Heather.

8. Amanda shared some of the 2019 releases she's most looking forward to over the first half of the year.

9. For our final link, here are some amazing illustrated reads for kids - all of which would make lovely gifts!

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Friday, 18 January 2019

Features | Not Finishing Series


I've developed a habit of starting series but never finishing them, or if I do finish them, waiting months and months between reading the penultimate and final books in a series, even when the final book is sitting on my shelf, staring at me from across the room, begging me to just read it already. I'm sure I'm not alone in this either. I'm sure many of you reading this will have at least a few series on your shelves waiting to be finished. So, why can't we just get on with it?

The drive is there, for me anyway, to find out what will happen to all my favourite characters. Will they save the world? Will good triumph over evil? Will those two lovebirds finally get together? I want to say goodbye to this world I've read about over multiple books. I want to reach the conclusion and be able to piece together all the steps that lead me there.

But also I don't. It's not an active thought. I don't look at the final book in a series and think 'maybe I don't want to finish that series after all' but the drive to find out what happens is exactly the same thing that holds me back. As long as I don't read that last book, anything could be true. My favourite characters all make it out alive, the bad guy loses, my OTP get together and never face another hardship again. Of course, the opposite is also true. If I never read that last book then maybe everyone dies, the bad guy wins, and my OTP never talk to each other again. It's Schrödinger's plot point.

That's part of the fun of postponing the series finale too. Once you read that last book that's it, the truth, the undeniable canon of the story, and everything you've imagined for the ending of that series will either be proved right or shown as a total miscalculation. As long as you don't read it, you can think of your own ending and hold off on being right or wrong. Of course, once you've finished the series you can come up with your own ideas of what happens next and, barring surprise future sequels, never be proved wrong, but somehow it's less fun to come up with theories when the real answer is no longer waiting to be found out.

Of course the biggest reason we avoid the series finale, the biggest reason I do anyway, is because we aren't really ready to say goodbye to that world yet. The more you've enjoyed a series, the more you've connected with the characters and admired the setting, the harder it is to pick up that last book, knowing that once you turn the final page you'll know everything there is to know and there won't be any more adventures from that world. And what if you don't like the ending? What if you've invested all this time into this series only for it to fall at the hurdle of your final expectations? Well, what if it doesn't?

You'll never know if you don't read that last book. Which is why my reading resolution this year is to read all those final books sitting on my shelves. It's time to make room for new worlds.
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Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Features | My 2019 Reading Goals

2019 reading goals blogger's bookshelf

Share 10 Reviews On BB


Looking back at the archives, I think I only shared seven reviews on BB during 2018 and have been in quite a writing slump for the past few months. Whilst ten reviews may not sound like very many for a whole year (especially as I read 83 books last year!), it feels like an achievable goal without pushing myself to write when I don't feel like it.


Continue To Use A Reading Spreadsheet


Back in February 2018 I shared a post all about creating a bookish spreadsheet and I'm pleased to report that this worked out really well for me over the year. I found the spreadsheet useful not only for tracking the books I read and various other stats, but also for keeping a list of those I purchased. This helped me to get a better idea of just how much I spent on books over the year and more importantly, how many of those purchases I actually also found the time to read. The spreadsheet definitely helped to cut down on the number of newly purchased titles left sitting unread on my (non-existent) shelves.


Complete The BB 2019 Book Club List & 'Vow To Read' Challenge


My final reading goal is to complete the BB challenges! This year I plan to tackle all twelve prompts in our new-format 2019 BB Book Club, as well as our usual 'vow to read' list. Last year I took on a few too many challenges and the 'vow to read' list was one that unfortunately I didn't quite manage to complete - fingers crossed for 2019!

What are your reading goals for 2019?

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Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Catwoman Soulstealer | Sarah J Maas | Review

This review has been a long time coming and not just because it took me FOREVER to finish reading Catwoman Soulstealer. It's not because I didn't enjoy this book either because I did. It just took me a long time to decide how I felt about it.

You see, in this adaptation of the classic comic book series, Sarah J Maas has made a few changes. For the most part, she has made the story her own and I fully approve of her choices. But I am still undecided as to whether or not I like the turn Catwoman has taken.

Wait a minute, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Catwoman Soulstealer is the story of Selina Kyle, a young assassin who comes to Gotham City determined to have her revenge and right the wrongs that had been done to her. The city is not quite as she remembered and is being fiercely  guarded by Batwing.

What follows is a fast paced story of friendship, villainy and forbidden love. Selina's return is certainly messier than she anticipated and Sarah J Maas writes these scenes with her usual talent. I was incredibly invested in theses complicated relationships and particularly for the relationship between Catwoman, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. These aren't characters that I know that much about but I really enjoy what Sarah J Maas did with their friendship. It made a good book great for me.

However, I'm not sure if I like what she did with Catwoman herself by the end of the book. Without giving too many spoilers, her development by the end was unrecognisable from the adult Catwoman that we all know and love. It would be interesting to see what Sarah J Maas's adult Selina Kyle would be like in the world of Catwoman Soulstealer. Like I said, this didn't make me not enjoy the book but is definitely a deviation from the Catwoman I thought I knew.

I wonder if people with dramatically more or dramatically less knowledge of the superhero would agree with me!

Kelly
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Monday, 7 January 2019

Team BB | Books We Vow To Read In 2019

Happy New Year from all of us here at Blogger's Bookshelf!

A new year means new reading goals and a brand new list of books our team are vowing to read by the end of 2019. Read on to check out our picks and let us know in the comments below what you're hoping to be reading too. 





Thank you to our team for their contributions.
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Friday, 4 January 2019

Features | 12 Books I Have To Read This Year


It's a brand new year and despite completing my GoodReads challenge of 52 books read in 2018 with just a few hours to spare I am somehow entering 2019 with even more books on my TBR than I had 12 months ago. It might have something to do with the fact that I reread the entire Princess Diaries series this year instead of reading all the unread books languishing in the corner of my room but really, who can say? All I do know is that there are an embarrassing number of unread books in that corner and it's time to start getting through them, so here are 12 books I have to read in the next 12 months, before the embarrassment becomes too much.

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

My mum bought me a copy of Northern Lights right after I first read the first three Harry Potter books. I read the first chapter, decided it wasn't as good as Harry Potter, and it has sat on my bookshelf ever since. Having spent the intervening 20 or so years hearing how great this series is, I think it's well beyond time to get it down from the shelf.

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee

This one hasn't been on my TBR for very long but it still seems like I'm the last person on the internet not to have read it yet. I've only heard great things about The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue and now there's a sequel as well it really is time to join the rest of the book blogging world and read this book.

The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman

I read the first two novels in Grossman's Magicians trilogy in 2018 and thoroughly enjoyed them but I have a tendency these days to wait far too long to finish a series. It has already been a few months since I read The Magician King and if I don't watch out it'll be a year or more before I finish this last book in the series.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

I've been a fan of the Green brothers' content for years and having read and enjoyed all of John's books, I was extremely excited to hear that Hank was releasing a novel of his own last year. I even preordered it. Yet I still haven't read it. I will get to it soon.

Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton

I devoured the first two books in this series back in 2017, preordered this final instalment as soon as I could, and waited for it impatiently. Then I put it with the rest of these books and didn't read it. If anyone knows why I have recently developed this habit of putting off the final instalments of book series, please let me know.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This is just a classic that I can't believe I haven't read yet and I really think it's time to actually pick it up this year.

The Upside of Unrequited and Leah On the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

I adored Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda and am so sure that I will love these two companion books by Becky Albertalli that I bought them both as soon as I finished reading Simon, but yet again, they have sat neglected on my shelves for months, even though I know I will love them. Well, not for much longer.

The House of Hades and The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

Are you sensing a theme? It feels as though I have been reading this series for years, taking far too long between each book, so perhaps my number one reading goal for 2019 is to read these two books and finish this series. Then I can move on to the next Camp Half-Blood series. And there will probably be another one before I finish that too.

Puddin' by Julie Murphy

Dumplin' was one of my favourite books of 2018, so if Puddin' is even half as good then I just can't wait any longer to read it.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Another book that everyone else seems to have read and another book that I've owned for far too long, I have almost read The Secret History so many times over the years and had it recommended to me even more often, so it really is getting embarrassing now that I still haven't read it.

Reading one of these books a month sounds pretty manageable but, as we can see, I am very good at putting off books I really want to read for no apparent reason, so we'll see how it goes. Are there any books you feel like you need to read this year?
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Thursday, 3 January 2019

Lore Olympus | Rachel Smythe | Review

The image is owned by Rachel Smythe.

I always talk about physical books or ebooks but I never talk about webcomics. Today however that's all about to change! In case you missed my tweets, I need to tell everyone about the fabulousness that is Lore Olympus. If you're going to read one webcomic this coming year then let this be the one, you won't regret it.

You'll only regret getting sucked in and suffering the enduring wait week to week waiting for the next chapter...

To sum it up, it's all about how Rachel Smythe (the author/illustrator/creator) interpreted Persephone and Hades getting together. If you're not up to date with your Greek Mythology, Hades and Persephone are a couple and rulers of the underworld. Don't get too excited though as I'm up to date and they still aren't properly together, it's all about the journey, the flirtation and the worry. Very relatable if you've ever had a crush on someone and constantly worried about what they thought of you and if you said the right thing.

The hilarious writing paired with the fantastic illustrations makes for a rather entertaining read. Be prepared to fall in deep rather quickly and get invested in the characters lives. Never thought I'd hate Apollo as he's one of my favourite Gods but gosh he's such a douche, wee bit of a spoiler sorry.

Anyway, full of drama and totally worth a read!
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Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Book Club | January 2019 - A Roadtrip Novel


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 January is... A Roadtrip Novel



What we'll be reading...


Ria's Pick: The Wangs vs the World by Jade Chang

"The classic road trip novel with a diverse twist! Excited to see how Jade Chang takes a genre that's so quintessentially American and weaves in the immigrant story."

Anjali's Pick: Mosquitoland by David Arnold

"I've seen this book around on Goodreads, blogs and in bookstores and have heard it's a fun and funny read. I've been meaning to pick it up for a while now so this is the perfect opportunity. Looking forward to reading about Mim's travel adventures on a Greyhound bus!"

Erin's Pick: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson 

"I really enjoyed reading Amy & Roger's Epic Detour back in 2015 and feel that a re-read is long overdue. Luckily, January's challenge is the perfect opportunity to dust off my Kindle and revisit the story."


Other suggested reads...

- America For Beginners (Leah Franqui)
- Let's Get Lost (Adi Alsaid) - review
- An Abundance Of Katherines (John Green) - review
- Vivian Versus The Apocalypse (Katie Coyle) - review
- You Are Here (Jennifer E Smith) - review
- Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas (Hunter S Thompson)
- Paper Towns (John Green) - review

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