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, 15 February 2019

Features | The Great YA Romance Showdown of 2018

It's the day after Valentine's Day and love, I'm sure, is still in the air. Luckily for us all YA literature is full of swoon-worthy first loves and young romances, perfect for the holiday just been. But today I want to take you back all the way to two months ago. 2018 brought three well-loved YA romances to the big screen (or the... Netflix screen...) and today, of course, in the true spirit of Valentine's Day, I'm going to pit them against each other and make you pick your favourite. That's what Valentine's Day is all about, right?

In the red corner, Willowdean & Bo from Julie Murphy's Dumplin'. Dumplin' is less about Willowdean's love story with Bo and more about her love story with herself, but while Willowdean is learning to live with the loss of her aunt and learning to love every part of herself, Bo is always there, already loving Willowdean just as she is. It isn't just Bo who convinces Willowdean that she's perfect just the way she is but it sure does help that he never doubts it, or her.

In the blue corner (obviously), Simon & Blue (Blue is here represented by Simon's laptop just in case any of you reading this have yet to read the book or watch the film. You're welcome.) from Becky Albertalli's Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Simon and Blue may not know each other's identities for most of their novel but they understand each other and know each other's loves, worries, and secrets. The fact that they communicate anonymously over email means that they're free to tell each other everything they never tell anybody, and it means when they do eventually find out each other's true identities, they're already well on their way to falling in love.

And in... another corner. Green maybe? It's Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky from Jenny Han's To All the Boys I've Loved Before. Lara Jean and Peter K's relationship may start on unusual terms but what begins as a way to make Peter's ex jealous and throw Lara Jean's real crush off the scent soon turns into real feelings, creeping up on both of them when they didn't expect it, and when they start to be honest with each other and themselves, that's when the magic really happens.

Now, of course the real aim of this post is to encourage you all to read the books these wonderful films are based on if you haven't already, but also it is definitely to pit these couples against each other and declare one the victor, so vote below for your OTP!

Who is your teenage dream of 2018?

Willowdean & Bo
Simon & Blue
Lara Jean & Peter K
Created with QuizMaker
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Friday, 1 February 2019

Enchantée | Gita Trelease | Review

Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries - and magicians...

After the death of their parents, Camille is left alone to take care of her sister, whose health is suffering, and ward off her brother, whose vices have become a danger to them all. Life in 18th century Paris is not easy for the likes of Camille and her siblings and tensions between the rich and the poor have never been greater, but Camille has a rare talent. She is a magician. She uses her magic to turn discarded pieces of metal into coins, the spell holding just long enough for her to spend them and get away before the spell breaks and her trick is found out.

Camille's fake coins keep herself and her sister alive, but when her brother's gambling leads him into deeper and deeper trouble, Camille turns to a darker, far more difficult kind of magic to keep them safe. By day she is herself but at night she becomes the Baroness de la Fontaine, a regular at the court of Louis XVI, where Camille intends to use her magic in the gambling rooms to win enough money so she can move herself and her sister to safety. Camille has no love for the aristocrats of Versailles, and she soon finds out that it is a dangerous place to be a magician. Then, of course, back in Camille's real life, where she sheds the disguise of the Baroness de la Fontaine, there is a boy with a hot air balloon, who sees her for who she really is. It's not long before Camille's two lives begin to collide and Camille discovers that she is far from the only person hiding a secret at court.

In this reviewer's opinion, this novel has everything. The historical Parisian setting, the civil unrest, a charming inventor with a hot air balloon, the original court of frivolous socialites, palace intrigue, and more than a dash of magic. It's the perfect blend for a dazzlingly fun historical fantasy story but there is plenty of darkness too and Trelease combines the fear and the fun as effortlessly as she does the historical with the fantasy. Far more effortlessly than Camille combines her two opposing lives. In Camille's real life she faces the everyday hardships that led to the French revolution, and she despises the wealthy aristocrats who caused her late father to lose his printing business, but in her life as the Baroness de la Fontaine she begins to befriend some of those aristocrats, and to grapple with the fact that she enjoys their company far more than she ever would have expected.

Camille's story may be filled with magic, but her problems are very human, and it is impossible not to feel for her and her sister, and the friends Camille makes, who face not only a revolution that will change their way of life forever, but a scheme many of them aren't even aware they're a part of. Enchantée is an intoxicating read, every page full of magic and intrigue enough to keep the reader glued to the story until the very end. It's fast paced, exciting, and full of adventure. Trelease's writing makes it impossible to not feel a little swept away, if not by the glittering court of Versailles, then certainly by the dashing Lazare and his hot air balloon.

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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Book Club | February 2019 - Under 200 Pages

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 throughout the month using #bookshelfbookclub and tag @bloggersbookshelf on Instagram.

Our prompt for February is... Under 200 Pages

february bookshelf book club 2019

What we'll be reading...

This month we have three team members sharing their very different picks for our February prompt!

Erin's Pick: Starers by Nathan Robinson

"There were so many options on my list for this month's prompt but in the end I've decided to go for one that's been sitting on my Kindle for far too long. The premise of Starers, which features hypnotised strangers appearing outside a family home, sounds pretty Black Mirror-esque."

Anjali's Pick: Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

"At only 186 pages, Stargirl is a short story about nonconformity. I'm looking forward to reading this one before the movie comes out later this year."

One of our team members has even picked a short book full of short stories too!

Ria's Pick: Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

"I love me a good short story collection! So when I stumbled upon this and saw 1. it comes highly recommended by Roxanne Gay 2. has a great Kendrick Lamar as its epigraph I knew I had to pick it up and make it my February book club read."

Other suggested reads...

- Genesis (Bernard Beckett)
- We Should All Be Feminists (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)
- The Great Gatsby (F Scott Fitzgerald)
- Resurrection Bay (Neal Shusterman)
- Broadcast (Liam Brown) - 2018 book club roundup
- We Have Always Lived In The Castle (Shirley Jackson)
- The Strange Library (Haruki Murakami) - 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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