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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, 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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Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Bookish Links #50


1. Do you go back and re-rate books on Goodreads? Amy shared an interesting post on some of the books she has re-rated.

2. If you're not sure where to start with poetry you'll love this handy list.

3. Love V E Schwab? This one's for you.

4. Our friend Lucy has taken on a challenge to visit every Waterstones store! Head on over to her Instagram page to follow along.

5.  If you need a new bookmark in your life, you'll love this simple DIY.

6. Anjali shared a roundup of re-tellings she has read and enjoyed. Which books would you add to the list?

7. Even though it sounds like this novel is still in it's early stages, we can't wait to read it!

8. We love this idea!

9. Are you looking forward to revisiting Panem?

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Friday, 5 July 2019

The Kingdom | Jess Rothenberg | Review


Welcome to The Kingdom... where 'Happily Ever After' isn't just a promise, but a rule.

The Kingdom is a place where dreams come true. A futuristic fantasy theme park where extinct animals are brought back to life and the park's Fantasists, seven beautiful, lifelike, android princesses, are programmed with only one goal in mind: to ensure the happiness of the park's guests. Ana and her Fantasist sisters know all about how terrible the world outside The Kingdom is, so they understand how important their role is in brightening the lives of those who visit them in the safety of The Kingdom, but things are starting to go wrong. Some of Ana's sisters are starting to malfunction, and before long Ana begins to wonder if she is too. Ana starts to feel things she hasn't been programmed to feel. In particular, she thinks she may be falling in love with Owen, one of the park's human employees.

So how is it that Ana comes to be accused of Owen's murder? As the trial unfolds, Ana is not the only person being judged. Can Ana be guilty of murder if she is only able to do what she is programmed to do? How much responsibility does The Kingdom hold if it has created girls who can murder of their own free will? Were Ana's sisters malfunctioning at all, or did they simply understand something that Ana didn't? And can dreams really come true in a place that hides so many dark secrets?

The Kingdom tells Ana's story non-chronologically, skipping between transcripts from Ana's trial, news reports, and Ana's memories of the events leading to her alleged killing of Owen. At times, this method can be a little confusing. As Rothenberg saves all of the important details to be unfolded and revealed at precise moments, it does mean that it takes a while for enough of the details to fall into place so that the reader can actually figure out what's going on. However, it also means that details can be saved until the exact moment when they will have the most impact, and in that regard Rothenberg absolutely nails it. More than once I found myself wide-eyed as another piece of Ana's puzzle slotted into place.

The layers of this story perfectly match the layers of mystery and deceit at the heart of The Kingdom, and Rothenberg definitely takes the reader on a theme-park-worthy journey through Ana's story. As Ana starts to peel back the layers of lies and cruelty that she and her sisters have been exposed to, often without their knowledge, it is almost impossible not to feel those betrayals as a reader too. Ana is an interesting protagonist, not least because her very existence raises the question of what it means to be human. This is the story of Ana discovering the world and not only the darkness hidden from her, but the light too. First, she falls in love with Owen, even against her programming, as he helps her to understand the truth around her. Then, as she uncovers these truths, Ana must face the idea that Owen has been hiding things from her too. In the end the question is, did betrayal make Ana a killer or did The Kingdom make her everything that she is, whatever that may be?

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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Monday, 1 July 2019

Book Club | July 2019 - With A 5-Word 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 July is... With A 5-Word Title


What we'll be reading...


Erin's Pick: A Darker Shade Of Magic by V E Schwab

"Although I wouldn't say I'm a huge Fantasy reader I've heard so many great things about this book but it's been sitting unread on my Kindle for a little while now. I've actually never read anything by V E Schwab before so I'm looking forward to reading this highly recommended author."

Ria's Pick: The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas

"Time travel. Lady scientists being awesome. A dash of diversity and LGBTQ characters. Murder mystery plot. Was this book brewed in a lab especially for me? I'd seen this one plenty of times over the past year in various bookshops and finally picked it up - luckily it fits perfectly with this month's 5 Word Title challenge too!"

Anjali's Pick: Ghosts Of The Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare

"Ghosts of the Shadow Market is the latest book set in Cassandra Clare's Shadowhunter world. It's a collection of short stories with characters we're familiar with from the other series (and, I assume, some new ones), as they come and go from the Shadow Market. I'm looking forward to reading this!"

Other suggested reads...

- The Name Of The Star (Maureen Johnson) - review
- Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged (Ayisha Malik) - review
- Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine (Gayle Honeyman)
- Everything I Never Told You (Celeste Ng)
- You Had Me At Hello (Mhairi McFarlane) - review
- The Universe Versus Alex Woods (Gavin Extence) - review
- The Fault In Our Stars (John Green) - review
- The Name Of The Wind (Patrick Rothfuss) - review
- Daughter Of The Pirate King (Tricia Levenseller) - review
- A Shadow Bright & Burning (Jessica Cluess)
- And Then There Were None (Agatha Christie)
- Daisy Jones And The Six (Taylor Jenkins Reid)

 
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, 30 June 2019

Book Club | June 2019 Roundup

We're halfway through our list of book club prompts for 2019! June's theme was translated books. Here's how Team BB got on with their picks...







A post shared by Ria Cagampang ✨ (@rcagz) on


Us Against You By Fredrik Backman

"For our June book club prompt I decided to pick up Us Against You, the sequel to Beartown which was one of my absolute favourite reads of last year. They're heavy reads which tackle difficult topics but overall I thought the sequel was just as gripping as the first book." - Erin




We'll be introducing July'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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Friday, 28 June 2019

Features | Delightful Dedications


They're short, they're snappy, they're delightful. Dedications are a great way to start a book. 

Not only does a dedication give you some insight into an author's life (especially if they give a reason for the dedication), but they can often be quirky, funny, have inside jokes that only the dedicate-ee (not a word?) gets, or perhaps gives a tip of the hat to past books in a series, but they're often heartwarming and a beautiful way to begin a book.

Just like the acknowledgements at the end of a novel, I always find myself reading the dedication. Over the years I've read some truly beautiful ones, some quirky ones, and a couple of very out-there ones. I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the dedications that can be found in the first pages of some of the book on my shelf. Enjoy!

The Bad Beginning, by Lemony Snicket | The End, by Lemony Snicket:

A note: While we're on the subject of Lemony Snicket, you should check out all the rest of his dedications in A Series of Unfortunate Events. They're just as golden as these ones.

The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis:

Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman:


The Selection, by Kiera Cass:


A Darker Shade of Magic, by V.E. Schwab:


Tiger Lily, by Jodi Lynn Anderson:


The Bane Chronicles, by Cassandra Clare:


Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell:


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J.K. Rowling:


A Note: Perhaps my favourite of all time.


Fun fact about me: I actually have a book dedicated to me (and my sister). Okay, so it was a book written by my dad, but it still counts, right?

What about you? Do you have favourite dedications?


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