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.


Blogger’s Bookshelf Review Round Up #12

Saturday 30 November 2013

Blogger’s Bookshelf Review Round Up #12

Review Round Up #12
It’s been a busy ol’ time since our last review round up! Check out the posts you’ve missed below…
Anjali interviewed author Jamie Baywood, about her book, Getting Rooted in New Zealand, and Ria interviewed giveaway author Laure Eve on her novel Fearsome Dreamer.

There was FIVE new additions to our ever growing list of book blogger/booktuber interviews! Check out Jess from Jess Hearts Books; Alexa from Alexa Loves Books; Allie from Little Birdie Books; Sanne from Books & Quills' and Rob and Kate from Adventures with words' answers.

Our team have also been mingling with some high-profile authors! Newest team member Kath attended an evening with YA author, Maureen Johnson, as part of her tour of the UK. And Erin headed to London for an evening with Veronica Roth in celebration of the release of Allegiant.

And of course Blogger’s Bookshelf celebrated its 1st birthday! Check out just how much has happened in a year in our handy inforgraphic and get to know our team members here (Part One (Anjali & Kath), Part Two (Ria & Erin), Part Three (Laura & Lucy) and Part Four (Niina))

We’ve also had two fabulous group collaboration posts! Check out our Halloween themed ‘Favourite Fictional Villains’ and see what our bloggers would do ‘If We Made The Movies’.

As the year comes to a close, we’re asking you guys what your Top Reads for 2013 were!

Let us know you opinions by email, tweet us or on our GoodReads page!
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Taylor Swift: The Platinum Edition | Liv Spencer | Review

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Taylor Swift: The Platinum Edition | Liv Spencer | Review


Taylor Swift: The Platinum Edition is a biography of the young star’s life and career, from authors Jen Knoch & Crissy Calhoun who together write under the name Liv Spencer. The team write books about the things that they love, and previous subjects have included Twilight, The Mortal Instruments and Pretty Little Liars. The Platinum Edition is an update of their 2010 Taylor Swift biography Every Day Is A Fairytale.

The first chapters talk about Taylor’s childhood, how she got her first record deal and of course, her rise to fame. Here we are introduced to many of the people that have helped her along the way including producers, writers, fellow musicians and of course, her family and friends. Overall Taylor’s story is inspirational and the book paints a picture of a determined and hard-working but grounded young woman who has managed to prove that dreams really can come true.

There are chapters dedicated to each of Taylor’s four albums, with a rundown of the tracks and information on the ideas behind them, something her fans regularly speculate about. This is followed up by a chapter focusing on her music videos, sharing how the concepts came about, details on the casting decisions and their commercial success.

The final section of the book is a chronological timeline of Taylor’s career from 2004 up until early 2013. As some of the points in this section had already been covered earlier in the book it did feel a little repetitive, however there was some new information interspersed as well.

Having read the biography as an ebook I have to say that I think it would have been a much better read as a physical book. The timeline in particular, with it’s bullet point layout is something I think would look neater and be easier to follow in print. In addition there is a large selection of images which again, I personally think would be best in print (I read on a Kindle Touch which has a black & white screen).

Although I’m not sure how much of the information included would be new to her die-hard fans, Taylor Swift: The Platinum Edition is a fairly informative read and would make a nice Christmas gift this year for the Taylor Swift fan in your life!

*Review copy c/o Netgalley, Image via Goodreads
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Being A Book Blogger | Interview With Rob & Kate From Adventures With Words

Tuesday 26 November 2013

Being A Book Blogger | Interview With Rob & Kate From Adventures With Words

Welcome to another Being A Book Blogger post! Today we're talking to Rob & Kate the amazing team behind Adventures With Words. Here's what they had to say about 2013 releases, creating podcasts & being James Bond...

AWW screenshot

BB: Rob & Kate, welcome to Blogger's Bookshelf! Tell us a little bit about the team behind Adventures With Words

Rob works as a senior bookseller at a university branch of Waterstones. He’s also the web wizard and editor of our weekly podcast. He’s a big fan of James Bond and thrillers as well as American literature, which he studied at UEA and the University of Kent.

Kate is a secondary school teacher, who reads like her life depends on it, as long as she’s awake enough. She’ll read almost anything, but loves cold crime, good quality sci-fi and fantasy and young adult fiction. She studied English Lit at Durham, where she wrote her dissertation on girls and women in Children’s Fiction. When she’s not reading, she loves Japanese anime and cult series like Buffy and Smallville.

BB: Where does your love of books come from, and how did you get into reviewing?

We have both been avid readers since we were young. Kate was read The Hobbit and loved adventure stories such as Robin Hood and King Arthur, while Rob enjoyed The Chronicles of Narnia and Sherlock Holmes. Rob began reviewing when he started working for Waterstones, discovering new books that he wanted to talk about on a daily basis. After starting Adventures With Words as a way of sharing book reviews, Rob was joined by Kate and between us we cover a wide range of genres.

BB: As well as written reviews you also have your own podcast - what made you want to use this particular media?

Podcasts allow us to create an immediate and conversational response to what we are reading. We have been told that  people feel a part of what we are doing and get to know us as individuals. People always like to talk about what they are reading; we are doing this but just happen to record it!

BB: Something we think a lot of our readers will be interested in is your new YA-based podcast. Could you tell us a little bit more about your future plans for the series?

The YA-podcast was originally inspired by a conversation with a listener who thought that her children would enjoy something similar to our normal podcast. It is Kate's special interest so she is producing it and hopes to include interviews and short stories from some of the well known British YA writers currently out there.

books 34

BB: We’re now coming to the end of 2013, what have been your favourite new releases of the year?

Kate has really enjoyed Tall Tales from Pitch End by Nigel McDowell. She thought it was an exciting and moving story but also that it was written in a unusual, lyrical style which makes it stand out from the current crop of YA. Rob has enjoyed Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, a wonderful Gothic story with beautifully written prose that makes him long to return to Barcelona.

BB: If you could swap lives for the day with any fictional character who would you choose and why?

A fantastic question! Rob would slip on a tuxedo and sip a vodka Martini, becoming James Bond for the day. Who wouldn't want to live like 007, except perhaps with fewer cigarettes! Kate would like to be Beth Bradley, from The City's Son by Tom Pollock. It would be a privilege to see the true magic and excitement hidden behind everyday London. Although she would never be able to walk past a crane again without a shiver...

BB: Finally, which other book blogs, websites, YouTube channels or podcasts would you recommend to our readers?

We'd love you to listen to Hear... Read This!, a monthly book club podcast that we take part in alongside Simon and Gav of The Readers. Gav is taking a sabbatical from The Readers while he launches No Cloaks Allowed, a new blog for readers of fantasy, meanwhile Simon interviews authors every fortnight on You Wrote the Book.
Rob really enjoys the Book Riot podcast, for his weekly fix of book news and reviews while Kate enjoys Adam Roberts' book blog Sibilant Fricative, a mixture of opinion on science fiction and fantasy with some young adult thrown in.

You can find Adventures With Words by clicking the links below:
- Blog
- Podcast
- Twitter
- Facebook
- Goodreads


I'd like to say a huge thank you from all of us here at BB to Rob & Kate for taking part in this interview. If you are a booktuber or book blogger and would like to be featured in a similar post we'd love to hear from you - just email us at for information!

Interview & post by Erin 

Cover images via Goodreads
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Quiet | Susan Cain | Review

Monday 25 November 2013

Quiet | Susan Cain | Review

Quiet Susan Caine book cover

At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. You may have seen them around, they’re the listeners or off in the corner coming up with ideas. You may even be one of these people often labelled as quiet, shy, and easily overwhelmed in crowds.

Susan Cain endevours to explore this often forgotten personality type. Her starting point is the softspoken values of early civilisations to society’s evolution and preference for the ‘extrovert’ ideal, and more importantly why we suddenly live in a world where ‘he who shouts the loudest’ has reached a saturation point. Cain delves into the historical and contemporary psychological and biological research behind the differences between introverts and extroverts, showing the reader how the brain functions differently for the two personality sets.

She provides real world context for the studies, by speaking to and presenting case studies of individuals on all points of the introvert/extrovert spectrum. Cain also explores the varrying environments of the world and how it can effect introverts, from the modern open plan primary school classroom, to the differing cultural atmospheres of Asian and American schools, to the brash leaderships and collaborations styles of business in the 21st Century.

What is most interesting is the examples of successful Introverts in the real world, the advice she gives on how to work with and not against this personality type, and the empowering messages that will make you think twice about how powerful introverts can be.

So what’s my verdict?

I could speak volumes about how much I loved this book, but this post would go on for pages and pages! Quiet is full of eye-opening insights into the biological and psychological anatomy of an Introvert. It’s incredibly in depth and well researched by Cain, who’s knowledge of the subject matter seeps through each page.

But don’t mistake this for a science textbook, Quiet is just as much about the social and human effects introversion can have on individuals as the biological make up of their brains. It celebrates introverts and empowers them to share their trait with the world, because they are just as important as extroverts. Though the book is, obviously, heavily skewed towards an introverted reader, Cain never reverts to anti-extrovert bashing. She encourages a balance between the two, showing how both types of personality has it’s weaknesses and solutions on how they can work in perfect harmony.

As a self-confessed introvert I found myself nodding along to many points she brought up. It was a reassuring read as someone who, for many years, felt this personality trait was a hinderance rather than an enabler (Cain references the fact that introversion is often mislabelled as shyness). The first thought that crossed my mind when I finished was ‘Everyone in the world needs to read this book!’ and my view still holds firm. Quiet was brilliantly written and Cain’s tone felt both unpatronising and incredibly inspiring!

Reading Soundtrack:

Keep Your Head Up: Ben Howard; Voices: Joe Brooks; Long Live: Taylor Swift; I'll Be Ok: McFLY; I Stand: Idina Menzel; New Perspective: Panic! at the Disco

For lovers of

human psychology – in particular the works of Jung and Myers Briggs - as well as Cain's TED Talk on The Power of Introverts.
1 comment
Group Collaboration | If We Made The Movies

Saturday 23 November 2013

Group Collaboration | If We Made The Movies

For this month's group post we asked you to put yourself in the director's chair. We wanted to know which books you would love to see come to the big screen, and which existing adaptations you would change. Here's how cinema would look if we were in charge...

movies ria 1

movies laura 1

movies cat 1

movies anjali 3

movies erin 3

movies cat 2

movies laura 3

movies lucy 2

movies anjali 2

movies lucy 3

movies laura 2

movies lucy 1

movies erin 1

This month's contributors - Ria, Laura, Lucy, Cat, Anjali
Images of actors all via
Post & graphics by Erin

Next month's post is all about our Favourite Reads Of 2013! Let us know your choices via Twitter, Goodreads or drop us an email -

1 comment
Another Way To Fall | Amanda Brooke | Review

Friday 22 November 2013

Another Way To Fall | Amanda Brooke | Review

Another Way To Fall cover
First of all, I'm going to start this review by saying that I'm not entirely sure why I wanted to read this book. I had it on request from the library, but I can't remember requesting it. I only request books that a review or a recommendation has made me want to read, so I must have wanted to read it at some point. It's fair to say I went into this with a lot of anticipation.

Another Way to Fall is the story of Emma - told after three years of treatment for brain cancer that there is little more that they can do for her, and that her treatment will now be pallative, rather than curative. Emma starts to write about the life she is now denied. As she writes, the lines between fiction and reality start to blur and her story takes on a life of its own.

The story opens with the horrible news that Emma, the protagonist, will die. Before you get to know Emma or any of the supporting characters, you already know what the end of the book will be. I really struggled with this being so early on in the book, as it became very clear that the book was going to be about Emma's death, rather than her life - and on a personal note, I wasn't sure that was a book that I wanted to read.

Each chapter starts with a page or more of Italic writing about Emma, which comes to light is her writing her book about herself. Unfortunately, for me I felt this came across way too late and made the narrative confusing. Past the first few chapters I also found these excerpts fairly boring, and easily skippable as Emma tended to explain to another character what had just happened in them. They were also just too idyllic, which I understand to be the life Emma wanted, but it was just another factor that made them skippable - it is the formula everyone expects their life to go in, so of course you know the next step. Unfortunately, Emma writing her story is the premise of the book... and as I didn't like that, I didn't like the essence of the book.

So it's a shame, because I obviously wanted to read this book enough to reserve a copy of it but it has to be 3/5 stars for me.

This post was written by regular reviewer Kath, get to know her here
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St. Lucy's Home For Girls Raised By Wolves | Karen Russell | Review

Wednesday 20 November 2013

St. Lucy's Home For Girls Raised By Wolves | Karen Russell | Review


“I look for my sister but it's hopeless. The goggles are all fogged up. Every fish burns lantern-bright, and I can't tell the living from the dead. It's all just blurry light, light smeared like some celestial fingerprint all over the rocks and the reef and the sunken garbage. Olivia could be everywhere.” - Karen Russell, St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves

St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell is a collection of short-stories that are mostly about children going through some kind of trouble while they do their best to grow into the strange world of adults. The stories are all different but still very much alike, filled with a lot imagination, a few magical elements and tons of strange quirky twists. 

I have to admit that I had quite high expectations when I started reading this book. I thought that a collection of short-stories filled with surreal elements and quirky strange children would be right up my alley. And in some parts this collection did live up to my expectations because I really enjoyed a few of the stories! My favorite stories were Haunting Olivia, St.Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves and The Star-Gazer's Log of Summer-Time Crime. These were the kind of stories that I kept thinking about even weeks after I finished the book. Then there was a few stories in the collection that I liked or thought were pretty decent. But then there was a few stories (maybe two or three?) that I couldn't get my head around.

So, I have pretty mixed feelings about this book because there is a few stories in here that are really worth reading! I think that Karen Russell is a talented writer with an amazing imagination. But I didn't think every story was worth my time. I guess this is the case with most books with short-stories. Every story is not going to please every reader.

I think that St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves is an interesting book, a reading experience I wouldn't want to be without. But I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. Some stories were a bit too strange even for my taste and some stories were too much alike to stand out from each other. With some really good and unique stories and some that I could live without I give St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves 3/5 stars.

This post was written by regular reviewer Niina, get to know her here.
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Tuesday 19 November 2013

Features | An Evening With Veronica Roth

 A surprise selection of goodies | My signed copy of Allegiant | Veronica interviews Shailene

A couple of weeks ago I headed off to London for An Evening With Veronica Roth hosted by Waterstones at the Prince Charles Cinema. Here’s a rundown of the event…

After briefly introducing herself Veronica started by reading a deleted chapter from one of the short stories from the Four collection. The chapter was an alternative POV of the scene in Divergent where Tris is the first to jump into the net after choosing to transfer to Dauntless.

Next came the short, and spoiler free, Q&A portion of the evening. The first question asked was - how did the character of Tris come about? Interestingly Veronica said that she had originally tried to write Divergent 4 years earlier, from the POV of Four but felt it just wasn’t working. Deciding she needed to create a new lead, she first found the voice of Tris and ‘shaped the character around the way that she spoke’.

When asked if she had any regrets or anything she would change about the series looking back, Veronica chose her depiction of Erudite leader Jeanine Matthews in the first book. Why? A simple answer: ‘Kate Winslet’s Jeanine is better than mine’. She likened the character she created back in book one to a ‘Disney villain’, lacking a vulnerability that Kate has brought to the role during filming. In regard to the rest of the series she felt she had made ‘the right decision even if it was the hard one’ – perhaps something for those who have criticised the events and bold choices in Allegiant to keep in mind.

After the main Q&A actress Shailene Woodley, who portrays main character Tris in the upcoming film, made a special guest appearance on stage where Veronica posed a few questions of her own. Shailene spoke about preparing to play roles ‘authentically’ and how she doesn’t tend to research for them in advance, but prefers to be observant whilst on set, listening to others and adjusting her performance in the moment. In this case however she did mention how helpful it was to be able to refer back to the book when she was stuck!

In speaking about what attracts her to take on a role, Shailene said she likes to take on characters and scripts that effect her personally and take her on an ‘emotional rollercoaster’. Talking specifically about Tris she discussed how wary she has been in the past about fronting a franchise, but after falling in love with the book knew she had to take on the role. During the last few quick fire questions Shailene stated that if the Chicago of Divergent were real she would choose to be factionless. And if she were at Hogwarts? She would definitely be a Gryffindor!

Before the signing we were also treated to a screening of the trailer for Divergent’s film adaptation which hits UK screens on 4/4/13 (disappointingly a few weeks after the US release date!). The trailer shows sneak peeks of many memorable locations from the choosing ceremony to the Abnegation houses and the Dauntless compound, as well as key moments from the story. It was great to see it on a big cinema screen and I’m looking forward to the film’s release next year!

Post & photographs by Erin.

Monday 18 November 2013

And Then It Happened | Linda Green | Review

Mel married her childhood sweetheart Adam after being together 10 years, they are now happily married, have jobs they love, perfect marriage, great friends and a gorgeous daughter called Maya who loves anything that isn't girlie. That is until Mel gets a phone call which leaves her world crashing down around her. Adam has been in a life threatening accident and he's been left in a coma.

I picked this book up on a whim in the supermarket because the front cover caught my eye, it looked like my kind of easy read. I was wrong it was not a easy read, that's not to say the writing style was not easy but the story line, I cried and I cried. Tears of sadness, tears of joy. There were times when I was too scared to read on - I did not want childhood sweethearts to torn apart by a devastating accident.

I instantly feel in love with this couple, they were adorable but not sickeningly adorable and little Maya reads to be the cutest little girl. So the whole way through the book I was routing for them. What I really enjoyed about this book was how realistic I felt it was, I haven't experienced anything like this in real life (thankfully!) but when reading this story line it felt realistic and honest.

However what I found was that, each section of the book felt a little lengthy and I was constantly waiting for it to move on, which meant I found myself skim reading some pages to try and get to the next stage of the book. I know as soon as I start skim reading, that the book I'm reading just doesn't have that 'something' that keeps me really engaged and excited by what I'm reading.

I wouldn't go out of my way to read this book, that being said I wouldn't steer others away from it, it's honest and heart-wrenching story line makes it a worthwhile read.

This post was written by regular reviewer Laura, get to know her here.
Image from Goodreads
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Sunday 17 November 2013

Ask Anya | Interview with my 10 year old sister | Interview by Anjali

I was pondering what to write for my post this week, and I have to admit, I didn't have anything. I'm half-way through The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (and liking it so far), so I didn't have a recent book to review. Then I saw my 10 year old sister, Anya, reading in our lounge and I thought 'hey! Maybe a new perspective; I wonder how she sees books'. So I asked her if she'd like to write about it. And she did. So I gave her some easy questions, which she wrote out her answers to. I typed them up for her; here's what she said.


Ask Anya

What are you currently reading? 
I am currently reading a book called The Raider's Promise. It is the last book in a series of five.

Tell us a little about it. 
This book is written by Lois Walfirid Johnson. In this series, there are quite a few main characters, but the man one is Brianna O'Toole, or Bree for short. This book is a Viking based book, and the story goes that Bree and her brother Devin get captured by Vikings. This is where a 14 year old boy named Mikkle comes in. He led a raid on Ireland, and when he meets Bree and Devon, their adventure really begins. Mikkle, because he met Bree and Devon, realises that his raid was wrong, and they help him to learn from his mistakes.

What is it that you like about this book/series?
I like that it is a good moral story, but also that it gives you a taste of history, and what it was like back then.

Who is your favourite character, and why?
My favourite character is either Bree or her friend that she looked after on Mikkle's boat (whose name is Lil). I like them because they are both very brave and strong, and both have a very nice characters.

Do you have a favourite scene or part of the story? Why is it your favourite? 
My favourite scene throughout the series is the part where Bree escapes from Mikkle's baot, and her friend Lil goes with her. Nola, another older person on board, gives them all they need to survive, although she knows that they will be back. To get food for Lil and her, Brree makes disguises so that they can survive on the fish in the near by streams. I like this because the author makes it really tense and exciting to read.

Would you recommend this book/series to other kids your age, and why?
Yes, I would recommend this book to kids who are my age and older. But for younger children it might a bit a bit hard to read, so they should read it with their parents.


There we have it folks! A child's perspective and thoughts on a book she is reading. It's interesting to see what she thought about the book, and to see her thoughts on why she liked it. I know that a lot of the time we see something, or read something, and know that we like it, but to articulate why is another matter. Being book bloggers here at BB, we love doing just that, but I never really thought about what a 10 year old might think about the books they are reading.

So! If you have children, and you want some adventure stories with good morals, Anya suggests these books. My other sister also read these when she was younger (now she's 19), and I remember her really loving them to. So, thank you Anya for this!

We hope you guys enjoyed it!

Image from Goodreads
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Being A Book Blogger | Interview with Allie aka Little Birdie Books

Thursday 14 November 2013

Being A Book Blogger | Interview with Allie aka Little Birdie Books

Welcome to another edition of Being A Book Blogger! Today we're talking to the lovely Allie of YA & Contemporary review blog Little Birdie Books. Here's what she had to say about movie adaptations, blogging tips and the best book boys...


BB: Hi Allie! For any of our readers who aren’t already subscribed to Little Birdie Books could you tell us a little bit more about the girl behind the blog?

Well there's the basics: favourite colour is green, favourite food is Indian takeaway (chicken tikka masala mmmm). And, well, I think it's pretty obvious that I'm kind of a book junkie (and by kind of, I mean ridiculously huge). I'm one of those annoying people that always has a book in their hands and gets into a complete zone, blocking at the world. So often when I'm reading my friends / family will have to yell my name about a dozen times before I realise they're talking to me.

Some other key information:
I'm quarter Greek, quarter Italian, quarter German and quarter English. So I have a BIG family. It's great!
I studied Creative Writing at university and it was the most amazing experience of my life. Our teachers were all published writers and I learnt so many invaluable things. Unfortunately, I graduated in July, so I think this means I'm an adult. Kind of.
I'm double-jointed in my toes - this is an essential piece of information.
I'm an avid baker and, not to brag, but my blueberry muffins are out of this world.
I am the reigning Scrabble champion. Challenge me ... I dare you *shifty eyes*

BB: How did you get into book blogging and do you have any advice for those who are considering it?

I've always got a book in my hand, so book blogging seemed like the perfect thing for me to do to fill my time after I graduated. It's just a fun way to share my thoughts with other bloggers and get into great book discussions.

I think if you want to be a book blogger then go for it. There is such a lovely community out there and I have met some of the sweetest people.

The best advice I can give is not to get too held up doing thousands of blog tours and cover reveals just to get some hits on your site. Those posts tend to be quite impersonal and don't make for good discussions in the comments. Also, if you book loads you'll get super stressed and It'll take the fun out of blogging and, really, blogging is all about enjoying yourself and sharing your passion.

I'd also really recommend taking part in some memes - a lot of blogs have linkys for you to sign up so you can see other people who are participating. It's a great way to integrate yourself into the blogging community and find other awesome bloggers.

Also, do try and respond to comments. If someone is kind enough to leave a message on your post, then reply and return the favour by visiting their blog and leaving a comment. A bit of give and take is always nice and, again, it's a great way for you to start a conversation with fellow bloggers.
Oh and one more thing - be prepared to live on Goodreads and for your TBR to become a mountain!

BB: You have a lovely blog design with a cute bird-themed rating system. How did you come up with the idea?

Well my blog name was something I stumbled upon accidentally when my mother mentioned how a 'little birdie' had told her the book I was reading was good. I knew then I had a name for my blog and I wanted the design to play on that name.

The last thing I wanted was for my blog to look business-like and boring. Little Birdie needed something eye-catching and fun! Stephanie at Hopeless Romantics was cool enough to design my blog for me and she was great at really taking into account the kind of look and feel I wanted (and including the most adorable birdies in the header).
As for the rating system, stars are so 90s ;)

BB: Another unique feature of your blog is the 'Birdie's Book Boys Feature' every second weekend - if you had to pick a top 3 from those you've written about so far, who would make the cut?

Oh man, that's seriously tough! Okay, okay, let's see ... I'd probably say Oliver Parish (The Art of Wishing), Dexter Jones (This Lullaby) and Chase Jennings (Article 5).

Oliver is absolutely hilarious, plus he's a genie so a good time is bound to be had by all!
Dexter is quirky, sweet and endearingly clumsy. Plus he plays guitar and I'm still not over my musician phase.

And then there's Chase who manages to be both the bad boy and the guy next door *swoons*.

BB: Here at BB our TBR stacks are never-ending, which five books are at the top of your list right now?

I have so many too, it's kind of ridiculous. There's just SO many books I need to get my hands on! I think top 5 are:

  • Pushing the Limits - There has been endless raving about this (and the second book in the series), so I need to see what all the fuss is about asap.
  • The Fourth Wish - I seriously cannot wait to see how Margo adjusts after the end of Art of Wishing. Plus: hello Oliver!
  • Three - The next book in the Article 5 series. This is one of my all-time favourite series, so I'm twiddling my thumbs until it comes out.
  • Fangirl - This has been getting some serious buzz in the blogosphere and I loved Rainbow Rowell's last book Eleanor & Park, so I'm dying to read this.
  • Ignite Me - Another series, I know, but there are just so many good ones out there and this is no exception. Tahereh Mafi has such a unique writing style that completely draws you in. Also: Warner is crazed. Team Adam all the way.

tbr allie

BB: If you could choose one book that hasn’t yet been adapted to be turned into a movie which one would it be?

I'd really like to see The 5th Wave on the big screen. There's such an amazing story to be told there and SO many kick-ass characters. I think if it could make a great film series or even a TV show. There's just so much material there, especially with all the different points of view.

BB: Which two fictional characters, from different books/series, would you like to see appear together in a new story?

I think it'd be hilarious to have all of the male love interests from various YA novels thrown together. It'd be one tortured testosterone-fest.

BB: Finally, which book blogs (other than your own of course!) would you recommend to our readers?

There are seriously so many talented bloggers out there. Buuuut I think my top five would be:
1. Forever Young Adult
2. Cuddlebuggery
3. Bewitched Bookworms
4. Readers in Wonderland
5. Read, Breathe, Read

Visit Allie's blog here: Little Birdie Books

Allie's Social Media links:
Pinterest -
Twitter -
Goodreads -
Instagram -


I'd like to say a huge thank you from all of us here at BB to Allie for taking part in this interview.
If you are a booktuber or book blogger and would like to be featured in a similar post we'd love to hear from you - just email us at for information!

Interview & post by Erin
Cover images via Goodreads
1 comment
A Really Awesome Mess | Trish Cook & Brendan Halpin | Review

Wednesday 13 November 2013

A Really Awesome Mess | Trish Cook & Brendan Halpin | Review

a really awesome mess
Image via Goodreads

“Justin and Emmy arrive at Heartland Academy, a reform school that will force them to deal with their issues, damaged souls with little patience for authority. But along the way they will find a ragtag group of teens who are just as broken, stubborn, and full of sarcasm as themselves. In the end, they might even call each other friends.” Source 

For me this is one of the most difficult reviews I’ve had to write as I have quite conflicted feelings about the book… but more on that later.

In the first chapter of this dual-POV book we are introduced to Emmy, who as a baby was adopted from China into an American family. Emmy has grown up alongside her parent’s biological daughter Joss and has always felt like the odd one out. Emmy winds up at Heartland after issues with both bullying and anorexia. The other POV we follow comes from Justin, who has just as many troubles of his own, including a battle with depression. At Heartland Emmy and Justin are forced to form a Breakfast Club-esque misfit group alongside other teens they would have never been friends with in the ‘real world’. The group have to learn to put aside their differences and work together to achieve their personal goals, and this idea becomes the backbone of the story.

Although intriguing and different from those in other YA novels, the characters weren’t always likable and at times were difficult to root for. Having said that I was pleased to find that each member of the group did have quite a distinct personality, something that I have found lacking in some of the other books I have read recently.

From what I have seen this book has received extreme mixed reviews from readers, with many feeling offended by the way in which serious issues such as anorexia and depression are depicted and dealt with. Although I didn’t necessarily set out to take this book too seriously, I did myself find some issues with the way some of the teens’ problems were portrayed, particularly in the flippant comments exchanged by the characters, and can completely understand why some readers have been annoyed by this aspect.

Despite having some issues with A Really Awesome Mess I did find the writing styles very easy to follow and would definitely consider reading more from these authors in future, perhaps with a different subject matter.

At the end of the day I can’t deny that part of me did enjoy the book, if there hadn’t been something appealing about it then I wouldn’t have finished it over just two days. On the other hand I really did feel it was flawed, at times inappropriate and although I thought the idea had a lot of potential, it didn’t quite hit the mark.

*Review copy c/o Netgalley
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The Handmaid's Tale | Margaret Atwood | Review

Monday 11 November 2013

The Handmaid's Tale | Margaret Atwood | Review

*image via GoodReads

Offred is a young woman living in the Republic of Gilead. She's a Handmaid and serves only one function in this society: to breed. She's essentially a surrogate mother and one of hundreds, if not thousands in the Republic, who are selected and prepped to help repopulate the State. The price to pay if she chooses to rebel? Death. Either by hanging or sent out to the Colonies to die of radiation poisoning. She's not the only one suffering though and there are many rebelling all around her in the smallest ways possible. Not even the government can suppress human desire.  

So what’s my verdict?

As much as I loved the premise of this book I found this really hard to get into. Admittedly the writing is stunning, the plot itself (once it gets going) is really good, but I found the pacing quite slow at times and the plot does jump around a lot.

I did however love the world Atwood's built in this book. As rigidly structured the Republic is, it's so rich and deeply layered, not to mention terrifyingly realistic. It's Dystopian in it's rawest sense. There's no crazy mutations or weird biological warfare going on. Just a corrupt government with disturbing values and a society that oppresses the voices of women. I have a feeling the description is so heightened because of Offred's imprisonment, her situation allows her to notice this smallest details and most subtle nuances in other's body language. A fair warning! This book does get a little sexually explicit in some scenes.

I'm probably judging this book a little harshly and it most likely warrants a re-read!

Reading Soundtrack:

I'm In Here: Sia; When You Were Young: The Killers; Winter Song: Sarah Barielles & Ingrid Michaelson; Say Something: A Great Big World; Sad Beautiful Tragic: Taylor Swift; Lost: Coldplay; Animal Love II: Charlene Kaye

This book was reviewed by regular reviewer Ria, get to know more about her here
Being A Booktuber | Interview with Sanne aka Books & Quills

Saturday 9 November 2013

Being A Booktuber | Interview with Sanne aka Books & Quills

Books and Quills header
Welcome to another installment of our Being a Booktuber series and today we're lucky to be featuring one of the team's favourite veteran Booktubers, Sanne a.k.a Books & Quills! Here's what she had to say about starting out on YouTube, offers tips on working in Publishing and vlogging from fictional lands...

BB: For any of our readers who aren't subscribed to Books & Quills already, could you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

My name is Sanne, I am 24 years old and besides being a YouTuber, I also work as Digital Coordinator at Hot Key Books. I moved to London from the Netherlands about a year ago to pursue a career in publishing. I've been creating YouTube videos since 2008 and it is definitely my biggest hobby (I spend all my free time editing and love every second of it!). On my channel I talk about books, travel, language and occasionally knitting. 

BB: What has been your favourite book to review so far, and which review has been the most difficult to do? 

I love doing reviews for books with really exciting and new plotlines, because I get to explain it to people! I really enjoyed reviewing Across the Universe by Beth Revis, The First Men in the Moon by H.G. Wells and The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham. 
The most difficult reviews are ones that I didn't really like or hate. It usually ends up with me criticizing the book for 4 minutes and ending by saying that I did enjoy reading it. It can be a bit confusing! I had this with Insurgent by Veronica Roth. 

BB: What made you decide to create your own YouTube channel in 2008 and what do you think has changed the most about the YouTube community since you started posting videos? 

When I started, there were no ads (as far as I can remember) and no-one was making money from it. There were no networks, no sponsorships and most people were filming with a webcam. It all felt quite small and it was easy to make friends with people (most of the bigger YouTubers became friends really early on, and that's how they all know each other). 

Also, there were so many collaboration channels. That is actually the reason why I started making videos. My very first video was an audition video for a channel about Twilight, which hadn't been translated into Dutch yet, so I was desperate to find some friends who'd read it. I didn't really review any books on my personal channel until I was a couple of months (or maybe a year or 2) into making videos. I think I did one review and got an overwhelming response, so I decided to keep going. There weren't many people talking about books on YouTube at the time! 

BB: Foreign language books are woefully under-represented here at Blogger's Bookshelf! As a bilingual Booktuber what translated novels would you recommend to our team and readers? 

This is quite difficult, because there aren't a lot of Dutch books that have been translated into English (and that I've read myself). If I remember correctly, The Discovery of Heaven (De Ontdekking van de Hemel) is quite interesting and a bit Davinci Code like. I'm actually starting a video series on translated Dutch literature soon, so I should be up to date with my recommendations by then. 

BB: You're a pretty versatile YouTuber and we especially love your travel videos. Which book's universe would you like to travel to and vlog from if you got the chance? 

Hmm, probably something that isn't too dangerous, so nothing dystopian or apocalyptic for me. I don't want to go with the obvious choice of Harry Potter (imagine how great that would be, doing a funny video at King's Cross and then actually going through the barrier with a DSLR). I think I'd like to hang out at one of Gatsby's parties, that sounds like an exciting evening! Or hitch a ride through the universe like in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. 

BB: Having worked alongside publishers both professionally and as a Booktuber, what piece of advice would you give to book bloggers/vloggers who want to do the same or want to work in the industry too? 

From a blogger/vlogger's point of view: build a good relationship with publishing companies, or one specific contact there. Don't be pushy or greedy, send them links to your blog/video if you're talking about a book, @reply the company in your tweet when you talk about your new review, etc. And of course make sure to be active and have a chat with people from the companies if you ever end up at a book launch or blogger event.

If you are a blogger/vlogger who wants to go into publishing: Your blog or vlog is the perfect way to show companies that you are interested in industry. Perhaps try to make some discussion posts about relevant topics, go to conferences and write a post about it with your opinion, start a project and get people involved. 

These are all things that can prove you can organise projects, manage communities, do media outreach and have an opinion on different topics within publishing.

BB: We seem to have an never-ending 'To Be Read' pile here are Blogger's Bookshelf! Which 3 books or series are currently on yours? 

The following books are currently located on the to read pile next to my bed:

  • Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
  • Insurgent by Veronica Roth (a re-read before I can start Allegiant)
  • The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson 


BB: What's your favourite thing about being a Booktuber? 

Having someone to talk to about books when my friends get sick of my going on and on about it! And helping people out by recommending books or teaching them something interesting. 

BB: And finally! Which Booktubers/Bloggers would you recommend our readers go and subscribe to? 
Check out Sanne's YouTube channel (Books & Quills) here, and here's where to find her online:

I'd like to say a huge thank you from all of us here at BB to Sanne for taking part in this interview.
If you are a booktuber or book blogger and would like to be featured in a similar post we'd love to hear from you - just email us at for information!

Interview & post by Ria
Book cover images from
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The Ocean at the End of the Lane | Neil Gaiman | Review

Friday 8 November 2013

The Ocean at the End of the Lane | Neil Gaiman | Review

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane marked Neil Gaiman’s first adult novel in almost a decade, news which obviously left his readers and fans both nervous and excited. Much noise was made about the fact that the novel was much shorter than we’ve come to expect from Gaiman with a hefty price tag alongside, but I (like many others I’m sure) decided to buy it anyway.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a truly magical tale of childhood and memory. It creates a sense unmistakeable nostalgia as the protagonist deals with all those things children have to go through and try to understand in order to grow up and lose your innocence. Gaiman catches you with his imagination from the first page of this novel and doesn’t let you go until the very end, creating memorable three-dimensional characters. Lettie and her family and glorious and charming, and although magical in almost every sense of the word they are somehow three-dimensional characters you can relate to throughout.

Gaiman fantastically ties in ‘real world’ to ‘magical world’ and there are some real great fantasy moments throughout the book. Similarly the ‘real world’ moments are grounded in emotion and sadness, including some very upsetting scenes that made me close the book and think for a little while.

I would honestly recommend this book over and over again. Neil Gaiman is a fantastic writer, and if you’re worried about the length of this book don’t be – by the time you get to the end you realise it is exactly as long as it needs. The end is fantastic and is a real testament to how not everything has to be ‘happy’ in order for it to be the perfect ending.  

This post was written by regular reviewer Kath, get to know her here
*image c/o goodreads 
Meet The Team | Part Four

Thursday 7 November 2013

Meet The Team | Part Four

Today we have the last post in our mini series of interviews featuring the Blogger's Bookshelf team. The final member is Niina - here's what she had to say about being part of team BB...

meet the team 4

I'm 26 years old, live in Sweden and work in public administration. I love traveling, eating cheese and reading about the zombie apocalypse. I also really like Christmas. That's pretty much it, now you know everything about me…

How did you initially get into blogging and what was it about joining team BB that appealed to you?

I'm not sure why I started blogging in the first place but I started with a blog in Swedish but got a bit bored with it when I realized that I didn't really have a big amount of people to connect with that way. I was a bit unsure about blogging in English at first because I thought people would comment on my bad English, but that has never happened yet. I had been thinking about starting a book blog for a while but thought that it would be too much work to do alone so I immediately said yes when I was asked to join the BB team.

Which of your published reviews are you most proud of? & any favourite group posts?

I'm not sure if these are the reviews I'm most proud of but I liked my review of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and then I want to mention my review of The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell because it's an amazing book. My favorite group post was Wish You Were Where!?

Are there any Swedish authors/books you would recommend to our readers?

I have to admit that I don't read a lot of Swedish books. They main reason for that is that I prefer reading in English (I get to read and practice my skills in English at the same time). But Astrid Lindgren is probably loved by every Swede for her amazing novels for children and teens. She's known internationally for Pippi Longstocking but I would really recommend The Brother's Lionheart (a fantasy) and The Children of Noisy Village (which I know are available in English).

You are a big fan of zombie novels, what would be your survival plan if there were ever a real zombie apocalypse?

Yes, I do actually have a survival plan and it's pretty simple. My theory is that where there's less people there's going to be less zombies (pretty logical). So I would go to our summer house in Lapland, Finland. It's in the middle of nowhere so it's the perfect place to hide. I'm a bit worried about where to find a good gun though…there isn't a lot of guns laying around here in Sweden.

Which two fictional characters, from different books/series, would you like to see appear together in a new story?

Sirius Black from Harry Potter (he's my favorite character from the Harry Potter books) and R from Warm Bodies (yes, a zombie). That would be an interesting story...

Finally, which books are top of your TBR list right now?

There's too many books on my TBR list… But I guess A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg is on the top of my list because I'm planning to start reading it tonight (yes, I'm already getting into the holiday spirit).

Thank you to Niina for taking part in this interview.

We hope you've enjoyed getting to know the girls behind the reviews here at Blogger's Bookshelf.
If you missed any of the previous posts you can find them here: Part One (Anjali & Kath), Part Two (Ria & Erin), Part Three (Laura & Lucy)

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