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.


Monday 31 August 2015

The Good Girls | Sara Shepard | Review

** The Good Girls is the second book in a series - this review contains spoilers for The Perfectionists **

The Good Girls picks up where The Perfectionists left off with the girls accused of murdering creepy teacher Granger and still unsure of just what happened to Nolan, the boy they played a prank on the night he died. As the novel progresses the girls realise that someone must have gotten their hands on the list they made that fateful day in film studies class when other names included also turn up injured or worse. The girls have no idea who might have overheard them or found their list of 'enemies' but with all eyes on them they have to find out before it's too late.

Having enjoyed getting to know a little about each of the characters in the first book I loved learning more about their personalities in the sequel. Just like the first book the chapters alternate between the five girls' different points of view, exploring each of their individual stories as well as the murders bringing them all together. Due to the switching of perspectives and volume of main characters it can be tricky to get to know them individually but I felt their differences came across a little more in this instalment.

The book ends with a nice albeit fairly predictable twist. I'll admit I suspected it might be the case after finishing the first book but still enjoyed the reveal and finishing this journey with these characters. If you're looking for a quick-to-read teen mystery series this may be the one for you!

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Sunday 30 August 2015

How You Can Get Involved In Our Next Group Post!

Example image c/o Anjali

This month we want you guys to get creative with your books - more specifically your book spines! Inspired by our regular reviewer Anjali's Book Spine Poetry series on her blog, we'd love to so see you guys create some poems based on the spines or covers of your books.

You can take a photo and send it to us by email, or post them on Twitter (tweet us at @blog_bookshelf) and Instagram using the hashtag #BBBookSpines.

There's no limit to your creativity here and we'd love to see as many of you give it a go!

We'll need your creative entries in by 9th September, as the post will be going up on the 12th September.

We can't wait to read your poems!
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Saturday 29 August 2015

Bookish Links #8

Welcome to another Bookish Links, the monthly post where we share some of our recent favourite reads from around the web! Here are some of the articles we've been loving lately...

1/ Which Fangirl Are You? - here at BB we're big fans of Rainbow Rowell's writing and have a soft spot for her YA novel Fangirl. This fun Buzzfeed quiz will tell you which of the novel's characters you're most like - don't forget to let us know who you get!

2/ All About Alice - our very own Ria shared a roundup of beautiful Alice In Wonderland covers in celebration of the book's 150th anniversary. There are so many amazing ones to choose from, but which design is your favourite?

3/ Nerdy Charts - we love this graphics from Epic Reads which we're sure you'll all be able to relate to!

4/ Writing Tips - Bee's post shares some brilliant advice for writing short stories, after reading it we're feeling very inspired! If you're looking to start, or get back into, penning some of your own stories this fab post is definitely worth a read.

5/ Do The Twist - if you're on the lookout for a book with an incredible twist, look no further. This roundup post from Bookbub Blog lists eleven great titles to choose from, all with unexpected plot twists!

6/ Looking Forward - in this 'top five' post Ali shares the upcoming 2015 releases she's most excited to read. We love Ali's choices, but which books would make your list?

7/ Ready Player Two? - the team over at Goodreads shared another brilliant interview recently, this time with Ready Player One and Armada author Ernest Cline. He talks about both of his geeky novels (there's even talk of sequels!) as well as the upcoming RPO adaptation set to be directed by none other than Steven Spielberg.

8/ The Big Issues - in a recent post blogger Beth discussed the importance of big issues within YA literature, something that we feel isn't always talked about enough, and shared a personal story of how they can truly make a real difference.

9/ Paper Houses - Louise shared a lovely post all about some amazing cut paper collages created by Amanda White. Each image depicts the house of a well-known English author, from Beatrix Potter to John Keats.

10/ Reading By Numbers - our final post of this month's roundup comes from Joséphine, who sparked an interesting discussion with her recent post on quantified reading. Do you find target numbers helpful or stressful when it comes to reading?

Don't forget to leave us links to any bookish articles you've written or enjoyed reading recently!   
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Friday 28 August 2015

Speak | Louisa Hall | Review

I received this book from Hachette Publishing New Zealand, 
in exchange for an honest review. 

She cannot run. She cannot walk. She cannot even blink. 
As her batteries run down for the final time, all she can do is speak. Will you listen?

"A young Puritan woman travels to the New World with her unwanted new husband. Alan Turing, the renowned mathematician and code breaker, writes letters to his best friend's mother. A Jewish refugee and professor of computer science struggles to reconnect with his increasingly detached wife. An isolated and traumatized young girl exchanges messages with an intelligent software program. A former Silicon Valley Wunderkind is imprisoned for creating illegal lifelike dolls. 
Each of these characters is attempting to communicate across gaps — to estranged spouses, lost friends, future readers, or a computer program that may or may not understand them. In dazzling and electrifying prose, Louisa Hall explores how the chasm between computer and human — shrinking rapidly with today's technological advances — echoes the gaps that exist between ordinary people. Though each speaks from a distinct place and moment in time, all five characters share the need to express themselves while simultaneously wondering if they will ever be heard, or understood." - Good Reads

Speak follows the stories of 5 different characters (or 6...possibly 7), as Good Reads has kindly mentioned for us. Mary writes in her diary as she travels by boat to the New World; Alan Turing writes letters to his best friend's mother about his life and the things he's working on; Karl and Ruth Dettman are falling apart in their marriage; a transcript used in Stephen R. Chinn's trial shows conversations between Gaby, a young girl and a robot; and Stephen R. Chinn, a computer programmer writes his memoirs in a Texas jail in 2040. While all the stories seem unconnected, as the story progresses you start to see the links between them, and the artificial intelligence, MARY3, as a connecting point.

It's a little hard to write about the plot or the settings or any of that because of how the book is written. There isn't a narrator, other than the individuals who speak their story in some form (diary, letters, online conversations, memoirs), and I guess that's the point. It was a very thought-provoking book at times, and it definitely got me thinking about communication and how much of that is us being who we are, and how and what makes us truly human. One of my favourite lines is by Gaby, as she lies unable to move in her bedroom, unable to speak.

"Tell me what happens next, after my body has frozen. When I can't communicate. What will I be?"

At this stage in the story (quite early on) I was really enjoying it. My favourite voice was the conversation between Gaby and MARY3, and while I did enjoy the others at the beginning, as the story went on I did find myself getting bored. I was tired of hearing about Mary on her boat and her insane obsession with her dog, and her weird diary-writing style, and I didn't care much for many of the other characters.

However, it was a very well written book, and Hall has a great style in all the different voices she writes. I think, while I wouldn't read it again, I am glad I read it. For me, it just reiterated the fact that making robots that think and talk is a bad idea. It can only go badly. What's important is people; our thoughts, our fears, our connections with loved ones, our life and eventual death. It's like that for a reason, and we shouldn't try to mess with that.

Speak is a great book for people who like A.I. stories, and stories with a multitude of seemingly unconnected characters, spanning centuries. As I said, it's thought provoking, educational, and brilliantly written, especially for Hall's second book.

Image from Good Reads.
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Thursday 27 August 2015

Features | Coming out of your reading comfort zone


I think we all have a particular genre that we tend to stick to when reading. For me, it's young adult dystopian or romance (what can I say, I'm a walking stereotype for teenage girls). Whilst there's nothing wrong with that, it can lead you to neglecting a lot of good books just because they aren't what you would usually read. Recently I got really bored with reading, and when I looked back at what I had been reading recently I realised that it was probably due to the fact that I hadn't read anything outside of my favourite genres in around a year and I was getting a little bit sick of them. So, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and read something different. I started with a court of thorns and roses. Whilst this is still YA and romance, it is also a fantasy book, a genre I usually don't tend to enjoy, with the exception of Harry Potter. To my surprise I really enjoyed it, and so decided to start looking into more fantasy novels such as Game of Thrones. Not only is this fantasy, but it's also insanely long (or at least compared to the books I usually read anyway). However, I really like it so far, even if it is taking me a very long time to read.

Another genre I decided I wanted to try that I hadn't read in a very long time was non fiction. So, I picked up Do Not Harm, which is the memoirs of a brain surgeon, and I absolutely loved it. I would recommend it to anyone (except squeamish people as it gets fairly graphic at times!) Had I not stepped out of my reading comfort zone, I never would have discovered it, and I feel like my love of reading has been renewed because I'm not reading similar books all the time.

I have a few tips for anyone who feels like they want to start reading different genres. Firstly, start by picking something that is not completely different to genres you already read. Also, I find I tend to stick to genres that I know because otherwise there are so many books I don't know where to start! To avoid this problem, make use of book blogs, booktubers, goodreads and other places. Top 10 lists are a great place to start! Finally, utilise libraries and charity shops, to avoid spending a lot of money of books you might not like very much.

Try reading new things. Who knows, you could even find a new favourite genre!
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Wednesday 26 August 2015

Pivot Point | Kasie West | Review

In a world where a hidden paranormal compound exists within a society exactly like ours, inhabitants use advanced technology as part of their daily life to enhance their mind powers they were born with. Addie is a Searcher - when given a choice, she can 'search' the two paths and be shown each alternate future before making a decision. When Addie's parents tell her they're getting a divorce and she must decide whether she would like to stay with her mother inside the compound or go out into the "norm" world with her father and live without her paranormal powers. Carrying out the longest search she has ever done, Addie views the alternate realities of living with each parent over six weeks. 

With alternating chapters switching between the mother-decision and the father-decision, the storylines became slightly harder to distinguish as the book went on. Each story involved the same characters, but in a different way and at times, I lost which future I was reading about and it took a lot of concentration to think through so I could follow each plot. The way the two stories weaved together was interesting and towards the end, I could see how things would make sense in either future. I didn't particularly feel a connection to any of the characters, although I did enjoy reading the story. I felt as though the story focused on the events and less on the characters themselves. By the end, I didn't really feel like I knew Addie, or anybody else in the story. The romantic aspects are quite heavy in both futures, but again I just didn't feel connected to the characters or the romantic interest aspect.

One of the main ways I give star-ratings on my reviews is by how much I enjoyed reading the book, then any comments within my review expand on my actual thoughts. I settled on four stars for this book as it kept me entertained, had twists and turns that I wasn't expecting and was generally an enjoyable read. Pivot Point felt like more of a contemporary with a slight difference in that the characters could use certain mind tricks, it didn't feel like a typical paranormal story so if you're looking at getting into the genre but don't want to start with anything too heavy, I would highly recommend this book. 
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Monday 24 August 2015

The Sabbath | Nsenga & Francis | Review

*Image and eBook provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


The morning after witnessing a spectacular meteorite shower, humanity wakes up immortal, but still susceptible to diseases and even more sensitive to pain. News bulletins claim the meteorites released a chemical compound, called ATHENS, that caused the mutation. Now the majority of food supplies are contaminated and the rich are controlling what little is left. Lana and Corey accidentally discover a secret government device and find themselves caught up in a diabolical plot to control the future of humanity.


I enjoy reading short books like this, less than 200 pages. I enjoy these because it means there are no words wasted. Everything written is meant to aid the story, not distract or bore. Nnsenga & Francis do not disappoint. There are no extraneous details, there are no long, boring monologues, and the exposition is kept in good pace with the action. And there is a lot of action, something else I enjoy in my stories that have romance.

There are few characters we actually get to know in this book. It's from the point of view of the main characters of Lana and Cory. They knew each other before The Sabbath (the meteorite shower) and remain together in the aftermath, keeping themselves and Cory's sister, Isabel, safe. Their relationship isn't perfect, but neither is the environment they're in. I will admit, there were a few times I thought "can we please put the relationship drama aside until the action is over?" But I've been told, several times, that it's actually more true-to-life than I give it credit for.

As much as I love the shorter book format, it does come with a challenge for authors: world building is incredibly difficult. Unfortunately, the world The Sabbath takes place in is difficult for me to picture. When they talk about the government controlling everything, it seems to big for any one country's government to do.* The coalition of rebels makes me wonder if "The Government" is just one country or a new world-wide government that took over in the year after the Sabbath. There are a lot of questions about this world that the authors just don't have the time to answer, though they did leave things open for a sequel.

If you enjoy apocalyptic books, government conspiracies, and/or survival stories, you will like The Sabbath. There are questions about the world, but the characters are real and the implications of immortality being too-good-to-be-true are interesting. The different lengths people will go to in order to provide for themselves and their families are central to the story and accurate. Overall, it's a good read.

*There is a hint that it's actually another group controlling everything but that still seems out there.

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Being A Book Blogger | Interview With Isha From Two Sisters Bloggin'

Saturday 22 August 2015

Being A Book Blogger | Interview With Isha From Two Sisters Bloggin'

It's interview time again! Today I'm chatting to the lovely Isha who blogs about books and more alongside her sister over at Two Sisters Bloggin'. Here's what she had to say about blogging as a team, her favourite reads of the year so far and being Magnus Bane for a day...

interview with isha two sisters bloggin

BB: Hi Isha, welcome to Blogger's Bookshelf! For anyone who hasn't yet discovered Two Sisters Bloggin' could you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

Hey! I only started blogging recently so none of you probably know us yet. I'm Isha and I blog at Two Sisters Bloggin', which is literary & lifestyle blog. I'm from a little country called Ireland. I'm 18. A big sister. I love reading books with strong heroines and I love cooking and baking for people.

BB: Your blog is a collaboration between yourself & your younger sister. What made you want to start a blog together and what do you think are the benefits of working on it as a team?

My younger sister and I have a really close relationship. We fight a lot but we're basically best friends (even if we don't admit it) and we do most things together. We both wanted to start a blog, so we decided why not collaborate so we could make the experience even more fun? The benefits of working as a team is that we never run out of ideas. I have stuff I'm passionate that I could blog about and she can blog about the things she loves.

BB: If you had to list your favourite reads of the year so far which books would make the cut?

Why must you make choose favourites? That's cruel! But if I have to choose it would be Simon & the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. This was my first LGBT book so it'll hold a special place in my heart and The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh because her writing was just incredible and it was nice to get a taste of the Arabian culture. I definitely recommend both books if you haven't read them yet.

interview with isha two sisters bloggin

BB: On your blog's About page you mention that you love binge-watching TV shows (we do too!). Do you have any favourite shows that are based on books? 

Yes, I watch too many TV shows it's surreal! Some shows that I watch that are based on books (not necessarily following the plot!) would be Grey's Anatomy, the 100, Pretty Little Liars and The Carrie Diaries.

BB: Just for fun, if you could swap lives for the day with any fictional character who would it be and why?

If I could swap lives with a fictional character for a day it would be Magnus Bane. He's sassy, funny, fabulous and loves glitter! He's basically what I aspire to be in life. Plus he's had so many adventures and known all these amazing people. He was friends with the amazing characters I love from The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments.

BB: Finally, we're always looking for new book blogs to read, do you have any favourites? 

My favourite book blogs are: reign of, alexandra of and hazel of Reign is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. She is a precious cinnamon roll plus she also make book edits. Alexandra's blog is so kawaii and her instagram is aesthetics. Hazel is so nice and helpful, as a new blogger I'm not yet familiar with codes and html and she's always patient with me when I'm asking questions.

Where To Find Isha Online: Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

I'd like to say a huge thank you from all of us here at BB to Isha 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!

Images c/o Isha
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Guest Review | Life Of Pi | Yann Martel

Friday 21 August 2015

Guest Review | Life Of Pi | Yann Martel

life of pi

'Life of Pi' follows Piscine 'Pi' Patel, whose parents own a zoo in Pondicherry, India. At first, the narrator tells us that this is a true story, and we get to know Pi in his hometown, learn about his relationships with teachers and friends, and travel with him through his discovery of different religions. There is a lot of talk about the animals - zoo theory if you will - and how they get on and live in a zoo instead of escaping or killing each other. Only about the first third of the book is based on the description of Pi's formative childhood years. The back of the book tells us, so I don't mind telling you, that the family decide to move their zoo to Canada, but the ship they travel in sinks before they can get to the other side of the Pacific Ocean. Pi is the only survivor, and makes his way to the only functioning lifeboat along with a hyena, a zebra with a broken leg, an orang-utan and a massive Royal Bengal tiger.

The story is quite a powerful one, and I really enjoyed finding out about how Pi survived for many months on his lifeboat. The novel seemed to be well-researched, with details such as the different types of fish he caught, methods of gathering water when floating on the sea, and how not to be killed by a vicious predator. The moods Pi goes through seemed realistic, too. I can imagine that somebody would have a hard time surviving under that pressure, knowing that they had lost their family and that they may not see land again. I am not a religious person but even so, I did not find Pi's religious exploration of faith overwhelming. It was not preachy. Pi tries  several different religions so he can't really be biased. It did not interfere with the story, for me.

While I read, I really did hope that Pi would survive. I grew to like his storytelling, and looked forward to a victorious reunion with land, because we are told at the beginning that he does live in Canada now. While the novel had a sort of happy ending, I am not a fan of the way it twisted in the final few pages. If you have seen the movie, then you will know what I mean - about how strange the ending is after such a fantastic story. I prefer to think that the final pages don't exist. Overall, I enjoyed the novel and felt satisfied with it until the weird ending. I would not let this put you off as it can be ignored if you don't like it. I must say that I liked the inclusion of animal relationships with humans/animal psychology, as that sort of thing fascinates me.

Image via

This post was written by guest blogger Jemma.
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Thursday 20 August 2015

Features | Book Recommendations For Film Fans

If there's one thing I love as much as I love books, it's films (actually food and TV are pretty high too, but neither of those are relevant to this post I'm afraid.) So for today's post I thought I would share a few book recommendations based on some popular films. Because what's more fun than reading a book that reminds you of one of your favourite films? Actually, you can totally use this list the other way too and find some film recommendations based on books. Isn't that useful?

1. If you like Moonrise Kingdom or Little Miss Sunshine then you might like The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen

The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet follows ten year old cartographer, T.S., as he hitches a ride on a train across country to collect a very prestigious award. This book has a lot in common with Moonrise Kingdom, the central story of a young boy running away from home being, of course, the immediate thing that comes to mind. There is also a balance of darkness and optimism that reminds me a lot of Little Miss Sunshine, and although T.S. makes his journey alone, his relationship with his family are a huge part of the book. The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet is also illustrated with T.S.'s diagrams and drawings throughout, which links nicely with the beautiful look of both films.

2. If you like The Breakfast Club (or any John Hughes film really) you might like Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Okay so I know everyone and their mother has already read Eleanor and Park but I couldn't make a list like this without mentioning it. Eleanor & Park, like so many of John Hughes's teen films, is set in 1980s America, but the story of growing up and falling in love could be set in any time period and it would still be pretty much the same. In The Breakfast Club five very different teenagers are thrown together in detention and soon find out that they maybe aren't so different after all, and that they all have their own unique problems. In Eleanor & Park the title characters are thrown together on a school bus and they slowly learn the same lessons with the added bonus of falling in love.

3. If you like Rushmore you might like Looking For Alaska by John Green

I'm going to admit here and now that this one is probably the most tenuously linked comparison on this list. Also, as with Eleanor & Park, pretty much everyone in the world has already read this book. Hear me out though, Rushmore and Looking For Alaska have a lot of differences. For example, Rushmore Academy is not a boarding school, and there are no plays in Looking For Alaska. They do, however, share a vibe. They both have a sense of adventure and they're both about teenage boys trying to find their ways in the world. They also both feature doomed crushes and lessons learned. Also the main protagonists of both books are a little pretentious and friendless when their stories begin. Which, for some reason, is the kind of thing I like in a main character.

4. If you like Romeo + Juliet you might like Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Quite simply, these are both unique interpretations of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Whereas Romeo + Juliet sets the famous story in 90s America with guns instead of swords, Warm Bodies makes Romeo a zombie. There's really not much more to say, but if you liked Baz Luhrmann's take on Romeo and Juliet then I think you might enjoy Isaac's Marion's too.

5. If you like The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert or Hairspray or pretty much any other musical film you can think of you might like Hold Me Closer by David Levithan

Hold Me Closer is the companion novel to the equally brilliant Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green, but what makes Hold Me Closer unique is that it is not actually a novel at all. It's a script. A musical script, in fact, (although with very novel-like stage directions) written by the best character in Will Grayson, Will Grayson, Tiny Cooper. This is definitely a book for musical lovers, which I definitely am, but it's more of a Priscilla or Hairspray than Evita or Les Mis, if you know what I mean. It has its sad moments, as any good musical does, but by the end of the show Tiny makes sure you feel uplifted and positive, just like all my favourite musicals do.

So those are just a few book recommendations for fans of some excellent films. Do you have any film-specific book recommendations to add to the list? I'd love to hear them in the comments!
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Zeroes | Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, & Deborah Biancotti | Review

Wednesday 19 August 2015

Zeroes | Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, & Deborah Biancotti | Review

*image via GoodReads
Ever wondered what life would be like if you had superpowers? Meet the Zeroes.

Flicker, a blind girl who can 'hijack' people's eyes to see;
Chizaria or Crash, who can disable electronics and control electrical energy;
Bellwether, a boy who can directly influence others to his will;
Anon, another guy who is technically ‘invisible’ to the world;
And finally there's Scam, a boy who has an inner voice that can get him exactly what he wants.

These powers sound awesome right? But as a wise old man once said 'with great power comes great responsibility'.

After Scam's voice lands him in serious trouble - again - it's up to the rest of the Zeroes to bail him out...that's if they can get over what happened the last time his 'voice' screwed them all over. This time the stakes are higher, drug lords, mobsters and even the police are hot on their heels, and then there's the appearance of another 'superhuman' with powers just like theirs.

So what's my verdict?
Among the glut of Marvel and DC films we're getting and the rise in popularity of the 'superhero' movie and TV genre, Zeroes comes as a breath of fresh air. Less of an 'Avengers-esque' type of storyline, the novel is more of in the vein of darker superhero premises such as the TV show Heroes and the first few X Men movies.

In the spirit of those shows the novel follows a group of misfits, with the running them that superpowers come with a price. Their world isn't dystopian, these guys are 'chosen ones', though obviously there's an element of suspending belief that these teenagers can face mobs and drug lords, the scenarios feel very 'real' in a wrong place at the wrong time kind of way.

With such a big cast it's often so rare to see all of them explored in equal measure, but there's so much character development from each person throughout the novel, making the ending all the more satisfying. Not to mention that cast themselves are brilliantly diverse too.
One thing I picked up on that was really Interesting was how their ‘superpowers’ were at one point compared to dealing with a mental illness. Scam’s in particular is likened to schizophrenia, and it's arguably Chizaria’s makes her experience severe panic attacks. Both of these instances only go to reinforce the idea that powers come with a price.

In terms of narrative style, I didn't even register with me that the book was co-authored until about a third of the way into the novel. Westerfeld, Lanagan and Biancotti's voices flow seamlessly and the story works so well as a cohesive novel written by one person. Overall, Zeroes gets a big thumbs up from me. The plot felt fresh and was hell of a lot of fun too. The great thing is that you really root for the gang and you want them to be heroes rather than zeroes by the end of the book.

Reading Soundtrack: 
Dignity: New Politics; Hit & Run: LoLo; Ghost: Pvris; Any Other Way: We The Kings; Breathe Me: Sia; NaNaNa: My Chemical Romance; City Of Angels: 30 Seconds To Mars

For lovers of…X Men (the comics & the movies), Fantastic Four, and Heroes (TV series).

Disclaimer: Review copy c/o NetGalley and Simon & Schuester
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Monday 17 August 2015

Black Cairn Point | Claire McFall | Review


Black Cairn Point is the story of a camping trip gone wrong. 

Whilst in an isolated area of Scotland a series of events that can only be explained by the supernatural leave just two survivors; Heather and Dougie. The story is recounted through the eyes of Heather who, thanks to that fateful trip which left Dougie in a coma, is left alone with her sanity being questioned by everyone including her own family.

The group of five teens which also includes Emma, Martin and Darren, head out to the middle of nowhere armed with camping gear and alcohol to celebrate Dougie's birthday. Whilst out exploring Martin, Dougie and our narrator Heather come across some ruins which aspiring Archaeology student Dougie identifies as a tomb... or cairn. Inside they find an old brooch and make the mistake of removing it from the cairn, taking it back to their camp. Soon after the teens begin to disappear one by one under mysterious circumstances and Heather starts to believe that they have disturbed a vengeful spirit.

If I'm being completely honest I'm not usually one to opt for books with a supernatural element however the rest of the blurb (including Hot Key's key which says the book contains isolation, suspicion, survival and danger), plus pretty front cover caught my eye whilst browsing the stalls for new reads at YALC. This particular novel sounded so interesting that Ria picked up a copy as well!

The novel switches between present day and Heather looking back, explaining what happened on the trip allowing the reader to slowly piece everything together. Having recently read quite a few other titles within the thriller/mystery sub-genre of YA I was pretty sceptical about Heather due to the unusual circumstances and spent a lot of time questioning whether she was a reliable narrator. I didn't love the other characters either but somehow that didn't manage to take away from my enjoyment of reading their unique story.

As horror goes the events of the actual camping trip felt uneasy with a chilling atmosphere but didn't necessarily scare me as I read. The same can't be said for the later chapters detailing Heather's present day life trapped in a psychiatric ward accused of being 'crazy' simply for trying to explain what she saw out in the middle of nowhere. With Dougie still in a coma Heather can do nothing but wait for him to wake up and prove that she is telling the truth, attending appointments with Dr Petersen and sitting alone in her room at the facility.

The ending of the book is definitely one that will divide opinion amongst readers, although I'm happy to say that I really liked the conclusion and found it to be very fitting considering the creepy tone of the novel.

So would I recommend picking up a copy of Black Cairn Point? In short, yes. This quick read is intriguing and perfectly creepy, although I wouldn't suggest taking it with you on any camping trips!

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Group Collaboration | Our Reading Habits

Saturday 15 August 2015

Group Collaboration | Our Reading Habits

This month we asked our team about their reading habits. Here's what they had to say about reading goals, routines, books on-the-go and more!

Do you have a set reading routine?

Cat: I don’t really have any set reading routine, generally it depends on the book when and how often I’ll read it.

Christina: Not really, I have to be cosy and free of all distractions - my phone is usually on ‘do not disturb’ and I make sure I have plenty of time to really get into the book before I start reading.

"Since I try to read 2 books a week, I tend to read anywhere and everywhere. I always have a book (or three) with me; I have ebooks loaded on my phone, as well as one or two audiobooks downloaded plus I carry a book in the front seat of my car. I get most of my reading done on my couch at home between 8-10pm. Reading at the end of the day helps me calm down and get ready for bed -- plus it usually means that I get to have dreams about Hogwarts/Shakespeare's England/whatever other book world I have just read!" - Alexandra

Are you a seasonal reader: curled up by the fire with a book in the colder months, or lying on the beach with a summer read?

Christina: Yes! When I think of ‘reading’, I automatically think of being in my bed, all cosy, radiator on next to me, candles lit and rain/snow on the window. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading on the beach, but there’s something special about being all cosy reading when it’s awful outside.


"With full time work I've definitely found I have to make more of an effort to sit and read. I have the shortest commute on the planet (about 10/15 mins on a bus!), so I try and cram in as much as I can then. I do also make sure I have a book or my Kindle with me when I travel anywhere at the moment - so even if I've been out running errands and have a minute to stop off for a coffee I have a book with me. I've also found Saturday mornings in bed or on the sofa are optimal reading times too.
Of course when I find a book that's REALLY good this all goes out the window. Then it's all hands on deck reading at ungodly hours at night trying to get to the end." - Ria

Is there a time of day you enjoy reading most?

Christina: When it’s dark. I used to love reading in the morning, but if it was a hard, darker read (and I read a lot of those) it put me in a strange mood for the day, so now I prefer to read in the evening/once it gets dark. It just feels that much cosier.

The Bookwhore Diaries: I enjoy reading at night when everything is calm and quiet.

Cat: Early mornings and evenings are my favourite time of day to read, I often find that it’s quieter and easier to focus.

"Everywhere I go I take a book with me. I have to buy bags that allow for book space. Sure, some days I don't get time to read, but it's there if I get stuck at a bus station, or I have an extra fifteen minutes somewhere in my day. I spend my Sunday evenings reading for an hour or so at Starbucks to kill time before church (who am I kidding? I get there early on purpose), but I read the most in the evening, right before bed. Occasionally I'll spend an entire day just reading, but that's more likely to happen when I'm on holiday or away somewhere. I find background noise doesn't affect my reading (hence Starbucks), but I can't listen to music because I end up trying to sing along and read at the same time. I also love long car trips, because that gets in a lot of reading time." - Anjali

Do you always travel with a book in hand?

The Bookwhore Diaries: Nope. I don't. I love the books too much that I fear it will harm the book if I bring them. I do bring my Kindle though.

Cat: Yes of course, if I go on holiday or do any train travel I will always take a book with me.

Christina: Yes and no. I don’t tend to take physical books with me when travelling, as I am very much a mood-reader and couldn’t stand choosing a book, only to feel I’m not in the mood to read it, and ending up with nothing to read. I prefer to take my ipad, which has a range of books on the kindle app, as well as the ibooks app too, so I never run out of choices.


"Usually I don't have a set reading routine - I read until my mind wanders, and then I leave it for a little while. I do prefer to read in the living room though - with all my duvets and blankets on top of me and with several dogs lying on top as well, with my music on shuffle and with my headphones on. It's my happy place. As for being a seasonal reader, books don't have a season as far as I'm concerned. I will happily read a Christmassy book in July as long as it's good. Normally I don't have reading goals, but right now I'm doing ARC August, so I'm aiming for at least 3 ARCs a week now. It's nice to have goals to work towards." - Rebecca 

How often do you pick up a book?

Cat: I can’t say that I pick my book up every night, but I do try to read before bed as it helps me to relax, and at the weekends I love to read in bed in the mornings with a cup of tea.

Christina: Everyday without fail. Usually on an evening but sometimes throughout the day too, if it’s a weekend.

The Bookwhore Diaries: Every night AND every Sunday. I'm always lazy on Sundays. 

"I don’t have any particular reading routine. I mostly read when I'm in the bath or in bed before I go to sleep, or if the weather’s nice then I’ll sit outside for a few hours in the sunshine with a big bottle of water and a book, which is definitely my favourite thing to do. I love reading outside at dusk, when it’s been sunny all day, just as the sun is setting. That’s my favourite time and place to read. I don’t generally choose to listen to music when I’m reading but I do usually take a book with me if I’m going out for the day and I can pretty much read anywhere without being too bothered by noise, although I definitely prefer less noise. I don’t really have any reading targets or anything like that either, but I do have a list on my bedroom wall of all the unread books on my shelf so I can see, at a glance, how many are on my TBR and I can cross them off once I’ve read them, which gives me a very false sense of productivity, I’m sure!" - Anastasia

Do you set goals such as a target number of books to read each month?

Christina: Not monthly goals, but I’m a big fan of the Goodreads goals. Mine is currently 100 for 2015 and I’m around 57 books in so I’m pretty proud. I try to read a few books a week so it gives me enough content to write about and review, but if I can’t manage it, I don’t push myself.

Erin: I don't tend to set target numbers although I occasionally make myself a TBR list for the month ahead - particularly when I need to catch up on my Netgalley shelf!

Cat: No I don’t generally sent myself any target number each month, I’d never keep to it.

Images via

Now it's your turn to tell us about your reading habits! Don't forget to leave us a comment and let us know how you would answer some of these questions.

Next month we'll be showing off our creative side and having a go at making some book spine poetry! If you'd like to get involved just email or drop us a tweet @blog_bookshelf!
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Friday 14 August 2015

The Versions of Us | Laura Barnett | Review

 I received this book from Hachette Publishing New Zealand,
 in exchange for an honest review.  

"A man is walking down a country lane. A woman, cycling towards him, swerves to avoid a dog. On that moment, their future hinges. There are three possible outcomes, three small decisions that could determine the rest of their life.

Eva and Jim are nineteen and students at Cambridge when their paths first cross in 1958. And then there is David, Eva's then-lover, an ambitious actor who loves Eva deeply. The Versions of Us follows the three different courses their lives could take following this first meeting. Lives filled with love, betrayal, ambition but through it all is a deep connection that endures whatever fate might throw at them." - Good Reads

According to the wonderful internet, this book is 'One Day meets Sliding Doors', except rather than just two different Gwyneth Paltrow story lines, there's three...and no Gwyneth. In two versions, Eva and Jim meet when they're young, in Cambridge as the description reads, but in the third they don't meet until later. Each version follows their stories, and how their lives played out if things had been different.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I love the concept, and the idea behind it, and how it delves into 'what if' life stories - we all wonder 'what if', don't we? - and I did like the characters and the way Barnett writes. Having said that, it was all written in present tense, which I don't really enjoy at all, and it was very confusing trying to keep up with each version of the story and how it differs from the others. It seemed to get harder as the book went on, because Eva and Jim grow up, and there are children in all three versions, and I was constantly thinking 'wait...I thought this child was in the other version', and 'I thought that other guy was that kid's father...' etc etc.

I think it was because it was so difficult to keep up with (though that's probably just me - a lot of people absolutely loved this book), I didn't really engage with the characters much, and it took me 3 weeks to read it because I wasn't  invested in their lives, and I didn't really care what happened in the end.

However, overall it was a good story, and I did enjoy the ending/s. It was full of love and friendship, divorces and deaths, laughter and losses,  trying to find that happy ending with the person you (perhaps) should have been with from the beginning, and really deeply exploring the 'what if'.  It's just recently been released, and you can find it in your book stores, on Amazon, or Book Depository. If it sounds like your kind of thing, do pick it up. I suspect if I hadn't struggled with it so much, I would have enjoyed it overall a lot more. Let me know what you think if you give it a read! cute is that cover!?
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Wednesday 12 August 2015

Cupcakes and Cashmere at Home | Emily Schuman | Review

For those of you who haven't heard of her, Emily Schuman is a perfectly polished, admirable blogger. She writes about fashion, cooking, home decor and as of late, her new baby Sloan. Her blog Cupcakes and Cashmere has always been one that I just love to dive into when I have a spare few minutes so when I found out in 2012 that she was bringing out a book, I just had to get my hands on it. I pored over the pages and became even more obsessed with this woman who seemed to have everything together. A couple of months ago, her second book Cupcakes and Cashmere At Home was published and yet again, it sent me into a state of excitement and longing to have this gorgeous little book on my shelves. 

The first book focused on all aspects of a polished life, such as fashion, cooking, lifestyle, etc and this one was purely focused on decor and entertaining at home. The decor aspect was my favourite, as it focused on the alterations you can do when you're renting vs when you're buying a home. The first section was all about how you can make your space your own - whether you own it or rent it. With excellent tips I'd never even considered, this guide will be one I'll be diving into again and again in the future. The second part of the book is a guide to entertaining and the different types of 'at home' entertaining that you can do, as well as tips to doing it flawlessly. 

I couldn't be happier for Emily's success and as it all started from her blog, I feel as though she's one of us in a way. The tips in this book will carry me into the next phase of my life as I buy my own home and this gorgeous book is a perfect addition to my shelves.
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Don't Be Such a Scientist | Randy Olson | Review

Monday 10 August 2015

Don't Be Such a Scientist | Randy Olson | Review

*Image and ebook provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


In this book, tenured-professor turned filmmaker, Randy Olson talks about the problems scientists encounter when trying to talk to the public. He offers explanations for why the difficulties exists and offers some solutions for getting the public interested in science.


This book is definitely meant for scientists, though it can probably be used by anyone who finds that they have difficulties communicating. I also found some ways for me to better communicate with the scientists in my life.

Olson does a great job of practicing what he preaches. He wrote this book with scientists in mind, but he made it accessible to a general audience. He uses all of the elements he discusses and is pretty good at keeping you interested throughout the entire book. 

If you've ever wondered why academics seem to have fewer social skills, or wondered how you can make your own messages more interesting, Don't Be Such a Scientist has a lot of useful advice. 
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Being A Book Blogger | Interview With Rebecca aka Shihtzu Book Reviews

Saturday 8 August 2015

Being A Book Blogger | Interview With Rebecca aka Shihtzu Book Reviews

It's interview time again! Today we're chatting to the lovely Rebecca of Shihtzu Book Reviews who you may remember as the girl behind the Harry Potter Emoji Tag guest post we shared back in May. Here's what she had to say about perfect casting, the pets behind the blog name and correcting a teacher at nursery!...

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BB: Hi Rebecca! For anyone who hasn't yet discovered Shihtzu Book Reviews could you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

I'm pretty much Queen of the nerds - my time is usually spent either writing fanfiction for the many fandoms I am a part of (Harry Potter, Carmilla etcetera and so forth), reading anything I can get my hands on, or watching shows like Game of Thrones, Supernatural, Star Trek - TRIBBLE INVASION!! Hahaha!

BB: Where does your passion for reading come from? And what made you want to start a book blog?

I've been a bookworm ever since I can remember. My mum says that when I was in nursery, I corrected the teacher when she was reading us a story. I just have to laugh at that particular anecdote. As for my little book blog, I somehow stumbled onto this blog, and it led me to a load of other book blogs. It looked really interesting, so I figured I'd give it a go - starting off with just reviews, and then my fancast posts came to life, and it's just sort of grown from there. The name actually comes from my four gorgeous Shih Tzus - as you can see in the pictures.

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BB: Of all your reviews so far which are you most proud of?

I had a lot of fun reviewing The Carrie Diaries actually - it was a fun review to write, and I feel like it really encapsulates my blogging voice (which is still developing, but getting there).

BB: If you had to list your favourite reads of 2015 so far which books would make the cut?

I don't usually read recent releases, usually because I don't hear about them until they've been out for like a year, but I'm definitely looking forward to reading Cassandra Clare's new Shadowhunter series 'The Dark Artifices', and also Ransom Riggs' new Miss Peregrine book when it comes out in the autumn. Those are definitely on my to-read list when they are released.

BB: On Wednesdays you share Fancast posts for some of your favourite reads, but which existing adaptations do you think have been perfectly cast?

The Youtube channel GeekAndSundry did an amazeballs webseries adaptation of the Morganville Vampires series last year, and the casting for that was just so on point, I was so impressed. There's also the casting for next year's The Mortal Instruments tv adaptation that is literally the most perfect thing in the world. I can't wait to see Harry Shum Jr. and Matthew Daddario getting it on as one of my all time favourite LGBT book couples, Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood. Bring on next year already!

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BB: Just for fun, if you had the power to bring one fictional character to life who would you choose and why?

Ooh, that's a hard one..... Hmm, I guess I'd probably bring Hermione Granger to life, because she's one of the most badass female characters in modern literature, and imagine how cool it would be to hang out with Hermione? Dream come true - well, at least for me.

BB: Finally, we're always looking for new book blogs to read, do you have any favourites?

This blog, obviously because it's the one that started me off and gets me interested din new book-related stuff.

BasicallyBooks -
JackCroxall -
ADateWithABook -

Where to find Rebecca online: Blog | Tumblr | Goodreads | Instagram

I'd like to say a huge thank you from all of us here at BB to Rebecca 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!

Images c/o Rebecca
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Thursday 6 August 2015

Features | Classics For People Who Don't Read Classics

I have a confession to make. I have an undergraduate degree in English Literature but I really struggle with 'The Classics'. Oliver Twist bored me to tears, I read the whole of Jane Eyre without taking in any of it, and I have never managed to read past the first few pages of Pride and Prejudice. I love a good miniseries adaptation of a classic novel, but when it comes to actually reading the books I just stall. It made things more than a little difficult when I was studying Victorian literature at university.

(Here's a little tip if you ever find yourself having to write an essay on Great Expectations - the 2011 miniseries uses an alternative ending to the one that is usually studied, so don't think you can just watch that instead of reading the book. Don't make my mistakes.)

I am getting better though. I'm starting to find my groove with a few of the more modern classics and today I thought I would share with you all some of the classics I, a self confessed classics-struggler, really enjoyed.

1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

One thing you're going to notice about the books on this list straight away is that they were mostly written in the early half of the 20th century. I'm sure no one would argue though, that The Great Gatsby is definitely a classic. The America that Fitzgerald describes in The Great Gatsby feels both old enough to be almost otherworldly and modern enough to be familiar, and that's a balance that will definitely help if books written before the 1990s are a bit of a foreign concept to you.

2. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye is a bit of a divider in terms of opinion. Some people love Holden Caulfield, other people hate him. I'm somewhere in the middle. However, if you're a fan of YA then you won't find many Classics more appropriate to your interests than The Catcher in the Rye. I particularly recommend it if you're a fan of John Green.

3. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

I've read a few of Hemingway's books and I love them all but A Moveable Feast, the memoir of Hemingway's time living in Paris, is probably my favourite and it's great fun to read if you're aware of the writers and artists of the time, because a lot of them make appearances. I find Hemingway's work pretty easy to get into because he never uses excessive words like certain older writers *cough*Dickens*cough* so the sentences are usually pretty simple, which, in my opinion, makes it a lot easier to understand what's going on.

4. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

You're probably familiar with the story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde even if you've never read it. That, combined with how short it is, make this a really easy book to get into and enjoy for my fellow Classic-phobes. Saying that, what I actually enjoyed most about reading Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was finding out that I didn't know the story anywhere near as well as I thought I did. So even if you think you know it, I bet you'll still be surprised.

5. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

The Picture of Dorian Gray is another story that I thought I knew pretty well but it turned out there was a lot in there that I had no idea about. It's just as witty as Wilde's plays (and the quotations from his every day life that get thrown about constantly) but it's also pretty dark. A lot darker than I expected, actually. Although The Picture of Dorian Gray is very much of its time, Wilde was a pretty modern person and that definitely comes across in the story.

So those are just a few recommendations for people, like myself, who want to get over their Classics fear. If you have any more recommendations I would absolutely love to hear them! I'm always looking for more Classics to add to my tiny collection.
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The Night Circus | Erin Morgenstern | Review

Wednesday 5 August 2015

The Night Circus | Erin Morgenstern | Review

*image via GoodReads

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not...

Two aged magicians set upon a task of pitting their two proteges, Ceilia and Marco, in a magical contest. The backdrop to this battle? The mysterious and fantastical Cirque des Rêves (or the Circus of Dreams) created solely for the purpose of being the stage for which the two will demonstrate and eventually fight for their lives.

What’s my verdict?
The Night Circus is probably one of the most unusual books I've reviewed for Blogger's Bookshelf and is actually quite hard to describe.

The book itself is very slow to start and not a novel you can consume quickly or in one sitting (which I certainly didn't). The plot lacks a bit of ompf and the conclusion felt a bit rushed and though satisfying, would've been resolved much quicker and with more cohesion. In a way, much like the way the Circus is portrayed, the book does often feel like a dream, cutting to and from narratives, timelines and perspectives. Marco and Ceilia's story also feels a little disjointed. Their contest actually doesn't play too much of a role until the very end and their romance is not actually as big of a deal as the blurb likes to make out.

What the book lacks in plot it majorly makes up in gorgeous, wonderful and blissfully indulgent description. A lot of reviews comment that you cannot analytically review The Night Circus and I totally agree. There is no doubt Morgenstern holds incredible command over language. Many passages of the book are so beautiful and so richly detailed without it feeling too heavy and a burden to the reader - as can be the case with flowery fantasy novels. It's not action packed or cinematic in the traditional sense, in a way it was almost like a Wes Anderson film in novel form: quirky, a bit weird, some parts don't make much sense but GOD are the aesthetics amazing.

I have no doubt that this is book will divide readers - you'll either love it or hate it, there seems to be no middle ground here - though if you're a writer I would highly recommend reading this simply to revel in the writing itself. In a way, in hindsight, I'm grateful that I took my time with this. It demands your attention, not for the plot but for the subtle intricacy within the language itself and it's a truly fantastic example of modern magical realism.

Reading soundtrack
Wonderland: Taylor Swift; I'm Waiting Here: David Lynch and Lykki Li; Haunted: Beyonce; I Write Sins Not Tragedies: Panic! At the disco; Once Upon A Dream: Lana Del Rey; Glory & Gore: Lorde; Fire: Pvris

For lovers of...The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Amelie, and the Discworld series.
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Monday 3 August 2015

Armada | Ernest Cline | Review

*Review copy c/o Netgalley/Penguin Random House UK  

Ernest Cline's latest novel follows high-schooler Zack, a dedicated gamer whose life is turned upside down one day when he spots a UFO that looks suspiciously like one of the ships from Armada, his favourite video game. Initially Zack shakes it off as a hallucination but when he thinks back to the conspiracy theories he once read in his dad's old journals Zack begins to realise the truth; alongside films and other media, Armada has been preparing humans for a real alien invasion.

"Extraterrestrial visitors had permeated pop culture for so long that they were now embedded in humanity's collective unconscious, preparing us to deal with the real thing, now that it was actually happening."

If I’m being completely honest I’ve been putting off writing this review. Not because I don’t have anything to say, but because I was so entertained by the book that I’m not sure where to start. With that in mind I’m going to attempt to keep this review pretty short and sweet… partly to avoid spoilers and partly because you should probably stop reading my ramble and pick up Armada instead!

In the three years since I read Cline's debut Ready Player One - which to this day remains a favourite - I had been impatiently waiting for his next release and I was very lucky to have the chance to read Armada before it's release date. When the synopsis for the book first appeared I'll admit, I was a little worried about how original the story would be, but was still excited to find out more.
"I knew Armada was only a videogame, but I'd never been one of the "best of the best" at anything before, and my accomplishment gave me a real sense of pride." 

The events of Armada take place over just one day and there is a huge amount of action packed into those few hours making for a pretty intense and exciting read. Of course, I adored the pop culture references present throughout the novel as well as the way that the fictional game of Armada played into the story. Another element that stood out to me was the exploration of Zack's character and family through flashbacks. I really loved this part of the story and was pleased to find that even though we're only taken along for the ride for a short period of time there was still a chance to get to know them all a little better.

Whilst I have to say I didn't love it as much as Ready Player One, Armada was still perfectly geeky and a great entertaining read. I had a lot of fun following Zack and co. on their journey to save the world and look forward to finding out what Cline will come up with next.


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Saturday 1 August 2015

Bookish Links #7

1/ Sharing The Love For Re-Reads! - Rebecca shared this great post featuring six of the books she loves to re-read. Are you a fan of revisiting old favourites, or do you prefer to read only new books? Don't forget to let us know in the comments!

2/ One For Aspiring Authors - this short post from Laura discusses how characters are created. Do you plan out every little detail and personality trait of your characters before you start writing? Or do you prefer to let them develop as you go along?

3/ Tips For Reviewers! - in a recent post blogger Jenny shared her best advice on writing reviews. We love learning about other people's processes for writing up their thoughts on a book so this one makes for an interesting read!

4/ Why YA Is Important - obviously we're big fans of the genre here at Blogger's Bookshelf so naturally we really enjoyed reading Zara's post on the importance of YA literature.Why do you read YA? Let us know in the comments!

5/ The Problem With Novellas - as part of her Book Nerd Problems series Debby tackled the subject of mid-series novellas in this post from 2013. Are you a fan of these extra little snippets? Or would you prefer to just wait for the next full-length novel?

6/ Mysterious Reads - in this 'Wordy Wednesday' feature Julia talks about how every story is a mystery, no matter what the genre. Is the fact that all books keep you guessing what will happen next all part of the charm of reading?

7/ What Makes A Book 'Popular'? - in this post over at Reading Teen Becca explores the term 'popular series' by looking at a selection of people's answers to the question 'What is one series that you feel like everyone has read but you?'.

8/ Multi-Format Reading - Josephine shared a really interesting article on multi-format reading and why it works for her. Is this something you do too? We'd love to know!

If you've read or written an interesting bookish article you think our readers would enjoy please let us know - it may be featured in a future post!
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