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 2020

Book Club | August 2020 Roundup

Our August book club prompt was to read books with sunshine or clouds on the cover. Here's a couple of updates from Team BB...

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My pick for the August book club theme - a book with clouds or sunshine on the cover - is A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness!⁠ ⁠ I've been meaning to read this book for YEARS, but am only just picking it up now.⁠ ⁠ Are you joining us for the August Book Club? What are you reading? - Anjali (@anjalikay)⁠ ⁠ ----------⁠ ⁠ ⁠ #bookstagram #bookbloggers #bookclub #bloggersbookshelf #instabooks #reading #bookcovers #prettybooks #beautifulbooks #booklovers #shareyourbooks #books #bookworm #readingchallenge #yabookstagram #bookaholic #booksofinstagram #confessionsofabookaddict #bookaddict #bookworm #bookreview #booklover #instaread #readthisbook #bookworm #amreading #whattoread #epicreads

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The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

"Tackling some difficult topics, The Great Alone is a heartbreaking story of survival set in the Alaskan wilderness in the 1970s-1980s. I found the Alaskan setting to be really interesting and atmospheric, almost like it's own character within the story. I also really liked the fact that the book took place over a decade or so, sharing the main character Leni's journey from a teenager to a young adult."


We'll be introducing September's book club tomorrow so don't forget to check back! Use the hashtag #bloggersbookshelf or tag @bloggersbookshelf to share your photos and mini reviews with us throughout the month.
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Thursday 20 August 2020

A Monster Calls | Patrick Ness | Review

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don't quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there's a visitor at his window. It's ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.

For our August book club theme (a book with clouds or sunshine on the cover) I chose A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. It's been on my shelf for a long time now, and I've been meaning to read it for even longer than I've owned it. Now was a perfect time!

I'd heard so many excellent things about this story (which is illustrated by Jim Kay, by the way) so I was really excited to read it. Unfortunately, I didn't love it as much as I hoped I would!

The story is heart-breaking and beautiful, it is, and there is some stunning symbolism, themes and important topics throughout. It almost reads like a fable, with the main storyline interspersed with addition tales told to Conor by the yew tree.

Despite all those brilliant things about the book (and they were brilliantly written, as Ness' stories always are), but it was a struggle to pick it up and read it. I think that's simply because I was in a bit of a reading slump when I read it, so I am definitely willing to give it another go in the future.

Have you read A Monster Calls? What did you think?

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Wednesday 19 August 2020

10 Things I Hate About Pinky | Sandhya Menon | Review

*Review copy provided by Netgalley and Hodder & Staughton

Samir has his summer planned out perfectly, with a dream internship at a top law firm. Pinky is set to spend the summer as she always does, at her family’s holiday home in Ellingham catching up with her cousin Dolly. But when an unexpected incident leads to tension between Pinky and her parents, and Samir’s internship falls through at the last minute, Pinky hatches a plan.

Pinky is a proud activist, confidently fighting for a whole range of different causes, living life in the moment and often getting into trouble, much to the disapproval of her mother. Samir on the other hand, lives his life to a rigid schedule and loves to make lists, so much so that he writes one every single day. Although they share mutual friends, the pair have next-to-nothing in common so naturally Samir is shocked when he receives a text from Pinky inviting him to spend the summer with her and her family in Ellingham. But with his summer plans shattered and a potential internship at Pinky’s mothers law firm on the table he decides to hear her out. The catch? He must pretend to be Pinky’s boyfriend for the summer.

10 Things I Hate About Pinky has everything you could want from a fun summer read... including an opossum named Drama Queen! Obviously this book follows the popular fake relationship trope and whilst the fact that it also turns out to be a hate-to-love tale was predictable, this wasn’t in a bad way. It was enjoyable to see how Pinky and Samir would figure out that their relationship wasn’t quite as fake as they had planned, and to find out if/when/how Pinky would discover Samir’s not-so-kind list entitled ’10 Things I Hate About Pinky’.

Parents can often be absent in YA novels but the addition of different family dynamics, including Pinky’s strained relationship with her mother, was an interesting theme throughout the novel. I really liked how passionate Pinky was about trying to save the butterfly habitat that meant so much to her and her family and the way Samir began to become more adventurous over the course of the summer. I also liked a lot of the supporting characters including Dolly, and think it would be interesting to have another book in the series focusing on her story.

One of the things I enjoyed most was the setting of Ellingham. The way it was described allowed me to vividly picture the house and areas such as the butterfly habitat which sounded beautiful, and it was easy to see why Pinky and her family would choose to spend their summers there.

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Saturday 15 August 2020

Bookish Links #59

1. If you’re looking for some brilliant booktube channels to subscribe to, you’ll love this post from Esmée.

2.  In this epsiode of Rants & Reviews, Anjali and Sophie look back on their 2020 reads so far.

3. This post over at Book Riot shares some of the statistics from the results of the CCBC’s 2019 survey on diversity in children’s and YA lit.

4. Feeling an end of summer reading slump coming on? This Buzzfeed post lists 7 YA books to reignite your love of reading. 

5. Anika also has some great tips for how to read more books!

6. If you're looking for TBR inspiration, Bee recently shared some of the books on her to buy list

7. This post from The House That Lars Built is full of fantastic tips for journaling!

8. This donation page over at Roundtable Books is a great way to help families, schools and food banks access inclusive books.

9. Laura’s post sharing a self-guided walking tour of literary Oxford is one to bookmark for a future trip!

10. This cute ‘Shh I’m reading’ wall hanging would be perfect for a reading nook!

This month’s beautiful bookstagram accounts to follow:

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Wednesday 5 August 2020

Features | July Reads

For me July started out as a good reading month full of many beautifully written books, from the verse format of Clap When You Land (Elizabeth Acevedo), to the lyrical feel of Girl, Woman, Other (Bernadine Evaristo) and poetry collection Surge (Jay Bernard). Towards the end of the month and heading into August I've hit a little bit of a slump, but luckily I still have quite a few titles to share with you today.

Clap When You Land (Elizabeth Acevedo) is a book that everyone has been talking about lately and I can confirm that it’s definitely deserving of the hype! The book shares the story of two teenage girls, one living in the Dominican Republic, the other in the USA, who are brought together by the tragic loss of their father. I absolutely loved the dual narration and the way the book was written so beautifully in verse. It was such an enjoyable reading experience that I sped through the book in two days and am looking forward to reading more of Elizabeth Acevedo’s work in future.

My library reservation for Girl, Woman, Other (Bernadine Evaristo) also arrived this month and, similarly to with Clap When You Land, I can certainly understand why so many people have rated this book so highly. Girl, Woman, Other is a collection of short stories each focusing on a different character, mostly Black British women, and I really loved the clever ways that they were all connected together. I’m sure many of you have already picked up this Booker Prize winning novel, but if you haven't I would definitely recommend adding it to your summer TBRs.

My book club pick for July (books with maps) was Children Of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. Although I don’t read a huge amount of YA Fantasy, I had heard such amazing things about this 2018 release and I wasn’t disappointed. Alternating between the perspectives of Zelie, Amari and Inan, this book takes you on an action-packed adventure filled with many exciting moments alongisde some very heartbreaking ones. I really enjoyed the multiple perspectives and each character’s arc as well as the writing style, in particular the descriptions of the story’s setting. At the time of writing this post I’m part way through reading the sequel Children Of Virtue and Vengeance.

I also picked up a couple of other enjoyable YA books this month, including the latest releases from Jenn Bennett and Juno Dawson. Chasing Lucky* (Jenn Bennett) follows budding photographer Josie Saint-Martin as she moves back to the small town she grew up in and is reunited with her childhood best friend Lucky. This a contemporary novel with themes of first love, friendship and family, and I adored the small town setting as well as the fact that the Saint-Martin’s run a bookstore (!). Overall I didn’t enjoy Chasing Lucky quite as much as Alex, Approximately (which I read a a few months ago) but I liked the way the story unfolded and it was still a cute summer read.

Wonderland (Juno Dawson) is a YA re-telling of Alice in Wonderland with themes of gender, privilege, mental health and relationships. I thought the way that the characters from the original story were incorporated into this new version was clever and enjoyed the little mentions of characters from other books in the London Trilogy too. Again, I didn’t love it quite as much as Juno’s previous release Meat Market, but it was still a great read and one to add to your summer reading lists.

Over in non-fiction I borrowed Caroline Hirons' recent release Skincare: The Ultimate No-Nonsense Guide, via my library app. I won’t say too much about he book here as I’m hoping to share a full review soon, but I can confirm that I read it in just two days and immediately ordered both a copy of the book and a bunch of new skincare products to try!

I don’t often read a lot of poetry but when I saw Surge (Jay Bernard) listed in the Award Winners section of my library app I was intrigued by the description and decided to reserve it. At the time it was available it wasn’t the next book on my TBR but I decided to have a quick look anyway and was so drawn in by the author’s note that I ended up reading the whole book in two sittings that same day. The collection includes several poems influenced by tragic events such as the New Cross Massacre and Grenfell. It’s only a short read but it’s full of powerful words.

The final book I wanted to talk about this month is This Lovely City by Louise Hare. I was admittedly initially drawn in by the beautiful cover design and when I read the blurb I knew I had to read this debut novel. The book tells the story of Lawrie who has arrived in England on the Empire Windrush following World War II and centres around his relationship with Evie, the girl next door. When Lawrie finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, he is caught up in a police investigation and the book explores the topics of discrimination and racial bias in the UK. I listened to the audiobook, which was narrated from the perspectives of both Laurie and Evie and really enjoyed the story in this format. If you are interested in learning about the more recent Windrush scandal I would also recommend both the BBC drama Sitting In Limbo, based on the true story of Anthony Bryan, and documentary The Unwanted: The Secret Windrush Files (available on iPlayer in the UK).

*Review copy of Chasing Lucky provided by Netgalley/Simon & Schuster Children's UK
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Saturday 1 August 2020

Book Club | August 2020 - With Sunshine Or Clouds On The Cover

For our 2020 BB Book Club, we've put together another printable list of twelve different prompts, one for each month of the year. Just as we did in 2019, on the 1st day of each month we'll be introducing you to the month's prompt and the books team members each plan to read, along with some other suggested reads we think you'll love. Of course, these are just ideas so please feel free to interpret the prompts however you wish!

We're also inviting you to share photos and mini-reviews of your book club pick on social media using #bloggersbookshelf or tag @bloggersbookshelf on Instagram.

Our prompt for August is...  

With Sunshine Or Clouds On The Cover

What we'll be reading...

Erin's pick: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

"I read The Nightingale back in May and really enjoyed it, so I thought I would pick up another Kristin Hannah novel for this month's book club. The Great Alone promises a dramatic family story set in Alaska, focusing on love, loss and survival."

Anjali's pick: A Monster Calls by Patricks Ness

"While the clouds on this cover are incredibly sinister, it's a book I've been meaning to read for years and years. I recently got myself a copy at a book fair, so this is the perfect opportunity to read it!"

Other suggested reads...

- North Of Happy by Adi Alsaid
- Chasing Forgiveness by Neal Shusterman
- I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
- The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh
- My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
- American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
- The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

Use the hashtag #bloggersbookshelf or tag @bloggersbookshelf on Instagram to share your photos and mini-reviews with us throughout the month!


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