where our team of writers love to talk all things books, sharing reviews, features, lists, interviews and more.

Getting lost in a book is escapism at it's finest and it's what everyone who contributes here thrives on.



Friday, 23 March 2018

Features | The Pros and Cons of Binge-Reading a Series

binge read
1. When you get so engrossed in a book that you read it in one sitting - Urban Dictionary

Ah, binge-reading. That potentially joyous time of reading where you get sucked into a world of make-believe with little hope that you'll make it out the other side the same as when you began. Thanks to Urban Dictionary we have a definition of binge-read, however I'd like to take it one step further and talk about binge-reading an entire series, not just one book.

When you binge-read a series, I'm talking reading books 1 - 6 straight after one another, and not reading anything in between. It'll take you longer than the definition's 'one sitting', for sure, but it's binging all the same.

This year I've semi binge-read the Falling Kindgoms series by Morgan Rhodes, and by 'semi' I mean that there were some which I read with books in between, and a couple which I read one after the another. I'm still waiting book 6 from the library, so did I really binge-read the series? I don't know, you can make that call. But it got me thinking about it, and how there are many pros and cons to binge-reading an entire series in one go.

In true Blogger's Bookshelf style, I've made an infographic list for you. You'll notice I've included one item on both lists, as I truly couldn't decide if it were a pro or a con - perhaps it's dependant on what's happening around you at the time.

The pros and cons of binge reading a series - Blogger's Bookshelf Features

So what do you think? What have I missed off this list? Let us know in the comments! 

Shout out to Sophie and Aimee who Tweeted me a few of these ideas! Speaking of Tweeting, follow Blogger's Bookshelf for up-to-date posts, news and other bookish goodies!

Book element in infographic designed by Freepik
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Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Far From The Tree | Robin Benway | Review

far from the tree robin benway book blog

Far From The Tree tells the story of three siblings, meeting for the first time after growing up separately, and follows them on their journey as they get to know one another and search for their birth mother.

The first sibling we are introduced to is teenager Grace, who is going through a tough time. Having fallen pregnant and with no support from her ex-boyfriend, Grace makes the decision to give her baby up for adoption. Adopted as a baby herself, this difficult choice inspires Grace to find out more about her own birth parents and after being raised as an only child she is surprised to discover that she has a younger sister living close by.

Maya, who was also adopted, is already aware that she has a sibling, but having grown up with a sister she doesn’t always see eye to eye with (her parents biological daughter) she isn’t exactly in a rush to find Grace. Maya hasn’t had an easy ride herself and has always felt like the odd one out in her family, standing out in all of their family photos - the dark haired girl in a family of redheads. After Grace gets in contact to introduce herself, the pair also decide to track down their older half-brother Joaquin.

Joaquin has not had a similar experience to his sisters. Growing up in the foster system, he has been bounced around various different homes but has finally found a kind, supportive couple who he gets along well with and want to adopt him. Although Joaquin is happy in his current home there’s something holding him back from saying yes to officially becoming a family.

The chapters alternate between the three characters allowing readers to get to know each of them as individuals, as well as watching their relationship grow together as siblings. I loved following their journey as they got to know each other, noticed all of their similarities despite their different upbringings, and developed a close bond. To me, each of the characters felt very distinct and real and I believe this is one of the elements that makes the book such a success.

Whilst I find it difficult to review a book that I enjoyed this much I felt like I had to talk about this one - it's not very often I rate a book 5 stars! Whilst I didn’t know anything much about the book going in, I remembered the author’s name from her previous novel Emmy & Oliver which I also really enjoyed and I’m glad I decided to pick up this one too. With lovable, relatable characters at it’s centre, the story is heartwarming and enjoyable, even through the more difficult events and I would highly recommend adding it to your 2018 TBR. ★★★★★

Cover image via Goodreads

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Sunday, 18 March 2018

Send Us Your Thoughts On Our March BB Book Club Pick!

broadcast liam brown book club
The idea behind MindCast is simple. We insert a small chip into your skull and then every thought, every feeling, every memory is streamed live, twenty-four hours a day. Trust me - within a few months you'll be the most talked about person on the planet. 
After your positive feedback on our short story collection picks we really hope you're also enjoying BB book club's first short novel selection! We can't wait to hear your thoughts, but be sure to send us your feedback ASAP as there's only a week left until we share this month's book club infographic!

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Friday, 16 March 2018

In Search of Us | Ava Dellaira | Review

To seventeen-year-old Angie, who is mixed-race, Marilyn is her hardworking, devoted, white single mother. But Marilyn was once young, too. When Marilyn was seventeen, she fell in love with Angie's father.

In Search of Us tells two parallel stories, of a mother and daughter, and of love and trauma that span generations. The first story follows Angie, a seventeen-year-old, mixed-race girl who has always believed that her father, James, died before she was born. Until she finds out that her mother, Marilyn, lied about James's brother also being dead. With the news that Angie's uncle is still alive and living in LA, Angie doesn't know if she can believe what Marilyn tells her anymore, so she enlists the help of her ex-boyfriend, Sam, to drive her to LA so she can find out the truth about her family, and possibly find the father she never got to meet.

The second story follows Angie's mother, Marilyn, before she was Angie's mother, when she was seventeen, and her own mother, so determined for Marilyn to succeed, moved the two of them in with Marilyn's uncle in LA. All Marilyn wants is to get out of LA and leave her acting career and her alcoholic uncle behind. Until she becomes friends with the boy who lives in the apartment below her uncle's, James, Angie's dad. Marilyn falls in love, not only with James, but with his whole family, who make her feel at home in a way her own family never has, and over one summer Marilyn falls in love and begins to set out and choose her own path.

In alternate chapters we see Angie desperately search for the uncle who might lead her to the father she no longer believes is dead, and learn why Marilyn kept the summer she spent with James a secret from her daughter. Both girls are searching for different things. Angie, for a father who she can talk to about her African-American heritage in a way she can't with Marilyn and who can alleviate the difficulties she faces as the black daughter of a white woman. Marilyn, simply for an escape from her controlling mother, trying to live her dreams through her daughter at Marilyn's expense, and her volatile uncle who tries to forbid her from seeing James.

Angie and Marilyn's stories are both full of longing and desperation, one looking to get away from a family and the other looking to find one. Although the two stories are different, they weave together to eventually reveal the truth of what happened to James, and for both girls to learn what they need to carry on. The writing is vivid and beautiful, bringing to life both the LA setting and the characters' emotions in a way that is easy to get lost in. Personally, I thought James and Marilyn's love story was the most engrossing of the two, but neither story can really exist without the other, just as Marilyn and Angie would not exist as they are without each other. This is a beautiful and heartbreaking story about the things we unwittingly pass down through generations, and I highly recommend it.
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Thursday, 15 March 2018

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe | Benjamin Alire Sáenz | Review

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz flatlay

I have so many mixed feelings about this book. It was one of those books that you take forever to get into, to the point where I almost put it down and stopped reading for good. But then once you get past a certain chapter it's super enjoyable and really easy to fly through, where I practically took 2 weeks to read the first half and a few hours to read the second half.

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

I did, however, really enjoy how it was laid out in mini-chapters, some being only a page or two long. This may have added to the fact that it was easy to put down as I usually like to finish a chapter before putting it down but with small chapters I could read like 5 pages a night and which meant it took forever to get through it. 

The problem I now have with YA, being an almost 24-year-old, is that it's been a while since I was 15 years old and sometimes it takes a while for me to connect with the characters this age. Does anyone feel the same way? That being said, once I'd connected with my wee 15-year-old self, I really enjoyed the characters of Ari and Dante, I related so much to some of the loneliness and the fear of being needy. The story didn't have one major plot, but instead lots of mini storylines that all got tied up in the end (sort of like a happily ever after, but not really) so the story followed how the two boys developed. Their friendship, their relationship with their families, their coming of age and learning about themselves. I won't go into too much detail as it will spoil the book, and we don't want that, so I'll just leave you with this; if you feel like you're not enjoying it - push through! Also, the wee doggie, legs, is wonderful! 

Have you read this? What did you think?

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Tuesday, 13 March 2018

The Extinction Trials | S. M Wilson | Review

Stormchaser and Lincoln are doing what they can to forge a life in a ruined world. There is not enough food, not enough space, not enough time... When a new competition to explore an uninhabitable continent is announced, the two jump at the chance. For Lincoln, the potential prizes could answer his prayers. For Stormchaser, the trip might just answer her questions. Before that, they will have no choice but to face unimaginable dangers in a land where nothing is certain.

With a plot like that, it is probably of no surprise to you that The Extinction Trials is fast paced and exciting. It is truly an adventure tale, and one that had me wanting to bite my nails in excitement.

I know that a lot of people have been comparing this to Jurassic Park and loving it as a result but since I've never seen that (I know!), I can't comment on it. However, I did love the inclusion of the dinosaurs, as it made for a really unique YA novel for me. It was like The Hunger Games, but with higher stakes and more chances of being ripped apart or squished. S.M Wilson didn't shy away from putting their characters in real, palatable danger, which meant that I was utterly hooked by the novel from the moment Stormchaser and Lincoln began their journey to the new continent until I finally turned the final page.

This is a brutal and heartwarming book, in all of the best ways. Like many pieces of dystopian fiction, it really questions what happens when a society is running out of options. I'm certainly excited to see what will happen in the upcoming sequel...

Kelly x
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