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

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

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Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017 Reading Challenge | Final Update

Over the past couple of years it's become tradition here at BB for our final post of the year to be a reading goals update. So how did we do with our 2017 goals? Keep scrolling to find out!

Don't forget to let us know how you got on with your 2017 goals, and which books you're planning to read in 2018!



Anjali... 49/40 books read | 4/5 books vowed to read 
In all the years we've done Vow To Read lists on BB, I don't think I've managed to actually read all five. However, neither have I reached four before now, so I'm pretty pleased with that. I have read some great books this year, but a few favourites have been the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo, A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab, and Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor.

Erin... 3/5 books vowed to read
Just like last year I only managed to cross three books off my 'vow to read' list. I'm still currently in the library queue for Always & Forever, Lara Jean so hopefully I'll get to finish the series soon. My library has also finally ordered copies of Scythe so I'll be adding that to my 2018 TBR too!

Cat... 1/5 books vowed to read
I only managed to read The Graces out of the five I had planned, hopefully I’ll read the others next year.


Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our readers and everyone who has contributed to Blogger's Bookshelf throughout 2017. We hope to see you for lots more bookish talk in the new year, along with our brand new book club and newsletter!
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Friday, 29 December 2017

Pure | Julianna Baggott | Review

Pure
"We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . .

Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run. 

There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different.
  He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it's his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.  When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again"  - Goodreads


Years ago, a world wide explosion of nanotechnology blasted the earth and fused humans with objects in their surroundings. Known as the Detonations, those unlucky enough to be outside the Dome ended up with deformities, while those inside were kept safe. Pressia lives outside the Dome with her grandfather. Partridge lives inside the Dome with his father.

On her 16th birthday, soldiers come to Pressia to put her into the military, and as she runs from them she crosses paths with Patridge, who has run from his own home inside the Dome in the hopes he will find his mother. Partridge can't survive outside the Dome by himself, and Pressia needs help to avoid being caught by the law. As they work together on their individual missions, they end up diving far deeper into the secrets of the Dome than they ever realised. What they've been told from either side of the Dome is a lie. As we follow the story, we watch them discover the truth from both parties, about the detonations, and the scientists behind them.

As well as a fast-paced story line, what I found really amazing about Pure was Baggott’s imagination. The detonations caused humans to be ‘fused’ with whatever was around them, touching them, or being held by them, at the time of the explosion. Bradwell, a young man who helps Pressie and Patridge, was running through a flock of birds at the time of the Detonations, and now has live birds fused in his back. Pressia, as a young child, was holding a doll at the time, so one of her hands has been fused with the doll’s head. Other characters are fused with actual humans. It's such a unique concept and one I haven't read about before.

One thing I didn't quite get use to was the present tense writing style. I find it hard to get into a book written in present tense at times. What I did enjoy though, was the changing perspectives throughout the story, something that is done rather well in Pure.

With interesting characters, soldiers who have guns fused into their arms, mechanical locusts, poisonous food, a fancy car, and a man called El Capitan, Pure was a good read with a mild cliff hanger ending.

Fuse and Burn follow Pure in the series.
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Thursday, 28 December 2017

Group Collaboration | Our Favourite Reads Of 2017

With 2017 coming to a close in just a few days we're taking the opportunity to look back over all of the incredible books we read over the past twelve months! If you're looking to kick-start your 2018 TBR here are some of our top picks...


BB 2017 fave reads.003 BB 2017 fave reads.002
Book cover images all sourced from goodreads.com
Thank you to this month's contributors: Anjali, Cat, Ria, Kelly, Emma and Erin


As always, we'll be talking reading goals for the new year in January. Click here to let us know which five books you 'vow to read' in 2018!
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Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Features | Popsugar 2017 Reading Challenge Update #6

tigers in red weather liza klaussmann book review

With the end of the year just a few days away it's time for me to share a final update on my attempt at the Popsugar 2017 Reading Challenge. Last month I mentioned that I was hoping to have twenty-five prompts crossed off the list when 2017 comes to a close and I'm pleased to report that my final count for the year is twenty-seven! Here are the final four prompts I managed to cross off...

A Bestseller From A Genre You Don't Normally Read | Tigers In Red Weather, Liza Klaussmann (2012)

Historical fiction is not a genre I find myself drawn to very often but I'd seen some great reviews of this bestselling book so couldn't resist picking it up when I stumbled across a copy on the shelf of a charity shop. Whilst I'm not sure it has convinced me to run out and buy more historical fiction titles, I found the story and format interesting and did enjoy reading something a little bit different.

A Book With A Family-Member Term In The Title | The Secret Lives Of The Amir Sisters, Nadiya Hussain (2017)

I struggled a little with finding a book I wanted to read for this prompt but finally settled on this debut novel which follows the Amir family through some difficult times. The chapters alternate between each of the sisters' point of view and the book explores the various relationships between them.

A Book That's Becoming A Movie In 2017 | A Long Way Home (Lion), Saroo Brierley (2013)

If you ask IMDb Lion is listed as a 2016 film so technically you could argue it doesn't fit the prompt, however I've decided to bend the rules a little - the UK release date was January 2017 after all! I really enjoyed the adaptation and was amazed by Saroo's unique story so decided to pick up the book to find out more and wasn't disappointed.

A Book Set In The Wilderness | Black Cairn Point, Claire McFall (2015)

I decided to finish this year's challenge with a re-read, revisiting a book I enjoyed back in 2015 - if you missed it first time around you can catch my review in the BB archives!

That's it for the 2017 challenge, but updates will be returning next year as I tackle the 2018 list! If you're taking part next year too I'd love to hear from you, let me know in the comments!
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Saturday, 23 December 2017

Bookish Links #37



And just like that we've reached our final Bookish Links post of 2017! We'll be back sharing more of our favourite Bookish Links in 2018 but for now here's another great bunch for you to enjoy...

1. Affordable Reads - we all know reading can be an expensive hobby, but it doesn't have to be. If you're hoping to cut back your spending in 2018 you'll love Charlotte's list of top tips to ensure you can save the pennies and keep reading all the books!

2. Treat Yourself - this monthly book club box from Cratejoy contains a personal development book plus other goodies such as tea, bath products, and accessories (US only).

3. Powell's - on her recent trip to Oregon Anjali recently visited Powell's Books, the world's largest independent bookstore. Over on her blog she shared an amazing bookish haul and all the details on what you can expect to see if you visit.

4. Writer's Block? - ah the dreaded writer's block... if you've been hit hard this post sharing six author's top tips on the subject.

5. The Best HP? - we're big Harry Potter fans so we loved Sophie's ranking of the novels from her least favourite to favourite. Do you agree with Sophie's list?

6. Teen Reads - we loved this list from Flavorwire which shares fifty books for modern teens.

7. Reputation - if you enjoyed Anastasia's Taylor Swift inspired post, you'll love this fun article from Epic Reads which matches each reputation track to a YA novel!

8.  Year In Women - if you're a fan of Rupi Kaur's popular poetry collections this one is for you. Head over to Brit + Co to find out more about the bestselling poet.

9. Book Of The Month - our BB newsletter is set to launch next month and we would love for you to get involved by helping us choose our next Book Of The Month. If there's a book you think we should feature you can let us know via this form. You can also sign up for the newsletter here!

10. Shelfie! - new year, new bookshelf? This post has some great ideas for how to make your bookshelves look extra beautiful.

11. Author Q&A - over on her personal blog Kelly interviewed Hélene Fermont, author of His Guilty Secret. Head on over to find out more about the book!

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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Friday, 22 December 2017

My New Crush Gave to Me | Shani Petroff | Review


Charlie Donovan knows exactly what she wants for Christmas: Teo Oritz. And she has a plan: to rig the paper's Secret Santa so that she can win his heart with five perfect gifts. But to do that she needs help. Enter J.D. Oritz, Teo's cousin and possibly the most annoying person on the planet.

Having recently broken up with her ex-boyfriend, Charlie finds herself without a date to her friend Noelle's Lovers' Ball party, which also happens to be the hottest holiday party around. Everyone at school is talking about it and everyone will know if Charlie shows up dateless. Luckily, Charlie leaves nothing up to chance. Not only is she going to have a date for the party, she's going to have the most perfect date with the most perfect boy, Teo Oritz, and she has the most perfect plan to get it.

Charlie's plan has two parts: 1. Rig the school paper's Secret Santa so she gets Teo and can give him five gifts that show just how well she knows him and 2. Spend as much time with Teo as possible so he can see how great she is. For both of those things she is going to need some help from Teo's cousin, J.D. Fortunately, J.D. is willing to help but unfortunately, that means Charlie has to spend time with J.D too. However, the more time she does spend with him, the more Charlie starts to think that may not be such a bad deal after all.

Charlie needs to be in control of everything and while this story may revolve around a romantic plot, it's as much about Charlie learning to let go of her best laid plans as it is about her finding a date to a party. Charlie's mom has to work on Christmas Day, spoiling the usual traditions that Charlie is so fond of, and in order for J.D. to help her with her plan to get Teo to be her date, she has to give J.D. full control of what photographs appear in the school paper's special holiday edition. Giving up control is not something Charlie does lightly. For Charlie to have a good Christmas she needs to learn that not everything can be planned or controlled, and sometimes things turn out a whole lot better than you might have planned anyway.

With a classic plot and plenty of holiday cheer, My New Crush Gave to Me is the perfect YA read for fans of cheesy Christmas romcoms and ideal for reading snuggled under the duvet with a cup of festive hot cocoa this holiday season. It's a little predictable at times, sure, but just like those romantic Christmas movies we all know and love, that's just part of the cosy charm of it, and there are still always a few fun twists and turns to be found. One of the greatest things about this novel is the friendship between Charlie and her best friend, Morgan, who run a homemade cookie company and edit the school paper together. It's the kind of friendship between girls that I would love to see more of in YA literature, and a really great aspect of this story.

If you're looking for a cosy Christmassy read featuring a Secret Santa plot, an annoying yet lovable neighbour boy, an unforgettable Christmas jumper party, and lots of holiday baking, then this is definitely the book for you.
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Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Histories | Sam Guglani | Review

I love short story collections. I particularly love short story collections with a very narrow focus, which is exactly what I got when I sat down to read Histories by Sam Guglani. This collection is a series of snippets from people’s lives. The common thread running through it? They’re all in a hospital. From med students to chaplains, and artists to oncologists, everyone in the hospital has their own story to tell.

The stories are all set in the same week, though Guglani writes the past brilliantly in his work. Rather than stumbling over it, they are intricately woven within each of the stories he offers his reader.

Many of the tales within Histories interconnected, brushing past one another with masterful subtlety. It is very cleverly done, that is for sure. It doesn’t feel at all overdone but helps you to piece together some mysteries within. You can also tell who does, and doesn’t, interact as all of the individuals within Histories go about their daily lives in a hospital for a week.

Guglani’s writing is simply beautiful. It’s sparse and impactful, to the point of almost being poetic. He creates wonderful characters and shows a fantastic understanding of just what it is like to be human. I sincerely hope that I will be able to read some more of his work soon.

Kelly x
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Friday, 15 December 2017

Mortal Engines | Phillip Reeves | Review


“It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea.” - Goodreads
In a chase and an unwanted scuffle on the precipice, Third Class Apprentice Historian Tom Natsworthy is thrown off the city of London and into the wastelands below. As he watches his city zoom off on it's caterpillar under-tracks, chasing a smaller city in the hopes of making it its next scrap-metal meal, he finds himself on an adventure he only ever dreamed about. With a girl, nonetheless.

This girl is Hester Shaw, wanted by the London's leaders and on a mission herself to kill Valentine, a key London leader, who murdered her parents, attacked her and left her with a horrific scar running down her face. Katherine, Valentine's daughter, is in London trying to piece together the mystery of MEDUSA, and, with the help of engineer Bevis Pod, stumbles upon the truth of the city, her father, the death of Hester's parents, and so much more.

As Tom is swept into a whirlwind of pirates and Airships, lies and betrayal, hidden truths and cyborg zombie-like people, he gets more than he bargained for.

My thoughts

Mortal Engines was a really fun book. I picked it up because I knew that New Zealand's Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings films) was writing a movie adaptation of it. I don't know about you, but I like to read the book before I see the film, and seeing as the movie is set to hit our screens in 2018, I thought I had better get onto it. 

I hadn't heard of Mortal Engines before, but it was such a fun read I'm gutted I haven't picked it up before, especially in my younger years. The idea of cities on wheels and steampunk contraptions is absolutely fantastic! The story is set in the distant future on earth, where the land has become dry and derelict, so the cities have to move around and 'eat' other cities for scraps to keep going. Brilliant! I love this idea. 

I really liked the characters, and while they are 15 years old, it was definitely written for that age group and not us adults who just like reading YA books. The writing, therefore, was super easy to read and I managed to get through it in just a few sittings. 

Not really being a reader of steampunk (bar Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices series), I found it a nice refreshing genre to dive into. If you're not into steampunk, then this is a perfect light story to get into. 

I am definitely looking forward to what they do with the movie, and can't wait to see these cities in action! 

Let us know if you've read Mortal Engines, or anything else by Phillip Reeves.


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Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Features | 5 Ways To Step Out Of Your Reading Comfort Zone

book blog reading list

This year I've really enjoyed starting to break away from my usual go-to genres and have discovered some great reads along the way. With the new year fast-approaching many readers will be thinking about setting new reading goals for 2018 and continuing to step out of my reading comfort zone will definitely be one of mine. If stepping out of your reading comfort zone is high on your to-do list for the year ahead here are a few ideas to help you get started...

Ask For A Recommendation

Sometimes bookshops or libraries can be kind of overwhelming if you want to leave the comfort of your favourite section. If you’re shopping with friends or family, why not ask them to pick out something a little different for you? If you’re browsing alone ask a bookseller or librarian, it’s likely they love books just as much as you do and would be happy to share their favourites with you. Many bookshops also have signs highlighting staff-recommended titles on the shelf edges which can be a real help if you're stuck for ideas.

Hit The Charity Shops

Charity shops are a brilliant place to buy books without breaking the bank, plus you’re giving back to charity whilst picking up new reads; it's a win-win! If you want to try out a new genres and authors but aren't sure where to start this is a great way to do it - you never know, you might just stumble across something you love! If you don’t end up enjoying the books you can always donate them back to the charity for someone else to buy and enjoy.

Challenge Yourself

There are lots of online reading challenges you can join in with and share updates on your blog or social media throughout the year like I've been doing here during 2017. If you're not sure where to start I'd recommend having a look at the Popsugar Reading Challenge which has a wide variety of prompts each year, many of which are sure to help you step outside of your comfort zone. Why not download the 2018 challenge list to use as a starting point for your search for new reads?

Sign Up For A Surprise

Subscription boxes are everywhere these days, we’ve even shared several in past editions of our Bookish Links series, although sadly I'm yet to try any out for myself. Book And A Brew send out a monthly mystery hardcover plus a box of tea and Bookishly select a mystery vintage book along with stationery and your choice of tea or coffee. Alternatively try a blind date book from The Book Matchmaker where you have just four words to base your selection on! Again, these come with tea or an alternative hot drink to enjoy whilst you read and are beautifully wrapped making them great gifts too.

Join A Book Club

Book clubs are perfect for discovering titles that you never would have picked out for yourself and it can be really interesting to hear other people's opinions and interpretations. Whether it be a work/school book club, a celebrity one or even our soon to be launched BB book club (hint hint!) they are a great way to step out of that comfort zone and try books you’ve never heard of or wouldn’t normally consider. Why not start with our January book club pick?

What are your top tips for stepping out of your reading comfort zone?

Image by Kari Shea on Unsplash
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Monday, 11 December 2017

BB Book Club | January's Book Is...

As we mentioned in our big book club announcement post (catch up here if you missed it!) our theme for the year is Short Stories which can include anything from novellas to poetry collections, flash fiction, novels under 200 pages, graphic novels and short story collections like our first pick; Tales Of The Peculiar by Ransom Riggs.


Before Miss Peregrine gave them a home, the story of peculiars was written in the Tales.

Wealthy cannibals who dine on the discarded limbs of peculiars. A fork-tongued princess. The origins of the first ymbryne. These are but a few of the truly brilliant stories in Tales of the Peculiar—known to hide information about the peculiar world—first introduced by Ransom Riggs in his Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series. - Goodreads

Suggested by Ria, this beautifully illustrated short story collection is a spin-off from the popular Miss Peregrine's series. With an intriguing premise that promises unique stories set in a wonderfully mystical world we think this is the perfect title to launch our book club and can't wait to dive in!

tales of the peculiar

Don't worry if you haven't caught up on the rest of the series yet, not all of us have either and this is one of the reasons we think it's a great choice for our first BB Book Club pick! It isn't essential to have read the Miss Peregrine's series in order to enjoy these short stories and we think it's going to be interesting to hear from both those who are familiar with this world and those who aren't.

We would love it if you'd like to join in and read along any time over the next month, then complete this Google form by 19th January to share your opinions with us. You can also use the hashtag #bookshelfbookclub to share your book photos and thoughts with us!

You can pick up a copy of Tales Of The Peculiar over on The Book Depository who ship worldwide.



We'll be introducing February's book selection, chosen by Anjali, at the end of January - so don't worry if our first pick doesn't sound like your thing!
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Friday, 8 December 2017

Features | Even More Holiday Gift Ideas for Book Lovers

The last two years I've shared some holiday gift ideas for book lovers on this blog and as the holidays are all about tradition, I'm here to share some more today! If you've got a book loving friend/relative and no idea what to buy them, I am here to help.


Literary Emporium are particularly great at enamel pins and this year they've started selling some inspired by gothic novels, dystopian novels, and now Shakespeare's heroines. These three are just a few examples of a much wider selection available on their website and I think one of these pins inspired by your loved one's favourite novel would be a gorgeous gift.


You can never go wrong with a beautifully designed copy of someone's favourite book and this collaboration between Vintage Classics and MADE.COM definitely fits the bill. Unfortunately these are the only three novels to have been given the MADE.COM treatment so far but if you know someone who loves any one of these three titles, then I'm sure these gorgeous covers would be a welcome addition to their collection.


If you know someone who A) likes to carry a book with them at all times and/or B) likes to keep those books pristine, a pouch to keep their book safe in their bag might be just the gift they never knew they needed. There are hundreds of book sleeves to choose from on Etsy and around the web, these just being three adorable examples. And, if you're the sewing type, you could even make one yourself!


If dystopian and gothic literature aren't your friend's bag, Fable & Black do a whole host of super cute pins to choose from. Some, such as this Howl's Moving Castle pin are still specific to certain books, but many others, equally as adorable, are more general to all book lovers, and every one would look perfect on a book lover's jacket or backpack.


My last suggestion, and, I think, the most lovely, is a special edition of a favourite children's book. The novels we loved as children often remain the most special to us and I think a beautiful hardback edition of someone's childhood favourite is always going to be a winner. Puffin Classics do a wide range of hardbacks with pretty patterned designs, including this edition of Charlotte's Web and many more besides. If you want something even more special, design house MinaLima and Harper Collins have released a few of these gorgeous interactive, illustrated versions of popular fairytales and stories, each as stunning as this copy of The Beauty and the Beast. And last but not least is the Puffin in Bloom collection, all of which have covers every bit as beautiful as this edition of Heidi.

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Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Guest Post | 4 Literary Female Characters That Will Inspire You



You have to agree that 2017 has been the year of Diana a.k.a Wonder Woman. To be honest, I have not been keeping track of the DC /Marvel superhero movie releases over the last couple of years. However, her sword-wielding ways, her smarts and her heart for people definitely got my attention. The movie made me think about other fictional female characters who may not necessarily superpowers but are still outstanding and make us want to become better versions of ourselves. Here are some of my favourites:

Anetka Kaminska | Coal Miner's Bride (Dear America Series) (2000)

As an adult, I have fallen in love with the Dear America series (and its spin-offs) which sheds light on historical events through the everyday lives of early teens. The one book in this series that stuck with me after reading it a few years ago is Anetka's story. Thirteen-year-old Anetka is forced to leave Poland for Pennsylvania, US after being 'sold' as coal miner's bride in exchange for passage to the US. Through her diary entries, we get to know her struggles as an immigrant, a young wife and mother to three girls. I was floored by her resilience and how she was able to deal with her own insecurities in fitting into her new roles and still remain sane.

Anita Hemmings |The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe (2016)

Anita is passionate about going to college and will do everything to make it possible including passing herself as a white person. Being a "high yellow", a black person who so light-skinned that she can be passed off as being Caucasian, she and her brother take the chance to further their education at prestigious schools. However, this janitor’s daughter is in danger of being exposed when finds herself rooming with Louise “Lottie” Taylor, the scion of one of New York’s most prominent families in her senior year.
You will enjoy Anita’s journey in her last year of college and she manages to navigate sticky situations with her determination to graduate and have a “normal” life. Set before the turn of the 20th century,  this atmospheric book will make you privy to how people were dealing with the industrial revolution in the backdrop of major issues of the day like slavery and racism.

Ramatoulaye | So Long a Letter by Mariama Ba (1979)

Ramatoulaye is a Senegalese schoolteacher who is grappling with the death of her husband and dealing with her co-wife. In this book, she pours her heart in this lengthy letter to her best friend Aissatou, who is now an ambassador in America as a cathartic means.
Through Ramatoulaye, we learn about the challenges that women faced in post-colonial period attempting to have it all. Readers will empathise with her situation and make you appreciate some of the everyday opportunities we have to make a difference but some may still be denied in some other parts of the world. This is one of the books that exemplifies the phrase, 'dynamite comes in small packages'. Originally published in 1979 in French, Ba is able to articulate the women's issues powerfully in this missive form and which is still relevant in 2017.

Rachel | Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh (2017)

Rachel is excited about returning to Kenya in the 1950s after spending most of her teenage years in Britain following the untimely death of her mother. While staying with her grandparents inhibited by their strict rules, she is eager to return to the familiarity of her childhood. When she finally sets foot in Kenya, she soon realised that things are not the same as the Mau Mau freedom fighters threaten the settlers' stay in the Kenyan colony.
Through Rachel's naive eyes, readers will be given glimpses into the relationship dynamics between the Kikuyu people and the settlers in the backdrop of impending independence (unknown to the characters). Her free spirit and courage are seen in the way that she treats the Kikuyu and is constantly concerned for their welfare. But at the same time, she does not shy away from questioning important issues.

This post was written by guest blogger Lillian:

Lillian prides herself in living in one of the most beautiful countries in the world: Kenya, plus owning more books than shoes. She has not met a brooch that she has not liked. She still harbours the dream of ordering vegetarian paella in impeccable Español. You can compare bookshelves on Goodreads or read about her bookish adventures at Kerry’s Blog.
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Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Goodbye Days | Jeff Zentner | Review



Sometimes you just know that a book is going to break your heart.


Sometimes you go ahead and read it anyway.


Goodbye Days is that kind of book. The novel starts when Carver is left reeling after the death of his three best friends. A series of deaths that he might have caused. He didn’t mean to of course, but he was texting his friends near to the time of the accident that killed them...


He’s not the only one who thinks he might be guilty either. Some of his friends’ family members certainly do and, worst of all, there might even be a criminal investigation into the accident. How can Carver even begin to heal when he is stuck in that moment over and over again? And then his friend’s grandmother asks him for a goodbye day: a chance to say goodbye to Blake, her grandson with Carver at her side.


If you couldn’t tell from that brief summary, this book is intense. In the best possible way, it breaks your heart over and over again. I was even crying in the car home while I read it (don’t worry I wasn’t driving). But it also pieces it together again with little snippets of loveliness that you will treasure.

Goodbye Days is definitely hard to read in places but it is also utterly beautiful. I would definitely recommend reading it - just keep some tissues on hand!


Kelly
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Monday, 4 December 2017

Introducing The Blogger's Bookshelf Book Club!



To celebrate five whole years of Blogger's Bookshelf we've decided to embark on a new adventure by starting our very own online book club! We're always looking for new ways to collaborate and share the love of books so a book club seemed like the perfect next step for BB.

We'll be taking it in turns to select the book club reads every month throughout 2018 and to keep things interesting we've also chosen a simple overall theme we'll all have to stick to when we make our selections. The theme we've chosen is 'Short Stories' which may include a wide variety of reads such as novels under 200 pages, novellas, graphic novels, poetry collections and of course, short story collections. We're excited to discover new reads that fit the theme and by keeping the reads nice and short and we hope you'll be able to find a little time to join in too.

Each new book will be introduced in a post by the team member who has selected it, we'll then be inviting you to read it along with us over the following few weeks, with a Google form for you to submit your thoughts for the final roundup. There may also be additional posts inspired by the book club pick throughout the month and updates via our new newsletter (also launching next month) so make sure you're subscribed if you don't want to miss out!

We'll be announcing January's book next week and hope that you'll join us on our new adventure, whether it be every month or a handful of times throughout the year.

Happy reading!

- Team BB
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Friday, 1 December 2017

The Salmon Who Dared to Leap Higher | Ahn Do-hyun | Review


"The life of the salmon is a predictable one: swimming upstream to the place of its birth to spawn, and then to die."

Translated for the first time from Korean to English, The Salmon Who Dared to Leap Higher is a sweet fable about life and its meaning, all from the perspective of a silver fish.

As we follow Silver Salmon through his life, we learn, as he does, that he's different from other salmon, that he thinks differently, questions why certain things are done, wonders why a salmon's purpose in life is to swim upriver to the place they were born just to spawn and then die. Surely there's more to life than that?

As Silver Salmon loses his friends, gains others, falls in love, learns about the world, and avoids attacks from eagles and bears, he learns about his past and his ancestors who dared to leap above the rapids and finally make it home.

While it is a fable, a short story written to make you think about its morals and life lessons, it's beautifully written and so on-point with life (human life, that is) that it really does make you pause every so often and really take in what Do-hyun is saying. Filled with stunning illustrations, The Salmon Who Dared to Leap Higher is a wonderful look at what it means to grow up and live this crazy life.

A short book just over 100 pages, this fable is a wonderful wee read that I recommend picking up if you have a spare hour or so.
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Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Bookish Links #36



1. Wizards Unite - we're sure you've all heard by now but we just had to include a link to the news about the upcoming Harry Potter augmented reality game. Will you be playing?

2.  Lit Chat - we enjoyed reading Emma's post about Lit Chat, a set of cards featuring reading-themed questions. We're looking forward to future posts inspired by the cards!

3. Graphics - in a reading slump? Graphic novels may be the answer! Check out this post from The Ardent Biblio to find out how.

4. Bookstagram - we've been enjoying following the picks from Emma Roberts book club Belletrist so we really loved this EW post listing all of the book recommendations from her Instagram account. Your TBRs are about to get a whole lot longer...

5. Making Time For Books - in this post Hannah shares her top five tips for finding time to read as a parent.

6. Dystopia/Utopia - if you can't decide what your next read should be check out this list of feminist Utopian and Dystopian reads recommended by Lotte.

7. For John Green Fans - looking for post-Turtles All The Way Down reads? Jamie has you covered with this list!

8. Reading Harry Potter - we loved reading Janssen's interesting post all about introducing Harry Potter to children.

9. Travel Companions - if you're heading out on a roadtrip over the holiday season you'll love this list of audiobook picks from Emma over at A Beautiful Mess.

10. Books To Gift - our final pick is Lauren's post filled with awesome bookish gift ideas. You're sure to find a title here for everyone on your Christmas list!

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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Monday, 27 November 2017

We're Recruiting For 2018!



Going forward into the new year we're looking to recruit a new member (or members) to our team of writers!

We're ideally looking to find someone who is keen to share their unique ideas and points of view, who is organised, creative, enthusiastic and of course loves talking all things books! If this sounds like you here's a little more information...

- the role would involve writing content for the blog on a fortnightly basis (we ask for 1 post per fortnight on an assigned day of the week, the day is negotiable)

- all content must be book-related but can include everything from reviews to features, lists, interviews, short stories, news, poems and event write-ups

We would also love for you to be involved in contributing to our upcoming book club and newsletter (however this is completely optional if you are unable to commit the extra time).

If you think you would be a good fit for our team we would love to hear from you! Please email us your details (including your name & blog link if you have one) and we will get back to you very soon.

We look forward to hearing from you!

- Team BB

*Image via unsplash.com
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Friday, 24 November 2017

Genuine Fraud | E. Lockhart | Review


An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.

Jule, a scrappy fighter and an expert at blending in, and Imogen, an unsatisfied heiress, bonded over their shared history, both orphans and both determined to get away from their pasts and become someone new, Imogen and Jule share everything. Clothes, money, lavish homes in London and Martha's Vineyard. They're as close as best friends can be. Or, they were. Or... were they?

Told in reverse, Genuine Fraud begins with a young woman on the run and takes the reader backwards through not entirely reliable memories and increasingly complicated lies, through a close friendship brought to an unfortunate end, through the whole complex affair, from end to beginning and back again. 

There are so many twists and turns in this story that I hesitate to say anything about it at all for fear of spoiling anything. The narrative taking the reader back through time can be a little confusing but it means that the story gets to unfold in a way that leaves you never quite sure what's real and what isn't. As soon as one piece of the story falls into place, we're swept back two days or six weeks to reveal that something else entirely is actually the truth, but then again, maybe that isn't either. Piece by piece things click together until finally the last secret is revealed and we end up, once again, back where we started, at the end of the story.

One downside to the backwards narrative is that it makes it tough to really feel for the characters, as the reader isn't so much on the journey with them, but experiencing events in gradual backwards steps, as told by an extremely unreliable narrator. Genuine Fraud is a difficult novel to explain and, at least at first, a difficult novel to get to grips with, but it's so well written that it doesn't take long for the mysteries of the story to overtake any concerns about the characters. If you're anything like me, you'll be desperate to get to the middle of this complicated maze of lies and half-truths and find out what really happened to Jule and Imogen.
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Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Archangel's Viper | Nalini Singh | Review



Sometimes, you accidentally start a book series at the wrong time. For me that was diving into the Guild Hunter series on one of the later books, Archangel's Viper, which was sent to me by the publisher. It meant that it took me a little while to get into the book but when I did, I really enjoyed it.

Archangel's Viper is about Holly Chang, a young woman who has become a supernatural creature after being tortured by an archangel. She's part vampire, part poisonous, part mystery to everyone. With a new and dangerous power coursing through her veins, Holly is one hell of a bounty. Venom, a centuries old vampire, is assigned to protect when people start coming for her. The two of them don't exactly get on but they do make a good team, especially when their questions unearthed a deadly mystery.

Urban fantasy isn't something I read that much of anymore but it was a great return to the genre for me. It was punchy, creative and exciting. There were intriguing characters, who kept me hooked. There were also slow burn romances, which are my favourite kind. Although they were hardly a surprise, that didn't make them any less entertaining!

Archangel's Viper is dangerous and addictive, making it the perfect kind of book to lose yourself in for a few hours. It's the kind of fun reading that helps you switch off from the real world for a little while.

It was a risk starting the series when it had already started but it paid off. Now, I'm intrigued enough to read more of the Guild Hunter novels and the writing of Nalini Singh.
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Get Involved | Your Favourite Reads Of 2017

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Get Involved | Your Favourite Reads Of 2017

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Friday, 17 November 2017

The Cartoon Introduction to Philosophy | Michael F. Patton and Kevin Cannon | Review


"The most entertaining and engaging philosophy class you'll ever take!
In The Cartoon Introduction to Philosophy, Michael F. Patton and Kevin Cannon introduce us to the grand tradition of examined living. With the wisecracking Heraclitus as our guide, we travel down the winding river of philosophy, meeting influential thinkers from nearly three millennia of Western thought and witnessing great debates over everything from ethics to the concept of the self to the nature of reality.
Combining Cannon's playful artistry and Patton's humorous, instructive prose, The Cartoon Introduction to Philosophy puts the fun back into the quest for fundamental truths, imparting a love of wisdom to anyone willing to grab a paddle and join the ride."
Something a little different today on Blogger's Bookshelf: The Cartoon Introduction to Philosophy. The 16th of November celebrates World Philosophy Day, so I thought it was the perfect time to share with you a recent purchase of mine.

Let's back track for a quick second.

After finishing high school back in 2008 (goodness, I feel old), I headed off to university not really knowing what I was going to do. I started with an English degree but quickly dropped that after not really enjoying the first semester. While I still kept the odd English paper here and there, I picked up a few Philosophy papers just out of interest's sake. Turns out that interest exploded in the following 3 years, and long story short, I have a BA in Philosophy. 

While I haven't done anything further (with few job prospects other than teaching), I still enjoy watching philosophy-related TED Talks and picking up the occasional book. This is one such book.


Discovered during a wandering journey through maze of shelves in the famous Powell's Bookstore in Portland, Oregon, this book practically leaped off the shelf at me and I couldn't not take it away. I'm so glad I did. 

The Cartoon Introduction to Philosophy is a brilliant overview of many of the world's greatest thinkers. Becuase it's in cartoon/comic strip form, it makes for an entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable read. We're taken through ideas and theories from early philosophers like Plato and Socrates, to modern day ponderers, all narrated and guided by Heraclitus. The ideas are laid out simply and are very easy to follow, the illustrations adding that extra something-something to the reading experience.

While it's not a book that will interest the widest of audiences, if philosophy has ever ignited even an ember of interest in you, then this is such a fun way to get an overview of the thoughts throughout the ages. I highly recommend picking it up; I'm definitely going to be flicking back to this book in the years to come.


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Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Features | Popsugar 2017 Reading Challenge Update #5

I can't believe it's November already, where has the time gone? In my previous challenge update post I said that I was aiming to cross around seven more prompts off the list before the year is out and so far it's all going to plan, especially since I discovered that I'd missed a couple I could have crossed off earlier in the year!

My grand total is now at twenty-three and hopefully I'll be able to reach (or even pass) my target of twenty-five over the next six weeks, although I have to confess I'm also already planning which books I'll be picking up for the 2018 challenge!

eating animals non fiction book reading review

A Book About Food | Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer (2009)

I'm not too sure where I first heard about this book but it had been on my TBR list for quite a while and I finally picked up a copy from my local library earlier this month. It's definitely not always an easy read but personally I found it to be an interesting and well-researched one.

A Book With Pictures | Scrappy Little Nobody, Anna Kendrick (2016)

Looking at all of the books I've read this year so far I actually found a few autobiographies that would fit this prompt, including this essay collection from actress Anna Kendrick. The book includes photographs as well as illustrations at the beginning of each chapter.

A Book Where The Main Character Is A Different Ethnicity Than You | When Dimple Met Rishi, Sandhya Menon (2017)

When Dimple Met Rishi was certainly one of the most highly anticipated YA releases of the year and like most other bloggers I couldn't resist picking it up. The book is a fun read with a pretty lovable cast of characters - you can catch Anastasia's review here, and Anjali's here!

A Book Of Letters | Everything All At Once, Katrina Leno (2017)

I'm bending the rules a little with this one as it's not strictly a book made up of letters, however the story does revolve around a series of letters left to the main character by her aunt. I knew nothing about the book beforehand and thanks to an interesting twist I was a little surprised by how the story ended up playing out!

A 2016 Bestseller | Why Not Me?, Mindy Kaling (2015)

Honestly, I'm not very good at keeping up with bestseller lists so I had to do a little research for this one. According to the LA Times website, Mindy Kaling's second book (which I read earlier this year) was a hardcover bestseller in early 2016 - another prompt crossed off the list and I didn't even realise!


If you're taking part in the Popsugar 2017 Reading Challenge I'd love to hear from you. Let me know which prompts you've crossed off the list and which books you're planning to pick up next.
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Monday, 13 November 2017

Ruby the Foster Dog | Jimmy Wayne | Review

*Image and book provided via NetGalley for an honest review.

Summary:

Ruby has been in the shelter for several days now. She's seen some dogs go off with families and others go behind the door, never to be seen again. She prays to God to send her a family with a big back yard and kids to play with. What she gets is James, a crazy looking man walking through Texas with ski poles and goggles. He tells her he's walking half-way across America to raise awareness of foster kids who age out of the system with no families and asks her to join him.

Review:

This was such a cute, heart-warming story. It's based on the real-life 1700 mile walk the author went on back in 2010. We get to meet a lot of the people Wayne met and hear about the good and bad he had to go through during his walk and his own time in foster care.

Not all of the images showed up in my ebook copy, but I'm sure the publishers have fixed this. Additionally, what images I could see were very well done! Ruby looks absolutely adorable in all of them. 

I really enjoyed this children's book and its very positive, hopeful tone. There are ways to help foster kids and this book is a good way to raise awareness that not everyone has a home. It can be a difficult concept for kids, but this book is written at their level. 

If you're in need of a cute, feel-good book, this is a great pick-me-up and good for all ages!
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Friday, 10 November 2017

Features | Taylor Swift Book Recs


To celebrate the release of Taylor Swift's newest album (and because I will take any excuse to recommend books to you, dear readers) I am going to recommend an excellent book that I'm sure you'll love based only on your favourite T. Swift album. So take a quick pause from listening to Taylor's new songs and scroll down to find your favourite album and your new favourite book.

Taylor Swift - Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Just a boy in a Chevy truck
That had a tendency of gettin' stuck
On back roads at night
And I was right there beside him all summer long
And then the time we woke up to find that summer gone

If the sweet romanticism and young heartbreak of Taylor Swift makes Taylor's debut your favourite of her albums, I recommend Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Benjamin Alire Sáenz's novel about two teenage boys grappling with identity, friendship, love, and growing up, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is every bit as lyrical and optimistic as Taylor's earliest work.

Fearless - Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

'Cause I can't help it if you look like an angel
Can't help it if I wanna kiss you in the rain
So come feel this magic I've been feeling since I met you
Can't help it if there's no one else
I can't help myself

If the more confident Fearless is your favourite album then I recommend Anna and the French Kiss. Anna's love story with Étienne (and with Paris) is as full of romance, jealousy, and occasional teenage melancholy as this album. Just like Fearless, Anna and the French Kiss is upbeat and fun but doesn't completely do away with the inevitable heartbreak of being young and in love.

Speak Now - To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

Do you remember, we were sitting there by the water?
You put your arm around me for the first time
You made a rebel of a careless man's careful daughter
You are the best thing that's ever been mine

Just like Speak Now, Jenny Han's To All the Boys I've Loved Before trilogy is all about young love, growing up, and drama the protagonist never wanted. If Speak Now is your favourite Taylor album I'm sure you'll enjoy the sweet, joyful story of Lara Jean dealing with her sisters, high school, and finding love in the most unexpected way.

Red - Just One Day by Gayle Forman

All I knew this morning when I woke
Is I know something now, know something now I didn't before
And all I've seen since eighteen hours ago
Is green eyes and freckles and your smile
In the back of my mind

Moving into pop territory but with one foot still firmly in the country music world, if the more mature and quietly experimental Red is your favourite era of Swift then I recommend Gayle Forman's Just One Day. Just One Day has all the same vibes of a young girl on the cusp of adulthood, figuring out who she is, and how, or if, her new experiences can fit into her old world.

1989 - The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

Everybody here
Wanted something more
Searching for a sound we hadn't
Heard before

And if Taylor's total shedding of her country roots in 1989 means this is your favourite album, try The Geography of You and Me. Starting in New York, just like 1989, but taking the characters and the reader to all sorts of different places, The Geography of You and Me has the same feeling of exploration and discovery that is infused in every track of 1989.

Okay, you can go back to listening to the new album now.
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Tuesday, 7 November 2017

The Sky is Everywhere | Jandy Nelson | Review


Sometimes, you just want a fun, quick read. After reading I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson quite a while ago, I knew she was just the author to provide me with something like that for a recent holiday. Her writing is the ultimate in escapism writing, though it doesn’t shy away from dealing with the difficult topics.

The Sky is Everywhere explores grief and love and everything in between. Lennie Walker’s life is turned upside down when her sister dies at 19. Suddenly, she’s not quite sure what she is meant to be doing, how her life should like and how she feels, beyond the fact that she’s experiencing a pain that is greater than anything she had ever known.

While that summary might not sound like a “fun, quick read”, it really was. Of course, there were moments where my eyes were welling up and I just wanted to reach through the pages and hug Lennie. What happened to these characters was utterly horrible and unimaginable but The Sky is Everywhere is about the aftermath of that. It is about rebuilding a life, and finding ways to feel something other than grief. It’s about Lennie finding a way to carry on without her sister, while honouring and remembering. What results is a book about the messy reality of human emotion and relationships, which is completely endearing. I wanted to consume this book. A big part of why this works is the characters themselves, who are completely relatable, vibrant and vivacious. Lennie’s family are just screaming to be loved by readers and definitely made the book for me.

My favourite part of The Sky is Everywhere had to be the poetry hidden behind the chapters. These were poems that we had read about Lennie writing so getting to actually read them added an excellent layer to the book. It really helped to show her emotional turmoil and made the reading experience so much.. More. It was something that I really loved about this book and a big part of why I’m raving about it so much today!
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