The Rebirths of Tao | Wesley Chu | Review

Monday, 26 June 2017


Summary:

The Prophus struggle for survival never seems to end. This book follows three Prophus agents struggling to not only reduce the Genjix threat, but keep off the IXTF's radar, the international task force created to take down all aliens. To make matters worse, one of the agents is a 16 year old boy whose parents are both high on the Genjix target list. 

Review:

A while ago I reviewed Rise of Io by Chu and promised myself I would go back and read the trilogy that came before it in that world. With this, I have kept my promise and it was a very easy and rewarding promise to keep. Despite ultimately knowing how things would turn out, I was still on the edge of my seat and heavily emotionally invested. 

This book, in particular, was such a wonderful blend of just about every emotion. As per usual, Chu does kill a character that I wanted so badly to live. However, true to form, he makes it a good death that leaves you feeling like they were truly the hero you knew them to be. I'm not gonna lie, I was almost in tears. At the same time, there were so many points in the book where I was moved to tears because I was laughing so hard. Seriously, Marco and Roen's spats were the stuff of legends and I LOVED it! Heck, I'm not usually one for teenage hormone driven over-dramatics, but Chu made it so much more tolerable to read. 

Of course, no story is truly great without a truly great villain. This entire trilogy has had villains that are more than just top notch chess players. They are almost impossibly intelligent and ruthless. They are the kind of villains that you love to hate, but recognize how much better, stronger, faster they are than the good guys. The Genjix do a wonderful job of making the Prophus struggle feel so much greater. 

This book was a wonderful end to a truly engaging trilogy. I cannot praise it enough. If you are at all interested in books that are a combination of real life, military, and sci-fi, you won't regret picking up these books. 

Group Collaboration | BB's Summer Reading List

Saturday, 24 June 2017

We received a varied selection of suggestions for our ultimate summer reading list so decided it might be fun to create our very own Blogger's Bookshelf mini challenge! The printable checklist below features our top picks for the summer as well as a couple of mini challenges complete with recommended reads. Click here to print out your own copy and join in to see how many titles you can cross off the list over the next ten weeks... and beyond of course!

If you decide to join in and have a go at reading some (or all) of the titles on our list we'd love to follow your progress. Use the hashtag #BBSummerReads on Twitter and Instagram to share your 'currently reading' and TBR updates with us!


Thank you to this month's contributors: Cat, Lili, Anjali, Kate, Ria, Erin

Next month's group post topic is Why YA Is Important! If you'd like to get involved email us bloggersbookshelf@gmail.com or keep an eye out on our Twitter page for more information.

Features | Comfort Reading

Friday, 23 June 2017


In this culture of GoodReads challenges and booktube wrap ups a lot of importance is put on reading new books, finding new authors, and expanding our reading horizons. These are, of course, all great things, but sometimes it can be a little daunting, a little tiring, to always be racing on to the next thing. Sometimes you just aren't in the mood for the next thing. Something may be happening in your own life, or the news may be too upsetting, or the world might just get too much, and you don't want to escape into a new world but an old one. One that is familiar and comforting. Sometimes you need the novel equivalent of your favourite meal eaten by a warm fire on a cold night.

We all have those books, right? The ones we've read a hundred times already but every time is like being welcomed home again. We already know every beat of the story, every twist and every turn, and that's part of what makes it so comforting. You know you aren't in for any surprises and you can just enjoy visiting those characters again in a way that feels safe and revitalising. That's the true joy of comfort reading.

For a lot of people the Harry Potter books fill that role, for others it will be classics like Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice, or a favourite Agatha Christie mystery, or a contemporary love story you just can't get enough of. You may not even realise you have one. You may have one or two books you read over and over again because they give you this sort of feeling, even though you've never really tried to put that feeling into words. But if you're book lover, which I'm sure you are if you're reading this, then you will almost certainly have at least one book whose cover is looking a little worse for wear for all the times you've reached for it to comfort you. You might even have three or four.

For me, the Harry Potter books are always a contender, but a few weeks ago, when I needed something comforting, I found myself reaching for a different series. I love the Wizarding World with all my heart but the fact is every single one of those books makes me cry, and at that moment I really didn't want to cry. I wanted to curl up and laugh and feel at home and when I really thought about what book might give me that I didn't have to think that much at all. For me, then, it was The Princess Diaries. Right now, what would it be for you?

The Way Back Home | Allan Stratton | Review

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The other day I found myself with a free afternoon and a desperate desire to read something, just for fun. I took my time perusing my bookshelf, not quite sure what I fancied picking up. And then an exceptionally bright and colourful cover caught my eye: The Way Back Home by Allan Stratton.

It’s a little different from the books I usually read but I had won it in a competition a little while ago. A quick read over the back cover had me convinced to give it a go and I’m so glad that I did! It was the perfect read for a summer afternoon.



The Way Back Home follows Zoe Bird, who spends her time avoiding her cousin, fighting with her parents and hanging out with her granny, her truest friend. But granny has Alzheimer’s and it’s getting worse. Zoe and her granny decided to run away and find the long lost uncle Teddy to see if he can help. Along the way, Zoe realises that there are things she doesn’t yet know and that things are rarely as simple as they seem.

Zoe was a truly relatable character, with a kind heart that made it easy to understand her misguided decisions. Despite everything, you can tell she is genuinely trying to help, even if her idea of the right thing to do leads to a series of misadventures. I was really rooting for her throughout and desperately raced ahead to find out how things worked out for her. Of course, there were a great cast of secondary characters along the way from the mischievous granny herself to Madi, her conniving cousin, who truly deserves the title of mean queen. Watching Zoe interact with them had me smiling and sighing in equal measure.

This book doesn’t shy away from difficult topics and reading it was a real emotional rollercoaster. It chipped away at my heart in places, before patching it back together with a little bit of hope. When I finished the book, there was a relaxed smile on my face and I felt uplifted.

In short, The Way Back Home was a great book novel to devour on a lazy afternoon with some tea and biscuits. It made me want to race through it and left me with a warm happiness that lasted throughout the day. Don’t you just love it when books do that?

Allies and Enemies: Fallen | Amy J. Murphy | Review

Monday, 19 June 2017


Summary:

Commander Sela Tyron is a member of the Eugenes race, a lower class member who was bred and raised for the sole purpose of being a soldier. For her entire life she's been loyal to the Council of First and the teachings of Decca. Then her commanding officer, Captain Jovenlish Veradin gets arrested with no chance of a trial before his execution. Sela makes the not-so-easy decision to abandon everything and go save him. The conspiracy behind Veradin's execution order takes them through the galaxy and puts them on the run.

Review:

My favorite part about this book is that it shows the different ways a person can be strong. Sela is bred and trained to be strong physically and mentally while shunting down anything emotional. At a couple points her obvious strengths are complimented. At the same time, Erelah is obviously of frail build and naive, yet she has the mental endurance and strength to do whatever it takes to shut out Tristic, one of the most powerful mental influences. Sela's sergeant, Valen, has the strength of will to look out for the less fortunate, even while severely injured. The point is, you don't have to be muscular or be a bully in order to be strong. There are many ways you can show strength and this book does a good job of showing those.

I also greatly appreciated the mythology/theology Murphy included in this world. It's easy to draw a some parallels to myths we have on Earth, but it still different enough that it really adds another layer to the world.

Overall, this was an entertaining read. It wasn't a great book, I'll admit that, but for $.99 it was a good grab. The world is well built and the characters even more so. There is a love story, but also a lot of action and spaceships. Definitely an entertaining read for a sci-fi fan.


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

Friday, 16 June 2017


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. - Goodreads
Told from fifteen-year-old Aristotle's point of view, this book was a beautiful story of friendship, love, of figuring out who you are, of being someone you don't even realise until the last minute. Aristotle and Dante meet at the swimming pool one summer, and as Dante starts teaching Ari to swim, their friendship grows. While they're at different schools, they spend a lot of time together, hanging out at each other's homes, meeting the families, talking about how Mexican they are (or aren't).

One day, Dante announces that he has to leave with his family for a year. Ari is obviously upset by this change - he's losing his best friend, after all - but after a year away, Dante comes back. Without giving too much away, things change after a certain event occurs, and things aren't really the same after that.

“I bet you could sometimes find all the mysteries of the universe in someone's hand.”

Despite aforementioned event, the book actually has very little plot. It was more of a day-in-the-life rather than plot-focused, if that makes sense. It was the little things throughout the story that happened that really led to the ending. It seemed to me to be almost more accurate of life than a lot of young adult books these days.

We have our Divergents, and even our Paper Towns, all with big events or disasters or road trips or what have you, but I haven't read too much in the way of just teens being teens. They're literally just living their life. Nothing really happens. There's no big drama, there's no Government trying to overthrow anyone; just two boys, going through high school and navigating their way through life. It really was a beautiful thing.

It's wonderfully written, too. I actually read this in 2 sittings, the second of which I read about 80% of the book and accidentally stayed up until 1am reading it. Sáenz definitely pulls you in with his writing, and I couldn't put it down.

You can find this book and others on Anastasia's list of LGBT books to read if you're interested in books with similar themes.

Have you read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe?

Features | Changing My Mind

Friday, 9 June 2017


I like to think that I can admit when I have been wrong and that is what I am here to do today. Nearly two years ago now, on this very blog, I spoke about book series I probably would never finish and the very first series on that list was Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instruments. It's safe to say I hated the first book, City of Bones, and at the time I felt extremely confident in saying that I would probably not ever be picking up the rest of the series. 

Except that I recently finished the third book.

Why did I give the series a second chance if I hated the first book so much? One word: Shadowhunters. I somehow got convinced to watch the TV series based on the books and I enjoyed the show so much that I got curious. I have a lot of friends who really love these books and I clearly enjoyed the world so why not give the second book a go? And then the third one?

I still have my issues with the series. I still can't help but roll my eyes at some of Cassandra Clare's writing choices. But I liked the second book better than the first, and I liked the third book better than both of them, and two years after declaring that I had no interest in finishing this series I am here to say that I was wrong. I now have every intention of finishing this series.

I gave the books a second chance and I can see now what everyone else sees in them. They may not be my favourite books in the whole world (yet. I've been wrong about these books once, I could be again) but it turns out that, first book aside, I do really enjoy reading them. Now I can't help but wonder if there are other series out there that I'm missing out on because I didn't like the first book?

I mean, I still have no intention of giving any of the other series on my first list a second chance but you know, I'll keep this in mind for the future. Maybe.

Have you ever written off a series after the first book only to completely change your mind about it later on? What great series could we all be missing out on because the first book isn't quite up to scratch?

Features | Falling in love with reading again

Tuesday, 6 June 2017


If there’s anything that can test your love of reading, it’s a degree that relies pretty heavily on it. Trust me, I’ve just about wrapped up four years studying Classical Studies and English. Across the years, that has equalled a lot of books and not all of them were enjoyable reading experiences.

It’s also a very different kind of reading, as you constantly need to be ‘switched on’. You keep your eyes peeled for literary techniques, making notes and annotating as you go. Then you start to rip things apart to get into analysis and before you know it you're noticing all the things that don’t work in a text, rather than looking for the good stuff. It’s hardly enjoyable escapism. Still, it’s not all bad and I’d do it all again if I got the chance. It just changed the way I approached reading. If I did get the time to read, I found myself sticking to poetry and short stories as I didn’t have the brain power or commitment for a novel.

For the last few weeks however, I’ve noticed a change.

I’m desperate to read again and am finally relishing working through some of the books I’ve ignored for a while. I’m having a real fantasy moment, especially YA novels in that genre, and have been loving discovering from some new wordy worlds. After so long avoiding them, it feels good to be adventuring again, especially since I can do it from my own home.

I’m not sure how long this reading flurry will last. It could just be a knee-jerk reaction, designed to help me revel in the sheer joy of my reading freedom. I could wake up tomorrow and be right back in a slump. Either way, I’m going to make the most of it.


And if you don’t believe me that I’m falling in love with reading again? I just started a 1008 page novel. Not bad commitment for someone who mainly reads short stories, is it?

Bookish Links #31

Saturday, 3 June 2017


1. Read Women Month 2017 - we're kicking off this roundup with a post from team BB writer Anastasia who is hosting her annual Read Women Month throughout June. It's definitely not too late to join in and you can find out more over on her blog!

2. A Song For Tomorrow - we enjoyed Josie's review of Alice Peterson's book, including her personal connection to the story and thoughts on how accurately it portrays CF.

3. Beach Reads - if you're on the lookout for the best summer reads this post has some great ideas. Also, keep an eye out for our group post this month as we'll be talking about our top picks!

4. Who Are Your Favourites? - are your favourite YA characters the same as everyone elses? This Buzzfeed poll post looks at the most popular characters from Harry Potter, The Lunar Chronicles, Divergent and more.

5. One For The Horror Fans - we love The Black Tapes Podcast so can't wait to check out some of the books on this list from Riveted Lit whilst we wait for season 3. Have you read any of these titles?

6. Aussie YA - on the lookout for an anthology? In this post Jess talks all about Begin End Begin a collection from popular Australian YA authors. We think it sounds like a great read (and how beautiful is that cover?!).

7. Best Audiobooks - looking for a way to improve your daily commute? Check out this list of ten audiobooks guaranteed to beat the boredom.

8. Flash Fiction - if you enjoy flash fiction you'll love Sonya Cheney's writing blog. Do you write your own flash fiction? Let us know in the comments!

9. Love A Good Mystery? - Goodreads recently shared a list of the top 10 YA mysteries on the site. What are your favourite YA mystery titles?

10. Tackling TBR Guilt - our final link of the month comes from Kelly, the newest member of team BB, who recently wrote about her reasons for no longer feeling guilty about her TBR pile. Keep an eye out for Kelly's first post here next week!

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!   

The Chemist | Stephanie Meyer | Review

Friday, 2 June 2017


"An ex-agent on the run from her former employers must take one more case to clear her name and save her life. She used to work for the U.S. government, but very few people ever knew that. An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn’t even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning. 
Now, she rarely stays in the same place or uses the same name for long. They’ve killed the only other person she trusted, but something she knows still poses a threat. They want her dead, and soon. 
When her former handler offers her a way out, she realises it’s her only chance to erase the giant target on her back. But it means taking one last job for her ex-employers. To her horror, the information she acquires only makes her situation more dangerous.
Resolving to meet the threat head-on, she prepares for the toughest fight of her life but finds herself falling for a man who can only complicate her likelihood of survival. As she sees her choices being rapidly whittled down, she must apply her unique talents in ways she never dreamed of." - Goodreads

I was really looking forward to this book, but I couldn't quite get into it, unfortunately.

Perhaps it was because I was expecting more Twilight or The Host from another Stephanie Meyer book, but it was definitely a whole new genre. Thriller, spy, crime novel, over supernatural, fantasy, young adult. Which is all fine and good, but I wasn't quite expecting it to be so grown-up, for want of a better phrase.

I didn't really care for Juliana (who goes by Alex most of the book), and thought her relationship with Daniel was highly unlikely. In a story you want it to be at last a little bit plausible, right? At the beginning of the book, Alex tortures Daniel and then days after he falls in love with her. I'm sorry. But what? It's all very masochistic, and I didn't get it. It was very inst-love, and the lack of other female characters was almost concerning.

However, I liked the idea behind the story line and the way the plot clipped along. The fact that Juliana/Alex is super smart and a chemical genius was a really fun aspect, and made it an interesting read from that perspective.

If you're a fan of thriller and spy books with a female protagonist who can kill you a thousand ways with various liquids, then do pick up a copy of The Chemist. Just don't expect it to be anything along the lines of Meyer's previous books.

Have you read The Chemist? What did you think? 




Get Involved | The Ultimate Summer Reading List

Thursday, 1 June 2017

One Of Us Is Lying | Karen McManus | Review

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

one of us is lying

*Review copy c/o Netgalley, cover image via goodreads.com, book release date: 1st June 2017 

"One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide." - Goodreads

When five teens unexpectedly find themselves in detention no one suspects that only four of them will make it out alive. In a Breakfast Club-style set up we meet Bronwyn, Addy, Nate, Cooper and finally Simon who is well-known for running his very own gossip app where he reveals the deepest, darkest secrets of everyone in the school. The day before he planned to reveal private details about the other four students things take another surprising turn when Simon doesn’t make it out of detention alive. When it is discovered that his death was not an accident the rest of the group find themselves accused of murder – question is, who is lying?

The story is told from multiple points of view, with chapters alternating between the four main characters accused of Simon’s murder. Although you go into the story unsure of who you can trust, one of the likable things about the main characters is that they are all flawed and have mistakes in their past, making them more realistic. Although they all seem to fit the usual high school stereotypes and don't quite manage to fully escape this, the members of this group do each seem to grow and develop throughout the story as more of their personalities and secrets are revealed.

The intriguing addition of Simon’s gossip app gives the story a touch of Pretty Little Liars/Gossip Girl vibes and adds both a motivation for the crime and another layer to the mystery. This combined with the multiple perspectives makes for a gripping ride and there are quite a few curveballs to keep the reader guessing throughout. Without giving anything away, the ending itself wasn’t my favourite but I enjoyed the mystery element and found the book to be a quick and addictive read.

One Of Us Is Lying is an exciting debut that I’m sure will be popular with the YA audience - we’ll definitely be hearing a lot more about it!

And Then You're Dead | Cody Cassidy and Paul Doherty | Review

Monday, 29 May 2017

*Book provided by NetGalley for an honest review.

Summary:

A collection of "what if" scenarios that all lead to death. The different forms of death are described scientifically through experiments and real-life examples. Such hypothetical situations include falling into a black hole, inability to sleep, being raised by buzzards, digging a hole to China and more!

Review:

This is an interesting compilation of "what ifs" that I never knew I wanted the answers to. It also clarified a few things for me. For example, I've heard Neil DeGrasse Tyson saying that falling into a black hole would lead to spaghettification, but did not know it would also involve being diced. 

A number of the details in the book are quite gruesome (it is a book about a lot of ways to die) but are necessary for the scientific accuracy. The authors clearly did their homework in each scenario and present it in an easy to understand manner. 

The only problem I had with this book is that it kinda got boring after a while. It was fun(ny) at first, but after a while it felt a bit repetitive. The scenarios were all different, but they all ended the same. Either that or I'm just not as interested in death by chocolate chip cookie, death by magnets or death by a trip to the sun.

Overall, though, if you have a run of morbid curiosity, this is definitely the book for you. Or if you're looking for answers to your kids questioning why getting hit by lightning won't give you superpowers, this book will prove helpful. It's got a good amount of trivial and important information. 

Group Post | #BBShelfies

Saturday, 27 May 2017

There are many things that fill a book lover's heart with joy. One of them is the sight of an insta-worthy bookshelf brimming with books. So for this month's post we asked our contributors to give us a glimpse of their own bookshelves and send us pictures of their bookshelves - or SHELF-IES. Check out their photos below.

(l-r: @Anjali_Kay // @RCagz )



(l-r: @RCagz // @sawyerandscout)

Thanks to all of our contributors this month. If you want to keep sharing your Shelfies tag us on Instagram with #BBShelfies.

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Next month we'll be asking for your Summer read recommendations. If you'd like to be involved with this and future group posts drop an email to bloggersbookshelf@gmail.com or keep an eye out on our Twitter for updates!


When Dimple Met Rishi | Sandhya Menon | Review

Friday, 26 May 2017


The arranged marriage YA romcom you didn't know you wanted or needed...

Dimple's main aim in life is to escape her traditional parents, get to university, and begin her plan for tech world domination. Rishi's rich, good-looking, and a hopeless romantic. His parents think Dimple is the perfect match for him, but she's got other plans...

Dimple can't believe her luck when her parents agree to let her attend a summer program for young coders. She isn't just excited for the six weeks she'll spend creating a new app at Insomnia Con but also because her parents finally seem to be accepting her passion for all things tech. She's much less excited when she meets Rishi and discovers that her parents really agreed to let her attend Insomnia Con because they knew that he would be there too. 

Dimple and Rishi's parents have decided that their children would be an ideal marriage match, something Rishi is fully on board with. Dimple, however, is most definitely not. Dimple is at Insomnia Con to win with her app idea and meet her idol. Rishi... well Rishi's mostly there at his parents wishes and Dimple is unimpressed to discover that he doesn't know the first thing about coding.

When Dimple Met Rishi is definitely a unique YA read. It's the first one I've come across where arranged marriage plays such an big part in the plot but that's not the only reason that this novel stands out. Dimple and Rishi are both appealing and dynamic characters, and you just can't help but root for them both from the very beginning. Dimple loves her family but with her passion for coding and her desire to go against so many of her parents' traditions, she feels like she is a disappointment to them, and they just don't seem to understand her. Rishi on the other hand is every part the dutiful son, living up to his family's expectations to the point where he is about to give up his passion of drawing comics for the sensible career that his parents want him to have.

The novel follows both Rishi and Dimple during their six weeks at Insomnia Con as they overcome their awkward first meeting and begin to find some common ground and help each other in ways they didn't realise they needed. It's a sweet love story, full of the intensity of first love, but it's about Dimple and Rishi's relationships to their families and themselves as much as their relationships to each other. With such an abundance of absent parents in YA novels, this is one of those refreshing few where family aren't just important to the main characters, but central to their stories.

If I have one small complaint it's only that for a novel set at a coding camp, there isn't a whole lot of coding. With so much talk of Dimple's passion for it, it's a shame that we don't ever really see her doing it, the way that we see Rishi drawing. There is however a talent competition that makes for excellent reading and really, what a small complaint for such a great novel.

When Dimple Met Rishi is warm, funny, and a perfect read for summer.

2017 Reading Challenge | Update #1

Monday, 22 May 2017

It's time to check in and see how everyone is getting on with their 2017 challenges!

Anjali... 22/40 books read | 2/5 books vowed to read
Normally by this stage in the year I might not have even gotten through 1 of my Vow to Read books, so I'm rather pleased with the current 2. I'm also super stoked with my reading challenge so far. According to Good Reads, I'm 8 books ahead of schedule. My favourite book of the year so far has been Strange the Dreamer, by Laini Taylor. Amazing!

Erin... 1/5 books vowed to read
Whilst I've only read one of my five 'vow to read' choices so far I have another one lined up on my Kindle ready to read soon. I have also managed to cross fourteen prompts off of the Popsugar 2017 Reading Challenge - if you missed my latest update you can catch it here!


Kate... 1/5 books vowed to read
Of the five books I mentioned in January’s post, I have only read one–Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal–which, unfortunately, was a big flop. The science is fascinating but the author presents it in the most tedious way possible. I hope to read the other books on the list this summer and fall.

I have been making great progress with some of my other reading goals, especially the Modern. Mrs. Darcy 2017 Reading Challenge, which I am participating in. I’m ahead of schedule for once! Yay!

Cat... 1/5 books vowed to read
So far I have read only one of my vowed to read books, 'The Graces' by Laure Eve, I enjoyed this mystical and magical story and would like to read more books with a witchy theme.

So that's how we're getting on with this year's reading challenges so far. We'll be checking in again throughout the year, so keep an eye out for updates. Don't forget to leave us a comment and let us know how you've been getting on with your own reading goals and challenges for 2017!

Image via unsplash.com

Get Involved | Show Us Your Shelfies!

Thursday, 18 May 2017


For our May group post we're talking bookshelves and we would love you to share your shelfies with us! 

All you need to do is share your shelfie photos on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #BBShelfies. If social media isn't your thing, you're also welcome to email us your photos to use in the post - you can find us at bloggersbookshelf@gmail.com

If you want to get involved we'd love to hear from you and will need your shelfies by 24th May. We're looking forward to seeing all of your beautiful bookshelves!

Image via unsplash.com

Features | Popsugar 2017 Reading Challenge Update #3

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

the woman in cabin 10

Despite only sharing my second Popsugar Challenge update last month I've managed to cross off five more prompts from the list of fifty-two, making a total of fourteen so far.

A Book Involving Travel | The Woman In Cabin 10, Ruth Ware (2016)

Having sped my way through In A Dark Dark Wood as part of the 5 Books 7 Days readathon last year I was keen to find out more about Ruth Ware's second novel The Woman In Cabin 10. At first I wasn't too sure whether I'd find any challenges on the list that it would work for however this thriller centres around a travel journalist and takes place on a luxury cruise so definitely involves travel, even if it isn't the main focus of the book.

A Book About An Interesting Woman | The Princess Diarist, Carrie Fisher (2016) 

Released shortly before she sadly passed away last year, this book is based on diaries actress Carrie Fisher kept as a teenager on the set of the first Star Wars film - the perfect fit for this prompt.

margot and me

A Book Set In Two Different Time Periods | Margot & Me, Juno Dawson (2017)

Juno Dawson's latest release switches between Fliss' life in the present day and the 1940s diary entries of her grandmother Margot. This format works so well for the story and I'd definitely recommend checking this one out if you haven't already. If you missed my mini review of the book you can catch it here.

A Book By A Person Of Colour | The Other Half Of Happiness, Ayisha Malik (2017) 

Obviously this prompt was an easy one to cross off the list as there are endless amounts of titles to choose from. I read the first book in this duology - Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged - for the prompt 'a book with a title that's a character's name' and was keen to read the sequel on it's release. I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as the first but would like to read more of Ayisha Malik's writing in the future.

A Book That's Been On Your TBR List For Way Too Long | Someday, Someday, Maybe, Lauren Graham (2013)

Actress Lauren Graham's debut novel was something I'd been planning on reading for such a long time so I felt it would fit this particular challenge perfectly. The book follows Franny Banks, a young woman who moved to New York two and a half years earlier with a deadline of three years to achieve her goal of becoming a successful actress.


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! 

Want To Write For Blogger's Bookshelf? We're Recruiting!

Monday, 15 May 2017


Here at BB we currently have six awesome writers and we're looking to add another member to the team!

The perfect fit for Blogger's Bookshelf would be 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 (1 post per fortnight on an assigned day of the week, day is negotiable)
  • all content must be book-related but can include everything from reviews to features, lists, interviews, short stories, poems and event write-ups
  • as part of the team we would also like you to be involved in contributing to our group collaborations each month

If you think you would be well-suited to this role we would absolutely 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 soon - bloggersbookshelf@gmail.com

Don't forget, we're also always looking for guest bloggers! If you don't feel like you want to join the team but would like to submit a guest post or review we would love to hear from you - please do get in touch!

*Image via unsplash.com

Distillery Cats | Brad Thomas Parsons | Review

*Book provided by NetGalley for an honest review.

Summary:

A collection of short, short stories about cats who "work" at distilleries and their portraits, along with quotes about cats and drinks from the distilleries based on the cats. 

Review:

This is such a cute book. The fact that the stories are true and you can follow up on a lot of these via Instagram just makes it all the better. The only downside to this book is that it's such a quick read. I really hope the author comes up with some kind of sequel (Bookstore Cats, please!). I haven't tried any of the drink recipes included, but it was still interesting to see which drinks the distilleries feel are their best. A lot of the stories are very heartwarming. Almost all of the distillery cats are adoptions. The rest are cats who set up shop, daring anyone to try to make them leave. This is a great book for cat lovers and drink lovers!

Flame in the Mist | Renee Ahdieh | Review

Friday, 12 May 2017


Mariko has always known that being a woman means she's not in control of her own fate. But Mariko is the daughter of a prominent samurai and a cunning alchemist in her own right, and she refuses to be ignored.

On her way to join her betrothed, the emperor's son Minamoto Raiden, Hattori Mariko is ambushed and left for dead by an infamous group of bandits known as the Black Clan. In an attempt to prove herself worthy of more than a political marriage to further her family's standing Mariko disguises herself as a peasant boy and makes a plan to infiltrate the Black Clan, find out who hired them to kill her, and exact her own revenge. But as Mariko spends more time with the Black Clan's leader, Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, Ōkami, she begins to see that things aren't as simple as she once thought.

Flame in the Mist had an interesting premise. A girl who longs to invent things and be of more use to her family than the standard role of being a nobleman's daughter allows, bandits who are more than they appear, and a dash of fantasy for good measure. Unfortunately, although entertaining enough to read, Flame in the Mist falls just below the mark on more than one of these counts.

Mariko is a great idea for a character. She is very smart, with a mind for inventions, and a desire to be and do more than her family allow. Unfortunately the reader is simply told these facts over and over, with very little in the way of actually being shown these aspects of Mariko's personality. Mariko does invent things, such as throwing stars and smoke bombs, but her motivations often seem muddy at best. What is clearer is Mariko's motivation to infiltrate the Black Clan in the first place. Mariko's desire to end her life's pattern of being ordered around by men is a constant thread throughout the story and something I, for one, never fail to enjoy seeing in YA fiction.

If there is one strength here it is in Mariko's need to align herself within her growing relationships with the Black Clan and her lasting allegiance to her family and her brother, who will not rest until he finds her. It is only a shame that these relationships are let down at times by an inability to really see who Mariko is as a person, rather than simply being told what she is.

You may have seen Flame in the Mist described online as 'Disney's Mulan set in Feudal Japan' but, aside from Mariko's time spent disguised as a boy in a camp of men, the two stories really have very little in common, which is likely a good thing. Mariko's story is interesting in its own right. However, this entire novel almost feels like a set up for the real story, the true beginning of which is revealed in the last few pages.

With the elements revealed to the story in the last few pages of this book, there is every chance that the next in the series may be full of a lot more excitement and, hopefully, a lot more character but I, unfortunately, will probably not be picking it up to find out.

Bookish Links #30

Monday, 8 May 2017


Today we're back with another list of bookish links. If you missed the last post in the series you can click here to catch up! Read on to find out which articles and videos we've enjoyed over the last few weeks...

1. Treat Yourself! - these days there are so many bookish subscription boxes available we can't keep up! If you'd like to treat yourself to a book box but are having trouble trying to figure out which one is right for you Heather's video looks at a variety of options and includes helpful tips to help you decide.

2. Connecting Through Fandoms - in this Buzzfeed article Rebel Of The Sands author Alwyn Hamilton talks about her experience growing up and finding a place through books and fandom communities.

3. Book Storage - in this post Heather talks book storage, showcasing her beautiful new invisible bookshelves. She also shares a mini book haul!

4. Join A Club - in our previous post we mentioned Belletrist, a new book club from Emma Roberts. This post over at Brit + Co. shares some more celebrity book clubs that should be on your radar.

5. Unread Gems - we enjoyed this recent post from Bee, who talked all about the owned but unread books that she thinks she will love. Which books would make your list?

6. Pre-school Reads - if you're looking for the perfect book for the little ones in your life check out this list of 10 Modern Classics from Ilana over on the website of mum-to-be Lauren Conrad.

7. Rediscovering The Library - whilst Ria was off exploring India last month she had some wonderful guest bloggers over on Thoroughly Modern Millennial, including Lucy who wrote all about her relationship with libraries.

8. Team Paperback? - this post is for anyone who has ever wondered what it would be like to give up the paperbacks and switch to ebooks for a week!

9. Listen Instead - if ebooks aren't your thing perhaps audiobooks could be a great alternative? In this post Renu discusses why she loves the format of audiobooks so much.

10. Contemporary Recommendations - we're finishing up this month's post with a list of nine Contemporary titles Anisha believes everyone should pick up! Have you read any of these books?

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!    

Daughter of the Pirate King | Tricia Levenseller | Review

Friday, 5 May 2017

*image from Goodreads

The Story

Alosa is the only child and daughter of the Pirate King. He rules and terrorises the waters, and he's after something. Something only Alosa can get a hold of. While the Captain of her own ship, she purposefully gets kidnapped by another pirate ship so she can search the decks for a lost piece of map that will lead, when placed with the other 2 parts, to the Isla de Corta.

Captained by a ruthless young man, her 'captors' treat her rough on the ship, but she's no lady in waiting. Alosa soon learns about Captain Draxen and his first mate and brother, Riden, and how best to get around them and the other pirates on the ship. Can she find the map before her mission is blown, or is she destined for a life in a cold ship cell?

My thoughts on Daughter of the Pirate King

Firstly, I loved Alosa. The front covers boasts the character as 'a female Captain Jack Sparrow' and if you love a bit of Pirates of the Caribbean like I do, then you're off to a good start. Alosa is this fierce young red-headed woman with a fantastic sense of humour and a cunningness about her which definitely rivals Captain Jack. She's a woman on a mission, and she tries hard not to let being trapped, underestimated, or her feelings towards a certain first mate get in the way of that. She succeeds in some areas, not in others.

The other characters in the book, like Riden and Draxen, are all so different that it's a joy to read each part. The pirates on the ship all have their quirks and vices, and Alosa works those into her plans. Definitely look forward to more of them in future books.

The plot, while simple in some ways, had a great amount of keep-you-on-your-toes pages, and while the fantasy element wasn't really evident until about half way through the book, as soon as it was brought up in the beginning I began to wonder. This spin on the story wasn't a surprise to me, but it was still done very well and I applaud Levenseller for that.

Pirate stories aren't really around much in YA books, but they should be. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, 5 stars from me, and can't wait for the second one due for publication in 2018.

Let us know if you've read Daughter of the Pirate King and what you thought. Or drop a comment if you have suggestions of other YA pirate books that I don't know about.

Make Your Own Pure Mineral Makeup | Heather Anderson | Review

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

*Review copy c/o Netgalley, cover image via goodreads.com

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Make Your Own Pure Mineral Makeup is a beautifully designed guide packed full of DIY recipes as well as detailed information on everything from ingredients to equipment, skin types, safe use and more.

The product recipes include easy to follow step-by-step guides and there are full-page photographs showcasing a range of different makeup looks created using the products. There are also many helpful tips included, for example the eye shadow recipes share which colours they will pair well with, which eye colour they suit best as well as other uses as many of the products are multi-purpose.

In addition to the recipes the book includes everything you need to know from guides to face shapes, to advice on the best tools and even how to go about creating and promoting your own brand of mineral makeup. Handy trouble-shooting tips are scattered throughout and an in-depth ingredient glossary makes this a perfect reference book.

Overall I'm very impressed by the book thanks to the attention to detail and amount of information included. It’s clear to see that author Heather Anderson is very passionate about mineral makeup and this book proves she really knows her stuff. I would highly recommend picking up a copy if you are interested in mineral makeup, whether it be making your own or finding out how to include more non toxic products into your routine.

Will Save the Galaxy for Food | Yahtzee Croshaw | Review

Monday, 1 May 2017


Summary:

The glory days of space piloting have been over ever since mathematicians discovered Quantunneling, allowing people to travel astronomical distances instantly. As a result, many out of work space pilots resort to taking bored tourists on small trips for pennies. The hero of this story is one such space pilot who thinks he's getting a quick, cushy gig playing the role of space hero, only to suddenly find himself on the run.

Review:

This was an entertaining read that kept me up all night. In the entirety of the book, there was only one thing that I was able to predict and it was in the first part of the book. The rest of the book kept me engaged because I honestly didn't know what to expect next. We only get to read the book from the  main character's perspective so we only know what he knows. Turns out, he's out of the loop on a lot of things.

In a previous book by this author, Mogworld, I enjoyed his playing around with words. And this book is similar. Because mathematics created Quantunneling, and Quantunneling put the space pilots out of business, mathematical terms became dirty words. As a result, this is a very clean book with only one or two dirty phrases. After the first couple of chapters, hearing someone referred to as a "bracket" no longer seems out of place. It's a rather natural linguistic turn that helps to create and sell the world.

I really don't think there was anything in this book that I didn't like. Yahtzee covers a lot of fictional and science fictional tropes within this satire, but they feel like they are a natural part of the world. From Angelo, a space pilot who'd gone native on another world until the princess dumped him, to evil corporate overlords with spoiled children. This book takes place outside of our world, but everything that Yahtzee put into it felt like a natural addition. Nothing was added or mentioned for no purpose and nothing felt out of place. And I STILL couldn't predict anything!

The ending for this book wasn't the grand boss battle that I usually like for my sci-fi books. Instead, I got an ending that I didn't know I wanted until I got it. It was a great way to end the book and leave me with with a satisfied smile.

So, if you are at all interested in satirical sci-fi novels, I highly recommend you pick this up. Yahtzee has an amazing sense of humor that is complimented by his intelligent story telling. I greatly enjoyed this book and am very glad that I bought it. I will be picking up more of Yahtzee's books. 

One Italian Summer | Keris Stainton | Review

Friday, 28 April 2017


Over one Italian summer, can Milly find a way back to the life she once had?

Every year Milly and her family visit Rome, stay with her mum's sister and her fiancé, visit the hotel where Milly's dad worked in his youth. This year Milly's aunt is getting married and its the first summer since her dad died unexpectedly. For the first time in their lives, Milly and her two sisters will be visiting Italy without their dad and, still grieving, they know that nothing will be quite the same.

On top of dealing with her own uncertainty about the future, the changes she has seen in her sisters, and the grief still overwhelming all of their family, Milly has the added bad luck of knowing that Luke will be there. Luke, her cousin's best friend who she has known and had a crush on for many years, and who she thoroughly embarrassed herself in front of after her dad's funeral...

One Italian Summer was mostly a fun, quick read, that immediately made me wish I was in Rome eating ice cream and pushing through the crowds of tourists at the Trevi Fountain too. There was an undercurrent though, a constant theme throughout the story, of the overwhelming grief this family is feeling in this beautiful place that meant so much to Milly's dad. The fun parts of the book felt bubbly and alive, and the parts about their grief winded me and at times made me shed real tears.

There are a lot of different threads going on in this novel and, honestly, at times it did start to feel a little much for such a short book. Milly has a lot going on and it did leave me feeling that there were certain aspects of her life I would have liked to have seen more of or that I could have done without. 

For example, Milly used to be in a band but since her father died she no longer talks to those friends. This was so briefly touched upon, however, that I often completely forgot about it until the next time it was mentioned. On the other hand I really enjoyed the way that the novel deals with Milly's growing sense of her own sexuality. Milly's interactions with Luke and their history felt very realistic, particularly because Stainton doesn't shy away from Milly's sexuality. That was refreshing to read. And, as I touched on above, I felt that Milly's grief was beautifully handled throughout the novel.

All in all, One Italian Summer is something a little different and, although I had my small complaints, I would still absolutely recommend it for all its positive aspects, which definitely outweigh them.

Group Collaboration | How Do You Choose Your Next Read?

Saturday, 22 April 2017

It's group post time again and this month we're talking ideas on how to select your next read. The responses we received share favourite ways to choose what to read next, along with those that haven't worked out quite so well.

We would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on the suggestions below and of course your favourite way/s to choose your next read!


ARCs & Blogging

Of all the responses we received to this month's prompt one of the most popular answers was that ARCs take priority when choosing what to read next. As many of our readers are fellow bloggers we completely understand choosing ARCs over any other reads in order to stick to a blogging schedules.

"If I have an ARC that I've been sent, I'll read those first, in order of receiving them."

"Review copies always come first, and then books I've been dying to read that I own."

"I normally read according to my book blogging schedule actually! The free slots I have I just pick up books from my bought pile."

Library Loans

Another popular response was that library loans were a priority due to the time constraints and those pesky late fines! 

"Next in line is always whichever library book is due next. Because late fines. Eek.

"[After ARCs] it'll be any books I have out from the library (because we don't want to add to the already-growing late fines!), and then books that have been sitting unread on my shelf for too long."


Follow Your Mood

It seems that a lot of bibliophiles find that the types of books they pick up change along with their mood or other factors like the time of year but if you have lots of unread books sitting on your shelf it can still be tricky to choose. If you manage to narrow it down by mood but you're still stuck between a few different choices why not try out the first chapter of each and opt for the one that interests you most.

"I often find it's best to look at my bookshelves or scroll through my Kindle for inspiration and pick up whichever title appeals most at the time."


TBR Jars

Another popular idea is the 'TBR jar' where you write out the names of the books on your shelves, fold them up and put them in a pretty jar to be picked out at random when you can't decide what to read next. Unfortunately, whilst this sounds like a brilliant idea it does have it's flaws as a couple of our readers highlighted. If you're more of a mood reader a good tip to try is to colour coding the pieces of paper you add to the jar, selecting a different one for each genre or even length of book.

"I tried doing a TBR jar a few years ago, as I loved the idea, but it never really worked because there was always a book I really wanted to read next."  

"I tried a TBR jar once. It didn't last long, because I was never in the mood to read what I pulled out."


If You Liked That...

Another great way to choose your next read is to look for recommendations based on other books you've adored. Websites like Goodreads and Amazon have handy sections suggesting similar reads and bookstores usually have a recommended section but we really love What Should I Read Next? for finding new favourite books.

"I often look at books which have been recommended by friends, or in book stores or online. 'If you liked ... you'll like ...' invariably I do like!"


Take A Chance

If you really can't make up your mind why not leave it to chance? We loved this suggestion of numbering the books and asking someone else to pick at random, or using a dice to decide!

"If I can't figure out what kind of book I'm in the mood for, I give myself 5 or 6 options and then tell my husband to pick a number between 1 and 6. If he's not around, I roll a 6 sided die."


Image via unsplash.com
Thanks to Rachel, Anjali, Lili and all of this month's anonymous contributors.


If you'd like to get involved in our next group post drop and email to bloggersbookshelf@gmail.com or keep an eye out on our Twitter page (@blog_bookshelf) for updates!

Features | YA Mini Reviews (Faceless, Nerve, Margot & Me)

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

DSC01867

Faceless, Alyssa Sheinmel (2015)

Following a freak accident whilst out running Maisie is left with some serious injuries that lead to her becoming the recipient of a face transplant. Trying to rebuild her life with a new face, Maisie feels lost and alone - Faceless tells the story of how she rediscovers her identity.

I found Maisie’s story to be unique and was pleased to see an important and fascinating subject like this being explored, particularly within the YA genre. Following Maisie on her post-transplant journey was incredibly thought-provoking and I would definitely recommend picking this one up!

Finding Shelter | Jesse Freidin | Review

Monday, 17 April 2017

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

Summary:

A collection of mini-biographies, photos and short stories about people who volunteer at their local animal shelters.

Review:

This is a relatively short book that is full of love. The love people have for helping animals find homes and the love that the animals have for the humans who help them. All of the stories and photos in this book center around dogs. Some cats get mentioned, but this is completely a book for dog lovers. Still, it's such an inspiring book that I've actually looked at volunteering at local shelters myself (nearest one is, sadly, a two hour bus trip one way). But there are so many stories about how the little things you can do make a big difference to a dog's life. More often there are stories about what those same dogs can do for you.

If you are a dog lover or are in need of some heartwarming stories, I cannot recommend this book enough. This is a great book for animal lovers and it will remind you that there are good things going on in this world. 

Bookish Links #29

Sunday, 16 April 2017


Another month, another list of Bookish Links! Here's some of the articles we've been enjoying lately...

1. Writing A Novel - we're kicking off this month's list with a link to BB writer Anastasia's new blog featuring following the process of penning her very own novel. Head on over to her blog to find out more!

2. Book Club Alert! - Belletrist is a brand new online book club created by actress Emma Roberts and producer friend Karah Preiss. Their first book club pick is Joan Didion's South & West and you can find out more about why Emma chose this title over on their website.

3. New Parent? - if you're struggling to balance your ever-growing TBR pile with life as a parent Heather has some great tips in this recent video.

4. Reads For 20-Somethings - Nylon shared a list of thirty-two books they believe every woman should read in their twenties. Do you agree with their choices, or would you add any different titles to the list?

5. A Trip Back In Time - in this post Jenna talks about why she loves Historical Fiction and includes some of her top recommendations

6. Music & Books - we really enjoyed Maha's interesting thoughts on how books are just like songs!

7. In Need Of A Break? - this Buzzfeed article shares 18 Airbnbs that are perfect for book lovers! Which book-filled getaway is your favourite?

8. Read, Review, Repeat - over on her personal blog BB writer Anjali recently talked about reviewing books. Do you like to review everything you read? Let us know!

9. Series Love - in this post Anisha shares a list of popular series she wants to read. Which ones would make your list? Let us know in the comments!

10. Speaking Up - our final link of the roundup is from Hazel who shared her inspiring personal experience, discussing how YA title The Upside Of Unrequited helped her to stand up to body shamers.

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!   

Features | My Goodreads Reading Challenge Obsession

Friday, 14 April 2017


This year I'm taking part in the Goodreads reading challenge for the first time. For a few years now I've set myself an informal goal to read at least 52 books every year, but I never had any desire before to make it official in any way and I certainly didn't mind too much if I didn't achieve it. It's a pretty arbitrary goal anyway. What do I really achieve if I read a book a week? Well, currently I have over 80 books, in real piles on my bedroom floor and virtual piles in my Kindle and iBooks apps, that I haven't read yet. Somehow I just keep acquiring them faster than I can read them so I thought perhaps this year, in an effort to really drive myself to read them all, I would make it official. I would declare my intent to read at least 52 books online for all to see!

It's working. I've already read 18 books. I'm 4 books ahead of schedule. But the thing is, it's mostly working because I've become more than a little bit obsessed with it. There was a little jolt of joy when the Goodreads sidebar first told me I was ahead of schedule. A little flash of pride when I saw I was 2 books ahead now. Then there was a quick stab of panic when I saw that the number had gone down from 4 to 3. There was a week where I checked almost every day to see when exactly the number goes down. Is it Saturday or Sunday when I go from being 3 ahead to only 2? When do I need to make sure I finish this book by to keep my lead?

The last time I recall feeling obsessed with reading in this way was when, at about five years old, I decided I needed to be "better at reading" than one of the boys in my class. He didn't realise we were in a competition any more than the Goodreads challenge does. It's entirely possible that this competitive reading is unhealthy and I shouldn't be encouraging it in myself but I did have a reading age of 16+ at age 11 as a result of that one-sided competition so I can only conclude that this sort of thing works.

I also like that I can see all the books I've read so far in neat little rows on my Goodreads challenge page. It's nice to have a quick overview of the sort of books I'm reading right now. Perhaps we'll say that that is the reason I've become obsessed and not just because it feels good to be ahead of the fairly arbitrary goal that I set myself and that no one else really cares about. Let's pretend it's because I like the organisation of it all instead.

Are you taking part in the Goodreads reading challenge? Are you also oddly obsessed with it? Is this normal? Please tell me I'm not alone!