Room Love: 50 DIY Projects To Design Your Space | Heather Wutschke | Review

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

room love

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

Inspired by the fact that we each spend at least a third of our lives in our bedrooms new title Room Love shares a collection of DIY ideas to decorate and organise your space into one you truly love.

Aimed at a Middle Grade audience the book starts out by sharing tips on how to declutter, create mood boards and sketch layout designs to prepare for a room makeover. These preparation tips are followed by a series of DIY projects focused on using easy to access supplies and simple ideas that can make a huge difference to any room. Each tutorial comes complete with colour photos, in some cases including several step-by-step images or before and after shots.

Projects included range from painting up an old dresser or recycling cereal boxes as drawer dividers to the more unusual, for example using faux fur fabric to turn your desk chair into something that resembles a fluffy cat! One of my favourite projects from the selection were the room scents made using essential oils and natural ingredients like fresh herbs and fruit. Other projects that particularly caught my eye were the Driftwood Jewelry Hanger and Dream Jar.

Whilst I’m not amongst the target audience for the book myself, I believe that Room Love is a fun title full of bold ideas which will encourage young teens to use DIY as a way to make their space truly feel like their own.

Spark | J. B. North | Review

Monday, 21 August 2017


Summary:

Ivy, who lives in a world of shape-shifters, has just turned 17. Like all others of her age, she must now go to a trial to determine what her second form is. Her second form will determine the rest of her life. When it turns out her second form is one that hasn't been seen in about two hundred years, she gets put onto a strange and dangerous course.

Review:

I was kinda worried this book would be another Red Queen and I'd end up not finishing it. I was so happy to be proven wrong! This book genuinely surprised me in good ways. The world was rather easy to get into and, while there is exposition, it's told from Ivy's perspective so we only know what she knows. This really helps the world building feel better paced. A lot of times a single line of dialogue would help explain a lot.

Ivy was easy to root for and not just because she's the main character. Going into the test she has no aspirations of greatness. She's not completely happy with the system, but she's smart enough to know when to keep her mouth shut. 
"The poor can't help but hate the system, and if we tried anything, the noblemen would have us arrested and probably flogged within an inch of our lives." 
She is strong and determined, if a bit naive at times. She is easily manipulated by others, but in her defense, she hasn't had a lot of experience with the world outside of her orphanage. She makes up for it by learning fast. Really fast.

This is a very interesting world with interesting characters. There is a lot of political drama brewing, but I'll have to read more about that in the second book of the series. If you enjoy fantasy YA with smart characters and plenty of action sequences, I do recommend this book. There is a lot of fighting but, thankfully, no love triangle, no single teenager leading a rebellion to take down the government, or anything like that. It's simply a story of a young, smart, strong girl being put into extraordinary circumstances, and trying to survive. Just with a lot of magic and fighting. 

Did You See Melody? | Sophie Hannah | Review

Friday, 18 August 2017


Late at night, exhausted and desperate, Cara Burrows lets herself into her hotel room and is shocked to find it already occupied by a man and a teenage girl: Melody Chapa, the most famous murder victim in the country.

Cara Burrows has left a note for her husband and two children with the date that she'll be back home. She hasn't told them that she is flying to America. She hasn't told them about the five star spa resort she has secretly booked herself into. She hasn't told them why she's gone. She just needs some time alone, to think. When she finally arrives at the resort, tired and phone-less in the middle of the night, the last thing she expects to find are two people already in her hotel room.

A simple mistake made by the resort's receptionist sees Cara soon embroiled in a situation she can hardly begin to understand, at the centre of which is America's most famous murder victim, who Cara is sure is the same girl she saw in her hotel room on that first night. Could Melody Chapa still be alive? And if she is, then how did her parents end up serving life sentences for her murder? The chances of an English tourist happening to see the supposed dead girl entirely by accident may seem pretty slim but Cara isn't the only guest who thinks she's seen Melody at Swallowtail Resort.

With a possible murder and a definitely dangerous secret at the heart of it, Did You See Melody? walks an interesting line in terms of tone. Hannah balances the suspense filled plot with unexpected humour, which at times had me snorting in front of my eReader. It's an enjoyable novel, certainly, with plenty of twists and turns to keep you hooked from almost the very beginning. We don't begin with the mystery straight away but first take a little while to set up Cara's reasons for leaving her family to travel alone to America (something that maybe feels a bit of an overreaction as things become clearer), but once Cara begins her investigation into the famous murder of Melody Chapa the novel really gets its legs.

Cara, not being a local, doesn't know anything about the Melody Chapa case so the reader gets to discover the specifics slowly, as Cara does, through articles and TV transcripts. Some readers may find these intrusive to the story but I felt they came in at the right moments, telling Melody's story - at least, the version everyone knows of it - alongside Cara's. The only problem is that at times I began to feel as though Cara was little more than a device intended to react to Melody's story and nothing more. Until about midway through the novel anyway.

Then we begin the twists and turns that I suppose make this a psychological thriller. Personally, I didn't find much of it particularly thrilling. In my opinion the strength of this novel lies not necessarily with Cara's story, or even with Melody's, but with those of the surrounding characters: the outspoken hotel guest who involves herself in the mystery, determined to find the truth, and the famous criminal commentator who single-handedly twisted the whole of America to her way of thinking with her TV show during Melody's original murder trail. Did You See Melody? is an enjoyable read and as a funny and over-the-top take down of 'trial by media' it works. I'm just not entirely sold on the thriller part.

Maresi | Maria Turtschaninoff | Review

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Maresi, the first book in the Red Abbey Chronicles, has been waiting on my bookshelf for far too long. Following my resolution to read some of the more neglected works in my life, I decided to get started on it. I devoured this evocative work in a day and am eagerly awaiting the chance to read the rest in the series.



This book follows Maresi, a novice at the Red Abbey. On a secluded island, young women like herself learn far more than they ever could at home. Under the tutelage of the Sisters, they learn about medicine, history, languages, architecture and any number of other things. It is a sacred place, where men are banned. And then Jai arrives, pursued by men who will stop at nothing to get her back. The abbey is suddenly under threat.


Maresi is a novel of sisterhood and female friendship, with plenty of feminism woven in it. It is a harrowing tale of survival. Throughout it, is magic and wonder, which hooks you and draws you into the tale. The fantasy elements were definitely my favourite part of the book, little gems found within the vast descriptions of everyday life at the Abbey. Between the island’s strange defences and the hidden histories of the Red Abbey, I’m far too curious about discovering the secrets in the rest of this series.

Ultimately, this was enchanting fantasy that left you thinking for a long time after you read the final page. It is one that I would wholeheartedly recommend, whether you are a fan of feminist or fantasy literature.

Get Involved | Around The World With Blogger's Bookshelf!

Sunday, 13 August 2017

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue | Mackenzi Lee | Review

Friday, 11 August 2017


Image from Goodreads

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men. 
But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and travelling companion, Percy. 
Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores. - Goodreads

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, by Mackenzi Lee was seriously one of my favourite books of the year so far (and probably still will be come the end of 2017). It was such a fun read and I found myself wanting to re-read it as soon as I put it down.

Monty, Percy and Felicity are headed off around Europe for what we might call their big O.E. (overseas experience), or their gap year, and while it seems like a jolly idea, things don't go they way Monty planned.

“We are not broken things, neither of us. We are cracked pottery mended with laquer and flakes of gold, whole as we are, complete unto each other. Complete and worthy and so very loved.” 

Monty longs for their year-long trip to be one of bonding and exciting adventures around the Continent before Percy is shipped off to college in another country, and Monty has to start being in charge of the family estate. Felicity is meant to be stopping her trip when they get to Paris so she can begin life as a proper young lady, but all she wants to do is go to university and become a woman of medicine.

When Monty does something rash (which actually happens on most pages of the book), the trio find themselves on a wild goose chase around Europe with a stolen artefact, meeting strange people, searching for miraculous cures, being attacked by highwaymen and joining a crew of pirates.

'That can't possibly happen all in one book' you say. Well, my friends. It can. We follow book-nerd Felicity as she overcomes womanly stereotypes, Percy as he deals with issues and bouts of discrimination over his race, and Monty has he falls more and more hopelessly in love with his best friend.

Beautifully written, The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue is a tale of friendship, of loyalty, of love, of family, of adventures to be had, and fights to be fought. It's 18th century Europe, it's pirates and highwaymen, it's upper class pomp and prestige, it's hilarious and witty, alarming and exciting, and beautiful and sweet all rolled into one.

As you can tell, I really loved this book, and I recommended picking it up if you're into your YA novels (period, or otherwise).

Bookish Links #32

Wednesday, 9 August 2017


1. Summer Reads - we recently shared some of our top summer reads but of course you can never have enough good books to read. We loved this post from Alice & Lois with some great recommendations!

2. ...& Even More Summer Reads! - Estee also shared an amazing list of recommendations for the summer months with even more titles to add to your TBR!

3. Your Very Own Book Club - we loved Beth's post sharing her top book club picks inspired by WHSmith's Zoella book club. Which books would you choose for your own book club?

4. One For The Potterheads - if you feel like treating yourself or your favourite Harry Potter fan to something special check out Anjali's roundup of Potter-themed subscription boxes - so many great options!

5. Library Wanderlust - this post is full of ten incredibly beautiful libraries dotted across the globe. Which one would you most like to visit?

6. Best Of Booktube - over at Book Riot Christina shared a list of amazing booktubers we should all be subscribed to. If you have any favourites to add to the list please share them with us in the comments section below!

7. Fancy A Little DIY? - how pretty is this ombre bookshelf DIY from Brit + Co? We think this could be the perfect weekend project!

8. Illustrated Books - for our final link this month we wanted to share Ella's series of beautiful illustrations based on the books shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction. Which one is your favourite?

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!    

Skyfarer | Joseph Brassey | Review

Monday, 7 August 2017

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

Summary:

Aimee de Laurent is a freshly graduated apprentice from the Academy of Mystic Sciences and she's signed up to learn under Harkon Bright, despite rumors about his unusual ship, the Elysium, and her crew. When her very first attempt to send the ship to their destination goes wrong, the crew finds themselves going up against The Eternal Order and one if its star knights, Lord Azrael, in a race to find a jewel that can show you where whatever treasure you're looking for can be found.

Review:

This book was a delightful experience. The cast of characters are my kind of do-good rogues (they'll do good things, but they'll take payment for doing so). Every character is a character and that's why they work so well together. I'll admit, I'm looking forward to more books in this series so I can get to know them better. I really appreciated that Brassey didn't throw in a love story. This book was all about setting up the world and its characters and he did a great job of it.

The story was predictable, but it was still quite charming. There were a lot of things the you could see coming, but the characters were still worth investing in and the full story was a fun ride. What's more is the world this book takes place in. So many possibilities, so many new and interesting things to learn about (seriously, one world has dragons!) and, most intriguingly, potentially a new species of sentient, evil beings. 

That reminds me, there were a couple of scenes that were a little too much for me, violence wise. Nothing strongly graphic in its description or presentation but still, be a little wary.

Another reason I'm looking forward to the next book is to learn more about this amazing world where magic and technology work together almost seamlessly. One of the reasons I love science fiction so much is the technology. This fantasy book has given me a look at some new, wonderful mechanics that are magic based and I want to know more! 

I really think this would be a good book for sci-fi fans who are interested in dipping their toe into fantasy. Or for fans of space fantasy who are fans of rogue-like characters.



The Graces | Laure Eve | Review

Friday, 4 August 2017


Everyone said the Graces were witches.

Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?

River is the new girl in her small seaside town. She spends her lunchtimes alone in the library, and has yet to make any friends at her new school, but she doesn't care. The only friends she wants are the Graces. The whole town is obsessed with the beautiful, rich, mysterious family. The rumour is that they're all witches, after all. Everyone at school longs to be friends with Summer, Fenrin, and Thalia but River is determined she will be. She finds it a little hard to believe when it works, Summer Grace choosing her of all people to spend her time with, and Summer's brother and sister following suit. 

Before long River finds herself in the envied position of being the only outsider in the Graces' inner circle. But there are reasons the Graces keep their distance from everyone else in the town. The stronger their friendship becomes, the deeper River falls in love with the Grace children and they with her, the more fragile River's place in their world starts to feel. After all, River is hiding a few secrets of her own and friendship isn't the only thing River wants from the Graces...

Mysterious, witchy, and deliciously dark, The Graces is a story about friendship, self discovery, and obsession. 

Teenage friendships are often build on a small kind of obsession: wanting to spend time only with each other, texting 24/7, feeling like a limb has been cut off any time your best friend misses a day of school. The very nature of teenage friendship tends to involve a sort of clinging onto each other for dear life, just to make being a teenager more bearable. Laure Eve takes that a step further with River and the Graces, showing the reader a relationship between teenagers who absolutely love each other, but who know in a very real way there is an underlying possibility of darkness to that sort of need and how quickly it can turn into desperation.

River worships the Graces, her obsession always an undercurrent in her relationship with them. Above all she has a desire to prove that she is like them, that they share something mysterious and different, that they need each other. It's a story that starts with a crush and a desire to fit in on River's own terms but slowly becomes something more unsettling, full of secrets and magic. River needs to know if the Graces really are witches, if the rumours around the town are true. But what does it mean for her if the rumours are true? What does it mean for their friendship if they aren't?

Even in the moments where River and the Graces are just being teenagers, enjoying each other's company, having the kind of evenings we cherish from our youth if we had them, or wish that we had had if we didn't, Eve's prose feels charged with potential for things to go horribly wrong and a burning necessity for them not to. This is a story that will make your stomach twist and your heart stop. It will absorb you and obsess you. From the very first page, every moment I wasn't reading The Graces I was thinking about it. There is magic of more than one kind in this book.

Features | I met my Goodreads goal - what's next?

Tuesday, 1 August 2017


This year, I decided to try a Goodreads challenge for the first time. I’d seen plenty about them on Twitter but always thought that I wouldn’t have time to balance a reading challenge and a degree. 2017, however, would be different, I promised myself.

I set myself the challenge of reading 26 books this year. Since I was in the midst of the final year of my degree, that sounded fair. I would need to average a book every two weeks, which seemed doable, even with deadlines and exams to wrangle. It would still be a challenge, but one I could hopefully meet.

It seems that I severely underestimated myself.

As of July 2017, I have read 48 books this year, according to my Goodreads account. That’s almost twice what I thought I would struggle to achieve in a year. Some of them are novellas or poetry or things I had to read for class but it still counts. I more than achieved my reading challenge for the year in just after six months.

So what next?

Of course I could just extend that goal. I could see if I could hit 60 or 70 books. Maybe even 100. But I think I’m just curious to see how many I would naturally read in a year, rather than pushing myself to hit a number just because. Clearly, my guesses about how much I read are wildly off.

Instead, I’ve set myself a few mini goals to focus on in the months ahead. I’m not sure if I’ll hit them all but I’m looking forward to having something to guide my reading with:

  1. Stop buying books. Seriously, I need to ease up on this for a little while. For the sake of both my bookshelves AND my bank balance, I’m going to try to rein in my book buying for a couple of months.
  2. Read books I already have. Linked to the first goal, I need to start reading some of the books I already own. I’ve just moved house and all my books are finally in one place again, which means that I can see just how many are sitting unread right now. I’m almost ashamed, if I wasn’t quite so excited to read them!
  3. Re-read the Harry Potter series. It’s time.
  4. Finish reading the Lord of the Rings series. I’ve only read book one, but I’m keen to finish this series as soon as I can.
  5. Focus on non-fiction. I could barely manage to read non-fiction during my degree which means that there are quite a few sitting pretty on my shelves waiting for me to dive in.

Group Collaboration | Why YA is important

Saturday, 29 July 2017

It's no secret that we love a bit of Young Adult fiction here at Blogger's Bookshelf!

When we first ran this post topic 2016, our focus was on building a list of our favourite YA novels.

The Young Adult fiction landscape has shifted and grown dramatically since then and we thought this month's group post would be a great opportunity to find out why our bloggers feel this particular genre is still so important both to them and for the book community as a whole.

Check out their answers below!




Next month's group post topic is Around the World with Blogger's Bookshelf! If you'd like to get involved email us bloggersbookshelf@gmail.com or keep an eye out on our Twitter page for more information.

The Wish Granter | C.J. Redwine | Review

Friday, 28 July 2017

Image from Goodreads.

The Story 


Thad and Arianna Glavan's mother was murdered, they don't know who their father is, and they've been thrown out of the city, hunted by the royal family and left to fend for themselves. When the royal family mysteriously dies, they return to the kingdom and Thad takes over the throne. Arianna, who doesn't care for nobility or being a princess, soon learns that Thad's ascension was no mere strike of luck. He made a deal with a Wish Granter called Alistair Teague who conned Thad into wishing for his and Ari's safety and the crown.

But Thad has wished away his soul, and now Arianna is fighting like anything to break the wish and get Thad's soul back. Sebastian, the new weapons master, teaches Ari to fight, and together they learn more about Teague's criminal goings-on in the kingdom. Teague though, knows Ari's weaknesses, and soon Ari and Sebastian find themselves in a horrific position that looks more dire by the day.

My Thoughts


The Wish Granter was a great retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. Although the story line I've just tried to outline for you doesn't really have the Rumpelstiltskin-feel we might be use to, Teague's character is definitely evil, cunning, and everything you expect a Rumpelstiltskin-like character to be. Think The Dark One/Mr.Gold when he's evil from Once Upon A Time.

Ari was a great main character. She was funny, but stern, courageous but smart about what should scare her. She stood up for what she believed in and for others around her, even if they didn't deserve it. Thad was a bit of a flake, but every story needs one, and Teague was your typical bad-guy villain wanting to take over the world. Sebastian was brilliant, and while it was obvious (don't worry, it's not a spoiler if it's obvious right?) that he and Ari would fall in love, it was beautifully written.

Speaking of writing, I do love the way Redwine tells a story. She has the knack for taking stories that many are already familiar with and spinning them into something new and exciting. (I just made a pun without realising it - spinning...as in spinning things to gold...like Rumpelstiltskin? No? Okay.)

This is actually the second in her Ravenspire series, however you don't need to have read the first, The Shadow Queen. There are several references to the first book in The Wish Granter, but it's no biggy if you read them out of order. The next in the series is called The Traitor Prince, which is going to be 'based on old Arabian tale called The False Prince with a dash of The Prince and the Pauper' according to C.J. Redwine on Goodreads. It's due for release next year.

If you like YA novels, with a fantasy, or fairy tale twist, then pick up The Wish Granter. It's a fun, quick read, and I really enjoyed it.

Coding Projects in Python | DK |Review

Monday, 24 July 2017

*Image and book provided by NetGalley for an honest review

Summary:

As it says on the cover, this is a step-by-step visual guide to coding in Pythons. Meant for younger audiences, but why should they get all the fun stuff? 

Review:

This was actually a very well thought out book. I certainly learned a lot and wouldn't mind using this as a quick reference tool or as a supplement to a coding class. The visuals make everything easy to follow and, since it's a book, you can go at your own pace. If anything seems to difficult or you can't follow what they're saying, they have complete codes in the references section of the book. I highly recommend this for anyone who doesn't learn coding well in traditional settings. Or, if you're looking for a project to do with your kids, this book would be a great way for both you and your child to learn while having fun.

Features | My Favourite Books of 2017 So Far

Friday, 21 July 2017


I don't even want to think about the fact that we're already over half way through 2017 but what I am perfectly happy to think about are all the great books I've read so far this year! For today I've chosen just the top five books I've read in the first half of the year to share with you and I'd love to hear your favourite books of the year so far in the comments!

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumour has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there's nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can't wait to escape from.
Rebel of the Sands is the kind of story that made me want to read it all at once, and I almost did. If you're looking for a fast paced story with an interesting fantasy world and a kick-butt female protagonist then you can't go wrong with this one.

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Taken from the poverty of her parents' home, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with only her cousin Edmund as an ally. When Fanny's uncle is absent in Antigua, Mary Crawford and her brother Henry arrive in the neighbourhood, bringing with the London glamour and a reckless taste for flirtation.
Mansfield Park was one of the few Austen works that I went into knowing very little about it and I was incredibly pleasantly surprised. If you've read and enjoyed any of Austen's other novels but have yet to read this one, don't put it off any longer!

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he'll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist.
Six of Crows is a fantasy novel about a plucky gang of convicts and misfits on an impossible heist. I knew I would love it before I even looked at the first page. This novel has adventure and interesting characters in spades. And the sequel is even better.

Wing Jones by Katherine Webber
With a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, fifteen-year-old Wing Jones is often caught between world. But when tragedy strikes, Wing discovers a talent for running she never knew she had.
I know Wing Jones is set in the 90s but I was alive then so please let me call it a contemporary novel... Wing Jones is hands down the best contemporary YA novel I've read so far this year. It's a story full of sadness, and hope, and magic, and running. If you want to find out more you can read my full review of it here.

Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link
Through the lens of Link's vivid imagination, nothing is what it seems, and everything deserves a second look. 
Pretty Monsters is a collection of YA short stories where everything is just a little off. From a boy who digs up the wrong body, to an entire village living in an old woman's handbag, or a magical girl trailed by ghosts, these stories are all unique and interesting little glimpses into other worlds.

Features | My illustrated Harry Potter editions

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Recently, I was looking to kill some time in town. Somehow or another, I found myself in my local Waterstone’s, browsing amongst the books, like I usually do. Or at least that was the plan. 

Instead, I found myself swept up in some sort of party. There were owl races, wand-making classes and house quizzes. It was the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and my local bookshop was making sure the town was celebrating. As I watched all of the families around me share the love for the wizarding world, I found myself getting swept up in the enthusiasm all over again. I remember how much I loved the hype while I was waiting for the books and films to be released. Harry Potter was a pretty big part of my childhood so it was great to see that the magic remains for other people too.


It made me want to experience the magic all over again. I’m planning a major re-read in the next couple of months, now that I’m done with my degree and have a little more free time on my hand.


In the meantime, however, I’ve been taking my time to flick through my illustrated editions of Harry Potter. And then I decided that these were too beautiful not too share!


I have both Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in the stunning illustrated copies and I just can’t get enough of them. I love seeing someone’s vision of the wizarding world come to life. Even if saw some of the characters a little differently in my head, I still love these editions.


Of course, this is just another edition of a story that I’ve read once or twice before but I think it’s such a lovely way to get something new out the world of Hogwarts.


While I may only have the first two right now, I am hoping to collect the rest of them when they are released. Surely I can’t be the only one who buys more than one edition of the same book, just because they love it? Right?

Guest Review | Book Scavenger | Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Book Scavenger 1

Hi! I'm Monique, from SkeletonWeirdo.– 4 years ago I switched from reading Dutch translations to reading English books, and ever since that moment I have been devouring a lot of middle-grade novels. (I even read ‘Book Scavenger’ twice in the last 3 months.) So, when I was searching for the first WM bookclub entry, ‘Book Scavenger’ was thé absolute favorite… – Although, I might’ve spoiled how I feel about this book with the little bit of information above.

Book Scavenger
Written by: Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
354 pages


12-year-old Emily has moved again. Her parents are on a quest to live in all 50 US states, and this time they’re relocating to San Fransisco – the home of her literary idol; Mr Garrison Griswold.
Mr Griswold is a famous, well-loved book publisher and the creator of Book Scavenger, a game where books are books are hidden all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles.
When Emily only just arrives in her new town, she learns that Griswold has been attacked, and is in a coma. No-one knows anything about the epic new game he was about to launch… But than Emily, and her new friend James, discover an odd book – which they believe to be from Griswold. Soon they start to find a bunch of clues that set them off on a book quest like no other.
But there are others on the hunt for this particular book, and Emily and James must race to solve the puzzles that Griswold has left behind, before Griswold’s attackers make them their next target…

Book

Before ‘Book Scavenger’, I never really read middle-grade books. Since ‘Book Scavenger’ I’ve been buying 10s of books in the so-called; ‘people who bought this, also bought this’ section. This book would’ve been THÉ absolute favorite for 12-year-old me, and let’s be 100% honest here; it’s THÉ absolute favorite for 23-year-old me as well!
There are ciphers, puzzles, codes, riddles and bits of literary history – all woven into a mystery-filled plot. It’s just SO much fun!.. But, even if we set aside all those marvellous assets for a little bit; the wonderful characters are what keeps the story strong. Everyone seems a bit quirky, geeky, creepy and definitely fascinating.

‘Book Scavenger’ isn’t just well-written, Jennifer Chambliss Bertman has created some of the BEST details I’ve ever read in books. It would’ve been so easy to just repeat the same riddles or codes, but that never happens. Not even once! – She keeps surprising with new, brilliant quests!
Book Scavenger is the Pokéman-Go for book nerds and puzzle-fanatics. (basically… ME!) – I wish it was a real thing.

Cupcakes, Trinkets and Other Deadly Magic | Meghan Ciana Doidge | Review

Monday, 10 July 2017


Summary:

Jade is a half-witch who owns a bakery. She doesn't really have much magic, not compared to Gran and her mom, but her magic is unique. She can sense other magic. Then again, living in Vancouver, there isn't much magic around so she doesn't get to exercise it a lot. Imagine her surprise when she senses a vampire at the door to her cupcake shop. That very same night, she senses an entire pack of werewolves on the dance floor with her. There's something going on to draw all these magical Adepts to Vancouver. Unfortunately, she didn't know how much it would revolve around her.

Review:

I was worried this was going to be a paranormal romance, of which I'm not the biggest fan. There was some hinting at it, but it ultimately turned into a nice murder mystery with paranormal goings on. If I read any more of the series, I know it will become a paranormal romance, so I'll just focus on this book, which I did enjoy.

I really liked reading this story from Jade's perspective. She isn't the smartest protagonist I've read, but she's got plenty of common sense that kept me from being frustrated. I can even understand her turning a blind eye to the evidence of who the killer is (though it is pretty obvious). Yes, the book has some sexual undertones, but she's able to make it take a back seat to the important stuff. Like surviving. And not getting bled by a hungry vampire. Or letting her magic get used to destroy others. You know, the important things.

This book has a delightfully simple aspect to it that I greatly appreciated. It all takes place in one town over just a few days. There's no out-of-nowhere surprises. There's no gimmicky explanations. There's no inconsistent character development. The book, the characters, the setting, the plot are all presented as is and I loved that! This is definitely an intriguing world.

If you would like to read a paranormal mystery, maybe a paranormal romance series, I really do recommend this. It's so charming!

Piglettes | Clementine Beauvais | Review

Friday, 7 July 2017


Mireille, Astrid and Hakima have just been voted the three ugliest girls in school by their classmates on Facebook. But does that mean they're going to sit around crying about it?
Well... yes, a bit, but not for long!

Mireille is used to the Pig Pageant, organised by her classmate Malo every year. If anything, she's simply disappointed that this year she has only been voted the third ugliest girl in school, instead of getting her usual first place. Astrid and Hakima however, are both new to the school and to the pageant and not finding it so easy to accept their titles. When Mireille meets her fellow winners and the local newspaper reports on the Pig Pageant without speaking to any of them, Mireille begins to hatch a plan that will bring the focus very sharply back to the three piglettes.

A garden party being held by the French President gives the girls a common goal. For Mireille it will be a chance to meet her father, for Hakima a chance to make right the injustice done to her brother, Kader, in the French army that meant the loss of his legs, and for Astrid simply a chance to meet her favourite band of all time. For all of them it is a chance to show that there are more important things in life than being voted the most ugly girl at school. So, accompanied by Kader, the girls set off to cycle to Paris, crash a garden party, and sell sausages out of an old trailer to pay their way.

Piglettes is a charming and hilarious book that deals with a pretty serious issue. Bullying has always been a problem in schools, of course, but now with the anonymity and immediacy of the internet, it's easier than ever for those bullies to hit their mark and, as the headteacher at Mireille's school points out, it's very difficult for schools to deal with bullying that takes place online.

Mireille, however, has the perfect way of dealing with her tormentors. She just doesn't see them that way. Mireille has a wicked sense of humour that at times genuinely made me laugh out loud, and even she admits that it's a coping mechanism. She tries to teach the other girls that this is how they must deal with Malo and the others too, that they have to just laugh and make jokes and not let it get to them because it really doesn't mean anything. Hakima understands this, at least. When Mireille and Astrid meet her for the first time, she is the one who tells them there are more important things in the world, like the fact that the general who sent Kader into the mission where he was injured, is about to be awarded the Legion of Honour.

So when they come up with their plan to cycle to Paris and sell sausages along the way, it really isn't about revenge, although that's what Malo assumes. It isn't about him or the pageant. It isn't really even about the fact that now, far from ignoring the three girls, the local paper is desperate to cover every leg of their journey. It's about these three girls becoming friends, having an adventure, helping each other to achieve their goals, and learning to really, truly, not care if other people think they're ugly. This is an uplifting story, guaranteed to make you giggle.

Beauvais handles the issues in this book with a light hand and an excellent sense of humour and I would definitely recommend it to all teenage girls and anyone else who wants a truly fun and funny read about friendship, growing up, and selling sausages in the French countryside.

The Mists of Avalon | Marion Zimmer Bradley | Review

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

You may have noticed in one of my previous posts that I recently decided to crack on with my biggest read in a long time. My edition of the book had a little over 1000 pages which, for someone who has mainly been reading short stories and poetry recently, seemed like a major challenge. It certainly took me longer than I expected to read it!

Even if it took me a little while, I’m so glad that I took the time to read it as it was well worth it. The Mists of Avalon is a retelling of the King Arthur myth, with a focus on the often neglected women in the story. Arthur, Lancelot and Merlin take to the sidelines while Guinevere, Igraine, and Morgaine are allowed to tell their stories. Not only must they deal with the changing fate of Camelot, and the increasing prominence of Christianity, but they face a  host of problems just for being women.

Marion Zimmer Bradley, the author of The Mists of Avalon, certainly doesn’t shy away from the unappealing realities of life as a woman in a feudal society.  Each of the characters that the novel tracks deals with more than their fair share of hardship and suffering. I couldn’t decide who I was rooting for the most throughout the entire story, though I loved the way the various narratives wove in and out of one another. It made it one of the most imaginative arthurian retellings that I have read in recent years. Though each of the twists were novel and creative, they worked so well with what you expect from a story about King Arthur and his court. In fact, it made it painfully obvious just how little we usually hear from women such as Morgaine.

While that might have been part of what drew me to The Mists of Avalon, I stayed for the brilliantly complex characters and the epic adventures they faced. I never knew what would happen next as each chapter drew to a close; I was hooked to see what would unfold.


Though it’s without a doubt a hefty read, I would definitely recommend The Mists of Avalon if you’re looking a imaginative and creative take on Arthurian legends.

American Gods | Neil Gaiman | Review

Friday, 30 June 2017

Image from Goodreads
“Days before his release from prison, Shadow’s wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America. 
Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break.” – Goodreads

While this book has an overall 4.11 stars on Goodreads and has won many awards, I just couldn’t quite get into it. I did finish it but with reluctance and the thought I could be doing something else with my time.

Shadow is released from prison and follows Wednesday around America doing odd-jobs and trying to keep out of trouble. The people and gods he meets along the way are so interesting and full of character. The old golds from mythology around the world are banding together to fight the modern gods of Media and Money etc. Shadow is pulled into the middle of it all, so much more so than he originally thought he would. Throw in some coin tricks, a ghost-like wife, a town full of secrets and some creepy happenings and you have yourself a novel of epic proportions.

The whole thing sounded magical and my type of book – I love mythology and road trips and even the idea of old and new gods battling it out intrigued me. Buuut it just didn’t do it for me and I hate that it didn’t.

Despite all these awesome aspects being pulled together, I feel like there were way too many interruptions to the story, as it sort of leaped from following Shadow to other people throughout. It could have been cut down easily by 100 pages or so, and perhaps the size is part of the reason I didn’t enjoy it as much as I feel I should have. My copy was 722 pages, although that included a novella and an interview with Neil Gaiman. The story is still a whopping 600ish pages, and that’s way too long in my books (pun intended?).

However! I pulled it up from 1 star to 2 stars because a) the characters were awesome, b) I loved the concept and c) I can see that it was a good book, it just wasn't for me.

American Gods has been recently made into a show, which was one of the reasons I read the book. I think I’ll enjoy the show more (*gasp!* Can you say that? On a book blog?!).

If you have read the book and seen the show, what did you think? 
Do you think the adaptation was a good one, and true to the story? 
If you’ve seen the show but not read the book – did you enjoy it? 
And if you’ve read the book, do you plan on watching the series? 
Let us know in the comments!

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.