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

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



Friday, 20 April 2018

Reign of the Fallen | Sarah Glen Marsh | Review

“Those finished with life crave it less over time.” 
Odessa is one of Karthia's master necromancers, catering to the kingdom's ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it's Odessa's job to raise them by retrieving their souls from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised--the Dead must remain shrouded, or risk transforming into zombie-like monsters known as Shades. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, the grotesque transformation will begin.

A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears among Odessa's necromancer community. Soon a crushing loss of one of their own reveals a disturbing conspiracy: someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead--and training them to attack. Odessa is faced with a terrifying question: What if her necromancer's magic is the weapon that brings Karthia to its knees? - Goodreads

I have to begin just by saying that the concept of this story is so unique. A necromancer main character who works for the Royal Family, bringing back the King time and time again so he can continue to rule ... who thinks of these things? Genius.

Reign of the Fallen was such a creative story. The main premise is that Odessa is a necromancer, someone who can walk between the land of the living and the land of the dead, bringing them through the veil into life once more. There's a catch though: once someone is dead, no living thing can see them. They have to wear a shroud all the time, because if someone sees even the smallest glimpse of their dead selves, the dead turn into Shades, uncontrollable monsters (kind of like zombies?).  Odsssa's job, as well a the other necromancers like her lover Evander, is to make sure the dead in the real world don't go mad; they have to kill them before they deteriorate beyond help, travel to the Deadlands to find them, then bring them back so they keep on 'living'.

A little complicated perhaps, but fascinating all the same.

The characters in this book were amazing; each one so beautifully created and left me wanting a whole story just for each of them. There's the squad of necromancers who work in sets of two - Odessa and Evander, Jax and Simeon - then there's Valoria the princess of Karthia, Meredy the sister of Evander and also a beast master (who has a bear as a companion), Danial who is a healer and is boyfriend to Simeon, and Kasmira who is like a weather-controlling pirate.

The villain in this story was a bit predictable, but it was a good plot all the same. There were definitely things I didn't enjoy about it, but on the whole I really liked it. If you're after a fantasy or young adult novel with a bisexual main character and a heap lot of dead people walking around like they're living, then this is the book for you!

Have you read Reign of the Fallen? What did you think? 
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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Features | Popsugar 2018 Reading Challenge Update #2

blogger's bookshelf the last star

The Next Book In A Series You Started | The Last Star, Rick Yancey (2016) 

If you caught my post earlier this year on the sequels I'd added to my 2018 TBR you may remember that The Last Star, the final book in the 5th Wave trilogy, was on the list. I have to admit I did struggle a little bit with this one as it had been over three years (!) since I read the second book and as it turns out I didn't remember it very well at all.

A Book You Meant To Read In 2017 But Didn’t Get To | Always & Forever Lara Jean, Jenny Han (2017)

Another book on my sequels list and a 2017 'vow to read' book I failed to pick up was Always & Forever Lara Jean, the third and final book in the To All The Boys I've Loved Before trilogy (which Sophie recently reviewed). This book follows the central character Lara Jean as she graduates high school and gets ready to set off for college.

A Book That's Published In 2018 | Clean, Juno Dawson (2018)

There are obviously a lot of books I could have chosen for this prompt but I'm a fan of Juno Dawson's writing and couldn't resist snapping up a copy of her latest release through Netgalley earlier this year. The book tackles some tough subjects, focusing on socialite Lexi who finds herself at an exclusive island rehab facility after almost overdosing. You can find out more about Clean in my recent collab post with Ria.

the strange library murakami blogger's bookshelf

A Book That Involves A Bookstore Or Library | The Strange Library, Haruki Murakami (2005) 

I'm so glad I landed on The Strange Library as my pick for this prompt as it was such a unique and quirky story which made for a fun read with a dark twist running throughout. Shared alongside the story were various illustrations from the London Library which added extra enjoyment for me.

A Book About Death Or Grief | Scythe, Neal Shusterman (2017)

Neal Shusterman's latest series takes place in a utopian world, where war, hunger, disease and misery simply don't exist and 'scythes' are tasked with controlling the population. Like most of the book blogging world, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and can't wait to read the sequel Thunderhead. If you missed my recent collab post with Anjali where we discussed the book you can catch it here.

A Book With Characters Who Are Twins | Here We Are Now, Jasmine Warga (2017)

Here We Are Now tells the story of teenager Taliah meeting rock star Julian Oliver... who just happens to be her father. Taking place over just a few days, the book follows her journey to his hometown to meet his half of her family for the first time - including her twin cousins!

If you're taking part in the Popsugar 2018 Reading Challenge I'd love to hear from you. Let me know which prompts you've crossed off the list and which books you're planning to pick up next!
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Monday, 16 April 2018

Features | 7 Things I Highlighted Whilst Reading Challenger Deep

1. "It was a problem with empty space that led me to art. I see an empty box, and I have to fill it. I see a blank page, and I can't leave it like that." - p.29

2. "I close my eyes and feel, pushing my thoughts through the soles of my feet." - p.18

challenger deep

3. "What is a permanent record? When does it stop following you? Will I have to spend my life looking over my shoulder for my permanent record?" - p.76

4. "Their laughter feels so far away it's as if there's cotton in my ears." - p.49

5. "I think it's outrageously cruel to keep a puzzle that they know is missing a single piece." - p.302

challenger deep

6. "We want all things in life packed into boxes that we can label. But just because we have the ability to label it, doesn't mean we really know what's in the box." - p.298

7. "How do you trust a therapist when even the plant in his waiting room is a lie?" - p.111
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Sunday, 15 April 2018

Send Us Your Thoughts On Our April Book Club Pick!

When Laura and her father take a young woman named Carmilla into their home, their idyllic peace is disturbed. Despite the strange occurrences, the friendship between Laura and Carmilla grows, beyond what anyone thought. It is menacing and mesmerising in equal measure.
We really hope you're enjoying our fourth BB book club pick Carmilla and can't wait to hear your thoughts! There's just under a week left to make sure your opinions are featured in our April roundup and infographic - click this link to complete the Google form.

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Friday, 13 April 2018

Features | Books Set in Cornwall

Cornish Short Stories: A Collection of Contemporary Cornish Writing is a new collection of bright and atmospheric stories that celebrate Cornwall, its landscapes, and its people... and I just happen to have a story included in it. To celebrate the release of this varied and inspiring collection of short stories, poetry, and beautiful woodcut illustrations, (and my first published work) set amongst the famous Cornish beaches and countryside, I have five recommendations for you of books set in that very same county.

For more short stories, Diving Belles by Lucy Wood is a collection of magical tales that draws inspiration from the coastlines of Cornwall and from local myths and legends. Wood masterfully weaves these influences together into an enchanting collection of stories that reveal magic in the every day and the every day in magic.

Monsters by Emerald Fennell, on the other hand, could not be more different. A darkly comic story for middle grade readers of two children who meet in a hotel in Fowey and bond over the darkness they both share. They obsess over local murders, investigating and re-inacting the grisly acts for fun. Monsters is a more disturbing take on seaside life.

A poetic and lyrical story, again rich with magic, A Year of Marvellous Ways tells the story of a ninety-year-old woman, living alone in a remote Cornish creek, until a young soldier washes up on her shore. This is one I haven't read yet but I've heard so many positive things about how beautiful and evocative the writing is that I can't wait to get to it.

Not Forgetting the Whale tells the story of the small village of St Piran, disrupted when a young man washes ashore on the beach, naked. The villagers all rush to help but the spotting of a whale at the same moment is seen as an omen of things to come. This is another book still on my TBR, which promises to be a funny and heartwarming read.

And, of course, how could I write a list of books set in Cornwall without mentioning perhaps the most famous one of all? Ross Poldark, the first in Winston Graham's extremely successful Poldark series, paints a picture both romantic and slightly more realistic of life along the Cornish coast during the late 18th century, and if you're one of the many people who enjoy the TV series, the book is certainly worth a read.

So many stories have been inspired by Cornwall, including many of Daphne du Maurier's works, to name just one very famous author I've missed out here. If you know of any more novels or short story collections set among these famous moors and coastlines, let me know in the comments! I'm always on the lookout for stories that celebrate my beautiful home county. And tell me about any books set where you live too! It's always interesting how stories set in places we're so familiar with can make us think differently of our own surroundings.
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Thursday, 12 April 2018

The Hate U Give | Angie Thomas | Review

THUG The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas book review
I had heard so many great reviews about this book but whenever I'd look up the blurb I was really doubtful I'd feel the same. However, because of all the great reviews I still had it sitting there on my TBR list and finally, one day when I got some extra pay I thought "screw it" and ordered the damn thing. Lucky I did because like everyone else I really enjoyed it!

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Now as I was doubtful I did go into it with quite a different mindset than other books and frankly I was reading the first few pages going "Oh he's gonna be shot", "No it's gonna be her", "Actually her" until the incident happened (FYI, not a spoiler, it's in the blurb). But once it finally happened I got drawn in on the suspense and thrill of it all, eager for the idiot white man to be brought to justice!

I really enjoyed the way the story was told, through the eyes of Starr because it really gets you involved and tangles your feelings in a knot. Some stories are told in a way where you feel like a fly on the wall but this one you're Starr, you feel everything she feels and yes I even cried. It's such an important topic and very much related to what's happening at the current time. It's so realistic even to the point of the family dynamics and everyday life which makes it incredibly believable so it was great to see a topic as important as this told in a way that teens would understand and take note of - and even do something about. It may be told in a fictional way but events like these do happen so telling the story in a real and relatable way is key.

If you haven't read this yet, pick it up and make it your next read because not only will you enjoy it, you'll probably learn something too!

"What's the point of having a voice is you're gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn't be?"

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Tuesday, 10 April 2018

State of Sorrow | Melinda Salisbury | Review

When I heard that Melinda Salisbury had a new book coming out, I was so excited that I actually pre-ordered it. I never pre-order books. But something about State of Sorrow had caught my attention and I impatiently waited for it.

All I knew about this book when I went into it was that it was about a young woman who lives in a land of sadness. Such a simple statement doesn't do it justice. This book centres on Sorrow, who was born and subsequently named during a time of absolute tragedy for her family and country. Since that day all she has known is mourning as her country grieves for the brother that died the day she was born.

Sorrow wants more.

I loved Sorrow as a character. She was strong, and confused, and determined, and fierce,  and flawed and utterly wonderful. She had so much life packed into her that it made the setting even more claustrophobic. I wanted her to succeed. She is the reason that I am desperately waiting for the sequel, even though I know it is going to be a long time before I am lucky enough to get to read that. I loved the development of Sorrow from page 1 to page 452 so I can only imagine how the rest of her arc will go in book two.

The world that Sorrow inhabits is also fantastic, from the mundane despair of Sorrow's home to the more vibrant places that she visits. You could really feel Melinda Salisbury stretching her creative muscles and showing off her talent.

Speaking of developing, I'm so excited for each new thing that Salisbury writes as she gets stronger with each one. I liked her first series but I love this one - what's next for this writer?

Kelly x
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Sunday, 8 April 2018

Bookish Links #41

1. Book Shopping - Katie's list of her top five independent bookshops in Liverpool has us itching to visit the city!

2. Hermione-Approved Reads - this list from Bustle shares 18 titles our favourite Hogwarts witch would be sure to recommend.

3. Do You TBR? - Marie shared a post discussing the reasons she doesn't do TBRs. Do you like to stick to a monthly TBR? We'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

4. Sharing The Love - we always love to share recommendations with you and Amy has three great ones in this post over at Call Me Amy.

5.  Fictional Food - we love the idea behind Rebecca's series of recipes inspired by books. This 'Wild' tomato soup looks like the perfect dish to cook up a batch of this weekend.

6. Poetry Review - if you're interested in finding out more about the work of popular poet Rupi Kaur, this is the post for you! Over on her blog Charlotte reviewed both Milk & Honey and The Sun And Her Flowers.

7. How To Read More - if one of your 2018 goals is to read more books, this list of tips from Novel Ink may help you to achieve your target.

8. Vegan Eats - we enjoyed this review of Katy Beskow's 15 Minute Vegan over on Charley's Health and the dishes look incredible!

9. Tracking Your Reads - if you're looking to keep track of your reads via bullet journal you may find this notebook review handy.

10. Belletrist Must-Reads - we loved this Anthropologie list featuring five top picks from the Belletrist book club. Have you read any of these titles?

Links From The BB Archives... Book Spine Poetry | Author Spotlight: Morgan Matson | The Darkest Part Of The Forest, Holly Black

For a little extra dose of bookish links every month, make sure you're subscribed to our monthly newsletter.

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Saturday, 7 April 2018

Clean | Juno Dawson | Discussion

*Review copies c/o Netgalley

I can feel it swimming through my veins like glitter ... it's liquid gold.

When socialite Lexi Volkov almost overdoses, she thinks she's hit rock bottom. She's wrong. Rock bottom is when she's forced into an exclusive rehab facility. From there, the only way is up for Lexi and her fellow inmates, including the mysterious Brady. As she faces her demons, Lexi realises love is the most powerful drug of all. It's a dirty business getting clean...  - Goodreads


What made you want to read Clean?

Erin: I've really enjoyed many of the author's other YA novels so I'm always excited to hear what her next new release will be. Honestly, I'm not sure whether I would have picked up a copy of Clean based on the premise alone, but I enjoy reading Juno's work and love the way she is always able to create such memorable characters, so when I saw the book pop up on Netgalley I couldn't resist!

Ria: I adore Juno's writing and have really enjoyed her previous novels, so I'm always looking out for her next release! It also helps that the premise and tone of Clean was pitched as a cross between Gossip Girl and Girl Interrupted - both films/books I love too.

What did you think about the characters? Did they feel realistic?

Erin: I loved that there was a diverse range of characters in the book, each with dealing different issues. At first, our main character Lexi felt very unlikable and unrelatable but I still found her to be an interesting guide through this particular journey and enjoyed seeing her growth over the course of the novel.

Ria: The characters in Clean definitely feel larger than life and yet there are little snippets of their personalities that do feel very much human. They all have flaws, they all make mistakes, and none of them are perfect, and I kind of love them all for it. Lexi, in particular, is obviously the living embodiment of this. There are so many moments where she is frustratingly dislikable, but she's young and she's learning.

What was your favourite thing about the book? And was there anything you didn't like?

Erin: As I've already mentioned, I liked that there was a diverse cast of characters and I also thought the opening scene of the novel was very intriguing. If I'm being completely honest I wasn't crazy about the ending, or the romance element in general, but this didn't take away from the way Juno explored such interesting yet tough topics and I love that she wasn't afraid to tackle these.

Ria: I really enjoyed how diverse the book felt without it being too forced. It as great to see such a range of different issues explored, as well as the inherent messiness of recovery and therapy. As always Dawson's humour and writing style is fantastic, she always manages to capture this age of character so well. Like Erin, I wasn't so keen on the ending but seeing Lexi's character grow and change throughout the novel was really satisfying.

Would you recommend this book?

Erin: Whilst I think most fans of Juno's work will enjoy Clean, it won't be to everyone's taste. The book and Lexi's story feel very raw and intense, so at times it can be a difficult read but it tackles some really important topics. Personally I found it to be an interesting read overall and as always I look forward to seeing what Juno will come up with next!

Ria: Yes! Whilst it may not be for everyone, I do think the stories within Clean are really important and it's rare to see a YA novel explore these issues in such an unfiltered way.

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Friday, 6 April 2018

The Falling Kingdom Series | Morgan Rhodes | Review

Pictured: Books 2 - 4
In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest now simmers below the surface.

As the rulers of each kingdom grapple for power, the lives of their subjects are brutally transformed... and four key players, royals and rebels alike, find their fates forever intertwined. Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love.

The only outcome that's certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

It's the eve of war.... Choose your side. - Goodreads

Having read all six books in the Falling Kingdoms series over the past few months, I can say with confidence that I still don't know whose side I'm on.

What I can tell you is that while I started off not loving the series, it definitely grew on me, so much so that I binge read the series over the course of a few weeks. Somehow the story got to me, and I couldn't stop reading it. Until, that is, I reached book five, and realised that book six wasn't at the library yet, and my hold-place in line was far, far, away. It was a long wait.

Instead of reviewing each of the books on Blogger's Bookshelf, I thought I'd review the entire series, without giving spoilers.

The plot of Falling Kingdoms

The main idea in this series is that there are magical stones/orbs/crystals which each hold one of the main elements (or elementia magic, as they call it): air, water, earth and fire. These four elements created the world, but after a series of events were lost, their powers no longer sustaining the earth. Without them, both the world that Magnus, Lucia, Jonas and Cleo live in, and the Sanctuary where the immortal Watchers live, are falling apart. Once found, the crystals will either heal the world, or destroy it, depending on those wielding its magic.

As the books progress through the series, the plot follows each of the four main characters through their highs and lows. After the first book ends, their stories interweave more and more, and they find themselves with similar agendas, or, as in a lot of cases, opposing ones. Alliances are formed, others broken, there are betrayals, there's love and loss, and a touch of teenage angst.

Book 2: Rebel Spring

The characters

Speaking of teenage angst, there isn't too much of it in this series, but at the same time there was enough silly behaviour and 'really?' moments that it was definitely why none of the books were a 5 star read for me.When I first started reading Falling Kingdoms (book one), I didn't really enjoy many of the main characters, but eventually I realised that my favourite characters were actually the minor ones.

A warning, but not a spoiler: don't get too attached to anyone if you can help it. Rather Game-of-Thrones-esque, they seem to die at unexpected times and in rather unexpected ways. I don't think there was a single death in this series that I was prepared for or saw coming. You've been warned.

The setting

The land of Mytica is divided into three kingdoms: Limeros in the north, Paelsia in the middle, and Auranos in the south. The north is cold, with harsh winters; the central area is perfect for grape growing and wine production; the south is warm, with hot summers. All the main characters come from different kingdoms, making it difficult, once again, to pick a favourite.

When you reach book 4 you'll discover that there's more to the world than just Mytica; the Kraeshan Empire stretches far beyond the shores of the kingdom that you'll get to know, making it look tiny in comparison. That's the other thing: maps! Each book has a map so you can easily reference where you are as the characters move around. I do love a good book map.

The verdict

As I mentioned, I did really get into these books. There were things I didn't enjoy, like all books, but overall, quite excellent. They're a light, easy-to-read fantasy series, with enough twists and turns (and surprise deaths) to keep you turning the pages late into the night.

While none of the books go a 5 starts from me, overall I'd give the series a 4 stars. If you end up picking up Falling Kingdoms, do let us know what you think of it. If you've already read, let us know if you enjoyed it!
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Wednesday, 4 April 2018

The Moth | Catherine Burns | Review

the moth catherine burns book blog review

Released in 2013, The Moth is the first story collection published by the non-profit organisation of the same name, which hosts live storytelling events, also shared through their weekly podcast. The book contains fifty true tales told by a variety of storytellers, ranging from heartwarming to heartbreaking and everything in between.

The stories selected for the book are split into seven different sections - Innocents Abroad, In The Trenches, Coming Home, Generations, Shot Through The Heart, Carpe Diem and Save Me - mirroring the fact that the live events each have a theme. Each story has been transcribed from the organisation’s live storytelling events across the US and has it’s own distinctive, chatty tone, often as if you’re listening to a friend. Having only dabbled in listening to the podcast, I can understand how some of the stories would be best heard spoken by the storyteller’s own voices, however I do think the book’s editor Catherine Burns did a great job of recreating this feeling on the page. 

We strive to make every Moth night feel like an intimate dinner party, each storyteller a guest holding the attention of the table for a moment with a spellbinding tale. - Catherine Burns

With each story lasting only a few pages the book is easy to dip in and out of, however I found myself finishing the whole thing in just a few days as I was enjoying variety of stories and voices so much. Of course, some of the tales were more memorable than others but each one was interesting in it’s own way and there were very few that I didn’t find myself invested in.

For me, The Moth was a great reading experience and certainly delivered on it’s promise of '50 extraordinary true stories'. I look forward to reading 2017 release All These Wonders and would love to see more editions in future, perhaps featuring storytellers from live events around the world. ★★★★

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Monday, 2 April 2018

Features | On April's TBR

books april tbr

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, Gail Honeyman (2017)

Top of my April TBR is a book that everyone has been talking about; Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. After weeks of sitting at 120-something in the library queue I decided I was too impatient to wait any longer and picked up my very own copy of the book when I spotted it for just £3.99 at the supermarket. I've heard nothing but amazing things about this one so I can't wait to finally read it!

The End We Start From, Megan Hunter (2017)

I first heard about The End We Start From when it was featured as part of the Belletrist book club last year and it's been sitting on my Goodreads TBR ever since. Initially I was drawn in by the beautiful cover and intriguing premise but thanks to the short page count it's also been sitting on my list of potential BB book club reads too!

Waking Gods, Sylvain Neuvel (2017)

This month I'm planning to try and cross another sequel off the list I shared back in January. Waking Gods is the follow up to Sleeping Giants and the second book in the Themis Files series. Whilst my local library doesn't have a physical copy of the book, they do have the CD audiobook version so I've decided to try that instead. One of my favourite things about the first book was actually the format which included journal entries, interviews, news articles and more so I think it will be interesting to see how well this translates into the audiobook format.

The Gender Games, Juno Dawson (2017)

Although I've read and enjoyed all of Juno's fiction titles I haven't yet picked up any of her non-fiction releases. I also haven't managed to squeeze in any non-fiction books since January so I'm really looking forward to reading The Gender Games this month. Again, I've heard so many great things about this book and I think it's going to be an interesting read.
Carmilla, J. Sheridan Le Fanu (1872)

The final title making it on to my list this month, and the only one not published in 2017, is of course our April book club title which was chosen by Kelly. I have to admit, I hadn't previously heard of this novella and it's not one I think I would have picked up if it weren't for the book club, so I'm looking forward to reading something a little different!

Which books are on your TBR this month?
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Friday, 30 March 2018

Renegades | Marissa Meyer | Review

Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

After years of chaos and anarchy, The Renegades, a team of heroes with extraordinary abilities, have worked hard to reestablish law and order in Gatlon City and give hope to the city's residents. The Anarchists, who were once one of the most powerful villain groups in the city, now greatly reduced in numbers, have been banished to the city's underground subway system, and The Renegades no longer see them as the serious threat they once were, but now simply a nuisance to be kept in their place. 

Nova once believed in The Renegades too, but when she needed the heroes' help most, it was The Anarchists who saved her. Now, as a villain called Nightmare, Nova shares The Anarchists' vision of a city free from The Renegades' control, and although the Anarchists no longer pose much of a threat to The Renegades, Nova has a plan, to infiltrate The Renegades and take them down from the inside.

Adrian is a Renegade through and through, but although The Renegades are his family, there is one thing they can't give him: answers. He wants to know who killed his mother and how the mysterious new villain, Nightmare, may have been involved. But Adrian has secrets of his own, and if any of The Renegades find out the truth, he could find himself in deep trouble.

Renegades is a fun and fascinating study in the difference between how someone comes to be perceived as a hero or as a villain. In Nova's mind, The Anarchists are the heroes trying to free the city from the rule of the corrupt, unelected Renegades. To Adrian, The Anarchists are evil, violent murderers. But The Renegades are simply trying to help the city, and, in a very different way, so are The Anarchists. Nova's plan to take down The Renegades requires her to first become one of them, and as she starts to see the other side of the story, that The Renegades maybe aren't all as bad as she previously thought, her loyalties and her beliefs start to be tested in ways she hadn't anticipated, especially once she gets to know Adrian and his team. Adrian, on the other hand, has his own battles to fight, that mean he must grapple with his morality in a very different way.

Renegades is full of interesting characters, my favourites being Nova's small band of Anarchist friends, and set in an interesting world, in a city home to many Prodigies (people with superpowers) who are permitted to audition for The Renegades, but only accepted if their powers are deemed useful enough, and even more people with no powers who must rely on The Renegades for safety whether they want to or not. The questions of who deserves power, who gets to be a hero, and who decides are present throughout the book, and as Nova becomes deeper embroiled in the world of The Renegades, the lines between good and evil become further and further blurred.

Of course, being a book about superheroes and villains, there is plenty of fighting, double-crossing, and secret-keeping, and enough twists and turns to keep the story entertaining through all 500+ pages. Combined with the questions of morality that the story explores and, of course, the budding relationship slowly forming between Nova and Adrian, Renegades is full of story and intrigue and is definitely worth a read for any fan of superheroes, science fiction, or just really good young adult novels in general.
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Thursday, 29 March 2018

Features | My TBR pile for April - Four books I want to get through

I'm currently reading, and loving, Ready Player One before I hit the cinemas to see the movie but these are some of the books on my to be read pile that I should be getting to next!

We Own The Sky* by Luke Allnutt

"Rob Coates feels like he’s won the lottery of life. There is Anna, his incredible wife, their London town house and, most precious of all, Jack, their son, who makes every day an extraordinary adventure. But when a devastating illness befalls his family, Rob’s world begins to unravel. Suddenly finding himself alone, Rob seeks solace in photographing the skyscrapers and clifftops he and his son Jack used to visit. And just when it seems that all hope is lost, Rob embarks on the most unforgettable of journeys to find his way back to life, and forgiveness."

This is next in my TBR pile after I've finished the books I'm currently reading. It doesn't really seem like the sort of book I'm usually into so I'm kind of excited to see what it's like, from reading the blurb it almost reminds me of Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks.

A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab

The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise."

I love the Shades of Magic series and I've slightly been putting off reading this book so I don't finish the series. It's actually been quite a while since I read the other two that I feel like I may possibly have to reread them before reading this one so I understand what's going on. Yes that may mean I take a bit longer to get to this one than the others in this post but I've got to understand what's going on right? I just really enjoy Kell and Lila and even more so Kell's ever changing jacket so I can't wait to get stuck in!

The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman

"When Germany invaded Poland, Stuka bombers devastated Warsaw—and the city's zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski began smuggling Jews into empty cages. Another dozen "guests" hid inside the Zabinskis' villa, emerging after dark for dinner, socializing, and, during rare moments of calm, piano concerts."

I can't remember where I saw this recommendation but it's been on my Goodreads TBR shelf for quite a while and I've finally got around to it. Let's hope I can get my hands on a copy from the library! This sort of era of historical fiction is really my cup of tea and combining that and cute zoo animals really intrigued me, I'm looking forward to seeing how it all unfolds and praying that none of the animals get in the middle of any battles.

A Year At Hotel Gondola* by Nicky Pellegrino

"Kat has never wanted to live a small, everyday sort of life. She's an adventurer, a food writer who travels the world visiting far-flung places and eating unusual fare. Now she is about to embark on her biggest adventure yet - a relationship. She has fallen in love with an Italian man and is moving to live with him in Venice where she will help him run his small guesthouse, Hotel Gondola. Kat has lined up a book deal and will write about the first year of her new adventure."

Nicky Pellegrino is one of my favourite authors, and just so happens to be from New Zealand, I love her cheesy European romance getaway novels and I can't wait to read the latest installment. While this sort of sounds like a similar vibe as her past novels there's something that gives me the idea that it'll be totally different and I'm really keen to get stuck in and basically feel like I'm in Italy for a few days!

I'm really bad at sticking with my TBR pile order and some of these will probably get pushed down the list when I discover other books I desperately want to read. You all know what I mean!?

* These are copies sent for review from the publishers, opinions are all my own
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Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Books for Living | Will Schwalbe | Review

I don't read that much non-fiction anymore. I think it's a bit of a non-fiction hangover from university but it has been such a long time since I read any.

When I was sent a copy of Books for Living by Will Schwalbe, I knew it was time to change that. If a book about books couldn't cure my fear of non-fiction, I didn't know what could. I can happily say that my plan worked: I loved this book.

Books for Living: A Reader's Guide to Life is a collection of reflections on the power of books and how they can shape our lives. There are recommendations for specific books that have affected Will Schwalbe and his thoughts on how reading has changed his life. I came away from this book wanting to read so many of the books that were mentioned that I think my TBR has grown again. It also pointed out some things about books that I have read that I hadn't thought about before, which is one of my favourite things about books.

This book went so far beyond that though. It was funny, and heartbreaking, and incredibly powerful. It felt like sitting down with an old friend, and finding out their stories. It made me want to share my stories too.

Beyond that, it was a brilliant reminder of just how much of an impact that books can have and have had on my life.

What's not to love about that?

Kelly x
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Monday, 26 March 2018

BB Book Club | April's Book is...

As soon as I was told the prompt for the BB Book Club, I knew what I would be picking. It is one of my favourite shorter books and one that I am constantly trying to get people to read. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to carry on that cheerleading...

This book will be a little different from the other ones that we have read for the BB Book Club so far but I don't think that will be a bad thing. A little variety is always good, right? And I think this is a book that will inspire some discussion, which is one of my favourite things about sharing books that I have enjoyed. You might not think the same about me but it's a very rich book so I think you'll have something to say about it.

The book in question?

Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu.

Technically a novella rather than a short story, this is a dark Gothic tale about love, obsession and the supernatural.  When Laura and her father take a young woman named Carmilla into their home, their idyllic peace is disturbed. Despite the strange occurrences, the friendship between Laura and Carmilla grows, beyond what anyone thought. It is menacing and mesmerising in equal measure.

I first stumbled upon this book when I was studying Gothic literature and I've been a little bit in love with it ever since. For such a small book, it packs a lot in. As you can see from all the sticky tabs, it is a book that I have spent a lot of time reading, working with and thinking about it. It will haunt you long after you finish the final page...

Being a classic, Carmilla is widely available on both Amazon UK and iBooks. I also managed to pick up a lovely edition of it in a bookstore. If you do read it, use the hashtag #bookshelfbookclub to let us know your thoughts and complete this Google Form by 20th April.

We hope that you're excited to read our April selection but don't worry if it doesn't sound like your thing - check back next month to find out more about our next book club pick! 
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Sunday, 25 March 2018

BB Book Club | March 2018 Roundup | Broadcast

This year we decided to launch our very own online book club, with a new book for you to join us in reading every month. Chosen by Erin, our third BB book club read was Sci-Fi title Broadcast by Liam Brown. Here's our March infographic to tell you a little bit more...

Reader's comments and favourite quotes:

“Somehow it looks even bluer on the screen. Even realer” 

"The book tackles the interesting subject of social media/vlogging and living our lives online. I found it to be an enjoyable, thought-provoking short read." - Erin @ A Natural Detour 

"That ending! What!" - Anjali @ This Splendid Shambles

“I still can’t get used to the idea of no one being interested in my life anymore. After all, if nobody’s there to watch me, what’s the point in doing anything in the first place?”

"It was obvious that the book was going to have negative views of social media being very much a Black Mirror sort of plotline. I wouldn't personally use MindCast if it was a thing but it's not stopping me from sharing what I currently share with the world.
Yes [I would recommend the book], but I would probably be more likely to recommend the Black Mirror series over this." - Sophie @ Sofilly

"It's so short and snappy to read. It's definitely unique in the ideas it brings to the table." - Anjali @ This Splendid Shambles

"People read to be entertained. To pass the time on those rare occasions when their battery's dead or they can't get a WiFi signal. But the main reason, I believe, or at least the most important reason people still read, is because books are the only opportunity we ever get to experience true empathy with another human being. To see the world through their eyes. To walk in their shoes."

"I finished the book, and the idea of MindCast is interesting, but it could have been explored in greater depth. I think that due to the length of the book you weren’t able to really get to know, or care about, the characters." - Anon

"I liked when David was just learning how MindCast worked and learning all the features and developments." - Sophie @ Sofilly

"My kingdom for a search engine."

Thank you to everyone who read along with us this month! If you would like to get involved with next month's BB Book Club check back here tomorrow where Kelly will be introducing her selection for April.

You can also sign up to our mailing list to make sure you don't miss out on any future book club updates!

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Friday, 23 March 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Far From The Tree | Robin Benway | Review

far from the tree robin benway book blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cover image via Goodreads

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Sunday, 18 March 2018

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

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

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Friday, 16 March 2018

In Search of Us | Ava Dellaira | Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have you read this? What did you think?

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Tuesday, 13 March 2018

The Extinction Trials | S. M Wilson | Review

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

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

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

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

Kelly x
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Monday, 12 March 2018

Scythe | Neal Shusterman | Discussion

scythe neal shusterman review blogger's bookshelf
Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own. - Goodreads 

First things first, what made you decide to pick up Scythe?

Anjali: I’ve only read Unwind by Neal Shusterman, but when I saw this book was coming out I knew I really wanted to read it. The themes and the ideas in the story really interested me, and it did not fail to live up the hype I had read around it either.

Erin: If you've read our Meet The Team bios you may already know that Neal Shusterman's Unwind series is one of my all-time favourites (I've also enjoyed a couple of his other books too!). I love his writing style and enjoy that he often tackles topics and themes that really make the reader think. The blurb for Scythe was super intriguing with a unique utopian concept so I automatically added it to my TBR.

Were there any characters you wanted to get to know better or that you hope to learn more about in the sequel?

Anjali: While we did get a little bit of Scythe Faraday’s story towards the end of the book, I’d like to know more about his past. I’d also be super keen to read about another junior Scythe who is a little older than Citra and Rowan, and what their experiences were like, looking back a few years on.

Erin: The character I found the most interesting was Scythe Faraday and in the sequel I would love to hear more about his story as well as Scythe Curie's. In the first book we learn that they are both well-known scythes and have been alive for a very long time so I think they must have a lot of fascinating stories to tell. If we don't get to explore their past lives further in Thunderhead, I think they could possibly make great companion novellas to the series.

Hypothetically, if this were to happen in real life, do you think the Scythedom would be a feasible solution?

Anjali: Stepping back from the story, and just looking at the idea of conquering death and how you’d deal with that as a society, hypothetically, I don’t think there would be a solution, feasible or not.

Even if rules or regulations like the Scythedom (people being selected for death to avoid overpopulation), or stopping people having kids, or capping the amount of times that people can ‘turn the corner’ to go back to a younger age, there would always be problems. Someone would get upset, someone would want to change the system, someone would think they could do it better. Humans, as great as we might think we are, are flawed. We’re incredible, complex beings, but we are flawed. Our birth and death are the bookends of our life, and without the stopper of death at the end of the shelf all the books fall off and create a big mess. Such would it be with ‘conquering’ death; a big mess, unlikely to have any real solutions.

Erin: The simple answer to this question is no. There are so many reasons - including some of those that Anjali has shared her thoughts on - why a Scythedom wouldn't work as a solution. I can't really ever see an idea like this being successful but as with any basis for a utopian world, even if there was a chance the concept worked for a length of time it certainly wouldn't be a feasible long-term solution.

Do you have a favourite quote from the book?

Anjali: There were many fantastic quotes throughout Scythe, but this is up there in the top 5:

“Hope in the shadow of fear is the world's most powerful motivator.”

Erin: If I had been able to get my highlighters on this book the pages would have been full of colour, but sadly I didn't think the library would appreciate my annotation! I also forgot to keep track of any quotes that stood out as I read because I was enjoying the book so much. I think I'll have to add a copy to my collection and re-read it, highlighters in hand, in the future.

Any final thoughts on Scythe?

Anjali: I loved this book. A lot. Few books I’ve read these days have really got me thinking, and, if my answer to question 3 is anything to go by (and I did chop it down to this paragraph!), Scythe really did. There were so many hints and nods to things in real life throughout the book, and of course, the whole concept of ‘conquering’ death that made me stop and think multiple times throughout the story. I really also enjoy Shusterman’s storytelling, and the characters he creates. Really looking forward to picking up Thunderhead. Would definitely recommend. 5 stars.

Erin: I found the whole concept of Scythe so interesting and thought-provoking which made the novel such an enjoyable read. Seeing how varied the scythes attitudes towards their job were was a particularly interesting aspect and I felt the diary entry snippets included throughout were a great addition to the story. Similarly to Anjali, I also rated the book five stars and can't wait to read the sequel!

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Friday, 9 March 2018

The Cruel Prince | Holly Black | Review

The Cruel Prince, by Holly Black - Blogger's Bookshelf Book review
Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King. To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences. In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself. - Goodreads

I tried to write a synopsis of The Cruel Prince but I found myself unable to quite put into words the number of things that are going on in this story, and the detail in which Black so beautifully writes the world it's set in.

What I can say is that I loved this book. Holly Black, as Victoria Aveyard rightly puts on the back cover, truly is the Faerie Queen. The plot of  flows so wonderfully and I never found myself feeling bored or distracted away from the story. 

Jude, as a protagonist, was brilliant, and I really enjoyed her character, her fire, and her resilience. It was nice reading a character who had siblings who were still very much involved with the story, rather than being an MC who was a lonely orphan or who had one sibling with whom they were estranged (not that those books aren't good in their own way, just that it was a nice change from what I had been reading previously). The Princes in the story - of whom there were many - were all cruel in their own ways, and so I did spend a lot of the book trying to figure out if it was Cardan that the title was referring to, or if it was literally everyone. I'll let you decide. 

The land of Elfhame where our story takes place was stunning. Obviously I haven't been there (oh to step into a fictional world), but the map in the front of the book was so creatively drawn and you could really put together the descriptions of the land with the places on the maps. Boy, do I love a good book map. 

Somehow Holly Black pulls you into her worlds with poetic and captivating prose and sharp dialogue that entertains, catches your breath, and I love everything about it. My friend asked me once if I read every single world when I'm reading a book. I don't actually think I do (it's more that my eyes go over a sentence, pick out the main words to the get the main point and move on to the next one - I have yet to test my theory and wouldn't know where to start. Any ideas?), but I found myself reading all the words, all of the time with The Cruel Prince. If you've read any of Black's other books, then you might know what I mean. 

On Goodreads I've given 5/5 stars, it was that good. If you're into your Young Adult or fairytales, then do head down to your local bookshop, library or pop onto Book Depository to grab yourself a copy. 

Have you read The Cruel Prince? What did you think? 

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Wednesday, 7 March 2018

BB Book Club | Links Inspired By Broadcast

broadcast liam brown

As we announced last week, this month's BB book club pick is Liam Brown's Broadcast, a novel which explores the topics of social media and living our lives online. The book follows popular vlogger David, who is presented with a unique opportunity to expand his audience and be the first star of a new show called MindCast where his every thought, feeling and memory is live-streamed to the world.

Whilst we may not all be YouTube stars like David, most of us have and regularly use at least one social media account - it's just a part of modern life, right? We know that many of our readers are fellow bloggers used to sharing snippets of their lives online whether it be opinions on books or more personal posts but how much more are we sharing without even realising?
"We're talking about creating a limitless universe inside each and every person's head. A truly inclusive utopia for all. A virtual heaven, right here on Earth." - Broadcast, p178
Perhaps at first the ideas explored in Broadcast seem far-fetched, and luckily no one is asking us to undergo surgery to implant microchips into our brains... yet. However advances in technology mean it's becoming increasingly difficult to find a balance between the online and offline worlds and many elements of David's story feel unsettlingly close to reality.

As an additional post for this month's book club I thought it might be interesting to create a Bookish Links style roundup with a bit of a Broadcast-inspired twist. Instead of sharing all things bookish, today's post is full of links related to the subjects and themes explored in our March book club pick.

broadcast liam brown

To Read...

1. In this post Sali Hughes shares her experience of realising she was addicted to her smartphone and how she's tackled the problem.

2. This discussion explores the idea of privacy in the modern world and how we're sharing much more online than we may believe. There's also links included which will take you straight to the related TED talks from those contributing to the article.

3. If you've ever settled in for a relaxing evening with a good book only to be distracted by your phone you'll find Janine's post incredibly relatable.

4. Fitness tracker style bands feature in the novel and this article has some interesting information on the future of wearables.

5. Teen Vogue shared an article looking at the link between social media and anxiety.

6. For a longer read take a look at this article from The Guardian which discusses smartphone addiction, how tech companies can keep us hooked on social media and what all of this may mean for the future.

To Watch...

1. In this TED talk Zeynep Tufekci discusses algorithms, the data social media websites such as Facebook and YouTube are collecting and how this is used to influence the ads we see online.

2. Another TED talk to add to your watch list is Sherry Turkle's 2012 talk about her changing opinion on the internet and how we are both connected and alone all at once.

3. As the book's cover suggests, the story will appeal to fans of the anthology series Black Mirror (available to watch on Netflix). Season 1's Fifteen Million Merits and season 3's Nosedive in particular explore similar themes.

To Listen To...

1. Manipulation is a TED Radio Hour episode which includes a section from Tristan Harris that explores the idea of our devices controlling our lives.

2. Technology has come a long way since the 90's when Jennifer Ringley set up a website uploading a black and white webcam image from her apartment every fifteen minutes, allowing the whole world to watch her every move. In this early epsiode of Reply All Alex talks to her about the experience.

3. In the book all of David's thoughts are broadcast live to the world. This episode of Invisiblia titled The Secret History Of Thoughts looks at dark thoughts in particular - what do they really mean and how much control do we have over them?

4. The final link of this roundup is a podcast episode from Stuff They Don't Want You To Know which looks at how much the internet really knows about us and what happens when you 'delete' things online.

If you're reading our March book club pick don't forget to send us your feedback on the book via this Google form by 23rd March.

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