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

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

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Saturday, 30 January 2016

Bookish Links #13


Welcome to our first Bookish Links of the new year! This is our monthly feature where we share some recent favourite reads from around the web. Here are some of the articles we've been loving lately...

1. Hidden Gems - we're kicking off with Jamie's post all about the 2015 releases she feels should have gotten more attention than they did. We've discovered some new titles for our TBR lists thanks to this blog post and we hope you will too!

2. Controlling Characters - this thought-provoking post looks at how much control authors really have over their own creations, more specifically their characters. Just how much can be changed by the opinions of readers?

3. Home Decor With Books - if you're anything like us you probably love a good coffee table book! This list shared over on Lauren Conrad's website features ten titles for your wish list, inspired by the author's love of using coffee table books as part of her home decor.

4. The Best Of 2015 - taking things back now to reads of 2015, we loved the design and content of Alexandra's recent  favourites post. If you've written a 2015 favourites post we'd love to read it, don't forget to leave a link in the comments section below!

5. Read Like A Gilmore - another thing we love here at BB is the TV series Gilmore Girls! If you want to find out how well you would do when it comes to the popular Rory Gilmore reading challenge check out this Buzzfeed checklist.

6. More YA For Your TBR - this list of hotly anticipated YA titles from the Barnes & Noble blog has some brilliant ideas for what to read this year. We can't wait to dive in to all of these upcoming releases! 

7. New Year, New Goals - worried about struggling to achieve your 2016 reading goals? Ali's post has some top tips to help keep you on track! Don't forget to let us know what your goals for the year are in the comments section!

9. Austen Meets YA - we loved this graphic from xpressoreads which shares YA book recommendations based on Jane Austen classics. Do you have any titles to add to the list?

10. Big Screen Books - as well as discussing books we also love to take a closer look at adaptations. In this post Shannon shares her thoughts on Mockingjay Part 2, the final movie in the Hunger games series. What did you think of the film?

11. An Alternative Format - continuing on with this theme is Emily's article all about movie to comic adaptations! Have you read any of these titles?

12. Judging By Covers? - we're big Harry Potter fans here at BB and really enjoyed this post from Book Riot which showcases the many covers this popular book series has seen over the years. Which designs are your favourites?

If you've read or written an interesting bookish article you think our readers would enjoy please let us know - it may be featured in a future post!  
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Carry On | Rainbow Rowell | Review

Friday, 29 January 2016

Carry On | Rainbow Rowell | Review

Image from Good Reads

"Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.
That’s what his roommate, Baz, says.
And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git,
but he’s probably right."



Meet Simon Snow. He's in his last year at Watford School of Magicks, and he's the chosen one. But he's not very good at it. To top that off, his mentor and headmaster is avoiding him, his girlfriend dumped him, and his room mate and nemesis hasn't even bothered showing up at school.

But Simon needs to know what's happening. Why has the Mage been ignoring him? Why is Baz not at school yet? Why is no one too concerned that he is back at school after he and his best friend Penny were taken by the Insidious Humdrum the year before? As the story plays out, Baz finally shows up at school, months too late, Simon tries to discover just where he was and why he was away. When Simon and Baz are eventually on speaking terms that are a little more decent than nemesis talk, the two boys and Penny try and figure out who killed Baz's mother years ago and turned him into a vampire (which he denies half the book).

While the plot line of this story lacks a little, I find I didn't actually care too much about that. Simon and Baz's enemy status was replaced by the realisation that they both loved each other madly, which is everything you expect from a Rainbow Rowell book which has the sentence 'It has just as much kissing and talking ... but far, far more monsters' in the synopsis.

There was a lot of controversy and discussions on various internet platforms about how this was going to be a fanfiction of Harry Potter (Harry and Draco), or that it was going to be Cath's fanfiction which she writes in Rowell's book Fangirl, or that it was going to be so similar to Harry Potter that it would be terrible. I can say quite confidently that it was none of these things. While the world was similar to that of Harry's, with a magical school and a bad guy out to get the rest of the world, and three friends/students working together to defeat it, a mentor-like professor character who was a little mad and slightly aloof, I think people tend to forget sometimes that all stories are similar, whether intentional or not.
I think Rowell created a fantastic world in just one book and while I loved this story and loved the characters, I think I'm happy that it was just one, stand alone story. Of course I would jump straight back into that world if she were to write more, but I'm happy with how it ended and it will definitely be one I will re-read again and again.
If you liked her book Fangirl, and were intrigued by Cath's fanfiction in that story, then do pick up Carry On. Or if you like a bit of YA fantasy with kissing and monsters, give this book a go. Tell me what you think. If you've already read it, what did you think? Was it what you thought it was going to be?
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Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Little Girl Gone | Alexandra Burt | Review



I was really looking forward to reading this book after reading the synopsis. A mother who doesn't report her baby missing when she discovers she isn't in her crib, she doesn't even tell the father. Then, she is found in a wrecked car, miles from her home with a nasty head wound and no recollection of what happened. Without her memory, she begins to question everything, including whether she even had a baby at all, or if she was responsible for her disappearance. 

I love thrillers, the grittier the better. So when I read about this one, I couldn't wait to dive right in. Estelle, the mother in question, is an unreliable narrator, not only because she has amnesia, but because she can remember the days after her daughter was born, when she was suffering from postnatal depression. We hear the story through Estelle's point of view and whilst it is intriguing to not know what is going on, as we get further into the story, it becomes frustrating. Some may argue that is the point, in that we are experiencing the frustration the same way the main character is, but I understand that and still didn't appreciate the POV. It's difficult to explain why I didn't fall in love with this book, as on one hand it kept me fairly intrigued as to what was going to happen, but on the other hand I found myself incredibly bored. It didn't feel fast-paced enough for the plot and I kept looking to see how long was left of the book. I wouldn't really recommend reading this book as there are plenty of better thrillers out there, with much better endings. 
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Spirit Warriors: The Concealing | D. E. L. Connor | Review

Monday, 25 January 2016

Spirit Warriors: The Concealing | D. E. L. Connor | Review

*E-book provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

Emme Belrose is a 16-year-old girl in Eastern Montana. She has a small group of friends and a budding romance with Charlie. Since she was little, Emme has had nightmares about her death. She knows she is going to die drowning. Charlie also knows this because, he too, has had visions of her death. In order to save Emme, they must convince their friends of the truth of this and the truth of the existence of the machayiwiw, set to destroy them all.

Review:

I've said in my own blog that I don't do well with books written from the perspective of teenage protagonists. I've been kinda burned out on them. So when I tell you that this book was a fast paced adventure that almost made me cry, you know this has been a very good book.

Admittedly, I have little in common with the teenagers of this book and I had some problems fully engaging the characters. However, I found all of them to be amiable and was not annoyed by any of them for having a lack of common sense. If anything, these kids have a strong understanding of the world around them and I greatly appreciate that. Yes, there is the spoiled cheerleader trope, but it's really not that big of a part in the overall story.

This is a book that I definitely recommend for a quick read (I may have to pick up the next one in the series). It was engaging, it was well written, and it almost made me cry. Seriously, my husband asked me what was wrong a few times while I read this. This is a YA book that I genuinely enjoyed. 
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Group Collaboration | 2016 Reading Goals

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Group Collaboration | 2016 Reading Goals

A very belated Happy New Year from us here at Blogger's Bookshelf! Once again at the start of the new year we have our bloggers and readers looking ahead and setting up some reading goals.

Here are the books they are vowing to read in 2016.

january2016group-erin
Erin
What If?, Randall Munroe | Do No Harm, Henry Marsh | Forensics, Val McDermid | The Horologicon, Mark Forsyth | The 100 Most Pointless Arguments In The World, Alexander Armstrong & Richard Osman

january2016group-josephine
Josephine (@wordrevel)
Incarnate, Jodi Meadows | Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy | Finnikin of the Rock, Melina Marchetta | Kiss Kill Vanish, Jessica Martinez | Resist, Sarah Crossman

january2016group-ali
Ali 
The Martian, Andy Weir | The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins | Maddaddam, Margaret Atwood | 1984, George Orwell | A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness
january2016group-ria
Ria 
Changing My Mind, Zadie Smith | Remix, Non Pratt | How To Be A Heroine, Samantha Ellis | A Darker Shade of Magic: V.E. Schwab | Only Ever Yours, Louise O'Neill 
january2016group-lulu
Lulu 
Bible | The Bronze Horseman, Pauline Simmons | Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Woolf | Public Library, Ali Smith | Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
january2016group-virginie
Virginie (@ChouettBlog)
Red Witch, Anna McKerro | False Hearts, Laura Ram | Everything, Everything, Nicola Yoon | Rose and Dagger, Renee Ahdieh | George, Alex Gino
january2016group-cat
Cat
Amy and Roger's Epic Detour, Morgan Matson | In a Dark Dark Wood, Ruth Ware | To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, Jenny Han | All the Bright Places, Jennifer Niven | A God in Ruins, Kate Atkinson

january2016group-rachel
Rachel
Ex-Isle, Peter Clines | Hemlock Veils, Jennie Davenport - A retelling of Little Red Riding Hood | NPCs, Drew Hayes | Press Start to Play, Daniel H. Wilson | The Color of Magic, Terry Pratchett

january2016group-anjali
Anjali
Never Always Sometimes, by Adi Alsaid | Yellow Brick War, by Danielle Paige | Landline, by Rainbow Rowell | Heir of Fire, by Sarah J. Mass | The Invasion of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen

---

So those are our contributor's goals, what are yours? Have you read any of these books? Which ones are you looking forward to this year?

Thanks to all of our contributors - Ali, Ria, Erin, Lulu, Josephine, Virginie, Anjali, Cat, Rachel

All book cover images via Goodreads
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Thursday, 21 January 2016

Features | What I Learnt From Reading All 13 Gossip Girl Books


Last year I read and reviewed all 13 books in Cecily Von Ziegesar's Gossip Girl series for my blog. It was not exactly what I hoped it would be. It turns out the books are nothing like the TV show, which I love so much. I nearly gave up a few times but I did make it to the end! And now I'm here to tell you a few things that I learnt about reading, writing, and, yes, even life itself, from Gossip Girl of all things.

1. The same two girls fighting over the same guy gets old fast.
This is probably a good lesson for both writing and for life. Serena and Blair swap Nate around between them throughout all 13 books as though he is a pair of shoes they've both borrowed so often that neither of them can remember who they originally belonged to. And not even a nice pair of shoes. A pair of shoes that spends all of its time smoking weed in the park. I've muddled up the analogy but you get the idea. Sometimes love triangles are interesting and heart-breaking, sometimes they are so boring you start to hate everyone involved.

2. A good writer can turn even the most two-dimensional character into someone complex and interesting.
The Chuck Bass of Cecily Von Ziegesar's books is not the Chuck Bass of the TV show. The Chuck Bass of the TV show is complicated and multi-faceted. The Chuck Bass of the books is a bizarre parade of flat stereotypes that do very little but insult. Until the last book. He's actually pretty great in the last book. But that comes out of nowhere! I take my hat off to the writers of the TV show because Chuck is just one example of a character being completely overhauled into something way more interesting for the screen. Nate and Dan are also excellent examples. To be honest all of the boys are just terrible in the books.

3. It's okay to read books that aren't necessarily works of great literature.
There is a lot of stigma around reading 'bad' books, especially among readers of YA. It almost seems sometimes that adults who read YA spend a lot of their time justifying that their books of choice are 'more than' YA. That they are nuanced and deep and really just as literary as any other book, as though a book that isn't any of those things is not worth anyone's time. I disagree. The Gossip Girl books are not works of great literary genius, they do not really hold any deep and important life lessons. They're just fun. Even though they're shallow and full of eye-rolling stereotypes and, yes, not fantastically written, they're fun. Sometimes that's enough.
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Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own | Kate Bolick | Review

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own | Kate Bolick | Review

*image via Goodreads

“You are born, you grow up, you become a wife. But what if it wasn’t this way? What if a girl grew up like a boy, with marriage an abstract, someday thought, a thing to think about when she became an adult, a thing she could do, or not do, depending? What would that look and feel like?” 

And so journalist and cultural critic Kate Bolick explores the history of single women of the past, and invites us to read into her own journey (with the help of five female 'awakeners' from the past) in understanding what it means to be unattached in the 21st Century.

So what's my verdict?

I think it's fair to say this book was not the book I expected it to be. Bolick presents Spinster as part thought provoking account of single women in America and part emotional memoir of her time in and out of relationships throughout her 20s to her 40s (with an obvious major emphasis on being out of relationships).

On the historical side, it's fascinating to see the history behind ideas on 'single-dom' and marriage. It's especially interesting to see these ideas presented through the lense of Bolick's five awakeners: Edna St. Vincent Millay, Maeve Brennan, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Neith Boyce and Edith Wharton. The awakeners were five incredible women who dabbled in 'spinster-hood' for significant periods of their lives, and act like spirit guides for Bolick, all coming into play at various points in her life - which is where the memoir aspect of the book comes into play. 
Bolick's story is just as much present as these women, as she falls in and out of love, lives on her own, goes one meaningless and meaningful dates, and all the while asking the question: Why is being in or out of relationship such a big deal for a women?

At this point I want to emphasise that the book is less about elevating the merits of single-dom and condemning marital life, but rather the book enforces the second half of the title: 'Making a life of one's own'.

Spinster preaches the idea that a women's life should not be ruled by the timeline of when she should find a husband and start a family (but if that's what she decides what she wants to do that's fine too - in fact some of Kate's awakeners end up in fulfilling marital relationships). It's message that women deserve to be the sole agents in their own destiny, and shouldn't be judged for that, is inspiring and one that should be shouted from the rooftops.
Bolick is a great narrator and through her voyage of discovery a reader too can find their own peace with following the path of solitude too. 
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Monday, 18 January 2016

Features | 2016 Releases On My TBR

Image via unsplash.com 

With a new year brings a whole host of new books to devour and today I wanted to talk about a handful of upcoming releases. Of course there are so many new titles I'm looking forward to this year and this would be a very long post if I tried to feature them all! So instead I've selected ten of my top picks to share with you. Here's a little more about each one...

1. The Mystery Of Hollow Places, Rebecca Podos – 26th January
As you may already know, I'm a big fan of stories with a little mystery and that's exactly what this January release promises. The book is all about a girl whose father, a forensic pathologist and author of mysterious tales, disappears suddenly leaving her to use skills she's picked up from him to piece together the story.

2. Blackhearts, Nicole Castroman – 9th February
This YA novel is part retelling, part historical fiction as it explores the story of Blackbeard, or rather his life before becoming a notorious pirate. There's been a lot of talk about this one amongst the book blogging community so I'm really looking forward to finding out more.

3. Beautiful Broken Things, Sara Barnard - 11th February
This Contemporary read focuses on friendship and deals with difficult issues so is set to be a bit of a rollercoaster ride. Having heard so many people talking about the novel, including authors at YALC and the Young Adult Literature Weekender, this book just had to make the list. I've actually already reserved a copy from my local library and I'm really hoping it lives up to the hype.

4. The Lifeboat Clique, Kathy Parks – 1st March
Next up is this YA Contemporary novel with a dark twist, which is set to hit the shelves in March. During a party, disaster strikes leaving a group of teens stranded at sea, including a pair of ex-BFFs and the book follows what happens as they try to survive. The cover design is also particularly eye-catching which is definitely a bonus! 

5. A Study In Charlotte, Brittany Cavallaro – 1st March
The first in a planned trilogy, this one is another retelling of sorts, featuring Jamie 'great-great-grandson of John' Watson and Charlotte 'great-great-granddaughter of Sherlock' Holmes. The novel follows the pair as they find themselves framed for a crime that sounds as if it could be plucked straight from the pages of a Sherlock story - this one definitely looks like it will be an exciting read!

6. The Last Star, Rick Yancey – 5th May
Having had mixed feelings about the first two novels in the 5th Wave series I'm keen to find out how the story will conclude. The big screen adaptation of the first book is also due to hit cinemas later this week and I'm looking forward to seeing how they bring the characters and world to life. It'll hopefully also be a great refresher before the final book's release!

7. The Unexpected Everything, Morgan Matson – 5th May
If you caught my Features post back in November you'll know that I found some new favourite Contemporary reads in Matson's first three novels. I can't wait to pick up her fourth, due out in May, which follows politician's daughter Andie at the height of a scandal. I'm sure I'll be purchasing this one, and I'm intrigued to find out if they'll be any sneaky crossovers with her other books this time around.

8. The Leaving, Tara Altebrando – 7th June
Another thriller title with an intriguing premise is this summer release centring around a group of children who return after a mysterious disappearance eleven years earlier. None of them seem to remember where they have been and what happened to them or the sixth child who is still missing. I enjoyed Altebrando's collaborative novel Roomies (written alongside Sara Zarr) and whilst this is a completely different type of story I'm looking forward to picking it up!

9. The Fever Code, James Dashner - 27th September
As a fan of the Maze Runner series I've been eagerly awaiting the release of The Fever Code. The novel is a prequel to the original trilogy, featuring characters we got to know throughout the series and is set to reveal details of many unsolved mysteries including how the maze was created. I have high hopes for this one!

10. Heartless, Marissa Meyer - 8th November
Sticking with the theme showcased throughout her four-book series The Lunar Chronicles, Marissa Meyer's next release is another retelling of sorts. This time she's taking on the world of Wonderland and penning the story of The Queen Of Hearts... before she became queen. Having enjoyed Meyer's twists on other classic characters such as Cinderella and Snow White I'm keen to find out how she will put her own spin on the queen's story.

Which 2016 releases are you most looking forward to?
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Wednesday, 13 January 2016

My Heart & Other Black Holes | Jasmine Warga | Review



*Trigger warning: This book contains discussions and glorification of suicide.*

Aysel wants to die. She is convinced she has the same darkness inside of her that her father has and wants to protect everyone around her by ending her life. There is only one problem, she needs somebody to make sure she goes through with it. Enter Roman - a boy she met on an online chatroom designed to create Suicide Partners. Only Roman isn't what she expected - he's good looking, is popular, has talents and dreams, why does he want to die? As the two become closer, Aysel begins to question whether they are doing the right thing and we're left wondering whether the two will go through with it or not. 

I enjoyed this book. It's the first book I've actually finished in a while and it didn't take me long to whip through it. However, it didn't blow me away and I was kind of hoping it would. The topic is very dark and one that is quite close to my heart. The portrayal of teenagers with depression who are contemplating suicide was a realistic one, in my opinion. Particularly through the descriptions of Roman but less so through Aysel's voice. The ending lacked for me and I was left feeling as though the story wasn't quite over, even when I turned the last page. I still really enjoyed reading this book and getting to know the two main characters and their struggles. I would highly recommend picking up this book - it won't change your life, but it's still a good read.
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Better With Age | Phyllis Strupp | Review

Monday, 11 January 2016

Better With Age | Phyllis Strupp | Review

*Image and book provided by NetGalley.

Summary:
"Use it or lose it" is a phrase we often hear when it comes to our brains. But are there better ways than others to engage our brains? Are there parts of our brains that are more important to keep active? In Better With Age, Strupp provides readers with several examples of the best way to "use it". 

Review:
This book ended up being a better read than I thought. I was worried that it would be full of "you can do it" fluff speak with no actual substance. Instead, I got a well thought out book that balances scientific knowledge with anecdotal experiences to provide some very good guidelines for readers. Better With Age is a bit more of a workbook, but the engagement questions at the end of each chapter really are good food for thought. 

Strupp discusses a lot of aspects of mental health and admits when parts of the brain are still too unknown for her suggestions to be one-hundred percent true. She is even nice enough to provide a section of suggested reading for further research. The glossary at the end of the book is also helpful for those of us who can easily trip over scientific terminology. 

I will not give away any of Strupp's suggestions, but I did find them to be interesting and, given my family's history with Alzheimer's, rather applicable. Strupp has done her research and has a lot of experience in this arena. So if you are worried about your long-term mental health, I highly recommend this book. I'll probably be picking up a physical copy for a couple of people I know.
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Thursday, 7 January 2016

Features | Reading Goals


A new year means new reading goals. Whether you've pledged to read 100 books on goodreads or just promised yourself that you'll read more non-fiction this year, you've probably already set some kind of reading goal for 2016. Mine is just to read as many of the unread books in my bookcase as I possibly can. (Easier said than done when so many excellent new books keep coming out!)

I have never officially taken part in the goodreads yearly reading challenges but I do secretly try to read at leat 52 books every year and I keep a list of all the books I've read each year so that I can easily see what I've read when December comes around. I've been doing this for the past three years and in 2015 I broke my own record, reading nearly 70 books in one year. Pleased as I am with that number though, there are other things in terms of my reading that I am more proud of this year.

Last year I took part in my first readathon and read seven books in seven days for the booktubeathon, I also read and reviewed all 13 books in the Gossip Girl series for my blog, and I finally finished T. H. White's The Once and Future King, after taking a break from it for over a year. I read Frankenstein and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland for the first time, and three of the Sherlock Holmes books. Three years from now I know I'll remember all of those things, but I doubt I'll be able to remember how many books I read in 2015 without checking the list again.

I would like to read more classics this year, and I would like to really make a dent in my TBR, but in terms of numbers I'm not too worried. I don't expect to read as many books in 2016 as I did last year and I certainly don't expect to read any more 13 book series. As long as I read a lot of books I enjoy, I'll consider it a good reading year.

Have you set any reading goals for 2016? I'd love to hear about them in the comments!
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Features | My 2016 Reading Goals

Monday, 4 January 2016

Features | My 2016 Reading Goals

reading challenge goals 2016

For my first Blogger's Bookshelf post of 2016 thought I would share my new reading goals for the year ahead. Last year I decided against setting any overall target numbers, instead opting for small goals such as aiming for five re-reads and setting my 'books I vow to read' list here at BB. This year I've settled on a similar mix of smaller goals, here's a little more about each of them...

Re-Read More! 
Having successfully completed my 2015 re-reads challenge I found that I really enjoyed revisiting some old reads and am even kicking off the new year with no less than three more! Whilst there are lots of new titles I'm looking forward to picking up, I'm also hoping to find time for a few more re-reads in 2016 too.

Take Part In A Set Challenge...
In addition to making re-reading a permanent fixture in my schedule I'm also planning to have a go at Popsugar's 2016 Reading Challenge which includes 40 different mini goals, ranging from a book with a blue cover to a New York Times bestseller - and everything in between! I've chosen this particular list as I'm hoping it may encourage me to read a few things I might not normally pick out for myself. There's also a handy printable to keep track of your list if you want to join in!

& A Readathon!
This one makes the list as it's something I've never done before. I'm not too sure how I'll get on with this particular type of challenge but I'd really like to give it a try this year. I haven't yet settled on which readathon I want to go for but if you have any ideas, or are hosting one, please leave a comment and let me know!

Make Time For Non-Fiction
As always I'll also be picking out five titles as part of the 'books we vow to read' challenge we host here at Blogger's Bookshelf each year. We haven't shared our lists yet (look out for the post in a couple of weeks time) but I'm planning to stick to a theme this year; non-fiction. Up until a few years ago I was much more likely to pick out a non-fiction book than a novel (mostly film-related at the time!) and so for the 2016 challenge I have a selection of five non-fiction titles lined up.

What are your reading goals for 2016?
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Friday, 1 January 2016

Gold Fame Citrus | Claire Vaye Watkins | Review

I received this book from Hachette Publishing New Zealand, 
in exchange for an honest review. 
 
"Your people came here looking for something better.
Gold, fame, citrus."


"In a parched southern California of the near future, Luz, once the poster child for the country’s conservation movement, and Ray, an army deserter turned surfer, are squatting in a starlet’s abandoned mansion ... Holdouts like Ray and Luz subsist on rationed cola and water, and whatever they can loot, scavenge, and improvise ...  
When they cross paths with a mysterious child, the thirst for a better future begins. Heading east, they are waylaid in the desert by a charming and manipulative dowser – a diviner for water -- and his cult-like followers, who have formed a colony in a mysterious sea of dunes."- from Goodreads

Can I just start this review off by saying that I really wanted to get into this book, but I just couldn't. It think it was a mixture of things, but let me first just tell you a little about the plot. Like Goodreads has just explained to us (thank you, Goodreads), Luz and her partner Ray are in the near future California, water is scarce, dust is everywhere (think James Dashner's The Scorch Trials), life as they knew it doesn't exist. They barely survive as it is, but when they stumble across a small child, life changes even more. They run into a group of people in a vast dessert, with a leader who is clearly a madman and runs his followers more like a cult than friends. It's a dodgy outfit, and Luz doesn't really seem to see it.

It's a story full of ugly scenarios and horrible people, but in hindsight, it showed human nature and characteristics, and while that is sad, and a terrible realisation to come to, it's true. One thing that I can say is that it is beautifully written. Much of the chatter on Goodreads and Amazon and the like mention the writing style. Watkins does write extremely well, but I found at times it was too good. What do I mean? I think I mean that at times I was so fixated on the words she was using, and in the way she was using them, that it took away from the story. Every sentence was clearly and carefully thought out and crafted into a descriptive wonder paragraph of words, but it was too much for me. I was distracted with her words, and I didn't really care that much about Luz or the other characters.

However! If you're after a more adult dystopian-like story, definitely pick up Gold Fame Citrus. I thought it was, perhaps, going to be more like the dystopian-like stories I've read and loved over the years, but it was certainly more adult focused and geared towards an older audience than those others. If you're after an incredibly well written book about the horrors and also wonders of humanity, with a
dystopian feel, mixed with science fiction, and has a cult thrown into the mix, give this book a go.

Just because it wasn't for me, doesn't mean it won't be for you. In fact, it may be your new favourite book of the year. Give it a go, and let me know what you think! If you have read it, what did you think? Let me know!



Image from Goodreads.


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