Biblioshelf Musings – Hag: Forgotten Folktales Retold

Happy Wednesday Bibliofriends,

Hag is a wonderfully relevant and apt anthology of British and Irish folktale retellings, perfect for the upcoming Halloween season. Filled with feisty female characters, atmospheric settings and morals aplenty, the fairytale lover within me thoroughly enjoyed rediscovering some of these bygone traditional tales.

Originally a podcast series, Professor Carolyne Larrington conjured up a writing experiment which tasked 8-10 inspiring British and Irish women authors to write a contemporary retelling of a forgotten folktale with a modern, feminist twist. This collection reminds me of a fresh uplift on the gothic horror genre – think Angela Carter meets Henry James’ Turn of the Screw. With particularly eerie and dark stories, the tales within are guaranteed to get you in the mood for Halloween and those darker nights by the fire.


Book: Hag by Various Authors
Genre: Short Stories / Fantasy
Publication Date: October 8th 2020
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group UK (Virago)
Pages: 288
Rating: 📚📚📚📚

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

DARK, POTENT AND UNCANNY, HAG BURSTS WITH THE UNTOLD STORIES OF OUR ISLES, CAPTURED IN VOICES AS VARIED AS THEY ARE VIVID.

Here are sisters fighting for the love of the same woman, a pregnant archaeologist unearthing impossible bones and lost children following you home. A panther runs through the forests of England and pixies prey upon violent men.

From the islands of Scotland to the coast of Cornwall, the mountains of Galway to the depths of the Fens, these forgotten folktales howl, cackle and sing their way into the 21st century, wildly reimagined by some of the most exciting women writing in Britain and Ireland today.

My Musings

As someone who has spent a fair bit of time reading folk/fairytales (I even did my dissertation on them) I was pleased to see a few of the more familiar and popular creatures making an appearance here such as selkies, boggarts, fairies and mermaids. That being said, the stories they were contained within felt fresh and new, I didn’t feel like I’d read any of them before – whilst the concepts may have been familiar, the stories themselves had me gripped to finding out what was going to happen, so they felt like more than just your average retellings.

What I particularly liked in Hag, was the focus on different regions from the UK rather than just a generalisation of British and Irish tales. It really did emphasise the nature of how transient traditional stories are and how they have shaped places across our entire nation. Also, the settings of each story became more relevant and heightened; you could visualise the area you live in and the places you’ve visited. Kudos too goes to the authors who managed to incorporate some the regional accents and dialects into the speech of their stories to make them all sound incredibly authentic.

The breakdown at the end recaps for the reader the ‘original’ tales as they may have been told in anthologies from the 19thand early 20thcenturies. These short snapshots not only refresh your memory of all the stories you’ve just read, but it also helps to see just how these tales have been revamped and updated for our 21st century world – they now have a modern diversity which wasn’t necessarily present in their earlier versions.

It is highly evident to see how much effort and hard work each author has put into their own retelling. Shamefully, I wasn’t aware when first diving into these stories just how well known some of these amazing writers are and it’s made me want to add more of their own voices and writings to my ever expanding TBR pile – there is some serious writing talent within this book and it shines off each and every page in the tone of the retellings and the way the stories have been brought to life within the pages.

Complete List of Tales

Below is a complete list of the authors, their revamped retelling, the location it is heralded from and a few examples of the author’s own works. (My personal favourites are starred)

Suffolk: A Retelling (Based on the Green Children of Woolpit) by Daisy Johnson [Fen; Everything Under; Sisters]

Yorkshire: Sour Hall (Based on Ay, We’re Flittin’) by Naomi Booth [The Lost Art of Sinking; Sealed]

Norfolk: Rosheen (Based on The Dauntless Girl) by Irenosen Okijie [Butterfly Fish; Strange Gigantular]

⭐️Orkney: Between Sea and Sky (Based on The Great Silkie of Sule Skerrie) by Kirsty Logan [Gracekeepers; Things We Say in the Dark]

⭐️Stafford: The Panther’s Tale (Based on Chillington House) by Mahsuda Snaith [Thing We Never Thought We Knew]

⭐️County Galway: The Tale of Kathleen by Eimear McBride [A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing; The Lesser Bohemians]

London: The Sisters (Based on Tavistock Square) by Liv Little [Editor-in-Chief of gal-dem Magazine]

Wales: The Dampness is Spreading (Based on The Fairy Midwife) by Emma Glass [Peach; Rest and Be Thankful]

⭐️Cornwall: The Droll of the Mermaid (Based on The Mermaid and the Man of Cury) by Natasha Carthew [All Rivers Run Free; Only The Ocean; The Light That Gets Lost]

Somerset: The Holloway (Based on Old Farmer Mole) by Imogen Hermes Gowar [The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock]

Favourite Quotes:

Sad, isn’t it, how many beautiful things we have destroyed to find out truths.
– Between Sea and Sky by Kirsty Logan

The trees surround her like giants from the folktales her mother recited: dark, looming, with crooked arms.
– The Panther’s Tale by Mahsuda Snaith

And if tales of her spirit seen dancing there surfaced, it should be remembered such stories are common enough. They are almost to be expected and should be looked sceptically upon – depending, of course, on how much of the rest of this story you believed anyway.
– The Tale of Kathleen by Eimear McBride

Song for the forgotten, a few words turned towards the ocean waves the place where the legend began where for some of them it would certainly end.
– The Droll of the Mermaid by Natasha Carthew

Why Should I Read This?

For the ominous, autumnal vibes.
For the rediscovery of traditional tales from the heritage of our nation.
For the exceptional storytelling prowess of some seriously powerful female authors.

If you love your folktales / retellings / contemporary female voices or you just want something to give you spooky and caliginous chills this October then Hag may be the perfect collection for you!

Find out more about this book here:

Amazon | NetGalley| Virago | Waterstones

Connect with me here:

Twitter | Goodreads | Book Sloth: @thebiblioshelf |Email: thebiblioshelf@gmail.com

#BookTag – The Anonymous Bookaholics Tag!

Happy Tuesday Bibliofriends,

I was tagged by the amazing Ashlee at Books Are 42 to do this super fun Anonymous Bookaholics Tag! I kind of did this in a bit of a rush, so I’m sorry if my answers come across as slightly out there or snarky…? When I get stressed out, my brain seems to resemble Roadrunner from the Looney Tunes trying to do everything at hundreds of miles per hour!


1) What do you like about buying new books?

Everything! From entering the shop, to browsing the shelves, to picking it up, to giving it a new home, to reading it, to staring at it on my bookshelves, to talking about it with friends – what book lover doesn’t like buying new books??

2) How often do you buy new books?

Erm…
To be honest, with Covid etc I haven’t been shopping in town more than I normally would but every time I go somewhere you can guarantee that I’ll HAVE to enter at least one bookshop and I will probably ALWAYS come out with at least one book. My last shopping trip was Sunday and I may have been to Waterstones and I may have bought 5 books… whoops!

3) Bookstore or online book shopping: which do you prefer?

Bookstores for the experience, online for the prices.
Again this sounds so wrong now with Covid etc but… I love being able to go into a shop and touch everything!pick up a book that looks interesting, read the blurb, skim the pages for the font style and size…

 4) Do you have a favourite bookshop?

One of my favourites is called a second hand bookshop called Moss Books in my local town. It is STACKED with books. They’re double stacked on the shelves then there are piles and piles all over the floors and so many genres! It’s my book-loving dreamworld!

5) Do you pre-order books?

I don’t as a rule but the exception to this is the Waterstones signed, exclusive version of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab (and yes, I am totally aware how much I am mentioning and loving and hyping this book!).

6) Do you have a monthly buying limit?

Um…I’m sorry, a what?? 😂

7) How big is your wish list?

You know that proverb, how long is a piece of string…? Do you see where I’m heading with this? I want so many books, in fact I want all of the books! 😂

8) Which three books from your wish list do you wish to own right now?

Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline – the wait is becoming agonising!
The entire Shades of Magic series by V. E. Schwab
The Poppy War trilogy


TAG – you’re it!! Feel free to have a go at this tag yourself and link it back to my blog if you want! Drop me a comment and let me know which 3 books you’d be wanting from your wishlist!

Have a great week people!
T xx

#SixforSunday – Devious Characters

Happy Sunday Bibliofriends,

This is the final instalment in our monthly Characters Ahoy theme this week. Who doesn’t love a Devious Character right?! They normally add lots of different creative elements to a tale and some even provide the humour in the story too! I think this was definitely the easiest and most fun list to think about this month!

For those who don’t already know, Six for Sunday is weekly meme hosted by Steph over at A Little But A LotSteph also hosts a Twitter chat for Six For Sunday each Sunday evening around 6pm but I never seem to make it as I’m always busy at that time! Maybe this month…?! 🤔


Devious Characters

Celaena Sardothian – Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J Maas
When it comes to being the most wiley and cunning, Celaena absolutely gives this off in droves. The way she plots and schemes o play various people off against one another is definitely one of the more entertaining aspects of the whole series for me.

Thomas Cromwell – Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
I finally got around to starting this trilogy off during lockdown and I am so glad I did. It’s a pretty hefty read but it was really gripping. Mantel has portrayed her main character as an absolute masterclass of strategy and wit. Cromwell knows exactly what he wants and makes no shame in doing whatever he needs to do to accomplish his goals. A very devious individual indeed!

Cardan – The Folk of the Air Series by Holly Black
Cardan…Oh Wicked King Cardan… So devious and dastardly that there were so many times during this series when my brain kept flipping between whether Cardan was really a good guy or bad guy.

Alessandra – The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller
Snarky yet sophisticated, cunning yet feminine – Alessandra put the ‘diva’ in ‘devious’. I absolutely loved this book and it was great to see a female main character taking that kind of lead for a change.

Gollum/Smeagol – The Hobbit / Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Wicked, tricksy, false – Gollum is definitely a prime candidate for the devious characters list. The way he manoeuvres Frodo in getting him exactly where he wants whilst all the time focussing on ‘the Precious’. Such a great character!

Amy Dunne – Gone Girl by Gillian Flynne
I devoured this book in very little time at all and when flicking through my Goodreads shelf and landing on this, I knew Amazing Amy would be the one to finalise my devious characters list. I was one of those readers that got completely sucked in by this book and didn’t guess any of the ‘big reveals’ towards the end which is probably why I enjoyed it so much. Anyone who has read the book or even seen the film will know exactly why sweet little Amy is here.


Who are your favourite devious characters? Do you think every good book deserves one?
As always, leave your links below or drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

#FaeFriday

Happy Friday Bibliofriends,

What are you all up to this weekend? I hope it’s something fun-filled and fabulous!

Fae Friday is a weekly blog prompt hosted by the wonderful Kristy at Caffeinated Fae. It seems like the perfect way to spread a little more magic across the blogosphere every week.

Here are the rules:

  • Link back to this page on Caffeinated Fae.
  • If the prompt idea is from another blog, link to that blog as well.
  • Use #FaeFriday when posting to social media so we can all find each other! 
  • Participate when you can & have fun with the prompt!

September 25th prompt:
Music is something that faeries are known to enjoy. That is why this week’s prompt is:
What kind of music do you listen to when reading?

I’m not very good at all with listening to music whilst reading. If it’s something with lyrics or a catchy tune, I’m always trying to sing along or tap my feet and move to the rhythm which distracts me from actually reading the words on the page.
If I do listen to any music at all it has to be classical or something from a movie soundtrack. Recently those tracks have been: Portals from Avengers Endgame; the theme from Jurassic Park and the end credits from Ready Player One.


Do you listen to music when you read? Feel free to leave me links to your own Fae Friday and I’ll check them out!

Enjoy your weekend Bibliofriends!

T xx

Biblioshelf Musings – Upcoming October Reviews

Hi Bibliofriends, 

Normally, I’d be posting a review this week of one of my most recent reads however my reading in September has been all over the place, which is kinda what I was expecting since the start of a new term at school is always hectic and stressful. I’ve also been hooked on a series called Money Heist which I’ve been watching on Netflix and have managed to get my entire household glued to it! We’ve finally worked our way through all of the available episodes and are impatiently awaiting the final season!

So this week, instead of a new review, I thought I’d let you know about some upcoming reads and reviews that will be making their way to you over the next month. Two of them are 5-star reads and are definitely going to feature in my favourite books of the year for 2020.


The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – V.E. Schwab

The first week and a half of September was spent in an absolute book hangover after finishing an e-arc from Netgalley of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. I had to reread the request acceptance email over and over again as I just couldn’t believe that Titan Books had approved it. It’s my first time reading anything by Schwab and it definitely won’t be the last. I feel like I keep going on and on about this book but it is seriously one of the best books I’ve read for a long, long time – I LOVE IT. It’s such an emotional story and the way art and history are interwoven into the plot grabbed right onto my lil bookish heart. I’ve already pre-ordered my signed copy from Waterstones and I can’t wait until it gets here so I can read it again!
Review coming up on: 7th October
Publication Date: 6th October

Synopsis from Goodreads:
France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever-and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets. 
Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world. 
But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore, and he remembers her name.
In the vein of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Life After LifeThe Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is New York Times bestselling author V. E. Schwab’s #1 New York Times Bestselling Author genre-defying tour de force. 

The Once and Future Witches – Alix E. Harrow

Another 5-star read which I’m definitely recommending to all of my witchy/fantasy loving friend is The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow (thank you Netgalley – again!). The start of this book was like a vortex that just sucked me into the story. Sometimes when I read books, it feels like the authors writing style has an atmosphere which just permeates through the book and jumps off the pages – The Once and Future Witches was exactly like this! The story is so sinister and gripping whilst also featuring a little romance, sisterly bonding and female empowerment. There’s so, so much I could say about how much I enjoyed reading this but I’ll save some of it for the proper review – if you’re looking for the perfect Halloween read, this would definitely be top of my list!
Review coming up on: 14th October
Publication Date: 15th October

Synopsis from Goodreads:
In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.
But when the Eastwood sisters–James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna–join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.
There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.

Hag: Forgotten Folktales Retold

My current read (thanks Netgalley again again!) is an anthology of forgotten folktales from around the UK and Ireland called Hag. Originally a podcast series, Professor Carolyne Larrington conjured up a writing experiment which tasked 8-10 inspiring British and Irish women authors to write a contemporary retelling of a forgotten folktale with a modern, feminist twist. The first few stories are particularly eerie and dark – so far this collection reminds me of a fresh uplift on the gothic horror genre (think Angela Carter meets Henry James’ Turn of the Screw with a pinch of Scarlett Curtis thrown in too). I can’t wait to make my way around all of the tales, particularly the one based around the region I live in. Another book perfect for the upcoming spooky season!
Publication Date: 8th October

Synopsis from Goodreads:
DARK, POTENT AND UNCANNY, HAG BURSTS WITH THE UNTOLD STORIES OF OUR ISLES, CAPTURED IN VOICES AS VARIED AS THEY ARE VIVID.
Here are sisters fighting for the love of the same woman, a pregnant archaeologist unearthing impossible bones and lost children following you home. A panther runs through the forests of England and pixies prey upon violent men.
From the islands of Scotland to the coast of Cornwall, the mountains of Galway to the depths of the Fens, these forgotten folktales howl, cackle and sing their way into the 21st century, wildly reimagined by some of the most exciting women writing in Britain and Ireland today.

The Windsor Knot – S J. Bennett

Anyone remember the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony where HM The Queen jumped out the plane à la James Bond…? Well the next book up on my TBR sounds absolutely like it was inspired by this… well kind of! The Windsor Knot is the first novel in a new series where The Queen goes all Poirot and starts solving crimes. I’m so excited to start reading it as it sounds like so much fun – (another Netgalley read so thanks again x4 to them)!
Review scheduled for: 28th October
Publication Date: 29th October / 9th March 2021

Synopsis from Goodreads:
The first book in a highly original and delightfully clever crime series in which Queen Elizabeth II secretly solves crimes while carrying out her royal duties.
It is the early spring of 2016 and Queen Elizabeth is at Windsor Castle in advance of her 90th birthday celebrations. But the preparations are interrupted when a guest is found dead in one of the Castle bedrooms. The scene suggests the young Russian pianist strangled himself, but a badly tied knot leads MI5 to suspect foul play was involved. The Queen leaves the investigation to the professionals—until their suspicions point them in the wrong direction.
Unhappy at the mishandling of the case and concerned for her staff’s morale, the monarch decides to discreetly take matters into her own hands. With help from her Assistant Private Secretary, Rozie Oshodi, a British Nigerian and recent officer in the Royal Horse Artillery, the Queen secretly begins making inquiries. As she carries out her royal duties with her usual aplomb, no one in the Royal Household, the government, or the public knows that the resolute Elizabeth will use her keen eye, quick mind, and steady nerve to bring a murderer to justice.
SJ Bennett captures Queen Elizabeth’s voice with skill, nuance, wit, and genuine charm in this imaginative and engaging mystery that portrays Her Majesty as she’s rarely seen: kind yet worldly, decisive, shrewd, and most importantly a great judge of character.


They are my forthcoming reads and reviews for across October. Have you read any of these yet or are tempted to add any to your TBR? As always, drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

#BookTag – The Bookish Baking Tag

Happy Tuesday Bibliofriends!

Do you ever have one of those serendipitous moments when you’ve just been doing something and then you read about it somewhere…? Well that happened to me just this weekend!

Basking in the glee of having the whole house to myself, I launched a massive Tesco mission to buy baking ingredients for THREE of Jane’s Patisserie’s recipes (Malteser Tiffin, Biscoff Rocky Road and Mint Aero Brownies 😍)! Mid-bakeathon, I’m scrolling through WordPress Reader and I come across this super-fun Bookish Baking Tag over on Ms. Victorious’ blog Victorious Pages and knew that I had to do it!

As if that wasn’t serendipity enough… *drumroll please*
GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF IS BACK TONIGHT!!! We’re still in the midst of a global pandemic, yet Bake Off 2020 has been saved! I’m overjoyed! 😂 Without further ado, scroll on for the awesome Bookish Baking Tag – images from Victorious Pages because they’re super nicer than anything I could make (thank you!).


To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of blueberry muffins but as soon as I read this prompt, there was only one book on my mind – The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow. I read an arc of this (thanks Netgalley!) and the beginning was on point! It sucked me into world so fast that I already knew it was most likely going to be a 5-star read. Review coming soon!

Being from the UK and thanks to our Great British weather (the word ‘great’ is definitely a pun there) holidays to me are sunny, warm places so I would have to go with Summer at the Lake by Erica James or Beach Read by Emily Henry as I read both of them by the sea.

Can I say Gollum for this? Is that allowed? I know he was driven by the power of the ring and his greed for is it what turned him into the Gollum as opposed to Smeagol, but I don’t think he’s a definite ‘villain’ to the story.

Another Italian themed read, Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch. Florence, sunshine and ice cream – what could be more summery than that?

Gangsta Granny by David Walliams reminds me so much of growing up and reading Roald Dahl books. It’s really funny and lighthearted and reminds me of those old childhood memories when you’d be staying with your grandparents and playing games in the garden.

I remember having to read Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy for my English class and being completely overwhelmed by the size of it. I ended up taking it on holiday with me and remember being sat on the bed in our hotel room, listening to Elephunk by the Black Eyed Peas on my CD walkman and becoming so engrossed in Hardy’s world. I loved it, it’s probably my favourite classic I’ve read.

I read an amazing book called The Immortal City by Amy Kuivalainen through Netgalley and is was so engrossing. Atlantis, Venice, a secret magical archives, (hot) Gods – what’s not to like?! This was right up my street and I’m hoping there’s a sequel or something soon. I’d definitely be reading it!

Probably the book with the most feels on my shelf, A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas – it that ain’t fluff then I don’t know what else qualifies!

Billed as an eco-fable, The Rain Heron by Robbie Arnott tries to get us to consider how we treat and what we take from nature and the damaging affects it can have on humanity. It’s a powerful read.

When I once convinced myself to broaden my literary horizons, I decided that I had to read something by Murakami so my friend lent me their copy of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. I found it so tough to read and try to understand at the same time so it was quite an intimidating read to get my head around.

I keep hearing loads of good things about A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown – my copy of this finally arrived about a week ago so I can’t wait to get around to starting it.

There are so many books on my shelves which are there purely because of the hype but there is one book coming out very soon which I am massively hyping up. I read an e-arc of it, I have on special-signed-edition preorder and I CAN NOT WAIT to read it again – that books is The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab – it is exquisite! Review coming up at the end of this month! Honestly can’t tell you how much I love this book! 😍


TAG – you’re it!! Thanks for reading and feel free to have a go yourself and link back to my post if you love baking and books – UK people, don’t forget… BAKE OFF STARTS TONIGHT! 🙂

Enjoy your week Bibliofriends,

T xx

#SixforSunday – Brave Characters

Happy Sunday Bibliofriends,

Characters Ahoy continues this week in Six For Sunday and now we’re thinking about Brave Characters.

Bravery seems to be a “must-have” trait in all SFF books. If characters don’t start out with it, then they usually always have to pluck some up Cowardly-Lion-style before the final battle at the end of the book – at least, I haven’t seen a MC back out yet! 😂

For those who don’t already know, Six for Sunday is weekly meme hosted by Steph over at A Little But A LotSteph also hosts a Twitter chat for Six For Sunday each Sunday evening around 6pm but I never seem to make it as I’m always busy at that time! Maybe this month…?! 🤔


Brave Characters

Severus Snape – Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Anyone who knows me properly will absolutely know that I can’t think about brave fictional characters not discuss Severus Snape. I don’t care what canon says, he’ll always be a true hero (albeit a flawed one) in my eyes!

Katniss Everdeen – The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I think Katniss epitomises the ‘brave warrior’ style main character for me. I like the way how she shows although she’s a bad-ass, she’s also very human too and never loses her integrity and compassion no matter what is put in her path.

Jesper – Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Jesper is one of my favourite characters in Six of Crows. I could also have put Nina in here alongside him but I keep thinking back to just one of Jesper’s scenes when he is with Wylan. I won’t spoil it here, but Jesper shows a different kind of bravery which comes from having the courage to be your true self in front of someone else – that’s why he made this list this week.

Arya Stark – Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
I haven’t read all of the GoT books yet, or even finished watching the TV series but Arya is definitely a character that I think when it comes to being brave. She may be short in stature but she is mighty in her courage and ferocity to face her toughest opponents.

Circe – Circe by Madeline Miller
Circe’s bravery isn’t so much physical as it is mental. The types of things she faced whilst on her island exile and the ways she battled to try and fight her way out of exile showed a remarkable inner strength which she wouldn’t have been able to carry off without a little bravery.

Daniel – The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
I am a huge fan of all Zafón’s work and the way he crafts his characters. Daniel is brave in the way that he persistently searches for the truth and doesn’t get deterred even when things start to take more sinister, dark turns.


What do you determine as a brave character? Who would make your list of the bravest characters in fiction?
As always, leave your links below or drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

#FaeFriday – Acknowledgements

Happy Friday Bibliofriends,

How has your week been so far? Are you glad it’s finally the weekend?

Fae Friday is a weekly blog prompt hosted by the wonderful Kristy at Caffeinated Fae. It seems like the perfect way to spread a little more magic across the blogosphere every week.

Here are the rules:

  • Link back to this page on Caffeinated Fae.
  • If the prompt idea is from another blog, link to that blog as well.
  • Use #FaeFriday when posting to social media so we can all find each other! 
  • Participate when you can & have fun with the prompt!

September 18th prompt:
Did you know that faeries have excellent manners but hate being thanked? That is why the prompt this week is:
Do you read the acknowledgment section in the books you’re read and why?

I always, always read the acknowledgements. Books are so important to us as readers, but I think we can sometimes forget that they’re also special to authors as well. I often imagine that writing a book must be like putting a little bit of your heart and soul down on paper but it’s also important to think about the journey they took to write the book and all of the people and influences that helped them along their way. That’s why I always read the acknowledgements.


Do you ever read the acknowledgements and thank yous at the end of the book? Feel free to leave me links to your own Fae Friday and I’ll check them out!

Enjoy your weekend Bibliofriends!

T xx

#Friday56 – Beach Read

Happy FriYAY Bibliofriends!

This week’s Friday 56 comes from Beach Read by Emily Henry – It was the most perfect bookish hangover cure to drag me out of my reading slump.

Hosted by Freda’s Voice, the Friday 56 is a weekly bookish prompt. It’s quite easy to do and could cover no end of different books and genres so seems great if you’re looking for a quick snippet to discover something new!

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.


Red, White Russians, and Blue Book Club.
I, January Andrews, romance writer, and literary wunderkind Augustus Everett had stumbled into a book club trafficking primarily in spy novels. It took some effort to stifle my laughter, and even then I didn’t do an amazing job.

This book. I loved so many things about it: the homage to writers suffering from writers’ block, the witty banter and rivalry between Gus and January, the heartbreaking way the characters journey through their inner demons, many, many things. You really should read it! You can check out my full, spoiler-free review here.


Drop me a comment below or connect with me here:

Twitter | Goodreads | Book Sloth: @thebiblioshelf |Email: thebiblioshelf@gmail.com

Biblioshelf Musings – Beach Read by Emily Henry

Good morning Bibliofriends,

Beach Read was exactly the type of hangover cure I needed to get me out of my 2-week reading slump. It almost comes across as two sides of a coin – funny, yet deep; romantic, yet heartbreaking – one moment you’re wanting to put yourself in January’s shoes, the next you’re glad you don’t have to live through the bereavement she’s had to face. Then on top of all that – there’s the homage to books, writing and the added bonus of practically reading books within a book. It was an utter delight from start to finish.


Book: Beach Read by Emily Henry
Genre: Romance
Publication Date: May 18th 2020
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 361
Rating: 📚📚📚📚

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

He doesn’t believe in happy endings.
She’s lost her faith that they exist.
But could they find one together?


January is a hopeless romantic who likes narrating her life as if she’s the heroine in a blockbuster movie.
Augustus is a serious literary type who thinks true love is a fairy-tale.
January and Augustus are not going to get on.

But they actually have more in common than you’d think:

They’re both broke.
They’ve got crippling writer’s block.
They need to write bestsellers before the end of the summer.

The result? A bet to see who can get their book published first.
The catch? They have to swap genres.
The risk? In telling each other’s stories, their worlds might be changed entirely… 

My Musings

What made me read Beach Read? I needed a break from all of the witchy, spooky fiction and folklore I had consumed myself with over the past month. That, coupled with the fact that I wanted to cling on to those last glorious rays of summer – Beach Read seemed to offer me exactly that.

This may sound odd (complete book rambling – apologies), but the first thing I had to contend with when starting ‘Beach Read’ was that I had shamefully I knowanticipated a chick-litty rom-com taking place on a far-off tropical paradise of a popular holiday destination, when actually the novel takes place around a quaint town on the shores of Lake Michigan. Having not visited anywhere outside of Disneyworld and living in a leafy, hilly area of the UK, nearby lakes and bodies of water are nowhere near the size comparison of the type of Great Lakes in the US and Canada so I had to adjust my perception of the type of beach read I’d be reading. Chick-litty, it was not… Holiday destination, it also was not… 

January starts off by not wanting to even be at the beach house but with the introduction of next-door-neighbour-also-author Gus, Pete and Maggie (Sapphic couple), owners of a café/bookshop, we gradually get let in to the life of North Bear Shores and all of the adventures that await our protagonist. I grew to love this bunch of characters; the way they look out for each other, the stories that give us deeper insight into their histories – it was almost Goldilocks style ‘just-right’ perfection. 

The plot centres, quite brilliantly, around two authors suffering from writers’ block and the bet they enter into to embark on research trips benefitting the other’s genre and writing style. This leads to some of the most memorable, funny and moving parts of the novel. The balance between what constitutes literary fiction and what makes up the romance genre gradually get explored; the lines between them becoming blurred as two authors find their inspiration from each other and learn to face their own personal demons at the same time. A book about writers writing their novels – what more could a book-loving, aspiring author want to read?!

And then there’s the romance – my heart and stomach was swooping and diving the whole way through (and it isn’t often that books like this will do that to me). I was absolutely rooting for Gus and January – every obstacle that got in the way had me screaming at them with my silent reading megaphone in my head – two battered souls helping each other heal… It was steamy, it was heartbreaking, it was tender; but what’s more, it was real, believable and so entirely relatable which is probably why my bookish soul became so entangled with it.

I wanted to live through January and put myself in her shoes – until Emily Henry skilfully brings you back to earth and plays the dysfunctional family card. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that there is no such thing as an entirely happy family. Each one has their own vices, demons and secrets which are lived through behind closed doors. January Andrews is no different and learning the truth of her father’s actions and motivations, why things were the way they were was the big mountain she was trying to face. The tentative, nostalgic way she finally confronts this towards the end of the novel, is the part which gave me tiny tears rolling down my face whilst trying to read. It’s a stark reminder that the flip-side of love is sometimes loss and on a really personal level it harkened to my greatest fear of losing the people I love the most. That balance between joyfully finding love whilst going through the devastation of bereavement was so beautifully handled, written and dealt with. I think that’s why I was so thoroughly surprised by how much I enjoyed and cherished this book.

Favourite Quotes:

Happy endings don’t matter if the getting there sucks.

It didn’t take inspiration to dredge up a list of plot points, but to find that moment – the perfect moment that defined a book, that made it come alive as something greater than the sum of its words – that required an alchemy you couldn’t fake.

No matter how much shit, there will always be wildflowers.

We can never fully know the people we love. When we lose them, there will always be more we could have seen.

The only promise you ever had in life was the one moment you were living.

Why Should I Read This?

For a swoon worthy, heart-fluttering romance.
For the tender balance between love, loss and facing our inner demons.
For the homage to writers and books which bounces off the pages.

This is a bookishly great romance novel which goes deeper than your average ‘chick-lit’ style aspects of the genre. It’s an incredibly moving story with two highly relatable characters on their quest to get their mojo back. I loved it!

Find out more about this book here:

Amazon | Penguin| Author’s Instagram | Waterstones

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