The Wrap – July 2021

Howdy Bibliofriends!

The Summer Holidays are finally HERE! I’ve already had about 2 weeks off and it has been so nice to catch up with myself, my life, my housework and… my reading!

Life Update

In my last update I was counting down the days until I finished at my place of work, which I have now left. It felt like a weight off my shoulders to hand those keys back and walk out the door for the final time. I’ve been able to catch up on some much needed housework and clearing a few things out which has put me into such a great headspace that I’ve really been missing. My usual horsey trips and cinema trips are back in full force so normality seems to be on the up!

The rest of this Wrap Post follows my usual format (Past Reads, Current Reads, Upcoming Reads, Films/TV, Music/Podcasts, Pokemon Go) so feel free to skip any irrelevant parts!


What I’ve Been Reading

In July I finished reading These Violent Nights by Rebecca Crunden. Rebecca sent me this towards the start of 2021 and it is a multi-layered fantasy which branches off in two directions before converging again into one storyline and ending. It was so nice to read something quite dark and adult after lots of YA reads. I’m currently writing the review which should be up in a couple of weeks.

The second book I finished this month was The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta. Being in verse form I was desperate to read this as I’m a bit of a fan about things like that. I found the whole symbology of the flamingo really intriguing and can’t wait to write my review.

#CurrentlyReading

I’m currently reading Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim. I was lucky enough to receive an e-ARC of this from NetGalley but didn’t manage to get more than 5 chapters in before it was archived. Thankfully, a stunning exclusive edition of this same novel arrived last week in one of my books subscription boxes so I can finally finish the story. I’m excited to see what happens to Shiori and her brothers.

I got myself into a great habit of listening to audiobook whilst I would get ready for work but as it’s the holidays now this routine hasn’t been as frequent. I purchased Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami whilst it was on special offer so I’ve been plowing my way through that whenever I’m out in the car. Listening to Murakami via audio is so much easier than when I tried to read The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, I love Murakami’s style but sometimes it just doesn’t sink in when I read it myself!

Upcoming Reads

I always get to Summer and think about the entire bookshelf of novels I’m going to tick off my TBR… it almost never happens so I’m trying not to give myself a ‘goal oriented’ list this month – it’s bad enough Goodreads telling me I’m still 7 books behind schedule! 🙈

I do want to try and get as much reading in as possible though. Similarly to Six Crimson Cranes I also had the e-ARC for She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan but again couldn’t read it before it was archived… and again – thankfully a gorgeous special edition of this also came my way via one of my book subscriptions. That’s definitely on my priority list this Summer.

I have a review request from Brittany Willows for her Urban/YA Fantasy novel Bloody Spade and I am also part way through graphic novel series called Fiery Crown by Charles Cutting which I’ll be making real efforts with over this Summer. Watch this space for these reviews!

Other books which are pretty high on my TBR list are:

Dune by Frank Herbert (which I am hoping to read before the movie comes out).
Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline (I have been waiting to give this book my complete, undivided attention)
Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

What I’ve Been Watching

I’ve tried to really curb by TV time this month to get some more reading time in – it seems to have been working so far but I am now hopelessly addicted to this series of Love Island. It’s one of those guilty pleasures that I find so bad but so good at the same time!

At the cinema this month we’ve been watching:

  • Freaky – cheesy horror with a great correlation to the film Freaky Friday (which I have a bit of a soft spot for).
  • Black Widow – Loved this! felt so good to be watching a Marvel film again and I love Scarlett Johansson’s character so I’m glad she got her own movie.
  • Old – This was a definitely a horror with a difference. I didn’t quite know what to expect but the plotline was unique and intriguing.
  • Escape Room: Tournament of Champions – I am a huge fan of Escape Rooms! I caught the first film of this series on Netflix during the lockdown and it quenched my first for not being able to participate in a real-live one. I just had to catch the sequel on the big screen and it did not let me down! It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s definitely mine!
  • Jungle Cruise – This was such an awesome film! One of my favourites of the entire year! Slightly long perhaps for the storyline but it was so funny and the scenery gave me total wanderlust vibes.

What I’ve Been Listening to

Not much other than my audiobook of Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami.

Pokemon Go Update

This month we finally had Go Fest! I spent the entire weekend just walking round my village catching Pokemon and raiding – it was great for my step count! 😂 I do love it when they host big events like this but they do tend to completely monopolise your time. I got a pretty decent shiny haul thought and the legendary raids day helped me to fill some gaps in my dex.

July’s Shiny Haul
Skarmory x2
Skorupi
Ralts
Slakoth
Aron
Audino x2
Alomalola x2
Kricketot
Roggenrola
Tangela
Snivy
Eevee
Rayquaza
Galarian Ponyta (with Meloetta hat)

My Trainer Code: If any fellow Pogo players want to add me, my trainer code is: 8327 7170 2277


And that’s a wrap! How are you all doing? What are you looking forward to this August – do you have any special holiday or reading plans? What are the upcoming book/film releases that you’re looking forward to the most?

As always, drop me a comment to chat! ☺️

T xx

#SixforSunday – Books with sun in the title!

Happy Sunday Bibliofriends!

I initially thought this was going to be quite easy to complete this week’s prompt – but actually, turns out I’ve only read 3 books with word ‘sun’ in the title so the others had to come from my ‘want-to-read’ pile! ☺️

For those who don’t already know, Six for Sunday is weekly meme hosted by Steph over at A Little But A Lot. July’s theme is ‘Sounds of Summer’ which I am living for at the minute – bring it on! 


Characters I’d go on holiday with!

  1. She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan
  2. Ignite the Sun by Hannah Howard
  3. The Sunshine and Biscotti Club by Jenny Oliver
  4. Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeanette Ng
  5. Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh
  6. The Sun and her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

What books have you read that contain the word sun or have sun in the title?
As always, leave your links below to your own posts or drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

#SixforSunday – Characters I’d go on holiday with!

Happy Sunday Bibliofriends!

This week’s prompt really got me thinking – who on earth would I want to go on holiday with? My own holidays have been pretty varied: from relaxing on a beach in Cape Verde to visiting (what felt like) every single Church in Florence, Venice, Rome and Milan… Not forgetting my action-packed trip to Disney World too. With that in mind, I’m not entirely sure I’ve read a lot of characters who would do all of those things. I’ve settled on a whole combination with the hope that we can go on six different holidays! Hey, with international travel being put on the back-burner for the foreseeable future, I can still dream can’t I? ☺️

For those who don’t already know, Six for Sunday is weekly meme hosted by Steph over at A Little But A Lot. July’s theme is ‘Sounds of Summer’ which I am living for at the minute – bring it on! 


Characters I’d go on holiday with!

  1. Addie from The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
    We all know Addie is pretty much my go-to girl – I think we could definitely make our own fun in any destination!
  2. Bridget Jones from Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding
    I know I’m probably basing this more on Renee Zellweger’s portrayal rather than the books but who wouldn’t go on holiday with Bridget!
  3. Magnus Bane from The Infernal Devices series (amongst others) by Cassandra Clare
    He would definitely put the extra into our extravagant holiday!
  4. Daniel from The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
    I need someone to visit all those libraries and museums with!
  5. Wade Owen Watts from Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
    I can just imagine Wade being happy to wait in a three hour line for the Avatar Flight of Passage ride with me (whilst sipping on a Night Blossom from Pongu Pongu!)
  6. Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
    For two reasons, if we ever got stranded somewhere Katniss could definitely help me to survive but also, she’s probably be happy with taking some chill time on a beach after everything that happened to her in THG!

Which character are you wanting to take on your holidays with you?
As always, leave your links below to your own posts or drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

#SixforSunday – Books set somewhere warm!

Happy Sunday Bibliofriends!

I initially thought week’s prompt was going to be a difficult one for me in some ways – most of the books I read take place in fictional lands rather than Planet Earth so I really thought my selection was going to be quite slim; however, browsing my Goodreads shelf it turns out that there were quite a few choices set in ‘real-world’ warm places. Here are a few of my favourites with a couple of fictional ones thrown in too! ☺️

For those who don’t already know, Six for Sunday is weekly meme hosted by Steph over at A Little But A Lot. July’s theme is ‘Sounds of Summer’ which I am living for at the minute – bring it on! 


Books set somewhere warm!

  1. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
    Set in: India and Pakistan
  2. Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko
    Set in: the fictional empire of Aritsar (based on West Africa)
  3. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
    Set in: Singapore / Hong Kong / New York
  4. These Wicked Waters by Emily Layne
    Set in: the fictional island of Viaii Nisi (Greek-based – I think!)
  5. The Lonely Hearts Travel Club: Destination Thailand by Katy Colins
    Set in: Thailand
  6. The Istanbul Puzzle by Laurence O’Bryan
    Set in: Istanbul, Turkey

What are your warm destination to travel to or read about?
As always, leave your links below to your own posts or drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

Biblioshelf Musings – All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O’Donoghue

Hello Bibliofriends!

This week’s Biblioshelf Musings is All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O’Donoghue. I would like to thank NetGalley and the publishers, Walker Books, for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for my honest review.

This book completely had me at the word ‘tarot’. I’ve always been intrigued by the art and origins of tarot reading so having a spooky deck of cards as the centrepiece for a novel really hooked me into the story and seemed quite different to other tropes/plot drivers that I’ve read about recently. Combined with a diverse band of main characters and set against a backdrop of Irish politics, this YA novel gave me plenty to enjoy.


Book: All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O’Donoghue
Genre: Teens / YA
Publication Date: 27th May 2021
Publisher: Walker Books
Pages: 304
Rating: 📚📚📚📖

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Maeve Chambers doesn’t have much going for her. Not only does she feel like the sole idiot in a family of geniuses, she managed to drive away her best friend Lily a year ago. But when she finds a pack of dusty old tarot cards at school, and begins to give scarily accurate readings to the girls in her class, she realizes she’s found her gift at last. Things are looking up – until she discovers a strange card in the deck that definitely shouldn’t be there. And two days after she convinces her ex-best friend to have a reading, Lily disappears.

Can Maeve, her new friend Fiona and Lily’s brother Roe find her? And will their special talents be enough to bring Lily back, before she’s gone for good?

My Musings

All Our Hidden Gifts centres around our main character Maeve who finds a mysterious deck of tarot cards (along with a working cassette walkman) whilst she’s on detention at her all-girls Catholic school St. Bernadettes. For someone who isn’t that academic, Maeve finds it surprising easily to grasp the rules of tarot reading and begins hosting sessions for the girls at her school. Upon the strange appearance of an eerie ‘Housekeeper’ card and the mysterious vanishing of her former best friend Lily, Maeve embarks on a journey with sidekicks Roe and Fiona to try and solve the mystery of Lily’s disappearance. On their way, they uncover peculiar happenings in their small Irish town and get drawn into the conflicting politics of religion, pride and magic.

I loved the presence of the tarot cards as a key driver in this novel – I’ve always had some kind of magical fascination with them and the way the peculiar Housekeeper card has such an impact on Maeve’s life was gripping, I’m just so pleased that I haven’t found a Housekeeper card in my own tarot deck because that would definitely freak me out!

Maeve is such a young and honest lead. Whilst some of her choices are a little naive or questionable, particularly friendship-wise, I like the honesty in which she confronts her actions. Caroline’s portrayal of Maeve seems so authentic to that young, teenage girl going-through-the-motions-of-high-school that I really bought into her as a character and as someone who also went to an all-girls school.

The supporting characters complement Maeve really well. Roe’s exploration of his sexuality and expression of identity was refreshing and poignant in the way it related to some of the more political conflicts going on around the main storyline. Fiona’s Asian influences also drew a unique parallel with both Maeve’s and Roe’s experiences. Their diversity added a great deal of depth to the storyline whilst also helping Maeve to see the true values and meanings of friendship.

The magical element of the plot goes beyond just the tarot deck. Amongst the talk of otherworldly dimensions and summonings of spirits, Maeve’s experiences with homemade spells and witchcraft keep this element of the story quite realistic and believable without straying too far into the realms of complete fantasy. As Maeve discovers why she has such an affinity with the tarot deck, we start to understand a little more about her powers and tie up some of the looser ends within the story.

What I really enjoyed about this story was the way the author addresses some of the more political and controversial attitudes of Irish society. In our modern world of freedom, self-expression and pride, we can sometimes forget the ongoing struggles people face while trying to be their authentic selves in communities which are still devoutly conservative or religious. Whilst this forms a central part of the narrative for Roe’s character, O’Donoghue communicates this sensitively – raising awareness without giving too much of a historical/political narrative. Her tone is in-keeping with the rest of the novel and subtly gives the reader something to think about without going beyond the Teens/YA audience barrier. The Irish representation is something I haven’t experienced before in stories within this genre so it added to my enjoyment of the novel.

I have a special mention of adoration for the part of the narrative centring around Sister Assumpta and her decrepit VW Beetle. I hate spoilers so I won’t really mention it here but the presence of this in the story and the discoveries Maeve makes in that little car kept me flipping page after page to get to the bottom of those curiosities!

Overall, All Our Hidden Gifts is ultimately the book which broke me out of my reading slump. I loved the tarot element and the friendship between Maeve, Roe and Fiona. It was magical without being overly fantastical and is fitting of its ‘Teen/YA’ age bracket, although I personally feel this fits into the younger side of the YA genre. Roe’s character gave me food-for-thought and the backdrop of Irish sensitivities brought a new representation to my reading diet. News has it that there’s a follow-up novel planned. Whilst I’m left feeling contented about the ending of All Our Hidden Gifts, it will be really fascinating to see where O’Donoghue takes this story next.


Why Should I Read This?

For the tarot element and the creepy Housekeeper card (think the creature from The Grudge with the Grim from Harry Potter).
For an original fantasy set in the backdrop of Irish politics and conservatism.
For a band of diverse characters who help each other to bring out the best in themselves.

Find out more about this book here:

Amazon | Waterstones | Bookshop.org | Goodreads | Author’s Website | Publisher Website

Connect with me here:

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

#SixforSunday – Summer-y Colours!

Happy Sunday Bibliofriends!

Trying to get my blogging groove back and what better way than with a brand new theme of Six for Sunday! Seriously, my ideas for blog posts has gone way down the toilet (ahem) these past few months; if anyone has any inspirational ideas for posts/tags/listicles then send ’em my way – I’d be so grateful! ☺️

For those who don’t already know, Six for Sunday is weekly meme hosted by Steph over at A Little But A Lot. July’s theme is ‘Sounds of Summer’ which I am living for at the minute – bring it on! 


Summer-y Colours!

  1. You and Me on Vacation by Emily Henry
    I loved Emily Henry’s debut Beach Read and the stunning pastel colours of this cover make me desperate to be back in a tropical paradise somewhere.
  2. She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan
    The sunburst yellows of this cover immediately make me think of that blazing ball up there in the sky which gives us those amazing summer sunsets. This book is one of my NetGalley arcs and one I’m hoping may be featured in a book subscription box very soon! 👀
  3. Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim
    Another one lucky enough to be on my NetGalley Arc list! This whole pastel-loveliness of this cover just makes me think about all of the summery/floral clothes that I pull out of my wardrobe at this time of year rather than the darker colours of winter fashions.
  4. The Sunshine and Biscotti Club by Jenny Oliver
    Blue skies, sunflowers and lemons – what’s more summery than that?
  5. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
    This book is on my ‘to buy’ pile but that cover just gives me all of those tropical summer vibes!
  6. Nocturnal by Maya Motayne [Fairyloot Edition]
    The gorgeous blue tiling and mosaic effect on this cover make me think of swimming pool floors or those fabulous tiled floors you find on old city houses when you go away somewhere exotic.

What are your favourite summer-y colours on books?
As always, leave your links below to your own posts or drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

The Wrap – April, May and June 2021

Howdy Bibliofriends!

How have you all been? I’ve missed you blogging friends! Attack of the Book Slump left me pretty much M.I.A for the last three months – I’m so sorry! For some reason, reading – and anything and everything to do with it – just completely left me behind like some kind of adverse food reaction. It hasn’t been this bad for several years but as work life got ramped up and crazy (*eye rolls*), the usual solace I found in escaping into the pages of books suddenly seemed like hard work. I stopped listening to audiobooks and bookish podcasts, I didn’t even read or keep up with my blog or Goodreads accounts – zilch!

I have literally gone from being 4 books ahead of my 2021 reading target to being 6 books behind! For anyone who has asked me about reviewing their books or sent me an email or blog comment during these past few months, I’m dreadfully sorry and I will definitely get around to catching up soon.

Life Update

In teacher life – I have 9.5 days in my current place of work before I am escaping onto a new adventure – still teaching but at an entirely different school setting! Pandemic aside, the last two years at my current workplace have really taken chunks out of my soul – my mental health reached new lows, but finally… the end is nigh! My new school is so fantastic and I feel incredibly proud to have been given a job there. I know the workload and expectations are going to be higher than ever given what I’m walking into but I can’t wait to belong to part of a bigger team again.

Elsewhere in life, the cinema is finally open again – I am loving being back in front of the big screen. I’d forgotten quite how loud the IMAX speakers could be until I heard Godzilla’s almighty ROAR! The horse racing yard that I am a part of has had the most spectacular start to the season and the horse I actually own has won 2 races! We’re all super proud of him. There is a whole vibe of positivity and celebration in the air at the moment which is definitely boosting the spirits.

The rest of this Wrap Post follows my usual format (Past Reads, Current Reads, Upcoming Reads, Films/TV, Music/Podcasts, Pokemon Go) so feel free to skip any irrelevant parts!

What I’ve Been Reading

So, somewhere along the reading road I hit a few bumps. March saw an incredible mission to try and complete the Taylor Swift themed ‘Tis the Damn Readathon which was challenging but great fun. You can read my wrap for that here.

April then saw me surrounded in the worlds of The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox and House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas, both of which I loved (I mean, SJM never fails to have me reaching for the tissues!).

In May I read absolutely nothing! 🙈

June saw my self-imposed NetGalley deadline guilt kick in and I finally picked up All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O’Donoghue. An intriguing YA debut based around a mystical tarot deck – review coming up next week!

#CurrentlyReading

I’m currently reading These Violent Nights by Rebecca Crunden which is definitely satisfying my need for a more adult fantasy novel. There’s a lot to sink my teeth into but I’ve just about reached the halfway point.

Upcoming Reads

I have Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim and She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan in my NetGalley reading pile which are both exciting, upcoming July releases. Rumour has it, I’ll be getting them both as physical copies very soon as well… 👀!

I have a review request from Brittany Willows for her Urban/YA Fantasy novel Bloody Spade and I am also part way through graphic novel series called Fiery Crown by Charles Cutting which I’ll be making real efforts with over this Summer. Watch this space for these reviews!

What I’ve Been Watching

I have unfortunately succumbed to the Bridgeton hype! I wasn’t exactly bowled over by the storyline but I did love the costumes and the set-dressing! The return of the cinema has been so welcome and I’ve managed to go at least once, if not twice a week – thank goodness for my Cineworld Unlimited Card! I had my first 4DX experience for Fast and Furious 9 which was. So. Much. Fun. It’s not quite the immersive experience that the Avatar Flight of Passage ride is at DisneyWorld but it definitely kept me awake late on a Friday evening!

Looking back at my Netflix viewing activity from April, May and June – I now know what may have added to the diversion away from reading… enter: The Bold Type! This is one of my favourite shows ever! I’m so sad that Season 5 is going to be the finale but I’m praying it comes to Netflix soon; I have to keep blitzing past the spoilers on Instagram!

  • Love Wedding Repeat [Film – Netflix]
  • The Bold Type [Seasons 1-4 – Netflix]
  • Shadow and Bone [Season 1 – Netflix]
  • Things Heard and Seen [Film – Netflix]
  • Ibiza [Film – Netflix]
  • Something Borrowed [Film – Netflix]
  • The Perfect Date [Film – Netflix]
  • Bridgerton [Season 1 – Netflix]
  • The Woman in the Window [Film – Netflix]
  • Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant [Films – Netflix]
  • Second Act [Film – Netflix]
  • In the Shadow of the Moon [Film – Netflix]
  • Can You Keep a Secret [Film – Netflix]
  • Friends: The Reunion [Sky]
  • Game of Thrones [Seasons 1-3 – Sky]
  • Ugly Betty [Season 1 – Disney +]
  • Godzilla vs Kong [Cinema]
  • Cruella [Cinema]
  • A Quiet Place Part II [Cinema]
  • In The Heights [Cinema]
  • Fast ad Furious 9 [Cinema]
  • Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard [Cinema]
  • Dream Horse [Cinema]

What I’ve Been Listening to

  • Fearless (Taylor’s Version) – Taylor Swift
  • Staying at Tamara’s – George Ezra (this album always gives me major summer vibes)
  • The Lion’s Roar – First Aid Kit
  • In the Heights (film soundtrack)
  • Dolly Parton’s America (podcast)

Pokemon Go Update

Sometimes it feels like PoGo is the one constant in my life – even if just for 5 minutes everyday! 🙈😂

April, May and June’s Shiny Haul
Lopunny
Execute
Snivy
Nidoran
Marill
Snubull
Swablu
Bunnelby
Igglybuff
Gible
Bidoof
Tepig

My Trainer Code: If any fellow Pogo players want to add me, my trainer code is: 8327 7170 2277


And that’s a wrap! How are you all doing? What are you looking forward to this July? If you’re a Bold Type Fan or Shadow and Bone fan feel free to let me know or send me a comment about what you thought of the series!

As always, drop me a comment to chat! ☺️

T xx

Biblioshelf Musings – The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox

Hello Bibliofriends!

This week’s Biblioshelf Musings is for The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox. I would like to thank NetGalley and the publishers, Penguin Michael Joseph UK, for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for my honest review.

After reading The Absolute Book, I found myself struggling to verbalise my reflections of reading it. Sometimes my head was brimming with thoughts, other times there was a void as if I had forgotten the last 600 pages of story which had just unfolded in front of me. This is more an indication of my headspace at the time I was reading the book as opposed to a true representation of the kind of novel The Absolute Book is. I’ve tried to work around this and make this apparent through my following review so apologies if what comes after this is a little stilted!


Book: The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox
Genre: General Fiction / Fantasy / Mystery
Publication Date: 18th March 2021
Publisher: Penguin Michael Joseph
Pages: 628
Rating: 📚📚📚📖

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Taryn Cornick barely remembers the family library. Since her sister was murdered, she’s forgotten so much.

Now it’s all coming back. The fire. The thief. The scroll box. People are asking questions about the library. Questions that might relate to her sister’s murder.

And something called The Absolute Book.

A book in which secrets are written – and which everyone believes only she can find. They insist Taryn be the hunter. But she knows the truth.

She is the hunted . . .

The Absolute Book is a tale of sisters, ancient blood, a forgotten library, murder, revenge and a book that might just have the answer to everything.

My Musings

I found The Absolute Book to be a pleasantly challenging read. The blend of magical realism mingling with portals to fantastical worlds, hitchhiking demons and a dazzlingly curious box named ‘The Firestarter’ gave me a lot to get my head around.

The main characters had enigmatic secrets leading my brain to try and stretch to reach for what was actually unfolding between the lines. Each part of the story was full of gradual reveals; things happened which I only fully understood afterwards when other characters discussed and explained the events to each other.

Taryn’s ongoing suffering surrounding the death of her sister and the repercussions which follow, prove to be a key driving force behind the actions and events within the novel. This provided a mysterious whodunnit feel adding suspense and intrigue to the plot. 

The shiftiness of Shift (puns aplenty!) created a conundrum of unreliability which was brilliantly perplexing for the characters as well as the readers who were trying to keep up with them.

An interweaving of fairytale and folklore from different mythologies generates a multidimensional world complementing the complexities of the storyline incredibly well. From the Celtic Sidhe faerieland, the presence of shapeshifters and Norse talking birds, to the alluded references to Merlin, portal gates on ley lines and influences from the most notable of the ‘stories-about-stories’ genre, this book is jampacked with an epic range of fantasy motifs and themes to command your attention.

Tolkein-esque expositions pepper the narrative appealing to those of us who enjoy our world-building on the lavishly rich side. The homage to libraries and guardianship of books and memories speaks out to our bookish afflictions.


From Heaven to Hell and all of the human or faerie purgatories in-between, The Absolute Book is entirely deserving of its high acclaim from professional reviewers and critics. 

When I read this book at the end of March, I was trying to fit to a NetGalley deadline. Global pandemic aside, there was a lot of background noise which stymied me from giving it the attention it deserved. It also made this review quite difficult to write. In that respect, I feel like I let The Absolute Book down.

Netting in at over 600 pages, this is not your light-hearted beach read or just something to provide a meaningless distraction amidst everyday life. The Absolute Book is a tale which deserves an almost essay-like dissection to reveal its multitude of wonders and the exquisite depth and breadth of its writing. It’s exactly the type of book that warrants a reread – it’s earned that. I feel I need to give this novel another chance to discover all of the hidden gems and fantasy Easter eggs which have been lovingly crafted into its pages.

I found Nina Hall’s review from The Guardian a wonderfully fitting analysis of just how much The Absolute Book has to offer readers. Her piece is the main incentive for me adding this book to my reread list. You can check out her review here.

Why Should I Read This?

For the loving ode to stories and libraries which forms a central part of the storyline.
For the amazing mix of fairytale, folklore and mythology all merged and mingled together.
For the challenge – it’s an adult fantasy offering a thrilling complexity unlike anything else I’ve ever read.

Further Reading:

Elizabeth Knox: Why I Wrote The Absolute Book – This post, by the author herself, reveals some helpful insights as to the motivations behind different plot elements, as well as a beneficial hint at some of the influences she used to craft her world and characters.

About the Author:

Elizabeth Knox is an award-winning New Zealand author who has published over a dozen books. Her novel The Vintner’s Luck won the Deutz Medal for fiction in the 1999 Montana New Zealand Book Awards and the 2001 Tasmania Pacific Region Prize, while Daylight was shortlisted for Best Book in the South Pacific & South East Asian Region of the 2004 Commonwealth Writers Prize. Elizabeth has an ONZM, is an Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate and won the Prime Minister’s Award of Fiction in 2019. She teaches World Building at Victoria University and lives in Wellington, New Zealand, with her husband and her son.
(Taken from Penguin Michael Joseph January – June 2021 Publishing Catalogue)

Find out more about this book here:

Amazon | Waterstones | Bookshop.org | Goodreads | Author’s Website | Publisher Website

Connect with me here:

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

March 2021 – #WrapPost

Howdy Bibliofriends!

Life Update

It’s been a little while hasn’t it? I took some time away from my blog over the past couple of weeks to deal with some things on the home front, and they’re not fully sorted but it’s also not really in my control to sort so my headspace is in a bit of a weird place right now.

What I am loving is that Spring is finally arriving – even if in typical British style the day can turn from sun to snow to hail all in the space of a morning! It has been so nice to catch up with friends and actually socialise again as England comes out of another stage of lockdown. I always used to have a packed diary but I had forgotten how tiring it can be actually having to make the effort and get out there – I think I took to the lockdown hermit life too well even though I was still in school like normal! How are you all coping with the different stages of the pandemic wherever you live?

What I’ve Been Reading in March

March was a pretty good reading month for me even if I did hit a massive reading slump which is kind of still ongoing… 😏 Taking part in the ‘Tis the Damn Readathon was so much fun as it’s been quite a while since I’ve taken part in one. It was also a really good way to keep me in my Taylor Swift zone. Ever since Folklore my fandom has reached brand new heights! 😂

Books I read:
> The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
> The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley (audiobook)
> The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart
> Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie (audiobook)
> Lore by Alexandra Bracken
> Locke and Key Vol. 2: Head Games by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez
> The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox

Instead of repeating myself, I did a small breakdown about each book and the readathon prompt they were for in a separate wrap post which you read here!

What I’ve Been Watching in March

  • Shadowhunters – Series 1

I finished watching the first season of Shadowhunters on Netflix. Being completely honest, I’m not sure it’s something I’ll continue with. I’ve read all of the books so was curious about the series but there are so many other things I think I’d rather try watching as I wasn’t really blown away by this one.

  • The Angel

I think this was based on the true story of Ashraf Marwan, an Egyptian spy (and President Nasser’s son-in-law) who tried to bring about peace with Israel. I didn’t really know any of the story beforehand so it was a little bit confusing to follow.

  • Extraction

Now this film I really enjoyed! Chris Hemsworth (a.k.a. Thor) is a mercenary tasked with rescuing a kidnapped teenager from a load of drug lords. It was fairly gory and there is a large amount of violence but I enjoyed the bond the mercenary and the teenager developed during the film.

  • Dead to Me – Season 1

Wow, this show! I can’t believe I didn’t see the twist at the end of the first episode coming! From there, the whole season was so addictive and I had to just keep clicking ‘next episode’ to see everything unfold. It’s kind of a tell-all show where the watcher knows exactly what is happening and is just waiting for the characters to find out to see their reactions. I definitely need to find out what is going to happen in season two after that incredible season finale.

  • Wandavision

OMG the ending to Wandavision, it went slightly off tangent for me but then the exploration of Wanda’s and Vision’s relationship just melted me! I’m so pleased we got to see Monica Rambeau as I can’t wait to see how her character evolves in the upcoming Captain Marvel II.

What I’ve Been Listening to in March

March has definitely been the discovery of the podcast! I’ve been listening to three different ones on a bit of a cycle during the mornings whilst I get ready for work.

That’s What I’m Tolkien About
This is such a great podcast by Mary Clay Watt which explores each the world of Tolkien chapter by chapter. I’ve come to this podcast fairly late (it’s up to episode 91/92 already). The Lord of the Rings and the movies have already been covered so I decided to start with The Hobbit chapters which are updated every Tuesday and always feature a special guest. I was so tempted to try and read the chapters along with the podcast, which I may go back and do for the LOTR books (the reading slump has beaten me to it this time around).

It’s Super Effective
This Pokémon podcast comes out every Monday and discusses all of the latest updates in Pokémon world. It’s pretty hefty at about 1.5 hours long but there is a mashup style music remix featuring as a break to each one which is kind of addictive. There’s a little too much TCG and Masters chat for me in some parts but the hosts SBJ, Will and Greg are incredibly entertaining and I like the Pokémon news and Pokémon Centre shopping updates they do. There’s also a Pokémon of the week style quiz to try and guess.

Book Riot’s SFF Yeah!
There had to be a bookish podcast in there from Book Riot! I love the way Sharifah and Jenn share their recommendations about books. I’ve mentally added so many more books to my TBR and actually preordered two books purely from their recommendations.

Pokemon Go Update

March was pretty quiet in the Pokemon Go stakes. I did find a group of local players in the village I live so I have been participating in more events and raids etc. which has been really nice. Rayquaza Raid weekend was such hard work! 😂 I did 15 raids, caught 14 of them and my 13th catch was my only shiny – how’s that for superstitious!  

March’s Shiny Haul
Krabby
Landorus (Incarnate Forme)
Fletchling (evolved into Fletchinder and Talonflame)
Voltorb
Eevee
Electrike
Castform
Chikorita
Pidgeot
Spearow
Rayquaza
Skarmory
Wingull

My Trainer Code: If any fellow Pogo players want to add me, my trainer code is: 8327 7170 2277

What I’m Looking Forward to it April

  • Easter holidays and Creme Eggs!
  • Lockdown easing and seeing friends.
  • The Shadow and Bone series!
  • Fearless (Taylor’s Version)

And that’s a wrap! What have you been reading/watching/listening to/doing in March? What are you reading in April? Have you got any exciting Readathons or social events lined up?

As always, drop me a comment to chat! ☺️

T xx

‘Tis the Damn Readathon Wrap Post

Aloha Bibliofriends!

In March I took part in the Taylor Swift based ‘Tis the Damn Readathon with my friend who is one of the biggest Swifties I know! Quite often my reading ambitions fall on the fantasy side of magical realism so I always end up giving myself too much to do and then fall out with myself when I don’t hit the goals: #ownworstenemy
I came up with a TBR of about 7 books as I wanted to try and hit all of the album prompts – you can read about that here!
Right towards the end of the month I hit a massive reading slump which probably killed my blog vibe too to be honest. I have just started reading Crescent City whilst it’s still the Easter holidays so I’m hoping that drags me out of it.

  • Album: Taylor Swift / Prompt: Read a Memoir / Book: The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

I love the Star Wars franchise and actually won a copy of this book through Bookmarks which is an online research panel lead by Penguin. It was the perfect choice for a memoir and it was so strange reading this knowing that she tragically passed away shortly after its publication. You read my review here.

  • Album: Fearless / Prompt: Do some meditation (non bookish prompt)

I didn’t read anything for this but I do meditate every morning before going to work so this felt like an easy prompt to achieve.

  • Album: Speak Now / Prompt: Listen to an Audiobook / Book: The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley

I was pleasantly surprised by this audiobook and ended up adoring its plot and characters. There was a day at school during remote learning where we set the children on an off-timetable creativity day so we didn’t have a live lesson schedule, this audiobook was the soundscape to my redecorating the classroom and laminating all of the resources. It’s one of those I could listen to again and again! Read my review here.

  • Album: Red / Prompt: Read a book with red on the cover / Book: The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart

This was a late addition to my TBR as I unexpectedly got approved for this on NetGalley in preparation for the paperback release of the book. This was such a great SFF book with a really curious twist on magic. I’m so intrigued that I can’t wait to see where the series goes next. Read the review here.

  • Album: 1989 / Prompt: Read a book with a number in the title / Book: Locke and Key Volume Two: Head Games by Joe Hill

So I cheated on this one a little – I didn’t have time to read my TBR selection for this but I figure it counts right? I watched the Locke and Key series on Netflix and was so captivated that I had to start reading the graphic novels too. They’re a little different to the TV show in terms of the timeline but it still satisfies that void whilst I’m waiting for Season Two to drop.

  • Album: Reputation / Prompt: (Blank Space Tile) Read a book Taylor has referenced / Book: Peter Pan (Audiobook)

I used a Blank Space tile for this one as I struggled to think of an idea for any of the prompts. I came across an audiobook of Peter Pan read by a whole cast of celebs including Joanna Lumley, David Walliams, Kit Harrington and others. It was put together by Martin Jarvis who did the Good Omens audiobook which I also loved. I enjoyed exploring this as it was a classic which I haven’t read before.

  • Album: Lover / Prompt: Do some self care (non bookish prompt)

This prompt happened lots in March, mostly with ice cream! 😂

  • Album: Folklore / Prompt: Read a book based on mythology / Book: Lore by Alexandra Bracken

When I discovered this book was a standalone, it rocketed up my TBR and I was definitely in the mood for some contemporary, yet magical YA last month. It was such a fun read and I enjoyed the way the author mixed the ancient mythology into a modern world context. There might be a review of it coming soon if I get time.

  • Album: Evermore / Prompt: Read a mystery or thriller / Book: The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox

Again, this was a little bit of a cheat one as The Absolute Book is classed as Fantasy but after reading it I feel that it definitely has a mystery twist too – I was mystified through all 640 pages, right up until the Epilogue! 😂 I read this for NetGalley so this week’s job is to get the review finished!


That’s my ‘Tis the Damn Readathon Wrap! It was so much fun to take part in a Readathon again, I can’t remember the last time that happened. Thanks so much to my friend @megalynreads on Twitter for suggesting it and to the fabulous team over at ‘Tis the Damn Readathon for putting together the most comprehensive Swiftathon I’ve ever seen! It definitely helped motivate me to keep my reading goals on track in March!

Did any of you take part in the readathon? What did you read in March?

As always, drop me a comment to chat! ☺️

T xx