‘What’s a Girl Gotta Do?’ by Holly Bourne

419p

2016

Usbourne Publishing

Bought

512ntzuuull-_sx326_bo1204203200_When 17 year old Lottie is sexually harassed in public, something inside just snaps. She’s had enough of being discriminated against just because she’s a girl. With the help of her two best friends, Amber and Evie, and the Feminist Society the girls founded at their school, Lottie starts a campaign, to call attention to everyday sexism.

The campaign ‘#Vagilante’ has a few ground principles, as described in the blurb:

1. Call out anything that is unfair on one gender

2. Don’t call out the same thing twice (so you can sleep and breathe)

3. Always try to keep it funny

4. Don’t let anything slide. Even when you start to break…

To get media attention the girls decide to get one of the A-Level film students from their school to video their campaign. The camera man is the annoying, arrogant, talented and handsome Will. The three best friends, along with Will and their new-found friend Megan, work hard at building up the campaign and pointing out to the public everyday sexism- to both genders.

When the campaign starts to gather momentum and media interest, it also unfortunately draws the attention of internet trolls. With so much hate being directed at her, will Lottie be able to juggle finishing the campaign, her relationship with her family and friends, and her long-awaited interview at Cambridge University?

 

This book is amazing. The plot, the characters, the way it’s written… it’s just brilliant. In the previous two books in the trilogy, Lottie has come across as warm-hearted, extremely intelligent, and a bit crazy, but she wasn’t really the stand-out character for me. Throughout this book I really began to like and admire her. I also liked how the introduction of the new characters, Will and Megan, brought an extra layer to the plot.

Holly Bourne raised some points that interested me, such as cognitive dissonance. The scene where Lottie discusses cognitive dissonance with the Feminist Society in her school canteen was probably my favourite moment of the book.

What’s a Girl Gotta Do? was one of the best books I read in 2016. I’m in love. Holly Bourne’s book makes you open your eyes and understand. She’s combined all these incredible truths and thoughts into a book that is not just important, but heart-warming, funny and a story that people can relate to. I can’t recommend it enough.

‘Eliza Rose’ by Lucy Worsley

354p

2016

Bloomsbury

Bought

51qrdxiaeul-_sx325_bo1204203200_Growing up in the bleak and crumbling Stoneton Castle, Eliza Camperdowne has always known that as her family’s only heir, it was her duty to marry the son of a wealthy family in order to restore her family’s fortunes.

When Eliza is twelve, she is betrothed to the son of the Earl of Westmorland, even though she has not met him. Months later, there is news that King Henry VIII and Queen Jane will be visiting at her betrothed’s house. Eliza’s delighted to know that she will meet the monarch, when she will also first meet her husband-to-be. During this first visit, Eliza goes against her strict aunt’s orders and is shamed in front of the court. Much to her disappointment and anger she is taken home in disgrace, her betrothal broken.

Once at home, Eliza’s widowed father decides to send her away to her relative, the Duchess of Northumberland. There, for a few years, Eliza is taught with other girls her age how to be a satisfactory Maid of Honour, and all the courtly ways, as well as how to perform the duties of a wife.

When Eliza is fifteen, she and Katherine Howard, her cousin and rival, are sent to court to become Maids of Honour for the King’s new wife, Anne of Cleves. Eliza struggles at first to catch on to how the court works and all it’s drama and intrigue that lies bubbling beneath the shiny surface. But when the King divorces Queen Anne, Eliza sees a chance that may solve her family’s financial problems. With everything to play for, will she be able to win the dangerous courtly games and become the next queen?

Eliza Rose is Lucy Worsley’s first fictional book for young teens, and I absolutely loved it. The plot was exciting and well written, and I really appreciated the amount of detail that Lucy included. I’m a major fan of the Tudor period as it was such an interesting time in English history, and I enjoyed reading this new take on the role of a Maid of Honour.

When I first started reading Eliza Rose, I assumed that it would be for readers a bit younger than myself, but I was quite surprised to discover that it was perfectly suited to my tastes as a fourteen year old. I whole-heartedly recommend Eliza Rose for anyone who likes historical fiction, with adventure, intrigue, and a splash of romance mixed in!

‘A Library of Lemons’ by Jo Cotterill

250p

2016

Piccadilly Press

Bought

513blykf6clEver since 10 year old Calypso’s mom died years ago, she has always relied on her inner strength to get her through hard times, just like her dad told her to, and she’s become a loner. When Calypso meets Mae at school, she doesn’t quite know what to think of the friendly girl. She’s never had a proper friend, but when she and Mae bond over a love of books, Calypso wonders whether there is something to be said for having friends.

Calypso and Mae’s friendship blossoms, and Calypso enjoys spending time at Mae’s house, where her family are fun and loving, although slightly noisy at times. It makes a change from her home, where for years Calypso’s dad has been writing his “magnum opus”, a book called The History of Lemons. Calypso is proud of her absent-minded father, hoping for him to become a famous author after all his hard work, but after seeing what life is like at Mae’s house, she finds it hard being the responsible one at home, who takes care of everything.

But when she discovers the shocking secret in her dad’s extensive library, Calypso realises that something has been wrong for a very long time, and she can’t fix this on her own. With the help of Mae’s family, Calypso and her dad try to repair their relationship, and her dad’s mental health. But will things ever be better again?

I was drawn in by A Library of Lemons gorgeous cover and intriguing title, and found the story inside to be a lovely, heart-warming read that made me smile. (The fact that it was written by Jo Cotterill also had a draw!)

Calypso’s story was so captivating, and the blossoming friendship between her and Mae was something that I think everyone hopes to find. I also liked all the references to books throughout the story, books being the main thing that Calypso and Mae bonded over.

The relationship between Calypso and her dad was also really interesting to read about. With his mental illness and pent-up grief over her mother’s death, Calypso’s dad was absent-minded, nearly always leaving Calypso to be the person that got things done around the house: the ‘de facto adult’. This was a source of anger for her as he’s the grown-up and meant to be the one to take care of them both.

But towards the end, Calypso realises you don’t always need to rely only on your inner strength to get through tough times, that it’s okay for other people to help you.

This was such a sweet story, with lots of life lessons that rang true. I’d definitely recommend A Library of Lemons to anyone looking for something new to read.

‘The Songbird Cafe Girls: Aurora and the Popcorn Dolphin’ by Sarah Webb

176p

2016

Walker Books

Bought

51l2uvmzicl-_sx323_bo1204203200_When Aurora and her marine-biologist father visit her mom’s family on Little Bird Island for their summer vacation, Rory has no idea what to expect. Her mom, who was also a marine biologist, died recently and Aurora is still struggling to cope. Going to visit their family in Ireland was her mom’s idea, and Aurora isn’t too thrilled to be staying for the whole summer with people she’s never met.

While staying on the island, Aurora is encouraged to hang out with her cousin and his friends, but she has difficulties fitting in with them, and feels sad. When Alanna, the friendly owner of The Songbird Cafe introduces her to the island’s resident dolphin, Click, Rory begins to feel that her summer is looking up.

As the summer goes on, Rory slowly gets used to life on the island, and although rocky, her relationship with the local kids gets better. She and her dad have disagreements however; Rory wants more freedom and feels that her dad is babying her needlessly. She also wants to try and do more work for the project that her parents had worked on before her mother died, a project on dolphin communication. Rory hopes that spending more time with her dad, doing what they both love, will help them get along better, but he’s reluctant to try.

When there’s a terrible accident, Rory and her dad have to work together to try and save the day. Will they be able to do it, and work out their differences?

I’d looked forward to this third book in The Songbird Cafe Girls series after really enjoying the previous two books in the series (see reviews here and here), and I can happily say that Aurora and the Popcorn Dolphin lived up to my expectations.

Rory was such a great character; you really empathised with her, and her grief about her mother’s death was dealt with with such care and compassion. Sarah Webb’s love of all things marine also really shone through in this book, with lots of interesting facts about dolphins, marine biology, and the environmental threats that our seas and sea-life are currently facing.

This book, with it’s gorgeous, eye-drawing cover, will definitely entice readers to pick it up- and I would recommend that you do! A lovely, heart-warming read.

‘Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief’ by Rick Riordan

 

377p

2005

Disney Hyperion

Borrowed

516tbavfpvl-_sx324_bo1204203200_Twelve year old Percy Jackson, diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD, has always considered himself to be unusual. Expelled from multiple schools, he has a bit of a reputation as a trouble maker. But in a shocking turn of events, he discovers that he is the son of a Greek god, and his whole world is turned completely upside down.

Living a normal life is no longer possible as he’s exposed to many dangers, so he goes with Grover, his friend, who turns out to be his special protector, to Camp Half-Blood, where many other half-blood children and teens from around the world live. There, the half-god, half-humans stay in relative safety from the monsters and evils that would seek to harm them. While there, they train and learn techniques that can help them survive to in the outside world.

When Percy is accused of stealing Zeus’s lightening bolt, he, Grover and their new-found friend Annabeth go on a mission to clear his name. They need to find out who stole the Lightening Bolt, while avoiding all the many life-threatening foes along the way.

My 13 year old brother Kieran positively raves about Rick Riordan’s books- he owns all of them- so I figured it was about time I gave them a try. Kieran recommended that I read Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief; it’s the first in the 5 book Percy Jackson series and the one that got him hooked.

The plot is fast, funny and full of surprises, and there’s loads of facts about the Greek gods- you really learn a lot about the myths surrounding them. The characters are so engaging, pulling you into the story, and Kieran says that because of the way the series is written, he truly believes in the story. 😉

Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief is a great book perfect for any reader and it’s a fab series as well, although I’d suggest that you read them in order. Rick Riordan has also written stand-alone books, centring on the myths about the gods, as well as other series, which Kieran recommends, though I haven’t read them yet: Trials of Apollo (Greek and Roman gods); Kane Chronicles (Egyptian gods); Heroes of Olympus (Greek and Roman gods); and Magnus Chase (Norse gods).

A Fresh Start

It’s been almost a year since I last blogged (eesh!) and despite quite a few attempts, I have never actually posted anything else. And when better to (re)start a new venture then the new year? I have decided that I’m going to get back into blogging, with weekly posts, and more new features as I go along.

I’m feeling pretty excited about this, and with more organisation and self-motivation, I believe I can actually make a go of this. Blogging is something that I really enjoyed doing; sharing my love of all things bookish, interacting with a lovely online community, and it’s also a great thing for me personally to focus on and work towards.

While The Never Ending Bookshelf is primarily a book blog; with reviews, round ups, and author interviews, I’d also like to share more of the things that books make me think about and feel, or stationary I love, or a great movie adaptation of a book.

So, I’ll be posting every week from now on… watch this space!