book reviews, spoiler free

Bookshop Girl Review

36642932Bookshop Girl by Chloe Coles

Rating: XXXXX

Published: June 14th by Hot Key Books

“What do we want? Books! When do we want them? Forever!”

Bennett’s Bookshop has always been a haven for sixteen-year-old Paige Turner. It’s a place where she can escape from her sleepy hometown, hang out with her best friend, Holly, and also earn some money.

But, like so many bookshops, Bennett’s has become a ‘casualty of the high street’ – it’s strapped for cash and going to be torn down. Paige is determined to save it but mobilising a small town like Greysworth is no mean feat.

Time is ticking – but that’s not the only problem Paige has. How is she going to fend off the attractions of beautiful fellow artist, Blaine? And, more importantly, will his anarchist ways make or break her bookshop campaign?

I received a digital advance copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. When I saw the title of this book and the cute cover artwork I knew I needed to check this book out and I must be on a winning streak at the moment because I’m so glad I requested a copy.

Bookshop Girl is two things for me, one is a inspirational, little fluffy, fun, easy and enjoyable read and the second is a scarily arcuate representation of my town. I worked in a local pet shop that got shut down because rent’s became extortionate, foot fall in town fell and many more people go online or further afield and most of the time sadly independent retailers cannot compete so when the same thing looked to happen to Bennetts bookstore I immediately felt a connection there. It wasn’t just the retail climate that felt familiar either, although I’m a good 14/15 years older than the main character I remembered essentially being her. Sure the slang has changed and technology is vastly more superior but her essence and personality just felt so relatable to my “youth” (now I REALLY feel old). The surroundings and townsfolk seemed eerily accurate too, down the guy who used to try to hide things in his trousers to shop lift and the shops etc, I had to check the authors info page to find out how close she really lived to me because it felt like she could have easily written this about my town and I think that really helped connect me to this book in a way I might not have done otherwise.

Bookshop girl is a super laid back read and is, I think certainly for the younger side of the YA market with a sixteen year old protagonist and fairly light events which were no less meaningful for it. This book is heartwarming and just the right kind of funny, silly and cringe inducing and the couple of days it took to me read it just felt relaxing. The writing feels very arcuate to the age group (insert hello fellow young people meme here) and shows a lovely side of the “younger generation of today” instead of the bad image a lot of young people are unfairly branded with today. Paige Turner is normal, average and I love her for it because it helps hammer home the idea that anyone can help to make a difference if it’s something they care about.

I can see why some people, especially of my age, might find this a little too “young” for them but I throughly enjoyed it and can happily recommend it. I’m so happy books like this are being written, although we need the deep hard-hitting stories I feel like we also need books like Bookshop Girl too which address issues and current situations that I don’t think we see a lot of but that can still effect young people. Thank you so much to Hot Key Books and Net Galley for allowing me to read Paige’s story in time for its release date today!! Happy Book Birthday to Bookshop Girl and don’t forget if you’re attending YALC Chloe Coles will be attending the event and signing books on the Friday!

Until next time,

Jemma.

book reviews, spoiler free

The Testament of Loki

35077202The Testament of Loki by Joanne Harris

Published: May 17th 2018 by Gollancz

Rating: XXXX

“I’m Loki, son of Laufey and I always have a plan.”

Ragnarok was the End of Worlds.

Asgard fell, centuries ago, and the old gods have been defeated. Some are dead, while others have been consigned to eternal torment in the netherworld – among them, the legendary trickster, Loki. A god who betrayed every side and still lost everything, who has lain forgotten as time passed and the world of humans moved on to new beliefs, new idol and new deities . . .

But now mankind dreams of the Norse Gods once again, the river Dream is but a stone’s throw from their dark prison, and Loki is the first to escape into a new reality.

The first, but not the only one to. Other, darker, things have escaped with him, who seek to destroy everything that he covets. If he is to reclaim what has been lost, Loki will need allies, a plan, and plenty of tricks . . .

Loki is back! The Testament of Loki by Joanne Harris is out today in all it’s Norse glory!  was lucky enough to receive a digital advance copy from Gollancz via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was super excited to also pick up my signed finished copy a day in advance as well! I love the style of the cover art so much and it looks great next to my copy of Gospel, I can’t wait to receive my preorder bonus pin as well.

The Testament of Loki is a sequel to The Gospel of Loki and are a part of the Runemarks universe, I haven’t read the Runemarks books yet but still enjoyed Gospel immensely and to be honest you don’t necessarily have to have read even that to enjoy Testament because it recaps most of, if not all of the important information. That said, The Gospel of Loki is pretty good (My spoiler free review can be read here) and it does help set the tone for some of the characters so if you get the chance I recommend it.

This sequel does have a very different feel to its predesscor however, in Gospel your humble narrator often tells you how it’s all going to end and it feels very much like a story being told whereas in Testament it feels more in the moment. There is also the fact that Gospel is set mainly in Asgard and features heavily on the interactions between the different gods but now The Trickster is stranded in the world of the folk, our world and he’s about to discover pizza.

The first three-quarters of this book is great fun, a little silly and almost deep at times in its own way. Loki still has the great voice Harris brought him to life with in the first book and this is a whole new level and a glimmer of a slightly different (but not too much) side to our beloved red-haired, silver-tongued devil. I love the way Loki interacts with Jumps, his relationship with the other people in her life and his perspective on the way many of us live today, seeing our insecurities through his eyes was quite enlightening. We get to see a f/f relationship from a (I believe) bisexual character and we get a bit of a glimpse into another character suffering from a chronic pain disorder who is often confined to a wheelchair without making a huge deal of any of these things outside of the story. Just a warning there is a scene involving self harm, it didn’t trigger me personally but I was made away before hand and prepared for it so I feel it’s right to pass this on to my readers as well. I honestly think this aspect of Loki was my favourite parts of the story and I would have quite happily had a whole series of this side of things.

Sadly I felt again a few of the characters, bar perhaps Meg (in addition to Loki and Jumps) were a little flat and a bit lacking in the fleshing out department out but I like to think this is such Loki thing to do, he’s so self-absorbed and doesn’t have time for hardly anyone else. I found other than Loki and Jumps I didn’t give much of a hoot about anyone else.

I will say that although I enjoyed Testament a few things let it down for me, hence the XXXX rating and not XXXXX but I will say the good for me outweighed the bad by far but a few things still niggled me. There is a fair bit of repetitiveness and perhaps its to make sure things make sense and because things get a little twisty but after a little while it started to bug me and I could feel myself rolling my eyes every time it happened. Somehow though my other problem was that for the last quarter of the book I was pretty confused. I got the jist of things and understood most of the story but things would get skimmed over and then sometimes we found of what was said or happened later or sometimes we wouldn’t. This is quite possibly just a problem I’ll encounter because I often have a terrible attention span and I might not have been taking things in properly but towards the end I kept feeling like the final exam was here but I’d skipped a few classes. That being said it was enjoyable over all and I hope/wonder if there will be more. I’d certainly like to see more and I believe that the (I’m not quite sure on because it felt a bit weird) ending has been left in a way that we can have more of my favourite Norse god. (Yes please).

So happy release day to The Testament of Loki! Did you pick up this book today or will you be checking it out in the future? Let me know and until next time!

Jemma.

jemma setterington