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Spellbound – Guide to the Online Book Community 

Just like writing, reading can feel like a very solitary experience. If you are anything like me, when you get to the end of a book, you probably have all sorts of thoughts and feelings that you want to discuss with someone. Short of persuading all of your friends to read the book where do you go? 
Online of course

Today I am Talbot Health School in Bournemouth talking at their Spellbound Literature Convention about the online book community. 

Book Blogging – WordPress, Blogger

Book Vlogging – YouTube

Bookish Images – Instagram using the #bookstagram 

Book Reviews – Goodreads and Litsy

Chats and Groups – Twitter and Facebook and Goodreads 
A few examples of teen bloggers 

I curated a small list of YA bloggers who are teens that you can follow on twitter.

The Mile Long Bookshelf aka Amber Kirk-Ford is a book blogger and vlogger who has written for the Guardian and Penguin Books Blog.
Queen of Contemporary/@LucyTheReader AKA Lucy Powrie is also a book blogger and vlogger who set up the hugely successful twitter chat using the hashtag #ukyachat
How to be a good blogger by Jenny in Neverland. This popped up on my twitter timeline this morning and I had to share because it just says what I wanted to say.
How to review 
Goodreads Reviews
Uses a 5 star rating system

1 star – didn’t like it 

2 stars – it was ok

3 stars – liked it

4 stars – really liked it 

5 stars – it was amazing 
But. Everyone uses it differently and you can create your own rating system on your blog. Or you don’t have to rate at all. I use half stars and I generally round down not up.

Find your own style
Activity – post it note review 

Activity – Instagram pictures 

Activity – Features and Challenges 

Side note about safety

Note most online forums require you to be 13 to use. 

Remember that anything you say online can always be found. 

Be cautious – occasionally people aren’t who they say they are. If you ever arrange to meet with someone who you have met online don’t go alone and tell someone. 
Side note about your TBR and budget

Joining the online book community will exponentially increase the size of your TBR piles and see you wanting to spend more money than you have. Join a library. Budget. Ask for Bookish goodies for gifts. 
If you do prefer to meet up with people in real life make sure to follow your favourite bookshops and check out events they might host. Waterstones will be hosting a whole range of YA author events over the summer. 
Every summer there is now a Young Adult Literature Convention (YALC) as part of London Film and Comic Con (LFCC). This year it runs from Friday 28th – Sunday 30th July and there will be around 90 authors in attendance. There are author panels, signings, workshops, stands, cosplay and just generally hanging around with fellow book worms. 
Activity – Q&A e.g. Picking a platform, setting up a blog, interacting with authors and others, ARCs etc. 


Harriet’s Facts – #ForeverGeek Blog Tour

The Beginning Woods by Malcolm McNeill – Review


Goodreads link



The Vanishings started without warning. People disappearing into thin air – just piles of clothes left behind. Each day, thousands gone without a trace.


Max was abandoned in a bookshop and grows up haunted by memories of his parents. Only he can solve the mystery of the Vanishings.


To find the answers, Max must leave this world and enter the Beginning Woods. A realm of magic and terror, life and death.

But can he bear the truth – or will it destroy him?


Greater than your dreams. Darker than your fears. Full of more wonder than you could ever desire. Welcome to the ineffable Beginning Woods…

What I Thought

When I found out about this book it sounded right up my street and I was really intrigued by the premise of vanishing people.

I feel really bad that this review is coming well after the release date but for some reason it seemed to take me a whole month to read this book, and I don’t think that’s entirely the book’s fault. Everytime I picked it up I enjoyed what I was reading – I even took it along to the beach to read a few chapters.


The language in this was so good, and I’m pretty sure there are a few more words in the world after this book, such as ‘psychomotherapractologisteopath’.

The mystery of the opening where people are vanishing and Max is trying to find out what is happening was intriguing, and the Book House setting was particularly appealing.

When the action shifted from the World to The Beginning Woods it threw me off I think, and I also got a little confused about which reality the action was taking place in at times, but I think that’s because I was reading it in bits.

Max’s search for his forever parents and his constant question ‘who am I’ didn’t resolve in quite the way I expected – which isn’t a bad thing.

My favourite relationship in the book was between Max and Martha – the ghost girl he befriends. It reminded me a little of the graphic novel Saga.

The book has been compared to Gormenghast and Labyrinth, neither of which I’ve actually read, though I have seen. I think those are fair comparisons and there is definitely an element of the surreal in The Beginning Woods.

I couldn’t decide whether to give this 3 or 3.5 stars and if you like fantasy that gets you thinking about the meaning of reality then I would recommend it. I think my brain wasn’t in the right headspace for the slightly more challenging read that this was.

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

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