book review · books · shanti

Dr. Huxley’s Bequest

I adore Michelle Cooper; she wrote some of my favourite novels of all time, namely the Montmaray trilogy, and also the delighful The Rage of Sheep. She hasn’t published a new book for ages, which is okay, because this one was worth waiting for! Dr. Huxley’s Bequest is a non-fiction book framed with a fictional framing device. It is aimed at younger people (like maybe 9-14), but honestly anyone can learn from it. Continue reading “Dr. Huxley’s Bequest”

blogging · books · shanti

8 reasons to read Lucy Parker

Hi Virtually Readers! I have been a really slack blogger lately, and I’m very sorry. But I’m on almost-holiday now and hopefully I will be able to write lots of posts and pull my life together. There are many many ideas in my head…I just need to write the posts! Anyway, today the post is Eight Reasons to Read Lucy Parker, in case you didn’t guess from the title….or the picture…haha. Lucy Parker is my new favourite (and only favourite so far) romance novelist. I’d heard vaguely of Lucy parker, who writes romantic contemporary fiction, but Ella (from Novelly Ella) was raving about ‘Act Like It’ and it was at the library and I was in a bit of a book slump and her books were just what I needed and I had Ella (and now Lara) to fangirl with which was great. Lucy is from New Zealand which earns her SO MANY bonus points.


Continue reading “8 reasons to read Lucy Parker”

books · shanti

awkward situations books have gotten me into

Hi Virtually Readers! As a book lover, I  have a bigger brain have a wide variety of experiences, some of which have actually happened to characters and not to me. Whoops. I have all sorts of associations and memories which have to do with books, and this has gotten me into some troublesome situations in the past.

Continue reading “awkward situations books have gotten me into”

books · lists · shanti

things I love about emma mills books

Hi Virtually Readers! In February, I reread all of Emma Mills oeuvre. She writes simply excellent contemporary novels (and I do go on a bit about her, but IT IS DESERVED okay?) and you should read all of them: First & Then, This Adventure Ends, and Foolish Hearts. So I thought I’d write a list of reasons why she should be one of the books you pick up next. And because I’m extra, all the reasons begin with ‘f’.


Continue reading “things I love about emma mills books”

book review · shanti

I have a foolish heart

Foolish Hearts is the first book I have ever read where I finished it and then immediately started reading it again. I do not regret doing so in the least, for Foolish Hearts is a wonderful novel, made all the better by the fact that it feature lots of Shakespeare. (I especially liked this because last week I watched a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and got all nerdy about Shakespeare again). I’ve liked all of Emma Mills novels, particularly This Adventure Ends (which I should probably reread because I barely remember anything…it was about Art, I think), but Foolish Hearts is better by far.
Foolish Hearts is highly reminiscent of Franscesca Zappia—set in the Midwest, nerdy, friendship focused, just a little bit weird. It’s also thoroughly its own thing though, and I could appreciate that.

Continue reading “I have a foolish heart”

books · features · shanti

A Question of Fiction: Mel Duan

Hi there Virtually Readers! So I bet that none of you were thinking “it’s been a long time since we’ve seen one of those awesome Virtually Read features around here, like The Bookish Planet or A Question of Fiction.” But that’s okay. They’re sporadic features, that’s how it goes. Anyway, I am doing a (surprise) feature again today BECAUSE I CAN. It’s A Question of Fiction, where we invite literary characters onto our blog and give them a nice old fashioned interview. Such fun. So today, we have Mel. She won’t tell you her full name, but you need to know several things about her: She lives in Team Human, she likes to joke around, and she is fiercely protective of her friends. (Like, she will punch for them. I know. Violent. Anyway.)


Interviewer: Good morning, Mel. It’s a pleasure to have you on Virtually Read. Can you start off by telling us about one of your favourite childhood memories?

Mel: Well, it’s nothing specific. I loved playing soccer in the backyard with Lancelot, my little brother, and Kristin, my older sister. I’m quite the score on a soccer team.

Interviewer: Ha ha.

Mel: Other than that, I used to really like hanging out at Cathy’s house. We’re best friends, and if my parents were busy with a case, I’d go over there. For a long time we were convinced that there was a secret tunnel—New Whitby is a quite old city, you know—and we were always looking for it.

Interviewer: Can you tell me a bit more about your friends?

Mel: I’m really close to Cathy, we’ve known each other all our lives. I can’t imagine what we’ll do once she leaves for Oxford. I also get on well with Ty, but we didn’t work out as a couple which is ENTIRELY HIS FAULT. Sorry. And then there’s Anna, but I’ve been a bit busy with all Cathy’s drama—and she has her own issues, so I haven’t seen so much of her lately. I don’t know. We’re all capable people, but sometimes I feel like I’m the one who doesn’t know what I’m doing.

Interviewer: Do you have any plans for the future?

Mel: Not really. That’s the problem. I can get into the University of New Whitby easy peasy, and I’m sorta thinking about Ivies, but I just don’t know what I want. [laughs] I guess I’m letting the future take on me.

Interviewer: Way to work in an 80’s song reference. But you know, it’s okay to feel that way. It’s how a lot of teenagers feel. It’s why YA books are written—that identity, what-is-my-place-in-the-world thing defines the genre, and it’s what makes YA books so popular across generations.

Mel: [rolling eyes] Dude. Be as meta as you want. But I don’t care about your media theories. Just ask me the questions.

Interviewer: Fine. Tell me what you think about vampires.

Mel: I don’t mind vampires, really, they’re quite all right, even if they’re about as pretentious as teenage poets.

Interviewer: Ouch.

Mel: But I’m just….I don’t know… I would like them to leave me alone. AND CATHY TOO THANKS FRANCIS.

Interviewer: So how is it for you, living in New Whitby the ‘vampire city’?

Mel: It’s fine. I never go to the shade. I’m not some vamposeur, okay?

Interviewer: Do you believe in any other ‘supernatural’ creatures?

Mel: It’s not about belief, it’s about reality. And the reality is that I don’t want to be a zombie. And I don’t want to live without laughter. I can’t help but be suspicious of those I do. As for other beings, well, Cathy is really the right person to answer this question. That’s all I’ll say. It’s a big world out there, and I am a sarcastic teenager, not an expert.

Interviewer: Tell me about one time you felt despair.

Mel: Probably when ALL MY FRIENDS STARTED HANGING OUT WITH VAMPIRES. Seriously, the Shade sucks. All those bloody vampires…lots of opportunity for puns, though.

Interviewer: You seem like a very loyal friend. Do you have any advice for others who are going through, uh ‘FRIENDSHIP DRAMA’?

Mel: Listen to your friends. Make their business your business. Stick up for them. Don’t let them make the wrong decisions. Be their sunshine, their laughter, their smiles, the one they can rely on for as long as the sun shines. That’s what it means to be a good friend. You have to be persistent, even if your friends seem to be leaving you behind.

Interviewer: That’s excellent advice. Thank you so much for your time. Do you have anything else to add?

Mel: Just…be careful. Ask questions. Investigate the world around you, because it will pay off. probably. Ooookay, thanks. And if you see my mom, tell her I’m not coming home until she tidies her room.

Interview: Thank you so much.


Team Human is an AMAZING book which I whole-heartedly recommend. I hope you guys enjoyed this feature (it’s as immortal as vampires) and my puns. Tell me about your favourite funny book, and your thoughts on this interview in the comments!