Blog Tour: Sapphire Smyth (Shadows) by RJ Furness

Have you ever seen something you can’t explain? Did it vanish as fast as it appeared? Perhaps that thing you saw was lurking in the shadows, and you caught a glimpse of it before it went back into hiding. There’s a good chance, of course, that the thing you saw simply emerged from your imagination. Or maybe, just maybe, it didn’t… Sapphire Smyth is no stranger to rejection. When she was only a baby, her father abandoned her after her mother died. Since then, Sapphire has never felt like she belonged anywhere, or with anyone. To make things worse, her foster carers have now turned their back on her – on her eighteenth birthday. After living with them throughout her childhood, Sapphire has to find a new home. Is it any wonder she finds it hard to trust people? Abandoned by the people she called family, Sapphire is alone and searching for some meaning in her life. Except that meaning has already come looking for her. When she discovers mysterious creatures lurking in the shadows, Sapphire soon realises that her fate is unlike anything she had ever imagined.

I was very grateful for this being quite short, as I’ve had a few weeks of madness in my life recently and this was the perfect way to escape for a short while! It’s the perfect length to grip you and hook you into the story without dragging out and making you feel obliged to continue. I’ve never experienced a story in a series of novellas before and this isn’t something I’ve even considered before! It reminds me a little of a TV series you get really interested in. You can’t wait for the next instalment.

This was full of suspense and excitement and promises to be a great series of novellas which I’m certain I will continue. I was very lucky to win the competition to win the first few books in the series, so I’ve been able to continue where others haven’t been able to and let me tell you, you’re in for a treat! I found the first novella showed a lot of potential to be an amazing series and from what I’ve seen so far of the future novellas, this is maintained.

I hate giving spoilers out so I won’t ruin this or any other storyline in the series, but for an interesting method of reading stories in bitesize pieces, try this!

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The Light in the Dark by Horatio Clare

**PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A REBLOG OF A POST WRITTEN 30TH OCTOBER 2018**

Hello everyone, welcome to my stop on the tour!

As November stubs out the glow of autumn and the days tighten into shorter hours, winter’s occupation begins. Preparing for winter has its own rhythms, as old as our exchanges with the land. Of all the seasons, it draws us together. But winter can be tough.

It is a time of introspection, of looking inwards. Seasonal sadness; winter blues; depression – such feelings are widespread in the darker months. But by looking outwards, by being in and observing nature, we can appreciate its rhythms. Mountains make sense in any weather. The voices of a wood always speak consolation. A brush of frost; subtle colours; days as bright as a magpie’s cackle. We can learn to see and celebrate winter in all its shadows and lights.

In this moving and lyrical evocation of a British winter and the feelings it inspires, Horatio Clare raises a torch against the darkness, illuminating the blackest corners of the season, and delving into memory and myth to explore the powerful hold that winter has on us. By learning to see, we can find the magic, the light that burns bright at the heart of winter: spring will come again.

I found this book a very interesting and inspiring read. I have often read about Seasonal Affective Disorder and feel that everyone to a certain extent feels element of it. However, this is the first time I have read a diary which in essence describes the process in an accessible and engaging way. It is incredibly descriptive so it almost reads like a novel, but this adds to my interest in the supposed “action” taking place in the book.

As we approach the winter of 2018, I was approached to read this book for my blog and I must say thank you for this opportunity. In many ways I feel like it will help me this year. There have been times – despite autumn being my favourite season – where I have felt desperately sad in the winter months, mostly due to working in an office and seeing barely any sunshine. This book described similar feelings to those I have experienced in the past. I feel like this will be a welcome window into showing people what SAD actually is and how it affects people. Although I think my symptoms are very minor compared to a lot of the people whose recollections I’ve read, this will definitely help me in a personal level.

Clare writes with such honesty that I almost found it difficult to read sometimes. I don’t see this as a bad thing. There are many people who think that SAD is something caused by lack of sunlight but it’s so much more than that and I implore everyone who feels like they have this – even mildly – to read this and see that you’re not alone.

If you’re a fan of Matt Haig, I would definitely recommend this too.

Book tour: I Wanted You to Know by Laura Pearson

Dear Edie, I wanted you to know so many things. I wanted to tell you them in person,as you grew.But it wasn’t to be.

Jess never imagined she’d be navigating single motherhood, let alone while facing breast cancer. A life that should be just beginning is interrupted by worried looks, heavy conversations, and the possibility of leaving her daughter to grow up without her.

Propelled by a ticking clock, Jess knows what she has to do: tell her daughter everything.

How to love, how to lose, how to forgive, and, most importantly, how to live when you never know how long you have.

From best-selling author Laura Pearson comes her most devastating book yet. Honest, heart-wrenching, and emotionally raw, I Wanted You To Know is a love letter to life: to all its heartache and beauty, to the people we have and lose, to the memories and moments that define us.

I Wanted You To Know is Laura Pearson’s third novel.

This novel is unlike anything I’ve read before. It stayed with me for so long after I finished it which is something I hold as a high regard.

It hit very close to home. In 2014 my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer. Five years later she’s had the all clear and she’s doing very well now, but that’s because we were lucky enough to catch it early. She was also in her late fifties at the time, which is still young, but not the same age as Jessica in the novel (21 – devastatingly young). It made me think about what could have happened if that wasn’t caught early. It’s something I haven’t really given much thought to before now. It was very hard hitting and made me realise words are the most powerful tool anyone can use.

I’ve read Laura Pearson’s previous novel Nobody’s Wife and thoroughly enjoyed that one too – it’s a completely different feel and story which I’m very impressed by. I love an author who can write many different genres, and this one is so unique. You can tell she’s becoming more confident at writing and is reaching boundaries which haven’t been explored before. It’s not all sad and upsetting, and there are plenty of lighthearted uplifting sections. It’s just the right amount to make the whole story seem very realistic, which just adds to the theatre of the storyline. If you’re interested in reading my opinions on Nobody’s Wife, you can read my previous review here

This is a great novel but please don’t read this if you’re feeling emotionally delicate unless you’re looking for something cathartic. If you’re going through a similar situation, it is a great novel to show you’re not alone.

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Laura Pearson has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Chichester. She spent a decade living in London and working as a copywriter and editor for QVC, Expedia, Net a Porter, EE, and The Ministry of Justice. Now, she lives in Leicestershire, where she writes novels, blogs about her experience of breast cancer (www.breastcancerandbaby.com), runs The Motherload Book Club, and tries to work out how to raise her two children.

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Blog Tour: The Flower Arranger by JJ Ellis

Hello everyone! It’s…been a while…hasn’t it?

Today, I’m very excited to say I’m taking part in The Flower Arranger blog tour!

And now he knew what was wrong with the arrangement. It was the Ma… the negative
space… There was only one thing beautiful enough to fill it and — finally — she was with him. Ready, if not willing, to play her role.
Holly Blain wants to cover real news. The entertainment beat — pop stars and teen trends — was not why she moved to Tokyo. When she meets Inspector Tetsu Tanaka, head of Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police’s Gaikoku-jin unit, it might just be her big break.
Tanaka isn’t so sure. Always one to do things by the book, he’s hesitant about bringing this headstrong reporter into his carefully controlled investigation.
But young women keep disappearing and Tanaka is given no choice. He and Blain must trust each other if they are to stop a tormented killer from bringing his twisted plan to its shocking conclusion.
Filled with twists and turns, this unforgettable thriller is JJ Ellis’ first novel.

I’ve been thinking back to all the books I’ve read in the past (I know, it’s a big task!) and I’ve realised I *think* this may be my first Japan based novel. Certainly on this blog anyway (please tell me if you’ve seen me review any others and I promise I’ll go back and edit this!).

The imagery and language used throughout made me feel like I was there in Japan, and although it isn’t a place I’ve visited, I’ve always been fascinated. I feel this was a great introduction and I felt like I really wanted to book a trip in the future.

The two main characters were dynamic and had a lot of depth to them. I enjoyed them working together and the mix of cultures which comes from two nations co-existing.

It was very intriguing to read a “whodunnit” which wasn’t set in Britain. Although there is a British main character, it was great to see other cultures involved too. I sometimes struggled a little with the names, but sometimes I find that’s a general thing with novels with more than a couple of characters (what can I say? I have a short term memory with words!). I also loved that this wasn’t just your typical “this is who did it…END”, and we actually got to see into the psyche of why – a part so often missing in crime novels!

It kept my attention throughout and I found I really wanted to know the outcome, which kept me reading. I hope to see more of JJ Ellis in the future!

JJ Ellis was born and raised in Yorkshire in northern England although now lives near London. The author’s interest in Japan was sparked when a family member won a trip there by singing in Japanese at an exhibition in the UK. Several visits followed — to Tokyo and further flung places such as Ishigaki and Iriomote — as Ellis developed the idea for The Flower Arranger. Two more crime novels featuring the team of Tanaka and Blain are planned.
The Flower Arranger is JJ Ellis’ first novel.

The Flower Arranger Blog Tour Social

Thank you @The_WriteReads

Hello everyone!

This blogpost is going to be a little different to the sort of material I usually write about because it’s a review of a person…of sorts. Now I know a lot of people have posted similar things to this today and have been far more eloquent than I could ever dream to be, but I just had to add to the conversation and here’s why:

Dave, AKA The Write Reads has been one of the biggest influences with regards to bringing in views, likes and subscriptions. He was the person who got me to 100 subscribers recently (this is true, it happened on the day I was very kindly made Review of the Day!). Not only that, he’s also introduced me to so many different book related blogs, each unique and beautiful in their own ways. I absolutely love seeing the effect Dave has on all these blogs and watching everyone’s confidence, audience and writing styles grow in the process.

The main conclusion to this? Thanks so much to everyone in the Write Reads community – because it is a community. But the biggest thanks, of course, goes to Dave for having the idea and making it what it is. Without you, I doubt my words would be found by so many people, so for that I will be forever grateful.

Book Tour: The Kosher Delhi by Ivam Wainewright

Vik is a twenty year old English boy of Jewish Indian heritage, who meets Yvonne: Scottish activist, hedonist, who strives vehemently for social justice. He aspires to become a chef, but he is inhibited by the racism he experiences.

Vik is increasingly exposed to further bigotry in restaurant kitchens, and witnesses homophobia in his community, with more violent and fatal outcomes; and as Yvonne ventures into the music scene, their relationship becomes increasingly strained. When Vik reaches a point where he can’t ignore these issues any further, will he stand up for what he believes in?

Set in the early 1990s, the novel follows Vik and Yvonne on their journey from Leeds to London to New York. The issues and themes will strike a chord with anyone who is concerned with inequality or struggled in their own relationship.

This was a fascinating insight into a world I don’t know a lot about around the time I was born. It was a great way to experience both the positives and negatives of the hedonistic days of the early 1990s.

There was a great theme of passion and obsession and I loved the way these passions tied in together, almost like it was an intentional recurring theme, unlike anything else I’ve seen. All this tied in with a variety of topics associated with hatred; bigotry, racism, homophobia to name but three.

The writing style held my attention and I really felt like I could relate to the characters, despite having very little in common with them. Nothing in the story was seen through rose-tinted glasses, everything seemed to be very real and honest. It’s refreshing to see an era so often reflected positively with its flaws which no doubt it had. There was a strong character progression too, which I really enjoyed.

If you’re interested in something a little different, this would be a great novel to consider!

Blogtour: Death in Avignon by Serena Kent

After a tumultuous summer, Penelope Kite has settled into the rhythm of her new life in Provence. Lavender-scented evenings, long lunches with new friends – and an exclusive gallery opening to attend, on the arm of the gorgeous mayor of St Merlot…

But beneath the veneer of glamour, scandal is brewing. Shockwaves ripple through the Avignon art world when a controversial painter, Roland Doncaster, chokes on an almond-stuffed olive.

A tragic accident? Or a ruthless poisoning? Embroiled once more in a murder investigation, Penelope discovers that any number of jealous lovers and scheming rivals could be in the frame. And with dashing art dealers to charm, patisseries to resist, and her own friends under suspicion, Penelope will need all her sleuthing talents to unveil the truth…

Once again, I have been transported to Provence thanks so this latest novel from Serena Kent. I finished this book during the recent hot spell we’re having in the UK (and funnily enough, just before writing this up, I saw an article stating this is the hottest weather France has *EVER* had too!

This was a very charming, chaotic blast of a novel which made me feel as though I was in France, trying out all the delicious food and sampling the wine…if only…can I go to France, now?

I love a good mystery every once in a while and as I’ve previously said when reviewing Death in Provence, also by Serena Kent (https://buttercupreview.wordpress.com/2018/08/22/blogtour-death-in-provence-by-serena-kent-2/), I enjoyed reading a mystery novel which was light-hearted and not horrible. It’s great to be able to fulfil your need for intrigue without needing to put yourself through anything too grim. I would recommend this for anyone who has read anything else by Serena, and also for anyone who enjoys mystery without all the gore.