Blog Tour, review

Sapphire Smyth & The Shadow Five by R.J. Furness

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I was so intrigued when the author contacted me and asked me to review this book for this blog tour. The cover intrigued me, (I know you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover). I actually read this book twice, I read the ARC ebook and I was just about to reread when this package came:

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The yo-yo and the sweets tie into the story. This package made my day!

There’s something special about this series of books. It’s  going to be serialised, like Dickens used to do, releasing it in small bits at a time. A bit like watching an episode a week of your favourite tv show. It’s different and I like it. There’s more explanation at the beginning of the book.

So you’ve seen the cover, here’s a note from the author:

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My thoughts

After reading the author’s introduction I was riveted. Straight away I knew this was going to be unique and not like anything else I’d read. An wonderful imaginative fantasy world (well R.J.Furness did bring Orgos into the world) and it’s only the first book!

Sapphire Smyth is kicked out of her foster carer’s home on her 18th birthday, they tell her that they can’t afford to keep her anymore. No money from the government. She feels unwanted, her father abandoned her and now the people who brought her up have done this. I felt so sorry for her, she’s a strong character though, no ‘damsel in destress’ you like her straight away:

“Sapphire didn’t need saving by Ben – or anyone else.”

If being kicked out wasn’t hard enough she then ends up on the wet streets to find somewhere to sleep and weird things start happening.

I don’t want to give too much away so I’m not sure how much to tell you. But it’s good!

R.J. Furness does a good job of whetting your appetite with this first book in the series. There’s so much tension and suspense you will end up reading this book in one sitting. I got to the end to the words ‘To Be Continued…’  and it’s a lot like a cliffhanger to your favourite show, and you feel like shouting: wait, what happens next?

I loved this book so much I read it twice. Looking forward to the next one in the series, that’s if I don’t read it again by then…..

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If you’d like to get your hands on a copy of this book, you can get it on Amazon Kindle and Kobo.

Of course if you prefer a physical book you can buy that too.

Check out the author’s website https://rjfurness.com/ for more info about this book and the others. And here’s the GoodReads link.

 

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review

Treading The Uneven Road by L.M. Brown

Treading The Uneven Road

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. It will be released Friday 15th March.

Synopsis from GoodReads:

“The stories in this linked collection are set in a small village in the Northwest of Ireland in the early 1980’s and 90’s. A by-pass around the village has rid them of their once busy traffic. The residents feel forgotten by the world. The need to reach out and be heard is explored in every story, from the young woman who starts to have phone conversations with her husband’s gay lover, to the dyslexic man who confronts his cruel teacher years later. 

The collection is not only about the characters need for salvation but it is about a society that is unraveling. In Amends, we hear about the Bishop who has fathered a child. A priest is beckoned by a dying man to be mocked. The world inside and outside the village is changing. In every story the characters need to make a choice on how they might carry on. “

My thoughts

Treading The Uneven Road is a collection of character driven stories that sometimes span the majority of their life. The characters are so well developed with plenty of description and an insight into their thoughts and feelings. The author does a good job of making you care about the characters and of presenting a good sense of place and atmopshere.

The collection starts with ‘The Lady On Thhe Bridge’ an intriguing story of a woman who suspects her husband of having an affair, after finding a number she believes belongs to his lover she calls it. I enjoyed this story, the characters felt so real, and I was riveted. I just wish it didn’t end so soon, I wanted more.

I couldn’t decide if that one was my favourite or a later story ‘The Wrong Man’ about two friends who leave Ireland: Moire and Ester. Moire starts working late and their friendship changes when she moves in with her much older boyfriend. Ester becomes concerned. I enjoyed this story, and how it spans Ester’s life, she looks back as she is older with regrets.

Some of these stories are linked, you’ll read a story about one character and then later on a minor character from the same story will feature, I liked that.

I enjoyed some of these stories but generally felt that they meandered and I couldn’t always follow the plot. It’s interesting how they span a whole life rather then give you a short snapshot. But they were longer than I expected and I usually read shorter stories because I like to read them on my lunch break or when I want to read but don’t have the time to read a novel.

The tone and style perfectly suit the character driven stories and other readers may find that they are exactly what they are looking for. This style and length just isn’t for me. You should defintely have a read and make up your own mind. Check out the other reviews on GoodReads

review, Uncategorized

The Little Shop Of Happily Ever After by Jenny Colgan

The Little Shop of Happy Ever After by [Colgan, Jenny]

I love Jenny Colgan books, I love The Little Beach Street Bakery series. I found this book in the library and it was the perfect time to read a lighthearted book after reading the dystopian novel 84K.

Nina loves books as much as me, she has two copies of the same book, one in hardback and a first edition, she also has a huge to be read pile. When the story begins she’s working in a library, a book lovers dream, but they’re making the libraries smaller and closing to reopen more of a community hub (weird coincidence as they’ve done that to the library I got this book from)so they’re making a lot of people redundant and she may lose her job. She thinks about doing something I’d love to do (but can’t practically): open a book shop.

I could relate to Nina’s love of books obviously and also her shyness and introverted nature.

I enjoyed this lighthearted read, just like Little Beach Street series it is realistic, even when things seem to be going well for Nina and she thinks she has it all she still feels lonely and isn’t happy. I love how Jenny Colgan can write a lovely fictional story you can get lost in but at the same time put so much of reality in there that you can relate and maybe learn too.

The characters are amazing and you will care about them all. I don’t think you can go wrong with Jenny Colgan books, they’re great! The setting of Scotland was amazing, I’d love to go to Scotland.

I did prefer The Little Beach Street series, (there was a slight mention of Polly from The Little Beach Street Bakery) there seemed to be more going on and it seemed longer? Maybe I just read this book quicker.

I did have quotes and things to add to this post but there was a huge delay and I took the book back to the library. :/

Jenny Colgan books are the literary equivalent to eating chocolate cake: they give you a lovely warm feeling inside. 

Books, review

World Book Day Special: Heidi Review and Books I Read As I Child

Heidi is a children’s classic book that everyone will enjoy. I did read this as a child but can’t remember it all. I decided to read Heidi as in the ‘read a classic a month’ challenge thread on readitswapit it was the book for Febuary and since I already have this lovely hardback copy I decided to join in. And then have one less book on my tbr (like it gets smaller)

WARNING THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

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Synopsis from GoodReads

“Little orphan Heidi goes to live high in the Alps with her gruff grandfather and brings happiness to all who know her on the mountain. When Heidi goes to Frankfurt to work in a wealthy household, she dreams of returning to the mountains and meadows, her friend Peter, and her beloved grandfather.”

My Thoughts

Heidi reminds me of other books like ‘The Secret Garden’ and ‘Anne of Green Gables’. It’s a lovely read just like them. And also it’s similar because Heidi  is an orphan who goes to live with her grandfather. He has a reputation for being a horrible person but people’s opinion does change when they realise how good he is to Heidi.

I loved the setting of  the Alm. It’s described brilliantly, you feel like you are right there and don’t want to leave. The characters were interesting and I enjoyed reading this book but there were a few things I didn’t like:

  • Peter jealousy towards others who has Heidi’s attention. And his childish behaviour of shaking his fist, it’s a bit chessey. I also didn’t like that he intended to hurt one of the goats. However considering the time it was written and that it’s written for  children I can understand that it may have been seen differently in the past. I thought he was self-centred and don’t know if it’s explained why, but he is a child.
  • I have no idea what illness Clara had. In ‘The Secret Garden’ the boy can’t walk and they do explain his fear and how their overindulgence of him has prevented him from trying.  But there’s no explanation in Heidi, Clara can’t walk and gets tired easily and then after spending time on the Alm there’s a miracle and she can walk again. I didn’t like that.
  • Not much happens but it’s still an enjoyable story.

I didn’t mind the religious themes in the book, Heidi is given advice that a Christian would be given which makes sense as in the time it was written society was predominately Christian and not really concerned with other faiths. It does jar with me when books from this era like ‘Little Women’ seem to press Chrisitianity on the reader (I don’t agree with making children believe in something before they can make up their own mind) I understand why though, it was normal in that era and the characters are believers. (Maybe I take it too personally) However the advice given to Heidi is kind and it’s lovely advice even if it is religious in nature. And I enjoyed reading those parts even though I could not relate to the religion.

Heidi is a light hearted read and an easy classic book to read and enjoy.

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Since today is World Book Day I wanted to do something special and being short on time thought I’d share with you other books I read as a child. Some like Heidi I may have forgotten what happens but others I read so many times I could never forget. Some are my own photos but where I no longer have the books I borrowed from the internet.

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These are a few of my Famous Five books. I read a lot of Enid Blyton books, including The Wishing Chair books and some short story anthologies. I remember reading The Amelia Jane books and The Naughtiest Girl books. My favourites by Enid Elyton where the Willow Farm books which I no longer have, I keep thinking about buying them again though:

Enid Blyton: 2 titles: The Children of Willow Farm and The Children of Cherry Tree Farm

I love Roald Dahl books too:

I read Esio Trot recently, it’s a very short book and I loved it. Matilda was my favourite as she loved books as much as me.

I reread Black Beauty so often as a child, I still have my copy but the dust jacket has been lost:

Other books I remember reading:

What Katy DidCharlotte’s Web by [White, E. B.]

I loved these:

The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark (Character Classics) by [Tomlinson, Jill]Septimouse, Supermouse!

Has I got older I started to read more scary books, my favourites where the choose your own adventure, I didn’t read all of these.  Every once in a while as a kid, you were in the mood to be spooked. And it was exciting because, in a way, you were in control of how scared you wanted to be. You were careful to choose your Goosebumps book based on the cover art and how much creepiness you thought you could handle.

It’s hard to remember everything I read, I can barely remember the picture books I enjoyed. I remember a Hairy McClary book, the Zoo, the funny bones. And of course all the classic fairy tales. A gorgeous copy of Hans Christian Anderson, books I wished I’d kept.

Have you read Heidi? What did you love reading as a child? If you didn’t read much then what was the first book you remember enjoying?

Blog Tour

Blueberry Pancakes by Anton Lee Richards

 

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DIGITAL READS BLOG TOURS presents:

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Thank you for the opportunity to be part of this tour, this book sounds like a good read:

Book Blurb

Writing songs for a would-be pop star is painful. When young, gay songwriter Duncan falls in love, he writes a love song. When he gets dumped, he writes a break-up song. Luckily for his songwriting career, his love life is a roller-coaster.

When his long-term boyfriend breaks up with him, Duncan finds solace in music. And pancakes, of course. With the help of his sassy diva singer and best friend Marlene, her ex-boyfriend guitarist, and a local music producer, they form a musical dream team to produce songs to pitch to agents, and for Marlene’s promising singing career.

A new guy here, a new guy there, they are delicious distractions, but this drama fuels new and better songs. And that ex? He just won’t seem to go away. But it all pays off when they have their first number one hit with a teenybopper all-girl band.

Not everything in their favorite hangout-a breakfast restaurant called Pancake Heaven-is rainbows and maple syrup. The all-girl band drops them as songwriters, and they squabble with one another over their musical future. Will they find the success they can be proud of?

Blueberry Pancakes is a contemporary gay drama about falling in and out of love, the price of success, and walking through the world with confidence.

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If that doesn’t grab your attention, here’s an excerpt:

Book Excerpt

I don’t remember how many couples he introduced me to at this party, and I forgot most of their names. In each case, Christopher introduced me as my Duncan. I never thought of myself as being so much of a catch that somebody would be proud to be with me, the way I felt proud to have Jesse when we were together.
“I need a drink,” I whispered in his ear.
“Just a few more,” he said.
Bradley approached us again, and three more couples followed. We made a circle, and everybody shot off questions in rapid succession. It started off easy with questions about my work and where I grew up, but then developed into an interrogation of whether I owned summer homes and stock portfolios. Was I supposed to feel bad I didn’t? One guy leaned in and asked how attached I was and if I wanted to keep my options open. He wore thin-rimmed glasses that fell down his nose as he raised his eyebrows.
“I’m happy where I am,” I said. I wasn’t sure if that was a lie or not, but I certainly didn’t want to get it on with a guy asking people if they would cheat on their partners after just meeting them.
“You’ll break soon enough,” he said, winking. “When it happens, I’ll be there.”
A flamboyant guy with a pure-white, faux-fur sweater and hot pink jeans chimed in. “I have a brownstone in Lincoln Park. You should come see it sometime. It has a hot tub on the rooftop with a nice view of downtown.” I couldn’t concentrate on remembering his name because the sweater was distracting me.
“I bet you like being the pretty one,” said a voice behind me. Behind me, a drag queen with a Jackie O wig smiled at me. She had really broad shoulders or was just wearing shoulder pads underneath her shimmering black dress. “You’re the pretty one. Don’t act like you don’t know it.”
The notion stopped me in my tracks. Was I? Is that why Christopher was so adamant about calling me arm candy? Jesse was always the pretty one when we were together. I scanned the room and mentally ranked the attractiveness of each person. At first, I hated myself for being so shallow, but then I told myself it was in the name of scientific research. I guessed I would rank decently in this crowd of gay men who ranged from their mid-20s to their 50s. There were so many hotties. I came across a guy standing near the fireplace and figured he was without a doubt cuter than me. He had a nice body and was not afraid to show it off. This was the first time another guy caught my eye since I met Christopher.
“If I were with you, I’d tell you how pretty you are every single day,” said the drag queen. “I’d praise the day someone like me could get someone like you.” She opened her arms to hug me, and I demurred. Where was Christopher to save me?

 

About the author

Anton author pic.jpgAnton Lee Richards is a queer writer from Chicago. In a previous life, he worked in IT. In a previous life before that, he was a songwriter. He lives in Chicago with his partner and his Instagram-star bunny.

 Contact Details and Social Media

anton@antonleerichards.com
http://www.AntonLeeRichards.com
https://www.facebook.com/antonleerichards/
https://twitter.com/antonleerichard
https://www.instagram.com/antonleerichards/

 

 

Month In Review

What I read In Febuary

I haven’t read so much this month, I found more books to read and my reading has been slower. I’ve been behind on reviews also. I seem to be reading books  but not getting around to reviewing them, I might catch up one day.

Books I finished

The Little Shop of Happily Ever After by Jenny Colgan (library book review to come)

The Little Shop of Happy Ever After by [Colgan, Jenny]

A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G.Drews (previous review)

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Orgo Runners: The First Run by R.J. Furness (Free ebook from Amazon, reviewed on GoodReads)

ORGO RUNNERS: The First Run (Book 1) by [Furness, R.J.]

Heidi by Johanna Spyri (review to come) 

Treading the Uneven Road by L.M.Brown (review copy from author)

Books I’m still reading

Paint Me A Picture by Patsy Collins (library book enjoying it, great character, almost finished and then review to come)

The Ice House by Tim Clare (ARC from Netgalley, wow good fantasy world)

 

review

A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G.Drews

I’d been reading and following the author’s blog  paperfury.com and loving her posts when I heard about her debut novel. Took me ages to finally read it I have so many books. And…. I should’ve read it sooner! Look at the amazing cover:

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Synopsis from GoodReads:

“An emotionally charged story of music, abuse and, ultimately, hope.

Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music – because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.

When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?”

My Review

Becks mother wants him to be a famous pianist and she pushes him so hard that on the first page he’s fantasises about cutting off his hands. I felt so sorry for Beck because of the way his mother treats him that I could’ve cried. How she could not see how great he is?

I think that C.G.Drews dealt with the issue of abuse very well, showing us the horrors of it but also why his mother is the way she is. Not giving her an excuse but just an explanation. Beck’s inability to seek help is also something that victims do when they are being abused by someone they love.

Beck’s life does start to change when he meets August. August is a happy person and full of energy. Beck doesn’t understand it but I like that about her, that she can be that happy all the time: “he likes her because there’s sunshine in her eyes and she knows the secrets to smiling.”

I was hooked from the start. The style of writing draws you into Beck’s mind whilst also being so full of imagery. I loved the characters and the relationship between Beck, his sister and Beck and August. Beck’s sister is so funny and sweet.

This is a book you could read all at once because you won’t want to stop. I was sad to stop reading and leave the characters behind but the ending felt right. I loved this book.

C.G.Drews has another book out in April ‘The Boy Who Steals Houses’  which I am looking forward to.