Monday, 25 July 2016

Signs Of You by Emily France BOOK REVIEW

                       SIGNS OF YOU
                by Emily France 

Title: Signs of You
Author: Emily France
Publisher: SOHO Teen
Format: Paperback, 240
Release Date: July 19th 2016
Rating: 4.5/5
Since sixteen-year-old Riley Strout lost her mother two years ago, her saving grace has been her quirky little family in the grief support group she joined as a freshman. Jay, Kate, and Noah understand her pain; each lost a loved one, and they’ve stuck together in spite of their differences, united by tragedies only they understand.

When Riley thinks she spots her mother shopping in a grocery store, she fears she is suffering some sort of post-traumatic stress. Then Jay and Kate report similar experiences. Only Noah hasn’t had some kind of vision, which is perhaps why he’s become so skeptical and distant.

When Noah disappears, Riley fears she’s lost another loved one. As they frantically search for him, she, Kate, and Jay are drawn into the mystery surrounding a relic that belonged to Jay’s dead father and contains clues about the afterlife. Riley finds herself wrestling with her feelings for both Noah and Jay—which have become clear only in Noah’s absence. If Riley is to help those she loves, and herself, she must set things right with the one she’s lost.

*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review.

To describe this book in one word is impossible. Signs of You, covers a variety of different book genres - contemporary, mystery and magical realism all twirled into one FANTASTIC story.
If you're someone who also enjoys history, this one might be for you. Emily France, takes a non-ficiton story and turns it into an eye catching YA novel that had me hooked from the first line. The premise of this story is unlike any YA book out there. I found myself completely engaged with the story and lives of every character. You felt the hurt and anger between the different griefs everyone was dealing with. I loved seeing how strong the friendships were. And how they were able to find each other through a difficult time in their lives. The middle of the story was probably my favorite. Ever time I told myself, "okay, this is the last chapter before bed." Something interesting happened and I couldn't look away. The mystery aspect of this book had been just enough to have the hairs on the back of my neck stand up! Wondering if there's any sort of romance? Why yes! By all means, this isn't a romance book, but the growing connected between the two characters was so well done. I believe if this book started with full blown romance, it would have taken away from the true meaning of this story. Everything truly fell into place, and was so organic Signs of You, is a story that won't be forgotten. I am deeply moved by it in many ways. It shows the beauty of one's strength to move forward in life after a loss. That it is okay to hurt and be angry, but to know that we can move on in peace is even more uplifting. Emily France, debut novel is not one to miss! 

Xo, Nicole
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Saturday, 16 July 2016

'Lawless and the Flowers of Sin' Seven Sins Blog Tour

Hello lovely people. One of my favourite things is the idea of the seven deadly sins especially when this is incorporated into fiction. Enter Lawless and the Flowers of Sin...A book I have been waiting for for years! So without further ado I'm going to hand over to William Sutton to take you on a Slothful ride through crime fest!...

Hello, hello, I’m William Sutton, author of Lawless and the Flowers of Sin, published by Titan Books. To celebrate, I’m touring blogs sharing my sinful thoughts.

Sloth - “You done the time, now do the CrimeFest #2”

The hard way to improve in crime writing is to read and write, read and write until your eyes hurt and your hand aches. The slothful way is to go to CrimeFest. Meeting lovely people, discovering new writers, discussing linguistic analysis at the bar. I enjoyed Bristol CrimeFest so thoroughly it was sinful. I’ve signed up for next year already. Aside from sitting around with people, eating, drinking and making merry (shout out to Titan Books’ publicists, my editor and other writers), there was sharp chat in the panels below.

I recommend the great crime festivals, Harrogate, or Bloody Scotland , to any writer, or reader, where you can slothfully improve your crime thinking without even opening a notebook.

Bristol sends me into a creative brain sphere. On the train there, I met a social worker whose stories were darker than Lawless and the Flowers of Sin: murder, incest, police corruption. It gave me wonderful insights to share with our Murder at the Theatre workshops at the New Theatre Royal, followed by Portsmouth Writers' Hub Murder at the Café. Sardonic, witty, revealing, here are the criminal pearls I picked up.

(I’ve been slothful enough to divide it into two blogs. Here is Day 2 For dodgy attribution of quotations, I apologise: my hand-writing’s illegible since recent eye operations; it wasn’t too good before either.)

CrimeFest Day 2

Debut Authors: An Infusion of Fresh Blood

“All the characters are composites of people I know. People don’t see the bad in themselves. They don’t say, Oh, I’m the arsehole in Tenacity.” JS Law

"The best way to deal with bad reviews? Sit down next to them in the pub, and say 'Why did you write that?'" Matt Johnson

"Teaching someone in the army to write is a real accomplishment." JS Law to Matt Johnson
“A feeling of loss propelled me to write.” Sarah Ward

“What is a nice person like you doing in a genre like this?” Laura Wilson to Anja de Jager

Using Real People: How Do You Combine Fact and Fiction?

“I read The Times for three months on either side.” Alison Joseph (writing about Agatha Christie) “If it’s spontaneity you’re after, I’m out of here.” David Ashton (Conan Doyle, William McGonagall, R.L. Stevenson)

Audience question: “Is there an unease about writing real people that you might be manipulating them, modernising them?”

“Graham Greene said that all writers must have a sliver of ice in their heart.” Peter Guttridge (Great Train Robbers).

“They’re not writing fictional characters, they’re writing friends and family and traducing them.”

 “We assume that this fiddling with people is negative, but it can be the opposite.” Andrew Taylor (Edgar Allan Poe)

Once Upon a Crime: Long Long Ago

“How do you keep the research under control?” “My editor says, this is lovely, Shone, but...” Shona MacLean

“The stark differences in 19th Century Edinburgh are like Mexico City now. The New Town, the Old Town.” Oscar de Muriel

“Don’t write what you know, write what you’d like to know about.” Linda Stratmann

Call The Cops: Why Do We Love Reading About Our Girls and Boys in Blue?

 “She’s a big fat lass with a face that scares the horses.” Quentin Bates

“Why a theology student? Because he doesn’t really believe in anything.” Ragnar Jónasson

“A homicide cope, and strangely enough, as soon he arrives in the Faeroes, there’s a murder.” Chris Ould

“With every novel you’re trying to solve the problems of previous books, seeking a mix between literary and crime.” Susie Steiner

What’s So Funny? Humour in Crime Fiction

“Incongruity is the essence of comedy.” Ruth Dudley Edwards

Comedy = tragedy + time? “When Paul Daniels died, I thought, ‘Ooh, that’s tragic,’ but I didn’t say it for three months.” Nev Fountain

How many characters should you have?

 “Start off with a few. End with less.” Nev Fountain

On Grantchester: “I write it, then they take all the jokes out.” James Runcie

“We all know in this country you can’t get published if you kill a dog.” Ruth Dudley Edwards

“I don’t read crime. I don’t like panels.” Douglas Lindsay

Check out William Sutton on:
twitter @WilliamGeorgeQ

Don't forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour and the book is out NOOOOW so go and grab yourself a copy!

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Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Book review: Alice by Christina Henry

Title: Alice (Alice Chronicles #1)
Author: Christina Henry
Publisher: Titan Books
Release date: 28th June 2016
Synopsis: In a warren of crumbling buildings and desperate people called the Old City, there stands a hospital with cinderblock walls which echo with the screams of the poor souls inside.In the hospital, there is a woman. Her hair, once blonde, hangs in tangles down her back. She doesn't remember why she's in such a terrible place-just a tea party long ago, and long ears, and blood...Then, one night, a fire at the hospital gives the woman a chance to escape, tumbling out of the hole that imprisoned her, leaving her free to uncover the truth about what happened to her all those years ago.Only something else has escaped with her. Something dark. Something powerful.And to find the truth, she will have to track this beast to the very heart of the Old City, where the rabbit waits for his Alice.

Review: I think its safe to say one of the books we can all agree on loving at DarkReader is Alice in Wonderland..there's just something about the books and the way in which the characters have become part of our lives that shouts out to me. I also love a good transformation book and after the dreadful film this year I need a good surge of something to make up for it. Enter Alice. Henry has taken all the key elements of Alice in Wonderland, and rather than retelling the story has taken the story on and put them into her own world and her own frameworks. 

The great thing about stories like this is that we already have opinions and feeling towards characters, we know how they act and react so then for me it becomes interesting to see how this is...or in a lot of cases isn't in this book. Like the Rabbit for instance...I think power went to his head because woooah! I also love how the character have these anthropomorphic states of form (boom there's my english a-level in full use) so rather than just being animals that have human qualities they are actually human and you can imagine each on vividly, like Cheshire I imagine as a male Hepzibah Smith, plump and enjoying all the things around her. 

This isn't a happy tale though it's dark and full of grit...more adult than the world alice finds herself in originally, more madness and vice to corrupt and anger to give her drive, along with Hatch. 

They were an interesting pair. Alice having been confined in an asylum for so long doesn't have the assurity and the boldness that she once did and this is something she rally has to grow into with the book. Then you have Hatch whose characters is mad in a complete different way...its more raw and rough than the hatter we are all used to. But his character was strong and protective so there was a really nice balance between how we viewed him based on what we knew of him and how Alice fed into this. 

This was a whole new take on going down the rabbit hole and I'm very very excited for the adventure to come. In the way the Wicked really build that world, I feel like this has really strong potential to do this for Alice, to keep this world going in a whole new way!

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