The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau Blog Tour

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Firstly, thank you so much to Endeavour for sending me a wonderful digital copy of this book. I will definitely be buying a physical copy because LOOK at the copy, it is gorgeous, and I hate to say it but I do judge a book by its cover. I could stare at it all day, just amazing!

Today, I am going to review The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau and I hope you enjoy it!

 

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The-Blue-cover-comingBlurb:

In eighteenth century London, porcelain is the most seductive of commodities; fortunes are made and lost upon it. Kings do battle with knights and knaves for possession of the finest pieces and the secrets of their manufacture.

For Genevieve Planché, an English-born descendant of Huguenot refugees, porcelain holds far less allure; she wants to be an artist, a painter of international repute, but nobody takes the idea of a female artist seriously in London. If only she could reach Venice.

When Genevieve meets the charming Sir Gabriel Courtenay, he offers her an opportunity she can’t refuse; if she learns the secrets of porcelain, he will send her to Venice. But in particular, she must learn the secrets of the colour blue…

The ensuing events take Genevieve deep into England’s emerging industrial heartlands, where not only does she learn about porcelain, but also about the art of industrial espionage.

With the heart and spirit of her Huguenot ancestors, Genevieve faces her challenges head on, but how much is she willing to suffer in pursuit and protection of the colour blue?I

 

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Mini Review:5-star-rating

 

Title: The Blue 

Author: Nancy Bilyeau

Where to buy it: Free for download on Kindle Unlimited or £7.99 from Amazon

Pages: 488

Publisher: Endeavour Quill

Genre: Historical Fiction

I do not want to give any details away because I do not want to ruin it BUT if you have read and want to discuss (because I do!) comment below and we can have a good ol’ chinwag.

Just know it is absolutely incredible! After devouring this amazing novel I cannot wait to pick up her other books because this was right up my street. The insight and excitement of an 18th Century tale of risk and international espionage had me electronically turning the page in anticipation!

I often go through stages of reading historical fiction and this has catapulted me right back into my obsession! Everything was just amazing – the characters were divine – the detail- ahhhh the detail- so good!!! The concept and narrative were just impeccable. LOVE LOVE LOVE.  

I normally only read historical fiction about Tudor times so this was SUPER interesting for me! Thank you so much to Hannah, the Marketing Coordinator at Endeavour for sending it to me and to my wonderful friend Taryn (Endeavour’s current Intern) for telling me about this book!

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NancyBiography:

Nancy is a writer and magazine editor, a graduate of the University of Michigan who worked as an editor at “Rolling Stone,” “InStyle” and “Good Housekeeping.”
 
She wrote a trilogy of award-winning Tudor mysteries, published in 9 countries: “The Crown,” “The Chalice,” and “The Tapestry.” Her new book is “The Blue,” a novel of suspense set in the rivalrous art and porcelain worlds of 18th century Europe featuring a young female artist turned spy.

Praise for Nancy:

“Nancy Bilyeau’s passion for history infuses her books and transports us back to the dangerous world of Tudor England. Vivid characters and gripping plots are at the heart of this wonderful trilogy. Warmly recommended!”
—Alison Weir, author of The Marriage Game: A Novel of Queen Elizabeth I and many bestsellers

“Nancy Bilyeau’s polished, inventive debut has all the ingredients of the best historical fiction: a broad cast of characters, well-imagined settings, and vivid story-telling… In Joanna Stafford, Bilyeau has given us a memorable character who is prepared to risk her life to save what she most values, while Stafford’s desperate search for a lost religious relic will satisfy even the most ardent mystery fans.”
—Deborah Harkness, author of A Discovery of Witches

Blog: http://nancybilyeau.com 

Twitter: @tudorscribe

 

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You can follow the tour here…

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10 ways to overcome a book slump…

Recently I have been in a bit of a bookish slump, I  keep picking up books – reading a bit and then putting it down. Urg, I hate myself for doing this…come on Shannon – just read the darn book.

So, to motivate myself and you – I am going to reveal my top tips for getting out of a book slump.

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1. Stop reading the book you are currently reading:

This might sound like a strange thing to say but sometimes the book is just not right for you at this time in your life. It is stopping your progression, slowing you down and hindering your ability to move on – so put it down and pick another book.

2. Start a smaller book:

Size does matter! If you’re feeling the dread of a big book, do not rush your reading experience and force yourself to read it quickly. We all know there is no better feeling than finishing a book, so go and pick up a smaller book or an easy read because you will feel fab-u-lous once your read that last page. You will feel like your reading mo-jo is back, embrace it and let it motivate you.  Even if you just read one of the £1 penguin modern classics – reading is reading.

3. Switch genre:

You might not be feeling the genre anymore, so mix it up and try something else. This is also a good time to explore a completely new genre that is outside your comfort zone. Go for it!

4. Pick up an old friend:

This is where I would be whacking out one of the Harry Potter books for comfort (probably Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) or The Bell Jar. Sometimes you just have to return to an old favourite and remind yourself why you love reading so much. For me, in my hectic life – I just need to zone out sometimes and lose myself within books.

5. Start or join a bookclub:

I have failed at this more times than I should admit – I have the best intention of going and then I don’t or me and my friends organise our own , read the book and then never discuss it. But I will join a bookclub soon, I will!

6. Set your own goals:

If you are an introvert like me and not fond of the bookclub idea, set your own goals to motivate yourself. Easy or hard goals will act as a reminder to you – this is why I love the Goodreads Reading Challenge because I can track what I have read and achieved so far and how far I have to go.

7. Reorganise your bookshelf:

If you’re anything like me, this tip will help you live your most organised life while also familiarising yourself with books you have forgotten about. We have all been there haven’t we? Moved a book and discovered a forgotten hidden gem.

8. Go book shopping:

I love a good bookshop! They are cozy, warm, full of wonderful people and of course, books! What more could you want? Go and motivate yourself with some new reads and grab a cup of tea if they have a coffee shop.

9. Watch a book to film adaptation:

Sometimes you just want/need a break from reading…do not judge yourself too harshly and just relax with a good movie.

10. Listen to a bookish podcast or audiobook:

This may be a podcast by your favourite author or a podcast about books! Like tip number 9, be kind to yourself and seek comfort in other forms. Some people do not view audiobooks as reading but it is – do not be ashamed of listening.

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  • What are you book slump tips?
  • Do you agree with any of mine?

My weird (yet wonderful) bookish habit.

Recently I have been reflecting upon the weird things I do when I am reading or in my everyday life regarding reading and I thought I would share them with you. Maybe you can comfort me and let me know that I am not the only one who does them.

So, without further ado here are my weird book//reading habits.

  1. My favourite place to read is sat on a cushion, on the floor with my back pressed against a scorching hot radiator. Obviously I can and do read in other locations but this is where I feel the most relaxed.  I love having a cup of tea within reaching distance when I read, any kind – peppermint, green tea, normal tea. Where do you like reading the most?  

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  1. Whenever I am out and about and I can see someone reading a book that I love, this weird thing happens to me. I stop what I am doing and just stare at the person for a while; I try my hardest to look normal on the outside but on the inside I am screaming up and down with eagerness. I want to be their friend, I want to go 3up to the person and chat to them about the book and gain their opinion.   I know this is super weird but I would love it if someone did it to me, it would be slightly bizarre at first but then I would be like ‘yaaaaasss gurl, I love this book. ITS AMAZING!!’ Please tell me that at least one of you do this and that I haven’t gone completely crazy.

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  1. I absolutely despise it when people bend the top of a page when reading as an indicator for where they got to. I will use ANYTHING and EVERYTHING before resorting to mistreating my book. The other day for instance, I didn’t have any paper in my bag so I quickly used my paracetamol packet instead to keep my page. Bookmarks can be so quirky, colourful and amazing…use them people…use them.

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  1. Once facebook told me on a quiz, that I would meet my true love at a bookstore while reaching for the same book. Obviously facebook is 100% an accurate and reliable source, so I am waiting for the day to happen. Imagine it now…it has been a stressful day and I long for the comfort of a bookstore, I am in desperate need for the latest release and just when I am on the verge of giving up. I spot the last copy out of the corner of my eye, I run to the book in a socially accepting manner and just as my hand are about to clasp the book, a strong muscular arm collides with mine. *romantic instrumental music begins* as our touch creates sparks and we stare longingly into each other’s eyes.

So, number on my list is how I always think how romantic it would be to meet      someone as a bookstore. OR, I imagine myself into books where I date the main character.

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  1. Forgetting I have hands when reading and stifling a yawn with a book. I read about someone else doing this the other day and I realized that I also do it. I am so intensely captivated by the book that instead of putting to book down like a normal human to cover my mouth while yawning, I just bring my book to my mouth and yawn.

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This post made me sound crazzzy, absolutely bonkers. I have sooo many more weird (yet wonderful) book habits to share with you guys, but I didn’t want to overwhelm you and scare you away. But if you do like this post and want to hear more- please comment below and I a second post will follow.

Also, do you have any quirky things you do while reading?

Bookstagram

I am becoming a frequent user of instragam, especially on my book page. I think you should go and check out my page and maybe give me a cheeky follow.

Let me know if you follow me from this blog and I will follow you back!

My Instagram is – Captivated_by_Fantasy    …here is a sneaky peak. 📚🤓💫🍂🍁👑📝


Guest Post: The Aladdin Trial by Abi Silver.

Thank you to the wonderful people at Lightning Books for sending me this marvellous book to read and thank you so much to Abi Silver for writing me a guest post. I am half way through this book and I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT, please go check it out. So, without further ado – welcome to my place on the blogging tour:

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Title: The Aladdin Trial
Author: Abi Silver
Pages: 368 pages
Blurb:

When an elderly artist plunges one hundred feet to her death at a London hospital, the police sense foul play.

The hospital cleaner, a Syrian refugee, is arrested for her murder. He protests his innocence, but why has he given the woman the story of Aladdin to read and why does he shake uncontrollably in times of stress?

Judith Burton and Constance Lamb reunite to defend a man the media has already convicted. In a spellbinding courtroom confrontation in which they once more grapple with all-too-possible developments in artificial intelligence, they uncover not only the cleaner’s secrets, but also those of the artist’s family, her lawyer and the hospital.

A new Burton and Lamb legal thriller with an AI twist from the author of the acclaimed The Pinocchio Brief.

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Guest Post:

Do not mistreat foreigners who are living in your land…love them as you love yourselves’: Leviticus 19:33-34

#These are a few of my favourite things – part two

It always takes time for my ideas to bed down, sometimes months, sometimes years. That’s the nature of the beast called #amwriting, I suppose. Some days I overhear a snippet of conversation on the underground, I make a mental note and use it that very night. More often, I squirrel it away for a wintery day, when it suddenly and unexpectedly becomes relevant. Other times, ideas flood in at night and I thrash around, attempting to tame them, before scribbling them on a notepad I keep by my bed. Sadly, there have been occasions when I’ve been unable to decipher my scrawl in the morning – enough said!

But throughout 2015, the refugee crisis was featuring most nights on the News and it could not fail to stimulate my interest and evoke my sympathy. Overloaded boats of all shapes and sizes were taking to the water and promptly sinking, with tragic consequences. Our inspired response? To cease patrols of the Mediterranean, in the hope that would stem the flow.

Camps of destitute migrants were expanding at Calais; our answer was to tear them down. Young, desperate men were storming lorries bound for the Channel Tunnel in the hope of reaching England before arrest, so we increased security and threatened drivers with prosecution. Further East, Hungary closed its border with Serbia, ceased all railway crossings and mounted-police patrolled barbed-wire fences, forcing families to take long and often treacherous journeys on foot, to reach their desired Western European destinations. I watched and gawped and felt totally and utterly powerless.

Then I realised there was something I could do, something I often do when I am trying to make sense of what is going on around me; I could write about it. And as the focus slowly shifted from exclusion towards ‘integration’ and our then PM, David Cameron, committed the UK to accepting 20,000 migrants from Syria over the following five years, I began to reflect on my own immigrant past.

Just over a century ago, all four of my grandparents arrived in the UK, fleeing persecution in Eastern Europe. As with many of today’s refugees, we don’t know the route they took, how long they were travelling or how they managed to travel so far. They certainly didn’t talk about it to me; Kitty, Joe (my maternal grandparents), Bernard and Esther (on my father’s side), not their real names of course, but the closest approximations in English to their birth names. They didn’t get to keep their long, difficult-to-spell surnames either, being lumped in with the people in front in the queue, suddenly creating a whole new artificial, extended family.

There were not many clues for my younger self to my grandparents’ foreign past. They spoke English, apart from the odd Yiddish word, which tended to escape from their mouths in moments of tremendous angst, when there really was no English substitute (I challenge you to find an appropriate synonym for ‘Oy a Clog!’ – sort of OMG but imbued with centuries of bondage, woe and affliction).

Grandma Kitty loved the Queen (‘I think she’s marvellous’ she would say) as she munched on Ryvita with cottage cheese for breakfast, Grandpa Joe liked to write long, almost illegible letters to Margaret Thatcher (he had only spent three years at school) and never missed an episode of Hawaii Five O and Grandad Bernard, who had worked as a tailor, was ‘a frustrated artist and musician’ (apparently he had played the violin as a young man but I never saw any evidence of this; I do, however, have some of his paintings up in my house today, so that part of his history, at the very least, must be true).

But as I watched the modern-day refugees on TV, disembarking on our shores, I wondered what life had been like for my grandparents when they first arrived, clutching a few personal possessions, dispossessed even of their names, knowing no one and saturated, no doubt, with a wealth of traditions and culture which most English people would have found strange and frightening.

And so with the inspiration of my grandparents firmly in mind, I created Ahmad Qabbani; a recent arrival on English soil, considered fortunate to have found cleaning work at my fictional St Mark’s hospital, but ultimately unlucky to have chosen to befriend an elderly patient who ends up dead, eleven floors below. Ahmad becomes the prime suspect in her murder and Judith and Constance, our accomplished double act, have to work hard to craft him a defence, in circumstances where the media has already judged him to be guilty; nothing like real life then, I’m pleased to say.

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Thank you once again to Abi Silver for writing such a wonderful piece.

Go buy the book here : https://amzn.to/2xv8CZB and to find out more about Abi and her writing go check out her website: www.abisilver.co.uk

To see more about the influences for The Aladdin Trial check out Shaz’s Book Blog, @ShazsBookBlog on 21 June and The Book Bag, @TheBookBag on 26 June, both part of The Aladdin Trial blog tour.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Book Quotes.

If you know me personally or have been following this blog for a while, you will know I am a sucker for a good quote. I am that friend that has loads of motivational plaques in her bedroom! Oh huns, if you need some cheering up or some inspiration…just pop to my bedroom and read a few quotes. *Maybe I should create a motivation museum.* 

Anywho, back on track… it has been AGES since I did one of these posts but I love them so I am making an effort this week (and maybe, just slightly I am procrastinating from uni work but shhhh…)

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1.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

‘We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over.’

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2.

On the Road by Jack  Kerouac

‘The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.’

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3.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank 

‘How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.’

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4.

Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr.Seuss 

‘You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where you go…’

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5.

Wide Awake by David Levithan

‘Do not just seek happiness for yourself. Seek happiness for all. Through kindness. Through mercy.’

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6.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green 

‘I just want you to be happy. If that’s with me or with someone else or with nobody. I just want you to be happy.’

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7.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

‘There’s something disturbing about recalling a warm memory and feeling utterly cold.’

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8.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

‘Push yourself. Don’t Settle. Just live well. Just LIVE.’

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9.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath 

‘I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.’

 

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10.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

‘I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn’t already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race-that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.’

 

 

Prosecco and Promises by A.L.Michael Blog Tour.

Title: Prosecco and Promises

Author Name: A. L. Michael

Previous Books: Cocktails and Dreams

 Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Release Date: 12th February 2018

 Publisher: Canelo

Cover Image:

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Book Blurb:

Meet Mia: an unforgettable heroine learning the meaning of life and love on a beautiful Italian island. Perfect for fans of Mhairi McFarlane, Lindsey Kelk and Lucy Vine.

Mia’s dad has always been her idol. Now, she faces losing him and he is insisting that she leave England to visit her mother’s family on the Italian island of Ischia.

Arriving on the island, Mia is embraced by the warm, crazy relatives she hardly knows. Despite her doubts about the trip, it is in Italy that Mia discovers connections to a part of her life that’s been missing, and during the sun-soaked days and steamy nights Mia falls for handsome local Salvatore. But as the day of her departure draws nearer can she risk having her heart broken twice in one summer?

If you love Prosecco and Promises, why not read more about Mia’s best friend Savvy in Cocktails and Dreams? Out now!

Links to Book:

Amazon (UK)

Kobo (UK)

Google Books (UK)

Apple Books (UK)

Author Bio:
A.L. Michael
is hurtling towards the end of her twenties a little too quickly. She is the author of 10 novels. Her most recent collection of books, The Martini Club Series, started with Cocktails and Dreams, to be followed by Prosecco and Promises, and Martinis and Memories. She likes to write about difficult women. Well, they say to write what you know. Andi works as a Content Writer, as well as a therapeutic facilitator. She has a bunch of degrees in stuff to do with writing, and wrote her MSc dissertation on the power of creative writing in eating disorder recovery. She truly believes stories can change your life.

Author Photo:

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Author Social Media Links

Twitter: @AlMichael_

Facebook: A.L. Michael 

Website: A. L. Michael