I was attracted to this book for its cover and title – I love sunflowers! I was excited when I received an advanced copy by NetGalley for an honest review.
Title: Sunflowers in February
Author: Phyllida Shrimpton
Genre: Young Adult, paranormal, fiction
Lily wakes up one crisp Sunday morning on the side of the road. She has no idea how she got there. It is all very peaceful. and very beautiful. It is only when the police car, and then the ambulance arrive, and she sees her own body, that she realises that she is in fact . . . dead.
But what is she supposed do now? Lily has no option but to follow her body and see her family – her parents and her twin brother start falling apart.
And then her twin brother Ben gives her a once in a deathtime opportunity – to use his own body for a while. But will Lily give Ben his body back? She is beginning to have a rather good time . . .
What a wonderful, quirky debut. It brought tears to my eyes, made me gasp, chuckle and smile but most of all, it gave me a sense of positivity. Lily has an upbeat personality and experiencing her viewpoint made me look at the world with fresh eyes as well as reach out for the Jelly Tots. My diet has been paused again because of a book.
It is hard to review without giving anything away but it covers the consequences of a death, grief, family bonds and how precious life is. There were times it made me stop, look around me and appreciate the moment. A little bit of mindfulness in a novel.
Would I recommend?
Yes! This is the best book I have read this year.
Have you read this yet? Let me know your thoughts below.
Yesterday was a bad day. My intentions of having a productive day fell apart rapidly. After reading my previous attempts at writing the beginning of my current WIP my confidence shattered. I have been struggling with where to start the novel for ages so I have focussed on other scenes but the beginning needed to be tackled. I could not translate the visions in my mind on to the page, the writing did not flow, and I struggled to find the best place to start so the reader is hooked. I closed the tab and reread some blog posts I had written the night before. They also did not work. Self-analysis kicked in, comparing myself with the productivity and talent of others and self-doubt took hold. I began to question
The wisdom of self-hosting my new blog instead of remaining in the free away from WordPress platform. I miss the interaction with others and the sense of community. My followers plummeted since the move.
My writing ability
Productivity – I am so slow compared to others
My ability to balance writing, ambition and family life
I was ready to click the delete button.
But then I logged on to my favourite facebook writers group and blurted out my feelings. It was not long before I received support, commiserations, and advice. This helped so much. Never underestimate the power of the support in online groups and friends. They get you through bad days. After a good old fashioned cry, door slamming and consuming vast amounts of Jelly Tots and Yorkshire tea I began to feel better.
I also opened a book I had wished for on NetGalley, Old English Medical Remedy by Sinead Spearing. Thank you, Pen and Sword for granting my wish. It was different to what I was expecting but it is a perfect gem of a book which would make the old witches of Ellfaen clap their hands in glee. It is full of information, remedies, and beliefs of 9th Century and it gave me my spark back.
Today I am back on my PC in my writing space that I had to vacate over Christmas for visitors and back to writing.
This is the second book I have read recently about finding a soulmate. Whereas The Soulweaver had a traditional spiritual take on the idea, John Marrs has taken a scientific approach.
The One by John Marrs
This book had been on my TBR for a while but I was on a long reservation list at the library. Finally, I received a copy but then I was reluctant to open it. I had heard the good reviews and did not want to be disappointed if I felt it did not deserve the hype surrounding it. I have been bitten a few times like that. The first time I heard about The One was an interview with John Marrs on Simon Mayo’ s Book Club . The idea of finding your soulmate via genetics was fascinating and tantalising close to reality. I love psychological thrillers as a genre so it needed to be read.
How far would you go to find THE ONE?
One simple mouth swab is all it takes. A quick DNA test to find your perfect partner – the one you’re genetically made for.
A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one other person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love. Now, five more people meet their Match. But even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking – and deadlier – than others…
My concern about this book not deserving the buzz surrounding it was unfounded. The One is a stunning, fast-paced thriller following five people as they meet the person their DNA dictates is the person they belong with. Each person has taken the test for different reasons, are in different circumstances and the results lead them to deal with different consequences. It is well written and leaves you asking the question “Would you take the test?”. It is a warning of what our future may hold with the rising trend for online dating and genetic discoveries.
Would I recommend?
Definitely. Buy, beg or borrow a copy and book a day off to curl up in a comfy chair to enjoy.
Have you read it?Let me know what you thought below.
I have recently read two books The Soulweaver by Heidi Catherine and The One by John Marrs. They are different styles, different genres and plots but they have one thing in common – finding your soulmate, the one person who fits and understands you like no other. The One has a scientific approach while The Soulweaver is more spiritual but they are both driven by the human desire to be with and loved by that one special person.
The Soulweaver by Heidi Catharine
This book snuck in on my best reads of 2017 by default because I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy via NetGalley for review. It is now available to buy in paperback and Kindle.
She’s loved and lost him a hundred times across a thousand years. She can’t bear to lose him again. Lin’s dreams are haunted by faces of people she’s never met. Unable to shake the feeling she’s lived before, she’s drawn to Reinier—a stranger whose soul is heartbreakingly familiar from a time gone by. Reinier helps Lin unravel the mystery of her past life as Hannah, a girl who sacrificed herself for her true love, Matthew. As Lin falls hopelessly in love with Reinier, her memories of her life as Hannah sharpen, and she finds herself unable to let go of Matthew. With her heart torn in two, Lin must decide whether she should stand by Reinier’s side or track down Matthew and fight for his love. What she doesn’t know is that her decision will ripple across our troubled planet, affecting far more lives than just her own. Winner of Romance Writers of Australia’s Emerald Pro award, The Soulweaver is a story that will change the way you see the world
I have always had an interest in reincarnation so I was excited to read how Heidi Catherine would weave it into her story. The Soulweaver is well-written spiritual romance with vivid, detailed imagery for scenes that would be hard to imagine otherwise. I was drawn in by the first chapter and hooked as Lin traveled across the world as to seek answers for the memories she has of Hannah’s life. I found it is easy to connect with the main characters Hannah/Lin, Matthew and Reiner which led to some heart-tugging moments It is a book that will stay with me and one I will return to over and over.
The Soulweaver would be perfect for book clubs because it provides lots of material to discuss including characters, beliefs, and experiences. It leads me to want to read more about the topic of reincarnation and would love to have a cup of tea with the Heidi Catherine to hear about her ideas and how she researched this. I am already counting down to her next book The Truthseeker in May 2018.
Would I recommend?
Yes – if you love romance novels with a paranormal, spiritual edge
It’s the beginning of another week and more books are being lifted from my TBR pile. After last week’ s reading of The Endless Beach by Jenny Colgan, and Jennifer Gilmour’s Isolation Junction these are the books I plan to read:
The One by John Marrs. This has been out a while but I have patiently waited my turn on the library reservation list. I first heard about it on Simon Mayo’s Radio 2 Book Club and the premise of dating based on DNA testing had me hooked.
Clipped Wings by Jennifer Gilmour. After reading Isolation Junction, which is a fictional account of domestic abuse (eye-opening, worrying and uplifting book) I decided to try her second book. This is a collection of survivor’s stories on their experiences of domestic abuse.
Forget her Name by Jane Holland, in time for next week’s blog tour.
Write Smart, Write Happy by Cheryl St. John. I am jumping into this after receiving a digital ARC from NetGalley. Will I be a happier writer and will my technique improve once I have finished it? I will find out soon.