Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Beauty Sleep by Kathryn Evans | Blog Tour



Beauty Sleep by Kathryn Evans
Published by Usborne
Release Date: April 4th 2019
Source: Usborne, paperback finished copy.

Goodreads | Wordery [aff. link] | Book Depository [aff.link]

Laura was dying. There was no cure for her illness. So her family decided to grasp a desperate last hope - Laura was frozen until she could be cured.

But what happens when you wake up one day and the world has moved on forty years? Your best friend is middle-aged, your parents presumed dead. Could you find a new place to belong? Could you build a new life - while solving the mystery of what happened to the old one?

Dark secrets lurk in the future of the girl from the past…

Today I'm sharing the new YA sci-fi novel from Usborne: Beauty Sleep by Kathryn Evans! Described as "Sleeping Beauty with a Black Mirror-style twist", Beauty Sleep explores what it would be like for a pre-tech girl to wake up in a futuristic world. Today I'm sharing a little taster with a gripping extract from the novel to get you excited! No doubt you'll be as hooked as I was...

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Extract from Beauty Sleep

I was winded by it.
"Forty? Forty years?"
"I know it's a shock," Benjie said.
It was impossible. Completely impossible. I tried to process what they were telling me, but my brain couldn't cope.
"How...what...how...?" Then my head snapped up. "Wait, is it gone, the cancer?"
Benjie smiled. "We began treatment as soon as you were revived. You slept through most of it, but you responded well. You'll need a lot of onitoring, but we're confident you are on the road to a full recovery."
I wrapped my arms around myself, as if I was checking I was whole. "So what...when...what year is it?"
Benjie paused, then said, "2028."
It was impossible. It couldn't be 2028. That sounded so far in the future - it was science fiction.
What was the year I went to sleep then? I wracked my brain, frustrated by my lack of memory. Then I remembered sticking something into a scrapbook - a picture of Prince Andrew and Fergie getting engaged - and writing the date in bubble letters. It was March. March, 1986.
I shook my head.
How could I remember that and so little else?
Forty years?
Benjie held my arm. "I'm so sorry. We weren't sure...We didn't want..."
I pulled my knees up to my chest and curled into a ball, turning my head away from them. I closed my eyes. I wanted to shut him out.
I wanted to shut everything out.
The didn't leave. I could hear them whispering. Still I kept my eyes closed.
Forty years.
A lifetime.
No.
No, it wasn't. It was a long time but it wasn't a lifetime.
How old would Mum and Ima have been in 1986? I searched my patchy memory. Early forties? Maybe? A spark of hope ignited.
I opened my eyes. "They could still be alive, Mum and Ima. Do they know? Can't you find them? Tell them I'm awake?"
Benjie bit his lip.
"I know they'll be old, it doesn't matter, Benjie. I just want to see them. I need to see them. I can cope, I swear."
He wouldn't look at me. Cold crept over my skin.

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If that doesn't have you intrigued, I don't know what will. Beauty Sleep is out now!

Thank you so much to Usborne for inviting me to take part in this blog tour. Don't forget to check out the other stops!


Links to books in this post marked with [aff. link] are affiliate links, which just means that if you want to purchase them, it supports the running of this blog - with no extra cost to you! If you want to buy any other books, please consider using my Wordery link - thanks lovelies!

Monday, 29 April 2019

Stanley and Elsie by Nicola Upson | Blog Tour



Stanley and Elsie by Nicola Upson
Published by Duckworth
Release date: 2nd May 2019
Source: Duckworth, paperback advance reading copy.


It’s 1928 and Stanley Spencer arrives in a quiet Hampshire village ready to create the commission of a lifetime. Hired as his housekeeper, Elsie quickly becomes so much more: a muse and a friend for whom he develops a deep, lifelong affection. A joy in the ordinary things bonds them, a simple love of life which is crucial to Spencer’s art but which his wartime experiences and growing celebrity have all but destroyed.

Elsie becomes a vital part of the Spencer family, sharing in the creation of Spencer’s masterpieces and the daily dramas of his life: his marriage to the painter Hilda Carline and the artistic rivalry between husband and wife; the continuing impact of the First World War on all their lives, and the scandal over Spencer’s personal and artistic attitudes toward sex. As the years pass, Elsie does her best to keep the familytogether even when love, obsession and temptation seem set to tear them apart...

Spencer painted the women in his life with a combination of ruthless honesty and nostalgic idealism, but their voices are tantalisingly absent from history. Stanley and Elsie turns the tables and gives full lives to the women who shaped Stanley Spencer’s life.

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Stanley and Elsie by Nicola Upson and I'm so excited to share my review with you. Based on the life of the artist Stanley Spencer (1891-1959), Stanley and Elsie is a fascinating look at art, the wounds of war and Stanley Spencer through the eyes of the women in his life.

Writing fiction about art is almost the ultimate test in descriptive writing as the goal is clearly to get the reader to not only be able to visualise the art as they read, but appreciate the technical detail and the feelings that a particular piece evokes. In this way, Nicola Upson has accomplished something extraordinary. I felt like I was standing in Sandham memorial chapel (the building filled with murals on everyday life during WW1, painted by Spencer) along with Elsie, seeing Spencer's vast and distinctive depictions of war memories.

I really enjoyed the reflections on finding joy in the everyday, mundane tasks and it made me pause and think about my mindset when it comes to work and daily life. I agree with Spencer's idea of there being something heroic in the everyday, of keeping on despite everything, and cherishing the peace of mundane moments. This is something that I also found within the novel, reading about the life of the Spencers. I love the comfort that historical fiction brings, especially books that spend time on the day to day lives of people in the past. The simple joy of seeing how people lived their daily lives, their tasks and homemaking, their view on hard work and holidays by the seaside.

Nicola Upson did such a fantastic job with the setting of the novel that the Berkshire countryside felt almost like another character, and it made me feel a connection to a part of England that I haven't yet visited. There is some beautiful writing on nature, weather and the changing of the seasons, which I particularly appreciated. 

Stanley and Elsie is a cosy book which deals with some big and uncomfortable topics whilst also being a comfortable and relaxing read. It has a slow burn of atmosphere and is a fascinating insight into the emotional and domestic life of a distinguished artist.

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Nicola Upson was born in Suffolk and is most known for her series of novels featuring real-life crime author and playwright, Josephine Tey. 

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Thanks to Duckworth for including me on this blog tour and providing an advanced copy of the book. Don't forget to head on over to the other stops on the tour!



Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Celebrating Shakespeare Day with Viking | Shakespeare's memorable quotes

This post contains items that were gifted from Viking. This is not a paid-for post.








Today, April 23rd, is Shakespeare Day. Despite being written over 400 years ago, Shakespeare's works are still celebrated the world over. He introduced phrases that we still use today and he wrote with a wit still unrivalled.

To help me celebrate Shakespeare Day, Viking kindly gifted me some beautiful stationery and I decided to practice my calligraphy with some of my favourite quotes from the bard. I started hand-lettering with brush pens about two years ago and it's something I've been practising over time but using a proper calligraphy set was a new challenge for me! 






This beautiful feathered calligraphy pen came with six different nibs and I had so much fun trying out the different styles. What do you think of my efforts?















Viking stock an enormous range of products online, so whether you're stocking up for school or work or you just want to get creative, they've definitely got something for you. 

This post is not paid, Viking gifted me a box of stationery with the intention to get creative with their products. I genuinely think they're a great company and really like the range of products they stock. 

I really enjoyed getting creative and celebrating Shakespeare with these calligraphy quotes, which is your favourite?

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden | Giveaway!


Today is the publication day for the fantastic third book in Katherine Arden's Winternight Trilogy: The Winter of the Witch! I'm so happy to be taking part in the blog tour for Winter of the Witch, I'm going to be sharing my spoiler-free review and stay tuned to the end for a giveaway!

There is a battle raging over Moscow, Old Gods and New are vying for control of Russia and it's people. Vasya is at the centre of this conflict, desperately trying to save both the human and magical worlds of Russia and the Winter King, who is fading in the creeping heat of summer and battle. But she might not be able to save them all.

In 2018, I read the whole of the Winternight trilogy, something I don't often do. I tend to start fantasy series and then trail off at some point, but this one had me gripped throughout. It turned out to be a five star series for me and one of the best I've read. I think the main reason for this is that it has such a great balance between character development and plot. I generally prefer character-driven novels but I get a bit frustrated when the accompanying plot is badly paced or non-existent. The Winternight trilogy has such strong characters who get you really invested and a well balanced plot which drives excitement and tension at just the right moments.

The Winter of the Witch is a really strong finale to this wonderful series. It maintains and builds on the folklore and spirit elements that were so present in the first book and made the second book so gripping, to create a fantastic, emotional and exciting final journey with so many unexpected twists and turns along the way.

One of the things I love most about this series is the sweeping range of settings across medieval Russia; the scenery was ever-changing across the course of the three books. From rural village life with lush descriptions of the nature which is almost a character within Vasya's home of Lesnaya Zemlya, to the high walls of Moscow, the dark forests of Midnight and the crackling fires of battle camps. The reader always feels completely immersed in this world as no matter the landscape, it is deftly described and fully realised without hitting you over the head with it.

Vasya is one of the best protagonists I've ever read. She could have so easily been a  manic-pixie-dream-girl or stereotypical chosen one but instead she is complex, flawed and brilliant. There were times I questioned her decisions, felt frustrated with her or urged her to take another path, but that is what makes her so real and human and an ultimately convincing character. I also really liked that romance was an undercurrent in these books, bubbling under the surface with just enough angst and emotion to invest in, but not distracting from the main story or Vasya's character development.

Vasya is firmly cemented as one of my favourite fantasy heroines of all time. Her character arc is incredible yet entirely convincing. I wholeheartedly adore her and I already can't wait to go back to this series for a reread and spend more time with her, watching her grow into the incredible woman she is in The Winter of the Witch. 

On my Instagram I described this series as epic and quiet at the same time and I think that's exactly what I love about it. It's sweeping enough to be exciting and to carry you fully into another world but it's quiet and charming enough for you to hold it close to your heart and feel like it's yours. This series felt like coming home to me, it felt like everything I'd ever wanted in a fantasy and I'll always hold it close. Read the Winternight trilogy, you won't regret it.

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With the help of Ebury, I'm running a giveaway for a finished copy of The Winter of the Witch over on my Instagram! Head to the link below and read the caption for details on how to enter.

View this post on Instagram

πŸ“šπŸŽ GIVEAWAY! πŸŽπŸ“šHappy book birthday to The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden! My blog is today’s stop on the blog tour, head to the link in my bio to read my spoiler-free review. - To celebrate publication day of the third book in the Winternight trilogy, I’m collaborating with @eburybooks to give away a finished copy of The Winter of the Witch (swipe to see the gorgeous finished cover) to one lucky winner. - To enter: 🎁 Like the post 🎁 Follow me @sarahschapter 🎁 Tag a friend in the comments who might like to enter - Extra Entries: 🎁 Tag more friends (one comment per tag, up to five comments) 🎁 Comment on my review post (link in bio) 🎁 Share this post on your stories and comment when you’ve done this. - UK and Europe entries only. Giveaway ends 23:59 GMT on 16th January 2019. This giveaway is not affiliated with Instagram.

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Also, don't forget to catch the other stops on the blog tour:



BLOGLOVIN | GOODREADS

I was provided with a review copy of The Winter of The Witch from Ebury in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my thoughts on the book. 

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