Book Review · Books

Death in the Dojo by Sue Leather [BOOK REVIEW]

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I remember reading The Death in the Dojo a few years ago. I still remember the story and the feelings it brought me. This is a story about a mystery, about karate and the love between a daughter and her dad. I need to just say that this book has and always will have a special place in my heart. 

I have been in a dojo since I remember myself. And the sensei is no one else, but my dad. From the very first kata and my first wins and losses, till the days when I started becoming a national champion and travelling across countries, my dad was always the person beside me. The one to guide me and show me the right way. The one to pick me when I fall, and the one who believed in me, when everyone else didn’t. 

“I went over to the Asano dojo for the last half hour of training and saw a good fight among six black belts. I stood and watched the white gi’s moving quickly round the wooden floor, black belts flying. There was something beautiful about this, more like a dance rather than a fight. It made me feel sad, not to be there doing it. “

Even though this book is not the best mystery you will ever read, I doubt that was its real purpose.

I believe that the purpose of this book was to show us a glimpse of what karate really means, to show us the honour, the respect, the persistence we all share in unison. 

“It was true that the great masters seemed to have an unusual sense of peace around them.”

Death in the Dojo starts off when Kate, a journalist, is tasked to investigate the recent murder of the famous karateka Kawaguchi. It is a complete mystery how he would be killed with just one punch called gyaku zuki and die. The mystery is not behind whether it’s possible for him to die from one punch, but the mystery is why he allowed for this to happen. As a master, he is very well able to defend himself against just one punch. 

On this note, I have to mention that in the book, the punch is spelled as “yaku-zuki”, which is incorrect.   

When this mystery is connected to another mystery that happened many years ago, Kate is determined to find the full truth once and for all. 

Even though it is quite a short book, it contains a lot of information and a couple of unexpected plot twists. It captures perfectly the cultural differences between England and Japan, which is shown through the love and relationships between daughters and their dads.

“It was my Dad who taught me how to fight. He never treated me any differently than my brother. He showed me how to fight with my fists up when I was five and to get up quickly if I fell down. I was never allowed to give up. … It was a lesson that would be useful to me many times over the years. Whenever something bad happens in my life and I feel like giving up, I hear dad’s voice in my ears, telling me to get up off the floor.”

I truly loved this book. It will always stay in my heart. I will keep coming to it when I miss my karate days. I recommend it if you like mysteries and martial arts. Also if you are a fan of the Japanese culture. The ending wasn’t the best mystery ending ever, as the story went sort of unfinished, and we didn’t truly solve one of the mysteries, but it was still a lovely read for me.

This blog post is dedicated to my amazing and one and only dad! I love you! 

Purchase Links:
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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donohue [BOOK REVIEW & AMBASSADOR BOOK BUZZ]

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Twenty-five years ago, a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl and her charismatic teacher disappeared without trace…

The Temple House Vanishing left me with a tiny scar in my soul after reading it. It is intriguing and mysterious, it is real and delusional. The next time when I mention a special mystery, with a cruel end – this will be the first book that pops in my mind.

Louisa and Victoria are two friends that study in a Catholic girls’ boarding school. Both of them have something unique about themselves. They can both see the world in a different light and disobey the rules slightly.

They both also manage to become intrigued with their young, bohemian teacher and act in silly ways when they are around him. Until, one night, he and Louisa suddenly disappear.

Twenty-five years later, one journalist dives into the story again, hoping to finally find out the truth. The search for truth will uncover many buried secrets and a suppressed desire. It will break hearts and lay a lost soul to rest.

This novel might be the most intense novel I have read in 2019, right next to The Silent Patient. And The Devil Aspect. To witness the life of Louisa, and be aware of what is happening around her is quite intense. As soon as she meets Victoria, they click, and they both know they will become best friends. But even Louisa can feel that there is something odd about Victoria. After all, her last best friend left the school and no one knows what happened.

On that subject – why didn’t we find out what happened to this girl?

One friendship, and a very interestingly weird love triangle. I felt so bad for Louisa, because all she ever cared about was Victoria. And all she ever wanted to do is to help in any way. She loved Victoria, but she should’ve said something. If she spoke – everything would now be different.

The teacher reminded me of one of my high-school teachers. The type of person that will show you that the world isn’t how you’ve always known it. There is a meaning behind it all, and there is a purpose for everything. My teacher, she could make me feel like I was able to achieve everything. Anything was possible, if we only followed the right path. Mr Lavelle made all the girls feel like this, and counting his beautiful face as well, it’s no surprise that most of them fell in love with him. But he encouraged them, in his own subtle way. Sweet look in the eyes, gentle touch on the shoulder, and that is all it takes to confuse a teenage girl.

What I loved most in this book was the fact that I had so many theories whilst reading it. I was certain I knew how it all ended. But I was wrong. I didn’t have a clue on what was actually happening until the very end, and I was still surprised. After finishing the book and having a little think, as I always do with books that amaze me – I realised something. The clues were there from the very beginning. But unless you already know the ending I doubt you will notice them. And that is the great masterpiece of writing. And for that, I salute you, Rachel Donohue.

If you love mysteries, thrillers, disappearances and unpredictable endings – I will guarantee you will love this book. And not only that, but you will also devour it in a day!

The Temple House Vanishing

Thank you to the team at LoveReading UK, for letting me part of the Ambassador Book Buzz and sending me an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Check out the other amazing bloggers too! 

Purchase Links:
 Amazon UK 

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Book Review · Books

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano [BOOK REVIEW]

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Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano is one of the few books that instantly captures your heart, then shatters it into hundred pieces and teaches you many life lessons at the same time.

A reporter holds up a copy of The New York Times to a camera, to show a huge block headline, the kind normally reserved for presidential elections and moonwalks. It reads: 

191 DIE IN PLANE CRASH; 1 SURVIVOR

The relatives have only one question when the press briefing comes to close; they all lean toward it like a window in a dark room:

“How is the boy?”

Dear Edward features a boy called Edward, who is flying with his family to move across states. This is their chance of a new life, a brand new start. When the plane crashes, he is the only survivor.

The author tells the story through two different timelines; during the flight and after the plane crash. We follow Edward’s life and how he is coping with the loss of everything he knew. We also see how he is struggling to cope with the unwanted celebrity title he has now.

I have always been intrigued by planes and plane crashes. I used to watch every single episode of the documentary on Discovery Channel back in the days. And today, I like to listen to the Plane Crash Podcast by Michael Bauer. I have had some bad experiences while flying, and have always wanted to understand what exactly happens when a plane crashes, and what aviation does to prevent this from happening in the future. This book contains amazing details about the crash, and my hidden mystery person inside me was deeply satisfied by all those pilot dialogues and explanations.

Edward’s grief and growing up journey is so painful. He survived, but everyone he loved and cared about in his life died. He is lucky to have survived, but why does he then feel guilty? Why did he swap places with his brother on the flight? If they didn’t – his brother would still be alive now. The brother relationship was written so perfectly. The love and the bond they shared for each other was so strong.

Despite the fact that Edward is the main character in this story, we also get to meet so many other characters, the people who lost their lives in the crash. Through flashbacks and “during flight” scenes, as well as encounters from their families, we get to see all the wishes that will never come through, all the hopes and dreams buried under the plane ash.

And that is why Edward’s journey is so difficult. He doesn’t have to only carry to guilt for his own family, but all those other lives as well. Edward receives letters from the families asking him to do all these things that these people would do. He is asked to become a musician, a doctor, a teacher, to travel around the world, learn knitting, etc, and Edward feels obligated to do all of these things, to give peace to the families.

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✈️ QOTD: Are you scared of flying? 💭 I am always uneasy when I fly, having had some bad landings in my life. Recently, I started listening to the @planecrashpodcast and it is amazing to learn more about the plane crashes that occur and how aviation learns from it. Dear Edward by @annnapolitano is one of few books that instantly captures your heart, then shatters it into hundred pieces and teaches you many life lessons at the same time. A boy called Edward is flying with his family to start a brand new life in another state. This is their brand new start. But the plane crashes, and Edward is the only survivor… I gave this book 5-stars. It is now one of my favourites. Go to my blog to read the full review! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Thank you to @penguinrandomhouse and @lovereadinguk , for providing me with an ARC copy in exchange for my honest review. 💖

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I knew this book would stay with me forever from the moment I started reading the first few pages. It is so harshly real and painful, but what it does it remind us how every day is special and we should be thankful for it! We may not get a tomorrow, but that’s why we have today. Let’s make the best of it!

Thank you to the team at Penguin Random House for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Also thank you to the team at LoveReading UK, for allowing me to be their Super Ambassador of this book for the month of November.

Purchase Links:
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Book Review · Books · Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Changes In My Reading Life

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Welcome to my first Top Ten Tuesday! This bookish meme was hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and has been going since June 2010! Since January 2018 Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

I always love reading the Top Ten Tuesday posts from my favourite book bloggers, and have thought about starting it myself, but it was never the “perfect” time or the right prompt to kick off.

This Tuesday, I think the prompt is a great topic for my first post, and it will help you get to know me better.

I have been blogging for a couple of years now, but have started to blog about books around 2 years ago. During those 2 years, a lot has changed around my reading habits and my life in general.

1. I go to the library less often now

I used to go to the library quite often before I started blogging. But as soon as I started having monthly TBRs and being more organised about what I was reading, there is no need for me to go to the library and grab a random read anymore.

2. I used to love romance

I still love romance, but I think that other genres are more appealing to me now, such as YA Fantasy and Psychological Thrillers.

3.  I used to read more classics

I haven’t read many classics since I started blogging. And I think the reason is that I am still unsure on how I am supposed to rate them properly and give them the respect they deserve.

4. I read in public more often

As an introvert, I would usually stick to my comfy spot in my house when it comes to reading. But since I took on my blogging journey, I have been reading on trains, in coffee shops, parks and even shopping malls, and I have been enjoying every moment of it!

5. I rarely DNF books

It is very hard for me to give up on a book. I feel a responsibility to read at least half of the book, before being able to give any kind of feedback on it. This rarely happens though, because before I start reading a book, I have a look at the cover, synopsis and a couple of reviews to see whether it would be fit for my taste. This sort of eliminates a lot of possibility for me to not like it.

6. Tracking my reading

I used to read books and then forget about them. If I try to recall all the books I have read pre-blogging, I would not gather all titles. But try asking me now – I can tell you exactly what books I have read, when I read them, what rating I gave them and what my favourite quote was.

7. Social Media Usage and Making Friends

I have become much more active on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Goodreads, and I love sharing my reading progress and meeting people that share the same reading habits as I do. The book community is a special one!

8. I am picky about my format

Even though I read e-books and listed to audiobooks occasionally, paperback is and will always remain my preferred book format. There is something special about flipping pages and smelling the books that no amount of future technology will be able to replace.

9. I buy second-hand books

I tend to go to charity shops and buy second-hand books. It is a much cheaper way to get all the books you want, and there is always such a big variety of books to choose from. Sometimes, the book will find its way to you, and this has happened to me a lot during these treasure hunts. There are also times though, when I will treat myself and buy that shiny hardcover I have been wanting for ages.

10. I don’t re-read books

I don’t re-read books because I don’t see the point. Perhaps because I can always come back and read my review to help me remember what I felt. I see it as a pointless waste of time. And I know that some people’s opinions change after reading a book for the second time, and this can be true, but to me, I would rather leave my first opinion intact and not interfere with my first experience of reading a certain book.

Let’s Talk:

What reading habits have changed in your life over the years? I would love to hear your opinion on this topic!

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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

I’ll Be Home For Christmas by Abbey Clancy [BLOG TOUR & BOOK REVIEW]

I’ll Be Home for Christmas is a fast-paced adventure that will keep you on your toes right until Christmas!

I am so thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Mills & Boon for I’ll Be Home for Christmas. Check out the other amazing people that are participating in the blog tour as well:

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BOOK REVIEW

blog tour book review books goodreads netgalley diary of difference diaryofdifference i'll be home for Christmas by Abbey Clancy Mills & Boon UK bestseller

I’ll Be Home for Christmas is the first Christmas book I have read this year, before the holidays begin. It is an amazing story about a popular UK singer, Jessika Malone, who receives an offer from a famous US singer to record a duet and go on a US Tour for a while. This is a dream come true, but this offer comes right after Jessica’s boyfriend proposes. Wanting to spend all the time in her world with him, she is hesitant to go, but at the same time, this is an opportunity of a lifetime.

We see our heroine Jessika travel to the US and embark her adventure. I loved the fact that we get to feel what she feels, and live through her dream. We get to see her cope with new things and learn along the way, and it is amazing being on this journey with her. She is a character that knows what she wants and is not afraid to go and get it.

Be ready for some drama, and also be ready to choose sides.

The author makes it hard to know what is the right choice, and all choices seem to have their pros and cons, which makes the book even more realistic. I wish I knew what was right or wrong in life straightaway – that would be too easy. Instead, I keep coming across tough choices that sound amazing, and I have to really look though everything and choose what is right. You get to see this reality in the book, and it is refreshing.

Despite it being a Christmas book, I didn’t really feel the Christmassy vibes too much, but I think that is due to the fact that the focus on this book wasn’t entirely Christmas. We only got a glimpse of the holiday spirit around the end of the book – but it wasn’t in a Home Alone sort of style. It was simple.

Despite that, I still enjoyed this book a lot, and it was the perfect book for me to get me through my days when I felt poorly and lying in bed. I recommend it to all of you out there that love romance, Christmas, a bit of an adventure and searching for our true selves.

Thank you to the team at Mills & Boon, for letting me be a part of this Christmas adventure! 

Purchase Links:
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