Guest Post: Photo Tour for Small Blue Thing by S.C. Ransom

Hey everyone! I'm so excited today because S.C. Ransom, the author of Small Blue Thing, has written a guest post for The Darcy Review! Enjoy!
Small Blue Thing is my first novel, and I didn’t expect to publish it. It was written as a birthday present for my daughter, Ellie; she is a fanatical reader, and I thought it would be fun for her to have a book which reflected all the places she knows, so that’s what I produced!

The story is about a schoolgirl, Alex, who lives in South West London. It starts at a little beach by the Thames in Twickenham where we used to feed the ducks when Ellie was small, and the action is all around that area, including Richmond, Hampton Court and Shepperton, or in central London. She was born in Twickenham, so knows the town and the surroundings really well.

I wanted the book to be about an ordinary girl who has to deal with some extra-ordinary things. It was important to me that the way Alex reacts to the strange situations was the way that Ellie herself might react when she’s a bit older. I wanted her to believe that it could happen, and to be able to relate to the character of Alex as the story unfolds.

Every place means something to Ellie: from the cinema in Richmond, to the restaurant in Chertsey where Alex goes for her first date with Rob, the (unnamed) school where Alex studies, to the Golden Gallery at the top of St Paul’s Cathedral. Every location in the book is a place both she and I have been. Everywhere, that is, except the River Fleet. No-one really knows the River Fleet well these days as it is almost entirely covered over, and that made it perfect for my plot. Every scene in the book is set somewhere real, so picking just a few pictures is really hard. Hopefully these will give you a flavour!

The beach at the White Swan pub in Twickenham by the Thames, where Alex finds the amulet.

The White Swan pub.

St Paul’s Cathedral, London, home to the Dirges.

The mosaic star directly under the dome in St Paul’s Cathedral. Lots more photos of St Paul’s can be found here.

The Old Town Hall in Chertsey (actually called Bar 163) where Rob takes Alex on a date.

The footbridge over to Sunbury Lock Island (article).

The River Fleet as it is now, courtesy of Peter Watts (article)

The Pagoda in Kew Gardens

The view from the Golden Gallery at the very top of the dome – the best view in London!

A very big thank you to S.C. Ransom for this wonderful tour!

Small Blue Thing by S. C. Ransom

Title: Small Blue Thing
Author: S.C. Ransom
Publisher: Nosy Crow
Publication Date: January 13, 2011
Pages: 320
Source: ARC

When 17 year-old Alex rescues a swan caught on a wire stuck deep in the Thames mud, she finds an extraordinary bracelet. Through its disturbing and compelling powers, she meets Callum, a soul locked in a half-life of sadness and mystery following a terrible accident, and his persuasive and sinister sister, Catherine. As Alex and Callum grow closer despite the enormous obstacles to their love, the dangers mount until Alex must risk everything to save her best friend and Callum must risk everything to save Alex.

In short: I loved this book.

Even though I read all the time, it is rare for me to be able to simply say, I loved it, with absolutely no reservations. The more I like a book, though, the harder it is to write the review!

I finished this book feeling like I did the very first time I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - some combination of "Wow, that was amazing!' and "What's gonna happen in the next book?" and "How am I ever going to wait to find out?". With Small Blue Thing, S.C. Ransom has created an  entirely new sort of paranormal species, the Dirges. Not truly dead, not really alive, but stuck somewhere in between, these sort of spirits are born of unfortunate circumstances, and Callum most of all. Alex, a normal teenager, finds a bracelet that links her to Callum, and thus begins a series of plot twists and turns that are truly surprising. Not once could I guess what was going to happen next!

I loved the romance between Alex and Callum; it was sweet and endearing, and the sentiments they shared felt genuine. The highest compliment I can give any writer is that their characters felt like real people to me, and that was the case here. While reading, I always had the feeling that I could just turn around, and Alex or Callum would be there waiting for me, to show me some of the places that were described so vividly in the book. 

With Small Blue Thing, S.C. Ransom has created something fresh, unique, compelling, and fun, and I am truly pleased that I had the opportunity to read it. I am eagerly awaiting the next books in the series, Perfectly Reflected (June 2nd, 2011), and Scattering Like Light (January 12, 2012).

Waiting on Wednesday: Perfectly Reflected by S.C. Ransom

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and it spotlights upcoming releases that we can't wait to read! On occasion, I will feature a book that has already been published, but that I am eagerly anticipating anyway. I figure that still counts:)

Perfectly ReflectedPerfectly Reflected by S.C. Ransom

"This is the second book in the Small Blue thing trilogy. Still recovering from her earlier brush with death, Alex's source of strength and comfort is Callum, still locked in a sad half-life after drowing in the river Fleet that flows into the Thames. And she needs all the strength and comfort she can get: someone is out to make her life a misery, and someone is out to get hold of the extraordinary bracelet that enables her to communicate with Callum.

Flecks of Gold by Alicia Buck

Flecks of GoldTitle: Flecks of Gold
Author: Alicia Buck
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.
Publication Date: May 8, 2010
Pages: 288
Source: ARC
Interest: Fantasy

Mary Margaret is not the type of girl to fall in love - especially after seeing what a string of bad relationships has done to her mother. That's why it's so weird when Mary finds herself strangely attracted to Kelson, a guy at her new school. It's almost . . . unnatural. What she doesn't know is that she's been put under a spell. And when Kelson kidnaps Mary's mother and takes her to his home world, Mary will have to rescue her by relying on something she never knew existed - magic. Flecks of Gold is an enchanting blend of fantasy, action, and even a little romance. Get lost in this world where magic is commonplace and danger lurks where you least suspect it. 

I'm not sure why, but it took me a long while to get into this novel...the first 20-30 pages just dragged on, and I kept getting distracted by other books I wanted to read. I don't think it was boring per se...but I just couldn't get into it.

However, I'm glad I persevered, because after those 30 or so pages - about the time that Mary gets transported to this other world - I realized just how different the story was. There were traditional fantasy elements in the spirit of Tamora Pierce's books, which I adore, as well as some unique innovations that added a nice twist. The system of magic in particular, as patterns of light that are woven in the air, was something I had never heard of before and was rather fascinated by. There was also a sweet romance blossoming over an appropriate period of time between Mary and Breeohan, the prince of Mary's new, strange world.

Cover notes: I'm always a fan of foiled covers, and this one in shades of gold is lovely, plus the whole thing has an exotic, Moroccan feel to it.

Alicia Buck's writing flows easily and naturally across the pages, with believable dialog and sometimes predictable but nonetheless intriguing plot twists. On the whole, Flecks of Gold was a great read, and I'm looking forward to reading more by this author!

Waiting on Wednesday: Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and it spotlights upcoming releases that we can't wait to read! On occasion, I will feature a book that has already been published, but that I am eagerly anticipating anyway. I figure that still counts:)

Ruby Red

by Kerstin Gier

"Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Biggest Jerks in Literature

For your reading pleasure, Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

I am definitely a list maker, so this feature is *write* up my alley! (ha ha)

List topic this week is: 
Top Ten Biggest Jerks in Literature

Along for the Ride
1. Thisbe's father in Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

The Picture of Dorian Gray
2. Dorian in The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

New Moon (The Twilight Saga)
3. Edward Cullen in New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

Tuck Everlasting
4. The Man in the Yellow Suit in Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Signet Classics)
5. Claude Frollo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo

Atonement: A Novel
6. Paul Marshall in Atonement by Ian McEwan

Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness)
7. Roger in the Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce

Pride And Prejudice
8. Mr. Wickham in Pride and Predjudice by Jane Austen

9. Caine in the Gone series by Michael Grant

Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy)
10. Linden's father in Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Win Across the Universe by Beth Revis!

Across the Universe

Hey Everyone!

I have one copy of Across the Universe by Beth Revis for one lucky winner!

You can earn extra entries by:

  • Leaving comments on the blog.
  • Becoming a follower.
  • Following me on Twitter.
  • Tweeting about this contest.
  • Posting on Facebook about this contest.
  • Posting on your blog about this contest.
Contest Rules:

  • To enter, please fill out the form below.
  • You must be 13 years of age or older.
  • Contest ends on May 20th, 2011
  • Open to everyone!
  • You can have extra entries as explained above.
  • You may enter (fill out the form) once per day.
  • Winner will be notified via email on May 21st, 2011.

In My Mailbox 10


Hey everyone! Just want to announce a couple of quick things.

~~~> I now have Twitter! Yes, after all this time I finally gave in. I've just been so A) insanely busy and B) excited about BEA that I had to do something. Turns out micro blogging fits quite nicely into my crazy schedule:) So, please follow me, via the button on the sidebar!

~~~> Speaking of BEA, the major announcement of the week is, I'm actually going! I didn't know if I could afford it for awhile there, but the hotel is reserved and flight tickets have been purchased, so NYC, here I come! (Happy dance, happy dance!:)

~~~> I know posts have been few and far between here for awhile (blame that on my new day job), but I am going to *try* to write a post a day AT LEAST up to and hopefully including BEA. After that, we will see. Now on to IMM!


In My Mailbox was created by  The Story Siren. The idea is for book bloggers to come together once a week and post what books they have received in the mail/purchased/found at the library/borrowed from a friend. Anyone can participate!


Plague: A Gone Novel

Plague by Michael Grant

Got it this week via Amazon, and already finished. The books in this series are shocking and sometimes blatantly horrifying, but for whatever reason they are so addictive. Highly recommended!

Where She Went

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

I finally got to reading my copy of If I Stay that's been sitting in my TBR pile, and then I immediately went and downloaded this one to my Kindle. Nothing like instant gratification - I had to know how it ended!

The Jumbee

The Jumbee by Pamela Keyes

This was recommended to me by Rose Kingsley at Shylock Books; it's a retelling of The Phantom of the Opera, but set in the Caribbean Islands.


Coming This Week On the Blog

Small Blue Thing

A very special review and guest post of Small Blue Thing by S.C. Ransom. Stop by and check it out!

What did you get this week? Feel free to leave your IMM links in the comments!

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