‘The Flower Arranger’ by JJ. Ellis

‘The Flower Arranger’ is one of the books I should’ve read and reviewed a long, long time ago.

I was supposed to be a part of the blog tour around the publication, and I cannot emphasize enough how ashamed and sorry I am that I couldn’t even think about it at the time. I couldn’t even write an email about not doing it. I’m so sorry!

I’m especially sorry because I felt like I’d had a very good relation with the publisher, Agora Books. They are really amazing, they ace at working with book bloggers, and they go out of their way and send physical copies for international bloggers, too, as well as little presents for the ones who work with them regularly.

So, they honestly don’t deserve the way I behaved.

I’m terrible, I know.

Here’s my physical copy of the book that I got for the purpose of the blog tour, accompanied with their nice little note and decor they sent it with:


So, I hate that this past year was so chaotic that I couldn’t even do a blog tour for them, even if I agreed to it very much in advance.

On the other hand, I’m not 100% sure that my review would have suited a promotional tour. It’s not really a bad one, but to be honest, not completely a good one, either. ‘The Flower Arranger’ has a fairly good promise as a debut novel, but it fell a bit flat for me. Or my expectations were too high, who knows. Let’s simply say that it’s a critical review.

Anyways, here it is.




As I previously said, the publisher, Agora Books directly sent a physical copy for me for the purpose of the original blog tour. In case that wouldn’t have happened, I would’ve probably never heard about this book, and that would be such a shame. It has its problems, but it’s really a nice idea, and way better than some other debut novels. What I liked in the promise of it, is that it’s set in Japan, with a British journalist and a half American/half Japanese detective, and I hoped it will give this one a very special vibe compared to other crime stories.


I have to admit that this special vibe was almost non-existent. Actually, most of the time I felt like I was reading all the clichés I’ve ever seen in TV shows like CSI, set in a japanese environment that was so verbally emphasized that it almost seemed forced.

See, I like cultural background infos in a book, and I love to learn about them, even if it’s not the main purpose of the story. I’m nerdy like that. In this case, I didn’t feel like that was happening, though. Instead of actually teaching us something about japanese culture, the author used way too many (unexplained) japanese words, explained mostly only technicalities and the feeling of reading a story set in a relatively different world, in a different atmosphere went completely over my head.

The characters also fell flat, and that’s a shame because they are really good ideas. The LGBTQIA+ journalist, the good but strict middle aged detective, the killer with all those childhood tragedies… it could’ve been amazing. They didn’t come off the page, though. I’m not even sure I really got their relationships. I know, for example, that I get the fatherly feelings Tanaka develops towards Blain, I mean I get what the author might have wanted to convey, but based on what I’d read in the book it felt forced, like it came out of nothing. It was simply too soon, I think.

I do say, though, that it’s all okay from a debut novel. It’s clear that the author has a good idea of what makes a crime story, she clearly has experience with the genre and she can think up very good characters. Making it all alive is something yet in development, but I’m sure it comes yet! As I get it, this book is only the first one in a trilogy.

Let’s Give It A Grade!

  1. Story: 3/5
  2. Characters: 3/5
  3. Style: 3/5
  4. The Subjective Factor: 3/5
  • GPA: 3


There are some very good ideas in this book, especially the main character has very much potential, but at this phase I cannot say that this book is very special.

I’m pretty much a fan of the cover, though! I thought I should mentioned that, too.

Recommend to:

People who love crime stories and already are familiar with Japan. I’d say for example that I’m pretty sure that huge fans of anime would enjoy this book way more than I did.

Drink tip:


Music room:

‘Big in Japan’ by Alphaville (Sorry…not sorry.)


Well, I’m curious about future developments, I think I’d read the next book in the trilogy, once it’s published.

So… this is my review. Have you read this book? What did you think?


Let’s talk!

Hugs 🙂

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