Book Review: Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café by Jessica Redland

About the Book:

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Welcome to The Starfish Café – where you will find stunning views, delicious food and lifelong friendships.

Two broken hearts.

Since she inherited The Starfish Café, Hollie has poured her heart into the business, striving to keep her mother’s traditions and warm-hearted spirit alive. But behind closed doors Hollie is searching for true happiness as she grieves the tragic loss of her family who were once the beating heart of the café…

An unexpected meeting.

Jake lives by two rules: don’t let anyone get close and don’t talk about what happened. Little does he know that a chance meeting at The Starfish Café, facilitated by a fluffy lost dog, is about to turn his world upside down…

The chance to love again.

Can Hollie and Jake break down the barriers that have been holding them back from finding love and happiness, before Christmas comes around? After all, with courage, nothing is impossible…

Join top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for a magical winter at the seaside, where love blossoms and lifelong friendships are made.

My Thoughts:

A huge thank you to Boldwood Books, netgalley and the author for giving me this opportunity to read this book. The review is my own honest opinion.

Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café is a delightful read full of heartbreak, family, friendship and the promise of love.

The story follows Hollie as she deals with running the Café that her mother owned and the loss of her parents and brother. Christmas is always the worst time of year for her and the story follows her journey as she navigates it this particular year! We also meet Jake, a lovely person who has seen tragedy and faced a lot of bullying in his childhood. It’s thanks to the love and understanding shown by his grandmother that he grows into the wonderful human being that he is. I instantly fell in love with Hollie and Jake individually the moment I met them in the book.

The story follows these two people are they find each other by chance thanks to a small fluffy dog who brings about tremendous changes in their lives. He not only forges a bond between them, he helps bridge the gap and acts as a catalyst to the breaking down of multiple walls. I truly think that the dog is the true hero of this story!

The author has done a wonderful job with the setting and the characters. The place is described really well and to me it felt magical. There is something welcoming about a café by the sea and the warmth of family and familiarity. As for the others, I loved Angie and her daughter Katie. They brought light to the book and stability to Hollie as an extended and accepted family. 

Be prepared to deal with a rollercoaster of emotions as the characters’ pasts are revealed and as they start to deal with loss and move towards acceptance. Overall this is a lovely book about two people who find their way back to being themselves and in the process find lasting love. 

Blog Tour – Book Review: We Belong Together by Beth Moran

Book Blurb:

9781838893484

Eleanor Sharpley has been living a lie…
Needing to escape her London life quickly, Eleanor throws her things into the back of her car, and heads to her erstwhile best friend Charlie’s family farm.
But Charlie isn’t there. Instead she finds Charlie’s grieving brother Daniel, her eight-month old daughter Hope (a daughter Eleanor had known nothing about), and a crumbling and unloved Damson Farm.
Damson Farm lies at the edge of the village of Ferrington, with the river Maddon flowing at its heart. But Ferrington is a village divided by more than just a river – it is split in two by an age-old feud – between the Old Side and the New Side. Eleanor has run from her problems, straight into a family and a world that has problems of its own.
But Damson Farm has magic too, and as winter gives way to spring, the old farm starts to come to life under Eleanor’s love and care. The orchard starts to blossom with daffodils and bluebells, and the sound of bees busy in their hives fills the warming air. Can Eleanor bring Daniel and the feuding village of Ferrington back to life too, or will her secrets catch up with her first?

Purchase Linkhttps://amzn.to/3g55WF3

About the Author:

Beth Moran
Beth Moran is the author of three previous romance novels, including Making Marion. She regularly features on BBC Radio Nottingham and is a trustee of the national women’s network Free Range Chicks. She lives on the outskirts of Sherwood Forest. Beth’s first novel for Boldwood, Christmas Every Day, was published in September 2019.

Social Media Links:
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bethmoranauthor
Twitter https://twitter.com/bethcmoran
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/bethmoranauthor/
Newsletter Sign Up Link http://bit.ly/BethMoranNewsletter
Bookbub profile https://www.bookbub.com/authors/beth-moran

My Thoughts:

We Belong Together is a heart-warming story that is well worth the read! The story follows Eleanor as she escapes to her best friend’s family farm to hide from her demons. At the farm, she encounters situations that she did not expect and in the midst of all the secrets, some mystery (this was unexpected) and the good she tries to do, she finds love!

I loved reading about Eleanor, her secretive past (that is hinted at a lot), he relationships and friendships with people. I also enjoyed reading about Daniel and all the people of the village. The characters are pleasure to read about and are very well thought out. The vivid descriptions by the author make it so easy to imagine the village, it’s surroundings and experience the place along with the chanracters.

This is a light read that can be read anytime but would be best for a lazy summer afternoon. I fell in love with the story and enjoyed it completely. This is the first book by the author that I have read and I am definitely looking forward to reading more!

A huge thank you to NetGalley and Boldwood Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book!

We Belong Together Blog Tour

Redpillows turns 8!

Hello to my fellow book lovers!

This is a short post and definitely a non book related one (well it is indirectly related to books! 🙂 )

WordPress was kind enough to remind me that this blog was started 8 years ago! It’s my blog’s birthday today! This is indeed a great milestone for me as I recently also reached 500 WordPress followers.

It’s been a long journey and I hope to keep at it. Reading has always been a hobby, one that I pursue with determination and passion. I don’t think I’ve ever put as much effort into anything as I do in reading. It is my every-time all time favorite activity, a feeling I am sure many of you will relate to.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for all the support you have shown me by following my posts, liking them, sharing them and leaving comments.

Happy Blogging and Happy Birthday to my blog!

yellow pink and blue party balloons

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

Author Interview: In Coversation with Samiksha Bhattacharjee

Hello all my lovely readers!
I hope that you are all doing well.

I am back with an Author Interview post, this time with Samiksha Bhattacharjee, the youngest YA author in the UK. Her debut novel, Legal Crime, was released on February 18, 2021.

Read all about my thoughts in my review post.

It has been a real pleasure chatting with Samiksha. She gets candid in this interview and even hints at an upcoming novel *excited dance*! We talk about her journey towards writing, her inspirations and all about her characters. It is quite interesting to see how she and her book evolved through the journey.

Thank you Samiksha for reaching out and giving me this chance to talk about your book!

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  1. Hello Samiksha, hope you’re doing great! Thanks for agreeing to this interview. To start off, tell us something about yourself that is not in your bio! 

Hi Namrata, thank you for having me! Well… I love reading, I love enjoying life as a teen… oh, and I love eating food! I don’t think that’s in my bio. Such a shame that my love of food doesn’t reflect in my cooking… I’m pretty terrible 😂

I’m an extrovert, I love meeting new people and gushing over amazing books with fellow fangirls/boys/theys/people, and when I decide on a book ship, I stick with it. Forever.

2. So, as the youngest YA author in the UK, how do you feel about the title? 

I never expected to get the title when I first published the book, to be honest. I genuinely thought that there were many more teens out there who had published YA novels, but I was wrong. I’m really honoured to have the title, but I want to see other teenagers with published novels out there in the world too! The extremely low number of child authors, all around the world, really shocked me and I hope that after reading Legal Crime, teenagers feel more encouraged to start writing, and maybe even get published!

3. Let’s go back to the beginning. What prompted you to start writing? 

I’ve always loved writing, in fact – I wrote my first little book when I was five! When the idea of Legal Crime first came to me in the bathroom as a seven year old (I was trying to think of an idea for a short story), I never expected it to be any longer than ten pages, let alone be published! Legal Crime was originally meant to be just another one of my short stories that I would keep in my notebook compilation, but it ended up being far more than that. I wanted to write a story about a girl who runs away from home and, through her experiences, comes to appreciate her family. The story really stuck with me and I wanted to continue, even after I had passed my self-imposed usual ten page limit.

4. What challenges did you face while writing about a sixteen-year-old and her emotional journey? 

Well, the story was originally meant to follow a ten-year-old girl, but I changed it very soon after because I didn’t feel like it would be very realistic. Instead, I went with sixteen-year-old confused teenager Fiona Watson, a victim of peer pressure and high school dilemmas.

It was challenging, because I wanted to convey her emotions and feelings – happiness, anger, grief… as accurately as possible, and I really hope that I succeeded! Fiona is older than me, so I had to think a little outside the box, but overall, I thought: ‘if person 1 were in this situation, what would they do?’, or ‘I think that person 2 would take this route, but person 3 might do this… how about I combine them?’.

I really wanted to encapsulate raw teenage emotions in the book, and I think that being a child really helped with that. However, at certain points it was very difficult because I wasn’t sure what would happen next. I managed to face writer’s block and continue with the story though, and I’m really happy that I stuck with the story and created a new universe to add to the multiverse of books!

5. How much of yourself or your life did you draw inspiration from while writing this book? 

Legal Crime is a novel that focuses on emotions, as well as peer pressure and friendship problems. These things are issues that affect most high school students… if it hasn’t affected you, you’re really lucky. I have to say, a lot of the book was drawn from things that I have seen or heard happen to others, and even myself.

The pressure to fit in and be popular and whatnot is a problem that, for quite a lot of teens, orbit around them in their daily lives. It’s really sad to see people change themselves and who they are just so that they can fit in with the crowd… and those who don’t do that are seen as ‘weird’ or ‘loners’. I don’t think that uniqueness is very much appreciated in high school, everything is in uniform – and by that, I mean everyone’s behaviour. I say this as if it’s not a problem that affects me, when, in reality, it does. I’ve changed myself and how I act around people before, because I don’t feel like I can be my true self. By that point, I had forgotten who I really was… but I realised my mistakes. I’m still learning to embrace myself, and so is Fiona, and so throughout the course of the book, we were also taking a similar emotional journey together.

6. Who or what led to the creation of Fiona Watson? 

A lot of things and people, really. I wanted to create a relatable teenage character and Fiona Watson is the result. Oh my gosh, it sounds like Fiona is the product of a chemistry equation… but really, she’s far more than that to me. I’ve stuck with Fiona and seen her ups and downs, watched her make stupid desicions…  and just live her life as a teenager, but I suppose that that’s what makes me want to be friends with her. I still want to ask her certain questions about why she did certain things, so I hope that I’ll be able to explore her further in a later book but… no promises.

7. Why did you choose to address serious issues like drug abuse, suicide and others in this book? 

These issues are key parts of many teenager’s lives. Unfortunately, especially in this day and age, many teens feel the need to turn to other forms of ‘comfort’ eg. alcohol and illegal drugs. Bereavement too is an extremely sad thing that might sadly happen in a teenager’s life. Also, and this is because of many reasons, suicidal thoughts are, unfortunately, very high among this age group – mental health problems are rising and the stress of our lives can lead to things like depression. Peer pressure and the need to ‘fit in’ really don’t help the problem.

I wanted to address and give a small glimpse at some of these problems so that I could resonate and send a message to my readers – other children and teenagers like myself. I wanted to speak to my readers and make them think, if they ever do turn to drugs or whatnot: ‘should I really be doing this? Is this going to actually help me?’.

8. Why did you choose to write the book as diary entries? Is there any significance here? 

Well, it started off by accident, really. I labelled each part with time and date stamps and realised that it was actually similar to diary entries. Fiona’s diary is quite a key part to Legal Crime, so that also ties into it. I haven’t really read any books in this style, so I also wanted to bring my own style and tastes into the writing of Legal Crime and make it different from other books out there… some with very similar writing styles.

9. How much research went into the planning and plotting for the book? 

The thing is, I never particularly liked planning. I’m more of a panster and write what comes to my mind, then edit afterwards. Although I did plan out the last few chapters of Legal Crime and am currently (quite) extensively planning my next book (which is a YA dystopian fantasy… more details soon!), Legal Crime was mainly not planned out and was written straight from my mind.

However, I did a lot of research about things like the psychology of teenagers and also spent a lot of time asking other children and teenagers how they felt about certain issues eg. underage drinking. Although not all of this research directly features in the book, it helped me to keep these things in mind whilst writing certain scenes and influenced quite a bit of my writing.

10. How much time did you spend, on average, in writing the book? 

I spent a lot of time with the Legal Crime characters, and I really hope that this isn’t goodbye! I started writing Legal Crime when I was seven and finished it when I was twelve – so it took me five years! Obviously, I wasn’t writing continuously for five years and I also took some breaks for exam preparation etc.

Legal Crime was accepted by the first publisher my book was submitted to, two days after my thirteenth birthday! I’m nearly fourteen now, but am still working with the characters of Legal Crime, even though my next book will not be following them.

11. How did you decide which characters to keep in the story and which to ignore? 

I didn’t really kick any characters out of the story, seven-year-old me thought that that might be a bit mean 😂

However, the characters did change around a bit – at the beginning I experimented with different names for the different characters. Also, a lot of the characters that exist in the final version didn’t actually exist when the idea first came into my head. I never thought that Legal Crime would be a published novel, so I played around with it and changed a lot of characters, but never ignored them.

12. Did you already have a character chart ready or did the number of characters evolve as the story progressed? 

No… I didn’t have a character chart, they kind of just spoke for themselves and I decided that ‘oh, there should be a character who comes in over here’. I’m not doing that for my next novel though, because sometimes things can get a little hectic… but it was fun to add characters in and see how they reacted to different things and to really make ‘friends’ with them, in a way.

13. If you had to choose one moment from the book which was most important, which would it be? 

That is a very tricky question… I need to think hard about that one.

Well, some of the moments I have in my mind are pretty spoiler-y so skip this part if you don’t want spoilers.

I think that the saddest part was definitely Evelyn passing away, and her life struggles might resonate with quite a few readers out there too. I’m not saying that everybody has to go through depression, being diagnosed with terminal cancer and also having really big family issues… but her story will still stay with me and if I ever write anything in the Legal Crime universe, it will probably be a prequel exploring her story further.

But I can’t just choose one moment! I think that the part where everything changed for Fiona is when she stopped being friends with Luna, and so in the Legal Crime universe, that’s a very important part even though there’s no exact date and time to pinpoint it to.

To be honest, all the parts in Legal Crime are important to me and to the story!

Let’s come down to some simpler things about you now… 

14. What is your favourite genre? 

Anything YA is amazing, even though currently I’m loving dystopia and fantasy!

15. Which is your favourite book?

I can’t choose! I love so many different books… but The Cruel Prince by Holly Black is an absolutely brilliant start to an even more brilliant series!

16. Who is/are your favourite author(s)? 

All authors are an inspiration to me for doing what they do the best – creating fantastic worlds and bringing them to life with writing. I am honoured to have received messages and best wishes from so many of my favourite authors including Karen M. McManus (One of Us is Lying), Louis Sacher (Holes), Kendare Blake (Three Dark Crowns), Cathy Cassidy (The Chocolate Box Girls), Angie Thomas (The Hate U Give), C.L Taylor (The Island), Renée Watson (Piecing Me Together), J.Elle (Wings of Ebony) and Kathryn Evans (Beauty Sleep). Thank you all!

17. Who would you say is your inspiration to start writing? 

My parents, for encouraging me to write short stories and for teaching me the basics in writing so that I could continue further in my journey. Thank you, love you both so much!

18. Which was the last book you read that you would recommend to fellow readers? 

Wow, that is hard! I am currently loving They Both Die At The End, We Were Liars and am reading Tower of Dawn which is part of the Throne of Glass series. I think that they’re amazing books and I would definitely recommend them!

19. How has the journey of writing this book shaped who you are today? 

Well, I guess that it’s changed quite a lot of things… if I wasn’t an author, or even just a writer… who would I be? Publishing Legal Crime has made me aware of a lot of things that I didn’t really know in the book world and also has made me develop as a writer. I’m happy that I took the leap and decided to get Legal Crime published. I really hope that I can also inspire other children and teens to get into creative writing, and even get published.

 20. Finally, what message do you want to share with us readers?

Love you all so much, it makes me so happy to know that somewhere out there people are reading and cherishing my book, and welcoming it into a new home. I hope that you enjoy reading Legal Crime and that the story stays with you. Keep on reading, and keep on writing!

Wrap-Up: Books Read in February 2021

Hey guys! 

Here’s my wrap-up post for the Month of February!

I managed to read 5 books in the month which is quite quite slow compared to the first month.

But I am quite happy to have kept the reading streak going.

I thoroughly enjoyed the below books and as you can see, they span a whole lot of genres which kept me entertained.

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The Henna Artist by Alka JoshiCurse Breaker by Audrey Grey Oath Taker by Audrey GreyWe're Moving Where?! by Glen BlackwellThe Watchmaker of Dachau by Carly Schabowski

 

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Once again, don’t hesitate to share your thoughts or book recommendations! You can also just stop by to chat, I’m almost always around! 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday – 26/01/2021

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This weeks topic is New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2020

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This is quite an interesting prompt. I did read a lot of New-to-Me authors in 2020! I think most of the books on my list would fit the criteria, so I will mention some of the authors whose books left a lasting impression! I have also included tidbits about the books I read by the author and why I liked them.

I have not provided any direct links to connect with the author, but have included review links to the books I have read by the authors. Here goes…..

  • Smita Bhattacharya – I was introduced to the books by the author through her latest cozy-mystery Who Threw Draco Down the Chimney? This book follows Darya Nandkarni, an amateur detective who seems to stumble into the middle of a mystery everywhere she goes! I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s style of writing and loved connecting with her whether it was about the books she wrote, the ones she is reading or the places she has visited!

 

  • Shatrujeet Nath – author of the amazing Vikramaditya Veergatha series. A four book mythological fiction series that will take the reader on a magical journey filled with so many twists and a some strong messages woven in. This series is truly worth the read and I highly recommend it.

 

  • Ben Gartner – author of the children’s book The Eye of Ra and the upcoming book Sol Invictus, Ben takes the readers on a journey through history filled with adventure and wonder! A truly magnificent way of engaging children and adults alike!

 

  • Ellie Midwood – I discovered her books through NetGalley and read the latest one, The Violinist of Auschwitz. I was blown away by the depth in the story and writing. Ellie truly has a gift of taking the reader to a different world and bringing historical events to life.

 

  • Natasha Murray – Her latest book, 58 Farm End is a romantic suspense novel that will keep the reader hooked until the very end. I truly enjoyed this book and how Natasha brought her characters to life.

 

  • Verity Bright – I found her books through NetGalley and enjoyed the investigative journey with Lady Eleanor in Murder in the Snow. It is another cozy mystery that I read last year and am happy to add Verity to my list of authors read and to read!

 

  • Karen M. McManus – I read her book, Two Can Keep a Secret and found it to be quite different and engaging. I truly enjoyed the book and look forward to reading more by her. (Note: This is one book I read in 2020 but am yet to post a review for. I have included the Goodreads link to the book)

 

  • Kiersten White – I heard a lot about author Kiersten White and decided to give her books a read! The first one I read was The Guinevere Deception, Book 1 in The Camelot Rising series. I really liked the author’s take on the story and the fact that the book is told from Guinevere’s perspective. This brings a rather neat spin to a well-known tale and makes it all the more engaging while reading it!

 

  • Nina Walker – I had been following the author on Instagram for some time before I discovered her books. I started off reading Prism, Book 1 in The Color Alchemist series and progressed from there. As a fan of fantasy fiction and anything related to magic in general, I really enjoyed reading about the world she created and how the author brought this world to life!

 

  • Daniela Sacerdoti – Once again I discovered the author through NetGalley while looking for books in the historical fiction genre. I read quite a lot of books in this genre last year. I enjoyed The Lost Village, a brilliant tale of love, loss, betrayal and the effect of secrets.

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I think I will stop this list here. Feel free to share your thoughts on these authors, their books or just your recommendations in general! I would love to discover more authors and support them in any way that I can!

WWW WEDNESDAY – 06/01/2021

This is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

All you need to do is answer the following three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Also, do follow the host and other bloggers who participate!

It is wonderful to know what everyone is reading and recommendations are always welcome!

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What are you currently reading?

Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1)

 

This book has been on my TBR for quite some time now (probably more than a year).

This book is among those that is talked about a lot and now with the recent update about a TV series, I am taking my step into the Grishaverse!

 

 

 

What did you recently finish reading?

An American in Paris Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy: Based on a Hallmark Channel original movie

I recently finished reading An American In Paris by Siobhan Curham, a historical fiction novel set during WWII in Paris and Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy by Nancy Naigle which is a pleasant romance!

What do you think you’ll read next?

My TBR list is so big that I do not know where to start!

I am currently sorting through old books, new and upcoming releases and books for blog tours! Plus, I think my current read may take me a little more time to finish it!

Book Promotion Directory by Deena Rae (2021 edition)

BOOK PROMOTION DIRECTORY INFORMATION

Book Description:

The Book Promotion Directory lists blogs and book promotion providers to help Indie Authors promote and market their books. Information included: 

  • Genre focus
  • Web address
  • Contact information 
  • Post types
  • Pricing range for on-blog promotion
  • Reviews offered
  • Turnaround time for reviews
  • And more….

Book Promotion companies show contact information, what genres they are equipped to promote, services offered and pricing range.

With more than 180 blogs and almost 40 book promotion companies, complete with live links to facilitate easy contact, this is a must-have for authors looking to promote their new releases and backlist titles. 

Bonus material of almost 200 other book promotion avenues as a starting point to help authors start building their own promotion blueprint.

Availability and Links:

The eBook is widely available at Amazon, iTunes, B&N, Kobo, etc.

Print Book is available on Amazon:  https://amzn.to/2MaFazF 

 

About the Author:

Deena Rae was born and raised in Texas — home of bluebonnets, boots, beef and big hair — into a family that was in the printing and publishing industries. Her father was a computer programmer for major newspapers when the equipment took up whole rooms and her mother has been a publisher for almost 30 years — trying, unsuccessfully, to bring her into the family business.

She was happily living her life, but then through a series of events (unfortunate and fortunate), she officially joined The Book Connection — her mother’s publishing and packaging company — as the Digital Director, to create the e-publishing division in 2011. Her computer skills, willingness to help authors, love of literature, no-nonsense attitude and quick wit has helped shepherd many authors through the maze of digital publishing.

Quickly deciding she wanted to offer her services to more authors than just the ones her mother represented, she branched out on her own, opening E-BookBuilders January of 2012. The rest is history.

Contact the Author:

 

Note: redpillows is listed in the Book Promotion Directory.

WWW WEDNESDAY – 30/12/2020

This is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

All you need to do is answer the following three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Also, do follow the host and other bloggers who participate!

It is wonderful to know what everyone is reading and recommendations are always welcome!

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What are you currently reading?

My Name is Anton: A Novel

 

I am a huge fan of Catherine Ryan Hyde’s books and am delighted to be reading this one albeit a little late in the day!

Her books always touch upon sensitive themes and carry wonderful messages that touch the reader like no other!

 

 

 

What did you recently finish reading?

Summer of L.U.C.K. The Lost Village

I have recently finished reading Summer of L.U.C.K. by Laura Segal Stegman, a middle grade fiction that focuses on three children, their insecurities and how they learn to overcome them.

The Lost Village by Daniela Sacerdoti is a story of secrets and unravelling them set in the time of WWII and hence it comes under Historical Fiction.

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

My TBR list is so big that I do not know where to start, but I have the following lined up (images are hyperlinks to the goodreads page for the book)

An American in Paris    The Wraith's Memory