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!

Book Review: The New Enchantress (Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions Book 3) by Sunayna Prasad

  Join us for this tour from June 1 to Jun 28, 2021!

 Book Details:

Book Title:  The New Enchantress (Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions, Book 3) by Sunayna Prasad
Category:  Middle-Grade Fiction (Ages 8-12),  175 pages
Genre:  Fantasy
Publisher:  Amazon KDP
Release date:   March 2021
Content Rating:  PG: Some intense scenes and mild language.

Book Description:

The point of no return has come!

It’s the summer before high school and life is about to change for fourteen-year-old Alyssa McCarthy. A sorcerer hexes her with everlasting powers, requiring her to become an enchantress. If she cannot learn to control her magic pronto, she will forget her loved ones and serve as the warlock’s eternal slave.

In order to control her powers, Alyssa must gain control of her emotions. With the struggles of adolescence and disasters everywhere, catastrophes are bound to happen! It’s only a matter of time before Alyssa’s world changes, for better or worse…

BUY THE BOOK:
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Meet the Author: Sunayna Prasad enjoys writing fantasy books for children, as well as cooking, creating artwork, watching online videos, and blogging. She has also written The Frights of Fiji, and A Curse of Mayhem and is constantly creating and brainstorming new ideas.

Sunayna also loves cartoons, traveling, and thinking outside the box.

She lives in New York.

Connect with the Author:   website ~ twitter ~ goodreads

 

Enter the Giveaway:

THE NEW ENCHANTRESS (An Alyssa McCarthy Magical Missions) Book Tour Giveaway

My Thoughts (Book Review):

The New Enchantress is Book 3 in the Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions series. This book follows Alyssa as she once again gains magic powers and has to become an enchantress. She has to learn to control her powers otherwise she will forget everyone she knows and loves and become a slave to the evil warlock. The story starts off with an upcoming middle grade graduation sleep over where we see Alyssa and her friends gather at her house to spend some time. However, Alyssa’s spirits are dampened due to the loss of her laptop and her newly gained magical powers. Being a moody young teen, she takes it out on her friends causing some backlash.

I found this to be quite childish in the way the friendships are handled. Some of the things the girls say or Alyssa says do not seem to fit with a young teen. It was difficult for me to relate to them as young teens with the way they talked and behaved. However, the writing in this book is much much better than the previous two books and the focus on the plot has been strengthened. I appreciate and acknowledge the maturity in the author’s writing when compared to the previous books, though I believe that there is room for further improvement.

The plot is much the same as the previous books with something going wrong and Alyssa setting out to fix it. One thing however is how she has to learn to control her emotions to be able to control her powers and thus foil the warlock’s plans. By the end, she learns the meaning of friendship, of thinking about things beyond herself and of giving back. I like how this was handled in the book.

Overall an entertaining magic filled read that will keep readers busy for an evening or two!

Guest Post by Sunayna Prasad:

How I Chose my Novels’ Time Settings

We may be living in 2021 (and a global pandemic), but the events of my stories take place over 10 years ago.

In “The Frights of Fiji” and “A Curse of Mayhem,” the year revealed is 2010. “The New Enchantress” is set in 2011. So, my MC, Alyssa would actually only be a few years younger than me if she were real. She would have just turned 24 this past April.

While that may sound disappointing to certain people, there is a reason why the stories take place a long time ago. Some editors pointed out that the stories were set when my readers were babies or really little and suggested that I updated the first book’s setting, which got revised as a new edition in 2018. However, I am glad that I rejected that advice. The editor also understood and agreed that authors should get to choose to set their stories whenever they want.

But I will share two reasons why the events of my “Magical Missions” series take place in the early 2010s.

1: The first installment was originally written and published in the early 2010s.

I started working on book 1 after a bad turnout with a poorly written novel that I published just around high school graduation. I began work on it in 2011 and published it in 2013 as “From Frights to Flaws.”

I chose the 2010 setting because at that time, I wanted my MC to not only be close in age with me, but also have technology not be too advanced or primitive. In “The Frights of Fiji,” there is even the mentioning of an iPod and the iPad getting released soon.

I know technology and times change drastically and quickly. And if I were to write an unrelated book today, I would probably set it around or close to this time.

Which brings me to my next point:

2: You never know what will happen as you live.

There is a lot of controversy and discussions on the dilemmas of writing a story in today’s world, with a pandemic and restrictions on how to live because of it. Some say set your stories in 2019 or a little earlier, and others give all sorts of chaotic advice.

Some authors change their stories to make the characters live in the covid-19 pandemic, where they have to wear face masks, socially distance, refrain from activities like kissing and traveling. I personally would avoid doing this.

Some experts even suggest omitting the pandemic from your stories in order for readers to escape from the stress we’re living through. But they also worry about it misleading future generations about what the world really experienced during 2020 and 2021. So, certain writers might just leave out the dates or years their stories take place as the pandemic could be a thing od the past once the books are finished or when people get it them.

Therefore, I am glad that I stuck with my original time setting. Readers still enjoyed the stories, regardless of the years they take place.

Although I plan to make the final installment’s last setting no later than 2019, my little (not so) secret is that… there is no pandemic happening in my book’s universe.

While we went on a global lockdown in March 2020 and lived with many restrictions since then, my characters continued to live typical lives (going to concerts, bars, etc.). I feel like after going through the difficult time that I never expected, I was uncomfortable making my characters go through that, even if I won’t publish a book set later than 2019. Also, many people crave escapism from stressful times.

There is a work of fiction that has specific dates throughout different moments of the protagonist’s life, and events of the main story take place in 2020. But the characters don’t have to wear face masks, socially distance, quarantine, or have any other pandemic restrictions. They basically live a normal life, except for the domination of advanced technology. This is the film, “The Mitchells vs. the Machines.”

All in all, those are the reasons I chose my novels’ time setting.

Book Review: A Dragonbird in the Fern by Laura Rueckert

About the Book:

When an assassin kills Princess Jiara’s older sister Scilla, her vengeful ghost is doomed to walk their city of glittering canals, tormenting loved ones until the murderer is brought to justice. While the entire kingdom mourns, Scilla’s betrothed arrives and requests that seventeen-year-old Jiara take her sister’s place as his bride to confirm the alliance between their countries.

Marrying the young king intended for her sister and traveling to his distant home is distressing enough, but with dyslexia and years of scholarly struggles, Jiara abandoned any hope of learning other languages long ago. She’s terrified of life in a foreign land where she’ll be unable to communicate.

Then Jiara discovers evidence that her sister’s assassin comes from the king’s own country. If she marries the king, Jiara can hunt the murderer and release her family from Scilla’s ghost, whose thirst for blood mounts every day. To save her family, Jiara must find her sister’s killer . . . before he murders her too.

My Thoughts:

The story follows Princess Jiara as she deals with the death of her sister, a marriage proposal from the man her sister was previously engaged to and the responsibility to step up for the sake of her family and her people. In addition to this, Jiara has to find a way to uncover the truth behind her sister’s death and bring the murderer to justice.

Initially, I liked the concept of the book and the idea of a vengeful ghost who can actually cause harm was intriguing. As the story progresses, I like how Jiara grows as a person and her distress while trying to read and learn a new language is brought out rather delicately. However, some parts of the story were rather abrupt and the character development was not strong enough. King Raffar is interesting, but the reader doesn’t come to know him as a person. We do not also get a chance to understand how he governs or what he thinks. With a strong focus on Jiara, her struggles and triumphs, it is difficult for the reader to connect with other characters.

In terms of the plot, the author has done a good job and the surroundings are well described. The kingdoms, their locations and the people are touched upon albeit only a little, but enough to give us a sense of the places. Overall this is a light YA fantasy read that has great potential and wraps up quite well in the end. The book can be read quickly and is rather enjoyable for those who enjoy the genre!

Wrap-Up: Books Read in March 2021

Hey guys! 

Here’s my wrap-up post for the Month of March! (A little late for this post, I know! But I have been busy and I lost track of these posts!)

I read 9 books in the month which is a major improvement! 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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Once Upon A [Broken] Time (Book 3)

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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! 🙂

Book Blitz: Beneath the Lies (Forgotten Trilogy #1) by Sapna Bhog

 

A saga of Forgotten Love and Second Chances

How would you feel when the man you have known and loved for the last five years is not who he said he was? That everything he ever told you was all a lie.

An accident changed our lives forever and now I have to bring him back to us because he doesn’t remember our life, our family or us. One minute, I was just a regular girl from India married to a man she loved, and the next, my life has changed completely because I’m married to an English Duke, who doesn’t remember me.

My name is Aaliya Singh Talbot and I will do whatever it takes to bring my husband back from the darkness and into the light.

I will make him remember no matter what I have to do!

I will make him remember everything – beneath all the lies!

 

Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon.in * Amazon.com * Other Platforms

Read an Excerpt from Beneath the Lies

Aaliya

Mumbai

Someone is screaming!

In a heartbeat, I know it’s me. I jerk awake and sit upright on my bed, my heart roaring against my ribcage. My hand trembles as I push my long hair back from my damp forehead. He can’t be dead; this was just a dream! I chant that thought while taking huge calming breaths. This is the third time this week I’ve woken up like this, feeling like he’s gone. The fact that I’ve lost all touch with him screams inside me that something is drastically wrong else he’d never be silent for this long; his phone would never be switched off like it has been this last week. I shut my eyes, anxiety weighing me down. How long should I convince myself there is a reason for his silence?
I grab the photo frame from my bedside table. It is a picture of Damien and I from our honeymoon. His arm is around me and both of us are smiling into the camera, the waves of the Indian Ocean crashing behind us.
I run a finger along his face, tracing that bearded jaw, visualizing him in my mind’s eye. Those striking grey-green eyes that sparkle whenever they rest on me, that heart-stopping smile that almost always makes me melt. I miss him! I miss being tucked under his chin when he hugs me. I miss his scent and I miss how his strong arms and tall frame wrap around me when we sleep, making me feel protected and cherished. This is the first time we’ve been separated for so long and perhaps that’s what is making me anxious. I shake my head. No, something is wrong. I can sense it.
God! Please let him be safe, I pray.
Love is a strange yet powerful emotion that hit me when I least expected it and swept me off my feet without me even knowing it. And now, five years later, it is the faith I have in that love that makes me believe he would never leave me without contact—unless he was in trouble.
Fear for him slithers like a poisonous snake across my veins but I have to tamper it down because I have one more reason to remain sane, to stay anchored to the belief that Damien will be fine, no matter what. I breathe in deep, letting the familiar hum of the air conditioner soothe my nerves before I slide off the bed. My feet hit the cold marble floor and I head to the other bedroom where I tip toe inside.
My darling little boy—an angel with his mouth open and a tiny hand clutching his rather overlong hair—is sleeping in his cot. A small smile skates across my lips and my heart warms as I stare at him for a moment before lifting him carefully and putting him on my shoulder. He wriggles for a moment but soon relaxes in my arms, his nose digging into the side of my neck. I inhale his soft, sweet fragrance, and shut my eyes for a few seconds. Rian is ten months old and the love of our lives. Reluctant to let go of him, I hold him for a second longer before I gently tuck him back in his cot and caress his beloved face, so similar to his father.
My cell phone rings and I run to my room, glancing at the clock that shows that it’s three in the morning. I pray fervently that it’s finally him calling. Please God, let that be my husband!
I lift the cell, scanning the caller id and my shoulders slump.
“Gabriel!” I breathe into the phone. “Where is Damien? It’s been a week since I heard from him. One whole week with his phone switched off and you giving me a different excuse each time I call. I’m scared, Gabe. You can’t even begin to imagine the thoughts running through my mind.”
His silence only fuels my fear.
“Gabe, please,” I plead. “Where is he?”
“Aaliya, he…he’s been in a car accident!”
“No! God, no!” I shudder. “Is he-”
I swallow against the pain in my throat and try again, because I need to know. “Is he fine? Please tell me he’s alive!”
“Aaliya, he’s fine. He was in a coma for a week. He’s just woken up now.”
“One week!” I gasp out. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
Tears burn my eyes, threatening to spill over. “His trip to London was planned for two days not ten, Gabe. I’ve lived in terror this last week ever since I lost contact with him. You knew how worried I was and yet you fed me with one excuse after the other. How could you keep his accident from me? I deserved to know, Gabe.”
“Aaliya…”
“Don’t you dare try and placate me!” I yell, unable to hold it back any longer. “You should’ve called me the minute he was admitted to the hospital.”
“Aaliya, I’m sorry. I truly am!” His voice comes out broken. “This is hard for me too. I didn’t tell you because he told me to look after you and Rian first if anything happened to him. I never imagined that he’d meet with an accident so soon after. You may not understand this now, Aaliya, but I did this to protect you both.”
 “Protect us from what?”
Gabe sighs. “How much do you know of the English aristocracy?”
My fist squeezes tighter around my phone. “I don’t care about the damn English aristocracy. Tell me about Damien. How is he?”
“Like I said, he’s fine now. He woke up a few hours ago. He’s injured his head, but he will be fine. There’s a lot to tell you, Aaliya. Damien hasn’t told you entirely who he was…is.”
“What do you mean, Gabe? Don’t talk to me in riddles. Besides, I know who he was…” I shake my head. “…he is. I know about his life in England. So, stop trying to tell me something else.”
I’ve known Gabriel Westcott for as long as I’ve known Damien, which is five years now. He is Damien’s best friend, his business partner and was his best man at our wedding. Since Damien was an orphan, Gabe was also the only person to attend from Damien’s side. This last week he’s given me one excuse after the other regarding the silence from Damien and now he’s feeding me some nonsense about my husband that I refuse to believe.
“Damn it, Aaliya. You need to listen to me!” Gabe shouts. “Damien is the second son of the Duke of Kittridge. He returned here to England ten days ago not on a business trip, like he told you, but because his father and brother died in a car crash. He came for their funeral and because of his new responsibility. Damien is now the Duke of Kittridge.”
“No!” I whisper, dropping down on the bed. “That can’t be true. He would have told me. No! I don’t believe you.”
“Google it. Now! It’s K I T T R I D G E.”
He spells the word as I grab my laptop and open Google and type the letters. My eyes widen in shock. Oh my God! The cords in my neck strain as I stare at the images on the screen. There are dozens of pictures of Damien. He’s at a funeral. He’s with an older woman. Another picture shows him with his arm around a younger blonde woman, comforting her. Who are these women? What in the hell is going on? I read tweets on him.
“The new Duke of Kittridge”
“Missing son returns after five years”
“The Devil Lord is now the Devil Duke”
The Internet has the whole history of Damien; it knows things I’ve never known. My Damien is not Damien Alexander, as I’ve always known him; he is Damien Alexander Talbot, now the Duke of Kittridge.
“How…how is this possible?” My voice trembles. “How could I have not known?”
“I will explain it all to you, Aaliya. But first, you need to come to London as soon as you can. Can you organize to leave Rian with someone for a few days?”
“I’ll bring him with me. Damien will want to see him.”
“Aaliya,” Gabe lowers his tone and my heartbeat accelerates yet again, “he doesn’t remember you. He has no memory of the last five years of his life, which includes Rian and you.”
Did he just say that? No! It can’t be true. But I know to the core of my being that it is true. This is why my instincts have been roaring at me since the last few days. My stomach plummets, the hollowness spreading through every inch of my body. A whimper escapes my mouth and I press a hand on my lips to stop myself from screaming.

About the Author:
Sapna Bhog is an author from India who writes contemporary and historical romance novels. As a self-proclaimed die-hard romantic, her books are filled with swoon-worthy heroes and feisty heroines who clash all the time, but do get their happy ever after. Sapna has always surrounded herself with books and when she is not writing she is reading. Originally from Dubai, she now lives in Western India with her husband, kids and a Siberian Husky. Sapna gave up a successful IT career and took a foray into writing and has never looked back since. Her favourite pastimes are reading, writing, traveling and shopping—not necessarily in that order. She loves to hear from readers.

Sapna on the Web:
Twitter * Facebook * Instagram

Book Review: Long Walk Home by Ellyn Oaksmith

About the Book:

Lola was struck by just how quickly she recognized him. It had been ten long years since she’d seen him; ten years of thinking that maybe she hadn’t really loved him. But there he was. And he still took her breath away.

Lola has turned her life around since her wild teenage years, but one thing hasn’t changed: how her sister sees her. Her sister Carmen only remembers the mistakes she’s made and can’t see the potential of Lola’s plans to expand the family vineyard business at Blue Hills. But Lola is determined to win Carmen round—and gain her respect once and for all.

Then Lola’s high school sweetheart Gus arrives back in town, and everything changes. He was her first love, the bad boy she used to climb out of windows to see. But he’d broken her heart when he left town suddenly, without so much as a goodbye. And after that, she’d never seen him again. Until now.

Gus isn’t that same rebel anymore. It’s taken everything he has to come back to this town full of bittersweet memories, but he owes it to himself, and to Lola, to make amends. But she’s not that lovesick girl anymore and she knows she can’t let him turn her head again. So why can’t she stop thinking about how his strong arms would feel wrapped around her?

Then fate intervenes, and they’re forced to work together on Lola’s biggest project—and the sparks begin to fly once more…

As the sun sets over the mountains and meadows of Blue Hills, can two people who’d thought they could never be together find their way home to each other?

An utterly romantic feel-good read about being true to yourself and becoming the person you were always meant to be, Long Walk Home will make you laugh, make you cry and show you that true love always finds a way. For fans of Robyn Carr, Carolyn Brown and Mary Ellen Taylor.

About the Author:


Ellyn Oaksmith is the USA Today and Kindle bestselling author of addictively fun love stories. She has never run a winery, been attacked by drones or nearly drowned someone but she loves putting her characters in challenging situations. Ellyn also enjoys chatting with readers on social media. Especially when she should be writing.

Ellyn began her writing life as a screenwriter in Los Angeles which, outside of writing hours, is exactly as crazy as it seems in the movies. After hightailing it back to her native Seattle, Ellyn began writing comedic romances and never looked back.

Ellyn lives in Seattle with her husband. She’s part of a competitive rowing team. You can often find her on Lake Sammamish rowing in the dark.

Author website: www.EllynOaksmith.com
Facebook: @EllynOaksmith
Instagram: @EllynOaksmith

My Thoughts:

Note: Read and reviewed this book as a part of the blog tour by Bookouture.

Long Walk Home by Ellyn Oaksmith is a feel good romance that will tug at your heartstrings. The story is simple and well-written as it follows Lola and Gus, the main protagonists.

Lola is the youngest of three and is always treated like the baby of the family. She feels that her opinions and ideas are not considered and she sets out to build tiny cabins in a bid to expand their family business. Having been separated from Gus for more than ten years, Lola doesn’t expect to still be in love with him. As the two main characters deal with their personal issues, they also start to rediscover their bonds as they end up spending more time around one another due to Lola’s project.

The characters are interesting and well thought out. The author has brought out the interactions between the siblings very well and it is honestly quite relatable. This is a story of second chances, standing up for oneself and making amends. This is a story of finding love and being true to family. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and am sure that you all will too! It is a wonderful choice for a light read that ensures the reader is hooked until the very end. A happy and simple read, this book is full of hope and positive vibes.

Book Review: The Billionaire’s Mask by Margarette Grey

About the Book:

“I am a monster, Miss Hart. You wouldn’t want nor wish to see me…”

He is mysterious and brilliant, wealthy and prominent, but no single person has seen him in person. Well, no one should see him—that’s one of his many rules. No one can touch him either; that’s also another rule.

Except for me because I have broken every rule.

Now I’m extremely drawn to him. His peculiarity is out of this world, and his beauty is beyond physical.
But the Master has demons of his own and is being chased by his brutal past. Suddenly, we’ve become the reflection of each other’s nightmares. I realize that the Master and I are not so different.

Is this newly found bond just another uncertain fate that could deepen our wounds, or is it finally going to be our redemption?

My Thoughts:

The first time I came across this book was on Wattpad. While scrolling for new books to read, I came upon this title and something about it and the cover grabbed my attention. I devoured the book in one night and thoroughly enjoyed myself. The moment I found out that this book is due for release, I jumped at the chance to talk about it!

This story follows Alayna as she takes up a job in the house of Brandon Lucien, mainly referred to as “the Master”. There are rules to be followed in the house, but as we discover, the phrase “rules are meant to be broken” speaks true. The author brings to us amazingly well developed characters with depth and pasts full of secrets. As we discover each one, we are exposed to trauma, hurt, loss and so much love.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and fell in love with the characters as much as I did the story. Brandon is your typical brooding man with a hidden past and the fact that he himself stays hidden from the world adds to the mystery. He allows only two people to meet him or be around him, that is until Alayna turns up. Slowly she begins to break down his walls and bring light into his dark life.

This story reminded me of The Beauty and The Beast, but had it’s own unique spin to it. The author has done a wonderful job with this book ensuring that the readers are hooked until the very end. Honestly? I am excited and cannot wait to read the next books and to follow our beloved characters further!

Book Review: Twinfluence by Grace Costello

About the Book:

Twinfluence

One last twin swap. What could go wrong?

Twenty-six-year-old Dani’s identical twin sister calls her out of the blue with a colossal problem. Sophie needs to jet off to Mexico to save her friend from a botched tummy tuck but her boss won’t let her take any PTO. Dani, eager to repair their strained relationship, leaves her glamorous LA life behind as a top social media influencer to save the day. Dani’s dang good at pretending to be her sister, but good enough to teach high school kids in rural Oklahoma?

When Sophie gets stuck in Mexico for an entire month, Dani not only has to teach Economics and Life Skills, but she has to direct the school musical. And that boss Sophie hates so much? Yeah, it turns out Principal Beck is entirely too good-looking and single for Dani to ignore.

Rushed high school musicals, fiery school board politics, and cozying up to Sophie’s boss, definitely weren’t on her sister’s pre-approved syllabus, but Dani never was one for sticking to the plan.

From USA Today Bestseller of YA Fantasy Nina Walker and YA Contemporary Romance Bestseller M.F. Lorson, comes a brand new Romantic Comedy pen name––Grace Costello. This dynamic duo combines laugh-out-loud comedy with emotional feel-good romance that will keep you flying through the pages.

My Thoughts:

This book is written together by Nina Walker and M.F. Lorson. This is a feel good romance that can be read in one sitting and enjoyed thoroughly.

Think of the movie The Parent Trap, and then dive into this story. What sets this story apart are it’s twists. Twins Dani and Sophie have drifted apart but when Sophie asks for one last twin swap, Dani thinks of this as a way to mend bridges. Sophie is a teacher in a high school while Dani is a social media influencer. As Dani steps into her sister’s shoes, she finds herself out of depth and taking decisions that might cause problems for Sophie later on. Honestly, what can go wrong when you suddenly take over another person’s life (without knowing the current situation) and start to work on it. This is a recipe for disaster that may be good or bad in the end (I hope! I cannot reveal this)

As the story develops, there is a budding romance, sibling rivalry and bonds to be mended, and finally, kids to be taught. There are misunderstandings, a musical, teenagers and finally sisters who really need to talk to one another. This last part is the most important and acts as the guiding force in changing Dani’s direction in life. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and even found some parts of it to be quite funny. This is a light and pleasant read that will ensure that the readers have a great time connecting with these delightful characters and learning a lesson or two along the way! This is indeed a must read!

Book Review: The Sigil: A Novel – Part I by Shakeil Kanish

About the Book:

The Sigil: A Novel - Part I

A tragic death.
A dangerous obsession.
A desperate mission.

Lake’s brother Devlin was murdered right in front of him. Simply because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Why, then, does Lake think Devlin knew he was going to die before they ever set foot in the gas station that night? As he obsesses over his brother’s death, Lake begins to uncover a hidden world full of forbidden magic and growing danger. Now he’s stuck, caught between the world that his brother was meant for and his own. Lake is beginning to realize that no one and nowhere is safe.

Nova Rathers may not be especially powerful in the Mage world but she makes up for it with a magical bag of snacks and a body constructed by the Gods to slay. Desperate to be more than her lineage, she finds herself teamed up with a group of misfits and, in her mind, the weakest creature of all – a gida…a powerless human. Together, they start to unravel the lies that built their world and continue to hold it hostage. Nova’s last year at Breyburn Academe was never going to be easy but she had no idea that it could ever get this bad.

Lake, Nova, and their newfound friends are about to find the truth behind what has been hunting them. But knowing is only half the battle. Even if they survive, will the rest of the world remain standing?

 

My Thoughts:

The Sigil is an interesting fast-paced novel that throws the reader right into the story. We are introduced to Dev and Lake, brothers, who share a unique bond. The story focuses on Lake and initially his insecurities especially when compared to his brother. Little did he know how much his brother sacrificed and how much he loved him. The story picks up once Dev is murdered with Lake trying to find the reason behind all this. This leads him to discover a hidden academy where everyone had some form of magic.

The author introduces us to some very interesting characters and I enjoyed how each one of them interacted with the other. They are strong together and this is shown as the plot progresses. With a single minded focus on the plot, the author ploughs ahead, taking Lake and us readers along for the ride. With a threat to the human world looming, Lake being threatened to be removed from the academy as he does not have any magic, there is a lot going on. In the midst of it, he forms a bond with Stone. I love how the author delicately handles Lake’s love life and how accepting his parents are of his choices.

The beauty is in the writing and the character emotions and the unexpected twists and turns. I truly enjoyed this book and found it to be quite unique even in the world of magic. I do recommend this book and look forward to reading more in this series!

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! 🙂