Book Review: Breaking the Friendzone by May Lynn

About the Book:

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Revenge is sometimes best served . . . in bed

When Lacey Mason was six-years-old, her family moved to the Hamptons. A beautiful location for sure, but not much fun when you’re the only kid in the area. When Lacey stumbles upon her next door neighbor, Luke Drake, on the beach it is instant friendship. For the next four years they spent almost every waking hour together. But just as Summer inevitably turns to Fall, all good things must end. As Lacey’s family sells their house and leaves the Hamptons, Lacey and Luke vow to stay in touch. But a dramatic meeting when they are teens leaves their friendship in tatters and Lacey’s heart broken.

Fast forward seven years, and 22-year-old Lacey returns to the Hamptons. During a night out partying, who does she run into? Luke Drake. The only thing is Luke doesn’t recognize her. At first, Lacey thinks it’s hilarious–a case of karma finally catching up with the golden boy–but then she realizes that all the feelings she’s buried for so long aren’t going to stay buried . . . especially when she and Luke are thrown together by internships at Drake-Mason Pharma.

Luke Drake wants to be anywhere but the Hamptons, and he certainly doesn’t want to be interning at his dad’s company. Luke’s got a secret plan: make enough money to break away from his controlling father and strike out on his own. Then one night he sees a girl at a club and after an incredible night together, he discovers that the mystery girl is his childhood friend: Lacey Mason. He knows what he did to her when they were teenagers was wrong and is determined to spend the summer showing Lacey that he’s changed…and that they belong together.

However, family secrets, including the one that ended their friendship in the first place, may prove to be too much and Lacey may not be willing to let Luke break the friendzone.

My Thoughts:

Breaking the Friendzone is a quick and light, summer read. This is perfect for those who enjoy the friends to enemies and then lovers trope. The reader is introduced to Luke and Lacey in the beginning of the book and then the story follows their journey from this meeting. Both of them are strong willed and trying to reconcile their feelings of the past with that of the present day.

The author has done a great job of interspersing the past with the present, bringing to us the story of how Luke and Lacey knew each other, how their friendship grew and a glimpse into the secrets that pulled them apart. Lacey has a lot of leftover feelings to deal with including ones of hurt and betrayal. The characters are relatable and real for most of the time though at times they act like teenagers which makes it very childish. This is the only part that I felt could have been handled a little better.

However, I did enjoy reading this book and discovering the story of the characters in the book. This is a YA romance that will keep the reader turning the pages until the very end. As the story unfolds, secrets that were buried deeply start to come out impacting everyone in the story and we follow them as they find a way to move forward from this. The book is definitely worth a read for those who enjoy the genre or the trope mentioned.

Book Review: Castle of Refuge by Melanie Dickerson

About the Book:

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To live an unforgettable life, she would defy all expectations—including her own.

Ever since she was a child, Audrey wanted her life to be extraordinary. But as the daughter of a viscount born in late fourteenth-century England, the only thing expected of her was to marry—until an act of malice by her sister, Maris, four years ago damaged her face and her prospects. Though Maris was sent away, twenty-year-old Audrey is still suffering the scars of her sister’s cruelty. When her father announces his plans to marry off his damaged daughter and bring Maris home, Audrey decides to flee in search of her true destiny.

However, life outside her home is dangerous, and she soon finds herself attacked, sick, and in desperate need of help. She is taken in at Dericott Castle to be nursed back to health. While there, she decides to keep her identity a secret and work as a servant in the castle. But she doesn’t count on falling in love with the young and handsome Lord Dericott, who lost his arm several months earlier and bears scars of his own.

Meanwhile, Edwin—Lord Dericott—is curious about the new, well-educated servant’s identity. All he knows is that he’s quickly becoming smitten with her. When the man Audrey’s father wanted her to marry comes looking for her, she and Edwin must make life-changing decisions about what to believe and whether or not love is truly worth trusting.

In this Ugly Duckling retelling, New York Times bestselling author Melanie Dickerson brilliantly crafts a high stakes, encouraging tale about the power of love.

My Thoughts:

I randomly picked up this book from NetGalley and decided to give it a try based on the synopsis. I was not at all disappointed.

The story follows Audrey as she navigates her life and the expectations of her father. She is also dealing with a jealous older sister from whom all she ever wanted was acceptance. When she is finally faced with a situation she does not want to be in (marriage to an older man on account of the scars that mar her face and make her “undesirable” or “unworthy of good marriage prospects”), she runs away from her home and everyone she loves.

Audrey ends up at Dericott Castle where she tries to hide her identity for as long as possible, immersing herself in household tasks along with the other servants. As time passes, we see a romance in the very early stages between Audrey and Lord Dericott.

I enjoyed reading about Audrey’s ideas and drive towards education, her dream of providing education to all the girls in the village and giving them a chance to choose their paths. I also like how the author has brought out the contrast between the main characters which makes it all the more enjoyable as the romance grows.

Some parts of the story felt a little predictable to me, but this did not take away from the entire plot. I liked the book and the various characters we are introduced to. Each one had something to contribute with a lot of love, compassion and support to go around despite the negative emotions (mainly from the sister’s side).

Overall this is a fun and exciting adventure on the journey to love. I do recommend this book to those who enjoy a good regency romance or a historical romance with men of title and women of great strength of character.

Round Up: Top 5 books read in 2021

Hello to all my wonderful readers!
I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and the holidays are treating you well.
This is my first Round Up post for the year. I would like to highlight my favorite books of the year which honestly were 5 star reads and beyond for me!

I am listing the books in no particular order, but they really made a difference to my choice of books to read and authors to follow this year!

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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The author has done a brilliant job and the story is gripping until the very end! There are so many twists and turns that it is impossible to stop reading once you start! This book is a must read!

The Wrath of the Hellfires (Book 4 in the Vikramaditya Veeragatha series) by Shatrujeet Nath

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In conclusion, this book is worth the read as is the entire series! The Vikramaditya Veergatha proves to be a treasure trove of mystery keeping the reader guessing until the very end! The readers are in for a treat and eventually arrive at a conclusion that will satisfy everyone with strong characters fighting to save humanity against all odds!

The Last Queen by Chitra Baneerjee Divakaruni

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This book is well-researched and very well-written. The author brings to us a story that is long forgotten, but one that should be known. It shows us what a woman can do and how much she is capable of dealing with, both physically and emotionally.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

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This is a wonderful story that is told in a manner that will leave the reader spellbound. The author casts a wonderful web of magic on reader that carries them along until the end. I loved reading this book and am looking forward to reading the next book in this series!

The Hawthorne Legacy (The Inheritance Games #2) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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I am yet to post my review for this book but I thoroughly enjoyed the duology and the concept of the book. I highly recommend this series to everyone!

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Do share your best books of the year or any book recommendations for me for next year!

Book Review: Fable by Adrienne Young

About the Book:

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Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men.

As the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home seventeen-year-old Fable has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.

But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive.

My Thoughts:

I absolutely adored this book and couldn’t put it down once I started reading it! Fable is one of the most talked about books this year and I must admit to being quite intrigued by it. So many people were reading it and talking about it and I finally decided that I had to know why. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I liked the book and the plot and the characters.

Fable is strong willed and with a unique set of skills that sets her apart. We follow her as she tries to navigate the island where her father left her after her mother died and their ship sank. No-one knows who she really is and she has made a promise to keep it that way. As she works for a chance to get off the island, we are given a glimpse into her life and the world around her.

With a plan to get off the island and reach her father’s place, Fable enlists the help of West and by extension his crew on the ship. This leads to a fast paced adventure filled with secrets, villains, dangers of the sea, trust issues and eventually fast friendships that mean more than anything. I would also like to mention the budding romance that adds more flavor to the plot making it worth reading.

All the characters have their own story to tell and their own agenda, but when brought together, it feels as though the story is complete. The author has a wonderful way with words painting a picture of the seas and islands that the characters visit. It is also easy to imagine the scenes as they unfold and this is the kind of story telling that reminds me of reading Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings all over again. The story is rich in detail and brings to us a new plot and world that any reader would be pulled into.

I was invested in the book and highly recommend it for all fans of fantasy fiction out there! This is worth it! I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts on the second book too!

Book Review: Granted by Kendra Thomas

About the Book:

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Sabeara Aigoviel, princess of Aveladon, wants nothing more than for her heart to glow. The Stone-Hearted power that is received at the age of eighteen is her ultimate wish. With a grim curse looming over the realm and a neighboring kingdoms conspiring plans, contentions arise. Moments of danger summon evil forces, sending Sabeara into a whirlwind of adventure, captivity, and even love.
Rescued by a handsome stranger in a brown cloak, they navigate the kingdoms to bring her safely home. When her rescuer arrives betrothed to her beloved older sister weeks later, it is all she can do to erase their memories. Will Sabeara be able to defeat the curse on the Stone-Hearted race? And will she be able to forget the memories of her epic ventures with her cloaked rescuer?

Book Review:

Granted is Book 1 in a refreshing new tale that follows Sabeara, princess of Aveladon as she navigates her life in the Kingdom and outside it. A rebel at heart and wanting nothing more than to be Stone-Hearted, Sabeara has a restless need to escape and do more than what she does inside the Castle. She wants to restore peace to the Kingdom. Her father, the King is barely there, dealing with the grief of her mother’s death and a lot of the decisions to take fall on her older sister Jasper.

I love how the sisters have a very strong bond and are supportive of each other. In this first book, we follow Sabeara’s journey as she gets kidnapped by Obscurum soldiers and is then rescued by a very handsome stranger, Mid. As they navigate their way back to Aveladon, we follow along on an adventure filled with obstacles, new friends, new enemies and a budding romance, the reader is in for a treat! Little do they know that there would be further obstacles to their romance and secrets that reveal who they are which changes a lot of things the readers initially thought they knew.

I liked the concept of the Stone-Hearted, having different kinds of powers, reading about a supposed curse and how to end it. The author has brought to us a whole new fantasy world that is well thought out. The story is rich in descriptions and character building with likeable characters who add a lot of new dimensions to the plot.

I loved this book and am definitely looking forward to reading more of this series! This is definitely worth the read!

Book Review: Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer

About the Book:

57764672._SY475_A spark of rebellion is all it takes to DEFY THE NIGHT.

In a kingdom where sickness stalks the streets and only the richest can afford a cure, King Harristan and his brother Prince Corrick are forced to rule with an iron fist.

Tessa Cade is a masked outlaw marked for death, but she likes it that way. Together with the mysterious, handsome Weston, she robs from the rich to help the poor, distributing food and medicine to those who need it most.

As it becomes clear that the only way to save her people is to assassinate the King, Tessa must face a deadly mission that will take her to the dark heart of the kingdom … and force her to work with the very people she intended to destroy.

From New York Times bestselling author Brigid Kemmerer comes a brand-new blockbuster fantasy series about a corrupt kingdom, a star-crossed romance and a girl who will do anything for justice.

My Thoughts:

Defy the Night is the first book in a new series by Brigid Kemmerer, author of the Cursebreakers series. This book follows Tessa, a masked outlaw as she steals moonflower petals, converting them into medicine to distribute to those in need. Only the rich can afford to buy the cure and take it regularly. This gave me quite the Robin Hood vibe as Tessa embarks on her journey along with a friend, the mysterious Weston.

On the other side, we have King Harristan and his brother Prince Corrick. They are not very well-liked but do their best to serve the people. They are weary of everyone around them due to the circumstances behind their parents death. The author does a good job in touching upon the impact of this and how it shaped the characters and their personalities thereafter.

I enjoyed reading about Tessa, though I felt that her story was just a little cliché. She is a force to reckon with and handles herself quite well throughout the book keeping a level head most of the time. Weston on the other hand is shrouded in mystery, but I guess I kind of saw where the story was going with this character before the big reveal.

The story is well-written and fast paced, thus keeping the reader hooked until the end. I enjoyed reading about the issues raised and how the various council members had differing opinions. This was handled well. The author also brought out the contrast in thinking among the people and showed us quite subtly how one strategically uttered comment can turn into something quite big. In addition to this, I quite enjoyed reading about Kandala. The author has done a great job with the world building and the map included at the beginning was quite helpful.

This is a story filled with adventure, romance and the quest for justice. Though the book had it’s ups and downs for me, I enjoyed it overall and am definitely looking forward to reading the next book in the series!

WWW WEDNESDAY – 21/07/2021

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?

A variety of genres actually!

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

I am hoping to get started with my brand new copy of The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna. The book has an amazing cover and spray painted edges! Considering that this is one of the most talked about books, I am excited to join the fan club!

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Do stop by to share your thoughts or posts!

Book Review: Earth 101 by Emae Church

Book Blurb:

A missing girl. A world of secrecy. A quest to expose the truth.

Jayne knows they’re gone, but no one else will acknowledge what’s happening.

One by one, they’re systematically erased from existence. No explanations. No missing person’s reports. No search parties.

Something sinister is afoot. Jayne can feel it in her bones. But uncovering the truth will prove difficult, especially when she discovers who and what is behind the devious plot.

As she searches for answers, she grapples with the lingering effects of a head injury, an unexpected forbidden romance, and a strange new reality that changes everything.

Will she uncover the truth, or will she be the next innocent victim?

About the Author:

Earth 101 is the debut novel from Emae Church, an emerging author, based in the South-West of England, who enjoys the adventure of life with two lovely children, when not saving the world

Follow her at:
Website: https://emae.church/blog/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/EmaeChurch

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Earth-101-Time-Emae-Church/dp/1916300308

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Earth-101-Time-Emae-Church/dp/1916300308/

My Thoughts:
Note: I am reviewing this book as a part of the blog tour conducted by Zooloo’s Book Tours! Thanks a lot for including me in this exciting tour!

Earth 101 is a YA sci-fi novel that introduces the reader to aliens that look like humans and takes us on an unexpected journey into outer-space. The story starts off with an introduction to our main protagonist Jayne. Weird things are happening around her, friends are disappearing and no-one seems to remember them once they are gone. Only Jayne remembers them! This is an unexpected and intriguing situation to be in. As she tries to uncover the truth, the reader follows her as she embarks on a journey of self-discovery and love.

I love how Jayne is full of emotions and extremely thoughtful. Her love for her family and friends is seen quite evidently. Having recently been in an accident, she is also dealing with the trauma of the same. The other characters in the book are interesting and well developed. Everyone has a role to play and I love how the author has brought out the interpersonal relationships among the characters. This helps the reader to understand them and relate to them.

At first, I found it a little difficult to get into the book, the idea of people disappearing without an explanation was confusing. However, as the story progresses, a lot of the plot is revealed and then it becomes more gripping. The concept of aliens living among humans and other planets with inhabitants is intriguing and well delivered in this debut novel by the author. Without revealing too much, I would also like to include that there is time travel and a visit to the time of the dinosaurs! Imagine that!

By the end of the book, I was excited and thoroughly satisfied with how the story turned out. I cannot wait to read the next book (if there is one) and recommend this to all sci-fi fans out there! Give this book a try, you won’t be disappointed.

Book Review: Princess and Country by Emmanuelle Snow

Book Blurb:

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Her love and her best friend
A passion that can’t be shared
A friendship that needs no words
A record deal that takes her all over the world.
And one fateful night that stops her world.

Country superstar Dahlia Ellis finds herself loved by both her best friend and his brother. Without leaving too many broken heart pieces behind, she must find a way to traverse through her own feelings and live her life with the one she was meant to be with, even if it means breaking a heart that loves her the most.
But life has its own game plan ready for her. Despite her best intentions, she will be sucked into a tornado of love and loss that will hurt her and the people she loves the most.

3 lifetimes…
One night will change the rest of her life
One loss will shatter everything she has ever known
And one encounter will give her the courage to dream again.

Fame, love, success aren’t enough to protect her heart from bleeding.
Will Dahlia be able to survive after everything she has ever known crashes and burns?

And just how many heartbreaks can she actually survive?

Princess and Country is the second book in this small-town, soulmate, country music romance series.

It’s full of raw emotions, sizzling moments, heat, banter, and chemistry. 

BOOK LINKS:
AMAZON USA https://amzn.to/2Up9TgC
AMAZON UK https://amzn.to/2UnMeNz

About the Author:

Smart, Sexy, and Sassy Love Stories
Emmanuelle Snow is a contemporary author of mature YA and New Adult love stories, who likes to give life to strong characters who’ll fight with all they have to reach their life goals and find their own happiness.
Emmanuelle is in love with love. Especially those complicated, deep, and passionate feelings that make a relationship extraordinary and complex, all at the same time.
In her spare time, when she’s not writing or reading, Emmanuelle likes to go on road trips—with her four kids and her own soulmate—watch movies, paint, or do some DIY, always with a cup of green tea in her hand and listening to country music.
She splits her time between beautiful Canada and the small US towns she adores.
Find all of Emmanuelle’s books here: http://www.emmanuellesnow.com/books

Author Social Media:

Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/esnowauthor

Facebook Group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/snowvip

Newsletter: http://emmanuellesnow.com/subscribe/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/snowemmanuelle

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/snowemmanuelle

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@snowemmanuelle

Bookbub: http://www.bookbub.com/authors/emmanuelle-snow

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/snowemmanuelle

Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B094GR5ST4

Website: http://www.emmanuellesnow.com

Book link on website: http://www.emmanuellesnow.com/princess-and-country

Read an Excerpt:

My boyfriend turned to face me, and I hurried into his arms. “Princess, you’ll be amazing up there. Look at me.” I tilted my head back. “I’m so proud of you.” He tucked a strand of hair behind my ears.
I rose to my tiptoes. “I love you.”
With the pads of his fingers, he wiped the tears pooling in the corners of my eyes.
“I love you too.”
I looked around. “It’s kinda scary. All those people. The stage, the crowd—”
“Carter will be up there with you. You have nothing to worry about.”
Riley stepped next to us. “Okay, Dahlia, time to go. Ready?”
“I guess.”
Would my voice be shaky like this on stage?
Butterflies took flight in my stomach. The not-so-fun kind.
I walked away, my hand locked in Jeff’s, touching until our fingers broke apart.
Carter neared me and snaked his arm through mine. “It’s okay, Dah. I’m here. We can do this. Just follow my lead, I’ll take care of everything.”
Those words.
My pulse evened.
We exchanged a smile as Stud padded in our direction and put his arms around us.
“Let’s show them what we’ve got.” He stopped and pulled us into his embrace. “We’re kicking off our first world tour. How awesome is that? Let’s do this, motherfuckers.”
Stud’s longish stubble rapped my cheek.
“Oh yes,” Carter said as I replied, “Let’s make history.”
The lights of the stage blinded me. My heart sank down to my toes. “Seventy thousand people,” I said, mostly to myself. “Seventy thousand.”
My insides tightened. Carter said a few words to the crowd, but I registered none. My eyes drifted to the right side where Jeff stood. Did I look like a deer caught in headlights? My fingers shook. My head turned. My legs wobbled. I tried to breathe, but my lungs were closed for business.
“You can do this,” Jeff mouthed.
I swallowed the lump choking me.
Carter strummed the first chords of “Heart for Rent.” My heart leaped in my throat. Why did I agree to this? I loved our simple garage band. This, right here, was way too big for a White Crest girl like me. I shut my eyes, silencing my thundering heart. I could do this. I breathed out. My fingers played on their own. I locked my eyes on my best friend. He winked. No one was here except the two of us—and Stud. We were back in Carter’s garage, dreaming about getting fifty people to come see us play.
This—right here—was our dream.
I rolled my shoulders—chasing the tension away—rotated my neck and found my voice.

My Thoughts:

Princess and Country is a lovely romance that will tug at the heartstrings and keep you reading until the end. This is not without its share of emotions, but is a light read altogether with everything coming together eventually.

The story follows Dahlia, a singer and country superstar, her best friend Carter and his brother Jeff. When Dahlia realizes that both Carter and Jeff love her, she has a hard time finding the balance and following her heart. She has been best-friends with Carter since childhood and they sing together, they are famous together. As Dahlia struggles to keep the people she loves together in her life, we follow them on this wonderful journey of discovery.

This is a story of love, friendship that endures, second chances even. With heartbreak just around the corner, it remains to be seen how Dahlia copes with her best-friend supporting her no matter what. This is indeed a wonderful example of true friendship!

I truly enjoyed reading this book and about the characters. They are charismatic and will draw you in making you feel a part of the group. The musical aspect is interesting and I love how they embrace this. The brothers are so different from each other and yet their bond is strong. This is the kind of book that one should read on a quiet summer afternoon or to spend a lovely evening! I highly recommend the books in this series by the author. (I have started reading Carter’s story after all)

DRBT new logo

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!