Book Review: Out of my League by Sarah Sutton

I have been following Sarah for a while on Instagram as I was intrigued to read her debut novel What Are Friends For?

So, when the opportunity to read an ARC for her new novel came up it was the perfect chance to see whether I like her writing. And, I do.

Don’t forget to join my newsletter for my own ARC sign up news!

Blurb: Out of my League

Beginning

The MC, Sophia, has dreams of getting an internship at a local Newspaper. She is famous for her article on plastic straws that activated change.

Her journalism plan involves writing for the school paper but she receives the devastating news that the School’s Board are scrapping the papers funding to buy bleachers for the baseball team.

Sophia is supposed to be finding ‘the right time’ to dump her idiot boyfriend Scott. She decides to save the school paper by writing a final article, on how toxic the Baseball team and undeserving of the funds. She delays dumping Scott to use him to get the information for her expose.

Middle

Sophia attends an end of school party with her best friend Edith. It’s at Walsh’s house, the captain of the baseball team; the baseball team that has taken her beloved newspaper’s funding.

Sophia isn’t a fan of Walsh. Scott has constantly bad mouthed him to her, highlighting his every flaw.

Scott arrives at the party, with another girl.

When he realises he’s been caught cheating, he dumps Sophia in-front of everyone and humiliates her. Walsh jumps to her rescue and claims they are secretly in love and can now be together.

Despite being a heart throb, Sophia is not into Walsh. She runs off and Walsh goes after her. He offers to be her fake boyfriend and help with the article (not knowing the angle Sophia is aiming for).

We follow Sophia infiltrate the baseball team, gathering incriminating evidence for her article. She fends off her ex-Scott’s snide remarks whilst he flaunts his new girlfriend.

In addition, Sophia’s parents are at each others throats, their ups and downs escalates to divorce. And Sophia turns to her fake boyfriend for comfort. They get close, and she discover’s Walsh’s family life isn’t perfect either.

Walsh starts doing sweet things for her, even when nobody is around to witness it. Sophia starts to fall for him and has to keep reminding herself its not real. Edith tries to persuade her to scrap the article but she can’t see any other way to save her dream of becoming a journalist.

Everything gets very messy for Sophia:

  • She fights with her parents that now have decided on counselling, and are having a baby.
  • She runs to Walsh. He confesses he knew Scott was cheating and at the party he planned for her to catch Scott out, to get back at him. Realising she was a pawn in their rivalry from the start breaks her heart. She tells Walsh about the article exposing the team cheating (paying other teams to throw the game) and storms off.
  • She goes to Edith’s house, and they fight. Sophia is heartbroken that Edith knew about Scott too and didn’t tell her, and Edith points out the many ways Sophia has been selfish.

Ending

Sophia has a lot of making up to do. With the support of her parents and BFF, it’s time to get back the boy she loves with a grand gesture… but, when she arrives at the pitch the game is cancelled.

She bumps into her ex, Scott. He tells her Walsh revealed the baseball team’s cheating. Scott’s new girlfriend is sick of the rivalry between the guys and dumps him.

Sophia finds Walsh speaking to a baseball scout. Despite the cheating, he still got picked. They get together. Sophia loves Walsh more than the article and scraps it.

Her parents are happy. Sophia and Walsh are happy. Then Sophia gets a call. Her teacher sent her straw article to the local paper and they love it and offer her an internship.

So many happy vibes 😍.


Final thoughts…

I know nothing about baseball but that didn’t matter. This is a heartwarming sweet love story. I loved the friendship between the girls. All the characters and relationships were well developed, complex and had their own motives.

The fake relationship is believable, there was a good motive from both sides. The chemistry between the two was brilliant and I caught butterflies many times, rooting for them to kiss and realise what they have is real.

“And, just like that, the tingly sensation from my fingers, spread to my stomach.” Excerpt from Out of My League by Sarah Sutton

Sarah is one of the incredible authors you can discover in the World Indie Warriors brochure, containing full details on how to connect with her and buy her books.

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Behind the Book: Wiccan Romance – Amelia’s Story by Nicola Hebron

I enjoyed Nicola’s novel Amelia’s Story, the first book in her Wiccan Romance series. She kindly agreed to a Behind the Book interview about her novel, and here it is.


This is your first published novel but what’s the first story you remember writing? 

I remember writing a book during what I think was about year 9, so when I was around thirteenishthat had a couple of similar themes to Amelia’s Story but it wasn’t magical. It focused on relationships as they fascinate me, the way people become a couple, the obstacles they overcome and just how happy people become when they start dating someone they really like, the characters were a bit younger in that book so it had more of a school setting but, at least in the UK, that period at school from when you are fourteen to eighteen you change so much and it’s when you start to really think about your future so it’s such a fascinating time to write about.



Did you know you were writing a series from the start? 

Amelia’s Story was initially just supposed to be a short story that I used to write when I had a couple of spare hours during my A Levels and while at University. It was only when I went back to it when someone suggested I use writing to help me deal with my anxiety that it became a full length novel and then a series when I came up with ideas for the brothers and I just fell in love with all the characters.

What inspired this novel/series? 

The first bit of inspiration came from a Nora Robert’s book I was reading, it was a magic based book and I just really wanted to try my hand at writing one. Also it was during a snow week and I was supposed to be writing my history coursework but obviously decided to procrastinate. I picked up the story nearly eight years later as I still had the story running around in the back of my mind for years and I finished it nearly a decade later and I’m really proud of it.



Why did you chose to become an indie author? 

Between calls at work I would look at the best way to publish my novel, studying which publishing house would be most likely to publish it, however I spotted Amazon KDP and the more I learnt about it the more I decided it was a better option for me. I then spoke to a number of other indie authors and decided to give it a go.



Tell me about a typical day in the life of Nicola Hebron? 

Well, I have recently been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia so my days are pretty lazy as I need to keep as relaxed as possible to keep the pain at bay. Usually I write on and off throughout the day, usually twenty minutes at a time then I take a break and watch TV, at the minute I’m watching the Chicago franchise, which Dick Wolf executives produces and I’m a big fan of his shows. I also love reading, I always read in the bath and usually for about an hour at night.



Some of your main characters have elemental magic. Which elemental power would you most like to have? 

As far as elemental powers, I would most like to have the power to control air, although water would also be pretty cool. If I could have any power in the world, I would most like to fly or teleport so I could go wherever I want to.

Please share a snippet of Amelia’s Story? 

#1 

“Buster! Come here!”

“He’s over here, Aidan!” Ben called out.

“Ben didn’t expect you out here!” Aidan called out, as he followed his dog out of the bushes.

“Lia was walking the dogs, thought I would give her a hand.” Ben explained, as he shook his friend’s hand.

“Hi.” Lia mumbled, as she continued to pet Buster.

Lia stumbled backwards as Buster leant his full weight against her legs, causing Aidan to grab his dog’s collar, pulling him away from her. Smiling, Lia shifted so that she could focus on the dogs and look at Aidan without being obvious. He looked at ease, wearing a pair of faded jeans, black shirt and unzipped grey hoody. She had known Aidan for years and had a crush on him for nearly as long. Consequently, whenever he was around, which was a lot of the time as he was Ben’s closest friend, she turned into either a babbling idiot or a mute. Lia glanced down at the dogs when Aidan looked over at her and busied herself taking off Betty’s lead.

#2 

“So, what’s your plan Alice?” Aidan asked.

“That’s easy, Aidan. I’m going to get little Miss Princess goody two shoes to give up her powers by convincing her that the only way I’m going to release you is if she gives her powers to me.” Alice crowed. “And then, using both her powers and those that our family has managed to hold onto, I’m going to make you love me, leaving her with nothing.”


Where can we go to discover more and buy Amelia’s story

Amelia’s Story is available at all major online booksellers, including Amazon, Waterstones, WHSmiths and Barnes and Noble. It is also available in ebook format, including Kindle, Kobo, Nook and Ibooks.

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Behind the Book: Sorceress of Truth by J D Groom

9 Years Married

Yesterday was Father’s Day in the UK and I looked back at photographs of my dad and I, and Photos of my husband with our kids. I feel so blessed to have had both their influences in my life.

A collage of pics showing me with my dad, and my husband with our kids.

We got together in 2000, and earlier this year we celebrated being together 20y. It doesn’t feel that long as time’s flown by. We’ve been through a lot together, ups and downs, and it’s made us so strong.

We don’t make a big fuss of our anniversaries but next year we might do something as it’ll be 10 years, and that’s a big deal. We were thinking of going away but little Aria doesn’t like travelling, but I’m hoping by next year she’ll be better. And, hopefully the virus will be old news too.

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Wedding Memories

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Alice in Wonderland Afternoon Tea

There are simple pleasures we all miss during lockdown, things we took for granted. I enjoyed taking my kids out and meeting up with friends for play dates. Sometimes, I go to a cafe and treat myself to tea and cake. And, the best tea and cake is afternoon tea.

Afternoon Tea

“Traditional afternoon tea consists of a selection of dainty sandwiches (including of course thinly sliced cucumber sandwiches), scones served with clotted cream and preserves. Cakes and pastries are also served. Tea grown in India or Ceylon is poured from silver tea pots into delicate bone china cups.” Historic-UK.com

Traditionally it’s eaten between lunch and dinner (between 4pm and 8pm), and it’s not to replace a meal… but, in my hometown, it’s quite acceptable to eat it for lunch.

Alice in Wonderland Themed

I’m a sucker for Alice in Wonderland. I haven’t even read the book (sorry), I just love the quirkinesses and the quotes. With the Mad Hatter tea party, it’s the perfect theme for afternoon tea…

So, when my friend sent me a link to a local cafe doing home delivered afternoon tea, Alice in Wonderland themed…

How could I resist?

And, it’s supporting a local business, one that sells cake and tea.

At £25 per person, it was a good price for afternoon tea which is a rather indulgent experience. But, I hesitated… How big would the portions be?

Delivered Afternoon Tea

I needn’t have worried! I’d bought two, one each for my husband and I, and to share ours with the kids. The generous helpings meant we were eating cakes for days.

But, that wasn’t all…

Check out this picture of all the beautiful touches the cafe did to make this afternoon tea so special.

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Book Review: Forgotten Scars by Natalie J Reddy

I awas lucky enough to win this book. I’m so glad I did as it was a brilliant fast paced read.

Beginning

The story starts with a prologue giving an insight into the MCs background. She grew up with no idea where she came from and adopted by a loving couple (two dads). She has good memories of her adopted life but just before starting university, they died. No she is on her own.

The story starts with a seemingly ordinary day, walking onto campus to meet up with her boyfriend. But, when she arrives at the art room studio, he’s making out with his ex-girlfriend.

She runs to the library and meets her ‘library friend’. They have a heart to heart but when they separate Wren is knocked out and abducted.

Middle

When Wren comes around she is in a huge house and tries to escape. She falls down the stairs and injures her leg and is now a prisoner in one of the bedrooms.

Her abductors are not ordinary people they have powers like being able to read her thoughts. The leader of the group is Darshan. They claim they are the good guys and say her ‘library friend’ is dangerous. Wren doesn’t trust them and as soon as her legs is healed she attempts to escape again.

Once free she goes to the library to look for her friend, but she’s not there. She doesn’t feel safe and decides to go to her ex’s flat. She tells him what happened, he apologises for cheating and lets her stay. They order pizza but when he opens the door a group of attackers enter and kill him like they are vampires.

The attackers can also read her mind. They tell her that her library friend sent them to protect her from the abductors. She is to go with them. She is reluctant but goes. When she gets to their van she tries to escape. Luckily, the abductors arrive. She sees the two groups face off using their powers and is rescued. Her ribs are injured by she refuses their healing help as she doesn’t trust them.

Back at the house she was being held at, she is now curious to know more. She learns their powers could help bring down the wall in her mind and recover her lost memories. She stays because to discover who she is, is something she’s longer for.

During are stay she gets to know her captors better. She is not treated like a prisoner. On one occasion, Darshan takes her on a day out. The chemistry builds between them. He leaves her for a moment to get a drink and a psi attacks by controlling her mind and causing her to put her life in danger. Darshan saves her and they kiss.

Ending

Wes is the experienced psi trying to bring down the wall in her mind, he out ranks Darshan. She’s relaxing at the house and exhausted after one of their sessions where the wall came partially down. Now memories are returning… but, she is abducted again.

She’s taken down secret tunnels to meet with another group where all the jigsaw pieces come together.

Thoughts

This is a fast paced book and I was quickly sucked in. Wren is likeable, shes not had an easy life and is a strong character.

Natalie’s psi/vampires are unique and I wanted to know more about this underground world and how they operate. Readers discover them along with Wren, and the information is revealed in a way that feels natural.

There is a little romance and the chemistry was great but it’s not the focal point of the story. This is more of an action paced novel with a mystery to resolve.

The book has a good conclusion. It is the first in a series and I can see the scope for more stories in this world and I would want to read more.

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[kofi]

Behind the Book: Mystical Greenwood by Andrew McDowell

What inspired you to write Mystical Greenwood?

I originally set out to write a horror story, but as I was writing it I realized the story elements were leaning towards fantasy, so I went with it. I didn’t initially intend for the overarching theme to be about Nature and its sacred value, but as I did research on magic and fantasy, I recognized my interest in natural magic and mythical creatures, which I think was rooted in a childhood passion for learning about wild animals.

Can you name any similar books to Mystical Greenwood?

That is difficult for me to say. My research consisted mainly of reading books about myths, magic, and Nature-based spirituality rather than works of fiction. However one reviewer not long ago said fans of author Christopher Paolini would love Mystical Greenwood, so perhaps The Inheritance Cycle. It’s also a story of a fellowship travelling together, so you could say it’s similar to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (interestingly, early drafts had many other magical creatures, including elves and dwarves, but they were dropped as it was getting too crowded).

How long did the book take to write from the first idea to publishing?

Oh, it took many years on and off. School was the main reason why I kept taking breaks, as I had to focus on my assignments, and also later on, job hunting. It took many years of writing and rewriting, as well as getting feedback from beta readers as well as through critique groups.

How many books do you anticipate in the series and is the whole series plotted out?

I’m planning for the One with Nature series to be a trilogy. I wouldn’t say it’s entirely planned out. With the second book right now I have an idea for how I want it to end (I need to figure out how to get there), but it won’t be the end of the story, so that’s what the third book will be for.

Can you share tips from your world building process?

I find the key thing to remember when building worlds is to make sure it feels real to the reader, no matter what genre you are reading. Any one of the little factors that go into world building can be a “tumbling block” if it feels too out of place. Stories with contemporary and historical settings (even fictional historical settings) can begin with research into what life is/was like. With science fiction it’s often a good idea to look at modern science and see where it could potentially go (or historical if you set it in the past). In fantasy settings, perhaps ask first what historical periods are similar and blend them with research into mythology and fantasy. Plus, as I mentioned earlier, it’s best not to overcrowd it, so the reader isn’t too overwhelmed.

To read a blog post I did years ago on world building, click here.

Which mythical or magical animal do you wish was real?

That’s a tough question, but ultimately I don’t think I would wish for any of them to be real. Several could pose a real danger to humanity, and even if they didn’t, all could face the possibility of being hunted down and/or exploited. Besides, they would lose their mystique I think, even those that are the subject of cryptozoology. Where would we be without myths and magic, and imagination? Some things are best left undiscovered, and some in the realm of magic and myth.

What project are you currently working on?

Right now the project I’m concentrating most on is the sequel to Mystical Greenwood. I’m hoping to raise the stakes of the conflict, focus more on aquatic life after having my characters spend quality time in forests, as well as introduce a plot element that the first book lacked: romance.

Where can we find out more and buy Mystical Greenwood?

Mystical Greenwood is available in Paperback, Kindle, and Nook. It can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and Goodreads. The cover art is also available at Deviant Art. It’s also available in the British bookstore chains Foyles and Waterstones.

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org shop link.

[kofi]

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More Organic Treats

Did you see my post about my Mother’s Day Skin Organics Skincare Box? Well that was not all I got. I was very spoilt and had two extra treats alongside my Skin Organic Box.

Niskama Skincare – Dry Skin Relief Body Balm

I accidentally used this before taking a pic – whoops! But, I don’t think you can tell.

The balm is hard and you warm it up in your hand to get an oil. It has a lovely clean smell that’s not too strong. And, guess what, it only costs £6.50!

AA Skincare – Face Toner

This is the big 150ml bottles and costs £7.98. You can buy the smaller 50ml bottle for just £3.95 to try it out or for travelling.

I started using this right away as I needed a toner and love the scent of Rose. Needless to say, I love it. And can’t believe the affordable price – woohoo!

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