Writer Igniter Reading Challenge Prompt 6: Supporting Cast 

The supporting character archetypes I see reflected in The Little Bookshop on the Seine are:

The Villain: Beatrice. She seems hostile and antagonistic from the time Sarah meets her. She answers back, judges, bosses Sarah around. Just creates a general bad atmosphere for much of the book.That is, until her “secret” is out.

I feel Sophie started off like a BFF, since she suggested the whole bookshop swap in the first place, but she was veering towards villain territory at some points later on in the novel, like with her getting almost too comfortable in Ashford with the people Sarah missed and the bookshop Sarah used to run. I felt she was out of line with comments and even bossy and rude.

The love interest: Ridge.Although I found myself increasingly annoyed with him and how he obviously was focused on work a lot of the time. But when he turned up he was attentive. I was hoping he’d stick around more. Sarah was very patient and faithful towards him. I thought at some points that Luiz may become a love interest for Sarah.

The BFF : Definitely Missy! She was fun and I could tell Sarah missed her.

The Entourage: CeeCee, Missy and Sarah’s other friends from back home in smalltown Ashford, Connecticut. CeeCee had a way of just brightening up Sarah’s day and I loved the way her old group of friends never forgot her and this showed in their video calls. I felt the geographical distance between them was never an issue.

As the story progressed and Sarah got to know her colleagues at the bookshop in Paris, I felt they too helped her: Oceane was a person to get her out of the bookshop to see Paris and relax and just talk. Beatrice caused the most tension of all the characters but then seemed almost appreciative of, and grateful to, Sarah. Luiz was the “mystery” character who was revealed slowly and who I wanted to know more about. TJ was a kind attentive person who valued the group.

The Mentor: I think there were different mentors, and they all mentored Sarah differently. First, we had Oceane, with her love of Parisian fashion and style and her knowledge of how to ease Sarah into Parisian life. Then came Luiz, with his books and author anecdotes.

Finally, TJ proved a reliable person for Sarah and also was laid back and more subtle in his appreciation of French customs and cuisine. I feel he was the person to add a touch of humour and dependability to Sarah’s life.

Writer Igniter Reading Challenge Prompt 5: Inciting Incident 

What is the external event that sets up the inciting incident? 

Sophie, Sarah’s friend who lives in Paris, suggests a bookshop swap.
What internal choice does the protagonist make that they act on to pivot us into Act II? 

Sarah decides she needs more in life than just being in her town and bookshop. 
What makes this moment a point of no return? 

She has committed to the bookshop swap and Sophie will travel to the USA to work in her bookshop while she’s away. 
Why can’t the protagonist go back to the status quo? 

She’d be letting Sophie down and missing out on an experience to know another country and culture. She fancies a change although she’ll miss those close to her. 
How does the protagonist’s choice affect you, the reader, and your feelings toward this character? 

I was proud of her for going out of her comfort zone (the bookshop, books her boyfriend Ridge and her mum). I’m rooting for her! I hope she has a great time. Her choice makes me want to get through the book to find out what happens. She already seems more confident just by making this decision. 

Writer Igniter Reading Challenge: Prompt 4: Character Compass

Since drawing is something I can’t do due to my disabilities. my post is a blog post without the compass itself. 

****SPOILER ALERT: Extracts of the novel  have been chosen by me solely for the purpose of this writing exercise*****

Thoughts: What is the character thinking? What do their thoughts reveal about them?



Sarah is remembering times when she was less confident and this reveals that she’s been through a lot already in her life. She’s thinking that she wants a channge but is wondering if she should go ahead with it or is strong enough to do so. She’s thinking of  her mum, of Ridge and of Sophie. This aspect tells me that she values those she loves and  who treat her well. 

When she finally realises that she wants to do the bookshop swap with Sophie, she feels nervous but excited as before this she was remembering Sophie, comparing herself to her and thinking whether she’d be brave enough to change her life. 

When she gets to Paris, she thinks I was really here! Paris! This shows me she feels proud of herself for having made the move to come. She feels fatigued from the journey but she does her best to push past it in her excitement to explore the city. 

When she bumps into the guy, she wonders what he’s going to do. She worries about getting lost and being kidnapped. In these moments it’s as if her old self doubt and lack of confidence is back. 

 

Action: What is the character doing? Do their actions match their thoughts and dialogue?

Yes, Sarah’s actions match her thoughts and dialogue but when she decides to make a change and take a risk in life her previous nerves, doubt and uncertainty are replaced with the more positive emotions of hope, excitement and a hunger for discovering the unknown what’s to come. She’s looking forward to discovering a new city.  

She’s in her bookshop with her books before locking up. Her books are like her children. I love this thought as for me it shows how much she adores her books and how valuable they are to her, just like her mum, Ridge and Sophie. She treats books as if they were human beings and her fondness for them is shown in the way she runs her fingers over them and how hard she finds it to leave the bookshop. She also doesn’t want to leave her mum or Ridge. This is shown in the way she says goodbye to them. 

After that, she gets ready to travel and we see her journey. 

She goes from doubtful to brave over the bookshop (and country) swap and I see her strength, courage and confidence grow throughout the scene. 

We see her observing everything around her and being excited. she wonders if she’ll fit in and make friends as she misses her friends. We see some normal “confused tourist” moments as she worries about missing the train or speaking the language with a strong accent. 

….swept along in a throng of people and  unsure of which way I was meant to go. Somehow I’d ended up outside and couldn’t contain my joy. I wanted to jump in the air, kick my heels together, and screech Bonjour France! Instead I smiled and trundled forward. 

Dialogue: What does the character say? Does their dialogue match their actions and thoughts?

“Mom, my books have taken me around the world, but it’s time I stepped from the pages to see it for myself” “It’s a few months and then I’ll be safely home, and I’m sure I can pick up where I left off because nothing ever changes around here.” 

” ….. I hope I come back with a new vigor for life. I’m tired of being the same person. half-living all this waiting for something to happen….I have to make it happen.” 

“I want to experience somewhere other than Ashford. Just for a little while.” 

When talking to Ridge the night before, she mentions the fact Ridge isn’t there when she says 

“……the empty spot on the mattress beside me a reminder of how far away I am from you.” 

“…..Besides, we always said we’d go to Paris one day and this is our chance. I trust Sophie with my bookshop, she knows how I feel about it better than anyone because she feels the same about hers.” 

They joke around to soften the awkward subject of her traveling as they’ll miss each other. They agree to meet in Paris. 

She tries out her French: “Oui” “Bonjour” and tries to ask where the station is. 

She squeals and talks to a guy she bumps into. Right, I did. Sorry about the bump.” “Oui, I’m fine.” 

Appearance: How is the character physically revealed? How does this serve the story?

There’s not much focus on her appearance in this part of the story as much of the plot is about her internal thoughts, feelings and relationships with those who are important to her. 

When she gets to France, we see her first real smile for a long time: I rifled through my backpack, searching for sunglasses. My face was split with a cheesy grin. 

Sarah takes in everything around her with newfound wonder: 
Apartments as far as the eye can see, window boxes with bright red flowers spilling out 

I hadn’t known anything about her fashion sense before she arrived in France   and so this was interesting to find out: 

My feet ached from the shoes Missy insisted I wear. Note to self: travel in comfortable footwear next time. I was a ballet flats kind of girl, and the wedged boots-which Missy had demanded I teeter in- had taken their toll. 

It shows Missy (her friend) wanted to help her out of her comfort zone too and this is done through her wearing different shoes to what she’s used to. 
No one will guess you’re American! She’d insisted. As if to be accepted I’d have to first fool them that I was French, and that could only be done by wearing the right shoes. 

This is fitting for her personality, as she’s seeming braver now but is still quick to compare herself to others, like  when she sees a woman on the train: 
Like Sophie, she was coiffed to perfection, her barely there makeup expertly applied. I felt unkempt in comparison and nervously ran a hand through my hair. 

I have hopes that she will grow in confidence and I wonder if her dress sense will change along with this over the course of the novel? I’m looking forward to finding out what will happen. 

Writing tip from the course: 

Keep in mind that the tension in most scenes lies in those moments where one TADA element conflicts with another. For example, if a character thinks one thing but says or does something entirely different, that’s where things get interesting.

Spotlight Post: Why  Liv? by Jon Sebastian Shifrin

About the Author : 

JON SEBASTIAN SHIFRIN is a writer whose political commentary and short stories have appeared in various newspapers and literary journals. He also is the founder  of The Daily Dissident (www.dailydissident.com), a popular current events web magazine. Jon lives in Washington, DC.

About the Book : 

As a twenty-something corporate employee with a doctor-in-training girlfriend, Livingstone Modicai Ackerman—Liv, to his friends—personifies success. Yet all is not as it seems. His job is tedious and soul-gutting, his girlfriend is a vacuous, image-conscious snob, and, meanwhile, his pathologically narcissistic parents are constant irritants. Add to this the febrile political climate dominated by a reactionary group, the Patriot Posse, led by a mendacious radio personality with outlandish hair and catchy campaign slogan to “Make America Great Again,” is a presidential candidate—and he’s winning!

How does one maintain a sense of dignity and worth in such a cynical environment devoid of humanity and hope?
Buy HERE

Blog Tour: Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

About the Book: 

Emma Lord’s sparkling debut YA novel, TWEET CUTE (Wednesday Books; January 21, 2020) about taking chances, the paths life leads us on, and finding love in the most unexpected places. This fresh spin on the classic rom-com You’ve Got Mail makes for an irresistible read that all starts with a stolen grilled cheese recipe and a tweet that goes viral. When two teens start a Twitter battle over their families’ businesses what starts out as a rivalry takes a turn neither of them predicted.
Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming — mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

All’s fair in love and cheese — that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life — on an anonymous chat app Jack built.

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate — people on the internet are shipping them?? — their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.

About the Author: 

Emma Lord is a digital media editor and writer living in New York City, where she spends whatever time she isn’t writing either running or belting show tunes in community theater. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a major in psychology and a minor in how to tilt your computer screen so nobody will notice you updating your fan fiction from the back row. She was raised on glitter, grilled cheese, and a whole lot of love. Her sun sign is Hufflepuff, but she is a Gryffindor rising. TWEET CUTE is her debut novel. You can find her geeking out online at @dilemmalord on Twitter.

Early Praise:
“Tweet Cute delivers in every possible way: a perfect enemies-to-lovers romance, a whip-smart plotline, and endearingly real characters. I devoured it.” – Francesca Zappia, author of Eliza and Her Monsters

“Sweet and fun! An adorable debut that updates a classic romantic trope with a buzzy twist.” – Jenn Bennett, author of Alex, Approximately and Serious Moonlight

“A witty rom-com reinvention for the Twitter age, Tweet Cute pairs delicious online rivalry with deeply relatable insights on family pressure and growing up. This fresh, funny read had us hitting ‘favorite’ from page one.” – Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka, authors of Always Never Yours and If I’m Being Honest

Buy HERE
Social Links: @dilemmalord (Twitter/Instagram)

My Review: 

I was hooked at the brginning of this. I loved the movie You’ve Got Mail and the comparison to this in the book blurb was a definite reason I requested it.

Modern retellings are a subgenre I like  too. Pepper was very honest and fun (my mouth was watering at every mention, or scene with, moster cake!) and I would love to try some.

I’m on Twitter and am not nearly as active as some people but this was a sweet teen-oriented novel with well drawn characters.

Pepper and Jake are good together and I liked Pooja’s chatty, fearless get-up-and-go personality and the way she was Pepper’s connection to the “real  world” outside Twitter but was also enthusiastic about Pepper’s projects in life (and love).

I felt sorry for Pepper that she did not get to see her sister Paige more yet did adore the concept of the mouth-watering sweet treats on their blog P&P Bakes. Two sisters working together on a blog  is a great idea.

Schoolwork is the last thing on Peppper’s mind when her mum uproots her sister Paige and her from their beloved Nashville and they have to start again in New York City. Country music and cowboy boots are  confined to the past and in their place are sugar, chocolate caramel and Monster Cake.

It’s a huge channge but one the girls are happy with. Meanwhile, their mum works in a burger restaurant.

When she leaves Pepper in charge of the restaurant’s Twitter account, Pepper  must balance this new responsibility with school and home life but when a tweet goes viral and a Twitter war with another restaurant breaks out she can’t keep away from her phone. And who’s the hot guy on the swim and dive teams?

An interesting debut. 4 stars.

After having reviewed Tweet Cute, I really want to hear more from Emma Lord in the future.

Thanks to Emma Lord and Bookouture for my ARC in exchange for an honest and voluuntary review.

JACK

“Look.” I glance into the classroom, where Ethan is thoroughly distracted by Stephen and no longer keeping an eye on us. “I may have . . . overreacted.”
Pepper shakes her head. “I told you. I get it. It’s your family.”
“Yeah. But it’s also—well, to be honest, this has been kind of good for business.”
Pepper’s brow furrows, that one little crease returning. “What, the tweets?”
“Yeah.” I scratch the back of my neck, sheepish. “Actually, we had a line out the door yesterday. It was kind of intense.”
“That’s . . . that’s good, right?”
The tone of my voice is clearly not matching up with the words I’m saying, but if I’m being honest, I’m still wary of this whole overnight business boom. And if I’m being honest, I’m even more wary of Pepper. If this really is as much of a family business as she claims it is—to the point where she’s helping run the Twitter handle, when even I know enough about corporate Twitter accounts to know entire teams of experienced people get paid to do that—then she might have had more of a hand in this whole recipe theft thing than she’s letting on.
The fact of the matter is, I can’t trust her. To the point of not knowing whether I can even trust her knowing how our business is doing, or just how badly we need it.
“Yeah, um, I guess.” I try to make it sound noncommittal. My acting skills, much like my breakfast-packing skills, leave much to be desired.
“So . . .”
“So.”
Pepper presses her lips into a thin line, a question in her eyes.
“So, I guess—if your mom really wants you to keep tweeting . . .”
“Wait. Yesterday you were pissed. Two minutes ago you were pissed.”
“I am pissed. You stole from us,” I reiterate. “You stole from an eighty-five-year-old woman.”
“I didn’t—”
“Yeah, yeah, but still. You’re them, and I’m . . . her. It’s like a choose your fighter situation, and we just happen to be the ones up to bat.”
“So you’re saying—you don’t not want me to keep this up?”
“The way I see it, you don’t have to make your mom mad, and we get a few more customers in the door too.”
Pepper takes a breath like she’s going to say something, like she’s going to correct me, but after a moment, she lets it go. Her face can’t quite settle on an expression, toeing the line between dread and relief.
“You’re sure?”
I answer by opening the container she handed me. The smell that immediately wafts out of it should honestly be illegal; it stops kids I’ve never even spoken to in their tracks.
“Are you a witch?” I ask, reaching in and taking a bite of one. It’s like Monster Cake, the Sequel—freaking Christmas in my mouth. I already want more before I’ve even managed to chew. My eyes close as if I’m experiencing an actual drug high—and maybe I am, because I forget myself entirely and say, “This might even be better than our Kitchen Sink Macaroons.”
“Kitchen Sink Macaroons?”
Eyes open again. Yikes. Note to self: dessert is the greatest weapon in Pepper’s arsenal. I swallow my bite so I can answer her.
“It’s kind of well-known, at least in the East Village. It even got in some Hub Seed roundup once. I’d tell you to try some, but you might steal the recipe, so.”
Pepper smiles, then—actually smiles, instead of the little smirk she usually does. It’s not startling, but what it does to me in that moment kind of is.
Before I can examine the unfamiliar lurch in my stomach, the bell rings and knocks the smile right off her face. I follow just behind her, wondering why it suddenly seems too hot in here, like they cranked the air up for December instead of October. I dismiss it by the time I get to my desk—probably just all the Twitter drama and the glory of So Sorry Blondies getting to my head.
“One rule,” she says, as we sit in the last two desks in the back of the room.
I raise my eyebrows at her.
“We don’t take any of it personally.” She leans forward on her desk, leveling with me, her bangs falling into her face. “No more getting mad at each other. Cheese and state.”
“What happens on Twitter stays on Twitter,” I say with a nod of agreement. “Okay, then, second rule: no kid gloves.”
Mrs. Fairchild is giving that stern look over the room that never quite successfully quiets anyone down. Pepper frowns, waiting for me to elaborate.
“I mean—no going easy on each other. If we’re going to play at this, we’re both going to give it our A game, okay? No holding back because we’re . . .”
Friends, I almost say. No, I’m going to say. But then—
“I’d appreciate it if even one of you acknowledged the bell with your silence,” Mrs. Fairchild grumbles.
I turn to Pepper, expecting to find her snapping to attention the way she always does when an adult comes within a hundred feet of disciplining her. But her eyes are still intent on me, like she is sizing something up—like she’s looking forward to something I haven’t anticipated yet.
“All right. No taking it personally. And no holding back.”
She holds her hand out for me to shake again, under the desk so Mrs. Fairchild won’t see it. I smile and shake my head, wondering how someone can be so aggressively seventeen and seventy-five at the same time, and then I take it. Her hand is warm and small in mine, but her grip is surprisingly firm, with a pressure that almost feels like she’s still got her fingers wrapped around mine even after we let go.
I turn back to the whiteboard, a ghost of a smirk on my face. “Let the games begin.”

Spotlight Post: The Order of Time By Scott P. Southall 

About the Author: 


 Scott Southall is an American author and banking executive. The Order of Time is his debut novel. He grew up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. playing sports, exploring the woods behind his house, and stretching his imagination by reading any book he could get his hands on. He attended Georgetown University where he earned a bachelors degree in business.
 

Scott and his Australian wife Kylie live in the paradise which is also known as Sydney Australia.

 

Connect with Scott Southall at ScottPSouthall.com, Facebook.com/Scott.SouthallAuthor and Instagram.com/ScottSouthallAuthor

About the Book : 

Anastasia and Edward Upton are eleven years old twins who are different in almost every way. Despite this they are inseparable and the best of friends. They tackle the highs and lows of sixth grade together whether they are fending off bullies at the elite Blake Academy or examining rare antiquities as the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Life gets complicated for Anastasia and Edward after discovering that their friend and mentor, Dr. Gregorian, is part of a secret society called the Order of Time. They learn that time is not fixed, it is a fluid continuum where changes to the past can create ripples all the way through to the present.

Buy HERE 

International Day of Acceptance 2020

Every January 20th, it is the International Day of Acceptance.  I am in agreement with the concept which was introduced by Annie Hopkins, founder of the disability website 3e Love Wheelchair Heart from which I have many products.

Here’s more about the day:http://www.dayofacceptance.com/

My experience of acceptance is that I am accepting of others provided they are not rude and don’t disrespect me.  I don’t like arguments or unfairness.

I, like many other people with disabilities, have experienced lack of acceptance in education, access to housing and disability services as well as plenty of bullying when I was at school.

I have doubted the level of acceptance from some people and embraced the acceptance from others. Sometimes in the past as well as recently I have felt like a burden and I have had to fight to be strong.

I do not see myself as a victim, but rather someone who has different challenges to others.

Today, my husband said he admires me because I am bilingual in English and Spanish and have lots of book drafts and do everything I am possibly capable of  to work towards my goal to publish. This made me feel great and I am glad to have him by my side and rooting for me every day.

I am enjoying the 2  online courses I’m doing related to writing (fiction and book analysis).

I accept myself for who I am. A wife, blogger aspiring author, sister  and daughter. I may have my disabilities but always try not to let them define me.

Not being accepting of an idea or opinion I have, or just the fact that I am me  can be hurtful and I have had to learn to develop a thick skin to guard me against the times when this happens. I am stronger for it and will always be fighting for more acceptance, that’s a given as I do not think there will ever be 100% acceptance in society, although I hope there will at some point.

As  I have said in past posts for today, one day is definitely not enough to immediately make the world more accepting, but it does help to make that happen by bringing the subject to people’s attention.

Acceptance should be something that is always practised in society.