A Year in the Chateau by Sarah Long #bookreview #blogtour #AYearintheChateau @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

a year in the chateau cover

A Year in the Chateau written by Sarah Long, publisher Zaffre, is available NOW in ebook, audiobook and paperback format.

Book Blurb

The new sharp, irreverent and hilarious book from Sarah Long. If you love Dawn French, Sue Townsend and Veronica Henry, this book is for you!

When Nicola’s husband, Dominic, retires they decide not to spend their days finding hobbies to fill the time until Countdown is on. Instead, they fulfil their life-long fantasy of buying a country house and filling it with their dearest friends. Reliving their youth and spending their children’s inheritance.

Joined by seven of their friends they club together to invest in a château in Normandy. Group dinners, fine wine, beautiful scenery – they’re living the dream!

But la vie en rose is harder than it first appears. Is there a reason why only teenagers take gap years?

To buy link: https://amzn.to/2Q8QYBG

A Year in The Chateau 29.1.20

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this book. All opinions are my own and no content may be copied. However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Sarah Long’s latest contemporary romance: A Year in the Chateau.

This is my first introduction to the work of Sarah Long and after reading A Year in the Chateau I am keen to catch up with her other books.

I really enjoyed this novel by Sarah Long; maybe it’s because the idea of living in a historic chateau in France sounds appealing, maybe it’s the small community with the numerous boulangeries, delicatessens and roadside cafes were you can wile away a few hours people watching.  Or is it the romantic notion of France having a more relaxed approach to life?  I didn’t care as I was sold with the dream as soon as the word chateau was mentioned!

Nicola and Dominic are fed-up of the rat-race in London and a dream emerges of escaping to the country and living their very own good life.  This dream evolves into clubbing together with close friends and buying a chateau in France. These nine friends were so diverse in character it made for an interesting story as even though the couples had different backgrounds and interests they blended beautifully as a group.  When life hit an all time low for one of the friends the group sprang into action to offer support where and when needed.

I loved how the author split the story up into seasons and we got to experience the changing sights, sounds and aromas of chateau life for the first time through the eyes of the characters.

A Year in the Chateau is a story of new beginnings and new adventures albeit at a slower more relaxed pace giving the time for our characters to re-evaluate their lives and learn to appreciate the important aspects of life.  But life wasn’t all rosy for our intrepid new chateau owners and life’s struggles and financial upheavals felt so much easier to handle within such an idyllic setting.  But when tragedy strikes life for all of the friends will never be the same again.

I do feel like there’s lots more to learn and look forward to about the characters we’ve grown to love and that the author could run with this storyline for a good few further stories.  I also don’t want to particularly leave the Chateau yet, maybe I’ll be inspired to dream up my own French adventure?!

About the Author

Sarah Long was raised in Essex, educated at Oxford and worked in publishing before moving to Paris with her husband and young children. She now lives in London with the same husband and most of her adult children, at the midlife stage that inspired her new novel Invisible Women.

She is the author of two previous novels, And What Do You Do? and The Next Best Thing, as well as Le Dossier of Hortense de Monplaisir or How to Survive the English, a helpful guide to understanding the ways of the British, as seen through the eyes of her snobbish Parisian alter ego.

Although now back in the motherland, she has failed to leave France behind, and spends as much time as possible at her house in rural Normandy, making jam, digging things up and watching the wildlife which often ends up, uninvited, indoors.

 

The 24 Hour Café by Libby Page @LibbyPageWrites @orionbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #blogtour #bookreview #The24HourCafe #Contemporaryromance

the 24 hour cafe cover

The 24 Hour Café written by Libby Page, publisher Orion, is available NOW in ebook, hardcover and audiobook format.

To buy link: https://amzn.to/36KR4EU

Book Blurb

Welcome to the café that never sleeps.

Day and night, Stella’s Café opens its doors to the lonely and the lost, the morning people and the night owls. It’s a place where everyone is always welcome, where life can wait at the door.
Meet Hannah and Mona: best friends, waitresses, dreamers. They love working at Stella’s – the different people they meet, the small kindnesses exchanged. But is it time to step outside and make their own way in life?
Come inside and spend twenty-four hours at Stella’s Café, where one day might just be enough to change your life . . .

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this book. All opinions are my own and no content may be copied. However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Libby Page’s latest novel: The 24 Hour Café.

I think I may have found my new favourite read. The 24 Hour Café is my first introduction to the work of Libby Page and it ticked all the boxes and more in my little reading heart. This is the story of a café in the centre of the city of London that is open 24 hours a day serving teas, coffees, food and is a place to feel welcomed whatever the time of day.

We follow the lives of Hannah and Mona, two waitresses at the café, who are best friends and share a home and their dreams together. This story is one 24 hour snapshot in the goings on in the café when a momentous event changes everything in Hannah and Mona’s lives. As the drama of the night and day unfolds the story focuses on each waitress as they go through the rituals of their allocated shift at work. We get to hear the story of how they met, how they interpret their friendship and their personal and professional lives. Hannah and Mona are creative souls and have dreams to express their talents and entertain people. Hannah wishes to sing and make people happy and Mona wishes to dance as a career so waitressing is not their calling it is just a stop gap and a means to pay the bills.

As Hannah’s shift at work progresses through the night customers come and go but a few stay in our minds as we are introduced to their stories. I think this is what makes The 24 Hour Café special. Stella’s café not only serves refreshments but it is a place to convene, to meet, to escape, to relax and to feel safe. The visitors of the café, or any café, have their own stories and as we see the little snippets of their lives our hearts are opened to let them in. When the girls change shifts we get to hear of Mona’s life, concerns and hopes.

The 24 Hour Café is such a poignant, thought provoking read that will touch your heart and will never let it go. People come and go in your life but sometimes a time and place will set off a new road of enlightenment, opportunity and possibilities.

Beautiful, heartfelt and truly wonderful story telling.

About the Author

LIBBY PAGE is the author of the SUNDAY TIMES bestseller and runaway success of 2018, THE LIDO. THE LIDO has sold in over twenty territories around the world and film rights have been sold to Catalyst Global Media. After writing, Libby’s second passion is outdoor swimming. Libby lives in London where she enjoys finding new swimming spots and pockets of community within the city. She and her sister run a blog and Instagram account @ theswimmingsisters, documenting their swims and the benefits of outdoor exercise for mental health. Follow Libby on twitter @libbypagewrites

Website: https://libbypage.co.uk/

A Dream of Italy by Nicky Pellegrino @nickypellegrino @orionbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #blogtour #bookextract

 

A Dream of Italy

 

A Dream of Italy written by Nicky Pellegrino, publisher Orion, is available NOW in ebook and audiobook format.  The paperback is due for release on Thursday 8th August 2019.

To buy link: https://amzn.to/33aAAFL

Book Blurb

For sale: historic building in the picturesque town of Montenello, southern Italy. Asking price: 1 Euro
Cloudless skies, sun-soaked countryside, delicious food… In the drowsy heat of an Italian summer, four strangers arrive in a beautiful town nestled in the mountains of Basilicata, dreaming of a new adventure. An innovative scheme by the town’s Mayor has given them the chance to buy a crumbling historic building for a single Euro – on the condition that they renovate their home within three years, and help to bring new life to the close-knit local community.
Elise is desperate to get on the property ladder. Edward wants to escape a life he feels suffocated by. Mimi is determined to start afresh after her divorce. And there’s one new arrival whose true motives are yet to be revealed…
For each of them, Montenello offers a different promise of happiness. But can they turn their dream of Italy into reality? A deliciously escapist summer read, perfect for fans of Jo Thomas.

A Dream of Italy blog tour

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of the paperback of Nicky Pellegrino’s latest novel:  A Dream of Italy.  I have the privilege of sharing an extract from the novel with you:

Mimi
The Silver Divorcees met on the second Wednesday of every month. There were times Mimi felt as if the only thing keeping her going was the prospect of gathering in some cheap and cheerful restaurant and drinking too much wine as all of them talked at once. The few occasions over the past couple of years that she could recall laughing properly were her Silver Divorcee evenings.
Despite the name not one of them had silver hair. All were tended to regularly by skilful colourists, a couple were Botoxed, and at least one was keeping a cosmetic surgeon busy. Still they were a social phenomenon, apparently, part of a rising tide of middle-aged couples deciding to divorce after decades of putting up with one another.
‘These are the new freedom years,’ Mimi’s closest friend Sinead declared. ‘The kids have left home, we’re financially secure and we don’t have to deal with anyone’s dropped socks. This is our time and we’re not going to spend it cleaning up after other people.’
Mimi wasn’t especially buoyed by those remarks. Her friend’s situation was entirely different to hers. Sinead was the one who had walked away from her marriage, striking out for freedom and independence, determined she wasn’t going to spend another minute with the nice but dull man who had been by her side for the past thirty years.
‘Fuck that,’ Sinead said (she swore more now she was divorced). ‘Perhaps the two of us had something in common once but we don’t any more. I want my life back.’
Mimi, on the other hand, had been happily married; at least, she had thought so. With their two sons gone to university, she and Glenn had been making plans to move out of London and build their dream house somewhere leafy and green. Glenn had seemed as enthusiastic about the idea as she was. They used to sit together watching Grand Designs and talk about how they might manage something similar. So when Glenn told her he had rented an apartment because their relationship had run its course and it was time for a fresh start, Mimi had been rocked.
He refused couple’s counselling and only offered her clichés. He still loved Mimi but he wasn’t in love with her. He needed some space. He wanted a new life.
And so her husband moved out, and Mimi was left behind in their old life, alone in the family house surrounded by all their shared stuff. She spent a lot of time rearranging things, trying to make the place seem more her own. Buying a new bed, shifting the sofas, painting a feature wall and filling the living room with plants – none of it helped much.
‘Just sell the house, settle up with him and move on,’ Sinead urged her.
Mimi could see the sense in this advice but not how to follow it. ‘Move on where?’
‘Your work isn’t keeping you in London, is it? You could go absolutely anywhere.’
‘That’s the problem,’ Mimi said.
Sinead was an incurable solver of other people’s problems. ‘Go and live in a little village somewhere just like you were planning to before the break-up,’ she advised.
‘Which village, though? I can’t just stick a pin into a map.’
‘I don’t see why not. It doesn’t really matter which place you choose. You need to make a move. You’re stuck.’
‘I am aware of that.’ Mimi squinted in the bright light of the ladies ‘toilets as she reapplied her perfect pinky-brown lipstick. She was sure Sinead had followed her in on purpose, determined to have this conversation. She was standing right beside Mimi now, talking at her reflection in the mirror.
‘Un-stick yourself,’ she counselled, ‘and do it sooner rather later. You’ve never been this indecisive before, have you?’
‘No, but I always had a vision of what I wanted in life.’ Mimi slipped the lipstick back in her bag and gave her short, fair hair a quick fluff with her fingers. ‘I saw myself being married, having a family, working as an illustrator. I saw Glenn and me going on long walks and eating Sunday lunch in country pubs. All of a sudden the vision has disappeared completely, it’s like the screen’s gone blank. I can’t see a way forward any more.’
Sinead stared at her, bereft of advice, temporarily at least.
‘Another glass of wine and some food, that’s as far ahead as I want to look right now,’ said Mimi, quickly. ‘Come on, or the others will think we’ve abandoned them.’
They were at an Italian restaurant favoured by the Silver Divorcees mainly for its bring-your-own-booze Tuesdays. Mimi enjoyed the food, always ordering the pizza with burrata because she loved to slice into the soft cheese and watch its creamy centre oozing over the crisp, charred dough. She was the only one among the Silver Divorcees still eating carbs and saturated fat, but then all the others were dating; they were on Tinder or signed up with elite matchmaking agencies.
That was what they were discussing when Mimi and Sinead made it back to the table, shrieking with laughter at stories of Tinder encounters gone wrong.
‘So when I woke in the night, I thought he was stroking my shoulder,’ Jayne was saying now. ‘Then I turned over and it was actually this huge, hairy dog which had wriggled into bed between us and was drooling on my pillow. I could not make the thing move. In the end I got up, left a note to say I was a cat person, and went home.’
Sinead jumped into the conversation. ‘The dog wasn’t actually in the room when you were…’
‘Yes! It was lying on the rug, staring at us and panting. I kept catching its eye. It was really off-putting.’
‘Oh my God, that reminds me of the time I was dating the guy who had these Burmese cats…’
Mimi listened to their voices growing louder. She never had similar stories to share. She had been with Glenn for thirty years. It was impossible to imagine herself with anyone else.
‘Men…I really don’t know why we bother.’ Someone trotted out that line almost every time the Silver Divorcees met up; tonight it was Jayne, shaking her head in dismay. ‘All of us should buy a big house, move in together, and give up on them altogether.’
‘You’re right, we probably should,’ agreed Sinead.
‘Count me in,’ said Mimi. ‘It sounds like a great idea.’
‘Me too,’ added Dottie.
‘Why don’t we stop talking about this and actually do it?’ said Sinead, leaning forward, arms crossed. The Silver Divorcees had been her idea in the first place and she thought of herself as the group’s leader. ‘Let’s pitch in and buy a holiday villa, the four of us. Seriously, I mean it.’
‘Nice idea but I can’t afford it,’ said Jayne.
‘What if it hardly costs us anything? Hang on a minute, I saw this ad on Facebook.’ Sinead rummaged for her phone and started jabbing at the screen. ‘Here we go, this is it: Live Your Dream of Italy.’
She read the advertisement aloud with extra emphasis on the words, ‘just one
euro’.
‘Sounds too good to be true; there must be a catch,’ said Jayne.
‘Not necessarily,’ Dottie countered. ‘I’m pretty sure I read an article about that in the Telegraph. The ad’s gone viral and they interviewed the mayor of the town..’
‘Salvio Valentini,’ said Sinead, reading from the screen again.
‘Could have been.’
‘If it’s gone viral then we’ve no chance of getting a house.’ Jayne sounded almost regretful.
‘Why don’t we try, though?’ Sinead urged. ‘It’s worth putting in an application. Imagine the Silver Divorcees with their own place in southern Italy.’
‘Do you really mean it?’ asked Mimi.
‘Yes, of course I do. We can all afford one euro. Tell you what, it’s on me.’
‘We’d have to spend some money on renovations,’ pointed out Dottie.
‘Not that much, surely, at least to begin with, so long as it’s structurally sound and has a serviceable kitchen and bathroom,’ said Sinead. ‘Imagine the sunshine and the fabulous food, just lazing round with books and opening the first bottle of wine at lunchtime.’
‘Living the dream,’ agreed Jayne, wistful.
‘Why not do it then?’ suggested Mimi, who suddenly had this new feeling, a kind of happy excitement that filled her with the sense anything was possible. She pulled her phone out of her bag. ‘Let’s send an email now.’
Extract from A Dream of Italy by Nicky Pellegrino (out in paperback on 8th August).

About the Author

Nicky Pellegrino was born in Liverpool but spent childhood summers staying with her family in southern Italy. A shy, tall, gingery child she never really fitted in with her exuberant Italian cousins and had a tendency to stay quiet and observe things. When Nicky started writing fiction it was her memories of those summers in Italy that came flooding back and flavoured her stories: the passions, the feuds but most of all the food.
Nicky now lives in Auckland, New Zealand with her husband Carne plus a menagerie of dogs and horses. She works as a freelance journalist and her novels are distributed in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, and have been translated into numerous languages.
She loves cooking for friends, drinking red wine, walking on New Zealand’s amazing beaches, riding her horse through the forest and lying in bed reading other people’s novels.

Website: https://www.nickypellegrino.com

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

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nickypellegrinoauthor/

Five Steps to Happy by Ella Dove @EllaRoseDove @TrapezeBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n @orionbooks #blogtour #bookreview #debutnovel

 

five steps to happy

Five Steps to Happy written by Ella Dove, publisher Trapeze Books (an imprint of Orion), is available NOW in ebook, hardcover and audiobook format.

The hardcover will be available from all good book retailers including Waterstones, WHSmith, Foyles and amazon.

To buy link (Waterstones): https://bit.ly/2UQ0Vnl

To buy link (amazon kindle): https://amzn.to/2NL8GfT

Book Blurb

Life can change in a heartbeat…
When struggling actress Heidi has a life-changing accident aged 32, her world falls apart. Stuck in hospital and unable to walk, her only companion is Maud, the elderly lady in the bed next to hers. Heidi misses her flatmate, her life, her freedom – surely 32 is too young to be an amputee?
But when Maud’s aloof but attractive grandson Jack pays a visit to the ward, Heidi realises that her life isn’t over just because it’s different. It might not look like the life she dreamed of, but it’s the one she’s got – and there’s a lot she still wants to tick off her bucket list. With Jack at her side, will Heidi take the first step back to happiness? Or is there one more surprise still in store…?
A feel-good read based on the inspiring true story of journalist Ella Dove. Sometimes all it takes is one small step…

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this book. All opinions are my own and no content may be copied. However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Ella Dove’s debut novel: Five Steps to Happy.

Five Steps to Happy is one of those WOW books; it’s a story that is so full of hope, encouragement and warmth that it leaves your whole body, heart and soul fuelled with emotion.

This is a story for anyone who’s life has changed irrevocably whether through illness or circumstance. When our lives change a course we had never envisaged there are a whole host of emotions that run through our minds.

Ella Dove, the author, has written a story that will keep you transfixed. She has pooled all her own thoughts and feelings and drawn strength from her own experience and written from the heart. There’s a rawness that you can feel with the depth of emotion that the author has drawn out of her characters.

Five Steps to Happy is Heidi’s story; following a traumatic accident that was to change her life decisively Heidi’s life was to become a battle she had never in her wildest dreams envisaged. Her dreams were put on hold for an undetermined time and she saw life in a different perspective.

When Heidi’s life changed she made friends with people that wouldn’t normally cross her path as the life she has been thrown has no barriers of age, sex or race. With her journey of recovery a new comradeship is born and you can’t help but champion all of these warriors. I adored the new friendships Heidi made especially the one with Maud, they complemented each other perfectly and a bond that was so beautiful was made.

Five Steps to Happy is a story about loss and grief, it’s a story of fight and encouragement, it’s a story of hope and inspiration but ultimately it’s a story of love; a love of your family, a love of new friends and new opportunities but most of all a story of a love of who you are. Five Steps to Happy will be a book you will devour and cherish and re-read. It’s a perfect book for gifting for sharing and for loving.

Ella Dove has written a fantastic debut novel and I have high hopes of a glittering literary career ahead of her. I wish her all the best in all her endeavours.

About the Author

Ella Dove is Commissioning Editor at Good Housekeeping, Prima and Red magazines. Originally from Kent and now based in Stratford, East London, Ella studied English and French at the University of Southampton, where she did her dissertation in Creative Writing. In 2015, she completed the Curtis Brown Creative three-month novel writing course.

In 2016, Ella became an amputee following a freak running accident. She is now an ambassador for the Limbless Association, Barts Health charity and The London Prosthetic Centre, and regularly leads talks, takes part in events and speaks to patients and their loved ones about trauma.

In her spare time, Ella reads, swims and sings in her local choir – and writes, of course!

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

Publisher’s Author Page: https://www.orionbooks.co.uk/contributor/ella-dove/

The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris @Joannechocolat @orionbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #blogtour #bookreview #contemporaryfiction #TheStrawberryThief #ModernDayFairytale

 

the strawberry thief

The Strawberry Thief written by Joanne Harris, publisher Orion, is available NOW in ebook, hardcover and audiobook format.

Waterstones have a stunning signed edition of the hardcover of the book available which includes an exclusive afterword from the author Joanne Harris and a short story.  To buy this edition please click on the link below:

https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-strawberry-thief/joanne-harris/9781409192169

Book Blurb

Vianne Rocher has settled down. Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, the place that once rejected her, has finally become her home. With Rosette, her ‘special’ child, she runs her chocolate shop in the square, talks to her friends on the river, is part of the community. Even Reynaud, the priest, has become a friend.
But when old Narcisse, the florist, dies, leaving a parcel of land to Rosette and a written confession to Reynaud, the life of the sleepy village is once more thrown into disarray.
The arrival of Narcisse’s relatives, the departure of an old friend and the opening of a mysterious new shop in the place of the florist’s across the square – one that mirrors the chocolaterie, and has a strange appeal of its own – all seem to herald some kind of change: a confrontation, a turbulence – even, perhaps, a murder…

TST blog tour

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this book. All opinions are my own and no content may be copied. However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes

I am so pleased and honoured to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Joanne Harris’ latest novel: The Strawberry Thief.

Joanne Harris’ beautiful prose has captured my imagination and Rosette Rocher has stolen my heart.  The Strawberry Thief is my first introduction to the work of Joanne Harris, I haven’t even watched the movie adaptation of Chocolat so I totally read The Strawberry Thief with fresh eyes.  It is 20 years since the author published Chocolat and The Strawberry Thief is the fourth book in the series.  The book can easily be read as a standalone and for brand new fans of Joanne Harris’ work, like myself, you will soon be swept away with the beauty of the storyline however, now I’ve had the privilege and pleasure of reading this novel I am very keen to read all the books in the Chocolat series so for established fans of this authors work you will be in for a treat revisiting Lansquenet-sous-Tannes.

Joanne Harris takes you to a fantasy world within our own.  Rosette and her mother Vianne have an air of mystery and magic about them and you can sense an otherworldly presence.  You never grow old  of fairy tales and make believe and this is such a powerful tool that authors hold when they can whisk you away to the unimaginable but make it still very real and relatable.

The Strawberry Thief is a story like no other but behind all the magic and mystery there is a very relatable story about a woman and her relationship with her children that are growing up and becoming independent.  It’s also a story of grief and of appreciating the true meaning of love.

I found Joanne Harris’ writing so very beautiful and I was totally spellbound by the magical words of wisdom.  Joanne Harris has gained a new fan in me.

Beautiful and symbolic full of fantastical ideas and whims.  You’ll be swept away with the splendour of the story.

To learn more about the author please do visit the following pages:

Website: http://www.joanne-harris.co.uk/

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/joannechocolat