#BookReview By Lou of The Set-Up By Lizzy Dent @DentLizzy @VikingBooksUK @EllieeHud #LobsterArmy #Romcom #RomanticFiction #ContemporaryFiction #WomensFiction #Summer #SummerReading

The Set-Up
By Lizzie Dent

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Set-up is a sweet and funny rom-com that captures the heart. Today I am reviewing the latest stand-alone book by Lizzy Dent. The first was The Summer Job. Thanks to the publisher – Viking for gifting me the book to review from. Find out more in the Blurb and the rest of my review below…

Blurb

There are two men in my life. But this is not a love triangle.

 Mara Williams reads her horoscope every day – but she wasn’t expecting to be in a whole other country when destiny finally found her. Just as a fortune teller reveals that her true love is about to arrive, a gorgeous stranger literally walks into her life. And now Mara is determined to bring them together again . . . Surely even fate needs a nudge in the right direction sometimes?

But while Mara is getting ready for ‘the one’, the universe intervenes. Her new flatmate Ash is funny, and kind, and sexy as hell . . . There was no predicting this: it’s as if her destiny just arrived on her doorstep.

So will Mara put her destiny in fate’s hands – or finally trust herself to reach for the stars?

*An edgy, hilarious rom-com from the author of The Summer Job. For fans of Beth O’Leary, Starstruck and New Girl.*

Review

The Set UpI was delighted to be given the opportunity to review The Setup after falling in love with Lizzy Dent’s debut novel – The Summer Job. Lizzy Dent absolutely has the knack of writing rom-coms that are properly funny and captures your heart. The Setup is another absorbing summer read where time just flies by when reading in the sun.

The book is character driven by characters that you want to keep reading about until the very end and Mara, the main protagonist is one very interesting character to get to know.
Mara is going through some life changes and is into astrology. She studies and truly believes in horoscopes in such a big way that she totally follows their every word and absolutely believes in fate. It becomes apparent that horoscopes, clarevoyance, fate are a bit like a comfort blanket for her, concealing her insecurities and anxieties that do then begin to emerge to the surface. There are quiet introspective moments, giving readers an opportunity to see what’s going on in her head as the character development builds up. There’s a bit of repetition here and there, but that felt right as it felt like it was just part of Mara’s personality.

There ends up being 2 men in her life. This is far from being a conventional love-triangle.
There is the  wonderful and sexy dream of a guy who becomes her flatmate – Ash and talented cello player – Josef. There’s a choice to make – to follow what she thought was steadfast and true – the fate in the stars or be brave and step a bit into the unknown, where the rules and conclusion isn’t so clear-cut and follow her heart.

Mara is also a film buff and there are wonderful references to many films, which really adds to the fun. They’re intelligently woven through the story for a purpose – to send messages, but the question is, whether Mara actually sees what they are or not?

This is a rom-com perfect for a summer read, with complexities and humour.
Lizzy Dent absolutely nails it!

About the Author

Lizzy Dent (mis)spent her early twenties working in a hotel not unlike the one in her first novel, The Summer Job. Soon to be a TV series! She somehow ended up in a glamorous job travelling the world creating content for various TV companies, including MTV, Channel 4, Cartoon Network, the BBC and ITV. She writes about women who don’t always know where they’re going in life, but who always have fun doing it. The Setup is her second novel.

#Review By Lou of Summer at the French Cafe By Sue Moorcroft @SueMoorcroft @AvonBooksUK #RomanticFiction #WomensFiction #ContemporaryFiction #Summer #SummerReading

Summer at the French Cafe
By Sue Moorcroft

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Summer at the French Cafe is unputdownable, may keep you up for longer than you thought and will most certainly transport you to a French idyll where the food is good and where you’ll meet characters to embrace and be enraptured by.
Read onwards to the blurb and the rest of my review below. First, thanks to Avon Books for the review copy.

Summer at the French Cafe

Blurb

As soon as Kat Jenson set foot in the idyllic French village of Kirchhoffen, she knew she’d found her home. Now she has a dreamy boyfriend, a delightful dog and the perfect job managing a bustling book café in the vibrant Parc Lemmel. ‘

But when she learns her boyfriend isn’t all he seems, it’s the start of a difficult summer for Kat. Vindictive troublemakers, work woes and family heartache follow, and the clear blue sky that was her life suddenly seems full of clouds.

Then she gets to know the mysterious Noah, and her sun begins to shine brighter than ever. But Noah has problems of his own – ones that could scupper their new-found happiness. Together, can they overcome their many obstacles, and find love again?

The perfect summer read for fans of Trisha AshleySarah Morgan and Carole Matthews.

Review

Whether you are avoiding the airport queues or having a staycation or travelling to France, Summer at the French Cafe will get you in the mood for whatever your plans are.

Summer at the French Cafe provides wonderful escapism and great story-telling. There’s lots to entice – food, romance, friendship, humour to get bound up with this summer. Kat is a great character to get to know. She works at the cafe/bookshop that she has 100% embraced.

Life, despite the idyl of the the parkland backdrop and the setting of the lovely cafe, life isn’t as easy as creating tasty pastries. Kat has come from a broken home life, with many issues, that she then proceeds to try to resolve with her brother and father, to try to re-establish relationships. As she does this, along comes Noah. Noah is kind and understanding, but this is also not always an easy relationship as Kat’s previous relationships in romantic entanglements have also been troubled, even her work takes advantage. The book covers coercive relationships well. That being said, there is an air of the upliftiing summery spirit as Kat is strong and independant and doesn’t allow all the emotional baggage to weigh so heavily to have her completely crumble.
She also has an important and perhaps, life changing decision to make – to open herself up to romance with the lovely Noah or not. Noah also has to work out what to do for best for his daughter too and whether and how he can continue to be the perfect boyfriend and take care of his daughter’s sensitivities.

Summer at the French Cafe is unputdownable and a perfect read to escape into and not exit until the very end.

#Review by Lou – The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain Happy Publication Day @MattCainWriter @HeadlineFiction #ContemporaryFiction #Fiction #Romance #LGBT #AudioBook #BlogTour #AudioTour #BlogTour

The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle
By Matt Cain

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Touching and endearing, The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle is nothing short of fabulously uplifting and full of joy and optimism. It’s a beautiful, highly original summer read. It’s a Must  Listen To… 

I very highly recommend this book. I genuinely loved it and could not put it down. It was a pity it had to end sometime.

Check out more in the blurb, my review and the praise it has already attracted below
Thanks to publishers – Headline for gifting me a copy of the audiobook and for giving me the pleasure of reviewing in Gay Pride Month. It makes no difference what your sexual orientation is. It’s a cracking read for anyone who loves a good story. It’s by far one of the best LGBT books I’ve ever read.

The Secret Life Of Albert Entwistle audio cover

Blurb

The Secret Life Of Albert Entwistle audio coverThe Audiobook is a dream to listen to. You really get to know Albert Entwistle and the narrator Layton Williams really brings him to life. The pacing is excellent and so is the way Albert’s story is delivered. I went out walk

Albert Entwistle is a postman, a pretty ordinary one at that and one that I was interested to know more about, even with the pang of sadness that he appears to have no life outside work, which poses a challenge when retirement is on the cards. 

I especially enjoyed getting to know Albert, George and Marjorie, as well as Nicole and seeing their lives unfold and how they are connected.

This is a very beautiful book that’s so quick to get into. It’s uplifting, with a cosy warmth. It also bridges the gap between younger and older generations, in some ways in the attutudes that and secrecy were around at certain times. It’s quite hard to put down as you uncover great characters and a life with secrets that may not be quite what you’re expecting and reasons why Albert hid part of his life for a time.

There are reunions and a love story that starts to play out and it is so lovely to watch it unfold. There’s travel and theatre and such life drama. There’s also a cat and an very emotional story unfolds that leaves you rooting for Albert more than ever.

There are discoveries made and life can be more than what you think it might as no one can predict the future. It is so poignant and touching in parts. The journeys that are taken, both deep, personal ones and the actual moving around from Toddington to Blackpool add to the great life affirming adventure, that so easily reels you in.

The book is entertaining to read/listen to and just projects so much joy and also so much emotion, with pinpoints of humour. There is strength of character and courage, which is absolutely fabulous!

Praise for The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle

rollicking love story‘ IAN McKELLEN

‘A wonderful old-fashioned romance . . . An utter treat‘ KATE MOSSE

Wonderful. Written with such a good heart, filled with joy and strength and optimism . . . inventive and fun but most importantly, true.’ RUSSELL T. DAVIES

Brilliant . . . [I] recommend to all!’ MATT LUCAS

‘I loved it! Really heart-warming and joyful, but also so poignant. I cannot recommend this book highly enough’ LORRAINE KELLY

‘Albert is such an endearing character – flawed, funny and awkward, but completely relatable. A wonderfully warm story that completely drew me in’ RUTH HOGAN

Sweetlovely and expected to be a big summer hit‘ THE BOOKSELLER

‘Prepare to fall in love with Albert Entwistle! Touching and tender’ S. J. WATSON

Albert is delightful and charming, and the book is too’ JONATHAN HARVEY

#Review By Lou of The Slow Lane Walkers Club By Rosa Temple @RosaT_Author @BookMinxSJV @simonschusterUK @TeamBATC #BlogTour #FeelGoodFiction #ContemporaryFiction #Fiction

The Slow Lane Walkers Club
By Rosa Temple

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

 A book for those seeking the feel-good factor. It’s full of heart, soul and is picturesque for a wonderful summer read. Check out more in the blurb and my review below.
Thanks to Simon & Schuster – Books And The City for gifting me a copy of The Slow Walkers Club By Rosa Temple to review.

Walkers Club 3 pic

Blurb

Walkers Club 2 picDaniel isn’t used to living life in the slow lane. So when he finds himself unexpectedly jobless and back in his old Cornish hometown, he can’t sit still.

Hazel used to be adventurous too. But now widowed and in her eighties, she barely leaves the house. When she sees an advert for Daniel’s new walking club, she grabs at the chance of some excitement.

Daniel’s heart sinks when he sees that the only person who’s turned up for his walking club is the crazy old lady from two doors down. But what he doesn’t expect is to discover that Hazel is one of the most fascinating people he’s ever met . . .

A gorgeous, warm and uplifting story about friendship, community, adventure and the joy of walking.

Review

The sunshine yellow cover absolutely goes with this book. It’s bright and has a smiley feel-good factor.
I love walking, meeting people or just being amongst nature or good music streaming through the earphones and exploring, sometimes it’s serious stuff for charity. So, on that basis, The Slow Lane Walkers Club, I decided was worth a read as there’s so much about running etc, that I thought it nice someone talked about walking, so I jumped at the chance to read this book.
Even if walking isn’t your thing, there’s still so much enjoyment in this book.

Walkers Club 1 picMeet Daniel and Hazel on your “walk” through this book and step into an interesting, picturesque community in Cornwall.

Daniel is a fascinating character. He is relatable in that he can’t stay still and is coming up with new community ideas, this one being a walkers club. It’s easy to soak up the walking vibes.

I felt sorry for Daniel, after putting his heart into starting the walking club, albeit to pass the time until the house sells that his grandmother left behind (but readers know it would still benefit people for the greater good) and yet after his thoughtfulness, only one other person turns up – Hazel from two doors down, which, validly so, leaves him feeling so disheartened. At the same time, it’s easy to smile about Hazel because, even though she is in her 80’s, you can’t help be proud of her stepping out and giving it a go and continuing on to see what adventures life still has to give her, even though she is very slow. It shows younger folk, like me, that there’s still life when you hit 80’s, which is reassuring. She made me think of my gran in respect of walking, as she still went walking in a good chunk of her 80’s. It wasn’t what Daniel had expected nor planned, but then it turns into walking into unexpected self-discovery. Daniel discovers things about himself, as well as about Hazel and there’s much more about her than he could possibly have imagined, which, for the reader, makes her more interesting than previously thought and also knows quite a bit about Daniel’s gran.

The developing relationship between Hazel and Daniel is quite sweet and feels quite uplifting and if it wasn’t for the Walkers Club they would probably never have met like this, so it’s nice it champions such ventures, but also sets out some realities that some readers may find thought-provoking or inspiring. As I read, I had my fingers crossed that the club might pick up and gather more walkers. I kept wanting to know more and more about the two main characters and whether Daniel who really wanted to leave, pronto, would stay or go. Once started, it’s one that compels you to see if he can negotiate the obstacles and relationships he encounters in his life in Cornwall, which is so different in that it is slower than the previous chapter of his life he had been leading before. It was full of the sorts of adventures, his walking partner certainly couldn’t do now, in her 80’s; so the book poses interesting questions for the reader to keep stepping through Cornwall to come across answers as to how lives play out…

It’s a book full of warmth, care and lovely Cornish scenery to meander through at a relaxed walking pace that envelopes around you with feelgood endorphins and is a lovely, joyous summer read.

#BookReview By Lou of Thrown By Sarah Cox @sarajcox @CoronetBooks @HodderBooks #Thrown #BookRecommendation #BloggerReview #BetweenTheCovers #Radio2 #ContemporaryFiction

Thrown
By Sarah Cox

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Thrown is hard to let go. It’s full of heart and excellent plotlines that quickly hooked me . Check out the blurb and my full review below.
Thanks to the publisher Coronet, imprint of Hodder and Staughton for allowing me to review.

Thrown, Sara Cox, Till the Cows Come Home, BBC Radio 2, Between the Covers, celebrity, big books

Blurb

Thrown By Sara CoxBecky: a single mum who prides herself on her independence. She knows from painful experience that men are trouble.
Louise: a loving husband, gorgeous kids. She ought to feel more grateful.
Jameela: all she’s ever done is work hard, and try her best. Why won’t life give her the one thing she really wants?
Sheila: the nest is empty, she dreams of escaping to the sun, but her husband seems so distracted.

The inhabitants of the Inventor’s Housing Estate keep themselves to themselves. There are the friendly ‘Hellos’ when commutes coincide and the odd cheeky eye roll when the wine bottles clank in number 7’s wheelie bin, but it’s not exactly Ramsay Street.

The dilapidated community centre is no longer the beating heart of the estate that Becky remembers from her childhood. So the new pottery class she’s helped set up feels like a fresh start. And not just for her.

The assorted neighbours come together to try out a new skill, under the watchful eye of their charismatic teacher, Sasha. And as the soft unremarkable lumps of clay are hesitantly, lovingly moulded into delicate vases and majestic pots, so too are the lives of four women. Concealed passions and heartaches are uncovered, relationships shattered and formed, and the possibility for transformation is revealed.

Review

Thrown is full of heart and is unputdownable!
This is an excellent debut in terms of writing fiction. I must say, the calibre of writing style and plot is excellent and it’s highly engrossing with entertaining pockets of humour.

Set between an estate and a pottery class, there are some wonderfully absorbing characters to meet. It  captured my heart from the start. It’s heartwarming and delving deeper, so keenly observed. It’s pretty hard to put down once you’ve picked this book up, it’s fabulous for some escapism, with characters who are easy to get drawn into.

Gorgeously, the chapters alternate between Becky, Louise, Jameela and Sheila. Readers can really get to know them and their friendships and that between Jameela and Sheila is particulary lovely. Louise is also a good character to get to know, bit biased I guess, since it’s my own name, but honestly, without bias, she is, with her attitude and relationship issues as it’s easy to look on and reckon she has it all, but all isn’t quite like that. I love her determination to carry on in the face of adversity when things in the job hunt aren’t quite all going to plan.
Becky knows all too well how relationships can be and her strong independent attitude really comes through.

There’s also elements of sadness to tug at the heartstrings, as Martin is introduced. His mum has dementia. The portrayal of him is seeringly accurate and emotional.

At the pottery class there are trials and tribulations as things get a little fraught to say the least in the arty, creative bubble, as well as the forging of friendships.

I highly recommend Thrown and I am absolutely now hoping that Sara Cox writes another book.

Thrown, Sara Cox, Till the Cows Come Home, BBC Radio 2, Between the Covers, celebrity, big books Thrown, Sara Cox, Till the Cows Come Home, BBC Radio 2, Between the Covers, celebrity, big books Thrown, Sara Cox, Till the Cows Come Home, BBC Radio 2, Between the Covers, celebrity, big books  Thrown, Sara Cox, Till the Cows Come Home, BBC Radio 2, Between the Covers, celebrity, big books

About The Author

Sara is known and loved by millions of Radio 2 listeners, where she presents the Sara Cox Show 5-7 pm. She has also hosted Sounds of The 80s and steered the helm of her own nightly Radio 2 show.
She cut her teeth on Radio 1 and presented The Breakfast Show for 4 years, reaching 8 million listeners.

Sara currently hosts the popular weekly TV book programme Between the Covers on BBC2. Her most recent TV work includes The Great Pottery Throwdown (BBC2), Back In Time… (BBC2), and BBC2’s dating series Love In The Countryside.

Her memoir, Till the Cows Come Home (2018), was a Sunday Times bestseller.

Sara’s TV career began with The Girlie Show, and she’s gone on to present numerous shows for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. She is a regular co-presenter of Radio 4’s Loose Ends and has written columns for the Mirror and Guardian.

Sara’s latest TV project is Britain’s Top Takeaways, due to air on BBC 2 in 2022.

#BookReview By Lou of Beach House Summer By Sarah Morgan – Happy Publication Day to @sarahmorgan_ @HQstories #RomanticFiction #ContemporaryFiction

Beach House Summer
By Sarah Morgan

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Beach House Summer (1)

Today I am absolutely delighted to be on the blog tour of the wonderfully compelling book – Beach House Summer on Publication Day – Happy Pub Day to you Sarah Morgan. Thanks to the publisher – HQ for gifting me a copy of the book and for the invite to review. Find out more in the blurb and my full review below…

Beach House Summer

Blurb

A marriage in the spotlight

Joanna Whitman’s high-profile marriage held more secrets than she cares to remember, so when her ex-husband dies, she doesn’t know what to feel. But when she discovers that he’s left behind a pregnant young woman, Joanna is forced to act. She knows exactly how brutal the spotlight on them both will be…unless she can find a way for them to disappear.

A beach house hideaway

Ashley Blake is amazed when Joanna suggests they lie low at her beach house in her sleepy Californian hometown. Joanna should be hating her, not helping her. But alone and pregnant, Ashley needs all the support she can find.

A summer of new beginnings

Joanna’s only goal for the summer is privacy. All Ashley wants is space to plan for her and her baby’s future. But when an old flame reappears, and secrets spill out under the hot summer sun, this unlikely friendship is put to the test….

Review

Beach House SummerBeach House Summer is an excellent book to totally escape into. It is told by Ashley, Joanna and Melanie and will get you in the mood for summer and sand. It begins so touchingly and says a lot about the importance of good mums and the role they have when their offspring are growing up. Ashley is alone now, without the safety net of mum, but now she is with a megastar cruising along in his car. The author, however has made some thought-provoking points along the way into these riches, Ashley is now surrounded by, until tragedy strikes and she has no back-up plans.

This is when things start hotting up further as things become much more complicated, when Joanna finds out about her ex-husband’s death on breakfast tv, and later about his new partner, who she ends up helping…

Melanie is having a whole mix of troubles – and and daughter trouble as Eden is at that stage in life where she has finished formal schooling and could go onto higher education, but instead has other plans, not to her parents liking. Melanie (Mel) also works in the family business a cafe, that seems quite buzzy with an influx of life about it; but then there’s also Nate and where her heart lies.
Joanna and Mel were also friends, but things happened and even the past hurts and things are awkward.

Sarah Morgan writes all the entanglement of emotions that aren’t so straight forward and shows that nothing is clear cut in this situation, very compellingly well.  It really is a rollercoaster of a ride through her characters lives, that are enthralling to follow through romance and  unlikely friendships, bringing optimism.
This is a great summer read!

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