#Review by Lou – Under the Italian Sun by Sue Moorcroft @SueMoorcroft @ElliePilcher95 @AvonBooksUK #WomensFiction #Romance #Fiction

Under the Italian Sun
By Sue Moorcroft

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Family members to discover, loss and lovely scenery and food, Under the Italian Sun will play with your emotions in a journey from the very south of England to Italy. It is all quite intriguing to see lives unearthed as ancestry is uncovered.
Discover more in the blurb and review as you escape to being Under The Italian Sun.

Thanks to Ellie Pilcher at Avon Books for inviting me to review and for gifting me an e-book.

Under The Italian Sun

Blurb

The #1 bestseller is back with an uplifting, escapist read that will brighten the gloomiest day!

A warm, sun-baked terrace.

The rustle of verdant green vines.

The sun slowly dipping behind the Umbrian mountains.

And the chink of wine glasses as the first cork of the evening is popped…

Welcome to Italy. A place that holds the answer to Zia-Lucia Costa Chalmers’ many questions. Not least, how she ended up with such a mouthful of a name.

When Zia discovers that her mother wasn’t who she thought she was, she realises the time has come to search out the Italian family she’s never known.

However, as she delves into the secrets of her past, she doesn’t bargain on having to think about her future too. But with local vineyard owner, Piero, living next door, Zia knows she has a serious distraction who may prove difficult to ignore…

This summer, join Zia as she sets out to uncover her past. But can she find the future she’s always dreamed of along the way?

Review

Under The Italian SunThe book deals with loss of a gran and family discovery of where you come from. It begins with Zia and Ursula looking through belongings, left behind by Zia’s gran for clues to who her father was/is. There is also the mystery as to who Victoria Chalmers was and how she may have fit into the family. There’s a lot of unravelling, a bit like “Long Lost Family” and trying to piece together Zia’s family tree, which is of much interest, and Zia is on a mission to discover all, by hiring Harry – a private investigator and things get rather complicated. There’s also the burgeoning romance that brings characters together on this adventure.

The valley where Zia and Ursula go to in Italy – Tenuta Domenicali, in Orvieto wine region, is awash with grape vines for wine, where Emiliano works on the production side, which belongs to the Domenicali family. There’s much to consider for the business and whether to sell to a big company with big tourist ideas and plans for development or to decline the offer. 

The book goes between Italy and Devon and brings up some real issues about affordability in the very south of England, or rather lack of it and how everything is vastly expensive.

There is an air of holiday time about the book, which makes it a lovely, beautifully written book to read whilst on a staycation or in your garden with the sun beating down on you or curled up somewhere in your home. The book is both uplifting and emotional. It isn’t a heavy read, although it deals with grief, it still has that lazy summer’s day feel about it. It may also make you hungry with some of the lovely food that is mentioned.

As Under the Italian Sun continues, it is intriguing to see how the vines of family connections intertwine. There are birth and death certificates to be found and the details that come with those. It’s a book that may even inspire some readers to investigate their family history to see what they can unearth.

Lillian White’s Journey by Karen Kelly @karenlindakelly #Fiction #Romcom #Uplit

Lillian White’s Journey
By Karen Kelly
Rated: 4 stars ****

Be prepared for humour in Lillian White’s Journey. It’s bursting full of fun, heartwarming entertainment. It is brimming full of life and there’s a wedding which may or may not go ahead….
Find out more in the blurb and my review below.
Thanks to the author Karen Kelly, who kindly got in touch with a request to review her book and to send me a copy.

Lillian White's Journey pic

Blurb

On the morning of her wedding, Lillian White awakes with a hangover from hell, a naked stranger and no recollection of the previous night. As her eyes become focused the panic sets in as the once intimate, romantic Bridal Suite resembles the aftermath of a wild, drunken party. Unread messages flood her inbox from her soon Husband-to-be but with only hours to spare, can she still go through with the wedding?

Lillian White's Journey pic

Review

Right from the prologue, I had a good vibe about this book. Readers meet the main protagonist, Lillian White on the morning of her wedding to Robert Lomax, who sounds very handsome and the man of her dreams. The book gets off to a flying start, not by its humour, but also the intrigue as to who exactly was in bed with her. Then comes a bit of back story that will be relatable to many singletons to some extent or another. Lillian has been on some pretty funny dates and some right disaterous ones.

Tom and Jess are in a relationship and they are friends with Sam, Sally and Lou, who know secrets about Tom’s lovelife, that soon comes out to Jess with a revelation from Tom.The friendship between them and Lillian is heartwarming and absolutely lovely.

As one romance ends, there’s sizzling intrigue to see if another begins… It turns out jogging has its hazards, but then again, the paramedic who comes to the rescue, resembles the man of a lot of women’s dreams!

The book is set in Sedley, Cheshire and sounds idyllic, with the sound of a woodpecker for an alarm clock, which knows no bounds and will have the tendency to hammer away, even when on holiday time, as Lillian is, from her family’s business – The Whyte Shed. Readers can then travel with her in her snazzy new job as an Air-hostess and those first day nerves of training, which would be familiar to many people. There’s plenty that pregnant women and women who have had babies, will recongnise and it is written with good wit, as much as, at the same time readers will be able to empathise and sympathise with Lillian. It’s what makes this book so good and so easy to get caught up in. The book moves at quite a pace and once again, Lillian is off to work for a bit, leaving baby Freddie and an excellently stocked goody cupboard and fridge behind, with Sam, so he can be looked after. Later she and Freddie land in Florida and the situations they get into adds further humour. Lillian’s relationships with men are complicated though, as is the wedding day.

The book is as down-to-earth as you can get and is highly entertaining, addictive and engaging. It’s perfect for these brighter days with the promise of more warmth. It would make a lovely relaxed few days to read with a glass of wine, or whatever beverege, in the garden or lounging on a sofa.

#BookReview by Lou – Happy Publication Day to @HollyH_Author for Coming Home To Brightwater Bay by Holly Hepburn @simonschusterUK @RandomTTours

Coming Home To Brightwater Bay
By Holly Hepburn
Rated:  5 Stars *****

Coming Home Graphic

It is with great pleasure that I am kicking off the blog tour for the delightfully romantic – Coming Home To Brightwater Bay. It is a book that will charmingly feed all  senses with its scenery, food and lush looking guys, that may well have readers wanting to visit Orkney.

Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to review and for sending me a book via Simon and Schuster publishers.

Follow onto a bit about the author, the blurb and full review to read more of my thoughts on this wonderful book.

About the Author

Holly Hepburn Author PicHolly Hepburn is the much-loved author of commercial women’s fiction. She lives near London with her grey tabby cat, Portia. They both have an unhealthy obsession with Marmite.

Follow Holly on Twitter @HollyH_Author.

 

Blurb

**The BRAND NEW series from Holly Hepburn, perfect for fans of Cathy Bramley and Katie Fforde**
On paper, Merina Wilde has it all: a successful career writing the kind of romantic novels that make even the hardest hearts swoon, a perfect carousel of book launches and parties to keep her social life buzzing, and a childhood sweetheart who thinks she’s a goddess. But Merry has a secret: the magic has stopped flowing from her fingers. Try as she might, she can’t summon up the sparkle that makes her stories shine. And as her deadline whooshes by, her personal life falls apart too. Alex tells her he wants something other than the future she’d always imagined for them and Merry finds herself single for the first time since – well, ever.

Desperate to get her life back on track, Merry leaves London and escapes to the windswept Orkney Islands, locking herself away in a secluded clifftop cottage to try to heal her heart and rediscover her passion for writing. But can the beauty of the islands and the kindness of strangers help Merry to fool herself into believing in love again, if only long enough to finish her book? Or is it time for her to give up the career she’s always adored and find something new to set her soul alight?

The brand new series from Holly Hepburn, first published as four ebook parts: BROKEN HEARTS AT BRIGHTWATER BAY, SEA BREEZES AT BRIGHTWATER BAY, DANGEROUS TIDES AT BRIGHTWATER BAY and SUNSET OVER BRIGHTWATER BAY.

Coming Home Brightwater Bay Cover

Review

Merry Wilde (Merina) , a bestselling author and her other half, Alex,  just no longer fit together as snugly as, say, a jigsaw piece as that uncomfortable relationship chat comes. Whether you’ve been the instigator of it or on the receiving end, the feeling is relatable. She then moves to Orkney to begin a new life, after seeing an advertisement for a Writer in Residence ro promote reading for pleasure around the island and work with the libraries, despite currently having a case of writer’s block to deal with. On the island she meets Bridget McGinty, who is a friendly, welcoming sort of woman, who intorduces her to Niall. It is great that he isn’t “typical” librarian-like in how he looks.

The author – Holly Hepburn seems to have a passion for Orkney that oozes out of the pages in the tone and descriptions of the island as Merry sets out on her new life adventure, looking for escapism and to start her new job.

The book is warm with glints of humour sprinkled throughout, the type that is laugh out loud and is a joy to read. Readers attitudes and attitudes to events, especially when held in a library, is captured especially well and are slightly pointed, which is brave realism and will perhaps have people really taking note and find thought-provoking, before turning to a positive to her Merry’s actual writer’s event to have the story carry readers onwards.

Magnús Ólaffson may well be a Viking, readers will have to find out, but he captures Merry’s eye, so does Niall.  As Merry is such a likeable character, she is easy to root for, hoping she gets a good life in Orkney and that her broken-heart does mend. She is also a character with anxieties of doing events and also not wanting to jump into any new relationship straight away and commit, which is rather commendable and also plays on the “will she, won’t she” element. There is also the ex, who left her in a state, leaving her little texts. This is a book that also heartwarmingly demonstrates strong friendships and just what that means, but there is some tension there too, over a guy.

There is the romance of the scenery, food and the lighthouse, which just delights on the pages.

Coming Home to Brightwater Bay has a warm, cosy feeling to it, that whisks readers away for some escapism. This charming book keeps you guessing until the end as to who or even if Merry will ever fall completely in love.

Brightwater Bay BT Poster (1)

My Top Book Choices of 2020 by Lou #2020Reads #AdultFiction #CrimeFiction #Fiction #Thrillers #RomanticFiction #ContemporaryFiction #Uplit

My Top Book Choices of 2020
Various Authors

I have read and reviewed a huge amount of very good books. It has taken a lot of time and consideration to whittle them down to create the Top Book Choices List. All those that did not make this particular list, were incredibly close. I have added links so you can easily see what the books are about. The books are in no particular order. Look out for my top Adult Non-Fiction List and my top Children’s Fiction List, both are in separate posts.

Top Adult Fiction Books

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman Click Here for More Info

The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor Click Here for More Info

Killing Rock by Robert Daws Click Here for More Info

Daughters of Cornwall by Fern Britton Click Here for More Info

What Lies Beneath by Adam Croft Click Here for More Info

Orfeia by Joanne M. Harris Click Here for More Info

Hinton Hollow Death Trip by Will Carver Click Here for More Info

Us Three by Ruth Jones Click Here for More Info

Perfume Paradiso by Janey Jones Click Here for More Info

The Things I Want To Say but Can’t by Carla Christian Click Here for More Info

The House of Correction by Nicci French Click Here for More Info

Tell  Me How It Ends by Isabelle Grey Click Here for More Info

The Colours by Juliet Bates Click Here for More Info

Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce Click Here for More Info

Letters From the Past by Erica James Click Here for More Info

One Step Behind by Lauren North Click Here for More Info

The Unravelling by Liz Treacher Click Here for More Info

Christmas With the Bobby Girls by Johanna Bell Click Here for More Info

The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman Click Here for More Info

The Strange Book of Jacob Boyce by Tom Gillespie Click Here for More Info

Butterflies by D.E. McCluskey Click Here for More Info

Contacts by Mark Watson Click Here for More Info

The Life We Almost Had by Amelia Henley Click Here for More Info

The Guest List by Lucy Foley Click Here for More Info

Summer on A Sunny Island by Sue Moorcroft Click Here for More Info

The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffiths Click Here for More Info

The Garden of Forgotten Wishes by Trisha Ashley Click Here for More Info

Lion Heart by Ben Kane Click Here for More Info

Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb Click Here for More Info

With Or Without You by Drew Davies Click Here for More Info

#Bookreview by Lou of Love In Lockdown by Chloe James – Happy Publication Day @FionaWoodifield @ElliePilcher95 @AvonBooksUK #WomensFiction #Romance

Love In Lockdown
By Chloe James
Rated: 5 stars *****

Love In Lockdown shows so many displays of love through kindness, empathy, romance and much more. It is emotional but it is also uplifting about all of life, from human to nature during lockdown and how people connected and what occurred and how nature became the most vibrant it has ever been in decades. It has glimmers of humour, warmth and hope in what is a unique and surprisingly delightful read that everyone will be able to find something to connect and relate to in this book, which is the first of its kind to focus on relationships and community during the stress of the backdrop of Covid 19. It is far from depressing and instead leaves an unexpected warmth.

Thank you so much to Ellie Pilcher from Avon Books who sent me an invite to review.
Please do discover the blurb and full review below.

Love In Lockdown pic

Blurb

What if you met the right person at the wrong time?

Lockdown is putting Sophia’s life on pause – just as she planned to put herself out there and meet someone. When the first clap for the keyworkers rings out around her courtyard, she’s moved to tears for all kinds of reasons.

Jack is used to living life to the fullest. He’s going stir-crazy after just days isolating. Until the night he hears a woman crying from the balcony under his. He strikes up a conversation with the stranger and puts a smile on her face.

Soon their balcony meetings are the highlight of Jack and Sophia’s days. But even as they grow closer together, they’re always kept apart.

Can they fall in love during a lockdown?

Perfect for fans of The Flatshare.
Love In Lockdown pic 2

Review

This unique book reflects the times that we live in, but that doesn’t mean it is all doom and gloom; far from it! It is a book that is not now just universal because love is, but also because we are all in some form or another experiencing living with Covid 19. It is all relatable and yet, as much as Covid 19 is challenging and can be harrowing, this book is surprisingly uplifting as well, within a wonderfully written realism of a community coming together through the stressful times, and yet relationships are formed despite this. It is written well with so much acknowledged throughout, whilst telling a great story.

There is Erica who works as a midwife and Jenny who is having to self-isolate due to having underlying issues. Everything from the weather being gorgeously sunny to what was on TV to Zoom  to what happened in education to clapping for the NHS is included and more… In some ways this is a novel that may help people never to forget these moments and also will show generations to come what we are currently living through and have lived through, all in a fictionalised book that has so much reality. It is all moving and endearing. There is also the worry and emotion that runs through these moments and also a baby being born. It, quite originally, shows  the father and his emotions throughout the pregnancy and when the baby is born. He is a complex character with some secrets to behold and has some twists and turns in his life.

The loss of freedoms is pronounced and how humans had to adapt to living socially distanced and also virtually, but so is the vibrancy of nature that emerged in all its splendour, taking back its space.

It’s also a love story about meeting someone online during times of lockdown as the App, Hinge is discovered. There is some humour attached to this. There are also cakes and cocktails and all the social distancing on the balcony and courtyard as life changes and yet still goes on.

The book shows how connected people can be and it is interesting getting to know all the characters personalities and seeing some as “drama queens” and others showing kindness and empathy. It is in some ways thought-provoking without being heavy, as characters realise that priorities change a bit within their lives during the pandemic and for what to focus on afterwards and how relationships can change.

It is ultimately and meaningful, delightful book to read.

#BookReview by Lou of Promises At Indigo Bay @EllynOaksmith @BOTBSPublicity @sarahhardy681

Promises At Indigo Bay
By Ellyn Oaksmith
Rated: 4 stars ****

Romantic with a twist and some gorgeous scenery sets up Promises At Indigo Bay by Ellyn Oaksmith. I am delighted to be closing this blog tour with a review.
Thanks to Sarah Hardy and Bookouture for inviting me to the blog tour and for providing a book to review from.

About the Author

Promises at Indigo Bay authorEllyn Oaksmith is the USA Today and Kindle bestselling author of the Blue Hills Series, featuring the Alvarez family.

After graduating from Smith College and attaining her MFA from The American Film Institute, Ellyn began her writing career as an award-winning screenwriter in Hollywood. Her books explore the same themes as her screenplays: grit, humor, family and love.

Ellyn lives on one of Seattle’s many hills with her husband and spends as much time as possible on the water as part of a competitive rowing team.

Ellyn Oaksmith is the USA Today and Kindle bestselling author of the Blue Hills Series, featuring the Alvarez family.

Promises at Indigo Bay cover

Blurb

Our life together meant more to me than he could possibly imagine. I just wanted another night. I thought I knew what was coming. A proposal. If only it had been that simple.

Things are finally working out for Stella Gallagher. Unlucky in love and faced with limited options in her small town, she was beginning to give up on romance altogether, until mysterious Italian Paolo Gentillo moved to Chelan…

Paolo is smart, kind, gorgeous and, most importantly, they’re completely obsessed with each other: Stella has finally found her match. Everything would be perfect, except there are things she hasn’t told Paolo—she doesn’t know how he’s going to feel about her when he finds out about her past…

So when Paolo proposes, Stella panics: it’s way too soon. She wants to be with him, but suddenly they’re talking about forever. He doesn’t even know the real her, she’s scared to face up to her secret, and she’s never felt so alone. Is the damage from her past going to threaten her chance at a perfect future?

A heart-warming story about learning to trust in yourself and the people you love, Promises at Indigo Bay will show you that it’s never too late to try for your happy ending. For fans of Robyn Carr, Carolyn Brown and Debbie Macomber. 

Promises at Indigo Bay cover

Review

Izzy at 60 years old has grown to love Pavarotti and Paolo who released her in a way from a more hemmed in life and breathed new life into her and loves her just the way she is. He also bought a boat and seems quite the adventurer and romantic. All seems most idyllic when they are out in it, but the atmosphere changes after a while when something happens in the water that later turns stormy.

There’s also Carmen, Izzy’s best friend, who she confides in and it seems all is not straightforward and feels untoward with Paolo when he proposes with the thought of deportation after a work visa runs out, looms over him. There is some humour as well when she meets his mother, but all the way through I found myself wondering what sort of relationship this all could be and if there would be any sort of happy ending or if she would leave him. There is something sinister in the relationship and perhaps some secrets, but it builds and then seems to ease off every so often, which works to a certain extent and develops some of the atmosphere. Paolo seems to have a bit of a temper about him at times and the man you think he is, is perhaps not how it is at all. It does have its intriguing moments, I felt, could be a little stronger at times, it is still a good read and moves along at a pretty good pace and with some momentary humour with gorgeous scenery and a beautiful ending.

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Promises at Indigo Bay - BT Poster