#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.

#BookReview By Lou – Underneath the Christmas Tree By Heidi Swain @Heidi_Swain @harriett_col @simonschusterUK @BookMinxSJV @TeamBATC #UnderneathTheChristmasTree #ChristmasRead #Fiction #RomanticFiction #ContemporaryFiction #BlogTour

Underneath the Christmas Tree
By Heidi Swain

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Halloween is now over, so now is the time that is ripe for thinking about Christmas. I am pleased to be on the blog tour for Underneath the Christmas Tree for some festive cheer. I thank Simon and Schuster for the book and for the other gifts too (please note my review is not influenced by this). Please find more in the blurb and then head down to my review.

Underneath The Christmas Tree pic

Blurb

***The sparkling new Christmas novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author Heidi Swain!***

Underneath the Christmas TreeWynter’s Trees is the home of Christmas. For the people of Wynmouth it’s where they get their family Christmas tree, and where Christmas truly comes to life.

But for Liza Wynter, it’s a millstone around her neck. It was her father’s pride and joy but now he’s gone, she can’t have anything to do with it. Until her father’s business partner decides to retire and she must go back to handle the transition to his son Ned.

When Liza arrives, she discovers a much-loved business that’s flourishing under Ned’s stewardship. And she’s happy to stay and help for the Christmas season, but then she has other plans. But will the place where she grew up make her change her mind? And can it weave its Christmas cheer around her heart…?

Underneath the Christmas Tree is the perfect festive read, promising snowfall, warm fires and breath-taking seasonal romance. Perfect for fans of Milly Johnson, Carole Matthews and Cathy Bramley.

Review

It’s a joy to return to Wynmouth, on the Norfolk coast, and this book has so much warmth to it that makes it great for cosying up with thick cosy jumpers, doors locked and a nice drink and snacks so not much moving is required, until the end. Underneath the Christmas Tree is heartwarming in the colder weather, with life decisions to be made and a good dollop of Christmas cheer to brighten the darker days.

Things aren’t always easy or comfortable for Heidi Swain’s characters and this time it is Liza Wynter who has choices to make, especially about the Christmas Tree business – Wynter’s Trees that was once her dad’s. The business is full of Christmas cheer within its grounds and there’s a sense of heritage, of preserving what went before, which I like and appreciate and think is important, except this isn’t without its issues within the business itself as Liza wants to give up her shares in Wynter Trees, which she has with David and Edward (Ned). There’s the decision how to tell the public to be made, but there is also a feeling of gumption as she tries to do what she feels is right for her in deciding whether forging a new path, knowing the business could still be in good hands, is for her or not. There are sad an bittersweet moments with memories for Liza about her dad.

There is also Maya and a some jealousy emerges from Liza, even though Liza herself is more popular amongst the customers than she thinks. Tangled up in this is Ned and there comes a bit of a love story.

As with most books by Heidi Swain, there is some lovely sounding food and drinks to also get your appetite going.

This is a book that I thoroughly recommend to get you in the festive Christmas mood.

Underneath the Christmas Tree Blog Tour

By Lou – Happy Publication Day fo The Meeting Place @olilara_writes @Aria_Fiction #BlogBlitz #Fiction #WomensFiction #RomanticFiction #ContemporaryFiction @Lovebookstours @LoveBooksGroup

The Meeting Place
By Olivia Lara
Blog Blitz

Firstly let’s wish author Olivia Lara a warm Congratulations for her book The Meeting Place. Today, in celebration, you’re treated to the blurb and a little bit about her.
Thanks to Love Books Group for inviting me to the Blog Blitz Tour and for Aria for gifting the blog and other info.

The Meeting Point LBT P6

Blurb 

The Meeting Point LBT P8What if the Lift driver who finds your cheating boyfriend’s phone holds the directions to true love?

‘Who are you and why do you have my boyfriend’s phone?’

‘He left it in my car. You must be the blonde in the red dress? I’m the Lift driver who dropped you two off earlier.’

And with these words, the life of the brunette and t-shirt wearing Maya Maas is turned upside down. Having planned to surprise her boyfriend, she finds herself single and stranded in an unknown city on her birthday.

So when the mystery driver rescues Maya with the suggestion that she cheers herself up at a nearby beach town, she jumps at the chance to get things back on track. She wasn’t expecting a personalised itinerary or the easy companionship that comes from opening up to a stranger via text, let alone the possibility it might grow into something more…

Come on this 5* journey to love, laughter and back again, perfect for fans of Mhairi Mcfarlane, Josie Silver and Sally Thorne.

The Meeting Point LBT P3

About the Author

olivia lara-author photo (1) (1)Olivia Lara’s love for words started as a child when she spent her summer vacations watching her grandfather, who worked for the biggest publishing house in Romania, edit hundreds of books. She is a former journalist for a newspaper and a television network in Bucharest, now a Marketing VP in San Francisco – in between she lived in France where her love for Paris and the Alsace region was born. Her first book, Someday in Paris, became a B&N, Apple, Kobo and Amazon Top 100 Bestseller and was shortlisted for the Romantic Novel Awards. She lives in the Bay Area, California.

Buy Links

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Meeting-Point-romcom-wont-summer-ebook/dp/B08YP3H4MZ/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=olivia+lara&qid=1625822706&s=digital-text&sr=1-3

#Bookreview by Lou of Thick and Thin by Upasa Borah @CherryPublishi2 #UpasaBorah #YoungAdult #YA

Thick and Thin
By Upasa Borah

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Older young adults/teens and 20 somethings will discover characters in Raumah who have issues to overcome and there is also some lust and a lot of fists flying and other elements of action with family ties, romance and discovery. Find out more in the blurb and review.
Thanks to Cherry Publishing for gifting me the book to review

Thick and Thin

Blurb

In Raumah, a city where wealth and familial ties rule all, the four Kings of Raumah walk a path seemingly paved in gold.
Duante, the protector. Strong, amiable and desperate to keep his loved ones out of harm’s way.
Drayden, the golden boy. Smart and resourceful, heir to the country’s largest and most influential business empire.
Shohei, the celebrity. Delicate but determined, this fabulous fashion icon is the darling of Raumah.
Aqil, the prodigy. Truly gifted and academically dominant, but is it earned or is it his family ties that are the key to his successes?

Everything on the surface seems picture perfect, but dark secrets lie hidden behind the
frame. When Duante’s past comes calling, the Kings’ world is thrown into chaos.
Faced with the ghosts of his bloody past, Duante’s hard-earned freedom is put in jeopardy, just as Shohei’s love is put to the test. Drayden’s ruthless determination is usually his strength, but this time, will it blind him to what’s right? Can Aqil, the trailblazing son of the Faiz family, face his fears, before the fire burns him alive?
Facing their fears is no easy task, will they bow under the pressure or come out stronger than ever?

Themes: Family Ties, Friendship, Love, Lust, Identity, Self Discovery, Self Acceptance
Genre: Action – Romance, Queer Young Adult Fiction

 

Review

Thick and ThinThick and Thin gets off to a strong start. There’s Duante, the protector, Drayden, the golden boy and heir to the country’s largest and most influential business empire and Shohei, the celebrity who is a fashion icon. It’s identifiable to Young Adults. Loki also pops up.

The chapters present themselves as Acts, which adds some intrigue as does the four kings and the characters surrounding them. That makes it sound almost fantastical, but really there are  just some average lives too, with pop culture and bookish references, such as Justin Timberlake and Harry Potter. It also has powerful messages about bullies and handling them.

The book is about identity and trying to accept who you are and makes me hopeful that people will become happy in their own skin. There’s also friendships embraced and characters like Aquil who just want to be included in plans. This is so relatable for the Young Adult audience with its powerful themes.
It also delves into darker sides of society, such as gun culture. I think there is a lot that young adults will find thought-provoking and some they may debate.
There is also part where Aquil has got powerful family ties who are influential, for readers to see if Aquil is working on own steam or if the family has a hand in things, such as a scholarship reward.

There is the occassional bit of humour of the teenage/young adult life. There is also a lot of that teenage angst, as well as a film of sadness going across it.

There is teenage lust amongst a couple of the characters, who pine after each other at certain points and some elements of self-discovery and mostly it is done well. 

As much as it isn’t quite the page-turner, it is something that young adults can get their teeth into and to see who comes out of it all well. This would be good for older teens and 20 somethings.

About the Author

Upasa Borah (also known by her pen name glassEyed) is a 21 year old dreamer from a land of rivers and hills, called Assam, in India. Aside from writing stories, she dabbles in poetry and performance art. She is a spoken word poet who has been active in the slam poetry circuit in Delhi, as well as in her hometown, as a
featured performer, organiser and judge. A believer of magic and collector of stories, she loves
meeting new people and finding inspiration and muses in the mundane.

 

#Review by Lou – Instructions For Dancing by Nicola Yoon @Penguin @NicolaYoon @The_WriteReads @penguinplatform #UltimateBlogTour #YA #Teens #BookReview #Romance

Instructions For Dancing
By Nicola Yoon

Rating: 5 out of 5.

It’s time to get your dancing shoes with this highly addictive and exquisitely emotional read. Take a look at the blurb and then the rest of my review. Sometimes there are real gems for Young Adults/Teenage readers and this is one of them. Discover more about Nicola Yoon, the blurb and my review as you dance your way on down…

Thanks to Penguin for gifting me the book and The Write Reads for inviting me to the blog tour.

Instructions for Dancing

About the Author

NicolaYoonPhotoNicola Yoon is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Instructions for Dancing, Everything, Everything and The Sun Is Also a Star. She is a National Book Award finalist, a Michael L. Printz Honor Book recipient and a Coretta Scott King New Talent Award winner. Two of her novels have been made into major motion pictures. She’s also co-publisher of Joy Revolution, a Random House young adult imprint dedicated to love stories starring people of color. She grew up in Jamaica and Brooklyn, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, the novelist David Yoon, and their daughter.

Instructions for Dancing cover

Blurb

#1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything and The Sun is Also a Star Nicola Yoon is back with a new and utterly unique romance.

‘An endearing, affecting portrayal of the journey of love. Everything Yoon touches turns to gold… this cinematic supernatural romance will be no exception’ Booklist

Evie is disillusioned about love ever since her dad left her mum for another woman – she’s even throwing out her beloved romance novel collection.

When she’s given a copy of a book called Instructions for Dancing, and follows a note inside to a dilapidated dance studio, she discovers she has a strange and unwelcome gift. When a couple kisses in front of her, she can see their whole relationship play out – from the moment they first catch each other’s eye to the last bitter moments of their break-up.

For Evie, it confirms everything she thinks she knows about love – that it doesn’t last.

But at the dance studio she meets X – tall, dreadlocked, fascinating – and they start to learn to dance, together. Can X help break the spell that Evie is under? Can he change Evie’s mind about love?

Review

Instructions for Dancing coverInstructions For Dancing is beautifully and tenderly written, with some of it waxing lyrical, amongst the emotional rollercoaster of joy and heartache of life and dance – sometimes it’s soaring and other times, pounding and grinding down.

Instructions For Dancing is the title of an instruction manual on how to dance many styles of this art form, that inspires Evie. The title, not only means the physical act of dancing at the dance studio, but also perhaps a metaphorical meaning of dancing the steps of life as there are break-ups and make-ups and life in general to deal with and issues to walk through…. So any readers who have come across Don’t Forget To Dance, would also appreciate this, although certain themes differ.

There’s fun in Evie’s life with waffles and brownies and hanging out with her friends, but also her homelife is in a bit of crisis. There’s also music and some romance in the air in the maze of teenage life, but also the breaking up of her family that changes and complicates things and an unexpected romance that also changes everything. It shows so much of the highs and lows of life.

Readers will get a real feel for Evie’s personality and the inclusion of texts that also carry the story along is a fun addition in being immersed into her life.

This is highly addictive, exquisite book that I highly recommend. It is one of those perfectly conceived books for teens/young adults.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1524718963

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55600878-instructions-for-dancing

#Review by Lou Things To Do Before The End of The World @emily_barr @The_WriteReads @WriteReadsTours #YA #Fiction

Things To Do Before The End of The World
By Emily Barr

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Olivia is not only shy, she is an anxious teenager, who doesn’t want to do anything much and would rather hide away from the world, until she makes friends with Natasha, who takes her out of herself a bit and she discovers that she can live life to the full. It has intrigue and is thought-provokingly inspiring in part and shows some negativity in others. There is intrigue and twists and turns as family secrets are uncovered.
It is a fictional Young Adult book, with a difference – the chapter headings can be practical for teenagers/young adults, for working out some life plans… Check out the blurb and review to discover more about this latest addition to the YA market.
I thank The Write Reads for inviting me to the blog tour of this book.

Things To Do Before The End Of The World cover

Blurb

1. Live your best life.
2. Uncover family secrets.
3. Trust no one

What would you do when you hear the news that humans have done such damage to the earth that there might only be a limited amount of safe air left – a year’s worth at most?
You’d work through your bucket list, heal rifts, do everything you’ve never been brave enough to do before?

Olivia is struggling to do any of this. What it is she truly wants to do? Who do she wants to be?

Then out of the blue comes contact from a long-lost cousin Olivia didn’t even know existed. Natasha is everything Olivia wants to be and more.
And as the girls meet up for a long, hot last summer, Olivia finds Natasha’s ease and self-confidence having an effect on her.

But Natasha definitely isn’t everything she first appears to be . . .

I walked home. I kept hearing footsteps behind me, but every time I turned around, no one was there.

Review

Things To Do Before The End Of The World coverCurtains up for a production of Romeo and Juliet, echoing the final scenes. It sets the scene for the rest of the book rather well in a temper of melancholy, in a way that makes you want to hug Olivia and then look her directly in the eye to tell her to go on the adventure to discover the family she never knew she had, until now.
It is a weighty book, full of teenage angst and emotion, that her mum tries to assist with and tries to convince her to seek some extra guidance with all her social anxieties.

I kept hoping for something uplifting and hopeful within the book, something that would seem to have Olivia on-track with life, instead of seeing her feel like she is clipped and heaved back with her social anxieties. It takes some time, but seek and you will find some positivity, some of it in the form of Natasha, who befriends Olivia, who eeks her outside of her innerself.

The clever part isn’t so much in the text within the text in each chapter, but the chapter headings themselves. That’s where the “Things To Do Before The End of The World” really are, as they pointedly start to give readers a list that screams to do something and to live life. That’s where the uplifting signs come from (except “Runaway”. I wouldn’t advocate anyone does that and “Don’t Trust Anyone”, although it does all fit well within the story). Some are also sensible and will be thought-provoking to teenagers as it reminds them to think about not wasting their time in education and also to think about their mum (or whoever takes care of them). The chapter headings really excited me, once I clocked onto what they were doing. These are what, more than anything, show teens about how to “live their best life”, in a guidance sort of way.

As for the story itself, teens will be able to relate, but I have to say, I had a bit of a heavy heart to begin with, when reading it as I waded through much negativity about the world, but there is a turning point and my heart somewhat lightened. It is all there and these elements stand out more than most. On the other-hand it shows what living with anxiety can do to a person and their views on the world.
There are some pretty dark elements however, about hoping to be in contact with the dead and “playing” with tarot cards.

The travel between Spain and France provides a bit of light relief and elements of that fun with the shows they see, the fashion and some of things the friends get up to and the plans they want to make. This does help turn a corner in the story and it starts to show some uplifting elements. It also has some realism of how life just isn’t all a straight line and there are ups and downs and some curveballs, but  and in someways this is a positive in a world where people have come to expect life to be either all up or all down and in reality its a whole mixture.

I think it will provide some thought-provoking elements for teenagers to hopefully be careful when they are abroad, but also to have some fun there and at home and to realise the world isn’t all bleak.