#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 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

#Bookreview by Lou of The Winter Garden By Heidi Swain @Heidi_Swain @simonschusterUK

The Winter Garden By Heidi Swain Rated: 5 stars *****

The Winter Garden is a gorgeous, uplifting book by Heidi Swain that covers amazing ground within a community of people in Nightengale Square. Follow the blurb and review below to find out more. Thank you very much to Simon & Schuster for accepting my request to review.

The Winter Garden cover

Blurb

***The sparkling new Christmas novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author Heidi Swain!*** Will love bloom this winter?   Freya Fuller is living her dream, working as a live-in gardener on a beautiful Suffolk estate. But when the owner dies, Freya finds herself forced out of her job and her home with nowhere to go. However, with luck on her side, she’s soon moving to Nightingale Square and helping to create a beautiful winter garden that will be open to the public in time for Christmas.   There’s a warm welcome from all in Nightingale Square, except from local artist Finn. No matter how hard the pair try, they just can’t get along, and working together to bring the winter garden to life quickly becomes a struggle for them both.   Will Freya and Finn be able to put their differences aside in time for Christmas? Or will the arrival of a face from Freya’s past send them all spiralling? The Winter Garden is the perfect read this Christmas, promising snowfall, warm fires and breath-taking seasonal romance. Perfect for fans of Carole Matthews, Cathy Bramley and Sarah Morgan.

The Winter Garden cover

Review

Eloise Thurlow-Forbes is an octogenarian estate owner in Broadmeadows, country estate, Suffolk and sad events kick start something new and positive in Freya Fuller’s life. It seems very apt at the moment with all that is going on in the world. Certain things in her life, she decides need to change, such as her job, where she isn’t entirely happy. There is a bit of strength of character shown in the way she works things out and speaks up about how things were. This starts off as a journey of self-discovery as Freya stumbles over local radio stations that guide her to Nightengale Square that has a community garden at Prosperous Place, a place with a history and one that is going to have a future in the fact that people have come together to do renovations. It’s a gentle way of guiding readers to where  the destination is going to be. There is then planning and plotting between Freya and Luke for turning the garden one fit for winter. Both she and Luke have some heartache in their lives and there seems to be a positivity in the book about them turning their lives around and there are elements of mental well-being within what is a gentle, cosy read as the colder months come in.

The book has stories within it of other characters and how they came to be in Nightengale Square that make a community working towards the aim of transforming the garden. It is realistic and not all plain-sailing. There are ups and downs between people and much that I think readers will be able to relate to, as they get to know each other and try to work together to meet the same goal; but tempers fray at times and romance buds amongst them. In the story, it’s as people try to create Winterfest, but the same applies for any group of people coming together trying to do something new and also discover more about themselves and each other. The book doesn’t shy away from mental health conditions and it is shown in bursts as you get to know the characters as their backgrounds are revealed. The book, however, gives a sense of positivity as the “Grow Well” group develops and all feels authentic as the story moves along in its build up to Christmas, feel-good vibe that has a lot of compassion and community throughout.  

#bookreview of fun #SummerRead Flying Solo by Zoe May @zoe_writes @HarperCollins #RomanticFiction #Fiction #FlyingSolo

Flying Solo
By Zoe May
Rated: 4 stars ****

Flying Solo is a sweet romance that has you really rooting for the main protagonist, who is romantic, strong and can turn the tables of life around. Thank you for allowing me to review this pleasurable summer read… Discover the blurb and review…

Blurb

A laugh-out-loud romantic comedy about love, dreams and self-discovery by bestselling author, Zoe May.

Rachel Watson has it all worked out. By 30, she’s ticked off most of the goals on her Life List. She’s a home owner, a partner at her law firm, she has a gorgeous boyfriend, lots of hobbies and loads of good friends. The only thing that’s missing is a ring on her finger.

According to her Life List, Rachel should be getting hitched around now, so when her boyfriend, Paul, plans a romantic date, Rachel’s pretty confident he’s going to propose. Except Paul has other ideas. He’s jetting off to India to find himself.

Distraught, Rachel doesn’t know what to do. Not one to easily admit defeat, she embarks on a mission to win him back.

Flying solo to India is definitely not part of Rachel’s plans, but could her trip teach her unexpected lessons about love, life and herself? Could she realise that perhaps her Life List wasn’t exactly what she wanted, after all?

Flying Solo.Jpeg

Review

This is a fun take on the romantic comedy and a good summer read.

Rachel is desperately hoping and thinking that tonight is the night she is going to be engaged on London Bridge, after her and her boyfriend, Paul, who lives with her have had pizzas. It sounds lovely and romantic and what could be more perfect? Main character sounds like she couldn’t be happier and Paul sounds divine and he can even make up IKEA furniture – impressive as not all guys possess this magical skill.

Paul however walks into the pizzaria and announces he has quit his job. Right there and then. Done! That causes friction as the air of romance fades and then a bigger bust-up begins and what is assumed that Paul must have been feeling to lead Rachel to believe she was going to be proposed to that night, couldn’t have been further from the truth. It is the mammoth of all tantrums he throws and states he is off to India to think. Right there and then, man with potential is disappearing and fast to the point where, yes I do want to tell him to get a grip as his anger practically leaps off the page! So instead of rooting for them both, I find myself rooting for Rachel, which was rather enjoyable.

Amazingly, love is still there and Rachel would do anything to keep Paul and goes to Bangalore, India to find him. When in India and being shown to her treehouse, which sounds fun (minus the mosquitoes of course),  she meets Seb, who has already “found himself” and is comfortable with life in India. Rachel, by contrast doesn’t really fit. Seb is more into Yoga, meditation and shakras. Rachel is more into shopping, even if her only possibility of shopping is in a gift shop. I enjoy how the characters are written to show their personalities and also that there’s at least one character you’d be championing for.
There’s humour, especially with Rachel just not getting meditation. She tried!!

There’s a darker turn, even darker than Paul’s mood and me as a reader wanting to at least chuck one of the meditation cushions at him. Guru Hridaya is also not all that he seems, so neither is the ashram.

There’s an unexpected and yet delightful end to what is a good summer read to sink into.