#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.

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#Review By Lou of Murder At The Summer Fete By Victoria Walters @Vicky_Walters @HeraBooks #CrimeFiction #CosyMystery #SummerRead #Mystery

Murder At The Summer Fete
By Victoria Walters

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Victoria Walters has branched out from romantic fiction in this book and lept into cosy murder with Murder At The Summer Fete. A book for fans of Richard Osman, S.J. Bennett and The Marlow Murder Club and Agatha Raisin. Find out more below in the blurb and my review below. Thanks first to Hera Books for a review copy.

Murder At The Summer Fete

Blurb

A fete worse than death…

After finding the killer of Lucy Roth six months ago, life has settled back to normal for bookshop owner, Nancy Hunter, and her grandmother, Jane. The annual Dedley End village fete is just around the corner, and Nancy is delighted when bestselling author, Thomas Green, agrees to launch his first new novel in ten years there.

But then a series of sinister events lead Nancy to realise someone is trying to sabotage their fete, so she, along with Jane and their journalist friend Jonathan, must turn detective to discover who isn’t at all thrilled about the return of Thomas Green.

When a body is discovered at the summer fete, the death scene mirroring that in Thomas’ latest bestseller, they realise that there’s another killer in Dedley End, but can they outsmart someone who appears to have pulled off the perfect crime?

The clues are right under Nancy and Jane’s noses, if only they can find them. Because the answers to life’s questions can always be found in a book…!

A twisty, unputdownable cozy mystery that fans of Richard Osman, S.J. Bennett and The Marlow Murder Club will love.

Review

A touch of murder in the summer makes this great for a crime fiction book for the summer. Beneath the lightness of summer and the climax of the summer fete in the Cotswolds, just around the corner, it lulls you into that fun summer carefree vibe. Not all is well though and a cosy murder ensues, with humour, nothing too gruesome, but sabotage and murder follows in this Dedley End mystery. It’s second in this series but reads perfectly well as a standalone too.

The bookshop owner and bookish events will pull readers in further and then the mystery itself as the death seems sinisterly famliar, which adds a twist to the plot, which has amateur detectives and a DCI in the form of DCI Brown who also has to join the dots to find the murderer.

It is overall an entertaining read with life mimicing art.

#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.

#Interview By Lou with Siena about her book Why We Walk, Illustrated By Shannon Wilvers @rararesources #Siena #ShannonWilvers #ChildrensBook #SummerRead #Summer #Walking #Nature #SienasStories #WhyWeWalk #PictureBook #GreatOutdoors #Outside

Interview with Siena
About her new children’s book – Why We Walk

It was a pleasure to interview Siena – the author of Why We Walk, a Canadian who writes stories for young children that are relatable and entertaining for children the world over. This one is suitable for 1-6 year olds. You will find out why it was written, her passion for people walking and the environment, how she puts her books together and how the writer/illustrator working relationship came about. Finally you will find a little about how Siena felt when her first book got published and how she had to convince her family.
First, find out about the blurb and then onto the 5 questions in the interview.

Blurb

Why we walk_coverWhen we walk we see things that we would have missed if we drove. Things like birds, cats, & squirrels. When we walk we have fun spending time together. We talk and learn how walking can help to care for our planet. Join Siena and her dad as they walk to school and discover every little step counts.

This is the second book in the Siena’s Stories series. The first book, The Dance of the Snow Tractors, was named a top book for children in the automobile category by Newsweek magazine.

Now onto the interview…

  1. You have a clear passion for walking and inspiring young children to get outside to walk, what inspired you to write the book – Why We Walk? Also, what is your favourite types of places to walk?

This book was my first idea for a book. It just came to me when my daughter asked me that simple question while we walked to school. I like to walk and really enjoy birdwatching. I walk almost daily for exercise and enjoy trying to find my favourite bird, the cardinal.

  1. What inspired you to care about the environment?

I grew up on a small island off the coast of British Columbia and learned about sustainability at an early age. I also saw the destruction of the land by the mine my parents worked in and the clear cutting of the old growth forest by a nearby logging settlement. It seemed like every year the clear cuts got closer and closer to my island and they were ruining the amazing view I had of the surrounding forest and ocean from my window. I will always remember waking up early to eat breakfast and watching all the stars in full view without the big city lights.

I also have fond memories of the many times Green Peace ships would visit our settlement and share their stories.

  1. Do you find that by writing children’s books about walking and how this helps the environment then rubs off on adults. I had a primary school teacher who had a passion for the environment in the 90’s and a lot permanently rubbed off on me and positively impacted my thinking. Do you think books like yours has a real impact for the longer term how children think as they grow into adults?

I have faith that children today are much more aware of how their parents polluted the planet and will take measures to combat climate change. My book will be a small reminder.  I also believe technology will help them along the way. I used to work in the power electronics industry and have first hand experience with solar, wind and micro hydro installations. They are becoming more affordable everyday. I tell my daughter that even small simple changes like LED lighting will make a huge difference over time.

  1. You have an illustrator – Shannon Wilvers. How did this working relationship come about and can you give a little insight into the process of you both working together to create a finished story?

I had come up with the idea for my book a few years ago but I cannot draw. I do collect original comic book art and have a side job selling movie memorabilia at comic conventions. At the various shows I met a local comic artist (Geof Isherwood) who also teaches art at a local technical school. I discussed the book with Geof and he introduced me Shannon who was his student at the time.

I use Microsoft Powerpoint to write the books. I create a slide and put in the text. Next, I insert a personal picture or a picture from the internet as reference for Shannon. When I am done, I send the file to Shannon. She creates a storyboard and we fine tune the art and text.

  1. Your first book – The Dance of the Snow Tractors, was named a top book for children in the automobile category by Newsweek magazine. How did that make you feel and how did you celebrate?

I was over the moon. I had a hard time convincing my family and friends that I was serious about writing these books. Newsweek helped bring them over to my side.

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#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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#Review By Lou – With This Kiss By Carrie Hope Fletcher @CarrieHFletcher @HQstories #WithThisKiss

With This Kiss
By Carrie Hope Fletcher

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

With This Kiss With This Kiss

I am delighted to share with you my review of With This Kiss By Carrie Hope Fletcher. She is currently starring in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella, but has also written a few very successful books, this being her latest. Thanks to HQ Stories/Harper Collins, I have been gifted a proof in exchange of an honest review. Find out more about this enchanting story with a difference in the blurb and my thoughts in my review below…

With This Kiss

Blurb

If you knew how your love story ends, would you dare to begin?

From the outside, Lorelai is an ordinary young woman with a normal life. She loves reading, she works at the local cinema and she adores living with her best friend. But she carries a painful burden, something she’s kept hidden for years; whenever she kisses someone on the lips, she sees how they are going to die.

Lorelai has never known if she’s seeing what was always meant to be, or if her kiss is the thing that decides their destiny. And so, she hasn’t kissed anyone since she was eighteen.

Then she meets Grayson. Sweet, clever, funny Grayson. And for the first time in years she yearns for a man’s kiss. But she can’t…or can she? And if she does, should she try to intervene and change what she sees?

Review

With This Kiss is an enchanting romance, but one that is somewhere between that fairytale whimsicalness and some grounded reactions and emotions.

Lorelai is the main protagonist and happy with life and being friends and can sometimes be a bit defensive when it comes to men because of what romantic entanglements lead to. Lorelai has best friend Joanie, there, pushing her along and trying to see things in a more positive light.

The fact that everytime Lorelai discovers that she has the power to know how someone is going to die after kissing them is what really grabbed my attention to this book. It is a highly intriguing and different concept. The opening pages are fantastic and really drew me in. They have an glow of mystique and and air of intrigue. I felt that the aftermath of finding out how someone was going to die, could have had a bit more depth to it. There is some decent humour, when it presents itself, just perhaps not quite enough. There’s a bit too much procrastination, which is a pity as loses a bit of pace, which becomes a bit frustrating at times, although of course given the situation Lorelai finds herself in, it is absolutely understandable that there would be. Anyone in this situation surely would have this affliction, with such power as she wonders what to do about Grayson, who she is properly falling in love with, whom she meets at a bookclub. The bookclub meet is a lovely place to meet, it is also nice that the club isn’t the crux of the whole story as that doesn’t seem to be what the story is about. It seems more about romance and how to deal with the hand you’ve been given and what to do with magical powers. It has a theatrical sense to it all in a way. There is a love and respect for cinema, books and theatre and everyone involved in these art forms cascades throughout the story very well.

It’s more a darker take on a fairytale for adults than rom-com as such and it is the fairytale like quality that has parts that almost sweeps you along, some parts more than others.

It is all in all, fairly fun. Don’t go into this thinking there is some greater meaning or a massive amount of depth in the power that Lorelea has, or you may find yourself feeling disappointed. If you go into it with a view of that fairytale magic that has a bit of darkness and an open mind, then it is a pleasant read that has a different take on romance.
This was so close to being 4 stars.

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