#Review by Lou of An Italian Island Summer @SueMoorcroft @AvonBookUK @HarperCollinsUK @RachelsRandomResources #AnItalianIslandSummer #SummerRead #HolidayRead

An Italian Island Summer 
By Sue Moorcroft

Rating: 5 out of 5.

An Italian Island Summer is Sue Moorcroft’s latest book and there is a lot to it in a beautiful setting to warm your heart and take you deep into character’s, less uncomplicated lives. Find out more in the blurb and full review below as part of Rachel’s Random Resources blog tour for Avon Books, who I thank for a copy of the book.

Blurb

Will one summer in Sicily change her life for ever?

After her marriage falls apart, Ursula Quinn is offered the chance to spend the summer working at a hotel on a beautiful island off the coast of Sicily, Italy. Excited by a new adventure, she sets off at once.

At Residenza dei Tringali, Ursula receives a warm welcome from everyone except Alfio, son of the Tringali family. He gave up his life in Barcelona to help his mother Agata with the ailing business, and is frustrated with Ursula’s interference – and she in turn is less than impressed with his attitude. As they spend more time together, though, they begin to see each other in a different light.

But what with Ursula’s ex-husband on her tail, family secrets surfacing and an unexpected offer that makes Alfio question his whole life, there’s plenty to distract them from one another. Can she face her past and he his future, and together make the most of their Sicilian summer?

Review

A failed relationship, physical and psychological issues are in the offering for Sue Moorcroft’s latest book. Fear not, there is plenty of opportunity to basque in the sun on An Italian Island Summer, even through the trials and tribulations that life throws at the characters.

An Italian Summer takes readers deep into the lives. Ursula’s life is changing. She is going through a breakup from her husband and the tattoo parlour where she works is closing down, although in heart of hearts, there is a little relief there. She makes some huge decisions and makes the move to an Italian island.
A hotel is found, but isn’t doing very well. It’s ran by Agata and her daughter. Her son had been in Spain and now has had to return, so his life is also in a period of change, except the jobs he thought he was required to be returning to are taken already. Cue some tensions.
It doesn’t all go swimmingly for Ursula either, with that and her ex-husband not being the type to let go so easily.

Complicated lives in a beautiful setting of small hotels, marinas, eateries makes for good reading. The book draws you into all the atmosphere and sites the picturesque island has to provide, as well as the people on it and arriving on it.

It is a lovely book to sit in the great outdoors to read and enjoy summer sun giving heat to your body as the book warms your heart.

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Summer at the Summer Ice Cream Cafe By Jo Thomas @jo_thomas1 @PenguinUKBooks @RandomTTours #BlogTour #ContemporaryFiction #SummerRead #HolidayRead #Icecream #SummerAtTheIceCreamCafe

Summer at the IceCream Cafe
By Jo Thomas

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

To get into a summery mood, I have a review of Summer at the IceCream Cafe which is lovely for holiday reading. Find out a bit more in the blurb and my thought in my review below. Thanks to Random T. Tours for inviting me onto the blog tour.

It’s also great for readers who enjoy escapism, Jill Mansell, Phillipa Ashley and Veronica Henry.

Blurb

A dream home
Beca Valentino is ready to escape the city. When she sees the perfect house for sale in her hometown, it seems like fate. Is this her chance to build the foster family she dreams of, on the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast?

A big mistake?
Returning home isn’t as easy as she thought, however. Her family’s beloved ice cream café is gone – turned into a soulless wine bar by her hateful ex-boyfriend. Reconnecting with her oldest friend, fisherman Griff, isn’t straightforward either. And when, instead of the children she expected to take in, two wary teenage boys appear on her doorstep, Beca fears she’s made a terrible mistake.

A recipe for change
But an old family recipe book is just the inspiration she needs. Soon, with a little help from friends old and new, Beca is selling mouth-watering homemade gelato from a pop-up café on the beach.

Then disaster strikes. Will the Valentino family legacy be lost forever? Or can Beca create a new recipe for happiness?

Review


Sit back and relax into foodie, gelato heaven!

Beca Valentino has moved house and we first meet her with a removal man struggling with a hefty crate full of books on a very hot June day. It isn’t long before she meets some sceptical, yet curious locals, until she actually introduces herself and some remember her, although someone actually thought she died. It’s a stark, interesting sentence about someone who thought she had died. Shows up a real possible issue in modern society about, if you’re not seen, you could be presumed dead, but no one actually bothers to find out for sure.

It is entertaining, stepping into her nostalgia of the premise of what was her family’s ice cream parlour and being reacquainted with people. There’s a lesson in there somewhere, to be preparing that not everything stays quite the same as it was when you left it, not even the quality of ingredients used for desserts. There are also snippets, without going too deeply, of some of the issues people have around certain towns, such as having to move away, to be able to return so you can then afford to dwell where you grew up in. A bit more centrally is the theme of fostering, as Joe and Blake enter Beca’s life.

Soon, Beca, Griff and Blake are whipping up a gelato storm, just like her grandparent used to make, so be prepared, you may just need some yourself whilst you read this book.

The ARC I have reviewed from shows that, in the completed book, will be recipes for your own culinary delights. My only thing was it feels a bit, unusually repetitive in the first few pages, for this author, but beyond that, it whips up a storm into a very good feel-good read full of great characters and delicious foodieness that whisks you away to lovely escapism.

All in all this is a book that can be savoured, whether on holidays or not, perhaps with a good scoop of ice cream. 

The gifted honeycomb chocolate and fudge is long devoured, but the book lingers on.

#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 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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