#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.

Advertisement

#Review by Lou of -The Summer Job by Lizzie Dent @lizziedent @EllieeHud @VikingBooksUK #Fiction #ContemporaryFiction #BookReview

The Summer Job
By Lizzie Dent
Rated: 5 Stars *****

The Summer Job by Lizzie Dent is a joy for anyone’s spring/summer book collection. It’s moving, funny, great scenery and food. It’s such good entertainment and fun which is so uplifting. It’s a great plot for a relaxed weekend or evening. It’s one to watch out for this spring!
Thank you so much to  Ellie Hudson at Viking Books for gifting me a copy of this joyous book and for inviting me to this very exciting blog tour.
Find out more in my blurb and the full review. Check out the unique cover too, which is also fun…

The Summer Job

Blurb

Have you ever imagined running away from your life?

Well Birdy Finch didn’t just imagine it. She did it. Which might’ve been an error. And the life she’s run into? Her best friend, Heather’s.

The only problem is, she hasn’t told Heather. Actually there are a few other problems…

Can Birdy carry off a summer at a luxury Scottish hotel pretending to be her best friend (who incidentally is a world-class wine expert)?

And can she stop herself from falling for the first man she’s ever actually liked (but who thinks she’s someone else)

The Summer Job is a fresh, fun, feel-good romcom for fans of The Flatshare, Bridget Jones and Bridesmaids.

WANT TO ESCAPE REAL LIFE FOR A WHILE? RUN AWAY WITH BIRDY FINCH, A MESSY HEROINE WITH A HEART OF GOLD. THE SUMMER JOB IS THE HOTTEST DEBUT TO LOSE YOURSELF IN THIS YEAR.

The Summer Job Blog tour 1

Review

The Summer JobThe Summer Job is such a glorious book. I was thoroughly entertained and the food and wine all sounds absolutely, mouthwateringly delicious, set in Scotland amongst the pretty scenery, especially around the loch. It is such fun and really lifts the spirit. 
Birdy Finch is such a unique character, who isn’t perfect and she hasn’t worked out all of life yet, but she has heart, which makes her so brilliant to read about. The premise of running away from your life is written in such a way that you can’t help but want to join her. The humour in this book is devine and provides a great time for escapism as Birdie Finch, in her early 30’s escapes London to a lovely hotel in Scotland and ends up pretending to be a sommelier, with funny consequences as she pretends to be Heather, her best friend, who is the expert in this area, but wanted to spend time travelling with her boyfriend. It’s a great plot to easily slip into for a relaxed weekend or evening.

Lizzie Dent has produced a character who is so readable and feels authentic in such a delightful, feel-good rom-com. The sort that would be great, translated onto screen as well.
She has insecurities and feelings of being self-conscious that come flooding in here and there and that makes her seem so real and so many people will be able to relate on some level, but also has spirit in character and humour in the situations she finds herself in.
She is a bit like a contemporary of Bridget Jones in some ways and is very engaging and a great debut!
Lizzie Dent is an exciting author to watch!

The Summer Job Blog tour 1

The Summer Job Blog tour 2

#Review By Lou – Lost Property @drhelenparis @HJ_Barnes @TransworldBooks @RandomTTours 5 stars #Fiction #BlogTour

Lost Property
By Helen Paris

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Lost Property is set to be a major book title that many publishers wanted and Transworld got, and I can see why it is so hotly anticipated, with its wonderful characters, heartwarming and uplifting storyline, even through some sadness and the intrigue of all that Lost Property, which isn’t always what you might expect!
This is an absolute Must Read for anyone and I feel very lucky to be able to read and review it!
This is a book to grab and clutch onto tightly, and you won’t want to let it go too easily.
Read on to find out more about this beauty of a book in the blurb, the rest of my review and what the author had to say about her book. For a debut novel, Lost Property makes Helen Paris an author to watch for more…

Lost Property Graphic 2

Blurb

A moving and life-affirming debut novel from an exciting new voice in Book Club fiction. For fans of Saving
Missy and The Authenticity Project, with themes of loss, hope, forgiveness and kindness.

Everything that’s lost belongs somewhere. Dot Watson just needs to be found.
Dot Watson’s life is stuck. She wasn’t meant to be single at this point, or still working in a temporary job she
started ten years ago. She was supposed to be in Paris, falling madly in love, building an exciting career.
Instead, every day in Baker Street’s Lost Property office, she diligently catalogues hundreds of lost
umbrellas, lone gloves and an alarming number of shoes.
There’s a comfort in her routine that Dot has become quite attached to. But then Mr Appleby arrives at her
work asking for help to find his late wife’s purse.
Dot recognises his desperation and grief – and they stir something unexpected in her: determination. As she
resolves to help Mr Appleby, what else might she find along the way?

Review

Lost Property GraphicLost Property is just lovely and absolutely splendid from the start, as it tells the story of Dot, Phillipa and their parents. Most of us at some point has either seen a Lost Property box or department or lost something before and this book immerses readers into this curious world of other people’s belongings. I just love the attention to detail and creativity with the luggage tags at the beginning of each chapter, stating what was lost and where. The places and items (sometimes human), is diverse from an Oyster Card to briefcases to a purchase at Selfridges. It is heartwarming when owner and lost item are reunited. It is fun meeting the items, the members of the public and the employees of the Lost Property department. There are times when it isn’t an item as such that is missing, which brings a different slant to the story at times. Sometimes it is something very human that is lost.

There is intrigue and mystery surrounding the Mr Appleby as suddenly he doesn’t seem to exist on the system anymore and yet his missing holdall has turned up. It isn’t just a holdall, it has particular significance, which is tender and of sentimental value.

There is also the shake-up of new policies from a new boss and all proves quite unpopular and as a reader, makes me more onside with the employees under her.

There is terrific lightness and humour mixed with intrigue about the lost property items and who they belong to, as well as  poignancy and sadness as Dot and Phillipa’s mum has dementia. It is heartwarming that their mum has a routine and can attend a specialised excursion club, but it is Dot and Phillippa, with the help of some nurses and carers take care of her. 

This is a book with a lot of heart and soul to it, that captures certain parts of life, just beautifully, even the parts of dementia and pretty accurately.
I wholeheartedly recommend it and it will fill your heart with warmth.

About the Author

Lost Property Helen Paris Author PicHelen Paris worked in the performing arts for two decades, touring internationally with her London-based
theatre company Curious. After several years living in San Francisco and working as a theatre professor at
Stanford University, she returned to the UK to focus on writing fiction. As part of her research for a performance called ‘Lost & Found’, Paris shadowed employees in the Baker Street Lost Property office for a week, an experience that sparked her imagination and inspired this novel.
Lost Property is her first novel.

A note from Helen:
“Although entirely a work of fiction Lost Property was influenced by the short time I spent in Lost Property,
Baker Street shadowing different employees as research for a performance. Whether it’s a designer bag left
in the back of a black cab or a woolly scarf forgotten on the number 44 bus, loss touches all of us. It is
pervasive, and it never ends – as Dot Watson might say, ‘It’s reliable like that.’
I have always been fascinated by the memories that objects hold, how even the most every day object – a pipe,
a bag, a small purse – can help us recall a place or a person or a particular time in life. Objects can be totemic,
portals to the past. Tactile memory – the memories triggered by holding familiar objects – can be profound.
Some objects almost let us time-travel back to the places we yearn to be, to the people no longer with us, and
linger there, if only for a moment.”

Lost Property 3

#Review By Lou – Lost Property @drhelenparis @HJ_Barnes @TransworldBooks @RandomTTours 5 stars #Fiction #BlogTour

Lost Property
By Helen Paris

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Lost Property is set to be a major book title that many publishers wanted and Transworld got, and I can see why it is so hotly anticipated, with its wonderful characters, heartwarming and uplifting storyline, even through some sadness and the intrigue of all that Lost Property, which isn’t always what you might expect!
This is an absolute Must Read for anyone and I feel very lucky to be able to read and review it!
This is a book to grab and clutch onto tightly, and you won’t want to let it go too easily.
Read on to find out more about this beauty of a book in the blurb, the rest of my review and what the author had to say about her book. For a debut novel, Lost Property makes Helen Paris an author to watch for more…

Lost Property Graphic 2

Blurb

A moving and life-affirming debut novel from an exciting new voice in Book Club fiction. For fans of Saving
Missy and The Authenticity Project, with themes of loss, hope, forgiveness and kindness.

Everything that’s lost belongs somewhere. Dot Watson just needs to be found.
Dot Watson’s life is stuck. She wasn’t meant to be single at this point, or still working in a temporary job she
started ten years ago. She was supposed to be in Paris, falling madly in love, building an exciting career.
Instead, every day in Baker Street’s Lost Property office, she diligently catalogues hundreds of lost
umbrellas, lone gloves and an alarming number of shoes.
There’s a comfort in her routine that Dot has become quite attached to. But then Mr Appleby arrives at her
work asking for help to find his late wife’s purse.
Dot recognises his desperation and grief – and they stir something unexpected in her: determination. As she
resolves to help Mr Appleby, what else might she find along the way?

Review

Lost Property GraphicLost Property is just lovely and absolutely splendid from the start, as it tells the story of Dot, Phillipa and their parents. Most of us at some point has either seen a Lost Property box or department or lost something before and this book immerses readers into this curious world of other people’s belongings. I just love the attention to detail and creativity with the luggage tags at the beginning of each chapter, stating what was lost and where. The places and items (sometimes human), is diverse from an Oyster Card to briefcases to a purchase at Selfridges. It is heartwarming when owner and lost item are reunited. It is fun meeting the items, the members of the public and the employees of the Lost Property department. There are times when it isn’t an item as such that is missing, which brings a different slant to the story at times. Sometimes it is something very human that is lost.

There is intrigue and mystery surrounding the Mr Appleby as suddenly he doesn’t seem to exist on the system anymore and yet his missing holdall has turned up. It isn’t just a holdall, it has particular significance, which is tender and of sentimental value.

There is also the shake-up of new policies from a new boss and all proves quite unpopular and as a reader, makes me more onside with the employees under her.

There is terrific lightness and humour mixed with intrigue about the lost property items and who they belong to, as well as  poignancy and sadness as Dot and Phillipa’s mum has dementia. It is heartwarming that their mum has a routine and can attend a specialised excursion club, but it is Dot and Phillippa, with the help of some nurses and carers take care of her. 

This is a book with a lot of heart and soul to it, that captures certain parts of life, just beautifully, even the parts of dementia and pretty accurately.
I wholeheartedly recommend it and it will fill your heart with warmth.

About the Author

Lost Property Helen Paris Author PicHelen Paris worked in the performing arts for two decades, touring internationally with her London-based
theatre company Curious. After several years living in San Francisco and working as a theatre professor at
Stanford University, she returned to the UK to focus on writing fiction. As part of her research for a performance called ‘Lost & Found’, Paris shadowed employees in the Baker Street Lost Property office for a week, an experience that sparked her imagination and inspired this novel.
Lost Property is her first novel.

A note from Helen:
“Although entirely a work of fiction Lost Property was influenced by the short time I spent in Lost Property,
Baker Street shadowing different employees as research for a performance. Whether it’s a designer bag left
in the back of a black cab or a woolly scarf forgotten on the number 44 bus, loss touches all of us. It is
pervasive, and it never ends – as Dot Watson might say, ‘It’s reliable like that.’
I have always been fascinated by the memories that objects hold, how even the most every day object – a pipe,
a bag, a small purse – can help us recall a place or a person or a particular time in life. Objects can be totemic,
portals to the past. Tactile memory – the memories triggered by holding familiar objects – can be profound.
Some objects almost let us time-travel back to the places we yearn to be, to the people no longer with us, and
linger there, if only for a moment.”

Lost Property 3

#BookReview by Lou of The Sister Surprise by Abigail Mann @0neMoreChapter_ @HarperCollins

The Sister Surprise
By Abigail Mann

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Scottish countryside, tracing a sister and an unexpected romance, all wrapped up with great humour that will bring a smile and a giggle, and is sure to lift the spirits; is what The Sister Surprise brings to readers. This is the second novel by Abigail Mann who wrote the much talked about debut novel – The Lonely Fajita. Each book is complete within themselves.

Thank you to One More Chapter – Harper Collins UK publishers for The Sister Surprise.

The Sister Surprise

Blurb

The next hilarious, uplifting book from Abigail Mann, author of The Lonely Fajita.

Journalist Ava takes a DNA test hoping to discover her roots. Instead, she finds out she has a half-sister … whilst on a live stream watched by 100,000 people. Her boss thinks it’s the perfect click-bait story. Ava just wants to go to Moira’s tiny Scottish village and meet her.

But when Ava arrives undercover as a volunteer farmhand, she realises Moira – who’s her pig-wrestling, chatterbox polar opposite – might not be delighted by the news. And the longer Ava stays in Kilroch, with its inappropriately attractive reverend and ties to her hidden family past, the more complicated this surprise is going to get…

The perfect funny, heartwarming read for fans of Marian Keyes, Beth O’Leary, Sophie Ranald and Mhairi McFarlane.

‘Abigail Mann is a sparky new talent on the scene’ Milly Johnson

‘If you like Beth O’Leary, this is absolutely the book for you!’

The Sister Surprise

Review

Ava Atmore is a very quirky 27 year old journalist at Snooper who has a cuddly cat and quite the mother to live up to in some ways, with her high expectations and her occasional jibes. It is fun however, getting to know her mum and family friends Ginger and Rory.

There’s some humour mixed in with bites of popular culture and the guessing to who are Ava’s relations, as light-hearted conversations between the characters progress.

Family Trees, Family Connections, DNA can be absolutely fascinating and this is what Ava bravely embarks on, with the brave part being it is all there for the world to know, on a live-stream! Her family is interesting and especially since she finds a sister she never knew she had up in Scotland. The Scottish references of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Irn-Bru etc add a bit of fun and also may interest people to Google them, if they are unfamiliar. People in their late 20’s to late 30’s will have a nostalgic flashback to Matt Baker in his Blue Peter days, referenced as Ava travels up to Scotland to find her sister.

Ava is very much a city girl and it shows, which is quite amusing with her pre-conceptions and questions, as she tries to acquaint herself with the countryside and animals, so it is fun seeing her learn. There are many comical parts to the books, which makes it pretty uplifiting in what is a meandering book, which then picks up interest again when she finds her sister, Moira and her family story starts to all be unwrapped. There is also a lovely romance simmering away for Ava.

All in all, it’s a story with very good, proper humour and is a good read for escapism and a bit of a journey into the countryside.

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.