Summer in Andalucía by Lucy Coleman

About the Book:


Lainey Summers feels blessed to have her dream job writing for a renowned foodie magazine. And the day she goes to interview chef Rick Oliver at his new restaurant—Aleatory—in London’s popular Piccadilly, is the start of an unexpected journey.
When Rick is offered the opportunity to jet off to a monastery in Andalucía, to film a cookery competition for Spanish TV, Lainey goes too, to cover the story.
Spending a month filming in the stunning Spanish countryside, soaking up the sights, sounds, smells and of course the cuisine, Lainey and Rick start to enjoy each other’s company. But their time together flies by too quickly, and before they know it, Rick and Lainey have to face going their separate ways.
With both their worlds shifting beneath them, the call of Andalucia and the call of happiness grows ever stronger. But with everything at stake, will they be able to take the chance of a happy-ever-after…
Let Lucy Coleman whisk you off on a sun-baked, life-affirming, total escape to beautiful Andalucia.  

Where to Buy: http://amzn.to/3apKasK

About the Author:


Lucy Coleman is a #1 bestselling romance writer, whose recent novels include Snowflakes over Holly Cove. She also writes under the name Linn B. Halton. She won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award and lives in the Welsh Valleys. Lucy’s first title with Boldwood was A Springtime to Remember, published in December 2019.

Social Media Links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LucyColemanAuthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LucyColemanauth
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lucycolemanauthor/
Newsletter Sign Up Link: https://mailchi.mp/boldwoodbooks/lucycolemannewsletter
Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lucy-coleman

My Review:

Anyone just needs to mention the word “Spain” to me and I am right there wanting to know what has them so excited. I have been hooked on anything Spanish-related since I spoke my first word of Spanish at school, and was SO wanting Lucy Coleman to write a book set in Spain.

Rick and Lainey were such well fleshed-out characters and I really wanted to be on this journey with them.

Summer in Andalucía is a big warm hug of a book with real characters and realistic settings. Lucy Coleman’s books are my go-to for traveling without leaving home (and they were way before the Pandemic, too).

Thanks to Lucy Coleman, Rachel’s Random Resources and Boldwood Books for my my ARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.

5 stars.

Blog Tour: One Day in Winter by Shari Low

About the Book: 

 

On a cold December’s morning…

Caro sets off to find the truth: has her relationship with her father been based on a lifetime of lies?
Cammy can’t wait to surprise the woman he loves with a proposal. All he needs is the perfect ring.
Lila can no longer hide her secret. She has to tell her lover’s wife about their affair.
After thirty years, Bernadette knows it’s time. She’s ready to leave her controlling husband… and never look back.
Over the course of twenty-four hours, four lives are about to change forever…

 

About the Author: 

 

Shari Low is the No1 best-selling author of over 20 novels, including One Day In Winter, A Life Without You, The Story Of Our Life, With Or Without You, Another Day In Winter and her latest release, This Is Me. 
And because she likes to over-share toe-curling moments and hapless disasters, she is also the shameless mother behind a collection of parenthood memories called Because Mummy Said So. 
Once upon a time she met a guy, got engaged after a week, and twenty-something years later she lives near Glasgow with her husband, a labradoodle, and two teenagers who think she’s fairly embarrassing except when they need a lift. 

My Review:

One Day in Winter (previously published as One Day in December) is the first novel in Shari Low’s Winter Day series. 
It is set in Glasgow near Christmas. Glasgow is somewhere I have never been on so I liked the descriptions of the city.
 The story follows a series of characters over the course of one day . Caro, Llia Bernadette and cameron all lead very different lives.
 Not to spoil the story as it has a lot of plotlines and is intricately woven but suffice it to say that over the course of this novel we learn about each character’s love loss thoughts fears dreams and see them grow and change to different extents.
 I was drawn in at the beginning by Caro’s quest to find her father and felt that was a good way to start the book with some action.
 I found Lila was too self-absorbed but did like Bernadette.
 The book has funny sad and tragic moments but is also realistic.
 The dialogue kept me interested and the book is fast paced.
 After having reviewed some of Shari Low’s books (With or Without You, Another Day in Winter This is Me and Because Mummy Said So) and having liked them all I was pleased to be able to take part in the blog tour for this book.
 Huge thanks to Shari Low and Aria for my ARC of this book in exchange for an honest and voluntary review .

As well as the eARC, Head of Zeus were kind enough to send me a physical paperback copy of this book which I am very grateful for.

Shari Low – One Day in Winter Q&A with Just Katherine

 

Who is your favourite character and why?

That’s an easy one. Josie is a seventy-something, fearless, straight talking outrageous character who pops up in almost all of my books. She is based on someone I loved very much, so writing Josie is my way of keeping them around me.  
Who is your least favourite character and why? 

Oooh, in this book it has to be Lila, who is vain, self centred and everything that makes my skin bristle in a human being. That said, the fact that she’s unapologetically appalling makes her great fun to write.
What was the best part of writing One Day in Winter?

The best bit is the same with all my novels – it’s seeing what the characters will do. There are a few new ones in this book, and a few familiar faces from past novels pop up too. I love living in their world and because I don’t plan my storylines before I write them, it’s always a surprise to find out where life takes them. 
What do you like most (and least) about winter? 

Most – Baggy jumpers, boots and Christmas! Strappy summer fashion does me no favours, so every Autumn I can’t wait to break out the chunky knits and cosy footwear. Add family, friends, festivities and a flashing penguin on my roof, and my life’s just about perfect.

Least – I live in Scotland and it’s flipping freezing over the winter months – thermal underwear is often my friend.
What inspired the plot behind One Day in Winter? 

I’m obsessed by the notion of life changing in a heartbeat. Over the course of my life, there have been several times when I’ve woken in the morning to a familiar world, and by night time my whole future has changed – sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. That was the starting point for One Day In Winter – four strangers begin the day with absolutely no idea that by nightfall their lives will have intertwined and their destinies will be forever altered.
What do you like most about being an author? Can you tell me more about your journey as an author?

I’ve been doing this for twenty years now (I’m currently writing book number 26) and I love that I still get just as excited, terrified, panicked and thrilled with each new book. You’d really think I’d have the hang of it by now, but each one is genuinely like starting all over again.

I was lucky enough to get a book deal on the first 10 000 words I ever wrote. Over the years since then, there have been brilliant highs, awful lows and around 3234 rejections, but I wouldn’t change a thing. 
Do you have any advice for me in my writing journey? 

I always say the same thing – just write. Don’t get hung up on technicalities, or preparations, or finding the right place and time, because it may not come. Just keep putting the words on the page. It also helps to be madly in love with at least one character in every book – makes getting started every morning so much easier.

 

Which is your favourite scene in the book? 

I don’t want to give away a spoiler, but there’s a scene near the end at Bernadette’s house, where a lifetime of wrongs get righted. There was a very loud “Yaassssss!” at several points in that chapter.
Did you face difficulties when writing this book and how were they overcome? 

I always face difficulties. My standard writing process is type, type, panic, type, type, panic, type, type, panic. Repeated for approximately 350 pages. But I just keep going, push through it and by some absolute miracle, it all comes good in the end. 
I’ve reviewed many of your titles and like them all. Do you have a personal favourite? 

The Story Of Our Life will always have a special place in my heart as it was inspired by a very personal journey. And in non-fiction, I adore Because Mummy Said So because it’s a collection of columns I wrote over 15 years and pretty much documents my family’s laughter, tears, dramas and way too may disasters (most of which involve cooking or pants).
Which of your books was the most enjoyable and also challenging to write? 

The most enjoyable was actually One Day In Winter. I loved every minute of this one – so much so that I decided to make it a trilogy. Another Day In Winter and The Last Day In Winter are the next two books in the series.

I found The Story Of Our Life the most challenging – I cried so often when I was writing it that I had an open box of tissues at my side at all times.
What do you love to do when you’re not writing? 

I’m ridiculously low maintenance. Happiness to me is hanging out with my husband, drinking tea at the kitchen table with my pals, and being the kind of overbearing, frequently disastrous mother that makes my sons roll their eyes a lot. I’m up for laughter wherever I can find it and I’m lucky to be surrounded by a lot of people who make me smile.

 
Are you planning another book for the future? 

I’ve just started book 26. Type, type, panic, type, type, panic….
Thanks Shari! 

  The thought was squashed by the sight of the old man struggling to put a leather holdall into the overhead rack. Caro stepped in. ‘Shall I do that for you?’
He gratefully accepted.

One push and it was sorted.

Caro slid into one of the empty seats, put her leather satchel on the one beside her. She’d move it if anyone else needed the place. Couldn’t stand those selfish gits that blocked off a seat with their bag so they didn’t have to share a space with a stranger. Her new acquaintance, still standing in the aisle, removed his hat and scarf and gestured to the two empty seats facing her across a Formica table.

‘Do you mind?’ he asked.

‘Not at all,’ she replied, smiling.

He lowered his aching frame into the seat, placed his possessions – hat, scarf, paper – on the table between them. Normally, Caro would take out her Kindle, lose herself in a book, hope that no one would strike up a conversation, but not today. Today, she’d be grateful for any distraction, especially if it was the company of an elderly gent with a kind face.

‘Going to Glasgow?’ the old man asked, with a Doric lilt in a voice that was stronger than his physical appearance would suggest.

‘Yes. And you?’

‘Getting off at Perth. Going to stay with my daughter and grandchildren for Christmas.’ His pride was evident.

‘That’ll be lovely,’ Caro said, watching as he picked up his newspaper and laid it out in front of him. Going to see his daughter. A few years ago, she’d have automatically pictured her dad, Jack, there, a couple of decades down the line, saying the same thing to a stranger on a train. In fact, maybe even this train. It was the one he’d travelled on every month, for as long as she could remember, when his work took him down to Glasgow. It was all she’d ever been used to. When she was a kid, she always knew when he was about to leave. Her mum, Yvonne, would be just a little quieter, a little sadder, because he was leaving the next day. Off he’d go, all hugs and kisses, and Caro would look forward to him returning because Mum’s face would light up again and she’d be truly happy, singing to the radio in the mornings, brushing her hair and spraying perfume just before he was due to walk in the door.

It was all because Dad had a Very Important Job. A management consultant in the oil business. Caro had never been entirely sure what that meant. She’d asked a few times over the years and he’d given her spiels about development strategies, man-management, personnel restructures, performance optimisation. As far as Caro could grasp, what it all boiled down to was that his company worked with oil corporations to make the divisions within each organisation work as efficiently as possible. If they needed to expand, he helped them structure the new department, hire the best people and implement training programs. If they needed to cut costs, he showed them where. He travelled a lot, sometimes faraway places like China, Abu Dhabi and Oman, but usually just down to the company office in Glasgow. He was a cavalier guy in a cavalier industry.

‘Got to go where the money is,’ he’d tell her, before the door banged behind him. In hindsight, Caro wondered where the money had gone. She and her mother had never seen much of it. There had never been any lavish holidays. No designer clothes. Yvonne didn’t have a fancy car. They’d always lived in the house that her mum had been left by her parents, a perfectly nice semi-detached granite home on a perfectly nice street, that had been worth very little when Gran and Granda had bought it in the fifties, but had a couple more zeros added to the value by the arrival of the oil industry.

 

Follow Shari:  

Facebook: @ShariLow

Twitter: @sharilow

 

Where to Buy:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2KIuWlD

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2YIDbIn

iBooks: https://apple.co/2H3NhIS

Google Play: https://bit.ly/2Kw7cm1

 

 
 

Website: http://www.ariafiction.com

Twitter: @aria_fiction

Facebook: @ariafiction

Instagram: @ariafiction

Blog Tour: Last of the Summer Moët by Wendy Holden

About the Book: 


 

Top reporter Laura Lake has struck journalistic gold.

 

She’s discovered a super-exclusive English village where the rich and famous own weekend retreats. Where film stars, Turner-prize winners and Cabinet ministers park their helicopters outside the gastropub and buy £100 sourdough loaves from the deli.

 

Outsiders are strictly forbidden. But luckily Laura’s best friend Lulu, a logo-obsessed socialite with a heart as huge as her sunglasses, suddenly fancies a quiet life in the country. The door to this enchanted rural idyll opens for Laura. Revealing a great professional opportunity.

 

Can Laura write an exposé before the snobbish villagers suss her true identity? And before the world’s poshest pub quiz triggers a political scandal not seen since Profumo?

About the Author:

Number-one bestselling author Wendy Holden was a journalist on Tatler, The Sunday Times, and the Mail on Sunday before becoming an author. She has since written ten consecutive Sunday Times Top Ten bestsellers. She lives in Derbyshire.         

 Follow Wendy:

 

Website: http://www.wendyholden.net/

Facebook: @wendyholdenauthor

Twitter: @Wendy_Holden

 


My Review:

I had never read anything by Wendy Holden before, and so when I was sent an email about this book by publisher Aria, I KNEW I had to have a listen on my Kindle app. Of course, I had heard of Wendy Holden, and had heard she wrote fun books. This book is right up my street- glamour, fun and “summer” in the title! A perfect read/ listen for a cold January day or night. 
I was even happier when I saw it was part of a series. I still have to find (and listen to) a copy of book #1 somehow as whenever I listen to a series of books, I like to try and listen to every book. 
Laura Lake is the deputy editor of Society, a high-end glossy fashion magazine. She is in charge after her boss is off work with stress and exhaustion. The book oozes with glamour. Laura finds herself in Great Hording, a village for the most elite people in society when she has to help her BFF Lulu. I really liked Laura right through the book and the way she handled everything that happened to her. 
Her boss (Corinthia) reminded me of Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada. In fact, the scenes at Society HQ at the beginning of the book really captured the atmosphere in the offices of a high end magazine. I liked this touch. 

 I was really looking forward to seeing what Great Hording would be like. The descriptions in this book are good, and Laura’s character is well fleshed out, but we don’t get to know too much about Lulu. What  does come across is how wealthy she is due to being a billionaire. I was a bit wary of  Kiki Cavendish at times. I liked Caspar and was hopeful for love between him and Laura. 
All in all, there’s certainly an ecclectic mix of characters in Great  Hording. 
The real downside of this book was that I felt there were too many characters who were not developed enough. I did debate as to whether that many characters were even needed in fact. 

Finishing on a positive note, Great Hording and the surrounding area and atmosphere were well-represented. As expected of a wealthy village. there are high-powered people: judges and a MI6 member to name a few, amongst  others. 
Last of the Summer Moët had me laughing out loud and I finished the book in a day. This is a quick read/ listen, and the pace really keeps the book interesting. 
Huge thanks to Wendy Holden and Head of Zeus  for my ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. As well as a review, I was pleased to take part in the blog tour for the title.



My Q& A with Wendy Holden:


​1.​How did you come up with the title?

 

Credit where it’s due, it was my editor who came up with Last of the Summer Moet! It’s brilliant though, I love it. It’s launched a whole series of adapted film/TV titles; in the next comedy Laura goes to Scotland and it’s called A View To A Kilt.

 

​2.​ Where did the idea for the plot come from?

 

Last of the Summer Moet has Laura, a glossy magazine editor, researching an article on Britain’s Poshest Village. I’d noticed that there are villages where vast numbers of celebrities live, and it’s about one of those. I’ve called it Great Hording and it has a gastropub complete with helipad and a deli where sourdough costs £100 a loaf. Locals include a Hollywood director, a Cabinet minister, a Russian oligarch, a Turner prizewinning artist and so on. I have them

taking part in the ultimate posh pub quiz (it’s a scandal when somebody cheats!)s and acting in Britain’s ultimate power pantomime.

 

​3.​ Who is your favourite character? Why?

 

I absolutely love Caspar, who’s an incredibly vain actor. His brain is the size of a pea but he’s very well-endowed in other departments. He’s Laura’s on-off lover, and he’s really funny. We meet him in the first novel of the series, Three Weddings And A Scandal. He’s down on his luck, and making his living as a Prince Harry impersonator. But by an incredible twist of fate he becomes the new James Bond.

 

​4.​Who is your least favourite character? Why?

 

I don’t have a least favourite, I love them all. Some of them are baddies, such as Clemency Makepeace, who’s Laura’s nemesis. She was the school bully when Laura was little, and she’s turned up again in her professional life as the most ruthless, backstabbing journalist imaginable. Laura’s always having to fight Clemency off, but she always comes back and makes yet more trouble for her. I love a good villain, and you need them in a comedy.

 

​5.​Which is your favourite scene in the book? Why?

 

There’s a great scene at the beginning when Laura has to interview a very famous film star. To make it more interesting, the star wants the interview to take place while she’s doing something else. So Laura ends up trying to talk to her as she tours Buckingham Palace. It ends with the appearance of an even greater female celebrity, bet you can’t guess who?! It’s an incredibly silly scene, but like all my craziest scenarios, it’s just about possible.

 

​6. What do you most like to do when you are not writing?

 

Travel. Writing is so stationary, you basically just sit on your bum. So movement of any sort is a treat. My favourite holiday destinations are Venice and the South of France, but I’m happy just going down to M&S.

 

​7.​What’s the story behind why and how you became an author?

 

I worked as a journalist for many years and wanted to write a novel, but I didn’t have a subject. One job was as deputy editor of the Sunday Times Style section, where my responsibilities included ghost-writing a column for the late socialite Tara Palmer-Tomkinson. I ended up inventing most of it which was wonderful training. The column appeared every week, so I was in effect writing a serial novel. Tara became very famous on the back of it, which was slightly exasperating as no-one realised it was me who was writing it. But then I realised that here, staring me in the face, was my plot. The novel was Simply Divine, a comedy about a downtrodden hack ghostwriting a celebrity socialite’s newspaper column. It was a kind of newspaper Cinderella story. It became an instant bestseller and was even optioned by Hollywood. Tara Palmer-Tomkinson launched my writing career, in other words, and I never looked back.

 

 

8. What is your favourite movie? Why?

 

I’ve got so many favourites and it changes all the time. Lawrence of Arabia is an old favourite because of the wonderful music and because Peter O’Toole is so dishy. But recently my kids introduced me to Hot Fuzz which has to be one of the funniest films I have ever seen.

 

MY YEARS ON GLOSSY MAGAZINES

 

Laura Lake, heroine of Three Weddings And A Scandal and Last of the Summer Moet, works on a magazine called Society. It’s an upmarket glossy, a bit like Tatler, and I have to admit that there might be a tiny weeny connection.

 

I was deputy editor at Tatler some years ago, under an editor who had a fearsome reputation. To be her number two was a bit like being one of the six wives of Henry VIII. You knew your number would be up sooner or later. But hopefully the fun and glamour would make it all worthwhile.

 

I joined the magazine from The Sunday Times, which had a few fearsome characters of its own. And so I was fairly relaxed about what might await me. All the same, the Tatler office did not disappoint. It made Absolutely Fabulous look positively pedestrian.

 

Take the travel editor. She would sit at her computer saying things like ‘Darlings! Only three more weeks until fun fur!” (this would be in mid-autumn). She was passionately fond of her dogs (pugs, as I recall) and when one of them fell ill, the entire office had to write it a get-well card as it reclined in its private clinic on its own water bed under the care of its personal nurse.

 

The editor tended to hire people according to the strength of their address books and so there were various minor aristocrats about the place. My assistant’s family home was a famous stately pile complete with butler and ancestral carriage with nodding plumes. She wasn’t the sort of person you felt you could send out for coffee.

 

No-one was really. Another person on my desk once rang in to say she’d be late because she’d missed the train. At least that was what I thought she’d said. In fact she’d missed the plane – from Nice. Yet another couldn’t come in because she was trying out lots of different shades of white paint on the wall of her flat. Like a less racy version of E L James, I suppose.

 

Despite being not the least bit posh myself, I got on well with the editor. She was very good at what she did and if she occasionally treated her staff rather brusquely, that was all part of the fun. She always had an interesting take on things. As I joined the magazine Princess Diana had just died and the editor’s idea of a tribute was to put together a piece on Di’s famous sense of humour (as I remember, it involved ringing up lots of gym instructors).

 

The Tatler I worked on also relaunched the It Girl phenomenon and made Tara Palmer-Tomkinson famous. Yes, I know. But we were never in Large Hadron Collider territory at Tatler. I remember rather desperately trying to persuade a bunch of peers to take part in an ‘Earls In Pearls’ feature. They didn’t buy it, unfortunately.  

 

One day the editor called me into her office and asked me if I knew the difference between upper and lower class legs. Confessing my ignorance, I was instructed that upper class legs are thin and have a kneebone equidistant between the hipbone and anklebone. Lower class legs, by contrast, were thick with a long thigh and short calf. It’s a Tatler lesson that has stayed with me ever since, along with the folly of wearing flowing silk outfits at parties on Cap Ferrat in summer (much too hot).

 

The editor could be generous, too, once passing on to me a vast floral arrangement someone had sent her. A good six feet tall, it was made up of thick-stemmed exotic blooms lashed around with thick, kerosene-scented rope. Going back home with it on the 73 bus was quite the challenge.

 

Tatler was a positive cornucopia of freebies. If the loos themselves were often occupied by weeping staffers that the editor had offended, the basins in those loos were permanently crammed with bouquets sent to the fashion girls. And all manner of the usual glossy-mag largesse rained down on the other departments, plus a barbecued turkey that one restaurant sent every Christmas. I may have had a bit of that, but everything else passed me by. Despite being deputy ed, the only freebie I ever actually got sent myself was a small black-handled knife which was part of a Eat British Apples promotion. I treasure it all the same, and try to eat British apples whenever possible.

 

Tatler was a brilliant place to work if you had a sense of the absurd, possibly because none of the other staff members had. The annual Black Book List, in various young privileged types about town are lauded for talents like eating Fruit And Nut bars with a knife and fork or singing Happy Birthday in Chinese, was particularly hard to put together without laughing. Most of these incidents have made their way into Laura’s world. She too works for a dragon of an editor – Carinthia Gold, who suffers from a rare affliction known as ‘editor’s spine’ thanks to the weight of the designer tote bags she receives as freebies. Actually, I made that up. But in Glossy Magazine World it could easily be true!

 

Last of the Summer Moet by Wendy Holden is published by Head of Zeus is out now.

Read an extract from the book! 

Umbra, the fashionable new restaurant where Lulu had chosen to meet, seemed to have had a power cut. Or so Laura assumed, entering from the brightly sunlit street outside into an interior of intense black. As the door behind her clicked shut, the last slice of daylight disappeared. Darkness pressed in all around. It was like being in the deepest of caves; nothing at all was visible. There were sounds, however; the murmur of conversation, the clink of cutlery on china, even the occasional tinkle of laughter.

‘Hello?’ Laura called, disconcerted.

A small point of light now came towards her, like a torch beam. It was a torch beam, and above it was a face. The face was young, male and smiling as if the situation could not have been more natural. ‘Madam has booked?’

‘My friend has,’ Laura told him. ‘But she won’t be here yet.’ Lulu was always half an hour late for everything. ‘And actually, I think I’ll wait outside for her. Hopefully when she gets here the lights will be back on.’

‘Lights?’ The smiling face above the torch beams looked puzzled. ‘But, madam, Umbra does not have lights. That is the point. It is dark on purpose.’

Laura laughed. There was surprise in her laughter; London waiters, in her experience, were not great exponents of irony. But as the torchlit face changed from puzzled to irritated, she realised the assertion was serious. Her own amusement gave way to astonishment. ‘Dark? But why?’

‘To heighten our clients’ sense of taste, madam. To give them the ultimate flavour experience.’

‘You serve people in the pitch blackness and that makes the food taste better?’

‘And the wine, madam.’

‘I suppose,’ Laura allowed, ‘it brings a whole new meaning to “blind tastings”.’

The waiter did not bat an eyelid. Not so far as Laura could see, anyway. ‘Absolutely, madam. Shall I show you to your table?’

Laura followed the torch beam as it shone along a length of hideous swirled carpet. But of course there was no need to fit out a blacked-out restaurant in the latest expensive designer style. The proprietors of Umbra could well be on to something. She felt her way to her seat. The invisible chair and table felt light and plastic, like very cheap garden furniture.

She sat there for what seemed like a very long time. Behind her and around her, the conversation flowed as it might in any high-end Mayfair eaterie at lunchtime.

‘Everyone who’s anyone lives there,’ a woman behind her was saying. ‘But no one’s ever heard of it.’

Laura was instantly on the alert. She was desperate to find a new lead for Selina the travel editor, who, encouraged by the new crazed Carinthia, was currently putting together a piece about trekking in the Arctic whilst living on reindeer blubber and lining your clothes with tinfoil. This luxury enclave being discussed was far more the thing. Where was it? Connecticut? Puglia?

The woman’s companion was speaking. ‘They say Great Hording’s the most expensive village in the UK.’

Village? The UK? Laura was so surprised she wobbled the table and a number of unseen things fell to the floor where, fortunately, the briefly glimpsed hideous carpet cushioned the impact. She was memorising the name of this fortunate place – Great Hording, Great Hording – as a small point of light flashed on her accompanied by an excitable voice with a strong foreign accent.


Buy Last of the Summer Moët here! 

 

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2Dwz9Io

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2rvrZyt

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2rwz7Lg

iBooks: https://apple.co/2DsC8O8
 Follow Head of Zeus: 

Website: http://headofzeus.com/
Facebook: @HoZ_Books
Twitter: @headofzeus
Instagram: @headofzeus
NetGalley: http://bit.ly/2F5vGNi         
 

Blog Tour: Scandal by Sasha Morgan


About  the Book:



 

For all fans of Jilly Cooper and Tilly Bagshawe. Sex, scandal, horses and aristocrats, the perfect recipe for the perfect escapist read…

 

As the new custodian of the ancestral home, Treweham Hall, Tobias Cavendish-Blake soon discovers exactly what he’s inherited. Instant financial action is needed if the Hall is to survive the mounting debts it’s racking up. Adding insult to injury the family is forced to sell the Gate House on the estate to lottery winners Gary and Tracy Belcher – not the kind of neighbours Tobias was hoping for.

 

Megan Taylor inherits her grandmother’s country cottage in the village of Treweham and decides to make a fresh start there, taking a job at the local country pub.

 

When Megan meets Tobias, the attraction is clear, but she is determined to resist his charms, put off by his reputation and that of his best friends – the rakish Seamus Fox, son of a millionaire racehorse trainer and dastardly jockey Dylan Delany. But Tobias is a hard man to resist…

 

Scandal is the perfect rip-roaring, bonk-busting horsey escapist read for fans of Jilly Cooper and Tilly Bagshawe.

 About the Author:




Sasha lives in a rural, coastal village in Lancashire with her husband and Labrador dog. She has always written stories from a very young age and finds her fictional world so much more exciting than the real one.




My Review: 

I was blown away by this book and so it HAD to be one of my 5 star books. When I first saw the title, I thought it would be all about hot and steamy sex, or a story about falling in and out of love. Believe me, there IS some of that, but there is a lot, lot more to this book! 
Tobias Cavendish- Blake is wealthy and lives in Treweham Hall in the picturesque Cotswolds, but economic problems mean he has to find a solution to be able to save the family’s finances and preserve the historic home. His father spent a lot of money on maintaining the building and his mother is disinterested about solving the Hall’s economic situation, so the task is left to Tobias. 
The grandeur of the Hall is well portrayed and it is very realistically described. I have visited many a stately home with my family and have also watched a lot of period dramas and films set in them. For people who are not from England as I am, the book will give a glimpse into English country houses and the Cotswold area. Having been bought up near Oxford, I visited the Cotswolds a few times and the picture postcard village feel is very accurate and strong in this book. 
Megan arrives after her Gran’s death She spent many a happy time at her Gran’s during her kchildhood, and is amazed to find she was left the cottage.

 In an effort to settle into the area, she takes a job at the local pub. 
Ted is an elderly man and her next door neighbour, but hides secrets. When Megan finds some letters between her Gran and a mysterious man written during the War when her Gran was a land girl. she finds she wants to know more…..What happened to bring them together? 
Dylan is a succesful jockey and a bit of a ladies’ man. I found him the least likeable character of all those in the book, but this mix of characters really helped to display the demographic in this small village. 
In Lancashire, a couple who live in a small terraced house, are unaware what life has in store for them, and live life as best they can by working in a supermarket and care home. Is a new start on the cards for them, too? 
Scandal is a very fun read with highly detailed descriptions, and a pace which is very quick but punctuated by short chapters. Despite this, the attention to detail and plot is of a very high standard throughout the book, and the pace never lagged or meant the story lacked interest for me.
 It is also a story about how circumstance throws strangers from all walks of life together, and about how change can happen when, and how, you least expect it. It’s a story of hope, friendship love embracing life and being brave enough to take a chance and of being happy with what you have. 
It could also be a good read for Downton Abbey fans or equally for those who love the close-knit feel of village life. It’s definitely for anyone who loves a good dramatic story with people making life-changing decisions. Finally, of course, it is one for all the romantics out there! 
Thanks to Sasha Morgan and Aria, an imprint of Head of Zeus, for my ARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review

Want more? Read an extract from the book! 

It was day break. A rosy, warm sunrise glowed over the valley. Galloping through the early morning mist, Tobias Cavendish-Blake finally slowed his horse to survey the sight before him. Treweham Hall stood proud and majestic against the smooth, rolling hills. The imposing building was made of sandstone with four corner turrets and sturdy buttresses that gave it a castle-like appearance. Gothic windows with stained glass twinkled in the sunlight. He sighed heavily: would it always remain so resilient, the fortress of his family?

That seemed dubious, going through the estate accounts. His father, the late Lord Richard Cavendish-Blake, had looked after the place well – too well. All the contingency funds had haemorrhaged, bled completely dry relentlessly maintaining the upkeep of the Hall. The outgoings far outweighed the incomings. The payroll of the staff alone made Tobias’ eyes water, not to mention the colossal energy bills. Tobias had suggested shutting down the many vast unused rooms, but his mother wouldn’t hear of it. Lady Cavendish-Blake had been sheltered by her late husband, leaving her totally oblivious to the fact that her home was a money pit and the current state of affairs could only be described as dire. As the new custodian, it was down to Tobias to keep the place running. He was responsible not only for the staff, but the village tenants too. Feeling the burden weighing down on his broad shoulders, he realised it was time to grow up. Time to settle down. The future meant kissing goodbye to the wild parties for which he was notorious.

His thoughts turned back to his thirtieth birthday bash, making him wince. It hadn’t been so much a party, more a two-week brawl around Europe with a few friends, including his oldest childhood chum, Seamus Fox, son of a millionaire racehorse trainer. The two of them together had been a lethal combination, each egging the other on, the more daring and outrageous the exploits the better, resulting in the occasional brush with the tabloids. The picture of him and Seamus plastered over the front page of a newspaper showing them tumbling out of a St Tropez nightclub, legless (and trouserless) with a beauty on each arm, was one he couldn’t forget. His father wouldn’t let him. They’d been dubbed ‘the Heir and the Fox’. Ironically, Tobias wasn’t a natural wild child, the opposite in fact.

His one true love, Carrie, had been a local girl from the village. They’d always been close. Even when he had been sent to Eton they’d written, phoned and constantly made arrangements to meet. When Tobias had turned twenty-one he had proposed, claiming she was the only thing he wanted. Both families had been happy with the arrangement. Carrie’s parents were glad that being married to Tobias meant she would stay in the village close to them and obviously be well looked after. Tobias’ parents were just plain relieved he wanted to settle down with a sensible, local girl, instead of turning to drink and drugs like so many of his peers. Then one year after their spectacular engagement celebration, Carrie had been hit by a drunken driver and killed instantly. Tobias had been inconsolable; not even the Fox could calm him. He turned his back on society and locked himself away, refusing to talk or open up to anyone. His mother had been sick with worry, every attempt to reach him futile. Then, as if overnight, he completely changed. After twelve months of grieving, Tobias stopped being angry with the world and everyone in it and decided to rip the hell out of it instead. He forced himself to live life to the max, which meant spending his considerable allowance on any substance necessary to get the highs he craved, not to mention a string of stunning girlfriends who were more than happy to be showcased on the arm of a lord.


Where to buy

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The French Adventure by Lucy Coleman

About the Book: 


Suddenly unemployed and single, Anna escapes to her parents’ beautiful house in France for a much needed recharge – and to work out what she wants to do next with her life now her carefully mapped out plan has gone out the window.
Anna gives herself 6 months to recuperate, all the while helping renovate her parents’ adjoining Gites into picturesque b&b’s. But working alongside the ruggedly handsome Sam on the renovation project, she didn’t expect for life to take an unexpected, if not unwelcome, twist…
Perfect for all fans of Milly Johnson, Lucy Diamond and Debbie Johnson.
  

 About the Author:


Lucy lives in the Forest of Dean in the UK with her lovely husband and Bengal cat, Ziggy. Her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards. Lucy won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award.

My Review:

Sometimes, life doesn’t work out as planned. Anna realises this when suddenly she finds herself single and unemployed. She’s not one to feel bad and sorry for herself for long and soon devises a way to move on in her life. Her parents moved out to France sometime before her problems start, and she decides to join them. She promised herself it’ll only be for 6 months and that by the end of that time, she’ll be able to return to the UK and pick up where she left off in life. 
I loved Anna’s character, and her parents seemed caring, welcoming and hospitable as well as understanding and sensitive to her situation. She automatically struck me as brave and adventurous to make the decision to go to France, and I was happy for her that she had the support of family there. Her parents are in France because they are living the dream of many Brits and run a B& B in a small rural village. They are renovating the adjoining gites into B& Bs too, so there’s plenty of work to be done. 
From the moment Anna got into her car and started her drive to France, I was rooting for her. Her journey sparked powerful memories in me of my own holidays in France and visits to the home of a family member who had the same enthusiasm to live the French dream as Anna’s parents. Reading this was an emotional journey for me. The French landscape, as well as the descriptions of the buildings and food are perfect and very atmospheric. 
When she met Sam. I was happy for her and I was really curious to see how the relationship developed between them. He is very hard working and I thought there were times when they had good rapport. 
The pace of this book is spot on. I have never read anything by Lucy Coleman, but I adored this book. It’s a wonderful escapist read about learning to move on in life no matter how hard it is, appreciating the small things in life and finding new passions. For me, it’s a 5 star read! 
Thanks to Lucy Coleman and Aria, an imprint of Head of Zeus,  for my ARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.


 

Links to buy

 

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ESyZYc

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2mROZTD

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2ETtOXY

iBooks: https://apple.co/2EVtV5w

 

Follow Lucy Coleman

 

Website: http://bit.ly/2DjotJ9

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Review Tour: When The Stars Come Out (Cottonbloom #5) by Laura Trentham 

 About the Book: 

Cottonbloom. A beautiful, faraway place where a woman can escape her past—and find reason to stay forever. . .
Willa Brown never planned to stay in Cottonbloom. She was on the way to somewhere else when she landed there and found work at the Abbot brothers’ garage. . .and a sense of comfort and safety that she had never known. The same holds true for Jackson Abbott himself. With one glance in her direction, he can make Willa’s heart melt. But what begins as an unrequited crush turns into something far more powerful than Willa could have ever imagined. . .
Jackson’s most meaningful relationship has always been with his car—and he’s not afraid to admit it. Still, he can’t help but become emotionally entangled with his new star mechanic Willa, who is definitely hiding some dark secrets of her own beneath the hood. Jackson desperately wants Willa to trust him, and to seek protection in his arms. But even as the two slowly surrender to their shared attraction, the danger lurking in Willa’s past remains a stubborn obstacle. Can she open up enough to give them both a chance at having real and lasting love? 


My Review: 

After having read and reviewed Leave the Night On (Cottonbloom #4 ) awhile ago which was my first ever Laura Trentham book, I was very happy to get to read and review book 5 in the series. 
In When the Stars Come Out (Cottonbloom #5) we learn more about Willa and Jackson. Willa is the only female mechanic at the Abbot Brothers’ Garage in Cottonbloom. 
I’ve liked Jackson since book #4 which is so far the only other Laura Trentham ARC I have read and reviewed, His twin Wyatt features a little here, as does Sutton Mize, who were main characters in book #4.
As always with Laura Trentham’s books, there are secrets and truths. There’s also and lots and lots of romance.
These things make a great book for me: well-fleshed out characters, realistic storylines and emotionally charged plots. I just love Cottonbloom and am really taken with Laura Trentham’s writing which has a wonderful pace as well as all the above. 
I can’t wait for the next book! 

I was delighted to participate in the blog tour for the fifth book in the series, When the Stars Come Out. Thanks to Laura Trentham and St Martin’s Press for my ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Here are my questions for Laura:

 

1) Great cover and title! What were the inspiration for these?

I take no credit for the covers; St. Martin’s Press has an amazing art department! And, usually, I can take no credit for the titles, but I did come up with When the Stars Come Out and Set the Night on Fire. The first book in this trilogy, Leave the Night On, is the title of a Sam Hunt song. Once we chose it, we took off with the “night” theme. By the way, if you are traditionally published, then the publishing house has final say over your covers and titles, but my editor is great about asking me to brainstorm titles with her. I’ve been very lucky!

2) What was your inspiration for the plot of this book? Having read and reviewed book #4 on a blog tour also, this would be great to know. I love Cottonbloom already and am hooked on the place and characters you create!

This Cottonbloom trilogy (books 4-6) follow three brothers who own a car repair and restoration garage. My husband is a gear-head, and I’ve watched many hours of car shows on TV. Fast and Loud is a reality show following a garage that was a loose inspiration for this trilogy. I get ideas from the news, music, and even commercials. My current project was inspired by a car commercial and wondering what happened after they drove away.

3) I myself am attempting to write novels and my dream is becoming published some day. What advice would you give me to aid me in my writing journey?

First of all, yay on following your dream of writing!! Joining Romance Writers of America (RWA) was a turning point for me. The path I took was to enter writing contests for unpublished writers. I targeted contests that gave unbiased (anonymous) feedback. It was sometimes harsh, but that feedback let me know what I needed to work on. I read craft books and practiced. A lot! I re-wrote my first manuscript four or five times. But, it eventually got me an agent and was the first book I sold to a publisher! I still read and practice, by the way. I read a craft book on plotting over Christmas break. Also, keep in mind, there are as many paths to publication as there are writers. Good luck!

Thanks so much, Laura! 

Praise for When the Stars Come Out:

 

“The fifth installment in the Cottonbloom series, following Leave the Light On (2017) is hot and sweet, and readers will cheer for Willa and Jackson. Fans of Kristan Higgins and Susan Mallery will love the immersive world that Trentham has created in Cottonbloom, a small southern town divided by the Mississippi River.” Booklist

 

“When the Stars Come Out is a tender and sexy small-town tale of blossoming love.” BookPage

 

Returning to Cottonbloom has never been sweeter, When The Stars Come Out is pure literary magic, it’s sure to have readers mesmerized from start to finish!! Red’s Romance Reviews, 5 stars

 

 

About the Author:

An award-winning author, Laura Trentham was born and raised in a small town in Tennessee. Although, she loved English and reading in high school, she was convinced an English degree equated to starvation. She chose the next most logical major—Chemical Engineering—and worked in a hard hat and steel toed boots for several years.

She writes sexy, small town contemporaries and smoking hot Regency historicals. KISS ME THAT WAY, Cottonbloom Book 1, won the Stiletto Contest for Best Long Contemporary and finaled in the National Readers Choice Award. THEN HE KISSED ME, Cottonbloom Book 2, was named an Amazon Best Romance of 2016 and was a finalist for the National Excellence for Romance Fiction. TILL I KISSED YOU, Cottonbloom Book 3, is a finalist in the Maggie contest. LEAVE THE NIGHT ON, the latest Cottonbloom book, was named an iBooks Best Book of the Month and a Recommended Read from NPR.

When not lost in a cozy Southern town or Regency England, she’s shuttling kids to soccer, helping with homework, and avoiding the Mt. Everest-sized pile of laundry that is almost as big as the to-be-read pile of books on her nightstand.

 

Social Media Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLauraTrentham

Or join my reader group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1733284316920632/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LauraTrentham

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Sign up for my newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bwbOkD

Follow me on Bookbub for new release or sale announcements:

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Like the sound of the book? Read on for an extract! 
Willa glanced down and back up at Jackson through her lashes. The gentle, flirtatious look hit him like a punch. This time his heart kicked like he might require someone to call 911. “Do I clean up good?”He knew what she wanted to hear and later, in the dark solitude of his bed, he’d tell her and, even better, show her. But, for now, he tempered his response, hoping to get a rise out of her. “Not bad.”

She stepped forward and punched his arm. It might have stung if she hadn’t tipped to the side as her fist made contact. Her eyes popped wide and a little huff escaped. With reaction times honed on the racetrack, he wrapped his arm around her waist, bringing her flush with his body.

“You sure you know how to operate those shoes?” This time he couldn’t keep the smile off his face.

“They don’t require a license. And I was doing fine until you showed up.”

Her admission made him feel slightly better. He wasn’t the only one who was off balance. Her body notched into his perfectly with the added inches the heels lent her. His focus dropped from her sparking eyes to her mouth. Maybe he’d kiss the gloss off them right now. His lips hovered an inch from hers. So close he could feel the ramp-up of her breathing. Or was that his breathing spinning out of control?

As this is such a great book, I have  FOUR (yes, FOUR) of the books in the Cottonbloom series to give away. They are the books which come before When The Stars Come Out, and if you win, you will be able to read all of them and see how Laura Trentham began the excellent Cottonbloom series! 

 Giveaway: 

Enter to win the first four (4) books in the Cottonbloom series!

Kiss Me That Way, Book 1

Then He Kissed Me, Book 2

Till I Kissed You, Book 3

Leave the Night On, Book 4 (SEE MY REVIEW HERE)

Interested? ENTER HERE!
Too late for the giveaway? When The Stars Come Out will always be available here at these links: 
Goodreads: http://smarturl.it/minm6t
Amz: http://smarturl.it/ot9u7g
BN: http://smarturl.it/z4d8xz
iBooks: http://smarturl.it/5dles5
Kobo: http://smarturl.it/j60yyx
GooglePlay: http://smarturl.it/qvi0by

Release Blitz: When The Stars Come Out (Cottonbloom #5) by Laura Trentham

After having previously been contacted by St Martin’s Press to review Laura Trentham’s novel,  Cottonbloom #4 (Leave The Night On) last year, I was thrilled to be invited by them  again. NOTE: TO SEE MY REVIEW OF LEAVE THE NIGHT ON (Cottonbloom #4) GO TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST.

 This time, the invitation  was to take part    in the Release Blitz for Laura Trentham’s new novel When The Stars Come Out, which is number 5 in the Cottonbloom series. You’ll be able to see and read a full review of the book in my  Review post for the book, which will be published here on this blog on February 4th .

 I’m so excited that When The Stars Come Out has finally been released! 

Click on the banner at the top of this post to find the blog tour schedule! 

About the Book: 

When the Stars Come Out

A Cottonbloom Novel

By Laura Trentham

 

Cottonbloom. A beautiful, faraway place where a woman can escape her past—and find reason to stay forever in Laura Trentham’s When the Stars Come Out. . .

 

Willa Brown never planned to stay in Cottonbloom. She was on the way to somewhere else when she landed there and found work at the Abbot brothers’ garage. . .and a sense of comfort and safety that she had never known. The same holds true for Jackson Abbott himself. With one glance in her direction, he can make Willa’s heart melt. But what begins as an unrequited crush turns into something far more powerful than Willa could have ever imagined. . .

 

Jackson’s most meaningful relationship has always been with his car—and he’s not afraid to admit it. Still, he can’t help but become emotionally entangled with his new star mechanic Willa, who is definitely hiding some dark secrets of her own beneath the hood. Jackson desperately wants Willa to trust him, and to seek protection in his arms. But even as the two slowly surrender to their shared attraction, the danger lurking in Willa’s past remains a stubborn obstacle. Can she open up enough to give them both a chance at having real and lasting love?

 
 

Praise for When The Stars Come Out: 

 

“The fifth installment in the Cottonbloom series, following Leave the Light On (2017) is hot and sweet, and readers will cheer for Willa and Jackson. Fans of Kristan Higgins and Susan Mallery will love the immersive world that Trentham has created in Cottonbloom, a small southern town divided by the Mississippi River.” Booklist

 

“When the Stars Come Out is a tender and sexy small-town tale of blossoming love.” BookPage

 

Returning to Cottonbloom has never been sweeter, When The Stars Come Out is pure literary magic, it’s sure to have readers mesmerized from start to finish!! Red’s Romance Reviews, 5 stars

 

 

About the Author:


An award-winning author, Laura Trentham was born and raised in a small town in Tennessee. Although, she loved English and reading in high school, she was convinced an English degree equated to starvation. She chose the next most logical major—Chemical Engineering—and worked in a hard hat and steel toed boots for several years.

She writes sexy, small town contemporaries and smoking hot Regency historicals. KISS ME THAT WAY, Cottonbloom Book 1, won the Stiletto Contest for Best Long Contemporary and finaled in the National Readers Choice Award. THEN HE KISSED ME, Cottonbloom Book 2, was named an Amazon Best Romance of 2016 and was a finalist for the National Excellence for Romance Fiction. TILL I KISSED YOU, Cottonbloom Book 3, is a finalist in the Maggie contest. LEAVE THE NIGHT ON, the latest Cottonbloom book, was named an iBooks Best Book of the Month and a Recommended Read from NPR.

When not lost in a cozy Southern town or Regency England, she’s shuttling kids to soccer, helping with homework, and avoiding the Mt. Everest-sized pile of laundry that is almost as big as the to-be-read pile of books on her nightstand.


  I have a special giveaway for the FIRST 4 BOOKS in the Cottonbloom series.

Giveaway Details:

to win the first four (4) books in the Cottonbloom series!

Kiss Me That Way, Book 1

Then He Kissed Me, Book 2

Till I Kissed You, Book 3

Leave the Night On, Book 4

CLICK HERE TO ENTER
Good luck! 

Social Media Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLauraTrentham

Or join my reader group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1733284316920632/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LauraTrentham

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lauratrentham/

Sign up for my newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bwbOkD

Follow me on Bookbub for new release or sale announcements:

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/laura-trentham

 

Want to buy the book? 

Goodreads: http://smarturl.it/minm6t

Amz: http://smarturl.it/ot9u7g

BN: http://smarturl.it/z4d8xz

iBooks: http://smarturl.it/5dles5

Kobo: http://smarturl.it/j60yyx

GooglePlay:

Other Books By Laura Trentham I Have Reviewed On My Blog: 

Leave The Night On CLICK HERE FOR REVIEW
Laura Trentham has become one of my favourite small town romance authors ever  since I read and reviewed Leave The Night On. I’m hoping I’ll get to review more of her work here soon. 

The Little French Bistro by Nina George 

About the Book: 


From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Little Paris Bookshop, an extraordinary novel about self-discovery and new beginnings.
Marianne is stuck in a loveless, unhappy marriage. After forty-one years, she has reached her limit, and one evening in Paris she decides to take action. Following a dramatic moment on the banks of the Seine, Marianne leaves her life behind and sets out for the coast of Brittany, also known as the end of the world.
Here she meets a cast of colorful and unforgettable locals who surprise her with their warm welcome, and the natural ease they all seem to have, taking pleasure in life s small moments. And, as the parts of herself she had long forgotten return to her in this new world, Marianne learns it s never too late to begin the search for what life should have been all along. 
With all the buoyant charm that made The Little Paris Bookshop a beloved bestseller, The Little French Bistro is a tale of second chances and a delightful embrace of the joys of life in France.

About the Author: 


Born 1973 in Bielefeld, Germany, Nina George is a prize-winning and bestselling author (“Das Lavendelzimmer” – “The Little Paris Bookshop”) and freelance journalist since 1992, who has published 26 books (novels, mysteries and non-fiction) as well as over hundred short stories and more than 600 columns. George has worked as a cop reporter, columnist and managing editor for a wide range of publications, including Hamburger Abendblatt, Die Welt, Der Hamburger, “politik und kultur” as well as TV Movie and Federwelt. Georges writes also under three pen-names, for ex “Jean Bagnol”, a double-andronym for provence-based mystery novels. 
In 2012 and 2013 she won the DeLiA and the Glauser-Prize. In 2013 she had her first bestselling book “Das Lavendelzimmer”, translated in 27 langues and sold more than 500.000 copies. 
In November 2011, Nina George established the “JA zum Urheberrecht” (YES on Author’s Rights) initiative, which supports the rights of authors, artists and entertainers and is dedicated to resolving issues within the literary community as well as establishing fair and practical rights-license models for the web-distribution. 14 writers’ associations and 27 publishing partners have since joined the JA…-Initiative. George supports the “Initiative Urheberrecht” (Author’s Rights Initiative—www.urheber.info) as well as the “gib 8 aufs Wort”-campaign of the VG Wort. 
In August 2014 George initiated the Amazon-protest in Germany http://www.fairer-buchmarkt.de, where overs 2000 germanspeaking authors – Nobelprizewinnig Elfriede Jelinek or Bestsellingauthor Nele Neuhaus – sign an open letter to Jeff Bezos and Amazon, protesting against the banned-book-methods of the giant retailer in the Hachette/Bonnier-dispute. 
In 2015 George is the founder of the Initiative Fairer Buchmarkt e.V., which supports questions of law in daily business of authors – for ex in contracts, fees or author’s rights and e-Business. 
George is Member to PEN, Das Syndikat (association of German-language crime writers), the Association of German Authors (VS), the Hamburg Authors’ Association (HAV), BücherFrauen (Women in Publishing), the IACW/AIEP (International Association of Crime Writers), the GEDOK (Association of female artists in Germany), PRO QUOTE and Lean In. Nina George sits on the board of the Three Seas Writers’ and Translaters’ Council (TSWTC), whose members come from 16 different countries. 
Nina George teaches writing at Literaturbüro Unna, Alsterdamm Kunstschule, Wilhelmsburger Honigfabrik, where she coaches young people, adults and professional authors. 

George also moderates (bilingual) readings and works as a speaker.
http://www.nina-george.com
find me also on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/NinaGeorge.S…

http://www.ninageorge.de
My Review

The way in which this started was different to how I thought it would, but that turned out to be a great thing. The Little Breton Bistro is a story that will keep you reading if you love France and stories about personal discovery and tragic events with some humour and romance thrown in. The story is a great mix of themes and transported me to the small idyllic villages of northern France and the dramatic and beautiful Brittany coast. I was rooting for the main character and was engrossed by the book. Every scene in the book was captivating and the amount of detail was just right to help the reader visualise each scene. I am looking forward to reading more by Nina George. 

Blog Tour: Robin Hood’s Dawn (Robin Hood Trilogy Book 1) by Olivia Longueville and J.C. Plummer

 My Review: 

I remember seeing Robin Hood films. I also watched a cartoon series about Robin Hood when I was very young. 

This is the first retelling of Robin Hood I have read, and it was action from start to end. The title of the book is just perfect! It automatically mentions Robin Hood, but got me interested as to find out what his origins were and how he came to be.

The attention to detail is amazing and the book is very atmospheric. There’s bloodshead and disagreements as well as romance.
 We are introduced to the characters well and they are well fleshed-out. 

I felt I was immediately transported into the era. Every detail is so real. 
I was a little confused by some of the language used at first, but luckily there’s a dictionary at the back of the book (which I thought would have been better placed at the front to avoid having to go to the end). The book begins with a helpful chart and a family tree so the reader gets a sense of who’s who right before they read/ listen to the first sentence. There’s also a handy graphic showing the shields. This was a nice touch. 


The cover was mysterious despite Robin Hood’s name and after finishing it, I was happy that I had a greater understanding of how Robin Hood came to be Robin Hood and quite a detailed idea of his background as well as that of the characters who are household names when we think of Robin Hood. 
Some parts did get a little wordy at times, but the upside of that was that the descriptions of both the surroundings and people as well as the culture and customs of the time were made even more visual and realistic. Short chapters really helped the pace along and kept me listening to my Kindle ARC on my iPad! 


I’m looking forward to book two! 


Thanks to Olivia Longueville and J.C. Plummer for my ARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.

Author Q&A with Olivia Longueville and J.C. Plummer

Robin Hood’s Dawn: Book One in the Robin Hood Trilogy

 

Robin Hood has been featured in many books, movies, and television shows. How is your story different?

We have taken a fresh approach to the Robin Hood story, and we’re excited to share our vision with fans of the legendary hero.  

We have creatively reimagined the origins of the Robin Hood legend, which includes exploring the complexity of his family dynamics – an aloof, proud father loyal to King Henry II, and a kind-hearted, generous mother devoted to ministering to the poor with her gift for healing. One theme is that the consequences of immoral actions and secret sins can reverberate across generations, and this is part of the legacy that Robin receives from his father.

We wanted to cast him as a hero fighting against the tyranny of a lawless government official instead of a bandit redistributing wealth. When Robin is falsely accused of a shocking crime by the new Sheriff of Nottingham, he could have simply retreated to a safe place beyond the reach of the sheriff. However, he feels a responsibility to the people – he believes in the intrinsic value of every human being – so he takes a stand to defend the people from the actions of the sheriff. And this points to another theme: one person can make a difference by taking a stand for what is right.

Robin also feels great admiration for the newly crowned King Richard the Lionhearted. His loyalty to the king will create a number of conflicts and unexpected consequences in the story.

Lastly, we wanted to set our Robin Hood story in a fascinating time period: the 12th century. In our humble opinion, the 12th century has much to offer fans of sweeping tales of political, social, and spiritual upheaval.

We have carefully constructed our story within the framework of real history. We hope that this realism and devotion to actual history will add to the enjoyment of the story and encourage people to learn more about this time.

 

You’ve emphasized how your Robin Hood story has been reimagined. Will fans of the traditional ballads still recognize this as a Robin Hood story?

There is a lot of variety in the many books and screen adaptations of the Robin Hood legend. We wanted to create a story that was respectful towards fans of the original ballads and legends without necessarily adhering to the same storylines that have been previously written. It is our hope that all Robin Hood fans will enjoy this fresh retelling of the story.

For example, we feel that Marian is a character who deserves more attention. All too often she is a background character with little to do. With this in mind, we have focused on creating a Lady Marian who will figure more prominently in the story, especially in book 2.  

Our Marian is more than a love interest for Robin. Over the course of Robin Hood’s Dawn, Marian transforms from a sheltered, somewhat pampered, girl into a brave woman who continuously strives to overcome both her fears and the obstacles that she faces. We also wanted her to be feminine and remain believable as a woman of the 12th century. Of course, keep in mind that the most prominent woman of the 12th century was the indomitable Eleanor of Aquitaine, an inspiration to any woman living in a male-dominated society.  

Fans of the Robin Hood legend will find many familiar characters: Maid Marian, Little John, Allan-a-dale, Will Scarlet, Much the Miller’s son, Guy of Gisborne, and the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Readers will also meet real historical figures such as King Stephen, King Henry II, Richard the Lionhearted, King Philippe II of France, Prince John “the Lackland”, and many others, including Ranulphus Besace. Who was he? Well, he was a real person who was King Richard’s personal physician!

 

This book is advertised as the first in a trilogy. Will the first two books end in cliff-hangers? Will any of the books be stand-alone?  

Although the final mysteries and conflicts will not be resolved until book 3, we have structured the trilogy so that books 1 and 2 do not end in cliffhangers.

The readers will not be left wondering whether the main characters will live or die, and we have endeavored to create a sense of completion in each of the first two books. Some story threads will be resolved, and some of the mysteries surrounding the main characters will be revealed in each of the first two books.

We think readers will be excited and eager for the next installment without suffering undue frustration at the endings of books 1 and 2.  

The books will not be stand-alone.

 

How did each of you become interested in writing this story and working together as co-authors?

Olivia:

I love to tell stories with multi-dimensional characters. I speak several languages, and I found that I enjoyed not only writing stories but also writing them in different languages. My favorite legendary hero is Robin Hood, and my favorite historical figure is Anne Boleyn. My first novel is an English-language re-imagining of the story of Anne Boleyn.

In 2015, I met Coleen (J.C.) on the Internet and we decided to co-author a Robin Hood Trilogy.  

It is amazing that Coleen and I have managed to successfully work together on our project despite the fact that we have never met each other in real life. We talk on the phone and frequently exchange skype messages as well as emails. We have been working together long-distance despite living in very different time zones.

Coleen (J.C.)

I began writing about three years ago. I had previously done editing work for other authors, but I had never thought about writing my own stories until one day when I was suddenly inspired to start writing, and I’ve been writing nearly non-stop ever since.

I wanted to write a book that would honor the legend of Robin Hood as a man who stood against the tyranny of a powerful government official; a man who fought for justice and fairness because he recognized the intrinsic value rooted in the humanity of all people.  

 

So, you’ve never actually met, you come from different countries, different cultures, and speak different languages. How can you co-author a book? Is it because you have similar writing styles?

Coleen:

Fortunately, Olivia is fluent in English, because that’s the only language I know!

Olivia:

We have found that we have a lot in common – especially our love of writing and of history. We have to work hard to merge our writing styles, but we have successfully done this.

Coleen:

That’s very true. Oliva and I have very different “voices” and writing styles. You might even say they are nearly opposite styles.  

I tend to write in a straightforward, expository style, with a minimum of descriptive elements and metaphorical flourishes. I am good at explaining things, organizing ideas, and creating natural sounding dialogue.

Olivia:

My writing is characterized by lush romanticism and passionate lyricism. I love to create metaphors and descriptions which excite the imagination of the reader in a vivid and dramatic way.

Coleen:

In some respects, Olivia’s words are the emotional heart of the story, and my words represent the rational intellect. Of course, it’s not quite that cut-and-dried, but it is one way to describe how two people with such different styles have come together to create Robin Hood’s Dawn.

 I have not 1, but two excerpts to share with you of two different genres. 

Romantic  Excerpt

Chapter 3: The Earl of Huntingdon

22 August 1188, Sherwood Forest

Marian was laughing so hard that she was gasping for breath. She admonished, “You cannot put a hole in that cloud with an arrow.”

“Why do you have so little faith in my abilities?” queried Robin with mock offense. “You are not even giving me a chance. Very well. Pick a leaf, any leaf, and I will pierce the center in one try.”

Marian wiped a stray tear that had leaked from her eye during her unrestrained mirth. “How do you expect me to choose one leaf? The tree is thick with them. It does not matter which leaf I select; you will always claim that you pierced the correct one.”

She beheld him as he stood there, bow in hand, his pale blue eyes sparkling with mischief, his boyishly handsome face sporting an impish smile, and his wheat-colored hair slightly ruffled owing to their spirited ride from the Locksley stables to their favorite meadow. Marian liked to imagine that it was an enchanted corner of the forest – a refuge dominated by a massive oak, one of the largest trees in this part of the greenwood.    

“Well?” he demanded. “What shall I aim for next? I need a challenge, and you will not allow me to poke holes in the clouds, for fear that it will cause them to rain–”

“That is not what I said!”

Robin persisted, “And you refuse to choose a leaf, although there appears to be an abundance of leaves from which you could make a selection. I have already slain a brace of coneys and a pheasant. Elvina and the cook will be quite pleased with me.”

Marian huffed in mock exasperation. “Elvina and the cook are always pleased with you.” A sly twinkle brightened her eyes. “What about the pheasant you missed?”

“Missed!” he thundered. “No, no, I did not miss that pheasant. I never miss. Someone deliberately distracted me.”

“It was accidental,” she insisted with a grin.

Robin argued, “Sneaking up behind me and shouting, ‘Do not miss,’ just as I released the arrow was not accidental.”

Their laughter faded as he took her hands into his. Marian gazed deeply into his eyes, attempting to learn every shift in the emotions that he guarded so well.  

She believed that he revealed more of himself to her than anyone else, but he was still often a puzzle. At times, he was quiet and contemplative, obviously focusing his mind on some problem or issue, yet denying that he was thinking about anything important. On some occasions, she had seen him tense with anger, only to disguise his feelings by making a jest or laughing, even though he was clearly not amused. Marian knew that when he was truly battling his emotions, he would disappear into the embrace of Sherwood Forest, for Robin was a man who found comfort in the untamed beauty of nature.  

Once, in a surprisingly candid conversation, Robin had described to her what the forest meant to him. He spoke of how the forest made him feel alive, and how each of his senses experienced the greenwood: the fragrances of pine and wild blossoms, the sounds of a rushing river at his feet and the rustling of leaves overhead, the taste of freshly gathered berries, the feel of a gentle rain against his face, and the vistas that could only be viewed from tree limbs high above the forest floor. Robin had told her that the forest was both vast, as it stretched to the horizon, and intimate, as the sheltering trees sometimes seemed to be crowding around him.

Marian had frequently pondered his words, and she longed to hear him speak openly about himself again. Unfortunately, whenever she asked him about his feelings or his thoughts, he deflected her questions with either a joke or a change of topic.

 

Suspense/Mystery Excerpt

Chapter 6: The Earl of Sherwood Forest

25 August 1188, Sherwood Forest

Forcing himself to redirect his thoughts away from Marian’s perilous circumstances, Robin returned to his scrutiny of Gisborne’s weapon. He frowned at the sword and mumbled, “Interesting.”

“What is it, Lord Robin?” inquired Much.

Robin revealed, “This sword is quite distinctive.”

Will leaned closer for a better view. “It looks like any other sword, except for all those marks on the blade.”

Robin inspected the extravagant weapon as he described it. “This is an excellent sword, equal to the one I carry. It’s unlikely that a landless knight like Gisborne would own such a weapon, although sometimes a wealthy noble will award a superior sword to his favorite squire on the occasion of his knighthood, especially if the knight will be tasked with guarding the lord.”

Much felt confused. “Gisborne is Argentan’s captain; he was probably his squire too. Why does the quality of this sword surprise you?”

Robin countered, “Much, do you remember the Barony of Argentan from our travels through Normandy?” At the quick shake of Much’s head, he disclosed, “Well, I remember it. Argentan is not prosperous; it is small and insignificant. I wonder how Baron de Argentan could afford to give such an expensive weapon to his captain.”

Rising, the three men strolled to a nearby spot brightened by a shaft of light, and Robin held the blade where the sun’s rays could illuminate its elaborate designs. He continued to study it as Will and Much watched.  

Much commented, “Those marks look like letters.”

An amazed Will stared at Much. “You can read?”

Much’s ruddy complexion darkened slightly in self-consciousness. “I can read a little. I was allowed to listen to Lord Robin’s lessons, and his tutor kindly taught me many things.”

Robin pointed to the elegant etching on the blade. “Notice these two lions – I saw something similar on Argentan’s ring. Above the lions is a rising sun, and below them is a peculiar inscription.”

Much squinted at the blade and grumbled in frustration. “I know my reading is not as well-practiced as yours, but I cannot decipher any of those words.”

Robin smiled affectionately at his friend. “Be at ease, Much. It is not English; it is written in Latin. I’ve seen this style of inscribed sword in the past, but typically they are engraved with prayers, such as ‘In the Name of the Father.’”

“Do you know what it says?” asked Will.

Robin replied, “I can translate it, even though the letters are crowded together. It says, ‘From Shadows to Glory: I am Immortal, and My Kingdom Awaits.’” He harrumphed grimly, flustered by the unexpected phrase. He lowered the sword from the patch of sunlight as he became lost in his thoughts.

Robin blew out an exasperated breath. “Argentan mentioned shadows, but he was speaking in riddles. I must think on this more. For now, I will keep this sword; I want Gisborne to know that I have it.”  

Following Much and Will back to the campfire, Robin plotted Marian’s rescue.

 

Robin vs. the Sheriff Excerpt

Chapter 12: More Precious Than Silver

January 1189, South of Nottingham

Argentan goaded Robin. “Many times I have heard the story of how your father sent Hugh of Gisborne to the shadows. Yet, you are hesitating. Why is that, Robin? Are you the son of Duncan Fitzooth, or are you a maudlin woman?”

Guy felt the pressure of Robin’s knee vanish as the outlaw stood while still pointing his sword at Guy’s throat. Robin then reached down and reclaimed Gisborne’s weapon. “I will be keeping this sword, Gisborne. I’ve grown fond of it.” Closely watching Guy, Robin instructed his friend, “Much, tie Gisborne’s hands so that he cannot attempt another cowardly attack, if I turn my back again.”

An apparently disappointed sheriff sneered, “Showing Gisborne mercy demonstrates to me that you are weak. Gisborne is weak too. It is a fatal flaw that you both share, along with your lust for the same woman. I find it interesting that the two of you have so much in common. What do you think, Robin Hood?”

Intently studying the sheriff, Robin parried Argentan’s verbal thrust. “I think I’d like to know why you are communicating with King Philippe.” Robin inwardly cheered when he saw the sheriff blanch.  

Argentan was actually speechless for several moments, but he soon recovered and coolly replied, “I believe that life in the frozen forest has addled your mind. The King of France would never take notice of a humble baron from Normandy.” He frowned and feigned sadness. “You are like a man lost in the twilight of a wintry day; the clouds have obscured the sun, and the abundance of shadows has confused your sense of direction.”

Robin barked a short, humorless laugh. “Your riddles are absurd.”

Argentan resumed, seemingly unperturbed. “Someday, my young Earl of Huntingdon, the sun will break through the clouds and illuminate everything around you. The truth of the shadows will be revealed.”

“You have not answered me: why are you corresponding with the King of France?” Robin repeated while scrutinizing the sheriff’s reaction. “Does King Henry know that he sent a spy to Nottingham?”  

 

Action Excerpt

Chapter 17: The Lion Hunt

22 February 1192, City of Acre

As he led the royal procession, Robin worriedly looked back at the litter carrying Marian. Her flaxen hair was concealed beneath a Saracen-style headscarf, and her litter had a fabric canopy to hide her from view. Marian was oblivious to the perils she faced in this land, where great wealth could be obtained by selling such a fair-haired beauty to the highest bidder. Although she had scoffed at Robin’s orders that Much and Allan march beside her litter with their swords drawn, the two men had obeyed Robin’s stern directives without hesitation.

Next to Marian’s litter rode a sullen King Richard; he was still furious at Robin for his criticisms of their stalled Crusade. The fact that Robin was right had only fueled the king’s temper, which burned hotter than the accursed desert sun. André followed Richard, and there were eight mounted knights protectively situated around the king and Marian.

Robin sighed loudly as he resumed his forward scrutiny of the road. He didn’t have enough men to properly guard the king, but Richard, who was supremely confident in his fighting skills, had flatly refused to wait for reinforcements. Robin deeply resented the king’s willingness to expose Marian to danger. It was inexcusably selfish and thoughtless in Robin’s opinion, but he had no choice but to acquiesce to the king’s demands. Because of the threat to Richard, Robin had instructed his men to wear helmets and chainmail hauberks under their surcoats. Additionally, they carried Norman-style kite shields, which had both neck and arm straps.

Robin had traveled too far ahead of the group, so he stopped and examined his surroundings with care. They were on a road flanked by the Genoese and Venetian quarters, and the harbor was a short distance away. Like many areas in this war-torn city, the buildings were heavily damaged. Removing his helmet to wipe the sweat from his brow, Robin observed that the street was strangely deserted, and he felt a stirring in the pit of his stomach. He signaled for the procession to halt. In the resulting eerie stillness, Robin concentrated all his senses.

“What is the problem?” the king gruffly complained with unmistakable impatience.

Robin did not respond; something was wrong, and he could feel it. Suddenly, a small rock fell from the heavens and rolled across the street. At first, he gave it little consideration as he put his helmet back on, but then his mind was filled with the awareness that stones do not drop from the sky like rain.

His eyes darted upward, and fear seized him as he recognized the familiar shape of a bow. Urgently, he yelled over his shoulder, “Shields up, left!” The well-trained knights, including the king, promptly raised their shields as the archers released a volley of arrows.

Robin turned his horse and sped to the king. He had seen three archers, and they were clearly targeting King Richard. Rejoining the others, Robin saw ten men brandishing swords and riding towards the royal party from a forward position, while another eight were approaching from the rear. There was no avenue of escape, and the king’s elite guard arranged their horses in a defensive semi-circle around Richard and Marian, using the façade of an adjacent structure to prevent the enemy from completely surrounding them.  

 

Blog Tour: The Single Girl’s Calendar by Erin Green 

THE SINGLE GIRL’S CALENDAR by Erin Green.

About the book:




A task a day to cure a broken heart.
Esmé Peel is approaching thirty with some trepidation, but hope in her heart. If she can just get her long-term boyfriend Andrew to propose, she will have ticked everything off her ‘things to do by the time you’re 30′ list. She didn’t reckon on finding another woman’s earring in her bed however, and soon she finds herself single, homeless and in need of a new plan. Her best friend Carys gives her the perfect present – The Single Girl’s Calendar – which has a different cure for heartbreak every day:

Day 1: Look and feel fabulous with a new hair style.
     Day 2: Step out of your comfort zone and try something new.
     Day 3: Reconnect with friends and enjoy!
Despite thinking it’s a bit of a gimmick, Esmé hasn’t got any better ideas, so she puts the plan into action. By the end of week one she has four new male housemates, and despite a broken heart she is determined to show Andrew she can do more than survive, she can thrive.

     About the Author: 


Erin was born and raised in Warwickshire, where she resides with her husband. She writes contemporary novels focusing on love, life and laughter. An ideal day for Erin involves writing, people watching and copious amounts of tea. Erin was delighted to be awarded The Katie Fforde Bursary in 2017 and previously, Love Stories ‘New Talent Award’ in 2015.
 Contact Erin! 
Twitter (her favourite) @ErinGreenAuthor
On Facebook: @ErinGreenAuthor

Web Page. http://www.eringreenauthor.co.uk

My Review:

Let’s start with the title of this book. The Single Girl’s Calendar. It sounded fun to me and I wasn’t mistaken as I read the synopsis. A breakup, and how one friend helped another get through it. Sounds simple, right? Be prepared for a rollercoaster ride of a book!
Esmé is devastated after her breakup with her boyfriend. Cue The Single Girl’s Calendar. An innocent gift bought for her by a friend from a discount bookshop. The calendar is basically an advent calendar with an original twist. Yes, it has little doors you open every day. Yes, it has chocolate. The experiences it gives Esmé are a different challenge or task every day. Day 1: what better way to start trying to get over a breakup than by pampering yourself? Esmeé starts with a new look in the form of a new haircut. 
She tries to find solace in family and her parents’ home. She realises her own space is needed if she’s ever going to heal, so when the space her brother was meant to fill at a shared apartment is left empty, she snaps it up. The apartment is full of guys and each and every one has a different personality. The atmosphere and dynamic within the apartment is realistic to me, as someone who shared a fair few apartments in my lifetime so far. 
The book is really “feel-good reading,” but also has its more serious moments, like Esmé’s worry over trying to find somewhere to live and taking that first step in moving her life forward. It’s a story of new beginnings, hope overcoming adversity and friendship. I love it-every minute is entertaining and the idea for the plot of the book is so unlike anything else. It had me going “wow” all the way through and I was laughing one minute, smiling the next, sometimes worried for her, but I was cheering Esmé on all the way. 
This is the first ever book I have had the pleasure of reading by Erin Green and thanks to her and Aria for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. I think I’ve just found a new favorite author in Erin Green! I cannot wait to read A Christmas Wish next.

Want more? Read this extract from the book! 

 Look at you, jumping the gun – you’ll only be disappointed if he doesn’t ask,’ warned Marianne, buttoning her coat against the March chill. ‘Most men need an arm up their back or an unexpected pregnancy to force them into marriage. Take my Jimmy… twelve years of dating and still nothing.’

All three women shook their heads, knowing the tale of woe which would follow, each was word perfect in their practised lines for the retelling of Marianne’s one and only proposal story.

‘You ruined your chances by pushing your luck,’ began Penny.

‘Really?’ said Esmé in a bewildered tone, feigning interest, much like a first-time listener.

‘I made an appointment with the vicar, tea and sponge cake arranged…’ explained Marianne.

‘All proper and above board, then?’ asked Penny, knowing her lines.

‘I drove us to the local church and then bam… delivered the ultimatum – marry me or else!’ announced Marianne, her cheeks flushed with embarrassment.

‘Such a beautiful declaration of love,’ said Esmé, her eye lashes fluttered at Marianne.

‘Who’d have thought such a proposal could be perceived as a tad too pushy,’ said Penny.

‘Exactly,’ giggled Esmé. ‘Wasn’t it your fairy-tale dream?’

Marianne nodded in a comedic fashion, her maturity enabled her to laugh at herself, unlike five years ago.

‘I’ve lost count of the nights I’d dreamt of him springing such a gallant gesture, driving me to church and booking a wedding date.’

‘Locking himself inside your car and performing a one man sit-in for eight hours, while you pleaded with the vicar, was a definite cry for help,’ said Penny.

‘A definite answer, though,’ said Esmé, who hugged her friend.

‘The vicar was none too chuffed given his wasted sponge cake and tea platter,’ said Marianne, adding. ‘Seriously, Esmé – joking aside, what have you planned?’

Esmé gave a cheeky grin, before she stared at each colleague in a bashful manner.

‘Oh Lord, if that’s not the face of a woman on a mission!’ cried Penny, her wide eyes sparkling.

‘I’ve got it all planned… candlelight, champagne on ice, bubble bath for two, a slinky silk number ordered from Agent Provocateur and a fresh set of Egyptian cotton sheets,’ reeled off Esmé, trying to supress the shiver of anticipation that ran along her spine.

‘A dirty night on clean sheets, hey?’ said Marianne with a knowing smile. ‘That should do it.’

‘And not too much champagne… be giggly but not drunk,’ warned Penny, her blonde curls bobbing from side to side. ‘And above all… let him think it was his idea!’

‘If that fails, hail a cab, drive to your local church, present him with the ultimatum and see if he does a sit-in,’ laughed Marianne.

‘Andrew wouldn’t do a sit-in… not with a taxi meter running,’ said Esmé, tying the belt of her new coat. Esmé doesn’t like to criticise his habits, not even to her friends, but Andrew could accommodate both ends of the generosity spectrum. Self-indulgent with his own perceived needs such as designer suits, high-tech gadgets or boys’ nights out whilst a smidgen stingy where others are concerned. Esmé could laugh it off, everyone had their faults. Being ‘financially savvy’ as Andrew called it wasn’t Esmé’s style, she liked to be generous with those she loved.

‘Yet he’ll waste good money on a snazzy rental apartment,’ muttered Marianne. ‘The man needs sorting out, and quick.’

‘I’m trying,’ said Esmé, trying to keep her tone light hearted.

‘Enjoy,’ Marianne gave Esmé a quick squeeze and an air kiss, ‘but don’t hold your breath, lovey.’

‘Enjoy your weekend… whatever happens, OK?’ added Penny, hugging Esmé tightly before she and Marianne hastily departed for the bus station.

Since starting at Stylo Stationery some nine years ago, the trio had shared so many of life’s moments during office hours and coffee time: Esmé’s first date dress dilemma, post-date dissections – of which there had been far too many for Esmé’s liking, and numerous post-coital mishaps during her pre-Andrew existence, obviously. Since meeting Andrew, Esmé’s daily chatter had been the detail of their seven year love story: the occasions, the memories and the day to day routines. Events slowly evolved, reaching today’s pivotal moment – the evening of her happy-ever-after.

Come Monday, if tonight goes well, the three colleagues would be sharing celebratory drinks after work in a local bar. How exciting? But first, tonight.

St Martin’s church clock shows six o’clock.

Esmé watched the pair disappear amidst the bustling crowd. Her heart pounding faster, with anticipation, that the very next time she’d see either of them, she could be, might be, correction, would be starting a new chapter of her life

Like the sound of the book? Buy it here! 

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2DiT75Q

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2BoAz6Q

iBooks: http://apple.co/2BIjDoL

Finally, to end this post, I want to share some of Erin Green’s  advice and experiences with those of you reading this post. 


Erin’s recipe to overcome a broken heart:

 1 A handful of genuine friends that care about you is essential.

2 A tonne of chocolate helps to dull a painful heartache.

3 Carefully peel away, delete and disconnect all social media connections with the recent partner – why torture yourself following their away days and nights out?

4 A pinch of self-indulgence doing what you like and when you wish, is essential.

5 Unmeasurable amount of time spent doing interests/pastimes that you previously participated in and enjoyed.

6 Add a guilt-free pass to hibernate from all social situations, but only valid for the duration that is absolutely necessary, trust your instinct regards how long.

7 A huge dollop of me-time to reflect and heal before venturing to pastures new.

8 Add a brand-new outfit that makes you feel fabulous and wonderful – in preparation for the day when your renewed faith wishes to take flight.

Wonderful advice, Erin! What experiences have you had  in life and love that you’d like to share? Any advice for us? 

 

I had lot of useless suggestions during my twenties when broken hearts seemed to be my penchant. Age-old advice revolved around red wine, match-making suggestions and fly-fishing amongst the bountiful fish in the sea were all totally unhelpful. If anything, they resulted in more heartache than the original situation.

 

As time went by, along with various beaus, I learnt what was best for me. It usually involved a damned good cry where I got to choose all the rules in relation to the duration, the frequency and the moping about on sofas. Seriously, I literally gave myself permission to grieve for what could have been, might have been and for the hurt that had been caused to me in the process. A diet of Cadbury’s chocolate and Lucozade is perfectly fine in such circumstances! A balance diet of vegetables and fish can wait their turn!

 

I used to withdraw from social occasions too, I literally couldn’t abide doing the whole glad-ragging events where I was supposed to wear a huge smile and chat about inane subjects while dragging about a heavy heart that was smouldering inside my chest. All I’d do was watch the clock until I could escape to go home. Sadly, I found that the more I put on a brave face, others would incorrectly assume ‘oh she’s back on her feet’ – er, no, I’m simply going through the motions to please everyone else. Left to my own devices, I’d have chosen to be in my pyjamas for a stint of hibernation and reflection, with plenty of wound licking.

 

It would take a little while, sometimes a few weeks, on a couple of occasions nearer a few months but hey, I knew what was best for me. I only ever put my best foot forward when I knew I was ready to face the world and rejoin the party.

 

During my hibernation, I did usually return to the things that made me truly happy. The reading of favourite books was one such treat – Fitzwilliam Darcy has rebuilt my faith in others on more than one occasion. On the most desperate days, I’d simply adlib Elizabeth’s lines… guaranteed to make me feel better every time!

 

I valiantly fought and refused to attend those situations where people have secretly match-made during their lunch hours – thinking they know what’s best for you. I remember being invited to a house party where the host had virtually promised my hand in marriage to a police officer. It made for an uncomfortable evening, as everyone in the room knew and so watched as he chased, attempted to chat-up and woo me with an audience of twenty. Thankfully, I had a loyal friend who told me before the event as she felt it was unfair that this damsel-in-distress should be violated to grace another with match-making bragging rights and an unwanted date. It’s one reason why I never match-make, I know the downside.

 

And finally, when you are back on your feet don’t forget to tread carefully, there’s no race, simply take your time and be happy. The best things in life are worth waiting for, I promise.

Thanks so much Erin for writing an incredible book!