Ellie’s dreams of opening a bakery in Sunnybrook are finally
coming true and best friends Fen and Jaz are happily rallying round, helping
her to plan a fabulous grand opening day. Everything in their garden seems to be
rosy – until the arrival of a newcomer brings chaos to the village and tests
relationships to the limit. Can the bakery succeed in the face of such
upheaval? And more importantly, can firm friendships survive?
Green has been scribbling stories ever since she was little. Back then they
were rip-roaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of
falling off a cliff or being tied up by ‘the baddies’. Thankfully, Rosie has
moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt
your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger involved at
all, unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love.
Rosie’s brand new series of novellas is centred on life in a village café. The first two stories in the series are: Spring at The Little Duck Pond Cafe and Summer at The Little Duck Pond Café.
Life couldn’t be better for Mia and her friends in Little Pondale
– until tragedy strikes…
Mia Ward is on cloud nine after a magical
Christmas and New Year and she isn’t the only one. Everyone on Lily Pond Lane
seems to be living in blissful harmony. Until tragedy strikes… not once, but
twice. And as Hettie Turner points out: ‘Bad things always come in threes.’
Whilst the other residents of
Little Pondale are wondering what might happen next, Mia is busy worrying about
her friends and trying to help them with their grief. But she needs to be
careful. Just when she thought she had everything, there’s a very real chance
she might lose the only thing she truly wants.
Having lived and worked in London
for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now
spends her days writing… and chatting on social media. Emily is a Member of
the SoA, a PAN member of the RWA and a Pro Member of ALLi. She’s an Amazon
bestseller and a Kindle All Star. Emily loves writing and her stories are sure
to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.
Emily says, “I write about friendship, family and falling in love. I believe in happing endings.” When she isn’t writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both.
I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Keith Van Sickle’s second collection of anecdotes about his part-time life in France, ‘Are We Nearly French Yet?’ Like its predecessor it’s wonderfully funny and full of wry observations about his host nation and the idiosyncrasies of its people that make them so very fascinating – and French.
Keith and his wife Val continue to encounter baffling behaviour, vexing vocabulary and French frustrations of various kinds, but with good humour, slight puzzlement and impeccable American manners take it all in their stride.
I have an excerpt to share with you, and you’ll quickly see for yourselves how entertaining and enjoyable this book is.
Going To The Butcher
The first time we stayed in St-Rémy, Madame introduced us to her
favorite butcher. She’s known him for decades and put in a good word for us. It
helps to have connections.
But there’s one thing to know about a village butcher shop, and it’s
that you can’t be in a rush. Everyone gets personal attention and takes as long
as they want, which can sometimes be a long time. Val and I might walk into our
butcher shop and find, say, two customers ahead of us. She’ll turn to me and
say, “Ok, this will take 45 minutes.”
The shop is run by
a husband and wife who take great pride in their work. When you order a piece
of meat, the butcher asks how you’ll prepare it. He cuts off any extra fat,
trims around the bone, and cuts it into the size you want. If you want
hamburger, he takes a piece of beef, runs it through his grinder, and forms it
for you while you wait. Patty by patty. And he offers homemade goodies
like paté, salami, ratatouille, stuffed vegetables and at least
four kinds of sausage. The butcher’s wife dishes out these prepared items
and runs the cash register while the butcher handles all the cutting.
If you are a local,
the butcher and his wife will take the time to chat with you. How’s the family?
How are your bunions? How will you prepare the stew? For how many
And then there’s the
“Do you salt your
food?” the butcher will ask.
“Yes, but not too
much,” the customer will reply.
“My doctor tells me
to use less salt,” the butcher will say. “It’s because of my age, you know. But
I don’t listen to him.”
“Oh, you’re just
like my husband,” the customer will say. “He puts too much salt on his food.”
The butcher’s wife will
chime in, “All husbands put too much
salt on their food!”
Once we came in to buy
a couple of slices of patéen croute (paté in a pastry) but the customer before us had just bought
some. The butcher’s wife decided that the remaining log was too small to cut us
two nice pieces, so she went to the back room to find a new one. That took a
while. Then we decided to order a few other things and that took a while
longer. Finally it was our turn to pay, but the customer after us was a very
old woman and the butcher had just finished serving her. Of course we let the
old lady pay first so she didn’t have to stand too long.
“Please go ahead,
Madame,” Val said.
“Merci,” the old lady replied. “Now where
did I put my wallet…”
She fished around
in her purse for a while and finally found her wallet. Then she slowly counted out
the exact amount, coin by coin, and all we could do was wait patiently. When
the old lady finally finished, we were ready to pay but then the phone
rang—someone wanted to place an order for Sunday.
This led to a long discussion between the person on the phone and the butcher and his wife. How many people did she need to feed? What seasonings would she use? Should she pick it up at 11:00? No, maybe 12:00. No, 11:00 would be better. Finally they settled on 11:30. And you wonder why it takes 45 minutes.
So is Keith nearly French yet? Judging by how he now knows how to correctly interact in a doctor’s surgery and has sussed out what fonctionnaires actually do (or some would say, don’t do) then he’s well on his way!
Are We French Yet?
Keith & Val’s Adventures In Provence
Can Two Americans Really Become French?
Val and Keith turned their lives upside down when they quit their jobs and moved to Provence. But they wondered: Can we fit in? And maybe become French ourselves?
Follow their adventures as they slowly unlock the mysteries of France…
– Is it true that French people are like coconuts?
– Can you learn to argue like a French person?
– What books have changed French lives?
– Most important of all, how do you keep your soup from exploding?
There’s more to becoming French than just learning the language. If you want the inside scoop on la belle France, you won’t want to miss this delightful book!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Keith Van Sickle
is the author of the Amazon best-seller One Sip at a Time: Learning to Live in Provence.
A lifelong traveler who got his first taste of overseas life
as a university student in England,
Keith later backpacked around the world on his own.
But it was the expat assignment to Switzerland
that made him fall in love with Europe.
With his wife Val and their trusty dog Mica,
he now splits his time between California and Provence,
delving ever deeper into what makes France so endlessly fascinating.
Digging in the garden, builder and current owner,
Bill Maynard, discovers some old bones. He worries that the discovery will
upset his plans for renovating and selling the house.
Fortunately, his neighbour tells him the whole area was a
burial site at the time of the Black Death and finding bones is commonplace.
“Well, as they’re so old and the museums have enough
bones already, I suppose we can ignore them. It’s not like there’s been a
murder and we’ve just found the body,” he justified his decision.
But had they?
His discovery sets off a chain of unfortunate events.
It turns out those unfortunate events actually
started long before he moved in…
We all know the saying “walls have ears”, meaning
‘be careful because someone might overhear you’. Well, in this very original book
the walls of Orchard View really do hear what’s going on! Orchard View, the house
built in the 1920s on the corner plot of Hazelhurst Avenue, is a character in
this story. True, a background character, but none the less very much an active
presence in this book. How clever is that!
Orchard View is about to be turned into flats by
the new owner Bill Maynard. Etta, the neighbour, isn’t having that, and she’s
someone who’s rather good at getting her way. Orchard View pins her hopes on
her being successful, because she longs to be the home for a happy family
again. She’s had some nice people beneath her roof, but some rather awful ones
too, and she hides some very dark secrets. Will these be brought to light?
The author presents us with some wonderful characters,
modern-day and from earlier decades, and most certainly an intriguing plot. Some
quite dastardly deeds take place in this quiet, suburban spot.
Wonderful descriptive writing, with plenty sharp
observation, accompanies punchy dialogue. Throughout there’s plenty of humour –
much of it dark – and this makes it a totally enjoyable, engrossing read. I
admire the author for daring to be different and pulling it off so triumphantly.
Charged with high treason, Lady
Jessamine Fane is under the watchful eye of icily calm Lord Peter Flint. It’s a
task this spy won’t be swayed from, no matter how alluring his prisoner! Only
it’s not long before Flint realises that tenacious Jess hides a lifetime of
pain. With so much at stake, can he afford to take a chance on their powerful
I do enjoy Virginia Heath’s books! The characters are so vibrant
and the plots always so original and absorbing. ‘The Uncompromising Lord Flint’
is no exception. It won’t matter if this is the first of her books you’ve read
in the ‘King’s Elite’ series as everything you need to know about this
anti-smuggling initiative is explained. However, reading ‘The Mysterious Lord
Millcroft’ first gives you a little more background before coming into this
Our hero this time is Lord Peter Flint, who appears somewhat
remote, at least to begin with. However, you have to admire his strong sense of
right and wrong from which he refuses to bend. He’s put in charge of conducting
Lady Jessamine Fane, who’s considered a traitor, from France back to England
where she will be put on trial. Obviously, Jessamine isn’t too keen on this,
and she doesn’t hesitate to use her considerable wits to attempt to escape, and
this will cause her to clash with Peter many times. Jess’s back story gradually
unfolds and we begin to see things from her point of view. And so does Peter. Despite
everything, attraction grows between them as the action rushes towards an
The author’s hallmark subtle humour, keen eye for detail and infectious enthusiasm for all things regency shine through the words of this novel, making it a delight to read.
– When Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall
asleep, so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was
staring at the ceiling. As she got older, the stories became more complicated,
sometimes taking weeks to get to the happy ending. Then one day, she decided to
embrace the insomnia and start writing them down. Despite that, it still takes
her forever to fall asleep.
Win 2 x e-copies of The Uncompromising Lord Flint (Open INT)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the
Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via
Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or
email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to
select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any
personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose
only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the
winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only
for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the
data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Molly’s dream of taking over her childhood home at Withrin Hill Farm with husband Pip and their three children has finally come true. And, as they settle into the stunning Georgian farmhouse, with their plans to diversify into glamping nicely taking shape, the family couldn’t be happier.
suddenly strikes, and Molly’s world is turned upside down.
devastated, she struggles to face each day. True to form, her fiercely loyal
best friends, Kitty and Violet, rally round offering love and support, but
Molly doesn’t think she’ll ever be able to smile again. Until the day a tall,
dark stranger with twinkly eyes arrives…
Follow Molly’s story in book 2 of the Life on
the Moors Series set in Lytell Stangdale, a picture-perfect village in the
heart of the North Yorkshire Moors, where life is anything but quiet.
story of love, friendship and hope.
The Talisman – Molly’s Story will be published on 4th February.
Bio – Eliza lives in a 17th-century cottage on the edge of a
village in the North Yorkshire Moors with her husband, their two daughters and
two mischievous black Labradors. When she’s not writing, she can usually be
found with her nose in a book/glued to her Kindle or working in her garden.
Eliza also enjoys bracing walks in the countryside, rounded off by a visit to a
teashop where she can indulge in another two of her favourite things: tea and
Eliza is inspired by her beautiful surroundings
and loves to write heart-warming stories with happy endings.
Sophie Sayers’ plans for a cosy English country Christmas are interrupted by
the arrival of her ex-boyfriend, her troubles are only just beginning. Before
long, the whole village stands accused of murder.
Damian says he’s come to direct the village nativity play,
but Sophie thinks he’s up to no good.
What are those noises
coming from his van?
Who is the stranger lurking in the shadows?
And whose baby, abandoned in the manger, disappears in plain sight?
Enjoy the fun of a traditional Cotswold festive season, with
echoes of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, as Sophie seeks a happy ending for her latest village
mystery – and for her new romance with charming local bookseller Hector Munro.
This is a fabulous, fun
read. Sophie, our heroine and narrator, is a lovely character. She’s kind,
empathetic, clever and lively, and we really care both for her and about what
happens to her. She has a new boyfriend, Hector, so the last thing she needs is
for her ex to show up in her small village, especially when he announces his
intention to stay with her. He’s going to be directing the nativity play Sophie
has written for the villagers, another imposition she really doesn’t need. She
shows amazing tact and resilience dealing with him, as he’s decidedly pushy.
She really is a great girl!
The pace is fast and
exciting, perhaps not what you’d expect from a story set in a small, sleepy village.
But appearances can be deceptive, and village life is every bit as complicated
as town or city living. Especially here.
This is a delightful, original, quirky cosy mystery with a warm, festive feeling and theme.
Everything was going so well in Kat and
Philippe’s life together. Then suddenly it wasn’t.
Roman ruins delayed the work on the Villa
des Violettes. The Russian drug gang might be back in the neighbourhood. On top
of that, Kat had worked herself into what Molly classified as a full blown
“Christmas conundrum.” Kat wanted the holidays to work perfectly as she blended
a Canadian Christmas with a Provençal Fête de Noêl for the first time in their
new home. Now she’d lost her confidence and, with it, the holiday spirit.
Philippe hoped a weekend trip to the famous
Christmas markets of Strasbourg would solve everything.
As it happened, things were about to get
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Canadian author Patricia Sands writes
award-winning women’s fiction.
Her best-selling ‘Love in Provence
trilogy’ was drafted in the south of France,
where she spends time each year.
The First Noël at the Villa des Violettes is
the first in a new trilogy of novellas.
Connect with Patricia
Her website has links to her books, social
media, and the women’s tour she leads each summer in Provence, based on her
She shares her love of photography at https://www.instagram.com/patricialsands/
Buy the book
You can enter the global giveaway here or
on any other book blogs participating in this tour.
Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook, they are listed in the entry form below.
When the daughter of a cop finds a body next
door, she’s the only one who can solve the strange mystery.
Stormy Day has moved back home, and it’s not for the local
coffee or nightlife, both of which are lacking in Misty Falls, Oregon. She’s
there to help her father finally retire from being a cop, and slow the heck
down after his hip replacement. Plus she needs to give her brain a break from
the high-stakes world of venture capital.
But when she makes a shocking discovery next door, Stormy’s
clever brain kicks into overdrive. This murder is too difficult for the local
boys in blue to figure out. The new captain of the police department tells her
to mind her own business, but he doesn’t take his own advice. He’s always
breathing down her neck like a jealous ex-boyfriend (which he is).
What’s there to be jealous of? Stormy’s not even dating
anyone. She’s certainly not going to date the ruggedly handsome, bearded lawyer
who’s renting half her house. No way. Every time she sees Mr. Logan Sanderson,
the town’s newest resident, he’s insulting her one way or another. The man
should show his landlady a little more respect! He’s the worst. Sort of. It
would be easier to hate him if he weren’t so cute underneath that bushy beard.
Now there’s a murder to solve, and since the legendary
Finnegan Day is recovering from surgery, it’s up to his determined daughter
Stormy to save the town from a twisted killer. If she fails to solve this
twisted puzzle in time, someone close to her will pay a terrible cost.
This is a lovely, lively Christmas-centred cosy mystery. Stormy Day, our heroine (with a sister named
Sunny and a dad who’s a cop) is a very strong-willed character. It takes a
chapter or two to warm to her completely, but you soon see that’s she’s
genuine, fun and sharp.
She discovers a body hidden inside a snowman – in next door’s
garden. Being so close to home she feels obliged to get involved. There are
plenty of the muddles and misunderstandings that are part of this genre, but
they’re not hackneyed or slapstick, just very clever and amusing.
There’s an array of interesting supporting characters, an
intriguing plot and plenty to enjoy in this super story.
Retired expat, TonyMetcalfe, is going through a three-quarter-life crisis. VivaEspaña, his bar in a mountain village beyond Spain s Costa Blanca, is failing. Tony started the bar for the English post-war babies who retired early on good pensions- the por favors, as the Spanish call them – flocking to the dream ofwine, rest and sun around the pool. But now their retirement paradise is shadowed by Brexit: the pound has fallen, pensions are frozen and the property crash happened long ago.
Tony wants to move back to enjoy the remainder of his life in his childhood home, but his tenacious wife Laney wants to stay in the happy valley and forget about England and the dark, unresolved feelings it provokes in their marriage. Sod it – he couldn t go home even if he tried; nobody would buy an ailing bar during a recession.
But Tony s luck is about to change when his son Nick arrives for a surprise visit with his self-possessed wife,Jo, and their son. With the extra help, Tony thinks things are on the up, but Jo has brought along more baggage than just their family s suitcases.
Staying On is a compelling story of little and greater family
secrets come to light and what it means to find home, wherever you are.
As an expat myself, although not in Spain, I’m always interested in reading books, both fiction and non-fiction, about other such experiences. This one bringing in Brexit and all its ensuing insanity was not to be missed.
I was immediately taken by the realisticapproach of this book. Too many people imagine life as an expat is all about sitting around a pool and sipping wine. That’s far from the truth. Most expats struggle to make a living even though they work long hours seven-day weeks.This takes its toll, and it certainly has on Tony, if not quite so much on his wife Laney.
The writing is down to earth, with lots of sharpwit and humour, but the author doesn’t shy away from unpleasant truths and there’s plenty of tension and anxiety too. Our main characters are equally down to earth and non-pretentious, although they have few hidden secrets between them.
There are some big issues in this book, thatare deftly handled. What do you do when, as a couple, you want different things? What do you do when you’re faced with the fallout of political shenanigans way beyond your control? What do you do when your past comes back to haunt you?
Very entertaining, this is a book that will absorb you completely.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Writing as C MTaylor, Craig is the author of the cult Kev King novels described as‘Brilliant’ by The Sun, and ‘Horribly entertaining’ by The Mirror, which have been optioned for TV.
He’s been nominated for the British Science Fiction book of the year, and edits fiction for a well-known publisher. Craig co-wrote the thriller, Writers Retreat, which was filmed in 2014 and premiered at the Sitges International Film Festival.
Craig is an Associate Lecturer at the Oxford International Centre for Publishing, and has taught widely, often on the underlying structures of narrative, and on Born Digital Literature, a particular enthusiasm that has seen him crowdfund a literary app, as well as instigate an experiment in digital literature with the British Library.
Craig lives in Oxford where he canoes, runs and hangs out with his kids.