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FrenchVillageDiaries "Enjoying the quiet life in rural France" (France)

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One Moment At Sunrise
One Moment At Sunrise
Price: £1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars How one morning at sunrise begins to change her life forever, 28 April 2016
This book is a good mix of smouldering passion and romance, with interesting history snippets and the serious issues of life in a controlling relationship. It begins with sunrise on the Canal du Midi in France and Evie is furious. Her emotions are out of control as she peddles away her frustrations, when suddenly it is her bike that is out of control and that leads to a chance meeting with Ben, the catalyst to dramatic changes in her life. Ben is a filmmaker, in the area to shoot his film about the remarkable construction of the Canal du Midi, and also the cause of her accident. Her close encounter with Ben awakens the spark of life that had been missing since her famous partner Seb had her hidden away from the world. Evie and their daughter Charlotte are his dirty secret, kept shut away in rural France with no control over her life. There is a real dark side to this novel and nothing likable about her partner Seb, right from the beginning of the book and things just get worse as the story moves on.

Evie is an independent woman, like many of the main characters found in Karen’s novels, but she has to learn to become strong, find herself and create a safe future for Charlotte. It takes the shock of her accident and meeting Ben for her to discover this. With Ben and Evie there are sparks of passion, this is a chick-lit after all, but the risks are too great for either of them and their feelings just have to simmer. When another crisis hits Evie and she finds herself alone and trapped she learns to think for herself and she awakens after almost three years of dormancy – a modern day sleeping beauty, awaiting the kiss from her prince. Is she strong enough to break free from Seb, what will he do and how far will he go to keep in control?

There is a secondary plot to this novel that adds another level of interest, the history of the Canal du Midi and the peasant women from the Pyrenees mountains whose knowledge of diverting and channelling water to their mountain villages was used to help in its construction, although their story remains largely unknown. Having holidayed near Beziers, some of the place names were familiar, but Karen’s writing meant I found it easy to visualise the Canal, life along it and the canal side cafés. I also enjoyed learning about these strong women from history.

This novel is a great holiday romance that includes family drama, hurt and deceit, but where love shows its true strength in the end.

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


The Little French Guesthouse: The perfect feel good summer read (La Cour des Roses Book 1)
The Little French Guesthouse: The perfect feel good summer read (La Cour des Roses Book 1)
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected fun and friendship awaits you in France, 28 April 2016
A well-earned holiday in France is just what Emmy and Nathan need. Their relationship is struggling, but Emmy is sure it’s something that time away from work and routine can fix, until she finds Nathan and their B&B owner Gloria on the terrace in a rather compromising position. Angry and upset, Emmy tries to talk to Nathan, but instead he drives off into the distance, with Gloria.

I liked Emmy, she was a genuinely nice person, wanting to make those around her happy and avoid conflict if possible, which wasn’t easy in the situation she found herself in. She needed to keep busy, which she did by helping owner Rupert, who had been abandoned by Gloria, to cook, clean and look after the guests, something he was struggling to do on his own. Rupert made me smile, his heart was always in the right place, but his ways and means were sometimes a little devious. Although Emmy and Rupert make an odd couple, they worked well as a team and slowly, life in rural France began to weave its magic on Emmy.

Helen paints a lovely picture of the renovated stone guesthouse, La Cour des Roses, and I felt its charm and like Emmy, I fell in love with it and the flower filled gardens. In fact I was ready to pack my bags and head off for a few nights away, where the food and wine seem to be as good as the company. Emmy becomes part of Rupert’s social scene and appreciates the friendships she makes, and here Helen introduces a great fun mix of characters in the form of the locals and other expats. With a bit of scheming from Rupert and some unexpected interest from his gardener and accountant, Emmy begins to feel she has unexpectedly found somewhere she belongs. Reality for her though, is returning to a stark flat, a job (in the same company as Nathan – awkward) and no one to share her life with. She certainly has lots to think about, but will it be her heart, her head or Rupert that influence the decision to be made about her future?

This book offers lots to make you smile at as you read and once I stepped in, I didn't want to leave. It is warm, cosy and will fill you with summer sunshine and unless you are going away as a last ditch attempt to salvage your relationship, will be a perfect holiday read!

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


20 Pairs of Moldex Spark 7800 Ear Plugs
20 Pairs of Moldex Spark 7800 Ear Plugs
Offered by HardwareForYou
Price: £2.68

5.0 out of 5 stars Great value ear plugs, 2 April 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Perfectly happy with them.


Broken Faces
Broken Faces
Price: £1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An engaging novel set during World War One, 28 Mar. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Broken Faces (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed this book with it’s likeable characters, emotional scenes and plot twists, which gave quite a few will-they-won’t-they moments and as always with a novel set during the war you can never be sure of happy endings.

The main characters; Charles, his sister Lexie and friends Freddie and Meredith are off-spring of the wealthy classes who are used to a privileged lifestyle in the early 1900’s, but that doesn’t stop them all wanting to do their bit for the war effort. The men are keen to sign up for the Cavalry, but soon find that the ways of war have changed and life in the trenches of Northern France is worse than anyone imagined. The girls volunteer at hospitals in France and in London, where they too experience the horrors of war and images that will never leave them. I thought these aspects of the book were sensitively written and well researched.

Freddie finds it difficult learning to live with his war injuries and the way he is now seen by those around him, but with support from friends comes confidence, acceptance and love. The love in this novel is mostly portrayed in a restrained and 'proper' way, as you would expect of this period, but when things do get out of control it invariably ends in tears and betrayal. I was frustrated at times as they were all so stubborn and if they had listened to each other, it would have saved so much pain. I was satisfied with the ending and found myself wondering what the future has in store for them.

I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for an historical read where romance and history are nicely combined.


Rendezvous in Cannes
Rendezvous in Cannes
Price: £1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great summer holiday read, 28 Mar. 2016
Rendezvous in Cannes is set amidst the excitement and glamour of the Cannes annual film festival. As you would expect it is full of the glitz of designer clothes and accessories, with diamonds sparkling in the light of the paparazzi flash bulbs and parties full of stars. Two of the characters in town for the event, Daisy and Anna, are both at a time in their lives when they have got new adventures to look forward to, but there are things in the past that need addressing first. There are secrets that have been buried for too long and although it may at first seem too late, the past isn’t quite ready to let them go just yet.

There is a lot of sadness surrounding Anna and without the love in her life from Leo she would have been very lost and alone, despite the crowds and buzz of Cannes. Her story is from a past where things were done differently and decisions were made in the belief they were for the best. I felt very sorry for the young Anna.

Daisy is young, single, energetic and keen to move her life and journalist career in a different direction, but unsure of where to start. I enjoyed getting to know Daisy and especially loved the little snippets from her daily reports, usually written outside a café, with a coffee and a croissant, where she was being paid to write and people watch, lucky thing.

Jennifer’s writing was not only sensitive in the emotional scenes, but also brought Cannes alive and I could feel the electricity of the festival. If you love the South of France don’t forget to pack this book for your holiday this summer.
I was sent a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.


Follow Your Star
Follow Your Star
Price: £1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Join in the buzz and excitement of life in Monaco in this fast paced read, 28 Mar. 2016
This review is from: Follow Your Star (Kindle Edition)
Follow Your Star has a real mix of different characters, all with their own story lines, and all entwined around the wealthy lifestyle of those lucky enough to live in Monaco. There are apartments with balconies and harbour side views, fine dining in the hills above Nice and the roar of Formula 1 that comes crashing into daily life, but there is also a secret from the past that seemed to have been forgotten.

Nanette was once part of the F1 circus as the PA and fiancée of racing driver Zac Ewart. She organised parties on his yacht and attended events on his arm before a car accident three years ago, that she can’t remember, left her ostracised and alone. Monaco, Zac and the privileged lifestyle were firmly in her past, until her best friend Vanessa asks her a huge favour. Her decision leads to many questions. Can she face returning to Monaco? Will it help to trigger her memory? How will she avoid bumping into Zac?

Although her life stopped abruptly with the accident, the Monaco social scene continued, but there are now new faces and it seems there are also dirty deals being done. This shady side of life in Monaco added suspense and tension. Who is involved and how risky it is will be something else for Nanette to discover as she attempts to move on with her life.

If the buzz of Formula 1 and the lifestyle of the rich and famous is where you want to be, if only on a short break, this book would be a perfect escape.
I was sent a copy of this book by the author for an honest review.


The Sword of the Maiden (The Watchmen Saga Book 2)
The Sword of the Maiden (The Watchmen Saga Book 2)
Price: £1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Fast paced, interesting and brings history to life, 9 Mar. 2016
I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series and couldn’t wait to get back into Katelyn’s world where medieval history becomes daily life. I would suggest starting with book one, The Keys of the Watchmen, to understand how a 17-year-old American receives her calling to become a Watchman and helps to save the future of France.

In this second adventure, Katelyn Michaels again travels back in time to Mont St Michel at the end of 1428. Once there she must prepare to journey on to the east of France, with Nicolas le Breton, another Watchman, to fulfil their mission to give a sword to a young maiden trying to save France from the English. This time Katelyn is more willing to help, more prepared and most importantly more confident in her ability to succeed. Her only doubts seem to be about her future with Nicolas, but their dedication to the mission means for the moment they have no time for or to themselves. Once again they are thrust into a country at war and must ensure the correct decisions are made to save France without rewriting history.

This is a very readable book that takes you to the heart of the action and all the grime and hardship of life in medieval France and I really felt history coming alive. I loved the preparations Katelyn makes before her journey, to ease the pain of her mission and the clever twists where modern day gizmos make sly appearances to help things along. Although with their archenemy, the evil Abdon, who will stop at nothing to halt them, Nicolas and Katelyn can never be sure who to trust or what might be lurking around the next corner. The little cliff-hangers at the end of the chapters frequently had me thinking ‘Oh no!’ and I often had my fingers crossed as I was reading. Not since Harry Potter have I been so captivated by a Young Adult novel and I had no idea French medieval history could be so interesting. I loved it and can’t wait for more from Kathleen.

I was sent a copy of this book for an honest review.


Messandrierre
Messandrierre
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Knowing who to trust could save your life, 24 Feb. 2016
This review is from: Messandrierre (Kindle Edition)
Strange things happen in small French villages, but the village of Messandrierre seems to have more than just secrets that are waiting to be uncovered. I was gripped from the first mysterious chapter and then we met Jacques Forêt, Gendarme, originally from Paris, with a past and currently not really sure where he belongs. I liked him straight away. He was just the person to unravel the seemingly unrelated events that have been reported in the area and keep an eye on the odd goings on of some of the village residents. He has his own way of working, that doesn’t always tie in with his boss, but his independent rebellious streak just added to his appeal. Someone who tries her best to ignore his appeal is Beth, past love interest of Jacques (lucky lady), back in the village to tie up loose ends before moving on. However, as she tries to sell the chalet she has inherited, it seems to open up her own personal mysteries that need to be solved before she can work out her future. Knowing who to trust is the key.

There are quite a lot of characters to keep track of, I could have done with making notes, and you do need your wits about you as you are reading this book. Angela cleverly drops in scenes from the past, designed to confuse the mind as you go along, but thankfully by the end, all is revealed. I’m hoping to get back to Messandriere with Angela very soon.

This book would be a great read to take on holiday, where you have the time to give it the attention it deserves.

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 25, 2016 11:43 AM GMT


The Forgotten Summer
The Forgotten Summer
Price: £6.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An emotional read, where the past seems unwilling to be forgotten, 11 Feb. 2016
The Forgotten Summer is set in Provence on a family run wine and olive estate. When a devastating drama hits the family, a web of hidden secrets come to light that cast doubts on the past and threatens the future of the business. Someone needs to step in, but who will be strong enough to take control?

Jane and Luc Cambon appear to be a close couple from different backgrounds, who split their time between their life in London and Luc’s family estate in Provence, where helping with the harvests is something they always look forward to. The estate is a special place for them both, but a difficult relationship with Luc’s mother Clarisse, leaves Jane emotionally exhausted and although Luc tries to reconcile the differences between the two women, they have an old secret neither have shared with him. Clarisse is the matriarch, hard and cold on the outside, set in her ways and with a strength that comes from a difficult past. I found her a very interesting character to get to know.

This book is intriguing from the start. Carol is an excellent storyteller; layering the story from the beginning with lots of little morsels of family secrets, feuds, family history and French history, all dotted in and built on throughout the book. My mind was often running ahead and supposing what was coming next and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a very emotional read that did make me cry, but following the initial despair and heartbreak comes the rebuilding and back-tracking into the past, solving the mysteries that will eventually enable them to move on to a better future.

Set with a backdrop of Provençal vineyards and olive groves, with scents of the French countryside and sunshine to warm you, Carol will take you away as you become immersed in the unusual life of the Cambon family, where no one is quite who they first seemed to be. I'm sure readers will love it.

I was sent a review copy by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


A Roundabout Passage To Venice
A Roundabout Passage To Venice
Price: £1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely look at a holiday in Europe in the 1990's, 30 Jan. 2016
Patricia, in her forties, persuades her mother, in her sixties, that now is the perfect time for a trip together from the US to France. After a little thinking time, Mum agrees and soon Patricia finds herself planning a real European adventure to London, Paris (via the newly opened Channel Tunnel), Provence and Italy, as each phone call with her Mother sees another ‘must-see’ destination added to their list. I really enjoyed seeing my Europe and the places I know so well through their excited US eyes and couldn’t help but smile as I was reading. From the scary driving on the wrong side in London, to the history all around them in Paris and the questionable public toilets, Patricia’s writing style ensures the reader is there to experience everything with them, without the pain of sore and blistered feet. These ladies really know how to get the maximum from a trip. When they are in France they are lucky to stay en famille with some friends they have made. Many of the meals in their host families’ homes are described in mouth-watering detail and Patricia admits to following along in the kitchen with her notebook. I would have loved for her to include some of the recipes in the book, however she does include colour photos of them on their adventures, which is a nice touch.

This is an enjoyable quick-read memoir that brings Europe in the 1990’s to life.


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