Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Book Review: Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

Book Review

Meet Me in Monaco

Hazel Gaynor
Heather Webb

Book Description:
"A fragrant French bonbon of a book: love, glamour, perfume, and paparazzi all circling around the wedding of the century..."--Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of THE ALICE NETWORK and THE HUNTRESS.
Named one of InStyle's best books to put in your tote bag for the summer!
Named one of Popsugar’s best books to put in your beach bag this summer and one of the best books of July!
Set in the 1950s against the backdrop of Grace Kelly’s whirlwind romance and unforgettable wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco, New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb take the reader on an evocative sun-drenched journey along the Côte d’Azur in this page-turning novel of passion, fate and second chances...
Movie stars and paparazzi flock to Cannes for the glamorous film festival, but Grace Kelly, the biggest star of all, wants only to escape from the flash-bulbs. When struggling perfumer Sophie Duval shelters Miss Kelly in her boutique to fend off a persistent British press photographer, James Henderson, a bond is forged between the two women and sets in motion a chain of events that stretches across thirty years of friendship, love, and tragedy.
James Henderson cannot forget his brief encounter with Sophie Duval. Despite his guilt at being away from his daughter, he takes an assignment to cover the wedding of the century, sailing with Grace Kelly’s wedding party on the SS Constitution from New York. In Monaco, as wedding fever soars and passions and tempers escalate, James and Sophie—like Princess Grace—must ultimately decide what they are prepared to give up for love.

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My 5-Star Review:

Movie star Grace Kelly takes Cannes by storm when she arrives at the film festival, followed by the paparazzi hungry for photos. But as the film star is trying to avoid the press, perfumer Sophie Duval has more serious problems on her mind—saving her family business. By luck, Grace Kelly ducks into Sophie’s tiny shop to escape one determined photographer and Sophie hides the actress and confronts the pushy man herself, sending him away. What Sophie doesn’t realize yet is that photographer, James, and Miss Grace Kelly herself, will shape her future in more ways than one.

MEET ME IN MONACO is a delightful novel full of interesting characters and plots that keep the reader turning pages. The glitter of a Hollywood star, the romance of a starlet and prince, and the love story of two people who meet at an inopportune time but so desperately wish to be together. What more could a reader want? A lovely, enjoyable novel.

About the Authors:

Hazel Gaynor: Hazel Gaynor is the acclaimed New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author of A MEMORY OF VIOLETS and THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME, for which she received the 2015 Romantic Novelists' Association Historical Novel of the Year award. Her third novel, THE GIRL FROM THE SAVOY, was an Irish Times and Globe and Mail bestseller, and was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. In 2017, she published THE COTTINGLEY SECRET, and LAST CHRISTMAS IN PARIS (co-written with Heather Webb). Both novels hit bestseller lists, and LAST CHRISTMAS IN PARIS won the 2018 Women's Fiction Writers Association Star Award. Hazel's most recent novel, THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER'S DAUGHTER, was an Irish Times and USA Today bestseller. Her latest novel MEET ME IN MONACO (co-written with Heather Webb) will be published in July 2019. 

Hazel was selected by Library Journal as one of Ten Big Breakout Authors for 2015 and was a spring 2015 WHSmith Fresh Talent pick. Her work has been translated into ten languages and is published in seventeen countries to date. She is co-founder of creative writing events The Inspiration Project, and lives in Ireland with her husband and two children. She is represented by Michelle Brower of Aevitas Creative Management, New York. 

For more information, visit www.hazelgaynor.com 

Heather Webb: Heather Webb is the international bestselling author of six historical novels set in France, including her latest Last Christmas in Paris, which became a bestseller and also won the 2018 Women's Fiction Writers Association STAR award. In 2015, her novel about famed sculptors Camille Claudel and Rodin called Rodin's Lover, was a Goodreads Top Pick. Next, check out her novel inspired by Grace Kelly's royal wedding called Meet Me in Monaco, co-written with bestselling author Hazel Gaynor. To date, Heather's novels have sold in a dozen countries worldwide. She is also a professional freelance editor, foodie, and travel fiend. She lives in New England with her family and one feisty rabbit.

Heather is a member of the Historical Novel Society, the Women's Fiction Writers Association, and Romance Writers of America.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Book Review: Secrets of the Chocolate House by Paula Brackston

Hi all,

I fell in love with Paula Brackston’s novels a few years ago when I was reading her “Witch” novels – The Witch’s Daughter, Return of the Witch, The Silver Witch, The Midnight Witch, and The Winter Witch. She has such a beautiful way of writing that I was thrilled when she began a new series starting with The Little Shop of Found Things. This latest one is the second book in that series, and is just as amazing as the first. Here is more about this novel and my thoughts.

Secrets of the Chocolate House

Paula Brackston

Book Description:

The second novel in a bewitching series "brimming with charm and charisma" that will make "fans of Outlander rejoice!" (Woman's World Magazine)

New York Times bestselling author Paula Brackston’s The Little Shop of Found Things was called “a page-turner that will no doubt leave readers eager for future series installments” (Publishers Weekly). Now, Brackston returns to the Found Things series with its sequel, Secrets of the Chocolate House.
After her adventures in the seventeenth century, Xanthe does her best to settle back into the rhythm of life in Marlborough. She tells herself she must forget about Samuel and leave him in the past where he belongs. With the help of her new friends, she does her best to move on, focusing instead on the success of her and Flora’s antique shop.
But there are still things waiting to be found, still injustices needing to be put right, still voices whispering to Xanthe from long ago about secrets wanting to be shared.
While looking for new stock for the shop, Xanthe hears the song of a copper chocolate pot. Soon after, she has an upsetting vision of Samuel in great danger, compelling her to make another journey to the past.
This time she'll meet her most dangerous adversary. This time her ability to travel to the past will be tested. This time she will discover her true destiny. Will that destiny allow her to return home? And will she be able to save Samuel when his own fate seems to be sealed?

Coming October 22, 2019
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My 5-Star Review:

Charming, magical, delightful! Author Paula Brackston does not disappoint in this second novel in the Found Things series, Secrets of the Chocolate House.

In this sequel to The Little Shop of Found Things, the reader returns to Xanthe and Flora’s antique shop in their quaint little village. With her special power to time-travel, Xanthe hears the song of the copper chocolate pot and knows she must follow its call. But when it brings her back to a familiar time, and familiar people, she finds herself embroiled in another dangerous adventure that may change the course of her life forever.

Secrets of the Chocolate House is another wonderfully woven tale by the talented Ms. Brackston. I enjoyed this story immensely, and look forward to the next one. If you love fiction with a magical touch, you’ll enjoy this story.

About the Author:

Paula Brackston lives in a wild, mountainous part of Wales. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, and is a Visiting Lecturer for the University of Wales, Newport. Before becoming a writer, Paula tried her hand at various career paths, with mixed success. These included working as a groom on a racing yard, a travel agent, a secretary, an English teacher, and a goat herd. Everyone involved (particularly the goats) is very relieved that she has now found a job she is actually able to do properly. 

When not hunched over her keyboard in her tiny office under the stairs, Paula is dragged outside by her children to play Swedish tennis on the vertiginous slopes which surround them. She also enjoys being walked by the dog, hacking through weeds in the vegetable patch, or sitting by the pond with a glass of wine. Most of the inspiration for her writing comes from stomping about on the mountains being serenaded by skylarks and buzzards.

In 2007 Paula was shortlisted in the Creme de la Crime search for new writers. In 2010 her book 'Nutters' (writing as PJ Davy) was shortlisted for the Mind Book Award. Last year she was selected by the BBC under their New Welsh Writers scheme.