Showing posts with label French Days. Show all posts
Showing posts with label French Days. Show all posts

Oct 7, 2015

French Days Book Review: The President's Hat by Antoine Laurain

Amazon USA Amazon UK

Review by Suze

It's 1986 and Daniel Merçier wants to treat himself, so he goes to a Parisian brasserie for a seafood dinner. He can't believe his luck when president François Mitterand has his evening meal at the table next to him. Daniel dreams of being part of his meeting, but he's already quite happy listening in. Then the president leaves and forgets his hat. Daniel finds it and instead of returning it to him he decides to keep it. Only there's something very special about the hat. It actually changes his entire life. 

The hat influences Daniel's future. All of a sudden his career improves and he feels like a different person. Only he doesn't manage to keep the hat, he loses it. He's devastated as he was so happy with his hat. Now it's in the hands of someone else. Fanny picks it up when she's on the train. And the hat changes her life as well. It has only just begun its journey...

The President's Hat is a fabulous story about a hat that changes people's lives. It makes them bolder and it enhances the qualities they already have. I love the idea and really enjoyed reading this book. Antoine Laurain has a great sense of humor and his stories are sparkling. Several people possess the hat and it keeps making things better for them. I really liked to read about their characters and wishes. They all have different stories, but they share the hat. I think this book is a perfect fairy tale for adults and it put a big smile on my face. It is really wonderful and magical, I highly recommend it.

French Days: Filled L'Occitane Suitcase Giveaway


Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a filled L'Occitane suitcase. Good luck!

I will contact the winner via e-mail. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international, you can find the official rules here.

French Days Book Review: The Chateau on the Lake by Charlotte Betts

Amazon USA Amazon UK

Review by Suze

It's 1972 and Madeleine's parents own a school in London. It's a school for girls and Madeleine is a teacher there. Her father is French and her mother English which means she's fluent in two languages. They've always been a happy family, but then something awful happens and Madeleine loses both of her parents. Because her best friend Sophie is in a difficult situation they decide to go to France. Together with the French comte Etienne d'Aubery they're traveling to Paris where he has a house. It's the time of the French revolution and it isn't safe in the big city. Etienne offers to stay with Madeleine and Sophie to make sure they're all right, so they continue their journey and arrive at his countryside chateau, Château Mirabelle.

Madeleine and Sophie are staying in a beautiful cottage near the chateau and they're enjoying their time in France. They can't tell anyone they're English, so they have to keep their identity a secret. Etienne has a handsome assistant, Jean-Luc, and they're best friends, but even he can't know who Madeleine and Sophie really are. Both men want Madeleine's attention, but there's only one of them she really likes... The revolution also reaches the village and France is in turmoil. The country is at war and a lot of young men are recruited to fight. Being nobility is dangerous. Will the castle still be a safe place to stay?

The Chateau on the Lake is a beautiful story about a woman who goes to France in a very dangerous time. Madeleine wants to know more about her ancestors and she can't wait to find some information or to even meet them. Fortunately Etienne is there to help her and Sophie. They don't have to travel by themselves. Etienne is brooding and dark, but he also has a kind side. He has a difficult past and is not very approachable. That made him such an interesting main character. I was intrigued by all the characters in this book and I really liked Madeleine, I think she's a wonderful heroine.

I love reading books about France and think Charlotte Betts has written a story that is both interesting and gripping. There are a lot of thrilling scenes because of the dangers of the revolution. The story kept me on the edge of my seat most of the time. I could really feel the unrest and the fear, which was in complete contrast with the tranquility of the amazing surroundings. I enjoyed the descriptions of the chateau and the French countryside. The story is also quite romantic and I loved the clever plot. If you like historical fiction this is a book you don't want to miss.

French Days Etsy Spotlight & Giveaway: Suze Loves Dianthusa!


I love Dianthusa's beautiful patterned tile jewelry.


I like the elegance of the pieces.


The owner of Dianthusa, Pilar, makes the most beautiful necklaces and earrings from clay and resin.


The jewelry is delicate and absolutely stunning.


I love my Dianthusa necklace and earrings.


Check out this amazing Etsy store.


Enjoy browsing...


And have fun shopping!


One very lucky reader of my blog will receive a wonderful prize. A pair of gorgeous surprise earrings will be for the winner of this giveaway. Good luck!

I will contact the winner via e-mail. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international, you can find the official rules here.

French Days Book Review: The Parisian Christmas Bake Off by Jenny Oliver

Amazon USA Amazon UK

Review by Tanya

Rachel dislikes Christmas and has her reasons for it. She hasn’t really baked since her mum passed away. Her mother used to own a bakery in the village of Nettleton and was very respected. The members of the village, especially her best friend Jenny and Mr Swanson, are responsible for sending her to Paris to be part of a competition to learn from the best baker Henri Salernes. It's an advantage for Rachel as it means she won’t have to be in the village at Christmas trying to find excuses not to attend social events. 

Rachel goes through a big change during the competition, she's getting back her love of baking and realises that people are not always what they seem. I loved how she kept her spirit about herself and was happy to talk up and to help others. You could feel the atmosphere through the writing.

The Parisian Christmas Bake Off has a great feel good factor about it that doesn’t necessarily need to be read at Christmas as it’s only really a side part. The characters in the book are very well described and the cakes all sound delicious. In fact Jenny I think you are responsible for me putting on a few extra pounds.

The ending was delicious and extremely heartwarming. Now I have a request Jenny please please please can you write a book that is for dieters with fantastic sounding food that helps me to lose weight?

French Days: Decodelire, L'Occitane & Macaron Giveaway


Enter this giveaway for a chance to win L'Occitane hand cream, lip balm and soap, macaron jewelry and Decodelire jewelry & accessories, a notebook with stickers and magnets. Good luck!

I will contact the winner via e-mail. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international, you can find the official rules here.

Oct 6, 2015

French Days Book Review: Someone I Loved by Anna Galvada

Amazon UK Amazon USA

Review by Suze

Chloé's husband has left her for another woman. She's heartbroken, but still has their children to care for. To help her out her father-in-law, Pierre takes her to the family countryside home. There they talk about life and love. Pierre tells Chloé about the love of his life. He's a silent and distant man and while he talks Chloé finally gets to know him. He tells her his secrets while she is getting through the worst stages of her grief. Will it help her to make sense of the situation she's in? 

Someone I Loved is an impressive story about life and love. I could review this book with only one word, wow. I read this book in one sitting. The story isn't very long, but it doesn't have to be. It has all the right ingredients and the result is fantastic. The story is philosophical. I'm not sure if the book gives the answers or raises the right questions which is something I really liked about it. I felt like it was about so much more than a woman and her father-in-law and that made it such an interesting read for me.

Someone I Loved is a story to read between the lines. I think Anna Galvada is a brilliant writer and Catherine Evans's translation is excellent. I could picture the house, the cold and loneliness and the heartbreak while at the same time there was warmth and safety. Someone I Loved is fast-paced, which gives Pierre's story a bit of a feverish quality. It's also what I feel like when discussing this story. I want to let people know how much I liked it and want to tell everyone to read it. Get this book, it's really, really, really good!

French Days: French Bio Beauty Giveaway


Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a French bio beauty package with two bars of soap, shower gel, hand cream and an eye shadow palette. Good luck!

I will contact the winner via e-mail. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international, you can find the official rules here.

French Days: Etsy Favorites & Giveaway

Gipsy Indian Girl

I've made a selection of jewelry from French shops I love. Everything you find here is below €20.

Malacrea

Lili Funambule

Wildyfraise

Andi Lee Creations

Les Arts de Sylvie

Mimischka

Les Boisettes

Chez Violette

You Ampersand Me

Bijschrift toevoegen

Belle of the Ouest

Mix Mania

Atelier de Tomono

Karine Jewelry

La Fait Mer

Licornes B Creations

XTory

Maemele

Que Cuchi

Rainbow Gypsie 63

Lili Funambule

Giveaway

One lucky reader of my blog will receive a surprise gift bought from one of these shops. You can tell me in the comments which shop you like best  (I'll have a budget for this prize, so if you win I might send you two things depending on your preferences) Good luck!

I will contact the winner via e-mail. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international, you can find the official rules here.

French Days Book Review: The Chocolate Touch by Laura Florand

Amazon USA Amazon UK

Review by Suze

Dominique is a chocolate maker with a bad reputation. He's a womanizer, he doesn't have any close relationships and he's rough. He's a dark, big and strong man who's climbed up from working in an abattoir to being the best chocolate maker in France. Jaime is his exact opposite. She's petite and sweet and comes from a rich family. While they have billions she decided to distance herself from them and travel the world to try to prevent slavery on cocoa plants. Now she's in Paris, recovering. She still has to come to terms with her new situation. 

Jaime loves chocolate and she often visits Dominique's salon. He notices her immediately and it's love at first sight. Both Dominique and Jaime are dealing with insecurities and don't think they're good enough for one another. Will they be able to overcome their issues and have a chance together or is there too much that's standing in their way?

I liked The Chocolate Touch immediately because of the way Laura Florand describes her main characters. Dominique is as dark, robust and dangerous as the chocolates he makes. I liked that a lot. He's emotionally scarred and anger is always present, but even though he comes across as a brute he's actually a really kind man. He tries to be the perfect man for Jaime so she will want him. I thought that was endearing. Jaime is a fighter, but she thinks she's weak. I wanted to know what happened to her and couldn't stop reading until I found out. I was hooked from the start.

I loved the chocolate descriptions, they are vivid and they make the story come to life really well. It's obvious that Laura Florand has done her research. I know what chocolateries in Paris look like and she transported me back to my favorite quarter and type of shop. I enjoyed that very much. The story is sexy and seductive as well, exactly what chocolate could be like. If you like a romantic story with a wonderful, delicious theme you should definitely get this book. 

Oct 5, 2015

French Days: Big L'Occitane Beauty Box Giveaway


Enter this giveaway for a chance to win this amazing L'Occitane box filled with mostly Verbena products. The winner of this giveaway will receive two soaps, two hand creams, a big shower gel, shampoo and a shower gel/shampoo for men. Good luck!

I will contact the winner via e-mail. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international, you can find the official rules here.

French Days Fabulous Freebie: Frenched by Melanie Harlow

Amazon USA Amazon UK

Review by Anniek:

Mia is an event planner who loves to make lists. She's engaged to the gorgeous Tucker. He was a bachelor for quite some time and many women tried to get him to settle down. Mia feels she is the lucky one because she gets to be his wife. Being the event planner that she is, Mia has planned out the entire wedding to a perfect A standard. They even did an article about them in a bridal magazine. She is more than ready to begin her perfect married life. When Tucker blows off the wedding a week before the actual walking-down-the-isle event Mia is crushed. Mia's friends persuade her to go to Paris by herself. The trip was supposed to be her honeymoon, but she decides to give it a go on her own.

 Paris is the city of love and when Mia is in France she feels miserable because of her honeymoon suite and seeing all the amorous couples when she goes outside. She tries to run and hide from all of the things that are making her sad. Being soaking wet from the rain she spots a bar and goes inside to drown her sorrows. It is there that she meets Lucas. Lucas feels sorry for Mia when he finds out what happened to her. He promises to take her on a tour to show her Paris and is determined to make her stay and enjoy her time there. Of course Mia has a list of all the things she wants to do and see, so Lucas has a job cut out for him. The only thing Lucas wants is to make her smile again.

When I finished this story I searched the web about Paris. Next to an imagine of the Eiffel Tower I read: 

Falling in Love is like jumping off a really tall building. Your brain says, "This isn't a good idea". Your heart says, "You can fly".

That is exactly how I felt reading about Mia and Lucas. They are so right for each other. I couldn't put this book down and wanted to keep reading about Paris and about Mia and Lucas. I just needed to know if they would finally own up to their feelings for each other. What also moved me was the story of Heloise and Abelard. I didn't know the details and looked it up as soon as I finished this book. I found out that their love story is one of history’s most passionate and romantic true love stories. 

I have only been to Paris when I was a child and after reading Frenched I had to make a list for myself: 

1. I must go to Paris again 

2. I absolutely want to go to Heloise's and Abelards grave 

3. I want to read their letters 

4. I must see the Eiffel Tower again and want to go to the top 

5. I want to go to the Pont des Arts (even though hanging another lock is no longer possible, the look of all the love that was there must be mesmerizing) 

6. I want to be a real tourist and see all the tourist places 

7. I don't want to wait a very long time to do all of the above

French Days: Paris - A Fond Memory


By Suze

When I was 18 I went on holiday to Paris. My then boyfriend, and now husband, and I worked very hard the entire summer and the five day budget break was something we could only just afford. We booked the cheapest hotel, which was close to Gare du Nord (a good piece of advice, look for something a little bit further away). We stayed at a terrible place, but fortunately it was clean enough and somehow it also had a bit of charm in its own way. That was mainly because of the old lady with a crooked back who ran the place. She made the best croissants I ever tasted and her chocolat chaud was delicious as well. 

We stayed in a dinghy street with a lot of questionable shops and establishments. Every time I went out someone stopped to ask me for my services, which was quite uncomfortable, but it was also pretty funny. It was the first time I had the chance to explore Paris on my own terms. My first three visits were with parents and school and I enjoyed my new freedom. We walked around for hours. There's so much to see and do in Paris even without a big budget. We soaked up the atmosphere and had a great time.

The highlight of our stay was a brasserie close to our hotel. It was a typical Parisian establishment with red and cream walls, huge mirrors and white tablecloths. The art nouveau style of the place greatly impressed us. The traditional French food was absolutely delicious and we were treated like royalty by the staff. Here we discovered the romance of Paris. We fell in love with each other even more and at the same time with the beautiful city.

It was also during this stay that we discovered Deutz champagne. We didn't have any glasses and drank the amazing liquid straight from the bottle. No champagne has ever tasted as good as that bottle of Deutz. While taking careful sips to savor the taste we looked at the map and dreamed about places we wanted to visit. We still haven't seen all of those places even though we've been back to Paris plenty of times already. This particular stay will always have a special place in my heart and as soon as we arrive in the city we share our wonderful memories first and then it's time to start exploring again...

French Days: Yozocraft Paris Package Giveaway


Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a package with Paris goodies from Yozocraft. Good luck!

I will contact the winner via e-mail. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international, you can find the official rules here.

French Days Etsy Spotlight & Giveaway: Suze Loves Coquette en Papier!


I love Coquette en papieR


This fantastic French shop sells beautiful origami jewelry.


I like that the designs are simple and elegant.


The seller, Maud, ships quickly.


I like her colorful designs.


They're well made and gorgeous.


Her prices are great, so this jewelry is perfect for gifts.


Check out this fantastic Etsy store.


Enjoy browsing...


And have fun shopping!


One very lucky reader of my blog will receive a wonderful prize:


The winner of this giveaway will receive a necklace and earrings. Good luck!

I will contact the winner via e-mail. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international, you can find the official rules here.
Be an e-tailPR blogger