Showing posts with label Tanya's Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tanya's Reviews. Show all posts

Dec 11, 2015

Happy Harper Christmas: To Catch a Star by Romy Sommer

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Review by Tanya

To Catch a Star is set in Westerwald and is one of a series. This book is about Christian Taylor, an extremely famous actor who is currently in the area to film a new blockbuster. He initially meets Teresa Adler (Tessa to friends) when he jumps into her car trying to avoid some fans. She is not happy when she is forced to become his PA by her father, who was the former Supreme Court Judge and the new head of the nation’s intelligence Service. Apparently Christian was seen with a Waldburg ring. This is a ring that is only to be worn by the heirs of the Archdukes of Westerwald. There was no reason why Christian should own a ring unless it was got by illegal means. She is asked to get to the bottom of the mystery; However Christian has his own mystery that he wants to get to the bottom of. There is an immediate tension between the two characters with a lot of prejudgments being responsible for a lot of the discourse.

I don’t want to go into any more detail that that as it would give away too much of the great story. I admit at times I was confused by the hierarchy that is mentioned in the book, but as you continue to read you understand and recognise the need for it. I really enjoyed the fact that it is in modern times and shows how the media and expectations can affect different rolls in life.

The story was really good and I liked how as it continued you were made to warm to both the characters of Christian and Tessa and began to feel sympathy and understanding towards them both. I was annoyed with Stefan as who would leave his beautiful fiancée, Tessa, to plan a wedding whilst he was working away to only turn up just before the wedding. However the fact that she is working in the demanding role as Christians PA means that she has to hand over the planning of her wedding to her PA Anna and her new friend and set designer Lee. As the filming is due to finish a week before the wedding planned for the 14th February she would have time then for any last minute input.

I really enjoyed the balcony scene and was laughing at the thought of both the men in the balcony in the snow in various stages of dress. I wouldn’t have minded a peep at that! I admit I have always had a bit of a soft spot for a bad boy image and this one is of a bad boy for reason that is revealed through the book. Although I say bad boy he is a bad boy with standards and never goes after another man’s woman! I am off to buy the other books that come before this as I am sure they are just as good.


Dec 10, 2015

Happy Harper Christmas Double Book Review: A Miracle at Macy's by Lynn Marie Hulsman

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Review by Anniek

Charlotte is a person who isn't really outgoing. She is a bit shy and prefers her own company. When she desperately needed a friend she found Hudson. This little dog became her family. After losing her mother, Charlotte was raised by her aunt Miranda. Miranda is everything that Charlotte is not. Miranda 'rules' the world while Charlotte keeps to herself.

When Hudson gets lost Charlotte is in sheer panic. Miranda knows of only one person who can help her niece get her dog back. This person is Henry. He is Miranda's right hand and is very resourceful. Henry comes from a simple background. He grew up on a farm, but took the first opportunity he got to be educated well. Ever since his girlfriend thought he wasn't good enough for her he is determined to prove otherwise. He has worked very hard to get where he is today and he isn't very happy to be searching for a lost dog.

When he and Charlotte meet there are sparks, real firework even. They are so right for each other. Hudson couldn't have done a better job than to get them together. While they are chasing after Hudson all over Manhattan their hearts bond. Charlotte learns to come out of her shell and Henry learns the true meaning of Christmas and family again. I absolutely loved this magic story. Picturing Hudson having the time of his life really made me smile.

Lynn Marie Hulsman really did an amazing job on creating magic and making you feel like you are right there with Charlotte and Henry searching for Hudson. For everyone who loves Christmas this really is the book to read. It is a funny, feel-good, heartwarming story. It proves to you that there really are more good people out there than you would have ever imagined.

Review by Tanya 

This is a heart-warming fun story that really got me in the Christmas mood, thank you Lynn Marie Hulsman, I certainly needed this. The book is about Charlotte a food blogger and recipe tester, who lives in New York but is English. She ended up there when her mother died and she went to live with her Aunt Miranda. During the book Charlotte loses her dog Hudson and she is lead on a goose chase all over New York looking for him. She is supported with this hunt by an employer of her aunt called Henry Wentworth. Initially she does not get along with him as she is certain that he is only doing the task as a way of pleasing her aunt. Also she is not used to being in someone’s company for such long periods of time.

I loved the bond that is formed between Charlotte and Hudson and also how he seems to make her do things that she does not feel comfortable doing. The adventures that Hudson gets up to are fun and exactly what I would love to do if I visited New York. He makes Charlotte come out of her comfort zone in her search which is great for her confidence. She also makes some great friends on the way and realises that she is not alone. 

I felt really upbeat after reading this story. It is a great read for anyone who loves Christmas.


Dec 8, 2015

Australia Days Double Book Review: What Rosie Found Next by Helen J Rolfe

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Review by Suze

Rosie combines her new job with house sitting. She temporarily moves to Magnolia Creek and instantly falls in love with the area. Rosie has a boyfriend, someone who's safe and secure. She wants a stable, dependable future. Only her boyfriend is working abroad, so her dreams can't come true yet. Rosie expects to be on her own in the house she's supposed to take care of, but Owen, the son of the owners, wants to stay at the house as well. He's searching for something and it's important he's doing that while his parents aren't there.

At first Rosie and Owen don't really get along, but soon they become good friends. Rosie loves her job and her surroundings. She's dreaming about a beautiful house and everything that comes with it. Owen needs to discover what happened in the past, something that has everything to do with him, but he isn't allowed to know what it is. Will both of them find what they are looking for?

What Rosie Found Next is a lovely, sweet story about two people who haven't had the easiest childhoods. Rosie has been through something very sad and she could use some more cheerfulness in her life. Owen loves to travel, he's a free spirit and he's a tough guy who rides a bike. Underneath he has a heart of gold and I immediately liked him very much. Rosie is kind and caring and she has a lot of love to give. I really liked that about her. I enjoyed reading about their friendship and interaction. I love how Helen J Rolfe lets food play a vital part in her stories. What they like and how they prepare it reveals so much about people, about who they are and what's important to them. She uses it to make her characters come to life and it works.

Magnolia Creek is prone to fires. It's a beautiful setting, but the area isn't risk free. It was interesting to read about the firefighters. They're doing such a meaningful and brave job. The story taught me more about what they do and how they do it. Fire plays a key part in the book, something that's being revealed bit by bit. 

For me the best part of this story was the interaction between Rosie and Owen. I read the book in one sitting as I kept being curious. Something else I really enjoyed reading about was Christmas. It was fun to read about the way both Rosie and Owen were celebrating the holiday and even though What Rosie Found Next isn't a Christmas story it definitely has enough Christmas magic in it to make me feel festive. I love Helen J Rolfe's writing. All of her books are amazing and I highly recommend them.


Review by Tanya

What Rosie Found Next is a fantastic book set in Australia during the Christmas period. It was very strange to read about a very hot climate that was used to experience bush fires compared to the cold and often raining that we get here in the UK.

Rosie is a house sitter and just starting a new job in Magnolia Creek house-sitting and working part time in a local hotel that holds weddings. She is slightly unnerved by the prospect as it is in a place that is prone to bush fires and there is a lot of maintenance needed to combat it. She also has other reasons, but it’s a while into the book before you find out why. Whilst house sitting she is surprised with the appearance of Owen Harrison, the son of the couple who owns the house. He is there to try and find what secret his parents are hiding from him.

There is a definite fizz between the characters even though Rosie currently has a boyfriend named Adam. He is overseas working and tends to turn up and unsettle the apple cart at various times. 

I loved how Rosie became so much stronger through the book and started to make decisions for herself. Owen helped her to find her confidence and was there for her in some very dark situations. The other characters in the town, including the owner of a local cafe who serves the most amazing sounding scones, are friendly and caring. It makes the little town sound like an ideal place to live. It all starts to grow on Rosie and she finds herself looking at a dilapidated house with the idea of living there.

The book is very well written with lots of twists and turns and the insight as the onlooker to the full story is great. I certainly enjoyed the story and even though it was a different Christmas the meaning is still there. 

Dec 7, 2015

Book Review: Greedily Yours Episode 1 - Taste Test by Emma Hamilton

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Review by Tanya

Mia Maxell is a food lover and she has used her love of food to help her career and runs her own food PR consultancy. She also writes her own blog “Culinary Confessions of a Greedy Girl”. She is very good at her job and helps to organise festivals with lots of food stands and food themes. Her blog is fun to read and she often benefits from the travelling that she does with her long term boyfriend Paul.  

Mia’s passion for food is obvious in the way that she enjoys and describes it and this makes this book ideal for some fantastic recipes with amazingly tasty if not low fat food. In fact Mia writes in her blog “in my humble opinion it’s not money but food that makes the world go around”. Mia’s best friend and flatmate, Lizzie, is also a great cook and owns her own café where she makes her own cakes which sound outstanding (Lavender Dream). She also has pop up store in some of the food fetes that Mia helps to organise.

Lizzie is an amazing support to Mia and they spend all their time together talking and trying to solve problems, mostly discussing Mia’s love or lack of love life. They also like to eat and cook together with Mia being the chopper and prep chef with Lizzie being the cook. The combination and friendship that they have is fantastic and nothing is out of bounds for them to discuss. 

Mia is really struggling to understand where her relationship with Paul is going and is not sure if he really is her future. He often seems aloof and spends more time exercising and in work than with her. He does not like to be close and hold each other or often show affection. He doesn’t not ring her or answer text messages regularly and she is worried that this is not what a proper relationship should be like. Maybe the yearly break of a trip to Cornwall to organise a food festival for Lord Trelawney would be what she needs so that she could have a think. She loves visiting Cornwall and specifically the manor where she is comfortable with the company and enjoys the home cooked food and environment.

However unknown to her Lord Trelawney has had a medical scare and was not there to pick her up. This was the beginning of a change to the normal easy events when the rude Tom picks her up and lets her know he has far better things to do than look after a London City Girl that does not know her way around the countryside. They hardly had a conversation during her stay that was pleasant but she could not get him out of her mind. I really enjoyed how they rubbed each other up the wrong way but could see that there is some tension there that was good for both of them.

The end of the novella left me wanting more and I immediately started reading the next even though it was 2 am. 

Nov 29, 2015

Australia Days Book Review: The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin

Blurb

As warming as hot chocolate, visit Paris this winter and watch the snow fall

Le Vie En Rose

Bookshop owner Sarah Smith has been offered the opportunity to exchange bookshops with her new Parisian friend for 6 months! And saying yes is a no-brainer – after all, what kind of a romantic would turn down a trip to Paris…for Christmas?

Even if it does mean leaving the irresistible Ridge Warner behind, Sarah’s sure she’s in for the holiday of a lifetime – complete with all the books she can read!

Imagining days surrounded by books, munching on croissants, sipping café au laits and watching the snow fall on the Champs-Élysées Sarah boards the plane.

But will her dream of a Parisian Happily-Ever-After come true? Or will Sarah realise that the dream of a Christmas fairytale in the city of love isn’t quite as rosy in reality…

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Review by Tanya

  I have been eagerly awaiting this since I heard about the plot and again this is a great feel good book from Rebecca with a serious side. Some of the characters follow on from the Gingerbread series but this book could be read as a standalone and it's perfect for this time of year although it could be read anytime. 

I loved the magical element of Paris and the romance that comes through. The research into the area certainly comes across (although I cannot confirm this as I have never been there). It has definitely made me want to visit there and I think that Christmas and the markets would be an ideal time. I was intrigued by the introduction needed to some shops and the mysterious things that may be found in the back.

The characters were wonderful and oh so different they each added a special part to the book and in the development of Sarah. I happily observed the changes in the characters through the interactions and how they opened up to each other. The style of Oceane and her willingness to help Sarah see her style potential was great (I just wish I could meet an Oceane). Her background story was interesting and I would love to know more about her family. TJ was such a loveable character and you could not help warming to him. I imagine he would be a great friend always knowing when to help.

The friendships that developed all helped the advancement of the bookshop which at first I was not in love with as there seemed no warmth however this grew on me over the time and I would like to investigate the shop and all the rooms. I can imagine spending many hours walking around and toughing the books.

Well done Rebecca on a great first book in the series and I look forward to reading the next.

Nov 22, 2015

Book Review: The Cherry Tree Café by Heidi Swain

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Review by Tanya
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Lizzie finds herself returning to her old village of Wynbridge where she lives above a cafe that her best friend and her husband, Jemma and Tom is trying to set up. She finds returning hard especially as it means the possibility of bumping into and interacting with her mum who is not an easy person to be around. Being in the village also means seeing Ben Fletcher again, a man she secretly had a crush on in her teenage years, as he is also helping with the setting up of the cafe and is living with her best friend and her husband. However the relationship between them does not get off to a flying start and things are strained.

The Cherry Tree Café starts of quite depressing with Lizzie expecting an exciting proposal on her birthday and the anniversary of her meeting her partner Giles. He sends her to an exclusive spa for the day where she is spoilt and arranges to meet her in one of their favourite restaurants where he drops a clanger which changes things completely. 

The characters in the book, well the majority of them, are lovely and I really found myself warming to them and wanting to meet them. I also want to go to the cafe and go to the craft classes as they sound up my street. It is always something that I wanted to set up for children and parents myself, except I cannot cook and I am also not that great at crafts. I got upset for the characters when they had a fallout or when they weren’t open with each other but I also found myself shouting to forgive. I loved the change in the character of her mum and how they learnt to develop a surprising friendship and understanding. 

There were enough twists and turns that kept you hooked and these influenced the characters in different ways. I was really glad with the ending of the story and how it worked out. Well done Heidi. Heidi also posts encouraging daily posts on Facebook and is a pleasure to chat with. This is the debut book of Heidi Swain and it is a great one that has me waiting for the release of her next book. 

Oct 24, 2015

Duo Book Review: Christmas Ever After by Sarah Morgan

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Review by Suze

Skylar is an artist who makes beautiful things, but her parents don't appreciate her profession. They wanted her to be a lawyer and think her art is just a hobby. She's in London for an exhibition and things are going really well until her boyfriend shows up. Things don't end well between them, but fortunately Alec is there to help her out. Grumpy, moody Alec doesn't like Skylar and he's at the gallery because he's been sent, but he stays with her anyway. Because he can't leave Sky alone he takes her to his family to celebrate Christmas. Slowly he's starting to like her a little bit more and his family loves her. Is that enough to go from loathing to friendship? 

After the family gathering Sky and Alec return to Puffin Island, a place where they both feel at home. There they have the chance to really get to know each other. It's winter, the island is beautiful and Christmas is around the corner. They're both happy to see their friends again and they have work to do. Soon they fall into a great rhythm. It isn't supposed to last, so will they be able to have a happy Christmas or isn't it meant to be?

Christmas Ever After is such a wonderful Christmas story about two people who love what they're doing. Being an artist is in Sky's blood and Alec thoroughly enjoys being a scholar with a career on television and in writing. I liked that a lot about them. I'm a big fan of creative main characters and Sarah Morgan has done such a good job making them come to life. She describes them very well. Because of this I was reading with a constant smile on my face.

The story has two main parts. Alec and Skylar are celebrating Christmas in England together with Alec's family and then later they go to Puffin Island when it's really time for Christmas. I think that's a clever setup as it means the whole book is filled with festive cheer. The family Christmas is lively and active with many people and a lot of talking. The part on Puffin Island is more peaceful. The snowy scenery is beautiful and there aren't as many people around. Because of that combination the story is extra special. I also loved the chemistry between Alec and Skylar. It was great to read about them and to find out more about their personalities.

 I really enjoyed reading this Christmas story. It's the third book in the Puffin Island series. It can be read as a standalone, but as the other two books are great as well I highly recommend you to read all of them. 


Review by Tanya

I received this book in exchange for an honest review and wow wasn’t I pleased it was a great start to my Christmas reading. It is not a happy book all the way through and this is effective because it makes the story more realistic. I enjoyed the fact that the characters are ones that I have met in the previous Puffin Island books, but it can easily be read as a stand-alone, although knowing the background to some of the characters makes it easier to understand. Whilst I am talking about the series I recommend that you read them anyway.

This book focusses on Skylar who at the beginning of the book is having an exhibition of her jewellery, ceramics and art work in a gallery In Knightsbridge, an affluent area of London. She is very excited about the evening even though she has no support from her family, who think she is wasting her time. Events that happen during the successful exhibition throw her in the path Alex who is an acquaintance that she knows and does not get along with. He turns out to be a great support. Alex is only there because their mutual friends asked him to attend after he had given a lecture in London and happened to be there at the same time. Alex is a famous historian and many women find him attractive, but in their previous interactions Skylar and Alex have not got along. Skylar finds him cynical and rude whilst he thinks she is “princess” and not very clever. As the situation brings them together and they spend more and more time with each other things start to change.

I really enjoyed the characters of Skylar and Alex and how you learn more about them as children and as they grew up into adults. They were open and honest with each other and there was no holding back in their responses which was interesting. Although they do not like one another they still tried to stand up for what was right. 

I loved the fact that some of it was set in Britain and in areas that I know. It then went on to be set in Puffin Island where the influence and opinions of their circle of friends put another twist to the story. Of course the romance and excitement of the Island were intensified by the snowy conditions and the descriptions. 

The book makes you think about how you speak to people and the respect you should have for others as well as thinking before you try to influence your children. The story has passion in many ways throughout. Passion of lust, passion of doing what you think is right, passion of hate and passion of friends. Christmas Ever After is a great Christmas read, but is suitable for any time of the year. I am going to read it again just before Christmas as I enjoyed it so much. It's the magic of the friends and the support that gets me in these books. I'm looking forward to Sarah Morgan's next book. 

Bookouture Christmas Book Review & Giveaway: Bella's Christmas Bake Off by Sue Watson

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Review by Tanya

Amy Lane’s husband breaks up their marriage and she is left to deal with the consequences. She does not take the break up well and ends up doing some very silly things in front of her pupils! However her great friend Sylvia takes her under her belt and makes her realise that she is not that bad off. During the start of her recovery she discovers that her old friend Bella, a famous television cook known especially for her Christmas specials, is using her mum’s recipes in her new book and passing them off as her own mum's. Bella and Amy were very close but something happened when they were 17 to break the friendship and it is a long way into the book before you discover why. 

Amy ends up going on Bella’s Christmas special and the meeting of the two characters after so many years was interesting. Part of me didn’t want to like Bella but something about her was vulnerable and that had me feeling for her. I loved the interaction of the two on set and how they contradicted each other. The other characters of Fliss and Crimson add to the tension and caused some giggles as well. The characters of Amy and Bella in the book are very interesting and I loved the way that they changed through the book as you got to know them better and as they opened up to each other.

This is a different and interesting story by Sue Watson that has the Christmas spirit, but I also feel like it can be read anytime. The story line is one that will be of interest to anyone that loves baking and cookery programmes and I loved that real television personalities are referred to in the book. Who doesn’t love the gorgeous Mary Berry? Plus the chapter titles themselves will bring a smile to your face.

I admit I did guess some of the story line, but this did not detract from the book in anyway. Bella's Christmas Bake Off is not an all loving Christmas book, but some of it is and it holds a strong message about the true meaning of Christmas and the importance of being honest to yourself and having good friends.

Giveaway

One very lucky reader of my blog will receive a digital copy of Bella's Christmas Bake Off together with a beautiful Winter Wonderland mug made by JillyJilly Design.


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 22, 2015

Bookouture Christmas Book Review & Giveaway: Coming Home for Christmas by Jenny Hale

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Review by Tanya

Allison, or better known as Allie, Has just finished her 11 year old job for the same family as a nanny and has had to move back in with her mum. She really wants to use her degree and return to teaching, so is applying for jobs. Her sister Megan is an estate agent and has an idea for a short term job where she will be the house manager of a large manor that is being sold. The current owner needs to work away whilst the house is on the market leaving her in charge of the running of the household and the staff as well as keeping an eye on his grandmother.

Allie decides to apply for the job on a flip of a coin something her and her sister have done since they were young. Allie attends an interview where she meets Robert Marley who is blunt and to the point. Robert Marley is described as being “irritatingly unfriendly” which is a great description. Her new role as the house manager means that she meets the rest of the family who are all very different to each other and are not happy about the sale going ahead. This adds a great element to the book as it’s great to see the interaction between them all. The book also shows how a boy never grows up and that they are perfectly happy to play with toys and join in children’s games.

I liked the bonds that she formed with each of the brothers of Robert and Kip and how honest she was in her approach to Robert asking him to return for the Christmas get together. She shows her caring and great teaching skills with Sloane And her two boys Paul And Sammy really enjoyed the activities that she organised, and I admit if I was still teaching or if my children were younger I would be participating in a few of them. Pippa, the grandmother, is a very intriguing character and she released some very interesting information about Robert and why he is so gruff. I enjoyed how the book is not always warm and cosy reading with the characters showing traits and the usual family rifts.

The twists and turns that happen between the characters kept you interested in the book as did the fact that you wanted to know the background story of the characters which was distributed in little snippets of information. You want the story to end in such a good way and you are never quite sure if that is going to happen.

Although this is a Christmas book you could read this at any time of the year but it does have that special Christmas sparkle if you want to read it during the build-up. 

Giveaway

One very lucky reader of my blog will receive a digital copy of Coming Home for Christmas together with a lucky coin necklace made by Expressionery Pendant.

 
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 16, 2015

Book Review, Interview & Giveaway: Clutch by Lisa Becker

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Review by Tanya

Caroline is set on path of loving handbags and bags by her aunt Mimi and she achieves her goal of designing handbags for a living. On her way of achieving her goal she attends Harvard Business School where she meets Mike Barnsworth. Some of her first words to Mike are “I’m not gonna sleep with . you”. They achieve an amazing friendship even though they are from very different backgrounds. Mike’s family are extremely well off and want him to continue with the family business in the brokerage firm, however he doesn’t want to and he is determined to open his own bar.
When they both finish at Harvard Mike wants to move to L.A. and persuades Caroline to go with him as she can design handbags anywhere and she has friends there already. Eventually Caroline starts looking for a partner and she comes across many a difficult situation with many different men that will have you shocked or giggling. Mike is always there to talk to throughout it. Mike however likes to play the field and doesn’t like the idea of being tied down.

Aunt Mime Johnson is a side character but a very important influence on Caroline’s life and the paths that she takes. I loved the descriptions of her “Despite the largesse, the only thing truly bigger than her personality (and her bosom) was her handbag." In fact I think there would be times when maybe I am described like that. Even Mike speaks highly of her and loves her.

The bond between Mike and Caroline is amazing and I loved how they know what the other is thinking and feeling and how they're always there when the other one needs them. I was greedy for more descriptions of bags or the design process and I put that down to me being a bag lover (or bag lady)!). I would like to read more books by this author as I found it a light hearted easy read that I needed at the time.

Interview


1) Could you tell a bit about yourself?

I’m fortunate to have had a series of wonderful careers outside of writing including being a wife, mom, PR professional, college professor, volunteer and Girl Scout troop leader. Clutch: a novel is my 4th book. The book actually started out as a screenplay that was optioned by a production company housed at one of the major movie studios summer 2014. Unfortunately, it fell out of development. I was eager to have this fun story with some of my favorite characters told, so I turned it into a short novel earlier this year.

2) Your books title is Clutch. I'm wondering where you got the idea from and could you describe your favourite?


When I was writing the Click Trilogy, (Click: An Online Love Story, Double Click, Right Click) I was obsessed with NCIS reruns and would have the show on in the background as I wrote. There was an episode when one of the characters mentioned that men were like purses – something useless to hang on a woman’s arm. I started thinking about how men are like handbags and the idea grew from there. I’m partial to a satchel-style bag that you carry at the elbow. Mine has to be large enough for all of my stuff, as well as snacks for the kids. Never (ever!) leave home without snacks for the kids.

3) Your book has a very strong friendship theme. I was wondering who your best friends are and where/how you've met them?


I’m lucky to have some long-standing friendships since I was very young with three really special ladies – one that I’ve known since birth and the other two from kindergarten. I also have a large network of friends from college, graduate school, work and my community. I also have the best friend a gal could ask for – my husband Steve. I really never thought I would get married so I still pinch myself that I've got a loving, hilarious, and intelligent best buddy that I love dearly.

4) Auntie Mimi gives Caroline some fantastic advice. I was wondering what your best bit of advice would be to someone. And also the best piece of advice you have received.


I honestly don’t know that I’m in a position to be giving advice to anyone. But I tend to give a lot of it (unsolicited, of course) to my daughters ages 8 and 10. We recently saw the movie Inside Out, which is about a young girl dealing with her emotions. It reconfirmed a mantra I’ve been drilling into their heads since they were little to Choose Grateful and Choose Joy. Regardless of what’s going on around us, we have the opportunity to choose to seek out the best in the situation.

The best advice I ever received was from an unlikely source. I had interviewed Charles Rosen, one of the producers of the original Beverly Hills 90210, for an alumni magazine article while I was in graduate school. And I'll never forget what he told me, “Don't fall in love with your words, because somebody above will probably change them.” Having spent nearly 20 years working in the public relations industry, I found that to absolutely be the case. I’ve worked with some of the biggest consumer companies in the world including McDonald’s, Ford, Sony and Gatorade. And, I’ve spent countless hours writing news releases, bylined articles, marketing proposals, brochures, advertising copy, public service announcements, radio copy, mat columns, fact sheets, photo captions, media alerts, pitch letters, letters to the editor, video news releases, etc.

And, I’ve carried Mr. Rosen’s words with me every day as colleagues, bosses and clients have “changed my words” sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. When it came time for me to write something personal, based on my own experiences and initially for my own pleasure, I relished the opportunity to write what I wanted, how I wanted and when I wanted.

5) Do you believe there is such a thing as love at first sight? And if so, why/why not?

I do believe in love and first sight and in my case, love at first talk. My husband and I met online more than 15 years ago when online dating was in its infancy. After a week of emails, we had our first phone call. When I realized that we had attended the same, small sleep away camp as kids and that we shared a similar upbringing with similar values, I knew he was "the one." He says he knew it was love when I opened the door to meet him for our first date. We've been married for more than 12 years and have two amazing daughters. Our meeting inspired me to write a novel, Click: An Online Love Story about a woman's search for love online. Ultimately, it's become a book series and the was optioned for a movie.

6) Where/what is your favourite place to write?

I sit in my home office at a HP desktop computer with a really big screen. My eyes grow tired pretty easily in my old age;) And, I like to write with the television on in the background. When I first started writing, I was obsessed with Law & Order reruns and as mentioned already, I can’t seem to get enough of NCIS right now. I guess there’s a part of me that likes to see justice served.

7) How do you write a book - do you plan/plot or do you write and see where it leads you?

For this book, I mapped out the various relationships/handbag styles and ordered them with the character arc so I knew where Caroline started from and needed to go. From there, I just sat and wrote.

8) Do you base your characters on people you know? 

In my Click series, all of the characters were fictional, but some of their qualities and characteristics were inspired by real people I know, such as Shelley. Her hilarious habit of giving nicknames to her “man du jour” was inspired by a childhood friend of mine who had a nickname for a guy in college that she admired from across the dorm cafeteria. She called him Maverick because he looked like Tom Cruise in Top Gun. Much like Shelley, she is a self-confident, gorgeous, lovely gal and it wasn't long before they met and dated for a spell. In clutch all of the characters are just figments of my overactive imagination and not in any way based on anyone I know.

11) How do you treat yourself when a book is finally published?

My friend Tracey and I usually celebrate a book release with a day to the spa. She’s served as an editor and sounding board on three of my four books and I like to treat her to some pampering as a way of saying thanks for all of the support.

12) What are your plans for the future?

In addition to promoting the new book, I’m looking into making connections within the motion picture industry to try and get a movie version made. I’m eager to see if there’s interest from someone else on bringing this fun and quirky story to the big screen. So if you happen to be a well-to-do movie producer looking to make a new romantic comedy, please get in touch!

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Information about Lisa Becker and Clutch

About clutch: a novel

clutch: a novel is the laugh-out-loud, chick lit romance chronicling the dating misadventures of Caroline Johnson, a single purse designer who compares her unsuccessful romantic relationships to styles of handbags – the “Hobo” starving artist, the “Diaper Bag” single dad, the “Briefcase” intense businessman, etc. With her best friend, bar owner Mike by her side, the overly-accommodating Caroline drinks a lot of Chardonnay, puts her heart on the line, endures her share of unworthy suitors and finds the courage to discover the “Clutch” or someone she wants to hold onto.

Author Bio

In addition to clutch: a novel, Lisa Becker is the author of the Click Trilogy, a contemporary romance series comprised of Click: An Online Love Story, Double Click and Right Click. She’s written bylined articles about dating and relationships for “Cupid’s Pulse,” “The Perfect Soulmate,” “GalTime,” “Single Edition,” “Healthy B Daily” and “Chick Lit Central” among others. She lives in Manhattan Beach, California with her husband and two daughters. To learn more, visit www.lisawbecker.com.

Giveaway


Oct 7, 2015

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

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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?
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