Thursday, October 22, 2020

Book review of Stonechild by Kevin Albin

French Village Diaries book review Stonechild by Kevin Albin
Stonechild by Kevin Albin


Stonechild by Kevin Albin

Where do we go to when we die? Imagine human consciousness embedded in the molecules of a statue. So, when the statues of London come to life, it is a spectacle like non other, and they come with a specific message, and an offer we cannot refuse.

 

As the world reels in this wonder of science and religion, Molly Hargreaves has other plans and she sets out to prove that things are not as they seem. 

 

Chased, captured and confined, Molly confronts the statues and her own fears. But who can she convince? The people are welcoming, the Government has succumbed, and the police try to act, but how do you shoot stone and metal? Be prepared to be run ragged around London on a mystery worthy of the great Sherlock Holmes.


 

French Village Diaries book review Stonechild by Kevin Albin
Stonechild by Kevin Albin tour banner



My review

This book may not be set in France, but I couldn’t resist reading it as Kevin, the author, until recently lived in the same village as me here in France. I also have rather a soft spot for London and loved the idea of statues coming to life, with a message for us.

 

Molly Hargreaves is 15, well travelled, well read and thanks to her parents, pretty clued up on conservation too. As certain statues come to life on the streets of London, claiming to have done so in order to save the planet, Molly isn’t convinced and the statues she first encounters only make her more suspicious that something else is going on. While tourists flock to see the spectacle and London goes mad, alone and with no one prepared to believe her, Molly tries to discover the truth. 

 

This book might be aimed at younger readers, but there was certainly enough to keep my interest, and not only did we get a tour around the main sights of London, we were taken to more hidden locations where statues are to be found too. Kevin gave just enough detail about the figures from history to add to the story, without it feeling like a school textbook, and it was obvious that a lot of thought had gone into which statues would be used, and why. The race against time for Molly to uncover what is really going on just added to the drama and sense of adventure. It may be fiction, but as we live through a global pandemic, there was a lot here that rang true and certainly made me think about the changes we all need to make to ensure the planet has a future.

 

 

Purchase Links 



https://amzn.to/2BfnoWs


On Kevin's website you will find a word puzzle for the readers of Stonechild, with a prize to be drawn on the 10th December, which is Human Rights Day. Click here for further details. 

 

French Village Diaries book review Stonechild by Kevin Albin
Kevin Albin



Author Bio 

I served 25 years with the police in the UK, eight years of which were with a tactical firearms team. In 2002, I took a career change, and retrained as an International Mountain Leader working across the globe guiding on mountaineering trips and expeditions. 

 

I have led many trips to the jungles of Borneo, my favourite destination, an enchanting place that has sadly seen much deforestation. My trips were based on education and conservation.

In 2011, I won the Bronze in the Wanderlust Magazine World Guide Awards for my work..

 

It was whilst working on a corporate training day in London, when I pictured a statue coming to life to give my clients the answer to the clue they were working on. The rest grew from there. 

My hope is that my writing will continue to spread the word on conservation and protection of all species.

 

I live in France.

 

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French Village Diaries book review Stonechild by Kevin Albin
Stonechild by Kevin Albin


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Book review of Lost in Lavender by Lise McClendon

Lost in Lavender
Lost in Lavender by Lise McClendon

 

Lise McClendon

is back! on Tour October 20-November 2 with      

Lost In Lavender

(mystery/women’s fiction) Release date: October 15, 2020 at Thalia Press 254 pages
***


SYNOPSIS

Facing a crossroads– both career and personal– the youngest of the five Bennett Sisters, Elise, does what she does best: she runs away to think. This time she runs to a farm in Provence that produces heaven-scented lavender for oils. The area is famous for the beautiful purple flower, the symbol of this southern region of France. Her sisters are stumped. Elise never seemed like the farming type, or even gardening, for that matter. But she’s signed up for a farm stay vacation, an idea she got from an unlikely source, the trophy wife of one of her law partners. When she arrives, courtesy her older sister Merle who drives her to the Luberon from the Dordogne, she discovers she is the only guest at the picturesque family farm who is not a college student. The rest are all doing a French language exchange program and are 20 years younger than Elise, leaving her feeling like an outsider and wondering about her life choices. Not only is her judgment in men and careers awful, but she can’t even plan a decent vacation. Meanwhile in the Dordogne, Merle’s niece, Willow, arrives for some R&R before she starts law school. But she brings a few surprises with her, a boyfriend plus Elise’s fiancé. Or is it ex-fiancé? It will take several sisters– and of course Pascal– to unravel the facts as all descend on southern France for July in the heat and lavender. Suspense, romance, intrigue, and humor as the summer heats up for the Bennett Sisters again. Another delicious adventure in international travel and cozy mystery as the Bennett Sisters fight their way to truth, justice, and a perhaps a summer fling, deep in Provence. A summer fling in France never hurt anyone, now did it?
Works fine as a stand-alone

MY REVIEW

I’ve been a fan of Lise’s writing since I first read Blackbird Fly over six years ago and it’s always exciting to get back between the pages of a Bennett Sisters mystery. This book was no exception. It didn’t take long for the memories of the previous adventures of Merle Bennett, Pascal (her French detective boyfriend) and her four sisters to flood back into my head, leaving me feeling like it had been no time at all since I read the last book.

Merle’s cottage, in a bastide town in the Dordogne, may be tiny, but there never seems to a shortage of visitors and surprises through the door. This summer, her son Triston is due home, her niece Willow is popping in after a visit to Paris and her younger sister Elise is taking time out in France too, meaning a lot of running around for Merle. With Pascal now working in Bordeaux, she is also charged with the task of finding a base there for them to be together.

Elise, a lawyer, like all the Bennett sisters, seems preoccupied and distant when she arrives to spend a working holiday on a lavender farm in Provence. Despite Merle’s attempts to discover what is bothering her, Elise just bids her farewell when they arrive at the farm. Two weeks later when Merle returns to the Luberon to collect her, there is no sign of Elise. When she does make contact, she has found herself in the middle of a dark and mysterious situation and needs help. Merle and Pascal, no strangers to danger and adventure in France, waste no time in arriving in Provence where Pascal sets to work (unofficially) to piece together the truth.

I really enjoyed this book, the characters are now like old friends, the emotions Elise was feeling were relatable and the chemistry between Merle and Pascal is as strong as ever. It was an easy book to get immersed in, with an intriguing mystery to be solved, a bit of romance and some family drama, as well as fantastic locations to visit. Lise brings France to life once more, from the city of Bordeaux, to the lavender hills in the Luberon, and not forgetting life in a market town in the Dordogne.

If you have read and enjoyed any of the previous books in the series, you’ll love this one. If you haven’t yet discovered Merle, Pascal and the exciting situations they seem to find themselves in, don’t delay, start today.



Lost in Lavender LiseMcClendon
Lise McClendon


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lise McClendon is the author of thirteen books in the Bennett Sisters mystery series including A Bolt from the Blue, Blame it on Paris, and DEAD FLAT. She wrote two mystery series, the Alix Thorssen and Dorie Lennox mysteries set in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and World War II-era Kansas City (The Bluejay Shaman; One O’clock Jump). She also writes stand-alones as Rory Tate, including PLAN X, a thriller featuring a Bozeman, Montana policewoman. She edited the 2020 anthology, STOP THE WORLD: Snapshots from the Pandemic, bringing together 40 writers around the globe to discuss their experiences and emotions during this year, plus poetry and short fiction. Her short story, Forked Tongue, was included in the Anthony Award-winning anthology, The Obama Inheritance. As Thalia Filbert she wrote with four other well-seasoned crime writers the darkly comic culinary thriller, Beat Slay Love: One Chef’s Hunger for Delicious Revenge. Lise has served Mystery Writers of America in the past as a national board member and Montana representative. She lives in wilds of Montana near Yellowstone National Park.
Visit her website
Subscribe to her mailing list
Follow her on Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
***
You can enter the global giveaway here or on any other book blog participating in this tour. Visit/Follow the participating blogs on Facebook/Twitter, as listed in the entry form below, and win more entry points!

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

Tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time! [just follow the directions on the entry-form] Global giveaway open to all 5 winners will receive an ecopy of this book

***

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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Book review of The House by the Lake by Ella Carey

French Village Diaries book review The House by the Lake Ella Carey
The House by the Lake by Ella Carey


The House by the Lake by Ella Carey

 

The cobbled streets were dark as Isabelle hurried through the shadows, dodging in and out of doorways, constantly looking back. She worried the sound of her loudly thumping heart would give her away, as she peered around a corner. Suddenly, Isabelle was surrounded by Nazi soldiers, their black boots pounding on the pavement, barring her way…

1939, Berlin. Max Albrecht is the young and handsome heir to a beautiful house on a lake where he spent his happy childhood. As war approaches, his parents tell him he must join the Nazi party or the whole family will be killed. But when his beloved French fiancé Isabelle shows him the horrifying truth, Max faces an impossible choice: protect his family or save the girl he loves?

2010, San Francisco. Anna Young is content with her life, running a bustling deli and taking care of her adored grandfather Max, who raised her. Max has never spoken of his past until he hands over an old map, the plans to a grand house just north of Berlin. With a shaking finger, he points to it and says, “I left something behind under the floorboards. Please bring it home before I die.”

When Anna arrives at the crumbling manor in Germany, she discovers a hidden engagement ring in a velvet box. She is desperate to find the woman her grandfather hoped to marry, but the local villagers look away when she mentions Max’s name, and back in San Francisco he is now in hospital, too unwell to speak to her. What did Max do so many years ago? Is Anna ready for the terrible secret that her family’s past may hold?

From bestselling author Ella Carey comes an unforgettable novel, weaving together past and present. Gripping and heartbreaking, The House by the Lake uncovers the secrets and devastating choices that people were forced to make during history’s darkest time.  


 

French Village Diaries book review The House by the Lake Ella Carey
The House by the Lake by Ella Carey blog tour


My review

This book can be read as a standalone, however as it fills in some of the missing pieces from The Paris Time Capsule, notably Isabelle’s life in Paris in the years leading up to the war, I would recommend reading that first (see my review here).

 

Anna is very close to her grandfather Max, but his reluctance to talk about his past has always been something she has never understood. Without any prior warning, Max suddenly asks Anna to travel to Berlin to retrieve something he left in his family house decades ago. Here Anna discovers a grand schloss, locked up and unloved, in a village where life seems to have come to a halt. No one there is prepared to talk to her about her family, or help her on her quest for Max. 

 

Anna is a strong and independent woman, and her determination and desire not to let her grandfather down, lead her to the only keyholder, who reluctantly agrees to let her visit. This unexpected journey, to a country she had no idea she had ties with, raises more questions than answers for Anna, and there are very few people left to explain to her what went on.

 

From present day San Francisco and Berlin, to Paris, Germany and Lake Geneva in the years leading up to the Second World War, this book tells a heart-breaking love story and family drama, revealing secrets that haven’t been spoken about in decades.

 

With Max’s struggles as Nazism takes hold in Germany, this book has that something a bit different from other books I’ve read set at a similar time, and I found myself immersed in Anna’s story, willing her to succeed in unravelling the past and moving forward with a new chapter in her life. If you enjoy reading historical fiction set during the Second World War, I am sure you will love this one. 



French Village Diaries book review The House by the Lake Ella Carey
Author Ella Carey

 

Author Bio

 

Ella Carey is the international bestselling author of The Things We Don’t Say, Secret Shores, From a Paris Balcony, The House by the Lake, and Paris Time Capsule. Her books have been published in over fourteen languages, in twelve countries, and have been shortlisted for ARRA awards. A Francophile who has long been fascinated by secret histories set in Europe’s entrancing past, Ella has degrees in music, nineteenth-century women’s fiction, and modern European history. She lives in Melbourne with her two children and two Italian greyhounds who are constantly mistaken for whippets. 

 

Ella loves to connect with her readers regularly through her facebook page and on her website. 

 

Website 

Facebook 

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Purchase Links



Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Book review of Christmas Reunion in Paris by Liz Fielding

French Village Diaries book review Christmas Reunion in Paris Liz Fielding
Christmas Reunion in Paris by Liz Fielding




Christmas Reunion in Paris by Liz Fielding

Parisian reunion
With the one that got away!

Celebrity chef James Harrington never expected to find himself face-to-face with Chloe, his first love, again… Especially, with her working as a chambermaid at his luxury hotel! Their chemistry’s as strong as ever, but she’s hiding a secret. Can James convince Chloe that their love is worth taking a chance on – again?



French Village Diaries book review Christmas Reunion in Paris Liz Fielding
Christmas Reunion in Paris tour

 

My Review

 

Chloe has been running away from her past for a long time but a chance meeting with James, her first love, makes her realise she’s become stuck in a rut. James is the last person she expects to see at the hotel where she works in Paris and her first instinct is to run, again, but James is determined she won’t get away from him this time. It is obvious they both still have feelings for each other, and I was worried it might turn out to be nothing much more than a heat-of-the-moment, passionate reunion, I was very wrong.

 

In this heart-breaking story, Liz Fielding made me feel the pain, hurt and anger that Chloe has bottled up from the trauma in her past. She also conveys the fiery passion that sparks between James and Chloe on their reunion. It may not be an easy road ahead for them, but the time they have together in Paris and in the Loire, in the run up to Christmas, is just the catalyst needed to make changes for their futures.

 

This book has lot to offer for a quick getaway to Paris and now the nights are drawing in, it’s the perfect time to dive right in and enjoy a bit of festive magic and passion.

 

French Village Diaries book review Christmas Reunion in Paris Liz Fielding
Christmas Reunion in Paris blog tour 13th to 22nd October


Purchase Links

 

Amazon  

iBooks   

Google   

Nook   

Kobo  

Mills and Boon - Harlequin 

Mills and Boon Australia


 

French Village Diaries book review Christmas Reunion in Paris Liz Fielding
Liz Fielding


Author Bio

 

Best selling author, Liz Fielding worked as a secretary in Africa, the Middle East and the UK before writing full time. Her award winning books are published worldwide in multiple languages and she has more than 15 million books in print.

Katie Fforde wrote, when honouring her with the Romantic Novelists' Association's Outstanding Achievement Award in 2019 - "Liz Fielding's books, with their warmth, humour and emotion, have charmed millions of readers. She is a true star of the romantic fiction genre..."

 

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Thursday, October 8, 2020

Book review of Paris Time Capsule by Ella Carey

French Village Diaries book review Paris Time Capsule Ella Carey
Paris Time Capsule by Ella Carey


 Paris Time Capsule by Ella Carey

 

The parcel arrived on an ordinary morning in the mailbox of her New York apartment, postmarked Paris. It was wrapped in brown paper and tied with a silk ribbon. Little did she know that the old brass key and letter it contained were about to turn her life upside down…

1940, Paris. Life is getting desperate for young Isabelle de Florian. Alone with her best friend in her Paris apartment, Isabelle knows that they must seek safety or die. For months she has been playing a dangerous game of secrets with the Nazis, trying to keep the people she loves safe. At last, she secures passage out of the city, packs her best jewels into a small suitcase and steps into the treacherous night…

New York, 2015. Photographer Cat Jordan is shocked when she receives a letter informing her that she is the sole heir of the estate of Isabelle de Florian. She was a friend of Cat’s enigmatic grandmother, who both lived in France until the Nazi occupation forced them to flee. The letter offers few details but is clear on one point: Cat must come to Paris in person.

When she arrives, Cat is enchanted by Isabelle’s beautiful apartment. But why did she leave it to a stranger? Determined to find the truth, Cat investigates her grandmother and Isabelle’s escape from Paris, and discovers that Isabelle was hunted by the Nazis in 1940. But as Cat searches through the dusty letters in the apartment, will the secret she finds change everything she knows about Isabelle and herself?

From bestselling author Ella Carey comes an utterly spellbinding novel about wartime secrets. Paris Time Capsule shows that pulling on the tiniest thread of a life can unravel everything you thought you knew, and change your world forever.

This book was first published in 2015.  

 

French Village Diaries book review Paris Time Capsule Ella Carey
Paris Time Capsule by Ella Carey Books-On-Tour


My Review

Cat is confused as to why she is the beneficiary of an inheritance in Paris, but at every turn to discover the truth, more mystery awaits her. She has little choice but to undertake an almost impossible journey from New York to Paris, and then to Provence and the west of France in search of the answers. 

 

Having put her life in New York on hold, Cat is pulled in two directions. Fiancé Christian wants her back home, but the family she has become entwined with in France need her help. Loic and Sylvie are warm, natural and accepting of her invasion into their lives, as they come to terms with losing Isabelle and discovering the secret she’s kept for seventy years. Why would someone struggle all their life when an apartment in Paris, full of antiques, was locked and left decades ago? 

 

Every lead Cat uncovers seems to end in disappointment. Events took place so long ago, too many who remembered have now been lost. Can Cat discover the truth and what impact will it have on her future? 

 

This book gives the reader a glimpse into the Paris of the Belle Epoque, of family life in Provence and of the sacrifices people made during The Occupation. It is also a journey of discovery, opening Cat’s world to new opportunities at an important crossroads in her life.

 

I really enjoyed losing myself in the pages of this book and am looking forward to reading more from Ella Carey.


 

French Village Diaries book review Paris Time Capsule Ella Carey
Ella Carey


Author Bio

 

Ella Carey is the international bestselling author of The Things We Don’t Say, Secret Shores, From a Paris Balcony, The House by the Lake, and Paris Time Capsule. Her books have been published in over fourteen languages, in twelve countries, and have been shortlisted for ARRA awards. A Francophile who has long been fascinated by secret histories set in Europe’s entrancing past, Ella has degrees in music, nineteenth-century women’s fiction, and modern European history. She lives in Melbourne with her two children and two Italian greyhounds who are constantly mistaken for whippets. 

 

Ella loves to connect with her readers regularly through her Facebook page, Twitter and on her website


Purchase Links