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Practice Makes Perfect Book Tour – Cotswolds Quirks

Penny ParksOn the book tour for Penny Parks’ new book, ‘Practice Makes Perfect’, Penny talks about the quirks of living in the Cotswolds.

There must be something in the water…

I’m often asked what I love about living in the Cotswolds and, in truth, there are so many different answers to that question – the wonderful sense of community in our village, the honey coloured stone, the rolling fields and countryside… well, you catch my drift. But one of the notable quirks of Cotswold life is our particular penchant for a bonkers event.

If you happen to visit the Cotswolds, for example, on a Bank Holiday in May, you will find grown men and athletes hurtling down a virtually-vertical hillside near Gloucester in pursuit of a rolling cheese – yes, you did read that correctly. A nine-pound Double Gloucester Cheese to be precise.

Cotswolds Park

And on that self-same day, you would see the streets of Tetbury decked out for a country fair, as men and women alike attempt an undulating and challenging course, whilst carrying a fully laden wool sack on their shoulders.

TetburyNeither one for the faint hearted!

If you like your madness a little more genteel, then of course you could opt for the Boxing Day Bibury Duck Race – try saying that after a festive tipple or two! – where thousands of people turn out to watch a flotilla of sponsored yellow ducks race their way along the River Coln.

Bourton-on-the-Water

Practice Makes PerfectOr pop into Bourton-on-the-Water for a quick game of football in the river – splashing about on August Bank Holiday in an attempt to best the opposing team.

So whatever your inclination, there is almost certainly a Cotswold tradition that might float your boat – or indeed your duck. And it is this spirit of gung-ho adventure and individuality that makes the Cotswolds such a wonderful place to be.

And since my fictional town of Larkford is set in the Cotswolds, it is my very great pleasure to bring a little of this hearty hedonism to the page, where of course we can be assured that Dan and Taffy will make the very most of it.

You can buy Practice Makes Perfect from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Images from Loving The Cotswolds

Book News – You, Me, Everything By Catherine Isaac

You, Me, EverythingCatherine Isaac has revealed the cover to her debut novel called ‘You, Me, Everything’ which excitedly is being adapted for film, even though it won’t be out until 2018.

But for people not in the know, Catherine Isaac is actually Jane Costello, who already has nine books under her belt.

What the back cover says:

Sick of her boyfriend Adam’s lying and cheating, Laura throws him out only months after giving birth to their son. While she brings up William with the help of her mum, Susan, Adam moves to France to follow his dreams.

But ten years on, Susan is battling a debilitating disease, aged just 53, and she convinces her daughter that William needs his father in his life. So, in their first trip abroad in years, Laura and ten-year-old William set off to spend the summer at Chateau de Roussignol, in the sunlit hills of the Dordogne, where Adam now lives.

Laura is determined is to make Adam fall in love with his own son. But the problem isn’t only that he’s an unwilling participant in this game. It’s that Laura is tormented by a secret of her own, one that nobody – especially William – must discover.

With a beautiful cover and a heartbreaking synopsis, ‘You, Me, Everything’ sounds like a stunning story.

You can pre-order You Me Everything from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 20th September 2018.

Orange Blossom Days By Patricia Scanlan

Orange Blossom Daysn‘Orange Blossom Days’ is the latest book by Irish author, Patricia Scanlan.

Anna and Austen MacDonald, an Irish couple, are preparing to enjoy their retirement to the full. But the demands of family cause problems they have never foreseen and shake their marriage to the core. Sally-Ann Connolly Cooper, a feisty Texan mother of two young teenagers, is reeling from her husband’s infidelity. La Joya becomes a place of solace for Sally-Ann, in more ways than one. Eduardo Sanchez, a haughty Madrileño, has set out with single-minded determination to become El Presidente of the complex’s management committee. But pride comes before a fall. Jutta Sauer Perez, a sophisticated German who aspires to own her very own apartment in La Joya, works hard to reach her goal. Then the unthinkable happens.

Patricia is back with a new book, filled with many nationalities from across the world who all share a love for their apartments in the La Joya de Andalucia, in a small Spanish town. The resort provides the couples with the perfect escapes from the stress of live and home, but for some the resort isn’t as perfect as some hoped and new problems arise.

From the Emerald Isle, we have retired couple Anna and Austen MacDonald who have used their nestegg to treat themselves to a second home and escape from the dramatic and needy clutches of their daughter Chloe and her desire for a big wedding. Their intentions to spend time relaxing together don’t always work out much to their dismay, as one of their children is always looking for their attention and money. Texan couple, Sally-Ann and Cal lead separate lives even though they put on an united front, until Cal bursts their bubble and they literally have to go their separate ways. Whilst Eduardo is a stickler for rules and nothing annoys him more than seeing the residents of the resort taking liberties and disobeying the rules, so he runs for president of the resort, hoping that his wife will support him, but Consuela has gotten tired of his controlling ways and goes out to find a life of her own and finally there’s Jutta, the manager of the resort, a strict German woman who runs the resort like a ship, the only thing that gets in the way is her demanding father, her frivolous husband and annoying sisters.

I love Patricia’s books, they are the perfect books to sink into and relax with, filled with warmhearted and engaging characters, her lighthearted tales always make for tender reading. In this book, the wide selection of characters and personalities , give the story plenty of twists and enjoyable turns.

The many nationalities, give the story a clever spin, the lighthearted and witty Irish characters, Anna and Austen are the warmer elements of the story with their gentle nature, they made me smile with their Irish sayings and slangs whereas Sally-Ann was fun and vibrant with a strong heart and finally both Edmundo and Jutta are both driven by their careers and will stop at nothing that gets in their way, to be honest I found them the least likeable of the characters, they were obnoxious and rude.

Filled with warm and relatable characters set against the sunny climate of Spain, ‘Orange Blossom Days’ is a tender tale of love and friendship and is the perfect escapism read.

You can buy Orange Blossom Days from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Last Piece Of My Heart By Paige Toon

The Last Piece Of My HeartPaige Toon is back with a new book called ‘The Last Piece Of My Heart’.

Meet Bridget, a successful travel journalist with ambitions to turn her quirky relationship blog into a novel. But, after numerous rejections from publishers, she accepts an alternative proposition: Nicole Dupre died leaving behind a bestselling novel and an incomplete sequel, and the family need someone to finish it. Bridget is just thankful to have her foot in the publishing door. But as she gets to know Nicole’s grieving family, and the woman behind the writing, Bridget’s priorities begin to change.

Paige is back with another beautiful tale, a story that whisks you anyway to many different countries packed with exotic and handsome men and adorable babies.

In this book, we meet Bridget who was originally introduced to us in one of Paige’s earlier books, ‘Thirteen Weddings’. She’s happily working away on her blog, reuniting with old boyfriends and putting ghosts to rest until her agent asks her to ghost write the follow up novel to a best seller. Sadly, the author Nicki, passed away before finishing and Sara, Bridget’s agent thinks she would be perfect for the job.

But, for Bridget to finish the book, Bridget must delve into the world and thoughts of the author and this brings her to Cornwall, where she lives in her fathers old motor home called Hermie and she spends her days with the widowers husband and their baby sweetly called April. It’s during this time with Charlie and April, that Bridget forges a friendship with the pair and finds herself discovering new things about herself whilst finishing the challenging novel.

As per usual, Paige has written another book that tugs at the heartstrings with an adorable baby with a sweet and inquisitive nature but also makes for poignant reading as she reads the private thoughts of a young woman whilst intruding on a mans grieving.

Bridget is the life and soul of the paper, she’s fun, outspoken and not used to children, until she met April, she feared them but immediately falls for the little girl. As she researches into the book, we realise that she’s not quite as settled as we thought, as she tries to deal with a long distance relationship with her boyfriend in Australia, but as time goes by, she begins to wonder if he does own the last piece of her heart.

Charlie, is also another beautiful character, he’s handsome, creative and tortured as he deals with his wife’s untimely death but with Bridget suddenly thrown into his and his daughters lives, he begins to deal with his grief and she helps him realise that life can move on.

Their scenes together are wonderful, they are fun and vibrant and Bridget really does bring the best out in Charlie. I genuinely loved the couple, they were fun, relatable and most of all engaging.

A warm and sweet tale, that flowed at a lovely pace, ‘The Last Piece Of My Heart’, is a beautiful and sensitively written tale about love and loss that truly made for bittersweet reading.

You can pre-order The Last Piece of My Heart from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 18th May 2017.

How Not To Fall In Love Actually By Catherine Bennetto

How Not To Fall In Love Actually‘How Not To Fall In Love Actually’ is the latest book by Catherine Bennetto.

Life is 10% planning, 10% design and 80% totally winging it. Join Emma as she guides you through How Not to become accidentally knocked up at the age of 27, How Not to unceremoniously dump the father of your child, and then How Not to lose the job that (even though you hate it) is the only thing between you and being homeless.

‘How Not To Fall In Love Actually’ is a deliciously fun story that had me giggling throughout the Easter holidays.

In this story, we meet Emma George, who discovers that she’s pregnant. Unhappy with life, she ditches her scam artist boyfriend Ned, who’s constantly looking to discover the next big thing and she leaves her job as a television assistant.

Single, with no money, she finds herself living in the house, that her recently deceased grandmother left her in her will, with a drunk stranger living as her lodger and her new job is chaperone on a zombie apocalypse film with her cheeky cousin, Archie.

I absolutely loved this story, Catherine’s writing is a breath of fresh air, she’s writes with wit and honesty that truly made for genuinely funny reading.

Emma is a wonderful character, she’s bright and outspoken with a fun side. She tackles her unexpected pregnancy courageously and instead of settling in life, she prepares for parenthood alone.

The characters along with Emma are wonderfully entertaining, from her opinionated mother who constantly feels like she is being let down, to her nosy neighbour Harriet. As well as the addition of the handsome and kind Joe, who Emma takes pity on when he finds his fiancee cheating.

Packed with humour and plenty of laugh out loud moments, ‘How Not To Fall In Love Actually’ is a deliciously fun and charming story that had me laughing throughout, filled with twists and turns, this book is perfect for fans of Mhairi McFarlane.

You can buy How Not to Fall in Love, Actually from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.