Making my winter reading list

It’s November–which means NaNoWriMo month for me. I’ll be writing like crazy (and posting chapters on my author site), but I’ll also be getting cozy and reading. So what will I be reading? I am so glad you asked! Since we’re creeping closer and closer to the Christmas season (yes, I am well aware that it was *just* Halloween a few days–but it will soon be Thanksgiving and First Advent and you know how the days fly by), I’ve made a list of what I’ll be reading to get in the holly-jolly spirit *and* what I’ll be reading for the sheer pleasure of it. So here goes…

Holiday Reads

Secret SantaSecret Santa – Scarlett Bailey

A Christmas to Remember – Jenny Hale

The French for Christmas – Fiona Valpy

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 09.28.09Snow Angels, Secrets & Christmas Cake – Sue Watson

The Reluctant Elf – Michele Gorman

Sweet Christmas Kisses: Fourteen Sweet Christmas Romances – Beate Boeker, Donna Fasano and a host of other writers


On My Kindle Now

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 09.32.29Didn’t Mean to Love You – Christina C. Jones

Fear of Heights – Mara White

The Secret Place – Tana French


On My Preorder List

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 09.34.13Chasing Moments – Tia Kelly

It’s Not Me, It’s You – Mhairi McFarlane

Winter’s Tale – Mark Helprin


That’s it for today–there will probably be more books added to my Winter Reading List, so  check back often!

Happy reading! 🙂



Review: French for Always by Fiona Valpy

The-French-For-Always-front-cover-800pxThe perfect rom-com recipe for the summer needs a few key ingredients: a beautiful location, a heroine we cheer for, a problem that seems insurmountable and, of course, the guy who turns out to be exactly the person our heroine was looking for. We want romance, we want an escape, we want to dream ourselves away and get lost as we read, and Fiona Valpy, author of The French for Love (which I reviewed last year), delivers on all points with The French for Always.

So what’s the set up? Meet Sara and Gavin–they’ve left England behind to live in the French countryside, running a boutique wedding venue. After months of renovating their dream chateau and finally getting their business going, Gavin decides this isn’t the life he wants, cheats on Sara and then buggers off. Reeling from the discovery of Gavin’s infidelity, Sara has to do everything she can to keep her business going and hold on to her dream of the home she’s never really ever had. And then…love steps in.

Intrigued? You should be! The French for Always is such a charming book and the perfect page-turner for lazy days. Sara is a great romantic heroine–she is resourceful even when faced with the possibility of losing everything she’s dreamed of, she is strong and big-hearted. By the end of the book, you feel like you’ve gained a new friend. The secondary characters will also put a smile on your face. And the descriptions of the Bordeaux countryside make me long to go to France (and I am a confirmed Italophile!) and wander among the vineyards…

I really enjoyed The French for Always! I’m already looking forward to Fiona Valpy’s next book. 🙂

Rating: 5_Star

Happy reading!

Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher for an honest review.


Two books you really ought to read this summer

Cover of Monsoon Memories by Renita D'SilvaIn between all the work I’ve been doing (both for my job and for my fiction writing), I’ve managed to read a few books. Two books that really stood out were Monsoon Memories by Renita D’Silva and The French for Love by Fiona Valpy. These two amazing women are debut authors published by Bookouture, which is well on its way to becoming my favorite publishing company. So far, I’ve read four books published by this new kid on the block, and all four have been fantastic.

Both Monsoon Memories and The French for Love are beautifully written novels that have a way of conveying setting and description that is magical. And both novels feature such  stellar characterization that you’ll feel as though you know the characters inside and out.


Monsoon Memories tells the story of Shirin, an Indian woman who is estranged from her family and living an on-the-surface enviable life in London with her husband. Memories of her life in India, and why she was forced to leave, haunt her and a longing for her family and everything she left behind grows inside her. And while Shirin’s memories keep pulling her back into her past, in India her niece finds a photograph of the aunt she never knew and starts them on a path to dealing with painful secrets and ultimately coming to love and reconciliation. Full of gorgeously crafted settings and descriptions, you’ll be pulled into this lush novel. Renita paints the most beautiful images with a few, perfectly chosen words. Monsoon Memories is a book to fall in love with.


The cover of The French for Love by Fiona Valpy

The French for Love also deals with family secrets, leaving the past behind and taking a path of discovery. Gina, our protagonist, has every reason to leave England behind–she’s lost her dream job and  her boyfriend and then her favorite aunt dies, and then she finds out her aunt has left her what seems to be the solution to all her problems–a house in France. So Gina does what any self-respecting woman who’s longing for a change would do–she moves to France to start a new life. But…she hadn’t factored in the culture shock, the roof in need of repair, language gaffes or the family secrets that were supposed to remain buried. As Gina learns to navigate life in Bordeaux (sounds heavenly, doesn’t it?), she finds herself falling in love with Cédric, her dishy stonemason. Well…I won’t tell you the rest. You should just take my word and dive into this book. It’s a perfect summer read that will transport you away from the doldrums commuting or the usual rat race and have you longing to move to France and find a ramshackle house of your own.

So have I got you interested? Good! You should be. Both novels are amazing, and they are definitely on my list of must-reads for 2013. They are both five-star books for me.