Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Sail Away by Celia Imrie

Hardback: 364 pages                                                                                                 
Genre: Humorous Contemporary Fiction.
Publisher:  February 2018, Bloomsbury
Source: My own signed copy purchased from Waterstones.
First Sentences: Suzy Marshall's phone rang. It was her agent, Max. 'Interview, darling!'
Review Quote: Anything written by Celia Imrie is guaranteed to put a smile on our faces and her latest book is no exception (Good Housekeeping)
Main Characters: Suzy Marshall and Amanda Herbert.
Setting: Mainly onboard a cruise ship travelling from Southampton to New York.
My Opinion: Celia Imrie's third novel is mainly set on an ocean liner where the two heroines by chance come to be on the same ship. They do not know each other and only come to together as the story gains pace for the ending. The cruise is a traumatic experience for both protagonists and as first timers not at all what they expected.
The chaos that ensues makes for an enjoyable humourous read, though if I am honest I still prefer Celia Imrie's work as an actress. This will not stop me reading her future writing though as she writes with such warmth and humour and although firstly an actress, it is obvious that Celia also enjoys writing. Fitting this in between acting work, she admits that she always has a character in mind for herself if her dreams of her novels ever becoming films became reality. Recommended to not only fans of Contemporary Fiction but also to fans of Celia Imrie the actress.

My Previous Reviews For Celia Imrie:    Not Quite Nice    The Happy Hoofer

Précis Courtesy of Goodreads:

The deliciously witty, irresistibly indulgent new novel from the top ten Sunday Times bestselling author of Not Quite Nice follows the exploits of two retired women on an Atlantic cruise ship

The phone hasn't rung for months. Suzy Marshall is discovering that work can be sluggish for an actress over sixty – even for the former star of a 1980s TV series. So when her agent offers her the plum role of Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest in Zurich, it seems like a godsend. Until, that is, the play is abruptly cancelled in suspicious circumstances, and Suzy is forced to take a job on a cruise ship to get home.

Meanwhile Amanda Herbert finds herself homeless in rainy Clapham. Her flat purchase has fallen through, and her children are absorbed in their own dramas. Then she spots an advertisement for an Atlantic cruise, and realises three weeks on-board would tide her over – and save her money – until the crisis is solved.

As the two women set sail on a new adventure, neither can possibly predict the strange characters and dodgy dealings they will encounter – nor the unexpected rewards they will reap.

Vividly evoking the old-world glamour of a cruise ship – and the complex politics of its staff quarters – Sail Away is at once a hilarious romp and a thrilling tale of intrigue, from the acclaimed pen of Celia Imrie.

Video Trailer for ' Sail Away' Courtesy of YouTube

Do take a few minutes to watch this interview with Celia Imrie as she talks about her writing and acting.

Author Profile:

Born in Guildford, Surrey, England, UK on July 15th 1952, Celia is mainly known for her works as an actress. Her parents were mother Diana Elizabeth Blois and father David Andrew Imrie who was a radiologist and was from Scotland. She completed her high school from Guildford High School. Then she went to Guildford School of Acting. She has never married, but has a son Angus whose father is the late actor, Benjamin Whitrow.

For a comprehensive Biography please visit the Imdb Link

Photographs, Trailer and Biographical Information courtesy of the following sites.

Celia Imrie - Goodreads Page     YouTube Interview    Imdb - Biography   Twitter Profile

Wikipedia - Celia Imrie   Amazon Author Page

Monday, March 18, 2019

Five Days by Douglas Kennedy

Paperback: 328 pages                                                                                                  
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Hutchinson 2013
Source: My Bookshelves
First Sentence: I saw the cancer immediately.
Favourite Quote: Every life is its own novel.
Review Quote: "This modern Brief Encounter asks what it is that stops us from instigating change. Throughout we are kept in exquisite suspense, waiting to see whether the beleaguered pair will seize their chance of happiness." (Independent)
Main Characters: Laura and Richard
Setting: Maine USA
My Opinion: After a very slow start I eventually got engrossed in this rather sad tale that is told around five days in the life of the female protagonist. Kennedy successfully narrates this story through her voice. Love, life and mental instability with the familiar plot where two unhappy people connect after a chance meeting. It was an easy pleasant read, but I think I know now why it sat on my shelves for so long.

A year ago I reviewed another Douglas Kennedy novel.  State of the Union

Précis Courtesy of Goodreads:

For twenty years, Laura has been a good wife and mother. She's supported her husband through redundancy, she's worried about her son, she's encouraged her daughter. She has been constant, caring and selfless.

She's stopped thinking about her own dreams, the places she'd like to go and the books she'd like to talk about.

But a chance meeting with a man in a hotel lobby - and the five days that follow - remind Laura of the young woman she used to be, and the woman she could have become.

Author Profile:          

Douglas Kennedy was born in Manhattan on January 1st 1955. He studied at Bowdoin College, Maine and Trinity College, Dublin, returning to Dublin in 1977 with just a trench coat, backpack and $300. He co-founded a theatre company and sold his first play, Shakespeare on Five Dollars a Day, to Radio 4 in 1980. In 1988 he moved to London and published a travel book, Beyond the Pyramids. His debut novel The Dead Heart was published in 1994.
He was married to Grace Patricia Carley  they have two children Max and Amelia but I believe are now divorced.
Apparently dividing his time between London, Paris, Berlin, Montreal, Maine and New York he must spend a lot of time travelling. He writes in French as well as English as can be seen if you visit his Official Website and Facebook

Photographs, Trailer and Biographical Information courtesy of the following sites.

Wikipedia Profile       Authors Official Website    Douglas Kennedy - Twitter

Lovereading - Author Profile    Facebook - Douglas Kennedy France     Amazon Page

Monday, March 11, 2019

What Happens in France by Carol Wyer

Paperback: 361 pages                                                                                                 
Genre:  Humorous Contemporary Fiction,
Publisher: Canelo Publishing 2019
Source: The author.
First Sentence: Bryony Masters clattered down the hospital corridor, handbag swinging wildly on her shoulder, skirting round patients and staff as they ambled without direction in front of her.
Review Quote: "Left me with tears in my eyes and wanting more. A hilarious and touching tale." Sue Watson, author of Love, Lies and Lemon Cakes
Main Characters: Bryony Masters and Lewis Scott.
Setting: Brittany, France.
My Opinion:  It is just about seven and a half years since I read and reviewed Carol Wyer's début novel Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines and I have followed her career and rise to fame as a novelist ever since. My thoughts at that time were that here was a novelist who knows how to make you laugh and take you away from the cares of the world for a few hours. She has gone on to prove this in a big way since then.
Then in 2017 she surprised her many fans, including me by releasing a thriller! A complete change of genre, so she is now also a successful writer of detective crime novels. A prolific writer she has already published several titles in this genre. I was unsure about the change in genre as detective crime novels are not really a favourite of mine, however the one I have read was very readable.
As I have only read one of her novels in this genre to date, her humorous writing is still my personal preference. 'What Happens in France' was a delight to read and met my expectations, feeling low when I picked this title from my tbr shelf, within a few minutes I was immersed in this contemporary romantic comedy. It is what it sets out to be an easy read, light hearted with emotional undertones and if you are looking for something to lift your spirits this will certainly do the job.

Previous Reviews:   

Mini-Skirts and Laughter Lines   Surfing in Stilettos   Just Add Spice 

Three Little Birds   Little Girl Lost

Précis Courtesy of Goodreads:

“She stood and took her place in front of the camera... It was now or never”

Bryony Masters has been looking for her long-lost sister, Hannah, for years, but when their father has a stroke her search takes on new urgency. So when primetime game show, What Happens in France, puts a call-out for new contestants, Bryony spots the ultimate public platform to find her reality TV-obsessed sister, and finally reunite their family.

With the help of handsome teammate Lewis, it’s not long before she’s on a private jet heading for the stunning beauty of rural France. With a social media star dog, a high maintenance quiz host and a cast of truly unique characters, Bryony and Lewis have their work cut out for them to stay on the show and in the public eye.

Yet as the audience grows and the grand prize beckons they find that the search that brought them together may just fulfil more than one heart’s wish…

Video Trailer for 'What Happens In France' Courtesy of YouTube

Author Profile:

Reproduced below is the autobiographical information from her website

Well, what can I tell you about myself? I actually began my working life abroad, in Casablanca, Morocco, where I taught English and French. I raced around the streets on an ancient VéloSoleX bike, avoiding donkeys and other clapped out bikes, to get to the jobs on time. I had one run in with a donkey at a set of traffic lights which caused me to fall off my bike – but that's another story.

After a few years, I returned to the UK to teach and run the English as a Foreign Language department of a private school. (Imagine Hogwarts without the wizardry.) Although I enjoyed wearing a gown and a mortar board and being called a mistress, I left the school to set up a language company and ventured out on my own.

I've written stories since I was in my early twenties. My first efforts were for children and sported silly titles like 'Humphrey and the Dustbin Cats', 'Hurrah for Hugo!' and 'Noir and Blanc - Two Naughty Cats'. They taught French language to younger children and were accompanied by a tape of French songs, mercifully not sung by me.

I began writing for adults in 2009 after my son flew from the nest. I converted his old bedroom into an office and began writing in earnest. At first, I wrote light-hearted novels and non-fiction books that encouraged people to age disgracefully and to 'carpe diem'.

It wasn't an easy journey but I was most fortunate and after much success with my comedies, in 2015 I signed with Bookouture (part of Hachette Group) who published the hilarious 'Life Swap', and then signed me for a three book deal. I was going to provide more comedies but I sent in a suggestion for a thriller which my editor loved and after publication of 'Take A Chance On Me', I submitted the first in the DI Robyn Carter series - 'Little Girl Lost'. The book became a huge success, becoming #2 Best Seller on Amazon Kindle UK and even featuring in USA Today Top 150 best selling books. DI Carter found her audience and by the end of 2017, the series had sold over 250,000 copies.

DI Natalie Ward came onto the scene in September 2018. 'The Birthday' rose to #3 and stayed in the Top 10 Best Selling Kindle charts for over 3 weeks. 2019 will see the release of three more novels in this series  along with 2 new romantic comedies.

Photographs, Trailer and Biographical Information courtesy of the following sites.

Carol Wyer - Amazon Page     Official Author's Website     Goodreads Author Profile

Facebook Author Profile          Twitter Profile