The Secret French Recipes Of Sophie Valroux

The Secret Recipes of Sophie Valroux

Six years ago I fell in love with Samantha Vérant when I read her memoir, SEVEN LETTERS FROM PARIS. Now, she’s married to her sexy rocket scientist and living in France  and cooking.  THE SECRET RECIPES OF SOPHIE VALROUX is Vérant’s fiction debut.

What a great cover! Covers can speak volumes when it comes to enticing readers to open a book. This one calls to me. I think it will also call to you. So, who is Sophie Valroux? She’s a young French chef working in a high-powered NYC  restaurant when she is blindsided  and ruined by false accusations from another chef . She’s devastated.  But off she goes to France when she hears her grandmother has suffered a stroke. She arrives in the village of Champvert where she spent her childhood in the southwest region of France to discover the place has changed: grown into quite an establishment with several starred restaurants.  Her grandmother needs her help and she reluctantly dives in. There’s nothing like hopping right back on the bike. Or in this case hopping into the kitchen.

Toss in Sophie’s old lover who shows up only to keep her at bay.  He’s a real hottie and we can feel the sexual tension begin to rise.  But we don’t know what caused their riff. Once they were so very close.

What a great novel to kick back and relax with at the end of the summer. You’ll enjoy the sweet story and the sense of place is stunning. After all, the author lives there….

Samantha Vérant

Just a warning; you are going to love all the recipes in the book.  And if you haven’t already read Samantha’s memoir, well, you will have to read it. It’s one of the best memoirs I’ve ever read.

I read THE SECRET RECIPES OF SOPHIE  VALROUX digitally through Edelweiss. And I thank them profusely. What a treat.  The book is available now and is published in a trade paperback edition which is a great price value.  We have copies at Copperfish Books, but they are limited so hurry.  You need to add this sweet novel to your TBR pile.

Always The Last To Know by Kristan Higgins

Always The Last To Know

Kristan Higgins writes contemporary romance novels. I used to think they would be all fluff.  And I used to be so wrong.  I have enjoyed each of her novels and ALWAYS THE LAST TO KNOW is no exception.

Barb and John have been married for fifty years. They’ve been plodding along and after this many years you aren’t surprised to find they have become pretty bored with their lives.  It’s become a mundane life. But that all changes when John has a stroke. Put the brakes on. Stop the presses. Everything changes on a dime.

Barb and John have two successful adult daughters. One leaves her career to return home to help with her dad. The other begins experiencing panic attacks as she looks at her seemingly perfect life.

You are about to find out what’s really been going on inside the Frost family. Both heartbreaking and hilarious, ALWAYS THE LAST TO KNOW is smartly written with characters you just can’t help but root for.

Kristan Higgins is the NYT bestselling of 19 novels. She just keeps getting better and better.

Kristan Higgins

My digital review copy was provided by Berkley Publishing House, a division of  Penguin Randomhouse in exchange for an honest review. It’s a real keeper.

Copperfish will have paperback copies sometime next week.  Pub date is June 9.

Maurice Introduces Great Summertime Reads!!

I always look forward to summer. I begin sniffing beach reads out in the middle of winter. Some years I am rewarded with several really good ones. This year I feel I have hit the jackpot and then some!!Boy oh Boy do I have some great titles to throw your way. They are not all coming out at once so you can pace yourself. One after the other, after the other. I just could not believe my good luck.  And, here, without further ado, is a list of some of  the best novels coming out this summer. They are all well-written with memorable characters and great stories.

28 Summers ( June 16 )

I’m posting 28 SUMMERS by Elin Hilderbrand first because it’s the first great summer novel I’ve read this year. It’s so good that I totally lost myself inside it. I know you will too. Pub date is June 16.

Big Summer ( May 5 )

I downloaded a digital review copy of BIG SUMMER a couple weeks ago. Did not expect to read nonstop, but that is exactly what happened.  And look, another great cover.

Hello, Summer( May 5 )

With HEllO, SUMMER,  Mary Kay Andrews brings us to the beach, introduces us to rich and colorful characters, and throws in a mystery.  This one truly has something for everyone.

SUMMER LONGING by Jamie Brenner takes us back to the summer playground of Provincetown, Mass.

This is Jamie’s third or maybe even fourth novel and if you’ve not yet read her you are in for a treat. If you are already a fan like me, well, here you are.

Summer Longing ( May 5 )

ON OCEAN BOULEVARD by Mary Alice Monroe is taking us back to Isle of Palm in South Carolina. Back to the beach. Back to the characters I’ve fallen in love with over the years. And back to the beloved sea turtles. This year Monroe is tackling that big pile of plastic in the oceans. She’s done it again with this new novel. ( May 19)

On Ocean Boulevard

 

BEACH READ by Emily  Henry is coming out in a trade paperback form. Perfect for tossing in your beach bag. The cover will beckon and the characters and the light story will keep you involved in this contemporary romance that is just right for now.

Beach Read ( May 19 )

 

SECOND HOME will have you sitting on the edge of your seat as you think you are getting to know a midwestern family who travel each summer to their much-loved cottage on Cape Cod.  This one is not quite as light. It  made the Critic’s Choice Summer List.

The Second Home

Christina Clancy ( June 2 )

 

THE LAST TRAIN TO KEY WEST  is graced with a perfect cover and a story to go with. I love Key West and this novel about the unnamed hurricane that struck the Keys in 1935 is just what you need. It’s a real winner. ( June 16)

The Last Train To Key West

THE KEY LIME CRIME by Lucy Burdette is a yummy cozy novel that’s the latest in the Key West Food Critic’s series. Reading this  mystery novel is like taking a trip south to the island paradise that we know of as Key West. Revisit the restaurants, ride the Conch Train, and even be at the sunset celebration to catch the sights. Oh, and their’s a murder…….

The Key Lime Crime ( July 7 )

 

THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES by Kristin Harmel

The Book of Lost Names

is well worth waiting until late July for.  Kristin is once again in France during the Holocaust. She’s using the background of real forgers, and one a woman, to tell a story that begs to be told. For you WW11 history buffs. Do not miss this.

There will be more but this is enough for now. I think there is something for everyone. Even the lighter  novels are so well-written. I would not usually be covering this many beach reads but, this is certainly the summer for it!

Your friends at Copperfish Books will have copies of most of these books in stock on their pub dates.  They can always be ordered and shipped as well. Please do take note of the on-sale date for each book as they will not be available beforehand.

Punta Gorda

Copperfish Books

Cheers!

Life And Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins

Life And Other Inconveniences

Looking at this cover  you might think you are about to begin reading a very light, maybe even silly, romance novel. Well, nope, you would be wrong.

I had not read Kristan Higgins before accepting this novel for review.  My copy is a bound manuscript and has no pretty cover. Sometimes that is for the best. Certainly this time.

Emma London is living in Chicago and raising her sixteen-year-old daughter singlehandedly. Well, there is her maternal grandfather, Paul, who took her in all those years ago when she was kicked out of her other kingdom.  It’s a long story, so let’s shorten it.   What other kingdom? The one where her paternal grandmother, Genevieve London, ruled the roost.  And Gigi decided Emma would have to fend for herself now that she had  gotten herself pregnant.

Emma has worked hard. Taken the best care of her daughter, Riley. And now is  a respected therapist with a solid education as her foundation.  But suddenly everything changes on a dime. Genevieve calls after sixteen years. Wants to meet her granddaughter, and wants Emma to come”home.” Why? She’s dying of cancer…

Emma gives Riley the option: go spend the summer with her great grandmother, or not. So off they go with Paul tagging along. Paul is convinced it’s all some sort of sham and he’s totally not a fan of Gigi.

This novel is chocked full of unbridled hatred, grief, humor, pride, and hope.  The story has tension. It’s even got a mystery at its core.  It’s perfect for end of summer.

You want to hate Genevieve. Oh, I did for a while. Then you find she has good reason to be mean and stubborn and opinionated. But Riley sees through this and they become fast friends.  The past has a way of biting us in the butt. A lot of butt- biting in this novel.

I almost forgot to tell you that Genevieve London became a very famous designer, of both fashion and home-goods. After her youngest son disappeared and her husband died of grief, she dragged herself from the pit of misery she was in and forced her energy into making a company into one of the largest and most successful in the world.  So, there’s that.

With a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly, this novel will get noticed.  It’s not heavy, but it’s not light, either. It’s really well-written. I think the first half is stronger than the last. But these characters will resonate with you for a long time. I think Higgins is at the top of her writing game.

Kristan Higgins

My review copy arrived from Berkley Publishing, a division of Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.  Great for tossing in your beach bag. Just do it!

The Unbreakables by Lisa Barr

The Unbreakables

THE UNBREAKABLES snuck into my reading life quite by accident. I was rifling through my stacks of review copies of upcoming books. This one caught my attention. France, new beginnings. art, steamy sex. Great for summer, right!!!

I was just going to read a bit to get a sense of the story. One chapter turned into two, and then the pages began turning themselves. So, what got me hooked on this book?  First, I’m actively seeking out lighter books that are suited for summer. Books that are not poorly written. Well-written is the first and most important code.  I like the cover. I love that most of the story takes place in France. I love that it’s not World War Two. So many are this year because of the anniversary.

The story begins in the burbs of Chicago. Sophie is a woman about to celebrate her 42nd birthday by going to dinner with her husband and their best friends. The celebration takes a turn for the worse when one of the husbands decides to regale their group with the latest gossip. Ashley Madison is a secret online dating site for married and committed couples who wish to cheat.  Well, it’s been hacked and all the names of all the cheaters are up for grabs.  But when it comes out that Sophie’s husband Gabe is the biggest cheater of all…. You can only imagine the horror.

Sophie is humiliated and totally wrecked and flies off to Paris to be with her teenage daughter who is experiencing cheating issues of her own.  Ava has been in Paris studying art for the summer and has gotten involved with a married man.

Sophie feels as though she’s lost her life. She’s obviously lost her husband the only life she knows. She lost her ability to be an artist years ago when she began suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome while working as a very promising sculptor.  She’s lost her two best friends through betrayal. What’s left? She needs to find herself.

So Sophie leaves Paris and drives to the South of France  to an artist enclave called Saint-Paul-de-Vence one of the oldest medieval towns.   She’s starting from scratch.  This is where I begin to smile. Yes, I love that she is doing this. But how lucky is she to have the money to do it. The time, the money.  This is pure fantasy for most people. But it makes for good reading. The hotel she stays in is  five stars.  Sophie’s driving a vintage white Alfa Romeo convertible that she chose from the exotic car rental place in Nice.  She’s shedding her worn-out persona and we get the first glimpse of what’s to come.

Barr brings the intricate world of art and the lusciousness of France to the forefront of this lovely  novel.  It’s beautifully written. I found myself being captured and smuggled into the French countryside more and more with each page. I loved learning about the art of sculpture.  In fact, I think I can honestly say I have gained a new interest. Wow.

THE UNBREAKABLES is a very moving novel about a woman rediscovering her joie de vivre, but it’s about so much more than that. I loved it.

Publisher’s Weekly says, ” This exquisitely wrought novel will appeal to readers  who believe in the redemption of new beginnings and the necessity of facing the past while making a deliberate effort to move forward.”

Pam Jenoff says, “Readers will delight in this effervescent cocktail of second chances, female strength, mother-daughter bonding and the truths that set us free. Smart, sure and sexy. The UNBREAKABLES is unforgettable.”

Steamy sex scenes and light drug use. Beware. If that will offend you then I am forewarning you right now. For the rest of us, a delightful and moving read that will transport you to another world for the duration of your reading experience and maybe even down the road. Enjoy!

Lisa Barr

Lisa Barr is the author of one other novel called FUGITIVE COLORS. She’s also quite an accomplished editor and writer  and lives in the Chicago area with her husband and three daughters.

Punta Gorda

Copperfish Books

My copy of THE UNBREAKABLES came from Harper Collins. We will have copies of this  book later this week at Copperfish Books. . Come on in to see  us. And more good news. This book is available in a trade paperback edition. Perfect for summer!

 

 

Sunset Beach by Mary Kay Andrews

mary Kay Andrews

Sunset Beach

It’s officially summertime now that Mary Kay Andrews celebrates her new novel,  SUNSET BEACH. There is nothing I would rather do than settle into one of these colorful, cozy beach chairs right on the edge of the surf.  This beachy cover will immediately draw you in, and the story will keep you entertained  until the very last page.

I’ve been reading Mary Kay Andrews  for many years.  She just gets better and better. I love the mystery aspect she’s woven into the last two books. I love that they take place on an island or a beach.  And I love that they always both entertain and enlighten. These are more than just beach reads.  She manages to give us issues to think about. And  she adds characters that are quirky, witty, and fun.

Drue Campbell has lost her job. She’s broke. She’s a mess. Period.  While attending her mom’s funeral her estranged dad, Brice, pops up after twenty years. Yes, there’s that, too.  He’s recently remarried, again. This time to a young woman who Drue went to school with. How inappropriate. Her name is Wendy. To say she and Drue do not see eye to eye is a gross understatement.  When dear old dad offers Drue a job at his law firm, she has to accept because it’s the only game in town.  This is not just any type of law firm. Can you say personal injury attorney? Ugh.

There is one good thing Drue has going for her.  She discovers upon her mom’s death that her grandparents have left her their beach cottage.  She’s inherited a falling down dump of a house that sits in the  midst of million dollar mansions.  It’s smack dab on  Sunset Beach.   Those of you who enjoy watching HGTV are going to love this aspect of the novel. Fixing up the beach house. Oh boy.

author

Mary Kay Andrews

Once Drue is working for her dad she begins delving into a cold case  and  becomes suspicious that her dad’s firm may have something to do with the disappearance of a woman all those years ago. She’s become a sleuth.

Of course there’s a love interest.  And the give and take between the new wife and Drue is fodder for a lot of tension.

Mix your preferred summer cocktail, put on your flip flops, grab your big hat, don your sun glasses, and grab your copy of SUNSET BEACH. You’re ready for summer!

Punta Gorda

Copperfish Books

My review copy of SUNSET BEACH arrived from the publishing people at St. Martin’s Press. I am so grateful. Along with my book came a lovely note from Mary Kay. How super sweet. I so look forward to our sold-out luncheon event  with her on Wednesday, May 8.  We will have copies for sale of SUNSET BEACH at Copperfish Books. The on sale date is Tuesday, May 7. Once Mary Kay has visited, she will sign copies for us to sell. Those of you who were not able to attend the luncheon event, still can purchase signed copies afterward for as long as they last. Come on up and see us. We’re going to love talking about this event!!

 

A Big Winner!! Rush by Lisa Patton

Lisa Patton

Rush

The cover of RUSH reeks of Southern Architecture.  A sorority house in Mississippi on the grounds of Ole Miss. And just in time for all those incoming Freshman to begin their first year.

Most of you already know what rush is. But for those of you who may not know, it’s the time when young men and women bare their souls and try like hell to get into sororities and fraternities in Universities. It’s a very stressful time where the pressure is like that of an actual pressure cooker with the lid singing and threatening to blow sky high. Yes. no exaggeration. Those of you who have been there know I am right.  So this novel is about the desperation of trying to get accepted by your choice of sorority. But so much more.

This novel begins with Miss Pearl telling us about herself. Here’s the first paragraph.

“I work for four hundred and thirty-eight white ladies in a three-story mansion, not a one of them is over the age of twenty-two. When I took this job, nearly twenty-five years ago, I did it out of necessity. The things in my life had…well, let’s just say they had jumped the track. All of the women in my family, as far back as any of us knew, had worked as domestics. I had been determined to do something different-graduate from college and make a name for myself. Yet here I am following along in their footsteps.”

This little bit sets the tone for the story.  It’ll be no secret that Miss Pearl is my favorite character.

There is a whole cast of characters and Patton

has done a super job fleshing them out and giving their roles credence.  But I will only focus on the main characters here.

We already know Miss Pearl is an integral person. What you don’t know yet is how beloved she has been for many years to all “her” girls. She’s truly been like a mother to them. And they all love her. And she has a secret. The new girls who will be joining Alpha Delt will be the luckiest of the lucky. Or will they?

Enter a woman named Liluth Whitmore who is often referred to by a special  name: Mrs. Shitmore. OMG!  But she is so deserving of that title. She’s the meanest of the mean and is filthy rich with a young daughter who is attending rush this year.  Her concern is to get her mean-spirited daughter Annie Laurie accepted into Alpha Delt no matter what it takes. And I do mean whatever it takes.  Liluth is the House Corp President of Alpha Delta Beta.  And she’s wrecking havoc from day one. And she’s got a secret.

Cali Watkins is over the moon about rush. She is hoping against hope that she gets an invite. But her chances are small. You see, Cali has family secrets, and, she’s got no pedigree… But she’s whip-smart and so lovable.  Of course Liluth does not like her…

Wilda is the mother of a young woman who is also rushing. And she’s keeping a secret from her husband.  Liluth has asked Wilda to be on the advisory board for rush. They haven’t seen each other since their college days… And were never close. And just wait til you hear about the dorm room debacle between Annie Laurie and Wilda’s daughter. It almost put me over the edge. I had not heard of hiring a person to “do” your dorm room.

This novel brought something to the surface for me. These young people give me hope for the future. They decide to help make a better life for the Staff of their house and what they do to achieve this is above and beyond and, quite simply, heartwarming!

I have to thank Meg at Tandem Literary for sending me this lovely book. She’s been such a peach this summer sending me some great books. And thanks to St. Martin’s for providing the giveaway book!! All this in exchange for an honest review. I think it’s just super and Patton has just moved into the position of one of the best southern writers today!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

Now for the winner!! Diane Sutter you are my winner today. Girl, I had the most entries of any giveaway I’ve done yet.  Congratulations, Diane Sutta. I will send off an email to let you know.

Giveaway! Rush by Lisa Patton

Lisa Patton

Rush

Great cover! I’m going to do a little whetting of the appetite here. I’m only a few chapters into RUSH and already I know I’ve found a novel to sink my teeth into. Gotta love that.  Lisa Patton is one of the best Southern writers we have today.  I have one copy for giveaway. Tandem Literary and St. Martin’s Press are providing a copy of the book for one lucky winner! I do believe this book is going to be big. Please leave a comment below and you are entered to win. Only U.S. addresses, please, and as usual, no P.O. boxes.  I will choose my winner on Wednesday, August 29. Good luck! I will also post my full review along with the announcement of the winner.

author

Lisa Patton

“Set in modern day Oxford, Mississippi, on the Ole Miss campus, bestselling author Lisa Patton’s RUSH is a story about women—from both ends of the social ladder—discovering their voices and their empowerment. “

Word’s already circulating about this novel and it’s all real good!

High Season by Judy Blundell

Judy Blundell

The High Season

It’s not the Hamptons. It’s the other end of the island. The end that is much more low key. That’s where Ruthie Beamish and her family live.  But the only way they can afford to live there is by renting the house out three months of the year. Of course those are the most wonderful months… Hey, it is what it is. Her teenage daughter hates this.  When the novel begins it’s that time of the year again. Yeah, you guessed it. Time to pack up their belongings and move out for the summer so some hotshot rich person can take over their home.

This novel takes place on Long Island, New York. But this is a novel we here in S.W. Florida can certainly relate to, especially during the winter months when our own roads are swollen past capacity and it seems as if no one in a vehicle has any idea where he or she is or how to drive… And, what is a turn signal, anyhow?

Ruthie and her husband are separated. They share a daughter who’s at “that” difficult age.  They’ve been managing to have a pretty good relationship until…. he finds someone. It was inevitable.  But the someone he finds is one of the beautiful people and so a whole lot of bitterness comes to the surface. And we begin to see a far deeper chasm between them than was earlier thought to be.

Ruthie works as head of the local art museum where she’s been at the helm for many  years. She feels quite secure there and enjoys her work. The “board” members love her. For now..

Suddenly, Ruthie’s job, her home, and her entire life are in jeopardy. Scrunched into a corner, she feels she has nowhere to turn.  And all her so-called friends have turned on her to save their own butts.

If you enjoy Elin Hilderbrand and Mary Alice Monroe, this could be your next summer read. I loved it! The venue is unique for me. The writing is great. The characters memorable. You will love adding it to your tbr pile for the summer.

My review copy came from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. I loved it!

By Invitation Only by Dorothea Benton Frank

Dorothea Benton Frank

By Invitation Only

BY INVITATION ONLY is Dottie Frank’s newest novel.  She just keeps getting better and better. Plus, she’s really funny. Don’t think funny is easy to write…

We all know that weddings bring out the best and worst in most of us. Tensions rise, expectations abound, and everyone is on point trying to make everything spot-on perfect for the big day.   That’s what Frank’s story is all about.

You already know that when you pair a rich socialite from a large urban city and a not-so-rich country boy from a small farm near Charleston, South Carolina, well, you know, there will be hurdles.  The bride and groom are kind people. It’s the bride’s parents who are over-the-top snobs with more money than anyone should be allowed to have.  Then there’s the groom’s mother, his grandmother, and his Uncle Floyd. They are farmers; always have been. Still live and work on the farm. Just saying’, it’s a FARM versus a penthouse apartment in Chicago…

At times, I found myself laughing my head off. At others, just enjoying the Lowcountry and the drama that ensues. Frank is witty.  I was not prepared to love this story. First of all, I was all set to read a summer beach read that takes place in and around the South.  Most of this novel is set in the frigid cold of a Chicago winter, one with more snow than usual.  Once my mindset was on straight, I was good to go.

This story begins with Diane who is Fred’s mom preparing for a big BBQ to celebrate Fred’s and Shelby’s engagement. Shelby’s parents have just arrived from the city and it sets the tone for the story. Try to picture a super successful businessman, Shelby’s dad, on his phone on conference calls almost every given moment. Then picture Shelby’s mom with her nose high in the air. Then enter Uncle Floyd and his moonshine. And you have a recipe for a very interesting evening to say the least.

Move the story to Chicago where Shelby’s parents are now giving their own engagement party.  Both Shelby and Fred are only children. The pressure is on.  And it’s winter.

Very funny and quite insightful, BY INVITATION ONLY is a thought-provoking story of two families totally out of their comfort zones. There is a turnaround here that changes everything.  And gives this story more depth than I expected. The book was so readable, so engrossing, and, yes, it is a quick read. But don’t think you’re getting a beach read. It’s much more than that!

Dorothea Benton Frank

frank

Dorothea Benton Frank

is the New York Times  bestselling author of eighteen novels, all taking place in the Lowcountry of the Carolinas.  She rocks.

My beautiful finished novel arrived from William Morrow a division of Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review. I loved it!