Review: Love, Lies and Lemon Cake

Love, Lies and Lemon Cake
Faye Dobson has lost her sparkle. Living on film star fantasies and vague memories of a marriage that once was, she can’t help feeling that life is passing her by. She dreams of being whisked to Paris for dinner, making three wishes at the Trevi fountain and having sex under the stars. But the wrinkles are multiplying, her husband’s passion is for plumbing, and the nearest she’ll get to Rome is a take-away pizza.

So when Faye meets Dan the gorgeous Australian surfer guy working in the local deli she can’t help but wonder what it would be like to see the world. He is blonde, tanned, ten years younger and bakes the most amazing lemon cake. Unlike her husband Dan actually listens to Faye, his smile makes her feel fizzy inside, and when he smiles… Oh. My. God.

But is Faye being silly? What would Dan see in someone like her? Even if he did have feelings for her, could she give everything up to be with him?

A laugh-out-loud, bittersweet comedy about taking your life back before it’s too late.

My Thoughts:
I adore Sue Watson and her books. Ever since falling in love with her first novel, Fat Girls & Fairy Cakes, I’ve been following (stalking) her career with much interest! And she just keeps growing as an author. In Love, Lies and Lemon Cake, Sue explores what some might describe as the “mid-life crisis,” but I believe it’s more about discovering one’s true self and following your heart than having a freak-out in your forties. As always, Sue’s brilliant humor shines through with great comedic scenes to balance the more contemplative nature of the story. Oh, and I have to mention this very important element. This story is steamy! With a hot, young Aussie as the catalyst to main character Faye’s sexual re-awakening, there was plenty of sexy action, which had me biting my nails with anticipation. But Sue always knew just where to close the bedroom (or car) door so as not to cross over into the realm of erotica. She is such a tease! And I loved it. So, if you’re in the mood for something sexy and funny and even a little thought-provoking, do check out Sue’s latest. It’s an (afternoon) delight! :)

Side note: Sue Watson and I are working on a project together along with Cindy Arora and newcomer Joel Zlotnik, a lad lit author who I guarantee will get the ladies swooning! And it’s all about cake! So stay tuned for more information on what I promise will be a very delicious read. Out this fall!

About the Author:
Sue Watson was a TV Producer with the BBC who combined motherhood and family life with a busy career. However, one day it dawned on Sue that Cosmo magazine may have been telling porkies about ‘having it all,’ and her life had become a slightly crazed juggling act.

So after much soul searching (and comfort eating) Sue abandoned her TV career, bought a pink laptop and wrote a novel. ‘Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes,’ tells the story of Stella Weston, whose life is a constant struggle with a nasty boss at work, the weighing scales and being a mum, wife and daughter.

Originally from Manchester, Sue now lives with her husband and teenage daughter in Worcestershire. When she’s not toiling over her latest novel, Sue bakes (and eats) cake and enjoys very large tubs of Caramel Chew Chew ice cream all to herself while watching ‘The Biggest Loser USA.’

Sue’s second book, ‘Younger, Thinner, Blonder’ was released in October (2013) and her third book ‘Love, Lies and Lemon Cake’ is released on June 27th 2014. To learn more about Sue, please visit her website.

Christmas in July

Here in Los Angeles, we’re on the cusp of a blazing hot week, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get in the holiday spirit. Especially when there are four fab Christmas reads on sale for 99 cents all week long, including Merry & Bright! With six cheery tales of wintery bliss, you’ll be transported to cooler climates, warm cups of cocoa, rosy cheeks, and hot Christmas kisses!

Sip your eggnog, linger under the mistletoe, and make a Christmas wish. Merry & Bright brings you six tales of Christmas cheer, featuring stories of budding romances, Southern charm, lost loves, heaps of humor, and lots of pie by authors Isabella Louise Anderson, Cindy Arora, Laura Chapman, Lauren Clark, Libby Mercer, and Nancy Scrofano. From sunny Los Angeles to the Rocky Mountains to the Deep South, Merry & Bright will take you on a heartwarming adventure you’ll love to visit again and again. Wrap yourself in holiday mirth and prepare to be swept off your feet.


My Top Five Online Dating Tips

Recently, I stepped back into the online dating pool. I’ve been dating online off and on for a number of years, so by now I consider myself a pro. I’ve made lots of mistakes along the way that have helped me figure out the best way to navigate the maze that is internet dating. It may seem impossible to find a good guy online, but they are out there! In fact, I met two of my best guy friends this way. And to this day, we are still great pals. I also met my last boyfriend on the internet, and though that didn’t quite work out, we’re still friends (of a sort). Anyway, on to the good stuff! Below are my tips to keep you from hating online dating:  

1.      Put on your party dress – It might seem obvious, but it you’re looking to attract romantic interests online, you need to make a great first impression. Put some thought into your profile. Don’t just slap up a selfie you took at the beach and jot down a few stale lines about finding “the one.” Be creative and let your personality really shine. And get a friend to take your picture, preferably one that has a good eye. You need to stand out from the crowd. And that starts with a great, captivating picture and a brief, but clever description of yourself and your passions.
2.      Make the first move – See someone you really like? Be bold and send him an email. Not a flirt or a wink. An actual email. It only needs to be a couple of sentences, but make them strong sentences that will grab him from the beginning. After all, that’s what you would want to get, too, right?
3.      Trust your gut – If you get an email from a guy (notice I said email, not a wink – ignore those), and you’re just not sure about him, hit the delete button. Yep. Trust me on this. After years of online dating and giving guys the benefit of the doubt, I have learned after many awkward coffee dates that my first instinct was always correct. Don’t second guess yourself. You will avoid a lot of uncomfortable conversations over chai lattes.
4.      Don’t take things personally – By this I mean, don’t get upset if some promising guy you’ve been emailing and texting suddenly disappears. It just means he wasn’t the one for you. Yes, it’s frustrating when you get dumped without so much as a farewell before you even meet him, but this is a clear indicator that he really wasn’t that into you and found someone he liked more. And on the internet, no one has any manners anymore, which leads me to my fifth tip…
5.      Be heartless – We’re all nice girls here, but I’ve learned that if someone who has emailed me doesn’t pique my interest right away, it’s best simply to hit delete. I know we’re all tempted to send a “thanks, but no thanks” response, but in my experience, it just leads to more awkward emails. A lot of these guys are playing a “numbers game” where they just wink and flirt with every cute girl that pops up on their screen. And if one bites, even if it’s a rejection, he keeps trying to reel you in. I have even had to block guys that I’ve deleted. They just don’t give up!
So, if you’re having a go at online dating, keep these tips in mind to make the process much less irritating. You may even have a little fun!

Q&A with Kelly Rimmer

Today on the blog, I’m happy to have Kelly Rimmer, author of Me Without You, for a little get-to-know-you Q&A. But before we dive right into that, here’s a bit about her new book! It sounds like a real tear-jerker!

Me Without You

A story of how love can break our hearts – and heal them.

A year ago I met the love of my life. For two people who didn’t believe in love at first sight, we came pretty close. Lilah MacDonald – beautiful, opinionated, stubborn and all kinds of wonderful in ways that words could never quite capture. The woman who taught me to live again.

My Lilah, who gave me so much, and yet kept from me a secret that she knew would break my heart.

My name is Callum Roberts, and this is our story.

Q&A with Kelly Rimmer

Q: What was the inspiration for your novel?
A: I was literally on a ferry when I had the first idea that lead to this book! I saw a lady in a suit – without shoes – and a man tried to pick her up. She was quite dismissive and it was actually rather awkward, but it got me thinking…what if it wasn’t like that…what if they had hit it off…? I’d had a few key ideas that I wanted to explore and the opening scene became the vehicle for that broader story.

Q: Who is your favorite character and why?
A: There’s a lot I admire about Lilah, although she wouldn’t be an easy person to have close in your life – people who are that passionate rarely are!! I think most of us want to live a life that’s true to our principles and that makes a really positive, strong impact – Lilah really takes that concept very seriously, and I just love her for it.  

Q: What is your writing method? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A: Left to my own devices I am absolutely a pantser, I’m usually as shocked by surprise plot twists as anyone. But it’s a horribly inefficient way to write, so I’m trying very hard to plan my novels more!!

Q: Do you have any writing rituals to help set the mood before sitting down at the keyboard?
A: I have a 2 year old and a 4 year old -  and until recently I also worked full time – so my pre-writing ritual has traditionally been to sprint to the computer and to start frantically typing before someone disturbs me !! 

Q: What was the first car you owned?
A: It was a white 1981 Ford Laser with velour trim, and when the engine died, I literally wept.

Q: What is your favorite holiday and why?
A: I have an aunt who lives in the rainforest in far north Queensland – I mean, quite literally in the middle of the rainforest, you can only get to her house by boat. I spent a few weeks with her over Christmas nearly ten years ago, licking my wounds after a horrendous year. Being four hours from anywhere in a Daintree paradise, eating great food, drinking great wine, sharing fantastic company – it just rebooted so many things for me. In hindsight, it was the dawn of a whole new (and much better) era in my life, so that holiday has particularly special memories for me !!

Q: Who was your first celebrity crush?
A: Michael J. Fox. I was pretty sure I was going to marry Alex P. Keaton.  

Q: Do you have a current TV show obsession?
A: I’ll answer this question after I watch just one more episode of Orange is the New Black…I’m so addicted – it’s brilliant!!  

Q: What was the first concert you went to and how old were you?
A: Living rurally as a teenager, there wasn’t much available in the way of recognisable-name concerts – not that I was much of a concert-goer anyway, I was much more likely to be at home reading.  

Q: If you could give just one piece of advice to your 16-year-old self, what would it be?
A: That haircut you’re about to get will be a terrible mistake!!!  

LOL! Thanks for visiting, Kelly! I think I also had a wee crush on Alex P. Keaton back in the day. I’m still a fan of Michael J. today. He’s just so cute and funny.

About Kelly Rimmer
When Kelly’s childhood friends grew out of make-believe games, she realised she’d have to become a writer (or join the real world with them, but that seemed far too dull). Several decades later, she lives in rural Australia with her husband Daniel and their two young children, and when she’s not reading, writing, or daydreaming about reading and writing, she has one of those unfathomable IT jobs which no one outside of the industry really knows about.

Fiona Valpy’s French Lessons

Fiona Valpy, the author of The French for Always, and I have a few things in common. Aside from the fact we are both authors, we’re also both yoga teachers. And, funnily enough, I just bought a Fiat 500L and named it Fiona! And as I’m writing a novella set in France, Fiona’s guest post serves as the perfect inspiration for me, and hopefully for you, too! But before we get to that, here’s a bit about her new book to whet your appetite.

Five Weddings. The perfect venue. One little hitch…

Leaving the grey skies of home behind to transform a crumbling French Château into a boutique wedding venue is a huge leap of faith for Sara. She and fiancé Gavin sink their life savings into the beautiful Château Bellevue – set under blue skies and surrounded by vineyards in the heart of Bordeaux.

After months of hard work, the dream starts to become a reality – until Gavin walks out halfway through their first season. Overnight, Sara is left very much alone with the prospect of losing everything. With her own heart breaking, Sara has five weddings before the end of the season to turn the business around and rescue her dreams. With the help of the locals and a little courage can she save Château Bellevue before the summer is over?

French Lessons

Every now and then in life, you find yourself standing at a crossroads. Different paths open up before you and you hesitate, deciding which way to go. There may be a well-trodden path, one which you know will be safe, staying well within your comfort zone; and there may be paths that are less certain, riskier, leading off into uncharted territory. Six years ago, my husband and I took the riskier path, selling up in Britain and moving to France, in pursuit of our dream of owning a wine farm here. We’d researched it thoroughly, and our two sons were moving on in their own lives so it didn’t mean too much upheaval for them. We thought we had it sorted.

Which brings me to the first Life Lesson I have learned here: Never, ever think you have it sorted!

Having left our jobs and sold our house in Edinburgh, burning several bridges behind us, we arrived in France to buy our dream vineyard. And then the world changed overnight. Northern Rock collapsed, the world economy wobbled on its foundations, currencies began to slide, and we discovered that the French wine industry was in crisis. Whoops! We visited about thirty wine farms that were up for sale and ended up deciding to err on the side of caution (I know, I know, talk about shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted!) and buy a rambling farmhouse instead, a former wine chateau where the surrounding vines had all been sold off to other local winemakers so that we wouldn’t have the overwhelming responsibility of sinking our life savings into a risky business where we were complete newbies. It’s worked out perfectly – we support our local winemakers by buying the wine they make from “our” vines, so everyone’s happy.

So now we had a project on our hands, renovating our farmhouse, and for the first couple of years we worked flat out to restore it, creating a bright, welcoming home out of a collection of distinctly unloved-looking buildings.

And here’s my second Life Lesson: You’re never too old to learn new skills.

I now know how to mix cement, build a swimming pool, create new rooms out of drywall panels, and my painting and decorating skills have come on nicely so that, these days, more paint ends up on the walls and window frames than on me. We replaced draughty windows and rotting beams, re-roofed, re-wired and re-plumbed, put in heating and cosy wood burning stoves for the winter and created a garden with shady terraces for the summer heat.

Finally we sat back on our newly paved terrace, surveying our handiwork over a glass of chilled Bordeaux Blanc as the sun set on another beautiful summer’s day and then my husband and I looked at each other and said “What now?” Because whilst we’d created our dream home (and neatly resolved the wine-supply issue), we now needed to earn a living.

And here’s the third Life Lesson I’ve learned here: Trust yourself! You can always fall back on your own resources.

Over the years when I worked nine-to-five in an office, I occasionally used to wonder what it would be like to be able to do exactly what I wanted… and suddenly here I was in that position and it was completely terrifying! What would I do? What if I failed? Suddenly it was all up to me to make it happen, no nice safe salary coming in at the end of every month. But it was also exhilarating. Here was an opportunity to do the things I loved in order to make my living. And there are two things I REALLY love: books and yoga. So I gained my yoga teaching certification and I started to write. And I discovered that these two very different strands have created a new, fulfilling balance in my life. With my writing I’m free to explore the creative side, letting my imagination soar. And the yoga brings me back down to earth, keeping me grounded. Yin/yang.

These days I teach in a beautiful yoga studio, looking out towards the surrounding vineyards across the rose-filled garden that we’ve created, and I’ve established a thriving Yoga Association, through which I’ve gained the most wonderful circle of friends.

And the lovely people at Bookouture have published my first two novels, The French for Love and The French for Always, which have become Amazon bestsellers, and we have a third book in the works for later on this year.

They are books about women who find themselves at a crossroads in life and have to rely on their own instincts as they choose which path to take – with a little help from the lively local community, some delicious Bordeaux wines, and a very handsome Frenchman or two! And maybe, just maybe, they’ll also have the opportunity to learn a few Life Lessons of their own along the way…

About Fiona Valpy
FVFiona Valpy lives in France, having moved there from the UK in 2007. She left behind a career in Marketing and Public Relations to explore new avenues and now teaches yogaand writes. Having renovated an old rambling farmhouse with her husband, she has developed new-found skills in cement mixing and interior decorating, although her preferred pastime by far is wine-tasting.

Facebook: Fiona Valpy Books
Twitter: @fionavalpy