Title: Rachel Does Rome

Author: Nicola Doherty

Pages: 64 Pages

The Blurb

The fourth instalment in this hilarious, romantic and unputdownable five-part series. Perfect for fans of Lindsey Kelk’s I Heart… novels.

What do you do when your boyfriend of two months cancels Valentine’s Day?

If you’re Rachel, you book a last-minute trip to Rome. Together with her friends Lily and Maggie, she’s planning a relaxing weekend of culture and cappuccinos to take her mind off men altogether. But when she bumps into a figure from her past, Rachel finds herself on a Roman Holiday that features Vespa rides, hot tubs and some very unexpected consequences …

Girls on Tour is an irresistible series of interlinked stories about four ordinary girls who have extraordinary fun in faraway places. Expect the unexpected, the utterly hilarious and unforgettable, on this rollercoaster ride of love, laughs, surprises and sparks. You have a VIP pass to join each girl’s adventure, so pack your bags and buckle your seatbelts, because just about anything is possible…

The Review

I have loved the Girls on Tour series and in my opinion they just keep getting better and better. Rachel Does Rome does not disappoint!

In this fourth instalment we see some of our favourite characters reunite for a girly holiday in Rome to save themselves from the Valentine blues. However, it seems like our protagonist Rachel has to deal with her past before she can move on.

In what I like to describe as the Sex and the City of short stories, Rachel Does Rome focuses more on friendship and independence than the other stories in this series. It is good to read a story about strong social groups – friendships over male/female relationships – it helps to remind you to keep your girls close because they are always there for you to fall back on.

Another triumph from Nicola Doherty!

Rachel Does Rome by Nicola Doherty is available now.

You can follow Nicola Doherty (@nicoladoherty_) on Twitter.

Rachel does Rome

The Blurb

An original, subtle and touching novel, telling the tragic and often comic routine of one man’s life and fate. A beautifully tragic and thought-provoking tale, The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman perfectly reflects the elegance and style of Murakami and the skill and plotting of Julian Barnes.

Bilodo lives a solitary daily life, routinely completing his post round every day and returning to his empty Montreal apartment. But he has found a way to break the cycle – Bilodo haw taken to stealing people’s mail, steaming open the envelopes and reading the letters inside. And so it is he comes across Ségolène’s letters. She is corresponding with Gaston, a master poet, and their letters are each composed of only three lines.

They are writing each other haikus. The simplicity and elegance of their poems move Bilado and he begins to fall in love with her. But one day, out on his round, he witnesses a terrible and tragic accident. Just as Gaston is walking up to the post-box to mail his next haiku to Ségolène, he is hit by a car and dies on the side of the road.

And so Bilodo makes an extraordinary decision – he will impersonate Gaston and continue to write to Ségolène under this guise. But how long can the deception continue for? Denis Thériault weaves a passionate and elegant tale, comic and tragic with a love story at its heart. Philosophical, rich in description and detail, it cannot fail to move.

The Review

The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Thériault and Liedway Hawke is a rather curious story that highlights the bizarre dangerous of living a voyeuristic life. Bilodo, through sheer loneliness has a disturbing habit of opening other people’s personal mail. Not boring mail such as bank statements or insurance opportunities but personal hand written letters. Through his actions he becomes obsessed with one of the senders – a lady called Ségolène – and through a bizarre set of circumstances he ends up corresponding with her himself.

The story left me feeling a few things – firstly, I was extremely freaked out. I am one of those people who still partakes in the dying art of letter writing and the thought of a postman reading my letters really bothered me. Secondly, I was saddened by the sheer loneliness of Bilodo. As much as I cannot understand why he did what he did I still felt bad for him…even if he comes across as a bit of a sociopath.

The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman is an interesting story and it is really well written and translated, however, the story didn’t really engross me as much as I would have liked.

The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Thériault and Liedway Hawke is available now.

Postmas

Title: Jill Mansell’s A-Z of Happiness

Author: Jill Mansell

Pages: 46 pages

The Blurb

In this delightful ebook, Jill Mansell gives readers an exclusive glimpse of her life as a writer. In Jill’s world there’s a bear (not a real one), lit up by fairy lights, with zillions of happy endings buzzing around, eating Chinese takeaway for breakfast, getting up late and tweeting A LOT. Oh, and there’s been an explosion in the glitter factory!

Recommended for all withdrawal symptoms from The Unpredictable Consequences of Love, and anticipation disorder for Three Amazing Things About You.

Includes A-Z of Happiness, A Day in the Life of an Easily Distracted Writer, Author Q&A- and the opening chapters of Three Amazing Things About You.

Not a novel – but a little happiness fix.

The Review

I’ve only ever read one of Jill Mansell’s books. It was called Rumour Has It and I remember reading it on a train coming home from my grandad’s house – the journey from Eastbourne to Liverpool is a long one. This may seem insignificant to you but I know a good book if I can remember where I was when I was reading it. And although I have only ever read one of Jill Mansell’s novels I do have a collection of her books which take up plenty of room on my bookshelves ready to be read one day.

I needed to read a book for the #ShortStorySaturday segment on my blog so I chose to read Jill Mansell’s A-Z of Happiness because let’s face it there is enough misery and dreariness in January so a book that guarantees happiness is already a winner in my eyes.

Jill Mansell’s A-Z of Happiness happens not to be a short story (I was fooled) but a non-fiction book of things that make Jill Mansell happy – sort of like Ronseal, it does what it says on the tin. And whilst it doesn’t quite fit the remit of ‘short story’ I am still going to include it here.

What I loved about this very little book (46 pages) is that it was utterly inspiring. I loved the section in which Jill Mansell describes her daily writing life and her Q and A was really entertaining. As an aspiring writer I enjoyed seeing how the other half (that being published writers) live.

Mansell’s A-Z of happiness has inspired a blog post (Wednesday, 4th February 2015) in which I will discuss my A-Z of happy things. It is so easy to slip into the moaning zone and grumbling about the bad things that go on daily. I choose the Jill Mansell way; I choose to find my happiness.

Jill Mansell’s A-Z of Happiness by Jill Mansell is available now.

You can follow Jill Mansell (@jillmansell) on Twitter.

Jill Mansell's A-Z of Happiness

Title: One Night in Paris

Author: Juliette Sobanet

Pages: 65 pages

The Blurb

When Manhattan attorney Ella Carlyle gets a call that her beloved grandmother is dying, she rushes to Paris to be by her side, against the wishes of her overbearing boyfriend. Ella would do anything for her grandmother and jumps at the chance to fulfil her dying wish. But things take a mystical turn when Ella is transported to a swinging Paris jazz club full of alluring strangers…in the year 1927! As the clock runs out on her one night in the City of Lights, Ella will attempt to rewrite the past – and perhaps her own destiny as well.

The Review

I absolutely adore Juliette Sobanet’s books and have read nearly all of her published work because personally I think she is one of the better conteporary romance writers. It is such a pleasure to see her turn her hand to writing short stories.

One Night in Paris is the second book that I have read of Sobanet’s that takes a magical detour into the past. With One Night in Paris you have to allow the suspension of disbelief and just enjoy the wonderful world that Sobanet creates.

In One Night in Paris we see Sobanet briefly deal with the contentious issue of domestic violence but also with the strength that women can have when they stand up to their bully. However, she does not allow this dark and upsetting theme clog the magic that is Paris during the 1920s. Once again, Sobanet’s love for Paris drips off the pages as she makes Paris seem more and more romantic and special.

I implore you to read this book, in fact read Juliette Sobanet’s back catalogue. You will regrette rien!

One Night in Paris by Juliette Sobanet is available now.

You can follow Juliette Sobanet (@JulietteSobanet) on Twitter.

One Night in Paris

The Blurb

If you’d asked Jessica a year ago, she would have told you that her life was pretty near perfect. But one year – and one very messy divorce – later, she’s not so sure. Which is how she found herself boarding a plane to the south of France, determined to put her past behind her…preferably via some deliciously chilled rosé.

Meeting a new man was never part of the plan. Yet when she meets Nino, her new neighbour’s impossibly sexy nephew, steering clear of romance seems easier said than done. Suddenly, Jessica finds herself right back where she started: with her heart on the line. But now she’s made a new start, perhaps it’s time for Jessica to throw caution to the wind, take a few risks…and learn to regrette rien!

The Review

You Had Me at Bonjour is a heart warming and extremely uplifting story of Jessica, a woman who thinks that her days of having adventures are over. Set in the monotony of everyday life as a mum, a wife and a worker she has become stagnant. However, when her philandering husband tells her that she is leaving her for another woman Jessica takes the opportunity to have her very own Shirley Valentine type of adventure.

What is truly great about this story is that it leaves you with the message that life isn’t just for the young – whether it be Jessica moving to France on a whim or her neighbour Eloise having romantic trysts – the fun doesn’t just stop because you are getting older.

There were certain things in the story that I didn’t necessarily find totally realistic such as Jessica’s reaction to Katie’s disappearance; I can only go on how my mother would behave in that situation and I think Jessica was a bit to blasé about it, a little bit c’est la vie. However, the fact that Katie was so petulant and unlikable made me care very little about her subplot.

Overall, You Had Me at Bonjour is a delightful read and Bohnet has made France seem exciting and cosmopolitan and strangely tangible, like you too could live there. Well done Bohnet.

You Had Me at Bonjour by Jennifer Bohnet is available now.

You can follow Jennifer Bohnet (@jenniewriter) on Twitter.

Jen Bon