French Roast (The French Twist Series #4) by @GlynisAstie #Contemporary #ChickLit #TuesdayBookBlog

  • Author: Glynis Astie
  • Published: May 2017 by Tikinou Publishing
  • Category: ChickLit, Contemporary, Family, Novella, Books, Reading, Book Review

Sydney Durand, the quirky yet lovable heroine of the French Twist series, is back for one final instalment in a very special novella. 

As the wife of a gorgeous and romantic Frenchman and the mother of the most angelic boy ever, Sydney is living a life of sheer perfection. She’s gone through quite a bit to achieve this charmed life, and now nothing is going to bring her down. Or so she thinks.

French Roast rounds out the French Twist series, set a few years after the end of French Fry and Sidney is back…full on.  Becoming a mother has failed to relax the over anxiousness and her slight(ish) neurotic tendencies are still very much alive and well. Continue reading

Fire and Ice: Remy and Fleur Fontenot ~ A Crimson and Clover Lagniappe

  • FireandIceAuthor: Sarah M Cradit
  • Published: January 2015 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Category: Paranormal, Family Saga
  • five-stars

Fortune follows the Fontenot twins as they dance through their enchanted life among the New Orleans elite. Guests of honor at their revered family’s Mardi Gras krewe ball, they look forward to a night of mischievous fun.

It’s the night of the Fontenot Mardi Gras ball and twins Remy and Fleur Fontenot, one with the gift of fire and the other with the gift of ice, are plotting their evenings entertainment. Remy gets a little more than he bargained for when he tries to add Anne to his list of  the evenings conquests, and learns a valuable lesson. Fleur will use whatever means she can to get her way, even if it means involving her young brother. But things don’t quite go according to plan.

She had no doubt the short red dress with a feathered hem would do precisely what she told Remy she’d intended. But rather than Henri’s eye, she hoped to catch the attention of Clancy Sullivan, once again. Last time she wore this dress, she’d left a lasting impact on him. Much like the one he’d left on her.

A fun and entertaining short story adding more to the characterisations of the members of the Deschanel clan, with several of the characters from The House of Crimson and Clover making a brief appearance. We catch a glimpse of Remy and Fleur’s special talents, too, and those of their younger brother, Teddy, with a touch of the supernatural.

Book Links ~ Amazon UK Amazon US

My little Munchkin enjoying Christmas

Christmas Eve on the beach and our first sandcastle

Bob the Builder is having hard hat problems (please excuse my hubby’s dulcet tones 😉 )

A death-defying ride round the park

And to finish, a little song 🙂

The House of Crimson and Clover Series

  • CCPrequelThe Storm and The Darkness ~ prequel
  • Author: Sarah M Cradit
  • Published: June 2013 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform 
  • Category: Mystery/Romance
  • four-half-stars
I received a digital copy from the author in return for an honest review.
Ana Deschanel flees New Orleans for the family house on Summer Island, Maine. She can’t forgive herself for something she’s done and, although she’s very close to her cousin, she can’t even confide in Nicolas.
Ana finds the people on Summer Island cold and distant, none more so than Jonathan St Andrews, the island’s vet. The only friendly face is Alex Whitman, the caretaker who it transpires is not at all what he seems. Then Ana meets Jonathan’s brother Finn, the complete opposite of Jonathan. After she and Finn share a dinner there is the beginnings of a friendship. In the midst of a snow storm Ana is injured as she tries to return Finn’s keys.
Some of the Deschanels are gifted with special abilities and Ana’s gift is that of a healer. It is a gift she is going to need very much in the days to come. Ana finds out running away from problems isn’t always the answer and can lead to even worse situations. She is a complex personality, having always felt removed from others and unable to relate emotionally, except to Nicolas.
I enjoyed each chapter being written from  the different characters’ point of view, it helped to understand and get t know them. Each was well written and developed.
The story flowed well too and each character had his or her own individual flaws and personality traits, humanizing them and adding to the tension and intrigue. 
As in the previous novels Ms Cradit’s style of writing is extremely descriptive, giving a vivid and dramatic picture of the place and events in the story. The story itself is a good combination of murder mystery and suspense with a dash of romance. I’m intrigued to follow the characters and find out what happens next.
  • Shattered ~ prequel
  • Author: Sarah M Cradit
  • Released: February 2014 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Category: Mystery/Romance
  • four-half-stars
Following on from The Storm and the Darkness, the relationship between Ana and Finn has developed. Jon does his utmost  to make Ana as uncomfortable as possible in the hope she will leave and go back to New Orleans. 
Just as Ana realises she loves Finn, Jon’s behaviour escalates dangerously. Have Jon’s terrible actions ruined everything for Ana and Finn. As we discovered previously Finn and Jon are complete opposites, as starkly different as light and dark, and their relationship may be damaged beyond repair.
Ana and Nicolas are still estranged but when Ana gets a call from Oz to say Nicolas needs her she doesn’t hesitate.
A very complex triangle, quite dark but in the telling it gives more insight into the complicated characters of Ana and Jon. Finn seems, at the moment, to be the only guileless and candid personality of the three.
  • The Illusions of Eventide #1
  • Author: Sarah M Cradit
  • Published: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, December 2013
  • Category: Mystery/Paranormal
  • five-stars
After leaving Maine and Ana, Nicolas has sunk deeply into a depression. So much so that he takes the decision to travel to the fame’s holiday island and end it all. He can see no way forward and has no will to carry on. The betrayal he feels is all-encompassing and he can’t see a way past it.
Believing himself to be alone on the island he’s incredulous and dismayed when he sees a mysterious woman sitting on the beach. Even in the midst of his own despair Nicolas feels obliged to help and with this decision lives are changed forever. Nicolas and Ana learn of their true heritage, finding the reality of it all almost impossible to grasp.
This series just gets better! The inclusion of Mercy, Aidrik and the whole idea of the complex Empyrean race takes this chapter in the lives of the Deschanels to a whole new level and dimension. The fantasy/paranormal aspect deepens significantly and adds a very interesting twist.
I like the intriguing and expanding development of the characters, especially Nicolas. He’s not such a shallow, all for himself person as Mercy works her magic and the story unfolds.
Nothing is as it seems and although each member of the Deschanel family have their own special abilities, they are not always aware of their own power and what it means. A lot is explained when Aidrik appears at Ophélie and valuable lessons are learned.
Fascinating and wonderful storytelling, very well written. Also, as an aside, all the book covers are beautifully designed and very evocative.
  • Bound ~ #2
  • Author: Sarah M Cradit
  • Published: April 2014 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Category: Romance, Paranormal
  • five-stars

Finnegan St. Andrews has lost everything. His perspective on the world is forever changed.Anasofiya Deschanel no longer knows who she is…or what. She longs both for what she has, and all she has left behind.Aidrik the Wise has vowed to do anything for his evigbond. As he watches her life force slowly ebb, he begins to understand the sacrifice he must make to save her.All three individuals are bound by love, promises, and the undeniable threads of fate.

The Deschanels have serious issues to confront and deal with, not least finding Ana and Aidrik before any harm befalls them. Nicolas has passed on his inheritance to Ana and so to her son. But the baby must be born in wedlock. Will Finn, Anne and Tristan find Ana and Aidrik in time? And will Finn and Aidrik come to terms with the knowledge they both love Ana and she them.

The spectre of the Empyrean Elder Senetat hangs over the Deschanels and their families. They know if the Senetat finds out about them their lives will be in mortal danger. I love the way this story is evolving and the direction it will take is anyone’s guess. I’m looking forward very much to finding out what happens next.
There are some new characters introduced, most notably Tristan who adds to the story and matures quite quickly on this, his first mission for the family.

There’s a lot of character development in Bound. Nicolas is growing up and taking his responsibilities more seriously and even if his self-confidence has suffered a blow there are still flashes of the old Nic. And Ana, in spite of everything that’s happened to her, is finally comfortable with who she is as her emotional tug of war is resolved. I love that Finn is as steadfast as ever and never wavers in his determination to reach Ana.

Although some matters are cleared up this book sets up the excitement and uncertainty of what will happen with the Empyreans. As always, Sarah Cradit’s writing is so evocative and visual and Ana and Finn’s story is quite emotional. The descriptions of Wales are so detailed, I could almost feel as though I were there, shivering in the cold. I love reading or listening and being transported by wonderful writing, right into the middle of the story.

  • Midnight Dynasty
  • Author: Sarah M Cradit
  • Published: August 2014 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Category: Contemporary,Romance, Paranormal
  • five-stars

The Deschanel Curse, dormant for a decade, has returned with a vengeance. Seers across the family are coming together, hopeful the Deschanel Magi Collective can solve this malediction that has plagued the family for nearly two centuries. But how do you combat the blood oath of a grieving mother? As the body count rises, it becomes apparent that strength, love, and ancient power provide no protection from destiny’s cruel hand.

I received a copy from the author in return for an honest review
Act 1, Malediction
What a start to book three. Each chapter coming from one person’s perspective adds impact and works so well, giving more insight into that character, and building the intensity.
It’s good catching up with people from previous story lines and meeting new family members. I particularly enjoyed Amelia and Jacob’s story, how emotional that is. And poor Tristan is not having an easy time, for sure.
Just when Elizabeth was beginning to believe, or at least hope, the curse may have worn itself out, it strikes again. The Deschanel Magi Collective must work together and hope they can find a way to break the curse before it claims more victims.
The new and old characters are integrated and woven together with the relevant back stories filling in the gaps. Lots of revelations and oh my…the ending!
I’m loving this series, it’s so easy to get pulled into the wonderful world created by Sarah Cradit.
Act 2, Convocation
The Deschanel Curse is continuing on it’s relentless path. No-one is safe. The family assemble to discuss the best way forward but two cousins have taken matters into their own hands after studying the family history in detail.
The tension and emotional chaos and confusion increase as tragedies befall the family leaving the Magi Collective fearful, helpless and at a complete loss. Lots of happenings and people having to deal with the consequences of actions taken, most notably Adrienne and Tristan. A complex and compelling family weighed down by a devastating 200-year-old curse.
Discovery upon discovery, the story takes the reader on a completely mysterious and unfathomable journey where anything can and does happen. It seems if it doesn’t kill, the Curse will change everyone’s life in one way or another….
Act 3, Omega
The third part of Midnight Dynasty is very dark and turbulent as the Deschanel Curse escalates to unprecedented proportions and the death count rises dramatically. Some scenes are shockingly vivid and painfully emotional and events leave the Deschanels and Sullivans in turmoil. It’s an incredibly rough and appalling time for the surviving members of both families with so many deaths and life altering situations to contend with.
As the family attempt to comprehend and take in the hugely horrific impact of the Curse, the origin comes into question affording the possibility of a glimmer of hope. Can there actually be an end to the death and destruction of families after all this time? Dare they look forward to a day when all the pain and suffering is behind them? I’m so looking forward to continuing this amazing series. The suspense and tension continue to be built with wonderfully skilful writing, captivating and enthralling.
  • Asunder #4
  • Author: Sarah M Cradit
  • Kindle Edition
  • Category: Paranormal, Romance
  • five-stars

Broken and dispirited, the Deschanel family reels under the weight of a family curse. Lives were torn asunder, as their numbers diminished. Amidst their pain, another prophecy takes shape. One laid by the ancient druidic Quinlan clan, in a time long forgotten. Seers across the family have borne witness to fragments. Distraught by the loss of her soul’s true love, Amelia begins to dream of an unknown man and a woman, designated by fate to live their story over and over again, throughout time.Now, destiny reaches across the centuries.

Following on from the devastating impact of the curse in Midnight Dynasty, the Deschanel and Sullivan families reorganise and regroup. The curse seems to be dormant for the time being and has given the Magi Collective a breathing space, even though the huge emotional backlash of shock and horror is an enormous strain, being felt by members of both families.
An unimaginably grim year sends Tristan on a path of self-destruction, but he is saved by something and someone completely unexpected. The full extent of Adrienne’s misguided attempt to bind Oz and Amelia is realised. But can it be reversed? Despite her pain Amelia still believes, and needs to justify her decision to set Jacob free, is the right one.

And Jacob, oh my goodness, Jacob. Overtaken and overwhelmed by his own belief that Amelia is lost to him forever, he takes desperate measures. Nothing, not even his family disaster, could ever bring him so low.

“The night you woke up, you said you’d destroyed me. That you swore to give me a better life than the one my family left me with, but instead you’d ruined it. You didn’t destroy me, Amelia.” Now his other hand also held her face, as he kissed her trembling mouth. “You saved me.”

The more I read of this series, the more Sarah Cradit’s so very imaginative storytelling, tense and gripping, and wonderful characterisations draw me in, so completely, to the lives of this fascinating family. The future is still precarious and there is still the Empyrean confrontation hanging over them, but have the families put the worst behind them? I can’t wait to find out.

The House of Crimson and Clover series may be purchased from Amazon UK and Amazon US

The House of Crimson and Clover ~ A La Famille Lagniappes

  • CC1St Charles at Dusk 
  • Author: Sarah M Cradit
  • Published: September 2011 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Category: Mystery/Romance
  • three-half-stars
The revised edition of this book was supplied as an ARC by the author in return for an honest review.
Oz Sullivan was 21 and totally infatuated by Adrienne Deschanel despite the fact she was only 16 and the sister of his best friend. They began a love affair aided by Nicolas, Oz’s friend and Adrienne’s brother, who lets them meet at his home. That is, until they were discovered by Adrienne’s father and she was forbidden to see Oz again.
Adrienne’s parents intervened further and decided to take Adrienne and her sisters away on holiday.  Oz and Adrienne made plans to elope.  Before they could take their plans further the family lost their lives in a tragic accident. Her father, mother and sisters, all dead, but Adrienne’s body was never found.
Three years pass and Oz is an attorney in the family firm. His life is turned upside down when he learns Adrienne has been found but with no memory of her life before the accident. He’s reluctant to open old wounds but finds himself drawn into the unfolding drama.
The first quarter or so of the book was slightly confusing due to the storyline flashbacks, time frames and different points of view, I think because they were quite long and detailed and, if I’m honest, hard to grasp initially.
The writing is very descriptive and makes New Orleans come alive and the pictures in my head of Oz’s cottage were lovely. I want to live there! Sometimes during the story I found it quite hard to like Adrienne, she came across as quite selfish and childish more so than when she was younger.
It’s a story of love and loss with overlapping aspects of mystery and deception. The threads of the story were woven together well and once I was drawn in I enjoyed it a lot.
  • Flourish
  • Author: Sarah M Cradit
  • Published: October 2013 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • four-stars
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review
 Adrienne Deschanel ‘came back from the dead’ after being missing for three years following the accident which killed all the members of her family except for her brother, Nicolas. Since her return a year ago they have been inundated with calls from people claiming to have been a part of Adrienne’s previous life. Oz Sullivan, now Adrienne’s husband, is also the Deschanel’s lawyer and is dealing with the unwanted attention.
Anne Fontaine was born in a cabin in the bayou. When her mother dies she sets out for New Orleans in the hopes of meeting her sister again and finding out more about her background and the strange power she possesses.
A very interesting and engaging story that gives more of an insight into Anne’s character and her place in the family.  I like the introduction of the paranormal aspect and as with the first novel, this one is very well written and beautifully descriptive and has a lot of depth for such a short story.
  • Surrender
  • Author: Sarah M Cradit
  • Kindle Edition sold by Amazon Digital Services
  • four-half-stars

At sixteen, Anasofiya Deschanel is terrified at the notion of sharing herself with anyone. Rather than face that fear, she hides behind her books and imagination, where her heart feels safe.Secretly, Oz Sullivan’s heart has always belonged to Ana. Fearful of scaring her, he chooses instead to pursue girls who are nothing like him, leaving him empty and unfulfilled.Circumstances find them miserable at their junior prom, after problems with their respective dates. Ana and Oz must decide if they’re willing to surrender their fears, and leap forward into the unknown.

The teenage Anasofiya Deschanel feels adrift, scared of letting anyone get too close. She’s uncomfortable with intimacy and feels awkward with her peers. The only people she feels comfortable with and close to are her cousin, Nicolas, and Oz Sullivan, a close friend of both Ana and Nicolas since they were children.

If anyone could understand, it would be him, although no-one would ever really know the intricacies of Ana’s mind. Not even her.

Even though this story is about Ana and Oz as teenagers their characters have a depth and charm. It’s a lovely story, giving more insight into the complicated character that is Ana Deschanel and gives an inkling of why she and Oz made their choices, good or bad, in later life. It was interesting to see the dynamics of the relationships between the young Ana, Oz and Nicolas.