Today I share my review as a part of the blog tour for the audiobook The Start of Something Wonderful by Jane Lambert.
It’s never too late to follow your dreams….
Forty-year-old air stewardess Emily Forsyth thought she had everything a woman could wish for: a glamorous, jet-set lifestyle, a designer wardrobe and a dishy pilot boyfriend. Until he breaks up with her…
Catapulted into a midlife crisis she wishes she’d had earlier, she decides to turn her life upside down, quitting her job and instead beginning to chase her long-held dreams of becoming an actress!
Leaving the skies behind her, Emily heads for the bright lights of London’s West End – but is it too late to reach for the stars?
Author: Jane Lambert
Published: January 8, 2018
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: Feb 15-20, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
The Start of Something Wonderful to be called Start for the rest of this review, is about starting over with new beginnings and second chances at life for 40 year old Emily who finds herself in a midlife crisis that she never expects.
Emily thought she had it all: a job as a flight attendant (travel worldwide and the finer things in life are at her hand) and a pilot boyfriend…. Then he breaks up with her. She tailspins out of control, quits her job, and decides to finally give acting a try: She has always wanted to act! But becoming an actor is easier said than done. Emily finds herself struggling for jobs and taking on anything she can get. We see the growth Emily goes through from being a whiny/feeling sorry for herself woman after Nigel breaks up with her to the new person she is at the end of the novel. It is quite the transition. Will Emily succeed in her new chosen career of acting? You must read this novel to find out!
I listened to the audiobook version of Start and enjoyed it. The author, Jane Lambert, is also the narrator and she captured Emily’s voice and feelings well. I listen to many audiobooks and what I really liked about Start was that it added ‘sound effects’ to enhance the story. The effects really worked with this novel. But listener beware if you are driving: There are a few times the sound effects were unexpected and scared me. For example: at one point car horns honk fast and I thought it was a real car honking at me. I didn’t know what I was doing. I laughed at myself once I realized it was the audiobook.
I decided to listen to this novel as I am nearing the age of Emily (OMG, I will be 39 at the end of this month! I think I see an upcoming midlife crisis for me as I don’t feel I am nearing…. 40) and I thought I could identify with her. This was an enjoyable listen as all chick lit is and it is recommended.
About the Author:
Jane taught English in Vienna then travelled the world as cabin crew, before making the life-changing decision to become an actor and voiceover artist in her mid-thirties. She has appeared in “Calendar Girls”, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time”, “Deathtrap”, and most recently “True West” in London’s West End. She has recorded audiobooks for BBC AudioGo, Isis Publishing and HarperCollins. She is currently adapting “The Start of Something Wonderful” into a 6-part comedy drama for TV.
Today I am part of the blog tour for Chickens Eat Pasta: Escape to Umbria by Clare Pedrick. I am sharing an extract of the novel. **There is also an international giveaway going on!**
Not just another romance, but a story of escapism, coincidences, friendship, luck and most of all… love.
Chickens Eat Pasta is the tale of how a young Englishwoman starts a new life after watching a video showing a chicken eating spaghetti in a mediaeval hill village in central Italy.
“Here I was, 26 years old, alone and numb with boredom at the prospect of a future which until recently had seemed to be just what I wanted.”
Unlike some recent bestsellers, this is not simply an account of a foreigner’s move to Italy, but a love story written from the unusual perspective of both within and outside of the story. As events unfold, the strong storyline carries with it a rich portrayal of Italian life from the inside, with a supporting cast of memorable characters. Along the way, the book explores and captures the warmth and colour of Italy, as well as some of the cultural differences – between England and Italy, but also between regional Italian lifestyles and behaviour. It is a story with a happy ending. The author and her husband are still married, with three children, who love the old house on the hill (now much restored) almost as much as she does.
Chickens Eat Pasta is Clare’s autobiography, and ultimately a love story – with the house itself and with the man that Clare met there and went on to marry. If you yearn for a happy ending, you won’t be disappointed. It’s a story that proves anything is possible if you only try.
“Does the Signorina have a family?” The question was not directed at me, even though I was the subject of the inquiry and was sitting at a table laden with food amongst the family who had invited me to lunch. It was becoming increasingly obvious that I was something of a novelty, and invitations like today’s were not uncommon. Grazia, the hostess, looked past me towards Angela and Ercolino. They had clearly taken on the status of my parents, at least for this particular occasion, given that it appeared I did not have any of my own.
I saw Natalino, the son, shift uncomfortably in his chair as his mother leaned over his shoulder and ladled out a large helping of strangozzi with wild asparagus. She passed to my place, which had been set strategically next to Natalino’s, still refusing to catch my eye.
“Does the Signorina like home-made pasta?” she asked Ercolino. “I made it myself with our own olive oil. The asparagus come from the hills around the village.”
I assured her that I did, but she seemed not to hear me. My stand-in parents confirmed what I had said and Grazia spooned
some pasta into my plate before moving on to serve the rest of the large gathering seated around the old wooden table. I waited for her to sit down, but everyone else plunged their forks into their pasta and started eating noisily. Grazia, a thin, severe looking woman with the regulation overall fitted tightly over a high-necked dark brown dress, made no move to take her place, but turned towards the waist-high fireplace, which was lit in spite of the warm temperature outside. She piled some hot ash over a dish of pizza stuffed with spinach and covered with silver foil. While she waited for it to finish cooking, she used her fingers to turn some lamb chops on the griddle placed over the embers.
“These are from our own lambs,” she said, still speaking to Angela and Ercolino, though the information seemed to be aimed at me. “We’ve got sheep, five cows, chickens, olives, vines. And of course, a truffle hunting dog.”
“You won’t go hungry here,” interjected Natale, the grandfather, smiling toothlessly as he attempted to chew some meat from the lamb chop that his daughter-in-law had just put on his plate. Natalino put down his food and darted a meaningful glance in the direction of the old man.
“And does the Signorina have a boyfriend?” inquired Grazia, as though the idea had only just come to her. “Why not take Natalino?” asked the grandfather loudly nudging me vigorously. The table went quiet as Natalino visibly
shrank in his chair. “I’m so sorry about all this,” he muttered under his breath.
Poor Natalino had not had the best of days and I couldn’t help feeling sorry for him. Earlier he had borrowed his father’s car to take me to a tiny lake suspended in the mountains, which was reached by a seemingly endless series of unpaved roads that wound up through the soft green hills. The sun was warm and when we reached the narrow stretch of grass next to the lake, I stripped down to my swimming costume under my shorts and tee-shirt.
“Aren’t you coming in?” I asked, heading for the water. He looked down uncertainly at his short pale legs, having reluctantly removed his trousers.
“I am as white as a mozzarella,” he said. “I’ll stay here and get some sun and watch you swim instead.” There was no persuading Natalino to come into the water, for, as he confessed shyly when I emerged ten minutes later, he had never learned how to swim. He had another confession to make, which was even more difficult, though not entirely unexpected. He was definitely not my type, so I tried to explain that I was not looking for any kind of relationship, other than friendship of course. It was becoming increasingly clear that life in San Massano was going to be more complicated than I had thought.
About the Author:
Clare Pedrick is a British journalist who studied Italian at Cambridge University before becoming a reporter. She went on to work as the Rome correspondent for the Washington Post and as European Editor of an international features agency. She still lives in Italy with her husband, whom she met in the village where she bought her house.
Read her blog about life in Umbria here.
Win an audiobook copy of Chickens Eat Pasta!
**Winner gets to pick between audible and ibooks audio code**
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Today I am helping spread the word out about the novel The Problem with Perfect by Megan Mayfair. This one is FREE on Kindle Unlimited or just $2.99 otherwise! The Problem with Perfect was just released on March 11th!
Marigold Doyle’s life was perfect, with a successful career and wonderful marriage. But when her husband, Julian, passes away, her life is thrown into turmoil as she discovers a trail of secrets Julian was hiding in the months prior to his death. Struggling with her grief, she knows she needs to find out Julian’s actions to help her move on.
Finn Schröder, a former police officer and now private security consultant, is focused on an uncomplicated, unattached life and growing his business. He agrees to help Marigold find out the truth about Julian, but as they become closer, he realises his feelings for her may be developing beyond simply professional.
As Marigold and Finn work through the web of Julian’s deception, will they learn to face the reality that things aren’t always exactly as they seem?
Buy The Problem with Perfect here.
About the Author:
Megan’s stories are about families, intrigue and love. Every book contains a bit of humour and a lot of heart.
Megan lives in Melbourne with her husband and three children, and has a background in public relations and higher education.
She drinks far too much coffee and has an addiction to buying scarves. She interviews with other authors for her blog series, Espresso Tales, and loves a bit of #bookstagram.
Her debut novel, The Things We Leave Unsaid, was released by Crooked Cat Books in 2018, followed by Tangled Vines. The Problem with Perfect is her third novel.