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02.17.10

Penguin Publishing contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reading and reviewing the new release “A Rather Charming Invitation” by CA Belmond. I had never heard of the series, but it sounded intriguing so I told them I’d love to read and review it. She sweetened the deal by offering one of my blog readers their very own copy (WOOO HOOO!!! I LOVE giving away goodies to my friends) As soon as I knew this was the third in the series I got online and ordered the first two books. I just knew this was going to be a book I enjoyed and I’d definitely want to read the other two. You can learn about Ms. Belmond on the web here.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Dateline: London, Paris, Antibes. It’s time to get down to wedding planning. But while heiress Penny’s distant relatives insist that the nuptials be held in their native France, Jeremy’s kin won’t have it anywhere but England. And either choice might just re-ignite the Hundred Years’ War…

Then, in a family château high above the perfume fields of Grasse, Penny’s French cousin offers her the loan of an ancient bridal tapestry. But Penny has barely begun to crack its perplexing imagery before a series of strange events unfolds, threatening to derail the wedding. From a secret chalet on Lake Geneva, to a nostalgic stop at the opulent Train Bleu, to a winner-take-all gamble in Monte Carlo, Penny and Jeremy are off on another romp…while the clock is ticking down until they say, “I do.”

DETAILS:
Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: NAL Trade; 1 edition (February 2, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0451229088
ISBN-13: 978-0451229083


MY THOUGHTS:

When my book arrived (compliments of Penguin Publishing–yep, received the book for free, but I didn’t receive any other compensation for my review) I eagerly started reading and soon fell in love with Penny and Jeremy. A Rather Charming Invitation begins with Penny and Jeremy planning their wedding and soon twists and turns through family history and mysteries.

Penny and Jeremy travel through England, France and Monaco trying to solve the crime and you, the reader, get to travel along. Everything is described in such wonderful detail that I felt like I was right there with them.

Just when I thought I had it figured out it would take another turn. There was enough intrigue to always keep me guessing and keep me reading (me: “yes, I know it’s 1 a.m., but Penny and Jeremy are being held hostage on a boat and I have to make sure they are ok” Husband: “groan”—rolls over and tries to go back to sleep). I can’t help it, who needs sleep when there is a great book to read.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys wonderful characters and a page turning mystery.

My Rating: 5/5

Q&A:

Ms. Belmond agreed to a short interview. I’ve never interviewed anyone before, but I had this opportunity and didn’t want it to pass it up. I hope you enjoy this short Q&A.

JSOC: Tell us about yourself.

CA BELMOND:I wanted to be an author at a very early age, and I scribbled little poems and novels as soon as I could hold a pencil and write. Nowadays, I like to write with a “benevolent but satiric” eye, examining the way people behave under changing circumstances. I’m American-born, so I love open space, frankness and a can-do attitude. But my lineage is European, so I also have a strong affinity for the continental values of privacy, quiet and a genteel respect for the everyday quality-of-life.

JSOC: How did you come up with the idea of Penny and Jeremy?

CA BELMOND: People tell me that Penny and Jeremy are like a modern-day Nick and Nora. I like that. Penny’s first-person “voice” was in my mind for some time, and I knew that I wanted to write about an American girl abroad, a kind of modern Henry James heroine. Meanwhile I was travelling to Europe often—initially when I was awarded a writers’ residency in France, and then I kept returning for work and study. So I soon envisioned an American girl and an English guy in a great vintage car on those winding French Riviera roads, and I asked myself—how did they get here? Then I was off and running!

JSOC: What is the last book you read?

CA BELMOND: Well of course I do a lot of research for each book. But purely for pleasure, I love to read Victorian and Edwardian novelists, and the “moderns” like Evelyn Waugh and George Orwell. For contemporary, I got hold of Margaret Atwood’s newest novel—she’s my mentor and a wonderful friend.

JSOC: Do you have a blog or a website for readers to keep up to date with your books?

CA BELMOND: Yes, my website is www.cabelmond.com . It has lots of info about me and my books, and also a link for readers who want to e-mail me directly. I’ve posted some of their comments on a special page called ReadersCorner.

JSOC: Do you travel to all the interesting places that you write about?

CA BELMOND: Yes, indeed! All the “Rather” novels involve London and the French Riviera, but there’s always a couple of wonderful new spots in each book—Paris, Provence, Rome, Lake Como, Corsica, Lake Geneva… Penny and Jeremy just love to get around! I sometimes attach these jaunts to my husband’s business trips; but often we just pack up and go off together whenever I’m onto a new novel.

JSOC: Tell us about your new release, “A Rather Charming Invitation”.

CA BELMOND: “A Rather Charming Invitation” is the third novel in the “Rather” series, and now Penny and Jeremy are ready to tie the knot. Because of their impending wedding they are invited to meet the French side of Penny’s family. But when a family artifact that was loaned to them for the wedding is stolen, Penny and Jeremy have to find it fast, so it doesn’t de-rail the whole ceremony! There are other complications that cause them to have to deal with some very rich and some very shady characters as they go off on a romp across Europe.

You don’t have to read the earlier novels in the “Rather” series to catch up, but it helps to know that it all began with “A Rather Lovely Inheritance” where Penny and Jeremy got an unexpected inheritance from Penny’s English great-aunt. Then came “A Rather Charming Engagement” when Penny and Jeremy decided to launch a joint business, using Penny’s art research expertise and Jeremy’s legal prowess. Also, there’s always a little history and mystery in each novel, and Penny’s humorous observations about the world today. One reviewer summed it all up nicely, by saying that Penny and Jeremy are a couple who genuinely enjoy each other’s company, as they go off to see the world together!


GIVEAWAY

Now for the giveaway. Up for grabs is one brand new copy of “A Rather Charming Invitation” compliments of Penguin Publishing (I think Penguin publishes all of my favorite books ☺–I’ve never really paid attention to the publisher of my books before, but after browsing their new release list I see A LOT on there that I want)

sorry..I digress….

To enter the giveaway just leave me a comment telling me one or more of your favorite books. Make sure you leave your email address as well.

That’s it. One entry per person. Giveaway will end Sunday, February 28th at 5 p.m. EST. I will email the winner and they will have 48 hours to respond otherwise another winner will be chosen. This book giveaway is open to US and Canada.

HAPPY READING!

27 Comments

  1. EmcogNEATO!
    Posted February 17, 2010 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    Will people think I'm weird if I say that Winnie-the-Pooh is one of my favorite books ever? :)

  2. Marjorie
    Posted February 17, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    I love the story line, please include me
    in this giveaway.

    cenya2 at hotmail dot com

  3. Jeff
    Posted February 17, 2010 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    I love Star Wars books… My Favorite is Shadows of the Empire!!

    I hope i win!

    jeffintennessee at gmail dot com

  4. (The) Ladybug Lounge formerly Msslaydbug
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    I cna't htink of just one book. I love any type of historical fiction. This book sounds wonderful and can't wait to read it. Thanks for reviewing it !

    Msslaydbug (at) aol (dot)com

  5. Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith
    Posted February 17, 2010 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    My current favorite would be U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton… I've read all of the books in her ABC mystery series – and look forward to each anxiously.

    Bill ;-)

    billsmith2003 (at) gmail (dot) com

    Hope you'll check out my book giveaway:

  6. fredamans
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    My favorite author is John Steinbeck, but my favorite read of January was The Last Surgeon by Michael Palmer. I also really liked A Note From An Old Acquaintance by Bill Walker.

    freda.mans[at]sympatico.ca

  7. Neas Nuttiness
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Oh my, I have soooooooooooo many.

    If you haven't read The Big Stone Gap series by Adriana Trigiani, I would highly recommend that you do so. Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series, is another set of my favorites…sometimes I laught so hard my sides ache!

    Hey – I follow you, come on over and follow me. I have several books up for grabs right now:-) http://www.libslibrary.blogspot.com

    Thanks so much for the giveaway.

    libneas[at]aol[dot]com

  8. Julie
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    I read just anything-:) I just finished reading "Banking the Bank"

    aunteegem@yahoo.com

  9. Jennifer
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    My all time favorite book is a sy-fi called Rendezvous with Rama jk{dot}gorcery{at}gmail{dot}com

  10. Melayla
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    my all time favorite book is Watership Down, though i'm not sure why.

    melaylao (at) gmail (dot) com

  11. Linda Kish
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    My newest favorite is Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  12. Margie
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the giveaway. I really enjoyed Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford.
    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

  13. clmartin
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 1:50 am | Permalink

    I love the Twilight seris

  14. rubynreba
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 1:50 am | Permalink

    I just finished reading Run For Your Life by James Patterson and really liked it. A Rather Charming Invitation sounds so good!
    pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

  15. DarcyO
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 4:31 am | Permalink

    One of my favorites is The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver.

    dlodden at frontiernet dot net

  16. mandala
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    My favorite book/story is The Kite Runner. Though I like reading all kinds of books. Lately I am into James Patterson's works.

    mandalarctic@gmail.com

  17. Marci
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    I'd love to read this book–wonderful interview and review! Let's see, so many, but one of my favorites is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. It stands the test of time, and I re-read it every year. :-)
    june_spirit2628 at hotmail dot com

  18. Marian
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed that interview. Even though I haven't read the other books in the Rather series, it makes me want to see more of this couple who actually enjoy each other's company. :)

    My favorite book is Gone with the Wind.

    Marian

    mdperera at hotmail dot com

  19. Caroline
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    The last book that I really love reading was Marley and Me. Sweet and sad.

    design4less@yahoo.com

  20. Darcie K.
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    I love A Catcher In The Rye
    dmkayes@gmail.com

  21. The Bookworm
    Posted February 20, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    I'm addicted to the Jan Karon series!

    hawaiismn(at)gmail(dot)com

  22. Teresa
    Posted February 21, 2010 at 3:45 am | Permalink

    I love twilight!
    mstlee2000 @ hotmail.com

  23. Stephanie
    Posted February 21, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    I read pretty much anything, but love the Jeaniene Frost books. My favourite book of all time is probably Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel.

    icewoman96 at gmail dot com

  24. Ginny
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    I have so many favorites ~ I love the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series & Terry Brooks Magic Kingdom for Sale series. It is funny, my favorite books in general are mystery & thrillers, but my favorite all time books are usually fantasy :)

  25. Shelly
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    I like all the Marian Keyes books

  26. Winning Readings
    Posted February 23, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    There are too many! Right now I've just added Susan May Warren to my favorite author list, so anything of hers…

    janemaritz at yahoo dot com

  27. USCGWifey
    Posted February 26, 2010 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    I love the Twilight series! I know it sounds dumb because of the movies and the craze going around. But to justify myself, I read the books BEFORE the Twilight craze started! lol I LOVE reading!
    USCGWifey at gmail dot com