Book Reviews

How to Win a Stay in Burgundy...Sans Blague

IMG_1562.JPG I haven't actually received that many entries into my Noel Grape Giveaway - running a giveaway in December when everyone is so insanely busy with the Holidays probably wasn't that strategic on my part. As most of you know, my marketing "plan" tends to go something like this: me becoming overcome by the spirit of generosity and the need to thank my readers for their amazingness and consequently putting one of our vacation rentals up for grabs. Yep. That's about all the forethought that goes into marketing decisions for me. Ready. Aim. Fire.

But...what does my utter lack of marketing savvy mean for you? It means your chances of winning a free week stay at La Maison des Chaumes are tres, tres bien.

Also, I expanded the rules slightly beyond those written in my first post about the giveaway. You can review any or all of my three grape books, My Grape Year, My Grape Escape, and My Grape Village. For each review you post to BOTH Amazon and Goodreads you earn an entry (one for each, I mean).

So, for someone who has read all of my Grape books, they could potentially earn SIX entries by writing reviews for each book on both Amazon and Goodreads.

Also, if you are outside of the US you can earn additional entries by posting both a review on Amazon.com and then another one on your country's Amazon site (i.e. Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk, etc.). It is just a matter of cutting and pasting the review...

All you have to do after that is send me a quick email to laura@laurabradbury.com to let me know where you have posted reviews and I will add your entries in the draw. There is nothing I love more than helping my readers actually experience the magic of Burgundy for themselves.

I'm telling you right now that your chances are GOOD. I mean, sans blague.

Also, a huge merci to everyone who has already posted thoughtful and lovely reviews (although I appreciate ALL reviews, even the two star ones). I am a lucky, lucky writer indeed.

 

A Noel Grape Books Giveaway

1016065_619239081429879_1994614541_n Regardez-donc!

How did we find ourselves in December already?

No matter. December is the month for giving things away and I LOVE giving things away to my readers. I especially love giving them the opportunity to travel to Burgundy and experience for themselves its special magic that I try to convey in my Grape books.

So, my Noel Grape Books Giveaway will have the prize of a free week at La Maison des Chaumes - our home in Villers-la-Faye, Burgundy, France. This three bedroom house with a huge deck and garden is located in the same village where Franck's family live, where he grew up, and where we fell in love, as I write about in My Grape Year.

My Grape Year has hit #1 on the Amazon "France" bestseller list several times since I self-published it in late September. I have all of you to thank for that and I am so grateful to have such an amazing community of Francophiles and book loving people who support my writing.

Without further ado, here are the rules & regs:

  • the week at La Maison des Chaumes can be redeemed whenever, subject only to availability, and can also be gifted to another person if you wish
  • all you need to do to enter is write a review for My Grape Year  on either Amazon.com (or any of its affiliate websites (Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.ca, etc.) or Goodreads and then email me at laura@laurabradbury.com to let me know where the review has been posted (I need this because I often can't contact people via their Amazon or Goodreads screen names). If you post on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, and Goodreads, for example, you'll receive three entries.
  • if you have already written one or more review(s) for My Grape Year just let me know via email as above - that counts too (and MERCI for posting a review so promptly)
  • it doesn't matter if your review is one star or five stars - they all count and I am grateful for them all. The only thing is that you do have to have read the book in order to write a valid review - just common sense and good ethics
  • entries will be accepted until midnight on December 25th and the draw will happen and the winner will be announced the day after Boxing Day (December 27th)

Bonne chance to tout le monde! I hope you all have a merry, sparkling, and joyous December filled with lost of delicious cheese.

 

Experience Burgundy's Magic Yourself

IMG_1562.JPG I received my two paperback proofs for My Grape Year last night, which means I will be able to put the lovely paperback version up for sale on the Amazon website in the next 24 hours.

This also means, however, that there are only 48 hours or less to enter my contest to win a free week at any one of our four Grape Rentals in Burgundy.  Here are all the ways you can earn one (or more - lots more!) entries in the "Race Me to La Fin" contest.

There is also an additional way to enter for those of you wonderful people who have already purchased and downloaded (and even read already, for a lot of you!) a digital copy of My Grape Year. Simply post a review of My Grape Year on Amazon to earn yet another entry.

Here is one of my earlier reviews:

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I'm going to blog in the upcoming months about our last-minute trip to Burgundy this summer, but let me just say that Burgundy weaves a spell on me and so many of our guests that come and stay in our vacation rentals. There is an authenticity there, a devotion to the art of pleasure, a measuring of the days that takes place in humble rituals such as opening the shutters, buying bread, and going to the market that never fails to fill up my soul.

Also, my web designer has added some cool buttons at the bottom of all my blog posts so you can easily share them on Facebook, Twitter, and all those other fun places. Check them out and let me know if they work!

Sharing Burgundy's magic with others, both through my books and our vacation rentals, is one of the most rewarding parts of my life. Good luck, or should I say bonne chance!

 

My Grape Year Has Arrived on Kindle!

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My Grape Year is available, as of this morning, on Amazon's Kindle. Just click here to check it out. There is nothing quite so satisfying as hitting the "publish" button on a new book and this one particularly so. Here are my top five reasons:

1. It is so far the most downright romantic book I have ever written (all about the year Franck and I met).

2.  I realized how lucky I was to conduct my first real love affair before the age of emails, texts, and cell phones.

3. I got to revisit the first time I tasted snails.

4. I managed to write this book during a year of serious health shitstorms, including hospitalizations and a full week-long work-up at the Toronto Transplant Clinic to see if I was ready for a liver transplant yet (verdict: not yet - still too healthy).

5. My eighteen year old self taught me all over again that the universe has a plan for all of us and that we all have to fight for our own personal fairy tale.

So, for the meagre sum of $3.99 you can purchase and enjoy My Grape Year for yourself. The paperback will be available on Amazon as well and at local bookstores in approximately 2-3 weeks. I'll be sure to announce that on here.

I wrote My Grape Year with my awesome tribe of readers in my mind and close to my heart. You have supported me, made me laugh, and made me think during the writing and editing of this book. More than anything, I cannot wait to hear what you think.

Last Minute Leap-of-Faith (and Leap To France!)

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I won't entirely believe it until the airplane actually takes off to Paris with me inside.

We made a spontaneous, last minute, leap of faith decision and bought tickets last Sunday to leave for a month at our house - La Maison des Chaumes in Burgundy, France this Sunday.

It has been such a weird year with my health (you need a transplant! No! Wait! You're still far too healthy for a transplant! But you do need to go to the hospital again!) that I feel scared writing those words, as though I'll jinx myself and I'll land myself on an IV drip rather than on an airplane in three days time.

Still...my PSC specialist in Calgary encouraged me to travel now. He said, "Sure, you can get sick and end up in the hospital, but that can happen just as easily while you are sitting at home in Victoria as in France." It would suck to be sick in France, but at least I would have the satisfaction of knowing that my kids are visiting with their cousins and grandparents and friends and having a lovely time in Burgundy. Besides, I spent a week in the hospital in Beaune after having Clementine and as far as hospitals go it is a pretty sweet place to be - three course meals, coffee and petits gateaux that come by on a trolley every afternoon...I was waited on hand and foot and actually read Ken Follett's "Pillars of the Earth" from cover to cover in the six days following my C-section.

Living with a life-threatening illness has taught me many things over the past three years but the lesson that I keep circling back to again and again is that I have to live for the NOW. Also, shit happens in life. Sooner or later, pretty much everyone will encounter their own personal shit storm. All anyone ever has is The Present (yes, with capitals) - ill or not. We must throw fear to the winds and tackle that sucker. It is, as far as I can tell, the only sane way to live life.

So I thought to myself, "Eff it. Let's at least try." Then I pressed the "purchase tickets" button on the Air Transat website. Ready.Fire.Aim. That's my motto.

So for the next month I will be eating cheese, baguettes, pastries, looking longingly at the wonderful wines I can't drink, taking a gazillion photos, soaking up every moment with my beloved French family and friends, scoping the markets and the vide-greniers for antiques...I may also have a little sejour in Beaune's Club Med (aka the hospital) but that is OK.

This may delay the publication of My Grape Year by a few weeks. Right now it is in the hands of my copy editor. Once I make those final changes there is really little else to do. I am taking my laptop with me but my goal for this vacation is play, not work, so I'll just see how it goes. It will be published soon though - very soon...I am so excited to hear what you think and I am determined to craft the best possible story for all my fantastique readers.

In the meantime, of course, this gives you a little extra time to gain some additional entries for my "Race Me to La Fin" contest. I am receiving several emailed entires per day and rest assured they are all going into my 'contest' folder and are being counted. In particular, I am only four reviews away from hitting 200 reviews for My Grape Escape so if you could write one to receive yet another contest entry I would love you forever - promis!

I will be posting photos and snippets of our Burgundian adventures on my author Facebook page, my Instagram account, and my Twitter Feed (where yesterday two of my writer idols - Cheryl Strand and Elizabeth Gilbert 'favorited' one of my tweets...verklempt).

In life and in travel my new mindset is not to strive for a perfect vacation or a perfect month, but rather to be on the lookout for perfect moments. This is just another version of Franck's Aunt Renee's petit bonheur du jour approach to life that I describe in My Grape Escape and which resonates with so many readers.

I will gather up and cherish these perfect moments like the shards of beach glass I collect. They are the closest thing I have found to capturing eternity in my hands.

"Race Me To La Fin" Contest - My Grape Year

IMG_0536 I am deep in the throes of putting the final touches on My Grape Year - my tres romantic prequel to the bestselling My Grape Escape and My Grape Village and the third book in my "Grape" series.

My Grape Year invites readers back to the very beginning of the "Grape" story when I was sent to Burgundy for a year as a 17 year old exchange student. That year I learned French, developed a passion for Burgundy, and met my true love...the latter, much to the consternation of my hosts and in direct breach of the "No Dating" rule.

At the moment, I am juggling beta-reads, formatting, copy-edits, consulting over cover design, etc. etc. and basically just trying to put together the best possible book for my lovely readers.

It is not easy to estimate when I will be done, but it will be soon. My goal was to have My Grape Year published by the end of July, but realistically I think it may be more around the first week in August...however, you never know. Whenever I can hit that "publish" button - trust me - I do not hesitate!

Like I did when I was finishing up My Grape Village , I've decided to throw a little race for all of my readers, largely to motivate me to keep pushing on until My Grape Year is in your hands or on your Kindle, Ipad, etc....

The prize is a 7 day stay at your choice of any of our "Grape Rentals" - our four lovely vacation rentals in Burgundy, France (which has just been designated a UNESCO world heritage site!). This stay can be redeemed at any time, subject to availability and can also be gifted to the person of your choice if you cannot get to Burgundy.

To enter, this time you have a choice of things to do!

For any one of these tasks accomplished, you gain an entry, so if you do three things on this list, you get entered three times...Just click on the links below to be taken to where you need to go:

1. Write an Amazon.com review for My Grape Escape

2. Write an Amazon.com review for My Grape Village

3. Write a Goodreads review for My Grape Escape 

4. Write a Goodreads review for My Grape Village

5. Join my mailing list

6. Like my Facebook Author Page

7. Post a photo of either or both My Grape Escape & My Grape Village on Instagram with the hashtag #amreading

8.  Post a photo of either or both My Grape Escape & My Grape Village on Twitter with the hashtag #amreading

When you have accomplished as many of these tasks as you like, simply email me at laura@laurabradbury.com to let me know which actions you have taken and I will enter you as many times as applicable in the contest.

Don't wait, as it will be over as soon as I hit the "publish" button for My Grape Year! Bonne chance!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lovely New Review on Chouette France Blog

Screen Shot 2014-12-29 at 5.39.50 PM Definitely check out Jacqui's blog "French Village Diaries" if you need a recommendations (or twenty) for the best books about life in France. Jacqui is a voracious reader of this genre and a thoughful reviewer. I subscribe to her blog feed and reading her posts and book reviews are always a treat.

And today is a great day to check it out, as she reviews MY GRAPE VILLAGE. Just click here to travel to the French countryside without even buying a plane ticket! 

 

Paperback of MY GRAPE VILLAGE - sneak peek!

MGV Full cover Master Pink This feels disloyal but I have to admit it - I vastly prefer reading a paperback or hardcover book to a digital book. Kindles and Ipads are very practical when traveling, or in bed when your grumpy husband doesn't understand why you need to stay up so late because you are deeply engrossed in a story (!), but I look at a screen all day when working. The tactile experience of shifting to an actual book for me is pure pleasure.

Since publishing the Kindle version of MY GRAPE VILLAGE - you can also download the Kindle app for free on your Ipad and read it on there - if I can figure it out, anybody can! - two days ago, I have had many people ask when the paperback is due out.  Rebecca, my graphic designer, Paul, my formatter, and me are working very hard and the estimate is about October 15th.

Rebecca sent me this mock-up of the paperback cover yesterday and I got so excited I thought I'd share it with you. What do you think? I'd love to know.

The first review of MY GRAPE VILLAGE was posted last night (from a very speedy reader as the book does clock in at over 110,000 words). As always, reviews are HUGELY appreciated and make a massive difference for us authors. I am tres, tres curious to find out what you lovely people think of my story. This is the nerve-wracking part of putting my writing out there to share with the world. That, at least, never changes!

Here it is:

"5.0 out of 5 stars Just As Captivated With This Sequel October 8, 2014
By ina
Format:Kindle Edition
I loved Laura's first book "My Grape Escape" and found that I was just as captivated with this sequel. Like the first book, it is a lovely and entertaining read by an author who has a detailed eye for cultural differences and a gift for sharing it in her writing. You get drawn into the characters in their new situations and roles. Burgundy becomes your next travel destination. I read it in one sitting. Being relatively new to digital books, I found myself checking and hoping that I wasn't reaching the end soon. (The sign of a great book for me.)"

My Goodread's review of "Somewhere in France"

18090117 Definitely on a French reading roll! Really enjoyed this cozy and thoroughly researched romance between an aristocratic ambulance driver and a Scottish surgeon on the front in WWI. Downton Abbey fans will feel right at home within the pages of this book.

Read my Goodreads review here.

Also, while you are there if you could rate and write a review for My Grape Escape that would be highly appreciated! Back to editing My Grape Village now...

 

Review of "The Paris Wife"

download (1) I'm on a reading jag about France at the moment. Here is my Goodreads review of "The Paris Wife" by Paula McLain which I highly recommend, especially for people traveling to Paris this year.

Franck and I lived in the same Parisian neighbourhood that the Hemingways did decades earlier during our year in Paris. It is really worth a visit, especially the winding, medieval rue Mouffetard.