Honoured to be today’s stop on Zara Stoneley’s blog tour for her latest novel, Summer with the Country Village Vet! I was lucky enough to read this book before it was published, and today I am able to share my review of the book with you all. Not only that, author, Zara Stoneley, has written a guest post just for us. Of course – it’s animal related!! Enjoy!
Seven reasons why an author needs a four-legged friend
by Zara Stoneley
A dog needs walks. Which are essential if you want to avoid writer’s bum, or an expanding middle.
People will stop and chat if you’ve got a dog – and after several hours with only a laptop for company it’s nice to talk. Plus you get some fresh air; the pale interesting look doesn’t work for everybody.
A four-legged friend will curtail any hermit-like tendencies. You’ll need to put down the laptop, get out of bed, brush your hair (bed hair only looks good on the very attractive) – oh, and dress. Your furry friend will need food and attention. A dog might bark, but a cat is master of the not-so-subtle hint.
Sometimes you just need a cuddle! Stroking a pet relieves stress. It’s proven. And talking to a pet isn’t crazy, some people think that talking to yourself, or even worse your characters, is a little bit loopy – talking to your guinea-pig is fine, more than fine. Totally acceptable.
Animals understand when you’ve just read a review saying somebody hates your book, and all you want to do is weep. Or you want to tear your hair out, because you’re halfway through writing the next and have just decided it’s the biggest load of rubbish you’ve ever read. They’re non-judgemental, they’ll listen, however long you drone on. They’ll never interrupt and tell you to get a grip. They’ll give you a look that says ‘you can do it, but how about we share some cake first?’
Your four-legged friend will give you inspiration. How many books have you read that didn’t feature a single animal? And even if Freddy the hamster doesn’t actually make it on to the pages, just watching him will make you smile, and remind you how lucky you are to be doing what you love.
Your cat won’t let you get above your station. Forget the fact that your editor loves your work – your cat has brought you a mouse. A live one. Your cat will remind you that even though a reader has just told you your book is fabulous, you still look stupid running round the kitchen in your pyjamas trying to catch a rodent. You’re a mere human being, not a soon-to-be-famous author.
A horse can give you a better workout than the gym – lugging bales of hay around is only the start of it. There’s the mucking out, the trudging across field knee deep in mud to bring your little darling in, and then of course there’s the riding. And the added bonus that you might meet a hunky farmer or farrier who makes the perfect hero!
So that’s my top seven excuses, sorry reasons, for having a four-legged and furry companion.
Why seven? It’s my lucky number! And now I’m heading back to a darkened room to grapple with my edits, but I will of course emerge briefly at 5pm. Saffy the cat will insist.
Ahhhh look at those animals!! I want to cuddle those dogs, how cuuuuteeee!!! Thank you, Zara Stoneley, for the extremely awww-tastic guest post!
Here is my review of Zara Stoneley’s brand new novel, enjoy!
‘All the ingredients for a perfect, summery read…it really captured my heart’ Cressida McLaughlin
‘Sprinkled with oodles of charm…I simply adored this book’ Christie Barlow
Fall in love with a brand new cosy romance series from bestselling author Zara Stoneley
When Lucy Jacobs is made redundant from her inner-city teaching job she fears her career is over. Teaching is all Lucy knows and she’s determined to get back in the classroom as fast as she can.
Except the only job on offer is at an idyllic village school in the middle of nowhere – Lucy’s idea of hell. Where are the disadvantaged kids who need saving, where is the challenge?
But as Lucy finds herself welcomed into the warm-hearted community of Langtry Meadows, she begins to realise new challenges await – like frogs in the classroom, a rather difficult donkey, and a very brooding local vet…
Local boy Charlie Davenport has his own issues about living in the close-knit village of Langtry Meadows. His private life is already fuel for the well-meaning gossips and the very last thing he needs is to get close to the new school teacher…no matter how lovely she is.
But as summer days drift away Langtry Meadows weaves its magic, Charlie and Lucy both get the chance to turn over a new leaf and start anew…maybe with each other?
A fun, romantic story to make you smile and long for your own country escape.
Praise for Summer with the Country Village Vet:
‘Beautifully written tale straight from the author’s heart’ The Writing Garnet
‘Like a summer breeze, gently warming your heart…be prepared for love, laughter and escapism’ My Chestnut Reading Tree
‘A zingy, romantic and fabulously heartwarming book … My ultimate summer read’ Petra Pippa Q.
What does TWG think?
Summer with the Country Village Vet, is one of those books where pretty much all of the storyline is linked, in one way or another. Cue ultimate vague review, and rightly so! Just like Zara Stoneley’s previous novels, they’re to be devoured with your own eyes so that you can appreciate every single thing, and no less.
At the time of reading Stoneley’s book, I was going through a really rough patch and I couldn’t wait to lose myself in Zara Stoneley’s majestic words. Now, before you start thinking that this book is all kittens, puppies, and glorious scenery (trees and people included) due to the colourful cover, be prepared to open your mind. Why? Because, whilst the storyline has light-hearted and fun elements to it, it also contains deep emotion, heart breaking circumstances, as well as deep and meaningful reminders.
Charlie, the village vet, seems to have all the women in the village tongue-tied and creating hefty vet bills due to their constant ‘need’ to see the vet. I don’t think that it’s their animals that are needing a thorough checking over either!
Lucy, the main character, is trying to get her foot back on the teacher ladder, and ends up making friends with several children in the local school. Oh, and their frogs.
Personally, the storyline ran a lot deeper than I had anticipated. I too, thought that the storyline was going to be fluffy and serene, but it wasn’t. And, to be honest, seeing as I was going through a situation at the time, just like in the book, I was able to relate to certain characters even more. Not only that, it made me quite emotional. I really wanted to reach into the book and give the characters involved, a really big hug.
As emotional as those parts were, they made me feel whole and gave me the support I needed which I wasn’t getting in real life. For an author to be able to unintentionally do that, just wow, incredible.
‘Summer with the Country Village Vet’ made me smile, laugh, cry, reminisce, and of course – go ‘awwwww’ more times than I could count. The entire novel had everything I could have ever wanted in a book! Zara Stoneley, once again, has written flawless descriptions that became vivid imagery in my mind. I have absolutely no idea how she does it, all I know is that she is absolutely brilliant at it.
There was nothing I disliked about it, at all. The pace was on point. The characters (albeit two who needed their heads banged together to see sense), were such fun to be around, especially the children. Hilarious! The vet, well, he was a lovely addition to the storyline. Cough.
But for me, the real star of the show was Zara Stoneley’s incredible story telling, she has completely blown me away with the mixture of cute, sassy, and heart-felt moments. This book, really is, a beautifully written tale straight from the authors heart. You can tell that the author has put her heart and soul into every situation, every character, the animal stars, and every emotion. It’s clear at the start, and it remains clear at the end; this is by far Zara Stoneley’s best book yet.
A beautiful, life affirming and heart warming tale about love, life and learning to have faith in your instincts. Not everyone’s life is picture perfect yet Stoneley, has proven in her new book that lives can be anything BUT picture perfect and yet still fill your heart with joy.
Thank you Zara Stoneley & HarperImpulse.