Author Love, Guest Post, Uncategorized

Guest Post: Top Five Novel Writing Tips with Zoe May

So today on Hayley Reviews is my brand new author guest posts. I hope to get at least one possibly two a week from now on.

So sorry for my sporadic posting, work has been crazy.

I do have some fab bookish stories to share but have been under the weather, which has completely thrown me, meaning all my posts are out of whack. I’m such a busy bee I’m not used to being slowed down – this is very much when I need a clone of myself, to take the flack.

So without further ado I pass you over to the lovely Zoe May.

Here I’m sharing my top five writing tips! I applied these strategies when I wrote my debut novel, Perfect Match. They came about through trial and error but these are my trusted methods and I hope they’re useful or relatable to other writers.

Be wary of cafés

We’re all familiar with romanticized Instagram snaps of people writing in cafes with steaming mugs of coffee by their laptops and artfully messy buns. But let’s face it, the reality is more likely to involve trying to block out the cries of manic toddlers with babycinnos while a barista glares at you for having only bought one coffee over the last two hours, and tearing that artfully messy hair out.

I used to try to write in cafes, but I found that most of the time, I couldn’t focus enough to get much done. Although writing at home can be boring and a bit lonely, I find it so much more effective. Sometimes I get stir crazy and end up venturing to a café, but I tend do this occasionally, rather than it being the norm.

Share your targets with others

Sometimes, if I have a big writing goal, I’ll post a story on Instagram about it. My most recent one was a story I posted on a Friday night in which I said I’d write 12,000 words over the next three days! I find that announcing my goal to others (even if they’re just strangers and maybe not even that interested!) makes me stick to the goal more. There’s a certain satisfaction in posting another story to say you met your goal. Also, I like seeing other writers posting updates about their writing targets and progress as I find a certain sense of solidarity and inspiration in seeing other people working hard.

Have a rewards system

When I wrote Perfect Match, I planned some rewards for myself based on meeting my writing goals. So, if I wrote 10,000 words, I’d go for a nice dinner with a friend. Once I hit 20,000, I’d treat myself to a new handbag. Once I got to 30,000, I’d go for a spa day, etc. This rewards system gave me something to work towards and made me enjoy the reward so much more because I felt like I’d earned it.

Read your work out loud

I write in a very conversational style and I find that reading my work out loud really helps me spot sentences that don’t flow well – those that are slow, clunky, typo-ridden or convoluted. Sometimes your eyes can skim over these kinds of issues, but when you’re reading out loud suddenly they become apparent.

Relax your mind

When I get stuck on a plot issue, I often find the solution will come to me if I do something unrelated to writing but also mentally non-taxing. For example, I often get ideas when I’m walking my dog or cleaning my flat. I was really stuck at one point with Perfect Match and had a plot epiphany while cleaning the oven!

Thank you so much for joining me Zoe and being my first author on my new guest slots. I truly loved Zoe’s debut I was hooked from the get go and you can read my thoughts Here I also shared her next novel which I cannot wait to read you can find that Here.

If you’re an author that hasn’t already reached out to me about guesting on Hayley Reviews then either leave a comment here or email me at and I aim to get back to you almost instantly…

Blog Tour, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: The Perfect Girlfriend By Karen Hamilton – Win a copy!!

Blurb: Juliette loves Nate.
She will follow him anywhere. She’s even become a flight
attendant for his airline, so she can keep a closer eye on him.

They are meant to be.
The fact that Nate broke up with her six months ago means nothing.
Because Juliette has a plan to win him back.

She is the perfect girlfriend.
And she’ll make sure no one stops her from
getting exactly what she wants.

True love hurts, but Juliette knows it’s worth all the pain…

I should be sharing my review but I haven’t been well spending a lot of today lying down or asleep but I want to say this book is creepy and intriguing and as I can’t share my review today I wanted to say something and I would love to give someone the chance to win a copy of this intriguing novel….so who wants to read Juliette’s crazy story…

Author Love, Blog Tour, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: End Game By Matt Johnson

Today on Hayley Reviews I am pleased to host a guest post from Matt Johnson….author of End Game.

Matt Johnson – a day in my life

As I looked forward to my retirement from the police, I anticipated easy-going days in front of the fire reading a book, time to pursue hobbies and catching up on those little jobs that I had never seem to find the time to complete. I didn’t anticipate starting a new career.

And when I sat down to have a go at writing a book, I really did think ‘How hard can it be?’ That shows how little I knew. With the book complete and, to my satisfaction, self-published, I sat back to enjoy the pocket money that appeared each month in my bank account. Then, everything changed. A published author read the book, his agent got in touch. I went up to London for ‘a chat’.

And now, two years later I have two books published by Orenda and a third in creation. I’ve been to festivals, events and book signings. I’ve given talks and have now been signed up – by the same agency representing Idris Elba – to do more public speaking. This is no longer the retirement I foresaw.

That said, I’m not complaining. Although I feel a little like a novice surfer riding a perfect wave that might crash down at any moment in an explosion of froth, I’m enjoying the ride. But my routine, well that has certainly changed.

Being a cop, I was used to being self-motivated and disciplined. Just as well, as it’s something you have to be when you spend your writing life on your own with only the dogs and your ‘imaginary friends’ for company. I never have been particularly good in the mornings – 6am starts in the Met were always a struggle – so I tend to start my day at about 8 (ish).

Almost without exception I start with a brew. It’s a habit that started in the military and continued in the police. Forty years later, it’s not going to change. Then, after a shower, it’s out with the dogs, whatever the weather. I really enjoy walking – it clears the mind and sets you up for the day. If I have a plot idea to mull over or an idea comes to me I use the digital recorder that I normally carry. If I forget it, I fret until I can write as soon as I return home.

Working days start with email and social media. I like to clear this first so that once I start to write, I can continue without interruption. Writing can take many forms, sometimes it’s a talk, or an article. Other times it may be something such as a media campaign. It’s not always what I should be focussing on – the next book.

If I’m not in a frame of mind to write, I read. Not just books though, I research on the net, read social media and read magazines.

Once writing, I hope to get into the groove. By that I mean the state of mind I believe all authors experience where you are away in this fictional world of your own creation, struggling to get the words down as fast as your imagination is forming them. When this happens, I lose track of time and woe betide anyone who telephones or calls at the house – I hate breaking off.

I tend to do my best creative work into the evenings, which means I don’t watch a great deal of television. I might break off for the news, or Match of the Day, but little else. Food? Well, that can be something of a luxury. I enjoy cooking, and I love eating. But managing the time to think about cooking? Now, that’s a much harder proposition. And, as the evening wears on, if I realise there won’t be enough time to explore the story thread I am working on, I write notes, an aide memoire to picking the story up the next day.

To write, I use an old pc. I sit at an oak desk – also old – on my favourite chair, also old. A bit like me, really. I swear if typewriters were capable of saving your work I would still be using one. I two-finger type, so not very fast and not terribly accurate. As a result, I have to do a lot of re-reading. But, that’s one other thing I have learned – first drafts don’t need to be perfect, they just have to be written.

Now for a bit about End Game here’s the blurb.

The final instalment in the critically acclaimed Robert Finlay series, as his past continues to haunt him…

Robert Finlay seems to have finally left his SAS past behind him and is settled into his new career as a detective. But when the girlfriend of his former SAS colleague and close friend Kevin Jones is murdered, it’s clear that Finlay’s troubles are far from over. Jones is arrested for the killing, but soon escapes from jail, and Finlay is held responsible for the breakout. Suspended from duty and sure he’s being framed too, our hero teams up with MI5 agent Toni Fellowes to find out who’s behind the conspiracy. Their quest soon reveals a plot that goes to the very heart of the UK’s security services. End Game, the final part in the critically acclaimed Robert Finlay trilogy, sees our hero in an intricately plotted and terrifyingly fast-paced race to uncover the truth and escape those who’d sooner have him dead than be exposed.

Be sure to catch the rest of the tour organised by the lovely Anne Cater, thanks for having me.

Netflix, Uncategorized

Netflix: 13 Reasons Why

So today on my Twitter I explained that although my work life is taking over I still wanted to keep momentum on here. I asked in a poll what I should share and something from drafts and the blogger award were chosen. So here is a draft that I started a long while ago about a TV series that well and truly got under my skin so without further ado. I give you 13 Reasons Why.

Summary: Newcomer Katherine Langford plays the role of Hannah, a young woman who takes her own life. Two weeks after her tragic death, a classmate named Clay finds a mysterious box on his porch. Inside the box are recordings made by Hannah — on whom Clay had a crush — in which she explains the 13 reasons why she chose to commit suicide. If Clay decides to listen to the recordings, he will find out if and how he made the list. This intricate and heart-wrenching tale is told through Clay and Hannah’s dual narratives.

My thoughts: It’s been a while since I have been compelled to write about a TV show. I guess this one is different as it originates from a book today I am talking about 13 Reasons Why. I love that Netflix commission so many different shows and I’m even more impressed that this one started as a book. As you can guess I haven’t read the book but I am contemplating the audio book. I have heard a few of the basic differences and I’m intrigued to listen and to read more from Jay Asher.

Now, 13 Reasons Why is essentially a sad story about a girl who committed suicide and the tapes as in the 13 reasons are explaining why ultimately. So the story is told by two people Clay in the here and now and Hannah through her tapes that are passed around certain students for various reasons. From the off I liked Clay – a nice guy, bit of a nerd but an amazing all round good guy. I also felt for Hannah from the off as she wanted to fit in and to matter, and it seemed that many people didn’t really notice her until she was gone.

This is a real coming of age story with all the usual angst. At times this is exceptionally hard to view but I believe it is done so well.

For me I was on the edge of my seat awaiting Clay’s tape as I said I liked him from the off so I wanted to know why. It killed me to hear it and to see how truly touched and broken by it he was. Clay isn’t malicious but like most teens he didn’t totally think of how his actions would come across. A few small words from Clay to Hannah could have changed her life.

Hannah’s cry for help with a counsellor and her final moments were such hard viewing.

I hope to devour the audiobook soon and I will once again share my thoughts. There is to be a second season and I cannot wait to have the gang back as there are still so many unanswered questions. I may even review each episode that’s if you guys would like that?

Have you watched 13 Reasons Why? Or have you read the book or anything more from Jay Asher. I would love to know your thoughts and suggestions.

2018, Author Love, Book Snippet, Netgalley, Review

Sampler: Five years from Now By Paige Toon

Blurb: What happens if you meet the RIGHT person at the WRONG time?

Nell and Van meet as children when their parents fall in love, but soon they are forced worlds apart.

Five years later, they find each other. Their bond is rekindled and new feelings take hold, but once again they have to separate.

For the next two decades, fate brings Nell and Van together every five years, as life and circumstance continue to divide them. Will they ever find true happiness? And will it be together?

‘One day, maybe five years from now, you’ll look back and understand why this happened…’

Sampler Summary: Firstly I have to mention I haven’t had Paige’s writing in my life for long but each story has left me longing for more. I know I have been slack on some of her reviews. Usually because I have had a book hangover after. Leaving me distraught and unable to do her fantastic writing the justice it deserves.

So...Five Years from Now.…how truly gorgeous is the cover. I said that when I first saw it but I was sharing another cover reveal and knew I would have a chance to mention it. The line ‘What if you met the right person at the wrong time?’ Was a massive clue in the fact I knew this will be a book I fall headfirst in love with.

Then Paige puts up that Netgalley have a sampler, when I saw this it was late at night I managed a page or two but as I say my work/life balance is well and truly messed up right now. So this morning whilst drinking a few cups of tea with my cornflakes I devoured these pages.

Paige you have a way of me connecting with each and every character and in terms of the sampler. I did not see the drama coming and I’m still clueless to how bad it is. It ended so dramatically I physically cannot wait for more. Roll on 17th May – yup that’s the date that this bad boy is out. Pre order now I do think I’m going to end up with the ebook and an actual book as this lovely lady will be coming to Bluewater on the 19th also.

I will love re-reading the beginning of Nell and Van’s story. The innocent love of childhood friendships and how truly innocent and heartwarming children are. The little things that seem like a big deal and the love of being kind. I’m pleased to say both of my beautiful nieces are truly kind and full of such love – it also helps that they are already bookworms.

I love how even at the dramatic anticlimax that Netgalley has left me with both Nell and Van didn’t want to go through that alone. It well and truly melted my heart. I know this novel will be devoured in a quick time frame and it will stay with me. This is going to be one hell of a hangover without a single drop of alcohol.

I have only read the sampler but this book will have you taking trips down your own memory lane and it will truly get under your skin. I need to know now!!!!

Cover Reveal

Cover Reveal: Spring at the Little Duck Pond Cafe By Rosie Green.

Firstly I’m so sorry in the delay of this post and the lack of posts this week. I had so many plans for this week but as it stands I’m struggling with my work/life balance. But I hope to get back focussed on here.

Today I am pleased to share with you a cover reveal via Rachel’s Random Resources. Thank you once again to Rachel for including me in this reveal.

So before I show you the gorgeous cover here is the blurb…

Fleeing from a romance gone wrong, Ellie Farmer arrives in the pretty little village of Sunnybrook, hoping for a brand new start that most definitely does not include love! Following an unscheduled soak in the village duck pond, she meets Sylvia, who runs the nearby Duck Pond Café. Renting the little flat above the café seems like the answer to Ellie’s prayers. It’s only for six months, which will give her time to sort out her life, far away from cheating fiancé Richard.

But is running away from your past ever really the answer?

Clashing with the mysterious and brooding Zak Chamberlain, an author with a bad case of writer’s block, is definitely not what Ellie needs right now. And then there’s Sylvia, who’s clinging so hard to her past, she’s in danger of losing the quaint but run-down Duck Pond Café altogether.

Can Ellie find the answers she desperately needs in Sunnybrook? And will she be able to help save Sylvia’s little Duck Pond Café from closure?

This novella is part of a trilogy:

Spring at The Little Duck Pond Café

Summer at The Little Duck Pond Café

Winter at The Little Duck Pond Café

Publication date: 22nd March 2018

Author Bio

Rosie Green has been scribbling stories ever since she was little. Back then they were rip-roaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of falling off a cliff or being tied up by ‘the baddies’. Thankfully, Rosie has moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger involved at all, unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love.

Rosie’s brand new series of novellas is centred on life in a village café. The first, Spring at the Little Duck Pond Café, is out on March 22nd 2018.

Twitter –

Blog Tour, Cover Reveal, New Author to me

Cover Reveal: Amy Cole has lost her mind by Elizabeth McGivern

Today I am pleased to share with you a cover reveal via Rachel’s Random Resources.

What a cover and that line has me intrigued to hear more about this one.

Blurb: Amy Cole is a stay-at-home mum and a woman on the edge.

After a very public breakdown and failed suicide attempt, Amy finds herself trying to make it through her everyday life as a high-functioning zombie.

Elle De Bruyn is a force of nature ready to shake Amy back to life whether she likes it or not.

After a fortuitous meeting, the two embark on a journey together which will change them both and help them find out exactly what they’re capable of when rock bottom is just the beginning.

Pre-order from Amazon UK –

Pre-order from –

Elizabeth McGivern is a former journalist turned hostage-in-her-own-home surrounded by three men and a horrible dog named Dougal.

In an effort to keep her sanity she decided to write a parenting blog after the birth of her first son so she can pinpoint the exact moment she failed as a mother.

In an unexpected turn of events, the blog helped her to find a voice and connect with parents in similar situations; namely those who were struggling with mental health issues and parenting. It was because of this encouragement – and wanting to avoid her children as much as possible – her debut novel, Amy Cole has lost her mind, was born.

Elizabeth lives in Northern Ireland although wishes she could relocate to Iceland on a daily basis. To witness her regular failings as a parent you can find her on: 

Facebook –

Twitter –

Instagram –

Picture credited to Jess Lowe

Keep an eye out for this fabulous competition that Elizabeth will be running.

Author Love, Book Snippet, Cover Reveal, Uncategorized

Cover Reveal and info Close Your Eyes By Darren O’Sullivan

Firstly how truly thrilling is the cover. This came up yesterday and I was like 👀 it’s simply stunning. I already had two posts organised for yesterday but today I thought this had to be shared. As some of you may remember last July I was completely bowled over by Darren’s debut Our Little Secret – and it came at a time when I truly needed it, as was during the early stages of ankle gate. As it stands my ankle is a lot better and I’m back to my walks to work but I do keep a closer eye now.

If you’re not the sort of person who will buy a book based on it’s cover then I have the blurb for you and I literally read it and pre-ordered my copy Here.

Blurb: He doesn’t know his name. He doesn’t know his secret.

When Daniel woke up from a coma he had no recollection of the life he lived before. Now, fourteen years later, he’s being forced to remember.

A phone call in the middle of the night demands he return what he stole – but Daniel has no idea what it could be, or who the person on the other end is. He has been given one warning, if he doesn’t find out his family will be murdered.

Rachael needs to protect her son. Trapped with no way out she will do anything to ensure they survive. But sometimes mothers can’t save their children and her only hope is Daniel’s memory.

If you haven’t read Darren’s debut that had me on the edge of my seat and even made me stop and think the next time I was a a train station, then give my review a read Here

My copy is on order and I will be making sure that on the 5th May I am ready to start devouring as soon as this pings through to my Kindle.

international women’s day, Thursday Thoughts, update

International Women’s Day 2018

Today is international women’s day and I couldn’t let the day pass without mentioning every single beautiful lady out there. We are all beautiful in our individual ways if we were all the same the world would be a very different and in the most part a boring place.

I personally could feel better in myself but today I am aspiring to give myself the cheer of encouragement and motivation that I would to my girlies. I like to think I’m good at telling my friends don’t be stupid – you’re awesome or it will work out and I’ll be there to help in any way I can. It’s time for me to listen more to my awesome girls and to encourage myself.

I can I will. Go watch me…

I saw a comment mentioned by the lovely Isabella May today saying that she wants to see women stop apologising for eating cake – or anything else of a naughty nature for that matter. It’s true we do justify so much that we do. A little of what you like isn’t bad it’s all about moderation – don’t take away the goodness in the naughty by counting calories and instantly working out how many steps you need. It’s good to have a focus but not to the extent where you are upsetting yourself and depriving yourself of everything. Life is to be lived and we need to make it the best possible one we can for all those gorgeous ladies who came saw and conquered before us.

I’m thankful and grateful for all the inspirational women that have been and are still in my life. To speak of you all individually it would take me days but what I will say is each of you have touched my life in some way and I hope you know that.

The one person I will mention is my Nan June – you are forever missed in my life and each trip away I take I think of you. I loved being able to share my dolphin experience with you via DVD. I just wish you were still here even if you tried to fatten me up each week. Films and milk tray were such a beautiful time we shared and the films you showed me were fantastic. Since you have been gone there’s been a number of things I have seen and hope to see that you would have truly loved.

When I started penning this post I wasn’t sure what route I would take I could talk about many inspirational celeb ladies but I decided to look to those close to me.

Each of my friends and the ladies in my family are inspirational for different reasons and I adore each of you for what you bring to my life. Today maybe a national day to celebrate women but we should celebrate each other and our successes everyday.

Author Love, ebook, novella, Review, Short Story, Uncategorized

Novella Review: Three Men and a Maybe By Katey Lovell

Blurb: It’s the age-old saying. You wait all day for a bus, and then three come along at once. But proposals? That’s just ridiculous. And yet, on New Year’s Eve, as the countdown finishes and the whole pub erupts in celebrations, Cerys finds herself staring at her ex-fiancé, Ricky. Who just so happens to be kneeling on the floor, ring in hand, asking her to marry him. Again.

And if that weren’t enough, hot barman Angelo, and longtime friend Huw also decide to pop the question. At the exact same time.

Three men, two real contenders, but just one choice. What on earth will she do?

Review: How many times can I say I literally love Katey Lovell. Not only does she write amazing fiction that manages to get under my skin but she’s also a really nice lady.

I had originally intended on reading this either just after Christmas or around New Year alas that did not happen. Yesterday I headed home from Furteventura after a week in the sunshine – I grabbed my jumper so quickly after getting off the plane eeek but this short read accompanied me for some of my journey and what a treat it was.

Katey Lovell has a way of writing shorts and novels that have a distinct format of loveable easy to relate to characters. Including douche bags that you love to hate. A story that’s easily identifiable even if you haven’t been in that situation, good humour and fantastic music mentions. As well as twists that will have you on the edge of your seat. For me each novella of Katy’s I have read, I have been left wanting more and for me that’s a major plus and instantly makes me want to devour more from the author. I have truly loved a number of her meet cute novellas as well as The Cafe in Fir Tree Park.

Although this was only a short novella it was split into sections – there was the present day of New Years Eve (Cerys and her friends) – where the basis of the story and the proposals as the clock strikes midnight. Which is when we then go back in time and the following sections are of Cerys and Ricky, Cerys and Huw, Cerys and Angelo and finally Cerys and her potential fiancé.

Now I’m not one for spoiling a gorgeous book with beautiful twists but I must say Huw was quite easily my favourite of all the guys and each proposal. I won’t be saying anything about the other two as I want to leave an air of mystery.

Katey could quite easily use these characters in another story and I would love to reconnect with them someday….another treat from one of my faves grab a cuppa and give this gorgeousness a read.

Katey has featured on my blog a few times and here is a fabulous guest post on a subject we share a love of.

The Boy on the Bus was one of my favourite meet cute reads

I had totally forgot about this post

More meet cute gorgeousness.

Now this book I loved and just look at the cover it’s so summery and warm

Meet cute 💖

Katey I really hadn’t realised how many main features you have had over here on Hayley Reviews but I know I’m still missing some goodness that will come soon enough I’m sure.

If my novella review and walk back through my Katey Lovell posts has made you want to devour her gorgeous work then follow this link and do leave a comment telling me what you’re reading.

I shall be back later today with an International Women’s Day post.