2021, A thought? A question, audiobook, Author Love, blog blitz, Blog Tour, books and the city, Me, Publication Day, Uncategorized

Weekly Update #28

Just like that another week has flown by, I’m not sure if they’re flying or whether I’m lacking routine. When life was normal I would almost always work on Saturdays – I’m the girl who would pick up that shift on the day most people would choose to have the day off. Whether that be to go out or just to go shopping.

In saying that I can 110% say when life resumes I will be saying yes to all sorts of catch ups and events. I mean I wouldn’t say I’m a social butterfly but man do I miss simple things like coffee shop catch ups – meals out etc.

Anyway…enough about that.

On Monday I got out for my first run of the year and my did it feel good. I had hoped to have run a few days earlier but that didn’t happen. I must say it was a soggy one.

It sure was a wet one…

But it was also my first 5k of the year 😉 not quite in average mileage but it was a damp one plus I’m not really a fan of wearing a hoodie as I get so hot when I run.

I had hoped to get back my Monday, Wednesday, Friday routine but I wasn’t feeling 100% on Wednesday and I hadn’t slept too well so my second run of 2021 came on Thursday.

Thursday saw my second run of the year and I smashed my 10k PB it’s safe to say I was over the moon.

Today I got out for my third run of the week – it sure was cold but today was a brand new personal best for the 5k which I haven’t done since August. I haven’t stopped smiling – part of me almost wanted to see how much further I could run at this faster speed but I decided to stop happily at 5 miles.

I may not have kept my original run days but I got out and ran 3 times this week smashing two personal bests. That is a massive win and I cannot wait to see where the next lot of runs take me. I’m currently at 24km for January I finished December on 76km. Today I needed that run so much I feel like the state of the world is constantly having me on edge.

This week I’ve read:

My review of Fanny Blake’s is up – I’m on the blog tour for I Give It a Year it will be up in the week.

What’s been on the blog this week?

On Sunday I took part in the Six for Sunday prompt and you can read my blog post here.

On Monday I ran and read and wasn’t organised so there wasn’t a blog post.

On Tuesday I looked back over what I read in December and you can read my blog post here.

On Wednesday I took part in a blog blitz for a book called Freak and you can read my blog post here.

On Thursday I had a pretty late in the day book review for Fanny Blake’s The Long Way Home on it’s publication day. You can read my post here.

On Friday I had started reading a new book as part of a blog tour and I wasn’t really feeling it. So I then started thinking and this post came to be – read my thoughts here.

After struggling to read my blog tour read I decided to start this one and I read a good 23% yesterday. I’ve read a chapter or so today and I’m eager to get back to it.

Is there anything you would love to see on my blog give me a shout?. I’m hoping to add some product reviews this coming week and it’s my turn on the I Give it a Year blog tour on Tuesday.

2021, Author Love, ebook, New Author to me, Publication Day, Review, TBR, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Long Way Home By Fanny Blake

Blurb: A family secret, a mysterious legacy, and a journey that will change everything…

When Isla, a 65-year-old grandmother, is left nothing but an old painting in her mother’s will, while her sisters and aunt inherit the estate, she is devastated. Close to retirement, getting ready to live on her own terms, the last thing she expects at this time of her life is such turmoil. So, to find an explanation for her mother’s rejection, she embarks on a road-trip.

But, right at the last moment, she’s forced to take her sullen – and, in her view, impossible – 14-year-old granddaughter Charlie with her. Cramped together in Isla’s car with her smelly old dog, these ill-assorted travelling companions set off to uncover some shattering and life-changing family truths at the same time as learning to love each other…

Review: This is my first introduction to Fanny Blake’s writing and I’m blown away. A thought provoking and at times heart wrenching tale. The Long Way Home spans four generations of the same family – spanning from UK/Scotland in the now and Paris in the 1950s.

I loved how the chapters were in the then and now and more often than not we would get the explanation to our brimming questions. Around 50% into the novel I was starting to see a pattern forming and was wanting to know more and more. Although in saying that the more I found out the more questions came up.

I’m such a fan of stories that span generations and I loved how this was always apparent, but as the story continued the integration of the ages made the story. I adored Isla from the start and I loved getting to know Charlie alongside Isla. I think the make-up scene of her and her gran was one of the most gorgeous bonding sessions I’ve ever read – that and the film on the laptop. It was heartwarming to see the change in Charlie and how Isla saw a bond that she had with her aunt Aggie developing with her Granddaughter.

A death in the family can more often than not stray many tensions. May’s will had little explanation and it changed the relationship between the sisters. This part of the story was a slow-burn that wasn’t completely sorted until the later stages of the novel.

May had an emotional rollercoaster of a life with many secrets haunting her to the grave. I didn’t always agree with May but I felt for her a lot. There’s so much I want to say but I can’t without spoiling the reveal – I saw part of it coming but I was pretty happy with the ending.

Isla has a tough old time trying to find out about where she went wrong with her mother – but there is so much more heartache for her. Morag was the most uncomplicated of the sisters. She had her own worries yet her sisters loved her for that. Lorna is a decent person I loved getting to know her and scratching the surface aside from the bravado – her heart to heart with Isla gave me all the feels and more.

A story of family, love, loss and how secrets can change so much. There are so many underlying messages in this novel that will make me think of it for a long time to come. If you’re looking to escape from the crazy that is the world right now I wholeheartedly recommend this gorgeous novel although be warned it’s made me long to travel.

2020, christmas, ebook, Happy Hump Day, Me, personal, Publication Day, Review, TBR, Uncategorized, update, Weekly Update

Weekly Update #22

It’s that time again…how has another week passed already. I can’t lie this week has been pretty hard – I’ve found myself feeling increasingly frustrated and down. I mean I’m not saying the whole week felt that way, but it sure has been a tough one.

Monday I got up and on those scales it wasn’t as bad as I thought but it also wasn’t that good. In saying that it did spur me on to have a decent week. I’ve been writing my food down again including the odd treat that I’ve had. Some of my treats have been slimming world friendly though so that’s a win. I couldn’t run but I did embrace a whole host of stretches.

On Tuesday I really started feeling it. I reached out on socials not for people to feel sorry for me but to also show others how it can hit us all at anytime. Even those of us who we all believe are fine. We are all experiencing a whole host of emotions and I’ve definitely felt it this week. It was another decent stretch day and I finished reading…The stretches were much more organised today it’s given me a boost and a purpose if that makes any sense at all.

What a read.

Wednesday is hump day and in our house it’s also bin day. So I had said I needed to organise and open parcels to bin unwanted packaging. Wrapped a few presents – I wasn’t finished but today felt more productive and that’s what I needed. I started reading the second book in the Dash & Lily’s series. The Twelve Day’s Of Dash & Lily although I didn’t get much done.

On Thursday I literally forgot what day it was lol is that even possible. I started the day well although I started feeling it a bit. So I threw myself into tasks.

On Friday we had a few errands to do but there were some much needed treats. It was also my Mum’s 60th birthday.

Costa’s Irish Velvet Latte for the win whilst bracing the shops.
These beauties jumped into my basket…

So what’s been on the blog this week? I’m super chuffed that there’s been a post every day so far in November.

On Sunday I shared my thoughts on Midnight Sun and you can read it here.

On Monday I shared a Monday Motivation style post and you can read it here.

On Tuesday I was pleased to be a part of a very special reveal of a brand new cover and you can see it here.

Wednesday saw the Hump day post once again. Are you loving or loathing this one you can read it here.

Thursday was publication day for 33 Women and I was determined to have my thoughts up on Hayley Reviews and here they are.

Friday I had conflicting emotions about what would be my post it was rather late in the day but it’s a meme I’m looking forward to doing more of. I even have an idea for next weeks offering and you can read it here. I would love some feedback on this one..So give me a shout.

Last night well during the early hours of this morning I finished listening to this beauty.

It was a beautifully humorous read and just what I needed. I’m hoping to get more audiobooks into my day to day again.

I would love to sit with a good cuppa and finish reading The 12 Days Of Dash & Lily. It’s been a little different from the first one but I’m sure Dash & Lily will continue to put a smile on my face.

2020, Author Love, Publication Day, Review, TBR, Uncategorized, update

Book Review: 33 Women By Isabel Ashdown

Blurb: When sisters Celine and Pip get a call telling them their reclusive mother has died, the women are reunited at her riverside home in Arundel to pick up the pieces. But someone is missing – their middle sister, Vanessa, brutally murdered years ago and the victim of an unsolved case. As the sisters confront ghosts from the past, the discovery of another body in similar circumstances throws new light on Vanessa’s death. Could there be more to her case than the police first thought? And what do the mysterious residents of Two Cross Farm, the neighbouring women’s commune, have to do with it? What secrets are lurking behind their locked gates? And what is the significance of the number 33?

Review: Where do I begin? Wow! This is a heart wrenching tale that will have you hooked from the off. In reading the blurb and having read and been totally hooked by Isabel before I knew that I had to read this book and as soon as I could. It’s a book that will definitely stay with me, as much as I hate the saying and the twists I never saw coming I truly didn’t. I can’t say too much here but what I will say is when you see the pieces start to make sense like finishing a jigsaw there are many WOW! Oh my moments. So much history and a multitude of secrets.

Today I am posting my thoughts on her latest offering on publication day – so happy publication day Isabel you have written an intriguing book that spans the ages and I’m sure it will be flying high in the charts.

I have to mention at the front of the book Isabel has written a note to the reader which is enlightening. 2020 has been the craziest of years and I love and hate the fact she’s had to explain that as much as it’s set in the now it’s not in the Covid now – if that makes sense. Reading has been such a release for me during these testing times and it’s mad to think I’m finally going to hit and hopefully overdo my Goodreads target all because I had a lot more me time this year.

Death brings grief but it also more often than not uncovers secrets and lies.

33 Women is split into sections that of Celine and that of Two Cross Farm and more often than not Bramble. Spanning the now in both and also showing us how Two Cross Farm came to be in 1976. I was immediately taken with the sisters although I hadn’t realised how much more there would be to their story. I was fully invested in hearing of how Two Cross Farm came to be and everything connected to 33 – intrigued from the get go.

The commune surrounding the 33 Women of Two Cross Farm was built on love and of hope for women lacking in hope but my oh my there was sooo much more to this story. Throughout I had certain suspicions and on one count I was sadly right.

This is a slower paced thriller but it’s definitely a page turner, with some shorter chapters it’s easy to just keep on turning those pages. I read this in a few days and it was just the escape I needed.

2020, Author Love, blog blitz, books and the city, Fitness, love books group, Me, New Author to me, personal, Publication Day, Review, Self Care Sunday, TBR, Uncategorized, update

Weekly Update #20

So the weekly updates are back and coming thick and fast. That’s another week over but how was it? I’ve had quite a week and it really has been pretty productive…

It’s been a mixed bag of a week and I had hoped to have been more organised in this post but here we are. I was meant to have my induction at Sainsbury’s on Wednesday but unfortunately we’re awaiting on an email so I can actually start. It was good for me to refresh the route but unfortunate that my new journey has been delayed.

I’ve managed to order a number of Christmas gifts for my nieces and nephew – I’m hoping to sit down and work out where I’m at later today. Covid might have changed many things but in some ways I’ve managed to be more organised and for that I’m truly grateful. For me that seems to be the outstanding message of this year for being grateful for what we have and what we can do right now.

I ran on Sunday and I was just under 6 miles which impressed my stubborn nature. As you’ll see from my Self Care post I did also treat myself to a festive Starbucks treat.

On Tuesday I managed a 10K and I’ve been resting since I truly loved it. I’m itching to get back out there but this time around I’m listening to my body. I’m hoping to get back to beating my personal best on 5k – before I can even think about re-running that 10k. The best thing is I know I CAN do it.

So what’s been on the blog this week?

Last Sunday I brought back Self Care Sunday and you can read that post here.

On Monday I shared my thoughts on Dash & Lily’s Book Of Dares. How it had taken me so long to read this absolute beauty you can read my thoughts here. I have watched the first 6 of the 8 episodes on Netflix and I will be sharing my thoughts soon.

On Tuesday saw my epic 10k Run you can read what I had to say here. I honestly wish I had continued the Couch to 5k the first time I started. Although I know my fitness levels have been a lot better this time around and I’m honestly loving it. I can’t wait to get back out there – watch this space.

On Wednesday you lucky lot had two posts from me. Up first was a blog blitz and you can read that here. Following that I posted a Happy Hump Day post which you can read here.

On Thursday I shared a publication day blitz and you can read it here.

Friday I was able to share with you a book that I loved wholeheartedly by one of my absolute favourite authors. You can read my thoughts on One By One here.

This week I’ve read???

Finished this beauty and I’ve obviously shared my review already.
Obviously shared this review too..loved this finished it yesterday. This woman can do no wrong in my eye.

I’m just finishing the final instalment in Cathy Bramley’s My Kind Of Happy series.

What would you like to see here at Hayley Reviews next week? Get in touch…

2020, blog blitz, love books group, Publication Day, Uncategorized

Publication Day Blitz: Harper’s Highland Fling by Lizzie Lamb @lizzie_lamb @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

Another day and another blitz, this one is a publication day push for Lizzie Lamb’s Harper’s Highland Fling.

Blurb: After a gruelling academic year, headteacher Harper MacDonald is looking forward to a summer holiday trekking in Nepal. However, her plans are scuppered when wayward niece, Ariel, leaves a note announcing that’s she’s running away with a boy called Pen. The only clue to their whereabouts is a footnote: I’ll Be in Scotland. Cue a case of mistaken identity when Harper confronts the boy’s father – Rocco Penhaligon and accuses him of cradle snatching her niece and ruining her future. At loggerheads, Harper and Rocco set off in hot pursuit of the teenagers, but the canny youngsters are always one step ahead. And, in a neat twist, it is the adults who end up in trouble, not the savvy teenagers.

Fasten your seatbelt for the road trip of your life! It’s going to be a bumpy ride!

About the Author: With Scottish, Irish, and Brazilian blood in her veins, it’s hardly surprising that Lizzie Lamb is a writer. She even wrote extra scenes for the films she watched as a child and acted out in the playground with her friends. She is ashamed to admit that she kept all the good lines for herself. Luckily, she saves them for her readers these days. Lizzie’s love of writing went on hold while she pursued a successful teaching career, finishing up as a Deputy Headteacher of a large primary school. Since deciding to leave the profession to realise her dream of becoming a published novelist, Lizzie hasn’t looked back. She wrote Tall, Dark and Kilted – which echoes her love of her homeland in every page, not to mention heroes in kilts – and published it. Lizzie loves the quickfire interchange between the hero and heroine – like in old black and white Hollywood movies – and hope this comes over in her writing.

You can purchase Harper’s Highland Fling here.

2020, Author Love, Publication Day, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: Our Story By Miranda Dickinson

Blurb: Otty has just landed her dream job. She’s about to join the writing team of one of the most respected showrunners in TV. And then the night before her first day, she’s evicted from her flat.

Joe has been working with Russell for years. He’s the best writer on his team, but lately something has been off. He’s trying to get his mojo back, but when his flatmate moves out without warning he has other things to worry about.

Otty moving into Joe’s house seems like the perfect solution to both their problems, but neither is prepared for what happens next. Paired together in the writing room, their obvious chemistry sparks from the page and they are the writing duo to beat. But their relationship off the page is an entirely different story, and neither of them can figure out why.

And suddenly the question isn’t, will they, or won’t they? It’s why won’t they?

Review: There will never be enough words to do this absolute beauty justice.

Whenever a new Miranda novel is released I know I will be eager to read and I will fall in love with the characters almost instantly. With Our Story I was once again able to buddy read this with my good friend Catriona – it’s always a pleasure to share my joy of a book with Catriona and Miranda is a go to author of us both so it was naturally a given we would read together.

Our Story is a powerful, heartwarming and at times heartbreaking story of two extraordinary people. Hearing Miranda read snippets of Otty & Joe’s story had me desperate to read it. So I was pleased to get an early copy – although I will also be listening to the audiobook at some point. Reliving this story will be like having a warm hug which we cannot do right now.

I knew as soon as I started it I would be sucked in. They are real characters who I instantly fell in love with. Otty is a real woman flaws and all, she’s full of passion and heart and isn’t scared of throwing caution to the wind.

And then we have Joe – Joe on paper should have oodles of confidence and bravado but that’s not him at all. Even though he is a fantastic writer he’s missing something – well that’s until Otty comes along.

Watching these two blossom as friends and as colleagues was humorous and at times completely frustrating. There were a few incidents where I could have easily been screaming at them.

Based in a writers room in Birmingham and it really did read like a Netflix show – so Netflix get on it. It was really insightful to see how the writers daily lives were and it also showcased a different side to Miranda’s writing style. And there are some classic lines that will just get you.

Miranda has a knack of creating characters that you can emphasis with and ones that could be like any of us. The realness of them is empowering and enlightening. I have to mention Daphne in original readings from Miranda I was like OMG this woman we will hate and in a way you do. But we have all worked with a Daphne in our time.

Our Story is a beautiful story that left me empowered, enlightened and beautifully broken. Otty and Joe will stay with me forever and their determination to be their best selves will also stay with me, especially when I’m doubting my own abilities. I cannot wait to reread this via an audiobook.

Our Story is out on this momentous day when so many books are released. But to tempt you the ebook is a mere 99p it’s cheaper than a coffee and will leave you with a much warmer glow than any caffeine can. You can purchase it Here. Not only is it a book and an author I will forever rave about it’s a story that needs to be heard.

2020, Author Love, christmas, ebook, Me, Publication Day, Uncategorized

Happy Publication Day @Vicky_Walters – Hopeful Hearts at Glendale Hall

Today sees the publication of the third book in the Glendale Hall series by the quite simply awesome Victoria Walters.

How gorgeous is this cover? It makes me want to curl up with a hot choc or a Baileys hot chocolate or coffee is my actual fave….

I mean I know we’re coming into Autumn but I must admit when I’m on evening shifts it sure does have a much colder feel late at night.

So let me tell you a bit about this absolute treat.

Blurb: What happens when love takes you to unexpected places?

Heather Douglas appears to have it all. But living on a farm in the Scottish Highlands with her partner, Rory Fraser, all while bringing up their adorable toddler, Harry, isn’t easy. As a former librarian, Heather is worried that she’ll never fully fit into life on Fraser Farm. And after the death of her beloved mum eight years ago, Heather feels lost, as well as guilty for holding back accepting Rory’s marriage proposal because she can’t imagine her wedding without her mother.

So when ex-boyfriend, Stewart, appears in the village of Glendale, it’s a shock to the system. The man who broke her heart years ago now has big plans for the neighbouring farm and wants Heather to be part of the development. Knowing that she’s living a very different life to the one they had planned at university leaves Heather wondering if she has made the right choices since she and Stewart broke up. Especially when things start to go very wrong on the farm …

This Christmas, Heather will need to face her fears and let go of the past or risk losing everything. She will need love, faith, and a whole lot of hope!

This absolute beauty pinged through onto my kindle before I’d even gone to sleep. Ashamedly I’m behind so I have book 2 and 3 to sink my teeth into. Although I think I might like not having to wait. As I’m off today I’m hoping to proper organise my reading and Hayley Reviews. My weekly updates will return this week.

You can purchase the third instalment in the Glendale series Here.

Vicky I hope you have the best day for this treat and there must be cake….

2020, ebook, Netgalley, New Author to me, Publication Day, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness By Laura Bambrey

Blurb: Tori Williamson is alone. After a tragic event left her isolated from her loved ones, she’s been struggling to find her way back to, well – herself. That’s why she set up her blog, The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness, as a way of – anonymously – connecting with the outside world and reaching others who just need a little help sometimes.

When she’s offered a free spot on a wellbeing retreat in exchange for a review on her blog, Tori is anxious about opening herself up to new surroundings. But after her three closest friends – who she talks to online but has never actually met – convince her it’ll do her some good, she reluctantly agrees and heads off for three weeks in the wild (well, a farm in Wales).

From the moment she arrives, Tori is sceptical and quickly finds herself drawn to fellow sceptic Than, the retreat’s dark and mysterious latecomer. But as the beauty of The Farm slowly comes to light she realizes that opening herself up might not be the worst thing. And sharing a yurt with fellow retreater Bay definitely isn’t. Will the retreat be able to fix Tori? Or will she finally learn that being lonely doesn’t mean she’s broken . . .

Review: Firstly, Happy Publication day Laura. I’m so chuffed to be able to share my thoughts on your special day. This is a debut that I’ve been excited to read since first hearing about it, I feel like it’s been on my kindle for a while and it’s come down to the wire in terms of me reading it.

I must admit in some aspects it’s a slow burn although once in Tori’s world I was completely swept up by her story. This year has been a weird one with more of us relying on social media and such whilst the outside world seems terrifying and this book is just the tonic.

Laura has created a story, a world that’s not only full of humour but full of heart. If you’re not completely taken with the retreat then who even are you? At first I was a little unsure of some of Lizzie and Ted’s methods but there was a reason behind the madness. Embracing their teachings will show all of us how heavily we rely on certain things and how opening up can be the best thing for us. Hiding our ‘real self’ means we’re lying to everyone including ourselves and sabotaging our own happiness. I can safely say I’ve been in that boat and this book has made me think of how I can always be truly me warts and all.

On this journey as well as slowly finding out what’s eating up Tori we are also introduced to a diverse bunch. Each and every one of them has an interesting story from start to finish and I truly loved seeing them develop and watching the friendships blossom. There was something about Than that unnerved me but I was not expecting the outcome and I honestly cannot say anymore than that.

Laura has covered a real and quite frankly scary topic and she’s done it with grace, emotion and humour. I truly believe that The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness is an extremely important read about the good and bad aspects of opening up, listening to our instincts and who we trust, as well as how we use the Internet.

I love being a bookworm and I truly love being able to champion authors especially from the very start of their career. I look forward to where Laura goes from here after reading her extremely compassionate and heartfelt debut focussing on more than just loneliness.

2020, Author Love, Publication Day, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: In Case You Missed It By Lindsey Kelk

Blurb: When Ros comes home after three years away, she’s ready to pick up with life exactly where she left it. But her friends have moved on, her parents have rekindled their romance, and her bedroom is now a garden shed. All of a sudden, she’s swept up in nostalgia for the way things were.

Then her phone begins to ping, with messages from her old life. Including one number she thought she’d erased for good – the man who broke her heart. Is this her second chance at one big love? Sometimes we all want to see what we’ve been missing…

Review: Now I’m ashamedly going to start by admitting I was rather late to the party with Lindsey and I still have a lot of her books unread. However, what I will say is she’s a lovely person and she writes a smashing book that is always guaranteed to make you smile.

Her lighthearted writing style will sweep you well and truly off your feet. I’m pleased to say that today is publication day and I have to make a little trip to the supermarket so I’m hoping to nab a physical copy of this beauty. Lindsey Kelk manages to write a laugh a minute rom-com with totally relatable characters and scenarios adding her trademark wit. When Ros sends a text to her whole phonebook it’s like a recipe for disaster yet along comes a job offer and an old flame.

Ros Reynolds is the perfect heroine, I loved her from the get go. Although I also wanted to shake her a little but she’s a tough cookie and she has some truly amazing friends. I truly loved getting to know her and seeing how she could rise again it was uplifting and truly empowering. Her story hit home with me on a few counts and the element of live in the moment really did make me stop and think.

Ros’s friendship group are exceptional and diverse spanning across the ages. Everyone needs a best friend like Sumi she’s easy to talk to the life and soul of the party and you’re ultimate ride or die. I loved her from start to finish although the later aspects where she’s more serious I wanted to just hug her. Adrian is such an unlikely member of their clan but he makes every single scene he’s in. I have to also mention her parents they are such a gorgeously funny couple and I love how more authors are spanning the generations – I won’t say too much more but these two will make you laugh and you may also cringe.

There is always a love interest and with Ros there’s an old flame and there’s a knight in shining armour but it doesn’t become apparent at first. Lindsey sure does know how to write a villain and my is he the perfect one. All shiny suits and wise cracks he’s the kind of guy you’ll catch the eye of in a bar but at the end of the day hmmm.

Then there is John – the one that will creep up on you in the sweetest of ways. I loved everything about John from start to finish his humorous introduction really did make me chuckle. He was a hard character to work out but he intrigued me and I loved seeing him evolve. There were a few oh I get it now moments. Another book boyfriend for me.

There were so many aspects of this novel that made me smile and swoon just a little bit more. I’ve never heard of a dark disco but what a sensual evening that was.

A tale that will put a massive smile on your face and have you living for the now. Not for what might have been or what might be but for the here and now. Don’t dismiss what’s right in front of you as it could just change your life.