2019, audible, Author Love, Review, Uncategorized

Audio Review: On My Life By Angela Clarke

Blurb: Jenna knows she didn’t do it. But she is running out of time to prove it. A heartbreaking, compulsive thriller with a killer twist. Framed. Imprisoned. Pregnant.

Jenna thought she had the perfect life: a loving fiancé, a great job, a beautiful home. Then she finds her stepdaughter murdered; her partner missing.

And the police think she did it….

Locked up to await trial surrounded by prisoners who’d hurt her if they knew what she was accused of, certain someone close to her has framed her, Jenna knows what she needs to do:

Clear her name

Save her baby

Find the killer

But can she do it in time?

Review: Wow! Where do I begin. Firstly, the amazing reviews and hype for this book are all warranted. I’d like to thank Emma Mitchell via Twitter for making me want to read this. I have been doing exam revision so decided this would be my audible treat and what a treat it was. Jenna’s story has accompanied me on many walks to work and to fitness classes and the odd train journey. I believe this book could be read in a quicker time frame but I’m so glad I got to spend a number of days listening to this.

How I have not read an Angela Clarke novel before now I really don’t know. In looking at her collection I know a few of them have popped up in the past and I had been meaning to read. In now appreciating her fast paced style I’m eager for more. I believe the others are linked and if I’m right Follow Me comes first.

In On My Life there’s a similar setting to that of Darren O’Sullivan’s latest novel in the fact there are Then and Now chapters which show you Jenna now in prison to the life before and the lead up to the injustice that she’s suffered.

From the beginning I liked Jenna she’s a working class girl who has worked hard and fort the odds and managed to luck in by falling in love with the wealthy Robert. When they meet she has no idea who he is or who his parents are but they instantly hit it off, they then end up spending more and more time together as their whirlwind continues. Quite early on we are told how Jenna’s older sister Ness pretty much raised her following their mums addiction to drugs – throughout the novel more becomes apparent about her family back ground this is real and heartbreaking in so many ways. A love shared between siblings and parents can be so precious but life can also be so hard and unpleasant.

Over the years I’ve loved Bad Girls and more recently Wentworth – although back in the day I thought Bad Girls was hardcore TV until the ladies from Wentworth took over talk about graphic. Angela Clarke has delved deep into the prison system and looked at a number of factors where the inmates and the guards are both left in situations they shouldn’t be in. It happens that pregnant women end up inside but how hard that life is, is well explained by Angela.

I reeled for Jenna as from the off I knew she was innocent, no one would leave themselves in that situation if they wasn’t. When she was roomed with Kelly I felt happier for her and their blossoming friendship was heartwarming although I didn’t see the outcome in the way it happened at all. To be honest I had my suspicions along the way to the killer but I wasn’t prepared for either of the twists.

What was really amazing about this story was the strength and determination of Jenna and how she conducted herself. Just showing that all of us have a strength inside of us that with the right trigger we can do anything and everything needed for ourselves and the ones we love.

I can’t say much more than that without spoiling the story and the intrigue, suspense and general fast pace are what make this story. Even the bitches add to the colour and reality of prison life that and the guards who are at times full of themselves.

If you have read any of Angela’s other novels I would love to hear from you. Am I right in thinking Follow Me is first. I was thinking of a girlie or Non Fiction audio this month but I may have to add more Angela Clarke to my day.

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2019, Self Care Sunday, Uncategorized

Self Care Sunday….

What are you doing for you?

Self Care is something I’m still not that good at but we all have to make small steps to change that.

Today I managed a lie in and I wasn’t feeling like crap when I woke. Half the time these days I either wake when I would normally get up for work or I lie in and have a banging headache thankfully there was no headache this morning.

A gorgeous cooked breakfast- I can do them during the working week but it takes preparation and having time to tidy and still leave the house on time. I made a sausage and egg muffin with an additional egg, hash browns and mushrooms. It really did set me up for the day.

I spent a chunk of today reading through my syllabus on the Principles of Exercise in lieu of my exam.

Today was most definitely a pj day with a bath whilst listening to On My Life Which I’m hooked on By Angela Clarke before getting into fresh pjs. I have been saying for weeks I want to paint my nails and today I finally did a gorgeous nude colour and it really was a perfect treat. I feel like I’ve been writing lists for a while and this has constantly been on it. Today I literally made time to paint the nails and continue with the audiobook – I have four and a half hours left so hopefully it will be devoured alongside what life throws at me – Wednesday is exam day and I’m hoping to have some cram time and some chill time hopefully with coffee and cake…

2019, Mothers Day, personal, Uncategorized, update

Mother’s Day….

Today is Mothering Sunday here in the UK and I want to talk about stereotyping. So it’s a step away from books. I have got Mum a few books in the past mainly autobiography’s but she’s not really a big reader she would much rather watch NCIS, Only Fools and Horses or the Football.

For me Mother’s Day adverts really do make me laugh, and that’s not me being funny it’s because every single ad is so far from my Mum it’s untrue.

My sister and I had a right laugh with our lovely Mum about this subject matter. It’s all treat Mum to her favourite perfume, bath stuff, even the Prosecco. Don’t get me wrong Mum loves the smell of certain perfumes and bath stuff but she has to be so careful as she has super sensitive skin so bar a few that we know we can’t really buy her things like that. Mum has had a wine with me in the past but it’s not her tipple she would much rather a Beer or a Bacardi. This year mum asked for some practical gifts but she will also have a treat 🙂

The last thing I will add is we shouldn’t only celebrate our Mums on one day of the year. Always show them how much you care even when they drive you mental. My heart also goes out to all of those without their Mum’s or to those who never knew. I’m sure there’s someone by your side who loves you unconditionally.

I’m not feeling great today but I wanted to finish and post this today. I intend to have a chilled Sunday before the working week defends. Whatever you do today make your future self proud.

2019, audible, Author Love, Review, Uncategorized

Audio Review: Closer Than You Think By Darren O’Sullivan

Blurb: He’s watching. She’s waiting.

The unmissable new thriller from Darren O’Sullivan, author of Our Little Secret and Close Your Eyes.

Having barely escaped the clutches of a serial killer, Claire Moore has struggled to rebuild her life. After her terrifying encounter with the man the media dubbed The Black-Out Killer, she became an overnight celebrity: a symbol of hope and survival in the face of pure evil. And then the killings stopped.

Now ten years have passed, and Claire remains traumatised by her brush with death. Though she has a loving and supportive family around her, what happened that night continues to haunt her still.

Just when things are starting to improve, there is a power cut; a house fire; another victim found killed in the same way as before.

The Black-Out Killer is back. And he’s coming for Claire…

Review: Now I will never tire of telling the story of discovering Darren O’Sullivan I was signed off work at the beginning of a truly awful time with my ankle. I was quite frankly at rock bottom – Our Little Secret was amazing and Close Your Eyes proved he wasn’t a one hit wonder and wow third times definitely a charm.

Although charming wouldn’t be how you would describe the leading man of Closer Than You Think – even though he was charming in some aspects strangely.

Anyway, I decided to listen to this. I read the first two books and then Our Little Secret was made into an audio so I relistened and seeing as Darren was also one of the narrators on this I was intrigued and OMG. If I had had more free time this could have been devoured in a day or so but I’m also glad it was spaced out even though I found myself holding my breath so much throughout. I can definitely see this story as a film or a TV adaptation as an audiobook I’ve held my breath often than not but I would love to see this on the screen.

This story has a female and a male character who both take it in terms to read and tell their tale.

Claire Moore is a frightened woman but who wouldn’t be having escaped a serial killer. I truly loved seeing her change, I don’t want to say too much on that without ruining the plot but her character goes through a whole host of emotions and her stepdad Jeff gives her the boost she needed to look deeper into her core and take charge of her life. Avena Wallace is the voice of Claire and I don’t think I could have picked anyone else to have read her part.

The black out killer read by the awesome Darren O’Sullivan is a complex case and I love how he has shown not only his truly vindictive side but underneath all of that there was once a good boy. His motivations and reasonings for his killings weren’t right but in finding out more about him and his life you can see why. For me there were moments where I sympathised with him like most of us did with Norman Bates in Psycho for me that shows a character well written with substance.

I must admit into the last two hours of listening time I thought I had worked it out but I was also hoping I would be completely wrong. Oh how wrong I was I truly didn’t see it coming but if you haven’t read this yet you won’t be disappointed.

Darren O’Sullivan’s best yet…a rollercoaster ride with many heart in mouth moments although some of the detailing of the kills were a little gruesome. When you think you have it sussed think again he is Closer Than You Think.

2019, Author Love, event, Uncategorized

Literati and a little update from me…

I have been a pretty awful blogger of late. As a good friend of mine said I’ve been a butterfly reader flitting from book to book. As it stands I’m trying to rectify that I have an audio thriller and a gorgeous fiction book on the go and I’m determined to get them finished and do them both justice as I am truly mesmerised by both.

I’ve also managed to miss a few blog tour posts they will go up I’m just unsure as to when. But watch this space.

On Monday I attended the Literati at the gorgeous Grosvenor Hotel a truly fabulous event alongside those faves of mine at Simon & Schuster. This event was a birthday gift from the money my brother gave to me and wow it did not disappoint.

What a night it was…I was lucky enough to catch up with the gorgeous Laura and Charlene two of my blogger friends. It’s always an absolute pleasure ladies, we share a love of books and also look out for each other as individuals – we don’t always get to catch up but we relish the chances when they arise.

The event was hosted by Fanny Blake – in conversation with Milly Johnson, Anstey Harris, Catherine Steadman and Susan Elliott Wright at the stunning Grosvenor House. The questioning and manner by Fanny was exquisite, I didn’t ask a question myself but I did enjoy listening to those who did and speaking to the ladies whilst getting my books signed.

I’ve read and totally adored The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton and The Flight Of Cornelia Blackwood. I had hoped to have finished Milly’s before this day….but I had started it and in talking to Milly I had reached the fun part and I can totally see that I’m loving her latest novel so much. Until now I’ve only read a few of her shorts even though I have a few others. I do love finding fabulous authors when they have a fantastic back catalogue waiting for me.

It was a truly gorgeous evening that started with Elderflower water and ended with Prosecco and nibbles listening to these fabulous ladies talk of their books. Catherine Steadman’s book definitely sounds like a book I need on my TBR pile I’m contemplating listening to this on audio after the thriller I’m in the middle of.

A great night a stunning location, fabulous books and chatter a Monday treat. I’m so glad I made this event and I finally got my books signed by 3 out of 4. I can’t wait to see what other events the Grosvenor hold in the future…Thank you to SJ for letting me steal her gorgeous picture of these fantastic ladies. What a way to spend a Monday evening.

I have lots I hope to share on here in the next coming days….watch this space.

2019, Author Love, Blog Tour, ebook, Review, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: A Year At Castle Court By Holly Hepburn – win a copy of this beauty.

Blurb: Sadie is a single mum, nursing a broken heart. Her best friend from childhood, Cat, is burned out from working long hours as a chef in Paris. In need of a change, they decide to invest in their dream – running their own handmade biscuit shop in gorgeous Castle Court, a three-storey food court tucked away behind Chester’s bustling streets.
 
They soon discover that Castle Court has its own community – a little haven of delight against the stresses of the outside world. But not everyone welcomes the new business; the patisserie owner is less than pleased by what she sees as direct competition and Greg, who runs the fancy bistro that dominates one end of the courtyard, doesn’t think Sadie and Cat have the talent or business acumen to succeed. Luckily, there’s support in the form of the delectable Jaren, who owns the Dutch waffle house opposite Smart Cookies, and Swiss chocolate-shop owner, Elin. And if all else fails, the friends can drown their sorrows in Seb‘s cocktail bar on the third floor!

Review: Ever since I discovered Holly Hepburn I’ve been mesmerised by her writing. What I love about devouring one of Holly’s novels is that I’ve instantly escaped whatever mundane worries I have for a short time at least. Her novels feature kick ass women and men to die for as well as those we love to hate. I must admit her latest set of instalments I’m a tad behind on as I’ve been studying but I’m in the midst of getting my studies, reading and my life in general more organised.

Anyway today I’m pleased to be a part of the gorgeous blog tour for A Year At Castle Court. I’m one of these people who originally took forever to get to e books but then it seemed like the best of both worlds. I read this beauty when it was originally released in four parts and as with any Holly book I was eagerly left wanting more after each instalment, so much so I had pre-ordered each part and had kind of forgotten until they pinged though.

From the off I was taken with Sadie and Cat very different women but simultaneously very good friends. Their friendship and partnership was a joy to read. These girls sure did go on an emotional rollercoaster ride but what was always paramount was their bond – even when they didn’t really agree or like what the other was doing.

As I said I read this beauty in stages and I was hooked from the get go my thoughts are all here.

https://hayleyreviews10.wordpress.com/2017/12/20/book-review-snowy-nights-at-castle-court-by-holly-hepburn/

https://hayleyreviews10.wordpress.com/2018/01/17/book-review-frosty-mornings-at-castle-court-by-holly-hepburn/

https://hayleyreviews10.wordpress.com/2018/04/13/book-review-part-three-stormy-weather-at-castle-court-by-holly-hepburn/

https://hayleyreviews10.wordpress.com/2018/05/02/book-review-starry-skies-at-castle-court-by-holly-hepburn/

Be sure to check out all the other stops on this truly fabulous tour. I’m also giving one lucky UK person the chance of winning this treat.

Tell me why you would love to delve into Holly’s Castle Court? And what your hopes are for 2019.

2019, Author Love, debut novel, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton By Anstey Harris

Blurb: Between the simple melody of running her violin shop and the full-blown orchestra of her romantic interludes in Paris with David, her devoted partner of eight years, Grace Atherton has always set her life to music.

Her world revolves entirely around David, for Grace’s own secrets have kept everyone else at bay. Until, suddenly and shockingly, one act tips Grace’s life upside down, and the music seems to stop.

It takes a vivacious old man and a straight-talking teenager to kickstart a new chapter for Grace. In the process, she learns that she is not as alone in the world as she had once thought, that no mistake is insurmountable, and that the quiet moments in life can be something to shout about …

Review: Honestly I don’t know where to start. Before reading this truly gorgeous book I was struggling with my reading, nothing would hold my gaze even though I was reading good stuff it just wasn’t what I needed, and then I picked this up and everything changed.

On my train journey I quite easily had devoured three chapters and was already left with a few OMG moments. It’s safe to say The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton snapped me out of my reading slump and left me with the most unexpected book hangover. What Anstey Harris has created is a truly unique book that will stay with me forever, when I read that final line and closed the book I knew just how special this was.

I really liked Grace from the beginning even though at times she frustrated me a hell of a lot. I loved being on her journey and seeing her realise she deserved the best of life and she wasn’t getting it. I loved seeing that dramatic change in her it made me whoop for joy for Grace and for everyone woman with a dream.

I’m so sad to not be at the launch event of this beautiful book but I haven’t been well and I was in urgent care until late last night and had to work today so it was just unfortunate timing.

Uncategorized

Goodbye to 2018 and Hello to 2019

So we’ve reached the penultimate day of the year. I love that Facebook now has memories as you can see snapshots of what you’ve said and done previously. Seeing what’s changed and ultimately what hasn’t.

Last New Years Eve I was trying to embrace a lot of changes and the things that made me sad then don’t really bother me in the same way this year. I’m not perfect and 2018 hasn’t been wholly perfect but I have started a chain of events that I’m proud of. As the year has ended my blogging and reading has spiralled but that’s because of a number of other events that have been going on in my life.

Today I have no plans bar going with my sister for my niece and nephews jabs and making a doctors appointment for myself which resulted in a call back and some antibiotics – I had a few medicinal Irish coffees yesterday so I’m all good to stick to hot orange.

Time to be productive so I can get back to the extremely good Netflix show YOU. Whatever you do today do it with a smile.

2018, Cover Reveal, Uncategorized

Cover Reveal: The Helpline By Katherine Collette

Today I’m back to my Exercise to Music course and there is a multitude of emotions for me. It will be great to be back with the girls but I don’t feel I’ve had enough time for my routine and I’m still lacking music argh.

That’s not the reason for this post….the lovely team at Simon & Schuster always have time for us lovely bloggers and I was chuffed to be included in some of the info on this book.

So without further ado and I’m super sorry for the delay I had started this post before I got to my classroom this morning but exam prep and stuff just got in the way….

Now I don’t know about you but I could murder tea and Jammy dodgers right now. This debut will be hitting the shelves in June 2019. If your not sold on the cover here’s a bit more to wet your appetite.

Blurb: NEVER PUT YOUR LIFE ON HOLD …

Germaine Johnson may not be all that good with people but she’s great with numbers. Unfortunately, as she discovers after ‘the incident’ at Wallace Insurance (and the subsequent disputed allegations), there are very few openings these days for senior mathematicians. Then her cousin gets her a job at the council. On the Senior Citizens Helpline.

It’s not the resumé entry Germaine wanted – but it turns out Mayor Verity Bainbridge has something more interesting in mind for her. A secret project involving the troublemakers at the community centre and their feud with the golf club next door. Which is run by the strangely attractive Don Thomas.

Don and the mayor want the seniors closed down. Germaine wants what Don and the mayor want. But when she’s forced to get to know the ‘troublemakers’- things get more complicated.

Witty, big-hearted and hugely enjoyable, The Helpline is what you might get if you crossed The Rosie Project with The Office.  If you have ever wrestled with the world of office politics, this charming debut novel is for you.

So what are your thoughts?

2018, Author Love, Blog Tour, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: A Little Christmas Charm By Kathryn Freeman

Now before I talk of anything to do with this blog tour I need to mention how fabulous Kathryn Freeman is. She’s been so supportive of me as a blogger especially of late when I’ve felt extremely belittled. As soon as this book was announced I knew I had to make sure it was in my festive reading. I’ve loved Kathryn’s brooding males although Owen is a totally different breed but I will get to that later.

I’m ashamed to say I still have a number of her books in my ever expanding TBR.

Blurb: Would you swap sea and sunshine for tinsel and turkey?
Gabby Sanderson is used to being let down – even at Christmas. Which is why she’s happy to skip the festive season completely in favour of a plane ticket and sunnier climes.

But this Christmas could be different, because this time she might not be spending it alone. Can Owen Cooper charm Gabby into loving Christmas in the same way he’s charmed his way into her life, or is he just another person who’ll end up disappointing her?

Review: Now I’m not sure how I can truly do this festive treat justice? I will also do my utmost to not ruin the story.

From the off I warmed to both Gabby and Owen the banter and camaraderie along the way had me smiling and laughing out loud a lot. I loved seeing these two blossom and the many hurdles that they had to overcome but did they? I hear you say. You will have to read it to find out. I adore Christmas especially as an auntie to five but I love how Kathryn has encompassed how Christmas should be with traditions etc etc and how that is not always the case for all families.

I cannot begin to understand Gabby’s childhood but I know it happens. The other aspect that Kathryn has done amazingly well is that of grief. We lost my Nan to Cancer which is partly my reasoning for working for Cancer Research.

Christmas is a time of reflection I always have Boxing Day as another family day as that was when we visited Nan & Grandad I miss them terribly especially then but just like Owen & Sidney life goes on and we would be doing a disservice to their memories.

Kathryn manages to write a love story amongst a Christmas tale that will have you swooning for your very own dreamboat. Owen is completely different to the men I have read of hers before and not only making Gabby laugh he had me on tender hooks. There were so many character duos that I loved in this book.

Kathryn please please take us back to these again.

A Little Christmas Charm is everything you want in a festive read and more so much so I went straight into Costa and got a Gingerbread latte….this has really got me in the mood for the festive season even though I’m as stressed as the next person in regards to spending – as ever we probably all spend too much but I love making people’s day.

Do make sure you check out the rest of this truly fabulous tour for one of my most favourite authors.

Purchase Link 

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-Christmas-Charm-Choc-Lit-ebook/dp/B07GNL7VN8

Author Bio – 

A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also writes romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero. 

With two teenage boys and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to buy a card (yes, he does), any romance is all in my head. Then again, his unstinting support of my career change proves love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes come in many disguises.

Social Media Links – 

Website:  http://kathrynfreeman.co.uk

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/kathrynfreeman

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KathrynFreeman1

For your chance to win a paperback copy of A Little Christmas Faith which was Kathryn’s offering last year click the link below and GOOD LUCK!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494161/?

Massive thanks to Rachel for organising this festive tour of one of my favourites and what a gorgeous story it was.