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, 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, 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.

2018, Author Love, Review

Book Review: One Perfect Christmas and other stories By Paige Toon

Blurb: One year after movie star Joseph Strike swept schoolteacher Alice off her feet, they are spending Christmas together in snowy Cambridge. But despite the romantic setting Alice can’t help but question whether life in the spotlight is really what she wants. Will a Christmas provide some perspective? Or will the life she’d be leaving behind be too much to lose?

Review: Paige Toon is one of my most favourite authors and I instantly want to read anything and everything she writes. I started this on publication day and due to a number of reasons I’ve been in and out with it but I’ve loved it all the same.

Of late I’ve been criticised as a blogger and as I stated last week was my initial week of my Exercise to Music course – this week I’m back to work but have a lot of revision and practice to do. I do hope to be on here more though as I still have a whole host of posts sitting in drafts. If anything I hope to have posted them this week.

I’ve not read One Perfect Summer but that didn’t hinder me devouring One Perfect Christmas. It feels strange to be reading Christmas books in October but I just cannot resist a Paige Toon novel.

How I still have unread books I don’t know but I’m also kind of glad as there’s always a new friend to give me a warm hug when I need it most. I love that Paige has added in little explanations before each story – makes me feel like Paige is telling me about them over a coffee all warm and cosy.

I warmed to Alice instantly and I can’t wait to go back and be fully immersed in Jesse and Emily too. I’m not really a fan of the cold but Paige describes the settings and the scenery of Cambridge in the snow so beautifully and the cottage omg I want one. I love that the story doesn’t really end which means Paige may return to Alice and Joe at a later date.

Johnny’s Girl – Johnny Be Good has been on my radar for a while esp as there are the YA books connected to that which I have a few of. Another I haven’t read but if anything it’s made me more excited to read them. I can see why everyone loves Johnny I’m a sucker for a singer. I’m also super excited to read more about Jessie. I must say I instantly adored Meg.

Daisy says Goodbye- This was truly gorgeous and heartbreaking at the same time. I’m going to have such a hard time working out what Paige book to devour next.

When Lily Met Alice – Now this short story had all the feels.

Rose’s Big Night Out- The one we fell in love with is a book that truly sucked me in and spat me out and I had such a book hangover that I never wrote a review on this because I just didn’t know how.

Bridget’s Beach Proposal – Bridget will always have a special place in my heart as The Last Piece of my Heart was my first Paige Toon read and what a way to start. I finished reading it late night/early hours of the morning and I sobbed my heart out. It’s been great to have Bridget back and I would love Paige to bring her back again.

A Christmas Wedding – When I first met Paige July 2017 we spoke about this as she was writing it and I was told but Paige and a few friends to read Thirteen Weddings first. I truly loved it and in this collection re-reading A Christmas Wedding gave me all the feels. I would love to read more of Bronte and Alex everyone needs that kind of love. Le sigh.

Laura’s Longest Day – now this was a beauty of a short and I look forward to spending more time with Laura and Leo.

I’ve loved The Hidden Page and I hope that Paige continues to extend her gorgeous stories. I always get so invested in her stories and characters so I’m glad I still have lots to read. This is a beautiful book to read at anytime but also around the Christmas period. The cover is gorgeous my one upset is the silver has started to fade on my book but I will end up re-reading this in later years.

What should I read next of Paige’s?

I’ve read The Last Piece Of My Heart, The One We Fell in Love With, Thirteen Weddings, and Five Years From Now.

2018, Blogtober, Review, TV, Uncategorized

Butterfly

I had a few ideas for today’s post and as the day wore on they seemed to change in my head. After a fabulous Saturday with friends and books I had a chilled Sunday, sorting a few things on the to do list and a good ole roast dinner with a few thoughts for the week ahead.

Then I remembered that the latest drama starring Anna Friel would air this evening.

My sister set it to record but I was able to make time to watch it and I knew that it would be a while before we could watch together.

Butterfly is the tale of an eleven year-old boy called Max who feels like he’s in the wrong body. He longs to be a girl. I haven’t any children but I do have a nephew and nieces.

I can’t imagine being in that situation and not only as the adult I can’t imagine how it feels to feel like you don’t belong in your body.Tonight’s episode was the first in three parts and wow it sure was full on from the off. Anna Friel is a wonderful actress who has been involved in many controversial storylines over the years. Emmett Scanlan is also a fantastic actor and I love seeing actors of his calibre in different things. Butterfly is so hard hitting and I feel his role of Stephen has been cast so well from the off.

The acting from each and every actor in this first episode has been on point and I really liked the fact they have focused on the whole family and how it not only effects the individual. An hour passed so quickly and there sure was enough action to have you on the edge of your seat.

I’m a little sad that I have to wait a week to see what’s next in Max’s story.

I love that ITV have taken on an issue like this, I truly believe that stigma lies in lack of information and facts. I cannot wait to see the next episode.

2018, Blogtober, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: Kiss Her Goodbye By Susan Gee

Blurb: Kirsten Green is my best friend.
Kirsten Green has gone missing.

I killed Kirsten Green.

Seventeen-year-old Hayley Reynolds is unwanted at home, and an outsider at school. Pushed away by her best friend Kirsten Green, she makes a deliberate, chilling decision – if Kirsten can’t belong to her, then she won’t belong to anyone…

DI Beverley Samuels has the body of a schoolgirl on her hands – a murder that brings back the hauntingly painful memories of the case she’s tried so desperately to forget. There’s something deeply disturbing about this crime – and yet with little hard evidence it’s up to her to decide who she will believe…

Kiss Her Goodbye is a dark psychological crime novel featuring a brilliantly manipulative psychopath – and with a shock ending that is the best twist of 2018!

Review: I don’t remember how I first came across this but I saw there was a Hayley and I was intrigued and excited.

I’ve been telling authors left, right and centre that I want to read about a Hayley. Hmmm be careful what you wish for.

Hayley Reynolds is feisty to say the least, I really did enjoy reading her story but from the get go I worked out that she is an extremely troubled young woman, and that for me is the reasoning for her madness. I would liken her in some ways to Norman Bates as she has reasons for her psychotic actions – in some ways she makes a number of excuses. Her family life is strained and my one argument to this story is a lot is left up to the reader to guess or form their own opinion, which left me with questions. I won’t say too much on this as I would hate to ruin your enjoyment of this story.

There are so many layers to this story which focuses on school life, bullying, alcoholism to name a few.

Beverley Samuels is also an interesting character, she’s a DI with her own demons – I loved that she was a character with substance who was also fighting her own battles, that gave her an edge with Hayley and the dead body. Often we think that the police are invincible but they are human too.

This novel is fast paced and gripping although I don’t really agree with the whole twist in the blurb. After devouring this thrilling treat I honestly cannot wait to see what Susan Gee does next a fantastic debut.

2018, Author Love, ebook, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: Evie’s Little Black Book By Hannah Pearl

Blurb: Is hunting down every man you’ve kissed the answer to finding Mr Right?

When Evie is invited to the wedding of the guy she’d fancied throughout her teens, it’s the final straw. What’s wrong with her and why can’t she keep a man?

In between consoling herself with ice cream and chocolate, and sobbing her heart out to her cousin Chamaine, Evie has a brainwave – and it all centres around her ‘little black book’ (well, more floral patterned notebook really) – which contains the details of every man she’s ever kissed or dated. Perhaps the cure for her disastrous love life has been nestled within its pages all along …

Does Evie’s little black book really hold the answers, or will she learn that exes are exes for a reason?

Review: Following reading The Last Good Day I was overjoyed to read that Hannah’s first full novel would follow shortly after.

Evie is a loveable character from the outset and her lack of faith in herself and whether she’s the issue to her single status really did hit home with me. As it’s something I would say, and my friends would scold me for.

When you hear the words little black book it’s often used in a derogatory term for former conquests, yet in Evie’s case there’s sooo much more to it than that. Although her book isn’t black in the slightest it’s floral and it’s a walk down memory lane for Evie with much amusement from her cousin Charmaine.

Evie’s journey through her past is a learning curve for her and as a reader it will make you stop and think. Seeing Evie meet up with her former conquests sure was a rollercoaster ride and in seeing her put the pieces to the puzzle together was enlightening.

This is a story of love, life, naivety and exploring who you are. Evie is a bubbly girl but she has lacked confidence in herself for a long time and in this trip down memory lane she learns a lot about herself and of those around her. She also learns that each guy she was ever intimate with, taught her a lesson in something. There are many twists and turns along the way, the first two guys in her book are laugh out loud, oh my god what was she thinking. Each and everyone of us has a few of those skeletons in our closets but we don’t necessarily hunt them down.

Seeing Evie blossom, shine and change into the woman she was always destined to be is heartwarming. There’s not a lot I can say without ruining a few twists but sometimes you need to go on a journey to work things out in your head. On this rollercoaster Evie found herself, saw what might have been and became happy in her own skin.

Hannah Pearl won the HeatSeeker short story competition last year and then was snapped up by Ruby Fiction for a three book deal. I truly loved the Last Good Day and you can read my review Here

Once I had devoured that I was overjoyed to read about Evie’s Little Black Book a story that will stay with me. Of late I have finally felt a lot more confident in me and in reading Evie’s story I could relate with a lot she was feeling.

Hannah is a remarkable writer and in the note to readers you realise just how much reading and writing has helped her, amongst everything she has written two fabulous stories and I cannot wait to see what else she does I am well and truly a fangirl. Thank you Hannah, for writing the story I needed to read whilst on my very own quest in life.

2018, audible, Author Love, Review, Uncategorized

Audio Review: Make Or Break By Catherine Bennetto

Blurb: Jess, a 29-year-old Londoner with a Kate Beckett fringe and a tendency for dramatics, gets taken on a surprise trip by her long-term boyfriend, Pete, to attend her best friend’s last-minute wedding in South Africa. Jess imagines sun, sand, wine and safaris. And returning to London with an ethically mined diamond on her left hand…

But this holiday isn’t set to be quite the fairy tale Jess has planned… Suddenly she finds her world tilting on its axis, and things are only set to get worse when Jess returns home…

When the truth comes out, will it be… Make or Break?

Review: Firstly, before I say my thoughts on this masterpiece I must say sorry to Catherine for never having written a review for her outstanding debut ‘How Not to Fall in Love, Actually’. It was one of the first audio recommendations that Catriona gave me and I still laugh at the memories of it. I listened on my walk to and from work pottering around and sunning myself. I was lucky enough to meet Catherine at a Simon & Schuster event in the midst of listening to it. I did however speak about it loads and I have recommended it to many friends.

Make or Break– In reading the blurb I knew that I would yet again fall in love with Catherine’s work. I wasn’t sure whether to read or listen once again and I must say I think Catherine’s stories should be listened to. This brings me onto the narrator. Anna Acton does a sterling job and in listening I realised this wasn’t my first audiobook that she’s read. I’m already looking at what else she reads and I have said to Catherine that she’s definitely the way forward for her books.

Jess is such a loveable character I instantly found her hilarious. She’s very family focused which made me smile. As much as I like to do my own thing I love spending time with my crazy family. Jess’s family are out of this world but that’s all I’m saying as I won’t be spoiling any of the finer details as I want you to experience all the OMG moments that I did.

I absolutely loved the description of Cape Town it sounded out of this world. I loved seeing Jess find herself without realising. In her journey I found myself thinking of what I want in my life. From the outset I wasn’t that taken with Pete and I loved how making new friends made Jess realise she was worth so much more.

An outstanding story of love, hope, happiness, secrets, lies and soo much more. Catherine Bennetto has a way with words and I’m a huge fan. I loved all the 90s and theatre references – a book after my own heart. I honestly cannot get enough of her writing…I must admit I will be devouring her next novel the day it’s released no questions asked.

Have you listened to this audiobook? Or is there one I should devour. My next listen will be Wilde Like Me. I’m also loving the West Cork series I will do an update on that later…I’m off to the seaside today for a week of relaxation I hope to get more reading and blogging done.

2018, audible, Review, Uncategorized

Audible Original: West Cork

Good morning, now this wasn’t my original thoughts for a blog post and my other posts will come but I was blown away by the start of this series. Having finished my current book I wanted something light but oh my…

Summary: This much we do know: Sophie Toscan du Plantier was murdered days before Christmas in 1996, her broken body discovered at the edge of her property near the town of Schull in West Cork, Ireland. The rest remains a mystery.

Gripping, yet ever elusive, join the real-life hunt for answers in the year’s first not-to-be-missed, true-crime series. Investigative journalist Sam Bungey and documentarian Jennifer Forde guide listeners through the brutal, unsolved murder and the tangled web of its investigation, while introducing an intricate cast of characters, a provocative prime suspect, and a recovering community whose story begs to be heard.

Review: Part one – Blow-ins. I have been an Audible member for just over a year or so now and until now I hadn’t listened to any series based podcasts. There are a number of these that Audible members can listen to for free and for some reason West Cork jumped out at me. So I downloaded and having finished my latest read that will be reviewed shortly I thought let me start something I can dip in and out of or alternatively I can get hooked on these short sharp parts of roughly 30 mins long.

The beginning of part one is so eerie and it really did make me think of those crime dramas you see on the TV. As the story unfolds you learn about Sophie’s death and that the killer was at large. I’ve been to Ireland and to Cork and it’s such a nice and homely place that instantly relaxes you. But then a murder took place and threw the locals out of sync scaring them half to death.

The story is told via people, news reports and two journalists who are trying to find out what happened to Sophie and whether the accused is guilty or whether he’s been wronged by the guards and everyone who believed he could have done it.

It’s a very atmospheric start to this series with talks of myths and legends. A town who have never been able to lay Sophie to rest as it’s never been resolved.

For me there are a number of sketchy questions in Sophie’s movements but I must say I wasn’t sure what to expect by this. I don’t know enough to form any major thoughts on what happened but I’m very much intrigued. I was so intrigued that I have also listened to part two.

Have you listened to any shows like this? If so what and would you request it. Would you like me to continue reviewing this eerie real-life tale?

I would love to hear from you….