2020, Blog Tour, Book Snippet, ebook, New Author to me, Review, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: THE WOMEN WRITERS HANDBOOK Ed Ann Sandham @aurorametro@lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #VWoolfstatue

Blurb: To celebrate Aurora Metro’s 30th anniversary as an independent publisher with 20% of profits to go to the Virginia Woolf statue campaign. Includes essays, fiction, poems and interviews with top female writers. This is a special edition of the indie publisher’s inaugural publication which won the Pandora Award from Women-in-Publishing. Inspirational in its original format, this new edition features literary works and exclusive interviews with over 30 women writers, both emerging authors and luminaries of contemporary literature. In her foreword to the book, publisher and managing editor Cheryl Robson, describes the development of Aurora Metro Books to becoming a leading indie press and saw the company named a finalist in the 2019 IPG Diversity in Publishing Awards. Includes the original writing workshops plus quirky black and white illustrations.

Review: The absolute joy of taking part in a blog tour is being introduced to books that would have most certainly passed me by. I must admit when I first started reading this I honestly wasn’t sure I would continue. It wasn’t what I was initially expecting although like any good reader I continued. This collection of women’s writing was varied and informative featuring Sexism, Racism, LGBT, Trans, motherhood,essays, Q&As and a number of joy only positive but also literary quotes.

I really enjoyed the Q&As they broke up the writing as some of it was informative heavy and some pretty historic which was interesting but the light heartedness of the questions kept my attention. I was also truly moved by the talk of Virgina Woolf even if her story wasn’t totally what I was expecting.

If you’re a wannabe writer there are lots of hints tips and advice along the way in this collection. This book can be read in one or could be read as snippets and there is biographical information on each writer so if there are any you would love to hunt out again all the information is there for you.

This book has shown me that every once and a while I really should read more out of my comfort zone and expand and broaden my mind some more.

Thank you once again to Kelly @lovebookstours for inviting me onto this tour.

2020, Author Love, Buddy Read, Cover Reveal, debut novel, ebook, Fitness, New Author to me, novella, personal, Publication Day, Review, running, Uncategorized, update

Weekly Update #9

Well it feels like only yesterday I was penning last weeks update. In some ways the weeks are flying by in others they really aren’t. So Happy Saturday I hope you are well and safe wherever you are in the world right now.

I’m sorry that this update has come later in the day than usual. As I stated this morning in finishing Annette’s debut I was compelled to write and post that as I have commitments tomorrow and I didn’t want it to wait until Monday.

So it’s been another week of running I finished week 5 and started week 6. Wednesday saw my longest run to date with a 20 min run. It was tough going but I loved every single second of it.

Monday week 5 Run 2
Wednesday week 5 run 3 after my 20 min run
Week 6 run 1

So the last week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday I ended up running into Lewisham and treating myself to a Starbucks I sure had missed them but I was also kind of on edge on the days when I was there later and more people were around.

What have I read this week???

I finished these beauties.

What’s been on the blog this week??

There wasn’t a post on Sunday I believe I was reading and time ran away with me, this sentiment baffles me in a way as at the moment it feels like we have so much time on our hands.

On Monday I posted my thoughts on Santa Montefiore’s Here and Now this was my first Santa read and what a book you can read my post Here.

On Tuesday I wrote my mid year update well it’s mostly my lockdown reading update it’s a long one with a whole host of links to the 47 lockdown reads at the time. You can read that Here.

On Wednesday I was sharing one of my most favourite posts it’s a gorgeous cover reveal and you can see it Here.

Thursday was dedicated to Holly Hepburn – I stopped what I was reading to devour this beauty and here are my thoughts.

On Friday I was swayed from writing a review to writing about a new found love you can read my piece on Running Here.

So as well as this post which I’ve come to really enjoy writing, although I wish I had prepped it more. As obviously I was finishing and reviewing Annette’s novel and I’m powering through a different read for a blog tour tomorrow so watch this space. Here is Annette’s gorgeous debut once again you can read my thoughts here.

It’s been an interesting week I could have juggled my reading and writing a little better but we live and learn.

I don’t believe I’ve purchased anything additional this week. I was asked to show my hauls or buys I mean I have overly clicked here and there on 99p reads. I haven’t finished my current audiobook from the library as I wanted to organise my blog tour and Netgalley commitments.

If there is anything else you would love to see on Hayley Reviews do get in touch? Also if you’re an author or blogger who would like to be featured I would love to host you.

2020, Author Love, debut novel, New Author to me, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: Wedding Bells at the Signal Box Cafe By Annette Hannah

Blurb: Lucy Woods has always dreamed of running her very own wedding venue. After moving her eight-year-old son to the countryside she’s surprised to find the perfect location and her best friend, Abbie, eager to help make that dream a reality! Too bad Abbie’s older brother Dominic isn’t keen on Lucy or their big idea!

As a divorce lawyer Dominic doesn’t believe in love at first sight or wedding vows, he’s seen them broken more times than he can count. But when Lucy arrives back in town, his hardened heart begins to crack. 

Making her dream come true is a huge undertaking, but Lucy knows that The Signal Box Café is her chance to finally make something of her life. If only the irritating (and oh-so-gorgeous) Dom didn’t make her imagine wearing a white dress and walking down the aisle…

Review: There will most definitely be two blog posts today. It’s not everyday that I’m able to read and review a book from a blogger. Now I don’t know Annette that well but I’ve met her at a number of book events and she has always been lovely, chatty and welcoming.

When I saw her gorgeous debuts cover advertised I was intrigued and my heart was warmed immensely. Book bloggers are the greatest bunch (well most of them are) so it’s heartwarming to see the transition from blogger to author.

As I said in seeing the cover – my first thoughts were gorgeous, summery and unique and my Wedding Bells at the Signal Box Cafe sure is those things and some. Annette’s debut is beautifully atmospheric and unique. I loved the older generation link once again and I’m really loving seeing writers embrace this subject matter. It did wholeheartedly make me miss my grandparents but had me thinking of them fondly.

Dougie is a character that warms your heart right from the start a great grandad with a heart of cold who loves to do what’s right by those he holds dear. He really did have me laughing out loud I won’t be spoiling any of his antics. I truly loved the joint venture between Dougie and Lucy. The Signal Box Cafe is the quaint venue that I would love to visit. There were so many special touches to this venue where it felt picturesque.

Lucy is a firehouse of a leading lady she works hard, knows what she wants and she will fight to the death for her son. Jackson is her heart and soul and from the Minute we meet her that’s apparent.

The friendship between Abbie & Lucy is great – I love that no matter how much time as passed they slipped back into old ways almost instantly.

Now I have to mention Dom but I won’t be saying too much he’s a prickly character but I loved him from the off seeing his shell soften lightened my heart.

Don’t get me wrong there’s a few bumps along the way that I wasn’t expecting but this is wholeheartedly a gorgeous introduction to a new writer. Full of love, community spirit, family and friendship as well as a bunch of nostalgia and a whole dose of humour to boot.

Those kissing scenes were pretty something. I loved how in some aspects the end was like going full circle tying up the loose ends with a heartfelt smile.

Well done Annette on a gorgeous debut that will warm many a heart over a coffee or a glass of wine. I look forward to seeing where your journey takes you.

2020, Author Love, blog blitz, Blog Tour, Buddy Read, Cover Reveal, Libby, New Author to me, Review, Uncategorized, Weekly Update

Weekly Update #8

Another week has flown by. It was a bit of a weird one for me few things I had to do and help sort out where possible, and I was a bit headachey. So after finishing Call Me Joe last Sunday I started…

And I thought it could have been my final June read but I literally didn’t have the headspace so…

So this week I haven’t finished a book since last Sunday I should finish my audiobook today and hopefully get back on track with my Jaimie Admans read and my buddy read which is my very first Santa novel – I do own a few others so watch this space.

I’m intrigued and a little saddened already.

Running seems to be my newest addiction that has stuck. Monday and Wednesday saw runs 2 and 3 of week 4 and wow the pace is definitely hotting up.

Monday week 4 run 2
Wednesday week 4 Run 3

Friday was the start of week 5 and wow it has increased again with three runs of 5 mins and wow!!! My persistence and resilience shone through and I’m so so proud of myself it was the hardest but my most rewarding and fun.

Week 5 Run 1

Now I don’t know who said it or where I read it but someone said about having motivational songs or songs you love. I made a playlist of a few upbeat songs of Westlife and a Mr Ronan Keating and my it helped especially on my final run I was feeling it and hearing a Ronan track live from 2013 was the motivation I needed to not give up and to keep on running no matter how much I wanted to walk and it sure did work. I have a new aim for my next run. Week 5 is definitely a change in tempo and where we usually repeat the same format each of the 3 runs is different with Monday’s having two 8 min runs that’s two and a half songs right?? Those of you on my Twitter will see I regularly update my run info almost instantly but as ever I will keep adding it to my weekly Update.

So what was on the blog this week??

On Sunday I posted my thoughts on The Girl on The Train film and you can read it Here.

As ever I apologised for double posting and then pretty much double posted on both Monday and Tuesday but I’m pretty proud of all four of them posts with a few blog tour commitments kept.

Up first was a blog blitz for Shalini The Defence Of Exeter Station can be read Here. I had also agreed to a blog tour via Red Door and they have been pretty good to me and their books have often taken me on journeys I would never have chosen you can read my thoughts on Call Me Joe Here.

Tuesday was another unique day following last weeks Top Ten Tuesday this weeks prompt got under my skin so here is a Top Ten Tuesday brimming with my favourites and you can read it Here. I’m a sucker for a cover reveal and having already posted I came across this and had to share the gorgeous Hit List by Holly Seddon Here.

I welcomed July with what I read in June and you read that again Here. Not as impressive as May but still not a bad effort.

There wasn’t a post on the Thursday and I didn’t want to post something half hearted. I’ve prided myself on being more organised and posting when it’s sufficient. So yesterday I posted my July TBR (although I rarely post these so let’s see if I can actually read all these and a few more shorts) hoping I haven’t jinxed myself. You can read it Here.

Feeling headachey hasn’t helped hoping lots more fluids and stuff will help and I can smash my reading goals and keep the blog consistent. As ever I’m always looking for inspiration and feedback so if you would like to see more of something and less of something else do get in touch. I may add books I’ve purchased or loaned from the library?

Here’s to a bookish weekend…

Blog Tour, Review, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: Call Me Joe By Martin Van Es & Andrew Crofts

Blurb: The world is on the brink of disaster.

The environment, society and mankind itself are facing extreme challenges in a world that is both more connected, and yet more divided than ever before. Fear and confusion seep into all parts of everyday life now, more than ever, the world needs one voice, one guide… 

One day the Earth is plunged into darkness and when light appears again so does a man – call him Joe – claiming to be the son of God. 

Can Joe bring the world’s most creative thinkers and leaders together to tackle the ills of mankind? 

Can he convince us all to follow him before it’s too late? 

In this compelling and prescient novel, Martin van Es and Andrew Crofts highlight the key concerns of our time and imagines a future where we, at last, all work together to ensure the future of our world and all the life that calls it home.

Review: Firstly, I have to once again thank the team at Red Door publishing for inviting me onto this tour, and for yet again ambushing me with a book that would have most likely passed me by. It’s actually pretty ironic that I’ve read and am now reviewing a book that’s about the fact the world could end if people do not look at their actions whilst we’re embracing a pandemic.

Thanks to Red Door I’ve read a book from Andrew Croft before in Secrets of the Italian gardener and you can reread my thoughts on that Here I enjoyed that so wholeheartedly said yes to this one.

As I said it’s not the sort of book I would have chosen myself but I do feel like it had a profound effect on me.

I read this novel over a few days and wow it was a truly empowering read showing that humanity needs more kindness and thought for others and less greed and selfishness. As I say in light of the world we are living right now it was pretty apt. As I’ve mentioned before I’m not religious but I have always been interested in other cultures and in what’s out there and my curiosity was well and truly piqued during reading Call Me Joe.

I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect – the drama unfolds quite quickly when the sun seemingly disappears. I really warmed to Sophie and her kind nature – she acted completely selflessly right from the off. As much as I would like to think I’m a kind hearted soul I don’t know if I could have put myself in that sort of danger unquestionably.

There’s so much I want to say but this is a truly unique read that will have you thinking and questioning especially leaders like Prime Ministers and Presidents. It will also have you thinking of the simple things we take for granted in life. The underlying message is to treat others how you expect to be treated.

Be sure to check out the rest of the tour.

2020, Film, New Author to me, Review, TV, Uncategorized

Film Thoughts: The Girl On The Train By Paula Hawkins

Synopsis: Commuter Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt) catches daily glimpses of a seemingly perfect couple, Scott and Megan, from the window of her train. One day, Watson witnesses something shocking unfold in the backyard of the strangers’ home. Rachel tells the authorities what she thinks she saw after learning that Megan is now missing and feared dead. Unable to trust her own memory, the troubled woman begins her own investigation, while police suspect that Rachel may have crossed a dangerous line.

My thoughts: Firstly I normally try and read the book first but I sometimes fail just like I have here. Even though a friend sent me a copy a while ago it’s still sitting on my ever expanding TBR pile. So when this was on channel 4 last night I jumped at the chance to watch it.

I’ve seen Emily Blunt in a few different films The Devil Wears Prada and Mary Poppins Returns instantly spring to my mind – she’s a fantastic actress and in those two and this she’s played three extremely different characters effortlessly. I must admit at first I was just getting to grips with the story but then I thought omg she’s just a drunk. As you see her life and her thoughts spiral she’s so much more.

There’s a lot of back and forth in explaining the story and each of the women in questions story. We have Rachel who is the girl on the train, Anna who is the wife of Rachel’s ex husband and Megan who is the final link.

In watching this film I had two thoughts one I need to bump up the book I want to see how true the film is to that of Paula Hawkins novel and two I want to see if certain aspects of the plot are any clearer. It also made me think this would have been exceptional on the big screen. I miss my work so much and I will be watching lots of new films when I can. Not only has it shown me I want to expand my mind but I also want to support the arts that being at the cinema and most definitely the theatre. This was made into a theatre show and if that ever returns I would definitely love to see it on the stage.

I wasn’t expecting the three ladies lives to intertwine that much but wow! I wasn’t expecting any of the final outcome. It definitely kept me on my toes from start to finish. Even when I thought I had it sussed I would then be shown a flashback that quickly stopped me in my tracks.

A heartbreaking story of three very different women who ultimately have one major similarity and one link. I will definitely be bumping this beauty up my TBR pile. There are some major themes that some people most definitely won’t want to watch/see/read but they are done tastefully and are woven into the drama of the story exceptionally well.

2020, Libby, New Author to me, Review, update, Weekly Update

Weekly Update #7

I swear the weeks are passing by quicker and quicker. The temperatures have soared which is great in some respects back topping up my tan but it’s also meant I’ve had to factor what time I run.

So as much as I’ve started the Couch to 5k and taken part in various online workouts I haven’t weighed myself in forever. Mum is getting bored and she’s like I’ve put on so much weight – so she wanted us to get some scales. Well it wasn’t too bad – but it also wasn’t that good. I really must start organising what I eat again as I’ve let a few bad habits slip through. Granted there will still be the odd treat but I must get some normality back.

Last Monday saw my second run of week 3 and it was by far my most frustrating run so far. Although after the initial frustration I said to myself I was up/out and moving. Wednesday was my final run of week 3 and I felt fantastic.

Friday saw me tackle week 4 run 1 and omg it was a hard one. Now on the couch to 5k app I’m running more than I’m walking. The 3mins was easier but the 5mins sure was hard going. I got up and out for my runs early but by the later stages of the run I sure was sweaty.

So what have I read this week??

So what’s been on the blog this week?

Last Sunday I finally posted my thoughts on Patricia Scanlan’s The Liberation Of Brigid Dunne and you can read it Here.

Monday saw my thoughts on the fourth and final part of Meet Me At Pebble Beach and you can read it Here.

Tuesday saw Top Ten Tuesday’s 10th birthday and my offering can be read Here.

I’m a sucker for a cover reveal and I posted one on the blog on Wednesday you can find it Here.

Thursday I posted my thoughts on Five Go Absolutely Nowhere and I honestly will get more of these read and reviewed on the blog soon this one can be read Here.

Friday I finished the fantastic On The Come Up and you can read my thoughts Here. I also posted a tag which you can read Here. I really enjoyed it and I’m looking to do more of these on the blog.

Is there anything else you would love to see on my weekly Update? If so get in touch also do we love or loathe the double posts?

2020, Libby, New Author to me, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: On The Come Up By Angie Thomas

Blurb: Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. As the daughter of an underground hip hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri’s got massive shoes to fill. But when her first song goes viral for all the wrong reasons, Bri finds herself at the centre of controversy and portrayed by the media as more menace than MC. And with an eviction notice staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it – she has to. Even if it means becoming the very thing the public has made her out to be.

Review: Firstly I really must diversify more. On the Come Up is such an important read. I feel enlightened, informed and omg why have I not read anything by Angie Thomas sooner. I must admit I’ve seen all the hype over The Hate U Give and I remember it coming into the charity shop and I recommended it even though I hadn’t read it. Now I’m eager to read it and to also watch the film. I’m going to attempt to make sure the book comes first.

I must admit I’m not the biggest fan of Rap music but I fully appreciated the whole essence of this novel. I’ve been amongst many pop bands over the years to know that A&R and record company people have and will more than likely continue to make artists do stuff that isn’t really them. Which is why when most artists make it they shake up their teams and in some cases sack their management so they can be true to themselves.

Bri is a fantastic heroine. At just sixteen she’s witnessed far too much heartache, pain and hardship. Which makes her a wise head on young shoulders. Don’t get me wrong she has her hot headed moments and I can see why she acts the way she does wholeheartedly.

I loved being on her rollercoaster ride and I was willing her on throughout. Just when you thought she might do what’s good for others rather than for herself she truly comes through with some heartfelt words that I was totally there for and I found myself cheering her on. I love that the ending left me thinking many different outcomes, it’s also open so Angie could technically bring this superstar back.

There are also some heartfelt family moments that will make you grateful to those you have in your life. We all do what we need to, to get by and for some the stakes are much higher.

I’m not going to say I’ve never read from black writers as I have but during the ever controversy Black Lives Matter campaigns it’s really made me look deeper into my choices and I’m so so glad that I have.

2020, ebook, New Author to me, novella, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: Meet Me at Pebble Beach Part Four Seas The Day By Bella Osborne

Blurb: Regan has been busy trying to tick everything off her lottery wish list: she’s started her own business, helped a worthy cause, and even sorted out a new home – albeit a temporary one. But she still has a couple of items to check off – including get a hot new boyfriend, and she knows justwhere to find one…

Will Regan and Charlie get their happy ending and sail off into the sunset – or does fate have other ideas?

Review: If you’ve been reading my blog you will know I have been fully invested in Regan’s story. In saying that I think that’s why it took me a while to read the fourth and final part – I’ve had it on my Kindle since publication day and I’ve only recently read it. Well as this is the final instalment it’s the time when all loose ends are tied up.

Regan sure has been on an emotional rollercoaster and the final aspects of her story are just as heartfelt. It’s been a pleasure to see her blossom due to that of gratitude and learning what’s really important in life. I’ve liked her as a heroine from the off but I’ve truly loved witnessing the change in her for the better.

In the final stages we get more from Charlie and his story I won’t say too much but there was so much uncertainty around Charlie and I loved seeing more of him and finding out more about him deep down.

Cleo & Penny have a lot more in this instalment and you see the rawness of them and what matters to them. I also liked seeing a different side to Bernice. Her story was completely heart wrenching. Before Bella ties up all the loose ends there are many dramatic aspects to Regan’s life and I thought I had worked it out but oh how wrong I was.

A gorgeous book that will take you along the seaside that will make you grateful for all you have in your life and will have you aspiring for more each and everyday. Love, loss and friendship in abundance – a book I will never forget. I hope Bella brings back some if not all of these characters at a later date. I think that was the first Bella Osborne that I’ve read I’m sure I have another on my kindle so I will be looking for more.

2020, Buddy Read, New Author to me, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Liberation Of Brigid Dunne By Patricia Scanlan

Blurb: One explosive family reunion. A lifetime of secrets revealed.

When four feisty women from the same family get together at a family reunion, anything can happen…

Marie-Claire, betrayed by her partner Marc, plans to teach him a lesson he will never forget. She travels home from Toronto to Ireland, to the house of the Four Winds, for her great-aunt Reverend Mother Brigid’s eightieth birthday celebrations. It will be a long-awaited reunion for three generations of family, bringing together her mother, Keelin, and grandmother, Imelda – who have never quite got along

And then all hell breaks loose.

Bitter, jealous Imelda makes a shocking revelation that forces them all to confront their pasts, admit mistakes, and face the truths that have shaped their lives. With four fierce, opinionated women in one family, will they ever be able to forgive the past and share a future?

And what of Marc?

It’s never too late to make amends…or is it?

Spanning generations and covering seismic shifts in the lives of women, The Liberation of Brigid Dunne is a compelling, thought-provoking, important and highly emotional novel from a trailblazing author in women’s fiction.

Review: Firstly, this was my very first Patricia Scanlan novel and wow what a starting point. It definitely won’t be my last of hers – please feel free to send over any suggestions of where I should go next. I’m a massive fan of Irish writers and it had been a long time since I’d read one and it was heartwarming.

I have to also apologise for how long it’s taken me to pen my thoughts on this novel. This was mostly a buddy read although I admit it took me a little longer to finish reading than my friend. I’m not a religious person but I’ve always been interested in different cultures and religions. A love Of Irish boybands from an early age had me interested in the catholic religion and I’d fully enjoyed my RE lessons they were intriguing and informative.

In reading this novel it really did pique my interest and understanding of the life choices. The Liberation Of Brigid Dunne tells the story of four extremely feisty women who happen to be family. There is so much heart and soul in this novel and the aspect of secrets trouble the family greatly. Highlighting how communication is always key and we don’t always know what those around us are thinking and feeling. Many of us often put on a front especially where family is concerned. We all have our role to fill and sometimes those lines are blurred for better and worse.

In this novel we meet three generations of women and we get their lives both inside and outside of the family. It was good to get each persons perspective especially on similar things that happened during their lives. Getting the full timeline added to the story and explained the secrets plaguing the sisters to say the least. Although Brigid is the main character there is so much more to these four ladies. I went through different stages of emotions with these ladies but especially with that of Imelda and Brigid. So many secrets troubled their relationship and if they had been open sooner they could have saved each other a lot of heartache.

A complex family saga about religion, feminism and that of family secrets. Enforcing how communication and honesty can change a number of situations. I also really enjoyed the mother/daughter scenes and the complexities of thinking you are doing the right thing by keeping secrets when essentially being truthful would have been better all round.

An interesting and heartfelt read, one that left me thinking more and more about the things we take for granted in life these days and how grateful we should be. A fabulous introduction to Patricia Scanlan and I honestly cannot wait to delve into her back catalogue so give me a shout with what I should read next.