2020, Bout of Books, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Minute I Saw You By Paige Toon

Blurb: When Hannah meets Sonny, she’s irresistibly drawn to him: he’s sexy and confident, but only in town on holiday. That’s fine with Hannah – she doesn’t do long-term relationships. And luckily for her, neither does Sonny. But before they can even so much as kiss, Sonny receives some shocking news and commits to making serious life changes – ones that can’t and won’t include romance.

With even a short fling now off the cards, Hannah and Sonny settle for being friends. But as summer hots up and their chemistry shows no signs of cooling, they start to question their reasons for shutting each other out. 

Are they both too broken to find love? And if they tear down the walls between them, will they still like what’s on the other side? 

Review: I’m wholeheartedly completely biased when it comes to Paige Toon, as I’ve stated numerous times I got into her books late on. Recently I’ve embarked on a readathon with Catriona and I’ve loved delving into the books I hadn’t read and re-reading the ones I loved.

The Minute I Saw You – is a first for me. In the first instance it’s the first proof I’ve not touched until publication day and in saying that I’ve read it in a day. Spending my day immersed in Paige Toon in Grantchester, Amsterdam and Australia pausing to watch her Facebook live, to make food and drinks and to watch her Insta live with a few chores in between. It was my mission to complete especially as I had the time to but I did find as I got further into the story my kindle said I didn’t have too long but it seemed to take me longer to finish.

Wow! I mean every single time I think I can’t be shocked by Paige I’m dumbstruck once again. The premise of this novel made my hairs stand on end the intensity and the angst was paramount. I have never imagined how sexual an encounter in an opticians could be making me think more and more about real life situations. Which I’m often left doing after being in Paige’s world.

Now for me what comes next is hard because there’s so much I would love to say but I cannot say and I wouldn’t want to risk ruining this rollercoaster for anyone. I will state one part of the storyline I had half guessed but I would never have anticipated what the actual outcome was. Paige delves into some dark subject matters but what I found encouraging was how she done so in a real way. Ignoring tabo and relying on good old fashioned friendships and conversations.

Both Sonny and Hannah I loved from the off – Paige naturally has a way of creating likeable and unlikeable women – which you will see from this novel there is a girl who features who you really won’t like ha. Hannah is strong on the outset but there is so much to her and her back story is woven through so well but you will be kept guessing for a while. With Sonny I had no incline or indication on his story but wow! I must say his cocky fun personality had me smiling like a goon throughout.

I love that this was a buddy read meaning I had a pal I could scream about stuff too. Paige has a habit of integrating characters from other novels and quite possibly my favourite couple appeared it was definitely a little OMG moment. If I had been able to read this in public it would have been one of those moments when people step away or give weird looks.

There’s so many aspects I want to talk about but I won’t spoil argh. I will mention friendships because there is a bond between a number of characters that grows, changes and evolves and each of those characters bring their own personality to the dynamic. I must say as ever for me there were tears and shocked expressions and genuine love for Paige and another heart wrenching story. The other sentiment I will mention is family and secrets in seeing Sonny and Hannah change, evolve and accept their pasts was emotional. Paige touches on sex in a totally different way showcasing that a true relationship is so much more than sex and that every single person has their own worries, stresses and insecurities but with the right person these aspects shouldn’t matter.

I’m glad I left this book until now to read, during the strangest time of my life I needed a Paige Toon all encompassing love – in saying that in this novel it made me want pizza, Prosecco and coffee…I’m not usually swayed by food in a Paige novel but this one had its moments.

This is another level of Paige Toon showcasing that this woman can put her hand to almost anything. Some hard hitting themes are dealt with such grace and precision and I’m actually left wondering on a few aspects. Quite simply her sexiest novel leaving me hoping these beauties come back to us some day. My time with Sonny and Hannah was short seeing as I read it on publication day but their story is one I will remember fondly and I will be recommending forever more.

2020, Author Love, Review, Uncategorized, update

Book Review: The Secret Seaside Escape By Heidi Swain

Blurb: Tess Tyler needs a break. Weighed down by her high-pressure job and her demanding father, she’s left little time to take care of herself. But after a shocking discovery sends her spiralling, she flees to Wynmouth, the seaside town she fell in love with as a child, to escape it all.

With its sandy beaches, stunning rock pools and welcoming community, Tess feels like she can finally breathe again. And as she grows ever closer to local barman Sam, she dares to dream that she might never return to her real life. But when a familiar face returns to town, Tess realises that there are secrets in Wynmouth too, and that her own past may be about to catch up with her . . .

Review: Firstly, I’m a massive Heidi Swain fan.

I was a fan from the moment I met her before I’d even read a single word of her writing. Heidi has a style that instantly makes you feel like you’re back in the arms of friends and The Secret Seaside Escape is no different.

When you think of seaside it’s normally a time of switching off and slowing down and Tess does exactly that. Turning off her phone and going with the flow is exactly what she needed to recharge her batteries. I loved the sense of self-care and realising what matters in life. The way of the world right now is definitely testing us in this way, embracing the simple pleasures in life. This was a welcome distraction for me. Tess is a character who I instantly loved, I wasn’t expecting her story to go the way it did but I loved that throughout she was real to herself.

If this is my only trip to the seaside this year then wow it was a good one. I sadly didn’t get to read this before publication day but I did enjoy sitting in the garden basking in the sun and imaging I was living Tess’s life at the seaside.

In having a happy place with memories threefold it had me thinking of both my happy places that here at the Kent coast and in Costa Del Sol in Salou. The description of Tess with her feet in the sand instantly had me transported to my own happy place.

It was great to have a Wynbridge feel but at the seaside. Although I must warn you in reading this I was in desperate need of a sausage sarnie and I must say when I had one it was sooo good. That’s another guarantee from Heidi Swain you will always want to eat all the food. I loved the coffee shop and the pub.

There is so much in this novel- families and their secrets, friends, tragedies, communities and togetherness. I can’t not mention Sam there really was something about him from the off he wasn’t what I expected at all although I had thought one scenario would come through and it made me smile.

If you’re longing to escape to the seaside and lose the worries of the world then look no further but as I said make sure you have the ingredients for a sausage sarnie and a coffee. I’m still longing to visit this bunch long after reading the final pages.

Sorry to Heidi and the lovelies at BATC for how delayed my review has been. A truly special read in these trying times.

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

Book Review: Meet Me at Pebble Beach part two In Too Deep By Bella Osborne

Blurb: With a little help from some new friends in her seaside community – including one very handsome fireman called Charlie – Regan realises that when you hit rock bottom, the only way is up! She decides to start living her best life and attempt to make the changes she would have made if shehad won the lottery – on a budget, of course.

Newly determined and armed with a list of ways to change her life, Regan works hard and things start looking up – but is she out of the deep end yet?

Review: I really enjoyed part one and was desperate for the next instalment from the seaside town. Regan is loveable but her life is pretty much a car crash. I instantly warmed to her all the same….she was just starting to feel like she’d made progress yet she was hit with a bombshell at the end of part one. Part two is less chaos from Regan although her dads kitchen would say otherwise but she’s more productive and selfless in part two. I liked how her new friendships had her thinking more confidently and productively about her situation.

In this instalment we see a much more subdued Regan who is looking for answers and coming up short on most counts. I truly love how down she is but she’s still there for others a proper kind hearted woman. I must admit the cliff hanger of part one was nothing on that in part two. I literally had my heart in my mouth it felt like Regan was finally getting what she wanted and then within a split second that all changed.

I know the final two instalments are going to be gripping and have me on the edge of my seat. I just hope the sun is shining more for Regan she has a good heart and the best of intentions but she doesn’t always think, which puts her in hot water some of the time at least.

Bella Osborne has created a story that is humorous yet also extremely heart wrenchingly real. During a time when we’re all living for kindness this has been the perfect treat. I really must read more of Bella’s work I’m definitely a fan.

2020, Author Love, Cover Reveal, Uncategorized

Zoe May never fails to deliver….

Ever since I first discovered Zoe May I’ve been hooked and today she announced not her next novel that’s already known and available next month. Today she has shared her cover for her novel that comes out next February. Just ahead of my 37th birthday now that makes me feel old but I know that this will be welcome escapism.

It’s available for pre-order and you can do so Here and this is how Zoe describes it…I have a new book coming out next year!! 🤗💕 Swiped Out is about what happens when a serial online dater quits swiping and seeks love in the real world 😁👨‍❤️‍👨

I still remember devouring When Polly Met Olly when I was at the seaside with my family you can read my thoughts Here

I ended up winning a signed paperback of this one I truly loved it and I was so excited that it was also available in physical form and you can read my thoughts on this one Here.

This one is what brought me to Zoe and I’m so thankful to this book as she’s a go to author for me, so here are my thoughts on her debut Perfect Match Debut thoughts. I have How (Not) to date a Prince but I still haven’t got my teeth into that one and her next novel Flying solo is out next month and I cannot wait.

It’s been a month now since my last working day and to say I miss my daily routine and work is an understatement. In these strange and scary times my blessings are being with most of my family and being able to face time the rest and having time to do those things we keep putting off and shoving my head into a good book.

2020, audible, Author Love, Uncategorized

Book Review: Thirteen Weddings By Paige Toon

Blurb: A year ago, Bronte left Sydney for a wedding in England, where she met newly single Alex. After one amazing night together they parted ways.

Now working on the picture desk for a glossy magazine in London, Bronte is about to meet a new colleague – who turns out to be all too familiar. Alex is now engaged, but the memory of the spark they felt when they met hasn’t died. As Alex’s wedding day looms, it is clear that he and Bronte have unfinished business…

Review: Now in re-listening to this I was looking back through my blog where I realised I hadn’t written a review the first time around. What I will say is now I’ve met more of the people in this story I found myself smiling more and understanding more.

In my chat with Catriona she called Bridget a friend and that’s definitely how she feels now…Bridget was my first leading lady in The Last Piece of my Heart and she feels like a totally different person to the woman I met there. Alongside Bronte she’s a truly amazing friend.

I listened to Thirteen Weddings just before A Christmas Wedding was released and I went through so many emotions. I loved Bronte from the get go and just like Bronte I fell hard for both Alex and Lockie. It’s weird because on the reread I was still thinking like that but my thoughts were somewhat different. On both reads I loved both guys but on the second read I felt more for Lockie although I was 100% full on team Alex from the off.

The story starts with a hen and stag party colliding and that’s where Bronte and Alex first meet. I loved everything about their interaction and the way their nights changed. All the fancy dress types were amusing for me especially with the talk of Michael J Fox from Back to the Future one of my personal favourites.

Fast forward and both Alex and Brontes lives changed dramatically until they become reunited once again. I can’t go into that too much without revealing a lot of the plot. There are a number of themes that are showcased within this novel and as ever Paige Toon does so beautifully and with grace. Brontes back story really pulled at my heart strings although it felt different the second time around as I already knew the heart of the story.

Bronte accompanying Rachel as a wedding photographers assistant was great. I love how Bronte took one of her passions and ran with it even if weddings weren’t her best place to be although that comes clear a lot later in the novel.

This read along has been heart warming even before the Coronavirus took over our lives. Due to my mental week of headaches I’m a bit behind in my reading but I’m coming back strong having finished a novella this morning.

If you haven’t discovered Paige Toon now is the time to rectify that.

2020, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Longest Holiday By Paige Toon

Blurb: Laura has been married to the man of her dreams for seven months. But, she now discovers, a week before the wedding Matthew made a terrible mistake …

Escaping the heartache and humiliation, Laura is whisked off to Florida’s Key West by her best friend Marty. A carefree holiday full of cocktails and fun, surrounded by gorgeous, tanned men, is exactly what the doctor ordered. Distraction comes in the form of sexy Cuban scuba diver Leo. As the end of the holiday approaches, Laura doesn’t want to go home. Is it time to face the music? Or is there more to Key West than a holiday romance?

Review: The Longest Holiday Really did have a totally different feel to that of most of Paiges reads. It just felt different somehow not in a bad way just a change of writing and tact in the way Laura spoke.

Laura has to be one of the most free spirited ladies who speaks exactly how she feels. What I did love about this story was seeing how different Laura, Marty and Bridget are. Now I had already met Laura and Bridget from different books but seeing what joined them together was a totally different feel. As the book begins Laura is feeling a multitude of emotions following Matthew’s heartbreaking mistake. You can see why Laura is feeling the way she is and I believe Paige showed the emotions that any woman would be going through. At the start of the holiday Laura is going through the motions but she’s not truly thinking about what she wants and deserves not really. She’s grateful to the girls for taking her away from it all but when push comes to shove she’s not ready to go back to her reality. Her reality is that of nightmares and her heart isn’t ready to face what awaits her in London or what she would leave in Key West. I don’t want to say too much but that scene at the airport I had my heart in my mouth….

When Laura returns to London her thoughts are a million miles away across the pond. Watching her agonise over her situation was heartbreaking and hard to read. Now I 100% can’t say much more but woah Paige I wasn’t expecting what happened that raw emotion of Laura, her friends, her parents, Matthew and Leo meant I lapped up the final pages full of eager and intensity.

Another gorgeous tale from Paige Toon which right now you can download for 99p. What are you waiting for?

2020, Author Love, Readathon, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: Lucy in the Sky By Paige Toon

Blurb: Settling down for a 24-hour flight to Australia, Lucy finds a text message on her phone – not from her boyfriend James, as she fondly hopes, but from a woman claiming to have slept with him four times in the past month. Trapped on the plane, she questions everything about her relationship with James. She finally calls him and he reassures her: it was only his mates playing a silly joke.

James is a lawyer, persuasive and gorgeous and Lucy adores him. So why, at the wedding in Sydney of her best friend Molly, does she have niggling doubts, and find herself attracted to Molly’s brother-in-law Nathan? The sooner she gets back to her regular life in London, the flat she shares with James, her job in PR, the better. Nathan is a happy-go-lucky surfer boy, with no prospects, no place to live, an almost-girlfriend in tow. And the other side of the world…

Lucy – a girl caught between two distant continents – and two very different men…

Review: Today sees the second book in mine and Catriona aka www.fabulousbookfiend.com Paige Toon read-along. For Catriona Lucy in the Sky was a re-listen for me it was a first read. I’m a huge Paige Toon fan but I first discovered her books when I read The Last Piece of my Heart – and from that moment I was hooked. This year I decided I will still be reviewing new books but I also want to read more for me this year and so far I’m having a good reading yeah. Saying that after finishing this beauty I was a little book hungover and reeling from Lucy’s story.

Lucy in the Sky is Paige’s debut novel and I’m so annoyed that it’s taken me this long to devour it. I have both a paperback and an ecopy of this book which was great for whilst I was eating and stuff as I could continue to read.

As ever Paige kept me on my toes and had me hooked from the off. From the beginning I adored Lucy yet I was sceptical over James and throughout I was left hooked but what way the story would change. I loved seeing Lucy reunited with her childhood friends and her going back to Australia.

Paige always manages to have very real situations and Lucy’s conundrum is something that can and does happen to many people. I hated how James always had a way of belittling her – when in reality Lucy is an awesome woman with lots ahead of her. The friendships, the love and the laughs really make this book. Nathan and Lucy are fantastic I really enjoyed the bad jokes which even had me thinking of some of my best male friends over the years new and old.

A tale of confusion, love, friendship and trust and lack of. I simply adore Paige Toon and going through her back catalogue is going to be an emotional rollercoaster I loved and loathed Lucy at times. There were times when I had to stop reading and I was simply so angry or overjoyed which meant reading this book was effortless yet it left me a little bereft at the end which is why I haven’t read anything else in between. Shortly I will be starting Johnny Be Good and I cannot wait.

2020, Author Love, ebook, novella, Quick Reads, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: Broken Hearts at Brightwater Bay By Holly Hepburn

Blurb: On paper, Merina Wilde has it all: a successful career writing the kind of romantic novels that make even the hardest hearts swoon, a perfect carousel of book launches and parties to keep her social life buzzing, and a childhood sweetheart who thinks she’s a goddess. But Merry has a secret: the magic has stopped flowing from her fingers. Try as she might, she can’t summon up the sparkle that makes her stories shine. And as her deadline whooshes by, her personal life falls apart too. Alex tells her he wants something other than the future she’d always imagined for them and Merry finds herself single for the first time since – well, ever.

Desperate to get her life back on track, Merry leaves London and escapes to the windswept Orkney Islands, locking herself away in a secluded clifftop cottage to try to heal her heart and rediscover her passion for writing. But can the beauty of the islands and the kindness of strangers help Merry to fool herself into believing in love again, if only long enough to finish her book? Or is it time for her to give up the career she’s always adored and find something new to set her soul alight?

Review: The minute a Holly Hepburn series is announced I normally at least order the first part and that is exactly what I did with this beauty. I was still awake around midnight on publication day, so I managed to read the prologue and the first chapter before my tired eyes started telling me to get back to this in the morning. If I hadn’t been captured by sleep this would have been an easy one sitting read, although I’m glad I got to discover this gorgeous setting and intriguing characters for a little longer.

From the moment I met Merry I liked her, she’s full of charm and character. Let’s face it she’s a writer so I was always going to adore her. During the prologue Holly set the scene in the most upsetting of ways for poor Merry she literally didn’t see it coming and my heart literally broke for her. Knowing Holly and her heroines though I knew early on that Merry is a tough cookie who deserves much better in life.

I’m such a fan of Holly’s writing and I love how there is differences for adverts, texts and emails it makes it feel more real if that makes any sense. I’ve never visited the Orkney Islands but I feel like Holly has painted an extremely atmospheric description of what the islands are like, they feel peaceful and full of life. Making me feel how I feel when I visit some of my most favourite holiday destinations that have me feeling happy and content.

As Merry discovers more and more about the locals and the history it’s as if you can feel the weight off her shoulders simply disappearing. Merry and Jess are the best of friends they are so different though and that works. Everyone needs a straight talking Jess who will tell you exactly what you need to hear even if you don’t really want to hear it.

I’m really enjoying everything about this novel and it’s shaping up to be another fantastic story from Holly. I’m intrigued by our Clark Kent in Niall and I’m hopeful that Magnus also makes a few more appearances. I cannot wait to see where the second part takes us in April.

2019, Uncategorized, wrap up

September wrap up…

Happy October, I’m so sorry it’s taken me all day to write and this wasn’t the post I had initially wanted to share.

Today I attended my induction for Cineworld and have been undertaking some online training since I got home. As I’m now done for the evening I’ve turned to my blog. I’m hoping to participate in Blogtober and with my change of job I’m also hoping to switch up the content here at Hayley Reviews.

So September was a good one for me. At the start of it I was on holiday and I really had got in the mood for reading. I managed to get in a few short stories as well as some audiobooks and some general books via ebook and paperback.

Let’s see how I faired…

These two beautiful shorts – the first is a Simon and Schuster special and wow what a treat. Although I must say I haven’t seen if the author has done anything else since that. You can read my thoughts on Stepping out Here

Mhairi McFarlane is one of my favourite authors and You Had Me At Hello is what made me a fan so when it came to After You it was a no brainer I had to read it. I started this ages ago and for one reason or another it got shelved whilst I was on holiday I wanted a break in between novels so I started reading again from the beginning. After You thoughts

Lake Child was my last read of September and wow!!! Lake Child Review

As you can see there are a few where I haven’t posted the reviews yet. Watch this space.

I was on the audio blog tour for this and it sure was a treat it won’t be the last K L Slater book I read. You can read my thoughts here

Since being hooked on her debut I’ve been a massive fan of Zoe May and this was such a treat I still have one of hers to read but you can read my thoughts on this beauty Here

So that was September….would you like to see what I want to attempt to read in October?

Also tomorrow do I share one of the reviews that are missing or something else. Do get in touch.

2019, Uncategorized

Book Review: Lake Child By Isabel Ashdown

Blurb: You trust your family. They love you. Don’t they?

When 17-year-old Eva Olsen awakes after a horrific accident that has left her bedbound, her parents are right by her side. Devoted, they watch over her night and day in the attic room of their family home in the forests of Norway.

But the accident has left Eva without her most recent memories, and not everything is as it seems. As secrets from the night of the accident begin to surface, Eva realises – she has to escape her parents’ house and discover the truth. But what if someone doesn’t want her to find it?

Review: I first discovered Isabel Ashdown via Netgalley where I read the first few chapters of Little Sister and I was hooked. Although I’m ashamed to say I haven’t yet read the full story, but following this beauty it will happen.

When Lake Child was advertised my interest was piqued on publication day I had to go to an ENT appointment and Isabels fantastic new novel had me hooked and kept me company on an awful day, I had quite quickly devoured six chapters. The appointment had me in tears so it was a welcome detraction. I couldn’t believe how much I’d read ok such a short time.

Now where do I start? I loved this book it kept me on my toes and had me constantly thinking. This is one of those books where you think you know the outcome but you’re so wrong. I know many people hate the words twists and you didn’t see it coming, but this is definitely one of those books.

I would describe Lake Child as a compelling read that will keep you guessing and will have you gasping from time to time. From the off I adored Eva – she’s feisty, independent and loyal. It’s extremely hard to say anything about this novel without ruining the story, but what I will say is you will love it. The aspects of pure family love and the lengths they will go to, to keep you safe.

I’ve never been to Norway but Isabel sure does describe a picturesque scene of the lakes, the forests and the mountains. Even during Eva’s darkest moments her description from her bedroom made me think of a gorgeous little cottage with log fires and cosy beds. Ideal for a bookworm like me.

I loved the set up of this book and looking back in hindsight I should have worked out a few things early on. As the chapters are split into Maxine and Eva. If you read this you will see what I mean once you complete it.

It’s definitely one of those reads that literally hooks you in and the chapters are quite short so it’s one of those just one more chapter reads where you’ve sat up until the early hours. If my ear hadn’t played up and left me plagued with a headache I would have finished this a lot sooner, but the fact it delayed me meant that when I got to the heart of the novel I had the time and the need to complete it in peace.

Isabel has covered a number of serious issues well and with grace. There’s so much I want to say but I won’t ruin any of the details.

Lake Child is compelling, heartbreaking and completely consuming. A novel that will leave you wanting to know the truth as Eva is trying to understand what’s happened to her. It will leave you second guessing yourself and thinking you knew the answers yet you were completely wrong.