2020, A thought? A question, Author Love, Uncategorized

Monday doesn’t have to be dull….

Afternoon all…so in light of just how hard life can be let’s all do all we can to be kind. In every single situation think before you act. Our actions speak far louder than our words ever will. Once upon a time here on Hayley Reviews I had a segment called Monday motivation and smiles and now I just want and need more Monday kindness. It’s half term this week so I know there are a number of frazzled Mums and Dads out there. Hang in there guys you’re doing a great job.

This morning I managed one item off my to do list and I was lucky enough to spend some time at our local coffee shop with my sis and my nieces and nephew. Although my oldest niece was off playing games in the other room it was nice to be able to help my sis even for a short while now I’m awaiting my transport to work.

It’s week three of mine and Catriona’s Paige Toon readathon and I’m loving every single second of this back catalog so far they have all been fresh reads for me as I didn’t get into Paige until The Last Piece of my Heart.

Whatever you do Be Kind…You never know may even post a review later too…

2019, august, Author Love, Buddy Read, ebook, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: One Winter Morning By Isabelle Broom

Blurb: Genie isn’t feeling very festive this December. 

The frosty mornings and twinkling fairy lights only remind her it’s been a whole year since she lost her adoptive mother, who took her in as a baby and raised her as her own. 

She’s never felt more alone – until she discovers her birth mother’s identity.

And where to find her: New Zealand, half the world away. 

Travelling there could be her one chance to meet the woman who gave her up. 

But will she find the answers she has been looking for? Or something she could never have expected?

Review: It’s been a while since I’ve read an Isabelle Broom novel and I felt so privileged to have buddy read this with Catriona. I feel like I flew through this one, it’s one of those reads where you’re saying just one more chapter and at each turn there was more than enough to keep you wanting more.

This could have easily been read in one sitting but as I’m away with my family that was never going to happen but at each time I read a healthy amount, although at times I stopped myself because of my locations. I could feel my emotions brewing in public places. Not that that’s ever really bothered me but I did not want to feel uncomfortable when I have truly loved every single second with this book and these characters.

One Winter Morning is a story that will have you flying through the pages captivated by the words the imagery and most of all the people. Isabelle really does research her places well. I’ve never been to New Zealand but having read this novel I felt truly captivated by the surroundings and I feel like I’ve visited Lake Wakatipu. Her imagery is astounding I honestly feel like if I visited I would feel like I’d already been there, like retreating to a place you’ve been going to for years.

I really enjoy a buddy read especially with Catriona, it’s mad that now she’s in the States we talk more than we did when she was in the UK. She saw a few things coming in this, although I was pleased to see one of my wants come into fruition. Because of the location I didn’t feel like I was reading a winter book in the wrong timezone, although it was based around Christmas and New Years heavily focussing on love and loss and finding yourself.

There’s so much I want to say but you have to read to fully understand the true gorgeousness of this book. From the off I loved most of the characters Genie aka Evangeline is a great girl struggling with the loss of her adoptive mother and with the emotions over whether to search for her real mother or not. She goes through all the feels, wonder and most of all guilt. In searching for her real mother she feels like she’s cheating on the woman who raised her when in actual fact that’s not the case at all.

I have to mention Hayley, I rarely get to read a book with a Hayley and this one is ballsy and fun and has hollow legs from the amount of cake and physical activity she does. This made my little heart so happy and for her to be such an amazing friend too it really was the icing on the cake.

I feel like I wanted more of David’s thoughts as he played such a huge part in this story and I must say Isabelle wrote a fantastic kids story. I wholeheartedly believe my nieces and nephew would love the Evangeline series.

Tui was the most adorable little girl, a truly gifted child who defies all odds. I loved her story and part of me saw some of it coming but nowhere near to the extent of how her story ended.

I don’t feel like Griff stood a chance next to Kit but oh le sigh! all the feels and some. Isabelle looks at love, loss and healing in so many ways. I loved the sentiment of the future being the light in the sun and the past being the shadow and looking to the sun.

I also loved how there were parts for Genie and for Bonnie and how the letters were in italics. I’m all for a back story and it gave you the remaining pieces of the puzzle not that I saw some of it.

I’m a massive worrier and I often need to take a step back and breathe. I know that I personally need to live in the moment more, I’m often too worried about things and circumstances that I cannot change. Looking too far at what’s to come and what’s been rather than looking into the here and now, I hope to do more of being in the now.

A brilliantly written story of love, loss, friendship and finding yourself. If you are looking for the perfect book to give you all the feels or to get you out of a reading slump this is definitely it.

Now I’ve got those thoughts out I can start another book. Although I must say I really must tackle more of Isabelle Broom’s books, just like Miranda Dickinson’s books I’m left feeling hopeful and extremely positive as well as left with an extremely happy heart and a book hangover.

2019, Author Love, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence By Holly Hepburn

Blurb: Nestled in the quiet countryside sits the cosy village of Little Monkham, home of The Star and Sixpence, a renovated pub owned by sisters Sam and Nessie. As the locals welcome the new season, it appears that change is afoot in their tiny community, and not all of it for the better . . .
 
Nessie is moving in with her boyfriend, leaving Sam alone in the pub. But with the arrival of new chef Gabriel causing a flutter among the women of the village, it seems that Sam might not be so lonely after all. Having just recently come out of a relationship, Sam’s attraction to Gabe is inconvenient, but that’s the least of her worries when an unexpected visitor arrives at the pub, determined to stir up trouble.
 
As Gabe and Sam grow closer, Little Monkham’s latest arrival threatens to reveal a secret that will turn more than one world upside down. Can Sam and Nessie work through the fall out, or is it really last orders at The Star and Sixpence?

Review: I often find the term an emotional rollercoaster a bit of a cop out when reviewing a book but Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence is definitely a thrilling rollercoaster of a multitude of emotions. I’d like to take this time to thank Harriet at Simon & Schuster for not only championing me as a blogger but for the invite onto this tour. I will cherish my last orders beer mat.

Reading a Holly Hepburn novel sure is like reuniting with old friends, comforting, heartwarming and full of such hope. I must admit as much as I am always taken with her characters they can also be some of the most frustrating creatures I have ever met. Just like a friend who never takes the advice you have dished out.

I adore Nessie and Sam, I must admit the original A Year at the Star and Sixpence I own but I’ve only read the Valentines section. I know I know. But the good thing is when I’m really missing this bunch I have that to fully discover. I love how close these sisters are and I love how different they both are. If I can channel a little bit of either of them then I will definitely feel much more confident in my own skin and my abilities.

There are so many sub-subjects in this novel – family, friends, happiness, loneliness, grief, addiction, and a few tragic circumstances that I won’t reveal and most of all love.

Romance – now….I made Holly’s day on Twitter after my words on that kiss, that kiss when you read this novel you will know exactly what I’m talking about. Wow! The intensity gave me all the feels and I wasn’t even being kissed myself but I was definitely left breathless and wanting more.

Now I don’t want to spoil any actual information as I want you to read this book with the intrigue and suspense that I did, there’s a scene that is heart achingly real although, it’s not something I have suffered but I know people who have been through similar heartache. Saying that said sadness had me reading just a little more to find out what happened next.

Grief hits us all in different ways and out thoughts go into overdrive. Holly captures grief in both a male and a female but ultimately proves together they can heal. The Star and Sixpence is very much community driven and this bunch really do rally round for one of their own. This was truly heartwarming and something you really don’t see enough of these days.

There were so many lines that truly had me thinking about life. Sam had many great one liners and “If I cant have a love life of my own, at least I can get a vicarious thrill through yours.” Had to be one of the best I can imagine a cheeky glint in her eye and a smile on her face.

There was one character who I didn’t like from the off and something about said character had me dubious and I was right. I loved seeing the outcome and via whom. I now have to give a special mention to Ruby – everyone needs a Ruby in life. She’s experienced, classy and just damn fabulous.

I loved my time at the Star and Sixpence, Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence is very much a just another chapter sort of read and it each turn you’ll want more and more. It’s best served with an ice cold beverage and a slice of something sweet. I had a few cans of Baileys mocha and I no longer have any. I had a few breakfasts alongside this treat and I must say after spending Monday and Tuesday morning with them, I sure did miss them this morning.

I hope this isn’t the end as I would love another visit to the cosiest pub around and to see how Sam and Nessie and co are getting on. To be honest I would love to join them. Holly has left me feeling swoon-some and longing for romance.

2019, august, ebook, novella, Quick Reads, Review, TBR, Uncategorized, update

A Patchwork Family – Part One – Moving On By Cathy Bramley

Blurb: Gina Moss is proud of herself: she’s just had the most amicable divorce ever. No arguments, no fuss, no drama. It means she has plenty of time and energy for her thriving childminding business too.

Welcome Cottage is both home and workplace for Gina. It sits just on the edge of The Evergreens – a grand if slightly run-down Victorian residence to three octogenarians who have far too much fun for their age: Violet, Delphine and Bing.

But a tragedy puts her older friends at risk of eviction – and Gina in charge of the battle to save them. It might be her first fight, but it’s one that Gina is determined not to lose…

Review: It’s been a while since I’ve read a Cathy Bramley novel and when this series was mentioned I instantly pre-ordered it, them good old 99p kindle purchases. I had hoped to have read and reviewed on publication day but that wasn’t to be. See I’m getting more organised but I’m also wanting to read more and more.

Part one is aptly named – Moving On as Gina has accomplished her amicable divorce and later on in the instalment there are more tragic circumstances. It starts with Bramley’s trademark wit, I’d heard of divorce parties via another book and the meal between Gina and Eric sure was full of laughs. It’s extremely rare that marriages can end well – but they are one of those rare breeds. The scene in the restaurant had me laughing out loud, but it also made me want to know more as they got on so well, I’m sat there wondering why they called time on their marriage.

It being part one it sets the scene and the groundwork for the story with the hint of what’s to come. What I’ve grown to love about these type of series’s is that you are left eager and wanting more and this did not disappoint. A Patchwork Family crosses over to The Lemon Tree Cafe as it’s based in the same town with some of the same characters. In realising that I realise I only read the first part of that story, so that will need to be rectified but August is proving to be a busy one.

Gina is a character that I instantly liked, she’s a go getter and wants the best out of life. A tragedy makes her realise she needs to live every day like it’s her last.

I loved the sentiments in this novel, friends and family come in all shapes and sizes and I loved the variation of age groups. You have the older generation who Gina is extremely fond of and then you have the children to whom she is also fond of. Being a childminder and an extremely good and experienced one at that. It also showed me that families can be a blessing and a curse. I don’t want to spoil the intrigue so I won’t say anymore than that. I want to see whether Dexter pulls through for the sake of his family.

2019, Self Care Sunday, Uncategorized

Self Care Sunday #3

Today should really be number five but the last two Sunday’s have been weird to say the least. The week after getting this post back on track I really wasn’t well I had massive headaches and on the Wednesday I had an exam so I was in panic mode. I could barely look at text let alone take anything in, I caught up on a little TV and went back to bed. I never sleep in the day unless I’m unwell.

Last Sunday I was feeling exhausted and I couldn’t decide on what I would do with my day so I pretty much stayed in my pjs caught up on the soaps and helped out with my nieces and nephew. I obviously needed the rest.

Last Saturday I received the news I was waiting for I passed my second and final theory paper for my ETM (Exercise to Music) qualification I was and still am over the moon about it.

I love that Sunday’s are one of those rare days where I have no alarm and I can rise when my body is ready and able rather than when it’s told to. I did just that today and I was blessed and pleased to feel a cooler air, as ever I got up and had a coffee before chilling with some catch up TV pondering over what to have for breakfast. Today I finally sampled the White chocolate CoCo Pops and my what a treat they were. As my sister had said the milk doesn’t go as chocolatey as regular CoCo Pops but it was definitely a winner for me.

Last night or the last few days I started penning a bit of a to do list as there are various tasks and things I should start getting organised for but what wasn’t on my list was to go into work for a few hours but that did feature and I feel I have good karma and good vibes for doing so. In doing so I’ve spent some time walking in the sunshine, reading and continuing to pen this post. I had toyed with the idea of posting two blog posts today but seeing as I’ve been a lot more consistent I want to keep the extra content for tomorrow sorry I’m rambling once again. I arrived home to a full house of all my siblings and nieces and nephew and a BBQ although the alcohol didn’t get opened. I love the Summer sunshine and I do love us all being together it can be a hard task by our jobs and life. I’ve also managed to finish the first part of a story that I’ve enjoyed that should feature on the blog tomorrow.

So a partially successful day in terms of the to do list but a happy heart in doing good and having some family time. I’m not sure what next Sunday will be like as I will be travelling home from Dublin.

2019, Author Love, Cover Reveal, Me, TeamSparkly, Uncategorized, update

Miranda Dickinson’s Sparkly news plus an update.

Now I’ve been a pretty rubbish blogger and I’ve been meaning to pen a post for a while. Since my last review I have finished another Thriller and a gorgeous love story but I’ve also had a lot on with work, exams and generally overdoing it.

Yesterday I was covering in another store which was crazy to say the least but this gorgeous lady revealed the cover of her next book. Without further ado I give you Miranda Dickinson’s sparkly news here is the quite simply gorgeous cover of The Day we Meet Again.

I’m a huge fan of Miranda’s and during my blogger experience she’s been nothing short of amazing, saying that she happens to be one of my favourites that I still haven’t met although we have had so many conversations via social media. Her books always take me away from whatever life is throwing at me at that time and they always give me so much hope for the future. I don’t always do her books justice but with this one I’m going to do my utmost.

The title makes me instantly think of my Nan she’s been gone for a good few years now but she will forever be one of my greatest female inspirations. By the end she was a shell of the woman she once was buy always such a fighter. If I’m half the woman she was when my time is up I will go happy.

I’m sorry to whatever I’m reading when I get my hands on this book as you will be shelved until I’ve devoured these pages. Just look at that rose gold….

2018, Blog Tour, novella, Short Story

Blog Tour: Magical Memories By L.S. Fellows

Blurb: Magical Memories

As Archie Royle takes his final breath, three sisters race to say their goodbyes.

Two don’t make it in time.

I do.

And now, it’s all my fault they’re too late.

Despite him having dementia.

Despite them not visiting in over a month.

But I won’t let anger win.

After all, we’re all grieving, aren’t we?

Surely, as a family, we can let bygones be bygones.

It’s what Dad would want. Expect.

It’s what he deserves.

We have so much to be grateful for.

So many fond and magical memories to share.

Magical Memories is a fictional tale of loss, grief and moving on.

Purchase Link – http://getbook.at/MagicMem

Review: I’ve long been a fan of novellas but what can I say. Magical Memories hit me like a thunder bolt. For our family it wasn’t dementia it was cancer that took Nan from us but in seeing Archie slip away those memories of that room and those final moments with Nan sprang back to my mind. Nothing will ever prepare you for that moment and that feeling but wow L.S Fellows sure does write a raw and hard hitting account of how those final moments pan out.

There’s also those emotions that you go through and those are documented well a short and sharp novella that will suck you in and will have you taking a trip down your very own memory lane.

Grief is a strange emotion one that we will all go through from time to time. It never goes away but it does get easier. For me things like this take me right back there.

2018, Six for Sunday, Uncategorized

Six for Sunday: Favourite blog posts

Happy Sunday, another week has passed and this is our first Sunday of September. How has another month passed by already….

Six for Sunday is a weekly meme set up by alittlebutalot you can find the latest updates Here.

Today’s offering is favourite blog posts that I have written….so some of you won’t realise that when I started this blog after all my ups and downs with blogging it was under a different name and predominantly aimed at the volunteering I did back then for Cancer Research….

Nashville

Remembering Nan June

I haven’t done this in forever Vlog

Discovering Audible

Miss you Review

An update inc YALC 2017

Wow it was really hard to pick six as you can see I haven’t picked any of my latest posts even though I believe my newer ones in some parts are better but I wanted to delve back.

I hope you enjoy reading through my old links it’s funny as from time to time old stuff is viewed and I’m like how. I have been blogging on this particular site for over 3 years now, what started off as an outlet to write without hassle and trolls about my volunteering journey changed into my other passions which today has also featured many a personal post and my fitness journey.

If there is anything you would like to see me do more of or go back to please get in touch. I promised those author guest posts last week but life has been kind of mental since returning to work. I plan to get more organised this week although there’s lots of reading I hope to do plus it’s a Monday to Friday week for me with a few things planned so we shall see how I fair.

2018, Me, Off Topic, Uncategorized, update

My Fitness Journey….

Hey welcome to Hayley Reviews, today I am going away from bookishness and talking about me.

In my younger years I was one of those girls who people said could eat anything and wouldn’t put on weight that soon changed. I’ve never minded fruit but I can honestly say I rarely smashed my five a day. As for vegetables – as a child I had a best mate whose mum would serve up all sorts of veg and expect you to eat it whether you liked it or not. To this day I blame her for Brussel Sprouts – I did try them again quite recently and I can honestly say I can live without them.

If at the beginning of this year you had said to me that I would one be trying to actually cook rather than throwing something in the oven and two that I would willingly want broccoli, spinach and cauliflower with my dinner I would have laughed in your face. Now I’m upset if I run out of spinach or Broccoli or if Sainsbury’s don’t have Butternut Squaffles in stock.

They do say your taste buds change every seven years and they really do. I have such a sweet tooth yet it’s been curbed quite a bit. Don’t get me wrong I still love a hot choc and I’m still impartial to chocolates just not to the excess I would have before. I have also learnt that a lot of the time it was merely through boredom or because it was there. In working in such a busy environment where there are often lots of people around it was often easier to just snack on crap. Fast forward to August 2018 and the thought of some of the things I would have gauged on makes me feel physically sick.

On 16th April 2018 I joined Slimming World – a number of people asked me why and a number of people also said I shouldn’t have. Having seen a number of friends do well from Slimming World I thought what the hell. What do I have to lose. In joining I took one look at the plan and was instantly thinking what am I going to eat. Natasha my consultant was super helpful- she told me not to focus on what I wouldn’t eat and to look at what I would. My first week was a little strange and I somehow managed to put together some odd meals. In that week I managed to lose 3lb but I hadn’t had much speed food.

What is speed food? I hear you say. These are fruit and vegetables that help speed up your metabolism – quite quickly I found a flow that I could enjoy. With my breakfast I often have Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries and Blueberries which are all speedy fruits and with meals it’s often Mushrooms, Carrots, Spinach, Butternut Squash and Broccoli to name a few. Before Slimming World I ate Carrots and Mushrooms but the other vegetables I hadn’t tried in a long time.

On 13th August 2018 I hit my target weight – this was a very good Monday for me, I had said to myself as I got closer that I wanted to be at target before my family holiday to the seaside and I made it. As you know I’m away as we speak and I’ve had a sketchy food week but I have had some fruit and Weetabix on a few mornings and some semi Slimming World friendly stuff. In town I found a gorgeous Mushroom Risotto which if possible I would love to sample again before we leave – it hasn’t happened so far.

I know there are Slimming World recipes for this so this will be happening when I return home.

Alongside my food and my walking I started attending a number of fitness classes. I have been doing Zumba on/off for years and I still really enjoy it. I managed to get a few free passes to some Boxfit classes. I did Boxfit on Blackheath common and then I found Fight Klub. That’s another thing I wouldn’t have thought a boxing based fitness class would be my thing but I love it and when I miss it, I’m seriously annoyed. Last week I managed to fit in two sessions which I was also meant to do the week before but due to trainer sickness that didn’t happen.

What has surprised me….I’m now a target member- I’ve missed a weigh in week as I’m away but I’m intrigued to see how I fair. As I have relaxed a little this week I have been shocked at the changes. Back in April/May time I purchased this…

On the Friday night before we left home I decided my working week was done and my me time had started so I would sample this. I had two quite small glasses and found it super super sweet. I also realised that I can’t drink normal coke – I asked for a vodka and Diet Coke and was given a normal coke and yet again it was too sweet. I’m pleased to report my love of an Irish coffee and of fudge still stands but once again my body will tell me when I have had too much. I’m also noticing a difference to how I feel when I’ve eaten fatty foods.

The picture on the left was taken at a book event with friends on 30th April so two weeks into my SW journey and the pic on the right was taken in July around the World Cup. I’ve also had a number of non scale victories in the fact I need pretty much a new wardrobe and the stuff that used to be tight now fits.

Thank you to those who took part in my poll yesterday, meaning I actually finished writing this piece.

What would you like to see tomorrow? Book Review, Author Guest Post, or something different. You guys get first refusal on what tomorrow holds.

2018, Blog Tour, Publication Day, Review, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: Forgive Me Not By Samantha Tonge

Blurb: How far would you go to make amends?

When Emma fled her home at Foxglove Farm, she’d let down and hurt those who cared for her most. But now, two years later, she’s ready to face up to her past; she’s ready to go back.

But Emma’s unannounced return causes more problems than she could have foreseen. The people she knew and loved aren’t ready to forget, let alone forgive. And the one person she wants to reconnect with the most, her mother, can’t remember who she is.

Just as Emma starts to rebuild trust, an uncovered family secret and a shocking past crime threaten her newly forged future…

Sometimes simply saying sorry isn’t enough.

Review: Now I can’t say I have read all of Samantha Tonge’s back catalogue but what I have read I have really enjoyed.

Forgive Me Not is a brand new novel from Samantha with Canelo it’s a whole new direction for her and all I can say is wow.

I took part in a readathon at the weekend and for once I didn’t do too badly. (More on this later) but I knew I was due to review Forgive Me Not today so it was definitely on my TBR and it kept me transfixed. I was working over the weekend but every spare minute was spent truly devouring Emma’s story.

Emma is such an interesting character although at times I felt frustrated at her and on behalf of her. As the story unfolds you’re taken back and forth on her journey. There’s so much to Emma and her story isn’t as clear cut as it seems at times. I loved seeing the twists unfold and the terror and shock of what she discovered. It’s remarkable how secrets and lies can shape your whole existence – well this is definitely part of Emma’s story and I’m pretty sure there are many people out there that will agree if certain events in their lives had been different their journey would have been different. This sentiment made me question how we are towards others around us. It’s all well and good being sorry but actions do speak louder than words and Emma learns the hard way.

If you have read Samantha’s work wipe away any misconceptions as this novel is a one off a stand alone that will stay with you long after the final page.

This novel seemed to come to me at the right time. I’m penning a post that will link nicely to this book but I don’t want to give too much away the gist I will say is that every single person you meet is fighting their own personal battles and appearances can be deceptive. Sometimes we automatically judge people when we have no right. Anything can change our way of life, a difficult childhood doesn’t mean you’ll turn out a tearaway, and coming from money also doesn’t mean you’ll never experience hardship in some way shape or form.

I could share so many quotes from this epic tale but I really liked this “she’d concluded that all being normal meant was being happy with yourself.” This speaks volumes to me and right now in a good place on my Slimming World journey I finally feel happier in myself.

Forgiving comes easy to some but Emma’s sister isn’t ready to forget and on Emma’s journey as she starts to heal she realises where her family are coming from. I truly believe this sentiment will be an eye opener for most.

This story has so much to deal with and it’s done so well. I don’t want to elaborate too much as it’s a special journey and each and every reader will see different signs and triggers. Sadly in the world we live in there’s still a stigma around mental health and depression. On the flip side they are just two aspects and thanks to authors like Samantha these everyday real life battles are being spoken about more.

If you want to read a book that’s going to entertain, intrigue and teach you something then go grab Forgive Me Not and join Emma on her rollercoaster ride. My final words are Never judge a book by its cover, appearances can be deceptive and think before you judge another.