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.

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2019

2019

It’s day four of a brand spanking new year and this is my first post, and let’s be frank it’s not a bundle of joy. (Sorry for the spoiler and the negativity.) I started 2018 feeling sorry for myself as I felt disgusting and unhappy for a number of vain and in some ways selfish reasons.

I started 2019 feeling sorry for myself as I’ve been under the weather, but in true Hayley style I have tried my hardest to soldier on but in the last few days I’ve had to listen to my body and take some time out – as much as I have done that I’ve still been worrying and stressing over a number of things and that’s also not helping my recovery at all. I’ve just had a vapour bath and that’s helped me breathe again and now I’m vitamin C -ing, myself. I have a number of personal development things I should be doing ahead of an assessment on Tuesday. As it stands I’m trying my hardest to be fit to attend.

My reading has taken a nose dive from my studies and sickness etc and I have half started books on the go. I was thinking of reading You after watching the Netflix series but I decided I needed this lady back in my life. I know that it will make me think and old memories will come up but that’s all part and parcel of life.

So I’m off to devour this before bed as I need to rest and work on studies. I also hope to organise my bullet journal my word or words for this year is belief or believe in yourself. I need to do more of that…in 2019.

2018, Author Love, Blog Tour, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: A Little Christmas Charm By Kathryn Freeman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kathryn please please take us back to these again.

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

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

Purchase Link 

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

Author Bio – 

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

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

Social Media Links – 

Website:  http://kathrynfreeman.co.uk

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KathrynFreeman1

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

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

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

2018, Author Love, Blog Tour

Guest Post: Finding Jess Blog Tour By Julia Ibbotson

Today I’m pleased to share with you a truly gorgeous guest post by Julia Ibbotson….so without further ado…..

Location Ghana, West Africa

My latest novel, published this summer, Finding Jess, http://mybook.to/FindingJess the third of the Drumbeats trilogy, is set in Ghana (West Africa) and starts with: “Outside, the sun is beating down pitilessly, that sweet-sour stink of rotten meat and putrefying vegetables in the open drains at the side of the road. Yes, she knows that intense heat, that smell, the sound of the kpanlogo djembe and the donde, those kente-clad mammies, from all those years before …”

Jess is haunted by her experiences in Ghana when she was an 18 year old on a gap year, the basis of the first of the trilogy, Drumbeats, http://myBook.to/Drumbeatstrilogy where she is fascinated as a girl in 1965, by the whole idea of Africa: she looks around her in wonderment: “The streets were incredibly noisy, smelly, and bustling with people calling out to each other across the streets, jostling Jess. Swarms of little boys were again surrounding her, pushing at her for attention. The hot thick air stank of rotting vegetables, spices, melting tarmac. Jess pressed herself against the safety of the wall as plump women swathed in bright Ghanaian cloth swept haughtily past her. Their babies swaddled on their backs blinked passively at her with glassy eyes and long black eyelashes. Shallow platters piled high with tomatoes and mangoes were balanced on turban-bound heads, as the women made their way gracefully up and down the dusty streets, taking no notice of the foul open drains and the begging children around their feet.”

Ever since I spent time working in Ghana, I’ve been driven by the desire to write about this fascinating country. As a writer, I like to create stories set in a particular time and location, as those are the books I love to read myself, such as Dinah Jefferies’s far eastern novels and Kate Mosse’s Languedoc series. Wonderfully evocative!

I try to use all the senses to make the reader feel as though they are actually there, to make it as vivid as possible. I was therefore thrilled to have reviews that said: “beautifully written, conjuring up the colour and culture of the country”, and “feel the searing heat of Ghana burning off the pages.” How lovely! Then I had: “It’s a brilliantly crafted book where sights, sounds and even smells of the Ghanaian way of life are conjured up quite vividly… details … woven so well into the fabric of the story it becomes an essential part of the read” and even “Julia Ibbotson’s descriptions of Ghana instantly transport the reader there… It is very clear that the author has spent some time in Ghana as her knowledge of the country and its political strife is extensive. I love the symbolism of the drums throughout the book, making it so atmospheric.”

Many thanks to those readers, whoever they are! If my readers can feel the location too, I’ve done my job OK.

Drumbeats: http://myBook.to/Drumbeatstrilogy

Walking in the Rain: http://myBook.to/WalkingintheRainDrumbeatstrilogy

Finding Jess: http://mybook.to/FindingJess

All my books are available on Amazon, in ebook and paperback editions:

http://Author.to/JuliaIbbotsonauthor

But do check out my other sites:

Author website: https://juliaibbotsonauthor.com/

Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/JuliaIbbotsonauthor

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/JuliaIbbotson

Pinterest page: includes boards with pics and images that inspired each book

http://pinterest.com/juliai1/

Goodreads author page:  https://www.goodreads.com/juliaibbotson

Thank you Kelly, what a gorgeous guest post that I’ve been able to read alongside my Beanies coffee.

2018, Blog Tour

Blog Tour: Blood White and Blue By James Silvester

I’m so sorry I had two content slots and a review that should have been posted up yesterday and this one was sadly forgotten so without further ado here is the extract that I’m hosting. Though she had only intended to be out for an hour, several more had passed before she had put the key in her lock and begun the unfairly tortuous climb up the stairs to her flat. She had left Della still in top form, throwing back shots and chatting up waiters and waitresses alike, but while her new friend appeared able to weather the storms of excessive alcohol consumption, Lucie knew her body well enough to know she needed at least some sleep if she were to make it to the airport with the clear head she always needed to travel.

She awoke with the entirely expected but always unwelcome dry mouth and unsettled stomach, thanking The Lord in her morning prayers for at least sparing her the chore of packing, having not yet emptied her bag from her unexpected move. Eschewing her typical shower and barely rubbing her toothbrush against her teeth, lest it trigger another round of the pounding in her head which had failed to endear itself to her moments before, Lucie settled for a quick basin wash and a good dose of deodorant. Likewise, she reasoned that a change of underwear was not yet essential and certainly not worth the nausea inducing neuralgia it would provoke. Keeping her neck as immobile as possible she dressed herself in jeans and patterned shirt, texted for a cab and made her way slowly downstairs.

After having directed the cabbie through the drive thru window of the nearest fast food venue and having swiftly consumed something vaguely egg flavoured atop something else the talking box into which she had placed her order insisted to be sausage, Lucie began to re-join humanity. The cab driver was friendly enough and sufficiently worldly-wise to understand Lucie’s delicate state and so kept his cheery banter to a minimum, rightly expecting that the size of his tip would correlate significantly with the brevity of his conversation.

The car eventually swept into Heathrow and after suitably rewarding the driver for his understanding, she made her way into the terminal and through to the Departure lounge. Lucie took her time, still not wanting to aggravate the debilitating ache across her eyes with excessive movement, all too reluctant this morning to bear the punishment of a body whose warnings she had ignored the night before.

Walking too slowly to politely avoid the grim faced and despondent newspaper vendor, she took the proffered free copy and slipped it into her bag while she searched the terminal for the increased rarity of a coffee large and strong enough to satiate her, but which would not require a mortgage application and three forms of ID to procure. Finally locating something on the more modest side of overpriced, Lucie squeezed between the bickering couples and drunken groups to perch herself on a wooden stool beside the border rail, from where she could view the departure boards and observe the multitudes as they dashed from here to

there, desperate to embark on what, depending what provision the far from secure ‘Brexit Deal’ made for airspace agreements, could be their last foreign trips for some time. Taking a sip from the scalding coffee, she pulled out the freebie paper and grimaced, immediately regretting her decision.

There they were, lined up between the pages, pontificating on the economic downturn that was beginning to bite and leaving readers in no doubt which people – or groups of people – were to blame. Quotes were fired like inflammatory bullets, as though those speaking them were engaged in some hateful competition, the winner of which would be crowned undisputed champion and defender of the ‘Will of the People’, whatever that was interpreted to be that month, with all who defied them forever condemned as traitors and enemies to be vilified and loathed.

Lucie scanned their comments, which variously within the same article condemned immigrants for laziness and benefit dependency, while taking jobs away from the indigenous population and pressurising emergency services, despite the NHS relying on them to function. One particularly fatuous remark sought to blame certain communities for wasting police time by insisting on reporting hate crimes against them. The ignorance did little to ease Lucie’s hangover and she was about to toss the paper to one side when she turned the page and her eyes were drawn to a picture of the man she was flying to meet, Sir Geoffrey Hartnell MP.

The picture took up a good portion of the page’s top half and was accompanied by a ‘humorous’ feature line reading ‘A Grave Affair’ and a few reams of text, short on minutiae but knowledgeable enough to sketch an outline of the bizarre scenario. The infamous Alexander Huxley – a man thought to be dead – had threatened Hartnell’s life and with the popular MP about to fly to Prague on a personal mission of goodwill, was the government right to be treating this lightly?

Thank you Kelly for this slot and I’m so sorry for the delay…

2018, audible, Blogtober, event, Uncategorized

A Spark Of Light – Jodi Picoult event

On 27th June 2018 I didn’t hesitate I booked a ticket to a live podcast with Jodi Picoult in conversation with Emma Gannon. I hadn’t worried too much about whether I would get the day off work but thankfully I did. I haven’t heard of Jodi being in the UK since I had become a fan so I really didn’t want to miss this opportunity and thankfully I didn’t.

In discovering Jodi I have been blown away with Small Great Things and The Storyteller. Most people have watched My Sisters Keeper – which so I was told is totally different to the book and not really one of Jodi’s favourites. It’s one I’ve been meaning to read but cancer related stories are always a proper hard one for me to actually stomach. As I’ve seen the sadness first hand in my own experiences and in my work capacity.

Saturday 27th October I was lucky enough to be in the presence of Jodi. Listening to her speak was so inspiring- I didn’t ask a question but listening to the other participants was awe inspiring especially when Small Great Things was mentioned a lot. This is still one of my favourite and most thought provoking books I have ever read. I listened to that on many walks to and from work and I really did miss this tale. Jodi writes controversial stories so well, in listening to her speak she really does go all out to get each and every side of the story. I loved the question someone asked about how Jodi manages to make you feel empathy even with the bad guys and I totally also felt that with Turk.

A Spark Of Light – in hearing how much Jodi went through in regards to research and that her usually three paged outline was actually forty eight pages long just shows how in depth she went. This novel has been written and it will be read also in reverse I’ve read a little and I’m looking to get to it after finishing this post.

I may have to read this book part physical book and part audible as it’s a gorgeous hardback that I’m not going to want to carry around this could be a first for me.

I told Jodi that listening to her is inspiring although I did get a little tongue tied. I’m so grateful to have attended the event it was everything I could have wanted and more.

They say don’t meet your favourites I totally disagree. Thank you for your time Jodi I look forward to devouring more of your books and hope to chat to you again someday. A Spark Of Light is out now and I know it’s going to be a ground breaking book.

2018, A thought? A question, Author Love, Blog Tour, Blogtober, christmas, Cover Reveal, Uncategorized

A sorry, a gorgeous cover and a little more….

First off I’m sorry for being seriously quiet this week. It’s been a crazy working week and I’ve been recuperating re the back. It’s a lot better thankfully. The test will be on Wednesday when I plan to head back to my Fight Klub class. Even if I have to reign in my aggression slightly.

Thanks to all of that I’ve managed to neglect my lil space on the Internet. Not for the want of trying I’ve just been so exhausted by the time I’ve crawled into bed.

This cover is so apt for the time of year I’ve been meaning to read some fantasy but as I stated earlier life has been somewhat hectic. I purchased The Chalk Man the other weekend and I still haven’t managed to devour it.

Another Kind of Magic

“I am a cat. But I am no ordinary cat. I am a witch’s familiar. I am also a woman, with a woman’s heart and a woman’s frailty.”

Nearly two hundred years have passed since Caitlyn was trapped by supernatural forces and black magic, and she has known many mistresses. This time, the witch she is enthralled to is Joan, wife of Llewelyn, Prince of Wales.

At first, this mistress appears no different to any of the others Caitlyn has served – until Llewelyn captures William de Braose, and Joan falls in love, risking everything, including Caitlyn, to fulfil her desire.

Caitlyn, meanwhile, has her own cross to bear in the form of the gallant and reckless Hugh of Pembroke…

Pre-Order Link: https://www.books2read.com/AnotherKindOfMagic

Author Bio –

Elizabeth Davies is a paranormal author, whose books have a romantic flavour with more than a hint of suspense. And death. There’s usually death…

Social Media Links –

Website – www.elizabethdaviesauthor.co.uk

Twitter  – @bethsbooks

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethDaviesAuthor/

Instagram – @elizabethdavies.author

No One Cancels Christmas

It’s the most magical time of the year, and for travel agent Sarah it’s also the busiest! But this year one man threatens to ruin Christmas for Sarah’s customers – Mr Grinch, Will Armstrong.

The Shooting Star Mountain resort is a magical place, and Sarah has fond memories of Christmas here as a little girl – visits to Father Christmas, husky rides in the snow and hot chocolate by a roaring fire. But as the resorts new owner, Will refuses to play snowball or to deck the halls with anything remotely resembling tinsel!

With customers complaining their Christmas is ruined, Sarah decides it’s up to her to convince Scroogey Will just how magical Christmas can be….

But getting Will into the Christmas spirit is hopeless – he is Bah Humbug personified! But as Sarah gets to know him better, she realises that underneath all the gloom is a man struggling with a pain of his own.

With the big day approaching, Sarah realises that the magic and sparkle can wait. This year, she’s going to spend Christmas day with someone special her very own Mr Scrooge…

Purchase Link

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/No-One-Cancels-Christmas-romantic-ebook/dp/B07CWTVJGD

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/no-one-cancels-christmas-romantic-ebook/dp/B07CWTVJGD

Author Bio –

Born in a small village in Staffordshire, I wanted to be a female James Herriot, a spy, or an author when I grew up. After many years, and many different jobs, my dream of writing a bestseller came true.

I write about friendship, dreams, love, and happy ever afters, and hope that my tales make you cry a little, laugh a lot, and occasionally say ‘ahhh’.

I now live in a Cheshire village with my family, a lively cockapoo called Harry, and a very bossy (and slightly evil) cat called Saffron.

Where you can find her-

Website: http://www.zarastoneley.com
Twitter: @ZaraStoneley
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ZaraStoneley

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zarastoneley/

I am so ashamed with myself that I haven’t finished this gorgeous Christmas treat although I do feel that it would be better to devour closer to the big day. I truly love Zara’s writing and this will be the second of hers I have read. An actual review will follow but if you are looking for a Christmas book that will transport you further afield then look no further.

I hope to spend my Sunday getting organised so hopefully I won’t be posting anymore posts like this and feeling like a truly rubbish blogger.

2018, Blogtober, personal, Uncategorized

Life is a Rollercoaster

It isn’t the first and won’t be the last time I name check my favourites classic song for a personal blog entry.

Today is another day where my Blogtober ideas change and change again.

I’m sorry for the late entry on a day where it should have happened hours ago. I’ve had the weekend off which is another novelty and after personal post won on my poll I’ve been toying with what to say and I must admit this wasn’t my original thought.

On Monday I did something to my back at work, and I can’t even pinpoint when or what actually caused it. I’ve been extremely frustrated since then. In joining Slimming World back in April I’ve learnt so much about myself and my habits and routines have changed so much for the better.

In attending a boxfit class my enthusiasm changed dramatically and then I attended a Fight Klub class and that was me well and truly hooked. There is something truly awe inspiring in the feelings that Fight Klub brought out of me. So much so I will be doing an Exercise to Music course in November – I honestly cannot wait. I’m so rating to go which is why this week has well and truly KO’d me. I could never have imagined I’d be going back to college but I do feel like I’ve come full circle in some respects as at school I studied GCSE PE and had thought I would have done more with it.

I haven’t attended any classes and I’m extremely frustrated not only for my fitness but for my piece of mind. Exercise is good for the soul and nourishing for the mind. I’ve missed them so much and today I feel like I hit breaking point – I haven’t done too much as wanted to rest and bam the pain seemed to change. I can’t even comprehend another week without my classes – they’re a part of me and I feel so much happier and full of life when I’m putting my body through its paces.

Life sure is a rollercoaster, do what you love and love what you do for as long as you can.

2018, Blogtober, Tag, Uncategorized

50 things that make me happy

I do love these tags and I’ve been meaning to post this for a while.

Thank you to the lovely Emma @ Sunshine and Rain for tagging me….

Yesterday I managed to somehow hurt my back at work so I’ve been feeling a bit sorry for myself so I thought today would be the best time to sit, think and write this post. In making myself think it came to me that sometimes we overlook the simplest of pleasures.

  1. My family
  2. My friends
  3. A good book
  4. Tea
  5. Coffee
  6. Fudge
  7. Cake
  8. Football
  9. Fight Klub
  10. Ireland
  11. Boybands
  12. Boyzone
  13. Ronan Keating
  14. Reading
  15. Theatre
  16. TV
  17. PJ days
  18. Writing
  19. Spending time with friends
  20. Spending time with family
  21. Fight Klub
  22. Zumba
  23. Hula hooping especially with Pippa she’s a pro thanks to her auntie.
  24. Being able to help those who mean a lot to me.
  25. Cinnamon
  26. Mars bars
  27. Baileys
  28. Tottenham Hotspur
  29. Listening to a good audiobook
  30. Lazy days
  31. Coffee chats with friends
  32. Blogging
  33. Tom Cruise
  34. Michael J Fox
  35. Caramel
  36. Sunshine
  37. Sun tan
  38. Dymchurch
  39. Salou
  40. Country music
  41. Mark Rylance
  42. Netflix
  43. Days off
  44. Pancakes esp with my bestie
  45. Irish coffee
  46. Baileys hot choc esp in the winter
  47. Chinese
  48. Films
  49. Cosy socks
  50. Disney – everything Disney the theme parks the films the lot.

I won’t be individually tagging anyone but this is open to anyone who wants time to sit, think and reflect.

I’m just out of a much needed bath and now I will sit with a cuppa and a book and possibly a treat. Have a good week all.

2018, A thought? A question, Blogtober, Uncategorized

Thoughtful Monday – hear me Roar!

Today I’m feeling thoughtful and there is a reason behind my madness. In being a bookworm I have acquired a number of go to favourites over the years – which seem to have expanded somewhat rapidly.

Cecelia Ahern is a personal favourite of mine ever since devouring the extremely moving PS I Love You. Although saying that of late there are shamefully a number of her books that I haven’t read yet. I know it’s awful. Considering I used to always be on tender-hooks for her one book a year. In gaining more book recommendations has meant some of my reading has slipped and as I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion I am in the process of changing this.

On Saturday I met friends in Walton on Thames where I spent the Waterstones gift card that I had acquired. In doing so I was given a freebie of a sampler of Roar by Cecelia. I’ve read two of the short stories so far and I must say it’s like nothing I have read of hers. In saying that it’s not bad it’s different – some of the stories are somewhat strange but they are interesting and I love the premise of the stories. Each story is a different type of woman and they challenge ideas and realities of everyday women.

I love that Cecelia has championed empowering women even if some of her following will be a little dubious of the stories the reasoning and message behind them is impressive and as hoped to be empowering. I will be purchasing the full collection when it is released 1st November and you can pre-order it Here so far I have read The woman who slowly disappeared and the woman who was kept on the shelf both stories were nothing like I imagined but the subliminal messages were enlightening.