2019, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Turn of the Key By Ruth Ware

Blurb: I know you don’t know me but you have to help me. I didn’t kill anyone.

When Rowan stumbles across the advert, it seems like too good an opportunity to miss: a live-in nanny position, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when she arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten by the luxurious ‘smart’ home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare – one that will end with a child dead and her in a cell awaiting trial for murder.

She knows she’s made mistakes. But she’s not guilty – at least not of murder. Which means someone else is…

Review: I’m a massive fan of Ruth Ware she’s definitely an auto buy author and if you only discover her from here. Wow I truly believe you will be reaching wholeheartedly for her back catalogue. For me it all started with In a Dark Dark Wood and I was mesmerised by it. So much so that I wanted to share the story so I gave my copy away, I now have another signed copy and I’m so glad as it really changed my reading habits. Enough about my fangirl back story.

I read the first chapter of The Turn of the Key and instantly wanted more. I knew that I needed this book more than anything. I hit the request button on Netgalley and was checking my emails obsessively, the email never came so just before publication I pre-ordered it when it pinged through just after midnight I tried to read past where I had been but tiredness took hold. If it wasn’t for circumstances I wholeheartedly could have devoured this in one maybe two sittings.

In some ways I’m blessed as extending this read gave me added enjoyment. I ended up finishing it whilst waiting to be seen by the doctor and that last 30% was probably the most intense. Although saying that the levels of intensity were there throughout.

Where do I begin?

There is so much in this novel and even at 70% in I still didn’t know anything connected to Rowan being in prison. At each turn I was left with many unanswered questions and new theories sprang to mind and each and every time I was so far from the truth.

Rowan is an interesting character, I can’t say I liked her, as at times I didn’t but I also sympathised with her at times. Either way she was a compelling leading lady with so much substance and as I got further through the book so much became clear, yet it also wasn’t totally clear.

Maddie and Ellie went through stages of being insanely cute and incredibly creepy. There was something about each of them from the off. Rhiannon was a totally different kettle of fish and was nowhere near as bad as the persona we are given from the off.

I cannot say anymore than that a twisting tale with oh soo much. It’s a story you will want to talk about but you honestly can’t until your mates have read it. I loved the set up of the letters, emails etc. It’s one of those books where you keep saying just a little more and then something happens to change your thought process again and the pages just keep turning. It’s also a very atmospheric book, I’ve been to Scotland but never anywhere like this although I feel like I have been there from how Ruth has explained everything about Heatherbrae House.

Ruth Ware is the Queen of thrilling, a twisting tale with sooo many ifs, buts and OMGs. A heart in mouth read that I will be recommending to any and every thriller lovers out there. This is the compelling read that will keep you awake at night, once you get to the heart of the story you won’t be able to stop.

Once again Ruth Ware has left me breathless and with a massive book hangover. I have a number of thrillers to read and now it’s going to be a hard task in beating this one…..and I loved that there was a very brief Hayley mentioned.

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2019, Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday – Book characters I’d love to be besties with….

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Now this is a prompt that I’m going to have fun with.

I know I only recently finished this but I truly loved these beauties. I would love to be besties with Nessie and Sam oh and Ruby. I think Ruby could tell me a thing or two and she would definitely be a confidence booster.

I often wish Brew was a real place, I’d get my morning coffee and share my trials and tribulations and I might just be on the receiving end of some good luck. Last week a customer gave me a mint choc chip cornetto and it really made me think of this beauty.

In thinking of book besties it really made me think. This book made me long for more? Anna took chances, to make her own happiness. I need to do more of that. This book still gives me all the feels.

Now I’m an auntie to twins (they’re one now) I would love to have a chat with these girlies on multiples and their bond etc etc. These girls were ballsy and made me feel like I need to get out of my comfort zone more.

I simply adored Tiffy and Leon although I would wanna fight for Leon. Everyone needs a Leon.

I fell in love with Ed and I’m so glad there’s two books with him. Book boyfriend 🙂

I’m so glad I still have lots more Jessie and Meg to devour both ladies inspired me in different ways. Watch this space….so much I want to read.

Angela and Jenny are amazing, I’m still behind in this series and I’m loving experiencing everything they’re going through.

Castle Court gets a mention in Holly’s latest and it gave me all the feels once again. Who wouldn’t want to be besties with Sadie and Cat. I would love to be a bit more confident like Cat.

There is loads and loads of besties amongst the gorgeous books I devour. I definitely need to be reading more. Hoping I get answers regarding my ear today and then I hope I feel better. Hoping to get Ruth Wares gorgeous book finished today. I’m also hoping to start my buddy read of Miranda Dickinson’s The Day We Meet Again…

What are your plans and who would you be besties with? Ace prompt I probably could have added loads more.

2019, Author Love, Uncategorized

National Book Lovers Day

Happy Book Lovers day….what are you reading? I haven’t had as much reading time as I would like but there have been some gasps and some OMG moments during my snatched moments.

I’m heading back to this now and so far I’m intrigued and there’s been a Hayley mentioned 🙂 Ruth is definitely one of my auto buy authors and she’s had me hooked each time.

Two weeks tomorrow I shall be going on holiday and I’m still trying to work out my books….any must haves.

2019, audible, New Author to me, Review, Uncategorized

Audio Review: The Man Who Didn’t Call By Rosie Walsh

Blurb: Imagine you meet a man, spend seven glorious days together, and fall in love. And it’s mutual: you’ve never been so certain of anything. 

So when he leaves for a long-booked holiday and promises to call from the airport, you have no cause to doubt him.

But he doesn’t call. 

Your friends tell you to forget him, but you know they’re wrong: something must have happened; there must be a reason for his silence.

What do you do when you finally discover you’re right? That there is a reason – and that reason is the one thing you didn’t share with each other? 

The truth.

Review: First off whatever you think this books about forget it. Whatever you were assuming is completely wrong – expect the unexpected.

This book is for every single girl who’s waited and waited for a man to call and he simply hasn’t. You had such a fantastic time together and you’re adamant that you’ll meet again but it’s not meant to be.

I toyed with whether to read or listen to this beauty and I opted for the audio. Narration is a massive thing for me and Katherine Press reads Rosie Walsh’s words so well.

OMG! So everything I expected from this novel was flipped on its head. I started thinking I could see what the truth was but my oh my I was so so wrong. Just when I thought I had the main essence of this story well and truly sussed Rosie threw a massive curve ball my way and I was left speechless and eager for more.

Everything about how this novel was written had me on the edge of my toes wanting more, as the end neared though I found myself halting time as I just didn’t want it to end. Rosie has a distinctive style, she has managed to create a love story of sorts and what could be described as a girlie read, with a twist and a totally thrilling aspect to boot. It’s one of those books where you will wholeheartedly think you know how it’s going to end and bam you are completely clueless with dramatic results.

I enjoyed how this novel focuses on the north of Gloucester and of the USA. This novel has it all families – their grief, feuds and so much more. Friends, loneliness, love, health and well-being just to name a few, and most importantly self care and in some aspects the lack of self care. Most of the voice is from Sarah but from time to time other characters voices spring forward.

This is a book that will stay with you long after the last line. It will make you think about your actions in many aspects of life. And sometimes he just doesn’t call for good reason.

I honestly cannot wait to see what Rosie Walsh does next. I’m definitely a fan and the hype over this book is well and truly warranted. Don’t delay get it today you won’t regret it.

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, Blog Tour, Book Snippet, extract, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence By Holly Hepburn

It is the greatest pleasure of mine to be on this blog tour for a book that well and truly got inside my heart. I will be sharing an extract and later you will also find out my thoughts on this beauty. Without further ado I’m going to hand over to my good friends Nessie and Sam at the Star and Sixpence although the menu invitation does not copy well…

Chapter One
A Taste of Autumn
at the
Star and Sixpence
The leaves are turning gold and there’s a chill in the air, so why not join our new chef, Gabe Santiago,
for an evening of smoky flavours and zinging cocktails as he introduces his new brand-new menu.
Booking essential. Thursday 25th October

It was a crisp mid-September morning, the kind that began with dewy grass but promised warmth as the sun rose higher in the sky. Nessie Chapman leaned back against the wrought- iron bench in the garden of Snowdrop Cottage and let her eyes drift shut. Soon, she’d have to walk over to the neighbouring Star and Sixpence and help her sister, Sam, welcome their new chef on his first day. But not right this second. She could steal a moment or two to appreciate the chirp of birdsong and gentle buzz of a nearby bee; Sam wouldn’t begrudge her that. In fact, knowing Sam, she might even prefer to be alone to greet the undeniably gorgeous Gabriel Santiago, although she’d insisted after they’d agreed he was the right person for the job that she was only interested in his prowess in the kitchen.
The truth was, Sam didn’t begrudge Nessie much. She’d cheered to the rafters when Nessie had finally got together with Owen Rhys, the blacksmith who lived next door to the Star and Sixpence, and she’d continued to cheer even when her own love affair with cellarman Joss ended in another tumultuous break-up. And she hadn’t objected a few months later when Nessie tentatively mentioned that Owen had asked her to move in with him, even though it meant Sam would be living in the pub on her own. She’d simply beamed in delight and declared that she couldn’t wait to have the place to herself.
There was a faint creak behind Nessie, alerting her that the back door of the cottage had opened.
‘A penny for your thoughts,’ a deep, Welsh-accented voice said.

Nessie smiled and opened her eyes. ‘If I had a penny for every time you’ve said that . . .’
Owen smiled back, his dark eyes crinkling beneath his coal-black brows and unruly curls. ‘You’d have around twenty pence, I expect. I should up my rates.’
He dipped his head to brush her lips with his and she felt the same familiar rush of delight mixed with incredulity that she still got every time Owen kissed her. Would it ever get old? she wondered, gazing up at him. It was hard to imagine at the moment, when every kiss still felt like their first.
‘So,’ he said, raising an eyebrow. ‘Do I have to guess what you were daydreaming about?’
Nessie laughed. ‘You won’t be surprised to hear I was thinking about the pub. Sam wants to make sure everything is gleaming for the new chef’s arrival.’
‘Ah, yes,’ Owen said wryly. ‘The much-anticipated Señor Santiago. I popped into the bakery yesterday and Martha was like a cat on hot bricks. I hope he’s ready to become Little Monkham’s new heart-throb.’
Nessie pictured the brooding Spanish chef and pulled a wry face. ‘Something tells me he’s already used to that kind of attention.’
‘I can imagine,’ Owen replied. ‘How does Sam feel about him?’
The question was innocent enough, but Nessie felt her- self bristle slightly at the implication behind the words; Sam had been at the centre of village gossip on more than one occasion in the past. Or at least her love life had. Then Nessie reminded herself that this was Owen, who didn’t have a gos- sipy bone in his body, and she forced herself to relax. ‘She’s looking forward to it, I think,’ she said cautiously. ‘We both are. He’ll be a breath of fresh air.’
Owen smiled. ‘He’ll certainly cause a lot of sighing, if his photo is anything to go by. Luke is hoping you’ll be able to sneak some puddings home.’
An image of Owen’s nine-year-old son popped into Nessie’s head; blond-haired and blue-eyed, he was the oppo- site of Owen’s dark Welsh looks, but they shared the same appetite. In fact, Luke didn’t so much eat food as inhale it and Nessie could just imagine him licking his lips at the thought of the kind of desserts that might be going begging at the end of the night in the Star and Sixpence kitchen. ‘I’ll see what I can do,’ she promised.
‘And now I suppose we’d both better get to work,’ Owen said, casting a rueful glance towards the pub. ‘You know where I am if your wonder chef decides to whip up an impos- sibly fancy lunch, although a decent steak sandwich would be just as welcome.’
Nessie laughed. ‘We’ll let him unpack before we start demanding meals, shall we?’
Owen accepted the teasing rebuke with a cheerful nod. ‘I suppose you’ve got a point. See you later, then.’
Dropping another kiss onto her forehead, he crossed the yard and disappeared into the forge.
Nessie sat for a moment longer, then roused herself with an inward sigh; Owen was right, she’d better get moving. Sam might not begrudge her sister’s happiness, but she definitely wouldn’t appreciate cleaning the pub on her own.
Nessie wasn’t sure she’d ever seen Sam as anxious as she was right before Gabriel Santiago was due to arrive. She paced the floor in front of the gleaming bar, casting fret- ful glances back towards the door that led to the newly fitted kitchens.
‘You did steam-clean the floor, didn’t you?’ she asked Nessie, running a hand through her usually sleek blonde bob. ‘After you’d done the oven and swept up the dust?’
Nessie summoned up her most soothing voice. ‘You were there when I did it, Sam. And I’ve double-checked the spare room, before you ask – everything is ready. All we need is the man himself.’
Sam checked the time. ‘He said he’d get here around ten o’clock, depending on traffic.’ She took a deep breath and glanced towards the spotlit bottles that lined the back of the bar. ‘God, this is stressful. Is it too early for gin?’
‘Relax, Sam,’ Nessie said, frowning a little. ‘Would it help to think of him as just another new employee?’
Now it was Sam’s turn to frown. ‘An employee who just happens to be an internationally respected Michelin- starred chef – one we’ve been boasting about for weeks. There’s a lot riding on making sure he settles in fast and sticks around.’
‘He’s also a professional,’ Nessie reminded her. ‘And he’s already inspected the kitchen, before he agreed to work with us. A speck or two of dust won’t scare him off.’
For a moment, Nessie thought her sister would argue, but then she sighed. ‘You’re right. I don’t know why I’m so worried.’
Nessie thought she knew: Sam had been different since her relationship with Joss had fallen apart. It had been a dif- ficult break-up – neither had wanted to accept that the bad times had begun to far outweigh the good – and Nessie sus- pected her sister had been considerably more hurt than she’d ever admit when Joss had made the decision to leave Little Monkham ‘for both their sakes’. He’d been Sam’s first serious love affair and the ensuing fallout had dampened her usual optimism, making her more wary of everything. Including, it seemed, their new business venture.
‘I thought I was supposed to be the worrier,’ Nessie said, her tone gently teasing. ‘Connor and Tilly will be here soon – they’ll get everything ready for opening. Why don’t we go upstairs and grab a cuppa?’
Connor was the burly ex-fireman who looked after the pub’s cellars, and Tilly was their nineteen-year-old barmaid; both were stalwart members of the Star and Sixpence team. And Nessie wouldn’t be surprised if Tilly’s mother, Martha, abandoned the village bakery to catch an early glimpse of the pub’s new chef – he’d been all she had talked about for weeks.
Sam puffed out a long breath. ‘Okay, deal.’
The first-floor rooms were a far cry from the gloom and woodchip wallpaper that had dominated when Nessie and Sam had first moved into the Star and Sixpence. The bedrooms hadn’t needed much; a lick of paint on the wood-beamed ceilings and plush new carpets to take some of the chill out of the early winter mornings. The kitchen had been another story – Sam hadn’t wasted any time in stripping out the boxy wall units and replacing them with something sleek and tasteful. The outdated appliances had gone too, including a fridge that was so vintage it had almost come back into style. In the living room, there were now two matching teal sofas that went beautifully with the oak coffee table and bookshelf, plus a flat-screen TV that Sam and Nessie had rarely found the time to watch. The rooms were still recognisably part of an old building but updated and modernised, in the same way that the pub downstairs was a fresher, more inviting version of the sixteenth-century inn it had been.
‘It’ll be weird having a flatmate again,’ Sam said, as they sat around the small table in the kitchen, sipping tea. ‘And even weirder that it won’t be you.’
‘I’m sure it will just be a temporary arrangement,’ Nessie said. ‘I imagine Gabe will want his own space too, once he’s settled in a bit.’
Sam gazed at her over the top of her mug, her expression pensive. ‘We are doing the right thing, aren’t we, Ness? Expanding the business, I mean.’
Once again, Nessie was struck by the reversal in their roles. Sam had always been impetuous and confident, while Nessie was more thoughtful and reticent. But those differences had grown less marked over the last year and not all of it was due to Sam’s broken heart; Nessie felt more settled in her role as the official landlady of the pub, in her place among the Little Monkham community too. Being with Owen had helped – his placid strength gave her something to lean on and the future no longer looked dark and unknowable. She could see the years stretching ahead, comfortable and safe, and the thought gave her more peace than she’d ever known.
‘Of course we are,’ she told Sam, with a smile of encouragement. We need to keep growing if we’re going to bring home that National Pub of the Year award.’
Sam nodded slowly. ‘I know. But are we being too ambi- tious? We could have gone for a lower-profile chef.’
‘We could,’ Nessie agreed. ‘But when have we ever taken the easy path? More importantly, when have you?’
Sam said nothing.
‘We chose Gabe because he’s a rising star – fresh and exciting and not afraid to take a few risks,’ Nessie went on. ‘Anyone can do good pub grub. We want more than that.’
‘Go hard or go home,’ Sam said, a wry smile tugging at her mouth. ‘Okay, you’ve convinced me all over again.’
The thud of feet on the stairs made them both glance towards the kitchen door. ‘Good,’ Nessie said. ‘Because it sounds like he might be here.’
Tilly appeared in the doorway, her cheeks unusually pink. ‘There’s a man at the door asking for you,’ she said, sounding flustered. ‘It’s . . . He’s . . .’

Nessie took pity on her. ‘Gabe Santiago, I presume?’ The barmaid nodded.
‘Thanks, Tilly, we’ll be right down,’ Nessie said. She
glanced at Sam. ‘Ready?’
Her sister lowered her cup and squared her shoulders. ‘As
ready as I’ll ever be.’
   

Be sure to pop in for a drink with the rest of the gorgeous tour. I will be posting my review later.

2019, august, Author Love, july, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: Those People By Louise Candlish

Blurb: Meet the neighbours you’ll love to hate. Until Darren and Jodie moved in, Lowland Way is a suburban paradise. Beautiful homes. Friendly neighbours. Kids playing out in the street. But Darren and Jodie don’t follow the rules and soon disputes over loud music and parking rights escalates to threats of violence.

Then, early one Sunday, a horrific crime shocks the street. As the police go house to house, the residents close ranks and everyone’s story is the same: they did it.

But there’s a problem the police don’t agree. And the door they’re knocking on next is yours.

Review: I’ve been excited for this novel since hearing a segment from Louise at Simon & Schuster’s Spring blogger event and then I inhaled the sampler. I decided against Netgalley as at the time I had exams although as it got nearer to publication day I regretted that thought process, even though I knew I needed to knuckle down.

My one downside with this read was that I was reading a hardback. Now a hardback looks gorgeous signed and on a shelf but carrying it around is a pain which is why it took me a while to finish. As it neared the final pages I did actually just carry it around. I thought I could have finished it on the stroke of July ending but it was not to be anyway enough rambling.

Louise really does have a way with words and the way each chapter was by a different person was genius. To start with all we know is something bad is happened but you have to keep turning those pages to find the missing pieces of the jigsaw and in this case there are many sides to this story. I wouldn’t say I liked any of the characters but at the beginning when Darren and Jodie arrive it’s easy to stereotype them as the bad trash who have gate crashed a nice neighbourhood but that isn’t the case at all.

It’s so hard to do books like this justice as there is so much to say but in saying so the intrigue and the mystery that I read would therefore be ruined for someone else.

As I turned those pages I kept coming up with my own theories but each and every time I was way off. Louise has engineered scenarios where you think you know where it’s leading but you are so very wrong.

As much as I didn’t really like the characters at times I warmed to many of them especially Jodie’s words nearer the end although she also made me laugh and made me think now could Lowland Way feature again.

I’ve read two of Louise’s books and I’ve been eager to shout her praise and recommend tenfold. I’m ashamed to say I have two copies of Our House but I’m yet to devour. I have it on audio now so I think when my current audio is done I shall dive in. If you’re looking for the perfect holiday companion look no further than Those People. I thought a few of my neighbours were questionable but they aren’t a patch on this bunch.

2019, july, Stacking the Shelves, Uncategorized

Stacking the Shelves

So as promised I said there would be a second post from me today and here it is.

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme co hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality. Stacking the Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can add any books that you add to your shelves, whether you’ve bought them been sent them or borrowed them from the library. And then be sure to post your links over on Tynga’s Reviews.

Last Saturday we looked at my Netgalley shelf which has risen a few since then now we are to look at my Kindle shelf. I will only be picking a handful otherwise this post could go on for eternity.

Have you read any of these? As ever this is just a snapshot of my Kindle library…

2019, Author Love, debut novel, july, New Author to me, Publication Day, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: Living My Best Life By Claire Frost

Blurb: Recently dumped by her boyfriend of ten years, Bell is struggling to move on with her life – and surrender the fleecy pyjamas she’s been living in since January. Haunted by #blessed on social media, she can’t help but compare her life to those she follows online, wondering where she is going wrong . . .

In the world of social media, Millie is the successful online influencer @mi_bestlife. But in real life she’s just a regular single mum trying to make ends meet, while fending off the younger competition and tenacious internet trolls. Her Instagram feed is far more #BestLie than #BestLife, and soon Millie begins to wish her life was more like her filters.

It isn’t until Bell and Millie’s paths cross that they begin to realise what they’re both missing. Can Millie prove to Bell that life online isn’t always what it appears to be? And in return, can Millie learn that she needs to start living for the moment and not for the likes? 

Review: Now this is a debut that I couldn’t wait to get stuck into. Although saying that having listened to Claire read a section of Living My Best Life at the Spring blogger event, it’s remarkable that I had managed to wait until nearer to publication day to actually read this treat.

Living my best life is the book every social media addict needs to read. More often than not we all get bogged down by social media in some way and Claire manages to show both sizes of this double edged coin. Our lives on social media are a far cry from the strains of our real lives. I’m not saying it’s all faked but it sure is filtered. Just like Millie I’ve often taken pictures at various angles cropping out all the everyday crap that just isn’t insta worthy.

Where do I start – Living My Best Life focuses on two women Millie – an insta influencer with an adorable son and there’s a lot more to her than meets the eye. And then we have Bell who is approaching her 40th birthday and has just been dumped by her long-standing boyfriend of ten years. Bell works in fashion but has never thought of herself as fashionable.

From the beginning I liked both of them but I instantly warmed to Bell more, don’t get me wrong as Millie’s chapters went on I couldn’t love them both more. I don’t want to say too much about the morals of the story but I loved the community element of this book and we don’t always see that gumption anymore. I love how it brought the two very different women together and it made me think of my various friendship groups. There’s always a link that brings you together but then it’s your actual friendship that stands the test of time.

There are a number of other characters that I could and probably should mention merely due to their humour but I’m going to only add Suze – who is the best mate we all need – she tells Bell exactly how it is and drags her out of her bout of sadness and Cosette – Bells funny and loveable sister who thoroughly thinks of family first.

I’m not 40 for another five years but wow Bell sure did celebrate in style and let’s face it she deserved every single second of it.

Claire’s debut is impressive, funny and plain addictive. I was so heartbroken when I forgot my copy yesterday especially as I was so close to the finish line.

What I also loved was how Claire managed to have humour alongside a number of serious real life issues which include bullying, postnatal depression and loneliness. There may also be a romance that warmed me, I can’t say too much but I was sooo sooo Happy it turned out the way it did and I literally had all the feels. That saying it happens when you least expect it sure did come to mind.

Living My Best Life is the book you need this Summer if you’re not left feeling reflective and ready for anything then did you even read it. It also shows the power of friends and friendship and that alone warms my heart. There’s a few friends who I know will totally lap up this read and I cannot wait to give them this chance.

2019, Off Topic, personal, Uncategorized

My Blogger Journey

So yesterday I asked what you would like to see on the blog today and a personal post won. I’ve been at work today and it’s been a hectic day to say the least, but I’ve been racking my brains with what to write and my blogger journey just kept coming to the forefront of my mind.

I’ve already mentioned my Fight Klub and my fitness stuff including the Exercise to Music qualification and everything that’s gone with that. Alongside my Slimming World journey and what that’s taught me in relation to my relationship with food so I thought let’s delve into being a blogger.

My blog originally started over on Blogger and it was called the Ramblings of a London Girl- I loved it but there was no real focus and I was often posting short posts just to post and quotes etc. Over on Blogger I had started writing book reviews as books and reading is a passion I’ve had since I was small. I have to mention my beloved Grandad Sam – my most favourite bookworm whose birthday it is today. I miss him dearly and this morning I finished listening to the audiobook of a George Orwell Classic and I instantly missed him once again.

I knew nothing about book blogging and then a friend of mine Casey was looking for reviewers to join her over on Dark-readers.com also a blogger site. I jumped at the chance, and just like that I was a book blogger being invited to events and meeting lots of other likeminded readers. It took me a while to realise that on Dark Readers I could review any books not just fantasy and paranormal although back then I was heavily invested in angels and vampires. So much so I had to take a break from those books. I then decided I wanted to talk about a number of subjects and I was interested to try a WordPress blog.

Hayleyslilworld was born – I used this platform for book, film and quite possibly theatre reviews. I undertook a number of writing prompts spoke of events I went to and used it as an outlet to share some of the articles I had via various work placements at publications and online.

Life was good I had two platforms to share content. Casey and I drifted apart and on Hayleyslilworld I started to receive a huge number of troll like messages getting to the point I didn’t want to blog anymore. Every time I received a notification I was scared to read it until I couldn’t take anymore and I made the page private and stopped altogether.

Hayley Reviews – which I write from now originally started as a blog about my volunteering with Cancer Research until I moved over to be a paid member of staff. I had got an ok following and thought it was a shame to get rid of it. So I changed the name and started talking about books. I had a few contacts from the Dark Readers days but some of the publishers moved on and my reading habits changed in some aspects.

Of late now the main hardcore studying has been done I’m now getting my reading mojo back and I’m loving it. It made my day last week to have been the first review for Daisy Tate that was a blogger highlight, and this month my reading has been great so much so I’ve started penning my what did I read in July and I’m so chuffed with the results already and there’s still a week or so to go. Although major fail I forgot my latest paperback read I’ve been missing it all day and I had hoped to finish it today.

Watch this space.

I’m looking at doing more questions and adding different additions to the blog. So give me a shout if you have a burning question or you would like to see me do something specific the meme’s have been working quite well of late.

Also if you’re an author or another blogger who would love to guest over at Hayley Reviews also give me a shout.

I look forward to hearing from you.