2019, Off Topic, personal, Uncategorized

10 years on…

Ten years ago tomorrow my life changed…some of you may sigh and call me dramatic but life really did change the minute we found out Stephen Gately had died.

I still to this day feel fortunate to have been at Emma’s I can’t imagine how I would have felt if I was alone. It’s funny as we had seen Ronan on a TV show about the Carpenters and then I stayed at Emma’s, we’d had a nice meal out with her family and gone to sleep like any other time.

To then be woken at 3am to Emma’s sister giving us the earth shattering news. Neither of us wanted to believe it, imagining it to be a sick joke. We’d both turned our phones off but when we powered them up we both had hundreds of messages from mutual friends, my family and school friends that neither of us had spoken to in years.

In speaking to loved ones and on Emma putting the TV on our fears case true.

Early that year we’d made comments on not understanding it when Michael Jackson died but when Steo passed it hit us like a train. I’d been a massive Boyzone fan since I was small and all I’d wanted was to meet them. I had met all of them bar Mikey during their solo time but when they reunited in 2007 I was given that chance to go all round the country seeing them and making friends.

That child I was would never have believed how lucky I was….Boyzone will always be a five piece and they will always mean the world to me. They let me escape when I needed to and their music always lifts my mood. Steo lives on in the music and he’s never forgotten.

This is still one of my most treasured photos

Grief is a funny thing that effects us all. I’ve changed so much since 2009 but that raw emotion is still there. It’s not always tears but it’s definitely there.

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2019, Author Love, Author Q&A, Blogtober, Uncategorized

Q&A with Daisy Tate…

So I promised there would be two posts to honour yesterday’s Twitter poll. www.Twitter.com/HayleyTOfficial

I’m delighted to welcome Daisy Tate to Hayley Reviews today. I loved and truly adored part one of the Happy Glampers and once I’ve organised my reading and my new working patterns I will be getting stuck into part two.

You can read my thoughts on the Happy Glampers Here

1.I read the Happy Glampers not knowing it was only part one and I loved it. Where did you get the inspiration for it?

The idea to write about Glampers was my editor’s idea. She wanted a four part series to release first online (available now) and then as an entire book (available in Spring 2020). I wrote a few synopses exploring different groups of friends/families who were either glamping or running a glamping business. Together we wove what is hopefully a magic mix of friends who glamp together (and stay together, obvs!).

2. As I say I didn’t realise it was only part one? What can we expect from the four friends, I cannot wait to read the rest.

I’m so happy you enjoyed it. The rest of the book takes quite a wild ride. The entire book takes place over the course of a year. Without giving too much away, each of the characters will take quite a wild ride that will make them take a hard look at their lives but with lots of laughs (and cake!) along the way. There will be camping in Wales, a trip to Scotland and possibly a trip down memory lane in Bristol!

3. This is your debut right? What else can we expect from you?

This is my debut. I was offered a two book contract so you’ll definitely see those and, fingers crossed, if you all enjoy the books, there will be more. One of my MANY fantasies is to write a book that becomes a film and/or a television series I started out wanting to be an actor and never lost the passion for TV and film. I then went on to become a news cameraman before I met my fella and we moved to the farm, so fingers crossed, I’ll get something up on the silver screen one day!

4. What’s your daily writing day like?

I get up pretty early. After a dog walk (if I haven’t convinced The Hubby to do it) and making a rather strong mug of coffee (about the size of my head), I head to the keyboard. Some days it’s a struggle ignore all of that exciting social media action out there, so it’s definitely an exercise in control. I tend to write until about midday when farm duties take over and from there on out it’s cows, chickens, bees and, of course, dog walks.

5. What are you reading at the moment?

I’m reading THREE books at the moment (for some reason, I can never do just one!). I’m reading Everything I Know About Love by the soul baring Dolly Alderton, The Break by the fabulous Marian Keyes and My Not So Fabulous Life by the wonderful Sophie Kinsella.

6. What are you working on at the moment?

I am working on a book called A Bicycle Built for Sue – I’m in the throes of writing my second book called A Bicycle Built for Sue which is a standalone novel (no need to wait for all of the parts this time!). I’ve just returned from riding my bicycle on the coast to coast Hadrian’s Wall ride as research…so that’s your teaser.

7. What’s your earliest memory of books?

Ohhhh….I would say going to the library. My sister, brother and I read like hungry wolves attack, umm….a bucket of KFC. We would bring ‘the box’ and were allowed six books and half an hour to choose whatever we wanted. My mum also used to read the Little House on the Prarie series to us again and again and again and I LOVED it every single time.

8. How do you create your characters??

I tend to need an image of them to really nail who they are. When I am writing them I really like being inside their emotional centre, so if I have a picture of who I’m writing in my head (or, in this case, I pinned them up on the corkboard opposite my desk), it really helps.

9. When did you realise you wanted to become a writer?

I was a bit slow off the mark on this one! Everyone seemed to know but me. I was obsessed with becoming an actor and then when it came time to hit the real world, it turned out I hated auditioning. Ooops. Then, when I worked in news, I wrote every day. I also wrote little plays we took up to Edinburgh and I loved writing comedy sketches and comedy news pieces. It wasn’t until a friend dared me to try and write a Mills & Boon that I finally sat down and wrote an entire book. And after that? Well…here we are!

10. What is your ultimate goal?

I’d love to write a book that scoops up the reader’s heart, takes it on a tumultuous journey of laughter, emotional peaks and troughs and then at the last breath-taing minute, brings you back to earth with a nice cosy landing. And, of course, have it made into a major motion picture starring, say, Emma Stone and…oh…fill in whoever floats your boat! (This week I’m all about Tom Hardy because he loves dogs as much as I do.) I would also like to have about a hundred Bernese Mountain Dogs. And more cows. And make honeycomb crunch that isn’t chewy to squish into homemade chocolate ice cream sandwiches.

Thank you once again Daisy and I cannot wait to finish the Glampers series. I am definitely a fan.

If you’re an author or blogger and would love to take part in one of my Q&A’s do get in touch…

2019, audible, Author Love, Uncategorized

Audible Review: Postscript By Cecelia Ahern

Thank you to those who posted on my Twitter poll. www.Twitter.com/HayleyTOfficial

It was a 50/50 split so I’m hoping to honour both. So this is the first of two posts today….I love love loved this book it was one of my September favourites and it’s taken me a while to put my thoughts into order to do it justice so without further ado I give you my thoughts on Cecelia Ahern’s fantastic sequel.

Blurb: It’s been seven years since Holly Kennedy’s husband died – six since she read his final letter, urging Holly to find the courage to forge a new life.

She’s proud of all the ways in which she has grown and evolved. But when a group inspired by Gerry’s letters, calling themselves the PS, I Love You Club, approaches Holly asking for help, she finds herself drawn back into a world that she worked so hard to leave behind.

Reluctantly, Holly begins a relationship with the club, even as their friendship threatens to destroy the peace she believes she has achieved. As each of these people calls upon Holly to help them leave something meaningful behind for their loved ones, Holly will embark on a remarkable journey – one that will challenge her to ask whether embracing the future means betraying the past, and what it means to love someone forever…

Review: I still remember the day Cecelia announced that she had written the sequel to PS I Love You. From the day of the announcement I knew that I wouldn’t be able to wait and I would need Postscript on release. I was so eager to have Holly & Gerry back into my life. And my oh my it did not disappoint, it was the last audiobook I’ve listened to whilst struggling with ear pain in my left ear.

Holly and Gerry came into my life 15 years ago I was at university and I remember purchasing it just before a term break, it would be my treat, and what a treat it was.

During my uni time I didn’t read a lot for pleasure as I just didn’t have the time or the brain power, to this day I can remember how empowered and full of love I was for Holly and Gerry and going back into that bubble both excited and terrified me. The saddest thing for me is that my auntie Bina loved reading PS I Love You after my uncle passed and since then she’s joined him, so she’s not here to enjoy the total beauty of Postscript, I know she would have had a heart full of love for it but I know she will also be happier by my uncles side.

What can I say to do Postscript justice, I honestly don’t know how I can. It was a beautiful and emotional read that will stay with me. I loved how Cecelia interlinked lots of PS I Love You, especially with the letters. It was lovely and nostalgic to take that trip down memory lane and 15 years on I’m still mesmerised and a blubbering mess. After listening to the prologue there were tears but it was such a beautiful emotion…

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.

It’s so hard to review something so beautiful and to something that’s a continuation. I love how Cecelia deals with grief and how she has portrayed that even after seven years you can be drawn back to that place that had you feeling so lost and alone.

Holly is a character I have loved since the first book and I love seeing how Gerry managed to empower her whilst struggling with his loss and how ultimately he can be her downfall also. It shows that Holly is not only real but she’s human.

Seeing the PS I Love You club blossom and change was heartwarming and heartbreaking. I can see why Holly had conflicting thoughts and I feel like as a reader I joined Holly on that emotional rollercoaster.

There are so many ups and downs within Postscript but it was a truly emotional journey that I wholeheartedly loved being on. I don’t want to ruin any of the story so I shan’t be saying too much more apart from to Cecelia thank you so much for bringing Holly and Gerry back to us. It’s everything I hoped for and so much more. I wish there had been a UK event for this masterpiece.

If you haven’t read PS I Love You I urge you to do so now…you won’t be disappointed.

2019, Author Love, Blogtober, christmas, Uncategorized

Book Review: Coming Home To Glendale Hall By Victoria Walters

Blurb: Beth Williams hasn’t been home for ten years. When she fell pregnant at just sixteen, knowing that her family would never approve, she ran away from the imposing Scottish estate that had been her home, building a new life for herself and her daughter hundreds of miles away.

But when her father begs her to return home to see her gravely ill grandmother, Beth is apprehensive at the thought of seeing her family again. With her daughter Isabelle, now a feisty ten-year-old, in tow, she plans to cut her visit as short as she can whilst fulfilling her duty.

Beth has worked hard to leave her past behind her, living in London with Isabelle and working hard to be the best single mother she can be. Returning to the Glendale Hall estate means facing her strict and unaffectionate mother, formidable grandmother, as well her teenage boyfriend, Drew, who broke her heart and doesn’t know that he has a daughter.

But Beth is about to discover that everyone has their own version of the past, and the true story she thought she knew for the last ten years might well be a very different one to the truth. Will Beth be able to find it in her heart to forgive her mother and grandmother (and herself) for what happened ten years ago? Or will she end up running away all over again?

Your home isn’t a place, it’s the people you share it with.

Review: Wow!!! Where do I start? I don’t usually read Christmas books at the end of September beginning of October but I had been waiting for this one and had pre ordered. So I couldn’t wait for too long and was it worth the wait, you bet it was. I always say I will re-read books but it very rarely happens as there are always so many on offer, but I feel like if I proper needed a Christmas boost this would be the book to give me that.

Firstly Victoria Walters writes a compelling read that will have you truly mesmerised from the very first page. I remember reading that blurb of this and being intrigued that intrigue, want and pure joy carried on throughout.

From the beginning I adored Beth and I loved everything about her, her story was hard and at some points truly heartbreaking but as a sixteen year old girl she made a decision that would ultimately change her life.

I have to mention Izzy – what a great kid I love how gutsy and determined she is although she thinks of others before herself – meaning her mum doesn’t always know what’s on the ten year olds mind. What I loved about her the most was how into books she was and the fact she wasn’t scared to say how she felt – there were a few occasions when she just blurts out what many of the adults wouldn’t or couldn’t.

This story gives you love, loss, regret, forgiveness and the art of family.

Deep down we all have a family, granted each of ours is different and depending on your communication it really does depend on how close you are. I love how Victoria has written a story about a family unit with a whole host of issues but who deep down love each other deeply. They may not have always shown it and their lack of communication and love was paramount at times but when push came to shove they pulled through as family for themselves and the sake of Glendale.

The element of loss really hit home to me, transporting me back to that time when I first experienced losing a loved one and how hard it is. There was another segment of loss in realising when someone has truly left this world another feeling I’ve experienced and I believe that this was done so well and with grace.

I also love the elements of friendships reconnecting. Heather and Beth had obviously been thick as thieves as kids but had lost touch when Beth fled. It was heartwarming to see their friendship come back together seamlessly.

Victoria awakened the romantic in me, I was left truly gushing at this book and there were times when I became increasingly frustrated with Beth and Drew and there was an addition that annoyed me from the off. But I feel I called what happened – long before it transpired on the page. What kept me smiling was the pure romance of a first love that never dulled. A sparkle that was always there no matter the time apart. Leaving me feeling elated and longing for that kind of love.

There were so many fantastic elements to this book that really made me think of the true aspects of Christmas it’s so much more than the presents. It’s about spending time with those you love and truly appreciating that time. As each and everyone of us will leave this world at some point. It’s made me think of my Christmas traditions and now my nieces and nephew are growing it changes the real value of Christmas for me. As long as they enjoy the magic I’m perfectly happy to sit back with a book and a festive drink. Although in London we rarely get the magical white Christmas but I cannot wait to devour It’s a Wonderful Life again it took me forever to watch with my mum and I couldn’t imagine a year without it now.

2019, A thought? A question, Author Q&A, Uncategorized

Q&A with Cressida McLaughlin

Today I am pleased to share an interview with Cressida McLaughlin and I’m so sorry it’s come so late in the day…I’ve been a tad busy with an awful MRI and it’s my best friends birthday…

So without further ado.

1 The Cornish Cream Tea Bus was my first of your reads although I also have the canal book cafe on my kindle. What was your inspiration for the Cornish Cream Tea Bus???

I have been visiting Cornwall for about four years, after seeing it on the recent BBC adaptation of Poldark, and have completely fallen in love with it. The landscape is so beautiful and dramatic, and it’s so romantic, too, that as soon as I went I knew I wanted to set a book there. It also has some delicious, traditional food – fresh fish, pasties and, of course, the Cornish Cream Tea. I loved the idea of there being a slightly forgotten village, of a determined heroine coming in and trying to rescue it while also trying to get over her own heartbreak. I wanted her to face lots of challenges, some opposition, and I wanted there to be mouth-watering food.

I loved everything about it the setting was atmospheric and pretty something and the characters well they truly touched my heart?

I am so pleased you loved the characters! I really do too – I love all my characters, but I particularly loved creating Porthgolow and all its unique inhabitants: the contrast between Myrtle, who has lived there for decades, and Daniel, with his modern hotel sitting up on the cliff, Jonah with all his knowledge and, of course, Charlie. I loved breathing life into them, and I’m so glad you were touched by them, and thought the setting was atmospheric – that’s exactly the impression I wanted to make.

2. What’s been your best highlight of being a published author?

There are so many – it really is a dream come true! Hearing from readers who have loved my books, who have been touched by them in some way, or just been completely engrossed in the story is amazing, because it means I’ve done my job. I write them to entertain people, and so hearing that it’s worked is the best feeling. Also, the moment you get to hold your paperback for the first time is always thrilling and emotional – and it never gets any less exciting. Holding my first paperback of The Cornish Cream Tea Bus felt as special as holding A Christmas Tail.

3. What’s your average writing day like? Paint us a picture…

My brain is much better in the morning than it is in the afternoon, so I like to start early. I usually get up around 6.30 and then go for a walk round our closest park, meeting all the dogs. We don’t have any pets at the moment, but it’s lovely to meet all the local pooches. Then, when I’m back home, I’ll take a cup of tea up to my office, turn on all my fairy lights and – usually after responding to emails and engaging in some other forms of procrastination – I’ll start writing.

I aim to write at least 3,000 words a day. That’s about one of my chapters, and sometimes I’ll just scrape it, sometimes I’ll write double that, and sometimes I’ll manage 0 good words and get very annoyed with myself! I usually write until about 1.30, then have lunch, and then, depending on how well I’ve done in the morning, I’ll either carry on or I’ll use the afternoon to catch up with blogs, doing any Q&As (like this!) or reading. I’m fuelled by lots of coffee during the morning, and occasionally chocolate! 🙂

4. Where do you get your inspiration?

Inspiration comes from so many different places – an actual location, like some of the places we’ve visited in Cornwall, a snippet of conversation I’ve overheard in a coffee shop, a question that appears randomly into my head – for example: what would it be like to own a café on a narrowboat? – or something very specific.

I remember exactly when the idea for The House of Birds and Butterflies popped into my head. We were visiting Minsmere, which is a wonderful nature reserve in Suffolk run by the RSPB, and it has this very long, windy driveway through the woods, to get to the car park. Nestled in the trees was this beautiful little cottage, so quaint and so remote, but with all these cars going to and from the nature reserve, and hikers walking past it with their binoculars and waterproofs, and I just thought – what would it be like to live in that cottage? How would you feel if you’d just moved there, and realised it wasn’t as quiet as you thought it was going to be? Suddenly I had the whole premise of The House of Birds and Butterflies – Abby working in the reserve, trying to improve its fortunes, and Jack, just moved into the adjacent cottage, grumpy and hurting, looking for some peace and quiet and finding none.

That’s just one example, but it was such a specific moment, and it’s so brilliant when you get flashes of inspiration like that!

5. How do your characters come together? Characters are a huge thing for me….and I loved those you created in the Cornish Cream Tea Bus.

They always come together quite slowly. I start with my heroine, what her predicament is, and what kind of person she is. For example, Charlie is very determined, she’s positive and she won’t let things get her down. She is generous and ambitious, but she also jumps quickly to conclusions, and sometimes her temper gets the better of her.

Once I’ve got my heroine, I have a huge amount of fun creating my hero. I have to think they’re really hot, or I won’t write the tension between them and my heroine convincingly. They have to have things in common with her, but also beliefs or circumstances that mean they will clash in some way, so they won’t immediately fall into each other’s arms. The will-they-won’t-they is very important in my books, one of my favourite things to write – and also to read.

Supporting characters are also great fun to write – family members, friends and the locals in whichever community I’m creating. Those tend to appear as I write, when I need my heroine to face obstacles and also find allies. I start with quite a sketchy idea and as the story develops, all my characters flesh out – quite often very differently to how I first imagine them – so by the time I write ‘The end’ I feel like I know them all pretty well.

6. What’s your earliest memory of books?

My house was always full of books when I was growing up, and I think my first memory was sitting on my bed, my dad showing me a pop-up picture book of The Wind in the Willows. There was a page with a row of bare trees, darkness behind them, and when you pulled the tab, horrible weasels popped out from behind the trees. It always used to terrify me, but at the same time I wanted my dad to go back to that page and pull that tab over and over again. Maybe that’s why I love reading scary books now!

7. When did you realise you wanted to be a writer?

Not until my mid twenties. I have always loved reading books, and I did English Literature at University and wrote lots of essays about books I’d read, but never really had ambitions to write them myself. Then I read a few women’s fiction books, most notably Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella and A Hopeless Romantic by Harriet Evans, and I LOVED them! I loved the way they made me feel – they were so funny and emotional, they made me laugh and cry, and they were beautifully, swooningly romantic. After that, I decided that I wanted to write books like that – that I wanted to control the stories, and create characters that readers loved and heroes they swooned over, and I wanted to make people laugh and cry. Once I’d got it into my head, that was all I wanted to do.

8. What advice would you give to wannabe writers and bloggers?

Read lots of books, and try and read different genres, because you can learn a lot about writing by reading books – what you think works and what doesn’t; the tricks writers use to make you laugh or cry or hide behind a pillow.

I would also say that to be a successful writer, or a book blogger, you need to be passionate about it. Write a story that you feel strongly about, don’t do it because you think it’s going to be a great way of making money. One piece of advice I heard, which I thought was brilliant, was: write the book that you want to read. That way, your heart will be invested in it, and you’ll work hard to make it work. Don’t write a book because you think there’s a current trend or it’s the kind of thing that’s selling. If you don’t care about the story, it’s unlikely that your readers will.

I would also say the same about blogging. I used to blog for the book website Novelicious before I got my book deal, and I loved it – reviewing books, sending Q&As to authors and publicists, typing up the ‘My Book Deal Moment’ feature, always hoping that one day I would have my own. All the book bloggers I’ve come across seem super dedicated – they all love books, and love blogging about them, and I think that’s the main thing you need.

9. What are you working on now??? Can you tell us anything?

I’m working on a book called The Cornish Cream Tea Summer. From the title, you can probably guess that it’s going to involve some familiar characters – but there will also be some new ones!

The heroine, Charlie’s cousin Delilah, comes to Porthgolow after something goes seriously wrong in her life back in London. She’s heard about Charlie’s idyllic existence in the Cornish village and she thinks it’s the perfect place to run to, but she might get more than she bargained for once she gets acquainted with The Cornish Cream Tea Bus, and all that Porthgolow has to offer.

As I write this I’ve only got two more chapters left of the first draft, and even though it’s in a very rough and ready state at the moment, I am so excited about it! I hope you love Delilah and her story as much as I do.

10. What are you reading right now? Have your reading habits changed since being a writer.

I certainly read more since I’ve become a full time writer, because, now I don’t have a standard nine to five job and don’t have to fit my writing into evenings and weekends, I have more time to read.

I’ve always been an avid reader, and I’ve always read quite widely – I love crime and thrillers and ghost stories, as well as romance and women’s fiction – and that hasn’t changed. And I love that I sometimes get sent proofs of books to read, as it means I can discover lots of new authors. It does mean that my TBR Pile is never-ending, but I’ve come to accept that as a (very positive) occupational hazard.

At the moment I’m reading Kiss Heaven Goodbye, by Tasmina Perry. She’s a brilliant author who writes glamorous thrillers, often centred around wealthy people who have secrets to hide. They’re fast paced, full of drama and romance and twists, and are proper escapism. I’m going on holiday next week and I’ve got Mhairi McFarlane’s new book, If I Never Met You, to read, and I am SO excited about that. One of the best things about being a writer is that I can count reading as part of my job. I really am living the dream.

Cressida McLaughlin

Instagram: @cressmclaughlin

Facebook: @cressidamclaughlinauthor

Twitter: @cressmclaughlin

Website: cressidamclaughlin.com

Thank you Cressida for joining me today and I cannot wait to go back To Cornwall for Delilah’s story….

2019, Uncategorized, wrap up

September wrap up…

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

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

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

Let’s see how I faired…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2019, Author Love, Uncategorized

The Hidden Paige has given me all the feels and left me excited for a new adventure with a new couple…

Paige Toon is one of my most favourite authors and she always manages to brighten my day.

I’m sorry to those who voted on my poll my Postscript review will be written later today and up tomorrow. I had to mention The Hidden Paige as today Paige has unveiled the name of her next novel out in May 2020 and my interest and excitement is already piqued.

The Minute I Saw You is based in Cambridge and features Matilda and Archie who Paige had written a short story about – An Unusual Valentine’s- wow! This treat from Paige can be devoured in a coffee break and I’m already excited for Archie and Matilda’s story. Everything about their meeting made me go all gooey. Paige has a way of giving me all the feels exactly when I want and need them.

The sun in her eyes has had a makeover and it’s truly gorgeous. I really must make time to read the books of Paige’s that I haven’t but I love still having many new adventures to discover. Soon myself and Catriona will be delving into Paige’s back catalogue and I honestly cannot wait.

Have you read any of Paige’s early books I’m a massive fan but I’m a bit behind on the older stuff. Hit me with your recommendations????

2019, Shelf Control, Uncategorized

Shelf Control #2

Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies.  It is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves.  Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

So I’ve gone for a Kobo/Kindle shelf read. Although my Kobo passed on last year some time but it was six years old so I got my money’s worth and some. I was thinking last now how bad I’ve been over the years for 99p and freebie reads and it brought me to this book.

I downloaded this what must have been Boxing Day 2012 or so. I’m not 100% but I remember being at my Nan & Grandads and downloading this from the Boxing Day sale….What I’ve read of Giovanna I have enjoyed and I feel awful to have had this on my digital library for so long.

As I haven’t read Billy and Me I still haven’t read the Christmas short either.

Have you read this or any of Giovanna’s books? I loved You’re the One that I Want.

2019, Author Love, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: When Polly Met Olly By Zoe May

Blurb: Polly and Olly were never supposed to meet…

Polly might spend her days searching for eligible matches for her elite list of clients at her New York dating agency, but her own love life is starting to go up in smoke.

Even worse, she can’t stop thinking about the very person she’s meant to be setting her latest client up with… surely it can’t get any worse!

But then Polly bumps into oh-so-handsome Olly, who heads up a rival agency, and realizes that perhaps all really is fair in love and dating war…

Review: I’ve been championing this lady since devouring Perfect Match – it was a Netgalley read that provided me a new author and friend. I’ve spoken to Zoe so much over Twitter and Instagram and as much as I have championed her she’s also been very complimentary of me and my blogging efforts.

When Zoe went to New York to research for this novel we had chatted loads and loads I felt like I wanted this book long before it had been written. In a way it’s bad form on me for only having just finished it. I’ve been away with my family and I knew it would be the perfect time to get some reading done although I haven’t read as much as I would like I’m so glad to have read ‘When Polly Met Olly’. It’s a perfect feel good read and the ultimate tonic when you need a pick me up or if you’re in a reading slump.

Zoe writes about dating so effortlessly, I’ve been a huge fan of Celebs Go Dating for yonks and if you have ever watched the series I’m sure Olly will remind you of a certain Eden Blackman. I could picture him from the off and for me it added to my enjoyment of the story. I didn’t always like Olly but deep down there was always another side to him and I’m glad that that came into fruition before the story ended.

I loved Polly and everything about her story, seeing her progress in New York. I said to Zoe how real Polly was with her struggles to become a photographer, I’ve known that pain. Having studied New Media Journalism and spent so much of my spare time trying to make something of myself. In reading this book it’s shown me that we do have to go back to why we started and why we loved it. I may not be getting paid to write but I have a blog that I enjoy sharing my passion for books and the written word. I’ve also shared a few of my other passions and lifestyle changes, in starting my new job at the end of September I’m hoping to add some new additions to the blog and I cannot wait.

Zoe May writes a truly engaging novel that keeps you on your toes. I loved the different aspects with the emails and Tinder/Match messages alongside texts and dialogue. I also loved the stark contrast to people in New York with money and those trying to make their way. I also have to mention Gabe I truly loved the friendship between Gabe and Polly, everyone needs that friend who will tell you how it is rather than what you want to hear.

The other resounding message from this novel is looks can be deceiving. In this day and age with social media taking over we’re all obsessed with how we come across and insta and reality are two separate things and sometimes we all need to take a step back. I pride myself on taking people as I find them and Polly’s gut instincts helped her in the end.

A truly enjoyable read that could have been devoured in a solitary sitting if I had had that luxury. A fantastic final read before I head back to reality, back to work for me tomorrow and I still have an audiobook to finish…

2019, New Author to me, novella, Quick Reads, Review, Short Story, Uncategorized

Novella Review: Stepping Out By S.J.King

Blurb: WINNER of the Books and the City Choice Award in the #heatseeker short story competition, Stepping Out is a poignant, inspiring short story about acceptance, self-love and finding the courage to be who you really are.

Paula has been practising walking in her new red velvet heels for weeks. So far, she hasn’t made it past her front door.

But tonight is different.

With the help of her sister, a panty-girdle and a little bit of Dutch courage, Paula is stepping out, for the very first time.

Will she find the courage to show her true identity to the world? And if she does, will they accept her?

Review: I purchased this on 16th September 2018 and just under a year later I’ve finally read it. The Heat-seeker winners that I’ve read have been fantastic and following Hannah Pearl’s treat I instantly downloaded this one. For one reason or another it’s taken me this long to read this but I truly enjoyed this short read. It’s the perfect tonic in between reads and kept me entertained with a coffee and a biscuit just after my breakfast and in between my lunch whilst at the seaside.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this novel, from the off I worked out it was heavily focused on anxiety but considering the title I was a little naive in what I thought it was about. An extremely well written short that had me on the edge of my seat throughout constantly wanting more and not feeling like I’d been short changed by the novella. I wholeheartedly felt captivated by the thoughts and feelings of someone overcoming these sort of challenges, and how it changes even the smallest of events hence Paula’s night out taking so much effort and preparation.

A truly heartfelt and powerful read of anxiety change and the love of a sister.