2020, Author Love, Publication Day, Uncategorized

Book Review: Where We Belong By Anstey Harris

Blurb: One summer.
One house.
One family learning to love again.

Cate Morris and her son, Leo, are homeless, adrift. They’ve packed up the boxes from their London home, said goodbye to friends and colleagues, and now they are on their way to ‘Hatters Museum of the Wide Wide World – to stay just for the summer. Cate doesn’t want to be there, in Richard’s family home without Richard to guide her any more. And she knows for sure that Araminta, the retainer of the collection of dusty objects and stuffed animals, has taken against them. But they have nowhere else to go. They have to make the best of it.

But Richard hasn’t told Cate the truth about his family’s history. And something about the house starts to work its way under her skin.
Can she really walk away, once she knows the truth?

Review: I loved The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton, it was a novel that sucked me in from the beginning. I was lucky enough to have my quote in the gorgeous hardback of this novel. A story that I loved and felt all encompassed by and one that stayed with me long after the final page.

In having that dramatic a feeling towards this gorgeous debut I was over joyed at the sound of her second novel Where We Belong. Long before I even knew what it was about there were grabby hands from me. I had to be back in Anstey’s world.

At the Simon & Schuster Spring blogger event which thankfully just happened just before the world went completely bonkers, Anstey read about the museum I was enthralled and you could literally hear a pin drop as us bloggers waited with baited breath. I knew then that this book would be another special read. It had been arranged seemingly ages ago that I and Catriona would buddy read this and what a week I had with this.

So Where We Belong….where do I start. From the off I was enthralled Anstey has a fantastic eye for descriptive detail and I was instantly mesmerised lapping up each and every detail.

In finishing reading this I’m extremely sad that the world is the way it is right now as I feel like wandering around a museum now would have such a different feel. I’ve always been interested in history but I don’t feel like I’ve always truly appreciated it. There’s lots of local history that I’ve been to but once life returns I may have to revisit with a new eye. Sorry for the ramble back to it.

Cate Morris is a truly exceptional woman, one that I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with. I mean hate is probably a harsh word but I didn’t always like or agree with her. Seeing her life change for a number of reasons was intriguing and kept me turning the pages. I wasn’t expecting her story to go the way it did. What I will say is deep down she loved the ones who meant the most to her, her family meant the world to her.

Leo is an interesting character and I wasn’t sure on his age to start with. There are lots to this young man and I loved seeing the change in him from the beginning to the end of the novel it’s like we watched him grow.

Araminta is another interesting lady I couldn’t read her to start with but in turning the pages I knew there was more to the eye. I loved seeing the change in her.

There are a number of supporting characters that add so much to this story I don’t want to mention them as I want you to read this novel as I did with fresh eyes not knowing where the historic tale would take you. Depression and mental health are major factors to this novel but they are woven to that of daily life. They aren’t an issue they are a reality which Anstey has created with Grace and empathy.

I was swept away by the description and in even saying that I want to explain more but I don’t want to ruin the story. A truly beautiful tale of love, loss, friendship, families and secrets. If you don’t find yourself in tears as this novel comes to a close then do you even have a heart. Not all the drama is concluded but never ever make assumptions over family life, Secrets or that of a seemingly solid venture.

Once again Anstey has written a novel that will stay with me long after I’ve closed the book. I’m truly in awe of her eye to detail and in weaving a tale that keeps you guessing and changing your opinion along the way. My question now is how long must I wait for book three…

Uncategorized

Keyboard Warriors

I know in writing those two words I’ll be sent some sort of abuse. In light of the last 24 hours I’ve felt compelled to put pen to paper as so to speak. It’s not only celebrities that receive abuse and nastiness from trolls, over the years I’ve had messages on boyband message boards as well as on a few blogging platforms. At one instance I ended up doubting everyone around me and I was forced to stop writing. I did for a while before starting again on a different platform alongside a friend before that fizzled out.

Before Hayley Reviews there was Hayleyslilworld until I couldn’t take it anymore I made my page private it had consisted of book and film reviews, personal thoughts and links to various pieces I’d written on work placements for various publications. I then decided it was better for me to no longer participate in something that was making me cringe every time I had a notification. Not only slatting my words but me as a person. I deleted so many people off many social platforms and accused everyone of hounding me – whoever was sending me those nasty words got to me and had me doubting everyone. I didn’t want to share any of my thoughts as I wasn’t sure who I could trust. If you’re continually told you are a certain way you sadly start to believe it. I had got myself into such a state over it.

Even though I had suffered at the worst trolls I had started to miss the good sides of social media and blogging. I then became a volunteer and wanted to talk about my experiences as my life changed this blog then reverted to what I loved books. Even just last week I had a few not so nice messages telling me my reviews were rubbish but the plus I took was said troll had gone through a number of my posts skyrocketing my views for that day.

What happened to Caroline Flack shouldn’t have happened. None of us are perfect we all make mistakes in life. The sad reality with all things celebrity is everyone believes they have a right to their personal life and that is not the case. They are still human beings someone’s daughter, brother, sister, friend, mother, auntie.

No one should feel like they have no way out but to end it. In saying that check in on those friends who seemingly have it all and on those that always check in on you. Be kind and live in the now what’s gone we can’t change but what’s to come is on us.

2019, Blog Tour, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: Q&A with Dean Burnett

Today I’m lucky enough to have two fantastic blog tour posts and this is a Q&A with Dean Burnett, the book Psycho-logical was very aptly released on World Mental Health Day.

1. What was your inspiration for writing Psycho-logical?

I’ve been writing about mental health matters for many years now, and people seem to really like when I do, and find it useful. I’ve long wanted to put all my knowledge down in a book, I figured that’d be even more helpful, Audible offered the opportunity to do so, so I took it

2. What do you hope readers get from it? And who are you aiming this audiobook at?

I’m hoping to ‘ground’ mental health matters in more tangible ways. By explaining the mechanisms and actual workings of the brain in things like depression etc, I can hopefully reduce stigma and further understanding. It’s aimed at literally anyone who struggles with, knows anyone who struggles with, or is just interested in, mental health issues.

3. I think it’s a subject we should speak about more and it’s something that needs to be done in a controlled manner. Would you agree?

Indeed. While I think it’s important that people can share their experiences, I feel it can often lead to things getting out of hand, and discussions can lose sight of the actual facts, as we see them

4. What’s your average writing day?

It’s mostly spent in my garden, where I have a dedicated writing cabin. It’s basically me, sat in a wooden box, typing for many hours a day, occasionally disrupted by my cat fighting other neighbourhood cats on the roof 

5. Did writing this audiobook take it out of you emotionally as well as physically?

Perhaps a bit, but this effect was mitigated by the fact that it’s all stuff I’ve been writing and teaching about for years. Hearing the contributions from my friends who shared their mental health experiences was often very moving though. 

6. Where would you like mental health to be in 5 years time? Do you think as a society we would have moved on into a way of helping rather than of taboo?

I wouldn’t be able to say exactly where mental health will be, but the progress has been good and I’m hoping it will continue. It’s more widely accepted and acknowledged now, compared to how it was, but i’d like to increase understanding and acceptance of the mechanisms and science, rather than a focus on inspirational memes or well-meant but largely meaningless platitudes

7. Who are your biggest inspirations in terms of writing and why?

I don’t really have specific inspirations or role models, I’ve always been sceptical about the idea of modelling your life and goals on someone else’s. I think, if I had to pick though, it was Spike Milligan who had the biggest impact, especially his war diaries. The mix of brilliant humour and deep tragedy and introspective analysis showed me that it was possible to do such a thing.

8. Did you write this from personal experience, and if so can you explain?

All the stuff I write is things I’ve learned, but I don’t have mental health problems of my own thus far. However, my background, growing up in a pub in a remote economically-depressed community, as well as being a resident of Bridgend and the suicide spate in the late 2000s, these all informed my compassionate approach and constant desire to improve mental health understanding.

9. What is your advice for anyone suffering?

It’s tricky. There’s so much advice out there, and a lot of it is contradictory or well-meant but ineffective. I guess I’d just want to point out that your issues and your suffering is genuine, and anyone dismissing it has no right to do so. It’s your mind, only you can say what goes on in it

10. What do you hope to Psycho-logical achieves?

I’m hoping it can reduce fear and uncertainty, and hopefully stigma, around mental health. If just one person feels better about their issues or situation, that would be enough.

Thank you Dean for joining me today…if you would like to know more about the book here is the blurb.

Countless charities and awareness campaigns work tirelessly to show people that mental health problems are common and serious issues. But when it comes to mental health matters, one question that’s rarely asked is…why?   

Why are conditions like depression and anxiety so common?

Why is our mental health so vulnerable to the stresses and events of modern life?

Why do so many mental health problems have pronounced physical symptoms?

Why, if mental health problems are so commonplace, does anyone need to be made ‘aware’ of them in the first place?

And why is there still so much confusion and stigma about mental health matters?   

 

 

2019, audible, Author Love, Review, Uncategorized

Audible Review: If You Could Go Anywhere By Paige Toon

Blurb: Angie has always wanted to travel. But at twenty-seven, she has barely stepped outside the small mining town where she was born. Instead, she discovers the world through stories told to her by passing travellers, dreaming that one day she’ll see it all for herself.

When her grandmother passes away, leaving Angie with no remaining family, she is ready to start her own adventures. Then she finds a letter revealing the address of the father she never knew, and realises instantly where her journey must begin: Italy.
 
As Angie sets out to find the truth – about her family, her past and who she really is – will mysterious and reckless Italian Alessandro help guide the way?

Review: Now I’ve said it before and I’m not even sorry I will keep repeating how much of a fangirl of Paige Toon I really am. If you’re not new to the blog you would have heard this before and I’m kind of sorry ha. I got into Paige late and in a way I love that as I still have many of her worlds to enjoy. I’m going on holiday in August with my family to the caravan holiday park we have been visiting since I was a kid and seeing as we will be there for two weeks this year I think a few Paige unread books will be coming. I may even ask you guys to choose nearer the time.

Anyway over to If You Could Go Anywhere firstly how it took me so long to devour this. The fabulous team at Simon & Schuster had given me a copy what seems like forever ago but due to my exams it just got shelved so I ended up listening to this beauty on Audible. I’ve listened to a few of Paige’s and the narration from Heather Long was fantastic- she also read Thirteen Weddings which was also a treat.

What can I say wow wow wow wow! (If you can say that like how Kylie sings it then you have my drift). Paige writes in a way that you are transported into that character I felt every single ounce of Angie’s emotion and on her first experience of Italy I felt like I was there. Another place I haven’t visited but my has Paige made me want to.

We meet Angie as her grandmother has passed away and she’s quite frankly lost. For so long she has taken care of her grandmother- that she doesn’t really know what to do for her. One things for sure she’s always wanted to travel and until this point she hasn’t left her own town of Cobber Pedy – Australia. A place that sounds simply gorgeous and her community are so adorable they really care for Angie and her well being. Her only travel has been through others postcards. Just reading about her postcards gave me travel envy. Angie’s friends and neighbours really do care for her best interests and what they do to push her on her journey is quite simply breathtaking.

Angie knows nothing of her father – until a letter comes to light. Her travels start with Italy and finding out some answers. Families are a funny one and they all have their secrets but Angie really didn’t bargain for what she finds.

Before finishing this fantastic novel I attended the Waterstones event for Paige, Lindsey Kelk and Lucy Vine. I had hoped to have finished in time but revision got in the way there was so much talk of the way Paige writes a proper love of your life love story and how much we were all aching for Angie and Alessendro to get together.

In a Paige Toon novel you are always guaranteed a sweep you off your feet romance usually from a brooding male….but what she created so amazingly with this one was how many sub-subjects there were. We have grief, love, travel, mental health just to name a few and they are all done with grace and understanding.

Another treat that had me in tears….I thought this one was different but it tugged on my heart strings like Paige always does. Although I must say in finishing If You Go Anywhere it left me with a happy heart and a book hangover.

Paige thank you as ever for writing a thought provoking book that took me away from the trials and tribulations of everyday stresses. Now seeing as there’s nothing more until next year I must get back to the back catalogue. There will be another post before my impending trip away.

Finally If You Could Go Anywhere where would you go? I still have a few major places I would love to see and I’m going with Nashville and New Orleans. I’m itching for them sooo badly.

Read to sleep week, Uncategorized

Read to Sleep week….

Info on #readtosleepweek

This challenge requires each participant to read for 6 minutes or more each night before they go to sleep. It doesn’t have to be a fiction book (or a book date from The Book Matchmaker), it can be a kindle, newspaper, magazine, non fiction book or anything that causes you to sit back, relax and just read, preferably not your phone (unless you turn off notifications).

Not only will this challenge help reduce your stress levels and enable you to sleep better,  but also for some of you it may hopefully bring back a love of reading again.

April is Stress Awareness Month. If you are looking for more information the wonderful charity MIND explains what stress is, what might cause it and how it can affect you. They have articles that include information about other ways you can help yourself and how to get support.

The challenge starts on Sunday the 22nd of April for 1 whole week. If you would like to take part please let us know by using the hashtag #readtosleepweek in your posts. Please also share with others who may like to get involved.

This is just what I need right now….I just wanted to check in and post this awesome challenge which I’m going to start shortly. I’m hoping it means I get more reading in. I’m going to delve into Paige Toon’s Five Years From Now I read the sampler and was dying for more…here’s my sampler Review let me know if you’re getting involved in this awesome challenging and here’s to lots of books and tons of sleep.

Buddy Read, Vlog

Buddy Review: Chase the Rainbow By Poorna Bell.

So sorry for the lack of posts it’s been a busy week in my work life and I have been too exhausted to get much else done. So far this week I have listened to a little audio and read a few chapters of The Missing Twin which is released tomorrow I think it’s unlikely that I will get the time or have the energy to have finished and reviewed it by tomorrow. However below is my buddy read discussion of Chase the Rainbow with the lovely Cat at Fabulous Book Fiend. You can check out her site Here

debut novel, Netgalley, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: Our Little Secret By Darren O’Sullivan

Published 28th July 2017 by HQ Digital 

Blurb: A deserted train station: A man waits. A woman watches.

Chris is ready to join his wife. He’s planned this moment for nearly a year. The date. The time. The train. But he hadn’t factored in Sarah.

So when Sarah walks on to the platform and sees a man swaying at the edge she assumes he’s just had too much to drink. What she doesn’t expect is to stop a suicide.
As Sarah becomes obsessed with discovering the secrets that Chris is clearly hiding, he becomes obsessed with stopping her, protecting her.
But there are some secrets that are meant to stay buried…

Review: Firstly wow!!!! I honestly don’t know how to do this beauty of a debut justice. Darren O’Sullivan I’m literally such a fan and I’m ready and waiting for what’s next from you. So much so I will drop everything, sorry to whatever book I am reading at that moment. To read whatever you bring out next. That’s how much faith I have in you after devouring this creepy treat. 

When the cover for Our Little Secret was shared by HQ Digital on Twitter I instantly wanted to know more. In reading the blurb my interest was hightened, I then went on to request on Netgalley and yay I was accepted. This was my initial post when I knew I had to read this book Cover Reveal: Our Little Secret

I wanted to read it as close to publication day as I could as I had always said my review would be up on that day. As much as I’m writing this earlier I’m sticking to that rule. Wow! What a rollercoaster of emotions but the thrilling ride is chilling and oh so worth it. For someone who never used to read thrillers let alone psychological ones I can safely say this is one of my ultimate favourites and another book that chills me to the core as I cannot pass it on to my Grandad Sam – I would have loved to have had a convo with him about this one.

The story is told by Chris the man on the brink of suicide – you also have Sarah’s points of view and background on her- who is on the platform on the day he decided it was time. Then there are diary entries from Julia, and then there is Steve – the best friend. I don’t want to delve into it too much as I want you as readers to discover everything that happens just as I did but I must say until very late on I hadn’t seen it coming. 

It’s funny as in some aspects of the story it made me think of the film psycho ( I am not spoiling) you knew that the situation was messed up but part of you was routing for him anyway there are parts of that with Chris.

I enjoyed that the story was in sections by date and time although with the occasional flashbacks showing how this had come about. As I got nearer and nearer to the end I felt like my heart was pounding too just like when the action comes to head in a dramatic film. 

Darren touches on loss, betrayal, friendship, love, loneliness and mental health all in one novel. I felt drawn to all of the characters even though I didn’t always like them they were easy to relate to and in some ways easy to read.

A heart pounding, rollercoaster ride that would make an epic film or TV show. I was right to be excited by Darren’s debut and wow what a way to begin I cannot wait to see what chilling story comes next I’m going to have to read something light next as I’m still in awe of Our Little Secret so much so I’m a little lost at where to go.

If you adore thrillers do not hesitate but download this beauty today it’s 99p well spent. Darren enjoy today everything that started with March train station has led to today publication day. What a read…..