2019, Author Love, Blog Tour, ebook, Review, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: A Year At Castle Court By Holly Hepburn – win a copy of this beauty.

Blurb: Sadie is a single mum, nursing a broken heart. Her best friend from childhood, Cat, is burned out from working long hours as a chef in Paris. In need of a change, they decide to invest in their dream – running their own handmade biscuit shop in gorgeous Castle Court, a three-storey food court tucked away behind Chester’s bustling streets.
 
They soon discover that Castle Court has its own community – a little haven of delight against the stresses of the outside world. But not everyone welcomes the new business; the patisserie owner is less than pleased by what she sees as direct competition and Greg, who runs the fancy bistro that dominates one end of the courtyard, doesn’t think Sadie and Cat have the talent or business acumen to succeed. Luckily, there’s support in the form of the delectable Jaren, who owns the Dutch waffle house opposite Smart Cookies, and Swiss chocolate-shop owner, Elin. And if all else fails, the friends can drown their sorrows in Seb‘s cocktail bar on the third floor!

Review: Ever since I discovered Holly Hepburn I’ve been mesmerised by her writing. What I love about devouring one of Holly’s novels is that I’ve instantly escaped whatever mundane worries I have for a short time at least. Her novels feature kick ass women and men to die for as well as those we love to hate. I must admit her latest set of instalments I’m a tad behind on as I’ve been studying but I’m in the midst of getting my studies, reading and my life in general more organised.

Anyway today I’m pleased to be a part of the gorgeous blog tour for A Year At Castle Court. I’m one of these people who originally took forever to get to e books but then it seemed like the best of both worlds. I read this beauty when it was originally released in four parts and as with any Holly book I was eagerly left wanting more after each instalment, so much so I had pre-ordered each part and had kind of forgotten until they pinged though.

From the off I was taken with Sadie and Cat very different women but simultaneously very good friends. Their friendship and partnership was a joy to read. These girls sure did go on an emotional rollercoaster ride but what was always paramount was their bond – even when they didn’t really agree or like what the other was doing.

As I said I read this beauty in stages and I was hooked from the get go my thoughts are all here.

https://hayleyreviews10.wordpress.com/2017/12/20/book-review-snowy-nights-at-castle-court-by-holly-hepburn/

https://hayleyreviews10.wordpress.com/2018/01/17/book-review-frosty-mornings-at-castle-court-by-holly-hepburn/

https://hayleyreviews10.wordpress.com/2018/04/13/book-review-part-three-stormy-weather-at-castle-court-by-holly-hepburn/

https://hayleyreviews10.wordpress.com/2018/05/02/book-review-starry-skies-at-castle-court-by-holly-hepburn/

Be sure to check out all the other stops on this truly fabulous tour. I’m also giving one lucky UK person the chance of winning this treat.

Tell me why you would love to delve into Holly’s Castle Court? And what your hopes are for 2019.

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2019, Author Love, debut novel, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton By Anstey Harris

Blurb: Between the simple melody of running her violin shop and the full-blown orchestra of her romantic interludes in Paris with David, her devoted partner of eight years, Grace Atherton has always set her life to music.

Her world revolves entirely around David, for Grace’s own secrets have kept everyone else at bay. Until, suddenly and shockingly, one act tips Grace’s life upside down, and the music seems to stop.

It takes a vivacious old man and a straight-talking teenager to kickstart a new chapter for Grace. In the process, she learns that she is not as alone in the world as she had once thought, that no mistake is insurmountable, and that the quiet moments in life can be something to shout about …

Review: Honestly I don’t know where to start. Before reading this truly gorgeous book I was struggling with my reading, nothing would hold my gaze even though I was reading good stuff it just wasn’t what I needed, and then I picked this up and everything changed.

On my train journey I quite easily had devoured three chapters and was already left with a few OMG moments. It’s safe to say The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton snapped me out of my reading slump and left me with the most unexpected book hangover. What Anstey Harris has created is a truly unique book that will stay with me forever, when I read that final line and closed the book I knew just how special this was.

I really liked Grace from the beginning even though at times she frustrated me a hell of a lot. I loved being on her journey and seeing her realise she deserved the best of life and she wasn’t getting it. I loved seeing that dramatic change in her it made me whoop for joy for Grace and for everyone woman with a dream.

I’m so sad to not be at the launch event of this beautiful book but I haven’t been well and I was in urgent care until late last night and had to work today so it was just unfortunate timing.

2019

2019

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

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

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

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

2018, Author Love, Blog Tour, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: A Little Christmas Charm By Kathryn Freeman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kathryn please please take us back to these again.

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

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

Purchase Link 

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

Author Bio – 

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

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

Social Media Links – 

Website:  http://kathrynfreeman.co.uk

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KathrynFreeman1

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

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

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

2018, Author Love, Blog Tour

Guest Post: Finding Jess Blog Tour By Julia Ibbotson

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

Location Ghana, West Africa

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

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

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

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

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

Drumbeats: http://myBook.to/Drumbeatstrilogy

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

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

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

http://Author.to/JuliaIbbotsonauthor

But do check out my other sites:

Author website: https://juliaibbotsonauthor.com/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/JuliaIbbotson

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

http://pinterest.com/juliai1/

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

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

2018, audible, Blogtober, event, Uncategorized

A Spark Of Light – Jodi Picoult event

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2018, Blogtober, personal, Uncategorized

Life is a Rollercoaster

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2018, A thought? A question, Blogtober, Uncategorized

What do you class as Self Care?

These posts of mine seem to be getting later and later, would you believe I usually start drafting them between 6.30 and 7.30am whilst on my walk into work listening to Magic or an audiobook.

Seeing as I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself at the moment I thought I would channel that into something productive.

What do you class as self care?

So without any definitions I would say self care is taking care of yourself. That’s a pretty broad statement I know. It’s also taking steps to make your life and well being better.

On Monday at work I done something to my back. I’m not sure if I just over done it or whether I twisted it but since then I’ve been in a lot of pain. It’s also made me think what do I do for me??

Dictionary definitions of self care…

The practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.

‘autonomy in self-care and insulin administration’

1.1 The practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress. ‘expressing oneself is an essential form of self-care’ as modifier ‘self-care methods such as meditation’

I’ve had to change up my routine to include more me time – I am sad that I’ve missed my classes but I know it’s for my well being especially as I will be starting my Exercise to Music course next month and I want to be fully fit and raring to go for that.

I haven’t done too much this evening but it’s been chilled which is what you need sometimes.

My question for you. What’s your perfect evening?

Mine would be a comforting meal very much like what I had tonight jacket potatoes with baked beans and mushrooms a good bath with either Lush goodies or stress relief Radox – which was what I had tonight. A hot chocolate or an Irish coffee and a good book or some Netflix. I’m grateful to have another weekend off and I’m eager to take this time for me, I will be doing some of my course work and watching and reading a few things and I simply cannot wait.

I have a Christmas novella review for you tomorrow I just need to get it finished.

2018, Blogtober, Tag, Uncategorized

50 things that make me happy

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

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

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

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

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

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

2018, A thought? A question, Blogtober, Uncategorized

Thoughtful Monday – hear me Roar!

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

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

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

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