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, 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, 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, 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, july, Six for Sunday, Uncategorized

Six For Sunday – Books and the Seaside

It’s been forever since I’ve written a Six for Sunday especially since starting Self Care Sunday’s which I’m doing by chilling today. I’m not sure what my week will entail so I would like to rest, get a few things done and organised ahead of my impending holiday at the end of August and I would like to get a fair amount of reading in as I’m truly loving my current reads.

Miranda wrote the most beautiful book based at the seaside. Somewhere Beyond the Sea – is a love story that will stay with me and I shared the story of sea glass with my niece our favourite beach hasn’t had any but we always look now.

After devouring Hannah’s short story I was itching for this I read this whilst on holiday at the seaside last year and I loved every single second of it. I can’t wait to get stuck into another Hannah Pearl novel.

Evie’s Little Black Book

I read these in part and I love love loved devouring this cinema based story. It really did make me think of my Nan who I shared a love of film with.

The Picture House by the Sea

This week the fourth and final part of this novel will ping through to my kindle and I’m excited and sad. I won’t want to say goodbye to Charlie and the gang.

Part one In doing this meme I’ve realised how long this beauty has been on my TBR I really must change this. Although I did read another of Ali’s books whilst last on holiday at the caravan in Dymchurch.

This beauty by Isabelle Broom has me longing for Mojacar I will get there someday….

Then Now Always

Part two Cressida McLaughlin

Part three Cressida McLaughlin

As ever I’ve loved sitting down and penning my thoughts. I love being by the seaside and I still haven’t worked out what I hope to read this year on my travels. I’m loving having my mojo back right must eat breakfast have the soaps on and a book to get back to.

2019, Fitness, Me, Off Topic, personal, Uncategorized

Self Doubt

Now today there should be a well overdue Thriller review but after some fantastic news yesterday and some insightful conversations I decided to pen a more personal post.

Anyone that knows me even if you don’t particularly like me knows I’m a damn hard worker. You tell me no and I’m determined to prove you wrong, I have always been the same.

When I was at school I really enjoyed PE even took it as part of my GCSES but I was made to feel that I wasn’t good enough. So as much as it was something I truly enjoyed I looked into other passions and this one was shelved. At school it’s easy to get the necessary exercise in your day and then exams and life take over.

Anyway I’m rambling now.

Last year I found out a lot about me my habits, traits and I have changed so much in a year.

Not only am I eating things I would never have imagined I’m pushing myself both mentally and physically.

Almost a year ago I discovered Fight Klub a high intensity workout to music using punch bags. From the moment I took part I was addicted and had to work out when I could go again. I regularly attend the Falconwood class and sometimes make the Bexleyheath class. Between better eating and dedication I’m now a lot fitter than I was. At my first ever class I loved it but I was so out of my depth.

In November 2018 I took a few weeks out of work to study Exercise to Music – a course that opened my eyes and my imagination. I was one of nine ladies on the course and how each of us changed during those few weeks was impressive. I had done all the course work that I could before the course had start so in that instance I was a few segments ahead but for me nerves always take over on exam day.

On the course we did both theory exams back to back – I didn’t do badly I got 26 for Anatomy and 24 for Principles the pass mark was 28. I was deflated but had to let it go as I wouldn’t have had a chance to retake until after my practical exam.

Illness meant my practical was pretty much a car crash but my girls from the course were amazing and I got some really great feedback I felt awful and I felt like I had let myself down. So I had a bit of time going back over my theory and some time out for me.

As I have a full time job it was then trying to work out when I could take the exams. So on 10th April I went in and retook my Principles exam I improved I got 26 still two short of a pass. As these exams are multiple choice there’s no actual feedback I was frustrated but I had my Anatomy exam two weeks later so had no time to dwell. I felt much more confident and hadn’t over checked my answers and second guessed myself or so I thought. Over a week later I got an email to say I had got 24 that was two less than what I’d got on the course.

That nagging doubt and negativity crept in. I was also frustrated as the exams are done on Wednesday evenings and Wednesday’s are a pretty crazy day at work so I couldn’t see when I could redo any of them. After a few chats I had put in to redo my Principles exam on 29th May – I did some of the same revision plus I took a tutors advice and went back onto the online portal and in re-listening to it and doing the quizzes I started to see my confidence peak. Seeing as I get plagued by nerves I also decided to try Kalms tablets so I took them for a few days before and on the day of my exam.

Yesterday I received the email that would make my week I passed my Principles exam with a score of 29. I’m now one step closer to the ETM Exercise to Music qualification I’ve had a brief email chat with the tutor who gave me some advice and encouragement and I’m hoping to get booked on go retake my Anatomy exam on the 19th.

One step closer to ETM and one step closer to becoming a Fight Klub instructor.

2019, Author Love, Cover Reveal, Me, TeamSparkly, Uncategorized, update

Miranda Dickinson’s Sparkly news plus an update.

Now I’ve been a pretty rubbish blogger and I’ve been meaning to pen a post for a while. Since my last review I have finished another Thriller and a gorgeous love story but I’ve also had a lot on with work, exams and generally overdoing it.

Yesterday I was covering in another store which was crazy to say the least but this gorgeous lady revealed the cover of her next book. Without further ado I give you Miranda Dickinson’s sparkly news here is the quite simply gorgeous cover of The Day we Meet Again.

I’m a huge fan of Miranda’s and during my blogger experience she’s been nothing short of amazing, saying that she happens to be one of my favourites that I still haven’t met although we have had so many conversations via social media. Her books always take me away from whatever life is throwing at me at that time and they always give me so much hope for the future. I don’t always do her books justice but with this one I’m going to do my utmost.

The title makes me instantly think of my Nan she’s been gone for a good few years now but she will forever be one of my greatest female inspirations. By the end she was a shell of the woman she once was buy always such a fighter. If I’m half the woman she was when my time is up I will go happy.

I’m sorry to whatever I’m reading when I get my hands on this book as you will be shelved until I’ve devoured these pages. Just look at that rose gold….

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.