2019, Bath, beauty

Blogtober was….

Going so well until yesterday. Yesterday was my first ever late shift in my new job so I had no excuses really as I was at home for a massive chunk of the day, although I did run some errands and wash my hair and time just slipped by. I’d meant to post on my break and ended up reading.

My reading has been so so and actually having proper breaks means I get some in which is good. There’s probably a number of half started posts I could have finished but needed something light as I have a banging headache and should be sleeping now….

So…

This is the Body Shops coffee face mask and oh my I probably needed this in my system today. It’s very similar to that of Lush’s cup of coffee which has been a favourite for a while.

So what can I say about this. If you don’t like coffee steer clear as it’s a very strong and distinctive smell of caffeine. Which works for me. It also makes my face feel soft and hydrated.

Now here’s for one of those awful pics of me.

Ok so there’s two terrifying pics of me. Excuse the state but this stuff is fab. It’s worth every penny.

I’m sorry yesterday there was no post I’m eager to add different content to the blog and I would love to spend one day of my week answering questions here on Hayley Reviews so hit me..

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2019, Author Love, Blogtober, christmas, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: The Christmas Calendar Girls By Samantha Tonge

Today I am delighted to share my second Christmas read of 2019 I never imagined I would be reading them in October. I’ve read a few of Samantha Tonge’s books and truly loved them so I was overjoyed to be invited onto her blog tour for The Christmas Calendar Girls.

Blurb: Christmas is meant to be a time of giving, so with Chesterwood food bank under risk of closure Fern knows just what to do to save it. She’s going to get the town to create a living advent calendar.

Fern, and her best friends, call for help from the local community to bring this calendar to life. When Kit, the new man in town, offers his assistance Fern’s heart can’t help but skip a beat (or two).

As they grow ever closer, Fern must admit that Kit’s breaking down the barriers she built after the death of her husband. But his past is holding him back and Fern doesn’t know how to reach him. No matter how hard she tries.

In this town, Kit’s not the only one with secrets. Domestic goddess Cara is behaving oddly, burning meals in the oven and clothes whilst ironing, and Davina’s perfect children are causing trouble at school leaving her son, Jasper, desperately unhappy.

Can the Christmas Calendar Girls find a way to bring the community together in time to save the food bank, while still supporting their families and each other? Can Fern find love again with Kit?

This is a story about kindness and letting go of the past. It’s about looking out for your neighbours and about making every day feel like Christmas.

Review: As I said above this is my second Christmas read and this one also is about so much more than presents. Samantha Tonge has openly spoken of her struggles and I love how she’s added an element of that in a few of her characters namely the elusive Kit. Going through hard and desperate times doesn’t make us bad people it makes us human. I loved seeing him transform as a character ultimately forgiving himself for his wrong doings. Most of the time we are our own worst critics and Kit learned the hard way and came out on top.

From the very beginning I loved Cara, Davina and Fern three very different feisty ladies who make the greatest army of friends. I loved how they pulled together and worked as a team. If you decide to read this novel you will see how ying and yang they are but ultimately they are the greatest friendship group. I loved getting to know them and seeing each of them hit bumps in the way and come out on top.

I have to mention Audrey who really did pull at my heart strings. She made me think of my beautiful Nan who is now one of the brightest stars in the sky she was fiercely independent right until the end and the cinema experiences had me back in my Nan’s front room watching films. I like to think my latest job move is linked to her and I feel a small sense of pride when I watch something I know she would have loved. It’s like a hug from her all over again.

I really loved the sense of community and sadly these days it’s not something that happens. I love the togetherness and the sense of hope and achievement. Another festive read that made me think of the true value of Christmas. Myself and my siblings now do a secret Santa and bar that we only go all out on the kids and my parents and that suits us. Although last year we all managed to work out who had who etc.

We’re not into the festivities yet as it’s only October but my nieces are taking part in harvest festival at school and are appreciating that there are others out there less fortunate than us.

A novel full of love, friendships and how loss in any way shape or form effects us all both young and old alike. A truly heartwarming story that will have you smiling once you close the book.

Be sure to check out the rest of the tour…

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, A thought? A question, Off Topic, personal, Uncategorized

Senses…

Now to start this post I’m going to have to ramble slightly so I apologise in advance. At the beginning of July well to be honest it could have been from the end of June but I remember it being July as I had tried to get a doctors appointment before my weekend in Dublin. I had been struggling with a piercing earache where it was leaking and all sorts leaving me in pain and slightly death.

It seems whenever I’m unwell I cannot be seen by a GP so I’m usually sat in urgent care or listening to advice from others. I went to Ireland for the weekend and I had a great time although I was still struggling with an earache. So on my return I went to Boots and purchased Earex, it helped for a bit, the puss stopped and the pain subsided temporarily at least. Mid August I was seriously struggling but with a holiday looming I wanted some answers and I wanted something to dull the pain so I went through the process of trying to be seen.

In August I was given both ear drops and then antibiotics (first via urgent care, second via an actual appointment with a GP) it improved but I knew deep down I wasn’t done with the ear pain. I then managed to get a doctors appointment and was seen by a helpful lady who told me what I knew, my ear was still blocked and I would need to be seen by ENT. That again seemed to be another battle, if they had listened to me before my holiday I would have been seen by ENT earlier.

My first experience in ENT left me in tears and I was grateful for a good book and to have work to get back to. Not only did I feel lost I felt vulnerable, having studied Physical Education and most recently fitness I know a lot of technical terms but of the ear I’m baffled. I understand that the NHS do an amazing job and are seriously stretched but on the occasions I’ve been seen I’ve been made to feel like an inconvenience. I didn’t understand what the doctors were telling me and I instantly burst into tears.

Thankfully my fears weren’t as bad as I first thought but it’s a long process that I’m still waiting on. I had to go back the following Monday – the hearing test was well explained to me and I felt somewhat better now I was being listened to. When I was then called in to see the doctor I instantly felt that vulnerability and sadness once again. On my initial appointment I was told on my next visit I would have the hearing test and the MRI and from there I would know if I needed an operation. That wasn’t the case and when I explained my frustrations and asked if there were any dos and don’ts in the meantime whilst I await the MRI letter I was merely treated like an inconvenience – like why would you ask something so stupid?

Here I was thinking that your hearing was an important part of daily life.

To my surprise it wasn’t an eight week wait for my letter regarding an MRI appointment on 1st October I arrived home after my induction for my new job to a letter for an appointment on 4th October. So as I type the continuation of this blog post I’ve had my MRI and it wasn’t fun in the slightest. That’s over with now to await my results.

Having just started a new job it’s not ideal at all but I’m hoping that seeing as I was seen a lot sooner than expected I hope that means my full hearing could be back with me soon.

The one thing that’s terrified me in this whole experience is how vulnerable I have felt. I can’t hear people walking by me until they are right in my face. It’s also made me value my senses a lot more than I have before. Feeling helpless is heartbreaking and my journey isn’t over yet but I’m trying to make the best of a bad situation.

I love audiobooks but as it stands I’ve put a hold on my audible account as my hearing is limited unless I’m listening in the comfort of my own home. I guess the positive there is that I save some money.

I’ll keep you posted…that’s if your interested.

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, Blogtober, christmas, Publication Day, Uncategorized

The Christmas Wish List By Heidi Swain

Happiest of publication days to one of my most favourite authors. Heidi I hope today is everything you deserve and more and I hope there is cake and bubbles too. I cannot wait to go to Wynbridge this Christmas. You can purchase it Here also be sure to check your local independent book shops and supermarkets.

I’ve been so excited for this book since it was announced although that feels like forever ago.

If my excitement isn’t enough for you be sure to read the blurb….

After being let go from her job in a swanky hotel just weeks before Christmas, Hattie is feeling lost. Even more so when her high-flying boyfriend announces he’s landed his dream job in Abu Dhabi and asks her to move with him. Luckily, Hattie’s long-time friend Dolly is on hand to help and invites Hattie to spend one last holiday in the small, festive town of Wynbridge, determined to give her a Christmas to remember . . .

Upon Hattie’s arrival, holiday preparations are in full swing. But for Hattie, whose Christmas cheer has long since run out, it’ll take more than mince pies and mistletoe to open her heart to the season once more. Relishing the task of reigniting Hattie’s Christmas spirit, Dolly suggests they create a wish list of all the things the season can offer, and with the helpful hands of Wynbridge’s resident handyman, Beamish, Hattie finds her frosty exterior is starting to thaw.

As Wynbridge prepares for its most spectacular Christmas yet, will Hattie leave snowy England behind for life in a sunnier clime, or will she in fact realise that her heart’s desire lies much closer to home?

I don’t usually read Christmas books this early but there really are a few good ones this year….plus each year I always get a few that I don’t get to and I promise to read it the following year. Let’s see how I fair this year.

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

Audible Review: What Happens Now By Sophia Money-Coutts

Blurb: After eight years together, Lil Bailey thought she’d already found ‘the one’ – that is, until he dumped her for a blonde twenty-something colleague. So she does what any self-respecting singleton would do: swipes right, puts on her best bra and finds herself on a first date with a handsome mountaineer called Max. What’s the worst that can happen?

Well it’s pretty bad actually. First Max ghosts her and then, after weeing on a stick (but mostly her hands), a few weeks later Lil discovers she’s pregnant. She’s single, thirty-one and living in a thimble-sized flat in London, it’s hardly the happily-ever-after she was looking for.

Lil’s ready to do the baby-thing on her own – it can’t be that hard, right? But she should probably tell Max, if she can track him down. Surely he’s not that Max, the highly eligible, headline-grabbing son of Lord and Lady Rushbrooke, currently trekking up a mountain in South Asia? Oh, maybe he wasn’t ignoring Lil after all…  

Review: I saw a tweet of a video of Sophia Money-Coutts reading the prologue of What Happens Now. I was instantly intrigued in looking into the audio and in reading that she’d read her book I instantly hit the pre-order button. I did manage to listen to a bit on publication day but as it was just before my holiday and crazy busy at work I didn’t devour it as quickly as I would have hoped. Although saying that, that wasn’t a bad thing at all as this book will keep you in good spirits whatever life’s throwing at you.

From the very start I adored Lil she’s a straight up talking gal with no airs and graces. Often thinking after she’s said the unthinkable, although saying that she’s a professional teacher who does her best for her pupils. I loved this story from start to finish it was hilarious at times but Sophia also manages to interlink amazing real life scenarios that have you thinking. I liked seeing both sides of her, at her funniest and at her lowest and the resounding message is that she’s a strong woman.

At first I got a little confused until I’d realised that some chapters were from the meet between Max and Lil and then from when she found out she was pregnant. That scene alone was one of the funniest moments even though you’re like OMG what is she going to do now? Lil’s relationship with her family is a little strained but deep down the family unit is there and she has a fabulous set of friends who really make up a lot of this novel especially when Lil is seriously stressing out. She’s oblivious to who Max really is and that also adds to the humour.

Max is a great leading man he’s not so much brooding but he’s definitely got his own share of baggage. Although Lil being Lil puts two and two together and makes five. I loved how their story shaped and I had many hours of listening to them, and constantly wanting more. As I neared the end of the novel it was hard to put it down.

This was my first Sophia Money-Coutts novel and it definitely won’t be my last if you haven’t discovered the wit and flair of Sophia look no further. For me What Happens Now was a snapshot of what she can do combining real and at times hard issues with humour sure is a skill.

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.