2020, Author Love, event, Uncategorized

Simon & Schuster Spring Blogger Event

I have to start by saying it’s always a pleasure and a privilege to be invited to Simon & Schuster HQ, not only are they the hardest working bunch but they are the nicest people who always host an impressive event.

Whatever day week or month of the year it is I always want to be there. Not only do they make me feel valued I always leave feeling motivated and ready to accomplish anything, whether it be within my bookish realm or other aspects of my working or personal life and I will always thank them for that. It’s also a time for me to catch up with a number of my blogger pals, there’s a few of us who constantly say we will catch up more but it’s not always possible although as I had the day off I managed to meet Laura aka @grumpygirlie for food and a beverage before proceedings which was lovely and well overdue to say the least.

During the event…we were part of the gorgeous exclusive reveal of Caroline Scott’s next novel.

I haven’t read her first novel yet but what she spoke about from this one has really moved me so I’m sure it will get pushed up my list although this isn’t released until October.
I shamefully didn’t take many pictures of the fabulous authors as I was too busy getting lost in their words…and during the signing session I was talking a lot.

There was a quiz on all things Simon & Schuster and I was lucky enough to be on the winning team. We were accompanied by the stunning Santa Montefiore and this was my prize…

I’m such a Lindt fan I may have already devoured two of these beauties.

How gorgeous are these flat lays for the stunning books.
I haven’t read any of Santa’s books but this one I’m definitely pushing further up my pile.
Anstey’s debut was one of my favourite reads of last year so I cannot wait to read this one.
I devoured part one of this in January and I’m eagerly awaiting the next instalment.
I was convinced this bad boy would be in my goodie bag. I was wrong but in a way I’m glad As temptation would have won over and I’m in the middle of a readathon of Paige’s books.
This is a debut that sounds so fun and Sara was super lovely…
I read this book a while ago and I will get my thoughts together ASAP it’s gorgeous and Christina is lovely.
I haven’t read anything like this in forever and it really will happen soon.
A Simon & Schuster event always has stunning cakes and here they are again.

I always have such envy over the gorgeous Shelves. Even though mine are pretty good they don’t look like this.

I know you’ve eagerly scrolled to see my goodie bag so without further ado here is what I received and from the additional shelves I was good only taking one extra book.

Thank you as ever to SJ and the fabulous team for a truly fantastic evening surrounded by inspirational women. I cannot wait to dig in to this varied selection of reads. I swear I always leave wanting to instantly read them all.

2020, Author Love, ebook, novella, Quick Reads, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: Broken Hearts at Brightwater Bay By Holly Hepburn

Blurb: On paper, Merina Wilde has it all: a successful career writing the kind of romantic novels that make even the hardest hearts swoon, a perfect carousel of book launches and parties to keep her social life buzzing, and a childhood sweetheart who thinks she’s a goddess. But Merry has a secret: the magic has stopped flowing from her fingers. Try as she might, she can’t summon up the sparkle that makes her stories shine. And as her deadline whooshes by, her personal life falls apart too. Alex tells her he wants something other than the future she’d always imagined for them and Merry finds herself single for the first time since – well, ever.

Desperate to get her life back on track, Merry leaves London and escapes to the windswept Orkney Islands, locking herself away in a secluded clifftop cottage to try to heal her heart and rediscover her passion for writing. But can the beauty of the islands and the kindness of strangers help Merry to fool herself into believing in love again, if only long enough to finish her book? Or is it time for her to give up the career she’s always adored and find something new to set her soul alight?

Review: The minute a Holly Hepburn series is announced I normally at least order the first part and that is exactly what I did with this beauty. I was still awake around midnight on publication day, so I managed to read the prologue and the first chapter before my tired eyes started telling me to get back to this in the morning. If I hadn’t been captured by sleep this would have been an easy one sitting read, although I’m glad I got to discover this gorgeous setting and intriguing characters for a little longer.

From the moment I met Merry I liked her, she’s full of charm and character. Let’s face it she’s a writer so I was always going to adore her. During the prologue Holly set the scene in the most upsetting of ways for poor Merry she literally didn’t see it coming and my heart literally broke for her. Knowing Holly and her heroines though I knew early on that Merry is a tough cookie who deserves much better in life.

I’m such a fan of Holly’s writing and I love how there is differences for adverts, texts and emails it makes it feel more real if that makes any sense. I’ve never visited the Orkney Islands but I feel like Holly has painted an extremely atmospheric description of what the islands are like, they feel peaceful and full of life. Making me feel how I feel when I visit some of my most favourite holiday destinations that have me feeling happy and content.

As Merry discovers more and more about the locals and the history it’s as if you can feel the weight off her shoulders simply disappearing. Merry and Jess are the best of friends they are so different though and that works. Everyone needs a straight talking Jess who will tell you exactly what you need to hear even if you don’t really want to hear it.

I’m really enjoying everything about this novel and it’s shaping up to be another fantastic story from Holly. I’m intrigued by our Clark Kent in Niall and I’m hopeful that Magnus also makes a few more appearances. I cannot wait to see where the second part takes us in April.

2020, Author Love, Cover Reveal, Uncategorized

Cover Reveal: The Secret Seaside Escape By Heidi Swain.

Now this lady was one of my favourites long before I had even read a single word from one of her books. As soon as I did though it’s safe to say I am well and truly hooked.

Although I must admit a number of her books have left me feeling somewhat hungry ready to devour the nearest bakery, but her stories and her characters have let me escape the many trials and tribulations of life.

Without further ado I give you The Secret Seaside Escape. I cannot wait for this as I’m a sucker for the seaside and as this is released in April it will be before any impending trips this year.

The cover is so vibrant yet homely I always feel at ease with sand between my toes. If that doesn’t appeal to your senses here’s the blurb…

Following a shocking revelation within her family, Tess Tyler is looking to escape her hectic city life – and where better to hide than Wynmouth, the seaside town she visited as a child, with its sandy beaches, stunning rock pools and welcoming community. But little does she realise, Wynmouth isn’t quite the haven she remembers it to be, and her real life is still threatening to catch up with her . . .

Also returning to Wynmouth is Joe. Having fled over a decade ago after an accident that changed his life forever, he’s back and is determined to face his demons. But, like Tess, Joe realises that the town is nothing like he remembers and quickly his arrival brings old tensions to the surface.

As the pair begin to familiarise themselves with the town they once knew, they each realise that the secrets they carry are becoming harder to conceal – but will revealing them bring the answers they’re looking for? Will Tess and her new friends finally get the second chance they’ve been hoping Wynmouth will give them?

What are your thoughts?

If that’s wet your appetite you can order it via The Secret Seaside Escape

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

Novella Review: Stepping Out By S.J.King

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

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

But tonight is different.

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

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

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

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

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

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, audible, Author Love, Review, Uncategorized

Audible Review: If You Could Go Anywhere By Paige Toon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2019, Author Love, Book Launch, event, Uncategorized

Those People By Louise Candlish Book Launch

It’s always an absolute pleasure to be invited to a Simon & Schuster event. As it happens this was a rather special one it was the launch for Louise Candlish’s Those People last night.

Now after the Spring blogger event I devoured the sampler and have been itching to read this book. I ignored Netgalley as was studying and knew I wouldn’t get any work done but then I instantly regretted it. The sampler had me wanting more – I too have questionable neighbours but I’m hoping it never gets to that point ha.

So when the invite came through it was a no brainer I wanted to be there.

Louise is lovely I’ve met her at a few events – The Swimming Pool was the first of hers I devoured it gripped me and I enjoyed it so much I had to share it so I gave it away now I wish I still had a copy. If you haven’t read it you really must.

Today is the official publication of Those People – I know I won’t get any reading time at work so tonight I will be re-reading what I’d already read and getting well and truly stuck into this beauty. You never know there could be a late night post if I’m really reading. Keep the tea coming it could be a long night. For the last three evenings I’ve been busy had two Fight Klub sessions and then the launch last night so will be nice to head home have dinner and curl up with a book and what a book to choose. Louise whatever you do today I hope it’s fabulous and thank you once again for being so welcoming and for writing books that have me screaming at them and wanting more.

I never take enough photos but last nights was quite a good effort from me. Rachel and Charlene as ever it’s always a pleasure to chat books, life and have drinks and cake with you ladies. Sharon I hope you got a fabulous amount of reading done on your journey home.

SJ as ever it’s always a pleasure, you are always welcoming and a complete superstar.

Harriet – Thank you for the massive ego boost it’s always lovely to spend time with you I hope you have a brilliant holiday although I will star spamming you re Heidi Swain in say September LOL!

There isn’t much else for me to say but buy this beauty. I originally wanted a spredges one but I settled for a book and spredged cake which I had too much of haha.

You can bag our copy here whatever your preference is. I’m not usually a hardback girlie as I hate carrying them but they do look so good on my ever expanding shelf. Now let’s get this work day over I want to settle down with Those People who you don’t want to live next to.

Spring Blogger event

I have another event to write up so watch this space features Paige Toon. Lots of blog posts to get finished and up can I make the rest of this week really blog productive.

2019, Author Love, event, Uncategorized

Literati and a little update from me…

I have been a pretty awful blogger of late. As a good friend of mine said I’ve been a butterfly reader flitting from book to book. As it stands I’m trying to rectify that I have an audio thriller and a gorgeous fiction book on the go and I’m determined to get them finished and do them both justice as I am truly mesmerised by both.

I’ve also managed to miss a few blog tour posts they will go up I’m just unsure as to when. But watch this space.

On Monday I attended the Literati at the gorgeous Grosvenor Hotel a truly fabulous event alongside those faves of mine at Simon & Schuster. This event was a birthday gift from the money my brother gave to me and wow it did not disappoint.

What a night it was…I was lucky enough to catch up with the gorgeous Laura and Charlene two of my blogger friends. It’s always an absolute pleasure ladies, we share a love of books and also look out for each other as individuals – we don’t always get to catch up but we relish the chances when they arise.

The event was hosted by Fanny Blake – in conversation with Milly Johnson, Anstey Harris, Catherine Steadman and Susan Elliott Wright at the stunning Grosvenor House. The questioning and manner by Fanny was exquisite, I didn’t ask a question myself but I did enjoy listening to those who did and speaking to the ladies whilst getting my books signed.

I’ve read and totally adored The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton and The Flight Of Cornelia Blackwood. I had hoped to have finished Milly’s before this day….but I had started it and in talking to Milly I had reached the fun part and I can totally see that I’m loving her latest novel so much. Until now I’ve only read a few of her shorts even though I have a few others. I do love finding fabulous authors when they have a fantastic back catalogue waiting for me.

It was a truly gorgeous evening that started with Elderflower water and ended with Prosecco and nibbles listening to these fabulous ladies talk of their books. Catherine Steadman’s book definitely sounds like a book I need on my TBR pile I’m contemplating listening to this on audio after the thriller I’m in the middle of.

A great night a stunning location, fabulous books and chatter a Monday treat. I’m so glad I made this event and I finally got my books signed by 3 out of 4. I can’t wait to see what other events the Grosvenor hold in the future…Thank you to SJ for letting me steal her gorgeous picture of these fantastic ladies. What a way to spend a Monday evening.

I have lots I hope to share on here in the next coming days….watch this space.

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.