Thursday, 31 December 2015

Rounding up 2015 - Happy New Year

I haven't got round to doing a non related review/book post for a long time. I have felt that the end of this year I have become a bit slack with keeping things up on the blog and I am sorry about this. One of my New Years resolutions is to make sure I give more time to the blog as it has been taking a bit of a back seat. I have managed to keep up with reviews and I make sure I always have a post every other day on here but I felt I have been in a bit of a reading slump for the last few months, this is something I hope to change for the new year. 

I think my lack of posts has been down to many things this year, its been another busy year. I have moved house and changed jobs, both in their selves are huge and I did both of these a month a part. Since changing jobs I have been getting to grips with the new demands of the role and have felt extremely tired and felt I have let my reading suffer a bit because of it. 

Last week I took a well deserved holiday, I went back to the Caribbean, one of the most beautiful places in the world, in my opinion and visited many new stunning islands. A week went too quick for my liking, however another trip is in our sights and hopefully will be booked soon. A girl has got to have something to look forward to hasn't she? 

Taking a holiday also helped get my reading back on track and it has been the most I have read in a long time, completing 3 books while I was away. I was hoping to have finished a fourth before the year was out but this may have to roll over to the new year now. 

I am currently still away at the in laws and I am looking forward to returning home to see my parents for the last of the festive period before I am back at work again on Monday. 

So my year in books? Last year my total was very high as I was off work for a long period of time and so had a huge amount of time to devote to reviewing, going back to work full time I knew I would not be as successful, however I am very surprised at my total. This year - 2015 I managed to read a total of 107 books. In 2014 I read 145 books but was off for about 6 months so what I have managed this year I think has been great, even with my reading slump! I also blame the craze of colouring books this year as I have been colouring in a lot and not reading! 

I feel that overall I have had a successful blogging year, where I have made a lot more blogging and publisher friends. I have been keen to participate in blog tours and attending blogging events. I hope that I have the opportunity to continue blogging next year and attend many other events. I have already booked tickets to YALC, the last 2 years the tickets have been sold out and I have been unable to go. I am super excited to start the year knowing I will be attending, I can't wait! 

Anyway before this becomes any more of an essay than it already is I will let you go and enjoy your new years eve. 

I would like to thank you all for being my followers on twitter and reading my blog, it means the world to me and I can't believe it has been growing and growing. This wouldn't be possible without all your support, so thank you and I wish you a happy and healthy new year. 

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

The Christmas Surprise by Jenny Colgan

The Christmas Surprise (Rosie Hopkins' Sweet Shop, #3)The Christmas Surprise by Jenny Colgan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rosie Hopkins, newly engaged, is looking forward to an exciting year in the little sweetshop she owns and runs. But when fate strikes Rosie and her boyfriend, Stephen, a terrible blow, threatening everything they hold dear, it's going to take all their strength and the support of their families and their Lipton friends to hold them together.

After all, don't they say it takes a village to raise a child?

Jenny Colgan has become a favourite for me; you know what you are going to get with her, a good storyline, good characters and a feel good factor and this novel lived up to all of those. If you have not read the others in the series it is of little importance as this could easily stand alone and Jenny does give a little update of where we are with Rosie at the start so it's easy to pick up where the previous novel left off.

There's no point in my retelling what happens and I'm not into 'spoilers' although it's not difficult to guess what will happen.

Yes it was predictable and easy to guess what was going to happen but somehow it didn't really spoil the book because the characters are so well developed and 'familiar' that the reader takes the journey with them confident that everything will always work out OK. It is a happy ever after kind of book but it is so charming, so full of descriptive narrative and realistic dialogue that you just want it all to work out for them.

All the characters from previous books are here, Lilian, Tina, the relationship between Rosie and Stephen and of course his haughty snobby mother and all the problems that come along with all the characters. We meet Pamela Stephen's sister and learn another aspect of this dysfunctional family and their dynamics which brings a welcome slant on this otherwise predictable novel.

I love Jenny Colgan's writing, in many ways she reminds me of the successful Sophie Kinsella in that she can laugh at and with her characters in such an entertaining way that reading her novels is so easy.

Breezed through this book, thoroughly enjoyable and although it was not entirely about Christmas it was a good seasonal read - definitely worth a 4 star rating.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, 28 December 2015

The ACB with Honora Lee by Kate De Goldi

The ACB with Honora LeeThe ACB with Honora Lee by Kate De Goldi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Perry's mother and father are busy people ... they're impatient, they're tired, they get cross easily. And they think that only children, like Perry, should be kept busy. On Saturday mornings Perry and her father visit her gran, Honora Lee, at the Santa Lucia rest home, but Gran never remembers them. 'Who is that man?' Honora Lee asks when Perry's father leaves the room. After movement class is abruptly cancelled, Perry is allowed to go to Santa Lucia on Thursday afternoons. She discovers her Gran has an unconventional interest in the alphabet, so Perry decides to make an alphabet book with the help of Honora and the others. Soon everyone is interested in Perry's book project. The ACB With Honora Lee unfolds with characteristic warmth, quirky, surprising humor and a rich cast of 'residents'. The story is a meditation on kindness and patience and acceptance; that of the very young and the very old. It's a story that will resonate with echoes of recollection for many -- from Perry's endearing perspective on the adult world to the embracing kindness of those who care for the elderly.

This was a really quick read, I read it in two sittings.

This is written from Perry's point of view, an eight year old. It was very easy to pick up on this from the style it was written. She makes weekly visits to her grandmother at a home in Santa Lucia. She is loosing her memory and is not sure who Perry is, as the book goes on she is still not clear on who she is, but seems to enjoy her presence.

During her visits to her grandmothers she decides to create an ABC book of all her grandmothers memories. While she does this many of the other people at the retirement home also get great joy of Perry's visits and manages to entertain them all.

Perry wants to begin at the beginning of her book and work though systematically, but the joys of the grandmother make this impossible and she jumps from letter to letter. The relationship that Perry has with her grandmother is wonderful.

The illustrations through the book are unique and quirky. I can imagine younger readers would be inspired to create their own ABC book, I know this would have been something I would have loved to make with my grandma as a child.

Other than the stoyy of creating the ABC book, the story I felt come to an end rather suddenly and I would have liked this to have been a little better developed. Saying that I would happily recommend this to others to read.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Granny's Christmas Wish by Julia Williams

Granny's Christmas WishGranny's Christmas Wish by Julia Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A little festive eShort treat from the author who brought you, MAKE A CHRISTMAS WISH
**A 35 page short story**
All Felicity wants this Christmas is to share it with her daughter, Livvy. There’s just one problem, Livvy died last Christmas.
As Felicity struggles to come to terms with the anniversary of her daughter’s death, it seems everyone around her is moving on.
But could a mysterious friend make her Christmas wish come true after all . . .

Out of all of Julia William's short stories this winter, this has to be my favourite. Again we meet the characters from the previous ones and I enjoyed how this one crossed over slightly with Dad's Christmas Wish.

This is from Felicity's perspective of coming to terms with her daughters death and how she deals with it over a period of a year. You are faced with raw emotion and although this is so short I felt that I was completely hooked with the story. I wish it had been a little longer actually.

This is one to add to your collection if you have bought the others. As it is only just over 30 pages I don't want to say too much as I would end up giving everything away. I did though enjoy this. The best thing was that it was also free, so make sure you check it out now.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Opportunities for aspiring authors



THE AUTHOR CLUB and a WRITE NOW! Residential Weekend for Authors, 23rd & 24th January 2016

LONDON, 10 December 2015:   The London Book Fair (LBF) is continuing to expand its programme for authors, with the launch of two new initiatives for 2016 - the Author Club, which will provide a range of LBF benefits and networking opportunities throughout the year, and Write Now!, a residential weekend of informative talks and workshops focusing on Women’s Fiction, curated in partnership with HarperCollins’ digital-first imprint, Carina UK.

Created with LBF’s ever-growing author audience in mind, Write Now! will take place at Bailbrook House Hotel, Bath over the weekend of 23rd and 24th January 2016.  Aimed at aspiring, new and hybrid authors, it will provide practical advice to guide attendees through the never-ending choices now available to them when it comes to how they publish and market their books. The focus of the weekend will be on enabling each attending author to find the right route to publication for their work.   The action-packed programme will include sessions byVictoria Oundjian, lead editor for Carina UK, and Sam Missingham, head of events at HarperCollins UK.  Other participating speakers will include agents - with Caroline Sheldon, Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency, leading a session on rights - as well as publishers, authors, marketers and consultants.  The programme will cover:

·         Honing your Craft: Planning Techniques and Self-editing
·         Publishing Women’s Fiction Now: The Agent/Traditional Publisher Route
·         Publishing Women’s Fiction Now: The Self-publishing Route
·         Get to Know Your Rights:  Contracts, Rights and other Legalities
·         Marketing and PR: Getting Your Story Out There
·         The Business of Publishing: Money; Margins and Profit
·         The Power of Social Media and How to Create Your Community

The weekend will wrap up with a special edition of LBF’s popular The Write Stuff competition that takes places every year at LBF.  A Dragon’s Den style event, Write Now! attendees will have the opportunity to enter a competition to pitch their books on the day to agent Caroline Sheldon, as well as Victoria Oundjian and Sam Missingham from the HarperCollins team, in front of the Write Now! audience.  The Write Stuff winner will win a revision letter from Victoria Oundjian to review their work in more depth.

Write Now! delegates will also attend a networking drinks reception and official dinner on the Saturday evening, which will include an after-dinner talk by Carina UK’s bestselling writerAnnie Lyons, author of Not Quite PerfectDear Lizzie and, most recently, Life or Something Like It.  The evening will provide the perfect opportunity for attendees to meet up with other authors, as well as publishing and agenting professionals.
Lisa Milton, Executive Publisher, Harlequin UK, HarperCollins, said: “For HarperCollins, authors are at the heart of what we do. Encouraging authors, finding and developing new talent is what motivates and excites us. I can't wait to see the work of the future stars who will be attending, and hopefully we will be publishing one or two.”

In addition to Write Now!, LBF’s brand new Author Club will expand its author community that has to date focused on one of the most popular features at the Fair - Author HQ, the dedicated theatre for authors, originally launched as a response to increasing interest from the self-publishing community.   All Write Now! attendees automatically become members. Authors registering for the Author Club will have access to everything on offer from LBF throughout the year, as well as access to year round amazing benefits, including:

·         free ticket to LBF 2016 and access to exclusive LBF events just for Author Club members
·         Global Rights 365 membership
·         Discount to all LBF author events including the Write Now! residential weekend
·         Regular updates from LBF’s  quarterly 'Authority' Newsletter
·         Invitations to networking drinks throughout the year
·         The opportunity to be included in the LBF Anthology of New Writing eBook
·         FREE access to LBF Autumn Author Clinic

The LBF Anthology of New Writing will be formally announced in the New Year.

Jacks Thomas, Director, The London Book Fair, said:  “We know from our interaction with authors attending Author HQ at The London Book Fair that it is really useful to talk not only to industry professionals but also to other authors.   It seems a perfect time to expand what we are able to offer to the LBF author community, both at the book fair and beyond it, while also doing even more to help this important creative group tap in to the expertise of the publishing industry.   We are delighted that the team at Carina UK and HarperCollins will be sharing their wealth of knowledge with Write Now! attendees.”

·         Dates: Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th January 2016
·         Venue: The Bailbrook House Hotel, Bath, Somerset
·         Ticket information: £150.00 + VAT for Author Club members, £300.00 + VAT standard price.  This includes the two day programme of events, lunches on both days, refreshments, pre-dinner reception and gala dinner on Saturday 23rd January and accommodation on the night of Saturday 23rd January at the Bailbrook House Hotel
·         Book Now:

·         Membership costs £125 per year (inc VAT)
·         To register as a member of The Author Club, please visit

Monday, 21 December 2015

Vote for Sainsbury's ebook of the year!

Sainsbury’s Entertainment on Demand announces eBook of the Year 2015 shortlist

·   The nation’s top ten eBooks of 2015 unveiled
·   Crime thrillers and female authors dominate the list
·   Voting for the winner closes on 31 December 2015 – overall winner to be revealed on 7 January 2016

Which eBook will be crowned eBook of the Year 2015? We are now one step closer to finding out. Sainsbury’s Entertainment on Demand has revealed the top ten eBooks that make up the shortlist in this year’s hotly fought contest.
For the last month the general public has been voting from an extensive list of 141 of the most talked about titles from 2015, in the third Sainsbury’s Entertainment on Demand eBook of the Year award.
In no particular order, the ten eBooks that remain in the running to win the coveted prize are:
1.     A Mother’s Story by Amanda Prowse
2.     All That Glitters (Geek Girl Book 4) by Holly Smale
3.     Don’t Tell the Brides to Be by Anna Bell
4.     The Final Minute by Simon Kernick
5.     The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
6.     The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan
7.     The Lie by C.L. Taylor
8.     Paper Towns by John Green
9.     The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson
10.  The Two of Us by Andy Jones

To vote for your winner go to where you will find the eBook of the Year shortlist collection and pick your favourite eBook. Once you’ve made your decision, click on the Competitions page and insert the name of your selected eBook. Click send and the eBook you’ve chosen will be put forward for the grand prize.
To encourage participation everyone who votes for their favourite eBook will be entered into a prize draw to win £100 worth of eBooks – the perfect treat in the run up to Christmas. In addition, 10 runners-up will receive a copy of each of the 10 shortlisted eBook titles.
The winner of the award will be announced on 7 January 2015. Last year’s winner of the coveted award was Peter James for Want You Dead.

Friday, 18 December 2015



London – 8December, 2015 – Audible Studios, a production arm of Audible, today announced the release of Rosamund Pike’s narration of Jane Austen’s beloved classic,Pride and Prejudice. This memorable performance by the Academy Award-nominated star of Gone Girl is now available for download at

Pride and Prejudice will always resonate with people because Austen is dealing with a theme that is so universal: falling in love for the first time,” said Pike, whose artistic relationship with the novel dates back to the 2005 film adaptation, in which she played Jane Bennet. “I hope people enjoy what I’ve done with it, and find my characterizations convincing. While narrating this, I was constantly listening, and making recordings of people’s voices which I thought might have some qualities useful for a character – whether it be the person’s tone, intonation, pitch, or cadence of speech. Performing this audiobook has been extremely rewarding for me. It’s made me think afresh about familiar things, and made me again appreciate what a great heroine Austen has given us in Elizabeth Bennet.”
Pride and Prejudice still captivates modern readers and listeners, and this new recording, makes it easy to see why,” said Audible UK Content Director Laurence Howell. “Austen’s timeless story of romance, family and social dynamics combined with Rosamund Pike’s beautiful performance make this a must-have for devotees of Austen’s novel, and it is a wonderful introduction to the book for a new generation of Austen fans.”

In addition to Pike, among the acclaimed performers who have narrated works of literature for Audible are Aiden Gillen, Jake Gyllenhaal, Kate Winslet, Jesse Eisenberg, and Aidan Gillan. In 2013, Audible Studios won its first Grammy Award, for its production of Janis Ian’s memoir Society’s Child, and also won the Audie Award for Audiobook of the Year, for Colin Firth’s performance of Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair.
Audible, the world’s largest seller and producer of downloadable audiobooks and other spoken-word content, invented and commercialized the first digital audio player in 1997, and has since been at the forefront of the explosively growing audiobook download segment. In 2014, listeners around the world downloaded 1.2 billion hours of audio from Audible outlets; Audible members downloaded an average of more than 17 books over the course of the year. Two thirds of new Audible members are first-time audiobook buyers.

Audible, an, Inc. subsidiary (NASDAQ:AMZN), is the leading provider of premium digital spoken audio information and entertainment, offering customers a new way to enhance and enrich their lives every day. Audible’s mission is to establish literate listening as a core tool for anyone seeking to be more productive, better informed, or more thoughtfully entertained. Audible content includes more than 150,000 audio programmes from leading audiobook publishers, broadcasters, entertainers, magazine and newspaper publishers, and business information providers. Audible is also the preeminent provider of spoken-word audio products for Apple’s iTunes Store.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

“The Inspiration behind Happy Habits: Why I Wrote this Book” Guest post

Displaying Happy Habits by Vicki Morris Book Cover Photo.jpg


Do You Want to Learn to be Happier in Just 4 Minutes a Day? Of course you do!

Are you unhappy with your work?  Are you disappointed with your life?

Have you been looking for something new? Maybe you’d like a new career, a new house or to live in a new city? 

If the answer is yes, then maybe it’s time to try a new approach. Author and Career Happiness Coach, Vicki 

Morris, is shows us that we have the power to be happy now – within ourselves in the present moment.  All we 

have to do is change our mindset and a few daily habits.

The key to success is to build energy-raising habits into our day so that we can become happier – no matter 

what our situation is.  Happy Habits provides a fast, easy and effective way to deliver the necessary energy and 

happiness boosts in just 4 minutes a day.  The Happy Habit Method™ works because it combines proven 

happiness practices with a scientific habit creation method, which has been tested in the real world.  

Inside the pages of Happy Habits, you’ll discover:

 Why Happy Habits are the fastest and easiest way to be happier

 40 ways to energize your career and life

 The proven science behind Happy Habits

 How to create your own Happy Habits

 An eight-week guide to building permanent Happy Habits

 And Much More

Imagine waking up each day excited about the possibilities instead of struggling to find the energy to get out of bed. Think about having a coworker ask you why you are smiling more. These things can happen to you, if you adopt the Happy Habits in this book.

Life is too short to feel as though you are merely getting by every day. The sooner you get Happy Habits, the sooner you will be able to transform the quality of your career and life to start feeling happier.

“The Inspiration behind Happy Habits: Why I Wrote this Book”

By Vicki Morris

Recently I published my first full-length book, Happy Habits: Energize Your Career and Life in 4 Minutes a Day. For me, this has been a rewarding and fulfilling experience because I have been trying to find a way to be happier in my career and life for years. And now that I have found a new approach that combines proven energy-raising happiness techniques with a scientific habit-creation methodology I am excited to share it with everyone.

The External Search for a Happiness Solution

I have had my share of ups and downs, both in my career and in my life in general. But, I was constantly looking for happiness outside of myself. I thought I would be happier if I just got a better job, got a new home, moved to a new location, got a promotion so I could manage people and feel empowered. But, I soon realized that a few months after I got what I wanted, I still felt unhappy. What I learned is that looking for happiness in some external person, place or thing in the future is a recipe for a career and life of unhappiness. Unfortunately,

I think many people life this way. Yet, I found that nothing can make you feel happier, if you don’t know how to cultivate happiness from within.

Reversing the Approach: Pursuing Inward Happiness

With my newfound knowledge that happiness could be pursued from the inside, I decided to change my ways. I looked for solutions that started with the individual. I did extensive research on happiness and consulted many studies based on hard facts and research. Eventually, I discovered that the easiest way to improve your life is by changing your daily habits.

Our actions are largely shaped by our habits. Most of these habits are done without any level of consciousness associated with them – think about it: you brush your teeth, have breakfast, commute, and so forth, mostly without applying any mindset towards these actions. That’s natural. But we can actually take an inward approach to pursuing happiness by creating mindful habits that allow us to take ourselves out of the monotony – if only just for four minutes per day – to embrace a more positive, energy-raising approach to work and life that has widespread benefits that extend to the rest of the day.

The Responsibility to Share my Findings

I believe that we all have a purpose. When we achieve our greatest possible sense of happiness, we can tap into that purpose and become the best versions of ourselves. For me, the best, most inspiring and rewarding version of myself is achieved through career coaching. As someone who encourages others to find the career that suits them best and inspires them to share their talents with the world, I believe that it is my personal responsibility to share the Happy Habits system so everyone can pursue the same level of happiness that I have found and that I share with all of my clients to become happy, empowered, grateful, and at ease both at work and in life.

My ultimate goal for this book is to create an approach to happiness that focuses on the individual – because each person is different – and one that is accessible for everyone. That’s why Happy Habits is beneficial to all: it takes just four minutes a day, and it doesn’t require any resources that you don’t already have. My system has worked for me and for others, and I know that it can work for you, too.


Vicki Morris is the Career Happiness Coach, founder of and creator of the InspiredWorkTM

Career Transformation System, blending twenty-five years of experience as a high tech hiring manager, inspirational business leader, brand strategist, career mentor, and spiritual practitioner. InspiredWork helps professionals raise their energy with Happy Habits to create their own inspired work and brand so they can be happy at work and love their life.

Prior to InspiredWork, Vicki was the founder and CEO of a global marketing agency. Before that, she was VP of Marketing at several Global 2000 and Inc. 500 software companies. Earlier in her career, Vicki launched Java at Sun and she was awarded the President’s Award. Vicki started her career at Oracle, while completing her MBA at the University of Chicago. She also has a Bachelor’s degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. During her career, Vicki published numerous articles and presented at conferences in more than 30 countries.


Displaying Happy Habits Virtual Book Tour Banner.png