Tuesday, 4 September 2018

My Summer 2018

The house is very quiet today, which can mean only one thing; it's back to school time. The past over six weeks has passed in a bit of blur. On one hand, I'm not sure where the time has gone, yet on the other - bizarrely - July seems a very long time ago.


Back in July, we took a little family trip down to London as my teenage daughter, Rianne was desperate to see Hamilton after becoming obsessed with the soundtrack. As Isobel is a bit younger, I took her to see the Matilda musical while Rianne and Chris went to see Hamilton.

 
While in London, we did a bit of sightseeing, including the London Eye, which was fabulously air conditioned (back then we were very much in the throes of the heatwave and baking!), and I left behind a little gift on a bench.
 
A few weeks later, we went on a slightly longer trip to Blackpool and had a brilliant time. The heatwave was long gone (thankfully) and we didn't always have the best weather (we were rained on a few times) but we kept ourselves busy with indoor activities on the crap-weather days, including the Tower circus, the Sea Life centre and - best of all - the arcades.
 
 
We did have some sunny days, so we spent time on the beach with our buckets and spades and an octopus kite (which was a lot of fun flying). We also spent the day at the zoo and bought Luna a little toy wolf to bring home with us.
 
 
 
 
 

I didn't get nearly as much reading done as I would have liked this summer, but I did share the book love here on the blog with my Six Weeks of Summer Reads. What did you read this summer? And did you go on any trips/holidays? Let us know in the comments! :)

Friday, 31 August 2018

Six Weeks of Summer Reads: Week Six

 

I love shouting about books I've loved, and what better excuse is there to jump up and down waving a book you think everyone should read than the summer?

 
 I've been sharing one fab read a week over the course of the summer holidays. They haven't necessarily bene your typical beach reads, simply books I've adored recently and want to share with anyone who will listen.
 
As I'm always on the look out for more books to add to the TBR pile, I'd love to hear your recommendations too! Share the book love either on my blog posts or get in touch on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #sixweeksofsummerreads :)
 
 

 
 
 

My friends think I'm insane, I'm stalking men all over town and I'm on a deadline.

Most people have heard of The Rules of Engagement, the book that promises to teaches to find the man of your dreams in ten easy steps. Cat has decided that, while a lot has changed since the eighties, it might be entertaining to follow it to the letter.

But when you're looking for love - actively chasing it down, actually - a lot can go wrong...
 
 
 
 
I Followed The Rules is a slightly older book (published in 2015) but I only read it earlier this year as I've been catching up on Joanna Bolouri's books after reading - and adoring - The Most Wonderful Time of The Year at the end of 2016. I love Joanna Bolouri's style of writing and her books - and her heroines - are laugh-out-loud funny. I know when I pick up one of her books I'm in for a good time and a chuckle. I Followed The Rules was no exception; it's funny, swear-tastic (I love a good dose of the swears) and uplifting.
 

Have you read I Followed The Rules? What did you think?

Monday, 20 August 2018

Six Weeks of Summer Reads: Week Five

 

I love shouting about books I've loved, and what better excuse is there to jump up and down waving a book you think everyone should read than the summer?

 
 I'm sharing one fab read a week over the course of the summer holidays. They won't necessarily be your typical beach reads, simply books I've adored recently and want to share with anyone who will listen.
 
And as I'm always on the look out for more books to add to the TBR pile, I'd love to hear your recommendations too! Share the book love either on my blog posts or get in touch on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #sixweeksofsummerreads :)
 
 
 
 

 
 

Stella Carey exists in a world of night. Married to an ex-soldier, she leaves the house every evening as Vincent locks himself away, along with the scars and the secrets he carries.

During her nursing shifts, Stella writes letters for her patients to their loved ones - some full of humour, love and practical advice, others steeped in regret or pain – and promises to post these messages after their deaths.

Until one night Stella writes the letter that could give her patient one last chance at redemption, if she delivers it in time…
 
 
 
 
I'd had We Are All Made of Stars on my TBR pile for quite a while, but I'm so glad I finally got round to reading it as it was a fantastic book full of heart. The concept is pretty heart breaking, with the letters being delivered after Stella's patients have died, and I feared it would leave me feeling quite dark and morose, but Rowan's writing is so warm and uplifting. Yes, it's poignant in parts, but I wasn't overwhelmed with sadness and I loved reading the letters left behind by for loved ones.
 

Have you read We Are All Made of Stars? What did you think?

Monday, 13 August 2018

Six Weeks of Summer Reads Week Four

 

I love shouting about books I've loved, and what better excuse is there to jump up and down waving a book you think everyone should read than the summer?

 
 I'm sharing one fab read a week over the course of the summer holidays. They won't necessarily be your typical beach reads, simply books I've adored recently and want to share with anyone who will listen.
 
And as I'm always on the look out for more books to add to the TBR pile, I'd love to hear your recommendations too! Share the book love either on my blog posts or get in touch on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #sixweeksofsummerreads :)
 
 

 
 
 

Brighton Beach, 1993

Teenagers Nell and Jude find the body of a young woman and when no one comes to claim her, she becomes known as the Brighton Mermaid. Nell is still struggling to move on when, three weeks later, Jude disappears.

Twenty-five years on, Nell is forced to quit her job to find out who the Brighton Mermaid really was – and what happened to her best friend that summer.

But as Nell edges closer to the truth, dangerous things start to happen. Someone seems to be watching her every move, and soon she starts to wonder who in her life she can actually trust…
 
 
 
 
Dorothy Koomson is one of my favourite writers, so I couldn't wait to read her latest release, The Brighton Mermaid. Dorothy has a real knack of drawing me into her characters' lives, of keeping me hooked on their stories, and this book was no exception. I didn't want to stop reading, desperate to find out who the woman was Nell and Jude found on the beach and what happened to Nell afterwards (I made many silent accusations in my head as I read along, pointing the finger wildly!)
 
The Brighton Mermaid is a brilliant read, with Dorothy's usual engaging style and a mystery spanning twenty-five years.
 

Have you read The Brighton Mermaid? What did you think?

Friday, 10 August 2018

The Single Mums' Picnic Club: Fun Facts

 

Gather round for a quick peek behind the scenes of my latest book, The Single Mums' Picnic Club. I'll be sharing a few facts behind the setting, how characters were named and who didn't make the cut....

 
 






 
 
 
 
 
Katie thought she had the perfect family life by the sea – until her husband left her for another woman, abandoning her and their two children! She knows it’s finally time to move on but she’s unsure where to begin…

Frankie is shocked when gorgeous dog-walker Alex asks her on a date! As a single mum with her own business she struggles to put herself first, but maybe she’s ready to follow her heart?

George is used to raising her son on her own – but now he’s at nursery, her life feels empty. So when she meets Katie and Frankie at the beach, she realises that her talent for rustling up delicious picnics could be the perfect distraction!

But of course, life isn’t always a beach and as secrets begin to surface the three women’s lives are about to be turned upside-down…
 
 
 
 
Click here to see all Book Extras for The Single Mums' Picnic Club

Monday, 6 August 2018

Six Weeks of Summer Reads: Week Three

 

I love shouting about books I've loved, and what better excuse is there to jump up and down waving a book you think everyone should read than the summer?

 
Over the course of the summer holidays, I'm going to be sharing one fab read a week. They won't necessarily be your typical beach reads, simply books I've adored recently and want to share with anyone who will listen.
 
And as I'm always on the look out for more books to add to the TBR pile, I'd love to hear your recommendations too! Share the book love either on my blog posts or get in touch on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #sixweeksofsummerreads :)
 
 
 
 

 
 

Summer 1924: On the eve of a glittering Society party, by the lake of a grand English country house, a young poet takes his life. The only witnesses, sisters Hannah and Emmeline Hartford, will never speak to each other again.

Winter 1999: Grace Bradley, 98, one-time housemaid of Riverton Manor, is visited by a young director making a film about the poet's suicide. Ghosts awaken and memories, long-consigned to the dark reaches of Grace's mind, begin to sneak back through the cracks. A shocking secret threatens to emerge; something history has forgotten but Grace never could.
 
 
 
 
Although The House at Riverton was published back in 2007, I only read it a few weeks ago. It was my first Kate Morton book but it definitely won't be my last (I already have another - The Forgotten Garden - waiting on my TBR list).
 
The book is a duel timeline novel, taking place over the 1920s and the late 90s, which is a format I think works really well, especially when there is an old mystery to uncover. I loved Kate Morton's style and found myself really sinking into the story.
 
It's a descriptive book that draws you into the time period and I could picture the house and the family and staff vividly. I don't usually go for overly descriptive books as I find it slows the plot down, but I was happy to allow the writing to paint a full picture for me and I didn't feel as though the book suffered for it. It's quite a hefty book and I did take my time reading it, but I enjoyed every single page and was sad when it ended.
 

Have you read The House at Riverton? What did you think?

Monday, 30 July 2018

Six Weeks of Summer Reads: Week Two

 

I love shouting about books I've loved, and what better excuse is there to jump up and down waving a book you think everyone should read than the summer?

 
Over the course of the summer holidays, I'm going to be sharing one fab read a week. They won't necessarily be your typical beach reads, simply books I've adored recently and want to share with anyone who will listen.
 
And as I'm always on the look out for more books to add to the TBR pile, I'd love to hear your recommendations too! Share the book love either on my blog posts or get in touch on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #sixweeksofsummerreads :)
 
 
 
 

 
 

To give them hope she must tell their story.

It's 1946. The war is over, and Juliet Ashton has writer's block. But when she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey – a total stranger living halfway across the Channel, who has come across her name written in a second hand book – she enters into a correspondence with him, and in time with all the members of the extraordinary Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Through their letters, the society tell Juliet about life on the island, their love of books – and the long shadow cast by their time living under German occupation. Drawn into their irresistible world, Juliet sets sail for the island, changing her life forever.
 
 
 
 
Like my summer reads recommendation last week, there has been a lot of hype about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society over the past few months as the book was adapted for the big screen. As I'm a bit of a history nerd, I was curious about the occupation of Guernsey during the war as this wasn't something I'd read about before, and hearing so many wonderful things about the book really piqued my interest.
 
I have to admit that I didn't think this book and I were going to gel. I love books that are told through letters but I wasn't drawn into Juliet's correspondence. I was really struggling and thinking about giving up (it happens. Not all books and readers get along. It doesn't mean it's a bad book, just not for you) but then suddenly I was gripped and found myself devouring the notes between Juliet, her editor and the members of the literary group, and I was bereft when it ended. I'd gone from wanting to pop the book - unfinished - in the bag destined for the charity shop to hugging it to my chest and wishing there was more.
 
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society is full of heart and humour. My copy is going nowhere near the charity shop; it belongs on my shelf.
 

Have you read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society? What did you think?

Friday, 27 July 2018

A Quick July Catch Up

July has whizzed by in a blur of sun cream, ice lollies and the whir of electric fans as we've struggled in the heatwave. I now think fondly of my jumpers and winter coat and I'm dreaming of the day I can slip them onto my shivering body. Here's what I've been busy with over the past few weeks...



The school summer holidays have arrived and I'm looking forward to the family trips we have planned (but no so much the back-to-school shopping. Urgh) and catching up on some reading while I haven't got a deadline to work towards. I have started Book 10 and have sent the proposal to my editor, so I'm waiting for feedback before I plough on. I will share more when I have news!


 
 
I'm finally reading The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman. I wanted to read it last year, but I made myself wait for the paperback (as I prefer them to bulky hardbacks).
 
This month, I've also read:
 
You Sent Me a Letter by Lucy Dawson
Forgive Me Not by Samantha Tonge &
 
 
 
 
Obviously, part of July was taken up by watching the World Cup but I've also been watching the new series of Unforgotten (which I LOVE) and I've caught up with the first series of The Bletchley Circle, which I somehow missed. I've got the second series to catch up on and then I'm ready for the new series which has just started.
 
Film-wise, we watched The Incredibles (a family favourite) at home before we went to watch the much-anticipated sequel. We all loved The Incredibles 2 and can't wait until it's out on DVD!
 
 
 
 
 
Luna, bullet journaling, reading and the HarperCollins summer party :)
 
 

So, that's how I've spent this sweltering July - let us know what you've been up to and if you have any book recommendations in the comments below!

Monday, 23 July 2018

Six Weeks of Summer Reads: Week One

 

I love shouting about books I've loved, and what better excuse is there to jump up and down waving a book you think everyone should read than the summer?

 
Over the course of the summer holidays, I'm going to be sharing one fab read a week. They won't necessarily be your typical beach reads, simply books I've adored recently and want to share with anyone who will listen.
 
And as I'm always on the look out for more books to add to the TBR pile, I'd love to hear your recommendations too! Share the book love either on my blog posts or get in touch on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #sixweeksofsummerreads :)
 
 
 
 
 


Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?
 
 
 
 
You've probably heard a lot of people already singing the praises of Eleanor Oliphant - and with good reason. I have to admit I was a little dubious before I dipped into the book, because how could it possibly live up to all the hype? BUT IT DID.
 
Eleanor is a wonderful, quirky character who had me giggling, cringing and reaching for the tissues. 'Oh, Eleanor' often ran through my head while I was reading the book, either because she'd made an amusing faux pas or because she was breaking my heart a little bit more.
 
As Eleanor establishes new friendships and breaks from her usual routines, we start to see glimpses of the life she's endured, the experiences that have shaped her into the woman she has become. While on the surface Eleanor can appear odd and provide a source of amusement for her work colleagues, we discover why she's developed her quirks and outlook on life.
 
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is funny and heartbreaking and easily my favourite read of the year so far.
 

Have you read Eleanor Oliphant? What did you think?

Friday, 20 July 2018

The Single Mums' Picnic Club Quiz

 
If you've read The Single Mums' Picnic Club, you can now take the quiz to test your knowledge. Can you remember the name of Frankie's twins? How about the town where the book is set?
 
 
https://www.goodreads.com/quizzes/1128536-the-single-mums-picnic-club
 
 
Let us know how many you get in the comments below - or why not share your score on social media? Click the links to find me on Twitter and Facebook!
 
 
 
 
 
Katie thought she had the perfect family life by the sea – until her husband left her for another woman, abandoning her and their two children! She knows it’s finally time to move on but she’s unsure where to begin…

Frankie is shocked when gorgeous dog-walker Alex asks her on a date! As a single mum with her own business she struggles to put herself first, but maybe she’s ready to follow her heart?

George is used to raising her son on her own – but now he’s at nursery, her life feels empty. So when she meets Katie and Frankie at the beach, she realises that her talent for rustling up delicious picnics could be the perfect distraction!

But of course, life isn’t always a beach and as secrets begin to surface the three women’s lives are about to be turned upside-down…
 
 
 
 
Click here to see all Book Extras for The Single Mums' Picnic Club

Friday, 13 July 2018

The Single Mums' Picnic Club Playlist

 
 
I set up the playlist for The Single Mums' Picnic Club while I was in the very early stages of the book. I knew I wanted my three main characters to be kick-ass women (even if they didn't yet know that's what they were) and I started to gather songs to reflect this; songs about strong women, who ooze confidence and know what they want from life. Katie, Frankie and George may not always feel they are these things, and they certainly have their weaknesses (but then everybody does. Even Supergirl has her issues with Kryptonite) but it's in there somewhere, deep down, waiting to be unleashed.
 
I hope you enjoy the playlist and it inspires you to be kick-ass too!
 
 

 
 
You can listen to the playlist here on the blog or click to open in your browser.
 
https://open.spotify.com/user/jenniferjoycemusic/playlist/7elZHveJAOQLGkGZTsE7Ms?si=a0e_ggxhQESpB1vDpUZCdQ
 
 
 
 
 
Katie thought she had the perfect family life by the sea – until her husband left her for another woman, abandoning her and their two children! She knows it’s finally time to move on but she’s unsure where to begin…

Frankie is shocked when gorgeous dog-walker Alex asks her on a date! As a single mum with her own business she struggles to put herself first, but maybe she’s ready to follow her heart?

George is used to raising her son on her own – but now he’s at nursery, her life feels empty. So when she meets Katie and Frankie at the beach, she realises that her talent for rustling up delicious picnics could be the perfect distraction!

But of course, life isn’t always a beach and as secrets begin to surface the three women’s lives are about to be turned upside-down…
 
 
 
 
Click here to see all Book Extras for The Single Mums' Picnic Club