Tuesday 31 December 2019

Reading Round-Up: November/December 2019

books, the-writing-greyhound

It's time to say goodbye to another year already. Can you believe it? I definitely can't!

This year has certainly been twelve months of ups and downs for me in terms of my reading habits, including some sparse spells interspersed with some super productive bookish months. Overall, though, things have flattened out to result in one of my best years for reading goals in a long time, which is definitely positive!

So, shall we see how 2019 ended - and most importantly, did I manage to meet my annual reading challenge this year?

Sunday 29 December 2019

2019: My Year in Review


Somehow another year has come and gone, and in the blink of an eye, it's time to look back on everything that has happened during 2019.

This is my fifth consecutive year writing a year-in-review post but this one is extra special as I'm also rounding up the decade - and what a decade it's been. The last ten years have taken me on an incredible journey with some of the highest highs and lowest lows of my life so far. Since 2010, I've gained my A-Levels and a degree, started my blog, lived in four different homes in four different towns, had six jobs and two internships, learned to drive, bought a house, and both loved and lost. It's been a wild ride, that's for sure!

In terms of years, 2018 had some incredible highs and was always going to be a tough one to follow. So, how did 2019 measure up?

Friday 27 December 2019

My Top 5 Books of 2019

the-writing-greyhound, top-five-books-2019, book-covers

As the end of the year and the end of the decade draws closer, it's time for my annual round-up of my top books from the past year.

I worked hard to hit my goal of reading 50 books this year but I am proud of myself for reaching my target for the first time since 2016! So, with 50 books read and ticked off my tbr this year, what were my top books of 2019?

Wednesday 18 December 2019

Book Review: No One is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg

Last Updated: 11 October 2021

No One is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg book cover

The groundbreaking speeches of Greta Thunberg, the young climate activist who has become the voice of a generation, including her historic address to the United Nations.

In August 2018 a fifteen-year-old Swedish girl, Greta Thunberg, decided not to go to school one day in order to protest the climate crisis. Her actions sparked a global movement, inspiring millions of students to go on strike for our planet, forcing governments to listen, and earning her a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.

No One Is Too Small to Make A Difference brings you Greta in her own words, for the first time. Collecting her speeches that have made history across the globe, from the United Nations to Capitol Hill and mass street protests, her book is a rallying cry for why we must all wake up and fight to protect the living planet, no matter how powerless we feel. Our future depends upon it.

Wednesday 11 December 2019

Book Review: Escapism - Words and Photos by Candice Lee

Last Updated: 11 October 2021

Escapism Words and Photos by Candice Lee book cover

AD* | This is a story about love and loss. This full-colour book is a collection of poems and landscape photographs - all written, shot, and arranged by the author.

Composed in the style of a memoir, she shares her experiences through words and photos. This window into her emotions reveals the dark side of love as it narrates the journey through relationships, friendships, it's-complicated-ships, and self-identity. But really, it's a story about finding beauty in pain through growth.

Saturday 7 December 2019

3 Home Improvement Ideas for 2020

Last Updated: 3 September 2020
home-sweet-home, the-writing-greyhound

AD* | Since becoming a homeowner nearly two years ago, I've become increasingly aware of just how much time, effort, and money it takes to keep a property looking its best. Whether it's the usual cleaning routine or general maintenance tasks, there's always something that needs doing around the house or garden!

But when it comes to those bigger projects and home improvements, what's best to do? What should you prioritise? If you're on the lookout for a larger-scale renovation project next year, keep on reading for three of my top home improvement ideas for 2020.

Wednesday 4 December 2019

Book Review: Tears of the Dragon by Jean Moran

Last Updated: 11 October 2021

Tears of the Dragon by Jean Moran book cover

AD* | One sultry evening in Kowloon, Dr Rowena Rossiter and Sister Alice Huntley are off-duty and in search of fun – little knowing that their world is on the brink of collapse.

That night, Rowena will meet two men who will fight for her heart for the next four years. Connor O'Connor, the rebellious Irish soldier, who will woo and then lose her, and Kim Pheloung. Immensely rich and the most beautiful man Rowena has ever seen, he is also the most ruthless, with a sinister need to possess and control.

When the Japanese invasion leaves this previously strong and independent woman raped and broken, who will succeed in claiming Rowena's body and soul? And will she ever learn to love the child born of that terrible Christmas Day?

Wednesday 27 November 2019

Book Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Last Updated: 11 October 2021

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff book cover

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

Monday 25 November 2019

3 Things Brands are Looking for from Bloggers

Last Updated: 30 March 2021

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AD* | Bloggers and social media influencers are becoming an increasingly important weapon in the arsenal of digital marketing and PR. More and more brands are starting to welcome the possibility of collaborations and working with bloggers and influencers to broaden their reach and gain valuable exposure for their products and services.

These types of collaborations are a two-way street, though, and it's important to remember that both parties should gain benefit from the activity in order to make sure it's worthwhile for everyone involved.

I have experience on both sides, as a blogger and having previously collaborated with bloggers on behalf of various brands and businesses. I'm hoping that I can put my knowledge to good use and help show my fellow bloggers the things that most brands are looking for when it comes to digital partnerships - so read on for my top three things that brands are looking for from bloggers!

Wednesday 20 November 2019

Book Review: No. No. No. No. Yes: Book Design Uncovered by David Dunn

Last Updated: 11 October 2021

Book Design Uncovered by David Dunn book cover

AD* | All designers will tell you that the design process is one of perseverance, failure, hard work and eventual triumph. Book cover design is no different. The idea for the book stemmed from attending a talk at St. Bride's Foundation, watching Jon Gray and Jamie Keenan present a carousel of beautiful covers that have never seen the cover of a book as they were rejected (for various reasons) along the way. The proverbial lightbulb went up - why not publish a book about rejected covers?

'No, No, No, No, Yes: Book Design Uncovered' brings together 25 published book covers and 100 alternatives seen in print for the very first time. Drawing on submissions from book cover designers from across the world, the book is part peek behind the curtain of the book cover design process, part alternative history of book covers.

Wednesday 13 November 2019

Book Review: Through the Wall by Caroline Corcoran

Last Updated: 21 September 2021

Through the Wall by Caroline Corcoran book cover

AD* | Lexie’s got the perfect life. And someone else wants it...

Lexie loves her home. She feels safe and secure in it – and loved, thanks to her boyfriend Tom.

But recently, something’s not been quite right. A book out of place. A wardrobe door left open. A set of keys going missing...

Tom thinks Lexie’s going mad – but then, he’s away more often than he’s at home nowadays, so he wouldn’t understand.

Because Lexie isn’t losing it. She knows there’s someone out there watching her. And, deep down, she knows there’s nothing she can do to make them stop...

Wednesday 6 November 2019

Book Review: Where the Story Starts by Imogen Clark

Last Updated: 21 September 2021

Where the Story Starts by Imogen Clark book cover

AD* | A strange encounter. An unlikely friendship. But will it survive when they both know the truth?

As a single mother, Leah struggles to get her children ready one morning, the doorbell rings. Standing on the doorstep of their terraced house in Whitley Bay is a well-dressed stranger, Clio, who feels an emotional tie to the house that she can’t explain. The story should end there, but a long-buried secret is already on its way to the surface…

In some ways the two women couldn’t be more different: Leah’s a mother of two and the daughter of a barmaid; Clio’s a perennially single heiress to her baroness mother’s estate. But where Leah lacks grown-up company, Clio lacks any experience of the real world, and the unlikely friendship sparked by their curious first meeting offers both of them a welcome respite from the routine of their lives.

It is a friendship that will answer questions neither of them knew to ask, uncovering secret stories from the past that have stayed hidden for decades. But will it also be the catalyst for them to finally feel that they belong?

Thursday 31 October 2019

Reading Round-Up: September/October 2019

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The latter half of 2019 has definitely been a big success for me on the reading front. Over the last few months, I've been making a conscious effort to put my phone down and read more - and that dedication has definitely been paying off!

If you missed my last reading round-up post, you can catch up on the start of my newfound reading mojo here.

Wednesday 30 October 2019

Book Review: How to Make Time for Me by Fiona Perrin

Last Updated: 21 September 2021

How to Make Time for Me by Fiona Perrin book cover

AD* | No one said being a single mum would be easy.

Everyone knows that being a single mother means having no time to yourself. But for Callie Brown, it's more exhausting than most. She's juggling the needs of three teenage children, two live-in parents, a raffish ex-husband, and a dog who never stops eating.

The last thing Callie needs is anything more on her plate. So when she bumps (quite literally) into a handsome, age-appropriate cyclist, she's quick to dismiss him from her life. After all, if she doesn't have time to brush her hair in the morning, she certainly doesn't have time to fall in love.

Wednesday 23 October 2019

Book Review: A Game of Desire by Sharon Ibbotson

Last Updated: 21 September 2021

A Game of Desire by Sharon Ibbotson book cover

AD* | The Queen of Diamonds never loses...

Felicity Fox is a rarity for a woman living in the early 1800s. Not only does she frequent the ‘gambling hells’ where most ladies would not dare to tread, but she can also beat any man at his own game. It’s no wonder she’s gained notoriety as the ‘Queen of Diamonds’.

Edward, Earl of Addington, despises gambling and is not exactly enamoured of Felicity Fox either, especially after she tried to swindle his family. Except now the Earl requires assistance from the Queen of Diamonds – and there’s everything to play for. But with Edward will Felicity find she’s involved in a more dangerous game than she’s ever played before?

Sunday 20 October 2019

A Quick Guide to Making Solo Travel Work for You

travel, the-writing-greyhound

AD* | If you’ve been dreaming of solo travel for a while but haven’t taken the plunge, now could be the time to do it. There’s no better time to travel solo than right now, especially if you don’t have things like a serious job, relationship, house, or family weighing you down. You really do just need to go for it, because it will probably never feel like the perfect time! Let’s take a look at how you can make solo travel work for you.

Wednesday 16 October 2019

Book Review: Angel by L.J. Ross

Last Updated: 21 September 2021

Angel by L.J. Ross book cover

After a turbulent time, DCI Ryan’s life is finally beginning to return to normal and he’s looking forward to spending an uneventful Easter bank holiday weekend with his fiancée.

Then, on Good Friday morning he is called out to a crime scene at one of the largest cemeteries in Newcastle. The body of a redheaded woman has been found buried in a shallow grave and the killer has given her wings, like an angel.

Soon, another woman is found at a different cemetery, followed quickly by another. Panic spreads like wildfire as a new serial killer is born, and Ryan’s band of detectives must work around the clock to unmask him before he can strike again.

Murder and mystery are peppered with romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunnit set amidst the spectacular Northumbrian landscape.

Wednesday 9 October 2019

Book Review: The Little Village of Happiness by Holly Martin

Last Updated: 20 September 2021

The Little Village of Happiness by Holly Martin book cover

Willow McKay needs a fresh start. Her recent break-up may not have left her heartbroken but it’s certainly wounded her pride. Desperate to escape the whispers and stares of her town’s gossips, an advert offering homes in a picturesque village in the grounds of a majestic castle on the Cornish coast sounds like just what she needs. Without thinking twice Willow applies for a cottage and packs up her life for the village of Happiness.

But when Willow arrives she finds a crumbling ruin and ramshackle cottages, nothing like the pretty picture the advert had boasted. It seems Happiness was too good to be true. That is until she meets the incredibly handsome estate manager Andrew Harrington…

His passion for restoring the village to its former glory is contagious and soon they are working together to bring happiness back to Happiness. And as sparks fly between them Willow can feel herself falling. But Andrew is holding something back.

Can Willow risk her heart again? And will they succeed in transforming the old village to its original beauty before it’s too late?

Wednesday 2 October 2019

Book Review: Heavenfield by L.J. Ross

Last Updated: 20 September 2021

Heavenfield by L.J. Ross book cover

When a man is found dead at the remote church of Heavenfield, DCI Ryan is the only other person for miles around. The police have no weapon, no motive and no other suspects.

Already suspended from Northumbria CID, Ryan must fight to clear his name. But soon, more than his career is at stake when prominent members of the mysterious ‘Circle’ begin to die. Somebody wants Ryan’s name to be next on the coroner’s list and to survive he must unmask the devil who walks among them – before it is too late.

Unfortunately for Ryan, the devil looks just like everybody else…

Monday 30 September 2019

Theatre Review: Les Miserables - The Staged Concert

les-miserables, the-writing-greyhound

While the Queen's Theatre, the West End home of Les Miserables, undergoes renovation work, the show has moved a few doors down Shaftesbury Avenue for a limited 16-week run at the Gielgud Theatre.

Billed as an all-star staged concert, this short run brings together some of the biggest and most noteworthy names who have been associated with the show over the years. However, it's not all massively successful stars, as some new names and potential stars of tomorrow have also joined the cast for these unique performances in the intimate surroundings of the Gielgud.

I'd been looking forward to seeing this show for months, but did it manage to live up to my expectations?

Wednesday 25 September 2019

Book Review: The Things I Know by Amanda Prowse

Last Updated: 20 September 2021

The Things I Know by Amanda Prowse book cover

From bestselling author Amanda Prowse comes a heartwarming tale of first impressions and lasting love.

Thomasina ‘Hitch’ Waycott loves living and working on the remote family farm and B&B. But she also wants more. To see the world. To own her own home. To fall madly in love.

But those are fairy tales, and if her life is a fairy tale, then she’s the ugly duckling. Her deformed lip, her crooked limbs and her weak heart have kept her from taking chances. But that’s about to change.

When Grayson Potts comes to stay, he’s unlike anyone Thomasina has ever met. He’s aloof, eccentric and exceptionally kind. He’s also totally unconcerned with the physical flaws that have always defined Thomasina.

The two form a bond that neither has had before. It’s possible that it could become something more, but Thomasina also wonders if it’s too good to be true. By putting her heart on the line, Thomasina may open herself to heartbreak. But she may also open herself to so much more.

Wednesday 18 September 2019

Book Review: Sycamore Gap by L.J. Ross

Last Updated: 20 September 2021

Sycamore Gap by L.J. Ross book cover

Detective Chief Inspector Ryan believes he has put his turbulent history behind him. Then, in the early hours of the summer solstice, the skeleton of a young woman is found inside the Roman Wall at Sycamore Gap. She has lain undiscovered for ten years and it is Ryan's job to piece together her past. 

Enquiry lines cross and merge as Ryan is forced to face his own demons and enter into a deadly game of cat and mouse with a killer who seems unstoppable.

Murder and mystery are peppered with a sprinkling of romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunnit set amidst the spectacular scenery of Hadrian's Wall country in Northumberland.

Tuesday 17 September 2019

4 Tips to Help Deal with Life's Rocky Patches

Last Updated: 07 May 2021

AD* | Ever felt like you are just on a constant stream of bad luck? Do you find yourself dreading the next stroke of bad luck and assuming that all of these unpleasant situations come in threes? The thing is, we can all have a rocky patch every now and again. It may be to do with your working environment or workload, your home life and relationships, or even a mixture of multiple things.

But regardless of the cause, it’s never easy when you feel like the whole world is against you. However, this is where you can make a choice. You can either let the bad times roll, or you can tackle it head-on and admit that it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s a tough decision to make - and admittedly, sometimes you have no control over the cause of the situation - but where possible, it's always best to take the positives and move forward with your life rather than dwelling on the situation. 

This is why I've put together a handful of inspiring ways to help you get through any rocky patch you might be facing or dealing with in the future.

Monday 16 September 2019

3 Things Bloggers are Looking for from Brands

bloggers, brands, blogger-outreach, the-writing-greyhound

Brand collaborations and partnerships are all part and parcel of being a committed blogger - but there's no reason why blogger outreach should be scary or confusing.

Instead, blogger outreach provides a valuable service for brands, bloggers, and consumers alike, providing a relevant and relatable promotional platform for a wide range of products, services, and organisations. However, as every brand collaboration is different, it can be difficult to know where to start.

There are plenty of resources and tools out there to help budding bloggers and brands just starting to branch out into blogger outreach and influencer marketing, but I've compiled my own experiences to outline three things that many bloggers will be looking for from a brand partnership.

Wednesday 11 September 2019

Book Review: The Spitfire Girls by Soraya M. Lane

Last Updated: 20 September 2021

The Spitfire Girls by Soraya M. Lane book cover

Three skilled aviators determined to help win the war. Three brave women who know their place is not at home.

At the height of World War II, the British Air Transport Auxiliary need help. A group of young women volunteer for action, but the perils of their new job don’t end on the tarmac. Things are tough in the air, but on the ground, their abilities as pilots are constantly questioned.

There is friction from the start between the new recruits. Spirited American Lizzie turns heads with her audacity, but few can deny her flying skills. She couldn’t be more different from shy, petite Ruby, who is far from diminutive in the sky. It falls to pragmatic pilot May to bring the women together and create a formidable team capable of bringing the aircraft home.

As these very different women fight to prove themselves up to the task at hand, they are faced with challenges and tragedies at every turn. They must fight for equal pay and respect while handling aircraft that are dangerously ill-equipped; meanwhile, lives continue to be lost in the tumult of war.

Determined to assist the war effort doing what they love, can May, Lizzie and Ruby put aside their differences to overcome adversity, and will they find love in the skies?

Wednesday 4 September 2019

Book Review: Malibu Motel by Chaunceton Bird

Last Updated: 18 September 2021

Malibu Motel by Chaunceton Bird book cover

AD* | Based on the incredible true story of a hapless lottery winner, Malibu Motel is a raw, timeless novel exploring the undercurrents of capitalism. Caish Calloway is struggling to maintain a stake in the land of limitless privilege. Blinded by pride and fueled by greed, Caish is a slave to the wiles of a moneyed mind, as only one who has tasted wealth's powerful fruit can be.

Saturday 31 August 2019

Reading Round-Up: July/August 2019

books, the-writing-greyhound

Things are going well on the reading front for me this year and I'm cautiously hoping that I'm going to be able to meet my Goodreads reading challenge by the end of the year! I'm definitely over halfway to 50 books now, so fingers crossed!

If you missed my last Reading Round-Up post, you can catch up with that here.

Wednesday 28 August 2019

Book Review: Holy Island by L.J. Ross

Last Updated: 18 September 2021

Holy Island by L.J. Ross book cover

Detective Chief Inspector Ryan retreats to Holy Island seeking sanctuary when he is forced to take sabbatical leave from his duties as a homicide detective. A few days before Christmas, his peace is shattered and he is thrust back into the murky world of murder when a young woman is found dead amongst the ancient ruins of the nearby Priory.

When former local girl Dr Anna Taylor arrives back on the island as a police consultant, old memories swim to the surface making her confront her difficult past. She and Ryan struggle to work together to hunt a killer who hides in plain sight, while pagan ritual and small-town politics muddy the waters of their investigation.

Wednesday 21 August 2019

Book Review: The Promise by Teresa Driscoll

Last Updated: 18 September 2021

The Promise by Teresa Driscoll book cover

It was their darkest secret. Three schoolgirls made a promise – to take the horrible truth of what they did to the grave.

Thirty years later, Beth and Sally have tried to put the trauma behind them. Though Carol has distanced herself from her former friends, the three are adamant that the truth must never come to light, even if the memory still haunts them.

But when some shocking news threatens to unearth their dark secret, Beth enlists the help of private investigator Matthew Hill to help her and Sally reconnect with estranged Carol ­– before the terrible act they committed as teenagers is revealed.

Beth wishes she could take back the vow they made.

But somebody is watching and will stop at nothing to ensure the secret stays buried. Now, with her beloved family in peril, can Beth still keep the promise?

Monday 19 August 2019

4 Ingredients for Great Writing

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AD* | If you’ve ever sat down to write, then you’ll know that it can be pretty difficult to do. You might have the ideas and even some of the words that you want to commit to paper, but that won’t make it straightforward. And that’s possibly because there are few things as scary as a blank page, and the knowledge that you want to fill it. While there are no magic bullets that’ll give you five hundred words of pure gold, there are some things that you can do to start moving in the right direction. Below are a few ingredients you’ll want to throw into the mix.

Sunday 18 August 2019

What to Do When You Never Know Where to Eat!

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AD* | Are you one of those indecisive people who can never decide where to eat? Do you forever find yourself torn between sticking to what you know and branching out to try something new? If yes, don't worry - I'm exactly the same! I've put together a handy guide to help you end the indecision once and for all!

Wednesday 14 August 2019

Blog Tour Book Review: A Knife in the Fog by Bradley Harper

Last Updated: 18 September 2021

A Knife in the Fog by Bradley Harper book blog tour graphic

AD* | Physician Arthur Conan Doyle takes a break from his practice to assist London police in tracking down Jack the Ripper.

September 1888. A twenty-nine-year-old Arthur Conan Doyle practices medicine by day and writes at night. His first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet, although gaining critical and popular success, has only netted him twenty-five pounds. Embittered by the experience, he vows never to write another "crime story." Then a messenger arrives with a mysterious summons from former Prime Minister William Gladstone, asking him to come to London immediately.

Once there, he is offered one month's employment to assist the Metropolitan Police as a "consultant" in their hunt for the serial killer soon to be known as Jack the Ripper. Doyle agrees on the stipulation his old professor of surgery, Professor Joseph Bell--Doyle's inspiration for Sherlock Holmes--agrees to work with him. Bell agrees, and soon the two are joined by Miss Margaret Harkness, an author residing in the East End who knows how to use a Derringer and serves as their guide and companion.

Pursuing leads through the dank alleys and courtyards of Whitechapel, they come upon the body of a savagely murdered fifth victim. Soon it becomes clear that the hunters have become the hunted when a knife-wielding figure approaches.

Monday 12 August 2019

5 of the Best Places to Eat in Chinatown, London

chinatown, london, the-writing-greyhound

Whether you're a seasoned visitor to the capital or a first-time tourist, London's Chinatown is always a great area to visit. Whenever I'm in the city, I usually find myself in Chinatown - often for a walk through to Leicester Square, Foyles, or the Theatre District, but increasingly, to stop off and sample some of the area's delicious food and drink. 

Chinatown and the surrounding streets are packed full of restaurants, cafes, and pop-ups offering everything from traditional cuisine to trendy new treats, so I've compiled a list featuring five of my favourites for you to try next time you're in the city!

Wednesday 7 August 2019

What Makes a Wedding Reception Memorable?

AD* | Every couple wants their wedding reception to be one that’s remembered for all the right reasons. But that’s easier said than done; how do you make sure that people have a great time and that this evening of partying and fun lives long in the memory? Well, it doesn’t have to be all that complicated. It’s mostly about getting the important things right, so read on to find out more about how to make sure your wedding reception is a resounding success!

Book Review: Where Did Your Heart Go? by Audrina Lane

Last Updated: 18 September 2021

Where Did Your Heart Go by Audrina Lane book cover

Stephanie never truly let go of her first love James in 1988. When the relationship ended she kept her diaries, letters and memories safe in the attic and her heart locked away from any future heartbreak. Now her daughter Charlotte is experiencing the same relationship break up that she did. Handing her daughter the diaries she hopes to save her from the bleakness she felt at the loss of first love. The diaries inspire Charlotte to strive for true love as she realises that finding the right man is worth the wait.

Can Charlotte heal two broken hearts at the same time through a strange twist of fate, destiny, music and dance?

Linking the lives of a mother and daughter together you can join them on their journey of discovery through the highs and lows of first love. Will Stephanie finally face the future after the scars from the past, and find out why James left her? Charlotte starts to discover that dancing with Mitchell will be the time of her life. Does anyone ever forget their first love and can you go back?

Monday 5 August 2019

Why It’s Okay Not to Be Okay

Last Updated: 03 September 2020

heart, love, support, mental-health, the-writing-greyhound

Although I try very hard to focus on only the positives in life here on The Writing Greyhound, sometimes, I think it’s important to remember one very important lesson – it’s okay not to be okay.

On social media, it can be all too easy to see things through a rose-tinted lens. Most people will only post updates, photos, and news about the very best parts of their lives, sifting through the more mundane parts of daily life in order to cherry-pick the cream of the crop. This creates a disconnect between life in reality and a life as displayed by social media, and as a result, it’s easy to see why social media causes problems for many people.

However, as we all know, real life is not like social media. Real life has more than its fair share of ups and downs, good days and bad days, the highest highs and the lowest lows. Sometimes things don’t go to plan, and do you know what? That’s okay.

Wednesday 31 July 2019

Book Review: The Piper and the Fairy by Carole Bulewski

Last Updated: 16 September 2021

The Piper and the Fairy by Carole Bulewski book cover

London-based sculptor Iris’ friend Tom has disappeared without a trace during a trip to Austria. Worse still Iris has no recollection of what happened when she went searching for him. 

Stranger still, she regularly hears Tom’s voice in her head?

Fearing that she may be losing her mind she consults a therapist, to bring back the memories she’s temporarily erased.

The focus of the therapy quickly shifts towards the only two people who have mattered to her. Tom, the piper, a Sixties-influenced musician who reignited her creativity; and Matilda, her childhood friend, who encouraged her to pursue her artistic ambitions whilst inspiring her through her Wiccan practice.

What is it that Iris, the fairy in the trees as Tom called her, has buried deep inside that her mind, and will she be able to dig up the clues as to what happened to Tom?

Wednesday 24 July 2019

Book Review: The Deserted Heart by Mary Lancaster

Last Updated: 16 September 2021

The Deserted Heart by Mary Lancaster book cover

Unmarriageable? Or simply unusual?

There can only be one reason for the proud Duke of Alvan’s proposed visit to Audley Park. He means to offer for Lord Overton’s beautiful daughter, Thomasina, thus saving the family’s waning fortune. In the midst of the hectic preparations for his arrival, Overton’s least marriageable daughter Charlotte remembers to collect her young brothers from school for the holidays.

When fog forces them to spend the night at the Hart Inn, they are astonished to find the house deserted, save for one other enigmatic traveller who deals most capably with armed intruders. Drawn to their unconventional new friend, Charlotte enlists his help to solve the mystery.

Amidst the upheaval of the duke’s visit, to say nothing of the chaos caused by Charlotte’s unmanageable pet terrier, the Hart becomes the focus of nefarious doings, kidnappings, and romantic entanglements. For Charlotte is unwise enough to fall hopelessly in love with her sister’s intended husband, and the duke hides too many secrets of his own.

Will they find their happily ever after with each other?

Monday 22 July 2019

Winnie and Winston: Our Journey to Cat Adoption

winnie, winston, cats, pets

Pets are an important part of so many people's lives - mine included. We recently welcomed two very special furry friends into our home - and our lives - and I think it's about time I shared them with you, too! Read on to discover more about our journey to cat adoption and get ready to meet Winnie and Winston!

Wednesday 17 July 2019

Book Review: Highland Hearts Collection by Elizabeth Rose

Last Updated: 16 September 2021

Highland Hearts book collection by Elizabeth Rose

The Highland Hearts collection by bestselling author Elizabeth Rose features four romance novels set in ancient Scotland. These are tales of tartan-clad warriors and their maidens - stories of enduring love set against the stunning, dramatic backdrop of the Scottish landscape.

Each book in the collection is from one of Elizabeth's series' and Highland Hearts serves as the perfect introduction to this long-ago world of violence, friendship, family, and above all else - love.

Monday 15 July 2019

5 Ways to Help Create Your Perfect Workspace

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Whether it's a study at home, a desk in the office, or a creative workstation where your imagination comes to life, the chances are that you will spend a significant chunk of your time at your workspace. As a result, it's important to ensure that where you work is well suited to you and your profession, optimising the space for comfort, practicality, and individuality.

If you are considering refreshing or updating your workspace - or even creating an entirely new one - here are my top tips to help you get started!

Wednesday 10 July 2019

Book Review: Nobody's Duke by Scarlett Scott

Last Updated: 16 September 2021

Nobody's Duke by Scarlett Scott book cover

A widow with secrets

When the dangerous men who killed her husband in a political assassination threaten Ara, Duchess of Burghly, the Crown assigns her a bodyguard. But the man charged with protecting her is no stranger.

He's Clayton Ludlow, the bastard son of a duke and the first man she ever loved. Eight years after he took her innocence and ruthlessly abandoned her, he's back in her drawing-room and her life.

This time, she's older, wiser, and stronger. She will resist him at any cost and make him pay for the past.

A spy with a broken heart

She's the only woman Clay ever loved and the one he hates above all others. When Ara brutally betrayed and deceived him, leaving him with a scarred face and a bitter heart, he devoted himself to earning his reputation as one of the Crown's most feared agents.

He wants nothing more than to finish his assignment so that he can remove all traces of her from his life forever. But walking away from her for good won't be as easy as he thinks.

As secrets are revealed and danger threatens Ara, Clay discovers that the truth is far more complicated than deceit. Once she's back in his arms where she belongs, he'll wage the biggest fight of all to keep her there.

Friday 5 July 2019

Album Review: Happiness Begins by Jonas Brothers

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As you can probably tell from the above image, I'm a massive fan of the Jonas Brothers and have been for over ten years. I was 15 when they were in their heyday and since then, they've always been one of my most favourite bands - even after they split up.

So, as anyone who knows me can attest, I was over the moon earlier this year when the brothers announced that they were getting back together. I eagerly bought tickets in the pre-sale to see them when they tour the UK next year, I signed up to Amazon Prime just to watch their Chasing Happiness documentary, and I fell in love with their music all over again when Happiness Begins dropped through my letterbox on release day.

Oh my Jonas (OMJ), I was hooked. Now, just under a month down the line, I'm ready to share my thoughts on the album with you.
"Come back to me, baby, I'll come back to you."

Wednesday 3 July 2019

Book Review: The Easter Egg by Sarah Eaglesfield

Last Updated: 16 September 2021

The Easter Egg by Sarah Eaglesfield book cover

The Regal Laurel Egg is missing, and only Nathan Strowse knows the full story. The recent death of his father weighing heavily on his mind, he attempts to strike one last deal with a woman he picked up at an antique fair. He wants to go straight now, and become the kind of man that his father would be proud of, but can he pull it off before the net closes in on him?

Sunday 30 June 2019

Reading Round-Up: May/June 2019


Can you believe that we're over halfway through the year now? It doesn't seem possible, but here we are!

Over the last few months, I've been trying my best to dedicate more time to reading in an attempt to try and make my tottering tbr pile a little more manageable. So, how did I do? Keep on reading to find out!

Wednesday 26 June 2019

Book Review: The Ravenstone by Diane Solomon and Mark Carey

Last Updated: 14 September 2021

The Ravenstone by Diane Solomon and Mark Carey book cover

AD* | Imagine a raven appearing out of thin air and guiding you to an exquisitely carved stone artefact that glows with magical light. This is how the adventure begins for Nadia and Aidan Shaw, thirteen-year-old twins. Armed with the power of the Ravenstone and their own special gifts, they embark on a harrowing quest across centuries, at the bidding of a mysterious old shaman. They must depend on their courage, their faith in their friends, and luck. Or is it destiny?

Monday 24 June 2019

Broadband Money Saving Tips

Last Updated: 4 March 2021

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In today's increasingly interconnected world, access to the internet is more important than ever before. Modern society is highly reliant on the internet for everything from communication to security, finance, and entertainment, so making sure that you are connected is a must. In fact, when moving into a new house, broadband is one of the first things that many people get set up!

However, for many of us, money is tight, so finding the best package and the most cost-effective broadband deal to suit your needs is very important. That's why I've put together a few top tips to help you save money on your next broadband deal.

7 Things I'm Loving Right Now

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Over the last month or so, I've realised that I've started to make an unconscious shift towards a more balanced life. Instead of spending the majority of my time either at work, working on my blog, or doing chores around the house, then crashing into bed absolutely exhausted at the end of the day, I've started being a little more lenient with myself.

This means allowing myself the chance to do what I want to do for a change, indulging in my hobbies and interests, and spending more time with the people who matter the most. It's a refreshing change, but a welcome one, and I hope I can continue to manage the work/life balance in this much more healthy way moving forward.

To celebrate my newfound freedom, I thought I'd put together a list of some of the things that I'm loving right now. Who knows, maybe it will inspire you to treat yourself to a little more 'me' time?

Friday 21 June 2019

The Writing Greyhound’s YALC Survival Guide


It’s only a month until YALC 2019 – I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait! To try and pass the time while I’m eagerly counting down the days, I thought it might be a fun idea to try and share some advice with anyone else who will be attending YALC this year. 

Wednesday 19 June 2019

Book Review: Puck by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes

Last Updated: 14 September 2021

Puck by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes book cover

AD* | Life isn’t always fair, and no one knows that better than fifteen-year-old Puck. When she’s unceremoniously booted from yet another foster home, this city kid lands at DreamRoads, a rehabilitation wilderness camp. 

Her fellow juvenile delinquents include a famous pop star with a diva attitude, a geeky, “fish out of water” math whiz, and a surly gang-banger with a chip on his shoulder. The programme’s steely director aims to break Puck, but she knows that every adult has a breaking point, too. 

Determined to defy this realm of agonising nature hikes and soul-sucking psychobabble - even if that means manipulating four lovestruck camp counsellors and the director’s dim-witted second-in-command - Puck ultimately gets much more than she bargains for in this “wondrous strange” outdoor odyssey inspired by Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Tuesday 11 June 2019

Blog Tour Book Review: My Secret Lies With You by Faye Bird

Last Updated: 14 September 2021

My Secret Lies With You by Faye Bird book blog tour graphic

AD* | Three close friends. Two unforgettable summers. One girl's darkest secret.

Alys appeared last summer, and then she vanished without a trace. Cait's new in town and she needs to know the truth: Who is Alys?

Wednesday 5 June 2019

Book Review: Devastation Road by Jason Hewitt

Last Updated: 14 September 2021

Devastation Road by Jason Hewitt book cover

AD* | A deeply compelling and poignant story about the tragic lessons of war and the endurance of memory.

In the last months of World War II, a man wakes in a field in a country he does not know. Injured and with only flashes of memory coming back to him, he pulls himself to his feet and starts to walk, setting out on an extraordinary journey in search of his home, his past, and himself.

His name is Owen. A war he has only a vague recollection of joining is in its dying days, and as he tries to get back to England, he becomes caught up in the flood of rootless people pouring through Europe. Among them is a teenage boy, and together they form an unlikely alliance as they cross battle-worn Germany.

When they meet a troubled young woman, tempers flare and scars are revealed as Owen gathers up the shattered pieces of his life. No one is as he remembers, not even himself. How can he truly return home when he hardly recalls what home is?