Wednesday, 25 May 2016

I've got some explaining to do...


I'm aware it's been a fair old while since I posted on here and it's got to the point where I thought it was only right to update you on what's going on and why I've been absent. 

Firstly, 2016 started with a bit of a wobble for me. I'm not going to go into it too much, but lets just say that some big work and life changes didn't quite work out as I'd hoped and so my mood was drastically impacted. It still feels weird now to say that I was diagnosed with depression - I've never dealt with anything like it before and it always seemed like something that just wouldn't happen to me... but how wrong I was. I also felt guilty for how I was feeling - overall, life was pretty good for me and I felt that I shouldn't be feeling down - many people have it a lot worse and deal with it, so why couldn't I? As well as the guilt, I lost all enthusiasm for pretty much everything (yes, including reading!), couldn't concentrate, took to comfort eating and found myself bursting into tears a lot, for no apparent reason. 

It was a difficult few months but thanks to support from my amazing other half, family and close friends and attending counselling, my mood seems to have lifted and I'm feeling more positive. But this is where the exciting news I have to share comes in too! 

I realised that part of my problem was feeling a little lost in terms of work life. I'm 25 and had NO idea exactly what I wanted to do. I felt like I should have a plan, a goal or at least some sort of idea for my future... but I didn't. So when I reflected on what makes me unhappy in my current work, I realised it wasn't the job itself or working hard, but the office politics side of working for an existing company. Lots of personalities all crammed into one space, not having the freedom to do what you feel right, it all combined to make me feel the way I did. 

So this is where the idea began! After that revelation I knew I wanted to try something for myself - something that I have complete control over and will feel passionate about. The answer to that for me was easy - I've always loved baking and experimenting with recipes (I've been influenced a lot by my wonderful mum who is an amazing baker, as was my late Grandma). Being surrounded by all these talented women has always been inspiring to me and I knew that I wanted to create my own baking and catering business. 

Over the past few months, I've been busy researching all about the ins and outs of running a business, as well as learning about food businesses specifically. I've attended seminars and workshops, local events and talks, read books, spent A LOT of time online and done as much research as possible. Now, I'm about to start the business. As of next week, For the Love of Cake will be live, delivering tasty, homemade treats to people and businesses across Yorkshire. 

I know many of my readers aren't based in Yorkshire (or even the UK!) so I'm sorry that I won't be able to provide any goodies for you - I'm keeping things local while I find my feet - but I wanted to explain to you why I've been missing. I'm working full time while I start this venture (just to be safe and make sure I can pay my mortgage!) but who knows what will happen - all I know is that I now have a dream and a goal and something to pick me up when I'm feeling low. If any of you want to take a peek at the business, I'm on social media, and my website should be live next week (links below) and if you're based in Yorkshire and on the hunt for baking and catering for an event, party or meeting then please keep me in mind!

I guess I wanted to write this to let you know I back enjoying reading but I just don't have time at the moment to work full time, blog, start my business and live my life - something had to give and unfortunately, for now, that is this blog. I hope you understand and I hope that I'll be back book blogging at some point! 

I'll finish this note with some advice - just remember that your problems are your own, and you shouldn't compare yourself to others. If you are feeling low, it's important to talk to someone. Anyone. And, if you can, try and get to the root of your feelings. That way, you can try and do something about it. 

Twitter: @leedscatering 
Facebook: For the Love of Cake 
Instagram: @forthelove_ofcake
Snapchat: For the Love of Cake (lauraholds28)

Friday, 22 April 2016

Blog tour: One Moment at Sunrise by Karen Aldous

"Escape to the south of France with the irresistibly compelling new story from Karen Aldous – the only book you’ll need this summer!

Nothing will ever be the same again…

Evie Grant has spent two years hidden away in a quiet French village, longing to escape her beautiful villa with its blue-shuttered windows. Maybe this summer, the father of her child will keep his broken promises and return to whisk her away to another life. One way or another, Evie’s determined to stop feeling like his dirty little secret…

Yet when a mysterious stranger almost knocks Evie off her bicycle early one morning, her world begins to change in ways she never expected. Embarking on a painful journey of self-discovery, Evie begins to face her darkest fears and shatter her fragile dreams. But can she ever truly break free from her gilded cage and learn to love again?"

Okay so I have to admit, this is the first book I've read by Karen Aldous.... shocking I know! I've got her previous stories on my TBR pile, but for one reason or another haven't yet managed to pick one up. After reading One Moment at Sunrise I'll be reading them as soon as I can, as she is a fantastic storyteller that writes engaging and absorbing fiction that pulls you in from the first page. 

Evie lives a very controlled life in a small french village, where she is tucked away by her partner Seb. He keeps her as his secret, and she lives a very quiet and lonely life.  From the offset its clear that she's trapped and I willed for her to break free from Seb and make a life for herself and her daughter Charlotte. This element of the story did make me frustrated at times, as you just wanted her to stand up for herself and break away from Seb and his controlling nature. However, it's understandable why she's like that. She's been manipulated to believe that she isn't special and can't do anything without Seb, and you will for her to realise that. 

Tucked away with Evie is her young daughter, Charlotte. Her relationship with her daughter is one of my favourite elements of this story. Charlotte is such a cute character and it's obvious just how much she means to Evie. 

An accident on a bike sees Evie meeting Ben, a film director, who she strikes a friendship with following their run-in. Ben is a great character, warm and friendly and I loved seeing them become comfortable with one another and how he helps Evie to break out of her shell and grow in confidence. 

As for the location... Oh boy. Please can I head there right now? It's sounds absolutely amazing and so much better than drizzly old England. I loved that a secondary element of the story was finding out the history behind this quaint little place and Karen's wonderful descriptions make this place jump of the page and seem so realistic it's like you're actually there. 

Overall, One Moment at Sunrise is a lovely read. It's a gorgeous story with complex relationships, heartwarming discoveries and takes place is a gorgeous that captures you imagination from the offset. An absolute must read! 

Buy the book:

About Karen Aldous:

Karen Aldous enjoys village life on the edge of the north-downs in Kent with easy access to the buzz of London. Not only does she love the passive pleasures of reading and writing, she also craves the more active pursuits with her family and friends such as walking, cycling and skiing especially when they involve food and wine! Karen gets much of her inspiration from her travels and if she had to choose, France, Greece, Switzerland, Italy and the USA would be her favourites. However, wherever she goes, she discovers a new character emerges in 'Karen's World'. She likes to write about strong independent women who can direct their own lives - but struggle to control them! And, of course there's always a gorgeous hunk or two!


This giveaway is for a £15 Amazon Voucher and a copy of the book as first prize and a copy of the book as second prize.

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Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Blog tour: The Silent Twin by Caroline Mitchell

"Nine-year-old twins Abigail and Olivia vow never to be parted. But when Abigail goes missing from Blackwater Farm, DC Jennifer Knight must find her before it’s too late. 

Twin sister Olivia has been mute since Abigail’s disappearance. But when she whispers in Jennifer’s ear, Jennifer realises it is Abigail’s voice pleading to be found. 

A damp and decaying house set in acres of desolate scrubland, the farm is a place of secrets, old and new – and Jennifer must unravel them all in order to find the lost girl. But could Olivia’s bond with her twin hold the key to finding Abigail? And can Jennifer break through her silence in time to save her sister’s life?

My Review 

So you'll all know by now that I'm a HUGE fan of Caroline Mitchell. She writes addictive, gritty crime stories that have you on the edge of your seat. They also feature supernatural elements which, although not my usual choice in genre, work really well alongside the crime and mystery parts of these great stories. 

In The Silent Twin we are reunited with DC Jennifer Knight. She's now part of the Operation Moonlight - a secret section of the police that deal with cases which involve the supernatural. Her first case is high profile - a missing nine-year-old-twin.

From the very start I was hooked - the story is fast paced and most chapters end on such a cliffhanger you just can't wait to read the next page. The most interesting part of The Silent Twin was just how differently the family reacted to Abigail's disappearance. Jennifer Knight is assigned to be their family liaison officer, so as a reader we see first hand how they deal (or don't deal) with her sudden disappearance. Abigail's twin, Olivia, has been silent since she went missing, but Jennifer is able to communicate with Abigail through her, using her supernatural powers. Then there's the parents - Nick, who avoids Jennifer and seems to have a strange relationship with Olivia and the mum Joanne, who is far too cool, calm and collected considering her daughter is missing. 

It's hard to review this story without giving too much away, but the way that Caroline has structured it creates a gripping and massively entertaining crime story that will stay with me for some time. As usual, the balance of police investigation work and the supernatural is perfectly balanced - neither are overwhelming or boring and in fact are so realistic they draw you in further. 

This is the third book in the DC Jennifer Knight series and is absolutely brilliant. As I was writing this, I was trying to pick my favourite of the three to suggest, but I genuinely can't. They are all great and well worth a read. They can be read as stand alone stories, but I would definitely read all three if you can as they are brilliant! Caroline has released some exciting news this week about her upcoming novels and I cannot wait to read more from this super talented author. 

*A huge thank you to the publishers of The Silent Twin, Bookouture for an advance copy of the story in exchange for an honest review.

Blog Tour: The Missing by C.L.Taylor

"When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire, blames herself. She's not the only one. There isn't a single member of Billy's family that doesn't feel guilty. But the Wilkinsons are so used to keeping secrets from one another that it isn't until six months later, after an appeal for information goes horribly wrong, that the truth begins to surface.
Claire is sure of two things – that Billy is still alive and that her friends and family had nothing to do with his disappearance.
A mother's instinct is never wrong. Or is it?
Sometimes those closest to us are the ones with the most to hide…"

My Review 

So if you read my review of The Lie, you'll know I'm a big fan of C.L Taylor. She's the queen of gritty, suspense-filled thrillers, and The Missing is no different. 

The story centres around Claire, who are dealing with the aftermath of her son, Billy going missing. This is an intriguing and gripping topic for the story to focus on... you immediately want to know what happened, why Billy went missing and if he is dead or alive. 

The suspense is heightened at the start of each chapter, which focuses on a online chat between two anonymous people. It's not clear who they are (although I had my suspicions for one of the people from early on) but the way they talk has you hooked... it's obviously linked to Billy's disappearance and so it's another mechanism to try and get you to fit the pieces together. 

As you'd expect from the topic of this story, it's an emotional roller-coaster filled with ups and downs. You really feel for Claire, who is struggling to deal with the unanswered questions Billy's disappearance creates. She tries her best to keep her family together as one unit, but as everyone deals with the situation in different ways, she struggles to do so. C.L. Taylor has wonderfully crafted their emotions so you really feel their pain and will for them to get answers, even if it's not the answer they hoped for. I found this such an interesting plot and think that C.L Taylor executes it brilliantly - it's clear she did a lot of research to get it right. The emotions, the police procedures - its all expertly crafted and is so realistic it's easy to get lost in the story and so absorbed that you begin to forget it's fiction. 

I'll admit, I really wasn't sure how the story would end, but they way it does is so good. I obviously don't want to say too much and spoil anything, but you won't be disappointed. I don't think it's an obvious ending, I was surprised by it, but once you know what happened and who's involved you sit back and think 'ohhh, of course!'. 

As expected, The Missing is a brilliantly written, clever story filled with complex and intriguing characters that will hook you in from the very first page. An absolute must-read, but make sure you have plenty of time on your hands as you won't want to put it down!

*A big thank you to Avon, the publishers of The Missing for an advance copy of the book in exchange for an honest review

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Blog Tour: The Wedding Date by Jennifer Joyce

"Will you…date me?
Delilah James, singleton and smoothie-addict, has six months to find a date for her oldest friend’s wedding. Oh, and to prove to her ex, best man Ben, that she has totally moved on since he dumped her out-of-the-blue nine months, eight days and seventeen hours ago…
So, with her two BFFs playing Cupid, Delilah launches herself into the high-tech, fast-paced and frankly terrifying world of dating. Luckily there’s the hot new guy at work, Adam Sinclair, to practice her flirting on – even if, as a colleague, he’s strictly off-limits!
Yet time’s running out and date after disastrous date forces Delilah to tell a little white lie – and invent a fake boyfriend! But will her secret crush on Adam ruin everything? Does she even care about Ben anymore? And is it too late to untangle her web of lies and take a real date to the wedding…?"

When I was asked to be a part of the Jennifer Joyce blog tour, I was thrilled. She is a witty, brilliant author and I was super excited to get my hands on a copy of her latest novel, The Wedding Date.

The Wedding Date lived up to expectation. It's an immersive, fun novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. The main character, Delilah, is leading a pretty stale life. Working in a boring admin job, living at home with her parents and still not over her break-up from the supposed love of her life, Ben, she's kind of coasting through life. When an old school friend invites Delilah to her wedding and announces Ben is going to be the best man and will be bringing his fiance with him, Deliah is on a mission to find someone to stand by her side during the wedding do.

The plot for The Wedding Date provides the funny and awkward situations you'd expect from it. We see a string of disastrous dates that had me cringing for Delilah and also get to see her come out of her shell a bit. Delilah is a relatable character, you fully understand how she's in the situation she's in and how she's really struggling with the idea of the man she loves not loving her back. Sometimes I did struggle with this aspect though - she's so determined to use her wedding date to make Ben jealous and ultimately win him back, which seems stupid when it's so clear he's just not into her anymore. I wanted her to be excited about the prospect of  a new romance, not using it to reconcile with her stupid ex. However, like I said.. that's a really relatable part of the story as so many people have thoughts and ideas like that when they go through a break-up. 

One of my favourite characters was Adam, the office hottie. He's funny and relaxed and brings normality to Delilah's otherwise crazy workplace. I loved seeing him and Delilah getting along - there's clear chemistry and I was willing for one of them to actually act on it.

The Wedding Date is an entertaining story that just makes you smile. It's addictive - you really want to see how things will turn out for Delilah and will her to do something that makes her happy. I enjoyed seeing her character develop and grow, Jennifer Joyce has a real talent at making loveable yet complex characters who you root for from the very beginning. This is a great easy-going read perfect to curl up with and relax. 

Author bio:

Jennifer Joyce is a writer of romantic comedies who lives in Manchester with her husband and their two daughters. Her latest novel, The Wedding Date is out now.

You can find out more about Jennifer and her books on: