Running & Fitness: My November Story

Posted on 30 November, 2015 by Faye - 1 Comment

Running & Fitness

When I first had the idea to talk about my running & fitness, I was certain that I would tell you all how well I was doing and how proud I am of myself but instead, I’m here to tell you the exact opposite and have thus decided to make this a monthly post so that I can honestly look at my life and change what I feel needs to be changed. Plus, if I know that I have to blog about my efforts at the end of it all, I might be more motivated to do things so that I don’t look like a fool to you all.

So in October I was doing well. I had joined my local gym, I was getting back into running and I was eating better and feeling better about myself. I was determined to get my fitness back on track after a rocky summer due to injuries and how busy I had been. I felt so determined in October and I was sure that November was going to be just as good.

But instead I am sitting here on the 30th November struggling to remember whether I have actually done any exercise this month. And that actually scares me.

And so I have already got a schedule for the first two weeks of December and I am hoping to continue for the second two weeks. Mostly because I know I am probably going to eat more food than I need to over the holidays because it’s nice to indulge every once in a while!

The Plan

So, because I like plans, I’m giving myself one to then look back on at the end of the month and see how well things have gone. I’m hoping this well be the kick up the back side that I need to finally get my fitness back.

– I aim to do four or five days of exercise each week
– This will be a mix of running, swimming, gym and exercise classes
– To get back onto the horse as quickly as I can once I’ve fallen off of it

The Goals

Because this is to get my fitness level back up – so I can stop huffing and puffing everywhere I go, this is my plan for where I’d like my fitness level to be at the end of the month.

– To be able to run for 45mins without stopping
- To be able to swim 40 lengths in 30mins
– To be able to climb the three flights of stairs at work without feeling like I’m dying
- To try and lose half a stone

So… let’s do this!

Do you have any fitness plans or goals for December?


Posted on 30 November, 2015 by Faye - 1 Comment

Serial Self Publishing by Nick Bryan

Posted on 27 November, 2015 by Faye - No Comments

Hey All!

Today I am here to welcome Nick Bryan on the blog to talk about writing and self-publishing a series. It’s a great post that I hope you both enjoy and find informative!

Serial Self Publishing – How Was it the Third Time Around?

Hi, I’m Nick Bryan and I write the Hobson & Choi series, mismatched detective duo crime novels in which an experienced detective and his teenage intern investigate cases. They take place against the backdrop of a London in which crime seems to lurk behind every business and institution.

The third book came out in early October, meaning I have now self-published a novel more often than many will have a child, get a degree or climb a mountain. So, have I learnt anything from this experience?

Sequel Sedation

This probably isn’t exclusive to indie publishing, but the problem with writing heavily serialised books (which Hobson & Choi definitely is) is that with every new one, the pool of potential buyers shrinks. The only people I can ethically say ‘should’ purchase the third H&C are those who read the first and second.

Unless you’re just doing it to give me money and pad my stats, in which case… well, I’d rather you read the things, but won’t stop you. Point being, unless you get to a national success level, your sequel-specific marketing campaigns get smaller and shorter each time, then you go back to plugging book one again. It’s an annoying but necessary realisation.

Series Satisfaction

Of course, writing a series is one of the reasons I’m self-rather-than-traditional-publishing this project in the first place. I grew up on series of books/comics/TV shows and always want to do the next chapter. It’s not sensible to write heavily serialised sequels if you don’t know the first one will be published, and since the H&C series ran for a long time on a serial fiction site anyway, I figured I could continue them that way. Nice to write more stories rather than get stuck on endless origins like the superhero movies.

It was also a deliberate choice to stop these books getting mega-long, so I can keep continuing the series whilst working on other stuff at a decent pace.

Sensational Repetitions

Going into more detail for a second – in order to save money (and because I’m enough of an IT-person to find it easy-ish), I do a lot of the technical aspects of self-publishing myself. I can do the HTML, I have help with proofreading, there are loads of walkthroughs online if I get stuck. As you’d expect, the tech tasks get easier after a few repeats, especially as the H&C books (being a single series) all look the same, so my templates and stylesheets get re-used.

However, I’ve found myself fighting off a certain amount of complacency on this third attempt. The first one was an epic struggle, the second seemed easy in comparison and as a result, I perhaps over-assumed the third one would be simple. Ended up having to go back and correct a lot of stuff. Learn from my mistakes, everyone. Don’t get smug, it’s not worth the damn tedium.

Still, self-publishing is fun, you learn a lot. More lessons all the time, which I hope to take on through to the next one. Less smugness for book four! In the meantime, the first three books of the H&C series are out now in print and digital, the first one is currently free in ebook, and if you give them a try, you’ll make a simple boy very happy. Thanks!

I personally love the Hobson & Choi series, and you can read my post here where I detail the ten reasons why I think you should read the series!

“You’ve heard of conspiracies within conspiracies? I wish conspiracies WOULD hide inside each other, instead of turning up everywhere I go.”

Angelina Choi returns for her final day of work experience at the Hobson Agency – is there a job waiting afterwards? Should she walk away for her own good?

While she mulls it over, they’re hired by the massive EastVillage shopping centre to investigate a spate of muggings. But do the management know more than they’re letting on?

As Hobson and Choi wrestle with commercialised corruption, will Angelina finally squeeze in her first date with Will the Hot Receptionist? Can anything emerge from the smoking crater of Hobson’s love life?

Trapped In The Bargain Basement plunges grimly comic London crime series Hobson & Choi to new depths, after climbing to #1 in Dark Comedy on Amazon and breaking records on Jukepop Serials.

Goodreads. Amazon UK.


Posted on 27 November, 2015 by Faye - No Comments

Book Review; The Secret by the Lake by Louise Douglas

Posted on 22 November, 2015 by Faye - 2 Comments

The Secret by the LakeAuthor: Louise Douglas
Publisher: Transworld
Published: 19th November 2015
Pages: 416
Format: Paperback
Source:: Netgalley Copy
Add It: Goodreads, Amazon UK, The Book Depository

Amy’s always felt like something’s been missing in her life, but as a nanny for the Laurent family – Julia, Alain, Viviane – she feels complete.

So Amy wouldn’t think of leaving them when a sudden tragedy forces them to move from France to the small lakeside cottage in the isolated Somerset village where Julia grew up.

But there’s something strange about the cottage by the lake. This is where Julia spent her childhood. But she used to have an older sister, Caroline, whom she rarely speaks about…

Who disappeared at just seventeen…

Who has a secret the whole village wants kept hidden for ever…

When The

As soon as I saw the cover and read the synopsis of this book, I knew that I had to read it. And I am so very glad that I had that reaction because The Secret by the Lake is an incredible book that I found very hard to put down. It’s creepy, addictive and compelling in the best ways. I was instantly pulled into the story and fell in love with the storyline, the characters and the writing style. It was a book that reminded me of why I love reading.

Noises Start

There is an eerieness to this book that Louise Douglas has pulled off incredibly well. As I was reading, I could imagine every single thing that was happening. It was written in that way that even though everything was working just fine, something just felt a little off and not quite right. In many ways it reminded me of the atmosphere in Hot Fuzz. Everything there works fine but actually, underneath it all, there’s something mysterious going on. I found this part of the novel so brilliant to read about as it made it feel so real to me. It also helped to really make this book have a creepy, unputdownable feel.

Do You

One of my favourite things about any book is the characters and in The Secret by the Lake, Louise has written powerful, strong, and fully-rounded characters that I fell in love with. I adored Amy and could feel for her and the way that she felt like her life was, at the start, just something where she went from one tragedy to the next. But she grew so much throughout the novel and really came into her own. She was strong, but still with her own weakness, powerful and vigilant and I just loved reading the novel from her perspective. I also enjoyed reading about Daniel and how sweet and gentle he could be while also being very protective and caring. Vivi and Julia were again, fantastic characters with Vivi really helping to bring out the eerie feel to the book but also being a lovely, vibrant and colourful child. Whereas Julia was a very complex and interesting character and it was lovely to see her come out of her shell as the story progressed.

Ignore Them

I absolutely adored the storyline of this novel. I loved all of the little twists and turns as the mystery of it all was finally revealed. I did work out early on what was actually going on – and did a little woo, when I realised I was right – but Louise also added in a few more things that I never would have guessed. And I loved that. I loved that even though I thought I was on point with it all, I was also incredibly wrong about it all too. Definitely made the read that much more interesting and exciting for me. It takes a very talented writer to spoon-feed the story the way she did and I loved the empty room as a way of doing it.

Or Fight Them

In case it isn’t yet obvious, I adored this novel from the very first page until the very last. It is eerie and creepy and yet you feel that you cannot put it down because you need to know what is going on. You need to know what happened and uncover the truth of it all. It’s compelling and addictive and a book that I will very happily read again. Louise Douglas has a wonderful way with words and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more of her books because if they’re even half as good as this one, I know I’ll absolutely love them. So, if you’re looking for a book that will keep you hooked throughout, definitely pick up The Secret by the Lake.

Four Stars

** I received this copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. **


Posted on 22 November, 2015 by Faye - 2 Comments

UK Book Blogger Secret Santa!

Posted on 17 November, 2015 by Faye - 1 Comment


Hey All!

So I maybe a little crazy for attempting this, especially as we’re getting ever so close to the big day – like eeek! – but I missed out on the TBTB Secret Santa as I had the date down wrong but I really want to gift some books to people, and hopefully get some in return ;). So I decided to host my very own UK Book Blogger Secret Santa!

The Rules

1. You must live in the UK.
I’m sorry if this seems harsh but as we’re nearing the big rush, postal times are increasing and I want to give people enough time as possible to find the perfect gifts for their picks.
2. Only sign up if you will definitely send a present.
I don’t have enough money to send presents to x amount of people because their santa didn’t bother. If you’re running late with your present, it’s fine but you MUST LET ME KNOW so that I can inform your pick that it’s late but on it’s way.
3. There is a minimum spend of £14.
This is the price of two paperback books, but obviously you can send one book and a gift or pick some deals on the books and send more than two. It’s completely up to you but you have to be willing to spend at least £14 on your gifts.
4. Presents much be sent by 14th December.
This is just so that they arrive on time!
5. You must show me your proof of delivery.
This can just be a photo of your receipt that it has been sent, but I need to see something so I can mark you off the big spreadsheet.
6. When you sign up, I am trusting you to abide by all of these rules and actually send your gift.
Please don’t break my trust in you.
7. And FINALLY, you are more than welcome to send any ARCs or second hand books in your parcel but PLEASE only send them if they’re in excellent condition (i.e. don’t look as though they’ve been read 100 times before.)

The Hashtag

Because who doesn’t love photos of wrapped gifts and unwrapped gifts? If you want to share that you just found the perfect gift or let your secret santa know that your gift has arrived, you can do so using the hashtag;


Remember the Thought

When you receive your gift, remember that it is the thought that counts. Not everyone has all the money in the world and may not have been able to afford to buy you two books and send you four old ARCs too like you did for your pick but someone put effort into getting you a gift and that is what matters, right? Right.


Sign Up!

Like the rules? Happy to join in?


Just fill in the contact form below and I will e-mail you back with a little questionnaire to fill out. If I don’t e-mail you, let me know and I’ll try and find out what happened!

Closing Date: 22nd November 2015
Any sign ups after this date will be ignored, sorry!


Posted on 17 November, 2015 by Faye - 1 Comment

Review Tour: A Wicked Old Woman by Ravinder Randhawa

Posted on 6 November, 2015 by Faye - No Comments


Hey Guys!

Today is my stop on the A Wicked Old Woman review tour and so I’m here today to tell you Ten Reasons you should read this books!

A Wicked Old Woman Drama. Masquerade. Mischief.

A sharply observed, witty and confident novel. Linguistically playful, entertaining and provoking.

In a bustling British city, Kulwant mischievously masquerades as a much older woman, using her walking stick like a Greek chorus, ‘…stick-leg-shuffle-leg-shuffle…’ encountering new adventures and getting bruised by the jagged edges of her life. There’s the Punjabi punk who rescues her after a carefully calculated fall; Caroline, her gregarious friend from school days, who watched over her dizzy romance with ‘Michael the Archangel’, Maya the myopic who can’t see beyond her broken heart and Rani/Rosalind, who’s just killed a man …

Vividly bringing to life a bit of the 60s, 70s and 80s.

Goodreads. Amazon.

Top Ten Reasons to Read A Wicked Old Woman

It is full of beautiful imagery.

It moves between the past and the present perfectly.

It is full of lively, vibrant and interesting characters.

It paints a unique and intriguing image of what it is like being Asian in England.

It is a thought-provoking and interesting read.

With such beautiful and vivid descriptions, it was a very aromatic and atmospheric read that pulls you straight into it’s own world.

As a non-Indian, it was a very eye-opening and intriguing novel to read, a perfect insight into how different cultures can be.

The pace worked really well throughout the novel, just keeping you curious enough to keep turning the page and seeing what would happen next.

It was written in a very fascinating and unique way, especially as it jumped through the different time periods.

It is a book that has a beautiful cover that perfectly illustrates the beautiful writing and story inside.

Ravi Photograph Ravinder Randhawa is the acclaimed author of the novels Beauty and the Beast (YA), A Wicked Old Woman, The Tiger’s Smile and the short story collection Dynamite. She’s currently working on a trilogy: The Fire-Magician. Ravinder was a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Toynbee Hall, Queen Mary’s University, the University of London, and founded the Asian Women Writer’s Collective.

Ravinder was born in India, grew up in leafy Warwickshire, now lives in London and agrees with Samuel Johnson’s saying (though of course, in a gender non-specific way) ‘…if a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.’ Loves good coffee and really good thrillers.

Website. Twitter. Facebook.

You can follow the rest of the review tour here.



Posted on 6 November, 2015 by Faye - No Comments

The Dead Dog Day by Jackie Kabler

Posted on 2 November, 2015 by Faye - 1 Comment

Hi All!

Today I’m here to highlight a really intriguing sounding book for you all. I am super excited to start reading this and finding out what it’s all about!
So, without further ado…

Thrilling crime debut from top TV broadcaster Jackie Kabler

When your Monday morning begins with a dead dog at four a.m. and a dead boss by ten, you know it’s going to be one of those days. And breakfast TV reporter Cora Baxter has already had the weekend from hell, after the man she was planning a fabulous future with unceremoniously dumped her.

Now Cora’s much-hated boss has been murdered, and Cora is assigned to cover the story for the breakfast show – but as the murder enquiry continues, the trail of suspects leads frighteningly close to home. Why is Cora’s arch-rival, glamorous, bitchy newsreader Alice Lomas, so devastated by their boss’s death? What dark secret is one of her camera crew hiding? And why has her now ex-boyfriend vanished? The race to stop the killer striking again is on …

Goodreads. Amazon.

Jackie’s novel is the first book in a new series, and she draws on her experiences of the glamourous world of television, as well as her long-standing love for crime fiction. A popular broadcaster turned author, Jackie is now a presenter on QVC, and as well as a decade on GMTV, has also worked for BBC News, ITV News and Setanta Sports News.

“A twenty-year career in news during which I covered hundreds of major crime stories has given me a wealth of material to draw on for my novels. Aside from the actual murders, everything else that happens in this book actually happened to me as a breakfast TV reporter – with minor details changed to protect identities, of course…”, says Jackie Kabler.

Twitter. Facebook

Doesn’t it sound great?


Posted on 2 November, 2015 by Faye - 1 Comment