Blog Tour-The Secrets You Keep by Kate White

Hi guys! Today is my turn on the The Secrets You Keep blog tour and I'm so happy to share this book with you. 
I'd been in a bit of a reading slump-even my trusty Philosopher's Stone was feeling like a chore-until this book arrived on my kindle. I thought The Secrets You Keep was gripping, and fast paced, and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good mystery. 

The Secrets You Keep

Author: Kate White
Genre: Suspense, Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: 11th September

You’ve lost your memory. A woman has been murdered. Your husband is keeping secrets. How do you know who to trust?

Months after a being involved in a terrible car crash, Bryn Harper is physically healed but her emotional scars remain raw. She has no memory of the accident and is plagued with bad dreams.
When Bryn and her husband, Guy, host a dinner party Bryn swears money has been stolen while Guy seems unfazed. Bryn confronts the caterer that night and is horrified to discover the woman’s brutally slain body the next day.

As the case is investigated, Bryn is dragged into a fresh nightmare and learns that Guy is keeping things from her. Another murder occurs and Bryn realises the danger is getting ever closer to home.

How well does Bryn really know the man she loves?

Amazon------Kobo------Google Books------Apple Books------Goodreads

The Author

Kate White is the New York Times bestselling author of twelve works of fiction: seven Bailey Weggins mysteries and five stand-alone psychological thrillers, including most recently, The Secrets You Keep. For fourteen years she was the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, and though she loved the job (and the Cosmo beauty closet!), she decided to leave in late 2013 to concentrate on being a full-time author and speaker.

The Tour 

I do hope you'll check out the book, and of course the other stops on the tour! A few of them might even have some extracts or giveaways for you. I'll leave you with one final word from the publisher:

For fans of psychological suspense and compulsive mysteries, don’t miss this tense and page-turning novel. Before I Go to Sleep meets The Husband’s Secret

You're Beautiful?

It occurred to me the other day that the word "beautiful" makes me uncomfortable. Don't get me wrong though, when my partner, or in fact my mother, say it I can kind of stand it- they are biased, they have to appreciate my "beauty" and they really know me. But when a stranger says it, it feels different somehow. Almost like my brain tries to fit my image of myself into the image of what society deems beautiful.

What I mean is suddenly there is this person who doesn't really know me, maybe they've only ever seen my pictures on the internet- but off all the words at their disposal the one they have chosen to use is beautiful. Why? My brain cannot, in that instance, make the connection between "beautiful" and my own self-image. 

It's for this reason (I think) that I am terrible at accepting compliments that are related to my looks. Tell me I'm funny, whip-smart, personable, talented, or a bit weird, and I will smile, thank you, and probably agree for the most part. Tell me I am beautiful, stunning or any other adjective used to qualify someone's looks, and I'm much more likely to tell you to shut up, or just ignore it completely. It's not that I'm not flattered of course, it is honestly just because I can't figure out the message. 

A couple of my friends said that for them it depends on the person saying it, and whether they can determine the sincerity behind the compliment. For instance they are less likely to feel comfortable if it comes from someone who is drunk, or simply trying to get their attention. On the flipside of that one of them said she'd be more comfortable if it came from a girl on the internet because it feels more honest. 

Is that why I struggle? Because I can't figure out the sincerity of the person saying it? Should I maybe realise that just because I can't look at myself and connect to the word "beautiful" that doesn't mean that other people can't, right?

You see, when I think of a person as beautiful it is usually because they have shown me who they are. Their humour can make them beautiful to me, the way their smile spreads across their face, even just having a uniqueness to them can make someone beautiful to me. The number one thing that I think of when I hear the word, though, is the way a person carries themselves, that quiet confidence, with a smile for everybody, and a certainty in their actions-that to me is beautiful. 

I'm not immune to looks of course, I appreciate a good looking person as much as the next guy, BUT my point here is, when I think of the physical attributes that I consider beautiful, or the ones society has deemed worthy of the word- I just cannot see myself. 

I asked Twitter (because of course I did) and whilst the majority that had been called beautiful did like it, it was nice to see that I wasn't alone in not being the biggest fan of this compliment. 
I know that for me this whole post has just been a stream of consciousness that suggests that maybe I should examine my own self-esteem a little bit more, but I want to know what YOU think? Is it just a compliment and I should learn to take it, or do you agree with my POV? 

30 Years to Know Me

The funny thing about getting older is it's almost always a catalyst for reflection. I don't know if it's because I finally hit the big 30- honestly an age I wasn't even sure I'd make it to at one point- or if I'm just feeling particularly introspective at the moment, but for whatever reason I sat down on my break at work a few weeks ago and just started trying to figure out who I am. Now don't read that and think "Uh-oh is AJ about to pack in her job and go all "Eat, Pray, Love" on us?" I can promise you that while I would love to spend my days communing with nature, and smoking weed I have no plans to in the near future. But I do want, for lack of a better phrase, "to find myself". 

I'm not sitting here telling you that I don't know what I enjoy, or what I think about the world but I am saying that I don't know who the complete me is. I know parts of me, almost as if my soul is fragmented and spread across time and I've only collected some of the parts-maybe that's what life is though-maybe it's not just me, and we are all travelling through time collecting pieces of our soul and when we catch them all we're done. Achievement unlocked-off to the afterlife with you! 
I know that my views and politics make up a big part of me, these are the foundations of the "real" me. I am my politics, I am a feminist, I am living with chronic pain, I do like big butts and I cannot lie about it! Okay that last one was a joke but you get me. All of these are things that I can confidently state I am. These are things you would know about me just by reading this blog, or following me on social media. But the foundations of a person aren't the things that make them unique. The little things that swirl around a persons brain, that chop and change over time, the things that are fleeting and they may not even notice themselves, these are the important things. 
Like the songs that make a smile involuntarily spread across my face, or the books that stop my tears in their tracks, or the movies that quiet the noise in my head, these are the things that matter to me.
There was a moment when for the 9 millionth time I was asked "So what kind of music do you like?" and I once again answered with "oh a bit of everything really" that I realised that whilst I do love many many different genres of music, movies, books etc my answers were vague because my personality was vague. There was no clarity, no precision, no completeness. 

How many of you have "tried on" a 100 different personas over the years? I know I have! I was the prim & proper schoolgirl, the loner, the bad-girl, the stoner, the slut, the emo (before emo was a word), the stripper, the "cool girl", the "I'm not a girl's girl" girl, the party girl, the I don't give a damn girl, and so many, many more different girls. Over the years I let everything from friends and boys, fun and money, confidence and low self esteem to shape who I apparently was. But sitting here now, being completely honest with myself, I'd say each persona only had about 10% of the real me in there-and that's really not okay! How are we ever supposed to know who we are, and what we want from life if we are showing the world a different face at every turn? 

I can't tell you why I felt the need to change suppress myself, just to fit into friendship groups, just to be loved, just to be liked. I could blame it on my anxiety, or I could admit that I was just weak and easily moulded into something new. 
For every new persona I found new friends, new hobbies, new "favourite" bands, and bars, and clothes, but through all of that I never found myself! Don't get me wrong though, I look back at those times and I remember some of the best moments of my life, I smile fondly thinking of those friends, I still smile and bop  my head when I walk to work and one of the songs from "back then" comes on. But I also look back and barely recognise the girl in those memories. 
It took me far too long, far too many years of tricking myself, diminishing myself, and changing myself, before I finally decided enough was enough. No more changing, no more learning to like things just to make other people like me, no more of not knowing me. I wanted to get to know me, so I could eventually let other people get to know me. 

4 years ago I left an unhealthy relationship that I had been in from the age of 19- I spent most of my formative years with this one man (although there was a one year break where once again I put on a different persona like it was my new favourite jeans) and it took our final break up for me to realise that I'd spent almost 7 years trying to be enough for a man that was never going to be good enough for me! I left that relationship,moved back in with my parents, and spent the next 6 months doing stupid things, and stupid people, just to clear my head. All the personalities I'd tried on over the years sat in a pile on the floor of my childhood bedroom, muddled together wondering which one I was going to put on next. I gave party girl another whirl-I made some questionable decisions under that influence, I even pulled on my total bitch persona and dated my ex's work colleague for a while! 

Then I met Damian. I don't know what it was about him, or why I felt so unconcerned in his presence, but not long after we met we all went out with friends, ended up in the casino, and the two of us sat chatting until about 5/6am. But the most important part of this night was all throughout that conversation, I told the truth. I didn't pretend to be anybody I wasn't, I didn't actively try to make this new person in my life like me. I just answered questions as honestly as I knew how, and I learned more about myself that night than I had in the years previous. 

Leaving that casino I felt lighter, almost like I'd shed this cocoon of need-the need to be loved, the need to be liked-I started to want to like myself, I wanted to love myself. I took me another 3 months to agree to date Damian btw, I really actually made sure I knew who I was bringing into this new relationship. 

Damon Hill actually says in his new book "in order to find out who I am, I first had to realise I wasn't my father..." and I think that is true of everybody (not just famous F1 drivers who followed in their father's footsteps). In order for me to know who I am, I first have to realise that I'm not the person I have been pretending to be. So of course I didn't find myself that year, I just found out who I wasn't.

So in January 2013 I started collecting the correct pieces of my soul, I started pulling myself back together. So far I've discovered that I am the girl who loves and hates the rain in equal measure. I love staying in over going out, BUT will be the first to shout "SHOTTTTTSSSS" when I do drag myself out to the bar. I'm the woman who watches Disney movies at least 3 times a week, who carries her stuffed teddy Jonjo with her whenever she has to stay away from home, and is sitting with an actual zoo of stuffed toys above her head right now. I have read Wuthering Heights over 100 times and still get confused in the middle, I buy a new copy every time they release a new cover even though I understand it's just a marketing ploy. I'm surly and unapologetic, I'm fiercely loyal, and always put my friends needs before my own. I HATE talking to people about my problems and feelings, but also maintain that counselling saved my life. I'm a creature of habit, I can be lazy, I love to run, and miss it desperately. I am proud of my intelligence and won't hide it to make anyone feel superior, I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up, I want to go back to university and do at least 3 different new degrees. I want to own a store filled with muslin, and incense, and sell Native made dream-catchers but only to people that actually understand dream catchers. I want to create a million different things, but I also just want to be calm and quiet. I hate when there are two different noise sources at the same time. I'm snappy, and soppy. I love my body and hate the way it looks. I'm care about other women but won't support them just because they are women. I'm a bisexual woman that married a man. I'm a fiercely independent woman that sometimes needs her husband to help her brush her hair. I'm complicated and messy, and i'm still learning. I'm worthy of more than life has given me in the past, and you better believe I'm out to get what I deserve. 

I was a victim but now I'm a survivor.
I was naive but now I'm experienced.
I was everybody else's to shape but now I'm in charge. 
I was somebody that nobody really knew but now I'm someone who knows herself. (So far).

I'm enjoying collecting my pieces, enjoying getting to know myself, and learning new things everyday. Oh and now when someone asks "So what kind of music do you like?" I can answer with a confident, no shame "well mostly 90s pop, early 00s emo, rocking power ballads, and anything by former Disney actresses that have discovered they are sexy as hell-shoutout to Selena, Demi, and Ariana!"

Now look I know this has been long, and some of it probably didn't even make sense, but I had to get it out of my system so sorry! If you read this far THANK YOU!! Leave a comment if you wish, you know I love them. 

What I got for my 30th

So you may have read my post about what I wore to my 30th birthday dinner, then again you may not have, and thus you should totally do that when you are finished here! If you did you will know I promised to do a follow up, What I Got kind of deal...GUYS I got a frigging LOT of stuff. Like I was genuinely stunned with the generosity and love I felt this year #sospoiled. I mean I've always been spoiled not gonna lie but it turns out turning 30 notches that up a level (lifehack). So what did I get??

From my Parents

Perfection folks! Utter perfection. My mum saw me talk about all of these things on Twitter, and promptly went out and bought me them for my birthday! How sweet is that?? The record is an original 1978 copy of The Kick Inside by Kate Bush. Shall I repeat that...AN ORIGINAL 1978 COPY!! It's in perfect condition too, not a scratch to be seen. I'm so excited to pop it on the record player, and flounce around to Wuthering Heights, barefoot. 

I collect Disney Showcase figurines BUT only Rapunzel and Aurora. Once they add my girl Moana to the lineup I'll add her in but for now these are my gals. These actual figures are Rapunzel from the Art Deco line, and Aurora as Briar Rose. I am so in love with the details on Briar's cloak and dress 😍 like I can't stop staring at her. The Rapunzel figure just screams 1920s to me and that's defo my second favourite decade so that's a win! Fun fact: Briar Rose has been my favourite Disney character for so long that I genuinely want to name one of my (hopefully) future daughters after her.

From Damian (my husband)

We have a rule in our house when it comes to birthday's and Christmas, it's The 4 Gift Rule. There are supposed to be budgetary stipulations and such but honestly we are both ridiculous cheats when it comes to the rule! The basic understanding though is this: 

Something you want
Something you need, 
Something to wear, 
and Something to read.

I love it, and it really helps when you're standing in the middle of the city centre trying to figure out where to go and what to buy. 

So I wanted Daisy Dream Kiss by Marc Jacobs because it's pretty as hell, and smells so good. Also I have a thing for pink perfume bottles. This bad boy is joining Ariana Grande's Sweet Like Candy, and Prada Candy on my dressing table. 
I needed the blue Instax Mini because I'm basic AF, and I have a corkboard on my wall screaming out for polaroidesque photos.
I'm really in to "American" sports, which is a shame for Damian because you can't just pop down to the local sports shop and pick up an Oakland Raiders (NFL) snapback (you CAN get them from Littlewoods online but they are so expensive over here) and you definitely can't get your hands easily on a Charlotte Hornets (basketball) jersey, so you can imagine how happy was to find out my something to wear this year was exactly that! Fun fact: I had a whole list of American sports stuff I wanted to pick up in Florida but NOPE this shit ain't easy to get anywhere!! 
My to read is Ice Cream for Breakfast by Laura Jane Williams but our local bookstore didn't have any in stock (sold out Laura you go girl!!) So i'm waiting until next payday for that one. 

The cake! I wanted the Ravenclaw crest but apparently that was too complicated for the artist (fair enough) so 4 days before my birthday I sat up trying to design something they could do and I came up with this bad boy. Ravenclaw colours (none of this Blue and Silver tripe from the movies), dark chocolate, and blue and butterscotch flavoured fricking yummy! 

From Fiona (my bestie)

So we've already talked about how much I love Sleeping Beauty-but there is something that really annoys me about the merchandising for her. WHY IS SHE ALWAYS IN THAT PINK DRESS THOUGH?? Watch the movie and tell me what colour dress she is wearing most? It's blue people, BLUE! Rumour has is that she is marketed in Pink because the blue was too similar to Cinderella's dress, and that is just ONE of the reasons Cinders is known as TBC* in our house. Anyway the beautiful and talented Tarnya from Sweet Allure Shop does these beautiful Disney Princess paintings and one day I tweeted her to ask if she'd do me a "custom" Aurora in blue instead of pink...minutes later my bestie popped up with a loud "NO she wont!". Turns out Fiona had ordered the exact same thing about an hour earlier 😂! She also got the delightful Jemma from Dorkface Shop to do me this awesome nameplate print with a few of my favourite things-how sweet and personal is that?!
On top of all that she got me the Zoella body spritz I've been lusting over for forever (it is the only one that Superdrug never put in the sale, so I didn't buy it on principal haha) and in true AJ style it's pretty and pink! AND this cute cosmetics case (because we can never have too many) which just makes me want a glass of wine every time I look at it!

From Zita and Nico (my ride or dies)

Who doesn't love the Merc with a Mouth!?!? I have fully embraced my geekdom in recent years and I'm starting to build a lovely little Comic Book/Graphic Novel collection, and a terribly huge Funko Pop collection, so these are perfect. Not to mention that the book is Deadpool Does Shakespeare which is definitely a collaboration I didn't know I needed until now! The Funko is one of the Mercs for Money that worked for/alongside Deadpool-if you don't know about Terror (or Shreck) you need to read about his character it's both gross and fantastic. This is the 41st Funko Pop to enter our collection...maybe I should do a post on them 🤔!

From Cheryl and Neil (my sister and her man)

Cheryl is crazy and I love her!! I'm going to have to do her section a little differently and not write too much because the mad woman only went and got me 30 things for my 30th!! Of course they weren't all huge presents (some were my favourite candy, skittle and drumsticks FYI) some were small, some were big, ALL are loved and so gratefully received! 

The Disney Stuff! There goes Aurora in her bloody pink Dress again lol!! I was desperate for this Tee AND this Sebastian coin purse but both weren't available when I went to our local Primark, so I was so buzzed when I found them in my birthday box. 

The big stuff! This Quidditch Ball set is one of those things every Harry Potter nutjob like me wants, but can never really justify buying for themselves. I honestly consider it every time I'm in Waterstones and now I have it!! Wine explains itself amiright? 

The stationery stuff! Well duh, would it be an AJ birthday box without some stationery? In yet another example of how well my little (big) sister knows me she bought me the matching set of pens to a set I'd bought maybe 2 weeks earlier! 

On top of everything else my beautiful sister also MADE the cutest Turtle out of buttons! Isn't he cute? I have decided to name his Sylvester. Also in the box but not pictured were Harry Potter wand  makeup brushes-which aren't in the photos because I'm too lazy to wash my first set so I used the new ones to get ready for my night out!! 

So yeah, see what I mean by spoiled!

I would just like to take a minute to point out that I understand how exceptionally lucky I am in this life, to be surrounded by beautiful, kind, and generous people- to receive so many wonderful things, and to have the luxury of celebrating my birthday however I like. So many people aren't so lucky and that makes me sad every day. In our area there is a Giving Tree at Christmas where lucky people like myself can buy a gift for children and teenagers who are less fortunate. I just wish there was something like that than ran all year round, so the less privileged in our society could experience the same sort of birthday joy I do. While there isn't a Birthday scheme though, why not think about giving any of your unwanted things to a local shelter or woman's refuge. I'm going to put the link for Shelter, and Cash for Kids down here so maybe we can spread a bit of my joy about.

Thanks for reading guys! And please please do share your thoughts in the comments/on twitter. What I really want to know is What is the best gift you ever received?

*That Bitch Cinderella 😉

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