Blog Tour: It Was Only Ever You by Kate Kerrigan

It Was Only Ever You

It Was Only Ever You by Kate Kerrigan
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Published: 13th July 2017
Format: Paperback & Ebook
Pages: 448
ISBN13: 9781784082420
ASIN: B01AATYCBS

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Head of Zeus Link

Description
Set in late 1950s Ireland and New York, the story of three women and the charismatic man with whom their lives are interwoven.
Set, like Maeve Binchy’s early bestsellers, in late 1950s Ireland and New York, this is the story of three women and the charismatic man with whom their lives are interwoven.
Patrick Murphy has charm to burn and a singing voice to die for. Many people will recognise his talent. Many women will love him. Rose, the sweetheart he leaves behind in Ireland, can never forget him and will move heaven and earth to find him again, long after he has married another woman. Ava, the heiress with no self-confidence except on the dance floor, falls under his spell. And tough Sheila Klein, orphaned by the Holocaust and hungry for success as a music manager, she will be ruthless in her determination to unlock his extraordinary star quality.

But in the end, Patrick Murphy’s heart belongs to only one of them. Which one will it be?

My Review

Thank you to the publishers and Kate Kerrigan for the chance to read this book and to be involved in the blog tour.

This book started slow to begin with, and it does jump around a bit between the women and with time, but it all slowly comes together in the end.  The way it is all done works well, there is a lot of path crossing and potentially big what ifs, but it does work.  It did get confusing with how quickly the time did move, and it made me question whether things were all moving at the same pace with all the people when it came to their chapters, or paragraphs.

The one person everyone has in common is Patrick, and it works perfectly.  All the women add something to the book, and all have their own parts to play when it came to him.  Of the 3 women, I felt more of a connection with Ava or Sheila.  I wasn’t really keen on Rose though, whether that was her naivety or her innocence, she just didn’t click with me.  Ava knew exactly what was expected of her, but she still bit the bullet and went for what she truly wanted.  Girl after my own heart.  Sheila had a sense of purpose, maturity, and a feeling of toughness that the other girls lacked.  I would say that Patrick is full of regrets, but does what is right and does what is for the best.  He loves Rose, and he does love Ava.  But his heart will always go to his music first, but he does finally realise who is love is.

Kate Kerrigan has a unique writing style, I enjoyed it, I felt for the characters and their love, their heartache, their losses.  This book was beautifully written, but it took me a long time to get into it.  While I enjoyed it, and did feel for the characters, I felt it was a little rushed and was missing something to make it spectacular.  I can’t pinpoint what I thought it was lacking though.  The ending was a sudden thing, I would have loved to have known if everyone was happy with their choices, and if it worked out well for them. It leftbtoo many what ifs and do they/don’t they for me, I would have liked things to be wrapped up neatly.

I give this book 3/5.  I liked the majority of characters, I liked the romance, loved the setting (who doesn’t love a New York story?!), the music references, it was written beautifully, but as I said, I felt it was missing a spark.  Something to make it so much better and mind-blowing. 

Blog Tour: Summer’s Lease by Carrie Elks

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Summer’s Lease by Carrie Elks.
Publisher: Piatkus
Published: 13th July 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 368
ISBN13: 9780349415505

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Synopsis
Cesca Shakespeare has hit rock bottom. Six years after the play she wrote bombed at the box office, she’s unable to hold down a job, keep an apartment, and worst of all her family have no idea how far she’s fallen. So when her fairy Godfather offers her the use of his friend’s Italian villa for the summer, she grudgingly agrees to try writing a new play. That’s before she finds out the house belongs to her arch-nemesis, Sam Carlton.

When Hollywood heart-throb Sam Carlton sees his name splashed across a gossip rag, all he wants to do is hide. That’s how he finds himself traveling to Italy, deciding to spend the summer in his family’s empty villa on Lake Como. Except when he arrives it isn’t as empty as he’d hoped.

Over the course of the hot Italian summer, Cesca and Sam have to come to terms with their pasts. What begins as a tentative friendship quickly grows into an intense attraction – and then a scorching fling. But they can’t hide from reality forever . . . as their different worlds collide, Sam and Cesca face a choice: is this just a summer romance, or could their love weather even the coldest winds?

My Review

A delight to read on a horrible wet, windy, typical British summer day.  Thank you to the publishers for the chance to read and review this spectacular book.  Any book set in Italy will always have me in its grips within pages, especially one written by Carrie Elks.  I have only read one  other book by her, but I loved this one just as much as that.  Her writing is wonderful, her characters bounce from the pages and read spectacularly.

Cesca was an amazing leading lady, going from her downward spiral unconfident ways to a confident, young woman who goes for what she wants.  She comes across as a bit of a stray to begin with, forever trying to find her place in the world.  She thought she had her place once, but then it all fell apart.  Since then, Cesca has always blamed one person: Sam Carlton.  I’ll get to him in a minute.  I loved Cesca’s story, her backstory, everything.  Her sense of loyalty to her family is wonderful, especially the bond she shares with her 3 sisters.

Sam, your typical Hollywood actor. Handsome, “chiseled”, charming, what else can you ask for?  Except, with the beginning of the story from Cesca’s view, he only ever thinks of himself.  But he doesn’t, and Cesca realises that.  I loved Sam.  He hides from his mistake, yes to protect himself, but also to limit the damage done to his family.  He cares about what will happens to his mother, and his sisters.  Not so much his father though.  Sam is caring, he comes across as a sensual man, a sexy man.  He definitely knows what he wants.

Chemistry flows from the page the first time they come into contact with each other, and it just gets more intense as the book goes on. With a few hot and steamy parts further on in the book, I was expecting it to be quite cheesy and a bit cringey but I was wrong. It was done in a non-cringe way and didn’t leave anything to the imagination.  They work well together, whether they are arguing, having a normal conversation or having sex.  They work perfectly.

I’m glad things work out well in the end, I don’t think I could have handled it if it didn’t.  I will happily read anything else to do with Cesca.  I wonder if we’ll be getting one for each sister? I’m very intrigued by them.  I would love to know each of their stories.

I happily give this book a huge 5/5.  In fact, I would happily give it 10/10!!!!

About the author

Carrie Elks lives near London, England and writes contemporary romance with a dash of intrigue. She loves to travel and meet new people, and has lived in the USA and Switzerland as well as the UK. An avid social networker, she tries to limit her Facebook and Twitter time to stolen moments between writing chapters. When she isn’t reading or writing, she can usually be found baking, drinking wine or working out how to combine the two.

 

Blog Tour: Q&A/Review: The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse by Cressida McLaughlin

The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse by [McLaughlin, Cressida]

The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse by Cressida McLaughlin
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: 29th June 2017
Format: Ebook
Pages: 500
ISBN13: 9780008219284
ASIN: B01MY458DB

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Synopsis
Robin Brennan has come home to Campion Bay. Now her parents have retired, she’s set to become the new landlady of The Campion Bay Guesthouse.
Bookings have been as thin as the hand towels, and it doesn’t take long for Robin to realise that the place needs a serious makeover. Perhaps throwing herself into the task will help to heal her sadness at the tragic end to her dreams in London.
As she gives the guesthouse a new lease of life, Robin encounters old friends and new, including old flame Tim, who’d clearly like to reboot their romance. But what about Will, the new arrival at No. 4, who’s rocked up with the cutest dog ever?
Caught up in a flurry of full-English breakfasts and cream teas, Robin’s never sure what, or who, the next check-in will bring…

Q&A With Cressida McLaughlin

1. What does your writing day look like? And do you have a favourite place to write?

My brain is much better first thing, so I like to start early, 7.30 or 8am, and will try and work through until lunchtime on writing or editing, whatever stage I’m at. After lunch I’ll do other things, social media or blog posts or Q&As like this. The main hazard is Twitter, which can suck up hours of my time if I let it. I should put one of those ‘no internet’ thingies on my computer, but it would frustrate me not being able to look something up if I needed to. (Which is obviously a rubbish excuse from a Twitter addict.)

I have an office in one of our spare bedrooms at home, and I love it. I can have music playing, my sparkly lava lamp on, coffee and tea when I want, a candle burning. It’s very snug and colourful – it has lots of Poldark postcards on the walls – and it’s the ideal space for me to be creative.

2. Do you remember the first story you ever wrote? Can you tell us a bit about it?

I feel bad that I don’t remember the first story I ever wrote, but I do remember that whatever I did write, I always wanted it to look like a book. I folded sheets of A4 paper in half, stapled them at the fold and then drew a cover on the front, writing the words and adding pictures on the pages inside. My parents taught me about the magic of books from day one, and I loved the idea of my words being inside one – an ambition I feel very lucky to have realised. I remember very vividly a murder mystery my sister wrote for primary school. The story was brilliant, it was put together like a proper book, and I remember wishing that I’d written it. That has stayed with me much more than any of the stories I wrote when I was small – she was definitely an inspiration to me.

3. Do you have a favourite film adaptation of a book? What was it and why?

I thought the adaptation of Gone Girl was excellent, and very faithful to the book, but my favourite has to be the BBC adaptation of North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, with Daniela Denby-Ashe as Margaret Hale and Richard Armitage as John Thornton. It’s bleak, dramatic and very romantic. The scenes in the mills, with the cotton falling like snow while John Thornton stalks about in his stark black suit and hat, are so powerful. It’s a classy adaptation that I never get bored of re-watching.

4. If you were forced to write a different genre, what would you chose?

Creepy ghost story, definitely. I may have the beginnings of one on the go at the moment, just to see if I can do it . . .

My Review:

Firstly, thank you to Netgalley, and the Publisher for my copy of this book in exchange for my review.  Also, for letting me take me part in the blog tour.

A light hearted story, revolving around Robin who is starting fresh in her home town of Campion Bay. Taking over her parents guesthouse, she starts from scratch after losing her friend and closing her events business.  A likeable character but a little predictable. She comes across as kind, caring, thoughtful, if not a little held back because of her time in London.  The whole story was a little predictable but then again that’s what we all need as a pick me up from time to time!! This book is definitely a pick me up book. It was heartwarming, friendly, a little amusing, and has some delicious recipes at the end.

Throughout the whole book we have likeable characters, from Molly, Will, Paige, the guesthouse guests and other people from the town. Of course, we have a villain (in a sense anyway) in the form of Robin’s childhood sweetheart, Tim. Not so much a likeable character but it works for this story.  He comes across as sleazy, a little too confident and thinks he’ll get his own way no matter what.

The writing style was easy to read, it kept me reading and was easy enough to keep track off. The book is separated into 4 parts (I think they were published individually before?), each part flows brilliantly into the next. The time frame is only over a couple of weeks but doesn’t feel like that as you read it.  But then on the other hand, it goes by so quickly you don’t really get a sense of the timeframe of everything.  Such a quick pace is always good for me, I love getting caught up in everyone’s stories.

I think it’s safe to say that I liked this book, a lot.  I loved the writing style, the quickness of it, the characters.  I can’t really pinpoint one thing that I didn’t really like about it.

I give this book 5/5

New Release Spotlight: Birthrights by J. Kyle McNeal

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Birthrights by J. Kyle McNeal
Publisher: Elevate Fiction
Pages: 552
Format: EBook
Publication Date: 6th June 2017

Synopsis
To escape the burden of his family’s past, Whym accepts an apprenticeship with a master his parents fear and revile. He soon finds himself entangled in a web of treachery and on a perilous journey to locate a creature of myth and magic-a journey that will transform Whym and shape the future of the realm.

Meanwhile, Quint, the son of a powerful religious leader, abandons his faith to join the fight against a corrupt council. As the adviser to a remote tribe, he must find in himself the wisdom and fortitude to save the people from the invading army-and their own leaders.


Civil war looms, defeated foes plot revenge, and an ancient deity schemes to destroy them all. While navigating the shifting sands of truth, the two young men must distill what they believe, and decide on whose side they will stand in the coming conflict.

Goodreads

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Today I’m showcasing Birthrights by J. Kyle McNeal. Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the chance to read, and take part in the blog tour.
I have read this book, so I know what you’re in for, and for the reference, Do Not Get Attached. Never get attached.  You get a connection with someone, and well… You get where I’m going.

Beautifully written, spectacular descriptive writing, and wonderful characters as well. I think that the rest of this series will be a massive hit among readers. I definitely will be looking out for the following book, which we are given a preview of at the end of this one.

Character development was fantastic. Starting as boys, you see Whym and Quint develop into men. The book starts as a child and grows up alongside the characters to become a Man of a book.  Other characters in the book, for example Stern, Tedel, and others, are written with as much thought as the 2 main boys.  I felt for them, I understood them, I wanted what they wanted.

Let me just say about the front cover as well. It’s just amazing. I’m very tempted to buy the physical book just to have that on my shelf.  Throughout the book you get illustrations, as seen above, to give you a better idea of how things look.  It helped when it came to things that seemed a little.. weird.  I wasn’t expecting them so they definitely added a little extra to the book.

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Blog Tour: Secrets of Southern Girls by Haley Harrigan

Secrets of Southern Girls by Haley Harrigan
Published: 6th June 2017
Publisher: SourceBooks Landmark
Format: EBook
Pages: 320
ISBN: 9781492647553

Goodreads


Amazon UK
Amazon US

Synopsis

A tender, yet thrilling suspense novel about a young woman who uncovers devastating secrets that will resurrect the people she lost and the lies she buried – perfect for fans of Diane Chamberlain and Ellen Marie Wiseman

Ten years ago, Julie Portland accidentally killed her best friend, Reba. What’s worse is she got away with it. Consumed by guilt, she left the small town of Lawrence Mill, Mississippi, and swore nothing would ever drag her back. Now, raising her daughter and struggling to make ends meet in Manhattan, Julie still can’t forget the ghost of a girl with golden hair and a dangerous secret.

When August, Reba’s first love, begs Julie to come home to find the diary that Reba kept all those years ago, Julie’s past comes creeping back to haunt her. That diary could expose the shameful memories Julie has been running from, but it could also unearth the hidden truths that Reba left buried…and reveal that Julie isn’t the only one who feels responsible for Reba’s death.

My Review

Firstly, let me thank Netgalley, and the publishers for the chance to read this book and be a part of the blog tour.

Not quite sure where to start with this book except for saying not to trust your first thoughts about it. While it took me a while to get into it, I eventually did and although it wasn’t what I was originally thinking it would be, I liked it. We meet Julie/Jules and August and what could be the toughest time for both of them. Julie, coming from a small town and wild teenage years, lives a controlled and sensible adult life as a single mum. August has been looking for Julie and they embark on what I would call a truth finding mission about the death of Reba, Julie’s best friend from childhood and August’s first and only love.

I didn’t really like Julie to begin with, I didn’t know where she was coming from but by the end of the book I liked her. I felt for her, having believed one thing only to find out she didn’t really know the whole truth.
August is a bit of a mystery still for me.  He was a likeable bloke, sure, but he was just… I don’t know. I kept getting a sense of that he was stalking Julie more than what was actually let on if that’s making any sense? There seemed to be a hidden depth to him and it made me a little wary about him. There’s reasoning at the end of the book not to trust him, and it has left me with questions.  Does he come clean? Does he stay quiet about his first motives?
We meet Toby a little way into the story after reading a bit about Reba, and while he’s a bit of a messed up man, I really felt for him. Even if his actions were not entirely honest or for the right reasons.
I can safely say I did not like Reba, not one tiny little bit. She was quick to judge Julie and her actions but then goes on to.. Well, I don’t want to give spoilers but allow me to say that she’s not as innocent as she first seems. She’s a liar, a cheat, and not what you think.  It’s all about the first impressions again. Do no trust them.

The swapping between Julie, August, Reba and Toby’s individual stories was an excellent way to tell this story. I don’t think it would have worked any other way to be honest. You got the full picture with a whopping 360 view of it. The writing style kept me hooked, and I’m glad it did otherwise I think I would have have up before getting to 25%.

Overall, I give this book 3/5. The writing style and the characters are what made it that. I don’t think it would have got any better but I still liked it.

 

Blog Tour: Spandex and The City by Jenny T Colgan

Spandex and the City

Spandex and The City by Jenny T Colgan
Published: May 18th 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 368
Publisher: Orbit
ISBN13: 9780356505442

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Synopsis
LOCAL GIRL SWEPT OFF HER FEET
Mild-mannered publicist Holly Phillips is unlucky in love. She’s embarrassed beyond belief when the handsome stranger she meets in a bar turns out to be ‘Ultimate Man’ – a superpowered hero whose rescue attempt finds her hoisted over his shoulder and flashing her knickers in the newspaper the next day.
But when Holly’s fifteen minutes of fame make her a target for something villainous, she only has one place to turn – and finds the man behind the mask holds a lot more charm than his crime-fighting alter-ego.
Can Holly find love, or is superdating just as complicated as the regular kind?

My Review:

Firstly, thank you to the publisher and the author for the chance to read this fantastic book!!!

It’s a little cliche at times, but was definitely worth it.  The superhero in question, Ultimate Man, is a recluse, orphan, and whatever else the majority of superheroes are these days. He’s rich, has a butler, private cars, everything. He wasn’t expecting to meet Holly though, after her catching him in a bit of a tricky situation. My thoughts on Ultimate Man as a superhero is cliche, like I said but he’s real identity is touching, normal, a little bit of a romantic. He’s charming, yet vulnerable at the same time. Shame he wears purple spandex when he’s being Ultimate Man…. Yep, you read that right. Purple Spandex…

Holly didn’t want to be famous. She’s vulnerable in her own way but it works well for her.  I liked how she was written, she came across as a likeable girl but a little stupid at the same time. I liked her on one page but then didn’t like her on another.  How many dangerous situations can one person put themselves in? I know it’s supposed to be lining everything up in the book but it’s kind of annoying. I think I prefered Ultimate Man to Holly to be honest.

Holly’s friends are not that likeable either.  Gertie was bitchy, a little self-centred and just not very nice. Who cares more about a cardigan than her friend? Seriously? And jeopardising peoples safety at her wedding? Nope, don’t like her. I didn’t really feel a connection to her, or her boyfriend. So much so I can’t even remember his name!! Except it began Du…. something or other… I find that if I cannot remember their name then they weren’t a major contribution to the book.

Yes, there is a villain in the book.  He’s a good villain. He may seem bad, but what he’s doing he thinks is for the greater good. He’s trying to get people to be without technology, to actually look up at the world and not at their phone or computer. So, a villain but wanting to make good. Just going the wrong way about it really.  He comes across as charming, confident and a gentlemen. I liked him, probably more than Holly again.

Completely different to other romance books. There’s a superhero, a villain and a damsel in continuous danger.. or distress depending how you want to look at it. Not that she means to be, of course. The story flows well, it has funny moments, sad moments, it’s an a well rounded good book.  This is the first I have read by the author and I’ll happily read another.

I give this book a 4 out of 5. If I liked all of the characters as much as I did Ultimate Man then I think it would have been a full 5 out of 5.

 

Blog Tour: Bad Blood by Brian McGilloway

Bad Blood by Brian McGilloway
Published: 18th May 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group UK
Format: Ebook
Pages: 336
ISBN: 9781472151315 (Taken from Netgalley)

Goodreads

Synopsis

A young man is found in a riverside park, his head bashed in with a rock. The only clue to his identity is an admission stamp for the local gay club.
DS Lucy Black is called in to investigate. As Lucy delves into the community, tensions begin to rise as the man’s death draws the attention of the local Gay Rights group to a hate-speech Pastor who, days earlier, had advocated the stoning of gay people and who refuses to retract his statement.
Things become further complicated with the emergence of a far right group targeting immigrants in a local working class estate. As their attacks escalate, Lucy and her boss, Tom Fleming, must also deal with the building power struggle between an old paramilitary commander and his deputy that threatens to further enflame an already volatile situation.

My Thoughts

Firstly, I would like to thank Netgalley and Little, Brown Book Group for my copy of this book in exchange for my review, and for letting me take part in this blog tour.

Bad Blood is the 4th book in the DS Lucy Black series, although it could be read as a standalone.  I’ve not read any of the other books but didn’t feel like I was missing any vital details.  If something was mentioned from what I can assume was a previous book, enough detail was given to make things a clearer to understand.

This book is very current, with the Brexit vote looming, the racism, the homophobic comments, the hate crimes. It’s all very now. I don’t think having the Brexit vote involved added anything to the book though, it was only mentioned a few times and didn’t really have an impact on the plotline. Hate crimes are a horrible thing in everyday life, and they make it clear it’s a life changing thing in the book. Whether it happens because of the country you’re from, whether you’re gay, or even your religion. It horrifies me to think that it’s still a huge problem within today’s society.

It was nice to read about a detective who did not have a dramatic story, or a damaged past like most detectives in books that I have read recently. I liked Lucy, she was a stable character, clicked well with other characters, and was written well.  I can’t really comment on the development of her as I wouldn’t know how far she’s come alone in the books.

I liked this book, but I will be honest, I did have to backtrack a few times to understand who was who, what had happened to who, that sort of thing. There were a lot of crimes, that happen to a lot of people, and a different suspect every couple of chapters. I didn’t even attempt to decide who was responsible for each crime. Very confusing. Overall though, it was a good book with a likeable lead, well good characters in general, a quick paced storyline and a good ending. 

I give this book a 3 out of 5.  If there wasn’t so much to keep track off I think I would have rated it higher.