The Mystery Blogger Award

So, I was nominated for this by Siobhan over at Siobhans Novelties.  <—- Link to her blog right there, go on, I know you want to click it!!! This was originally created by Okoto Enigma. Thank you so much for nominating me Siobhan, this is a brilliant way to get involved more within the blogging community!!!

Award Rules

  1. Put the award logo on your blog.
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and link to their blog.
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
  5. Tell your readers three things about yourself.
  6. Nominate roughly 10-20 people for this award
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blogs.
  8. Ask your nominees five questions.
  9. Share a link to your best/favorite post that you’ve written

Three Things About Me

  1. I’m aTV addict. Anything with more than 3 series is a bonus. I’m a huge binge watcher so I’m known for constantly “next episode” on Netflix.
  2. Apart from more ever growing book collection, I collect scarves. My wardrobe has more scarves hanging up than actual clothes.  Oops.
  3. I’m probably 90% tea. I drink tea like it’s going out of fashion. I’m British, I love tea.

Siobhan’s Questions

Who is your guilty pleasure author/series? Do you love to hate it or hate to love it?

Oh god. I don’t think there is anything I have a hidden guilty pleasure.  When I was like 18/19 I loved the Twilight series but thinking about the books I realise how rubbish they actually were.

What is the latest book you’ve read that you’ve absolutely hated/loved?

The Rome Affair by Karen Swan.  This is the last book that I raved about. I’ve liked other books but this is the one what tops all of the other.

What bothers you in your favourite genre (e.g., love triangles in YA)

I don’t really have a favourite genre, I read such a huge variety of books.  I do tend to gravitate towards romance though.  The one thing that bothers me about Romance? Insta-love as it’s referred to.  I’ve read enough books now where it’s a centrepiece and it makes me roll my eyes everytime now.

What is the most underrated book/series/author?

The Queen of The Tearling.  I’ve not seen one blog feature this book, or the second, or the third.  I’ve not read the third but it’s on my TBR for when I find a copy!!

If you could pick a book you wanted to change, which book is it, and how would you change it?

I would have to change… Secrets of The Southern Girls.  I hated the ending. Why wasn’t he honest?! Why didn’t he tell her what he was first trying to do?! WHAT!?!?!

 

My favourite post. Hmm…. Looking back it’ll have to be this year Mid-Year Freak Out.  It marked a point where I officially got back into the swing of blogging. You can check it out Here

My Nominations are:

  1. Beauty Of Reading
  2. Bionic Book Worm
  3. Bookish Matters
  4. The Orang-Utan Librarian
  5. Weezies Whimsical Writings
  6. Marie’s Library
  7. #Northern #Crime
  8. All ‘Bout Them Books and Stuff
  9. Toomuchofabooknerd

 

My Questions:

  1. What is your favourite book quote?
  2. Do you have any pet peeves when it comes to book covers?
  3. What book would you wish was a movie as well? Who would you cast as your lead?
  4. What’s your favourite book cover on your shelf?
  5. Which book were you glad you gave a chance?

 

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. 

Get To Know Me Tag

I saw this tag over on The Beauty of Reading, you can read her post HERE

As I’ve had new followers recently I thought this would be a good idea, that way you can get to know me a little outside of the book addiction!!

Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 12.15.00

1. Tell us five random facts about you

  1. I get married next year! We’ve been together for 10 and a half years now, and he proposed last year – finally.
  2. I live approximately 270ish miles away from any of my family.  I live near Blackpool, Lancs.  I’m originally from Essex, where my sister and Dad still live.  My Mum and Step-Dad now live in Somerset.  We’ve been here for just over 7 years now.
  3. I enjoy cooking and baking. I’m forever looking for something new to try.
  4. I’m afraid of fireworks.  Don’t ask. I’ve never liked them, they frighten me.
  5. Not only am I book addict, I love TV as well. In any format. Films, shows. Doesn’t bother me. If it has more than say 3 seasons even better! I’m a massive fan of long running shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Supernatural. I’ll give anything a go though.

2. When is your birthday?

20th August. I’m the third female in 4 generations to have a birthday in that week. There’s my great-grandmother (I never met her), then my nan, my mum, then myself.  God forbid I have another child!! I’ll probably end up having a girl in the same week!!

3. What is your favourite colour?

Green and Yellow. Both are happy, cheerful colours. I find green soothing and yellow instantly makes me smile.  However, I do love a mixture of greys as well which may seem a little plain and boring.

4. What is your favourite memory?

A normal person would probably say finding out about a pregnancy/marriage proposal etc.  And yet I wouldn’t. Finding out I was pregnant was a bit of a unexpected surprise, the marriage proposal wasn’t a shock but it wasn’t expected either.  I think I would have to pick moving into our flat when I found out I was pregnant.  It sort of signified that we had finally got life sorted.  We were both working, we were having a baby, we were finally the independent grown ups.

5. Describe a day in your life

A working day or a normal at home day? A working day can be pretty boring.  I massively dislike my job, but it’s a job.  A normal day off consists of cleaning, entertaining my 3, nearly 4, year old, cooking, more cleaning and then maybe able to read for an hour or so in the evening.  If not reading then Netflix or some other TV variety.

6. Name five of your favourite songs

  1. I’ll Follow You by Shinedown
  2. Dancing On My Own by Calum Scott
  3. Barcelona by George Ezra
  4. Stellar by Incubus
  5. Stone Cold Sober by Paloma Faith

7. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

Oh my god, choices!! I love food. Any food. But having to pick one sort of food it would be bacon. Crispy bacon. I loooooove bacon!!

8. What is something you really dislike?

Where do I start? A list:

  • Lying
  • Thunder
  • Vinegar
  • People (not all people but people as a whole seems appropriate some days)
  • Bananas. Yuck. My child loves them and I cannot stand them.

9. Summer or Winter?

I’m a summer person out of those 2 but really it’s Autumn. The crispness in the air, the buildup of excitement for winter, the promise of christmas.

10. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live and why?

Italy.  Hands down. I love the place, I love the food, the culture. Everything.  I don’t think living away from family would be an issue as I hardly seem them as it is now.  But I think it would be that little more difficult knowing that I can’t just get the man to drive me to them.

11. Name your five favourite films

This is such a strange mixture of films here:

  1. Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire
  2. Fight Club
  3. It’s A Wonderful Life
  4. The Lion King
  5. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

12. If you won the lottery what would you buy?

A home, with a gigantic kitchen, and a library for myself. A new car for the man, and I would put the rest away until I thought of something sensible to do with it.

13. Favourite day of the week?

Sundays!  I adore lazy sundays to be exact.  We don’t have many of them but that makes them that little bit more special.

14. What three things would you take to a desert island with you?

  1. A suitcase of books.  Has to be a huge suitcase.
  2. Music of some sort, life is boring without music.
  3. My family? They would make it more better.

15. Sweet or savoury?

Savoury. I love crisps. Any sort of crisp as long as it isn’t Salt and Vinegar. Vinegar makes me heave.

16. Early bird or night owl?

Exhausted pigeon comes to mind.  I’d say I’m more Night Owl, I have trouble sleeping some nights so I tend to binge watch TV shows or read one to many chapters quite often.

17. Name five of your favourite books

  1. Harry Potter
  2. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  3. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
  4. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
  5. Anything written by Victoria Hislop

The Book Blogger Memory Tag

Another Book Tag!
I saw this tag over on LifeHasAFunnyWay, you can read it: Here!
It seemed like a lot of fun to try and get the brain up and working!! I don’t think I’ve done too bad really….

This tag was created originally created by Laura @ Laura’s Book Reviews. https://lauralovelockbookreviews.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/the-book-blogger-memory-challenge/


Here are the rules:

You must answer these questions without looking anything up on the internet and without looking at your bookshelves!!
Once you’ve completed this tag, tag 5 other book bloggers to answer the questions next.


1. Name a book written by an author called Michael.

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton.  I don’t know why I remember this but I do, I can remember someone I know, or seen someone reading it, when I was younger.

2. Name a book with a dragon on the cover.

Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire. I believe my copy does anyway.

3. Name a book about a character called George.

Curious George? Doesn’t that technically count? It’s a book.  Only reason I’ve thought of this is because the child was obsessed for a while.

4. Name a book written by an author with the surname Smith.

Something written by Zadie Smith. I know that is an author but I wouldn’t be able to name any books without looking any up.

5. Name a book set in Australia.

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

6. Name a book with the name of a month in the title.

The Hunt for Red October? Ides of March? Are they books or something else entirely? I know the date Ides of March but other than that…

7. Name a book with a knife on the cover.

The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman

8. Name a book with the word ‘one’ in the title.

The One by John Marrs.

9. Name a book with a eponymous title.

Peter Pan by J. M Barrie.  I will admit, I had to look up the meaning but that was the first one I thought of.

10. Name a book turned into a movie.

Take your pick nowadays!! The first one I thought of was Divergent by Veronica Roth.

My Life In Books Tag

This tag was originally created by One World, Too Many Pages.


A book for each initial of your name

Z – The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman

O – Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

E – Eeny Meeny by M. J. Arlidge

Why do I have to have such awkward letters!!?!? I’ve read the last 2 but not the first, although I would give it a try.


Age – count along your bookshelf

Being 28, it’ll be The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials #2) by Philip Pullman.  Or, as I’m only 4/5 weeks away from my birthday it’ll be The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials #3)
The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials, #2)   The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, #3)


A book that represents a destination you would love to travel to

Last Dance in Havana by Rosanna Ley for Cuba.  I’d love to go to Cuba.  Or The Saffron Trail by Rosanna Ley for Marrakech.

Last Dance in Havana   The Saffron Trail


Favourite colour

My favourite colour is green or yellow.  I’ve really struggled with finding these colours on book covers!! I’ve gone for The Food of Love Cookery School by Nicky Pellegrino for yellow, if you love food then this book is for you!!! It was a wonderful book. For green I’ve picked The Vintage Teacup Club by Vanessa Greene.
The Food Of Love Cookery School
The Vintage Teacup Club


Fondest Memories of

I’d have to choose The Forgotten Seamstress by Liz Trenow.  This was the book that got me back to reading after having my boy.  I hadn’t read throughout my whole pregnancy, and I missed it so much.  This book got me through the dreaded night feeds and other sleepless hours.  It wasn’t the sort of book I would have picked up pre-baby, and it has introduced me to a whole new selection of books.
The Forgotten Seamstress


Most difficult to read

I’ve struggled to think of one for this… Probably The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I read this back in college on a recommendation and it didn’t sit well with me at all.


Which book in your TBR pile will you get the most satisfaction/biggest sense of accomplishment from?

I can’t pick just one.  All the ARCs, all the other review copies and everything to do with reviewing/blogging has been an huge accomplishment.  I never thought that I would have the opportunity or chance to do anything like what I am doing now.

The Cookie Book Tag

I can’t remember where I saw this, it’s been on my drafts for a while now so I’m drawing a blank.

Rules:

  • In addition to linking back to the person who tagged you, it would be awesome if you link back to Nicole’s original post!
  • Pick a book that corresponds to the cookie’s ‘theme’.
  • Have fun!
  • Tag one to three people.

Chocolate Chip:
A classic book that you love or really enjoyed

Interpret classic how you want, it can be a classic written 100 years ago or 20 years ago.

I don’t really read classics, except for when I was in school (this is going back over a decade!!!!!).  But I guess as it says up there ^ I can interpret it anyway I want.  The main book I can remember reading for my GCSEs was Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.  I can remember flying through it and really enjoying it. I don’t know why I enjoyed it as it is such an intense book, especially for a 15 year old!! Would Shakespeare count do you reckon? If so, Romeo and Juliet.  I love this story, a tragedy but I love it!!
OfMiceAndMen.jpg         Image result for romeo and juliet

Thin Mints:
A fandom that you really want to ‘join’ and/or a hyped-up book you want to read

Your source(s) of a book being hyped can be from anywhere.

Hmm… Does Terry Pratchett books get included in this? I’ve always wanted to read them but for numerous reasons I never have.  I think that they would be incredible books, with how wide they all connect and spread I reckon I would enjoy them thoroughly.

Shortbread:
An author you can’t get enough of

At the moment it would have to be Karen Swan.  But I always pick up Jodi Picoult books, I have a whole shelf with her books on.  I also will read anything by Leigh Bardugo, Lynsey James, and Kate Furnivall.

Samoas/Caramel DeLites:
An emotional rollercoaster

This cookie was hard…so any book that made you feel more than one emotion, strongly. The choice of emotions is up to you.

Me before You by Jojo Moyes. I hate crying in public, I really really hate crying full stop.  This book made me cry, while I was at work on my lunch break. Not impressed, but entirely my own fault as I was pre-warned by loads of people.

Image result for me before you

Oreos:
A book whose cover was better than the story, or vice versa, where the story was better than the cover

Dare I say it but Caraval by Stephanie Garber.  I was hugely disappointed by this story but I love the cover.
Caraval

Tagalongs/Peanut Butter Patties:
A book that wasn’t what you expected

Good, bad, or just different, interpret how you wish.

I can’t actually pinpoint a book that wasn’t what I was expecting. There’s books that I loved a lot more than I was thinking I would.  One of them being Escape to the Riviera by Jules Wake.  I really struggled to even start it but I ended up really loving it after being very determined to get through it.

Snickerdoodles:
A book you may never stop re-reading/loving

Harry Potter. Every Christmas, or the run up to Christmas. Without fail.  It’s not also just one of them, it’ll be all of them.  My lovely husband to be is also buying me the illustrated versions as they are published so I can enjoy them with our boy in a couple of years.
Image result for harry potter books

Book Review: Den Of Shadows by Christopher Byford

Den of Shadows: The gripping new fantasy novel for summer 2017 (Gambler's Den series, Book 1) by [Byford, Christopher]

Den of Shadows (Gambler’s Den #1) by Christopher Byford
Publisher: HQ Digital
Published: May 2017
Format: Ebook
Pages: 250 (Or 176 according to Goodreads)
ISBN13: 9780008257484
ASIN: B06XGKQPHK

Amazon UK
Goodreads

Description

The Gambler’s Den weaves its away across the desert… But will it stop at your station?
While fighting off poverty in the blistering desert heat a travelling casino offers one night of solace. One chance to change your fortunes. But once on board there is more to the show than meets the eye: enter Franco, the elaborate ringleader, Wyld the stowaway thief and Misu the fire breathing showgirl.
In a kingdom ruled by the law Franco ensures his den remains in line. But when he’s faced with saving the fate of the train, and those on board, he may be forced to break his own rules. Life on the den isn’t just a job but a way of life and once you’re in you’ll never be able to leave.

My Review
Firstly, let me thank Netgalley and the publisher for my copy in exchange for my honest review.

I feel this needs to be said. That cover is just beautiful. It is definitely one of the most gorgeous covers I’ve seen this year so far.  The colour is just spectacular, it makes you think of magic, of possibilities, of adventure.

This book has been had a lot of confusing thoughts from me.  I loved parts of it and never wanted it to end but then I felt it dragged on for too long on other parts.  The book is beautifully written, don’t get me wrong.  It’s descriptive, it gives you the backstory of characters, it gives you a sense of where they are from, why they wanted to be on The Gambler’s Den, it left nothing unanswered for me.  And yet, I feel a bit puzzled by it all.  There isn’t enough of it but then there’s too much of it as well.

Franco, being the main man, had the most page time.  I was intrigued by his backstory, and while I wanted to know more, I wanted to see more of his present than his past.  A likeable character, he was extravagant, not quite larger than life but very close to it. Flamboyant comes to mind.  He made me think of a Ringmaster at a circus in a way.
I would have liked to have known more about Jacques, Misu, and Wyld.  Maybe even some of the other showgirls that were mentioned. While we do get some backstory, it’s mainly the explanation of how they came to be on the Den.  I feel that we missed out on a lot about them, and had too much in one go about Franco.  All the characters are likeable though, and all add something to the storyline.

As I said, this book was beautifully written, with some glorious descriptive scenes.  The world has a lot of possibility, especially as we are on a train! This series of books has a huge about potential, I think it can only get better with each book.  And I’m very curious as to where it is going in the next.  The pace of the book can only improve for me, I hope anyway.  The only fast paced part of the book is near the end of the book.  Other than that it sort of plods along, taking it’s time with everything.  I’m hoping the next is better.

Overall, I’m giving this book 3/5.  With a huge amount of potential, I can only hope that the next is bigger and better.  I feel like I’m missing something from this review so it’ll probably end up getting edited at some point.