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. 

Book Review: Seven Steps to Happiness by Stella Newman

Seven Steps to Happiness by [Newman, Stella]

Seven Steps to Happiness by Stella Newman
Publisher: Headline Review
Published: 20th October 2016
Format: Paperback
Pages: 352
ISBN13: 9781472220110

Goodreads
Amazon UK

Synopsis
Is there a formula for happiness?

If it’s Netflix, two-for-one Malbec and the perfect toasted-cheese sandwich, Lenny has it covered. But when her friend Juliet finds herself at rock bottom, Lenny realises it’s going to take more than that to fix her.
Luckily help is at hand in the form of HappyGuru: a plan which promises happiness in seven easy steps. So when Lenny is asked to research it, she puts scepticism aside and persuades Juliet they should give it a go.
The friends quickly find themselves immersed in mindfulness, juice cleanses and death-defying circus stunts. Yet as Juliet becomes increasingly buoyant, things only get more complicated for Lenny.
Can it be that happiness is only seven steps away?

My Review
I begun this book thinking it was going to be all slow going, a little hard to get on with, and if I’m honest a little boring.  Then something happened.  I can’t pinpoint what part of the book it was but something made me sit up and pay that little bit more attention.  It had be gripped. I felt for the characters, I felt the pain or the happiness, the sadness, everything right beside them.  I connected with them, I wanted everything to work out for them.

Lenny, to begin with, was a little… I just can’t put my finger on it.  I wouldn’t say self-centred, she definitely wasn’t that.  I really couldn’t figure her out until Juliet’s world falls apart.  She comes into her own then, she stays beside her friend when she needs her the most.  She never falters, she is loyal, and her main concern is to get Juliet to become happy again.  Everything she does is to help her friend.  Her own world crumbles down, and it’s the reverse of everything she did for Juliet.  Lenny does get her ending though, which I was very pleased about.

Juliet to begin with comes across as a stable, secure family woman.  Until it all comes tumbling down around her unexpectedly.  I felt for her, I really did.  I think I connected more with Juliet than Lenny.  I’m not sure why, maybe it’s because we see what she lost.  I know we saw everything with Lenny as well, and now this will sound horrible, but Lenny never had much to begin with.  Not like Juliet.  Juliet has to lose everything before she finds her happiness. As with Lenny, Juliet gets her ending.  She’s happy, she’s at the top of the happy mountain.

This is the first book I’ve read by Stella Newman, and it definitely will not be the last.  Her writing style took a while to get used to, but it was just wonderful.  It gripped me when I least expected it, it nearly had me in tears because it made me feel everything they felt.  I never thought that this book would make me feel like it has.  It has taken me a few days to even think about writing a review for it.  Sometimes it’s the books we never expect to have an impact, that actually have an impact.  This book has sat on my shelf for a long time, and I felt it was the right time for it.  I’m glad I waited.

This book has it all.  Loss, love, laughter, happiness, sadness.  Funny moments, heart breaking moments.  The characters are beautifully developed, written perfectly.  The food described within the book.. Christ, I want one of those cheese toasties desperately. I would have done anything for one of Lenny’s cheese toasties.

This book. Well, I read another review for it and they said that do you ever get the feeling that certain books are meant to find you at the exactly right time? I completely agree with that.  Wholeheartedly agree with it.  This book found me at a time that I needed to look at everything and be extremely grateful, and just happy. I loved it, I loved the characters, the writing style, just everything.  For that, I give it a massive 5/5.

Blog Tour: The Little Cafe of Second Chances by J. D. Barrett

The Little Café of Second Chances
The Little Cafe of Second Chances by J. D. Barrett
Publisher: Piatkus
Published: 2nd February 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 336
ISBN13: 978-0349414362
Goodreads
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Synopsis:

Lucy Muir is leaving her husband. It’s complicated.
As joint owners and chefs at one of the best restaurants in town making a clean break is tough. But, let’s face it, a woman can only take so much cheating, recipe stealing and lack of good grace.
Then Lucy happens upon an old, empty terrace that was once the city’s hottest restaurant: Fortune. One minute she’s peering through grimy windows into an abandoned space, the next she’s planning a pop-up bistro.
When Lucy fires up Fortune’s old kitchen she discovers a little red recipe book that belonged to the former chef, the infamous Frankie Summers. As Lucy cooks her way through Frankie’s recipes, customers come flocking and slowly Lucy begins to regain her confidence. It turns out that courage, passion and just a tiny bit of magic might be the secret recipe for a better life . . .

A deliciously entertaining debut from an exciting new voice in women’s fiction, this is a smart, charming novel about food, the perfect recipes for romance and the courage it takes to find a second chance at happiness

My Review:

Firstly, Thank You to Beth Wright from Little Brown for contacting me and offering me the chance to review this delicious book, and to be a part of the blog tour.  The cover for this book is just amazingly pretty, I put it straight to the top of the never-ending TBR pile and had it finished within a day.  But whatever you do, do not judge this book by the cover.  I was expecting the normal woman goes through a crisis, turns to baking blah blah blah… How very, very, wrong was I?? This book is going to be a romance to remember.

This book, as I said above, is delicious.  God, it made me so blooming hungry reading it!!!! It also made me want to get into my teeny kitchen and cook up a storm!! I’ve been re-inspired by the recipes inserted throughout the book.  I will definitely be trying one or two, if not all of them!!

I can’t really go into the storyline without giving any spoilers out, which I really don’t want to do.  Lucy is a chef, who opens up a new pop-up restaurant with the help of her friends, her family, her employee and a retired sous chef. And… well, let’s just some somebody else.  Oh, and the homeless man from outside the building.  It seems as though it won’t go to plan, but it does.

There is a sort of “whodunit” plot line, which adds to the feel of the characters, it adds depth to one main character but again, I can’t really go into it.  You’ll have to trust me when I say that this book just works.  It works on so many levels, it’s just… Delicious. The chemistry  between Lucy and the others works well, and you get a feeling for their love for her.  She grows in strength, confidence and herself.

For a debut novel, this definitely deserves to be put on to every romance lovers bookcase, kindle, whatever format you want to read (or listen to) it in.  It’s witty, delicious (that word again!), loving, and feels like it will turn into one of my favourites this year.

This book will definitely be a favourite for many, being romantics or food lovers.  I give it a huge 5/5!!

ARC Review: Christmas at the Little Village Bakery by Tilly Tennant

Christmas at the Little Village Bakery
Christmas at the Little Village Bakery by Tilly Tennant
Published: 16th September 2016
Publisher: Bookouture
Format: Ebook
Pages: 273
ASIN: B01HRKTA9M
Goodreads

Available to Pre-order on:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Synopsis
It’s time to get toasty by the fire with a glass of mulled wine and a slice of chocolate yule log sprinkled with a little romance. Welcome to Christmas at the Little Village Bakery.
Snow is falling in Honeybourne and Spencer is bringing home his American fiancée Tori for a traditional English Christmas with all the trimmings. But when his hippie mum and dad meet her high-maintenance parents, sparks of the wrong sort start to fly. Then Spencer bumps into his first love Jasmine and unexpected feelings come flooding back.
Millie is run off her feet with Christmas orders at the Little Village Bakery and new baby Oscar. Thank goodness her cousin Darcie is here to help her. Although she does seem to be rather flirty with Millie’s boyfriend Dylan.
Will Darcie ever find true love of her own? And is marrying Tori a terrible mistake for Spencer if his heart is with someone else?

My Thoughts

Firstly, thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for my copy in exchange of my honest review.

I enjoyed this book more than the first, I can’t really pinpoint why though.  It’s not written differently, doesn’t have many different characters, the setting is the same.  But I felt it was a lot better.  Maybe it’s because I knew the characters, and this built up on that? Or maybe it was because it was mainly following a different character’s story?  Either way, it was a fun light-hearted christmas feeling book.

I sort of feel cheated with the synopsis slightly, it makes out that there is a problem with Millie’s cousin being all flirty… I didn’t see that so I must have missed it? Unless someone wants to point it out to me? I liked Darcie, she was reserved and there’s been plenty of room left for her to grow.  I’m secretly hoping the next book will maybe be based around her?  I can’t really see many more options for the other characters.

Spencer’s storyline was eventful, dramatic and heart-warming.  His parents were fantastic characters, and Tori’s weren’t.  I didn’t particularly like her either to be honest, she cared too much about her parents feelings than her actual relationship.  You could say the same about Spencer as well, but I liked him in the first book so couldn’t really see past that for me.;

Set in the same quaint little village of Honeybourne, it felt familiar, homely and about everything else you would associate with it.  I was glad it was set in the same place, just for the fact it made me it feel welcoming.

Written well, with the same quick, quirky, thoughtful tone as the first book.

I can’t really find the right words to explain what else I liked about this book without giving much detail away from the actual plot itself.  It was a happy ending though, so that’s extra brownie points.  A little bit of a cliffhanger as well, which means that I want to find out which way they all go with their lives, and if it’s happy endings all round.

My Rating: With the same likeable characters, the same homey setting, the wonderful writing style, I happily give this book 4/5.

Blog Tour: Don’t You Forget About Me

I’m thrilled to be kicking off the Blog Tour for this book, it’s been a great opportunity to get out there and flaunt my blog on social media, to other bloggers, other passionate readers and most importantly to read such a heart-warming, funny book.

This is Liz Tipping’s second book, and the first – Five Go Glamping – is now definitely on my To Be Read pile. Hopefully I’ll enjoy it as much as this one!!

Here’s the other blogs involved:

 

This book is available to purchase on
Amazon UK
Amazon US


Don’t You Forget About Me by Liz Tipping
Published: June 2016
Publisher: Carina
Format: Ebook
ASIN:  B01D4WO2MC
Goodreads Link

Synopsis:

An athlete, a princess, a brain, a criminal, a basket case…

Cara Dunham is definitely one of them. But stuck in her small hometown, with no prospects of escape, she’s struggling to find her thing. Her life is more book club than Breakfast Club and there is no Judd Nelson in sight!

So when Cara is invited to a school reunion she knows this is her chance to channel her inner Molly Ringwald and grab her John Hughes moment, once and for all. Because her teenage love, Daniel Rose will be there, the coolest boy at school and the one that got away.

But transforming into an 80’s icon isn’t easy and Cara enlists the help of her oldest friend, Stubbs, to teach her all she needs to know about being cool and quirky – a la Ringwald.

Except Stubbs thinks she’s perfect, just as she is and takes it upon himself to show Cara that her life might not be ‘movie perfect’, but there is always another take to get things right. And maybe the hero she’s dreamed of has been under her nose the whole time…

My Thoughts:

Firstly, thank you to Netgalley and Carina for the chance to read and review this book. I really enjoyed it and found myself rooting for Cara to get the right man in the end!!

Cara was a likeable character, she was a bit stuck in the past, but she had a certain charm that I liked. Stubbs was a great character, I liked him a lot.  I could imagine him being one of my friends.  The additions of Divvy – sorry, Dave – and April weren’t really anything special for me though.  I understand that April plays a big part in Cara’s life, especially in the past, but she wasn’t anything special.  I would never have guessed that she was helping Stubbs in the way she was so that was a surprise.

I liked the references to numerous 80’s and 90’s references, being a child in the 90’s I understood it all – which was a delight! I can’t say I’ve watched all of the films mentioned but I’m planning on it!! I can remember watching The Breakfast Club but not for a very long time. The bands mentioned I know off, and am a fan so that’s always a big bonus!!!! I was able to picture some of the places mentioned, being a regular visitor to the area.

The writing style was easy to read, and matched the book perfectly.  There wasn’t any ridiculous long paragraphs, or chapters, that would have put anyone looking for an easy read off from picking this up. It’s definitely a mini walk down memory lane for people who grew up in the 1980s.

My Rating: With likeable characters, a storyline that flowed well with a light-hearted theme.  Superb for people who grew up in the 80’s.  I’m giving this big a very strong 4/5.

ARC Review: Late Summer in the Vineyard by Jo Thomas

imageLate Summer in the Vineyard
by Jo Thomas
Published: 11th August 2016
Publisher: Headline Review
ISBN: 9781472223722
Goodreads

Available to purchase from
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Synopsis:

Emmy Bridges has always looked out for others. Now it’s time to put down roots of her own.
Working for a wine-maker in France is the opportunity of a lifetime for Emmy. Even if she doesn’t know a thing about wine – beyond what’s on offer at the local supermarket.
There’s plenty to get to grips with in the rustic town of Petit Frère. Emmy’s new work friends need more than a little winning over. Then there’s her infuriatingly brash tutor, Isaac, and the enigmatic Madame Beaumont, tucked away in her vineyard of secrets.
But Emmy will soon realise that in life – just as in wine-making – the best things happen when you let go and trust your instincts. Particularly when there’s romance in the air…

My Thoughts:

Firstly, thanks to the publisher and Bookbridgr for the opportunity to read and review this great book! Again, as with my last 2 reviews, look at the cover!! This is bright, cheerful, and instantly you know it’s going to be an amazing book. The digital image does nothing for the actual physical book.

My goodness. What a beautiful, heart-warming, gorgeous *insert whatever warm fuzzy word you’re thinking here* book. It’s certainly left me with that warm, romantic, loving feeling.
This is the first book I’ve read by Jo Thomas, I regret not reading The Oyster Catcher, which I’ve had for months, sooner to find out that she is an outstanding author.

Emmy is an excellent character. She’s down on her luck, looking for a means to help out her Dad. So what does she do? Throws herself so far outside her comfort zone, and succeeds in every way you want her to. She grows, becomes more confident and falls in love along the way. Isaac is the lone, travelling wine-maker, looking for somewhere – and someone – to settle down. He’s handsome, charming, and just utterly perfect for Emmy.

The chemistry between them sizzles off the page and I just love it. Every character adds something special to this book. Madame Beaumont is just the perfect character for, she is by far the best old lady I’ve come across recently in books.

Jo Thomas’s writing style has left me with a warm feeling, and has definitely left me wanting more. I would love it if there was a second book following Emmy and Isaac. I will be hurrying to pick up everything else by Jo Thomas now.

France is a perfect backdrop, set in a quaint little village that I really want to visit now. Or just visit France in general, anywhere in such a stunning country would be fine!!! I seem to be having a European reading spree at the moment!

My Rating: With excellent characters, a wonderful French setting, and romance pouring from pretty much every page, I give this book a huge sloppy kiss and an even bigger 5/5. This book is perfect for settling down with on a late summer’s evening, with a glass (or 2) of wine.

ARC Review: The Sunflower Cottage Breakfast Club by Lynsey James


The Sunflower Cottage Breakfast Club (Luna Bay Book2)
by Lynsey James
Published: 1st August
Publisher: Carina UK
Format: Ebook
Pages:
ISBN: 9780008189952
Goodreads

Available to purchase:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Synopsis:
Emily Reed is having a bad day. Her mother has just dropped a devastating bombshell—the dad she’s known and loved for twenty-five years isn’t her biological father!
Desperately in need of answers, Emily heads to Luna Bay covering her personal quest up as a work trip to Sunflower Cottage B&B.
Setting up the ‘Sunflower Cottage Breakfast Club’ should be a great way to meet the locals and maybe even find out who her father is. The only problem is brooding and insanely gorgeous, Noah, who is determined to make Emily’s stay perfectly uncomfortable.
Discovering the truth after all these years was never going to be simple, but Emily will stop at nothing to uncover her past… even if her heart is getting in the way!

My Thoughts:
Firstly, Thank you to Netgalley and Carina UK for the opportunity to read and review this book. This book is the second one in the Luna Bay series, the first is The Broken Hearts Book Club, which I have read and enjoyed.

Lynsey James is slowly becoming a firm favourite with me, she writes brilliantly funny and touching books. All the covers to her books are pretty, especially this one!! It’s gorgeous! I know we shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover but we all do it, don’t we?!

It was great to have characters from The Broken Hearts Book Club as involved with this story, it was unexpected in a way but made everything feel familiar and like you were coming home.  Luna Bay is a perfect little setting for this book, it works so well.

The additions to Lucy and Jake’s story (from Broken Hearts) is fantastic and glad that we get a little glimpse into their lives.  All new characters – Noah, Rose and Emily’s family – all add something, and grow along with Emily in her journey.  Noah starts off moody, distant, and becomes loving, affectionate, and warm.  Rose is the sensible, grand-motherly voice throughout the whole book and wish I could sit down and have a cup of tea and a big bit of cake with her!! Emily’s family – especially her mum- adds that element which every family has – unconditional love, a home, and arms that are always open for a hug.  It may be a bit of a strange way of putting it, but that’s how I saw them..

I didn’t particularly like Emily much to begin with, she came across as selfish, demanding, and maybe a little bit too naïve.  BUT!! By the end of the book, she is as far from that as she could possible be.  She becomes more of an adult, more grown up, less like the teenager she originally come across as.  She’s stronger, happier, she’s in love – I know it doesn’t make much difference in our world, but in her world, it’s everything.

I’m secretly hoping that Book 3 (Yep, there is one!! YAY!!) will have more about Alice.  She was an intriguing character and I wanted to know that little bit more about her.  She seems to have so much potential, a clean slate in a sense.  But then, the theme of the books seem to be a young woman coming in and finding her true self.  Maybe it’ll be Diane’s daughter?? She comes home to find out she’s got a sister… I’m all for it, whatever happens in it!!

Lynsey James has a writing style that makes you feel warm, cosy, happy and content.  She manages to capture everything that the characters are feeling in perfectly formed words and makes you feel everything along with them.

My Rating: With brilliantly written characters, a cosy little village and that loving feeling, I give this book a huge 4/5.