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: 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.

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.

 

ARC Review: The Killing Game by J.S. Carol


The Killing Game by J.S. Carol
Published: 13th Ocotober 2016
Publisher: Bookouture
Format: EBook
Pages: 380
ISBN13: 9781786810311
Goodreads

Available To Purchase
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Synopsis

Imagine you are having lunch at an exclusive restaurant, filled with Hollywood’s hottest stars.
And a masked gunman walks in and takes everyone hostage.
You must bargain for your life against a twisted individual who knows everything about you.
He also has a bomb set to detonate if his heart rate changes.
If he dies. You die.
You have four hours to stay alive.

What would you do?

My Thoughts
Firstly, thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for my copy in exchange for my review.

This book had me on tenterhooks from the first chapter.  That chapter was an amazing first chapter. It was fast, gripping, exciting, and with a vice -like grip what shouts Read Me!!! The rest of the book followed perfectly. I’ve loved all of James Carol’s other books (the Jefferson Winter series), and this one has followed suit just perfectly.  I seem to be using that word a lot for this book! Just perfect!!

The writing is brilliant, knowing exactly how to keep you on the edge of the seat. With brutal murders, brutal journalism, and heroic actors.  JJ, Alex King, Rob Taylor, and Seth Allen make a perfect combination of characters, with a good balance of their side of the action.  With Rob and Seth giving the public everything they can, JJ trying to stay alive with the bomber, keeping her own secrets, and Alex hiding in the restroom trying to keep it together and help the FBI, while resisting the temptation of escape.

I sort of guessed why the bomber was doing it, but I kept second guessing myself the whole way through the book.  I didn’t get that he was targeting the exact people, so that came as a complete surprise!  I liked JJ, even if she was in the most vulnerable position anyone could.

I’m finding it difficult to hold the whole story in, I can’t really explain how I feel about this book without giving major spoilers away.  So, on that I will say this.  This book is explosive, heart-stopping, and just simple perfect.  It had me second guessing myself the whole way, and then completely doubting myself about whether I was right or not.

With enough blood splatters, explosives, and guessing to last me a lifetime, I give this book a huge 5/5!!

ARC Review: Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky by Holly Martin


Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky by Holly Martin
Published: 22nd September 2016
Publisher: Bookouture
Format: Ebook
Pages: 322
ISBN13: 9781786810700
Goodreads

Available to purchase
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Synopsis
This year spend a wonderful Christmas on Juniper Island, where love can melt even the iciest of hearts…

Piper Chesterfield lives a glamorous life travelling the world and reviewing the finest hotels. She calls nowhere home, she works alone and that’s how she likes it. For long ago Piper decided that to protect her heart she should lock it away.
So when Piper’s next assignment brings her to the newly opened Stardust Lake Hotel for the festive season, the last person she expects to face is Gabe Whitaker, the man who broke her heart so completely she could never love again.
But Piper isn’t the only one who has been frozen in time by heartbreak. Gabe hasn’t forgotten the golden-eyed girl who disappeared from his world without a trace.
Now fate has reunited them on Juniper island, can the magic of Christmas heal old wounds? And can this enchanting town be the one place Piper can finally call home?

My Thoughts

Firstly, thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Bookouture, for my copy in exchange of my review.  This book has definitely pulled me out of yet another reading slump.

I found this book to be a delightful, heart-warming read.  It was festive (where can you go wrong with that??) it was loving, it was funny, tearful and just brilliant. There were parts of this book that made me laugh, nearly cry and feel extremely happy.

Pip is fed up with travelling the world, being a mystery guest in some fabulous places.  She decides her next job will be her last for a while.  When she gets to her hotel, the last person she is expecting to see is her teenage years ex-boyfriend, Gabe.  I loved Pip, she is an independent woman, with baggage, with a history.  She was real if that makes sense?

Gabe, for me, was a perfect gent.  Protective, a wonderful father, loving, and for Pip, an amazing lover.  His daughter Wren is a wonderful character, and a true young child! Especially being Frozen mad!!! They make a wonderful little family, and made me feel like I should hug my own child more often!

Other characters that pop up in the book often were fantastic.  They’ve all got their own stories about why or how they’ve ended up on Juniper Island and I would love to hear all of them. Neve and Luke were wonderful additions to Luke’s family, with Neve’s story being the next book.  I hope to hear Luke’s story eventually as well.

Holly Martin has created a perfect Winter Wonderland in this book, her writing style drew me in straight away and I didn’t come up for breath until I had finished every single page.  So much so, that I dived straight back in with Christmas Under a Starlit Sky (review to come next month for publication day!!)

I highly recommend this book to add to any Christmas book reading list! Just superbly wonderful.  I wish that I could visit, and maybe even just move straight in!! Loved it!! A huge, gigantic 5/5 from me!!


A little add on note from me:

I go on holiday for a week on Monday 26th and I very much doubt I will have WiFi where I will be so there will be complete radio silence from me for a while now.  I will be writing reviews but they will all be posted once I’m home and the mountains and mountains of washing is done!!!

Thanks for reading!!!

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.

ARC Review: Backpack and a Red Dress by Maddie Jane

Backpack and a Red Dress
Backpack and a Red Dress by Maddie Jane
Published: August 15th 2016
Publisher: Escape Publishing
Format: EBook

ISBN: 9781489217370
Goodreads

Available To Purchase
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Synopsis:
A fresh contemporary romance about a lonely girl looking for love, family and the perfect dress.
Managing a flailing second-hand clothes shop in an English village is not part of Cally Kirkwood’s life plan. But she’s travelled across the world to meet her birth father and she won’t leave until he acknowledges her.
But life happens when you’re busy making plans, and Cally soon finds herself completely invested in converting the grungy shop into a beautiful vintage clothing store, despite the opposition of her new employer’s son, Sam Hunter.
Sam is instantly attracted to Cally but can’t figure her out. There’s something she isn’t telling him and he doesn’t know whether to trust her—yet he can’t stay away.
An unexpected discovery means Cally must decide whether her true loyalty lies with her father or Sam. She thought she’d do anything to find love; but choosing between her past and her future may leave her with no love at all.

My Thoughts:
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for my copy in exchange for my honest review.

While I enjoyed this book, I felt it was missing something. I can’t quite put my finger on what though it is exactly though.  While the characters are good, they lacked a little depth.  While the storyline was good, it lacked a little flow and oomph.  While the chemistry was there between Cally and Sam, it was nothing spectacular.  If anything, it was a little predictable.  Although it was predictable, it was very easy to get in to and find what was good about it.

Cally was a likeable lady, she came across as strong, independent, and very determined.  Yet at the same time, she’s soft, fragile and maybe a little bit naive thinking that she would sort of slot right into her estranged fathers life.
Sam came across as the stereotypical moody, hunk.  He ended up being soft, just as fragile as Cally, and even more of a gentleman than he was at the beginning of the book.  He becomes less of a workaholic, and moves past any troubles he had.
Other characters in the book, for example Emma and Jackie, would have been great characters to expand on.  They added humor, sensible words, and witty comments.  There is one ot two characters that could have been left out.  One of them being Tabitha Eldridge.  She added nothing at all, her “threat” seemed to have been said and then completely forgotten about (however stupid it was), and she then just completely disappears from the story.  Or will there be a second book to carry on where it left off??

I’ve never read anything by Maddie Jane before, and this book is a perfect starting ground to discover her others.  It was a nice, easy read, with the predictability that I was sort of expecting from the first couple of pages.  While the story didn’t flow as well as I was hoping, it did keep me entertained and of course had me wanting the obvious happy ending.

My Rating: While predictable, and lacking certain things, I still enjoyed this book.  With easy reading, likeable characters, and the happy ending, I give this book 3/5.