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. 

September Wrap Up!

So, September is over and done with.. That went too quick for my liking.  We had a good holiday, if not a little blustery – but what do you get for going to Wales, by the seaside, at the end of September?? We loved it though, the child (and the man-child) were very well behaved, no tantrums, not many tears, it was fab!! I got some decent reading done, with 4 books under the “Read” pile. My Goodreads reading challenge now stands at 124/150.

This month, I’m doing things differently.  Instead of saying what I’ve purchased, I’m going to concentrate on the actual read side of things. On that note, here is what I snuggled up with this month!!

1:  Passenger by Alexandra Bracken. Rated: 4/5
2: Christmas at the Little Village Bakery by Tilly Tennant. Rated: 4/5
3: Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky by Holly Martin. Rated: 5/5
4: Christmas Under a Starlit Sky by Holly Martin.  Rated: 4/5
5: All She Ever Wished For by Claudia Carroll. Rated: 4/5
6: Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard. Rated: 4/5
7: Unexpectedly Wilde by Rose Chen. Rated: 2/5
8: The Plumberry School of Comfort Food by Cathy Bramley. Rated: 5/5
9: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Rated: 5/5
10: The Paris Secret by Karen Swan. Rated: 4/5
11: Letters from Lighthouse Cottage by Ali McNamara. Rated: 5/5

Worse Read:
Without a doubt, Unexpectedly Wilde. Oh my god, I don’t even know where to begin with it.  Firstly, let me say that I do not normally go for stories with lots of sex, or verging on the “erotica” label. But with this one… The description given on Netgalley was what made me think it wasn’t like that. I was wrong. Now, I’m not a wimp or a prude or anything when it comes to sex, I just don’t really get the whole erotica thing.  Anyway, that wasn’t the only reason why I didn’t like this book.  On one page, the ex-wife’s name was one thing, and then a few pages later it was a completely different name!!!!!! Then another example that I can think of was a friend was on their honeymoon in one place, and then towards the end of the book it was a different one!!! Surely if you’re writing a book you keep track of details, right?? Just makes sense that it all matches up throughout the book.
This book to me, had a huge amount of potential, but it just fell flat on it’s over sexual face.  It was poor.

Best Read:
Well, with the amount of 5/5 I’ve given, I cannot pick. It’s unusual for me to give 4 of them in one month!!!! Each of them had their own fantastic elements to it.
Six of Crows was fantastic to read, I loved the world – having read The Grisha Trilogy earlier this year.  I loved the characters, I loved the ending, I loved everything about it.
Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky was a brilliant start to what is hopefully and ongoing series.  The characters were fantastic, the island was such a beautiful setting (I need to visit), it’s a great read to get you in a festive mood.  The writing was wonderful, and I cannot wait to see if there will be anymore of them after Christmas Under a Starlit Sky.
The Plumberry School of Comfort Food was such a comfort read.  It set me up for my little reading marathon on holiday, it was just perfect.  I sort of wish I could visit the cooking school, maybe have a little one-on-one with Tom?? Just a wonderfully perfect, comforting book.
Letters from Lighthouse Cottage was great.  It was wonderful to read the backstory of Grace, and how she got to her perfect life.  it was done differently, and I loved every moment of it.  The characters in this book were great, we see how they grew, developed from awkward teenagers into adults, parents, spouses.  I loved the idea of Remy, it certainly made the book have a completely different feel to it.

Biggest Surprise:
This is definitely Christmas at the Little Village Bakery.  While I enjoyed the first one, I didn’t actually have high hopes for this one.  The description, in my own opinion, does not match the book at all. Something about Milly’s cousin being too flirty with Dylan, it just didn’t happen in the book. In fact, cousin Darcie was a shy girl, not what I pictured when I read the description.  Anyway, good points.  I loved the fact that the story didn’t actually centre around Milly and Dylan.  It was nice to read about Spencer and Tori, and their worries about getting married, where to live, their completely different parents.  It was nice to read about other characters, I didn’t particularly connect well with Milly in the first book.  Anyway, I think this book is slightly better than the first, but I cannot see if it can be added to with another one – if there is one, I will read it.  The only way I can see it being added to is with Darcie.  I would enjoy reading about her story, where she came from, where she goes.

Any Disappointments:
Not really, which isn’t a surprise.
I did struggle to get into Glass Sword, but I got there eventually. I’m excited for the 3rd book in the trilogy, and very intrigued with where it is going.  As I said, I struggled to actually get into it. I can’t really pinpoint why though, I loved Red Queen, I was very excited to pick this up but it just didn’t start with the Oomph I was expecting.

October Plans:
This is where I struggle. I’ve got to plan an international giveaway for a author (any tips will be gratefully received!), and read and review both her books (watch this space!!).
I’ve also got extra copies of a book to giveaway as well so look out for that as well.
Other than that, no special Blogging Plans. I’m going to be aiming for 2 reviews a week, fingers crossed I can do it! I’m hoping to get one up by the end of the week this week, and then 2 next and every week from then but we shall see.
This month is busy with homelife as well.  We have a 3rd birthday with the child, with another week away visiting Mum.  Our poor feline-baby, Percy, must think we keep abandoning him!

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.

Book Review: The Madam by Jaime Raven

The Madam

The Madam by Jaime Raven
Publisher: Avon
Published: May 2016
Format: Paperback
Pages: 304
ISBN: 0008171467 (ISBN13: 9780008171469)

Synopsis:
Scars might fade but the memories don’t…
Three years and eleven months. That’s how long Lizzie Wells was banged up inside Holloway prison for, serving time for a crime she didn’t commit.
Six months. That’s how long it took Lizzie to fall in love with a woman inside the prison. Scar, who might just have reason for her name.
Now Lizzie is finally free, the duo embark on a search to find those who framed Lizzie and sent her down for cold blooded murder.
THE BUSINESS MAN. THE COPPER. THE MADAM.
It’s time they paid their price…

My Thoughts:

Firstly, let me thank the author for sending me a copy to read and review!! It had me gripped within the first couple of pages and couldn’t put it down until I knew the truth.

Lizzie and Scar are fantastic characters, I liked them both a lot – in fact I liked all the characters in the book which rarely happens for me.  They were developed well, although I think we could have had a little more backstory about Scar.  I’m not complaining though!!!!! And I liked even more when we found out why she was in prison to begin with! (I won’t give details but it’ll make a man cringe)

To begin with, Lizzie comes across as unstable, determined and just out right insane.  But by the end of the book, she’s proved she is determined but not unstable or insane.  She was a great character, one of the best I’ve come across this year.  I don’t think it was important if they were lovers or not, it’s not really defining point of the story for me.  It worked though, and made a strangely nice change from the normal female-male way of things.

I kind of predicted who the bad cop was about halfway through, but I didn’t care as it could have gone either way with it.  It was predictable in a lot of places but it didn’t change a thing for me.  I still enjoyed the book immensely, and as I said I couldn’t leave it alone!! I even found myself reading it through my lunch break at work instead of spending the time with the child (this being a big thing it being a sunday!!!!)

It was an excellent, well written story with enough twists, blood, violence, drama, and everything else you could ever want in a book like this!! A huge 5/5 from me!!

Book Review: The Shadow Queen by C.J Redwine

The Shadow Queen by C. J Redwine
The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire, #1)
Published: February 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format: Paperback
Pages: 390
ISBN: 1407170600 (ISBN13: 9781407170602)

Synopsis:
Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.
In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.
But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.

My Thoughts:

I’m going to be honest straight away, my rating for this book is somewhere in between 3 and 5 stars.  I really, really do not know what to rate it.

My reasoning for not knowing is for many reasons.  To start with, making me want to rate it highly is that I loved the fast-paced action, even the romance, which wasn’t a great deal, added to the book.  I liked the writing style, and I liked the characters – shame a good one died though, and I enjoyed the setting, which was described perfectly and has left me wanting to know more about both Kingdoms.
Lorelai is a great heroine, along with the help of Kol and the rest it makes a great story.  I even really enjoyed the fact that it’s a retelling, or extremely similar, to Snow White.  Lorelai is a great Snow White, with Irina as the Evil Queen and Kol makes an even better Huntsman.  Also, the fact that apples have a huge role within the book as well! The were a few parts that actually made me chuckle to myself as well!

My reasons for wanting to give it a low rating.  How many stories are there now about a girl who is trying to reclaim her throne from the evil hands of a relative are there now? I get the genre is for Teenagers/Young Adults but for once I’d like a late 20 something fighting for her place!! (Sorry I’m going off track here)
Anyway – I didn’t like the fact that one of the best characters gets killed off, just devastating!!  I think that they would have made the book that little bit more enjoyable if they were in it all the way through.
There were parts that dragged, a lot.  The ‘conversations’ between Lorelai and Kol were a tad awkward in places and I skimmed over them.

So, I’m in a bit of a predicament.  I honestly don’t know where I should put the rating.  It’s 3-5/5.

I will add, I understand why it’s been giving a lot of terrible reviews.  If I didn’t actually enjoy it as much as I did, it would have gotten a worse review from me.  And I know I’ve sort of contradicted myself by saying about the romance between Lorelai and Kol was great, and then the next I’m saying it’s awkward.  I just feel that there could have been some better interaction between them in places.  I loved the fact that he was there right at the end, as a surprise.  It did surprise me, and I really, really want to read about them again!!

Book Review: The Cosy Teashop In The Castle **ONE SPOILER(ish)**

The Cosy Teashop in the Castle

The Cosy Teashop In The Castle by Caroline Roberts
Published:
February 2016
Publisher: Harper Impulse
Format: Paperback
Pages:
400
ISBN: 0008125414 (ISBN13: 9780008125417) 

Synopsis:
When Ellie Hall lands her dream job running the little teashop in the beautiful but crumbling Claverham Castle, it’s the perfect escape from her humdrum job in the city. Life is definitely on the rise as Ellie replaces spreadsheets for scones, and continues her Nanna’s brilliant baking legacy.
When Lord Henry, the stick-in-the-mud owner, threatens to burst her baking bubble with his old-fashioned ways, Ellie wonders if she might have bitten off more than she can chew. But cupcake by cupcake she wins the locals over, including teashop stalwart, Doris, and Ellie’s show-stopping bakes look set to go down in castle history!
Now all that’s missing in Ellie’s life is a slice of romance – can Joe, the brooding estate manager, be the one to put the cherry on the top of Ellie’s dream?

My Thoughts:
I really didn’t know what to think about this.  I enjoyed it, but I hated parts of it so much so I skipped them.  It was a little… Bare.  There wasn’t enough depth to it, but then in one certain part that unfortunately stands out, it had waaaaaay too much detail!! The sex scenes were extremely detailed for the book.  It just didn’t fit in with the stings and flow of the book. I found that it was a tad repetitive a few times, conversations completely repeated and details mention 5 or 6 times.

However, I loved the castle setting, the setting of the teashop, and the characters.  As I knew a few of the places mentioned within the book, it was nice to be able to picture them and know exactly where they were.  Ellie came across as naïve but it was a likeable naïve.  Joe was a charming gent, if not a little bit of a douche to begin with. It’s a shame there wasn’t more scenes Doris and Nicola but we can’t have everything can we!?

It flowed well, and was an easy read but like I mentioned before, the sex scenes completely ruined the whole thing for me.  It just wasn’t really needed.  Maybe a little paragraph or something, but not 3/4 pages!! Anyway, I recommend it to people who want an easy read and the whole “cosy teashop” theme which seems to be extremely popular recently.

My Rating: 3/5

Book Review: Three Amazing Things About You by Jill Mansell

Three Amazing Things About You

Three Amazing Things About You by Jill Mansell

Published: June 2015
Publisher: Headline Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 400
ISBN: 1472208862 (ISBN13: 9781472208866)

Synopsis:

Hallie has a secret. She’s in love. He’s perfect for her in every way, but he’s seriously out of bounds. And her friends aren’t going to help her because what they do know is that Hallie doesn’t have long to live. Time is running out…
Flo has a dilemma. She really likes Zander. But his scary sister won’t be even faintly amused if she thinks Zander and Flo are becoming friends – let alone anything more.
Tasha has a problem. Her new boyfriend is the adventurous type. And she’s afraid one of his adventures will go badly wrong.
THREE AMAZING THINGS ABOUT YOU begins as Hallie goes on a journey. A donor has been found and she’s about to be given new lungs. But whose?

My Thoughts:
Another exceptional book from Jill Mansell. I loved this book, and loved the ending even more! I enjoyed trying to predict who unfortunately wouldn’t make the ending of the book, and didn’t guess who it would be, although I wasn’t really disappointed who it was.

I loved the characters, and the way their individual storylines come together eventually, and the occasional crossover on the way.
There was rushed romances, but that’s the way it works in life sometimes.  All of the women were relatable, realistic and wonderful!  There was one character, Lena, who was just aiming for a slap round the face if she was real!! The men within the story were charming, romantic, and just pure gents.

The storyline was fantastic, and just a little bit of perfection.  It was just wonderful, and what every female needs to read every now and again!

My Rating: 4/5