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. 

ARC Review: The Summer of Serendipity by Ali McNamara

The Summer of Serendipity by Ali McNamara
Published: July 2017
Publisher: Sphere (Little, Brown Book Group UK)
Format: Ebook
Pages: 368
ISBN13: 9780751566215
ASIN: B01MQJVNBC

Goodreads
Amazon UK

Description

My Review

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for copy, in exchange for my honest review.  I’m so glad I got to read this, I’ve loved other books by Ali McNamara and this one does not disappoint.

I found this to be a magical story, full of folklore, history, mysteries and romance.  It was interesting to read the different legends.  I know it’s a fictional place, but it made me realise that everywhere has these little stories, legends, rumours, whatever you want to call it.  They all stem from somewhere don’t they?

Written well, as always for Ali McNamara. The characters all had feeling, depth, and a likeability that touches you.  There is a lot of eye-rolling though, and winking. What’s that all about? Anyway, I liked all of the characters.  The setting was beautiful, as is all of Ireland.

Ren is determined, stubborn, but a very likeable woman.  Kiki plays well against Ren. For Ren’s matureness, Kiki is the opposite. She’s ditzy, doesn’t get a lot of Ren’s references, but she’s still very likeable.  Finn.  I’ve been trying to find the right words for Finn but I’m struggling.  He’s likeable, you get to see a little of his history, his backstory but on the other hand I don’t know…  I felt like I didn’t get a lot from him.  I don’t know.  All the characters worked well together, there is chemistry between all the characters, a fondness between them.  Kiki and Ren found their home in Ballykiltara and it shows.

It makes a nice change that the loss that a character’s suffers is an animal.  Many stories centre around the loss of a person, not an animal.  People’s lives are affected by the loss of a pet or like Finn, a business.  it shows that it does change the way people are.

This book was just great.  I loved how it was written, I loved the majority of the characters, and I just really enjoyed it.  I give it 4/5.

 

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: All She Ever Wished For by Claudia Carroll


All She Ever Wished For by Claudia Carroll
Published: 6th October 2016
Publisher: Avon
Format: EBook
Pages: 496
ISBN13: 9780008174750
Goodreads

Available to Purchase
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Synopsis

A gorgeous story of chance meetings and unexpected friendships . . . because sometimes what you’ve always wished for isn’t necessarily what life has in store . . .
Marriage. It’s a dream come true. Isn’t it?
One wet winter night, two women meet on a bridge. One is Tess Taylor, a personal trainer on the way to meet her boyfriend for date night. The other is Kate King, a celebrity married to a handsome billionaire who just happens to make her cry. In the cold dark evening, there is nothing to link them together but the bridge they shiver on. Little do they know they’ll both hold the key to each other’s future marriage…
All She Ever Wished For tells the story of what happens when your dream is about to come true. And what happens when that dream turns into a bit of a nightmare…

My Thoughts

Firstly, thank you to Netgalley and the publishers, Avon, for my copy in exchange for my honest review.

I’ve had to sit and think about this book, and how I feel about it.  This is the second Claudia Carroll book I’ve read this year, and while I thoroughly enjoyed the other, I’m not sure where I sit with this one.  It wasn’t what I was exactly expecting, but then it wasn’t like I knew what to expect anyway.  The description for this book gave literally nothing away about it. It doesn’t say you’re going to be sat in a courtroom with Tess and Kate, it doesn’t say that you’re going to be in Kate’s last 15 years or in Tess’s daily struggle with wedding plans – or whether he’e the one for her.

Tess is a likeable character, she starts off being your very typical stressed bride-to-be, planning all the last minute touches.  Then she’s summoned for jury service, and everything changes.  She begins to doubt whether her fiance, Bernard, is the right man.  Her family have their own opinions on her, and so does his family about her.  Tess is oblivious to everything they are saying and has to find her own way to the same conclusions.  I found myself relating to things that Tess was thinking, and how she felt about things.

Kate again is another likeable character, although she is going through a rough time, she remains strong, able to beat an addiction, and comes out the other side of it.  Although she is supposed to be this perfect billionaires wife, she comes across as independent, strong, determined and just, well, down to earth.

Other characters that are pivotal in the book are great people.  I don’t want to obviously say much but in a way, I’m glad the whole thing ended the way it did.  We got a happy ending, and a great romantic line throughout the book.  The court case wasn’t what I imagined would happen in the book, but looking back it was a great setting for the majority of the story.  It was a wonderful change from the normal settings you get in books even remotely similar to this.

As I said, I still don’t how I feel about this book.  It was good to read about it all happening in a different setting, compared to seaside villages, beaches or something like that.  It was also a great story, with a sort of dramatic courtroom twist.  But.. On the other hand, it felt a little strained in places.  I felt there was no chemistry between some characters, there was no spark between others.  I didn’t particularly like either Tess’s family, or Bernard’s, and some characters didn’t add anything at all.

Overall, I did like this book.  But I didn’t love it like I was sort of expecting. I’m admitting I’m a little disappointed but I really don’t mind.  It was a good story, and it was a wonderful ending.  Will Tess and Will be a happy every after or will they not? Who knows? Will Kate finally find her place, or will she carry on where she is?

My Rating: This is where I am struggling.  Is it a 4 star? Or 4.5? Or even just a 3? I’m not sure… I’m going to give it a 4, for now.  It may change but I highly doubt it.

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.