It Was Only Ever You by Kate Kerrigan

youDescription

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?

Details 

Title: It Was Only Ever You

Author: Kate Kerrigan

Published: October 6th 2016 by Head of Zeus

AISN: B01AATYCBS

Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction (1950s)

Format:  Paperback

Pages: 389

Source: Review copy from publisher

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts

It Was Only Ever You is my first introduction to Kate Kerrigan, but before I even picked up the book I knew that I had been missing out! With comparisons to the great Maeve Binchy and high praise from romance stalwarts, Marian Keyes, Cecelia Ahern, and my good friend, Tess Woods, I knew this would be a great book. And I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

The novel is set in County Mayo and New York in the 1950s and told from multiple points of view. Patrick leaves his sweetheart, Rose, the beautiful doctor’s daughter, behind in Ireland to emigrate to New York and make it big as a rock star. In New York, he meets Ava, a wealthy but shy girl, except for when she is on the dance floor. Holocaust survivor, Sheila, manages to talk her way into becoming Patrick’s manager, despite being on the run from the mob.

I loved the way this story was told. I can definitely see some similarities to Maeve Binchy’s heartfelt romance style Kerrigan captured the mood of old-school Ireland and the 1950s rock and roll scene of New York perfectly. I particularly enjoyed the scene where Sheila watches Bill Haley and his CometsBill Haley and his Comets in one of their earliest performances, especially as Rock Around the Clock was my grandmother’s favourite song!

Conjuror #bookreview

conjurorI have to admit that I am a massive Doctor Who, Torchwood, and Captain Jack Harkness fan, so I was a little bit geeked out to have the opportunity to read John Barrowman’s latest novel written in collaboration with his sister, Carole E. Barrowman.

There were a lot of features that I loved about this novel. First of all, there was a really great mix of diverse characters. Considering that Conjuror’s target audience is mostly teenagers, it made me smile to find a bad ass female Indian policewoman, an African American teenager, and LGBT characters all in the one book like it was no big deal.

Secondly, combining magic, mystery, art, and music into the same book is a pretty interesting concept and not something you come across every day.

I did feel as though I had missed out on some of the general background of the characters, especially the twins, although I have recently discovered that they appear in the Hollow Earth series also, so that’s probably why I felt their stories just jumped right in.

I would recommend Conjuror to fans of YA fantasy. It was an enjoyable and quick read, with some really interesting and diverse characters and concepts. I will definitely be hanging out to read the second installment because I’m dying to find out what happens next!

Description

Sixteen-year-old twins Matt and Em Calder are Animare: they can bring art to life, and travel in time through paintings. They work for Orion—the Animare MI5—protecting the secrecy of their order and investigating crimes committed by their own kind. It’s dangerous work. But when they are sent to Edinburgh to find a teenage boy who can alter reality with his music, they are drawn into something more dangerous still. For this boy, Remy, is the Conjurer’s Son. And he carries something that could change humanity forever.

Details

Title: Conjuror (Orion Chronicles #1)

Author: John and Carole E. Barrowman

ISBN: 9781781856376

Published:  April 21st 2016 by Head of Zeus
Genre:  Science Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction Fantasy
Pages: 320
Source: Review copy from publisher (HarperCollins Australia)

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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Love at First Flight by Tess Woods Print Launch!

Last year I absolutely raved about Love at First Flight when I read the e-book version. Since then Love at First Flight has been racking up even more rave reviews, including an AusRom Today Reader’s Choice Award and will be available in a beautiful paperback edition in Australian stores on Monday, July 25th,2016!!

Congratulations Tess, I adore Love at First Flight just as much as I did when I first read it and the paperback edition is just beautiful!!

Here is my original review:

Title: Love at First Flight                                                  28933774

Author: Tess Woods

ISBN: 1460705416

Published:  E-Book: April 1st 2015 by HarperCollins Australia, Paperback: July 25th 2016

Genre:  Romance, Chick Lit

Pages: 336

Source: Publisher: HarperCollins Australia

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Description:

Looking back on it now, I can see it was instant. The second we locked eyes. Boom. Just like that. The me I had spent a lifetime perfecting began its disintegration from that moment. And despite the carnage it brought to all our lives, I still don’t regret it.

What would you risk to be with the love of your life? And what if your soul mate is the one who will destroy you?

Mel is living the dream. She’s a successful GP, married to a charming anaesthetist and raising a beautiful family in their plush home in Perth. But when she boards a flight to Melbourne, she meets Matt and her picture perfect Stepford life unravels as she falls in love for the first time ever.

What begins as a flirty conversation between strangers quickly develops into a hot and obsessive affair with disastrous consequences neither Mel nor Matt could have ever seen coming. Mel’s dream life turns into her worst nightmare.

Love at First Flight will take everything you believe about what true love is and spin it on its head.

My Thoughts:

Love at First Flight is the thought provoking debut novel of Australian author, Tess Woods. To an outsider, Mel appears to have the perfect life. She has a successful career as a doctor, an attractive husband, two kids, and a beautiful house near the beach in Perth. But when she crosses paths with a handsome stranger on the way to Melbourne for a girly weekend with her best friend, she embarks on an obsessive affair which has the potential to ruin her perfect life.

I’m not normally a big fan of instant love stories, however, Love at First Flight is much more than a typical ‘girl meets boy, there is some barrier keeping them from being together, but it all works at in the end’ kind of love story. The author explores the relationships and consequences of Mel’s affair in a way that allowed me to understand each and every character’s perspective.

I particularly enjoyed the fact that Love at First Flight was a uniquely Australian novel without being too over the top about it. The description of Perth made me remind myself that I need to add Perth onto my list of places that I need to visit and the author clearly loves our hometown of Melbourne just as much as I do. I’m looking forward to reading Tess Woods’ next novel already!

About the author

Tess Woods is a physiotherapist who lives in Perth, Australia with one husband, two children, one dog and one cat who rules over all of them. When Tess isn’t working or being a personal assistant to her kids, she enjoys reading and all kinds of grannyish pleasures like knitting, baking, drinking tea, watching Downton Abbey and tending to the veggie patch. You can learn more about Tess on her website http://www.tesswoods.com.au or you can connect with her at Tess Woods Author on Facebook or Twitter.

#Review: Broken Sky by L.A. Weatherly

Broken Sky is the first book of the Broken trilogy, set in a dystopian America that is brokenskyreminiscent of the 1940s. The book has a very noir feeling to it, the technology, dress and entertainment in this world are true to the 1940s war-time genre, but the world in Broken Sky has a lot of differences. In this world nuclear war has been banned after WWII and disputes between countries are settled by pilots who are known as Peacefighters. America has been split into sections, with the leader of the Central States running his country based on Astrology.

In the Broken Sky world having the wrong star sign can be fatal. Basically, everybody in the Central States has their Astrology charts done and if there is anything in their stars that could mean trouble they are labelled ‘Discordant’ and sent to concentration camps very similar to Nazi Germany. The evil leader of the Central States is looking to increase his power of course. I really enjoyed the comparisons between Discordants and Jews and how well it highlighted the inhumanity of the Holocaust and punishing a group of people simply for the circumstances of their birth.

The main character, Amity, is a Peacefighter for the Western Seaboard which once used to be part of the USA. Amity is a brilliant YA heroine. She’s tough but fair and is one of the best Peacefighters for the Western Seaboard. She has to battle deception, betrayal, and corruption to protect herself and her family.

Broken Sky is also written from the point of view of Kay who is an astrologist in the Central States. She doesn’t believe in Astrology in the slightest but she is skilled at reading people and telling them what they want to hear. During the novel she manages to work her way up to becoming the top Astrologer for the Central States, so we learn a lot about the evilly enigmatic Central States leader through her.

Broken Sky is perfect for all the dystopian lovers out there. There is plenty of action, adventure, deception, romance, and betrayal. The world is just similar enough to 1940s America to be familiar, but the Astrology spin added a refreshing point of difference. I was a bit disappointed there wasn’t much about my own star sign though. Hopefully somebody in the next book is an Aquarian! This is the kind of YA novel that can be enjoyed by all ages, with just the right amount of romance to add to the story. And make sure you’re sitting somewhere you will be able to hold onto your seats for the crazy twist at the end! I can not wait to read the sequel now…

Corrected to add that there is an Aquarian character and just as I suspected they are on the Discordant list!

Description

Welcome to a ‘perfect’ world.

Where war is illegal, where harmony rules.

And where your date of birth marks your destiny.

But nothing is perfect.

And in a world this broken, who can Amity trust?

From the bestselling author of the Angel trilogy comes Broken Sky – an exhilarating epic set in a daring and distorted echo of 1940s America and first in a new trilogy.

Details

Title: Broken Sky

Author: L.A. Weatherly

ISBN: 9781409572022

Published:  March 1st 2016 by Usborne
Genre: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 500
Source: Review copy from publisher (HarperCollins Australia)

My Rating: 4/5 stars

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Review: Precious Things by Kelly Doust

Have you ever gone vintage shopping and wondered about the history of the precious  preciousthings you find? That’s the main idea behind Precious Things by Kelly Doust.

The story is centred in the present day around Maggie who loves her job at an auction house. She gets to spend her days finding precious things. The only problem is she is finding it difficult to keep up with her job and her family life at the same time.

When she finds a gorgeous hand-made beaded piece she winds up playing detective to try and trace the origins of her latest acquisition for a lady, Francesca, who is certain that it holds the key to finding the truth about her birth parents.

Maggie manages to trace the origins of the piece from its origins in Normandy, France, where it was made by Aimee to wear as a collar for her wedding dress. The collar becomes a head-piece when it finds its way to Lexi the trapeze artist in Paris, 1926. Zephyr the dancer takes ownership of it in Shanghai, 1926 only to have it stolen from her and taken to the family of artist, Christian Hunt where it falls into the hands of his ill-treated muse, Isabella. The final destination of the piece is with Ulrika the supermodel who wears it as an adornment on her dress in Istanbul, 1974.

While the majority of the novel focuses on Maggie, her family and work life, and her quest to find out the mystery surrounding Francesca’s heritage, each of the owners of the piece have their own chapters to tell their stories. I really love a good time slip novel and this one had such a wide range of times and places included.

Description

In the tradition of gloriously absorbing, lush and moving women’s fiction by authors such as Kate Morton, Lucinda Riley and Joanne Harris comes PRECIOUS THINGS.

Normandy, France, 1891: a young woman painstakingly sews an intricate beaded collar to her wedding dress, the night before her marriage to someone she barely knows. Yet Aimee longs for so much more …

Shanghai, 1926: dancing sensation and wild child Zephyr spies what looks like a beaded headpiece lying carelessly discarded on a ballroom floor. She takes it with her to Malaya where she sets her sights on a prize so out of reach that, in striving for it, she will jeopardise everything she holds dear …

PRECIOUS THINGS tells the story of a collar – a wonderful, glittering beaded piece – and its journey through the decades. It’s also the story of Maggie, an auctioneer living in modern-day London, who comes across the crumpled, neglected collar in a box of old junk, and sets out on an unexpected mission to discover more about its secret and elusive past.

Maggie has a journey of her own too. Juggling a demanding job, a clingy young child and a rebellious stepdaughter, and with her once-solid marriage foundering under the pressure of a busy life, Maggie has to find out the hard way that you can’t always get what you want… but sometimes, you’re lucky enough to get precisely what you need.

This is a wonderful, absorbing and moving novel about desire, marriage and family, telling the story about how we so often reach out for the sparkly, shiny things (and people) we desire, only to realise – in the nick of time – that the most precious things are the ones we’ve had with us all along.

Details

Title: Precious Things

Author: Kelly Doust

ISBN: 1460750977 (ISBN13: 9781460750971)

Published:  April 1st 2016 by HarperCollins – AU

Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction, Time Slip

Pages: 320

Source: Review copy from publisher

My Rating: 5/5 stars

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Review: Best Seller by Terry Tyler

Short, sweet, and full of twists! bestseller.jpg

Best Seller is about three women who are striving to become bestselling authors. They are all part of the online writer’s group, the North Norfolk Novelists.

Jan is factory worker with serious money issues thanks to her ex who ran up massive credit card debts and left her high and dry. She needs her novels to be successful but doesn’t have the money to spend on editing, proof-reading, or cover design and this hurts her book sales.

Becky is happy with the moderate success of her novels, although of course she would love to write a bestseller one day.

Eden is already a huge success with a lucrative publishing deal at 23 thanks to her shady father’s money and connections.

I don’t want to give too much of the plot away because it is packed with plot twists, but I absolutely loved Best Seller. It provides an interesting glimpse inside the realities of being an author and just how difficult it can be to gain success and recognition. Thank you, Terry, for another brilliant read!

Description

Three women, one dream: to become a successful author.

Eden Taylor has made it—big time. A twenty-three year old with model girl looks and a book deal with a major publisher, she’s outselling the established names in her field and is fast becoming the darling of the media.

Becky Hunter has money problems. Can she earn enough from her light-hearted romance novels to counteract boyfriend Alex’s extravagant spending habits, before their rocky world collapses?

Hard up factory worker Jan Chilver sees writing as an escape from her troubled, lonely life. She is offered a lifeline—but fails to read the small print…

In the competitive world of publishing, success can be merely a matter of who you know—and how ruthless you are prepared to be to get to the top.

BEST SELLER is a novella of 40k words (roughly half as long as an average length novel), a slightly dark, slightly edgy drama with a twist or three in the tale.

Details

Title: Best Seller

Author: Terry Tyler

Published:  March 14th 2016

AISN: B01CXA2K8E

Genre: Literary Fiction, Suspense

Pages: 155

Source: Review copy from author

My Rating: 5/5 stars

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Review: The Serenity Stone Murder by Marianne Jones

When Margaret and Louise set off to visit Thunder Bay, Ontario, for a church retreat theyserenity get a lot more than they bargained for. Instead of a nice relaxing holiday, they experience a series of unfortunate events that end up in a murder investigation. Will they solve the mystery of the Serenity Stone murder or will they become the killer’s next victims?

This was a really fun short read. Louise and Margaret are lovely characters. They’re two women in their 50s and Jones did a brilliant job of developing their bantering style of relationship. Louise and her cheeky dog brought a lot of smiles and lightness to the overall feel of the story and were a perfect foil for Margaret and her slightly grumpy ways.

Description

The peaceful city of Thunder Bay is shocked when one of its most prominent businessmen is murdered with a stone stolen from a nearby church garden. Visiting the city to attend a retreat, friends Margaret and Louise become intrigued by the circumstances surrounding the murder and quickly find themselves embroiled in the investigation. Will they discover that they’ve stepped into something they won’t be able to walk away from? Will the murderer target them next?

Details

Title: The Serenity Stone Murder

Author: Marianne Jones

ISBN: 9780981251684

Published: September 6th 2014 by Split Tree Publishing Inc.

Genre: Mystery

Pages: 204

Source: Review copy from author

My Rating: 4/5 stars

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