Only and Ever This unfortunately missed the mark for me. While the writer has talent, this story fails to favorably demonstrate it.


The Description

Publication Date: February 21, 2023

A mother clings to twin sons, desperate to keep them from becoming their father, a pirate forever sailing away. In this rain-soaked township, she will attempt to mummify them, piece by piece, to stop them from growing up, a hope founded in magic and immortality. Meanwhile, their father obsesses the seas with his own belief in ever-lasting life, learning too late that his heart belongs on shore.

In Only and Ever This, a family must endure father loss, a mother’s grief, and roiling adolescence, slipping as it does into arcades, caves, and the young love for a ghostly girl up the street.

The Review

Creating a review for Only and Ever This by J.A. Tyler requires walking a careful tightrope. First, it’s important to note that the rating is not indicative of the writer’s inability to communicate. Instead, it is more of a critique of a final product that left me hopelessly confused.

The description leads readers to expect a story about a mother who doesn’t want her twin sons to take after their seafaring father. What I got was a story with no definite time and place other than it is coastal, the boys have bicycles, and there is an arcade.

The characters are referred to as Our Mother and Our Father, with the boys remaining unnamed. It is difficult to tell whether the actions taking place in the book are meant to be metaphorical or if they actually transpire. Is the father really a pirate? Does the mother really try to mummify her children?

As an advanced reader, I look toward context clues to help when I need direction in a block of text. That method doesn’t work with this title. While I came close multiple times to simply not finishing the book, I forced myself to keep going to see if I could find a nugget of clarity.

Only and Ever This unfortunately missed the mark for me. While the writer has talent, this story fails to favorably demonstrate it.Buy Links

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About The AuthorJ. A. Tyler is the author of The Zoo, a Going (Dzanc Books). His work has been published in Denver Quarterly, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Black Warrior Review, Fairy Tale Review, and New York Tyrant among others. He is also an interviewer for Ploughshares.



Amy Wilson
Amy Wilson
My name is Amy W., and I am a book addict. I will never forget the day I came home from junior high school to find my mom waiting for me with one of the Harlequin novels from my stash. As she was gearing up for the "you shouldn't be reading this" lecture, I told her the characters get married in the end. I'm just glad she didn't find the Bertrice Small book hidden in my closet. I have diverse reading tastes, evident by the wide array of genres on my Kindle. As I made the transition to an e-reader, I found myself worrying that something could happen to it. As a result, I am now the proud owner of four Kindles -- all different kinds, but plenty of back-ups! "Fifty Shades of Grey" gets high marks on my favorites list -- not for character development or dialogue (definitely not!), but because it blazed new ground for those of us who believe provocative fiction is more than just an explicit cover. Sylvia Day, Lexie Blake, and Kristin Hannah are some of my favorite authors. Speaking of diverse tastes, I also enjoy Dean Koontz, Iris Johansen, and J.A. Konrath. I’m always ready to discover new-to-me authors, especially when I toss in a palate cleanser that is much different than what I would normally read. Give me something with a well-defined storyline, add some suspense (or spice), and I am a happy reader. Give me a happily ever after, and I am downright giddy.


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Only and Ever This unfortunately missed the mark for me. While the writer has talent, this story fails to favorably demonstrate it.3-STAR REVIEW: ONLY AND EVER THIS by J.A. Tyler