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  1. * Gild by Raven Kennedy * Review and tour with Love Books Group

    Gild

    Blurb

    By bestselling author Raven Kennedy, comes the first book in a stunning new fantasy series, perfect for fans of Sarah J Maas and Jennifer L Armentrout.

    The fae abandoned this world to us. And the ones with power rule.

    Gold.

    Gold floors, gold walls, gold furniture, gold clothes. In Highbell, in the castle built into the frozen mountains, everything is made of gold.

    Even me.

    King Midas rescued me. Dug me out of the slums and placed me on a pedestal. I’m called his precious. His favored. I’m the woman he Gold-Touched to show everyone that I belong to him. To show how powerful he is. He gave me protection, and I gave him my heart. And even though I don’t leave the confines of the palace, I’m safe.

    Until war comes to the kingdom and a deal is struck.

    Suddenly, my trust is broken. My love is challenged. And I realize that everything I thought I knew about Midas might be wrong.

    Because these bars I’m kept in, no matter how gilded, are still just a cage. But the monsters on the other side might make me wish I’d never left.

    The myth of King Midas reimagined. This compelling adult fantasy series is as addictive as it is unexpected. With romance, intrigue, and danger, the gilded world of Orea will grip you from the very first page.

    My Review

    Gild is the first instalment of this adult fantasy trilogy by Raven Kennedy. The synopsis lets us know that it's a reimagining of of the story of King Midas but I felt that it was also an original story in its own right too.  

    The story is set within Orea and it's six kingdoms. King Midas is known as the one who sits on the throne of the sixth kingdom that can turn things or persons into gold. The main protagonist Auren is gold-touched - almost everything about her is gold - even the cage she's bound in. As his most treasured she's placed above his other 'saddles' who are there to commit to his every whim and pleasure, but a cage is still a cage.  In the beginning, Auren thinks herself in love with the King and he with her (despite him marrying another for the title and power).  She thinks he's her saviour, but their relationship read's more like the stockholm syndrome kind.

    As the story develops Auren finds that maybe he's not her knight in shining armour after all and a lot of internal struggles follows as she tries to justify his terrible behaviour. 

    The first page jumps straight in to remind you that it's an adult fantasy, that is sometimes raw, with sexually explicit and non-consensual elements in its story-telling. *Please read the trigger warnings for more details. 

    The earlier parts of the story introduces you to the main characters and their wonderful golden dipped world in all it's glory as you begin to see the cracks behind the glamour. Warring kingdoms, espionage with power hungry and lust filled kings, some ready to bargain and trade for the gold-touched one. The story speeds up the pace midway through and suddenly you find yourself in the middle of an adventure from land taken to the high seas with rough pirates, mysterious creatures and fae.  

    The introduction to the fae, their world and little descriptions of different magical elements appearing in characters was one of my favourite aspects of this story. Also seeing Auren's character develop from is another aspect and I'm sure there are some more surprises in store with her. There's also a potential love interest which I won't say anything else about because of spoilers.

    The story felt a little too short but there was lots of twists and surprises to keep it interesting and I'm looking forward to reading the next part in the series. You just feel like this was the start of something big and I can't wait for the fae and human world to collide!

    Please Note: This book contains explicit content and darker elements, including mature language, violence, and non-consensual sex. It is not intended for anyone under 18 years of age. This is book one in a series.

    Gild (1)

    Where to buy this book

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gild-Plated-Prisoner-Book-1-ebook/dp/B08HJDG47W

    Thank you to Love Books Tour for the ARC. I was #gifted this book in exchange for an honest review.

    Thank you to everyone who has stopped by – I hope you have enjoyed my review.  Please check out the rest of this blog tour for more thoughts and reviews about this book!

     

  2. The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus by Jaime Jo Wright  

    9780764233890 (2)

    * The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus by Jaime Jo Wright * Review and tour with Love Books Group

    Synopsis

    1928

    The Bonaventure Circus is a refuge for many, but Pippa Ripley was rejected from its inner circle as a baby. When she receives mysterious messages from someone called the "Watchman," she is determined to find him and the connection to her birth. As Pippa's search leads her to a man seeking justice for his murdered sister and evidence that a serial killer has been haunting the circus train, she must decide if uncovering her roots is worth putting herself directly in the path of the killer.

    Present Day
    The old circus train depot will either be torn down or preserved for historical importance, and its future rests on real estate project manager Chandler Faulk's shoulders. As she dives deep into the depot's history, she's also balancing a newly diagnosed autoimmune disease and the pressures of single motherhood. When she discovers clues to the unsolved murders of the past, Chandler is pulled into a story far darker and more haunting than even an abandoned train depot could portend.

    My Review

    I was so intrigued when I saw the synopsis for this book - with the tale of Bonaventure Circus and a mysterious 'Watchman' it gave me Phantom of the Opera vibes, gothic murder mystery, dual linked timelines and also featured two very different protagonists each facing their own battles and fears, but were similar in that both had disabilities that affected the way they were perceived in the world!

    Meet Pippa - often overlooked, ignored and left feeling like she doesn't fit in. She's also trapped within the confines of being a woman in the 1920s. We follow her journey and her connection with the mysterious stranger and watch as she finds her voice, female empowerment as well as uncovering some terrible secrets. In contrast, Chandler has the benefits that comes with being a woman in more modern times but still faces similar battles (some tied into her autoimmune disease) with having to fight for her job, her independence and being a single mother. With Chandler, we see how having a chronic illness affects her everyday life and how she tries to hide it. She closes herself off as a way of protecting herself and finds it hard to accept help whether from family or the townspeople.

    Both characters have love interests who play a part in the story, secrets and mystery but I liked Pippa's character and her interaction (I won't name with who) the most.

    On taking on the project of the Circus depot, Chandler finds herself quickly dragged into it's mystery, danger and hidden secrets from the past. All of which link back to a series of horrible events that occurred during Pippa's time. Pippa also puts herself in danger by meeting up with the Watchman as she seeks to find out the truth about her past.

    The ending was a bit rushed for me compared to the rest of the book but the story kept me intrigued right up until the end and I loved the aspect of the dual timelines going back and forth as each clue was discovered or wrapped up. Old towns and hidden secrets really brought this book alive and both story timelines build up to a thrilling end.

    CW: Some outdated terms are used for describing disabilities.

    Note: This book is listed as Christian fiction - I didn't find that this was a main feature of the book. It came through in the voices of some of the characters when discussing their faith, and questions about whether what was happening was related to the supernatural.

    The Haunting of Bonaventure Circus - Twitter

    Author Bio

    Jaime Jo Wright is the author of five novels, including Christy Award winner The House on Foster Hill and Carol Award winner The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond. She's also the Publishers Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of two novellas. Jaime lives in Wisconsin with her cat named Foo, her husband Cap'n Hook, and their littles, Peter Pan, and CoCo. To learn more, visit www.jaimewrightbooks.com

    Where to buy this book

    https://amzn.to/3bzX8UU

    Thank you to Love Books Tour for the ARC. I was #gifted this book in exchange for an honest review.

    Thank you to everyone who has stopped by – I hope you have enjoyed my review.  Please check out the rest of this blog tour for more thoughts and reviews about this book!

  3. All the Stars and Teeth

    All the Stars and Teeth 1

    "...we all know the danger of multiple magics. How they consume you slowly, and then all at once." ~ Adalyn Grace, All the Stars and Teeth

    Synopsis

    Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice.

    She will reign.

    As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer — the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.

    When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.

    But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder — and more peril — than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.

    I am the right choice. The only choice. And I will protect my kingdom.

    My Review

    All the Stars and Teeth is the first instalment of a YA fantasy duology by Adalyn Grace. The synopsis promises magic, monsters, mermaids, a princess and a pirate, and this dark magical high sea adventure didn't disappoint!

    We have Amora, the main protagonist, princess of Visidia and welder of soul magic! Amora has been kept away from the other Islands and seas in the kingdom by her father and under his instruction she has been prepared to contain the most dangerous form of magic and acted as executioner of those with no chance of redemption from a young age. On the day she's set to demonstrate she can control her magic and everything goes wrong and this leads her on a dangerous sea adventure with a mysterious pirate called Bastian, and some others along the way!

    What this entails is a wonderful adventure in a world of magic that sits and flows through various Islands within the kingdom of Visidia in various shapes and forms. I love the magical systems which varied from soul magic, to elemental magic, to time magic! Each magical subset was detailed and specific and the introduction of characters using their magic was a joy to read. Add in scary sea monsters, magical mermaids using their powers at sea, against some bloodthirsty action including cutting off limbs, tooth and blood fused magic, and you'll understand how thrilling and high pace this story is.

    Amora, a worthy and feisty heroine is right in the middle of the action and takes no prisoners. She's a strong female character, while still showing vulnerability and humanity, and this is a strong theme throughout the book especially when having to fight against patriarchal imbalances! She learns some truths about what's really going on in the kingdom and moves forward bravely (albeit putting herself in danger sometimes) without making excuses for herself or for others!

    The relationship between Amora and Bastien, the mysterious pirate whose magic has been stolen, is both fun and romantic. The relationship between the main group of characters is something I loved - characters so very different but who formed a connection and sense of loyalty that made them a formidable group together.

    If you love dark magic, high sea swash-buckling adventures and strong female protagonists, you will love All the Stars and Teeth!

    4 stars from me for this wonderful epic fantasy!

    Thank you to Sarah Mathers at Titan Books for the ARC. I was #gifted this book in exchange for an honest review

    About the Author

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    Adalyn Grace is a New York Times bestselling author of All the Stars and Teeth, which was called “2020’s biggest YA fantasy” by Entertainment Weekly.

    Prior to becoming an author, Adalyn spent four years working in live theatre, acted as the managing editor of a nonprofit newspaper, and studied storytelling as an intern on Nickelodeon Animation’s popular series The Legend of Korra.

    Local to San Diego, Adalyn spends her non-writing days by watching too much anime, and by playing video games with her bossy cat and two dorky dogs.

    More information and where to buy to buy this book

    Amazon.co.uk
    Waterstones

    • Paperback : 397 pages
    • ISBN-10 : 1789094062
    • ISBN-13 : 978-1789094060
    • Publisher : Titan Books (UK); Titan Edition (4 Aug. 2020)
  4. Love is What You Bake of it (The Meraki Series Book 1) by Effie Kammenou  ~ Review & Tour with Love Books Group

    Love is What You Bake of it

    Backcover blurb

    The only love Kally Anadarakis is baking is in the form of the sweet treats she whips up in her café, The Coffee Klatch. Kally never believed herself to be a person worthy of love, but when an intoxicating man she considered out of her league pursues her, she risks everything to be with him. Later, when tragedy strikes, truths are revealed that leave Kally brokenhearted and untrusting.

     

    Eight years later, Kally is a successful pastry chef running the café she’d always dreamed of owning. With a home of her own, a profession she’s passionate about, and the support and love of friends and family, Kally is content with the life she has carved out for herself.

     

    Until the day Max Vardaxis walks into her café…

     

    With arguing parents, meddling relatives, an overly energetic grandmother, a man-crazy best friend, and the long ago, mysterious disappearance of a grandfather, this new man in town is just one more complication in Kally’s life, if not the main one. Kally must now decide whether to keep her heart safe or to once again take a ‘whisk on love.’

     

    My Review

    Meet Kally Andarakis, baker and owner of the sweet treats café ‘The Coffee Klatch’. After being badly hurt and devasted by a previous relationship, she closes her heart to love and concentrates on running the café and her relationships with friends and wonderful mix of different characters within Kally’s ‘very opinionated Greek family’. She’s content leaving romance to the heroines in her romance books until sexy police offer Max Vardaxis walks into her life! Both have complicated backgrounds linked to previous relationships and are carrying their own secrets and heartaches while being undeniably attracted to each other. It’s these secrets that play a big part in misunderstandings which threaten to keep them apart and Kelly has to decide if she’s really willing to open her heart to love and trust again.

     

    With their undeniable chemistry this story is sexy meets sweet! There’s lovely sweet Greek recipes within the book, descriptions that conjure up images of sweet sugary treats dished up at the café, and the fully developed range of characters -  undeniably human with flaws and all, are mostly sweet at their centre. The author really highlighted the inner workings of family dynamics into this book and it added an extra layer to the story.

     

    Although the main theme of this novel is romance, there’s some mystery and adventure stemming from the disappearance of her grandfather during the Greek coup in the 1960s, and it’s also very funny! Kally’s grandmother is a riot and was one of my favourite characters and I loved the close relationship between the two.

     

    Best read while curled up on the sofa with a hot drink and a cupcake or two!

     

    A cute and light-hearted read with sweet treats

     

    3/5 Stars

     

    Thank you to Love Books Tour for the ARC. I was #gifted this book in exchange for an honest review.

     

    Thank you to everyone who has stopped by – I hope you have enjoyed my review.  Please check out the rest of this blog tour for more thoughts and reviews about this book!

     

    love is what you bake insta (1)

    More information and where to buy to buy this book
    Format: Kindle Edition: Amazon | Book Depository 

    About the author

    cover photo 2

    Effie Kammenou is a believer that it is never too late to chase your dreams, follow your heart or change your career. She is proof of that. At one time, long ago, she'd thought that, by her age, she would have had an Oscar in her hand after a successful career as an actor. Instead, she worked in the optical field for 40 years and is the proud mother of two accomplished young women.

    Effie Kammenou is a first generation Greek-American who lives on Long Island with her husband and two daughters. When she’s not writing, or posting recipes on her food blog, cheffieskitchen.wordpress.com, you can find her entertaining family and friends or traveling for ‘research.’

    As an avid cook and baker, a skill she learned from watching her Athenian mother, she incorporated traditional Greek family recipes throughout the books.

    She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater Arts from Hofstra University.

    For updates on promotions, events and new releases, follow Effie on Twitter @EffieKammenou 
    www.facebook.com/EffieKammenou

    Love is What You Bake of it is the first book in a new series. Kally has two sisters. Each book will focus mainly on one of the three young women. They also have a half-brother. epending on how the story unfolds over the three books, I may write a story for him as well. The name of the series is called The Meraki Series.  Meraki - A small Greek word with a complex definition. In essence, it means to put your soul into something—anything done with great passion, absolute devotion, and undivided attention—a labor of love.