The Confectioner’s Guild. ARC Book Review.

Title: The Confectioner’s Guild. (Book One The Confectioner Chronicles)

Author: Claire Luana

Published: Live Edge Publishing

Release: 23rd October 2018

“A magic cupcake. A Culinary killer. The perfect recipe for murder.”

Confect

I gobbled this delicious story up in a day, I was hooked right from the beginning and could not put it down. Many thanks to NetGalley for getting me an advanced copy of this beauty. Fast paced, lots of twists and a dash of scrumptious romance made for the perfect tale of confectionery delights! It’s not often you find a book that combines two of your passions, The Confectioner’s Guild satisfied my love for baking sweets treats with my love for magical mystery novels!

Our main character Wren, has had a hard life full of bad luck. The only thing she knows for sure is that she is an incredible confectioner whose sweet treats work wonders. What she doesn’t know is that she can work magic through her baking! Wren is approached at the shop she works at by a strange man who whisks her away. She is introduced to the head of The Confectioner’s Guild and told of her magical powers. Barely used to the idea, given only seconds to process, the head of the Guild falls dead before her, poisoned by her own cupcake and now she stands accused of murder! A turn of events I definitely wasn’t expecting. In a whole new world with no friends she must learn how to use her magic properly and figure out who has framed her for murder. She only has a few weeks before the King and his headsman arrive, she starts to make friends but she doesn’t know who she can trust. The inspector on the case takes a special interest with her, they become close and together with her new friends search for whoever framed Wren. They uncover many secrets and a conspiracy that runs deep within the Guilds, they must stick together if they’re all to survive!

I loved so many of the characters in this book and was so thrilled to find out this is only the first book in a series. I can’t wait to see where the story goes now and how the relationships develop. Claire has created an intricately powerful world that I yearn to be part of. She is the perfect amount of descriptive which makes envisioning the scenes so spectacularly enjoyable. You feel for Wren straight away and want nothing more than for her to succeed and for the person who framed her to go down!

The Confectioner’s Guild is available for pre-order here: The Confectioner’s Guild, there is also a pre-order giveaway to coincide, just email your receipt to claireluanapreorders@gmail.com

The Pre-Order swag and giveaway includes:

  • Four recipe cards with recipes from the book
  • High res signed digital poster
  • High res digital maps of the Western Reaches and the City of Maradis
  • Folks who claim their pre-order bonuses will also receive entry in a giveaway to win:
    • (1) signed paperback copy of The Confectioner’s Guild;
    • (1) $10 Amazon gift card;
    • (5) 9 ounce Character candles from The Confectioner’s Guild;
    • (10) Autographed bookmarks!

Be sure to subscribe to Claire Luana’s website here: Claire Luana Home

Once you’ve gobbled up Book One you’ll no doubt want to pre-order Book Two which is being released on the 19th November 2018, so here’s the link for that too: The Confectioner’s Coup

Rating out of 10: 10!

Outrun the Wind. ARC Book Review.

Title: Outrun the Wind

Author: Elizabeth Tammi

Published: Northern Star Editions – Flux

Year: 2018

Outrun the Wind 2.jpg

ARC provided by Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

The Huntresses of Artemis must obey two rules: never disobey the goddess, and never fall in love. After being rescued by the Goddess Artemis, Kahina becomes part of the hunt, and now lives amongst the female warriors. On a routine mission things don’t quite go right and Kahina finds herself breaking the first rule to save Atalanta. In order to earn back Artemis’s favour, Kahina is sent to complete a task in the kingdom of Arkadia, which turns out to be where Atalanta came from and where she discovers her father who is in fact, their King. Atalanta’s father is insisting on marrying off his daughter to the highest bidder, Kahina helps Atalanta devise a dangerous game to avoid marriage and when word spreads throughout Greece, fate is tempted as suitors from all over arrive to race Atalanta for her hand in marriage. The game turns deadly when two men from both of their pasts arrive to compete and Kahina finds herself in danger of breaking Artemis’ second rule. 

Right from the start you’re introduced to a very large array of characters, it was hard to keep up with at first so I ended up taking notes just to keep track. We have two main characters in this story and the view points change each chapter to show us the story from both their points of view, which I really enjoyed. Atalanta and Kahina, two strong, brave young ladies who have both had tough lives. Atalanta never knew her parents, has spent her life trying to be accepted and finally found her place when she met her best friend Meleager, Prince Meleager that is. Atalanta is handpicked by him with a group of others to hunt down the Goddess Artemis’s Calydonian boar. It’s on this hunt that Atalanta and Kahina come across each other for the first time. Kahina is a huntress of the Goddess Artemis, she and the other huntresses have been tailing Atalanta and their group for some time, they’re to protect the Goddess’s boar at all costs. But something stirs within Kahina and she can’t bare to see Atalanta hurt, she takes a huge risk and thus starts a chain of events she could never have imagined in her wildest dreams. There wasn’t a huge amount of character depth which I feel the story could really use. This was actually my first f/f love story, their relationship had a really slow build and started off similarly to most, with them hating each other for no real reason and getting on each other’s nerves until the things they did to annoy each other became endearing to them.

I love the way this story is told, based on actual mythology and set in Ancient Greece, Elizabeth made this story her own in the most perfect way. I actually thought it was going to be a series, being introduced to so many characters at the start but not having them all properly explained made me feel like this was just the first book, a set up novel to the next two, alas unfortunately I was wrong! A lot happens to Atalanta and Kahina, both of their pasts are quite horrible and had you feeling for them both, these pasts however are what bring the two together. You can tell Elizabeth has done her research but also put quite a bit of herself into the story. It only took me two days to read because the story simply grasped me straight away and I didn’t want to put it down until I knew what happened next. I love all the strong female characters and loathe pretty much most of the men, not sure if that was the intention but all the men, with the exception of two, came off as savage beasts. I would have loved a bit more back story on the magic side of things that happened to Kahina, while reading it felt like there was a lot more that could be told. I would really love to have some prequel stories about the other amazing characters we met, especially on the huntresses. All in all I very much enjoyed reading this book and have no issue recommending it to others, I have no doubt at all that this book will do really well when released later this year.

Rating out of 10: 8.5

You can pre-order this novel here: Outrun the Wind

 

Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy Book Two)

Title: Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy book two)

Author: Deborah Harkness

Published: Headline Publishing Group

Year: 2012

“It began with a discovery of witches…”

Shadow of Night

Historian Diana Bishop, descended from a line of powerful witches, and long-lived vampire Matthew Clairmont have broken the laws dividing creatures. When Diana discovered a significant alchemical manuscript, she sparked a struggle in which she became bound to Matthew. Now the fragile coexistence of witches, daemons, vampires and humans is dangerously threatened. Seeking safety, Diana and Matthew travel back in time to London, 1590. But they soon realise that the past may not provide a haven…

OK so it took me a little over a year to read the whole book. It’s a big book. It’s a slow book. It has a lot of content and characters and if you’ve read the first one and thought there was a lot of tedious conversations and a lot of history you’ll find it hard to believe there is even more in this one. Now you probably think i hated the book, but i didn’t! I just really struggled to stay focused on it. It isn’t a book you can just pick up one afternoon and read the whole thing. There’s a lot going on and a lot to process so i found myself getting overwhelmed quite regularly and had to put it down and pick it up either a couple of days or even a couple of months later, hence it taking me so long to complete it.

Matthew and Diana travel back in time to Elizabethan London and Diana learns a lot more about Matthew straight off the bat. ‘”Just who are you, Matthew?” I hadn’t thought to ask him before we departed.’ This sentence really sums up A LOT about their relationship. Diana realising she has been a bit reckless and learnt virtually nothing about the man she is now magically tied to, not that it changes the way she feels about him.  We are introduced to new characters, members of the School of Night which include Christopher Marlowe (who is a Daemon who goes by the name Kit), Walter Raleigh, Thomas Harriet, George Chapman and more. The historian that Diana is can barely contain her excitement and disbelief that Matthew not only know these people but is friend to them as well! I enjoyed the name dropping in the beginning but they didn’t end up adding much to the story/plot which was disappointing. I’m really glad Deborah didn’t write everything in Elizabethan English, it would have grown tedious quickly. I found it very clever of her to explain how much Diana was struggling with it, that was enough reference for me. Gallowglass, Matthews brother, became my favourite character virtually as soon as he was introduced mostly because of his relationship with Diana that blossoms so naturally.

The reason they traveled back in time finally comes back into the picture, they need to find a witch professor to teach Diana her magic. They find one and it goes about as well as you’d expect (not well at all) and now Diana may be in even more danger. So now they have to leave and go somewhere safer and find someone else to teach her, they end up travelling to Sept Tours and the Village of Saint-Lucien and we’re introduced to Matthew’s vampire father, Phillippe, who i adore instantly. Not all of Matthew’s family that we meet are as likable, some i downright hated.

Diana learning her magic, how to weave the strands of time and discovering she has a fire-drake were all interesting points in the story. There were a few twists and unexpected turns, more travelling to different places like Prague and discovering all the different things Matthew was involved in. I’ve read a lot of other reviews for this book and most disliked the ending, i myself found it was well suited and made me curious to what would come in the final book. Part of the ending also made me quite emotional, Diana went through so much in this book which you don’t really full take in at the time, so when she is finally reunited with loved ones you can’t help but feel for her. Speaking of the end of the book, there is a list of all the characters (because there are so, so many) and descriptions of them so if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed like i was, flip to the back of the book and you’ll find your way back on track. I wish i had known about the list when i first read it!

Book two didn’t grab me like the first did, i’m glad i persisted and finished it though because book three is just stunning so i’ll be posting a review for that very soon.

Rating out of 10: 6

You can find book two here: Shadow of Night

 

 

Face the Fire (Book Three in the Three Sisters Island Trilogy). Book Review.

Title: Face the Fire

Author: Nora Roberts

Published: Piatkus

Year: 2001

“The Truth is finally revealed…”

Nora Roberts Face the Fire

Mia Devlin, sister, witch, savvy businesswoman and all around amazing being is our centre for book three. Years ago she loved with her whole heart, Sam Logan and Mia shared an incredible bond built on passion, legend and fate. Until one day he fled Three Sisters Island and left Mia alone, mending her heart and promising to never love another again. Mia is facing her toughest challenge yet as Sam returns to Three Sisters, determined to win back Mia’s heart. But Mia is determined too, or just stubborn, but she will not admit her feelings for him, she will not risk letting him back in and having her heart torn out all over again. And yet she must, if she is to fulfil her fate and save Three Sisters Island, she needs to join her magic with his and break the centuries-old curse or doom them all.

My second favourite book of the series. Mia is amazing. I need Mia’s house on the cliff and fairy garden, i picture it so clearly each time i read about it. Mia and Sam’s love story is so passionate and so heartbreaking, it had me in tears several times. Mia is the kind of person and witch i would want to be. I was so content with the way Nora brought this series to a close but i was so sad it was the end! I’ve read this series multiple times now and it just gets better each and every time. I fall in love with the characters and the stories over and over again. Even the people of Three Sisters, you don’t know much about them but you still care deeply for them. There are very few books I’ve read where characters insignificant to the major story have had an effect on my heart. I feel full of magic when i read these books and i hope you do too.

You can find the closure to the Three Sisters Island Trilogy here: Face the Fire

You can read my review to Book One here: Dance Upon the Air. Book Review.

You can read my review to Book Two here: Heaven and Earth (Three Sisters Island Trilogy Book Two). Book Review.

Rating out of 10: 10

Heaven and Earth (Three Sisters Island Trilogy Book Two). Book Review.

Title: Heaven And Earth

Author: Nora Roberts

Published: Piatkus

Year: 2001

“A hidden secret old as the elements themselves…”

nora roberts heaven and earth

Deputy Riley Todd is the focus of book two, she is a no bullshit, straight up bad ass. Riley is the sister of Zack, love interest of Nell from the first book. Riley and Zack are the officers on Three Sisters, their family has lived there for decades. Our other main character focus is MacAllister Booke or Mac for short. New to the island, his profession of studying the impossible and the strange, has brought him to Three Sisters. One of our other recurring characters, the beautiful Mia Devlin, is the subject of his interests that brought him to the island. Extensive research has showed she is the current island witch. Deputy Todd’s initial reaction to Mac is not so favourable, only time will tell on that one. One thing Riley is adamant against is anything to do with magic. She just wants to live a quiet, peaceful life as deputy sheriff but her powers hiding beneath her tough exterior are even more powerful than she can imagine, and her control is constantly slipping which scares her to death.

Book two didn’t grip me the way the first did, i think i just couldn’t relate as well to Ripley as i immediately did to Nell. Still a very enjoyable book, suspenseful where you need it to be, frustrating in others. Ripley’s constant denial of her powers gets a bit exhausting (for her and the reader). The book does it’s job and furthers the story of the other characters to get you ready for the big finale that is book three. Nora writes exquisitely as usual, i truly cannot fault her as an author. I’ll be posting a review on book three shortly.

You can find book two here: Heaven and Earth

Rating out of 10: 7.5

Dance Upon the Air. Book Review.

Title: Dance Upon the Air (Three Sisters Island Trilogy Book One)

Author: Nora Roberts

Published: Piatkus

Year: 2001

‘Sometimes it takes a stranger to unlock your heart…’

Dance Upon the Air

Easily in my top 5 books of all time, the pages and cover of my copy are so worn because I’ve read it at least 15 times. I read this book when I want to feel inspired, when I’m feeling like I’m not the strong woman I know I am and when I need a dose of magic from my fellow sisters. Nora Roberts is my favourite author of all time. I own just about all of her books. I love the way she writes, I love what she writes about, I particularly love her trilogies, especially when they’re centred around magic. Nora uses the same formula for most of her books, but rather than becoming lackluster and predictable, they continue to shine and thrive.

‘She had died so she could live…’

Our first main character goes by the name of Nell Channing, though that wasn’t always the case. Nell is creating a new life for herself, she’s travelled many miles and felt a magnetic pull to Three Sisters Island, a quiet, peaceful place perfect for new beginnings. I love following Nell’s journey, I love the way she thinks and feels and acts. I felt a kinship to this character from the get go, almost as if we were actually sisters. Nell stumbles across a book store-café and gets the job of cook there. She meets a handsome young cop by the name of Zack Todd. The Todd’s have lived on Three Sisters for many generations. Though on edge due to his profession, Nell can’t deny the sparks between them and cautiously explores her feelings for him. Nell discovers that the island suffers from a terrible curse, one that can only be broken by the descendants of the Three Sisters, the witches who settled on the island back in 1692. With the help of two other strong, gifted women, Nell must find the power within to save her new home, her new love and herself.

We’re joining Nell in her journey but we also have some extremely strong and interesting supporting characters, people you immediately love and care for. I cannot praise this story enough, it has everything you could possibly want in it, magic, romance, suspense, not to mention some adult scenes… You will fly through this book, you will devour it hungrily as if you’ve been starved for your whole life not knowing that this story is what you needed to satiate your hunger. As soon as you’ve finished I guarantee you’ll be picking up book two, Heaven and Earth, immediately.

You can find book one of the Three Sisters Island Trilogy here: Dance Upon the Air

Rating out of 10: 11!

2018 Reading List

My goal for 2018 is to read 100 books, doubling my amount from 2017. To hold myself accountable i thought i’d post my read-so-far list here. I’ll also add links to those I’ve posted reviews for so far! I’m a little behind on my goal, i have about 5 books i’m reading right now, i can’t help but switch between books sometimes. You’ll notice a recurring theme of authors, once i find an author i love i try to read everything they’ve ever produced. I’d love to hear about what everyone else has been reading, feel free to leave your list in the comments!

  1. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
  2. Golden Age (Shifting Tides Book One) by James Maxwell
  3. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Manisalco
  4. Hunting Price Dracula by Kerri Manisalco
  5. Year One by Nora Roberts
  6. Cargo by Jessica Au
  7. Silver Road (Shifting Tides Book Two) by James Maxwell
  8. The Liar by Nora Roberts
  9. Designer by Marius Gabriel
  10. Fired up, Frantic and Freaked out by Laura VanArendank
  11. Copper Chain (Shifting Tides Book Three) by James Maxwell
  12. Don’t Tell by Karen Rose
  13. Iron Will (Shifting Tides Book Four) by James Maxwell
  14. Society of Wishes by Elise Kova Society of Wishes. Book Review.
  15. Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gartner
  16. What Happened by Hilary Clinton
  17. Earth is Hiring by Peta Jean Kelly
  18. The $1000 Project by Canna Campbell
  19. Air Awakens (Book One of Air Awakens Series) by Elise Kova
  20. Fire Falling (Book Two of Air Awakens Series) by Elise Kova
  21. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (12th re-read) by J.K.Rowling
  22. Earth’s End (Book Three of Air Awakens Series) by Elise Kova
  23. Water’s Wrath (Book Four of Air Awakens Series) by Elise Kova
  24. Crystal Crowned (Book Five of Air Awakens Series) by Elise Kova
  25. The Devil’s Disciple by Glenn Meade The Devil’s Disciple Book Review
  26. Throne of Glass (Book One) by Sarah J. Mass
  27. Crown of Midnight (Book Two) by Sarah J. Mass
  28. The Witches of Blackbrook by Tish Thawer The Witches of Blackbrook (Book One of Series). Book Review.
  29. What Manner of Love is This? by Dani Daniels What Manner of Love is This? Book Review.
  30. Empress Orchid by Anchee Min