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!

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The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen – Cover Reveal Party!

Hey bookworms! I was lucky enough to get to participate in the much anticipated cover reveal for The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen yesterday. This was my first ever cover reveal and it was so much fun, thanks to MTMC Tours for including me! I’ve really enjoyed chatting to everyone over on Instagram and i love being part of the International Giveaway that’s also happening (scroll down to the bottom for details). I thought i’d share the cover here too and tell you a little about the audio book that will be released on October 16 this year. Danielle L. Jensen wrote the Malediction Trilogy that i absolutely adore. They were one of the first YA Fantasy collections that i read so they will always have a place in my heart.

For us bookstagrammers we were to create our own unique set-up using the image provided of the cover photo, here’s the one i made.

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It was so fun to see what everyone came up with and be part of such a special day. It will be released as an Audio Book but sometime next year will also be released as a paperback too. Here’s the full close up image of the cover and a full synopsis of the story.

BridgeKingdom Cover

‘Blending the steamy romance of OUTLANDER with the lush fantasy world and violent power struggles of GAME OF THRONES, THE BRIDGE KINGDOM follows a princess who is trained to be a lethal spy and is sent to marry the king of an enemy realm. But complications arise when she finds herself falling for the man she was raised to destroy. Out October 16th, 2018 from Audible Originals!’

From Danielle L. Jensen:

“I’m so excited to share the cover of THE BRIDGE KINGDOM, which was illustrated by the talented Richard Anderson! This novel was pure enjoyment to write because I was able to create a story that blends intrigue, adventure, and LOTS of steamy romance, all of which takes place in a fantastical setting. THE BRIDGE KINGDOM was written specifically for audio, and with the exceptional narration of Lauren Fortgang and James Patrick Cronin, it truly is an incredible listening experience!”

Full Synopsis

Lara has only one thought for her husband on their wedding day: I will bring your kingdom to its knees.

A princess trained from childhood to be a lethal spy, Lara knows that the bridge kingdom represents both legendary evil – and legendary promise. The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom controls the trade and travel between lands, allowing its ruler to enrich himself and deprive his enemies, including Lara’s homeland. So when she is sent as a bride under the guise of fulfilling a treaty of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture the defenses of the impenetrable Bridge Kingdom.

But as she infiltrates her new home – a lush paradise surrounded by tempest seas – and comes to know her new husband, Aren, Lara begins to question where the true evil resides. Around her, she sees a kingdom fighting for survival, and in Aren, a man fiercely protective of his people. As her mission drives her to deeper understanding of the fight to possess the bridge, Lara finds the simmering attraction between her and Aren impossible to ignore.

Her goal nearly within reach, Lara will have to decide her own fate: will she be the destroyer of a king or the savior of her people?

Content warning: The Bridge Kingdom includes more explicit sexual content than Danielle’s other YA novels

INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY ON INSTAGRAM

Head over to my page @bitsandbooks92 and follow the rules below to enter this awesome giveaway! Open internationally until 27th September 2018.

giveaway prize

INTL Giveaway!
Win a The Bridge Kingdom–themed goody box that includes an exclusive candle from A Court of Candles, tea, sea salt & hand cream from The Body Shop, a pen, postcard, and an audiobook download (on release date)!

HOW TO ENTER
– Follow me, @danielleljensenl & @mtmctours!
– Like & leave a comment

ADDITIONAL ENTRIES
– Tag friends who might want to enter in a DIFFERENT comment (up to 3 comments). But make sure to tag friends you do know.

And that’s it! This giveaway ends on September 27th at 11:59 PM EST. Open INTL. Good luck!!! (Giveaway not affiliated nor endorsed by Instagram)

A Curse so Dark and Lonely. ARC Book Review.

Title: A Curse so Dark and Lonely

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Published: Bloomsbury Publishing

Year: 2019

“There is blood under my fingernails. I wonder how many of my people I’ve killed this time”

A Curse so Dark and Lonely

At first I didn’t think I was going to enjoy this book but boy am i glad to be proven wrong. It had a very slow start and it took me awhile to realise it’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling but it didn’t take long to pick up and i became invested in the characters and the story. This is the first book by Brigid Kemmerer that I’ve read and I enjoyed the way she writes, especially the different character perspectives. I enjoyed the diversity in our heroine, Harper, who suffers from Cerebral Palsy. I loved that she doesn’t let that get in the way of how she wants to live. Harper comes from the modern era in Washington D.C. Our other main character Prince Rhen, comes from a completely different world called Emberfall where he and his guard commander, Grey, are cursed to relive Rhen’s 18th birthday over and over again until he finds true love to break the curse.

Rhen’s guard commander, Grey, is my favourite character in the book, I found myself wanting his survival and happy ending more than Rhen and Harper. Each season Grey is allowed one hour to go to the real world (our world) to find a girl to bring back to Emberfall to break the curse. This season while he is trying to abduct a girl in D.C, Harper intervenes and thus Grey brings her back instead.

Harper has a highly realistic, troubled life in D.C, her mother is dying of Cancer and her brother has had to become a gang enforcer to pay off their father’s bad debt so being taken unwillingly to a different world was not something she had planned and she is eager to return to her family. Once Harper finds out about the curse she is adamant she won’t fall in love with Prince Rhen. Harper is a strong, intelligent and resourceful female lead, I admire her very much.

Our lead villain, the Enchantress is quite active in the story and commits some unspeakable acts of cruelty that make you truly loathe her and hope for her demise. Part of the curse is that Prince Rhen is turned into a beast each season though he never knows what kind of beast he’ll become. Over the last 300+ seasons Rhen as a beast has killed his whole family and nearly everyone in Emberfall, the guilt for which he feels immensely.

The relationship between Harper and Grey is one of the best parts of the story in my opinion. He teaches her how to throw knives and sword fight, they play cards together and the loyalty they end up feeling for each other is inspiring. The slow-burning romance between Rhen and Harper creates a lot of intrigue and suspense which i found enjoyable. The ending leads me to believe there may be a second book coming which if that’s the case I am extremely eager to read it.

Overall I think readers will really enjoy this book and fans of Beauty and the Beast can rest easy knowing this retelling has done it justice.

Rating out of 10: 8

You can pre-order here for it’s release on January 29, 2019: A Curse so Dark and Lonely

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning. Book review.

Title: Sea Witch
Author: Sarah Henning
Year: 2018

‘It’s all I can do not to kiss him right there, in front of everyone. But there will be time for that after all of this. After tonight is the rest of our lives. Together.’

‘Everyone knows what happens in the end. A mermaid, a prince, a true love’s kiss. But before that young siren’s tale, there were three friends. One feared, one royal, and one already dead. Ever since her best friend, Anna, drowned, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. A freak. A curse. A witch. A girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears offshore and, though the girl denies it, Evie is convinced that her best friend actually survived. That her own magic wasn’t so powerless after all. And, as the two girls catch the eyes—and hearts—of two charming princes, Evie believes that she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after. But her new friend has secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad, or on two legs, unless Evie finds a way to help her. Now Evie will do anything to save her friend’s humanity, along with her prince’s heart—harnessing the power of her magic, her ocean, and her love until she discovers, too late, the truth of her bargain.’

Alluring, heart-wrenching and delightful. How can a story be all three at once? I never thought it could until I read Sea Witch. From the very start your heart races and you become immediately enthralled in the characters. I felt a strong connection right away to Evie and swear I could feel her lust for Iker in my belly. I understand the beautiful yet complicated friendship Evie has with Nik and adore the new friendship she builds with Annemette who she hopes is her real friend that she lost 4 years ago, Anna. I really enjoy the whimsy and innocence of the story, the childhood friendships that grew and blossomed into something even more unique and beautiful. I love how we travel back and forth in time so things happening in the present make even more sense knowing the past. It’s also a refreshing change to have a King in a fantasy story not be completely evil, strict maybe, but the Queen much meaner than he, often I find in the YA fantasy genre, the King was once kind but now evil and that gets a bit old after a while. I cannot begin to count the amount of times I craved a fruit and cheese platter while reading (at one point I actually got up and put one together with a cup of honey tea!). I’ve also teared up multiple times throughout the book, the cute moments between Annemette and Evie, the hopefulness I have that she is who Evie wants her to be, that they are reunited again and get their happy ending is really quite an overwhelmingly raw emotion. I did not expect what ended up happening at all, absolutely amazing, did not see it coming.

‘The sea is forever defined by its tide, give and take the measure of its barter. In magic, as in life, the sea does not give its subjects lightly-payment is required, the value equivalent, no matter the ask. A shell, a fish, a pearl of the greatest brilliance-non can be taken without a debt to be paid.’

Rating out of 10: 10!

You can buy your copy here: Sea Witch

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

 

FAIRYLOOT UNBOXING. July box: The Power Within. Spoiler’s within!

HI guys!

So today i received and un-boxed my very first Fairyloot subscription and boy oh boy did it not disappoint! It contained the most stunning book i have ever had the pleasure of owning which is also a book that’s been in my ‘To-be-read’ list for quite awhile. If you’ve been thinking of ordering a box but aren’t sure, i highly recommend you do, i waited until there was a box i really loved the sound of and i’m so glad i did. I’m in Australia so it did cost quite a bit more once converted from pounds. So it’s 26 pounds for one box, mine came to $82 AUD including postage. They deliver so quick though, i got my confirmation that it was being shipped on a Friday and had it by Monday morning, even Australia Post doesn’t deliver that quick! If you have received a Fairyloot box before, which one was it? What goodies did you get inside? Let me know in the comments!

I’m currently waiting to find out if i’ll get to be a rep for them for the next few months, fingers are triple crossed i get it and get to share this magical experience with everyone a few more times.

Here are some pics and a rundown of all the goodies inside:

  • Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton. This is an exclusive copy with sprayed red pages, signed by the author and hardcover! Also included was a note from Bree herself!
  • Magical Mug that reveals a quote when hot.
  • Room Spray by Geeky Clean which is VEGAN AND CRUELTY FREE (LOVE THIS) and smells like Lavender and Books! It’s inspired by the book ‘Snow like Ashes’ by Sara Raasch.
  • Sticker that says ‘Ond Eldr’ which means ‘Breathe Fire’ from ‘Sky in the Deep’ by Adrienne Young.
  • Tea Towel with quote from ‘And i Darken’ by Kiersten White. Unfortunately this item was misprinted but this just shows how amazing the people at Fairyloot are as they are sending out a rectified new one for free!
  • Quidditch Pen from Harry Potter (of course), definitely my favourite item in the box!
  • Zelie Art Print by Diana Worak. Zelie is a character from ‘Children of Blood and Bone’ by Tomi Adeyemi.
  • Exclusive artwork from this month’s book of Mia and Quin drawn by Noverantale.

 

Fairyloot box
Imagine this showing up at your door!

Fairyloot box2

 

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Just look at all these gorgeous goodies! Totally putting the sticker on my laptop. I just love that each item is usable and has a purpose. You can tell so much thought is put into creating these masterpieces. 
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The book is stunning and i love Bree’s handwriting and what she wrote, so thoughtful and empowering!
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Post hot water! What a gorgeous quote! Video of it changing is up on my Instagram Story @bitsandbooks92

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