Book Review: The Guidal: Unearthing Secrets by Roxy Eloise

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About the book

My thoughts

Oh my, the steam! This book is a lot more spicy than book one. Although they are closed door scenes, there’s enough detail to fill in the blanks. Aurora’s complicated love life causes her a rollercoaster of turmoil.

Sillah gets matched, which I loved. Aurora introduces Sillah and Sillah’s match to Puracordis magic. The teens start practicing and mastering their powers. This was so much fun to read & learn with them about the different types and spells.

There’s more fun with the competitive tournament. The corruption and cheating makes it more dangerous for Aurora, and her friends. They figure out others are using magic too. The arena and the bounties were so vivid, and their physical training at the Khakidemy is brilliant.

I really like Aurora. The love triangle between bad boy Tayo, and her perfect match Pax, made sense. I like how she stands up for those being mistreated or bullied, and the way she challenges the Boudfell family whenever she can.

Read it for romance, illegal magic and adventure.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Buy it from Amazon

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

Book Review: Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo

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About the book

My thoughts

I tried another audio book & this one was better as I have watched the Netflix show. If I zoned out with my imagination, I was able to catch back up with the narrator.

It is a great story with well developed characters and strong world building.

The MC, Alina starts off from humble beginnings. As an orphan from the war, she has grown up in the orphanage where she befriended Mal. Her and Mal have been inseparable ever since until his life’s in danger & Alina saves him… revealing her powers.

This is when Alina’s life takes a sudden change. Believed to be the Sun Summoner and the one that can bring down the terrible Dark Fold, she’s whisked off to train by the alluring Darkling and finds herself amongst the Grishas and part of a society she could only have dreamt of before. It doesn’t take long to realise the grass isn’t always greener and she is being used.

Alina & Mal come together towards the end of the book to figure out the truth and break free. Their bond was one of my favourite parts of the novel, although the Darkling parts and magic was lots of fun too.

Read it for found family, rags to riches, and magic.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Buy it from Amazon

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If you enjoyed this, you will like:

Book Review: The Mermaid’s Sister by Carrie Anne Noble

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About the book

My thoughts

This book is told like a beautiful full length fairytale. Three children are adopted and believed to have been found in a shell, under an Apple tree, and delivered by a stork. The MC is Clara, the child delivered by a stork.

Her sister, Maren loves the water, and slowly begins to turn into a mermaid. Just a few scales at first, but once her legs begin to fuse together she needs to be kept in water. They realise they must return her to the sea.

Due to old magic and curses, the only ones able to take on this quest is Clara and O’Neil. On their journey the pair are tested and run into danger slowing their progress. The clock is ticking for Maren to survive.

Clara and Maren both call O’Neil their brother but grew up more like cousins that see each other for holidays. Maren is a beautiful mermaid that can bewitch men to love her without trying. O’Neil wants to bargain with the Sea King to return Maren to her human form. Clara loves her sister but it’s painful to see her flirting with O’Neil when she craves him for herself.

This story was filled with magic and a slow burning romance. I really enjoyed it and need to thank my sister for gifting this book to me.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Buy from Amazon

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

Book Review: Balanced Scales by Laura Greenwood

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About the book

Balanced Scales blurb

My thoughts

This started off feeling very reminiscent of the Little Mermaid story that is so popular, but then it turned into something else.

Instead of loosing her voice, she loses her soul. Now she’s on a mission to get it back. This brave mer might get more than she anticipated. An unexpected, but enjoyable quick read.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Buy it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3PJsfji

[Kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you might like:

Book Review: The Steel Princess by April Grace

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About the book

My thoughts

This story is told through two POVs. The MC is Silver, and the other is Eden. Their missions are similar – to find their mother – but their journeys are different.

Silver is a very loveable character. She is a gynoid that was raised within a human rebel camp. She knows very little about her kind, and embraces her mission and all the challenges it encompasses. Her training involves rooms with virtual scenarios but real life consequences.

Eden is a human with a mechanical heart. He grew up within the cruel gynoid queen’s castle and trained as a tinker. Although he isn’t in a jail or guarded, he isn’t free. When he finds himself outside the castle walls, he takes the opportunity to escape and find his mum. This leads him on an adventure of pirates, sirens, and man eating giants – just to name a few.

If you love fantasy and adventure, and want something a little different, this is well worth checking out! Plus, the cover is stunning and there is character art inside.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

You can buy this book from Amazon: Steel Princess

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you might like:

Book Review: Sailor Twain by Mark Siegel

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About the book

My thoughts

This was a wild card, as I wasn’t sure what to expect. I don’t often read graphic novels but the promise of a mermaid intrigued me.

I whizzed through this, and found it very entertaining. The story is set in 1800s on a steamboat. I’m not a history buff but learning via a comic book (with a bit of fantasy) made it lots of fun. It’s funny too.

An unexpected treat were the pages at the end. Here the author shares how the characters first came to him, all the research, and more of his artwork. I love discovering more behind the book.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book Review: Coral & Bone by Tiffany Duane

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About the book

My thoughts

This book held so much promise as it has everything I love. So, I was surprised when I struggled to enjoy it.

I had the audio version, and this was my first audio book. The story was very dialogue heavy, it was hard to know who was speaking at times.

For the first third of the book, the main character was confused and had no idea what was going on. The other characters would talk in riddles about what they couldn’t tell her. I found this annoying.

Eventually they started sharing with her about the worlds she never knew existed, and training her to control her powers. There was a lot of telling rather than showing.

The main character still had a lot of questions and towards the end of the book, everything she’d been told came into question. Then she was confused again. Everything she’d been told was a lie and turned out she still had no clue.

Sadly, I got to a point where I was determined to finish the book just to get it over with. I wonder if I’d have enjoyed this more if it hadn’t been an audio book. I don’t think audio is my thing. Sad to say, this book wasn’t for me.

⭐️⭐️⭐️

Buy on Amazon

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I was surprised I didn’t love this book as it had all the ingredients I usually go crazy for. This leads me to believe the issue might have been that I had an audio version. My first ever audio book.

I found the narration very slow. A top tip I got from TheBrightSideGirl on Instagram was to increase the speed. This faster pace of narration was much more appealing for me. I hadn’t realised before that I could do this.

I know a lot of people love audio books and I’ve had requests for Ocean Heart to be made into an audio book. It’s expensive to do but one day I’d love an audio version of Ocean Heart for people that prefer it.

I feel it is important to have books available in different formats. People have different learning styles and this affects their preference for divulging information.

So, although audio books don’t work for me, I know they do for others. You can try audible for free, sample an audible chapter to see if you like it, and many libraries will lend out audio books.

NB: I am only posting my review here & on Goodreads (for my reading history). I think part of my disconnect with this book was the audio format. Usually I blast my reviews everywhere to help readers find and buy the book. But, I don’t feel it’s fair to the author due to this not being for me. I feel bad for not loving it as I really thought I would.

My Birthday Book Haul

My birthday was back in November and my online writer friends clubbed together and got me an Amazon voucher. I didn’t spend it right away. I wasn’t sure if I might get books for Christmas. Plus my book Wishlist is insane so I took my time narrowing down my choices.

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Here’s what I got:

Fiction

This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron

The Weavers by Ania Whiteley

World for the Broken by Elexis Bell

And The Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando

PREORDER: When Our Worlds Collided by Danielle Jawando

Non-Fiction

Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes

The Rural Setting Theasarus by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi

The Urban Setting Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi

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[kofi]

Summer Reading Challenge

Summer Reading Challenge

World Indie Warriors is a nonprofit organisation that has a mission to bring indie authors together so they can collaborate and help each other. They are a lovely bunch and a joy to work with.

#WIWBINGO

Over on Instagram @worldindiewarriors have created a reading challenge for indie books.

Readers are encouraged to get a line of three by reading books on the bingo cards.

When readers post their review, WIW would like readers to tag them in it.

My debut novel Ocean Heart is featured on one of the bingo boards!

Fantasy books to read this summer!
Romance books to read this summer!
YA books to read this summer!

If you want to join in, you might be interested to know that Ocean Heart is available to borrow from all good libraries. The library might need the ISBN to order it in. You may find this pic useful.

Ocean Heart ISBN

As a supporter of indie authors & indie books, I already have a few of the books ticked off the bingo card, but no lines.

Check out the reviews below:

Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S. Weaver review

Sorceress of Truth by J.D. Groom review

Agent Undone by Cassidy Reyne review

Duet Rubato by Claerie Kavanaugh review

Amelia’s Story by Nicola Hebron review

Brave New Girl by Grace Herbst review

Red Blood by Kaitlyn Legaspi review

Romance Tropes – Which are your favourites?

With Valentines Day coming up, I thought it’d be fun to share some of the romance tropes that can be found in Ocean Heart, and possibly in Sky Heart. Warning: Lots of snogging Gifs!

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org Shop Link. NB: This post contains these affiliate links…

Friends to Lovers

This is a favourite romance trope of mine because my husband and I started out as friends. For us it had a HEA, we have a beautiful home and two fabulous kids, and later this year we’ll be celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary. But getting together wasn’t easy, and it risked our friendship if it didn’t work out.

In Ocean Heart, Mariah is crushing on her BFF.  It starts off as an unrequited love, but during the novel they deal with first kisses, jealousy, and a break up.  Can they rekindle their romance, save their friendship, or do they need to move on?  

Enemies to Lovers

Sometimes I don’t like the trope because I don’t want them to get together. It depends on why they are enemies but, I made it work in Ocean Heart. Check out the reviews of Ocean Heart.

When Mariah beats swim star Murray in a race, he doesn’t handle losing well.  After behaving like an idiot, he starts to take an interest in her but she’s not interested.  She’s heard about his reputation.  

Check out my review of A Court of Thorn and Roses by Sarah J Maas.

Bad Boy

This is the one where the bad boy falls in love and changes his ways. I’m a sucker for this one as a fantasy, but in real life not so much. Bad boys are bad news and rarely deliver a HEA.

Murray has an Instagram feed of all his conquests and he’s not ashamed to brag about it.  It’s why he’s so protective over his sister Kiely.  He knows guys only want one thing, until...

Love Triangle

Some people really hate this trope. Eek! But, not me. Throw in more hot guys, more romances, more complications, and I’m hooked turning the page.

There are technically two in Ocean Heart.  First up, when Mariah realises she’s crushing on her BFF Jace, he already has a girlfriend, Kiely.  Later, when Murray takes an interest in Mariah, he attempts to draw her attention away from Mariah. 

Check out my review of Sorceress of Truth by J D Groom.

Soul Mates

This is where two people are meant to be together. It’s common in paranormal romances, where a wolf imprints on their mate.

Mariah is a mermaid.  She doesn’t know it, but when she accidentally marks one of the guys as her mate for life, then they are bound. 

Fake Relationship

People fake relationships in books often to raise their status, or to get a reaction from someone else. In Out Of My League the MC accepts the deal to save face at a party where she catches her boy friend cheating, and in The Practice Boyfriend the MC strikes a deal to gain access to the elite parties.

In Ocean Heart, Mariah agrees to a fake relationship.  Both parties have different reasons but united on one goal; to end a romance.  

Check out my review of Out of My League by Sarah Sutton or The Practice Boyfriend by Christina Benjamin.

I’m working on book 2, Sky Heart, which follows Kiely’s story and already I can see certain Tropes appearing.

Second Chance

This is where old flames rekindle. The question is always whether their is a relationship worthy of a second chance or too much damage.

In Sky Heart, Keily is desperate to get back with her ex. She struggles to handle the break up gracefully.  

Check out my review of Duet Rubato by Claerie Kavanaugh.

Best friend’s Brother

As a teen I loved a book called Ginger’s First Kiss by Janet Quin-Harkin. It’s the first book in the Boyfriend Club series where a group of friends pact to help each other get their first kisses and Ginger realises she’s into her BFF’s brother. I got it free with a teen magazine at the time called BIG. Over the years I have lost the book and it is no longer in distribution.

Both Keily’s BFFs have brothers, and both are off limits.  It’s a rule the girls made. A rule Kiely is tempted to break when one of them offers to help her get over her ex in a way nobody else can. 

Check out my review of Amelia’s Story: The Wiccan Romances by Nicola Hebron.

Forbidden love

This trope is so exciting. There’s all the danger of getting caught, and whatever the stakes are.

It’s not just her friends that Keily needs to hide who she is seeing, it’s also her over protective big brother, Murray.  And later, she must keep it hidden from someone more dangerous than she ever imagined.  

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Search the blog for more posts on Romance as I have interviewed romance authors and reviewed romance books.