Book Review: Winter Trials by K.S. Marsden

As if by magic, this book appeared on my Kindle. I read the blurb and knew I had to read it.

The Setting

The story is set up North during winter. The snowy setting got me excited for our forecasted snow.

The MC is an only child living with his mum and dad in the countryside, with his nana in the annex. He travels to his local high school by bus.

The Characters

Mark is the main character. He’s grown up in the small town where everyone knows he’s gay and his nana is a witch.

Mark’s best mate is pretty occupied with his girlfriend. When a new guy starts at the school, Mark invites him over for the winter solstice celebration, as well as his mate & his girlfriend.

My Review

I loved this short story. It’s hard not to blab as I want to gush about it. The characters felt so real, and I loved the magic woven into the tale. The snowy scenes were beautiful and the romance.

I gave it 5 stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

[kofi]

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Behind the Book: Wiccan Romance – Amelia’s story by Nicola Hebron

Book Review: Wiccan Romance – Amelia’s Story by Nicola Hebron

Book Review: Duet Rubato by Claerie Kavanaugh

Romance Tropes – Which do you love?

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.  

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to like and follow.

[kofi]

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

Book Review: Cinderella is Dead

Blurb: Cinderella is Dead

I preordered this book. There was a deal on Twitter that if you preordered it you’d to get an exclusive pin. The book sounded interested and I was tempted by the deal so I treated myself. After release I received my cute Cinderella is Dead pin, and put it somewhere so safe… I can’t find it.

The setting

Imagine Cinderella was real, and following her rein some strict laws were made depicting a woman’s place in society based on her ability to be picked at the annual ball of suitors. Failure to be chosen results in never seeing your loved ones again. Everyone must learn the story of Cinderella.

The characters

Sophia is a very strong character. Her friends have come of age and must attend the ball. They are eager to be chosen, partly driven by fear and the lies they’ve been sold. Sophia wants to run away.

Sophia has romantic feelings for one of her friends, Erin, but it felt a little one sided, but that could have been the fear of not conforming. At the ball Erin gets picked by a horrid man. Her other friend’s parents couldn’t afford a fancy gown and she’s shamed in front of everyone and banished. Sophia reveals her defiance in front of the king. She has no choice but to run, and so the adventure begins.

On the run Sophia meets an outcast who helps her. Together they plan to tack down the King, and enlist the help of the elusive fairy Godmother.

My review

This is like fairy tale dystopian. It was an incredible read. You could see how people bought the lies, hoping if they did as they were told they’d be safe. There was a romantic sub plot that brewed nicely. And, I loved the twists and turns of this book. It turned a classic fairy tale on its head with corruption.

I hope Kalynn writes more twisted fairy tales. It was a brand new refreshing take. I loved it.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org Shop Link.

[kofi]

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Good Reads 2020

Book Review: Garden in the Sands by Ellie Mitten

Book Review: Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

About Ocean Heart

Goodreads 2020 Reads

Something I love about Goodreads is how easy it is to track my progress towards my reading goals. At the end of the year, Goodreads gives stats on my reads.

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org shop link. NB: This post contains these affiliate links.

2020 Reading Goals

My goal was set at 12 books, thinking I could easily read one a month but I hadn’t taken into account how busy I’d be certain months launching my own book, Ocean Heart. It turned out just 12 books was harder than I thought.

The year has include some books I absolutely loved, and one I hated. I’m pretty good at choosing books I know I will love that I wasn’t surprised that my average rating was high. I just don’t have time to read books I won’t like. 😂

Wiccan Romances: Amelia’s Story by Nicola Hebron

This was my first read of 2020. It was a book I’d been eager to buy, but was lucky enough to win a copy from the author on Twitter! Whoop! Whoop! I love fantasy set in the real world so it was a good start to my year.

My last two reads of 2020 were Garden in the Sands by Ellie Mitten and… I rather unusual choice for me… The Substantial Meal by Florence Green. I’ve rated them both on Goodreads but still need to write the review.

Garden in the Sands by Ellie Mitten

I think I preordered this book, but I’m such a slow reader, by the time I got to it, it’d been out a little while. I’m going to write a review very soon but as you can see from my 5 star rating, I LOVED THIS BOOK!

The Substantial Sandwich by Florence Green

I can’t remember how Florence & I got talking, but I was a bit glum I wasn’t going to make my pathetic reading goal of just 12 books. I was beating myself up. Then Florence cheered my up by sending me his recent release, an erotic satire using innuendos and puns about the Covid restrictions. It was a quick short read and succeeded at cheering me up. Review coming soon.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas is the most popular book I read. I’m not surprised as I saw it all over Instagram. I actually bought my copy in summer 2019 at YALC.

Another YALC buy was Sea Witch by Sarah Henning. It’s a historical fantasy/fairytale retelling of The Little Mermaid. I really loved the book, and hope to read book 2 in the series this year.

A book that should be more popular is Sorceress of Truth by J D Groom. It’s contemporary fantasy and has everything I love in a book. The MC was relatable, but all the side characters were well developed. With a modern day sorceress, fairies and vampires, what’s not to love?

2021 Reading Goal

To alleviate pressure, I’ve lowered my reading goal to 10 fiction books. I know, some people can read that amount in a month. But, I read for pleasure. And, I have to be in the right mood. If I’m too tired or engrossed in my own writing, I just can’t get into the book.

I also have a few resource books I need to read and review. I didn’t review any last year despite reading some. So, you can look forward to that. These are separate from my reading goal.

[kofi]

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Find your Summer Reads in the latest WIW Brochure

This June the latest World Indie Warriors Brochure was released.

Indie Books

The brochure is packed full of indie books, their blurbs, where to buy and how to connect with the authors. But, thats not all…

Indie Services

There is a directory of service providers. These are small indie business offering services that support the indie community. It’s a great resource to discover cover designers, book formatters, editors, coaches and marketing.

Indie Products

The brochure also showcases indie businesses that make and sell their own products. This enables you to discover unique and custom items that can’t be bought in mainstream shops.

Articles

The brochure is full of useful information from start to finish. There are tips for readers and an interview with a book blogger. There is an interview with the author who won a book cover contest. And you can discover what World Indie Warriors is all about.

It’s FREE to download

If you’ve read this far, you probably want to know how to get your hands on it.

Just visit their website and download it.

How to get included in the next edition?

The brochure is to showcase World Indie Warrior members. To join you just need to follow them on Facebook or Instagram – they are working on a forum.

They do lots of different activities to support the indie community. For example, this month, they are doing CampNaNo on Instagram and have a goal tracker on Facebook. Being part of a team is a great way to stay motivated towards achieving whatever creative goal you set.

If you check their blog you’ll find details on how to get your content included in the next edition.

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Where to find the best indie books…

Why I love World Indie Warriors

Camp NaNo April 2020 progress

WIW Brochure December 2019

Book Reviews of 2019

Do you write Book Reviews? If so, good for you. Reviews not only help readers make more informed choices on their next read but it also support authors.

I don’t get much time to read. I’m constantly surrounded by distractions. But, I wanted that to change. So last year, I set my target low at 6 books.

There were times I feared 6 books was ambitious and it highlighted how little time I get. As I actively tried to combat it, I found more time to read. By the end of 2019 I had exceeded my goal.

Here is the collection of 2019 reviews.

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

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Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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Save the Cat Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody

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Duet Rubato by Claerie Kavanaugh

copy of copy of copy of happily ever author

Envy by J D Groom

copy of copy of copy of copy of copy of happily ever author

You Stole My Heart… Do I have to take your name? By Sarah Neofield

copy of copy of copy of copy of happily ever author

Deepest Blue by Sarah Beth Durst

copy of copy of copy of copy of copy of copy of happily ever author

The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

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That’s not all. There are books I finished and have yet to write my review. But, I will post them. Look out for my upcoming reviews of the following:

Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S Weaver

Good Reads:  Trust me by Maddie James

I think I will look at making a book review page on my website to make finding these easier for readers.  

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Discover more ways to connect with me by clicking my link tree:

@Redfae

 

Book Review: Duet Rubato

Author: Claerie Kavanaugh

Duet Rubato

I was fortunate enough to get an ARC copy of this book thanks to meeting Claerie through World Indie Authors.

Duet Rubato by Claerie Kavanaugh

What is the book about?

This is a second chance romance. I had never read one of these before but it means that two people with history meet up and fall in love again. This was also my first lesbian romance.

The book is told from both characters perspectives and alternates between them with new chapters. There is Catherine, the single mum and struggling to find work and there is Adaline who works as an assistant director at a struggling theatre.

How it starts

The book starts by us seeing Catherine navigating her childcare arrangements with her ex and feeling bad about still not getting her big break. Her ex, Grayson, encouraged her to go for a job at the theatre for a part he knows she would be perfect for. Due to an accident that damaged her leg and ruined her career, Catherine had reservations and fear sets in.

We then get to see the two women meeting for the first time since they went their separate ways as the audition is at the theatre where Adaline works. Of course the Director loves Catherine and offers her the part, forcing the two women to work together.

The middle

Due to the girls history there is a lot of old wounds that were never tended to. It creates a lot of drama, misunderstandings and heartache. It was like reading about a car wreck, you could see the damage and the pain but you could not look away. It was gripping.

Both of the girls have fears that they need to overcome. As Catherine’s fear is affecting her ability to deliver her role, Adaline is assigned to help her overcome this. It comes to light that Adaline is an amazing singer and due to her own fears has given up on letting herself shine on stage, resigning herself to backstage duties.

How it ends

Without spoiling it, the two women get themselves in a real pickle but through love they manage to pull themselves together, overcome their fears.

What did I think

I really enjoyed the conflict from their unresolved history and the ending left me with happy vibes. There were some strong feels throughout the book as the couple went through highs and plenty of lows as they made their way to their long awaited Happy Ever After.

I think this novel will appeals to fans of these genres but also anyone who loves the theatre as there are references to famous plays made between the characters and inside jokes.

I would consider reading more second chance or lesbian romances again and more novels by Claerie Kavanaugh.

You can find out more about Claerie and her books by visiting her website or connecting with her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or YouTube.

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Why I Love World Indie Warriors

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Book Review: Lion’s Share

Book Review: Red Queen

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