Realm of Knights – Blog Tour

Realm

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Synopsis:
Reid has spent her whole life pretending to be a man so she can inherit her father’s estate, but when a chance encounter threatens to expose her lie, she is forced to risk everything.
In the kingdom of Marsden, women are subservient to men and land can only pass from father to son. So when Reid Ellington is born, the fifth daughter to one of the wealthiest landholders in the kingdom, it’s announced that Reid is a boy.
Eighteen years later, Reid struggles to conceal the fact she’s actually a young woman. Every day, her secret becomes harder to keep. When one of Marsden’s princes sees her sparring with a sword, she is forced to accept his offer and lead her father’s soldiers to the border. Along the way, she discovers a covert organization within the army known as the Knights of the Realm. If Reid wants to save her family from being arrested for treason and robbed of their inheritance, she will have to join the Knights and become a weapon for the crown.
To protect her family, Reid must fight like a man. To do that, she’ll need the courage of a woman.

Book Information:
Realm of Knights
by Jennifer Anne Davis
Publication date: September 10th 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
GoodReads

Where to Buy

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

 

My Review

I knew I was going to like this book, but I was wrong. I ended up loving this book, I underestimated how much I would enjoy this and that makes me so happy.

Davis is plot and character driven, her world building is easily worked in but not the focus, and it works well, she’s slowly peeling back the layers of her world as you experience them through Reid’s discoveries of the land.

I am a sucker for girls dressing up as boys trope and this delivered in spades, not to mention it had a unique twist to it. Reid isn’t doing it to defy her father, she’s doing it at his request.

Of course even the most carefully laid plans can backfire and once someone has discovered the secret, that The Duke’s heir, Reid, isn’t a he but a she, well it seems that the act is up.

But, what is the price of the secret?

This is where it gets amazingly interesting and I don’t want to give anything away but expect some really cool things to happen.

There’s political intrigue, a hint of romance, a mysterious other county, and the ever present thought; ‘who is telling the the truth and who is lying?’

Reid has to keep her guard up as she wonders this question the deeper she gets thrown into the political side of things and at the end of the book, she’s left with quite the unexpected path for her.

Seriously, I thought maybe that ending could happen but doubted it and then I was lulled into a false sense of security and then boom. And now I’m left with questions that have to wait until December to be answered.

It’s a great start to a new YA series, it has all the elements I enjoyed and I thought Reid was a fun protagonist. She seemed to have some seriously logical thoughts which cracked me up, such as ‘why did I decide to swim naked?’

Do you like YA Fantasy? Do you like royal politics and girls disguising as men? What about swoon worthy princes and princesses? If you do, you will probably like this book.

The pacing is great, the characters are fun, and I loved the trope(s) that were used, so it was just a win for me all across the board.

I CANNOT wait to read book 2.

This was five cups of coffee for me, I just enjoyed it so much.

About the Author

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Jennifer Anne Davis graduated from the University of San Diego with a degree in English and a teaching credential. She is currently a full-time writer.
Awards:
Cage of Deceit: Winner 2018 Kindle Book Awards
The Key: Finalist 2014 USA Book Awards 
The Voice: Finalist 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards
The Voice: Winner 2013 San Diego Book Awards

Author Links

Website | GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

Giveaway

INTL: Win a $100.00 Amazon Giftcard
Click on the link here to enter on the Rafflecopter site

 

Rest of the Tour Schedule

Click on the picture to be taken to the full tour schedule!

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Tour Host:

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Thanks to Xpresso Book tours and the pub/author for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!

The Secrets We Kept – Blog Tour

 

The Secrets We Kept Cover

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BLURB:
TWO FEMALE SPIES. A BANNED MASTERPIECE. A BOOK THAT CHANGED HISTORY.

1956. A celebrated Russian author is writing a book, Doctor Zhivago, which could spark dissent in the Soviet Union. The Soviets, afraid of its subversive power, ban it.

But in the rest of the world it’s fast becoming a sensation. 

In Washington DC, the CIA is planning to use the book to tip the Cold War in its favour.

Their agents are not the usual spies, however. Two typists – the charming, experienced Sally and the talented novice Irina – are charged with the mission of a lifetime: to smuggle Doctor Zhivago back into Russia by any means necessary.

It will not be easy. There are people prepared to die for this book – and agents willing to kill for it. But they cannot fail – as this book has the power to change history.

Sold in twenty-five countries and poised to become a global literary sensation, Lara Prescott’s dazzling first novel is a sweeping page turner and the most hotly anticipated debut of the year.

Book Information:
Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: Hutchinson (5 Sept. 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1786331667
ISBN-13: 978-1786331663

Book Links

Amazon UK | Goldsboro Books Exclusive Edition

 

My Review

 

I was immediately engrossed in this book, and I am not over-exaggerating about barely putting this book down the day I picked it up. I was up until at least 2 AM to finish it in the end.

First of all the synopsis had me hooked with the mention of Dr. Zhivago, it has such an interesting history to it and though I’ve yet to read the book, I have seen the beloved 1965 movie and do own the book and plan on reading it…you know, just as I plan on reading the rest of my mountainous tbr pile.

And I mean, spies, guys, SPIES. ESPIONAGE IN THE COLD WAR ERA!!! AMAZING ALREADY WITHOUT EVEN HAVING TO CRACK IT OPEN.

This is also a book that sheds light onto the difficulties faced by women in the work force. They had so much power in the workforce in WWII and many of them were left at a loss, the independence they had gained was stripped away and they were reverted to secretaries, typists, typical ‘female’ roles. [Of course some enjoyed those roles, this is not a judgement on those jobs then or now!]

But, a female spy can still get the work done that is necessary of them, the question is, how much is their worth to the people that employ them?

They brave the same hardships as men, and they were vital to certain operations, and in this story, they were vital to spreading Dr. Zhivago to its people.

Who were its people? The Russians. The Russian author has been under the thumb of the government, they view this novel as a threat, and of course that makes it a greater asset to those who want to go against Russia covertly.

Russia may have Sputnik, but these women are giving its people, Dr. Zhivago.

There’s the point of view of two women working as/with the spies primarily, but also the author of Dr. Zhivago, Pasternak’s, mistress, the typists and good ol’ Ted.

Prescott is amazing at setting up the book for its time period, in fact, I had such a huge urge to go watch the first few seasons of Mad Men after reading this.

The love story in this book isn’t what you might think when hear it involves Dr. Zhivago but it is the best part of this book. I absolutely adored the relationship and thought it was so well written while keeping historical fiction in balance with love and all the emotions it can cause.

Not to mention the ending was perfection, much as the rest of the novel was.

I gave this 4.5 instead of 5 because I really wanted to know more about the affect of the book on the Russian people, but I do understand why this wasn’t the focus.

A brilliant and thought provoking story that really tugs on the heart strings. If you love espionage, Cold War, or just great historical fiction, this book is highly recommended!

Thank you to Anne Cater, the publisher and the author for a copy of this book to honestly review as part of the hour.

 

About the Author

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Lara Prescott was named after the heroine of Doctor Zhivago and first discovered the true story behind the novel after the CIA declassified 99 documents pertaining to its role in the book’s publication and covert dissemination.

She travelled the world – from Moscow and Washington, to London and Paris – in the course of her research, becoming particularly interested in political repression in both the Soviet Union and United States and how, during the Cold War, both countries used literature as a weapon.

Lara earned her MFA from the Michener Center for Writers. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband.

Author Links

Website | Twitter

 

The Rest of the Tour

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Mini Review Day [Updated]

So tomorrow I’ll break it up a bit, do a meme, or a tag, and give you all some relief from reviews. I actually was hesitant on doing this today, but, I actually feel these reviews just need to get out because these last three reads have just made me salty and annoyed. And I finished another last night, so here are some mini-reviews!

[UPDATE: I skimmed through these again and realized something

I may have been overly judgemental and angry because the books weren’t what I wanted them to be about that I was overly harsh on 2/3 of these. I’m changing my ratings because I realize it wasn’t fair of me to downgrade these because I didn’t enjoy them instead of because they were actually bad because they weren’t.

I’m going to be honest, Shakespeare’s Witch was quite well written, I was just so annoyed and put off that there was no content warning with something like incest. There is no shame in having sex scenes in books and I don’t think those books are less than normal books, I was just really surprised by this batch of books.]

Onto the next bit of disappointment!!

[Actually, this next one was not as disappointing as the other two.]


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Ever since she was a little girl, growing up in the village of Abercolme on the wild coast of Scotland, Faye Morgan’s life has been steeped in the old ways – witchcraft, herbal lore and a blood connection to the dangerous and unpredictable world of Faerie.

But magic is both a gift and a burden, and Faye has more than paid the price of living between two worlds. Neither accepted by the villagers, nor welcome in the Faerie Kingdom of Murias after rebuffing the fickle and attractive Faerie warrior king, Finn Beatha, Faye runs from Abercolme, hoping to leave that life behind.

However, even in the twisted, cobbled streets of London, Faye finds her blood bond with Faerie won’t be broken. A Faerie War of the Elements is brewing and, though she doesn’t yet know it, Faye is fated to play a terrible part. If she is to survive, she must learn to embrace her own dark power and face Finn Beatha once more… but in doing so Faye will discover secrets in her own past that never should have been disturbed.

2.5/5, but rounded up to 3.

I received a free eARC via netgalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This book is NOT YA. And that’s okay, but, it is certainly mislabeled when it is clearly an Adult Supernatural/fantasy romance novel. It is heavy on the love scenes, but, I don’t mind that, it was just not what I was expecting. Another thing to note, this is actually the second book in the series which I didn’t realize when I read the synopsis on NetGalley -and to be fair I don’t think it states that but if just looking it up on GoodReads will reveal it as second in a series-.

The book was entertaining and enjoyable, it was something that I also wished I had read the first book because I think that would have made things clearer but that was my own fault. The problems I have with the book have to do more with pacing, and wanting more depth out of Faye. I thought there was enough going between faeries and the real world to keep me interested and Faye’s friends are just fantastic. I also had a huge issue with was the fact that though Faye and Annie grew up in the same town, somehow Faye has no Scots to her speech while Annie has it in trifold.

I enjoyed the use of modern-day witchcraft and the shout out to Wiccans, that was nice, and I think that McKerrow did a great job capturing the darkness of the faerie court.

I hated Rav, I don’t know if I would have had more sympathy for him if I had read the first book but the things that Faye does for him just make me want to shake her. I think this will be judged harshly under the fact that it’s not YA and it will throw many off to see the amount of sex scenes. But I also felt like in the end I still wanted to like Finn, maybe because I felt he had excuses for his behaviour being a being that wasn’t human and wasn’t tied down to human morals. Either way, it was an enjoyable read once I reconciled what it was in comparison as to how it was labelled, and the 2.5 would have been a full 3 if there hadn’t been so much ridiculousness with Rav and Finn, and with the awkward pacing.

Pros:
-Great Friends
-Lovely way of modern-day witchcraft incorporation into the story
-Creepy dark faerie realms
-Set in rural Scotland and London so that was a nice difference in settings
-You could relate to her friends and even Faye herself at times though more with the friends
-Morgana is in it, so I’m already like: yes.
-Impossibly brutal faerie deals

Cons:
– You want to punch Rav in the face, and you want to punch Finn in the face
– Faye seems to have no Scottish accent but her friend does and they’re from the same place and grew up in the same place.
– The book itself is in the wrong genre and age range (NA/A Romance, not YA)
– Mallory. Ugh.
– The pacing will go fast and slow which is understandable with the actual timeline when you’re switching realms but not when you’re reading and it feels like someone’s messing with the gas pedal while driving.
-Rav really is a butthead. Finn is a butthead. Lyr is a butthead
-Why is Gabriel the only decent male?

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Love, Witchcraft, Sorcery, Madness. 

A fortune told …
When Sarah Stone foresees Will Shakespeare’s latest play has opened doors to evil, she begs the playwright to abandon it. But Will refuses, aware the play is one of his best. And so rehearsals for Macbeth begin. 

Forbidden desires …
After her vision, Sarah fears for her life – she has never known the shewstone to lie, and she turns to her brother Tom for comfort. A strange darkness seems to haunt the playhouse, and when Tom sets out to seduce John Upton, the boy actor who plays Lady Macbeth, the boy sees the hand of witchcraft in his own forbidden desires for men. Then Sarah weaves a spell to win the love of the new lead actor, and John, terrified for the safety of his soul, begins to make his accusations. 

The Spirits have spoken …
As rehearsals continue, Sarah and Tom must struggle to convince John he is mistaken and that his sins are his own – their lives and the fortune of the play are at stake. But the Spirits have spoken – will the fate that Sarah foresaw come to pass or is their destiny their own to decide? Set against the first production of Macbeth in 1606, Shakespeare’s Witch is a seductive tale of the origins of the curse of the Scottish Play.

I thought this would be a little sexy when I saw the seductive bit.

That was a vast understatement on my part. This is a romance erotica novel. And I thought it was just Historical fiction as the blurb I had been given was not the Good Reads one and I felt cheated by that other blurb, so really I may have the rating at 3 * until after a month and lower it back down. Sarah was boring, Tom was definitely the more interesting of the siblings and I found Nick to be boring too. John was actually quite scary in the way he let his own desires make him ready to condemn others to death just to assuage his own guilt and save his own soul.

But you want to know what really bothered me?

SHAKESPEARE WAS LIKE NOT REALLY IN IT EXCEPT FOR A VERY SMALL HANDFUL OF SCENES I THOUGHT THIS WAS ABOUT SHAKESPEARE’S WITCH. IT WAS THE WHOLE REASON I WANTED TO READ IT, AND I GOT BUPKIS!

BUPKIS I TELL YOU!

Spoiler below: Highlight to see.

The erotica part didn’t bother me once I got used to it. I just really felt uncomfortable with the incest and the child that resulted from it. It made me uncomfortable but if you see my GoodReads, I did at least state that the book is great for those that love this sort of book, I could understand the forbidden desire part, but it was a little too much for me. I wish it had come with some content warning, GoT is enough incest for me lol.

So, a bit of a slump for me this week. Please don’t let my reviews think I’m judging you all for reading these books or books like them. They’re just not for me and if they make you happy, I’m happy for you. I just need to read the Goodreads blurbs before requesting things from now on.

I’ve now immersed myself on twitter, so I’m off to go pretend to be productive some more.

Have you read books where you were really thrown by the content? What did you do? Did you finish or DNF?