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Friday, October 21, 2016

Blog Tour, Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: A Bond Of Venom and Magic (The Goddess and the Guardians #1) by Karen Tomlinson

Title: A Bond Of Venom and Magic
Series: The Goddess and the Guardians #1
Author: Karen Tomlinson
Publisher: Karen Tomlinson
Publication Date: October 14, 2016
Pages: 330
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Source: ARC

The Wraith Lord is hunting; his prize, the key to unleashing darkness and Chaos upon the eight Kingdoms.

For Diamond Gillon the war raging in the south seems a remote danger until her home is brutally attacked. Having lost everything she holds dear, Diamond is catapulted into a terrifying new world in which legendary beasts arise, magic is condemned and half blood fae, like her, have no rights. 

Despite her growing feelings for her saviour, Commander Hugo Casimir, he remains a paradox – not only is he a heartless killer, he is owned by the cruel immortal fae queen; a queen who will murder her own people for magic.

As Diamond’s circumstances become ever more perilous she is drawn deeper into Hugo’s world and discovers the lengths to which he will go to save what he holds dear. Will Hugo become her friend, her protector, or – an enemy not worthy of her trust?

A Bond of Venom and Magic is a tale of two people bound by magic and secrets, but trapped in the complexities of love and betrayal. It is the beginning of an epic journey, one that will test Diamond’s resolve and determination to battle an evil that threatens not only her world but that of Eternity, the land of The Goddess and The Guardians.

I received an Advance Reader Copy at no cost from the author/publisher.

This book was really spectacular. I had heard so many good things about this book, and I am so glad that I listened and took a chance on this author. Tomlinson's brand of high fantasy really impressed me.

The plot of this book is really complex. There are so many different elements that are bound together to make the story. There are a lot of breadcrumbs throughout the story that I would have loved more information on, but will no doubt be answered in the next book. The world building is really fantastic and quite vivid. There were some twists in the plot that I was not expecting, which I enjoyed. Anything that keeps me guessing gets my heart pumping. The story was really fast paced. I loved the action in the story, but I would have also liked things to slow down now and again.

The characters are very powerful. I felt that Hugo was the strongest character. We get to see his inner workings and feel as he feels. He is a very willful character that is conflicted a lot throughout the story. Diamond was a character that I didn't really feel as much for. She was mostly a damsel in distress throughout the book and I would have loved to see her more confident and capable. At one point in the book she has to survive in the woods for weeks alongside an injured Jack. She has to care for him and help them survive. This part of the book was where I enjoyed reading about Diamond the most. Throughout the rest of the book she seems way too dependent upon Hugo to the point that it was just annoying. And I have to be honest and say that I don't care for her name one bit. It just sounds silly to me. I liked Jack's character. He seems like a nice guy and a good ally. He seems to be very interested in Diamond, and his interest strikes me as very genuine. Diamond saved his life and he develops feelings for her. It makes for a very compelling aspect of the story. Especially when Hugo and Diamond have a bond and are secretly fighting their feelings for each other. The Fae Queen was just despicable. She really made me want to claw her eyes out. She was so heartless and unforgiving. Just plain evil.

I really appreciate some of the diversity in the book. I really liked the racial issues that were touched upon in this book. Since Diamond is half fae and half human, she is considered a half-breed and looked down upon. Half-breeds have no rights and are treated unfairly in the book. Diamond has struggled with her social status all her life and you can tell that it has taken its toll on her in some ways. I also liked the inclusion of gay characters in the book. I really hope to see more of Tom and Zane in the next book. I adore them.

I would have liked more clarification to the magic in this world. Diamond just possesses magic all of a sudden with no explanation. When Hugo uses his magic it is very vague. I didn't feel like I fully understood where it came from or how it worked.

I really adored the array of fantasy creatures in this book. They were all very creative. I especially liked that Tomlinson's version of fae have wings. I'd never really seen that done before and felt it was a unique twist.

Overall, I love this story! It delivers a very unique high fantasy story that you will not want to miss out on! I definitely have a new favorite author, and one that I recommend you watch out for. I expect great things from her!
Fuming at his touch, Diamond rubbed her arm when he let go. With flushed cheeks, her bejewelled eyes only served to enhance her beauty. Hatefully, she cursed him under her breath. Jerking her, he shoved her down onto her chair, a bitter taste coating his tongue. He shouldnt have expected anything else. He had practically delivered her to the Queen, then stood by whilst his subordinates beat her and then he, not them, had threatened to throw her in the dungeons. 
Its not polite to call names,” he snapped under his breath, raising his eyebrows in warning. 
It is if you deserve it,” she shot back through gritted teeth, her back straight and her chin angled defiantly. 
Why? Because I brought you here? Diamond, I saved your life. Do you think there was another choice?” he asked bitterly. Instantly his magic flared to life, reacting to her stormy emotions. He growled. This was an unbearable situation. It was always exhausting hiding his magic when he was with others, and right now, trying to curb the angry waves of energy pouring from him was nearly impossible. Do it again and Ill spank you like the ungrateful child you are,” he fumed. 
Really? What, right now? I doubt that,” she sneered. It would degrade you too much, especially in front of these small-minded moronsand those guards who, correct me if Im wrong, are your inferiors. And what about your Queen? You wouldnt dare demean yourself in front of her. Would you?” Challenge laced her voice. No, youll wait until we are alone again and then attack me. Or perhaps, commander, youll let your friend Attion do it for you. Maybe youll let him do more than just grope me with his filthy hands while you grovel on your knees for your Queen,” she jeered, disgust and shame pulsing from her. 
Hugos heart briefly stopped as he digested those words and her emotions slammed into him. 
Attion had done what?! Rage fuelled a sudden surge of heat that seared his blood and pounded through his head. Hugo stared at her, his nostrils flaring as he fought for control, but he did not give in to his magics demand for release; instead, he mastered it, rolled it into a tight ball and thrust it inside a cage, not forgotten or extinguished but savedfor later. 
Hugo took some deep breaths, fighting to keep his face neutral in the onslaught of his feelings and hersconfusion, hurt, fearbut even they were overshadowed by her rage at him. Suddenly, he wanted take her up on that scornful challenge. He wanted to show her that he did not care what any of these people thought. She did not understand that bringing her here had been the only way to save her. 
In a flurry of twinkling gossamer material, Diamond twisted to face him and he released a large relieved breath, making it sound like an angry huff. Her defiance in the face of all that was happening to her lifted his heart. Her fear of him, and this court, wasnt so great it had curbed her spirit; if anything, she was more defiant. Using his best dominant stare, he fixed a glare on her; then suddenly, out of nowhere, despite her taunts and the anger pulsing against him, he had an urge to laugh. 
Even the shadow of his Queen and the sadistic Lord Commander Ream could not prevent the corners of his mouth twitching up at the thought of throwing her over his knee and spanking her perfect rear until she squealed. He cracked a wider smile when she snorted her irritation and crossed her arms over her chest, giving him the cold shoulder. 
Go to hell!” she hissed, clearly furious. None of this is funny! 
He coughed, bringing his amusement under control. His voice softened and he gently touched her arm. No, it isnt,” he agreed. But Im not laughing at you, Diamond. Im just happy you can still find it in you to tell me to go to hell after everything that has happened today. 
Those amazing violet eyes flicked to his and he saw her hesitant smile, then felt her desperate need to believe him. ”Are you?” she asked softly. 
Im sorry if I hurt your arm,” he said sincerely, sitting down on the chair next to her and leaning in close enough only she could hear him now. And I am sorry for bringing you to this palace. It truly was to save your life. I am also sorrier than you will ever know that I am sworn to serve the Queen,” he said quietly, and although he had no idea why he uttered those words out loud to her, he found he meant them with all his heart. Apologising for his Queen could get him executed on the spot. Yet it was true. Hurting Diamond was the last thing he wanted, and it was suddenly important she knew that. 
Diamonds dress sparkled like it was peppered with bejewelled raindrops when she turned toward him and held his gaze. Captivated, he could not look away. For a few seconds they stared at each other, lost to the people around them. Her head tilted to one side as she scrutinised him. Without thinking he pushed his magic against her, caressing her and willing her to feel the truth of his words. Her cheeks flushed and her throat bobbed. 
I believe you are, Hugo. In which case I forgive you,” she declared with quiet dignity, then smirked coyly at him. But only if you promise not to throw me over your knee and spank me in front of all these lords and ladies. 
Alright,” he breathed, swallowing his relief. But only for tonight and only if you behave.” Eyes glittering, he cocked his head and released a throaty chuckle. Otherwise I will whisk you away where we are alone, throw you across my knee and spank you until you beg me to stop,” he drawled, delighting in her flustered reaction. 
Seconds ticked by as he pinned her with a meaningful stare. His heart pounded as her emotions raced from doubt, to embarrassment, to anticipation before her face lit with a dazzling smile. His heart stopped. What a strange sensation to make someone happy, to make them smile. Hugo caught his breath and tucked that beautiful image away in his heart. 
Fine,” she agreed breathily. Ill behavefor now. 
Still flushed, she dropped her eyes and gave him one last shy look through her lashes before turning away to talk to Tom, who sat next to her. 
No longer distracted by Diamonds flushed cheeks, Hugo blew out a breath and, still smiling, glanced up. Then froze. Jack glared at him and the Queens green eyes regarded him with cold speculation. 
Stupid! Stupid! 
Hugo had not smiled or relaxed like that in front of anyone since he had been a child, and never in front of his Queen. Jacks glare said it all. How could I have been so heedless of where I was? Kicking himself he forced his blank gaze to briefly meet his monarchs. With his heart thumping fearfully in his chest, he bowed his head in respect. Did I just condemn Diamond? Shapely, full lips twitched in the merest smile but it was that icy immortal gaze, fixed upon Diamond, that sickened Hugo. Predatory and utterly focused, it was the look a cat gave a mouse before stalking it, pinning it and devouring it until nothing but a pile of bloodied bones remained.

Karen Tomlinson is the author of The Guardians and The Goddess series of Young Adult fantasy books. Book one A Bond of Venom and Magic will be released October 14th  2016.

Karen has always been an avid reader. Her taste in books is eclectic but she likes nothing better than an exciting fantasy set in a new and magical world. She lives in Derbyshire, England, with her husband, twin girls and her dalmatian, Poppy. Karen trained as a nurse and currently works as a resuscitation and clinical skills trainer, this involves training a wide variety of health care professionals and medical students in acute patient care. In addition to writing, and reading whenever she can, Karen likes to keep active. She has been training at Shotokan karate since being thirteen, likes walking, mountain biking and (for something completely different) cake decorating. She is currently working on book two in the Guardians of The Goddess series.

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