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Fangirl Friday: The Chronicles of Tournai, by Antonia Aquilante

I absolutely love fantasy novels, so when one of these books came up for review at Divine Magazine, I jumped at the chance to read the series. I was lucky enough to be given copies of the first two books, to review the third. As a series reader, I absolutely MUST read all the books in order, so this was a total gift! Though, once I’d read and fallen in love with the first book, I would happily have bought every single book after it. And I have. And I will, as long as the author keeps publishing books in the series.

With a combination of fantasy, romance, an LGBT romance that doesn’t conform to true historical confinements, as well as the adventure of a crime and shifters, I mean…what’s not to love? It has EVERYTHING you could ever want in a series.

Plus…look at those covers!

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Book One: The Prince’s Consort

Legends tell of large cats defending the principality of Tournai, but such creatures have been lost to time.

Or have they?

Prince Philip inherited the throne at a young age, and since then, his life has centered around ruling his country and resisting those pressuring him to take a wife and conceive an heir—forcing him to hide his attraction to men. When kind-hearted Amory is offered to the prince in exchange for more time for Amory’s father to complete a commission, both Philip and Amory are horrified. But Philip agrees to keep Amory at the palace, where they gradually become friends, then lovers. For the first time in his life, Philip is free to share not only his heart, but the magical shape-shifting ability that runs in the royal bloodline.

Neither Amory nor Philip imagined falling in love, and they certainly don’t expect the lengths those who oppose their relationship will go to keep them apart—maybe even resorting to murder.

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Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

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The magic of romance and happily ever after Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent – they all end in happily ever after. She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats which she shares with friends and family, and of course reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to ebooks, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her. Born and raised in New Jersey, she is living there again after years in Washington, DC, and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

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Wow! What can I say? This was one heck of a ride.

And – HELLO! – Mpreg! WooHoo!

So, confession time – I’ve wanted to read these books ever since I saw the absolutely stunning covers. I’m a total cover lover and these appealed to me so much! Romantic, slightly moody, but with a whole lot of colour.

Another confession – I am a total highlighter, note taker, when I’m reading a book to review. However, this time I was so engrossed in the story that I have very little notes and the ones I have are actually really vague and short, such as noting POV’s and big events that I’ll want to talk about later – now – in my review.

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To start with, the characters were addictive. I mean, I could easily have fallen in love with both Philip and Amory on their own. But together? Gosh, those boys are dynamite.

Amory is the sweetest thing. Sometimes shy, sometimes naïve, he’s actually quite feisty and that part of him shows up in the most expected – but most adorable – places. He’s a little firecracker when he wants to be, as well as very, very stubborn. I knew right from the start, when he was making out with Tristan, that I loved both of them. But it wasn’t until this line ↓ that I really understood why. He’s just so ridiculously adorable all the time.

“Now, what do you want?”
The question was devastating because Amory had heard it so rarely in his life.”

Philip, on the other hand, was the strong, confident one. He was so sure of going through with everything, when Amory came along. Then, he found a gentler side that brought out a protective instinct as well as a more Princely dominating nature in defense of Amory.

Even the minor character were brilliantly alive, diverse and believable. I loved Adeline, Eten and Tristan. Elodie was a whirlwind of a character, but I knew right from the start that I hated Vasco and Lilliale. Not to mention Amory’s father!

I really loved the small paranormal element, with the cats mentioned in the blurb. It had intrigued me right from the start, but when it finally came to fruition, I loved the way it was handled and the way Amory reacted.

The danger to Amory was also really well done. It always came out of the blue, but made sense in it’s own way. Although it was unexpected, I loved the way it was explained and how it was explored throughout the story, while being seemlessly woven into the romance between Amory and Philip. Even though I’m a total mystery buff, who can solve most of the crime, cop stories or murder mysteries, I actually spent most of the book not sure who did it until the big reveal. Although I was vindicated as to who I suspected did it, I hadn’t been 100% sure, because there were so many possibilities.

The Mpreg aspect, in a similar manner, was really well explained, researched and explored in just enough detail. It was exactly what I wanted for an mpreg.

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Overall, I felt like a giddy schoolgirl reading this. Fangirling constantly and shipping Philory – and yes, that is now a thing, because I say so. 😉 I loved the sweet, tender moments they shared, the bubbling chemistry below the surface, that existed all throughout their relationship.

I smiled so much, so hard, through the entire book that it actually hurt.

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Favourite Quote

“The prince’s eyes were wide as well as he watched Amory. Had it felt the same to him? It had barely been a kiss, but it felt like a start. Maybe even a promise. As the prince bent to kiss him again, it definitely felt like a promise.”

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