Review: Gilded Love: The Complete Box Set by Kilby Blades

Note: An advance reader copy (ARC) was provided by the author via Grey's Promotions.

Kilby Blades is a new-to-me author and her Gilded Love: The Complete Box Set was certainly quite an introduction to her writing. This box set is comprised of two full-length novels, Snapdragon and Chrysalis, two novellas, Vertical and Loaded, and a short story, Sleigh My Name. The first two books are directly connected, what with featuring the same couple and continuing story line, and MUST be read in order so as to understand everything that goes on. The novellas have two different couples, and the short is part of the first two novels' story. All that being said, the books obviously share the same world and were good reads. The entire set averages to a four-star rating; Below are detailed explanations for each of the Gilded Love stories:

Darby Christensen (32, psychopharmacologist at Northwestern Memorial) and Michael Blaine (31, architect with Dewey and Rowe) are the main characters in Snapdragon and Chrysalis. The two engage in an affair with very clear rules in place, what with living lives that are committed and dedicated to their respective jobs. But as is often the case with stories that begin this was, their non-relationship starts to feel like an actual relationship. There are secrets that are bound to impact what they have, some well-meaning self-sacrifice, and realizations as to what they want and with whom they want it with. Snapdragon was enticing and I loved Darby's independence and drive and Michael's caring and romantic nature, and while Chrysalis did falter a bit (that's what happens when expectations set are quite lofty), I still enjoyed it. 4.5 and four stars, respectively.

Vertical is about Jasmine Hill and Avi (whose real last name I do believe is never mentioned...unless I totally missed it). They work for the same organization and are ex-lovers, but then Jasmine walks away for reasons she believed were justified. When she finds herself in the middle of some major trouble, the one person she knows who can help her best is Avi. There's no denying that it's his still very existent love for Jasmine that has Avi pushing as hard as he does to rescue her, but I swear there were moments where I just wanted to give him a shake and ask him if she really was worth it. Major sigh. Yeah, not a fan of Jasmine's here. Three stars.

Now, Loaded was a story that left me wanting...and I mean in the best way possible. This is Marsh Brewster and Jada Jones's story. These two are happily together as a couple, so when Marsh invites Jada for a family gathering over the holidays, it's like a natural step in the right direction. Or it would have been had Jada been more prepared for how...averse their reaction would be to her, especially given the fact that she's Black. There are quite a few revelations here, and you wonder if both Marsh and Jada's relationship and the holidays will survive, and I was entertained all throughout this quick but entertaining read. I'm giving this four stars.

Last but not the least is Sleigh My Name, which is like an extended epilogue to Michael and Darby's story. Set five years after the events in Chrysalis, he's finally got an opportunity for a do-over, and he's going all in. This was a super quick yet sweet read. In order to fully appreciate this, you'll need to read Snapdragon and Chrysalis. Michael again showcases how much he loves Darby here, and it left a smile on my face. Four stars.

Release Date: 30 November 2021

Date Read: 26-28 November 2021

Learn more about Kilby Blades.

Purchase Gilded Love: The Complete Box Set on Amazon | B&N | Kobo.


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