This Chick Read: An Uncommon Honeymoon (Librarian and Spy Escapade #3) by Susan Mann

While on their honeymoon, spies, Quinn and James are asked to go undercover at a party to see if they can gather information on a human trafficking suspect. While undercover, Quinn meets two of the kidnapped children and her heart strings are tugged. She is determined to stop this ring and save these kids, with the help of her husband and fellow spy, James. As with her other novels, Susan Mann brings a human element into what could’ve been a rather mundane romantic story line. Human trafficking is a real issue and here in the state of Tennessee (where I live), you see posters in bathrooms and rest stops. I thought the balance of such a serious subject matter was relieved by the lighthearted romance between Quinn and James.

This is the third novel featuring these two main characters and we know them pretty well. Quinn’s skills are in her knowledge and researching skills. James is the more physical spy of the two, although that structure seems to have changed with An Uncommon Honeymoon. In the past Quinn seemed to know everything, spouting interesting facts and tidbits, but the Russian setting seemed to throw her off her stride, although her confidence in her budding spy skills was strong. She was firing a gun and kicking Russian butt like she’d been doing it for years.

The Indian setting was one of the things I liked best about A Covert Affair, and I missed that librarian curiosity that Quinn portrayed previously. She was more spy-ish than librarian-ish in this novel, which seemed a bit out of character. The romance between Quinn and James sizzled, as it should with newlyweds, and this novel had a lot more sexy scenes than the previous two books. Am I interested in reading and learning more about Quinn and James? I think I am, although I believe this author needs to share the growth more evenly over those two characters. Unless she wants to write a novel where Quinn becomes James’ boss?

I was given a copy of this book through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest!

❤️❤️❤️❣️

An Uncommon Honeymoon

Click this link to purchase! An Uncommon Honeymoon (Librarian/Spy Escapade)

Copyright 2017 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

Advertisements

This Chick Read: Dragon Blood (World of the Lupi #14) by Eileen Wilks

Eileen Wilks has been setting up a showdown between Lily, Rule and The Great Bitch for what feels like eons. This is book fourteen after all. The Great Bitch is the supreme villain, although our heroes have been fighting her minions since this series started. She has focused on Lily because she wants to use Lily’s body as an avatar on Earth. Magic does not have an effect on Lily, which makes her the perfect host. As Dragon Blood begins right where Dragon Spawn left off (cliffhanger), Lily has traveled through dimensions to Dragonhome where all of the Spawn live. Her friends are still trying to save the children that were kidnapped, and this dimension may be where that standoff actually happens.

The previous novel seemed to drag a bit, so I was excited at the quicker pace at the beginning of Dragon Blood. Lily is at her best when she is solving riddles, and this novel has a couple of plot twists that kept it interesting. I was disappointed that Lily and Rule were separated for most of the book. Lily’s strengths are her clear thinking and ability to solve mysteries, but Rule is more physical. Those contrasting aspects of their characters make them more interesting together and less interesting when they are apart. Did they save the kids? No spoilers here!

I have been a huge fan of the World of the Lupi books and have loved reading about Lily and Rule’s evolving relationship, but the last few books have been just ho-hum. This series will probably be over when they fight and win (I’m going to assume that they win) against the Great Bitch, so I’m sad that I’m ready for the end of this series. Eileen Wilks has built an amazing world, but lately I feel like the story has taken too long to be concluded and the descriptive writing that I’ve loved previously is now making the story drag. The plot to save these children (including Rule’s son, Toby) may be leading up to Lily’s mental preparation to become a mother herself, and when that happens I believe this series will end. It should. I am ready for this author to start fresh with a new world and new characters and I will be the first in line to read that book! ❤️❤️❤️❣️

I was given a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review and it was honest!

Dragon Blood Click this link to purchase! Dragon Blood (A Novel of the Lupi) Copyright 2017 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: Christmas Book Tree’s

I was in Columbia, TN this week wandering around their downtown and wandered my way into a bookstore. Funny how that happens!  What drew me in was this beautiful Christmas book tree in the window of the store. (I’ll be honest, the books did too!)

Book TreeI took a picture and turned to the guy at the counter and asked him how many books it took to make this tree. He said “I dunno.” Very disappointing answer! I can’t imagine I’m the first person to walk into the store and ask that question. Anyway, I took a picture and marveled at how high it stood, wondering if I had enough books at home to make one.  I probably do, but it would leave my bookshelves absolutely empty! As well as the thought of putting all of those books back on the shelves persuaded me to not build a tree quite that large.

I went home and started googling Christmas Book Tree’s and found that it doesn’t really matter the size. Here are some of my favorite’s.

Book Tree 2

I kind of want the big round room to put this one in, too! How fabulous!

Book Tree 3

Here is a little desktop tree. I love the look of it, but I’m cringing at bending all of those bindings!  I love the size though!

Book Tree 4

I love this idea because you don’t need a big room. Just a wall to stack your books against and a little festive garland!

Book Tree 5

Then you have your color coordinated books mini tree. It sits nicely on an end table and has a star on top. Love, Love, Love!  I’m positive I can do this one!

Off I go to create my little book tree. Have any of you created a book tree? Care to share how big, or what you picked for your theme? Did you stack? Create a circle?

I hope your holiday season is happy, festive and bright!

Merry Christmas-

Deb

postnote: I was inspired to create my own mini tree. What do you think?

This Chick Read: King’s Cage (Red Queen #3) by Victoria Aveyard

Warning! Slight spoiler ahead.

King’s Cage, the third book in the Red Queen series, starts with Mare being held prisoner by King Maven Calore. At the end of  Glass Sword, when their airplane was grabbed out of the sky and Maven’s forces threatened to kill Cal and Mare’s family she gave herself up for their freedom. Maven, surprisingly true to his word, let them go free and used Mare to convince the Red’s that the Scarlet Guard was a terrorist group. Mare, actually held captive by special manacles that inhibited her powers was helpless to stop his plans.

What is it about the villain being so fascinating? I thought the first half of this book when Mare was with Maven to be endlessly fascinating. Here was a boy king who was obsessed with this girl, yet at one point he had her! He betrayed her, but somehow he still wanted her to love him. The psychology behind that obsession, the torture at the hands of his own mother in his childhood. It was so good! I almost wish Mare had wanted him back. I think that would’ve made this book so much more interesting. Imagine if instead of hating him, she loved him and fought with his evil side to do the right thing and become who the country needed. Instead, Mare falls for the older brother, Cal, and fights against Maven’s tyranny. For The Whole Book. Tiring.

I will admit that as I was reading this book I kept thinking this was the final book in the series., and that totally threw me off. As I got to about 50 pages from the end I figured that out and I was so mad at myself.  Why? Why did I think this was the final book?  Why did I read this book before the next one came out? Oh well. Despite wishing Mare had fallen for the other brother, I felt slightly redeemed that things didn’t go quite as planned in the romance department for Mare. Not that I want her to be doomed to disappointment, but it at least made having to read one more book before finding out the resolution to the battle between the bloods and also the battle between brothers.  ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Kings Cage

Click this link to purchase!  King’s Cage (Red Queen)

Copyright 2017 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

This Chick Read: The Theory of Second Best (Cake #2) by J. Bengtsson

The series, Cake, centers on an incident that happened to Jake, the protagonist of the first book Cake. Jake was kidnapped and held captive as a child until he escaped his abductor, returning to his family. These books are love stories, but this incident has shaped this families psyches and how they interact with people, including those that they love. Don’t get me wrong, both Cake and The Theory of Second Best are very funny and mostly light hearted, but the depths in these characters are often dark and deeply emotional.

Kyle, Jake’s brother, has surfed through life, letting others make his choices for him. He tours with his brother (Jake’s a rock star), and basically mooches off him, not really holding any kind of job. He decides to become a contestant on a Survivor type program, where the players live off the land and vote each other off each week. Kyle is the comic relief, and truly, he is funny. J. Bengtsson has written some great dialog! Kyle charms everyone, including the reader. More interstingly are the things Kyle learns about himself by isolating himself on an island with a bunch of strangers.

Kenzie is from a very small town in northern California. When her mother dies giving birth to her triplet siblings Kenzie was thrust into a mother type role at a very young age. She enters the show because she hopes to win the money so she can become independent from her family. When she meets Kyle, she is just as charmed and they join forces, also starting a light flirtation that is fun to read. It’s when they get back to the real world that the work in their relationship starts.

Even though the first part of this book is a recap of some of the events from Cake, but seen through Kyle’s eyes, you really do need to read this series in order. In fact, that recap to me was a time waster. I would’ve been happy if the author had just started with the island escapades because I think Kyle and Kenzie gave us plenty of insights into their characters by their reasons for entering that contest. Other than the slow start, I really enjoyed this novel. Kyle was a funny guy, and the two of them together were sweet!  ❤️❤️❤️❣️

Click link to purchase! The Theory Of Second Best: Cake Series Book Two (Volume 2)

Copyright 2017 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

This Chick Read: Demon Interrupted by Elliott Parker

If you could have a superpower what would you pick? Well, Evangeline Lawson doesn’t have to imagine a superpower, she has one, and it’s brought her nothing but trouble. Evangeline is the last direct descendant of St. Anthony of Padua, finder of lost articles. This ability makes her the most wanted person on the planet. Always on the run she has avoided developing relationships because any person she has cared for has been used against her. Evangeline is on the run again and this time she is out of options. She has to resort to using a photo her grandmother gave her for an emergency. Find this object and you will find a place of safety. Safety comes in the form of a not very nice man named Adrien.

The tension in this story really amps up when Evangeline and Adrien meet. Don’t get me wrong, the book gets off to a quick start but I was eager for Evangeline to find safety and hopefully once she can relax, find herself. She learned how to make friends and found a little bit of a sense of humor. Adrien was not the one to teach her that humor, he was a bit testy but he did teach her to stop being a victim which helped her gain confidence to fight evil.

Adrien, Adrien, Adrien. I had mixed feelings about him. I loved him more at the beginning of the book than I did at the end, which is a little backwards. He was a tough guy! Rude, unemotional and unfriendly.  As he got more emotional and well, not kind, exactly, but less rude, I liked him less. What does that say about me? Not sure. However, I did like what he and Evangeline’s relationship evolved into and the direction the story took.

This seems to be the first book in a series and I’m looking forward to seeing the evolution of their relationship as well as the fight of good against evil. Surely, good will win, right?

❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review, and it was honest.

Demon Interrupted Click this link to purchase! Demon, Interrupted Copyright 2017 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

An Interview with Faith Hunter author of the Jane Yellowrock and Soulwood Series


Hi Faith! Thank you so much for answering a few questions, I’m a big fan of your Jane Yellowrock and Soulwood series and can’t wait to hear your answers to my questions.
 ME: I have a confession. I read the first Soulwood novel before picking up and reading the first Jane Yellowrock novel and now after reading Flame in the Dark, I am three books in on each series. Since Soulwood is a spinoff of the Jane Yellowrock series, I am given clues into some of the later Jane books, especially when it comes to Rick LaFleur. However, I don’t feel like I HAD to read the Jane Yellowrock series first, was that intentional?

Faith: Not really. I was about eight or nine books in to the Jane Yellowrock series when I began to consider a spin off. With a spinoff there is always a common backstory that overlaps, and that overlapping grows organically. What I didn’t expect to happen was the lingering coinciding that came from Rick LaFleur’s continued presence in both series. I’m trying to break away Rick’s presence in Jane’s series, without taking the easy path of just killing him off. Instead, I am replacing him with a different character who will have a major role in Jane’s life. It’s been a technically interesting experience to slowly cut Rick away from Jane’s series, while not leaving a hole in Jane’s life, and at the same time, not leaving a hole in Rick’s life either, so that Rick can take up permanent residence in the Soulwood series.
ME: Jane’s character seems to be more intense than Nell Ingram’s even though they both have struggled with dark incidents in their pasts. Do you have more of an affinity with Jane or Nell? Which character has been more fun to write?

Faith: I don’t like or dislike either Jane or Nell more than the other. Both are fabulous to work with for entirely different reasons. Jane is harder to write simply because there is so much backstory in her life. The Jane Yellowrock series is now 12 books long (this counts DARK QUEEN which I am wrapping up) and is projected to go through 14 books. (Yes that makes my head spin.) To keep Jane fresh, I’ve had to write in some major changes and obstacles to overcome, and her challenges are always more physically dangerous and physically difficult than Nell’s will ever be. 
That said, Nell has to overcome so many social and emotional problems that Jane never will, because Nell was raised in (and escaped from) a polygamous cult. Her place in the real world is uncertain, and because she is the only one of her kind, that she has ever met, Nell is stumbling along in the dark, finding her way. When put in context, with Nell as a law enforcement officer, there is a layer of internal conflict that Jane will never face.
Sooo… Like a good parent, I didn’t answer to say which of my children I prefer. (gives cheeky grin)

ME: In the first three books of the Soulwood series we have seen Nell’s character grow from church widder woman to independent townie, at least inside Nell’s own mind. Do you attribute this growth and independence to her discoveries about her nature or about herself as a woman? Which discovery is more important to her independence?

Faith: I attribute Nell’s changes to education. Nell has met new people and seen how they live, how they react to one another, how normal relationships are supposed to work, all in the course of a joining a law enforcement team and solving dangerous paranormal crimes and meeting a possible romantic interest! (Can I squee over Occam?!?) She has seen women in powerful jobs, where they are in charge of men, give orders, and follow through on projects. And she has discovered what it is like to be part of a team made up of equal partners, instead of always being the one on the bottom of the pack. All this is new and exciting and in total opposition to her previous experience in a polygamous cult. 
Her own nature is something that actually sets Nell apart and steals her independence. In each book, the balance of action and danger weigh against her personal situation and history and the ways in which Nell is being forced to grow simply by being part of society and part of a crime-solving team.
ME:  Occam and Nell’s relationship seems to finally be moving forward. I have been waiting forever for that first kiss, and boy, it was a good one! Nell as a nymph or brownie, seems to have a very fertile nature. She grows leaves and twigs that need grooming. Her relationship with Occam will obviously change how Nell sees herself, but will it also change her nature?

Faith: I don’t think any creature changes its nature. A cat is always a cat, a tree is always a tree. But what I do see changing is the isolation that is part of Nell, instinctual as much as nurtured into her by John Ingram, her deceased husband. I see Nell reaching out, making friends and family, and growing into an emotionally healthy woman while solving crimes, learning about the world and falling in love. Badges and romance! Nature and falling in love! And learning how not to be a victim.
ME: This world that you have created for both of your series is so expansive! How do you keep track of characters, species, relationships and plot points? Do you have a system you can share?

Faith: Yeah…. I kinda painted myself into a brick wall with that one! I have three people I depend on for help in keeping me straight. One wonderful person keeps a searchable character history for me (which I’ll be giving away soon). Another one is keeping a book-by-book plot outline (which might be updated into the Jane Yellowrock Companion soon, a free gift to fans). The other one is a timeline and continuity editor who works with me all through each book to keep me on the straight and narrow and to do an ongoing copy edit. It takes a village!
ME:  Can you give us a hint of what’s coming up next for Nell and the PsyLED team? 

Faith: More crime. More vampire tree. More romance. More of everything!
ME: Last question- will Rick and Jane have a reunion in the Soulwood series? ( you don’t have to answer this one if you don’t want to…)

Faith: No. Not planning on it. The two series will separate totally after FLAME IN THE DARK and DARK QUEEN. But oh my! What a separation!

Faith thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. You have really made me excited to read more of your novels!

Deborah

This Chick Read: Flame in the Dark (Soulwood #3) by Faith Hunter

The Soulwood series has satisfied my hunger for thought provoking Urban Fantasy. Nell Ingram, ex-Church Woman, has grown into her role as a PsyLED investigator. As in the past, probie Nell seems to have the skills to solve the mystery. Her affinity to read the land has evolved her sleuthing skills, but has also evolved her innate affinity with nature. So much so that she has to groom her budding leaves and twigs from her limbs and hair.

The mystery introduces us to another dangerous supernatural species. Every novel is like a Star Trek exploration to another planet, except for we haven’t left Earth! We get an inside look at the team that comprises PsyLED and also the relationships that have developed. Part of Nell’s charm is the fact that even though she was married at 15, she is new to dating, or courting as she calls it. There are two men who want Nell’s attention but only one that she wants back.  She finally has the confidence to explore that side of herself and in the next novel I’m hoping we will get to see her actually take that leap into womanhood.

We learn a little more of the inner workings of the Church as her sister Mud matures into a young woman and we see all that entails within the church. Nell is determined to save Mud from her fate. So not only do we see Nell start to build new relationships but we also see her change her old ones.

If you are looking to fill an Urban Fantasy hole this series will certainly do the trick. Faith Hunter continues in the world she built for her Jane Yellowrock series, but Soulwood’s Nell is a brighter beacon in part because her life is young in comparison to Jane’s. The tone of this series is also a little lighter, the dialog bringing moments of humor to pretty dark scenes making me look forward to those small flames in the dark. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest.

Flame in the Dark Click link to purchase! Flame in the Dark (A Soulwood Novel) Copyright 2017 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

This Chick Read: The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke #1) by Tessa Dare

The Duke of Ashbury was disfigured in the war by a bomb blast. Hiding away from the world, he glowers at his staff from the safety of his library only venturing out at night to vent his temper on the miscreants of London. Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter, now seamstress living on her own in London, dares to brave the Duke in order to gain payment for the wedding gown she tailored for his ex fiancee. Although he is scarred, she isn’t frightened by his appearance, and bravely negotiates payment. The Duke, not one to look a gift seamstress, er horse in the mouth, decides that she will do as a wife and strikes a deal. After all, he must see that his line continues since he doesn’t want his idiot relative to inherit his estate.

This tale takes on the beauty and the beast theme but crosses it with a more modern wounded warrior trope that is now popular in more contemporary novels. I liked the novelty of a historical romance novel exploring the wounded warrior theme. Tessa Dare did not scrimp on the adjectives used to describe this Duke. He was burned down one side with patches of hair on his head. His looks were not romanticized and yet Emma was not frightened, nor turned off by his looks. In fact, she still viewed him as strong, intelligent and Duke-ish, despite those scars. I really liked Emma’s attitude!  She flirted, teased, and yes vamped it up for this Duke. She made him love her, despite viewing himself as a “monster”. Just as the beast in the fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast”, he braved showing himself off to the world and in his mind facing ridicule and worse in order to make sure she was safe from harm. This is a hero I can get behind!

I loved these two as a couple. Their verbal sparring was fun, and the heat factor, oh my!  These two burned up the pages!

❤️❤️❤️❤️

The Duchess Deal

Click this link to purchase! The Duchess Deal: Girl Meets Duke

Copyright 2017 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

This Chick Read: Wait for It by Mariana Zapata

I’ll admit that I’m a pretty recent convert to Mariana Zapata’s style of writing. She believes in the build up of a relationship more than the outcome, the cake more than the frosting if you will. Her strength is in character development and this novel Wait for It delivers because by the time Diana and Dallas get together, we are so enmeshed in their strengths and weaknesses, so taken with their feelings, that we are sitting on the edge of our seats waiting for that moment to happen.

Diana’s story was unique. It wasn’t until about a 1/3 of the way into the novel that we finally realize that she is raising her brothers two sons and not her own. I mean, I know enough Spanish to know Tia is Aunt, so I got that clue, but I didn’t know the story of why she was raising these two boys, and when we find out, it is devastating. Diana, isn’t very old, maybe 26 if I’m remembering correctly? To raise two kids, juggle her life and job, as well as getting them to school and practice is an amazing feat that a lot of single parents face. Score one for Ms. Zapata in reaching into our hearts and giving it a good squeeze and also for humanizing Diana, making her easily identifiable.

Dallas is pretty similar to some of Ms. Zapata’s other male characters. Stoic, kind of surly and very good looking. A true Alpha male. However, in Wait for It, the author uses those traits as a shield for Dallas to protect himself just as much as that wedding ring on his finger. When he finally decides to go all in. that shield expands to protect not only himself, but Diana and the boys. Score two for Ms. Zapata! I love to read about a man protecting his woman, even if its from catty remarks and not gunfire!

I don’t want to give away any more of this story because it is deftly told and even though long, the pivotal moments are intertwined so that I would fear giving one moment away would unravel the mystery of how they fall in love. I will say that their story made me laugh, touched my heart and made me feel. What more do you want in a love story?


Click this link to purchase!  Wait For It

Copyright 2017 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved