Friday YA: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black

SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD: When your introduction to the fair folk is the gruesome death of your parents by a fearsome fae General named Madoc, your life is going to be turned upside down. Jude, Taryn and their half sister Vivienne were abducted by the above General and raised by him in the High Court of Fairie. Jude and Taryn were full human and each handled their humanity in this magical world differently. Taryn by lying low, dreaming of some day belonging, and Jude by fighting for the right to rise in their ranks as a warrior. All while her nemesis, Prince Cardan, is constantly trying to demean her and beat her down. This is a fantasy filled with intrigue, romance, and betrayal.

Written from Jude’s perspective, the fae court seems filled with beauty and danger. However, Jude’s view is slightly tainted because of her humanity. In this fantasy novel there doesn’t seem to be much good in these fae folk their faces filled with snears, boredom, and yes beauty. Until the tides change and her nemesis Cardan becomes her partner against a palace coup. It’s only after this partnership formed (or so I thought!) that both of their characters showed depth. Jude, finally caring what happens beyond her own needs, and Cardan develops a small hint of humanity in his cold fae heart. Even though late in the book, that depth gave this novel a lift out of the darkness of both of their despair and gave me hope that their characters could be redeemed and I would come to care for one of them, even if only slightly.

The Cruel Prince is certainly aptly named as Cardan is the villain to Jude’s rather grim heroine. The title could just as aptly been named the Cruel Human as both characters showed more dark than light in their characterizations. Even when Jude is given a love interest, there seemed to be something lacking in the telling of that love. The outcome of that romance ending in a pivotal scene that should’ve delivered more impact but because of Jude’s romantic ambivalence towards Locke that scene fell short. The same ambivalence could be said of her relationship with her sister Taryn. I just never felt like Jude cared for anything or anyone beyond how life and those people impacted herself. If she had cared more about her actions impacting her sister’s happiness, then maybe the failure of that relationship would also have delivered a knockout punch. For me, it really didn’t.

SO, I started the book with high hopes, knowing that so many loved this story and fantasy is my favorite genre, after all. The outcome for me? Ho-hum. I wish I had connected with Jude more. There was something lacking in her character that kept me from going all in. What the novel did do right was portray my vision of Fairie really well, where beauty and cruelty hold hands. The vivid scene where Cardan rips a wing off one of the minor fae is cruel in his disinterest. I wasn’t quite THAT disinterested as I read the novel all the way through, but I was a little ambivalent.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“the writing was very well done. The main character’s voice is engaging and full of personality. I adored the descriptions, the humour and its quotability…. The only real downside for me was that I wasn’t head over heels for the romance (even if I liked both parties). I mean, it made sense and was logical- I didn’t quite feel the fireworks. Other than that, I thought it was an excellent read.” The Orang-utan Librarian

Click this link to purchase!* The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

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This Chick Read: Death in Kew Gardens (A Below Stairs Mystery #3) by Jennifer Ashley

Kat and her cooks assistant Tess run out on errands for the evenings meal and run into a Chinese man in the street. Literally. Picking up their various packages, Mr. Li and Kat strike up a brief friendship that grows stronger when he gives her the gift of a fabulous blend of tea. When her next door neighbor is murdered and a “chinese man” is the main suspect, Kat is determined to clear Mr. Li, convinced that this nice man would not harm her neighbor. With the help of her usual casts of characters including the enigmatic handyman Daniel she finds herself enmeshed in another whodunnit that reveals as much about her as the other characters in this novel, including our killer.

I’m a sucker for a great historical mystery and the Below Stairs Mysteries have not yet disappointed. This is the third novel in the series and as each mystery is solved the reader learns more about Kat, Daniel, Tess and the other characters in these books. These tidbits have helped keep my interest making me eager to read the next novel to see what new bit of knowledge will be revealed. Daniel is the biggest mystery still unsolved. He’s a handyman, yet is also a bit of a gentleman making the reader feel as if he’s trying on parts for each investigation. Which is the real man and once that mystery is resolved how will he and Kat’s relationship play out? I will definitely keep reading to find out.

The mystery in this novel was just a little lackluster for me. I enjoyed the new cultural references and found the history of tea to be really interesting, however, I wasn’t as invested in some of the new characters as I had been in the first two books of the series. Not to say it was bad, it really wasn’t! I enjoyed the interaction between Kat, Cynthia, Thanos and Daniel more than I did the mystery and sped through the investigation to get to the meat of their relationships. I’m sure it’s because I’m such a huge fan of romance novels, so I focused on that part of the book more than the mystery.

Do you like historical mysteries with a hint of romance? If so, then this novel and series should be added to your TBR. Each book can be read as a stand alone but they’re so much more enjoyable if you have some back story for the main characters. I’d recommend reading the other novels before picking this one up. Once you do, you’ll really enjoy your trips to Jennifer Ashley’s historical London.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a free copy of the ARC through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest!

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“Death in Kew Gardens reminded me of both Downton Abbey and Grand Hotel, with a touch of Agatha Christie. I will definitely be reading the forerunners in this series and anxiously await for book number four.” A Wondrous Bookshelf

Click this link to purchase!* Death in Kew Gardens (A Below Stairs Mystery)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chick Read (Audio Review): Fiercely Emma (Cake #3) by J. Bengtsson

Fiercely Emma tells the story of not only Emma and Finn’s budding romance, but also how Emma’s life was shaped after the kidnapping of her brother Jake when she was just sixteen. This situation at such a young age put Emma in the position of mother to her two younger siblings and the post trauma when Jake was recovered shaped all of her siblings albeit in different ways. Emma’s self preservation came in the form of a wall that she built around her heart. Finn is the guy that broke down that wall and their story is heartbreaking and heart mending.

After having read Rogue Wave recently which is the fourth book in this series, I went back and listened to the audiobooks for the first three. I had previously read books one and two, but for some reason stopped with Fiercely Emma came out. Emma hadn’t been my favorite character and I think because I wasn’t drawn to her I put off reading the book. I’m going on record to say that I made a bad decision. Whereas Emma is still a tough nut, I LOVED Finn and the two of them together are such good awesome sauce! So I’m now spreading the love for Fiercely Emma and advising everyone to listen to the audio books for this series. The narration by Andi Arndt and Zachary Webber is done so well and the humor comes through and made me laugh out loud.

Finn has his own difficult back story and J. Bengtsson uses his story as a comparison to Emma’s to show the reader how someone can overcome their tough beginnings. Finn uses humor to hide his pain and that humor while funny at times broke my heart. Emma also uses humor to hide, but hers is not warm, until she meets Finn who becomes the bright light shining through the cracks in her wall. It is because of Finn and how his relationship changes Emma that she is able to mend her relationships with her own family, which is essentially what these books are all about.

Fiercely Emma really needs to be read as it stands in the series. Each book is uniquely tied to the kidnapping of Jake and I’d love to say it can stand on it’s own, but really, it can’t. This is a family saga, and each novel re-tells the story from a different viewpoint and as you read each book you see scenes from different perspectives and each perspective really sheds new light and makes for an aha moment that would be lacking otherwise. I will say that I skipped this book to read Rogue Wave first and I don’t think I messed up the flow of the series too much, but it would’ve been better for me (the reader) to have read them in the order they are released. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

On it’s own this was a great book. How it ties to the series makes it outstanding. Loved.

Click this link to purchase!* Fiercely Emma: Cake Series Book Three

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

It’s Monday, What are you Reading? (5/27/19)

Happy Monday everyone! I ran across this post on Book Date and liked the idea of sharing what I’m currently reading, so here goes!

Today is Memorial Day and I’d like to thank all of our men and women who serve our country and help make the US a great place to live!

JUST FINISHED!

Death in Kew Gardens (A Below Stairs Mystery #3) by Jennifer Ashley

First Sentence Read: “The Chinese gentleman ran from between the carriages packed the length of Mount Street and straight into my path.”

JUST STARTED

Turn the Tide (A Heart Pounding Romantic Suspense Anthology) with stories by Katie Ruggle, Adriana Anders, Connie Mann, and Juno Rushdan

First Sentence Read: ‘”I hate the mall.” Molly Said’

I’m a big fan of Katie Ruggle and I’m looking forward to reading the prequel short story to her new series about sisters who are bounty hunters. I also love finding new authors and I think an anthology is a great way to discover if you like an authors style of writing. Will they grab my attention? I’ll let you know!

Now you know what I’ll be doing on my day off, what will you be reading?

Deb

Friday YA: Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith

Hugo is all set for leaving his six siblings behind for his vacation in America with his girlfriend Margaret Campbell, but then gets dumped. His girlfriend very graciously gives him the trip anyway but there’s one problem. She was the one who booked it so unless he can find someone with her exact name, he won’t be able to use the trip. With his brother’s help he puts out an ad online for a Margaret Campbell who’d like a little adventure taking a cross country train trip with a stranger. Surprisingly, he gets a lot of responses! No surprise though, he ends up going with a girl his age, named Mae. Field Notes on Love ended up being a journey of discovery for both of them. They learned a lot about who they are singularly, but also who they were together.

This novel really took me by surprise! Hugo, the youngest of sextuplet siblings, he has always been a follower, going along with whatever plan his siblings have made. This vacation is the chance for Hugo to venture off on his own and make some discoveries about himself. Mae was the exact opposite. She made things happen, but when her life’s plan falls apart, she is adrift. She takes this cross country adventure as a chance to prove to others that she can shake things up and gather life’s experiences. Through getting to know each other they find out a lot about themselves.

My favorite thing about this novel was how Mae and Hugo interviewed their fellow travelers about the meaning of love. As we heard each person’s story we’d learn a little more about Mae and Hugo’s lives. Those intertwining moments really set this book apart from other YA contemporary novels and made it special.

This is my second novel by Jennifer E. Smith, having read Windfall and been equally charmed by that story. She has a knack for gently leading her readers in a direction and then “thwack’! hitting them over the head with the power of her words. I like that a lot and will keep coming back for those gentle smacks. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“Smith is excellent at writing charming, sweet, lovely romances, though. And this hit all the notes. Hugo and Mae were endearing and sweet, and I loved the cross-country train trip, which was something a little different. It’s completely unobtrusive and utterly delightful.” The Book Nut

“This story doesn’t seem to broach into tough aspects in life, just a few problems that can be solved if one knows how to approach it. So, I find that it made my reading process easy and breezy. It was a story where I can forget about reality, go on an adventure and just unwind in these characters and what they have to say. It really felt as though I was there with them, boarding on trains all across America.” Legenbooksdary

Click this link to purchase!* Field Notes on Love

Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chick Read: Cliff’s Edge (Solace Island Series #2) by Meg Tilly

When Eve’s sister Maggie goes on her honeymoon, Eve is ready to house sit and enjoy the peace and quiet painting on their property. When she comes home one day to hot movie star Rhys Thomas making himself at home in their kitchen she hog ties him with a toaster cord. Seriously! When it turns out Maggie’s husband is playing matchmaker they decide to co-habitate. Their chemistry isn’t the only thing sizzling! Rhys turns out to be pretty handy in the kitchen and pitches in and plays chef at her restaurant, helping her keep it afloat while Maggie is away. When some strange things start happening to Eve, Rhys’ senses go on high alert and he turns all Alpha determined to keep Eve safe. The tension ratches up a notch when it turns out she’s come to the attention of a serial killer.

Cliff’s Edge falls into the romantic suspense genre but really feels more like a romance with a side of mystery. I really enjoyed the almost lighthearted romance between Eve and Rhys. He seems to have a really level head for a top billing movie star and she is pretty clueless as to how popular he is. There are a couple of funny scenes where the locals figure out he’s somewhere nearby. That doesn’t phase either of them at all. What does is all of the strange incidents that begins to befall Eve. When the POV switches to the killer’s it creates a stark contrast to the lighter love story building the tension very effectively.

The mystery was pretty straightforward and I’ll admit even though I wasn’t sure of the name of the stalker, I guessed his identity pretty early on. That didn’t take away from my enjoyment in reading up to the climactic ending. I don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say that Eve is no fainting heart. I love a strong heroine and Cliff’s Edge does not let me down in that regard at all.

If you love romantic thriller’s then you should pick up Cliff’s Edge. It’s the second novel in the series but it stands on it’s own and can be read without having read the first novel. I did and it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the novel at all. In fact, now I’m curious about Solace Island and am going to put it on my TBR! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a free copy of this ARC through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest!

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“This book was everything that I wanted in a romantic suspense. I loved watching the development of Eve and Rhys’s relationship because both of these characters have a background filled with betrayal and heartbreak and neither one trusts easily.” The Reading Chemist

Click this link to purchase!* Cliff’s Edge (Solace Island Series Book 2)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: BookLoversCon #BLC19 Finale!

I’m sitting in line at the FedEx store waiting for it to open so I can mail home a box of books. I’ve whittled down the stash so that I am bringing the most anticipated, new to me authors, and swag. Most fit in my two bags but for a little 20 book pile. Oh to have those problems, right? This trip has been so much fun and I probably haven’t taken enough pictures to show but here’s a few.

Heather Graham showed up to the Historical Fiction party in her full Voo Doo regalia. She hosts an evening function with a different theme and kind of combo’d the historical dress with the VooDoo head gear. She was charming, beautiful and very down to earth. I loved this chance to chat briefly with her.

This picture shows the set up for most of the functions with one host per table. Some are themed-this was Entangled’s Candy and Spoons game. Always a very popular one as the winner walks away with a stack of about 15 new books. My sister was a lucky winner and her table got super rowdy! All in good fun but they pass out bandaids for a reason! Lol.

This picture shows my day two of swag. I received a few ARC’s at a Berkley Blogger party that I’m very excited about!

Book Fair! Some authors just show up for this super large signing. I took a couple of snapshots of a few I was excited to see!

Jasmine Guillory!

Susanna Kearsley!

Shannon K. Butcher/aka Anna Argent!

other big names including Kristen Ashley, Christina Lauren, Rebecca Zanetti, and so many more! It was overwhelming and fun!

This morning we end with a brunch which I hope to make but first priority mail those books!

Looking forward to next year when Booklovers Con will be in my city! Nashville!

Deborah

This Chick Read: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Dressed in a horrible green bridesmaid dress, Olive Torres figures it’s par for the course. After all, her twin sister Ami has always been the lucky one, winning contests, getting favorable jobs, and now marrying her dream guy. When the entire wedding party and guests get food poisoning with the exception of Olive and Ethan-brother to the groom, the tables are turned and Olive’s luck starts to change. When she and Ethan are offered the chance to take a free honeymoon in the place of the bride and groom, she has some misgivings but accepts. She’s always found Ethan to be somewhat of a bore, but figures she can suck it up for this chance in a lifetime vacation.

The Unhoneymooners has got it all going on! Humor, attraction, great dialog, and my favorite trope of enemies to lovers, what’s not to like? The exchanges between Olive and Ethan are really clever and outright funny. Olive is kind of a beautiful mess, but that mess is mostly in her own head. Written mostly from her POV, we get to see how her adorableness contrasts with how she views herself. That dichotomy really made me root for Olive! Not only didn’t I view her the same way she viewed herself, but could see a little bit of her in me, in her insecurity and self consciousness. I think a lot of readers will identify with her character and that will make her HEA even more sweet to read.

Ethan was a little harder to grasp, but I think that was because we were seeing through Olive’s eyes, and those eyes were a bit clouded. Once they cleared a little, Ethan was as good as it gets. Handsome, charming, and not as full of himself as Olive first believed. What won me over though was how funny they were together. The dialog in this novel was what made it work. Christina Lauren’s self deprecating humor struck a chord and I really did laugh out loud quite a bit!

If you are looking for a fast, fun, vacation bound book then you must give The Unhoneymooners a try out. If your own vacation is lacking that sizzle and spark -this novel will fire you right up! Plus give you a good laugh as well. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

I received an ARC of this novel through NetGalley for my honest review and I was honest!

Click this link to purchase!* The Unhoneymooners

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

Booklovers Con! #BLC19

The first two days at the Booklovers Con have come and gone and my good intentions to post pictures every day has fallen by the wayside because of my need for sleep. Sorry guys! However, today I’ll give you two days of pics to satisfy your book loving needs!

I’ve met some really great authors and taken a few pictures to share. The first night was the kick off party with a Jazz Fest theme, after all we are all in New Orleans! We paraded into the ballroom to a great jazz marching band.

There were authors stationed around the room and I bee-lined towards Christine Feehan to say hi and take her pic.

Christine Feehan!

I’ll admit that I didn’t want to stand in line for food but there were food trucks galore and the band was fab. My sister and I ducked out to eat at a little Vietnamese place we spotted down the street. Yum!

Thursday was chock full of events. A Harlequin author signing and Indie author soirée were fun! Although the lines…not so much. Lol.

Julia London! (On the right)
Rebecca Zanetti!
Ooohhh my feet!

I really learned a lot from a workshop for bloggers and publishers and will endeavor to meet some new goals!

The evening wrapped up with a pretty amazing Fairy gala with a full dinner. The costumes and decorations were pretty spectacular!

Packaging paper turned into a magnificent dress!

Gorgeous centerpieces!

My sister and I were VIP’s ( we won it in a lottery) and got to sit for dinner at a table with an author. I sat with the wonderful fantasy author C. L. Wilson and she sat with Amanda McIntyre. It was a great hour spent getting to know these authors.

At the end of the day I had a pretty good book haul! Not as much in the past and definitely a smaller amount of swag, but you know what? The experience has been so much better and more intimate!

This is only day 1’s book haul!

I’ll try to get out one more post possibly Sunday from the airport! We are packing in the fun at the BLC19!

Deb

Friday YA: Finale (Caraval #3) by Stephanie Garber

Finale is a story about the meaning of love and how that meaning changes for each of the characters in this story. Tella’s love for Legend is tested by her confusing feelings for Jacks and Scarlett’s love for Julian is never wavering but her definition of love changes when she uncovers some truths about her past. Both of their journeys are tested but eventually love conquers all, and in this novel you can’t take that statement literally.

Stephanie Garber continues with the beautiful prose from the first two novels. Each word is imbued with ribbons of color which seems appropriate to the theme of love that runs through this story. At times though her lyrical style seems to distract rather than draw attention to, and I’ll admit my mind wandered a bit. I found myself scanning back through the pages wondering what had happened since I last tuned in. I still enjoyed the story, but it took a really long time for it to reach a conclusion.

Tella and Legend continued their tale of unrequited love. If an immortal feels the emotions of love it turns them human and Legend fights his fears through most of their storyline. I found Jacks’ emotions the more interesting of the two men, since he gave into his obsession and seemed to turn Tella’s head with his feelings, even though those feelings were rather unhealthy.

Scarlett’s story with Julian remained unchanged, however her character grew a lot more than Tella’s did in this conclusion. She learned a lot about why she could see the color of other people’s emotions and how she dealt with that knowledge uncovered strengths that she previously hadn’t really shown. I cared a lot more for the resolution of her story than I did for her sister’s which seemed a lot more shallow a tale.

Finale was my least favorite book in the series, but part of that was that the newness had dulled slightly. Some new characters (the Fates) were introduced and time was spent allowing us to get to know a few of these characters so that it helped build more of an impact to the conclusion of the story. The end felt a little too pat for all of that prior build up, but I did feel like I got the conclusion that I wanted for these characters and I was left feeling pretty satisfied. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Finale: A Caraval Novel

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate