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

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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

This Chick Read: The Good Luck Charm by Helena Hunting

Lilah and Ethan have been best friends since they were six years old. High school sweethearts, Ethan goes off to college on a hockey scholarship with plans for Lilah to join him when she graduates the following year. Instead, he gets drafted by the NHL and dumps Lilah over the phone and they never see each other again. Eight years later, Ethan’s dad has a stroke and is in the hospital where Lilah is a nurse. Ethan takes this chance to be close to Lilah again, now that he’s been transferred to her hometown hockey team. In his eyes they were so good together and he wants that magic back, but does he want it for them? Or to make his hockey career successful again?

Helena Hunting really knows how to write sizzling scenes, and the Good Luck Charm has a ton of them. She is also great at emotional encounters, and it’s those that stick with you after you finish reading this romance. It was so easy to love Lilah. When she see’s Ethan for the first time in eight years on the same day her divorce papers are signed she is floored. Ethan was the love of her life and he broke her heart. She is not quick to forgive him and he has to work really hard to win her back.

Ethan has also had a tough time, but well, he’s in the NHL so how hard could that be? It is tougher to like him as he was the one that wronged Lilah, but when he reveals everything that was going on at the time and the pressure he felt you kind of understood. The problem was that he wanted to go back to the way things were, and Lilah was not that person anymore.

I really enjoyed this book but it was also kind of hard to read. I’ll try to explain. I understood both of these characters, but they wanted things to be the way they used to be and to make up for all that lost time that it shaded my feelings for them as a couple. They were both kind of desperate for each other and that was the hard part to read. When the conflict happened, I thought finally! Let’s get some resolution to that plot line. Which doesn’t mean I didn’t like the book, I did. I just didn’t want all of that handsy glomminess. LOL. I still gave it a four rating though. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

The book above sounds kind of cute (and I know this shouldn’t matter but the cover is adorable). The blurb is the reason that I put it on my TBR and requested it from the library….What I got instead was a shallow, plot-less novel that has practically nothing at all to do with hockey & just seemed to me to be boring scenes interspersed with a lot of doing it.Velvet Spade Reads

The Good Luck Charm was a sweet and feel good second-chance romance and fans of Helena Hunting definitely won’t be disappointed” The Romance Corner

Click this link to purchase!* The Good Luck Charm

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? (5/13/19)

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!

JUST FINISHED

FInale (Caraval #3) by Stephanie Garber

First sentence read: “Scarlet Dragna’s bedroom was a palace built of wonder and the magic of make-believe.”

JUST STARTED

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

First Sentence Read: “In the calm before the storm- in this case, the blessed quiet before the bridal suite is overrun by the wedding party- my twin sister stares critically down at a freshly painted shell-pink fingernail and says, ‘I bet you’re relieved I’m not a bridezilla.'”

I literally just finished Finale and am still mulling over my thoughts. I can tell you that this first sentence in The Unhoneymooners excites me more than the ending of Finale. Hmm. Problematic? Yeah, maybe.

So, it’s Monday again, which means the start to a new week and another book. You know what I’m reading, but what book are you reading today? Let me know!

Deb

An ode to Mom- Mother’s Day 2019

I have this memory from when I was young where I was lost and reached out for the hand of a woman I thought was my mother. I think we were at the grocery store and I had wandered away from her, drawn by the mystic mint cookies or some other sweet I had loved. I raced back to the woman who I thought was my mother, held her hand and then looked up. That moment of shock and horror has stuck with me all these years. In my panic I quickly drew my hand out of the stranger’s and it wasn’t until my own mother called to me and I had my hand in her’s that I felt like I stood where I belonged, in safety. Sometimes I still look back on that moment of panic and wish that happiness came as easy as finding your mother in a crowded grocery store.

Now, older, my mother and I are living under the same roof again. After a tough day at work it’s comforting to know I’ll be walking through the door to hear her voice asking “how was your day?”. When I say “hi Mom” that same feeling of calm comes over me, if only for a brief moment before all of life’s burdens weigh me down again. There is something about being with your mom that takes you outside your own sphere of life and its fears, worries, and regrets. I hope to be able to walk in the door and say “hi Mom” for many years to come. It would be nice to capture that essence and carry it in a bottle for those days when she’s no longer there. Like capturing the sand from your beach vacation. Mom in a bottle. LOL.

I would like to wish my own mother a very Happy Mother’s Day. I don’t think I bring her the same kind of peace she gives me, but I hope that she feels the tremendous amount of love I have for her and isn’t scared by the big bottle I’m going to ask her to breath into.

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

Deb

My Mom.

Friday YA: Romanov by Nadine Brandes

The story of Anastasia Romanov has been re-written several times, including as a Disney musical. Romanov by Nadine Brandes puts a different twist to the possible survival of our favorite Russian princess. Given the task of carrying a magical relic through their captivity by the Bolshevik’s, we see a different side of Anastasia (Nastya) Romanov. Through her eyes, we see the fear, despair, and love that Nastya feels for her family and the hope that this matrushka doll she carries has a spell that can help her overcome all odds.

If Anastasia was anything like the Nastya on these pages, it was no wonder the world loved her. This Nastya was sassy, sweet, mischievous, and clever. A story that could’ve very easily been gray and dull was filled with an ebullience and light because of her character. Not to say that there wasn’t a lot of heartache in this tale because, of course, there was. However, her character embodied hope and determination and as the reader, I couldn’t help but buy into this alternate ending to the traumatic end to the Russian dynasty.

If I had anything critical to say about this novel it would be that I wished there’d been a little bit more magic and fantasy elements to the story. At the same time I was glad that the author kept the details historically accurate. Yeah, I know those two things kind of contradict one another, but I felt it was almost in the fantasy genre, but fell just short. I wasn’t too disappointed because I did get a happy-ish ending for Anastasia which she most likely didn’t get in real life.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“I was disappointed by this book because it has so many things that I did enjoy, the writing style, the magic system, the characterisation, the pacing – all of these things were great. But I couldn’t get past the things that Brandes opted to bring to the forefront (the romance).” Chain Interaction

“I loved this tale of the Romanovs. The magical elements provided a source of hope in really dark times ant the story revolves around the importance of family. I was a little hesitant to picked this up because I knew how the Romanovs met their demise, but Nadine Brandes’ story telling made this sad story a hopeful one instead.” Devouring Books


Click this link to purchase!* Romanov

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chicks Sunday Commentary (Yes, I know it’s Wednesday!): April ’19 Wrap Up!

I feel like I just did my March wrap up, the days are just flying by too fast. April was a solid month for reading. I finished 17 books, including a few audiobooks and feel like I’m making progress on my stack of ARC’s. Do you ever feel like you’ve overcommitted yourself? Me too! I hate it when my favorite authors all have books coming out on the same day. Yet, I love it at the same time. It’s a love hate thing. LOL. Anyhow, here is what you missed if you haven’t been keeping track of The Reading Chick!

GREAT APRIL READS!

Pretty Face (London Celebrities #2) by Lucy Parker

I blew through the rest of this series in the month of April, but this book was my favorite!

“I think I wrote on Goodreads that I am now obsessed with Lucy Parker novels. I really am. Her stories could so easily be fluffy romances, but they aren’t! They are well written, her characters are rock solid and the build up in the romance is riveting to read. Her dialog isn’t too shabby either, it’s actually really fun!”

Full Tilt by Emma Scott

I actually read this book a couple months ago but had to clear my thoughts before writing the review. It was soo good, yet emotionally wrenching.

“I have never read a novel by Emma Scott, but after reading Full Tilt I know I will definitely be looking through her backlog for my next fix. Full Tilt was heavy, dark, desperate, uplifting, sad, and joyous. By the third chapter I was all in and I think I must’ve gone through a box of Kleenex while rooting for this couple to overcome the odds.”

Love Hacked (Knitting in the City series #3) by Penny Reid

Every time I read a book in this series I say, THIS is my favorite! I definitely chanted that mantra after reading Love Hacked.

“Needless to say, I loved this novel. I had picked it up so many times and put it down. I’m not sure why and am kicking myself for not enjoying their story before now. However, sometimes those novels that surprise you with their strength and your emotional impact to them are read when you need to read them. This was the perfect time for me.”

BLOGGER TO BLOGGER SERIES

We all met a few interesting bloggers this month on my series Blogger to Blogger. If you haven’t had a chance to read their interviews, please check them out!

Tina @ Reading Between the Pages

Kyle and Hannah @ But, First, Fiction

I am mulling over putting my Blogger to Blogger series on hiatus. If you would like to be featured, please contact me and let me know, and I’ll fit your blog in before I take a break.

THIS CHICKS SUNDAY COMMENTARY

Part of the reason I want to take a break from Blogger to Blogger is to spend more time coming up with topics for my Sunday discussion posts. I’ll admit, with a full time job it’s hard to find the energy, but I want to do better. Here are my posts from last month. If you missed any please click the links below to check them out.

March’19 Wrap Up!

My May’19’s Most Anticipated Releases

Happy Easter from the Reading Chick!

MAY’S TBR PILE

OH, Boy! I know I mentioned above that I’m backed up a little bit on my ARC’s. As you can see from this NetGalley snapshot, there are several releases that are all on the same day! Usually I try to space them out, but either I wasn’t paying attention or was overcome with greed at the thought of reading all of these great novels. I have read Romanov already (review to come this week!), but need to start on Finale to stay on track.

THEN you have the books on my Kindle that I’ve purchased, like Kristen Ashley’s FREE and Slow Burn, and my library books that are about to expire like Daisy Jones and the Six, and well, you get the problem!

On top of that my sister and I are going to the Booklovers Con in New Orleans 5/15-5/19! Woo-Hoo! Expect to see a daily post from me regarding all of the authors I will see and the fun activities to be had! I’m excited about that trip, but conventions don’t leave a lot of time for reading. LOL. Oh well, c’est la vie!

May looks to be a much more exciting month than April, and I can’t wait to read ALL of these books! LOL. (yeah right!)

Are you sitting on a big pile of ARC’s too? Give me a shout in the comments section and let me know I’m not the only one in this boat!

Until next Sunday, (or Wednesday, Tuesday or Saturday…)

Deb

This Chick’s Audio Review: Kill the Queen (Crown of Shards #1) by Jennifer Estep

When I read the synopsis and saw Gladiator meets Game of Thrones I just knew I had to read this novel! It was a very apt description. Kill the Queen is an action fantasy adventure novel that follows our heroine Lady Everleigh from the halls of the Queen’s castle to the dorms of a Gladiator troop. Seventeenth in line for the throne and virtually ignored by the royal family due to her lack of magical talent, Evie finds herself the sole survivor of her cousin Vasilia’s royal coup and the assassination of the Queen. Escaping the scene, Evie hides out in plain sight as a member of a traveling Gladiator troop filled with ex guards of the just assassinated Queen.

I listened to the audiobook of this novel narrated by Lauren Fortgang who did a fabulous job featuring different voices for a very lengthy list of characters. She imbued the plot with excitement, not losing any of the tension in these action packed scenes. I will definitely be looking at other books narrated by Lauren Fortgang.

Evie was a heroine that showed such tremendous growth in character that by the conclusion of the novel you were completely on her side wanting to see her as the champion of every scene. Her evolution included her own realization that her lack of power was in itself very powerful making her the ultimate underdog, and I do love rooting for the underdog. The novel was imbued with colorful characters for Evie to interact with, even a light love interest that may develop in future novels, but really it was her friendship with all of these characters that gave this novel a lift. Evie was the girl who had only one or two close companions when she lived in the castle but by the end of the book she had a dozen new friends who had her back.

I am a big fan of Jennifer Estep’s YA Mythos Academy series because I have a fondness for fantasy action novels. Kill the Queen was right in my sweet spot and when I finished I immediately gushed about it to anyone that would listen to me. If you like fantasy novels you MUST read Kill the Queen it’s one of my favorite novels so far this year. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Kill the Queen (A Crown of Shards Novel)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate