Friday YA: First & Then by Emma Mills

Only child Devon Tennyson has had her world changed. Her cousin Foster has come to live with she and her parents and now she has the little brother she never wanted. Her safe world has turned upside down and changes are on the horizon, her safe crush on her best friend Cas is pushed to the back burner by first, her cousin Foster, and second by all star quarterback Ezra. Being teamed with both of them in her P.E. class starts a chain of events that changes her world.

I have read one other Emma Mills story, Foolish Hearts. Whereas that novel was different than this one, there was one similarity that I enjoyed seeing adapted again. Both of the female main characters were plodding along and their young worlds got shook up. In First & Then the catalyst is her cousin Foster. His childhood circumstances were heartbreaking and whereas Devon was empathetic, it took Ezra befriending Foster for her to see the big picture and open her heart to enfold Foster into her life.

Devon’s love for Jane Austen is mentioned quite a few times in this novel and you can’t help but make Pride & Prejudice comparisons. Especially between Ezra and Darcy. Her view of Ezra as a snobby standoffish jock was similar to Elizabeth’s of Darcy. As with Pride and Prejudice, when Devon’s crush Cas is actually falling for another girl, it is Ezra who quietly steps in to make her feel good about herself. Albeit in a quiet, non communicative way. I really couldn’t wait until they got past all of the miscommunications and red herrings that were thrown into their path. A sign of a good story and the reader being invested in the relationships for sure!

If you enjoy YA contemporary’s with a hint of romance this novel is the perfect fit for you. Devon is a great leading heroine, but beware, Foster steals the show in this one. He is adorkably cute. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions From around the Blogosphere

This is a story of love and loss, friendship and family, the high school experience. It’s also about a town and it’s love for football and tradition. It’s about the effects of drunk driving and addiction on the lives of those left behind. It’s a beautiful story of a girl who becomes less judgemental, more assertive and finds love.” My World of Books

“First & Then is a very cute, lovely, heartwarming, funny story about friendship and family, and figuring out what you want in life, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves contemporary YA, especially if they’re a bit sick of the large doses of romance in that genre.” The Reading Hobbit

Click this link to purchase!* First & Then

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

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This Chick Read: The Royal Runaway by Lindsay Emory

Being jilted at the altar would, well, suck. Being jilted at the altar when you are a princess and your wedding is going to be aired on live TV? I don’t think there’s a word that describes how Princess Theodora of Dreiden feels. After hiding away for a few months following the disappearance of her groom, she arrives back in Dreiden ready to put a good face on a bad situation. When she sneaks out one night to have a drink incognito at the local pub she meets dark and dangerous Scot, Nick who see’s right through her disguise and convinces her to look into why her fiance disappeared. As they investigate their attraction becomes a force that Thea can’t ignore. What she and Nick find out changes her future, but is that future with Nick? Or without him?

This novel wasn’t at all what I expected and I mean that in the best way possible! When you pick up a romance where princesses are involved, I don’t expect much more than a fun fantasy romance, but this story had a lot of meat and emotion! Thea was not your usual princess. Yes, she was dutiful, but she also rebelled against her princesshood by sneaking out and escaping the confines of her service. In this case she got more than she bargained for. She had thought she’d been jilted at the altar but as she and Nick start looking for her ex, the book adds in some intrigue, making this book a bit more romantic suspense than rom-com. I liked that twist!

Nick was ex military and very cryptic about who and why he was also hunting for her ex fiance. Surprisingly, Nick fought against his attraction to Thea. He was really focused, but she was nothing like he’d imagined she’d be. Nick, I found her surprising too! Those little surprise character traits were why I liked Thea so much and really rooted for her to find happiness. Even if it was with somewhat surly and slightly hesitant Nick. He was a man that didn’t like his agenda messed with, and Thea kind of rocked to the beat of her own drum.

If you’re looking for a romance with a little more depth, I think this one actually hits that nail on the head. I mean it’s no Jason Bourne meets Anne Hathaway from the Princess Diaries, but it does have a nice mix of action, emotion, and heat. Actually, I could see Matt Damon in the role of Nick, but I’m not sure he’s do a very good Scottish accent. Hmmm, maybe Gerard Butler? Anywho, pick this one up. I think you’ll be surprised and really like it too! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“I loved reading about an empowering female character; sure, she fell apart at first when she was left at the altar, but she picked herself right up and then did what it took to protect her country and her people and learns to walk a line between her royal duties and having freedom for herself. And this is a romance!!” Stephanie’s Novel Fiction

“I really enjoyed The Royal Runaway — it is the perfect escape for cold autumn nights! Whether you’re a longtime romance reader or looking for something new, I’d recommend picking this one up. This was my first book by Lindsay Emory and it certainly wont be the last.” I Should Read That

Royal

Click this link to purchase!* The Royal Runaway

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

* Amazon Associate

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: Uppercase Box Dec’18 Reveal!

I have mixed feelings about my last Uppercase Box reveal for 2018. I will be taking a brief hiatus from this subscription and won’t be posting these reveals until my finances get back on track and I can re-subscribe. I’ve really enjoyed receiving this monthly package and unveiling the surprises within. I hope you have too!

December’s Uppercase Box had some of my favorite swag. Check it out in the pictures below!

I loved the Ladies of Lit 2019 calendar. Each month has a pretty graphic with a quote from an author. I will definitely be using this little calendar, it’s sweet!

Giving this month’s subscription a Christmas theme, Uppercase included a wood carved ornament from Juniper & Ivy Designs called The Chronicles of Narnia Tree Ornament. Definitely one of my favorite series from childhood and really cute too!

None of these has anything to do with the actually book of the month, so no secrets revealed in the first two. Although this month’s book is a fantasy novel so the genre is reflected in the ornament above.

The December ’18 book is Amber & Dusk by Lyra Selene!

Synopsis:

Sylvie has always known she deserves more. Out in the permanent twilight of the Dusklands, her guardians called her power to create illusions a curse. But Sylvie knows it gives her a place in Coeur d’Or, the palais of the Amber Empress and her highborn legacies. 

But her hope for a better life is quickly dimmed. The empress invites her in only as part of a wicked wager among her powerful courtiers. Sylvie must assume a new name, Mirage, and begin to navigate secretive social circles and deadly games of intrigue in order to claim her spot. Soon it becomes apparent that nothing is as it appears and no one, including her cruel yet captivating sponsor, Sunder, will answer her questions. As Mirage strives to seize what should be her rightful place, she’ll have to consider whether it is worth the price she must pay.

So Sylvie sets off toward the Amber City, a glittering jewel under a sun that never sets, to take what is hers.

An extraordinary, vividly rendered YA debut.

This novel came out on November 27th and I haven’t heard of it, but I love the fantasy genre.

Have you read this novel? What did you think?

Until next Sunday!

Deb

Blogger to Blogger Series: An Interview with Eva @NovelDeelights

When you read Eva’s bio you can tell that she’s a lover of books, mostly crime novels and mystery’s. What I like the best is that her voice is really clear and she’s full of sass! I like a woman who has a sense of humor, especially when it’s directed at herself. Eva’s posts are fun to read, so if you haven’t checked out her blog yet, please click the link below!

Eva @ Novel Deelights

Let’s see how Eva answered my 10 questions!

Blogging is universal and even though we inhabit the same community, we don’t always live in the same country. What country do you live in?

I live in the north of Belgium, quite close to the border with the Netherlands.

What is the view outside your front door? 

I’m already cheating here but I have a good reason for it. There’s a building site across the street from me and a bunch of trucks blocking my driveway on a daily basis and really, who wants to see that? So, instead, I’ve taken a picture of my garden which is the view I have when I’m working on my blog or replying to emails.


Most blogs have a fun story of origin. Please share the story behind your blogs name and/or why you started blogging.

I’d been using my nickname “Dee” on the internet for years so I thought Novel Deelights was actually really clever. I didn’t realise until months later there’s another blog with a similar name. If I had, I would have tried to come up with something else.

As to why I started blogging, I didn’t really know it was a thing until some time in 2016 when I friended someone on Goodreads. I was in awe of her blog and we had so many books in common. She’s one of my dearest friends now as well. That’s when my itch sort of started. But it wasn’t until December of that year when I desperately tried to share my favourite ten books of the year via twitter that I thought there must be a better way of doing things and a few months later, my blog was born.

Describe where you write your blog. Include a picture if you’d like!

At the weekend, when my other half is at home, I’ll be at my dining room table with the view of the picture I shared for question 2. During weekdays, I’m sat very uncomfortably on my sofa with the laptop on the coffee table. This is because I have an incredibly needy dog who doesn’t like it when she can’t be right next to me.

Most of us have a stack of books sitting next to our couch or bed waiting to be read. What books are in your stack? 

I’m one of those who doesn’t have a stack persé. I do have a bookshelf where I put the books I’d like to read in the near future. It’s a bit of a mess. I also have a few more piles tucked away in a cabinet but I’m not showing that one. I may just die of embarrassment 😉

If you have had a bad day and want to spend an hour reading a book, what is your go to genre or favorite book that will lift your mood?

I’m all about crime fiction, whether I’m having a bad day or a good one, all year long. Although to be fair, if I was having a truly bad day, I’d probably end up binge-watching something on Netflix instead of picking up a book.

When you aren’t blogging, how do you spend your time? Work, Play, School?

Reading, mostly. Or buying books. That counts, right? Catch up on some tv shows or watch a movie. I’m also known to take out a few weeks to build some ridiculous big Lego thing. My husband bought the Star Wars Millennium Falcon a few months ago and that took me two weeks to do. Fun! And in between, household chores because the fairies are useless 😉

What is your favorite blog post you’ve ever written? 

Since I tend to only write reviews and I’m never happy with them once they’re published, that’s an impossible question to answer for me. So I’m going for my weekly wrap-up feature, which I post every Sunday. They’re a lot of fun to put together and also there ones where I seem to get the most interaction. This is the latest one : https://noveldeelights.com/2018/12/02/weekly-wrap-up-december-2/

Have you ever met one of your favorite authors? If so, what did you say to them? Looking back, what do you wish you had said instead?

I haven’t met any authors, no. That’s probably a good thing. I have no doubt I’d make a complete fool of myself. 😄

If you could sit down with an author for a slice of cake and a question,  who is the author, what kind of cake would you serve, and what is the first question you’d ask?

Wow. For the easy question, it has to be chocolate cake. Or cheesecake. Or maybe both. It’s good to have options. My favourite author is Karin Slaughter so I can’t not choose her but as to what to ask her, I have no idea. I’m so bad at these things. I’d be perfectly okay with her just telling me her life’s story so I can just sit and listen and not need to say a word.

Thanks so much Eva for sharing your story! The view you shared is so gorgeous that I don’t think I could get anything done besides sit and stare at it. I love seeing all of the bloggers different landscapes.

If you know of a blogger, or would like to answer these 10 questions and be featured on my blog, please reach out! 

Thanks for reading Blogger to Blogger!

Deb

A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3.1) by Sarah J Maas

A Court of Frost and Starlight is a novella where we get to catch up on all of our favorite characters setting the stage for the next novel.

Feyre and Rhysand continue their love story, but Feyre also learns how to deal with her grief from the last war in the balance in her new role as High Lady but also as one of the people who lost friends and loved ones. I liked seeing her personal growth. She and Rhys’ love story has stayed true but not evolved and I think she personally needed to grow for that to happen.

Nesta, who is becoming one of the more interesting characters shows a little bit more of her drama, not really advancing her character anymore but we are allowed to see a little interaction between she and Cassian which is interestingly dramatic. I can’t wait for more of their story!

We do catch up with most of our favorite characters as Feyre and Rhys host their first Winter Solstice party together. Think Christmas with the family but this family all like each other. All in all this was a solid set up to the next novel and I enjoyed look through the window into these lives, if only for the moment. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“I relished this book, because I absolutely adore the world Maas made, and she made sure to show it off with this book. I felt like she took the time to really show us how Velaris looked to her, and I loved that. The winter scenes felt truly magical and so vibrant, I couldn’t stop reading about the beautiful swirling snowstorms.” The Books Are Everywhere

“Overall, the novella was a cute fluffy piece, but by no means a proper instalment in the series in my eyes. Most of the time it felt like something you’d read in a fanfiction, but yeah. I would say to read it if you’re a fan of the ACOTAR world and love seeing the characters interact, but I wouldn’t say it’s a necessary piece in the series and you can also skip it if fillers aren’t really your thing.” The Scarlet Bookkeeper 

YA Fantasy

Click this link to purchase!*A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses)

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associates

This Chick Read: Luna and the Lie by Mariana Zapata

At seventeen Luna left her old life behind and disappeared to a new town. She meets Mr. Cooper the owner of an auto body shop and is mentored in everything automobile. The people in that shop become her family and Mr Cooper a father figure. When Mr. Cooper takes on a partner, Luna puts a smile on her face determined to be happy in the face of Ripley’s grumpiness. One day, Luna tells a lie for Ripley and he is determined to return the favor, to even the score. When Luna finally asks him for help it’s the start of a friendship and then so much more.

Mariana Zapata is the queen of slow burn romance novels where the build up of the relationship is 90% of the novel. Luna and the Lie didn’t detour from Zapata’s norm however it is a little bit of a darker novel than she usually writes. I wasn’t surprised by Ripley’s character. He is gruff, grumpy, and talks by grunting a lot. Pretty typical of her alpha male hero’s. What was surprising was how he had to overcome Luna’s, dare I say damaged (?), persona. Luna is determined to be happy and live the life she has always dreamed about. When I say determined, I mean she hangs onto that emotion with a fierceness I am just not used to seeing in a romance heroine. Ms. Zapata writes sassy, independent women, which I love! Luna is sassy and independent, but she also lives in her head a lot. Reminding herself of how she is loved, has a good job, and is happy. Repeatedly. Like she is talking herself into those things. When the relationship between Ripley and Luna finally happens, I am so happy that she is finally getting that dream that she’s been pursuing, and with a man that will love and protect her at the risk of his own life. 

This novel was one of my most anticipated releases in the latter half of this year and it did not disappoint. It did make me think. Ripley was an interesting character and although Luna’s thoughts and dreams revolved around him, he wasn’t the heart of this novel. Luna was. Ms. Zapata did such a great job of portraying Luna’s despair and hope that it was those emotions that I felt when the novel concluded. Yes, despair that the book was over and hope that she’ll write one quicker than the last, but also that hope that those who need love and security from others will find what their heart needs. Not all do in life, but in fiction we can write our own happy endings. The despair part is still sitting in my gut. This is a novel that will stick with you for a little while. It was wonderful, but it was also hard to read and yet I want to pick it up again immediatley because I believe that’s what I need to exorcise these feelings.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

If you’ve read this novel I’d love to hear if you had the same visceral reaction I did. Let me know!

Click this link to purchase!* Luna and the Lie

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: The Christmas Song book tag

It’s time to confess. Yes, last year I was nominated to do the Christmas Song book tag and I, well, I didn’t do it. I know! Before I knew it was Valentine’s Day and I couldn’t do a Christmas tag for V-day could I? Guess what? It’s Christmas and I can finally do this totally fun book tag. 

“You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch”- Name a villainous character you couldn’t help but love.

I think love is too strong a word but you know it’s a problem when your villain is more interesting than the hero. In this case, I was really hoping Mare would choose to just run away with Maven. Come on, I’m sure I’m not the only one?

“All I Want for Christmas is You”- Which book do you most hope to see under your Christmas Tree?

Mariana Zapata releases her own books on Amazon and has been promising this one for a few weeks now. I am constantly checking to see if it’s been loaded yet. It won’t be under the tree but it better be on my Kindle!

“Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”- Name a character that overcomes major obstacles and learns to believe in themselves.

Our main character always felt like the ugly sister, even though she was a twin (!). This book was funny, joyous, and even had a side love story. Really it was about accepting and seeing who you really are and can be. I loved this book!

“Santa Claus is Coming to Town”- a) Which character do you think would be on the top of the naughty list? b) Which character do you think would be at the top of the nice list?

I’m going for a combo answer on this one. Stella and Michael were both really nice people but when they got together? They were VERY naughty!

“Frosty the Snowman”- Which book just melts your heart?

OK, not your typical melt your heart book, I know! Both Charles and Anna are werewolves. Charles, the enforcer, has a gruff and scary exterior, while Anna as the Omega is soft and sweet. As a couple we have seen Charles soften through his protectiveness of his mate, and Anna become more self confident through her relationship with Charles. It is a wonderful series and these two do melt my heart. While also distributing justice and solving mysteries. 😉

“Feliz Navidad”- Choose a book that takes place in a country other than your own.

Love and Gelato is a sweet YA novel that takes place in one of my favorite countries, Italy. This is a coming of age novel, and yes they eat a LOT of pasta and gelato. Yum!

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”-Which holiday themed book do you use to spread the Christmas joy?

I haven’t read this one in years, but when I was little I loved Twas the Night Before Christmas. It really made the magic of Santa Claus come alive.

“Sleigh Ride”- Which fictional character would you choose to spend the holidays with?

Can you imagine how magical your Christmas might be if you spent it with Mary Poppins? She is practically perfect in every way!

“Baby It’s Cold Outside”- Which book that you didn’t like would you sacrifice to a fire to warm yourself up in the cold?

I just can’t even. Nope. Not going to burn a book even if I didn’t like it!

“Do You Hear What I Hear?”- Which book do you think everyone should read?

If you don’t recognize the above picture from the movie, I am choosing the book The Princess Bride. It is a wonderful fairytale-fantasy novel with amazing characters. It’s funny, emotional, sweet, and romantic. It’s not just a book for women, I know men who have loved it too!

This was a really fun themed book tag! If you should choose, please consider yourself tagged! I want to see your answers, so please  link it back to my blog.

I hope you enjoyed reading my answers. Have you read any of the books listed? What did you think of my answers?

Until next Sunday,

Deborah

This Chick Read: His Dark Magic (Northern Circle Coven #1) by Pat Esden

Chloe comes from a magical family but a tragic accident from her past has brought shame down upon her and she has escaped away to college in Vermont to re-evaluate and recover her self confidence. When she is approached by the handsome Devlin to come and check out the Northern Circle Coven Chloe is hesitant, but decides to take a chance and meet with them. She is excited to learn that their purposes align, to use magic to heal, and she agrees to join their group. 

Athena, the high priestess of the Northern Circle coven has an ancient relic that she wants the coven to use to bring Merlin back to life, saying that they’ll use his knowledge to make great discoveries in the medical field. Her purpose is actually quite a bit darker which gives this novel a malevolent feel turning it from a romance to a thriller.

I really liked a lot of the characters in His Dark Magic, but there was something holding me back from loving them. Chloe seemed tentative and even though she is taking a chance with joining them, she is fearful of her choice. It turns out her gut feelings were right, but I did rather wish she’d just owned that decision from the start. The surrounding characters, including her love interest Devlin were interesting and I wanted to know a lot more about them, however, the author chose to only give depth to Chloe’s character leaving the others feeling rather 2-D. 

I liked the idea of this book more than I actually liked the book. My feelings were pretty ambivalent which is too bad because it had so much promise! 

❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!*His Dark Magic

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

Friday YA: Almost Impossible by Nicole Williams

Jade, as the daughter of a rock star, has grown up on the road. Her mother’s career skyrockets and Jade wants to take a step back and spend the summer as a normal teenager. She goes to California to live with her aunt and uncle. Her aunt, her mom’s sister, is the complete opposite of Jade’s mom. They live in middle class suburbia and her aunt is solidly normal. Jade gets a job at the local pool, has a curfew, and kisses a boy for the first time. Ahh summer!

The set-up to this book is so YA, but when you get into the meat of it, there is a ton of depth to this story. Jade is living a normal teenage life for the first time, but the situations she finds herself in land her in the deep end of the pool for the first time. She meets and crushes on the head lifeguard, but doesn’t understand why this charming guy is so reserved. Quentin ends up being her neighbor and as the two of them develop a friendship she see’s that this fun guy has a very strong sense of responsibility that actually matches her own, but in a different way.

There was one story line which added to Jade’s story, but didn’t seem as pivotal as it probably should have. It did provide a mirror to Quinton’s, which was probably the purpose to it being included. Without going into details I’ll just say that it did make Quinton’s big reveal more impactful.

Almost Impossible was a sweet story about a girl who was looking for a change in scenery and actually found direction and a place for herself in this world. Something we can all aspire to find in our own life. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogospere

“This book didn’t do anything to me emotionally even after a couple of heavy discoveries, and it’s really unsettling. However I like that it has a great family concept, amazing support system and featured a couple of responsible young adults which is kind of rare.” The Bookynista

“I started this book with apprehension and ended it totally in love with it. I will definitely be recommending this one to people looking for a cute summer romance read.” Books in Her Eyes

YA Contemporary

Click this link to purchase!* Almost Impossible

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights REserved

*Amazon Associate