This Chick Read: Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts novel Shelter in Place deals with a subject that’s uncomfortable to read about, which is probably why I hadn’t picked it up since it’s release in 2018.

It was a normal evening in Portland, Maine. People shopping, eating, and catching a movie at their local mall when a few gunmen entered and created carnage like this town had never seen and the people who survived would never be the same. This story centers around Simone Knox and Reed Quartermaine two people who hadn’t known each other before this horrific event. Reed became a cop and quickly rose through the ranks to investigator when a Sheriff’s position became available on an island off the coast of Maine. An island where Simone Knox was living and creating her art. When a killer sets their sights on the survivors of the shooting Reed is ready to protect his island and the woman he’s grown to love.

In my opinion, Nora Roberts handled the tough subject of a mass shooting very well. The tense situation of the event itself was amped up not through gory details but through the emotions of the people whose eyes the reader was seeing through. A situation that we all hope to never be in and believe me, I read those scenes quickly because the thought of that was just too real. When the story advances into current time our main characters are adults, living their lives but not without problems from their past. Reed can’t let the past drop, and Simone is not able to forget all of the people who died. This is where the story really picks up. Really!

As with most Nora Roberts romantic suspense novels the relationship takes center stage and is heightened by the mystery. In Shelter in Place I almost feel the reverse. The mystery takes center stage and Simone and Reed’s relationship is secondary. Normally this would bother me, but this tale was pretty riveting from page 1 and the subject matter really emotional, I didn’t even notice. However, I did like our two main characters and unsurprisingly rooted for them to survive until the end.

If you are looking for a good romantic suspense novel and the subject matter of a mass shooting is not a deterrent, I’d pick up Shelter in Place. I read it while on vacation and found it to be the perfect mix of mystery and romance and a really wild emotional ride. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Shelter in Place

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

This Chick Read: Emerald Blaze (Hidden Legacy #5) by Ilona Andrews

Six months have gone by since Alessandro left her and Catalina’s broken heart has mended (so she says). As a Prime and head of her family Catalina tries to cope and finally resolves to lose herself in her family’s investigative firm’s caseload. While rescuing an emotional-support pet monkey she and her team are attacked by some amphibious beasts who seem to be controlled by a plant/mechanical device. When she gets called to duty as the deputy to the Warden of Texas, Catalina dives into that investigation finding that the two are connected. When called in for a client meeting she comes face to face with, you guessed it, Alessandro Sagredo, their representative. Unsurprisingly he muscles in on her investigation and they are forced to work side by side. Catalina’s plan? To be professional and distant, but unfortunately she’s facing a new Alessandro. One who is determined to protect her and to win her heart.

Oh goodness, I love this series so much! Emerald Blaze does for Catalina what the three earlier books in the series did for her older sister Nevada. It makes you look past the superficial to see an honorable, tough young woman who’s easy to adore, in part because she doesn’t cave in to everyone’s demands. Finding her own path through grit and determination. The Hidden Legacy series, set in a Houston where magic is power shows how this smaller house (Baylor), and Catalina as its Prime, navigate the house politics while staying independent and increasing their own worth. That’s all fascinating to read, but then when you throw in a hero who is a dichotomy to his outward screen idol facade, and who is determined to protect that heroine? You are guaranteed fiery dialog and sizzling chemistry, and a fun plot that makes those pages flip by too quickly.

Ok, ok, what can I say about this plot. Well, this plot is too intricate to attempt to describe so I’ll just say that as their investigation moves forward the romance takes a back burner and the mystery becomes what I’m truly interested in seeing. Yes, their chemistry is great, but it’s this magical world that Ilona Andrews has created that holds my attention. It’s the supporting characters that give our main characters depth and emotion. Emerald Blaze is not a surface piece of fluff, despite what the cover looks like, there’s actually a lot of meat in the story, and the plot definitely holds my attention.

If you are a fan of this series and are wondering if Nevada and Conner have any part in this novel, the answer is yes. Nevada is actually around for a good portion and as with any favorite characters, it was so good to see her, but Catalina and Alessandro were the stars in Emerald Blaze and really I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Looking towards the future a third book is on the horizon. An underlying story arc was not completed in this book and I’m eager to see how they finish it out! Let’s hope they write quickly! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Emerald Blaze: A Hidden Legacy Novel

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (8/24/2020)

Another busy weekend! We held a social distanced yard sale this weekend with everyone wearing masks. It was kind of a trip! Normally masked people milling around your yard would give you pause, but these are strange times! I didn’t spend a lot of time reading this weekend, but I did finish up an audiobook that I’d been listening to and started an ARC that I need to review since the book comes out this week. Time to share those with you!

This post originated over on Book Date, so thanks for the idea and letting me continue on the discussion about what books I am reading.

JUST FINISHED

I love this fantasy series and lately I’ve really enjoyed re-visiting favorites by listening to their audiobook. This story is about a woman who does not have super powers, just a talent to find the right path, and of course she finds a lot of adventure and a little love while traversing that trail.

Click this link to purchase!* Mist’s Edge (The Broken Lands Book 2)

JUST STARTED

I’m about 25% into Where Dreams Descend, a fantasy novel about a world filled with magic and magicians. It’s very reminiscent of Caraval, which I loved. We’ll see….

Click this link to purchase!* Where Dreams Descend: A Novel (Kingdom of Cards (1))

I’m still on a fantasy bend, but have some light rom-com’s in my future! What book is helping get your week kick-started?

Happy Reading!

Deb

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: My Top 5 Most Anticipated Book Releases – Sept’20

For those of you who don’t know how I choose my most anticipated books each month I use Google’s list of most popular releases based upon how often people that choose book as “want to read”. I usually skim through the list for the books that appeal to my taste or if I’m lucky a book that one of my favorite authors has coming out. Surprisingly in September there were quite a few that I’d already marked as wanting to read, but alas, no favorite authors, although there were quite a few that I’ve enjoyed in the past. Here are my 5 most anticipated book choices for next month.

#5 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

I like YA novels that deliver a great message and this one appeals to me a lot. I’m looking forward to this story and this new to me author!

Synopsis:

Olivia “Liv” James is done with letting her insecurities get the best of her. So she does what any self-respecting hot mess of a girl who wants to SMASH junior year does…

After Liv shows up to a Halloween party in khaki shorts—why, God, why?—she decides to set aside her wack AF ways. She makes a list—a F*ck-It list.

1. Be bold—do the thing that scares me.

2. Learn to take a compliment.

3. Stand out instead of back.

She kicks it off by trying out for the school musical, saying yes to a date and making new friends. Life is great when you stop punking yourself! However, with change comes a lot of missteps, and being bold means following her heart. So what happens when Liv’s heart is interested in three different guys—and two of them are her best friends? What is she supposed to do when she gets dumped by a guy she’s not even dating? How does one Smash It! after the humiliation of being friend-zoned?

In Liv’s own words, “F*ck it. What’s the worst that can happen?”

A lot, apparently.

Click this link to purchase!* Smash It!

#4 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

I love a great fantasy action adventure and that is what this synopsis sounds like it will deliver. It looks to be a fun ride!

Synopsis:

A girl’s quest to find her father leads her to an extended family of magical fighting booksellers who police the mythical Old World of England when it intrudes on the modern world. From the bestselling master of teen fantasy, Garth Nix.

In a slightly alternate London in 1983, Susan Arkshaw is looking for her father, a man she has never met. Crime boss Frank Thringley might be able to help her, but Susan doesn’t get time to ask Frank any questions before he is turned to dust by the prick of a silver hatpin in the hands of the outrageously attractive Merlin.

Merlin is a young left-handed bookseller (one of the fighting ones), who with the right-handed booksellers (the intellectual ones), are an extended family of magical beings who police the mythic and legendary Old World when it intrudes on the modern world, in addition to running several bookshops.

Susan’s search for her father begins with her mother’s possibly misremembered or misspelt surnames, a reading room ticket, and a silver cigarette case engraved with something that might be a coat of arms.

Merlin has a quest of his own, to find the Old World entity who used ordinary criminals to kill his mother. As he and his sister, the right-handed bookseller Vivien, tread in the path of a botched or covered-up police investigation from years past, they find this quest strangely overlaps with Susan’s. Who or what was her father? Susan, Merlin, and Vivien must find out, as the Old World erupts dangerously into the New.

Click this link to purchase!* The Left-Handed Booksellers of London

#3 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

I LOVED the first novel in this series and have to admit that I am so looking forward to sitting down for a fun read with this book. This is a historical romance but Evie Dunmore surprised me with the depth and detail she included previously and I hope she does the same in this book. Can’t wait!

Synopsis: A lady must have money and an army of her own if she is to win a revolution—but first, she must pit her wits against the wiles of an irresistible rogue bent on wrecking her plans…and her heart.
 
Lady Lucie is fuming. She and her band of Oxford suffragists have finally scraped together enough capital to control one of London’s major publishing houses, with one purpose: to use it in a coup against Parliament. But who could have predicted that the one person standing between her and success is her old nemesis and London’s undisputed lord of sin, Lord Ballentine? Or that he would be willing to hand over the reins for an outrageous price—a night in her bed.
 
Lucie tempts Tristan like no other woman, burning him up with her fierceness and determination every time they clash. But as their battle of wills and words fans the flames of long-smoldering devotion, the silver-tongued seducer runs the risk of becoming caught in his own snare.
 
As Lucie tries to out-maneuver Tristan in the boardroom and the bedchamber, she soon discovers there’s truth in what the poets say: all is fair in love and war…

Click this link to purchase!* A Rogue of One’s Own (A League of Extraordinary Women)

#2 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

I read this writing duo’s Unearthed and Undying and enjoyed that sci-fi world. The Other Side of the Sky looks like a fantasy novel and well, you know I’m a sucker for a great fantasy series!

Synopsis:

Prince North’s home is in the sky, in a gleaming city held aloft by intricate engines, powered by technology. Nimh is the living goddess of her people on the Surface, responsible for providing answers, direction—hope.

North’s and Nimh’s lives are entwined—though their hearts can never be. Linked by a terrifying prophecy and caught between duty and fate, they must choose between saving their people or succumbing to the bond that is forbidden between them.

Click this link to purchase!* The Other Side of the Sky

MOST ANTICIPATED SEPT’20 BOOK

You know when you read a romance that’s light, funny, and kind of quirky and the end just leaves you feeling happy? That’s how Well Met, the first novel in this series made me feel. After that, I can’t help but look forward to reading this book when it’s released!

Synopsis: Stacey is jolted when her friends Simon and Emily get engaged. She knew she was putting her life on hold when she stayed in Willow Creek to care for her sick mother, but it’s been years now, and even though Stacey loves spending her summers pouring drinks and flirting with patrons at the local Renaissance Faire, she wants more out of life. Stacey vows to have her life figured out by the time her friends get hitched at Faire next summer. Maybe she’ll even find The One.
 
When Stacey imagined “The One,” it never occurred to her that her summertime Faire fling, Dex MacLean, might fit the bill. While Dex is easy on the eyes onstage with his band The Dueling Kilts, Stacey has never felt an emotional connection with him. So when she receives a tender email from the typically monosyllabic hunk, she’s not sure what to make of it.
 
Faire returns to Willow Creek, and Stacey comes face-to-face with the man with whom she’s exchanged hundreds of online messages over the past nine months. To Stacey’s shock, it isn’t Dex—she’s been falling in love with a man she barely knows.

Click this link to purchase!* Well Played

Now that you all know the books I’m looking forward to reading after their release next month, please let me know if there’s a favorite of yours that I need to keep on my radar!

Happy Reading!

Deb

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase a book through one of the above links I’ll receive a small stipend.

Friday YA: Kind of a Big Deal by Shannon Hale

Josie Pie’s life peaked when she was in high school. Popular because of her gift for musical theater she dreamed of going on to become a big Broadway star. A dream that seemed all to real when her theater teacher got her an audition for a production in New York. Dropping out of high school to take that chance, Josie discovers that she may not be that big a deal as she thought. So, she escapes into books to live her life vicariously through the characters she reads and to forget about her own life’s problems.

When I read the synopsis about a girl who lives through the character’s she’s reading in books, I thought aha! Josie Pie may actually be a little like all of us voracious readers who try to escape their own realities by reading way too many books. However, Kind of a Big Deal took a twist in a direction I wasn’t expecting. This novel veers from ya contemporary into a ya fantasy, where as she lives each life, it becomes harder for her to leave the novel. Of course there are reasons for this that I can’t go into in this review, but it’s an interesting twist that may have saved this novel from being a little too safe.

Like a lot of teenage girls, Josie is a very self-centered character. To be fair, she’s self-centered because she has so many insecurities and a rather unhappy home life, but she has a LOT of things to work through in this novel. What I like the best is how each character she becomes gives her strength and allows her to see how she’s taken for granted all the people who supported her in the past, but she’s figuring out that part of becoming an adult is facing your past mistakes, owning up to them, and making the decision to improve yourself moving forward. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but this author does so in an original way that’s very entertaining.

Shannon Hale has produced a novel that skirts two genre’s but stays true to the lesson she’s trying to teach the reader. Growing up is hard! Being an adult does not mean that you know what the heck you’re doing and that you never make a mistake. We learn lessons throughout our lives and unfortunately have to keep owning up to our mistakes. It’s easy to escape into a book and living out happily ever after over and over again, but real life is about owning up to your decisions, making the best of them, and hopefully being happy while you’re doing that. Josie Pie may have been Kind of a Big Deal, but there’s more to life than high school, and you just have to keep on living it to see what’s next to come. If you like a mix of fantasy and reality in your young adult reading, I think you’ll like how Shannon Hale chose to deliver this lesson in Kind of a Big Deal. ❤️❤️❤️❣️

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest!

Click this link to purchase!* Kind of a Big Deal

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you should purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

This Chick Read: Broken Soul (Jane Yellowrock #8) by Faith Hunter

Leo Pelissier, the Master of the City of New Orleans hires Jane to update his security in advance of a delegation of Vampires arriving from Europe. Jane agree’s, after negotiating a very large sum. As she’s training and improving upon his defenses they come under attack by a creature of light who tries to kill both she and Leo. As Jane investigates this outside threat she undergoes a transformation that makes her even more fearsome than before.

Each Jane Yellowrock installation uncovers something new, which after eight books is a huge accomplishment. She is still fierce, but she’s allowing herself attachments that make her a little softer on the inside. Her relationship with Alex and Eli Younger, her partners in Yellowrock Investigations has really helped evolve her character, making her multi-dimensional. In Broken Soul, she also allows herself a little romance again. Her ex- Rick LaFleur is now out of the picture and George aka “Bruiser” has wooed her as only a gentleman could. (sigh.) I lived for those scenes when he’d say beautiful things to her and she’d blush. It’s so unlike her kick butt character and that contrast was so very effective.

The threat in this novel is seen only by Jane and her ‘beast’. It travels through the grey dimension that Jane traverses when she shifts and is somehow attracted to her. As the story evolves a little more is revealed about what it is, which ties to a character in PsyLED who I’ve been very curious about, the beautiful and bold Soul. Since I’m reading this series following the Soulwood series (instead of the reverse as should happen), I’ve been curious about Soul’s history and in this novel, aptly titled Broken Soul, we find out a LOT more.

Did curiosity kill the cat? Well, in almost every book Jane faces death, but somehow avoids that final death blow. So, no. BUT, she does get hurt, her character grows and evolves, and she still has to face that delegation from Europe. So it could still happen! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this book to purchase!* Broken Soul (Jane Yellowrock Book 8)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (8/17/2020)

Today’s my husbands birthday, so I need to give him a shout out, just in case he reads this. Happy birthday! I spent a lot of time cooking this weekend and while cooking I finished an audiobook and then started up a new one. Both are fun fantasy novels. I like a little action adventure while I’m moving around the kitchen!

This post originated over on Book Date, so thanks for the idea and letting me continue on the discussion about what books I am reading.

JUST FINISHED

Ah Jane Yellowrock. I do love to listen to this series and imagine that it’s me kicking vampire butt and saving New Orleans. This series is so much fun!

JUST STARTED

If you haven’t read this series by T.A. White, then you should pick this book up. It’s a fantasy series, but our does not have super powers, she is just extraordinarily resourceful and always willing to try to do the right thing. This is my second go round on this series, and the first listening to it on an audiobook. It’s just as good the second time!

Now that you know what book I’m currently reading. What’s book is going to get your week started off right?

Happy Monday!

Deb

The Reading Chick Also Bakes: Blueberry-Buttermilk Bundt Cake

I don’t know about you but I have been baking a LOT since this whole COVID thing started. I like to use the ingredients I have on hand, I put in my ear buds, start up a book and putz around in the kitchen for an hour. That’s what I did on Friday anyway. I had the day off work and thought this Blueberry-Buttermilk Bundt cake sounded great for breakfast the next day. I’ve been making this particular cake for about 17 years. I know, right? It’s a tried and true, delicious cake. I found the recipe in Bon Appetit magazine in 2004 and have been making it ever since. I prefer it for breakfast since it has the consistency of a muffin, but really any time of day is great!

What I really like about this recipe is that I usually have everything on hand. Frozen blueberries, an orange, and the buttermilk are the standouts in this cake. The orange is zested into the creamed sugar mixture and really adds a nice orangey punch to the blueberry flavor. They only ingredient I may not have on hand is the buttermilk. This time I did, but usually I just make it myself by adding a TBSP of white vinegar to a cup of milk. It’s that easy!

After you mix your flour, baking soda, and salt set it aside to cream your butter, sugar, orange zest, eggs, and vanilla. Now, blend in your flour alternating it with the buttermilk. Once that’s all mixed together you add in your frozen blueberries and vôilá! You have a nicely shaded purple batter. That color mostly cooks out, which is a shame because it’s really pretty in the pan.

I was going to save this cake for breakfast on Saturday but my sister came downstairs upset over a friend quitting at work and you know what? A piece of cake is just the thing to make you feel better. Shhh. No lectures, please! Anyway, she got that first slice and you know how that goes…. once the cake is cut it’s open season for taking a slice!

I finished it off with a nice sugary glaze made with some ground up caster sugar and the juice from the orange (zest) I used in the cake. It tastes just as good as it looks, promise!

I have this little series of books that I write and tape recipe’s into if I’ve found one in a magazine, on Pinterest, or one given to me by a friend. I’ve been collecting recipe’s in these books for years. As you can see below. If you blow up the picture, maybe you can make this one yourself! Maybe not, my handwritings a mess. I’ve looked up the link for you just in case you’d like to try it yourself.

Bon Appetit- Blueberry-Buttermilk Cake

I hope you enjoy one of my favorite recipe’s!

Deb

Friday YA: Lucky Caller by Emma Mills

Nina’s dad is a morning show host for a radio program so taking a radio broadcasting class her senior year should be easy, right? Well, the people who end up partnering with her to run their own radio broadcast are a group of misfits and include her neighbor and childhood friend Jamie, who she had been successfully avoiding and had hoped to continue to do so until she left for college. It quickly becomes apparent their show is a mess, their host doesn’t have any chemistry on air, and somehow they have two different musical groups fans engaging in a whisper campaign that could end up making their final project a complete failure. Somehow they’ve got to make this all come together!

Emma Mills is very good at drawing me into a story. This one about a high school radio broadcast could have been a very boring tale, but somehow the characters came alive, the dialog became witty, and I wanted to know not only the mystery of what happened between Nina and Jamie, but also what would happen to their final project. Would her father show up and speak or would he be a deadbeat dad. Emma Mills got those hooks in me and did not let go until I was caught hook, line, and sinker.

Now, I am not going to give away any part of the plot because it was very deftly written and truly just a lot of fun to read. What I will say is that Lucky Caller took me by surprise. I loved the family drama, her mom’s fiancé, and the bits with the fans from those two bands who dreamed of meeting their hero’s in person. It was all a little over the top, but you know what? It just worked! This was a fun little bit of drama that I know readers of all ages will enjoy. I would know since I’m well beyond the YA target this book was written for, but I loved how it engaged my imagination and let me draw comparisons to my own teenage life.

What was my favorite part of this story? There were just so many good ones. I really liked the realness of what had happened between Nina and Jamie’s friendship. That arc definitely took me back to my own poor choices. Was it the odd mix of friends that had nothing in common who totally jelled? I did really enjoy their exchanges and moments of verbal brilliance. Really I just think Lucky Caller was a well-rounded bit of contemporary writing. Emma Mills just consistently delivers!

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Lucky Caller

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase the book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

This Chick Read: Kaleidoscope (Colorado Mountain Series #6) by Kristen Ashley

Jacob Decker used to be in love with Emme’s best friend. For years the three of them were in each others lives, until one day Emme’s friend broke up with Deck, and Emme broke up with her best friend. Emme has a heart of gold and Deck (Jacob to Emme) was that guy for her, but she would never cross that line, so she left him behind too. She moved to a different town, changed her look, and created a life for herself. One day, in that town she runs into Jacob.

I read Kaleidoscope and this Colorado Mountain series quite a few years ago, and purchased the ebook when Amazon put it on sale a couple of weeks ago. I was in a reading slump, not liking anything I was picking up, and had memories of this novel, of liking this novel, and thought it might do the trick in getting me out of that slump. It did.

Emme and Jacob’s story, while not as great as I remember, was really good. Written earlier in Kristen Ashley’s career before she turned towards a more erotica feel to her books, Kaleidoscope had a plot, a sweet love story, and a heated romance. Deck, or Jacob, as Emme calls him, has had a part in many of the previous novels so we’re familiar with him as a PI and Alpha tough guy. Emme, while a new character, brought out a side of Deck that we hadn’t previously seen. The softer, sweeter side. As soon as he sees Emme again, he knows this is it. She took a little longer to come around, although not that much longer! I enjoyed watching them reconnect and then fall in love.

Kaleidoscope is one of the simpler tales by this author. Although there’s a brush with danger, for the most part, it’s a love story. We get to know these characters, and see how their past lives have shaped them into who they were today. I liked their transitionary tale of friends to lovers, and more importantly, I just liked the two of them in general.

If you’re looking for a solid romance novel, give Kaleidoscope a try. Even though it’s the sixth book in the series, it features the two of them almost exclusively and even with a peak at some of the other characters in the series I don’t think you’ll have too much trouble with any previous story arc’s. These are a great group of characters, so if you like this one, go back to the start and read Gamble, the first in the series! It’s really a fun story. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this novel!* Kaleidoscope (Colorado Mountain Series Book 6)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you should purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.