This Chick Read: The Blacksmith Queen (The Scarred Earth Saga #1) by G.A. Aiken

It has been awhile since I’ve read a novel by G.A. Aiken, but after my first few moments of WTF-ness I caught onto the rhythm of her magic and got swept along by the story.

As the Old King’s last breathe is uttered, his sons start slaughtering each other and every living relative in the hopes of being the last man standing and becoming the new Old King. A few of the brothers actually separate, hoping to gather enough soldiers to march and fight for the title when a prophesy that a queen will ascend the throne who is a farmer’s daughter waylays their plans. A race to find this girl, Beatrix, and either kill her or marry her to retain the title is foiled by the epic strength of her blacksmith sister Keeley.

Despite her almost god-like strength, Keeley is a simple woman. Family means everything to her and even though she’s thrilled at how this war is great for business, she doesn’t hesitate to fight for her families safety. Joined by the Amachai, a group of Centaur warriors, Keeley takes her sister Beatrix off to the Black Hills to be declared the girl who would be Queen, but in romantic fantasy nothing is ever as easy as it looks.

I loved Keeley’s heart, and her relationship to her sisters and family. They mean everything to her and she is an easy heroine to support and like. Even more I liked her mischievousness and humor. G.A. Aiken didn’t want a one dimensional heroine and her practical jokes and ready smile were her most likable characteristics. Caid, the Centaur romantic hero, was the perfect foil. Dark, brooding, and non-verbal, he couldn’t help but be taken with her and watching him slowly reveal more to his personality than the taciturn warrior was unexpected.

The Blacksmith Queen was an irreverent mix of fun swordsmanship (or hammer skills!), trash talking sisters, and a romantic adventure. Filled with Centaurs, dragons, trolls and elves, this novel has the beginnings of what could be an epic series. Be prepared to be surprised at the mix of modern slang with historic fantasy elements. At times it was a little confusing but if you throw all of your expectations out the window and enjoy each reveal you’ll have a blast reading this totally unique novel. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* The Blacksmith Queen (The Scarred Earth Saga)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

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This Chick Read: American Magic by Zach Fehst

When a video goes viral of an incantation that gives a normal person telepathic abilities a surge of magic using causes uprisings across the globe. The U. S. government calls on ex CIA agent Ben Zolstra to track down and uncover the secret society. From the US to Marrakesh, Ben and his team are fighting a race against time to find an unbinding that will stop the magic before society implodes. This fast paced thriller is a mix of Jason Bourne and Robert Langdon meets a grown up and evil Harry Potter. A curious compilation that kept me reading until it’s explosive ending.

Ben Zolstra left the CIA because he became disillusioned with their tactics in fighting terror. When he finds Mack-the woman in the video seen to float a car in the air and thinks her life may become in danger because of those same tactics he spirits her away and goes rogue. The two of them make for an unlikely partnership since he wants to stop magic, but Mack feels empowered for the first time in her life. The dichotomy of their race against time and their differing opinions cause an already tense plot to become just that little bit edgier. The government needs Mack to be on their side but is she really?

Their race around the world gave American Magic a Dan Brown feel and the secret society that was unveiled only confirmed that similar feel. That commonality allowed me to enjoy the ride because I kind of felt like I knew where I would land. Some might consider that a negative but I didn’t feel that way at all. There were enough differences that made American Magic stand on it’s own and I really enjoyed the exploration of how magic could change our reality.

❤️❤️❤️❣️

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

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

American Magic is a quick read that I believe fans of Jim Butcher and Simon Green will like. Although this debut didn’t quite meet my admittedly high expectations, I think Zach Fehst has the potential to become an exciting new voice in urban fantasy, and I’m interested in seeing what he comes out with next.By Hook or by Book

Click this link to purchase!* American Magic: A Thriller

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

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

This Chick Read: #Prettyboy Must Die by Kimberly Reid

#Prettyboy Must Die is an action adventure spy novel in a high school setting. Peter Smith, CIA operative, is undercover as a high school senior trying to find an international hacker that he’s tracked to this campus. While running late one night with his buddy Bunker, he’s caught with his shirt off, on camera by a freshman girl who posts it on Picturegram. (think fictional Instagram) Unbeknownst to Peter, the photo goes viral and blows his cover. Peter figures out he’s in trouble when a team of terrorists break through the roof of his chem lab and take his school hostage. How will Peter (real name Jake Morrow) save the day?

It was pretty obvious to me that this author’s inspiration was the Jason Bourne films and novels by Robert Ludlom. Matt Damon looked pretty young in the first movie, and that was the face I put to Peter Smith while reading this book. As Peter and his friend Bunker race around trying to save the other students in the school, as well as find the terrorists and incapacitate them, it was Matt’s face that helped give the visual more impact. The writing was fun, the action sequences written for a movie, but the characters fell a little flat. I think the action took away from the characterizations and unlike with Jason Bourne, I didn’t care too much what happened to Peter. (Although, I did like his friend Bunker a lot. HE was interesting!)

#Prettyboy Must Die was not a bad book though. The writing was great and there was some good dialog. It had a lot of promise but not a lot of heart. ❤️❤️❤️

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

Prettyboy

Click this link to purchase! Prettyboy Must Die: A Novel

Copyright 2017 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

This Chick Read: This Fallen Prey (Casey Duncan #3) by Kelley Armstrong

Rockton is a town in the middle of nowhere, completely off the grid with no electricity, email or internet. It has been established as a haven for people running away from their previous lives, most of whom were victims of some sort, although their histories aren’t revealed so a few are more threat than prey. When the council who decides who lives and leaves Rockton drops an unexpected guest in their laps, Detective Casey Duncan and her lover Sheriff Eric Dalton find themselves harboring a serial killer.

Is Oliver Brady a serial killer? Without being able to jump online and check out his story and background, Casey and Eric have to try to contain him safely in a town that wants nothing to do with him. This mystery was a classic is he or isn’t he, and when someone turns up dead and Brady goes missing this classic mystery turned into an action-adventure novel that I could envision in technicolor on the big screen.

This Fallen Prey is the third novel so we didn’t need the back story on Rockton or its inhabitants, so more than the other two novels in the series, we jumped right into the story.  The psychology of this story was thrilling. Rockton is full of scary and scared individuals, so seeing their reactions to Oliver Brady’s presence put a twisted spin on an already twisted plot, pitting Casey and Eric against pretty much everyone. I enjoyed the anxiety I was feeling as the plot unfolded, is that weird? Well, regardless, this was an edge of your seat thrill ride.

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

This Fallen Prey Click this link to purchase! This Fallen Prey: A Rockton Novel (Casey Duncan Novels) Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

This Chick Read: Invictus by Ryan Graudin

Invictus is the tale of Farway Gaius McCarthy adventurer and thief extraordinaire. After failing his final exam he is given the chance to captain a ship and put together his own crew to work for black marketer Lux. Working with his cousin Imogene, best friend Gram and girlfriend Priya, they travel through time stealing objects for Lux to sell. Even though dangerous, they are reveling in a girl named Eliot who is the reason he failed his final exam at the Academy. Eliot blackmails her way onto his crew and they set off on adventure that they hope they can return from alive.

Invictus is a mash-up of action adventure, science fiction/fantasy, and romance. Three of my favorite genre’s! Far reminded me of Nathan Fillion’s character in Firefly, at least that is how I pictured him. Far is a bit cocky, good looking and has an energy that doesn’t allow him to stay still for long. When he and his crew are blackmailed into allowing Eliot to become part of their crew that cockiness starts to fade. When he finds out his own history is threatening the lives of his crew, his confidence in his decision is heartbreaking.

The crews antics were fun, their interactions were warm, and the climax was heartbreaking. If you are looking for a novel that has a great story, good characters, makes you bite your nails and cry a few tears, this is the book for you. Oh yeah, and Invictus is a stand alone novel! Although, I could easily read another book or two about this crew and their adventures.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Invictus Click this link to purchase! Invictus

Copyright 2017 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

This Chick Read: In the Eye of the Storm (Storm and Silence #2) by Robert Thier 

In the Eye of the Storm picks up right where Storm and Silence left off. Rikkard and Lilly’s ship goes down and Lilly was rescued. Rikkard disappears at sea and Lilly is desperate to find him. After searching for days and becoming more desperate, word comes from another ship that a man had washed ashore on an island nearby.  Lilly, dressed as a woman for once, runs to his bedside and finds Rikkard in a cold fury because he’s literally held hostage by the ladies of the house. I think one of them had designs on him. I would too, living on a semi inhabited island!  Lilly and Rik have a sweet moment.  A very brief sweet moment because Rikkard see’s an article in a gossip magazine and is reminded of his responsibilities back home. Unfortunately for Lilly he is also reminded that Lilly is Mr. Linton, and his assistant. In a heartbeat his slightly kinder attitude changes back to an autocratic bastard and Lilly’s hopes for a kinder gentler employer are dashed. Really, when he gets like that why does she put up with him!

This was a really fun action adventure romance. However, the characterizations of Lilly and Ambrose wore a little thin. Lilly is a plucky heroine, but at times her pluckiness got a little tiring. Even though she was fighting for women’s rights (this book takes place at the turn of the century during the suffrage movement), I had hoped that she would fight in a less whiny manner. When they set off for Egypt, and Lilly is mascarading as his wife, Rikkard drops the “boss” role and adopts his husbandly duties fairly quick, taking Lilly off guard. Passionate embraces ensue and at one time may have gone farther except for an interruption. Although they never have actual sex, his experience is so much more than hers that his advances came off as slightly creepy. His straight man demeanor comes off as uncaring. Despite my uneasy feeling about their union, whether real or imaginary, their adventure to Egypt and all that ensued was engaging and fun.

This novel ends, not with a cliffhanger, but with a question, so I know we will have more adventures between these two. Do I want to continue my journey?  I think I do!  Although I hope Lilly has wised up to Rik’s games and enacts some of her own mischievousness on him next time. She definitely needs to even the score! ❤️❤️❤️❣️


Click link to purchase! In the Eye of the Storm (Storm and Silence Saga) (Volume 2)

Copyright 2017 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: The Ultimatum (The Guardian #1) by Karen Robards

Spoilers ahead!

The Ultimatum starts off quickly as we find our heroine Bianca in the midst of a caper to steal money out of an Arab Prince’s vault. When she discovers somebody beat her team to the money, the robbery turns into an escape for their lives and we get a hint of what is to come in this book; action, romance and danger. Essentially all of the ingredients  I have come to expect from a romantic suspense novel by Karen Robards.

Bianca St. Ives is an interesting heroine. She has been brought up as a con artist. Definitely not your typical upbringing. She was raised in boarding schools with a father who only visited when he needed her for a con, and didn’t show affection.. She has only ever had one friend, not letting people get too close because she has to hide who she really is- someone who isn’t sure of her own identity.

Even though I enjoyed Bianca’s take charge attitude and strength of character, she was a little cold. I could understand her need to keep her livelihood private, but her actions didn’t carry a lot of warmth making it really hard to see her as three demonsional even coming across as a little robotic. When she meets Mickey, who is an undercover agent protecting the Arab Prince’s money from being stolen, he was easily identifiable as her love interest. They had instant chemistry, however, when they came face to face later on in the book they don’t get beyond that surface chemistry again reinacting the same type of scene as their first meeting. I found that a bit frustrating and confusing wanting their relationship to become more established and expecting a romantic suspense novel. You know, with a couple becoming romantic. Unfortunately, the book ended before they established anything other than a flirtation, leaving us and the plot hanging in limbo until the second book is written. Even though the writing was good, the plot interesting, that lack of connection left a bad taste in my mouth. If the next book resolves this plot point, All will be forgiven, but will I want to take the chance and read it? Still undecided.

❤️❤️❤️

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


Click the link to purchase! The Ultimatum (The Guardian Book 1)

Copyright 2017 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: Pretty Fierce by Kieran Scott

Kaia had led a very unusual life. Her parents were hired assasins, taking her on jobs with them, until one day – the job hit back. Kaia escapes to live with her “grandparents” in South Carolina, where, for the first time, she leads the life she always wanted to have with her parents. A normal one. One day, ‘stranger danger’ hits town, and she realizes that her parents may not be dead. This book is mostly about her search for them.

I knew I was in for a crazy book when Kaia defends herself from a kidnapping by kicking butt, stepping on the guys neck, and pointing his own rifle down at his head. She’s trying to figure out if she’ll shoot or not, when her boyfriend Oliver walks through the door to pick her up for a movie, and catches her in the act. Does he run screaming from the room? Nope! He follows her into a car and makes a mad escape with her.  Ok, not very realistic, but it did keep the pace of the book from slowing down. 

I was exhausted from reading this book. It was all action, with only moments for reflection and reason. Kaia didn’t appeal to me very much, and instead I looked for Oliver’s POV to bring a little realism and sanity into the story line. Ok, yes, I understand what kind of book I was reading, but I just couldn’t really care if Kaia ever found her parents alive or dead, and that was the whole plot! I gave this book ❤❤❤ because it was well written and there weren’t too many holes in the plot. I would’ve liked it better if it was told entirely from Oliver’s POV. He was sweet, mixed with a bunch of teenage badass…

I was given an ARC of this book for my honest review, and yep, I was honest.


Buy it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo!

Copyright 2017 Deborah Kehoe A Chick Who Reads All Rights Reserved

This Chick Read: Shadow Falling (The Scorpius Syndrome #2) by Rebecca Zanetti

At the end of the first book, Mercury Striking, Vivienne Wellington was rescued by Raze Shadow and the Vanguard team from more torture by the President of the US.  The President, now a Ripper, had thought Vinnie was psychic and was trying to get her to find or tell him where, “The Bunker” was, a top secret location where a supposed cure to the Scorpius virus had been found.  In her drug ridden haze, she clings to the strength of Raze, and as she recovers from the drugs and torture, she finds that her feelings for him had strengthened, not faded. Continue reading “This Chick Read: Shadow Falling (The Scorpius Syndrome #2) by Rebecca Zanetti”