I own almost all of this author’s novels and lately I’ve been re-reading some of them and writing small reviews, which I didn’t do when I initially read the books. I purchased The Will in 2015 when it came out and funny enough, didn’t remember it all other than a general sense that I’d liked it. It turns out I was correct, although I saw a few things this time that I didn’t note when I first read it.
The premise is that Josephine Malone had a beloved grandmother who lived in an awesome house in a small town. Josephine would spend summers with her and as an adult would come to town and visit with her frequently. When her grandmother dies, Josephine inherits the house and comes back to town for the funeral and to go through her grandmothers things. She has spent her adult life as an admin assistant for a famous photographer, collecting knowledge about clothes, fashion, music, and famous people which makes her very interesting to read about. Anyway, when its time for the will to be read, Josey and ex boxer, strip club owner, Jake Spear are the only two people at the will. Apparently Jake and Lydia were great friends, something that was news to Josephine but she shrugged it off. What couldn’t be shrugged off was that Lydia gave Josephine to Jake in the will. Of course, you can’t give one person to another, but it did open the door to the two of them getting to know each other better, which was the point. The Will is their story.
What I really liked about this story is that these two very different people over-looked all of their differences to just be together. Isn’t that what love is all about? Josephine became Josey, despite her upper class dialect and well, Jake didn’t change very much at all, but he did find all that was Josey cute and wonderful which was good enough for me. He was a father to three children, something that KA writes about frequently, and Josey becomes inseparable from those kids, enmeshed in their lives almost immediately. I liked the family dynamic, but I also loved the story between Josey and Jake.
I won’t say this was the most original book that Kristen Ashley has ever written. She has a formula that works for her and this story followed that formula. It didn’t really hold any surprises for me, but I enjoyed reading the story and getting to know these characters again. I spent the afternoon (and evening because boy her books can be lengthy!) with old friends and they made me feel good! That’s what a good romance novel is supposed to do for it’s reader, isn’t it?
This final book in Ali Hazelwood’s mini series about three best friends. This book follows NASA aerospace engineer, Hannah. In grad school Hanna needs to interview someone for an assignment and her best friend Mara hooks her up with her cousin Ian who is in the same industry and who was on the team that sent the last rover to Mars and they have instant heat but years later they are arch-rivals.
Out of the three Women of STEM books, this one was the book that I’d have liked to see as full length. There was obvious chemistry between Hannah and Ian and I would’ve liked to have explored each character a little more fully to develop that chemistry into full fledged heat. Hannah had a really interesting back story that begged to be told and I would’ve liked to have known a bit more about Ian’s personality that wasn’t just limited to young genius.
What I liked the best about this novel was how each of these characters were so strong and independent but they needed each other and were better together than by themselves. At least they were in my mind. LOL.
I love all of Ali Hazelwood’s novels. The characters are interesting, funny, and smart. The dialog is sassy and you just want to be their friends in real life. (I also wouldn’t mind taken home my own Ian…)
Vanessa Nelson has created a truly unique world and set our main character in the midst of a gruesome murder investigation, pitting her against the ruling elite. With the help of a prominent mage assigned to helping her find the killer by the Archon herself, newly promoted Watch officer Thea March uses her instinct and skills to find the killer.
I should’ve remembered that once you pick up a novel by Vanessa Nelson you are addicted to reaching for the conclusion to the underlying story. I zipped through all five of the novels in this series and am eagerly anticipating the sixth out this November. In this first novel, I learned a lot about this world that our heroine inhabits. Thea March is not one of the elite, but as a March officer, a police officer of sorts, she holds a little status among the residents of the city she lives in. However, she, just like all of her fellow city-dwellers, are minions in comparison with the beings who inhabit the skies and the city where the Archon, or ruler, lives.
Each of these novels in the series gives us more insight in to Thea and I became fascinated with her story. As with all of my favorite fantasy novels, Thea seems to be just like those who surround her, but her actions show a bravery and hint of something “other”. I’m totally interested in finding out who and what she is while at the same time enjoying these really great mysteries that she must solve. Each mystery solved moves her character forward and the reader becomes more invested in her story. This first novel gives us the first hints of Thea’s personality and backstory and I think if you read this first novel you, like me, will be sucked into these fantastic fantasy novels.
Set in the same world as this authors Air Awakens series, this second book continues the story of Eira, a Waterrunner and now Champion of the Soleris kingdom as she travels to a distant land to compete against other empires in a magical tournament. What is supposed to unite these lands together becomes a fight for her life as Eira hunts for the man who killed her brother. Eira becomes a guest of the Court of Shadows, an elite group of magical warriors who are spies for their kingdom, and infiltrates the lethal Pillars whom are harboring the man who killed her brother. Eira learns that she may need the help of her friends in order to remain alive as she becomes a pawn to be used to bring the empire down.
I really enjoyed the first novel in this series and learning of Eira’s birthright as the daughter of a mysterious pirate. That background is touched on in A Hunt of Shadows but this story revolves around her need for vengeance on the man who caused her brothers death. Eira’s plan to infiltrate both the Court of Shadows and the Pillars doesn’t go exactly as planned and her life is threatened repeatedly, yet she is determined and despite advice from people who are more informed than she is, she believes she knows best and goes it alone. I’ll admit that this flying solo bit was a tad tiring and I wished that she’d learned to trust her friends and bring her into the plot a little sooner than was done. Once she had someone watching her back I thought the story moved quicker and I enjoyed that journey more.
Eira has been lied to about her heritage for her entire life and that has definitely given her a chip on her shoulder. She feels like she’s a burden and no one else can be trusted but herself. I get it. After reading the first book and seeing how she was treated by everyone including her own family I can see why she would be so independent but these novels are filled with some other great characters that I wish got more time on the page. Her friendship with Alyss is great and her budding romance with Cullen is a bit mysterious but a much needed break from the dark and dreary revenge plot. I relished those moments when it was Eira leaning a bit on someone other than herself and wished that there were more of them, lightening up a rather dark book.
I’m enjoying getting to know this author and have liked other books she’s written. I think this book is a device to move the plot forward. Eira didn’t really grow as a character and in fact reverted back to her mistrust of everyone by the end of the book. I’d really like to see this character move out of the darkness and into the light by allowing her to trust people a bit more and not wanting to tackle everything by herself. I am looking forward to the third book in the series because it’s my hope that the author will do all of these things for this character. Fingers crossed, but this book for me was just average. ❤️❤️❤️❣️
Who out there reads multiple books at one time? I’ll admit that I usually am listening to an audiobook and reading a book or two simultaneously. I usually only physically read two books at once if one of them just hasn’t grabbed me and I’m committed to reviewing it. Otherwise I just put it down and never pick it up again. I listen to books all the time; while walking in the morning, driving in my car, and even if I’m doing something that doesn’t require thinking while at work. I’ll admit that doesn’t happen as often as I’d like though! LOL. Here are the books that have been on my nightstand recently.
There were moments in this book that I really liked and moments where I just went “huh”. It was definitely different than I’d expected!
I’m pretty methodical in my reading and when I get a book to read and review I usually wait a little closer to the release date to read but I love this series by Olivia Dade and immediately cracked it open. I’m not disappointed so far!
I can’t believe I’m writing these words…. Final Heir, the 15th book in the Jane Yellowrock series, is the conclusion and final story in the series. After fourteen books, I knew that she was leading us toward the conclusion and yes, this one is it. My history with these novels started with the spin-off series, Soulwood. I was intrigued enough about one of the characters, Rick LaFleur, and wanted to know his back story so started listening to Jane Yellowrock’s books because I had a boatload of audible credits saved. If you find yourself in the same boat, Khristine Kvam narrates those books, as well as Soulwood, and she is uber talented and it’s worth the many hours of listening enjoyment. Anyhow, I wanted to know about Jane, Rick’s ex who is mentioned in Soulwood, and once I started that first novel I was hooked. Jane is everything I look for in an urban fantasy heroine. She is strong, unselfish, sassy, and carries an emotional depth that makes you want to dig deep and learn more. Did I mention I was hooked? LOL.
Final Heir brings back all of my favorite characters. Leo Pellissier ex-Master of the City of New Orleans, Edmund- Jane’s primo and the now King of Europe, Gregoiré- Leo’s love and Jane’s enforcer, Bruiser- Jane’s honey, as well as the whole Everheart gang of witches, her brother’s of choice Eli and Alex, etc. There are too many to name them all. As I was reading and all of these characters came together I knew that this was the final book. Each character had their own moment that meant something to Jane and I hope Faith because there are a couple of characters I’d love to see in future novels, although Faith may be more tired of these characters than her readers (Edmund and Angie anyone?).
It must be noted that Jane’s position as Dark Queen puts her in the rear of battles more than at the front of them, something that she may have gotten a little used to as she was fighting cancer a couple of books back, yet sitting on the sidelines isn’t something that comes naturally. Never fear though, the penultimate scene is all Jane in her bad-a@@ glory and I relished every moment. Speaking of moments, I had a few favorites in this novel; Bruiser and Jane having loving moments together, Jane and Eli’s connection both emotionally and spiritually, but the moment that struck me the most was a scene where Edmund, now the King of Europe portrays a moment from his past by braiding Jane’s hair before a ceremony. Those two characters have come a long way and their connection in that moment made me tear up, as I’m doing as I write it down in this review as well. To me, that moment brought the two of them full circle. It was fabulous. Thanks Faith, for bringing us with you.
Needless to say, I totally enjoyed this finale. There were more sweet than bitter-sweet moments and I got to see my girl nail the biggest fang-head of them all. It was fabulous!
I came across a review and interview with Faith Hunter where she confirms that this is the last novel and I thought I’d share that review/interview on my blog. I enjoyed it so much. Also, please note an excerpt from the first chapter below the cover picture. Enjoy!
I received a copy of this ARC through NetGalley and the publisher for my honest review and it is honest!
Click this link to purchase this book!* Final Heir
Copyright 2022 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved
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Like a Stray Animal Haunting Aggie’s Home
Eyes closed, I felt the movement of unexpected cool air as the sweathouse door opened and shut. Last week, I had learned that Aggie One Feather, the Cherokee elder leading me into understanding my personal and tribal history, sometimes left and reentered when I was sweating through a haze of her herbal infusions and my own hidden memories. She said humans couldn’t survive five or six hours in a sweathouse like I could, let alone all night, so she would slip out and back in. I had asked her if she had a nanny camera hidden in the sweathouse to keep track of me. Her reply had made me laugh: “You need a legion of angels to look over you, but a nanny cam could help.” The rustling of her cotton shift, the sound of her breath, and the crackle of flames seemed loud as she settled across the fire from me and fed the coals. I smelled cedar and burning herbs and heard the scritch-grind of her mortar and pestle. Behind my lids it seemed lighter than before. It had to be near dawn.
It occurred to me that the ceremonial fire was, itself, symbolic. It was parts of this world and the next, the two halves of the universe, energy and matter. It was wood and air and energy, and together they made flame and smoke, the destruction of matter into energy. Then that thought wisped away with the fire. Aggie said, “Drink.” I opened my eyes against the crack and burn of dried sweat, and studied the small pottery cup she held. On the third try I managed to croak, “Eye of newt? Ragweed? Mold off your bathroom floor? Peyote?””That never gets old,” she lied, amusement hidden in her gaze. “I have no mold on my bathroom floor.” Which meant the liquid could be composed of the other three. Or not. I took the cup and drained it. The decoction tasted of lemon peel, fennel, wild ginger, something I couldn’t identify, and salt. I turned the empty, handleless cup in my fingers. It wasn’t traditional Cherokee work, but something fired in a modern kiln and given a bright blue glaze.
“What did your dreams show you?” Aggie asked. I handed back the cup and said, “Same as last time. The angel’s location looks a little like my soul home. Walls that curve in toward the ceiling, dark streaks of water on them. Wings that seem to lie flat across the ceiling and down, as if dripping to the floor. Light that comes from nowhere and everywhere. There might have been a puddle of blood on the floor. Hard to tell. But unlike my soul home, I keep seeing people standing along the walls.”
“People or other angels? I frowned at the question. Had there been wings behind the people? “Maybe. Maybe a suggestion of wings, like shadows. Or maybe I just want to have seen that and so I remember it now.”
“Did you see yourself in your dream-state?” If I watched myself, as opposed to being an active part of the dream, that would tell her a lot about whether this was a vision teaching me about myself and my life path, a prophetic dream portending something about the future, or if it had been a memory. I closed my eyes again and pulled at the fragments. The angel’s wings draped, so much larger, longer than in artwork depicting the messenger beings. I heard the faint drip of water, but the echo was different from the usual loud reverberations of my soul home. This place itself was subtly different from previous visions. In the memory of my vision, I saw myself. My hair was braided into a fighting queue and I was dressed in armor, one of the latest models Eli, my brother of choice, bought these days, now that money wasn’t an object. In teaching visions, I usually wore tribal clothing, the kind my father had worn when I was a child. In addition to the armor, at my waist I was wearing the Mughal blade that Bruiser had given me. That was interesting. In the dream-state I did nothing, said nothing, so it probably wasn’t a vision teaching me about who I was or guiding my path through life. Seeing myself meant it wasn’t a memory. The ancient knife itself was part of a prophecy, and I seldom wore it, mostly for ceremonial occasions when the prophecy did me no good. Only rarely had I worn it into battle.When he gave the blade to me, Bruiser had said, “A certain wily salesman suggested that the damascene blade is charged with a spell of life force, to give the wielder the ability to block any opponent’s death cut. Pure balderdash, but it makes a nice tale.” Except that Alex, the tech-genius of Yellowrock Securities and Clan Yellowrock, had traced the blade back to the seventeen hundreds, and there were stories over the centuries about people surviving the death stroke of an opponent’s blade.”Prophecy?” I asked the universe. Or God, if he was listening. Not that anyone answered, not even Aggie. And since I hadn’t looked for the future in rain droplets in months, I might not know what this meant until it was too late. However, if I went searching for the meaning in the future, I probably wouldn’t understand it anyway, and if I saw danger-and I would-I might feel forced to meddle in time. Meddling in time-timewalking, time-jumping- might trigger the return of the magic cancer. All of which was why I hadn’t tried. Seeing the future was like that. Helpful. Until it wasn’t. And then it tried to kill me.
I inhaled and caught a familiar scent. He had to be close because I was human-shaped, and my nose in this form was unspectacular. I cleared my throat again and warned, “Werewolf.”
Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie have spent the last 40 years of their lives as assassins for an elite organization called the “Museum”. Now in their 60’s they are retiring from the business and their company has sent them on a cruise as a goodbye gift. Unfortunately, the museum sent another gift as well, an assassin to help them on their way to a permanent retirement. These four old broads spot him, escape their fate, and then determine who put the price on their heads and why. Sometimes it’s a benefit to be too old for people to take you seriously.
This novel was certainly a departure from the style that I’ve come to expect from a Deanna Raybourn novel, and I was please at the surprise! Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie were all great characters and this plot was a complete original. I did find it funny that they were considered too old at the ripe old age of 60 but reminded myself of my bum knee and bad back when I’m a bit younger and though, ok, yes they might be a bit battered and bruised and looking forward to a quiet life. I know I am and I’m not running around killing people. Billie’s story took center stage so it was easier to identify with her, but the other ladies had interesting personalities and back stories as well. It was refreshing to find I was interested in everyone pretty evenly and didn’t lean more towards one character. They were all great.
Not having any knowledge of how to kill anything more than a spider in my bathtub, I’ll admit that I found their creativity kept me turning the pages and the fact that the author wrote this a bit tongue in cheek definitely helped me not take it too seriously. It was easy reading and never boring. There isn’t any higher praise than that from me.
I found the revenge plot to be a lot of fun, if a bit gruesome, and enjoyed the jaunts back into their earlier lives when they were being trained as new assassins, as well as their first couple of kills. It gave us insight into all of their characters helping the reader identify with the characters even if we weren’t identifying with their careers as assassins. Killers of a Certain Age was good fun and made me admire this author for writing outside of her normal genre. Nice job! However, I’ll admit to wanting her to write another historical for her next book.
I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review and it was honest!
This one has a pretty simple premise. Baker, Joelle Prima has a mad crush on Max Boyson, the man who owns the book store next door. Every morning he comes in for his latte and mildly flirts. Joelle, is super shy and just when she gets up her nerve to ask Max out they find out that their landlord will be remodeling and the two of them will have to share a very small space in the back of the building until the build gets finished. Needless to say, sharing a small space is eye opening and sparks fly.
I thought Joelle’s character was really well written. She is of Filipino descent and her bakery has a lot of that cultures flavors. It all sounded totally delicious and I wanted to get my hands on an ube latte after finishing this book. It sounds intriguing! Unfortunately, Joelle’s family and the ube latte were what kept me reading this book. I loved her multi-generational family living situation and how she was so close to her family. What bothered me was Max’s character. His background of being brought up by an alcoholic mother and raised by relatives who didn’t want him around really affected his character. He was so mean! I had a really hard time looking past his anger and finding the thing (other than his looks) that would sustain a relationship with Joelle. I won’t give away the story, but yes, this is a romance and they do get together at the end, but boy does Joelle have to work hard to get there. Max just got lucky finding someone who would put up with all his baggage. I’m not sure I would have stuck around after the first argument.
When the story reverted back to Joelle and her family I was intrigued, but this is a love story and unfortunately for me it fell a bit flat. I could connect with Joelle, but Max didn’t have a lot of redeeming qualities other than his good taste in finding Joelle. I do realize that reading is subjective, so if this synopsis sounds good to you, please read this book. It just wasn’t to my taste. ❤️❤️❣️
I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review and it was honest.
Dawn Edelstein’s plane is going down and her life is flashing before her eyes but it isn’t the life with her husband and daughter, instead she sees the face of the man she was in love with in Egypt when she was 20 years old, Wyatt. She survives the crash landing, gets checked out by a doctor, and is given a plane ticket to anywhere in the world she’d like to go. She chooses to go to Egypt where she knows Wyatt is working on a dig. As the story unfolds Dawn is shown following two different, parallel life paths facing past decisions and mistakes and tries to determine if she’s lived life as she should.
I read several reviews of The Book of Two Ways and it seems that readers either liked it or thought it delved to deeply into Egyptology. Last December I traveled to Egypt and went to several of the ruins mentioned in this book and remembered the stories of these kings and gods that were told in this novel. I was among the readers who embraced the Egyptology in the novel, however it didn’t make the story any less confusing due to the two parallel timelines we were following.
As a young woman Dawn studied Egyptology and was working on her thesis about The Book of Two Ways while on a dig in Egypt. This is where she meets Wyatt, her nemesis, lover, and soul mate. She is abruptly called home because her mother is dying of cancer and Dawn chooses to never goes back to Egypt because she needs to raise her little brother. She also finds out that she’s pregnant by Brian, a man she met while her mother is in hospice and slept with because she needed to feel better about herself and what was happening to her life. Dawn switches her career path and eventually becomes a death doula, someone who helps a terminally ill patient leave this life feeling like they have lived a life well lived. While working with a woman name Win, Dawn starts questioning her own life and if she’s lived her own life well. She has a good marriage and a daughter, now 14, but she has started thinking about Wyatt and whether if she had stayed with him if her life would have been better. When she takes that plane back to Egypt she wants to see whether she will have that revelation and to also pursue the subject of her thesis, The Book of Two Ways.
I’ll admit that despite knowing the Egyptian stories that filled a lot of pages, I still skimmed and pursued the underlying story trying to figure out Dawn’s path. The two parallel stories got a bit confusing and I did feel like I was missing some signifiers to tell me which path I was following in which chapter. It was only when I was done reading the book that I could figure out that path. I was fascinated by Dawn’s death doula job, something that I’ve never heard of but that seemed fitting for a woman who’s early life was filled with trying to understand the Egyptian stories of life and death. It made sense. What frustrated me was Dawn’s meandering between Brian and Wyatt. She wasn’t unhappy with Brian she just didn’t seem to be as full of life as she was with Wyatt. I think we can all identify with this feeling of searching for happiness but it took a really long time for Dawn’s story to play out and I liked both of these men who Dawn spent her life loving.
This is the first story I’ve read by Jodi Picoult. I enjoyed her writing and thought this story was interesting but I’m just going to say it, I was so disappointed with the ending. Maybe Jodi wants the reader to make our own revelation? I don’t know but I finished the novel right before going to bed and the non-ending kept me awake that night. Is that good or bad? I was definitely mulling over the whole book in my head trying to determine what happened at the end and a week later I’m still telling people about this book. Because it has really stuck with me, I would definitely say that this book was thought provoking and I enjoyed multiple moments. ❤️❤️❤️❤️
The Fiery Cross, as a novel, is a behemoth. The paperback novel numbers 1008 pages and the audiobook somewhere around 55+ hours. This is truly a commitment to read and listen to, however Diana Gabaldon’s writing does a great job of continuing the story of one of the most beloved romantic couples, Jamie and Claire Fraser. It is the year 1771 and war is quickly approaching. As the founder of Fraser’s Ridge, Jamie and his family have founded a Scottish community based upon those he trusts. He does so with land he received from the Governor of North Carolina, stating that he will gather a group of men and support the Governor’s and England’s cause. Twice in this novel, Jamie must gather the troops assured somewhat by his time traveling wife and daughter that the war is still a few years in the future.
After 55 hours of listening to The Fiery Cross over six weeks I have determined that this novel is one of those that connects the dots to future novels. Davina Porter, our narrator, does a great job with all of the characters voices, accents, and imbuing life into situations and scenes about everyday life that were just interesting enough to keep me listening. Or maybe it was just my resolve to just finish. I’m not sure, but if I had stopped listening it would not have been Davina Porter’s fault. She is truly amazing. As a lot of other reviews have said, The Fiery Cross gets bogged down in details and descriptions, moving at a snail’s pace and ultimately only reaching a conclusion that is similar to the sun setting on another day.
I read the Outlander series for Jamie and Claire, not Roger and Brianna, so I’ll admit to wanting to hurry the book along when the scene shifts away from the main duo. However, if it weren’t for all of the bad things that happened to Roger in this book, and Jamie’s intense feelings of needing to save his daughters husband time after time that kept this book interesting. So, for once, I will say “thank you Roger” you kept this book moving, while at the same time I have to say to this author, “Ms. Gabaldon, you need to give this guy a break!”. I swear, Roger had just about every bad thing that could happen to him happen in The Fiery Cross. Maybe the book should’ve been re-titled “Roger’s Cross to Bare”. I felt really bad for him.
If, like me, you are reading this series for all of the romantic moments between Claire and Jamie, you won’t be disappointed. He is truly lovely in this novel and his love for Claire only grows stronger as they age. They have been through a separation for 20 years, her raising his daughter in the future while married to another man, his being married to another woman, having a son out of wedlock, and then reuniting and overcoming all of these hurt feelings etc. It is a wonderful thing to still see how strongly they feel for each other.
Would I recommend listening to 55 hours of The Fiery Cross? If I were reading the novel I could’ve skimmed ahead and skipped some gruesome medical descriptions or banal day to day activity, but I’m not sure I would’ve felt as strongly about these characters and their future stories. Listening to all 55 hours takes commitment between the reader and these characters. A commitment that will give me the resolve to listen to book #6 A Breath of Snow and Ashes. I’ll admit that I may let another year go by before I commit the time. ❤️❤️❤️❤️