This Chicks Audio Review: Hammered (Iron Druid Chronicles #3) by Kevin Hearne, narrated by Luke Daniels

Leif Helgerson, vampire, attorney, and friend to druid Atticus O’Sullivan, helped him wipe out an evil coven of witches in the last novel and it’s time for Atticus to return the favor. However, what Leif wants is to kill Norse god of thunder, Thor. Despite being warned by two other gods against killing Thor, he teams up with werewolf Alpha, Gunner, a Russian sorcerer, and some frost Giants and they head to Asgard for an epic battle.

Luke Daniels, as usual, does an amazing job with the narration of the Iron Druid Chronicles. There are so many characters and many different accents, I am amazed with how well he nails it and how much life he puts into these characters. My favorite again is Atticus’s dog Oberon who has a voice more intelligent than Scooby Doo, and it is an admirable sidekick and adds great comic relief.

Hammered has been the most difficult to get into of the three I’ve read in this series so far. When you read a series there are sometimes books that feel like filler or like you’re being set up for future plots. This book feels like one of those. You do learn Gunner and Leif’s back stories and also why all of these characters have a beef against Thor, which is semi-entertaining. I don’t get the feeling that this advanced Attitcus’s character but may in fact set him back a bit. You can’t help but think when Jesus warns you against killing Thor that it might not be a very good idea to do it.

This isn’t the first novel I’ve read that describes Thor as a big bully and not so nice god and I can’t help but think that a certain movie studio may have changed that character to fit female fantasies and sell tickets. When we meet Thor in this novel I did not visualize Chris Hemsworth’s handsome face. Hearne does a great job of wiping away any fantasy vision of Thorne to portray him probably as he was in the original myths, a big jerkwad.

Even though I felt slightly let down by the pace of this novel, I’m still a big fan of the series and I love the narration by Luke Daniels. I did immediately turn to the next novel, Tricked. This is one addictive bit of fantasy! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this audiobook!* Hammered: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 3

Copyright 2021 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’s Audio Review: Hexed (The Iron Druid Chronicles book #2) by Kevin Hearne, narrated by Luke Daniels

Atticus O’Sullivan, is the last Druid standing, and is much older than his 25 year old appearance, by about 20+ centuries. He doesn’t usually think much of witches but is about to sign a treaty with the local coven when another coven tries to drive stakes into their territory. A witch coven who are breeding with demons. Tempe Arizona seems to be a hotbed of activity lately with a fallen angel eating the local high school population and a horde of Bacchants wreaking havoc at a local concert when I Atticus going to find the time to witch hunt?

I’m late to the party discovering Kevin Hearne’s fun fantasy novels set in current time but I’m certainly not going to let all of these books go to waste! Luke Daniels narration is spot on and imbues humor, wit, and a certainly surfer sang-froid to the main character that is truly enjoyable and his adorable Oberon voice (Atticus’s trusty hound) is enough to keep me coming back for more. However, it’s Kevin Hearne’s writing that has me hooked with new characters popping up in every chapter that keeps me reading to discover what the heck is going to happen next!

There is a lot going on in this novel but the main story regarding the above witch takeover is the most interesting. It opens the dialog to learn little bit about Atticus and the covens actions during WWII which were pretty interesting and bare details that may bring fruit in future novels. At least I hope because it was super interesting. I love it when fantasy authors weave real life into their totally fantastical fiction.

Admittedly, I don’t read a ton of novels by male authors and truly I’m not sure why that is? However, now that Kevin Hearne (and Luke Daniels!) are on my fantasy radar I’m excited to see the backlog of books available that will keep me busy for a couple of years at least!

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this audiobook!* Hexed: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 2

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: When Night Breaks (Kingdom of Cards #2) by Janella Angeles

Starting up right where “Where Dreams Descend” left off, Kallia has been swallowed into the mirror in her magic performances during the Spectaculor, a magician’s contest. On the other side of the mirror is a whole different world where sunlight is obliterated by “devils”, and magicians duel for power and status. Kallia’s power has been depleted and navigating this new world takes wit, courage, and magic. When Night Breaks shows us a different world, where darkness reigns supreme and only the absolute best magicians survive.

Confession time! I struggled with this novel. It’s only because I liked the first one so much that I was able to stick with it and make myself finish. If it had been any other book I would have put it down and picked up a different novel. Maybe it’s because this is my second fantasy novel in a row where the story was desperately dark, a sign of a writer trying to create during a pandemic. I felt that pain too, but my own pain was in trying to see the light and find something positive to talk about in my review. Here’s what I found.

  1. Jack- Whereas Kallia felt less interesting to me, her nemesis Jack became even more interesting. He was also confusing, but I’ll stick with why I thought he was interesting. Jack was always a dark horse. The magical being who held Kallia captive in “Where Dreams Descend”, and who she had a love hate relationship. She still does, but in this new world, Jack’s back story is revealed and we see why he is what he is, and how he struggled to break out from the hold Roth (a new character in this book) had over him.
  2. Eva- or Vain as she’s named in this novel. The famous Daron DeMarco’s assistant, and sister, who disappeared into a mirror during an act. She is alive and has risen to the top in this new world. She was way more interesting than Kallia and I found myself looking forward to the pages with her story.
  3. World building- The author didn’t do herself any favors by having to create a brand new world in When Night Breaks. As it’s ‘through the looking glass’, it runs parallel to the real world from which Kallia arrived. Dark to the other world’s light, the differences were surprising and kept me reading.

Everything in this book led us toward the big conflict at the end, but that conflict was a confused mess. I had trouble following what was going on and the reasons for why these things were happening. The conflict didn’t feel too different from the rest of the book, and therefore not enough of a conflict for me to feel any sort of resolution for the characters, even with the built-in happily, happily. It was just ho-hum.

Despite my overall feelings of doom and gloom, I couldn’t give the novel lower than a three rating. Yes, if I hadn’t loved the first novel so much I wouldn’t have finished this one, but it’s because I loved that first novel so much that I am giving this an average rating. Please feel free to disagree and read this book and pass your own judgement. My bad 4 days of reading this book may be the best in your life. ❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* When Night Breaks (Kingdom of Cards Book 2)

Copyright 2021 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: Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson

Artemisia is in training to be a Gray Sister, a nun who cleanses the bodies of the deceased so that their souls can pass, but Artemisia also has a special talent…she can discern the different types of spirits in one of the highest orders and this talent changes her future. When possessed soldiers arrive and attack her convent, Artemisia takes up the relic of a fifth order revenant and allows it to possess her in order to save the other nuns. The story of her fight sweeps the countryside and her history is rewritten. Vespertines are priestesses who can wield a high relic, but how they do that has been lost and Artemisia turns to the revenant inside herself for the knowledge to beat the evil that is sweeping the country.

Once again Margaret Rogerson has created a really interesting world. This story is much darker in feeling which is portrayed really well by the cover. Artemisia is a rather dark soul even before a revenant takes residence inside of her body. Possessed by an ashrim, an evil spirit, when she was a child, her parents kept her locked in a shed for years. It was only by burning her hands in a fire that she removed the spirit, but the horrors of her past have left scars, both internal and external. I really liked her evolution from solitary scared girl to a young woman who decides to fight instead of surrender to evil.

Written during the pandemic I drew a parallel between the spirits ravaging Artemisia’s world and the virus which is ravaging our own lives. Artemisia stepped out of her comfort zone, her solitariness, and leaned on the people around her and trusted in others to help her fight her battles. In comparison, I wish our real world chose to fight the virus together instead of skirmishing individually about vaccinations and masks. However, unlike my world and all that’s going on within it, it was nice to see her conquer evil. The way the novel ended I felt like the author may have left the door open for another book? I kind of hope so. I am now invested and would love to see where these characters lead us next. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase this book!* Vespertine

Copyright 2021 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? (10/4/21)

This weekend I read a romance, a fantasy, and listened to one of my all time favorite women’s fiction novels. What a great weekend of reading! Let’s get down to it!

JUST FINISHED

I love Margaret Rogerson’s novels and while this one started a bit slower and was a LOT darker, I really loved the unlikely heroine that Artemisia ended up being. I wish I knew who the cover artist is so I could throw out a big kudos. This cover got the feeling of the novel, spot on!

JUST STARTED

This is the second novel in the Kingdom of Cards series and it’s just as magical as the first. It starts off quickly and I’m not having trouble picking up where the story leaves off.

If Monday is your favorite day of the week, kudos to you! I hate Mondays because most of the time I’m in the middle of reading a book and I’d much rather stay on the couch finishing up that novel. What book is pulling your attention away from work today?

Happy Monday!

Deb

This Chick Read: Hollen the Soulless (Dokiri Brides #1) by Denali Day

The Dokiri guard the mountains on their dragons and make sure that those within don’t make their way down to the lowlands to wreck havoc and kill. They are a race that bears only men and so they have to get their brides by stealing them from the lowlands. Hollen is the leader and when he see’s the Lady Joselyn riding her horse he knew she was the wife for him. Unfortunately Joselyn was on her way to her wedding and is furious to be taken, despite fearing the man she was to marry, she is a dutiful daughter and her marriage was to keep her people safe. She’s determined to escape and bides her time until she has the chance to make it off the mountain.

This was a really interesting book! Definitely a romantic fantasy but there were some very dark themes. One of which is that the Dokiri carve a brand into their chosen brides, the day they meet. You can see how that might put a woman off the romance of the whole thing! Hollen is determined that over time Joselyn will come to love him and will stop making her attempts to leave. Despite starting out branding her he does not make a move to complete their union wanting her to choose him herself. If I were Hollen I may have gotten tired of Joselyn’s shenanigans. He had so much patience, much more so than I.

I couldn’t help but make comparisons to Kristen Ashley’s Golden Dynasty novel which was also romantic fantasy. The Dokiri went around bare chested and scarred themselves for every significant life event. KA’s Dax Lahn were barbarian-like and chose their wives by chasing them and raping them. (Yep, very disturbing). Hollen, as a comparison wanted Joselyn to choose her fate and come to him, so not rape, thank goodness. Branding was bad enough.

There was so much more to this novel than the whole bride thing but that was certainly at the heart of the story. As with any great fantasy novel there was a lot of world-building and character building as well. The other people in the Dokiri tribe were interesting and Joselyn made a couple of friends who also put up with her questionable behavior. I guess the good thing about bride-stealing is that there are normally a lot of bad behavior until everyone settles into their place in the tribe.

So what did I think?? I actually liked it! I did get tired of Joselyn pushing back but couldn’t really blame her at the same time. I am very interested in Hollen’s brothers. They are all so different and I want to see their stories. I loved Hollen. He was just a guy that wanted to be loved. Who could blame him? I am totally reading book #2, I just don’t know when! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Hollen the Soulless: A Fantasy Romance (Dokiri Brides)

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: My Top 5 Book Releases- October’21

I thought I did a great job of picking a mix of books from my favorite genre’s; Contemporary romances, young adult, and fantasy. I have to admit that I had to reach pretty deep into Goodreads most popular books list to find five books. Only one YA but it looks to be a good one! Here are the books that made my list.

#5 BOOK RELEASE

I love romances that include baked goods. It’s a great way to avoid calories. Well, now that I think about it maybe not because I usually want to bake after reading one. This book looks very cute. I like the premise and am looking forward to seeing how these characters connect. Jackie Lau is a new author for me and I’m hoping for great things!

Synopsis:

Actor Ryan Kwok is back in Toronto after the promotional tour for his latest film, a rom-com that is getting less-than-stellar reviews. After years of constant work and the sudden death of his mother, Ryan is taking some much-needed time off. But as he tries to be supportive to his family, he struggles with his loss and doesn’t know how to talk to his dad—who now trolls him on Twitter instead of meeting him for dim sum.

Innovative baker Lindsay McLeod meets Ryan when he knocks over two dozen specialty donuts at her bakery. Their relationship is off to a messy start, but there’s no denying their immediate attraction. When Ryan signs up for a celebrity episode of Baking Fail, he asks Lindsay to teach him how to bake and she agrees.

As Lindsay and Ryan spend time together, bonding over grief and bubble tea, it starts to feel like they’re cooking up something sweeter than cupcakes in the kitchen.

Click this link to purchase!* Donut Fall in Love

#4 BOOK RELEASE

This young adult novel is a Lambda Award winner and the premise sounds like there may be a surprise twist. I look forward to seeing if that’s the case. The synopsis totally grabbed me. What do you think?

Synopsis:

In rural Kentucky, a sixteen-year-old boy with a love of quilting, cooking and Dolly Parton helps his grandma care for his opioid-addicted mother, until the discovery of a family secret upends everything he has ever believed.

While other sixteen-year-old boys in Morgan, Kentucky, love hunting and football, Kody prefers to spend his time quilting with his grandmother (“Nanny”), watching Golden Girls reruns, and listening to old Dolly Parton albums. Nanny is Kody’s main caregiver, but it takes both Nanny and Kody to take care of Kody’s mother, whose drug problem is spinning out of control. Between looking after Mommy and trying to survive in a place that doesn’t look kindly on feminine boys, Kody already has a hard time making sense of his life. But then he uncovers a family secret that will change everything in his life.

Click this link to purchase!* Needlework

#3 BOOK RELEASE

I read the first novel in this series about a magician competition. This book picks up right where the first left off with a mystery. Our main character disappeared into a mirror? Is she ok? Will our hero find her?

Synopsis:

In Janella Angeles’s When Night Breaks, the dramatic last act of the Kingdom of Cards duology, the stage is set, the spectacle awaits… and the show must finally come to an end.

The competition has come to a disastrous end, and Daron Demarco’s fall from grace is front-page news. But little matters to him beyond Kallia, the contestant he fell for who is now missing and in the hands of a dangerous magician. Daron is willing to do whatever it takes to find her. Even if it means unearthing secrets that lead him on a treacherous journey, risking more than his life and with no promise of return.

After falling through the mirror, Kallia has never felt more lost, mourning everything she left behind and the boy she can’t seem to forget. Only Jack, the magician who has all the answers but can’t be trusted, remains at her side. Together, they must navigate a dazzling world where mirrors show memories and illusions shadow every corner, ruled by a powerful showman who’s been waiting for Kallia to finally cross his stage. But beneath the glamour of dueling headliners and never-ending revelry, a sinister force falls like night over everyone, with the dark promise of more—more power beyond Kallia’s wildest imagination, and at a devastating cost.

The truth will come out, a kingdom must fall, hearts will collide.

And the show must finally come to an end.

Click this link to purchase!* When Night Breaks (Kingdom of Cards Book 2)

#2 BOOK RELEASE

There’s always a surprise or two when I got through the list and this month, Well Matched, is my surprise book. I’ve read the first two in the series and didn’t know this one was coming out this month. This renaissance faire themed series has been great to date. I’m expecting great things from this novel!

Synopsis:

A pretend relationship gives two friends more than they bargained for in a Renaissance Faire rom com filled with flower crowns, kilts, corsets, and sword fights.

Single mother April Parker has lived in Willow Creek for twelve years with a wall around her heart. On the verge of being an empty nester, she’s decided to move on from her quaint little town, and asks her friend Mitch for his help with some home improvement projects to get her house ready to sell. 

Mitch Malone is known for being the life of every party, but mostly for the attire he wears to the local Renaissance Faire—a kilt (and not much else) that shows off his muscled form to perfection. While he agrees to help April, he needs a favor too: she’ll pretend to be his girlfriend at an upcoming family dinner, so that he can avoid the lectures about settling down and having a more “serious” career than high school coach and gym teacher. April reluctantly agrees, but when dinner turns into a weekend trip, it becomes hard to tell what’s real and what’s been just for show. But when the weekend ends, so must their fake relationship. 

As summer begins, Faire returns to Willow Creek, and April volunteers for the first time. When Mitch’s family shows up unexpectedly, April pretends to be Mitch’s girlfriend again…and it doesn’t feel so fake anymore. Despite their obvious connection, April insists they’ve just been putting on an act. But when there’s the chance for something real, she has to decide whether to change her plans—and open her heart—for the kilt-wearing hunk who might just be the love of her life.

Click this link to purchase!* Well Matched

MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE!

Margaret Rogerson has a beautiful style of writing and I’m eagerly anticipating picking up what sounds to be a little bit of a darker themed novel. As usual her cover is gorgeous and it certainly makes you want to pick it up and read the synopsis doesn’t it? The past two novels had a hint of romance which I’m hoping this does as well!

Synopsis:

The dead of Loraille do not rest.

Artemisia is training to be a Gray Sister, a nun who cleanses the bodies of the deceased so that their souls can pass on; otherwise, they will rise as spirits with a ravenous hunger for the living. She would rather deal with the dead than the living, who trade whispers about her scarred hands and troubled past.

When her convent is attacked by possessed soldiers, Artemisia defends it by awakening an ancient spirit bound to a saint’s relic. It is a revenant, a malevolent being that threatens to possess her the moment she drops her guard. Wielding its extraordinary power almost consumes her—but death has come to Loraille, and only a vespertine, a priestess trained to wield a high relic, has any chance of stopping it. With all knowledge of vespertines lost to time, Artemisia turns to the last remaining expert for help: the revenant itself.

As she unravels a sinister mystery of saints, secrets, and dark magic, her bond with the revenant grows. And when a hidden evil begins to surface, she discovers that facing this enemy might require her to betray everything she has been taught to believe—if the revenant doesn’t betray her first.

Click this link to purchase!* Vespertine

What did you think about my picks this month? Are there any titles you’re also surprised by? What did I miss? Please let me know in the comments.

Have a great month of reading everyone!

Deb

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

This Chick Read: Air Awakens by Elise Kova

Seventeen year old Vhalla Yarl works quietly as a library apprentice shelving and reading books all day unless required to research a project. When her crown prince becomes poisoned, she and the other apprentices work night and day trying to identify that poison and the notes Vhalla takes finds its way into his hands. What she doesn’t ever imagine is that that Prince Aldrik would seek her out wanting to meet the young apprentice who helped him get well. What he finds is a girl with a unique talent of sorcery, a magic that hasn’t been seen in a long while and is feared by many, but may help them win the war they’re fighting. It’s Vhalla’s choice to embrace her sorcery or eradicate it and live as a normal human, but that decision may be taken out of her hands.

The first novel in the Air Awakens series, this story is all about the awakening of Vhalla’s talent and her growing friendship with Aldrik one of the greatest sorcerer’s in their kingdom. Aldrik has his own agenda, of course, wanting to use her talents to help them end the war but knows that not everyone will be as happy as he is to find Vhalla in their midst, for her kind were thought to have been eradicated in the past. As Vhalla researches her own kind, she discovers hatred and bigotry which makes her nervous to embrace her magic. She also has to face how what she has become changes the way her friends view her and how she is treated.

I was intrigued by Vhalla and the world she inhabits. The parallels of her world’s magical inequality, genocide, and bigotry by using sorcery in place of race or religion was interesting and as a reader you can’t help but draw similarities between what goes on in the real world and in this made up place. Vhalla was treated pretty harshly, even by those she called friends and I can’t help but think she will get her revenge in future novels. As a young seventeen year old, her ideals seem so young. Some of the things she goes through in this novel make her grow up pretty quickly and I’m curious to see how it shapes her character in the books to come.

I can’t end this review without saying something about the cover art for Air Awakens. It is eye-catchingly beautiful and is definitely the reason why I gave this new to me author a chance. I feel strongly enough about this story that I immediately purchase the second book in the series and can’t wait to get started on Vhalla’s next step of her journey! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this book!* Air Awakens (Air Awakens Series)

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chicks Audio Review: Firstlife (Everlife #1) by Gena Showalter

What if the life you were currently living wasn’t your only life? Tenley Lockwood has been sent to the Prynne Asylum, a prison for those kids who have not chosen who to spend there Everlife, Troika or Myriad. To factions who need to build their armies and who are fighting for control over the Everlife. Ten has a fascination with numbers and both Troika and Myriad are convinced that she holds the key in their war for dominance in the Everlife. They send two handlers to help convince her to choose their faction and she becomes close with both of them. As they fight to keep her alive and give her the chance to choose before her Firstlife ends she makes some discoveries about both that make her decision hard. A decision that may disappoint the one she loves.

Firstlife was a non-stop action adventure novel that luckily was easy to follow. Ten was the person that both factions believed they needed to gain dominance over the other. The reader was told the reason but other than surviving a bunch of attempts on her life she didn’t really show the reason why she was that special. She was pretty obstinate in not letting anyone push her to make a decision before she was ready, despite the life and death action that was going on around her. I’m going to guess we find out about her abilities a little more in the second novel? At least I hope so.

As with many YA fantasy novels, Ten is helped by two young men, both of whom she becomes close with but unlike the typical YA trope, only one she falls for. Without spoiling her choice I will say that she doesn’t let her feelings sway her decision on who the best faction may be for her which was pretty refreshing!

I listened to the audiobook of this novel and it was narrated by two people, Emma Galvin and Zachary Webber. I am familiar with Zachary Webber’s work and per usual he was awesome. Emma Galvin read from Tenley’s point of view which was the majority of the story and I thought she did a great job of displaying all of the emotions this character felt while being chased through the majority of this book. A tough read, for sure!

I am a huge fan of fantasy novels and have had this series on my TBR for awhile. I really enjoyed the narration and if you have the time would recommend your giving this book a try. If you read it instead of listen, I’d imagine the action would speed your reading along quite quickly. You’ll be surprised at how much this character goes through. It was kind of exhausting!

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase! Firstlife (An Everlife Novel)

Copyright 2021 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? (8/23/21)

A rainy weekend is the perfect time to read on the couch while listening to those drops hit you window. The only thing that would be better is if the temp was a little bit chillier. I started two books this weekend, one of which is an audiobook and both were fantasy novels. I seem to be in that mood!

JUST FINISHED

This cover is totally romance worthy isn’t it? But that title is all fantasy novel! I ran across this on Amazon and as it was a Kindle Unlimited book and I’m a subscriber I thought I’d give it a try. I read the reviews and they said this was good and I have to admit, I really enjoyed the story! It was a lot darker than I’d been prepared to read but I guess when you start off with a dragonrider kidnapping a young woman to be his bride it’s not your typical romantic fantasy. The characters were very interesting and the story took me somewhere completely unexpected. It’s not often I’m surprised and in a good way! I’ve already gotten the second book in the series and can’t wait for another rainy day to read it.

JUST STARTED

From the same world as Kill the Queen and Protect the Prince, Capture the Crown is the story of Gemma the Gargoyle Queen. I’m listening to the audiobook of this novel and hope it captures my interest as much as her previous series. I loved the action-filled story and the side-story romance. Will Gemma be as interesting? We’ll see!

Which genre is your go-to genre when you want to get away from real life drama? I’ve been on a total fantasy kick lately! Let me know in the comments.

Have a great Monday!

Deb