This Chick Read: The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk

In a world similar to Regency England, women with magical power are sold into marriage as a business arrangement between families. Some of whom are looking for that magical boost to their gene pool, and others may receive financial gain. On the day of their marriage these young women are forced to wear a collar that inhibits their powers for fear that the children they bear may be possessed. Beatrice Clayburn is a young sorceress who does not want to get married. She dreams of the day when she can become a Mage and through being a Mage help her family’s finances, instead her father wants to marry her off. Beatrice practices her sorcery in private but at night she attends balls and is under the attention of all of the young men who are on the marriage mart. Determined not to ever marry, one day she meets Ianthe Lavan and is torn between what she needs and what she wants.

I thought it was interesting that this fantasy tale paralleled the paths of young women in Victorian England who may have fought for equal rights during the Suffrage movement. Also forced to marry for business or monetary reasons these women also dreamed of their voices being heard and not smothered by or becoming possessions of their husbands. The collar that Beatrice would have to wear also brings to mind the collared slaves who were at the whim of their masters in the United States. Reading this novel during the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote and while the Black Matters Movement is still being fought certainly made what Beatrice was and would go through very relevant. I can’t imagine the author didn’t intend for the reader’s mind to follow those parallel paths.

Surprisingly I didn’t get tired of Beatrice’s mixed feelings over falling in love with a young man while at the same time as wanting the freedom to pursue her own future. Most authors would have chosen the easier path, but C.L. Polk chose what spoke to her character and that decision read true to me. I will admit to shedding a tear or two for Beatrice and Ianthe in this novel while hoping their rocky path would smooth out.

I could imagine the hardships of not only Beatrice but all of the young women of her time. In a discussion with her mother about never wanting to wear the collar her mother told a story of how she chose to marry for love and how that love deadened over time. Beatrice’s decision for her future couldn’t just be about how much she loved Ianthe or how much she wanted to be a Mage. Her decision was about not letting anyone have control over her body and while I am not making a political statement I can certainly say that I identified with that feeling while reading this novel. So, did I like it? Yes. A lot actually. But was it easy reading? It really wasn’t. It made me think about what was going on in the world right now. Not a bad thing but maybe not exactly what I was looking for when I sat down to read either.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* The Midnight Bargain

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? (9/21/2020)

I did get a good bit of reading in this last week despite a crazy work week and some more birthday shenanigans at home. In my family all of my siblings, my husband and my mother’s birthdays are within six weeks of each other so we seem to have a party almost every weekend. (Yes, socially distanced, we all live together!) Let’s catch you up on what I’ve been up to!

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’ve read this series but saw the audiobooks up for sale and picked them up. I’ve been enjoying them all again, wrapping up with the third, Wayfarer’s Keep. This author writes so well and keeps me entirely entertained!

JUST STARTED

I love books about young women finding their power. I’m curious to see how she uses her new found confidence! This one is off to a quick start and I like the author’s voice so far!

Now that you know what I’m up to, catch me up on the books on your nightstand!

Happy Monday!

Deb

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: My Top 5 Most Anticipated Book Releases- Oct’20

I love fall! The weather is wonderful and you just want to be outside. Maybe it will be nice enough to read one of these books on my back patio? You can only hope!

#5 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

The premise for this series is so great! A group of guys read romance novels to help them figure out their women and improve their love lives. The first one was totally cute, but I’ll admit I was disappointed in the second in the series. Will Crazy Stupid Bromance reel me back in? We’ll see!

Synopsis: A hacktivist and a cat café owner decode the friend zone in this romantic comedy from the author of Undercover Bromance.

Alexis Carlisle and her cat café, ToeBeans, have shot to fame after she came forward as a victim of a celebrity chef’s sexual harassment. When a new customer approaches to confide in her, the last thing Alexis expects is for the woman to claim they’re sisters. Unsure what to do, Alexis turns to the only man she trusts—her best friend, Noah Logan.
 
Computer genius Noah left his rebellious teenage hacker past behind to become a computer security expert. Now he only uses his old skills for the right cause. But Noah’s got a secret: He’s madly in love with Alexis. When she asks for his help, he wonders if the timing will ever be right to confess his crush. 
 
Noah’s pals in The Bromance Book Club are more than willing to share their beloved “manuals” to help him go from bud to boyfriend. But he must decide if telling the truth is worth risking the best friendship he’s ever had.

Click this link to purchase!* Crazy Stupid Bromance (Bromance Book Club)

#4 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

It’s certainly not the cover that makes me want to read this book. A very disappointing choice by the publisher. This novel as been buzzing for a couple of months and I’ll admit to wanting to know what all the fuss is about!

Synopsis:


A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever—and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

Click this link to purchase!* The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

#3 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

I loved The Tourist Attraction, the first book in this series. Mistletoe and Mr. Right looks to be just as cute and I can’t wait to get started on this one!

Synopsis:

How the moose (almost) stole Christmas.

Lana Montgomery is everything the quirky small town of Moose Springs, Alaska can’t stand: a rich socialite with dreams of changing things for the better. But Lana’s determined to prove that she belongs…even if it means trading her stilettos for snow boots and tracking one of the town’s hairiest Christmas mysteries: the Santa Moose, an antlered Grinch hell-bent on destroying every bit of holiday cheer (and tinsel) it can sink its teeth into.

And really…how hard could it be?

The last few years have been tough on Rick Harding, and it’s not getting any easier now that his dream girl’s back in town. When Lana accidentally tranquilizes him instead of the Santa Moose, it’s clear she needs help, fast…and this could be his chance to finally catch her eye. It’s an all-out Christmas war, but if they can nab that darn moose before it destroys the town, Rick and Lana might finally find a place where they both belong…together.

Click this link to purchase!* Mistletoe and Mr. Right (Moose Springs, Alaska Book 2)

#2 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

Love, love, love this series. It’s clever, it’s current, and it’s football season all the time! Alexa Martin strikes the right chord in these funny rom-com’s. I can’t wait to get started!

Synopsis:

With the stakes this high, it’s no longer just a game for the Mustang’s quarterback in this romance by the author of Blitzed.

Elliot Reed is living her best life—or pretending to. She owes it to her dad’s memory to be happy and make the most of her new job as Strategic Communications Manager for the Denver Mustangs. Things are going well until star quarterback Quinton Howard Jr. decides to use the field as his stage and takes a knee during the national anthem.

As the son of a former professional athlete, Quinton knows the good, the bad, and the ugly about football. He’s worked his entire life to gain recognition in the sport, and now that he has it, he’s not about to waste his chance to change the league for better. Not even the brilliant but infuriating Elliot, who the Mustangs assign to manage him, will get Quinton back in line.

A rocky initial meeting leads to more tension between Quinton and Elliot. But as her new job forces them to spend time together, Elliot realizes they may have more in common than she could’ve imagined. With her job and his integrity on the line, this is one coin toss that nobody can win.

Click this link to purchase!* Snapped (Playbook, The)

MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE OF OCT’20

This book sounds amazing. Set in a Regency England type world, a young woman has to pick between becoming a Magus and forgoing a chance at love or picking love and having her magic obliterated for the safety of her future children. It seems especially fitting to read this female empowerment novel during a time when the US is undergoing a political fight to replace a strong woman on the Supreme Court. A choice that could take women back in rights by decades. I can’t wait to see how this fictional character finds the right balance of claiming her own power and not giving up on love.

Synopsis:

Beatrice Clayborn is a sorceress who practices magic in secret, terrified of the day she will be locked into a marital collar that will cut off her powers to protect her unborn children. She dreams of becoming a full-fledged Magus and pursuing magic as her calling as men do, but her family has staked everything to equip her for Bargaining Season, when young men and women of means descend upon the city to negotiate the best marriages. The Clayborns are in severe debt, and only she can save them, by securing an advantageous match before their creditors come calling. 

In a stroke of luck, Beatrice finds a grimoire that contains the key to becoming a Magus, but before she can purchase it, a rival sorceress swindles the book right out of her hands. Beatrice summons a spirit to help her get it back, but her new ally exacts a price: Beatrice’s first kiss . . . with her adversary’s brother, the handsome, compassionate, and fabulously wealthy Ianthe Lavan. 

The more Beatrice is entangled with the Lavan siblings, the harder her decision becomes: If she casts the spell to become a Magus, she will devastate her family and lose the only man to ever see her for who she is; but if she marries—even for love—she will sacrifice her magic, her identity, and her dreams. But how can she choose just one, knowing she will forever regret the path not taken?

Click this link to purchase!* The Midnight Bargain

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

These are some fun sounding books, aren’t they? What books or authors are you looking forward to reading next month? There are a lot of great ones!

Happy reading!

Deb

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (8/31/2020)

I took a long weekend and spent a little time reading, a little time writing, a little time with family, and somehow it flew by! I did have time to catch up on my ARC reading, which you’ll see two of below.

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 was really surprised by this novel! It was magical, mysterious, moody, and romantic. Yeah, I couldn’t find another ‘m’ word. LOL. Seriously though, this was a good fantasy novel. In the same vein of Caraval, but for me, read a little bit easier.

JUST STARTED

I literally just picked this one up so I can’t really speak to my feelings yet. However, I loved the first in the series and do like how it’s set during the women’s right to vote movement in England. Since we’re having our own 100th Anniversary of the Women’s Right to Vote here in the US, this book was very apropos!

Now that you know what book I’m reading, fill me in on what book you’re starting off your week diving into!

Deb

This Chick Read: Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards #1) by Janella Angeles

Kallia, a showgirl in a mysterious nightclub, escapes to the city beyond the woods, where a magical contest will take place to find the headliner for the Circus of the Conquerors. Her ex boss Jack haunts her as she finds her place and becomes friends with the enigmatic Magician Daron Demarco. This is a debut novel that delivers fantasy in a haunting new world full of magic, mystery, and romance.

This was such an interesting novel! Set in a world full of magicians. Some of whom work in service using their powers to build, lift, and sew. Basic skills that become a little easier, or more special through the use of magic, yet that skill keeps them on their own social level. Everyone in this world strives to be the most magical, and the elite are performers who draw the spotlight away from the depths of despair the other members of society are doomed to live.

Kallia’s previous life at her nightclub in the woods was a place filled with grandeur, yet she felt imprisoned by the Master. She escapes that place but not him and their relationship changes from friend, to lover, to enemy, to hero (?). She was obviously confused about how she felt about Jack but mine were much simpler. I was fascinated by him. A magician who could plant memories in people? That could be used for good or evil and it seemed Jack rode a fine line. Kallia herself was a mixture of snark, shine, and insecurity. Character traits I’m not usually drawn to but she was actually a really interesting character and I grew to like her. Not to sound like a broken record but Demarco was also a bit…mysterious. His place on the judges panel and his reasons for being on it remained unclear for but his growing involvement with Kallia and his conflicted feelings about her made you want to see the story through to the end.

When Dreams Descend was dark but it was also pretty special. I thought the scenes where the magicians performed were well done and their magic was easy to follow. The author wrote them almost like a fight scene and my imagination didn’t have any trouble following her direction. The story also held my interest and I didn’t have any trouble immersing myself in this fantasy world. A solid book one for this debut author! I can’t wait to read the sequel when it comes out.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

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!* Where Dreams Descend: A Novel (Kingdom of Cards (1))

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: 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

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

Friday YA: Court of Lions (Mirage #2) by Somaiya Daud

A fantasy set in a world of rebellion and distrust, Amani is isolated as punishment for her rebel activity. Torn from the boy she loves, having angered her princess, Amani is unsure if she’ll survive another day. She’s surprised when the princess Maram asks her to stand in as proctor during her wedding ceremony to Amani’s love, Idris. This sets in motion a chain of events that gives Amani hope that she may have a future, her rebels could take back their planet, and she could be joined with the boy she loves. Court of Lions is the sequel to Mirage an epic fantasy that has hints of Middle Eastern flavor that colors this world in a vibrant brocade of texture and life.

After Amani’s political schemes almost cause her end in Mirage, we see a more subtle Amani in Court of Lions. When standing in as Maram, Amani developed relationships for her princess that Maram did not have the skills to do herself. At the same time she skillfully gave Maram courage to lead with strength and empathy, something her people hadn’t seen since being almost demolished by the conquering Vath. I liked the strength of these two characters. These were women who held power with empathy, not with threat. It was an interesting dichotomy as they were also preparing to go to war.

Once again, I felt the love story between Amani and Idris was underwhelming. She was such an interesting character and Idris? He was just a nice guy. More interestingly, In Court of Lions, Maram is given her own love interest in the mysterious Aghraas ( I hope I spelled that correctly!). Aghraas, another strong woman, this time in warrior form, brought out a softer side of the kind of haughty princess. I thought their relationship more interesting than Amani and Idris’ and looked forward to their scenes because they gave Maram the depth her character needed to finally shine.

Even though Court of Lions had some great characters, this world they lived in was even more fascinating. You can tell by the cover of this novel, but the author definitely gave this story an Arabian Nights flare with bejeweled clothing, bright colors, and the transport on horseback. I loved it. The contrast between a conquering people who were technologically advanced in spaceships and a people who got around via horseback was kind of cool. I tried not to get caught up in a thought of ‘could this really happen’ because that would’ve spoiled the mood. Instead I let the tea steep, laid back on my silken pillows and read this fun novel and, well, enjoyed the ride. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Court of Lions: A Mirage Novel (Mirage Series (2))

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (8/3/2020)

August has always been a month I love. When I was younger I anticipated the start of school and loved the thought of being with my friends after a couple of months off. As an adult I have always planned an August vacation although this year I will be spending any days off at home reading instead of traveling. This past weekend I took Friday off and spent time reading a much anticipated book that I was fortunate enough to receive in advance of its release date at the end of the month. I read from sun up to sun down. It was a fabulous way to spend a nice summer day.

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

Catalina’s story continues! It was better than I’d hoped!

JUST STARTED

The sequel to Mirage, Court of Lions mixes fantasy with moroccan tapestry. This author has created a really interesting new world that captured my attention for the first page. I’m liking this novel just as much as the first.

I don’t usually pick the same genre back to back but these choices are working for me! What book have you chosen to start your week with?

Happy Monday!

Deb