This Chicks Audio Review: The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna

Mika Moon meets with other witches only once every few months because of the rule that when too many witches gather together there can be a magical backlash that might out their society to regular folks, and as history has shown, people are not kind to witches. As witches are always orphans, her life has been very lonely. She keeps herself from getting attached to people by moving locations every few months. When she is contacted to tutor three young witches at Nowhere House she is extremely surprised. Three young witches are not supposed to be living together, so she goes to the home to check them out. What she finds is a group of people who have formed a family, one that they will allow her entry into if she will help them keep their secret.

Narrated by Samara MacLaren in a lovely accent, this novel immediately swept me into the story of this young lonely witch who dreams of belonging to a family. When she arrives at the isolated Scottish estate, she meets the motley crew who are watching over the young ladies, including the handsome and surly librarian, Jamie. Mika signs on to help the young girls for a few months and see’s how wonderful they have it, safe behind some magical wards, being raised by a group of people who care for them, something she and other witches have not had. Wanting to preserve their upbringing she does everything she can to teach them about their magic and hold reality at bay.

This was such a wonderful story. I loved Mika and how finding these people, and Jamie, made her dream of a life where she could be safe and have the family that she’s always wanted. She does, of course, have some obstructions in her way, one of which is her love interest, Jamie. His over-protective nature gives way a little to a gentleness with Mika that created all of the romantic vibes. The other adults at Nowhere House were lively, fun, and if not completely believable, at least they added to the family atmosphere this author was trying to create. I would call them quirky and eccentric for sure. Everything wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine as Mika soon discovers and she has to choose whether to support their decisions or go on with her life as it was before landing at Nowhere House and meeting Jamie.

This novel was on the best of 2022 lists on both Goodreads and Amazon and after listening to this story, I would have to agree that it was certainly enjoyable! If you have the time to listen to it, the Scottish accents were dreamy and totally understandable. LOL.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this book!* The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches

Copyright 2023 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 Most Anticipated Book Release- June’23

This is a special Memorial Day edition of my Top 5. Thursday is June 01 and I haven’t even looked at the book release lists until now aaahhhhh! Ok, OK, I got this! Accepting the challenge of culling through all of the many books because of course, June is a HUGE summer book release month, I’ve narrowed it down to my top 5. Here goes!

#5 BOOK RELEASE

A Jill Shalvis romance is like mac and cheese, fried chicken, or ice cream. The ultimate comfort book reading I reach for her novels knowing that I will love the friendships and ship the romance. This novel is in a series I’ve come to love and I can’t wait to fall in love with these characters!

Synopsis:

What makes life sweet?

  • Freshly baked bread
  • A cool lake on a hot summer day
  • The comfort of a cozy bookstore
  • Second chances and new beginnings

When Harper Shaw’s life falls apart, she knows it’s time for a change. She removes everything that doesn’t spark joy—from her soul-sucking job to eating kale to making lists—and sets off for the last place she was happy, Lake Tahoe (who wouldn’t feel good there, right?) to fulfill her dream of opening her own bakery.

With her Sugar Pine Bakery in between a tavern, owned by sexy, grumpy Bodie Campbell, and a bookstore, run by her new BFF, she feels a peace she’s never experienced since…well, forever.. Then she meets Ivy, a teenage runaway, who barrels into her heart. She sees a lot of herself in Ivy and takes her under her wing, but the teenager has secrets…

When those secrets explode, it changes Harper’s new world, and she’ll learn, it’s never too late to start over, it’s never too late to figure out your life, and best of all, it’s never too late to let yourself believe in love.

Click this link to purchase!* The Sweetheart List

#4 BOOK RELEASE

If you know me at all you know that any book by Ilona Andrews falls in my top 5. This one is out on June 13th and I can’t wait to carry on with my favorite fantasy characters.

Synopsis:

Kate and Curran have just settled into their new home and their ‘low profile,’ when a local businessman approaches them with an offer they can’t refuse. A mysterious evil has spawned in the nearby forest and is holding a defenseless town hostage. The ‘due date’ is rapidly approaching.

It’s exactly the kind of fight the Lennarts can’t resist, not for the prize the town offers, but for the people who will surely die if they ignore it. If they succeed, they’ll be rescuing an entire community and can build a strong new base for their family and the Wilmington Pack. If they fail…well, fail is a four-letter word.

Nothing comes without a price. Now Kate must decide if she has what it takes to pay it.

Click this link to purchase this book!* Magic Claims

#3 BOOK RELEASE

I loved Uzma Jalaluddin’s debut novel Ayesha at Last and know that Much Ado About Nada is going to give me a love story unlike any other, culturally rich with a multi-faceted story and great characterizations. This author is a go-to read.

Synopsis: A sparkling second-chance romance inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion…
 
Nada Syed is stuck. On the cusp of thirty, she’s still living at home with her brothers and parents in the Golden Crescent neighbourhood of Toronto, resolutely ignoring her mother’s unsubtle pleas to get married already. While Nada has a good job as an engineer, it’s a far cry from realizing her start-up dreams for her tech baby, Ask Apa, the app that launched with a whimper instead of a bang because of a double-crossing business partner. Nothing in her life has turned out the way it was supposed to, and Nada feels like a failure. Something needs to change, but the past is holding on too tightly to let her move forward.

Nada’s best friend Haleema is determined to pry her from her shell…and what better place than at the giant annual Muslim conference held downtown, where Nada can finally meet Haleema’s fiancé, Zayn. And did Haleema mention Zayn’s brother Baz will be there?
 
What Haleema doesn’t know is that Nada and Baz have a past—some of it good, some of it bad and all of it secret.  At the conference, that past all comes hurtling at Nada, bringing new complications and a moment of reckoning. Can Nada truly say goodbye to once was or should she hold tight to her dreams and find their new beginnings?

Click this link to purchase!* Much Ado About Nada

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

#2 BOOK RELEASE

I love STEM romances. I like the smart dialog and interesting characters and in this case (I’ve read this one already) I love the flawed but totally likable characters! A fun enemies to lovers romance this is a sure fit for your own TBR.

MOST ANTICIPATED JUNE BOOK RELEASE

There is magic in every one of Ashley Poston’s adult romance novels. I loved The Dead Romantics and am saving the ARC I received for my vacation this week. I can’t wait to dive into this book!

What books are sitting in your own top 5? Can’t wait to hear about them.

Happy Reading!

Deb

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (5/22/23)

I’ve been on a bit of a fantasy kick over the last week so I was both reading and listening to fantasy novels. It’s funny how reading moods change on a whim. Or at least mine do. Here’s what I was up to this last week.

JUST FINISHED

I’ve read this book before but because the book is coming out in a month or so I decided to listen to the audiobook. I liked the narrators but I think I preferred the pace of reading this novel instead of listening to it. You know that does happen sometimes! LOL

JUST STARTED

Did I say I was going to start this book last week? I know it’s on my list to read and I want to get started on it. I just need to not get distracted by a different title in the meantime.

Happy Monday and happy reading!

Deb

Can’t Wait Wednesday!

The title of this post is self-explanatory I think but for those of you who may need clarification… I can’t wait to read this book that is coming out next month!

I am a huge fan of this author duo and the Kate Daniels series is a favorite. So, when they ended the series and then a couple of years later started up again with an off-shoot, no one was more excited than me!This book comes out June 13, 2023.

Synopsis:

Kate and Curran have just settled into their new home and their ‘low profile,’ when a local businessman approaches them with an offer they can’t refuse. A mysterious evil has spawned in the nearby forest and is holding a defenseless town hostage. The ‘due date’ is rapidly approaching.

It’s exactly the kind of fight the Lennarts can’t resist, not for the prize the town offers, but for the people who will surely die if they ignore it. If they succeed, they’ll be rescuing an entire community and can build a strong new base for their family and the Wilmington Pack. If they fail…well, fail is a four-letter word.

Nothing comes without a price. Now Kate must decide if she has what it takes to pay it.

Click this link to purchase! Magic Claims

This Chick Read: Scarlet by Genevieve Cogman

A different take on the Scarlet Pimpernel story, Scarlet takes place during the French Revolution in a world where vampires are among the elite in society, and are being put to their deaths via guillotine. Marie Antoinette and her children are being held in prison awaiting their trial and eventual deaths. The league of the Scarlet Pimpernel want to save the French monarchy and find the perfect distraction, a young English maid who is the spitting image of the French queen. Now embroiled in a mission beyond her life’s normal scope, Eleanor is determined to help save their lives and in return improve her position in society.

I’m a big fan of Genevieve Cogman’s previous series, The Invisible Library, and really enjoyed the intricate world she created full of dragon’s, fae, and librarian’s who fought agents of chaos. I was eager to pick up Scarlet and see how this author’s creativity would apply to a well-known historical reality and fictional cast plus vampires and mystical elements. I’ll admit to feeling a bit let down. This novel felt like it was a little lost. Eleanor was a naive young maid who wished for a better life and was thrown into this secret spy society, and despite the situations she found herself in, never seemed to grow into the character I know this author wished most fervently for her to become. I say the word fervently because I could almost feel the push and pull of machinations in plotlines that somehow seemed to fall a little flat. Disappointment thy name is Scarlet.

I’ve read a lot of Scarlet Pimpernel stories, seen movies, watched tv shows, etc. and this novel was certainly a different take, but what it failed to do was make what Percy was doing feel real. I think part of the problem is that we were viewing the story through the eyes of Eleanor, a young maid who was educated by books, but not in life. A lot of what she viewed (and there wasn’t much of it truly) was through the eyes of naiveté and/or a greed to get out of her circumstances into something better. The contrast between that ‘want’ and what was going around her in Paris during the Revolution was a bit jarring and hard to overlook. I mean the citizens of France rose up against the wealthy because they were hungry and poor and this girl (and the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel) wanted to maintain society as it was. I’m not sure how you could fix that problem in her character except by making her more sympathetic. I don’t know, but what I do know is that I too felt like I was left bereft… of a plot that made more sense.

I had hope for a more intricate world building from this author. The story and world didn’t feel very detailed, which I know this author can do and I kept waiting for it to kick into another gear and it just never did. ❤️❤️❣️

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

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book please click this link!* Scarlet

Copyright 2023 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: Magic Tides (Kate Daniels: Wilmington Years #1) by Ilona Andrews

Kate, Curran, and their young son Connor have moved away from Atlanta to start fresh in Wilmington, NC. Their aim is to build their home and live a quiet life, with a low profile, and stay out of trouble. When one of their contractor’s family members is kidnapped that quiet life gets upended when Kate decides to involve herself and make sure his young nephew is returned to his family safe and sound. Needless to say, her low profile is blown. Magic, sea monsters, and gods, OH MY!

This short novella was a great fix for fans of the Kate Daniels series, but dare I say it? It was not long enough! Kate Daniels is one of my all-time favorite heroines and reading a brand new story with her bad-@$$ attitude? Needless to say, I was all in and launched into my 6th re-read of her series to prepare myself for this four hour re-immersion. It was so wonderful (sigh).

What starts off as your basic recovery of a small child turns into an epic Kate adventure. We travel from the dregs of Wilmington, to the local vampire base, and Kate tries to stay undercover. In the meantime, Curran is waiting at home for all those she’s pissed off. Fun! Sorry, this is a totally biased review, but I’m a huge fan of this author duo and will read and re-read everything they release. Speaking of which, I read on the authors website that Wilmington #2 will be out in June so you don’t have to wait too long to get your next fix, and these two books will be released as audiobooks together. This year is going to fly by with so much to look forward to. 🙂 ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this book!* Magic Tides

Copyright 2023 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? (3/20/23)

I have gone down the rabbit hole of previous season’s “best of” book lists and have recently added to my already overburdened TBR. BUT, I’ve also knocked off a couple of these new, wonderful books from that list already. I’ve had an awesome week of reading and listening to some great audiobooks. Here’s what’s on my nightstand.

JUST FINISHED

I’ll admit to having looked at this book quite a few times, but I’d never picked it up because I’d read a couple of average “witchy” books last fall and didn’t want a repeat of mediocrity. However, I was sent a ‘best of 2022’ romance books list by an audiobook company and this book fell into that list. I took a look at it again, had an extra couple of credits and downloaded it to my Libro.fm app. I adored the English narrator, and loved the story. This book was so much more than a romance, it was really about an outcast finally finding a place where she belonged. Who can’t get behind a story like that? The narration was seriously good too.

JUST STARTED

This is a new one for me. I haven’t read the other books in the series, nor have I read any books by this author. However, it has a ghostly-mysterious feel and I was in the mood to switch up my genre’s and felt like reading a mystery. I literally just started it, so I’ll let you know how it goes!

The above two books are different choices for me but I feel really good about spending my time with these characters. How is your current book treating you?

Happy Monday and happy reading!

Deb

This Chick Read: Sweep of the Heart (Innkeeper Series #6) by Ilona Andrews

Sean’s werewolf mentor is captured and the only way Dina and Sean can get to the planet where he is being hidden is to use a portal held by the Dominion. To get permission they have to hold the Dominion’s spouse search in Gertrude Hunt, their Inn. Expanding their Inn to provide comfort, safety, and food to multiple species is all in a day’s work for Innkeeper’s Dina and Sean, but when an assassination plot is thrown into the mix their skills are stretched to the breaking point- and this is all before they can save Sean’s mentor. Life as an Innkeeper is never boring!

This series has all the things that make you love reading fantasy novels. Interesting characters, vibrant world-building, great action sequences, and heart. Dina is the heart of these novels and it’s her actions that drive the story. When she and Sean agree to host the spouse search in return for gaining access to the portals to the world where Wilmos is being held, she goes all in on making this project for the Dominion’s ruler a success. The comfort and safety of all of her guests is of utmost importance to an Innkeeper and managing each species while not killing anyone, or having anyone be killed is a challenge, but this team is up to the task. The descriptions and needs of each species are so varied and interesting, it’s amazing to me that these authors can make a tree species come to life in a way that makes the reader react with feelings of like or dislike is amazing. To steal from Paul Hollywood’s Great British Baking Show – their writing is not style over substance, it’s an amazing balance of the two.

Sweep of the Heart’s spouse search is political machinations at its best. Each species receives an ask for taking part in this competition. If they get sent home without winning, their minor ask is received by the Dominion who chooses to either grant that request or deny it. If they win, their major ask is given and granted. All of these are puzzles pieces on a large playing board that will affect the balance of all of their lives as well as their planets. As a reader we are just along for the ride, and it’s so much fun. I can’t imagine being the author who must put it all together so that it’s cohesive and makes sense! Sweep of the Heart was definitely a master class in writing.

The underlying story that runs through the Innkeeper series- the mystery of the disappearance of Dina’s parents and their Inn, does move forward in the culminating chapter in this book. I know it will wrap up in the next novel which might be the end of this series, which will break my heart, but I do think it’s time for us to know the answer to that storyline. Given the cliff-hanger I hope that the authors don’t wait two years to write the next novel. Of course, if they do I’ll have read and re-read (and listened!) to this book multiple times, so I’ll be ready. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this book!* Sweep of the Heart

Copyright 2023 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? (1/30/23)

I’ll admit that I haven’t picked up my next book yet and am going back and forth between a few. I have started re-listening to one of my all time favorite series and have pretty much been spending my time with my earbuds in my ears and being anti-social. It’s funny how each time I listen to this series it’s like it’s the first time. I find something new every time. I’ll tell you a little more about it below.

JUST FINISHED

One of my favorite books in this series. Why? Kate and Curran finally decide what to do with their relationship, plus theirs some kick @$$ action! As much as I love the paranormal romance aspects of this series it’s really the mystery and action scenes that keep me coming back for more. Oh, and for Kate as well. She is one bad mother!! LOVE her.

JUST STARTED

Just started #5. I know it won’t disappoint because I’ve picked it up and read it a million times before. Sometimes you just need the comfort of a much loved series. This is my comfort read.

Enjoy your Monday and happy reading!

Deb

Happy Release Day! The Gorgon Agenda (SPI Files #8) by Lisa Shearin

Have you, like me, been waiting on the next release in the SPI Files series? Wait no more! The Gorgon Agenda came out on January 24th on Kindle and in paperback. Here’s a quick peek.

THE GORGON AGENDA

Lisa Shearin

A planet-killing weapon, sinister sisters, and immortal monsters.

All in a day’s work for the agents of SPI.

I’m Makenna Fraser, seer for SPI (Supernatural Protection & Investigations). I knew SPI

protected some of the world’s most dangerous relics, but I didn’t know our draconic founder,

Vivienne Sagadraco, kept them in a vault deep below Manhattan.

Until the most lethal relic of all was stolen.

The Aegis is the shield once wielded by Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war. The center of

the Aegis contains the head of Medusa, making it the ultimate weapon. All who look on it or its

reflection are instantly turned to stone.

Old enemies and new adversaries have descended on New York—and one of them now has the

Aegis:

Tiamat—Babylonian goddess of chaos, and Vivienne Sagadraco’s sister

Stheno and Euryale—Eight-foot-tall, snake-haired gorgons, granddaughters of the

Titans, and Medusa’s sisters

The Sisterhood of Medusa—An ancient gorgon military order

The Cabal—A supernatural terrorist organization

Those behind the theft have declared war on humanity, with a hatred that was millennia in the

making, and a heist that was centuries in the planning.

Our mission is simple yet impossible: Retrieve the Aegis and save the world. But we can’t do it

alone. We’ll need our friends, family, and some unexpected new allies if we’re to stop this

ancient evil once and for all.

Click this link to purchase on Amazon!* The Gorgon Files