This Chick Read: American Magic by Zach Fehst

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

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

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

❤️❤️❤️❣️

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

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

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

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

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

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Friday YA: The Accidentals by Sarina Bowen

Raised by her single mother, seventeen year old Rachel has never met her father. Although she’s a big fan of his music. When her mother dies, leaving her to the foster care system, her father Frederick gains custody until she turns eighteen and goes away to school an adult. Rachel now has the chance to find out what happened between her parents and get to know her father and share her love for music.

Besides music, Rachel and her father have a lack of good communication in common. For the majority of the novel I was waiting for the big reveal over why he’d abandoned Rachel for eighteen years. This transgression has shaped who Rachel has become as an adult woman and the fact that she didn’t force that issue was so frustrating for me. She also hid that she was a singer songwriter. I’d think that would be the first thing a young girl would say to her father musician. However, the impact of when she revealed that piece of herself to her father really impacted the story well and propelled their relationship forward so I’ll forgive the author for my impatience! LOL

The second part of this novel was a love story with two possible love interests. #1- Rachel leaves a childhood friend, Haze, behind when she goes with her father. Haze has a rather rough background and I think Rachel has been the only good thing in his life. However, his feelings for Rachel are stronger than hers for him. At times he comes off as aggressive, trying to push her into a relationship that she’s not ready for. #2- Before she goes off to boarding school she’s assigned a pen pal, Jake. They get to know each other through texts and emails first, and then when she gets to school they strike up a friendship that quickly turns into something more. The contrasts between her two love interests seem to reflect the place she is in her life at that time. Kind of sad for Haze, but she leaves her rough upbringing behind when she meets her father and goes off to prep school.

I was more interested in the story between Rachel and her father than I was the romance. Not too surprising since I am way beyond school age, but the reasons for her abandonment and building that relationship was a lot more interesting. BUT, the story fell short of giving me what I wanted in the conclusion. Yes, she is now a part of her father’s life, she has a solid boyfriend and their future looks bright, but I still feel like Rachel didn’t get what she needed and was still searching for something more from her father. So, I liked this book, but it didn’t sweep me away. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“The Accidentals is a masterpiece of feelings. It was also a different kind of romance, because the main story wasn’t about the romance – it was about family and loss. And it was also about finding what had seemed lost forever.” (Un)Conventional Bookworms

Click this link to purchase!* The Accidentals

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chick Read: The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

The Bride Test is the stand alone sequel to Helen Hoang’s wildly acclaimed The Kiss Quotient. Khai Diep is introduced to the reader as unfeeling and incapable of love. Despairing of ever having grandchildren, his mother goes back to Thailand to find Khai a wife. In the bathroom of a large hotel she meets Esme, the house maid of that hotel. Enjoying Esme’s lack of artifice and her practical manner, she issues the invitation to Esme to come to America for the summer, meet Khai and see if they’d be a good match. All expenses paid, with a job waiting tables at her restaurant waiting on the other side. Down on her luck Esme takes advantage of this opportunity and takes her first plane trip to the US, where she proceeds to charm Khai with her lack of feminine wiles.

I had a few issues with the Kiss Quotient. I had such a hard time overcoming the fact that FINALLY a book was written about an autistic woman falling in love, yet that love was a hooker. So many people overlooked his profession but for some reason (I don’t know, sanity?) that was a line I just couldn’t cross. Thankfully, The Bride Test had none of those issues. Khai, too was autistic. However, his self proclaimed issues were his emotions, not his lack of sexual prowess as was Stella’s in The Kiss Quotient. I loved learning about Khai’s difficulty’s trusting himself to let go and feel. I learned a lot about autism reading from his POV. Funny enough, Esme seemed to have plenty of self worth issues herself but hers came from her social standing. Their character growth ran parallel to each others and I relished seeing how this country girl taught Khai how to learn to love.

This novel had plenty of humorous moments and titillating scenes that fans of The Kiss Quotient will be happy to hear about. Esme is a fish out of water in the US and she makes plenty of social gaffe’s, however she’s so sweet and charming that you are laughing with her instead of at her. Khai’s confused attachment to her grows and he becomes her biggest champion, albeit in a way that shows he’s absolutely clueless about how to navigate a romantic relationship. They really were the perfect couple.

The Bride Test is a unique romance novel in that its main characters are not perfect at the end of the book. You get the feeling that both Khai and Esme have a long journey of self discovery ahead but they will do it hand in hand. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“These two weren’t perfect people, but they were perfect for each other. I loved how she wanted Khai’s consent before she did things that would trigger him. How she asked him to show her how he liked things and how he wanted to be touched.” Books and Blends

“Overall, I adored this book.  There are some things that happened near the end that felt rushed and far-fetched but not enough to truly bother me.  I breezed through this one and it even brought tears to my eyes.  That does not happen to me that often with a romance!” Kristin Kraves Books

Click this link to purchase!* The Bride Test

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

It’s Monday! What are you reading? (8/12/19)

Happy Monday everyone! I ran across this post on Book Date and liked the idea of sharing what I’m currently reading, so here goes!

JUST FINISHED

The Best Thing by Mariana Zapata

First Sentence Read: “I knew it was a shitty idea to click on the link on my home screen.”

JUST STARTED

The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. Aiken

First Sentence Read: “The great king had barely taken his last breath before one brother took the head of another.”

Mariana Zapata’s book came out this weekend and I had to drop everything else and read The Best Thing. It was very different than her previous novel,sweet, gentle, and so funny! Loved it! I started The Blacksmith Queen as a change in pace and boy was it off to a bloody start! G.A. Aiken writes with such a tongue in cheek irreverence. I’m enjoying it so far!

What are you reading this fine Monday?

Deb

Friday YA: P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #2) by Jenny Han

Starting off right where To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before ends, Lara Jean decides she wants to be a real girlfriend to her fake boyfriend Peter Kavinsky. Writing another letter, Lara Jean delivers it in person to Peter and finds him at home. They have a sweet reunion and their relationship is now cemented in reality. That doesn’t mean all of the drama has ended! Peter still talks to he ex, Genevieve, on a regular basis.

Admittedly, I read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Love You back to back and may be getting a few details between the two books mixed up, so please forgive me if I do!

P. S. I Love You’s Lara Jean is not quite as relaxed as the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Lara Jean. Peter is her first boyfriend and dealing with a boyfriend who won’t let go of his ex starts to undermine her self confidence and those doubts make her sound a bit whiny. In the first novel I wanted to crack Peter over the head for his obtuseness, and in this novel I switched over to wanting Lara Jean to stop being so whiny!

There are two key conflicts in this novel. The continued resolution of who shot the hot tub video, and another of Lara Jean’s past love’s responding to her letter. Peter’s response to who shot the hot tub video made me swing back into the “this guy’s a jerk, just let him go already” team. I was riding the edge already because he’s a bit cocky, but his defense of Lara Jean arrives a little late. When John Ambrose shows up, he seems like a white night in comparison to Peter. That contrast made me sit up and take interest in a novel that had started to feel a little flat.

Kitty, again, steals the show. That kid had such sass, she was great fun to read. I also really liked Lara Jean’s interactions at the senior living center, and in particular her conversations with Stormy. A resident of that community who could give Kitty a run for her money in sass and fun. The USO party Lara Jean threw with John Ambrose’s help only made me like him more and I wondered why Lara Jean had such a problem picking her leading man. In my eyes he was definitely the better pick!

Again, this series totally reminded me of the insecurities of my own youth. I never had two guys fighting over me, but that is a fantasy that all girls and women have that despite it being stereotypical always adds a nice tension to a story. In this case it was definitely needed. I haven’t yet read the third and final novel in this series, but have it on my TBR and I know I’ll get to it sooner rather than later. I am invested in reading Lara Jean’s story and want to see her mature and grow into the awesome woman she’s on her way to becoming.

Explicit Ranking: I’d give this novel a 3 out of 5 based not on Lara Jean’s own actions, but on conversations about sex. The hot tub video and how her peers reacted differently to both Peter and Lara Jean is a conversation starter in how women are perceived if they’ve had sex versus men. I think this is a great lesson learned early and appreciate how it was displayed in this novel, even if I didn’t like every reaction.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* P.S. I Still Love You (2) (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

The Chick Read (audio review): Cake-The Newlyweds (Cake #4) by J. Bengtsson

Narrated by Andi Arndt and Joe Arden, Cake: The Newlyweds continues Jake and Casey’s love story from marriage to newlyweds. As one of the biggest rock stars in the world it would seem that they’d have wedded bliss but their otherwise smooth road had quite a few potholes to fill before they truly found happiness.

Each novel in the Cake series has revolved around the horrific incident in Jake’s past when he was kidnapped and had to murder his kidnapper to escape after one month of captivity. In Cake, the first novel where Jake and Casey meet and fall in love, Jake’s mental challenges are revealed but he seems to want to battle those challenges for Casey’s love. In Newlyweds, Jake is still fighting those battles and it’s much harder than he thought it would be, because the world doesn’t revolve around only him and Casey soon has her own battles to fight when she loses someone very close to her. I really liked the realistic way that J. Bengtsson dealt with both of these subjects combining humor with humanity.

For those of us who love continuation stories, following Jake and Casey’s story through their nuptials is a dream come true. However, I read a couple of these novels out of order and I think this may have been the one novel that was affected by my having insight into later plot reveals in the McKallister family. This spoiled the rising tension a little for me, a I knew from the next novel (which I’d already read) the happy outcome. Although, truthfully, it’s a romance so there was always going to be a happy ending, right? However, I really came to love the other McKallister’s and was ready to move on from Jake and Casey sooner that I would’ve thought.

I listened to this novel, narrated from a dual perspective by Andi Arndt and Joe Arden, both of whom did a wonderful job. They acted out their parts rather than read them, which makes a huge difference in my enjoyment. In fact, I’ve gone on to search for these narrator’s because i liked their portrayal so much. Kudos!

Cake: The Newlyweds was a solid second act. I’m glad to have witnessed Jake’s resolution to his kidnapping because having that hanging out there would have been a black spot on this great series. I liked also how Casey was given her own blackness to overcome. It gave her character more depth than the happy cheerleader she’d been up to this point. I’ve already read Rogue Wave which spoiled a few things for me in this novel, so don’t read that one before this book, but it was also fab. I’m ready for the next novel, will it be Grace or Quinn? I almost feel like if it’s Quinn it might undercut Grace’s story? If you’ve read these novels, let me know what you think! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Cake: The Newlyweds (Cake Series) (Volume 4)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? (8/5/19)

Happy Monday everyone! I ran across this post on Book Date and liked the idea of sharing what I’m currently reading, so here goes!

JUST FINISHED

American Magic by Zach Fehst

First Sentence: “The evening’s two Thai coffees, thick with condensed milk and vaporous with rum, swirled around in the soon-to-be-traitor’s stomach.”

American Magic: A Thriller

JUST STARTED

Sidelined by Suzanne Baltsar

First Sentence: “The sharp smell of bitter coffee permeated the air as the whir of beans in a grinder grated on my nerves.”

Sidelined

Once again I am switching gears from an action thriller to a contemporary romance. I rarely read the same genre back to back.

Now that you have had a peek into my kindle, what book are you reading on this fine Monday?

Deb

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: July’19 Wrap Up!

Ahh summer! Long days full of sunshine, vacations to exotic locales, and hopefully plenty of time spent reading a much anticipated book or two. Two out of three ain’t bad! I don’t have a vacation scheduled until the end of the month but I have spent some of these long days full of sunshine reading. Let’s take a look at the month of July to look back on some of my favorite books read, and catch up on what happened on The Reading Chick.

JULY’S BEST READS

How to Marry a Werewolf (A Claw and Courtship Novella) by Gail Carriger

“Even though How to Marry a Werewolf is a novella, Carriger is able to build a back story for Faith that gives her character depth making her three dimensional. If you’ve read past novels (and you should before reading this novella!) Channing is a familiar face. Always growly and at times rather inhumanly wolfy, it’s surprising to see him as a romantic lead. However, somehow it works!” How to Marry a Werewolf: A Claw & Courtship Novella

The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon

“Mercedes was a hard worker, loyal friend, and was the backbone of their friendship. She would never betray a friend which is why she stepped aside when Cora declared her feelings for Noah. This book starts with Cora’s death and through flashbacks we see how their feelings were intertwined. How Mercedes and Noah always had just a little more feelings for each other and how that one moment deflected Noah towards Cora instead of Mercedes. It kind of killed me emotionally, but this was a really good book!” The Smallest Part

Dating-ish (Knitting in the City Series #6) by Penny Reid

“I am in love with the Knitting in the City series! Each time I read a book, I think ‘this is my favorite’! Until I read the next book in the series, which quickly surpasses the previous and becomes my favorite book in the series. This time, instead of reading, I decided to try out my new Romance Audible package on Amazon and listen to Dating-ish, narrated by Joy Nash. Boy was that a delight!” Dating-ish: A Humanoid Romance (Knitting in the City)

THIS CHICKS SUNDAY COMMENTARY

I finally got around to taking part in the Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag. It is a fun tag because I get to look back at all of the books I’ve read in the first half of the year and talk about a few of my favorites. If you missed my post, please check it out!

The Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag

I also took a look back at June and looked forward into August for my most Anticipated releases. Missed them? Here you go!

June Wrap Up!

My Most Anticipated August Releases

WHAT’S ON TAP FOR AUGUST!

August is the start of birthday season in my house. My husband’s birthday is the 17th and mine is the 28th. In honor of our birthday’s, I’m going to do a few small giveaways. I’ve got quite a few books and bookish items that I’ve been meaning to give away that I collected at the Booklover’s Convention I went to in May. I also have a TON of reading to do! 7 ARC’s I need to read and review before their release dates. Whew! I kind of got carried away.

There are quite a few books I’m excited to read this month but I think the one I’m most curious about is…

She is known for her paranormal and fantasy romances so this thriller is quite a surprise! Here’s the synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh welcomes you to a remote town on the edge of the world where even the blinding brightness of the sun can’t mask the darkness that lies deep within a killer.…

On the rugged West Coast of New Zealand, Golden Cove is more than just a town where people live. The adults are more than neighbors; the children, more than schoolmates. 

That is until one fateful summer—and several vanished bodies—shatters the trust holding Golden Cove together. All that’s left are whispers behind closed doors, broken friendships, and a silent agreement to not look back. But they can’t run from the past forever. 

Eight years later, a beautiful young woman disappears without a trace, and the residents of Golden Cove wonder if their home shelters something far more dangerous than an unforgiving landscape.  

It’s not long before the dark past collides with the haunting present and deadly secrets come to light.

Release Date: December 03, 2019.

Purchase link: A Madness of Sunshine

What is the book you are most looking forward to reading this month?

Deb

This Chick Read: Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker

Piper Calloway works as her father’s right hand as an executive in his real estate development firm. Born with a silver spoon in her mouth, she has fought for the approval of her father and the other executives in a mostly male world. When she see’s her girlhood crush, Kyle, working at the front desk of her building as a security guard all of her life’s ambitions get pushed aside and memories of her first love takes over. Will this be her second chance at love?

I have enjoyed K.A. Tucker’s books in the past and while Say You Still Love Me isn’t my favorite of hers it’s still an interesting and kind of different style of romance. Piper and Kyle’s story was told through a series of flashbacks to when they fell in love while camp counselor’s over a summer when they were teenagers. The innocence and fun of that story contrasted well with the more adult version of their re-connection. The minor problem for me was that I was much more interested in them when they were teenage camp counselors than I was with them as adults.

Piper’s mom wanted her to have the experience she did as a “normal” girl at camp. Normal meaning middle class I guess. Rather than being a fish out of water because of her moneyed background, Piper actually fit right in, made friends and caught the eye of the rather rebellious and tattooed teenage Kyle. While her personality was pretty consistent from teen Piper to adult Piper, Kyle did a 180º. He was flirtatious, fun and kind of a mystery as a teenager, but adult security guard Kyle? Not as much fun….

I did enjoy the emotional punch of their re-connection but didn’t buy into a fantasy romance with a high powered executive woman and a building security guard. Well, at least a security guard that wasn’t part of an ex elite military squad who would swoop in and rescue his damsel in distress. This just wasn’t that type of romance. So, it became a little vanilla for me. Huh. I’m a little surprised, but I have to go with that statement.

Since this was both a YA Contemporary and an adult Contemporary Romance built into one book, I’m going to give it two scores. The YA Contemporary novel gets a 4.5 and the Contemporary romance a 3.5, which rounds this one out to a four. A good solid book, but didn’t hit it out of the park for me.

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

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“This has been quite a negative review, but I obviously liked the book if I gave it 4 stars. I fell in love with teenage Piper and Kyle. I loved their innocence and sweetness, I just wasn’t a fan of their adult selves. It’s as simple as that.” Sapphic Library

“Overall, I just couldn’t suspend my disbelief for this book. I know romances are sometimes over the top, but I prefer ones that are more grounded in reality. I didn’t think this book had a whole lot going for it outside the romance and since that didn’t cut it for me, it didn’t have a lot to offer.” The Paperback Princess

Click this link to purchase!* Say You Still Love Me: A Novel

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

Friday YA: Swipe Right for Murder by Derek Milman

17 year old Aidan is staying at the Mandarin Oriental NY for the night when he gets bored. He checks out the gay hookup app, DirtyPaws, and see’s that this hotel has lots of options for fun. He responds to a request from a guy named Benoit and heads up to his room. A little nervous, even after a couple of drinks, Aidan figures he and Benoit are on the same page for a quick fling. When he wakes up to Benoit’s dead body and a laser target moving around the room Aidan realizes he’s fallen into an alternate reality. A reality where he’s been mistaken for someone else. His life changes from hookup to hunted.

Swipe Right for Murder starts fast and never stops. A really fun, politically charged action novel, our hero has to make a decision to get involved to save not only his own life, but the lives of his friends and family. Filled with intrigue, red herring’s, sexual innuendo’s, and fear filled encounters, Aidan is forced to grow up and face his questionable past decisions that led him to this place in his life. He also starts to question a world where what he is, a young gay man, makes him obscene to conventional society. His eyes wide open he needs to choose a side when both sides look wrong.

Aidan’s history made his story unique and interesting and his decisions very personal. A brother who dies suddenly of an enlarged heart, a sexual relationship with a friends father, and his parents questionable response to his being gay have altered his life’s path. He’s made a ton of mistakes and relives those memories over and over, shaping the decisions he makes while on the run. His psychoses led him to react in a way that was surprising, engaging, and made him more sympathetic a character than what we see at the beginning of the novel. By the end of his run, I’m all in, fingers crossed that he comes out ok.

Without giving anything away I’ll just say that Aidan’s a character you learn to like more as the book goes on and you learn more about him. The flimsy layers of Aidan’s personality peel away to reveal a delicious pulp that is real and about mid way through Swipe Right for Murder I settled in and gobbled his story up.

Through Aidan’s eyes we see how faulty society and our government is to those who live on the outside of societal norms. Or at least what society considers the norm. Derek Milman makes an interesting point by comparing our government to this made up terrorist faction. The outcomes may be slightly different, one protecting citizens, and the other harming them, but how they get to those points are pretty similar. Both factions maneuver and take advantage of everyone to get what they want, bulldozing over innocents to get the outcome they’d like. In the end I think Aidan grows enough to see this reality doesn’t make a world that he’s happy to be in and he makes decisions to improve his circumstances for not only himself but those like him. I liked this self discovery and Aidan more for having come to that conclusion.

Seriousness aside, Swipe Right for Murder, while delivering a lesson on what’s right and wrong in our world also delivers a hell of a story. It’s fast pace, interesting hero, and even more interesting side characters made this a fun novel to read. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for more from this author. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“I’m in the minority here when I say that this book is toxic, as it has a 4.5 star rating on Goodreads right now. When I say toxic, I’m saying a political agenda seems to be shoved down some kids throats here. In other words, if it’s looking to change someone’s mind about something, I feel, at the ARC’s stage, it would blatantly fail, as anyone who has any sort of anything against left-wingers would immediately catch on to what’s happening within the first twenty pages and put it down anyway.Page to Page

I loved Derek Milman’s first book, Scream All Night, and honestly wondered if his sophomore effort would live up to his debut. I’m thrilled to say that I think it actually surpassed it! Both books blend the world of classic film, with contemporary coming-of-age themes, sympathetic and relatable main characters, and over-the-top (in a good way) storylines.By Hook or By Book

Click this link to purchase!* Swipe Right for Murder

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate