Blog Tour! Rules We’re Meant to Break by Natalie Williamson (Excerpt)

I’m excited to be a part of the blog tour for Natalie Williamson’s young adult novel Rules We’re Meant to Break! This dramatic sounding synopsis makes it sound like a one night read!

Synopsis: Honest and full of heart, this clever contemporary romance debut deftly combines utterly relatable family drama with all the sweetness and uncertainty that comes with falling in love.

Rule #1: Don’t get attached.

Amber lives by strict rules to survive her mother’s love life: Always keep your eyes on the horizon and never get close to anyone connected to Mom’s boyfriends.

But after they move in with Kevin, the latest of her mom’s “soul mates,” the rules become increasingly difficult to follow. Kevin’s daughter, Cammie, keeps acting like Amber’s friend, even though she’s definitely not. And Jordan—star basketball player, hottest boy in school, and Cammie’s best friend—keeps showing up at the most inconvenient moments.

Amber has reasons for every one of her rules, and following them is the only way to protect her heart when her mom inevitably moves on. But as she spends more time with Kevin, his daughter, and especially Jordan, she starts to wonder if the rules might be worth breaking this time.

Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, Rules We’re Meant to Break is a charming, heartachingly real story of family and young love by debut author Natalie Williamson.

Here’s a sample excerpt of the novel, enjoy!

A little while later Hannah comes out to join me, food and smoothies for both of us in hand. “Thanks,” I say, taking mine from her and immediately digging in to my sandwich. 

“Of course,” she says, sliding in across from me. The restaurant is a lot quieter now, and the line that was snaking to the door when I got here is now completely gone. “Ugh, my feet are killing me.” 

“Busy morning?” 

She nods, reaching for her spoon and taking a bite of soup. “Totally wild. The post-church crowd always is though.” 

“Amen,” I say, and we both laugh. 

Then Hannah’s grin fades and she levels me with an expectant look. “So. How’d it go yesterday?” 

And there it is. I’m surprised it took her this long to bring it up. 

“Fine.” I reach for my sandwich again. “My room’s pretty big, and it’s on the opposite side of the house from Cammie’s, so that’s a bonus.” 

“That’s good,” Hannah says, still watching me carefully. She knows how much I’ve been dreading this weekend, and even though we got into a fight over me not wanting her to help with the move, she still wants to make sure I’m okay about it. Hannah has a big heart. It’s one of the many reasons I’ve kept her around so long. “Was she there at all? Cammie, I mean.” 

I shake my head. “It was supposed to be her weekend with Kevin too. At least that’s what Mom said.” 

“Awkward,” Hannah says.

“Tell me about it.”

Honestly, Cammie is the part of this whole move that’s been stressing me out the most. Kevin is the fifth guy since my dad that we’ve lived with, the third who has kids of his own. But he’s the first person my mom has dated who has a kid that goes to my school, and when you add in the fact that Cammie and I are only a year apart and that her parents’ divorce was Big News last year, awkward doesn’t even begin to describe it. 

“Well,” Hannah says, because there’s really nothing else to say about this whole situation that we haven’t covered ad nauseam in the last few weeks. “Is the unpacking going okay at least?” 

I think of the maze of boxes I had to navigate this morning when I was trying to find my work clothes, and of the judgmental look Buffy gave me when I tripped over a stack of books on my way to get her more water from the bathroom. No way am I telling Hannah this though. It’d make her worry more, and she already does enough of that where I’m concerned. “Yeah. I mean, it’s slow. But it’s coming along.” 

“Good,” she says, smiling now. “You know I’m always game to help if you need it, right?” 

This last part comes out a little uncertain, and I get this prickle of guilt that she’s still so clearly worried about our fight. 

“I know you are. It’s just, you know the rules, Han, and you know why they matter more than ever now. I don’t want to mess with the status quo this early in the game.”  

She nods, her smile fading a little even as a grim sort of under- standing settles over her face. “Of course,” she says quickly. “I get it.” 

Desperate for a change of subject, I reach for my smoothie, take a long drink, and then say the first thing that pops into my head. “Did you know Jordan Baugh lives in Harper Ridge?” 

“What!” Hannah sits up straighter in her seat. “How did I not know this? How do you know this?” 

“I saw him while I was walking Buffy last night,” I admit. “His house is next door to The Castle.” 

“No shit?” she says, her expression gleeful. “Maybe he can be, like, your escape plan if things get too weird at home. You can walk Buffy over to his house all the time.” 

“I think you’re getting a little ahead of yourself, Han. I don’t even really know him.” 

“Yeah, but you’ve always wanted to get to know him.” She waggles her eyebrows at me. “So this new proximity can be your in.” 

I shake my head at her, but I’m fighting a smile now. And I can’t help picturing Jordan how I saw him last night, lit up from behind, his expression earnest as he watched me leave. “Maybe.” 

If you’d like to purchase this novel please click the link!

Rules We’re Meant to Break

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Friday YA: Storm and Fury (Harbinger #1) by Jennifer Armentrout

Trinity Marrow is the only human living in a community of Wardens, guardian Gargoyle shifters whose main purpose is to protect humans against a Demon invasion. Trinity’s ability to see ghosts has her stumbling upon a conspiracy that could be tied to her mothers death a year earlier and may be led from inside her own community. But seeing ghosts is not the only secret she’s hiding! Her secret gets revealed when Wardens from the DC community come to visit and she’s forced to use her powers to save her own life.

Storm and Fury was so easy to fall into. Somehow the situations and characters felt familiar and about 1/3 of the way through I had an aha! moment and realized this is a spinoff to a The Dark Elements series I’d read several years ago in which Zayne was featured prominently. In this novel, Zayne’s past experiences with Demons comes in handy as they travel to DC where he and Trinity meet up with some familiar past characters (a few of whom are demons) to investigate the disappearance of her friend.

I liked Trinity’s character a lot. She was an interesting mix of innocence, strength, and stubbornness. As the plot moves forward and her secrets are revealed she becomes even more interesting. Her failing eyesight, a very human frailty, is an interesting contrast to a girl who refuses to admit weakness. In fact, it takes a little while for me to figure out she’s actually almost blind. Read the Afterword about her ailment, Retinitis Pigmentosa, and how that disease has a personal tie to the author.

Zayne was a mystery even though he’d been part of a previous series. I couldn’t figure out his motives right away and I liked him as the love interest, but at the same time I felt he was a little more mature than Trinity. As his life was revealed and I realized all that he’d been through I realized what a great fit he actually was for her, as they had similar tragedies in their background. After I figured out what series and where I read his story before I liked him even more, but if you hadn’t read The Dark Elements Series, I think you can jump right in and not miss a beat in this story. It stands on it’s own.

Jennifer Armentrout does such a great job of writing in this YA fantasy genre. I love her world building and she has a deft hand with giving characters interesting backgrounds and emotional ups and downs. All things that keep me reading and move the plot forward. It’s rare that I get bored and I certainly didn’t with this novel. I relished reading it. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“I absolutely love the way the author writes relationships because they are always the slow burn romances that begins with flirtatious banter and escalates to sexual tension that literally everyone can feel. I loved watching Trinity and Zayne come together and the steaminess of their relationship. I thought that they definitely complimented one another.” The Reading Chemist

“Overall, this book was everything I wanted. If you want action, romance, kick-ass gargoyles, and a girl with an eye condition representing how strong she is this is the book for you.” Classy x Book Reviews

Click this link to purchase!* Storm and Fury (The Harbinger Series)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chick’s Audio Review: What Angels Fear (Sebastian St. Cyr #1) by C. S. Harris

I read this novel and a few others in the series a long time ago and I’ll admit that with the amount of books I read in a year that if some time has gone by I can pick up a book again and read it like it was new with only a hint of familiarity. I am currently listening to the Outlander series and LOVE that narrator Davina Porter. I wanted to see if there were any other books that she’s narrated that sounded interesting and was surprised to see that she narrates this wonderful historical mystery series. Of course, I used my Libro.fm credit to purchase this book.

Set in the early 1800’s a young woman is found murdered on the altar of a church. It is a particularly gruesome crime and the only evidence is a dueling pistol and piece of jewelry that belongs to Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin. Accused of the crime, Sebastian escapes the police and decides to investigate to clear his own name. 

This novel introduces us to characters that will reappear in future books. As Sebastian investigates this twisted mystery the characters morals and motivations are unveiled surprising even the jaded Viscount Devlin. Davina Porter who narrates these books does an amazing job with her characterizations of each character. You are never in doubt as to who is speaking as their voice is immediate clear. I am in awe of her ability to voice an accent from a number of different countries. It is in large part her portrayal of these characters that allowed me to fall into the story as quickly as I did. 

I love historical mysteries and What Angels Fear was an excellent one. The pacing wasn’t slow as some are and the story held a lot of action sequences that moved the plot along quickly. Sometimes while listening to a novel I get frustrated and wish to speed it along, but this was a novel that I relished and enjoyed as the author C. S. Harris and the narrator, Davina Porter, portrayed it. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* What Angels Fear: Sebastian St. Cyr, Book 1

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chick Read: Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey

Budding screenwriter Annie Cassidy dreams of writing the next great romantic comedy. Her best memories from her childhood are watching rom-com’s like Sleepless in Seattle or When Harry Met Sally with her now deceased mother. Sitting in their local coffee shop working on her screenplay, Annie learns that a rom-com will be filmed in their neighborhood starring cocky Drew Danforth. Despite being disappointed in their choice of lead actor (no similarities to Tom Hanks at all!), Annie gets a part time job as the Director’s assistant, for the first time immersing herself in the movie making world. A world that soon makes her wonder if she isn’t starring in her own rom-com with a rather unlikely leading man.

Waiting for Tom Hanks is a really cute romantic comedy mixing moments of hilarity while also mining the depths of our characters hearts. There are tons of comparisons to our favorite romantic comedies and every man Annie meets is compared to her favorite leading characters played by actor Tom Hanks. Hence the title of the book. The author walked a fine line between overplaying those two comparisons but somehow I accepted every mention.

The romance between Annie and Drew was antagonistic at first due to Annie’s misconception about Drew’s lack of Tom Hanks-like attributes. I enjoyed their clever dialog and found myself rooting for Drew early on but sat patiently reading until Annie got past her misconceptions.

Part of what made this novel so enjoyable was the cast of characters. Annie’s kooky best friend, her Dungeons & Dragons playing uncle, and the nutty director of the movie all added depth and fun to their scenes, as well as helped round out Annie’s character. Through her interactions with them the reader is able to see her as more of a sympathetic character because at first she is rather mean to Drew and that could’ve been hard to overlook.

This novel was one of my most anticipated reads for June. Did it live up to my expectations? It had a great meet cute, subtle humor, solid friendships, kooky best friend, and hot love interest. YEP! I wasn’t disappointed at all. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

I received a free copy of this book through NetGalleyfor my honest review and it was honest.

Click here to purchase!* Waiting for Tom Hanks

Blog post Copyright Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

Want to read an excerpt?

I blink a few times, staring straight into Drew Danforth’s face. It’s like when you’re a kid and there’s a solar eclipse, and all the teachers are like, “Don’t look directly into the sun! You’ll destroy your retinas!” but there’s always that one kid (Johnny Berger, in our class) who can’t stop staring.

In this situation, I’m Johnny Berger. And I guess Drew Danforth is the sun.

“Are you okay?” he asks again, enunciating his words even more as if me understanding him is the problem. His brown eyes, I notice, are flecked with tiny bits of gold, which is something you can’t see when you watch him on TV. His hair is just as voluminous as it seems in pictures, but in person, I have the almost overwhelming urge to touch it, to reach out and pull on that one lock of hair that hangs over his forehead.

“She’s not responding.” He turns to Chloe. “Is something wrong?”

“She’s French,” Chloe says without missing a beat. “She only speaks French.”

“I’m not French,” I say, breaking my silence. Chloe and Drew’s heads swivel to look at me.

“I’m sorry about your coat,” I whisper, then I run toward Nick’s.

Chloe bursts in the door behind me, the bell jingling in her wake. “I’m not French?” she screeches. “Those are the first words you spoke to Drew Danforth? Really?”

“Well then, why did you tell him I was French?” I shout, ignoring the curious stares of everyone working on their laptops and the calming melody of whatever Nick put on to replace the Doobies.

“I don’t know!” She throws her hands in the air. “You weren’t talking, so I thought I’d give you an interesting backstory!”

I put my hands over my face. “This is ridiculous.”

“No,” Chloe says, grabbing me by the shoulders. “This is your meet-cute, and now you need to go back out there and find him and say something that isn’t a negation of your Frenchness or an apology for destroying his probably very expensive coat.”

“Meet what?”

Nick stares at us from behind the counter, a dishtowel in his hand.

“A meet-cute,” Chloe stands up straight, shoulders back, as if she’s delivering a Romantic Comedy 101 lecture to Nick and his patrons, “is the quirky, adorable, cute way the hero and heroine of a romantic comedy meet.”

Everyone stares at her blankly.

“Or hero and hero. Or heroine and heroine. Not to be heteronormative,” she clarifies.

“Like how me and Martha met at her wedding,” Gary says.

Chloe thinks about it. “I don’t know that I would necessarily call that one a meet-cute, but sure, Gary.”

“Did you just make that up?” Nick asks, arms crossed.

I shake my head. “No. It’s a thing.”

“Watch a romantic comedy, dude,” Tobin says.

Nick rolls his eyes.

“Anyway,” Chloe continues, “Annie straight up ran into Drew Danforth and spilled a cup of coffee all over his coat, which is, like, the cutest of meets.”

“That doesn’t sound very cute,” Nick says skeptically, rubbing the scruff on his chin. “Was it still hot?”

“Scalding,” I say, sinking into my chair and resting my head on the table.

“Sounds like a meet painful,” says Gary, and a few people laugh.

“Thanks,” I mutter. “I’m so glad you all find my embarrassment entertaining.”

“Annie!” Chloe sits down across from me as a customer walks in and the rest of the shop stops paying attention to us. “This isn’t embarrassing. This is merely a story I’ll tell in my toast at your wedding to Drew.”

I lift my head to look at her. “I hate to break this to you, but I don’t think he’s my Tom Hanks. I think he’s just a famous guy with a possible third-degree burn on his chest. And now my first day on set is going to be super awkward because I accidentally assaulted the lead actor with a beverage.”

Chloe’s about to say something, but then a song starts and she closes her mouth, looking up toward the speakers. “I swear to God, I told Nick not to play any more Bon Iver. It makes people look up their exes on Instagram, not buy coffee. I’m gonna go put on some Hall and Oates.”

As she walks away, I rest my head on the table again. As if it wasn’t embarrassing enough to have my uncle get me a job on set, now I have to deal with this.

*Amazon Associate

Friday YA- Audio Review: A Question of Holmes (Charlotte Holmes #4) by Brittany Cavallaro

Charlotte and Jamie are on the same coast, both enrolled for some pre-college courses at Oxford. It seems like it’s finally their time to find out if they will work as a couple. However Charlotte is approached to help solve a disappearing person case from a year ago and finds herself the understudy for the roll of Ophelia – and Jamie is cast in the roll of blinded by love boyfriend.

I am a big fan of this Holmes and Watson series. As a fan of mysteries it’s been great fun to be given a behind the scenes look at the screwed up Holmes family. In A Question of Holmes, Charlotte is coming off of rehab and living with her uncle in England, the most normal family life she’s ever had. Written from Charlotte’s POV we are given her insights into not only the mystery but also her true feelings about family, life, and her love for Jamie. At times these vignettes were difficult to listen to, but overall I feel like the author was very true to who Charlotte was, and also realistic in who the future Charlotte was to become. Her voice was narrated by Julia Whelan who did a fabulous job giving her that upper posh British accent, but also gave her a hint of vulnerability that we saw for the first time in this novel.

I have listened to this whole series, which is normally told from Jamie’s perspective (read amazingly well by Graham Halstead) with a final chapter from Charlotte. I really liked the switch in this final novel because Jamie’s character has been revealed to the reader through the previous three novels. We know exactly who he is, but not how he fits into Charlotte’s life. Is he just her sidekick? Or her one true love? What is she really thinking? We discover all of these things in A Question of Holmes.

The mystery in this novel had a few twists and turns that fed some tension into our two main characters relationship but I’m going to avoid talking plot points because I don’t want to run the risk of giving anything away. I will say that it’s deftly done and there is a big reveal in the latter half of the book that creates a path that I didn’t see coming. The conclusion to the mystery was satisfactory and the conclusion to the series although a little confusing, did fit the characters and how they grew throughout the series. Would I change anything if I could? Yes. Do I know what I’d change? Not really. That doesn’t really help does it? LOL. My overall recommendation is that if you’ve read this series A Question of Holmes is a solid conclusion with nothing left unsaid, yet I feel like their story was just not finished. I wish we had one more novel. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“Now, the ending. I’m not going to spoil it for you, but it was very ambiguous. It felt like a close to the story while it was still very open for more books if the author decided to revisit it. …Definitely an impressive “retelling” that has earned a spot on my Holmes-focused bookshelf!” BW Reviews

“This story was, in my opinion, way better than the third book in the series, has some surprises to it that might shock you, has a nice mystery to it and of course – most importantly – Jamie and Charlotte.” Blogger Books

Click this link to purchase!* A Question of Holmes (Charlotte Holmes Novel)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chick Read: Grave Secrets by Skye Jordan

Grave Secrets is the first novel in the romantic suspense Manhunters series. The Manhunters are a group of ex military warriors who investigate undercover on behalf of the government (or sometimes not). Ian arrives in Hazard County to investigate the suspicious death of one of their agents and comes to the aid of Savannah. She’s been separated from her husband for three years and with the divorce final, is trying to get out from under his controlling influence as Sheriff. Sparks fly immediately between Ian and Savannah and his undercover job starts to get personal.

It’s hard for me to hear the name Hazard County and not think of the Dukes of Hazard, especially when there’s a jerk sheriff involved. However, the mystery that surrounds the death of Ian’s fellow investigator quickly removes that campy show from my mind. These characters were not caricatures but well developed with a lot of depth. I easily got lost in the interaction between Ian, Savannah and her son and the action involved in the story line.

I usually have a hard time reading stories where the female lead is a victim, so I’ll give props to Skye Jordan for creating a character that was kind of a victim, but who was sassy and trying to get out of her circumstances. She didn’t use Ian for his obvious brawn, and their relationship felt stronger for he trying to help her out of her circumstances by using their brains rather than shooting themselves out of a corner as most other heroes would have done. Not to say there wasn’t action, because there was! It seemed to work within the plot instead of the plot working for the action, if that makes sense.

If you like romantic suspense novels then I think you should give Grave Secrets a try. It’s the first in the series, so you can choose if you’d like to move forward with the other characters introduced in this novel. I liked them, so I’m choosing to, as soon as the author releases the next book! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“Grave Secrets draws you in from the first page, when Zane’s first surveillance assignment for his new company nearly goes very, very badly. The reader immediately needs to know the answers to a whole bunch of questions…” Becky on books…and Quilts

Grave Secrets

Click this link to purchase!* Grave Secrets (A Manhunters Novel)

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: My most anticipated releases- June ’19

It’s summer! With the change in season summer vacations are being planned all around the world. Along with those vacations we book lovers are planning how to bring all of the books we want to read. Pack an extra bag chickadee’s, these are my most anticipated books being released in June ’19. I know you’ll want to add a couple of these to your own reading plans.

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MY MOST ANTICIPATED JUNE 2019 RELEASES

5) Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey

Release date: 6/11/19

Publisher: Berkley

Synopsis:

A rom-com-obsessed romantic waiting for her perfect leading man learns that life doesn’t always go according to a script in this delightfully charming and funny novel.

Annie Cassidy dreams of being the next Nora Ephron. She spends her days writing screenplays, rewatching Sleepless in Seattle, and waiting for her movie-perfect meet-cute. If she could just find her own Tom Hanks—a man who’s sweet, sensitive, and possibly owns a houseboat—her problems would disappear and her life would be perfect. But Tom Hanks is nowhere in sight.

When a movie starts filming in her neighborhood and Annie gets a job on set, it seems like a sign. Then Annie meets the lead actor, Drew Danforth, a cocky prankster who couldn’t be less like Tom Hanks if he tried. Their meet-cute is more of a meet-fail, but soon Annie finds herself sharing some classic rom-com moments with Drew. Her Tom Hanks can’t be an actor who’s leaving town in a matter of days…can he?

Click the link to purchase! Waiting for Tom Hanks

4) The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

Release Date: 6/4/19

Publisher: Balzer & Bray

Synopsis:

Emma Saylor doesn’t remember a lot about her mother, who died when Emma was twelve. But she does remember the stories her mom told her about the big lake that went on forever, with cold, clear water and mossy trees at the edges.

Now it’s just Emma and her dad, and life is good, if a little predictable…until Emma is unexpectedly sent to spend the summer with her mother’s family that she hasn’t seen since she was a little girl.

When Emma arrives at North Lake, she realizes there are actually two very different communities there. Her mother grew up in working class North Lake, while her dad spent summers in the wealthier Lake North resort. The more time Emma spends there, the more it starts to feel like she is also divided into two people. To her father, she is Emma. But to her new family, she is Saylor, the name her mother always called her.

Then there’s Roo, the boy who was her very best friend when she was little. Roo holds the key to her family’s history, and slowly, he helps her put the pieces together about her past. It’s hard not to get caught up in the magic of North Lake—and Saylor finds herself falling under Roo’s spell as well.

For Saylor, it’s like a whole new world is opening up to her. But when it’s time to go back home, which side of her—Emma or Saylor—will win out?

Click this link to purchase! The Rest of the Story

3) Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

Release Date: 6/4/19

Publisher: Berkley

Synopsis:

A modern-day Muslim Pride and Prejudice for a new generation of love.

Ayesha Shamsi has a lot going on. Her dreams of being a poet have been set aside for a teaching job so she can pay off her debts to her wealthy uncle. She lives with her boisterous Muslim family and is always being reminded that her flighty younger cousin, Hafsa, is close to rejecting her one hundredth marriage proposal. Though Ayesha is lonely, she doesn’t want an arranged marriage. Then she meets Khalid, who is just as smart and handsome as he is conservative and judgmental. She is irritatingly attracted to someone who looks down on her choices and who dresses like he belongs in the seventh century.

When a surprise engagement is announced between Khalid and Hafsa, Ayesha is torn between how she feels about the straightforward Khalid and the unsettling new gossip she hears about his family. Looking into the rumors, she finds she has to deal with not only what she discovers about Khalid, but also the truth she realizes about herself.

Click this link to purchase! Ayesha At Last

2) Storm and Fury (Harbinger #1) by Jennifer Armentrout

Release Date: 6/11/19

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Synopsis:

Enter a world of gargoyle protectors, rising demons and one girl with an explosive secret.

Eighteen-year-old Trinity Marrow may be going blind, but she can see and communicate with ghosts and spirits. Her unique gift is part of a secret so dangerous that she’s been in hiding for years in an isolated compound fiercely guarded by Wardens—gargoyle shape-shifters who protect humankind from demons. If the demons discover the truth about Trinity, they’ll devour her, flesh and bone, to enhance their own powers.

When Wardens from another clan arrive with disturbing reports that something out there is killing both demons and Wardens, Trinity’s safe world implodes. Not the least because one of the outsiders is the most annoying and fascinating person she’s ever met. Zayne has secrets of his own that will upend her world yet again—but working together becomes imperative once demons breach the compound and Trinity’s secret comes to light. To save her family and maybe the world, she’ll have to put her trust in Zayne. But all bets are off as a supernatural war is unleashed…

Click this link to purchase! Storm and Fury (The Harbinger Series)

1)Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Release Date: 6/4/19

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of An Enchantment of Ravens comes an imaginative fantasy about an apprentice at a magical library who must battle a powerful sorcerer to save her kingdom.

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

It looks like my most anticipated releases are heavy on the Young Adult genre. Unfortunately 6/4 is this week! Yikes! I better get reading!

What is your most anticipated June release? I’d love to add to my TBR!

Deb

Friday YA: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black

SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD: When your introduction to the fair folk is the gruesome death of your parents by a fearsome fae General named Madoc, your life is going to be turned upside down. Jude, Taryn and their half sister Vivienne were abducted by the above General and raised by him in the High Court of Fairie. Jude and Taryn were full human and each handled their humanity in this magical world differently. Taryn by lying low, dreaming of some day belonging, and Jude by fighting for the right to rise in their ranks as a warrior. All while her nemesis, Prince Cardan, is constantly trying to demean her and beat her down. This is a fantasy filled with intrigue, romance, and betrayal.

Written from Jude’s perspective, the fae court seems filled with beauty and danger. However, Jude’s view is slightly tainted because of her humanity. In this fantasy novel there doesn’t seem to be much good in these fae folk their faces filled with snears, boredom, and yes beauty. Until the tides change and her nemesis Cardan becomes her partner against a palace coup. It’s only after this partnership formed (or so I thought!) that both of their characters showed depth. Jude, finally caring what happens beyond her own needs, and Cardan develops a small hint of humanity in his cold fae heart. Even though late in the book, that depth gave this novel a lift out of the darkness of both of their despair and gave me hope that their characters could be redeemed and I would come to care for one of them, even if only slightly.

The Cruel Prince is certainly aptly named as Cardan is the villain to Jude’s rather grim heroine. The title could just as aptly been named the Cruel Human as both characters showed more dark than light in their characterizations. Even when Jude is given a love interest, there seemed to be something lacking in the telling of that love. The outcome of that romance ending in a pivotal scene that should’ve delivered more impact but because of Jude’s romantic ambivalence towards Locke that scene fell short. The same ambivalence could be said of her relationship with her sister Taryn. I just never felt like Jude cared for anything or anyone beyond how life and those people impacted herself. If she had cared more about her actions impacting her sister’s happiness, then maybe the failure of that relationship would also have delivered a knockout punch. For me, it really didn’t.

SO, I started the book with high hopes, knowing that so many loved this story and fantasy is my favorite genre, after all. The outcome for me? Ho-hum. I wish I had connected with Jude more. There was something lacking in her character that kept me from going all in. What the novel did do right was portray my vision of Fairie really well, where beauty and cruelty hold hands. The vivid scene where Cardan rips a wing off one of the minor fae is cruel in his disinterest. I wasn’t quite THAT disinterested as I read the novel all the way through, but I was a little ambivalent.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“the writing was very well done. The main character’s voice is engaging and full of personality. I adored the descriptions, the humour and its quotability…. The only real downside for me was that I wasn’t head over heels for the romance (even if I liked both parties). I mean, it made sense and was logical- I didn’t quite feel the fireworks. Other than that, I thought it was an excellent read.” The Orang-utan Librarian

Click this link to purchase!* The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chick Read: Death in Kew Gardens (A Below Stairs Mystery #3) by Jennifer Ashley

Kat and her cooks assistant Tess run out on errands for the evenings meal and run into a Chinese man in the street. Literally. Picking up their various packages, Mr. Li and Kat strike up a brief friendship that grows stronger when he gives her the gift of a fabulous blend of tea. When her next door neighbor is murdered and a “chinese man” is the main suspect, Kat is determined to clear Mr. Li, convinced that this nice man would not harm her neighbor. With the help of her usual casts of characters including the enigmatic handyman Daniel she finds herself enmeshed in another whodunnit that reveals as much about her as the other characters in this novel, including our killer.

I’m a sucker for a great historical mystery and the Below Stairs Mysteries have not yet disappointed. This is the third novel in the series and as each mystery is solved the reader learns more about Kat, Daniel, Tess and the other characters in these books. These tidbits have helped keep my interest making me eager to read the next novel to see what new bit of knowledge will be revealed. Daniel is the biggest mystery still unsolved. He’s a handyman, yet is also a bit of a gentleman making the reader feel as if he’s trying on parts for each investigation. Which is the real man and once that mystery is resolved how will he and Kat’s relationship play out? I will definitely keep reading to find out.

The mystery in this novel was just a little lackluster for me. I enjoyed the new cultural references and found the history of tea to be really interesting, however, I wasn’t as invested in some of the new characters as I had been in the first two books of the series. Not to say it was bad, it really wasn’t! I enjoyed the interaction between Kat, Cynthia, Thanos and Daniel more than I did the mystery and sped through the investigation to get to the meat of their relationships. I’m sure it’s because I’m such a huge fan of romance novels, so I focused on that part of the book more than the mystery.

Do you like historical mysteries with a hint of romance? If so, then this novel and series should be added to your TBR. Each book can be read as a stand alone but they’re so much more enjoyable if you have some back story for the main characters. I’d recommend reading the other novels before picking this one up. Once you do, you’ll really enjoy your trips to Jennifer Ashley’s historical London.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“Death in Kew Gardens reminded me of both Downton Abbey and Grand Hotel, with a touch of Agatha Christie. I will definitely be reading the forerunners in this series and anxiously await for book number four.” A Wondrous Bookshelf

Click this link to purchase!* Death in Kew Gardens (A Below Stairs Mystery)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chick Read (Audio Review): Fiercely Emma (Cake #3) by J. Bengtsson

Fiercely Emma tells the story of not only Emma and Finn’s budding romance, but also how Emma’s life was shaped after the kidnapping of her brother Jake when she was just sixteen. This situation at such a young age put Emma in the position of mother to her two younger siblings and the post trauma when Jake was recovered shaped all of her siblings albeit in different ways. Emma’s self preservation came in the form of a wall that she built around her heart. Finn is the guy that broke down that wall and their story is heartbreaking and heart mending.

After having read Rogue Wave recently which is the fourth book in this series, I went back and listened to the audiobooks for the first three. I had previously read books one and two, but for some reason stopped with Fiercely Emma came out. Emma hadn’t been my favorite character and I think because I wasn’t drawn to her I put off reading the book. I’m going on record to say that I made a bad decision. Whereas Emma is still a tough nut, I LOVED Finn and the two of them together are such good awesome sauce! So I’m now spreading the love for Fiercely Emma and advising everyone to listen to the audio books for this series. The narration by Andi Arndt and Zachary Webber is done so well and the humor comes through and made me laugh out loud.

Finn has his own difficult back story and J. Bengtsson uses his story as a comparison to Emma’s to show the reader how someone can overcome their tough beginnings. Finn uses humor to hide his pain and that humor while funny at times broke my heart. Emma also uses humor to hide, but hers is not warm, until she meets Finn who becomes the bright light shining through the cracks in her wall. It is because of Finn and how his relationship changes Emma that she is able to mend her relationships with her own family, which is essentially what these books are all about.

Fiercely Emma really needs to be read as it stands in the series. Each book is uniquely tied to the kidnapping of Jake and I’d love to say it can stand on it’s own, but really, it can’t. This is a family saga, and each novel re-tells the story from a different viewpoint and as you read each book you see scenes from different perspectives and each perspective really sheds new light and makes for an aha moment that would be lacking otherwise. I will say that I skipped this book to read Rogue Wave first and I don’t think I messed up the flow of the series too much, but it would’ve been better for me (the reader) to have read them in the order they are released. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

On it’s own this was a great book. How it ties to the series makes it outstanding. Loved.

Click this link to purchase!* Fiercely Emma: Cake Series Book Three

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate