Friday YA: Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith

Hugo is all set for leaving his six siblings behind for his vacation in America with his girlfriend Margaret Campbell, but then gets dumped. His girlfriend very graciously gives him the trip anyway but there’s one problem. She was the one who booked it so unless he can find someone with her exact name, he won’t be able to use the trip. With his brother’s help he puts out an ad online for a Margaret Campbell who’d like a little adventure taking a cross country train trip with a stranger. Surprisingly, he gets a lot of responses! No surprise though, he ends up going with a girl his age, named Mae. Field Notes on Love ended up being a journey of discovery for both of them. They learned a lot about who they are singularly, but also who they were together.

This novel really took me by surprise! Hugo, the youngest of sextuplet siblings, he has always been a follower, going along with whatever plan his siblings have made. This vacation is the chance for Hugo to venture off on his own and make some discoveries about himself. Mae was the exact opposite. She made things happen, but when her life’s plan falls apart, she is adrift. She takes this cross country adventure as a chance to prove to others that she can shake things up and gather life’s experiences. Through getting to know each other they find out a lot about themselves.

My favorite thing about this novel was how Mae and Hugo interviewed their fellow travelers about the meaning of love. As we heard each person’s story we’d learn a little more about Mae and Hugo’s lives. Those intertwining moments really set this book apart from other YA contemporary novels and made it special.

This is my second novel by Jennifer E. Smith, having read Windfall and been equally charmed by that story. She has a knack for gently leading her readers in a direction and then “thwack’! hitting them over the head with the power of her words. I like that a lot and will keep coming back for those gentle smacks. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“Smith is excellent at writing charming, sweet, lovely romances, though. And this hit all the notes. Hugo and Mae were endearing and sweet, and I loved the cross-country train trip, which was something a little different. It’s completely unobtrusive and utterly delightful.” The Book Nut

“This story doesn’t seem to broach into tough aspects in life, just a few problems that can be solved if one knows how to approach it. So, I find that it made my reading process easy and breezy. It was a story where I can forget about reality, go on an adventure and just unwind in these characters and what they have to say. It really felt as though I was there with them, boarding on trains all across America.” Legenbooksdary

Click this link to purchase!* Field Notes on Love

Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

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This Chick Read: Cliff’s Edge (Solace Island Series #2) by Meg Tilly

When Eve’s sister Maggie goes on her honeymoon, Eve is ready to house sit and enjoy the peace and quiet painting on their property. When she comes home one day to hot movie star Rhys Thomas making himself at home in their kitchen she hog ties him with a toaster cord. Seriously! When it turns out Maggie’s husband is playing matchmaker they decide to co-habitate. Their chemistry isn’t the only thing sizzling! Rhys turns out to be pretty handy in the kitchen and pitches in and plays chef at her restaurant, helping her keep it afloat while Maggie is away. When some strange things start happening to Eve, Rhys’ senses go on high alert and he turns all Alpha determined to keep Eve safe. The tension ratches up a notch when it turns out she’s come to the attention of a serial killer.

Cliff’s Edge falls into the romantic suspense genre but really feels more like a romance with a side of mystery. I really enjoyed the almost lighthearted romance between Eve and Rhys. He seems to have a really level head for a top billing movie star and she is pretty clueless as to how popular he is. There are a couple of funny scenes where the locals figure out he’s somewhere nearby. That doesn’t phase either of them at all. What does is all of the strange incidents that begins to befall Eve. When the POV switches to the killer’s it creates a stark contrast to the lighter love story building the tension very effectively.

The mystery was pretty straightforward and I’ll admit even though I wasn’t sure of the name of the stalker, I guessed his identity pretty early on. That didn’t take away from my enjoyment in reading up to the climactic ending. I don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say that Eve is no fainting heart. I love a strong heroine and Cliff’s Edge does not let me down in that regard at all.

If you love romantic thriller’s then you should pick up Cliff’s Edge. It’s the second novel in the series but it stands on it’s own and can be read without having read the first novel. I did and it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the novel at all. In fact, now I’m curious about Solace Island and am going to put it on my TBR! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“This book was everything that I wanted in a romantic suspense. I loved watching the development of Eve and Rhys’s relationship because both of these characters have a background filled with betrayal and heartbreak and neither one trusts easily.” The Reading Chemist

Click this link to purchase!* Cliff’s Edge (Solace Island Series Book 2)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chick Read: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Dressed in a horrible green bridesmaid dress, Olive Torres figures it’s par for the course. After all, her twin sister Ami has always been the lucky one, winning contests, getting favorable jobs, and now marrying her dream guy. When the entire wedding party and guests get food poisoning with the exception of Olive and Ethan-brother to the groom, the tables are turned and Olive’s luck starts to change. When she and Ethan are offered the chance to take a free honeymoon in the place of the bride and groom, she has some misgivings but accepts. She’s always found Ethan to be somewhat of a bore, but figures she can suck it up for this chance in a lifetime vacation.

The Unhoneymooners has got it all going on! Humor, attraction, great dialog, and my favorite trope of enemies to lovers, what’s not to like? The exchanges between Olive and Ethan are really clever and outright funny. Olive is kind of a beautiful mess, but that mess is mostly in her own head. Written mostly from her POV, we get to see how her adorableness contrasts with how she views herself. That dichotomy really made me root for Olive! Not only didn’t I view her the same way she viewed herself, but could see a little bit of her in me, in her insecurity and self consciousness. I think a lot of readers will identify with her character and that will make her HEA even more sweet to read.

Ethan was a little harder to grasp, but I think that was because we were seeing through Olive’s eyes, and those eyes were a bit clouded. Once they cleared a little, Ethan was as good as it gets. Handsome, charming, and not as full of himself as Olive first believed. What won me over though was how funny they were together. The dialog in this novel was what made it work. Christina Lauren’s self deprecating humor struck a chord and I really did laugh out loud quite a bit!

If you are looking for a fast, fun, vacation bound book then you must give The Unhoneymooners a try out. If your own vacation is lacking that sizzle and spark -this novel will fire you right up! Plus give you a good laugh as well. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

I received an ARC of this novel through NetGalley for my honest review and I was honest!

Click this link to purchase!* The Unhoneymooners

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

Booklovers Con! #BLC19

The first two days at the Booklovers Con have come and gone and my good intentions to post pictures every day has fallen by the wayside because of my need for sleep. Sorry guys! However, today I’ll give you two days of pics to satisfy your book loving needs!

I’ve met some really great authors and taken a few pictures to share. The first night was the kick off party with a Jazz Fest theme, after all we are all in New Orleans! We paraded into the ballroom to a great jazz marching band.

There were authors stationed around the room and I bee-lined towards Christine Feehan to say hi and take her pic.

Christine Feehan!

I’ll admit that I didn’t want to stand in line for food but there were food trucks galore and the band was fab. My sister and I ducked out to eat at a little Vietnamese place we spotted down the street. Yum!

Thursday was chock full of events. A Harlequin author signing and Indie author soirée were fun! Although the lines…not so much. Lol.

Julia London! (On the right)
Rebecca Zanetti!
Ooohhh my feet!

I really learned a lot from a workshop for bloggers and publishers and will endeavor to meet some new goals!

The evening wrapped up with a pretty amazing Fairy gala with a full dinner. The costumes and decorations were pretty spectacular!

Packaging paper turned into a magnificent dress!

Gorgeous centerpieces!

My sister and I were VIP’s ( we won it in a lottery) and got to sit for dinner at a table with an author. I sat with the wonderful fantasy author C. L. Wilson and she sat with Amanda McIntyre. It was a great hour spent getting to know these authors.

At the end of the day I had a pretty good book haul! Not as much in the past and definitely a smaller amount of swag, but you know what? The experience has been so much better and more intimate!

This is only day 1’s book haul!

I’ll try to get out one more post possibly Sunday from the airport! We are packing in the fun at the BLC19!

Deb

Friday YA: Finale (Caraval #3) by Stephanie Garber

Finale is a story about the meaning of love and how that meaning changes for each of the characters in this story. Tella’s love for Legend is tested by her confusing feelings for Jacks and Scarlett’s love for Julian is never wavering but her definition of love changes when she uncovers some truths about her past. Both of their journeys are tested but eventually love conquers all, and in this novel you can’t take that statement literally.

Stephanie Garber continues with the beautiful prose from the first two novels. Each word is imbued with ribbons of color which seems appropriate to the theme of love that runs through this story. At times though her lyrical style seems to distract rather than draw attention to, and I’ll admit my mind wandered a bit. I found myself scanning back through the pages wondering what had happened since I last tuned in. I still enjoyed the story, but it took a really long time for it to reach a conclusion.

Tella and Legend continued their tale of unrequited love. If an immortal feels the emotions of love it turns them human and Legend fights his fears through most of their storyline. I found Jacks’ emotions the more interesting of the two men, since he gave into his obsession and seemed to turn Tella’s head with his feelings, even though those feelings were rather unhealthy.

Scarlett’s story with Julian remained unchanged, however her character grew a lot more than Tella’s did in this conclusion. She learned a lot about why she could see the color of other people’s emotions and how she dealt with that knowledge uncovered strengths that she previously hadn’t really shown. I cared a lot more for the resolution of her story than I did for her sister’s which seemed a lot more shallow a tale.

Finale was my least favorite book in the series, but part of that was that the newness had dulled slightly. Some new characters (the Fates) were introduced and time was spent allowing us to get to know a few of these characters so that it helped build more of an impact to the conclusion of the story. The end felt a little too pat for all of that prior build up, but I did feel like I got the conclusion that I wanted for these characters and I was left feeling pretty satisfied. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Finale: A Caraval Novel

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chick Read: The Good Luck Charm by Helena Hunting

Lilah and Ethan have been best friends since they were six years old. High school sweethearts, Ethan goes off to college on a hockey scholarship with plans for Lilah to join him when she graduates the following year. Instead, he gets drafted by the NHL and dumps Lilah over the phone and they never see each other again. Eight years later, Ethan’s dad has a stroke and is in the hospital where Lilah is a nurse. Ethan takes this chance to be close to Lilah again, now that he’s been transferred to her hometown hockey team. In his eyes they were so good together and he wants that magic back, but does he want it for them? Or to make his hockey career successful again?

Helena Hunting really knows how to write sizzling scenes, and the Good Luck Charm has a ton of them. She is also great at emotional encounters, and it’s those that stick with you after you finish reading this romance. It was so easy to love Lilah. When she see’s Ethan for the first time in eight years on the same day her divorce papers are signed she is floored. Ethan was the love of her life and he broke her heart. She is not quick to forgive him and he has to work really hard to win her back.

Ethan has also had a tough time, but well, he’s in the NHL so how hard could that be? It is tougher to like him as he was the one that wronged Lilah, but when he reveals everything that was going on at the time and the pressure he felt you kind of understood. The problem was that he wanted to go back to the way things were, and Lilah was not that person anymore.

I really enjoyed this book but it was also kind of hard to read. I’ll try to explain. I understood both of these characters, but they wanted things to be the way they used to be and to make up for all that lost time that it shaded my feelings for them as a couple. They were both kind of desperate for each other and that was the hard part to read. When the conflict happened, I thought finally! Let’s get some resolution to that plot line. Which doesn’t mean I didn’t like the book, I did. I just didn’t want all of that handsy glomminess. LOL. I still gave it a four rating though. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

The book above sounds kind of cute (and I know this shouldn’t matter but the cover is adorable). The blurb is the reason that I put it on my TBR and requested it from the library….What I got instead was a shallow, plot-less novel that has practically nothing at all to do with hockey & just seemed to me to be boring scenes interspersed with a lot of doing it.Velvet Spade Reads

The Good Luck Charm was a sweet and feel good second-chance romance and fans of Helena Hunting definitely won’t be disappointed” The Romance Corner

Click this link to purchase!* The Good Luck Charm

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

Friday YA: Romanov by Nadine Brandes

The story of Anastasia Romanov has been re-written several times, including as a Disney musical. Romanov by Nadine Brandes puts a different twist to the possible survival of our favorite Russian princess. Given the task of carrying a magical relic through their captivity by the Bolshevik’s, we see a different side of Anastasia (Nastya) Romanov. Through her eyes, we see the fear, despair, and love that Nastya feels for her family and the hope that this matrushka doll she carries has a spell that can help her overcome all odds.

If Anastasia was anything like the Nastya on these pages, it was no wonder the world loved her. This Nastya was sassy, sweet, mischievous, and clever. A story that could’ve very easily been gray and dull was filled with an ebullience and light because of her character. Not to say that there wasn’t a lot of heartache in this tale because, of course, there was. However, her character embodied hope and determination and as the reader, I couldn’t help but buy into this alternate ending to the traumatic end to the Russian dynasty.

If I had anything critical to say about this novel it would be that I wished there’d been a little bit more magic and fantasy elements to the story. At the same time I was glad that the author kept the details historically accurate. Yeah, I know those two things kind of contradict one another, but I felt it was almost in the fantasy genre, but fell just short. I wasn’t too disappointed because I did get a happy-ish ending for Anastasia which she most likely didn’t get in real life.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“I was disappointed by this book because it has so many things that I did enjoy, the writing style, the magic system, the characterisation, the pacing – all of these things were great. But I couldn’t get past the things that Brandes opted to bring to the forefront (the romance).” Chain Interaction

“I loved this tale of the Romanovs. The magical elements provided a source of hope in really dark times ant the story revolves around the importance of family. I was a little hesitant to picked this up because I knew how the Romanovs met their demise, but Nadine Brandes’ story telling made this sad story a hopeful one instead.” Devouring Books


Click this link to purchase!* Romanov

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chick’s Audio Review: Kill the Queen (Crown of Shards #1) by Jennifer Estep

When I read the synopsis and saw Gladiator meets Game of Thrones I just knew I had to read this novel! It was a very apt description. Kill the Queen is an action fantasy adventure novel that follows our heroine Lady Everleigh from the halls of the Queen’s castle to the dorms of a Gladiator troop. Seventeenth in line for the throne and virtually ignored by the royal family due to her lack of magical talent, Evie finds herself the sole survivor of her cousin Vasilia’s royal coup and the assassination of the Queen. Escaping the scene, Evie hides out in plain sight as a member of a traveling Gladiator troop filled with ex guards of the just assassinated Queen.

I listened to the audiobook of this novel narrated by Lauren Fortgang who did a fabulous job featuring different voices for a very lengthy list of characters. She imbued the plot with excitement, not losing any of the tension in these action packed scenes. I will definitely be looking at other books narrated by Lauren Fortgang.

Evie was a heroine that showed such tremendous growth in character that by the conclusion of the novel you were completely on her side wanting to see her as the champion of every scene. Her evolution included her own realization that her lack of power was in itself very powerful making her the ultimate underdog, and I do love rooting for the underdog. The novel was imbued with colorful characters for Evie to interact with, even a light love interest that may develop in future novels, but really it was her friendship with all of these characters that gave this novel a lift. Evie was the girl who had only one or two close companions when she lived in the castle but by the end of the book she had a dozen new friends who had her back.

I am a big fan of Jennifer Estep’s YA Mythos Academy series because I have a fondness for fantasy action novels. Kill the Queen was right in my sweet spot and when I finished I immediately gushed about it to anyone that would listen to me. If you like fantasy novels you MUST read Kill the Queen it’s one of my favorite novels so far this year. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Kill the Queen (A Crown of Shards Novel)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

Friday YA: The Ghost Hunter’s Daughter by Caroline Flarity

Anna Fagan’s mother was possessed and killed by a demon when she was a child. Her father never recovered from the loss and buried himself in his work, the exorcism of ghosts from haunted relics. Anna’s home life is definitely not the norm, but when she see’s people from school going off the deep end she starts to wonder if there’s not something going wrong in her hometown. When her own thoughts start to become murderous, she shies away from her best friends Freddy and Dor and tries to salvage the scraps of her sanity. What she doesn’t realize is that her friends lives are also getting blacker and by the time she realizes it, she’s almost too late to save them.

Anna’s home life was a wreck. Her father was not just a ghost hunter, but he was also a hoarder. His things a labyrinth that blocked light and created an even more creepy atmosphere for the setting of this story. Known as the “Goblin girl” at school because of her dad’s job, Anna struggles to overcome that stigma and her feelings of shame. It’s only because of her best friends support that she had any light in her day. It’s when she becomes fixated on a boy at school and her fixation starts to turn unhealthy that I got an inkling that I might become uncomfortable with the direction this novel was headed.

I don’t want to sound too dramatic, but I kept looking for those moments of light in this story where I’d finally get to start rooting for Anna. There was just so much going on, and all of it was pretty dark and depressing. Anna does realize the town has been taken over by an evil demon and she does overcome all odds to save the day, but that only happens near the end of the book. On my wait for that to happen we see her father advance further into depression and hoardom (is that a word?), her friends become suicidal, and the bully at school turn into being bullied (by Anna!). Not to disrespect this author because I could see the work she put into it, but it really just wasn’t for me.

I am a huge fan of urban fantasy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, etc. and I went into this with my eyes wide open, hoping for the best. If there had been a few more kernels of light or humor I think my feelings would have been different. I will say that I do believe every book has it’s reader and I just wasn’t a good fit for The Ghost Hunter’s Daughter. If you like creepy fantasy-type novels The Ghost Hunter’s Daughter may be the right fit for you, so please give it a try.

❤️❤️❣️

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

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“The thing I loved most about this narrative was the supernatural lore. It was interesting and compelling, and unlike anything I’ve ever read before…. It was a rollercoaster ride of thrills, chills, and despair, and I loved every second!” UnabridgedBren

Click this link to purchase!* The Ghost Hunter’s Daughter

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chick Read: Storm Cursed (Mercy Thompson #11) by Patricia Briggs

After Mercy stood on a bridge and declared the citizens of her territory safe from others, she and her pack have been seriously busy. Called out to take care of some miniature goat zombies (or was it goat mini zombies?) she stumbles onto the fact that her territory is under siege by a coven of witches. The timing could have been better, after all, Adam and the pack are helping the government negotiate a meeting with the Gray Lords (fae) that will hopefully end in peace. Mercy again finds herself in the middle of a ‘situation’ and it takes the combined efforts of her pack to facilitate the survival of everyone.

Mercy is one of my favorite urban fantasy heroines. Even though she’s mated to the Alpha of the Columbia Basin pack, is the daughter of Coyote, and step daughter to Bran- THE North American Alpha, she is a character that many of us readers can identify with. She is a woman who lives for normality. However, being Coyote’s daughter, mischief is never very far away. In Storm Cursed, Mercy’s role as ‘she who spoke big words on the bridge’ is never more apparent. She now has to leave that wish for normality behind her and actively interfere for those who ask for her help. Her interference previously has always been passive. Mischief finds her, but now she must find the mischief in order to stop all of the chaos. It’s an interesting change for this character and I quite like seeing her take a more leadership role in her own life.

There were many plots and sub- plots intertwining through Storm Cursed that makes it really hard to talk about the plot without giving away some key plot points so I’m not going to talk too much about those other than to say there was a lot of very satisfying action scenes where Mercy and the gang got to outsmart the bad guys. I loved these action scenes, but a more subtle defining moment for Mercy’s character was when she and Mary Jo were dealing with the mini goat zombie’s (or was it zombie miniature goat’s?) and they had a heart to heart. Mary Jo is one of the wolves who is against Mercy and Adam’s relationship. Even though Adam declared a cease fire on any active resistance to he and Mercy’s marriage, Mary Jo still subtly lets Mercy know she’d prefer Adam with Christy, his ex-wife. Mercy usually rolls with the punches, but Mary Jo’s dig catches her at a weak moment and she speaks her thoughts on why Adam and Christy were bad together. Why would you want your Alpha to be with someone who tore him down and made him regret who he was? Christy was that woman who make him feel bad about himself and ashamed of being a wolf. I believe this conversation with Mary Jo will be the turning tide in Mercy’s relationship with the pack and we could see a united front in future storylines. I could be wrong, but I don’t think so!

The title of this book is Storm Cursed which is certainly apropos because they are in fact battling a coven of witches and their evil curses, but that is not the only cursed storm in this novel. In fact, this series is rife with objections against behavior that is beyond the norm. There are government factions who are against non humans, both fae, wolf, and vampire. There are vampire politics and hierarchy whose lineage becomes transparent both in Marsilia’s seethe as well as rooted throughout America and Europe’s vampire community’s. Then there are the more commonly found bias’s among humans against homosexuals and women, themes that are vividly portrayed on these pages. In Storm Cursed, we see the beginnings of absolution for many of these things. Kyle, Warren’s lover, is given a hierarchy of sorts within the pack, politicians begin to see more clearly through the clouded glasses of bias and hate, and yes, women’s roles are not subjugated but given strength through their actions. This novel starts as Storm Cursed, but almost ends up being a blessed storm. One that provides a cool wind of change. I can’t wait to see what the next Mercy Thompson novel will bring and in what other ways the subjugated will become uplifted.

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

Click this link to purchase!* Storm Cursed (A Mercy Thompson Novel)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate