It’s Monday! What are you Reading? (6/17/19)

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

Kingdom of Exiles (Beast Charmer #1) by Maxym M. Martineau

First Sentence Read: “By the time evening fell, three things were certain: the gelatinous chunks of lamb were absolute shit, my beady-eyed client was hankering for more than the beasts in my possession, and someone was watching me.”

JUST STARTED

Rock Bottom Girl by Lucy Score

First Sentence Read: “Downsized, broke, and dumped, 38-year-old Marley sneaks home to her childhood bedroom in the town she couldn’t wait to escape twenty years ago.”

After an epic fantasy my fall back to cleanse the palate is a contemporary romance! I love sports themed romances and soccer was my game. This rom-com looks really cute! I hope it lives up to my expectations!

What are you reading today?

Deb

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This Chick Read: Kingdom of Exiles (The Beast Charmer #1) by Maxym M. Martineau

Exiled Beast Charmer Leena Edenfrell was betrayed by her lover and has resulted to selling her beasts, something that is forbidden by death for a Charmer. On the run, she foils an assassination attempt taking the assassin captive in order to strike a deal with the head of the order of assassins. Noc has a deadly secret of his own that he thinks could be tamed by a Beast Charmer. Together they strike a deal and in searching for beasts they find something in the other that fills the void in their hearts.

Kingdom of Exiles has all of the elements of a great romantic fantasy adventure. I loved the newness of the world Maxym M. Martineau developed. I don’t think I’ve read a fantasy novel that had an advanced level of Beast Charmer characters and the little that was revealed in this novel only makes me want more to read. There were elements of magic and a mysteriousness to the Order of Cruor assassins, the way they used shadows to move quickly or jump from place to place was a little bit reminiscent of Christine Feehan’s Shadow Rider series, although this setting is completely different. I liked that the assassins were revived after death but could still get someone pregnant? I definitely wanted to learn how that would be possible!

Kingdom of Exiles also used my favorite romantic trope of enemies to lovers. I L-O-V-E when two adversaries come to admire traits in the other that makes them fall in love, yet, they are resistant to it happening. This novel portrayed that tension really well and kept me reading that “just one more” chapter.

The only negative for me about this novel was that it started so strong but somewhere around 2/3’s of the way through the pace slowed just enough for me to get impatient. I’ll admit to rushing through a couple of chapters until that pace picked back up again towards the end of the book. The ending was great, leaving the reader with a little hint about what direction the next book may take. I just wish this author had the next book coming out soon! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“Overall,I loved Kingdom of Exiles! It was enchanting, magical, unique, and surprisingly sweet. The romance was well-written. It wasn’t too much but engaging enough. I really adore this book.” Discover Elysian

“All in all, this is one of my favorite books that I have read this year. The characters were well developed, and the plot was fun and unique. I loved everything about it. If you like fantasy & romance, this is the book for you.” Caffeinated Fae

Click this link to purchase!* Kingdom of Exiles (The Beast Charmer)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

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

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

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: May ’19 Wrap Up!

We are solidly into the month of June and yep, I am only now doing my wrap up post. Sorry guys! It’s been crazy busy! After taking several days off to travel to New Orleans for the Booklovers Con in May, the rest of the month flew by and I am just now getting caught up on a back load of ARC’s and reviews. If you missed what happened on the The Reading Chick last month, read on! I’ll give you a rundown and provide some links just in case you want to catch up.

GREAT MAY READS!

Kill the Queen (Crown of Shards #1) by Jennifer Estep

“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)

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

“”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. “

Click this link to purchase! The Unhoneymooners

Fiercely Emma (Cake series #3) by J. Bengtsson

“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….I LOVED Finn and the two of them together are such good awesome sauce! “

THIS CHICKS SUNDAY COMMENTARY & BLC CON ’19

As I mentioned in my intro my sister and I went to the Booklovers Con in New Orleans last month. I met so many authors and also went to a few blogger events and met other bloggers and some contacts at a few of my favorite publishers. It was fun, eye opening, and very educational. I shared two posts from the actual event and if you missed them here are the links for you to check them out. Next year this convention is in Nashville, where I live and I’d love it some bloggers came and we could all get together!

Booklovers Con! BLC’19

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: BookLoversCon #BLC19 Finale!

I also wrote a little memory post as an Ode to my mom for Mother’s Day and just in case you missed my Wrap Up post for April, here’s the link!

An Ode to Mom- Mother’s Day 2019

April ’19 Wrap Up!

WHAT’S ON TAP FOR JUNE?

I’d love to say June will slow down a bit, but the truth is that I have a ton of books still on my TBR, many of them with reviews required. It’s not a task because I love reading so much but when you have four books to read that all start on 6/25? I’m a bit in panic mode. LOL.

Here are some of the books I’m looking forward to reading this month. Look for my reviews!

Synopsis:

Six months ago, writer and bookstore owner Maddie Hanson was left at the altar. Since then, she’s had zero interest in romance—despite the fact that she runs a book club full of sexy eligible bachelors. But when her latest novel is panned by an anonymous blogger who goes by the name Silver Fox—and who accuses her of knowing nothing about passion—she decides to prove her nemesis wrong by seeking a romance hero in real life . . .

There’s the smoldering rock musician, the bookish college professor, and her competitive childhood friend who may want to steal her bookstore more than her heart. Even Silver Fox is getting in on the action, sending Maddie alarmingly—and intoxicatingly—flirtatious emails. And that’s not all. Her ex wants her back.

Now Maddie is about to discover that like any good story, life has twists and turns, and love can happen when you least expect it—with the person you least expect . . 

Click this link to purchase! Dating by the Book

Synopsis:

“Few crimes are reported as quickly as a snatched kid.”

That’s what the officer tells single mother Aubrey Finch after she reports a kidnapping. So why hasn’t anyone reported the little boy missing? Aubrey knows what she saw: a boy being taken against his will from the park. It doesn’t matter that the mother can’t be found. It doesn’t matter if no one reported it. Aubrey knows he’s missing.

Instead, people question her sanity. Aubrey hears the whispers. She’s a former stay-at-home mom who doesn’t have primary custody of her daughter, so there must be something wrong with her, right? Others may not understand her decision to walk away from her safe life at home, but years of hiding her past – even from the people she loves – were taking their toll, and Aubrey knows she can’t be the mother or wife she envisions until she learns to leave her secrets behind.

When the police refuse to believe her, she realizes that rescuing the boy is up to her alone. But after all the secrets, how far is she willing to go? Even to protect a child.

Click this link to purchase! Wherever She Goes: A Novel

Synopsis:

My heart wasn’t part of the deal when I bargained for my life,
But assassins so rarely keep their word.

Exiled Charmer Leena Edenfrell is running out of time. Empty pockets forced her to sell her beloved magical beasts-an offense punishable by death-and now there’s a price on her head. With the realm’s most talented murderer-for-hire nipping at her heels, Leena makes Noc an offer he can’t refuse: powerful mythical creatures in exchange for her life.

Plagued by a curse that kills everyone he loves, Noc agrees to Leena’s terms in hopes of finding a cure. Never mind that the dark magic binding the assassin’s oath will eventually force him to choose between Leena’s continued survival…and his own.

In a game of trust and half-lies, only one thing can be certain: traps capture more than beasts and ensnared hearts are impossible to untangle.

Click this link to purchase!
Kingdom of Exiles (The Beast Charmer)

Synopsis:

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)

ALL OF THESE FOUR NOVELS ARE BEING RELEASED ON JUNE 25TH, 2019 EXCEPT STORM AND FURY WHICH RELEASES JUNE 11TH.

If you’ve read to the bottom, then thanks and I hope you enjoyed my look back at what happened on The Reading Chick in May.

Deb

This Chicks Bookish Discussion: What is YA appropriate?

I started reading Young Adult books a few years ago because I wanted to try my hand at writing one. I thought that if I immersed myself in the genre that I would learn a lot about what those readers are looking for, but also how authors are tackling writing in this much discussed and kind of difficult to understand genre. Now, full disclosure, I am an adult woman. I’m talking about my age, specifically, although I’m still young in imagination and heart. As a fan of this genre, I know that the majority of YA authors are in fact mature women or men, not the age of the group they are writing about. I am generalizing because I’m unsure if there are some famous teen writers who may actually be in that age group, but the majority are not.

  1. Do our experiences as adults shape how we write a YA novel?

Of course they do! It’s not like we can shut off our life’s experiences.

I know that the teens of today are more self aware, sexually active, and politically motivated. I’ll admit, when I was a teenager I didn’t have as much on my plate. I went to school, played sports, did homework, and went out with friends. We may have had a few beers at a friends house but without today’s technology it was a pretty slow childhood in comparison with today. Cell phones and social media have aged and matured teens and created a peer pressure that endangers their self esteem. I’ll get off my technology soap box by just saying that I’m thankful I grew up in a simpler time. Now back to how this applies to teen representation in books.

I recently sped through the first three books in Erin Watt’s ‘The Royals’ series. I really enjoyed these books. They were fast paced, action packed, and really dramatic. They were also filled with a lot of sexually explicit jokes, language, and physical acts. I totally forgot at times that these were 16-18 year olds that I was reading about. I get it, I really do! Just because my childhood was pretty innocent, doesn’t mean I didn’t have friends who had sex in high school. Sure they did! Here’s my next question….

2) By writing explicit sex scenes in books that are targeting young adults, are we educating them in a healthy manner about these physical acts OR making these acts more commonplace and normal?

I want to re-iterate that I REALLY liked the Royals series and am not harping on it in particular. It’s just an example because I just read them. I’ve certainly read other ya books where there are sex scenes. But, by having them so commonplace, are we normalizing sex, violence, etc.?

I remember my parents saying, and news stories talking about how violence in movies and video games are normalizing guns. Are explicit sex scenes also normalizing behavior for our young adults?

I love the romance genre. If I look at all the books I read in a year, probably 80% of them are in the romance category. Whether those are YA, adult, romantic fantasy, romantic suspense, etc. I read romance novels as a way to escape life and fulfill my fantasies, right? We read other genre’s to pretend to solve mysteries, or save a world, or educate ourselves about a particular part of history or whatever. Teens read YA books to escape, learn, and fulfill a fantasy or two also.

3) Besides word of mouth, how does a reader know how explicit a book is (I’m talking YA specifically) before they pick it up?

I’m sure there are young adults who lean more to the innocent than the experienced side of life, right? I recently read a blog post from a teen blogger talking about how she reads books before her little sister so that she can recommend books that are appropriate. I am in no way trying to censor because, again, I like to read all types of books…

4) Should there be a remark on the cover? A key of some sort? One heart on the cover means innocent to four hearts for explicit?

Am I the only one that has ever had these thoughts? I’d love to hear the world chime in on this discussion.

Please comment in the section below if you’d like to share your own thoughts.

thanks!

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