This Chick Read: Dream Keeper (Dream Team #4) by Kristen Ashley

Single mom Pepper has always been attracted to Auggie Hero, but her plan is to provide a solid home for her daughter Juno and that means no men. Her daughter has other plans. She’s seen all of her moms friends meet the loves of their lives and she wants that for her own mom and she knows it’s not going to happen with her dad. Pepper and Auggie both have a LOT of baggage but what they could have with each other makes working through their problems worth it.

I really liked the characters in this book! Auggie and Pepper had a lot in common including a messed up family life. What Pepper has built with her daughter Juno is something that Auggie never had for himself and reading their story really touched my heart. As with a lot of Kristen Ashley’s men, Auggie was very alpha. He was a tough hombre, with very few words, but when he spoke he had important things to say. KA did a really good job with his internal thoughts because without those I wouldn’t have an inkling on what type of guy he really was, but those emotional rivers ran deep and he felt a LOT for Pepper and Juno. It was truly sweet.

As with my favorite Rock Chick novels, this novel is a woman in jeopardy novel. Pepper’s jeopardy was a little more emotional than physical but there was one moment that we got to see Auggie’s commando skills come into play and that made the book. I love KA’s retro Rock Chick-ish novels and this series as an offshoot of that series definitely plays on that vibe.

Do you like the older Kristen Ashley novels like I do? If so, you will really enjoy Dream Keeper. It’s the fourth in the series and while it can stand alone, I think you’ll like it more if you’ve read the others first. Pepper was supposed to be the last of Lottie’s friends to be set up but the reader is led to believe that there will be three more and we were introduced to three additional commando’s that need ladies to help make the man. I’m looking forward to seeing where this author takes this series and can’t wait for the next book. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Dream Keeper (Dream Team Book 4)

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

Happy Thanksgiving!

The stresses of life exacerbated by the ongoing stress of a pandemic is our reality. Life is moving forward, and hopefully we are living all of our lives to the fullest and appreciating the differences in our friends and neighbors. I am thankful to be surrounded by a community who is supportive, by a family who loves me, and by friends who might not agree on every single thing but agree that friendship beats taking a stand over our differences. I am thankful also to each of you who read my reviews, share that you like what I’ve written, and even occasionally make comments engaging me in conversation.

Even if you don’t celebrate this day like we do in the US, take a moment to reflect on your own life and the things that bring you joy, comfort, and well being. I wish you the best on this day and for all days moving forward. Peace, to all of my brothers and sisters who are finding a quiet moment to reflect, exchange kind words, and find a quiet 30 minutes to read.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Deb

This Chick’s Audio Review: Shifting Shadows (Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson) by Patricia Briggs

Shifting Shadows came out in 2014 and despite loving the Mercy Thompson series I didn’t have that sense of urgency about reading it. I had an Audible credit to use so I finally pulled the trigger and purchased Shifting Shadows. These short stories are narrated by Lorelei King who narrates the Mercy Thompson books and Alexander Cendese. I was expecting Holter Graham for the male voice and wasn’t familiar with Alexander Cendese but thought his narration excellent. As the narrator started reading the first short story, “Silver”, I was immersed in the origin story for Bram and Samuel, wondering why I had let this book lie in those shadows for so long.

For me, there were a couple of stand out novellas in this compilation. As a big fan of Patricia Briggs and both the Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega series I was really interested in the above mentioned “Silver”. Bram is the Moroch, or leader of all of the packs in the United States and he raised Mercy, and is Charles’s father (Alpha and Omega). I’m already invested in their story and so learning their origin and how they became werewolves was particularly interesting. Also, this was the origin story for Samuel and his mate Ariana, who were separated for centuries. Their story was interesting and heartbreaking and explained quite a bit about their motivations in later novels.

Possibly because I’ve been listening to the Alpha and Omega series recently I immediately knew who the characters were in “Seeing Eye”. Moira and Tom are side characters in one story featuring Anna and Charles. This novella is the origin of how the two of them met and how they were drawn to each other right from the start. Tom, a werewolf, comes to Moira, a witch, to ask for help in locating his brother who has disappeared. It’s a really quick, fast paced story and truly enjoyable.

“Alpha and Omega” is the first story in the Alpha and Omega series. Charles, is Brams son, but he’s also the enforcer for his father and is sent to clean up problem situations. He is sent to Chicago because some things have come to light that all is not as it should be with the Chicago pack. Anna, abused in her own pack, has seen something that her alpha has done that she knows is not right. So she calls the Moroch, Bram, and is put in charge of driving Charles around as he investigates. What they both don’t expect is that Charles’s wolf declares Anna his mate and he has to fight his instincts to protect while also deciding the outcome for her pack. This novella is so good!

The last story I’ll speak about in this review is also the last novella in the book, “In Red, With Pearls”. Warren, the openly gay werewolf gets his own story and it is a fun one! A woman in red, wearing pearls comes into the law firm where Warren’s boyfriend Kyle works. Something about her is suspicious and Warren suspects there is ill intent. Boy is there! This novel has the humor you expect from his character but we get a little more insight into he and Kyle’s relationship. Warren is a fan-favorite and this is a truly fun glimpse into their relationship.

If you like Patricia Briggs novels, short stories, have a commute, or like to listen while you work (gasp!), please check out this compilation. The Mercy Thompson universe has a lot of action and fantasy-filled drama and I promise there won’t be any regrets! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this audiobook!* Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: The V’Dan (First Salik War #2) by Jean Johnson

Grand Ambassador of the Terran Motherworld, Jacaranda Makenzie, has arrived with her Gestalt partner, Prince, and Captain of the V’Dan space force, Li’eth, to his home world to introduce his people to their human cousins the Terrans. Jackie brings with her technology that will help the V’Dan fight and possibly win a war against the Salik, a non-human species who is terrorizing the universe. She and Li’eth as Gestalt partners need to be close to each other as their powers grow. Prophesied to bring peace to the universe there is a lot riding on their success in uniting their two races.

It’s been a couple of years since I read the first novel in this series, Terrans, where we were introduced to Jackie and Li’eth but in a Terran setting. Li’eth was welcomed onto their planet and treated honorably. When Jackie and her crew escort Li’eth to V’Dan, the similarities between their own people are only separated by a discoloration on the skin of the V’Dan’s called jungen, which all V’Dan receive when they reach puberty. Terrans don’t have these marks, and because of that the V’Dan’s treat them as children disrespecting their people. As their leader, Jackie is faced with a cultural and racial insensitivity that her people have not seen in over 100 years.

This book, written prior to the Black Lives Matter movement uses the V’Dan’s skin discoloration to make some interesting parallels to the struggles we’ve faced to eliminate degradation due to skin color. It was interesting to read a science-fiction novel that chose that subject (among others) to take a stand and I relished every time Jackie as Grand Ambassador struck down this insensitivity and prejudice. I wish it were that easy today.

The V’Dan as a lot of sci-fi is, can be very technology heavy and there were pages that I skimmed to the plot to move forward a bit quicker but when the story called for action the plot moved along quite quickly. In addition to the technology-laden paragraphs there were a lot of politic-speak between the different alien races who were in an Alliance together. That too, made for slow points but ultimately picked up when Jackie got to kick-butt and smack down some furry or many-eyed creature for viewing her as a child. I admit, I did get a kick out of those moments.

I really enjoyed the more psychic moments in the book. Li’eth and Jackie were a solid pairing and I liked their hidden conversations, spoken mind to mind as they could talk freely where no one could hear them and those conversations gave insights into the actions going on around them. Theirs was not the only emotional connections but certainly as the main character theirs was the most prevalent.

If you like sci-fi and don’t mind techo-jargon then you may enjoy this series. I immediately picked up the third and last book in the series because I liked this book so much and would recommend it to anyone who thinks they may like a story that while a little older, runs parallel to the story lines of today. Granted, I do hope there aren’t some tentacled species out there hoping to inhabit our planet, breed humans so that they can eat us, so there is that. 🙂 ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* The V’Dan (First Salik War)

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: The Silence Between Us by Alison Gervais

For the first time since becoming deaf, Maya will be starting school at a public school with hearing kids, instead of being surrounded by kids like her. Maya does read lips but in order to stay on top of her school assignments she has an interpreter who signs for her, making her stand out. She expects the attention, but what she doesn’t expect is for her to make hearing friends, including one cute boy named Beau. The Silence Between Us is the story of Maya’s journey as a deaf teen, building relationships, and standing up for who she wants to be.

This #ownvoices novel deftly explores the difficulty of a deaf teenager navigating life among the hearing. When I started reading this book I’ll admit, I read it from the perspective of a hearing person. Although I do wear hearing aids for a slight hearing problem, I’m not in the same situation as our main character who can’t hear words at all. I had to turn my own experiences off, although I did identify with quite a few, in order to relish the journey that Maya takes and the difficulties she faces at school and in developing relationships with her peers. Maya had an inner strength that was really admirable and allows her to fight for what she believes.

An interesting sub plot of this story is Maya’s interactions with a deaf group her mom signs her up to meet. Prior to moving her group of friends conversed using sign language and when she meets this group she tries to sign with them and realizes that none of them know how to sign and that in fact, they’ve all had a procedure that allows them to hear with hearing aids. This isn’t the first instance in the novel where Maya runs up against the subject where others think she would be happier if she weren’t deaf. Maya’s fortitude and decision-making regarding this conflict was so adult. She is someone who isn’t going to take the easy solution and is happy with who she is. I think we can all learn something from Maya. She stands as a proud deaf person and all of the difficulties that might present in her life as an adult.

If you’re looking for a clean YA with an #ownvoices plot give The Silence Between Us a try. Alison Gervais has a talent for delivering a story that rings true and makes you want to learn more about the subject matter. This is a story that will stay with you for a good long while. In a good way! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* The Silence Between Us (Blink)

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (11/15/21)

I have a few weeks in between ARC’s and am reading entirely for pleasure this week. I’ve started up an old Kristen Ashley series and have read a couple from the Burg, which is fun to revisit. I’ve also just finished a book by Helena Hunting, not an author that I’ve read a lot of and was pleasantly surprised. Let’s get to it!

JUST FINISHED

The first in the All In series, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the characters. Lainey had anxiety issues which our hero RJ handled extremely well. He was the type of guy who likes to be needed. The basis of the book is that they met and he didn’t tell her that he was a pro hockey player and that lie caused difficulties down the road. It was a kind of simple story but when the characters are interesting that can make a simple story interesting.

JUST STARTED

I can honestly say that I don’t remember this book at all. I often revisit KA’s novels, but I don’t think I’ve read since it initially came out in 2011! I do enjoy this author’s earlier books when they had a heck of a plot AND a romance. This novel seems to follow that format as well and I’m digging in and will enjoy it fully.

Do you ever revisit favorite books or series? Which books do you like to re-read. Let me know in the comments.

Happy Monday and happy reading!

Deb

This Chick Read: The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang

Anna Sun is burned out. A violinist, she achieves fame when a YouTube video of her playing goes viral and the instant fame has created expectations that she’s not sure she can live up to. A people pleaser, Anna puts aside her own needs making others more happy than she makes herself. When her boyfriends decides he wants an open relationship before settling down she gets mad and decides to have her own one night stand with someone totally inappropriate. The problem is that she doesn’t know how to go about having a one night stand and her nerves keep he from seeing it through. Luckily Quan Diep, the man she’s chosen, has his own insecurities, and their innocent hook-up turns into a lasting friendship and something more.

Helen Hoang’s debut novel, The Kiss Quotient, gave her instant fame in the contemporary romance genre. I had mixed feelings about that novel but liked that one of the main characters was autistic and it was her love story. The Heart Principle draws on some similarities but like it’s title, I felt that this story had more heart and it’s characters touched me emotionally.

Anna is going through a crisis and is seeing a psychologist who is trying to help her but she has subjugated her own needs to make others happy her whole life and doesn’t know how to put herself first. Quan is the first person where she can be herself and not “put on a face” to make others feel better. Quan is also going through his own crisis having just recovered from an emergency surgery. Anna is the first person he’s dated since his health has improved and he really likes her, but can also see that she’s a different person with her than she is with everyone else. They each seem to be the perfect fit for the other and it’s so easy to care and root for this couple.

I don’t want to get into too many details about the plot because most of the emotional climaxes are tied specifically to a reveal about each character and I don’t want to take that moment away from your enjoyment of this novel. I will say that these moments are intrinsically why I like this book the most out of the three that Helen Hoang has written so far. There are nuances to these characters that created a depth in their characters that cracked my emotions wide open.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this book!* The Heart Principle

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: Just Haven’t Met You Yet by Sophie Cousens

Laura is a hopeless romantic who works for a lifestyle magazine that focuses on love stories. When she travels to Jersey, the place where her parents met, she accidentally trades bags with a man on her plane and after looking inside decides her may be the one, her perfect match. She hires a local cab driver named Ted to ferry her around to all of the sites of her parents infamous love story, and also to help her find the man who has her bag, she learns a lot about life, love, and what she wants for her own happily ever after.

Sophie Cousens has quickly become one of my go to authors for quirky, fun, and emotional love stories. Just Haven’t Met You Yet sounded sweet and it was! It also exceeded my expectations. Laura was a driven romantic. I say driven because every accidental moment becomes a sign of love and well, most of us don’t live like that. At first it was annoying, but I quickly got into the rhythm of her character and let myself believe in the spirit of her character. I also fell in love with her driver Ted.

Ted and Jasper were Laura’s two love interests. One was the man she was destined to meet, the one whose bag was packed with all of the signs that they were meant to be. Ted, as the grumpy and cynical cab driver, quickly grew to be my favorite character. His unruly appearance and sad story were meant to tug at the readers heartstrings and he tugged the hell out of mine. As Laura searches for her parents love story she is also trying to find herself and her own true love and Jersey may just be the place that she’ll find it.

There were some really lovely moments in this novel. Hanging with the neighbors by the fire on Ted’s dad’s last day before going into a home, making the jewelry with sea glass, the list goes on and on. If you can’t find something in this novel to love then, well, you shouldn’t read romance novels. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

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

Click this link to purchase this book!* Just Haven’t Met You Yet

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick’s Audio Review: Tricked (The Iron Druid Chronicles #4) by Kevin Hearne and narrated by Luke Daniels

After Atticus O’Sullivan helps kill Thor, the Norse Gods are on his tail looking for revenge. Needing to start fresh somewhere he calls on Coyote to help him stage his own death and in return he helps Coyote bring gold into a mine for a local tribe. What he doesn’t realize is that Coyote has an ulterior motive and he’s tricked into fighting two skinwalkers who attack their campsite. With Oberon and Granuaile by his side Atticus is again fighting for his life.

I am hooked on this series! I have been a fan of the narrator Luke Daniels, but I really think he’s at his best in this series. I find myself having fun and laughing out loud, especially during the inner monologues between Atticus and his dog Oberon. We see more of Granuaile in this novel than any yet to date and the chemistry between she and Atticus is sizzling! Unfortunately, she is his apprentice and I’m not sure he’s ever going to let himself fall for her but it’s fun to see him struggle!

I thought the plot of this novel was really interesting. I don’t read a lot of American Native inspired fiction but I do know that Coyote is a trickster god so it’s not too surprising when Atticus gets tricked into a fight he doesn’t want. I enjoyed the interaction between his Druid culture and the very spiritual Native Indian beliefs and learning how some things in the two cultures are more similar than they are different.

Atticus knows that he now has a lot of enemies and he’s going to be looking over his shoulder waiting for a fight, but he doesn’t realize that he may need to watch his front too. Someone that he trusts betrays him and that betrayal leaves him reeling and really, really angry. This sub-plot could lead to an interesting twist in a future story but for now I’m ok with letting that character go.

If you like fantasy, love audiobooks with humor, and want to add to your library this series is great and Tricked was an awesome fourth novel. Each novel has moved these characters forward and made me eager to read the next novel in the series. You can’t get higher praise than that! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase the novel/audiobook!* Tricked: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 4

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Right Reserved

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

This Chick Read: Love for Beginners (Wildstone #7) by Jill Shalvis

Emma Harris wakes up from a coma and learns that her best friend and her fiancé are now a couple, she broken most of the bones in her body, and her insurance bills are adding up. The doctors told her that she’d never walk again but with the help of her physical therapist she is finally able to move out of her apartment that she shares with her ex-BFF and into her own place. No one will hire her because she hasn’t had a job in a year when the pet store that she trains dogs in goes up for sale. Unable to get a loan she ends up with an unlikely partner. Her frenemy from high school, and Simon’s cousin, Ali Pratt. Love for Beginners is a tale about perseverance, falling in love, and making new friends.

Emma, as the main protagonist, was completely likable and easy to root for. Out jogging when hit by a car seems like pretty bad luck but it brought the delicious physical therapist, Simon into her life and it changed her from a person who may have let people walk on her to learning to have a backbone and to stand up for herself. Something she probably should have done a long time ago. I loved her inner voice that always reminded her that she wasn’t the old Emma but the new Emma 2.0. Her budding romance with Simon while lacking heat (at least for me) did help Emma grow as a character. I looked at it as part of her healing process. Sex with hot PT- check! Of course, there were feelings involved but their romance wasn’t really what this novel was about. It was about Emma’s challenges and how she was facing them.

Ali’s story was secondary but I found it just as interesting. She too needed to grow but it was in the reverse of Emma. From an early age Ali has put a wall up, not letting anyone get close. She always considered Emma a rival. Probably because from the outside Emma’s life seemed charmed but just like what you see on Facebook, nothing is as it seems on the surface. Their partnership allowed them both to see the other side of each other. I thought Jill Shalvis did a good job of showing the growth of a female friendship!

I’m a big fan of Jill Shalvis’ novels. She always writes great secondary character and/or groups of friends that you always want to get to know. Love for Beginners was no different. I do wish the romance had brought a little more sizzle to the page but upon reflection it kind of fit. Simon had his own story that made him a little distant too. Luckily, he had Emma and his cousin Ali to help him work through his emotions and give him a kick in the butt.

If you’re in the mood for a good friendship novel I think Love for Beginners is certainly that. If you want a romance, there is some of that too but I really feel like that was secondary to all of the other stories that were being told in this novel. It wasn’t what I expected but I did like it! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this book!* Love for Beginners: A Novel (The Wildstone Series Book 7)

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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