This Chick Read: Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

When Earth receives a message from an alien race scholars and scavengers both react with joy. The scholars for obvious reasons. An alien race exists and their planet may have the resources to save Earth. Scavengers, or scavvers as they are called in this novel, are also rubbing their hands with greed over these same resources that could save Earth, but they see the profit they could make. Mia, a scavver, and Jules, a scholar, meet each other on the Undying’s planet of Gaia. He to observe and learn, she to scavenge and sell items to free her sister from slavery. They are essentially abandoned on this planet with only each other to turn to against other less savory scavvers. Do they trust each other? No. However, as time goes on they come to see that they only have each other to help get themselves off this planet.

Unearthed was an Indiana Jones meets Star Trek action adventure science fiction novel. As Mia and Jules traverse across this planet trying to outsmart other unsavory characters they form a bond that is unbreakable. Mia, although uneducated, uses her street smarts, while Jules uses his education in all things Undying, able to read their glyphs. Both skills making them equals on this adventure.

Mia’s character was as bright as her two toned hair. Sassy and energetic, she was driven by the need to save her sister. Jules’s nerdy prep school smarts made him her complete opposite, yet he had that same drive to succeed, but his need was to restore his father’s honor. I really liked the detail and descriptions the authors wove into the story. This alien race in technology was light years ahead of the human race, and these two kids were able to crack the code of their existence on this planet, and why they were reaching out to Earth. The puzzles were detailed and Mia and Jules’ teamwork gave this novel great energy, moving the plot forward quickly.

Kaufman who also co-authored Illuminae and Gemina with Jay Kristoff, has a deft hand at imbuing teens with adult attributes. As with other great Young Adult novels, I forgot I was reading about a couple of seventeen year old’s maneuvering through these traps and triggers. This novel was great fun and ended way to quickly. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Unearthed

Click this link to purchase! Unearthed

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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This Chick Read: Playing to Win (Brits in Manhattan #2) by Laura Carter

Playing to Win quote 1

Izzy is in New York to promote her new diet and fitness book when she crosses paths with gym owner Brooks Adams at his gym. They seem to have nothing in common, from their totally different approaches to fitness and health to their opposite end of the spectrum upbringings. Izzy’s snobby British background rubs Brooks solid middle class Manhattan personality the wrong way and sparks fly. When Izzy attacks him in her blog, they get a lot of press and decide to switch fitness regimes for two weeks to declare whose works the best. Living, eating and working out side by side for two weeks these adversaries start to enjoy the barbs they are throwing at each other and frustration turns to romance.

We got a hint of Brooks’s history in the first Brits in Manhattan novel, Balancing the Scales. Brooks, a single father who fought against the prejudice of his pregnant girlfriends parents as a teenager easily put that same stamp on Izzy’s socialite turned fitness expert. His trust was not easily gained and he was rather hard on Izzy. However, knowing his history made it easier for me to overlook his boorish behavior. Izzy was more two dimensional. She did come across as the Prada wearing fitness princess and even though in her late twenties acted pretty childish towards Brooks. I’ll admit, I got a little impatient with both of their shenanigans until they finally decided to act on their pent up frustrations. When they realized their feelings for each other I enjoyed their game playing a lot more.

Izzy’s insecurity held me back from feeling more empathy for her and I think that hurt how I felt about the two of them as a couple. I liked Brooks’s character and had been looking forward to reading his story. He was a guy that certainly deserved a happily ever after, but I didn’t have complete buy in that Izzy was that person for him. Laura Carter’s writing style is full of sweet charm and British wit which translated well in the writing of Izzy’s personality. Solid writing was a huge part of why I gave this book a three rating. I just wish that sweetness had hit the pages a little sooner so I could’ve loved Izzy a bit more. ❤️❤️❤️

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

Playing to Win cover

Click this link to purchase! Playing to Win (Brits in Manhattan)

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

This Chicks Uppercase Box Reveal- Feb18

Conspiracy bag

I love getting home from work and having a little surprise waiting for me on my doorstep. What kind of book will it be this month? Fantasy? Fairy Tale? Romance? Mystery? I opened the package (it’s not really in a box, gasp!) and eagerly slipped open the tie string at the top of the bag. Before I got the knot released something fell to the ground.

There was an item outside of the bag! I guess there wasn’t enough room because the book does seem to be kind of large. I turned over what looked to be a pretty notepad with books laying on some prettily drawn leaves. There’s a quote at the bottom by Maud Casey that says “I was born with a reading list I will never finish.”

Queen's notebook

I’ll admit that I’ve never heard of Maud Casey so I Googled her and found out she’s an American novelist with several best selling titles. Like most of us, it seem’s Ms. Casey has quite the TBR she needs to get through!!

There were two other items in the bag besides the book, which I’ll get to in a moment. The first thing was a packet of Book Lovers Coffee beans. Now I know that some people like to drink tea while they’re reading, and I’ll admit that occasionally I do too. However, my drink of choice on a cold morning is a nice cup of coffee, so this is perfect for me!

I spot another quote, this time on the coffee packet, and by Louisa May Alcott the author of one of my favorite childhood novels, Little Women. “I’d rather take coffee than compliments right now.”  Well, Louisa, it depends upon the day for me. On a bad one, compliments would go a long way. LOL. Although a nice strong cup of coffee can jump my mood from bad to good just as well. Queen's coffee

There is also a sticker proclaiming “Let the Queen Rise!” well, maybe not proclaiming, but it should be! And yes, that sticker gives away the title of the Uppercase Book for Feb 18. A signed copy of The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross.

I’ll admit, I’ve had my eye on this book, so I was excited to see it in the bag. A fantasy novel, my favorite!

Here’s the synopsis:

Grave Mercy meets Red Queen in this epic debut fantasy, inspired by Renaissance France, about an outcast who finds herself bound to a disgraced lord and entangled in his plot to overthrow the current king.

Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron. Growing up in Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her. While some are born with a talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she chose knowledge. However, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—she is left without a patron.

Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, she reluctantly accepts. But there is much more to his story, for there is a dangerous plot to overthrow the king of Maevana—the rival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.

And now, with war brewing, Brienna must choose which side she will remain loyal to: passion or blood.

Let’s discuss:

Have you read this book? If so, let me know what you thought of it!

What did you think of the other gifts that arrived in this package?

I’ll be reading The Queen’s Rising and will review it soon, promise!

Until next Sunday,

Deb

If you’re interested in checking out the subscription prices to Uppercase Box, click HERE.

This Chick Read: The Hookup (Moonlight and Motor Oil #1) by Kristen Ashley

Izzy has had some hard knocks in her life so when she finds out her one night stand is in love with someone else she is ok with taking what he will give her. After all thats probably all she deserves. (Her thoughts not mine!) Johnny’s head is messed up from his previous breakup and when that woman moves back to town, even though he knows he’s not getting back with her, he lets Izzy out of his life. One night he runs into Izzy eating alone at a restaurant and finds out about some of her past troubles and decides immediately to get back involved and make sure she is safe.

Izzy is one of those characters that seems a little unreal but you can’t help but like. She’s all rainbows and butterfly’s, sweet, nice and girly. Her place is shabby chic. Johnny is your typical Kristen Ashley male. Very alpha and masculine but with a warm heart that beats for one woman. What Johnny comes to realize is that that woman is now Eliza and he will do anything to keep her safe and happy. When her sister moves to town, bringing trouble with her too, Johnny opens his arms to Izzy’s family, wading in to insure their safety too. What’s not to like about this guy? Ok, his last name is Gamble. Johnny Gamble is kind of a silly non Alpha sounding name but I got over it pretty quick.

I really enjoyed this novel. It reminded me of the older KA novels like the Burg series or even some of the stand alone novels like Play It Safe. Those are some of my favorites. A good old fashioned romance of boy meets girl, gets to know and love her and wants to be with her forever. There’s a tiny hint of danger thrown in for conflict which hits just the right note keeping the novel from being too sweet. The heat level is not sweet though, it’s very spicy!

❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

DA387576-CC73-4243-AC9C-C62510921CD0 Click this link to purchase! The Hookup (Moonlight and Motor Oil Series Book 1) Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

This Chick Read: #Prettyboy Must Die by Kimberly Reid

#Prettyboy Must Die is an action adventure spy novel in a high school setting. Peter Smith, CIA operative, is undercover as a high school senior trying to find an international hacker that he’s tracked to this campus. While running late one night with his buddy Bunker, he’s caught with his shirt off, on camera by a freshman girl who posts it on Picturegram. (think fictional Instagram) Unbeknownst to Peter, the photo goes viral and blows his cover. Peter figures out he’s in trouble when a team of terrorists break through the roof of his chem lab and take his school hostage. How will Peter (real name Jake Morrow) save the day?

It was pretty obvious to me that this author’s inspiration was the Jason Bourne films and novels by Robert Ludlom. Matt Damon looked pretty young in the first movie, and that was the face I put to Peter Smith while reading this book. As Peter and his friend Bunker race around trying to save the other students in the school, as well as find the terrorists and incapacitate them, it was Matt’s face that helped give the visual more impact. The writing was fun, the action sequences written for a movie, but the characters fell a little flat. I think the action took away from the characterizations and unlike with Jason Bourne, I didn’t care too much what happened to Peter. (Although, I did like his friend Bunker a lot. HE was interesting!)

#Prettyboy Must Die was not a bad book though. The writing was great and there was some good dialog. It had a lot of promise but not a lot of heart. ❤️❤️❤️

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

Prettyboy

Click this link to purchase! Prettyboy Must Die: A Novel

Copyright 2017 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

This Chick Read: Fate’s Edge (The Edge #3) by Ilona Andrews

I have been listening to the audio books of all of Ilona Andrews books. I have read all of them before, but listening to the narration by Renee Raudman has given me a new appreciation for some stories that I haven’t read in quite a few years. Fate’s Edge is one of those stories and Renee Raudman’s characterizations were spot on and her delivery engaging.

The Edge series is pretty dark. When I listened to Bayou Moon (book 2) I thought wow, there are some pretty grim and gruesome details in this book! There’s something about listening to a book that make those details really stand out. Fate’s Edge tells the story of Kaldar and Audrey. We had met Kaldar previously in Bayou Moon. He was kind of a crazy character and I wasn’t sure how they’d write a whole book about him and didn’t remember if I liked him or not. Turns out I LOVE him. Being inside Kaldar’s head gives us insight into why he does all of these crazy things. When he meets Audrey he’s working for the Mirror (think CIA) trying to find the team that stole some magical bracelets that the Mirror doesn’t want out in the world. Audrey is one of the thieves who stole those bracelets and he is gobsmacked when he meets her. She is drop dead gorgeous and a natural con artist. Something he really admires.

The greatest thing about these two characters is that they understand each other perfectly. They are very similar, both are con artists, both are great actors and both have been disappointed by life. When they meet, Audrey knows immediately that Kaldar is her soul mate but she is determined to keep him at arm’s length because she knows to be involved with a grifter is to doom yourself to a disappointing love life. Kaldar doesn’t immediately know that Audrey is his one and only, he just knows he wants her. Their back and forth dialog, along with their adventure while retrieving the bracelets is lighthearted and fun. A refreshing departure in this dramatic series! Eventually those interactions and adventures makes it apparent to Kaldar that Audrey is meant for him. When he comes to this realization your heart squeezes at the emotion he is feeling.

Along for the ride in this adventure are George and Jack. Rose’s little brothers from The Edge, the first novel in the series. They provided some humor as well as their own little heart tugging moments. When the story ends, you just don’t want to let the two of them go, they are so adorable. I can’t wait to listen to the Innkeeper series because my sister told me that George and Jack show up as an adults and I can’t quite remember his part in that story and it’s driving me mad. These novels are interconnected in ways that I didn’t realize and by listening to them all at one time, I’m seeing and hearing things that I missed on the first reading. What fun!

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Fate's Edge Click this link to purchase! Fate’s Edge (The Edge, Book 3) Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: Young Adults Save the World

The other day I finished reading a Young Adult book that I felt was kind of well, average. The writing was good, the scenes were set pretty well, but there was just something that bothered me about the plot. It was a contemporary ya action novel that seemed to be inspired by the Jason Bourne spy movies. It was fun, it was well written, but why didn’t it connect with me? I did also have trouble emotionally connecting with the hero, but I really think it’s because I didn’t believe it.It didn’t connect because the world this seventeen year old lives in could be my own world. I had to fight my own reality and couldn’t immerse myself completely into the story.

Is that why it’ easier to accept a 17 year old saving the world or falling in love when it’s a Fantasy novel?  

Absolutely! Why?

  1. World building: When I read V. E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series, or Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen series, I didn’t have time to stop and question the logistics, emotional capacity, training, and fortitude of the main characters. I was too busy immersing myself in the world they were building. Trying to figure out the schematics of jumping Londons distracted me from scoffing at such a young person single handedly saving her race. (yeah, I mixed the plots a bit to prove my point, but you get the drift.)
  2. Magic: It may be a tired trope, but if our hero or heroine has a magical power, that power trumps how old they are. 17? Pshaw! This girl can fling lightening out of her hands! This guy is a billionaire who has created a virtual reality game that is taking over the world! When he/she uses that power to save herself, her friends, or the world… well, I’m all in! I don’t even stop to think twice about it! Of course, not all powers are used for good, but point made.
  3. The power of love: I am not going to say that love can’t conquer all because love changes people and makes them view life differently. Love is life changing, but is that power of love more believable when it’s a 17 year old girl who turns into a dragon or a seventeen year old girl late for class in high school? Well, I’m intrigued by this girl who turns into a dragon and will be more willing to overlook her age than the girl I envision as myself in a high school setting.  The comparison to myself makes me remember all of her life that remains in front of her. I’m a little more skeptical that she may have found the love of her life at 17 than that she turns into a dragon. Weird, right?
  4. Fight experience: I’m speaking VERY generally, but I believe the percentage of 17 year old’s in the real world who have the fighting skills to overcome terrorists are pretty slim. However, in a fantasy setting where sword skills are learned by the age 10, and of course there are those magic powers  they can use (!), I can believe the storytelling for that world. After all, it’s not my own world, it’s make believe.

teen super hero's

You get the point. So, here’s the dilemma. How do you write a YA novel, set in the world we are living in, where it’s believable for the main protagonist to have the skills, knowledge and fortitude to save the day, fall in love and otherwise be a hero that is believable?

How do you review that book and not let your own opinions (yes, maybe even disbelief) of that story reflect in your review? Or do you let it affect your review?

I’d like to hear your opinion!

Until next Sunday,

Deb

p.s. I am in no way saying that a 17 year old can’t save the world, only that it is more believable in a Fantasy novel. There are amazing young people out there who love this world and will hopefully keep helping save it. This post was a silly way for me to procrastinate writing a review about a teen spy that saved his school. Back to it!

 

This Chick Read: Wrong Number Right Guy (The Bourbon Street Boys #1) by Elle Casey

May Wexler receives an urgent text from her sister from a dive bar downtown called Frankie’s. Responding to the urgent nature of the text, she grabs her mini Chihuahua and rushes out the door. Dressed inappropriately for a biker dive bar in her pink espadrilles and Ann Taylor clothes, she braves the biker element in search of her sister and her three kids. Needless to say, her sister isn’t there. The text was sent in error, and before she figures that out, she’s in the middle of a shoot out and a burly bearded gorilla grabs her and hustles her out the door.

This was the first of the fish out of water scenes in Wrong Number Right Guy for May. She was not the brightest bulb in the bunch, however she was plucky! and damned funny actually. There were a couple of scenes where I was laughing out loud and wiping tears from my eyes. Normally I abhor stupid women in books, but there was more to May than met the eye and I can only think that Ozzie saw right through that Ann Taylor facade before I did. Even though he was mostly the strong silent type, he seemed to like her shenanigans and actually gave her credit for having more brains than I’m convinced she had. He was the perfect stoic foil to her beard jokes and took her teasing very well.

The best thing about this novel, besides the humor, was the fact that even though May was kind of nutty, she wasn’t a victim. This girl seemed terrified of everything, but when push came to shove, her instincts were on fire and she’d kick butt. Sometimes by accident, but she didn’t need a man to save her, she always ended up saving herself. This is why this book ranked so high. Well, that and the humor. My god, I laughed! I’m looking forward to reading the other books in the series to see if they are just as funny. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Wrong Number Click this link to purchase! Wrong Number, Right Guy (The Bourbon Street Boys) Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

This Chick Read: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

One night while Starr and a friend were driving home from a party they were pulled over by a police officer and her friend was shot dead. This incident sets up a chain reaction of violence, hate and mistrust between law enforcement and the black community in Starr’s neighborhood and around the country. Through Starr’s eyes we see her struggle with the shooting and prejudice, but also see her struggle to find an identity between the two worlds she lives in. Private school during the day where she is one of two black people in her class and in the ghetto at night where she lives. The Hate U Give while fictional is a voyeuristic view through Starr’s eyes of how African American and other ethnic communities struggle to rise above their circumstances, and how a young girl finds her place between two worlds.

The dichotomy of Starr’s school and home life was the perfect counter balance to the escalating violence between the police and the community of Garden Heights. As she navigated her feelings about what happened to her friend Khalil and whether she is the girl who fits in with the white kids at school or the slang talking teenager from Garden Heights her emotions escalate, just as the emotions escalate between her community and those who are trying to contain them. The two stories running parallel to each other amp up the tension. Even though I am not ethnic and did not grow up in those same kind of circumstances I was emotional, feeling everything that these people I had come to love through this story were going through. It felt very real. It felt very wrong.

I had obviously heard a LOT about this book before I finally made myself pick it up and read it. I knew it would be difficult to read. It was. As a middle aged, middle class white woman who has never been judged for the color of my skin, I was afraid of how I would feel when I read it. What would this book MAKE me feel? Well, I felt horrified. Ashamed. Sad. Sickened. Hopeful. Energized. and Ambitious. It made me want a change. This is why it is good to read and learn things outside of your comfort zone. Thank you, Angie Thomas for writing a book that was difficult to read. That made me think. That made me wake up. That made me hopeful for change. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Hate Click this link to purchase! The Hate U Give Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

This Chick Read: Cry Wolf (Alpha & Omega #1) by Patricia Briggs #Giveaway

Burn Bright, Patricia Briggs’ fifth novel in the Alpha & Omega series, is being released on March, 6, 2018. In honor of that release Berkley Publishing and I am going to be giving away a copy of Cry Wolf the first novel in the series.

CRY WOLF

“Anna never knew werewolves existed until the night she survived a violent attack…and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the pack, she’d learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. But Anna is that rarest kind of werewolf: an Omega. And one of the most powerful werewolves in the country is about to recognize her value as a pack member—and as his mate.”

REVIEW

I will be reading and reviewing Burn Bright soon, but it had been awhile since I’ve read the other novels in the series. I decided to listen to the audio book as a re-read. Narrated by Holter Graham I again enmeshed myself in this fabulous Urban Fantasy series about Anna, a female werewolf, who finds herself mated to Charles, son of the Marrok or premier Alpha of all werewolves in the United States. As stated in the synopsis above, Anna, only a werewolf for three years was told she was a submissive, a werewolf at the bottom of the pecking order in a pack. Dominated and brutalized by a pack that should’ve protected her. She finds her self confidence and place in werewolf society with her mate Charles an enforcer for the Marrok, his father. He often gets sent on missions by his father and in Cry Wolf, he and Anna investigate a rogue werewolf.

There are so many things I loved about listening to this novel. Holter Graham does a wonderful job narrating. He imbues Anna’s voice with a strength and cleverness that she is only now discovering for herself. Charles who is described as being the strong silent and deadly type is voiced with a kind of nasal intelligence. Other werewolves have seen Charles as being kind of dumb, when in fact he is very smart as well as deadly.  Holter Graham’s voice for Charles gave him more cleverness than my own voice in my head. It made me see him differently than I had when I first read the novel. His gentleness with his new mate fit his characterization to a tee. Anna’s courage and sass strengthened as the novel moved forward and Holter Graham did a great job of starting off shy and moving towards an independence and self confidence that you wouldn’t think would come across in a narration. It did and it was so well done! So, not only was the writing fantastic, but that narration was brilliant as well. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

This series, I believe starts and runs congruently with book 4 of the Mercy Thompson series, but you do not have to have read that series. This one stands completely on its own. The mystery is well thought out and the fantasy paranormal elements believable. Please enter the giveaway below to win a copy of Cry Wolf. I hope you will enjoy this novel as much as I have and want to re-read it or listen to it in the future as well!

Cry Wolf

Click this link to purchase! Cry Wolf (Alpha and Omega, Book 1)

Enter here for the Giveaway! US only!

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Patricia Briggs is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Mercy Thompson novels Silence FallenFire Touched, and Night Broken, among others. Her Alpha and Omega novels include Burn BrightDead HeatFair GameHunting Ground, and Cry Wolf. She lives in Washington State with her family and a small herd of horses.

 Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved