This Chick Read: Rules of Redemption and Age of Deception (The Firebird Chronicles books 1 and 2) by T.A. White

Ex war hero, Kira Forrest lives a solitary life with her robotic pal Jin as they scavenge the star system for parts to sell. While on planet, hoping to make that sale she saves the lives of two Tuann children which brings her in the path of their warrior leader Graydon. He immediately identifies her as one of their lost children and makes a political play with the human military to take her home to her Tuann family. Kira begrudgingly goes to Tuann with the intent to escape quickly and find her way back to her ship.

Ok, the above synopsis does not even begin to tell the nuances and emotions that fill this novel. Kira is an unlikely heroine. She see’s herself as a freak because of her skills during the war, and her military pals also have trouble seeing her as human which sets her apart from the rest of the human characters in this story. As she learns more about the Tuann people she realizes that her “traits” are inherited and not totally uncommon. This insight helps her self confidence, but she still fights against finding a home among those people. After all, she was raised as human.

Kira is one of those characters who is altruistic, always jumping in either with her mouth or with her body, and it’s hard to dislike sass and heroism. Graydon, see’s that same likability, and doesn’t have a human upbringing to compare her actions, like she does to herself. He just see’s her as bad@$$ and bides his time before making his move. He reminded me a bit of Curran in Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels series, and I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed that humor/alpha combo.

Rules of Redemption sets the scene with such skill. The world building is detailed and yet extremely easy to follow, the characters are varied from friends, to possible enemies, to possible mentor like relationships. Underneath it all is a great plot where we get to follow Kira as she explores her new culture in a way that allows her to be aggressive, show her street smarts, and reveal her level of problem solving skills. A true action fantasy novel!

The second novel, Age of Deception, continues where Rules of Redemption left off. Kira leaves her first Tuann family and travels to Roake to meet her fathers side. Here she decides to take a warrior’s path by undertaking the Trial of the Broken. A warrior like boot camp that only a few survive. This novel follows the same action adventure style, yet we get to see Kira grow as a character. Two of her military (ex) teammates travel with her and through their interactions we understand why she has separated herself from her friends. That loyalty gives her character depth and makes her budding relationship with Graydon real. This is a girl who is unerringly loyal, but doesn’t lean towards trust. He has his work cut out for him!

If you’re a fan of romantic fantasy a la Ilona Andrews, you will eat these books up and will rip through the rest of T.A. White’s novels as well. Once you finish these, check out her Pathfinder series!

Rules of Redemption ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

Age of Deception ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click these links to purchase! * Rules of Redemption (The Firebird Chronicles Book 1) and Age of Deception (The Firebird Chronicles Book 2)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (7/13/2020)

The release of Mariana Zapata’s novel Hands Down last week had me picking up a couple other of her books as got me in the mood to read an older favorite. Which then led me into an old fantasy favorite, and I went down the rabbit hole. LOL. My reading choices hit just the right note! I hope you had as much luck with your choice!

This post originated over on Book Date, so thanks for the idea and letting me continue on the discussion about what books I am reading.

JUST FINISHED

After reading Hands Down, which featured Zac from The Wall of Winnipeg and Me, I re-read Winnipeg which had a side character in Vanessa’s best friend Diana Casillas. So, I read her story next. Yep, the rabbit hole. Wait for It is probably my third or fourth favorite Mariana Zapata novel so it wasn’t a hardship to pick it back up.

JUST STARTED

AFter binging on Mariana Zapata and feeling great about the books I’d chosen I again chose an older book that I’d read previously and really liked. I’d last read Oracle’s Moon in 2014 and I think it was my favorite of Thea Harrison’s Elder Races. Have you read those? They are fun romantic fantasy novels. I’m looking forward to finishing this one up this week.

What books did you read this last weekend, and what book are you starting out your week reading? An old favorite? Or a brand new release?

Happy Monday!

Deb

This Chick Read: Dragon Unleashed (Fallen Empire #2) by Grace Draven

In a land where magic is forbidden, earth witch Halani knows she has to be careful with her secret. When her free trader uncle purchases an artifact that’s said to be a bone from a long extinct draga, Halani feels the magic within and knows it will bring them trouble. Malachus has been searching for that same item and needs it to be able to transform from a man into a draga before his magic kills him. Their fate’s are tied together, both holding secrets, yet developing a love that will transform them and help them conquer evil.

Dragon Unleashed is the second novel in the Fallen Empire series, but for those of you who haven’t read Phoenix Unbound, this one can be read as a stand alone. I haven’t read the first novel in the series and except for meeting those characters, they weren’t involved in the plot for Dragon Unleashed so I didn’t feel at all lost. The world, however, is the same where magic is forbidden and just as in Phoenix Unbound Halani wields a magic that could make her an outlaw. It’s through her magic that the conflict for the story arises. Knowing the relic is actually the real deal means that Halani lies to Malachus right from the start. The reader being in on that lie is waiting for the hero to find out, which adds tension to what might have been a rather dull story.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a story with a dragon and I enjoyed his point of view even more than I did Halani’s. Having lived for a long time, Malachus has seen the dark side of humanity, and is pretty cynical about Halani and her people when they first meet. I liked how his view gradually changed, making Halani’s secret lie even more important to this novel. How Malachus overcomes his disdain allows his character to grow which adds impetus to the final conflict in the story. It was really well done. Halani’s POV is more predictable and because of that I found her character a little dull. Malachus definitely did all of the hard lifting in this novel.

I couldn’t end this post without saying something about the cover for this book. It’s absolutely gorgeous and really gives you a feel for the genre, although I pictured Halani a little less beautiful and more round. The author’s descriptions made me envision Malachus as sharply handsome, and Halani as softly pretty. I don’t begrudge the author this beautiful cover though, it will definitely help sell books!

❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Dragon Unleashed (The Fallen Empire Book 2)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: How to re-find my reading mojo during the Coronavirus.

It’s now been two months of working from home and although I don’t know for sure I think it will be another couple of months before my company is ready to start transitioning us back to the office. I don’t have children, and so working from home hasn’t been a big hardship. However, like most people being at home all the time is not the respite my home had always been previously. I move from my bed, to the couch, to my desk, to the back deck, and despite the niceties and convenience, I’m having trouble finding solace in my usual habits.

In the past, after a stressful day at work, coming home and spending the evening reading was a pleasure. For some reason, it’s been so much harder to escape in a book! I find myself turning towards the TV and streaming shows I’ve heard co-workers and friends talk about instead of flipping open my kindle. Why is this? I’m not a psychologist so unfortunately I don’t have an answer to that question, but recently I’ve done a few things that have given me that joy in reading that I used to feel.

ROMANCE NOVELS

Yeah, yeah, that’ s nothing new for me. I am a huge lover of romance novels. However, I do usually switch up my genre’s. I read a romance, then I switch to women’s fiction, or fantasy. You know, something different. Lately I’ve read romance after romance. I think it’s that happy ending, and the ease of finding a couple you want to root for and fall in love with. Romance novels have been my quick fix.

RE-READING A BOOK YOU KNOW YOU LIKE

I love the old Kristen Ashley novels. You know, when she actually wrote a plot into her novels? I had purchased Kaleidoscope to finish out this series on my Kindle, but hadn’t read it for a long while. This novel helped jump start my ability to read again. Funny enough, it wasn’t as good as I remembered it, but the solace of reading something I knew I’d once liked was enough to get me past that first 50 pages and solidly into the story. Your favorite genre might be Horror, Mystery, coffee table books, who knows! The point is it doesn’t really matter, just pick up a book you love and settle in.

BAKING

I know I haven’t been alone as everyone is baking right now. We’re stuck in our homes and with little to do we are finding our inner Wolfgang Puck. I’m not only baking, but I’m also cooking some pretty great meals. Am I trying to be healthy? NO. I am trying to fill my time and do something I’ve always loved and has made me feel good. I’m just doing it a little more often. One of the things I love the most about baking is that it’s so methodical. Sue me, I’m a Virgo and we love checking things off a list, measuring, scooping, and basically finding solace in organizing type tasks. Essentially baking is following a recipe and measuring. I can listen to an audiobook, get out my measuring cups, and go to town. It’s worked wonders on my psyche. Not so much on my waistline.

BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

Listen to your friends, family, favorite bloggers, whoever you trust. For me, it’s my sister. If she brings up a book more than one time to me, I know she wants me to check it out. She thinks I’ll really like it, and even more importantly, she wants me to read it. I just finished this series by T.A. White in two days. I flew through them! They are NON romance novels! Although, they are romantic fantasy, but still! It got me out of a rut and I LOVED them. Try a recommendation. Interrupt your normal pattern of picking a novel and give someone else’s choice a chance.

ARC’S, ARC’S, AND MORE ARC’S!

I had gotten pretty good at not having too many so I could mix in books I want to read that may have come out in the past, with books that are coming out and I want to read and review for my blog. Admittedly, I’m reading more for pleasure right now. So, I’ve gotten in a bit of a bind. Is anyone else getting ARC requests accepted by all publishers? Is there a shortage of willing bloggers I don’t know about? I’m in some serious trouble! For crying out loud, I got sent a book on 5/13 for a book that came out on 5/12. I don’t work like that! I read in advance. It must be a shortage of people requesting an ARC. I can’t figure this one out. This is just a screenshot of what fit on my screen. It’s a couple of pages. Yikes!

Despite the stress from that last point, I feel like lately I may just have gotten my reading mojo back. I’ll admit to being REALLY picky. If something doesn’t appeal to me in the first 10 pages I put it down. I want to immerse myself in a novel, but I don’t want to have to work for it.

I’d love to know if anyone else has had the same problems and come up with any different solutions? Or have you just shut the book and picked up the remote. I have done a bit of that too.

Take care, and stay safe!

Deb

This Chick Read: Sweep With Me (Innkeeper Series #4.5) by Ilona Andrews

During Treaty Stay, Innkeeper’s are not allowed to turn away any guests. Although Dina has been an Innkeeper for a few years, her new boyfriend Sean is just beginning to wear in his Innkeeper’s robes and although in love, they are still feeling out their duties as co-Inkeeper’s. When a Drifan asks to stay during Treaty Stay, Dina must accept and hope that this super magical being is not looking for trouble during their stay. With the addition of a group of Koo-ko, who need a suite to continue their very heated debate, and a Medamoth, a tracker, this Treaty Stay may be a doozy!

Even though Sweep With Me is a novella, I got a real feeling of where Dina is at since the last novel featuring she, Sean, and Gertrude Hunt. Still struggling with the loss of the seedling Inn, Dina is trying to regain her strength and learn to co-partner with Sean in their new relationship. Ilona Andrews does a great job of giving us a full length story in a short form novella and I felt totally satisfied when I ended this novel.

I love it when new species drop in to Gertrude Hunt and this world expands and grows. Hopefully Ilona Andrews has many more stories to tell in this series because I’m not done watching these characters grow and evolve in their relationships. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“It was over way too quickly, and seemed very much just holding material, a way to pass time to get to something better. Don’t get me wrong, it was fun holding material, but the last book was so very good, I guess I really wanted more with a return to Dina’s story.” The North Wind and the Sea

“I know it’s going to be quite some time before we see another Innkeeper novel. Since we know what Ilona Andrews will be working on in the meantime, I’m totally okay with that. But I will admit that I love this series, and will miss it in the meantime. I think I’m going to have to go back and reread the entire series again, to help cope with that bit of loss. But it’ll be worth it!” Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks

Click this link to purchase!* Sweep with Me (Innkeeper Chronicles)

Copyright 2020 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: How to Love Your Elf (Embraced by Magic #1) by Kerrelyn Sparks

Synopsis: Sorcha knew the mission was dangerous. Leaving the safe grounds of her brother’s kingdom and parlaying with the elves across their border . . . well, treachery seemed at least as likely as true peace. But to support her sister, Sorcha would brave far more than the underhanded ways of the elves. Or so she thought, before she was taken hostage.
 
Of course, her captors didn’t count on her particular abilities—or on the help of the Woodsman, the mysterious thief who made his home in the forest. He saw the battle from the trees, saw the soldier attacking against incredible odds to save a comrade—and then saw the valiant fighter revealed as Princess Sorcha of Norveshka. He can’t tell if he wants to kidnap her or kiss her. But despite Sorcha’s stubbornness, his inconvenient honor, and a rebellion on the cusp of full war, something burns between them that neither can let go . . .

REVIEW: The series name Embraced by Magic #1 implies that this book is the first in the series, doesn’t it? Foolish me! As I was reading this novel I quickly realized this was not the first novel. There were clearly a few couples already covered in a previous series which normally would make me mad. I kept reading because I had to, as I was given an ARC of this novel to review. At this point you’re probably thinking that I got lost in the story and soon forgot that the publisher misled me….you’re wrong! I only got more mad because this novel was so poorly written! Even though I’ve never read a Kerrelyn Sparks novel before, I know this is an author who has written a whole bunch of novels and well, this novel felt like it was a first attempt by a high schooler. If it had been? Well, maybe I would be a little less harsh, but it wasn’t. So, how did I feel about this book? Disappointed would be putting it mildly.

I’m not a reviewer that normally writes scathing commentary. It’s not worth my time unless I feel like I need to take a stand on behalf on women for a horrible topic like romanticizing sexism or rape. This novel didn’t have any of those topics, it was a fantasy romance about a bunch of elves in a forest. It should’ve been fun, but was really just bad. That happens. I get it. That’s why I usually just choose to pass on the review. However, I feel like I need to make a point about how putting this novel, which was clearly the third or fourth in a different series and titling it as #1 in a new series clearly misleads the reader. Added to that is that it was just poorly written and juvenile and well, you’ve got one really unhappy reader and I got this book for free!

Setting the publisher’s intentions aside, why didn’t I like this book? This story was in 2-D. The character’s weren’t developed, the love story was contrived, and the sex scenes truly awful. The dialog was pretty comical. Our hero was a wood elf and our heroine Sorcha jokes about his wood-like erection. Yeah, it was really bad and I found myself rolling my eyes and skimming the pages hoping it would get better. It didn’t. So, despite our hero’s wood-like penis, I was left totally unsatisfied.

Maybe this style of writing is what Kerrelyn Sparks is famous for and I’m going to anger a bunch of fans of this author, but I hope it’s just one bad book in her catalog and I just chose the wrong one to test the waters.

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

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved.

This Chick Read: Protect the Prince (Crown of Shards #2) by Jennifer Estep

As the new queen of Bellona, Everleigh Blair wants to bring peace to her country despite the grumblings of her own noble families. When an assassin tries to kill her in her own throne room, Everleigh plans a trip to the neighboring country of Andvari to sign a treaty and stand up against the dark forces who would try to overthrow their kingdoms. With the help of her gladiator friends she faces the family of her love, bastard prince Lucas Sullivan. In Andvari she learns what it means to be a Winter Queen, in an emotional journey. What will she do? Choose what’s right for her country or the man she is coming to love.

Protect the Prince brought all of the action that I loved in Kill the Queen but added an emotional depth to our main character, Everleigh. She and Lucas have a connection that shouldn’t be acted upon as she is now queen and Lucas is the bastard son of the Andvari king. Knowing their love is futile, frustratingly, they spend a good majority of this novel apart. I hated that! I love a little romance in my action fantasy novels. However, when Everleigh finds a plot to bring down the Andvari house and goes undercover (so to speak) the plot thickens and became interesting enough for me to overlook the fact they were not together…yet.

I loved both Everleigh and Lucas’s strength of character in Kill the Queen, but felt like Lucas could’ve fought a little bit more for what he wanted, and Everleigh could’ve let him in on a few of her secret plots so he didn’t spend a good portion of the novel hurting. I hated the lack of communication! I know, it’s just a book, but I like it when my characters are on the same page. Aargh! LOL. Both Everleigh and Lucas’s characters get a little more back story which explains some of their character traits. Through flashbacks we learn about the death of Everleigh’s parents and the part the Bastard Brigade played. This explains Everleigh’s determination to bring an end to that group. We also learn about a past love of Lucas’s that ended poorly and explains why he continues to do what is right instead of what he wants. Both of these things slow the novels down only slightly but help me care more for their characters and the outcome of their relationship.

As with the first novel there was some great politically charged action scenes with our bad guys somehow always staying one step ahead of our heroes. The conclusion to those political machinations had a couple of surprise twists that left me feeling like I MUST read the next novel! I just wish it were coming out a little sooner than next year!

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“In addition to political shenanigans, there is plenty of action in Protect the Prince as well as subterfuge, betrayal, and some rather swoony moments. I loved reading this story and I am completely looking forward to what is next in this series!!” The Genre Minx Book Reviews

“The series so far is still littered with all kinds of fantasy tropes, but surprisingly, I don’t have a problem with it. The truth is, it gives these books a certain kind of charm, and I love being able to kick back with something light and fun. I also have a feeling Estep is working on the bigger picture, building towards something even better. I look forward to reading the next book.” The Bibliosanctum

Click this link to purchase!* Protect the Prince (A Crown of Shards Novel)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chick Read: Sweep of the Blade (Innkeepers #4) by Ilona Andrews

Sweep of the Blade is the first novel in this series to not feature Innkeeper Dina Demille. Instead, we learn her sister Maud’s fascinating story of love, heartbreak and honor. Seeing through Maud’s eyes her love for her first husband and consequent betrayal by him I understood more the barrier she built to save herself, and her daughter Helen from caring for anyone that much again. When she helps her sister defend her Inn and meets Arland her will starts to bend until she agree’s to go with him to House Krahr to determine how well she and Helen would fit in.

Maud is such an interesting character! She is a warrior, scholar, mother and woman who just kicks A&&! If you looked up fierce in the Ilona Andrews dictionary, you’d see a picture of Matilda “Maud” Demille. A human married into a vampire House, Maud had to show her worth by knowing every single fact about that vampire world. Those facts combined with her knowledge from an education growing up an Innkeeper’s child made her a silent threat. As she navigates House Krahr those skills become invaluable as she uses them to infiltrate behind possible enemy lines.

Arland, Marshal of House Krahr, is as funny and unique as in previous books, but in this one we see a more serious side. He is back home where he has a job to do and outside influences take up a lot of his time. This doesn’t take away from his determination to win Maud as his wife and be a father to Helen. He does this by allowing Maud to shine on her own. I LOVED that!

Helen as in the last book, steals the show. She is sassy, brilliant, and fierce like her mom. A veritable mini-Maud, albeit she is a human-vampire hybrid. I hope somewhere in our future Helen has her own series!

The Innkeeper series is one of my favorites. I’ve listened and read each book numerous times and always find a new tidbit to keep me coming back. Sweep of the Blade only added to the allure, and the ending? Oh boy! I can’t wait to read what happens in the next novel!

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

” got my copy of this around 4:00 this morning, and devoured it in one setting. So much love. I don’t usually like books where one of the main characters already has a kid, but this one is a big exception. Helen is an absolute favorite of mine – I would go so far as to say my favorite kid in a series, period. So, so much fun.” Wicked Scribes

Click this link to purchase!* Sweep of the Blade (Innkeeper Chronicles)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chick Read: The Blacksmith Queen (The Scarred Earth Saga #1) by G.A. Aiken

It has been awhile since I’ve read a novel by G.A. Aiken, but after my first few moments of WTF-ness I caught onto the rhythm of her magic and got swept along by the story.

As the Old King’s last breathe is uttered, his sons start slaughtering each other and every living relative in the hopes of being the last man standing and becoming the new Old King. A few of the brothers actually separate, hoping to gather enough soldiers to march and fight for the title when a prophesy that a queen will ascend the throne who is a farmer’s daughter waylays their plans. A race to find this girl, Beatrix, and either kill her or marry her to retain the title is foiled by the epic strength of her blacksmith sister Keeley.

Despite her almost god-like strength, Keeley is a simple woman. Family means everything to her and even though she’s thrilled at how this war is great for business, she doesn’t hesitate to fight for her families safety. Joined by the Amachai, a group of Centaur warriors, Keeley takes her sister Beatrix off to the Black Hills to be declared the girl who would be Queen, but in romantic fantasy nothing is ever as easy as it looks.

I loved Keeley’s heart, and her relationship to her sisters and family. They mean everything to her and she is an easy heroine to support and like. Even more I liked her mischievousness and humor. G.A. Aiken didn’t want a one dimensional heroine and her practical jokes and ready smile were her most likable characteristics. Caid, the Centaur romantic hero, was the perfect foil. Dark, brooding, and non-verbal, he couldn’t help but be taken with her and watching him slowly reveal more to his personality than the taciturn warrior was unexpected.

The Blacksmith Queen was an irreverent mix of fun swordsmanship (or hammer skills!), trash talking sisters, and a romantic adventure. Filled with Centaurs, dragons, trolls and elves, this novel has the beginnings of what could be an epic series. Be prepared to be surprised at the mix of modern slang with historic fantasy elements. At times it was a little confusing but if you throw all of your expectations out the window and enjoy each reveal you’ll have a blast reading this totally unique novel. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* The Blacksmith Queen (The Scarred Earth Saga)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? (7/1/19)

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

Sapphire Flames: A Hidden Legacy novel by Ilona Andrews

First Sentence Read: “I was swimming through the warm water of the Gulf when someone knocked on the sky.”

JUST STARTED

No More Secrets: A Small Town Love Story (Blue Moon #1) by Lucy Score

First Sentence Read: “Summer Lentz hefted her suitcase and laptop bag into the trunk of her snappy little rental car.”

Sapphire Flames was everything I could’ve imagined and it’s been so hard to choose my next book! Truthfully I started a different book, the second in a series where I loved the first book and it just didn’t feel right, so I put it down. I haven’t started No More Secrets yet, but LOVED the last novel of Lucy Score’s I read so I have high hopes I’ll be able to get into this one!

It’s the start of a new week, What are YOU reading?

Share in the comments below….

Have a great week reading!

Deb