It’s Monday, what are you reading? (12/5/22)

I’ll admit that for work I am heading into the busiest time of the year, then when you add in the holidays, parties, and decorating I just didn’t seem to have that much time to read. I did finish a book, and whereas I didn’t hate it, it didn’t grab me either. It has great reviews and I kept wondering what I was missing. So when I was reading, I wasn’t in the right head pace for it. I hate that! Does that ever happen to you? On another note, my husband and I started watching Wednesday on Netflix and OMG, it is so good. That’s probably another reason it was hard to get into this book, it just paled in comparison.

JUST FINISHED

This one was really hard for me to finish. It wasn’t that it was bad, and maybe I was reading it when I was stretched a little thin and didn’t have the time to really enmesh myself into the story, but I just got frustrated with it. A great premise that showed promise and didn’t deliver for me. Bummer!

JUST STARTED

I received the advanced reader copy for this book and it looks like it will be right up my alley. A science fiction space opera with a hint of romance and action-adventure. I can’t wait to get started!

Are your holiday plans getting in the way of your reading? I know how you feel! I hope it gets better!

Happy Monday and happy reading!

Deb

This Chick Read: Only Bad Options: A Galactic Bonds book by Jennifer Estep

Vesper Quill works as a lab rat in the powerful Kent Corp. fixing electronic items and creating designs for goods that never get made. When she’s assigned to investigate the cause of a crash her’s is the only voice that states it’s a design flaw instead of pilot error. Kyrion Calderan is the leader of the Arrows, an elite fighting squad. When he and Vesper they find that they have a mystical bond that should be heavenly but may actually cause their death. They have a decision to make- break the bond, or die a slow death.

Only Bad Options is a science fiction novel in a new series by Jennifer Estep, an author who’s known for her exciting action sequences and interesting characters. She delivers both of these things in this novel, creating a unique world and unusually interesting characters. Vesper Quill is down on her luck. Abandoned by her mother and raised by a family friend, she has minimal psychic talent. Enough to make her great at building electronic goods and gaining her a job at an elite corporation who makes weapons for the wealthy Regals. She’s an easy character to like despite her ‘woe is me’ attitude always getting herself out of one scrap to find herself in the middle of another. She’s smart and uses her brains to outthink her enemies. She’s not sure what to think of Kyrion. He’s known as a cold-blooded killer and is an elite Regal but despite those differences they are bonded and are drawn to each other. I really liked the tension filled scenes broken only by action sequences that helped drain that tension. I found myself having fun and rooting for Vesper to outsmart anyone who would try to hold her down.

As the first book in the series, I can only imagine that their relationship will build in the second book. In this novel they are wary of each other and despite being drawn to each other they focus on the need protect themselves and battle an enemy. I think this is where Kyrion’s personality excels so hopefully we’ll learn a little more about him in the future. I got a pretty good feel for who Vesper is in this novel and even if Kyrion were to never be in another novel, she interests me enough to read the next book.

If you like action-adventure science fiction I think you’ll enjoy Only Bad Options. The author doesn’t bog the reader down in technical explanations and lets us enjoy the world and the wild ride the characters take us on. I can’t wait to pick up the second novel and hopes the author doesn’t take too long to write it! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this book!* Only Bad Options

Copyright 2022 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: Station Eternity (The Midsolar Murders #1) by Mur Lafferty

Mallory Viridian is a murder magnet. Wherever she goes people get murdered and some intuition into puzzling out the clues makes her the only person who can solve them. Tired of murder following her footsteps, Mallory got approval to live on an alien space station where there are only two other humans living among the aliens. Unfortunately that doesn’t last long, a space shuttle is headed their way and you got it, murder follows. Mallory is the only person who can see the connections and solve the murder.

There was something really unique and intriguing about this novel. I’ve definitely never read a book about a young woman who murder seems to follow, and at the same time, travels to outer space to make her escape. The species on the space station are also totally unique and interesting but it took me a little while to convince my brain to switch from a mystery to science fiction mid step. Of course, the author was leading up to the murder following her into outer space, but I was distracted by the new and interesting friends Mallory had made. It was a little clunky and yet enjoyable at the same time.

Mallory was a bit of a loner, and I don’t blame her one bit! However, that did make her a little bit harder to connect to than Xan, her one human friend on the space station. It would seem that it might be harder to have a more interesting back story than Mallory but Xan’s was also pretty spectacular. On Earth he worked for the military in the corpse removal department. I can’t remember the exact name, but when tragedy strikes there is a team that goes in and collects the dead and Xan was one of those team members. After a tragedy strikes, Xan also wants to escape and was lucky enough to be abducted by aliens, ending up on the same space station as Mallory. Yep, you go that right. He was abducted. As you can imagine, this novel was a mix of slapstick humor and seriousness which was a little disorienting to read.

I didn’t realize that this is the first book in a series until I went to look at the title and noticed that subheader. Hmmm, did I like it enough to stick around to read a book #2? I’m not sure. I didn’t hate it, but I’m also not eagerly anticipating the next book. I think I’ll have to wait and see where the synopsis leads me. ❤️❤️❤️❣️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Station Eternity

Copyright 2022 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? (9/12/22)

Who out there reads multiple books at one time? I’ll admit that I usually am listening to an audiobook and reading a book or two simultaneously. I usually only physically read two books at once if one of them just hasn’t grabbed me and I’m committed to reviewing it. Otherwise I just put it down and never pick it up again. I listen to books all the time; while walking in the morning, driving in my car, and even if I’m doing something that doesn’t require thinking while at work. I’ll admit that doesn’t happen as often as I’d like though! LOL. Here are the books that have been on my nightstand recently.

JUST FINISHED

There were moments in this book that I really liked and moments where I just went “huh”. It was definitely different than I’d expected!

JUST STARTED

I’m pretty methodical in my reading and when I get a book to read and review I usually wait a little closer to the release date to read but I love this series by Olivia Dade and immediately cracked it open. I’m not disappointed so far!

Have you read any good books lately?

Have a great Monday and happy reading.

Deb

This Chick Read: The Stars Between Us by Cristin Terrill

Vika Hale longs for a different life than the one she has as a bartender on a struggling planet. When a billionaire dies Vika finds herself the ward of his heirs and living a glamorous life on a high society planet. A series of bombs endangers the lives of the heirs and she finds herself asking for help from other person that crosses both of her worlds, Sky Foster, assistant to the heirs that she lives with. While investigating, she takes a serious look at her life and whether all of the money in the world is worth the unhappiness and danger she now faces.

Vika’s life was certainly grim prior to her good fortune of becoming a ward to the heirs of a billionaire, but quickly starts to wonder if all of that money is worth the changes it makes to your person and your life? As Vika starts to navigate her new world she quickly gets caught up in the empty social cues and moré’s that have built that society. During these chapters I found myself not liking Vika too much, especially in the way she treats Sky Foster. Of course, that doesn’t last too long but I really struggled through those first few chapters because I found her pretty unlikable. Luckily, she pairs up with Sky and becomes a more likable character.

Other than not connecting quickly with the main character, I thought the world-building was well done and enjoyed the mystery solving. Sky Foster was a good foil for Vika’s more outrageous personality, but I didn’t really feel like they connected as a romantic pairing. Sky’s inst-love for Vika, a woman who treats him really horribly, is unbelievable, but I do see a change in her character by the end of the book so I gave them a pass on those earlier plot issues.

I usually love reading science fiction space operas and despite feeling a little let down by these characters, I still think others may like to give it a try. Especially if you’re a fan of this genre. ❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* The Stars Between Us

Copyright 2022 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: My Top 5 Book Releases- July’22

Usually I’d say, ‘Wow, I can’t believe July is creeping in already’ but after the heat we’ve had in Nashville I can totally believe we are already in the middle of summer. There are several books that are coming out in July, several were on my radar, but a couple of them were not. Here are my top 5 out of the list on Goodreads.

#5 BOOK RELEASE

This young adult novel sounds adorable! I love a fish out of water novel and can see some fun hijinx and awkward situations that might tug at my heartstrings or make me laugh a little. I can’t wait to read this one.

Synopsis: In Serena Kaylor’s sparkling debut, a homeschooled math genius finds herself out of her element at a theater summer camp and learns that life—and love—can’t be lived by the (text)book.


Growing up homeschooled in Berkeley, California, Beatrice Quinn has always dreamed of discovering new mathematical challenges at Oxford University. She always thought the hardest part would be getting in, not convincing her parents to let her go. But while math has always made sense to Beatrice, making friends is a problem she hasn’t been able to solve. Before her parents will send her halfway across the world, she has to prove she won’t spend the next four years hiding in the library. The compromise: the Connecticut Shakespearean Summer Academy and a detailed list of teenage milestones to check off. If Beatrice wants to live out her Oxford dream, she has to survive six weeks in the role of “normal teenager” first.

Unfortunately, hearts and hormones don’t follow any equations. When she’s adopted by a group of eclectic theater kids, and immediately makes an enemy of the popular—and annoyingly gorgeous—British son of the camp’s founders, Beatrice quickly learns that relationships are trickier than calculus. With her future on the line, this girl genius stumbles through illicit parties, double dog dares, and more than her fair share of Shakespeare. But before the final curtain falls, will Beatrice realize there’s more to life than what she can find in the pages of a book?

Click this link to purchase this book!* Long Story Short

#4 BOOK RELEASE

I’ll admit, I got an advanced reader copy of this novel and have already read it. This is this author’s second series and I like it’s quick start, the complicated characters, and learning this new world. PLUS there is a bit of a romance! Science Fiction novels are fun and this series is a good one.

Synopsis:

Kee Ildez has been many things: hacker, soldier, bounty hunter. She never expected to be a hero, but when a shadowy group of traitors starts trying to goad the galaxy’s two superpowers into instigating an interstellar war, Kee throws herself into the search to find out who is responsible—and stop them.

Digging up hidden information is her job, so hunting traitors should be a piece of cake, but the primary suspect spent years in the military, and someone powerful is still covering his tracks. Disrupting their plans will require the help of her entire team, including Varro Runkow, a Valovian weapons expert who makes her pulse race.

Quiet, grumpy, and incredibly handsome, Varro watches her with hot eyes but ignores all of her flirting, so Kee silently vows to keep her feelings strictly platonic. But that vow will be put to the test when she and Varro are forced to leave the safety of their ship and venture into enemy territory alone.

Cut off from the rest of their team, they must figure out how to work together—and fast—because a single misstep will cost thousands of lives.

Click this link to purchase!* Eclipse the Moon

#3 BOOK RELEASE

Katherine Center’s novels always touch my heart! A conflicted bodyguard who is faking a romance with the man she’s guarding looks like a an entertaining story. I’m all in on this one!

Synopsis: She’s got his back.
Hannah Brooks looks more like a kindergarten teacher than somebody who could kill you with a wine bottle opener. Or a ballpoint pen. Or a dinner napkin. But the truth is, she’s an Executive Protection Agent (aka “bodyguard”), and she just got hired to protect superstar actor Jack Stapleton from his middle-aged, corgi-breeding stalker.

He’s got her heart.
Jack Stapleton’s a household name—captured by paparazzi on beaches the world over, famous for, among other things, rising out of the waves in all manner of clingy board shorts and glistening like a Roman deity. But a few years back, in the wake of a family tragedy, he dropped from the public eye and went off the grid.

They’ve got a secret.
When Jack’s mom gets sick, he comes home to the family’s Texas ranch to help out. Only one catch: He doesn’t want his family to know about his stalker. Or the bodyguard thing. And so Hannah—against her will and her better judgment—finds herself pretending to be Jack’s girlfriend as a cover. Even though her ex, like a jerk, says no one will believe it.

What could possibly go wrong???
Hannah hardly believes it, herself. But the more time she spends with Jack, the more real it all starts to seem. And there lies the heartbreak. Because it’s easy for Hannah to protect Jack. But protecting her own, long-neglected heart? That’s the hardest thing she’s ever done.

Click this link to purchase!* The Bodyguard

#2 BOOK RELEASE

Blake Crouch writes riveting novels. Different, slightly spooky or eery and just really fun to read. This one looks like a mix of sci-fi, mystery, and straight fiction. I didn’t know it was coming out but it’s definitely landed on my TBR.

Synopsis: “You are the next step in human evolution.”

At first, Logan Ramsay isn’t sure if anything’s different. He just feels a little . . . sharper. Better able to concentrate. Better at multitasking. Reading a bit faster, memorizing better, needing less sleep.

But before long, he can’t deny it: Something’s happening to his brain. To his body. He’s starting to see the world, and those around him—even those he loves most—in whole new ways.

The truth is, Logan’s genome has been hacked. And there’s a reason he’s been targeted for this upgrade. A reason that goes back decades to the darkest part of his past, and a horrific family legacy.

Worse still, what’s happening to him is just the first step in a much larger plan, one that will inflict the same changes on humanity at large—at a terrifying cost.

Because of his new abilities, Logan’s the one person in the world capable of stopping what’s been set in motion. But to have a chance at winning this war, he’ll have to become something other than himself. Maybe even something other than human.

And even as he’s fighting, he can’t help wondering: what if humanity’s only hope for a future really does lie in engineering our own evolution?

Intimate in scale yet epic in scope, Upgrade is an intricately plotted, lightning-fast tale that charts one man’s thrilling transformation, even as it asks us to ponder the limits of our humanity—and our boundless potential.

Click this link to purchase!* Upgrade

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase a book through one of the above links I’ll receive a small stipend.

TOP BOOK RELEASE FOR JULY’22

Ruth Ware write great stories. The It Girl looks like an unputdownable book doesn’t it? Mystery’s don’t usually make my top 5 but this month this book take the #1 prize. You can’t tell me after reading this synopsis below that you don’t want to pick it up?

Synopsis: April Clarke-Cliveden was the first person Hannah Jones met at Oxford.

Vivacious, bright, occasionally vicious, and the ultimate It girl, she quickly pulled Hannah into her dazzling orbit. Together, they developed a group of devoted and inseparable friends—Will, Hugh, Ryan, and Emily—during their first term. By the end of the year, April was dead.

Now, a decade later, Hannah and Will are expecting their first child, and the man convicted of killing April, former Oxford porter John Neville, has died in prison. Relieved to have finally put the past behind her, Hannah’s world is rocked when a young journalist comes knocking and presents new evidence that Neville may have been innocent. As Hannah reconnects with old friends and delves deeper into the mystery of April’s death, she realizes that the friends she thought she knew all have something to hide…including a murder.

“The Agatha Christie of our generation” (David Baldacci, #1 New York Times bestselling author) proves once again that she is “as ingenious and indefatigable as the Queen of Crime” (The Washington Post) with this propulsive murder mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Click this link to purchase!* The It Girl

Did any of the books on my list surprise you? I can tell you that #2 and #1 were out of the ordinary for me so I surprised myself! What books have made your top 5?

Happy reading!

Deb

This Chick Read: Shadows in Death (In Death #51) by J.D. Robb

Eve and Roarke’s evening out is interrupted by a murder in Washington Square Park. While examining the crime scene Roarke spots an enemy from his childhood in the crowd. Lorcan Cobbe, grew up admiring Roarke’s father, working in his organization and moving his way up to paid assassin. Now a wanted man, he jumps immediately to the top of the suspect list and Eve is in hot pursuit. It becomes obvious that Cobbe is taking advantage of running into his enemy and is targeting Roarke and all of those he loves. Eve and her team use every tool they have to gather evidence and hopefully take him down.

I’m a little behind in this series as I believe the 55th book was just released, but ran across this title in my library wishlist and was in the mood for a futuristic investigation with some of my favorite characters. Even though it’s been awhile, when you’ve stuck with a series for 51 books the characters are like good friends. You know when you see one of your best friends from high school after a few years apart and you just jump right back into a previous conversation? The In Death books are exactly like that.

I enjoyed Shadows in Death a lot. Part of it was the comradery of Eve’s team when it becomes clear that Cobbe is targeting Roarke and Eve. Their “family” was going to take down this killer before he had a chance to do anything and how they banded together to investigate, find his mistakes, and then capture him was so emotional because Eve was so awed by their support. Even after all of these years she is surprised that she has a group of friends and I love that insecurity. It really makes you root for her as a character.

There wasn’t a mystery to solve in this plot because we knew the killer in the first chapter but the investigation was fast and personal. Each dip and turn was fraught with tension and each chapter amped up the tension leading to a conclusion that was so, so good! There’s nothing like jumping back into a series with a gripping plot and being reminded why you’ve read all 51 books. When J.D. Robb writes well, her books are excellent. This was one of the really good ones and yes, I’ve already picked up book #52, I hope it’s just as good! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this book!* Shadows in Death

Copyright 2022 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: Aurora’s End (The Aurora Cycle #3) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

When Aurora Burning, the second novel in the series, ended, it looked like Squad 312 was history. Each story arc had been blasted to kingdom come. As Aurora’s End begins, we find out that each of our characters have survived the annihilation. Zila, Fin, and Scarlett have been thrown back in time to when the Betraskans and Humans were at war with each other. Caught in a time loop, the three of them must find a way out of the loop and back to the future so that they can continue to fight to save humanity. Kal and Auri have been blown into the future where they see what happens when the Ra’haam infect the universe. They meet up with a future Tyler who leads the uninfected in a fight that they have no hope of winning. This final novel in the Aurora Cycle is action packed but also packs an emotional punch as we see the what-if’s and the could-be’s collide.

Kaufman and Kristoff are among the best when it comes to action packed scenes and there are quite a few note-worthy ones in Aurora’s End. Each character’s story arc leads them to a point where they can all unite to hopefully save their people. I just wish that it hadn’t taken quite so long to reach the conclusion. I was all in after the ending of Aurora Burning, knowing that our characters would be back because, hello, it was a three book series. BUT, for me, there was too much time spent in the time loop where Zila, Fin, and Scarlett were trying to beat the loop and find their way back to the future. Granted, each loop takes time, and there needed to be some emotional moments for all characters during those loops, but still, it took too many pages.

On the flip side, I wish that Tyler’s portion had been a little longer. I thought his character as the leader of the unit, the one who had all of the success or failure placed upon his shoulders, needed more time and reflection. I know, that is kind of nit-picky and is probably my own feelings about which character I liked best and wanted to read about the most, but his part was definitely the most interesting of the three plot arc’s. I think it helped that he was actually in two of the arc’s and that future Tyler helped build a connection to what was riding on his shoulders in the past.

The conclusion to this series was epic, action-packed, and emotional. Everything you’d hope for in a series that took a little while to build. I like a conclusion that doesn’t leave loose ends and what-if’s lying about. This was a fun journey and a fantastic continuation and of a very solid sci-fi series. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Aurora’s End (The Aurora Cycle Book 3)

Copyright 2022 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: Aurora Burning (Aurora Cycle #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Squad 312 has been declared terrorists and everyone in the universe is looking for them. That makes it extra hard to purchase a ship and find the weapon that will put an end to the Ra’Haam who want to send its spores into every crack in the universe and pull people into its hive. Chased by the Hive and Kal’s creepy sister they head back to where it all began. Hadfield is the ship that Aurora was on when she was brought out of stasis, changed. It’s black box may have the answers that they need to complete their mission.

As with the first novel Aurora Rising, this second installment had a fast-paced plot, witty dialog, and some great action. It played out in my head like a movie, which is what I’ve come to expect from this writing duo. All of the Squad 312 characters were so connected and I enjoyed reading about those interconnections so much that their being separated for most of the book threw me. Yeah, I know, they needed to move the plot forward and it was probably easier to do that in separate stories, but I’ll admit that all of those narration changes made my head spin. I’m hoping the third novel completes a few of these stories so that we can concentrate on the main arc instead of all of the side journeys.

Despite the head spins from changing character perspectives every chapter, I did enjoy where they took the story and I’ll admit that in most cases those stories evolved those characters helping readers pick and choose who to root for and identify with. For me, the least interesting was Aurora’s and considering she’s the title character that probably isn’t a good thing. There’s still one more book to see how this plot resolves, and I definitely am not waiting another year to read it.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this book!* Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle Book 2)

Copyright 2022 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: Hunt the Stars (Starlight’s Shadow #1) by Jessie Mihalik

Ex- soldier turned bounty hunter Octavia Zarola is looking for a big pay-off so that she can keep her crew together an hire someone to fix her ship. When an offer of a lifetime comes her way it just had to be from former Valoff soldier General Torran Fletcher. Accepting the job may mean entrusting her crew’s life to the people they were once at war with but the pay is just to good to pass up. When she finds out what they are being paid to find it becomes a job they just can’t turn down.

Tavi and Torran are both hero’s from the Valoff-human war. Tavi is infamous for having completed a mission that killed a large number of Valoff civilians. At least that was the story the human side told. The real story was something else entirely and left Tavi and her crew at odds with their military. The last person she wants to work a bounty with is a Valoff team, one who knows the story her military made up. As they all travel to Valoff the group has the chance to get to know each other and make connections that make them view each other in a different light.

Hunt the Stars had a very quick start, which I loved, not needing a big set up to get character back stories and get the plot moving. It was immediately apparent that Tavi and Torran were going to have a big conflict- bigger than going up against each other in the last war. The feelings they built on the trip to Valoff would be explored but also diverted once Tavi’s team finds out what it is that they’re truly searching for. The arc between these two characters was filled with the tension of attraction but also of an unknown bump in the road that was to come. As with all great character driven novels, the side characters were just as important to the story as the hero and heroine and Hunt the Stars had some great characters. I’m eager to see if the second novel that centers around Kee and Varro is able to continue the fast pace and fun reparteé that Kee delivered in Hunt the Stars. She is by far the most energetic character on the crew.

If you like serial science-fiction novels this series may just fit the bill. The series is off to a better start than Jessie Mihalik’s first and I’m anticipating some fun-filled adventures from this crew in the future.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase this book!* Hunt the Stars: A Novel (Starlight’s Shadow Book 1)

Copyright 2022 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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