This Chick Read: Spells For the Dead (Soulwood #5) by Faith Hunter

Nell, now a rookie for PsyLED, is called out to the home of a famous country music star where she and her team find the dead and rapidly decomposing bodies of the star and a few members of her staff. What looks to be an aggressive form of magic turns the situation dangerous not only to them but to the general public. Nell and her team need to quickly solve this mystery but local law enforcement prejudices make investigating difficult and her team becomes the center of a magical fire storm.

A few months have passed since the previous novel Circle of the Moon has ended and it seems that Nell’s life has moved forward rapidly. Her sister, Mud, is still living with her and going to school in town, but now her other sister Esther has also come to live with them. Esther’s advanced pregnancy has made her true nature come out and her husband divorced her in front of the church, ending his support and opening her up to abuse by their elders. Nell has always wanted to provide a safe haven for the women in her family but the bickering between her sisters has caused a lot of tension in the house, something that she’s trying to find the energy to resolve. Another relationship that has changed is with her boyfriend Occam. Now, completely enmeshed in their love for each other, that added emotional bond creates an interesting dynamic in their working relationship. I loved how Occam has helped Nell stay true to herself but to also evolve past the strictures of her upbringing. He may be an alpha male but he keeps to his promise of letting her make her own decisions and I loved how that dichotomy amped up the tension in his reactions to her doing her job.

Living in Nashville, I’ve always loved the East Tennessee setting for this series. I can hear the accents I’m reading on these pages because I’ve heard them spoken in my daily life. Throw in our murder victim’s occupation as a country singer and I knew I was going to enjoy how Faith Hunter would add in that paranormal twist. The magical phenomenon when combined with this murder’s “ick” factor really made me hold my breath through a great portion on this novel. This one is not for the faint of heart, folks, but the emotional tale underlying the mystery really makes up for the sticky subject matter.

If you’re a fan of Urban Fantasy and you haven’t read a Faith Hunter novel I’d have to say, ‘where have you been!’ Followed quickly by pick up the first book in this series! You don’t have to read the Jane Yellowrock series first, but I know you’ll want to after the first couple of books. These characters stand on their own, but there are a couple that you’ll want to find out more about and you’ll find those answers in the very lengthy Jane Yellowrock books. Spells for the Dead is a wonderful story on all it’s own but my feelings for it are enhanced by the fact that I’ve read the other books in the series and I’ve witnessed the journey of this fascinating woman named Nell. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a copy of this ARC from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest results and they were honest.

Click this link to purchase!* Spells for the Dead (A Soulwood Novel Book 5)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: My Top 5 Most Anticipated Book Releases- July’20

I’m a little behind in getting out my thoughts on the book releases I’m looking forward to next month. Sorry! I’ve just scanned through a few of my lists and am surprised by the titles that I need to add to my TBR! One of my favorite authors announced just last week that she’d publish her next book in July. Yay! So without further ado….

#5 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

I read the first in this series last year and thought Waiting for Tom Hanks was adorable, so I’m all on board for this one!

Synopsis:

What happens when your life is a rom-com . . . but you don’t even believe in true love?

Chloe Sanderson is an optimist, and not because her life is easy. As the sole caregiver for her father, who has early-onset Alzheimer’s, she’s pretty much responsible for everything. She has no time—or interest—in getting swept up in some dazzling romance. Not like her best friend, Annie, who literally wrote a rom-com that’s about to premiere in theaters across America . . . and happens to be inspired by Chloe and her cute but no-nonsense boss, Nick Velez.

As the buzz for the movie grows, Chloe reads one too many listicles about why Nick is the perfect man, and now she can’t see him as anything but Reason #4: The scruffy-bearded hunk who’s always there when you need him. But unlike the romance Annie has written for them, Chloe isn’t so sure her own story will end in a happily-ever-after.

Click this link to purchase the book! Not Like the Movies

#4 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

This YA contemporary sounds as cute as this authors debut novel You’d Be Mine. It also has music as a central theme, which I love. This one’s release date got pushed back due to Covid, so I’m ready for this fun novel now!

Synopsis:

Growing up under his punk rocker dad’s spotlight, eighteen-year-old Luke Greenly knows fame and wants nothing to do with it. His real love isn’t in front of a crowd, it’s on the page. Hiding his gift and secretly hoarding songs in his bedroom at night, he prefers the anonymous comfort of the locally popular podcast he co-hosts with his outgoing and meddling, far-too-jealousy-inspiringly-happy-with-his-long-term-boyfriend twin brother, Cullen. But that’s not Luke’s only secret. He also has a major un-requited crush on music blogger, Vada Carsewell.

Vada’s got a five year plan: secure a job at the Loud Lizard to learn from local legend (and her mom’s boyfriend) Phil Josephs (check), take over Phil’s music blog (double check), get accepted into Berkeley’s prestigious music journalism program (check, check, check), manage Ann Arbor’s summer concert series and secure a Rolling Stone internship. Luke Greenly is most definitely NOT on the list. So what if his self-deprecating charm and out of this world music knowledge makes her dizzy? Or his brother just released a bootleg recording of Luke singing about some mystery girl on their podcast and she really, really wishes it was her?

In More Than Maybe, Erin Hahn’s swooniest book yet, Luke and Vada must decide how deep their feelings run and what it would mean to give love a try.

Click this link to purchase this book! More Than Maybe: A Novel

#3 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

Katherine Center’s novels always serve up a lesson. I can’t wait to find out what our characters learn about themselves in this novel. It looks like just what I need to escape today’s world.

Synopsis:

Samantha Casey is a school librarian who loves her job, the kids, and her school family with passion and joy for living.
But she wasn’t always that way.
Duncan Carpenter is the new school principal who lives by rules and regulations, guided by the knowledge that bad things can happen.
But he wasn’t always that way.

And Sam knows it. Because she knew him before—at another school, in a different life. Back then, she loved him—but she was invisible. To him. To everyone. Even to herself. She escaped to a new school, a new job, a new chance at living. But when Duncan, of all people, gets hired as the new principal there, it feels like the best thing that could possibly happen to the school—and the worst thing that could possibly happen to Sam. Until the opposite turns out to be true. The lovable Duncan she’d known is now a suit-and-tie wearing, rule-enforcing tough guy so hell-bent on protecting the school that he’s willing to destroy it.

As the school community spirals into chaos, and danger from all corners looms large, Sam and Duncan must find their way to who they really are, what it means to be brave, and how to take a chance on love—which is the riskiest move of all.

With Katherine Center’s sparkling dialogue, unforgettable characters, heart, hope, and humanity, What You Wish For is the author at her most compelling best.

Click this link to purchase this book! What You Wish For: A Novel

#2 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

The Soulwood series was my entreé into Faith Hunter’s urban fantasy world and I’m sooo excited the next novel is out! Great characters, interesting mysteries, and a budding romance. yay!

Synopsis: Nell Ingram faces a dark magic with no known origin in the newest pulse-pounding paranormal procedural in the New York Times bestselling Soulwood series.
 
Nell is a rookie PsyLED agent, using the powers she can channel from deep within the earth to solve paranormal crimes. Together with her team, she’s taken on the direst magic and the most twisted foes. But she’ll need to tap into every ounce of power she has for her newest case.
 
Nell is called to the Tennessee mansion of a country music star and finds a disturbing scene—dead bodies rapidly decaying before everyone’s eyes. The witch on her team, T. Laine, has never seen magic that can steal life forces like this. PsyLED needs to find this lethal killer fast. But when a paranormal-hating FBI agent tries to derail the investigation, and the dark magics begin to spiral out of control, they find themselves under attack from all sides.

THIS CHICKS MOST ANTICIPATED JULY’20 BOOK RELEASE!

If you’re a fan of Mariana Zapata’s then you know… Zac has his own book! One of the characters from my favorite Mariana Zapata novel, The Wall of Winnipeg, got his own novel. I will be putting all books down and picking this one up as soon as I know it’s been released.

Synopsis:

Before he was Big Texas, he was Zac the Snack Pack.

Bianca Brannen knows time—mostly—heals all wounds. Including those your once loved ones might have unintentionally given you. (Those just take longer.)

She thinks she’s ready when a call has her walking back into her old friend’s life. Or at least as prepared as possible to see the starting quarterback in the National Football Organization. Before the lights, the fans, and the millions, he’d been a skinny kid with a heart of gold.

Waltzing out of Zac Travis’s life should be easy. Just as easy as he walked out of hers.

Did I miss any? I’m sure I must’ve! Let me know which books you’re most looking forward to reading next month when they come out.

Happy Reading!

Deb

*Amazon Associate- if you should purchase one of the books their the links above, I’ll receive a small stipend.

This Chick Read: American Demon (The Hollows #14) by Kim Harrison

What do you do when your favorite series (that ended with The Witch With No Name in 2016) all of a sudden has a revival? You hit the request button on NetGalley as quickly as possible and squeal in pleasure when you’re granted that book to review. Seriously guys, this was a biggee for me.

American Demon takes place where The Witch With No Name leaves off (before the epilogue that takes them into the latter years). Trent and Rachel are outted as an item, the demons are outted into the world, and the elves magic is all screwy. When a zombie gets dropped into Rachel’s back yard it starts a chain of events that finds Rachel at the center of a Baka possession. A Baka who eats away at your soul until that person does what it wants you to do. Rachel has to avoid sleep, navigate her relationship with Trent, and find the culprit and take him down. God, it’s good to be back in the Hollows!

It’s interesting to read a book when you’ve already read the final chapter and the epilogue that foretells the future. American Demon does a great job of amping up the tension between Rachel and Trent, making you think all is not going smoothly in their relationship, even though you know they end up together in the far future. I kind of liked the security of knowing while at the same time biting my nails over whether Rachel’s insecurities about Trent were actually truth, or all in her head. Ellasbeth, Trent’s almost wife who did bear his only child, makes a big appearance and puts all of Rachels’s doubts about herself into play. Despite Trent’s actions staying true to the future storyline.

Because I hadn’t re-read all 13 of the previous novels before reading American Demon, there were some small plot points that I feel I missed. Ivy saved Nina’s soul and they seem to be a couple, but then Glenn seems to have re-entered their lives and did they have a past together? I wish I knew all of the little in’s and out’s of these characters and it hadn’t been 6 years since I read The Witch With No Name. I know I’m going to go back and re-read them now that I’ve gotten re-hooked into the series.

Not to give anything away, but it does seem as if Kim Harrison is going to continue on because she leaves a couple of leads hanging in the wind that need to be tied up. I hope she doesn’t wait 6 years to write the next one! Although by that point I may have read through all of the previous novels and would hopefully be caught up.

American Demon was all that I’d hoped and everything I never knew I wanted. I’m so happy I had this chance to jump back into this series. I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed these characters and am ready for another 13 to look forward to! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* American Demon (Hollows)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: Black Arts (Jane Yellowrock #7) by Faith Hunter

Evan Trueblood arrives in New Orleans with the fury of a man on the hunt for his wayward wife. When he finds out Molly isn’t staying with Jane, he, Angie, and little Evan camp out at Jane’s while she investigates Molly’s disappearance. At the same time Jane, as Leo Pellissier’s enforcer, finds out there are strange vampire’s in town, one of whom is a vampire-witch hybrid. Can these two things be connected? I’ve learned in a Jane Yellowrock novel that there are no coincidences, just plots that intertwine into one cohesive soul burning conclusion. This most recent novel, Black Arts, is no different.

The reason for Molly’s appearance in New Orleans is not just to make peace with Jane or take a break from her marriage. She’s gotten mixed up with these new vamps and it’s up to Jane to find her before she steps even further over a line that will be hard to recover. This plot has roots in the previous two to three novels and I love how this author plays with the present and the past to keep the reader invested in how the future will play out.

As a reader and fan of the Soulwood novels, I finally get the facts behind Rick and Jane’s falling out, with the introduction of Pakka, the were leopard from Africa who has created a divide between the two lovers. Their relationship never gelled for me and this novel answered some of my questions about why I didn’t feel as connected with Rick in this series as I do in the Soulwood novels. Maybe Jane isn’t meant to be with Rick and her sizzling chemistry with George (aka Bruiser) or Leo, the Master of the City is where her future lies? I’ll just have to keep reading this series to find out.

I loved so many things about this novel. Jane’s reunion with Angie and little Evan was tender, her relationship with Evan continues to get better, her partnership with Eli and Alex turns into an emotional bond, and her reunion and eventual healing of her relationship with Molly brought it all home. This novel hit all of the high points in my love for this series that I couldn’t help but feel refreshed and ready for Jane to move forward into whatever the future may hold. I can’t wait.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Black Arts (Jane Yellowrock Book 7)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: Death's Rival (Jane Yellowrock #5) by Faith Hunter

Death’s Rival neatly ties into the previous novel Raven Cursed. While traveling to Asheville as envoy for Leo Pellissier, Master Vampire of New Orleans and the southern states (excluding Florida), Jane defended herself in her hotel room, killing an armed intruder. Now, another Master Vampire intent on taking over the United States declares Jane’s actions, as Leo’s enforcer, to be an act of war. A serious offense, to say the least. the fact that this Master Vamp is conquering his intended victims by releasing a virus on them and dangling the serum for their servitude? That’s a problem that only Jane has the skills to investigate.

Death’s Rival finally moves Jane’s character forward in many ways. It introduces a new character for Jane to lust after and partner with in Eli, removes and explains Rick’s absence, and provides more of a connection between she and George (Bruiser), Leo’s primo. Three men to tempt Jane strikes a little close too Laurel K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series for me, but luckily Jane is all talk and very little action unlike Anita’s character who has sexy times with pretty much anyone. I enjoyed the three scenario’s presented in this book and liked how they all also interacted with each other.

Another plot that moved forward was the relationship between Jane and Leo. Somehow in previous books she had managed to hold off Leo’s interest in her but her actions in Raven Cursed finally caused that tenuous peace between them to break. Jane has to become what she declared in Raven Curse. She is now Leo’s enforcer and has to face all that entails. Some of it is very hard to read. I have liked Leo’s character in the past but in this novel he shows that he is actually Master.

What is missing from this novel is the sisterhood. Jane and Mollie’s relationship hasn’t gotten past that Jane had to kill her evil witchy sister and I miss that lightness her friendship with Mollie and her kids brought to her character. It also mellowed out her inner ‘Beast’.

This one kind of ended on a mini cliffhanger so I immediately moved on to the next novel in the series. This is just getting better and better as it moves along! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Death’s Rival: Jane Yellowrock, Book 5

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick’s Audio Review: Night Broken (Mercy Thompson #8) by Patricia Briggs

Adam’s ex-wife Christy comes back into town to receive protection from the pack when a one night stand turns stalker. Of course, in the Mercy-universe that stalker is paranormal and it takes all of Mercy’s skills and a little help from Coyote to fight their enemy. Unfortunately, Christy also tries to usurp Mercy from inside her pack causing an already ugly situation to turn so much worse.

I’ve read all of the books in this series and have started to go back and listen to the stories enjoying the details that I may have noticed when reading. I had forgotten how much I hated Christy and the way she manipulated everyone in the pack into thinking she was this harmless human that needs protecting. Sure, with one good swipe of a paw you could probably break her neck, but her skills at undermining Adam’s authority, and his marriage to Mercy makes her a hard person to like. Even with a super bad evil guy to compare the odds were still in Christy’s favor as bad guy supreme. She is one really big B*&ch.

I liked Night Broken for the back story it brings to Mercy’s character. We know Coyote is her father but for the first time we realize she may have siblings. Gary Laughingdog is introduced and through his eyes we see how fortunate Mercy has been in her dealings with Coyote. She never really lets what he does affect her and lives her life according to her own rules. Gary isn’t as fortunate.

Adam grew up a lot in this novel. At first, with Christy’s return he falls right back into his role as Christy’s much maligned spouse, even though they are divorced. It isn’t until Mercy stands up for him that he gains strength in her convictions and that persona falls away. In fact, he becomes a better “man” with Mercy than he could ever be with his first wife. I wish his pack would see things the same way.

This was a nice re-visit of an old favorite and narrator Lorelei King does a good job at bringing all of these characters to life. She is a little more of a reader than actor, which is a shame because she could bring a lot more life to some of the action scenes if read a little more passionately, but I still enjoy her phrasing and knowing that I will get a consistent read from her.

If you are a fan of urban fantasy and have somehow missed the Mercy Thompson series, please go back and start the series from the beginning. This is a series that needs to be read in order because of underlining plots and character development. It’s one of my favorites and I can almost guarantee that you’ll enjoy each and every story.

Click this link to purchase!* Night Broken: Mercy Thompson, Book 8

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: Raven Cursed (Jane Yellowrock #4) by Faith Hunter

Jane is hired by Leo Pelissier, Master City of New Orleans to work as a bodyguard for his envoy to a delegation to discuss a new Master in Asheville, Jane’s hometown. While there some werewolves have bitten some campers and Jane is brought in to investigate that savage attack. When she finds that it’s connected to her purpose in Asheville she soon finds herself up to her elbows in blood, guts, and bullets.

There were a few interlocking plots in Raven Cursed. Rick LaFleur, her ex-boyfriend bitten by both werewolves and were panther in the previous novel is in the Asheville area. He connects with Jane during this investigation and their relationship is again teased into existence. Having grown found of Rick from having read the Soulwood novels I’m eager to learn more of he and Jane’s back story so any Rick scenes are much appreciated.

Jane’s best friend and witch Mollie also lives in Asheville, and her big sister who turned slightly evil in Mercy Blade also gets a continuation of her story in Raven Cursed. Her possible tie to the attacks on Leo’s envoy and Jane herself make her an even more interesting piece of the puzzle than she had been in Mercy Blade.

Jane, herself, keeps evolving as we learn more about her past. I am even more intrigued by her than I was when this series started. Her sass, confidence, and yes, even Beast who lies within are interesting and keep me coming back for more. It’s on to book #5 with many more to go. I gotta admit, I just love that feeling. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Raven Cursed : A Jane Yellowrock Novel(Paperback) – 2012 Edition

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chicks Audio Review: Mercy Blade (Jane Yellowrock #3) by Faith Hunter

After reading Faith Hunter’s Soulwood novels and LOVING them, I decided to get the audiobooks for her Jane Yellowrock series. It’s been slow going up until Christmas when my mom got me a few months worth of credits on Audible and I’ve been able to use those credits to further my fix. Narrated by the supremely talented Khristine Hvam I am now well into the darker series and finally hearing the details about Jane and Rick LaFleur that I’ve been dying to find out.

The newly outted were’s have come to town and Leo has requested that Jane deliver a message that puts her into direct contact with their pack. Of course that doesn’t go well and as she fights her way out of that dangerous situation she receives help from a mysterious stranger who, as she investigates the death of one of the were pack members keeps showing up in the middle of her investigation. Constantly embattled and in danger, Jane’s boyfriend Rick also turns up missing and somehow his disappearance is related to the tense negotiations going on between the vamps and the werewolves.

Jane and Rick’s relationship in Mercy Blade has just begun and it’s off to a rather rocky start. Jane calls Rick her boyfriend yet she still has a huge attraction to Bruiser, Leo Pelissier the Master Vampire of New Orleans’, right hand man and blood donor. In fact, it’s rather confusing because it seems as if Jane and Bruiser have more heat between them than she and Rick, yet it’s Rick who gets the title of boyfriend. When he goes undercover and hooks up with a woman, I’m right there with Jane in feeling betrayed and actually wishes that she’d go over to the dark side. Despite Bruiser’s loyalty to Leo, he doesn’t seem that bad a guy. (really!)

It’s interesting to read this earlier series and see how Faith Hunter’s writing hasn’t yet gelled. Or at least it seems so in this novel. While all of the action was intense, the relationships did seem to still be working themselves out and the conflicting emotions made Jane’s decisions kind of a confused mess. Knowing there are quite a few more books in this series and still looking for answers to what happens between she and Rick, I know I’m going to be along for the ride for a good long time. Oh, and that mysterious fellow who kept showing up in the middle of everything? His story is pretty fantastic!

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Mercy Blade (Jane Yellowrock, Book 3) by Faith Hunter (2011-01-04)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: Smoke Bitten (Mercy Thompson #12) by Patricia Briggs

A deadly fae creature escapes Underhill, it’s bite allowing it to take over the host body and wreak havoc, killing everything around them and gaining more power from that chaos. When two people close to Mercy become inhabited it turns personal and Mercy must find a way to kick the host out without getting more people killed.

As with most of the novels in this series, there are a couple of storylines running simultaneously. Not only does Mercy need to figure out the puzzle about how to stop this fae creature, she also needs to find out what’s been bothering her husband, and Alpha, Adam. The last couple of novels have been about Mercy’s evolution and I really loved how Smoke Bitten shifted focus back towards Adam and Mercy’s relationship.

My love for Urban Fantasy is closely followed by my love of a good romance and their union is one of my favorite’s in the Urban Fantasy world. This novel has Mercy and Adam face, as a couple, many of the insecurities and fears that we in our normal lives can identify with, even if theirs take the shape of actual monsters. Sometimes my own inner fears take that shape and reading Adam and Mercy’s story and seeing how they battle those physical monsters makes me feel a little better. Isn’t that why we read fiction? We can slay dragons through the actions of our favorite hero’s and learn things through their words and actions?

Smoke Bitten moves several storylines forward. In addition to Mercy and Adam’s relationship, their relationship to Aidan, Mercy’s place in the pack, and her “friendship” with the fae all take a big step forward. By the end of the book I felt like a lot was accomplished, so not only did I love the story but I had that feeling after you eat a great meal. Full, but not stuffed like I’d overeaten. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Smoke Bitten (A Mercy Thompson Novel)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (2/3/20)

After a gorgeous weekend spent watching two football teams battle it out for the supreme title of Super Bowl Champion, it’s finally Monday! I’ve decided to have a positive outlook despite the fact I’m dragging due to lack of sleep. As I do every Monday, let’s talk books! This post originated over on Book Date , so thanks for the idea and letting me continue on the discussion.

JUST FINISHED

First Sentence Read: “Molly and the kids and I were eating a big lunch when the lightning hit.”

JUST STARTED:

First Sentence Read: “ I wake buried under a hundred forty pounds of dog. “

From urban fantasy to mystery! What genre are you in the mood for today? I need some book suggestions!

Have a great week!

Deb