This Chick Read: Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson

Artemisia is in training to be a Gray Sister, a nun who cleanses the bodies of the deceased so that their souls can pass, but Artemisia also has a special talent…she can discern the different types of spirits in one of the highest orders and this talent changes her future. When possessed soldiers arrive and attack her convent, Artemisia takes up the relic of a fifth order revenant and allows it to possess her in order to save the other nuns. The story of her fight sweeps the countryside and her history is rewritten. Vespertines are priestesses who can wield a high relic, but how they do that has been lost and Artemisia turns to the revenant inside herself for the knowledge to beat the evil that is sweeping the country.

Once again Margaret Rogerson has created a really interesting world. This story is much darker in feeling which is portrayed really well by the cover. Artemisia is a rather dark soul even before a revenant takes residence inside of her body. Possessed by an ashrim, an evil spirit, when she was a child, her parents kept her locked in a shed for years. It was only by burning her hands in a fire that she removed the spirit, but the horrors of her past have left scars, both internal and external. I really liked her evolution from solitary scared girl to a young woman who decides to fight instead of surrender to evil.

Written during the pandemic I drew a parallel between the spirits ravaging Artemisia’s world and the virus which is ravaging our own lives. Artemisia stepped out of her comfort zone, her solitariness, and leaned on the people around her and trusted in others to help her fight her battles. In comparison, I wish our real world chose to fight the virus together instead of skirmishing individually about vaccinations and masks. However, unlike my world and all that’s going on within it, it was nice to see her conquer evil. The way the novel ended I felt like the author may have left the door open for another book? I kind of hope so. I am now invested and would love to see where these characters lead us next. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase this book!* Vespertine

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chicks Audio Review: Firstlife (Everlife #1) by Gena Showalter

What if the life you were currently living wasn’t your only life? Tenley Lockwood has been sent to the Prynne Asylum, a prison for those kids who have not chosen who to spend there Everlife, Troika or Myriad. To factions who need to build their armies and who are fighting for control over the Everlife. Ten has a fascination with numbers and both Troika and Myriad are convinced that she holds the key in their war for dominance in the Everlife. They send two handlers to help convince her to choose their faction and she becomes close with both of them. As they fight to keep her alive and give her the chance to choose before her Firstlife ends she makes some discoveries about both that make her decision hard. A decision that may disappoint the one she loves.

Firstlife was a non-stop action adventure novel that luckily was easy to follow. Ten was the person that both factions believed they needed to gain dominance over the other. The reader was told the reason but other than surviving a bunch of attempts on her life she didn’t really show the reason why she was that special. She was pretty obstinate in not letting anyone push her to make a decision before she was ready, despite the life and death action that was going on around her. I’m going to guess we find out about her abilities a little more in the second novel? At least I hope so.

As with many YA fantasy novels, Ten is helped by two young men, both of whom she becomes close with but unlike the typical YA trope, only one she falls for. Without spoiling her choice I will say that she doesn’t let her feelings sway her decision on who the best faction may be for her which was pretty refreshing!

I listened to the audiobook of this novel and it was narrated by two people, Emma Galvin and Zachary Webber. I am familiar with Zachary Webber’s work and per usual he was awesome. Emma Galvin read from Tenley’s point of view which was the majority of the story and I thought she did a great job of displaying all of the emotions this character felt while being chased through the majority of this book. A tough read, for sure!

I am a huge fan of fantasy novels and have had this series on my TBR for awhile. I really enjoyed the narration and if you have the time would recommend your giving this book a try. If you read it instead of listen, I’d imagine the action would speed your reading along quite quickly. You’ll be surprised at how much this character goes through. It was kind of exhausting!

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase! Firstlife (An Everlife Novel)

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin

Every century an Everwitch is born who has power over the weather of each season. Clara was born an Everwitch but after her powers killed her parents and her best friend she is afraid to use her powers to her full potential afraid she will lose the people she loves the most. When Sang arrives on campus to help her train his calm Spring powers help give her enough control to try to help repair the climate but as she gains feelings for him she again fears she will bring him harm. Will Clara’s struggles between gaining control of her powers an her feelings for Sang collide?

I have read fantasy novels with witches who control weather but this is the first world where a witches personality is tied to the Season of their powers. As an Everwitch Clara’s personality changes with each season the most difficult transition being from Summer to Autumn. This difference, along with the climate change story really held my interest. I felt for this young girl who wanted to help the world but also just wanted to be “normal” and not accidentally kill her friends.

What I liked the most about this novel was how each season had it’s own magical elements and the descriptions of their magic and emotions during those seasons matching the heat of summer or the coldness of winter made these characters even more interesting. The romantic trials of a bunch of teens who grew giddy during their season could have easily been comical but Rachel Griffin gave them a serious threat to fight which balanced the plot nicely.

I really enjoyed this novel and can only hope for more from this author. I could easily see a series about Clara’s evolution and discovery about her talent and her love for Sang. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase this book!* The Nature of Witches

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk

In a world similar to Regency England, women with magical power are sold into marriage as a business arrangement between families. Some of whom are looking for that magical boost to their gene pool, and others may receive financial gain. On the day of their marriage these young women are forced to wear a collar that inhibits their powers for fear that the children they bear may be possessed. Beatrice Clayburn is a young sorceress who does not want to get married. She dreams of the day when she can become a Mage and through being a Mage help her family’s finances, instead her father wants to marry her off. Beatrice practices her sorcery in private but at night she attends balls and is under the attention of all of the young men who are on the marriage mart. Determined not to ever marry, one day she meets Ianthe Lavan and is torn between what she needs and what she wants.

I thought it was interesting that this fantasy tale paralleled the paths of young women in Victorian England who may have fought for equal rights during the Suffrage movement. Also forced to marry for business or monetary reasons these women also dreamed of their voices being heard and not smothered by or becoming possessions of their husbands. The collar that Beatrice would have to wear also brings to mind the collared slaves who were at the whim of their masters in the United States. Reading this novel during the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote and while the Black Matters Movement is still being fought certainly made what Beatrice was and would go through very relevant. I can’t imagine the author didn’t intend for the reader’s mind to follow those parallel paths.

Surprisingly I didn’t get tired of Beatrice’s mixed feelings over falling in love with a young man while at the same time as wanting the freedom to pursue her own future. Most authors would have chosen the easier path, but C.L. Polk chose what spoke to her character and that decision read true to me. I will admit to shedding a tear or two for Beatrice and Ianthe in this novel while hoping their rocky path would smooth out.

I could imagine the hardships of not only Beatrice but all of the young women of her time. In a discussion with her mother about never wanting to wear the collar her mother told a story of how she chose to marry for love and how that love deadened over time. Beatrice’s decision for her future couldn’t just be about how much she loved Ianthe or how much she wanted to be a Mage. Her decision was about not letting anyone have control over her body and while I am not making a political statement I can certainly say that I identified with that feeling while reading this novel. So, did I like it? Yes. A lot actually. But was it easy reading? It really wasn’t. It made me think about what was going on in the world right now. Not a bad thing but maybe not exactly what I was looking for when I sat down to read either.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* The Midnight Bargain

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.

Friday YA: Kind of a Big Deal by Shannon Hale

Josie Pie’s life peaked when she was in high school. Popular because of her gift for musical theater she dreamed of going on to become a big Broadway star. A dream that seemed all to real when her theater teacher got her an audition for a production in New York. Dropping out of high school to take that chance, Josie discovers that she may not be that big a deal as she thought. So, she escapes into books to live her life vicariously through the characters she reads and to forget about her own life’s problems.

When I read the synopsis about a girl who lives through the character’s she’s reading in books, I thought aha! Josie Pie may actually be a little like all of us voracious readers who try to escape their own realities by reading way too many books. However, Kind of a Big Deal took a twist in a direction I wasn’t expecting. This novel veers from ya contemporary into a ya fantasy, where as she lives each life, it becomes harder for her to leave the novel. Of course there are reasons for this that I can’t go into in this review, but it’s an interesting twist that may have saved this novel from being a little too safe.

Like a lot of teenage girls, Josie is a very self-centered character. To be fair, she’s self-centered because she has so many insecurities and a rather unhappy home life, but she has a LOT of things to work through in this novel. What I like the best is how each character she becomes gives her strength and allows her to see how she’s taken for granted all the people who supported her in the past, but she’s figuring out that part of becoming an adult is facing your past mistakes, owning up to them, and making the decision to improve yourself moving forward. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but this author does so in an original way that’s very entertaining.

Shannon Hale has produced a novel that skirts two genre’s but stays true to the lesson she’s trying to teach the reader. Growing up is hard! Being an adult does not mean that you know what the heck you’re doing and that you never make a mistake. We learn lessons throughout our lives and unfortunately have to keep owning up to our mistakes. It’s easy to escape into a book and living out happily ever after over and over again, but real life is about owning up to your decisions, making the best of them, and hopefully being happy while you’re doing that. Josie Pie may have been Kind of a Big Deal, but there’s more to life than high school, and you just have to keep on living it to see what’s next to come. If you like a mix of fantasy and reality in your young adult reading, I think you’ll like how Shannon Hale chose to deliver this lesson in Kind of a Big Deal. ❤️❤️❤️❣️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Kind of a Big Deal

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.

Friday YA: Court of Lions (Mirage #2) by Somaiya Daud

A fantasy set in a world of rebellion and distrust, Amani is isolated as punishment for her rebel activity. Torn from the boy she loves, having angered her princess, Amani is unsure if she’ll survive another day. She’s surprised when the princess Maram asks her to stand in as proctor during her wedding ceremony to Amani’s love, Idris. This sets in motion a chain of events that gives Amani hope that she may have a future, her rebels could take back their planet, and she could be joined with the boy she loves. Court of Lions is the sequel to Mirage an epic fantasy that has hints of Middle Eastern flavor that colors this world in a vibrant brocade of texture and life.

After Amani’s political schemes almost cause her end in Mirage, we see a more subtle Amani in Court of Lions. When standing in as Maram, Amani developed relationships for her princess that Maram did not have the skills to do herself. At the same time she skillfully gave Maram courage to lead with strength and empathy, something her people hadn’t seen since being almost demolished by the conquering Vath. I liked the strength of these two characters. These were women who held power with empathy, not with threat. It was an interesting dichotomy as they were also preparing to go to war.

Once again, I felt the love story between Amani and Idris was underwhelming. She was such an interesting character and Idris? He was just a nice guy. More interestingly, In Court of Lions, Maram is given her own love interest in the mysterious Aghraas ( I hope I spelled that correctly!). Aghraas, another strong woman, this time in warrior form, brought out a softer side of the kind of haughty princess. I thought their relationship more interesting than Amani and Idris’ and looked forward to their scenes because they gave Maram the depth her character needed to finally shine.

Even though Court of Lions had some great characters, this world they lived in was even more fascinating. You can tell by the cover of this novel, but the author definitely gave this story an Arabian Nights flare with bejeweled clothing, bright colors, and the transport on horseback. I loved it. The contrast between a conquering people who were technologically advanced in spaceships and a people who got around via horseback was kind of cool. I tried not to get caught up in a thought of ‘could this really happen’ because that would’ve spoiled the mood. Instead I let the tea steep, laid back on my silken pillows and read this fun novel and, well, enjoyed the ride. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Court of Lions: A Mirage Novel (Mirage Series (2))

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

Friday YA: A Curse So Dark and Lonely (Cursebreakers #1) by Brigid Kemmerer

A Beauty and the Beast re-telling, A Curse so Dark and Lonely is the story of Rhen, Prince and heir of Emberfall who was cursed to re-live each season as first a Prince trying to get a young woman to fall in love with him and then as a beast who has killed his family and destroyed his kingdom. With the help of his Man at Arms, Grey, a girl is stolen from Earth and taken through dimensions to his world so that Rhen can try to break this curse. When Grey kidnaps Harper he has changed the game. Harper is not one of the spoiled girls he’s used to she’s had a tough life watching her brother get involved with a gang to pay off their mothers hospital bills and is also fighting her own weakness Cerebral Palsy. Harper is a fighter who will never give up on the chance to get back home even if her feelings for her captor start to change.

I hesitated to pick up this book because I’m really getting tired of re-tellings but I was surprised how easy it was to fall into this story. Harper was a unique character in that she had cerebral palsy but it only made her more fierce. She had such a strength of character that was wonderful to read and that fierceness and what she did with it moved the plot forward. Rhen was a little bit harder to like. He was jaded from years of turning into a beast and had almost given up. When he finds out this is his last chance at finding love you’d think it would make him more desperate, but he seemed to relax into what was happening. He was more curious about what made Harper tick and took the time to get to know her which is ultimately what made him fall in love.

Grey was the biggest surprise. As Rhen’s only surviving warrior and now his right hand man, he’s had to do some pretty despicable things all in the name of duty. He and Harper actually spend a good bit of time together themselves and when he relaxes his guard we see his strength of character. I’ll be interested in reading the second novel A Heart so Fierce and Broken. I’ve heard mixed things, but I liked this book enough that I’m willing to give it a try.

If you’re not yet tired of Beauty and the Beast re-tellings this is a really good one! This is one book where the words within the book are just as beautiful as the design on the cover. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“This book was rapidly addictive! I was quickly sucked in, and I want more NOW! Definitely one of my favorite reads of 2020. I am soooo glad I don’t have to wait long for the next book!” Our Book Boyfriends

“I like fantasies where there’s one character who goes to another world, and they know it. It adds such an exciting element to the story, and I like to see how a character acts when they’re out of their element. It feels so fantastical, and I love it. ” Books & Beauty are my Bag

Click this link to purchase!* A Curse So Dark and Lonely (The Cursebreaker Series)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

Friday YA: Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

When one of the most dangerous grimoire’s in Austermeer seeks to escape the Great Library, foundling apprentice, Elisabeth, finds herself blocking it’s path. She must keep it from reaching the village where it could wreak havoc and kill many. Despite her humanity, Elisabeth manages the impossible, yet what should have been a victory turns her into a suspect and she’s sent off in the hands of sorcerer Nathanial Thorn and his demon servant, Silas. They soon discover that that’s not the only grimoire to be set free and they must find out who is behind these treacherous acts, or die trying.

I loved Enchantment of Ravens, Margaret Rogerson’s previous novel. It was as gorgeous on the inside as it was on the outside. I did like Sorcery of Thorns but it felt like it was trying to hard to be as good as the first. Elisabeth was a fun character. She was smart, energetic, and fearless. Growing up as a foundling of a Great Library she has a love for books and specifically the grimoire’s rustling voices. Hearing those voices is as supernatural as Elisabeth gets, she’s more smart than magical. She is wary of Nathanial at first because of all of the horror stories she was told as a child about all of the sorcerer families, but as she enlists his help to find who is releasing the grimoire’s there’s an undeniable attraction. I’m not really sure why because he seems pretty arrogant, but growing up an orphan in a library she doesn’t have a lot to compare him to and is dazzled.

I like their interaction with each other and as Nathanial’s back story is introduced it helps him become a little more sympathetic, but for me the more interesting relationship is Nathanial with his demon servant Silas. Nathanial’s parents die when he’s just entering his teen’s and it’s Silas who essentially raises him. A demon is not supposed to have feelings for a human and that relationship has more depth and emotion than the one between Nathanial and Elisabeth.

Sorcery of Thorns is a fun action adventure novel with just a hint of romance. A complete fantasy, it was easy to get lost in the characters and see where the story was leading. I enjoyed myself reading this novel, but didn’t quite enjoy it as much as Enchantment of Ravens. Sorry, I couldn’t help but compare the two! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Sorcery of Thorns

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

Friday YA: The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

Brought up by a treasure hunting father Theodora is used to researching historical artifacts and adventuring through foreign countries. When her father goes missing while searching for an artifact of Vlad the Impaler, she joins forces with her childhood friend and teenage love, Huck. Together they retrace her fathers path and dodge the enemies who are closely following them. As each clue is uncovered and the danger gets greater Theodora and Huck rediscover their feelings for each other.

I have mixed feelings about this novel. When I read the synopsis about searching for a relic of Vlad the Impaler’s I’d expected a darker mood to be set, almost gothic. Even with danger following their every footstep the mood seemed a little lighter than I expected. That was a little disappointing. Despite that disappointment, I did really like Theodora and Huck. She was the perfect heroine, intelligent, sassy, and brave. Actually, I thought she outshone Huck in the bravery department! To give him credit though, Huck was the more emotional of the two and wore his feelings on his sleeve. It was a nice change in a YA novel.

I love historical fantasy novels and the Lady Rogue had all of the elements that I look for in that genre. There was action, danger, and romance as well as historical tidbits that kept the story flowing. The mystery involving Vlad’s ring let me down just a smidge, but the romantic elements made up for that lack. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“Folklore, hidden family secrets, romance, adventure, mystery, castles, cursed artifacts – this book is a wild romp.  It’s a little lighter on fantasy than I expected; instead, it ventures into historical fiction, and the setting descriptions are vivid and rich.  I’m not sure if the author plans a series, but if she does, I’ll be adding the next book to my list.” Books and Such

“Overall I am a little disappointed because after I loved Starry Eyes so much I thought that I would love Jenn Bennett writing fantasy even more. If you are looking for a fantasy adventure novel I might look elsewhere, but if you enjoy romance or are a big fan of Jenn Bennett I would totally give this one a shot.” Devouring Books

Click this link to purchase!* The Lady Rogue

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (10/28/19)

Happy Monday everyone! I ran across this post on Book Date and liked the idea of sharing what I’m currently reading, and hopefully hearing about what you’ve picked up off your shelf. So here goes!

JUST FINISHED

First Sentence Read: “By the time Alex managed to get the blood out of her good wool coat, it was too warm to wear it.”

JUST STARTED

First Sentence Read: “Night fell as death rode into the Great Library of Summershall.”

A word of advice regarding Ninth House. Read the first 25% when you have the time to take it all in and really immerse yourself in the book. I read it in pieces and started wondering what all the fuss was about. It wasn’t until I took an afternoon of reading the book that I was able to get into the story and appreciate the mystery. It was fabulous. It just took me a little while to get to that point.

What book are you reading the fine Monday?

Deb