Friday YA: Ever the Brave (A Clash of Kingdoms #2) by Erin Summerill

At the end of Ever the Hunted, Britta uses her Channeler powers to save King Aodren which breaks the tether between she and Cohen and establishes one with the King. Despite the tether, her feelings for Cohen haven’t changed, but she is starting to care for the king as well. With the kingdom in turmoil Aodren wants to overrule ill feelings his people have had for the Channelers since his fathers rule and the first thing they have to do is find the woman who had kept his mind captive. 

As I wrote in the above paragraph I realized how if you hadn’t read the first book, this synopsis would be so confusing! To simplify, Britta is a Channeler, she saved the king. The King doesn’t want to kill off all of the Channelers anymore in large part due to his feelings for Britta and well, that’s genocide. As the Bounty Hunter to the king, Cohen gets sent after the evil woman giving Aodren the chance to get to know Britta without Cohen around to remind Britta of her feelings for him. Yes, this story is based around a love triangle, and if Britta weren’t such a strong character this would’ve bothered me a lot more than it actually did. 

 I enjoyed the characters just as much as I did when I read Ever the Hunted. Britta is a strong, independent woman who can hunt and track just as well as the king’s Bounty Hunter, Cohen. Cohen should actually get used to Britta coming to his rescue but for some reason is always trying to protect her and keep her safe. Cohen, this is a girl that can keep herself safe! I do think he came to realize that by the end of the book, but that one trait was a little frustrating. Otherwise, he was a totally likable character.

Ever the Brave was the first time that we got to know an Aodren that was not under mind control. What we did get to know, I liked and I look forward to the next installment of this series, Once a King, which is his story. I think his character may be a little more fleshed out which will make him more of a hero, I hope.

If you enjoyed Ever the Hunted and haven’t gotten around to reading Ever the Brave, have no fear! This book is a fun second installment. Read it! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“I guess my main complaint with this series is that I just really don’t like Cohen and Britta together at all, and I don’t like Cohen.  Yes, he got better in this book, but he’s still one of those people that if I met him in real life I’d probably stay away from because he’s so male dog territorial, and I wanted him to stop….But other than that, a solid book.  I enjoyed it, and I’ll be happy to have it once the paperback comes out.” Fireside

“Britta was really a force to be reckoned with in this book. From who she was in the first novel to the strong, independent, powerful young lady she ends up being is very empowering and I thought that was a good representation of a proper character arc for her.” Amy Leigh Reads

Click this link to purchase!* Ever the Brave (A Clash of Kingdoms Novel)

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

Friday YA: Batman: Nightwalker (DC Icons #2) by Marie Lu

Eighteen year old Bruce Wayne discovers that he enjoys thwarting the rules while helping the police catch a criminal. There was a bit more to the plot than that, but essentially that was the plot. Bruce has to do some community service in a psychiatric hospital (seriously?) and develops a crush on an inmate. This inmate is young, pretty, and even though he’s been told she has murdered three people he just can’t believe that it’s true. Not having learned his lesson about breaking the rules, which is why he’s doing community service in the first place, he breaks the rules again for Madeleine. Just as is the case for many teens, this flaunting of authority puts him again in hot water but with the help of his companies inventions he saves the citizens of Gotham anyway.

I’ll admit, I didn’t read the first book in this series. It was about Wonder Woman and I had just seen the movie, which was amazing, and started the book and the beginning just felt so similar. I never went back to it. After having read Marie Lu’s Batman: Nightwalker, I’m not sure I’ll read Catwoman or Superman either. Batman: Nightwalker was ok, but there didn’t seem to be a point to it, other than as a pre-quel of sorts. We all know what Batman goes on to be, so seeing how he started didn’t reveal anything about his character that we didn’t know already other than he needs to develop a little hubris.

As is often the case with superhero novels, the bad guys are more interesting than the good guys. Madeleine seems too intelligent to have landed in Arkham Asylum, so uncovering her mystery outshone anything Bruce Wayne may have been able to accomplish. The end of the novel was kind of anti-climactic, so other than a check mark that I’ve now read this book, there wasn’t a whole lot of enjoyment gained. Was it horrible though? No. Not really. It was just kind of blah. Not what I was expecting from Marie Lu, that was for sure. ❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“I believe that fans of the DC Universe and superhero stories in general will appreciate this book, but for me, it was not interesting enough, not exciting enough, there wasn’t enough sleuthing, or action, or … anything, really. To be quite honest, this book is the very definition of the word anticlimactic.” Sprinkles of Dreams

“Honestly, I usually don’t read books with male pov’s much, but I enjoyed reading this book from Bruce’s perspective because he was pretty likable and fun. The writing was fantastic. I love Marie Lu’s compelling writing style. I flew through the pages without any struggle. The world building was superb. Marie perfectly depicted Dark Gotham City and It was pretty easy to picture everything so clearly.” Dreamy Addictions

Batman

Click this link to purchase!* Batman: Nightwalker (DC Icons Series)

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chick Read: The Confectioner’s Guild by Claire Luana

Plucked from the back of a baker’s shop and whisked away to the Confectioner’s Guild to meet with their leader no one is more surprised than Wren when he drops dead at her feet after eating one of her confection’s. Being a suspect for murder is a difficult way to start as the newest apprentice at the Guild. Wren is determined to clear her name and with the help of the lead investigator she starts to unravel a political plot that has her risking her life and his.

Wren was discovered and brought to the guild because of her magical creations. This discovery is pivotal and has the importance to change her circumstances but the murder of the guild’s beloved leader pits most of her peers against her except for a chosen few friends. I have to admit that I love anything sweet, so the scenes where she is baking away in the kitchen are among my favorites but this is a murder mystery, not a Master Baker exhibition. I liked the idea of a world filled with specialized guilds. I even liked that there was a bit of magic involved in this world, but wanted a little more explanation. I felt like this world that was kind of light and fluffy (except for the murder part) but still wasn’t as colorful and round as I’d have liked. The murder did add more texture and grit, but not depth.

I did really like the characters and this world full of craftsmen guilds intrigued me.  This novel is just the first in the series, so there was a lot of set up and character building which may be why I thought the story felt a little light. My hope is that the characters settle in, grow, and become three dimensional. I’d like to see more of Wren’s magic since she is just now discovering she even has it, so keep those baked goods coming! ❤️❤️❤️❣️

I received an ARC of this book for my honest review and it was honest.

The Confectioner's Guild

Click this link to purchase!* The Confectioner’s Guild (The Confectioner Chronicles)

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

Friday YA: Ruin of Stars (Mask of Shadows #2) by Linsey Miller

When Mask of Shadow ended Sal had won the elite position of Opal, one of the Queen’s assasins. This enabled them to legally bring down and kill those responsible for the demise of Sal’s own country. As Sal investigates, they reveal the truth behind the missing children and uncover a surprising betrayal.

What I liked: Just as in Mask of Shadows, I really enjoyed Sal, a gender fluid individual and his romance with Elise. The battle for their country almost seemed to be about not only equality but also for gender rights. There was one scene where Elise describes how another Elena helped her tell her father that she was attracted to both boys and girls and that her feelings were normal. Sal was offended because they don’t think they’re either boy or girl, and Elise was simplifying the issue. I think this is the first time I had read a POV quite like Sal’s and it was eye opening and interesting.

What I didn’t like: Everything else. I LOVED Mask of Shadows. It was new and fresh, the competition to become Opal kept the story moving forward and the action was exciting. Ruin of Stars is an intrigue filled gloom fest. Too much political machinations and not enough character building emotion. Sal felt really flat! Sal’s PTSD from the childhood horror of losing their family came off as depression, lacked emotional depth, and bogged down the story. There were very few highs for Sal and a ton of lows. I don’t know, this one was really difficult for me to get through and I so wanted to love it!

I know there were a LOT of people who did love Mask of Shadows as much as I did. I gave it a five rating! Unfortunately, I can’t do the same with this sequel. I can only give it a three rating and I may be a little generous with that number. ❤️❤️❤️

Did you read this book? Did you like it? Please let me know because I’m feeling really let down.

I was given an ARC of this book through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest.

Ruin of Stars

Click this link to purchase!*Ruin of Stars (Mask of Shadows)

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: Uppercase Box Reveal July ’18

Design

HI!  Yep, it’s that time of the month again…. NO, not THAT time, it’s time for our Uppercase Box reveal! Sheesh! As if I’d go down that road. This month when the package arrived I knew we had a big book or a ton of gifts. The package was pretty big and very heavy.

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I immediately noticed the change in bag design. Very clever! It looks like an envelope and the color scheme pops a little bit more than in the past. I like it!

On to the first bit of book swag. It’s a Reading is Magical unicorn key chain. Hmmm, I’m not really into key chains, so I’m sure I’ll pass this one off to one of my fellow bloggers who may like it better. The other item looks to be a little coin with a tree on it. Could this be a hint on which book arrived???

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The next bookish item in the bag was one that I really liked! It’s a cute book bag that says Adventure Starts Here. I have a ton of these bags and enjoy their catchy little sayings. I use them for work, take them to festivals, use them for shopping. They are multi purpose and also deliver a message about how wonderful reading a book can be. Adventure awaits!

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I was really excited to see which book came in the Uppercase Box this month. It had been on my radar and I’ve read a few good reviews about it.

SPINNING SILVER by Naomi Novik

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Synopsis:

A fresh and imaginative retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale from the bestselling author of Uprooted, which was hailed as “a very enjoyable fantasy with the air of a modern classic” by The New York Times Book Review.

With the Nebula Award–winning Uprooted, Naomi Novik opened a brilliant new chapter in an already acclaimed career, delving into the magic of fairy tales to craft a love story that was both timeless and utterly of the now. Spinning Silver draws readers deeper into this glittering realm of fantasy, where the boundary between wonder and terror is thinner than a breath, and safety can be stolen as quickly as a kiss.

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father’s inability to collect his debts has left his family on the edge of poverty—until Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Hardening her heart, the young woman sets out to claim what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold.

When an ill-advised boast draws the attention of the king of the Staryk—grim fey creatures who seem more ice than flesh—Miryem’s fate, and that of two kingdoms, will be forever altered. Set an impossible challenge by the nameless king, Miryem unwittingly spins a web that draws in a peasant girl, Wanda, and the unhappy daughter of a local lord who plots to wed his child to the dashing young tsar.

But Tsar Mirnatius is not what he seems. And the secret he hides threatens to consume the lands of humans and Staryk alike. Torn between deadly choices, Miryem and her two unlikely allies embark on a desperate quest that will take them to the limits of sacrifice, power, and love.

Channeling the vibrant heart of myth and fairy tale, Spinning Silver weaves a multilayered, magical tapestry that readers will want to return to again and again.

For me, Fairy tale retellings are hit or miss, but this one looks really good and I can’t wait to read it! I will, of course, review it here on The Reading Chick!

Thanks for tuning in for my Uppercase Box reveal!

Deb

Friday YA: Renegades by Marissa Meyer

This super hero world is set in Gatlon City after the great war between Anarchists and Renegades. A super power police force of sorts  of Renegades has been created to hold peace and keep evil at bay. Nova, our main protagonist, was orphaned at a very young age, pre war, when violence ran amok. Her parents and little sister killed by a gang. She was raised by her uncle Ace Anarchy the leader of the Anarchists and opposing force to the Renegades. When he was killed in the war Nova was left with a few remaining Anarchists to be raised in an old subway system. Needless to say, Nova is not a fan of the Renegades. During a parade celebrating Renegade history the Anarchists decide to act, sending Nova out as her alias Nightmare (because with a touch she can put people to sleep) to assassinate one of the Renegade leaders, Captain Chromium. The mission fails, but not before everyone knows of Nightmare and she becomes one of the most wanted, her face pinned to every light post.

Adrian is the adopted son of the two most famous heroes in Renegade history. He is known as Sketch (because he can draw things to life), the leader of one of the Renegade patrol teams, but Adrian wants more. With his alter ego secret identity he starts to investigate the death of his real mother and thinks that Nightmare has the answers to his questions. Nova ends up under cover as a Renegade as Insomnia (because she can’t sleep) and ends up on Adrian’s team where she “helps” him try to find Nightmare while working her own agenda.

I really, really wanted to like this book! I love comic books and am a fan of all things super hero. I think my biggest issue was that Marissa Meyer had too deft a touch at making Nova sympathetic. She tried to balance her internal struggle of her parents death and blaming the Renegades for it with her dislike of the actions of some of the other Arnachists. Her hatred always won over her softer feelings. In contract you have the golden child Adrian who is a Renegade by day, and yet wants his mothers killer to come to justice so bad that he’s willing to break the rules a bit to find them. I believed his character more than hers, and because of this his developing feelings for her felt too faked. If I couldn’t like her, how could he?

There were elements in this novel that I loved. The world building was phenomenal. The super powers were pretty cool and I liked the characters, with the exception of Nova. I’ll clarify that statement by saing that I didn’t hate her, I just didn’t care what happened to her. Apathy for your main character is just not a good thing for a reader. If not for the big twist at the end of the book I wouldn’t even think of reading Archenemies (Renegades #2) when it comes out in November. That ending made me curious so I’m on the fence, but my feelings for this first novel are pretty black and white. Meh.

Renegades

Click this link to purchase! Renegades

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

I am an Amazon Associate and will receive a small stipend if you purchase this book through the above link.

Friday YA: Ruthless Magic (Conspiracy of Magic #1) by Megan Crewe

At sixteen when your magic is evaluated you are either given an invitation into an elite school for training or scheduled for a procedure that will take away your magic. One other option is for you to declare yourself for the Exam a mysterious last chance to be declared Champion winning yourself eligibility into that elite school. Finn comes from a high ranking magical family and is a shoe-in to the Academy, yet he lacks the magical talent to win entrance on his own. Rocio comes from a lower class family whose parents  had their magic nulled. Her magical gifts are extraordinary yet she is denied entrance into the Academy when a spot should have been hers. When they each declare for the Exam they meet for the first time finding a friendship that will surpass all class levels.

Ruthless Magic is part Lord of the Flies or Hunger Games with magical realism elements a la Harry Potter. When these teens show up at the Exam they realize that it’s more survival of the fittest that tests their talents. Finn who declared for the exam to give the finger to the Confederation of Mages for being biased against lower level families, pretty quickly  realizes that he may have made a big mistake. His talent lies in evaluating circumstances, sweet talking, and charm more than actual magical skill. His character is so easy to like, always finding humor in a difficult situation. He is put into the same group as Rocio and is immediately taken with her talent and personality right from the start. Rocio is a little less willing to trust but Finn is the person she starts to lean on as their situation becomes more dire.

There are very few rules in these exams and some of the kids are more willing to eliminate each other than trust their magic will win them a place in the school at the end of the four days. Ruthless Magic’s theme about bigotry and social classes is told very effectively even though they are classed by their level of magic ability. Even though set in the human world, mages came out to the Nulls or humans (think muggles from HP) in order to help them through extreme times of terrorism or war. The novel has a great message about the balance of good vs evil and tells it in a magical way that was original and interesting.

The cliques in this group of “contestants” for lack of a better word were pretty typical of a high school age group.  You have the athletic bully, the pretty boy charmer, the quiet shy girl, and the do-gooder, but the way in which Megan Crewe uses these stereotypes to shine a light on difficult subjects was poignant and engaging.  I really liked this book, the characters, and it’s message! It was my first novel by Megan Crewe but it won’t be my last! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

Ruthless Magic

I was given a copy of this novel through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest!

Click this link to purchase! Ruthless Magic (Conspiracy of Magic)

Copyright Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small stipend if you purchase a book through the above link.

This Chick Read: Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne

When her village, and the soldiers in it, are sickened by fever only a few survive. If you are a survivor and have umber marks you can live freely among society. However, if you live and are rosemarked, this means that you can still spread the disease and at some point in the future you will catch fever again and die from it. Zivah is a healer in her village when the fever spreads and while helping the sick she catches it, survives and is rosemarked destined to live alone, an outcast among her own. Dineas is a prisoner of the Amparan army when he is sickened. He does survive, but is thought dead and thrown in among the corpses. When he survives, he is umber marked. His tribe, at war with the Amparan’s hatches a plan with Zivah’s village that will send them both undercover as spies. Zivah’s knowledge with herbs and potions are used to help Dineas forget all of the torture he had received from his captors so he can live among them and report on their actions.

Rosemarked excelled at building a world that was easy to understand and a story that although political was brimming with emotions and drama. Zivah as a healer took her “do no harm” vows very seriously and she walked a fine line when giving Dineas potions that would make him forget his past life and allow him to live among the Amparan’s and even move up in their soldiers ranks. I found that when Dineas “remembered” who he was and thought of his actions within the Amparan army the plot was more interesting. Except for the fact that Zivah came up with the potions, I found she was kind of irrelevant. The conflict throughout the book was built around Dineas character and I was more drawn to his story.

The relationship between them grew from uneasy alliance to friendship and then more. But there was always an uneasiness in Zivah because what Dineas felt, although not false, was certainly not based upon true reality. It was based upon the life he was living in that moment. That was an interesting plot, although I felt the reader’s feelings were left in a to be continued ending that was frustrating and I wasn’t satisfied with the conclusion. Will I care enough to continue with the second novel when it comes out? I’m still mulling it over. To be continued. ❤️❤️❤️❣️

Rosemarked

Click this link to purchase! Rosemarked

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

This Chick Read: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Ever since she was little Scarlett has had a dream of she and her sister Tella escaping their reality to go to Caraval, a magical performance that takes place in different locations annually. One day she receives a return letter from the master of Caraval, Legend, with an invitation to join the performance this year. Now that the invitation has arrived Scarlett panic’s at braving their fathers wrath until Tella takes that decision away from her, spiriting them to Caraval, Scarlett an unconscious accomplice. When Scarlett awakes, she finds that Tella has become the mystery she has to solve in order to gain the prize, one wish.

Even though I had read a lot of reviews about Caraval, I still didn’t know what to expect from the actual story. I knew the synopsis, but what I didn’t get from the glowing reviews was how the characters and story were so colorfully written. Scarlett has the ability to see emotions in color and Stephanie Garber embued the body of the story with the richness of those colors. As Scarlett unravels the clues to the mystery of where Tella had been hidden she goes on a journey of self discovery. Having lived under her fathers rule, his actions determining her own, this was the first time she was able to choose the path she’d take. As the story progressed, I loved seeing her self confidence bloom!

Caravel was one of those stories you want to relish, yet are also eager to see what the next chapter brings. I found myself speeding up and slowing down, changing the pace of my reading to fit the sequence of events I was reading about. This novel could’ve been a stand alone and I would’ve been happy with the completeness of the ending, but Legendary, the second novel, will be out May29th and we’ll get to read about Tella and find out what makes her tick. I hope to see behind the curtain of Caraval even more with her story and dare I hope a glimpse at Legend himself? ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Caraval

Click the link to purchase! Caraval

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

This Chick Read: Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands #2) by Alwyn Hamilton

Very slight spoilers ahead….

Why did I wait so long to read Traitor to the Throne????  I LOVED Rebel of the Sands, the first edition in this series. I think sometimes when you read a book that good you are scared that the second book can’t possibly live up to your expections. I am happy to say that I loved Traitor to the Throne just as much. Whew!

Amani, our Blue-Eyed Bandit, is back with the Rebel Prince, Ahmed and his crew. Except her guy, Jin, has run off. He was scared that she was going to die after being shot coming to his defense. When Traitor opens, she is trying to rescue some of her compatriots that have been captured. During their mad escape with other Demdji who were in jail with her friends we discover that the Sultan is collecting Demdji. We don’t realize why until Amani does actually get captured and the Sultan reveals his plans. As she gets to know him she starts to doubt her cause.

There is something about the bad guy, isn’t there? When we get introduced to the Sultan, horrible things have been done to Amani and immediately I dislike him. However, he treats Amani kind of like a surrogate daughter which confuses her. Is he really that bad a guy?  Ummm, Yes! He is one dastardly dude! However he was written with a subtlety that even when we know how bad he is, he still left me with that question in my gut, a hint of hope before that hope was dashed yet again. See what I mean? Subtle evil! Interesting!

For those of you who love Jin and Amani’s love story, it comes to the forefront of this story and may change how you feel about him and them as a couple moving forward. There is a lot of love, but for me, she is just such a strong character and her personality dwarfs his. I’m looking forward to seeing how they move forward in the next novel, which has actually already been released. Will I wait as long to read the next one? Nope, not after two solid books. I have faith that Alwyn Hamilton is going to give me a third strong story and a conclusion that I will also love. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Traitor to the Throne

Click this link to purchase! Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands)

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved