Friday YA: Heartache and Hope (Heartache Duet #1) by Jay McLean

Ava Diaz needs saving.
She just doesn’t know it yet.
Just like she doesn’t know a thing about the boy she sits next to on the first day of senior year.
He thinks she’s a brat.
She thinks he’s entitled.
Maybe first impressions don’t always last… 
Because Connor Ledger’s about to save her.
He just doesn’t know why.

When Connor starts at his new school and gets seated next to Ava in Psych class he immediately wants to get to know her. Unfortunately, Ava’s checked out. Her mother’s home from Afghanistan with a severe injury and Ava is trying to hold it all together. She doesn’t have time to care anymore about friends, boys, or any social niceties. Connor breaks through her barriers and becomes the person she doesn’t want to need, but needs too much.

Connor is struggling to keep all of his own responsibilities in line. Moving to this new school with the purpose of getting noticed by college scouts is his father’s main concern. He’s not too thrilled with Connor’s infatuation with Ava, and when he hears about all of her problems? His son doesn’t have the time for a girl with all of that baggage.

Heartache and Hope had an interesting premise and two main characters who had really interesting, conflicting back stories. I was curious to see how all of their drama would fit into a high school setting. Ava’s situation with a mother who has PTSD was so adult and yet her love story with Connor was kind of youthful it provided an interesting contrast in her character. Connor was also struggling with adult decisions about his future that when he acted out as a normal teenager it was a little jarring. I had to remind myself that this is actually a YA novel.

I can’t say I was riveted to every page in this novel, but it did have moments that captured my interest and kept me reading. If I’d known it ended in a cliffhanger I don’t think I’d have picked it up at all because now I’ve been left a little dissatisfied. Luckily I don’t have to wait very long for the next novel because it comes out only three weeks after the first novel. This bait and switch seems to be a kind of new way to entrap readers to continue on with the series and gains the author a couple extra bucks. However, in this case I’m not sure if I will remember these two characters and give them four or five more hours of my valuable reading time. ❤️❤️❤️❣️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“At the end of Heartache and Hope, readers will absolutely be emotionally drained because while the hope is still hanging on in the final pages of book one, the heartache seems far more overreaching and far more tangible…” Fairest of All Book Reviews

“This book packs that punch. Connor has been through something awful, Ava is pretty much living her own personal nightmare, but somehow they manage to find peace within each other. There’s something so beautiful and powerful about that.” Romance Book Binge

Click this link to purchase* Heartache and Hope: Heartache Duet Book One

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

Advertisements

The Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag 2019

I can’t believe it’s already time (well, kind of past time!) for the Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag! This year I was tagged by Jill at Jill’s Book Blog. If you want to check out Jill’s tag please click the link below.

Jill’s Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag

I really like this tag because I get to take a look back at all of the books I’ve reviewed since January and remind myself of all of the great books I’ve read. Side not is that it also reminds me that time is just flying by and there are so many more books to read and things to do ahead of me!

BEST BOOK OF 2019 (JAN-JUNE)

I am in a Rom-Com phase and couldn’t pick between these two great book’s. Lucy Parker’s London Stage series and Penny Reid’s Knitting in the City series are both wonderful and I’ll be re-reading these over and over.

Pretty Face – “I think I wrote on Goodreads that I am now obsessed with Lucy Parker novels. I really am. Her stories could so easily be fluffy romances, but they aren’t! They are well written, her characters are rock solid and the build up in the romance is riveting to read. Her dialog isn’t too shabby either, it’s actually really fun! ” Pretty Face (London Celebrities)

Love Hacked- “Needless to say, I loved this novel. I had picked it up so many times and put it down. I’m not sure why and am kicking myself for not enjoying their story before now. However, sometimes those novels that surprise you with their strength and your emotional impact to them are read when you need to read them. This was the perfect time for me. ” Love Hacked: A Reluctant Romance (Knitting in the City) (Volume 3)

BEST SEQUEL OF 2019 (JAN-JUNE)

Oh, boy. Sequel implies there are only two books in the series and after looking, I didn’t read any two book series. So, I’m going to interpret this question as Best Book in a Series (2019).

“The mystery was fabulous. I’d imagine if I had kept pace with the Jane Yellowrock series I may have been just a little more informed over Rick’s background but I really didn’t care. I was caught up in the action, the characters, and the resolution of this case. It was great reading and I enjoyed it thoroughly! ” Circle of the Moon (A Soulwood Novel)

FAVORITE NEW RELEASE THAT IS STILL SITTING ON YOUR TBR

It only came out on 7/1/19, so I’m not too far behind. I’ve purchased my copy and still haven’t found the time to read it. Soon! Protect the Prince (A Crown of Shards Novel)

MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE OF THE SECOND HALF OF 2019

OK, I’ll admit, I’ve already read this novel but I can’t wait for the audiobook to be released! This series is one that I read, listen to, repeat. Again and again. Sapphire Flames: A Hidden Legacy Novel

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT OF 2019 SO FAR

This novel was definitely my least favorite of the three. I didn’t hate it but it took too long to get to the conclusion. Then when it got there? I felt like I do after eating that huge piece of chocolate cake I’d been craving. Great anticipation and then a slightly sick feeling after I’d finished. Finale: A Caraval Novel

BIGGEST SURPRISE OF 2019 SO FAR

Surprise! This is a spin off of the Dark Elements Series. No wonder that main character sounded familiar!

FAVORITE NEW AUTHOR

I read these two books not too far apart. They were totally different but the similarity between the two was that they used historical facts built into a fictional novel. I loved that! I’ll be keeping an eye out for new releases from both of these authors.

‘Dead Queens’- “The Dead Queens Club cleverly names all of it’s characters after their true life namesakes and incorporates familiar places from Tudor history into this small town. I’ll admit to once again using Wikipedia to give myself a quick history lesson on each wife (and if they kept their head or not) and found that I relished watching the mystery unfold more because of that knowledge. ” The Dead Queens Club

‘An Assasin’s Guide’- “I really enjoyed Kit’s evolution. As Katherine she was restricted to a woman’s life but as Kit so many things were available to her. I think this combined with her feelings for Toby helped her to make the decision revealed at the end of the book. No spoilers here, but the line between life and death was trod very closely and the conclusion was just as dramatic as one of the plots in a Shakespeare play.” An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason

NEWEST FICTIONAL CRUSH

Alessandro Sagredo. Ummm, Yummy!

NEWEST FAVORITE CHARACTER

“Olive is kind of a beautiful mess, but that mess is mostly in her own head. Written mostly from her POV, we get to see how her adorableness contrasts with how she views herself. That dichotomy really made me root for Olive!” The Unhoneymooners

BOOK THAT MADE YOU HAPPY

The Unhoneymooners for the win, Alex! I laughed my way through this book. It was just awesome.

BOOKS TO READ BY THE END OF THE YEAR

I have pre-ordered both of these items. One comes out this month (July) and the other isn’t until October. Both of these authors are on my auto buy list. I’m really excited about these releases, so they shouldn’t sit too long on the virtual shelf.

FAVORITE POST YOU’VE DONE SO FAR THIS YEAR

AN ODE TO MOM- MOTHER’S DAY 2019

I enjoyed thinking back on what memories I have from childhood about my mother. This one has always stuck with me.

I’m not going to tag anyone to do this Mid Year Freak Out tag because I think I’m one of the last bloggers to do it! LOL. However, if you haven’t looked back at your own year and would like to share, please do! Tag me if you do so I can read your responses.

Thanks and happy reading!

Deb

Friday YA: Twisted Palace (The Royals #3) by Erin Watt

SPOILERS AHEAD

Finally back together, Ella and Reed can be happy. Wait, what? No of course they can’t! Book 3 and the final episode of the love story of Ella and Reed has so many more obstacles to overcome.

Living in the same house doesn’t seem to create any challenges for Ella and Reed. The biggest surprise is that Ella has retained her virginity. Yep, you heard it right! I’ve informed you of all of the sexually explicit scenes, and boy, there certainly are some doozy’s, but Ella and Reed have not done the actual deed itself. Kind of a nice surprise, right? But a good part of this book seems to be about how they will go about solving that problem and where. The more interesting part of that scenario is that Ella’s returned from the dead father does not want her dating Reed and creates all sorts of obstacles for them- one of them being moving her out of the Royal house. Ah the good old days of out smarting your parents. Fun!

Reed’s brutal nature of getting into fights down at the wharf and keeping the kids at school in line comes back to bite him in the butt. Despite having tons of money, Reed seems to be going down for the fall of a murder he may not have committed although he certainly wanted to at times! Ella, desperately trying to keep him out of jail investigates on her own and what she finds out is pretty shocking and makes for some great reading and a rather remarkable ending.

I really enjoyed these first three books in The Royals series. Paper Princess was still my favorite, but Twisted Palace did a good job of wrapping up some loose ends. I know the series continues but it shifts focus to Easton in book 4 which I’m really looking forward to. Hopefully his story matches his funny personality and is a little lighter. So far it’s been a pretty dark, drama filled ride!

If you haven’t read these books, be warned! There are some very sexually explicit scenes that I think aren’t appropriate for some YA readers. If you’re a mature reader, love soap opera’s, and romance- you will have a ton of fun reading these books! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Twisted Palace: A Novel (The Royals)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: June’19 Wrap Up!

Once again, another month has flown by and I find myself looking at the start of July. Wow! June weather was actually gorgeous being a little cooler than normal at the start of the month. Despite spending more time outside I got a lot of reading done! I read and listened to a total of 22 books which could be a record! However, some of those reviews are set for future months. Here are my top picks from my reviews in the month of June.

GREAT JUNE READS!

A Question of Holmes (Charlotte Holmes #4) by Brittany Cavallaro

“The conclusion to the mystery was satisfactory and the conclusion to the series although a little confusing, did fit the characters and how they grew throughout the series. Would I change anything if I could? Yes. Do I know what I’d change? Not really. That doesn’t really help does it? LOL. “

Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey

“This novel was one of my most anticipated reads for June. Did it live up to my expectations? It had a great meet cute, subtle humor, solid friendships, kooky best friend, and hot love interest. YEP! I wasn’t disappointed at all. “

Wherever She Goes by Kelley Armstrong

“As I read this novel I realized there were actually a few different mysteries I was trying to unravel. 1) Aubrey’s background 2) the missing child and 3) the reason why her relationship fell apart with her husband. Kelley Armstrong does a great job of intertwining all of these mysteries so that each reveal is intertwined with a personal reflection Aubrey has about her life. I loved how all of those ties bound the novel into one cohesive, solid piece of fiction.”

Dating by the Book by Mary Ann Marlowe

“..for those readers who are fans of a slow burn romance novel, you’re going to love how the relationship between our heroine and hero develops throughout this novel. By the time they get together you are so ready for it, and I mean that in the best way possible.”

THIS CHICKS SUNDAY COMMENTARY/BOOKISH DISCUSSION

I got hooked into a young adult series written by the writing duo Erin Watt called The Royals. Disclaimer time! Yes, I am a middle aged woman who reads YA novels. Sue me! I like them for many reasons, but mostly because they are pure escapism and when I’ve had a rotten day a sweet contemporary romance that’s lighthearted and fun does the trick! Plus I like that I can read them quickly! So, back to my subject. I got hooked into Erin Watt’s series the Royals. Definitely not a sweet romance, but a LOT of fun! It did get me thinking about whether YA readers ever stop and think “WHOA” this is not YA appropriate! Or if I’m just totally out of the loop on what young adults are experiencing nowadays. So I wrote this discussion post. If you haven’t had time to read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

What is YA Appropriate?

I also like to look forward into the upcoming month to see what releases I’m really looking forward to, as well as take a look back at what I did in the previous month. Here are those two posts!

My 5 Most Anticipated July’19 Releases

May’19 Wrap Up!

WHAT’S ON TAP FOR JULY!

July is going to be a catch up month for me. I don’t have any ARC’s that need to be read for this month so I’m actually going to be proactive and get some of my August ARC’ read, and I don’t know, maybe get some reviews done in advance? Novel concept, I know! LOL. Actually, I did overextend myself on a few August release dates, so this is a really good thing. What I’m more excited about is that I get to read something because I want to read it. I can catch up on my Kindle Unlimited as well as some books I’ve checked out from the library. Exciting! LOL.

I did get tagged for my Mid Year Book Freak Out and will be writing that post soon and I’m really looking forward to looking back at the first six months. I read soooo many great books!

What am I looking forward to reading the most in July? If you read my 5 most Anticipated releases post you already know.

I’m not sure how it’s even possible that TWO Ilona Andrews books are being released back to back. If you’re a fan, this is book #4 in the series and it’s Maud’s story. I can’t wait!!

Do you have an opinion on my What is YA Appropriate post? I’d love to hear it!

What’s your most anticipated July’19 release? Let me know in the comments below.

Until next month!

Deb

Friday YA: Broken Prince (The Royals #2) by Erin Watt

After the Paper Princess cliffhanger Broken Prince starts right up with Ella on the run again. When she’s found and brought back home things have changed. Reed takes all the blame for Ella’s disappearance, his family no longer sticks by him, and his life is out of control. He does not give up on getting Ella back but she no longer trusts him and he’s got a long road ahead.

Broken Prince is just as riveting as Paper Princess, but the tone is a little more desperate. Because Reed no longer gives a damn his high school peers start to spin out of control. Normally a nasty bunch, they are downright evil now. Easton doesn’t have it in him to be in charge as he’s one of the kids spiraling downward, his only interest getting drunk and laid. The sexual activity in this book amps up to another level adding to the dark tone of the novel.

I really do like Reed as the hero. He’s doesn’t have the humor and charm of Easton being a guy who fixes things with his fists. His alpha male-ness gives his actions conviction and his single mindedness in winning Ella back struck a chord. I liked that the two of them were brutally honest with no gray areas. It fit the style of this billionaire high school novel. Even though none of it was very realistic (at least I hope not!) I found the book really hard to put down.

Did I like Broken Prince as well as Paper Princess? No, but only because I liked Ella’s POV as the poor girl who gets found and is thrown into the rich life. It didn’t change who she was and I liked that honesty in her. Reed is honest too, but he’s more brutal and is better in smaller doses. Really, the Royal who steals the show is Easton, every time, but I haven’t gotten to his books yet. I like knowing his story is out there and will be reading them soon.

The Royals series has a LOT of adult situations and sexually explicit scenes. The covers of these novels make you think you’re reading Disney princess books, but The Royals series is on the opposite end of that princess spectrum. Be warned! However, once you pick one of these novels up? You won’t be able to put them down until you are finished. They are action packed and like any good soap opera they leave you wanting more. Yep, another cliffhanger! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“Lots to love about this book, and definitely will carry on to the next. Um, how can I not with the two bombs… yes, that’s right… TWO bombs dropped on us right at the end. Wowza!” Nerding Out With Nicky

Click this link to purchase!* Broken Prince: A Novel (The Royals)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

Friday YA: Paper Princess (The Royals #1) by Erin Watt

At seventeen Ella Harper has lived harder than most girls her age. She’s had to come up with unconventional ways to take care of her dying mother and pay off her hospital bills. Stripping is the easiest way to make a buck and she can still go to school for her GED. When a strange man shows up at school saying he’s her guardian Ella does what comes easiest and runs, but unfortunately for her this guys has a ton of money and tracks her down- hauling her out of the strip club she’s in and back to his home to live with he and his five teenage sons. Those teenage sons? Handsome, built, and angry that she’s been brought into their lives.

Paper Princess is so many things! It’s irreverent, fast paced, dramatic, sexy, and really just a lot of fun to read. The contrast between Ella’s poor upbringing and the spoiled rich kids she encounters at home and school makes this a compelling read. It would be so easy for Ella to conform and yet she remains the same girl despite the easy access to sex, drugs, and money. The Royal boys are the biggest obstacle to Ella’s happiness. They control the school and whether someone is accepted or not and they all look to Reed for how to treat Ella. Let’s just say it doesn’t go in her favor. At first.

My public school upbringing was nothing like what I read in this novel, it was really fantasy life at it’s best. The normal cliques you typically read about were present but over dramatized 100%. The mean girls? They didn’t just bad mouth her they stuffed her locker with garbage and used tampons. Most of these scenes were not true to life, well at least not true to my own life but a fun escape from reality.

The Royal boys were the most fun to read about. Reed was tough, mean, beautiful, and brutal. Easton was funny, sarcastic, over-sexed, and ambivalent. Sawyer and Sebastian (twins) were not as large a part of this novel, but they looked to their older brothers for how to act and react. There is also an older brother, Gideon, who is off at school and makes several appearances, but all the brothers seem to look to Reed as the leader of the group. Ella realizes this quickly and doesn’t even try to play up to him, instead antagonizing and remaining true to her roots, but deep inside she wants to belong.

I really liked this book and thought it was entertaining and fun, but when I think about how this is directed towards teens I cringe a little. Some of the references and situations seem a little adult and I wonder if young adults think this is how they should be acting? Of course it’s not, it’s a fantasy world, but I worry that it will be taken seriously by some too young to understand the authors intent. If you don’t take it seriously, it’s great fun to read!

I would advise anyone who plans to read this series that there is a lot of mature content with some pretty explicit scenes. Be warned!

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere!

“In general I don’t think it’s a bad book. I finished it in two days, it’s entertaining and very fast paced. I didn’t care much for the abuse and rudeness in the first part of the book, but I did began to like it when the relationship between Ella and the brothers started to lighten up and they treated her like a sister. ” My Bookish Rambles

“This series is geared for more of a mature audience because there are sexual scenes throughout all of the books. This was such a fun read and kept me on my toes through not just the first, but all of the books throughout the series. I would recommend this to anyone likes contemporary!” The Book Instruments

Click this link to purchase!* Paper Princess: A Novel (The Royals)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

Friday YA: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

The first book in a new series by the authors of the Illuminae Files, Kaufman and Kristoff once again create an action packed science fiction space opera. Aurora, part of a team sent off planet to inhabit a new planet, was woken from cryo-sleep to find over 200 years had passed. The only living survivor of a ship of people, she is rescued by cocky cadet and team leader Tyler Jones. Along with the rest of his team, Aurora navigates a new world where she is being chased by an unknown enemy because of powers she doesn’t know she posses. Aurora Rising takes off from the first word read and doesn’t slow down until the last page.

Auri may be the catalyst for this plot but it’s the entire cast of characters that hold my interest. I’m going to share the description from the synopsis because really it says it best…

“A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates 
A smart-ass tech whiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger-management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering”

There are so many different relationships and sub plots at play between the five cadets I was inundated with surprise after surprise making me second guess who plays what part. These are not the obvious caricatures I am used to seeing in YA action novels. Auri is a sympathetic heroine but has hidden depths even she is only just discovering. Tyler seems to be the obvious hero, after all he’s the leader of this team of super smart rejects, but is he her romantic interest? As I turned each page something new was revealed that made me second guess my expectations of where the plot was leading and I was totally excited that I kept being surprised.

Overall Aurora Rising was a classic good versus evil plot, the main characters were charming, irreverent, funny, loving, and heroic. The villains? Super scary! All the traits expected in a great action filled sci-fi novel. This one was right in my wheel house and I enjoyed the heck out of it. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“The premise of Aurora Rising is also not as complex as any of the books in the Illuminae Files trilogy, nor is it anywhere near as unique. It’s pretty much your standard heist plot, but in space, and I’ve read better. Still, to its credit, this book is exciting, if a bit drawn out at times—though often when we get lulls, it’s because of character development, which is why I give some of the wonky pacing a pass.” The BiblioSanctum

“The first thing I’m going to mention is the fact that I read this book with a perma-smile on my face. The dialogue and character interactions are fantastic! Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff are hilarious! The way these characters talk to each other had me laughing pretty much the whole way through. “ Bionic Book Worm

Click this link to purchase!* Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick all Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

Blog Tour! Rules We’re Meant to Break by Natalie Williamson (Excerpt)

I’m excited to be a part of the blog tour for Natalie Williamson’s young adult novel Rules We’re Meant to Break! This dramatic sounding synopsis makes it sound like a one night read!

Synopsis: Honest and full of heart, this clever contemporary romance debut deftly combines utterly relatable family drama with all the sweetness and uncertainty that comes with falling in love.

Rule #1: Don’t get attached.

Amber lives by strict rules to survive her mother’s love life: Always keep your eyes on the horizon and never get close to anyone connected to Mom’s boyfriends.

But after they move in with Kevin, the latest of her mom’s “soul mates,” the rules become increasingly difficult to follow. Kevin’s daughter, Cammie, keeps acting like Amber’s friend, even though she’s definitely not. And Jordan—star basketball player, hottest boy in school, and Cammie’s best friend—keeps showing up at the most inconvenient moments.

Amber has reasons for every one of her rules, and following them is the only way to protect her heart when her mom inevitably moves on. But as she spends more time with Kevin, his daughter, and especially Jordan, she starts to wonder if the rules might be worth breaking this time.

Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, Rules We’re Meant to Break is a charming, heartachingly real story of family and young love by debut author Natalie Williamson.

Here’s a sample excerpt of the novel, enjoy!

A little while later Hannah comes out to join me, food and smoothies for both of us in hand. “Thanks,” I say, taking mine from her and immediately digging in to my sandwich. 

“Of course,” she says, sliding in across from me. The restaurant is a lot quieter now, and the line that was snaking to the door when I got here is now completely gone. “Ugh, my feet are killing me.” 

“Busy morning?” 

She nods, reaching for her spoon and taking a bite of soup. “Totally wild. The post-church crowd always is though.” 

“Amen,” I say, and we both laugh. 

Then Hannah’s grin fades and she levels me with an expectant look. “So. How’d it go yesterday?” 

And there it is. I’m surprised it took her this long to bring it up. 

“Fine.” I reach for my sandwich again. “My room’s pretty big, and it’s on the opposite side of the house from Cammie’s, so that’s a bonus.” 

“That’s good,” Hannah says, still watching me carefully. She knows how much I’ve been dreading this weekend, and even though we got into a fight over me not wanting her to help with the move, she still wants to make sure I’m okay about it. Hannah has a big heart. It’s one of the many reasons I’ve kept her around so long. “Was she there at all? Cammie, I mean.” 

I shake my head. “It was supposed to be her weekend with Kevin too. At least that’s what Mom said.” 

“Awkward,” Hannah says.

“Tell me about it.”

Honestly, Cammie is the part of this whole move that’s been stressing me out the most. Kevin is the fifth guy since my dad that we’ve lived with, the third who has kids of his own. But he’s the first person my mom has dated who has a kid that goes to my school, and when you add in the fact that Cammie and I are only a year apart and that her parents’ divorce was Big News last year, awkward doesn’t even begin to describe it. 

“Well,” Hannah says, because there’s really nothing else to say about this whole situation that we haven’t covered ad nauseam in the last few weeks. “Is the unpacking going okay at least?” 

I think of the maze of boxes I had to navigate this morning when I was trying to find my work clothes, and of the judgmental look Buffy gave me when I tripped over a stack of books on my way to get her more water from the bathroom. No way am I telling Hannah this though. It’d make her worry more, and she already does enough of that where I’m concerned. “Yeah. I mean, it’s slow. But it’s coming along.” 

“Good,” she says, smiling now. “You know I’m always game to help if you need it, right?” 

This last part comes out a little uncertain, and I get this prickle of guilt that she’s still so clearly worried about our fight. 

“I know you are. It’s just, you know the rules, Han, and you know why they matter more than ever now. I don’t want to mess with the status quo this early in the game.”  

She nods, her smile fading a little even as a grim sort of under- standing settles over her face. “Of course,” she says quickly. “I get it.” 

Desperate for a change of subject, I reach for my smoothie, take a long drink, and then say the first thing that pops into my head. “Did you know Jordan Baugh lives in Harper Ridge?” 

“What!” Hannah sits up straighter in her seat. “How did I not know this? How do you know this?” 

“I saw him while I was walking Buffy last night,” I admit. “His house is next door to The Castle.” 

“No shit?” she says, her expression gleeful. “Maybe he can be, like, your escape plan if things get too weird at home. You can walk Buffy over to his house all the time.” 

“I think you’re getting a little ahead of yourself, Han. I don’t even really know him.” 

“Yeah, but you’ve always wanted to get to know him.” She waggles her eyebrows at me. “So this new proximity can be your in.” 

I shake my head at her, but I’m fighting a smile now. And I can’t help picturing Jordan how I saw him last night, lit up from behind, his expression earnest as he watched me leave. “Maybe.” 

If you’d like to purchase this novel please click the link!

Rules We’re Meant to Break

Friday YA: Storm and Fury (Harbinger #1) by Jennifer Armentrout

Trinity Marrow is the only human living in a community of Wardens, guardian Gargoyle shifters whose main purpose is to protect humans against a Demon invasion. Trinity’s ability to see ghosts has her stumbling upon a conspiracy that could be tied to her mothers death a year earlier and may be led from inside her own community. But seeing ghosts is not the only secret she’s hiding! Her secret gets revealed when Wardens from the DC community come to visit and she’s forced to use her powers to save her own life.

Storm and Fury was so easy to fall into. Somehow the situations and characters felt familiar and about 1/3 of the way through I had an aha! moment and realized this is a spinoff to a The Dark Elements series I’d read several years ago in which Zayne was featured prominently. In this novel, Zayne’s past experiences with Demons comes in handy as they travel to DC where he and Trinity meet up with some familiar past characters (a few of whom are demons) to investigate the disappearance of her friend.

I liked Trinity’s character a lot. She was an interesting mix of innocence, strength, and stubbornness. As the plot moves forward and her secrets are revealed she becomes even more interesting. Her failing eyesight, a very human frailty, is an interesting contrast to a girl who refuses to admit weakness. In fact, it takes a little while for me to figure out she’s actually almost blind. Read the Afterword about her ailment, Retinitis Pigmentosa, and how that disease has a personal tie to the author.

Zayne was a mystery even though he’d been part of a previous series. I couldn’t figure out his motives right away and I liked him as the love interest, but at the same time I felt he was a little more mature than Trinity. As his life was revealed and I realized all that he’d been through I realized what a great fit he actually was for her, as they had similar tragedies in their background. After I figured out what series and where I read his story before I liked him even more, but if you hadn’t read The Dark Elements Series, I think you can jump right in and not miss a beat in this story. It stands on it’s own.

Jennifer Armentrout does such a great job of writing in this YA fantasy genre. I love her world building and she has a deft hand with giving characters interesting backgrounds and emotional ups and downs. All things that keep me reading and move the plot forward. It’s rare that I get bored and I certainly didn’t with this novel. I relished reading it. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“I absolutely love the way the author writes relationships because they are always the slow burn romances that begins with flirtatious banter and escalates to sexual tension that literally everyone can feel. I loved watching Trinity and Zayne come together and the steaminess of their relationship. I thought that they definitely complimented one another.” The Reading Chemist

“Overall, this book was everything I wanted. If you want action, romance, kick-ass gargoyles, and a girl with an eye condition representing how strong she is this is the book for you.” Classy x Book Reviews

Click this link to purchase!* Storm and Fury (The Harbinger Series)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chicks Bookish Discussion: What is YA appropriate?

I started reading Young Adult books a few years ago because I wanted to try my hand at writing one. I thought that if I immersed myself in the genre that I would learn a lot about what those readers are looking for, but also how authors are tackling writing in this much discussed and kind of difficult to understand genre. Now, full disclosure, I am an adult woman. I’m talking about my age, specifically, although I’m still young in imagination and heart. As a fan of this genre, I know that the majority of YA authors are in fact mature women or men, not the age of the group they are writing about. I am generalizing because I’m unsure if there are some famous teen writers who may actually be in that age group, but the majority are not.

  1. Do our experiences as adults shape how we write a YA novel?

Of course they do! It’s not like we can shut off our life’s experiences.

I know that the teens of today are more self aware, sexually active, and politically motivated. I’ll admit, when I was a teenager I didn’t have as much on my plate. I went to school, played sports, did homework, and went out with friends. We may have had a few beers at a friends house but without today’s technology it was a pretty slow childhood in comparison with today. Cell phones and social media have aged and matured teens and created a peer pressure that endangers their self esteem. I’ll get off my technology soap box by just saying that I’m thankful I grew up in a simpler time. Now back to how this applies to teen representation in books.

I recently sped through the first three books in Erin Watt’s ‘The Royals’ series. I really enjoyed these books. They were fast paced, action packed, and really dramatic. They were also filled with a lot of sexually explicit jokes, language, and physical acts. I totally forgot at times that these were 16-18 year olds that I was reading about. I get it, I really do! Just because my childhood was pretty innocent, doesn’t mean I didn’t have friends who had sex in high school. Sure they did! Here’s my next question….

2) By writing explicit sex scenes in books that are targeting young adults, are we educating them in a healthy manner about these physical acts OR making these acts more commonplace and normal?

I want to re-iterate that I REALLY liked the Royals series and am not harping on it in particular. It’s just an example because I just read them. I’ve certainly read other ya books where there are sex scenes. But, by having them so commonplace, are we normalizing sex, violence, etc.?

I remember my parents saying, and news stories talking about how violence in movies and video games are normalizing guns. Are explicit sex scenes also normalizing behavior for our young adults?

I love the romance genre. If I look at all the books I read in a year, probably 80% of them are in the romance category. Whether those are YA, adult, romantic fantasy, romantic suspense, etc. I read romance novels as a way to escape life and fulfill my fantasies, right? We read other genre’s to pretend to solve mysteries, or save a world, or educate ourselves about a particular part of history or whatever. Teens read YA books to escape, learn, and fulfill a fantasy or two also.

3) Besides word of mouth, how does a reader know how explicit a book is (I’m talking YA specifically) before they pick it up?

I’m sure there are young adults who lean more to the innocent than the experienced side of life, right? I recently read a blog post from a teen blogger talking about how she reads books before her little sister so that she can recommend books that are appropriate. I am in no way trying to censor because, again, I like to read all types of books…

4) Should there be a remark on the cover? A key of some sort? One heart on the cover means innocent to four hearts for explicit?

Am I the only one that has ever had these thoughts? I’d love to hear the world chime in on this discussion.

Please comment in the section below if you’d like to share your own thoughts.

thanks!