This Chick Read: Love at First by Kate Clayborn

When he was sixteen, Will went with his mother to Chicago to visit an uncle he never knew he had. While outside on his uncle’s balcony he hears a girl one or two floors up speaking to someone. Her voice captures his imagination and he thinks of her all the time over the years following. Sixteen years later he inherits his uncle’s condo and meets that same girl, now a young woman whom he has an instant connection. The problem is that he wants to use the condo as a long term rental and Nora and the other occupants of the building are against it. Love at First is an atypical enemies to lovers tale with a great cast of side characters and two main characters who will tug at your heart.

As I was reading Love at First and getting used to the pace I was having flashbacks to the movies Sleepless in Seattle and While You Were Sleeping. Both of those are favorite romance movies of mine. Love At First has a similar pace and humor. Softly sweet and a little magical. Will and Nora (perhaps named after Nora Ephron?) despite being on opposite sides of the rental argument have that instant connection that adds an electricity to their interactions. Literally and metaphysically. When they touch hands for the first time they felt that connection and despite not seeing each other much at first their only thoughts are of each other. This is definitely a woman’s love story and plays into all of our romantic hopes and dreams. Well, mine anyway. Instant love, connection, physical attraction, and a gentleness and thoughtfulness that screams I love you. Magical.

Let’s talk about Will and Nora. Although I loved them for each other they were not perfect people. Who wants to read about perfect people who meet and fall in love? Most people reading these novels aren’t perfect and the main characters faults allow us to dream that this too may happen to us. Despite different circumstances growing up, Will and Nora have similar feelings of abandonment, but Nora had her Nonna and the residents of this Condo complex she is so attached to, Will only had himself. As they explore their relationship there is such a gentleness to how they interact, it really gives a magical feel to what they discover about themselves and each other.

I can’t end this review without a brief note about the cast of characters that live in the condo complex. They are funny, friendly, grouchy, and complex. I loved how despite their differences they were a family that looked out for and loved each other. What a fabulous place to live, despite the weird smells and flocked wall paper.

You may have guessed that I really enjoyed Love at First. It’s hard not to appreciate the authors ability to remove cynicism and reality from the reader’s mind and replace those things with a story that draws them in and holds them in the strong arms of a soft and sweet romance. I reveled in that vacation from realism and can’t wait for this author to write her next novel so I can put those rose colored glasses back on.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Love at First: An Uplifting and Unforgettable Story of Love and Second Chances

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (3/1/21)

It’s one year into working from home. As time has passed it’s surprising how slow and quick it feels. My habits have definitely changed over the past year. I’m reading less and watching tv and streaming more. I’ve had some back issues over the last few months and that pain has also increased my tv viewing because getting lost in a tv program helps. I am taking care of my ARC commitments and re-reading a lot of old favorites. This also helps the time fly, so here we are already in March again. This week is all about the ARC reading as I’m a book behind and I just finished a good one!

This post originated over on Book Date, so thanks for the idea and letting me continue on the discussion about what books I am reading.

JUST FINISHED

Easy to fall into and in love with, Love at First is a second chance romance between two characters who had a chance meeting 16 years ago that one of them never forgets. It’s been hard to fall into a story lately and I had zero problems with this novel. In fact it had the warmth of a favorite book or movie but the story was new and special.

JUST STARTED

I haven’t started this novel yet but love the series and am looking forward to where this author is taking these characters next. Especially since I thought the previous book was the last in the series! Surprise!

What kind of reading mood are you in this week? Let me know your selection in the comments below!

Happy Monday.

Deborah

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: My Top 5 Most Anticipated Book Releases – Mar’21

I usually pull my list from the Goodreads most popular choices for books released the following month. In March, my favorite is like #75 on the Goodreads list, so I think it’s safe to say that my reading choices are not similar to the general populace. However, these are the books I’m most looking forward to reading that are being released next month.

#5 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

J.T. Ellison is a Nashville native and I got turned onto her books with her Taylor Jackson series, set in Nashville. I read the synopsis of this novel and it sounds creepy and really good.

Synopsis:

Jutting from sparkling turquoise waters off the Italian coast, Isle Isola is an idyllic setting for a wedding. In the majestic cliff-top villa owned by the wealthy Compton family, up-and-coming artist Claire Hunter will marry handsome, charming Jack Compton, surrounded by close family, intimate friends…and a host of dark secrets.

From the moment Claire sets foot on the island, something seems amiss. Skeletal remains have just been found. There are other, newer disturbances, too. Menacing texts. A ruined wedding dress. And one troubling shadow hanging over Claire’s otherwise blissful relationship—the strange mystery surrounding Jack’s first wife.

Then a raging storm descends, the power goes out—and the real terror begins…

Click this link to purchase this book!* Her Dark Lies: A Novel

#4 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

A wedding show competition and finding yourself attracted to one man while engaged to his brother? Sold! This looks so cute! I’m glad I just put it back on my radar.

Synopsis:

Luna Rossi is a veritable crafting genius—she can bedazzle and bead so hard her Etsy site is one of the hottest in the world. So it’s only natural that Luna would convince her brother and his husband-to-be to compete on The Wedding Game, a “do-it-yourself” TV show, for the title of Top DIY Wedding Expert.

As a jaded divorce lawyer, Alec Baxter scoffs at weddings and romance. But when his recently engaged brother begs him to participate in The Wedding Game, Alec grudgingly picks up a glue gun and prepares for some family bonding.

Both fierce competitors, Luna and Alec clash on national TV as harsh words and glitter fly with abandon. But as they bicker over color swatches and mood boards, they find themselves fighting something else: their growing mutual attraction. While Luna is torn between family loyalty and her own feelings, Alec wonders if he might have been wrong about love and marriage all along…

Click this link to purchase!* The Wedding Game

#3 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

I am so excited that there’s another book in this series. I thought it ended with the last novel. Surprise! If you haven’t read this historical mystery series you are missing out.

Synopsis:

January 1889. As the newest member of the Curiosity Club–an elite society of brilliant, intrepid women–Veronica Speedwell is excited to put her many skills to good use. As she assembles a memorial exhibition for pioneering mountain climber Alice Baker-Greene, Veronica discovers evidence that the recent death was not a tragic climbing accident but murder. Veronica and her natural historian beau, Stoker, tell the patron of the exhibit, Princess Gisela of Alpenwald, of their findings. With Europe on the verge of war, Gisela’s chancellor, Count von Rechstein, does not want to make waves–and before Veronica and Stoker can figure out their next move, the princess disappears.

Having noted Veronica’s resemblance to the princess, von Rechstein begs her to pose as Gisela for the sake of the peace treaty that brought the princess to England. Veronica reluctantly agrees to the scheme. She and Stoker must work together to keep the treaty intact while navigating unwelcome advances, assassination attempts, and Veronica’s own family–the royalty who has never claimed her.

Click this link to purchase!* An Unexpected Peril (A Veronica Speedwell Mystery)

#2 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

I love romance novels where the characters are pretending to be involved and then have all of these illicit feelings. Ooohhh fun!

Synopsis:

Daisy Patel is a software engineer who understands lists and logic better than bosses and boyfriends. With her life all planned out, and no interest in love, the one thing she can’t give her family is the marriage they expect. Left with few options, she asks her childhood crush to be her decoy fiancé.

Liam Murphy is a venture capitalist with something to prove. When he learns that his inheritance is contingent on being married, he realizes his best friend’s little sister has the perfect solution to his problem. A marriage of convenience will get Daisy’s matchmaking relatives off her back and fulfill the terms of his late grandfather’s will. If only he hadn’t broken her tender teenage heart nine years ago…

Sparks fly when Daisy and Liam go on a series of dates to legitimize their fake relationship. Too late, they realize that very little is convenient about their arrangement. History and chemistry aren’t about to follow the rules of this engagement.

Click this link to purchase!* The Dating Plan

MOST ANTICIPATED MARCH BOOK RELEASE!

#6 In the Alpha and Omega series, Charles and Anna find themselves solving a supernatural disappearance. I love this series and I’ll admit that I’ve already read this book. It’s fabulous.

Synopsis:

Mated werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham must discover what could make an entire community disappear–before it’s too late–in this thrilling entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling Alpha and Omega series.

In the wilds of the Northern California mountains, all the inhabitants of a small town have gone missing. It’s as if the people picked up and left their possessions behind. With a mystery on their hands and no jurisdiction on private property, the FBI dumps the whole problem in the lap of the land owner, Aspen Creek, Inc.–aka the business organization of the Marrok’s pack.

Somehow, the pack of the Wolf Who Rules is connected to a group of vanished people. Werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham are tasked with investigating, and soon find that a deserted town is the least of the challenges they face.

Death sings in the forest, and when it calls, Charles and Anna must answer. Something has awakened in the heart of the California mountains, something old and dangerous–and it has met werewolves before.

Click this link to purchase!*Wild Sign (Alpha and Omega)

March always seems to be such a great month for book releases and this year it’s no different. I’m sure you have books you’re looking forward to that aren’t on my list. Give me a shout and let me know which books you want to read!

Deb

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

This Chick Read: Quiet In Her Bones by Nalini Singh

Aarav Rai’s mother disappeared when he was sixteen years old. He can still hear her scream and feel the rain on his face as he watched her tail lights disappear into the dark. Twenty years later her car is found down an embankment hidden by the jungle overgrowth, her bones inside wearing the clothes she disappeared in. The $250,000 she stole from her husbands safe missing from the car. The police aren’t the only one investigating this murder. Aarav is determined to find out who murdered his mother but he’s recovering from a bad car accident, a head injury, and a broken foot. Quiet in her Bones is a dark, twisted mystery that I couldn’t put down and am still thinking about days after finishing.

When the police arrive to tell Aarav and his father that his mother was found in her car not too far from their home the scene is fraught with tension. It’s immediately apparent that Aarav and his father dislike each other and Aarav is only tolerated in his fathers home because their heritage is patriarchal and he is an oldest son. The good looking Aarav is a famous horror/mystery fiction writer who had a popular book made into a movie and whose fame he uses to his advantage. Turning on the charm when he wants to divert attention but intent upon his own self destruction, his addiction is sugar instead of pills or booze. As the narrator we are bystanders to his thoughts and this author leads us down the path of his derangement.

Set in a wealthy neighborhood in New Zealand I’m immediately enraptured by the foreign nature of pretty much everything. Aarav is Indian and so his family’s names and culture are very different, but life in New Zealand is not familiar to this southern California native and the differences seem pretty extreme. Add to that foreign setting a disturbed narrator, and a dark elite lifestyle led by his neighbors the scene is set for some dark hijinks and Nalini Singh certainly delivers. These characters were so interesting and the contradiction between their somewhat ordinary lifestyles and their bizarre secrets revealed bit by bit kept me eagerly turning each page.

It’s hard to write a review for a mystery and not reveal all the details. I don’t want to spoil this one for anyone. I will say that the author does a great job of leading the reader to think they know who the killer is at different parts of the novel. I think I ran through about six killers before the end of the book. There were a few red herring’s but part of the effectiveness of being led astray was that the mood was so dark it was easiest to follow the light of the one character you were reading about at that moment. I had fun reading Quiet In Her Bones because I just don’t get surprised too often anymore, but this time this author did it. I was surprised by the ending. You can’t help but appreciate that!

❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Quiet in Her Bones

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.

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (2/22/21)

With the storms passing through last week, all I wanted to do this weekend was curl up with a good book! Did I reach for a new book? Nope! I went for the first book in a series that I hadn’t read in awhile. The 6th is coming out this week and after reading it I got curious again about the earlier days of this series. I do that a lot. LOL. Here’s what I was reading.

This post originated over on Book Date, so thanks for the idea and letting me continue on the discussion about what books I am reading.

JUST FINISHED

This is the first book in the Alpha and Omega series. It’s an urban fantasy mystery series that is absolutely fantastic. Set in the same world as Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson series I had forgotten how much I loved the two main characters Charles and Anna.

JUST STARTED

This one is another re-read although I haven’t read it since it initially came out a year or so ago. It wasn’t my favorite book by this author and I wanted to see if my feelings had changed. I am somewhat struggling to get myself through this one so again I’d have to say that the characters are a little challenging to love. I do love this author a LOT though, she’s one of my favorites.

These are the books that got me through my weekend into my Monday. What are you reading today?

Happy Monday!

Deb

This Chick Read: Passion on Park Avenue (The Central Park Pact #1) by Lauren Layne

Naomi Powell has transformed herself from the poor daughter of a housekeeper to CEO of a Fortune 500 jewelry business but despite her success she’s had trouble putting her past behind her. She receives an invitation to interview for an open apartment in the very same Park Avenue building where she’d lived with her mother when she was a housekeeper. That job ended in embarrassment, living on the streets for a short time, and her mother’s eventual decline. Naomi has held a grudge against the boy she used to know, Oliver Cunningham and his failure to stand up for her to his father. When it is none other than Oliver himself who interviews her for the apartment she does the unexpected and accepts the offer to live next door to him. What she finds is that he and his father are not the people she expected them to be. Can she put the past behind her and take his offer of friendship seriously? Especially when she finds him so attractive?

I’ll admit a great enemies to lovers plot is my favorite romance trope, but there was something more to Passion on Park Avenue. I think it was Naomi’s background and her rags to riches story. Super private, Naomi doesn’t let a lot of people close. The series is based on a female friendship between she and two other women who all got screwed over by the same man, so her mistrust in people seems pretty apt. She does strike up a heartfelt friendship with those ladies so it doesn’t seem to far fetched for her to give Oliver a chance at friendship. Especially once she see’s that he isn’t the boy she remembers. It does take her a little while to get there though. The fact that Oliver wants something a bit more than friendship is something she isn’t ready to give, but their dance towards romance is tension filled and makes for a great story.

There is a surprising amount of depth in this novel. Not just in the premise of the three ladies who become friends when they find out at his funeral that they all were involved with the same man. That is a great way to start but once Naomi’s story gets going we see that hard as nails shell is actually a protective shield to keep her from being hurt like she was over and over by the people she counted on as a child. Her own mother included. Naomi has always had to count on herself, so it’s hard for her to let someone else in her life and doesn’t know how to lean on someone else. It does help that Oliver is taking care of his ill father and despite his strength could use someone to lean on himself. His reasons for never letting a woman get close are pretty obvious. His time is restricted by his father’s needs. Can the two of them get over their misplaced independence and come to rely on each other? Well, this is a romance so you can guess that they do, but their story is worth reading to find out how it happens.

I should mention that I read the second book in this series first, and liked it enough to go back to start the series. I actually liked this novel even better than the second one. I think I’m a sucker for great female fictional friendships. Naomi, Claire, and Audrey have that bond of betrayal that makes them become true friends. They are each totally different than each other, but somehow each of their strengths balance the others weakness. I love that their friendship is just as big a part of the story as the romance, and that story continues through each book and just keeps getting better.

If you’re looking for a light-hearted romance with some depth of character, please give this series a try. This novel was fun, but it also had some emotional moments that had me reaching for a tissue. It was the perfect balance of romance and story. I’m giving it a 4.5 rating for entertainment and striking the right emotional chord. I hope you’ll like it as well. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

Click this link to purchase!* Passion on Park Avenue (1) (The Central Park Pact)

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved.

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

This Chick Read: Free (Chaos #6) by Kristen Ashley

Rebel Stapleton’s best friend fell a victim to addiction which led her down the path to her ultimate death. Wanting revenge for her friends death Rebel goes undercover hoping to gather evidence and build a case against the people who killed her. She put her life on the line, which became unacceptable to many people, but mostly to Rush, a man that she hadn’t yet met, but who was determined to protect her.

With a name like Rebel you knew she’d be the perfect girlfriend to a biker guy named Rush. As with many of our alpha hero’s he took one look at her through binoculars no less, and decided she was the one for him. Despite her independence she quickly realized she was in over her head and seemed somewhat relieved that he swooped in to save her. Unfortunately she’d caught the eye of the bad guy who was also determined to make her his own. That was just not going to happen on Rush’s watch.

Free, the title for what might be the last book in this series. A concept that for the men of the Chaos MC means they can live their lives free and clear, having gotten out of the illegal game their predecessors had led them into. It also means that they let other people live their lives and they don’t pass judgement. I liked this concept and them for this book a lot. I just wish the story had been as simple as that theme. Free, the story was a convoluted mix of twists and turns that instead of being a series of reveals for the reader just created more conflict. I’ll admit this novel exhausted me and I’m a fan of this series.

There is always a bit of emotional drama in a KA novel. This had an overabundance of both but what it was missing was a little bit of the humor that balanced all of that dark drama. Some of her other novels found that balance which made those stories more enjoyable to read. This novel was dark after dark, only letting in a small amount of light which would be the romance of Rush and Rebel. I just wish the author hadn’t taken us on the other tangents which I felt were a little unnecessary and tainted my feelings for this book a bit.

So, I had mixed feelings for this book. ❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this book!* Free (Chaos Series Book 7)

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.

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (2/15/21)

I’ve found my mood has changed slightly over the past week, probably because of the impeachment trial taking over our airwaves, and my reading choices changed to more intricately told stories than the romances I’d been reading. It’s interesting how my reading mood changes with what has gone on around me. It really does influence my choices. Do you feel the same way?

This post originated over on Book Date, so thanks for the idea and letting me continue on the discussion about what books I am reading.

JUST FINISHED

I am rarely disappointed in one of JD Robb’s In Death futuristic murder mysteries. This is book #50 in the series, which I’m sure was a landmark number. I can’t think of another series that has this many novels in it. It was a solid story that held my interest, wasn’t too gruesome in gory details, and did well on leaving me satisfied and feeling vindicated at the ending. All in all a solid story for a fiftieth novel! The 52nd just came out so I’m a little behind. She writes incredibly quickly!

JUST STARTED

Written by Nalini Singh who is known for her paranormal romances, Quiet in her Bones is a departure. Set in New Zealand, it’s an atmospheric murder mystery. I just started this novel but I can already feel the sinister nature of the story and can’t wait to really dig in.

What mood have you been in this week? Are you pining for a good romance? Or like me, are you needing the gritty mystery to solve and feel redeemed? Please let me know what you’re reading in the comments. I always find new books based upon you all’s input!

Happy Monday!

Deb

This Chick Read: Unleashing Mr. Darcy by Teri Wilson

I have had this novel on my wishlist at the library for-ever. I found myself gravitating towards it I think because during this pandemic I can only concentrate on lighter novels and this one sure fit the boot!

Amateur dog show enthusiast and teacher Elizabeth Scott has recently run into trouble at her Manhattan upper crust school when she fails one of her students and has a run in with his wealthy father. Instead of believing her story her school puts her on “vacation” as they investigate the situation. So, Elizabeth turns to her true love her dog Bliss and shows her in an east coast dog show judged by dog breeder and English Billionaire Donovan Darcy. Sparks go flying when she takes umbrage to his treatment of her and he’s intrigued by this sassy American woman. When she gets a part time job helping show dogs in England she ends up living across the street from Donovan Darcy. Their paths cross and the sparks become something more.

This was a fun story that was easy to read and written with a lighthearted sense of humor. I didn’t take the story seriously but it took my mind off the news cycle and helped me sleep a little better. That sounds kind of weird when I read that back but it’s true! Written in 2013 this novel could be read anytime and wasn’t dated at all. I loved the dog show aspect of the story and couldn’t help but visualize the campy movie Dog Show while I read some of those scenes.

Elizabeth was only slightly annoying in that she couldn’t seem to see past the fact that Donovan had a lot of money and she was treated horribly by a wealthy man despite Donovan being completely different. In fact, she ran really hot and cold with him. At times I wondered why he stuck around, but it wouldn’t be a romance novel if he left her and went off to do his own thing! 🙂

If you are also looking for lighter novels, try Teri Wilson’s Unleashing Mr. Darcy. It was cute and fun and didn’t take a lot of brainwaves to read. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase! Unleashing Mr. Darcy

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: A Stranger in Town (Casey Duncan #6) by Kelley Armstrong

Casey and Eric find dead tourists in the woods who look like they have been attacked. When one of that group is found alive they take her back to Rockton but have to restrain her because she is totally out of her mind hallucinating and speaking a foreign language. As the law in their small town Casey and her boyfriend Sheriff need to find out who did this and if those people will be threatening their town.

I have read every one of the novels in this series and A Stranger in Town does a great job of answering some of the many questions that readers have had about these characters and the city they live in. How did Rockton get started? Who is the “council”? How did the separate colonies split off? How did one of them go crazy? I’m not going to spoil the novel by telling you any of these answers but I will say that there were a couple of surprises and the answers are definitely worth reading.

I have enjoyed reading about these characters and watching the evolution of their relationships with each other. When Casey’s sister April became the doctor in Rockton and all of their past ill feelings towards each other was brought to light I loved how reading Casey’s inner conflict and watching her struggle to read an exchange with her sister with the knowledge she now has as an adult is fascinating. I really like how they are using this experience in being in this small town of 100-150 people to really repair their relationship. Another relationship that has kept going through an evolution is the one between Casey and her boyfriend Eric. They are most definitely in love, but that has not kept them from hurting each other by seeing situations through their past individual experiences. Of course we all do that but in their case, Eric was raised in Rockton from a small child, and Casey’s experiences are from outside. Those differences have crafted their personalities and in this novel we see them actively dis-engaging from those experiences to treat each other in a more healthy manner.

The mystery in this novel was intricate, fun, kind of gross, and turned everyone on their heads. The best kind of mystery, right? So why do I get the feeling this author might be finished with this series? I can only hope I’m wrong because i’m not done with these characters, I’d really like to see them go through another evolution perhaps raising a family or a litter of puppies.

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

Click this link to purchase! A Stranger in Town: A Rockton Novel (Casey Duncan Novels, 6)

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.