This Chick Read: A Wicked Kind of Husband (Longhope Abbey #1) by Mia Vincy

Cassandra and Joshua DeWitt have been married for two years and haven’t seen each other since their wedding day. When Cassandra shows up at their London house and her husband is in residence she convinces herself that the house is big enough for the two of them. When her husband is accused of betraying her in her marriage, she leaps to his defense and all of a sudden they are forced to portray a happy union. Of course, spending all of that time together leads to grumbling tension and intense attraction.

When your favorite writing duo speaks out about enjoying this novel you just have to take a look. I was pleasantly surprised at this historical romance. Joshua was a different kind of hero. Once part of the peerage until his father’s bigamy was discovered he has made his fortune in business. His frenetic energy made him seem rather ADHD but Cassandra’s soothing influence gave him a more mischievousness that I’m not sure the author intended.

Cassandra, also was something other than she appeared. Smart and confident on the outside, she was actually desperate for the love and affection of her family who have blamed her for their rather dire straits and boredom. Cassandra and Joshua were an interesting pairing and I enjoyed this quick paced love story very much.

There were plenty of antics and bickering, as well as a bit of a mystery for them to solve together that paired them off rather quickly. If you like sassy historical romances this one is just different enough to elevate it to a 4.5 rating, but then a little humor always gets an extra .5 from me! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

Click this link to purchase!* A Wicked Kind of Husband

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

It's Monday, what are you reading? (2/17/20)

After a busy weekend mindlessly streaming shows on Netflix I need to get back into a good book! Admittedly I’ve been listening to books more than reading them lately, but that counts doesn’t it? This post originated over on Book Date , so thanks for the idea and letting me continue on the discussion.

JUST FINISHED

First Sentence Read: “I rode into Asheville, North Carolina, for all the wrong reasons, from the wrong direction, on a borrowed bike, with no weapons, ready to go to work for the vamps again.”

JUST STARTED

First Sentence Read: “I knew it was a shitty idea to click on the link on my home screen.”

Both of these novels are audiobooks and have fabulous narrators. I’d totally recommend reading or listening to either of them.

Have you just started a new book? What are you reading this fine Monday?

Deb

This Chick Read: How to Love Your Elf (Embraced by Magic #1) by Kerrelyn Sparks

Synopsis: Sorcha knew the mission was dangerous. Leaving the safe grounds of her brother’s kingdom and parlaying with the elves across their border . . . well, treachery seemed at least as likely as true peace. But to support her sister, Sorcha would brave far more than the underhanded ways of the elves. Or so she thought, before she was taken hostage.
 
Of course, her captors didn’t count on her particular abilities—or on the help of the Woodsman, the mysterious thief who made his home in the forest. He saw the battle from the trees, saw the soldier attacking against incredible odds to save a comrade—and then saw the valiant fighter revealed as Princess Sorcha of Norveshka. He can’t tell if he wants to kidnap her or kiss her. But despite Sorcha’s stubbornness, his inconvenient honor, and a rebellion on the cusp of full war, something burns between them that neither can let go . . .

REVIEW: The series name Embraced by Magic #1 implies that this book is the first in the series, doesn’t it? Foolish me! As I was reading this novel I quickly realized this was not the first novel. There were clearly a few couples already covered in a previous series which normally would make me mad. I kept reading because I had to, as I was given an ARC of this novel to review. At this point you’re probably thinking that I got lost in the story and soon forgot that the publisher misled me….you’re wrong! I only got more mad because this novel was so poorly written! Even though I’ve never read a Kerrelyn Sparks novel before, I know this is an author who has written a whole bunch of novels and well, this novel felt like it was a first attempt by a high schooler. If it had been? Well, maybe I would be a little less harsh, but it wasn’t. So, how did I feel about this book? Disappointed would be putting it mildly.

I’m not a reviewer that normally writes scathing commentary. It’s not worth my time unless I feel like I need to take a stand on behalf on women for a horrible topic like romanticizing sexism or rape. This novel didn’t have any of those topics, it was a fantasy romance about a bunch of elves in a forest. It should’ve been fun, but was really just bad. That happens. I get it. That’s why I usually just choose to pass on the review. However, I feel like I need to make a point about how putting this novel, which was clearly the third or fourth in a different series and titling it as #1 in a new series clearly misleads the reader. Added to that is that it was just poorly written and juvenile and well, you’ve got one really unhappy reader and I got this book for free!

Setting the publisher’s intentions aside, why didn’t I like this book? This story was in 2-D. The character’s weren’t developed, the love story was contrived, and the sex scenes truly awful. The dialog was pretty comical. Our hero was a wood elf and our heroine Sorcha jokes about his wood-like erection. Yeah, it was really bad and I found myself rolling my eyes and skimming the pages hoping it would get better. It didn’t. So, despite our hero’s wood-like penis, I was left totally unsatisfied.

Maybe this style of writing is what Kerrelyn Sparks is famous for and I’m going to anger a bunch of fans of this author, but I hope it’s just one bad book in her catalog and I just chose the wrong one to test the waters.

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

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved.

This Chick Read: A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh

What makes a woman who writes paranormal romances switch genre’s and try her hand at a mystery? I really don’t know but I was curious enough to pick up her novel and take a look at the back cover. There were a couple of things that jumped out and made it sound interesting. The mystery takes place in New Zealand and the synopsis made it sound different than other novels I’d read lately. As I started reading I found myself amazed that this was the same author who I’d read in the past. The pace was slow and deliberate, and whereas the two main characters were a man and a woman, this was not a love story.

After the sudden death of her husband, Anahera moves back to her hometown and a childhood friend, Miriama, immediately goes missing. As she gets to know her old friends again she starts to wonder if the long ago case of some missing hikers is connected to her friends disappearance. As police officer, Will and Ana investigate they uncover secrets that had been buried for years and Ana realizes that someone she knows may be a killer.

Lately, my tastes have run towards reading mysteries. More of a whodunnit kind of reader, A Madness of Sunshine was right up my alley. I enjoyed getting a feel for a country I don’t really know that much about, and loved the atmospheric outback feeling the character’s names and scenery provided. Despite the slow pace it held my interest and I couldn’t help but like the two very flawed main protagonists and the mystery they were solving.

Is this the start of a new series by Nalini Singh? I don’t want her to quit writing romances but I hope so, or at least I hope that she’s found a genre she enjoys writing and can continue to throw me a bone every year or two. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“The complex mystery, vivid characters and a homecoming story with a twist make A Madness of Sunshine fresh, gritty, and real.  I am very happy Nalini Singh has decided to branch out in this new direction.” Whiskey With My Book

“I think that if you are a thriller fan who isn’t used to a mix of other genres, “A Madness of Sunshine” may not satisfy your reading itch. But if you are going in with the expectation of a little bit of romance and angst, it might be a pretty good fit!” The Library Ladies

Click this link to purchase!* A Madness of Sunshine

Copyright The Reading Chick 2020 All Rights Reserved

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

The Reading Chick Also Bakes: Bouchon Bakery- Madeleines (Plain and Pistachio)

Madeleines – a cake like cookie that shouldn’t be confused with my cousin Madalaine who is also sweet but should never be baked… or well, no. I’m going to let that comment lie. Anyhow, madaleines are one of those things where I always think, wow, that’s so pretty! But, again, never thought I’d actually be baking. Mostly because you have to have a special pan that creates a fluted shell like shape, and it was never important enough for me to actually purchase that pan. UNTIL NOW.

The main characteristic of a madeleine is that when they bake they have a slight hump, which my Bouchon Bakery cookbook says mean they are “pregnant with flavor.” I decide since there are two madeleine recipes that I’ll bake both because they are essentially the same recipe although one calls for pistachio paste. Cue the screeching brake noises! Pistachio paste? Definitely not something I have in my refrigerator! I Google it and see that there are a ton of companies that sell it, but it’s pricey! Anywhere from $16.99-$35.00! Those must be some golden pistachio’s! I decide to go on Pinterest and see how hard it would be to make my own pistachio paste. It doesn’t look hard at all!

The day before I’m going to bake my madeleines I go out and purchase a bag of raw, shelled pistachio’s. I need to blanch the pistachio’s, which is to basically put the nuts in just boiled water and let them soak for a couple of minutes. The blanching makes the green in the pistachio even brighter and also helps loosen the papery skin that’s surrounding the nut. That skin has to be removed before blending or it will affect how green your paste will turn out. Thankfully, my husband decided to help me because, you know, that’s 30 minutes of quality time with moi. Yep, great fun. Once done, you blend them into a paste and voila! Pistachio paste!

But, whoa! It made a LOT of pistachio paste and my recipe only calls for 46 grams or 3 Tablespoons. I’m seeing lots of pistachio flavored goodies in my future. LOL Note- you don’t need to actually blend the entire package of pistachio’s, maybe just a half cup would do the job.

The madeleine recipe is actually pretty simple. I was happy to see that I get to use my just learned Pommade technique again but this time on my eggs and sugar. The thought being that if you warm the bowl before mixing them together that you’ll melt the sugar a bit. Don’t overheat though because you could cook your eggs. Luckily, I did not do that. My egg mixture did seem to whip up nicely after warming, so I guess it worked! Once I make my batters they need to spend the night in the fridge.

You can see that the pistachio batter on the right is a little greener than the other. Before baking I must prepare the pan. Now, normally I’d just spray on some baking spray, but since I’m trying to grow my experiences I decide to brush the madeleine tray with butter as instructed and freeze the tray for a few minutes before filling up my batter. Surprisingly those madeleines popped right out! I think in part because it was a brand new non stick tray too, but you know, we’ll say the butter thing worked too.

If you are trying this recipe at home be aware that this recipe makes exactly twelve madeleines. Not even one more! They baked so nicely and even got that little pregnant hump that is indicative of a good madeleine! yay!

My color could have been a little bit darker but overall I’m pretty happy with them. If you’ve never had a madeleine before they really are like little cakes. Moist and airy and delicious!

Now, I’m a girl that likes a little extra, extra. So I added white chocolate and coconut to the plain madeleines and semi-sweet chocolate with crushed pistachios. Yum!

Purchased for this recipe : 1 Madeleine tray $10.99 and 1 bag of pistachio’s $15.89. OK, I know I could’ve bought the pistachio paste for that price, but it’s all about the learning!

I have to say, I would definitely make this recipe again, although I’d double the batch.

Click this link to purchase! Bouchon Bakery (The Thomas Keller Library)

This Chick Read: Aurora Blazing (The Consortium Rebellium book #2) by Jessie Mihalik

As the third oldest child in House Von Hasenberg, Bianca has always been the dutiful daughter. Marrying for a political alliance instead of love, now widowed she’s vowed to live life by her own rules. When her house comes under attack and her brother is kidnapped, Bianca’s underground informants give her a lead on his kidnappers. She’s determined to go after them alone, but the Head of Security for her house is fast on her trail and they have to come to an agreement about how to investigate the situation. Action, danger, and romance, all rolled into one, Aurora Blazing was exactly as I’d hoped. Even better than the first novel in the series.

Bianca was so fascinating! A horrible marriage changed her both physically and mentally. A fact that she’s hidden from her family and friends. Ian Bishop knows there’s something different about her but it’s not until they go on the search for her brother together that he’s given the chance to get close and see the consequences her disastrous marriage had on her psyche. He’s determined to protect her from both herself and from her enemies.

I thought Polaris Rising had a lot of promise but it left me feeling a little disappointed. Aurora Blazing lived up to that first book’s promise and then some! The characters were fully fleshed out, the mystery detailed and enthralling, and Bianca and Ian’s relationship was full of tension and burned slow. A Sci-Fi fantasy novel full of heat, heart, and heartache.

I get the feeling as this series moves forward and every little detail of the Von Hasenberg’s are revealed I’m going to love the series even more. Bianca’s back story was pretty horrible and really really interesting. I can’t imagine how any other character could be as interesting but in Aurora Blazing we are given little hints into a couple of future novels that may live up to my expectations. I hope this author is writing fast and furious because I want the next novel out soon! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Aurora Blazing: A Novel (The Consortium Rebellion)

Copyright 2020 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: Alone in the Wild (Casey Duncan #5) by Kelley Armstrong

While on a camping trip with her boyfriend Detective Casey Duncan here’s a baby crying. With a foot of snow on the ground Casey searches out the sound and finds a baby lying in the arms of a dead woman buried in the snow. Casey and Eric take the baby back to the safety of Rockton determined to investigate. Was the dead woman the baby’s mother? Or had she taken the baby from it’s mother. Alone in the Wild shows us a different side of Casey and pushes she and Eric into making an emotional decision.

I really enjoyed how Alone in the Wild was this great mystery but it was also a self discovery novel that pushed Casey and Eric into making decisions about their future. Which one was more interesting? Truly they were both great. The mystery was excellent and it each discovery gave a little more information about this world and some of it was eye opening.

This series is now in it’s fifth installation and my interest in the town of Rockton and Casey and Eric in particular has not waned at all. The two of them keep getting more interesting and as their romance becomes more emotional I want to learn even more about them. While taking care of a baby we see a softer side of both Casey and Eric and I kind of liked it. They are both so tough that it’s nice to see that they can have deeper emotions, not just for each other, but for someone that needs their care and support.

I was really looking forward to this novel and it lived up to my expectations. It was not just a mystery it was a look into the souls of our two main characters. Luckily, the depths of these two characters held up and made this novel even stronger. I’m really looking forward to what their future holds and can’t wait for the release of the next novel!

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!* Alone in the Wild: A Rockton Novel (Casey Duncan Novels)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

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

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

JUST FINISHED

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

JUST STARTED:

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

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

Have a great week!

Deb

The Reading Chick Also Bakes: Bouchon Bakery- Scones (Plain and Cinnamon Honey)

This week in my Bouchon Bakery challenge I skipped from the cookie chapter to the Scones and Muffins chapter. When I took a look at the first recipe I danced a little jig. Score! A plain scone. I’ve made scones before and even though a couple of ingredients were new to me I thought this was a recipe I could handle.

I made up my grocery list and headed off to the store. The Plain Scone recipe called for Creme Fraiche and I headed to the dairy department not knowing exactly what it was but knew it was a dairy. LOL. I looked by the sour cream…nope, by the heavy cream….nope, by the cream cheese….nope. Then I re-looked in all of those places again! Finally I found someone who worked there and they pointed me to the gourmet cheese section. Huh! This was the brand available at Kroger but I’m sure there are many more.

Now that I had the ingredients I was ready to bake! I got out my brand new scale, started to measure and realized I did not purchase a scale that went down to a .10. The scale rounds up on the number. How did I do that again? Aargh. Oh well, I need to suck it up and just carefully estimate any measurements. The measuring commenced!

When I put it all in my KitchenAid mixer to blend in the butter I paid special attention to how long they said it would take for the butter to mix in. Low and behold, the timing works! At 3 minutes the butter was incorporated without me having to blend in any chunks by hand. Note to self…when the recipe calls for the mixer to mix for a certain amount of time, that number is pretty spot on. Usually I don’t have the patience to wait three minutes for something to mix, give up and stop a lot earlier. Hmm. Patience. Not something I can purchase, but maybe something I can learn. I got out my cell phone and turned on the stopwatch function determined to start timing everything.

At this point I met my challenge.

When I read the prologue of this cookbook it says to read the instructions of your recipe all the way through before you start baking. That way you’ll know what to do and at what time to do it. Repeat. READ THE INSTRUCTIONS ALL THE WAY THROUGH. This way, you don’t leave things out, or miss why you are mixing something at a certain time. For example when it says to pour the cream into the dry mixture, and I’m doing that, I should read further to incorporate the Creme Fraiche at that time as well. Yeah, I waited a little too long. I think I over mixed the scones a bit and because I added that Creme Fraiche a little late, the dough is slightly wet.

Oh well, it’s too late to change the recipe and I’m moving on to the next item. Cooling my dough. Funny enough, this recipe requires more time for refrigerating and freezing than it does in actually mixing the ingredients together. For someone like me who likes instant gratification, this stop and start routine was tough! I patted the dough into the expected large rectangle, put it in the fridge and waited two hours.

After the two hour cool down I try my hand at cutting the dough into individual scones. Looking at the photo, you can see I am triangularly challenged. They may not all be the same size but they will all taste alike! Next, they go into the freezer for at least 2 more hours. Start and stop. I wish they’d tell you why? I can only guess. Maybe because this is a restaurant cookbook they make these individually to sell or is it that the freezing process does something to the butter so that it cooks better and maybe holds its shape? Who knows! I will say that not having to cook every single scone is pretty handy. So I didn’t. LOL.

Other than challenging my patience this scone recipe was pretty easy! In addition to the plain scone recipe I noticed another which used the same Plain Scone recipe but added in a honey cinnamon paste to the dough, so I whipped up those as well and actually did better with the dough the second time around.

The Cinnamon honey cubes were made from a combination of flour, butter, sugar, cinnamon, and honey. You freeze the mixture and then cut it into little cubes to add into the dough. Other than my cubes maybe being a little too large the end result was a success!

I’ll admit that the first one with the whipped cream and strawberry jam looks a lot better than the second, but my second attempt at that mix actually had the scone rise a little bit more and it was tasty too!

This week I knocked out two recipe’s in one day of baking. Now, I’m not going to get a big head because I pretty much plowed through these scone recipe’s. There are bigger challenges ahead!

Until next time!

Deb

This Chick Read: Connections in Death (In Death #48) by J.D. Robb

Once again Homicide cop Eve Dallas and her gorgeous billionaire husband Roarke’s lives cross closely with murder. Dr. Rochelle Pickering has just been hired as psychologist at their youth shelter when her brother Lyle is found dead by an apparent drug overdose in their apartment. As Eve investigates his troubled past as a gang member emphasizing the reasons their shelter is being built.

There have been sooooo many In Death books that after 47 you would think it would be hard for the author to come up with an original mystery. I really felt Connections in Death delivered! I could be wrong, but I don’t remember Eve investigating gangs in any of the previous novels. I found this brought a grittier feel to the mystery. The bulletproof vests were on and doors were being broken down, it was similar to an episode of Law & Order! The contrast between that gang lifestyle and Lyle’s rehabilitated world made the reason for his murder even more sad.

I enjoyed this novel more than quite a few others in the series because the detectives felt more like cops than investigators. Yes, Peabody in her pink coat and boots is adorable and brilliant, but I enjoyed seeing her pummel a gang member and get physical.

This was a fast paced story that I easily read in a few hours and enjoyed tremendously. The characters didn’t advance any storylines further it was just a straight mystery with no sidebar distractions, and I really liked it! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Connections in Death: An Eve Dallas Novel (In Death, Book 48)

Copyright 2020 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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