This Chick Read: If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins

Jenny Tate is moving her wedding dress store back to her home town for two reasons. The first is to be closer to her sister and her three nieces and the second is to be further removed from her ex-husband, his wife and their new baby. It’s hard to move on with her life when they (Rachel and her ex) are still so involved in each others lives. Rachel is thrilled her sister Jenny is moving back to town, but when it seems her marriage is on the rocks she has difficulty seeing the truth behind the lies. If You Only Knew is the story of two sisters who are navigating through difficulties leaning on each other but also learning their own inner strengths.

Jenny’s marriage slowly falls apart with her husband eventually leaving her saying he just wants something more. He finds that just three months later and then immediately has the baby Jenny had wanted with him. He remains friends with Jenny, calling her his best friend, and she lets him even though it makes her miserable. When she moves the shop to her hometown she moves into a small complex and meets her downstairs neighbor Leo. He is devastatingly gorgeous and closed off keeping her at a distance with a friends with benefits status. Jenny dreams of a relationship with Leo that may never come. The good thing about their story is that she’s finally weaned off from her ex and didn’t really even notice it happening.

Rachel tries so hard for the perfect life and marriage. She deftly raises her three children and when her husband comes home everyone is spotless and lovely for him to kiss goodnight. When she discovers he’s cheated the walls come crumbling down on her perfect life and she wonders why she tried so hard to keep the love and passion in her marriage. If there was one character I hated in this book I’d say it was her husband. He acted entitled and I just loathed him for how he treated Rachel.

The two sisters have a wonderful relationship, so supportive and are each others champion through life. Even with their problems their love for each other was so apparent, it was lovely. If You Only Knew was filled with angst, pain, and rebirth. It was deftly told and at the end the reader is left with a feeling of completion if not happiness for each sister. Their lives may go through good and bad, but I felt like if they had each other in their lives they could pull through almost anything. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* If You Only Knew: A Women’s Fiction Novel (Hqn)

Copyright 2020 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

It's Monday, what are you reading? (1/20/2020)

Today’s post is a catch all for a couple of different topics. First, I’ve challenged myself to improve my baking skills by taking on a cookbook that is above my skill set. I expect to have a lot of laughs and want to share this journey. I won’t go into it on this weekly post, but wanted to mention this once that I will be constantly reading Thomas Keller Bouchon Bakery. You can read my first post released yesterday and follow my progress weekly. The Reading Chick Bakes: Introduction

I have also been keeping up with my regular reading schedule which I’ll talk about below. I’ve really enjoyed the comments and books you’ve all shared. Thanks so much for your interactions! This post originated over on Book Date , so thanks for the idea and letting me continue on the discussion.

JUST FINISHED

First Sentence Read: “Some moments in life you remember forever.”

JUST STARTED

First Sentence Read: “October. A dark day in October.”

Well, neither of those first lines give away much of the plot for those books, do they? LOL. Ilona Andrews Innkeeper series is one of my favorites and Sweep With Me, a novella, only gives me a taste of what I’m longing for…another Innkeeper full length novel! Headliners is #5 in the London Celebrities series and I’ve been looking forward to this book since I binge read the others in the series. I’m a day behind on getting this book read and reviewed as it was released today. Yikes! Somehow my busy weekend has made me too tired to read this week! I do have the day off today so hopefully I’ll have time to enjoy what’s sure to be a fun romantic comedy.

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY

In the US, today is Martin Luther King Jr. day. A holiday that is celebrated, but by most who are not directly impacted culturally, is forgotten until it rolls around again the following year for another brief news cycle. My new job celebrates diversity and equality and has given us the day off to reflect. Most of the US will enjoy the additional day off from work (if they have one) without thinking about what this day means to the African American community, and should mean to society as a whole. I found the quotes below by Martin Luther King, Jr. speak to me as a person and in this moment, I hope they will speak to you as well. Truthfully, it was hard to choose, there were so many.

“Darkness can not drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate can not drive out hate; only love can do that.”

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

Martin Luther King Jr. January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968

The Reading Chick Also Bakes: Introduction

It’s no secret that I love to read, after all my blog is called The Reading Chick. However, I also have another love, and that is baking. I also like to cook, but I LOVE to bake. For every holiday you can find me in the kitchen trying out a recipe that I’ve found on Pinterest. All of those pictures are colorful and make everything look so good that Pinterest has stolen away my attention from some cookbooks that I own but have never used.

I have been mulling over an idea to combine this love of reading with my love for baking. I am going to stretch my mind and my baking skills by taking on a cookbook that just may be beyond my skills. But the pictures are gorgeous and the bakery the cookbook comes from is quite famous. My challenge to myself is to bake a recipe a week and write about my success and failures on my blog, The Reading Chick, but these posts will be called The Reading Chick also Bakes with that weeks choice of recipe.

The cookbook that I will be tackling is…

Thomas Keller | Bouchon Bakery came out in 2012 and that year it was on all of the bestseller lists. I asked for it for Christmas and my sister very nicely gave it to me. I eagerly opened the book and very quickly deflated because the recipe’s called for me to measure ingredients using a scale and use some items I didn’t own in my own kitchen. I looked at all the pictures and quietly put it back on my shelf with all of my other cookbooks where it has sat gathering dust.

In the years since, I’ve been baking more and expanding my horizons, this past Christmas I actually baked a cake by measuring out the ingredients on a scale and my family declared it the best cake I’d ever baked. After that success I took this cookbook back off my shelf and cracked open the pages. I read the recommendation and reasons why you get better results by measuring. “When you measure by volume, the weight of an ingredient can differ each time.”* Meaning it doesn’t matter if you spooned the flour, packed it into the cup a little too much, etc. A gram is a gram. Maybe this was why my cake was so good this year? That aha! moment took away a little of the scariness in doing something that I had never done before and the idea for cooking one recipe a week and blogging about it was born.

I know this is not a new concept. There are bloggers who’ve become quite renowned for cooking all of the recipe’s in a cookbook. Even have had a movie made from one blogger’s experience in Julie and Julia, but I’m going into this to better my own skills, talk about what was challenging, what worked, and what the outcome of that week’s bake tasted like. In essence, doing this is a lot more for me than for you. LOL.

I need to decide how to get started. This is obviously going to cost a little bit in ingredients, specialty pans, etc. so do I want that cost to be spread out a little bit? You bet! In order to cut down on costs I won’t completing a chapter at a time. I will rotate chapters, but I will go in order of the next recipe to be baked in that chapter. That way I get to cook a variety and not get burned out before the cookie chapter is done. Speaking of cookies, that is the first chapter in this book and the first thing I will be baking.

I hope you’ll indulge me on veering slightly off track to take on this challenge and talk about it with you. Please feel free to bake along with me, but if you only want to read about, great! You can take it all in and feel good about the fact that between the two of us I’m the only one that can gain weight!

Wish me luck!

Deb

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

Blog Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Thomas Keller | Bouchon Bakery

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

Blog Tour and Review: Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

It’s not often that I do blog tours anymore, but when I read the synopsis, below, I was immediately curious. Well, you read it and you’ll see what I’m talking about!

Synopsis:

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming — mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account. 

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time. 

All’s fair in love and cheese — that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life — on an anonymous chat app Jack built. 

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate — people on the internet are shipping them?? — their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.

Review:

Totally cute, right? Pepper and Jack both reminded me of myself when I was in high school. On the surface sure of who they were, but inside they had all of these feelings and insecurities. Total teenage angst with their personal problems feeling larger than life. It created a personal tension that paralleled their tweet feud and budding romance that amped the tension moving the plot along and keeping me turning the pages. Ah, sassy, teenage love.

The thing that I loved the most about this novel was that despite their parents business rivalry the two manage to build a friendship that each of them needed and looked forward to. Yes, there was the alt plot of an anonymous online romance, but it was the real one that held my interest. These two needed a best friend and it seemed they found that in each other. In a totally “tweet cute” kind of way.

No surprise that I enjoyed this novel. It was light hearted fun, but also had a depth to the relationships, both teen and parental. I sped through these pages like a kid ripping wrapping paper off my gifts eager for the happy ending. My rating? I’d give it 10 adorbs for cuteness but since that’s not on my rating bar, I’ll give Tweet Cute a ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️!

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

Author bio: Emma Lord is a digital media editor and writer living in New York City, where she spends whatever time she isn’t writing either running or belting show tunes in community theater. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a major in psychology and a minor in how to tilt your computer screen so nobody will notice you updating your fan fiction from the back row. She was raised on glitter, grilled cheese, and a whole lot of love. Her sun sign is Hufflepuff, but she is a Gryffindor rising. TWEET CUTE is her debut novel. You can find her geeking out online at @dilemmalord on Twitter.

Click this link to purchase!* Tweet Cute

Review Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserve

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

This Chick Read: Echoes Between Us by Katie McGarry

Veronica is the weird girl at school who is totally confident and doesn’t even try to fit in. Sawyer is the popular golden boy and championship swimmer. They don’t hang with the same crowd but when Sawyer and his family move into the apartment in the downstairs of Veronica’s home, he can’t help but notice her. They partner together on a class project and become close but despite their growing attraction they each have a secret that they are afraid to tell the other. Veronica’s is that she has migraine’s that let her see her dead mother and Sawyer has an adrenaline addiction. He craves the rush that comes from jumping off of high cliffs and endangering his life.

I don’t know if it was too many evenings at home watching Ghost Hunters but this synopsis was too tempting to pass up. Are these ghosts Veronica see’s real? She thinks her house is haunted and has conversations with her dead mother, however these sightings might also be hallucinations from the tumor she has growing in her brain. A tumor that she fears will kill her, just like the one that was responsible for the cancer that killed her mother. However, if she can prove that ghosts do exist she thinks it will make her father feel better if he isn’t alone after she dies. I know, kind of a shaky reason for hiding this secret, but as the story moves forward it kind of makes total sense.

Sawyer has his own problems and dating the weird girl wasn’t what he thought he’d be doing his senior year. He’s starting to get scared that he has a real addiction and that it may just be the death of him. When he meets Veronica and her theories about ghosts he feels the same rush as he does when he jumps off a cliff, but when he starts to fall for her he starts to see through her reasons for picking this topic for their senior thesis.

I was riveted by this story. Katie McGarry did a great job of giving these characters depth and her storytelling was impeccable. She created a creepy mood for some of Veronica’s chapters that added a darkness to the ghost tales that she and Sawyer went out to investigate. Sawyer’s story was also filled with a darkness and despair and it was Veronica that brought light into his life and he clung to that brightness.

I don’t want to give away any of this story because each reveal only entices you to keep reading to find out what happens next. If you like ghost stories and tales of overcoming obstacles to find happiness then you need to crack open the pages of this book. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and would love to talk to you about it! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

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!* Echoes Between Us

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? (1/13/2020)

This weekend went by so fast! I spent all day yesterday wrapped up in a book while football was on in the background. It was wonderful! This post originated over on Book Date , so thanks for the idea and letting me join in the discussion!

JUST FINISHED

First Sentence Read: “In my early morning stupor, I stumble down the stairs and into the kitchen.”

JUST STARTED

First Sentence Read: “To be fair, when the alarm goes off, there’s barely even any smoke rising out of the oven.”

What are you reading, or which book are you thinking of picking up?

This Chick Read: Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey

Rosie and Dominic Vega were high school sweethearts and got married when when he enlisted. They’ve always been each others best friend able to talk about anything and their chemistry? It sizzles! Ever since Dominic came back from Afghanistan their relationship has changed. They don’t talk as much, living together as husband and wife but except for their once a week sex-date not interacting. Rosie is heartbroken but wants to move on and start living out her dream and feels like Dominic isn’t going to stand beside her and help her accomplish them. She asks for a divorce and is surprised by how vehemently Dominic wants to make things work. So she comprises by going to last chance couples therapy. Love Her or Lose Her is a love story that puts communication first while still delivering the heat.

I really liked the premise of this novel and after reading Fix Her Up and liking it a lot, was confident Tessa Bailey would deliver a good story. Did she? Well, yes and no. I was really conflicted and my emotions were all over the place.

What I liked: I really liked Rosie. She obviously loved Dominic a lot but wasn’t going to settle for less than what she thought she deserved from her husband. She was confident, sassy, and her cooking sounded amazing. Seriously, I got hungry for cuban food reading this novel! What I also liked about Rosie was that when she realized she should take part of the blame in their failed marriage, she did…and felt horrified by it. I also liked her friends. Georgie was our heroine in Fix Her Up and she was just as charming in this novel, and Bethany, Georgie’s sister, who will star in her own novel next. Their sisterhood and support system were amazing and I had a lot of fun reading about that group.

What I didn’t like: I’m just going to say it.. Dominic. I usually like an alpha male, but this guy had way too much testosterone. Whew! His old fashioned attitude about what makes a good marriage definitely needed to be brought up to date. The heat between the two of them was crazy hot, but the way he spoke to her during those hot moments, for me, was a complete turn off. I hated his moniker for her… gosh, I’ve blacked it out of my mind, I think it was honey girl? Every time he said it, I just cringed. It seemed like the author was trying way too hard. Would such a taciturn guy really start calling her this name only when they had sex? To me, it was just weird.

So, the fact I didn’t care for half the couple wasn’t a good sign. However, I did like how going to therapy made them open up and see things in each other and in themselves. That, and Rosie’s character elevating their coupledom out of the trash heap with her genuine likability? I gave Lover Her or Lose Her a 3 rating, which on my scale is average. I like this author but I think she missed the mark on this couple. ❤️❤️❤️

I received a free copy of this ARC for my honest review and it was honest!

Click this link to purchase!* Love Her or Lose Her: A Novel

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

“Because while it is a truth universally acknowledge that a single Muslim man must be in want of a wife, there’s an even greater truth: To his Indian mother, his own inclinations are of secondary importance.”

Ayesha Shamsi lives with her boisterous Muslim family. Ayesha is in her late twenties and just started a teaching job and has almost given up on her dream of being a spoken word poet. Khalid is a conservative Muslim, dressing and living life according to his faith. When Ayesha and Khalid meet, she thinks he’s arrogant and judgmental and he thinks she’s beautiful and outrageous. As they get to know each other their opinions change, but when suddenly it’s announced he’s been arranged to marry her cousin Hafsa, both Ayesha and Khalid realize some truths about themselves and each other.

I LOVED Ayesha at Last. I was hesitant to read it because of the comparison to Pride and Prejudice and I’ve read some of those that were so poorly done. Ayesha at Last was very loosely based upon Jane Austen’s novel, and it was the differences that stood out. Yes, Khalid was handsome and arrogant, as was Darcy in the original novel, but he was also honorable, decent, and most importantly head over heels for Ayesha. A fact that the author didn’t try to hide at all. Unlike Pride and Prejudice, reading from Khalid’s perspective made all the difference for me. His faith was fascinating and his character growth in seeing beyond and outside of his faith made me swoon (and I don’t swoon!).

I also really liked Ayesha (thank goodness!)! She too was quick to judge and was also true to her faith, although she had a dream of reading and writing poetry- and having it heard. As a woman living in a culture that lacks certain freedom’s for women, speaking words she has written, and expressing that emotion was HUGE for this character. The fact that Khalid see’s her in a “lounge” the first time they meet, and she recites a poem, and thinks he’s judged her for it makes his acceptance and admiration more impactful. As they get to know each other and fall in love the veil is lifted and their belief’s about each other are revealed and explored.

Ayesha at Last has to be the book that’s surprised me the most this year. I was given a free copy at a convention and had put it aside because of my disappointment in some other Pride and Prejudice re-makes. I wish I’d picked it up sooner because I’d have liked to shout my feelings to the world and helped this author sell some copies. Just in case it’s not too late to put this one on your radar, or maybe it is on your radar but you haven’t picked it up to read yet, in this reviewer’s opinion PLEASE do! I hope you’ll like it as much as I have, it was a real game changer for me! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“Rereading Ayesha At Last has made me love the story even more. I appreciated once again the characters that Jalaluddin has created; and smiled, unreservedly, at the subtle references made to Pride and Prejudice. The story is humorous, prods at social norms, and has become one of my favourite rom-coms.” Colline’s Blog

“Uzma Jalaluddin’s Ayesha at Last pays homage to Pride and Prejudice without feeling confined by certain aspects. The characters’ struggles feel more relevant in a modern setting and Jalaluddin’s infuses just enough humor and romance to make this a must for P&P fans.” A Kernal of Nonsense

Click this link to purchase!* Ayesha At Last

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chick Read: Welcome to the Pine Away Motel and Cabins by Katarina Bivald

Henny just had the most wonderful weekend with the man she’s always been in love with…until she gets hit by a car walking back to the Pine Creek Motel where she works. Henny’s untimely death doesn’t end with her following the light into heaven, instead Henny finds herself still among her friends and family and feels that there must be a reason that she hasn’t passed to the other side.

As she watches her friends lives go on she travels around town and see’s Proposition 9, a proposal for a law against LGBTQ’s in Oregon is fought again, 15 years after it’s inception. Through Henny’s flashbacks we re-live the original opposition and also the day her friend Mackenzie revealed she was gay. The parallels to what is happening in her town today are apparent but the difference is in how her group of friends deal with that opposition today. Welcome to the Pine Away Motel and Cabins is a look inside a small community while they are grieving, loving, fighting for a cause, and finally moving on from their grief.

Bivald pits Henny’s diverse group of friends against the ultra conservative Baptist community who are trying to convince their town that evil things are going on at the rundown motel. It’s run by homosexuals and their guests are the town rejects (and Henny’s dad), gasp! As we get to know these people we see how banding together against a common enemy helps them deal with their grief for Henny. I loved the diverse cast of characters and how Bivald showed that despite people’s differences on the outside, inside they have the same depth of feeling.

If I had one criticism it would be that I felt Henny’s personal story was left a little unresolved. That’s it. I can’t say anymore because I’m afraid I’ll give the story away. I will say that this story touched me and made me jealous of the wonderful friendships portrayed in this novel and I cried quite a few times. So, keep some tissues close at hand!

❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Welcome to the Pine Away Motel and Cabins

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

It’s Monday what are you reading? (1/6/2020)

After nearly two weeks off I am heading back to work today so this is a rather bittersweet Monday. However, I just finished a good book last night and will be starting a new one this afternoon, which turns that bittersweet into, well, semi-sweet at least. Lol. This post originated over on Book Date , so thanks for the idea and letting me join in the discussion!

JUST FINISHED

First Sentence Read: “My funeral begins in an hour.”

NEXT UP!

First Sentence Read: “Rosie Vega: a department store shopper’s worst nightmare.”

What book are you starting your week with?