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

Today is Monday, June 1st! Wow, this spring has flown by and we are now in our summer season. My favorite time of year to check out the new books coming out. Normally I’m purchasing a few to take on vacation and even though I don’t have a vacation planned right now, I’m definitely looking forward to cracking open a few books. This last weekend was gorgeous in Nashville with the temperatures in the mid 70’s and low humidity. I spent some time outside on my deck, and yes, part of that time was reading! Here is what I’ve been checking out.

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

Sometimes you just want to go back and re-read a book that you’ve enjoyed previously. It’s been about 5 years since I read this one, and it was as campy and fun as I remembered.

Click this link to purchase!* Rock Chick Revenge

JUST STARTED

I am a huge fan of Grace Draven’s and was excited to get my hands on her newest fantasy novel. Isn’t this a great cover? So gorgeous! The novel is off to a quick start and has totally grabbed my interest.

Click this link to purchase!* Dragon Unleashed (The Fallen Empire Book 2)

What book are you reading as you start the week?

Deb

This Chicks Hockey Mini Reviews!

I saw the third book in this series on NetGalley and it peaked my interest. The couple of reviews I read stated emphatically that this series was NOT a romance series, it’s straight fiction with a ton of hockey. A couple reviewers said too much hockey, but since I’m a fan of the sport I wanted to read it. However, I didn’t want to start with book three, so I purchased the first in the Sophie Fournier series, Breaking the Ice.

Breaking the Ice sets up the story of Sophie Fournier, the first woman to be drafted in the NAHL, this books fictional professional hockey league. As Sophie gets to know her new team she faces a lot of adversity which is expected in a league that has always been exclusively male. In addition to those difficulties, she gets drafted on the same team with a player who had always been her rival and even though they play nice, they’re still adversaries, up for the same position on the team.

Sophie was a really interesting character. Her one goal in life was to get drafted into the NAHL, and at nineteen she has achieved that goal. However, despite her work ethic and the fact that she is one of the best players on her team, if not in the league, she still doubts herself and tries to prove herself to her coach and her team over and over. I really liked some of the characters in this story. Merlin, who’s on the same line and grows quite close to Sophie, is the comic relief, and Matty, the captain of the team steps up as a mentor.

Breaking the Ice was everything I’d hoped. The play by play action was amazing. Even though I’m a hockey fan, I’ve never played the game and have always been mystified by a few things about the game. This books behind the scenes view into the game really opened my eyes to how the game is played. I was also pleasantly surprised by how she was treated by her team and within the league. Granted this novel was written by a woman and I sensed a bit of hope in the story, there was a lot less sexism than I’d thought. Is that true to life? I, like the author, hope men would treat women entering what has always been their domain with the respect their talent deserves, but I kind of doubt it would play out like that.

The second book in the series, Sophomore Surge, is the story of Sophie’s second year playing for Concord. After winning the Maddow Award, but not taking her team to the playoffs, Sophie is determined that this will be the year. Still insecure about her position on the team, she again sets the goal of winning the Cup and proving herself to all of her critics and to her team. This year, two other women get drafted, one of whom is drafted onto her team and she’s totally excited to have a female teammate. When Elsa bails on coming to the U.S. for her first season with Concord, Sophie is again faced with being alone, and that driving need to win and prove herself.

Sophomore Surge is a pretty typical second novel. We know the cast of characters and the insecurities and strengths of our heroine, but despite the excitement of all of the hockey, the story doesn’t move Sophie’s character forward, which is mildly disappointing. Knowing this has been categorized as an LGBTQ and Demisexual (I had to look this one up too) novel, I still don’t see any signs of Sophie leaning one way or another. She is hyper-focused on her game, which truthfully I would be too. She’s just not interested in anything else. BTW- when I looked up demisexual, it is when someone needs an emotional connection in order to have a physical attraction. I found that kind of nice, right? That attraction can be towards anyone. We are teased with her friendship to Ivanov, a player from another friend who becomes one of her best friends in the league, but nothing happens sexually with him and then also with her excitement of Elsa joining the league. That’s all though, just a tease. I love all of the hockey scenes and find it hard to be too disappointed because they are written so well and I do really like Sophie’s character. I figure it will happen in that final novel.

As the final novel in the Sophie Fournier series I’m expecting a couple of things. More great hockey, because that’s been very consistent in this series, and then the culmination of that sexuality “tease” we were given by classifying this series as LGBTQ and demisexual.

In Lighting the Lamp we are given a ton of great hockey. Elsa comes to the U.S. for her first season playing for Concord and Sophie is rewarded by having a best friend (who is also female) and the excitement of connecting with someone on the ice. Their line is one of the best in the league and it’s fun to watch a couple of women kick some men’s butt’s on the ice. Elsa has a lot more sass and fire than Sophie. Not having the expectations that Sophie did for the last two years, making sure she didn’t do anything to affect other women getting drafted, Elsa is opinionated and makes Sophie have some fun. It’s a breathe of fresh air to see have a little life off the ice. Sophie keeps Elsa securely in the “friend” category because she’s a hockey playing machine, and has set the goal of winning the cup again for this season.

I’ll admit, Sophie is kind of a confusing character. If I were trying to be her friend I think I wouldn’t be able to tell what she’s truly feeling. Reading from her point of view certainly helps, but poor Elsa, she can’t get a finger on why Sophie’s holding herself back from their friendship. This adds a little extra conflict to an already energetic novel and helps raise it up over the kind of steady pace Sophomore Surge set. Thank goodness! I love hockey and there’s more great play by plays in this story, but I really want something more. Do I get it in Lighting the Lamp? The answer is yes, just not in the way you’d expect. I don’t want to say any more because I don’t want to spoil the ending!

To recap the series I will say again, that if you are a fan of hockey then you must read this book. The hockey games are written superbly, we are given great characters to invest our feelings into, and a couple of great villains to really get our hate on! Concord is an underdog team, and I LOVE rooting for the underdog. Overcoming adversity is the general theme and K.R. Collins does a great job of making the series about more than women entering a man’s game, although that a big part of it. It’s also about trusting yourself, believing in your talents, and living your life the way you want despite society’s norms and expectations. All themes I can definitely get behind.

Breaking the Ice: Breaking the Ice (Sophie Fournier Book 1)

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Sophomore Surge: Sophomore Surge (Sophie Fournier Book 2)

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Lighting the Lamp: Lighting the Lamp (Sophie Fournier Book 3)

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

The Reading Chick Also Bakes: Bouchon Bakery- The Financier

It’s been a little while since my last baking post because, well, it’s been awhile since I’ve wanted to tackle some French pastry recipe’s. I love to bake but sometimes these recipe’s are so involved that I’m in the kitchen for hours. By the end of it I’m tired, cranky, and unappreciative of all my hard work. So, cracking open the Bouchon Bakery cookbook, I decided to skip around until I found a relatively easy recipe. I settled on the Financier.

First, let’s talk about this name. In the south we’d probably pronounce this the Finance-yer, but I think in French it’s a little fancier and is probably the Fee-nance-e-ay. I felt silly, even though I took french classes in high school, so I’ve settled on the a mix of the two, Fi-nance-e-er. Couldn’t tell you if that’s the proper way to pronounce this dish, but it’s the easiest! Or you can also call these cakes Petit Fours. We all know what those are.

Now, the Financier is one of the simpler recipe’s so I decided I’d make the original and the chocolate. I gathered my ingredients of flour, sugar, almond flour, eggs, butter and for the chocolate, cocoa powder.

I, of course, forgot to take pictures of the original batch, but here’s the dry ingredients as I’m sifting the cocoa powder into them.

The secret to the financier, is the brown butter ingredient. Now, since I didn’t not have linen on hand to separate my cooked ingredients, I browned my butter and added them into the dry ingredients, as noted in the recipe. In the original financier, the browned butter really brings out the nutty taste of the almond meal. In the chocolate recipe it adds to the cocoa and dark chocolate to make a very dark chocolate brownie-like taste. Both were rather good!

Before putting the batter in the pans I did use butter on the pans, and then froze them briefly. I think this is to help the cake come out of the pan easier. They did seem to pop out, so I think that’s a job well done!

The original financier is put into an individual brownie pan, and the chocolate financier into a mini muffin mold. I do not know if this is a traditional shape for each flavor, but since I did have the two pans, I did as the recipe suggested.

There was a note on the recipe about adding in nuts or fruit to the original financier and so I added a cut strawberry and a couple of pecan pieces. Looks pretty!

When they are done, you immediately take them out of the pan and let them cool on a rack. After eating one, I decided this was done to keep the edges crisp and the cake chewy. It’s a unique flavor, not really sweet at all. As I took my second bite of the original it tasted better than the first and by the time I finished I was a fan. The chocolate was a little more bitter than I like so I think I would add a little more sugar than the recipe calls for, but you know us Americans, we like our desserts sweet! The French have a much more delicate palate.

They were tastier than my pictures lead you to believe, promise!

I didn’t spend any additional dollars on the financier recipe as I had all of the ingredients on hand from past Bouchon recipe’s. Would I make these again? If I lived in England where afternoon tea was a thing, then yes. Here in Nashville? I’d take a cupcake over these financier’s any day, but I am glad for the experience of having made them.

This is the cookbook I’m using for my Bouchon Bakery baking extravaganza. It’s beautiful, so check it out sometime!

Deb

This Chick Read: Death's Rival (Jane Yellowrock #5) by Faith Hunter

Death’s Rival neatly ties into the previous novel Raven Cursed. While traveling to Asheville as envoy for Leo Pellissier, Master Vampire of New Orleans and the southern states (excluding Florida), Jane defended herself in her hotel room, killing an armed intruder. Now, another Master Vampire intent on taking over the United States declares Jane’s actions, as Leo’s enforcer, to be an act of war. A serious offense, to say the least. the fact that this Master Vamp is conquering his intended victims by releasing a virus on them and dangling the serum for their servitude? That’s a problem that only Jane has the skills to investigate.

Death’s Rival finally moves Jane’s character forward in many ways. It introduces a new character for Jane to lust after and partner with in Eli, removes and explains Rick’s absence, and provides more of a connection between she and George (Bruiser), Leo’s primo. Three men to tempt Jane strikes a little close too Laurel K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series for me, but luckily Jane is all talk and very little action unlike Anita’s character who has sexy times with pretty much anyone. I enjoyed the three scenario’s presented in this book and liked how they all also interacted with each other.

Another plot that moved forward was the relationship between Jane and Leo. Somehow in previous books she had managed to hold off Leo’s interest in her but her actions in Raven Cursed finally caused that tenuous peace between them to break. Jane has to become what she declared in Raven Curse. She is now Leo’s enforcer and has to face all that entails. Some of it is very hard to read. I have liked Leo’s character in the past but in this novel he shows that he is actually Master.

What is missing from this novel is the sisterhood. Jane and Mollie’s relationship hasn’t gotten past that Jane had to kill her evil witchy sister and I miss that lightness her friendship with Mollie and her kids brought to her character. It also mellowed out her inner ‘Beast’.

This one kind of ended on a mini cliffhanger so I immediately moved on to the next novel in the series. This is just getting better and better as it moves along! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Death’s Rival: Jane Yellowrock, Book 5

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: Recipe for Persuasion (The Rajes Series #2) by Sonali Dev

Chef Ashna Raje is struggling to keep her restaurant open when her cousin approaches her to fill in as a celebrity chef on a new reality show called Cooking With The Stars. Ashna loves her cousin, but her panic attacks make starring on this show an impossibility. It isn’t until her mother, whom she has a difficult relationship, tries to get her to come to India and Ashna uses the reality show as an excuse that she makes the commitment, for better or worse. The first day of filming is when she meets the celebrity she gets paired with…. her secret high school boyfriend, FIFA winning soccer star, Rico Silva. When their meeting goes viral they become immediate fan favorites and are almost guaranteed a place in the final. Recipe for Persuasion is a rom-com loosely based upon Jane Austen’s novel Persuasion, and as with that original plot, this book has fun dialog, dramatic misunderstandings, and a joyful union.

Recipe for Persuasion is the first novel I’ve read by Sonali Dev and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed her writing style. She enwraps her main character Ashna with the flavors of her culture and boy, all of the dishes they cook really made me want to run out and stock up on my Indian and South American spices. Not only is the story filled with the color and flavor of Ashna and Rico’s cultures but their language and life experiences also helped make this story unique.

The use of flashbacks into Rico and Ash’s love story as well as Ashna’s mother Shobi’s own relationship with Ashna’s father could have been confusing but instead created emotions that really helped tie the two stories together. Not only does the love story play out, but Ashna’s conflicted feelings for her mother and father are explained and when the story concludes, despite previous misgivings, you feel like her character can finally be happy.

As with most Jane Austen re-tellings miscommunication and misdirection play a big part in how the heroine acts and reacts during the story. This novel used those same tools but you really had the feeling that Ashna wanted to work on the why’s and wherefore’s which made me like her character a lot more than I did many of Jane Austen’s. Also, the peak into why her relationship with her mother fell apart was a lot more than Ms. Austen gave her readers and was most likely why I connected with Ashna in a way I couldn’t with Jane Austen’s heroines. If you like your senses overwhelmed by the cultures of other lands and you like your stories filled with emotional growth then I think you should read this novel. Yes, it’s a rom-com, of sorts, but it’s also deftly written and you may be surprised at the emotions the story brings forth as I was. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Recipe for Persuasion: A Novel

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

It’s Monday, what are you Reading? (5/25/2020)

For those of you living in the US, Happy Memorial Day! I hope you’re safely enjoying your day off with your family! It’s nice to have a long weekend but more importantly to remember those who have lost their lives protecting our freedom.

I’ve enjoyed reading some books this weekend and am excited to share them with you! 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 discovered this really good series about the first woman to be drafted into the NAHL, the fictional version of the NHL. I LOVE all of the really detailed hockey scenes and am enjoying these characters a lot. If you haven’t read this series and like sports novels, please give this series a shot. This is book two in the series and book three comes out today!

Synopsis: Entering her second season in the North American Hockey League, Sophie Fournier sets her expectations high. The Concord Condors will make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. They have the veteran core to do it and the new talent to give them the extra push.

From the beginning, things don’t go according to plan. The season begins without one of their best players, and they lose others to injury and trades as the season progresses. Hockey is a team sport, and Sophie can’t drag them to the playoffs on her own. Is her voice loud enough to convince her team to believe the way she does?

Click this link to purchase!* Sophomore Surge (Sophie Fournier Book 2)

JUST STARTED

I have been speeding through the above hockey series this weekend, so for a change I’m going to switch gears to this ARC by Emily Giffen. She is never disappointing and I’ve heard good things about this novel!

Synopsis:

It’s 2 A.M. on a Saturday night in the spring of 2001, and twenty-eight-year-old Cecily Gardner sits alone in a dive bar in New York’s East Village, questioning her life. Feeling lonesome and homesick for the Midwest, she wonders if she’ll ever make it as a reporter in the big city—and whether she made a terrible mistake in breaking up with her longtime boyfriend, Matthew. 

As Cecily reaches for the phone to call him, she hears a guy on the barstool next to her say, “Don’t do it—you’ll regret it.” Something tells her to listen, and over the next several hours—and shots of tequila—the two forge an unlikely connection. That should be it, they both decide the next morning, as Cecily reminds herself of the perils of a rebound relationship. Moreover, their timing couldn’t be worse—Grant is preparing to quit his job and move overseas. Yet despite all their obstacles, they can’t seem to say goodbye, and for the first time in her carefully constructed life, Cecily follows her heart instead of her head. 

Then Grant disappears in the chaos of 9/11. Fearing the worst, Cecily spots his face on a missing-person poster, and realizes she is not the only one searching for him. Her investigative reporting instincts kick into action as she vows to discover the truth. But the questions pile up fast: How well did she really know Grant? Did he ever really love her? And is it possible to love a man who wasn’t who heseemed to be? 

The Lies That Bind is a mesmerizing and emotionally resonant exploration of the never-ending search for love and truth—in our relationships, our careers, and deep within our own hearts.

Click this link to purchase!* The Lies That Bind: A Novel

I hope you have found a great book to read this week. I’d love to hear what you’re reading!

Deb

*Amazon Associate- if you should purchase one of the above books through these links, I’ll receive a small stipend.

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: Top 5 Most Anticipated Book Releases – June 2020

Ahh summer! The season where we look forward to vacations, the beach, and reading a lot of great summer releases. Cue the sound of tires screeching! This year my vacation is delayed, I’m scared of the crowds at the beach, and will probably spend any time off in my own home where I will be living vicariously through the characters I’m reading about. The new normal, at least for a little while longer.

When I was looking at the June releases I was surprised at the number of books I’m interested in reading! I know my ARC schedule is pretty packed but there are even a few more that I didn’t realize were coming out next month that I’ve now added to my TBR. Here are my top 5 most anticipated.

#5 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

Penny Reid is giving Cletus and Jennifer from the Winston Brothers series their own mystery series! My hope is that it’s as quirky and fun as the Winston Series. I have a feeling I’m going to be surprised!

Synopsis:

Jennifer Sylvester made her deal with the devil . . . and now they’re engaged!

But all is not well in Green Valley. A chicken choker is on the loose, 61 dead birds most “fowl” need plucking, and no time remains for Jennifer and her devilish fiancé. Desperate to find a spare moment together, Jenn and Cletus’s attempts to reconnect are thwarted by one seemingly coincidental disaster after another. It’s not long before Cletus and Jenn see a pattern emerge and the truth becomes clear.
Sabotage!

Will an undercover mission unmask the culprit? Or are these love-birds totally plucked?

‘Engagement and Espionage’ is the first book in the Solving for Pie: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries series, is a full-length cozy mystery, and is a spin-off of Penny Reid’s Winston Brothers series. This novel is best read after ‘Beard Science,’ Winston Brothers #3.

Click this link to purchase!* Engagement and Espionage (Solving for Pie: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries Book 1)

#4 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

A romantic retelling of Jo & Laurie from Little Women’s romance. Wait, what? Yes, if Jo & Laurie had a romance, here is what Margaret Stohl and Melissa De La Cruz have imagined it to be. How can I pass this one up?

Synopsis:

Bestselling authors Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz bring us a romantic retelling of Little Women starring Jo March and her best friend, the boy next door, Theodore “Laurie” Laurence.

1869, Concord, Massachusetts: After the publication of her first novel, Jo March is shocked to discover her book of scribbles has become a bestseller, and her publisher and fans demand a sequel. While pressured into coming up with a story, she goes to New York with her dear friend Laurie for a week of inspiration–museums, operas, and even a once-in-a-lifetime reading by Charles Dickens himself!

But Laurie has romance on his mind, and despite her growing feelings, Jo’s desire to remain independent leads her to turn down his heartfelt marriage proposal and sends the poor boy off to college heartbroken. When Laurie returns to Concord with a sophisticated new girlfriend, will Jo finally communicate her true heart’s desire or lose the love of her life forever?

Click this link to purchase!* Jo & Laurie

#3 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

I’m going to let the synopsis speak for itself. It looks so good!

Synopsis:

It’s 2 A.M. on a Saturday night in the spring of 2001, and twenty-eight-year-old Cecily Gardner sits alone in a dive bar in New York’s East Village, questioning her life. Feeling lonesome and homesick for the Midwest, she wonders if she’ll ever make it as a reporter in the big city—and whether she made a terrible mistake in breaking up with her longtime boyfriend, Matthew. 

As Cecily reaches for the phone to call him, she hears a guy on the barstool next to her say, “Don’t do it—you’ll regret it.” Something tells her to listen, and over the next several hours—and shots of tequila—the two forge an unlikely connection. That should be it, they both decide the next morning, as Cecily reminds herself of the perils of a rebound relationship. Moreover, their timing couldn’t be worse—Grant is preparing to quit his job and move overseas. Yet despite all their obstacles, they can’t seem to say goodbye, and for the first time in her carefully constructed life, Cecily follows her heart instead of her head. 

Then Grant disappears in the chaos of 9/11. Fearing the worst, Cecily spots his face on a missing-person poster, and realizes she is not the only one searching for him. Her investigative reporting instincts kick into action as she vows to discover the truth. But the questions pile up fast: How well did she really know Grant? Did he ever really love her? And is it possible to love a man who wasn’t who heseemed to be? 

The Lies That Bind is a mesmerizing and emotionally resonant exploration of the never-ending search for love and truth—in our relationships, our careers, and deep within our own hearts.

Click this link to purchase!* The Lies That Bind: A Novel

#2 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

OK, I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for a good sports romance, especially if it’s the girl that’s the athlete. I’ve never read a book by Hannah Orenstein before, but the synopsis caught my interested and I’ll be reading this one sooner rather than later.

Synopsis:

From the author of the Love at First Like and Playing with Matches, an electrifying rom-com set in the high stakes world of competitive gymnastics, full of Hannah Orenstein’s signature “charm, whimsy, and giddy romantic tension” (BuzzFeed).

The past seven years have been hard on Avery Abrams: After training her entire life to make the Olympic gymnastics team, a disastrous performance ended her athletic career for good. Her best friend and teammate, Jasmine, went on to become an Olympic champion, then committed the ultimate betrayal by marrying their emotionally abusive coach, Dimitri.

Now, reeling from a breakup with her football star boyfriend, Avery returns to her Massachusetts hometown, where new coach Ryan asks her to help him train a promising young gymnast with Olympic aspirations. Despite her misgivings and worries about the memories it will evoke, Avery agrees. Back in the gym, she’s surprised to find sparks flying with Ryan. But when a shocking scandal in the gymnastics world breaks, it has shattering effects not only for the sport but also for Avery and her old friend Jasmine.

Perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Jasmine Guillory, Head Over Heels proves that no one “writes about modern relationships with more humor or insight than Hannah Orenstein” (Dana Schwartz, author of Choose Your Own Disaster).

Click this link to purchase!* Head Over Heels: A Novel

MY MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

I can’t even tell you how excited I am that we have another book in the Hollows series! I don’t know how she got talked into writing another Rachel Morgan book after the series had been completed, but THANK YOU!

Synopsis:

RACHEL MORGAN IS BACK–AND THE HOLLOWS WILL NEVER BE THE SAME.

What happens after you’ve saved the world? Well, if you’re Rachel Mariana Morgan, witch-born demon, you quickly discover that something might have gone just a little bit wrong. That the very same acts you and your friends took to forge new powers may have released something bound by the old. With a rash of zombies, some strange new murders, and an exceedingly mysterious new demon in town, it will take everything Rachel has to counter this new threat to the world–and it may demand the sacrifice of what she holds most dear.

Click this link to purchase!* American Demon (Hollows Book 14)

These are the books I’m most looking forward to reading when they’re released next month, but gosh, there are so many more than what’s on this list! What June releases are you most looking forward to reading? Let me know!

Happy Reading!

Deb

*Amazon Associate- if you should purchase a book through one of the above links, I’ll receive a small stipend.

This Chick Read: The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

Just after the end of WWII in the small village of Chawton, England, a small group of villagers decide to honor one of their past residents by creating the Jane Austen Society. Their dream is to restore the small cottage that resides on the Knight estate where Jane Austen once lived and possibly wrote her final novel. Through their love for Jane Austen this disparate group finds solace, love, and hope.

The publisher has compared this novel to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and I definitely see the similarities, although this book stays locked in the post war era. The other similarity is the encapsulated feel of living in a small village, knowing the same people through your entire lives, and having those same people know (or think they know) everything about you. The characters in the Jane Austen Society had quite a few surprises in store not just for the reader, but for each other as well!

There were quite a few stories that ran parallel to the main plot as each character is introduced. Frances Knight, the direct descendant of Jane Austen, who’s home was once Jane’s, is one of the most important. As Frances’ story progresses we see her unmasked. What we and the other villagers see as frailty becomes a quiet strength. On the flip side we see a strong opinionated Adeline reveal a quiet uncertainty in the face of re-starting her life after the death of her unborn child. The contrasts between the characters gave the conflict within their own storylines more impact. This tool was actually used more than once, and quite effectively!

As I read their love for Jane Austen’s novels, and those plots, I realized again how books make such a difference in people’s lives. We each see something of ourselves in the characters we’re reading and these characters saw themselves in Darcy, Elizabeth Bennett, and Emma, just as much as I saw pieces of myself in the characters in The Jane Austen Society. Not only does it bring comfort during difficult times but we see our own past errors in some fictional characters which makes us root for them even more.

The Jane Austen Society quietly snuck up on me. I immediately loved the post WWII era, but it took a little more time for me to find my way with one or two of the characters in this novel. Once I was mid-way through the novel I settled into the plot and enjoyed each moment as it was revealed. If you have the patience to invest yourself in this quietly moving novel, I think you’ll reap the rewards of feeling satisfied at the end of this well written book, and who knows, you may see yourself in one or two of these characters as well! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* The Jane Austen Society: A Novel

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

Friday YA: Say Yes Summer by Lindsey Roth Culli

Rachel’s life has been all about structure and checking off the items that will help her achieve her goals. Good grades, extracurricular activity at the old folks home, staying in on Friday night to study- check, check, check! When she finds an inspirational book of her Nonna’s she curiously checks it out and before she knows it, her no’s have turned into yes’s. This cute contemporary is all about making small changes, saying yes to new experiences, and living life to the fullest!

Rachel’s life has gone in the direction she’s wanted, yet on the summer before she leaves for college she wonders if she hasn’t missed out on a lot of experiences by being so focused on her grades. Even if high school was a long time ago these feelings of hesitation and second guessing are all totally familiar. Rachel’s decision to say yes to one thing- going to a party a cute boy invites her to- in fact, changes the way she see’s life, and that change is the impetus for her to keep saying yes. Another thing a lot of us can identify with, although for Rachel her yes’s are pretty small time and innocent.

Say Yes Summer is a cute YA contemporary that delivers a pretty impactful message for readers who may be stuck in their homes dreaming of what’s next in their own lives. I enjoyed living vicariously through her decisions, and actually wished it had continued on for a little longer. It was a nostalgic read that struck the right chord and I’d totally recommend it if you are looking for a few hours of light entertainment. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Say Yes Summer

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.

This Chick Read: Beach Read by Emily Henry

If you were to pick up this book based upon the title, cover, and synopsis you’d expect to get a rom-com about two authors who live next to each other at the beach, who while in a moment of writer’s block decide to challenge each other by writing a novel in the other person’s style. A meet cute that would end in happiness, and they didn’t lie, it is kind of all that. But it’s also so much more.

January, who writes happily ever after romances and Gus Everett who writes dark literary fiction take each other on research “field trips” to help the other person see into their world. As they do this, each opens up to the other about their own difficulties, insecurities, hopes, and dreams. Most importantly and not surprisingly they fall for each other. What is surprising are the emotional moments, the heart tearing fears, and heart mending, loving prose. This book was so much more than a “Beach Read” that it does a disservice to the excellence inside the story by misrepresenting (in my opinion) what the reader should expect.

I don’t think I’m going to give away any secrets by hinting at a couple of things in their back stories. One, January and Gus have a past, and two they both just had their hearts broken, albeit in different ways. These things provide so much more depth to the story than two authors who happen to live next to each other at the beach. It provides context for how they interact with each other. January’s distrust and dislike, and Gus’s frustration and fear, all feelings that don’t usually provide rom-com fodder. Yes, there are funny moments, but there were a lot more moments where I clung to my tissue. The banter between these two was bright, but it was also colored with emotion and pain. This book was so much more….

So, if you do pick up this book because the cover is cute (and it is!), or because it’s painted as a rom-com (kind of?), or the synopsis sounds like two people will fall in love (they do!), just know that this book is so much more than all of that. It’s two people who help each other through pain, build a friendship that started in misunderstanding, and fall in love in a way that will break your heart and provide you joy in an unexpected way. These characters? I am so in LOVE with them. This book? Definitely in my Top 10 so far this year. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Beach Read

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.