Blog Tour! Excerpt- Six Goodbyes We Never Said by Candace Ganger

I’m excited to be included in this tour of Six Goodbyes We Never Said by Candace Granger. After reading the synopsis, I was intrigued, and I bet I won’t be the only one!

Synopsis:

This is no love story; in fact, it’s not even really a “like” story. In Candace Ganger’s sophomore novel, SIX GOODBYES WE NEVER SAID (Wednesday Books; September 24, 2019), two teens meet after tragically losing their parents and learn about love, loss, and letting go. Deftly tackling issues of mental health and grief, Ganger’s #OwnVoices novel brings vibrant characters to life as they figure out how to say goodbye to the people they love the most.


Naima Rodriguez doesn’t want your patronizing sympathy as she grieves her father, her hero—a fallen Marine. She’ll hate you forever if you ask her to open up and remember him “as he was,” though that’s all her loving family wants her to do in order to manage her complex OCD and GAD. She’d rather everyone back the-eff off while she separates her Lucky Charms marshmallows into six, always six, Ziploc bags, while she avoids friends and people and living the life her father so desperately wanted for her.


Dew respectfully requests a little more time to process the sudden loss of his parents. It’s causing an avalanche of secret anxieties, so he counts on his trusty voice recorder to convey the things he can’t otherwise say aloud. He could really use a friend to navigate a life swimming with pain and loss and all the lovely moments in between. And then he meets Naima and everything’s changed—just not in the way he, or she, expects. Full of tender, funny, and downright heartbreaking moments, Ganger’s second novel will have you cheering and crying all on the same page.

Don’t miss out on this YA powerhouse standalone!

EXCERPT:

Dad cell

May3at7:33PM

Transcription Beta

“Guess who’s getting ready to come home and take you to Ivy Springs? That’s right, Ima. It’s happening. It’s finally happening. Don’t tell Nell. I want to surprise her.”

  0:00 0:10

Speaker Call Back Delete

Email Draft (Unsent)

To

Subject

I’m holding my breath

Until you’re standing in front of me Because we’ve danced this song

So many times before

Promise.

And I no longer trust You’ll do what you

Just in case,

I’ll count the hexagons.

NAIMA

Nell is a dingy yoga mat; the sweaty barrier between total chill­ status and my shit reality (aka, my annoying stepmom and ru­ iner of all moments) (trust me on this).

“JJ and Kam aren’t going to believe how much you’ve grown since the funeral,” she says on our long­ass 794­mile drive from Albany, Georgia, to Ivy Springs, Indiana. She taptaptapsher long, pointed fingernails against the steering wheel to the beat of what­ ever imaginary song she’s playing in her head. Probably some­ thing disco or hair band. The radio is silent, always silent, when we ride together, but the second she speaks with that high­pitched nasally voice I loathe, I regret this necessity. I concentrate harder on the objects we pass so I can properly pinch my toes between them.

Tap my nose. Tap my nose. Tap my nose.

Tap my nose. Tap my nose.

Tap my nose.

Click my tongue. Click my tongue. Click my tongue.

Click my tongue. Click my tongue.

Click my tongue.

Flick my thumbnail. Flick my thumbnail.

Flick my thumbnail.

Flick my thumbnail. Flick my thumbnail.

Flick my thumbnail.

Flick.

Flick.

FLICK.

I continue with my sequence the length of the drive. Nell hates it, but I hate when she wears fingerless gloves in the summer, so we’re even. Without my boring­ass stepbrother, Christian, to be my talk block—the dull cushion of conversation between Nell and me—(he left two days ago on a death star/plane to see his dad in NYC), the “spacious” SUV feels like I’ve been placed at a dinner table in a vast canyon and right across from me is literally the onlywoman I don’t want to meet for dinner. Like, why can’t I eat with the Queen of England or Oprah? I’m bound by my father’s love for Nell, or whatever, but now he’s gone, and I’m climbing the hell out of the canyon before she wants to talk about how big my naturally tousled hair is (a perfect mess), period cycles (semi­regular, FYI), sexually transmitted diseases (don’t have a single one, thanks), or worse—my feelings (happily bur­ied!). Ugh. GTFO.

The failing engine’s hum, where the metal scrapes and churns with a whir, competes with Nell’s increased tapping. I’ve missed too many objects, my toes rapidly pinching and releasing, to make up for what’s been lost. But it’s too late. My mind shifts automatically to a neon sign flashing warning! There’s always a consequence to messing up the sequence. Always.

Counting is to time what the final voicemail Dad left is to the sound of my heart cracking open; a message I can’t listen to. It’ll become entombed in history, in me. My finger lingers over my phone and quickly retreats, knowing there’s nothing he could’ve said to make this pain less. Nothing can make him less gone.

I look out the window to where my dreary­ eyed reflection stares blankly back at me; Nell glides over the double yellow lines into oncoming traffic, violently overcorrecting just before we would have been hit by a semi. The sound of his horn echoes through the high­ topped Tennessee mountains. Three thousand two hundred eighty­ seven people die in car accidents every day. I Googled it. After I Googled it, I looked at pictures. And after I looked at pictures I went through the sequence. Car accident. Fatalities. My legs smashed up to my chest. Nell crushed into the hood.

“Sorry,” she says; her voice rattles. “Make sure Ray’s okay back there.”

I turn to investigate the vase­ shaped metal urn surrounded by layers of sloppily folded sheets (Nell did that) and one per­fectly situated hexagon quilt (that’s all me). The sun’s gleam hits U.S. Marine Corp just so, and I’m reminded again that he’s gone.

Gone.

It’s fine,” I say, refusing to call that pile of ashes “Dad,” or “he.” The urn arrived several days ago in a twenty­ four­ hour pri­ority package. Nell saying, “No reason to waste time getting him home,” and I was like, “What’s that?” and she was all “Your dad, silly,” and I was like, “Huh?” and she asked me if I wanted a banana­ kale protein shake after she “got him situated.” A big hell no. I immediately dove into a Ziploc ration of Lucky Charms marshmallows to dull the pain of conversing with someone so exhausting.

After he was transported in ice from Afghanistan to Dover, after they sorted and processed his things, after he was cre­ mated, after the police and state troopers closed down the streets to honor him as we drove him through, after we had the memorial service, after we were handed the folded flag with a bullet shell casing tucked inside, after they spoke of his medals, and after Christian and I sat in disbelief beneath a weep­ ing willow tree for three hours, Nell finally decided the ashes should go to his hometown in Indiana, after all. I didn’t think she’d cave, but after one talk with my grandma, JJ, she did. If anyone could turn a donkey into a unicorn, it’s JJ (or so she says). And so, it was decided—Dad, I mean It, was going home a unicorn.

“Let’s stop for some grub,” Nell says, wide­eyed. “Hungry?” “Grub,” rhymes with “nub,” which she is. “No.”

“Let’s at least stretch our legs. Still a few hours to go.” “Fine. But no travel yoga this time.”

She pulls off to a rest area a few miles ahead, exiting the car. I crack a window and wait while she hikes a leg to the top of the trunk, bending forward with an “oh, that’s tight.” After, she says, “Going to the potty. BRB.”

I flash a thumbs­up and slink deep into the warmth of my seat, hiding from the stare of perverts and families. My foot kicks my bag on the floor mat, knocking my prescription bottle to its side. Dr. Rose, my therapist in Ft. Hood, said sometimes starting over is the only way to stop looking back. But what about when the past is all you have left of someone?

My gaze pushes forward to the vending machines. Dad and I stopped at this very place on our way to Indiana without basic Nell. He’d grab a cold can of Coke and toss me a bag of trail mix to sort into piles. If I close my eyes, it almost feels like he’s here—not a pile of ashes buckled tight into the backseat. We’d play a game of Would You Rather to see who could come up with the worst/most messed­ up scenarios (I usually won).

Would you rather wear Nell’s unwashed yoga pants every day for a month? Or call an urn full of ashes “Dad”? Sometimes, he’d pre­sort the trail mix, leaving me the best parts (the candy­ coated chocolate). I am one ­of­ a ­kind Magic, Dad would say. But he was, too. A unicorn, I think. Definitely not a donkey. The more I think on it, maybe JJ could turn Nell into a unicorn, too, but no magic is that strong.

Dad cell

June1at 9:04 AM

Transcription Beta

  “Open the door.”

0:00
0:03
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Sent Email

No Subject

Naima<naimatheriveter@gmail.com>   Jun 1, 9:07 AM to Dad

If I open it,

Will you really be there Or just a memory

From the last time?

Nevermind.

The ghost

I see you,

Outside my window.

     DEW GD BRICKMAN

DURATION:  10:49

In today’s forecast, sunshine early morning will give way to late day thunder storms. I love the smell of rain. It’s the aroma of being alive.

August Moon and the Paper Hearts—the band my parents opened for—advise we speak kindly to strangers through song. I’d like to think that’s what my parents would’ve said, too. I can still see my mother’s chestnut eyes soft as she hums. From the tired bones in her feet after long shifts at the glass­making factory (after the band split apart), to the graying curls that sprang into action when the beat hit her ears, she’s frozen in time; a whim­sical ballerina, twirling inside a glass globe to a tune only she and I can hear.

“Let the music move your soul,” she’d tell me. “Let it carry you into the clouds, my darling.”

She’d grab my hand, hers papered by the rough gloves she was required to wear during her shifts, guiding me by the glitter­ing moon dust, while Dad watched on from the old twill rocker, threads carved around his boxy frame. Our feet stepped along invisible squares against the floor, round and round, until the world vanished beneath us. We floated.

“You got that boy spoiled, Momma,” Dad would tell her. “Don’t you know it,” she’d reply, pulling me closer.

That was when the universe built itself around the three of us; vibrant wildflowers, dipped in my mother’s favorite verb: “love.” I wish I could remember the smell of her better. I wish I could remember what Dad would say. When I lose my breath in the thick of human oceans and panic, I wish harder.

My second set of parents, Stella and Thomas, are kind to me. Stella’s eyes remind me of my mother’s—two infinity pools, giving the illusion of boundless compassion—while Thomas’s laugh is an eerily mirrored version of my father’s. Sometimes, when Thomas finds himself amused, I catch myself thinking Dad is here. I can almost see him holding his bass guitar, doubled over from a joke he’d heard.

My sister, Faith, hasn’t settled into this family yet, even after a year of fostering. She cries, punches her bed pillow—sometimes Stella; sometimes Thomas. Her wailing is incessant, scratchy, and raw. Sometimes I sit outside her door and silently cry with her. When you’re taken from your birth parents, it doesn’t matter how wonderful your new, adoptive, or temporary, foster parents are. They can be every warm hug you’ve needed, but if you’re holding tight to the feeling of being home, you may find com­ fort in the cold, dark night instead. I did at first. After all the months with us, Faith is realizing the Brickmans are her home now, but she’s still fighting to stay warm on her own, hoping her parents would somehow return.

“You can never know someone’s pain or happiness until you’ve stepped inside their shoes,” my mother would say.

“What if their shoes don’t fit?” I’d ask. “If our lives are too different?”

“Find a connection; something similar enough that all the dif­ferences bounce off the table completely, like Ping­ Pong balls. If we look past things that divide us, humanity will find a way to shine through.”

No one should step inside my shoes unless they’re prepared to understand the kind of grief that’s whole­ body and constant. It’s quiet but deep. The same way Earth orbits the sun every hour of every day of every year, I miss my parents, and Faith misses hers.

Stella and Thomas try. They’ve searched our shoe collection. They’ve tried them on. And, just as Cinderella found her magic fit, they’ve managed to find a pair that fits in some way. Of the hundreds of thousands of kids in foster care, they placed an inquiry about me, they went through the classes and orienta­tion for me, they did the home study for me—they adopted me. Same for Faith, however different our circumstances.

It makes no matter that Stella and Thomas couldn’t conceive naturally. The foster and adoption process stole chunks of time they’ll never retrieve, for a “special needs” boy—due to my age, “minority group,” and “emotional trauma”—long past diapers and bottles and baby powder–scented snuggles. It was financially and emotionally draining for all of us involved, with no guaran­tee I would welcome them or they could love me the way my parents did. I didn’t embrace them at first. I quite liked my previ­ous foster family but they felt me only temporary. The Brick­ mans embraced me without hesitation, with a permanent kind of promise. It’s the same kindness my parents would endorse. They gave me a home, a family, and a place I belong. And so, to every stranger along my path, I will be kind, too. Even—especially—the ones who’d prefer I didn’t.

“Those are the souls who need compassion most,” Mom would say. “The ones broken by the world, angry and afraid of trust­ ing. You must remind them that they are not alone. Nothing can be lost in trying. Remember that always, my darling.”

As I hear Faith shouting into her comforter again, I wonder how many have failed to try on her shoes through the near dozen foster homes she’s been in.

I hear you,Faith. I am you.

I think all this before my pre­planned path to Baked & Caffeinated—the coffee and bakeshop at which I’ve been em­ ployed a mere six days—with August Moon streaming through

my earbuds. Today is my first scheduled shift, and if you could feel my heart beat, you’d assume it was about to burst (it very well may). Though Ivy Springs maintains a compact three­ mile radius, it’s my first time walking alone. For most, it’s a relaxing walk. But, as my father would often tell me, I am not most people. The mere thought of the journey had me curled in a ball on my twin mattress for at least an hour. Beneath the covers, I gave my best, most inspiring pep talk about how, despite those voices tell­ ing me I can’t do it, I can and I will and I’ll be glorious.

Mom would always lift the blankets off the bed and sit next to me. “This, too, shall pass, my darling.”

“And if it doesn’t?” I’d say with quivering lips.

“It will. You are my corpse flower,” Mom told me. “The larg­est, rarest flower in the whole world. Blooming takes many ar­duous seasons, but it is worth the wait.”

The longer she’s gone, the more I understand the layers she peeled off of me. With each one, my shine radiated a little more. Mom and Dad never saw my fears in black and white; people aren’t made so simply. We’re straddling a blur of gray.

The downtown café is fairly new to this small blip of town. Serving variations of roasted coffee beans, espresso concoctions, and freshly baked confectionaries you can smell for miles, Baked & Caffeinated is one of the few places people my age come. With school out for summer, the position of highly regarded cashier is a way to blend in slightly more than I stand out. When the manager, Liam “Big Foot” Thompson—college student and “organic medicinal specialist” (whatever that means)—barely glanced at the application I spent two long hours filling in, I’m not sure what prompted him to hire me on the spot, but there it was: an opportunity to slide into a new pair of shoes.

“Hard work reveals who people really are,” Dad would tell me. “When the going gets tough, some hide and others rise.”

I will rise, Dad.

One glance at the clock and I see no matter how I rush, the seconds tick by faster than I can keep up. I’m dressed in freshly ironed slacks, an ebony polo buttoned two­ thirds of the way up (I was told this is appropriate), snazzy checkered suspenders, and the taupe fedora—feather and all—I can not live without.

“I’m off,” I tell Stella.

She sits at the kitchen table, a list of recipe ingredients in hand, peering over the bridge of her reading glasses. She pulls a ceramic coffee mug to her lips and sips her coffee with a slurp. It dribbles to the paper. “Ah, damn it!”

I step back, my hands gripping my suspenders as if they’re bungee cords.

“Sorry,” she says, standing. She squares her shoulders with mine and drives her stare through me. “I hope you have the best time.” She pulls me near—an attempt at a hug that’s strangled by her awkward, coffee­ saturated positioning. “If you feel over­ whelmed, take a deep breath, excuse yourself to the bathroom if necessary, and you can always, always call me. K?”

I hesitate, fear squirming between us.

She tips my chin up so my eyes fall straight into hers. Her eyes swallow me up in a bubble of safety, little lines spiderwebbing out from the corner creases that cling to my distress, fishing fear out of me, casting it somewhere else entirely. It’s a trick Mom used to do, too.

“You’re going to do great,” she reassures. “Promise.”

I nod, finally, and she releases me from her grip to deal with the coffee puddle. I watch her for a whole minute before she urges me out the door. I’m supposed to work on my time management. I lose time when my brain is knotted with worry. But how do you untangle something you can’t even see?

Along my walk down the potholed sidewalk, my eyes care­ fully plot each step to not catch on a divot. The last time, I nearly broke my arm, the exact spot ridiculing me as I pounce over it with the light ­footed pirouette of a cat. I’m so proud of this move, distracted by my obvious victory against that mean concrete hole, I run straight into someone.

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” I stammer.

“Dude,” a boy says with a heavy grunt. “Watch it.”

I’m hesitant to make eye contact, but I do—Stella and Thomas have encouraged it—alarm bells blaring. The boy’s eyes are nar­row, brows furrowed. I replay last night’s news headline in my mind—teen shoots former classmate at graduation partyand fold as far down as my small frame will allow.

He rips his earbuds out, his face softening only slightly. I try to walk by, he blocks me. I move to the other side. He stands in my way here, too.

“Excuse me,” I say.

“You should watch where you’re going. It’s a small town with shitty sidewalks.”

“Yes,” I stutter. “I will, thank you for the advice.”

He presses his earbuds back into place and allows me to pass with the wave of his hand.

“Have a wonderful day,” I tell him. My voice shakes, my feet moving faster than before.

Mom would say, “Chin up, eyes forward, not back,” so I re­ peat this to myself, pretending she’s here to ricochet these inter­actions into outer space. I’m still learning how to be my own hero. My deepest darkest fear is, maybe I never will.

I stand outside the bakeshop and stare up at the illustrated cof­fee mug on the sign. My reluctance holds me in the center of this busier than normal sidewalk. I remind myself I’m okay. The crowds won’t harm me. I can breathe through it and the day will go on. It can and it will, because it has to. As the sweat accumu­lates beneath my hat, I think of Mom telling me “now or never,” and open the door. The bell attached to the door rings as I breeze through.

“You’re so late,” Mr. Thompson says after I wind through the line of customers bunched near the counter. “I thought we said ten.”

A quick glance at the time—ten seventeen—and my chin sinks into my chest. “Apologies. We did agree on that time.” Dad used to say, “The only good excuse is none at all,” so I swallow the ones rising into my throat and try to ignore the gnawing feel­ing in my gut that makes me want to lock myself inside the bath­ room to escape all the noise and people and smells and sounds. My sensory dashboard is on overload. I imagine a little robot in a white coat frantically working to calm each circuit board before it fries. Poor fellow. His work is thankless and sometimes a com­plete and utter failure. I do my best to help by inhaling another deep breath, exhaling through my mouth as Mr. Thompson guides me to the space behind the counter where I’m to stand. I fumble in the small space, as another employee, a girl in a long flowy dress covered by an apron, welcomes me with a wide grin.

“Hey, newb,” she says. “I’m Violet.”

“Nice to meet you. I’m Dew.” I keep a generous distance to not make her uncomfortable, but she moves in close enough to notice how well I’ve brushed my teeth (well enough, I hope).

“You have a really great aura. It’s blue­centric with electric swirls of pink. Very neon, man.”

I respect her need for close proximity and we stand almost nose to nose. “Interesting. What does that mean?”

Her eyes widen as if she’s swallowing every centimeter of mine. “You’re highly sensitive, intuitive, and have strong mor­als. Like, you’re honest to a fault and can’t seem to deviate from it, even if it’d serve you better to keep your mouth shut. I know, because I’m a total Purple. I can read your palms if you want.”

I slip them into my pockets. “Perhaps later, after I’ve grown accustomed to the process and routines here.”

She smiles and allows me the space to breathe again as Mr. Thompson waves me to a short stack of papers I’m to fill out. “When you’re finished with these, I’ll have Violet show you how to brew espresso shots for lattes.”

I nod. “Sir—”

He stops me with a snicker. “Please—my dad is sir because he’s a dinosaur. I’m Big Foot.”

My eyes confusedly scan the perimeter of this man who is neither big nor seems to have larger than average feet. Perhaps that’s the irony. I decide I like it. “Mr. Foot,” I begin; he stops me again to remind me it’s BigFoot, “I don’t have a driver’s license yet, only a permit. My birthday is in a few weeks, though I’m not interested in driving a motor vehicle at this time. I also have some allergies that may restrict my duties outside of handling the register. I forgot to mention it when I applied.”

He lays a hand on my shoulder. “I read the notes on the ap­plication. I have a little bro with some pretty gnarly allergies. We specialize in nut ­free, dairy ­free shit. It’s my duty to represent the underrepresented, you know?”

I nod, relieved.

“If you’re not comfortable with any part, I’ll make sure the others know to step in. Wear gloves. Wash your hands. Take your meds,” he pauses, looks me over, “you got meds, right?”

I nod again.

“I got you, bro. Let me know if you have a flare­ up from any­thing, ’cause I’ve got EpiPens and all that jazz.”

My posture relaxes a bit.

“It’ll be all right. Come get me after V trains you on the espresso shots.”

I nod again, folding my hands in front of me.

Local boy freezes in the middle of summer—tonight at 10.

“So, listen,” Violet says, drawing me closer. “My best friend, Birdie, went through major crappage this past year, and I’ve learned how to be a better friend because of it. Apparently she didn’t feel like she could trust me with her most important secrets, so I totally reevaluated my life choices and decided, with a cleanse, to start anew.”

“Good for you.” I stop to wonder why she’s telling me, a per­fect stranger, this.

“Point is, I know we just met, but as this new, improved me, I’m good at reading people. And it looks like you could use a little encouragement.”

She pulls a notebook from the cubby beneath the register, the words on the front flap, Book of Silver Linings, catching the gleam of the fluorescent lights. I watch her fingers flip and fumble to a specific page. “Confidence grows when we step out of our com­ fort zone and do something different.” Her mouth hangs open, half smiling, as if she’s waiting for my reaction.

“That helps. Thank you.”

“No problem. I think you’ll be okay, Dew—what’s your last name?”

“Brickman now, was Diaz.”

“I think you’ll be okay Dew­ Was­ Diaz­ Brickman.” With a wink, she packs the notebook away. “So you’re gonna be a soph­omore or . . . ?”

“Correct, you?”

“Only here for the summer, then off to pre­college; a year of exploratory  learning.”

“Where are you headed?”

“Caramel School of Massage and Healing Arts, about forty minutes from here so I can go home when I want. Do you know what you’re doing after high school?”

The question strikes me as abrupt. I’ve thought about the future, but not in the context of who I’ll be in it. “Undecided.” “I was, too. Don’t stress too much. It’s only the rest of your life.” She laughs, but it’s glaringly obvious it’s not a joke.

I turn to the stack of papers, still unsure of which boxes to check, which address to write, what emergency contacts to state. My initial reaction is my old Indianapolis address, Plum Street, and my parents’ cell numbers, which I’ve memorized. I have to stop myself and carefully think what is true today—a Pearl Street address in Ivy Springs, and numbers that belong to Stella and Thomas. It’s a habit I wish I didn’t have to break.

As I neatly write my answers, I look up to see a man reminis­cent of my father, dressed in desert­ camouflaged pants and a tan fitted T­ shirt. He orders a large coffee, black, no sugar. I have a penchant for details. They’re the difference between knowing someone in 2­D or 4­D. Violet pumps the fresh java from a ca­rafe while the man slides inside a booth near the entrance. The large window lets the sun seep in, coating him in a sunshine glaze; almost angelic. Perhaps it’s my dad inside my bones, mov­ ing my feet—he never passed a service member without thanking them for their service—but I find myself standing at the foot of this man’s table.

“Thank you for your service,” I say dutifully.

“Thank you,” he says with a warm smile. “I appreciate that.”

“Well, I appreciate you appreciating me, so I suppose we’re at an impasse of gratitude.” I grin, my hands tucked behind my back to fidget with reckless abandon.

He chuckles as his phone rings. “I’m sorry, but I have to take this.”

“Have a great rest of your day,” I say. “And thank you again.”

“No, thank you—” He stops himself with a palm over the phone speaker. “We could go on forever.”

Violet brings a steaming cup to the table. “This cup signifies my gratitude. Plus, you have a really great aura.”

“Thank you,” he tells her before his attention returns to his call.

The crowd has thinned out and I slink back behind the counter without incident. Violet joins me moments later. I study the way the man holds himself, strong and steady. I wonder who he’s leav­ing, or coming home to. I wonder where he’s been and where he calls home. I don’t mean to eavesdrop. But his dutiful brawn, his voice, his presence, they almost resound in our small space.

“Sir,” he says, shuffling in his seat. “I hadn’t intended to—yes, sir. I understand.”

A sudden, hard silence falls like a gavel, cutting his booth into before­ and­after: the pleasantries before the call, and his tight­ened jaw after. He holds the phone steady in the air, parallel to his ear, before clutching it inside his fist. All the color fades from his face. I want to look away, I should look away. But one mo­ment he’s a floating warrior, levitating through fields of all he protects; the next he’s human, weighted by a sharp blow of some­ one’s brandished words, and I can’t.

“I know that look,” Violet whispers. “Heartbreak.”

She says it like she knows the term well. I refrain from spill­ ing how deeply I understand its etymology, my focus still at­tached to this man—a mere stranger I feel strangely connected to—if only because my story has had a few chapters that didn’t end so well.

He dials a new number. His face contorts into different ex­pressions, shaking the tightness loose to find some kind of smile. “Smiling tricks the mind and body into thinking you aren’t

in pain,” Stella taught me. As he forces his lips to upturn, mine do the same.

He clears his throat. “I just wanted to say . . . I . . . I love you. I wish I could stop time, you know? Of course you know. It’s always about the time, isn’t it, baby? We need to talk later. . . . Let me know when you and JJ are back from the farmer’s mar­ ket. I love you. . . . So much . . . Talk soon.”

Violet sighs. “Man. I feel for him. And whoever that message is for.”

I quietly decide I’ll do my best to unearth his buried treasures in the event there is an answer among them—one I’ve been searching for since everything in my own life changed.

“We all have things buried so deep, it would take a dedicated search team to pull them to the surface,” my counselor told me once. She said it after my parents died, when I first learned of the Brickmans’ interest in fostering me. It was a time when I only felt the pieces of me that went missing. This man is missing some­ thing, too.

As the clock moves forward, I feel that pull of time passing. Like oars dropped in the ocean, I scramble to grab ahold. But, losing time doesn’t change what’s happened.

In tonight’s top headlines, new Ivy Springs resident and soon-to-be high school sophomore Andrew Brickman finds something he hadn’t intended during his first shift at Baked & Caffeinated: the crushing realization his parents aren’t coming back.

About the Author:
Candace Ganger is the author of Six Goodbyes We Never Said and The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash as well as a contributing writer for HelloGiggles and obsessive marathoner. Aside from having past lives as a singer, nanotechnology website editor, and world’s worst vacuum sales rep, she’s also ghostwritten hundreds of projects for companies, best-selling fiction and award-winning nonfiction authors alike. She lives in Ohio with her family.

Twitter: @candylandgang + @WednesdayBooks


Link to retailers: MacMillan

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This Chick Read: Love on Lexington Avenue (The Central Park Pact #2) by Lauren Layne

When Claire finds out at her husbands funeral that he left behind not only a wife, but also a girlfriend and a mistress she decides to rid herself of everything her husband owned and hires a contractor to re-do her Upper East Side brownstone. Scott Turner is surly, tells it like it is, and fills out his flannel shirt like no other. Claire is intrigued. Maybe her brownstone isn’t the only change she needs to make!

I found it fascinating that the three women Claire’s husband conned all became fast friends. Their unique friendship is a fun aspect to this series and that history makes it easy for the reader to root for each of them to find their love match. Claire is very practical and kind of reminded me of myself, so of course I loved her! LOL. I also like surly alpha men so loved Scott immediately. I liked how they talked straight with each other and that their attraction was a slow burn. He might’ve thought she was attractive right from the get go, but it wasn’t until she started to “see” him that way that their thoughts became actions.

I liked Lauren Layne’s style of writing a lot. This was my first novel of hers and I’m definitely going to read the first in this series. I fell in love with all three of these women, but even more I liked the heat level on the romance. They became friends first and the love scenes were more of a fade to black. It was a nice change of pace and reminded me how much I love sweet romances! I’m going to be checking out Layne’s other novels and maybe refreshing my browser to “sweet” instead of “Stanky” on heat level. 🙂 ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Love on Lexington Avenue (2) (The Central Park Pact)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you buy it, I get a small stipend.

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: My 5 Most Anticipated Oct’19 Releases

Now, I know my taste in books may not match your own, but hopefully I’m going to remind you of a couple of releases you may have forgotten was approaching. Or maybe one of these books will just sound good and you’ll add it to your TBR. In either case, these are 5 books that I’m looking forward to reading… some day. LOL

#5 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

Release Date: October 8th

Genre: YA Contemporary

I love it when something happens in your life to make you take a look at how you are living it and make you want to change things. And she works in a bookstore. How could I resist this one?

Synopsis:

From the moment she first learned to read, literary genius Darcy Wells has spent most of her time living in the worlds of her books. There, she can avoid the crushing reality of her mother’s hoarding and pretend her life is simply ordinary. But when a new property manager becomes more active in the upkeep of their apartment complex, the only home Darcy has ever known outside of her books suddenly hangs in the balance.

While Darcy is struggling to survive beneath the weight of her mother’s compulsive shopping, Asher Fleet, a former teen pilot with an unexpectedly shattered future, walks into the bookstore where she works…and straight into her heart. For the first time in her life, Darcy can’t seem to find the right words. Fairy tales are one thing, but real love makes her want to hide inside her carefully constructed ink-and-paper bomb shelter.

Still, after spending her whole life keeping people out, something about Asher makes Darcy want to open up. But securing her own happily-ever-after will mean she’ll need to stop hiding and start living her own truth—even if it’s messy.

Click this link to purchase! The Library of Lost Things

#4 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

Release Date: October 8th

Genre: Contemporary Romance

I can’t resist my favorite enemies to lovers trope! This one looks totally cute. Oh, and did I ever mention my first job out of school was working for a Tool Company? LOL.

Synopsis:

Emmie Echavarre is a professional faker. She has to be to survive as one of the few female employees at Nuts & Bolts, a power tool company staffed predominantly by gruff, burly men. From nine to five, Monday through Friday, she’s tough as nails–the complete opposite of her easy-going real self.

One thing she doesn’t have to fake? Her disdain for coworker Tate Rasmussen. Tate has been hostile to her since the day they met. Emmie’s friendly greetings and repeated attempts to get to know him failed to garner anything more than scowls and terse one-word answers. Too bad she can’t stop staring at his Thor-like biceps…

When Emmie and Tate are forced to work together on a charity construction project, things get…heated. Emmie’s beginning to see that beneath Tate’s chiseled exterior lies a soft heart, but it will take more than a few kind words to erase the past and convince her that what they have is real.

Click this link to purchases! Faker

#3 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE!

Release Date: October 22

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Yes, well, after reading Unhoneymooner’s I’m a Christina Lauren fan. This tale of love and redemption sounds like a must read!

Synopsis:

Sam Brandis was Tate Jones’s first: Her first love. Her first everything. Including her first heartbreak.

During a whirlwind two-week vacation abroad, Sam and Tate fell for each other in only the way that first loves do: sharing all of their hopes, dreams, and deepest secrets along the way. Sam was the first, and only, person that Tate—the long-lost daughter of one of the world’s biggest film stars—ever revealed her identity to. So when it became clear her trust was misplaced, her world shattered for good.

Fourteen years later, Tate, now an up-and-coming actress, only thinks about her first love every once in a blue moon. When she steps onto the set of her first big break, he’s the last person she expects to see. Yet here Sam is, the same charming, confident man she knew, but even more alluring than she remembered. Forced to confront the man who betrayed her, Tate must ask herself if it’s possible to do the wrong thing for the right reason… and whether “once in a lifetime” can come around twice.

Click this link to purchase! Twice in a Blue Moon

#2 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE!

Release Date: October, 1

Genre: YA Historical

Well, I can tell you one thing. I’m not listening to the audiobook while driving. I couldn’t see from all of the tears I shed for Salt to the Sea! This one looks to be just as fabulous, and possibly as heartbreaking. Can’t wait!

Synopsis:

Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into the country under the welcoming guise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of a Texas oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography–and fate–introduce him to Ana, whose family’s interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War–as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel’s photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.


Master storyteller Ruta Sepetys once again shines light into one of history’s darkest corners in this epic, heart-wrenching novel about identity, unforgettable love, repercussions of war, and the hidden violence of silence–inspired by the true post-war struggles of Spain.Includes vintage media interstitials, oral history commentary, photos, and more.

Click this link to purchase! The Fountains of Silence

MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE FOR OCTOBER ’19!

Release Date: October 8th

Genre: New Adult, Fantasy, Horror

It looks dark. It looks mysterious. Dark and mysterious. Mysterious and dark. Oh, and magical. That’s all I’ve got, but I’m still going to read it.

Synopsis:

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug-dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. In fact, by age twenty, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most prestigious universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. Their eight windowless “tombs” are the well-known haunts of the rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street’s biggest players. But their occult activities are more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive. They tamper with forbidden magic. They raise the dead. And, sometimes, they prey on the living.

Click this link to purchase! Ninth House

Now you know what my Top 5 are for next month. I’m sure yours differs, right? What books are you interested in reading that release in October?

Let me know in the comments!

Deb

This Chick Read: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

I’ve sat on this review for a couple of days because 1) I couldn’t decide how I’d be able to write one and 2) I couldn’t figure out how to describe my thoughts and feelings. Let’s start with the back of the book synopsis.

In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.
In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.
Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

The above synopsis is accurate but totally different than I would have described this novel. Yes, January Scaller is a curiosity. She’s of mixed race and is the ward of a wealthy white businessman. In his social world, she is a curiosity, but she is also biased against, treated pretty abominably by Mr. Locke, and has an absentee father who occasionally visits but has his own agenda that isn’t explained until the end of the book. January lives in a very black and white world. If not for the friendship of the grocer’s son, she’d be unbearably alone and her life would be pretty bleak.

One day she goes delving into a chest in Mr. Locke’s office and finds a book about these Ten Thousand Doors. When she reads this book she can escape from her dismal life through the story of another young girl. That story is about love at first sight and her journey to find a mysterious young man who had stepped through a door from another world. Doors that may or may not be real. This tale is certainly brighter than January’s own story, and for me more interesting. It’s not until the two stories intertwine that I really became invested in The Ten Thousand Doors of January and the character in her own world.

This novel mixed several genre’s creating a kind of hybrid, atmospheric historical fantasy. I would even say it bordered gothic and was very dark. The elegant prose with which it was written, while beautiful, created an emotional barrier that made it really hard for me to immerse myself in the story and care strongly for January. I did have feeling’s for Her and some of the other characters, but I didn’t feel involved or invested in what happened to them. Am I the only person who’s read this novel that feels this way? It feels like it! Other reviews have waxed lyrical about the writing, and it was certainly all that, but for me, there was a piece missing that kept it from being a great novel. Can I pinpoint what that may be? No. Not to say that I hated all of it, I didn’t! I loved how there were doors into other worlds and the possibility of journeys into those worlds. Unfortunately with a couple of exceptions that I can’t go into without spoiling the outcome, those weren’t avenues that were explored much in this novel.

I did like the alternate storyline. It was a wonderful journey of exploration and self discovery. January’s storyline was a bit more subversive, her story was about wanting something strong enough to change her circumstances and go after it. She did do that, I just wish I had cared more for that self exploration than I did. ❤️❤️❤️❣️

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

Click this link to purchases!* The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chick Read: Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane

Fired from her waitressing job and finding her boyfriend in bed with another woman is not the way Georgina saw this day going when she got out of bed that morning. At thirty years old Georgina has struggled to find her place in this world only wanting what anyone wants, the love of a good man, and a job she can feel proud to go to every day. When she lands a job at a pub owned by her ex high school boyfriend she dreams of having a second chance at love, but is hurt when Lucas doesn’t seem to recognize her. Don’t You Forget About Me is the story of how Georgina’s past and present collide, and how, just maybe, things may start to go her way.

There were a lot of things I liked about Georgina, she didn’t take the crap that was dished at her (an inordinate amount of times!), she had a wonderful group of friends, and she was always striving to be better. As this was a slow burn novel I really come to care for Georgina but I’ll admit her struggle with self confidence wore thin for me. If it hadn’t been for a pivotal plot point when she entered a stand up writing competition at the pub where she works, I may have lost patience and put down this novel. It was the story she told that night that caught my attention, and I thought there might just be more to this novel than pining for the ex who doesn’t seem to remember her. We start to get hints of a trauma that may have contributed to how Georgina ended up still waiting tables and hooking up with losers at the age of thirty. Finally, the story flowed and time flew until it was 1am, I was blowing my nose and drying my tears and reflecting on how this story was so well pieced together and where my feelings turned from “meh” to “I really like this!”.

One of the things that I enjoyed throughout the entire novel were Georgina’s group of friends. They were supportive, funny, snarky, and didn’t hold back from letting her know their thoughts about anything and everything. A good group of friends in a novel can help a reader understand their main character better and I really believe that was the case for Georgina. By hearing about Jo’s dissatisfaction with her own relationship the reader could draw a line between a healthy dissatisfaction and the unhealthy boyfriend choices Georgina had made in her past. It also helped the reader really want that healthy relationship for Georgina and Lucas adding to the tension in their story arc.

You’re probably wondering why I haven’t said much about Lucas since he’s the love interest for Georgina and this is a love story. I guess that’s because Lucas was kind of a mystery to me. He was a little stand off-ish, partly because he pretended like he didn’t know her for a good portion of the novel and he was kind of a quiet guy. He was likable, but it wasn’t until the end of the book where he had a defining moment and had probably one of the most romantic dialog’s in a romance I’ve read in quite awhile that I really liked him for Georgina. It was a REALLY good monologue. LOL.

My feelings for this book were kind of all over the place. The first third was a solid three- good but not great. The middle of the book picked up and started to hold my interest. The characters became more interesting and less annoying- a solid four! The last quarter of the novel was riveting, emotional, and un-put-down-able, and I’d give it a five. If you get to the 3/4 mark of this novel and you’re wavering between reading one more chapter or getting a good nights sleep, be warned. You will NOT be able to put this book down so be prepared to be really tired come morning… I was. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“The way the humour is combined with the darker side of relationships and the feeling of failure Georgina tries to hide is really well done. At no time did I think serious issues were being treated too lightly or the story got bogged down in sadness. The plot moved along at a solid pace and always with a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel. ” Sam Still Reading

“If you’re looking for a humorous, heartfelt work of women’s fiction with a good smattering of romance, Don’t You Forget About Me might just do the trick. It will certainly entertain. (And have you humming the Simple Minds’ tune from the 80s that shares a title with this book, which is quoted at the start of the story…)” Harlequin Junkie

Click this link to purchase!* Don’t You Forget About Me: A Novel

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: Aug19 Wrap Up!

I was on vacation the last week of August so am a little late getting to my wrap up post this month. Sorry guys! I vacationed in New York City and went to visit family in Maine. Getting out of the south in August was awesome! We happened to hit a week with temperature’s in the low to mid 70’s and no humidity. Now THAT’s a vacation!

In New York we crammed in some fun things like a day at the US Open and got to see Djokovik play, saw Jeff Daniels in To Kill a Mockingbird on Broadway, and traveled to the Top of the Rock for the view of Manhattan at sunset, went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the Play it Loud exhibit, and we ate SO MUCH FOOD! LOL. My vacations are all about eating, especially in NYC! Here’s some highlights in pic form.

We drove up to Maine and had a great time visiting family and again lucked out on the weather. It was great!

I may have mentioned last month that I signed up to do way too many reviews in the month of August and Sept. So my vacation also spent some time getting caught up on my reading. I scheduled a lot of reviews and even wrote some posts from the road. Here’s what you may have missed on the Reading Chick last month.

AUGUST- BEST READS

“Since this is a trilogy, we are given peeks at the depths of their feelings for each other. There are two more books in this series for all of their mysteries to be revealed and I will be one of the millions that is eagerly awaiting the next installment! ”

Click this link to purchase!* Sapphire Flames: A Hidden Legacy Novel

“I can’t really think of anything I disliked about this novel. Yes, there was a miscommunication that went on a little too long, but i understood how that helped establish why these two characters needed each other. Maybe it was my own memories of a Renaissance Faire that made me like this so much? Who knows! I just know that I read it at the right time, it hit my sweet spot, and I really enjoyed the journey. You can’t ask for more than that!”

Click this link to purchase!* Well Met

“The Bride Test is a unique romance novel in that its main characters are not perfect at the end of the book. You get the feeling that both Khai and Esme have a long journey of self discovery ahead but they will do it hand in hand.”

Click this link to purchase!* The Bride Test

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

THIS CHICKS SUNDAY COMMENTARY

Beyond my July’19 Wrap Up post and My Most Anticipated Releases for August, I did write an editorial asking if Author’s ever wanted to provide a do over because their opinions on a subject may have changed or even a subject that was considered normal (ex: women not being treated equal to men) has now changed. If you missed any of these posts, please click the links below and join in on the discussions!

July’19 Wrap Up!

My 5 Most Anticipated August Releases

Should Author’s ever take a Do-Over?

WHAT’S ON TAP FOR SEPTEMBER?

It’s already 9/8, so I’m into the month of September and trying to stay on track with my blogging. I am only committed to 4 reviews, so I’ll get those out of the way starting this week. I’d really like to spend my reading time actually picking out a book that may take me a little longer to read and make me think a little bit! A nice historical, or even a political thriller. Both of those genre’s require paying attention to what I’m reading, otherwise I’ll be re-reading sections when I can’t figure out what’s going on!

I never did get out a Giveaway post last month, so I may try to compile some goodies to give away to a blogger. Hopefully, I can do that in the next week!

If you’ve read down this far, thanks! I’d like to ask what’s on tap on your own blog next month? I need to do some hopping! Let me know!

Until next Sunday!

Deb

Friday YA: A Dress for the Wicked by Autumn Krause

Emmaline Watkins has always dreamed of leaving the small town of Shy where she grew up and pursuing her dream of being a dress designer in the city. When the head of the most famous design firm opens up her designer competition to small town applicants Emmy dares to believe that dream may come true. Picked as the only “country” applicant, Emmy leaves for the city but soon comes to realize that pursuing her dream may be more political than realistic.

As I first started reading A Dress for the Wicked I was easily caught up in the search and early competition between all of the girls picked. The story was engaging and ruthless, reminding me of a mix of The Hunger Games and The Selection, but with a fashion twist. I liked the mix of personalities and getting to know our heroine Emmy. As the story moved forward and the more political aspects of the novel were revealed I felt the story become more technical than emotional and the glitz of creating fashion felt more dreary. My feelings did parallel Emmy’s and what was happening to her character at the time, but the reasons why I liked it so much previously just disappeared. The Hunger Games was a very political novel yet it held my interest through competitions. A Dress for the Wicked didn’t figure out how to keep it’s tension taut. Instead it ebbed, which disappointed me because of how strong the story started.

There was a light romance included in this story, but I felt it drew attention away from the more interesting aspects of the novel. I did like Tristan, an aspiring journalist looking for a big story, but felt the romance detracted from the main storyline and the exciting fashion that gave life to the first half of the novel.

I hate when a novel doesn’t live up to it’s great start. There was so much potential with A Dress for the Wicked, but the last third of the novel felt forced and lacked the conviction in the beginning of the novel. At least it did for me. ❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“while I loved the fashion aspects (the book really shines when Emmy designs something or creates), I was less than enthused by the main character, the shoehorned love interest, the underdeveloped secondary characters and the haphazard worldbuilding (seriously, the worldbuilding deserved to be fleshed out so much more).” The Suspected Bibliophile

A Dress for the Wicked has an interesting premise, but the execution is subpar. I loved the competition aspects, but everything else including the main character and the overall plot are not memorable or all that original. I’m not sure if I would recommend this one as I wasn’t wowed by much.” The Candid Cover

Click this link to purchase!* A Dress for the Wicked

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chick Read: Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

Destitute daughter of a vicar, Annabelle Archer earns a place as one of the first female students at the illustrious University of Oxford. In return for her scholarship she must join the women’s suffrage movement and try to gain the backing of a man of influence. Her target? Sebastian Devereaux, Duke of Montgomery and political advisor to the queen. Her beauty catches his eye and despite her fellowship with independent women he’s drawn to her. Can she hold him at arms length while still earning his backing of their movement? Can he convince her to become his without the promise of marriage? Evie Dunmore’s debut novel is atypical of other historical novels in that it dives into the politics of this time and the societal divide a lack of income and good background creates between a man and woman. Bringing Down the Duke was an intricate love story, but also a historical eye opener.

Despite the fluff that the word “Duke” brings to a historical romance title, this novel was anything but. The intricate love story between Sebastian and Annabelle was revealed a piece at a time and was enthralling, don’t get me wrong, but it was the history of the time and how that impacted these two characters that held my attention. I can only recall having read one other novel set during the women’s suffrage movement and as an independent woman myself (even though American), I’m very interested in how and when women’s rights were fought and granted In England. The fact that Evie Dunmore chose this time for a romance gave it a more modern feel.

Sebastian started off the novel as you would expect. Frigid Duke taking all of his responsibilities very seriously gets upended by a beautiful woman. BUT because of the setting we get to see how his thoughts change about women’s rights as Annabelle is threatened through her actions while fight for them. That makes Sebastian different than other historical romance heroes giving the story more impact. In real life a Duke couldn’t consider a woman for his wife if she wasn’t in the correct societal rank without throwing away his own livelihood and lands. Of course in romance novels there are no rules and Dukes marry whomever they want, but this novel doesn’t seem to throw away those societal rules and the Duke’s decisions propel not just the romantic side of the story but the historical plot as well.

I liked Annabelle a lot. She was smart, educated, pretty, but also had a head on her shoulders. She was no innocent and new how her actions would affect her future, but also the future of those around her. She was always thinking ahead. Her attraction to Sebastian was HUGE, but she was no ninny. She knew what it meant if she became a mistress or a wife. Her decisions were based upon real life plot lines and not romance novel plot lines. That made her so much more interesting and real!

Bringing Down the Duke is one of those novels where you pick it up not knowing what you are going to get. The only hint is from the picture on the front where the woman is seated in the saddle of the horse and the Duke is behind her when usually their placement would be in the reverse. A very subtle hint at her independence. I don’t want to give the impression that there isn’t any tension or romance between these two characters. There is plenty of food for the bodice ripping romantic! These two have heat, and their romance was riveting. Even more so because of everything that was happening that I mentioned above! Also, Annabelle’s friends in the movement were interesting and fabulous and hopefully their stories are to come in future novels in the series.

Bringing Down the Duke was everything I love in a historical romance. Riveting characters, sexual tension, and interesting details about the time they are living in. This is a novel that I can easily recommend to anyone who enjoys a great historical romance!

❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

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

Opinions from around the Blogosphere!

“Bringing Down The Duke is one of the best debut’s I have read, it is simply stunning! The character’s are beautifully written, each one sparkles with life, the story is fun and original, it is an exciting, gorgeous and mesmerising love story. Evie Dunmore captivates and enthrals the reader with her intelligent, passionate and dazzling writing.” Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Click this link to purchase!* Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chick Read: Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Emily moved in with her sister and niece in order to help her sister recover from a bad car accident. Part of that help is squiring around her teenage niece Caitlin to audition for a part in Willow Creek’s hometown Renaissance Faire. What she didn’t know was that her under age niece needs an adult to sign up with her. Guess what? Emily will be playing Bar Wench for the summer. When she meets high school English teacher, and man in charge of the Faire, Simon, they immediately butt heads. He’s a know it all with a stick up his butt and Emily has just had it with “that” kind of man! Well Met is a rom-com where two people go from enemies who don’t think they have anything in common to confidants and lovers. I laughed out loud and sniffled away a couple of tears. My favorite kind of romance!

Emily just got dumped and admittedly has a chip on her shoulder for men who think they know everything. Simon’s definitely got an attitude that pushes all of her buttons. I’m a sucker for this trope and loved the Renaissance Faire set up. I can remember going to one of these Faire’s with my mom and aunt when I was a kid and remember how the actor’s really got into playing their parts. This book gave you a behind the scenes look into putting on one of these events and really brought back some fun memories!

Simon’s character had an interesting mix of vulnerability and bravado. I loved the way the author contrasted Simon with the pirate Captain he played in the Faire. It allowed him to act on some of his fantasies through the Captain’s antics. This sped the plot along while also creating conflicting emotions that made this a lot more interesting than it might have been. Emily’s confusion at what were real feelings and what weren’t added tension as well as a little comic relief.

This novel also had a great supporting cast. Mitch the brawny, kilt wearing hunk, her friend Stacey who helped strap her into her bar wench costume, and her sister April who’s injuries gave Emily a sense of purpose. All of these characters helped add comic relief, but also depth to Emily’s character making her more 3-D and not so two dimensional.

I can’t really think of anything I disliked about this novel. Yes, there was a miscommunication that went on a little too long, but i understood how that helped establish why these two characters needed each other. Maybe it was my own memories of a Renaissance Faire that made me like this so much? Who knows! I just know that I read it at the right time, it hit my sweet spot, and I really enjoyed the journey. You can’t ask for more than that!

♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️

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

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“Overall this is one of my favorite romances of the summer! I absolutely plan to read everything that Jen Deluca writes in the future! If you’re looking for one final, swoon-worthy romance before the cool weather hits, definitely pick this one up!” Paperbacks and Planners

“Emily was adorable and totally relatable, her hesitation about the Faire at the start of the book rivaled my own, so I knew she was my kind of people. Simon may as well be called Swoonworthy Simon, my lord this man knows how to woo a lady. Throw in a supporting cast of characters that are just as lovable, sizzling chemistry between Em and Simon and an absolutely adorable and heartwarming story and I’m done” Novel Gossip

Click this link to purchase!* Well Met

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

Friday YA: Eclipse the Skies (Ignite the Stars #1) by Maura Milan

At the end of Ignite the Stars, our three heroes found their lives changed in ways that made them question all they’d known previously. Eclipse the Skies is the story of how Ia, Brinn, and Knives rediscover their reason to fight for their beliefs, even if it’s hard to see the path to enlightenment.

Ia, the Blood Wolf of the Skies, lives for the day when she and her brother will come face to face, knowing only one of them will be left alive. Brinn embraces her heritage just as the world wants to demolish that same heritage. Knives finds out his father is not the ogre he thought just as he is about to lose the chance to make amends. Needless to say, Eclipse the Skies definitely takes a turn to the dark side, as our characters fight to overcome adversity.

I will admit, I did miss the more swashbuckling adventure the first novel set into play. It was a little harder for me to lose myself in this world without the interaction between these characters. They were separated through most of the book and all three of their storylines were pretty gloomy. The story picked back up when they started interacting with each other again and that’s when my enjoyment of the book ratcheted up.

This was a good sequel to Ignite the Stars, but beware, the pace is a little slower and the plot a little gloomier. My favorite character, Brinn, really took a turn to the dark side and I’m still recovering from that momentary panic that she wouldn’t return to the light. If you’re a fan of young adult and would like to give this sci-fi series a try, please read the books in order as this novel is a continuation of the previous plot. ❤️❤️❤️❣️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Eclipse the Skies (2) (Ignite the Stars)

Copyright Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate