This Chick Read: Other People’s Houses by Abbi Waxman

Other People’s Houses looks behind the curtain into all of the relationships in a block of houses in the Larchmount neighborhood of Los Angeles. Frances Bloom, as the volunteer driver of all of the neighbors children, she gets an eyeful into the lives of her next door neighbor that makes everyone take a second look into their own marriage.

Although the point of view changes from character to character I mostly identified with Frances, the mother of four, slightly overweight stay at home wife who spends her days making other peoples lives easier. Not to say that I make people’s lives easy, but she was more the “everyman” character in this book, so seeing through her eyes was easier and her point of view was very clear. When she catches one of her neighbors in infidelity she keeps her mouth shut, but her knowing creates a cause and effect that builds into a tsunami that breaks over that neighborhood, changing the lives of not only the adults but all of the children as well.

I LOVED Abbi Waxman’s first novel The Garden of Small Beginnings. It too dealt with a difficult subject as the main character, widower and mother of two, Lili, was still trying to get over the death of her husband. It was a story of letting go and moving forward told through humor. The infidelity in Other People’s Houses was also hard to read, but more so because of how it affected all of the children. There was still a bit of humor but I cried more than I laughed in this book. The funny commentary between mothers and children were present but it was almost bittersweet because of the lesson they were all learning from someone else’s mistake.

Other People’s Houses needs to stand on it’s own and not be compared to The Garden of Small Beginnings, and I think I did it a disservice at first for being so eager to look for a laugh. I was disappointed when I didn’t get it until further into the book. Abbi Waxman still did an amazing job creating credible, real, emotional characters. I really liked these people so was able to get involved in their stories, but it did take me a little bit to understand that this was not going down the road I had wanted to take and my journey was going to be a lot more emotional. If you enjoy reading books about heartbreaking relationships with an occasional laugh then you will really like this book. If you read The Garden of Small Beginnings, be warned, you are not getting the same uplifting novel with Other People’s Houses, but you will still be enthralled with the story. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Other People's

Click this link to purchase! Other People’s Houses

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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Have a Happy Easter!

This is one of my favorite times of year. I look around and see the daffodils and tulips blooming, the tree’s budding, and the grass growing in that green color you only see at the beginning of the season. Beautiful, right?

Easter’s message of Hope and New Beginnings means that we can shed all of the bad things that have happened in the past year and start over. We can start a new book, a new chapter in our lives.

I hope that you all have a Happy Easter filled with hope and new beginnings!

Start a new chapter in your book and enjoy!

Until next Sunday,

Deb

I had to share the cake I made for Easter dessert. Blueberry-Lemon cake with blueberry butter cream frosting.

This Chick Read: The Gravity of Us by Brittainy Cherry

Graham Russell is a best selling horror author who has been abandoned by everyone in his life. He was raised by a father who was not capable of loving anyone but himself. Graham never learned how to love, and if he had he certainly wouldn’t trust it. When we meet him, he’s getting ready for his father’s funeral service. His very pregnant wife, Jane, has to practically drag him to the service, which he reluctantly attends. At the service he meets Lucille, one of the florists who provided flowers for his fathers service. They are briefly trapped together outside and strike up a conversation. This conversation defines who these two people are- Graham is an unemotional bastard and Lucille has a skip in her step and an optimistic view of life.

This novel is not a typical romance. This is a book about learning to love. Graham, for the first time in his life falls head over heels in love, with his baby girl. He would do anything for her and he does by reaching out to the sister of his wife (yes, Lucille is his sister in law!) to help him figure out how to care for his daughter. Lucille is immediately all in. Even though her sister abandoned she and her other sister in their greatest time of need, she doesn’t even think twice about helping Graham out, devoting all of her spare time. As they spend more time with each other Lucille falls in love with her taciturn brother in law. Looking at him through her eyes, I can see why. He is in love with this little girl and it brings out the humanity in him. A humanity that he soon has trouble shutting the door on. As his daughter melts his heart, Lucille’s generosity of spirit and wholesome love opens his heart to another kind of love.

Once again I’m going to reiterate that this is not your typical romance. Based on the cover you’d think it would be a sexy love story. There is a little of that much later in the novel, however the sexiness in this novel isn’t physical. The sexy in this novel comes from the warmth of love. The basis of their relationship is a friendship that builds throughout the entire novel. I loved that. The only negative for me was that he was married to Lucille’s sister.  Jane disappeared after giving birth to a sick child and was obviously emotionally inept. That contrast between she and Lucille needed to be extreme for Gabriel to learn love. In fact that contrast between those two women, for me showed how much Gabriel emerged from the darkness into the light. That journey to a healthy love made the happily ever after even more rewarding. ❤️❤️❤️❣️

The Gravity of Us Click this link to purchase! The Gravity of Us (The Elements Series) (Volume 4) Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

This Chick Read: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Alice and her mother were always a step ahead of bad luck until one day it caught up to them. Living in New York, Alice’s mother had married a wealthy man and seemed to have stopped believe in their bad luck. Working in a coffee shop, Alice see’s a familiar face from her childhood. A man who had kidnapped her to take her back to her grandmother, a famous author of dark fairy tales, at her home in the Hazel Wood. When she spots this man, he doesn’t look a day older than he did ten years ago, so she doesn’t believe her instincts. When she gets home and finds her mother has been kidnapped by the people they had been running from, Alice has to find her grandmother’s estate, hoping that is where her mother is being taken. This is a story of adventure and self discovery for Alice and like the dark fairy tale’s her grandmother wrote, her journey also follows a dark path.

As I started reading The Hazel Wood I loved the world that Melissa Albert had created. Alice, like Alice in Wonderland, seemed to have fallen down a dark hole and as Alice and I learned more about the fairy tale’s that her grandmother wrote it became hard to second guess where the story was leading. When Alice got to the Hazel Wood and her existence was revealed I’ll admit that it became harder for me to like. This was not a Disneyland fairy tale and even though there was a happy ending I didn’t feel very happy at the end.

I had mixed feelings about this novel. The writing was excellent and it was a unique story but in the end I felt “meh”. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

The Hazel Wood

Click this link to purchase! The Hazel Wood: A Novel

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

This Chick Read: His Wicked Charm (The Mad Morelands #6) by Candace Camp

What do you get when you combine a conservative young woman in regency dress with a charming scamp? A lively and fun historical romance novel by Candace Camp! Constantine Moreland is handsome and almost too charming for his own good. His flirtatious personality makes him very well liked by the ladies, with the exception of Lila Norcutt. However, his twin brother just married her best friend so they are paired together more than she’d like. When his mother and sisters end up being kidnapped while at a suffragette rally, Lila joins Con in the hunt to rescue them and ends up loosening up her corset strings and actually having fun with the man she professes to hate.

I found His Wicked Charm to be a lot of fun to read. It wasn’t a very serious historical romance (thank god!) and I was able to just relax and read it in an afternoon. Although Con’s personality annoyed Lila at the outset of this novel, he was the perfect remedy for a gloomy Saturday afternoon. Luckily Lila changed her tune and started to relish the chemistry that she and Con had and their romps through the countryside turned into a different kind of romp altogether!

I have not read any of the other books in this series but the characters do all seem to be a bit mad, or at least different for the time period. It seems that they each have a different psychic gift which may make their romantic pairings a bit more interesting. I liked this novel and am willing to give another Mad Moreland a try! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

His Wicked Charm

Click this link to purchase! His Wicked Charm (The Mad Morelands)

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: My Pet Peeves with Female Fictional Character Traits

I tend to gravitate towards female authors because they predominantly write from a woman’s perspective which I enjoy being a woman myself, but after finishing another novel where I was disappointed in the female lead I wondered what was the point to this character? Why even write about her? I started to doubt myself. Is it just the way I’m reading this book? My mood? Admittedly, being a strong willed woman myself I have little patience for reading  from a weak heroines perspective and I definitely have my favorite female personalities. I have also noticed that if I’ve had a rough day at work I have little patience, and I do keep that in mind.

Why is it that romance novels show so many female main characters as being weak and submissive to a man? I’ll admit, I like to read romances where the man is take charge. However, if the woman is in jeopardy too much or is too submissive it takes my head out of the story. I get a little offended for womankind that this is supposed to be a fantasy or role model for women who read these novels. Am I supposed to like this?

YA novels actually do a great job of giving their readers strong female role models. Authors like Sarah J. Mass and Victoria Aveyard wouldn’t be caught dead with a weak female heroine. Worlds would collapse and Kingdoms lost! Their heroines aren’t perfect by any means, but they always learn a lesson and grow as characters. (Although I have my doubts about Mare). I am ecstatic that YA authors seem to take their roles seriously? Why give younger women weak role models to emulate when we can teach them to lead countries and conquer worlds?

Some romance authors make a living by writing novels that let men control their woman. Alexa Reilly comes immediately to mind. They write really well, but their formula is a weak brainless woman who is seduced by the man’s money and will. I’m sure you’ve guessed this isn’t my thing. But why is it anyone’s? People rave about Jamie McGuire’s aptly titled Beautiful Disaster. That female lead was a hot mess! People give 5 star reviews to that book. It amazes me. I know, I know, reading, like admiring art, is in the eye of the beholder. It’s totally subjective. I love that! I do really get fired up about having bad role models for women though, even if it’s just fiction.

My favorite female to read is the warrior. Even if a woman is just a lawyer fighting for a cause I get a charge out of it. If she’s in a fantasy world wielding a sword even better! in romance that sword could be words and clever dialog with her man. I do see a place for learning what NOT to do from reading about weak willed characters. Or those women who start off weak and learn a great lesson and use that knowledge to change their life. Those women are redeemed!

OK, I’m sure you’ve heard me rant enough. I want to ask you, what kind of women do you like to read about?

If you are a writer and have a perspective or thought on why some female authors write about women in the victim role I’d love to hear it!

What books have you read where you’ve LOVED the female lead character? I’m always looking for a new book to read and if the female lead is awesome I definitely want it on my radar!

Until next Sunday,

Deb

This Chick Read: Covert Game (A Ghostwalker novel) by Christine Feehan

Ms. Feehan I salute thee for writing so prolifically and successfully! I think I read recently that this is her 75th novel? Well, Covert Game is the 14th novel in the Ghostwalker series and I’ve ready about five of them. The great thing about a series with a lot of novels is that you can usually read them as stand alone’s and catch up with the personalities pretty quickly and this novel fell into that category, so don’t let the number in the series scare you away.

Covert Game  started off really quick with our heroine Zara Hightower in China getting ready to deliver a speech about artificial intelligence to a Fortune 500 foreign company. However, not everything is as it seems! Zara is a secret agent placed there to steal secrets from Cheng’s (said business owner) computers while simultaneously giving her AI speech. (You may ask how that can be? Let’s just say she’s got more in her head than her wit and common sense!) Of course things go wrong, Zara is held captive and tortured (pretty horrifically!) and our Ghostwalker team with hunky hero Gino Mazza come in to rescue her from captivity to the evil Bolan Zhu who wants her for his personal submissive.

Like I said, it got off to a really quick start!  I liked Zara a lot. She was plucky, held out against telling secrets while being tortured and just an overall good person. These were my thoughts pre-Gino, anyways. Our hero Gino is introduced to us as a very conflicted guy. Orphaned and brought up by his uncle who is a Crime Lord, Gino is a Ghostwalker with his cousin Joe. Raised together, he always had his cousin’s back. Joe wasn’t in this novel too much, but my understanding is that although he is the leader of these Ghostwalker’s he’s a pretty likable guy. Gino, not so much. Other than when with his brothers in arms, Gino flies solo. Think dark, broody, silent type hero. When they receive their mission to save Zara, he becomes slightly obsessed. Once she is in his hands he doesn’t let go and she doesn’t want him to, becoming totally dependent upon him for her safety.

What happened to plucky heroine Zara? Well, she did get the sh*& kicked out of her, but she absolutely dissolved. I hated that for her. Gino wasn’t that bad a guy, he actually cared for her, but he really wanted her under his thumb and she allowed herself to be there. Now, before everyone goes crazy on me I will back down a bit. You can read a novel like this and take it two ways. One, there is someone for everyone. Gino had a rough life, so did Zara, and they seemed to need what the other person was capable of giving. Sounds pretty reasonable. I fell into the other column.  To me, Zara was a victim that wanted a strong man to take care of her and Gino was that guy who wanted to keep his woman safe and dominated. I was so conflicted! I really don’t like love stories where the woman is a victim. Covert Game started off really good, but the middle was a muddled mess, and then the action amped back up and gave the story a purpose again. A mixed bag for me.

How do you rate a novel that was well written but just did not hit any of my hot buttons? It was a fantasy so I gave it some leeway, but please Ms. Feehan give women a role model in their heroine, not a doormat. For those of you who don’t have trouble reading victim love stories, you’ll love this one. Don’t let my opinion turn you away. ❤️❤️❤️

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

Covert Game

Click this link to purchase! Covert Game (A GhostWalker Novel)

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

This Chick Read: From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata

When Jasmine Santos first stepped on the ice she felt like she had somewhere she belonged. When she finds out her skating partner dumped her for another her life falls into a tailspin. Trying to gain back her confidence she keeps up her training schedule of early hours on the ice, and afternoons waiting tables. When she is approached by Gold Medalist Ivan Lukov and his coach to be his new partner, she is floored. She has known Ivan for years, and while he is adored by fans, there is no love lost between them. He is her best friend’s brother and has been in her life for years, but they are frenemies at best. Can they make this partnership work? She is determined to take this last chance at a career she loves and agrees to put their hate aside… on the ice.

From Lukov With Love was told entirely from Jasmine’s perspective and at first she made it really hard to care for her.  She was very prickly! The more I learned about her history the easier it was to see through that wall she put up and start rooting for her. Since we were reading this story through Jasmine’s eyes, we were never given any insight into Ivan’s actions, only Jasmine’s interpretation which was not always correct. To give her credit, Ivan did seem to be a bit of a snobby jerk, but as the novel went on actions spoke louder than words and that snobby jerk turned into Jasmine’s white knight making not only Jasmine fall in love, but also the reader.

This was a classic enemies to friends Zapata romance novel. The majority of the novel builds their friendship before turning that friendship into romance. Sometimes in that trope, the man or woman already loves their partner, but in this one I got the feeling that although Jasmine misinterpreted Ivan’s actions throughout the years, their love story really started as they got to know each other better by learning to trust their partnership. That slow build up created a perfect climactic moment when they revealed their feelings to each other. It was perfect. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

From Lukov

Click this link to purchase! From Lukov with Love

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

This Chick Read: Every Dog Has His Day (Bluff Point #3) by Jenn McKinlay

Divorced mom Jessie Connolly has blinders on when it comes to handsome neighbors, but when her two daughters ask Brewery owner and next door neighbor Zach to help get their kitten off his roof her eyes are opened to what a great guy he is. This was one of those novels where the kids are adorable and funny and their interaction with the hero is heartwarming. Zach and Jessie had great chemistry but his interaction with her children made me fall in love with him too.

Zach is totally laid back, charming and has that childish joie de vivre. BUT he was also grown up enough to see what was in front of his face and know that he wanted it forever. Jessie had been through a bad divorce and her ex was a deadbeat dad which made her a little gunshy in the romance department. Zach kept coming through for she and her daughters and that love of life that may have looked childish to other women actually made him perfect in her eyes. The comparison to her ex was so disparate that she couldn’t help wanting him around permanently.

Every Dog Has His Day is one of those books you want to curl up on the couch with when the weather outside is cold and nasty. It warms you from within and reminds you that a little fun in a romance is a wonderful thing. I have not read the other books in this series but really enjoyed Jenn McKinlay’s style of writing and will definitely be checking those out.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Every Dog Click this link to purchase! Every Dog Has His Day (A Bluff Point Romance) Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: Uppercase Box- March ’18 Reveal

I had a little package waiting for me yesterday and I couldn’t wait to open it!

rubbing-hands-together-gif-14

Have I read last months book yet? Nope! However, I have gotten through a few that had been on my TBR. So I’m feeling ok about adding another YA book to the list. I’ll get to that book in a moment. Uppercase Box is always fun because of the bookish gifts that come in the envelope along with the actual book.

Ink notebook

I love collecting notebooks. I actually carry one around with me and write down my thoughts. I have one that I write notes on at book signings and others that I use for my work notes, so this was a useful gift for me.

bookish magnet

There was a cute little comma necklace and a fun magnet titled Bookish. I like to collect these kinds of gifts to include in giveaways on my blog, so I’m going to add them to my stash. 😉

But what about the book? It was one that I’ve had my eye on. The cover is pretty and the synopsis sounds great! Steam-punk fantasy? Sounds different, but I love Gail Carriger novels so have ventured into the steam-punk genre before. Fun! This sounds right up my fantasy loving alley!

Ink Iron and Glass

Synopsis:

A certain pen, a certain book, and a certain person can craft entirely new worlds through a branch of science called scriptology. Elsa comes from one such world that was written into creation, where her mother―a noted scriptologist―constantly alters and expands their reality.

But when her home is attacked and her mother kidnapped, Elsa is forced to cross into the real world and use her own scriptology gifts to find her. In an alternative Victorian Italy, Elsa finds a secret society of young scientists with a gift for mechanics, alchemy, or scriptology―and meets Leo, a gorgeous mechanist with a smart mouth and tragic past. She recruits the help of these fellow geniuses just as an assassin arrives on their doorstep.

In this thrilling debut, worlds collide as Elsa unveils a deep political conspiracy seeking to unlock the most dangerous weapon ever created―and only she can stop it.

What do you think? The book just came out on 2/20/18. Is it on any of your TBR’s?

If you’ve read this novel give me a shout and let me know how you liked it!

Until next Sunday,

Deb