This Chicks Audio Reviews: Under One Roof and Stuck With You (The STEMinist Novellas #1 & #2) by Ali Hazelwood

The Love Hypothesis was one of my favorite romance novels of 2021, so when Ali Hazelwood came out with novellas featuring women of STEM (Scientist, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) I had to read them and see if she could repeat her magical formula in short form. Part of what worked for me in The Love Hypothesis was the geeky humor and witty dialog. Also, the complete obtuseness (is that a word?) when it came to attraction and love that our main character betrayed. The STEMinist novella heroines definitely followed this same format. Super bright but when it came to their own love lives, they needed some great advice from their friends. It’s always easier to pick apart your best friends behavior than it is to figure out your own, right? This novella series follows three best friends who are all women of STEM and certainly have an opinion on each other’s love lives but aren’t so great at figuring out their own.

Under One Roof is book one in this short story series. Environmental Engineer, Mara, inherits half a house from her mentor and needs to move in asap. Inhabiting that house is big-oil lawyer Liam. They say opposites attract and you know when that front door opens that this is definitely the case but it takes a while for our duo to put aside their differences and take a chance on each other. It’s not often when I read a novella that feels like a full-length book but Ali Hazelwood does a great job of making that happen in Under One Roof. Mara and Liam fulfill that tension that I love in an enemies to lovers story! This book was narrated by Emma Wilder who did a great job voicing both characters and injecting humor, anger, angst, and attraction into every word. Bravo! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Stuck With You is the second book in the series and is the story of Civil Engineer, Sadie, who is slightly neurotic but ultimately adorable. She meets the hot, tall (to her very short) Viking, Erik at the local coffee shop. She is desperate for her lucky croissant and he just purchased the last one. This absolutely charming novella spends one wonderful day with the two of them as they get to know each other, not bothering to fight their attraction. Of course, it doesn’t all go smoothly but rights itself in the end with a little help from her friends. I’m saying less about this novella but I actually liked it a little bit more. The narration by Meg Sylvan was spot on. Her slight accent for the Dutch-born Erik is just amazing. You totally forget it’s a woman voicing his character! Sadie is a genius, but neurotically superstitious and her quirks made this short story a ton of fun. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

I can’t wait for the third novella, Below Zero, to come out in July! The third and final STEMinist’s story looks to be a charmer. Each of these audiobooks runs just over three hours, so if you have a short car trip or are cooking something complicated on a weekend it’s the perfect amount of time to spend with these characters. The novellas both read like a full-length novel and don’t leave you hanging.

Click these links to purchase! Under One Roof and Stuck With You

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This Chick Read: Every Summer After by Carley Fortune

Persephone Fraser spent six idyllic summers on the lake at Barry Bay with her next door neighbors Sam and Charlie. Percy was the same age as Sam and as two awkward 13 year olds they formed an immediate bond and friendship. As the years passed their friendship changed but only spending the summers together they each had nine months living their “normal” lives before they were together again. Percy was a horror movie lover and want-to-be writer while Sam wanted to be a doctor after seeing his father pass away at a young age. Despite all obstacles and differences the two of them knew they had each other until one summer when Percy made a life-changing decision that severed their relationship. It’s now 12 years later and Sam’s mom has died of cancer and Percy decides to go to the funeral and face the past, and the boy she once desperately loved.

Every Summer After is the debut novel by Carley Fortune and wow does this novel pack an emotional punch! I am so impressed with the intricacies of the plot and how this author wove flashbacks to their childhood with current time holding the reader captive and in suspense. You know from the synopsis that something huge will happen, and she keeps the reader on the edge of their seat waiting for that explanation. It’s been awhile since I was so captivated by a story that I stayed up reading way past the time I should’ve put the book down. I just had to finish it in one night. Despite my lack of sleep and having to get up and go to work, I am not disappointed in my decision at all.

I loved both Sam and Percy. Meeting as 13 year olds, Percy had just gone through a difficult year at school being cast out of her group of friends and kind of floundering. Sam immediately became the person she could rely on the most. Even when she went back to Toronto, school, and making up with her clique of friends, no one took Sam’s new place in her heart. Sam was an old soul. Having his dad die not only changed the trajectory of his life but also made him super responsible. This sense of responsibility and seriousness drew Percy in but also contributed to their separation. I can’t talk about the characters in this book without mentioning Charlie. He’s Sam’s older brother by two years and is the complete opposite of Sam. He’s a charmer with the ladies, and is the character with one liners who always lightens the mood. Although he’s also Sam’s brother and causes a bit of conflict by association. I loved all three of them!

As I stated before, you know that something happens and since it’s been twelve years since Percy has seen Sam and the story is told through flashbacks, you have to wait awhile to find out what and why. Carley Fortune does a great job of building that relationship up so that the reader is completely invested and wants to see that happily-ever-after that we know is waiting for us on the last page. In this book, I’m not really bothered by the wait because the characters keep me vastly entertained.

This book is coming out just in time for summer vacation and is the PERFECT beach book. My hope is that someone else will read this book, or has read it so that I have someone to talk to about it. So please, put it on your TBR’s, it’s an easy bet that you’ll like this story. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase this book!* Every Summer After

Copyright 2022 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (5/9/22)

I hope everyone had a great weekend and spent a little bit of time gearing yourself up for the next work week. I spent the weekend visiting with my mom, as it’s Mother’s Day in the U.S. and I’m fortunate enough to live close. Despite the weather, holiday, and a fun crafts fair in our fun city, I did find a little bit of time to finish a book as well as pick up a new one. Here’s what I’ve been reading.

JUST FINISHED

Set in the 1950’s and in a bookstore in England, this book follows three women who work in that store and how each navigate a world in which men have all the control. I am a big fan of traveling through history by reading a great fiction novel and I thought this one was really good and their journey translates well to some things going on today.

JUST STARTED

I bought this novel when it came out but got distracted away from reading it. I love Penny Reid novels. Her characters are quirky and her voice genuine. The story is off to a great start!

What books are you reading this week? Are you eagerly anticipating an evening at home on the couch finishing your book?

Happy Monday and happy reading!

Deb

This Chick Read: By the Book (A Meant to Be novel) by Jasmine Guillory

Isabelle’s dream job as an associate editor at a publishing firm has definitely lost its luster. She wants to advance her career but feels like she’s stuck in a dead end job, unnoticed by her editor. When she travels out to California for a book convention she overhears a conversation about one of their celebrity authors and offers to head to his house in Santa Barbara and see if she can help him get over his writer’s block. When she gets to Beau Towers house she’s confronted by and angry, immensely handsome man only a few years older than herself. Her forthright attitude and direct approach seems to resonate and he allows her to stay for a week.

I’ve read a few Jasmine Guillory books and By the Book is my favorite to date. This novel is described as being a re-imagined fairytale, and I can’t help but think it fits into the Beauty and the Beast slot? I’m not 100% sure but Beau is definitely a beast to her when she first arrives and she is a girl who loves her books, just like Belle! Our Belle, nicknamed Izzy, sees the golden heart inside of her beast and through helping him write helps him deal with some personal family pain.

This novel is not just about helping Beau see what he needs to reveal in order to heal but it’s also about Izzy being true to herself, not letting others undermine her, and sticking with her dream. I really liked how supportive they were with each other as well as how each of them opened their eyes and looked beyond the surface.

If you are a fan of Jasmine Guillory, By the Book will not disappoint. She has a wonderfully easy style of writing and I often find myself enmeshed in her stories not wanting to put the book down. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

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

Click this link to purchase!* By the Book

Copyright 2022 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (5/2/22)

Happy May everyone! This is the month where so many great books are coming out and I have once again over-asked for ARC’s. I’ve been trying to read ahead but at the same time read for pleasure. I only ask for books I’m looking forward to reading (with a surprise thrown in everyone once in awhile) so it’s tough to choose what’s already on my kindle. I am thrilled that I got a copy of Ilona Andrews upcoming release and despite it not coming out until August, I went ahead and picked it up last night. Let’s get to it!

JUST FINISHED

A debut novel by Carley Fortune, Every Summer After hit all of my hot buttons, making it the perfect beach read. If only I’d been on a beach! Seriously good with a lake setting, this romance made me feel EVERYTHING. I loved it!

JUST STARTED

I literally just started this so don’t really have an opinion yet, but this is one of my favorite writing teams so I’m sure I’m going to enjoy it!

Are you reading a favorite author right now? Who is it? Let me know if it’s a great book.

Happy Monday and happy reading!

Deb

This Chick Read: Shadows in Death (In Death #51) by J.D. Robb

Eve and Roarke’s evening out is interrupted by a murder in Washington Square Park. While examining the crime scene Roarke spots an enemy from his childhood in the crowd. Lorcan Cobbe, grew up admiring Roarke’s father, working in his organization and moving his way up to paid assassin. Now a wanted man, he jumps immediately to the top of the suspect list and Eve is in hot pursuit. It becomes obvious that Cobbe is taking advantage of running into his enemy and is targeting Roarke and all of those he loves. Eve and her team use every tool they have to gather evidence and hopefully take him down.

I’m a little behind in this series as I believe the 55th book was just released, but ran across this title in my library wishlist and was in the mood for a futuristic investigation with some of my favorite characters. Even though it’s been awhile, when you’ve stuck with a series for 51 books the characters are like good friends. You know when you see one of your best friends from high school after a few years apart and you just jump right back into a previous conversation? The In Death books are exactly like that.

I enjoyed Shadows in Death a lot. Part of it was the comradery of Eve’s team when it becomes clear that Cobbe is targeting Roarke and Eve. Their “family” was going to take down this killer before he had a chance to do anything and how they banded together to investigate, find his mistakes, and then capture him was so emotional because Eve was so awed by their support. Even after all of these years she is surprised that she has a group of friends and I love that insecurity. It really makes you root for her as a character.

There wasn’t a mystery to solve in this plot because we knew the killer in the first chapter but the investigation was fast and personal. Each dip and turn was fraught with tension and each chapter amped up the tension leading to a conclusion that was so, so good! There’s nothing like jumping back into a series with a gripping plot and being reminded why you’ve read all 51 books. When J.D. Robb writes well, her books are excellent. This was one of the really good ones and yes, I’ve already picked up book #52, I hope it’s just as good! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this book!* Shadows in Death

Copyright 2022 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: Aurora’s End (The Aurora Cycle #3) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

When Aurora Burning, the second novel in the series, ended, it looked like Squad 312 was history. Each story arc had been blasted to kingdom come. As Aurora’s End begins, we find out that each of our characters have survived the annihilation. Zila, Fin, and Scarlett have been thrown back in time to when the Betraskans and Humans were at war with each other. Caught in a time loop, the three of them must find a way out of the loop and back to the future so that they can continue to fight to save humanity. Kal and Auri have been blown into the future where they see what happens when the Ra’haam infect the universe. They meet up with a future Tyler who leads the uninfected in a fight that they have no hope of winning. This final novel in the Aurora Cycle is action packed but also packs an emotional punch as we see the what-if’s and the could-be’s collide.

Kaufman and Kristoff are among the best when it comes to action packed scenes and there are quite a few note-worthy ones in Aurora’s End. Each character’s story arc leads them to a point where they can all unite to hopefully save their people. I just wish that it hadn’t taken quite so long to reach the conclusion. I was all in after the ending of Aurora Burning, knowing that our characters would be back because, hello, it was a three book series. BUT, for me, there was too much time spent in the time loop where Zila, Fin, and Scarlett were trying to beat the loop and find their way back to the future. Granted, each loop takes time, and there needed to be some emotional moments for all characters during those loops, but still, it took too many pages.

On the flip side, I wish that Tyler’s portion had been a little longer. I thought his character as the leader of the unit, the one who had all of the success or failure placed upon his shoulders, needed more time and reflection. I know, that is kind of nit-picky and is probably my own feelings about which character I liked best and wanted to read about the most, but his part was definitely the most interesting of the three plot arc’s. I think it helped that he was actually in two of the arc’s and that future Tyler helped build a connection to what was riding on his shoulders in the past.

The conclusion to this series was epic, action-packed, and emotional. Everything you’d hope for in a series that took a little while to build. I like a conclusion that doesn’t leave loose ends and what-if’s lying about. This was a fun journey and a fantastic continuation and of a very solid sci-fi series. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Aurora’s End (The Aurora Cycle Book 3)

Copyright 2022 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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This Chicks Audio Review: Next in Line (Cake #6) by J. Bengtsson

The driving force behind Quinn McCallister, the youngest brother of rock star Jake McCallister, is that he is determined to be better and more famous than his older brother. Kind of hard to do when your older brother was a kidnap victim who escaped after a month of captivity only by killing his captor. Then there’s the fact that he’s uber talented. Quinn grew up in Jake’s limelight, wishing for his attention but not getting it. No surprise because his brother has some horrible trauma to work through. As Next in Line begins, Quinn is a candidate on a singing competition show and despite promises from the producers not to use his family to garner ratings they, of course do. In return Quinn sings a heartbreaking song that goes viral, and walks off and out of their lives. Enter Jess, the uber/Lyft driver who picks him up as he’s being chased down the sidewalk by one of said producers. He gets in the car and her sass immediately gets him out of his own head. Who is this girl who he has told to take him someplace fun, but not too much fun?

I am a big fan of the Cake series. J. Bengtsson’s witty dialog always keeps me reading despite knowing she’s going to make me relive Jake’s torture for the sixth time. Next In LIne, while still dealing with the trauma the McCallister family went through because of what happened to Jake and subsequently them, does seem slightly watered down. Maybe in part this is because Quinn was only six years old when his brother was kidnapped. Just as with the other McCallister kids, they use humor to hide behind and Jess, who also has a difficult childhood does the same. This means I chuckled, laughed, and cried my way through their interactions.

There was one point in the book where I turned to my sister, who had already read the book, and asked if Quinn and Jess’s stories will twine back together again because i was reading this for the romance, not for Quinn’s journey into rock and roll. I did stick it out, but I really wish I’d been reading the book instead of listening to it because I could’ve skipped over some of the less interesting (to me) parts and gotten back to the romance. The narrator’s BTW did an amazing job. Andi Arndt should read all contemporary books and as much as I love Zachary Webber normally, I think she outshone him in her interpretation of the characters, even Quinn’s. She was incredible.

I bet you’re trying to figure out if I liked this book. I’ll admit, I waffled a bit. Yes, I did like it but I wish it was more Quinn and Jess, and less Quinn the rock star. I wish that Jake didn’t have to relive his trauma every time one of his brothers or sisters fell in love. I feel bad for the guy! I also wish that Andi Arndt had more audio time. However, if I break it down, this series is one that I’ll keep coming back to read and listen to again and again. Yes, I do have my favorite books (Kyle’s and Emma’s), and Quinn’s probably falls at the bottom of the list but it was still good. Some Others were just better. I’m sure you have your own favorite too.

❤️❤️❤️❣️

Click this link to purchase the audiobook!* Next in Line: A Cake Series Novel

Copyright 2022 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 Audio Review: The Paris Secret by Karen Swan

Flora Sykes, a fine arts dealer, is brought in to assess an amazing find. An unopened apartment in Paris filled with antiques and art that haven’t been touched in 70 years. Owned by the wealthy Vermeil family, Flora’s job is to research those antiques and establish provenance. Using this job as an escape from a personal tragedy, Flora immerses herself in the history of this find that includes a rare Renoir. As she gets closer to answers she keeps stumbling upon the brusque Xavier Vermeil the heir to the Vermeil dynasty who seems upset at her involvement, especially when her research turns up a shocking truth that threatens the reputation of his family.

The Paris Secret takes you all over Europe, to London, Paris, New York, and Vienna and the narrator Lucy Price-Lewis does an amazing job moving smoothly from one accent to another. I truly felt like there were multiple people narrating this novel. She did an amazingly seamless job. I’ll definitely be putting her on my must listen list. However, it is the author who deftly wrote a story that I’ve now come across a few times, and made it stand out from the other novels. The Paris Secret did not provide flashbacks as a tool, staying in the 20th Century. An effective tool to show the disparity in wealth that the Vermeil family had and the power that wealth has given them over time. A power that in part came from their love of art.

As Flora was distracting herself with this amazingly interesting find in Paris, her family was going through something powerfully emotional. The author chose to keep the reader in the dark through a great portion of the book only revealing her family secret when it made sense in moving the plot emotionally forward. Her investigation and her own secret rode parallel to each other in the story creating an explosive conflict in the story between she and Xavier. I’ll admit their attraction was confusing, tense, and mysterious. The narration was so, so good, I eagerly anticipated every word.

As there have been a few of these secret Paris apartment stories in the last 5-6 years, I’m sure you can guess the provenance of where the art came from, but as I said above, the way Karen Swan delivered this information, keeping the story contemporary and current, was a different take on the story that I really enjoyed. I also loved the tension-filled scenes between Flora and Xavier, as well as Flora’s investigation across the European continent. She was a strong, intelligent heroine, and I really liked her. I highly recommend this novel and if you have the time please try the audiobook. Lucy Price-Lewis did an amazing job and made me want to travel to France again sometime soon. Ooh-La-La!

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link and purchase this book!* The Paris Secret: A Novel

Copyright 2022 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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This Chicks Audio Review: Trapped (The Iron Druid Chronicles #5) by Kevin Hearne

Atticus has spent the last twelve years in hiding while training his apprentice Granuaile. Forced to fake their deaths in order to get all the gods off their backs they are surprised to hear that Loki has escaped his realm and is destroying the realms of those who killed his brother Thor, and Earth may well be next. With only the final rites needed for Granuaille’s graduation to a Druid they must travel to Mount Olympus in order to complete that ritual. Unfortunately, it seems that word is out that he is, in fact, alive and they have to avoid gods, dark elves, vampires, and of course Loki to accomplish their task.

I’ll admit, this wasn’t my favorite of the Iron Druid Chronicles series. Luke Daniels still did a stand up job as narrator, but there were times that the story dragged on. Yes, everyone was out to kill them- and I do mean everyone! It’s just that it got a little old. The tattooing of Granuaile’s marks were interrupted three or four times and they had to keep moving or fighting and well, I hate to say this, but boring. I wanted to see how Granuaile would change after becoming a druid and it seemed like it would never happen.

Sometimes in a series there are those books that becomes a bridge between one plot and the next step in the characters journey and Trapped was that type of book. If it weren’t for the humorous musings of Oberon, Leif the vampire and Atticus’s ex-friend showed up again, and the fact that Granuaile finally made Atticus face his feelings for her this book could be a throwaway. I would tell you all to just skip it. It wasn’t horrible it was just, well, a placeholder for the next book, which is I’m sure a great one. BUT, Oberon was pretty charming, and well, feelings were revealed. I guess that made it worthwhile. ❤️❤️❤️❣️

Click this link and purchase this book!* Trapped (Iron Druid Chronicles)

Copyright 2022 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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