This Chick Read: The Boy Toy by Nicola Marsh

After a failed marriage Samira Broderick left Australia and started a succussful new life in LA. When her cousin needs her help in her clinic, Samira offers to come back for six months and pitch in. Being back in Australia after years away, Samira is happy to re-connect with her mother, Kushi, but doesn’t miss the busy bodies in her Indian community. Her mom is always trying to marry her off to a traditional Indian man, but Samira doesn’t want that again. She connects with Rory, an Australian stunt man and starts a secret relationship that’s just supposed to be fun. When feelings start to develop she wonders if she’ll be able to leave after her six months is up.

What about the above sounded interesting? I’m not sure except that I have really found novels that include Indian culture very interesting. Samira is of mixed heritage with a caucasian father and traditional Indian mother. Despite her father being against setting up her first marriage, Samira went along with her mother and married a man that she thought she fell in love with, but it fell apart. Scared of committing to anyone Samira has focused on her career and pushed love aside. When Rory saves her from an unwelcome pickup in a bar, they connect and have a sizzling attraction to each other. Thinking she’d keep this just as light-hearted as her other relationships she is surprised when Rory sneaks under her skin.

Rory was a big surprise. His description sets him up to be a good looking Aussie and not much else, but the author spent a lot of time giving him a back story. He has stuttered since childhood and his self-consciousness is the reason for his insecurity. Like Samira, he’s not looking for a serious relationship either because he’s afraid to pass along her stutter to a child. I think this is the first time I’ve read where stuttering is hereditary and I thought that was really interesting!

I liked these two characters a lot. The author did a good job of making them feel real. I also loved (again) the peak into Indian culture and Samira’s family dynamic. I’m not sure if I was Indian in a past life or what, but I love reading about this culture even in a romance novel. This was a fun novel with a bit of serious undertones. A nice solid romantic drama that ended well and left me feeling good about these characters and their happily ever after. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase! The Boy Toy

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

This Chick Read: Daring and the Duke (The Bareknuckled Bastards #3) by Sarah MacLean

Grace Condry, along with her adopted brothers, lived on London’s streets as children after running away from their abusive father. They toughed it out, fighting for money and eventually becoming powerful on their own and as adults fight for a different cause. The betterment of their neighborhood. When Ewan, the Duke of Marwick terrorizes their home, the brothers band together to protect Grace, his one time love. They’ve never forgiven Ewan for his betrayal, but Grace never forgot their long ago love. Can she forgive Ewan for her broken heart?

I’ve really enjoyed this series about these bastard children of a Duke and the hardships they’ve overcome to build a life in one of the deadlier neighborhoods in London. The first two novels told the story of the brothers, and Grace only had a small part in those so I never felt I really got to know her. In Daring and the Duke we finally see the culmination of this hatred between the three brothers who were ripped apart while fighting for a Dukedom. They’ve hated Ewan pretty viciously so I didn’t really know what to think about this love interest for Grace and was really only mildly curious. I was intrigued with how Sarah MacLean would tell their story and make me care for a heroine who had always lived in the darkness.

Grace was not your typical regency heroine. She is a madame of a brothel where the roles are flipped. This is a place where gentile women can go to live out their fantasies choosing from a bevy of men. Kind of an interesting job for a heroine of a novel, right? The author did a good job of portraying her role in a female empowerment kind of way so that it felt different but not disreputable. Well, maybe only slightly. Who was this woman who wore pants, managed a brothel, and held a sword as well as a man? It turns out, she was a pretty interesting one! My question was, what would this Duke be like and how would he hold her interest?

Secrets were finally revealed about the truth behind Ewan’s role in their betrayal and it turns out he had a very good reason for his behavior when they were children. Don’t worry I won’t spoil the plot, but needless to say when Grace hear’s it she doesn’t find it difficult to forgive Ewan. How though, does a brothel owner and a Duke maintain a relationship? For me, that was the real conflict in this novel and one I would think would be a doozy! The author creates a very interesting and surprising resolution! Is it realistic? Nope! But, this is a historical romance so realism kind of gets thrown out the window.

I had never read a Sarah Maclean novel prior to reading this series and I have to say I was impressed. The characters are very non traditional and feel real because they weren’t a complete fantasy. Their situations didn’t feel as real, but like I said above you kind of have to let reality slide when you choose to read a historical romance. She created a great fantasy world and is an author I’d turn to when wanting to escape my own bit of reality.

Click this link to purchase!* Daring and the Duke: The Bareknuckle Bastards Book III

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: Shadow Rites (Jane Yellowrock #10) by Faith Hunter

Jane Yellowrock is the enforcer to the Master Vampire of New Orleans, Leo Pellissier. Handling vampire politics is never easy but when she is magically attacked she finds a link to the upcoming Vampire-Witch enclave. A meeting that is planned to align the American witches with Leo’s territory, and include their safety, before the European vampire meeting in a few months. Jane’s attack means someone is trying to undermine that meeting and Jane needs to find out who and destroy their chances of success.

Jane has a lot riding on finding who and what may be trying to ruin her chances of protecting the vampires and witches. Her job as enforcer is one, but more importantly the safety of what she considers her family; her partners ElI and Alex, her boyfriend George, and her best friend Molly and her children. Connections are new to Jane, and she is determined to protect them all, even if it’s from herself.

This novel again brought out something new in our hero. Frailty. Physically she’s still strong, but her feelings make her insecure. In Shadow Rites Jane pushes herself past the barriers she has put up to protect herself and allows herself to imagine that she may not be able to keep everyone safe and she may just have to let them save themselves. I think this was a big step for this character and makes her so much more interesting! In both Broken Soul and Dark Heir she allowed her emotions to overcome her inner objections, but in Shadow Rites she has to allow herself to trust. In both herself and those around her she cares about.

All of these changes should lead to a stronger heroine to protect her friends and family when the European vampires finally come to New Orleans. We may have another book or two before that happens as the author gets Jane fully prepared to handle the danger that is still to come. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

Click this link to purchase!* Shadow Rites (Jane Yellowrock Book 10)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: Crazy Stupid Bromance (Bromance Book Club #3) by Lyssa Kay Adams

Alexis Carlisle has PTSD from being sexually harassed by a former boss, and instead of acting on her attraction to her friend Noah she has put him firmly in the friend zone. When a young woman approaches her in her coffee shop and claims she’s her half sister her life spins off it’s base and she turns to Noah to help her through, especially when she find out her father needs her kidney to live.

The premise for this series is that a group of men use romance novels to help them learn about themselves and the women they love. A fun premise that so far hadn’t lived up to its expectations, however Crazy Stupid Bromance comes the closest. Noah and Alexis are quite the pair. He is an ex hactivist who as a teen had angrily hacked into a government property after his father dies in Afghanistan with faulty equipment. Alexis came to fame because she charged a celebrity chef with sexual harassment and hasn’t trusted a man since. These two shouldn’t have been a likely couple but they somehow worked and I think it was because they had the basis of a solid friendship before moving on to anything heavier. Their story wasn’t rushed like a lot of romances are and the pace was pretty perfect.

Alexis was the catalyst to Liv and Mack’s romance in Undercover Bromance so I felt like I knew her a little bit, but Noah’s character hadn’t really been explored yet. He was the computer nerd of the group and that’s about it. I loved that he had this kind of rebel background and an anger that he still hadn’t overcome. It gave he and Alexis a little conflict that seemed more natural that sneaking around and spying on a Chef as the previous novel had done. So the story felt real and not fabricated.

Alexis’s newly found father (and his family) also created some conflict, so this story wasn’t all puppies and butterflies. In fact, I shed a couple of tears at her heart-wrenching decisions about her family and really enjoyed how this author wrapped up that story. All in all this has been my favorite of the three Bromance Book Club novels. I think the Russian may be up next and I’m not sure I’m ready to read his hairy, gross story, so this series may be put on pause on my TBR. We’ll see what that synopsis looks like. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase! Crazy Stupid Bromance (Bromance Book Club)

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

This Chick Read: Snapped (The Playbook #4) by Alexa Martin

Elliott Reed has found her dream job as the Strategic Communications Manager for the Denver Mustangs when their brand new star quarterback Quinton Howard Jr. slaps a piece of black tape on the football logo on his jersey and kneels during the national anthem of their opening football game. When Elliott is given the task of “handling” him she finds herself battling her feelings of respect for the cause he’s fighting and her need to keep her new job. The job that she feels her dead father would have loved for his daughter.

Alexa Martin’s forward states that this is very loosely based upon her own experiences as the wife of a player in the NFL but is also influenced by Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling for the national anthem that started that protesting movement, but that the relationship story is all fiction. I thought she did a GREAT job relaying the story and describing the feelings that her characters, and people of color feel at being treated in the way they were treated in this book. I could never put myself in their shoes, but I felt the hurt, confusion, and anger these characters felt at their treatment and that goes a long way towards helping me understand. I appreciated and welcomed that lesson even if it was just in a fictional romance novel.

Elliott’s mother was black and died when she was a baby. She was raised by her white father and so had conflicted feelings about race, how she should feel and react in certain situations. She has always hidden her feelings and just tried to fit in so when Quinton’s stance made her face her own tendencies to brush things under the rug, it was eye opening and upsetting for her. The fact that she so admired him for what he was doing and was even helping him set up his foundation while at the same time feeling uncomfortable at bringing her feelings out into the open was, I thought, very realistic for how a lot of people may be feeling towards the Black Matter movement and protesting that is ongoing today. It made the point this author was making more relevant and real for me to have her main character so conflicted in the beginning.

With such a serious subject at the center of the love story as a reader you can’t help but feel that the romance took a back seat to the stance on racial inequality and how football players from before 1993 are being mistreated with a lack of benefits and healthcare. You know what? I didn’t miss the romance at all. I still felt the sizzling attraction and the pain of difficult conversations that helped move the relationship forward. The story had a more serious tone than the previous novels but with the help of her friends also brought touches of light and funny. At the end I felt totally satisfied and when I looked back on the book realized how much I enjoyed the story and their romance.

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

Click this link to purchase! Snapped (Playbook, The)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: Simmer Down by Sarah Smith

Nikki DiMarco and her mom Tiva run a food truck in Maui called Tiva’s Filipina Kusina. It was her father’s dream to run this food truck and after his death Nikki moved to Maui to make that dream come true with her mom. Struggling to make ends meet they finally get a great spot along the beach when another food truck run by Finn and Callum James, tries to hone in on their spot. Nikki and Callum take an instant dislike to each other and become social media famous for their escalating arguments. Does this dislike cover up a hot attraction? You bet!

After reading Sarah Smith’s last novel, Faker, I hadn’t planned on reading another but I’m so glad I did! Unlike Faker, Simmer Down didn’t have any of the awkward descriptors and instead relied on a great plot and plenty of attraction to reel the reader right in. I’ll admit, I’m also a sucker for romance novels where food is the third character. I’m not that familiar with lumpia’s but after reading all about them in Simmer Down I want to run out and try some Filipino food!

Nikki’s heart was broken by her father’s death and she hesitates to let anyone get close. Callum’s disagreeable facial expressions hide his true feelings and when they sit next to each other for 9 hours on a plane Nikki realizes that he’s actually as charming as he is hot and has a hard time keeping her heart out of the relationship. I don’t think it’s a secret that my favorite trope is enemies to lovers and this was a really good one. The only reason why it didn’t get a 5 rating is because the ending seemed a touch too predictable. I did like their characters and the food. OMG! I need to find me some lumpia’s quick! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Simmer Down

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk

In a world similar to Regency England, women with magical power are sold into marriage as a business arrangement between families. Some of whom are looking for that magical boost to their gene pool, and others may receive financial gain. On the day of their marriage these young women are forced to wear a collar that inhibits their powers for fear that the children they bear may be possessed. Beatrice Clayburn is a young sorceress who does not want to get married. She dreams of the day when she can become a Mage and through being a Mage help her family’s finances, instead her father wants to marry her off. Beatrice practices her sorcery in private but at night she attends balls and is under the attention of all of the young men who are on the marriage mart. Determined not to ever marry, one day she meets Ianthe Lavan and is torn between what she needs and what she wants.

I thought it was interesting that this fantasy tale paralleled the paths of young women in Victorian England who may have fought for equal rights during the Suffrage movement. Also forced to marry for business or monetary reasons these women also dreamed of their voices being heard and not smothered by or becoming possessions of their husbands. The collar that Beatrice would have to wear also brings to mind the collared slaves who were at the whim of their masters in the United States. Reading this novel during the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote and while the Black Matters Movement is still being fought certainly made what Beatrice was and would go through very relevant. I can’t imagine the author didn’t intend for the reader’s mind to follow those parallel paths.

Surprisingly I didn’t get tired of Beatrice’s mixed feelings over falling in love with a young man while at the same time as wanting the freedom to pursue her own future. Most authors would have chosen the easier path, but C.L. Polk chose what spoke to her character and that decision read true to me. I will admit to shedding a tear or two for Beatrice and Ianthe in this novel while hoping their rocky path would smooth out.

I could imagine the hardships of not only Beatrice but all of the young women of her time. In a discussion with her mother about never wanting to wear the collar her mother told a story of how she chose to marry for love and how that love deadened over time. Beatrice’s decision for her future couldn’t just be about how much she loved Ianthe or how much she wanted to be a Mage. Her decision was about not letting anyone have control over her body and while I am not making a political statement I can certainly say that I identified with that feeling while reading this novel. So, did I like it? Yes. A lot actually. But was it easy reading? It really wasn’t. It made me think about what was going on in the world right now. Not a bad thing but maybe not exactly what I was looking for when I sat down to read either.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* The Midnight Bargain

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (10/12/2020)

I am blaming my lack of reading on discovering the program Schitt’s Creek on Netflix. My husband and I have been binge watching and enjoying this hysterical comedy. I can understand why it swept the Emmy’s this year, the show is hilarious! So, I have only read one book this week. Let me catch you up on it!

This post originated over on Book Date, so thanks for the idea and letting me continue on the discussion about what books I am reading.

JUST FINISHED

A fantasy novel that felt both historical and relevant to my time. In this fantasy world Sorceresses are denied their right to their magic, forced to wear a collar that inhibits their abilities when they marry. The fear is that their children will be possessed with horrible consequences to this possession. I can’t help but make comparison’s to so many things. This year’s 100th anniversary of the women’s right to vote and the black lives matter movement immediately come to mind. I was eager to read it and wasn’t disappointed by what I read.

JUST STARTED

I haven’t actually started this on yet, but it’s up next. It’s a rom-com set in the Miami food truck/restaurant world and sounds adorable. Can’t wait!

What are you all going to be reading to get your week off to a great start?

Deb

Mistletoe and Mr. Right (Moose Springs, Alaska #2) by Sarah Morgenthaler

Moose Springs, Alaska has small town charm but with the new resort being built it’s residents aren’t too happy with socialite Lana Montgomery. Lana has been coming to Moose Springs since she was a child and those memories are some of her warmest. Bringing tourism into the town will help it survive and Lana is determined that it would. As the owner of a new condo being developed up the mountain, she’s not looked on too fondly by anyones except bar owner, Rick Harding. His ho-hum life has been turned upside down by this stiletto wearing, Santa Moose stalking, dynamo. He’s see’s right through her business persona to the soft hearted woman beneath and he’s lost at first site.

I love Moose Springs, Alaska! I am a huge fan of the first novel and Zoey and Graham’s story and loved to see these characters evolve. Lana was a fun side character but how was she as the main character in her own story? I actually liked her a lot! I could totally see why Rick fell for her. Her tough exterior surrounded a warm gooey inside. I do wish the author hadn’t given her this one annoying to saying throughout the book. I found it out of character and annoying. Despite that one word, these were two characters that were completely likable and it was a cute romance novel. I will admit it’s always weird to be reading a Christmas themed book in October, but that’s marketing for you!

The best part of this book was the return of all of the town’s characters and having their stories evolve. Graham and Zooey get a small story arc and Ash and Easton’s sarcasm continues to reign. This is a quirky small town that deserves its own show or movie. Hey, if Robyn Carr can do it with Virgin River, my vote goes to Moose Springs getting their own show too! You can only hope! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Please click this link to purchase!* Mistletoe and Mr. Right (Moose Springs, Alaska Book 2)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chicks Audio Review: Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows #1) by Kim Harrison and Narrated by Marguerite Gavin

One of my new favorite things to do is to revisit previous favorites by listening to them as audiobooks. Kim Harrison’s Hollows series has been one of my favorite urban fantasy series and recently when she came out with a surprise novel in what was a completed series I decided to take a look back and listen to the first novel, Dead Witch Walking. Narrated by Marguerite Gavin, I was pleasantly surprised at how much the main character Rachel Morgan, still resonated with a much older me.

The Hollows series is set in a world just like ours, but where magic and paranormal beings are commonplace ever since “The Turn” when a genetically altered tomato killed a good portion of the human race. Rachel Morgan is a witch, but she’s also an investigator, and Dead Witch Walking is the start of her story and her investigative team of Ivy, a living vampire, and Jenks, a pixy. The three of them live and work out of an old church in the Hollows, the more magical part of Cincinnati. Rachel has a price on her head and in order to pay it off she tries to bring in evidence against mysterious millionaire Trent Kalamack, that shows he’s dealing in Brimstone a street drug. In Dead Witch Walking you get a lot of set up, not only to the world, but also to the characters and Marguerite Gavin does a great job at voicing all of them. My favorite voice being Jenks, who’s a small pixy (picture tinkerbell sized) and his voice somewhat matches that size. It’s too cute.

Rachel Morgan, despite her witchiness, attracts trouble. She’s somewhat of a blunderer but she has great instincts and in this case she’s taken on a bit more than she can chew in Trent Kalamack who exhibits supreme bad guy vibes in this first novel. In the end, Rachel gets what she wants by paying off her debt and getting rid of the price on her head, but it’s not exactly done in the way that she hoped. Dead Witch Walking is a mad-cap adventure story with great characters that develop into true friends and a great investigative team, and also sets the story for many of the things that happen to and for Rachel in the next 15 novels. If you love well done urban fantasy novels and have the patience to see your character grow into the kick a&$ she becomes, please pick this up, listen to it, or plug it directly into your brain in whatever means possible. This book is good, but the series is even better and I’m excited that Marguerite Gavin does such a great job with the narration because I’ll be listening to them for a while to come. (15 books! Sixteen if you count the flashback, The Turn.)

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase the audiobook!* Dead Witch Walking: Hollows, Book 1

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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