This Chick Read: Crushing It by Lorelei Parker

Game developer, Sierra Reed, needs to develop more confidence so her boss will send her to a gamecon in Europe to pitch their newest game. How will she overcome her fear? By entering a “most humiliating story” contest at her local pub. Her tale about a huge crush she had in college on a totally hot fellow classmate, Tristan Spencer, was well received, but more so when they announced the next contestant…. Tristan Spencer! What’s it like to come face to face with your college crush after 10 years? Crushing It does a great job delivering all of those feelings of embarrassment, hope, and passion, but are those feelings for Tristan? Or cute pub owner Alfie?

Sierra was such a fun character. A gamer, with a Japanese funky street style is totally cute, but just doesn’t see herself that way at all. Her re-introduction to her college crush goes a long way towards giving her confidence, but really it’s the admiration and friendship of the pub owner, Alfie, that makes her start to view herself differently.

This author really delivered on all of the humiliating stories, I found myself laughing along with the crowded pub, and really enjoyed getting to know the cast of characters. My favorites being the gay couple Zane and Bryce who had just the right amount of supportive snark and raunchy stories to keep the mood light.

Crushing It was a pleasant surprise! I picked this ARC completely based off of the description (and the cute cover!) and didn’t regret my choice at all. If you’re looking for a fun, light, rom-com, I think you’ll enjoy this story and the cast of characters a lot.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Crushing It

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’s Audio Review: Why Kings Confess (Sebastian St. Cyr #9) by C.S. Harris

Sebastian is brought onto this case by the doctor who found two bodies lying next to each other in a dark alley. One, Frenchman and Dr. Damian Pelletan, dead with his heart removed from his body. The second body was still alive, a young French woman name Alexi Sauvage. A woman that Sebastian met while taken prisoner during the war. Their reunion was not a welcoming one. As Sebastian investigates it takes him into the circle of the living child of Marie Antionette and the story of her family’s imprisonment during the French Revolution.

I love the historical aspects of all of these St. Cyr mysteries. Each book reveals another historical realm to its readers. Why Kings Confess explores the rumor that the young Dauphin, or Prince, may not have died during his imprisonment. As Sebastian navigates the people who may or may not have known whomever was involved in this plot we are given a peek into that time in history. These peek’s keep me coming back to the story but the narrator, the estimable Davina Porter, makes these stories come alive.

The pace of historical novels are ultimately slow. It would seem silly to have someone narrate in a tripping merrily kind of voice. Davina Porter while keeping a slow and steady kind of pace, gives each character an energy and verve that makes them real. You forget you are listening to a book because the characters become so vivid, your imagination turns them into a movie.

In Why Kings Confess, my interest was not only held by the historical mystery but also the unfolding emotions between Sebastian and his new (ish) wife Hero. She is now over eight months pregnant with his child and that due date brings with it all of the fears of the mortality rate for women and children in Regency time. He is faced with the fact that his wife may not live through the birth of their child and comes face to face with his feelings for her. This, so far, has been one of my favorite books in the series, in large part due to the scenes between Hero and Sebastian. They are fast becoming one of my favorite literary couples.

If you haven’t read this series, but love historical mysteries, please give it a try. I love the audiobooks in particular because of the skills of the narrator, but you need to invest a little time to get through one. They run over 12 hours each but are well worth the investment.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Why Kings Confess (Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery Book 9)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: Her Last Flight by Beatriz Williams

Her Last Flight tells the story of two women, wartime photographer Janey Everett, and legendary pilot Irene Foster. Told in current time (1947) and in flashbacks to the mid 1920’s, Janey is hunting down the story of Sam Mallory, Irene’s one time teacher and co-pilot. She travels to Hawaii where she has tracked down Irene and hopes to convince her to tell her story.

Historical novels can often be slow and get bogged down in the details of the era in which the story is told. Her Last Flight, taking place in two timelines does a great job of giving you the flavor of those era’s yet doesn’t take time away from the plot by being over descriptive. Because of this, the pace was quick and I found myself speeding through this fascinating novel of these two women.

Janey is tracking down the story of the famous pilot Sam Mallory which is done through Irene’s memories, yet at the same time we are given flashbacks to Janey’s own life and the people who have influenced who she has become. As we read her story we are given hints that she and Irene’s stories have parallels and I read eagerly to see how or if they might intersect.

Did I have a favorite between the two characters? I’ll admit I leaned a little more towards Irene’s story because it was a little more glamorous, despite her life’s hiccups. Janey as the narrator, didn’t lay all of her cards on the table until the end, but with each reveal about her past you realized her’s was the more difficult life and I ended up pulling for her to find her happiness by the end. So, it was kind of a toss up! I liked them both for different reasons.

As a pilot’s daughter myself I was fascinated to read about the early days of flight and how women became involved in it. Irene’s and Sam’s story took place in the 1920’s when the country was recovering from the Great Depression and flying and air shows were a bit like going to the circus At that time; exciting and dangerous. To read how far flight advanced, even in the 25 years told in this story, was also pretty incredible, a point made by Irene’s love of aviation becoming tainted when she realized the damage in Spain from bombs being dropped from planes. A much more modern view of the capabilities technology brings.

There were quite a bit of twists and turns in Her Last Flight, none of which I want to go into as it would spoil your enjoyment of reading this story on your own. I’ll just say that it was deftly done and despite the turbulents the journey was completely enjoyable. I would recommend this story to everyone who loves this genre, it’s not one to be missed. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Her Last Flight: A Novel

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan

VERY SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD

Lucie Churchill is in Capri for her cousin’s wedding when she meets George Zao. He is everything she dislikes in a man. Good looking, wealthy, and Chinese. When they have an instant of passion that gets caught on film she is awash in embarrassment and flee’s the scene, only to run into him in the Hampton’s five years later when she’s engaged to someone else.

Kevin Kwan is pretty famous for his over the top, ripe with excess, and really original Crazy Rich Asians. While I didn’t read the book, I did see the movie so I understand the flavor of his intent. Similar to what Candace Bushnell did for WASP’s in Sex and the City, Kevin Kwan does for Asians in the Crazy Rich Asians series. In this novel, Sex and Vanity, you have all of the above, but there’s also an underlining story that is really quite serious. Lucie is embarrassed by being half Chinese. Her father’s side of the family is all WASP, uber wealthy, and despite their good intentions and loving Lucie, racist. Lucie has been cognizant of that fact her entire life and has worked really hard to earn their praise by scrubbing everything asian from her vernacular. Unfortunately, she can’t help the way she looks, despite her beauty. So, when she meets George, and can’t look away, she’s ashamed.

George, too is part Chinese. I think one quarter? His mother is over the top in her excess and Lucie finds her appalling, despite liking her at the same time. So five years later, when George, his mother, and Lucie cross paths again, I’m surprised to find her engaged to someone who is just like what she finds most appalling. It’s no wonder George is a fascination for her, as he is all things calm and reasonable when there’s so little of that in her own life.

This novel is a bit of fun, just like Kevin Kwan’s other novels, but reading Lucie’s angst, pain, and shame over being part asian was really hard to read. Granted, I am a middle aged white woman who can’t put myself in her shoes, but I can feel the feelings the author has intended for me, and I felt myself to be one conflicted mess. Poor Lucie! The cast of characters were displayed as direct contrasts to all of the feelings Lucie had about herself. It was interesting to see those parallels and watch how Lucie unwound herself from those doubts and started living for herself.

Here’s a bit of a spoiler so STOP reading now if you plan to check out this book.

If I could change one thing about this novel, it would be that Lucie would’ve found herself a little sooner. That the book didn’t end with a series of letters that told her story instead of reading through those chapters from Lucie’s POV. I feel like I should’ve been rewarded with a couple of chapter’s of George and Lucie’s romance after having lived through the horror of she and Cecil’s. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase this book!* Sex and Vanity: A Novel

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (6/29/2020)

Even though stuck at home, the time has flown and it will be July this week. Wow! I’ve quite a few upcoming ARC’s that I need to read and review so I’ve really concentrated on finished up a few books. I just finished a great one!

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

JUST FINISHED

I just finished this book this afternoon and really enjoyed this story! It’s a historical novel that is very easy to read. Some historical novels slog down but not Her Last Flight. It was very good and I totally got caught up in our heroine’s stories.

Click this link to purchase! Her Last Flight: A Novel

JUST STARTED

As with the book above, this novel comes out this week and is next on my list. I haven’t yet started it but it looks really cute.

Click this link to purchase! Crushing It

I’d love to hear what you all are reading this week let me know in the comments.

Happy Reading!

Deb

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: My Top 5 Most Anticipated Book Releases- July’20

I’m a little behind in getting out my thoughts on the book releases I’m looking forward to next month. Sorry! I’ve just scanned through a few of my lists and am surprised by the titles that I need to add to my TBR! One of my favorite authors announced just last week that she’d publish her next book in July. Yay! So without further ado….

#5 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

I read the first in this series last year and thought Waiting for Tom Hanks was adorable, so I’m all on board for this one!

Synopsis:

What happens when your life is a rom-com . . . but you don’t even believe in true love?

Chloe Sanderson is an optimist, and not because her life is easy. As the sole caregiver for her father, who has early-onset Alzheimer’s, she’s pretty much responsible for everything. She has no time—or interest—in getting swept up in some dazzling romance. Not like her best friend, Annie, who literally wrote a rom-com that’s about to premiere in theaters across America . . . and happens to be inspired by Chloe and her cute but no-nonsense boss, Nick Velez.

As the buzz for the movie grows, Chloe reads one too many listicles about why Nick is the perfect man, and now she can’t see him as anything but Reason #4: The scruffy-bearded hunk who’s always there when you need him. But unlike the romance Annie has written for them, Chloe isn’t so sure her own story will end in a happily-ever-after.

Click this link to purchase the book! Not Like the Movies

#4 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

This YA contemporary sounds as cute as this authors debut novel You’d Be Mine. It also has music as a central theme, which I love. This one’s release date got pushed back due to Covid, so I’m ready for this fun novel now!

Synopsis:

Growing up under his punk rocker dad’s spotlight, eighteen-year-old Luke Greenly knows fame and wants nothing to do with it. His real love isn’t in front of a crowd, it’s on the page. Hiding his gift and secretly hoarding songs in his bedroom at night, he prefers the anonymous comfort of the locally popular podcast he co-hosts with his outgoing and meddling, far-too-jealousy-inspiringly-happy-with-his-long-term-boyfriend twin brother, Cullen. But that’s not Luke’s only secret. He also has a major un-requited crush on music blogger, Vada Carsewell.

Vada’s got a five year plan: secure a job at the Loud Lizard to learn from local legend (and her mom’s boyfriend) Phil Josephs (check), take over Phil’s music blog (double check), get accepted into Berkeley’s prestigious music journalism program (check, check, check), manage Ann Arbor’s summer concert series and secure a Rolling Stone internship. Luke Greenly is most definitely NOT on the list. So what if his self-deprecating charm and out of this world music knowledge makes her dizzy? Or his brother just released a bootleg recording of Luke singing about some mystery girl on their podcast and she really, really wishes it was her?

In More Than Maybe, Erin Hahn’s swooniest book yet, Luke and Vada must decide how deep their feelings run and what it would mean to give love a try.

Click this link to purchase this book! More Than Maybe: A Novel

#3 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

Katherine Center’s novels always serve up a lesson. I can’t wait to find out what our characters learn about themselves in this novel. It looks like just what I need to escape today’s world.

Synopsis:

Samantha Casey is a school librarian who loves her job, the kids, and her school family with passion and joy for living.
But she wasn’t always that way.
Duncan Carpenter is the new school principal who lives by rules and regulations, guided by the knowledge that bad things can happen.
But he wasn’t always that way.

And Sam knows it. Because she knew him before—at another school, in a different life. Back then, she loved him—but she was invisible. To him. To everyone. Even to herself. She escaped to a new school, a new job, a new chance at living. But when Duncan, of all people, gets hired as the new principal there, it feels like the best thing that could possibly happen to the school—and the worst thing that could possibly happen to Sam. Until the opposite turns out to be true. The lovable Duncan she’d known is now a suit-and-tie wearing, rule-enforcing tough guy so hell-bent on protecting the school that he’s willing to destroy it.

As the school community spirals into chaos, and danger from all corners looms large, Sam and Duncan must find their way to who they really are, what it means to be brave, and how to take a chance on love—which is the riskiest move of all.

With Katherine Center’s sparkling dialogue, unforgettable characters, heart, hope, and humanity, What You Wish For is the author at her most compelling best.

Click this link to purchase this book! What You Wish For: A Novel

#2 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

The Soulwood series was my entreé into Faith Hunter’s urban fantasy world and I’m sooo excited the next novel is out! Great characters, interesting mysteries, and a budding romance. yay!

Synopsis: Nell Ingram faces a dark magic with no known origin in the newest pulse-pounding paranormal procedural in the New York Times bestselling Soulwood series.
 
Nell is a rookie PsyLED agent, using the powers she can channel from deep within the earth to solve paranormal crimes. Together with her team, she’s taken on the direst magic and the most twisted foes. But she’ll need to tap into every ounce of power she has for her newest case.
 
Nell is called to the Tennessee mansion of a country music star and finds a disturbing scene—dead bodies rapidly decaying before everyone’s eyes. The witch on her team, T. Laine, has never seen magic that can steal life forces like this. PsyLED needs to find this lethal killer fast. But when a paranormal-hating FBI agent tries to derail the investigation, and the dark magics begin to spiral out of control, they find themselves under attack from all sides.

THIS CHICKS MOST ANTICIPATED JULY’20 BOOK RELEASE!

If you’re a fan of Mariana Zapata’s then you know… Zac has his own book! One of the characters from my favorite Mariana Zapata novel, The Wall of Winnipeg, got his own novel. I will be putting all books down and picking this one up as soon as I know it’s been released.

Synopsis:

Before he was Big Texas, he was Zac the Snack Pack.

Bianca Brannen knows time—mostly—heals all wounds. Including those your once loved ones might have unintentionally given you. (Those just take longer.)

She thinks she’s ready when a call has her walking back into her old friend’s life. Or at least as prepared as possible to see the starting quarterback in the National Football Organization. Before the lights, the fans, and the millions, he’d been a skinny kid with a heart of gold.

Waltzing out of Zac Travis’s life should be easy. Just as easy as he walked out of hers.

Did I miss any? I’m sure I must’ve! Let me know which books you’re most looking forward to reading next month when they come out.

Happy Reading!

Deb

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

The Duke, the Lady, and the Baby (Rogues and Remarkable Women #1) by Vanessa Riley

I was intrigued by the synopsis of the description of a West Indian heiress as a heroine in a regency romance. Patience Jordan is of mixed blood, as is her son, and despite her light skin, that difference has made living in England difficult. Her husband had kept her in the country, trying to protect her from the unkindness she’d receive in “society”, which actually put her and their son in harms way when he died. Left in the hands of his disreputable uncle, Patience was sent away to Bedlam so he could retain control of her son’s fortune. When this story starts with Repington now in charge at her former home, it allows Patience to disguise herself and infiltrate her old household in order to care for her son.

Busick Strathmore, Duke of Repington was a strategist in the war and knows that there’s more to Patience’s story and bides his time in figuring her out. They engage in their own skirmishes and of course, find themselves attracted to each other. However, this isn’t a bodice ripper of a romance. The Duke, the Lady, and the Baby is written in a rather old fashioned style which was kind of refreshing, but also felt a little stodgy. I love slow burn romances where the characters get to know each other, but the old fashioned dialog made these characters feel stilted rather than warm.

I had really high hopes for this novel and the future of this series. There is a league of women who help other women in bad circumstances and future novels will surely tell those stories, but I wanted this novel to deal more with the difficulties of being of mixed blood during this time in history and felt like other than a few comments about her accent and being secreted in the country, it was glossed over. Repington didn’t seem too concerned with his future Duchess’s acceptance into society, but as an analytical man who just wanted to get back to war, I guess there were bigger issues on his mind.

The other thing that was a little out of whack for me was that Repington was portrayed as a “Rake”. Meaning, he’s had no issues with the lady’s in the past, and he certainly seems to think he’s pretty charming despite his injuries that have incapacitated him. That devil may care charm played false to me and I had trouble buying him as a cad, at least at that time in his life. I think if he had been a bit more self deprecating? It just felt kind of sad I guess, and not true to the character.

So, you can see my difficulties with this one. I didn’t hate the story. I don’t read too many romances that involve babies, so the motherly aspect was new and interesting to me. I liked Patience a lot, actually. She was smart, dedicated, sassy, and interesting. So, I guess my problem was with the hero, although I didn’t dislike him, I just didn’t like them together. I did finish the novel despite my misgivings, so I’m giving this one a 3.0 rating for a solid good, but not great. ❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby (Rogues and Remarkable Women Book 1)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein

Avery Abram’s Olympic hopes were derailed in 2012 by a career ending injury. In the years since she fought depression, failing out of school, and most recently a bad break-up with her boyfriend. Returning home to live with her parents and work at the gym where it all started wasn’t quite what she’d planned, but working with an Olympic hopeful with the boy she crushed on as a teenager might fix what was broken. Head Over Heels delivers more than the rom-com promised giving the reader a behind the scenes look at competitive gymnastics and how these young girls handle the high stakes pressure.

Avery’s character was a pretty easy one to like. Showing frailty and uncertainty after her hope’s were dashed, she tries to drown her sorrows in alcohol and clubbing. This seemed a likely scenario for someone who wouldn’t know what to do with all of that energy she was used to expelling on a mat. When she hits bottom and moves back home she grasps at a lifeline of working with a young gymnast and in that job finds her new role in life. Ryan, an ex-Olympian himself understands what she went through and never holds her past against her. I thought that might have white-washed the realism just a tad, but hey, this was also a romance! His role was to be charming, cute, and convenient, and he was all that and more!

Obviously what I liked more in this book was the role between Avery and the young gymnast she was coaching, Hallie. Set during a parallel to real life sexual misconduct scandal, the stress Hallie is under and the physical and mental abuses Avery went through at that same age made for a great comparison and helped the reader care about both of these characters and see positive outcomes to their story. This storyline was the strength in this story and was what gave it a heartbeat.

The author did a great job of detailing the gymnastics in a way that a fan of sports but not gymnastics in general could follow. You could feel the stress and tension in the competitions which helped the story arc and conflict have more impact than it would have otherwise. I really enjoyed those parts of the story and felt the roller coaster emotions that a competitor may have felt as they tried to work their way towards those gold medals.

Ryan as the love interest was just ok. I liked that he and Avery shared a love for what they did, but without giving away the plot it’s hard to describe why I didn’t like him more. I’ll just say that one of the choices he makes for me would have been a deal breaker and I just couldn’t get past that.

I did really like Head Over Heels, and after everything above it won’t come as a big surprise that it was because of the gymnastics and Avery’s self-healing sub-plot. If you like sports themed romances or women’s fiction I think you’ll like this fast paced easy to read summer novel. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

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

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (6/22/2020)

I am now starting the return trip across country with my husband, having achieved our goal of visiting my dad in California. It’s been a fun trip seeing the country, but also exhausting as it is a looonnnggg drive! Our return home will be much more direct, but we’ll still be enjoying the trip and each other. Surprisingly I haven’t done a lot of reading as I’ve kept my eye on the scenery, but here’s where I’m at with my reading.

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

One of my most anticipated releases and boy was it worth the time it took for me to read it. I loved being back with some of my favorite characters. I hadn’t realized how much I had missed them!

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

JUST STARTED

I brought one paperback on my trip with me and chose this Nora Roberts book that was published in 2018. I thought it would be easy to get into, and it totally is, but hadn’t anticipated how dark it would be. It’s a good one, despite the dark topic.

Click this link to purchase!* Shelter in Place

I’m sure we’ll start up another audiobook on our return trip also. Are there any you’d recommend that are good for a husband and wife traveling together?

Let me know!

Deb

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

This Chick Read: American Demon (The Hollows #14) by Kim Harrison

What do you do when your favorite series (that ended with The Witch With No Name in 2016) all of a sudden has a revival? You hit the request button on NetGalley as quickly as possible and squeal in pleasure when you’re granted that book to review. Seriously guys, this was a biggee for me.

American Demon takes place where The Witch With No Name leaves off (before the epilogue that takes them into the latter years). Trent and Rachel are outted as an item, the demons are outted into the world, and the elves magic is all screwy. When a zombie gets dropped into Rachel’s back yard it starts a chain of events that finds Rachel at the center of a Baka possession. A Baka who eats away at your soul until that person does what it wants you to do. Rachel has to avoid sleep, navigate her relationship with Trent, and find the culprit and take him down. God, it’s good to be back in the Hollows!

It’s interesting to read a book when you’ve already read the final chapter and the epilogue that foretells the future. American Demon does a great job of amping up the tension between Rachel and Trent, making you think all is not going smoothly in their relationship, even though you know they end up together in the far future. I kind of liked the security of knowing while at the same time biting my nails over whether Rachel’s insecurities about Trent were actually truth, or all in her head. Ellasbeth, Trent’s almost wife who did bear his only child, makes a big appearance and puts all of Rachels’s doubts about herself into play. Despite Trent’s actions staying true to the future storyline.

Because I hadn’t re-read all 13 of the previous novels before reading American Demon, there were some small plot points that I feel I missed. Ivy saved Nina’s soul and they seem to be a couple, but then Glenn seems to have re-entered their lives and did they have a past together? I wish I knew all of the little in’s and out’s of these characters and it hadn’t been 6 years since I read The Witch With No Name. I know I’m going to go back and re-read them now that I’ve gotten re-hooked into the series.

Not to give anything away, but it does seem as if Kim Harrison is going to continue on because she leaves a couple of leads hanging in the wind that need to be tied up. I hope she doesn’t wait 6 years to write the next one! Although by that point I may have read through all of the previous novels and would hopefully be caught up.

American Demon was all that I’d hoped and everything I never knew I wanted. I’m so happy I had this chance to jump back into this series. I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed these characters and am ready for another 13 to look forward to! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

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

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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