This Chick Read: Only Bad Options: A Galactic Bonds book by Jennifer Estep

Vesper Quill works as a lab rat in the powerful Kent Corp. fixing electronic items and creating designs for goods that never get made. When she’s assigned to investigate the cause of a crash her’s is the only voice that states it’s a design flaw instead of pilot error. Kyrion Calderan is the leader of the Arrows, an elite fighting squad. When he and Vesper they find that they have a mystical bond that should be heavenly but may actually cause their death. They have a decision to make- break the bond, or die a slow death.

Only Bad Options is a science fiction novel in a new series by Jennifer Estep, an author who’s known for her exciting action sequences and interesting characters. She delivers both of these things in this novel, creating a unique world and unusually interesting characters. Vesper Quill is down on her luck. Abandoned by her mother and raised by a family friend, she has minimal psychic talent. Enough to make her great at building electronic goods and gaining her a job at an elite corporation who makes weapons for the wealthy Regals. She’s an easy character to like despite her ‘woe is me’ attitude always getting herself out of one scrap to find herself in the middle of another. She’s smart and uses her brains to outthink her enemies. She’s not sure what to think of Kyrion. He’s known as a cold-blooded killer and is an elite Regal but despite those differences they are bonded and are drawn to each other. I really liked the tension filled scenes broken only by action sequences that helped drain that tension. I found myself having fun and rooting for Vesper to outsmart anyone who would try to hold her down.

As the first book in the series, I can only imagine that their relationship will build in the second book. In this novel they are wary of each other and despite being drawn to each other they focus on the need protect themselves and battle an enemy. I think this is where Kyrion’s personality excels so hopefully we’ll learn a little more about him in the future. I got a pretty good feel for who Vesper is in this novel and even if Kyrion were to never be in another novel, she interests me enough to read the next book.

If you like action-adventure science fiction I think you’ll enjoy Only Bad Options. The author doesn’t bog the reader down in technical explanations and lets us enjoy the world and the wild ride the characters take us on. I can’t wait to pick up the second novel and hopes the author doesn’t take too long to write it! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this book!* Only Bad Options

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? (11/14/22)

Whelp, winter has hit Nashville. What does that mean for me? Cozying up on the couch with a good book and some hot chocolate! This is my favorite time to pick up a good book because I feel like I don’t need to be outside quite as much. No guilt! What genre’s do I like to read in the winter? Oh gosh. It doesn’t matter, as long as it holds my attention and makes me feel. That’s what counts in a good book, right?

JUST FINISHED

I had been putting off reading this one for a bit and I found it to be the perfect hot chocolate and blanket novel. Charming characters and a fun romantic plot.

JUST STARTED

I have really enjoyed this series. All of the stories are centered around a Renaissance Faire, which I find to be an absolute delight. I’ve liked some of the novels better than others and I’m curious to see which side of the romance wheel this one will fall on.

I hope everyone has a fantastic week. Happy Monday and happy reading!

Deb

This Chick Read: Raven Unveiled (The Fallen Empire #3) by Grace Draven

Siora is on the run from Gharek, an assassin who has sworn an oath of revenge against her because she betrayed he and his disabled daughter. Overcome by his anger, Gharek can’t see beyond the outcome of his chase, grabbing her just as they are both discovered by the enemy and held captive. Siora uses her abilities to speak with the dead and Gharek his knowledge of the castle to become valuable to this new threat who wants to conquer the throne. Together Siora and Gharek must find the tool to a magical power.

I’ll admit, it had been a little while since I had read Dragon Unleashed, but as I read this book it all came back to me pretty quickly. that’s when I became fascinated with how the author was portraying Gharek, who was the bad guy in the previous novel, turning him into someone we could admire. I thought she did a great job of portraying him as a dedicated father, laying all of his past evils into the column of having done them to protect his disabled daughter. Life isn’t quite so black and white as that, but I did find his reasons believable, as well as his regret at the things he had done. I also could be lieve that Siora could overlook his hunting of her as his love for his daughter and her betrayal making him unhinged. Well, it is a fantasy novel after all, so I chose to believe in the reasons and moved on from that slight hiccup in the plot.

Siora was a really interesting character. She saw ghosts and could communicate with them. Her skills actually evolved throughout this novel, not in a sudden “magical” way but through the need to survive and protect. Her love for her father, one of the ghosts, and for Estred, Gharek’s daughter gave her character impetus to look beyond her own needs. She was a little self-sacrificing, true, but it was a non-romantic love that drove her actions. I kind of liked that! Of course, a romantic love between she and Gharek grew as well but that love didn’t really drive her actions.

Sometimes fantasy novels get bogged down by an epic journey, detailed landscapes, and traveling companions, but this one was light on all three of those plot points. The world had already been established so the reader was just dropped right in, the journey was shortened by alternate universe-type paths, and Gharek was the only new traveling companion that we had to learn and learn to like. Grace Draven made it pretty easy for this reader to slide right in and enjoy the story and I certainly didn’t have any trouble doing that. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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!* Raven Unveiled

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: Better Than Fiction by Alexa Martin

After her much beloved grandmother dies and leaves her the family books store, the Book Nook, Drew Young wants to honor her memory by running it as she knows her grandmother would like. Putting her life on hold, Drew, a self-proclaimed hater of reading somehow manages to keep the store afloat with the help of a group of elderly ladies who pitch in and give a hand. This same group of ladies set up an author signing with famous romance novelist Jasper Williams. When he shows up his good looks and charm sock Drew in the solar plexus. When he learns of her lack of affinity for books he makes a deal with her. Show him around Denver and he’ll build her a memory for every book she reads on a list he gives her. Jasper woo’s Drew with romance, a shoulder to cry on, and his honest charm making her start to believe that her life might be Better Than Fiction.

There are so many things I liked about this novel. Jasper was #1 on the list because of all the romance and fun, but I also really liked all of the Dirty Birds the old lady group who had Drew’s back, and her best friend Elsie and her sister Daisy. She totally had a great group of people backing her in life and love. There were some challenges she had to face in this book too, so it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, but every good novel needs some conflict to overcome.

I love how this author has grown from her earlier novels. Don’t get me wrong, those novels were my introduction to Alexa Martin and are a big reason why she is a must-buy for me. Those were also the first novels this author had written and it isn’t weird to me that she is trying new things and working to find her voice. Better Than Fiction has some of the same qualities I loved in the Playbook series. Great friends who will see you through good times and bad, but also solid character development and heros who weren’t perfect but whom you could fall in love with despite their imperfections. I think Better Than Fiction is the best novel Alexa Martin has written to date and I hope she has many more stories inside her soul that need to be released to the world.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase this book!* Better Than Fiction

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: The Next Best Day by Sharon Sala

Katie thought her life couldn’t get much worse after getting jilted at the altar. Having to face her friends and fellow co-workers and put on a good face is about all she can manage. She loves being a first grade teacher and the kids she has in her class give her joy, pulling her through this tough time. When an active shooter enters the building she hustles her class to safety and goes back for two little boys left behind in the hall, saving their lives and getting her shot. She survives the school shooting but has PTSD and can’t face teaching in that school again. Wanting a clean start she applies to a small school in Tennessee and is excited to get the job. She finds a cute cottage to live in and is pleased that it’s across the street from the local Sheriff and his two small daughters. The Next Best Day is aptly titled as Katie is given that chance for a restart to her life.

It has been a good long while since I’ve read a Sharon Sala novel. I loved her in my 20’s and this synopsis struck a chord. I’ll admit that I got a little bit more than I bargained for as school shootings aren’t my favorite topic but the author gave enough details and insights into Katie’s thoughts without delivering too much blood and gore. I became invested in Katie and wanted to see her succeed and thrive after all of her life’s struggles. What took a little bit of getting used to and I’ll admit, I didn’t love, was the perspective changes. I didn’t care for her ex-fiance’s story line. He was a schmuck and I didn’t need to see where his life’s choices led him. I can’t remember if this is a constant trait of Sharon Sala’s but be warned. If you’re like me and want one perspective, you’ll be reading through the eyes of a few characters in this novel. I didn’t mind so much when it was only Katie and Sam as they are the two main characters.

Despite that change in perspectives, I enjoyed this novel. I found it to be easy to read and as I said above I was invested in Katie finding her happiness. The language was a little old-fashioned and the pacing methodical but once I got used to those quirks I found it charming. Sam’s two six year old girls Evie and Beth were the highlights for me in this book. They were just adorable and their quirky way of speaking added to their uniqueness as twins. If you love small town romances you may want to pick up The Next Best Day. Redemption and happiness are sweet when the road leading to them is so rocky. Katie’s journey was hard but in the end she found her happily-ever-after! ❤️❤️❤️❣️

Triggers: PTSD, school shooting, murder, incest, physical and emotional violence.

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

Click this link to purchase this book!* The Next Best Day

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? (11/7/22)

So many great books are coming out this month! I have a lot on my TBR and am excited to dig in as some books are being released. BUT, I’m also reading a new to me author and have been going through her back list Kindle Unlimited. I’m excited to be approaching the holidays because I’ll have a little time off to hopefully read to my heart’s content. Here’s what’s on my nightstand!

JUST FINISHED

I received an advanced reader copy and was excited that I loved it so much. This author is exploring her muse and I love the direction she’s taken recently. Better Than Fiction is her best book yet- in my opinion.

JUST STARTED

This is the only series left from Vanessa Nelson that I haven’t read. All of her books are on Kindle Unlimited so if you’re a member, check her out. Her heroines are action-star worthy and humble. I’m really enjoying reading her back list.

What books are on your next to read?

Happy Monday and happy reading!

Deb

This Chick Read: The Rewind by Allison Winn Scotch

Frankie and Ezra were college sweethearts who had a fireball of a break up, on graduation day, and never spoke to each other again. Ten years later they are brought back together by two friends from college who are getting married. Despite not wanting to run into Ezra, Frankie says yes to becoming a bridesmaid in their wedding, taking a break from her high profile job as an agent to some rock and pop stars. Ezra, too, has plans to be at the wedding. He wants to be there to support his friends but doesn’t want to see Frankie, and in fact hopes to propose to his girlfriend on New Years Eve. Of course, fate has a way of working against your best wishes and pairs them up for a scavenger hunt that the bride and groom has put together. When they wake up in bed together the next day wearing wedding rings and no memory of what happened, they need to work together to figure out what happened.

This story starts with Frankie and Ezra waking up together with no memory of what happened the night before. The reader is along for the ride as they rediscover all of the things they hated and loved about each other. Truthfully, there were more things that they loved about each other but the fallout from their breakup was so great that they spent a long time griping about having to spend time with each other that it took me a long time to figure out why they had even been in love previously. They were both pretty awful and unlikable. But, as the story went on we learned the back stories of both characters, as well as their love story and understood them a bit better. The way the novel was written, the reader is left unsure if these two characters would end the weekend as friends, their language was that tempestuous. Despite that uncertainty I still enjoyed the story and wanted to see where it led me.

The second chance trope has never been one of my favorites, but the author really let us get to know our two main characters and understand why what happened in their past affected their lives so much. They were two people who truly understood each other in their young adulthood and have kind of lost their way. Even though they aren’t happy to see each other, their understanding of each other came through and the reader wanted them to get past the angst and pain and give each other a chance again. Of course, there was a lot standing in their way and that journey towards understanding their future didn’t come without pain. This was a really well told story that I would’ve liked a little bit more if there wasn’t so much snark, but I loved the ending. That ending made it all worth it. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase this book!* The Rewind

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: A Very Merry Bromance (Bromance Book Club #5) by Lyssa Kay Adams

Colton Wheeler, a country music superstar, isn’t used to women saying no and when Gretchen Winthrop won’t return his calls he’s not sure how to proceed. When she finally reaches out a year after their one night stand to make a proposal it isn’t the kind of proposition that he was prepared to receive. Be the face of her family’s world-class bourbon. Colton figures this is his best chance to spend time with Gretchen and agrees to hear her proposal, but only if she goes on a few dates with him. As he spends more time with her he realizes he’s in over his head and against his better judgement has his friends in the Bromance Book Club give him advice. Usually Colton isn’t on the receiving end, but the more time he spends with Gretchen the more she comes to mean to him and he’ll take any help he can get to keep her.

I’ve enjoyed this series, but the last couple of books have been good but not great. A Very Merry Bromance has exceeded my expectations and is very close to being my favorite to date. It’s all due to the depth of the main characters. On the outside Colton seems like an aw shucks country charmer, but his family means everything to him and the reason he’s successful is because he wants to be the support they need to live full lives. What a great guy! Gretchen too has reasons for being a distrustful grump. She comes from one of the wealthiest families in Tennessee but her parents ignored her when she was younger and her brothers are selfish bullies. She has rejected everything that they stand for and serves a mission to help immigrants stay with their families, fighting deportation. Yep, there’s a lot more to these two than is noted on the cover of this book!

I will admit that one of my favorite romance tropes is a woman in jeopardy, when it’s done well, anyway. Gretchen isn’t really in jeopardy, but she definitely needs saving. This is a woman who has never had someone fight for her and love her despite her differences. Colton is that man who will fight on behalf of her and by her side. Once the plot got moving these two gave me all the emotions and I was rooting for that happy ending I knew was coming. I must give a shoutout to Gretchen’s Uncle Jack. He was the only redeeming sole in her family and despite not having the power to save her, did love her with all of his heart and you could feel that love leap off the pages. He was a sweetie!

Like I said above, this book has jumped to my #1 spot in this series, which kind of surprised me, truthfully! I think it was the dichotomy of Colton always being so suave and giving all the romantic advise to the other bro’s in the book club. The fact that he floundered and his chosen one was a troubled woman just hit my heart and made me melt. This book was the perfect Christmas feel good story, with a little family drama to rev up the tension. It’s a quick read, so if you have a weekend and would like an good solid story and a sweet romance, this is the one! Cheesy title and all. I loved it. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Copyright 2022 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (10/31/22)

Happy Halloween! Do you find yourself searching for horror books or thrillers this time of year? Scary movies? I’ll admit that I like a good thriller but I’m not into being scared. I stick with my same old genre’s. I do enjoy the candy though!

Here’s what’s on my nightstand currently.

JUST FINISHED

I really enjoyed this novel but it wasn’t what I thought it would be at all. Much more serious than the cover led me to believe, all I’ll say is stick with it until the end. It’s totally worth it!

JUST STARTED

I’ve read two series by this author and really enjoy the world’s she creates and the humanity of her main characters. I really have only read the first chapter but I’m looking forward to digging into the whole story.

Have a wonderful Halloween and happy reading!

Deb

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: My Top 5 Most Anticipated Book Releases- Nov’22

I feel like I say this every month, but wow! November already? This year is flying by so fast. As I was looking through the November book releases I saw a ton of books that I know will be on many readers most anticipated lists. This list is specific to my own wants and needs. I know some of you will disagree, or maybe I’ll point out a book that you didn’t realizes was out already. Yay! That’s what I hope to do. Feel free to chime in with your own top 5. I’d love to hear them!

#5 BOOK RELEASE

Yes, we are already reading Christmas themed books. LOL. I am totally invested in the Bromance Book Club series. These books are pure relief from the stresses of my life and I always love the characters. Colton and Gretchen’s story will be great!

Synopsis: Country music’s golden boy Colton Wheeler felt the most perfect harmony when he was with Gretchen Winthrop. But for her, it was a love him and leave him situation. A year later, Colton is struggling to push his music forward in a new direction. If it weren’t about to be the most magical time of year and the support of the Bromance Book Club, he’d be wallowing in self-pity. 
 
It’s hard for immigration attorney Gretchen not to feel a little Scrooge-ish about the excess of Christmas when her clients are scrambling to afford their rent. So when her estranged, wealthy family reaches out with an offer that will allow her to better serve the community, she’s unable to say no. She just needs to convince Colton to be the new face of her family’s whiskey brand. No big deal…
 
Colton agrees to consider Gretchen’s offer in exchange for three dates before Christmas. With the help of the Bromance Book Club, Colton throws himself into the task of proving to her there’s a spark between them. But Gretchen and Colton will both need to overcome the ghosts of Christmas past to build a future together.

Click this link to purchase this book!* A Very Merry Bromance

#4 BOOK RELEASE

Occasionally I find a book that wasn’t on my radar but peaks my interest. A Thousand Heartbeats is that book this month. A YA romantic fantasy with a plot that is right up my alley. I can’t wait!

Synopsis:

Princess Annika has lived a life of comfort—but no amount of luxuries can change the fact that her life isn’t her own to control. The king, once her loving father, has gone cold, and Annika will soon be forced into a loveless marriage for political gain.

Miles away, small comforts are few and far between for Lennox. He has devoted his life to the Dahrainian army, hoping to one day help them reclaim the throne that was stolen from them. For Lennox, the idea of love is merely a distraction—nothing will stand in the way of fighting for his people.

But when love, against all odds, finds them both, they are bound by its call. They can’t possibly be together—but the irresistible thrum of a thousand heartbeats won’t let them stay apart. 

Kiera Cass brings her signature sparkling romance to this beautiful story of star-crossed lovers and long-held secrets.

Click this link to purchase!* A Thousand Heartbeats

#3 BOOK RELEASE

I love romances with a healthy body image and Olivia Dade’s novels are always spot on for making me feel like my body could be loved too. Ship Wrecked is in the same universe as Spoiler Alert and All the Feels but can be read as a stand alone novel. I’ve read this one and you guys, it is so good! Totally enjoyable, wickedly funny, and super “romantic”.

Synapsis:

Maria’s one-night-stand—the thick-thighed, sexy Viking of a man she left without a word or a note—just reappeared. Apparently, Peter’s her surly Gods of the Gates co-star, and they’re about to spend the next six years filming on a desolate Irish island together. She still wants him…but he now wants nothing to do with her.

Peter knows this role could finally transform him from a forgettable character actor into a leading man. He also knows a failed relationship with Maria could poison the set, and he won’t sabotage his career for a woman who’s already walked away from him once. Given time, maybe they can be cooperative colleagues or friends—possibly even best friends—but not lovers again. No matter how much he aches for her.

For years, they don’t touch off-camera. But on their last night of filming, their mutual restraint finally shatters, and all their pent-up desire explodes into renewed passion. Too bad they still don’t have a future together, since Peter’s going back to Hollywood, while Maria’s returning to her native Sweden. She thinks she needs more than he can give her, but he’s determined to change her mind, and he’s spent the last six years waiting. Watching. Wanting.

His shipwrecked Swede doesn’t stand a chance.

Click this link to purchase this book!* Ship Wrecked

#2 BOOK RELEASE

I think Lindbergh’s story is so interesting and am eager to read Mariah Fredericks take on what the nanny see’s during the whole kidnapping and what happens after. This could be a really good one!

Synopsis:

When the most famous toddler in America, Charles Lindbergh, Jr., is kidnapped from his family home in New Jersey in 1932, the case makes international headlines. Already celebrated for his flight across the Atlantic, his father, Charles, Sr., is the country’s golden boy, with his wealthy, lovely wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, by his side. But there’s someone else in their household—Betty Gow, a formerly obscure young woman, now known around the world by another name: the Lindbergh Nanny.

A Scottish immigrant deciphering the rules of her new homeland and its East Coast elite, Betty finds Colonel Lindbergh eccentric and often odd, Mrs. Lindbergh kind yet nervous, and Charlie simply a darling. Far from home and bruised from a love affair gone horribly wrong, Betty finds comfort in caring for the child, and warms to the attentions of handsome sailor Henrik, sometimes known as Red. Then, Charlie disappears.

Suddenly a suspect in the eyes of both the media and the public, Betty must find the truth about what really happened that night, in order to clear her own name—and to find justice for the child she loves.

Click this link to purchase this book!* The Lindbergh Nanny

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

MY MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE- NOV’22

OK, I’m a sucker for novels about bookstores. Combine that with my love of this author’s writing and Better Than Fiction is my top book pick for next month. I can’t wait to read it!

Synopsis:

As a self-proclaimed book hater and a firm believer that the movie is always better, Drew Young didn’t anticipate inheriting her grandma’s bookstore, the Book Nook. She’s in way over her head even before the shop’s resident book club, comprising seven of the naughtiest old ladies ever, begin to do what they do best—meddle.

Bestselling author Jasper Williams is a hopeless romantic. When he meets Drew at his Book Nook signing event, he becomes determined to show her the beauty of reading. He curates a book bucket list in exchange for her help exploring the local Denver scene for his current manuscript. From going river rafting to trying local restaurants, Drew begins to connect with Jasper in a way she only thought happened in fiction.

When messy family ties jeopardize the future of the Book Nook, Drew is caught between a bookshelf and a hard place. She’s reminded that real life isn’t always big dreams and sweeping romance. But Jasper is the plot twist she never saw coming and he’s writing a happily ever after just for them.

Click this link to purchase this book!* Better Than Fiction