It’s Monday, what are you reading? (10/26/2020)

The leaves are changing, the weather is so nice, and I didn’t read that much this last week. I did finish one audiobook and one novel. That’s a little slow for me! The romance novel I did finish was excellent and I recommend it to everyone who likes sports romances and current events. My review went out Sunday if you’d like to read about my thoughts.

JUST FINISHED

When your star quarterback decides to take a stance on racism and poor treatment of NFL players by kneeling for his first game with the team, Strategic Communications Manager, Elliott Reed, is thrown into the deep end on her first day of work. I liked this one a lot.

JUST STARTED

The premise to this series is that a men’s book club read romance novels to understand women and help them in their relationships. Totally cute premise and the first novel in the series was pretty good. I’ll admit that I’ve been a little disappointed but am hoping this will be the book that will knock it out of the park!

Yep, it’s still light-hearted romances for me. What are you reading this fine Monday?

Deb

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.

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

This Chick Read: Kind of a Big Deal (Flirting with Fame #4) by Mary Ann Marlowe

Noah Kennedy and Lucy Griffin were high school sweethearts, best friends, and soul mates. When Noah left for New York to pursue his dream of becoming a rock star he and Lucy tried the long distance thing, but Lucy wanted someone who’d be there every day, not someone who would be on tour all the time. It was too similar to her absentee father who only dropped in when it was convenient to him. So, Lucy broke Noah’s heart. They remained friends, seeing each other only occasionally, but she was always the girl that got away. When Noah finds out that Lucy is now divorced he’s determined to win her for good.

The thing I love about Reading a series where each character in the gang gets their own story, is that by the time their story gets written we’ve heard their back story and have kind of gotten to know the character. Noah was definitely in the other books, but he was always the jerk and because of that I was never drawn to him. Reading his story I now know why he’s a jerk, but knowing that didn’t necessarily make him more likable. The only thing that did was his devout love for Lucy. Then there was Lucy. She’d obviously not had a good father figure and every man was judged against his failures and Noah had too many like comparisons, or at least on the surface. She had a lot of past grievances to overcome and Noah had a big mountain to climb.

The first 40% of this novel was spent catching up on these characters story arc. I’ll be honest, this became problematic for me because I got impatient. I wasn’t very attached to either character and their previous struggles, although eye-opening, didn’t help me care for them. However, once I hit that 40% and they finally re-connected, the story moved forward at a quicker pace and I sped through the remainder of the novel. From that point forward I was rooting for Noah. I’ll admit, I never cared too deeply for Lucy but wanted Noah to finally achieve his own HEA, even if it was with her. I didn’t think she was too deserving.

This was not my favorite book in the series. In that first 40% I kind of felt like their lives were just being told to me and the narration felt distant. I didn’t live their experiences with them. I’m glad to have read Kind of a Big Deal because it wraps up the series (I think!) but my favorite by this author is still her first book Some Kind of Wonderful. If you haven’t read that novel, please give it a try! It’s the first book and if you love it like I did, you will want to hear the rest of these band member’s stories. ❤️❤️❤️❣️

I was given a copy of this novel by the author for my honest review. I lost the copy and purchased the novel because of my love for this series. My review remains unbiased and completely honest.

Click this link to purchase!* Kind of a Big Deal (Flirting with Fame)

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: Well Played by Jen DeLuca

Stacey has spent the last two years of the Renaissance Fair playing a buxom barmaid by day and hooking up with hot guy and musician Dex by night. When the month long fair ended her two good friends got engaged and Stacey felt dissatisfied with how she was living her life. So, one night after too many drinks she reaches out to Dex on his fan site and opens up about her feelings. Surprisingly he emails back and they spend the next 10 months becoming best friends and falling in love. There was a lot more to her hot hook-up than she thought! Or was there? She’s been played!

I couldn’t help but compare Well Played to Well Met, the first novel in this series. I may be doing this book a disservice because I LOVED Well Met. The setting surprised me and I loved the banter between Emily and Simon. There was a lot to like about Well Played but it just didn’t live up to my expectations.

Here’s what I liked. Stacey was a plus-sized heroine, which let’s face it, most of us are and so we can easily identify with her body self image insecurities. I loved that we still had that Renaissance Fair setting. I actually do wish that more of it had been set at the fair though. I did also like the friendships in this novel. They were all there for each other and had each others backs. If you have a great pack of friends you can survive most everything!

Here’s what weighed against my rating. (I can’t say dislike!) It took too long to get to our hero and heroine being together. There was a LOT of email exchanges and texts and I just didn’t feel all of the emotions I was supposed to feel. I liked our hero, but I didn’t love him. There was one scene that just really bothered me! I can’t get into who he is or what that scene was, so this is kind of lame to even mention but that scene set him up as being weak. I just couldn’t look at him the same after it. Now that I’m putting it on paper, that was really the main issue for me.

So, I liked Well Played, but I was disappointed at the same time. Maybe this is a case of building the book up too much in my head before actually reading it. I don’t know, but my rating reflects my feelings.

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!* Well Played

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? (9/14/2020)

Another weekend that went by way too quickly! I had a chance to read an Arc and also listen to a book, but would’ve liked to lay on the couch and have a good read. Here’s a quick glance at what I’m 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

I loved the first in this series and couldn’t wait to get started on Well Played. Another romance in a Renaissance Faire setting. Too cute!

JUST STARTED

I love this rock star romance series by Mary Ann Marlowe! I’m late getting to this one as the book came out last week, but am eagerly anticipating a fun story with characters that will surprise me!

It’s Monday! What book are you starting your week reading?

Have a great week!

Deb

This Chick Read: Beard With Me and Beard Necessities (Winston Brothers #6-7) by Penny Reid

Scarlet St. Claire has spent her whole life flying under the radar from her father and the kids at school. While doing exactly that, camping out in the woods behind the Winstons home, she comes to the attention of none other than Billy Winston, the boy that Scarlet has hated her whole life. What she doesn’t realize is that this boy that’s she’s run from may actually be the answer to her salvation. Beard with Me is the story of Scarlet and Billy, love found and love lost.

To say that I had been eagerly anticipating this novel would be an understatement. However, when the author, Penny Reid put out a statement saying that some people may not be happy with this story I paused on reading it. What did she mean people might not be happy? I hate second guessing my reading choices, so I waited until the follow up came out to read both novels back to back. Hence my late review.

Scarlet St. Claire is the daughter of Razor, the head of the local motorcycle club, and the bane of her existence. He is one seriously bad hombre and for some reason he is fixated on Scarlet, so she tries to remain as scarce as possible. This is tough for a 14 year old girl, and occasionally when she needs money she has to bite the bullet and deal with dear old dad. After one such incident Billy stumbles upon her campsite behind his house as she’s singing very loudly with headphones on. Captivated he decides to help her instead of reject her as he’s done numerous times before. Never having been helped by anyone who didn’t want something in return, Scarlet tentatively accepts his help and through those moments she and Billy fall madly in love.

This is not a light hearted Penny Reid novel, so now I kind of understand why some people may have rejected Beard With Me at first. I think if I didn’t have Beard Necessities to immediately read at the end of this novel, I would’ve had a hard time bearing the burden of this ending. It was a perfect set up for the next piece of their story.

Beard Necessities is the story of Billy and Claire (aka Scarlet). Misunderstandings, miscommunications, and broken hearts have kept these two apart for almost 20 years. I know what you’re thinking. Claire? Yes, Claire! She has been in almost every single one of the Winston’s novels. The reader knew there was some kind of back story between she and Billy because it was hinted at and in this novel we finally are told the whole story.

This novel takes place in Tuscany where the whole family is together. Unbeknownst to Billy and Claire, their lives are about to be managed. Thrown together at every circumstance (some of them are quite clever and funny) Billy and Claire finally overcome their bitterness and mistrust and dare to dream that they could find their happily every after.

Beard Necessities when paired with Beard With Me is the epitomy of a knockout punch. We are given the heart break of the first novel and see them struggle so much with all of their past beliefs about each other. Most of which were complete misunderstandings. Billy, when he finally realizes he has a chance to be with Claire/Scarlet is so tender. I think this story must be the most tender and beautiful of all the books in this series. Maybe it’s because I got so invested in these characters? I don’t know, but Penny Reid deserves an award for how full of love these characters are for each other. It was sad and beautiful all at once.

I believe this author said in that note I was talking about before that if you can’t handle it you can skip Beard with Me and just read Beard Necessities. I hope I got that message wrong because I think you really need to read Beard With Me first so you can feel as much heart ache as these characters do so you can be fully invested in their happily ever after in Beard Necessities. Without that first story, I think BN might have felt a little flat. Anyway, I’m glad I read them the way I did so I can only say to you how effective it was and how much I adored the conclusion to their story.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ Click this link to read Beard with Me: First Love Small Town Romantic Comedy (Winston Brothers Book 6) and ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ Beard Necessities: Second Chance Small Town Romantic Comedy (Winston Brothers Book 7)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

This Chick Read: Lead (Stage Dive #3) by Kylie Scott

I am usually more invested by the third book in a series because your hero/heroine have been slowly introduced through the first couple of books. This was definitely the case for Lead, since some of the previous drama for the band Stage Dive, centered on our hero Jimmy, the lead singer. We knew he’d been through rehab because we went through the emotional roller coaster with his brother’s story in Lick, the first novel in the series. For some reason though, I hadn’t been really interested in Jimmy’s story. Not until I started reading and got to know our heroine, Lena.

Lena was hired as a companion for Jimmy to keep him sober and on the path of resistance. She has a take charge, no nonsense persona, and I took to her instantly. In fact, I actually saw a little bit of myself in Lena and loved her awesomeness (go me!). What fell a little flat for me was how enamored she was of Jimmy. She wasn’t a big fan of the band, like Anne was in Play, but somehow she loved the hard rock a$$hole that Jimmy really was. Sure, he had that inner gooeyness, but honestly he had some serious issues! It’s hard for me to imagine falling for a guy that has been dependent on alcohol since he was 12. It’s a sad story, for sure, but one that was hard for me to engage myself in.

I did really like that actual story though. How hard Jimmy fought for his sobriety. How she stood by him and helped him feel better about himself. I think this says something more about me, actually, than it does about the actual book. This was a good solid love story, but not one that I wanted to live myself. That was the difference maker between it being good and great in my eyes. I do totally like this author and her style of writing. Kylie Scott gives her characters depth, and she did such a great job of it in this novel even though I couldn’t dive off that stage with Jimmy. So, even though this was a solid story in my book, I didn’t love the romance aspect of it.

I will totally read the next novel in the series though. Kylie Scott has won my admiration and she’s on my auto buy list because of her skills in character development.

If you love rock star romances, you’ll probably love this book. It’s a tortured look at addiction, which is harder for some people to read about (me) than others. I loved the heroine in this book and definitely think she deserved the love and admiration of the hero she wanted in love. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Lead: A Stage Dive Novel (Stage Dive Series Book 3)

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: What You Wish For by Katherine Center

Samantha Casey is the school librarian at a small school that focuses on diversity, learning, and creativity. She has thrived in this environment and is now completely different than the once mousy woman she was. When their beloved principal passes away the newly hired principal, Duncan Carpenter, resurrects from her past. She had quietly been in love with him and he is in part the reason she left her last job. However, the Duncan that shows up for the first day of school is not the happy go lucky guy she used to know. This Duncan is a suit wearing, straight-laced, security conscious man and he proceeds to turn their lives upside down.

I loved the community of people that surround Sam Casey in this novel. A with previous insecurity and shyness issues, Sam has blossomed in the “safe” environment of this small town in Galveston, Texas. As the novel moves forward we learn more about just how much Sam has changed and why, especially as she faces her past crush and is deeply disappointed at his new demeanor. The old Sam would’ve run away, but this new Sam ends up leading the charge, fighting for their rights while at the same time searching for the man she used to know.

Duncan was pretty easy to understand. Based off Sam’s memories he’d obviously done a bit of growing up, but there was something bigger behind his actions. I loved how Sam picked away at his armor to find that more fun loving man underneath. What You Wish For was the perfect mix of quirkiness, drama, and I especially loved the heart in which this author embued in her characters. From the start of the book I was invested in Sam, and then when Duncan entered the scene and his demeanor was a direct contradiction to how Sam had described him sealed the deal. I along with Sam wanted to solve the mystery and truly enjoyed the journey of finding out all of these characters secrets.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

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!* What You Wish For: 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.