This Chick Read: Hands Down by Mariana Zapata

Possible SPOILERS Ahead! Read at your own risk.

Zac Travis and Bianca Brannen used to be best friends but ten years have gone by since the last time they spoke. When her brother Boogie, the third leg in their friendship, asked her to swing by Zac’s house to give him a message about his grandpa she sucks it up and does the right thing. When he doesn’t recognize her? It’s devastating. Now that she’s back in his life, Zac is determined to not let her leave.

I was beyond thrilled that Mariana Zapata was releasing a book about one of my favorite side characters, Zac “Big Texas” from the Wall of Winnipeg and Me. I’ve read Winnipeg about 8 times, so Zac is a very familiar character. His aw shucks attitude and sweet charm makes him super easy to like, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to a main character hero. For me, that usually depends upon the leading lady, which in this case is also a side character but one that barely blipped on my radar. Bianca was the receptionist at the Maio House gym in The Best Thing. She was pretty minor but as I was reading Hands Down I admired how Mariana Zapata, again, tied the characters from her books together.

As I was reading this novel I found myself getting restless. For me, that’s never a good sign and meant I had some reservations about these characters love story. What was it that bothered me? I believe in love at any age, so the age difference between Zac and Bianca wasn’t that big a deal (it’s an 8 year difference). After all, I married a man 5 years my junior and it’s the maturity of a person that matters, not the age. Part of Zac’s charm in Winnipeg was his aw shucks attitude, which was on overdrive and may have been a bit overused in Hands Down. His nicknames of “sugar” and “darlin” were part of his identity, but there was one nickname that he used with Bianca specifically that I disliked. Well, at first I was ok with it, but after their feelings developed my feelings changed. Zac called Bianca “kiddo”. If this was a story about a brother and sister I’d think that was sweet, but at the end of the book he was still saying “I love you kiddo” and well, I found it kind of creepy. Why didn’t the author change that nickname like he did when he started calling her Bibi? I felt like that would’ve been an easy resolution. Insert “Bibi” wherever he says kiddo as his feelings had started to change. This may seem like a very small point but for me it’s one that would’ve made a huge difference in how I felt about the characters.

I love a strong female protagonist and Bianca had moments of strength but those moments were interspersed with quite a lot of insecurity. I get that she felt like Zac dumped her for his successful career but the number of times she said something like “if you want to” or “if you don’t have anything better to do” or spoke down about herself, got kind of frustrating. It actually frustrated Zac too as he addressed it quite a few times in the book, but when it starts getting on a readers nerves it’s like that tickle in your throat that won’t go away. When attention is drawn to it, it just itches even more. I was never allowed to get past it because it was brought up too often. Would I have felt differently if Bianca had started feeling more secure about herself a little sooner? Possibly.

Despite those two things, I did enjoy reading Hands Down. There’s a safety in reading a Mariana Zapata novel. You know you’re getting a great story, you look forward to seeing how these characters connect to past novels, and when they finally reveal their love for each other after that long build-up to it, it’s just so satisfying. Despite being let down on that last point just a smidge, it was still a nice get away from the stresses of my everyday life which is a win in my book.

❤️❤️❤️❣️

Click this link to purchase this book!* Hands Down

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: Not Like the Movies by Kerry Winfrey

After the success of her debut novel, Waiting for Tom Hanks, Kerry Winfrey gives us a follow up featuring the two people her heroine, Annie, wrote her screenplay, Chloe and Nick. Chloe seems like she has it all with her positive attitude, unique style, and never-ending charm, but in actuality she’s got a load of stress balanced on her small shoulders. She’s approaching thirty and is still working in a coffee shop, her father’s in a facility because of his Alzheimer’s, she’s helping Annie plan her wedding, and she’s taking online classes to try to get a degree so she can one day have her dream, opening a bakery. When Annie’s screenplay based on Chloe’s life gets made into a movie it seems the world wants a piece of her that she can’t afford to give away and the one constant in her life, Nick, her boss and friend, starts looking very very good. How will her life change if Chloe starts seeing him as more than a friend?

Not Like the Movies had the charm of Kerry Winfrey’s first novel, but had an underlying depth that took the story beyond the fluffy love story into a well written piece of fiction. Don’t get me wrong, Ms. Winfrey still wrote some great rom-com banter and had all of those movie comparisons as she did in Waiting for Tom Hanks, but Chloe and Nick’s story had a layer of insecurity and uncertainty hidden beneath the artful disguise of Chloe’s exterior. If it weren’t for the love story aspect of this novel the color of Chloe’s tale would have been muted grays and greens instead of the bright technicolor red of her favorite lipstick.

What about our hero Nick? He was the perfect complement to Chloe in that he was steady, safe, and sweet. Truthfully though, he kind of got a little lost in all of her drama although I think that was done purposefully by the author to show Chloe how he was her perfect match. I am a reader that likes a more obvious approach to love, so the will they or won’t they was frustrating for me and I’ll admit to skimming over a few scenes to get to the meat of the romance a little quicker.

As a comparison to the first novel, which I loved, I thought Not Like the Movies was a solid sequel but lacked the optimism and charm that made me root for Annie and Drew. Not to say that I didn’t like Nick and Chloe, because I did, their story was just a different piece of fiction. Chloe and Nick had their own smoldering fire and I adored Nick’s steadiness because it was exactly what Chloe needed to make her happy. They had me rooting for them just as hard just in a more quiet way. If you didn’t read Waiting for Tom Hanks, it will be easier for you to like Not Like in the Movies because you won’t have the same expectations and I’m sure you’ll fall in love with this couple in the end, just like I did. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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!* Not Like the Movies

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: 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 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.

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.

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.

This Chick Read: The Proposal (The Wedding Date #2) by Jasmine Guillory

Nikole goes to a Dodger game with her boyfriend of five months and finds herself the center of a jumbotron wedding proposal. Surprise! Not even hesitating to turn him down, Nikole gets abandoned to an angry crowd. Sitting two rows away with his sister, Carlos Ibarra comes to her rescue with a fake story and a ride home. After drinks with her friends he expects to never hear from her again, but gets a surprising thank you email which prompts him to reply in turn.

I have had this book on my bookshelf for what seems like a year and never picked it up. I’m not sure why because I thoroughly enjoyed The Wedding Date and like Jasmine Guillory’s light-hearted rom-com style. It takes a quarantine I guess! This was a right book at the right time scenario for me. I cringed at the proposal and then laughed at the humorous dialog throughout this book.

Nikole had a few self esteem issues from a previous boyfriend and isn’t in a hurry to find herself in a relationship again. Carlos, also, doesn’t want anything serious because he feels like his life is pretty full of all of the women in his family that he needs to take care of. Needless to say, it’s when you don’t want it that love strikes.

I really liked Jasmine Guillory’s deft touch during the lighthearted moments in this story. I do feel like she let me down slightly when the conflict hit. That could just be that she needs to grow a little bit more into those heavier emotions? I couldn’t quite figure it out, but the end of the book went slightly astray for me. However, even saying that, when I look back on my own feelings while reading the book I had fun, laughed quite a few times, and enjoyed myself. So that’s a win on my scoreboard.

If you find yourself needing a more lighthearted book right now, I thought this one was a perfect pick. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* The Proposal

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: The Lies That Bind by Emily Giffen

It’s the spring of 2001 and Cecily Gardner and her boyfriend have just broken up. Trying to distract herself from calling him, Cecily takes a walk in New York City and ends up at this small pub. She asks to borrow a phone to give in an call her ex when a man sits down next to her and cautions her not to make that call. Cecily and Grant don’t do much talking that night but they sit next to each other at the bar and when it closes he walks her home. She lets him in and they fall asleep platonically, but it’s the beginning of something, but she’s not sure exactly what.

Cecily and Grant have an instant connection and stay in touch, even when he takes his sick brother to London for the summer for treatment. When he returns, he tells her he loves her, spends the night, and then disappears when two planes hit the World Trade Center on September, 11th. During her search for him she stumbles upon some truths. Truths that change the direction of her life.

I have only ever read one other Emily Giffen novel called The One and Only. In that novel the heroine falls for her best friends father. A disturbing theme that somehow turns out ok and I remember admiring the author for making me feel something even though the topic made me feel kind of uncomfortable. It wasn’t until I was a good way into The Lies That Bind that I realized this was that same author and I had that same feeling again. Cecily’s actions made me feel slightly uncomfortable. Even though she was in love with Grant because of what she found out after 9/11 she ran back into the arms of her ex, Matthew. The she started her own brand of lying. I admired the authors storytelling, but again was reading a plot that was out of my comfort zone. Did I like it? I’m still mulling over that thought. I think I can safely say that I did, although I will admit to skimming over a couple of areas because I needed to read to a point where I started feeling better. I can totally understand if this is confusing to you all because it’s confusing to me too, but without giving away all of the secrets and lies, it leaves me with only that gut feeling to talk about.

Let’s talk characters. I liked Cecily despite disagreeing with a couple of choices that she made in this story. I also liked Grant. Even after hearing the truth. Just as Cecily repeats in the book their love felt so real. It did to me too! The person who honestly drove me crazy was Cecily’s best friend Scottie. His personality was very over the top and he seemed kind of unforgiving? Despite his own sad predicament, he wasn’t a very sympathetic character and Cecily, bless her heart, needing someone to help lead her out of the path she was on. Unfortunately Scottie was not that guy. He was good for a little comic relief though.

Just as in The One and Only, despite how the book made me squirm, I liked the author’s style and her willingness to look at different kinds of behaviors and dig deep into her characters psyche. There were just too many grey areas and my own morals are pretty black and white. I’ll admit, this did slant my rating down just a tad I would have a hard time giving it less than a 4 rating. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* The Lies That Bind: A Novel

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reviewed

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

This Chick Read: Recipe for Persuasion (The Rajes Series #2) by Sonali Dev

Chef Ashna Raje is struggling to keep her restaurant open when her cousin approaches her to fill in as a celebrity chef on a new reality show called Cooking With The Stars. Ashna loves her cousin, but her panic attacks make starring on this show an impossibility. It isn’t until her mother, whom she has a difficult relationship, tries to get her to come to India and Ashna uses the reality show as an excuse that she makes the commitment, for better or worse. The first day of filming is when she meets the celebrity she gets paired with…. her secret high school boyfriend, FIFA winning soccer star, Rico Silva. When their meeting goes viral they become immediate fan favorites and are almost guaranteed a place in the final. Recipe for Persuasion is a rom-com loosely based upon Jane Austen’s novel Persuasion, and as with that original plot, this book has fun dialog, dramatic misunderstandings, and a joyful union.

Recipe for Persuasion is the first novel I’ve read by Sonali Dev and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed her writing style. She enwraps her main character Ashna with the flavors of her culture and boy, all of the dishes they cook really made me want to run out and stock up on my Indian and South American spices. Not only is the story filled with the color and flavor of Ashna and Rico’s cultures but their language and life experiences also helped make this story unique.

The use of flashbacks into Rico and Ash’s love story as well as Ashna’s mother Shobi’s own relationship with Ashna’s father could have been confusing but instead created emotions that really helped tie the two stories together. Not only does the love story play out, but Ashna’s conflicted feelings for her mother and father are explained and when the story concludes, despite previous misgivings, you feel like her character can finally be happy.

As with most Jane Austen re-tellings miscommunication and misdirection play a big part in how the heroine acts and reacts during the story. This novel used those same tools but you really had the feeling that Ashna wanted to work on the why’s and wherefore’s which made me like her character a lot more than I did many of Jane Austen’s. Also, the peak into why her relationship with her mother fell apart was a lot more than Ms. Austen gave her readers and was most likely why I connected with Ashna in a way I couldn’t with Jane Austen’s heroines. If you like your senses overwhelmed by the cultures of other lands and you like your stories filled with emotional growth then I think you should read this novel. Yes, it’s a rom-com, of sorts, but it’s also deftly written and you may be surprised at the emotions the story brings forth as I was. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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!* Recipe for Persuasion: A Novel

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: Beach Read by Emily Henry

If you were to pick up this book based upon the title, cover, and synopsis you’d expect to get a rom-com about two authors who live next to each other at the beach, who while in a moment of writer’s block decide to challenge each other by writing a novel in the other person’s style. A meet cute that would end in happiness, and they didn’t lie, it is kind of all that. But it’s also so much more.

January, who writes happily ever after romances and Gus Everett who writes dark literary fiction take each other on research “field trips” to help the other person see into their world. As they do this, each opens up to the other about their own difficulties, insecurities, hopes, and dreams. Most importantly and not surprisingly they fall for each other. What is surprising are the emotional moments, the heart tearing fears, and heart mending, loving prose. This book was so much more than a “Beach Read” that it does a disservice to the excellence inside the story by misrepresenting (in my opinion) what the reader should expect.

I don’t think I’m going to give away any secrets by hinting at a couple of things in their back stories. One, January and Gus have a past, and two they both just had their hearts broken, albeit in different ways. These things provide so much more depth to the story than two authors who happen to live next to each other at the beach. It provides context for how they interact with each other. January’s distrust and dislike, and Gus’s frustration and fear, all feelings that don’t usually provide rom-com fodder. Yes, there are funny moments, but there were a lot more moments where I clung to my tissue. The banter between these two was bright, but it was also colored with emotion and pain. This book was so much more….

So, if you do pick up this book because the cover is cute (and it is!), or because it’s painted as a rom-com (kind of?), or the synopsis sounds like two people will fall in love (they do!), just know that this book is so much more than all of that. It’s two people who help each other through pain, build a friendship that started in misunderstanding, and fall in love in a way that will break your heart and provide you joy in an unexpected way. These characters? I am so in LOVE with them. This book? Definitely in my Top 10 so far this year. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

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