This Chick Read: Mom Jeans and Other Mistakes by Alexa Martin

Jude and Lauren have been best friends since the third grade and despite their differences they are always there to support the other when times get rough. Usually they both don’t hit rock bottom at the same time. After Lauren’s fiancé leaves her and their daughter, Lauren’s confidence takes a hit, but she stays strong for her daughter Adelaide wanting to show her that a strong woman can achieve anything. Jude is also going through some family issues. Since her father died her mom has gone off the deep end and Jude’s been floating her money, not knowing how to deal with this new situation. Needing each other’s strength, Lauren (and Adelaide!) and Jude move in together. Together they start a podcast about being single, raising a daughter, and dating building a brand that strikes a chord with their listeners. They just wish that real life were as funny as their podcast portrays, but despite life’s challenges the strength of their friendship will help pull them through it all.

A novel about friendship, love, and family? Sold! I’m a huge fan Alexa Martin’s NFL romance series, Playbook, and while this novel is not a romance there is plenty of love to be had on its pages. The friendship between Jude and Lauren is the kind of friendship that women dream of and probably rarely ever get. It defies all of life’s changes, marriage, and children. Jude is Lauren’s biggest fan and the feeling is absolutely returned. Of course, there is a lot of conflict in this novel as well, but just as in a romance, these ladies do get their happily ever after.

Who is my favorite character in this novel? Adelaide, of course! This five year old little girl has an old soul and enough sass to fill a swimming pool! Her character was such fun to read and added some much needed humor to the drama. I totally want Adelaide to star in her own young adult, new adult, and adult contemporary novels. She was a hoot!

I love how Alexa Martin shares her perspective through her characters. Her romance novel couples were of mixed race, and this lady friendship is between a white woman and black woman and Jude’s character speaks to the things she’s learned about racial inequality and how her best friend Lauren has been treated in her life. Jude is a mouthy white woman who doesn’t have a problem calling out injustices on behalf of her friend, despite Lauren not wanting to bring attention to them herself. This is a fictional novel but that doesn’t mean that the reader can’t learn by what the characters go through. Mom Jeans and Other Mistakes had many such moments.

If, like me, you are a fan of Alexa Martin’s you’ll probably pick up this novel. If you’ve never heard of Alexa Martin I think you will enjoy reading this story about overcoming obstacles while having a good friend by your side. These characters were easy to identify with, root for and love, plus there’s Adelaide, the star of the book. LOL!

❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Mom Jeans and Other Mistakes

Copyright 2021 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 Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson

June Jones is content working as a library’s assistant in her villages local branch when it’s threatened with being shuttered. Although the funds have been dwindling and it’s a bit shabby, this library is the home away from home not just for June but also for other villagers who need a place to gather. Never having left the small boundaries of her village June is distraught on behalf of the village but mostly on behalf of herself, who’s memories of her own mother are tied to the books in this building. The shy June must decide what’s more important, living with her mothers memories, or fighting this shut down and making new memories of her own.

Set in a quiet English village, June seems to be your typical quiet librarian. More at peace with books than with people. As this novel moves forward the reader see’s June as the villagers see her, the tie that binds her villagers together. I was pleasantly surprised by how moved I was by this novel. I thought I knew what I would be reading but as June dared to live outside the quiet comforts she knew the pages filled with color and emotion.

If this novel were only about June it may have been a typical story about a girl who likes to escape through a good book. Instead it was about June’s relationships with the people in her village and how her kindness helped them through their own trials throughout the years. Giving book advice, tutoring a high school student, teaching an older man to read, there were many facets of June that we don’t initially see. Each new light shone through a different character that was introduced and I have to admit there were some pretty outstanding characters that helped June shine so bright.

The Last Chance Library’s pace started off slow but as I got immersed in the story it quickly quickened. I found that sleepy English villages can be pretty exciting, or at least they can when the villagers decide to rise up. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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 this book!* The Last Chance Library

Copyright 2021 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: When Falcons Fall (Sebastian St. Cyr #11) by C.S. Harris

Sebastian, Viscount Devlin, and his wife Hero are in an idyllic Shropshire village to pay homage to a dead friend when the the new magistrate of that same village asks for his help. A visiting young woman was found dead in a field and having heard of Sebastian’s investigations in London the magistrate wants to make sure they do well by her. As Sebastian and Hero look into the days leading up to Emma Chance’s death they discover that her murder is not the first. As with other St. Cyr novels there are also political implications at play as Lucien Bonaparte, the estranged brother of the famed General Napolean Bonaparte is in residence at a nearby hall. Does his presence have anything to do with Emma Chance’s death?

It’s been a little while since I listened to the previous Sebastian St. Cyr novel and had forgotten how the narrator, Davina Porter, gives life to each character in the story. She imbues them with life and personality and the listener is engrossed with the implications of each character and how they are tied to the plot. This novel is no different and I found myself listening to it when I probably should’ve been doing other things. These are not light hearted novels and the mystery’s are very intricate so I like to really pay attention to each detail so I don’t miss a thing.

The reason for Sebastian and Hero being in the village was to look up the family of Sebastian’s half brother Jamie, who died in the last novel because of his similarity in looks to Sebastion. In When Falcons Fall, we learn a little bit more about who may have fathered Sebastian, as well as meeting Jamie’s twin sister and his grandmother. These glimpses towards who Sebastian may really be tied to are few and far between but oh so interesting! I know as I get closer to the truth that our journey may soon be over.

It is hard to talk about the plot in these novels because each tidbit is a reveal towards the underlying stories and not just the mystery that plays out in this book itself. I will say that the Bonaparte connection was truly interesting and as with past books where we meet famous characters (Ben Franklin) the pages bring life to what they may have been like even if in this novel it’s based only in fiction and not fact.

If you haven’t read any of the novels in this series I’d recommend starting at the beginning. Yes, each mystery is a stand alone but there are so many plot points that tie to earlier novels. I think your experience will be enhanced by how much each character has grown through the series rather than what actually happens on these pages. This novel was enjoyable on it’s own but when you think of how you feel about these characters on the whole it makes the novel go from good to great. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this book!* When Falcons Fall (Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery)

Copyright The Reading Chick 2021 All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: Songs in Ursa Major by Emma Brodie

When Jane Quinn and her band the Breakers step in for Jesse Reid at the Bayleen Island Music Fest Jane overcomes disappointed fans and has the night of her life… up to that point. The next night when Jesse’s manager approaches her in the bar where she works and wants to sign the band to a contract Jane’s life changes abruptly. The Breakers become Jesse Reid’s opening act on their tour and he and Jane connect emotionally through their music and beyond. This novel is filled with music and fun, but it will also wrench your soul.

First and foremost this is a novel about music. Jane is a musical prodigy able to pick up any instrument and play. Her mother wrote music and Jane also has this capability, but her lyrics are always personal and at first she doesn’t want to show that much of herself to the world. It takes a tragedy for her to show all of her emotions to the world. It was at this point that Jane had my by in. Her holding back also made me hold back.

Jesse was a conundrum. He had all of this talent yet there were hints of a “troubled past” that weren’t explained until later in the book. Between Jesse and Jan he was the more immediately likable but I’ve always liked an underdog and Jesse started out the book at the top of his game and musically he stayed there. Jane’s journey both musically and emotionally was much greater and it was because of how she handled the ups and downs in this book, and evenly more importantly fought for her music that I cared what happened as much as I did.

I have only one criticism for this author. I was so invested in these characters that I felt betrayed by how she wrapped up the book. Yes, there were a lot of characters and I liked hearing their lives were fulfilled or they found a partner or whatever, but the pages may have been better spent on wrapping up Jane and Jesse’s lives in a different more emotional way. I felt disassociated from those pages like I was reading a newspaper. It was kind of a let down after the emotional ride the author had taken me on through the book up to that point.

I can’t let this review end without saying how much I appreciated how wonderful all of the song lyrics were in Songs in Ursa Major. There was truly some great poetry and songwriting skills made by this author. Even though I couldn’t hear the actual music the lyrics made me feel the emotions the author intended me to feel. Emma Brodie has loads of talent and I hope she writes another book quickly. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase this book!* Songs in Ursa Major: A novel

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserve

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

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (5/3/21)

I have been on a listening jag lately, finding it hard, again, to pick up a book and lose myself in a plot. I think in part this is because my husband has been traveling and I find listening to an audiobook to be soothing. I’ll admit to putting in my ear buds and falling asleep to some old favorites. It’s a comfort when I’m tired of hearing myself talk to the dog. Does anyone else do this? 🙂 The book I just finished is an oldie but goodie. However, I do have an ARC deadline this week so I have actually started reading the book so I can get a review out on time.

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

For those of you who have only watched the TV series True Blood, you are truly missing out. I am one of those people who read the books back when they were originally released and couldn’t watch the tv program because it wasn’t anything like the books. This series is narrated by Johanna Parker who does an outstanding job imbuing Sookie with the humor that her narration warrants. That humor was totaling missing from the show which was all glorified sex and blood. I’m so glad I’ve rediscovered this series and I’m slowly using up my Audible credits one book at a time. It’s totally worth it.

JUST STARTED

I met this author many years ago at a book convention. I was just starting out as a book blogger and she gave me her first book to review. Now, years later, I still find myself lucky enough to receive an ARC of all of her releases. I just started this book last night and it comes out on Tuesday. As with her other novels I’m immediately drawn in by the interesting characters. I can’t wait to see where this story takes me!

I hope everyone has a great book on their nightstand that they are looking forward to reading in their downtime. I’d love to hear what book has caught your eye. Please share in the comments below.

Happy Monday and happy reading!

Deb

This Chick Read: Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin

Hana Khan works in her mother’s restaurant Three Sisters Biryani Poutine while she pursues her dream of being a broadcaster telling her stories on the radio. When another halal restaurant opens in the Golden Crescent Hana’s eyes are opened to how her mothers restaurant is struggling. Will it survive against the new competition? When her cousin and Aunt coming visiting from India her world expands outward from the comfort of what’s familiar. Family secrets are revealed and the Golden Crescent is threatened by hate crimes both turning Hana’s life upside down.

It was so hard to give a brief synopsis where I didn’t give away any of this novels fabulous secrets, please don’t let my lackluster paragraph above keep you from picking up this novel. Hana’s struggle between who she is as a young Muslim woman and who she wants to be, a broadcaster who tells stories of her world from her own unique perspective, is challenged by radio managers who are trying to tell her story for her. I loved how this part of the story was handled because it really told the struggle that she felt in a way that I a middle aged white woman could feel.

Hana’s love interest is the very handsome young owner of the competitive restaurant. I found it a little hard to identify with him at first but as his story moved forward I understood him more and grew to like him. However this book really revolves around Hana and this romance was not the most important part of the story. It did end up being kind of a sweet one though.

Hana was fascinating. She was the dutiful daughter, the strong independent woman, and a Muslim woman. With Aydin she showed a different character. First as antagonist, then as surly friend, then as young woman in love. There were so many aspects to this character I never got bored. In fact I sped through this novel. Her world was both beautiful and scary. How Hana reacted to all of these changes didn’t change the core person she was and that was the person I was most interested in reading about.

If you are trying to widen your world view pick up this novel. Also pick up this authors previous novel Ayesha at Last, which was also a very good story. Each separate story line in this novel could have stood on its own and together created a really well fleshed out character and novel. I enjoyed this one very much! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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!* Hana Khan Carries On

Copyright 2021 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: Poppy Redfern and the Fatal Flyers (A Woman of WWII Mystery #2) by Tessa Arlen

Poppy Redfern is sent out on her first solo assignment with the London Crown Film Unit to produce a short film about the ATA (Air Transport Auxiliary) and the heroic Attagirls who flew those missions. When one of the pilots dies in a training exercise while her crew is filming and then the next day another girl dies, Poppy and her American Fighter- Pilot boyfriend Griff realize there may be a killer loose and they set out to investigate. Set against the backdrop of World War II, Poppy Redfern feels like an old fashioned, black and white, who dunnit, and I couldn’t help but cast Katherine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart in the leading roles.

On old fashioned mystery was just what I needed to transport me to a time when DNA, CSI, and high tech equipment didn’t exist. Poppy reminded me of a girl Friday, but one who could smell deceit as well as a good story. I really enjoyed the naive qualities Poppy portrayed, a tribute to the time she lived in as well as her own morals. Her dogged resilience in the face of the man’s world she lived in made me like her pluck. I also enjoyed Griff’s good ole American portrayal of WWII pilot and found their relationship to be sweet and fitting to a book of this style.

The historical elements of this novel while not too detailed did ring true. The author gives a nice salute to the Attagirls, young women whom I didn’t even know existed. This era of women doing the job’s that required doing during this time of war is fascinating. It makes me want to spend an hour or two on my laptop researching the facts that supported this story. Tessa Arlen did a good job painting a picture without getting mired in the dry facts, romanticizing these women and weaving the mystery of two of their deaths.

I really enjoyed this novel. Yes, it was simple, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t smart. It just had an air of innocence that reminded me a bit of an old episode of Superman before the onset of special effects. If you love an old fashioned novel, then the Poppy Redfern series should be on your TBR. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase! Poppy Redfern and the Fatal Flyers (A Woman of WWII Mystery)

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: Smash It! by Francina Simone

Liv is tired of being afraid to take chances and after showing up to a Halloween party in khaki shorts and a hoodie she decides to go for it, have experiences, and change her life! First up is trying out for the school play, a hip-hop version of Othello. Scared to death, her two best friends Dré and Eli, also try out and the drama begins. Having two boys for best friends has led Liv to make the safe choices but when a cute boy in the play asks her out, she risks it all. How will this affect her feelings for her two friends? You’re going to have to read this charming un-putdown-able novel.

I’m not even lying. I stayed up until 1am on a work night reading this book. How Liv feels about herself is so relatable to 90% of the female population. She thinks she’s overweight, has bad hair, and isn’t cute when she’s the complete opposite! She’s fun, funny, a kick butt singer, can dance, is curvy, and should be a self confident young woman. When she tries out for this play and says yes to her first date a whole new world opens before her and her two friends take notice!

What can I say about Eli and Dré? They were totally different from each other, had real problems that added a nice bit of conflict to the story, and both loved Liv to death. Their friendship was one of my favorite things about this book, and despite their lives changing as they got older, they could all rely on each other. To a point. But what would a story be without a little drama, right?

This was a totally fun book, that felt real. I didn’t feel like a middle aged woman reading a teen novel. I felt like these kids anxiety’s are what people of any age feel on a daily basis. Their stories were relatable, their triangle was interesting, and each of their story arc’s read true. Despite your own age, Smash It! is a book that needs to be read. It may make you look differently at your own life, but if not, it will at least entertain you with their’s. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Smash It!

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chicks Audio Review: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

What do you do when you’re on a road trip with your husband and have hours in the car in front of you? You try to pick a book that the two of you will enjoy together, in this case Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology, and hit play. Narrated by the author himself, Norse Mythology tells of some of the myth’s surrounding Thor, Loki, and Odin. Characters we think are familiar to us because of the very popular Avenger’s franchise, but in actuality Gods who were flawed and maybe not quite so heroic.

A quick word about the narration. Read by Neil Gaiman’s accented voice, he brought the characters to life imbuing them with a humanity that those Gods would probably dislike. That humanity held a wealth of emotions; humor, anger, mischievousness, stupidity, and even evil. I forgot at times that this was the author himself speaking because the characterizations were read so well.

What I found most interesting about listening to these myth’s is how much the popularization of these characters in current movies has shifted from the truth, or at least the truth as it was passed down through stories. Marvel gave us handsome actors in Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, and a stout grandpa like figure in Anthony Hopkins as Odin. When Mr. Gaiman’s voice spoke the first chapter it was those actors who filled my head, but by the third story I realized those faces didn’t fit the characters actions in this book and I soon came up with faces from my own imagination. Although, it was quite funny to picture Chris Hemsworth as a more stupid, beefy version of Thor. How did Marvel stray so far from these truths? Strike that question, we know why. Chris, Tom, and even a more elderly Anthony Hopkins sell tickets because of their pretty (cough) faces.

Despite a couple of dull stories, my husband and I were entertained for 6+ hours, laughing at Thor’s obtuseness, and Loki’s mischievous nature, but I’ll admit to being more surprised at Odin’s true character. In Norse Mythology, Odin, the father of all humans, was actually a rather evil guy. As Loki played tricks on other Gods, Odin played tricks on humans which seemed a lot worse. Gods given their all powerful nature should be able to take care of themselves but the scale seems imbalanced when you pit a god against a human.

Even though I’d had Norse Mythology on my TBR I probably would never have gotten around to reading it because mythology sounds interesting but the reading of it, even fictionalized, can be a little dry. I’m glad the opportunity arose to listen to the audiobook in a time when their tales seemed relevant. What I mean by that is that this year, in 2020, it feels like a book could be written about our current gods (imaginary or real) playing tricks, getting angry, or being completely obtuse about the goings on of their humans. It strikes me that in Norse Mythology there wasn’t a very benevolent god in the bunch which doesn’t bode well for this humans future. Gods help me.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this audiobook!* Norse Mythology

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you should purchase this audiobook 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.