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.

This Chick Read: Her Last Flight by Beatriz Williams

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: 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: I Was Told It Would Get Easier by Abbi Waxman

Mother-daughter duo Jessica and Emily Burnstein are about to spend a week touring east coast colleges. It’s Emily’s chance to make a decision on her future and for her mother, Jessica, it’s the chance to get closer to the daughter she loves. On the tour are other parental-kid units, including another mother and daughter whom both Jessica and Emily loathe. Will Emily and Jessica get along? Grow closer? Or become further apart than they ever were?

Abbi Waxman is one of my go to author’s since her hilarious debut A Garden of Small Beginnings. I’ll admit to being slightly disappointed by her last two novels that although good were not as funny as the first. I Was Told It Would Get Easier came through with both funny scenes but also quite tender ones that had heart and made me really like these characters.

Now, I’ll admit, when I was the age of Emily Burnstein my parents didn’t take me on a college tour, they were just excited I got accepted to any! I did find the relationship between Jessica and Emily quite familiar, as I’m sure a lot of reader’s will. Emily was a typical 16 year old girl with all the sass and hormones, and a mother who was bewildered by how to bond with her daughter. I really liked both of their characters and how over the course of a week they managed to find common ground and even ended up understanding each other a little bit better.

The love interests! Yes, there was a cute boy on the trip who Emily crushed on and their budding relationship was sweet and also pretty funny. Did Jessica have a love interest? Well, there was this one scene with an ex from college that was too hilarious. We all look back on those guys fondly, don’t we? Jessica had her hands full with this one, but thankfully Emily was there to keep her on the straight and narrow.

There were a lot of fun characters in this novel, some of whom you will recognize if you’re like me and have read all of the previous novels by this author. It’s not just a mother-daughter bonding book, there were kooky happenings, drunk mom dancing, and even a bit of crime solving! I really enjoyed all of the hijinks, but even more I loved the heart. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

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

Click this link to purchase!* I Was Told It Would Get Easier

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.