This Chick Read: Sweep With Me (Innkeeper Series #4.5) by Ilona Andrews

During Treaty Stay, Innkeeper’s are not allowed to turn away any guests. Although Dina has been an Innkeeper for a few years, her new boyfriend Sean is just beginning to wear in his Innkeeper’s robes and although in love, they are still feeling out their duties as co-Inkeeper’s. When a Drifan asks to stay during Treaty Stay, Dina must accept and hope that this super magical being is not looking for trouble during their stay. With the addition of a group of Koo-ko, who need a suite to continue their very heated debate, and a Medamoth, a tracker, this Treaty Stay may be a doozy!

Even though Sweep With Me is a novella, I got a real feeling of where Dina is at since the last novel featuring she, Sean, and Gertrude Hunt. Still struggling with the loss of the seedling Inn, Dina is trying to regain her strength and learn to co-partner with Sean in their new relationship. Ilona Andrews does a great job of giving us a full length story in a short form novella and I felt totally satisfied when I ended this novel.

I love it when new species drop in to Gertrude Hunt and this world expands and grows. Hopefully Ilona Andrews has many more stories to tell in this series because I’m not done watching these characters grow and evolve in their relationships. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“It was over way too quickly, and seemed very much just holding material, a way to pass time to get to something better. Don’t get me wrong, it was fun holding material, but the last book was so very good, I guess I really wanted more with a return to Dina’s story.” The North Wind and the Sea

“I know it’s going to be quite some time before we see another Innkeeper novel. Since we know what Ilona Andrews will be working on in the meantime, I’m totally okay with that. But I will admit that I love this series, and will miss it in the meantime. I think I’m going to have to go back and reread the entire series again, to help cope with that bit of loss. But it’ll be worth it!” Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks

Click this link to purchase!* Sweep with Me (Innkeeper Chronicles)

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? (3/30/2020)

This week a new month begins and we can only hope it brings more positive news than negative regarding the Covid-19 outbreak. If you’re tired of all the bad news, you may be escaping into a good book. If you’re looking for one, maybe you’d like to read one of these.

This post originated over on Book Date, so thanks for the idea and letting me continue on the discussion.

JUST FINISHED

I am a huge fan of this author’s and love this series! Kind of Famous is the third in the Flirting With Fame series. If you like rock star romances, you’ll love this book!

JUST STARTED

I love this historical mystery series and can’t wait to see what kind of trouble Veronica Speedwell and Stoker get into!

These are the perfect escape! What books are you escaping into this Monday?

Deb

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: Top 5 Most Anticipated Book Releases- April ’20

Usually I say “Wow, time has flown by and I can’t believe it’s already…”, but this month I have to say I feel like the days are crawling. I’m working from home, “social distancing”, worried about my job, and trying not to spend any money. So, I kind of wish the days would speed by quicker. Let’s get this curve flattened so I can get on with my life, whatever life is left to live at that point. I don’t mean to be a downer, but I, like many others am feeling discouraged. So, when I thought of putting together this post about what books I’m looking forward to in April, I’ve decided to actually look forward. Live for the future, not the present, right?

So, here are my Top 5 book releases for the month of April. I know my Top 5 will not be the same as your own, so feel free to chime in and let me know what books I’m missing and/or should be reading next month.

#5 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

I just started this novel and it starts quick, cute, and I’ve already fallen in serious like with my characters. yay!

Synopsis:

In this fresh and hilarious historical rom-com, an estranged husband and wife in Regency England feign accidents and illness in an attempt to gain attention—and maybe just win each other back in the process.

Five years ago, Lady Violet Grey and Lord James Audley met, fell in love, and got married. Four years ago, they had a fight to end all fights, and have barely spoken since.

Their once-passionate love match has been reduced to one of cold, detached politeness. But when Violet receives a letter that James has been thrown from his horse and rendered unconscious at their country estate, she races to be by his side—only to discover him alive and well at a tavern, and completely unaware of her concern. She’s outraged. He’s confused. And the distance between them has never been more apparent.

Wanting to teach her estranged husband a lesson, Violet decides to feign an illness of her own. James quickly sees through it, but he decides to play along in an ever-escalating game of manipulation, featuring actors masquerading as doctors, threats of Swiss sanitariums, faux mistresses—and a lot of flirtation between a husband and wife who might not hate each other as much as they thought. Will the two be able to overcome four years of hurt or will they continue to deny the spark between them?

With charm, wit, and heart in spades, To Have and to Hoax is a fresh and eminently entertaining romantic comedy—perfect for fans of Jasmine Guillory and Julia Quinn.

Click this link to purchase!* To Have and to Hoax: A Novel

#4 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

The beautiful cover caught my eye and then the synopsis drew me in. This one looks good!

Synopsis: A trio of second-born daughters sets out on a whirlwind journey through the lush Italian countryside to break the family curse that says they’ll never find love, by New York Times bestseller Lori Nelson Spielman, author of The Life List.

Since the day Filomena Fontana cast a curse upon her sister more than two hundred years ago, not one second-born Fontana daughter has found lasting love. Some, like second-born Emilia, the happily-single baker at her grandfather’s Brooklyn deli, claim it’s an odd coincidence. Others, like her sexy, desperate-for-love cousin Lucy, insist it’s a true hex. But both are bewildered when their great-aunt calls with an astounding proposition: If they accompany her to her homeland of Italy, Aunt Poppy vows she’ll meet the love of her life on the steps of the Ravello Cathedral on her eightieth birthday, and break the Fontana Second-Daughter Curse once and for all.
 
Against the backdrop of wandering Venetian canals, rolling Tuscan fields, and enchanting Amalfi Coast villages, romance blooms, destinies are found, and family secrets are unearthed—secrets that could threaten the family far more than a centuries-old curse.

Click this link to purchase!* The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany

#3 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

The publishers got me with the comparison to Bridget Jones. I am so curious about this one!

Synopsis:

Meet Roxy. She’s a sometimes vegan, always broke artist with a heart the size of Texas and an ex living in her spare bedroom. Her life is messy, but with the help of a few good friends and by the grace of the goddess Venus she’ll discover that good sex, true love, and her life’s purpose are all closer than she realizes.

Bridget Jones penned a diary; Roxy writes letters. Specifically: she writes letters to her hapless, rent-avoidant ex-boyfriend—and current roommate—Everett. This charming and funny twenty-something is under-employed (and under-romanced), and she’s decidedly fed up with the indignities she endures as a deli maid at Whole Foods (the original), and the dismaying speed at which her beloved Austin is becoming corporatized. When a new Lululemon pops up at the intersection of Sixth and Lamar where the old Waterloo Video used to be, Roxy can stay silent no longer.

As her letters to Everett become less about overdue rent and more about the state of her life, Roxy realizes she’s ready to be the heroine of her own story. She decides to team up with her two best friends to save Austin—and rescue Roxy’s love life—in whatever way they can. But can this spunky, unforgettable millennial keep Austin weird, avoid arrest, and find romance—and even creative inspiration—in the process?

Click this link to purchase!* The Roxy Letters: A Novel

#2 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

I love books about re-igniting love, or even better enemies to lovers. This one intrigues me and I like this author.

Synopsis:

When your nemesis also happens to be your fiancé, happily ever after becomes a lot more complicated in this wickedly funny, lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy debut.

Naomi Westfield has the perfect fiancé: Nicholas Rose holds doors open for her, remembers her restaurant orders, and comes from the kind of upstanding society family any bride would love to be a part of. They never fight. They’re preparing for their lavish wedding that’s three months away. And she is miserably and utterly sick of him.

Naomi wants out, but there’s a catch: whoever ends the engagement will have to foot the nonrefundable wedding bill. When Naomi discovers that Nicholas, too, has been feigning contentment, the two of them go head-to-head in a battle of pranks, sabotage, and all-out emotional warfare.

But with the countdown looming to the wedding that may or may not come to pass, Naomi finds her resolve slipping. Because now that they have nothing to lose, they’re finally being themselves–and having fun with the last person they expect: each other.

Click this link to purchase!* You Deserve Each Other

MOST ANTICIPATED APRIL’20 BOOK RELEASE!

I’m so excited a third book was written for this series!

Synopsis:

Layla Beckett has a secret. For the past ten years, she’s run the most trafficked fan site on the Internet for her favorite band—under an alias, naturally. When she lands a job at the prestigious New York City music magazine The Rock Paper, she’s suddenly thrust into the world she’s only observed from the cheap seats. Now that she’s brushing elbows with sexy guitarists and hot frontmen, she wants to play it cool and keep her superfan status on the down low. Although she’s dying to gush on her forum, posting her insider adventures online could expose her real-life identity and blow her cover.

And that’s all before one of those sexy musicians becomes a fan of her.

From the minute he meets Layla, Shane Morgan’s heart beats a heavy metal rhythm, but his head is full of doubt. Since only the most hardcore fans could pick the drummer out of a lineup, he’s resigned to groupies using him to get closer to the more famous guitarists. But he doesn’t want to be Layla’s passthrough.

As Layla gets to know the real people behind the music, she’s drawn to the less-than-flashy drummer’s sweet charms, fascinating mind, and banging hot body, but she worries about his insecurities. She needs to convince Shane she’s moved beyond fandom before he discovers her online history and loses all faith in her intentions. But the Internet is forever, and secrets have a way of getting out.

Click this link to purchase!* Kind of Famous (Flirting with Fame)

As I’ve written this post I’ve gotten a little more excited about reading some books. I hope I’ve put a book on your radar that maybe you might have missed? Please let me know which books you’re most looking forward to next month.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Deb

The Reading Chick Also Bakes: Bouchon Bakery- Chocolate, Praline, and Cocoa Nib Tart

This week I went back to the Tart chapter. Why did I break from my scheduled plan of taking on one recipe per chapter? When I made the Paté Sucrée crust for the Caramel Nut Tart (read that post here) it said the dough was only good frozen for one month, so since then I’ve been gathering all of the ingredients for this tart. Remember, when I priced all of the ingredients out for this tart on Amazon it would cost $133.00? I ended up substituting a few things and got that cost down to about $80.00, but I still spread out the purchases over a few weeks. Last Sunday, I was just over that four week in the freezer mark, got the last ingredient needed, and decided to celebrate “Social Distancing” with my attempt at this Chocolate, Praline, and Cocoa Nib Tart. Seriously, couldn’t they have come up with a shorter title?

I was very excited to have an already prepared Paté Sucrée for my crust because there were quite a few steps to making this tart and that saved a LOT of time. First up, making the praline! I bought, on Amazon this amazing Hazelnut-praline paste. It’s the closest thing I could find to what was called for in this recipe. It doesn’t have any almonds in it, but in order to check this recipe off I needed some sort of paste so I purchased Love’n Bake’s Hazelnut praline paste and OMG. I could eat this with a spoon! I have an intense dislike for hazelnuts, but this stuff? Pure heaven!

Cost: $23.97. Yep. Kind of crazy expensive!

You combine this totally yummy paste with .5 ounces of Valhrona 40% chocolate (cost around $13.00 for ONE bar!), some feuilletine, and a little cocoa butter. What is feuilletine? Good question! As I also, had no idea. According to amazon, it’s a specific kind of cookie crumble. (see pictures below)

Note to self, in future use a much less expensive bar of chocolate for this .5 oz ingredient! Although there’s good news in that I have 95% of the bar left.

Substitution note: I didn’t have cocoa butter in the house and googled cocoa butter substitutions. Google suggested coconut oil, which I had! I didn’t notice any change in how the praline tasted or looked, so if you don’t want the additional cost and have coconut oil, try it!

The above pictures of feuilletine are mine on the left and Amazon’s much better photo on the right. Anyway, you mix those ingredients together to get a crunchy paste that kind of reminded me of a brown rice crispy treat and roll it flat and then freeze for four hours. You’ll size this to your tart, cut it into a circle (those are my hubby’s helping hands below) and place it on the top of your crust for your first layer.

My next step is to make a chocolate dentelle. I know you are thinking, what the heck is a chocolate dentelle? Me too! It is a mixture of crushed hazel nuts, cocoa nibs, cocoa, butter, sugar, and a little corn syrup. You mix it together, spread it on a pan and let it bubble and then turn solid. Kind of like one of those lace cookies? It caramelizes and solidifies. This will be my decorative touch on the top of my tart. The extra’s are also a tasty snack as I make my chocolate ganache filling.

Are you wondering what a cocoa nib is? Yeah, I didn’t know either until I ordered them but cocoa nibs are basically crushed cocoa beans. They taste a little chocolatey but have a very subtle flavor. Think espresso beans. When you eat those they taste like coffee but are chalky and crunchy? Same with cocoa nibs, although they taste like chocolate, not coffee.

Substitution note: I used Hershey’s cocoa powder instead of Valrhona. I’m sure that would’ve cost me a lot more, but I decided to save those dollars and go with what was in the house.

The above is a picture of some cocoa nibs.

The last step is to make a chocolate ganache. At their direction I used 64% chocolate (Valrhona again!), heavy cream, trimoline, glucose, and butter. Thankfully I had glucose left over from the Caramel Nut tart, but had to purchase another $13.00 bar of Valrhona chocolate. (Thank you Sur La Table!)

Substitution note: I didn’t have trimoline on hand, but had purchased caster sugar for another recipe which is similar from what I’ve read so I used the small amount needed in this recipe. Same taste as far as I could tell!

My ganache was silky smooth and….. I forgot to take pictures of it. LOL. However, it looked as it should so I poured it over the praline and let it set for four hours. Just before serving I added the chocolate dentelle and voilá!

The Reading Chick’s Chocolate, Praline, and Cocoa Nib Tart!

It turned out well!

Would I make this one again? No. My family thought it was VERY good, but I don’t like hazelnuts enough to take three hours to make this tart. I’m glad I did make the attempt! Also, as I said with the Caramel Nut Tart, I would definitely make this Paté Sucrée again, it is so yummy! I’d eat it alone, or maybe dunk it in hot fudge sauce or something. OMG.

What did I learn from making the Chocolate, Praline, and Cocoa Nib Tart? A lot actually. I had never made a chocolate dentelle, praline, or a real chocolate ganache that didn’t go over a Boston Cream pie. 🙂

I may end up jumping recipe’s again soon if I can gather all of the ingredients from what’s already in the house. I’m making do with “social distancing” and I hope you all are as well.

Take care, stay healthy, and WASH YOUR HANDS!

Deb

Click this link to purchase the cookbook! Bouchon Bakery (The Thomas Keller Library)

This Chick Read: To Have and To Hoax by Martha Waters

What was once a love match between Lady Violet and Lord James Aubrey has become four years of polite conversation at breakfast and sleepless nights in separate bedrooms. Yet, when Violet receives word that her husband is unconscious after falling from a horse at their country estate she rushes to make sure he is well. When they meet up by accident at a country inn she realizes that he wouldn’t have told her he was well. She decides to get even in a scheme where she pretends to be ill just so he would know how he felt. When he catches on to her game he decides to see just how far she’ll take it.

When I read the synopsis I thought this sounded like a cute story. I like historical romances and an enemies to lover trope is always one of my favorites. To Have and To Hoax started off fun, but unlike Violet, I didn’t have to fake my approaching headache. Violet and James’s pettiness tried my patience pretty quickly.

To Have and To Hoax wasn’t all bad. The writing was very good, the side characters were really interesting, and the hero and heroine weren’t completely unlikeable. The game playing was just about 50 pages too long. I would’ve liked more chapters of the early days of their marriage so that I’d be more invested in them as a couple before they had their big argument. Unfortunately that was where the story started. It didn’t give me a lot of time to care and so I had little patience.

I tried very hard to not hold a fake illness against the author since this was written quite awhile before we got stuck in “quarantine” and took that into consideration in how this may have affected my enjoyment of this novel. I gave it a half star higher than I would’ve if I’d had the same feelings on a different day of reading this novel. ❤️❤️❤️❣️

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

Click this link to purchase!* To Have and to Hoax: A Novel

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: Junkyard Cats (Audible Original) by Faith Hunter

After the Final War, after the appearance of the Bug aliens and their enforced peace, Shining Smith is still alive, still doing business from the old scrapyard bequeathed to her by her father. But Shining is now something more than human. And the scrapyard is no longer just a scrapyard, but a place full of secrets that she has guarded for years.

This life she has built, while empty, is predictable and safe. Until the only friend left from her previous life shows up, dead, in the back of a scrapped Tesla warplane, a note to her clutched in his fingers – a note warning her of a coming attack.

Someone knows who she is. Someone knows what she is guarding. Will she be able to protect the scrapyard? Will she even survive? Or will she have to destroy everything she loves to keep her secrets out of the wrong hands? 

Faith Hunter has put out the first book in the series Junkyard Cats as an Audible Original, narrated by the extremely talented Khristine Hvam who narrates all of this author’s other books. When I read the above synopsis of a woman named Shining Smith who was not quite human who lived in a world where there are bug aliens I was both repelled and excited all at the same time. Shining was everything I’d hoped her to be and although this novel really only sets up the story and world I’m intrigued enough to hope for a full length novel.

If there was a negative it was that there were a LOT of technical/mechanical terms. This novel reads more sci-fi than fantasy, so beware going in that the details may bog the story down a little. The flip side is that you can zone out for those minutes and tune back in when the story progresses and not really miss a thing. 🙂

This sci-fi novel packed in a lot of world building, character development, and story for a 5 hr narration. Faith Hunter’s style is consistent with the other novels of hers that I’ve enjoyed and I’m really excited at the prospect of exploring this new world and new series. If you like sci-fi novels with strong female heroine’s and bugs, you’ve really got to be ok with those too, then you should pick up the audio of this novel. It’s fast paced and fun. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (3/23/2020)

Have you found that since we have started social distancing that you are reading more or less? This past weekend I definitely made an effort to immerse myself in a book. I also got outside a little and walked my dog while listening to a different book so I’d have to say I am reading just a tad bit more. What did I read? You’ll have to read below to find out!

This post originated over on Book Date, so thanks for the idea and letting me continue on the discussion.

JUST FINISHED

Synopsis:

From the author of Maybe in Another Life—named a PeopleMagazine pick—comes a breathtaking new love story about a woman unexpectedly forced to choose between the husband she has long thought dead and the fiancé who has finally brought her back to life.

In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.

On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.

Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.

That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.

Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?

Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.

Click this link to purchase!* One True Loves: A Novel

JUST STARTED

Synopsis:

A man of few words, Ranger Jay Daniels values the calm, quiet solitude of the Great Smoky Mountains. Never quite fitting in with either side of his family, he prefers the company of birds and trees to people.

Yeah, he’d most definitely prefer a bird—any bird, any bird at all, take a vulture for instance—to the human-tornado hybrid that just blew onto his peaceful stretch of the Appalachian Trail.

The path of true love never has run smooth for Olive Perry. After getting dumped and promptly abandoned in the middle of her multi-month hike, Olive swears off men. Determined to finish the long trek by herself, she doesn’t need a prince—or broody and taciturn ranger—to save her.

Yet, when an early snowstorm threatens the mountains, and Ranger Daniels is charged with getting hikers to safety, that includes hot-tempered Olive Perry. Snowed in and forced to share an abandoned cabin, can Olive’s heated intensity melt Jay’s cool reserve?

And if so, will this happy trail lead to true love? Or will their time together be just another bump in the road?

‘Happy Trail’ is a full-length contemporary romantic comedy, can be read as a standalone, and is book#1 in the Park Ranger series.

Click this link to purchase!* Happy Trail (Park Ranger)

What are you reading while staying at home today?

This Chick Read: Crush the King (Crown of Shards #3) by Jennifer Estep

Queen Everleigh of Bellona and her gladiator friends take on their enemy King Maximus of Morta in a final showdown. When all royals show up to the Regalia games it’s a chance to align forces and look your enemy in the eyes. After several assassination attempts Everleigh now gets to evaluate her enemy in person. What she see’s is what she knows; Maximus is pure evil. How will Everleigh defeat him?

The Crown of Shards series has been a fast paced, fun series. Full of action and heart I’ve come to love these characters and am excited to see how their story concludes but am kind of sad as well. Everleigh’s character has evolved from ignored semi-royal, to warrior woman gladiator, to royalty but her inner strength has been consistent. I’ve always loved a heroine who is loyal, a fighter, and wins friends through her strength of character. Everleigh is just that kind of woman, and she kicks some serious butt too!

Crush the King turns the focus from love to revenge, which is a little bit different for this series. Everleigh has always had her sights set on getting even, but this time there’s a face to the evil she’s been fighting, and Maximus is truthfully awful. Mean, arrogant, and evil, he’s everything readers love to hate and I was easily caught up in Everleigh’s feelings for this man and couldn’t wait for her to defeat him. The story in between their first meeting and the final outcome had a lot of action, but it also had a lot of heart. Maximus’s bastard sister, Maeven, who had been the face of his evil in previous books also appears here, but it’s her son Leonides who steals my heart. How such an innocent lives in the midst of that madness makes him so interesting! I know this is a trilogy, but you hope for a fourth novel just to see a continuation of his story.

If you’re a fan of fantasy novels, as am I, this series is already on your radar. If you haven’t read it yet? You need to move it up on your TBR because it’s seriously good.

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

Click this link to purchase!* Crush the King (A Crown of Shards Novel)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you should purchase through the above link I will receive a small stipend.

This Chick's Audio Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I know, I know, I’m really late to the party for this book. I always like to say, it’s never to late to read a great book and it’s certainly always ok to talk about it!

Monique Grant is a writer for an entertainment magazine when she gets called into her boss’s office and is told that the famous screen star Evelyn Hugo wants to do a feature on some gowns she’s donating for charity, and she has asked specifically for Monique to write the story. When Monique meets Evelyn, she’s told that it’s actually not a feature that she wants her to write, it’s her memoir. As she tells the story of her life, and her many marriages, she reveals many things about herself but always holds back from telling Monique why she was chosen to tell this story …until the very end. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was as good as I’d hoped and as good as the hype. Alma Cuervo, Julia Whelan, and Robin Miles did an amazing job making me forget I was listening to a book and not watching a movie.

I really don’t want to spoil the story or what each of her marriages represent and how they molded Evelyn’s future. Instead I’m going to talk about impressions the book made on me.

This novel draws on many similarities from some famous marriages, the most famous of which was Elizabeth Taylor for her many marriages. As the narrators navigated through each husband and why Evelyn married that person, some for love, some for hype, one was her best friend, I couldn’t help but think if that was really common. With the advent of the internet, social media, and of how easy it is for a star to now engage with their public and change their image (Miley Cyrus’s most recent implosion of a marriage and self control comes to mind) it was fascinating to take this journey into the past when you had to manipulate people and the press. I didn’t mean to go on a tangent but I’ve always found that era fascinating and seeing this story through modern eyes puts a spin on what women and certain groups of that era might have had to do to make their way.

Evelyn’s life from childhood to mature woman was centered around her body image and what power that body could bring to her. I never realized how powerful a pair of breasts could be, it made me a tad bit uncomfortable to think that men could be so superficial. In an age where women had to balance their sexuality with an act of innocence so they didn’t appear a whore I guess those breasts would bring you a kind of power you wouldn’t normally be able to grasp as a woman in that time. Think of how Marilyn Monroe was lauded for her figure yet played the part of an airhead. It really puts into perspective how far the women’s movement has come, yet we are still experiencing inequality. Not that I’m an actress, but the whole Harvey Weinstein powermonger rapist opened my eyes to how the movie business even 5 years ago was still controlled by men of that ilk, but back to the book.

Monique’s tale about her own life is told in smaller snippets in between Evelyn’s monologue and we see her gain her own power through her negotiations with her magazine, as well as her relationship with her husband. She learns from Evelyn and even though there’s this secret of why she’s been chosen to write this memoir hanging over her head, you can see her admiration grow. It makes the reveal at the end even more impactful. I was looking for the answer to this secret Evelyn had hanging over Monique’s head and didn’t even come close to figuring it out. The story was wonderfully told, beautifully narrated, and shockingly good. My mom always says to never rush a good thing and I’m glad I waited to read this novel until all the hype had passed and nothing could spoil my pleasure. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“I just loved this book, plain and simple. I think it would make a fantastic book group choice, as there’s so much to mull over and think about. I’m pushing this book on a few key bookish friends so I can talk about it with them!” Bookshelf Fantasies

“I was in love with the setting, moving back and forth between Los Angeles and New York. Reading about the ’50’s-’90’s and how much everything has changed since then, it was hypnotizing and alluring. Having the whole story come together and wrap up in 2017 was just the absolute perfect bow-tie on top.” Hunida’s Blog

Click this link to purchase!* The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: A Novel

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chicks WFH Wednesday- Week #1

Hi from Nashville, Tennessee! This week Nashville and most of the US have joined the majority of Europe in instituting Social Distancing in order to try to “slow the curve” of the COVID-19 or Coronavirus. What is Social Distancing? It is working from home, staying 6 feet away from another person, minimizing your contact with society, and with washing your hands (ALL THE TIME) hopefully helping to halt the spread of the virus.

Working from home, or WFH, sounds great but in the last week I’ve definitely learned that there are more con’s than pro’s.

WFH PRO’S AND CONS

Feeling like I’m on vacation- Normally when I’m “at home” it’s because I have the day off, it’s the weekend, or occasionally I’m sick. When any of these things happen I have free reign over what I can do with my time. I might read, write on my blog, watch TV, bake, run errands, etc. 830a-530p are my work hours and with the exception of an hour for lunch I should be working.

Social interaction- I’m the Marketing Manager for Nashville Ballet, so normally I work on a team and have constant interaction as we complete projects. The only personal interaction I have right now?

Meet my new team members! Sam on the left and Nash is on the right. I love them to death, but they also think I’m on vacation.

Personal space is gone. LOL.

ALL THE SNACKS!- I’m now a week into this WFH situation and I’m doing a little better with this issue, but it took me eating a box of Ginger Snap cookies in two days to see that I needed to take control of my eating habits. Leave the cookies on the shelf and grab the apple, Deb. That’s my new mantra.

Worry- After my first couple of days freaking out over all of the news exposure and going to the store and waiting in super long lines to get my share of toilet paper, milk, and bread I decided to do my thing, wash my hands and tune it out. At least until the 4p news where I’d find out the latest virus growth rate and store closures in the US. I’ve read my share of post-apocalyptic romances and this true life scenario is scaring the bejeezus out of me. So, watching the news does not make for a very productive day.

As an aside, I have to say that this all reminds me of Rebecca Zanetti’s Scorpius Syndrome series. The further you read in the series the more alpha the heroes get but the gov’t is corrupted by this virus also. You can only hope we aren’t headed in that direction…. It’s actually a good series, but a little life-like for me right now. I’ll drop the link below in case you are interested.

Synopsis: With nothing but rumors to lead her, Lynne Harmony has trekked across a nightmare landscape to find one man—a mysterious, damaged legend who protects the weak and leads the strong. He’s more than muscle and firepower—and in post-plague L.A., he’s her only hope. As the one woman who could cure the disease, Lynne is the single most volatile—and vulnerable—creature in this new and ruthless world. But face to face with Jax Mercury… . Mercury Striking (The Scorpius Syndrome)

I’ve mentioned a couple of the con’s and given you a good post apocalyptic book rec, but what are the pro’s?

MOM- My mom is in the top percentile at risk if she does catch the coronavirus. She’s 78 and has pretty bad asthma. Living in a multi-generational home, I was worried that I was going to have this virus attach itself to me at work and bring it home to infect my mother. I guess that could still happen because even though we are all limiting our involvement with the outside world we do occasionally venture out to the store and my husband who works in the newsroom at a local tv station still has to go into work every day. BUT we are doing what we can. We aren’t eating out, we’re not going to movies, we aren’t going to a concert, etc. Well, now you can’t do any of those things anyway, but over the last week we didn’t. I feel like my family has been proactive. That’s all you can do.

Spending even a moment more with my babies is a joy. If I’m feeling down I just reach out and get a kiss or a hug and it makes me feel better. If my dog wasn’t an 85 lb ball of energy I’d request that I take him to work once a week. He’s such a love bug.

Baking!- Maybe I can knock out a couple more of my Bouchon Bakery recipes. It would have to be something I have all of the ingredients for but I think I’ve some basics in the house.

Maybe I’ll even have time to read a book. Hmmmm. I bet I can find the time to do that one first!

I hope everyone is staying safe, keeping your distance, and washing your hands. We’ll get though this and I think come out on the other side an even better world than we are right now.

xoxo!

Deb