This Chick Read: Heartbreaker (Hell’s Belles #2) by Sarah MacLean

Ex-thief and daughter of one of London’s most notorious gangs, Adelaide Frampton has found herself a peer in society, living on the fringes as a wallflower in the most elite ballrooms. Using skills from her past she now deals in information and as the Matchbreaker she helps women escape from being sold into marriage. The Duke of Clayburn, Henry Carrington, finds himself on the receiving end of the Matchbreakers scheme when she tries to break up the love match between his brother and the woman he loves. They must work together to find the two lovebirds before the bride to be’s father catches up to them.

Adelaide had never been a wallflower in Henry’s eyes. He has noticed her every time their paths have crossed and he has bided his time before making an approach. He never figures that they would be on opposing sides, and works together with her in a race to find the bride and groom. As they spend time with each other, they of course discover an incredible chemistry. Nothing unusual in that except for the fact that Adelaide’s secret also become revealed making her even more interesting to the Duke.

I’m a big fan of Sarah MacLean’s historical romances. I like how she always chooses a subject, in this case how young women were used as chattel and bargaining tools for their families. Marrying them off to better the family but often putting them in the hands of men who abuse them. As a bit of a feminist myself, I find this subject appalling and fascinating and looked forward to reading how her character was fighting this in a unique and interesting way. Usually in a historical romance the plot might revolve around a woman in jeopardy but this was a woman who knew how to fight her own battles leaving Henry to find his place beside her instead of taking the lead. I enjoyed this twist in the plot. Henry had his own back story that was quite interesting and had to re-work his plans on what he had wanted his future to look like. This added a little additional tension to the story and appealed to me quite a bit. I enjoyed the direction this author took with this novel!

❤️❤️❤️❤️


Click this link to purchase this book!* Heartbreaker

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This Chick Read: The Belle of Belgrave Square (Belles of London #2) by Mimi Matthews

I have recently discovered Mimi Matthews novels and have been reading through her library. She writes in a “new” style of historical romance where not everything is perfect, not all hero’s are Dukes, and historical London is filled with different class levels and races. I am in love. The Belle of Belgrave Square is the second book in the Belles of London series and follows a very good first novel. Julia Wychwood considers herself a wallflower. Her parents constant health issues puts her in the invalid category and despite her large inheritance she has received no offers. Captain Jasper Blunt is a Crimean war hero with a dour countenance and a scarred face. He is also looking for a moneyed wife who will be a mother to bastard children. After running into Julia riding alone in the park and seeing her fine horsemanship he is intrigued by the contrast between her reputation and the healthy young woman who sits a horse so well. He is also intrigued by her money. When he speaks to Julia he see’s a shy but kind-hearted woman who may not be all that society thinks she is, just needing help out of her prison-like existence. He is just the man for the job.

The plot doesn’t seem too out of the norm for a historical romance. What is different is the depth built into the back story and life of both our hero and heroine. From Julia’s awareness of wrongdoing by her parents making all of their male servants to go by the name Jenkins so that they wouldn’t have to remember names to Capt. James Blunt’s “heroic” efforts actually being horrific in the Crimea. These kinds of details makes you feel like you’re reading a historical fiction novel instead of a historical romance. This is one of the reasons why Mimi Matthews has quickly become a favorite author in this genre. She creates the scenery and through details makes that scene real.

I enjoyed the building romance between Jasper and Julia. Despite a small bit of feeling like Julia was a woman in jeopardy, she didn’t wait for a man to dig her out of a situation, she came up with her own plan and instituted it. For a shy woman she got things done. Jasper was also a contradiction. His exterior and manner were gruff but he very intently listened to Julia, knew who she was as a person, and became her biggest champion- despite having children out of wedlock and a violent past. VERY interesting characters make for a great novel, regardless of a been-there done-that plot.

If you love reading historical novels and are enjoying the new style of realism in these novels, please pick up a Mimi Matthews novel. She pays attention to what is relevant now and fills her historical novels with realism that engage the reader and make them think along with allowing them to fall in love with the characters and buy into their own love story. The Belle of Belgrave Square was a solid romance that delivered on it’s promise and can be read as a stand-alone novel, but I’d start with The Siren of Sussex the first novel in the series. It is fabulous and will set you up for ‘Belle’ and the wonderful journey these characters will take you through in their realistic historical London.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase this book!* The Belle of Belgrave Square

Copyright 2022 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’s Audio Review: The Fiery Cross (Outlander #5) by Diana Gabaldon, narrated by Davina Porter

The Fiery Cross, as a novel, is a behemoth. The paperback novel numbers 1008 pages and the audiobook somewhere around 55+ hours. This is truly a commitment to read and listen to, however Diana Gabaldon’s writing does a great job of continuing the story of one of the most beloved romantic couples, Jamie and Claire Fraser. It is the year 1771 and war is quickly approaching. As the founder of Fraser’s Ridge, Jamie and his family have founded a Scottish community based upon those he trusts. He does so with land he received from the Governor of North Carolina, stating that he will gather a group of men and support the Governor’s and England’s cause. Twice in this novel, Jamie must gather the troops assured somewhat by his time traveling wife and daughter that the war is still a few years in the future.

After 55 hours of listening to The Fiery Cross over six weeks I have determined that this novel is one of those that connects the dots to future novels. Davina Porter, our narrator, does a great job with all of the characters voices, accents, and imbuing life into situations and scenes about everyday life that were just interesting enough to keep me listening. Or maybe it was just my resolve to just finish. I’m not sure, but if I had stopped listening it would not have been Davina Porter’s fault. She is truly amazing. As a lot of other reviews have said, The Fiery Cross gets bogged down in details and descriptions, moving at a snail’s pace and ultimately only reaching a conclusion that is similar to the sun setting on another day.

I read the Outlander series for Jamie and Claire, not Roger and Brianna, so I’ll admit to wanting to hurry the book along when the scene shifts away from the main duo. However, if it weren’t for all of the bad things that happened to Roger in this book, and Jamie’s intense feelings of needing to save his daughters husband time after time that kept this book interesting. So, for once, I will say “thank you Roger” you kept this book moving, while at the same time I have to say to this author, “Ms. Gabaldon, you need to give this guy a break!”. I swear, Roger had just about every bad thing that could happen to him happen in The Fiery Cross. Maybe the book should’ve been re-titled “Roger’s Cross to Bare”. I felt really bad for him.

If, like me, you are reading this series for all of the romantic moments between Claire and Jamie, you won’t be disappointed. He is truly lovely in this novel and his love for Claire only grows stronger as they age. They have been through a separation for 20 years, her raising his daughter in the future while married to another man, his being married to another woman, having a son out of wedlock, and then reuniting and overcoming all of these hurt feelings etc. It is a wonderful thing to still see how strongly they feel for each other.

Would I recommend listening to 55 hours of The Fiery Cross? If I were reading the novel I could’ve skimmed ahead and skipped some gruesome medical descriptions or banal day to day activity, but I’m not sure I would’ve felt as strongly about these characters and their future stories. Listening to all 55 hours takes commitment between the reader and these characters. A commitment that will give me the resolve to listen to book #6 A Breath of Snow and Ashes. I’ll admit that I may let another year go by before I commit the time. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* The Fiery Cross

Copyright 2022 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: Dearest Rogue (Maiden Lane #8) by Elizabeth Hoyt

You all know my love for historical fiction. For me it’s the perfect diversion after reading a mystery or too many contemporary romances back to back. Dearest Rogue is an older book, written in 2015 and I do think that the genre has made a shift that is on trend with what has gone on in the world today. The MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements have made diversity, equality, and historical truthfulness important to both writers and readers. So, this novel from 2015 is a little more old school. However, it does divert from the normal heroine has Duke fall in love with her theme. Our heroine, Lady Phoebe Batten, is the sister of a Duke, and is blind. Our hero is her guard, former Dragoon, Captain James Trevillion. Honorably discharged after being wounded in service. He is the security hired to keep her safe, which of course becomes an issue when someone is out to kidnap her.

Phoebe was fed up with being cushioned from life and wants to explore and live. She is a beautiful young woman whose eyesight disappeared in her teens. Capt. Trevillion has been her security for awhile but it’s only been recently that she has become curious about him. Most definitely because he’s the only man she’s allowed to be around since he’s a pretty surly guy. As we get to know the two of them together you appreciate his protective nature but also how he disagrees with the Duke’s instructions to keep Phoebe insulated from life. It’s because of him that she’s in situations where people can actually try to kidnap her but you can’t fault him for wanting her to have a life.

Other than the fact that someone is trying to kidnap her, the other conflict is more of an internal one. The Captain, with his bad leg, doesn’t feel like he’s good enough for Phoebe. It’s up to her to convince him that their class differences and his leg (and her being blind!) don’t make a difference. He’s the man for her. I really enjoyed their sweet conflict and the length of time it took for them to fall in love. This was a little bit more of a slow burn romance than you’d normally see in a historical novel.

Despite this novel being #8 in the Maiden Lane series, it can be read as a stand alone novel. It doesn’t really have anything to do with the St. Charles Robin Hood underlying plot that some of the other novels have played out. I enjoyed it and if you have a love for older historical novels I think you might too! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this book!* Dearest Rogue

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

This Chick Read: Infamous (Rebels of the Ton #3) by Minerva Spencer

I have been pleasantly surprised by some of historical romances I’ve read lately and I am adding Infamous to that list. Our heroine, Celia, was the belle of the ton with every gentleman vying for her hand. Her beauty was incomparable, but her behavior was not as sweet. When she plays a trick that goes wrong she becomes Lady Infamous, a name that does not do her any favors. When her father’s gambling debts turn society against her she finds herself deserted by both her father and society. She is forced to work as a companion to the peers where she once reigned. When the lady she works for attends a country party Celia finds herself among the peers where she once reigned and with the gentleman she once ruined and his brother whom the trick had been intended to serve. Trying to get through the visit unseen she instead finds herself finding an unlikely friendship with the one she had once hoped to hurt.

It’s not often that you read a historical romance where the heroine is unkind and sympathetic all in one book. I found myself not really liking Celia at the beginning of the novel but when she got to the country and found herself with her old group of not very nice peers she was much nicer in comparison! Her love interest is Richard, the gawky brother of the man she once used to want, who has grown into an attractive man although his interest in science still makes him somewhat geeky. Surprisingly or really not that surprisingly, Richard is somewhat accomplished at the art of love as his analytic view has made him experiment from a very young age. Celia doesn’t really stand a chance against his charms. I thought their romance an interesting change from a young ingenue who falls for a Duke as we usually see in this category of romance.

There wouldn’t be much of a romance without a little conflict and I have to say that this novel had quite a bit of dark mixed in with the light. She has reparations to make against those she harmed in the past as well as an evil past that comes back to haunt her. Infamous was a real page turner! I found this book on a list of great romances to look forward in 2022 and I have to agree, it was really good! I’m curious enough about this author to go back and pick up books one and two in the series. Never fear though, I don’t think you need to read those before this novel. I didn’t miss a thing! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Infamous

Copyright 2022 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: A Perfect Equation (The Secret Scientists of London #2) by Elizabeth Everett

Six years ago, Miss Letty Finley made the ultimate mistake, she entrusted herself to a man who wooed her and damaged her reputation beyond repair. Shunned from society, Letty turns to her other love, math. Currently she is a member of Athena’s Retreat where scientific women gather to further their learning in a safe environment. When their leader leaves town on vacation, she is asked to run Athena’s Retreat along with the Viscount Greycliff. A man whom she can’t stand and who carries an extreme dislike for her as well. As they work together they start to understand each other better and their budding friendship turns into a sizzling attraction.

A Perfect Equation does a great job of grabbing the reader right away with interesting characters. It’s not often in a historical romance where our heroine is a mathematician and actually gets lost in her mathematical formulas. Furthering her learning in Athena’s Retreat introduces the reader to a cast of wonderfully quirky and real characters that provide diversity and a feeling of realness to this historical romance novel. These women are striving towards equal rights and a better future for women and the reader is given a real feel for their struggle in live and in love.

Grey also has interesting aspects to his character. Not your normal “Lord” he has epilepsy and fears having seizures and appearing weak in front of his peers. He was taught from an early age that if he controls his emotions he can control his seizures and he’s a bit of a cold characters. HIs place in charge of the ladies of Athena’s Retreat allows him broaden his horizon in regards to equal rights, but it also introduces emotion into his heart. How does he handle the fear of having emotions which may cause him to have seizures? You’ll need to read the story and find out!

I hadn’t read the first novel in this series and although I don’t think I mentioned a thing, it did make me curious enough to look for it in the library and check it out. You don’t need to read it though, to enjoy A Perfect Equation, never fear! ❤️❤️❤️❣️

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

Click this link to purchase this book!* A Perfect Equation (The Secret Scientists of London)

Copyright 2022 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: An Impossible Imposter (Veronica Speedwell #7) by Deanna Raybourn

When Veronica and Stoker are approached by Sir Hugo Montgomerie, head of special branch, to look into the reappearance of a missing heir Veronica knew she was going to be facing a phantom from her past. She once knew Jonathon Hathaway but had thought him dead in a volcano eruption in Krakatoa six years ago. It’s up to her to identify him for the family but things are never as simple as they appear. If he is the missing heir he would gain access to an incredible fortune in jewels and Veronica is their only hope. During this investigation Veronica must come face to face with a ghost from her past and reveal her secrets to Stoker, the man she now loves.

An Impossible Imposter had the same drama and adventure as previous Veronica Speedwell novels, but what intrigued me and kept me reading was again her relationship with her partner and lover, Stoker. We have gotten to know the two of them over these seven novels but I feel like it’s always Stoker’s secrets that are revealed. This time Veronica’s own past comes back to haunt her making her fearful of what he will think if her past is revealed. This added a fine bit of tension that is sometimes missing from the more personal aspects of these novels.

In addition to the mystery of Jonathan Hathaway and if he is or isn’t the heir to Hathaway Hall is only the tip of the mystery iceberg. The background behind the fortune in jewels becomes the center of the story adding some historical relevance to the fictional story by taking the story briefly back to the past when England occupied India. This background added color to an already lurid mystery making this story a page turner.

If you’re a fan of this series you MUST pick up this novel. There is plenty of angst and passion between our two main characters and the mystery while not very mysterious, had all the drama of a good soap opera. I keep expecting this series to taper off, but this author is skilled at making me want to read the next installment. Unfortunately I know I’ll have to wait another year for the next one to appear.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

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!* An Impossible Impostor (A Veronica Speedwell Mystery Book 7)

Copyright 2022 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? (1/7/22)

Good morning! I hope you all had a great weekend of reading! I’ll admit, one of my favorite authors had a new audiobook release and so I was listening to her book all weekend and didn’t get much reading done. I did everything with my ear buds in this weekend. LOL. My poor husband was pretty ignored. I did get a book finished last week, so let’s get to what I’ve been reading.

Thanks again to Book Date for starting up this fun dialog for all of us to chime in on what we read.

JUST FINISHED

I have a love for mixing in a historical romance in between my fantasy, romance, and science fiction genre’s. I love how in the past couple of years the diversity of characters has probably mirrored how life was historically. In this case our main characters are white, but the women of Athena’s Retreat are very diverse both intellectually and racially. It’s so refreshing! I enjoyed this book and all of the very diverse characters.

JUST STARTED

YAY! An audiobook released late last week from one of my favorite contemporary romance authors, Mariana Zapata. She is a true genius when it comes to slow burn romances, which also make for great audiobooks. I have been listening to this one in all my free time. The narration truly brings the characters to life.

I am totally in the mood for a mystery next, does anyone have a good one to read?

Happy Monday and happy reading!

Deb

This Chick Read: A Modest Independence (Parish Orphans of Devon #2) by Mimi Matthews

Solicitor Tom Finchley was taken out of the orphanage where he grew up and apprenticed to a solicitor in London. Under his tutelage, Tom learned the Machiavellian ways of manipulation and threats that the solicitors of the time crafted. He is ready to change his ways and settle down to a quiet life as his friend Justin Thornhill has done (in book #1). While helping Justin and Helena he had met Helena’s companion Jenny Holloway and been intrigued. After having been given a modest amount of money which would allow her independence, Jenny is ready for adventure. She comes to Tom to receive those funds so she may go off to India to search for Helena’s brother the Earl of Castledon. While there having the adventure she always wanted and without the help of any man. Needless to say, Tom upsets these plans.

In A Modest Independence Mimi Matthews gives us more of a glimpse of how a woman’s life during this time in history is curtailed by who she is tied to; a husband, brother, or father. In this case Tom decides to join Jenny on her journey as her “brother” as it would not be correct for a man and woman to travel alone, despite his having hired two Indian servants to join her. Their attraction for each other grows due to the close confines, the question is how or if they will do anything about it and the societal rules that would be broken if they did. I’ll admit to finding that fascinating.

Another glimpse behind how people lived during this time is provided through Ahmad and Mira the two half Indian cousins that Tom hired as Jenny’s servants on the journey. As they are half British and half Indian, how are they treated? There are plenty of moments that show their inequality and provide great context to this time as well as help us get to know these two characters who are in A Siren in Sussex.

As an aside, part of the novel takes place in Egypt, which I am currently vacationing in and found fun to read and see through our heroine‘s eyes the sites and sounds of a Cairo That is much different than it is today.

I am again fascinated by this author’s writing style and the realism that she imbues into her story. I’m not sure I would have enjoyed this novel so much without the moments of inequality, conflict, and concerns that our heroine would retain her independence. I loved Tom Finchley’s bravery in the face of this type of woman and loved that they found a way to be together. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

Click this link to purchase!* A Modest Independence (Parish Orphans of Devon)

Copyright 2022 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 Matrimonial Advertisement (Parish Orphans of Devon #1) by Mimi Matthews

When ex-army captain Justin Thornhill advertises for a wife in the paper he expects to receive interviews with homely widows and women of a certain rank. He doesn’t expect the beautiful Helena Reynolds. Despite his misgivings over why an obvious Lady is applying to be his wife he jumps at the chance to have this lady as his wife. It can’t come soon enough for Helena is on the run from a “bad situation” and needs marriage to find her freedom.

I was fascinated with Mimi Matthews writing when I read The Siren of Sussex and knew that I was going to read her entire catalog, starting with this series, and I am not disappointed! Our two protagonists were so interesting! Justin Thornhill was an orphan who grew up in a nearby village and joined the army to become something and earn his fortune. Captured by Indians, he was tortured and bears scars on his body and face, things that only make him more perfect to Helena as she needs a strong hero to save her. She is the daughter and sister of an Earl. Her brother may be dead in India and her cousin has taken over the Earldom. However, her brother left her all of the money. As women are property the only way she can save herself is by marrying someone. Justin Thornhill’s advertisement is the perfect escape.

Mimi Mathews gives us more than great characters in her stories, she provides historical context and facts. She also doesn’t hide from the hard truth. How women were treated, the horrible atrocities for Indians during the British colonialism of India, and more. Her books are historical romances, but they are not light on hard facts and truths, which are a difference maker when it comes to my feelings on a book. In this case, those facts were interesting, provided context, and gave our heroine’s story more conflict providing more enjoyment. I finished this novel and immediately moved on to the next, I liked it so much.

This novel was certainly a romance, so never fear if that is what you are looking for but the romance is specific to the time in history. A kiss can be just as devastating to a scene as intercourse, and be just as exciting. If you are looking for a bodice ripper, this is not that. The Matrimonial Advertisement is storytelling at its best. Great depth of character, romance, and conflict with a hero that is swoon worthy and a heroine who is bright and daring. A five star read from this blogger!

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* The Matrimonial Advertisement (Parish Orphans of Devon)

Copyright 2022 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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