This Chick Read: Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn

Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie have spent the last 40 years of their lives as assassins for an elite organization called the “Museum”. Now in their 60’s they are retiring from the business and their company has sent them on a cruise as a goodbye gift. Unfortunately, the museum sent another gift as well, an assassin to help them on their way to a permanent retirement. These four old broads spot him, escape their fate, and then determine who put the price on their heads and why. Sometimes it’s a benefit to be too old for people to take you seriously.

This novel was certainly a departure from the style that I’ve come to expect from a Deanna Raybourn novel, and I was please at the surprise! Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie were all great characters and this plot was a complete original. I did find it funny that they were considered too old at the ripe old age of 60 but reminded myself of my bum knee and bad back when I’m a bit younger and though, ok, yes they might be a bit battered and bruised and looking forward to a quiet life. I know I am and I’m not running around killing people. Billie’s story took center stage so it was easier to identify with her, but the other ladies had interesting personalities and back stories as well. It was refreshing to find I was interested in everyone pretty evenly and didn’t lean more towards one character. They were all great.

Not having any knowledge of how to kill anything more than a spider in my bathtub, I’ll admit that I found their creativity kept me turning the pages and the fact that the author wrote this a bit tongue in cheek definitely helped me not take it too seriously. It was easy reading and never boring. There isn’t any higher praise than that from me.

I found the revenge plot to be a lot of fun, if a bit gruesome, and enjoyed the jaunts back into their earlier lives when they were being trained as new assassins, as well as their first couple of kills. It gave us insight into all of their characters helping the reader identify with the characters even if we weren’t identifying with their careers as assassins. Killers of a Certain Age was good fun and made me admire this author for writing outside of her normal genre. Nice job! However, I’ll admit to wanting her to write another historical for her next book.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase this book!* Killers of a Certain Age

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 Secret of Bow Lane (A Below Stairs Mystery #6) by Jennifer Ashley

Kat comes face to face with her husband’s first wife when she comes to her place of employment and asks for Kat’s help in finding some money that she claims Joe may have had. Against her better judgement Kat starts digging around with the help of her friends and love interest Daniel McAdams. She learns many things about the man that she was once married to and must decide whether she should keep the information to herself or turn it in to the police.

We have slowly learned things about Kat’s past, like her “husband” was actually already married to someone else when he married her, but in The Secret of Bow Lane Kat is able to finally able to not only face her past but put it behind her and hopefully move forward with Daniel. Who is this woman who was married to her husband and how did her own “marriage” differ, or were they both treated horribly by the same man. All questions that are answered by solving the mystery of whether Joe had hidden some money away prior to his death.

Daniel and Kat’s own relationship also seems to be at determination point. Will Kat never learn to trust in another man or will her feelings for Daniel override her uncertainties. Some of Daniel’s secrets are also revealed and Kat can finally make a choice on whether she will trust Daniel not to be the same kind of man as Joe.

The mystery was a foil for all of the reveals made propelling the characters forward. I do think they rather needed a little shove and that’s what The Secret of Bow Lane was, a nudge towards a different future. What will those future books look like? I know what I want from these characters but who knows if Ms. Ashley will give that future to me. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* The Secret of Bow Lane

Copyright 2022 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: The Last Dress From Paris by Jade Beer

When Lucille’s Granny Sylvie asks for her help in collecting a dress in Paris from an old friend she gladly takes on this errand. When she arrives in Paris she finds not one but eight dresses, each with a written note card and a quote, but the one dress she is expecting to find is missing. With the help of two new friends she visits each place noted on the cards to try to discover the mystery of why her granny has sent her on this mission. This story follows both Lucille’s journey and flashes back to the 1950’s where a woman named Alice wears each dress.

Alice’s story is the more dramatic of the two storylines but Lucille’s introspection and self-discovery is the raison d’être that binds the two stories together. Her new friendship with Veronique, the daughter of the woman who was holding the dresses for Sylvie, provides a parallel for Lucille to view her own life and the impetus for her to change her path. Her flirtation with Leon provides fun and joy, and a comparison to Alice’s story as it unfolds. I loved how all three of these characters interacted and the friendships they made.

Alice’s story told through her wearing each of these fabulous Dior gowns was a fascinating look into the political social scene during the 1950’s. Her job as the wife of the British Ambassador to France was to provide a setting where their peers would gather and gossip. That life sounded romantic and glamorous but as the story unfolds we see how structured and trapped that life would be. The mystery of each note card and quote tells a story that holds romance and sadness. I’ll admit to shedding a few tears and hoping for a happy outcome.

The Last Dress From Paris did what my favorite historical novels do, it took me away from my own world and dropped me into another setting in a fascinating place and allowed me to play voyeur. Like I said above I found Alice’s story more riveting but it was a great comparison to Lucille’s current day life and the journey that she herself could possibly take. The mystery of why her granny Sylvie sent her to find these dresses is the greatest story of them all and one that each reader should unwind on their own by reading this story. I would hate to unwrap this present and reveal anything that would spoil your own enjoyment of this story. It’s a good one! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Please click this link to purchase!* The Last Dress From Paris

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 Rip Through Time by Kelley Armstrong

Mallory is in Edinburgh, Scotland to visit her dying grandmother. A homicide detective in Vancouver, she takes note of a couple of murders that has happened in the area but she never expects to confront the killer when she’s out for a run. Hearing a woman’s cry of distress, Mallory see’s the image of a young woman in Victorian costume being strangled in an alley when she herself finds a rope around her neck. Losing consciousness she wakes up inhabiting the body of the girl she saw, Catriona, a maidservant to an undertaker named Dr. Gray. Trying to find her way back home, she decides she must catch the Victorian killer who almost murdered Catriona while helping Dr. Gray and his detective friend.

A Rip Through Time is a pretty straightforward time traveler novel. What sets this one apart from others is that detective Mallory is actually inhabiting someone else’s body instead of being transported in her own. Once she gets over the shock of what’s happened the story settles in to a bit of sleuthing. Of course, when your a house maid, your time isn’t your own and finding the time to sleuth becomes a bit difficult. Luckily for her, Dr. Gray isn’t just an undertaker, he is also interested in forensic science and has the imagination to listen to her evaluations and ideas. Not something that would normally happen in the Victorian era, prior to women’s rights. The arrival of Dr. Gray’s sister, Isla, a chemical scientist, is when the story takes off. Mallory finds someone she can trust and the story starts to move along a little quicker.

I’ll admit to loving time traveling novels. It’s always interesting to see how our main characters resolve themselves to their new lives in the past. Mallory decides her time will be best spent assisting Dr. Gray until she can find the murderer who will hopefully transport her home. I wish a little more time had been spent on descriptions of her surroundings, the era, and anything else that would help the reader transport themselves along with Mallory, but I find those moments surprisingly lacking. Unless you’re a history professor, that would take a ton of research so I understand, I just wished for a little bit more than what we got. The most enjoyable part of the novel was the actual hunt for the killer and when we got to those scenes it was easier to lose myself in the story, so it was just the first part that was a little light on details.

If you like time traveler mystery novels, this one was good! Except for a couple of small issues at the start, I did really enjoy reading the story.

❤️❤️❤️❣️

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

Click this link to purchase this book!* A Rip Through Time

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 Chicks Sunday Commentary: My Top 5 Book Releases (June’22)

We are heading into my favorite time of the year. When Summer blockbuster movies and vacation book releases are headed on the way to consumers everywhere. In looking towards the June releases, again there are some that I am really looking forward to reading and cross all genres. Here are the books I’m most looking forward to being released in June.

#5 BOOK RELEASE

I’m totally on board with books about books and if our heroine is writing one…even better! This romance, set in a small town during their Shakespeare festival, looks super cute and perfect for taking the reader away from a hard days work.

Synopsis: To go for it or not to go for it? That is the question when two former high school flames return to their Shakespeare-obsessed hometown for a summer of theater and unexpected romance, in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author Jessica Martin.

Literary agent and writer Miranda Barnes rolls into her hometown of Bard’s Rest with one goal in mind: to spend the summer finally finishing her YA novel, the next installment in her bestselling fantasy series. Yet Miranda’s mother, deep in the planning stages for the centennial of the town’s beloved annual Shakespeare festival, has other ideas. 
 
Before you can say “all’s fair in love and war,” Miranda is cornered into directing Twelfth Night—while simultaneously scrambling to finish her book, navigating a family health scare, and doing her best to avoid the guy who broke her heart on prom night.
 
When it comes to Adam, the veterinarian with a talent for set design and an infuriating knack for winning over Miranda’s dog, the lady doth protest too much. As any Shakespeare lovers knows, the course of true love never did run smooth, and soon Miranda realizes she’ll have to decide whether to trust Adam with her heart again.

Click this link to purchase!* For the Love of the Bard

#4 BOOK RELEASE

It’s time to return to the Hollows with my favorite troublemaker heroine, Rachel Morgan. Nothing made me happier than when Kim Harrison decided to continue on with one of my favorite fantasy series. When she releases a Hollows novel it automatically jumps into my TBR.

Synopsis: Rachel Morgan must keep her friends close—and her enemies closer—in the next Hollows novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison.

Rachel Morgan, witch-born demon, has one unspoken rule: take chances, but pay for them yourself. With it, she has turned enemies into allies, found her place with her demon kin, and stepped up as the subrosa of Cincinnati—responsible for keeping the paranormal community at peace and in line.
 
Life is . . . good? Even better, her best friend, Ivy Tamwood, is returning home. Nothing’s simple, though, and Ivy’s not coming alone. The vampires’ ruling council insists she escort one of the long undead, hell-bent on proving that Rachel killed Cincy’s master vampire to take over the city. Which, of course, Rachel totally did not do. She only transformed her a little.
 
With Rachel’s friends distracted by their own lives and problems, she reaches out to a new ally for help—the demon Hodin. But this trickster has his own agenda. In the end, the only way for Rachel to save herself and the city may be to forge a new understanding with her estranged demon teacher, Al. There’s just one problem: Al would sell his own soul to be rid of her. . . .

Click this link to purchase!* Trouble with the Cursed

#3 BOOK RELEASE

Lucy Score has become one of my go to authors for romantic comedy, so I just have to pick this one up and give it a read! The synopsis looks fun and I’m looking forward to a giggle or two while reading.

Synopsis: Can these opposites turn up the heat… without burning down the house?

House-flipping sensation and YouTube star Maggie Nichols can’t wait to dig into her next challenge. Arriving in tiny Kinship, Idaho, with only a cot and a coffeemaker, Maggie is prepared to restore a crumbling Victorian mansion in four months or less. She has her to-do lists, her blueprints, and her team. What she doesn’t have is time for sexy, laid-back landscaper Silas Wright.

The man takes flirtation to a whole new level. And he does it shirtless…sometimes pants-less. He and his service school-dropout dog are impressively persistent. But she’s not interested in putting down roots. Not when fans tune in to watch her travel the country turning dilapidated houses into dream homes. A short-term fling on the other hand could fit nicely into her calendar. After all, Maggie remembers what fun is like. Vaguely.

As their summer gets downright steamy, Silas manages to demolish the emotional walls she’s spent years building, sending Maggie into a panic. He’s the wrench in her carefully constructed plans. With the end of the project looming, she has a decision to make. But how can she stay when her entire career is built on moving on?

Click this link to purchase!* Maggie Moves On

#2 BOOK RELEASE

I love a good historical with hints of mystery and romance and The Last Dress from Paris looks like it has all of that and more. I can’t wait to dive into this luscious historical.

Synopsis: The secret is hidden within a collection of Dior dresses…

London, 2017. There’s no one Lucille adores more than her grandmother. So when her beloved Granny Sylvie asks for Lucille’s assistance with a small matter, she’s happy to help. The next thing she knows, Lucille is on a train to Paris, tasked with retrieving a priceless Dior dress. But not everything is as it seems, and what Lucille finds in a small Parisian apartment will have her scouring the city for answers to a question that could change her entire life.

Paris, 1952. Postwar France is full of glamour and privilege, and Alice Ainsley is in the middle of it all. As the wife to the British ambassador to France, Alice’s job is to see and be seen—even if that wasn’t quite what she signed up for. Her husband showers her with jewels, banquets, and couture Dior dresses, but his affection has become distressingly elusive. As the strain on her marriage grows, Alice’s only comfort is her bond with her trusted lady’s maid, Marianne. But when a new face appears in her drawing room, Alice finds herself yearning to follow her heart…no matter the consequences.

The City of Light comes alive in this lush, evocative tale that explores the ties that bind us together, the truths we hold that make us who we are, and the true meaning of what makes someone family.

Click this link to purchase!* The Last Dress from Paris

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

#1 BOOK RELEASE FOR JUNE’22

There’s something special about Katrina Leno’s stories. They are just magical. This novel looks like it has all of the elements to be another great young adult novel.

Synopsis: From critically acclaimed author Katrina Leno comes a tender love letter to books and summertime, with a touch of magic.

Anna Lucia Bell believes in luck: bad luck. Bad luck made her best friend stop talking to her. Bad luck caused her parents’ divorce. Bad luck is forcing her mother, Miriam, to sell the family’s beloved bookstore. And it is definitely bad luck that Anna seems to be the only person in the world Miriam is unable to recommend a life-changing book.

When Anna finds out that she and her mom are spending two months in a New England seaside town called Rockport, she expects a summer plagued with bad luck too. But Rockport has surprises in store for Anna, including a comet making its first appearance in over twenty years and two new—but familiar—friends.

In what will prove to be the most important summer of her life so far, Anna learns about love, herself, and the magic that an ordinary summer can bring.

Click this link to purchase!* Sometime in Summer

I hope there are some books your anticipating that will launch your summer reading!

Enjoy.

Deb

This Chick Read: Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner

It’s post WWII England.The town of Bloomsbury is filled with boutique shopping, quiet cafe’s and Bloomsbury Books. Open for 100 years, and owned by Lord Basking, it’s an institution resistant to change, or at least the men who run it are resistant. London is certainly eager to move on from the war. Bloomsbury Girls follows three women who work in the store and who want to make changes in their lives. Vivien is tired of men holding all the power and making all of the decisions. She has a vision for a bookstore that features female authors. Grace is married with two small boys and has taken a job at Bloomsbury Books to get away from a controlling husband and her worsening circumstances. Evie has finished her education at Cambridge but was beaten out for an assistant position in large part due to her being a woman despite better grades and higher intelligence. One night after a successful female author’s event Bloomsbury Books becomes the centerpiece for gathering women and the impetus for change.

While Bloomsbury Books is not the second in a series if you’ve read Jenner’s The Jane Austen Society, you’ll recognize quite a few of the characters. Evie was one of the six in that society in Chawton, England who found and helped evaluate Jane Austen’s library in her home. Now, after graduating, we see an older, yet still slightly naive Evie navigating a large city filled with different cultures and societal expectations. She was certainly the most shy of the three women yet grew the most throughout the novel. I loved her love story, but also how she started the novel naive and learned a little gamesmanship by the end.

Vivien was opinionated, outrageous, and super talented. She was an aspiring writer, but also saw how changes would make their bookstore grow. The men who managed the store were only interested in maintaining things the way that they’d always been done. Vivien was that strong wind of change and her wind was a hurricane gale force.

Grace, like a lot of women of her time found herself in a marriage that no longer gave her what she needed. She and her husband were on different paths and Grace’s journey throughout the book was a voyage of discovery and bravery. Would she or wouldn’t she take that chance to make a change.

Bloomsbury Girls had a methodical pace that allowed the reader to engage with each of the characters in the story and and feel for their circumstances, even if the time we live in has made some inroads into equality on the job and in the household. I really enjoyed the evolution of these characters and loved the conclusion to this novel. It might just be because I’m a woman but it was so satisfying! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase this book!* Bloomsbury Girls

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 Chicks Audio Review: Where the Dead Lie (Sebastian St. Cyr #12) by C.S. Harris

Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, has become aware that someone is preying on the cities children. After a young boy has been found mutilated and his younger sister missing, Sebastian starts to investigate, uncovering a sadistic world among London’s brothels. Following a trail of rare books by the Marquis de Sade he finds the killer may be among his peers.

There are many things that I love about these audiobooks but first and foremost is the narrator, Davina Porter. She is a talent beyond compare, narrating all of the voices in these novels, handling multiple accents from different countries and even different parts of London. I forget that it is one woman that I’m listening to as I immerse myself in these very well written mysteries.

As this is book twelve in the series, I am completely invested in all of the regular characters. We have seen Sebastian grow from a youthful love for an actress, to an honorably married man and father. What hasn’t changed are his skills as an investigator, which are greatly tested in Where the Dead Lie. This is the first novel where his investigation is taken on because of who he is as a husband and father, not because of his place in the peerage. I found that an interesting contrast as he didn’t throw his title around as much as he’s done in previous novels, in order to get an answer to his question. In fact, that wouldn’t work, would it? His frustrations at being unable to get answers made him dig in even harder and truly use every skill in his toolbox. This made the novel stand out for me, which is hard to do because this author has written a series of great novels.

As Sebastian searches for the killer, his wife Hero undergoes her own interviews of these orphan’s, hoping to write a book to help bring light to their plight as they try to survive on the street. She often pays them for their time speaking with her and I can feel her helplessness as she gives them a little bit of money for their time. I’m sure she’d like to give away all of her money in order to open up a home and I’ve often wondered why she hasn’t done this already as this theme has continued through a few books. Interestingly her interviews often bring to light small nuggets that help Sebastian understand a situation better, or in fact gives him an answer. Despite not wanting her to be in danger he should think of using her more because she has serious skills!

This novel had a gruesome topic and again dredged through London’s darkest corners, which I both love and hate. These dark corners do make a great contrast to the glitter and glam of the peerage and help strike home that some of this world’s cruelties are wrapped up in pretty paper to help disguise it’s dark center. C.S. Harris is an amazing writer crafting a novel where you are both disgusted and made to feel hope at the same time. I think that’s why I keep coming back. Well that and the talent of this author and the estimable Ms. Davina Porter who brings the characters to life in audio form.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to order this book!* Where the Dead Lie (Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery)

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? (3/21/22)

Isn’t it awesome when you have a bunch of free time and can read just any ol’ thing you want? I’ve been going through my library wishlist and checking out what sounds good as well as taking a look at what’s been on my Kindle and have read through a few great books over the last week. It’s been so fun!

Thanks again to Book Date for starting this conversation and allowing us all to share what we’re reading.

JUST FINISHED

I saw this book on a Goodreads list about great romances of 2022 and thought I’d give this author a try. It’s the third book in the series but I didn’t miss not reading books 1 and 2. It was a different kind of historical novel that I actually really liked. I may go back and read the other two books!

JUST STARTED

This book has been on my Kindle for over three years. I didn’t read it during the Pandemic because it’s about a virus that kills off a majority of the world’s population but I picked it up yesterday to give it another try. It is very Nora Roberts in writing style and it was easy to get interested. I’ll admit, it’s kind of weird reading about a deadly virus but I’m going to power through and see where this book leads me. I know it’s a three book series so I’ll make my decision later on whether I continue reading the other books.

Have you read either of these books? What did you think? If they aren’t books you’d see yourself reading, please share what’s on your coffee table.

Happy Monday and happy reading!

Deb

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