This Chick Read: The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult

Dawn Edelstein’s plane is going down and her life is flashing before her eyes but it isn’t the life with her husband and daughter, instead she sees the face of the man she was in love with in Egypt when she was 20 years old, Wyatt. She survives the crash landing, gets checked out by a doctor, and is given a plane ticket to anywhere in the world she’d like to go. She chooses to go to Egypt where she knows Wyatt is working on a dig. As the story unfolds Dawn is shown following two different, parallel life paths facing past decisions and mistakes and tries to determine if she’s lived life as she should.

I read several reviews of The Book of Two Ways and it seems that readers either liked it or thought it delved to deeply into Egyptology. Last December I traveled to Egypt and went to several of the ruins mentioned in this book and remembered the stories of these kings and gods that were told in this novel. I was among the readers who embraced the Egyptology in the novel, however it didn’t make the story any less confusing due to the two parallel timelines we were following.

As a young woman Dawn studied Egyptology and was working on her thesis about The Book of Two Ways while on a dig in Egypt. This is where she meets Wyatt, her nemesis, lover, and soul mate. She is abruptly called home because her mother is dying of cancer and Dawn chooses to never goes back to Egypt because she needs to raise her little brother. She also finds out that she’s pregnant by Brian, a man she met while her mother is in hospice and slept with because she needed to feel better about herself and what was happening to her life. Dawn switches her career path and eventually becomes a death doula, someone who helps a terminally ill patient leave this life feeling like they have lived a life well lived. While working with a woman name Win, Dawn starts questioning her own life and if she’s lived her own life well. She has a good marriage and a daughter, now 14, but she has started thinking about Wyatt and whether if she had stayed with him if her life would have been better. When she takes that plane back to Egypt she wants to see whether she will have that revelation and to also pursue the subject of her thesis, The Book of Two Ways.

I’ll admit that despite knowing the Egyptian stories that filled a lot of pages, I still skimmed and pursued the underlying story trying to figure out Dawn’s path. The two parallel stories got a bit confusing and I did feel like I was missing some signifiers to tell me which path I was following in which chapter. It was only when I was done reading the book that I could figure out that path. I was fascinated by Dawn’s death doula job, something that I’ve never heard of but that seemed fitting for a woman who’s early life was filled with trying to understand the Egyptian stories of life and death. It made sense. What frustrated me was Dawn’s meandering between Brian and Wyatt. She wasn’t unhappy with Brian she just didn’t seem to be as full of life as she was with Wyatt. I think we can all identify with this feeling of searching for happiness but it took a really long time for Dawn’s story to play out and I liked both of these men who Dawn spent her life loving.

This is the first story I’ve read by Jodi Picoult. I enjoyed her writing and thought this story was interesting but I’m just going to say it, I was so disappointed with the ending. Maybe Jodi wants the reader to make our own revelation? I don’t know but I finished the novel right before going to bed and the non-ending kept me awake that night. Is that good or bad? I was definitely mulling over the whole book in my head trying to determine what happened at the end and a week later I’m still telling people about this book. Because it has really stuck with me, I would definitely say that this book was thought provoking and I enjoyed multiple moments. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this book!* The Book of Two Ways

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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

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This Chick Read: A Trial of Sorcerers by Elise Kova

Eira Landan is a young Waterrunner, an apprentice in the Tower of Sorcerers, living in the shadow of her older brother. After an accident where her powers killed a couple of innocents, Eira has been held out of the spotlight making her an outsider within her own caste. When a competition is announced, her entire family asks her to stay out and let her older brother compete but Eira wants only what is fair, a chance to become the champion Waterrunner and an entry into the Tournament of Five Champions. She is ready to fight and to win, but at what costs?

A Trial of Sorcerers is set in the Air Awakens world where sorcerers have an affinity for the elements. Eira’s affinity is to water but she also hears whisper’s, past voices that live and haunt in the castle. Her family thinks these voices are a kind of psychosis but in reality they are a part of her magic and make her unique. This uniqueness may set her apart, and maybe not in such a great way. Through a lot of this novel Eira is fighting her feelings. She feels like she should honor her parents wishes and allow her brother, whom she loves, to be champion, but she is also tired of being held back. This may be her only chance to show everyone that she can control her powers.

I’m a big fan of Elise Kova’s fantasy novels. She has created an intricate world and seems to be adding to those intricacies. The Air Awakens series centered on characters who could control Air, and in Trial of Sorcerers we are learning a lot about the element of water. In Eira’s case how water can be used as a tool for good, but also can be turned against them. How can a girl of eighteen overcome all odds and become Champion Waterrunner? A Trial of Sorcerers borrows from the thrill of the Hunger Games, and the elemental punch of Jennifer’s Estep’s Elemental Assassins. I love the mix of action and romantic fantasy!

If there was one thing I’d change about this novel it would be the amount of time Eira feel sorry for herself. I love a good underdog and I get the trope, but I really wanted her to show strength before she was in the actual trials. I wanted her to believe in herself, despite that it seemed her family didn’t support her choices. Otherwise, this was a really fun book and I loved being back in the world I grew so fond of in the Air Awakens series. If you love fantasy novels with a female lead, you may want to give this one a go! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* A Trial of Sorcerers

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

This Chick Read: Ruby Fever (Hidden Legacy #6) by Ilona Andrews

Catalina is the head of her household and lead investigator of Baylor Investigations. She’s used to solving riddles and being in charge but when she becomes Acting Warden of the State of Texas in addition to the above it just might be more than she can handle. Good thing she has fiancé Alessandro Sagredo by her side… of course he brings his own set of problems as well.

Ruby Fever is the conclusion of Catalina’s three book story arc, and all of the sub plots that have been in play are coming to a head. Arkan is out to destroy Alessandro and her family, and they are under constant attack. She is pursuing an investigation into who has attacked the warden, and Alessandro’s family is still trying to farm him out to save their family name and bring in some much needed dough. There was a LOT going on in this book and looking back on it, the plot is a bit of a jumbled mess in my head. Not that I’m going to spoil your fun in reading this novel but I’m having trouble deciding what to write about without giving anything away.

As with all Ilona Andrews books, I loved jumping back into the world they’ve created and Ruby Fever gave us more peek’s into some of her family’s lives than we’ve gotten in the previous two novels which focused more on Catalina and Alessandro’s love story. That story is a foregone conclusion in Ruby Fever and we are given action sequence after action sequence and good investigative moments for the Baylor family, including Nevada and Rogan. The whole family gets involved in the resolution of all of the problems they face, which is fun. We get a hint of a couple of possible love matches for Arabella which made me eager to read her story, but alas, this book concludes Ilona Andrews deal with their current publisher and we may have to wait until they are in the mood to write and self publish the next novel in the series which could take years to happen, if they do decide to write it. Regardless, Ruby Fever was a fun way to end the series.


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

Click this link to purchase!* Ruby Fever

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: Artistic License by Elle Pierson

Shy art-student, Sophy James, is sketching a world famous art collection when a man’s face catches her eye. Beautiful to her artist’s eye, she starts sketching him instead when he’s not looking. She makes promising progress when she realizes that she is witness to an art heist. Security expert, Mick Hollister manages to thwart the thief, but manages to mow down a much smaller and asthmatic Sophy down where she is unable to catch her breath and must be taken to the local hospital. When Mick tracks her down she manages to convince him to pose for her which is the start to a beautiful friendship. Artistic License is a beautiful friends to lovers story about two people who’s insecurities keep their hearts safe but taking a chance might bring them a new world of happiness.

Mick is used to most women being attracted to his body but finding his face unappealing, so when gentle and sweet Sophy finds him attractive he wants to take a chance but her shyness holds them both back from being more than friends. I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel where the hero is not described as attractive, yet is made attractive through the eyes of our heroine. I loved Mick’s protective personality, and wanted to nudge Sophy to give him a chance a lot quicker than our author played this story out. However, Sophy had a reason for not wanting to upend her world by taking a chance at romance. Her severe asthma might be the reason they met, but it’s also kept her in an insulated world keeping new discoveries at arms distance. I cheered for them when they finally got together and ended up really enjoying their journey.

I don’t read a lot of books set in New Zealand but loved how this book made me feel like I was learning a new culture, seeing new scenery, and hearing their accents and different patterns of speech. This may be Elle Pierson’s first novel, but she also writes under the name Lucy Parker and that feeling of traveling to a new place is something she brings to all of her novels, be they set in New Zealand or England. I’m a huge fan and was excited to discover this new name to add to my author list on Goodreads and Amazon. Here’s to hoping another book by either author will be out soon.

If you like slow burn love stories, you may want to give Artistic License a try. I really enjoyed the pace, the characters, and the journey to a different country. I found myself really invested in why these two were holding themselves back from being together and when they finally took that leap I felt the satisfaction of a book well written.


Click this link to purchase this book!* Artistic License

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This Chick Read: Lucky Stars (Ghosts and Reincarnation #5) by Kristen Ashley

I have been re-reading some books that I’ve read many years ago by favorite authors and recently grabbed this book when it was on sale. Lucky Stars is the last book in the Ghosts and Reincarnation series, written early on in Kristen Ashley’s career. This series has a haunted theme and each book has been fun to re-read and has reminded me why I always give this author a look even after she went deeper towards writing erotica (thank goodness she seems to have backed off of that a bit). Lucky Stars is about Belle Abbot a young woman who is rather shy and normal (but gorgeous) who happens upon a bus that is submerged in water and goes in after all of the children and driver gaining a bit of notoriety that she tries to ignore. She meets James Bennett while on a date with his brother and feels an immediate connection to the point that she does something she has never done, sleeps with him on the night she has met him. That one act starts the two of them on a fated journey, one that they have lived through in a previous life.

There were many things to like in this novel. I loved the premise of the two of them being reincarnated and destined for a future together. What woman doesn’t love the idea that their one true love is written in the stars? Belle, while shy is a lovely, very nice woman and very easy to like. She does have a bit of a run away and hide attitude that made me want to skip pages but I did like her and when you find out the reason for it you understand where she’s coming from. However, it takes a really long time to get to that point. James is this author’s typical alpha male, strong and thinks he knows what’s best for everyone. He is also stubborn and almost misses his chance and gaining his one true love. There are goofy side characters, some of which carry through from other novels in this series. I always enjoy the other characters in KA’s novels and get the sense that she has a ton of fun writing them and figuring out their characters. It comes through on the page.

The reincarnation story is what makes this book both enjoyable and also predictable. They were meant for each other because of something that happened to them in a past life. This story has been done repeatedly and there weren’t too many surprises but I did love reading it anyway. Lucy Stars was just a fun way to spend a weekend. I enjoyed my time reacquainting myself with Belle, James and the gang and seeing them reach for and attain their happily ever after. I think this is why I re-read novels that I can’t quite remember but know I liked. It’s like seeing a best friend from your past and picking right back up again gabbing away like you’ve never stopped talking.

You can read each book in this series separately. Other than a few minor characters who show up in each book but aren’t really integral to the love story itself each novel stands on its own. However, if you’re like me you’ll like it better if you read them in order. They are all a lot of fun. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this book!* Lucky Stars

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This Chick Read: Ripple Effect (Disaster Flick Romance #2) by J. Bengtsson


Retired boy bander RJ Contreras is hiding out in a sub-par apartment in LA licking his wounds after his solo career tanked. Living under the name Chad Woodcock he spends his days growing a beard, working out, and playing loud music. Dani is a grade school teacher who loves following the rules and when the guy next door starts getting annoying she doesn’t have a problem dropping hints and leaving post-its about how to be a good neighbor. Chad Woodcock doesn’t care if he’s a good neighbor at all and deliberately antagonizes her, pushing buttons and hoping to make her snap. Until one day when a disaster strikes and all they have is each other.

I tend to auto-buy books by my favorite authors and then forget about those books for a little while until I’m in the right mood to pick it up. Generally I do this without re-reading the synopsis, which is what happened with Ripple Effect. Guys, I had no clue this book was going to take me into a natural disaster romance! I know, it says it in the title, and this author doesn’t shy away from difficult subject matter, but wow was I surprised!

The author and I have something in common. We are both from Southern California, and in fact I grew up in the town where she now lives, so I love to catch “California-isms” in her novels. Even if it’s just small things like the weather, or a SoCal/NoCal reference. Ripple Effect draws on a topic that all Californians are familiar with… earthquakes. When you grow up with them you learn to gage the strength of one and decide instinctively if you need to get up and move or if you are good hanging on your couch through the trembler. The earthquake in this novel took me completely by surprise. Again, yes I know it’s a disaster flick romance novel, but I wasn’t expecting to flashback to my own experiences with the Northridge quake, which I can only think Ms. Bengtsson drew from for this novel. Without giving too much away, I’ll just say that our two main characters get trapped in their complex and need to rely on each other to get out.

Life-changing moments like a natural disaster create a bond and needless to say, our two main characters who started off hating each other ended up together. This seems like a fait accompli, but through witty dialog, snarky humor, and heartbreaking moments, the transition from enemies to friends seemed seemless. A truly huge feat when you take all of the angst and pain that are built into this story. The funny moments were a great balance for the more emotionally charged which made this a really great novel. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Ripple Effect

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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

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This Chick Read: Just Another Love Song by Kerry Winfrey

When they were teenagers Sandy MacIntosh and Hank Tillman were high school sweethearts. Completely in love, both wanted to experience the world outside their small town, Hank through his music and Sandy painting the landscapes where they’d travel. Sandy’s dream unraveled when her scholarship to college got pulled and she remained at home going to the local community college. Not wanting to hold Hank back, Sandy made the difficult decision to break up with him so he could carry out his dream. 15 years later Hank is back in town, divorced, and with a son. Can Sandy live through another heartbreak of Hank leaving her again?

I’m a fan of Kerry Winfrey’s and knew that I was going to read this book as soon as I saw that she had a new release. She’s a clever writer, building great characters and snappy dialog. Just Another Love Song was exactly what I expected to read yet also a complete surprise. Almost from the moment Sandy lays eyes on Hank again, I was teary-eyed and reaching for the kleenex. This novel was not only funny, but it was also thoroughly romantic using flashbacks to tell Sandy and Hank’s teenage love story and their reunion in current time. I feel in love with both of these characters, but Sandy tugged at my heart in a way a character hasn’t in quite awhile. Her mix of nostalgia, uncertainty, and hope created a wonderfully emotional (and funny!) character. Hank too was brilliantly written, but he had parts of his dream come true and Sandy’s journey was really just beginning.

Another thing I really like about Kerry Winfrey is that she gives her heroine’s a wonderful group of friends to lean on. Her best friend Honey was the friend that all of us want to have, supportive, generous, and brutally honest with truths that may be hard to face. There were so many great characters who added moments of humor and warmth. Just Another Love Song struck all the right chords, fun, romantic, and characters who felt real. If an audiobook comes out I’ll definitely be using a credit for a re-read. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase this book!* Just Another Love Song

Copyright 2022 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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This Chicks Audio Review: Cast in Courtlight (The Chronicles of Elantra #2) by Michelle Sagara

I originally read Cast in Courtlight when it came out in 2006. I’ve loved this series but have only read through book #12. I thought, why not listen to them and start over? Narrated by one of my favorite voiceover talents, Khristine Hvam, I am currently on book #2 and enjoying this return to Elantra tremendously.

In Cast in Courtlight, 20 year old Kaylin Neya is invited to the Barrani court by her fellow Hawk and Barrani, Teela. The Lord of the March, the son of the Lord of the HIgh Court (think king of the Barrani) is sick and Kaylin’s healing skills may be the only thing to save him. She does indeed save him from a deeper sleep and becomes keyuthe (sp?) or friend to the Lord of the March, giving her status among the Barrani. For being a human, Kaylin has “friends” in high places and this one draws her into a magical political plot that only she can figure out and conquer.

Kaylin considers herself as just a human, but the magic inside of her is transforming her into something “other”. She doesn’t understand it but has great instincts in choosing when and when not to use it, you’d think the people around her like the Lord of the Hawks, Barrani, and Lord Sanabalis a dragon highlord, would give her a little leeway. She hasn’t steered wrong so far. In fact, the only person who seems to trust her completely is her partner Severn, who was her best friend when she was a child and has just re-entered her life as a Hawk.

There are so many intricacies to the plot in this novel and I don’t want to give anything away by accident by my over-enthusiastic regard for both the author and narrator. I will say that my favorite fantasy heroines are usually those who don’t see themselves as anything other than “normal” but who manage to do heroic things almost by accident. Kaylin is that kind of heroine. She is somewhat mouthy but has only the best intentions, but her actions usually find her over stepping boundaries. However, in the case of what is going on in the High Court in this novel, her overstepping ends up saving the day again with she and her friends coming out on top. I’d think that after a few of these kinds of incidents that her friends would start trusting her judgement a little bit more, but they can’t seem to overlook her youthfulness. I think at some point they’ll catch on.

Khristine Hvam does an amazing job narrating these novels. As with any series that I listen to, I can find hints of other favorite characters she’s voiced from other authors, but the story is so different that I quickly forget she was also Jane Yellowrock. Her talent is such that you can quickly immerse yourself in the characterizations and story. If you’re looking for a great fantasy series with an intricately built world, give the Chronicles of Elantra a try. I really enjoy the growth of the characters and the action-filled scenes, I think you will too!


Click this link to purchase this book!* Cast in Courtlight

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