This Chick Read: Snapped (The Playbook #4) by Alexa Martin

Elliott Reed has found her dream job as the Strategic Communications Manager for the Denver Mustangs when their brand new star quarterback Quinton Howard Jr. slaps a piece of black tape on the football logo on his jersey and kneels during the national anthem of their opening football game. When Elliott is given the task of “handling” him she finds herself battling her feelings of respect for the cause he’s fighting and her need to keep her new job. The job that she feels her dead father would have loved for his daughter.

Alexa Martin’s forward states that this is very loosely based upon her own experiences as the wife of a player in the NFL but is also influenced by Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling for the national anthem that started that protesting movement, but that the relationship story is all fiction. I thought she did a GREAT job relaying the story and describing the feelings that her characters, and people of color feel at being treated in the way they were treated in this book. I could never put myself in their shoes, but I felt the hurt, confusion, and anger these characters felt at their treatment and that goes a long way towards helping me understand. I appreciated and welcomed that lesson even if it was just in a fictional romance novel.

Elliott’s mother was black and died when she was a baby. She was raised by her white father and so had conflicted feelings about race, how she should feel and react in certain situations. She has always hidden her feelings and just tried to fit in so when Quinton’s stance made her face her own tendencies to brush things under the rug, it was eye opening and upsetting for her. The fact that she so admired him for what he was doing and was even helping him set up his foundation while at the same time feeling uncomfortable at bringing her feelings out into the open was, I thought, very realistic for how a lot of people may be feeling towards the Black Matter movement and protesting that is ongoing today. It made the point this author was making more relevant and real for me to have her main character so conflicted in the beginning.

With such a serious subject at the center of the love story as a reader you can’t help but feel that the romance took a back seat to the stance on racial inequality and how football players from before 1993 are being mistreated with a lack of benefits and healthcare. You know what? I didn’t miss the romance at all. I still felt the sizzling attraction and the pain of difficult conversations that helped move the relationship forward. The story had a more serious tone than the previous novels but with the help of her friends also brought touches of light and funny. At the end I felt totally satisfied and when I looked back on the book realized how much I enjoyed the story and their romance.

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! Snapped (Playbook, The)

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.

This Chick Read: Simmer Down by Sarah Smith

Nikki DiMarco and her mom Tiva run a food truck in Maui called Tiva’s Filipina Kusina. It was her father’s dream to run this food truck and after his death Nikki moved to Maui to make that dream come true with her mom. Struggling to make ends meet they finally get a great spot along the beach when another food truck run by Finn and Callum James, tries to hone in on their spot. Nikki and Callum take an instant dislike to each other and become social media famous for their escalating arguments. Does this dislike cover up a hot attraction? You bet!

After reading Sarah Smith’s last novel, Faker, I hadn’t planned on reading another but I’m so glad I did! Unlike Faker, Simmer Down didn’t have any of the awkward descriptors and instead relied on a great plot and plenty of attraction to reel the reader right in. I’ll admit, I’m also a sucker for romance novels where food is the third character. I’m not that familiar with lumpia’s but after reading all about them in Simmer Down I want to run out and try some Filipino food!

Nikki’s heart was broken by her father’s death and she hesitates to let anyone get close. Callum’s disagreeable facial expressions hide his true feelings and when they sit next to each other for 9 hours on a plane Nikki realizes that he’s actually as charming as he is hot and has a hard time keeping her heart out of the relationship. I don’t think it’s a secret that my favorite trope is enemies to lovers and this was a really good one. The only reason why it didn’t get a 5 rating is because the ending seemed a touch too predictable. I did like their characters and the food. OMG! I need to find me some lumpia’s quick! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Simmer Down

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk

In a world similar to Regency England, women with magical power are sold into marriage as a business arrangement between families. Some of whom are looking for that magical boost to their gene pool, and others may receive financial gain. On the day of their marriage these young women are forced to wear a collar that inhibits their powers for fear that the children they bear may be possessed. Beatrice Clayburn is a young sorceress who does not want to get married. She dreams of the day when she can become a Mage and through being a Mage help her family’s finances, instead her father wants to marry her off. Beatrice practices her sorcery in private but at night she attends balls and is under the attention of all of the young men who are on the marriage mart. Determined not to ever marry, one day she meets Ianthe Lavan and is torn between what she needs and what she wants.

I thought it was interesting that this fantasy tale paralleled the paths of young women in Victorian England who may have fought for equal rights during the Suffrage movement. Also forced to marry for business or monetary reasons these women also dreamed of their voices being heard and not smothered by or becoming possessions of their husbands. The collar that Beatrice would have to wear also brings to mind the collared slaves who were at the whim of their masters in the United States. Reading this novel during the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote and while the Black Matters Movement is still being fought certainly made what Beatrice was and would go through very relevant. I can’t imagine the author didn’t intend for the reader’s mind to follow those parallel paths.

Surprisingly I didn’t get tired of Beatrice’s mixed feelings over falling in love with a young man while at the same time as wanting the freedom to pursue her own future. Most authors would have chosen the easier path, but C.L. Polk chose what spoke to her character and that decision read true to me. I will admit to shedding a tear or two for Beatrice and Ianthe in this novel while hoping their rocky path would smooth out.

I could imagine the hardships of not only Beatrice but all of the young women of her time. In a discussion with her mother about never wanting to wear the collar her mother told a story of how she chose to marry for love and how that love deadened over time. Beatrice’s decision for her future couldn’t just be about how much she loved Ianthe or how much she wanted to be a Mage. Her decision was about not letting anyone have control over her body and while I am not making a political statement I can certainly say that I identified with that feeling while reading this novel. So, did I like it? Yes. A lot actually. But was it easy reading? It really wasn’t. It made me think about what was going on in the world right now. Not a bad thing but maybe not exactly what I was looking for when I sat down to read either.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* The Midnight Bargain

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.

Mistletoe and Mr. Right (Moose Springs, Alaska #2) by Sarah Morgenthaler

Moose Springs, Alaska has small town charm but with the new resort being built it’s residents aren’t too happy with socialite Lana Montgomery. Lana has been coming to Moose Springs since she was a child and those memories are some of her warmest. Bringing tourism into the town will help it survive and Lana is determined that it would. As the owner of a new condo being developed up the mountain, she’s not looked on too fondly by anyones except bar owner, Rick Harding. His ho-hum life has been turned upside down by this stiletto wearing, Santa Moose stalking, dynamo. He’s see’s right through her business persona to the soft hearted woman beneath and he’s lost at first site.

I love Moose Springs, Alaska! I am a huge fan of the first novel and Zoey and Graham’s story and loved to see these characters evolve. Lana was a fun side character but how was she as the main character in her own story? I actually liked her a lot! I could totally see why Rick fell for her. Her tough exterior surrounded a warm gooey inside. I do wish the author hadn’t given her this one annoying to saying throughout the book. I found it out of character and annoying. Despite that one word, these were two characters that were completely likable and it was a cute romance novel. I will admit it’s always weird to be reading a Christmas themed book in October, but that’s marketing for you!

The best part of this book was the return of all of the town’s characters and having their stories evolve. Graham and Zooey get a small story arc and Ash and Easton’s sarcasm continues to reign. This is a quirky small town that deserves its own show or movie. Hey, if Robyn Carr can do it with Virgin River, my vote goes to Moose Springs getting their own show too! You can only hope! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Please click this link to purchase!* Mistletoe and Mr. Right (Moose Springs, Alaska Book 2)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chicks Audio Review: Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows #1) by Kim Harrison and Narrated by Marguerite Gavin

One of my new favorite things to do is to revisit previous favorites by listening to them as audiobooks. Kim Harrison’s Hollows series has been one of my favorite urban fantasy series and recently when she came out with a surprise novel in what was a completed series I decided to take a look back and listen to the first novel, Dead Witch Walking. Narrated by Marguerite Gavin, I was pleasantly surprised at how much the main character Rachel Morgan, still resonated with a much older me.

The Hollows series is set in a world just like ours, but where magic and paranormal beings are commonplace ever since “The Turn” when a genetically altered tomato killed a good portion of the human race. Rachel Morgan is a witch, but she’s also an investigator, and Dead Witch Walking is the start of her story and her investigative team of Ivy, a living vampire, and Jenks, a pixy. The three of them live and work out of an old church in the Hollows, the more magical part of Cincinnati. Rachel has a price on her head and in order to pay it off she tries to bring in evidence against mysterious millionaire Trent Kalamack, that shows he’s dealing in Brimstone a street drug. In Dead Witch Walking you get a lot of set up, not only to the world, but also to the characters and Marguerite Gavin does a great job at voicing all of them. My favorite voice being Jenks, who’s a small pixy (picture tinkerbell sized) and his voice somewhat matches that size. It’s too cute.

Rachel Morgan, despite her witchiness, attracts trouble. She’s somewhat of a blunderer but she has great instincts and in this case she’s taken on a bit more than she can chew in Trent Kalamack who exhibits supreme bad guy vibes in this first novel. In the end, Rachel gets what she wants by paying off her debt and getting rid of the price on her head, but it’s not exactly done in the way that she hoped. Dead Witch Walking is a mad-cap adventure story with great characters that develop into true friends and a great investigative team, and also sets the story for many of the things that happen to and for Rachel in the next 15 novels. If you love well done urban fantasy novels and have the patience to see your character grow into the kick a&$ she becomes, please pick this up, listen to it, or plug it directly into your brain in whatever means possible. This book is good, but the series is even better and I’m excited that Marguerite Gavin does such a great job with the narration because I’ll be listening to them for a while to come. (15 books! Sixteen if you count the flashback, The Turn.)

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase the audiobook!* Dead Witch Walking: Hollows, Book 1

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.

This Chick Read: A Murderous Relation (Veronica Speedwell #5) by Deanna Raybourn

In 1888, London is being stalked by the notorious Jack the Ripper. At the same time as those gruesome murders Veronica and her friend Stoker are asked by Lady Wellington to step in to recover a diamond gifted to a “friend” of the royal Prince, Veronica’s half brother. Not wanting to be manipulated by a family who has never recognized her, Veronica refuses, until Lady Welly comes down sick and they discover in her notes that she’s afraid the Prince may have something to do with these Jack the Ripper killings.

Veronica and Stoker’s adventurous have something to do with my own recent trend towards reading historical mysteries. It’s intriguing to think that before technology, murders were solved by only acting questions and in Veronica’s case, good instinct. I like the way my brain works to solve these mysteries along with the main characters!

Veronica and Stoker, not hampered by their societal connections have become rather known for solving crimes and despite her misgivings Veronica can’t help but look into the goings on behind giving an enormous diamond gift to a known benefactress or madame. This mystery, like the last novel did for Stoker, allows the reader to connect with Veronica by allowing us to see her interactions with the prince. A brother she’d never met, and one who never knew he had a secret sister. I enjoyed those tender scenes, or as tender as one can be in Victorian England.

The first four novels in this series set the stage and amped up the tension in a will they or won’t they between Veronica and Stoker until this novel, where we’d assume there would be a conclusive union. I’ll admit to a little impatience on that front because the investigation got in the way of my romance, but finally, as the book was ending Veronica and Stoker found the time (my feelings and words) to embrace their future. Finally! I’ll admit I was disappointed that it happened at the end of the book, and again left you with a feeling of ‘now what?’ because I’m not sure where I want to see them go from here. Together, yes, but how? I’m curious to see how the author will settle them into their future. It will be untraditional, of that I’m pretty certain.

Do you like historical mysteries? If so, Deanna Raybourn’s Veronica Speedwell series may be the right books for you. I’ve really enjoyed them and look forward to re-reading them as I’ve purchased every one!

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* A Murderous Relation (A Veronica Speedwell Mystery)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (9/28/2020)

Happy Monday! It’s that time when we look towards a new week and what book we are reading that will help us get a quick start!

This post originated over on Book Date, so thanks for the idea and letting me continue on the discussion about what books I am reading.

JUST FINISHED

I re-read this novel by Kristen Ashley. It had been a few years since I’d read it and I wondered if my feelings for it would have changed at all with a second read. Nope! I may write a review for this one, so hang tight!

JUST STARTED

I’ve had this one on my wishlist at the library for awhile and thought this weekend my be a good time for a light hearted romance! So far, I like it! It’s very light and sweet. The perfect start to my week!

What book is giving a kick start to your week?

Deb

This Chick Read: Smash It! by Francina Simone

Liv is tired of being afraid to take chances and after showing up to a Halloween party in khaki shorts and a hoodie she decides to go for it, have experiences, and change her life! First up is trying out for the school play, a hip-hop version of Othello. Scared to death, her two best friends Dré and Eli, also try out and the drama begins. Having two boys for best friends has led Liv to make the safe choices but when a cute boy in the play asks her out, she risks it all. How will this affect her feelings for her two friends? You’re going to have to read this charming un-putdown-able novel.

I’m not even lying. I stayed up until 1am on a work night reading this book. How Liv feels about herself is so relatable to 90% of the female population. She thinks she’s overweight, has bad hair, and isn’t cute when she’s the complete opposite! She’s fun, funny, a kick butt singer, can dance, is curvy, and should be a self confident young woman. When she tries out for this play and says yes to her first date a whole new world opens before her and her two friends take notice!

What can I say about Eli and Dré? They were totally different from each other, had real problems that added a nice bit of conflict to the story, and both loved Liv to death. Their friendship was one of my favorite things about this book, and despite their lives changing as they got older, they could all rely on each other. To a point. But what would a story be without a little drama, right?

This was a totally fun book, that felt real. I didn’t feel like a middle aged woman reading a teen novel. I felt like these kids anxiety’s are what people of any age feel on a daily basis. Their stories were relatable, their triangle was interesting, and each of their story arc’s read true. Despite your own age, Smash It! is a book that needs to be read. It may make you look differently at your own life, but if not, it will at least entertain you with their’s. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Smash It!

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

* Amazon Associate- if you buy this book through the above link I may make a small stipend.

This Chick Read: Kind of a Big Deal (Flirting with Fame #4) by Mary Ann Marlowe

Noah Kennedy and Lucy Griffin were high school sweethearts, best friends, and soul mates. When Noah left for New York to pursue his dream of becoming a rock star he and Lucy tried the long distance thing, but Lucy wanted someone who’d be there every day, not someone who would be on tour all the time. It was too similar to her absentee father who only dropped in when it was convenient to him. So, Lucy broke Noah’s heart. They remained friends, seeing each other only occasionally, but she was always the girl that got away. When Noah finds out that Lucy is now divorced he’s determined to win her for good.

The thing I love about Reading a series where each character in the gang gets their own story, is that by the time their story gets written we’ve heard their back story and have kind of gotten to know the character. Noah was definitely in the other books, but he was always the jerk and because of that I was never drawn to him. Reading his story I now know why he’s a jerk, but knowing that didn’t necessarily make him more likable. The only thing that did was his devout love for Lucy. Then there was Lucy. She’d obviously not had a good father figure and every man was judged against his failures and Noah had too many like comparisons, or at least on the surface. She had a lot of past grievances to overcome and Noah had a big mountain to climb.

The first 40% of this novel was spent catching up on these characters story arc. I’ll be honest, this became problematic for me because I got impatient. I wasn’t very attached to either character and their previous struggles, although eye-opening, didn’t help me care for them. However, once I hit that 40% and they finally re-connected, the story moved forward at a quicker pace and I sped through the remainder of the novel. From that point forward I was rooting for Noah. I’ll admit, I never cared too deeply for Lucy but wanted Noah to finally achieve his own HEA, even if it was with her. I didn’t think she was too deserving.

This was not my favorite book in the series. In that first 40% I kind of felt like their lives were just being told to me and the narration felt distant. I didn’t live their experiences with them. I’m glad to have read Kind of a Big Deal because it wraps up the series (I think!) but my favorite by this author is still her first book Some Kind of Wonderful. If you haven’t read that novel, please give it a try! It’s the first book and if you love it like I did, you will want to hear the rest of these band member’s stories. ❤️❤️❤️❣️

I was given a copy of this novel by the author for my honest review. I lost the copy and purchased the novel because of my love for this series. My review remains unbiased and completely honest.

Click this link to purchase!* Kind of a Big Deal (Flirting with Fame)

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? (9/21/2020)

I did get a good bit of reading in this last week despite a crazy work week and some more birthday shenanigans at home. In my family all of my siblings, my husband and my mother’s birthdays are within six weeks of each other so we seem to have a party almost every weekend. (Yes, socially distanced, we all live together!) Let’s catch you up on what I’ve been up to!

This post originated over on Book Date, so thanks for the idea and letting me continue on the discussion about what books I am reading.

JUST FINISHED

I’ve read this series but saw the audiobooks up for sale and picked them up. I’ve been enjoying them all again, wrapping up with the third, Wayfarer’s Keep. This author writes so well and keeps me entirely entertained!

JUST STARTED

I love books about young women finding their power. I’m curious to see how she uses her new found confidence! This one is off to a quick start and I like the author’s voice so far!

Now that you know what I’m up to, catch me up on the books on your nightstand!

Happy Monday!

Deb