This Chick Read: Adult Assembly Required by Abbi Waxman

After recovering from a debilitating car accident, Laura Costello moves across family to get away from her over protective family. After barely moving in, her apartment burns down and she gets caught in a downpour outside a bookstore in Larchmont Village, a community located in the heart of Los Angeles. She meets the ladies in the bookstore, Nina, Liz, and Polly, and they take her in. Polly taking her home to live in an available room in the large home she rents in Highland Park, just down the street. There Laura meets Bob, or Impossibly Handsome Bob, as her new friends call him. He’s just as they claim, Impossibly Handsome, but he’s also impossibly awkward, shy, and uncomfortable. In Laura he finds someone with the same interests and who has a calmness that soothes his nervous mind. This novel centers on their story, but also includes the interesting characters who surround them.

Having lived in Los Angeles, I always find Abbi Waxman’s novels nostalgic. I grew up in southern California so there are a lot of little notes that only someone from that area would truly understand. For example, when there’s an earthquake you have an instinct for the score and if it’s lower than a 4.0 it’s nothing of note. You just get on with your life. Laura, our main protagonist is getting over PTSD from a bad car accident and is from the east coast, so an earthquake rock her world a little harder than it does our other characters who may shrug one off if it’s doesn’t really do any lasting damage. Other very LA things like traffic, bad drivers, weather, and thrift shopping make an appearance and make this novel feel very much an LA novel. So, I love that.

You can’t but fall in love with both Laura and Bob. They are very subtle characters who have an ease and calm that is very soothing to a reader. In some books that might be boring, but with all of the outlandish characters surrounding them, their calm interactions were kind of zen moments that brought the entire novel together. The pace of their love story was very fitting to their characterizations as well with the zaniness of what was going on around them, plus other characters self-journeys creating a tension that propelled the book forward allowing us to love Laura and Bob at the pace they needed to be loved.

I’ve read all of Abbi Waxman’s novels and each has been unique. I’ve liked some better than others, but none as much as The Garden of Small Beginnings, her debut novel. However, Adult Assembly Required has had the same ease as this author’s first novel, so I’d rate it my second favorite. Something they both share is one small child, Clare, who has got to be the funniest characterization of a child I’ve ever read. Clare is zany and bright and whenever she’s in a scene I just know I’m going to get a laugh or two. I laughed my way through The Garden of Small Beginnings and she gave me quite a few chuckles in Adult Assembly Required as well. I can only hope that at some point Clare grows up and we get a novel from her perspective because it would be so much fun! In this novel she was the perfect counterpoint to Laura’s assured calmness and made me like Laura even more.

If you like zany characters, great friendships, and quirky romances I think you should give this novel a try. It was great. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

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

Click this link to purchase this book!* Adult Assembly Required

Copyright 2022 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (5/16/22)

My May is full of reading commitments and I’ve been reliably consistent in getting the books read that I’m committed to writing a review. Luckily they have all been excellent and easy to read. Whew! Nothing worse than choosing a book that you don’t feel like reading. I’ve caught the dreaded Covid virus and have been out with a severe cold for a few days now and have been binging shows on Netflix because of brain fog. Thank goodness I was reading ahead! Here is what I’ve had on my nightstand (besides a wad of kleenex and cold medicine!).

JUST FINISHED

This author is still writing these stand alone (but really in a series) novels about these ladies living in Larchmont Village, one of the hidden pockets of loveliness in LA. I really enjoy Abbi Waxman’s quirky writing style and witty dialog. One of my favorite characters, Clare, a little girl with an amazing mind, shows up in this novel and adds just the right note of humor when needed. I hope at some point Clare grows up and gets her own novel because that child is a trip!

I think this cover drew me in. I haven’t read a mystery in a while but this synopsis sounds gripping. It’s the third book in a series that I haven’t read but I’m not really worried about missing out and am in fact hoping that I’ll love the characters and want to go back and start from the beginning.

What books have caught your attention this week? Feel free to share in the comments.

Happy reading and happy Monday!

Deb

This Chick Read: Every Summer After by Carley Fortune

Persephone Fraser spent six idyllic summers on the lake at Barry Bay with her next door neighbors Sam and Charlie. Percy was the same age as Sam and as two awkward 13 year olds they formed an immediate bond and friendship. As the years passed their friendship changed but only spending the summers together they each had nine months living their “normal” lives before they were together again. Percy was a horror movie lover and want-to-be writer while Sam wanted to be a doctor after seeing his father pass away at a young age. Despite all obstacles and differences the two of them knew they had each other until one summer when Percy made a life-changing decision that severed their relationship. It’s now 12 years later and Sam’s mom has died of cancer and Percy decides to go to the funeral and face the past, and the boy she once desperately loved.

Every Summer After is the debut novel by Carley Fortune and wow does this novel pack an emotional punch! I am so impressed with the intricacies of the plot and how this author wove flashbacks to their childhood with current time holding the reader captive and in suspense. You know from the synopsis that something huge will happen, and she keeps the reader on the edge of their seat waiting for that explanation. It’s been awhile since I was so captivated by a story that I stayed up reading way past the time I should’ve put the book down. I just had to finish it in one night. Despite my lack of sleep and having to get up and go to work, I am not disappointed in my decision at all.

I loved both Sam and Percy. Meeting as 13 year olds, Percy had just gone through a difficult year at school being cast out of her group of friends and kind of floundering. Sam immediately became the person she could rely on the most. Even when she went back to Toronto, school, and making up with her clique of friends, no one took Sam’s new place in her heart. Sam was an old soul. Having his dad die not only changed the trajectory of his life but also made him super responsible. This sense of responsibility and seriousness drew Percy in but also contributed to their separation. I can’t talk about the characters in this book without mentioning Charlie. He’s Sam’s older brother by two years and is the complete opposite of Sam. He’s a charmer with the ladies, and is the character with one liners who always lightens the mood. Although he’s also Sam’s brother and causes a bit of conflict by association. I loved all three of them!

As I stated before, you know that something happens and since it’s been twelve years since Percy has seen Sam and the story is told through flashbacks, you have to wait awhile to find out what and why. Carley Fortune does a great job of building that relationship up so that the reader is completely invested and wants to see that happily-ever-after that we know is waiting for us on the last page. In this book, I’m not really bothered by the wait because the characters keep me vastly entertained.

This book is coming out just in time for summer vacation and is the PERFECT beach book. My hope is that someone else will read this book, or has read it so that I have someone to talk to about it. So please, put it on your TBR’s, it’s an easy bet that you’ll like this 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!* Every Summer After

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? (5/9/22)

I hope everyone had a great weekend and spent a little bit of time gearing yourself up for the next work week. I spent the weekend visiting with my mom, as it’s Mother’s Day in the U.S. and I’m fortunate enough to live close. Despite the weather, holiday, and a fun crafts fair in our fun city, I did find a little bit of time to finish a book as well as pick up a new one. Here’s what I’ve been reading.

JUST FINISHED

Set in the 1950’s and in a bookstore in England, this book follows three women who work in that store and how each navigate a world in which men have all the control. I am a big fan of traveling through history by reading a great fiction novel and I thought this one was really good and their journey translates well to some things going on today.

JUST STARTED

I bought this novel when it came out but got distracted away from reading it. I love Penny Reid novels. Her characters are quirky and her voice genuine. The story is off to a great start!

What books are you reading this week? Are you eagerly anticipating an evening at home on the couch finishing your book?

Happy Monday and happy reading!

Deb

This Chick Read: Shadows in Death (In Death #51) by J.D. Robb

Eve and Roarke’s evening out is interrupted by a murder in Washington Square Park. While examining the crime scene Roarke spots an enemy from his childhood in the crowd. Lorcan Cobbe, grew up admiring Roarke’s father, working in his organization and moving his way up to paid assassin. Now a wanted man, he jumps immediately to the top of the suspect list and Eve is in hot pursuit. It becomes obvious that Cobbe is taking advantage of running into his enemy and is targeting Roarke and all of those he loves. Eve and her team use every tool they have to gather evidence and hopefully take him down.

I’m a little behind in this series as I believe the 55th book was just released, but ran across this title in my library wishlist and was in the mood for a futuristic investigation with some of my favorite characters. Even though it’s been awhile, when you’ve stuck with a series for 51 books the characters are like good friends. You know when you see one of your best friends from high school after a few years apart and you just jump right back into a previous conversation? The In Death books are exactly like that.

I enjoyed Shadows in Death a lot. Part of it was the comradery of Eve’s team when it becomes clear that Cobbe is targeting Roarke and Eve. Their “family” was going to take down this killer before he had a chance to do anything and how they banded together to investigate, find his mistakes, and then capture him was so emotional because Eve was so awed by their support. Even after all of these years she is surprised that she has a group of friends and I love that insecurity. It really makes you root for her as a character.

There wasn’t a mystery to solve in this plot because we knew the killer in the first chapter but the investigation was fast and personal. Each dip and turn was fraught with tension and each chapter amped up the tension leading to a conclusion that was so, so good! There’s nothing like jumping back into a series with a gripping plot and being reminded why you’ve read all 51 books. When J.D. Robb writes well, her books are excellent. This was one of the really good ones and yes, I’ve already picked up book #52, I hope it’s just as good! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this book!* Shadows in Death

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: Aurora’s End (The Aurora Cycle #3) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

When Aurora Burning, the second novel in the series, ended, it looked like Squad 312 was history. Each story arc had been blasted to kingdom come. As Aurora’s End begins, we find out that each of our characters have survived the annihilation. Zila, Fin, and Scarlett have been thrown back in time to when the Betraskans and Humans were at war with each other. Caught in a time loop, the three of them must find a way out of the loop and back to the future so that they can continue to fight to save humanity. Kal and Auri have been blown into the future where they see what happens when the Ra’haam infect the universe. They meet up with a future Tyler who leads the uninfected in a fight that they have no hope of winning. This final novel in the Aurora Cycle is action packed but also packs an emotional punch as we see the what-if’s and the could-be’s collide.

Kaufman and Kristoff are among the best when it comes to action packed scenes and there are quite a few note-worthy ones in Aurora’s End. Each character’s story arc leads them to a point where they can all unite to hopefully save their people. I just wish that it hadn’t taken quite so long to reach the conclusion. I was all in after the ending of Aurora Burning, knowing that our characters would be back because, hello, it was a three book series. BUT, for me, there was too much time spent in the time loop where Zila, Fin, and Scarlett were trying to beat the loop and find their way back to the future. Granted, each loop takes time, and there needed to be some emotional moments for all characters during those loops, but still, it took too many pages.

On the flip side, I wish that Tyler’s portion had been a little longer. I thought his character as the leader of the unit, the one who had all of the success or failure placed upon his shoulders, needed more time and reflection. I know, that is kind of nit-picky and is probably my own feelings about which character I liked best and wanted to read about the most, but his part was definitely the most interesting of the three plot arc’s. I think it helped that he was actually in two of the arc’s and that future Tyler helped build a connection to what was riding on his shoulders in the past.

The conclusion to this series was epic, action-packed, and emotional. Everything you’d hope for in a series that took a little while to build. I like a conclusion that doesn’t leave loose ends and what-if’s lying about. This was a fun journey and a fantastic continuation and of a very solid sci-fi series. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Aurora’s End (The Aurora Cycle Book 3)

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: Next in Line (Cake #6) by J. Bengtsson

The driving force behind Quinn McCallister, the youngest brother of rock star Jake McCallister, is that he is determined to be better and more famous than his older brother. Kind of hard to do when your older brother was a kidnap victim who escaped after a month of captivity only by killing his captor. Then there’s the fact that he’s uber talented. Quinn grew up in Jake’s limelight, wishing for his attention but not getting it. No surprise because his brother has some horrible trauma to work through. As Next in Line begins, Quinn is a candidate on a singing competition show and despite promises from the producers not to use his family to garner ratings they, of course do. In return Quinn sings a heartbreaking song that goes viral, and walks off and out of their lives. Enter Jess, the uber/Lyft driver who picks him up as he’s being chased down the sidewalk by one of said producers. He gets in the car and her sass immediately gets him out of his own head. Who is this girl who he has told to take him someplace fun, but not too much fun?

I am a big fan of the Cake series. J. Bengtsson’s witty dialog always keeps me reading despite knowing she’s going to make me relive Jake’s torture for the sixth time. Next In LIne, while still dealing with the trauma the McCallister family went through because of what happened to Jake and subsequently them, does seem slightly watered down. Maybe in part this is because Quinn was only six years old when his brother was kidnapped. Just as with the other McCallister kids, they use humor to hide behind and Jess, who also has a difficult childhood does the same. This means I chuckled, laughed, and cried my way through their interactions.

There was one point in the book where I turned to my sister, who had already read the book, and asked if Quinn and Jess’s stories will twine back together again because i was reading this for the romance, not for Quinn’s journey into rock and roll. I did stick it out, but I really wish I’d been reading the book instead of listening to it because I could’ve skipped over some of the less interesting (to me) parts and gotten back to the romance. The narrator’s BTW did an amazing job. Andi Arndt should read all contemporary books and as much as I love Zachary Webber normally, I think she outshone him in her interpretation of the characters, even Quinn’s. She was incredible.

I bet you’re trying to figure out if I liked this book. I’ll admit, I waffled a bit. Yes, I did like it but I wish it was more Quinn and Jess, and less Quinn the rock star. I wish that Jake didn’t have to relive his trauma every time one of his brothers or sisters fell in love. I feel bad for the guy! I also wish that Andi Arndt had more audio time. However, if I break it down, this series is one that I’ll keep coming back to read and listen to again and again. Yes, I do have my favorite books (Kyle’s and Emma’s), and Quinn’s probably falls at the bottom of the list but it was still good. Some Others were just better. I’m sure you have your own favorite too.

❤️❤️❤️❣️

Click this link to purchase the audiobook!* Next in Line: A Cake Series Novel

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 Audio Review: The Paris Secret by Karen Swan

Flora Sykes, a fine arts dealer, is brought in to assess an amazing find. An unopened apartment in Paris filled with antiques and art that haven’t been touched in 70 years. Owned by the wealthy Vermeil family, Flora’s job is to research those antiques and establish provenance. Using this job as an escape from a personal tragedy, Flora immerses herself in the history of this find that includes a rare Renoir. As she gets closer to answers she keeps stumbling upon the brusque Xavier Vermeil the heir to the Vermeil dynasty who seems upset at her involvement, especially when her research turns up a shocking truth that threatens the reputation of his family.

The Paris Secret takes you all over Europe, to London, Paris, New York, and Vienna and the narrator Lucy Price-Lewis does an amazing job moving smoothly from one accent to another. I truly felt like there were multiple people narrating this novel. She did an amazingly seamless job. I’ll definitely be putting her on my must listen list. However, it is the author who deftly wrote a story that I’ve now come across a few times, and made it stand out from the other novels. The Paris Secret did not provide flashbacks as a tool, staying in the 20th Century. An effective tool to show the disparity in wealth that the Vermeil family had and the power that wealth has given them over time. A power that in part came from their love of art.

As Flora was distracting herself with this amazingly interesting find in Paris, her family was going through something powerfully emotional. The author chose to keep the reader in the dark through a great portion of the book only revealing her family secret when it made sense in moving the plot emotionally forward. Her investigation and her own secret rode parallel to each other in the story creating an explosive conflict in the story between she and Xavier. I’ll admit their attraction was confusing, tense, and mysterious. The narration was so, so good, I eagerly anticipated every word.

As there have been a few of these secret Paris apartment stories in the last 5-6 years, I’m sure you can guess the provenance of where the art came from, but as I said above, the way Karen Swan delivered this information, keeping the story contemporary and current, was a different take on the story that I really enjoyed. I also loved the tension-filled scenes between Flora and Xavier, as well as Flora’s investigation across the European continent. She was a strong, intelligent heroine, and I really liked her. I highly recommend this novel and if you have the time please try the audiobook. Lucy Price-Lewis did an amazing job and made me want to travel to France again sometime soon. Ooh-La-La!

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link and purchase this book!* The Paris Secret: A Novel

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? (4/18/22)

Happy Monday! If Easter is a holiday you celebrate, I hope you had a nice day yesterday celebrating with your family. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen, and not as much time reading. Looking forward to the some books I need to review in May I decided to get a head start with an author I just love. I’ll tell you a little bit more about that below. I also picked up a book that I haven’t read in quite a few years enjoying not quite remembering the plot. Here are the books I’ve spent time reading.

JUST FINISHED

This book is a compilation of short stories that Faith Hunter released in various newsletters and short story novels. I was surprised to find that I hadn’t read any of these before and enjoyed quite a few! If you haven’t read the Jane Yellowrock series I think you’d be totally lost, but this author does write a good story so maybe you’d like her shorts too.

JUST STARTED

It’s probably been 7 years since I’ve picked up this book in the Ghosts and Reincarnation series by Kristen Ashley. One of this author’s earlier novels, I was surprised to find out that the romance scenes were cut to dark and not very descriptive, which I’ll admit was kind of refreshing. The characters are early iterations of the surly Alpha and heroine in jeopardy that we’ve come to expect from this author. I’m having a bit of trouble liking the story though.

Do you have an awesome novel you want to share? I’d love to hear it! Please let me know in the comments.

Happy Monday!

Deb

This Chicks Audio Review: Trapped (The Iron Druid Chronicles #5) by Kevin Hearne

Atticus has spent the last twelve years in hiding while training his apprentice Granuaile. Forced to fake their deaths in order to get all the gods off their backs they are surprised to hear that Loki has escaped his realm and is destroying the realms of those who killed his brother Thor, and Earth may well be next. With only the final rites needed for Granuaille’s graduation to a Druid they must travel to Mount Olympus in order to complete that ritual. Unfortunately, it seems that word is out that he is, in fact, alive and they have to avoid gods, dark elves, vampires, and of course Loki to accomplish their task.

I’ll admit, this wasn’t my favorite of the Iron Druid Chronicles series. Luke Daniels still did a stand up job as narrator, but there were times that the story dragged on. Yes, everyone was out to kill them- and I do mean everyone! It’s just that it got a little old. The tattooing of Granuaile’s marks were interrupted three or four times and they had to keep moving or fighting and well, I hate to say this, but boring. I wanted to see how Granuaile would change after becoming a druid and it seemed like it would never happen.

Sometimes in a series there are those books that becomes a bridge between one plot and the next step in the characters journey and Trapped was that type of book. If it weren’t for the humorous musings of Oberon, Leif the vampire and Atticus’s ex-friend showed up again, and the fact that Granuaile finally made Atticus face his feelings for her this book could be a throwaway. I would tell you all to just skip it. It wasn’t horrible it was just, well, a placeholder for the next book, which is I’m sure a great one. BUT, Oberon was pretty charming, and well, feelings were revealed. I guess that made it worthwhile. ❤️❤️❤️❣️

Click this link and purchase this book!* Trapped (Iron Druid Chronicles)

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.