This Chicks Audio Review: Marriage and Murder (Solving for Pie: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries #2) by Penny Reid

Marriage and Murder, while the second book in this series, falls after book #4.5 in the Winston Bros. series. Cletus is a Winston and Jenn is his baked good champion fianceé who have spinned off their own mystery series set in the same world and in the same timeline as these other Winston and Folk Tales series. In Marriage and Murder we are a little closer to their upcoming nuptials and in fact the heart of the story revolves around their engagement party and the murder of a family member. If you’ve read Beard in Hiding you will already be familiar with this tale, but from Diane Bonner’s point of view (Jenn’s mom). This story is more of a murder mystery with Jenn and Cletus using all of their devious (Cletus) and naive (Jenn) skills to find out who, what, and why. There are many perils, pitfalls, and reveals revolving around this whodunnit that was surprisingly emotional and super sinful.

I listened to this book and was again skillfully led along by narrators Joy Nash and Chris Brinkley. Both of whom are very talented and have their characters Tennessee accents voiced spot on. Despite the talent of these narrators, I was a little let down by the repetitiveness of this story with Diane Bonner’s own version in Beard in Hiding. Other than some romantic moments between Cletus and Jenn and a few other added scenes leading up to their marriage I got a little bored. Oh, I know that I said that I was disappointed in Beard In Hiding’s ending because of all the unanswered questions, and those questions were definitely answered in this book, but there were too many repeated scenes leading up to those answers. Maybe if I had been reading the book it would’ve been easier to skim and skip, but in listening to the book I was held hostage by the slower moving audio. Admittedly, this did hamper my enjoyment of this novel so that I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first in this series.

What did I like about this novel? Well, Jenn is a fabulous heroine and while she lays on the sweet a little too much, she also has a sassy side that comes out when she’s around Cletus. Cletus also is devious and brilliantly written. This novel just didn’t have enough original content until about 2/3’s of the way through the book to hold my interest. It’s only because of my love for all things Penny Reid that I listened to this novel all the way through. This story felt pretty wrapped up so I’m unsure if there will be another book in the series, but despite my lukewarm feelings over this one I will most likely tune in to a third. Although, I think I may read the next novel instead of investing my hours in listening. ❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this book!* Marriage and Murder

Copyright 2023 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: Folk Around and Find Out (Good Folk #2) by Penny Reid

Charlotte Mitchell, recently divorced mother of four, needs to get hired as a stripper at the Pink Pony. Hank Weller, owner of said nightclub, has not interest in hiring Charlotte after he got the blame for her husband leaving her for one of his dancers. Charlotte is interesting, beautiful, and too smart for his own good and he needs her to keep some distance. Unfortunately, he ends up hiring her- but as his bookkeeper. He quickly finds out that she’s not only beautiful, but she’s bright, sassy, and again very, very interesting. Despite his best intentions of staying away, he can’t help but to keep her close.

Charlotte has an ulterior motive for finding a job at the Pink Pony, and it’s not to change careers. She wants to find her cousin who may have gotten into trouble. What she finds is that the staff at the Pink Pony are like a family and Hank Weller is not at all who she thought he was. Instead he’s reliable, kind, and oh so handsome. But- she’s not interested in dating. She’s way too busy raising her four kids.

As with all Penny Reid novels, her characters are charming, quirky, and fun to read about. Folk Around and Find Out was no different. We’ve gotten to know these characters on the periphery of other novels but in this novel they shine on their own. Hank was always a mystery but as Beau’s best friend you knew that there was more to his character than “rich guy who owns a strip club”. This is of course true- and we really get to know his good character in this novel. Charlotte was also in the peripheral in other novels and I never really thought much about her before but now I wonder how I could’ve overlooked her. She is so interesting! BUT she and Hank together are much more than they are apart. I love how she is everything to him and he is a wonderful miracle to her. This was such a sweet story.

As with a lot of Penny Reid’s books that have kids in them, I fell in love with those little monsters. What a great little family of individual personalities. I love how Hank is charmed by them and falls immediately in love. You can’t help but like a man who is not put off by four kids! Charlotte and Hank are perfect for each other and their story was full of surprises, laughs, and love. This one is a completer charmer!


Click this link to purchase this book!* Folk Around and Find Out

Copyright 2023 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: Ten Trends to Seduce Your Bestfriend by Penny Reid

Public school science teacher, Winnifred Gobaldi, loves to spend her free time on her blog helping women see how cool science can be and has achieved a modest following. Her roommate’s work just received a grant that would provide dollars to bloggers who help promulgate women in STEM and she thinks Winnie would be the perfect candidate if she only had a few hundred thousand more followers. She comes up with an idea for Winnie to diversify her blog with other topics, such as makeup tutorials and trendy blog topics. She convinces Winnie to do a #bestfriend challenge with one of their male friends. Byron Visser is a bestselling author and eschews all things social media. He’s antisocial, abrupt, and is always giving an unwanted opinion. When an accidental visit on Winnie’s blog goes viral they find themselves faking a #bestfriend challenge and makes them face the truth about their feelings for each other.

I’m not sure why I was surprised by this book, because Penny Reid surprises me so often but Ten Trends to Seduce Your Bestfriend was not the book I was expecting to read. I mean this in the best way possible! It was a wonderful surprise. Winnie and Byron were such interesting characters. There was great thought and depth to their actions and as each insight was revealed it was an aha moment not just for the character but also for the reader. I felt like I was truly on the journey of discovery with the both of them.

Winnie was a fun character. She was smart, dedicated to her science and students, and also beautiful and into clothes and makeup. I thought she was an interesting mix of surface and down-deep beauty. Byron was gorgeous and surly. He had no verbal boundaries and didn’t think twice about giving his opinions, thinking he was being helpful, but instead being taken as having a superiority complex. Once Winnie started doing this challenge with Byron she had to speak up and tell him how his thoughts made her feel and his reactions gave her and us insights into Byron. He was completely clueless that that was how his words were being taken, but we also saw how much he tried to address his problems and work on speaking to Winnie the way she needed to be spoken to. Winnie herself, had issues in how she communicated as well, and we saw her character evolve in a somewhat similar way as the story went on.

I thought Ten Trends was a totally unique love story. The new trend of women in STEM romance novels is very appealing. Why wouldn’t smart women also be attractive and fall in love??? It wasn’t only the STEM portion of this book that was unique however, Byron’s character and personality issues were also not something you’d usually find in a romance novel. The two together made this novel original and very interesting. I loved their story! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this book! Ten Trends to Seduce Your Bestfriend

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: Beard in Hiding (Winston Brothers #4.5) by Penny Reid

Diane Bonner, business woman and upstanding citizen of Green Valley, is tired of living life by the rules. Newly divorced, she wants to take chances and live on the edge. This is why she decks herself out and heads to the local biker bar, where she meets dangerous criminal and biker, “Reaper”. Wanting to keep her out of worse danger Jason “Reaper” Doe, takes her back to his room and gives her a night to remember. One night may not be enough for either of them.

I have grown to love Penny Reid’s novels. Her characters are quirky but sometimes her motives for writing about certain ones are mysterious. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure I wanted to read a romance novel about two such hated characters. Even if Diane has just started redeeming herself in Cletus and Jennifer’s story, she still didn’t treat her daughter very well, and well Reaper is a criminal. Even if seeing things from their side leads me down the path to enlightenment, I just couldn’t see how it could happen. What did I learn? Never doubt the talent of Penny Reid.

Seeing through Diane and Reaper’s eyes was very enlightening. I could forgive Diane because she was married to a really bad guy who twisted her thoughts until she believed his bull pucky. I felt bad for her, but did I feel bad enough to care about her story? I guess the same could be said of Jason. He was ready to move on from his gang and the path to evil they were taking. If it wasn’t for his daughter living in the area he’d of left long ago. I don’t think there was anyone else in the city of Green Valley who could’ve been written in as his matched pair, except someone who was also hated but trying to find her way back to the light.

Full disclosure, I did not care for how this story ended. It’s the only one of her novels that didn’t reach a conclusion that I’ve liked. I also don’t see how else she could’ve ended the book, so there is that as well. LOL. All of this back and forth is probably making you wonder if I actually liked this novel. Well, I did and I didn’t. I think Penny Reid did a good job of making two despicable characters likeable enough for me to finish the novel. That’s not saying a lot because I’ve finished a lot of novels I didn’t care for but I will give this author props, she did make me care a little. ❤️❤️❤️❣️

Click this link to purchase this book!* Beard in Hiding

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: Homecoming King (Three Kings #1) by Penny Reid

Rex McMurtry, pro football defensive end for the Chicago Squalls, has a reputation for dating a woman and having the next person they date marry them. Always a bridesmaid and never a bride, Rex is tired of the journalists poking fun at him. When Abby finds her high school crush sitting quietly at the bar where she works, she silently serves him two drinks not realizing that he is blind drunk. Feeling responsible, she has a few friends help get him into her car where she plans to drive him home. His throwing up all over the both of them derails that plan and she decides the safest place for his famous face is on the blow up mattress in her apartment. When he wakes up and realizes she took care of him he makes a proposition that she unfortunately just can’t refuse.

I loved Abby! She is more than slightly distrustful of people and so guards her heart very tightly, but Rex was her childhood crush. She couldn’t really refuse any request he’d make of her, even if it was to be his fake wife. She was the perfect mix of innocence and arrogance. After a failed marriage and a brief stint in prison I don’t blame her for not trusting men. Her ex was a dirtbag! Despite Rex’s fake marriage proposition she feels like she knows him because she semi-stalked him all through her youth. Truthfully, he isn’t much different than he was back in high school, putting a wall up between he and anyone who wants to get close. Abby has a way of disarming him and soon she becomes one of the most important people in his life. Once again, Penny Reid writes a charming, different type of romance novel that is just fun, funny, and really damn appealing.

Most of Rex’s friends have gotten married, all to ex’s of Rex’s. LOL. However, there are two friends who’ve remained single and dare I guess that they will be King #2 and #3? While not War and Peace, Homecoming King is utterly charming and the series has promise. I can’t wait for the second to come out. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Homecoming King (Three Kings Book 1)

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: Engagement and Espionage (Solving for Pie: Cletus and Jenn mysteries book #1) by Penny Reid

Any book by Penny Reid is on my must read list, but “Engagement and Espionage” came out a year ago last summer. Why did I wait so long to read it? I loved Cletus and Jenn’s romance “Beard Science” and let’s face it, Cletus is one of the greatest side characters in a series, EVER. I think I didn’t really know what to expect. I mean we already read their love story so to now give them a mystery to solve? It just seemed kind of odd, but that shouldn’t have been a turn-off! It wasn’t until I read the synopsis for Beard in Hiding” and saw that it was a story about Jenn’s mom, that I realized I really needed to kick it in and read this book. You know what? I LOVED IT.

This novel takes place after “Beard Science” and before several other novels that I’ve already read. It’s a continuation of Cletus and Jenn’s romance because they are not yet married and Jenn is still buried under banana cake and pie. Her mother is still domineering and Cletus is starting to lose patience with his erstwhile fiancée. When someone starts messing with the farmers who provide Jennifer with her products to make her award-winning cakes and pies Cletus and Jenn investigate. Hijinks prevail but the under lining theme of love and honor between our hero and heroine stands strong.

If you have never listened to one of these novels via audiobook, please do! Chris Brinkley and Joy Nash do a great job of voicing these characters and bringing them to life. As the story moves forward and I’m listening to where each of these characters are in the life of the Winston series I realize how much I love this world that Penny Reid has created. The characters are kind of nutty but the world is filled with love and camaraderie. This is why I keep returning to these books and why I’m smacking myself that I didn’t read this one a little sooner. That’s ok, the second book in this series is already out so that means I don’t have to wait to pick it up! See, bright side! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Engagement and Espionage: A Sexy, Small Town Cozy Mystery (Solving for Pie: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries Book 1)

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: Totally Folked (Good Folk: Modern Folktales #1) by Penny Reid

Hollywood actress, Raquel Ezra, is used to being judged by the Hollywood scene so when she meets Sheriff Jackson James while in Green Valley for a wedding she finds his good manners, and lack of being awestruck refreshing. So refreshing that she leaves the wedding early in order to spend some time along with him. Years later, burned out from her fake life, she returns to Green Valley dreaming of finding the same man still waiting. However, despite feeling that same instant attraction, he’s not interested in quick fun. He’s ready to settle down and she doesn’t know if she’s that person. Totally Folked is a totally cute tale about two people who don’t seem to know what they want except to somehow find their way back to each other.

This series is an off-shoot of Reid’s Winston Brothers series and I’ll admit, Jackson James was not my favorite side character. As the sheriff he was always so straight, but seeing what goes inside the mind of that man was really insightful and if I’ll admit, kind of made me sad. His initial connection to Raquel Ezra was a mix of being a gentleman and being slightly naughty. That dichotomy was really confusing, in a good way, and I knew I had to keep reading so I could figure him out. Raquel on the other hand was pretty much what she seemed, albeit much smarter than her persona. A Hollywood ingenue, she was a rising star that was quickly burning out from all that she had to do to make it rise. She didn’t know what she wanted out of life and because of that she fixated on how perfect that one evening was with Jackson James. What bothered me the most out of her character was that when things got difficult she didn’t make a plan and see it through she would start to run. That’s annoying! Luckily, fate seemed to throw the two of them together (as well as some other well meaning characters) and I saw some other sides to Raquel that helped me like her and root for she and Jackson as a couple.

One of the things I really admire about Penny Reids’s stories besides that they are quirky fun, is that the characters are flawed in a way that strikes an emotional chord. This novel was no different. Both Jackson and Raquel had insecurities that ran deep and formed them into the people they were today. Reid opens up her characters so that the reader can see what drives them and forms that connection with the reader and helps us build empathy. Yes, I thought Raquel needed to face her problems and stop running away but that feeling is driven by my own insecurities, not hers. Which kind of makes my point. By reading about these flawed characters we see things in ourselves that we may identify with or something we find shameful within ourselves that we want to change. The resolution to that character flaw is the reason why I came to care for the characters so much and that was certainly the case in this novel.

Totally Folked was the first novel in a new series and just as with all of Penny Reid’s other novels, they are a must read. This one was sweet, painful, joyful, and funny. All of the things I like from a great novel.


Click this link to purchase this book!* Totally Folked: A Small Town Romance Folktale retelling (Good Folk: Modern Folktales Book 1)

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: Beard With Me and Beard Necessities (Winston Brothers #6-7) by Penny Reid

Scarlet St. Claire has spent her whole life flying under the radar from her father and the kids at school. While doing exactly that, camping out in the woods behind the Winstons home, she comes to the attention of none other than Billy Winston, the boy that Scarlet has hated her whole life. What she doesn’t realize is that this boy that’s she’s run from may actually be the answer to her salvation. Beard with Me is the story of Scarlet and Billy, love found and love lost.

To say that I had been eagerly anticipating this novel would be an understatement. However, when the author, Penny Reid put out a statement saying that some people may not be happy with this story I paused on reading it. What did she mean people might not be happy? I hate second guessing my reading choices, so I waited until the follow up came out to read both novels back to back. Hence my late review.

Scarlet St. Claire is the daughter of Razor, the head of the local motorcycle club, and the bane of her existence. He is one seriously bad hombre and for some reason he is fixated on Scarlet, so she tries to remain as scarce as possible. This is tough for a 14 year old girl, and occasionally when she needs money she has to bite the bullet and deal with dear old dad. After one such incident Billy stumbles upon her campsite behind his house as she’s singing very loudly with headphones on. Captivated he decides to help her instead of reject her as he’s done numerous times before. Never having been helped by anyone who didn’t want something in return, Scarlet tentatively accepts his help and through those moments she and Billy fall madly in love.

This is not a light hearted Penny Reid novel, so now I kind of understand why some people may have rejected Beard With Me at first. I think if I didn’t have Beard Necessities to immediately read at the end of this novel, I would’ve had a hard time bearing the burden of this ending. It was a perfect set up for the next piece of their story.

Beard Necessities is the story of Billy and Claire (aka Scarlet). Misunderstandings, miscommunications, and broken hearts have kept these two apart for almost 20 years. I know what you’re thinking. Claire? Yes, Claire! She has been in almost every single one of the Winston’s novels. The reader knew there was some kind of back story between she and Billy because it was hinted at and in this novel we finally are told the whole story.

This novel takes place in Tuscany where the whole family is together. Unbeknownst to Billy and Claire, their lives are about to be managed. Thrown together at every circumstance (some of them are quite clever and funny) Billy and Claire finally overcome their bitterness and mistrust and dare to dream that they could find their happily every after.

Beard Necessities when paired with Beard With Me is the epitomy of a knockout punch. We are given the heart break of the first novel and see them struggle so much with all of their past beliefs about each other. Most of which were complete misunderstandings. Billy, when he finally realizes he has a chance to be with Claire/Scarlet is so tender. I think this story must be the most tender and beautiful of all the books in this series. Maybe it’s because I got so invested in these characters? I don’t know, but Penny Reid deserves an award for how full of love these characters are for each other. It was sad and beautiful all at once.

I believe this author said in that note I was talking about before that if you can’t handle it you can skip Beard with Me and just read Beard Necessities. I hope I got that message wrong because I think you really need to read Beard With Me first so you can feel as much heart ache as these characters do so you can be fully invested in their happily ever after in Beard Necessities. Without that first story, I think BN might have felt a little flat. Anyway, I’m glad I read them the way I did so I can only say to you how effective it was and how much I adored the conclusion to their story.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ Click this link to read Beard with Me: First Love Small Town Romantic Comedy (Winston Brothers Book 6) and ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ Beard Necessities: Second Chance Small Town Romantic Comedy (Winston Brothers Book 7)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

This Chick Read: Kissing Galileo (Dear Professor #2) by Penny Reid

Synopsis: What do you do when your freakishly smart and wickedly sarcastic Research Methods professor sees you mostly naked? You befriend him, of course.

I did read the first novel in the series, Kissing Tolstoy, but if I hadn’t would the above synopsis sound like something I’d want to read? Not really. However, I love this author and I thought Kissing Tolstoy was pretty good so I gave Kissing Galileo a try. However, when does it become wrong to normalize the teacher/student relationship? This is in college, so everyone is legal, but…..

Emily is a lingerie model. It’s a club of sorts, no not that kind of club, but you have to be a member to view the models in their lingerie, and the pay is really good. Good enough to pay for her tuition and her mother’s therapy. What happens when one of your professor’s views you in a bra and panties? Victor Hanover, when he finds out she’s a student, immediately does the right thing and notifies the dean, who then gets someone else to handle her grades and tests. That Emily accepts this situation means that it has made her “feel” things for her professor. Either turned on or off, from what I understand. However, neither of them makes a move until Emily shows up at his office.

Victor is kind of socially awkward. Until the previous year he had been grossly overweight but after losing 150 lbs, he now finds himself uncomfortably attractive. He hates how he had been ignored, but now people want to know him and it pisses him off. He finds himself with feelings for Emily that he doesn’t know how to act on, so they become friends… just friends.

This is a story of a friendship that should become more, but one person doesn’t know how to move it forward, and the other person is judging the situation in normal male/female standards. Talk about awkward! It’s an unusual take on a friends to lovers theme and was quite cute and alleviated any kind of uncomfortableness very early on. This was obviously a guy that had rules, morals, and value’s so the fact he had a crush on his student was kind of minimized and forgotten.

Kissing Galileo was a very quick read. It was awkwardly cute but not my favorite of Penny Reid’s stories, but it easily filled a void until the next great Penny Reid book was released. You can easily read this novel as a stand alone, but Emily’s best friend is from Kissing Tolstoy so if you want, you can start with that novel first. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“This is one of those rare moments where I didn’t really enjoy a Penny Reid book but considering I adore the vast amount, I won’t worry. There are many fans of this book, just not me.” A Take From Two Cities

Click this link to purchase!* Kissing Galileo (Dear Professor)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: Dating-ish (Knitting in the City #6) by Penny Reid- Audio Review

I am in love with the Knitting in the City series! Each time I read a book, I think ‘this is my favorite’! Until I read the next book in the series, which quickly surpasses the previous and becomes my favorite book in the series. This time, instead of reading, I decided to try out my new Romance Audible package on Amazon and listen to Dating-ish, narrated by Joy Nash. Boy was that a delight!

Marie, our heroine, is just about to cancel her subscription to an online dating service when she gets a notification that she has a PERFECT match! Excited at the prospect of meeting her perfect match, Marie eagerly meets this date at a local coffee house and proceeds to have the most confusing and weird first date she’s ever had before in her life! This strange man is her perfect match? After doing a dump and run, Marie runs into him again when her knitting group next meets. It’s a surprise to find that he’s the next door neighbor and childhood friend of her knitting buddy Fiona, but even more surprising is the fact that their date was part of a research project on what women want in a man. As it turns out, Matt is a scientist and is working on a project to create an compassionate AI (artificial intelligence) that will provide a person with all of the emotions they need from a mate. Marie is upset, horrified and angered that her perfect match was a fake! To get even, she blackmails Matt into letting her read his research for an article she’s going to write about how there are services available to facilitate emotional fulfillment. Think professional cuddlers, not hookers!

As Marie and Matt hang around each other, an undeniable chemistry is sparked, but as this is a slow burn novel, the two of them have plenty of hilarious emotional hijinks before their feelings become their reality. In typical Penny Reid fashion, these two odd ducks have found their perfect match, but they really have to work at the happy in their ending.

Part of the reason I love this series is because these characters are not new to us when we start the novel. Marie, as part of the knitting group is known as the level headed, organized friend. In fact, as a professional journalist, she can compartmentalize with the best of them, and we’ve seen her do this in the past. Matt, as Fiona’s neighbor, is also a familiar character. Although I didn’t quite realize how much of an emotional oddball he really was from our previous interactions. Joy Nash reads his character so well! Kind of aloof and very sciency in a nerd-voice. You’d have to listen to it to figure out what i’m talking about, but she does a great job! Marie’s narration is also spot on, and Joy Nash acts out the narration so that I feel as if I’m listening to a movie rather than someone reading from a book. She is seriously good!

Each book in the Knitting in the City series can be read as a stand alone. Be warned though, previous characters sometimes have big parts in our main characters romance, so it may be better to start at the beginning so that you don’t miss out on any subtle character arc’s. Although Marie and Matt’s romance is brilliant enough on its own merit. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“I would have never thought a book about robots would be sexy but Penny Reid makes being smart sexy! Matt and Marie have an amazing love story. It is defiantly a slow burn kind of love story and it is so much fun to read. ” Cup of Tea Book Blog

“The book is full of computer and AI jokes and banter that should make you laugh. Marie and Matt are both complex characters with their own issues to deal with. And the cast of secondary characters, which has grown as the series has progressed, is charming as usual. ” Kat Vinson

Click this link to purchase!* Dating-ish (Knitting in the City) (Volume 6)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate