It’s Monday, what are you reading? (8/15/22)

OK, funny story. My husband and I are listening to the Innkeeper series by Ilona Andrews while we walk the dog every morning. It’s the graphic audio version which means there are sound effects and a whole cast of voice actors and is advertised as a movie in your mind. It really does sound like a movie and we’re having a great time listening to the series. One morning last week we finally reached a point where our main character, Dina, gets kissed by the man/werewolf she’s fallen in love with, and the sound effects of sucking face was absolutely hilarious. We were dying of laughter while walking the dog and needless to say once they progressed beyond kissing I quickly hit that fast forward button. I don’t need graphic audio sound effects, for those moments, thank you very much. However, I’ll always remember that moment when we looked at each other in horror and then started laughing. 🙂

JUST FINISHED

I read this book when it first came out and was curious how I’d feel about it on a re-read. I still liked it!

JUST STARTED

I’m only about 15% into the book, but I can tell that the author really had fun writing this one. It’s a different type of novel than her usual historical fiction but I can tell that it will be just as well written.

Happy Monday and happy reading!

Deb

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

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

SPOILERS AHEAD.

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

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? (8/8/22)

It’s that time of the week where I share the books that I’ve been reading and hope for you all to chime in with your own fabulous titles. I’m currently in the midst of a fantasy mystery series that’s listed on Kindle Unlimited and I’ll admit that I’m enjoying the characters and this world the author created. Have you ever read the same genre 2-3 books in a row and feel that buzz or need for a change in genre? I’m feeling that right now, so my next book will definitely switch things up. I don’t want to bore everyone so I’m going to give you the title I read prior to me starting this series, but between you and me, I’ve read all the books before the one I list below. 🙂

JUST FINISHED

I’m a fan of Lucy Score’s small town romance novels and this one was really cute. It has a great premise and the characters are funny, cute, and charming. What more do you want out of a lighthearted read?

JUST STARTED

The cover makes the main character look like she’s a character in Robin Hood but she’s actually an investigator for what passes for their police force. It’s a fun and fast- moving series.

What books have gotten their hooks in your mind recently?

Happy Monday and happy reading!

Deb

This Chick Read: The Stars Between Us by Cristin Terrill

Vika Hale longs for a different life than the one she has as a bartender on a struggling planet. When a billionaire dies Vika finds herself the ward of his heirs and living a glamorous life on a high society planet. A series of bombs endangers the lives of the heirs and she finds herself asking for help from other person that crosses both of her worlds, Sky Foster, assistant to the heirs that she lives with. While investigating, she takes a serious look at her life and whether all of the money in the world is worth the unhappiness and danger she now faces.

Vika’s life was certainly grim prior to her good fortune of becoming a ward to the heirs of a billionaire, but quickly starts to wonder if all of that money is worth the changes it makes to your person and your life? As Vika starts to navigate her new world she quickly gets caught up in the empty social cues and moré’s that have built that society. During these chapters I found myself not liking Vika too much, especially in the way she treats Sky Foster. Of course, that doesn’t last too long but I really struggled through those first few chapters because I found her pretty unlikable. Luckily, she pairs up with Sky and becomes a more likable character.

Other than not connecting quickly with the main character, I thought the world-building was well done and enjoyed the mystery solving. Sky Foster was a good foil for Vika’s more outrageous personality, but I didn’t really feel like they connected as a romantic pairing. Sky’s inst-love for Vika, a woman who treats him really horribly, is unbelievable, but I do see a change in her character by the end of the book so I gave them a pass on those earlier plot issues.

I usually love reading science fiction space operas and despite feeling a little let down by these characters, I still think others may like to give it a try. Especially if you’re a fan of this genre. ❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* The Stars Between Us

Copyright 2022 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: The Secret of Bow Lane (A Below Stairs Mystery #6) by Jennifer Ashley

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright 2022 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: 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

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

This Chick Read: Long Story Short by Serena Kaylor

Homeschooled teenager Beatrice Quinn grew up in Berkeley but has always dreamed of going to school in Oxford, England. When she secretly applies and gets accepted her parents are leery of letting her leave and strike a deal. She must prove to them that she can survive on an environment outside her norm and be a teenager for the summer. So, off she goes to a Shakespeare acting summer camp with a list of things her parents deem teenager appropriate, the first on the list is to make friends. Social awkwardness is just one of many things she’s insecure about and to be in a camp with outgoing teens? Terrifying!

Bea has a couple of things going for her, she’s pretty, despite her khaki and polo clothing, and she’s sassy and bold which makes getting along with her new roommate, Mia pretty easy. Mia takes awkward Bea under her wing and introduces her to teenage life in a Shakespeare camp. Mia and her friend Nolan are the perfect foils to Bea’s more quiet personality and gently (and sometimes not so gently) help her stretch her wings. Long Story Short is a wonderful tale about friendship and learning how to stay true to yourself but to also become more accepting of change. This is the debut novel by Serena Kaylor and the story is really special.

You can’t have a contemporary young adult novel without having a love interest. Bea is immediately attracted to leading man and uber popular Nik, but not having been around people much and especially kids her own age, she is not good at interpreting truths and untruths, likes and dislikes, and whether a boy is teasing her or picking on her. Nik starts off making one mistake and spends the rest of the book trying to make nice with Bea but she’s been burned in the past and isn’t keen on trusting her instincts. There’s some great banter between these two and the chemistry sparks off the page. The reader really can’t wait until these two settle their differences and get together.

Despite the typical teen groupings of popular, unpopular, and geeky kids the author portrays friendships as the absolute must-have that is true no matter your age and something that we can all identify and agree is important. I loved the Shakespeare themed summer camp and it was the perfect foil to Bea’s more math-minded brain and the tropes he portrays in his plays are actually quite similar to the cliques you’d find in high school and a perfect world for Bea to stretch her wings. Long Story Short is funny, sweet, and packs an emotional wallop. This author has moved onto my one click list and I’m looking forward to her next novel. I hope she writes quickly! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase this book!* Long Story Short

Copyright 2022 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: My Top 5 Most Anticipated Book Releases – Aug’22

I’m gearing up to go on vacation at the end of July and am not only putting together this post but also deciding what books I’ll be reading on my trip. I still haven’t read all of my Top 5 from July, so I’ll definitely start there, but this book list making got me thinking about what’s coming out in August. After taking a gander at various lists, here are my Top 5.

#5 BOOK RELEASE

I am loving me some women of STEM romances! Ali Hazelwood wrote one of my favorite romances last year and I can’t wait to read this one on my vacation. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC. Yay!

Synopsis: Like an avenging, purple-haired Jedi bringing balance to the mansplained universe, Bee Königswasser lives by a simple code: What would Marie Curie do? If NASA offered her the lead on a neuroengineering project—a literal dream come true after years scraping by on the crumbs of academia—Marie would accept without hesitation. Duh. But the mother of modern physics never had to co-lead with Levi Ward.
 
Sure, Levi is attractive in a tall, dark, and piercing-eyes kind of way. And sure, he caught her in his powerfully corded arms like a romance novel hero when she accidentally damseled in distress on her first day in the lab. But Levi made his feelings toward Bee very clear in grad school—archenemies work best employed in their own galaxies far, far away.
 
Now, her equipment is missing, the staff is ignoring her, and Bee finds her floundering career in somewhat of a pickle. Perhaps it’s her occipital cortex playing tricks on her, but Bee could swear she can see Levi softening into an ally, backing her plays, seconding her ideas…devouring her with those eyes. And the possibilities have all her neurons firing. But when it comes time to actually make a move and put her heart on the line, there’s only one question that matters: What will Bee Königswasser do?

Click this link to purchase this book!* Love on the Brain

#4 BOOK RELEASE

This release caught me totally by surprise and I’m so excited it’s coming out next month! I am all in on these thrilling mysteries and can’t see where Robin and Cormoran’s partnership takes them…

Synopsis: When frantic, disheveled Edie Ledwell appears in the office begging to speak to her, private detective Robin Ellacott doesn’t know quite what to make of the situation. The cocreator of a popular cartoon, The Ink Black Heart, Edie is being persecuted by a mysterious online figure who goes by the pseudonym of Anomie. Edie is desperate to uncover Anomie’s true identity.

Robin decides that the agency can’t help with this—and thinks nothing more of it until a few days later, when she reads the shocking news that Edie has been tasered and then murdered in Highgate Cemetery, the location of The Ink Black Heart.

Robin and her business partner, Cormoran Strike, become drawn into the quest to uncover Anomie’s true identity. But with a complex web of online aliases, business interests and family conflicts to navigate, Strike and Robin find themselves embroiled in a case that stretches their powers of deduction to the limits – and which threatens them in new and horrifying ways . . .

Click this link to purchase this book!* The Ink Black Heart

#3 BOOK RELEASE

This young adult sci-fi novel seems like a lot of fun. I’ve never heard of this author before but romantic sci-fi is in my zone, so I’m going for it and giving her a try. Anyone else excited about this novel?

Synopsis:

Vika Hale longs for a better life than that of a barmaid on a struggling planet, but her dreams have always seemed out of reach despite the mysterious benefactor who bankrolled her education. When the elusive billionaire dies and names Vika in his will, she’s whisked away to a glittering and glamorous new world as the ward of his heir. Suddenly, her wildest dreams don’t seem so impossible.

But when someone targets the will’s heirs in a series of terrifying bombings, Vika’s new life is thrown into uncertainty. Knowing that she may be next, Vika teams up with the one person she’d rather keep at arm’s length—her guardian’s mysterious new assistant, Sky Foster. She doesn’t trust Sky, but he may be the only one who can help her discover the bomber’s identity before she becomes the next victim. As Vika grows closer to Sky, she realizes she may not escape these new threats unscathed. Sky is keeping a secret and it’s one that could unravel everything.

Click this link to purchase this book!* The Stars Between Us

#2 BOOK RELEASE

I’ve been looking forward to another book by Elena Armas ever since reading The Spanish Love Deception last year. I was late to the table with that book and it landed in my top 10 romance novels for 2021. Will this one hit the right note? It looks just as fun and emotional so I have high hopes.

Synopsis:

Rosie Graham has a problem. A few, actually. She just quit her well paid job to focus on her secret career as a romance writer. She hasn’t told her family and now has terrible writer’s block. Then, the ceiling of her New York apartment literally crumbles on her. Luckily she has her best friend Lina’s spare key while she’s out of town. But Rosie doesn’t know that Lina has already lent her apartment to her cousin Lucas, who Rosie has been stalking—for lack of a better word—on Instagram for the last few months. Lucas seems intent on coming to her rescue like a Spanish knight in shining armor. Only this one strolls around the place in a towel, has a distracting grin, and an irresistible accent. Oh, and he cooks.

Lucas offers to let Rosie stay with him, at least until she can find some affordable temporary housing. And then he proposes an outrageous experiment to bring back her literary muse and meet her deadline: He’ll take her on a series of experimental dates meant to jump-start her romantic inspiration. Rosie has nothing to lose. Her silly, online crush is totally under control—but Lucas’s time in New York has an expiration date, and six weeks may not be enough, for either her or her deadline.

Click this link to purchase this book!* The American Roommate Experiment

MY TOP BOOK RELEASE FOR AUGUST 2022

This won’t win an award for best cover of the year but it may win for the novel most likely to get ex-athletes to read, this comeback athlete plot sure has me pumped to grab my tennis racket and see what I can achieve. cough, cough. 🙂 Seriously, though, Taylor Jenkins Reid is so talented and I can’t wait to see whether I will love Carrie Soto or hate her.

Synopsis:

Carrie Soto is fierce, and her determination to win at any cost has not made her popular. But by the time she retires from tennis, she is the best player the world has ever seen. She has shattered every record and claimed twenty Grand Slam titles. And if you ask Carrie, she is entitled to every one. She sacrificed nearly everything to become the best, with her father, Javier, as her coach. A former champion himself, Javier has trained her since the age of two.

But six years after her retirement, Carrie finds herself sitting in the stands of the 1994 US Open, watching her record be taken from her by a brutal, stunning player named Nicki Chan.

At thirty-seven years old, Carrie makes the monumental decision to come out of retirement and be coached by her father for one last year in an attempt to reclaim her record. Even if the sports media says that they never liked “the Battle-Axe” anyway. Even if her body doesn’t move as fast as it did. And even if it means swallowing her pride to train with a man she once almost opened her heart to: Bowe Huntley. Like her, he has something to prove before he gives up the game forever.

In spite of it all, Carrie Soto is back, for one epic final season. In this riveting and unforgettable novel, Taylor Jenkins Reid tells her most vulnerable, emotional story yet.

Click this link to purchase this book!* Carrie Soto is Back

What books have made your top 5 for August?

Happy reading!

Deb

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

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.